Calligraphy by: Nancy Favorito
I’m going to take a rare opportunity to discuss something with less humor than usual. I’m still going to add my flare of comic relief here and there because where I’m at now, it’s easier to look back on these moments and feel lighter. That’s why it’s so important to keep pushing forward no matter how hard of a time you’re having. So that you can take that moment to reflect and see how far you’ve come, how much stronger you’ve become and how much braver you are now. We are all just doing our best. Repeat that to yourself DAILY as a reminder. We are human beings. Fragile, emotional, unsure and confused most of the time. But waking up everyday and trying to achieve something. That ‘something’ is different for all of us. For some it might be making it to that next vacation. For others it might be growing your own business (ok, that’s mine, surprise!) Maybe you want to have a family and cook dinner every night for the ones you love. All of these things are reasons to stay here on this planet until you absolutely cannot anymore at the ripe age of 110. And then I’ll see you all in the land of the dead where it just gets better! (Coco reference. If you haven’t watched that movie yet, RUN DON’T WALK to netflix.)
Mental health is one of my top priorities for myself and my family. I see my therapist every week and I have straight now since I found out I was pregnant. And before that I have been on and off seeing my therapist since I was 15 years old. I don’t ever plan on stopping now more than ever. Life as an entrepreneuring mother, wife, sister, daughter, niece and friend, is something I take seriously. I aim to put all the thought and care into those relationships and myself, as possible. And I admit I need a little help. Like all the time.
As a highly emotional and independent person, talking to friends and family about my “issues” usually brings me more stress than help. I have healthier relationships and boundaries ever since I stopped sharing all the hard things with them. That’s not to say that I don’t fill them in on what’s happening in my life and when I’m having a struggle. The difference is I no longer rely on them to help me solve them. Less judgement, more laughter, support and love.
While I was pregnant with Logan, I did a lot of research on postpartum depression. Knowing how emotional I was/am, how young I was and how unfamiliar with babies and children I was, I thought this would help prepare me. What I didn’t know was nothing could prepare my naivety for how different my life would actually be as a new mom and also, a forever mom.
I literally came home from the hospital after giving birth, which was fine and healthy and normal by the way. No birth horror stories here. I did faint in the shower at the hospital but that is simply because I am crazy. Quick synopsis, I genuinely was just terrified that if I moved the wrong way my entire vagina would rip open and I would die. Like I said, crazy. Ok that will be the last time I use the word “vagina,” promise. In THIS post, promise.
So I get home from the hospital, I’m sore and tired and feeling weird. John and I greet our cats who I haven’t seen in three days. My family came by to help us get settled. And all the while I’m not looking forward to sitting and cuddling my brand new baby. I’m thinking about all the things I want to work on in my studio and wondering when I will be in less pain to comfortably sit in a chair and do so. This, incase you’re unaware, is the wrong behavior and thought process. It’s lovely to be excited to continue working and feeling like yourself again. But it is unhealthy not to give yourself at least 3 weeks of maternity leave to literally sleep, feed yourself and the baby, watch tv and learn how to breastfeed, if you so choose. I could have asked for help from my family. Come over, hold my baby and let me sleep since my entire body just experienced a trauma. But no. I decided I was supposed to do it all myself in order to become a capable mother. Big mistake. One that I have now learned from and was so completely blind to at the time, no one could have convinced me otherwise. It’s okay though. I forgive myself because some people need to learn the hard way. But as long as we learn, that’s all that matters. And as long as we stay here on the planet, trying. I can’t emphasize that enough. If you feel overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, to any degree at all, find help. It is all around. Someone you know, knows a great therapist and once you take that leap, you will never look back. Except to reflect on how far you’ve come, duh.
Back to post partum. The entire first year with Logan in our lives, I had no childcare and I continued trying to work the same amount of hours as I had before I had a baby. This. Is. Insane. I was feeling, guilty, angry, depressed, anxious, confused and like a failure pretty much everyday. I was resentful of my husband for getting to go and work and be alone and do his thing just like before we had a baby. I was getting sick constantly because I gave myself no grace and allowed myself no time to breathe and rest. It took me an entire year WITH therapy to get my shit together. After Logan turned 1, I told John we needed to create a weekly schedule so that I could have balance. We found a daycare 2 days a week and my grandparents commited to one day a week to watch Logan. I now have 3 full days to just work and be Stephanie. Business Stephanie. Creative Stephanie. Drink coffee while it’s still hot, Stephanie. Frown if I want and no one is looking at me, Stephanie. Put a show on in the background and not worry it’s melting my sons brain, Stephanie. I could go on but I think you get it. Especially if you’re a parent YOU GET IT. I love my son more than anyone and he makes me smile and feel genuine happiness when I’m with him. But I feel those feelings and absorb those moments so much more now that I know every week I can just be me on set days. Recharge my batteries, schedule in my responsibilities, take a nap if I feel I need one (this doesn’t happen often but I should work on it). Eat a ton of cookies for lunch if I fancy. It’s healthy and it’s necessary.
I did not like my life for that first year. I had a lot of happy moments. I bonded with my son and we spent lots of time together, which I cherish. I grew more than I ever knew I would or even needed to. I learned how to make baby food and cook healthy meals. I shopped for adorable baby outfits and shoes and smiled. I made strides in my business. I exhibited at my first big tradeshow and it was a success. But I did not like my life. I felt like I was getting the short end of the stick and it was because I didn’t make the necessary changes for myself that went along with the change that was thrust upon me the second Logan entered the world.
My postpartum depression was not the kind where I didn’t want to be near my baby. It was the kind where I continued to over sacrifice, trying to be “perfect” and “happy” all the time but actually just felt anxious and angry. I have been feeling better, like Stephanie again, since about April of this year. That’s not even very long ago. But all of the memories and feelings from above that I described feel like a lifetime ago. I am sure when I have another baby I’ll make some mistakes and the adjustments will be difficult but thankfully I know better now. I won’t be afraid that my life will never be balanced. I will be prepared to readjust and ask for more help.
If you’re feeling down whether you had a baby or not, reach out to anyone you know who can help you find the right help. And if you know someone who has been down, had a baby, is starting a business, is struggling with some facet of their life at all, be kind. Offer to bring them a meal. Offer an ear to listen and offer the knowledge that we all need a professional from time to time. Or every week forever, like yours truly. We are all doing our best.
Thanks for reading, xx
Recently my Nanny, who to clarify is my “grandma” technically but chose the title “Nanny” instead, told me she was afraid to write her own sentiment inside of a card. I asked her why and she said she looks at the blank page and feels intimidated by all the white space and her mind goes blank and she has no idea where to start. Now I know she isn’t the only person who feels this way because people have declined purchasing my cards in the past for that very reason. And I am here to hopefully help you at least try to write your own card and see how it feels with a simple suggestion.
Write how you feel. It sounds too easy, right? And you might be like but Steph, that’s actually the worst advice ever go away. But I’m not done. Ask yourself, what do I feel when I think of this person? Let’s create an example.
You’re writing your sibling a birthday card. You guys are in your twenties and spend a decent amount of time together so the memories are recent and they’re vivid. Think of the last time you saw them. Did you have a good talk? Did you laugh? Did you cook dinner together or maybe make a cocktail? Did you watch a movie or discuss one you’d just seen? Overall, did you enjoy your time? Let’s hope yes. Now you can put words on paper..
“Wishing the happiest birthday to my sister who always makes me laugh while we are cooking random dinners and talking smack about crazy strangers who destroy our lives in the supermarket. The person who makes the best margaritas and has the ability to retell a movie in the absolute most hilarious way. I couldn’t imagine my life without you. You’re the best and you deserve everything and more of those margaritas! If only I could make one for you as well as you do. Looks like you’ll have to do it for us both! I love you forever!”
Okay so that took me approximately 6 minutes to write. Now if you’re saying to yourself “I don’t have six minutes to write a card,” I ask you sir, why not? I have found that the times I set aside to write my own sentiment to my family and friends, end up being the most peaceful moments of my day. I finish feeling grateful, happy and full of love because I just gave thought to why I appreciate that person so much AND bonus now they’re also going to feel that love and appreciation, which is the best gift you can give someone. Snail mail people. Learn about it. Try it. It’s the damn best.
I hope you’ll give it a go next time you go to pick out that card with the prewritten message that can apply to just about anyone in the world and will leave very little impact on whoever receives it because it’s not specific to them and their incredible characteristics. If you write them your own message, they might just keep that card forever and read back on it from time to time to feel good. And you could be that feel good reason!
Here’s an even simpler version of the above example sentiment I wrote, with just as much impact incase maybe that one felt super scary to you first timers…
“Happy birthday to the best margarita maker and my favorite person to talk to. I hope you have the greatest day ever, I love you”
I would still keep that card because it came from the heart and made me feel happy to read it…now I like need to go learn how to make an excellent margarita. And you need to go practice your card writing skills. We both have work to do so bye. Until the next post!
What is wedding stationery? What stationery items do I need to mail? What stationery items do I want at my actual wedding? Do I need calligraphy on my envelopes? What is the difference between calligraphy and digital printing? These are so common questions I hear and I want to give you some info to help while deciding what items you NEED and what items you WANT.
INVITATION & RSVP – Firstly, items you NEED. When you’re throwing a wedding, you need to invite people and you need to know if they’re coming or not. Everyone needs an invitation and a way for guests to reply to you BUT with wedding websites you now have the digital reply option which eliminates the need for the tangible RSVP card AND the return envelope that goes along with it. This saves you on item and postage cost. However, it is so fun to collect those cards from your mailbox and see the cute notes people write to you on them. SO the choice is yours my friends. Either way works just fine!
MAP CARD, INFO CARD, DETAILS CARD – These are essentially one and the same (and are circumstantially a NEED but can also be a WANT). What makes them different is the illustration you do or do not choose. The map is of course, an illustrated map of your wedding area including all of the important landmarks for your wedding weekend and or wedding day. This is just so fun and special to keep that most couples want it to have for themselves! It can be framed and even printed in a different size or on another surface, such as on fabric, to become art for your new home as newlyweds. If you choose no map but you have a big weekend planned with an itinerary for your guests, then you probably need an info card / details card. These are the exact same thing. Typically couples will incorporate a small illustration element that pulls from the invitation design to be cohesive, like a floral in the corner or on the edges, etc. The whole point of this item is to give people dates, times and locations so they know where to be and when for your exciting celebrations. All of this info can also be put on your wedding website if you have one and you can lead people there instead.
DAY OF SIGNAGE – I can’t tell you enough how special these details make your wedding day but that said, they are still wants! But like, need wants, you know? One idea, let’s welcome everyone to your wedding and tell them how excited you are to have them there celebrating with you! This sign can be large on an easel or framed on a table or hanging from a tree or pillar. The possibilities are endless for welcoming. Another idea, having a specialty cocktail being made in honor of you and your fiancé? Maybe it’s a blackberry bourbon smash? (Yum, my fave) I can illustrate the cocktail and write what it is, what it’s called and what’s in it, on an 8×10 printout that can then be framed at the bar or in a smaller size on everyone’s table so they for sure know what to order at the reception! And another idea, do you have a little area designated for gifts and cards? People are always searching for this spot as soon as they walk in so they don’t forget to gift you or put the gift in the wrong place. So make a sign that says “Wedding gifts” and then there’s no guesswork for your guests! On these signs we also have the opportunity to continue including design elements that reflect your invitations. It’s your theme and your style and it’s so personal to you on the most personal day of your lives, so let’s put it as many places as we can think of! Without being tacky, obviously.
SEATING CHART, ESCORT CARDS, PLACE CARDS – These are almost all necessary so there’s not total chaos once the reception begins. For sure there needs to be EITHER a seating chart sign OR escort cards so people know what table they are at. Depending on the layout of your venue and your personal preference, you can choose between the two. There are so many creative and exciting ways to display both nowadays. Just type them into Pinterest and you’ll be mind blown. And then we can narrow down the endless options based on your venue and your wedding theme! The place cards would sit at each setting of the table, assigning people to a seat which is not completely necessary but it can be done if you’d like!
HAND LETTERED OR DIGITALLY PRINTED ENVELOPES- Well, envelopes are a need so that you can mail your wedding suites. The choice between hand lettered addresses or digitally printed is personal preference. Nothing compares to that beautiful hand lettered look you see on the envelope, with the slightest and prettiest imperfections that make each envelope so unique and special. That being said, calligraphy is pricey! Understandably because it’s such a special skill that takes time to learn and master and then execute. Digitally printing the addresses works just fine too. Nowadays there are so many beautiful fonts to choose from, it’s almost not noticeable when it’s digital versus hand lettered and no one will judge! And if they do, well rude. Always remember your budget is yours and yours alone and you should spend on the pieces of your wedding that have the most meaning to you and your fiancé.
Let’s recap and view some other day of options:
- Welcome sign
- Specialty cocktail / Bar signs
- Wedding gifts sign
- Seating chart sign
- Escort cards (guests name plus date/spouse with table assignment)
- Place cards (at each spot of table to assign seats, extra step)
- Menu cards (can have design elements that reflect your invitations)
- Gift for the Guests sign (can be setup on the table on the way out with any gifts for the guests to take so they know, these are for them!)
- Personal wedding hashtag sign
- Get creative! If you have a favorite quote or poem or saying, make a sign with it! Every little detail you design for your wedding just makes it that much more special and YOU as a couple and we love that.
Have questions and want to chat about your own wedding? Shoot me an email at email@example.com
Below are some images from weddings I have worked on in the past! Shout out to Kylie and Ashley, our featured brides. They are so gorgeous and I absolutely loved working with them both to illustrate all of their personal stationery items!
Photo credit: Ciro Photography AND Thompson Photography
Okay so, the “Quadrant of Importance and Urgency.” This little diagram is courtesy of my therapist after I recently expressed that I’m constantly torn between all of my priorities. Which I was quickly informed are not all actually, a priority. Some of them are just things I’d like to do at some point in time. Not important and not urgent OR important but not urgent. Since this was semi mind blowing for me I figured I can’t be the only one confused, right? If I’m wrong, just lie to me.
This concept covers pretty much everyone no matter what your days look like. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, an entrepreneur, a CEO and on and on, you can benefit from changing the way you view that mental to do list. Also what feels better than looking back on your day and actually feeling good about what you did instead of being mad at yourself that you also didn’t clean underneath your couch? (that’s an example of #4, not urgent and not important even though you really might think it is, your therapist will tell you that it is not and she is right BECAUSE the other things on your list like turn in your old plates to DMV and get a long overdue physical, matter more. Because the law and health).
I’m going to send over two great printables with the quadrant diagram to everyone who signs up for my newsletter on my homepage! I’d love to hear how you feel about it once you’ve tried it. There are so many helpful tips and tricks out there these days that sometimes it feels overwhelming to choose a path so I realize you might be like, why do I need this on top of everything else in the world to get organized? Well, you might not. But if you find yourself staring at your to do list, wondering where to start and how you’ll ever get through it all that day, then this is for you. Maybe you use it to map out your whole week. Weekdays you do all the important and urgent tasks and on the weekends you can tackle a few of the not so important and urgent tasks.
Below are the 4 quadrants and a brief description of how to identify each…
- Important + urgent: health or legal matters first, then any time sensitive responsibilities
- Important + not urgent: finances, certain business /work related tasks
- Urgent + not important: things that are a close waste of time, such as reorganizing your bookshelf or spice cabinet
- Not urgent + not important: things that are a complete waste of time, such as scrolling instagram? any takers?
And now for some photos of this diagram in action. And don’t forget to sign up on my homepage to get the printable! You can print two blank diagrams on one page and cut it in half to use twice and even clip it into a notebook as part of your list making ritual. I know I’m a notebook nerd but if you join me, you won’t be disappointed. Us notebook nerds also eat a lot of cupcakes, perks of the club.