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June 20, 2019

The Creative Process – One of the most intriguing things about life is the presence of non-stop Self Discovery. I can pretty much say without a doubt that I can’t name the last day that I had where I didn’t learn something absolutely new. Maybe it was about my business; my clients, my design direction. Or it’s quite possible that it was about my own personal relationships, habits (good and bad), strengths, weaknesses, or well being. It’s also possible that I learned more than one thing that day (yup, it happens!) and it is a combination of the above. Either way, the moral of the story, is I learn something new daily, whether I seek to or not. To me, it is just a part of the process.

Now, some of you may thinking, I don’t actually learn something new everyday, maybe once or twice a week, but not daily. Or maybe you  don’t remember the last time you learned something completely and utterly unique to your experience. My response to that is that it’s nearly impossible for that to be true.

How do you “know” what you learned if it doesn’t seem like your day was extraordinary? This is where we must start to think about intentional living, constructive flow of though, and self awareness. To get you started, simply get yourself a pretty journal or pull up a new document on your Mac, and answer the following questions throughout your day. Sometimes I even ask myself these questions mentally more than once a day, and I feel better for it.

  • What am I grateful for?
  • What can I do to take better care of myself?
  • What do I love about myself?
  • What are my current priorities?
  • What would make me happy right now?
  • What am I happy about right now?
  • Who inspires me most right now? What do I love about that person?
  • What do I need more of in my life?
  • What do I need less of in my life?
  • If I could share my message with the world, what would it be?

These answers may change monthly, or daily, or even by the hour in some circumstances! That is life! But each time the answer changes, ask yourself what you learned or experienced that changed your response? There must be something, and the better you get at recognizing those moments in your life, the more in tune with your own needs and wellness you will be AND the more creatively you will run your business and your personal life. Give it a shot for one month. I dare you.


June 10, 2019

DIFFICULT CLIENTS – AN HONEST LOOK – Ask anyone who has been in business for some time, and they will tell you that while most of their clients have been happy with the product or service they provide, there have been one or two who they couldn’t please no matter how they tried.

Naturally, this is a stressful situation, as no reputable and passionate business owner, especially a creative business owner, wants a client to feel less than thrilled with their interaction with them. But, with that being said, it is important to remember that you absolutely cannot make everyone happy. Think of all of the time you have dedicated to projects that make you (and the client) unhappy, that could have been spent working with wonderful, lovely, people that appreciate you as much as you do them.

Self Discover for the Creative Process - The Art Of

Let’s take a look at some of the clients that may spell trouble for you as a creative business owner and what you can do to combat it and move on, hopefully in a way that will de-escalate the situation and will leave some level of comfort on both side.

  1. The “Nothing you do will make me happy” Client:

We all know a person exactly like this, in our personal or business life, and we know exactly how they think about most everything. Honestly, there are just some people in the world who can’t be completely satisfied, may that be with the services you provide or even with their own work and services.

While it may seem like this type A Personality is working against you from day one, typically they are just perfectionists and nothing will ever measure up to their standards, making them nearly impossible to please.

At the end of the day, this client is exactly what the title says, nothing you do will make them completely happy. Just roll with it and finish the project to the best of your ability with the most positive attitude you can. Eventually, I think most business owners learn to recognize the signs of this type of client from the start, and will make an educated decision on whether they wish to accept them as a customer.

2. The “I have no idea what I want, but will know when I see it” Client:

This client is actually really similar to number one in terms of your chances of making them happy. If they are entering into a project with no clue what will work for them, that should be an immediate red flag that they aren’t ready to start the process you are offering.

Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way a couple of times throughout my career, and have gotten much better at guiding them to where they need to be in order to get started.

Accepting this client without first guiding them in the right direction will be a huge detriment to your time and your business, making waves that will ripple throughout your schedule. The honest answer is this client will most likely need to see multiple revisions and concepts and may never actually see the magical “one”, creating negativity about your business in their mind and leaving you feeling less than confident about your work.

3. The “What can I get for Free” Client:

Since you are offering a service or providing creative intellectual property a client can’t steal from you, right? No way.

I once had a client break a website that I made for her a year after launch, contact me to request my help fixing it,  and agree to my terms of $75 an hour for 2 hours (it took me 4, but I felt bad for her, so only charged for 2) to get her reinstalled. I fixed her website and made all of her requested updates, and once finished she locked me out of the site and disputed the credit card charge claiming that she didn’t authorize it. This not only means that I gave up 4 hours of my time for free and took away from the experience of my other clients, but I was also charged $75 from the credit card company as a dispute fee. Basically, I paid money for the pleasure of fixing her website.

Now, it is easy to say: who would have known that would happen? But the honest truth is I already had that vibe about this client. My initial experience with her hadn’t been the best as she had asked for a lot of things that weren’t in her contract for free, and would freak out if I wasn’t able to help her.

I knew exactly what kind of client I was dealing with, but I allowed my personal feelings instead of my “business owner” feelings to decide how I handled the situation. I literally still think about that client frequently (which I need to get over!!!) because it hurts my heart that there are business owners out there that will treat other this way, when they themselves KNOW how difficult it is!

Honestly, there is no easy set of rules that you can follow for this client to make the process smoother and reduce your risk. My advice in this situation is that as soon as you get that vibe, you should discontinue the relationship, whether that means finishing up the project they did pay for and then moving on or refunding them and sending them on their way.

As much as you or I want to see the good in people, in my experience, this situation will not end well and you will be on the receiving end of a great deal of grief.

4. The “Never-ending Project” Client:

If I am being real, issues with this client may be as much your fault as theirs unless you set solid boundaries and keep lines of communication completely open with them. If you finished the project months ago, but they are still contacting you for revisions; etc, it is your responsibility to be strong and say no. Make it clear when you initially finish the project that this is the end of your paid time together (but you can totally still be friends!) and that if they have any additional requests they should make them now or expect to pay your hourly rate in the future. My best advice is to get used to treating all of your clients the same across the board when it comes to your work with them, unless you have specifically made additional promises regarding their situation. Set your rules and stick with them.


  • First of all, make sure you have an iron clad contract. Make sure that each and every client that books with you signs that contract, no exceptions.
  • Provide your clients with a fact sheet, timeline, or informational package that will lay out the process of your services, the timeframe it takes you for each milestone along the way, and what they can expect from their finished product. Providing them with as much information as possible directly out of the gate will alleviate any confusion later if the client tries to insinuate that they aren’t happy because you didn’t follow protocol.
  • If things start to take on a negative vibe during your process, gently but firmly guide the clients attention back to the positive and let them know that you are doing your very best for them. The most important thing you can do for yourself and your clients is to not allow their mood to alter your work. It is super hard, but if you can maintain a positive attitude even when they are creating stress for you, they will not be able to point at you as the reason they are unhappy.
  • Have a solid questionnaire that will help them to do a bit of self discovery and will get them in the brainstorming mindset.
  • Ask the right questions. Find out where their head is at from the start and utilize any information that you have received.
  • Be very honest from the beginning of the project.  Insure that they understand that  you have a specific style of work, and that if they aren’t already in that mindset and know that they want that style, you may not be the right fit for them. Help them go through your portfolio so they understand what they will be receiving if they hire you, and if they get off track during the project, kindly remind them of your creative abilities and portfolio.
  • Let them know that you offer only a certain number of revisions and ask them if they are comfortable with that before beginning. If they truly don’t know what they want, they may realize that they need more time to think prior to spending money on a project that may end up costing them a fortune.
  • Document any and all agreements, revision requests, edits; etc. This will save you a great deal of hassle if a problem should ever arise.
  • Last, but definitely not least, remember that while most of your clients are going to be beautiful people, you can’t allow a few bad experiences to jeopardize your success. These are all learning experiences that you will have during the process of running your business, and has absolutely nothing to do with your amazing talent and creativity. Power through the stressful events and take what you have discovered with you to the next level.

Let us know how you combat difficult or impossible to please clients in the comments! We love new advice!

See more from our Creative Entrepreneur Series here. 


June 5, 2019

We’ve found your new June beach read and you won’t want to miss it! Work Party by the gorgeous Jaclyn Johnson of Create & Cultivate is the story of one woman’s rise from fired corporate employee and failed business partner to the owner and CEO of one of the most lucrative and inspiring women’s social platform.



You may be familiar with the name Jaclyn Johnson, especially if you adore a tough woman. As the owner & CEO of the much talked about community Create & Cultivate, Jaclyn has been through ups and downs, failures and successes, and devastating and beautiful experiences; and she has turned each and every one of these lessons into teaching moments used to move and motivate other entrepreneurs and business owners.


A smart book, filled with genuine business love and the most wonderful advice, you won’t regret spending your free time enjoying this good read. Pick it up here and tell us your comments below!


November 1, 2018

Once upon a Thursday night, somewhere between Thompson & Houston and 3 gin and tonics, I got to thinking about the New York City bar scene. Fickle little thing that it is.

You have your Upper East Side brick and leather filled lounges and your Lower East Side hipster places where the only options are $25 cocktails and experimental Hors d’Oeuvre. You’ll find Nightclubs & Rooftops galore in Tribeca, Sports Bars & Themed Spots in Midtown, and beautifully appointed Wine Bars & foodie inspired Pubs in the West Village.

But where does one go when what they really want is a 16 ounce craft IPA in a dimly lit, dingy room filled with all types of people and styles;  from the NYC undergrad to the somewhat incognito movie star? The NYC Dive Bar.


I just adore a good dive bar, actually, I must admit, it can be one of my favorite ways to spend a New York City evening. And, because I can easily recall the days when, as a NYC newbie or visitor, I longed for a relaxed atmosphere to unwind after a busy day of big city hustle and bustle, I want to share my go to dive bars with you.

  1. The Four-Faced Liar • West Village (165 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014) – The Four-Faced liar is one of those no-frills, brick-lined bars where you feel like you are drinking a craft beer in your own living room. The staff is experienced and fast, if a bit gruff at times, but never take themselves too seriously. If you want a true New York City dive bar experience that allows you to rub elbows with NYC regulars and West Village residents, give this spot a try.
  2. Old Rabbit Club • NYU – West Village (124 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012) – This hidden gem serves an array of somewhat pretentious craft beers and wines in an old school, basement storefront. Near to NYU, the tiny bar holds only about 30 people at a time, but if you get there early enough to grab a front row seat at the bar, you won’t be disappointed in the friendly, knowledgeable bartenders, beer and wine options, or the 80’s punk music played at just the right decibel.
  3. The Canal Bar • Gowanus – Brooklyn (270 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215) – Don’t be fooled by the initially small look of this bar from the front door. There is a super cute, string light filled back patio and a pool table toward the back. Also, the popcorn is free.
  4. Spring Lounge • Nolita (48 Spring St, New York, NY 10012) – Nolita, a neighborhood just on the brink of trendy Soho, is where you’ll find this NYC resident favorite. There is nothing special about this bar in terms of aesthetic, but you will get a great beer or cocktail all while doing some pretty awesome people watching. This is my definite pick for a weekend day drinking sesh.
  5. Dive Bar • Lincoln Center • Upper West Side (732 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025) – This is a favorite during Ballet season as it is near enough to Lincoln Center to stop for a pint or glass of wine prior to the rise of the curtain.

If you find your way to New York City, give these wonderful places a quick visit. We hope to see you there!


October 31, 2018

How to Make It

Step 1

Line 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.

Step 2

Stir together the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Step 3

Crack 3 Large eggs into a large mixing bowl and add the following to the bowl:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until blended. Fold in the shredded carrot and add the following ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut

Pour batter into previously prepared cake pans.

Step 4

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Once removed, cool still in the pans on wire racks 15 minutes.

Step 5

After 15 minutes, remove cakes from the pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Step 6

Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Leave it plain or delicately decorate with walnuts, pistachios,  piped frosting,  or sprinkled nutmeg.


** Looking to add a bit of flair to your cake, no matter the season or weather? Add extra spice, rum, or brown butter during the cold months. During the spring or Summer, don’t be afraid to decorate it with gorgeous floral elements or maybe even hints of seasonal fruit.


August 16, 2018

It isn’t always easy to know how to stop overthinking things. Any worrier knows the trap of too much overthinking that can land you in the quicksand of rumination that makes you feel even worse, and stuck. Yes, worry can be productive, but it can also be dangerous. The key to being able to protect from the downward spiral of overthinking is to understand the difference between worry and rumination, and know where the tipping point lies between them.

Worry and rumination are similar, but importantly not the same. Worry is defined as, “a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.” Worry is the cognitive part of anxiety, the thinking part necessary to imagine potential solutions. At its best, it is active and purposeful.

Rumination is likewise a cognitive aspect of anxiety, but instead focuses on the symptoms, causes and consequences of distress, rather than its solutions. Long associated with anxiety disorders and depression, rumination is a kind of negative circular thinking that exacerbates anxious feelings, impairs problem solving, and often erodes supportive relationships. Unlike worry that can steer toward a solution, rumination tends to embody the very worst cognitive aspect of anxiety: feeling powerless and stuck.

More simply stated, worry can lead to solutions whereas rumination can lead to depression.

When worry next tempts you into overthinking and rumination territory, keep these four points in mind.

1. Focus on what’s in your control, not what isn’t.

A sense of control has long been associated with healthy coping and positive feelings, even in the face of adversity. And while circumstances can often feel fully outside our control, we know that we can always control our attitude, and even our feelings to some extent.Research shows that the simple act of naming your emotions can deliver a sense control. How we label them, and how we think about them, is one key way we can always exert control even in the most powerless of situations.

2. Find the silver lining, and keep your mind there.  

New research suggests optimism, and the capacity to see the silver lining in situations, may be the key to protecting against ruminations ill effects, and promoting resiliency. Focusing on how badly you feel, and why you deserve to feel this way, is the mental trap of rumination. Instead of focusing on fixed attributes of you or the situation, try instead to think about the opportunities for growth and change, and what you will learn that will help you, or someone else, in the future.

3. Focus on solutions.

When worry is focused on solutions, anxiety diminishes. Research at the University of California, Riverside, found that when worry is used to plan for contingencies, it helps people cope with anticipatory anxiety. If you can’t stop worrying about a situation, make sure you are keeping your thoughts geared towards solutions. This will keep your worry productive, and helpful.

4. Distract yourself if you are still feeling stuck or overwhelmed.

Whether it’s a funny video, taking a cognitive break, or simply focusing on the furniture or physical attributes of the environment around you, distraction has been shown to have an emotionally regulating effect in people who tend toward depression. The faster you regulate your emotional response, the faster your coping skills will come online.

To use anxiety as a productive tool, we have to make sure worry doesn’t tip into the sticky swirl of rumination. With the wrong attitude and outlook, anxious worry can quickly transform itself into more dangerous overthinking. A gateway to depression, rumination is anxiety run amok, where negative feelings drive a spiral of negative thinking that leads to increased distress, and a greater sense of hopelessness.

Optimism, on the other hand, is a powerful hedge against this negative spiral, and according to science, just might be the gateway to resilience.


For more help with managing stress and anxiety, check out my anxiety blog, download my free ebook, or sign up for my newsletter.

*Original Content and Images courtesy of Alicia Clark PsyD. Take a look at her super informative website! 


July 19, 2018

FLORALS WITH SALTED BLOOMS & CULTURAL EXCHANGE – Much more than flowers. The ladies behind Salted Blooms, a Los Angeles-based floral design company, shared inspiring advice for creatives, their story, and, maybe most importantly, floral arrangement tricks. Read their interview for encouragement from female entrepreneurs and some flower accounts you’ll want to follow.

Can you share the story behind Salted Blooms Florals? 

It all started with a mama teaching her daughter how to play with flowers. The girls here at Salted Blooms share a love for design and florals, more importantly we’re part of a design community powered by women. Aiming to keep our lives simple, we decided to forge ahead with a group of like creatives and do what we love for those we care about the most, you. We are always inspired by the salty sea and a bohemian jet-set spirit. Apart from your average floral lovers, we strive to always push the boundaries of traditional floral design and create innovative and rad displays.

Salted Blooms specializes in custom floral designs and styling for all your special occasions and brands. This local business of ours is so much more than florals. Yes, florals is where it all began, but with a background in interior design, styling is our passion. Designing tablescapes, editorials, or rad storefront displays makes us feel all warm inside. We take into consideration each of our clients’ venues and personal aesthetic. We are big on details and thinking outside-of-the-box while striving to keep our pieces cohesive with the environment surrounding them.

What advice can you give to women wanting to start their own business? Any tips for aspiring florists?

The most significant piece of advice to anyone trying to ‘make it’ in the creative world would be to simply, not. Stop trying to ‘make it’ in this world full of crazy talented people who can easily cause you to doubt yourself. The sooner you learn to embrace others; creativity instead of compare it with your own, the happier your life will be. Fear is something that resonates with all of us, women especially have been given every right to be fearful in this man-dominated society. Despite social norms, we can’t let our fear paralyze us from creating. Create. Anything and everything!

Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and do things outside of the box, because let me tell you, once you let yourself create with no limits, that is when the magic happens.

Don’t take yourself too seriously, life is too short for your entire world to be consumed with your work and stressing about how society views your brand. Be true to yourself, create things you love, work hard, and be nice to people.

Salted Blooms x The Little Market

What tips or tricks can you give for the amateur arranging flowers at home?

Don’t underestimate the power of greenery! Whether it’s foraged from your neighborhood, or picked up on the side of the road, experiment with greenery as the body of any design. Not only is it cost effective, but it gives any design a lush – natural look that won’t break the bank!

My favorite thing right now is foraging seasonal fruit branches and adding them to arrangements — kumquats, persimmons, artichokes, oh my!

What are your favorite flowers to pair and style for spring and summer?

I don’t have a favorite flower, but rather I prefer to design seasonally. Similar to a chef cooking farm-to-table, I design field-to-table. For spring and summer, I love incorporating seasonal fruits and vines paired with branches and blossoms. Summertime always screams tropical, and I can never resist those baby pineapples. I think my biggest advice in designing seasonally is to use what you have, get creative, and don’t be afraid to go outside of the box in using ingredients you wouldn’t typically use. That’s how the best dishes are made, right?

Salted Blooms x The Little Market

Where do you keep baskets of flowers in your home, and what are your favorite unique ways to place and style them?

Baskets – Oh baskets. My love for baskets is undeniable. Not only can you use woven baskets for just about anything, but they also happen to complete just about any space. Fill your baskets with old books, cozy blankets, or in this case, fresh florals! Layering is key is making your design look effortless. Whether it be in your home, on a shoot, or even at a wedding, use baskets to help bring a cozy,natural atmosphere to any medium.

We’re dying to know your secret! How do you keep your bouquets fresh for as long as possible?

There’s nothing secretive to keeping florals alive, the answer is simple — water. The longer you keep your florals out of water, the shorter their life becomes. Anywhere you go, take water! Even if you’re making a bouquet for your best friend to hold as she walks down the aisle, keep those babies in a small vase of water up to the very last minute, it will keep them looking fresh and perky, I promise!

Basket Collection - The Little Market

Where do you get your inspiration? Do you have any favorite floral-inspiration accounts we need to follow on Instagram asap?

I get my inspiration from anything and everything. My passion has always been in interior styling/design, so I find that a lot of the time, my inspiration for floral design comes out depending on the environment I’m in. Something as simple as a tile floor can spark my imagination to create a certain display. Being active in nature, hiking in the mountains, or catching a long wave can inspire me to jump out of tradition and create something that makes people feel good. Different mediums and textures excite me, creating designs and displays that leave people wondering how we did it.

My favorite creative accounts to follow are @theshiftcreative, @shoppigment, and @sirenfloralco!

We had so much fun getting to know the Salted Blooms team and loved how they made our new iringa basketsblossom! If you’re feeling as inspired as we are, share your floral photos with us on Instagram!

Post Originally found on The Cultural Exchange. Find their awesome blog here!

Read more of our Dailies Collection at this link! 


June 19, 2018

Ugh, Starting Over… This past 12 months has been rough. I have talked about this couple of times on the blog, and it’s possible I am starting to sound a bit like I am dwelling, but the truth is, I am recovering.

Recovering from what? 

Recovery is an interesting word. It implies a previous illness, or a lingering physical or emotional burden, but in reality, it is so many things. This has been twelve months of losing people that I love; the same twelve months in which I made a poor business decision that cost me thousands of dollars and still has me building and restructuring to make up for it. The year that I failed and lost over and over again. But the good news, is there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I can see it, and I am moving toward it. That, my friends, is my version of recovery.

How did failure & loss effect me?

I’ll be completely honest. This past year, for the first time in a very long time, my business wasn’t my number one priority. That was a hard pill to swallow, but my priorities had shifted, not because I wanted them to shift, but because sometimes that’s just how life is. It throws you a curve ball or two (or four) and you adjust.

Add to that the fact that my business is a central part of who I am. I love what I do, every single second of it. I actually think that is why I am still here, working in the industry. I love it so much that I absolutely refuse to quit. No matter what. The idea that my business was affected during this particularly less than desirable time of life truly keeps me up at night. But what can you do? You just go on. You failed, you lost. Keep moving.

What’s Next? 

The way I see it, sometimes starting over can be the most liberating experience you will ever have. A clean slate, a bit of fresh air, the room to create the future. Freedom. And in my opinion this is when it matters most, because you get to learn from your past and make choices that will effect your new normal. You know that saying, “if I knew then what I know now…”? Now you do! Use the lessons and the feelings to let go and move on to the next phase, whatever that means for you.

I am embracing the space and the room to breathe. My business will be stronger for it and I will have a new lesson to carry with me. Cheers to starting over.



Read more about Harper Maven Design and our advice for career gals here. 



June 18, 2018

Quite honestly, there is nothing better in the summer time than a glass of chilled Rose or a frosty cocktail, and this little beauty is one of our favorite hot day mixers! This classy and fresh tasting libation is absolute perfection, whether you are throwing a backyard get together or lounging by the pool. We strongly suggest giving it a try! You won’t be sorry!

Grapefruit Elderberry Rose Vodka Cocktail

When we crafted this cocktail at home, we chose Hangar 1 Rosé vodka, which can be ordered online if you are unable to find it in your area. Make a big batch for a gorgeous and tasty cocktail for your gathering, or one by one to add a bit of sweetness to your day. Enjoy!


  • 1 ounce (30 ml) Hangar 1 Rosé Vodka
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) freshly squeezed, strained pink grapefruit juice
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) dry sparkling rosé
  • ½ ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur (more or less to taste)
  • a few drops of lemon juice, to taste
  • ice
  • a pretty thyme sprig or mint leaf for garnish (don’t be shy, a bit of color never hurt anyone!)
  1. Simply combine the Hangar 1 Rosé Vodka, the grapefruit juice, the sparkling rosé, the St. Germain, and lemon juice in a stirring glass and then add ice to fill to halfway. Stir for a few seconds until thoroughly mixed, strain into gorgeous coupe glass, and serve. A perfect Summer cocktail to fill your Rosé cravings!

In a creative rut when it comes to all things outside of your work? We understand and we’ve got you covered! Take a look at our complete collectionCreative Lifestyle Posts here. 

XOXO, Tori

* All Images and original recipe courtesy of the incredibly talented and elegant  The Bojon Gourmet. Check her out for plenty of cocktail and food recipes.