30 September 2013

31 Days: Savvy Business Secrets for Creative Entrepreneurs (#31Days)

I wasn't going to do 31 Days this year due to my extreme failure at actually making it to the finish line last year.  

BAH - but I got talked into it! And I'm excited! Adrenaline is my buddy!

You may know that I have been working in our family's business (a wealth management firm) for nearly 8 years.  I'm so thankful for the experience of working in a closely-held small business, because I have been up close and personal with pretty much every aspect of the organization.  I've learned an absolute ton about how to be successful (no matter what kind of success-goals you have!) in business, and am also gifted creatively, so I've got a unique perspective on how the two strengths can play happily together.  

I LOVE creatives and their idea-flow and their passion, along with their desire to share their giftedness with the world.  Because of that love, I am going to share the secrets I've learned in business that can help launch creative entrepreneurs to the next level of effectiveness in business - whether that be horizontal growth (exposing your product to MORE potential customers), vertical growth (more sales from your existing customer base), better organization and tools, or all of the above!

It all begins tomorrow, folks, so make sure to stop back and join in the fun.

What on earth am I talking about? Check out 31 Days here.

This post is part of a series called Savvy Business Secrets for Creative Entrepreneurs. You can read other posts in the series right here, or make a selection based on topic:

Day 7: Ask for Help
Day 9: Margin
Day 18: Make it Happen

26 September 2013

#InfluenceConf speakers not to miss


Ya'll know I have officially arrived in Indy for the Influence Conference. Aside from being so beyond excited to be spending time before the conference's official beginning with my roommates, I'm also sitting here all crazy excited about the dynamic group of speakers we're in for.

Here's a quick synopsis of who is on my not-to-miss list:

1. Lara Casey: Besides being one of the most inspiring ladies on the internet, I get to hang with her at Making Things Happen 2013 in North Carolina next month. Best. Thing. Ever.

2. Kate Bryan: I read The Small Things Blog before I started my blog.  Kate got huge (if you look close and use Pinterest AT ALL you'll recognize the girl's hair) pretty quickly, and I can't wait to learn form what she's learned about the blogging biz.

3. Jessi Connelly + Haley Morgan: They're the founders of the Influence Conference, and they're giving a talk on femininity.  It's a topic I think about a lot, and I can't wait to hear their perspective.

The conference officially gets started this evening with a shoe cutting party with Sole Hope. Sessions begin bright and early tomorrow morning.

I'll be sharing lots of tidbits from the sessions.  I'd love if you'd follow along:

25 September 2013

Where I'm heading today #InfluenceConf


I am headed to Indy for the Influence Conference today! You may remember that Influence was my first-ever blogging conference last year, and I'm headed back again this week.

I'm caravaning/carpooling with Meg, Tammy, and Jennifer, and meeting up with other friends once we get there.  My awesome aunt and cousin are also joining in the fun, and I can't wait to watch them experience their first blogging conference.  

I have some posts scheduled while I'm away having a blast, and will of course be posting all the best live updates on twitter, Facebook, and instagram! If you want to follow along with all the conference chatter, we'll be trending at #InfluenceConf.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for a briefing on our fabulous speakers and who I'm most looking forward to hearing from!

24 September 2013

How do you sleep?

Are you a good sleeper? I've been sleeping like a rock (for fewer hours at a time than I'd like) lately, and it feels good to wake up and not remember anything about the past six hours.

Studies about sleep are so intriguing, and I like to think the way you sleep says something about your personality. I'm a fetus-position sleeper most of the time (always on the right  side since I had surgery), with a little bit of yearner, which would say I look tough but am actually sensitive.  Huh.

What kind of sleeper are you?

PPS. One of my favorite shows' season premier is this week

PPPS. Polka Dotted Peony is now on Facebook. Join me there!

23 September 2013

SONGS FOR YOUR NOW // september 2013

My name is Cammie and I have a hard time keeping up with good music.  

My musical rut is comfortable and kind and full of songs I already know the harmonies to.  But how boring! I'm missing so much beautiful art.

I created this series to force help me to find new music that's worth my time and ears, without wasting it on songs that aren't even good.  Anybody with me?

So without further ado… here are your songs for now - SEPTEMBER 2013. 

Did you miss past months' lists? Here are JUNE 2013 and JULY 2013. // MORE 'SONGS' POSTS HERE.

17 September 2013

How to get deodorant streaks off clothing (without doing laundry)

It's an inevitable scenario, really.

7:00am closet session. Rich, dark colored blouse. Comfy and flattering. A great price at J.Crew. 


Deodorant. A necessary part of life, in all its whiteness glory streaked along essential areas of the top that's the must-wear item of the day.  

Forever many times more than I want to recount I tried a damp washcloth, which is a sneaky solution, because at first, it looks like it works and you're in the clear. Once it dries, however, the inconspicuous white streaks reappear.  SO. ANNOYING.

Galloping in to save the day is the blue (I mean maybe it comes in other colors too) foam that holds garments onto your dry cleaning hanger. It works miracles on deodorant streaks. Just remove it from the hanger, and gently rub it on the streak.  Now wait for the miracle. 

New uses for old things. Don't you just love it? Since I'm a white-plastic-hanger-only in the closet kind of gal, I toss the dry cleaner hangers, and keep just the blue foam in a zipper-bag in my closet, so it's ready to use whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Real Life: I JUST used this solution couple of weeks ago for a wedding that I had not prepared for in advance.  Pink taffetta dress. Deodorant streaks. Wedding-wear for same evening.

What other super fun and surprising tricks can you tell me about? I just love a good trick!

PS. Did you know deodorant is spelled deodOrant, and not deodErant? Who knew?!

PPS. hey hey! your friendly neighborhood blog is now on Facebook! meet me there for exclusive content.

16 September 2013

Nashville Scandal Downton the Profit (aka Fall TV I Can't Wait to See)

The color treatment of this graphic inspired by Allie Lehman, my graphic design hero.
I swear I'm not a TV junkie (though everyone knows I can't resist the Real Housewives of anything), but this year, I just can't wait for the fall broadcasting lineup.  It might be just me, but it really seems like network TV has improved over the past couple of years.  Really interesting.

If you haven't already, add these shows to your TV schedule. Their season premier dates are already in my calendar. This is not a joke.

11 September 2013

Two minutes of levity

You may have seen this video; it's been shared over and over again on various social media outlets. 

I can't resist. It had me laughing out loud - all by my lonesome. Now THAT is how I know it's funny.

If you have two minutes to spare, I invite you to watch and get ready to laugh. It's hilarious and cute all at the same time.  I suppose it depends on your parenting style, but it's not probably for the kiddos, just due to language.

Following along in a reader? Check out the video by clicking HERE.

10 September 2013

Try Something New: #Paddleboarding

photo by chris
I've mentioned that during my #IntentionalAugust hiatus, I had the opportunity to try some new things. I don't know about you, but I kind of love trying new things.  

This past spring, a new boathouse opened in Madison. They have various kinds of self-propelled watercraft for rent, and Chris had been itching to try paddle boarding.  

It was fun!

I wasn't really up for falling off the board into the murky pyrannea-infested (I'm sure) water, so that was my greatest concern, but the board was surprisingly easy to stand up on.  It also ended up being a really good workout, because you use all your muscle groups to propel the board and stay upright.  Win-win. My paddle board tips, which are for the amateurs out there are these:
  • The boathouse provided life jackets with our rentals, but didn't require that we wear them.  They fit perfectly on the front of the board, and didn't slide around.  I realize we took a risk by not wearing them, but paddling would have been more difficult with them on.
  • Paddle boards themselves are much wider than I'd imagined.  I pictured  a surfboard's width, sure  that the tiniest wave would send me overboard. Not the case. The board was wide enough to stand comfortably shoulder-width apart, with some room left on the outside of each foot.
  • Wear something you don't mind getting wet in.  Even if you don't plan to go in the water, you may get splashed.
  • Even though it might feel a little unsteady, try sitting on the board some, too, and just relaxing.  It takes some focus to get down, but being so close to the water is really neat.

top photo by chris // bottom photo by cammie for polka dotted peony

Do you like trying new things? What are some of the best you've tried? I'd love to hear in the comments!

09 September 2013

Confession: I spray tan

Read to the end to find out how to avoid these brown feet-bottoms.

Confession: I spray tan. It gives this stuck-at-a-desk-all-sunning-hours-in-summer girl a little color where it counts, and I'm not ashamed. I also tan in the winter. Sue me.

And those are my feet, which apparently soak up every ounce of solution that's accessible to them.  That is so embarrassing. Read on to find out how to avoid such embarrassment. 

Here are a few spray-tan-tips from this pro:

1. Most tanning spas will supply a barrier cream, which should be applied to areas of the skin where there are creases or dry spots, like your hands.  My hands are actually the only place I apply the barrier cream, with special attention on the cuticles, but I've seen other people apply cream to the tops of their feet, as well.

2. Make sure the shower cap you wear during the spray session is as close to the hairline as humanly possible. That's a point I can't stress enough.

3. Tan at night before bed, then shower in the morning.  This will give the solution enough time to soak into your skin, but the shower will help eliminate the spray tan odor that I haven't figured out how to avoid.

4. You'll likely feel a tad sticky right after you tan, and the bottoms of your feet might be a little slippery.  Wear non-slippery shoes, and do your Target run before you tan.

5. Wear dark-colored clothes to the tanning spa.  I've made the I-wore-white mistake, and ended up with my tank top getting a little tan. Not so cool.

6. If you're tanning before an event, like formal gala that's on a Saturday, I'd recommend tanning on Thursday night, so you have a more natural-looking glow by event night.

Do you spray tan? Are you willing to give it a try? Any tips for  reducing the inevitable spray tan solution odor?

PS. AVOID BROWN FEET-BOTTOMS! The tanning spa I go to provides hand towels. I recently put a towel under each foot during the spray session, and now I don't have weird dark feet bottoms anymore!

PPPS. You know who else spray tans?

04 September 2013

On Finishing

My new bright-white thick and swingy curtains sat in their crisp cellophane packaging for three months.  Three months waiting like soldiers at attention for their glory day.  They  mysteriously ended up on my doorstep due to a (pretty major, actually) shipping error, along with their curtain rods, all set and ready to be hung.  

I don't know why I let them sit for three months. I had a willing handy-man and a pretty pink tool kit on my theses-are-the-things-that-homeowners-use shelf. The existing black and white damask panels had served me well through my first four years of home-ownership, but it was time for change. Nothing was difficult about it, and I don't get sappy about window coverings. Yet for ninety days they sat.

When the time finally came to unscrew the old and re-screw (ahem that is not a word) the new, I was almost surprised at the relief I felt.  The thick white swingy curtains were up. The black and white damask were neatly folded, packed in a shopping bag, ready to head back to mom and dad's for the next family member's use (that's how we do it in our family - the motto is to never throw anything away, which is another post all together), and I was a happy, satisfied gal.  

As I thought more about the stress that finished project relieved, I wondered at the number of unfinished ends, unfolded laundry, untied laces, unsaved documents.  It's likely an essential piece of my personality, being all Type A and nutso, but tying up those  frazzled ends are good for all of us.  Finish something. Complete it. Work for it and find satisfaction in its finish - doneness in all its glory.

Hang those curtains. Check off the remaining tedium on that list. Pass that test. Hem the pants.  Touch up the paint where the dark-wash denim rubbed under the breakfast bar.  

You'll feel deep-breath satisfied seeing it done. 

03 September 2013

I'm Back! And some things about #IntentionalAugust

You might remember that I took a little breather during the month of August.  I had started to feel a little panicky, and a little like I got caught beneath the tide, seeing summer's end on the horizon.  August ended up feeling like a big deep breath of seaside air - good for the body and good for the soul.  

August was nice in all sorts of ways.  I tried a whole bunch of new things and my evenings were more like evenings than meeting nights or work-ish nights.  That's one nice thing about being intentional about time away from crazy.  When I was done with my workday, evenings were time to relax with a glass of wine and the remote control or the latest issue of Real Simple, instead of the time for running to this meeting or that, tidying up to host whichever thing I'd signed up for.  All of these things that I do are good and stretching and community-building and fun, but this break in August was good. Fresh air, I tell you.  

Having a little margin also allowed for an opportunity to try some new things.  You see, I can't turn down a challenge, so when Chris challenges me to try paddle boarding or canoeing five miles down a river (when I say canoeing, what I mean for me is sitting and watching the trees and beaches go by. Very little paddling with my still-healing shoulder!), it means it's happening, because it's impossible for me to collapse in the face of a challenge. Trying new things is awesome. We also visited the drive-in movie theater (aka the place where Cammie naps) and the pool and had late nights and filling dinners with friends. This past weekend, Chris' cousin got married, so we traveled to the wedding then came back in time to celebrate his birthday with his family, complete with a trip to the stock car racetrack, where Chris' brother calculated the cars' top speeds and timed their laps. I'd say it was surprisingly fun, but here's a tip - bring earplugs. Those cars are loud as they zoom by. 

August also meant a trip to see my older brother and his family - and my first experience at the Minnesota State Fair. Let me tell you something… the state fair is where all the cultures meet. Football and NASCAR enthusiasts alike, guys, gals, young, old, and even one brand new bride and groom (I am so not kidding THEY GOT MARRIED AT THE FAIR), find them at the fair. It is a people watcher's dream.  My nephews and niece showed me their favorite rides, I accompanied my niece on the huge yellow magic carpet slide, and we saw the largest pig (boar? dinosaur? unknown huge being?) I've ever laid eyes on. The size. of. a. rhino. It was huge. My older nephew also played in a hockey tournament, so in the middle of August, I cooled off at the rink, cheering him to victory, which actually felt a lot like my growing up years. So many hockey rinks; so much bleacher booty.  Man I love those kids. 

I'm anticipating a really exciting autumn.  There's the Influence Conference at the end of this month, then my birthday trip to the lake with friends in the middle of October. I'll finish the month with my most-anticipated event (probably ever) in the Making Things Happen intensive, for which I'll travel to Raleigh, NC. Shortly thereafter, Mollie turns 21, so I plan to head to Chicago that weekend to buy her a glass of wine and treat her to a fancy shmancy dinner and evening on the town.  Suddenly it will be November and Chris and I will celebrate four years then Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then we'll clink glasses to the birth of 2014, and I'll have barely taken a breath. Can you believe the way time flies? 

I'm so looking forward to posting regularly again, and to my life group girls' return, and the Jr. League year ramping back up.  August was good though, and it's really what I needed to recharge a bit.

How do you recharge? Does it come naturally for you or do you find you need to set aside time to recharge? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!