I'm Still Alive Over Here

I have been having the best craziest busiest year of my entire life, guys! Time seems to be moving at hyper speed and I'm over here just trying to keep up the best I can. Back in January, I was looking for a fresh start with Craftinista Girl and have since been struggling with how to brand/market/and sell my handmade items without the assistance of Etsy. It has not been easy. It's actually been so difficult for me, that I've put all of my focus into other meaningful things that have unintentionally brought me a ton of joy throughout this insanely busy season of life. Ultimately, this has led to total neglect of Craftinista Girl which was not my original intent at the beginning of 2017, but here we are, and guess what?! I'M OKAY WITH IT. I wanted to share what I have been doing for the past four months and let you know I'm still alive, just in less of a creative capacity as I have been in the past.

I think the crazy really started at the end of April on my trip with Kirsten from Delirious Blue Jewelry to Craftcation. We had THE BEST time. The classes and speakers were amazing don't get me wrong... but the energy in Ventura, California that weekend is what really did it for me. I felt like I was part of a family, and I had never met these people before! You could talk to anyone and they were all so open, genuine, and interested in one another. We hit the roommate jackpot with Faye from Good to Goat and Max from Buttercup Co.. Plus, I got to take a class with and meet one of my paper-craft-idols, Amy Tan (and made it into her Craftcation video on YouTube, just sayin' #fangirlingsohard). Last, it may have taken me 4 months, but I finally figured out my guiding word for the year on this trip. (Hear more more about Ali Edwards "one little word" project here, or get more info on her website).  I'm looking forward to going back every year just to feel this good good energy again - an overall amazing time and place to have had the opportunity to be part of.

Next, I went to the Caribbean followed by a couple days in Miami with my family. We did a cruise aboard the Carnival Sensation to Nassau, Half Moon Cay, and Grand Turk. It was all of our first time going on a cruise and all in all we had a good time, but if you ever see me in person and want to hear more of the unfortunate/funny/random details, just ask! We collectively decided that we will probably never do a cruise vacation again though. Some highlights were Eden getting offered an entertainment job aboard a cruise ship, parasailing, dancing every single night at Kaleidoscope (the night club on the ship), going on the behind the scenes tour of the ship, and generally just getting to spend quality time together. The Wiz's always manage to have fun when we vaycay! 

After we disembarked (yes, I also know a lot of water-jargon now, lol) we spent a few days in Miami. Between our AirBNB cancelling on us two hours before check-in, and a bad henna experience we again managed to find and focus on the good parts of the trip here too! Wynwood was an absolute dream, we got to see some real characters in South Beach, and drank THE BEST mojitos I've ever tasted (I highly recommend the tamarindo)! 

A realization after this trip was that I really do enjoy traveling. I've always been down to travel as long as someone else is making the plans and I just have to show up. But after these trips, although stressful at points, I felt so refreshed, so happy, and ready to tackle my crazy list of to do's. I would say I definitely learned the value of taking time off, which is something I would have never even considered up until this point in my life. I would like to make an effort to travel more, even just domestically. International travel still seems a bit scary and daunting to me, so starting here in the states seems like a good idea. Next booked trip is Ferndale, Michigan for DIY Street Fair and some scouting

My final adventure was opening Half Mile Handmade 2.0 inside of City Market in Bay City, Michigan. We were lucky to be approached to have a space within the market back in November (I want to say)... but there wasn't a whole lot of work that could be done until the space was ready for all of us vendors. Most of the work fell between April/May when I had all of these trips going on. City Market requires that all goods in our booth there be made in Michigan and related to the kitchen/gardening somehow. This meant that I spent WEEKS looking for new vendors for the new space. Luckily, I was able to work with a number of people that already sell with us, but with the new 'stipulations' from the market meant I had to find some new and unique stuff, which thankfully I've been pretty successful with. Sourcing for new vendors is incredibly time consuming. The search, the initial contact, the follow ups, the answering questions... it all takes a good chunk of time. I love every part of this, but the 'on boarding' process for one new person can literally take hours of time cumulatively. Magically, it all came together (with lots of help from my dad). Within a matter of three weeks the 43 square foot space was up, running, stocked to the brim and has been so so so good to me, Bay City, and our vendors for this first month. I am very grateful to be part of City Market! 

During the day I'm doing all things Half Mile Handmade, and at night I bartend to pay the bills. As this will more than likely be my last year in Columbus, I have also been on a quest to experience as much as I can with the time that I have left in this amazing city. So when I'm not 'working' I've been trying my best to sprinkle in fun when I can. I've been attending Phlex Fitness classes at least once a week, I've been trying to go to a new bar/restaurant once a week, and have been getting things "on the books" for the fall like concerts and setting aside time to spend with my friends who mean so much to me. Having these experiences and memories fills me up and I'm determined to make more time for them even if it means business has to fall by the wayside.

As you can see, making time for creating has become quite impossible for me. I have been struggling to keep up with the consignment shops I sell with, and they take priority so creating new items for my website is not looking like it will happen anytime soon. And again, THAT'S OKAY! Permission guys, it's suuuch a beautiful word. I really do adore creating and cherish every moment that I get to spend in my craft room making something with my own two hands. It may not always be something for Craftinista Girl, but I really do always have some kind of work in progress and I try step back and appreciate all of the things that I am lucky to be involved in and making things for on the daily. I'm still here, and don't have plans to disappear completely anytime soon (although looking at my social media you might think otherwise, lol). I love custom work, and am happy to arrange to ship you anything I post on social media that maybe hasn't made it's way in to the shop yet. You can also get your Craftinista Girl fix at one of my stockists near you!