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Jun 30, 2014

Getting Real on Grateful Heart Monday

typically, for grateful heart monday, i list a few little things that i'm grateful for.  it's a good practice to get into and it has proven to be a great start to my week, again and again.  seriouslyguys, i've never stuck with a link-up for this long.  except maybe when i did the sunday creative back in college.

but can i just be really, really real with you today?  sometimes, gratitude is hard

i wrote this post back in may and last night, while i began drafting what you're reading right now, i went and dug it up.  it's one of those pieces of writing that i'm particularly proud of, because it was all god, you know?

yesterday was a sort of rough day in some ways...my dad woke up not feeling great, and that's always a bummer.  and on days like that, it can be hard to find things to be grateful for in the muck of the worry and pleading with god to just make him ok.  (told you i was getting real)

but as i thought about what i wanted to write about today, i was reminded of a little quote, and what i wrote back in may about living the grateful life.  so instead of trying to eloquently restate something i've already written when frankly, i just don't think i know how to say it better than i already have, i'm going to quote myself, quoting ann voskamp.  hope you don't mind.  

living with a constant sense of gratitude is one of the hardest things i can think of.  in a world that loves to complain, loves to belittle, loves to make things less than what they are, it can be difficult to find joy in the little things; in a parking space, your favorite coffee creamer being on sale, a passing rain shower.

and that's the problem, i think.  our world so often drowns out the gratitude.  ann voskamp once wrote that "our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren't satisfied in god and what he gives.  we hunger for something more, something other."

that so adequately describes our human nature, doesn't it?  from the beginning, when adam & eve took the fruit, they did so because they were led to believe that there was something more.  and we all must live with the weight of that decision, always managing the tension between what the world wants us to believe and what our god has for us.

but the thing, friends, is that the simple act of gratitude, of finding joy in the simplistic, in the everyday, in the seemingly ordinary, can do wonders in the way of managing that tension.  and it's not just being happy or thankful for what you find, but knowing who to thank. 


so i hope, on this monday, that you not only take time to be thankful for the little things, but that you also thank the one who provides, who conquers, who sustains.  

what are you thankful for today?

Jun 26, 2014

DIY Rag Garland


i originally made this garland to use as a decor piece for jen's bridal shower last november.  after the shower, i brought it home and it sat in a paper bag for probably months until i finally figured out a good use for it in my room.

i don't have a headboard above my bed, and the wall had just been looking so empty, so i decided it was the perfect place to hang my little garland!

here's how you make it:

what you need:
a long piece of string
a few yards of different fabrics (or some old t-shirts or sheets!)
scissors
a few nails & a hammer (for hanging)

what to do:
1.  cut your fabric into strips about 1" wide x 20" long  (you need more than you think!)

2.  cut a string as long as you want your garland to be, plus a little extra for tying it up

3.  simply tie your fabric strips one-by-one onto your string.  i didn't create any sort of pattern (but you could!), i just varied the order of the strips i used.  i had four different colors to work with, but you could use as many as you want!

4.  push the fabric knots (that are on the string) close together so that they bunch up and gather and you don't see your string.

5.  once you've used all of your fabric pieces, space everything out so it looks even and then hang it somewhere!  this is great to hang on the front of a table or, like i've done, on a wall by just adding a few nails and tying it up.  or, you could make a few and use them as a photobooth backdrop!

this project is super simple, but it is somewhat time consuming!  give yourself an hour or two...cutting all of those strips and then tying them takes time!  (however, it's definitely one of those mindless activities that you can do while watching a movie!)

Jun 25, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

strawberry rhubarb pie is one of those pies that doesn't come around too often, but it's got such a heartfelt feel to it, if that makes any sense at all.

it's a pie that grandmothers have secret recipes for, and one that makes most people fondly remember the woman that baked it for them as a child.

i first tried my hand at strawberry rhubarb pie when i was throwing a bridal shower for my cousin and his wife-to-be.  it was a hit and since it was incredibly easy to make, it's now become a staple in my summer pie repertoire.

pies are easily one of my most favorite desserts to bring to summer gatherings.  they're so simple and people always seem to be thrilled and impressed with said pie-making abilities (again...i'll mention that they're super easy, so this always makes me laugh)

and today, i've got a yummy recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie to share with you!

here's what you'll need:
2.5 c fresh chopped red rhubarb
(you can usually find this near the strawberries in the grocery store or even better, at local farm stands; 
i have had to ask for it at the store on multiple occasions)
2.5 c sliced strawberries (leave these in larger slices/chunks)
1.5 c sugar
2 tbsp minute tapioca
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp butter
1 egg white
2 pre-made pie crusts...one for the crust and one for the top
(i buy the ones that come rolled up in a box at the store, obviously, you can also make your own!)

first, chop the rhubarb & strawberries.  combine these with the sugar, tapioca, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, and vanilla and mix together in a bowl.

press your pie crust into a pie plate (a 9" pie plate works well for this recipe), then pour your filling into the pie shell.  it shouldn't be overflowing, but should fill your pie plate.  then, cut the butter into cubes and dot the top of your filling with the butter.

cover your pie with the other piece of pie crust dough.  i like to be festive and cut hearts in the top of my pies, but feel free to get creative here!  this is where your pie becomes pretty.  then, brush the top of your pie with egg whites.  you can also sprinkle large granule sugar all over the pie as well.

collar the edges of your pie with foil.  do this by ripping a piece of foil large enough to cover the pie and then cutting a circle out of the center so that just the edges are covered.  place it lightly on the pie...you're just trying to protect the edges, it doesn't have to be on the pie too tightly.

set your oven to 425ºf and bake for 15 minutes.  after 15 minutes, decrease the temperature to 375ºf and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes.

wha-la! your pie is pretty in pink!  i've never had a strawberry rhubarb not ooze it's filling through the pie crust...if you've been successful in this area, share your secret!  either way though, it's still pretty.

seriously, this pie will be a hit at your next picnic, and you'll marvel at how easy it is to make!  trust me!

have you ever had strawberry rhubarb pie?  did you like it?

Jun 24, 2014

Introducing The Peony Project!

I'm so excited to be announcing the start of the peony project to you today!  Lately I've been longing for a community that really understands the creative (and blogger) within, and I've been struggling to find the perfect niche community to satisfy that need.

I love the blogging world and the community that it creates, but I often feel like it's not very cohesive.  I know that there are plenty of places and spaces out there that aim to bring this blogging world together, and maybe this will just become another one.  But I hope not.

I hope not because lately, I've been feeling my heart whisper for something more.  And for the past few months, I've been saying "ok heart, I'll work on it, but it's not going to happen until it's ready, until it's perfect."  And then a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about summer goals and I started thinking that maybe starting small isn't such a bad thing after all.  Maybe it doesn't have to start off with fireworks and it's own website and a whole slew of other perks for members.

Maybe it can start as simply as a Facebook group, a common space to share posts and get ideas and ask for advice without the fear of being laughed at.  And maybe someday, we'll be gathering all together for a conference (aka, the big dream I never talk about to anyone).

So, if you're craving community...
if you want to celebrate what Jesus is doing through us in each of our little corners of the world...
if you want to partner with and encourage other bloggers...
if you're looking to make friendships over this crazy thing called the web...
...and you're committed to being intentional and honest and real...

...then join the peony project on Facebook!

Jun 23, 2014

Grateful Heart // Summer Edition

i'm starting this {very busy} week off with a grateful heart today!

since summer is officially here, i thought i'd list some summer-y things that i'm particularly grateful for today:
iced passion tea from starbucks
vbs (this week, we'll have over 1,000 kids at gt!)
walks
stargazing
bike rides with my dad
days at the beach
dresses and shorts and sandals
ice cream
road trips
a playful puppy
meetings held outside
picnics

as usual, i'm linking up with ember grey for grateful heart monday! emily runs the grateful heart link-up every monday, and it's open all week…i encourage you to go check it out, read some of the other posts, and consider participating!

oh, and tomorrow i'll be making an exciting announcement about the start of the peony project...a group dedicated to creating community for bloggers...head on over here to join!

what are you grateful for today?

Jun 22, 2014

Summer Book Club // Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?


summer is finally officially here and one of my goals for this season is to read, read, read!  i've got a stack of books calling my name, and as i started to think about what i'd like to read this summer, this book came to mind.

i read is everyone hanging out without me? (and other concerns) about a year and a half ago and laughed through the entire thing.  it was the kind of book i never wanted to end, or at least it made me immediately think "c'mon mindy!  hurry up and live some life so you can write a sequel!

of course, like most people, i first met mindy kaling as kelly kapoor thanks to the office.  i'll be honest, i was never a huge kelly fan.  i mean, she was fine and all, and she definitely had her hilariously funny moments, but i was fully in it for the jim & pam storyline.

but then when the mindy project started, i decided to give it a try and developed a major friend-crush on mindy.  (she's definitely on my list of celebrities-i'd-like-to-be-bffs-with)  she's like that friend who will say something along the lines of "do you want me to be honest?  because if so, then you look a little like a marshmallow, but if not, then it's so cute and i love it!" when you ask her if she likes your new coat.

is everyone hanging out without me? is a collection of essays and anecdotes from kaling's life, many of which have made it into the mindy project in some form.  she's hilariously blunt and talks like she writes for tv...witty and quippy and a little dramatic.  i mean, with chapter titles like "don't peak in high school", "the day i stopped eating cupcakes", and "revenge fantasies while jogging", this book will keep you giggling from cover to cover.  (for real...even if you're sitting in the waiting room at the dentist's office, you'll be choking back laughter trying not to look crazy and then it'll come out as a snort instead and everything will just be embarrassing)

if you couldn't tell already, i loved this book.  i definitely still have a stack of female comedian memoirs to read (including bossypants by tina fey and awaiting amy poehler's book coming out this fall!), but this one spoiled me. it's a fantastic beach read and you can pick it up for less than $12 on amazon, so what's not to love?

what about you?  have you read mindy's book?  what's on your summer reading list?

Jun 19, 2014

Little Friday Link-Up!


i'm so excited to be co-hosting the little friday link-up with ashley of the grits blog and amanda of rhyme & ribbons!  little friday is a link-up that's about whatever you want it to be!  i'm all about creating community, and i love that this link-up is an opportunity to share whatever post you're particularly proud of at the moment...

i hope you'll join us and link up with us today! 
Ash (Follow Here!) // Amanda (Follow Hrere!) //  Betsy (Follow Here)

Rules are there are no rules! 
Please link-up to whatever you like! 

All that we ask is, if you wish, please follow us via the links above and that you link back to this blog - so that other's can join in and mingle! 

Happy Little Friday Everyone!
The Grits Blog

Jun 18, 2014

How to Love Running


i've always wanted to be a runner.  it's one of those sports/activities that i have tried to like love over and over again.  and so many times, i've realized that i just hate it.  (i chalk that up to years of playing field hockey for coaches who used running as punishment.)

but this spring, i was feeling particularly lazy and just blah, and i was paying for a gym membership i hadn't used in months, so i decided to get serious about fitness.  and for me, that meant running.  i got on the treadmill and surprised myself by running three miles.  then, a few weeks later, i did five.  i started running three to four times a week, mixed with other cardio and some weight training, and lo and behold, i started to crave it.

for me, learning to love running wasn't an easy thing.  it took time (lots of it), and patience, and determination.  but this love affair unraveled and while sometimes it's still really hard to lace up my sneakers and sometimes those first twenty minutes (or maybe first forty, depending on the day), are agony, i've learned to genuinely love running.  that runner's high is totally real, friends.

if you're thinking that you will never love running, hey, that's cool...it's not for everybody.  but if you're like me and would really like to become a runner, then take it from me...it's possible.

so, here are a few tips that really helped me on my quest to love running!

1.  start small // set a small goal…run a mile, run three days a week, run a mile three days a week.  whatever it is for you, it's ok to start small.  when you're first starting out, small is good.  celebrate the little milestones...and then push yourself to go further the next time you go out!

2.  get some gear // ok, i'm about to get all girly girl on you, but this has been a hugely simple thing in motivating me to work out:  buy some cute workout clothes.  (i know, you're like "seriously?")  yes.  seriously.  there's some crazy cute stuff out there, so go out and pick up some cute crops or shorts and a cute tank!  you'll be more motivated to work out just so you can wear it, and you'll feel great (and look great) while sweating it at the gym or on the trail!  some of my favorite pieces to wear are these leggings and this tank.  oh, and more importantly, make sure you're wearing stuff that fits properly!  get yourself fitted for a good pair of sneakers to avoid foot and ankle problems, and invest in a good sports bra!  (i love the vs sport line!  expensive, yes.  but so worth it)

3.  you don't have to be fast // seriously, i was (and still am) a turtle.  speed will come, and it's not the most important thing unless you're an olympic athlete or trying to qualify for a marathon (and even then, qualifying times for most big marathons aren't impossible and there are plenty of races that don't require you to qualify in order to run!).  going slow will allow your body to adjust to the effort it's expending and you'll ultimately be able to fun for longer, meaning an elevated heart rate for a longer amount of time, a higher calorie burn, etc.  you should find a pace that feels like you're working, but also like you'd still be able to carry on a conversation.

4.  be consistent // you know how they say that it takes 21 days to form a habit?  well, they lie.  research shows that it's actually more like 2 months.  so stick with it!  get out there a few times a week and let the bug bite.  it takes time, but the more times you run twice and then neglect those sneakers for another two weeks, you're letting the beginnings of habit-forming wither and die.  (it took me about 14 years!)

5.  attitude is everything // you're not going to love running overnight.  but while you wait for that love to blossom, remember that attitude is everything.  your words are more powerful than you think.  tell yourself that you like running instead of constantly complaining about how much you hate it.  and decide early on in a run how far you'd like to go, and then tell yourself that that's your goal.  the first time i ran 10 miles, i decided within the first 10 minutes of my run that that was my goal that day.  then, i started psyching myself up with every mile, even pumping my fists in the air at miles 8 and 9!  learn to celebrate your achievements and milestones, and let that be motivation to accomplish even more on the next run!

6.  set some goals //  give yourself a goal.  maybe it's to run your first mile or first 5k, maybe it's to train for a marathon!  goals keep you motivated and give you something to work towards.  then, find some ways to track your progress!  one of my favorite apps is runkeeper...it lets me log my workouts (not just running) and track how they stack up against one another.  it also lets you set goals and tracks your progress towards them!  (check out the post i wrote about favorite workout apps here).  about a month and a half ago, i set a goal of running 100 miles before summer officially begins...it's been so fun to see run keeper update me on my progress each time i log a workout!

7.  do it for you // find your reason for running.  maybe it's your time to be alone and think.  maybe you like running with friends and it's more of a social activity.  whatever the reason, make sure you're doing it for you and no one else!

what are some tips you have for loving running?  do you prefer a different type of exercise?

Jun 16, 2014

Grateful Heart Monday // The Dad Edition

it feels fitting to talk about my dad today on this grateful heart monday.  typically, i'll list some things i'm grateful for in these posts, but considering that yesterday was father's day, this feels right.

i've always been a daddy's girl.  my mom and i are super close as well, but i've always been really close with my dad.  when i was little, we used to watch flyers games together and split 5th avenue bars and go midnight mini golfing at the beach.  he's always been there for me, always helped me with homework (he's pretty much the reason i aced every spelling test i ever had), and always been a total goofball.

i've shared here and there about his journey over the past year.  last may, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  he's never touched a cigarette in his life and was only 49 years old at the time, so that diagnosis rocked our world.  fortunately, by the grace of god, he's been able to be treated at the university of pennsylvania by one of the best oncologists in the nation, and he has a rare genetic mutation in his cancer that has allowed him to be treated by cutting edge targeted therapies.  a year later, he's doing well, (despite a scare these past few weeks and a change of meds), and we're still praising god and praying for total healing.

this past year has changed my dad, as any cancer diagnosis changes a person.  i've watched him cling to jesus, in a much more vocal way, than i've ever witnessed before.  he's become a prayer warrior and has led our family to the cross over and over.  he's always been a man of faith, serving at our church in many capacities, one of which was as a small group leader in our kids ministry, but this year has elevated that faith.

his shirt says it all:  he really is powered by optimism (and jesus!).  he has had every right to be depressed or angry this past year and yet i've heard the words "it's an awesome ride" come out of his mouth more times than i can even count.  his trust and hope is in christ jesus, and he completely embodies romans 12:12 as he is joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.

see?  goofball.  when he turned 50 last november, we threw him a big surprise party, and a friend even had these shirts made up.  that hat was one of the gifts he received and you can bet he wore it to teach the bible story the next time he was scheduled in kids ministry!

he's also a mini golf champ.  when we would go to the beach as a family, he'd always take us "midnight golfing" (which really was probably more like 9 or 10 but felt super late), and then out for slushies afterward.  this guy taught me how to mini golf and still kicks my butt every time we play.  last summer, just in the month of june, we mini golfed a lot and he got a hole-in-one on almost every prize hole he came across.

this last photo was from yesterday, right before we headed out to ride 17 miles on our bikes.  my dad loves biking and has committed to riding the philadelphia ride to conquer cancer, a 150-mile two-day bike ride that is coming up in october.  he's in better shape than i am.  you'd never guess that a year ago, he was basically functioning on one lung, with cancer that had spread to his lymph nodes, spine, and even his brain.

we're so blessed that his story has been what it is.  lots of people can't say the same.  and i'm incredibly blessed to call this guy my dad.  i can't imagine someone more selfless, caring, optimistic, faithful, and loving.  he supports our family and brings joy to our every day in ways he might not even realize.  he's a doer, he gets things done, he sees needs and meets them.  i know that on father's day it's typical to say that you have the best dad, but i really really do mean it.

as usual, i'm linking up with ember grey for grateful heart monday! emily runs the grateful heart link-up every monday, and it's open all week…i encourage you to go check it out, read some of the other posts, and consider participating!

Jun 13, 2014

Summer Goals


it's been an insanely rainy and blah kind of week here in pa, but the sun is finally peeking out and summer is just around the corner and i'm very happy about that!  i know that summer will just fly by, as it always does, so in order to get the most out of it, i've made a list of my summer goals, or things i'd like to see happen this summer.

by "community", i mean goals that i have for spending time with or doing things with or for other people…
travel!  day trips or long weekends…i want to get out of town this summer!
have good conversations…dig deep
go to a concert or two (starting with onerepublic at the end of this month!)
be an encourager
go on a few fun dates with aj
spend a lot of time with family


my personal goals revolve around things i need to do for me
read…work my way through my stack of unread books
take time each week to sit at a coffee shop and write/blog
get into a better devotional routine
knock a few diy projects off of my list
clean out and thin out my closet and room
save money like crazy
circle some big goals/dreams in prayer and see where God takes them!
learn to rest and abide
have tech-free days


i started setting some serious wellness goals for myself this spring, and i want to see those continue!
train for a half marathon (and run 13.1 by summer's end!)
eat better
adjust my mindset to stay inspired and motivated
workout at least 3x per week
go on lots of walks with aj
bike with my dad as he trains for his 150 mile ride this fall
juice a lot
wear sunscreen regularly

what are your goals for this summer?

Jun 12, 2014

Black Maxi Dress (and Proof Once Again that I'm NOT a Fashion Blogger)

for realz, people.  serious fashion bloggers don't just decide willy-nilly to do a post and then take four photos on their iphone (self timer for the win!) while they're sitting in their office.  they plan on taking photos ahead of time and they have someone with a fancy (i.e. real) camera take a great photo of them in some brick-lined cobblestone alleyway, right?  

which is why my outfit posts are few and far between.  but this outfit was just so comfy and wonderful (seriously, maxi dresses are my new obsession), that i wanted to share.  it was one of those outfits that made me feel good, you know?  coincidentally, the last fashion post i think i did also featured my jean jacket…can you tell what's a favorite wardrobe staple for me?
note to self:  plan outfit posts better.  or don't try to be a fashion blogger.  eh, who am i kidding?

oh, and make sure you enter my giveaway to win $50 to beyondtherack.com so you can get a black maxi dress and do an awkward outfit post like me!!

Jun 11, 2014

Summer Wardrobe Refresh (+ a Giveaway)

summer is here and in full swing!  it's been in the 80s all week here in pa and i've been loving the opportunity to wear shorts and skirts and dresses!  i picked up my very first maxi dress last week and i kind of never want to take it off!  (so much so, that aj actually commented on how much i was wearing it.  you know it's bad when the boy notices you're wearing something a lot.)  so i went out and got myself two more!

here are a few things that are on my summer wish list:
a few more maxi dresses perhaps?
some cute sandals
patterned shorts
the perfect pair of jean shorts (i cannot find some that i really love…any tips?)
tank tops & pretty blouses

so, in order to get your summer wardrobe refreshed for the season, i'm partnering with beyondtherack.com to offer one lucky reader a $50 gift certificate for any purchase from the site!

beyondtherack has also offered all readers who enter this giveaway a $10 credit just for creating an account on their site.  you can't beat that with a stick!  just use the invitation code: BETSY10

beyondtherack is a private shopping club that carries clothing, shoes, and accessories for men & women and even has home decor!  the brands range from kenneth cole to lacoste, to bcbgeneration, and their prices are awesome.  most of the items i found on their site were less than $20!


so go check out beyondtherack and enter below to win $50 from them! (all entries will be verified so play fair!)



what summer wardrobe staples are you hoping to add to your closet this year?

Jun 9, 2014

Starting the Week with a Grateful Heart (+ a Giveaway!)

this week, i'm grateful for one thing:  jesus.

because jesus = hope.
jesus = life.
jesus = healing.
jesus = comfort.

we got some not-so-good news about my dad last week.  his cancer has stopped responding to the meds he was on and so that means a little bit of waiting (the worst part of it all), and a trip down to penn tomorrow to figure out what the next step is.  he's in the hands of one of the best thoracic oncologists there is, and of course, more importantly, the hands of jesus, but this ride is still pretty scary.

so today, my heart is particularly grateful for a relationship with the ONE who saves, the one who gave it all so that we may have eternal life in him forever.  i'm grateful that he upholds the weak and broken and gives shelter and refuge to the weary.  i'm grateful that we have a support system of prayer warriors surrounding us, and i'm grateful that HE has the last word.

as usual, i'm linking up with ember grey for grateful heart monday! emily runs the grateful heart link-up every monday, and it's open all week…i encourage you to go check it out, read some of the other posts, and consider participating!

i'm also partnering with rachel at oh simple thoughts and a bunch of other wonderful bloggers to bring you an awesome giveaway!  check out these girls' blogs and enter away below!

the giveaway will be live until this friday, june 13th. all entries will be verified so play fair! good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

what are you grateful for today?

Jun 6, 2014

Why You Shouldn't Cut Yourself Short by Undercharging

i'm gonna be really honest with you right off the bat:  this post is probably more aimed at me than you, friend.

the farther into the world of freelancing (photography + design) i get, the more i'm realizing that what i do is worth what i'm asking for it.  i wrote this post last week on why freelancing is both awesome & awful at the same time, and one of the most difficult things about being your own boss that i've found is figuring out what to charge and how to get people to pay what you're asking.

one of the hardest pills to swallow is when someone tells you "i'm gonna go with someone else because they're giving me a discount" or tells you that their budget is $X when you're charging $X+10.

i love my clients and i always try to work with their budgets, but i'm learning that sometimes, a client will expect way more than what they're paying for.  (for example, if you're shooting a wedding and a bride asks you to cut your prices and add extra things to the package, like a second shooter or an engagement shoot…when that happens, i might end up only charging $1,000 for what should be a $1,600 package.)

yes, it's good to cut deals for clients, especially when your business is just getting rolling.  and of course it's worth it to offer discounts when it will be the incentive a client needs to utilize your services.

but don't sell yourself short by undercharging.  your talents are worth what you think they're worth!  too many freelancers undercharge for their creativity and time just because they're afraid a client won't pay what they're asking.

so here are a few ways to stop undercharging for your services:

1.  compare. // normally, i wouldn't recommend comparing yourself to other photographers/designers, etc.  but in this case, it's good to know what the market runs for similar services.  if you're charging $5,000 to do photography for a wedding, you're not booking clients, and most photographers in your area are only charging in the $2,000-$3,000 range, then you might want to reconsider your pricing.

2.  talk budget. // i always like to get a feel for what a client's budget is when i start a project for them.  (this is really specifically for larger projects that will cost more, like a wedding, vs smaller projects, like a senior photo shoot)  finding out what your client can pay or has budgeted will help you determine what you can actually do for them.

3.  create levels in your pricing. // when aj meets with a client who is interested in his web design services, he gives options.  putting together packages with more/less extensive services (more customization options, more shooting time, etc.) allows your client to feel like they have some control over what they're going to pay and it also allows you to be realistic about what you can offer for what you're charging.

4.  don't be afraid to change your prices. // if it's just not working for you, then remember it's ok to change what you charge!  you need to be honest with yourself about the amount of time you're putting into a project vs how much you're making, but you also need to be making money!  so don't fret about changing your pricing structure from time to time while you figure out what works for your market & client base.

5.  shed the guilt! // there's always a level of guilt for me when giving a client pricing.  (i'm not sure where that comes from, but it's really just annoying!)  stop feeling guilty for asking for a fair payment for your talents and own it!  you're awesome and you deserve what you're asking for.

so what are some ways you determine pricing?  what do you find helpful when deciding how much to charge a client?

Jun 5, 2014

Splurge v. Save // The Perfect Summer Bag

you know those purchases that you save and save and save for?  the ones that you contemplate and shop around for and really just talk yourself in and out of buying over and over again?

that's been my purse shopping journey for the past few months. i had been carrying a great steve madden bag that i picked up at marshall's all winter.  i loved it, but it was black and i was just ready for something a little more colorful for summer.  i shopped and shopped and just couldn't find anything i truly loved.  then, thanks to pinterest, i saw two bags that i loved.  
the coach legacy mini tanner...the color is wonderful…that mint!  it's a favorite of mine.  but it was a little too structured for me for summer…i need something a little more casual.  i recently told a friend that i need to be able to imagine myself walking down the boardwalk with my summer purse slung around me.  the legacy bag just didn't fit that build.  

but that's when the thompson fold over tote caught my eye.  (this is actually a men's bag, but i don't see why it's not unisex at best.  plus, i don't personally know any guy who would wear a bag like this.  sure the colors are more masculine, but i just don't know.)  anyway, this bag is slouchy and if it were in the mint color, it would be perfect for summer.  except for the price tag.  at close to $500 each, there was no way i was ever dropping the cash on either of these bags, however pretty they are!

when erin from credit card insider contacted me a few weeks ago asking me to participate in a splurge v. save campaign that they were doing, and i knew my summer bag shopping experience was the perfect fit.

after shopping around, i eventually found and fell in love with the erin tote from fossil.  it was still close to $200 on their website, and i was still too cheap to drop that amount of money on a purse, even if it was leather and pretty much everything i was looking for.  so i left it at the store and kept looking.
but i kept thinking about it, and when aj and i were near a fossil outlet right before memorial day, i popped in and looked at it again.  and this time, to my delight, it was on sale.  i ended up paying a little over $100 for the bag...not a steal, necessarily, but definitely a worthy investment in my opinion!  it's a quality piece, made of leather, a great color, and everything i was looking for in a bag.  and at a fraction of the cost of the coach bags i looked at!

i am a-ok with spending a little more money than i normally might on really quality pieces, and i love it even more when i can find those quality pieces on sale!  and that, my friends, is all about being smart about when you shop.  i'm convinced that it's worthwhile to invest in well-made pieces for your closet, but i am also a firm believer that you don't have to pay full price for those pieces…it's all about timing!

so what have you splurged or saved on lately?
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