This weekend I'll be taking out the camera to get some practice shots in for the collection shoot on the 18th. I've got pretty much all the designs constructed and ready to go, and the model + stylists on board... it's all about last minute details now. So, lots of that going on.
Then I'll be catching up with an old friend + writing a very very long overdue letter to another friend back in New England. These things take my full attention, no rushing of such matters.
It'll be a full afternoon spent while sipping a yummy tea or warm vanilla soy milk with honey (Have you tried this? Oh my goodness, delicious.)
For this Q+A, I'm meshing three different questions into this one post, since they can - and often do- relate to each other. So, here goes...
Question from Kylie: "You seem to keep so positive in your blog! Do you have many bad days?"
Question from Tamara: "What do you do when you get a rude or demanding customer?"
Question from Jenn: "Does having your own business cause problems in your marriage? If so, how do you cope?"
Answer: Heck yeah, I have bad days. But there is something I've noticed in this stage of my life. My bad days have morphed into a more contained few hours or, better still, a matter of minutes. But that doesn't mean they don't creep back in from time to time.
I wear my heart on my sleeve and tend to put my whole self into everything I do... work, relationships, community, etc., and so on. This is all well and great until my expectations of myself and others leave me feeling frustrated. I found that my "bad" days are really pretty fascinating and, more often than not, offer a wake up call. Once I realized that I'm accountable for my own life and what I let in and out, I no longer hang out too long in the space of blaming others for how I feel and that's incredibly empowering. It also means I can shift gears whenever I damn well please... which often requires stepping out of the room I'm in and taking a breather: take the dog for a walk, make some tea, read a chapter in a book, peek through Pinterest, or even just sit quietly in the living room. Little things, at least for me, make such a huge difference. And then I am usually able to get back on track + mostly with the support of Sebastian...
That guy is the most logical person I know while also managing to be loving and astoundingly patient. I don't know how he puts up with the emotion I tend to carry, but he does and I am very very thankful for that. So, yes, of course, having my own business adds an interesting layer to the marriage... especially since he also has his own business, but we are extremely communicative with each other, so nothing goes uncared for. My suggestion is to harbor nothing, choose your battles, hug it out, and make it a point to go for a walk together each day (we do every evening with the dog).
Now, as far as customers are concerned, I am happy to share that though I interact with a lot of brides, I have never ever encountered a single "bridezilla", nor have any one of my customers been nasty. I received one negative feedback in the past five years and that was from a customer who didn't read the product description. I learned a few things about that experience. 1. Write simpler but informative descriptions. and 2. Realize that regardless of how much I try to work with someone to remedy an issue, sometimes they don't want a solution, just more drama in their lives. And that's their deal, not mine. Oh, and ... 3. I am very very blessed to have such awesome customers. No kidding.
Missed the first in this Q+A series? Hop on over here.
I thought I had a hangover that lasted five days (I assure you this is not a usual happening for me), but really it was a flu/ bug of some bizarre variety that slowly took over my body with aches + pains and a god forsaken headache that wouldn't quit. No amount of vitamin c and water would kick it and the one theraflu I took made me feel like I was on acid, so it was an interesting weekend and beginning to my week.
That said, I was thankfully able to get some things accomplished and, over the past couple of days got out and about again during the day.
Mars the Dog loves Sebastian's grandma's yard (so do we). It's a park-like setting, nothing too landscaped- just a whole lot of space for him to do his dopey run and chase his beloved tennis ball.
I've been seriously craving an ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles (see this previous post for proof). So on our walk the other day, we stopped at a crazily expensive ice cream shop down the street and got a cone for $17.00 (not really, but it's not that far off). Mars REALLY wanted a chomp at it. I gave him kisses (which he didn't care for in that moment because, let's face it, he has a one track mind.)
By the way, do you kiss your dog/cat/rabbit on the lips? I veer away from that. Instead, I give him eskimo kisses + kisses on his ears + blown kisses + mass amounts of hugs.
Now, very important, check out these lace bandeaux (from Voet Hosiery ). I wore them the other day + holy geez love them. Instant sprucing up of my worn shoes.
Some pieces I made this week ... the laces above + below are vintage and antique, respectively. The one below is from Paris, circa 1920. It's also being used in a one of a kind design for my next collection, due out in two weeks. Lucky bride.
Over the years of doing my thing here with my company and blog, I've received a fair amount of questions from customers and readers about my work and my life. Recently, I opened it up for your questions and I got some pretty cute + sweet ones and some downright personal ones. So I decided that now would be a good time to share these questions and my answers with you in a mini-series post format on this blog, starting today and spreading over the next couple of weeks.
Today I'll start with an easy one...
Question from Erin: "What is your FAV dessert?"
Answer: I am a great and fond lover of rainbow sprinkles. I mostly love heaping mounds of them with chocolate soft serve ice cream on a sugar cone. Cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles are also awesome.
It is necessary to add that I'll eat a piece of that Trader Joe's chocolate ganache cake every day for the rest of my life and, shoot, cotton candy in diabetic coma inducing intervals.
Also (and if I'm getting nostalgic...) Strawberry or Watermelon Bubblicious.
This weekend I'll be really trying to take it easy...
lots of tea + lots of sewing hair adornments for an upcoming photoshoot.
I'll also be visiting with my sister-in-law, Kasey, while she's in town getting started on a new tattoo and spending some time with a new friend, Rebecca, over a tasty lunch and feeling thankful for the good people in my life.
Enjoy a sweet one, friends.
p.s. Last days to vote for a small business grant I've applied for. Would you be so kind as to click here + take just 30 seconds of your time to vote me in? I'd be so appreciative!
This past week, my friend, Meaghan, was in town visiting from my old stomping grounds of Boston. It was a good time.... grabbing bites to eat, a drink or two, and hanging out. The photo above is of us at the annual Summer Solstice parade. Santa Barbara loves its parades (it's out of control). I would have shared some photos of the floats, but I really was just able to get the tops of heads from where we were standing.
Mars the Dog had a minor-ish ear injury + we were told he had to wear this cone. He looks happy in this one, but I am pretty sure he was mostly miserable smacking into corners and tripping up the stairs. Very sad.
I ended up taking it off and just kept a close eye on him. He was very excited with his walk all naked and free from that cursed cone.
I've been in full swing making the final pieces for the next line (we'll be photographing + launching them in a few weeks). The colors + materials are an interesting mix of vintage styling with a regal bent. These are some- though not nearly all- of the materials being integrated into the designs. Most of my ideas and actual construction time comes late at night. Do you have a highly tuned creative time?
This past week, I did a little of this + that. Lots of the usual with work, plus...
...a drive up north to visit with my in-laws for my niece's three and a half birthday party. I got to spend some much beloved time with her before the activity of the party began. We are at "Gramma's" in this photo, with the new polka dot umbrella Auntie Cath + Uncle Sebastian + Cousin Mars the Dog gave her.
Two fails on my part, though...
One: I didn't wear a "paity" dress, as she was secretly hoping I would (I had to try to convince her that the lace top + red bow in my hair were just as festive.)
Two: She already has two umbrellas.
Ah well. I got hugs + kisses and a cute photo out of it, so that will do.
I've also been deep in project mode with the release of the next line in about a month. There will be all sorts of cool + lovely accessories this round... new colorful + atmospheric scarves, beaded + lace bridal hair adornments, a piece or two of statement jewelry, and spirited hair pins. But when I came across this awesome embroidered ribbon, I had to add it into a design. Such happiness, don't you think?
Oh, I couldn't resist this one of Li'l V eating her half birthday cupcake. She just ate the icing and offered me the bottom about two seconds after this photo was taken. I totally ate it.
My very very wonderful + funny friend, Meaghan, is coming into town today from Boston for a week long visit. I'm so flippin' excited! We'll be hanging and doing our silliness, like laughing at pretty much nothing and doing this...
I've got to go pick her up from the airport shortly, so it's back to finishing up some work first and then... Yay!
p.s. If you have a quick moment, hop over HERE to lend some love (thank you!)
My company is in the running for a grant of $250,000. This would enable me to hire on marketing and PR help, as well as a website designer so I don't have to stay up until 4am trying to figure out what html code I just messed up to make my shop site suddenly get deleted (THAT was fun.). I'd also love to take a course like BlogShop to advance my blogging and marketing options and to ultimately expand my studio space into a design house. Stuff like that.
This is where YOU make a huge difference.
Here's how just 30 seconds can make a big ol' positive impact... ready?
+Once on the main page, scroll down to the lower right corner where it prompts you to log in with Facebook. Click the blue button there.
+ Once on that page, scroll down to where you can type in the voting info. This is all you need:
Catherine Masi -> California -> Santa Barbara
Click the blue vote button... DONE!
Thank you, thank you!
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me here:
info[at] ShopCatherineMasi [dot] com
(typed out like this to avoid spam, you would of course replace [at] for @ and [dot] for a . and all with no spaces. I guess it would have just been less fuss to type it out as normal and risk the spam!) )
I'm a little late in getting this weekend post up. Running around fueled by sugar + a touch of caffeine. I just got back from our 3 year old niece's (love her) birthday party up north (and what a beautiful drive along the ocean it was.) + am now about to jump back into work, including applying for grants for my shop. There's one, in particular, that would be a dream come true to achieve and I am hoping that you'd be keen on taking just a quick moment to write in your vote for my company (I'd be forever thankful.). In the link below, all you have to do is scroll to the bottom right of the page, click where it says to log in with Facebook, and then fill in the following:
This week, Sebastian and I took a mini- road trip south toward LA to visit with his publisher and go over final details + images for his upcoming book (will keep you updated on this as the publish date is finalized). The house below is where we spent the day and, man oh man, was it something cool.
I was so impressed with the sustainable features in this place + how well it integrated with the vastness of nature surrounding it. Also, that infinity pool really tempted the hell out of me.
Both Sebastian + I were photographed for the book, but I'm only showing the behind the scenes of him because mine were a little too risque to share here...
(yay for a private studio and cropping tools for the final images!)
The rugs in the house were astoundingly beautiful. I looked down to see what I was standing on and had to snap this shot.
I'm a little shyer. Sebastian, on the other hand, is more comfortable in front of the camera. The photographer, Betina LaPante, in every case was wonderful.
And then here I am back in the studio working on a bridal headpiece for a client in Australia. Much of my sales come from all over the country, but I love receiving orders from other regions of the world too... Canada, Australia, and France seem to be where my biggest foreign market sales come from. And, one week not too long ago, I had sales from customers in Iceland, Qatar, and Japan- which I thought was a pretty neat mix, thanks to the world of e-commerce.