Twenty Fourteen, Stay Cool

Our morning began at 6 am the first day. We only had one night to stay at the cabin, so I was bound and determined to make the most our time.

I've said it before and I'm sure you'll hear it again and again, mornings are magical. I just know it. It's like a best kept secret. Although I'm not naturally early to rise, I've never regretted forcing myself to get up. I'm determined to change this about myself.

From the rising sun to the morning fog and frost covered leaves, there's no other time you see anything quite like it. The cities are hushed and the traffic his sparce, the sun is rising ever so slowly. There's something to be said about the slow pace of the beginning of a day. I'm not one for rushing, I enjoy taking my time, and no morning starts better than when I rise slowly and at my own pace. As wonderful as it is to lounge, I really crave the routine the start of the day calls for, and all done at pace and with the ability to enjoy the actions you take.

We were 15 miles from the coast and the sun had just risen over the eastern horizon. Frost covering all the low, shaded plants, and wow, it was stunning. As much as I love tropical beaches, I truly love the uniqueness offered in the Pacific Northwest. The skies were clear and the forecast called for sun, a type of weather I hadn't yet experienced in Forks. A type of weather never taken for granted around here.

As if our morning wasn't enjoyable enough, we arrived at Ocean Shores to find frost covering most of the dunes and a brilliant sun offering a diamond like gleam for miles. We turn to leave and continue on our destination when I spot two large birds. I point them out to my husband and we quickly discover three eagles feasting just ahead of us. A rare sight.

I've been to Forks many times. At first because I had learned the Hoh rainforest was one of the top ten quietest places on earth, and second, because my husband is an angler and some of the best fishing in the world is here. At first glance, there isn't much to this sleepy little town, but surrounded by unique coast line and beaches, mossy forests, and wildlife, it is truly unlike any other place in the world.

Through the evening, we settled in with our small group of friends. We drank merrily, feasted, and played games. For this short time, we were surrounded by love, adventure, and down to earth good time. My heart was full, and all I could think was that I wanted this as often as I could get it. Look out 2014!

On the first morning to wake at the cabin, I quickly showered and dressed before everyone else and headed out to see another gorgeous frost-covered morning, I followed the trail down to the river with my pups by my side. Part of my list of things to change in our lives this year is to get up early and find some way to enjoy nature and be active. Every single day. I want to hike in the morning and watch the sunrise over an incredible view, I want to learn to row, ride bikes, run, and take long walks.

My view of the falls from climbing down on the rocks.

I see the world differently these days. It happens as you grow up. You find out who you are and what you want, and then you realize that people you've known forever don't see things the way you do. And so you keep the wonderful memories, but find yourself moving on. It's taken me some time to be ok with these changes, to understand why some friendships have dwindled, why my relationship has changed so much and how to make it work. It's taken some time for me to realize its time to focus on me again. To find gratification in new interests, new people, new food, new experiences and new places. This year is that time, and I am anxious, excited, and ready.

If you haven't seen our teeth chattering, yet epic adventure from the 1st, check it out here.

Also, I am the featured photographer at In Beauty and Chaos. So thrilled!

Junker Chicks

It was purely by chance that I stumbled into Junker Chicks with my daughter and husband in tow. I was, first off, in awe of the furniture pieces I saw. As I described it all later, if I was to be in design and furniture, her store would be the resulted baby. Haha. Vintage meets shabby chic. Then I started looking around and of course I took a peek at price tags, I thought I was going crazy, so I looked at a few more. The first thing I thought was, "That's worth nearly double that price or more!" Then it was, "Babe, we can actually afford this stuff!" I love just about anything with character, with a story, that makes me wonder what life it had before. This is the kind of furniture usually displayed in a tiny crowded, yet adorable, little storefront, looking at price tags nearly the total of your paycheck, mortgage, etc.. You love it, but keep walking.

I was instantly enamored with Betty. As I later described the experience, from her bare feet, to her affordable prices, and the style she had, I couldn't help but to ask her to work with me. And I couldn't help it, so I asked her on the spot if she wanted to collaborate with me. She said yes. Hahaa. We planned to meet the following week and what I thought would be just a couple hours turned into nearly an entire work day of just talking. We got to know one another and by the afternoon, I felt more comfortable with her than I would've ever imagined. We shared secrets and history, tricks of the trade, the good and the ugly, and it continued on while I occasionally wandered and took character detail photos of her shop, and she worked on a few pieces. 

While I could talk about this experience all day, I'm going to share a list of DOING WHAT YOU LOVE questions to showcase who she is, her business, and how she does it. So here goes...

1. When did you start your business?
March 2012

2. What inspires you?
"I just want to paint." I love to see people happy, I didn't get in this to get rich, if I did, I wouldn't be here now. There was this little girl, Abbey, who came into my store one day. She loved a vanity that I had and asked her mom for it. She had to wait for her dad's approval, so I let her write her name on a piece of paper with HOLD on it, until she came back. She dreamed of having a Little House on the Prairie bedroom and told her mom, "I've wanted this my whole life." So the girl left, and I just had to get this to her, so I took a photo of her note on the vanity and shared it to Facebook and a buy, sell, trade group, asking if anyone knows her, to tell them to come back, I want to give it to her. A friend of the girl's mom saw it and they came back and I just gifted it to her. Her dad offered to pay and I wouldn't take anything. She was just so happy, I couldn't. Her mom told me later on that the day she came in was her third day into summer break and they were trying to cheer her up, she had been bullied all year long. I knew there was a reason and that's what helps me sleep at night. To see people so happy to afford these things. I don't turn a huge profit, but I can pay my bills, and in the end, that's what matters right now.

3.  How did you get started?
I started with a piece of furniture I had at home, my partner's mom saw it and offered me $75. I sold a few more items that I had painted, and thought, I could start a business. I started with storage auctions, bought spaces at antique shows, rented a space at an antique mall, and opened a small storefront before moving into a bigger space. My first store was so small, I didn't have a bathroom or sink, I didn't have a space to paint, so I would work right outside the store on the sidewalk. People would drive by and tell me they'd come back and buy it. I would sell pieces before I could even finish them.

4. Do you stay involved with the community to help your small business?
No. Most of my business comes from online, people have driven across states to buy from me, and I stay so busy because of that. Certain days a week that my store isn't open though, I will volunteer my time. I don't tell people I'm a business owner, I just do it because I know what it's like, and maybe someone will remember the lady who smiled at them or told them things would get better, and it will stay with them and know their life can change like mine did. I pay for food or things they need out of pocket, I'll serve them food, deliver it, whatever I can when I hear of people in need. I actually met this lady awhile ago who collected items in her garage and when she found someone in need, she wouldn't question them, just gathered things for them specifically and gave it all away. They didn't have to meet certain criteria, and I loved that, so I bought my first pack of diapers, I had never bought any before, and I took them to her.

5. What are some of your best experiences?
All of them. I love making people happy. I've given things away, I've sold them for less than I paid. It may not be the smartest decision, but I don't care, they're happy and I have it to offer. All the good and bad I've experienced in business, I really love it. People said it would be a roller coaster ride, well it is, but they're fun!

6. What advice do you have to offer people who want to do what you do?
Grab a brush. I offered free paint lessons twice a week. When I first started, I saw this beautiful dresser I felt like I had to have, I would just die without it. I inquired about it, asked about the color, but no one would tell me. Everyone keeps things so secretive, so I found out myself. I learned how to do it, and you know what, it's not hard.

7. What advice do you have to offer people who want to start their own business?
Be yourself. I discovered me three years ago. I don't dress up, in fact, I rarely wear shoes or decent clothes. I get paint on everything, so I quit caring. Wear slippers, don't wear slippers, it doesn't matter. People will come in or they won't. Be real, be true, this is it. I have sandpaper everywhere, there's dust all over, and you may have to go home and clean it, but that's real. I love when someone is wiping off the surface of something and telling me how cute it is, because that's just how it is here. That's how I keep my price point where it is, and yeah, I work 12+ hours a day nearly everyday, but right now, this is what I love to do. I will never order from a catalog, I find everything I have or I make it. If I wake up tomorrow and I don't feel this way anymore, I'll change it. Business is a lot of hard work, but this is me, who I am, and people love it or they don't.

Check out Junker Chick's on Facebook.

gift giving

If you're like me, 'tis the season for gift giving, needing a little pick me up, celebrating loved ones, and all these sweet holidays (a little early holiday shopping can't hurt either!). The right handmade gift can be such a tender thing to send those you choose to go through life with. Especially those distant family members and friends, what a treasure to know you put in so much extra effort and thought!

To get you started, I shared some of my current etsy favorites, all of these are sold by people who's work I have researched and admire or have purchased from before or who have been recommended to me by someone I trust. They hit every price point and occasion with super sweet hand drawn images and beautiful quotes.

This precious little shop can be found here. To add even more to the holiday spirit of giving, use coupon code RKR20 to receive 20% off now through Nov 30, 2013! Hurry now to get them for in time for the holidays!


College Life

I've spent a lot of time lately thinking of how much my life has changed, personally and professionally. The constant changes, growth, and our lives represented throughout my photos are a huge reminder of that. This year has been a great one for us, full of so much wonder, happiness, and even some heartache. Well rounded, I'd say. 

So yesterday, while going through my desk, I found my old student I.D. Aren't those always some memorable times?! I was quickly reminded of a huge pile of textbooks I have sitting in the corner of my den. A pile of books that grew until I found a better way to deal with each new quarter and the demand for a new book each class.

You simply can't ignore the modern day conveniences that make our lives so much easier. In fact, it was easily one of the bigger stresses I felt at the beginning of each quarter. I became pretty creative to save a few, and after much research, I stumbled upon campusbookrentals.com. You mean I don't have to keep a stack of large textbooks after each class I take?! Aside from the incredible savings and features of this company, is that they give back. With each textbook rented through them, they donate to Operation Smile. I find myself more and more encouraged to support companies when they are local, small businesses and/or that so selflessly give back to the community in some way. Especially as campusbookrentals.com does, it warms my heart.

If you're interested in our featured partnership, please look over more information from them below.

Additional perks to campusbookrentals.com:
  • 40-90% off bookstore prices
  • free shipping
  • flexibility in renting
  • you can rent back books you own (www.rentback.com)
  • risk free returns
Just in case you need more information, check out these informative [and fun] videos!

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It really helps through life to have companies that are genuinely available to be there for you, save you money, and offer products useful to your life. So if you're a college student and need textbooks, well, why not save a few and just rent your books?!

*Please note this post is sponsored by campusbookrentals.com. Thank you for reading our blog and supporting the sponsors that help support our family!

Also, if you're a blogger and are interested in partnering with campusbookrentals.com, please contact me for more information!

Have a great week friends!