Italy {Bellagio and Off To Florence}

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I have loved looking through my Italy Instagram photos for these posts.

I didn’t pick up my camera very often and I have to admit that using mainly my phone made me enjoy the moments more.

I want to make a book with all of the Italy Instagram photos and I will let you know what company I go with (and how it turns out).

We are now on days 5, 6, 7 and 8.

You can read about the previous days HERE and HERE.

On day 5 Kelly and I started it with a cappuccino in the beautiful breakfast room of the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni.

I loved that we had our own routine and even the waiters knew us each morning.

Teresa Collins taught a scrapbook journal class and I later taught a painting class.

It was a full day of creating!

After class Kelly and I headed to the pool for a few hours before we met up with everyone at dinner.

We had a beautiful meal on the patio of Restaurante Bilacus.

{on Instagram everyone teased that this looked like a scene from a soap opera}

As you can tell our group got along VERY well!

The next morning we all met bright and early for a day excursion to Como.

I enjoy the smaller villages around the lake more than the larger city of Como but it was full of beautiful images that I couldn’t stop wanting to capture.

{I even found an art supply shop}

I stopped to see George on our way back to Bellagio and he sends his love:-)

I was so tired from the day of walking all over Como and then the long ferry ride put me right to sleep.

Once we arrived back in Bellagio we were enjoying an afternoon rain.

That evening I had an amazing dinner all alone with my boyfriend.

It was so nice to have the quiet of the evening together to just talk about this incredible area and our dreams to come back with our children.

The next day started off with the last class by Teresa Collins and the afternoon was spent at the beach.

I still can’t believe I captured this photo of Kelly diving into Lake Como.

This has to be framed and saved forever!

You couldn’t have paid me to dive into water where I can’t see the bottom.

Creeps!

The grand finale of the retreat was dinner at Mistral.

Every thing was so beautifully presented and the ice cream make using liquid nitrogen was awesome!

As cappuccinos were being served they asked us to come outside for a surprise.

We all made our way to the pergola overlooking Lake Como.

Waiting for us was the men’s choir of Bellagio and they gave us a concert in Italian.

It was the perfect ending to one of the most incredible experiences.

That night as we climbed into bed it was sad to know that it was over.

We were also excited though because the next morning a new adventure would begin for just the two of us….

We were off to Florence!

{Registration is now open for Laura’s retreat next year along Lake Como}

Flashback Friday {Inspired: What Katie Ate}

{Originally posted on January 31, 2011}

About a month ago my friend Kim shared a website with me that I had never seen.

What Katie Ate is a foodie blog by Katie Quinn Davies.

From the moment I saw it I was mesmerized.

In fact, I wanted to live in the blog and perhaps roll around naked in a few of the recipes.

I do not regulary photograph food…but the way she stages and photographs will inspire you no matter what you love to shoot through the lens.

Everything from the very original way she shares her recipes to the typography she chooses.

I ooh and aah through every post and it makes my mind go a mile a minute with so many new ideas for my own line of clothing and art.

Isn’t that amazing how that works!

I can look at beautifully photographed food and it gives me ideas for photographing my own lines of clothing and ways I want to express myself on my blog.

One of the best pieces of practical advice that I heard while at Alt was to look outside your area of expertise or knowledge for inspiration.

That doesn’t mean copy…it means find things that INSPIRE!

Inspired ideas are those beautiful ideas that open your  mind and heart to all of the original ideas inside yourself.

Where are you finding inspiration lately?

Living Beyond Happiness {Reaching For The Joy}

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{image found HERE}

I hear it all of the time…

You deserve to be happy

I deserve to be happy

If I only had xyz… I would be happy

It is not that happy is a bad word.

I just know that there is more!

{image found HERE}

You are surrounded by it every day.

Surrounded by this idea that happy belongs to you and it you aren’t living it every second than you are doing something wrong or you deserve more.

Advertisers try to convince you that with their product you will have happiness.

In my recent Lucky Magazine they actually have a page that says “Fill The Void” and they had little stickies so you could tag everything in the magazine you wanted.

It was a joke..but was it really?

{image found HERE}

Heck..it is happy…what can be so wrong with a word like happy?!

Let’s get something straight before we go any farther…

There is nothing wrong with being happy.

I am not some sad, martyr of a person that loves to revel in my day to day monotony….honest:-)

I just want to suggest that there is something better waiting for you if you sometimes put “happy” aside and reach for the joy instead.

{image found HERE}

When I think of something that makes me happy I think of things that bring be short term happiness.

They are wonderful things and I appreciate them but….

When I think of joy I think of a state of being.  A way that I feel, live, believe, breath…no matter my circumstances.

Stay with me…I swear I will get this out and I hope at the end it makes sense.

{image found HERE}

I sat down with my kids and we all brainstormed some of the times that we chose the thing that brought immediate “happiness” and we wish we wouldn’t have.  We talked about how when you think of yourself and only what you want right now and what will make you happy right now…sometimes there are consequences and they can later rob your joy.

I was surprised how honest they were about their own choices and how they completely understood what I was trying to say.

{image found HERE}

We have also watched a few of our close family friends go through heartbreaking separations/affairs/substance dependence etc. this past year and we have watched daddies (and mommies) leave to be happy…but they don’t seem that happy.  They wanted more.  I know that what they thought they would find if they left…they haven’t found.  They were running after happy when with a little work joy could have been at their doorstep.

It is a healthy person that can prioritize their gifts and needs and do things in their lives that bring happiness and joy.  I am just trying to say where did we ever think we had the “right” to be happy?

To me it is no different than the people that are shocked that life isn’t “fair”.  Who ever told you that one? Sorry to disappoint you but life and fair don’t really go together.

I am a mom of three children, married, homeschool my kids and run a business.

I have to make decisions from the second I wake up (and many days when I am woken up before I am ready) about will I do what I want or do what is the best.

Sometimes that choice can be hard to make and other days it is obvious and easy.

I am a pretty selfish person by nature and I have to fight with myself a lot some days to do better…do more…do what is right.

If you are a mom I know you know this struggle.

If you are a parent I know you know this struggle.

If you are dealing with a sick family member I know you know this struggle.

Heck, if you are alive….I know you know this struggle!

I want to hear about the happiness you sometimes say no to ..so you can live in the joy.

Definition of Happiness:

a pleasurable or satisfying experience

Definition of Joy:

a state of well-being and contentment

Here is the quick list we came up with and I hope you see something you can relate with here.

{image found HERE}

I think that we sometimes forget how much better joy feels than happiness.

I love happy.

I experience it every day.

I do many things for me and I am so thankful for times when I can think just about me and my needs and wants.

That is healthy too.

I hope you know what I am trying to say though.

That shouldn’t be my search.

That shouldn’t be my goal.

Think of all that I would be missing if it were!

I would love to hear your examples of choosing joy.

Easy Instagram Tips {filters and so much more}

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I love my Canon 5D Mark ii.

I really do.

I have been cheating on it for awhile now though and I am not ashamed.

I use the inferior camera on my iphone everyday and I use Instagram to document our days.

It is not just the ease of Instagram that has me hooked but all the awesome apps that you can purchase to instantly change your photos.

That whole instant thing is pretty fun and convenient.

I thought before my trip I would share with you all some of my favorite camera phone apps.

First of all is Instagram.

If you aren’t playing along I highly suggest it.

In a glance I can see the beautiful highlights of my friend’s days.

I catch more of our everyday with my iphone than I do with my big camera.

The Canon is awesome but…

It is big.

It is heavy.

Before I upload a photo to Instagram I really like to use one of the following apps (or even a combination of a few).

100 Cameras

This is so super easy.  You take a photo or upload one into the app and it gives you 100 options.  Pretty cool. Pretty easy.

I took a photo of one of my clock collections and here are three examples of what you can do…

Finger Focus

I like this app because unlike Instagram and some of the other focus choices….this one actually only focuses where you drag your finger.

Very cool and nice for when you want to highlight more than a circle or rectangle like some of the other apps.

(fyi..this is a work in progress so she looks a little scary right now:-))

Histamatic

This is just a fun app!  It will instantly make your photos look like an old Histamatic phone..duh.

I guess I didn’t have to explain that one.

Scratch Cam

You would think the name would explain this one but I will go ahead and explain anyways.  I am awesome like that.

You have tons of overlays that will give your photo an aged and scratched up look. Tons of options and your results can be surprising and beautiful.

I just took a quick photo to show you.  I am sorry for the photo…end of the day and not looking too styling!

Aren’t these effects so cool!?

iDarkroom

I use this one a lot!  Lots of control over the photo and also so fun effects.

I use iDarkroom when I really want a high contrast like in a black and white.  I find that other apps don’t do B&W justice.

You can also add bokeh to your photos like this…

Pic Stitch

I don’t do a lot of collages…probably because they take longer than the average 2 seconds I like to take on my photos:-)

When I do collages this is the app I use.

Typolnsta

This is the app I use to add text. Lots of font, color, sizing choices etc. and really fast and simple.

I am sure there are a million apps out there for text but this is the main one I use.

8mm

This is not a photo app but I wanted to include it anyways because I love it and…why not?

This is a fun and fast way to take video and make it look old.  Lots of choices and really easy.

I have even used it to make artsy videos for my e-courses.

I have an iphone so my links are iphone related descriptions but most of these are available for different phones.

I have tried LOTS of apps and these are my favorites and the ones I use the most.

I would love to hear what you use!

I promise to use the Canon in France:-)

{I can’t promise that I won’t be giving daily updates with the iphone though:-)}

6 more sleeps until France!

Up Close and Personal {The Sophie}

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When we have a brand new bag that we are launching I like to give you a closer look at the bag.

I hope this is the next best thing to you being here at our studio.

Today I want to give you a closer look at the Sophie Leather Messenger Bag.

Here are some of the sweet highlights of this gorgeous handmade bag.

The Sophie

* made from soft buffalo leather

* closes with a substantial rounded flap

* silver rivets on each side of the bag attaching the strap

* adjustable buckle strap

* three custom made leather flowers attached

* roomy inside shell to throw everything you need (large enough to carry your camera and an extra lens)

The Sophie measures 15 1/2″ x 13″

The adjustable strap will adjust from 40″-45″

All of our products have shipping included.

We are so proud to say that all of our bags are made here in the United States.

We think this point is a pretty big deal.

We love offering jobs to other men and women in our community, being hands on with each product we develop, using high quality materials and supporting the made in America movement.

We have built our brand on quality and attention to detail and I know you will recognize this in the new Sophie.

I hope you will take a peek at the short video we made to show off this new bag to you:-)

Are You The Winner? {Come and Find Out}

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Thank you for everyone that has been loving on our new Vintage Collection!

Thank you for telling your friends and family.

{vintage yellow dress}

Thank you for sharing it through Facebook, Twitter and your blogs.

Thank you for all your pins on Pinterest.

We are a small business that has the honor of constantly growing because of YOU!

{Lucy Ruffle Tote}

We have been crazy busy over here lovingly wrapping up hundreds of orders.

Packages are being shipped all over the world and we are truly giddy over that!

{Check out all of our new jewelry}

I guess you want to know who the winner of the $500 giveaway package is:-)

The winner is #35 (And may I add how happy I was to have a low number to count to. Just saying.)

So who IS #35?

nadia commented:

it is all so lovely congrats, how exciting. i love everything, i do but the Polly bag she is extra special, love the blues and greens.

well done!

Congratulations Nadia!

Email me at Jeanneoliverdesigns@gmail.com and we can talk over all the fun details:-)

{Emerson Handbag}

For everyone else I hope you have found something special in the shop for yourself!

{our ring collections}

If you have not taken a look…. please do!

We would love, love, love to wrap something up for you.

{Sophie Leather Messenger Bag}

 Next week we have all kinds of fun posts for you.

Have a wonderful weekend and see you on Monday!

{lots of new leather cuffs}

Old Glory Antique Show {and time with the Fancy Farmgirl}

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(all of the photos were taken by my phone in tons of sunlight..sorry)

I live in Colorado as most of you know.

We are known for our beautiful mountains, incredible weather, occasional wildfires, Tebowing and hiking.

Not known for amazing shows.

When my friends in the PNW are all heading out to the Farm Chicks show I am just a tad jealous.

When my midwest friends all pile into a car to shop at the Country Living Fair I mope a little.

When my beachy friends get to go to Remnants of the Past I live vicariously through them.

There are amazing shows coast to coast but Colorado is not famous for that.

Thank goodness Holly Kuhn of Old Glory Antiques has brought back the Old Glory Antique Fair.

(I am looking very serious in this photo. I guess I was being incognito:-))

Lucky me that Holly hired my good friend, Tiffany Kircher-Dixon, to photograph the show.

While Tiffany worked I shopped.

Probably not the smartest  idea.

She earned money and I spent money.

Holly, do you have a job for me next year???

We never get rain.

We dance for rain here.

Pray for rain.

Make offerings to the rain gods.

Nothing.

On the first day of the show the dark clouds starting to roll in.

Then winds.

Then rain.

Then hail.

Then thunder.

Then lightning.

We decided finding shelter inside a tent that was made predominately out of metal was probably not the best idea.

Tiffany and I made a mad dash for the car.

Of course we were on the opposite side of the show from my Jeep.

We were soaked by the time we made it and quite out of breath which makes me think I should be doing a little more running this summer.

(us drenched)

To say my husband and children have fallen in love with Tiffany would be an understatement.

Maddy cried when Tiffany left and may or may not have asked her to be blood sisters.

I better check if blood was shared.

It was a whirlwind of vintage shopping, laughter, margaritas and a family totally crushing on the Fancy Farmgirl.

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Creatively Made has started this week but there is still time to register.

The course will stay open until the end of October.

Here is a little shout out from me about the course.