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Words of the Week – Don’t Quit Your Daydream

Sunflower Paperie blog - Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Flower photographed at the Tucson Botanical Garden

Hello again! I don’t remember when I first heard the phrase “Don’t quit your daydream,” but it is something that continues to resonate with me. Throughout my life I have had different daydreams and I think they are important, because they keep me thinking about the future, setting goals and challenging myself to do new things.

The Sunflower Paperie shop will turn 3 years old on May 1st of this year. When I opened the shop, I had no idea how many sales I would make or what customers would think. I remember my first sale so clearly – the customer was a mom from Mississippi and she wanted me to make the decorations for her son’s first birthday. I was SO excited to help her and had so much fun creating the order. After that first sale, I was hooked on helping people celebrate life’s special occasions!

I am constantly thinking of new items I want to make or services I want to offer through Sunflower Paperie. What started as a hobby, has turned into something I would love to be able to do full time. Maybe your daydream isn’t career or job related. Perhaps it is retiring early or traveling abroad each year. Whatever it is, I would encourage you to write it down and make it happen. Share your daydream with friends or family members who will encourage you to pursue it! With a little work, consistency and dedication many daydreams are more obtainable than we realize.

What is something you are dreaming of currently?! What is a daydream you had for years that you made happen?! I would love to hear from you in the comments! 

Words of the Week – Consistency = Habits

Sunflower Paperie

Hello everyone! I am back with another edition of Words of the Week“!

The last couple of weeks I have been thinking about habits (both big and small) and how they impact our lives. This past January, I decided to stop drinking soda. While I had previously stopped for months on end, I would eventually fall back into the habit of drinking soda. This may sound harmless enough, but when I drink soda, that is what I drink the most of over the course of the day. I have always been a diet soda drinker, so calories weren’t the issue, but the more I read about artificial sweeteners, the more I knew I needed to cut soda out.

Prior to the new year, I started drinking more unsweetened iced tea and less soda, so by the time January rolled around, it was relatively easy to stop drinking soda “cold turkey”. The more consistently I drink tea, the less I even think about soda. I have also noticed that the more I drink tea, the more water I drink, because water isn’t the sharp contrast to tea that it was from overly sweet soda.

What does all this have to do with this weeks “Words of the Week” you might ask? Well, I am using my success with eliminating soda as motivation for developing other positive habits in my life. The soda example is also motivating to me, because I have a tendency to see the “big” end result and feel overwhelmed, but with giving up soda I am now able to look back over the months and see that the small, consistent decision to drink tea or water has led to me no longer drinking soda. Small, consistent changes I can handle!

What examples do you have of becoming consistent and developing a habit? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments!

P.S. I am sure there is some lesson about consistency and the Saguaro Cactus (pictured), so feel free to comment on that too! 😉

Words of the Week – Start TODAY!

South Mtn - Sunflower Paperie

Happy Wednesday everyone! This weeks Words of the Week is a phrase that I have found myself repeating frequently this year – “Start TODAY or Start NOW!”. The older I get, the faster time seems to pass. My boyfriend gives me trouble, because I frequently say “I feel like it is either a Monday or a Thursday, the rest of the days just fly by!”

Start Today resonates with me in several areas of my life currently. As I indicated a couple of weeks ago, I am trying to lose weight this year. Start Today, may seem like a strange mantra, since once I start losing weight, I should just need to “continue” losing weight. I find these words motivating when I consider each day a fresh start towards my goals. Since I can’t go back in the past and prevent myself from gaining this weight, I find it more motivating to focus on the single day in front of me.

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Words of the Week

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This year I have been listening to and reading a variety of motivational and positive messages (both personal and professional in nature). I thought it would be fun to share a quote or phrase I am focusing on for a particular week each Monday with a little background about why the phrase is meaningful to me. This weeks phrase is “focus on the positive.”

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Friday Favorites // 06.26.15

Sunflower Paperie blog - Wyoming trip

Hello! So sorry for the radio silence over here! We visited Wyoming last week (see photo above!) and although I had great intentions of posting while I was gone, I completely unplugged instead! I will be sharing more about our trip soon, but in the meantime, I have another edition of Friday Favorites!

Some of you may know that my Dad is a woodworker and I actually worked for him a bit during high school and college. Needless to say, I have a great deal of respect for woodworkers and the amazing things they can create. One of my (now former) co-workers recently launched her own woodworking and design business! I am SUPER excited to share her website with you – don j design! The icing on the cake? Her shop kitty Don Julio is running the company Twitter account! 

Instagram is by far my favorite social media platform. The National Geographic Instagram account is AMAZING! I love the photos and have learned a lot from the captions.

I LOVE dogs! This 60 MInutes piece on “Chaser,” who has been nicknamed the “world’s smartest dog,” is fascinating! It also makes me feel like a bit of a slacker pet parent. 😉

Another thing I love? Sleeping. In the past couple of years, I have become somewhat obsessed with having the perfect sleep environment. I regularly use a sleep mask similar to the one found hereMy boyfriend actually got it for me at Target and while I initially thought it was a strange gift, I now swear by it (and even it take it with me when traveling). I like the contoured version because it blocks the light, but doesn’t rest on my eyes. 

Now it’s your turn, what have you been loving lately?! 

Friday Favorites // 06.12.2015

Happy Friday friends! Thanks for joining me for another edition of my “Friday Favorites”!

Sunflower Paperie blog - Friday Favorites

I shared this on Facebook as well, but how amazing is this story?! I would actually love to hear how diphtheria research has changed since she was a student in 1938!

One last shameless plug… I love Tina’s recap of Quinn’s 1st birthday party! She was so fun to collaborate with and I loved seeing all of the photos of the items I had provided!

After reading about tongue scraping (you read that correctly, tongue scraping!) on several sites, I decided to purchase one for myself. Honestly, I love this thing. Apparently our bodies detox through our tongues at night and brushing only moves the toxins around (and then we swallow them). Tongue scraping gets those toxins right off! I have noticed fresher breath and cleaner teeth (I guess because there isn’t junk on my tongue to latch on to my teeth?!) since I started using it regularly two weeks ago.

Our beloved dog, Hank, is an Australian Shepherd / Australian Cattle dog mix who has an insanely thick coat of LONG fur! When he was smaller I purchased a FURminator and it has remained one of our best pet care investments! We purchased the medium sized de-shedding tool for long haired dogs. My only regret is that I didn’t buy the large sized brush! So. Much. Fur.

How did I miss this cover of Jolene by the White Stripes?! This live version is excellent as well.

Of Monsters and Men released a new album! Love this group!

Once upon a time, I was in a musical entitled “Susan B. Anthony,” so outside of obvious reasons (I am a woman and I am a lover of history!), I am SO excited for the movie Suffragette documenting the women’s suffrage movement in the United Kingdom.

You can read my previous Friday Favorites here! What products, stories and music are you currently loving?! I would love to hear about your favorites in the comments! 

Creative Spotlight – Jennifer Kennedy

You might remember that last November I traveled to San Francisco to participate in the studio audience for a Creative Live class (new readers can read my recaps here, here and here!). In addition to learning a ton, I also gained a generous friend and business accountability partner that I want to introduce you to today – Jennifer Kennedy from Teach Good StuffJen recently started working her business full-time (!!!) so I was super excited to interview her for my latest Creative Spotlight.

Sunflower Paperie - Jennifer Kennedy interview

1. What do you do?!

As of two weeks ago, I am working full-time on my own business (Teach Good Stuff). Woohoo! I help coaches and authors package their expertise into online courses and ebooks so that they can make an impact in the world all while making money.

2. How did you get into this line of work?

I’ve been in education for over 13 years. I can’t believe time is flying so fast. I started out as an elementary school teacher, teaching 1st and 4th grades. I was fortunate enough to teach in 3 different types of schools – public, international, and charter. So, I have a diverse perspective about education.

I then decided to get out of teaching and pursue a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I wanted to become a curriculum coordinator for a school district and design their learning programs. Well, my journey didn’t go quite as planned, and I landed a job as a trainer in a software company. I learned loads of skills there – training, video design, writing instructional manuals, etc. After working there for a few years, I realized that I had a lot to offer people. I saw that online entrepreneurs were building courses and workbooks. I just knew I could offer support along their journey! And from there, the dream was born.

Sunflower Paperie - Jennifer Kennedy interview

Click HERE to continue!

Creative Spotlight – Brooke Smith

You may be starting to notice a trend in my Creative Spotlight features… All of the creatives I have interviewed have been current or former students I have worked with (I seriously work with the BEST population – college students rock!)! This week’s interview with Brooke Smith, owner of Brooke Marcella Photography, maintains this trend as Brooke is a recent graduate who I met through work.

Sunflower Paperie - Brooke Marcella Photography

The very talented Brooke of Brooke Marcella Photography

Many of you know that I work with business students at Arizona State University. As you might imagine, professional development is a big part of a business students experience while in college. I met Brooke during my first month at ASU when she was taking headshots for a group of student staffers I work with. Brooke is an Arizona-based photographer who since graduating this past December, is working her photography business full-time. She is super-talented and a delight to work with! All of the photos in this post were provided by Brooke and illustrate perfectly what a fun spirited person she is.

Click here for the FULL interview with Brooke!

A (Business) Birth Story

As I mentioned yesterday, I am excited to share a series of posts about some of my favorite orders and customers to celebrate reaching 600 sales in the Sunflower Paperie shop. Today I am eager to write a little bit about the history of Sunflower Paperie!

Sunflower Paperie Birth Story

I am often asked what prompted me to open the Sunflower Paperie Etsy shop. A common assumption is that I liked to scrapbook and craft, so it was a natural fit. The truth is that I had never scrapbooked (still don’t) and I definitely wasn’t overly crafty when I opened my shop. I had wanted to open an Etsy shop for quite some time, but hadn’t settled on what I wanted my product to be. Then in January of 2013, I co-hosted a baby shower for one of my childhood best friends and realized that making party decorations was pretty fun.

Sunflower Paperie Birth Story

The first banner I ever created!

For my friends baby shower, I made a trip to Michael’s and purchased a book of travel themed cardstock, pre-cut circle die cuts, a set of black chipboard letters, jute twine and some fancy scrapbooking glue (which I quickly ditched in favor of rubber cement!). The banners above were the first two I ever created, by hand cutting the flag shapes and then gluing everything together.

Not only had I enjoyed making the decorations for the shower, but my friends mom was very encouraging about my work and suggested that I try to sell similar items. I had a little extra Christmas money, so I started researching cutting machines and somewhat impulsively purchased a Silhouette Cameo machine.

Click here to read more!