One Little Word - Grow // March Update

by Paige Ray in


Image credit // Infame Cless via Flickr

February my intention was to combine January's goal of planning February's goal of Bold.  I think I made that happen.  Here's how:

  • 48 Walks - I'm excited to participate in Alison's challenge as a way to push myself creatively & physically for the next year.  The lesson learned so far:  Tying up the boots and walking out the front door is the hardest part.  Check out all my 48 Walks posts
  • B School - It was a huge decision to say , "Yes!" to this on-line marketing class.  So hard in fact that I have yet to share with my most closest of friends.  
    • Why was I scared to share?
      • It was a big financial undertaking and I'm not a flaunter.
        However, I do believe in both investing in myself and putting money toward experiences instead of objects.  This class, will fit in both of those categories.
    • What I'm looking forward to:
      • This is on-line marketing.  I currently work in marketing.  There is always something new to learn.
      • Developing a personal business plan and implementing it within the next few months.  (Expect a blog post regarding this called "Things I am Embarrassed to Admit in Public" soon.)

After all the serious planning and boldness of February I'm excited to be squarely in March, the month I have designated as the month of Celebration.
We're less than two weeks in and already I have

  • Invited my local blogger friends to meet up with my husband and our friends from "his side" i.e. people I know through him and called it my own celebration of turning 30.  The group was small and weird and delightful.  Great night of celebrating with my people.
  • My husband threw a surprise birthday party for me.  Celebrating great friends and delicious food.  Look forward to the blog post soon.  
  • As a challenge to myself, I ran a 10k the weekend after I turned 30.  It kicked my ass.  I won a mug and surviving was a celebration in itself.  Again- it deserves it's own blog post.
  • Also birthday related: I decided to give away a ticket to the local TedX talk.  Check out the winner here.  Celebrate curiosity.

Thing that I'm looking forward to the rest of the month:

  • My husband and I's annual trip to Hot Springs and the horse races.  Celebrate traditions.
  • While in Hot Springs I am also celebrating the upcoming Spring during my very first InstaMeetUp.
  • I am taking part in Jackie's 30 Day Challenge.  Celebrate growth.  

It's a big month and I'm looking forward to all the growing and celebrating that will be happening simultaneously.  If I had a concern it is that all of this excitement runs a very close path to overwhelm.  Visualizing the truth that small steps are the best way to climb a mountain is helping me calm my mind.  What are your secrets to identifying and overcoming overwhelm?

Birthday Giveaway : TedX Fayetteville

by Paige Ray

Values have been on my mind lately.

"What do you value? What are your values? Why are these things/ concepts/ ideas important to you?" 

As someone raised with a religious faith I admit that I cruised by on deciding my personal values; I simply took the ones given to me. Add to that the blue collar, self- sufficient attitude that had been the way of life for generations and my values were laid in front of me:

•hard work

•truth & honesty

•faithfulness & loyalty


For the longest time, those were my values. And, to an extent they still are.


But more than anything I wanted to see which values truly guided the way I both perceive and interact with the world.  

It's not easy. It's simultaneously living life while evaluating actions, perceptions, and decisions. It's constantly asking, "Why?"

The first value that came to mind was "Education". Anyone who knows me, knows the first day of school was (and not so secretly is) my favorite. But I realized, while I consider education important it's actually the everyday level of "Learning" that is important to me beyond that of the classrooms and text books. When I dug further into that concept I realized that while I do appreciate learning new things it's really "Curiousity" that drives me.

Curiosity is the spirit that allows me to start researching a subject and not come up for air for ten hours whichever results in having a thorough (though obviously never complete) knowledge of a subject I just became interested in. Curiosity is the reason my book shelves look as if they could belong in the library of ten different people which subject ranging across the board. Curiousity is the part of me that is always hungry and always searching and always a little discontent until those brief moments where it's appetite is sated. 

It's with all that being the case that I am really excited about TedX Fayetteville. In short: TedX is a chance for the curious to "get into the headspace" of the local communities most creative, ambitious, and, you guessed it: curious people. I wrote about my experience last year and hope to link to it soon.  I'm going again this year and, as a part of my annual "birthday giveaway" (I turn 30 today) I'm giving everyone a chance to win a full day ticket to the event. 

Tickets go on sale to the public on March 10 & in the interest of sanity (tickets sales are crazy around here!) I've decided that I'm only going to have this giveaway open for the next three days and I will decide on the evening of the 9th so that everyone else (disappointed though you may be) may get a chance to buy your own if you do not win. 

Last side note: The person who wins this ticket get the pleasure of sitting next to me. If you win and we don't know one another, I officially promise to not chat your ear off while the speakers are talking... Most of the time anyway. 

To win: leave me a comment & / or shoot me a tweet telling me that you want to be entered into the giveaway. Yep- multiple tweets will be considered multiple entries but please be respectful of your community. 

So happy to make this giveaway happen and support curiosity, creativity, and community.  Happy March 6th.




48 Walks // Downtown Little Rock - Winter

by Paige Ray in ,

Another walk.
Another teaser Spring day.
Another afternoon of blue skies that threaten to drive even the murkiest of winter days away.

But, as I sit here typing, there is a quarter inch of ice on the ground and spring seems to be as real as a story I read sometime when I was young.  

Melodramatic?  Totally.
Ready for sunshine and Spring and warmer weather? Yes.

48walks Downtown Little Rock Arkansas 48walks Downtown Little Rock Arkansas architecture 48walks Downtown Little Rock Arkansas colored windows brick 48walks Downtown Little Rock Arkansas star details 48walks Downtown Little Rock Arkansas river market 48walks Downtown Little Rock Arkansas tree 48walks Downtown Little Rock Arkansas razorback 48walks Downtown Little Rock Arkansas parking garage

What are you doing to keep *Seasonal Affective Disorder away?
*Yes, this is a real thing and no I'm not teasing.  Pretty sure I've got to get myself to a sun lamp.

InstaMeetUp - Hot Springs, AR

by Paige Ray in

Who's up for a photowalk?

instameetuplogo01 blog.jpg

I am incredibly excited to officially announce my first meet up / photo walk. Combining my love of photography and social media, Instagram has been a favorite way to share moments from my life.  Connecting my online obsession with "real life" relationships is an exciting next step.

#SpaCityMeetUp Details 

Date: Saturday March 15th
Time: 8am-ish
*Location: Hot Springs, AR or On-Line (details below)
Meeting Place: The Arlington Hotel in Downtown Hot Springs, Lobby
**Theme: Spring
**RSVP: Use the hashtag #SpaCityMeetUp
***Prizes: Two separate $15 gift cards to Stickygram and The Arlington Hotel

*Obviously- it's a meet-up so I will be pumped to meet anyone who finds their way into the lobby of the hotel the morning of the 15th.  HOWEVER, the great thing about the Internet is that it is everywhere.  As a result I think anyone should be able to participate in a photowalk.  Keep reading to see how you can participate even if you're not in Hot Springs, Arkansas that day.

**Our theme is "Spring" because, as I type, I hear tiny pellets of ice assaulting my window and I am a little more than ready to welcome the new season.  I suspect many others out there are equally excited. So excited in fact that you will be welcoming the new colors and birdsong with some iPhone-ography celebration- so get to snapping.

***Tag any #Spring themed photograph you take between now and March 15th with the hashtag #SpaCityMeetUp and you (and any of your friends) are eligible to win the $15 Gift Certificate to Stickygram.  Because you need magnets; magnets are fun.
Check any of the #SpaCityMeetUp links to see real time updates of the latest posts.

Last thing: Be sure to RSVP on the MeetUp Facebook Page and let us know if you will be attending in person or virtually!

I'm really excited about this, but I know that first time events are full of holes and mini-disasters.
Have any of you hosted a MeetUp or photowalk?  What details am I missing?  Any gaping holes?  Please let me know.

48 Walks // Art Trail Crystal Bridges - Winter

by Paige Ray in ,

This walk happened during one of the many teasers that the Arkansas Spring gives to those who happen to experience its bits and pieces of good weather.  Like an unexpected visit from a good friend you're happy to see it come but, often, have no idea what to do once it arrives.

Should we take a walk?  Go to the museum?  Get a bite to eat?

I decided to vote "Yes!" to all of the above.  Though I intended to walk the Art Trail, I actually started in downtown Bentonville and took in all the happy people who were soaking up the sunshine and warmth.  Winding my down in between bikers and toddling families, the paved path was pleasantly busy.  The soft hum and slow movement of people mirrored the buds of the trees that are just beginning to peek out- slowly stretching out their energy, silently willing the sun to stay out just a little bit longer today.

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#5toFollow // Cancer Fighting Badasses

by Paige Ray in

Did you know that February is Cancer Prevention Month?  It's true.
Did you know that half of all cancer deaths could be prevented by making healthy choices like not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, eating right, keeping active, and getting recommended screening tests? It's true. 
Did you know that most everyone who has fought / is currently fighting cancer is a certified badass in my opinion? Again, true.

alt business card

Here are five people who are intelligent and talented ladies who totally own badass status in my opinion:

Just a note: The topic of cancer has been on my mind a lot lately- A family member just went into remission, one who just tested positive again.  A friend who had a big scare.  A recent acquaintance who actively supports people who went through what she once did.  And it's just got me thinking about community and ways to show support and love and strength and hope.

#5toFollow is a collection of folks guaranteed to brighten your day via your computer screen.   

48 Walks // Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges - Winter

by Paige Ray in ,

Walk two of 2014 and I'm hooked.

The day I walked the Dogwood Trail at Crystal Bridges I immediately thought two things: 

  • Why am I not running?
  • My fingers are cold.
  • This big camera is awkward.

The first was because this is a trail that I ran a few times back in the autumn and the thought of slowing down and really taking it in was a bit of a struggle at first.  The second was simply because I forgot to pack my gloves.  The third was because I lost my camera back in the summer and I haven't made it a priority to get familiar with it again.  

Instead of really pushing myself to play around with the DSLR, I stayed with the simplicity that is my iPhone. (Because cold fingers + awkward camera skills = bad shots.) 

Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas winter Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas winter trees Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas winter trees moss Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas winter log pile Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas winter tree rings Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas tree rings moss Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas winter sunset Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas cedar Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas winter sunset grass leaves Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas winter tree branches Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas winter art Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas winter sunset pines Dogwood Trail Crystal Bridges Arkansas art robert tannen grains of sand

This past week I've had the chance to get familiar again with my DSLR (thankful to the University of Wisconsin for having my camera's user manual on file).  While I don't foresee myself ever totally neglecting my iPhone (because the best camera really is the one you have with you), I'm happy to say I all my futures posts will be a happy mixture of both cameras. 

Any old skills you've had to brush up on recently? Or am I the only one who totally forgets how to work a piece of machinery after six months?

Lessons Learned // The Case of the Missing Camera

by Paige Ray in

I loved Nancy Drew growing up.  When I was starting my adventure in being a bibliophile in the 90's I didn't care that I was six decades late to the sleuthing party, I was just excited to take part in the search just like the millions of young girls who had come before me.  Ms. Drew was smart, poised, and always able to push the rules just enough so that she always came out a winner.  Totally loved her.

My love for all things mystery stopped at the end of the book however- I could never revel in real life mysteries. In childhood, The Mystery of the Lost Shoe, was more likely to be titled,  The "How can you manage to lose something that you just had yesterday?" Discussion.  In adulthood, The Mystery of the Lost Keys, was more likely to be titled,  The "How can you manage to lose something that you just had yesterday?" Discussion, Part Two.  

In fact, part of that is just my personality.  I'm forgetful, or really, a better description: absent-minded.  I am the woman who will put her purse in the freezer with all the other grocery sacks.  The one who has yet to establish a permanent location for those aforementioned keys since they still regularly show up in pant's pockets, jackets, purses, and, only occasionally, the key ring.

Canon EOS 60D

That's why, when my "nice camera" (i.e. my DSLR that my husband got for me as a birthday present two years ago) went missing, I just attributed it to the fact that I had misplaced it somewhere where it normally doesn't reside. I had just transitioned out of my internship with the Eureka Springs Downtown Network and into my current job.  I was planning two separate events and spending 60+ hours at work.  Surely, it was hiding somewhere in between the pile of unwashed clothes in the closet and the collection of life accumulating in the back seat of my car.
But I could never find it. 

And then, the morning, I was to take pictures for a friend's magazine assignment, I went through my entire house on the search for the misplaced camera, only to come up empty handed and totally flustered.  Yes, life had changed substantially in the six weeks between living the life of a freelancer/ intern and that day, as I was running late to my 40 hours a week behind a desk.  But had I changed so much that I didn't even care enough about what I had previously considered one of my most prized possessions? Did I simply lose it in the time it had gone unused because I hadn't cared enough about it?

Other than sending out a dejected tweet I didn't say too much.  
Acknowledging the loss would make it more real.  My irresponsibility would have no place to hide in the light of the ugly truth: I lost a piece of expensive machinery (and, more importantly, a gift from my love) that I had once considered an extension of my body. 
I was totally ashamed.

Fast forward, two months.  Still camera-less, still not telling anyone, still ignoring the horrid feeling of the floor being yanked out from under me every time I re-remembered I had lost it.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the most amazing cabin out in the woods for a writing retreat and, at the end of the evening, in the process of unpacking and getting ready for bed, my friend Jackie casually says, "So, I'm not sure how to give you this," as she proceeds to pull out my "nice camera" from her bag.

As I sat stunned and open jawed she explained how she went about finding it.  She had heard me mention not being able to find it.  "You sounded like you were trying to not care... but you didn't convince me," she smirked.  "So I figured I would go down to the police office since I knew you had it when we were working together at the end of the summer."

From there she proceeded to tell me how she actually had to make multiple trips to the Police Station to talk to multiple officers before they allowed her the opportunity to dig through the "lost and found" pile long enough to find my DSLR with it's distinctive silk scarf strap.  
It was around this point in her recollection of events that reaction had traveled from the original jaw drop to major emotion welling up in my throat and eyes.

"Whatever images you had are gone now," she said in an apologetic tone, pointing out the missing memory card.  And right there, at the end of my own, real life Nancy Drew case I sobbed.  Unlike the ever poised Nancy, I was simultaneously racked with joy filled laughter and flood with tears of relief.  Astonishment, love, and more than a twinge of the proceeding shame all swirled around me leaving me an absolute puddle of gratefulness for someone willing to go out of her way to help that friend who is perpetually 16 GB short of memory.

Thank you Jackie.  Thank you for being the kind of person who listens to what's not being said and goes the distance to really effect someone's life for the better.  I want to be more like you.

52 Lists // Ways to Love Others

by Paige Ray in

pink roses flower arrangement

making dinner // lunch dates // *making breakfast
*letters with actual stamps that actually get mailed
*sharing other bloggers posts // *knitting socks and scarves and mittens
going grocery shopping at the end of the day
*phone calls // *text check-ins // *putting down the phone

*things I'm still working on

What's your favorite way to love someone?  
Or - like me - what are you still working on?

48 Walks // The Old Barn

by Paige Ray in

A few weeks ago, The Mister was out of town and a dear friend invited me to go on a hike.  Despite my lack of Arkansas appropriate hiking gear (i.e. waterproof, lace up, hiking boots), I said yes.  During our walk, she mentioned our friend Alison Chino's #48Walks project. I love a hashtag challenge, and because I realize that I'm often guilty of not getting outdoors as much as I should, I hope to use the community associated around this project to help motivate me to enjoying the Ozarks in my backyard.
A personal bonus:  This gives me another reason to spend time with my camera.
Personal bonus number two: It's healthy. 

Check out the #48walks Facebook group and search for the hashtag on Instagram.

Fallen fence with a view Danger. Do not enter. Light Barn wood I think I'm about to slide off the mountain. Old red barn Color via the mail Red chair, red flower

Book Review // The Cuckoo's Calling

by Paige Ray in

Admit it -

You, at one time or the other have wished and wanted to be (or at the very least wondered) a celebrity.   Reading The Cuckoo's Calling gives you a taste of the craziness that surrounds that life.  Keep reading for the full review.  

Photo Credit: Mariko2 - Klingonian Prom via Flickr

Photo Credit: Mariko2 - Klingonian Prom via Flickr

Book Voted Most Photogenic - The Cuckoo's Calling

I don't really like mysteries.  They seem overly contrived and generally a reader can see "whodunit" a quarter of the way through the book.  But this story, written but J.K. Rowling under the name "Robert Galbraith" pulled me in with a combination of good reviews and, yes I admit it, a chance to see if Ms. Rowling could live up to her own Harry Potter fame. 

Why this book rocked: 

  • As I mentioned before- the taste one gets of the life of the famous is simultaneously intoxicating and claustrophobic.  
    The writing gives you just enough details so that you start to wonder what it would be like to wonder if your friends were selling to secrets to the media or if your phone was bugged.
  • As is often the case with great characters, the protagonist Kept.Messing.Up.
    But, for some reason, I rooted for him the whole book. 
  • I didn't know who did it!!!
    This is the biggest pro I could give a book in this genre.  I started reading because of the famous author factor.  Kept reading because I didn't hate the characters. And finished the book when, I truthfully couldn't figure out who was responsible for the plot.  The author manages to give true clues - small snippets of the truth -  that, even strung together, don't give a full picture of the answer to the mystery.  #goodstuff

Why this book rocked... less:

  • I don't have much hate for this story.  I even like the many divergences the the author throws in the book just to throw the reader off the scent.  My only unanswered question: Is there going to be a sequel?!?

Read it?
Love it? Hate it?  
Let me know.

52 Lists // What Are You Grateful For

by Paige Ray in

Is this week five or week six? Super unsure at this moment but here it is.

Photo Credit // CC Tafalgar by Infamecless via Flickr

Photo Credit // CC Tafalgar by Infamecless via Flickr

// Artists who allow their work to be shared via Creative Commons //
electric blankets // electricity in general
sushi // fried chicken // Sonic drinks
good pencils // superfine glitter // thick watercolor paper // new notebooks // nice pens
snow days to catch up with work // Spring and the end of snow days
puppy snuggles // drives into the woods
loved ones who care about me even if they only see my once every 4 months when we happen to be in the same grocery store
// good mentors //

OLW - Grow // February Update

by Paige Ray in

My monthly goals for my One Little Word of 2014 : Grow 

(a review)

  • January // Grow Purposely (plan with intention, with an eye toward goals)
  • February //Grow Bold (stand up for myself and my ideas)
  • March // Grow Up (celebrate the beginning of my third decade)
  • April // Grow Peaceful (meditate) 
  • May // Grow Out (do new scary things)
  • June // Grow Friendships (establish habits that keep my in touch with my community)
  • July // Grow Loud (Grow Bold, part 2)
  • August // Grow Knowledge (learn and teach, be a mentor)
  • September // Grow Beautiful (self-care, not vanity)
  • October // Grow Playful (be spontaneous, laugh)
  • November // Grow Together (spend time nurturing my relationship with my husband)
  • December // Grow Confident (Grow Bold, part 3)

How I did - January // Grow Purposely:

The first month of 2014 I wanted to be super intentional about planing out a great year to come.  Here's the breakdown of how it went.

The Good: 

The Bad: 

  • The Day Designer won't arrive until late April. #bummer
  • It would be safe to say I got a bit more than "a little caught up" in planing for Alt Summit.

Outcome of the Past Month:

  • Unsuccessful.  While, in the past few days, I've had a couple down moments to breathe and think about planning, overall I was disappointed in my efforts to intentionally plan out this year during this month. I hope these blog posts will keep me accountable for the rest of the year.

February // Grow Bold *stand up for myself and my ideas

The Plan:

Here's the thing- I'm disappointed that I didn't make time for myself to plan and make my January goal happen.  It's with that in mind that, during Superbowl Sunday (February 2nd), I sat down with my calendar and scheduled planning sessions for the rest of the month.  If I can't make time to respect myself and my own intentions, how should I expect anyone else to do the same? 

Do you have a "word" for 2014?  If so, how's it going?

Alt Summit // Lessons Learned

by Paige Ray in

Alt Summit was established as

a conference for design bloggers to increase their effectiveness and learn more about this hobby that so many people realized had business potential.  And while, during my time there, I was able to glean bits and pieces of the inner workings of the social media machine (Pinterest, and Insta, and Google Plus - oh my!) my main takeaway from the conference had nothing to do with the business side of blogging and everything to do with my mind set.


Abundance vs Scarcity

I mentioned in a recent post about how I really appreciated Whitney English's attitude toward life.  One thing I specifically took away from she and Hillary Rushford's session of Overcoming Overwhelm was a comment she made about transitioning away from a mindset of scarcity to an abundance mentality.  The thing that affected me the most is she's not just blowing smoke: This is a woman who, over the course of a decade, grew a beautiful creative based small business, only to close shop a year ago. She was sharing out of personal experience and pain instead of the desire to say and do that right thing in a group of virtual strangers.

"You drive where you look."

Surely I wasn't the only teenage driver who's father, in the midst of an anxiety attack, repeated the phrase "You drive where you look," multiple times in an attempt to have me focus on the road ahead instead of the unusually steep ditch, the cow out in the field, or the oncoming semi truck.I realized after listening to Whitney's story and letting it settle and meld in the days after Alt that "abundance vs scarcity" works in the same way.  If I focus on fear and negativity (scarcity) then I'm not allowing myself to focus on where I really want to go (abundance).

I get so caught up in the potential downsides of an idea (looking at the ditch) that I never take the first step to make it a reality.  While being a realist is good, inaction almost never is.

I look around at all the other people who have amazing blogs / amazing careers / amazing lives and all their accomplishments (looking at the ditch), I get discouraged at my own ability to hit those same milestones.  Comparison never works. 

I envision the difference between where I am and where I want to be and I am daunted by the vast space in between (looking at the ditch) all while forgetting that the small steps I take every day are the same ones that get me closer to my dreams or further away from them.

#AltSummit inspired me to quit looking at the ditch and focus on abundance.

Tweet this!

There's my takeaway from Alt Summit 2014.  

If you went - what's yours?
If you didn't - have you heard of the Abundance mentality? Do you practice it?  If so, how?

Alt Summit // #AltRep

by Paige Ray in

And sometimes a girl just lucks out...


The crazies above were the same wonderful ladies who invited me to go on this beautiful Alt Summit adventure with them.

They were the face and voices that started off every session at Alt.  Introducing speakers, working out tech difficulties, and generally making the whole thing run a bit smoother. Meanwhile I was running, helping, making things happen behind the scenes (like spending time with the chicks from Furbish before their lunch event).  

In between these girls were my encouragers and I was happy to be their champion.  After a full day of running, the four of us found ourselves energized by telling one another what we had learned / who we had met / and what we had planned over the span of the day.
In a word, it was amazing.  

Being an AltRep made me realize:

  • being in the thick of things is where I thrive.  
  • helping others is my happy place.
  • working with people whose work you admire is makes the sweetness that accompanies a full day's work even sweeter.

Huge thanks to Sarah and Gabrielle for taking part in this experiment. 
Huge thanks to everyone that followed the #altrep stream during the event and encouraged us.

52 Lists // Current Goals and Dreams

by Paige Ray in

I interrupt this Alt Summit recap week to continue Moorea Seal's 52 Lists.
And yes, I met her at Alt and she was *great.


Current Goals:

// Make connecting with current and potential mentors a priority // Enhance my public speaking abilities //  Continue learning about my chosen field // Nurture my friendships //
// See things from "30,000 feet" **don't get so caught up doing small things that I miss the bigger picture** // Develop a thicker skin // Cook dinner once a week (small steps guys) // Plan a garden for spring // Take more photographs // Travel //
// Make more art // Laugh more with my husband // Peruse house plans // 

*Great = humble, friendly, sweet, and all the other things you don't expect from a virtual blogstar

Alt Summit // #5toFollow [Bonus Edition]

by Paige Ray in

Yes, I already did this once earlier today, but, in addition to all the cool people I learned of /met for the first time at Alt Summit, there were all these lovely ladies.  These were women who I had connections of some kind (long email conversations, GChats, Google Plus Hangouts, and even some IRL [in real life] sessions) but who I don't get to see very often (if at all). 

So lucky to have the chance to get to know them better at Alt.


Go show these ladies some love.  I promise your life will be a bit shinier if you do.

Alt Summit // #5toFollow

by Paige Ray in

Alt Summit was great for many reasons.

The knowledge, the experience, the ambition, the charisma of so many smart creative women.  Seriously, so much good stuff.  

But the best part is the part that everyone says is the best part:

  • Interacting with all the lovely people.

Here are five of the many insanely smart women that, one way or another, made an impression on me at Alt:

  • Whitney English of
    She spoke at the first session of Alt (nerve wracking!) and I have fallen in love with her attitude toward life.  Plus her Day Designer is gorgeous.
  • Stacie of Gingiber
    She was a neighbor here in Northwest Arkansas but moved away before we had the chance to be properly introduced.  But over breakfast my first morning in Utah her calming presence and kind words were exactly the thing I needed.  
  • Meg of Meg in Progress  
    An incredible writer and lovely soul.  Her writing is simultaneously soul bearing and poetic.
  • Melissa of Lulu the Baker 
    This mama works it:  Not only is every recipe on her blog pinnable but she's also documenting the process of designing and building her dream house for Better Homes and Gardens.
  • Anne of Flax and Twine 
    Her focus is on making beautiful handmade objects. Not only does she do handmade beautifully but she is also bright and warm and kind.

And another for a bonus

  • Lisa of Lisli
    Yes- I mentioned her before Alt but it was even more amazing meeting her in person.

Go see these ladies and, if you feel so inclined, encourage them to keep doing good work.

Alt Summit // Fashion

by Paige Ray in

Yep: This is a sponsored post.

Admission: The word "fashion" stresses me out.

Yes, I realize it's "just clothes".
Yes, I realize that most people are too concerned out their own outfit to care about mine.
Yes, I realize that shopping and everything that goes along is generally looked at as our nation's national past time.

But guys-
On a general basis, I strongly dislike the whole shopping experience.

So when the local boutique *Riffraff offered to sponsor the "fashion" portion of my trip to Alt Summit I was simultaneously excited, grateful, and terrified.  My thoughts: "Oh my gosh that's so awesome." "Oh my gosh, what if I'm not cute enough to represent them??"  "Oh my gosh, how will I ever pick between all the cuteness residing in their store??"

Luckily their blog and Pinterest came to the rescue to tame my fashion spurred anxiety ridden thoughts.  Check out the Pin Board I made of inspiration pieces below.

The fashion inspiration outcome:

  • Statement necklaces balanced with tiny pieces.
  • Bold color.
  • Easy wearing sweaters.
  • Pieces that I could layer and wear to work.

Fashion anxiety for a convention that is notoriously fashion conscious: under control. 

Want to share in the #riffrafflove?

Use the code "altsummit" to get 20% off your next order! (And, at the expense of sounding like a used car salesman: Hurry this offer won't last forever!) 

Bonus points: The whole month of February all shipping over $50 is free.

*Riffraff was started in 2009 by local interior design student Kirsten Blowers when her mother's day care moved out of their space a few months before the rent was up.  Kirsten made an arrangement with her mom to use the space to sale the furniture and art that she was making outside of her school work.  As graduation grew closer, Kirsten realized that this place that had started as a way to support her hobby had turned into a fully functioning small business.  Realizing the store's potential she expanded her line to women's fashion and hasn't looked back since.  Check out more about them here.

Book Review // Made to Stick

by Paige Ray in

January was insane.

While I would have preferred to get through more books than the two I finished I will take it.


Photo Credit : Naomi of Mariko2 via Flikr 
// This art has nothing to do with the book but I think it's beautiful.
Check her out and wait to be inspired. // 

Book voted Most Popular:

First let me say, I'm not generally a "hater".  I'm not a big fan of complaining and / or spreading negative things on this thing called the interwebs.  If I'm not a fan of something I prefer to let is pass without comment.  However, in the manner of all my new favorite hashtag #keepitreal2014, I will be "reviewing" both the good and the bad.    

It's with that in mind that I award Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath the "Most Popular" award.  Just like in high school, even the popular girl has her detractors.

This book was great because:  

  • Some of the ideas were truly "sticky". If you haven't heard / implemented the phrase "the curse of knowledge" into your business vocabulary, I would recommend you read this book for this snippet of knowledge that weaves itself through the book.

This book was less than great because:

  • It was a bit long winded.  
    This was one of those "reads" (well "listens" in my case #audiblenerd) that I wanted to yell at and say, "Okay.  I get it, You've made your point.  Wrap it up!" 
  • SPOILER ALERT. The moral of the story was people remember stories not statistics.  It is a good and valid point that, at this point in my own marketing life, seems a bit stale.  
    That being said, this book was published in '07.  For anyone interested in modern day marketing the chance that you have heard and reheard this mantra is quite high.  I would argue that this book was so influential when it first came out (almost a decade ago) that it saturated the "thought market" and, by just now reading it, I was less than wowed with the content.

Would I recommend it?

  • Yes, to a high school senior who is interested in pursuing marketing as a career.

It looks pretty business-y.  Is it just for business people?

  • No.  While the strategy/ illustrations are definitely pointed toward those in business management and marketing, it also speaks to scientific research and teachers.  I would argue that even moms could cull some takeaways from this book.

Have you read it?  Did you love it?
If so, when did you read it?  Were you a part of the initial crowd or were you, like me, behind the times?