eleven things.

I'm hopping on the blogger trend-mobile and doing one of these chain posts! My American wifey Heather tagged me, so I officially get to play along!

Here are the rules:

1. Post these rules
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random things
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them that you've tagged them.

My photo:
I figured that you all see enough photos of me on here, so why not share these super old ones featuring Matilda spreading her love all over my face:

11 Random Things:

1.  I absolutely despise spicy food. I don't think my tongue was built for any amount of spice. Dustin always laughs at me because things that are so not spicy cause me to flush out my mouth and gasp for air.

2.  Sometimes, when I'm feeling uninspired or the creativity just isn't flowing, I go into my bedroom and just lay there. Doing absolutely nothing. I think it helps my mind stay clear and gives it a bit of a recharge.

3.  My celeb crush is James Franco.

4. I'm absolutely terrified to have kids. I want them one day, but the actual having them is like all of my greatest fears wrapped into one. Hospitals, needles, grossness, anxiety in general. If there is a way to have children and be completely knocked out from the start of labor until about, a week later, I'd sign right up.

5.  When I was young I seriously believed that aliens were coming to abduct me every night. I would stay awake until I couldn't any longer. I would sneak into my parent's room and hide. I would cry under the covers because my imagination made me think there were aliens standing by my bed.

6.  I bite my lip way too much. When I'm in deep thought mostly. I've been trying to stop but it's sooo hard!

7.  A lot of the time I feel like I don't look girly enough. I want to be more girly, wear dresses, look cute, but for some reason, even if I do get all cute, I just always kinda feel like a tomboy inside.

8.  This month has been my worst ever skin month in my entire life. Full on break outs happening all over this mug. It makes me so mad!  There's something they never tell you is going to happen when you go off your bc.  Thank god for makeup, that's all I have to say.

9.  I am writing an e-book :) shh! ;)

10.  My feet are constantly cold. I wear slippers every second of the day, and have quite the collection.

11.  I spent a good part of my life chasing bands and hanging out on tour buses. I miss those days sometimes, but I am also glad that I've moved on.

Here's what Heather asked:

1- Sweet or Sour?  Sweet!! Unless you're talking about Sour Patch Kids, then I love me some sour!
2- What is your favorite kind of music? Rock 'n roll baby!
3- Where do you see yourself personally in 5 years? Married with kids... if I ever get over my fear.
4- Do you know any other languages besides english? Just the french we were forced to learn in school. I hardly remember it though.
5- What is your biggest pet peeve of all time? People that talk over you.
6- Have you ever been in a fight and thrown something made of glass at someone, like they do in the movies?  Ummm no haha. I've never been in a fight either.
7- Reincarnation: What do you come back as?  cute fluffy animals? haha. I don't believe in reincarnation.
8- If you could go back to any age you were and live it again, how old would you be & why?  Maybe 22-23. Those were some fun times! No worries, lots of friends and parties and good times.
9- Cats or Dogs? DON'T YOU DARE MAKE ME CHOOSE! Ok cats. BUT my dog is an exception. I don't like a lot of dogs unless they're sweet and small.
10- Have any guilty pleasures?  Listening to Taylor Swift haha! 

11 New Questions:

1 - Do you ever wish on things?
2 - Would you shave your head for $10,000?
3 -  What is one mistake you've made that you wish you could go back and try again?
4 -  Jeans or leggings?
5 -  Have you ever spit on someone?
6 - What's the first thing you do when you wake up and get out of bed?
7 - When was your first kiss?
8 - Have you ever done anything illegal?
9 - If they could breed magical animals, what kind would you have?
10 - Have you ever read someone elses diary?
11 - If you could get rid of one thing in the entire world, what would you get rid of?

I'm tagging ALL of you! Seriously, I can't pick just a couple and I want you all to play along. If you read this, you're tagged ;p


extra 24 hours

Happy leap day everybody! The world has given us an extra 24 hours this year... how will you be spending them?

So far, I realized my dog is smarter than I thought. I taught him how to "roll over" in less than ten minutes. Kind of a proud momma over here! Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

I've also converted my Facebook page to the new timeline for Facebook PAGES and am loving it. So many possibilities with custom design, and larger full-width areas for app pages! Check mine out here if you're curious to see what it looks like!  Facebook is rolling out these changes for all Pages at the end of March anyways, so why not jump on board?  The only downside I've noticed is that you can't have people directed to a custom landing page when they visit your profile anymore. Maybe something they'll consider adding back in the future?  I think my design services just opened up to include Facebook cover photo design... hmmm...

What are your thoughts on this Facebook timeline? Do you think they should have kept Pages the same or are you happy with the changes?

Being that this is the last day of February, I'm giving a shout-out to all of my sponsors this month. Thank you for your support and I hope you've found lots of new friends through my blog!  In case you read my blog on a reader, I thought it only right to list all of them here in blog post form. Check them out!


getting started.

I get emails almost daily from young aspiring designers or entrepreneurs asking me how I got started, and if I have any tips for them as they walk down the same path I followed.  I wanted to make a blog post to share some tips publicly, because repeating myself via email is a little daunting sometimes!

The first question is how I came about what I do.  I honestly don't have much of an answer for this one, because I feel like I always somewhat knew what I wanted to do.  Growing up, I always wanted my own business. There was no question about that. I wanted to be in charge and didn't want anyone else telling me what to do.  I've also always been artistic and the whole online design concept just came naturally over the years, with technology and all. Drawing transformed from a pencil into a mouse. Once I found myself in a niche that I liked, I stuck with it and learned all I needed to know. So, there was never really a drastic "EUREKA!" moment when I found what I wanted to do... it all just kind of happened.


My advice to you, if you are planning on becoming your own boss, is to make sure you absolutely love what you do.  It should almost come naturally to you. If you force it, you're not being true to yourself and your future will suffer.  Just because someone owns their own business doing something they love, does not mean that you will have success in the same field. You have to want it, and you have to work for it.

Getting to where you want to be does not come easily... well, unless you're famous and all you have to do it mention an idea and a team of professionals appear by your side and make it happen.  It takes a lot of sacrifice, and can be mentally taxing sometimes.  When I decided to take my design business full time, I was non-stop working around the clock.  My regular bed time was 3:30am.  I missed out on friend hangouts.  I did jobs for little to no pay just to build up my portfolio.  I had bad clients.. I still do occasionally... the only difference is that I now know how to deal with them.

If you are dedicated to this idea of working for yourself, then do everything you can to learn as much as you can. Read tutorials and articles online. You have all of the information you need right here in this computer box. Use it for good instead of playing Farmville.


People will tell you you're crazy and that maybe you should look for another job. Prove those people wrong. Don't let anyone else tell you what you should be doing with your own life.

Come up with a good, unique idea. This is what launched my design career. I came up with an idea that at the time was non-existent but I saw a huge demand for it.

Another question I am asked is this... "I want to be a web designer but I don't know much about HTML or Photoshop, what do I do?".  This is just silly talk.  LEARN. What is stopping you from learning right now? As I said above, the internet is full of every resource you could possibly need. Google is your BFF.  I'm not going to throw tutorials together for you because there are already plenty out there.  If you want to succeed, you need to stop looking for simple answers and actually put the time into learning how to do things yourself.  When you own a business, no one is going to tell you how to run that business but youFigure it out.  That sounded a little harsh, but tough love, baby!

I can't tell you how to run your business or how to get into a field of work that you love. Search inside yourself for answers and start putting things into action.  Somewhere inside of you, you already know what you love to do. You already know what you need to do. So what's stopping you from just doing it already???


how to take good product photos

While I was doing some of my new product shots this morning, I thought to myself, "hey, self, why don't you share this process with your readers?". So here I am, sharing my photo taking process with you all!

This is probably going to be the easiest tutorial ever, but I promise it makes all the difference in the appearance of your shop, if you are a handmade seller, for example.

All you need is a sheet of bristol board in your selected colour.  You can pick up a sheet at any office store, craft store, or in my case, dollar store. They come in tons of colours, so pick one that will be easy to use consistently and match the overall feel of your store.  I can't stress this enough -- all of your photos should be consistent. If that means re-doing your product shots multiple times to get them all right, then so be it (believe me, I've redone all of my Wonder Forest photos about five times until I was happy with a "look") .  It can only improve your listings.

Anyways, on with it!  Grab that bristol board and a chair. You can also do this on a floor near a wall but I like the mobility of a chair.  You'll want to place that chair somewhere in your home/office/space that has the most natural light.  I always choose to go near a large window, depending on the time of day it will either be at the front of my house or the back of my house. I rarely ever take photos in the evening/night because the light just is not there. You'd be surprised if you saw the difference between a photo taken in the same spot at night compared to the day time.

Place that bristol board on your chair like so.  If using a wall, just tape it to the wall instead.  I prefer taking photos using one bent sheet as opposed to two (one on the bottom, one on the chair back/wall) because it makes for a seamless backdrop.  I hate seeing that line in photos where the floor meets the wall.  Maybe I'm a little OCD about my photos? ;)

Place your product on the backdrop and start shooting. Be sure that the surrounding background is not visible in your photos, obviously.  If it is, you can easily crop it out in Photoshop. A fancy camera helps, but it really isn't necessary. If you have the right light and setup, your photos should turn out just fine regardless of your camera.

It's important to take various angles of your product, so the viewer gets a real feel for every aspect of it. I normally do 5 shots of my plush, from side views, to close-ups of detail, to back views.

After I have my shots, I transfer them to my computer and do a little resizing in Photoshop. (Image > Image Size > 900 pixels in width).  I usually do anywhere from 700-900 pixels wide because it makes for a nice viewing size. Not too small, not too big. Too small, and you risk deferring the customer if they can't see product details. Too big, and you hurt load times and distort your images if the viewer clicks to enlarge the image, resulting in it being resized by their browser or being too "zoomed in" if they expand it.

I also like to add my little 'thewonderforest.com' tag to all of my product shots. This helps if people were to Pin my stuff or lose the source.

So, there you have it!  I hope I helped you in your future product photo taking ventures!

By the way, I redid my Wonder Forest shop design! It is much more clean and simplified now. I did this so that my photos would stand out more, and the visitor's experience would be more streamlined. Why not go check it out and let me know what you think? The above deer will be listed soon!


self portrait saturday: winter.

Welcome to your third edition of Self Portrait Saturday! That sounds so official doesn't it?!  If you watched my little video I posted on Thursday, I mentioned wanting to start doing themes for these link-ups.  I had no idea what to start with, until I looked outside and noticed a blizzard. 

What gives, mother nature?  Thursday was beautiful and sunny... as you can see clearly from the outfit pics I took in the afternoon. Friday rolls around and it's winter all over again!  Though I wasn't happy about this, it made for the perfect theme of today's photos.  So, if you wanna participate this weekend, why not try out this first theme?  You don't have to, but it will be fun!  How can you give a sense of winter in your photos, or how can you represent winter where you're from?  I consider mine a farewell to the snow (hopefully) and a welcoming of spring! (hurry up already though please.).  I'll start posting themes for future weekend's linkups throughout the week so you have more time to prepare!

Here are my shots:

hat: forever 21 | gloves: bysweetmom | scarf: seams to be | jacket: juicy couture

Quite a change in weather from the other day, right?! 

It was snowing, so I made sure to cover my camera in a plastic bag before trekking outside.  I love how the trees in the background look like a foggy, mysterious place.  Now show me what you got!!

Things I learned:

- Always cover your camera if there will be any hint of wetness.

- If you'll be standing in the same spot and want some free hands, an easy way to get yourself into focus is to use a remote and set your camera to "auto" for the first shot. It will focus on you and snap a pic. Changing the focus to "manual" immediately afterwards, setting the timer, and returning to the same spot ensures your hands will be remote-free and you'll still be in focus. It helps to mark your spot on the ground... in my case, footprints in the snow worked well.

Now one of my favs from last week:

Ashley looks so serene in her desaturated photos! Love it!

Grab a button and join in by linking up your post below!!!


picnic in the snow

Taking photos of myself is a task sometimes. Especially when I have the urge to get outside in the natural sunlight in 2°C weather with ugly snow boots on, which are conveniently not shown. It's even more special when you step in dog poop and discover that there's a giant animal living in your backyard (seriously, dog feet aren't that big are they?!). Let's just say I made this photo session a quick one.

I was dying to share this dress with you though, because honestly I am obsessed with it and it is my most favourite thing right now. So much fun and I can't wait until I can wear it sans-sweater/jeans/pasty skin while having a summer picnic.

sweater: sweet romeo
headband: just.lovely.things

P.S. I've decided that this weekend's Self Portrait Saturday theme will be:
Considering Spring seems to have backed off for a little while longer, I thought it would be fun to pay a tribute to the (hopeful) ending of this season. You don't HAVE to contribute using this theme, but if you can, try! How can you represent winter in your area?
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