Saturday, June 8, 2019

Happy Little Succas



I am beyond excited to introduce the next feature on the blog, for a few different reasons. Have you ever just watch one of your friends thriving in life, living it to the best, the fullest?! I messaged my friend on Instagram telling her how proud I was of her and her current endeavors. Then it hit me, one of the most exciting ideas I have had to date. I was going to feature her on the blog, and partner with her for something extra special! Dying to know what the extra special idea is? Read the full post to find out! It is worthhhhh it, I pinky promise. Anyway, enjoy meeting my friend Abby! :)






This is Abby. We met around 2014 when we pledged together for a business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, at Kent State University. Immediately I could tell Abby was a force to be reckoned with, in the most positive way. Anyone that meets her can tell she is a strong-willed, highly motivated individual. She has a personality that is so pure to match. She took on the VP of Marketing position within the fraternity, went to school full time, AND had her own photography business... can you say boss babe?!

As long as I have known Abby, she has always been so positive about life and truly believes you get out what you put into it. I couldn't agree more. 

She graduated Kent in Spring of 2016 with a degree in Managerial Marketing. She worked at a company in the marketing department for awhile, but now she does marketing coordination for small businesses, still runs her amazing photography business, and.. oh yeah! She just started another business!! Which is the reason this post is titled Happy Little Succas. 


Happy Little Succas is her most recent business adventure, and to be honest, the cutest business adventure too. The name alone has me sold. (I am such a succa for word play, get it?...) I fell in love with her business, and had to tell her, so I messaged her on Instagram. When I decided to ask her if she wanted to be featured on the blog, I already had my list of questions for her ready to go. I was so happy she agreed to the feature, and I immediately sent my list of 1548962 questions to her, and she answered them all. When I asked her about Happy Little Succas, and what inspired her, the answer was not what I expected it to be. I don't know what I was expecting, but still.

"When you google "What to get my photographer friend for her birthday" a list always pops up and there are lens mugs on there for a nice $10 gift. Well, I don't drink coffee, but I have now been gifted 23 of those lens mugs, which I absolutely love. But, the collection became so overwhelming that I needed to figure out how to use these instead of just having them collect dust. normal person would probably have gotten one succulent on a random Thursday to see if they could keep it alive. I think I saw a picture of a succulent on Pinterest and I'm like "well that's the cutest thing I've ever see" and I went out to my local nursery and bought, I think 15. It didn't take long before they were out of the dumb glass mason jars I had, and into the lens mugs! Anyone who came over would comment on how fun they were and it got me to thinking about other containers that might be fun to house them in. I have an old camera collection that I find at antique stores. When I started getting more interested in succulents my focus shifted more towards "I wonder if I can put a succulents in this" and it turned into a continuous hunt to find the cutest containers. 



After about a year I found that I had about 40 in my house.. I couldn't even sit at my dining room table because where it was located had just the perfect light and the plants are much more important than where I eat my dinner. Then, at 2 am one night, you know, when most of my crazy ideas are hatched, I thought "ummm I need to sell these! They have brought me so much joy but I would really love to share them with others as well!" I started doing a lot more research about each type of succulent, how much water it needed, the size it could grow to and the amount of light it liked to thrive.. and through some trial and error I had 20 that were absolutely ready to be shared. 

I wanted to convey to my potential clients that it's not just a plant. It's alive, it needs love, and they all have a different personality. So, I came up with the idea to name them and present that as being "adopted" instead of bought." 

Abby explained all of this over email, and I swear I can just see her smiling and being so excited about every detail. I asked her how many succulents she current;y owns, because if you have a succulent company, you are bound to have at least 1 or 2... "I own 68 at the moment, 40 of them are for sale. The non-sale ones are in containers that I have acquired from different parts of the globe, from California to Stockholm. I live in a two bedroom apartment and I have over 120 plants, I am absolutely obsessed with huge leafy plants and vines. I pretty much live in a jungle." And what a beautiful jungle it is.



So, a little bit more of a background on Abby and her entrepreneurial endeavors stems back to 2011 when she started her photography business. 


Needing an internship for senior year of high school, "...being the annoy overachiever that I am, I decided to get one my junior year instead. I learned that I don't have crazy "artistic" ideas for wedding photography, but that I am more concerned with stress levels and overall happiness that my clients experience; all while focusing on setting up situations for genuine emotional reactions for me to capture. I am all about making sure my clients take a moment to appreciate the moments that they in front of them instead of being shuffled around the whole day and the day ends up going by too quickly. Learning I had this skill early on really launched my business full steam... that and I was on the year book staff, and went to every. single. event. and uploaded them to Facebook the same night."


"I have a lot to be thankful for for the community that supported me when I decided to strike out on my own. I never thought that I would be working for myself one day, but with their kind words of support I was about to crunch the numbers last July and find that I could! Leaving my "cushy" job was the best thing I've ever done."

Leaving a "big girl job" to pursue her passions, one of the bravest things I can think of. I can only imagine how exhilarating it is too. She says, "...within my businesses, each one has its best parts. With photography, it's capturing those moments with the moms that are my absolute favorite. Moms are always behind the camera and dad tends to get the best moments captured. So to be able to get some for mom, is just the best. A lot of them message back and tell me they just cried tears of joy while going through them. With Happy Little Succas, it's when, what looks nice to me also touches someone's else heart and style and they send me pictures of how their Succa fit perfectly within their lives. And with marketing, I just know how hard it can be to have a successful business, and I really enjoy being able to use my skills to help small businesses within my area get a leg up on the big corporate competition."



So, with that being said, her day to day schedule is pretty awesome. "I get up at about 8 every day, garden for an hour, answer emails and then make some breakfast, then I edit pictures, work on marketing projects, make updates to my websites and edit some more pictures. If it doesn't rain I have 3-6 family photography sessions each week and those start about an hour and a half before sunset.. after those I come back home and work more until about midnight." When asked about her days of... "hahahahaha is my reaction every time I read that question. But honestly, because I set my own schedule and work from home I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. So I'm always up for a hike, going to craft fairs (more times than I can count, I end up at hobby lobby), reading in my hammock on my patio, or hanging with family and friends, every Tuesday is game night! It's my goal to get to all 50 states before I'm 30. I have 12 more to go within the next 5 years. So, I spend a lot of my time off dedicated to traveling and creating memories and recharging that way."



Her ultimate goals with all of her businesses is to find 25-30 acres that can be turned into a barn venue for weddings and work retreats. It would have cabins for the bridal parties or to be rented as Airbnbs, also a couple golf holes so that the groomsmen have a fun activity to do in the morning.  The barn would be painted a different color on each side, to match any bride's color scheme. The bridal cabins will have at least 3 perfectly lit stations for hair and makeup, to make their mornings run smoothly (most brides are cramped inside someone's kitchen or hotel room.) 

Then about 12 other little things to truly make it a one stop shop for any couple looking to have their wedding there. We are so bombarded with choices these days because we are all connected through social media, it becomes very overwhelming to make the decisions. She wants to help make her couples' wedding day something to look forward to instead of being "excited that it will be over." 

The property would also have a sunflower field, wild flower field, ever green tree farm, apple orchard, pumpkin patch and vineyard for the most picturesque backgrounds while also having the ability to be apart of the community that surrounds the property. People can come pick pumpkins, cut down their Christmas trees, sample some wine or even make homemade apple cider.

Abby would like to live on this property and have her own studio in the back so she can continue taking pictures of newborns, because that is really where she finds her joy with photography. 



Next to that studio, she would want to have a very large greenhouse as well where she can propagate all her own succulents and hopefully get Happy Little Succas to the next level of spreading the joy of gardening. And she would also like to start making her own containers; made out of wood, metal or 3D printed.


Can you see why I am so inspired by Abby?! She was/is not afraid to follow her dreams. I hope that is something you took away from reading this longer post. Don't be afraid to follow where your dreams lead you.

Okay. You made it through the entire post, CONRATS! Are you ready for the "something extra special" yet?.. Since Abby and I go way back, we both have our own creative passions, I asked her if she would be willing to team up to do a GIVEAWAY!

Yep. My first ever giveaway! Abby was gracious enough to donate a Happy Little Succa to be included in the giveaway, and I am also including a Starbucks gift card! But, that is not the most exciting part to me.. I am also including the first ever A Ginger Life merch!! A t-shirt to be exact. Eric had 2 made for me out of the kindness of his heart because he wanted to support my dream. (Ladies, get you a man like this.)



So, all in all the giveaway consists of a Happy Little Succa, Starbucks gift card and A Ginger Life t-shirt! Click here to enter! Winner will be drawn Monday, June 10, 2019

Hope you enjoyed reading this, hope you have fun with the giveaway- more info on A Ginger Life merch coming soon!



































Thursday, June 6, 2019

Father's Day Gift Guide



With Father's Day right around the corner, June 16th, I thought I would do what all the bloggers are supposed to do, and share a list of gift ideas! (Yay?!..)

Enjoy!

Traditional


The Necktie: A gift as old as time



The Tie Bar is a cool site with so many different types, styles, patterns, colors, and sizes available. Hurry to get free shipping on U.S. orders of $50 or more! Most of their ties are priced around $19.00!


The Mug: For coffee lovin' Dads



Zazzle has a wide variety of mugs to choose from! From super hero themed, to personalized photos, you can find it! Most of their mugs start at around $15!


The Toolbox: Because every Dad has fixed a boo-boo or two




There are a ton of tool themed gifts out there, but the one that comes to my mind when it is for Father's Day, is the toolbox. This is a fun DIY gift too! Found this one on Amazon for only $14.99!



Cool


Pool Float: 'Cuz it's about to be a sizzlin' Summer



Uhh when I said cool, I meant it. How cool is this pool float shaped like a beer mug?! It even has a mini cooler section to keep Dad and his beer chill. Walmart carries this awesome gift for only $19.99!!




Ice tray: Gotta keep his drinks cool too




Nothing beats an ice cold drink in the Summer; so help a Dad out! Amazon literally has any and every shape of ice cube tray you could want for Dad. Skulls, guns, penguins, letters, numbers, unicorns, you name it! This awesome set of 7 I found (it may be excessive, but I think it's absolutely necessary) are Star Wars themed, and less than $25! Plus any of the silicone ones can be used for more than just ice- jello, chocolate, etc.


Personalized drink labels: Ultimate man cave win



There are tons of fun things you can make labels for, and one of them is for drinks! Bottles in particular, water or wine. Etsy hosts so many crafters that can help you out with this gift, and if you are a last second shopper, it is perfect! They have digital copies you just print! The one pictured above can be found here for less than $7, but the idea is the main point of this one.



Special

Personalized frame with an updated photo: The whole reason they are called Dad





This is another great time to DIY a gift! Such a special gift that Dad can take to the office or display at home. Some ideas for DIY can be found on Pinterest.




Letters to Dad: Special words for a special Dad



This may make Dad shed a tear, but it will be worth it. Uncommongoods (one of my favorite places to online shop) has a set of letters for $16 bucks that includes 9 different cards for different reasons he should read the letters. Super easy and super special.


Personalized Baseball: The catch of a lifetime





Even if your Dad isn't a baseball buff, he will still think this is so awesome and cherish it for the rest of his life. Zazzle has a few different options to choose from for this gift, all priced around $25!





Hope you found something useful here.

Happy Father's Day to tall the awesome Dads out there!

-T

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Wedding season: Vol. 1: Pamela & Mat



Wedding Season: Vol. 1: Pamela & Mat



Pam and I have been best friends since we were 3 yrs old, when my family moved in next door to hers. We share memories from catching fireflies, eating lots of popsicles, having slumber parties, and creating our own home movies, to lemonade stands in the summer, riding four wheelers and creating our own neighborhood club. Out of our 22 year friendship, we have only had 1 major fight. Whoa. Neither of us remember what the fight was about, but we remember how hilariously dramatic we were about it. Obviously it didn't do any damage to our friendship, as we always pick up right where we left off.

Last summer, Pam got married! I was lucky enough to be part of her bridal party. I remember her calling me, telling me she was engaged! Such a happy day. I am thrilled for her to have married Mat.




Mat and Pam have been dating since their senior year of high school, but Mat had a crush on her for some time before they became official. The story of their engagement is so sweet, he included her younger sister, and roommate in the plans and surprised her after work in her apartment with a very sentimental proposal.





The day of their wedding was absolutely beautiful, hot, but beautiful. I cried like a billion times, (if you know me at all, you know I am a big cry baby...) laughed a billion times, and smiled so much my cheeks hurt for the next 2 days. Her wedding was such a special day to me, it is 1/2 of a promise 2 little girls made to each other; to be in each others wedding. I cannot wait until the day I keep my half of the promise and have Pam in my wedding. Our friendship is one that has literally been a lifetime already, and still has a lifetime to go. I am so lucky to have her, I won the friendship lottery.











Photographer credit: Cosma Photography

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Meet Jemma


This post was written while watching Legally Blonde, so it took me a billion years to finish because, like I said... Legally Blonde lol.



Wonder why I have been semi-absent from blogging and social media lately?!?!




This little girl would be the reason!! Everyone meet Jemma!

She completely has stolen my heart all over again. She loves, LOVES her big brother too!

The story of finding this pretty girl has a happy ending- obviously, but it was a little disheartening trying to adopt another pup after what seemed like everything going wrong in the beginning.

I am not sure if I mentioned that I have a boyfriend or not, if I didn't, I do, so now you know. 🤣

My boyfriend and I decided that my dog, Jax needed a partner in crime and we went to a local shelter, (I will let them remain anonymous because of our terrible experience- I am sure ours was a unique situation and does not happen to everyone, but if you have questions or concerns about which shelter location I am referring to, please reach out and I will assess if the name will be shared or not.) just to gauge the pups available and the process of possibly adopting. 

We had no intentions of finding a pup, did not have anything at either of our places prepared, but we fell in love. 

We met a 3 year old German Shepherd named Lexi, and decided to adopt her! We told the shelter staff we wanted to adopt Lexi, filled out the paperwork and per their protocol we rushed back to my apartment to get Jax to take back to the shelter to have them meet before the adoption could be final. The shelter employee that we spoke to said he was going to set her number (the way they keep track of the dogs) to the side for us to kind of "reserve" her since we were going to get Jax. Getting back tot he shelter with only 10 minutes before they closed- walked in with Jax and the shelter employee who reserved sweet Lexi for us told me she was just adopted.... I cannot describe how heartbroken I felt. I felt so much joy and happiness in the hour before, and it was shattered. I do not understand how they could let us go get my other dog per their protocol, and let the dog that we picked be adopted right out from under us. I was furious I did not even get a phone call to let us know she was being adopted, I would not have made the trip back. I am beyond upset with the shelter, and vowed to never go back. They had lost my business. 

So, after that fiasco, we were still searching. Found an 8 week old German Shepherd/Akita mix puppy, 4 hours away, set up a date and time to go pick her up. Bought all the necessities for owning a new pup, crate, leash, food, toys, blanket, bowls, etc. The morning we are set to pick her up, we head out, excited as ever. I texted the lady what our ETA was and that we had just left. Long story short she blocked both my number and my boyfriend's number because she sold the puppy to someone else and didn't want to tell us. Luckily we did not make it that far down the road before we figured this out and turned around, again heart broken.

Since the puppy was 4 hours away, we got up and out the door around 7 am, so we decided to take a nap and cool off from our anger. After napping, Eric was determined to find a dog that day. So we went adoption shopping... I don't think that is a thing, but I am now making adoption shopping a thing...

We went to 2 other smaller places that had dogs available and did not find one to fit the needs we had in mind. Took a lunch break and continued Google searching places near us to go look. Eric found a place, we decided that if we did not find a dog at that location, maybe it just is not the right timing or meant to be. 

We went to a shelter in Parma, as soon as we walked into the dog area, we saw 3 small Shepherd/Lab mix puppies at 8 weeks old. 1 had already been adopted and was awaiting pick up. 2 were available, and they were both girls. We did a quick swoop of the rest of the shelter, saw a few possibilities- honestly it was a small shelter with a lotttttt of pups, wish I could have adopted them all <3 - and came back to the little girls to hold them and look them over better. We picked the one they had named 'Adele'. The other was named Ariana. (If you know me, you know I am obsessed with Ariana Grande, so her name naturally drew me in, but Adele was the winner in this case.) We held her, she was so tiny, weighing only 3-4 pounds. She was spayed the day before we saw her and was calm as ever. We picked her, told the shelter employees, filled out the paperwork and took her home the same day!
Adele is now Jemma Jane. We think she may be Shepherd/Boxer mix and not Lab, but honestly we can't figure her out!
She now weighs about 7.5 pounds and is the sassiest, fearless little girl ever. She is obsessed with Jax and his food, not hers, and loves to play, play, play! She has been home with us for about a month now. I couldn't imagine life without her and I am so happy we found her. 

Things happen for a reason- I think in this case because Jax and Jemma were meant to be dog brother and sister.

(Yes, Jax and Jemma's names are from Sons of Anarchy.)

Hopefully the potty training kicks in soon... OH ! She, like brother Jax, has her own Instagram account, go follow it! 





Goodnight
-T



Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Fireflies

This poem/small thought came to me in May of 2018. I thought that with my town of Ohio waking up to snow, yet again, it would be nice to read about something from a warmer time.



Fireflies


"Nightmares into Fireflies"


Tonight a few fireflies caught my eye while taking the dogs outside before everyone heads to bed. I love fireflies. I love them because at one point in my life tat was the biggest thrill of the night and biggest disappointment in the morning.

Being a kid, fireflies were magical. You had to run around trying to catch the small flickers of light you only saw a glimpse of. At the end of the night whoever had caught the most was deemed the champion.

In a way chasing fireflies is like chasing your dreams. Sometimes you may only see the light for a split second and have trouble finding it again, but other times you know exactly how to catch the firefly on the first try, and some you never can catch no matter how high your little legs jump in the sky. Never the less, you are always on the lookout for the next firefly.

A collection of fireflies or a collection of dreams.

Recently, my collection has been looking more and more like the jar in the morning, a sad sight. I need to find motivation to go catch the lights. The potential flickers I have seen are all so random and I am not too sure about any of them.

But Torrie, that's the fun part. The chase.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Mission 002: Become Life-long Readers



Mrs. Lynch and I have known each other for quite some time. We went to high school together and were both cheerleaders throughout that time. We got to know each other pretty well, and she is another person I would love to feature on my blog. So, I am.

Mrs. Lynch is a teacher at Paul C Bunn Elementary school in Youngstown, Ohio. She teaches for the 3rd grade.


It makes perfect sense that she is a teacher, she has always had such a kind heart. Mrs. Lynch has partnered with donorschoose.org to help fund things for her classroom, since more than three-quarters of the families at the school are from low income households. This is the second time she has partnered with the website, first time for headphones to help increase the students focus on learning math and literacy, and now to build a listening center to help them fall even more in love with reading. How awesome is that?! The headphone mission was successful and has made such a difference in the classroom.






Mrs. Lynch states that her main purpose "... for using Donors Choose is because I work in an inner city school, where no supplies are given to me or my students other than a book bag on the first day of school. Everything from pencils and glue (which they manage to go through so quickly. Are they eating it? I have no idea where it all goes!) to books and much more are paid for out of pocket. We also aren’t allowed to ask for parents to donate things to our classrooms. So that means no tissues, and hand sanitizer. As you can imagine, all of those things add up quickly. Along with the lack of supplies, my students are at a huge disadvantage academically. To be honest, survival is more important. Every single one of my students receives free breakfast and lunch (and on long weekends and breaks I try to give them food) because those aren’t things they receive at home. It is disheartening to know the details of their daily struggles. Despite all of this, they are the most resilient group of kids I have ever met. They are kind and have a true love for learning- which is rare in their situation. I have had students grow 2 or more grade levels in 5 shorts months all because they have found a love for reading. This didn’t come easily, and I fear that without the right materials in my classroom it will fade. My hope is that with the materials I’ve selected, students will be able to continue to grow their love for reading and reach their full potential. Thank you all for taking time out of your day to read about my bright, amazing students and thank you for any and all considerations!”

So thank you to anyone that visits her mission on donorschoose.org and for any donations. It is greatly appreciated and for such a great teacher and such great kids!

With love,
T

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

My Bucket List



So, if you follow me on social media at all, which you totally should, (Twitter  Instagram  Facebook ) you will know that this post was voted on! I was having a hard time deciding between a few topics, and asked you- the readers, which you would enjoy most. The votes for My Bucket List won! So here we are.

 There are so many things one can put on their bucket list. How do you choose which to do first, last, or to do at all? Some are achievable, some are dreams that you hope to come true. How do you find a balance between the achievable and dream ones? This is definitely a harder post to write because I have no clue which ones I am going to list here..  

Top 15 bucket list items for me in my lifetime:

1. Visit Ireland.
2. Write a book and have it published. Preferably a children's book- I already am working on this one!
3. Cook my way through a cookbook, kinda like the movie Julie & Julia.
4. Work for a non-profit. Preferably Lupus involved, or mental illness involved.
5. Volunteer out of the country. If you have any info on this, send it my way!
6. Have a star named after me. The hopeless romantic in me wants this..
7. Lunch date with Lauren Conrad. If you see her, can ya pass my info along?
8. Go to a butterfly garden and spend the entire day there. I love bugs and nature, I would so be in heaven here.
9. Go to a Lana Del Rey Concert. There is one in Ireland during June of 2019, so this could knock out 2 birds with 1 stone.. donations are currently being accepted.
10. Make my parents and grandparents proud. I know everyone is going to say I already have/do, but I mean it in a sense of making a positive name for my family, I guess. I feel like when I can be proud of who I have become, they can be too. Not sure if this even makes sense, just something that I constantly think about and want to achieve in my eyes too.
11. Buy my dream home- which has pretty much stayed the same since I can remember. Old, charming, vintage, lots of natural lighting, all hardwood floors, claw-foot tub, writing/breakfast nook, lots of trees, kinda secluded, a view would be amazing, vine growing up the stone wall outside. I could go on and on, but I won't. I really can't wait to live in a house like this one day though.
12. Take a trip with my sisters. Just us. Anywhere.
13. Find out what came first, the chicken or the egg...???
14. Complete this bucket list..
15. Make you laugh, let me know if I have done this in the comments :)

Hope you enjoyed my list. Leave a comment with some of your bucket list ideas!

-T

Happy Little Succas

I am beyond excited to introduce the next feature on the blog, for a few different reasons. Have you ever just watch one of your friends t...