Stairs as an Allegory…

Possibilities, that’s what Stairs mean to me. Stairs are associated with a journey, progress, growth. And, depending on which way you’re going? Down? Stairs could represent the Fear of Failure or Fear of Falling. Ok, that’s what I’ve experienced, after a knee surgery more than a decade ago- I had fallen on a small run of steps and after surgery I found out that it’s easier to go upstairs than to come down. What a revelation to me.

Stairs are a strong symbol of transistion, change, transformation and growing wiser- leading our minds to a new, different and hopefully higher level. Stairs have been used, even in ancient cultures, as a symbol of going from one level of being to the next level- one step at a time. Ok. Rocky might have taken it more than one step at a time- yet who can forget the image of Stallone standing triumphant? And yess, I’ve gone up those stairs myself! The Thrill of Victory. Really. Out of Breath.

I love beautiful stairways, ornate or humble. And yes, there’s the romance of a spiral staircase, an architectural marvel- symbolic of oh so many things…to me, it’s pure genius. A Black and White Staircase? Coco Chanel would’ve loved it. My personal favorites are a beautiful shade of blue at Independence Hall, the Village Steps with Terra Cotta Pots and the Tropical Green and White- so cool and fresh. Still. All of them have been speaking to me lately.

I’ve been impatient with a project I’ve been working on- I thought I’d be finished..there are more steps than I planned and more to go. Some are new challenges, I’ve been facing or even avoiding. ‘When you start something new, even if you don’t have all the answers, trust your instincts and believe that you’ll rise to the occasion.’ One of my favorite quotes even if I made it up myself! So!

It’s back to basics week. One Step at a Time. A New Perspective- each of the steps or even obstacles are really Possibilities in disguise. *I’m just hoping it’s less than ‘a journey of 1000 miles.’

Love y’all, Brenda

*Okay, an allegory is a narrative in which something like stairs, a place or object is used to express a bigger, more important message to illustrate or explain ideas. Allegories are really an easy way to express a meaningful, even complex idea. In this writing lesson, you’ve seen an allegory express more than just an architectural element- it’s about going higher or further than you thought you could or would.

Creative Possibilities…

Paintbrushes symbolize creative possibilities, and represent the possibility of Change. It’s said if you dream of paintbrushes- it’s possible that you see yourself doing something unique or the desire to accomplish something worthwhile. If you’re not sure what or how to write, start with a plain or simple image of something sort of common or mundane. Look up the symbolism and you’ve got the start of a great story.

It’s been said that artists prefer wooden brushes made of pine- an evergreen. To paint something that achieves lasting form, meaning and value. And, then there’s Color. Color is the Workhorse of Design. Before we ever read a word, our brains have formed an opinion. Your color choices, your color story has- well, it’s told a story. If your color story is complex, the viewer decides- ‘I don’t have the mental energy for this.’ Am I right? In today’s world of massive amounts of information coming at us- from many directions.

From a young age, we develop emotions around color. Color forms the texture of our lives. It’s been said, ‘ Use language on a 4th to 7th grade level.’ Why? It’s not because we aren’t smart. Because.. a message should be easy to understand. The same is true with color – your color message should be easy to understand. Never be afraid of possibilities, change or to accomplish something worthwhile- achieve something of value. Use Color to start the conversation, evoke good feelings and opinions.

Yet, above all, Keep it Simple. Simplicity is often the most difficult design or art form to achieve- yet Simplicity tends to accomplish something long lasting and worthwhile. Memorable. These are Notes to Self and to You- I hope you dream in Paintbrushes and that Color is the Fabric of your Life.

Love y’all, Brenda

P.S. please notice- in writing, use symbolism such as paintbrushes. Then, color begins the conversation, let the image set the scene and then begin telling a simple and easily understood message. That’s a winning combination every time.

P.S.S. The July Planning Guide is ready- and it’s chock full of information to take you right into the Fall! In fact, there’s a major Color Story in this guide- an interpretation of the Fall/Winter Colors of 2021! These guides are free. Send me an email at brenda@brenda-wyatt.com

It’s Time to Plan February…

I can’t believe that January is more than halfway through, before we know it February will be here. And guess which of the Winter months is the best for selling goods and services? February starts of with Groundhog Day when we’re hoping for an earlier start to Spring…so, anything pertaining to gardening (early bloomers anyone?) or even weather related is a natural and fun sales day. Warm, hot mugs of anything – tea, coffee, hot chocolate and.. maybe some fresh baked cookies? This is the month for you!

February’s also Heart Health Month- tailor made for coaches, mentors – anything that improves health- physical and emotional well being- this is a welcome time for you! (Remember, internationally, Blue Monday is January 18 when moods are said to be low) Its a wonderful time to lift spirits, from now throughout February. Super Bowl Sunday is a fun time to promote Fitness, Food and Fun. 🏈

There are various holidays to celebrate Love, including love for family, friends and even pets! Valentine’s Day is, of course, the big one, isn’t it? Did you know that it’s a multi-billion dollar business retail day? In the US and UK the average shopper spent an average of $200 spanning across those special gifts to children, friends and special loved ones. That includes gifts, cards, special meals and flowers- not just for that special someone. And, it doesn’t have to be flowers and chocolates- though I’ll take both!

Later on in February- don’t forget to ‘let the good times roll’ for Mardi Gras- another fun and food day!

So, what’s all this about? I have a gift for you! My February Planning Guide is ready! Let’s get February started with filling in the calendar, you’ll find the multiple dates will help with content creation and you’ll also find marketing tips- time savers and even suggestions for ordering supplies! ALL are included in my February Planning Guide. And hopefully, help you save time.

The planning guide is *Free* again this month and like January’s ‘it’s chock full of information.’ As those who’ve gotten it have told me time and time again! How to get it? Email me – brenda@camelliascottage.com and we will get it out to you. It’s a 3 page pdf that’s easily printable.

Why? I made a New Year’s resolution to help as many as I could in the first few months of what might be a difficult time financially for cottage industries, small businesses and more. The tips in February’s guide apply to product sales, service providers, mentors, course creators and coaches. You won’t want to miss this one.

February looks like an amazing month! Get a head start planning and creating content. I cannot close without saying Thank You to all who’ve gotten their January Guide, it’s been amazing connecting with you! Ready to get started with February planning…and don’t forget I

Love y’all, Brenda

*don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for even more inspiration @brendawyatt_

Patina…

Patina… that magical thing that happens with age. I find it fascinating- maybe because I have a bit of patina myself. Ok, more than a bit. Still. Patina was originally a word used for a thing that happens to copper when it’s exposed to – well, life. Gradually patina came to represent objects that had been around a while, traveled through more than one experience- looked at life’s inevitable hardships and instead of becoming bitter became more beautiful and interesting- simply because it has survived and continues to thrive.

Patina holds within it, stories we may never read- through doors that have been the silent listeners to a time we’ve never known. They may not be shiny and brand new- yet, they’ve figured out how to be old, determined and useful.

One of the things I enjoy while traveling is taking photographs of architectural elements- especially those with patina like that wrought iron fence in New Orleans (oh, how I miss that old girl this year!) Patina is a good historical teacher who isn’t the least bit hysterical- especially when it comes to aging.

Now, it’s important to me that you know- I love all of you with all of your amazing talents, yet what always surprises me are those of you, who have a bit of age on them, seem more stable, less stressed, more inspired and less complicated or competitive- more willing to try new things. The ones of you who’ve realized that the last thing you want to do- is wake up and realize you didn’t do the things you were meant to do.

If possible, age should never be the limiting factor on potential. Patina is proof of timelessness- of a life fully lived. Just know, when you see patina anywhere- even the lines on a face, a bit of exposed brick, rust or peeling paint- you’re looking at proof that getting out of your comfort zones, staying strong, rising to the challenges, weathering the storms – results in something real, valuable and beautiful. Patina. Admire it. Aspire to it. Appreciate it in yourself.

Patina is a design trick used by the finest stylists. Take a tip from them. Use items with patina for your props or backgrounds. If you’re traveling, even in your own town- try to find and photograph patina. It’s beautiful and, I think you’ll find it everywhere you look.

Love y’all, Brenda

Taking Care of Your Beautiful Mind…

img_4155This image captured my imagination a while ago. At first I thought I would write about the joys of a glass room or starting seed in a greenhouse, even on a window sill. For some reason known only to the angels, those were never written yet the image remains. When all but the most essential businesses closed, this image took on a whole new meaning of – Stay at Home or even ‘A Room of My Own’ Those also would have been good subjects. (I’m winding up here to tell you something important!) I’ve realized that as this situation continues-

  • The number of emails,
  • The number of individual posts on social media increases,
  • The recorded calls increase
  • And my stress level goes up by the same measure.

I realized that taking care of, limiting what comes into my mind is essential. Now, my background is in retail and marketing, even owning my own business years ago… I know that there’s a tipping point when good information becomes an irritant – regardless of how pertinent, important or even good news is offered. Sending out too much information leads to less business rather than more. Believe me on this one thing if nothing else.

*A word to any size business, when it comes to sending emails- less is more. This applies to how much you send out. An urgent message is an exception. Let me tell you this-

  • This morning I spent about an hour unsubscribing from businesses who aren’t relative to my current situation and who are flooding my inbox too often.
  • I set filters on how often I receive emails from local businesses and my personal favorite sites. Also, business owners, your need to filter emails just went way up.
  • You need to filter and minimize emails from coming into your business email account.
  • Don’t overthink this, just do it. In fact stop thinking so much, being sidetracked and unclutter your business accounts and, therefore your clear your mind.
  • These are a few ways I’ve chosen to take care of my beautiful mind concerning email messages.

For other social media, individuals and businesses would do well to take a look at filtering the number of posts received from accounts that are putting too many posts out daily. Believe me when I tell you this- During this isolation we are all on information overload. acs_0140

  • Posting too often makes you look desperate.
  • It makes you look as if you don’t have enough to do.
  • It might even make you an irritant. And!
  • It will lead to a drop in followers. Posting less will help you retain them.

Why do we do this?  When you are in a panic to get more fans or business – you put more out there, thinking it’s the best thing to do! Right? No, don’t do it– help your friends, followers and associates by posting meaningful content less often and take care of their beautiful minds. There is no way, even a few hundred followers can absorb more than one post per day. (*Posting on stories in IG is a way to post more often- your most loyal fan base is there. And, Facebook might be a place to post more often, since it’s based on friends, family and opinion- still, I think it’s best to post less often) Of course, if you aren’t in business, don’t really care about whether you lose influence- go ahead and post to your heart’s content! Bless your heart.

*Bloggers- when you’re first starting out- you may need to post a few times a week. As you grow- it’s best to post once a week, maybe less often depending on your readers. I received a very important tip from an enthusiastic reader when I first started out- she told me – as much as she loved reading everything I wrote, that she simply couldn’t keep up with every post.  And guess what? I had a bit of a personal polling done- the majority said to post less often. This doesn’t mean your folks don’t love you, they just don’t have the time or attention span, not to mention eye strain.

In this time when we are all either working remotely from home for our regular jobs, in an essential worker category or even keeping up with family needs, you will do yourself and your readers a favor and at least think about upgrading your content with your most beautiful photos and your very best words-  then send it out less often.

img_4195And! While I’m at it- less is more when it comes to word count. Whether you post for business or pleasure, great content in fewer words is well received any time, most especially when folks are on information overload. So, if you have a business and are in danger of losing sales, readers or advertising ? What do you do?

  • Limit information.
  • Limit how often you post.
  • Set limits on how much you, the business owner, allows into your own beautiful mind.
  • Think about what your customers need.
  • Find a way to give it to them in small bites.
  • And always remember your business isn’t about you, darlin’ , it’s about them. Find out what they need and find a way to get it to them.
  • Also, don’t forget to leave a comment on sites you follow, it creates connection and community.
  • And perhaps most important for taking care of your beautiful mind…If you think of this time as an opportunity instead of a calamity- it will show up in everything you do.

And find a way, a time, a space to clear your mind often…even if it’s in a virtual dream room of your own. like mine… it’s pretty isn’t it? Find a space, a way, a time. Everyone, including your own beautiful mind will thank you for it.

Love y’all, Camellia