Brand Love – Answering the (Not So) Serious Questions

“Design is a plan for arranging elements in a way that best accomplishes a particular purpose.” – Charles Eames

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Today is part two of our 3 week series on brand love, in honor of Valentines Day (Which is 2 days away!). I know last week I told you we would be getting the tools together to make a mood board, but before you go hot glueing, glittering, pinning, or wash-taping we have to answer some questions. If you just broke out in cold sweats thinking this a test, you can relax…it isn’t.

In a relationship with another human being sometimes you get into conversations with people who want to know all the little details of your significant other…And sometimes you don’t even know all of the answers to those questions, about yourself!

Being a small business owner/ girl-boss means you have to be ready to go twelve rounds in the verbal boxing ring with that little old lady that lives next door that wants to know everything about your “significant other”, which in this case means your business. You can’t really be too prepared in this situation.

So let’s nail down these answers for ourselves! Let’s make a “cheat sheet”, if you will.
Like I said before, this isn’t a test; but I do have a free printable at the bottom of this blog post so we can fill out our answers together.

Got that printed out? Got your lipstick on? Got your coffee?
Then let’s get started!

#1
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Have you ever been scrolling through instagram or pinterest and see a photo that stops you in your tracks and is just pretty to you?
Sometimes for me it could be the cirque de terre or a photo of a messy art table.
Print that out and attach it to your worksheet.

#2
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What’s your color scheme?
I’ve left 3 openings on your sheet but you can definitely use more.
You can find color inspiration from your inspo image or somewhere else like, Pantone or Design Seeds.
To fill in these spots you can use paint chips, use scrapbook paper or cardstock, or print off colors.

#3
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When people see your work how do you want them to describe it?
Pick a few words and write them down.
Ex. Warm, Girly, Inviting, Wanderlust, Moody

#4
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You are your business. Your business wouldn’t exist without you, and it wouldn’t be the same if you hadn’t created it.
So what is unique about you, and your lifestyle that you can infuse into your business.
This will attract your kind of people and inherently attract your potential clients.
Ex. Coffee/Tea, Religion, Charities, Fitness, Habits, Motherhood, or Young Adventurer

#5
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What is your mission statement?
The reason you get up and fight like mad to do what you love, instead of struggling through a miserable 9-5 job?
What is your goal with every product you produce or every sale you make?

At this point you should have filled in the last spot on your worksheet, which now means you are almost ready for next weeks blog post.
This wasn’t a test, but you do have homework this week.

To prepare for next week you’ll need to do a little hunting and gathering.
Here’s a list to help you out:
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Printable Here

Go hunt and gather and meet me back here next week to do some
fun crafting and mood board decorating!

XOXO
-Sami, The (he)Art Studio Collective

Don’t forget to print your free branding worksheet!
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Click Here to Download Your Mood Board Worksheet!

 

A Season for BRAND Love

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Welcome to February!

I immediately think of all things love when the calendar turns to February. And frankly, my sister-in-law and I have decided that Valentines day is one of the best holidays and is honestly just way underrated! Why does everyone overlook Valentines? #allthelove

Since I can’t actually give any “love” advice, (even though I wish I could) I decided to talk about things that i’m teaching myself and that is, my business and blog….more specifically my brand.

We should all love ourselves a little more, right?
Well my mission isn’t so much about loving my self, but loving the me I portray to potential customers.
If I don’t have my act together, potential clients aren’t going to know who they’re working with; which in the long run will end up causing trouble for both parties.

If you’re not with me so far let me give you an example…

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When you see a red and white bullseye or someone in khakis and a red shirt…what do you automatically thing of?
You definitely don’t think of the service you’re get at Walmart, right?
And vise versa.

If you want be a wedding planner you’re obvs. not going to advertise to do childrens birthday parties.
If your ideal brand revolves around blushes + pastels, and flowers, and lacy girly things; your business cards (advertisements, etc) won’t look like bold stripes, bright neon colors, etc.

Cohesiveness is key to attracting your ideal client.
Displaying yourself as “I can do anything, and everything, no matter what theme or style” will ultimately come back to bite you (in my personal experience).

I’ve hear this all the time:
“It’s better to do a few things with excellence, than to do everything halfway.”
(Paraphrased)

So, how can we narrow down the brand that we want to portray?

Words, Colors, Images that stand out to us, Lifestyle and purpose.

NEXT week i’ll be giving you (and myself) the tools to making a mood board!
Who’s excited?
I’ve been meaning to make a mood board for myself for a long time so i’m excited to check this off of my to-do list this month. 🙂

We’re being intentional with our goals, over here, Y’all!

Get your thinking caps on, and block off a few minutes of time next week, to grab a cup of (insert your favorite beverage here) and dream about what our businesses should look like and take steps to making our potential clients see the beautiful girl-bosses (or guy-bosses) they’re working with! 🙂

Business Goals for 2017 – What I Want To Accomplish

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Welcome to the grande finale of this blog series! If this is the first post your reading I’ll encourage you to catch up with the 3 previous posts in this series to kick off 2017. Check out the links at the end of this post.

Check out the end of this post to get the FREE downloadable goal checklist!

The grand finale is the list I’m most excited about. Today i’m revealing my goals for my business this year. Most people probably don’t publicly display their business goals for fear of humiliation if they don’t accomplish them. If I accomplish any percentage of this list, this year I will be extremely happy. And whatever doesn’t happen this year, either wasn’t meant to happen or can be moved to next years list.

“In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.” – Author Unknown

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” – Epictetus

-Brand Cohesion

I want to finally nail down what I want my business to look like and make everything i produce reflect that. I want people to see me and my brand through what I create. All products and social media avenues should work together, not against each other.

-Keep better track of the money I make through art

Honestly it’s hard to keep track of this some times and I want to be better organized so I can be more responsible with it and re-invest in my business and give some to missions or a non-profit.

-Sell my art in at least 3 more stores

In 2016 I was able to put my art in a couple local shops which puts my product in the hands of a customer base I may not be able to reach otherwise. So this year I would like to find a few more places to do this at. Three may seem ambitious, but I have nothing to lose by shooting for 3.

-Consistent Income

As a freelance artist you pretty much don’t have any kind of accountable income. You could have a great month this month, and only make a handful of sales the next month. I’m not asking for like a car payment amount of income, but i’m praying for some amount that I can count on.

-Plan Instagram

Right now i just throw up pictures whenever i have something to post which throws a wrench in the “cohesive” plan. I have a set time that I usually post but i want to put more thought into what my followers are seeing so it is the best representation of me.

-Equipment Purchases

There are a few items that have been on my wishlist for a while and with the “less spending, more saving” personal goal I have, I’m hoping to be able to check some of these off the list.

The items range from a personalized logo rubber stamp to an iPad Pro + Apple Pencil for hand lettering, and a new lease for my camera.

-Styled Photos

I’ve had these ideas in my head and i want to start taking better and sometimes styled photos of my work for instagram, my blog, and Etsy. I’ve been collecting some styling props here and there, so I would love to hear if you have any favorite props for styled pictures or any tips in general.

-New Products

I want to expand my brand to include shirts, mugs, etc. Which will be a big undertaking but I don’t think it’s entirely impossible.

So that’s what i’ll be working towards this year! I hope you’ll follow along on the ride by following me on instagram @artstudiocollective.

If you are a small business owner or etsy shop owner let me know one of your business goals for ’17! And if you’re a faithful shopper for us small biz owners tell my something you bought from a small biz last year that made you really happy and be sure to leave their shop name or instagram handle in the comment so I can go give them a follow! 🙂

That’s it for January! Thanks for following along on this goal oriented series and I hope you’ve nailed down some goals to work on this year too! Check back, January 29-31 i’ll be sharing sneak peaks on my instagram for Februarys blogging series! Hope i’ll see you there!

Thanks For Reading!

-Sami

The Art Studio Collective

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Click Here to Download Your Free Goals Checklist

Welcome to 2017 Part II – What I want to do in 2017

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Starting and finishing blog posts is always the hardest part for me. I can talk for hours about the topic at hand but getting started and wrapping things up is so hard for me.

It can be that way with goals sometimes too. Getting started and getting a routine is so hard, even if it’s something you’ve done before.

My goals for 2016 all fit into one blog post, but this year I want to do so much that i couldn’t force it into one post, so that why I’m bringing you this series.

Some people choose “words” for the year and in the past I have chosen a word (even though I cant seem to remember what any of them are right now). As we came to the end of 2016 i thought i had my word chosen and then at the very end it was completely changed and it wasn’t a word anymore, but a phrase.

“My Best Year Yet”

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If you noticed, that was the name of the first post of this series. I have such anticipation for 2017 and where i’m going in my personal life and business adventures. Next week i’ll tell you about the business goals but today let’s talk personal.

To be honest most of my goals are business oriented this year so this post could be a short one.

-Weightloss + Fitness

This is one of those goals that your never truly finished with. I’ve fallen out of my    weightloss and fitness routine and I’m itching to get back to it. I want to lose a few more pounds and start toning again.

-Hand Lettering

Ok I know i’m a hand lettering artist so this may sound like a dumb goal. It’s always a good idea to refine your trade right? I want to practice more and try different forms of lettering. I’ve never done practice sheets but i printed off some to do drills on and i’m excited to practice!

-Digital Lettering + Gold Foiling

This could probably be considered a business goal, but this year i’m marking it personal with the potential to expand my business in 2018.

-Less Spend-y, More Save-y

I would love to start saving for some of those bigger things I’ve had my eye on instead of spending money on things that aren’t important. (see also: Don’t go to the target dollar spot…Or Target at all.) To accomplish this I plan on starting a no spend chart for my happy planner. I’ve attached a FREE no spend checklist printable at the end of this blog post so we can work on this together! 🙂

-Read a Book

I’m not a reader. At all. But I would like to read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and/or Wild and Free by Hayley Morgan & Jess Connolly.

-Weaving
I want to pick up yet another crafty skill and learn weaving this year! If you’ve done it and are self taught i would love to know how you started! 🙂

-Better organize my time

I want to plan more and better organize my time, mostly so I’m not crunching on projects at the last minute and completely stressing out. This goal pretty much is business related but by accomplishing it, it will help my personal life.

I feel like i’m forgetting stuff that I want to do for myself in 2016 so you may see a revised list in the future but I feel like these are good places to start that will affect my life for many years to come.

What do you want to do this year that will help you?

“Become addicted to constant and never-ending self-improvement” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

When you work on you, you fill yourself up to be able to live and thereby pour into others.

“To Live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde

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Click Here to Download Your No Spend Checklist

 

Business Goals Recap

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The best way to grow is to evaluate what you’ve done and see what worked and what didn’t. Last week I recapped my goals for 2016 and gave you an update on how they went.
This is post 2 of 4, for my January blogging theme of “Goals and Resolutions” and today I’m talking about Business Goals for 2017.

I didn’t recap one of my goals from last year in my previous post because I wanted to really explain everything thats happened this year for my business. So i’ll start by telling you about that.

In 2016 I wanted to ‘Pursue My Career’. I said I didn’t really know how that would happen but I just wanted to take a step. It’s actually crazy to think about how much has happened because I feel like it’s been forever since I said that.

Instagram – After I wrote my goals, I started my instagram account that i didn’t put much effort into right away but eventually i really got in to it. I participated in The Rising Tide Society’s InstaTideChallenge which was so much fun and was a really great opportunity to communicate with each other and learn to use instagram to the best of it’s business capabilities. Right after that I got 100+ likes on a post for the first time. Not trying to brag, because the post wasn’t even about me, but from a business stand-point it’s a milestone.
My next ‘instagram goal’, if you will, was to reach 300+ followers by Christmas. And I hit 300 right after Thanksgiving. *happy dance*
I know Instagram is just a social media network, but the more likes and followers you have as a creative person or business owner means that many people see your work and like it.
I went from posting and having barely any response to posting and actually getting engagements with followers or people who find my work.

Art for Sale – This year I went from only doing art and commissions for friends to selling my art in local shops & on Etsy. I started my Etsy shop early in 2016 and I still haven’t made a whole lot of progress there but I’m still working on it. In 2016, I put my art in 4 local shops (one of which is an adorable bridal shop!).screen-shot-2016-12-26-at-9-18-11-pm

Commissions & Projects – Commission pieces are usually some of my favorites and i did a few of them this year. However, my favorite snuck in right at the end of 2016 right before Christmas. It was 3 different watercolor flower pieces and i may have to remake one of them for myself because I’m in love with them! I don’t usually work with watercolors, but thats all about to change!

Networking – 2016 was a great year for networking! As i’ve told you before I found Rising Tide Society this year and i fell in love with it! It completely changed the way I look at everything business and I’ve learned so much! It feels like I’ve known about RTS forever and the friendships that i’ve made are so genuine that it feels like i’ve known them for way longer than a year! Networking may not seem like a direct way to grown your business but i wouldn’t have done half of the things I did this year if it wasn’t for this group. Business relationships are so important!

“Community Over Competition”

I can’t believe how much was accomplished in 2016. It was a crazy year in some good ways and in some unsure ways, but among all of that some fabulous things happened and I’m so grateful! Next week i’ll share my goals for the coming year, so stay tuned! 🙂

Thanks for Reading!
-Sami
The Art Studio Collective

Welcome to 2017 – Our Best Year Yet

welcome-to-2017

Ahhhhh.

Where to I begin? Last year I wrote a post called “Let’s Talk About 2016” basically just to get my ‘resolutions’ written down where I could look back on them through the years.

Let me tell you one reason i’ve realized that it’s so important to do that! I forgot.
I forgot 90% of the goals I wrote down last year! And if they hadn’t been written down I wouldn’t know how much I accomplished.

In preparing for 2017 i’ve heard that the best way to prepare is to evaluate what happened this year, and what worked best and go from there.
So let’s recap shall we?

*As I said last year, If you don’t want to read this that’s fine with me. 🙂 This is just so I can look back next year and in years after that and see what I’ve accomplished.

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Recap:

Blogging – obviously didn’t really get carried out through the whole year, but I kept it up longer than I ever have before. So I count it as a small win.

My Career – This is the one I’m most excited to talk about! I think I’m going to save this for a separate blog post. Stay Tuned!

Jesus – I went on my first US missions trip this year and I also started volunteering with a group called Release Time Bible Education. In this program children sign up for a Sunday School type program where they go to a nearby church one day a week during a school release time and learn about Jesus. It’s so cool! And the relationships we are forming with these kids is so special!

SAT/College Placement Tests – I passed the SAT with a little below average score but overall not that bad and i did pass so I’m happy about that. I still have 4 more tests to take, and I was hoping to get that done but this summer was CRAY-ZEE.

Job – This one happened. It was stressful and honestly it pretty much crashed and burned and scarred me for life. But it did teach me something: money is nice to have, but I would rather hustle as hard as I can at my art than work somewhere like that again. The job itself honestly wasn’t that bad! It was the atmosphere and some behind the scenes stuff that pushed me to quit.

Etsy – I started an Etsy shop, The Art Studio Shop. If we’re being honest here, I pretty much failed at it. Is that harsh? I generally did pretty much all the wrong things.
My artwork succeeded, just not through Etsy.

Photography – I have definitely increased my photography work this year. I’ve started working with my friend Philip and his company, Brightworx Media. Since this summer i’ve had the pleasure of shooting several different types of events and a couple weddings. The mark of a good artist is someone who is always learning a growing, and that is something i’m always striving to do, in all of the art forms i practice.

Get Fit – Y’all. Let me tell you. February 2016 I joined a gym with my best friend Poetically Peachy. Y’all we actually did it….kinda. We consistently went for months. So much so that her mom and a few other ladies joined us! I was gaining momentum and pushing myself. I actually started running and improving time and speed. Working out was and is something I now crave, which I never thought would happen. And someone referred to me as “fit”. What. Come again? And then… Remember how I told you summer was CRAY-ZEE? Yeah it threw so many wrenches in every area of my life! (only half joking) I haven’t been in far too long and have probably lost a good bit of the progress I had made and that sickens me. I can feel the difference too so now that we’re entering into the new year I can’t wait to go back!

That’s pretty much all of the resolutions i had last year. The other things that I mentioned were Prayer & Happiness which aren’t necessarily resolutions as much as ongoing challenges. It’s something you can’t really get wrong or right it’s just something you keep doing and you’ll have good days and bad days but you’ll keep doing them. 🙂

My niece was another thing I was excited about. She is our little ray of sunshine! She is the most beautiful baby girl I’ve ever seen! She’s so smart already and I’m so proud of her! I’ve always dreamt of being best friends with her. I want to be someone that she wants to spend time with and is happy to see. Even though she’s still a baby, the look she gives me when I walk into the room and say “Hey Sunshine!” makes me think that we’re on the right track! I look forward to the many many years we get to spend together forming that friendship.

Over the month of January I’ll be sharing more about my goals for 2017!
Here’s the Schedule:
January 1st – Welcome to 2017
+Recapping 2016’s goals
January 8th – Business Goals Recap
+All that happened in my business in 2016
January 15th – Welcome to 2017 – Part II
+What I want to do personally in 2017
January 22nd – Business Goals for 2017
+What I want to accomplish in my business this year

Happy New Year friends!

-Sami,
The Art Studio Collective

Fashion Friday – A new combo

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I’ve never really considered myself an expert at fashion or anything close to that, but lately I’ve enjoyed documenting my outfits every now and then and I figured I could post it here!

I posted a little something about this outfit Sunday on my instagram but here’s the full story, i guess. 🙂
I started off Sunday in a bit of a funk, purely out of exhaustion. I was coming off of two back to back trips. One work missions trip and then counseling for kids camp (with only 1 day in between), and then coming home and going to work Saturday! Somebody pass the coffee! Well as I was getting ready I had one of those “OMG nothing feels right and everything makes me look fat or its dirty!” (hello, 2 weeks out of town, not a lot left to work with) moments.
I’ve worn this skirt a lot! Always with a t-shirt of some sort, usually my gray one.
While rummaging through my clothes I found this striped t-shirt that I had always deemed “casual”, but actually…this is now one of my favorite combos!

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I paired them together and wore the skirt at a little bit of a dropped waste level and it looked fab!

Here’s some of the details:

IMG_1235The Art Studio Collective

What’s that on my wrist you may ask? It’s a scrape…from sliding across asphalt, after the line on a zip line rental lowered while i was on it. But we won’t talk about that! 😂

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I got this beautiful faux marble ring from Kids Camp, actually! One of the BGMC couples has made some jewelry to raise money for missions and i thought, “Hey! Supporting missions and getting cute jewelry is a win, win!” And i don’t think i’ve ever loved a ring more. 😂 #dontjudge

Shirt – Target | Skirt – Old Navy | Necklace – JCPenney’s | Shoes – Avenue

Let me know if you enjoyed this post, or would be interested in more posts like these! 😍

Thanks for reading!

Sami

Tuesdays Together Styled Shoot – Augusta, GA

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA

HELLO FRIENDS!
Sorry, didn’t mean to go all caps on you. But i’m super excited about what I’m writing about today!
I feel like i should share a little back story first.

*cue harp music and dream sequence scene*

White putting my blog together a few months ago I found out about The Rising Tide Society as a resource for Bloggers, Photographers, Creatives, etc. I didn’t realize they were still in their first year, though! And I didn’t know about this cool little time called “Tuesdays Together”. Find info about TT and your local group here.
Now i’m an artist, so I can say what I’m about to say.
Artists and creatives can be weird people sometimes (not that weird is bad). But my local artist community is full of mostly hippies who aren’t in the same genre as I am, and they definitely aren’t the nicest of people some times.
So fast forward a few months and I’m talking with my mom about how I really wanted to find a photographer that I could learn from or work with. The very next day an event pops up on Facebook for the Tuesdays Together meeting later that week.
I was pretty busy that day and I was really nervous to go to a meeting so I wasn’t going to go or mention it to my mom. Then somehow it came up and she said I had to go see what this was about; and moms being what they are, she said she would go with me! (Don’t you love your mom? Moms are the greatest!)

I sat there quiet, but wide eyed with excitement the entire time.

When we left I remember the first thing I said was “Those are my people!” and my mom reiterated that statement.

The topic of that meeting was Styled Shoots, something I had no clue about. So I listened and learned and was ready to be a part!

Over the next month or so the design and planning team (Ashley Irene Styling, Meghan C Bishop, and Laurel Avenue) met and discussed a theme, picked a venue, set a date, and put together a lovely mood board. I volunteered to do some hand lettering. What I loved about Ashley was that she gave us a direction and let us take it where we wanted to, saying “You are the experts in your fields and I know that you know what’s best.”.
That is a true leader.

The day of the shoot I realized I had over booked myself and i was a little distraught about it.
My day went a little something like this:
Going to church
Driving 45 minutes to the shoot to drop off the 2 signs I painted
Driving 45 minutes back for a meeting with friends
Getting fuel, a.k.a Coffee (important)
Driving 45 minutes back to play photographer for a little while
Driving 45 minutes home on cloud 9

It was one of the busiest days i’ve had in a while but Man, oh, man it was one of the best days of my summer!

I so wish I could have stayed and played all day but i’m so thankful that I got to be there when I could.

I love that this shoot featured all of the fabulous talent that is in this group.
I have loved every minute of the meetings I’ve attended with RTS/TT.
Our fearless leader, Lauren (Lauren Carnes Photography) is one of the sweetest most uplifting people you will ever meet. I’ve met a few other lovely ladies that I now call friends and I can’t wait to get to know everyone more.
The mantra of Tuesdays Together and The Rising Tide Society is “Community Over Competition” and I don’t think this group could embody that any more!

Needless to say i’m pretty addicted to Styled Shoots (I know, I know, not every shoot can be like that, but they are so much fun!). The more I play with photography the more I understand and the better I get at it, and that is a very satisfying feeling. Every Imaged I edited made me get butterflies. Is it weird that I get emotional over my work? *shrug*

Here is a little sneak peak of my photos from the shoot:

And did I mention there was a deer? Because there was! A pet deer! Seriously.
Her name is jane doe and she’s pretty much one of the coolest pets I’ve ever met, and such a good model (as long and somebody was feeding her blueberries)! ☺️

Vendors:

Creative Direction and Styling: Ashley Irene Styling – @ashleyirenestyling | Meghan C Bishop – @meghancbishop | Elena • Kaley • Michaela (Laurel Avenue) – @laurelavenue
Photography: Lauren Carnes Photography @laurenlcarnes | Samantha Renee Photography – @artstudiocollective | Jon-Michael Sullivan – @jm_sullivan | Griffin Nelson – @The_Gryphons_Nest
Videography: Philip Stanley – Brightwork Media
Florals: Cherie Hurt – @waitingonwildflowers
Makeup & Hair: Cucumber & Mint – @cucumberandmint | Lyndi Rayne – @lyndirayne | Natalie Setareh – @nataliesetareh | Acuity Photography – @acuityphotography
Catering: Chef Megan – @meganchef
Handlettering & Design: Kris Smith – @krissmith | Samantha Atkinson – @artstudiocollective | Samantha Bodie – @samanthabodie
Props: Griffin Nelson – @The_Gryphons_Nest | Karin Jeffcoat – @cotedesignsfloralevents

I can’t put the way I feel about this shoot into any more words, but definitely find a Tuesdays Together group and experience these wonderful people for yourself! 🙂
Until next time,

Sami

Throwback Thursday and a dose of encouragement 

A Dose Of Encouragement

Most of you know I lost 50 pound last year, getting me to my goal of 150 pounds. That’s a major feat. Probably one of my biggest accomplishments.

One of the major ways I did that was not eating breakfast. Now before you health nuts flip out on me and tell me “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” (I’ve heard it too many times) let me explain. I hate breakfast food. I don’t like eggs or oatmeal, and Cereal and waffles/pancakes are too sugary, and leave you hungry and unsatisfied. The only breakfast I like is bad, fast food, McDonalds breakfast. And that is not healthy or calorie friendly.

My cushy teenaged life allowed me to sleep until 8:30 or 9, get up get ready have a big glass of water (tervis tumblers are my best friends) and eat a good hearty healthy lunch at 11:30 or 12. And that worked for me!

Well life got busy and it was hard to keep up with and I couldn’t always eat healthy meals.

Then I started working and adulthood kinda slapped me in the face. I have to be at work at 8, so I have to get up at 6:45 to be there on time. And if you don’t know how to tell time it’s a long time From 6:45-11:30. And I have to eat breakfast now. And my job sells warm, fresh cinnamon rolls the size of my face, and cinnamon rolls are my favorite thing. So I’ve have a few.

I’ve slacked and I’ve gained 3-5 pounds which is a normal fluctuation for me. Then I step on the scale and it reads: 160 pounds. That is a gut wrenching, defeated feeling. But I’m not giving up.

Sometimes when you’ve been slacking off and doing what you know you’re not supposed to, you need that slap in the face to wake you up and make you get your life together.

So here I am feeling defeated and getting things back together and then timehop pops up and shows me a blog post from an old blog from a year ago. And this shows up:


It kind of made me step back and realize that a year ago a hadn’t hit my goal and I didn’t know if I would or if I could. Not only did I hit that goal, but i actually joined a gym and i LOVE working out (which is something I never thought I would say) and I’m over her being a little bit of a girl boss, because I’m getting fit and i can actually tell I’m getting stronger! And here I am feeling sorry for myself and this just tells me, I’ve done it before and I will do it again! I’ll rise up! 😏

In the midst of weightless/gain trials these are the things that are the bright side:
I wear a size 8 shorts, and a size 10 jeans (because skinny jeans are dumb sometimes)
I can actually buy SMALL shirts sometimes, depending on how things run.
I bought a size 4 dress the other day. Um…what? 😳
I can do crunches. And when I do consistently my jello actually looks like its been put in a mold instead of just a bowl. (a.k.a I can see a little definition)
I can jog on the treadmill for 20 minutes, with 4 minute run intervals. (I could only last for 5 minutes the first time)
I can ride the stationary bike at 100-120 rpm for 15-18 minutes.
And when my dad tries to arm wrestle me, i give him a little resistance. 😏

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So I tell you all of this, to encourage you…and myself! I know losing weight is easier said than done, and keeping it off is even worse sometimes, but take this advice from me and get the MyFitnessPal app, deny yourself a few fun snacks or doughnuts or whatever your thing is, change your portion sizes, be hungry every now and then (most importantly, go to bed hungry!), DRINK WATER and stick to your guns! Because nothing is as satisfying as progress, Confidence feels amazing, and being able to do things and not feel like you’re about to fall over is an incredible feeling!

I’m going to go all Nike and say, #JustDoIt….#notsponsored

Happy Throwback thursday and here’s to reaching our goals (no matter what they may be) and stinking to them! 🙂

-Sami

Scripture Sunday (Summer Camp Recap)

Identity.

That was the theme of our church district summer camp this year, discovering your identity in Christ. We are sons and daughters of the one true King. We are more than conquerors. We are heirs in the Kingdom of God. We are important. We are wanted. We are loved beyond measure.

Every ounce of our identity, is because of God’s identity. The song Good Good Father describes God and His perfection, and everything He is. He’s a good good Father, and we are loved by him. Do you see the connection? His identity is “good” (great, really!) and our identity is loved.

My favorite line in that songs is probably this one:

You are perfect in all of your ways perfect in all of your ways, You are perfect in all of your ways, to us.

His perfection resonates through our lives in ways that we aren’t even aware of. He sets things up to happen (the good and the bad) and every event links together and forms a beautiful story.

The past few weeks I’ve been battling with some things that were breaking me down, emotionally. I was exhausted and to the point where I would just break down and cry over the smallest things. Then it was time for camp and I’d taken time off from work and to be honest I was excited for camp but I couldn’t help but think about all of the things I could be doing at home during a week off. Camp is exhausting itself and I was walking into it tired, so I was a little worried.


I’ve gone to camp for 4 years now and this was my first year going as a youth leader/counselor, and it was the best week of camp I’ve ever been too. Our church was placed on a great team, who was excited to cheer and dance and work for spirit points and we had a fighting chance to win the whole thing.

We won first place in the flag competition because we had a skilled painter in our midst *cough cough* not talking about me or anything 😎😏


The teams were superheroes and we got the flash! (Which is convenient because that’s the only super hero I know! 😂)

We also came in first place for the last days competition, which has never happened in the 3 other years that I’ve gone.

It was great, even though in the end we came in 3rd (out of 5 teams).

Our leaders with our awesome District Youth Director

The night services are always good! It’s amazing to see hundreds of kids with their hands lifted up, praising God and crying out to Him.


If they could hold on to this and take it home, we would see changes happen in our schools, and communities. Broken homes would be restored, people would be set free and salvation would take place! And that’s my prayer. That these kids would go home and get into their secret place and petition heaven for the salvation of their families, their friends, and their leadership.

The titles of the messages this week were:

  1. They Were Wrong: the negativity that people have spoken over you is so far from what GOD has spoken over you.
  2. Saving Private You: spending time in the secret place, with God
  3. The Kings Table: we are princes and princesses invited to sit at the Kings table and fellowship with our Heavenly Father.
  4. An Audience of One: when Mary broke the perfume open and poured it on Jesus’ head. They tried to stop her but Jesus wouldn’t let her because she was having an audience of one. She was with her King and she didn’t care who else was there, she had to do what was important.

The sermons were always great, but my favorite part is always the altar time. It’s where Teenagers get called into ministry. It’s where they get filled with the Holy Spirit, I know because it happened to me! It’s where burdens are broken and restoration takes place. Healing and Salvation and moments that they will never forget, all happen at an altar.

My first year of camp God healed me and filled me with the Holy Spirit. It was one of the best services I had ever participated in. Not because of any special speaker or the song that was playing, but because I was having an audience of one.

This week God gave me exactly what I needed, As he always does. He refreshed me. Nobody would ever expect to be a leader at a week long youth summer camp and come home refreshed. But I did. The last service I just stood there and weeped. The speaker told the leaders to go pray for the students, but I couldn’t. You have to be full before you can pour out and in that moment God was filling me up. I just stood there and cried (happy tears) and just enjoyed the presence of God. It was exactly what I needed. I’m not saying any of this to brag about me! And I’m not saying any of this couldn’t have happened at home!

There is just something special about Camp! Because everyone is there for one purpose, In the same mindset. It’s a break from the routine of church. And I love church and I love worship but sometimes we forget to go after him with everything, because we can get by with just raising our hands for one song.

I just want to encourage you to go into church with the mindset of going after God! And not just church, but in your house seek him and get in your secret place, wherever that may be and petition God for the situations in your life and the lives of those around you! Spend time with him! I’m talking to myself too!

Let’s get in our secret place and cry out to him! We are welcome at his table. We are welcome to have an audience with the King. Let’s accept the invitation. ❤️
-Sami
Mark 14:1-9

1 Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”