Monthly Archives

February 2019

In Blog, DIY, Mama on
February 25, 2019

Should you open an Etsy shop//and the story of mine: Dearest Delight

A little over five years ago I was coming to the end of my engagement and was about to become a bride. For nine months I planned my DIY wedding from the homemade wedding cake, hundreds of wine and kombucha bottles that were consumed by friends and family to be used as centerpiece vases, to the trail mix bar and hand sewn banners, bulk flowers that we arranged ourselves and the boutonnieres and flower crowns I made. I had so much fun planning my wedding and the closer my wedding got, I was pumped to marry my husband but I was sad to be done with all of the wedding crafting. Most brides talk about how stressful wedding planning is but I thought it was so much fun.

One of my college roommates said one day “why don’t you just open an Etsy shop?” I had thought about this before but didn’t know what I would sell or if it would be worth the effort because I was afraid of failure. Well it turns out all I needed was a friend to validate this thought I had for me to actually open an Etsy shop. Literally the next day I spent hours and hours making various boutonnières out of dried flowers I had but didn’t need for the wedding. I snapped some very poor quality photos of my boutonnières, picked out a name: Dearest Delight, figured out how to open my shop, listed my products on Etsy, and then I waited. I figured I would not get an order for a while but the next day I got my very first order! Being the type B, not really thinking about the details until I’m knee deep in it, person that I am I had not considered how I would ship fragile dried flower items to customers who were expecting intact products. So there I was pumped about my first order and then I thought to myself “well crap..how will I get this dainty little boutonnière safely in one piece to someone across the country..!?” Thankfully I figured out the details rather quickly but let’s say I should have taken a little more time to put some thought into the logistics of my Etsy shop.

Since that first order I have somehow managed to have almost 700 orders with little to no advertising. It has been a fun journey and thankfully there has been minimal drama. In five years I have only had two orders arrive damaged through the shipping process and only had two orders lost in the mail. Oh and only one nasty review. And yes, I still remember exactly what that review said because it made me sick to my stomach and almost throw in the towel. It’s sad how much we can let one mean comment from a total stranger rip apart our confidence. Managing my Etsy shop and making orders for people the last five years has been so much fun and has been very therapeutic for me. The highlight was when I received my biggest order which was 55 boutonnières for a special graduation ceremony for honor students. Thank you to whichever roommate it was (I don’t remember J) that told me I should start an Etsy shop because it has been one of my best decisions yet! It doesn’t make a ton of money and I limit the amount of orders I get because there is only one of me making tedious orders and now with a toddler running around but like I said, it has been so fun!

I am often asked advice about having an Etsy shop from people considering it, so here are eight questions to ask yourself if you think you want to open one.

  1. Is there actually a market for what you are selling?

Do your research. Ask around. Search on Etsy and other handmade marketplaces to see if anyone is making/buying what you want to sell. Is it something so unique and specific that there wouldn’t be many people interested? If so, sadly it might not be a great investment for you to open a shop as you wouldn’t have many people interested in buying. Do you really believe in your art or your product despite this fact? Then go ahead, it isn’t a big investment to at least try.

2. Is the market oversaturated for the product you want to sell?

Maybe you want to open an Etsy shop selling a super popular product like bows or printables or painted canvases. That is awesome and I am sure you do an amazing job with your work but you need to consider the fact that there are certain products on Etsy with a ridiculously saturated market already. For instance, I searched “printable wall art” and received 496,071 search results. Woah. That is stiff competition for all the people trying to sell printable wall art. Not saying you shouldn’t go for it but you just need to consider this fact. Maybe try selling at local craft fairs first to see if people are interested.

3. Are you able to easily acquire all the materials you need for your product?

This was something I did not consider before I opened my shop. I started getting orders in and I was still scrambling to source my materials. Some things I could get at Hobby Lobby, other things I ordered from various places online, some I could just get from my local grocery store. Again, I should have sorted this all out before I started selling and that would have eased a lot of stress.

4. Are you willing to offer competitive pricing?

I think this has been one of the biggest reasons why I have been successful. When I did my research to see who else was selling dried flower crowns and dried flower boutonnières I saw a few others were but their prices were outrageous. I did the math and saw that I could still make a great profit margin if I offered similar products for almost half the price. This is especially important when you are just starting out. I have been able to raise my prices a little bit over time with no repercussions now that I have built up years of great reviews.

5.Do you have a game plan for packaging and shipping?

I shared in my personal Etsy shop story above that I did not have a game plan for this. If you are selling something like t-shirts then you have it easy-fold them nicely and put them in a bubble mailer. If you are selling delicate dried flowers like me it’s just not that simple. Thankfully I was able to come up with a method that works great. Your packaging is so important too. I used to include a hand written note in each package, now I have printed thank you cards that are placed nicely atop the white tissue paper in each of my orders. I once ordered headbands on Etsy and when I opened the package they were stuffed in a small Ziploc bag. No business card, nothing. I was disappointed and it made the seller look kind of lazy. When you spend money on a special product it is always fun to receive it and see that there was thought and care put into the packaging.

6. Are you capable of managing the financial aspect of running a small business?

You need to be able to keep track of your expenses and to figure out your taxes each year. Numbers are totally not my thing so I hired a guy for that..my husband J. My part though is to keep all of my receipts or jot down each and every purchase for my shop. We have quarterly meetings to check how things are going and to make sure it is still a profitable endeavor.

7. Do you have time for it?

The goal with selling is to have orders and when you have orders you actually have to spend the time making these things for your customers. That might seem like a major duh. As I stated earlier though I had to start limiting the amount of things I list in my shop because I was initially working a full time hospital job as a recreation therapist and then we had a baby so I had to be realistic. If you don’t have time to put your heart and detail into your work you need to consider if you should open a shop at all or just how much you are willing to list in your shop.

8. Would you genuinely enjoy it?

This is the most important thing to ask yourself. In my opinion having an Etsy shop should be fun way to make an income or some extra money because you get to make something you are passionate about. Don’t just teach yourself how to sew bibs because you need some extra cash but dread each order because you don’t really like what you have gotten yourself into. There are other ways to make cash if that is your only reason for doing it. For me having an Etsy shop is a creative outlet that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It is a way to connect with brides, expectant moms, grooms, seniors taking their senior photographs, and people who just want to look pretty in a flower crown. It is a nice excuse to sit down and turn on Netflix as I work with my hands. It has been so much fun and I am so thankful for the opportunities and extra income it has provided.

So what do you think? Is that little idea you had for an Etsy shop worth it? I hope the answer is yes! If you’ve gone through these questions and maybe reconsidered then I hope it was helpful at least to think about it some more. Don’t give up though; maybe you will have another great idea soon! Or maybe it just isn’t the time yet. Happy dreaming, my people!

 

In Blog, Dinner, Food, Weekly meal plans on
February 11, 2019

Well fed weekly meal plan #5: Money saving meals

Happy love month my people! You know what, now that I say that I take it back because every month should be love month, right? Really though, let’s work on loving our people and those around us and beyond every day of every month. Easy enough? Haha we can at least strive for that. Ok now that I’ve gotten sidetracked I will share the point of this post: another weekly meal plan! Whoop whoop! This week I bring you our family’s favorite healthy money saving meals. On a budget? We sure are. Here are some tasty and satisfying eats that will keep you on track with your budget!

Any recipe I add in these meal plans are my own or recipes that I have found over the years and have been tried and true winners for our family. Of course, you know the size of the crowd you’re cooking for, so if you are going to follow this week’s meal plan, look at the portions to decide if you will need to double/triple/whatever the recipe.  This meal plan includes dinner, lunch, and breakfast. Yes, we eat a lot of leftovers, yes we eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch 7 days in a row (usually) but it saves money and time and that’s why I spend so much time looking for recipes and coming up with recipes we love. I hope you enjoy!

Hey, stop. Before you go any further, if you haven’t read how I meal plan, you might want to check it out to understand this a little better. Cool, thanks.

Dinner 1(M/TH): The Garden Grazer’s Black Bean tacos with Avocado Cilantro sauce

Buy the beans in bulk, cook what you need and it will save you so much over time in eating your beans this way. This kind of meal is almost a no brainer and doesn’t require very many ingredients. Filling, satisfying, full of protein, and customizable.

Dinner 2 (T/F): Budget Byte’s Thai Curry Vegetable Soup

When you click on the link this recipe has the cost of the ingredients broken down for you. How cool is that? A creative and flavorful soup made with rice noodles, veggies, and a comforting broth. Perfect for winter and perfect for saving some green.

Dinner 3 (W/Sat): Pass the Plants’ Best Damn Vegan Lasagna


This was one of the first intentionally vegan meals I ever made. I thought it sounded kinda weird using tofu….but omg let me tell ya’ll- it is ingenious to use tofu (herbed and spiced up) as a ricotta substitute. Also it is full of healthy protein. Check this recipe out for sure. And not purchasing meat is a major money saver.

Dinner 4 (Sun): Minimalist Baker’s Thai Carrot Salad with Curried Cashews

How fun does this recipe sound? Or am I the only one that would consider recipes fun..? I know, I’m weird J.  A hearty green salad kicked up with carrots, homemade curried cashews (it’s just tossing nuts in some stuff and roasting them in your oven) and then a delicious sweet thai peanut dressing. Sign me up please! Another quick, easy, money saving meal to add to your menu this week.

Lunch for all: The Food Charlatan’s 20 minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet


To pull of feeding 3 of us lunch for a full week I make a GIANT pot of this and we all typically have some kind of fruit alongside it. I’m telling you- this is a go to on a week where I don’t feel like putting ANY effort into lunches- it is so quick and easy to throw together and then you have lunch for the whole gang for days!

Breakfast for husband and toddler: Old fashioned rolled oats with berries, bananas, and peanut butter every dang day because it is cheap, filling, and nutritious.

Breakfast for me: Well Fed Familia’s Vegan Morning Power Protein Smoothie

I get fixated on a breakfast item and eat it for breakfast everyday for about a month and then I get sick of it and take a few months off before I eat it again. Well in September I got on a smoothie kick. Loads of goodness and healthy protein keeps me fueled and full for the morning until lunchtime and my toddler always steals at least 10 sips as well. If you don’t want to do the protein powder just throw in ¼ cup of oats which will give you extra protein and help to fill you up.

I hope this helps give you some ideas for your weekly menu. Whether you use just one of these recipes or the whole meal plan, I wish you happy cooking and eating. As always, stay well fed my friends!

In Blog, Cancer, Infertility, Mama on
February 5, 2019

Let’s talk about Sex(ual intimacy issues after cancer) baby

Cancer. The very word makes most people shudder.

It comes in all different forms. It comes with all kinds of journeys. For some it is quick, for some it is a battle to the end. There are so many different and unique experiences for those who are diagnosed with cancer and no matter how cancer affects you; there isn’t a rulebook for how it will touch your emotions.

My time with cancer was easier than most as far as the treatment plan. I had major surgery but other than that I did not have to take invasive drugs, chemotherapy, radiation, or anything else. The initial diagnosis of course was scary and emotional but once I understood what I was dealing with and I felt the peace and comfort of my God and had the rally of family and friends behind me I felt brave and strong and knew I could get through whatever was ahead. What I didn’t expect was that almost a year later I would be having a harder time processing my emotions through the aftermath of cancer than I did in the midst of it.

I have now had 3 gynecological surgeries, a handful of CT scans (with rectal contrast.. yes it is as horrible as it sounds), hours and hours and hours spent in gynecologist and oncologist offices, too many transvaginal ultrasounds to even start to count, invasive procedures that I wasn’t warned about, the presence of medical students without my permission during awkward procedures, and so on and so forth.

Something they don’t talk to you about when you’re going through cancer is how it will impact your sexuality. At least nobody talked to me about it. Every time I go in for one of these invasive procedures (and for me they are in very intimate regions…) I put on a brave face as if it’s just totally normal, I can tell if an ultrasound tech or nurse is uncomfortable and I usually say something like “oh I’ve had so many of these, no worries, it’s all good.” I think I hardened myself from feeling the actual real and vulnerable feelings that come with hundreds of people needing to be all up in your business to keep you healthy on a regular basis.

I first started noticing that anything to do with sexual intimacy (with my beloved husband, people) sounded like a big fat nah, not interested, no thank you, eh maybe another time, hmm thanks but no thanks, pretty much every single time starting pretty quickly after I was deemed healthy enough to…ya know. I hated feeling that way; I constantly felt guilty and confused, what is wrong with me?! I am young and in love and everything around me says I should be feeling my best and having the time of my life! Months passed and the same feelings or really lack of feelings in regards to sex were still sitting with me. I had another round of scans and exams and something happened that was incredibly uncomfortable and I came back from that appointment enlightened as to why I had ZERO sex drive, ZERO interest in anything in regards to physical intimacy…. I sat down with my husband and poured out my heart and emotions for the first time on how hard it is to be so physically vulnerable all of the time with doctors; everything that to me is reserved for beautiful private intimacy was now just routine this and that. I had become so numb or tried to become numb to all of the doctor’s visits and tests, etc.  that I lost my sexuality all together. My husband put it into words that made perfect sense “you must feel as if you have been robbed of your sexuality.” This made the tears flow even more to be so validated by the one I love most.

I am not writing this today because I have it all figured out now. I am writing this today for a few reasons: 1) I felt all alone. I thought I must be the only one struggling with sex after cancer. I am writing this to you ladies who have had gynecological cancers, breast cancer, or any cancer that has required you to constantly bare yourself to so many people that you did not ever so desire to be a part of your most intimate parts. If you struggle with this too, you are not alone. 2) To encourage you to start a dialogue with your spouse, partner, whoever is that person in your life; it doesn’t have to be about this  struggle in particular, just anything in general that is hard for you right now. You don’t have to keep it in. If anything the discussion will likely be liberating as you invite someone you trust into your struggle. Starting this conversation for me opened the door to finally working through it. 3) Vulnerability is so important. I think it truly does change the world to share your story, even when it might feel embarrassing to do so. I didn’t know if I would ever share this and I didn’t really want to, but I know that sharing this might help someone else even if it is just to know they are not alone and that they can get through a hard circumstance.

As stated earlier this issue isn’t solved, fixed, blown away all together- but I feel in a much better place with it. This is now a normal conversation with my husband. I am now able to comfortably and freely discuss it with him because I invited him in to the struggle and he kindly chose to walk alongside me in this. We pray about it. We give our burdens to the Lord and he helps to heal. I’ve shared this burden with multiple people in my life that I trust and I know they have been praying for me too. Also, this has opened up real, honest, and beautiful dialogue with other women who struggle with sexual intimacy for a variety of really hard reasons. It has been SO healing to have heart to hearts with other ladies who get it and it reminds me that I am not alone. We can love and support each other through this.

Now that I have shared one of the most awkward, (I guess it doesn’t have to be awkward) intimate things I will probably ever share on my blog… I will choose to go forward, I will choose to continue to find healing, I will continue to share my story. I am not alone in my struggle and you are not either. I’ll end with a quote from the ever so wise Brene Brown ““Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”