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80/100 sample packaging

I’ve been working on getting the magazine into retail stores lately, and it’s been an exciting journey! We’re just at the beginning, but I got my second response and first request to see a sample. Packaging has forever been a quiet love of mine so any chance I get to flex my packaging skills, I jump on it.

Inside, I’m including the actual product, a mini line sheet that matches the one I emailed, and two (2!) business cards. Always give two. I also wrote a small note on one of the cards because personal touches mean a lot.

It’s all bundled together and put into a kraft paper envelope. I thought about putting the magazine in a cellophane bag and washi tape the other content in front. I thought about tying the whole bundle together with some twine. But, the simpler the better, so I just put everything in the envelope and made sure it was secure. Stamped a logo and wrote a quick note, and there you go!

I’m always interested in packaging, so I hope that was interesting for you too. It’s been said already, but I’m so excited for this process and without any fear as well.

79/100 graduation

Graduation was fun and went just as expected. There was one moment at the start of the ceremony, when I was siting at my seat on the aisle. For a moment, I felt so proud of what I had accomplished. It is just high school, but it is still an accomplishment. I’ve grown so much, and felt like I went through it alone. I had C in my corner after the first few semesters, but my family wasn’t there for me as much as I wanted. So this ceremony, this moment in my cap, gown, and chords, I felt proud.

Dinner was amazing, mainly because I got to pick the restaurant and I got to order everything. It was delicious and beautiful and I only wish I ate more. I already want to go back.

The parent-organized grad night was also a nice surprise. I really enjoyed it, getting to talk to people I care about but lost touch with over the school year. Getting to meet new people with such unique life experiences that contrast drastically with the rich east coast students I’ll be seeing at my future college. Dancing on the tiny dance floor and feeling the floor bend with the crowd. Playing pool, blackjack, and more pool. Sitting in the quiet spots and talking and talking and talking about everything. Realizing who were the good people and who were the bad, and that I just can not handle seeing the bad ones ever again (so I won’t be going to their party).

I didn’t expect much from graduation, just being excited to be done. But, like always, the people make everything so much better and I felt full while being in a group of people for the first time in a while.

78/100 summer is when things happen

On my first official day out of school, I got up early to drive up north for the best mini donut sundaes in the state.

It was something spontaneous, something we would joke about doing on the way to school or on the way home. I always loved that about summer: it feels like the only time of the year where when you want something, you can actually do it.

Afterwards, we took over a hundred photos for the Instagram, moving from staged room to staged room at Restoration Hardware, hoping for a desk that had good lighting for once. It’s yet another technique I’m trying out in hopes of boosting the Instagram. Maybe with some summer magic, it’ll actually work.

Last night I sent my first round of emails to retail stores. I heard back from one shop and sent out a couple more tonight. I plan on emailing every shop I think would be a good partner and asking for feedback with each rejection. I am, for the first time in a while, excited about this without any fear. I’m nervous, of course, but I know the process takes time and any challenge is completely manageable.

The final item on my list today is the arrival of an order I made for clothes. I got a replacement for one item, something to make another item wearable, and a beautiful linen, ruffly red dress. It was on sale and I was looking for something fun for the summer, and this seemed to be it. The easy return policy eased my mind when I clicked on the purchase button (almost never make it that far!) and while I waited for it to arrive.

I’m not joking when I say that I don’t know what this feeling is. As per usual, I opened the package ready to be disappointed. It was going to be ok, I could just return it and forget it. But no. Maybe I’ve finally figured out my body or just gone crazy, because it actually looked good? And this coming from my very critical and skeptical mind? I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t. I’m giving myself the return period to decide, but man summer is when things happen.

Summer is when things happen.

77/100 the way I work

Fall

The first day of school for the past decade has oddly fallen on the same day the summer weather hits the road and cute summer outfits are just too cold to wear any longer. As with all new things, the motivation at the start is ready to get moving, and make this year easier to manage than the last. The first few weeks, I have a foot in each boat. My fall motivation combined with my summer relaxation means I get all my work done as early as possible and relax guilt-free for the rest of the evening. I’m still adjusting but I’m on top of things. I am the most productive I will be all year, until the seasonal depression hits. The sadness, the fatigue, the questions of what I got myself into, the feeling of not being able to care less. I fall down this hole and knowing quite well that I won’t be out till the spring, I make do with what I can.

Winter

The winter is full of jumpstarts. It gets dark earlier everyday and I feel my excitement slipping. My motivation is still there, but it desperately wants to go into hibernation. Every few days, when the to-do list takes longer than 30 minutes and it’s still the bare minimum, I must jumpstart my motivation and bring it back to the table. In front of me is my own reflection in the window, the outside pitch black and my desk lamp reflecting everything that’s inside. My feet are a little cold, but it keeps me awake. I constantly want to crawl into bed when I get home and just let the day go. But there’s work to do. I get it done, and I feel motivated and excited that I just might be my productive self again. It lasts a day or two longer, then I give myself the reward of laying down for an evening.

Spring

I see the horizon on sight, and just the anticipation brings me some motivation. The rain doesn’t help, and it’s still quite cold. It feels more like drudging than awakening. The transition seasons always throw me off a bit, so right now, it’s just about making each day as easy as possible. Get things done early, leave little to the evenings. The repetition of each day starts to really hit me, and I’m hungry for a change or adventure. That means some work will be sidelined for exploring travel ideas and outfits online. I’m just waiting around for summer. What once was a stagnant pool of productivity, however, is turning into a gentle river. Even though I doubt myself every year, soon I know the waterfall will come.

Summer

Summer Iris is the best version of myself, in my opinion. I can take the heat and am so so grateful that my mind is no longer occupied by the thought that I am/will be cold, shivering at some bus stop. It’s so nice, and the warmth feels like a kind blanket. It let’s me feel a little drowsy and happy in the bright light of day. When it starts to cool a bit, my brain is awakened, and the work flows out of my in waves of waterfalls, landing with such force that it almost sweeps me away. I have ideas, and those ideas are suddenly making even more ideas. That’s usually when I know it’s going to be a good summer. The momentum is strong, and every item on my to-do list is completed the day it was planned for, and not an hour later. Downstairs, the air is cool and I feel like I’m a real modern worker of some kind. Upstairs, the heat has pushed out my family so the whole floor is mine, and I feel like I could do anything.

76/100 currently

Currently, I’m…

Reading The Female Persuasion. It’s a popular book right now and while it didn’t initially peak my interest, man oh man is it oddly similar to my life and that means it could become a favorite or definitely not.

Eating at Cafe Flora! C has been recommending this place for a while so we went for Father’s Day. Wait was long and food was delicious, just wish we ate it differently.

Thinking about my health a lot and looking for new healthy summer recipes!

Loving the new season of Grey’s Anatomy that just got released on Netflix. How could I have forgotten just how good this show is? I’ve cried and laughed so many times and I’m only half way through.

Having some hard but necessary conversations that push me to grow even more, and I’m grateful that I see things that way now (most of the time :)).

Waiting to watch the new season of Queer Eye with the boyfriend because it’s a show that can lift us both out of a bad mood and each episode is so, so sweet!

Planning out my summer. Last summer before college and this year, there’s not too much on my list of work goals. However, I do want to push harder in the business and figure out how to sustainably manage it through college. Also I want to do every fun thing I can think of.

Celebrating my high school graduation. No party for me (although I’m excited to attend others’) but I have felt so much love recently from the people around me, proud of me for my accomplishments and cheering me on for the next ones.

75/100 connections

Meeting so many new people via messaging today has reminded me just how far I’ve come in being authentic.

A couple reached out about working with the magazine, the people I reached out to responded so kindly, and even kids from my future college are saying hi. These conversations are kind and simple but I’ve found it so much easier to hold a conversation than before. At the same time, if a conversation dies out, that’s alright too! I’m not holding on to any one relationship, and am open to creating new ones.

Connections are everything in the coming years, and it takes away some of the stress knowing that I can and am already building bridges with new people. I credit it that confidence to the strong sense of self I’ve built this past year, along with the events I’ve been going to that are filled with smart strangers.

It’s a small thing to be excited about, but I see patterns quickly and it brings me comfort that building a network may just be possible.

74/100 summer

Summer times are finally here.

Today was the last official day of school and almost all my loose ends are tied up. Next week is graduation, and while that’ll be the official start of summer, the vibes are already here.

The sun is shining longer each day, and it seems like more progress is being made as well. Even while my own frustrations may rise and billow, there’s always something stronger beneath me. As a cloud of sadness hung over me in the winter, a base of warmth and patience supports me in the summer.

The lows bounce back quicker, and highs keep pulling me along. The things that I let get to me stay a bit farther away.

The warmth outside brings it within me as well, and the light is so so magical.

73/100 well-being

Health and mental wellbeing has been moving up in my mind lately.

There have been health issues in both my and my loved one’s families and while they’re on different levels of severity, it does remind me to focus on my own health while it’s still alright.

I’ve been watching what and how much I eat for a little over 2 months now. I record what I eat and give an estimate of the calories. I sit through the hunger and try to listen more to what my body wants. The whole thing isn’t too restrictive because having healthy eating on my mind is already an improvement.

I know that a lot of my relationship with food has been based on ignorance. My family would pressure me to eat more and shame me if I didn’t. I never put the effort in to cooking for myself, so I just ate what my family made and it would almost always just be meat. I used to exercise as a child with team sports, but I never got into the habit of continuing it on my own. After a game, my parents would encourage me to eat more than usual, to make up for the energy lost.

I noticed stretch marks at the start of high school, most likely the result of eating like I was a lot younger and my body disagreeing. Up until then, I have never even thought about what I ate or how much I was eating.

At times, I worry I think about it too much now. And yet, I’m still not making the changes I need to really improve my health physically. When my mother is in need of guidance for her own health journey, I have all the lessons I’ve learned, along with a lot of uncertainty because I haven’t changed much myself. I’m working on it, though, and I’m proud that I’ve been able to stick with it so far. Every day, I’m learning more about my body and mind. I’m learning about the foods it loves and the foods it doesn’t. My body’s voice is growing too, telling me when it’s happiest and when it’s hurt. Me and her are building a relationship with food, and since it’s a lifelong one, we’re gonna make it right.

72/100 thoughts on the magazine

With the recent ups and downs of the magazine social media along with the ending of my academic responsibilities, the magazine had moved to the forefront of my mind.

Here are some of the thoughts I’ve been ruminating:

  • The magazine is my place to experiment.

For all my years of being online (7 years of creative endeavors!), everything I’ve learned about business and navigating the entrepreneurial world has been to benefit my business. When I had a problem, I’d do the research and learn from it. I’ve always been looking at ways I can help it grow. This fall, however, I will be starting my journey at business school and turning things around. I’ll be learning concepts and strategies in the academic setting, rather than experience. I’ll have the knowledge before the problem (hopefully) so my business will be the place for me to put them into action. It’s such a bigger lesson if I can test the things I learn in school in the real world, and having a real business allows me to do that quickly, like my own case study.

Comeback is small, and while that can be frustrating, I’m trying to appreciate the flexibility it gives me. If it were a much larger brand, I wouldn’t be able to make the quick additions or changes to my strategy that I need to be able to test my lessons in real life.

  • It’s frustrating not having the reach I want for the stories that I know will be useful.

As I’m emailing people for interviews, I’m frequently reminded of just how generous the creative community can be. Most people are willing to give me a bit of their time to share their insight. I just wish I could do more in return. In these situations, I’m only able to promote them on the magazine social medias. I’m grateful I have the community that I do, but it is frustrating at times when I feel like the amazing insight that these creatives are providing isn’t getting the reach it deserves.

  • I’ve been in the creative business game for a long time.

As I mentioned earlier, it hit me today that I’ve been working on some sort of creative project/business for over seven years. I’m 18 and I don’t think I’ve been involved with anything for that long. I’m not sure what it means, this realization, but it’s kind of comforting at the moment.

Something that I will always love about running the magazine is that it evolves with me. I have so much growing to do, and I hope the business grows with me.