Opening My Own Business – Vol 1

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I’ve decided to go out on a limb in 2016 and start my own business. Yes, my very own baby! It definitely wasn’t an overnight decision and was something i’ve been wanting to do for sometime that i’ve kept to myself. The idea for the store came with the want for a Silhouette Cameo came to me.

If your not familiar with the Silhouette machines it’s definitely worth checking out. I wanted the machine more for Project Life but couldn’t justify the $199 price tag. Then it came to me.. I spend all this money on stickers and stamps for my planner why not make my own? I crunched some numbers and thought that it might actually be possible to make my money back! My hope is to make enough to  balance the cost of the machine. I figure if I haven’t made back the money i’ve spent on the initial investment by the end of the year, then the venture may not be worth it.

So.. let’s keep it real.. when i ordered the machine I actually spent about double what I was expecting to spend. Oops, lol. I found an intro package that had a bunch of accessories I felt were important. Better to have it instead of getting stuck when I need it. At some point I would love to do a review of the tools. As a newbie it’s been essential having most of them if not all of them (amen for the scraper).

I opened my Etsy store on January 24th, 2016 and so far i’ve had TWO SALES! Sounds exciting but one was my partner and the other was my best friend from high school, lol. I will take it though! It’s a start. I’ve done a lot of research on Etsy and how the site works so i’m hoping that the sales being to boost my store within their site.

Currently my main focus is going to be Planner Stickers. Mainly in the Icon style format. I’ve branched out a tiny bit with Hello Kitty and Inkwell Press inspired designs. My goal is to get into vinyl and expand my options a bit more. Below is an example of one of my sets, titled #ADMINPROBLEMS.

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I haven’t been active enough on my blog in years. Ugh.. the struggle is real, lol. I feel like it’s never had a purpose outside of my fanlistings so i’m excited to see what this adventure hold for me and the brand new God Give Me Truth.

I would love for anyone interested to a place an order. Between now and August 16, 2016 I am offering a 25% discount to anyone that visit’s my site here and places an order. Just use code WEBSITE25!

Preparing For Project Life in 2015

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Finding Project Life in 2014 was amazing! With so many vacation photos, ticket stubs, and miscellaneous memories we’ve wanted to save this was perfect! More than just perfect there are many days when I have felt like it was a true god-send.

What is Project Life you ask?

Project Life® is an ultra-simple, über-stylish solution for getting your photos off your phone and computer, out of boxes, and into albums. Gone are the days of cutting, pasting, buying oodles of supplies, and spending hours on an album. Or even hours on just one page.

Enter Project Life. Simply choose a Project Life Album, select a Core Kit full of artfully-designed cards, and slip them into our Photo Pocket Pages along with your treasured photos and you’re done! By spending less time on your albums, you’ll have more time to rearrange your sock drawer, give Fido a bath, or clean your house. Well, you get the idea. Take a while to look around our site and see what this revolutionary product is all about! #MindBlown

WHAT WORKED WELL?

Nothing. When I look back on 2014 and the beginning of my Project Life journey I wouldn’t say that it was a failure, I just don’t think that I did things as well as I should have. When you start something new it can be a challenge to master it. I feel good about my results but I know that this year i’m going to make it better!

  • Making My Own Cards – It didn’t go as well as I hoped it would but it helped with the cost savings of it all. The Core Kits can be so expensive but actual scrapbook paper doesn’t have to be. There are so many great deals each week on both individual sheets and books. The card punch was also a godsend. I chose the squared corner so that I would have the option to do squared corners or rounded (using my corner punch).
  • Storage – I hesitated on this one but I truly feel good about my storage situation. There are so many little bits and pieces that are needed to created the pages and having everything in an ‘easy-to-access’ space is amazing.
  • Creativity – I’m surprised by how creative I became. There were many times that I felt like I didn’t have the creative ‘juices’ to proceed but it always worked out. I’m proud of a lot of my layouts (and embarrassed by some of them).

2015 COMMITMENTS

  • Organization – It’s a struggle when their are a lot of pieces and parts all over the place. My Storage options were great but the organization to it all was a bit of a mess. Everything from paper to tape to stickers and wood veneers. Getting all the pieces and parts in their proper place I believe will help each commitment that will follow a better chance.
  • Keeping Up – Keeping up with it all was tough! Aside from actual life it can be a challenge just to find the time to complete each page. There is nothing worse than getting behind and feeling like there are mountains to climb.
  • Save Money – Overall I feel good about the money i’ve spent in the last 9 months. I do on the other hand feel like I bought items that were unnecessary. I’ve learned to make my own cards (although they need plenty of work). I also had a tendency to buy things that I truly just did not need.
  • More Swaps – Swapping is great! So many times you end up buying a pack of stickers but you only actually need one or two out of the entire pack. I get lazy with ‘swapping’ because of the amount of time and energy involved but I know that it’s going to go hand-in-hand with the money saving I would like to do.

I think my commitments are very doable. I’ve been reading some blog posts to see what my fellow project-lifers are up to. I’m looking forward to a great 2015!

Further Guidance – Big City Quiet • Give A Girl A Blog

Christmas 2014 Is Coming!

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Seems crazy to even say that Christmas is roughly a month away. A MONTH! I am not at all prepared. I’m trying though so hopefully that at least counts for something. One thing that I really wanted us to do this year was make our own christmas cards. I spent a couple months slowly gathering supplies to create the cards and even signed us up for a class at Studio Calico. I wanted us to be ready.

Well, the class was a bust. Nothing against Studio Calico but i just didn’t feel like I had the tools to be making the cards that they were showing us how to make. I have A TON of craft stuff due to my Project Life obsession but I don’t have a lot of the more expensive tools such as a die cutter. I felt like a lot of those tutorials really focused on having a die cutter so that was of course of no use to me.

A lot of cards turned out beautiful. Their are a lot of really neat crafting supplies that come out during the holidays. My favorite line by far for every holiday is Martha Stewart. I just think that all of her crafting material is top notch. It tends to be a bit on the pricey side but their is always a sale and every craft store tends to constantly have some sort of coupon available (except for Pat Catans so I tend to avoid them :/).

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I went to Michaels and Pat Catans yesterday. Pat Catans sent me a 15% off coupon and their holiday merchandise was 40% off for a total of 55% off my holiday purchase. As much as I avoid going to Catan’s due to the sending out coupons-once-per-year policy they always have all of the Martha Stewart products. Above is about half of what I actually bought (but the only Martha products).  I only spent around $17 total and got a ton of stickers. I’m good on just about everything else but I tend to use a ton of stickers so it was worth the small hall in the end.

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I mean.. honestly.. how amazing are the stars above?! I just couldn’t pass that up. During Valentines Day one thing I really enjoyed using where some postage stamp-style stickers she released. I saw them (below) for Christmas and I could not pass them up. We have a couple of more Christmas cards to make and I can think of a million ways to use them. You get A TON in each package so i’ll have enough left over to use them in my Project Life book. The stickers (above) are also a bit raised so you get that three dimensional look to the photos in Project Life. A bit more appeasing to the eye!

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One other thing i’m working on is a December Daily book for this year. I haven’t really put anything together because i’m debating on how I want to make it work. Their are so many options but I struggle because I feel like we don’t always have enough to document on a regular basis. For example – I know that a lot of people due two pages in their Project Life book for each week. I generally tend to leads toward one unless something significant is happening. Aside from work their isn’t too much that goes on every week of the year. I don’t have kids so their just isn’t anything to document.

Speaking of work, the holiday events are all starting! I LOVE IT! So many great things that go on from parties, cookie baking, and of course just the overall end of year celebration (i work in finance, you must celebrate the year-end). I work as an administrative assistant so I get to assist with a lot of the planning. Looking forward to every last bit of it!

We got a good dropping of snow this week! Enough to cover everything but still keep the roads clear. I don’t remember all to much snow coming in November in past years. I saw on the weather forecast that the majority of the snow will melt before Thanksgiving and then being to snow again on Thanksgiving DayGreat… just what we want for Black Friday shopping! Madness, crazy people, and snow covered roads, what a great combination.

Anybody have any exciting plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday? Do you do Black Friday shopping?

Acutane – My Experience

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I have had acne for about as long as I can remember, or so i thought. I felt at times like i ‘struggled’ a lot through my teen years but looking back I don’t know that I truly did. When I think of acne I think of the worse case scenario. Those that struggle are those that have horrible acne scarring and a continuous onslaught of pimples popping up on their face. That truly wasn’t me.

I always had something popping up on my face but rarely had more than a couple pimples. My true struggle was just the hyper pigmentation that was left behind after each breakout. My pimples would be gone but the red mark left behind would stay at times for months. Even years. It was more than frustrating.

I got to a point about a year ago that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I’m sure that the majority of you know by now that I wear makeup. I’m not embarrassed by it and i’ve never been afraid to tell people about it. Those that wear foundation can attribute the fact of how frustrating it is to have breakouts when your wearing makeup. My skin was always combination/oily and I had to purchase specific products to accommodate. Half way through the day I might as well have been wearing nothing.

I went to Walgreens minute clinic to see what they could offer (they now offer solutions for acne). That was a horrible experience. I was offered the solution of buying a random face wash and mask to use on a nightly/weekly basis. Waste of money and time. I finally had enough and made an appointment with a dermatologist that a few of my other family members have seen on a regular basis for years.

This was truly the best decision that I ever made. We tried a combination of medicated washes and pills but nothing worked the way that I hoped. Progress was just to slow. Once you are on antibiotics for so long their is only so much that the dermatologist can do so they stop the pills. Antibiotics stop working after so long so it was time to move on.

That was when the dermatologist suggested Acutane. I was shocked. Acutane was for people that had severe cystic acne. That I knew I didn’t have. My problem wasn’t numerous pimples on my face it was again, the hyper pigmentation that was left behind from the pimples that I did get. Why would my dermatologist want me on something so severe?

Simply put, because it will work! Acutane isn’t just for those that suffer from severe acne, it’s also for those that suffer from more mild forms of acne that will just simply not go away. My dermatologist seemed to feel that if antibiotics don’t work then acutane will!

My treatment wasn’t horrible. My skin dried out slightly and i had quite a bit of nausea that first few weeks (the nausea went away after a short period). The only complaints I had where the severity of how dry my lips got and the annoyance of the packing it came in. I swear.. you got these big boxes that included about 2 weeks worth of medicine. Inside that box was about 4 smaller boxes. You had to then unfold the boxes, discard some security warnings, and then every day (twice a day) you had to rip through the packaging below.

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My results were worth it! I’ve been off the  medication since the very end of September and I haven’t had a breakout since stopping the treatment. The dryness that I had was never out of control and after about a month completely went away. My lips were an absolute nightmare (i couldn’t do enough to keep them moisturized) but that too cleaned up in about a month.

My concerns after the treatment were the length of time I would be clear from acne. The dermatologist said that i could be clear for anywhere from a few days, a few weeks, a few months, to the rest of my life. They can’t determine how long the medicine’s affects will remain. I’ve stock with the same basic face wash I used during treatment, used a lighter moisturizer, and then  started to occasionally use a Retin-A that my dermatologist prescribed (wrinkle benefits in that bad boy too!).

I’ve been asked a few ties if I would/would not recommend it for someone else. I can’t make that decision for anyone. I can tell you that the side effects for me were minimal and the results were fantastic. Some people don’t have that great of luck though. You can read various reviews across the internet of people who have had horrible affects from the medicine and some that have even died. Pregnancy is of course never an option on the medication so if you are planning on being pregnant or could be don’t even consider it (I believe that women have to take pregnancy tests on their monthly visits to confirm that they are indeed still not pregnant).

  • Cetaphil Face Wash  – twice daily.
  • CeraVe Moisturizing Cream – twice daily.
  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment – numerous times every day for lips.
    • Don’t waste your money on the lip version. the original Aquaphor is a better deal and the same product.
    • EOS balms, regular Vasoline, Berts Bees, Medicated Blistex and Carmex did not work for me.

2014 Video Music Awards

Ariana Grande opened the show with Break Free, the anthem from her upcoming album, My Everything. She looked great but had some major pitch problems. It went over to Nicki Minaj performing Anaconda. Although extremely raunchy it was much more tastefully done compared to last years twerking. The song passed to Jessie J who led right into Bank Bang. Passing from Jessie back to Ariana. Ariana had the chance to redeem herself and picked up exactly where her vocals left off and she was stunning. AMAZING performance! Nicki even made it through the entire performance with a wardrobe malfunction (notice her clutching her dress closed above).

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BEST FEMALE VIDEO – Katy Perry – Dark Horse

Taylor Swift took the stage after. Again, like the pre show, she was looking drop dead gorgeous. I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of this new song but WOW did she kill it with her performance. Absolutely killed it. The best part? The ending. Taylor was set to jump off  (or fall backwards) the stage but, pre-planned I’m sure, stopped the show and pretended to talk to herself while coming to the front of the stage. Mumbling about people falling off the stage and getting bitten by snakes. Taylor always has amazing energy levels that make you want the fun to continue all night!

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BEST MALE VIDEO – ED Sheeran – Sing

VIDEO OF THE YEAR – Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball

I’m not surprised that Miley Cyrus took home the win on this one. Although she was up against some very tough competition i would have to say that not only was this song great (i did truly love it) but the video was award-winning cinematography. What? It was! The odd part about the win was the acceptance speech by the homeless young man she brought as her date. That in itself wasn’t odd, it was watching Miley as the young man read his speech. Her emotions seemed a bit too much over the top at times. Good message .. awkward presentation.

BEST POP VIDEO – Ariana Grande – Problem

Oh hey – Kim Kardashian showed up. Surprise.. Sam Smith had an absolutely amazing performance of stay with me. I mean, honestly, It was absolutely amazing. Gave me goosebumps. Using as much falsetto as he does i always expect the live version to be a bit awkward. A bit squeaky?  But it was spot on. Oh hey – Kylie and Kendall Jenner were spotted dancing in the crowd while Sam performed. Surprise..

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO – Drake – Hold On

At some point there was a great skit between dumb and dumber. Yes, THE dumb and dumber! Side note.. have you seen the preview for the new movie? I just was not feeling it. They did a great skit that was actually quite humorous to watch. Not to mention the fact that Jim Carey fell flat on his face, lol. The shows host Jay Pharaoh, The MTV VMAs host that wasn’t, did a great job! I was dying while he was doing his skits. I love when a host can make fun of celebrities that are literally sitting two rows in front of them.

BEST ROCK VIDEO – Lorde – Royals

5 Seconds of Summer did a good job but i felt like it was the wrong song for the show. I have to preface my comments by saying i haven’t really followed this band that much. They weren’t that bad on the show i just felt a bit like the song that they chose was a bit of a mood killer. Shortly after Maroon 5 hit the stage for the very first time in VMA history! Ya.. I’m still surprised. It was a bit odd that they had their own stage setup (although the M was sweet). I will give them credit though and say it was nice that the stage was outside of the arena as opposed to being in a different state, country, etc. I don’t know why but that always bothers me.

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“If there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever. All my love to you, poppet. You’re going to be all right. Bye bye.” – Mrs. Doubtfire

Mid-show there was a beautiful tribute to Robin Williams. Nothing fancy but i feel it was done well enough to make the statement that it should. I’m surprised by how many critics are giving the tribute a bad review. I read somewhere that someone actually considered it offensive? How?! Robin may not have had a huge presence in the world of MTV but does that really matter? I read the other day that Time Warner Cable no longer classifies MTV as a music station. They themselves dropped the Music Television from their own logo years ago.

ARTIST TO WATCH – Fifth Harmony

So proud of this one! I was a big fan of 5h while they were on The X-Factor! I’m still bummed they didn’t win, bitter actually. I love that they have spent the last year putting out quality music as opposed to rushing out the first song they record in the studio (though of this while i heard Barenaked by Jennifer Love Hewit at Starbucks).  Their music has been fun and releasing different versions of the same songs (aside from remixes) i’ve always been a fan of. Shania Twain did it! So excited that they were able to take this home. Even more excited to see them open next year at the VMA’s … it could happen!

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BEYONCE. She truly is an entertainment icon. I need to be honest and say that i don’t really know her latest ‘surprise’ album all that well. I have it but i’ve not taken the time to listen to it all. It’s very R&B and different than anything that she has ever down before. I know that her albums (And DC’s) all featured a lot of similar tunes but they had those mainstream hits to carry the album and leave you coming back for more. The performance itself was perfect! The songs on the other hand are just not her best. She looked great, vocals were on point, and the visual affects carried through all 15 minutes of her performance. And don’t forget BLU IVY and JAY Z coming on stage and congratulating B on her Michael Jackson Vanguard Award!

This years VMA show was a beast of a show. It brought together top talent, true winners, and stunning performances (i didn’t even mention Usher)! This is the type of show that MTV should go back to each and every year (with the addition of Britney Spears of course). I think that having the show 2 hours as opposed to 3 kept things running smooth. I wasn’t bored, lost, or wishing we could just move on to something else. You can view the full list of our 2014 MTV Video Music Award winners HERE.