Personal Power Boundaries with Jennifer Seitzer

A couple of weeks ago, I featured Jennifer Seitzer and her amazing Etsy shop on a Freedom Friday feature. Today, she and I have teamed up again to bring you a whole article on establishing personal power boundaries! As I mentioned before, this is a whole new world for me…but definitely a very interesting one! Let’s read and empower!

Jennifer Crystal Healer

 

Back in 1997 I began my own spiritual journey into self. For six years I worked

intensely with my then therapist and one thing I learned were boundaries. I never

heard of that term before nor did I know that I didn’t have any which makes sense

considering I never heard of that term prior to stepping into counseling.

Growing up I never learned what healthy boundaries were so I lived my life as a

walking doormat. Sacrificing myself, my energy and my time to all the wrong

people, friends, relationships, jobs, situations, etc. I poured myself into everything I

did to the detriment of my own self­worth which fed on my zero percent of

self­love I held for myself.

My relationships were all abusive and co­dependent and that included the toxic

friendships I found myself in. I couldn’t find the edges where I ended and others

began. I sometimes felt powerless, unsure of who I was in relationships, and also

unheard. I felt invisible, a victim and a martyr.

[Read more...]

Blog Design Tips and Tricks from a Designer

A couple of years ago, I fell madly in girl-crush with a blogger and graphic designer named Tabi D. We met through a blogging network or blog hop of some form, a million years ago, and became fast friends. The Vagabond Studio logo ^^ up there (and stamped on all my Etsy products)? Tabi read my mind and popped off with that. She’s awesome. And, today, she’s here to tell you quick and awesome ways to be awesome, too. SO, here’s Tabi!

Make Your Blog Look Fantastic

If you have a blog and you are a DIY-er, you’ve got to be a graphic designer, website builder and writer all wrapped up in one adorable creative package. I’ll be honest; I got into blogging when my brain started screaming for a creative outlet. I’m not a writer, which is in contrast to what most bloggers get into blogging for – writing.  I felt completely at peace creating my own blog and making it look fantastic… and the anxiety sets in for me when it comes to actually writing words on the page.

I’m here with a few tips for those of you at the other end of the spectrum, those of you who are blogging to spread your vast knowledge and maybe struggle a little with your graphics, your logo or the layout of the medium you choose to deliver your knowledge, your blog (Although many of these principles can absolutely be applied to a newsletter, postcard, etc.)

Eye Trail

Eye-Trail

 

When you look at a page, where does your eye get drawn to first? Then, where do you naturally look on from there? It should make sense, and lead your readers directly to your message.

In general, the first thing that the eye should be drawn to on a blog is your logo or your header. This is who you are. This should be top and center and in good contrast to stand out above the rest of the content on your page.

Now that your readers know who you are, what do you want them to check out next? Try to keep this principle in mind when creating your page and laying out your posts.

TIP: If you have an image next to text, make sure the person or object is facing towards the text and not away from it. A person or item facing a direction organically directs our eye to what they are facing.

About that Logo

 Logo design samples

Your logo is you, so make sure it’s awesome. When creating your logo, start with sketches, just free flow your ideas onto the paper straight from your brain to the paper. When you have a good idea of how you want it to look, digitize.

A few pointers:

  • DON’T use more than 2 fonts. (Unless you’re bohemian – which is A-okay in my book).

  • DO mix it up! Eclectic = Interesting

  • DO use complementary colors in your scheme. Keep the scheme consistent throughout your site. (I like these tools: http://colorschemedesigner.com, http://www.colourlovers.com)
    TIP: Once you pick your color scheme, write down the RGB Values and Hex Codes for easy reference!

  • A good way to connect your logo to the rest of the page design is to use the same logo font as your header font. Or maybe take an element out of the logo and repeat it as a custom bullet in your articles or graphic element to your images.

  • DON’T always follow the rules; they are made to be broken. So whatever ‘design rules’ you think you have to follow, just remember they don’t apply in every situation.

Sometimes letting a professional create your logo is the best option for you. In my opinion, logos aren’t something you want to feel ‘okay’ about – I want you to feel ‘ecstatic’ about your logo.

Your Photos

Photo editing sample

 

Those photos you post in your article just might make or break the readers’ decision to stay and read or to move on to the next pretty Internet thingy. Make them interesting.

I’ve found my best photos are snapped candidly. If something grabs your eye as gorgeous, thought provoking, ridiculously cute, or interesting – find your iPhone and take a picture! I have a small point and shoot digital camera I keep in my purse at all times for just this scenario.

TIP: Turn OFF the flash.

In my opinion, a little grainy and underexposed is a billion times nicer than overexposed, skin glowing glare from our crappy phone camera (and point and shoot) flashes. Of course, sometimes flashes are necessary, but 97% of my photos are taken sans-flash.

Got the perfect photo & want to make it more awesome? I don’t have to tell you there are tons of apps for that. My favorite filter app is VSCO Cam , also: Instagram. Maybe add a shape border, or insert a few photos into a collage. If you’ve never met PicMonkey, head over there and introduce yourself. You’ll be glad you did – lots of fun things to jazz up those images, and… FREE!

I hope these tips help you out! I post morsels of design information on my blog from time to time. Stop by sometime!

                          Tabi Deneweth    Hey there! I’m Tabi and I am a freelance graphic designer. My backstory: I went to design school years ago & have been in the graphics industry since the turn of the century (year 2000). I have worked in a wide variety of the many spectrums in the industry, from the production end to marketing to art director-ing. I gave up my window office 6 years ago to start a family and am now back at it – on my own terms as a freelance designer. Need help with your graphics? Come check me out (http://tabideesigns.com) and drop me a line (tabi@tabideesigns.com)!

 

10 Ways to Love Yourself

Love Yourself First

Self-love has been something with which I have struggled for most of my life. Over Christmas, however, my friend Sage gave me a Self-Love Planner as a last-ditch attempt and saying ‘Hey Shai, you need to realize you kick ass and deserve to love all of who you are, not just the parts people approve of’. 

And the planner has worked wonders. As the good ol’ Lucille Ball said ‘Love yourself first and everything else will fall into line’, and oh, is life falling into line. (p.s. I offer this quote on a custom bracelet in my shop!)

So, today, I have rallied together some of my favorite bloggers, business owners, and entrepreneur divas to share self-love tips, because we all need to learn to love ourselves before we can truly love, appreciate, and fully enjoy life as a whole.

1. Get enough sleep - Lack of sleep causes a shorter attention span, temporary loss of short-term memory, an increase in mistakes, and even an increase in poor judgement. On top of that, you just feel like hell when you’re sleepy all the time. You’re going to have a harder time loving yourself if you’re scattered, constantly making little mistakes, and are exhausted.

For me, this is a big one – I average something like four hours of sleep a night. Yes, four. But in January I made the decision to take care of my body more and one of the things I do is stop and sleep when need be. Even if I have a project to finish, I will go to sleep and finish it in the morning, because I’m not going to put my whole effort into it if I’m exhausted. So, I stop, and tackle it again when I’m fully energized, which means I get it done in less time. Funny how that works, eh?

2. Have fun! – I’d pretty much forgotten how to do this one, too. My favorite form of having fun when I’m all alone? Dancing. Did you know that dancing releases the same endorphins that causes the ‘runners high’? Turn up some music, grab a hair brush, and sing and dance your way across your living room in your undies. Tiffany’s ‘I think we’re alone now’ is a good place to start with this one! Not one for dancing and singing? Marilyn Muir from Soft Thistle plays World of Warcraft for a little fun time! You can run, go out with the girls, chase the kids around the park…whatever makes you laugh and smile. 

3. On the flip side, give yourself time to relax.  Kathy Anne from Wildflower Kath says, ‘This winter, I’ve really “allowed” myself to sync with the season. Get quiet, take it slower, sort of hibernate between regular work. I’ve not really done this before. I haven’t been sick this winter either- which is a first.’ Personally, I’m kid-free every other weekend, and I make it a point to sleep in until around 9:30 or 10. Even then, there are no guarantees I’m getting out of bed – I often pull out my school books and read in bed in my skivvies until I decide it’s time for coffee.

4. Smile! Even if you’re not in a good mood, try to smile. Smile your way into a good mood. This doesn’t work for some people, but for others it works wonders. I wasn’t a believer until I spent a week trying this out and now it’s the first thing I do when I wake up to kids screaming over me at 5:50am because the toddler is sticking the preteen’s stickers to her television, or whatever other chaos with which they decide to alarm me out of bed. It is much easier to force myself out of a bad mood when I’m making a conscious effort, and that effort starts with smiling.

4. Make healthy choices! I know, I know…easier said than done. I have a bad habit of making the choice to do yoga, and not following through as I should. I’m up to four or five times a week, which is really good for me, and I’m now running 4-5 days a week to train for a 5K I’m doing with a group of friends. Exercise, eating healthy, and taking care of your body is important – if you’re not healthy, you won’t feel good and, like I said earlier, it’s hard to love yourself when you feel like crap. It’s also not good self-love to wear yourself out or not take care of your body.

5. Make a list of things about yourself that rock. Almost a decade ago, I found myself in an abuse recovery group, and this is something they had us do on a regular basis. While some may see it as something only people with big egos would do, it’s also important to realize that there are people out there who really struggle to find even just one or two things about themselves that they love. I was one of those people – I couldn’t name anything at which I would good or anything about myself that I or anyone I knew liked (or, so I thought). Make that list. I promise it helps. Do you make an amazing grilled cheese? Add it to the list. Can you tie a cherry stem with your tongue? Add that, too. Take negatives and turn them into positives, too, and then hang that list somewhere visible. Do this often!

6. Change your words, change your mindset - Negative self talk is a self-destructive habit that will make it near impossible to show yourself self-love. Try to focus on being self aware, and turning that negative self-talk into positive action. You are not stupid. You are not lazy – or if you are lazy, tell yourself that you’re not and then prove it. Everyone has different gifts, talents, and personality traits – focus on the positives ones that you have, and let those shine. If there’s something negative about you that you really just don’t like, work on fixing that! Personally, I used to tell myself ‘I am such a bitch’ and ‘My life is so full of drama’. Then, I started telling myself ‘I am not a bitch, and my life does not have any drama’ while, at the same time, deleting the drama from my life and trying really hard not to be a bitch. The latter one was a little harder than I expected.

7. Be You and OWN Yourself!  Jen Saunders, editor and creator of Wild Sister Magazine and the Wild Sisterhood, says ‘Most recently, I’ve been loving myself by not pressuring myself to fit into any sort of box, and letting myself be completely ME no matter where I am.’ And, that really is the best advice. I’ve made it a point over the past 6 or 7 months to really start owning and loving the things about me that I had a hard time with before. I always hated being from the south, but I found positive things about it and now find myself smiling and boldly stating ‘Georgia!’ when people ask where I’m from. I’m almost thirty and I still love pigtails and bubbles. I skip through city streets and can be a little obnoxious. I’m okay with that. You should be okay with your quirks, too, even if other people are not.

8. Ditch the Negative Nancy’s – It’s really hard to change your mindset and/or own yourself when you’re surrounded by people who won’t let you do so, even if they’re well-meaning. Late last summer, a chain of events happened that resulted in almost all of my ‘Negative Nancy’ types being eliminated from my life in a very short period of time. My views about myself, my life, and my abilities have completely changed since then.

9. Connect with others!  - Find yourself a loving, supportive, awesome group of friends with whom you can connect. After ditching my Negative Nancy’s, I dove head first into the Wild Sisterhood and found several incredible friends, to whom I talk almost daily. I reached out to people I knew in person and loved, and started making time for and plans with them. I’ve made it a point to notice who makes me feel good about myself (even when they’re disagreeing with me), and have brought them into my life on a higher level. Try meetup.com to find a group of people with whom you share interest, join the Wild Sisterhood, or simply reconnect with people you already know – either way, connect!

10. Go easy, start small, and forgive yourself. Did you promise yourself that you would eat better and are sitting here reading with a bag of chips in hand? Or, like me, are realizing you’ve been up for five hours and still haven’t had breakfast? Did you skip running yesterday and don’t have time for it today, either? Tis’ okay, Love, shit happens. Tomorrow is another day, and you can try again!

What tips do you have for self-love?

Little Letters: Interrupted, because Nukes are Nuts!

Nukes are Nuts Voice

As many of my regular readers here know, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has been a central part of my life over the past year. First, I was trying to raise money to attend their Peace Leadership Training so that I could meet and learn from my hero, Paul K. Chappell. In doing that, I gained confidence and skills that I never imagined I could acquire – I faced my fear of public speaking, gained all sorts of belief in myself and my abilities, and learned to take control of my life and dreams. The trip to California for training was life-changing, not only because of the training itself but on a deep, personal level as well. I even walked away from that experience with very close friends, who are very much a part of my regular life. The very core of who I am as a human being has been altered in many beautiful, positive ways over the last year, because of these wonderful people and what they do.

Monday, we launched a Nukes are Nuts campaign to raise $20,000 towards nuclear abolition. If you’re a part of the 73% of Americans who want a world without nukes, go check out the Indiegogo campaign, donate, and share on all of your social media. If you’re not really much of an activist or are indifferent about nukes (which means we should have a heart-to-heart, but I’ll save that for later), then please go do this for me. So many of my readers tell me on a regular basis how much I inspire them, motivate them, or they want to follow in my footsteps. Ladies and gentlemen, these people and this organization are the reason I’ve done everything I’ve done over the last year – if I inspire you, so do they…you just might not have realized it.

So go check it out, and give a hand to my cause-of-heart!

Little Letters #43

image

It’s been an eventful week, for sure. Mini-Me decided to chop off her hair…into a pixie cut. Talk about bravery! Everyone so far (well, almost everyone) has absolutely loved it and people were stopping her in the halls on campus to tell her how cute she is. I’m currently training for a 5K (don’t laugh – I haven’t ran regularly since high school and am totally doing this for a fun outing with great people), and Mini-Me has decided to join me in the training. I told her if she can make it to 3.1 miles, I’ll sign us up for the next super fun run. So far she’s up to 1.5, and it’s been less than a week! I’ve also been bombarded with orders, and class assignments (blugh), and work stuff, on top of Micro-Me deciding that 5:45 is wake-up time and homemade breakfasts rock. AND, I received some bad (personal) news that has had me all emotional today.

Like I said, it’s been a week.

At any rate, here’s this week’s Little Letters!

Dear Mini-Me, Thank you for being a sweet girl this week. I’m going to cross my fingers that the sassy pre-teen in you has taken a break for awhile.

Dear Micro-Me, I’m beginning to love our mommy/little man breakfasts every morning. I still think 6am is too early to make waffles, but when I see your overly cheesy smile sitting on the other side of the counter from me, it makes my mornings so much better.

Dear Coffee, I sort of worship you at this point, I think.

Dear S, L, & K, Our non-stop message chatter cracks me up. It sometimes feels like I have three devils/angels (depending upon the day) on each shoulder, keeping me entertained and giving me their opinions ‘all the day!’. <3

Dear Sleep, While I’ve been getting more of you here lately (regularly) than I have in years, you still allude me quite a bit. We have to work on this bedtime thing.

Dear Guest Posters, There are more than a few of you coming up, and I just want to send out a huge thanks for being a part of The Vagabond Studio! Being able to work with so many amazing people is what keeps me blogging in the first place.

Dear Weather, THANK YOU for being perfect this week. Icepocalypse 1 & 2 can go ta hell. Atlanta is supposed to be hot and muggy.

Dear Stephanie, I miss you.

Caro Tu, mi manca il tuo viso.