How to Stop Comparing and Despairing

[This post was originally shared on www,bestkeptself.com]

There I was, innocently scrolling through my Facebook feed with unwashed tresses and wearing leggings as pants, when I saw it: a certain highly-intelligent (and drop-dead beautiful) colleague had just unabashedly announced her (laundry list) of recent accomplishments, which included everything from whipping up a fabulous dinner to booking two new clients after doubling her rates.

…Right alongside a gorgeous photo of her in all her perfectly blown-out, unicorn-colored hair glory.

For a moment,  I felt physically sick. Although I’m usually one for #collaborationovercompetition and I truly do believe there’s enough room in the universe for all of us, I still had to an urge to ugly cry.

How did she get so much done AND have time to blow-dry that fabulous hair of hers? And how is she charging so much? I’ve been doing this WAY longer than she has and I wouldn’t even THINK about asking that much! But OMG, her writing is SO amazing. Why would anyone hire me when they could just hire her? Look how many people are commenting on and “loving” her post! Ugh. I suck.

Sound familiar?

The truth is, it’s way too easy to compare yourself to other business owners, especially when you’re connected to tons of them on social media.

Just spend five minutes browsing Facebook or Instagram, and you’ll literally be exposed to thousands of images showcasing other business owners’ highlight reels – from their pristinely-decorated apartments to snapshots of their #bestdayever with their #bizbesties to dollar-by-dollar breakdowns of their most recent (sold-out, obviously) launch.

It’s enough to make any woman – especially a self-employed woman who sometimes spends all day locked in her home office in polka-dot pajamas wondering if what she’s doing has ANY impact – start doubting herself and launch deep into compare and despair mode.

But fret not, gorgeous.

While comparisonitis is an ugly ailment, it isn’t chronic.

Thank goodness.

Here are a few simple things to remember when you feel yourself slipping into comparison mode:

  • Put the blinders on, babe. My first defense against comparisonitis is to STOP LOOKING at other people’s “stuff” – especially people in my niche. It sounds so simple, but it’s actually pretty hard in practice. When consuming others ideas + content (+ Facebook celebrations) stops feeling inspiring + starts making you feel bad/unworthy/like a hot mess, do yourself a favor… just stop looking. Fast. And then, move onto the rest of these tips. 😉
  • Remember you are unique. Yes, it’s cliche. But I think it’s pretty incredible that no one else in the entire universe sees things quite like you do. No one alive has your unique cocktail of life experiences, thoughts, emotions and dreams. Even if you happen to be in the exact same business as talented-colleague-with-the-wonderful-hair, you bring your own unique, fresh spin to everything you do. From the content you create to your client interactions, you have your own voice + style – and that’s something no one can take away from you (no matter how fabulous they are). And trust me – there’s somebody out there who needs to hear whatever message you feel called to share from YOU and in the way only YOU can share it. Remember them when you feel like you don’t know if what you have to say matters. It does.
  • But at the same time, remember you don’t have to be original all the time. Sometimes, we take the “you’re unique’ thing too far and put too much pressure on ourselves to be original. For example, maybe you get down on yourself when you notice that someone you admire just posted a poignantly-and-practically-perfect blog about the very topic you were going to write about this week. While it stings, the truth is you can’t expect to “be the first” all the time. So, if you start seeing a bunch of other people in your niche going on about a topic you could’ve sworn YOU thought of first, let it go. Remember that sometimes it’s okay to simply contribute to a conversation that’s already happening and not worry about “being the first.” What you have to say is STILL valuable!
  • Create more, consume less.  I don’t know about you, but I’m way more prone to comparisonitis when I’ve been doing a lot of consuming – like downloading tons of podcasts, or signing up for multiple webinars, or reading every email newsletter in my inbox. If you’ve been glued to your phone or laptop for days, it’s time to take a break from all that input, and start putting some beauty back out into the universe. I promise that once you actually start taking action on your OWN ideas (versus devouring others), you’ll feel a million times better about yourself – and you won’t worry nearly as much about what your colleagues are up to because you’ll feel SO good about what YOU’RE creating. Who cares if she’s got two new clients, I’m over here writing my magnum opus! Yeah!
  • Remind yourself that anything you see in her, is also in you. When I feel a twinge of jealousy about another woman’s awesomeness, I have to remind myself that anything I see in her, also exists in me. The only reason I can even acknowledge how insanely cool this colleague is is because I also possess those insanely cool qualities – although chances are right now I’m not shining them as brightly as I could. Jealousy hurts, but it also serves a purpose: It’s one way the universe shows us what we want more of in our own lives. So make sure to take notice next time you feel yourself going green with envy and figure out exactly what it is about this other person that makes your blood boil. Do you wish YOU got more done everyday? Are you annoyed that she’s launched five things in the last year and you still haven’t taken action on your one “golden idea” from three years ago? Do you secretly wish your hair looked like an Easter Egg, but you’ve been too scared to admit it? Whatever it is, once you’re aware, you can start taking small actions to bring more of those things into your own life. And voila – the jealousy and comparisonitis dissipates, just like that.

  • Brag a little. I’ve noticed I’m especially triggered by others sharing their successes when I haven’t been making a concerted effort to shout out my own accomplishments. Chances are, you’ve made plenty of major moves and had some incredible things happen to you lately, too – you’re just not posting them on social media! But what if you started to? In her book, The School of Womanly Arts, Mama Gena suggests all women brag about themselves at least once a day to boost their confidence and je ne sais quoi. I think social media is the PERFECT place to practice this ‘art.’ It might feel awkward at first, but the truth is, it is SO important to give yourself credit for what you’ve done. And like they always say, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” You, too, have quite an incredible life – and you deserve to document and celebrate it just as much as anyone else! So next time you book a new (dreamy) client, or publish a blog post that’s been hanging out in your Drafts folder for weeks or book yourself solid, go ahead + give yourself a little social media love.

 

Tell us: How do you deal with comparisonitis as a self-employed woman?

 

SUCK at setting goals? Try this…

3Sooo, as I’m writing this it’s officially 25 days into 2016. Is it just me, or does that seem totally crazy? It feels like just yesterday I was clinking my champagne glass against the (shot) glass of my one of my oldest friends to toast the new year. But alas, time flies when you’re doing remarkable work in the world. 😉

Anywho, I wanted to share a little message with you, because honestly, there’s been SO much chatter about goals! and milestones! and resolutions! and THIS YEAR IS GONNA BE YOUR YEAR!

But honestly, when it came to setting my goals for 2016…well, I just, uh, didn’t.

I don’t have an (official) income goal.
I don’t know (exactly) which products + services I’m going to launch this year.
And hell if I know when I’m actually taking a (beautiful, preferable tropical) vacation.

This isn’t really TOO crazy for me. I often like to leave a little wiggle room in my “list of goals” anyway, for unexpected surprises, opportunities + cash flow. BUT totally not setting any real tangible goals yet? It feels a little scary.

Or it would, if I hadn’t done something that might be even more beneficial for me. (Girl can’t just head out into the world without ANY plan for world domination, now can she?)

Instead of goals, I’ve decided to choose a few guiding principles – words, if you will – to nudge me along this year, and circle back to anytime I’m wondering, “Should I book this client/write this article/say yes to this invite/buy this pair of shoes?”

And I wanted to share this concept – and my specific principles just for #inspo – with you in case you, too, are a bit of a “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-sevens” kinda gal. 🙂

So what words/principles did I pick to propel me this year?

Word 1: SIMPLIFY. 
Okay, sooo I admittedly got a bit obsessed with the whole minimalism thing at the end of 2015 (as evidenced by my Pinterest boards…), after eating up Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism in one sitting. I’m no stranger to minimalism, but what I LOVED about Greg’s book is that he doesn’t just focus on material things (we’ve ALL read, The Magic Art of Tidying Up by now, haven’t we?), but rather on simplifying our commitments. He asks all of us to answer the question,”What do you REALLY want more time for in your life?” Seriously though: What DO you? And please, don’t feel guilty if what you really crave isn’t a six figure business or a fat client docket. Maybe (like me), you want more flow + ease in your days. Maybe you want LESS commitments to LESS people but MORE QUALITY inside those commitments. Call me biased, but I honestly think in this day + age of “MORE AND BETTER AND FASTER, PLEASE!” simplifying is a great guiding word for pretty much anybody.

How I’m Practicing “Simplifying” in 2016: Less yes’s, more let-me-think-about-it’s (and actually thinking about it). Less juggling clients, and more hyper-focusing on 1-2 at a time. 

Word 2: LOVE.
To be totally honest with you, I’m slowly sashaying my way into my third year in business and just now understanding the true value of loving up whoever is around to be loved up in business. (Guess I’m not quite as gifted as my elementary school teachers thought. 😉 ) For real though: I’m an introvert and I have social anxiety disorder (and trust you’ll be hearing a lot more from me this year on how I’ve maybe not-so-gracefully handled this over the years), so spending heaps of time around/talking to others has NEVER been my thing. I prefer small, intimate groups and cozy little chats with 1 or 2 people over loud, roaring parties any day. But what I didn’t realize my first few years of business was HOW DANG TRUE the old adage about how 80% of your business will come from 20% of your people is. I went into business thinking I didn’t want anybody to “own” me or my time ever again, but the truth is, maintaining ongoing (positive!) relationships is SO necessary. If this is an area you struggle with (professionally or personally), it’s WORTH looking into + focusing on. Don’t be like me and miss out on some wonderful opportunities for friendship and collaboration because you don’t put in the effort to get to know your colleagues + clients.

How I’m Practicing “Love” In 2016: Reaching out instead of shutting down when things go bonkers. Attempting to mend old, burnt bridges with a whole lotta love. Reading up on intimacy issues, and anxiety issues, and doing my best to heal all of the above. Actively seeking out (and contacting) people I admire. Oh, and focusing way more on this blog than reaching out to randos on whatever social media platform is the new craze this week. 😉 

Word 3: AUTOMATE.
My last guiding word of the year is automate, and while that sounds kinda, um, tech-y, it’s actually a really fascinating thing. I’ve been learning a LOT about sales funnels lately, which sound SO un-sexy, but turns out they’re actually just super fun (and simple) ways to automate your sales processes. Okay, that still doesn’t sound sexy, but the things sales funnels can do for you? TOTALLY SEXY. I’m talking: Less time on “discovery calls” that don’t pan out. Less feast or famine and freaking out over where the next dollar’s coming from. And more consistent leads and prospects in your (gorgeous, mahogany, French) doors. 🙂 Who doesn’t want all that?

How I’m Practicing Automation in 2016: Implementing several sexy sales funnels in my own business to help people get to know me better. (I’m also working on a service to help you write the copy to do the same!) Getting my finances automated (finally!) – I’m talking automatically paying bills and saving for all sorts of adventures (I’m already using a fun little program called Digit that squirrels away tiny pockets of money you’ll never even miss – so rad!). And finally, having my VA handle pretty much any + everything I can’t or don’t want to. It’s not entirely automatic, but I’d love to know that I can take that tropical vacation this year and my business won’t totally shutdown because of it. 🙂

And that’s it, loves! Three big ass words to guide me (and my decision-making) for all of 2016. BOOM.

Moral of my story? Don’t sweat it if you’re still unsure what your goals should be for 2016. You can always tear a page out of my playbook and try to think in terms of guiding principles for the year, and make your goals from there.

To a much simpler, automated + relationship-filled new year…if that’s what you’re into. 😉

 

E

P.S. If you do something similar, I’d love to hear what your guiding words are. Just leave a comment + let me know. 🙂

P.P.S. Speaking of what’s gonna happen in 2016, I was recently featured in a fun article about marketing predictions for 2016 alongside some kick ass entrepreneurs like Kimra Luna + Denise Duffield-Thomas. You can check out what I and 32 other luminaries had to say about the future of marketing right here. (Spoiler alert: It’s lookin’ pretty bright!)

How to get clear on your message in one suuuuuper simple step

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Let me be reeeeallly honest with you ladies: Consistency has always been rough for me.

Sure, I can be consistently 30 minutes early for everything, always. Or consistently choosing the wrong guy (workin’ on it!). Or, y’know, consistently being um, inconsistent. (Case-in-point: This blog hasn’t been updated in over a month…even though there are many [many, maaaaany] draft posts that are almost-kinda-sorta-but-only-really-just-halfway-there.) I’m simply more of a spontaneous, write-when-inspiration-hits-me kinda girl…and I’ve (mostly) come to terms with my off-the-cuff nature.

Unfortunately? Consistency is hella important to online business. Not in the rigid, must-blog-every-week-or-I-will-totally-end-up-broke-and-alone-and-existing-on-mac-n-cheese or I-only-send-my-newsletters-on-Tuesdays-because-some-guru-said-so kinda way, but in the my-brand-is-cohesive-and-people-know-what-the-heck-I-stand-for kinda way.

And double unfortunately? I’m not fantastic at either of those. (Cue the tiny violin.)

But I’m not here to talk about my flaws (that just aint a good look), but rather to clue you in on a little bit of advice that I heard from a mentor recently that has totally and radically changed the way I think about consistency, my message and having a killer brand. 🙂

Ya’ll ready for this?

Kat Loterzo recently shared in one of her many amazing business trainings this idea that there are very few things you must do everyday in your business. Like, just two, actually.

And my favorite of those two? You MUST share your message everyday. Like 7/365, yo.

While anything that requires a daily effort terrifies my little panties off, what’s great about this idea is that this truly doesn’t haven’t to be anything major.

It doesn’t necessarily mean writing a 500+ word blog post all about why you are so head-over-heels obsessed with what you do and how it’s going to change the planet (although it can).
It doesn’t mean creating a new e-course every week and hoping it’ll sell out.

Instead, it really just means sharing (without fear) whatever juicy morsel you’ve been marinatin’ in your brain (and heart) that day about what you believe about life + the world (and of course, somehow tie that back into your business).

This can be a standalone sentiment on your biz’s Facebook page. Or a delectable comment in a Facebook group or forum. Or even just a loving note to one of your prospects.

The medium doesn’t matter. It’s the sharing that counts.

And the reason I love this yummy bit of advice is twofold:

1.) It makes sure you’re putting yourself out there for prospects to see – every single day. Even in a teeny, tiny way.
2.) It forces you to refine your message. To get super, sparkling clear on what it is you truly stand for. To whittle down your ideas. To take a stand. To make a statement (that may or may not be as outrageous as the one hanging around your neck).

I’m especially in love with that second part. In fact, one of the draft posts I have saved (which may or may not make it’s debut on the Interwebz – I’m still undecided) talked about how to find your message by asking yourself specific questions. Okay, one specific question.

Which is awesome. And a fabulous way to get in touch with your message to begin with.

But when I heard Kat speak about the daily message-sharing, it hit me that really…you can ask yourself all the profound questions in the world, but if you don’t start trying to articulate the answers in a way that makes sense to you and connects with your potential clients, it won’t mean squat.

The only way we ever truly learn or change or evolve is through action, and sharing your message everyday is probably one of the most powerful actions you can take to figure out what the hell you truly stand for and what makes you different.

ENTER, THE 14-DAY MESSAGE MAKEOVER CHALLENGE.

Yes, I was sooo inspired by Kat’s advice that I decided to create an easy, breezy little challenge for you guys. I’m hereby declaring that for the next 14 days, I will unabashedly share my message in one form or another, on the Internet, where others can see. (This counts as day one, BTW.)

I’m calling it the 14-Day Message Makeover Challenge. I’m not doing any sort of fancy email list or Facebook group (for realz – I can barely keep up with that ish as it is), but I do want to hear from you + find out if you’re game.

Aaaand, if you’re anything like me, I know you absolutely MUST have a way to keep track of this or it won’t happen. You can go ahead + click here to pick up a cute lil’ spreadsheet I created to help you track your progress during the challenge. Just make sure you create a copy for yourself!

So, if getting clear on your message is important to you (and yasss, it should be) + you’d like to officially pledge to share your message for the next two weeks, simply pop a comment below + let us know who you are, what you do + what you believe your message is right now. I’ll check back in with you in 14 days!

Over to You, Beautytown!

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P.S. The 14-Day Message Makeover Challenge starts….NOW! It’s go time, ladies. I can’t wait to hear all about your brilliant businesses! (And don’t forget to download your worksheet here!)

P.P.S. If you’d like me to personally help you nail down your business message (in sexy, seductive syntax), check out Mini Message Makeover.

#RealTalk Tuesday: Why “What You Do” Doesn’t Matter

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A lot of business owners freak out about what to offer.

They go back-n-forth for months over whether their coaching packages should include four sessions or (gasp!) five.

They have minor heart palpitations over whether to offer health coaching to women one-on-one or cook up meal plans for the masses. (Or, y’know, write entire websites for clients or just help them discover what they should write about. [Just me?])

They journal, meditate, pray to whomever and eat loads of dark chocolate, pondering if it makes more sense to serve up exclusive, done-for-you services or focus on creating some crazy-pants signature program they can run like twice a year.

And they might even wake up in the middle of the night for years ’cause they’re so damn multi-passionate they can’t decide whether they should focus their business on their obsession with social media, their obsession with health or their obsession with fashion.

Uggghhh. Even writing all that down is frustrating and annoying and gives me a total almost-migraine.

The good news? If that sounds like you (or someone you know *ahem* your bizbesties *ahem*), I’m about to end that struggle for you, forever.

Here’s a lil’ #realtalk for ya (which might actually come as a relief):
What you “do” doesn’t matter!

Okay. Lemme pause just a sec. OBVS what you do matters. That’s why I encourage you to do it and spend hours upon hours of my time helping you bring these brilliant little businesses into the world.

By “doesn’t matter,” what I really mean is that the modality that you use to provide your clients with transformation – whether that’s Reiki, hot yoga or style coaching – is not the important part.

The only thing that truly (madly, deeply) matters is that your product/service gets your clients results. Your only job is to create (and offer) SOMETHING that enables your dream(y) clients to BE, DO, FEEL, HAVE something better.

And in the end, it doesn’t matter how you get your peeps those results.

This is fab, because it means that if at different points in your business, different things start to strike your little fancy – that’s okay.

Explore them. Offer something totally wacky and original and something nobody else has ever thought about before.

Mash up 800 of your silliest interests into one premium offer. Pivot in a totally fresh direction – offer health coaching. Offer EFT sessions. Offer fucking online yoga classes.

As long as it relates to your unique message, is hella fun for you and helps people get what you want to give them,  you can “DO” whatever. Because as long as you get your clients what they want – the dream body (read: confidence), the clutter-free closet (read: empowerment), the zillion Twitter followers (read: belonging and influence) – you’ve done your job.

So get creative with it. Get wild. Quit talking yourself out of offering what you TRULY want to.

Cause for real, it doesn’t matter anyway…at least not enough to keep you up at night. 🙂

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P.S. If you are reeeeallly bumping up against some major resistance trying to come up with an offer (and get the sales copy out into the world so peeps can actually buy it), you might wanna check out my new BETA service, Red Carpet Ready. I’ll help you create your offer based on who you are and how you work best and then bang out all your launch copy. You don’t have to do a thing but show up and show me who you are. Click here and learn more and you can nab that BETA price, too.

How I Know You’re Wildly Creative (Even if You Feel Like a Total Poser Sometimes)

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I’m not gonna lie, I’m not exactly what you’d call a fashionista.

Sometimes I wear clothes that are totally wrong for my shape. Sometimes I stay in sweatpants for two days straight. Sometimes I buy the cheapest thing off the sale rack just ’cause.

Sometimes I even put on leggings and try to pass them off as actual pants.

But the thing is, I looooove clothes.

I love reading fashion blogs and sipping chai tea while digging into WhoWhatWear. I love trying on outfit after outfit on Friday night (before ultimately settling on my usual jeans and tee combo, let’s be honest).

There was a time, however, that I tried really hard NOT to be into fashion. I hung out with a ridiculously angsty group of kids in high school, who wanted nothing to do with anything mainstream or popular.

And although we totally decked ourselves out in ridiculous amounts of eyeliner and outfits we meticulously curated from Hot Topic, we were still supposed to act like we didn’t care about something as “superficial” as fashion.

Stupid, right? Except not so much.

There are still a ton of people I know who think that things like perfecting your hairstyle and cruising through the mall for a pair of pumps that are “just right” is nothing but a bunch of phooey. (Except I don’t think I hang out with anyone who would actually say the word “phooey” – unless you count my mom.)

But here’s the thing:

Fashion is fucking art, people.

“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.”

― Oscar Wilde

Style is hardly superficial, and here’s why:
Style is really another way to say “creativity.”
And creativity is (I believe) THE KEY to a life well-lived.

Whether you’re laboring over presenting a new dinner dish to your beau so it looks as good as it smells or working on your business or just choosing the most complementary blouse with your pencil skirt (okay, or tee shirt with your designer jeans), it’s really all the same thing.

All of it requires you to be creative.

I get it, though. As ladies who launch (read: lady biz owners), it’s easy to feel like we’re just NOT creative sometimes. It’s easy to feel like our well has all but dried up and we’ll never come up with a good, original idea ever again.

Honestly though, this is usually a result of looking outside of ourselves for our creativity. We can become so absorbed in our industries; stalking the latest gurus and trying so hard to learn the latest strategies, that we start to feel like we don’t have anything original of our own to share.

Or worse, you THINK you’ve come up with something amazing only to realize your competitor JUST launched that VERY SAME THING like, a day earlier than you.

Happens to me a-freaking-lot.

And the worst part of that is, when we’re starting to feel creatively deprived, we think that forcing ourselves to plop down in front of our MacBooks and BE CREATIVE, DAMNIT! will help.

We think that if we just force ourselves to focus ONLY on business for the next few days/hours/weeks/months, it’s somehow going to make us feel all creatively full, energized and awesome.

But seriously babe, we are SO wrong.

Here’s what I think:
You are innately creative.

Everything you do – every choice you make – is made up by you. Your entire reality stems from your creativity and your vision for what is possible in this life.

Seriously though. Next time you feel like a totally unoriginal businesswoman who’s never gonna get anywhere because all the good ideas are taken and FUCK you just can’t seem to come up with ANYTHING to write/speak/sell, take a look around you.

Think about the adorable crop-top-and-high-waisted-skirt ensemble you whipped up for that new client last week.
Or that delicious dinner recipe you pulled from Pinterest, where the presentation bordered on down right sexy.
Or how all your friends say your living room looks like something straight from Houzz.

THAT is creativity.

Creativity is NOT confined to what you create inside your computer.

And if you’re having a shitty time figuring out how to express yourself online, I want you to STAHP IT. Just for a moment, and go make something with those perfectly-manicured mitts of yours instead.

Remind yourself that creativity is your damn BIRTH RIGHT and you have ALL THE ABILITY to summon more of it into your life.

Or, you know, just look at your living room.

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Real Talk Tuesday: How to Become Wildly Successful (the Definitive Guide)

Spoiler alert! Nobody really becomes successful following the rules.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a mega fan of templates. I think certain business ‘scripts’ – a launch plan, a pre-determined sales page structure – work because humans are inherently wired the same.

But you know what the most successful people do? They flip those scripts. They take those templates and they do something wacky or totally unexpected with them.

They don’t let themselves feel inhibited by all the “rules” out there. Instead, they use what other people have already created – the stilleto-steps the others have already walked – as a starting point. And then they bend the “rules” like the badasses they are to fit their own personality/work style/creativity. They know they’ll never get where they wanna be by following a path somebody else has already created, because that well-worn path was somebody else’s destiny, not their own.

This applies to every part of your business you might use a “template” for – including blogs + other content you create.

The true movers + shakers don’t soak up + then regurgitate information from some (or a few) gurus – over + over + over again. (Srsly though, aren’t we all sooooo sick of reading the same type of shit in the business world, and really every other industry, too? I am!)

True movers + shakers look inside first, and ask themselves what really needs to be shared – and then share only that.

So if you want to achieve the sky-high level of success of your fave online girlcrush? You gotta’ do what they do – and I don’t mean shelling out fistfuls of cash for their latest blueprint + robotically going through the motions, crossing your fingers that this particular course/book/thingy is IT. That’s a surefire way you’ll always be one. step. behind.

Instead, you need to create from the same place the successful people create from – a place of love, spontaneity, originality and fuck the rules-ness – and that’s when the success will come.

For the love of all things sparkly, it’s time to start creating + sharing the stuff that matters.

You in?

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