{i want to see your madness}

I know many of you are bloggers, crafters, freelancers, or have a little business on the side. Most of you would like to know how to make a full-time living off this. Because of that and the fact that this post has been so popular, I’m going to share a little bit on how I’ve been doing this for myself.

My Personal Madness

A little over a year ago, I’d just been fired from a job I hated. I shouldn’t have stuck around there so long, but it was safe. The job market sucked when I got out of college, and I’m a single parent. I was thinking of law school, but I’d heard the horror stories of lawyers who went straight to law school only to find they hated being a lawyer when they got out. So, I got a job at a law firm, quickly realizing that I did NOT want to be a lawyer. Instead of quitting, I kept the job. Be happy to have a job, right. So when I got fired it was a HUGE relief, but it was also ridiculously stressful due to those things we like to call bills. I didn’t have anything liquid {like an emergency fund}, and I had a load of debt.

Lucky for me, I’d started this blog and had experience in marketing and event planning. I offered ads here and sold a bunch of stuff I didn’t need or had never worn. Thinking back to a conversation with Lisi, I looked for work as a writer. I also picked up a gig with a big entrepreneurship conference in Miami, where I met some amazing people. All this helped me cover the bills while I started offering my services as a freelance writer and social media specialist.

Fast forward to today. I’m a full-time freelance writer, social media specialist, and consultant with a variety of clients, one of my most frequent being a Fortune 100 company. I donate my spare time and services to a really cool charity. I’ve written and had a book published. I’m in the process of writing another book. I’m not rolling in dough, but I’m making just as much as I did at that job I hated. I’ve managed to pay off most of my debt, have an emergency fund, and now have a retirement fund. I work fewer hours, and I do it from wherever I want, which means more time with my son and a more comfortable wardrobe.

And, you’re saying “That’s great, but how does this help me?”

So here is where I tell you the super helpful stuff. I read through plenty of blogs and books out there that helped inspire me, some of which you will find in that post I mentioned above. However, if I had to tell you to pick just one, I’d tell you to go for Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Guides and $100 Business Forum. For someone looking to start a very small business {full-time or on the side}, I think his stuff is the best. I was part of his and Pam Slim’s first group of $100 business students and it was amazing. I’m applying everything I learned to a current project that is set to launch next year, and it’s helped keep me focused.

I believe in his products so much that I’m offering 15% off any service on this page to anyone who purchases anything from the Unconventional Guides.

If you’re interested, but still not 100% sold on the idea, keep reading. {FYI: There’s another discount at the end of the post.}

Continue reading

{bookworm: encyclopedia of the exquisite}

“…with searching, beauty can be found in the most unlikely places, folly is essential, and luxury doesn’t mean spending lots of money.”

– Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, Encyclopedia of the Exquisite

In the Introduction of the Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, Jessica Kerwin Jenkins calls her book an “ode to life’s many luxuries that don’t require much spending.” Inspired by a file kept on her desk filled with scraps which she titled ‘Why I Like It Here,’ ‘here’ being Earth, Jenkin’s book is a delightful collection of tidbits and anecdotes of the origins and evolutions of its subjects. Covering anything that peaked her interest from the history of Champagne to giant elephant shaped buildings to the royal origins of a pear, Jenkins makes each one magical and exotic. The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite is a collection of curiosities – a veritable treasure box filled with the whims and tasteful objects collected by the author whose own taste led her to a career as an editor for WWD, W in Europe, and now places her as a contributor to Vogue.

Jenkins said her editor, Nan Talese, insisted that the book’s design live up to it’s title. The result is just over 300 pages of beautiful details. The book is, indeed, exquisite. It’s beautifully illustrated and the pages are a reminder why some books should always be experienced in physical form; reading this book in digital form would be a sin.

A beautiful edition to any bookshelf or coffee table and an absolute treat to read, the Encyclopedia of the Exquisite makes a splendid and affordable gift. Pick up a few for your holiday gifts and, of course, one for yourself.

{ms. jenn’s favorite gifts for guys under $50}

1. Ole Smokey Moonshine $35

2. Wooden USB Stick $59 {ok, not under $50, but I couldn’t help myself}

3. Book of Insults $8

4. Single Letter Steak Branding Iron $17

5. Portland General Store Set $40

6. Skull Clock $35

7. Monogrammed Flask $34

1. Bike Snob $17

2. Diptqye Philosykos Solid Perfume $48

3. Survival Handbook: Man Skills $25 {Get 35% off + free ground shipping until 12/5. Use code FRIENDS}

4. Gorillapod Tripod $17

5. Baxter of California Mint Toner $18

6. Jack Spade Matchbox $42

7. Fjallraven Mini $45

{in the bank}

I remember being 5 years old, staring in awe at walls full of locks and little metal doors, wondering what was behind them. I was waiting for my mom to retrieve our own box of treasures: passports, two dollar bills, coins, a few jewels, and some old photographs. It was always so exciting to rummage through our locked up trinkets, but it was just as exciting to stand in the vault {ever so slightly terrified that the door might close and lock us in.}

All grown up now, I haven’t visited a vault in years, and I’m not sure if it would be as fascinating {although I’m sure the idea of being locked in one would still be equally terrifying.} However, I wouldn’t mind being in a vault like this one. Converted from a bank to the flagship offices of Vanguard Properties in San Francisco, the vault/private dining room is the most glamorous room in the entire building. Not in San Francisco? You can spend an evening partying and dining in a vault in NY or LA, too.

charles de lisle for vanguard properties

{the gallery of her morning elegance}

Remember this video? Her Morning Elegance was one of my very first posts. I still listen to the song everyday and the video is surely my favorite music video EVER. You, too? Well I have some awesome news for anyone who loves the video or who knows someone who does. {Or, anyone looking for a fantastic, out-of-this-world-no-one-else-will-ever-think-to-give-this gift.}

You can now own a piece of the video. See, the video was composed of 2,096 individual photos, which are now up for grabs. Only one of each print will be sold, so it’s guaranteed that your print is unique and authentic.

You can purchase a print online at The Gallery of Her Morning Elegance. {Orders must be placed prior to December 10th for holiday delivery.}

{all images courtesy of the hmegallery}