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Friday Inspo

I hope you had an amazing week and are ready for an even better weekend! My husband and I are off for a short getaway weekend to Knoxville for a college friends wedding. I am excited to have some time to decompress and celebrate a beautiful couple. I have to admit that this week was challenging and at times I definitely felt overwhelmed. If you are feeling the same way, I want to remind you to take a seasons to breath. Enjoy some inspirational links below and make sure to take some time for yourself this weekend.

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Red wine makes me mean - this made me  laugh because I can definitely relate

Why we should replace “pretty” with “pretty brilliant” 

I want one of each, please!

Why you should spend your money on experiences, not things

Are you a renter? You need these 7 products

The importance of federal trademarks for small businesses

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Be Present

The busier we get the more we start to try and do many things at once. However, this can often take a toll on our relationships, our emotional health and wellbeing. Being present in the setting you’re in can help quite a bit. This includes trying not to take work home at night or on the weekend (I know, I know, we are all guilty of this sometimes). It also means that when you are at work, you are strictly at work. I am all for taking a Facebook break every so often but try and be productive as possible while you are in the office.

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Some of there tricks that might help you be present more, include:

  1. Breathe – many of us don’t take enough deep breaths during the day. Deep breathing (or as I call belly breathing) can be extremely cleansing and relaxing and will help get you centered and focused.
  2. Prioritize – make a list of what has to get done right away and another of more long-term items that don’t need to get accomplished right away. This will help you focus and conquerer the most important items and will ensure you don’t feel completely overwhelmed.
  3. Set time aside – set some time each day where you can let you mind wander and think or dream about anything but after that time is up, come back to the present moment and refocus your energy in the time and place you are currently in.
  4. Relax – a racing mind will only make being present harder. Only think about the here and now and let go of the past and future. It is out of your control so focus on what you can control.

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Are you an Influential Gal?

The best part about Influential Gal is sharing stories of women who are rocking it at life and have a compelling story to share. I would love to hear from YOU if you know someone or if you, yourself would be a good fit to be profiled on the IG site. I think everyone has an amazing story of what they have been through in life or how they got to where they are today so please do share! Whether its the podcast or a blog post, I would love to share your story. Email your nominations (a friend or you) to lauren{at}influentialgal{dot}com. Let’s empower each other to share what make us each uniquely beautiful. I can’t wait to hear from you!

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Taking Seasons to Breathe

As a high achiever, as probably most of you are, I can often work myself into the ground. However, this isn’t always sustainable. Especially when some major life event happens. When my mom passed away two years ago, I took a whole year to revoker and take care of my basic needs and myself before I could reinvest myself into my “side hustle” and other activities again. It was extremely hard to sit still and just breathe. But I knew that if I didn’t take that time, I would always regret it.

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You may be going through a season in life where you need to take a step back from all of the “extras” your doing. Start by ridding your life of everything but the basics, so keep your daily work, close relationships and basic needs met. If it falls outside these three categories take a break from it, this could include your side hustle, organizations your a part of, etc. I am not suggesting getting rid of everything that makes you happy but rather, just the things that are taking up too much space in your life that might be hindering your healing process.

You’ll know when the time is right to continue on with your “extras” and I promise that after taking a break, you will come back refreshed and inspired, and most importantly you took the crucial time to heal your soul and spirit.

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IG Podcast, Ep. 2 Social Media with Style with Lauren Felix

This second episode of the Influential Gal podcast will give you practical tips on how to take your hobby and passion to a lucrative business. Lauren shares everything from how to create a business plan to staying authentic on social media. Lauren is one of the most authentic business owners I have met and is an open book with her advice to other entrepreneurs.

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Show Notes:

If you would like to connect with Lauren, feel free to reach out to her via Twitter or Facebook.

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Friday Inspo

A small dose of inspiration will be a weekly segment that carries you into your weekend with some must-read articles, the hot new clothing trend or an online resource that will make your professional and personal life a breeze. Here is this week’s round-up for the wonderful weekend ahead. See you Monday!

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Such a simplistic yet perfect beauty routine.

One women’s choice to opt out of motherhood.

My go-to spring uniform.

Yoga you can do at your desk

Should you do your taxes or hire a professional?

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Gift Box + Small Biz Planner + Canvas Print Giveaway

Congratulations Ashley R. on wining the Gift Box +Small Biz Planner + Canvas Print!

To end a wonderful Influential Gal launch week (seriously though, I am amazed by all the support you have shown!), we are giving away a beautiful gift box from With Grace and Gold that include the cutest little champagne candle, handmade notebooks and beautiful pens. Writefully Simple is giving away, the perfect small business planner. If you are starting a blog or business this product is a must! Primavera Studio is giving away this handmade “Trust” canvas print. The blue is absolutely beautiful! This is the last giveaway of the week so be sure to look back through and enter into all 4 giveaways while they are still live!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

I want to introduce you to the first brand, With Grace and Gold (p.s. they will be on the IG podcast in the coming weeks!).

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1.Tell us a little bit about your blog/business and how you got started?

With Grace and Gold is a branding boutique dedicated to creating purposeful and authentic branding for small businesses. The idea for our business is rooted in our faith and friendship – and our shared goal of serving women in business. One half of our team is an experienced small business owner, while the other is an experienced blogger. Combined, our skills and experience prepared us for our journey as a small business and have allowed us to be set apart in our industry.

2. What do you enjoy most about what you do?

We enjoy having an opportunity to serve women in business – to provide encouragement, to make an impact in their work and everyday living, and to learn a lot along the way! Through our business, we have an opportunity to connect with women and businesses all over the world. We enjoy sharing our hearts and sharing what has helped us to grow and be successful in our business.

3. What is your advice for other entrepreneurs and small business owners?

Our advice for entrepreneurs and small business owners is to get started now! Often times, we can feel overwhelmed or worried about what to do next, but we promise that everything will fall into place once you get started. For us, the result has always been better than we planned or imagined – all because we stepped out and got started.

Lindsay from Writefully Simple is the second brand I want to introduce you to.

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1.Tell us a little bit about your business and how you got started?

Writefully Simple got started completely as a fluke.  I have always enjoyed creating something out of nothing, so when a girlfriend of mine was talking about how she wanted to save money on her wedding I offered to design her stationery.  Once I began I completely fell in love with it – everything from the fonts, colors, design and paper.  The next thing I knew I was dreaming of everything that I could offer other couples and found myself in a constant daydream.  My husband, who is extremely supportive, signed me up for a PhotoShop class and encouraged me to pursue and create a heartfelt business.  So after designing stationery for friends & family, I started to get inquiries from people I did not know and it just took off.  One of the best things is when I am able to design wedding stationery for a couple and they come back to me for baby announcements and then birthday party invitations for their children.  Other than wedding and event stationery I also design personal stationery (notepads, planners, etc) I also design marketing materials and advertisements and recently started to offer the whole branding package from logos, marketing materials to website design.

2. What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Designing something beautiful, unique and meaningful for each couple for their wedding or for their special events, or to help create the unique identity of a business.  I have always loved keeping hand-written notes, journals, address books…anything that shows the true beauty of paper and stationery.  The different textures and colors of paper, the endless array of fonts and captivating colors – each design tells a story and I love being the one to bring that story to life.  Plus a huge bonus for me is that every day, every job is so different from the last – I never know what to expect and love to get to create something completely out of the box my and comfort zone!

3. What is your advice for other entrepreneurs and small business owners?

One of the most important things I have done is network – locally and online.  I have found an amazing local network of wedding professionals who meet once a month.  I have met so many amazing people, gained new friend and it’s something I look forward to each month.  And I have found an online community of such amazing, talented and supportive woman.  Even if we never meet I feel as though I know some of them, and enjoy working with them, bouncing ideas of one another and helping each other out when we have questions.  It’s awesome to know that you have people that know what you are going through, especially on those really difficult days, that can throw words of inspiration or just be there for you.  Networking should be something much more than selling yourself; it should be about building relationships!

Last but not least, Erin from Primavera Studio is the the third brand.

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1.Tell us a little bit about your business and how you got started?

Primavera Studio is a design business that aims to encourage and equip creative women in their pursuit of passions and business through branding services and a shop full of helpful (and pretty) tools for the every day. I especially have a heart for other mamas who run their own businesses because motherhood is hard work and doing business on top of that can feel like pure insanity. Creating helpful resources to simplify and inspire that process is really where my heart is. I got started in design through blogging, actually, customizing templates for myself and friends. It grew into something I really loved doing beyond the blogosphere, and so when I had the chance to do design full time, I took it. Being able to walk alongside other women in their business dreams by creating custom brands and helpful resources is really the greatest job on earth for me and I’m so thankful I get to pursue that full time.
 
2. What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I enjoy seeing women, especially mothers, spurred on to pursue their biggest dreams and passions. When I get to be a part of the process of turning those into a reality, I feel so fulfilled. When I see the end result of a branding project or send off items from my shop, it makes my heart beat a little bit faster.
 
3. What is your advice for other entrepreneurs and small business owners?
It can be such a struggle at the beginning of starting a business to get things going and see the fruit of all the hard work you’ve put into it. Remember that if you are going after what you’re passionate about, and you strongly believe in the work that you are doing, it will bear fruit and others will want to be a part of that. Never be discouraged by how much you sell or don’t sell, or how many people you get to work with. It’s a process that takes a lot of patience and endurance. Do the best that you can with what you have and let that be enough. 

Thank you to With Grace and Gold, Writefully Simple and Primavera Studio for their generous giveaways! 

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How Successful People Spend their Mornings

Whenever I meet someone who I think is successful, the number one thing I want to know is how they spend their mornings. Mornings are a lot more crucial than I once thought. I used to sleep in on weekends and woke up at the last possible minute during the week in order to get to work on time. Don’t get me wrong, I still take one day a week to catch up on sleep and sleep as late as my body will let me but I have collected a few tips on how to better utilize your morning from some of the people I admire most.

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Natural Energy

I love coffee! LOVE IT! But whenever possible, I try to get my energy in more natural ways. One of them being exercising first thing when I wake up. However, I work a corporate job and leave for work around 7:15 in the morning. I end up coming home from work exhausted and not wanting to workout so I recently started waking up an hour earlier and working out at 5:30 a.m. Let me tell you the first 10 minutes I am awake are horrible. But the rest of the day, I feel completely relaxed and energized. I highly recommend trying it for three weeks (the time it takes to build a habit) and see what you think.

Green Smoothies/Juices

This morning ritual goes beyond the recent juicing fad. I incorporate fresh fruit and vegetables (usually spinach) and make a smoothie every morning after I workout and drink it on my way to work. If you are not a morning person, try chopping all your produce the night before that way all you have to do is throw it in the blender the morning of. Also try adding some citrus, which instantly makes me feel awake and revitalized.

My favorite smoothie recipe:

  • 5 large strawberries
  • 1/6 of fresh pineapple
  • 8 oz. of unsweetened almond milk

Meditation

I must admit that the mornings I workout, I don’t have time to meditate before work but if you alternate between the two, I think it makes a significant impact on your morning. The term meditation means many things but what most important is that it’s a time for you to sit quiet with yourself and your thoughts. If you are religious, you can pray or just sit quiet and try and calm your thoughts. Here are several great resources on mediation. This is so crucial for starting your day with a clear mind and conscious. I feel much more receptive and present for my day.

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Saying ‘No’ and Owning it

Saying no is easily one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Like most people, I am a people pleaser and hate to turn down an opportunity but here is one of the most important lessons I have had to learn. You have to say no to the wrong opportunities to create more time and energy for the right ones.

Each time you say no, it gets easier until finally it becomes second nature. Of course it’s important that you say no respectfully and with class.

Saying No and Owning It

One exercise that helps me know what to say no to is by evaluating my priorities and what’s on my plate. I am a huge believer in creating a list of all of things you need to get done and prioritizing based on the output you will receive so in other words, is it worth your time to complete the task? Ask yourself if it will continue to lead to similar opportunities or if it is a dead-end. There is only so much time in the day so choosing the right opportunities to pursue is crucial.

I received the following advice from a close mentor who told me that I should never apologize for turning down an opportunity nor feel like I have to give an explanation. All that is needed is a simple response, such as “Thank you for the opportunity but I do not feel like I have adequate time to invest what is needed to make this successful. Thanks for reaching out and I would love to keep you in mind for future opportunities.”

I encourage you to put this into practice and evaluate how it makes you feel. Every time I turn down an opportunity that just isn’t right, it always make ms feel empowered. Remember, time is precious and its up to you to guard it for the right opportunities.

Want to continue reading about this topic:

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Rocksbox + #Likeaboss Stationary + Lipstick Print Giveaway

Congratulations Shanda C. on wining the Rockbox + #Likeaboss Stationary + Lipstick Print Giveaway!

The next giveaway is from the glamorous company Rocksbox, the beautiful custom stationary company Little Sprout Design and the ever so chic Little Black Blog! Rocksbox is giving away a free month’s subscription of jewels. You get three pieces of jewelry mailed directly to your house that are worth on average $200. Little Sprout Design is giving away a pack of #Likeaboss stationary and Little Black Blog is giving away this glam lipstick print. This giveaway won’t last long so be sure to enter!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the brands:

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(#Likeaboss Stationary)

1.Tell us a little bit about your blog/business and how you got started?

Little Sprout Design was founded in my little college room my second to last semester! I always knew I wasn’t cut out to be in the corporate world and wanted to build my own foundation and business. I truly wanted to make something out of what I felt God chose for me. While most girls my age planned their degrees around their corporate futures, I began the process of starting a business. Little Sprout is a design firm that specializes in Wedding Stationery, Blog & Web Design, and creative styling. I have a passion for all of these things and love having a creative outlet as a career!

2. What do you enjoy most about what you do?

While I love working with young ladies who are engaged and seeing their smiles when I pass over their stationery or entrepreneurs themselves who are looking to build their brand, I strive to give back to women who are setting their lives apart from the “expectation” of our generation. I want to help people go after their calling that God chose for them! Helping people has always been a huge passion and whether it’s just simple advice on a brand, wedding stationery, or launching a blog- I love the feeling of watching someone else excited over my work!

3. What is your advice for other entrepreneurs and small business owners?

The best advice I have ever heard for running a business is to always do it for a purpose and not for perfection. I heard this is a Lara Casey video and it just hit me! At the time I was trying to hard to be perfect for my clients and the passion fell between the cracks. Since I heard this awhile back I haven’t had another day like it! I love what I do and knowing their is other women out there too living their passion is just the best!

 

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1.Tell us a little bit about your blog/business and how you got started?

My blog is the Little Black Blog, personal style blog sharing affordable, dashing and classic ways to keep you sparkling no matter the occasion. I started it about four years ago while I was in college, but really started dedicating more time to improving it over the past year. Along with that, I also started an Etsy shop where I sell graphic design prints. One of the first reasons I started my blog was to mix my love of fashion with graphic design. I’m excited to have finally opened a little Etsy shop to really share my design skills, too.

2. What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love the networking and connections that comes with blogging and having an Etsy shop. The Chicago and Midwest blogging community are filled with other amazing woman who are inviting, inspiriting and great ladies to be around! I’ve made some great friend just in the past year through doing both.
3. What is your advice for other entrepreneurs and small business owners?
My advice is to do it because you love it not because you want to get some where. Many times I see bloggers who just want to become “popular” or make money, but don’t realize you have to be so much more invested. It’s important to remember why you started your blog or business – probably because you love doing it. You’ll be surprised all the amazing things your blog or business can turn in to with genuine love and effort.
Thank you Rocksbox, Little Sprout Design and Little Black Blog for your generous giveaways!

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