Archives for posts with tag: Oprah Magazine

Ahhhhh it’s the end of January! How did it happen so fast?

Maybe I was having too much fun? I mean, yeah, I guess I was. January was a BIG month for the S2 of S2 Stationery and Design.  The best part, I made it out of January just fine- a bit broke, yes, but I didn’t die of starvation, or lose my apartment so we’re good!

I mentioned last year that I wanted to spend 2012 reading more and not just business magazines and articles, but books and fiction. I am pleased to say that in January I read two books and started another. Go Sara! I’d say I made a step in the right direction and I’m excited.

Even so, I did manage to read some great business related articles this month and so you know the drill, here they are:

MARKETING:
So this article from Deliver, the USPS’s magazine about direct mail marketing is really about marketing and selling to Millennials, but I think it’s a great way to view marketing in general. Although, I am a generation X member, I also have traits of Millennials and therefore see and shop the same way they do. I base my marketing on how I like to be marketed to, which is also how Millennials like marketing and so maybe we should consider yes, the Baby Boomers, but also shift as business owners and marketers into the realm of openness and no gimmicks and outstanding customer service. All of those would help ANY potential customer regardless of age and generational differences. http://www.delivermagazine.com/2012/01/making-sense-of-the-millennials/

Megan Auman of Designing an MBA posted this article today, January 5th and I love it! I don’t always love her articles, but this one, well this one is a real gem. Good luck for amping up your business in 2012.  http://designinganmba.com/2012/01/04/4-steps-to-your-best-business-year/

BUSINESS:
What is YOUR relationship to your business? I’m not sure what mine is just yet, but I can tell you this, there are days where I feel absolutely overwhelmed by all that I’ve taken on. I’ve evern thought, maybe I should try to be normal and happy with a regular job, but I know that that is a lie. If I don’t try to make it on my own, I’ll never be happy working of anyone. So here I am, glad that I read this article because Damon Gersh offers some great tips and insight into his own experience and relationship with his business and well, I think everyone should give it a read. http://www.nyreport.com/improve_your_relationship_with_your_business

I love this article. I continue to consider my business a start-up and because of that, the points int his article are quite relevant and gave me a fresh blast of air that I needed to review and be aware of. http://www.women2.org/women-starting-tech-companies-brilliance-is-mandatory/

Mayi Carles wins the prize for favorite post of January. No lie! Not only does she give a honest account of first-hand lessons in making money, she gives you tips on how to get better at it AND a free money making planner. No lie! If I could give her a hug, I would. :) Enjoy! http://www.ohmyhandmade.com/2012/contributors/money-making-party-plan-free-planner/

ENVIRONMENT:
This guy, Andy Keller, is seriously my hero! He goes around to cities dressed as the plastic bag monster. How cool is that?! As an eco-warrior, I love that he’s doing this – going around showing the hazard of plastic bag usage and helping educate the masses. Go Andy! http://www.oprah.com/blogs/Can-an-Outfit-of-500-Plastic-Bags-Change-Your-Behavior

PASSION:
I LOVE the truth in this article. Mostly because she is correct – passion, persistence and hunger are great, but you need more. You need the skill. If you are truly passionate, you’ll find the skill and good things will come. http://ht.ly/8ydwz

I’m sticking this under passion because I read it as what is your passion that will leave a legacy and make you happy. Chris, has a way of saying things so straightforwardly and clearly that things just make sense and click. I hope this clicks for you the way it clicked for me. http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/1000-days-after-overnight-success/

YOU
Dr. Oz gets a virtual high-five from me! I love this types for renewing your body, mind, and soul in the new year. I don’t make resolutions, but this year, I’ve been focusing on making small goals happen.  By the time, I read this list, I realized that I had successfully started doing a few of them beforehand. Yay! You don’t have to try making all 28 happen, but maybe just one or two. Good luck! http://www.oprah.com/health/Dr-Oz-on-How-to-Renew-Your-Body-Mind-and-Soul

I really appreciate Britney Haas’ perspective on juggling a full time job and a business. I’m not quite as organized as her, but I’ve learned that I need a day that is just for me and that I need to keep things together in order to get things done. The one thing I do know is that I changed the lack of sleep thing this year. I go to bed earlier and wake up earlier to get work done and to feel more accomplished. In the end, her company is a bit larger than S2 Stationery and Design, but I totally get where she’s coming from and I appreciate her honesty. I have considered getting an intern in the past…I may just do it! http://www.women2.org/juggling-ft-job-and-startup/

 

More articles in February. Happy reading!

Whew! November flew by. Where did it go?

But I’m excited because tomorrow is December 1st. My birthday is December 1st! Tomorrow is a big day! Yay!

I’m turning 31 and at first I thought I wasn’t going to blog on my birthday, but then I realized that I MUST share my story about the hawk from Monday night/Tuesday morning.  So stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog and then you won’t hear from me again until well, the following Monday.  To tide you over in the lull of the Friday through Monday no-S2-news  I share the following must read articles for November.

YOU:

What is your motivation style? Oprah Magazine has a quiz for you and I think you should take it. It’ll help you figure out what it is your seeking in life. When I took it, I didn’t agree with the answers at first, but then I realized that I did. I am after enlightenment more than anything else. I love my friends and the support I get from them, but I’m not always looking for love and adulation. I’m also not looking for recognition, I’m looking to make a difference any way I can and that could be as simple as someone reading this blog and taking this quiz. So go take it and hopefully you’ll see more light on what you should and can be doing. http://www.oprah.com/spirit/How-to-Determine-What-Motivates-You-Motivation-Style

Tips that men know from dating that women should know for their start ups. I likes the ideas a lot, but even more, I like how they transcend all areas of our lives. Learn these tips women not just for business, but for life! http://www.women2.org/crucial-skills-female-entrepreneurs-can-learn-from-how-men-date/?utm_source=email

I’ve written quite extensively about mentors and finding a mentor and being a mentor. This article really made me smile because it shows how sometimes the mentors we have in mind aren’t the ones that are tangible-they’re the ones who inspire us from a distance; often times their lives even after they’ve continued on, inspire and push us. That is leadership and one worthy of the mentor label. http://www.forbes.com/sites/women2/2011/11/02/66/

Strange places? I’ve been to a ton and seen a lot, at least I think I have. Chris’s version of strange places, thinking on your feet and traveling is great, but as I read it I saw it as so much more than just travel. I see it as life. What happens when things don’t work out. What do we do with that experience and strange place? It’s definitely food for thought!  http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/strange-places

Burned out? I will be if I keep trying to go at the pace I am without stopping and thinking about things. This article is from March, which I just got around to reading in late October/Early November, but it’s well worth saving and rereading a few times, when you’re beginning to feel the burn. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0314/entrepreneurs-ask-an-expert-steven-berglas-prevent-burnout.html

Okay. So this could fit in any of the categories below, but the important thing here is whether or not you’re using these self-sabotage mantras. If you are, STOP RIGHT NOW!, read this article and focus on the good. Then you’ll want to create a system where you remind yourself of all that you are doing and create action steps as proof of your commitment. http://www.brasstackthinking.com/2011/10/three-self-sabotage-mantras-that-you-need-to-quit-now/

BUSINESS:

Time management. I wonder if it should have it’s own area? Maybe. Hmm..for now, it’ll be filed under business, but only because time management effects business, or rather our time management effects how we run and complete our business. So with that, I highly recommend Mayi Carles’s post about time management and using the “Touch It Once” strategy. I make no http://www.heartmadeblog.com/blog/touch-it-once

This article by Chris Guillebeau is really about life, but it rang true for me as a creator, maker and business owner. How much of my life do I put on hold to do other things that I think are more important and they aren’t. So here’s to making decisions and not putting things off.   http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/how-to-put-off-making-decisions-about-your-life

I have yet to deal with a refund request, but I think this is a good article for dealing with any sort of rejection when dealing with your business and/or product. http://www.themogulmom.com/2011/11/refunds/

DESIGN:

Funny thing about this article is that I walked past the Pentagram building the other evening on my way to a design function. How cool! I love this gentleman’s ideas for design, especially the part about researching to truly understand. How simple, how genius! http://www.fastcodesign.com/1665451/8-secrets-to-creative-thinking-hint-steal-from-others

I happen to like my brand. I like my logo, too. I designed both. You should also know that I did that months after deciding to start my business. Yes, it took a few months after, but I knew it was the most important element to base my business. http://www.fastcompany.com/1794324/brand-early-not-often

I know I’m collaborating. Are you? http://www.fastcodesign.com/1665471/what-good-does-design-do-for-business

Fast Co. is quickly becoming my go to place for well everything these days. I’m sharing this article with you not because it directly had to do with stationery, but because it has to do with design and what I think is basic business awareness and strategy. If you’re building a company that offers a product or service, are you open to where the flaws are? Are you anticipating them?  Have you accepted them and are working on them? Do you really want someone to write a blog about your products faults and their opinion of them (like this article)? I say use this article as a template  for every piece you design and create. I know I am. http://www.fastcodesign.com/1665491/the-jawbone-up-fails-but-teaches-3-golden-rules-for-experience-design

LEADERSHIP:

This posting I’m already at odds with. First, I don’t think President Obama is the worst Presideny in the US history and second, I disagree with this article way more than I agree, but the author, Paul Johnson, sometimes wins me over with his horrible thoughts with some solid wisdom. In this case,  his sentence, “…seem more spectacular had it not coincided with a general slump in leadership throughout the world. Ineptitude at the top is clearly responsible for the ugly fact that the banking crisis of 2008-which old J. Pierpont Morgan would have solved in one all-night session in his library-is now lengthening into the most serious economic downturn since the 1930s.”  I think he’s spot on about the slump in leadership, but I think he fails to realize that the slump in leadership dates all the way back to the time of Ronald Regan (and most definitely before), every Republican’s hard-on President. But we’re not talking politics here,  we are talking leadership and the fact remains that we have many open leadership spots in the world that people need to fill. So I do agree with Paul Johnson, on questioning who can lead us to safety? However, I’m smart enough to realize it’s none of the current leaders gearing up to “save-the-country and the world”. No, we need REAL leaders and I’m going to say that I think there are some powerful individuals out there, we just have yet to see them. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/1010/opinions-current-events-worst-president-obama-paul-johnson.html

AND speaking of leadership, here is an article about someone doing amazing things with no recognition, but clearly being a leader. I’ll forget that he’s in the energy business only because he’s committed to doing so many incredible things for the sake of humanity and educating humanity. Go George Kaiser! Not only am I inspired by you, I’m inspired by Forbes for getting the stick out of their ass long enough to focus on positive social good. http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2011/09/21/george-kaisers-10-billion-bet/

Finally, if you’re like me you don’t have any employees, you only have YOU, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t motivate yourself. This article is great on tactics to use to motivate employees. I say turn them around to motivate yourself! http://www.inc.com/ilya-pozin/9-things-that-motivate-employees-more-than-money.html.

That’s all I’ve got for November. See you next month!

September ends today. October, well, I’m not quite ready for you, yet. But I’m excited that Fall is here and that pumpkins and squashes are making an appearance. I’m also really excited for what the remaining three months of the year mean for me, personally, and S2 Stationery and Design.

This month, I start out with a great article from the Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” issue. The article is actually an interview with Anne Sweeney from Disney. She starts off by answering the question, “How do you define power and influence?” with, “I look at power and influence differently. I look at power as the ability to get people motivated and to get them to do things that maybe they don’t think are important but, in the end, are in pursuit of something greater than themselves. But influence, as distinct from power, is really something quite different. To have influence, you really don’t need to have power. But what you need more than anything else is to have that almost uncanny understanding of what matters to people.”  That pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the article. I think her answer is great and I agree with her 115%! Power and influence are two very different things. I’d rather have influence than power any day.  Read on here:  http://www.forbes.com/2011/08/30/powerful-women-interview-disney-ann-sweeney-moira-forbes.html

YOU:

I’ve mentioned Sherry Ott before on this blog. She’s an inspiration! She is a freelancer, photographer, blog and travel writer, adventurer, do-gooder, and many, many other things. On the last day of August, she posted the following article about Career Breaks and I loved it so much, I have to share. I am eyeing a career break at some point in my future. Whenever I’m down about not being able to take a break now, I look at this article and feel renewed with hope about when I do take it. Life is amazing and we get from it what we want and by what we give: http://www.ottsworld.com/blogs/how-a-career-break-changed-my-life/

Chris Guillebeau strikes again! This article is BOMB.COM. Seriously. I want to share this article with everyone. Even more importantly, I want to print copies of it and give it to people on the streets, I want to turn it into a Christmas card (hmmm..maybe I will!) You’ll have to read to find out why, but the premise is simple and while he’s speaking about writing, it is easy to adopt for whatever is your passion/art. Enjoy!  http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/how-to-write-300000-words-in-1-year/

SUCCESS:

I really enjoyed this article! It’s a great read on the men (yes, they’re all men) who are well-known in history for being sharp, successful, and victorious when it mattered most (history dictates this). I especially love that the author, Paul Johnson, points to learning from history (something I wholeheartedly believe in) and to having a vast network of people to learn from as tools for success.  http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0822/opinions-paul-johnson-current-events-lessons-from-great.html

What is an entrepreneur? I like Craig Dwyer’s answer: “Two words: action people” in the article “Our Startup Summit With Michael Dell” in an August issue of Forbes Magazine (I know, I read a lot of issues of Forbes this month!).  I think the open communication approach between Michael Dell and this young group of entrepreneurs is insightful and inspiring. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0822/best-colleges-11-dell-noer-hamilton-dwyer-fu-startup-summit.html

WORKING HAPPY:

I think this article is extremely important. Why? Because I’ve learned recently that being happy matters. Not just for your personal life, but for your work life. After all, many of us spend 8+ hours a day in offices, so we should be happy about that time. When we’re not, it’s often a sign that we need to move on and in a new direction. This article just confirms it, but I think it shows more of what is necessary for companies with unhappy employees than employees themselves. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/opinion/sunday/do-happier-people-work-harder.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

What do companies that have the happiest employees have? They have great working environments! This article on Harvard Business Review does a great job of pointing out the 12 attributes of a great working place. I realize that a lot of companies aren’t going to go this road, especially if they are steeped in “old” ways, which is why it’s so important that entrepreneurs and individuals opening small businesses that they hope to expand in the future, take heed and figure these details out at the very beginning: http://blogs.hbr.org/schwartz/2011/09/the-twelve-attributes-of-a-tru.html

WORDS:

I put this one under words because it has a lot to do with the language we use and how it affects our thoughts and actions. http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/this-time-its-different/

Following up on the post by Chris is this post on American Express Open Forum. Talk about the power of words! I think you should all read this and adopt the practice in everyday life. I know I definitely have used these words when I meant to have more action behind them and I know I need to stop. Good luck changing your tone and creating action! http://www.openforum.com/articles/the-power-of-language-5-wicked-words-that-are-sabotaging-your-success?extlink=em-openf-SBdaily

INSPIRATION:

What is an “a-ha!” moment? I know I’ve had one, maybe even a few. The one that broke everything has me in my current position – as an entrepreneur, business owner, stationer, designer and artist. Yep. Incredible isn’t it? I think my experience was a bit different and my “a-ha” moment was definitely a dream, but I think that I was open to the three ways that the author suggests in this article. Be curious and open, that’s my take! http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-get-insights-and-why-its-important-that-you-do?extlink=sm-openforum-tw

Speaking of “a-ha” moments, the October issue of O Magazine is about changing old patterns and finding breakthroughs to make your goal and dreams  a reality. The first article that definitely inspired me was the list of 15 people who O Magazine has been wowed by and has labeled them “Thinkers, Dreamers and Doers”. Maybe it’s because I see all three of those in me. Regardless I hope they inspire you, too. http://www.oprah.com/spirit/The-2011-O-Wow-List

The second article from the October issue that I think is worth reading is titled, “How to Spark a Breakthrough”. It’s 9 tips to help. I’ve earmarked the pages in the magazine to review them time and time again, but also to share with friends of my own who are stuck and unsure. This IS a must read and I’m including it in the September issue of my favorite articles from the month because you shouldn’t wait to be inspired.  Get going! http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Making-Your-Ideas-a-Reality-Whats-Holding-You-Back

SOCIAL MEDIA:

I read this article this morning on the bus (9/21/11) and got REALLY excited. It’s not that amazing of an article, but I really like it’s points and I think they’re helpful to the small business owner who is still scratching their head about social media. The Forbes site for the article isn’t that friendly and I was a bit confused by the layout, but just click to be taken to the second, third, etc pages and you’ll see the five points the author is making. You’ll be glad you did, even if you’re whispering under your breath how Forbes.com should get a better web design/layout. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0926/entrepreneurs-social-media-myths-expert-rodriguez.html

BUSINESS:

I love DailyWorth! They give some great concrete tips and I love that they are open to sharing money stories between women. It is important that women  talk money and talk about it honestly, so I’m glad that they are building a community of sharers and of action.  This post on the other hand is more about helping you find ways to make your business aspirations happen. Quirky, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are all platforms I’ve heard of recently and I’m excited that they help entrepreneurs and artists make things happen. Check out the DailyWorth posting and the sites after. http://dailyworth.com/posts/909-Monetizing-Your-Big-Ideas

Ah, Steve Jobs. His leaving Apple has left a lot of speculation and a lot of people wondering what is next for the company. I’ll have to say that I’m not sure what to expect from Apple in the coming months. I hope that the legacy of Steve Jobs does continue to push the company in a creative and innovative direction, but I, too, am wondering what the future holds for a company I regard highly.  While this article is about Steve Jobs, it is also about the role of the creator and founder of a company, which is why I’m marking it as a top article for the month. Yes, I believe that serial entrepreneurs should walk away from projects as they both grow, but maybe that’s also a sign that the time for that company and idea have ended and maybe it’s time to move on completely rather than bring in a new CEO? Not sure. I just know I’m glad I’ve got a small business that I hope grows, but never at the expense of its founder and/or future employees. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/09/steve-jobss-law-why-founders-make-better-leaders/244439/

ENVIRONMENT:

For every good thing I said above about Forbes Magazine, I have one article that I read and it really made me mad – Drilling Into Eden. It’s about Chevron drilling off of Barrow Island off of Australia. They claim to be taking all the precautionary measures, but forgive me if I don’t believe them or any BIG OIL company. At the end of the day, they want money and nothing is going to stop these companies from going after it, even if it is the possibility that an entire ecosystem could die thanks to their greed. However, I’ll let you read the article and make your own decision. Just know that we have a responsibility to this planet NOW, not later when the damage is done.  http://www.forbes.com/global/2011/0912/barrow-island-drilling-into-eden.html

There you have it-September in a nutshell! I wish you the very best and most awesome October. Trick and Treat your loved ones and get ready for an awesome fall!

Until next month, be inspired and do great things!

I wish I could say that August sneaked up on me, but it didn’t. It pretty much flew at my face with such a high speed, I never had a chance blink or prepare myself.  Even so, I still managed to get some reading in, along with personal reading and a much needed break away. Here are my favorite articles for the month!

BUSINESS:

It seems counterintuitive at first, but here’s why you charge for product —accountability — it keeps the people responsible for creating and manufacturing the product accountable for the product’s quality and meeting customer needs. Once a product or service that has a potential market is given away for free, people who develop or deliver it can head down a slippery, subconscious slope of getting more and more lax in their efforts.” – Krista Donaldson, CEO of D-Rev

That quote, that glorious, glorious quote comes from an article I read from Women 2.0. The website is chock full of great content and insight not just for women in the tech industry, but for women as entrepreneurs.  The article this gem of a statement came from is titled, “Charging for Product: Why Price Matters, Even For Non-Profits” and you should read it, maybe even first!  Don’t get all bent out of shape about the title because the message is for everyone absolutely everyone and it’s for that sentence above. It is for the one word, accountability.  Embrace it. I know I’m held accountable every day that I sit down and design for someone, which is why I refuse to lower my prices.  I want to always be held accountable. Always. You should, too. http://www.women2.org/charging-for-your-product-why-price-matters-even-for-non-profits/?utm_source=email

This article ROCKS MY WORLD! I’m not kidding you. It is some of the BEST material I’ve read about conducting research on your clients and something that I definitely need to practice. Yes, data is great and all, but I know that where I have been successful with my clients is usually in the realm that I’ve paid attention to how they respond to me in meetings and on the phone. From that, I’ve been able to put together designs reflective of them and produced work they’ve been pleased with and has had them continue to work with me for future events.  This is something that everyone should read and pay attention to. As a matter of fact, I’m going to remember this every time I meet with a client!  http://www.fastcodesign.com/1664794/four-ways-to-spot-opportunities-ripe-for-break-out-innovation?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

This piece is a bit old. What can I say aside from, I’m still catching up on copies of Forbes Magazines from March, April and May.  Either way, this opinion piece really struck a cord with me. Maybe it’s because my business idea stems from a self-help approach (trying to remove the pain of my father’s passing), or maybe because I’ve always been someone who has felt that in order to do something with your life, you have to make the opportunities happen no matter what you’re doing through. Yes, you can mope a bit, but you should always, always, get up and fix the problem and while you’re at it help some others along the way.  I guess we can say, I do agree with Forbes Mag every once in a while. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0411/opinions-rich-karlgaard-innovation-rules-american-religion.html

COMMUNICATION:

Now, I don’t love Lady Gaga. As a matter of fact, I don’t really like her period. However, I will give her credit where credit is due and that is the area of her communication principles. I won’t call them social media practices because something I’ve realized in my own social media endeavors is that, I don’t like that phrase. I prefer to communicate with my clients and potential clients. While I do use social media tools to engage and interact with people in both a professional and personal way, I always act according to how I feel, which more-than-likely means personally. I write all of this because the  FastCompany Blog posted the following article about how Lady Gaga excels at creating a community and how everyone can learn from this. I think it’s well done. I also like the bit about acknowledging your fans. I have always told my friends and family that I’m a better person because of their support and love. It’s something I continue to believe as I develop S2 Stationery and Design.  http://www.fastcompany.com/1770222/5-things-lady-gaga-can-teach-marketers-about-community-building

This article from a site I stumbled upon (without the help of stumbleupon) is a great reminder for creating content and tone for a website. I should probably review it a few more times. http://sixrevisions.com/content-strategy/website-tone-voice/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

I think this next article can easily fit under Business, but I’m putting it under this heading because branding, marketing and PR are all tools of in the communications shed.  I think this article makes a great case for small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to make an impact with their businesses, products and/or services.  As we are all aware, everyone judges a book by it’s cover, even when it is suggested that they don’t. The reality is that how you present yourself and your business matters. In my case, I present myself as never changing. What I mean is, I don’t really care what people think of me. Yes, I want to make a good impression, but I always go out as Sara and that means that as I communicate for S2 Stationery and Design, I always communicate as Sara – natural, personal and fun. My logo, packing (although still in the works) and communication style all reflect that. I hope you find what works for you and your brand/company.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/businesses-find-they-cant-grow-without-branding/2011/07/27/gIQARXLhlI_story.html

In keeping with the whole idea of communication for and branding your business, I present the following article which appeared on Mogula Mom’s site August 3rd. Some great ideas! http://www.themogulmom.com/2011/08/the-rule-of-branding-your-business-cant-survive-without

This article is great! I’m placing it under this title because interaction with clients involves communication. Most importantly it involves how you communicate with your clients, good, bad, and all. http://mashable.com/2011/08/03/freelancing-bad-clients/

YOU:

This one comes courtesy of Oprah Magazine and Martha Beck! The article is about intuition and how to listen to your intuition. Now, I should set the record straight and just come out and say that I am a hippy. I am also a tree-hugging environmentalist. Needless to say when you combine these two, I’m a star-gazing, universe-believing, eco-friendly artist and entrepreneur.  Another, more simple way to say this is, I look to nature and the stars for signs and guidance to direct me both in professional and personal endeavors. The road trip I had at the end of July is a great example of this-nature inspired me, but signs that I saw along the trip will guide me in the days and weeks after. I’m looking forward to them all. What I think allows me to move in this way is that I believe 100% in my intuition. I haven’t always listened to it and those have been the moments that haven’t been so great, but when I have and I have had the best rewards, even if to some heartbreak doesn’t count as a reward. I can go on this topic for weeks and months and maybe at a later date, I will discuss my thoughts on intuition and where it has led me, but anyone who knows the story of S2 Stationery and Design origin knows that it all came to be from intuition, a dream and the universe guiding me. If you’re looking to find and nurture your intuition, read this article! http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Finding-Your-Inner-Voice-Developing-Intuition-Martha-Beck 

Just this morning I had to stand up for myself. No, I wasn’t in a confrontation, instead I found myself and my desire being pushed by the idiocy of someone else. What I did was I presented my true self (which I always do) to the person who was on the other end of the conversation. I’m being deliberately vague here and I realize you may be lost about what I’m saying, but as I found myself getting ready to respond to the situation, I received this posting-http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/how-to-do-the-right-thing/?awt_l=8ByzZ&awt_m=ItO0sU6qVsnt7W-from my favorite “follow-your-dreams” writer and promoter, Chris Guillebeau. It was EXACTLY what I needed to read and gave me the final push to say what I had to say, speak my mind and stand up for my desire, passion and belief. Thanks Chris!

CRAFTING FUN:

Every once in a while I receive an e-newsletter from a catering company, Great Performances,  I had been in conversation with over a year ago for a 9-to-5 event I was helping plan.  To the point, I recently got an email from them with this blog posting for D0-it-yourself care packages. I LOVE the idea they come up with not just for camp care packages, for even something as simple as a wedding gift. If it were me, I’d fill them with roasted coffee beans and tea leafs to give out…just an idea. Enjoy crafting! http://www.greatperformances.com/blog/diy-care-package-capturing-memory

Speaking of crafting, I cam across this blog with eco-crafts for the home that I just loved! I especially love (and will make) the wine cork bathmat for my future residence. I mean how cool is that idea?! There are some other nifty ideas in this list as well, but the wine cork bathmat really got me thinking and wanting to share. Enjoy! http://webecoist.com/2011/07/25/diy-decor-inspiration-14-eco-crafts-for-the-home/

ENVIRONMENT/WORLD:

Remember I’m a bit of an environmentalist when you click on this link.  I read this great article in New York Magazine on the state of fisheries in NY specifically, but I think the ramifications are global.  As someone who tries to think eco-friendly foremost as I design and create, I think it is worth sharing this article with everyone.  We all use water and rely on the ocean for something, even if it is just inspiration as we create art.  As an entrepreneur and business owner, I know that I require water to continue to have a supply of paper; it is as important as the trees cut down to make the paper.  I hope reader, that you find this article as eye-opening as I did and that it leads you to sustainable considerations and practices. http://nymag.com/news/features/bycatch-2011-7/

Yes, I am vying (years down the road) for a spot in the Master’s program that Cheryl Heller chairs at the School for Visual Arts, but her blog on design and social innovation is fascinating to me. Her writing is clear and concise and as I read this article, I know exactly why it is that I want to be part of her program and this movement. It’s not that I want to change the world, I want to change the way people view and engage with the world. With that said, I agree with everything she states in here, especially her part on changing human behavior and not the world. I also really agree with her analysis of the mining from the ocean floor. This blog posting is quite timely as I recommend the fishing article from a late July issue of New York Magazine above. Sustainability is not just a catch phrase, it is a meaningful powerful action that if taken by everyone on this planet could do a lot of good. Think about it, not just as an individual, but as an innovator, artist, creator, entrepreneur.  http://www.hellercd.com/2011/08/the-most-important-design-for-social-innovation-is-invisible/

I am not going to lie. I love Good.is. The website is on target with everything I believe in. They made me even more happy when I read the following article about profit and whether it is what makes a company succeed. As I slowly put together my comments on capitalism for a blog I’ve been working on for a while now, this helps me make sense of what I think companies should be, do and strive to do in order to make a profit, sure, but ensure global well being.  Thank you, GOOD! http://www.good.is/post/is-profit-all-you-need-to-succeed/

This article is about building a sustainable business, but also how to do so accidentally. As the article recounts there are plenty of instances when a company does something for the sake of saving money and ends up helping the planet. Of course, I believe it should be the reverse, but if you accidentally become an eco-friendly company, you are in the right direction. http://www.fastcompany.com/1774022/how-to-turn-a-green-legacy-into-a-gold-brand

PASSION:

You know how I feel about finding your passion! Because I’ve been lucky to find mine, I want you to find yours. The following article posted by Louise Gale on The {NewNew} blog has five very important questions to help you find your passion and get closer to finding fulfillment in your every day life. Hope it helps! http://thenewnew.blogspot.com/2011/08/5-steps-to-discovering-your-passion.html

This posting comes from one of my favorite {NewNew} connections, Virginia Kraljevic! She is an amazing illustrator and I am lucky to be orbiting her creative world! She is a writer for the {NewNew} blog and wrote an amazing post this month about finding inspiration and creativity, http://thenewnew.blogspot.com/2011/08/magical-formula-to-creativity.html. What I like the most about this posting is her statement about being an artist, “Leave out the “aspiring” part and just be an artist.  If you can’t accept the fact that you’re an artist, then why should anyone else?”. This is something that I have discussed before (I think) and something that I have dealt with in the road to designing and creating cards and stationery. Having lived with two designers, it felt odd and weird for me to go around saying that I was a designer and an artist when I didn’t have the degree and training that they have. Boy, was I not only wrong, but silly for these thoughts! I am an artist and by saying that I’m an artist and carrying myself like an artist, I am more believable and AM an artist. Thank you Virginia!

CREATIVITY:

How does one go about killing creativity? It’s really easy. At least it has been in my experience. As someone who has been in office environments, I know first hand how creativity can be killed and how it weakens teams, lessens morale and heightens lack of respect. It’s not something anyone should ever have to experience, although it is part of life.  This article gives tips that even an artist who has assistants can stand to read and gain knowledge. http://www.spring.org.uk/2011/07/6-ways-to-kill-creativity.php

INSPIRATION:

Normally, I read these articles in TONY and think, okay that was a fun read, but these four business owners are inspiring and I had to share them with you! http://newyork.timeout.com/things-to-do/1749007/successful-start-up-stories?cmpid=TD080811

You may be wondering why I have included an article about job-hunting and being flexible under inspiration, but the truth is, this column inspired me. I hope it inspires you. Something I’ve been battling for a while is my impatience to just do things. Don’t get me wrong, I have been doing things, but I also get caught up in the security of having a job and health insurance. The reality though is that I know that I could be making more and would be happy if I dumped what I think I know and went completely for what I definitely know will make me happy. In other words, stay tuned for a longer blog on this topic. For now, just read Dailyworth! http://www.dailyworth.com/posts/851-How-Flex-Should-You-Be-in-Your-Job-Hunt-#jump

I’ve had a bit of a brutal week (August 8th). It involved some tears, impatience and LOTS of frustration. I took it out on a best friend of mine and then sat in my therapists office overwhelmed in tears and anger about the situation that I’m in. Needless to say not good. I know that change is on the way. I definitely know it is, but I sat there just so angry that I’m stuck and a stuck Sara is NOT a good thing. Opening up, admitting my feelings and crying helped a lot. So much did it help that this morning when my alarm went off at 6:00, I didn’t lay in bed. I instead got up and started my day. Now I am definitely in somber spirits, but I got this little gem in my email this morning from Mayi Carles who runs Heartmade Blog. Her video was exactly what I needed to hear as I ride the tide. http://www.heartmadeblog.com/blog/wax-on-wax-off

INNOVATION:

This section is inspired by Forbes Magazine. I’m not quite sure WHY I read Forbes because it often times leaves me exhausted and upset. This month was no different. I managed to get through my August 8th issue quickly, but I was intrigued and upset equally. The issue was titled “Innovators” and they ranked the “50 Best Companies of Tomorrow” which made me excited. After all innovation is something that gets me excited constantly. I often feel that innovation is a term used without any true understanding of the definition, but hey, I’m always excited to learn when a company is being innovative. Needless to say I dove right in and I was extremely pleased with the article about Steve Case: An Entrepreneur’s Life by Rich Karlgaard. I think it’s a great piece about the man who brought us America Online (yes, I am old enough to remember it and use it as a way to access the internet and chat online) and what he thinks about entrepreneurs and their abilities to innovate.  Then I went on to their piece highlighting the 50 innovative companies: Picking The Winners and read about the criteria as well as the 50 on the list. I stayed with them until I got to number 10-Monsanto with their reasonings being the following:  “Big idea: Perfecting, on a massive scale, pesticides, herbicides and seeds that work in tandem. Fast Facts: Invented EverMild onion (less bite, fewer tears) and Beneforte broccoli (boosting antioxidant enzymes 2 times as much as other varieties).”

Now, here’s my brief soapbox-if anyone has followed the story of Monsanto, then it is widely known that they go after small farmers who attempt to save their seed and grow their own crops without any of their rules and requirements. Not only has Monsanto turned the American corn and soy industry into genetically modified crops, they have sued many small farmers to the point of leaving them bankrupt because they refuse to use their genetically modified seeds. Additionally, if you use their seeds you must buy their seeds every year- you can not save seeds and reuse them. Now, if you are like me, you care about sustainable food. Genetically modified food is not sustainable food. The fact that they are going after people who want good, healthy food is a problem. Additionally, agriculture should not be big business. I firmly believe this. Everyone should be able to access good, wholesome food. The where the when and the how of food should be at the disposal of everyone who is spending the money on the food. Additionally, farming should be in the hands of the farmers, not those just looking out for a dollar. If Forbes is willing to call a company that produces poison in mass quantities innovative, we have a problem. A BIG problem. I suggest that Forbes really look for the innovators out there-they are the farmers like my CSA farmer, Chris Cashen of the Farm at Millers Crossing, who wants to feed people in NYC locally and healthy within the means that he can. That ins innovation. It may not be taking us into the future of flying cars and brain reading robots, but it’s taking us in a future that doesn’t involve an obese population and a respect for the environment, which in my eyes fosters health, creativity and innovation.

Readers, I dare you to look within and around you and find what innovation means to you and then help the world reconsider what innovation really SHOULD mean. I’m pretty sure Monsanto does not find itself on your list of innovative companies.

Even in my frustration and anger, Forbes magazine did lure me back in with their well written article about Parma, Italy, “Savoring Parma” (which you have to read in the physical publication), and the two foods that have formed an industry in it- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Prosciutto di Parma. What I loved the most about this article was the author’s, Rowan Jacobsen, ability to see, smell and taste exactly what he does. I also really enjoyed how he openly discusses the importance of history in the creation of both of these food items and even in their old world traditions are still innovative today. Without the old world traditions, the cheese and prosciutto would not be note worthy. I really want to visit these places in Parma, Italy now. I have a feeling they will inspire me to innovate!

I am beginning to LOVE Fast Company! This article about Google, innovation and not having a business plan, really hit home. I think the biggest part of being an innovator is taking the time to design, create and fail. I’m excited for the third part in this series by Tim Harford: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1664793/googles-business-strategy-have-no-business-strategy

I put this under innovation because I think that design can and should be innovative, even if it’s just a design for a logo. I think Dylan from GOOD makes a good case in this article about collaboration and paying for design (hardly an innovative idea). http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1DACnD/www.good.is/post/how-huffpo-s-crowdsource-controversy-hurts-designers-and-itself/

More articles in September!

I have to admit that I barely read in April. Actually, that’s not true. I did read. I read a ton, but I don’t think you want to read a recap of my romance novels that I plowed through several weekends in April. Instead when you get below, you’ll see links of all the blogs and articles I did read and did enjoy reading and think you can learn from. You know the drill.

But before I get into those articles, I want to include a blog posting written about yours truly, ME, and my work space. I credit the amazing Katie G., who was here, visiting that weekend, and took the picture of my messy, messy space with me in it and the wonderful Stephanie of Metalicious, who also happens to be a member of my Etsy Team, The {NewNew}.  The article, titled, “Workspace Wednesday: Featuring S2 Stationery and Design” is from May, so really should be included in the May Favorites issue of this blog, but since I’m late with April and the posting came out yesterday and it is about ME, I decided to just include it in April’s. It makes perfect sense to me even if not to you. {Insert image of me sticking out my tongue at you, reader who disagrees.}  I think it’s a wonderfully done article and getting Stephanie’s kind words are just the encouragement I need. Thank you, Stephanie!

Now on to my favorite’s of April:

BUSINESS:

Mogul Mom and her article about comedians sharing rather than competing got me REALLY thinking about how businesses can really band together and learn from the simple concept of sharing. I know as a female I’ve often times wondered how much more awesome women would be if we stopped hating each other based on looks and instead decided to share our secrets, history, and lessons with each other.  I don’t just mean sex story swaps either,  I mean, debt story swaps and heartbreak swaps. After all, this is the basis behind any good knitting group or book club, so why not in small business/entrepreneur endeavors? This article made me so happy to have my community of fellow {NewNew}ers because we already do something like this. But what if I got together with another group of stationery makers and created a group where we could share and complain and partner together? Not something that can’t be done, but definitely something that MORE of us should be considering. http://www.themogulmom.com/2011/04/bonding-over-business/

This is a FREE ebook from the wonderful Megan Auman of Crafting an MBA. It is her best articles from the site. I actually have many of them already in my “light reading” binder for S2 inspiration, but I highly recommend that you read this thoroughly and share amongst your friends and family and anyone else trying to make a go of entrepreneurship. Also check out her site. It’s well, great. http://craftmba.com/downloads/bestofcraftmba.pdf

This is incredibly important for all entrepreneurs. I know, especially as a designer that we can get hung up on things such as how perfect our logo is and the reality is that a logo should be noticeable and stand out a bit, but it shouldn’t consume the real nuts and bolts of your business. Megan shares her thoughts here. She rocks! http://www.craftmba.com/2011/04/25/promote-your-product-not-your-logo/

I’d like  a cupcake right now. To eat. Not to learn from. But I did learn a few things from this article. Enjoy!  http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/12269/Marketing-Lessons-From-the-Cupcake.aspx

YOU:

Successful businesses are caused by a variety of different things, but ultimately it comes down to YOU. This article really was a jolt for me to stop being unmotivated or unhappy about things not moving in the direction I want them to, when I want them. Maybe it’ll help you, too: http://rowdykittens.com/2011/04/fearless/

How do you keep the excitement? Chris can tell you how! http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/opening-night/?awt_l=8ByzZ&awt_m=1a6rhPMhosnt7W

Yoga! It is the way to go! And it can help in so many ways and places as you’ll find out. http://www.good.is/post/how-yoga-can-improve-your-looks-and-your-sex-life

THIS article of all the articles is important. What happens when YOU (or ME) don’t have the motivation, or believe that another road is the best road, or better yet that we’re not good enough?  What happens when we just stop? When I’m down, I realize I have to feel the feelings, but then I need to get back up and move because life can be tough, if we let it.http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/the-starving-artist-solves-the-problem/?awt_l=8ByzZ&awt_m=1ZED7h6kpsnt7W#comments

Ah, what is it about O Magazine? I know I’ve written about how inspiring I find Oprah Mag, and once again, it left me breathless. This article is a MUST read for anyone and everyone. Please, share it with everything you know and love. We all have people and situations and even ourselves that we have to forgive. This article will help you take steps to learn forgiveness.  http://www.oprah.com/health/How-to-Forgive-Others-Health-Benefits-of-Forgiveness-Fred-Luskin

CREATIVITY:

Remember how I took a calligraphy class? Well, this article talks about the art of learning handwriting and why it’s so important to not just give into the touch screens and key pads of your electronic gadgets. Another way to think of it that your brain will thank you later! http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/04/handwriting-is-a-21st-century-skill/237998/

I present, “A 12-Step Guide to Fostering Your Creativity” from Mashable because sometimes even us creative types need a refresher on exploring + channeling creativity.  http://mashable.com/2011/04/12/creativity-guide/

TRAVEL/INSPIRATION:

I read a blog by Sherry Ott pretty regularly. Her website is called Ott’s World and she is a nomadic traveler and photographer. She once sat in a cube, but for the past four years has been wandering, learning and sharing her experiences via blog and photos. She’s got amazing talent and I love reading her updates. With that said, she is part of this great and FREE ebook called: “Around the World with 40 Lonely Planet Bloggers”. She shared it with her readers just the other day and so now I’m sharing it with you. (If you like what you see, I suggest you check out Ms. Sherry and learn about her amazing decision to do the Mongol Rally 2011 to help raise money for Christina Noble Children’s Foundation, a charity helps homeless and abandoned children of Mongolia.)  The book inspires me in more ways that I can tell you and I thought it might do the same for you.  http://media.lonelyplanet.com/pdfs/Around_the_world_40_Lonely_Planet_Bloggers.pdf

Travel far and wide, never forgetting to learn along the way!  That’s my motto.  Happy May! More posts soon.

You may or may not remember that I posted something about timing briefly the other day. I’m going to talk a bit more about timing.  I’m a fan of timing. Or as this guy once told me, “this just proves that timing is everything.” So true.

I suppose the even bigger question is what role does energy play in timing? I firmly believe that timing is a direct presentation of our personal energy. For example, take me this morning- I woke up groggy and not looking forward to the weekend, only because my room is in the worst state of mess possible and I’m tired. Obviously, my energy was a bit off, but I realized that it was completely off after watching my MacBook Pro die. It only got worse after that-I went to get my clothes from the closet and my hanger snapped in half and then I went to re-toast my bagel just a bit to warm it up more and it burned. I stood in my kitchen saying, “of course this happened. of course!” Granted it’s a hanger and a bagel, but my Mac was dead and therefore everything else would play into that.

At that point, I did what I could do. Hung up my clothes on another hanger, finished getting dressed, ate my burnt piece of bagel, called my job and notified them that I had a personal emergency and would be late and then got my butt on it’s way to the Apple Store’s Genius Bar in Chelsea.

On a positive note,  Señor Mac it is now ready for pick up. Thank goodness! Even better, I had the extended warranty, so I didn’t have to pay to have the hard drive replaced.

On a negative note, I didn’t back up my laptop this week like I had reminded myself to three days ago and so I lost a few things that I worked on this week and some new music I just bought and downloaded.

Right now, I’m just glad that Senor Mac is up and running and that all will be okay. Why? Because I can not afford a new mac at this time and my mac is my personal life in a box. It contains S2 Stationery and Design, most importantly, but it contains my memories.

And so, friends, lesson of the day is that timing showed me that it rules the show. But I showed timing that I would, and can,  roll with its punches.  Something I think every entrepreneur and human needs to know in order to succeed in life.

All of this got me thinking about how we bring things together with our energy and our how sometimes we feel like things have been brought to us in a moment of need, or when we’re ready.  It made me think about past instances when I wasn’t expecting anything and BAM, there was exactly what I was looking for, or the times when I misplace something and I’ve gone crazy looking for the object(s) and can’t find them for the life of me, but then, BAM, the minute I stop looking, I find them. All timing.

Then I thought about the friends in my life. The new and the old. I realized that timing has everything to do with the people we meet and the relationships we cultivate.  A great example of this, is my friend E! I met him randomly while traveling to Prague and he was exactly what I needed- he was traveling alone as was I and it was the day before my 27th birthday (which I spent in Paris with good friends), but I felt a bit odd traveling alone in Prague, but there was E! who kind of swept me up and made that day amazing.

I have even experienced this with books. Yep. Books. I have gotten my hands on material that I didn’t know I needed to read at the time. Yes, we all pick books and articles, etc to read based on our thoughts, opinions and interests, but I have had a few amazing instances where I’ve begun reading something, maybe because it was suggested to me, or it was an article in a magazine I’ve already been reading and BAM, the article was therapeutic to my soul.  I could give you quite a few examples of this, but I’ll give you my three favorite, or maybe most meaningful:

1. Place: Florence, Italy. Time: 2:00 am.  Year: 2009. Book:  Women Who Run With The Wolves. Experience: My dad had just passed away a month prior to this encounter and I was reading this book of amazing stories and came across a story about a woman that is kept away from her natural self by marrying a man and producing a child. The woman then goes back to her natural self, and leaves her life, including her child. There’s this point where they meet at the end and the mother tells the child that she had to, that she wasn’t happy, that she needed to be free. It was at that moment that I sobbed and had a better understanding of my dad’s death. It didn’t heal me, nor did it make my grief go away, but it made it slightly easier to understand. I should point out that I was reading this book because I was looking for something- something that might ease my pain and my hurting soul, but I was not expecting what I got from that one story in this book.  I highly recommend this book to every female.

2. Place: Bench outside of apartment in NYC. Time: 1:30 pm. Year: 2010. Magazine: Oprah Mag. Experience: I had just gotten back from brunch with a good pal and felt exhausted, but I had said I’d go to my aunt’s house instead for the day. As I got back to my apartment, I called my cousin and told her I felt tired, but was going to head on over, but really just felt tired and sad. She told me to take a nap and then decide if I wanted to come over or not. I said okay, but instead sat on a bunch in front of my apartment and pulled out my copy of Oprah Magazine. I sat there reading and eventually laid down on the bench while reading and crying. I had started reading an article titled, “The Secret to Surviving Life’s Low Points,” by Martha Beck.  I remember reading it and crying and realizing that I needed to grief more and be okay with just grieving. It’s natural to grieve and be sad and sometimes just be.  After that, I went up to my apartment, napped for 2 hours and then spent the rest of the afternoon cooking and baking. In other words, I just was.  Another very important lesson to learn.

3. Place: Subway. Time: Don’t remember. Year: 2011. Magazine: Ready Made.Experience: I mentioned in my posting titled, “Magazines” about the wonderful new (and FREE) subscription I recently received to Ready Made Magazine and I gushed. One of the reasons I gushed was because receiving this magazine was a whole complete instance of timing in itself.  The day I received the magazine, I remember distinctively putting together my list for a selling opportunity I will be participating in this Summer and saying I really need to get my recycled X (details soon!) line together. I got home not just to find Ready Made Magazine in my mail box, BUT it was all about recycling items into functional pieces. It also contained an article titled, “How Did You Get That F*&%ing Awesome Job?“. It was also a day in a week, where I just wanted to walk out of my office and never return and this article made me realize that I can make S2 Stationery a reality (not that I needed that reminder), but when you’re ready to walk out the door, and yet you’re paralyzed from fear at not knowing where your next paycheck will come from, it’s enough to stop you in your tracks.  Cindy Gallop, who is interviewed in the article, makes the following statement, “But at the end of the day, the only person who is going to make things happen for you is you. The single biggest luxry in this life is being able to do what you want, when you want, and how you want, and not give a damn what anybody else thinks. Know that, because that is what emboldens you.”  I don’t have to tell you again that it was exactly what I needed without being aware. The page was dogeared  and I’m sharing it with you today, so it’s clearly something that has and will continue to stick with me.

Again, I’ve had many encounters where time has been in and out of my favor, but each time, I’ve gained something. All in all, I’d say time and her timing is worth the wait and the patience.  Especially when building a business and working on building a better YOU.

In the past two weeks I’ve been stocking up on magazines. I know, I know, HOW archaic can I be?

Honestly?

Pretty.

I like paper, so um, duh, I’d love to read actual print on paper and that includes articles in magazines.  Not to mention, I don’t quite enjoy the burning sensation my eyes experience when reading constantly on a computer screen. So I choice to continue to read on my preferred medium. That does not mean I don’t respect the world of technology, instead I choose to respect it and respect my preference as well. No worries, you e-reader, I don’t dislike you, or your kindle. I just like my paper copy of my magazine.

Having said that, I’ve definitely been known to have a fickle relationship with the print medium. My first magazine ever was Highlights. My mom subscribed my brother and I when we were children and I’m still amazed at how excited I am when I think about or see a copy of recent issues of this publication.

As I grew, my interests developed and my first “real” magazine subscription was to Glamour at the bright young age of 16. How I read those articles at that age is beyond me, but up until last year, I still received Glamour.  That’s a solid 14 years of receiving one magazine.  In those 14 years, I’ve received quite a few other publications: “Eating Light,” “Health,” “The New Yorker,” “Everyday with Rachel Ray,” and  “FOOD.”  When I moved to NY, my interests changed yet again and so I scaled back on some and now only receive, “New York,” “Forbes,” and “Oprah.”

Sometimes I miss my days of  receiving “Glamour” and some of the other magazines, but the reality is that I’ve outgrown a few of them. I knew this was the case when I realized that I could get through an issue in an hour. That includes having skimmed or completely ignored a few articles. Normally, I tend to ruminate over an article or several, extending the period it takes me to finish reading a magazine from front to back over a period of days.

These self-imposed rules however do not stop me from considering other magazines and I have been known to grab a new magazine at the checkout to take home and peruse.  Most of the time, this does not lead to ordering a subscription. However this month, I’ve just added two magazines to my rotation: “Inc.” and “Ready Made”.

Ready Made magazine was a gift. Seriously. I thought someone, maybe a friend of mine, learning/knowing of my crafting interest and my paper love, sent me a surprise subscription as a gift. I was both wrong and right.  I couldn’t figure out who would send it and there was no letter with the magazine when I received it in the mail a few weeks ago. I called the Ready Made subscription center and the guy told me that the publisher/magazine company decided to send me a free six-month subscription to the magazine. I’m assuming that I am on a list somewhere and that’s how they got my information, but I was nonetheless pleased.

It’s rare that we get anything for free these days. I am not so naive to think that I won’t be expected to subscribe once the free offering is over, but I’m just amazed that a magazine, especially in this day and age where magazines are moving toward the world of tablets and smart phones, was willing to risk money loss to send me a free magazine for a six month period. Of course, they won’t lose money because at the end of the offer I will subscribe, but it made me feel good. It made me feel like I had just one money from a lottery ticket, albeit a lottery ticket I didn’t pay for, but nonetheless, a lottery ticket.  I’m looking forward to seeing what other crafters are doing. It also made me feel like I was getting linked more to the art/craft/recycling communities.

Inc. Magazine is a bit different. I’ve  always known about Inc. It’s a very reputable publication amongst small business owners and entrepreneurs.  My interest in business magazines has only been a recent development, so I hadn’t quite gotten to Inc. on my own, however back in February there was a photo shoot call for Etsy sellers for a piece being done on Etsy and the creator. The call was announced through the Etsy community and since the loft is located by my job, I decided to take my lunch break and try to be part of the article.

The experience was fun! I had never been to a loft as gorgeous as this one, nor had I ever been to a professional photo shoot, but I enjoyed the experience. When I left, I called my mom and told her I had been part of it, but had no idea if I would be included.

Well, this week, the article came out and I was pleased to find that my photo made it to the mosaic of Etsy sellers introducing the article. I was amazed, shocked and excited. As a matter of fact, I went to Borders and bought all the copies they had on stock. Kind of vain, yes, but also really amazed that I had some sort of press. I wasn’t interviewed, but not only is my photo there, my name and the type of business is posted as well.  The business category is wrong, but hey, I’ll still take it and take it with a huge old grin on my face, too. So. Absolutely. Worth. It.

As I sat reading my way to the article about Etsy, I ended up reading some great articles that made me think, “Sara, you need a subscription!” I’m only about 3/4 of the way through this month’s issue, but as you can guess,  I’m a subscriber now, too.

I think I may have to dedicate a night a week to staying up late just to read through all these publications. I’m jesting now, but you never know.

If you have any magazines you think I might enjoy, please share them. I’m always curious and interested, not to mention I’m curious about you, too, fellow reader.

Unknown to me, I’ve always had vision boards. Always. They started when I was a child and I hung posters up of my favorite celebrities (that doesn’t count as a vision board, but it means that I’ve tried to visualize the things that I want).  Now as I think back to vision boards of the past, I realize that I had a paper vision board years ago. I can remember exactly what it looked like. Try to picture this if you can…a wall by my bed with scraps of my favorite wrapping papers scattered all over the place.  The papers ranged in color, glitter, texture, pattern, thickness, etc. And I loved every piece. I know that when I moved away and parted with my favorite scraps I was sad.

Yet, the vision boards haven’t stopped. Even now, in my bedroom above my desk is a collection of random pieces of magazines, ads that I’ve loved, quotes that have inspired, photos that have taken my breath away. The pictures range from babies and people that I love, to places that I  have been that have a special memory, etc.

I also carry vision boards with me. Okay, maybe these aren’t vision boards, exactly, but I carry clippings of emails, photos, my favorite horoscopes, things that inspire me all the time. I have them in books as markers, I have them in my journal, I have them in my personal planner (yep, I’m old school, no electronic calendar system for me). Whenever I open a book that I’m reading, I see these items and I immediately feel warm and happy. Aware that things are positive, that good things fill my life and most importantly that life is where it should be and where I want it to be.

I’m writing about all of this because earlier this week, I was talking to my coworker and we discussed how over the longer New Year weekend (my company is giving us a 5-day weekend) we’re going to clean up and straighten ourselves for the new year. We’re going to not just clean house physically, but clean ourselves mentally. Of course this goes along the lines of not just my mental health, but I’m going to start planning for the 2011 year of S2. In June, S2 will have been around for two years! It’s crazy to think that when I still feel like I just opened shop a month ago. I plan to do the following:

1. Go through all my papers and rid myself of the things I no longer need.

2. Plan to get my business paper work together for tax purposes, along with personal tax information as well, but I want every receipt ready to go come tax time.

3. Work on putting together my strategy. I’m not saying that I can piece together a business plan in 2 days, but I’m going to FINALLY get that business plan in order. Or at least a rough rough draft of it.

4. Lastly, I’m going to finally work on my signature S2 Stationery item–a piece that is near and dear to my heart and what brought this to fruition.

All BIG plans for five days. I’m aware that this means I can’t just sit around and watch movies during the day, but I don’t intend to leave my house. Nope, nope, nope. I’m going to stay in pajamas and work and maybe watch a movie here and there. I’m going to start 2011 new and ready to face the stationery world and achieve my goals.

With all of this in mind, I will also create my new vision board. I’ve already got some pieces ready to go up. I plan to get some kraft paper so that I can create my vision board on kraft paper and at the end of the vision board’s span, I can roll it up, or fold it and put it in my annual box of mementos.  Currently, I just stick the pieces up on the wall with tape. This means that when I move or have to take something down, pages get torn, or get thin from the removal. Now, though, I will not have to be concerned, thanks to the wonder of kraft paper!

I am incredibly sad to have to take down some of my favorite pieces of design. Even more I’m sadden by the thought that  down will come the photo of Maya Angelou and her “Phenomenal Woman” poem, the Heineken ad that talks about Charisma, etc, but I know that they’ve run their course. They’ve visually offered me something that I’ll never forget–inspiration.  I will always be able to revisit the vision wall, I’m just going to put it in my 2010 box, but I do know this, I will not remove the  photos of my ever classy grandmother and my father, my friends in Paris, nor my Infinite BFF, Mark. Those will stay up; the rest will come down.

As a matter of fact, I’ll take a picture of my wall/vision board now and then in January post a photo of my new and bare vision board for comparison. I will also regularly post pictures of them so you, my readers (if there are any of you out there), can see how they expand and involve.

Here is my current vision board:

For those of you considering the idea of a vision wall/board (which I highly recommend that you do), I share an article that I remember reading many many months ago in Oprah Magazine by her columnist Martha Beck, “What The Heck’s A Vision Board—and How Can It Change Your Life?” I remember reading it and thinking, “wow, what a great idea!” Of course, I didn’t do anything about it, but that’s just because I had yet to realize the connection and the power of my own wall of inspiration.

Do you have a vision board? Have you noticed that these things come true? Share your thoughts and stay tuned for photos of my vision board and my future vision board.

I started this blog almost two weeks ago, on October 20th to be exact and couldn’t finish it. I’m not sure why, but something stumped me. When I started to write, I had reached out to someone who works with a letter press machine. I wanted to find out how one actually goes about letter pressing items. She very kindly and quickly responded with options for me to learn about letter pressing from two organizations/institutions here in NYC, but stated that she didn’t have the facility to teach me. Fair enough. At least I reached out.

And so begins the whole concept of today’s blog and asking to learn things from others. Others who have experience, a business, or maybe just a skill that you’re eager to learn.

This is also around the time that I came across the Follow Your Dreams/ What’s Your Path section of the November issue of Oprah Magazine. (Yes. I read Oprah Magazine.)  I came across this quiz that asked the simple question, “What’s Holding You Back?” Of course I immediately took it and learned that I’m ready for a change and that I fear success.  (You can take the quiz here: http://www.oprah.com/money/Whats-Holding-You-Back_1.)  I wasn’t surprised by these answers at all.

I’ve known for quite some time that I’m over my current job. I also am aware that corporate life just isn’t for me at all either. This doesn’t make me unhappy at the least, it just means that I’m ready to a change. A positive change. A new direction.  The fear of success wasn’t too much of a surprise either because I also know that I don’t accept my awesomeness. I know that sounds weird and wonky, but it’s kind of true.  Hey, awareness is the first step isn’t it? Yep.

And this is where my excuses come in…see, I have no design degree or firm background. I just have a love of color and everything paper.  I always have.  My ideas come from ideas and while a lot of them require computer software programs like the Creative Suite, I also use my hands and textiles to complete a design.

I also sometimes believe that I can’t be a designer if I don’t know how to deal with printers, etc. That’s just plain silly, I know.  (Go ahead laugh at me.) This is where my fear of  success comes in–I’m afraid that I won’t be able to do it and learn from it.  Furthermore, I’m afraid that if I make a fool of myself, everyone will know that I’m not a real designer and I’ll never be taken seriously.

Pretty steep confession, eh? Yeah. A silly steep confession at that. But now it’s out. My one big success fear is out in the open, which I hope means it cancels itself out because it is just ridiculous!  I can learn a lot of new things. I already do. So this fear just needs to go somewhere.  I have every faith that it will disappear and it makes it all the more important that I continue to reach out.

There is a lot about paper that I don’t know. Heck, there’s a lot about design that I don’t know. Every order that I complete requires learning a new skill, looking at something I know completely different and finding ways to make it happen.  Sometimes it requires that I look at other artists work (not to steal, but to see what others are thinking) and ask them how they came about, or sometimes it requires me reading the history of a technique or attending a class. All good things.  After all, before design as we know it came to be, it was a bunch of different people making different things that stood out and made us feel moved in one sense or another.

What I’m doing with paper, requires a lot of different techniques and I’m on board to learn them. I clearly won’t learn all of them or even many of them, but I will learn the ones that I am most interested in and I will also the ones that will help my individual person and unique materials.

That my friend(s) is reaching out.  I hope you reach out as much as you can. Especially if you’re an entrepreneur that doesn’t have a certain skill set. The more learning you do, the better business you’ll run and person you’ll be.

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