Hello, It's Me Again

Hi friends,

So let’s just drop some harsh truths. I've been slowly phasing out Hey Love Designs to the point where I'm going to shut it down.

Did you know how it began? I was a bored government contractor who needed an outlet for my creativity. I found every excuse to throw a party or volunteer myself to plan or style a party. It was also an exciting time for blogs. In 2010, after a few encouraging friends and family members told me I should make this a business, I dove right in.

The outpouring of support motivated me to make this a thing. I wanted this to become a full time gig and even found my niche as a blogger (this was before people started calling themselves “influencers.”). I learned everything I could about building a brand, social media, being an entrepreneur, and hustling hard (also before words like “bossy lady” and “girl boss” were a thing). I went from designing party goodies to full wedding invitation suites to calligraphy. Eventually I would want to open a studio that allowed creatives to gather in a common place. It could double as a workshop or event space. It was amazing to see how Hey Love Designs would transform over the years.

Snapseed 10.jpg

Then I moved to California and joined an awesome start up company. I’d like to think that everything I learned to run Hey Love Designs was what got me hired, since I didn’t have much marketing experience. I then found myself getting to be creative at work, but also jumping into start up life - aka, I worked a lot, but it was super meaningful work. I had a new purpose. I found myself with less time to blog, but was still creating just for fun. Then work got a little more demanding, and I found that in my free time, I just wanted to play outside, spend time with quality people and dogs, and also just be lazy and chill on the couch having a good Netflix binge. My priorities changed to a life of leisure and not a life of working all the time.

For the last three years I let Hey Love Designs kind of coast. I had ways of making passive income with digital items, I didn’t really blog anymore, and I shared whatever other creative stuff on Instagram. Eventually, I had to face the facts. Hey Love Designs was starting to become a chore. If someone commissioned me for a job, I had to decide if was worth my freedom. My freedom? What the heck?

Even if I was getting paid to work on something, I had to reason with myself if I had time to devote to it. Did I want to stress myself out trying to do a perfect job (because I am a perfectionist)? I even threw some people some favors and gave discounts because it was “just for fun” and that kind of bit me in the butt. In the end it’s time and money that I don’t have to spare. I had to stop accepting commissions. That’s when I realized that Hey Love Designs is just not what it used to be. It’s not a brand. It’s not my company anymore.

So what does this mean, exactly? I’m not going to promote Hey Love Designs anymore. I’m going to let the website run until the domain expires. I’ll remove all the old useless blog posts. I may still let my passive income sources continue running on their own, and you may see “heylovedesigns” exist somewhere on social, but I am not a business. I have nothing to promote.

Maybe I’ll make a new website that just holds my creative work. Maybe I’ll use it as a portfolio. Maybe it will be something completely different. Maybe I'll still take commissions on a very selective case by case basis (and none for free! I’ve learned that the hard way.). I want to leave that up in the air, and I promise I’ll share what the next chapter is once it becomes something.

A New Home and the Beginnings of a Studio Makeover

Hi friends!

Do you know how many times this past year I've said "I'm gonna get back into blogging!" The intention was there. The thoughts have been in my brain. But when it came down to making time to sit and blog, my heart just wasn't in it. That's not to say I haven't been creating. I still love crafting. But when you spend so much time on a computer for work, immersed in the world of blogging and social media, well, at the end of the day you just don't want to look at it in your free time.

Also in this new age of insta-everything, it's so much easier to just share on Snapchat or Instagram. Also, I'm lazy. But here's the thing - on Snapchat, those moments disappear. On Instagram, you can't fully tell the story. I had a big change in my life recently that made me really want to document what is happening, and that's why I'm back.

I'll spare the long gruesome story that led me to where I am today, but I will share that I am now the proud renter of a studio apartment that's a half-mile walk to the beach. 

I never thought I could afford to live alone again, however this place popped up at the right time and at the right place. I fought hard to beat the competition to get this place, and now it's mine.

westsiderentals

It's what's called a "bachelor unit" which means it's a studio apartment with no kitchen. "WHAT?!" you say? "Don't you love cooking?" you say? Again, I never thought I'd live in a place without a kitchen but when I thought about the fact that I could live a few blocks from the ocean, and in a safe neighborhood, BY MYSELF, I knew I would make it work.

In my last temporary space I barely used the kitchen because it was inaccessible and inhospitable. I learned the art of using the microwave to cook. I could do this. I would learn to be a grill master. I could cook on a single burner just like those cool Tasty videos. I could eat more fresh salads and bowls that require minimal cooking. If I really wanted to make a feast, I could borrow a friend's kitchen space. I've checked out other studio rentals with sad kitchens and knew I could create something better. I'm a crafty and determine gal. I'm going to make it work!

Am I fooling myself? Probably. But hey, I live alone and IT FEELS SO GREAT!

From day 1 I've been working tirelessly to make sure this place not only feels like home but is super cute. Let's break the stereotype that a "bachelor" unit is just for men. I'm going to make this space fit for a lady.

Here are some sneak peeks of how I'm turning this place around...

 From day 1 I've been working tirelessly to make sure this place not only feels like home but is super cute. Let's break the stereotype that a "bachelor" unit is just for men. I'm going to make this space fit for a lady. | Hey Love Designs

First and foremost, this place needed a fresh coat of paint. This weird brown-pink color on the walls and the brown carpet just weren't doing it for me. I asked my sweet landlord if I could paint the walls by providing some image examples to assure her that it wouldn't be anything crazy. I went with Juniper Breeze by Behr. Doesn't it look so much brighter? Even the agent couldn't believe the transformation.

 From day 1 I've been working tirelessly to make sure this place not only feels like home but is super cute. Let's break the stereotype that a "bachelor" unit is just for men. I'm going to make this space fit for a lady. | Hey Love Designs

The next thing that was essential to put together was my sleeping area. A girl and her dog need somewhere to sleep, right? And sit.. and work... and eat... No joke, for a few weeks my bed also served as a couch and dinner table.

 From day 1 I've been working tirelessly to make sure this place not only feels like home but is super cute. Let's break the stereotype that a "bachelor" unit is just for men. I'm going to make this space fit for a lady. | Hey Love Designs

Shelf DIY courtesy of Why Don't You Make Me.

 From day 1 I've been working tirelessly to make sure this place not only feels like home but is super cute. Let's break the stereotype that a "bachelor" unit is just for men. I'm going to make this space fit for a lady. | Hey Love Designs

The next important area to put together was my "kitchenette!" As mentioned above, this place doesn't have a kitchen, so I knew I had to create one. The sink area in this unit has a good amount of counter space for prep work, but I knew I wanted a little kitchen island to store all my cooking gadgets. I bought this island from Wayfair and decided to cover the top with marble contact paper (affiliate link) to make it look a little glam. I also am going to hang this grid which is a fun way to display some of my prettier kitchen gadgets.

 From day 1 I've been working tirelessly to make sure this place not only feels like home but is super cute. Let's break the stereotype that a "bachelor" unit is just for men. I'm going to make this space fit for a lady. | Hey Love Designs
 From day 1 I've been working tirelessly to make sure this place not only feels like home but is super cute. Let's break the stereotype that a "bachelor" unit is just for men. I'm going to make this space fit for a lady. | Hey Love Designs

Next came the couch. I debated getting a sleeper sofa (in love with this!) for any guests, but in the end I reminded myself that it's best to fit the space you're in. I could have fit a full-sized couch, but it might have made my place look cramped. I settled on this adorable love seat from Wayfair which is the perfect size for Nico and I to snuggle up. I can stretch my legs out if I prop the pillows up against the arm, but really, if I want to lay down my bed is literally 4 ft away.

This is the temporary set up which I'll outfit with a rug, coffee table, chairs, and more decor soon.

The rest of the space is coming together which I'll share soon, as well as more details on where I sourced everything. I'm really excited that I have a new sense of purpose to share on this blog again and I hope you enjoy this journey as the place comes together.

Here are some other cute decor things I've done to add to my unit.

 From day 1 I've been working tirelessly to make sure this place not only feels like home but is super cute. Let's break the stereotype that a "bachelor" unit is just for men. I'm going to make this space fit for a lady. | Hey Love Designs

Adding curtains was required. My unit gets so much light thanks to the sliding glass door, so I knew I didn't want anything heavy or dark, but I needed just enough coverage to keep any peepers at bay. I don't have anyone that could look directly into my unit, so I chose these sheer white curtains (affiliate link) to diffuse any peepers at night, but still allow tons of light during the day.

Nico approves. If you follow my IG stories or Snapchat, I like to document the crazy ways he wraps himself in the curtains. It's his "room."

 From day 1 I've been working tirelessly to make sure this place not only feels like home but is super cute. Let's break the stereotype that a "bachelor" unit is just for men. I'm going to make this space fit for a lady. | Hey Love Designs

This calligraphy wall hangs in my "studio workspace" area, however half of the pieces have fallen down. I'm currently researching cool mood boards I can create to hang these more securely. The wall has a bumpy texture, so washi tape doesn't adhere very well. Whomp.

 From day 1 I've been working tirelessly to make sure this place not only feels like home but is super cute. Let's break the stereotype that a "bachelor" unit is just for men. I'm going to make this space fit for a lady. | Hey Love Designs

I didn't really have a plan for this little corner behind my door, but when a friend offered a free shelf, I happily took it off her hands. It was black and I painted it with a dark grey chalk paint. It now serves as my entryway table and holds my keys, Nico's leash and treats, and some books.

Do you know how hard it is to style a bookshelf when you don't have anything to style with?

I love succulents because these are tough to kill and are cute - double whammy. Here are 2 little guys I bought, and I plan on adding a lot more. My strategy is to mix in some faux plants as well - less to take care of and I definitely can't kill something that's not alive. :)

If you made it this far - thank you. I'm really excited to share the progress of my studio makeover with you!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram where I document most of my progress in real time - @missmichelle82_!

Sip Sip Hooray! This Watermelon Cooler is Ridiculously Easy to Make

Hi Friends!

Today I stopped into Whole Foods and couldn't resist the free samples of watermelon water in their produce section. Let me preface that I'm already a big fan of watermelon. It's just so refreshing and you get so much for such a small price (well, if you are smart and only buy them on sale). It's a sweet and healthy treat that is sure to cool you down.

Well, the watermelon juice was amazing. I contemplating buying a bottle but was turned away when I saw it was $7.99. What the heck? You could buy at least two whole watermelons for the price of a small bottle! So what does a good little DIY-er like me do in situations where you'd rather make things than pay a fortune? Learn how to make it yourself, duh! I took a peak at the ingredients and the only ingredient was simply put: watermelon.

 Cool down this summer with a refreshing watermelon cooler drink. All you need are watermelon, cucumbers, limes, and mint. Sip sip, hooray! Get the full details at @heylovedesigns.com. | Hey Love Designs

After I lugged my giant watermelon to the line, to my car, and all the way to my apartment (go figure there was no close parking that day), I decided to try my hand at making this juice.

And let me tell you - it was so easy that I you barely need a recipe.

 Cool down this summer with a refreshing watermelon cooler drink. All you need are watermelon, cucumbers, limes, and mint. Sip sip, hooray! Get the full details at @heylovedesigns.com. | Hey Love Designs

WATERMELON COOLER

Ingredients:

  • Watermelon - enough to fill up your whole blender
  • 3-6 cups of water
  • Cucumber, peeled, and chopped into chunks
  • Lime juice
  • Mint leaves, optional
  • Honey, optional.

Put everything in your blender and puree. The amount of cucumber and lime depends on your preference - I used about 1/2 a lime and about 3" of the cucumber. Depending on how sweet your watermelon is, you may want to add a little sweetener - I chose honey.

Slowly pour your juice into a strainer to separate it from the pulp. Pour the juice over a cup of ice and add a sprig of mint. Enjoy!

It actually feels like summer in a cup!

If you don't want that pulp go to waste, freeze them! I added them to my pineapple ice cube molds so I can enjoy them later, plus my dog is very into this idea. They make great popsicles!

 Cool down this summer with a refreshing watermelon cooler drink. All you need are watermelon, cucumbers, limes, and mint. Sip sip, hooray! Get the full details at @heylovedesigns.com. | Hey Love Designs

Oh! I haven't told you guys yet!

See the "cheers" written on that plastic cup? I wrote that! I'm so grateful that I was asked to contribute lettering at work (I run social and digital at Cheeky), which is part of the designlovefest for Cheeky collection! On four products - "Yay!" on hot cup kits, "Good Vibes" on napkins and plates, and "Cheers" written on these plastic cups - it's crazy to think that my lettering is on products sold at Target stores. And seeing the photos posted all over Instagram on a daily basis? It's completely surreal. I'm glad that designlovefest and Cheeky's fans are so excited about this collection and that I got to be part of the design process. Yay!

So go buy those cups! They're perfect for entertaining.

10 Days of Printables: She Had a Cocktail in Her Hand and Confetti in Her Hair

Hi Friends! It's the final day of 10 Days of Printables! What started out to be ten consecutive days of holiday printables ended up stretching over a month. I'm kind of glad it worked out this way because it made the whole month fun and I got to end it with some stuff for your New Year's Eve celebrations.

In case you missed it, I shared a printable to make your own party poppers that you can fill with confetti and candy, as well as a 2016 full year printable calendar!

  Hey Love Designs 10 Days of Printables | She had a cocktail in her hand and confetti in her hair. Download this print from @heylovedesigns.

For the last free printable, I wanted to leave you with a print that you could use for NYE or even just have decorating your vanity or gallery wall. For the girl who loves to dress up for a night on the town, this one's for you.

It's one of Kate Spade's phrases: She had a cocktail in her hand and confetti in her hair.

Simply print out this PDF which can be trimmed down to 8x10" and affix to a wall with washi tape or for a glamorous touch, add it to a frame.

Download and print the PDF here.

I hope you all have a fabulous new year. Tell me your plans! How are you ringing in the new year and what goals have you made for 2016?

Want more 10 Days of Printables?