Introducing Envye Essentials... + Some News!

I had a super long night last night. Not only was I finishing up the launch of this new Envye Essentials Photoshop action suite, but I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new baby nephew who decided to come a couple weeks early! I was woken up at 2:30am to the buzzing of my phone and a picture of his sweet little self and was so excited it was hard to get any sleep at all.

So, back to what that image above is all about!  Envye Essentials is a complete photo editing action suite that I created. It's got everything you need to digitally enhance your photos with just a couple of clicks. It's different than my single actions because you can combine and layer different adjustments to get your photos just right. Think of it as a more professional editing approach to Photoshop actions. You can instantly brighten, tone, clarify, smooth, and adjust any photo at all! It even comes with some snazzy sun flare overlay and additional "after effects" filters.  I'm pretty excited about it, and even created some demo videos, so if you are a photographer or just love taking photos, please be sure to check it out!

To celebrate the introduction of this kit, I'm offering you all 15% off the set for one week with code ESSENTIAL.

Now back to wrapping my head around the fact that I am an aunt....


Building a Business Part 5: Dream Jobs.

Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: Sugardevil
Part 3: Groupie
Part 4: "Jacob"

The phone rang. I answered. It was one of my best friends telling me that there was a job opening at the record label she was working at. She told me to come in for an interview, and without even knowing the job description I jumped at the opportunity.

My interview went well, but I honestly wasn't even sure that I could offer this company anything, considering my past experience consisted of retail/service and fast food. It seemed easy enough though. I was going to be their phone bitch and soon found myself thrown into an office environment. I still had my Subway job at the time, being the wuss that I am and feeling too guilty quitting on them, especially now that the owners felt like family. I would wake up far too early in the morning, drive myself an hour (in rush hour traffic) to the record company, leave at 5pm (in rush hour once again), and had just enough time to change and head on over to my second job until 10pm. Oh, and don't forget about the web designer boyfriend who I was still somehow managing to see regularly. Let's just say that it was not the ideal situation.

Eventually, somewhere in between the busyness of attempting to do both jobs, I got the courage to quit the sandwich making.

Working at a small record label was something I had always wanted to do. I can't say that I was impressed with the job at all though. My boss was a pig-headed dick and the only thing I had to look forward to was getting to work alongside my friend... and the shenanigans we got into when the office was empty were pretty hilarious. (I still remember the time I walked into her office and she was sitting inside of a box... for some reason... very seriously... and we couldn't help but break out into a loud laughing fit.)  I was terrible at answering phone calls, I sucked at taking meeting minutes, and the only thing I enjoyed was the task of updating the company's website. I decided then that I hated office jobs and would never return to one. There was little room to be creative at that job, which eventually led to me quitting.

Was it supposed to be like that? Were all of my childhood dreams of working at a record label and getting to see how things work behind the scenes just a mirage? I quickly learned that there was absolutely nothing appealing about this industry and set myself back on track.

Christmas was coming and I needed a job, so I applied at another retail outlet and got the gig... this time doing something totally different and selling lingerie. With these new hours, I was able to refocus on my designing and pick up clients on my off days.

My record label friend eventually quit the company as well, and we both started to brainstorm business ideas that we might be able to try. With our artist contacts from that job, and band loving personalities, we decided to dust off my old Sugardevil branding and turn the business into something totally different: Sugardevil Artist Promotions.  We added another friend to the team and the three of us set out to create a hip new promotions company for musicians.

We planned out everything in great detail. We made packages for clients that included everything from promo design work (CD design, posters, websites) to booking shows and spreading the word. Our very first client was our old friend Karl Wolf. Perhaps you've heard of him?

We booked tons shows and held our own concerts at venues all over Toronto. It was the most fun I'd had at a job at that point. Really, I don't even know if I can call it a job. We didn't really make an income because what we would get in ticket sales we would just have to put back into the venue and other costs.  But it was fun and it didn't matter. We threw amazing parties. We had late nights and slumber parties. We missed our other jobs because we were exhausted. We had the absolute best times. We were in charge. There was nobody there to tell us what to do or guide us, and I think that was the greatest learning experience of all. Figuring stuff out for yourself has always been one of my #1 pieces of advice to anyone starting a business.  Whether it turns out good or bad, at least you learn something from the steps you take.  Somewhere along the way, Jacob and I broke up, which ended up being for the best and probably what I needed to pursue my future.

In those days, Myspace was huge. It was our top location for promoting shows and creating viral events. We had special "Myspace" nights at one of our favourite joints that always brought a good crowd. We made contacts through the social networking site and took advantage of it to our best ability. Little did I know at that time though that Myspace would open doors for me and my future as an entrepreneur....

Stay tuned for part SIX!

Did you ever have a mean boss, or a job that you thought you wanted which ended up being totally wrong for you?


Oh, cupcakes!!

Like this? Pin it!

Today I'm over at our Fawn & Flora blog sharing a super easy (but super cute) project you can sink your hands into using washi tape! I'll be posting some more cute DIY projects over there occasionally, so be sure to follow that blog too! Let me know what you thought of this project in the comments over there!

I've also added a couple more Photoshop Actions to my design shop for you. This one above is called Summer Peach and I LOVE it so much! This past week, I've been working my little butt off on a whole Actions suite for photographers, so keep your eyes peeled for that too!

Oh, and my sponsor ad sale is still on for a couple more days!

That's all I have for today friends! Hope to see you join me over at our other blog!


tuesday dreaming

shirt & necklace: c/o august wrinkle | leggings & ring: c/o romwe | booties: delia*s
i used my new Elf Woods photoshop action on the photos

Having dreams is the worst when in them you are trying to do something but it fails to work... over and over again. Last night in my dream adventures, I was trying desperately to get my camera to work. It sounded like it was working, it looked like it was working... but when I would check the display previews no photos would be there. This went on for what seemed like an eternity. I wake up feeling so frustrated when things like this happen.... but mostly feeling silly that I thought everything was SO real while dreaming. I've even had dreams where I knew I was dreaming, just because a situation was so silly, and dreamt that I woke myself up only to realize later that THAT too was a dream. Oh... and I might have also dreamt that Justin Bieber and I were homies....

What kind of dreams frustrate you?


DIY Hummingbird Feeder

Lately I've been noticing a ton of hummingbirds around our backyard. I'll be sitting outside and suddenly hear a buzzing in my ear, only to turn around and find a sweet little birdie hovering by my head. I got an urge to create a hummingbird feeder over the weekend... to give them something to do while fluttering around the yard of course! Here is what I came up with...

You will need:
- A plastic container with a closeable lid
- A clean bottle (glass or plastic... just dig through your recycling bin!)
- Some chain. The small chain I used was an old necklace.
- Pliers
- Hot glue gun
- Scissors
- Optional hammer OR lighter
- A nail or something to make holes with

First you'll want to make sure your bottle can securely hang upside down. I created a chain contraption by putting a small piece around the neck of the bottle, a larger piece around the bottom of the bottle, and three equal length pieces attaching the two together.

Next, cut a hole in the center of your container lid. I actually just used a lighter and burned a hole because it was quicker. Use your hot glue gun to secure it in place if you need to. Make sure your bottle neck sticks through the container about an inch or so.

In the top of your lid, you'll want to make a bunch of holes so the little hummingbirds can get their long beaks through. They don't have to be too large, but don't make them so small that they will get stuck. mine were slightly larger than hole punch size. You can use a hammer and nail for this, or a drill, or you can do like I did and heat up a nail and simply let it slide through the plastic.

Attach a larger chain to the bottom of the bottle chain for hanging.

This step is totally optional, but I do recommend you put something red on your feeder. We're not going to use red dye in our feeder water because that is known to cause birth defects in future baby birds. I opted to make some plastic flowers and melted them around a few of the holes. I made these using an old red plastic coffee container, cut into little petal shapes. I then heated the bottom of each petal and let it melt to the plastic lid.

Ta da!  This is what it should look like. Now all you need to do is fill the bottle up with some hummingbird food, secure the bottom back on the container, and flip it over so the water from the bottle fills the container.

To make nectar water:
Boil 4 cups of water in a pot. Add 1 cup of sugar and let dissolve. Cool and pour into bottle. Please do not add red dye! Red dye can cause growth defects in little birdies.

Like this? Pin it!

Do you have hummingbirds where you live?? I LOVE them they are adorable! This video will just make your heart skip beats too:


slacker sunday: would you rather...


Friday Finds

It's Friday!! I kind of thought yesterday was Friday for most of the day, but alas, here we are. I was visiting the fam yesterday and was finally able to give my brother and his wife that rag quilt I made plus a bunch of other baby things I've been hoarding. In just a couple short weeks I will have my first baby nephew!!!  Although, I think we need to come up with a better "aunt" name because Aunt Dana sounds so old woman-ish!!  Anyways, I've been around the web this week and have come back with some treasures to show you... Here is what I've been loving:

Loving this cheater "quilt" by Little Bit Funky

15 ways to tie a scarf via The Fashion Spot

This recipe for avocado pasta. I made it, and it is DELISH!!
 This post about being confident with your features. As a "dominant" nosed person, I can totally relate!

The Sleep Elevations series by Maia Flora

 Romwe is having a summer clearance until the 31st. Orders over $70 can take 15% off with code clearance15%

+ This interesting illustration about how shoppers shop on your site
+ Tons of ideas for pallet DIYs
+ Five tips for amateur photographers
+ Gina created a tutorial on how to install my Photoshop Actions on Photoshop Elements
+ 40 photo-illustrated questions to refocus your mind
+ Some really great "secrets learned at makeup artist school" makeup tips
+ Our supply shop, Fawn & Flora reached 1000 facebook fans already! Like us if you haven't :)

I hope you have a great Friday! And if you have any suggestions for a cool aunt name, or how to BE a cool aunt (haha) let me know!


end of summer sponsor sale

Howdy friends! Since the summer is coming to an end, I wanted to do something special.  From now until August 31st you can take 25% of all sponsor spots (excluding solo giveaway spot) with code ENDOFSUMMER.  My ad sales are handled through Passionfruit Ads and you don't have to wait until the 1st of the month to get started. Ads go live as soon as I approve them on the date shown on the little ad signup widget. Click here to view what's available and to grab a spot while you can! (Note: if a spot says "currently booked" you can reserve it still and it will go live on the date shown).  Some spots include feature posts for even more exposure. This is a great opportunity to try advertising your shop or blog on Wonder Forest! Hope to have you!!


A Giveaway With BrideBlu

Cat creates her lovely BrideBlu jewelry piece-by-piece in her small home studio in Milwaukee. She often searches flea markets for vintage treasures to add that special touch to her unique, one-of-a-kind creations. I am in love with that braided anchor rope bracelet shown above!

Today she's offering up a generous $50 shop credit to one lucky winner!  She is also letting Wonder Forest readers get FREE SHIPPING (worldwide) in her store from now until August 31st with code WONDER.

To enter, use the widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Building A Business Part 4: "Jacob"

Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: Sugardevil
Part 3: Groupie

When high school was finally through, my initial idea was to take a year off and think about college later. I absolutely couldn't wait to finish high school and couldn't even dream of going back to another learning facility for another four years.

I already had a job working at Subway... pretty much the only workable place in my town at the time... and though I didn't see my career as a "Sandwich Artist" being anything spectacular, it was good enough for now and provided me with the little cash I needed.

During my time there, a regular customer and brother of a friend of my brother's (still with me?) and I got talking about my web and graphic design "background". He was a web developer but wasn't so savvy with the designing aspect so he asked if I might be interested in doing a little work for him. I said yes obviously, and the first job he gave me was creating a logo for a jewelry company. I took my time on it and used all of my most newly learned skills. I emailed the finished product, and was ecstatic when he came into the sandwich joint the next day.

"You designed that?!" He said. "It's incredible, where did you learn how to do that?!"  He made me smile from ear to ear and was so overjoyed with what I gave him that he started using me for his client's work on a regular basis.

- some of my early work -

At that time, I created my own online portfolio and web design site. It was called Envy Studios and looked like this:

This story wouldn't really go anywhere if I didn't talk about a person that I don't want to talk about.  However, I'm giving you the full path of my career, so I must.

Still being the band-loving now-19 year old that I was, I attended a special event at a bar with a friend. There, I met a guy. Let's call him Jacob because I hate the sound of his real name... and because he still stalks me to this day and I wouldn't be surprised if he somehow found my blog and is reading this. Anyways, Jacob and I started talking about work, and mentioned that he was a website designer and had his own company. "I do that too!" I told him. How strange, I thought this must have been fate.

Jacob and I hit it off, and we started dating. He was my first "real" relationship... although I hate to call it that now because looking back it's not how a relationship should have been. Thanks to Dustin I know now what a "real" relationship is.  I was still working at Subway at this time and would drive 45 minutes to his house whenever I could. He had his "office" set up in his basement and I got to see how he ran his web design business first hand. His design style was more corporate and sporty, and mine was the complete opposite.  He wanted to get me to be more involved with his business so suggested I try some phone calls to clients. He must have been crazy. I hate the phone call side of business so much. I had no idea what to say to these people and he expected me to be able to recruit them and ask important questions. My first call was a mess. I was SO unprofessional and think I ended up passing the phone back to him.

Slowly, from watching him, I learned what questions to ask on the phone and how to write great emails, make invoices, proposals, and other office-type stuff. I was still doing my own design work on the side, but I wanted MORE! I wanted an actual corporate client. I decided to put a link to Jacob's web design business at the bottom of some of my own previously created websites.  In doing that, I received my first legit client. She called his business line and specifically asked for "The girl who did ____'s website". That was me!  Yippee!  I just so happened to be there, so I answered her call and started talking about her needs. She owned an entertainment business that specialized in celebrity impersonators. Long story short, she hired me, I built her website, logo, and branding, and she is still one of my top on-going clients... nearly 10 years later.

It felt great to land a great client all by myself. I began taking things more seriously and really learning about programs, coding, and techniques. I was at a point where I wanted to quit my day job and just concentrate on web design completely, but I knew it was a little unrealistic to do that just yet. So, I would work during the day, come home, and work on web stuff until about 3:00am... until one day I got a call from a friend that really sparked my interest and could have possibly been just the ticket I was looking for...

Stay tuned for part 5!!

What was your job after high school?


girl problems

 Don't you hate it when you reach into your makeup bag and pull out your favourite item only to find this?? :(

 Don't you hate when your white shoes can no longer be considered white shoes?

Don't you hate when it takes you a good twenty minutes to apply liquid liner and you have to keep making it thicker and thicker because you keep messing up? 

I do.

My girl problems today. What are some of yours?
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