5.31.2012

MOVING ON

It has been almost a year since I met with my friend Elle at Starbucks and we decided to start a business together called Jam + Toast. We hadn't really thought of all the specifics yet, but we knew that we both loved weddings and making things so we decided that our business would be for wedding paper goods and event styling. 



At the time, I didn't really think that I had any graphic design ability to offer (let alone to sell!), so we decided that I would do more of the styling and she would do more of the paper goods. But as time went on, I started to become more and more confident about graphic design and started creating a lot of my own invitations to add to the shop. At that time, we were both working full-time jobs and then also trying to juggle the Jam + Toast business that seemed to be piling up. After a few months of waking up at 5am, working through lunch, and staying up late trying to get everything done, Wes convinced me to quit my full-time job and work on Jam + Toast full time. This was a scary idea for me, but with his blessing I jumped in full force. 



We opened an Etsy shop that was gaining followers and favorites daily, and made plans to expand the shop into more than just wedding invitations. We started getting emails from magazines (how did they find us?) asking for samples to possibly feature in an upcoming issue. Recently, Elle and I decided to drop the styling part of our business, though we love it, because it is just really difficult to style an entire event with only two people and we felt that our time would be better spent focusing on paper goods. We had a new site design in mind and plans to possibly try and get some wholesale deals later this year. Sounds good, right? 

It might seem strange then that over the weekend I made the difficult decision to leave Jam + Toast. 

Sometimes, things don't turn out the way you plan them. And many times, you have to make difficult decisions in life based on impersonal things like finances. Elle and I both want our businesses to be something big enough to support ourselves or even our families some day. What I started to find was that the amount of business we would have to acquire to make this happen was something that was going to take a long time with us splitting our profits in half. It was a different dynamic when we were both providing different skills to the company, but now that we are both designing paper goods, it doesn't make much sense financially. Elle and I are also at different places in our lives as far as goals and schedules, which doesn't cause any problems personally, but brings up some professional challenges. We both have plans to move out of state down the road as well, so having to separate is probably inevitable and it seems smarter to do it now than when things start to become more complicated.

This decision was really hard for me, but I really think that it will be better for both of us in the end. We will both be able to get where we want to be twice as fast, and now when we hang out together, we can just hang out rather than talking about business all the time. Neither of us have any hard feelings and will still be rooting each other on, no matter where we end up living down the road.



So what's next for me? I am in the process of setting up a website for my business with my designs, and Wes has decided he would like to become a lot more involved. At first, I had this weird feeling that I just wanted to be able to do this independently, which now that I'm writing that down, sounds like the attitude of a little kid. I guess I was feeling like him helping me would prove that I couldn't do it on my own, or that I was losing a part of something that was only mine before. Now that I have had time to think about it and evaluate my feelings, I'm realizing that this is going to be really great! We have plans to possibly get a small letterpress machine to make the business more marketable (we have always loved the letterpress process and style), and we are both looking ahead to our future and what this business could become for our family. 

I'm sorry this was such a long post this week, but I wanted to explain why things would be changing, and why the little Jam + Toast logo had disappeared from the side of the page (you didn't even notice, did you?). :) Life is about changes, and I'm really lucky to have such wonderful supportive people with me throughout them! Thanks for reading!


5.25.2012

LINK LOVE / 16

What is everyone doing this weekend? Wes and I decided at the last minute to take a trip home for Memorial Day, so we'll be up in Ohio for the weekend. I hope your weekend is full of cookouts and fun in the sun!

...

Here are my favorite links of the week:

Anyone job searching? Being the Queen's shoe-breaker-inner sounds like a pretty sweet gig.

The perfect Memorial Day cherry pie (couldn't find the recipe, but it doesn't look all that difficult). 


Notes confiscated by a middle school teacher - why does every middle school girl have the same handwriting?

I can't believe this little girl was banned from the yearbook! That hair is pretty fab.


DIY flower lights made from cupcake liners!

These birthday candles are genius.



Have a great weekend!




5.22.2012

GOLD PATTERNED TRAY


I came across this beautiful tray on Pinterest the other day (shocking, I know), and I really wanted to try and DIY it. I love trays for bar carts, holding magazines, organizing papers, anything really! But I really wanted a pretty one to display jewelry and makeup in the bathroom. It's a really easy project, and it makes a pretty big impact.



These are the supplies that I used, but obviously you could get more creative with the design and the colors! I got the plain wooden tray at Michaels for $5. 

Here is the step-by-step tutorial:










I'm so glad it turned out like I pictured! It's a really modern, stylish way to hold all of my little bathroom trinkets.




5.21.2012

DIPPED FURNITURE LEGS


After seeing all of the pretty color blocked / dip dyed stuff in my dip dyed post the other day, I was really in the mood for another dipped DIY.


My parents gave us these 2 vintage end tables that were left in the farmhouse they bought a few years ago. They were wooden when we got them, but I painted them white. Since they are already painted, they seemed like a great piece of furniture to "dip" because if we get tired of it, we can just paint over it.


All you need for this project (besides the piece of furniture) is a fun paint color, painter's tape, measuring tape (or a ruler), and a brush!

1. Measure how far up the furniture legs you want the "dipped" color to go (I went with four inches).
2. Mark that area with painter's tape. You will need two pieces of tape to make it evenly go around the leg if it is round, like this one. 
3. Paint to the end of the leg. 



I actually only did one coat of this paint because that is all it seemed to need to match the rest of the table. However, my tables have a little bit of distressing. If you are painting something that is very opaque and shiny, you'll want to do a few coats to match that look.


I love this fun pop of color on an older piece of furniture! It brightens up the room in a really subtle way. :)

PS. Dip dyed spoons, dip dyed hair, and other dipped stuff




5.18.2012

LINK LOVE / 15

What are you doing this weekend? Wes and I ordered a new camera on Monday that should be arriving today, so I'm guessing we're going to spend the whole weekend taking pictures. We've been so excited for it to get here! Get ready for hopefully much better photography on here than the iPhone camera I've been using haha.



My favorite links of the week this week:

17 Weirdest NY Craigslist Posts Right Now - Craigslist definitely brings out the crazies.

15 Ecards You Wish You Could Send Your Ex:

 A Merry Mishap Etsy shop has some of the coolest jewerly. I discovered it while browsing through the amazing vendors who will be at the Porter Flea with us in a few weeks - so excited!

This letter from Ronald Reagan to his son Michael made me tear up.

Most Common Birthdays Infographic - kinda interesting to me for some reason


an amazing restored farmhouse - a little more minimalist than my style, but so beautiful:

What to Do When You Don't Yet Know Your Purpose (I think everyone has felt that way at some point)

Say No to Jugs - hilarious commercial for Method laundry detergent

Text Only Instagram (like Pictureless Pinterest I posted about a while back)

Jaden Smith asked the president about aliens - cute story :)

These photos of the pet lion that Melanie Griffith's family had growing up are so fascinating/crazy:

If I was getting married soon, I would definitely play this song and this song.


Have a great weekend!

5.17.2012

DIP DYED

I'm loving everything dip dyed lately! It's similar to the ombre trend, but with less fade between the colors. There are a lot of DIY projects with this trend because you can dip dye so many things, and it's usually pretty easy to do (remember my dip dye spoons and dip dyed hair?). 

Here are my favorite dip dyed finds:


Links / Shopping:

Bowls: Wind and Willow Home Etsy Shop $16/set of 2
Gold Dipped Earrings: A Merry Mishap Etsy Shop $16.99
Dipped Canvas Tote: Rib and Hull Etsy Shop $96
Table: DIY project from HGTV
Bottle Vase: Dahlhaus Etsy Shop $46
Serveware: Ladies & Gentlemen $38
Yellow Dipped Stationery: My Etsy Shop! $15/set of 12






5.16.2012

TOP KNOT

I wear my hair in a bun a lot - in fact, it's in a bun right now. Buns are easy, and they keep your hair off your neck in the summer or when you're working out. The good news is, they're also really in style right now! In fact, there is an entire blog dedicated to this simple, messy hairstyle which is where I found all of the photos below:


If you need a little help achieving the perfect mix of messy and sophisticated, The Beauty Department has a great tutorial.

5.12.2012

FUN NEW CARD SETS ON ETSY!

Hey guys! My Etsy shop is up and running, and I thought I would share some of the new card sets that were added yesterday! We added a lot of hand painted sets, including a couple of watercolor ikat patterns, which I think are my favorite. They all come in sets of 12 and include coordinating envelopes. so they make great gifts. A lot of the sets also have multiple color options so you can get whatever color you like!






Click here to see the rest, & have a happy Saturday :)

5.11.2012

LINK LOVE / 14


How was your week? I had a pretty good one, and one of the highlights was finding out that Jam + Toast was accepted to be a vendor at this year's Porter Flea here in Nashville! We're so excited and have been getting things ready for that. We also have our Etsy shop up now so make sure to check that out :). In other news, Chester got his first-ever fancy haircut from the groomer this week and is now fluffier than we ever thought possible!

See what I mean?

Here are my favorite links of the week:

A great article about jealousy, intended for musicians but I think applicable to everyone.

Why being a romantic isn't hopeless - I love this!

I hope this prototype camera ends up being a reality

Since Sunday is Mother's Day, a tribute to Mom fashion

This article about limiting your child's toys makes so much sense.

Another Mom-related link - made me laugh!


& a song to kick off your weekend (it's been in my head all week):



Have a great weekend! And don't forget to tell your momma you love her! :)

(Photo from TOAST via Camille Styles)

5.08.2012

CREATIVE CAREERS: FASHION DESIGNER, SARAH MALLORY

Today is the first interview in a Creative Careers series I am starting here on the blog. In starting my own paper goods business, I have found that a lot of creative professionals have similar feelings and struggles when it comes to their careers. This series will be a place for people to come for encouragement and to read about others with similar experiences. Also, people who are considering a creative career might find these stories helpful. I will probably do about one interview per month. 
First up is my friend, Sarah Mallory!


Sarah is a fashion designer living and working in Nashville. She has worked with Dolly Parton, Jack White, and other big names around Music City. Here is what she had to say about her fashion career:

Have you always known you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I've always known that I would be in fashion! I've been re-dressing Barbies over and over again since I can remember and I started sewing when I was four on my grandmother's floor. Probably not the safest thing looking back for a four year old, but hey it worked!

Tell me a little bit about your education and how it prepared you for this career.
That's what brought me to Nashville. I looked at a lot of schools and after graduating from a HUGE high school I decided that a small college (O'More College of Design) would be best for me and it was. The education was great, but it was the people that I met along the way that have meant the most and allowed me to grow and be the most successful!


Do you do this full time? If not, tell me about your day job (the good and the bad).
I don't yet at least! I have a few times taken the leap but I've decided what my real dream is and that's going to take a lot of capital and time so I'm one of the managers at the Paper Source in Green Hills. It keeps my creative juices flowing and allows me to use my graphic design skills quite frequently!

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of fashion design?
I LOVE to create! I love to make women feel and look their best, feel always comes first! But over the years I've learned that sewing takes such a huge toll on your joints and I'm sad to say that my wrists aren't what they used to be but I have dreamed of opening a store since I was in school and my training in lingerie led me to that dream! My business plan won me the senior design award at O'More and that's where my heart is now. There is nothing better to make a woman feel great about herself than well fitting lingerie!

When will you feel like you've "made it", or what is your ultimate long term dream?
Well the store opening would certainly be part one but I think being able to sit back and know that the store is off the ground and I can just enjoy it all will be my moment of "making it" and having a family and great friends to celebrate it all with!

One of Sarah's fabulous creations on the one and only, Dolly Parton!
What has been your greatest success?
So far, winning the senior design award has been one of my greatest blessings! But I have also been blessed to work with some amazing people in the music industry as well! That all turned my way when I started working for Dolly Parton 3 years ago. That led me down a path of many other calls and lots of great experiences!

What is one thing you did wrong?
Oh geez! Do we have all day?! You have to make 5 mistakes to do anything right. And you can't be afraid to make them either! That's how we learn and know we're on the right path, by failing and picking ourselves back up again! I've gone in the wrong direction many of times, but I just keep changing my sail and moving with the wind. I think I've dipped my foot into a lot of different aspects of my industry and realized what I do and DO NOT want to do with the rest of my life.

If you could go back in time and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?
To calm down a bit. Everything that's supposed to happen will. I mean you have to be proactive but you don't have to stress about it. Just let life happen and enjoy the ride, you only get to do it once after all! (And by the way, I still have to remind myself of this a lot!).

Have you ever faced pressure to get a "real" job (AKA steady pay, benefits, etc.) and if so, how did you deal with it?
Not really, I mean I've for the most part always done something on the side but I've always tried to make it something that is still a part of my industry, something that I can still use my creativity with. Don't get me wrong, I have certainly thought about dropping it all at times and starting over but that never lasts more than 5 minutes! I would miss it too much!

What is your favorite inspirational quote or mantra?










5.07.2012

PRETTY PONYTAILS

It has been extremely hot in Nashville lately which means I've been wearing my hair in a ponytail a lot. I've been feeling really bored with my regular ponytail so I found some fun ways to make it more interesting:


Sources:
(* = tutorial included)
2. Citified*

5.05.2012

LINK LOVE / 13

I hope everyone had a great week! Sorry I'm getting this post out a little late this week - I had a long but fun day yesterday that I'll be posting about later this month. :) ahh the suspense!

piƱata cookies

Here are my favorite links of the week:

Today is Cinco de Mayo! These adorbs pinata cookies would be perfect for a party.

Then you could make these cute, printable Cinco de Mayo favor bags!

I should have posted this last week, but here are 23 reasons why May is going to be the best month ever (the last one is my favorite obviously haha)

What are your thoughts on the very controversial, very tan mom story?

Scott Disick Appreciation - I always think he's hilarious so this made me LOL

The 90's are now officially vintage. I feel officially old.

Did you know Starbucks has a secret menu? I didn't, but it all sounds delish.

My patterned dinnerware DIY was featured on Knock Off Decor today - cool!

If you love the tumblr blog, What Should We Call Me, you might like this funny one written by a magazine editor.

I can't get enough of this adorable baby elephant on the beach (especially the face plant picture haha)

And here's a pretty funny video to start off your weekend (who hasn't had this awkward moment?):

5.03.2012

TOO MUCH INSPIRATION?

Today I want to talk about being what I call "over inspired". It sounds like a contradiction because being inspired is a good thing, so how can you have too much of it? Here's what I think:

The Internet is an amazing source of inspiration. If you are planning a wedding, building a home, or just trying to figure out what you want to wear today, it doesn't take much time online to find beautiful pictures and ideas to help you decide what to do. Not to mention the addition of Pinterest (which I love, don't get me wrong), which brought Internet inspiration hunting to a whole new level. So, what's the problem? To me, all of this "inspiration" can harm us when we start to feel a few different ways:

1. Every good idea has been done before.
2. My ___(wedding, home, family, closet, etc.) will never be that beautiful.
3. Everything creative I have attempted is terrible compared to this so why even try?

The effects of feeling any of those three ways are obviously negative. A little bit of inspiration to get the creative juices flowing and trigger new ideas is a good thing, but so much that you feel defeated before you even begin is very sad. 

very true.

This is something that bothered me for quite a while, especially being a small business owner. I would get what I thought was a good idea, and then search online for it, usually just to make sure it hadn't been done before. There's nothing wrong with a little competitive analysis, but usually I would find something similar that was done in a different way that already had about a million pins on Pinterest and I would think, "Why bother with this idea - this person has already done it so much better than I could."

To me, the saddest example of this is with weddings or family. A wedding, for example, is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. I'm sure brides have always had pressure to create a beautiful wedding, but now I wonder how many brides set impossibly high expectations based on pictures they've pinned to their "Dream Wedding" board. A day that could have been fun and uniquely them becomes a disappointment because it's not blog or Pinterest-worthy.

So, how do we keep this from happening? I think the best thing to do is to use inspiration sites like Pinterest sparingly and just for fun. If you have a good idea, just do it! Find out if other people did it later. This way you will carry out the idea your way rather than being influenced by the ideas of others. Also, don't compare yourself to people on these sites! Listen to Teddy (above) - he was a smart guy. A picture of a perfect room probably took hours of staging and styling and lighting to make it look perfect. Who's to say that the gorgeous wedding you have been drooling over ended up being a perfect marriage? Focus on you and do your own thing!

Can you relate to this feeling of being over-inspired?

PS. 13 signs you spend too much time on Pinterest :)

5.02.2012

SUNGLASSES FOR YOUR FACE SHAPE

I love experimenting with new trends, but sometimes it's hard to know what will work on you and what just looks good on a celebrity. So, I did a little research and found out which face shapes are flattering with the current popular sunglasses. Which trend is your favorite? I'm loving the cat eyes!



Go Shopping!
Round: Kate Spade
Oversized: American Eagle
Aviators: Asos
Wayfarers: Ray Ban


(Celebrity Photos Credit: Kourtney, Mary-Kate, Nicole, Megan, Reese)

5.01.2012

HOW TO WAKE UP EARLY + WORK OUT

This time of the year, I get extra motivated about working out. All the sunshine makes me happy and gives me a major energy boost. Like a lot of people though, if I don't work out first thing in the morning, I have a hard time doing it later. I just get busy with other things or lose energy throughout the day or it doesn't work with my schedule. 

The problem is I am not a morning person - not even a little bit. I would much rather stay up late than wake up early so trying to wake up extra early to exercise is not appealing to me at all. It is something I have had to train myself to do, and it has taken a lot of practice. I thought I would write out my tips that I had to learn the hard way in case any of you have the same problem. I hope they help!



Do you have any tips for waking up early to exercise?

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