I love mail


When I was younger, mail was the highlight of my day.  I was that kid who had several magazine subscriptions, pen-pals, and always sent away for things...like free offers if I saved enough cereal box proof of purchases.


Almost every day, I figured there might be something good in the mail. The anticipation was so exciting.  I hated when anyone got to the mail first.  I liked to be the one to grab the stack of paper from the box.  


I am the same today.  It's crazy.  The best news these days comes via email or facebook, but I am always excited when I hear the mailman.  Even though 90% of what lands in my mailbox is junk, I still get that child-like excitement that something good will be mixed in with the junk.


Don't even get me started on "vacation mail."  I love coming home from two weeks away to a huuuge pile of mail.  


I am always secretly hoping money will arrive.  Crazy, right?  But then a few months ago I received a $200 check from some health insurance claim that happened over two years ago. I had completely forgotten about it. 


That's what I love about the mail - you just never know what might arrive!


Letter writing and snail mail sending is a little bit of a lost art.  Do kids even have pen-pals anymore? Or do they just facebook all day long?


I am really happy that I grew up in a time when actually writing a letter and not posting a quick status update or sending a quick text was the way to communicate with friends and family in other states.  


I do love the internet.  And my smart phone.  And blogging, email, social media, etc....but there is something so nice about a letter.


A few weeks ago I was looking through boxes in the garage for an important document {my organization is uncanny} and I found a little letter my grandma had sent me when I was in college.  It was the sweetest thing ever and I cried. 


I am not so sure moments like that can occur with emails or facebook statuses.


Enough rambling about my strage love affair with the U.S. Postal Service....and time for a very post-appropriate giveaway!


Have you met Heidi from Row House 14?  If not, stop by her blog.  It is well-written and genuine.  Two of my favorite things in a blog.


In addition to blogging, Heidi runs a handmade business in which she creates custom greeting cards and stationery.  Perfect for all those letters to grandma :).


Today Heidi is giving one of you lucky people a set of personalized stationery from her shop.  Just stop by this section and pick your favorite set!



and this airmail set:

To enter just complete the form below - the giveaway ends next week. 

 Good luck!


36 Hours in San Francisco

Last weekend my husband and I spent a quick 36 hours in San Francisco.  

Mostly eating and walking around...what else would you do for 36 hours?

Where we stayed.

A walk through Chinatown.  I first visited San Fran when I was 11 years old and Chinatown is exactly the same.  It is oddly comforting.

One of the best salads I have had in a loooong time - butter lettuce, green beans, figs, a few walnuts, and baked goat cheese.  And I don't even like walnuts. YUM.

Beer cocktail.  Yes please.  So freaking good.

Oh you know, just hanging out in my hotel room, taking pictures of myself in the mirror....

I wanted to go to Coit Tower but our flight was delayed and there wasn't enough time.  Next visit.

Coach Neil at the Youth Gaelic Football Tournament on Treasure Island.

Pretty views from Treasure Island.  


I could have stayed a few more days, but this 36 hours was pretty fun :).

Handmade 101: Three things I wish I would have known...

For today's Handmade 101 post, I asked Lish of Imprintalish to share with us three things she wished she would have known when she started blogging.  



Hello Acute Design readers!!! My name is Lish and my blog, Imprintalish is my spot to reflect and capture the little things that make up my crazy beautiful life. 


Photography, crafty creations, collections of pretty things, anything that inspires me, my impressions and of course my imperfections all make it to Imprintalish’s pages. My two handsome little men, and husband of almost nine years take up most of my time, but I always make room for my blog…



Imprintalish has had my heart for just over two years.  It has gone through many changes and has grown in more ways then I ever imagined. I’ve learned so many things in the last year and experienced lots of good and some bad. Today I wanted to share with you three things I wish I had known before I started blogging.




1. To get followers, you must reach out.


I had no idea that this world of ‘bloggers’ exsisted. Sure, I knew that other blogs were out there. But I never knew the magnitude of support that would come from other fellow bloggers. I had no idea what ‘following’ was. If someone followed me, should I follow back? If someone commented on my blog, should I comment back? It’s really a full circle kind of deal. 


What you put out, you get back


Maybe, back in the wee days of Imprintalish if I had concentrated a little more time on reading and commenting on my favourite blogs, I’d be a little more ahead. Who knows?! But I do feel as though the genuine, thoughtful commenting bloggers are the ones that grow.



2. Blogging is not easy money


Ah yes, the dreaded money talk. When I first started blogging, my main reason was to document things that made an impression on me but I secretly had the thought of blogging as an income tucked away in my head for a rainy day. 


It wasn’t until last fall (a year and a half into it) that I actually started making efforts to see those dreams come true. Of course, the money didn't start flowing in just because I wished for it, and to be honest, it still doesn’t flow in, LOL. 


From my experience, to make money blogging, you have to have a heck of a lot of time to pour into your blog; design, posts, interacting with other bloggers, sponsorships and advertising. Meaning, maybe a mom of two boys under 3, with a part time job, a house to run, a husband and lots of creative ideas/projects, doesn’t exactly have time to dedicate full time hours to making money blogging….?! Unless sleep is not that important to you {and it is for me!}. But then again, sometimes people are just lucky and get to have it all :).




3. You will constantly compare yourselves to others.


Everyone paints a pretty picture on their blog, why? Beacuse it's easy to do that, it's easy to focus on the pretty things and not the real things. 


You will see the popular, bigger, better bloggers and you will want a piece of it. You'll go crazy trying to post 3 times a day, linking up to every single stinkin' linky party, pinning everyday, having lots of giveaways, trying to respond to all your comments and signing up for tons of guest posts...it’s hard to keep up with the Jones' and doing all that stuff will suck the life out of you


I've learned this from my own mistakes. Obviously, you are free to take any of this advice with a grain of salt and do with it as you please. But if someone had told me that it is ok to only post when I felt like it, to not overwhelm myself with what everyone else was doing…things would’ve been so much easier and I probably wouldn't have been so hard on myself! I’ve learned to keep a ‘light’ schedule of posts and have cut back tremendously on things, like the amount of sponsors I have, as a result of burnout.


So there you have it! My three things I wish I had of known before I started blogging. I hope that they come in handy for some of you, or at least make you think twice about what it is that you want from your blog. Blogging is truly a fabulous experience! The best advice I can give is to just be yourself and of course have fun!


Thanks so much for having me Gina! I’d love for you guys to pop on over and visit me at Imprintalish, hope to see you soon!


Lish


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Thanks so much, Lish!  Such good advice...especially number three.  It is easy to fall into the comparison trap.  I do it far too often.

What is something you have learned from blogging that you wish you would have known way back when? 

San Francisco Insta

I got back from a quick, 36 hour trip to San Francisco late last night.  It was a fun and non-stop 36 hours.

Airport - our flight up to San Fran was delayed two hours....so my plans for the afternoon were cut a bit short.

In the hotel elevator.  My head looks massive.  Neil always takes good pictures.  It's annoying.
We stayed at the Hotel Rex - nice little boutique hotel.  It wasn't too expensive and was perfectly located right in between China Town and Union Square.  

We had a late lunch at the Cafe de la Presse.  I had one of my favorite meals: goat cheese salad + french fries.  And I drank this beer cocktail -beer, lemonade, and a splash of grenadine.  Heaven.

Hotel Bathroom self pic.

Boots + Socks....it was chilly there!

Neil coaching his Youth Gaelic Football Team.  They destroyed the competition but the coaches always say it's a "tie."  I guess winning is bad for kids these days...

Shopping.

Always.  No matter where we go in the world, we always end up at an Irish bar.

Gorgeous view.  The day was chilly but sunny and dry.  It was a fun 36 hours.

Happy Memorial Day!  

Enjoy your day off.  Or, if you're not in the U.S., enjoy your Monday ♥.

Happy Holiday Weekend!

Monday is a holiday here.  Free Mondays off are the best.  
Am I right or am I right??


Tomorrow we are heading to San Francisco for my husband's youth Gaelic football team.  All day Sunday will be filled with football stuff so Saturday is my day and Neil has to do whatever I want to do in San Fran.....


I had my heart set on the Victorian Walking Tour but it starts at 11am and our plane doesn't land until noon.  Saaaaaad.


I guess we will just end up wandering around the city, shopping, taking pictures, and eating.  I think it will be a fun day.


We return to San Diego late Sunday night and Monday we are heading to a Memorial Day Party at my friend's farm.  I hope there are baby animals.  I love baby animals...but really, who doesn't love baby animals?


I am excited for this little holiday break but also a little anxious.  Half of me would rather spend all weekend preparing for the Queen Bee Market as well as a second show I am doing next Saturday. I guess deep down I like the crazy. 


If you're in the mood for a little Memorial Day shopping, I am having a Buy One - Get One Free Sale in the {Acute} shop through Monday night.


More details are in my latest newsletter.

What are you all up to this weekend?  Whatever it is, I hope it's relaxing and fun!

Life Lately....

Lately life has been busy.  I haven't been spending much time in front of my computer.  I am working on growing this little business of mine and while that does require some internet/computer time, it also requires a lot of doing and making and designing and creating.


The Queen Bee Market is in a week and I will be away in San Francisco this Saturday-Sunday, so it's kind of crunch time in {Acute Designs}-land!


Besides working my little fingers to the bone I have been doing the usual...


Cuddling these two:



Eating simple meals:
Thai noodle salad - recipe is here, on my food blog taste.


Watching TV with this guy....including the series finale of House on Monday.  Tears!


Wearing this black t-shirt dress {$12.95 at H&M} every.single.day.  I think I should get another one....


And being stared down by Miss Gordita with a look that says "pet me. love me. just sit and relax...life is short.  oh, and give me cookies."

What have you been up to lately?

Handmade 101: Photography Tips



Photography is such an important part of the online selling and blogging world.  You definitely don't have to take amazing photos to have a successful blog or shop, but it really doesn't hurt to have decent photos.


When I stumble upon a shop or blog that is visually appealing, I want to stay and look around.  If it's a mess, I usually just click my way to the next site...


Some people in this business are blessed to have a knack for taking beautiful photos.  I am not one of those people.  For those of us that lack in natural talent, there is hope - we can practice, practice, practice, research, learn, and then practice some more.  My photography has improved light years since I first started blogging and selling online.  


In order to help some of us who are a little photography-challenged, I asked my friend {and amazing photographer} Janneke to write her top five tips for better photos.


You might remember Janneke from the lovely photos she took of my Spring Collection in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati, Ohio last March.




When Gina asked me to write up a little guest post about photography, I was all for it. While I took some Photo classes as an undergrad, I am mainly self taught, with lots of trial and error. Now, I shoot Engagement Sessions, Family Portraits and soon even weddings! Thinking back at what helped me the most in developing my skills, I came up with five tips to help you become a better photographer.


One

Never delete a picture before you looked at it on your computer. At the beginning, I’d shoot, look at the display and delete the image on the spot if I thought it looked blurry or otherwise didn’t meet my expectations. 

Now, I still look at the display, but only to check exposure and composition. Seeing an image on the big screen makes such a difference, and, if it really didn’t turn out well, use it to learn from your mistakes.

Two
Bring your camera with you everywhere you go. You can’t improve your photography if you never take any pictures. 
One thing I learned is that you can read as many tips and tricks of the trade as you want, but if you don’t apply what you learned, it’s a waste of time. Whether you have a slim point and shoot or a bulkier DSLR, put that puppy in your bag and, most importantly, use it! People might stare, but it’s so worth it.
Three
Use the sun to your advantage or, move to the shade. 
If you have ever had a picture of you taken at or around noon when the sun is at its highest point, you know that you looked less than flattering. Harsh sunlight creates, well, harsh shadows. 
To avoid adding wrinkles, bags and other unflattering shadows to your subjects appearance, try to shoot during the golden hour. The best light happens to be in the first and last hours of the day when the sun rises and sets.  If you have to shoot in the afternoon, try out a shadier spot. I usually make sure that a light source is close by so it can reflect back onto my scene.

Four
Remember the details. Cut off your friends head? Oh well, maybe what he is holding in his hands is much more important. Get that wide shot, then focus on what it is you hope to capture. It’s fun to look back at a later date and remember exactly why it was worth taking that shot.

Five
White balance. One of the last things I learned when I started photographing was white balance. In my opinion, it should be among the first! (Naturally, it is my last point here…) 
Most of the time, Auto White Balance is completely fine, however, there are situations where artificial lighting can really mess up your images. To avoid blue, orange or yellow photos, make sure to change the settings of your camera accordingly. Read your camera manual to find out how to do that as well as some other nifty things you may have not been aware of before.

I could go on and on but I find that the above five were some of the most helpful for me. Thanks to the above, and mainly number five, I rarely have to edit my photos nowadays and if I do, only minimally. Even if you only need to take product photos, I hope that these tips can help at least a little bit. 

Don’t be discouraged! The photographers you admire have most likely done this for many, many years, practice really is the key to success (Yep, I went there. It’s true!) but most of all, remember to have fun!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks Janneke!  So, number one was kind of an eye opener for me...I always flip through my camera and delete photos before I upload them.  


This is a habit I need to break.  Another thing I need to adjust is the white balance on my camera.  I typically pop it in "auto" and snap away.  Like Janneke said, this is fine most of the time {especially in natural light} but when I take photos inside, they always look yellow....now I know why.

I hope these tips help and to see more of Janneke, check out her blogphotography siteher shoptwitter, and facebook.

Click here for more Handmade 101 posts.


Cold Thai Noodle Salad



I made this cold noodle salad last week...and then ate it every day for a week until I eventually got a little sick of it. I suggest you share it with a friend or family member . Or half the recipe. 


It is amazingly delicious but if I got sick of something after six days, you probably will too.  And this is coming from me, the girl who ate about 10 foods for the first 18 years of her life....my taste buds are really growing up here, people.


If you have a lot of people to feed, make the entire recipe. It is cheap and healthy and so tasty.  Feel free to add in more or different veggies.  Or chicken if that's your thing.  I just used what had in my fridge.


Enjoy!






Cold Thai Noodle Salad {serves about 8}
-1/3 cup of soy sauce
-1/3 cup on all natural peanut butter {zap in the microwave for about 30 seconds to soften it}
-2 tablespoons of honey
-1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
-2 tablespoon minced ginger
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
-juice from two-three limes


-1 bell pepper, diced
-1 small package of sugar snap peas {about 2 cups}
-green onions, diced {about 1/3 cup}
-1 cucumber, diced


-6 servings worth of rice noodles


-a big handful of chopped, fresh cilantro


Cook the noodles and put in a large bowl with the chopped veggies.  In a smaller bowl, mix together the sauce {everything from soy sauce through lime juice}.  Pour the sauce over the noodles and veggies and toss all until well coated. Top with the fresh cilantro.  Eat immediately or refrigerate for later.



Weekend + Picture Overload

So, another crazy weekend that left me no energy or time to post on Monday.  Yep, that happened again.


I have about a week and a half left of craziness and then I can relax for a minute.


Saturday I worked all day getting ready for the North Park Festival.  Sunday, I was up earlier than usual to walk my dogs, pack the car, and head to the show.  Luckily the show was only about two miles from my house, so we left all of 5 minutes before I needed to be there.


My husband {who is an engineer but I often question if he can even change a lightbulb} was a genius at putting up the new tent I had recently purchased. I have truly realized that he does know how to do things, he just prefers to play dumb to avoid diy or handy type work.   Can you imagine the possibilities if he actually enjoyed diy projects??  My house and blog would be amazing.


An-eee-ways....the show was a lot of fun.  It was super busy with a constant stream of people.  And the best part?  I exceeded my sales goals.  Exceeding goals is kind of the best thing ever.  Especially when they involve money.


 Setting up....

Staying nice and cool under the tent Neil assembled

 Neil...I think he was trying to leave :).


Glitter Bands and Felt Flowers

Flower Studs

Hairpins

Handmade Flower Bobby Pins

My reflection

Vintage Jewel and Flower Pins


Brass Earrings

Glitter Studs



My friend Julia of The Love Stitch was set up in the booth next to mine.  Her stuff is all so cute and I loved her booth and display.





Thanks to everyone who came out and said hello!  It was so good to see some of you.  Now I am off to clean and organize my studio and start preparing for the Queen Bee.  Which is in less than two weeks.....

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