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Morning Habits that Will Inspire You to Create
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5 Morning Habits that Will Inspire You to Create

My morning routine is pretty simple and I’ll admit, you’re not going to see anything mind-blowing on this list that you probably haven’t heard of before. Simplicity is key for me, especially in my morning routine. I learned that the more intentional I was about my mornings and the more I stick to them this way, I was more inspired to write, brainstorm new ideas, and do what I love to do best: create. So here are 5 healthy morning habits I’ve gotten into a routine of doing that inspire me to create.

Create before you Consume

AKA don’t be on your phone first thing in the morning. I used to wake up and check my phone in bed while my eyes were barely open. Not only did that start to strain my eyes sometimes, but it would either get me stressed right away if I looked at how many emails I had or it was a big distraction because I would start scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, and let’s face it, there’s nothing that interesting on there so early in the morning. “Create before you Consume” was actually something I heard Julie Solomon say over a year ago when I tuned into one of her webinars. It really hit home for me because I realized, I know that my mind is more alert and fresh in the mornings. That’s when I do my best writing. But being able to create was being overshadowed by everything else I was consuming. It’s hard to come up with an original idea when you’re flooded by the ideas of everyone else. This is something I’ve really tried not to do and it’s worked so well this past year! For me creating before I consume means I don’t read other blogs, scroll on social media, read another screenplay, etc. before I write my own blog post, a page in my own screenplay, etc. the list goes on. I usually keep my phone on silent until I’ve finished writing and drinking my coffee.

Morning Pages

If you’re sick of me talking about my love for morning pages yet, you’re in for a treat haha. Morning Pages for me (3 handwritten pages of whatever comes to mind) makes me feel so grounded and ready to attack the day. It’s the ultimate dump and jump—dump out everything that might be weighing on you, stressing you out, or even positive things that might just be clogging up your brain and then jump into your day with a freer peace of mind. Sometimes I read a few pages of The Artists Way before writing these pages, which is where I heard about this in the first place! Doing my morning pages gets my creative juices flowing and sometimes I come up with my best ideas for my projects during these pages. So inspiring!

The routine of coffee or tea

For me, this is a part of my routine that I covet. I love my mornings so much. It’s “me” time and I love to sit and drink a few sips of my coffee with my dogs snuggled up near me and enjoy that time. Sometimes I think it’s less about actually needing that caffeine (although let’s be real I am a coffee fanatic) and more about the routine of enjoying my cup of brew. Having a part in my routine that I do without fail brings more intention and consciousness into my everyday life, and furthermore it inspires me to go create something I love.  You may not be a coffee or tea drinker and that’s fine, but find something that you will do every day and just sit there for a few minutes taking it all in. We won’t always have mornings to ourselves so I like to cherish that.

Get dressed before you create

Whether you work from home or you’re finding time for your morning routine before heading to work, I find that getting dressed makes you feel mentally prepared to get down to business. Of course, I still like to be comfortable and most days you’ll probably find me in workout clothes regardless if I’m working out, but staying in my pajamas until noon does not do me justice. Getting dressed inspires me to be conscious that it’s time to make those ideas a reality. 

Morning Habits that Inspire You to Create, Made to Create Coffee Mug

“Made to Create” coffee mug by Samantha Skelton. Click to buy. Photo by Hannah Robinson Designs

Start Creating

Aren’t we talking about things to do in the morning that inspire you to create? Yes, but it’s sort of like that saying, “to begin, begin.” Like I said before, I do my best work in the morning. It’s when my brain is most alert and I show up and do the work in the mornings more so than any other time in the day. Sometimes just starting in on a project can lead to more ideas, momentum, or creative clarity. There is no better time to start than “now” because tomorrow will lead to never.

What habits do you do that inspire you to create? Share your inspiration below by scrolling to the bottom to leave a comment!

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Spotlight on Constant Creatives: Lexy Olivia

This is the second installment of Spotlight on Constant Creatives and I am ecstatic to introduce on the blog today my best friend, my inspiration, my constant encourager and supportive partner in the creative world Lexy Olivia! I don’t even know where to start with this amazing human, which is why I know her interview will stand for itself. She is so intelligent, kind, one of the most selfless people I know, a great storyteller, and an incredible artist. If I had to name a friend who gets what it’s like to be a constant creative, to be an entrepreneur, to travel down that road of having a fiery passion for something, it would be Lexy. From meeting in high school to navigating the creative and business worlds together, she just GETS IT! Scroll to the bottom and let me know your favorite part of the interview by leaving a comment!

Lexy Olivia interview

Can you tell everyone about who you are? Let’s hear about your creative business and passions!

Hey everyone! My name is Lexy and I’m the constant creator behind my brand Lexy Olivia.I chose my namesake as my brand because I wanted it to evolve with me as I grow and expand into new endeavors. Currently, I make watercolor book inspired prints for a really unique niche on Instagram called Bookstagram. I’m currently deeply invested in this loyal community and have an amazing group of followers who are incredibly supportive! I’m super passionate about growing my skills and evolving my business. Beyond that, you’ll always catch me outside! Summiting mountains, running, rock climbing, jumping out of airplanes or off of cliffs, you name it I’m out there! Being surrounded by nature and living a rejuvenating and adventurous lifestyle is of the utmost importance to me; without it, there is no creative well for me to draw from!

Have you always considered yourself a creative?

Absolutely! I always knew I was born to create. At a very young age I had dreams of being an artist. I would fantasize about being an actress! Watching my dad draw and sketch my whole young life impressed upon me a great appreciation for art of all kinds.

What led you to take that leap into starting your own business?

It started out as a way for me to cope with my serious health issues. I had to quit my job after being sick for such a long time and the doctors didn’t know how to help me. I found myself living in a new state with no friends and no job and was starting to get seriously depressed. I went down to the art store one day and picked up a $7.99 paint set and began painting. I’d show friends and family my designs and they were all really enthusiastic, so I thought why not? At that point, I had nothing to lose. It truly evolved and unfolded beyond my wildest expectations.

What’s your favorite thing about having an unconventional 9-5 lifestyle?

Freedom is the greatest gift that this lifestyle provides. I’ll never stop being so thankful for those days when there’s a foot of fresh powder on ski slopes or I have the chance to travel the world and I can be flexible and nimble enough to take my work on the road.

Have you always known you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Yes! I’ve been running other people’s businesses since I was 16. I always had a keen eye for identifying problems and optimizing solutions. But of course, it wasn’t my business so I didn’t have full control over the outcomes. When I turned 21 I tried the corporate world on for size and it didn’t fit. Now I could never imagine working for someone else. Sometimes it feels so surreal I literally yell “I’M THE BOSS!” when I’m having a hard day to remind myself that I definitely got this. Being able to collect data to optimize your interactions, conversions and advertising strategies is so satisfying to me. I find the business aspect of my brand equally as gratifying as the pure artistry. 

Being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs. Can you name a moment of failure that you ultimately learned from?

I don’t necessarily believe in failure. There have been so many times that I’ve made choices and looked back and realized I could have done better. At the same time, when you run your own business you’re the only one who is in charge of everything. It is impossible to foresee certain obstacles so I try to be really gentle with myself. Despite my best efforts to think through each situation and consider every possible outcome, sometimes I drop the ball. Every time I face a challenge, I try to welcome it as growth and change and take notes on how to avoid similar situations in the future.

What’s been the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in your creative journey?

I can’t say that I’ve overcome it quite yet, but time management is often paralyzing to me. The flipside of having so much freedom is also having a total lack of structure. Creating structure for myself is vital but it’s a skill I haven’t quite cultivated.

How has your business evolved since you first started?

Wow, what an amazing question! I hardly take the time to sit and reflect. From starting out painting a smiling lemon and whale cards, to managing high-level business accounts, packing orders, crushing deadlines and maintaining a life, I’d say everything has changed! My level of responsibility is so much greater these days, but I’d never trade the thrill of a challenge to predictability.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own creative business or go after something they’re passionate about?

I’d say just dive in. I personally don’t believe that we’re here on this earth to hustle and grind so we can pay bills and live monotonously. I think we are here to realize our highest selves, love one another and do things that set our souls on fire. Fear is such a limiting factor in today’s world. I know we have a lot to lose; from friendships to job security to our homes. Maybe we fear judgement or whatever your limiting beliefs may be, know that you are worthy of the highest joys and success in life. Whatever that may look like to you, go after it.

I love that inspiration can come in so many shapes and sizes. Where, who, or what do you draw inspiration from?

I’d say YOU definitely inspire me! I try to surround myself with people who expand my parameters. I like to look at people who are doing radically different things in life. I think it can be dangerous to saturate your feed, whether it be digital or in real life, with people who are doing the same things as you. I love reading the New York Times every Sunday and reading through a Wired Magazine front to back. Technology, science, quantum theory, health and organic living are things that are constantly inspiring me. Assimilating the information I absorb back into my artwork is the challenging part.

What’s something you’ve focused on personally this year to better yourself or your business?

I’ve really shifted my focus to growing spiritually. I found that the lifestyle I created for myself was running me into the ground. I feel like that is such a learning curve for entrepreneurs. If I’m the only one who is directly in charge of how much income I make, shouldn’t I work as hard as possible for as long as possible? Wrong! You should design a comfortable lifestyle where you’re productive but also taking really good care of yourself so you have limitless creative potential.

What’s a dream of yours that you hope to accomplish in the coming years? (P.S. I know you will!)

My ultimate dream is to create a film that I write, direct and star in with you as a creative collaborator! It’s been something that I have visualized my whole life. I truly look forward to the day this dream actualizes. I can see it all now; from the crew to the script and the feelings I’ll have when it’s all coming together! Lexy Olivia interview

 

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by?

A personal mantra I live by is mind over matter. I really push myself in every area of my life because I truly feel like we live in a world of infinite possibility. Thoughts are things and if we think we can achieve something, then so it is. A business mantra I apply is “learn, test, pivot.” To me, it is the essence of being an entrepreneur. You should always be learning, testing your hypothesis and applying that data back into your business to always get better results.

You have an unmistakable style that shines through on your Instagram. Can you tell me about your aesthetic and how you feel it reflects who you are?

Thank you so much! I feel like it’s definitely an ever evolving work in progress. I love how it oscillates between light & dark photos but there’s always tons of color! It’s a duality that I think I experience in life between the light and the dark. I just want my feed to inspire people and evoke a sense of gratitude and happiness that rubs off on people.

How are you a “Constant Creative”?

I cannot escape the Constant Creative lifestyle! Sometimes when I’m trying to quiet my mind and relax, I have non stop visions of new products I’d like to see, more partnerships, bigger productions. I could be listening to a song and envision an entire short film set to that song! It is endless and so exhilarating. I started out having no formal knowledge of painting and now I do it for a living. I love the constant creative process of being inspired to learn something new and incorporating it into your life. Who knows, maybe pottery is next! Although, I think I’d like to take up longboarding…

 

Quick Six:

  • Favorite book: Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls!
  • If I were to walk into your kitchen I would find this freshly made: Hummus or pesto! Eating clean is something I don’t compromise on. I love to have things prepped and ready to grab when I’m working full throttle all day.
  • A song you love to sing at the top of your lungs: I have a confession to make. I LOVE singing but I find myself rapping more often. You can generally always find me rapping Tupac or J. Cole lyrics when I’m driving in the car.
  • A hike you want to cross off your bucket list: I’ve been training to climb the Grand Teton which is a 13,700 foot mountain that I live near!
  • A person, dead or alive, you want to meet: I had a hard time with this one! Mostly because I don’t really idolize anyone. I love meeting people in general and hearing their stories. I think it would be really amazing to meet some of my friends that I’ve made through social media in real life though!
  • You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why? Pastel rainbow! It’s the first color scheme I ever painted that I fell in love with and is indicative of my style as an artist. A soft blend of all the colors we see around us.

Thank you Lexy for sharing your thoughts and story with everyone! You are such an inspiration! You can follow lexy on Instagram  or Facebook and be sure to check out her shop!

 

P.S. Did you miss the first Spotlight on Constant Creatives interview with Queen Shirin? Catch up here!

 

WhyYouShouldNeverPutYourEtsyShopOnVacationMode
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Why You Should Never Put Your Etsy Shop On Vacation Mode

Summer time and the livin’s easy, right? Right, BUT if you have an Etsy shop I strongly urge you to take the road less traveled and do not put your shop on Vacation Mode. It really seems like a simple fix, however putting your shop on vacation mode can do more damage in the long run even if it gives you a temporary break to relax. Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way and I would love to be a little vulnerable and show you a behind-the-scenes look at how this move has affected my shop since last year. I realize that this may not happen to every single Etsy shop out there, but it’s my hope that sharing this with you will show you a possibility of what could happen.

Learning The Hard Way With My Etsy Shop On Vacation Mode

I’ve been selling on Etsy with my shop WritersWire for five years, since 2013, and a lot has changed on Etsy throughout the years. For the most part, there have been a lot of improvements (maybe up until this year). But I’ve had to learn the hard way with some things because Etsy just doesn’t provide certain information to its users. And if you’ve ever gone Googling for answers like I have, information found in Etsy forums, on Reddit, or even in Facebook groups can be really confusing—everyone has an opinion on everything and most of the time they are completely contradicting!

In August 2016, I put my shop on Vacation Mode for 90 days. A long time to be in vacation mode, but something I felt I had to do. The first leg of my vacation mode was so I could travel and I wouldn’t be in a space to still ship orders. The other leg and the main reason I wanted to put my shop on vacation mode was because I was going through a re-brand and adding new and different products to my shop, including going through mountains and valleys trying to find the right manufacturer for certain new products. By the time I was ready to open my shop back up I had improved photos, better SEO and keywords, updated listing descriptions, updated about me/my story pages, and more. It was a total upgrade in every way. One thing was for certain, I had never come across information telling me putting my shop on vacation mode could negatively affect my shop.

Vague Information

Something you may not know is that when you put your shop on Vacation Mode, your products won’t appear in their search engine. If someone types in your shop’s exact name, that should show up, but even if you were ranked on the first page for “coffee mugs,” your product won’t be there as a suggested listing once you’re in Vacation Mode. There was so much positive talk around the fact that potential customers can still see your listings in your shop even if they just can’t purchase, that I thought my shop would be fine. I had an announcement in my shop stating why I was in Vacation Mode, when I was returning, and that customers can feel free to reach out if needed—but once I returned, I found that none of the things I did to improve my shop actually did so. Maybe you can see why I was swayed that going into Vacation Mode wasn’t a bad thing when this is what I find on Etsy’s Vacation Mode information page:

etyshoponvacationmode

 

It does tell you that your shop won’t show up in their search engines, but it’s vague information.

What I Wish Etsy Would Tell You

What I wish Etsy would explicitly say is that “your shop will most likely be negatively affected by going into vacation mode. And the longer you’re in vacation mode, the harder it will be to recover.” I truly thought that once I hit active again, the orders would start coming in regularly like before. I thought my stats would return to normal after my first few weeks of opening back up, but I was so so wrong.

From my research, it seems like if you are in Vacation Mode for longer than 30 days, once you do return it will be like starting over. STARTING OVER! Remember those first few months where you were checking your email every second to see if you had a new order? Or when you were doing everything you could to show up in Etsy’s search rankings and checking back every minute to see if you ranked higher yet? Yeah, it’s like that once your shop is active again after such a break. Your shop views will go down, your orders and revenue won’t be the same, and the traffic to your shop will change too. I’m slowly but surely just seeing a change 1 year later. Yep, a whole entire year later and I’m finally seeing upward movement. Slow upward movement I should say, and that’s after ferociously pinning my products on Pinterest, trying Etsy advertising for a little bit, and everything else under the sun.

Behind The Curtains: My Shop Stats Since Vacation Mode

I’m going to do something a little scary and show you behind the curtains of my shop. I want to be completely transparent and show you some stats so you can see for yourself. The truth is that being an Etsy shop seller isn’t always fun and easy. While my stats have improved during this season of my Etsy shop, below are recent screenshots of the stats in my shop in recent previous months and the hit I’ve taken since last year, specifically after I went into Vacation Mode.

As you can see, below is a screenshot of my stats from April 2017 – May 2017, about five months after opening my shop up again. My visits had decreased by 85% and my orders were down by 63%! That is a HUGE decrease. I was getting 6,764 visits during that same time period in the previous year.

 

whyyoushouldneverputyouretsyshoponvacationmode

My traffic has also drastically changed. Below is a screenshot looking at my year totals of traffic. Not just the numbers, although going from 46,000 to 8,800 is a big change, but the sources of traffic also changed. Before Vacation Mode, I was getting so much direct traffic, meaning traffic that came from people typing in my URL to their browser or who had saved/bookmarked my Etsy shop and would return.

 

why you should never put your etsy shop on vacation mode

This year, my biggest traffic source is from social media. Specifically, Pinterest brings in 60 of the 67% of my social media traffic. However, my direct traffic is only at 26% this year. While it’s my second biggest source of traffic, it’s still nothing like it was last year.

why you should never put your etsy shop on vacation mode

What Can You Do To Prevent These Side Effects From Hitting Your Shop?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many alternatives to Vacation Mode except to outsource help. My first suggestion would be to determine if you truly need to go into Vacation Mode. When you put your shop in Vacation Mode you are turning potential customers into most-likely-wont-be-customers due to the fact that they can’t actually see your listings in the Etsy search and can’t buy any of your products. If you will be away too long and not in a position to package or ship your products, can you hire a temporary assistant to cover these duties? My good friend Lexy of Lexy Olivia, who has a huge following with her bookmarks, has been upfront with her customers and followers on social media in the past of when she will be away and has hired a temporary assistant to fill her orders. Her audience understands and would rather have the option to buy a bookmark when they want as opposed to waiting for when she returns.

Now, I completely understand the other point of view with this argument; when you have no other choice but to put your shop on Vacation Mode. However, I strongly urge you to think of your Etsy shop like a real in-person boutique shop. You wouldn’t just up and close for a few weeks or months, would you? You would likely outsource help for the time that you had to be away. The luxury of having an online shop is so that it can be flexible with your lifestyle and it’s something YOU are in control of. That can be both a blessing and a curse, though. You have the power, with owning an Etsy shop, to shut down for however long you want. If that’s truly your only option, there are times in life when we have to do what’s best for our mental health, our family, or whatever your hurdle may be. However, you and your shop are also the only person that will take a hit from doing this. You may not have the financial means to hire a temporary assistant if and when you find yourself in a position to take a short leave of absence from the shop, but I hope this post will help you to see the possible outcome of doing so.

Tips If You Must Absolutely Put Your Etsy Shop On Vacation Mode

You might find yourself with no alternative, and if I’m being totally honest I’m not sure these things below truly helped me if I’m just slowly seeing results 1 years later. However, maybe your experience will be different.

  1. Put up a shop announcement (super easy in Settings > Options > Vacation Mode > Vacation Announcement ) stating that your Etsy shop will be on Vacation Mode and give an expected return date. If you will be without wifi for a certain amount of time, you can also enter an auto-reply so your potential customers will know why you might be absent.
  2. If possible, respond in a timely manner to anyone that messages you. Really, this should be no different than how you usually run your shop, but being extra “on it” with your customer service and conversations might give potential customers a reason to wait until you’re back and they can purchase from you again.
  3. Take this time to improve your shop’s keywords, SEO, and photos. There are lots of helpful articles on improving your Etsy shop’s SEO, Keywords, Photos, and more (like the ones I just linked to, click on them!) If you’re putting yourself in a position where you can’t sell anything, try to squeeze in time to improve your shop.

The Bottom Line

There are Etsy sellers and shops who have gone into Vacation Mode and don’t see any negative effects when they return (read almost any Etsy forum and you will see responses like this), but that was most definitely not my experience and I had no one to tell me the possible outcome.

I hope that this post shows you a possible alternative of going into Vacation Mode so you can make an informed decision when this question arises in your business. Have you experienced these same difficulties in your shop? Or do you have a different experience you’d like to share? Tell me in the comments below! You can browse my Etsy shop here on my site or directly from Etsy too!

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WhyYouShouldNeverPutYourEtsyShopOnVacationMode

 

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Talking With Confidence About What You Do in Work and Life
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Talking with Confidence About What You Do

It’s not easy talking with confidence about what you do, especially for creatives. There are a lot of millennial creatives (myself included) who don’t live a typical 9-5 lifestyle and that can make it both hard to explain what we do on a day-to-day and stressful to justify turning our passions into a profitable way of life.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Speaking about what you do in a confident, shameless way extends beyond telling others a fact about you or where your interests lie. It’s a window into your purpose and leading with this confidence not only shows people who you are, but it also helps guide yourself too.

Especially as a new blogger, this topic is something I want to start a conversation around with millennials. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to tell people that you’re starting something new and it takes a lot of guts to talk about that new blog, or side business, or creative venture you’re pursuing. It doesn’t always come easy for me to unabashedly talk about what I’m working on because it’s not a “safety guaranteed” way of life. There are times when I have to take a deep breath and remind myself not to shy away from it. However, I think that’s all the more reason to lead off with conviction in what you do.

For me personally, this is something I’ve struggled with over the years. I remember even back in high school it was easy for me to talk about writing and how that’s what I wanted to do in life, but I hid behind that. Writing wasn’t all I was interested in, but I didn’t have the confidence to say I was also interested in acting, filmmaking, etc.

Looking back on it, there are a few reasons why I wasn’t confident enough in years past:

  1. I was never the loudest personality in the room. I’m outgoing, but always more of an observer. I really thought that there was no way people would ever see me as an actor because I wasn’t the life of the party or the ___ theater kid. However, hindsight is 20/20 and there was no way anyone was ever going to think of me as more than the girl who wants to be a screenwriter because I never had the guts to say otherwise.
  2. No one else my age was running a small business (or so it felt). So, I always felt shy talking about my Etsy shop because I felt freakishly interested in online marketing, product launches, and small business statistics with no one my age to talk about it with. Today I’d be willing to bet that there were more people my age who did have side businesses, but were also shy to talk about it. I’ve also come to realize that it didn’t matter. Who cares if I was the only one who had an Etsy shop at 18? I needed to learn to own it.
  3. The lifestyle of any creative is never really a steady one. I had that drive in me to be successful, but I always felt pressured to go with the job that would tell people I would have the most security. More than that, I felt the negative stigma that came with telling people I was interested in certain creative endeavors that also happened to be so unsteady. There would be no office for me to go into every day and no boss to report to except myself. “Another LA screenwriter, another LA actor,” and maybe some people did think those things. But it was up to me to start talking with confidence about what I want to do and talk about MYSELF with confidence and passion. That was the only way there would be a silver lining in such an unsteady environment. I cared incredibly too much what people thought of me. To this day, it’s something I actively have to surrender. At the end of the day, being confident in who you are and what you want to do says so much about yourself and that’s the only opinion that should matter, your own one.

Post-Grad Questions: Now That You’re An Adult…

I remember after I graduated college it seemed as if I was flooded with questions about what I want to do, what jobs I’ve applied for, the list goes on and on. The truth was that I was the one that put the most pressure on myself to make a good impression and that’s when the fear of talking about what I do and what I’m passionate about would creep in. As creatives, we get a lot of eye-roll from people that think we sit at home and scroll through Facebook all day, and the thing is I totally get it. I understand why people think that, when the access to pajamas, our laptop, and Rice Krispy cereal are within reach. But that’s exactly WHY  talking with confidence about what you do, about your business, and about what you’re passionate about.

There’s a stigma that bloggers can’t make a living off blogging and that new bloggers shouldn’t even enter the market because it’s so over-saturated. I completely disagree with this kind of thinking. There is always room for someone who is passionate about what they want to do and share with the world. It will be unique because you’ll make it unique with your own perspective. If you’re the kind of person that’s still not convinced though…

Here’s 3 reasons why stepping into your passions with purpose and confidence is so important:

  1. Networking. Talking with confidence about what you do is not only important when you’re around people from your industry, but also when you’re around strangers and ordinary people. It seems like it’s always a friend of a friend or that girl from the bar that happens to be the one person that will put you in connection with someone for a promotion or collaboration.
  2. Connection. Not only for networking purposes, but owning what you do and shamelessly telling people about it with that fire in your eyes creates an unforgettable connection. People remember you when you can talk about yourself and what you do with confidence. On a personal level, it’s not only more interesting when you can speak about what you do in this way but it’s a more accurate depiction of who you are as a person. Maybe you work a full-time job, but you’re SO passionate about your Etsy shop you recently started. By not telling people about that part of your story, you’re doing yourself a disservice. That’s part of who you are and you probably spend more time talking about that side hustle and that creative aspect of your life, than your office job.
  3. Put it out there in the universe. I think there’s some truth to this so-called secret to life. You know when you have someone or something on your mind that you’ve been dreaming about and suddenly it comes true or shows up in your life? I think the same goes for talking about what you love to do with that faith and conviction. When you do it enough, it’s bound to make an impact in your life and in others.

Ultimately, this fear just extends into caring what people thought of me WAY too much. The truth is that I still struggle with this today, but over the last year and a half I have come into my own confidence a lot more. Sure, there are conversations when people ask me what I do and it’s scary to lead off with that surefootedness of what I do and what I’m passionate about, but that’s first and foremost who I am. I know I can say without a doubt that I feel so much better after a conversation where I shamelessly described who I am and what I love. I know the same will be true for you when you lead off with that confident foot too. Check out my manifesto for a glimpse into how I want to lead with confidence.

Leave a comment below if this is something you feel you struggle with too, or have in the past! I’d love to hear from you!

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Sam Chat: The Story Behind Constant Creative & How I Started Blogging
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Sam Chat: The Story Behind Constant Creative

Many of you have asked..…just kidding. No one has asked because this blog is brand spankin’ new, but! I figured that some of you might be curious why I chose the name Constant Creative for my blog and wanted to give a little backstory on how I started blogging.

Trial and Error

This blog was a long time coming and something I wanted to do for a while. I started a different blog years ago that was linked to my Etsy shop (this embarrassing blog shall not be named), but it was all over the place and completely unorganized. Most days I would post pictures of the cards I made and occasionally there would be a post on my favorite makeup picks from Bobbi Brown (still my go-to) or my favorite coffee shops in LA. I also decided to run a short story contest one time, and to my surprise someone actually entered haha. But I didn’t stick with that blog for very long for a few reasons:

  • I expected to have readers and comments right away. I thought that by my blog being out there on the internet I would gain traffic fast. Nope, I was so wrong. Having these kinds of expectations didn’t help either, because I got discouraged pretty quickly and didn’t stick with it.
  • There was no focus to that blog! I was an Etsy shop blog + lifestyle blog + creative writing blog + whatever else popped into my head. I had no direction.
  • The research wasn’t there. I had no idea the work that went into having a blog and probably wasn’t 100% interested or committed. I had no idea what a brand was, that you needed good photography or to post regularly, and I opened the blog through wordpress.com, as in blogname.wordpress.com and I really thought I was set. There’s nothing wrong with starting a blog there, but I still didn’t do my research!

No Niche For Me…Sort Of

Fast forward to today and this blog fell into place faster than I thought it would. Reasons I held back for so long were because I honestly thought no one would want to read it, I didn’t know what to focus on because I felt interested in a variety of things, and I thought that the market was already so saturated with bloggers, how would I ever stand out?

How could I talk about all the things I felt passionate about without being all over the place like before? I didn’t want to corner myself into a small niche, especially one that I wasn’t 100% into. I knew that if I became a fashion blogger who linked to clothes all the time or started a blog that focused on writing or acting specifically, I would fall short of connecting to my audience due to burn out from writing or posting about one specific thing day in and day out that I wasn’t 100% passionate about. While many people are successful and benefit from being in a smaller niche, I knew that I didn’t want my blog to be too narrow or I would be setting myself up for failure. I would venture to say that having a creative living + lifestyle blog is in its own niche, but it’s one that works for me.

Like a Glass Slipper

One day while at a friend’s house, I was talking with her mom about life and what I currently had going on. Her response to me listing off a few different endeavors was, “Wow, you are constantly doing something creative. That’s awesome!” Almost like an epiphany, it hit me. In honor of staying true to myself, why not start a blog about all the creative things I’m always doing? A creative living blog. The bloggers I connect to the most are the ones that I can tell truly love the things they’re talking about. For me, that’s anything creative. I wanted to be able to share about ALL the creative things I’m passionate about, not just one aspect.

For so long, I held back because I thought that being passionate in multiple things meant that I was committed to none of them. To a certain extent, I think that’s true. I don’t think you can be a pro golfer at the same time as trying to become an astronaut. And the only reason I don’t think that’s possible is because there’s not enough time in the day. If there was, then power to you!  However, I think it should be celebrated when people are creative and passionate about a handful of things.

Thus, Constant Creative was born. The second that name entered my brain it was as if the glass slipper fit and it felt so good! I know that I’ll be my most authentic self if I show my audience that I’m passionate about different things and I love to be creative. The best part is that creativity really expands so wide and means so many different things! For me, creative living extends all the way from art to business to creating a life you love.

I wanted not only to share about the creative things I have going on in my own life, but creative things I’m learning more and more about every day. I wanted my blog to talk about starting your own creative business and being a cheerleader for any woman that’s thinking about starting a side hustle, or trying a new art, or taking a leap to make something she’s always wanted to create. I discover creative inspiration from new things every day. Some surprise me, like how it really feels creative to bake a new dessert or to put together an outfit or travel to a new place. Other times, I seek to know more about living a creative life and stumble upon the most interesting answers, people, and ideas. I’m so excited to share it ALL with you here.

The Journey Ahead

I have so much to learn on this blogging journey but I couldn’t be happier about it! What’s exciting to me is all the doors that blogging opens; all the people, places, collaborations and new perspectives I wouldn’t get to see otherwise.  If you’re joining me on this journey, make sure to stop by and say hi! Scroll down and leave a comment, I’d love to know about who you are, what you do, where you’re from and where you’re going!

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The Story Behind Constant Creative and How I Started Blogging

 

 

 

 

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Best LA Coffee Shops To Get Work Done: Valley Edition
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Best LA Coffee Shops To Get Work Done: Valley Edition

If you know me, you know that I can’t live without my coffee. I wake up every day and need that cup of Joe to bring me to life. Today I’m talking all about the best LA coffee shops to get work done in the Valley. Honestly, there were too many to choose from in the LA area so I had to break it down. I’m a Valley girl, born and raised, so I’ve gone to my fair share of coffee shops but these are a few of my favorites that I always always return to and I’d love to share so y’all can check them out if you haven’t yet!

 

Simply Coffee – Burbank

I love this hidden little gem! It’s right off Magnolia boulevard, but you probably wouldn’t see it if you were just driving by. This tiny little coffee shop is quaint with only a few tables inside, but it’s perfect for writing without too many distractions. Their pastries are baked fresh every morning, which it makes it pretty hard to resist. That, and all their coffee is Stumptown Coffee. If you’re a coffee lover you know how good Stumptown is. I also love that they support local and have a wall of t-shirts and other things.

Insta worthy: Their tree stump tables and succulent wall outside!

My picks: Nitrogen Brew Coffee on a hot day

 

Aroma Coffee & Tea Company – Studio City

If you’re visiting Aroma during peak hours, you’ll probably see a line of people out the door, but it’s for good reason. This has been my go-to favorite for years now. I love coming to this cozy café (probably because it was originally a house) and it’s the perfect place to claim a corner and get to work or indulge in a little people watching – where else are you supposed to get inspiration from, right?

I used to come here when I was in high school with my friend Lexy for our caffeine fix and to get some writing done. We would always get asked if we were doing “homework” to which we would pass out our “business cards” and say “Nope, we’re writers.” We were definitely 20 years younger than everyone but it makes me laugh looking back, we didn’t care!

After you’re done drooling at their pastries, there’s plenty of options to find a seat and wait for your food, but my favorite spot is out back on the patio. While the servers will bring your food and drinks to your table for you, Aroma doesn’t provide Wifi. This may be a downer to some, but I actually like that it forces you to stay off the internet if you’re coming here to work. Unless I’m working in Final Draft, I usually like to go old school and bring a notebook here. So for me, this is definitely one of the best LA coffee shops to get work done. If you want a cozier option, head inside by the fireplace and settle in. The old hardwood floors give this place such character, making you feel right at home.

Tip before you go: If you’re just ordering a drink or pastry, there is a separate line for that when you walk in. Keep this in mind, it can save you so much time if you’re caught waiting in the popular dinner time line!

My picks: Their salads are HUGE and so good (Kardashian style huge). I’d also go with a hot Vanilla Latte with an Almond Croissant or their Bread Pudding – best I’ve ever had!

 

Romancing The Bean – Burbank

Walking into this romantic little café, you’ll find plenty of people living that laptop lifestyle across the many tables this place offers. I find that to be so helpful, there’s nothing worse than making the trek to a coffee shop to get work done, only to find they only have 4 tables. I love the way this coffee shop is decorated, “modern but romantic” would be a good way to describe the black and white color scheme and the super cool chandeliers in this place. Their organic coffee and teas are so good and I love meeting up for lunch here too!

My pick: Organic drip coffee and try their Famous Chicken Curry Sandwich, it’s so good!

To check out: Mindful, a neighboring store that carries handmade and unique art and artisan gifts

 

Philz Coffee – Pasadena

Yes, I know. Technically this is in the San Gabriel Valley but oh well. There are a few locations around LA but I’ve been to the Pasadena location a couple times to get some work done! Finally this NorCal favorite has made its way down here to SoCal! I love the way that Philz coffee operates – you tell your barista what blend of coffee you like (light, medium, dark) and also how you take your coffee (cream, sugar, etc.) and they make each cup individually for you right there, it’s so cool! They have just a couple tables inside, so you’re better off finding a table outside. My favorite spot is by the fire pit, which is also across from Sunlife and trust me, I know the struggle of wanting to have Acai bowls every day of my life so you might have to pop over there after. There’s also seating along the side of Philz, for a more secluded area if you don’t want to be distracted or you’re introverting and don’t want to have small talk with anyone— we all have those days.

My pick: Tesora blend (Medium) made “Philz Way” which is medium sweet with cream

What I love: This location features a lot of local artists work inside, which is AWESOME!

 

Copa Vida – Pasadena

I’ve been here during the weekdays with my laptop in tow and I love this place! Right off Colorado blvd, it’s quaint enough to where you feel like you found a good hole in the wall, but big enough to where you don’t have to stalk people for seating. Their “Go, Enjoy, Experience” approach to coffee is how they categorize their coffee, with each category representing a different type of coffee bean, pretty cool right? The space is modern and airy which I love, and they offer wifi Monday-Friday. Yes, no wifi Sat-Sun 9am-3pm!

My pick: Vanilla Latte or a regular cup of coffee

For locals or those on-the-go: While we are talking about the best LA coffee shops to get work done, morning rush hour can get hectic when all you want is a cup of coffee. Copa Vida has an amazing “honor bar” for those who don’t want to wait in line. Simply go to the self-service coffee bar, grab your coffee, drop your cash in and you’re good to go! I think it’s pretty cool that they still have faith in humanity to be honest, especially these days you know?

 

Gayle’s Perks – Northridge

This one you’re going to have to trust me on. Tucked away in the corner of a Northridge shopping center, you would never even know this is here! I stumbled across this café when I wanted somewhere else to study other than the library when I was going to college at Cal State Northridge. This little coffee shop is so cozy, it’s the perfect place to get some work done! They have a leave one, take one library and the most amazing crêpes. Out back is a modest cute little patio with tables if you’d rather work outside.

Things to know: You can’t use your card if it’s anything less than $5 so bring cash if all you’re getting is a coffee!

My picks: Peanut butter banana with cinnamon crêpe and a coffee

 

Backdoor Bakery – Sunland

“Where is Sunland?” is the question I get all. The. Time. Off the 210 as if you’re heading to Pasadena, you’ll find Sunland and Backdoor Bakery—a real hole in the wall that will give you reason to return. The pastry selection alone is worth the drive here, with crazy good combinations like their chocolate orange croissant, but it’s the atmosphere that will keep you here. The staff is so welcoming and kind here, and during the week there are plenty of tables to get work done. The chalkboard wall menu adds that hipster-vibe that makes this place pretty cool, along with most of their ingredients being organic and locally sourced.

My tip: The weekends are crazy crowded, especially during breakfast time so try to visit during the week. They sometimes have a 2 for $2 coffee and croissant deal weekday early mornings.

My pick: Scrambled egg breakfast. It’s all organic or house-made including their bread, and organic ketchup!

What I love: They also support artists, from featuring local artwork to open-mic nights.

 

Thanks for reading about the best LA coffee shops to get work done (in my option!) Do you have any favorite LA area coffee shops you like to go to? Tell me in the comments below what part of LA you explore the most and I’ll do my next coffee shop roundup on that side of town!

Want to save this post so you can add these coffee shops to your “must-visit” list? Pin it below!

The must-have list of Best LA Coffee Shops To Get Work Done in The Valley

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