Nourish Organic Juice: The Store is Open!

It’s morning.  We’re hungry and in a hurry to get to work.  Sometimes it seems like the vending machine and its products of mysterious origin are the only options for a meal.

But wait!  What’s that?  It’s a carrot!  It’s an apple!

It’s the “Juice Girls”, come to the rescue!

Nourish Organic Juice has opened a long awaited Juice Bar & store!

Nourish Organic Juice has opened a long awaited Juice Bar & store!

Stop by the new Nourish Organic Juice store at 303 E. Pikes Peak for some real food.  It’s right on the southeast corner of Pikes Peak and Weber.

I’ve written about Nourish before and can confirm that the “Juice Girls” are just as inspiring and energetic as always.

They offer soup and salads with house-made dressings, to go with your juice.

They offer soup and salads with house-made dressings, as well as a daily fresh-pressed juice.

Are you on your way to work?  Grab a juice out of the cooler and your co-workers will envy you when you get to the office.

Are you on your way to work? Grab a juice out of the cooler and your co-workers will envy you while they open their sodas.

Evelyn and Nicole want you to be healthy and it shows in their product offerings.

Don't want to make your own kale chips? Stop in and pick some up!

Don’t want to make your own kale chips? Stop in and pick some up!

Besides the soups, salads and juices, they offer a variety of gluten-free products made in Colorado Springs.  In fact, nearly everything in the store is made here in town!

The cooler is stocked with products made by local folks at Vision Foods.

The cooler is stocked with products made by local folks at Vision Foods, including this Japanese salsa, Harley’s Hope Foundation products and Papa Joe’s Little Chalet dressing.

Nicole says they want to offer these products because people have been so good to them and they want to give back.  It doesn’t surprise me that people have been good to them.  It’s easy to be nice to such warm people.  Nor does it surprise me that they want to help others.  They’ve always been that way.

Looking for coffee?  They've got it!  They'll make you a pour-over cup from local roaster, Switchback.

Looking for coffee? They’ve got it! They’ll make you a pour-over cup from local roaster, Switchback.

I chatted with Nicole about her other job while Evelyn made a cup of coffee for me.  These ladies sure do work hard!

Nourish is a family business.  I tried to get a picture of Evelyn's little son running around while she made my coffee.

Nourish is a family business. I tried to get a picture of Evelyn’s little son running around while she made my coffee, but he is too fast.

I’m really excited about this shop.  I buy a Perky Pants carrot-ginger juice whenever I’m at Mountain Mama (one of the many local stores that sell Nourish Juice).  It’s nutritious and so good that I always wish I had another one when it’s gone.

Ready to head on over there?

The Colorado Springs Local Foods Meetup will meet over there on Saturday May 4 for lunch.  Why don’t you join us?  The food will be delicious and nutritious, and the company will be lively and entertaining.

It’s also a great opportunity to support this new local business.  Bring your friends!  We can promote the success of these two ladies who are working hard to make our community a better place!

We can all be well nourished superheroes together!

Come on in!

Come on in!

****

© 2013 Hungry Chicken Homestead

Want to read about locally owned businesses in Colorado Springs? The chickens want to tell you about them! Join them in supporting our local economy by signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter!
Nourish Organic Juices on Urbanspoon

Dress like a Cowgirl: Rocky Mountain Cowgirl Company

When you live here …

photo 1-133

Sometimes it helps to have a pair of these …

photo 3-120

And maybe a few pairs of this too….

photo 4-99Ok, maybe you wouldn’t actually go herd cattle in such pretty clothes, but you get the idea.

The Rocky Mountain Cowgirl Company, on W. Colorado Ave. in Old Colorado City, specializes in beautiful, stylish versions of functional clothes.  They offer dresses and skirts as well, but personally I had a lot of interest in the jeans, boots and jackets.  What could be better than pretty clothes that don’t get in the way when you find yourself wanting to run after a goat or discourage a rooster from attacking you?

I don’t know about you, but this happens to me all the time.  I have to be prepared.

I chatted with Laura, the shop owner.  Rocky Mountain Cowgirl started out in the best western retail tradition, as a traveling show.  The collection attracted enough attention that Laura took the next step and opened the shop.

It can get chilly around here.  You might also need this hand-painted leather jacket.

It can get chilly around here. You might also need this hand-painted leather jacket.

Much to my delight, many of the items are made right here in Colorado or the surrounding states, by artists!

This purse is part of a collection made by a Colorado artist.

This purse is part of a collection made by a Colorado artist.

In addition to clothes, boots and purses, the shop carries hand made jewelry, pottery from Montana and a variety of paintings done by Colorado artists.

photo 3-121

I love how these copper bracelets go with everything!

To sum things up (and to show you one of my favorite pairs of boots), stop by Rocky Mountain Cowgirl and pick up a pair of these …

photo 1-134And you’ll be all dressed up and ready to ride off into the sunset.

photo 4-100

 © 2013 Hungry Chicken Homestead

Want to read more about locally owned businesses in Colorado Springs?  The chickens want to tell you about them!  Join them in supporting our local economy by signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter!

 

From Rocks to Romance: Evaline Jewelry

“What are you going to do with this broken chain your mom sent you?”, I asked a member of the Homestead household.

“That’s a weird thing to send, isn’t it?”, was the response.  “My mom loves this chain and I know someone who can fix it for her.”

Not only did the jewelry artist fix the broken strand, but she reinforced the other strands too.

This Tree of Life is made from the November birthstone.

This Tree of Life is made from the November birthstone.

I didn’t think much about it at the time, but about a year later I met a very talented jewelry artist, Evelina Stoyanova.  Here is one of my favorite pieces from her collection, Evaline Jewelry

This is Evelina's Three Row Bracelet.

This is Evelina’s Three Row Bracelet.  Can you believe she only asks $19.95 for it?

** Note:  Evelina kindly gave me permission to repost pictures from her Etsy shop for this story.  Click on the link if you’re interested in purchasing the piece.  It will bring you right to the store.

I interviewed Evelina and learned her interesting story.  She comes from Bulgaria.  She and her husband met when they were both studying physics.  She laughs when telling me the story of how they emigrated to the United States.

“We got married on August 1 and I had an interview for a visa to come to America on August 7.  I got the visa, so we landed in Phoenix on August 13!”

Talk about a whirlwind romance!

Here we have Swarovski crystal heart earrings for a mere $17.50!

Oh dear.  It’s Valentine’s day, isn’t it?  Here we have Swarovski crystal heart earrings for a mere $17.50!

I wondered aloud how a physicist becomes a jewelry artist.  She told me how she loves gems and minerals.  She even collected rocks and it was a natural transition from stones to beads.

“The beads are the inspiration for each piece.”

Today, she devotes much of her time to raising their two children.  She began making jewelry as a hobby and discovered she could bring in some money for her family while being available to her children.

“Do your children like to help you?”, I asked.

“My daughter loves to help!”, she replied.

“What about your son?”

“Oh, he is very interested in hammering!”

These hammered copper earrings are an example of what the boy might want to hammer.

These hammered copper earrings are an example of what a boy might do with jewelry.

I asked Evelina if she misses Bulgaria.  She misses her family, but she loves living in America.  She told me a little about conditions in Bulgaria and how different it is here.

Check out these Vintage Tulip Earrings!  $17.00!

Check out these Vintage Tulip Earrings! $17.00!

Evelina makes copper bracelets, adjustable rings, earrings and a variety of other things.  She can ship anywhere, including to military bases.  You might see her jewelry in shops around town and she even has pieces in boutiques on the east coast!

Tree of Life pendants are popular.  This one goes for $25.00.

Tree of Life pendants are popular. This one goes for $25.00.

Today is Valentine’s day, an appropriate day to tell a tale of a woman’s love for her children, her adopted country and the minerals of the earth that inspire her art.  If you still need a gift, head over to her Etsy Shop.

It’s never too late to start a whirlwind romance.

Showcasing Colorado Products: The Sweet Elephant

“Where should we meet for lunch?”, my friend asked.

“How about that new elephant place on the corner of Colorado avenue and … um … something?”, I suggested

“Great idea!”, she said.  “Maybe we better drive together.”

Turns out they don' t serve lunch, but they do serve wine and coffee.

Turns out they don’ t serve lunch, but they do serve wine and coffee.

We skulked around Old Colorado City for a while and found The Sweet Elephant on the corner of 25th St.  I’m not sure if we met the owners, Don & Susan Quintana, but we did meet some friendly, nameless people who told us about the shop.  (We were hungry and I forgot to introduce myself.  That’s how it goes sometimes.)

Sweet Elephant carries an array of locally made products, from vinegars to cold remedies to bath products.

Sweet Elephant carries an array of locally made products, from sauces to cold remedies to things for the bath.

This would be a great place to take thirsty visitors looking for souvenirs.  For one, they have a coffee bar and the espresso is roasted at Barista Espresso, also on W. Colorado Ave.

They also have a wine tasting room.  Customers of legal age can come in and try Colorado wines between 7AM and 6PM, seven days a week.  It’s a complementary service!  The shop has a tasting room and possibly carries every wine made in Colorado.

They didn't tell me they carry every wine in Colorado.  It just looks that way.

They didn’t tell me they carry every wine in Colorado. It just looks that way.  Bottles decorate the whole room!

They offer one other service I didn’t expect.  Every Friday and Saturday they hold painting classes at 6:30 PM.  The artist who painted the wine room walks participants through creating paintings of their own (on canvas, not the wall), something like Paint the Town.

Don’t worry if you’re shy about painting in public.  The $35 fee includes a glass of that Colorado wine we’ve been talking about.  Call them in advance at 719-661-2910 to reserve a space.

I love this picture.  It's a close-up of a basket filled with locally made Valentine's gifts.

I love this picture. It’s a close-up of a basket filled with locally made Valentine’s gifts.

I love the idea of a shop dedicated to locally made products, kind of like this blog is devoted to local businesses (and chickens).  I’m glad we found it!

Good for the Body and Good for the Soul: Nourish Organic Juice

Note:  Nourish Organic Juice recently opened a juice bar at 303 E. Pikes Peak Ave!  It’s on the southeast corner of Pikes Peak and Weber St.  Stop in for fresh-pressed juice, kale chips, a cheerful atmosphere and a variety of locally produced products!

******

I ordered the Soul Sparkle.

And the High Five.

And the Chocolate River smoothie, too.  Who could resist something that evokes visions of molten chocolate snaking its way across the plain?

After my visits to Evelyn and Nicole, of Nourish Organic Juice, I think to myself that I shouldn’t go see them anymore because I always end up bringing home more juice than I expected.

Then I banish the idea.

What better product to spend my money on than bottles of fresh vegetable and fruit juice?  Every bottle has 2 – 5 lbs. of produce in it and fills the vegetable gap on cold days when I only want to eat potatoes.

How else, when my mother asks if I’m eating enough vegetables, would I be able to truthfully state, “Today, I drank a beet!”?

Besides, I always come away inspired by the “Juice Girls”.

“We want to change the world,” Evelyn told me.

“And we aren’t afraid to say it!”, adds Nicole.  “Why not have big goals and dreams?”

The two talk of everything from orchestrating community volunteer opportunities to teaching kids how to cook to helping other small businesses.  Sometimes, they excitedly talk over each other and I just look from one to the other, as if it were a fast-moving tennis match.  I like that because I can stay submerged in my Chocolate River smoothie, though I frequently come up for air to laugh along with them and their good natured humor.

For these two, juice is the conduit to a better world.

I've never seen Nicole, on the left, wear the same hat twice.

I’ve never seen Nicole, on the left, wear the same hat twice.

“When people take care of themselves, they treat everything better,” they explain.  We start by taking care of our bodies, then of our relationships and then our community.

True to form, Nourish partners with other businesses in town, applying their considerable energy and delicious juices for the benefit of both organizations.  You never know where you might find them!  That is, unless you’re on their mailing list or follow them on Facebook.

Next time you’re in need of nutrition or inspiration, you can find a variety of Nourish juices at Mountain Mama Natural Foods on Uintah and 19th St.  Look for them at Colorado College in the near future and Mountain Naturals may join the list as well.

If you’re lucky, you might find the girls and the juice in their Mobile Juice Bar, a trailer that was a hot dog and soda truck in its former life.  They’ve refitted it, but it still has the old soda fountain, reminding customers of the choices we can make for ourselves.

Evelyn and Nicole want you to choose a better you and a better world.

****

Want to keep up with the Nourish News? Follow their story and be the first to find out when their fresh juice becomes available at a new store!  They’ll begin offering kale chips soon, as well.

Don’t miss the announcements!   Subscribe to their mailing list with the form below!

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© 2013 Hungry Chicken Homestead

“Cleverly hidden” coffee shop: Urban Steam

“Do you make your own whipped cream?”, I asked Kelly, the owner of Urban Steam Coffee Bar.

“Yeah,” he said and kind of shrugged.  I didn’t understand.

“So it doesn’t come in a spray can?”, I said suspiciously.

He reached into the cooler and brought out one of those fancy whipped cream bottles chefs use.  Then, much to my delight, he put it in a paper cup and handed it to me.

Sure enough, they make it themselves.  Here is the cup (partially eaten) and the mocha I ordered, with more whipped cream.

Sure enough, they make it themselves. Here is the cup (partially eaten) and the mocha I ordered, with more whipped cream.

You  have to know where you’re going to find this industrial-looking little shop.  It’s in a shopping center I had never noticed before, on the corner of Sierra Madre and Las Vegas St., all the way on the south end of Sierra Madre, past the railroad tracks.

The menu reminds me of the railroad tracks.

The menu reminds me of the railroad tracks.

“Why did you call the place Urban Steam?”, I wondered.

Kelly explained that he’d liked the name of another coffee shop in another state with the word ‘Urban’ in it.  ‘Steam’ refers to the steam in the espresso machine.

“So it’s not because of the power plant?”, I asked.  The Drake power plant steams away nearby, making the electricity that keeps us warm on this cold winter day.

It’s not.  As a power-plant and factory enthusiast, I was a bit disappointed, but didn’t argue.  I had too many questions about the coffee.

A guide to coffee ... Kelly has several of these on the walls.

A guide to coffee … Kelly has several of these on the walls.  I could spend all day studying them.

I thought the location would be the most remarkable thing about this coffee shop, but I was wrong.  Kelly roasts his own coffee, in fact he says he opened the shop because he needed a way to sell that coffee, and he offers a way to taste each one.  You can order a single cup of what he calls “Pour Over Coffee”.

You can choose from a long list of varieties.

You can choose from a long list of varieties.

He grinds up the coffee when you order it and puts it into a single cup filter.

I took a plastic version of this overseas once, but haven't seen one since.

I took a plastic version of this overseas once, but haven’t seen one since.

You get a fresh-brewed cup of his artisan coffee AND (if you ask) you get to smell it when it’s fresh-ground!

In my opinion, the smell of fresh ground coffee is worth the price of the whole cup!

Urban Steam will feed you too.  The shop has a chef, a young man whose name I did not write down.  It’s a shame though, since he had an interesting story.  He started out as a journalist and writer, but had a calling to cook.  He became a chef and now spends his days executing Urban Steam’s international style menu.

You can order a panini sandwich or a salad to go with your carefully-selected cup of coffee.

You can order a panini sandwich or a salad to go with your carefully-selected cup of coffee.

I definitely recommend stopping in at Urban Steam, even if it’s a bit hard to find.  You can’t get Kelly’s coffee anywhere else.  They offer a wide range of coffee options and the food is fresh and well prepared.

And, my favorite … if you choose your table carefully, you can watch the espresso machine-reminiscent steam rise from the power plant while you sip your coffee in comfort and warmth.

Even coffee with homemade whipped cream.

Mocha with whipped cream

 
Urban Steam Coffee Bar and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Five Locally Owned Bead Shops in Colorado Springs

My bead shop tour started out as a quest to solve a problem.  I’ve worn glasses before, back in the days before Lasik, and I never lost them because I couldn’t see if they weren’t on my face.

Things have changed.  I only wear these when I'm writing and if I was to keep from losing them, I needed a chain.

Things have changed. I only wear these when I’m writing and if I was to keep from losing them, I needed a chain.

Being a homesteader, of course I wanted to make my own chain, and thus began my virtual tour of local bead shops.  I only visited the two closest to my home, but we have bead shops all over Colorado Springs.

I chose from vials of beads, sorted by color.

I chose from vials of beads, sorted by color.

I’ve never made anything with beads before.  Luckily, the very knowledgeable Meredith was minding the store and helped me figure out what I would need.  I left the store with supplies and enough beads for several chains for about $11.

If I hadn’t been in a hurry, I might have taken advantage of White Rabbit’s class offerings. Visit their website to learn more.  They even put on parties for children!

  • It turns out that our Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center also offers beading classes.  I learned this from the Bead Gallery’s website.  The Bead Gallery is a family owned shop, located on Academy Blvd. & Kelly Johnson Blvd.  I didn’t have a chance to visit, but it sounds like they have quite a selection!
If you're feeling lucky (or creative), try a grab bag of random beads.  Both stores I visited had these.

If you’re feeling lucky (or creative), try a grab bag of random beads. Both stores I visited had these.

If you live to the north or south of downtown, you’re in luck!  We have bead shops everywhere!

  • On the north side of town, we have The Bead Corner, in Monument.  I want to visit this place next time I’m up that way.  Not only are they locally owned and another place to take classes, they also work with organizations that offer jobs to developmentally disabled workers!  This reminds me of Blue Star Recyclers, a different business with a similar mission.
You can buy beads on chains, as well as loose.

You can buy beads on chains, as well as loose.

  • On the south side of town, in Pueblo actually, you’ll find Frani’s Beads.  “Frani, the Grani” owns this shop, and presumably its informative website too.  She offers classes, parties and some online information about how to work with beads.  If I had read her website, I would have known what questions to ask!
Silver Sparrow snack tray.  Do not eat!

Silver Sparrow snack tray. Do not eat!

  • I also visited Silver Sparrow Beads in Manitou Springs, on Canon Rd.  I spoke with Lindy, a friend of owner Michele O’Brien and the resident organizer.
Tourists like this shop, in part for its large selection of copper patina beads.

Tourists like this shop, in part for its large selection of copper patina beads.

Silver Sparrow has several employees, though it sounds more like they are members of a community.

I think there are as many types of pendants and beads as there are Christmas ornaments.

I think there are as many types of pendants and beads as there are Christmas ornaments.

“This little bead shop has provided a lot of grace,” Lindy said.  She told me how her story intersected with the shop.  Michele had owned a bead shop in Duluth, MN for nine years and moved to Colorado when she tired of the harsh winters.  Lindy also migrated here from Minnesota and liked to visit the bead shop, where memories of those winters began her friendship with Michele.  In time, her job laid her off and now she works at the shop, but it’s more than a place of employment.  It’s also her community.

If you know someone sleepy, these beads are for you.

Know someone sleepy? These beads are for you.

If you want to make last minute gifts for members of your community, I urge you to visit the closest bead shop.  I was surprised at what I could make quickly and inexpensively.

So, if I leave a gift for you under a tree somewhere in the next few days, don’t be surprised if it’s made of beads!  And if you lose your glasses a lot, you can already guess what it is.

***

© 2013 Hungry Chicken Homestead

Want to read about locally owned businesses in Colorado Springs? The chickens want to tell you about them! Join them in supporting our local economy by signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter!

 

 

Need a gift?: Eight Local Artists in Colorado Springs

What do you think of when you think of art?

Is this what you pictured? It’s a hair clip from Catherine Evan’s collection. Find her on Etsy under “Shark Hat Cafe” (or just click on this picture).

I went to the Holiday Artisan Gift Market at Adam’s Mountain Cafe on Monday.  Since it was a one-night-only market, it’s too late to see all the artists together.  Luckily, I had lively conversations with several of them and can reprise part of it for you here.

  • Pictures and Paintings


I’ll start with the pictures and paintings.

I met a quiet young woman, Cori Ducombs, in the back corner of the show selling colorful, whimsical paintings.  Cori also does custom work.  You tell her what you want and she’ll paint canvas or a wall mural!  Contact her at cori.ducombs@gmail.com.

Cori had two paintings of cats, which I couldn’t find online. I wish I’d bought them. I borrowed this image from her website. Click on it for her Etsy shop.

I also spoke with Wanda Veltkamp of Raven Wing Art.  Click on the link to see examples of her lovely paintings of animals and landscapes.  She also makes jewelry.

Liese Chavez, whom I wrote about last week, was also there with her husband, artist Kris Chavez.  Kris offers paintings of his whimsical characters and also jewelry, which is our next topic.

  • Jewelry

I admit, that I spent all the money in my wallet at Kris’s table.  I couldn’t help it!

How does an amateur chicken farmer (me) resist jewelry that looks like eggs in a nest? It’s impossible.

Kris had nest pendants and rings in tons of colors.  He patiently waited while I went through all of them.  I finally chose a ring with reddish brown eggs, just like my chicken’s eggs!

Kris also makes jewelry that is not egg-themed.

Later, I stopped by to chat with Elana Gresham of The Last Link Jewelry Designs.

Elana makes metal jewelry, including the chains.

I asked Elana how she makes the pretty circles wound up in the chains.  She says she buys washers from the hardware store.

“But washers are smooth,” I protested.

“And then I beat them!”, she responded.  We laughed.  Who knew jewelry could be good for getting out aggression?

Tracy Carroll, of Divina Diva Designs, makes a different style of jewelry.  She makes things with gears, clocks and keys; but my favorite are her ‘trees of life’.

She hung several trees above her table and I felt like I was standing in a forest. Click on this picture to see her collection of trees.

  •  Glass and Ceramic Oddities (including hair decor)


Jannine Scott, of J9 Glass, makes glass jewelry and ornaments.

Check out the detail in Jannine’s work! Click on this picture I borrowed from her website to see her work, which includes skulls and hair noodles.

What’s a ‘hair noodle’, you ask?  It’s a glass spiral hair decoration.

“That will never stay in my thin hair,” said my friend.

Jannine stood up, rising to the challenge.

“It will!”

She wound it in my friend’s hair and, sure enough, it stayed.  In fact, it doesn’t move at all!  If I’d had any money left, I would have bought one.  It sure was pretty!

And finally, we end where we began, with Shark Hat Cafe.  Catherine makes a variety of items, from aliens to eyeballs to delicate shell-pink ornaments.  You’ll see a little of everything in her interesting shop.

I only took one picture at Catherine’s table and I’ve already potentially violated enough copyrights today by borrowing pictures from websites.  This is a picture I took of Kris Chavez’ table.

I didn’t talk to all the artists at the market, but I wish I could have.  I love the energy and creativity that people put into making and selling art.  If you need a pretty or just plain odd gift for someone, check out the variety of local art here in Colorado Springs.  You won’t be sorry!

“What would you be proud to be?”: Artist Liese Chavez

Note:  Liese Chavez is now co-owner of the marvelous Chavez Gallery. When I wrote this article in 2012, she generously gave me permission to repost pictures of her paintings here.  Each one is linked to her Etsy store, where you can buy prints from $16 – $25.

*****

I knew I found Liese Chavez’s art inspiring.  What I didn’t know is that she herself is just as inspiring, in the same quiet way as her paintings.

This is “Carl”.

She knew she was an artist since she was a child and beautifully describes seeing the magical world of details and mystery.

“When I was small, I remember lying on my back under a side table in my Grandparents’ house…”

This one, “A Bird in the Hand”, speaks of magic the way poetry does.  It says the unsayable.

Liese never imagined she could make a living with art, though.  After all, what about the cultural image of the “starving artist”?

This one is called “Big Girl”.

This is where the story gets interesting.  Liese did not graduate from high school, but she made a decent living for herself as a retail manager for many years.  She continued creating art as a hobby.

“Feeling the Music”

Everything changed when her job was eliminated and she found herself unemployed.

“Icarus and the Sun”

Now what?  She asked herself a question.

“What would you be proud to be?”

“Her Secret Heart”

My impression of Liese as a brilliant woman is reinforced by the knowledge that she has no formal training as an artist.  She taught herself by studying the work of masters, using books and video resources to learn techniques.

She began building her career as an artist by selling the work she had made in her hobbyist days.  She also brought her retail management skills to the Mountain Living Studio, an art gallery and shop in Manitou Springs, and learned about the art world.

“Transformation”

Today, she does what she formerly thought was impossible.  She makes her living as an artist!

“Wishes Take Flight”

She told me this story at Marika’s Coffee House (Red Dog Coffee has taken its place since then) in Manitou Springs.  When she finished, silence settled at the table for a moment.

“Wow,” I broke in.  “That’s an amazing American Dream story!”

Liese found a way to use her talents and hard work to live the life she wants to live.  I’m glad I have this blog because I want to tell everyone when I hear stories like hers.  We’re not trapped in lives we don’t love.  Every one of us has the power to shape our own worlds.

“My World”

Like Liese says …

“Believing in yourself is the hardest part.”

 

“Becoming”

***

© 2014 Hungry Chicken Homestead

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Make Your Own Planner: Rhino Office Products

“Are your chickens laying?”

It was one of the first questions I asked when I walked into Rhino Office Products earlier this week.

Regular readers will recall that Rhino doesn’t just have an animal in its name.  A small menagerie also lives there, including dogs and chickens.  I ask every chicken keeper I know if their hens are laying and everyone says what Christina said.

“Not really.”

Somebody lay an egg, for crying out loud!  Enough molting!

We sighed and moved on to the reason I had come in.

I needed a planner.  Writers take a lot of notes & I’ve been carrying around undated notebooks, which makes it difficult to find the notes later.  Also, my smartphone has a way of deleting appointments.  I suspect it doesn’t enjoy certain types of meetings.

“If the smartphone forgets, I forget,” I tell people, but it’s still embarrassing.

I had come up with a list of what I wanted and mailed it to Christina:

  • A big monthly calendar on two pages.  That’s it.  Daily calendar pages are a nice reminder that someday it will be Tuesday, but I’ll never write anything on them.
  • Note paper that I could put in as I took notes.
  • A 3 ring binder
  • A place for business cards

She did some research and responded with some planner products from a big company.  I wrote back …

“This is going to sound silly, but I hate all the binders!  They’re black and blocky and ugly.  Does anyone have anything pretty? ”

I added one more requirement ….

  • A pretty binder

I must stress that you cannot get this sort of binder cover art commercially. It’s a limited-availability drawing, courtesy of my five year old niece and the best cover art ever.

Ultimately, this is a story about good service.  I stopped in, unannounced, and Christina patiently spent an hour with me as we went through the catalog and looked at the options.  She made recommendations about the weight of the paper (so the pages don’t tear out) and even found me some websites so I could print my own calendar and lined paper.

I printed a template called “Night Cat” for December. January can be different. Note how the template let me add my company name.

Finally, I settled on a plan.  The hardest part was choosing the paper.

I settled on pastels and a 3 hole punch that can handle 20 sheets. Could I possibly take more than 20 sheets of notes in a month?

I used a recycled binder and bought several packs of business card holders

My purse was stuffed with other people’s cards. I hand them out like candy whenever someone says, “Hey, do know a good …”

When I break down the cost, it works out to about $7 for the same items that would have cost $62 commercially.

And now, if you make an appointment with me, it won’t matter what my smartphone thinks of the agenda!

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