5 random acts of kindness

5 random acts of kindness-01

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of photos floating around of people performing random acts of kindness or ‘paying it forward’. Isn’t it amazing how just a small gift or someone taking time out of their day to be thoughtful makes a world of difference? Today I’m going to be sharing some that I have seen and done recently, so I hope this inspires you to come up with some of your own! If you do decide to try some of these, be sure to post a photo and tag me on Twitter or Instagram so I can check it out!

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:10

1. Buy someone a cupcake.

No seriously, buy someone a cupcake. I dare you! They won’t be able to help but smile. This happened to me just yesterday. One of my friends at church had found a buy 1 get 1 deal at a local cupcakery, so she picked me up a gluten free one for me to enjoy. Brownie points (pun totally intended) for thinking about food allergies and intolerances.

2. Write a letter.

For those of you who have been following me from the beginning, you’ve probably remember the post I did on how I keep my letter writing organized. In a world of text messages and emails, a simple letter really does stand out. If you have kids, let them scribble a picture in the corner of the card. It gives it an extra touch of sparkle.

3. Pay for the person behind you.

I went to grab a cup of coffee the other day after school, and after all the blessings I’ve been given over the last few months, I wanted to do something nice for the person behind me. I went through the drive through, paid for mine as well as the person behind me, got my coffee, and quickly left so I wouldn’t get any awkward stares. LOL

One time, a lady handed me a five dollar bill with a gospel tract paper clipped to it, and she said, “I’m from ____ church, and I just wanted you to know that Jesus loves you. Please buy yourself a cup of coffee.” This was several years ago, and I was going through a hard time. I don’t remember the lady’s name or the church she went to, but I have never forgotten that act of kindness and the plan of salvation clearly presented on the tract.

4. Tape a dollar to a water bottle.

My sister saw this in a snack shop recently. Someone taped a dollar and a little note that said ‘pay it forward’ to a bottled water in the refrigerated section. She didn’t buy the water, but just seeing it made her day!

5. Help someone who forgot their wallet.

Not everyone can afford to do this one, and you have to be really careful as to not get taken advantage of, but this happened to me about a month ago. I was in target getting ready to buy a new laundry hamper and a few odds and ends. They rang up all of my items when to my dismay, I realized that I had completely forgotten my debit card at home. I had no other cash with me so I  apologized and was getting ready to walk away when a couple behind me said, “We’re going to take care of it”.

I was totally shocked and didn’t know what to say at first. I told them that I couldn’t let them do that, but they insisted and told me that I had better come and get it because they didn’t have room in their car for it. They looked like they had just gotten off of work, and yet after a long day, they still made the time to think of someone else.

How about you? What are you doing for others today? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here! Catch the show live on Periscope weekdays at 3pm EST!

Try, try again…

try try again tokyo blossom boutique

 

You’ve probably heard the famous poem that goes,

“Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, try again.”

-Thomas H. Palmer

Up until recently, I always related the poem to when things didn’t work out or some sort of failure. But you know what I’ve realized? Sometimes it’s harder to ‘try, try again’ on the everyday choices and steps through life than it is to deal with not succeeding on the first attempt or having something not work out.

You’re building a business, and while you are super excited about it, the little mundane steps that help it to grow are tiring and overwhelming. You started with passion, but now you wonder if you can really do it. Keep going my friend… Try, try again.

A parent who has a child who has to have speech or physical therapy might not see the significance in the daily drills and the exercises done at the weekly appointments. But give it a couple of months, a year… little words start to form, phrases, then one day I turn around and my son is having a conversation with me… Try, try again.

“It’s tempting to think ‘a little’ isn’t significant and that only ‘a lot’ matters. But most things that are important in life start very small and change very slowly, and they don’t come with fanfare and bright lights.”

-Fred Rogers

I found this quote by the beloved ‘Mr. Rogers’ while reading his book Many Ways to Say I Love You: Wisdom for Parents and Children from Mister Rogers, and while it pertains to parenting, how true is this of every area in life?

 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 3:14

Sometimes it can feel this way with my walk with the Lord. Simple things like taking the time to spend quiet moments with God and lifting up others in prayer can easily get swallowed up by a busy schedule if I am not careful, but those ‘little’ steps really aren’t little at all. Keep going, press toward the mark… try, try again.

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

Office Tour

office tour tokyo blossom boutique

I love a good office tour!

Every chance I get to take and office tour, I take mental note of the decor, the space, and what they did to make it uniquely their’s. It’s always fun to see how the office inspires the person that works in it. You can generally look at the person, then look at their office and see that it’s a reflection of the person that works in it.

Today over on Periscope, I’m giving a mini office tour. I say ‘mini’ because my office consists of a very small area, but I thought it might be fun to get a behind the scenes look at my work space, some of the tools that inspire me, and various fun things I like to have around me. I hope you’ll join me at 3pm EST!

tokyo blossom boutique office decor

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

When your best doesn’t seem enough…

When your best doesn't seem enoughPreview

You’ve been there… When your best doesn’t seem enough.

My husband and I got married right when the economy took a nose dive. We were both poor college graduates and had very little to call our own. He struggled to find employment in his field while I managed to find a part time position teaching music. He took up a job as a machinist until that company had to down size and had to start letting people go, starting with the newest hires.

Fast forward several years. We went from working multiple part time jobs, to a full time job, to an unexpected pregnancy, to losing another job to yet another company downsizing. One day when my son was less than a year old, I had just come home from working one of my three jobs to find a pre-eviction notice taped to our apartment door. You would have thought that I would have spent the next several hours bawling my eyes out, but I didn’t cry a single tear. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to cry, but because I had no tears left to cry.

Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.                                         Jeremiah 31:3b

The months leading up to that point, our pantry had a grand total of ramen noodles, a bag of beans, rice, and a handful of random seasoning packets. We would go to our local pregnancy center and take their classes just so we could earn ‘baby bucks’ to buy the diapers that we couldn’t afford otherwise. My husband was working as a freelancer, and he was very much in the beginning stages, but since he couldn’t find employment elsewhere he did that while taking care of our toddler since we couldn’t afford childcare.

We tithed to our local church, we lived on next to nothing, and we did our best to continue to be a blessing to others when we got the opportunity, but it still didn’t seem to be enough. We had reached out for help, but the lack of consistent employment really hurt us. So here we found ourselves staring at this piece of paper with no tears left to shed. I wish I could say that something amazing happened at that moment, but it didn’t. The next week, I numbly watched as we moved the tiny white crib out of our studio apartment, and did the last of the cleaning.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

If I stopped there, that would just be a depressing story that probably wouldn’t help you in any way, but fast forward 4 years. My husband and I are still happily married, we found out that our son has autism, but he’s such a happy boy that’s learning so much every day, and my husband’s freelance business has become our full time income. I’m not telling you that to make you think that every rough story has a fairy tale ending, but I’m telling you this because God has a plan for your life. Sometimes it means that we’re going to face difficult times. Sometimes it’s going to feel like your best really isn’t enough, but that’s because that isn’t enough to get through life.

In the darkest hours of life, it’s not your best that will get you through… It’s God’s infinite grace and love that He puts all around us through every step we take. He shows us great love through other people, through His grace to get through things day by day, and while it’s heartbreaking, He’s right there beside you, seeing and knowing.

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

Our family staycation.

‘What’s a staycation?’ you ask. Why, a staycation is what you take when you are on a super tight budget, but you realize that you haven’t had a family vacation in over a year and half! All joking aside, it had been way too long since we got out and did anything big, so we took advantage of Sean’s school break.

georgia aquarium family staycation vacation

I was fighting a cold on Wednesday night, so I was a little nervous as to wether or not I would make it, but thankfully by Thursday I felt well enough to go. This was the first time we had been back to the aquarium in seven years, and Sean’s very first time getting to go, so he was very excited! I think he was a little overwhelmed because, any time I would ask him which fish was his favorite, he would just look around with wide eyed wonder. It wasn’t until bedtime that he finally told me that the tiny sea dragons were his favorite. (so cute)

We spent several hours at the Georgia aquarium because that place is HUGE! Our tickets included an evening dolphin show, and we were having so much fun going through all of the exhibit’s tunnels.

switchyards atlanta

After we got done, we swung by a building that Scott had designed the signage that was painted on the front that you see in the picture above. Switchyards is a creative, community office space and the inside is so amazing! We did a little tour on Periscope so I thought you might enjoy the replay.

Remember how I was sick on Wednesday? Thankfully it held off till about dinner time on Thursday, but then it came back with a vengeance. It was aches all over, headaches, and a stuffy nose kind of nastiness. Thankfully I was able to get some much needed rest and do a lot of long term planning for my shop, blog and Periscope. Plus I got a new mug at the aquarium, so it kinda made drinking tea in bed a lot more fun. =)

sick day coffee in bed

You can watch the show replays here!

My favorite sources for color inspiration…

 

my favorite sources for color inspiration

We use color inspiration everyday.

Maybe you went to put an outfit together at the store, and you were drawn to a certain color combination. Or you decided to buy a piece of jewelry to go with a dress you had it home, and you already knew it would look good because you had seen that color combo in a magazine. Color inspiration plays a big role in not only our wardrobe choices, but in decor, art, and the list goes on. I have found that a little inspiration goes a long way in helping me to brainstorm for new products that I design for my shop, or even what photo props I should use when shooting pictures of those products.

Today I’m going to be sharing a few of my favorite resources that help to feed my obsession for colorful everything!

 

Design Seeds

WARNING: This site is highly addictive!

Jessica Colaluca has curated some of the most beautiful photographs and turned them into amazing color swatches. I believe most of the photos are entered via Instagram hashtag #seedscolor, where she selects some of her favorites and turns them into a useful swatch. I could spend forever browsing her collections!

Color Collective

While Lauren’s site is similar in concept to Design Seeds, her overall style is very different. Showcasing everything from geometric scarves to bold patterns, her flair is a bit more modern. I love the simplicity of her taste, and how many of her photos are related to either fashion or art.

Charming Charlie

Charming Charlie is one of the most mesmerizing accessory shops I have ever been in. Something about aisle after aisle of color organized fashion is very appealing. While each aisle is sorted by the main color of the product, without fail, there is a little pop of a complementing color in that same area. I generally try to look over a couple of products in each aisle and study what two or three colors they paired together. I then think about why those colors work so well together. You would be amazed how that information will suddenly come handy the next time you go shopping!

So that is the method to my madness… I hope you have fun with your next color venture!

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

New planner accessories!!

 

The planner accessories are finally here!!

I wasn’t quite sure how to put today’s Periscope into words (LOL) so I decided to just show you the new planner accessories that launched today instead.

white cherry blossom planner accessories

Out of all four designs, I think this cherry blossom is my absolute favorite. Then again, I have this thing for flowers so it’s probably no surprise.

red pineapple planner accessories

My favorite part about all of these? Aside from the shimmery glitter, I’m in love with all of the color options. Something about color + glitter just makes me one happy camper. =)

blue unicorn planner clips bookmark

And unicorns… I mean seriously. My planner seriously needed glittery unicorns.

glitter heart planner clip accessory

Weather you are a beginner or a novice planner girl, planner clips are such a big help when it comes to staying on top of your day. I like to use one to mark my weekly planner while using the second one to mark the monthly calendar. It saves me so much time, since I don’t have to keep flipping back and forth to find my spot. Hope you enjoy!

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

Our family’s restaurant tradition…

our family's restaurant tradition

This tradition changed my family’s attitude at the restaurant…

Several years back, my family and I went out to eat for some family time. We don’t go out to eat at a ‘sit down’ restaurant very often, so this was kind of a big deal for us. Our waiter was amazing, and the food was brought out to us quickly. It was just as good as we had remembered, and we were really enjoying ourselves. We were sitting there deep in conversation when we heard the people at the table in front of us grumbling about the food, service, and the establishment’s existence in general. The crazy thing was, they had the exact same waiter that we did.

Once they got done complaining and left, we started thinking and talking about a sermon that our pastor had just given about being thankful. We’ve never been the people who call the manager over to complain over little things, but we had also never taken the time to go out of our way to thank someone who had been waiting on us. Both of us have had restaurant and retail experience, and both of us know how difficult some customers can be no matter how hard you try. We decided to make it a habit, from that point forward, to ask for the manager when we were given excellent service.

By the time the manager had gotten to our table, you could tell that he was really nervous. (I guess I would be too, after dealing with the table in front of us.) He asked what he could do for us, and for the next five minutes, Scott bragged on the waiter, the food, and the whole experience. The poor man was shocked and was quiet for a few minutes, and I’ll never forget what he said. With a smile on his face he said, “Thank you for taking the time to tell us what we were doing well. It’s not very often that someone goes out of their way to be so kind.”

It’s so much easier for us to critique everything that is going on around us, than it is to find things to be grateful for. We complain about how long it took for us to get our refills, we complain about not getting a parking spot closer to the entrance, and really anything else we can think of. When we take the time to purposely find things to be grateful for, it changes our entire perspective. Now, when we go out to eat, we can hardly wait to call the manager over and brag on our server. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when we have had poor service, and did not call the manager over. However, as a whole, making it a priority to purposely be grateful, has changed our attitude, and  we’ve gotten to see a lot smiling servers and managers in the process. =)

 

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

Three things I’m really excited about…

planner clips tokyo blossom boutique

Planner clips launching on Monday!

I am SO excited about the new planner clip line that will be available in the shop on Monday. I thought I already loved color but then when you throw glitter into the mix?? TOTALLY AWESOME!!! I’m going to have 4 different designs with 11 color options, so there will be plenty to choose from.

planner accessories

 

My first ever painting  class!

painting class

Last week, I got to hang out with a few friends from church for my first ever painting class! I had heard of painting classes before, but I honestly wasn’t sure what it would be like. I was a little nervous at first because I tend to be a perfectionist, but the relaxed atmosphere, and the step by step instructions we got, made it a lot of fun! I felt like my end product didn’t turn out too bad, but I did run out of black paint to finish the bottom and sides of the canvas. I’m going to have to go back and fix that so I can hang it in my bathroom. LOL

flower painting

 

 

Re-reading one of my favorite blog books.

blog inc Joy Cho

I got this book on blogging back when it first came out. I read it as I started my very first blog several years ago. I pulled it off of the shelf and decided to re-read it because, it’s loaded with helpful blogging info. Her book, blog and Instagram is just so inspiring. It’s so encouraging to see a ‘real’, down to earth person successfully providing for her family, partnering with other companies, and doing amazing things!

Today was a pretty ‘chill’ day with Sean out of school, so we did a lot of improvising. I’m getting this post up kinda late, but I wanted you guys to know how much I enjoyed just hanging out with you guys on Pericope! I always love seeing familiar names pop up and then hearing about what you guys are up to. I seriously love how this social media platform has helped me to get to know you guys better!

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure page.

Mason jar valentine + free printable

mason_jar_valentine_craft

Mason Jar Valentine +Free Printable

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and we have been busy making little cards for Sean’s preschool classmates and teachers. I had this idea to make gifts for his teachers, and decided to just turn it into a printable so you could enjoy it too!

You’re going to need:

coloring_printable

Each printable is enough to decorate 4 jars! You can either color the sheet, or print it out on some scrapbooking paper if you want to skip this step. Cut each piece along the dotted lines and you are ready to get started!

mason_jar_gifts

Wrap the paper band around the mason jar and tape it in place. I tried using an ‘off brand’ 16 oz jar, and for some reason it did not fit. The good ol’ mason jar worked perfectly.

candy_hearts

Tape or glue the heart in place to cover the band seam. Fill it with your candy or chocolate and it’s all done! I used the colorful conversation kisses. I think that all the colors make it so pretty! Now that I’m thinking about it, I bet it would be really fun to put a homemade cookie mix in it! It makes a really cute teacher gift when the kids decorate it with their stamps, stickers, and crayons. You could even use it as a vase to put flowers in.

tokyo_blossom_boutique

This doesn’t just have to be a ‘gift jar’. Use it as a cute date night jar, blessing jar, or an adorable coin bank. Get creative and show me what you came up with by tagging me @TokyoBlossom on Instagram or Twitter!

Click the heart to get your free printable!

free_printable_tokyo_blossom_boutique

 

Did you miss today’s Periscope show episode of Stand Up and Sparkle? You can watch the replay here!

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure page.