Her Lovely Heart

March 27, 2015

Latest from Instagram / 18

What makes you happy. Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram. #hlhinstaquotes

Lately, on Instagram, we’ve talked about recognising what makes you happy, and heading towards that…

Colouring outside the lines. Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram. #hlhinstaquotes

…about not being afraid to colour outside the lines, that’s usually where magic happens…

Gratitude. Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram. #hlhinstaquotes

…and always taking time to appreciate what we have and what we’ve achieved, that’s where contentment lies.

Go check out our previous Instaposts or follow us on Instagram. If you don’t want to miss any inspiration or latest news, make sure you’re subscribed to our weekly newsletter!

Her Lovely Heart


March 26, 2015

How to use relaxation techniques to tap into new ideas

Click through to read about relaxation techniques that can make you generate new ideas.

Sometimes (well, often!) you have so much on your plate that thinking clearly becomes a struggle, it’s like the noise in your head drowns out all productive thoughts. Have you ever noticed how when you decide to just take a break, go for a walk, or watch a mindless TV show, solutions start suddenly popping into your head? That’s how you know you have given your brain some space to process things, and it then comes up with this stuff almost as if the problem just solved itself. Of course that’s not the case, you put in the time to cram all the details in there yourself, but had you not allowed yourself to relax a little, you might not have ever produced that particular solution.

The good news is that this doesn’t need to happen only by accident, you can use a variety of relaxation techniques to utilise your brain in this way intentionally. I talk a lot about different techniques for generating new ideas and solutions, which really are priceless in my book, but the difference with this method is that, rather than forcing new ideas, it allows you to access solutions that are already somewhere in your mind. Cool, huh? For the best chance of this working, these are the four things to consider:

A calm environment.

Make sure that the room you are in is quiet and pleasant, and doesn’t have mountains of stuff that needs to get done in it. Or alternatively find a pretty, quiet spot outside.

Empty your mind.

If you practice meditation in any form, you’ll be familiar with the concept of trying to empty your mind. The trick is to not resist thoughts if they come, but rather let them pass through your mind without holding on to them.

Sit comfortably.

Sit in a position you know you’ll feel comfortable in for about 15 minutes, but not comfortable enough to fall asleep!

Favourite relaxation method.

If you already have a favourite technique or meditation you use regularly by all means use that, or you can try some of the ones below.

Click through to read about relaxation techniques that can make you generate new ideas.

Technique 1: mind travel

Imagine either a favourite past holiday, or a dream holiday you’d love to take. Conjure up an image of you doing something that would relax you most, maybe laying in a hammock on a beautiful verandah, looking out to the ocean, while the sun warms your skin. You can hear the sea and the seagulls and distant noise from the harbour. There may be a warm breeze, the scent of coconut sun lotion and the feel of the material of your favourite summer dress. The more specific you can be in your daydream, or more detailed in your memory, the deeper your relaxation will be. Stay on your imaginary trip for as long as it feels enjoyable, but try to do it as often as you can, preferably daily, so that your mind will make stronger links between your imagery and relaxation.

Technique 2: your sanctuary

This technique has been called many things from ‘House of Mind’ to ‘Truman’s Foxhole’, but the basic principle is the same. You can create an inner sanctuary in your mind, a place that is for you to retreat to when you crave peace and relaxation. Building something quite specific is the key, what would you ideal bolthole look like, what kind of environment would it be in, what materials is it made of? It can be just a room or a whole house, or a nest in a tree for that matter, just follow where your mind takes you. Once you have your sanctuary established make it a habit to visit it when ever you need a break from all the pressures, or when you want your mind to work on specific challenges. You can adapt your sanctuary as and when you see fit, you can add rooms, sensory elements, environments, sky’s literally the limit! I’ve heard of many examples where sporting heroes use an inner sanctuary to concentrate for a game, perhaps visualising sitting in their imaginary house on a luxurious sofa, watching themselves playing the perfect game on a huge plasma TV.

Technique 3: deep-muscle relaxation

This technique starts with the body, and the idea is to relax each of your muscle in turn. Begin by sitting comfortably and then go about systematically relaxing each muscle in sequence. Try to imagine all tension flowing out of your body as each part relaxes. You can start from the top and relax your face first, let your frown go, then move on to your jaw, then shoulders, arms, hands and each finger. Systematically relaxing all the areas of your body will help you to reach a deep state of relaxation that will make it easier for your subconscious to come through with its ideas. Remember to breath deeply and slowly from your stomach. If you are having trouble relaxing your muscles in sequence you can try imagining that you are a constructed of balloons, and one by one you’ll let the air out of the different areas, letting your balloon arms, legs, feet deflate and flatten.

I hope these techniques can get you going! You can find many more variations, and other techniques, both online and in books. Hopefully you’ll find one you feel comfortable adopting into your every day life. Not only is it good for you and your overall health to have tools for relaxing your mind and body, but it may also help you uncover what ever brilliant things your subconscious has cooked up for you!


Her Lovely Heart


March 25, 2015

Quote of the Week / 28

‘One half of knowing what you want is
knowing what you must give up before you get it.’
~ Sidney Howard

Sidney Howard quote wallpaper by Jorica Glen. Click through to download.

This quote is a beautiful reminder of the constant cycle of life. Often we need to make space for new things, whether physically or mentally. Usually it’s only when we are able to let go of things that don’t serve us any more that the things that we want right now start happening.

Jorica Glen created beautiful hand lettered and painted desktop wallpapers of this quote of the week, which you can download below.

Sidney Howard quote wallpaper by Jorica Glen. Click through to download.

Sidney Howard quote wallpaper by Jorica Glen. Click through to download.

Hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Jorica Glen.

Click here to download Quote Wallpapers by Jorica Glen: Download

Do you have a design you’d like to submit for our Goodie Bag? Create one design, or example of a digital product, and email it to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject line ‘Goodie Bag’. We’ll review your submission and get back to you if it’s a good fit for the site!
 

Her Lovely Heart


March 24, 2015

Ask Marianne / 23 / Fighting fatigue with prioritising tasks

Fighting fatigue with prioritising tasks. Click through to read.

In this series, Her Lovely Heart founder Marianne Taylor answers some of the burning questions submitted by blog readers, spanning everything from photography and business questions to personal mantras. Read on to find out what people are longing to know about…

Q: I’m feeling utterly worn out and plagued by a fatigue I can’t seem to shake off. My to-do-list seems like an enemy I’m constantly battling without ever feeling like I’ve made any headway. How can I stop feeling so overwhelmed?

A: I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling overwhelmed! I can definitely relate at the moment, as I myself am going through some big changes, and finding it challenging to stay motivated keeping up with all the details of life and business. At times like these, I find that being very pragmatic with priorities helps a great deal. With every task, I’d urge you to go through the following list of questions and see what fits:

Does this need to be done today?

If it’s not urgent, and if it doesn’t advance other urgent tasks, it probably doesn’t need to get done today.

Does this need to be done at all?

Is it something you feel like you ought to do to help someone else? It’s ok to say no, especially when you have too much on your plate. Or is it something you’ve gotten into a habit of doing, but doesn’t actually contribute to either progress of urgent tasks, or your own well-being? If so, it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing with your time right now.

Can someone else do this?

There’s a way to delegate many routine things, especially small monotonous tasks that don’t necessarily need your personal attention. When we talk about outsourcing most people think of business tasks such as photo editing or admin work, but it can be surprisingly cost-effective to get someone to clean your house every couple of weeks, or to do your ironing or gardening. Delegating routine households tasks can free up a lot of time and help with the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Can this be broken into smaller tasks?

If the task feels completely overwhelming, perhaps there’s a way to break it into smaller more manageable pieces. Plan a piece for every day of the week, and it might feel less intimidating to get going and finish even the scariest task by the end of week.

Can someone help with parts of the task?

If you do manage to break the task into pieces, perhaps you could delegate some of the parts to someone else, while you handle the parts that need your personal input.

Is it faster to do this now?

Sometimes fatigue builds the more we push a task forward. If it’s something that will take less than 5 minutes to do, try to do it instantly, as pushing it forward will make your time commitment, and overwhelm while thinking about it, much greater.

Can this be done somewhere else?

Could you go write that article in the garden, or answer your emails in a coffee shop? A change of environment can do wonders when you are feeling worn out.

Can this be done differently?

Try to see if you can think of a different, preferably more fun, way to tackle your task. Use colourful pens and stickers, or time your tasks to a soundtrack, anything that breaks you away from the feeling of drudgery.

Plan for fun activities

Another tricky thing about feeling fatigued is that at a time when you find it hard enough to get through your work tasks, everything else, the things you do for fun, goes out the window. It’s super important to plan time for those things you like to do outside of work, as those are the things that will fight your fatigue hardest. Even if it feels difficult, try to socialise with friends and get back to your hobbies. Set yourself small goals, such as phoning or texting one friend every day, and build up to the things you really want to do, such as attending a salsa class with your mates. Small, specific goals will be a lot more manageable than vague ambitious ones.

I hope these tips might in some small way help you to feel less overwhelmed. Remember, fatigue is temporary, this too shall pass, so remember to be kind to yourself!

Click here to read all the questions & answers in this series.
Do you have a question  for Marianne? You can email your questions to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject line ‘Ask Marianne’. Our favourite questions will be answered on the blog throughout this series.
 

Her Lovely Heart


March 20, 2015

Latest from Instagram / 17

Life is responding to you. Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram. #hlhinstaquotes

Lately, on Instagram, we’ve tried to highlight the importance of taking responsibility of our own path.

Easy when I want to. Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram. #hlhinstaquotes

Because things get easier only when we start going into a direction we truly want to be heading to (and even then, it’s not always easy).

J.K. Rowling. Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram. #hlhinstaquotes

We love this reminder from J. K. Rowling. Not only is she a living example of how it’s never too late to ‘make it’, but she also knows it’s crazy to live your life fearing failure.

Go check out our previous Instaposts or follow us on Instagram. If you don’t want to miss any inspiration or latest news, make sure you’re subscribed to our weekly newsletter!

Her Lovely Heart


March 19, 2015

How to bridge the gap between today and a ‘future me’

Beware of the future me trap. Click through to read.

Last night I got to thinking how most of my worst procrastinating moments or issues involve a picture of a future me. Whether it’s something I’m putting off doing today, like clearing my email backlog, or some bigger goal or aspiration I’m yet to tackle, there’s always this thought at the back of my mind how a future version of myself will sort all these things out, no problem. Do you know what I mean? It’s like the me I’ll be tomorrow will be super motivated and organised, and the one I’ll be next year will have it All. Figured. Out. The problem of course is that when tomorrow comes I’m still going to feel just like me, and when next year arrives, I won’t have morphed into a superwoman.

One of my big ‘future me’ projects has been painting. I have this image of me living by the sea, never in a hurry, never bogged down by emails, only sunshine and seascapes and me painting to my heart’s content. Another one has been being healthier and eating clean. The pictures of both these scenarios are very clear in my head, and I think about a future with me doing these things daily. However, today I’m feeling frantic and too busy and tired to cook, so will probably be ordering a takeaway, and I’m definitely not even entertaining the idea of having enough time to take my paints out. But, you know, maybe tomorrow’s me will get closer to actually accomplishing it all… Right?

So, the problem is, how can we bridge that gap from the me of today, to that fabulous and blissfully happy ‘future me’? I’m starting to realise that there are two parts to the process. The first part is having that clear idea of what you want your ‘future me’ to be like. Be very specific and paint as vivid a picture in your mind as you can; how will you look like, how will you feel like and what will you be doing with your time. You might have some versions already figured out, like I do, but you can get even more specific and imagine how a ‘future me’ would feel dealing with any type of task or goal you’re putting off.

The second, and most important part, is starting to act like that future me today. Even if she feels like a million miles away right this moment. The thing is, it’s the only way to ever reach that person you want to be. It’s such an important shift in your thinking, to stop assigning tasks to an imaginary ‘future me’, who might never materialise, and instead own that version of yourself right now.

From now on, every time you catch yourself thinking about how your future me will take care of something you should (or want to) be doing today, step up. Decide to be your future me now. And watch the future explode wide open in front of you.


Her Lovely Heart


March 18, 2015

Quote of the Week / 27

‘Fall seven times, stand up eight.’
~ Japanese Proverb

Free photography quote desktop wallpaper by Marianne Taylor  for Her Lovely Heart. Click through to download.

This week calls for an emergency straw. Just saying. You can download yours as a free desktop wallpaper below, or get it as a print (or even a phone case) in our shop over at Society6.

Free photography quote desktop wallpaper by Marianne Taylor  for Her Lovely Heart. Click through to download.

Designed for Her Lovely Heart by Marianne Taylor. 

Click here to download wallpaper by Marianne Taylor: Download

 
Do you have a design you’d like to submit for our Goodie Bag? Create one design, or example of a digital product, and email it to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject line ‘Goodie Bag’. We’ll review your submission and get back to you if it’s a good fit for the site!
 

Her Lovely Heart


March 16, 2015

The Heart List / 2 / Your most effective stress-busters

The Heart List: Chapter Two. Click through to get your own printable template, and to share your lists with us!

Hello Monday! It’s time for the second chapter of The Heart List.

This week we’re doing some stress-busting. Personally, I’ve been really struggling in the past few weeks with keeping my stress levels in check. There’s so many unknowns and uncertainties in the air at the moment, which is always a bit of a risky time for me when it comes to staying focused, and taking care of myself. Don’t you find that at times when you need to deal with a lot of extra hassle or uncertainty, it’s the healthy habits you’ve worked hard to develop that go straight out the window first? After what feels like an endless supply of takeaway meals and pushing things I do to relax to the bottom of my list, this weekend I just felt like enough is enough.

Here’s how I it works. Below, you can download a printable pdf of each Chapter, as and when I post a new subject. You can then fill yours in, blog it, and link to your blog post in the comments below, so we can all visit each others lists and get inspired!

Click here to download The Heart List: Chapter Two: Download

Chapter Two: List your most effective stress-busters

So this week’s Heart List is all about reminding ourselves about the things that help us deal with stress and rejuvenate us. Having these things actually written down on paper, makes them feel as important as the never-ending to-do-list next to them. The challenge is to try to incorporate at least one of these things into every day in order to manage your general stress levels. Here’s my list, I’d love to see yours!

  1. Watching the ocean
  2. Sitting in silence and reading a book.
  3. Snuggling with cats (or the husband).
  4. Going for a swim.
  5. Laughing with a friend.
  6. Taking pictures just for fun.
  7. Getting lost in a good movie.
  8. Going for a walk in the forest or by the sea.
  9. Listening to music that moves me.
  10. Re-arranging furniture or tidying my desk.
  11. Writing a list!
  12. Painting something colourful.
  13. Sleeping in.
 
Do post a link to your own list in the comments below! You can find all the lists here.
 

Her Lovely Heart


March 13, 2015

Latest from Instagram / 16

Everything has beauty. Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram. #hlhinstaquotes

Lately, on Instagram, we’ve tried to see the beauty in everything…

Joy burns out pain. Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram. #hlhinstaquotes

…and find a way to focus on the joy…

Create beauty. Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram. #hlhinstaquotes

…because throwing joy, beauty and kindness out into the world ultimately benefits us as much as it does the others it reaches.

Have a joy-filled weekend!

Go check out our previous Instaposts or follow us on Instagram. If you don’t want to miss any inspiration or latest news, make sure you’re subscribed to our weekly newsletter!

Her Lovely Heart


March 12, 2015

Style Files / 4 / Pastels & swallows for spring

Pastel colours for spring [while legs are still stuck in winter].
Dress: New Look | Cardi: H&M | Boots: Very old

Spring is finally here! The blossom is out and for the first time in a long time it felt warm enough to go out without a winter coat. Spring called for some pastels, although unfortunately my legs didn’t get the memo and are very firmly stuck in winter mode. Plus, it doesn’t help that I packed most of my shoes away when we put our house on the market to make it seem more spacious, so now I pretty much live in two pairs, which, for anyone who knows me, is punishment of the highest kind…


Her Lovely Heart


Guest Blog: 4 ways to add more good karma to your business

Add more good karma to your business practice.

Guest Blogger Emily Johnston is a photographer who loves the sense of freedom travelling gives her. In this episode she talks about the importance of treating others with kindness.

I am a sucker for a positive affirmation, uplifting quotes (such as Her Lovely Heart’s Instaquotes), or a thought provoking phrase, a favourite of mine being ‘One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself’. I believe this is a golden rule that should be adhered to both personally and professionally.

There are many qualities we all appreciate being shown, whoever we are or whatever we do. But sometimes on our quests for success in business our ego can make us forget our manors and grace. However it is amazing what you and your business can achieve starting with a kind gesture, thoughtful greeting or a polite word.

Begin by reaching out to your community of fellow artists, industry colleagues and like minded people. Participate in online forums, attend networking groups or social gatherings, get involved in events both profitable and non-profitable. Or if none of the above exist in your field of expertise then create your own, even if it’s a simple meet up over coffee once a month. Be sure to really listen to what people have to say, taking notes on how you, or people you may know, could help them and vice versa.

Consider these 4 different ways you can add more good karma to your business practice:

1 Collaborations

Share each other’s talents and resources to produce work that you may not be able to achieve or create alone.

2 Cross-Promotion

Support one and other by using each other’s services or referring to other businesses.

3 Recommendations

If you can’t fulfil a booking or commission due to a prior arrangement, pass the business on to someone who you know is available and/or in need of the work.

4 Testimonials

Genuine testimonials are priceless promotional material. Lead by example and take the time to share your positive experiences via email, social media or your blog.

Add more good karma to your business practice.

Finally, remember the Universe has an abundance of prosperity to offer. There is more than enough success to go around for everybody, it is just our own fears and insecurities that tell us otherwise. So never hold back when it comes to championing others. Like, share, comment, re-tweet and follow to your hearts content, as if the law of attraction is anything to go by, your time to shine will inevitably come, too. And when it does, never forget where you started. Help others and empathise with those who are in the same position you were in five years ago, a year ago or maybe only six months ago. Give them the leg up you had, or wished you had.

I encourage you to build a reputation for your business based on gratitude, support, understanding, kindness, generosity and love, just like you would want others to treat you.

How do you add more good karma to your business practice?

All images: Emily Johnston


Her Lovely Heart


March 11, 2015

Quote of the Week / 26

‘When your heart speaks, take good notes.’
~ Judith Campbell

Free Judith Campbell quote desktop wallpaper hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Marianne Taylor

Sometimes it’s so easy to hear our heart and follow it’s lead, but other times it gets drowned out by all the shoulds and coulds of the world. The more we are aware and take notice at the times things seem clear, the easier it will be to take comfort in that knowledge and be patient at times of turmoil.

Free Judith Campbell quote desktop wallpaper hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Marianne Taylor

Designed for Her Lovely Heart by Marianne Taylor. 

Click here to download Wallpapers by Marianne Taylor: Download

 
Do you have a design you’d like to submit for our Goodie Bag? Create one design, or example of a digital product, and email it to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject line ‘Goodie Bag’. We’ll review your submission and get back to you if it’s a good fit for the site!
 

Her Lovely Heart


March 10, 2015

Inspiration Board / 9 / All gold everything

I’m not going to deny that this Inspiration Board happened because of the new gold Macbook announcement! Perhaps Apple could have gone one step further with trendy copper, but at least for me gold definitely still has a certain irresistible pull. There’s just something so sexy about all gold accessories, plus gold goes exceedingly well with pink, of course!

Her Lovely Heart Gold Inspiration Board. Click through for details.

Gold Macbook from Apple.
Brass paper tray from Quill London.
Gold dot iPhone backup battery from Anthropologie.
Gold Lightning to USB Cable from Amazon.
Kate Spade confetti dot iPhone 5 case.
Frends Layla rose gold headphones from Amazon.
London skyline gold foil print by Uyeno Miyoshi
Gold teardrop shape paper clips by Hopscotch London.
Gold rubber stamp ink pad by Amazon.
Rise & shine gold typography mug by Prints of Heart.

Check out all our Inspiration Boards + follow us on Pinterest for more inspiration!
 

Her Lovely Heart


March 9, 2015

Ask Marianne / 22 / How to turn quotes into a practical tool

How to turn your favourite quote into a practical tool. Click through to read.

In this series, Her Lovely Heart founder Marianne Taylor answers some of the burning questions submitted by blog readers, spanning everything from photography and business questions to personal mantras. Read on to find out what people are longing to know about…

Q: I love inspiring quotes as much as anyone, but I struggle with actually actioning or benefiting from any of the wise words I read daily. Do you have any tips of how to turn inspiration from quotes into something practical?

A: Wow, that’s an interesting question! I’m such a huge lover of quotes (as you might have noticed!) that it feels very natural for me to draw inspiration from quotes tailored to how I’m feeling at the time, but you’re so right in that often we tend to leave consuming quote-wisdom on surface level, when they could be so much more than that.

One of the things I tend to do is to have specific collections of quotes. When ever I come across one that resonates, I add it to my collection (I use Day One for this) and tag it with the name of the author and the type of quote it is (for example ‘happiness’, ‘motivation’, etc. etc). Over time I’ve accumulated quite a good collection, and I use it to give my head and/or heart a jolt when I need to. If you haven’t yet, I’d really encourage you to start your own personal quote collection.

Over time you will find that you accumulate more quotes from specific people, the ones who seem to always have the right thing to say. You could start viewing these figures as your personal guides, ones that came before and figured something out that might help you step into a direction you want. Having your own personal collection will be like having a group of great thinkers at your disposal to help you with your challenges.

In order to be a bit more intentional when you’re trying to solve a problem or gain a jolt towards practical action, try this with your ‘quote mentors':

  1. Choose a quote from one of your top 5 quote mentors.
  2. Concentrate on the quote and write down all your thoughts, whether they have anything to do with your challenge or not. If you think it, write it down, without judgement or expectation.
  3. Choose a thought combination, which resonates most strongly to your situation, and restate it.
  4. For the next ten minutes or so, see if you can come come up with practical solutions to your dilemma with the thoughts you chose. If nothing comes, choose another quote and repeat the process.

 

In practice

For example, let’s say I’m pondering on ‘How could I launch a new product?’. I’ll choose a quote from one of my own top 5 quote mentors, Joseph Campbell:

‘We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.’

Let’s freewheel some thoughts:

  • Be kind to yourself.
  • I don’t need to save the whole world, concentrating on what is important to me is enough.
  • Should I leverage myself better?
  • Should I be less shy?
  • Should I leverage the fact that I’m shy and not natural at self promotion?
  • What can I do in order to feel full of life and pass that on?
  • What really matters to me?
  • Is my journey interesting? Does it relate to others? Help others?
  • How to display a more honest, fully fleshed out brand identity?

The one that (surprisingly) stands out to me is ‘Should I leverage the fact that I’m shy and not natural at self promotion?’. I find this thought kind of interesting, as it’s definitely a side of me I try not to reveal instantly, especially when doing any promotional efforts. Here are some ideas resulting from this revelation:

  • Talk more about my personal journey when promoting a product or service.
  • Share how big a part shyness has played in my life and how I’ve overcome obstacles relating to it, which would connect with people struggling with same sort of issues.
  • Underline the benefits of a product or service to those who are shy or reserved.
  • Show by example how you can live loudly despite being quiet.

Other people’s words and thoughts have the power to change your own thinking, as they come through a different route to your own imagination. The trick is to go beyond the passing good feeling a good quote gives and pay more attention to the process and journey our thoughts take.

Click here to read all the questions & answers in this series.
Do you have a question  for Marianne? You can email your questions to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject line ‘Ask Marianne’. Our favourite questions will be answered on the blog throughout this series.
 

Her Lovely Heart


March 6, 2015

PROfile / 14 / Mari Orr

Mari Orr PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.
PROfile is a series of interviews with artists and creative souls who have built businesses around their craft and passion. We’ll dig deeper to try and find out everything you could want to know from seasoned pros who have experienced the full gamut of highs and lows that come from running a creative business.

This week we are interviewing Chicago-based artist Mari Orr, whose gorgeous watercolour paintings have charmed thousands on Instagram. Here at HLH we’ve been long-time fans of Mari’s work, and you might have downloaded some of the wallpapers she’s designed for our Quote of the Week series. We’re so excited to hear about her journey of setting up her own store.

What was your first ‘proper’ job and how did you land it? Was it what you intended to do as a career?

My first proper job was a chemist! I went to school for chemistry/physics and had always planned on working as a forensic chemist. I still find chemistry fascinating.

Has art always been in your blood?

Yes! I have always been very imaginative. Mediums may change, but I’m nearly always creating something. I can see that quality in my oldest son now, and am curious to see if he turns into the moody artist I imagine him becoming.

Mari Orr PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

You create in many different formats, from oil paintings to calligraphy, can you talk us through all the different things you do?

Haha, yes! I do a little bit of everything. As you mentioned, I oil paint – but I also love watercolour painting. I’m a huge fan of pastels as well. I love lettering, and I lean towards a modern style of calligraphy. Photography is fun for me, especially macro photography. I love seeing what everyday objects look like zoomed in close. In addition, I have fun weaving wall tapestries on a loom. I’ve dabbled in sculpting, embroider, and felting – though I won’t claim to be good at any of them! I think that’s everything. Probably not, though. :)

How did you know you were ready to have your own business?

A few months after having my second son, I finally had everyone on a reliable schedule and I was able to carve out time to create something nearly everyday. I posted photos of what I was up to on Instagram and I got such positive feedback – and quite a few inquiries about where my creations could be purchased. I held off for a few months, but once the seed was planted, I couldn’t stop thinking about selling my art.

Mari Orr PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

How did you go about starting your own store?

It was so much more complicated than I realised! The gist of it was buying my domain name, creating art, and listing it. However, there was the matter of finding a printing service I was comfortable with, setting up the online shop, taking photos of my art to post in the shop, writing descriptions, keeping inventory, keeping track of costs, assembling shipping supplies, designing a logo, ordering business cards. However, I don’t want to discourage anyone from selling their art – I probably made it way more complicated than it needed to be!

How did you secure your first clients?

My main mode of advertising is to my followers on Instagram. I post my works-in-progress as well as items that become available in my shop and buyers are able to click through right from my profile. I also set up a Facebook page, but My People (creatives and people who appreciate and are more likely to purchase art) are on Instagram.

Mari Orr PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

What is your typical daily routine like?

My life is like Groundhog Day. My oldest wakes me up around 7:30am. I tend to the baby, get breakfast ready, get all of us dressed for the day, then take my oldest to preschool. When I get back home, I put the baby down for his first nap and I have a solid two hours of solo time – I should be washing dishes or doing laundry, but I almost always use this time to create. Around 11, I wake the baby and we go pick up his brother from school. I run errands with them, if I have any, then we eat lunch and play. The baby goes down for another nap at 2p while my oldest and I usually create together – he loves watercolour painting with me! Or we’ll do a craft. Or he’ll help me fold the laundry. :) We wake the baby up at 4p and the two boys play together while I do chores, figure out dinner, etc. We eat at 5p then wind down: baths, books, etc before bedtime. After both kids are in bed by 7p, I usually either work on the computer (getting art ready for the printer, listing new items in the shop, writing a blogpost, etc) or weave. Around 11p or so, I crawl into bed and read myself to sleep. (Side note: my husband works a lot of hours. It’s fabulous when he’s home with us, but I definitely have a set schedule that doesn’t depend on him being home.)

What traits do artists have that help with running a business?

Tap into your creativity! It helps with logo design, shop set-up, problem-solving. Use your imagination to foresee where you want to be in five years and plan how to get there.

Mari Orr PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

How do you decide which medium to work in, and do you have a favourite?

They are all my favourite, honestly. I love how watercolour ebbs and flows and settles and swirls. I love the heaviness of oil, the textures and the saturated colours. I love feeling the softness of various yarns when I’m weaving – and figuring out patterns and colour combinations. I love the looping gracefulness of calligraphy.

As for deciding what medium to work in… it’s mostly about time. I wasn’t able to oil paint for a long time because it’s a lot of setup and cleanup. My husband finally dragged my easel upstairs so I can leave all my additives and solutions out without worrying about curious boys. But even now, I don’t oil paint unless I have at least an hour of free time. Watercolour painting and lettering I do anytime and all the time. I can do those on the floor while my oldest builds a Lego kit next to me. I tend to weave only at night, usually while watching TV.

Mari Orr PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

What’s been the most beneficial business decision you’ve made?

My shop is still very young, but I think my best decision so far is offering a free printable every month. It’s something I make anyway – and truly enjoy making! – and it brings people to my shop.

Artists and writers often describe the compulsion to work – do you experience an overwhelming desire to create something new?

YES. Oh gosh, yes. I didn’t realise that was a thing! I’m normal! :) I don’t think I’m ever just sitting, doing nothing. I always have a notebook nearby because at the very least, I’m jotting down ideas. I’m always starting new pieces, new projects – of course, that means I have about 20 works in progress at any one time. But, I don’t like to force myself to finish something. I want to enjoy the process – I want pieces to be done when it feels natural for me to finish them.

Mari Orr PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

Do you ever feel alone in your work?

My days are very lonely and Groundhog Day-ish, as I mentioned above. But, I’m okay with being alone or with my kids. Honestly, when we have playdates or lunch dates, I get a bit anxious to get back home and continue painting!

How do you relax?

Getting lost in a painting is the best relaxation for me. So many times, I look up and time passed in the blink of an eye. It’s like coming back into reality. (I have a LOT of alarms set in my phone so I’m never late bringing my oldest to school or picking him up or waking the baby from his nap.)

Mari Orr PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere, oh gosh, everywhere. I have so many photos in my phone – usually of colour combinations I love – at the library, the grocery store, on a walk with my kids. I’m inspired by my creative pals and artist friends on Instagram. I flip through junk mail catalogs and snap photos. I’m the person that runs across the street to get a picture of my neighbor’s flowers. They’re all used to me by now, I think. :)

What advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?

Be more responsible. Own who you are. Go after your dreams now, not later.

What would you like to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered for making people smile. For making people feel important and like they matter.

Mari Orr PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

What’s been the best moment of your career so far?

My first order. Total validation that I’m an Artist.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Giving away hand-drawn Kind Notes on Instagram. They simply say ‘I love your laugh’ or ‘You’re beautiful’ etc – I post them and the first people to comment get to tell me a friend or family member that would benefit from my Kind Note. I mail them anonymously (no return address) and hope getting these little surprise notes brightens people’s days. I sell prints of them in my shop and am planning to have a customised option soon as well – so I can paint ‘You’re beautiful, Jane’ and it will be like a little piece of original art, making someone, somewhere smile.

Mari Orr PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

What have been the biggest challenges or obstacles you’ve faced in your business and how did you overcome them?

My biggest challenge is staying organised. I’m still trying to get on top of that one. Keeping track of inventory, keeping supplies organised, knowing what needs to go to the printer, knowing when I need more shipping envelopes, keeping my email inbox from overflowing (I fail badly at that), keeping a schedule of what to have ready for a holiday in two months…

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Create for yourself. Don’t fret about whether something will sell – that puts too much pressure on the process. Of course, the downside of this is that I find it very hard to part with any of my originals.

If you could have dinner with any inspiring person (past or present), who would you choose?

Mother Teresa (So kind and selfless!) or Michael Lewis (He seems to know everything about everything and can explain it all in a non-overwhelming way.).

Mari Orr PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

You can see more of Mari’s work on the her website, and follow her gorgeously colourful life via Instagram and Twitter.

Her Lovely Heart


March 5, 2015

Guest Blog: Well-being arises from our own choices

Well-being arises from your choices.
Photographer Joie Takaki is pursuing her dream of building her own business. In this guest blog series, she shares her journey from beginner to expert with us.

It happened, again. This time, in Slovenia. No wonder it’s addictive. Every time I travel, I come back feeling like an improved version of myself.  I return with a new insightful outlook, a stronger sense of self, and more love for life! It wasn’t even intentional. In the past, our holidays were typically one of those epic adventures that feels like an amazing race. This time, our holiday surprisingly turned into somewhat of a Wellness Retreat.

Our days were spent on high adrenaline, snowboarding along the picturesque snowy Alps. Our evenings ended with relaxing and rejuvenating whirlpools, water slides, saunas, steam showers, and natural oil massages.

With nature all around us, refreshing mountain air to breathe, adrenaline-pumping exercise, followed by hours of indulgence in the spa, all these healthy and healing activities had a restorative effect. And something just clicked. I began to notice that there was this connection, between what we were doing on this therapeutic holiday, and my life, overall.

I recognised that there was a deeper approach to the whole concept of health & wellness.  And that this realisation would ultimately become my greatest lesson of last year.

The beginning of 2014 was such an emotional and uncertain​ time for me. I felt very confused and unhappy. I don’t believe I had ever felt this way before. I use to be the one who knew exactly what she wanted and just went for it. Now what I wanted seemed fuzzy. So I lost my bearings and my direction was disarray. Plus, I have a very low threshold for unhappiness. If you know me well, I am easily overjoyed. I can find happiness in the the most unusual situations and even with mundane activities. I’m the one in the room constantly roaring with laughter. Ask my husband. I wake up happy, I go to bed happy, and I am pretty much happy in-between. A single day of unhappiness is already too many. So this cyclical period of confusion and sadness was very foreign to me. I really had no clue how to get out of it. Or so I thought…

Within months after the trip, I woke up and my life had somehow changed, without me realising what had actually happened. But it had all started during this break, where my thoughts started to reflect upon ‘Where I was’ and Where I am now’.  My expat life abroad, my marriage, my friendships, my career, my physical, mental and spiritual wellness – somehow my life as a whole felt like it was all where I wanted them to be. It wasn’t all perfect, but it was all wonderful! Everything felt ‘right’ and I felt I was in a really happy and healthy place. That explained the inner peace I felt glowing within. And I couldn’t stop smiling again. In fact, I felt very proud, as I instantly acknowledged that the reason I felt this way, and the reason my life turned around, were direct results of all the healthy choices I had made last year.

Then I began to consider what well-being meant…

We exercise and eat healthy to take care of our bodies.

We indulge and pamper ourselves when we feel we have earned it for our hard work or for our sacrifices, or simply because we feel we deserve it. Pleasure nourishes our souls.

Now I realised that well-being is beyond taking care of yourself in the way that you eat, or how much you exercise, or getting enough sleep. It is more than treating yourself with spa treatments and weekend getaways. Although all the above are essentials. Taking care of yourself also means making healthy choices in every aspect of your life.

Well-being arises from your choices.

‘The choices you make now, the people you surround yourself with,
they all have the potential to affect your life, even who you are, forever.’
~ Sarah Dessen

Every day we are bombarded by a million choices. Rather than choosing A or B, and be done with it, choices should be made with consideration and with the understanding of why we are choosing to do something. Wellness occurs from choosing with thoughtfulness. Wellness evolves from choosing authentically. It is questioning your options and choosing the one that you know will produce something positive at the other end of your decision. Your choices will lead to consequences that will either feed your life with more negativity or more positive energy.

Healthy choices also include the people you choose to interact with, be it chatting, texting, emailing, socialising, or simply allowing certain people within your surroundings or even in your mind. Think of it like eating healthy or exercising, you should feel energised, happier, or simply feel better after every interaction or thought of them​.

Each and every one of our choices are powerful determinants. WELL-BEING arises from our own CHOICES, and our life naturally unfolds to reflect those choices. In other words, the quality of our life is shaped by the quality of our choices.  When you make choices that you know will lead to positive and healthy outcomes, and you consistently make these healthy choices, all these choices add up, and one day you will wake up to realise that wellness has become an inevitable part of your life.

What healthy choices could you make to improve the quality of your life?


Her Lovely Heart


March 4, 2015

Goodie Bag / 18

I’m a sucker for a bit of pattern, and I like to create different ones from my doodles. Here are some fun desktop wallpapers I created for you using some of my patterns. If you like them, you can download them for free through the link at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!
Free desktop wallpaper by Marianne Taylor for Her Lovely Heart. Click through to download from herlovelyheart.com
Free desktop wallpaper by Marianne Taylor for Her Lovely Heart. Click through to download from herlovelyheart.com
Free desktop wallpaper by Marianne Taylor for Her Lovely Heart. Click through to download from herlovelyheart.com
Free desktop wallpaper by Marianne Taylor for Her Lovely Heart. Click through to download from herlovelyheart.com
Free desktop wallpaper by Marianne Taylor for Her Lovely Heart. Click through to download from herlovelyheart.com
Free desktop wallpaper by Marianne Taylor for Her Lovely Heart. Click through to download from herlovelyheart.com

Designed for Her Lovely Heart by Marianne Taylor.

Click here to download all the fun wallpapers for free: Download

See more free goodies here!

Do you have a design you’d like to submit for our Goodie Bag? Create one design, or example of a digital product, and email it to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject line ‘Goodie Bag’. We’ll review your submission and get back to you if it’s a good fit for the site!

 

Her Lovely Heart


March 2, 2015

The Heart List / 1 / Your most valuable strenghts

The Heart List: Chapter One. Click through to get your own printable template, and to share your lists with us!

Happy Monday! It’s a good day to start something new, don’t you think?

If you are a regular reader, you probably know that I adore lists! I even wrote a post about why list-making is good for your life and business. I’m currently going through an unstable patch in life, you know the kind where you feel like you’re in ‘waiting’ mode and can’t quite move in any direction until something out of your control happens. In my case it’s waiting to sell our house, so that we can move on to the next stage of our crazy life plan of living by the sea. In these kind of times I get restless, I don’t take good enough care of myself, the feeling of not being in control of when something is going to happen feels like a constant pressure at the back of your head, a certain tightness in your chest you can’t get rid of.

So, I wanted to use list-making for some affirmations, to get me out of my funk. And then I thought, how much more fun would this be if I could include you, my reader, and make this a collaboration? I think there would be so many things we could all learn from each others lists. The only thing I’ll ask that you be completely honest with yourself, and most of all, kind to yourself. These lists will hopefully be a road map of your heart and values, and they will help you re-affirm everything that is special about you, information which we often ignore, but which is so very important to be aware of in order to live a full life, or run an authentic business. That’s why I called it The Heart List.

So here’s how I it works. Below, you can download a printable pdf of each Chapter, as and when I post a new subject. You can then fill yours out, blog it, and link to your blog post in the comments below, so we can all visit each others lists and get inspired!

Click here to download The Heart List: Chapter One: Download

Chapter One: List your most valuable strengths

By valuable I mean strengths that give you most joy in life. Sometimes we have strengths in areas that don’t really bring us any joy, so it’s important to identify those strengths that steer us towards the kind of life we want to live. I tried not to think about this too consciously, I just started writing. In about 10 minutes these were the strengths I had written down. Had I written these out more consciously, with judgement or a little editor in my head, some of them probably wouldn’t have made it due to feeling self-conscious or a little bit cringe-worthy. But I’m actually really glad to see these in writing, and know that despite being my own harshest critic, I do try to actively be aware of my own power for good.

  • I am patient.
  • I am good at seeing the big picture.
  • I try to be true to my heart.
  • I can see good in most anyone.
  • I am persistent.
  • I have an eye for pretty things.
  • I am able to turn an idea into action.
  • I can inspire other people to achieve greater things than I could achieve.
  • I am ok with solitude.
  • I have a lot to give.
  • I try to be kind.
  • I can show people their true beauty.
  • I am not afraid of failure.
 
Please do post a link to your own list in the comments below! You can find all the lists here.
 

Her Lovely Heart


February 27, 2015

Latest from Instagram / 15

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed. #hlhinstaquotes

Lately, on Instagram, we’ve tried to steer you towards a mindset of planning, instead of worrying…

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed. #hlhinstaquotes

…because running your own business will always come with worries, so you might as well be prepared so you can fully enjoy the ride!

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed. #hlhinstaquotes

And always remember that happiness is a choice. Be brave enough to choose it.

If you don’t want to miss any inspiration or latest news, make sure you’re subscribed to our weekly newsletter!

Her Lovely Heart


February 26, 2015

How to use random words to spark new connections and ideas

Using random words to spark news ideas. Click through to read!

Huge raindrops are hammering the window, the cats are snoring on the sofa, and I’m trying to find motivation for getting through my to-do-list, while feeling the pressure of coming up with new ideas for the new season, which is just around the corner. It’s this time of year when I feel that pressure most, and sometimes that feeling can be super counter-intuitive, which is why I’m so interested in discovering new (and old) techniques to help with the process of idea-generation.

Today I’m looking at an old favourite from the ‘brute force’ camp of thinking, using random words to help spark new thoughts and ideas. In order to get any new ideas, you need to always be creating new sets of patterns in your mind. A brute force method is all about finding ways to force connections between things that wouldn’t normally be associated together. Our brain is very good at making many connections seem obvious, telling us that ‘fish & chips’, or ‘ham & cheese’ go together, or how about ‘mother & daughter’, or ‘music & dancing’, all things that help us categorise the world around us and make sense of it.

The one place where we are generally used to seeing less obvious juxtaposition of things and ideas is art, especially modern art, where subjects with seemingly no relation might be put together to provoke the mind. This is the place we want to try to get to, with a simple tool which we can adopt to the matter at hand. Brute force works because our mind can’t resist connecting things, no matter how remote they seem, all we need to do is to pay attention to what we are giving our mind to process, and make a concentrated effort to see connections between unlikely things.

Make it random

Here’s where random words come in. Nothing happens until you start thinking, and a random word will jolt that process into action. The word you bring into your challenge must be truly random. If we let ourselves choose a word the mind will every time select one with some relevance to what we’re thinking about. A truly random word will spark new ideas, a ‘vetted’ one will just have you thinking in circles. Here are some ways to select random words:

  1. You can get a random word from a dictionary. Open it randomly and point on the page with your eyes closed and see where your finger lands. Remember that you’ll have to use the first word you land on, giving yourself the freedom to skip words will defy the purpose and you will just keep going until you find one that ‘relates’.
  2. You can use a table of random numbers to help you select a page in the dictionary, and a word on the page.
  3. You can find many random word charts via google. The better ones will be designed with words that are known to help with problem-solving. The best words are usually, simple, familiar and somehow visual, which will make it easier to make new connections.

Once you have your word the first thing you can do is think of all the things that are associated with that word. Let’s say that we landed on ‘vase’. Other words related to a vase could be flowers, water, design, materials such as glass, porcelain, metal and enamel, actions such as filling, refreshing and emptying. Vases are functional, but can also be purely aesthetic, etc., etc.

Force connection

Then move onto forcing connections. Let’s say your challenge is ‘how to offer better customer service?’

  • Vases can be filled up. How could you fill your customer experience with things that bring joy?
  • Vases can be emptied. How could you remove things from your process or materials, which doesn’t serve your client? Or how could you make sure all their concerns are pre-emptied?
  • Vases are functional but also beautiful. How could you make your customer facing information more appealing?
  • Vases break. How could you avoid situations that might fracture a client relationship, have you thought of all the possible breaking points?
  • Flowers die when vases are empty. Are you making sure you set boundaries that won’t leave you drained and not able to serve your clients the best you can?

Keep going for five minutes or so. You might find that afterwards your mind will still be processing the challenge in the background, and new ideas will pop up later on. Do remember to write down all the ideas that surface, get into the habit of carrying a notebook (or a note-taking app) and documenting all your ideas as they come. You might think you’ll remember them later, but trust me, you won’t!

What kind of ideas did you land on with this method? Do share in the comments below!


Her Lovely Heart