My favorite podcasts as of late

2743534799_86bcea8475_o copyI wrote a post a while back about podcasts and how important they are to me throughout the day and since then, podcasts have taken over the world. Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but the popularity of podcasting has really taken off and now so many of my favorite bloggers are also podcasting – which makes me happy dance all the way to the studio everyday. I follow blogs because they entertain me, they educate me, they help me learn about trends and popular ideas, they show me an “insiders view” into some of my small business idols and I learn so SO much as a business owner. Now I get to actually listen to their stories, their hurtles and struggles, their accomplishments, their days and their goals. It’s a whole new world and I love it. Recently, I’ve heard rumors and mumbles that blogs are going to be a thing of the past and podcasts are the new, up and coming thing, but I hope not. I think there is a place for both of these in the world. Here are a few of my favorite podcasts that I listen to all the time and “patiently” wait for a new episode to go live.

This American Life-forever one of my favorites

Serial-seriously, please hurry because my life has been forever changed by this podcast

Radiolab-science meets culture

Planet Money-economic talk makes me want to scratch my eyes out, this is totally different

Joy the Baker-get ready to laugh your ass off and then hope they will just be your friends for god sake

Radio Diaries-real people talk

After the Jump-Grace Bonney interviews—love!

Elise Gets Crafty-interviews with creative people

Love & Radio-Real people, real talk

Creative Start-weekly interviews with creative entrepreneurs

Invisibilia-all about invisible forces that control human behavior

AIM with Kari Chapin-all about running a business

Being Boss-a podcast for creative entrepreneurs

I mean, there are even more, but these are my constant. What are some podcasts that you listen to?

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Making a schedule and sticking to it

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So here is some real talk—I make daily schedules all day, everyday but have so much trouble sticking with them for one reason or another. Most of my days are haphazardly thrown together and all of a sudden it’s dark out and I’ve spent 3 hours messing around on social media, 2 hours cleaning the house, 2 hours at the gym and showering and then another hour watching TV (I can’t help it, The View totally sucks me in). That doesn’t leave a lot of time during the day for productivity—and it’s a real problem when your income and success is based solely on you and your productivity. I’ve been fighting this since the beginning and I think it’s something that a lot of us work-from-home entrepreneurs deal with on a regular basis. There is always a load of laundry to be washed, a neighbor coming over for a cup of coffee, a friend calling because they know you have your phone near you and can talk or a puppy that is begging to play. With all of that said though, I have tried really hard in the past couple of months to get organized and create more schedule-following in my daily routine and it’s working miracles! So I thought I’d share some tips I’ve figured out while going on this schedule-making journey.

Tip #1: Write out your schedule and post it in clear sight for you to see everyday. This way, it’s keeping you accountable and making you aware of where you’re suppose to be.

Tip #2: Tell your family and friends that you are struggling with keeping order in your day and ask them to only contact you at certain times or in the evening.

Tip #3: Schedule in time for exercise, eating lunch, playing with the dog, talking with your friend, etc.-I mean truthfully, this is the beauty of owning your own business!

Tip #4: Be realistic in your schedule. You can’t give yourself 20 minutes to get home from the gym, shower and eat lunch… that’s never going to happen. If you’re realistic, you’re more likely to stick with your schedule.

Tip #5: Be forgiving and flexible but also be aware. If you happen to get an important phone call during your scheduled “sketching time” it’s totally okay to take it. But just try not to make it a habit, or maybe switch the schedule around if you find that your time to quietly sketch out ideas is better toward the end of your day. Just be aware and then make appropriate changes to your schedule if need be.

Tip #6: At the end of the day, think about your next day’s schedule. Is there a meeting that you need to go to that is going to interfere with your order time? I’ve found that this is the best tip out of any I’ve given. Things are always coming up and if I’m aware of them the night before, I have plenty of time to rearrange my schedule then and still fit in everything else that needs to happen as well.

Do you have a daily schedule that you follow? What other tips can you give that help you when thinking about sticking with a routine and making your day flow smoothly and productively?

Instagram hints for your business

IMG_2186I confess, I am obsessed with Instagram. It’s a place for people to share the beauty around them, things they are working on, items they love, their town, their animals, delicious food, etc. in a really beautiful way. It’s all I ever wanted before I knew I even wanted it. With the recent news that Facebook just released, there is even more reason to find other social media platforms to get word out about you and your small business. I thought it would be helpful to compile a bunch of hints that have helped me gain followers and grow in the Instagram world. I am, by no means, an expert and I have no where near the amount of followers some people have, but I have worked hard to gain the real followers that I do have and have learned a lot in the meantime…so I thought I’d share it with all of you!

1. Make your feed beautiful. This might mean using the same color palette, using limited filters, keeping your backgrounds the same color, etc. I think this is the most important component of having a successful Instagram account.

2. Use hashtags. This is how you find followers and followers find you! Keep your hashtags pertinent to your photo, but then experiment a little with general hashtags like #igers, #instagood, #photooftheday. Also, I use VSCO all the time and then use the tags #vsco or #vscocam. I love to click on this hashtag and search for people that are also using this app. It’s a great way to find like-minded followers too.

3. Make sure you have a mix of product photography and personal photography. There is nothing worse than finding a brand you love, clicking on their Instagram account and only seeing products that you could easily find in their shop. Keep it a mix of both and you’ll find that you gain a lot more authentic followers that way. I love to see my favorite artist’s town, their pets, bits of their home or studio, their vacations-anything that lets me feel like I’m getting to know the artist as a real person.

4. Edit your photos. There are some fantastic (and oftentimes free) editing software out there that you can use to make your photos sing (okay, not literally, but you know what I mean). I think there was a time that editing felt like you weren’t being authentic, but that has definitely passed. All of the fantastic Instagram accounts use editing software-don’t get left in the dust.

5. Use your camera phone. This might just be my thing, but I hate when I realize that a fantastic Instagram account is using their fancy DSL camera to post their photos. I feel like it’s cheating. Plus, it’s waaaaay easier to take a photo, edit and post rather than downloading, emailing, opening on your phone, editing, posting, etc. Keep it real.

6. Post regularly-this is important to keep your followers interested. I don’t necessarily post everyday, but I try to. Also, don’t wait til evening to be like…oh crap, I haven’t posted a photo today and then take a dark, weird photo of your dog and post it. Try to keep Instagram ideas in your head and snap some photos throughout the day. You’ll be surprised by how many photo opportunities reveal themselves throughout your day.

7. Follow others and share the wealth. Don’t expect followers if you’re not out there sharing the love. I could spend hours (literally hours) stuck in the Instagram world clicking hashtags, clicking followers of followers and looking through other people’s feeds. It can be a time suck, but a little bit of time here and there really makes a big difference…and building relationships on Instagram is key.

8. Like other people’s photos and comment…just make sure you are being authentic. Don’t just follow to follow, like to like or comment to comment. But if someone takes a beautiful photo, tell them! If someone has a delicious looking photo of a dinner they just made-ask for the recipe if you’d like to experiment in the kitchen yourself. Interacting in Instagram gets you places.

9. Respond to comments other people make. If someone comments on your photo, give a quick response back. Don’t feel like you have to write a paragraph, but if someone says they like your photo, a simple “thanks” is a nice gesture and again, builds relationships.

10. Most importantly, enjoy yourself! This goes for any social media platform that you are using-if you are not enjoying it, maybe it’s not the best platform for you. But with time, practice and some knowledge, I hope you will enjoy it just as much as I do!

Come find me on Instagram here!

Let’s Chat about Podcasts

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Working from home is amazing! I can stay in pajamas until noon if I want, head to do errands without getting permission, eat lunch at 10, bike to the library at random, throw in some laundry in between printing and scoring cards, have friends over for “inspirational meetings” aka to chit chat and have some coffee, meet with clients whenever, make dentist appointments for the middle of the day, listen to music and not have to wear earphones…you get my drift. But along with all of those amazingly good things, there are a few downfalls that are mixed in. The biggest downfall (especially for a social person) is the lack of human interaction that happens throughout my day. I realized the other day that the first time I spoke, or heard my own voice was at 6:30pm-that was a scary realization. Sometimes, I embrace this solitude and sometimes I want to run around in circles screaming and then sprint outside, knock on all my neighbors doors and force them to make me a cup of coffee. Okay, I might be exaggerating a little (notice I said, “a little” because it’s not too far-fetched from some days I have), but one thing that has really, really made me feel like I am human in my solitude is podcasts. I’m telling you…they make me feel like I am hanging out with people all day long. I laugh, I cry, I learn, I get angry, I feel good…but most importantly, I don’t feel so alone. I listen to a TON of different podcasts, but some of my favorites are This American Life (definitely my favorite), The Splendid Table and Joy the Baker.

Check them out on iTunes and let me know what you think! And if you have any more suggestions for me-comment below and share! I’d love to hear about some more amazing podcasts to keep the solitude insanity at bay hehe.

First Posts and Cupcakes

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Hi everyone and welcome to my little part of the world! I’ve always wanted to share my ideas, inspirations, views, art, creative ventures, DIY’s, failures and successes with people, but was apprehensive for all sorts of reasons. Do I want to open myself up to the world like that? Do I have enough confidence in my writing ability to take this on? Am I interesting enough to pull this off? Will I stick with it? Am I knowledgeable enough to make a blog look good? The truth is…I’m not sure. And I think that’s okay. In fact, I think it’s beyond okay. I had a professor that used to tell me, “just start. You can be the shittiest of the shitty, but you’ll never know the amazing unless you start.” I wrote those words down in my journal and every time I felt a little apprehensive about a step I was taking…those words inspired me to just go for it and see what happens. Those words never failed me, so I think I’ll go with them again and just start. Shitty or spectacular—-blog world, here I come!

Oh and this wasn’t a necessarily planned thing (because planning ahead is not necessarily my strong suit…I’m working on that), but it so happens to be PAGEFIFTYFIVE’s first birthday today! One year ago today I started a paper goods company with the same motto…shitty or not here I come! Well…with a TON of work, time, learning, some laughs and some tears, energy, creativity, love and support from so many people, this one is certainly paying off! I couldn’t be happier or more proud for what this business has become in this past year. Looks like that old, sailor-mouthed professor was right…if you just start, some pretty amazing things may happen!

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So cheers to the past 12 months-and to the next twelve more to come!