Update: The Shop is Closed 

So, I have something to admit- I shut down my shop. I wish I could say it was with a heavy heart, but the truth is that I’m relieved it’s closed. Opening this shop cost me hundreds of dollars. I am not kidding you, and I truly wish I was. I’m embarrassed to think of all the cool things I could have bought with that money, or the trip I could have gone on. The truth is that there's no way of knowing what's going to be a success or a bust. Sometimes you need to dive into the pool to see if you can swim. As a very apt metaphor, I could not. (And, I can't actually swim either.... but thats a story for another day...)

Today I'm going to answer some "FAQ", if you will, about the shop and why it failed. I hope that you guys can feel a bit better about your failures when you read about mine!

 Update: The Shop is Closed. Learn about my failures, and why I'm ok with losing hundreds of dollars. Spoiler: It's not because I made more some other way!

How much did you make from the shop?

About $100 and 3 sales. Yes, you read that right. I probably spent 7 times more than I made. That’s a pretty big failure, don’t you think? But hey, I’m ok with it. I’m giving myself a pass on this one. And if you’ve ever fallen flat on your face, I’m giving you permission to forgive yourself too. 

Why did the shop fail?

Well... I don’t know. I put a lot of thought into curating some amazing products that I loved. I bought about 45 items and whittled the shop down to my top 15 or so items. I was super picky about what I sold. I was super picky about the photos. And I was super picky about the names and descriptions. But in the end, it didn’t matter. Cute photos didn’t work. Begging didn’t work. Coupons didn’t work. So, l figured if no one wants to buy it, I might as well stop selling. 

Why did you spend so much? 

Well, the inventory cost money. I didn’t buy tons of anything (less than 15 of each item!) but it adds up. Then, having a Shopify account cost $30/month. I had my items on Amazon too and that was $40/month. And to list on Amazon I had to buy UPC codes which were like $25. In short? My overhead was way too high. My items were priced fairly, but they didn’t sell. At all. And none of this even includes labor- all the time I spent on finding the items, photographing and styling them, editing, listing, promoting, storing, buying packing supplies... a lot went into this shop! 

 Update: The Shop is Closed. Learn about my failures, and why I'm ok with losing hundreds of dollars. Spoiler: It's not because I made more some other way!

What are you gonna do with all that inventory then?

I’m going to have a flash sale for it, probably on Instagram stories. With a baby on the way I need to get rid of all the clutter in my life! The supplies are currently taking up a closet in my home, and I’m going to need it for other things soon enough. Plus, what am I gonna do with 15 of the same earrings!?

Why are you telling us all this?

Because hey, maybe you failed too. We only see success stories on the internet from bloggers, the picture perfect moment in their day where things went right. Part of me wanted to shut down my shop in shameful silence. To not publicize the fact that literally no one cared what I had to offer. And another part of me was like, fudge it. I FAILED and maybe you did too. And that’s ok! Let’s commiserate together. Let’s laugh at how bad it was, and dream of successes ahead. Let’s cry over spilled milk and wasted money until we feel a little better about it. Let’s remember that it’s ok to fail, because that means we tried. And that’s wayyyyy better than those guys on the sidelines that were too afraid to jump in. 

At the end of the day, I have no regrets. I tried something, knowing full well it could fail. Which was pretty terrifying, because I hate failure. But guess what? I survived. My friends and family still love me. I’m not ready to give up on my dreams of owning another shop someday. I’m not going to tell others to abandon ship on their dreams because I failed mine. It’s all a learning curve. I just happen to be learning A LOT lately ;)

So, that's my story. Do you guys have a story about a massive failure? How did you feel about it? Did better things come after? Let me know in the comments below!

29 Goals For This Year

Exactly three weeks ago, I turned 29 years old. That’s one year away from 30! Despite the fact that I feel like I accomplished a lot of the things I’ve wanted to do so far (mostly through stubbornness and perseverance) I feel like I could have done more in my life. One thing I’ve never been good at is making goals for myself. I have lots of ideas but never really plan it out so that anything actually happens. That means a lot of wishing, and not so much achieving. Since we’re throwing a baby into the mix this year, and technically that makes me a real adult now, I figured it was time for some goal setting and accountability! 

29 wishes.png

Back in 2016, I created a list of 27 wishes for my 27th birthday. I went back and checked out how many I achieved, but it wasn’t great! My goals weren't quantifiable, so it's hard to determine what was "done" and what was not.

I made a list of things I hope to achieve this year, separated out by category. I’ll update this as the year goes on and tasks get completed. And, hopefully by this time next year I’ll have 30 brand spankin’ new goals. 

Home

  • De clutter the whole house (and actually keep it that way)
  • Finish fully decorating at least 3 rooms (initial thoughts- nursery, kitchen, attic)
  • Make the most of what we have- diy instead of buy
  • Make the bed every day
  • Make the craft room/attic a place I actually want to work in

Business 

  • Grow the blog into a lifestyle resource 
  • Launch an e-course by June 30
  • Launch a (successful) shop (I shut mine down since it wasn’t producing- sad but it’s ok! Bigger and better things ahead)
  • Make over $25k income with the blog 
  • Donate to more causes I believe in 
  • Get published in a magazine
  • Attend Alt Summit 

Family

  • Be the best mom I can be
  • Spend more time with my family without a phone or screen 
  • Take a monthly drive to a new place 
  • Take our first official family vacation 

Life

  • Go on more adventures
  • Finish what I start
  • Do crafts or paint “just because” at least once a month
  • Make more of an effort on personal fitness (2x week)

Finances

  • Pay off our credit cards
  • Spend less, save more- at least $2k this year
  • Create a budget and stick to it

Self

  • Spend more time on my appearance 
  • Make an effort to dress better (at least 3 days/week)
  • Practice mindfulness and yoga (at least once a week)
  • Remember to take a break and not be a workaholic 
  • Stop procrastinating
  • Don’t let fear stand in my way & step outside my comfort zone

Some of these might be hard to achieve but I’m hoping that if I work hard at it, I can at least come close to achieving these goals. I’m also hoping that all these goals are kinda cumulative. That working out will make me take the time to dress well. That dressing well will give me confidence to achieve my financial goals. That achieving my financial goals will lead to working on my home and family goals. So on and so forth :) 

What’s on your goals list for this year? How do you actually achieve these things in your life? What’s the best way to plan? I need some help! Let me know in the comments below.

We're Having a Baby!

Omg you guys, we are having a baby!! 

John and I have been talking about having a kid forever, but we wanted to wait until after the wedding. We had only been trying since about November but for some reason, ever since I was in high school, I thought I would have trouble conceiving. I have a few minor medical issues, but for some reason I had convinced myself that getting pregnant would be really hard, if not impossible. I’ve literally cried at the thought of not being able to get pregnant. I don’t know why I felt this so strongly, but I did. So imagine my surprise that after only a few months of trying, we got pregnant! It’s truly a blessing and something that I know I am so lucky to experience. Although I may have complained about being tired or nauseated, I know this is truly the most amazing gift anyone could ever give me and I am so happy to experience it. 

*This post contains affiliate links

 We're having a baby! And we are so stinking excited about it. Read more about our pregnancy announcement and photoshoot by clicking the photo!

Sources: baby onesie from Colorado souvenir shop (baby's first trip!), similar train, pink board, blocks, honeycombs

Finding out:

I was at work and wasn’t feeling 100%. Two of my coworkers that I’m friends with started looking at me funny. “I don’t knoooooow, maybe you’re pregnant!” Well, I knew I wasn’t. After all, I had bought ovulation strips and they told me I was not ovulating. So although we tried, I knew I hadn’t been ovulating when we did. They teased me about it so much that week that I figured I may as well take the test the next day. 

 We're having a baby! And we are so stinking excited about it. Read more about our pregnancy announcement and photoshoot by clicking the photo!

All night I had dreams about taking the pregnancy test.  I was so nervous that I would forget to take it that it seeped into my subconscious and my dreams. There was never a result- just me in about 5 different dream scenarios with a pregnancy test. I woke up at my usual 5am that day, right after John had left for work. I went to the bathroom, plonked down on the toilet, and peed on the stick. I put it on the counter and watched it flow through to do its magic. One pink line. Yep, as I suspected. Then I look over again and a SECOND PINK LINE APPEARED. I was in disbelief and kept saying, out loud, “is that a second line?” I was tired (it was 5am after all!) and kept blinking and making sure I was really awake. I was. And I started to cry SO HARD. I recorded a video for John so he could see my reaction, since he wouldn’t be home for hours and I didn’t know how I’d be when I told him. The video wasn’t pretty, but it really captured my emotions. Snotty tears, shaking hand and all. 

I literally spent the rest of the day crying tears of joy while waiting for John to come home. 

 We're having a baby! And we are so stinking excited about it. Read more about our pregnancy announcement and photoshoot by clicking the photo!

Telling John:

I already knew how I wanted to tell John, so I did a second pregnancy test juuuust to make sure before telling him. I went to CVS and got a digital test this time, peed on the stick, and waited for 3 of the longest minutes of my life. I was so nervous that it was a false positive or something! When I finally saw the “YES+” indicating that I was pregnant, I started crying all over again. And recorded a second video for John. 

John came home hours later, since he had to work overtime. I tried to get him home earlier, but I didn’t want to tip him off. He didn’t even know I was taking the test! I brought him up to our room, and sat on the bed. I pulled a small Mets onesie out of my drawer and showed it to him. He looked at me confused, like “ok...?” I realized at this moment that I’m so crazy that my husband thinks I would buy a onesie without actually having a baby to wear it. Anyway, I pulled out the pregnancy test and he’s still confused so I told him I’m pregnant. Then I start crying (again) and say “we’re having a baby!!” He’s literally in shock and just home from work, not expecting this at all. So he says something like “are you pranking me?” And I’m still crying and saying no. It was like our engagement all over again! Obviously he was so happy, although cautiously so- he wanted to make sure it wasn’t a false positive. He soon realized my symptoms definitely confirmed it- I was pregnant! 

 We're having a baby! And we are so stinking excited about it. Read more about our pregnancy announcement and photoshoot by clicking the photo!

The first exam:

We had to wait 2 long weeks before we could go to the doctor to get my first sonogram. I was so nervous the whole time. What if something was wrong, or what if I had an ectopic pregnancy? I knew 3 people that had gone through that, and it was both saddening and risky. I was hoping everything was ok. We went into the sonogram room and the tech inserted the camera and moved it around. Lo and behold, there was our baby! She showed us the heartbeat and I started to cry because everything was ok. It was such an amazing experience to see. 

 We're having a baby! And we are so stinking excited about it. Read more about our pregnancy announcement and photoshoot by clicking the photo!

Telling our family:

We decided to wait until after the first doctors visit and sonogram to tell our families. We wanted to make sure everything was ok before we did. We bought everyone a frame and made copies of the sonogram. John’s mom is a huge Mets fan, so she got this Mets frame. My parents are cornballs, and amazing parents, so they got this grandparents frame. And my sister likes to keep it simple, so I gave her this plain frame. We invited them over for lunch and gave it to them as a “Valentine’s gift” so they wouldn’t suspect anything. I wanted to tell my sister separately first, so I brought her up to my bedroom. She opened the gift and got so excited she was jumping up and down! And I’m there shushing her so the parents don’t hear! We go downstairs and give the other gifts to my parents and John’s mom and tell them to open them at the same time. John’s mom suspected, so when she opened it she started to cry. My parents are oblivious so they’re opening the gift, confused, and wondering what John’s mom got that she’s crying so much. They finally figured it out too, and they were so excited! We told John’s siblings as well, and they were both really happy. 

 We're having a baby! And we are so stinking excited about it. Read more about our pregnancy announcement and photoshoot by clicking the photo!
 We're having a baby! And we are so stinking excited about it. Read more about our pregnancy announcement and photoshoot by clicking the photo!

About the Photoshoot:

I have to give my sister a special shout-out. She did the whole shoot for us! I'm very picky and the poor girl tried to make sure everything was well-framed haha. We started with the baby food shoot, which was so gross. John refused to take another bite of his beef and beef broth. He said it was like eating dog food, and swore our baby won't be eating that. Also, can we talk about how big my belly already is?! I'm wearing maternity jeans, and it was becoming impossible to hide at work. It's not so obvious from the front but as soon as I turn sideways, you can see it! I'm so happy about my growing baby bump.

 We're having a baby! And we are so stinking excited about it. Read more about our pregnancy announcement and baby food photoshoot by clicking the photo!

Ahhh! We are beyond excited about our little bundle of joy coming in September. I'll be doing some fun baby-related blog posts in the next few months, including maternity clothes, nursery, and a gender reveal! We won't know until Mid-May, so we are anxiously awaiting that appointment. If you have any maternity advice, I want to know! It's been hard not being able to share the news and get advice. I'm so relieved that the cat's out of the bag now!

Is HelloFresh Worth it?

Truth time- I hate cooking. I'm a creative gal, so I know I should love it. But, cooking is not really crafting and I seriously hate doing it. I've recently started crock pot cooking, which is awesome because you dump everything in a pot and let it sit for 8 hours and it comes out delicious. But, that doesn't really work when you're at work all day. I'm a lucky lady and my husband cooks for us pretty much everyday, but I wanted to try to cook too. I mean, I'm planning to have kids someday and they have to eat, right?

Hello Fresh 2a.jpg

Through a friend, I got a free trial of HelloFresh and I decided to give it a go. HelloFresh is a meal delivery service, where they send over the ingredients and instructions and you get to cook it. Before I dive into my thoughts, here's a few fun facts about me:

1. I hate cooking. It's confusing, boring, and doesn't taste as good as I expect it to.
2. Cooking takes way too long. Time spent cooking is time I'd rather spend on anything else. Ordering in takes about 10 minutes with zero cleanup.
3. I hate measuring and trying to manage 18 things all at once and not burn them.

Any of these sound like you? Please tell me I'm not alone here! Haha. So, I'll talk about HelloFresh from my perspective as the casual cook. 

Packaging:

Hello Fresh 1.jpg

Each meal comes in its own little box, which is nice for keeping everything organized. Each box came labelled (except the chicken for some reason...) and fit nicely in the fridge. All the ingredients inside are packaged nicely and labelled as well. The meat comes outside the box, which is more of a fun fact about it than anything else.

Hello Fresh 6.jpg

Monty definitely wanted to try some food!

Selection:

If you choose their classic plan, you get 6 meal choices. For the vegetarian and family plan, there are 3 handpicked meals but no choices. For the classic plan, they have a variety of meats and fish. to choose from. Personally, I don't really like seafood, and I don't eat beef or pork, so this really limited my options. I wish you could mix up the vegetarian and meat selections, since I don't always want meat. If you're trying to transition to being a vegetarian, I think signing up for this program would be great! You'd get a whole bunch of new and tasty recipes, so you're not just eating mac and cheese everyday. Yea... that's what I did when I tried to be a vegetarian years ago!

Hello Fresh 7.jpg

Since everything is individually packaged, you can replace or omit any ingredients you don't like. For example, we got a shrimp dish and a beef one that we replaced with chicken and turkey. Also, I HATE onions, so we didn't include them in any of the recipes that called for it.

Portions:

At first glance, my fiancé said the portions seem really small. He's a big dude, and he eats a lot. He said the chicken seemed like enough just for him. However, once we made it he said that it felt like a good portion. I found that it was just enough food for the both of us without any leftovers, which was perfect for me. I'm not a big fan of leftovers!

Hello Fresh 8.jpg

Time: 

I started cooking at 7:30 on the dot, although I preheated the oven while drafting up this blog post. Or at least... I thought I did. I think I turned on a 4 hr timer instead of turning it to 400 degrees. I hate cooking... Anyway, it took about one hour to cook. I did take some occasional notes snd snapped some photos, but most of that time was spent prepping or cooking. I think that an hour to cook isn't the longest time, but I was kinda hoping it would only take about 30 minutes. After 1.5 hours commuting home, I don't really want to cook for an hour too! However, I will say that having everything nicely together and not having to rummage through the cabinets to find things was great, especially since I usually find that I'm missing an ingredient I thought I had. With this, I never have to worry about that!

Hello Fresh 3.jpg

So I'm not sure if this is done on purpose, but some of the items are just enough for you to have, and others have some extra. Like the pistachios, which were not chopped. Maybe this is to give you that whole "look, I'm on a cooking show! vibe, but I found it to be time consuming. I finished chopping the pistachios just in time for the oven to heat up, but by the time I got the chicken in the oven, the quinoa had just finished cooking. Not the greatest timing, since the chicken needed 20 mins to cook. 

Hello Fresh 4.jpg

Look ma, no hands [were harmed while chopping the pistachios].

Pricing:

Depending on which plan you choose, Hello Fresh is $8.74-$9.99 per person, per meal. If the price is too steep, you have the option to switch to a monthly or bi-weekly delivery. At $10/person, I found that the cost was almost the same as ordering in. While it's definitely healthier than ordering in, it still requires me to cook, which I don't really enjoy. My main reason for not ordering in is the cost, so ordering from here doesn't really help that. However, compared to similar services, HelloFresh is a good deal. It's in the median price range and the food is good quality.

Hello Fresh 9.jpg

Final Thoughts- Is HelloFresh worth it?

I think this depends. If you're looking for a huge selection to choose from, are a very picky eater (like me) or trying to stay within a budget, then HelloFresh might not be for you.

If you're trying to start cooking, transitioning to being a vegetarian, and not very picky, then YES! HelloFresh is definitely for you. I also think if you don't have the time or desire to go to the supermarket, but still want to cook, this is definitely a great service. If you're trying to stop ordering in so much but need something to break the habit, I think it's a great start!

Hello Fresh 10.jpg

The long and short of it?

YES- busy professionals, new vegetarians, those learning to cook, non-picky eaters, those trying to explore new recipes

MAYBE NOT- those on a budget, extremely picky eaters, 

Appreciate Where You Are

Appreciate where you are, because it's going to take you where you need to be. Yea, I know. I'm gonna get a little but woo woo on you today, but I am consistently amazed by the way life plays out. The small coincidences and seemingly insignificant moments that somehow add up to the magic of your life. Sometimes you're in a shitty spot, and you're like "why me? Why here, why now?" Sometimes there's no answer. Other times, it's a really crappy answer. Usually, it's something that doesn't even matter, a small little drop in the bucket of your life. But sometimes, things work out and you're like, oh ok. That's why.

 Appreciate where you are, because it's going to take you where you need to be. I am consistently amazed by the way life plays out. The small coincidences and seemingly insignificant moments that somehow add up to the magic of your life. Click to learn more.

Let me tell you a little example about that. Let's go back to like, 25 years ago. I was a little kid, and my parents had been looking for a new house for years. They needed it to have a separate apartment for my grandparents to live in, which was proving to be difficult. They finally found a decent one and were mulling it over. As we were looking at it, a little neighbor girl asked me where I live. I pointed at the house and said, "I live here!" My parents decided that was a sign and bought the house. That's right... my parents took housing advice from a three year old. What can I say? I've always been wise.

Let's fast forward 16 years. I was in college and took an accounting class. I went down to the bookstore armed with $200 to buy this giant encyclopedia of a book. Seriously... it was huge! A girl approaches me and tells me how she didn't realize the book was so expensive! She has to come back and buy it another day, but she can't do the homework in time for class. Before I can even stop myself, I'm offering to let her (a complete stranger) borrow my $200 textbook to do her homework. I immediately panic, like, what did I just do? In an effort to reel it back in, I tell her she has to come to the Science building with me (where my class was) to borrow it. She thanks me profusely and we go over to where my class is. She sits at a table in the common area to do the homework. I'm worried the entire time, but when I come out of class, she's sitting there waving at me with my textbook in hand. 

We became really good friends, and we had a few college parties we co-hosted together. They were almost always held at her house, and we got to meet a lot of really cool people that way. One time, we had a party at my house, in the upstairs apartment my grandparents had lived in. She brought a longtime friend, and he immediately liked the apartment and was asking a whole bunch of questions about it. I wrote it off, because we were about 21 and although we all wanted to move out, no one had money for an apartment. It turned out, he did. He texted a few weeks later and asked about renting it with a friend. We arranged a date, and he came out to see the apartment. 

He arrived alone, and I introduced him to my dad and brought him upstairs. As we're all looking at this apartment at my parents' house, the doorbell rings. I go down to answer and let his potential roommate in. I nonchalantly skip down the stairs, swing open the door, and come face to face with his roommate.

If we didn't buy that house... if my friend had enough money for her textbook... if I wasn't nice enough to lend my book to a total stranger, my life could have been completely different. The roommate at the door? Well, he turned out to be my future husband. I didn't know it then, but all these seemingly insignificant moments in my life had added up to the perfect love story. 

So, back to the topic at hand- appreciate where you are. Every single moment, every heartbreak, and every ordinary experience adds up to your life. You don't know if that random person you met will turn out to be a lifelong friend, a funny story you tell people someday, or help you meet your true love. All those shitty days in a bad relationship will make you bask in the glow of single life. And all those lonely nights crying about how you're alone (...or, was that just me?) will make you cherish a good relationship when you find it. Just get through today, and find something really fun tomorrow. It'll all be worth it in the end.