#vallarinabrandcrush / 10

cspphoto-01 Happy Friday, friends!! I hope you all have grand plans for this holiday weekend. I'm in Ohio today shooting a wedding (my last wedding ever!) and looking forward to a weekend filled with sleeping in, homemade breakfast, celebrating my dad's birthday, lots of time with my family and maybe our last lake day, depending on when this baby arrives! It's going to be a good one :)

Since I'm playing wedding photographer today, I thought it was a perfect day to share my latest Brand Crush, this time on Caitlin Sullivan Photography! Caitlin photographed my wedding alongside the uber talented Gail Werner (who has since hung up her camera to pursue a writing career - go Gail!), and since then has become a dear friend. She is the kind of person who just exudes sunshine, encouragement and positivity and everyone who meets her and knows her is better for it. She is kind, genuine and not to mention incredibly talented behind the camera as a wedding and portrait photographer! She's taken Matt and I's photos twice now (you can see them here and here!) and I'm so grateful for the heirlooms that she captured for us. I'm so excited to introduce her to you and seriously, Indy folks, if you're in need of a photographer, get in touch with Caitlin! You won't be sorry!

Without further ado, meet the sweet + lovely Caitlin Sullivan!

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Introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do? Hi friend! My name is Caitlin. I'm the youngest of 4, super Irish, adventurer at heart and Chipotle addict. I grew up in Indianapolis and love the Hoosier state. Family means the world to me and the coolest thing has been watching it grow over the past few years with the addition of two nephews and a niece - Hey Noah, Bronson and Etta bear! I photograph joy for a living and consider it one of my greatest blessings.

Describe a typical day. A typical day involves a good workout, grabbing a bagel with a friend or my family, editing photos, cuddling with my cat Pazzo, and spending the evening either with family or close friends. I *LOVE* sports (go Pacers!) so if there's a good game on, I'm probably watching that too!

How do you stay inspired? I stay inspired by traveling, seeing new places, unplanned adventure, and spending time with those that matter most to me.

What's your favorite way to cultivate creativity? My favorite way to cultivate creativity is to be spontaneous and practice thoughtfulness. Nothing kills a bad attitude or being in a funk quite like reaching out to someone to spread some love when they least expect it. (Snail mail is my favorite!)

What are your three favorite reads (books, blogs, magazines?) I LOVE Pioneer Woman, Cup of Jo and Wit & Delight.

What fills your tank so you can keep doing what you do / how do you rest? Being in the moment. Getting outside. Fresh air. Sunshine.  Going for a long run to clear my head. Kindness.

If you could give another creative entrepreneur who is just starting out a piece of advice, what would you say? I'd say dive in. It sounds cliche but really, whatever it is on your heart that you've wanted to do or try - do it. Life is too short for you to waste your talent and fire. You will mess up. Often. But that's how you know you're on to something good. Work through it and be kind. Celebrate the success of others. Support your peers in your community and lift them up. Look out for their well being as much as you look out for yours.

Share five products/apps that make your life easier / you can't life without.

  • Lululemon
  • Photoshop app
  • Pixieset
  • Einsteins (yep!)
  • Tarte cosmetics.

Favorite song to throw an impromptu dance party to? Right now it's pretty much anything Johnnyswim! Love them! Especially their song Diamonds ;)

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Thanks, Caitlin! You can keep up with Caitlin on her blog, Facebook and Instagram!

 

#vallarinabrandcrush / 09

JOYFULPAPERY-01 Hey guys! Happy Tuesday! I'm happy to report that this week appears to be going MUCH quicker than last week, and I'm so grateful for that! It felt like last week lasted a zillion and a half years.

I'm excited to share with you another #vallarinabrandcrush! Today I'm crushin' on Joyful Papery, a sweet little shop filled with prints, cards and other bits + pieces that are lovely and made with heart by the shop's owner and creator, Emily. Fun fact: I stumbled across Emily and her shop on Instagram (I do believe 90% of these brand crushes/lovely ladies have dropped into my life that way!) but found out through chatting that we went to the same college, and both grew up in/near Indianapolis! Oh, what a small world it is.

Emily was sweet enough to share a bit more about herself and her shop, so pour a cup of coffee or tea and settle in to get to know Emily!

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1. Tell us about yourself. Who are you, what do you do? I’m Emily, and I’m so thrilled to be here in this beautiful space today. I’m a wife to my college sweetheart, Ben, and together we’ve set out to serve our Father in every breath we take. Right now we’re living in Virginia Beach, VA while Ben is finishing his Masters of Divinity and I work a bunch of fun jobs, including my hearts passion, lettering for Joyful Papery! My heart beats fast while encouraging women through the Word of God, speaking life into women in the TTC and infertility community, and advocating for orphan care, foster care, and adoption! I love living at the beach, rolling around on the floor with our pup, writing, and lettering

2. Describe a typical day. There really are no typical days for me, since I work a few different jobs… To be honest, I can’t even tell you what next week looks like! For the most part, I try to get up earlier than I’d like (I try to set my alarm clock for 15-30 minutes before I should actually be getting up) to give me time to wake up, pray, and spend time in the Word before whatever the day holds starts happening. I usually catch up on emails and orders in the morning before I head out to one of my jobs. During the day I either work from home on Joyful Papery, head to Ocean Art, selling local art and photography and help with custom framing, or you can find me working at local farmer’s markets selling Pennacook Peppers products! I love the variation of all the work I’m doing and I’m honestly loving this season of hustle we’re in! In the evenings, Ben and I try to work out together, which is usually running, biking, playing tennis, or just going for a walk down to the beach! We’ve also started charging our phones in the kitchen at night, instead of next to our bed (something I read from Gretchen Saffles), which has been incredibly freeing and so great for our marriage and for a full night’s sleep! It makes a HUGE difference for us!

3. How do you stay inspired? My inspiration comes from the Bible, journaling, nature, music, and friendships! Most times if I’m in a creative rut, I’ll run out to a local coffee shop, plug in my earbuds and pull out my Bible. I also try to spend a fair amount of time outside, whether it’s going for a run down to the beach or even just going on a longer-than-normal walk with our dog! If you’re in a creative rut, do something you’ve never done before. Go out to that new exhibit at your local museum. Take a walk on that trail you passed last week. Take your kids out to that park you’ve been meaning to go to. Run out to that cute little coffee shop that’s not on your route to work in the morning. Put yourself around people and in places that push you to new experiences.

4. What's your favorite way to cultivate creativity? For me, cultivating creativity has to be an intentional work. I have no formal training in art or lettering, so I’m always trying to push myself into new realms of creativity. Studying other art forms and being inspired by other artists is great, but I’ve found my creativity to be organically at its best when I’m home, with a warm cup of coffee, music on, and a clean desk in front of me. One thing I have to remind myself consistently is that you can’t be afraid of failure. Every draft is growing your craft and making you a better artist.

5. How did you get started doing what you do? I’ve always been a doodler. I can remember doodling in class on anything (usually my arms or my jeans…sorry Mom!) and thinking that it was a fault in who I was. I remember thinking I was stupid because I wasn’t learning the material as quickly as the other kids were. It was like I had to doodle in class in order to be retaining any material. Then, after I gave my life to the Lord, I watched all the women in my Bible study flourish and memorize scripture, and there I was again, not learning or growing in my relationship to the Lord the same as everyone else. One summer I bought myself a journal, and as I’d study God’s word, I found myself doodling in the margins. I realized this was my language with the Lord! It all clicked when I thought of doodling as the way I communicate and grow in intimacy with Jesus. When Instagram came along, I would take a picture of my journal and talk about what the Lord was teaching me, and soon I had friends and family that were approaching me to see if I would create something with their favorite verse/scripture on it as well. During a season of hurt and grief, the Lord used these doodles to speak to me, to grow me, and to teach me contentment, in and out of season (Philippians 4:11-12). And now as my business has grown, it’s my prayer that everything I create and every cent brought in would be a loving sacrifice back to Him and that it would bring others to know and grow in the contentment and joy from being close to the Lord.

6. What are your three favorite reads? An older one, but one of my all-time favorite books is Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. Another one of my favorites is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp – I’m pretty sure I’ve read it cover to cover at least 4 times, and it changes me every time. I also really love older writings – anything by A.W. Tozer, C.S. Lewis, or A.B. Simpson. I also love poetry/lyricals/hymnals!

7. What fills your tank so you can keep doing what you do / how do you rest? Time with the Lord, no doubt. I keep being reminded over and over again to plant myself near the stream of living water; that no good thing can grow apart from Him. I’m always at my best with I’m nearest to Him, and if I’m feeling worn out and weary, it’s usually because I’ve been out of sync with the Spirit.

8. If you could give another creative entrepreneur who is just starting out a piece of advice, what would you say? Dream big dreams, but hold on to them lightly. That dream you’re dreaming up might just be the first step God is calling you to, or might lead you down a road you hadn’t even imagined yet! Hold on to your dreams and boldly take steps towards them, but give God the freedom and the room to grow and go in directions that He has planned for you!

9. Share five products/apps that make your life easier / you can't live without.

  1. The Day Designer by Whitney English – I was at Hope Spoken as a vendor this March and all of the attendees were gifted one. A few short hours later, a sweet gal came and gifted me with hers, as she already had one. This planner has been such a great tool! I’ve always struggled finding a planner that works for me, and THIS is the one! I carry it everywhere!
  2. Spotify! I can.not. work without music. I just can’t.
  3. Instagram – it’s the App that the Lord built my business on and I love to use it to encourage, spur on, and meet new friends!
  4. Notes App on my iPhone – I jot down notes throughout my busy days on it, and I also use it to write up my blog posts before I post them.
  5. Lettering tools! – I ALWAYS have gridded paper, a dull pencil (I love a good dull point, is that weird?), and a few Micron pens in my purse wherever I go! You just never know when creativity (or boredom?) will come upon you!

10. Favorite song to throw an impromptu dance party to? For a dance party, ‘Brave’ by Sara Bareilles. For a sing-a-long, anything Third Eye Blind, the Eagles, Coldplay… Little known fact about me – I LOVE music, but cannot sing/dance/play anything musically… *sigh*

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Yay! Thanks so much, Emily! You can keep up with Emily on her blog, Instagram and Facebook page, and of course shop her gorgeous products right here!

BRAND CRUSH: PRIMAVERA STUDIO

primaveraheader-01 Happy Wednesday! I'm back again with another super awesome brand crush - this time my sweet friend Erin from Primavera Studio! I first met Erin when we were in the same revival group at last year's Influence Conference. I was so inspired by her; she was veryyyy pregnant and her husband was finishing up seminary and they had no idea where'd they be moving. Being very pregnant myself right now, I cannot imagine having the double stress of a baby PLUS an upcoming move to a yet-unknown destination. But Erin seemed so filled with grace and I just had this feeling that she totally trusted the Lord! Plus, I think her freckles are awesome. So there's that :) Erin is a crazy talented designer, artist, a wonderful mama to her sweet baby girl and her blog always makes me laugh out loud. I'm so thankful to know her and to introduce her to you all today! Meet Erin!

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1. Tell us about yourself. Who are you, what do you do? Hi! My name is Erin Nausin, designer and blogger over at Primavera Studio, an online space where I offer creative design services, blog content, and a small shop. I love designing brands for other women who want to pursue their passions through their own blog or small business. I’m a firm believer that each person has their own story worth telling, and I love helping bring those to life in a visual way. On my own blog, I write about motherhood, faith, creativity, and simple living…there may also be read-worthy anecdote or two about my city-loving family trying to learn the ropes of living in the middle of the great north woods, our new home.

2. Describe a typical day. I could write out a nice answer filled with a complete breakfast + coffee, intentional time with my daughter, quiet times, a dose of exercise, and sitting down to work for hours at a time, snapping perfect Instagram photos as I go. Truth be told, I try and get to all of those things at some point, but mostly my day looks like a lady with a snarled top knot and workout clothes wrangling a 6 month old, keeping up with the housework, watching a lot of HGTV while nursing, and using naptime to get to work on projects and reply to emails. We are just now entering into a season where I’m able to get more work done during the day and I am super thankful for that. Our nights are mostly just for spending time as a family or going on the occasional (much needed) date night.

3. How do you stay inspired? This one’s a hard balance between spending time online…Instagram, Pinterest, blogs…and just turning it all off. Both of those things are crazy inspiring to me. I love looking at what other people are doing online, what they’re writing, what they’re designing, what they’re making. But I also love just being inspired by my own life – my own journey of motherhood, my own walk with God, my own dabblings in creative projects. When I feel stuck, it usually helps to just walk away and shift gears a little bit instead of forcing the creativity to come – because it just doesn’t work that way for me.

4. What's your favorite way to cultivate creativity?  I heard some really solid advice the other day that hasn’t left my mind since: our creativity and inspiration comes best when we are actually living our life. I can’t count how many hours I’ve wasted on social media, using it without purpose and scrolling through the highlight reels I wish I had. When I shut down the noise and dig deep into my own reality, recognizing the beauty in what’s right in front of me, that’s when creativity comes. I feel most creative and inspired when I’m outside, when I spend time with my little family, and when I work on projects that are just for me and not for work. 

5. How did you get started doing what you do?  I started out blogging as a hobby during my time volunteering overseas after college. It was fun for me to switch up the templates and customize this or that, so I started playing around with graphic design. I found I really had a passion for it, and one of my friends who I was working for a couple years back told me I should really start my own business – so I did! I have since learned a ton about design, branding, website building, and small business and I couldn’t be more thrilled to get to work on creative projects as my job.

6. What are your three favorite reads (books, blogs, magazines?)

  • Real Simple Magazine --  by far my favorite piece of monthly mail.
  • The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry – such good discussion on working in a creative field. He also has a podcast, also called the Accidental Creative.
  • The Daybookblog by Sydney Poulton – this was one of the very first blogs I started reading…like ever. Her writing style is on point and I can always count on her for a good laugh or a teary mom moment.

7. What fills your tank so you can keep doing what you do / how do you rest? Putting down my phone and working on a fun creative project just for me is super restful. Getting outside, exercising, reading, or just watching a favorite show with my husband helps me shut my work brain off and makes me feel a little more balanced in general.

8. If you could give another creative entrepreneur who is just starting out a piece of advice, what would you say? As someone who wants to get everything right the first time, my advice would be that it’s okay not to. You don’t have to have all the answers, a five-year plan, a professional marketing strategy, or a perfect Instagram profile. It’s okay to just start. Use what you have, be confident in what you’re putting out there, and be okay with changing things up as it becomes clearer on what you want to be about. If you are always putting your passions or dreams off because you are too afraid to mess up, you’ll never start. Just go for it, k?

9. Share five products/apps that make your life easier / you can't life without.

  • Pretty to-do list paper pads
  •  Google Calendar
  • Let’s be honest…Instagram
  • Naptime Dairies Abide Devotional
  • Shameless plug? My encouragement scripture cards that sit on my desk all day.

10. Favorite song to throw an impromptu dance party to? Admittedly, I’m such a sucker for Uptown Funk. Gets me every time.

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Yay, thanks Erin!! You can keep up with Erin on her Instagram, blog and Facebook!

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brand crush: scout & feather

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I am soooo excited about today's brand crush feature: Sarah Dolislager and her brand Scout & Feather! I first connected with Sarah on Instagram (where else?!) and am so grateful for the friendship that has bloomed! Sarah would always leave me really encouraging and uplifting comments when it seemed like I needed them most, and I realized that that kindness truly runs deep within her. She is so genuine and authentic and her Instagram feed is one of my absolute favorites to follow. She is the creator behind the genius + beautiful #NotesToHumanity postcards and I guarantee that her posts and her products will help you love others--and yourself--more. I'm so grateful for the Instagram community that has introduced me to so many incredible creatives like Sarah and hope you get to know her (and are encouraged + uplifted by her as I was!) Without further ado, introducing Sarah of Scout & Feather!

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1. Tell us about yourself. Who are you, what do you do? I love to create and encourage others to embrace their true selves. I'm a big fan of the human heart and I want to create safe spaces for people to explore, become, + connect with who they really are.  I love open spaces, iced coffee, dogs, and adventuring with my husband. I'm a Northern California woman through and through and will always find joy at the edge of the ocean. I believe in honest living and the power of grace. I'm passionate about people realizing their value and the wildly beautiful heart and mind they already have inside of them. I started Scout & Feather and #NotesToHumanity from this place -- knowing there's so much beauty waiting for permission in this world. I believe joy stems from claiming truth, so that's where this is rooted. We all need encouragement, and our words are so powerful -- why not combine the two and make a lasting impact in the lives of the people we see every day/interact with every day? #NotesToHumanity isn't just about me and some postcards. It's about us.

2. Describe a typical day. Well, running the shop and creating designs isn't all I do. I spend most of my day working on contract work because I also do business consulting through my business, Scout & Feather. Something typical in my every day: iced coffee, quiet time, and free creativity. These three things are the recipe to a good morning, in my most professional opinion. wink emoji.

3. How do you stay inspired? Getting outside, exercising, and taking real time to rest and dig into life outside of business. I'm a highly sensitive and empathetic person, so I have to be aware of how much time I spend plugged in and listening to other people's stories. I believe we can learn from each other, but I do much better at the one on one level. I can easily get lost in other people's truths and lose sight of mine... trying to live someone else's story has never gotten me anywhere. So I try to dig deep, pause, and get into the Word ever day.

4. What's your favorite way to cultivate creativity? I like to make time for free creativity every day if I can. 15-30 minutes of lettering, painting, whatever. This keeps my brain flowing without lots of "what if this doesn't turn into a print/postcard I can add to the shop?"... Not everything has to be about production. If I can remember that, my creativity stays pretty organic.

5. How did you get started doing what you do? My shop just launched a few weeks ago, so I'm new to this world. I quit my state job in December to do contract work and pursue life coaching as a career. This decision was mainly for my health, but it became about so much more. I had no idea I would be creating and selling stuff on the internet, let alone something that comes straight from my core. Earlier this year I started lettering (I called it doodling at the time -- but now I own it: it's my handlettering.) and I used the hashtag #NotesToHumanity. The idea of postcards floated around in my head for awhile so I decided to work towards that... A couple more months and the work was done to launch. I just tried, only did things that my heart wanted to, and gave myself space to start slowly + simply. So, here I am. I truly believe God made me specifically for this and my intuition isn't a hoax -- but that's a whole other conversation.

6. What fills your tank so you can keep doing what you do / how do you rest? Exercise, sleep, leaving margin in my day (especially before bedtime - this is important on loooong work days), and time with family + friends -- there's something about being known that brings so much peace to my heart. Especially after days of working mostly alone and engaging with the world of social media.

7. If you could give another creative entrepreneur who is just starting out a piece of advice, what would you say? If you're wondering how to get started, just try something and see if it works. See if it sits right in your heart. See if doors open as you keep working at it or if all of them seem to be closed. Ask yourself "WHY" every step of the way -- a big heart check. Root yourself in the Word and you'll be ok. Not everything is a success, but then again... none of this is truly about success.

8. Share five products/apps that make your life easier / you can't life without.

  • POST-IT NOTES
  • Life Lived Beautifully Give Me Jesus journal
  • Spotify
  • Google calendar
  • USPS mailmen + women - shout out to the ones on J Street!
  • Excel

9. Favorite song to throw an impromptu dance party to? Just one? This is the hardest question on this list. I go from Taylor Swift, Top 40 Country Hits, Beyonce, and 90s Hits. I'm a mixed bag but lately the one pick-me-up song is "Circles" by MachineHeart. Go look it up!!

Follow along with Sarah on Instagram and her blog!

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