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Sharpie Paint Pens Christmas Glassware – DIY

Sharpie Paint Pens on Glassware

I dont know what it is about Sharpie paint pens, but I love them! Fine-tip or bold, in every color, especially gold and silver. One of my happy places is doodling with them on paper and even more fun is being creative with them on glass or ceramics. The other day I started doodling, and all of a sudden the idea of Christmas glassespopped into my head, and then a Christmas tree appeared! Yes, literally. Now when I start my doodling, I kind of cant stop. I start winging it. I grabbed both the silver and gold Sharpie paint pens, a box of stemless wine glasses I had lying around, and well, got a little crazy. I started doodling, squiggling, and then these happened

sharpie-on-glass-permanantly

 

Oh my gosh, arent these SO pretty?! I love it when a project just kind of happens organically. You MUST try this. Its so much fun and super easy ????

sharpies-permanantly-on-glassware sharpie-paint-pens-on-glass

 

Gold and silver Sharpie paint pens are readily available at craft and office supply stores. The stemless wine glasses I found at a great price, in sets of six, at TJ Maxx. You can also find them at Home Goods and Marshalls.?? These would make a GREAT hostess gift filled with Dove chocolates ???? Theyre also perfect for serving yummy desserts and bubbly at holiday parties!!

sharpie-wine-glass-diy

Tips:

  1. Keep a wet wipe handy so??you can wipe off a mistake. However, on glass, you do have to work faster and scrub a little harder. Dont wait to fix something!
  2. I let them set for??24 hours to make the Sharpie paint pen permanent. If youre in a hurry, you can pop them in a 200 degree oven for an hour. Set the temperature on the oven and place the glasses in right away. No preheating necessary. Set your timer for an hour. Turn off the oven and allow glasses to cool inside the oven before removing them.
  3. I recommend hand washing the glasses. Even the manufacturer recommended hand washing

See Editors note below.

sharpie-on-glassware

Let the doodling commence! Cheers!

Well be blogging more for our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies and Crafts blog series this weekend, so be sure to stay tuned and come back then!! ????

xoxo

Editors note: These glasses are delicate and should not go into the dishwasher. HAND WASH ONLY. Also, in order to make the paint pen more permanent, I would recommend baking the glasses at a very low temperature in your oven. Just place the glasses on a cookie sheet in the oven and preheat to 150-200 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the glasses to cool in the oven. Remove carefully from the oven and allow to set for 24-48 hours before using.

Check out more from some of our other popular blog series:

Turquoise and Coral Wedding Ideas

Turquoise and Coral Wedding Ideas

turquoise-coral-best-wedding-ideas-decorations-theme

Via Rebekah Hoyt

turquoise-wedding-cake-inspiration turquois-coral-wedding-ideas turquoise-coral-wedding-theme-decoration-ideas

Your bridal party will look spectacular in coral or turquoise dresses, and the color really complements your beautiful wedding dress. Enhance visual interest in your wedding photos by letting your bridesmaids choose varying shades of coral or turquoise – it creates an amazing palette of color around you. !

via Jill Thomas Photography

via Megan Lange

via Bridesmaid Trade

 

via Dana Markos Events

Turquois and Coral just radiate a fun and upbeat vibe. Do you want your wedding to be joyous!? Of course you do and these colors scream that happy go lucky feeling a wedding is all about!

Chalkboard Mason Jars – DIY

Chalkboard Mason Jars

There’s always a lot of excitement around here when we create a fun, simple DIY and I have to say I think that this is one of my favorites. Mason jars have certainly come a long way over the last few years. Or let’s say, uses for them. Certainly more than just for weddings and lest we forget, for canning fruits and vegetables. Remember we used to solely use them to preserve food? And I know, some areas of our country have always used them for drinks too. We in New England are a little slow to embrace anything new except for technology, so mason jars are not as popular up here like they are in the South and Midwest. When I called a few hardware stores and even grocery stores to check if they carried the limited edition blue mason jars, I might as well have been asking if they carried alien snack food. I’m not kidding. I got a lot of cricket noises or just plain old silence on the phone. All I can say is that we must have a little Southern in our blood because we LOVE mason jars and all the possibilities that they can be used for! Today is a perfect example of us using them for something other than preserving food and it’s not just for a wedding! They can certainly be used in other home decor as well. Added bonus? Super simple!

Special shout out to our Heart Love Always Featured Photographers – They are seriously The Best Wedding Photographers!  Chris and Becca Photography will help you feel at ease knowing all of your photographic needs are taken care of. If you are getting married go check them out, it’s a must. And thanks to them for the help with pictures.

DIY Chalkboard Mason Jar Candle Centerpiece

Here are the list of supplies (many of which are readily available at your local craft, hardware, grocery stores, or online):

  • 1 Mason Jar
  • 1 Baby Food Jar yes, baby food. It’s a jar and super cute!
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Sharp knife
  • Black Chalkboard Spray Paint
  • Chalk
  • Baker’s Twine or other rustic twine
  • Candles

DIY Chalkboard Mason Jar Candle Centerpiece supplies

Step One Place a strip of the painter’s tape on the jars and draw a heart. Using your knife, cut around the heart and remove the excess tape, leaving the heart taped to the jar.

DIY Chalkboard Mason Jar Candle Centerpiece DIY Chalkboard Mason Jar Candle Centerpiece DIY Chalkboard Mason Jar Candle Centerpiece

Step Two Take your jar and your spray paint to a well ventilated area (meaning outside) and spray the jar(s) evenly. (Notice Alexandra’s boots we had a very wet, cold spring!!) Let the jars dry.  It won’t take long. Once dry, take the sharp point of your knife and carefully remove the painter’s tape heart. You can say ooooh and ahhhhh now 😉

DIY Chalkboard Mason Jar Candle Centerpiece

Step Three Once thoroughly dry, use the chalk to trace little dotted lines around the heart. Take the baker’s twine and wrap around the top part of the jar and you’re done!! Now you can place candles in the jars, or, an even better idea are those flameless candles that will last all night and be safe too!

DIY Chalkboard Mason Jar Candle Centerpiece

Isn’t the baby food jar so adorable?

DIY Chalkboard Mason Jar Candle Centerpiece

As you can see, this DIY is super simple and you can make a whole bunch of them in an afternoon. Mason jars can be found everywhere (only clear ones in our neck of the woods), but that’s what you need. And you’re going to have to find someone with a toddler for those baby food  jars. Unless of course you can get creative and make a special recipe with applesauce or strained carrots. Mmmmm.

Enjoy!

DIY Washi Tape Wedding Ideas

Fun and Simple Wedding DIY projects – Washi Tape

Have you discovered washi tape? If you haven’t, well, you must be living under a rock. It seems some of our local craft store employees are because when I went there and asked for their section all I heard was crickets. Then, when I went into a little more detailed description, she showed me some and said, “You’re in luck! It’s on sale because nobody knows what to do with this stuff.” Said with a little sneer no less. I just looked at her shocked and started blathering on and on about all the cool stuff you could make and use washi tape for. Her response Oh. Please tell me you’ve at least heard of washi tape!? Yes! Ok. Good.

Washi tape is one of our all-time favorite craft supplies!! It’s so easy to use, versatile in so many areas of your life, comes in pretty, pretty colors and patterns, needs little to no instructions or other supplies, reusable, mistake proof, fun for all ages and generally inexpensive. Rather than going to your local craft store (and getting crickets in response to wheres your washi tape section, we suggest a quick search on Etsy. And while youre at it, check out one of our favorite shops, Willow & Washi!!

DIY Washi Tape Wedding Ideas

We’re so excited about all the uses for washi tape, we thought we’d create some fun things that could add color and creativity to your wedding or next party.

We love initials and monograms, which add a very personal touch to any event. This initial would be so fun on a card table or sweets bar. I recommend mod podging the whole thing making it more permanent and something you can use later on in your home or even a baby’s room. The patterns and colors that we used gives it a almost quilted appearance.

DIY Washi Tape Wedding Ideas, monogram

Washi tape makes a great accent on mason jars whether as a drinking glass, flower vase, and even bottles for drinks on your tables whether for water or lemonade.

DIY Washi Tape Wedding Ideas, decorated mason jars

Want to add some color and design to a plate of cupcakes? Then washi tape is your go to friend. I love using two different patterns and create almost a plaid, checkered effect. Pretty, right? And again, not permanent, so you can do this again and again for different events, themes or holidays.

DIY Washi Tape Wedding Ideas, cupcake platters

Decorating clothespins with washi tape, large and small, are one of my favorite things. It’s super, super easy and can be used for escort cards or place cards, and also cute drink flags.

DIY Washi Tape Wedding Ideas, clothespins, escort cards, drink flags

Just like decorating a plate for cupcakes, you can decorate a plate along with a candle for a whimsical table centerpiece.

DIY Washi Tape Wedding Ideas, candle centerpiece

Lastly, here’s a another great example of using washi tape to prettify a vase. One of my favorite things to do with the tape is making little flags. Did you notice that? 🙂

DIY Washi Tape Wedding Ideas, vase

So, do you have a little better idea what you can use washi tape for at your wedding or next party? But wait, there’s more. Come back on Friday, the 13th, it will be your lucky day, because we’re going to show you how to use washi tape in your home and office! Don’t miss it!!

Block Scheduling – How to increase time and effeciency

After reading Ali Edwards’ thoughts on block scheduling, I started implementing a block schedule of my own. Setting aside blocks of time each day to get the day-to-day stuff done and blocks of time each week for certain projects were really, really good for me. It kept me focused and intentional, and I found I was hugely more productive that way. I was actually amazed at how much I was able to get done every day!! Then I fell off the wagon.

I’ve done this several times over the last nine months. Get back on the block scheduling wagon, fall off, get back on, fall off, get back on again. Life and things happen, you know? Sometimes your day/week/month doesn’t go according to plan and you learn to #justkeepswimming.

That’s actually the best part about block scheduling!! It’s no big deal if you miss a morning, or an afternoon!! You just simply start again. Even if you miss a whole day, you simply start again the next day!! And the best part about that? I noticed that every time I fell off the wagon, I missed the function and ease of my block schedule. And every time I got back on, I wondered why I even allowed myself to fall off in the first place!! That’s how amazing this whole block scheduling thing is!!

Why I Love Block Scheduling (And Why You Should Too!) Setting aside blocks of time each day to get the day-to-day stuff done and blocks of time each week for certain projects were really, really good for me. It kept me focused and intentional, and I found I was hugely more productive that way. I was actually amazed at how much I was able to get done every day!!

Now I’m not saying I didn’t kick myself like crazy for falling off the wagon. Because I did. Because it felt like failing and I hate to fail. But it taught me (and is still teaching me) to be flexible. Working from home allows me the flexibility to work when and how I want to. But that blessing can also be a bit of a curse. Because that flexibility can sometimes allow distractions to win. And that’s just not a good thing when it happens over and over again. Especially when you’re trying to achieve some kind of balance and not work seemingly all of the time. Which is where the block scheduling comes in.

On a typical workday, this is what my block schedule looks like:

6:00am-8:00am // Get up, work out, shower + get ready, take care of the cats, have breakfast

8:00am-9:00am // Social Media

9:00am-10:00am // Misc.

10:00am-11:00am // Emails & Submissions

11:00am-12:30pm // Project Time

12:30pm-1:00pm // Lunch

1:00pm-4:00pm // Blog Post Prep

4:00pm-5:00pm // Emails

5:00pm-5:30pm // Misc.

But this is just an outline. It doesn’t happen perfectly, or even the same, every day, and I’ve learned to be okay with that. I’ve learned to be flexible. For instance, if I’m on a roll with a project one day and I want to put another hour in, I will. If I have an appointment, call, or Skype date one day, I’ll work the blocks in and around it. If I decide at the start of the day that I’d rather work all morning on a project or blog post, I’ll put in two hours of email and miscellaneous stuff at the end of the day. Flexibility is the beauty of being your own boss and working from home.

I have by no means perfected this system. (Fall off the wagon, get back on, remember?) But as far as I’m concerned, it’s about progress, not perfection, and how practice makes something permanent.

Holiday Hostess Gift Ideas – All DIY

DIY Holiday Hostess Gift Ideas

I dont know about you, but I love getting creative for Christmas. I love handmade gifts, both to give and receive. With the evolution of Pinterest, there seems to be a never-ending stream of inspiration these days. But sometimes, those ideas can get overwhelming, FAST. Around the holidays, when time is of the essence, I like projects that are easy, simple, quick and fun, that are budget-friendly, and can be made with easy-to-find supplies. From Secret Santa and gift swaps at work to friends holiday parties and family get-togethers, these DIY Holiday Hostess Gifts are sure to delight and impress everyone on your list!

diy-holiday-hostess-gifts

Our first DIY Holiday Hostess Gift Idea came to me while browsing the aisles at Home Goods a few weeks ago, where I came across this beautiful set of red nesting bowls. They were just so pretty, they were practically calling my name! My mind immediately started whirring, and of course, Sharpie paint pens (once again) came to mind. I’m thinking I might have a tiny obsession with these pens, no? I grabbed a white one and basically wrote mix, whip and stir right on the bowls. Cute, right? Took all of about five minutes. I told you, I like quick, easy and fun! Guaranteed great results aint half bad either 😉 These bowls are perfect for the foodies and hostesses in your life this holiday season, but dont let that limit you. These custom mixing bowls would make a great birthday or shower gift, as well as the perfect housewarming present! Wrap them with a pretty ribbon, add a wooden spoon (which, by the way, you can buy a set of five for like $7.99 at Home Goods), and you are good to go!

diy-holiday-hostess-gifts-custom-mixing-bowls

Our next DIY holiday hostess gift is a homemade rub that I fondly call YUM!! 🙂 Its loosely based on Emerils BAM seasoning, but Ive added, subtracted, and changed it to include my tried and true favorite spices and make it my own (recipe below). Its a family favorite and a hit every time I make it. With my trusty Sharpie paint pen (gold this time), I wrote YUM! on a small ramekin, mixed up some of my favorite spices, poured them into a jar that I got at Michaels (I found another at Target with a shaker top, also cute!), and added the cutest wooden scoop I got at Sucre Shop! The teeny-tiny chalkboard label I simply cut from a larger Martha Stewart label. Id wrap it all up in some tissue, add a bow, and tada!!, youve got the perfect holiday hostess gift!!

diy-holiday-hostess-gifts-ideas

diy-holiday-hostess-gifts-spice-rub

diy-holiday-hostess-gifts-christmas

Yum Spice Rub

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika, not regular paprika
  • 1 tablespoon course sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder, not garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder, not onion salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed, not celery salt

Instructions

  1. Toss spices into a small bowl and stir.
  2. Then transfer all spices to a small food processor and give it a quick couple of pulses to mix all the flavors. Doing this will also grind up some of the coarser spices for a nicer blend of everything.
  3. Store in a tightly sealed jar, or if you are cook regularly, store on your counter in a small ramekin to be used daily.

More from our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies and Crafts blog series:

Another DIY Holiday Hostess Gift Idea:

Bare Minerals Beauty Surprise Review

If you know me at all, you know I’m a BIG fan of bareMinerals. I’m practically a walking bareMinerals advertisement because I’m usually wearing at least one (but more like two or three) of their products every day. I’d even go so far as to say that 80% of my makeup collection is made up of bareMinerals products. What can I say? I really LOVE their stuff!

I happened to catch the announcement for another beauty surprise collection a couple weeks back on Facebook and thought what the heck! I???ve purchased two in the past (one in 2013 and one in 2014) and been both pleasantly surprised and really impressed. Surprise collections can be risky because you never really know what you’re going to get. But that’s just part of the fun, isn’t it???

These kits sell out really quickly (within hours) so as soon as I saw the announcement I ran over to purchase it! This particular beauty surprise collection was $35 for 11 pieces/products and valued at $166 (which is crazy if you think about it). They were also offering free shipping with the purchase, which was a lovely added bonus!

And (spoiler alert!) I’m pretty darn happy with the purchase!

bareMinerals Beauty Surprise Collection 2015 | Product Breakdown & Review

Black Patent Leather Bag bareMinerals has the best bags. They???ve released dozens over the years with various special edition kits or collections and I???ve never once complained. This one is simple, classic, and perfect for throwing in your overnight or gym bag. But I have so many bags, and I???m not sure I like this one enough to want to keep (and use) it.

Feather Light Brush A tapered brush with white tips that provides extremely light coverage for mistake-proof application of bareMinerals products. I honestly wasn’t sure what to make of this brush at first. I’m more of a medium to full-coverage kind of girl, so I wasn’t really sure if I’d have any use for it. Then I saw that QVC suggests using it with the mineral veil and I could definitely see that happening.

Soft Focus Face Brush A synthetic brush designed for sheer, natural-looking application that’s perfect for blending and buffing. It’s also a master of versatility and can be used with foundation, blush, bronzer, or finishing powder. I’ve had my eye on this brush for a while, so I was super excited to see it in this surprise collection.

Prime Time Neutralizing Foundation Primer (Full-Size) This primer has a color-correcting yellow base and light-reflective pigments that immediately neutralize the appearance of discoloration, uneven skin tone, and redness for brighter, younger-looking skin. It???s supposed to glide on seamlessly and combat flaky dryness, rough patches, and uneven skin texture. I got one of these in a beauty surprise collection last year and never wound up using it. I’m (again) intrigued by it and will make it a point to finally try it!

Concealer in Summer Bisque (Mini) I???ve been dying to try the bareMinerals Concealer and been meaning to pick one up. This shade may be a touch too dark for me, but I bet if I mixed it with a little of the Well-Rested Eye Brightener (which I love) it???ll be perfect.

Original Mineral Veil I sadly cannot use bareMineralsaward-winning finishing powder because its main ingredient is corn starch and I’m allergic. But I can use the READY version! And thank goodness because I can???t finish my makeup without it!

5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow in Blushing Apricot (Full-Size) I was so excited to see this when I opened the box because I love these cream eyeshadows so much!! They act like a primer for other eyeshadows but are pretty enough to be worn alone. I love that this one is peachy-pink in color and has just a touch of shimmer. It???s not available stand-alone, so it must have come from another special or limited edition collection. The closest shades I could find in the permanent collection are Candlelit Peach and Blushing Pink, which you might be able to mix for a similar shade.

Eyecolor in Nightfall (Full-Size) Every time I say Nightfall (even in my head) I immediately want to burst out in song. Skyfaaaaaalllll Ok, I’m done. This isn’t a permanent color, but it should be. Described as sugared cocoa, this color is gorgeous and blends out beautifully!!

Big & Bright Eyeliner in Plum and Charcoal I was so sad when I found out they were phasing these eyeliners out because I loved them. I know most people would probably be disappointed to find phased out products in their box, but I was really happy about it. And I love the colors I got.

Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Daredevil (Mini) The Marvelous Moxie Lipglosses are my favorite things ever. I own almost every color except this one! I’ve been wary to try Daredevil because I think it might be too dark for me. But I’ll probably at least give it a try!

There were also sample sizes of Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara (my favorite mascara of life) and Active Cell Renewal Night Serum added to my order.

All in all, I really loved this beauty surprise collection from bareMinerals and I’m happy I purchased it!

The Guide for ultimate business spring cleaning

Preparing your business for a successful next year

Spring is in the air and I am itching to roll up my sleeves and clean something. (Oh, just me?) I generally do 2-3 life and business spring cleaning sessions a year—at the very end/beginning of the year, in the spring, and then again in the fall.

I keep things pretty neat and tidy all year round, but these spring cleaning sessions are my time to really get down and dirty, figure out what’s working and what’s not, reassess, reorganize, and purge purge purge!!

And yes, I always call them spring cleaning sessions no matter what time of year I do them. Because why not? That, and fall cleaning just doesn’t have the same ring to it!! hahaha

I’ve actually never shared this spring cleaning list or process with anyone before. And I figured after 2+ years of doing these things successfully, it was high-time I shared my secrets with the world (or at least with those of you reading my blog).

I always find that I am infinitely happier and insanely more productive after one of these spring cleaning sessions and I hope you’ll experience the same kind of happy and productive high!!

Especially since, at least for me, that feeling lasts for months!!

 

Today is all about giving your BUSINESS the ultimate spring cleaning! But don’t worry, I’ll give LIFE the same treatment next week! :)

Alright, let’s get into it!

WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE YOUR BUSINESS A SPRING CLEANING

Simply put? Because your business deserves it. Because your clients deserve it. Because you (the business owner) deserve it. Because your employees (if you have any) deserve it.

You know how a well-oiled machine runs smoothly, effectively, and successfully? It only runs that way when it’s well-maintained! That means someone has to be tending to it and taking care of it—not just once in a while, but all the time!

Your business is your machine. It will only run smoothly, effectively, and successfully when you tend to it and care for it properly! Without your tender loving care (read: TLC), it won’t be long before things start falling apart at the seams. Which leads to unhappy customers, disgruntled employees, a miserable business owner, and a failing company.

But that’s not going to happen. Because you’re going to give your business the spring cleaning it deserves. Right!?

HOW TO GIVE YOUR BUSINESS THE ULTIMATE SPRING CLEANING

The ultimate spring cleaning for your business can be broken down into three parts: your blog + website, your social media, and other parts of your business.

I realize that two of these sections are extremely specific, and one not so much. That’s because there are a lot of miscellaneous aspects to a business and mine may differ from yours. I’m going to try and be both generic and specific about what I actually do and what you could do so I can cover as much ground as possible and give you as many ideas as possible.

You should also know that my spring cleaning sessions are generally tackled over a period of several days, sometimes a week or two depending on my schedule. I’ll make a note on my calendar for when I want spring cleaning to start and then a time block each day to knock a few tasks out. I’ll cross them off as I go and rinse repeat until they’re all complete!

Related: Why I Love Block Scheduling (And You Should Too!)

SPRING CLEANING TIPS FOR YOUR BLOG + WEBSITE

1. Freshen Up Your Blog/Site Design (Part 1):

If you’re jonesing for a change or looking to freshen things up a bit, try a new theme!

Quick Tip: Pretty Darn Cute Designs, Restored 316, and BluChic all specialize in Feminine WordPress Themes that are gorgeous!! I have Pretty Chic and love it!!

2. Freshen Up Your Blog/Site Design (Part 2):

If you don’t want to do a complete overhaul, consider freshening up other things like your header, sidebar, navigation, social media button colors, photos, and graphics. Little changes can make a huge difference in the whole aesthetic and user experience!

Quick Tip: We love to buy styled stock images from SC Stockshop for our graphics and get other stock photos from places like Bloguettes and Creative Market

3. Update Your About Page:

When was the last time you did that? Are the photos and text current? If not, take a few minutes to update them! About pages are prime real estate, so make sure you include the things you want your audience and clients to know about (like new products or offerings). Direct them to other must-see pages of your blog or website and have a call-to-action (like opting in to your free email course or newsletter).

Quick Tip: Looking to spruce up that about page even more? Check out these super fun about page templates from Seaside Creative!! She created a custom one for me and I love it!! (She also specializes in ProPhoto Blogs and ShowIt Websites.)

4. Update Your Contact Page:

Do you even have one? If not, it’s time to make one! If you do have one, you go Glen Coco! Now make sure it’s up-to-date. If you have a contact form, make sure it’s working! Include a valid email address that you actually check, a link to your FAQs page (if you have one), and even a response time expectation!

Quick Tip: My favorite contact form builder is Gravity Forms—a plugin for WordPress that makes building (and placing) contact forms on your site super easy!!

5. Update Your Shop/Portfolio/Work With Me Page:

These should always be clean and updated as they’re the ones that bring in the clients!! If you’ve been itching to update them with new photos or copy, set aside a block of time to do one or both of those things.

6. Fix Broken Links:

Not only are these frustrating for people visiting your blog or website, they’re also bad news for Google. There are loads of free link checkers and plugins out there that can do this for you, but I always make it a habit to check that important links (i.e. shop links, social media links, affiliate links, opt-ins, etc.) are still in good working order.

Quick Tip: A quick fix for broken links is making sure you have redirects set up so that any broken link redirects to your homepage (or a custom page of your choosing). We use All 404 Redirect to Homepage plugin for WordPress.

7. Refresh Your Social Media/Share Buttons:

Do they match your site’s aesthetic? Are they easily found and noticeable? If not, give them a new look! And make sure the links work! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve clicked on a site or blog’s social media/share buttons only to find that they don’t link where they should or don’t link at all.

Quick Tip: I recently made the social media buttons in the sidebar blue to stand out amongst the pink and to match the fancy new (and totally cool) SumoMe share buttons we added <<< thataway!!

8. Revisit Your SEO Strategy:

Let’s face it, categorizing, tagging, and optimizing your posts can be tedious and time-consuming. Maybe you’ve been a little lax in that department. Now’s a great time to go back and make sure things are up to snuff!

Quick Tip: We currently use Yoast SEO for WordPress. Before that, we used All in One SEO Pack. Both are great SEO plugins if you’re on WordPress!!

9. Change Your Passwords:

I know it’s a pain in the butt to think up and remember a new password (never mind a whole bunch of passwords), but it’s a great security measure for your site.

Quick Tip: I change my most important passwords at least once, sometimes twice a year because I was hacked once and it was not in the least bit fun. I make them horrendously complicated with numbers, letters, symbols, uppercase, lowercase—you name it, we got it!! 😉

10. Run Those Updates:

They’re super important as they make your blog/website run better. Do them as you see them!!

SPRING CLEANING TIPS FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA

11. Update Your Cover Photos & Profile Images:

When was the last time you changed your Facebook cover photo or Twitter header? (Do they still have your old branding?) What about your profile photos? (Do they look like the you you saw in the bathroom mirror this morning?) Time to think about freshening them up!!

Quick Tip: Keep them looking fresh by changing (or rotating) them every time you do a spring cleaning session! Make sure they stay consistent across all your social media channels.

12. Update Your Bios/Descriptions:

Your bios should reflect the most recent and accurate version of you and/or your business. They should also be consistent (or as consistent as possible with character count restrictions) across all social media channels.

Quick Tip: If you have an opt-in, a new e-course, or something else you’d like to draw attention to, put it in your bio! Update the link portion with new blog posts, products, or offerings as you publish them/make them available!

13. Gut Your Social Media Feeds:

Take a few minutes to clean up your social media feeds including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Periscope, and even Pinterest. If it doesn’t educate you, entertain you, inspire you, or otherwise provide value to you, unlike, unfriend, or unfollow.

14. Revisit Your Social Media Strategy:

What’s your strategy or mission with social media? Is it different for every social media channel? Take a few minutes to brainstorm what you want each channel to be to your brand and a few ideas for each one.

Quick Tip: Use a social media scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to help you schedule social media posts in bulk. I am loving Planogr.am (for Instagram) and CoSchedule (for everything else).

15. Change Your Passwords:

Because it’s (obviously) better to be safe than sorry!

SPRING CLEANING TIPS FOR OTHER PARTS OF YOUR BUSINESS

16. Clean Up Your Computer Folders & Desktop:

If your computer desktop is covered in folders, documents, screenshots, graphics, photos, and other stuff—it’s time to get rid of what you no longer need, organize what you do, and create a folder system that works best for you and your business!

Quick Tips: I recommend starting with two folders, one for personal and one for business, and as many sub-folders (for branding, blogging, accounting, etc.) as you need. Organize your documents, screenshots, graphics, and photos into those folders—don’t stop until your desktop is completely clean!

Make sure you give everything (folders, documents, graphics, photos, and even screenshots) a clear title/descriptive label. It’ll be easier to find what you need (without having to sift through it all) later.

When your desktop is clean, change your background to something you really love so you won’t want to cover it up again.

17. Clean Up Your Workspace/Desk:

If your desk/workspace is cluttered and/or covered in paperwork, coffee cups, books, and other stuff—clean it up!! Because a clean workspace is a happy and productive workspace!!

Quick Tips: Organize your paperwork, file away receipts, throw away trash, tidy up your desk drawers and bookcases or filing cabinets, and put things away. Wipe down your desk, your computer screen, and your keyboard (get into all the nooks and crannies with a q-tip).

Style your desk/workspace in a way that inspires you! If you’re going to sit at it all day, every day, it might as well look pretty! :) Need inspiration? Follow my office space board on Pinterest!

Make clearing off your desk the last thing you do at the end of your work day! It’ll do wonders for your productivity the next day!

18. Clean Up Your Inbox:

This is a BIG ONE for so many creative small business owners. If your inbox is a mess, do yourself, your employees, and your clients a favor by cleaning it out, organizing it, and making it as easy as possible to return emails going forward. Because email is an essential part of your online business!!

Quick Tips: Use unroll.me to unsubscribe from emails you no longer want to receive. Delete emails that are 6 months or older. If you don’t already use folders, start! They’re a game changer! Create as many or as few as you need/want, but make sure you at least have folders labeled answer, read, research, to-do, save, and follow-up!!

Make sure you take a few minutes to update (or create) your signature, auto-responders, and canned responses to make responding to emails easier. 

19. Check Your Supply Stock/Inventory:

I recommend checking everything from office supplies to shipping supplies for your shop (if you have one). Figure out what you have enough of, what you need more of, and what you can get rid of. If you need to place orders for things like business cards or paper products, either order right away, or add it to your next spring cleaning time block.

Quick Tip: I’m a “touch it once” kind of girl when it comes to my to do list, so I recommend placing those orders right away.

20. Clean Up Your Browser Tabs/Windows:

I can’t be the only one with a million and one browser tabs and windows open—at least I hope not!! I actually have this problem on every device I own—yikes!! One of my spring cleaning time blocks will definitely be spent going through every single one.

Quick Tip: With every browser tab or window, figure out what you have open, and then make a 10-second decision to either pin it, share it, print it, or get rid of it!!

21. Turn Off Your Notifications:

Notifications (aka DISTRACTIONS) are pulling you away from your most important work. Every time one dings or buzzes, your concentration is broken. Keep your attention solely on the task at hand by turning off your notifications. I know it’s scary, but it really will make a world of a difference.

22. Look at Your Finances:

This is definitely something you should be doing more than 2 or 3 times a year. But now is a great time to take a look at how things are going for you financially. You might even decide you need to make some changes like cutting back on your Starbucks habit (insert speak-no-evil monkey emoji).

23. Review Your Goals & Plans:

Remember your 2016 goals? It’s not too late to start making them happen!! There is nothing magical about January 1st. The magic starts when you start!!

Quick Tips: Go back and review your goals for this year. Adjust your plan, or chuck the old one and start a brand new one! Whatever you do, keep moving forward! After all, baby steps are still progress as long as they’re moving you forward.

If you haven’t started goal setting for 2016 yet, now is the perfect time to start! The #GoalSetPlanDo series can help:

24. Check Your Calendar & Create a Fresh To-Do List:

What’s going on? What’s coming up? Are there any appointments you’ve been meaning to make but haven’t yet? Take some time to make them now and prepare for the month(s) ahead! (I, personally, love being able to see what’s coming up. It somehow motivates me and makes me more productive!)

Next, write a fresh to-do list of all the things you’ve been wanting to do, all the ideas in your head. Get everything down on paper. It doesn’t have to be organized. You can do that when you break the list down into more manageable pieces. (Writing down everything like this always helps me to clear my head and focus more intentionally on what’s ahead.)

25. Backup Your Stuff:

I cannot stress this particular task enough. Don’t wait until you’ve lost everything on your computer, blog, or website to back stuff up. Whether you use Time Machine with an external hard drive, or you back stuff up to some kind of cloud, get a system in place now!

 

OK, friends! I know this seems, looks, and feels like A LOT. But remember, you don’t have to do it all in one day! In fact, I don’t want you to. I want you to break these tasks up into time blocks so that you do them really, really well!

I can’t wait for you to spring clean your business #likeaboss! Are you ready to get started?! Feel free to bookmark or pin this post so you can refer back to it as often as you need to. And if you have any boss lady friends you think could benefit from these spring cleaning tips, I hope you’ll share it with them, too!

I’ll be sharing my #springcleaning progress on social media over the next week or two! Will you?! 😉 Tag me @heartlovealways so I can cheer you on with sunshine and tulips—because it’s springtime, yo!!

As always, cheering you on!!

Smart Approach to Goal Setting

Goal Setting – the right way

The end of 2015 is just around the corner and I (like most creatives) have got GOALS on my mind! But I know this time of year can be so stressful for creatives:

You’re trying to finish up what you need to finish up and get ready for the start of a New Year. You’re torn between taking a much-needed break and wanting to jump right back in. You’re tired, but the New Year holds so much promise, and you’re feeling so inspired. You want to dig deep into what worked and what didn’t work so you can do business differently. You frequently feel both overwhelmed and excited.

I’ve so been there.

But I actually love this time of year! And I secretly hope I can help you love it, too! By walking you step-by-step through my New Year prep including my goal setting and planning process that helped me accomplish so many goals this year (and understand exactly why I didn’t accomplish others), and what I’m doing to set myself up (early) for success in the New Year!

In this 4-week series, #GoalSetPlanDo, I’m going to be sharing the following:

  1. The SMART Approach to Goal Setting
  2. The Top 3 Approach to Goal Planning
  3. 6 Tools That Will Help You Have a Successful Year
  4. 3 Secrets That Will Help You Prepare for Success This Year
  5. My 16 Goals for 2016

So if you’re ready to intentionally #GoalSetPlanDo and make your goals happen; keep on reading! I’m SUPER pumped! How about you?! 🙂

I’M READY TO #GOALSETPLANDO IN 2016!! JOIN ME!!CLICK TO TWEET

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOAL SETTING AND GOAL PLANNING

People use goal setting and goal planning interchangeably, but they’re actually two very different things. You see, goal setting is just the beginning. The first step in the process of making goals happen. Goal setting is nothing if you don’t take the time to PLAN how you’re going to achieve your goals. That’s where goal planning comes in.

For example, I want to lose weight this year sounds more like a wish because it’s a goal without a plan. You need to set your goal, plan out exactly what and how you’re going to accomplish this goal, and then get out there and do whatever it is!

The bottom line is this…

Goal setting is a list of goals. Goal planning is your action plan to achieving them. You need both to succeed! 

Make sense? I thought so 😉

Let’s continue!

We’re going to focus on intentionally making that list of goals today and tackle the action plan you’ll need to succeed next week!

THE SMART APPROACH TO GOAL SETTING

The SMART approach to goal setting isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact, you might recognize it, or at least an interpretation of it (there are quite a few). I like to look at it a little differently, so I guess you could say this is my SMART approach to goal setting. Not to say that any other form of goal setting is dumb. I just happen to think that an intentional list of goals is a SMART list of goals.

That is to say that the goals are Specific, Meaningful, Actionable, Results-Focused, and Time-Sensitive. But let’s break those down a bit more, shall we? I’m even going to use my 2015 goals as examples for how I did or didn’t fully apply the SMART approach, why I did or didn’t find success, and what I should have done instead. (Putting myself in the hot seat now! #yikes)

S SPECIFIC

You want your goals to be simple, but specific. Think of this step as the who, what, where, when, why, or how of your goal setting.

For example, drink more water (one of my 2015 goals) was a great goal! But it was also kind of vague. Drink 4 (cute) tumblers full of water a day is better. It’s simple, but it’s specific. It says exactly what I want to do, how I want to do it, and when. It even sets me up for my action plan!

BOOM! Done. Next?!

M MEANINGFUL

Your goals should really, truly mean something to you, or someone you love. Otherwise, you may not exactly be motivated to get up off your butt and DO whatever it takes to make it happen.

For example, I realized that my goal of seeing a movie by myself wasn’t very meaningful to me—so I nixed it. I don’t really care to see a movie by myself. I’m sure that I could because I watch movies by myself all the time at home. But I see going to the movies as a special occasion—I have ever since I was a little girl—and I’d rather share that special occasion with someone.

A better goal would be to treat myself and someone else to a movie once a month if there’s a movie worth going to see. (I had to throw a caveat in there because there have been some pretty crappy movies made lately.)

Ok. Moving on!

A ACTIONABLE

Your goals should be well-thought-out, carefully considered, and actionable. If you can’t think of an action plan or at least 3 action steps when you’re goal setting—you may need to head back to the drawing board and put on your thinking cap.

For example, get in front of someone’s camera wasn’t very specific (whoops!), but I had an action plan. As soon as I knew I wanted to make this happen in 2015 and why, I put on my big girl pants and emailed Natalie Franke. Natalie is someone I love and respect as a photographer, fellow boss lady, and friend (and it was basically my greatest wish to get in front of her camera).

I emailed her and asked if she would be at all interested in coming down to Captiva, Florida over Memorial Day weekend to photograph for HLA. I included all the details I’d already thought of and hit send! (Then I ran away from my computer because I was so nervous! hahaha) I came back an hour or so later to her saying YES!!

And guess what?! We had an amazing time and now I have (fabulous) new headshots!! #winning 😉

R RESULTS-FOCUSED

Your goals should not be open-ended or left flapping in the breeze. They should be results-focused and have a target or end point in mind. Otherwise, how will you know you’ve reached or accomplished it? (Hint: you won’t!)

For example, start a newsletter wasn’t a very SMART goal. While it was simple, it wasn’t very specific. Why did I want to start a newsletter? Who was I starting it for? How was I going to do it? When was I going to do it? Etc. I knew nothing past the fact that I wanted to start one because everyone else was starting one. Not exactly meaningful, I (clearly) didn’t have an action plan, and I really had no end-result in my mind. So it didn’t happen.

My 2016 goal of starting a newsletter is very different. I know my why, my who, my how, and my when. I have my action plan. It’s actually already in motion… COMING JANUARY 2016!! I couldn’t be more excited!!!

Again I say…

BOOM! Done. Next?! 😉

T TIME-SENSITIVE

Your goals should have start and end dates and/or have a timeline. Why? Because it creates a sense of urgency and should help hold you accountable. (Even better if you make the statement publicly that you’re going to have something done by a certain date. THAT will hold you accountable for sure.)

For example, my goal of having a solid social media routine and strategy had no start date, no end date, and no timeline. I hung it out on the line to dry and left it hanging there all year. I hated not having a solid social media routine or strategy, but because I didn’t create an action plan or a schedule, I had no focused motivation. And because I didn’t have an end date, I had no real sense of urgency. Which left me waffling.

My 2016 goal of having a solid social media routine and strategy has an action plan (more on that next week), a start date (January 1, 2016), and an end date (March 31st, 2016).

AN INTENTIONAL LIST OF GOALS IS A SMART LIST OF GOALS!! #GOALSETPLANDOCLICK TO TWEET

Are you ready to start goal setting? I hope so! And I hope you’re pumped! I actually hope you finish reading this post and grab a sheet of paper or open a new document on your computer or a new note on your phone and start writing down a list of your goals! Don’t worry too much about each goal’s action plan—I’ll be going over that next week—but make sure each goal is SMART!!

Bookmark or pin this post so you can refer back to it if you have to. Don’t be scared! And don’t be overwhelmed! Just start! And don’t feel like you have to write down a hundred goals. You can write just one!! But I almost guarantee that once you start writing down your goals for your business and yourself, you’ll have a hard time stopping!!

I’m so pumped for you and can’t wait to hear all about your goals and how the SMART approach to goal setting is working for you!! Leave a comment below to let us know how it’s going or if you have any questions. If you share this series or your progress on social media, please use the hashtag #GoalSetPlanDo so we can all follow along and cheer each other on!!

FYI: I’m already cheering for you… with confetti and pompoms!! 😉

Beginner tips to get the most out of Twitter – Social Media Help

Twitter is sometimes my least favorite of all the social media outlets. (Trying to say what I want to say in 140 characters or less is STRESSFUL for this long-winded chick!!!) But I’ve recently become OBSESSED with Twitter chats!!!

I hopped on my first #ellechat (led by Lauren Hooker of Elle & Co.) almost two months ago and loved it so much that I’ve gone back every week since!! A month later, I joined #nectarchat (led by Melyssa Griffin of The Nectar Collective) and quickly added it (bi-monthly) to my calendar!! (They’re THAT good, y’all!!) I’ve learned so much from these two Twitter chat leaders and everyone that joins in that now I’m jonesing for even more Twitter chats to participate in!! (Maybe one for every night of the week?? Like I said, #OBSESSED!!!)

By definition, Twitter chats are open discussions on the Twitter platform. A host will tweet out questions and the community (united by the chat’s hashtag) will respond. In my opinion, Twitter chats are a great way to put yourself out there, get more comfortable with the platform, learn, share your know-how, reach your ideal audience, gain new followers, meet new people, and build relationships with other like-minded bloggers, small business owners, and creative entrepreneurs. They’re also really, really fun!!

But Twitter chats can also be a bit overwhelming for newcomers. Ok, maybe A LOT overwhelming… Who am I kidding?! I was legit STRESSED OUT during my first Twitter chat!! The conversation moves FAST!!! And people are talking to you!! The questions and answers are flying by, and people are retweeting, favoriting, and replying back to your tweets… And you’re trying so hard to reply, retweet, and favorite back; all the while keeping up with the rest of the chat and trying really hard to comprehend what’s being said!!

It’s overwhelming, like I said. But it’s FUN!!! And you get the hang of it pretty quick!! To help, I’ve compiled a list of FIVE of the best tips that will help YOU get the most out of Twitter chats!!

1. USE TWEETDECK

Tweetdeck is a giant customizable dashboard that you can organize into columns of your choosing. For Twitter chats, I recommend setting up columns for the home stream (which is everything that’s happening in your slice of the Twitter-verse), @ mentions (which filters all tweets that mention your Twitter handle), notifications (to keep an eye on favorites and retweets), and one for the Twitter chat’s hashtag (which filters the tweets that include that hashtag in realtime). I actually have a column already set up for each of the Twitter chats I follow and simply move whichever one is live to the front of the columns.

Bottom line: Tweetdeck keeps everything nice and neat and filtered and organized… It may very well be the best thing to happen to Twitter chats since hashtags.

2. USE THE HASHTAG

This tip is SUPER important because the chat’s hashtag is what keeps you connected with the chat (and everyone in the chat). If you forget to use it, your tweet will not show up in the chat and those participating probably won’t see it unless they follow you on Twitter and happen to see it in their home stream. It will just be out there in the Twitter universe, floating around, with no real connection to anything (like George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in Gravity).

Bottom line: During Twitter chats, know the hashtag, use the hashtag, live by the hashtag.

3. NAIL YOUR INTRO

It’s your elevator pitch. But instead of fitting it into 30 seconds, you have to fit it into 140 characters or less!! (Actually it IS less because you can’t forget the hashtag!!!)

I’m actually still working on this. (It’s HARD to get in everything you want to say in less than 140 characters, OK?!) Once I have it nailed down, I’ll save it in a note on my computer so I have easy access to copy and paste. You should probably do this, too.

Bottom line: Nail your intro and make it memorable!!

4. BE PRESENT & PARTICIPATE

Twitter chats are fast-paced, real-life, worth it conversations. When you join one, I highly recommend not trying to do anything else. If you want to get something out of it (and put something in), you have to give the Twitter chat you’re participating in your full attention.

Don’t try to take notes. You’ll get behind, confused, and beyond stressed out. Retweet or favorite key takeaways so you can easily find them later.

Don’t be shy! If you have the answer to someone else’s question or can elaborate further on someone else’s answer—do it!! Share what you know! And don’t be afraid to ask your own questions! Twitter chats are a great place to ask for thoughts and opinions.

Bottom line: Don’t underestimate yourself (or anyone else in the chat) and don’t fall victim to distractions. Be present and participate!!

5. DON’T STRESS / TRY, TRY AGAIN

Ok, so I know I said I was legit stressed out throughout my first Twitter chat, but that didn’t stop me from going back. Yes, it was a bit crazy. Yes, the chat moved really fast. Yes, it was a bit overwhelming at times all the time. But it was also a lot of fun!! I learned a lot and I made new friends!! There are a lot of benefits to Twitter chats and they get easier (and funner) each time you go back.

Bottom line: Try not to stress. Have fun. And keep going back!!


I hope this post encourages you to join a Twitter chat soon!! #ellechat is meeting this Wednesday at 8pm EST to discuss exciting and engaging editorial calendars AND #nectarchat is meeting on Thursday at 9pm EST to discuss collaboration and how it can elevate your brand and make new friends. I’ll be there!! Will you?! 🙂

P.S. I would love to join some other Twitter chats!! Are there any that you recommend?

How to make your Blog Posts more Pinnable

How to make your Blog Posts more Pinnable

As a blogger, we’re always looking for new ways to share our content and make our blog posts more pinnable. Because you know it’s all about that pin!! 😉 And I recently discovered a trick that I think EVERY blogger should know!!

How To Make Your Blog Posts More Pinnable

It’s been said time and time again that vertical images do better on Pinterest than horizontal images. One of my favorite food blogs, Pinch of Yum, actually found that, on average, long Pinterest images get 70% more repins than short Pinterest images. And if you click over to look at Pinterest, you’ll see that that’s true. Vertical images, graphics, and long collage-style pins are virtually dominating the feed these days!!

That little nugget of information from Pinch of Yum stuck with me, and I began noticing the vertical images, graphics, and gorgeous, long collage-style pins more and more on Pinterest. (They were practically taunting me every time I opened it!!) I KNEW I needed to start creating them for my site, but I REALLY didn’t like the idea of them cluttering up my blog posts. (Besides, I’d just discovered my love of square graphics. They were different, worked well with my theme and site layout, and looked great on other social media platforms. But not Pinterest.) What to do, what to do?

I started really paying attention to those gorgeous, long collage-style pins (mostly from food bloggers) when I noticed something rather odd. I couldn’t FIND the gorgeous, long collage-style image ANYWHERE in the blog post when I clicked through the pin to the blogger’s site!! Was it magic?! Was it a minion?! They had to be creating these images and manually uploading them to Pinterest, right?! RIGHT?!?!

Then WHY was that gorgeous, long collage-style image showing up in the OPTIONS when you clicked on the post’s Pin-it button (not the Pin-it button on the individual image, but the actual post itself)?! And HOW was it showing up there when it wasn’t ANYWHERE in the blog post?!

After countless Google searches turned up no results, I started reaching out to the bloggers with the hidden, long collage-style pins and asking them about it. I put out a dozen comments and emails and didn’t get a single response. Not one. This thing I was asking about was clearly a big, fat, juicy secret with top level security clearance and I wasn’t ranked high enough.

I was about to give up when the lovely Lindsay (aka lucky number 13) over at Pinch of Yumanswered my comment and let me in on the secret. (She’s since written a blog post all about it!)

The SECRET was simply that they were HIDING the image in their blog post. Wait, what?! That’s right!! These bloggers were simply CREATING this pin-worthy image and HIDING it within their blog post with a TINY PIECE of code. The image is THERE, but you don’t SEE it in the blog post. You only SEE it when you hit the “PIN-IT” button (the one for the post located at the top or bottom, not the one on the individual image). And because it’s beautifully designed and very impactful, like a bug to light, you’re almost automatically drawn to pinning it. It’s so pretty… Must. Pin. NOW!!! 😉

So I started creating these gorgeous, long, pinnable images (along with my favorite square graphics) and HIDING them within our blog posts. Go ahead! Hit the Pin-it button at the top or bottom of this post (or the one in your browser’s toolbar) and see what comes up. I’ll wait… (There’s also a screenshot of it below.)

See it?! That, my friends, is a beautiful, pinnable image that will, according to statistics, do better than my short, square graphic that you saw at the top of this post. Pretty cool, right?! I know!! 😉

So, what’s the code?!

 

Writing code can be scary, I know. (You miss one closing tag or mistake a colon for a semicolon and your whole site blows up!!) But this is really easy, I promise!! And to make it even easier, I’ve typed it out below so you can easily copy and paste it into the TEXT/HTML side of your post. (I bolded that last part because it’s important!! It won’t work if you put the code in on the VISUAL SIDE of your post. It HAS to go on the TEXT/HTML side with all the other code.)

<div style=“display:none;”>IMAGE CODE</div>

Pro Tip:

If you place the code at the very top of your post (instead of at the bottom or somewhere in the middle), it will ALWAYS be the first “pinnable” image to come up!!


Dont forget your Pinnable!! Simply click the Pin-it button at the top or bottom of this post (or in your browsers toolbar) to save the pin-worthy graphic hidden in this post to your Blogging Tips Pinterest board!!

Stitch Fix Review

Stitch Fix Review – Including Just Black Dean Skinny Jeans

Everyone’s talking about Stitch Fix!! And now, so am I!! After reading Still Being Molly’s rave reviews for MONTHS, I finally decided to take the plunge and sign up last month!! My first fix arrived last week and the only thing I have to say is this, “Hello, my name is Alexandra, and I have fallen IN LOVE with Stitch Fix!!” And that’s just after ONE FIX!!!

Stitch-Fix-Review-My-First-Fix

If you haven’t yet heard of Stitch Fix, here’s what you need to know:

Stitch Fix is basically a monthly (or however often you decide to schedule it) online personal styling service for women! It costs $20 that’s your styling fee, which can be used as a credit towards your final order. While there’s no obligation to keep anything in your box, you’re basically out 20 bucks if you don’t. If you do decide to keep something, you get to subtract $20 from your total at checkout. If you decide to keep ALL FIVE items in your fix, you get a 25% off discount!!!

When you sign up, you fill out a “style profile” with your likes, dislikes, sizes, what you’re willing to try, what you’re willing to spend, etc. Once you’ve scheduled your first fix, one of Stitch Fix’s personal stylists will hand-select FIVE items (clothing and accessories) based on your preferences, and send them your way in a neatly wrapped package.

Once it arrives on your doorstep, you have THREE WHOLE DAYS to try everything on, style it all up (they even send you these style cards with tips), and decide what you want to keep. Anything you don’t want can simply be put in the provided prepaid envelope and dropped off at any USPS mailbox.

Checkout is done online and SO easy (I couldn’t believe how easy it was)!! You simply login and let them know which items you kept, which ones you didn’t, and why (size, style, fit, price point, fabric, color, etc.) Pay, and then done!! See? Easy!! 🙂

Stitch-Fix-Review-Style-Cards

And now for my actual first Stitch Fix review!!! I took the liberty of deciding to share as many details as possible with you 🙂 including my first impressions + photos, the size, price, and end result of every item I received in my first fix. Let’s see what I got, what I thought, and what I kept!!

Stitch-Fix-Review-Ankle-Zip-Skinny-Jean

Just Black “Dean Ankle Zip Skinny Jean” Size 2 ($78) I loooooved these jeans out of the box and they were even better on!! I love how they fit. I love how they feel. I love how they look. I love the color (which is actually navy, not denim). I love the zipper detail. I just LOVE them!! And they fit. Perfectly. So I kept them!!! Wins all around!! 🙂

Stitch-Fix-Review-Ankle-Zip-Skinny-Jean

Stitch-Fix-Review-Ankle-Zip-Skinny-Jean

Olive & Oak “Andreas Hi-Lo Raglan Sweater” Size X-Small ($68) Unlike the jeans above, I did NOT love this sweater out of the box. It looked big and boxy, and I thought for sure that it was the wrong size. Boy, was I wrong!!! This sweater is AMAZING!!! It’s so soft and cozy, it fits perfectly (not boxy at all), and I love the color!! So I decided to keep it!! 🙂

Stitch-Fix-Review-Hi-Lo-Raglan-Sweater

Gilli “Anwen Shortsleeve Abstract Print Faux Wrap Dress” Size Small ($64) The fit and style of this dress was right on, and it actually looked pretty great, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the pattern. Or the fact that it was a dress. IF the color/pattern had been different, I might have considered keeping it (because I really did love the style and fit). But because I really have no need for a dress right now, I decided to send it back.

Stitch-Fix-Review-Faux-Wrap-Dress

Market and Spruce “Genesis Ruffle Hem Top” Size X-Small ($64) – I absolutely LOVED this top!! I loved it the moment I saw it and I loved it even more when I tried it on!! Which is why I was HUGELY disappointed to discover that it had multiple pulls and even a hole in the chest. I absolutely would have kept it if it hadn’t had so many defects. But I had to return it. 🙁

Stitch-Fix-Review-Ruffle-Hem-Top

Stitch-Fix-Review-Ruffle-Hem-Top

Octavia “Tina Checkered Infinity Scarf” ($34) This was actually the first item in my fix, but the last one I tried on. While I adore infinity scarves (and own several), I was not a fan of the color combo here. Im just not big on the color mustard. And because I just couldnt see myself reaching for it in my closet, I decided NOT to keep it.

Stitch-Fix-Review-Infinity-Scarf

Overall, I was really pleased with my first fix! The sizing (something I was really concerned about) was dead on, and the prices were all around what I would normally spend at places like J.Crew, LOFT, and Anthropologie. Even though I only kept two items, I really LOVE those two items!! And since shopping as a petite can be so tough, this was completely worth it to me!!

I haven’t yet decided what my future plans are with Stitch Fix. I loved it! And I definitely want to schedule a second fix SOON!!! But I’m a little strapped for cash with it being the holiday season, so I’ll probably wait and schedule my second fix early in the New Year! Actually, now that I think about it, scheduling fixes at the beginning of each new season might not be so bad… I’ll definitely have to think about that!!

In the meantime, if you would like, you can sign up for your first fix right here, and see all the magic of Stitch Fix for yourself!!! If you’ve already tried it, Id love to hear all about your experience and what cool things you got