Organizing My Life

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This week beat the crap out of me.

Don’t get me wrong…I kicked its ass. But I walked away with some bruises and maybe even a broken arm. Haha what if I wrote in analogies this whole post? That would be annoying.

At 6am on Thursday morning, I found myself working. I hadn’t gone to sleep yet and I thought about pulling an all-nighter. Instead, I drafted a new email to Adam (he was sleeping like a normal human being) and basically said: HELP. The thing is…I can be a bit controlling. Or I don’t want to burden someone with tasks so I choose to do it instead. Over the past few weeks everything had piled up and I found myself working  24/7.

When I finally woke up (ahh glorious sleep) I realized that Adam had checked off every task and attended every meeting for us. He’s quite literally my hero.

You might be thinking, “Jeez Allie. Get your shit together!” Yeah, I’m trying. Here’s what I learned this week:

  • I need to get on a normal sleep schedule. For my sanity. For my clients’ sanity. For Adam’s sanity. Oh and my dog seems rather annoyed when I stay up late too. I need to retrain clients so that they don’t think I’m available every minute of every hour.
  • I need to be okay with promising deliverables/emails/proposals within 72 hours. Instead, I’m constantly saying, “Oh yeah I’ll get that to you tonight,” and then realizing I said that 30 times in a day.
  • I need a way to see all current + potential projects’ timelines and deliverables in a very visual way. We just landed 4 huge projects. We’re in the middle of 3 projects. We have 3 clients on retainer. I’m constantly juggling and I need to see the big picture to accurately create timelines and deadlines. Suggestions, please! (I don’t like Trello, Asana or Basecamp, FYI)
  • It’s okay to pay for things that bring you sanity. We had our house cleaned and started ordering healthy, gourmet food that’s delivered to our house daily. It’s an amazing feeling when you can heat up your quinoa, pork + brussels sprouts in a minute and serve dinner.

The bottom line, however, is that I am really happy. I’m learning so much and I’m passionate about all of the work that I do. I’m so thankful that my problem is that we have too much work. It’s kind of amazing. I think that with a little bit of organizing…things will be a bit more manageable. Plus we just brought on an amazing intern. Things are looking up!

It’s been so long – how are you? What’s happening in your life? Any advice for this chaos? 

PS: Check out our new site! I’m proud!

When It’s Super Cold…

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When it’s below zero (and -30 wind chill) you find yourself doing + experiencing new things. Here are just a few:

  • Your dog just won’t poop. He just won’t.
  • You see ice forming on the inside of your 100 year old apartment’s windows.
  • You starting seeing your curtains as shields.
  • Your husband braves the cold to get groceries and says earnestly, “Let’s make crockpot stuff this week!”
  • You carry around the space heater with you like a purse.
  • You put on chapstick 24/7 and coat yourself in lotion.
  • You throw a bucket of boiling water into the air…BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME.
  • You simultaneously want to take a bath but never get out.
  • You become amazed at the community surrounding you + everyones’ motivation to help those in need of shelter, food + warm clothes.
  • You get awesome photos texted to you from your family because they bought a coat + mittens for their dog.
  • You become a hermit + hunker down to finish the entire series of Seinfeld (we watched the whole thing in like a month). THESE PRETZELS ARE MAKIN’ ME THIRSTY!

But really, I have nothing to complain about. I have warmth, food + way to make money even if it’s colder than the north pole. I’m wishing you all the same blessings!

Is it cold where you are? Ohio can’t decide WHO she wants to be so it will be 50 degrees and raining on Saturday.

 

Retreat

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The new year arrived and we retreated. It was an impulse decision. I called my grandpa (who has owned the lakehouse for 26 years) and he had a neighbor turn up the heat before we left.

We called it The Wonder Jam’s corporate retreat. All of our employees went (ahem…me and Adam…and our dog) and decided to get a grasp on 2014. We set some pretty intense goals. Goals surrounding finances, how much money we want to make, what kind of clients do we want, travel plans and even side projects.

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Sometimes the internet went out. The fire was constantly lit. We ate a lot of pizza. I didn’t do my hair or wear makeup. And best of all: we got really excited for this year.

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How’s 2014 treating you so far?

My 2013

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I always enjoy looking back on the year to remember just how much I experienced and learned.

Travel

We traveled quite a bit during the first 2/3 of the year and boy did our wallets feel that. I wouldn’t trade our trips to NYC for anything and I’m already scheming our next trip. I hope that 2014 can be a year of travel to the west coast. Seattle, Portland, Vancouver + Cali are all calling my name.

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What else?

  • I turned 26 but got the stomach flu the day after
  • My brother moved in (and back out into his own place)
  • I made amazing new friends
  • We cherished time with friends + family who live afar
  • I hardly read any books (sad)
  • We were blessed with amazing clients
  • I felt inadequate, I felt confident, I laughed, I cried
  • I shot my first wedding

Oh, and I did it all with this guy. My best friend, husband and co-conspirator.

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I am so excited for 2014. Adam and I are off to Michigan to retreat to the lakehouse and scheme/create/plan. I’ll be back next week. I hope to see this blog stay consistently me. I finally looked at my stats yesterday and saw that my blog hasn’t grown this year. It’s decreased in visitors and yet I feel more authentic than ever. For those that do read, thank you. I visit your blogs, know your names, read your comments and would honestly hug you if I met you in real life. And I don’t even like to hug that much.

Happy New Year to you all! 

Christmas City Swap Recap

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Before 2014 gets here, I knew I had to post a recap from this year’s Christmas City Swap! If you celebrate Christmas – I hope it was grand! We just got home from a whirlwind of intense working, Christmas and then my sister-in-law’s wedding (which I photographed)!

This year I had 120 participants and you can see photos of some of the packages below! I don’t blame any of you who forgot to take a photo because I forgot too! In the craziness that was the holidays, I quickly boxed up my gift and shipped it off. I gifted an ornament from Grandiflora and a holiday candle from 1820 Candles.

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If you missed it this year – I’ll definitely be hosting the 3rd annual Christmas City Swap next year. I usually announce it in November and allow 3 weeks to sign up.

If you posted a recap on YOUR blog, be sure to leave the link down in the comment section! I’m sure all of us would love to see it! Oh and if you haven’t received your package – give it a bit more time. Between FedEx/UPS troubles this season AND the craziness of the holidays, I know many will be delayed. If you still haven’t received your package by January 6th – email me!

Gifts for Clients

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This year we decided to get gifts for our clients. In the past, I usually just worked with larger companies as a contractor so it wasn’t this personal relationship. In 2013, however, we have worked with amazing clients on an ongoing basis. I was sitting at my desk one day racking my brain on what to get! Something personal yet professional yet fun (because we have a lot of fun with our clients).

We decided to visit Igloo Letterpress and talk to their shop keeper about some fun paper goods! After our meeting we decided to create custom stationery for each client using the method of blind impression (letterpress without ink).

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It’s subtle right? I love it. We used our clients’ logos and printed 20 A1 cards with kraft envelopes!

I know Adam definitely wants to get back in there to press with ink so we’ll be sure to share more projects with Igloo in the future. I don’t think people realize how dynamic a shop like Igloo really is. We were able to sample and check out so many different types of products including leather bound journals, calendars, bound books + more. We’re excited to incorporate these kinds of luxurious paper goods into our brand in 2014.

 

Our Common Mug

A few weeks ago I posted about connecting with friends who live far away and my struggle with finding the best way. Amazingly enough my friend Blaine launched his newest project around the same time called Our Common Mug. Sold only in pairs (or more), one handcrafted mug ships directly to you, while the other embarks on a journey to your beloved, along with a special, handwritten note.

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I received mine yesterday and loved opening up the package to see the beautiful letterpress coaster. Nestled inside the package was my mug!

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I sent my mug to my friend Kellyn who lives in Philly. The sweetest note! Now we can virtually get coffee together until our next visit. I plan to text, email or call her every time I use the mug.

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Isn’t it gorgeous? So simple and meaningful.

If you want to sent a mug to a loved one – purchase TODAY in order to receive it by Christmas! They only have a few left!! 

 

Search History

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I got curious the other day and started looking up what I look up on Google. Here is some of my search history:

  1. How do celebrities avoid their Instagram comments?
  2. What is babka?
  3. Why did Olivia de Havilland & Joan Fontaine fight?
  4. Why is it called “a wake?”
  5. Paypal Calculator
  6. Party scene with alcohol (image search)
  7. Peplum tops (thanks to Ashli, I also don’t like them)
  8. Is a cashew a legume or a nut?
  9. Was Seinfeld filmed in front of an audience?
  10. What does my site look like in IE?
  11. Jenna Marbles packing
  12. Amazon Drones
  13. How tall is Aziz Ansari?
  14. Minion Whaaaaat?
  15. Hansel so hot right now gif
  16. “Get on my level”
  17. What time is it in Brisbane Australia right now? (I’ve searched this 8 times because our awesome clients live in Brisbane)
  18. What are the 12 Days of Christmas?
  19. Amoung
  20. Rap songs about hair
  21. NYTimes Dogs Brains

And two more that I just can’t say…

What’s your search history like? 

Columbus Gift Guide

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I love supporting local but I don’t tend to post a lot about Columbus here on my blog because I know many of my readers live all over the world. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love my city. I REALLY love my city. We have the most amazing food scene, such talented artists and  hardworking entrepreneurs. So if you’re living alongside of me in the midbest OR you just like these amazing items – order now! They’d make fabulous Christmas gifts.

  1. Grandiflora’s Confetti Stemless Glassware // $58
  2. Pluma Jewelry‘s Cage wrapped azurite necklace (only available in store at Thread, they’re all one of a kind)
  3. Jeni’s Salty Caramel Sauce // $13
  4. By Luciana’s Hello Manhattan Print // $15
  5. Igloo Letterpress’ No-Sew Refillable Notebook // $14
  6. 1820 House candles // prices range (the holiday candles are amazing)
  7. While this clutch isn’t made locally – support a local boutique like THREAD. Just snagged some Rag & Bone jeans!!
  8. Homage tee // $28
  9. Adam just got this beautba to brew coffee and so we love Backroom Coffee Roasters‘ beans.

Back to the Basics

Shopping

I’m currently watching through Sex and the City. A show, for the most part, about:

  • Sometimes single women in their 30′s living in Manhattan…
  • I got married at 22 and live in the Midbest
  • Who wear fur, smoke cigarettes and lust after heels…
  • I think my grandma owns fur, I smoked in high school (gasp!) and firmly believe that women who wear high heels every day are a rare form of superhero 
  • So obviously I love everything about it but can relate to absolutely nothing.

The show really makes me realize that I hate drinking liquor, avoid most jewelry and was never into complicated clothing or relationships. I tend to gravitate towards the basics. I started thinking about what items I would need day-to-day and how simplified I could really get. This year we traveled to NYC twice, Hawaii, Chicago + more and I never missed anything back at home (besides my pup).

Here’s a quick visual list of the only things I’d really “need” or use daily. If I found out I was boarding a plane in an hour and had to grab everything I think I’d want…this is what I’d choose. Obviously I omitted food and basic clothing because…obviously. Not going for the hungry, naked vibe.

Stuff

  1. MacbookPro (I would forego my external hard drive and rely on Dropbox exclusively)
  2. My Moleskine notebook! Used for sketching, notes, wireframes + handlettering
  3. Prismacolor brush markers. My all time fave. After I’m done with a hand lettering project, I snap a photo on my iPhone, email it to myself and drag it into Photoshop/Illustrator
  4. Our Aeropress. You can find grounds anywhere but you can save some extra cash when you travel when you make it in your hotel room/Airbnb. No more worrying that you’ll be stuck with drip.
  5. Benefit’s Fake Up concealer. It’s moisturizing and covers the dark circles.
  6. Burt’s Bees lip balm. If I don’t have it (or something similar), I spazz.
  7. My glasses! I get mine from Warby Parker. About $130 for the frames and lenses since my eyesight is a bit worse than most.
  8. My Canon 6D and a prime lens. I’m upgrading to the Mark III soon and I’m pumped.
  9. Lush’s Mint Julep lip scrub. My lips are…big. I can’t have them be dry and flakey too.
  10. Good shoes. I just snagged these Sam Edelman booties.
  11. Everlane’s Reverse Denim Tote. SO roomy and comfortable to carry.
  12. A wallet.
  13. My iPhone!

Would you be able to pack just one bag and be okay while traveling? I  figure I could get the basics, get a blowout instead of washing my hair or buy a book if I need something extra.