One of the reasons I LOVE being a graphic designer is the opportunity I’m given to meet AMAZING humans doing amazing work. Sahar of “I Choose Beauty” is definitely one of those humans. After years of struggling with depression, Sahar decided to choose beauty and start documenting the beauty she saw each day with a photo. She posted her photos on Instagram using the hashtag #IChooseBeauty and after a week, she realized that she was feeling much more hopeful — so …
If any of you have seen my last professional photoshoot, you know that I’ve been long overdue for a update. Not because the photos were anything less than perfection (Kira did those, too, and she is an amazing photographer) — but because I’ve changed my look so much over the last few years! Just look at that hair! Something that I love about being in a creative field is the way that it soaks into every aspect of your life. …
How do you successfully hire someone to do something that isn’t within your zone of genius? Especially when you have no idea what to look for? My boyfriend and I recently experienced this when we hired contractors for a home renovation project. We knew enough to know that we needed help. However, once we started looking at contractor portfolios, we realized that we knew what we thought looked nice, but we had NO idea who was more trustworthy or proficient …
Celebrating a little victory today! Ember & Co’s “Every Meal Counts” Meal Planning Printable has been featured on Creative Market’s “This Week’s Fresh Design Products: Vol. 84“! Happy Fri-yay to Ember & Co! Sometimes it’s the small, unexpected wins that mean the most, am I right? Tell me about one of your recent little victories! I’d love to hear about it 🙂
Do you know your superpower(s)? Anyone who knows me knows that I am borderline obsessed with personality profiling, quizzes, and knowing your Myers Briggs. In fact, my runner-up career choice to graphic design was counseling/psychology because I am such a huge believer in the power of authenticity, knowing yourself, and learning to stand in (and celebrate) your natural strengths. Authenticity matters. I am a firm believer that you can harness your authentic strengths to build a business and life that …
Struggling to give your clients the experience they desire and keep your sanity intact?
Oh, I hear you. Starting your own business can be overwhelming. While I had the opportunity to start Ember & Co as a side gig alongside a stable, corporate job (thus alleviating financial pressure to “get it right” immediately), it’s taken me many years and much trial and error to find a rhythm that works for me. I’ve tried out countless programs and apps that promise to help automate client management and invoicing, and while some of them definitely have (I used Wave App for years and liked it), I have to confess…I have a new love. Here’s my official Dubsado review!
You’ve made the decision — you want to start your own business. How exciting! You feel the warmth of inspiration, that small ember within you that glows with hope. You can already feel that newfound sense of freedom: to set your own course, be your own boss, make your own rules, and make money doing what you’re passionate about.
There’s only one problem: you’re also, quite suddenly, befallen with an undeniable terror.
There it is, creeping on you, tucked in the darkness behind your excitement. Are you the only one who has felt this way? Is this murky fear of failure here to save you from utter disaster? Maybe it’s onto something. Well, yes…and no.
I’ve always been a firm believer in goodness, beauty, and truth.
I am the Queen of Enduring Hope. As a child, my Aunt took to calling me “Sugarcube,” due to my sweet disposition and tender heart. I played veterinarian to my Beanie Babies® and loved to pretend that I was mama to my precious little sister (who, by the way, was only a year younger than me). As an adult, I am a textbook ISFJ (known as the “Nurturers” of the Myers-Briggs world) which means that I yearn to believe the best in people, I live in a world that is concrete and kind, and I am very aware of internal feelings (both my own and others).
As positive and forward-thinking as I strive to be — as we all strive to be — sometimes life gets pretty intense.
People disappoint us, circumstances confound us, the world seems to grow a little bit darker with every attack and power-struggle. It’s all too easy to want to protect ourselves with a negative worldview as a result: don’t let anyone in so that they don’t hurt you; don’t trust anyone too deeply. It is no surprise that this beautiful analogy told by Saint Paisios has meant a lot to me ever since I heard it.
When Kira, a friend of many years and wonderful photographer, asked me to do a featured blog post on my small business, I was both excited and incredibly honored. We spent a beautiful morning running around town to some of my favorite spots, cataloguing my daily life as a full-time designer with a serious side hustle. Check out the interview on Kira’s website!
(Keep in mind that this interview occurred a few years ago, so some details about my life have since changed)
When she asked if I had a design that I would like to contribute as a giveaway, “Be the Bee,” instantly came to mind. If there is anything that I’ve learned in my seven years as a small business owner, this hustle takes serious grit. It’s also takes a heavy dose of enduring hope and decisive optimism. The entrepreneurs I’ve encountered who have had the greatest success are the one’s who adopt the bee’s philosophy:
“If we ask the bee to show us where the garbage is, it will answer: “I don’t know. I can only tell you where to find flowers, sweets, honey and sugar;” it only knows the good things in life.”
It is all to easy to focus on the tough stuff — the challenging projects, the insecurity of not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from, the difficult relationships, the late nights and early mornings — you can literally drown yourself in it. Today, commit to choosing better for yourself. Choose the good. Choose beauty.
Yes, challenges will come, but you are bigger than the garbage that you have to walk through as a business owner. Don’t wallow in it. Don’t allow it to become your home. Refuse to grow comfortable with that mindset. I believe in you. And if you get stuck, I’m here to help you find your truth again.
“Be The Bee”
“I know from experience that in this life people are divided in two categories. A third category does not exist; people either belong to one or the other. The first one resembles the fly. The main characteristic of the fly is that it is attracted by dirt. For example, when a fly is found in a garden full of flowers with beautiful fragrances, it will ignore them and will go sit on top of some dirt found on the ground. It will start messing around with it and feel comfortable with the bad smell. If the fly could talk, and you asked it it show you a rose in the garden, it would answer: “I don’t even know what a rose looks like. I only know where to find garbage, toilets, and dirt.” there are some people who resemble the fly. People belonging to this category have learned to think negatively, and always look for the bad things in life, ignoring and refusing the presence of good.
The other category is like the bee whose main characteristic is to always look for something sweet and nice to sit on. When a bee is found in a room full of dirt and there is a small piece of sweet in a corner, it will ignore the dirt and will go to sit on top of the sweet. Now, if we ask the bee to show us where the garbage is, it will answer: “I don’t know. I can only tell you where to find flowers, sweets, honey and sugar;” it only knows the good things in life and is ignorant of all evil. This is the second category of people who have a positive way of thinking, and see only the good side of things. They always try to cover up the evil in order to protect their fellow men; on the contrary, people in the first category try to expose the evil and bring it to the surface.
When someone comes to me and starts accusing other people, and puts me in a difficult situation, I tell him the above example. Then, I ask him to decide to which category he wishes to belong, so he may find people of the same kind to socialize with.”
+ St. Paisios of Mt. Athos, “Good and Evil Thoughts”
Kira is a photographer, learner, dreamer, doer based in Kansas City, MO.
“My photographic style is bright, bold, and authentic as I share my own creative perspective. I am most known for my natural light images, but have been intentional about gaining experience with on location night portraits and off-camera flash, along with some studio work as well. I’m quirky and spunky and try to make every session comfortable and fun. I am all about telling your story and capturing who you truly are, so don’t be shy in sharing thoughts or ideas because it’s all about You!”
Meghan, the founder and creator behind Ellieco, has always had an eye for fashion and exceptional styling. She’s the friend you go to when you’re not sure if the blouse you’ve chosen to put on is “unique in a good way” or “unique in, well, a unique way.” She’s a natural at selecting the perfect curtains for your dining room. She’s the sister that you trusted to spontaneously cut your hair into a bob in high school – nevermind the …
“If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world it will come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature.” – BRUCE BARTON Hey! I want to take a moment to welcome you to Ember & Co. I think it’s safe to say that we all lead pretty busy lives these days, so it’s an honor to share this space with …