Travel is the only thing ...




Last week my fiancĂ© and I traveled to beautiful Guanacaste, Costa Rica with our good friends Dawn & Dave. This trip was one of my favorites because the scenery was absolutely jaw dropping gorgeous, not to mention we saw sea turtles, had our engagement photos taken, zip lined and we witnessed our friends getting engaged! It was such an exciting and relaxing week. I wish we were still there. This was one vacation I was sad to leave behind.  If you have never been, I highly recommend going. You won't regret it! 

Next week I will share some photos from our trip, there are so many good ones that I need to narrow them down to just a couple! :-) In the meantime hop on over to Instagram, I posted a few snapshots from our trip!

How to Overcome Burn Out



Have you ever hit a wall and suddenly feel uninspired & unmotivated? You are not alone. With the increasing number of artists out there it's easy to compare yourself to the next person who is doing exactly what you want to do, successfully.

The past couple of years I have been go, go go with the hopes of becoming successful. I've been giving so much of myself away that at the end of the day, there was nothing left in me. Don't get me wrong, giving is one of the most rewarding things you can do, but sometimes giving away too much can bring you down, especially when people start taking advantage of your kind heart.

Hitting this burn out has opened my eyes to a new way of taking care of business. It also has given me courage to share, in hopes that you don't make the same mistakes I did. Here are some tips and advice to help prevent or overcome burn out.


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Don't bite off more than you can chew
You only have so many hours in the day, week, month and year. Don't overbook yourself because you think you can tackle it all. Know that you can. Simplify life by writing down how many hours in the week you have to put towards a specific project. Remember you have a personal life too!


Be Selective
Working with clients that don't mesh with your design style or work ethic can be a recipe for disaster. When an inquiry comes in and you have decided you have time to schedule them in, first provide them with a questionnaire. Try to understand their personality and the type of job they are requesting. A little back and forth will help you determine if you are good match to be working together.


Create a Contract
Whether it's a giveaway freebie or a paying customer make sure both parties sign that contract. Often at times the project scope changes, which not only puts you behind schedule but can also cost you financially.


Make Time for Yourself
Find a hobby outside of your day job to help re-fuel creativity. Find something that you enjoy and make time for it. Maybe you haven't seen or talked to a friend in awhile. Call them up, invite them out for coffee. Something little as talking to a friend can bring happiness and give you the motivation to get to back to work.


Avoid Negativity
It's impossible to avoid it 100%, but if you can tune it out, try your best to. Any negative energy can drain your creativity and burn you out. The same goes for any toxic relationships in your life. Surround yourself with people who are upbeat, full of energy and genuinely want to be your life.


Limit Social Media
With social media there is so much inspiration floating around. I personally have a love-hate relationship with it. In some ways its great because you can connect with new people but other times you can end up feeling depressed. Sometimes it's OK to log off for awhile. It not only lets you take a break from keeping up on what others are doing but it also helps re-energize your own creativity and get back to your roots.


Get Outside
This is my favorite! Make time for exercise or taking walks. Getting away from what your working on, especially when your stuck in a rut, is probably one of the best things you can do. Getting outside and exploring new sites helps to take your mind off of things and allows you to find inspiration elsewhere.


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So there you have it, some tips on how I started to overcome a burn out. Has anyone else hit a period like this, if so what did you do to get back on track? I'd love to know! Leave me a message below in the comments or email me directly at info@hellomondaydesign.com

NEW holiday prints in the shop!




Guys, Buffalo is a total mess. Luckily where I live, we only have a couple inches of snow. To the south there are towns that have around 5-6ft! Total craziness. So needless to say, today is my second snow day and I can't get to work because of travel bans. So what else can I do around the house? PAINT!

I added a couple new prints to the shop to help you all get ready for the holiday season. This little print that I showcased above is one of my favorites to date. As you go out and start shopping keep in mind that the holidays aren't about the gifts, it's about spending time with your loved ones! Gifts are just things but those memories... they last a lifetime. At least that's just how I feel. I'd much rather go out to lunch with a friend/family member than be given a gift. It's the little things! <3

It's Never Too Late or Too Early ...




How true is this? It's never too late or too early to start. It doesn't matter if your young or old, whatever your passions may be, just start! Stop worrying about what others will think and put yourself first. We're all human, we all make mistakes and everything we put our heart and soul into is always a work in progress. Love what you do and everything else will fall into place.

xo,
Kristen

3 Factors Influencing Your Blogs 1st Impression


Hello Monday! Today is day 6 of Marianne's Design Your Own (lovely) Blog blog tour. Marianne has been helping women to create lives they love by giving them confidence when it comes to their own blog designs. This tour began on Monday, November 3rd and continues on until November 20th. 14 bloggers, over the course of 14 days, will each share something unique to help improve your blog design through appearance and functionality. Today I am sharing 3 Factors Influencing Your Blog's 1st Impression. So grab a cup a coffee and let's get to it!



Most of us would hate to admit that we form an opinion about new person within minutes of meeting them. Let's look at the the job interview situation. If someone showed up to the interview all disheveled what would that potential employer think?

When it comes to your blog the appearance should also be one of your top priorities. From color, layout and content, you want your professionalism to shine through. You have seconds to wow your reader, if not they will leave your page and who knows if they will return or not.

The overall appearance of your blog is crucial. I will run you through three tips + tricks keep your readers on your page and coming back for more.


Color

Think simple. Don't be afraid of white space. Allow your content and logo to stand out. Avoid dark backgrounds and light text because they are often hard on the eyes. Use a lighter color background and dark text like black, dark gray, navy, eggplant, etc.

Color also plays a role in how your readers will portray your personality. Colors on the light pastel side are often soft, delicate and feminine, whereas colors bold like red might portray deeper feelings such as anger, love and passion.


Layout

The layout of your blog should be easy to navigate. Nothing is more annoying than not being able to find what your looking for. In most cases, everyone reads left to right. You want your most important information to appear first like your logo or blog name.

Next would be navigation and your posts. For posts on the longer side try using the read more option so only a paragraph shows. This will also generate interest and make your reader click through to find out more.

Your sidebar should be on either the left or right side. Keep the sidebars organized and to a minimum. Adding too much content can distract your readers and force them leave your page. Also consider the ordering of the widgets. What is the most important information? Put that information at the top.


Content

First start by setting your copy font size to something 12px or bigger. If you have amazing content but the text is illegible, what's the point of even posting?

Next, create content that your readers will enjoy. Yes, your blog is about you but it's important to put information out there that your dream clients/readers will want to share. Sit down and brainstorm. Think about what your readers might want to learn from you. You are the expert! Write it all down, it doesn't matter if it's a good idea or a bad idea, just the let the ideas flow. The more ideas you write down the better the content will become.

Lastly, another factor to not overlook is to always spell check. No one is perfect and I am the first to admit that I'm a horrible speller but that little handy duty spell check works wonders!


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Thanks again for following along! I hope these couple tips + tricks helped spark some ideas for improvement within your own blog. Don't forget to check out last Friday's post Quick Tips to Eliminate Clutter On Your Blog by Elaine and be sure to check out Angie's post tomorrow!


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To view all 14 bloggers visit the Design Your Own (lovely) Blog Tour page.