5/21/15

Be Back Soon

hammock at the beach
Be Back Soon
We are heading out of town today on a road trip to the beach. The next week and a half will be spent relaxing and being so lazy. We are staying in a house a few minutes from the beach. We have planned our trip to have largely unstructured days that include little more than relaxing on the beach, spending time by the pool, eating delicious food (and a little too much ice cream), doing a little shopping, and watching some good movies. This trip to the ocean has became a tradition of ours and I look forward to it each year. It is hard to spend a week on the sand breathing in the salty air and not come home with a much better perspective on life.

Jessica and I have opted to not take our laptops so we will be taking a little mini break from drafting blog posts. Keep up with us on twitter and instagram were we will try to share some fun details from our trip.

P.S. If you are planning a road trip of your own check out our summer road trip playlist.

image via: gary pepper

5/20/15

Career Spotlight: Raquel // Horses & Heels

Career Spotlight: Raquel // Horses & Heels
Raquel has been one of our blogging friends for years. A couple of years ago she decided to take a leap of faith and dedicate herself full time to her blog Horses & Heels and everything that would involve. With Horses & Heels she has created a unique brand for herself all while making two major moves, one recently across country. We hope you enjoy reading about Raquel's journey as much as we have.


What is your background?

I have a background in broadcasting, after high school I attended broadcasting school and got a job a local radio station with the hopes of eventually landing an on air job. My time there started to become frustrating and I was looking for a way out so I picked up an internship at a recording studio hoping to further my skills and get into voice over work. At the studio I was offered a job for a start up record label doing social media, I didn’t even have a Facebook account at the time but if was time to learn. I managed accounts for various artists and loved it. But then the studio and label faced money issues, went under and I was out of a job. I picked up a job as an executive assistant to support myself and thought I needed to do something more. I started Horses & Heels as a creative outlet for myself while I was figuring out what I needed to do.

What is the story behind the concept of Horses & Heels?

Like I said, I started Horses & Heels as a creative outlet for myself when I was working a job I didn’t like. It started as a more personal blog with just family reading and then as I became more into blogging I made my content more “reader friendly”. I combined everything I love into one place; horses, fashion, food, home decor and DIY. I started to realize that this could become something that would stick.

When did you know it was time to launch your business and what steps did you take?

I quit my job in February of 2013 when I was at a point of not being able to handle working for my boss anymore. I honestly should have stuck it out for another 6 months but I looking for a way out. The blog was making enough money and where I lived in Ohio at the time was so cheap this was possible. They say there is no real learning experience like just diving in and this is true.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Hmmmm there are no typical days. I usually get up and check emails, social media, and advertiser stats. I use Todist to keep organized, on Mondays I do “general stuff”, on Tuesdays I work on content for the following week, on Wednesdays I do photo shoots and creative projects, on Thursdays I work on SEO, blog design, ect. and on Fridays I schedule my social media. And of course there are a lot of projects I’m working on in between. I split up my days like this to make them more productive and it’s really helpful.

What are the biggest lessons you have learned since launching your business?

Knowledge really is power and you need to continue to educate yourself all the time. Blogging and life is always changing and you need to change to keep up. Also you can’t make everyone happy, so don’t even try to.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?

I do not like to self promote, which is strange since blogging is all about promoting yourself. It was tough for me to introduce myself to companies and put my name out there. In the beginning I had to reach out to people to get advertisers, this was also tough for me because I was timid, even behind an email or the phone.



What is the best part of your job?

The best part is I get to be creative, my life is my blog and my blog is my life. I am always discovering new things and working on projects I love.

And to keep it real, what is the worst?

Trying to please everyone, I get tons of emails from people looking to work with me and sometimes they are just not a good fit. I always feel bad for saying no to someone even though I shouldn’t. I also don’t enjoy doing my own books, I hope to be able to hire a part-time employee to help me with taxes and financial things in the next 6 months.

Looking back is there anything you wish you had done differently?

Definitely, I wish I would have learned faster and quicker. I wish I would have stuck out my old job longer and learned more about blogging before jumping in full time.

What is a goal you have for your business that you hope to accomplish in the next year or two?

I am working on products for Horses & Heels, it’s been a long time project in the works. I am hoping to launch a collection of pillows, prints, and home decor items that just aren’t out there right now.

Being a busy business owner how do you stay organized?

Lots of lists! I write out daily, weekly and monthly to do lists. I also use an app called Todist to help me with reoccurring tasks.

What has been one surreal moment you've experienced since you launched Horses & Heels?

I don’t know if there has been a huge moment but there are lots of mini moments along the way. There was the first time a photo of mine was accepted on to Foodgawker, a time my first recipe went viral and emails from people I really look up to.

What is your best piece of advice for others who hope to someday be a business owner?

Write down all of your goals because if you don’t write them down, they might not happen. It’s really easy to get sidetracked and having a plan is the best thing you can do .


Connect with Raquel from Horses & Heels:
Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram


5/19/15

20 Swimsuits Under $100


20 Swimsuits Under $100
We have been getting ready for our trip to Florida for the last week. This Thursday is my last day at work before summer vacation. As soon as I get off work Tracy, our brother, and I are leaving for our vacation. One thing everyone needs before they head off for ten days at the beach is a great swimsuit. The right swimsuit is hard to find. It needs to be cute, fit you, and make you look good, but you also don't want to break the bank when you purchase a swimsuit. If you are still searching for the right one, check out these 20 swimsuits under $100. Which one is your favorite?


5/18/15

Escaping To The Beach

walking along the beach
Escaping To The Beach
Jessica and I didn't intend to miss our usual weekend posts but over the last few years I have discovered that each year around the end of April or the beginning of May we really begin to struggle with keeping up. We have been working months since our Christmas break and fatigue and exhaustion have started to set in. We add to that that I am usually juggling several things at once and Jessica is caught up in end of the year activities at school where she teaches before jumping into taking her own classes and we both really struggle with feeling spent.

It has become a yearly tradition for us to escape for a beach vacation each year as soon as Jessica's school year wraps up. We are heading out midweek this year so the last few days have been spent getting prepared to leave. Friday evening and Saturday morning were spent running around in a rush to check off a long list of errands. I finally upgraded my iPhone after 5 years! Saturday evening I sat down on the sofa with Tiger to prepare a post for yesterday but fell asleep and took a 3 hour nap.

I am expecting long days at the office this week as I try to keep from falling behind at work while gone. I also have to finish laundry and packing in the few days before we leave Thursday for 10 days ocean side. Do you have any vacation plans for this summer?

A few favorites to pack for a beach getaway:


image via: smitten studio