A studio! An office! It’s real.

The Wonder Jam HQ

It happened rather quickly but The Wonder Jam has offices. And a photo studio! And our neighbors make the best ice cream EVER. I tried to document our weekend progress from the same spot but you can’t see our little reception area to the left (empty), another office that’s closed off, a kitchen, a bathroom and a warehouse!

Right now we’re focusing on this large area (I’m standing right where my new desk will be) and the office. As you can see from the photo on Thursday, there was dark greenish blue carpet installed, green walls and beige trim. Adam and my brother ripped everything out on Friday night and Adam’s dad came to our rescue on Saturday.

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Danielle of Food Typography (and her awesome husband) helped us dominate with paint rollers on Sunday afternoon. By that night, David joined the guys and they installed our wood laminate floors. These guys are seriously my heroes.

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Oh and did I mention that while all of that was going on, Tim from The Micro Harvest was building us a 3.5 x 7 ft wood table with the scraps that Kevin donated? Or that I discovered that our new neighbors are hairpinlegs.com? I mean, really. I’m spoiled.

I linked to everyone in this post because by Sunday night…I sat in bed thinking about how really blessed we are. We’re surrounded by such talented people (who we get to call friends/family) and this past weekend couldn’t have happened without them all.

We tried to cram so much into a weekend because as a small business, we really can’t afford to take a week off to make this all happen. In between meetings and a photoshoot today, I’ll probably be staining our new table or researching trim…

A blog post…mostly about me

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When you write a blog, you know you’re obviously talking about yourself a bit more than someone who doesn’t blog. I mean…it’s weird when you think about it. This post felt specifically Allie-y. But I’m excited about some things and thought they’d be worth sharing:

  • We just launched Liz’s new site this AM! Check it out. She’s giving away thousands of dollars worth of healthy-living-goodies and her book launched TODAY! It’s called Eat The Yolks. And it’s wonderful.
  • In my last post, I told you about how I’m taking a trip to Vegas. Well I decided to prolong the trip for another four days and am heading to San Diego and then a resort in Carlsbad. Guess who I get to hang out with?
  • I manage the social media accounts for Ecco Domani wines and we’re collaborating with some amazing bloggers this year. Follow along on Facebook.
  • We, Death to the Stock Photo, hosted a party this past weekend and it was packed! We brought on Jared Mahone to perform and we were able to shoot a music-themed pack for March 1st. Oh and David snapped that photo of me. ^  Sign up if you haven’t yet.
  • If you just started blogging or have been for awhile – you might be interested in our next venture. Our company, The Wonder Jam, will be launching an ongoing online class for those that want to hit certain goals, grow + even monetize their online space. Fill out the form here if you’re interested.

Okay that’s enough self-promotion for one post. I might gag if I continue on much longer. In exchange for all of that – tell me about things in your life! Projects, cool things at work, your dog did something awesome, you’re hooked on an iPhone game?

Tell me 5 things that are awesome in YOUR life right now.

The Little Things

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I think it’s important to find the little things in life that make you happy.” – Paula Cole

This quote has resonated well with me lately. Since I’ve returned from my short hiatus, life has felt quite enjoyable. Our business is bursting at the seams (in the best possible way) but I’ve found time to notice the small joys in life.

  • Watching my designs come to life here and launching two more very soon.
  • Thriving on a budget for the first time in a long time. Stuff doesn’t make you happy. Who’d have thought?
  • Scheduling date night and sticking to it. We watched him sing with less than 100 other people and then ate hot dogs.
  • Seeing a great friend randomly at a coffee shop in between a day of meetings.
  • Agreeing with Adam that we have too much stuff + spending three hours getting rid of it all…
  • Bananas and peanut butter.
  • Watching my friends thrive, buy houses, raise children + create amazing work.
  • Texting with my dad.

I have bigger news coming next month (nope, not pregnant) and I booked a flight to Vegas to spend time with my sis and pops over her spring break. Both have me itching for March…

Slowing Down

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Over the past week, I’ve allowed my life to slow down quite a bit. These are some of the things that have helped…

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Plus quality time with my sister, Skype calls with Adam, adding butter oil/fermented cod liver oil to my diet + baking donuts.

It has been fantastic. How have you been?

The Spicy Life

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Valentine’s Day is Friday and you couldn’t get a bigger eye roll from me…

I love my husband but I don’t love a holiday filled with overpriced crap, crowded restaurants + obligatory romance. Now that I officially sound like a grump, I’d have to say that I still believe in keeping in spicy (but let’s keep it spicy every day)! I’m 26 years old and this June we’ll be celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary. I’m happy to say that it gets better each year. And yes I’m talking about the romance, the love and the sex.

So while I might be a hypocrite for posting this the week of Valentine’s Day…here are a few ways we like to keep the romance alive as a married couple (who also work together full-time):

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We got our first couples massage in Vegas a few years ago and we tend to do this often now! While we definitely get them on vacation (Jamaica’s massages were awesome…the ones in Hawaii were not!) we also like to get them here in town. We have the cutest little spa right behind our house. Their room is peaceful and they’re extremely attentive to what kind of massage you want. Adam usually wants it to hurt a bit and I’d rather it be relaxing. It’s a fabulous way to take an hour break. If you’re in Columbus – check out Open Sky Day Spa! I love Kacy!

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This isn’t an original concept but we dig it. I remember an old episode of Modern Family where Claire meets Phil at the hotel bar on Valentine’s Day. It’s fabulous, watch it. Adam and I are always willing to rent a hotel room to mix things up! Even if we stay put in Columbus, it takes away all the distractions (work, computer, messy house, dog) and lets you just spend time together. Usually we browse Hotwire and pick a swanky hotel for half the price. We’ll usually enjoy the sites nearby and love walking to a restaurant for dinner. Plus, king sized beds rock.

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This tip is a little abstract. But we’ve planned anniversaries around nostalgia before. A few years ago we visited our alma mater, ate at our (old) favorite restaurant + went to a concert (the same artist we had seen while we were dating). It’s fun to recall old memories, remember the days when you first held hands and talk about how far you’ve come. When you forget the whole journey, you stop seeing the whole picture.

 

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, what are your plans? Not into the holiday? How do you keep the spicy life alive?

State of Emergency

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I blogged about how chaotic my life felt back on January 17th and no one wants to hear about that twice in one month. But I shared on Instagram on Monday that I needed to start being a good steward of my life. I had clients, friends + peers reach out saying they totally understood. It felt sort of nice to know I wasn’t alone in this crazy head of mine.

So for the next 2 weeks, I’m going to declare a state of emergency in my own life. Time to get a grip and this is the perfect time. I’m actually in Illinois right now (in the house where I grew up!) and will be until the 16th or the 17th of February.

I have some pretty basic goals:

  • Sleep normal hours. This is always an issue for me. Since I’ll be with my sister these next two weeks (hey sis, I know you’re reading this) – I think she’ll be a good influence. She goes to bed at like 9:30pm. My hero.
  • Eat clean. No I don’t mean juicing. Mostly eating whole foods and avoiding grain/sugar again like I did over a year ago. Lately I’ve been devouring chocolate like it will solve all my problems. I’ve also been having random skin issues too+ I know it all starts with diet.
  • WORKOUT! Have I mentioned that we’ve been having snowstorms + negative degree temps? Yeah it’s still happening. I never get to the gym. I might start P90X while I’m here. Oh and squats. Two straight weeks of working out will be a shock to my system (in the best way). I mean…I was sore yesterday from carrying my bags through the airport. #sadday
  • Create, uninterrupted. Since I’m 6 hours from my home…there’s not physical chance to have meetings all day. You guys, this will completely change my productivity + creativity.
  • Read + listen to podcasts. I realized the other day that I don’t read or listen to podcasts anymore. I tend to avoid doing either because Adam or Cece (our intern) are around or I’m working at a coffeeshop. I like to be available + keep the communication open. Now that I’ll have full days to myself, I plan on utilizing that time to listen to all my favorite podcasts. Or read in bed before I go to sleep.

So there it is. My extremely-down-to-the-basics goals. I’m embarrassed that I had to make these things my goals. These are things normal, happy people do every day…right? Oye. Follow along on Instagram.

My First Wedding

I shot my first wedding on December 28, 2013. Luckily it was my sister-in-law’s wedding so I felt a bit more at ease. I was there for all the planning, I knew the landscape +  felt comfortable with everyone in attendance. It was a great first and since then I’ve shot another and booked 3 more! I’ve received about 4 other inquires too so now I just have to accept the fact that I’ll be a wedding photographer this year!

I actually have really enjoyed it so far. It’s a burst of intense shooting for 9-10 hours and yet it’s really fulfilling because it’s a continuous sequence. I’m painting a story and I’m excited to get better at it as the year progresses. Maybe I’ll even get to travel + shoot a wedding!

Here is the story of my beautiful sister + her husband’s wedding from December:

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What have I learned so far? Not every wedding is going to photograph as easy as the ones on Pinterest do (I mean, obviously). I realized quickly that being in the Midbest will only allow me a few 100% outdoor weddings. In the winter it’s freezing cold (hence, all indoor) and in the summer it’s sweltering hot (also mostly indoor). I’d spent so much time looking at other photographers’ outdoor work that I forgot that I’d be facing much different challenges.

I have a few goals on how to improve:

  • Get better at using flash (on and off camera)
  • Find really comfortable shoes that aren’t extremely ugly
  • Master my “bossy-but-it’s-all-about-the-bride” voice
  • Figure out how involved I want to be in selling prints/albums
  • Second shoot with some amazing photographers so I can learn
  • Get better at editing + my workflow (thinking of taking this online session)
  • Practice, practice, practice

Any seasoned wedding photographers out there? Any advice? Or any amazing (or horror) stories about your own wedding photographer? I’d love to hear any tips or things you loved!

Time Travel

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I want to go back in time and sit on this patio in NYC. Pretty please? While I’m dreaming about our next trip, I figure I need to get some stuff in order beforehand. Earlier this month, Adam and I made goals for this year and so far it’s kept me on track! Quarter 1 + 2 are about hitting some major financial goals. I finally handed over the bookkeeping, invoicing, budgeting and savings to Adam and it feels so good. I had been a control freak for way too long and I’M NOT EVEN GOOD AT HANDLING MONEY. Or adding. Subtracting. Etc.

Quarter 3 + 4 are when things get fun. Hopefully we’ll travel. Hopefully launching some products. Hopefully getting a studio space.

With my mind on my longterm goals, I have some smaller goals for the next month or so:

  1. Continue to not shop online every time I’m stressed or overworked. Besides a great J.Crew Factory sale + an occasional piece of lingerie, I’ve managed not to shop as much as I did in 2013. Absolutely nothing that I own makes me happy (except my dog).
  2. Use TeamGantt consistently to ensure that we don’t overbook ourselves! My last post was all about how I needed a way to visually see it all. I FOUND IT!
  3. Move my body so my butt doesn’t get flat. And eat real food, often. It’s not rocket science. But mostly it’s for my bootie.
  4. Read just one fiction novel. And watch all the Lord of the Rings movies. It’s true…I’ve never seen them!

Baby steps. What’s up in your life?

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.