This summer I will have lived in Columbus, Ohio for SIX years. The last few years have flown by and the more we travel, the more I appreciate this fine city. We started off in the suburbs (blech), lived close to campus (oye) but finally settled in the Grandview area almost four years ago. We’ve experienced blizzards, negative temps, crazy OSU fans and the Doo Dah Parade. We’ve considered moving somewhere warmer (or with fewer allergens) a million times. And yet here we are. It’s home.
We’ve been in our studio for over a year and I can honestly say it’s like a hybrid of having another business and another apartment. It’s this space that has quite an influence over your income and network while also being a relatively large investment that you don’t even own. It’s honestly incredible to see how our quarterly income increased after moving in. It works really well for us and our clients are constantly saying how they feel at peace when they visit.
Unfortunately, you can’t really take all the time in the world to make the space something special. You have to prioritize your list of wants and “must-haves.” For every day you take off to improve the space, it’s a day you aren’t working. We moved in and took about 4 days (and a bit over $1,000) to get it set up (biggest expenses were the floors + paint). About a month later, we had a working and neutral studio.
Fast forward another year and we finally turned our attention to some updates! Last month we painted the yellow kitchen and bathroom with a fresh coat of white paint and Adam’s parents helped us install baseboards. That weekend we spent another $400. Overall, we’ve kept our costs really low. That was important to us because it can quickly get out of hand. Our rent, which is our biggest expense besides our contractors, adds to our overhead (along with commercial wi-fi and utilities) so we can’t be constantly dropping cash on interior design. We plan!
Here’s what we have planned this month:
- Adding in a couch in our main meeting area. We work alongside clients for up to 8 hours at a time. Sometimes we have photoshoots that last even longer. You don’t know how much a soft, comfortable surface can feel rejuvenating and we need that. You can see in the photo below that there’s a perfect spot begging for a comfy couch! My desk used to be there, but we’ve moved it into the enclosed workspace so I can shut the door while working. I’ve been eyeing this one from Interior Define.
- A few rugs! I love the look of the bare wood floors but the enclosed office area is cozy and the spot in front of the couch could use a bright rug. I saw these rugs from Overstock in person and really loved them!
- Substantial floor + ceiling lighting. Our cool Ikea lamp is starting to sag quite a bit and we have a few other rooms that could use some light (we have ugly drop tile ceiling + fluorescent lights that we never turn on). Ikea, in general, has affordable lighting. We might head there on a random weeknight, but we’re car shopping now so it might prove to be difficult. Please let me know if you know of any great lamps that aren’t a million dollars!
- Mirrors for the bathroom. We have one large full-length mirror sitting in the bathroom, but we still need to find two oval or circular mirrors to hang over the sink. This shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish.
- Complete our coffee bar! You can’t see it in the photo that I snapped of the kitchen, but Adam installed a large wooden bar opposite the kitchenette where we’ll set up a pour-over bar for coffee. Right now we have a random pegboard, extension cords + random coffee accessories sitting there.
Our June/July studio plans will happen once we have time to save more money and recover from all our travels. But hint hint: they include glass garage doors, industrial-style shelving and upgrade the warehouse to feel more like a studio and less like a garage. Perhaps a couch? Wood laminate floors? A strobe? Well shit, I better get to work ($$$$)!
Later this month, I’ll share about these new additions! I’d love any fresh ideas, recs or tips in the meantime.
When I was freelancing by myself out of our “dining room-meets-living-room-meets-office,” I met Matt on a web design project. He was the developer and it was honestly one of the first websites I ever created. After collaborating a couple more times, he gradually came on as The Wonder Jam’s developer! We were so excited when we found out his band (The Local Strangers…I designed their logo!) would be embarking on a house tour this spring!
A few weeks ago, we hosted a studio concert and invited all of our favorite people. Pro tip: snag an amazing mixologist, provide free alcohol + get great music. Then your party will be complete.
Without realizing it, this was sort of our “Happy 2nd birthday to The Wonder Jam” party. We had one two years ago when we launched and another last May. Eventually, we’ll just be in the business of throwing parties. Next up…summer barbecue!
I do these posts every few months because after awhile I feel like I’m blogging (or lack thereof) to faceless ghosts. I like to share some random things and updates and then ask you to do the same. I have some fun content coming up this month including a series on doing a few upgrades around our studio, buying things like cars + computers when you work for yourself and lots of travel! The photo above is of me that Adam took. At first I hated it but then I was like, dude that’s me. We all have to love ourselves a bit more.
Answer any (or all) of the questions in the comment section! I respond to everyone so let’s be friends!
- What’s the weirdest thing(s) about you?
- Are you traveling at all this summer?
- Are you a nail polish-less person? Gels? Acrylics? Tell me your nail routine!
- Staple item in your life right now? Could be clothing, tech, paper, etc.
- Cats or dogs?
My answers below:
The weirdest thing about me is probably that I make up words 24/7. Not words that sound like real words but words that sound like babies or aliens made them up.
I am! Chicago, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Los Angeles and DC! Maybe we can meet up? Along with your travel plans + answers, share recs! OR your email if you want to meet up.
Lately I’ve been applying regular polish but hate the way it chips so quickly. I got gel manis consistently back in 2013 but stopped because they were making my nailbeds so weak. I get nail envy when I see a good acrylic manicure but 1) I would poke out my eye and 2) I would want to rip them off while I was on my computer or shooting photos.
I can’t get enough of this black vegan leather backpack that I picked up at Nordstrom Rack! I seriously will get home and wear it around the house because I forget it’s on. HA!
DOGS ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can’t wait to read your answers!
Making friends as an adult can be weird. When I first moved to Columbus in 2009, I found all my friends via Twitter. Well, who am I kidding? This is still true. Just add Instagram to the list. I spent a lot of time in 2009 partaking in a lot of small talk. It was brutal.
Six years later, I now know some pretty incredible women all over the world. But it’s still hard. I’ll admit: running a business with your husband can be isolating. We’re together almost 24/7 and when we aren’t, I just need some time to myself. I have to be really intentional with my time with other women (who are also busy, married, dating, running businesses, side hustlin’ and more).
I’ve found that collaborating on passion projects with like-minded women has been an amazing experience. I co-wrote an ebook with my friend Claire in Australia, I hosted blogging workshops with my friend Erika, I so love and enjoy all our female clients, I bond over #ladyboss stuff with Jolie and just last weekend I spent the day with Marti of All Together Now and Kelley of Wonderfilled Mag.
For this season of my life, I’ll take it. But I’m excited to see how relationships (in general) shift as we get better at this work/life balance.
PS: Thanks to you all for being my internet friends!
I love portraiture. I love documenting people the way they see themselves (or help them understand how beautiful they really are). I had a client the other day say, “I want to look at a photo and see what I see when I look in a mirror.” It’s a challenge. We’ve all been there. “Is that what I look like?”
Since I’m an introvert, I actually really love shooting portraits. I can sit and talk one-on-one with the camera resting in my hand. I can say things that encourage and I’m able to manipulate the light and the body to make people look their best. I’m not a pro by any means, but it all intrigues me so.
It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I became really content in how I look in photographs. Not in a “Oh my gosh look how amazing I look” sort of way. But more in a “That is me. I love myself and how I look. I’ve experienced life and I’m proud of that person.”
Throughout this year, I hope to form a unique experience for other women. I want them to see a photo of themselves and say, “Yes that’s me!” Not because we’re tricking anyone or the camera but because we’re confident in who we are. It will be a relaxing experience. One filled with coffee/tea, music and deep conversation. I’m also excited to include printed portraits in these packages, too.
If you’re local (or within a few hours of Columbus), email me. Maybe we can book a session.
SPOILER ALERT: I don’t use all natural/organic stuff on my skin. I’m vowing to change it, however, so while this is my “current skincare” routine…it will be different by fall. I’ll keep you posted as I change things out.
As women, we tend to get down on ourselves but after photographing women for years…there always seems to be that thing we’re proud of. Sometimes it’s perky boobs or the nice booty or teeth that look like expensive, well-fitting veneers. My thing? My skin! Without being obnoxious, I will admit that I never really had acne or tons of zits, but I did do my fair share of tanning. GOOD LORD WHY DID I TAN SO MUCH?
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I stopped. No more tanning beds during the winter. No more laying out until I sweat off my soul. It’s made a world of difference. But like I mentioned before, the stuff I put on my face wouldn’t pass the Think Dirty test. I’m getting there. Here’s what I do use while still experiencing clear skin:
- Yes To Grapefruit wipes (rated half n’ half on Think Dirty): Every night I take off my makeup with a Yes To facial wipe. It’s how I get off 90% of my mascara, foundation and lip color. It smells great and the wipes are slightly textured so you’re sort of exfoliating.
- Purity Made Simple facial cleanser (rated dirty on Think Dirty): I honestly don’t want to be using this cleanser, but I found it under the sink at my parents’ house and didn’t want to go out and buy anything new. I find that when I switch cleansers, I do get an occasional patch of bumps or one single zit and then I go back because I hate the hassle. Dumb reason, I know.
- Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster (rated dirty on Think Dirty): This stuff is awesome and I really do feel like I get a good glow when I use it. Plus it smells like oranges. It has fragrance, however, and that can act as a hormone disrupter. Dumb.
- Korres Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisturizing & Brightening Cream (rated dirty on Think Dirty): Well this was rated horribly but guess what? It’s empty so no worries. I really loved the scent but again…it’s the fragrance.
- Korres Black Pine Night Cream (rated dirty on Think Dirty): This is the only product that I don’t consistently use nightly. I just forget. I never really see a difference in the slight lines under my eyes when I do use it so I’m not shedding a tear.
- Green Pasture Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Lived Oil Blend: I started taking this once Liz mentioned that it’s like super food for your skin. SIGN ME UP. Honestly. maybe it’s why, no matter how much poison I rub on my face, it still glows. Who knows but I’ll never stop taking it.
- Not pictured: I use Aquaphor Lip Repair everrrrry day (rated well on Think Dirty). I have like 8 tubes at all times and it saves me during the winter when my lips get chapped. Also, the one with SPF is NOT rated well so I stick to this one. I also exfoliate with all-natural exfoliant from a friend in the shower and use Lubriderm Advanced Therapy body lotion (rated dirty on Think Dirty) once I dry off. If I do want a subtle tan, I’ll use St. Tropez mousse (rated dirty on Think Dirty).
Products I plan to try this spring/summer (I will switch things out one at a time): Aiona Alive E-Citrus Cleanser, Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Coconut Lotion, Bare Escentuals Faux Tan Body Sunless Tanner. I’ll keep you posted!
You guys, letterpress is amazing. And don’t act like you don’t know what letterpress is! I see you pinning that stuff all up on your boards! When I first moved here to Columbus, I didn’t know anyone (besides Adam). Finding fun things to do with new friends can be challenging but I vividly remember the day I discovered Igloo Letterpress. They offer open printing hours to the public, paid classes and the ability to host parties directly in their space. You can read my post about that experience (4 years ago!) here.
Fast forward a couple years…The Wonder Jam had formed and we were looking for the perfect client gift during the holidays. We reached out to Beth, Igloo’s shopkeeper, and set up our session. We arrived on snowy winter afternoon and were able to take over the shop while printing our client gifts.
The best part about a place like Igloo? They’re here for us. We’re able to dream up that amazing print project, business card design or wedding invitation and make it happen. These printing presses aren’t abundant and they’re expensive. We need printers like Igloo to exist, grow and thrive.
And so guess what? Igloo Letterpress needs our help! Fund them on Kickstarter so they can purchase a new press, build their new space + keep giving back to the community.
Every dollar helps but if you’re feeling extra spendy (and want to attend a 4-hour, intense photography class with me), you can purchase my specific reward! We’ll be learning all about how to shoot your products well for your online store/Etsy shop/blog.
I’m not receiving any compensation or freebies for posting this. I just truly believe in supporting an artform like letterpress. So if you drool ever so slightly on Pinterest when you see stuff like this…flick over $10 (or $205 for my class) and help keep gems like this in our community.
It snowed on Monday. It will be in the 30’s this weekend. Can’t it just be spring already? I supposed I should be grateful because my spring allergies haven’t kicked it yet. Speaking of allergies, I’m going to give acupuncture a try this year! I won’t do shots and I eat relatively clean but I still feel miserable as soon as it warms up around here. I’ve been keeping tabs on allergy levels the past two weeks and was testing “moderate” in the tree category. Since I’ve felt pretty great, I’m thinking it’s grass and ragweed. I know I should just get tested, but I avoid the doctor and most western medicine (even painkillers).
We plan to solve all my problems by moving within the next 3 years. Probably near the ocean. But where? Please comment if you’ve relocated + felt allergy relief!! Maybe we can be neighbors.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve seen that I had been considering beauty vlogging (video blogging combined into one word). I tried it out and actually hated it. I joked on my latest Instagram post that Desh wasn’t too thrilled while I was in front of the camera (he thought I was talking to an invisible person) but it’s true. I just didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t enjoy listening to myself for an hour or editing the video and hearing myself talk over and over and over and over and over…
So instead, I blog! And today I’m sharing my favorite makeup highlighters. You know, the stuff that makes your face glow. I’ve rounded up my top 6 products below:
- L’Oreal Magic Lumi – It’s a really affordable primer that gives you that nice pearly glow but I actually use it to lighten my foundation in the winter. It’s lasted awhile and you can’t beat that price.
- BECCA’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal – I also mix this into my foundation (or will just rub the smallest drop onto the high points of my face). It’s great and I really love this brand. It’s PRICEY, though. That’s the travel size and it’s $19.
- Almay’s CC luminous primer – This has much more of a pink tone (which doesn’t really go well with my skin tone) but is a nice way to add a little bit of that nice glow when priming your face. It helps reduce redness (which I don’t have) so it would be perfect alone or with a full face of makeup.
- Revlon Photoready Skinlights (in Bare Lights) – This reminds me SO much of BECCA’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal. It’s not the exact shade, but it’s a good dupe.
- Hourglass Ambient Light – This is a powder and so, so naturally gorgeous. It’s much more subtle but the perfect addition to even the most natural face of makeup. It’s expensive. But if you ever want to treat yourself, get it.
- Mary-Lou Manizer by the Balm – This is a much more intense powder, but it’s a good bold. I’m wearing it in the photo at the top. A little goes a long way (I have a sample size and haven’t even made a dent).
I only got into highlighters + stuff like that recently (within the last 6 months) and it’s been the best addition to my routine! Comment below if you have any that you love that you think I should try!