About Kirsten

I'm a writer-turned-creative-dabbler. I ogle "happy" designer fabrics and aspire to one day owning my own online fabric shop especially suited for my fellow modern creative pioneers embarking upon the sewing frontier. A journey is always more exciting with a friend!

My faith carries me through the rough patches and gives flight to my dreams.

I'm a recovering home schooling mommy to my 7-year-old super boy and 5-year-old ragamuffin princess! I've been married to my very best friend and sanity-saving-hero for 8 years. I call our simple life "blessed."

...and I'm always hooked up to an IV of flavored diet coke with pebble ice. Chocolate? Vanilla? Marshmallow? Anyone...anyone?

Setting Up Shop

Goooooood night. No, seriously, I couldn’t say “good morning,” so you officially get a “good night.” But really, today was a good, productive, and beautiful summer day. My oldest is spending his weekdays this month at our local civic youth theater’s summer camp and our youngest is getting her “spy” on at our church’s VBS. That means that I have a few minutes to catch my breath during the day without feeling guilty that our summer hasn’t been filled with more fun and exciting adventures. I’m pretty sure that despite the lack of thrills, it hasn’t been too big of a dud.

But I digress. Let’s chat about more fun and exciting things, like…

…welcoming back the Lovespun Studio Etsy shop! YAY! It’s back and so is the Zippy! Cash Envelope Organizer Wallet that people from all over the world randomly emailed me about during my year-long hiatus from all things stitchy. I heard your cries. Read your emails and decided that the word simply needs more cute and functional wallets. You’re welcome.

Zippy Cash Envelope Wallet

Also making an appearance in the shop are these fun keychain wristlets, because really and truly, I’m doing my best to stay focused on cohesion within my shop this time around. Who can resist an adorable wristlet to possibly coordinate with their wallet? I say, “Not me!”

Wrislet Pyrex Set Etsy

And what’s that you say while we’re talking accessories? Do I hear headwraps? You want cutie patootie headwraps? Alrighty then! Those are coming too. Bear with me and drool over these while you wait.

Screenshot 2014-07-10 22.11.31

So be patient with me while I get everything in order. I’m still your go-to gal for all things Disney too. So if you’re thinking about a vacay and really wanting to get in on the Free Fall Dining promotion– shoot me an email at kirsten (at) ahappytrip (dot) com.

Is anyone else out there as excited as I am about this?! Good times!

Making Your Dreams Happen Is Work

I’m a dreamer. It’s in my blood.

When I was a about 5 years old, I decided that I wanted to be a librarian. Not when I was a grown up. Right then.

So with dogged determination, I pulled my book collection from the shelves and began creating library check-out out cards. One by one, I used my ruler and pen to create my library cards {remember the old-school system?}. I glued pouches on the inside of the books to hold the cards. I dressed myself up in my spiffiest librarian uniform. I pulled out the trusty piano bench to serve as my desk. I perched myself at the bench for hours on end– in my living room. And I loaned books to my obliging family and friends.

I dreamed. And I did.

It was a lot of work, but I didn’t let that slow me down.

Somewhere along the path of growing up, I started believing that the dream alone was the catalyst to success– that the idea standing on its own merits was enough to inspire big things; To spark a revolution. Somehow, a faulty belief grew inside my heart that told me that hours and hours of hard work or searching beyond my own brain for inspiration was a weakness. Erroneously I presumed that working hard and pouring hours of effort and energy into the details bordered on self promotion and that belief pushed me to shirk back.

Dream Post

So where I once worked hard to make dreams happen, I now spun my mental wheels in pursuit of the passion of the dream alone. And you know what? Nothing happened. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Dreams without action are dead. They don’t inspire. They wither.

Since the beginning of the year I have committed myself to not just dreaming anymore, but to doing. Make no mistake, doing can waste your dreams away too. I’m just as guilty {probably guiltier} as the next person of wasting time “doing something” but never doing “THE THING.” Thankfully I’m choosing to change that. Rather than simply doing, I’m setting goals and working them. Setting goals makes every difference in your staircase to success.

Allow me to be blunt, it’s hard work. Every successful person says this, but I think that few of us really listen. After all, when we encounter a great speaker, writer, artist, teacher or designer we only see the finished product. If they’ve invested their time and energies well and worked hard, that finished product makes it all seem easy. So we hear someone tell us over and over all of the risks that they’ve taken to dream big, but we never quite let that sink in until we feel compelled enough by a dream of our own to take the steps to transform that dream into a reality.

If you are wrestling with a dream or a big idea, then take the time to break it down and evaluate the work that it will take to arrive at the dream. Then if you feel like it’s THE thing that you want to throw yourself into wholeheartedly, stop and keep breaking that dream down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

The work is slow and tedious. It just is. But I find myself feeling invigorated even by the tedium of it all. It is an investment of yourself into something with no pay and likely no one to pat you on the back at first– if ever.

There you go. You’re welcome.

Overdue

Wello.

I just made my life a little brighter by creating a hybrid of “Well, hello!” Call me genius. I think we can all agree on that, right?

Or not.

In any case, did you know that it’s been over a year since I last posted on the Lovespun Studio blog? It probably doesn’t look like it if you scroll through because I just imported all of my other blog posts from KirstenCSmith.com over here, but believe me, June 6, 2013 was my last post on this site. Even though I closed down shop late last summer, I never could bring myself to totally eschew Lovespun. I dunno why exactly, but I would hazard a guess that it’s because it represents a really joyful part of me. And despite the fact that  I don’t always dwell in the creative sector of my own mind, I really do enjoy it when that part is alive and active.

So here I am. This go-around I’m going to do my level-best to call this place home, because despite my efforts to compartmentalize myself and my various endeavors, there’s really no good reason not to just plant it all here for you to find.

If you stick around and keep reading with me you’ll probably read about:

1) A Happy Trip~ I’m a researcher & a planner. It’s ridiculously fun for me and can easily consume all of my mental space. I use these superpowers to plan super duper budget-friendly vacations.  My dear husband suggested that I put those skillz to practical use. So I did. My specialization is in all things Disney, but if you are dying to go on a cruise or try out an all-inclusive, drop me a line! You’ll probably read lots of posts about travel & Disney. It is what it is. I love The Happiest Place On Earth– I’m not ashamed. (click highlighted or image below to follow on FB)

400x400 Square AHT Logo

2) Zippy! Cash/Coupon/Receipt Organizational Wallets~ I make em and I sell em. They are spunky, fun, unique and super functional. I’m guessing that other accessories will follow, but who knows…let’s just take it one step at a time. I list a lot via Instagram, so you can click over there or you can always follow Lovespun Studio on Facebook too by clicking here.

Zippy Facebook Timeline

3) Deep Thoughts~ Self explanatory. Sometimes I simply need to let the words spill out somewhere.

4) Nerdy stuff~ You know, because I’m fascinated with public relations and communications topics since I used to dwell in that world. Lots of this circles back to being a researcher. If you don’t like details, you can skip any of these posts. Truthfully, I wrestle with going back to work in a corporate type of environment full-time. I love it. I miss it. But I’m still reconciling the joy of being available for my kiddos at any given moment with the reality that I would have to give up some of that freedom to go back to “work.” It’s a bigger internal struggle than you might imagine and contributes to that “identity crises” that I mentioned earlier tonight on Twitter.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 9.45.35 PM

There you have it. That’s probably enough for my first post back in the game. I wouldn’t want you to drown my my wordiness. So until post numero dos…

Goodnight!

Trivia: There are AT LEAST TWO redundant phrases in this post. Can you find them? I love spotting redundancies, so I thought that I would leave them in just to share a little fun. Perhaps not everyone is amused by grammar searches. (Also note, I’m a writer, not an editor. While I enjoy spotting grammatical oopsies, the majority of my finds are not within my own writing. What fun would that be? They are gems, but I’m not particularly fond of searching for them, so I’ll let you do that. Just be kind.)

 

Please Say “NO” to Human Trafficking at the Happiest Place on Earth

I’m a Disney fan to nth degree. When people say that Disneyland/World is the “happiest place on Earth,” I exuberantly agree. For me each visit to Disney World is an opportunity to escape into a endless fantasy land where I get to play, relax, giggle and just savor every magical moment. The wonder and excellence of it all inspires me, while the vision and dream of one man to unleash this empire makes me gasp in awe. Even my littlest punkin’ gives Walt two-thumbs up.

Only here’s the thing, every time we go I get all excited to jump on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride with my family– after all, it’s a CLASSIC! It’s filled with treasure and loot and cannons and misty-caverns, but without fail we round a bend and get to this:

{via}

In the middle of a boat filled with families ingesting the swash-buckling tale, I get gut-punched with the image of women being tied up and sold. The last time I consulted with my conscience, women being auctioned off to the highest bidder is not an occasion suitable for our entertainment any more than animatronic African Americans set in a plantation would prove amusement material. The thought makes my stomach lurch. It’s almost too painful to even put in black-and-white letters.

I’m as guilty as the rest of the world. I stifle the uneasy feeling that I get when we pass as I try to logic  that I’m being overly sensitive. Only am I? I don’t think so. Which is why I’m writing this now.

Every image that depicts human slavery in jest allows us to further abdicate our responsibility to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. These scenes falsely represent slavery as a thing of storybook tales. Only more people are enslaved throughout the world today than in any other period of history. I shudder. 

So why then do we delight in this fallacious fairy tale? Because asking for change means speaking up and quite possibly, standing out. It means bucking convention and being the real-life hero of the day.

I wonder if the irony is lost on pimps and traffickers who take their girls on trips to Disney’s amusement parks? {And YES, this does happen!} And the girls? Why wouldn’t it look as if sex trafficking is the thing of only our wildest stories? Isn’t that what we show them every day? That their reality is all a facade? That they can’t possibly be slaves or have a price on their bodies?

Even when it’s right there before us– in the “happiest place on Earth”– we choose to turn our heads and close our hearts. To be certain, there is a difference between ignorance and willful propaganda. I hope that as the modern day plight of slavery surfaces that Disney will thoughtfully reconsider the message that it sends out to the thousands upon thousands of people that it influences each day. After all, they have our attention. So let’s not waste the opportunity to do what is right.

the one where i simply write

here i type. for emphasis and to adequately note the fact that i’m feeling particularly lazy tonight, i’m not capitalizing. {but it’s killin’ me…fo realz yo. although maybe it shouldn’t since i don’t seem to have a problem saying “fo realz yo” –> rolls eyes}

this blogging, writing, creative, human trafficking, always thinking sort of brain is driving me to the brink of bonkers town. i can’t seem to let go of anything that my heart pushes me toward, but i’m a realist and the fact remains that there is nowhere near enough of myself to do everything and do it well. not withstanding the fact that i’m usually “stick-a-fork-in-me” done by 9pm every night, i just don’t know how to do it all. in fact, i’m afraid of deciding exactly what i want to do and running after it, for fear that i’ll change my mind. 
once upon a time i was told to ask myself the question, “what’s the one thing that you HAVE to do before you die?” ehh…i don’t know. only i do know. but it’s all just too much and it’s not a one-girl type of dream. 
i do know that i have to love people. i have to take time for coffee and lunch and listening and caring. i know that i need to sit down with a stack of adorable fabric {or fonts or color or style} every now and then and just let my mind wander– but i hate being a slave to the entirety of the creative process. i can’t stop throwing my thoughts around or drudging up a million different articles that strike a nerve and make me hungry for more information. i have to listen and learn and grow and think. the only thing that i never mind being enslaved to {all family, faith and friends aside} is my computer, despite the truth that i don’t miss it for a moment when i’m away from it. it’s an oddly respectful camaraderie.
what am i afraid of? i can rattle it off without hesitation: exhaustion. 
plain and simple. i’m afraid to commit myself to any one endeavor that leaves me feeling empty rather than full. i lie awake at night worrying that if i make the wrong choice that i will burn out and that it will affect my family that i’ve sacrificed so much to invest myself into. yet, i know that there is more waiting for me. it’s just beyond the horizon. i touch it and dance with it without ever exactly making a date. it frees me, only i find myself wanting more of what it has to offer. more rendezvous with purpose. less busy. more full. 
i hoped that typing it out might help. but i think that it really leaves me sitting here with a concrete feeling that i know what i know; i feel what i feel; and i fear what i fear– albeit not irrationally. 
can someone just point me on my course and bid me adieu? sigh. 
here’s to a new week. i feel like a great explorer off on a grand adventure. here’s to the journey. maybe this will be the one. 
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