Sep 02

Why Your Business NEEDS credit cards

This past weekend was the Detroit Jazz Festival in downtown Detroit. It’s kind of a big deal around here, and there were tons of people there when it first opened on Friday. They closed down all of Woodward for this festival and there’s tons of music and food and everything that you could ever expect at a Jazz festival.

I spend all of Friday staring longingly out the window from my cubicle on the 14th floor at the green and yellow lemonade vendor calling my name. We had a carnival at work, so I had my fill of hand spun cotton candy, and when six o’clock rolled around, I bolted from my desk to the elevator, which promptly stopped at EVERY floor, and walked over to the lemonade stand with two friends from work.

 

Where they then told us they did not take credit cards.

 

Neither did the elephant ear stand. Now, I understand if, five year ago, you would have had to have an internet connection or phone line (which, by the way, I can almost bet was included in the huge cables running to each of the vendors since the Chicken Shack next door took cards) but there are so many ways to get a connection, or collect payments without it, that it doesn’t make sense NOT to accept credit cards.

1. Square

One of the most popular options I’ve seen is the Square reader. It seems like everybody has a Square… even my Pure Romance party consultant, Allison, whipped out a Square at her party so she could accept credit cards on the spot.

SwankyLuv: Why Your Business NEEDS credit cards

Square costs 2.75% for each transaction, which, on a $5 lemonade is 14 cents.

2. Paypal Here

Paypal has a relatively new card scanner for iphone and Android that is very similar to Square, but with the familiar Paypal logo.

SwankyLuv: Why Your Business NEEDS credit cards

Paypal Here costs 2.7% of each transaction, which would equate to around that same 14 cents, but save a penny on two.

3. Intuit GoPayment

Naturally, Intuit has a reader on the market with very similar specs to the other two. Familiar logo, similar design, but they offer two different types charges.

SwankyLuv: Why Your Business NEEDS credit cards

You can either pay $12.95 a month, then 1.75% per transaction, or that familiar 2.75% that everybody else is doing. That really depends on the volume of your business. 1.75% adds up to 9 cents per $5 lemonade.

I doubt it would be a very big deal to your customers if you passed the cost of the credit transactio on to them. Or if you split it with them. Lord knows I would have had NO problem paying an extra 14 cents for my lemonade on Friday.

But let’s say your customer DID have a problem with eating the 2.75% cost. You would then have two options – either refuse the business, or take the cost yourself. When we were told that they didn’t accept credit cards, the lemonade stand turned away THREE paying customers, and probably countless others of our coworkers who don’t carry cash because we work in the financial industry.

Would you pay an extra 14 cents for the ability to use your credit card on tasty, tasty fresh squeezed lemonade? Have any thoughts for other was that businesses can accept credit cards?

Aug 26

Hexagons

I don’t follow home decor trends. But I do follow a lot of blogs, and I definitely noticed a trend this year that’s become HUGE.

If you’ve been following me on Pinterest recently, you’ve probably already seen that my n key doesn’t work my “Hexagos” board and all of the pins I’ve been adding to it. If you haven’t, well, you’re about to!

It all started with this post from Vintage Revivals where Mandi’s daughter(?) gets a bedroom makeover that is TOTALLY AMAZING.

SwankyLuv: Hexagons

 

And then I kept seeing it. I found theseSwankyLuv: Hexagons shelves on Amazon and I’m obsessed with them. They’re leather and super cute, and they sort of look like they’re flying out of the walls. They also come in tons of colorsSwankyLuv: Hexagons and styles.

SwankyLuv: Hexagons

If you’re looking for a more DIY version of these, A Beautiful Mess has a version over here. I’m obsessed with these and I really really need them.

SwankyLuv: Hexagons

If you’re looking for something a little more subtle, Mr. Brown Home has this amazing ($2200) Angeline Chandelier that looks like it could be very easily DIYed. Look for that in the next few months if I can ever figure out how to do it best.

SwankyLuv: Hexagons

And as long as we’re talking about trends, we should probably include my favorite trend – concrete. I’m a little surprised I don’t just have a concrete board on Pinterest, but I spent way too much time carefully organizing all those boards to throw in a random one that doesn’t have a home.

Anyway, I recently came across these coasters on Spark Living and I’m obsessed with them. They’re $48 for 4 coasters and oh so worth it.

SwankyLuv: Hexagons

And we cannot forget the joys that Ikea has brought us with these HÖNEFOSS mirrors. I love that these can be arranged a million ways, and there are TONS of things to do with these mirrors. Here’s a headboard-like arrangement that I found over on Apartment Therapy.

SwankyLuv: Hexagons

How do you feel about the hexagon trend? I clearly love it and want it to continue. I like it a lot more than ikat and chevron, but it’s a pretty even race with pink and gold.

Aug 19

The Problem with Truncated Feeds (and how to fix them)

I want to preface this by saying that I am not a truncator (That’s not a word) and I will never be a truncator, but a lot of people are, and a lot of people do it very very badly.

Not only am I a blogger, but I’m also a blog-reader. I use Feedly, since Google Reader went all dodo bird on us.

SwankyLuv: The Problem with Truncated Feeds (and how to fix them)

I really just wanted to use that image. Look at his creepy little hands. And Alice is just like “sure, I’ll take your creepy little man-bird hand.”

So, on mobile Feedly all of the feeds have the title of the post, a two line bit of the post, an image, and the name of the blog. Usually, it looks like this:

SwankyLuv: The Problem with Truncated Feeds (and how to fix them)

And everything is wonderful. There’s an interesting title, a relatively interesting image, and a good first few lines to make me want to click on things. If any of these blogs truncate (one of them does, and I’ll get to that soon) I’m more likely to click on their blog and actually want to read more, which makes me more likely to want to visit their blog and give them pageviews. Just like how interesting content makes me more likely to want to comment, which means more pageviews.

But sometimes, my feed looks like this:

SwankyLuv: The Problem with Truncated Feeds (and how to fix them)

Every single one of these blogs truncates their feed, and every single one of them makes me sad because the way they truncate doesn’t make me want to visit their blog, and actually makes them LOSE the pageviews that they’re hoping to gain by truncating their blogs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure avid fans of these blogs will visit and comment no matter what the feed looks like, and if you have an awesome title, like “Creating a Dream Bathroom“, you’re more likely to get those pageviews, but if you’re a small blog with no followers (you know, like me) truncating your blog in an uninteresting way is never going to get you where you want to go.

So what’s the best way to truncate your blog for the greatest amount of readership? Take queues from some blogs who do it really, really well. That blog that I mentioned above that truncates? That would be Roadkill Rescue, which is written by the same person who writes a number of other blogs, including Infarrantly Creative. She’s pretty much a genius truncator, and if you’re going to truncate your blog, you should model it after hers.

SwankyLuv: The Problem with Truncated Feeds (and how to fix them)

Interesting title? Check.

Interesting photo? Check. (Also great for Pinterest)

Interesting blurb? Check.

SwankyLuv: The Problem with Truncated Feeds (and how to fix them)

I almost always click on the “read more” link because the truncated part of the feed is so interesting.

The formula for a good truncated feed is pretty simple. Write a good title, write a good first paragraph, create a relevant image, link to your blog, and you’re good to go! But you have to do ALL of them. I’ve seen truncated posts that just say “visit this blog to read the rest!” and don’t link to the post or the blog and it’s like… that’s absolutely NOT going to happen.

I do have to add this. I am vehemently against truncating posts. I could write a whole post about it, but  Kim Werker already did that over here, so you should go read that.

Aug 14

Free Ashton Kutcher Speech Printables

What? A post on a Wednesday?

Who knew that I would stay up until almost midnight making Ashton Kutcher posters on a Tuesday night when I CLEARLY should have been sleeping? I heard bits of his speech from the Teen Choice Awards on the radio on my way to work on Monday and it really resonated with me, but by the time I’d gotten home from work, I’d forgotten about it. Then I saw it on Facebook. Then I saw it on Facebook again. Then I listened to the whole thing and it really struck me as inspiring.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here’s the video.

Ashton won the ultimate choice award, which I think is something like the lifetime achievement award? And he gave the greatest high school commencement speech ever.

So here’s some posters:

SwankyLuv: Free Ashton Kutcher Speech Printables

(4×6)(5×7)(8×10)

SwankyLuv: Free Ashton Kutcher Speech Printables

(4×6)(5×7)(8×10)

His third point was just too long for a poster, but I think these are the more important two. I’m considering downloading the audio and just listening to it all day every day.

What did you think of Ashton’s speech?

Aug 12

Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art

I’m a little less obsessed with Monty Python than I am with the movie Sliding Doors.

If you haven’t seen that movie, go watch itSwankyLuv: Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art. Now. Seriously one of my favorite movies.

Anyway, one night I was minding my own business, thinking about the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow, and I HAD to make these two posters.

SwankyLuv: Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art

(8×10)(4×6)(5×7)

SwankyLuv: Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art

(8×10)(4×6)(5×7)

This was also shortly after reading The Great Gatsby and downloading a bunch of fonts for my wedding invitations. It was like a whole big pot of creative gumbo swirling around in my brain.

SwankyLuv: Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art

I try to live my life looking on the bright side. It’s not always easy, and I can often come across as cynical, but my goal in life is to just make people laugh and help them be comfortable. Things can always get better, and life is what you make it. Sometimes you have to fight to find the bright side of things, but it’s way better than being miserable all the time.

SwankyLuv: Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art

These don’t have a permanent home yet. They don’t even have permanent frames. The one that matches the solid black one is at work with a picture of my brother and I in it. The black swirly one doesn’t even have a wall hanger on it (You’re killing me, Target!), but these will find a home some day.

SwankyLuv: Monty Python Inspired Printable Wall Art

I have quite a few more of these swimming around in my brain gumbo, so if you like them let me know and I’ll keep making them! What other posters would you like to see?

Aug 05

Potter Park Zoo

The clematis have bloomed. All three shades of purple, actually!

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

On the fourth of July, I had the day off and my brother and his girlfriend had come into town to go to the Toledo zoo. I got a little jealous and decided that wanted to go to the zoo and it wasn’t fair.

Cue Veruca Salt.

So we went to the zoo.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

It was quite a bit of fun and I really enjoyed it, despite all of the crazy mosquitoes and biting flies.

When you enter the zoo, there’s a gift shop on the left with this cute little sign outside of it that I almost died over. SO CUTE!

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

To the right is the former home of the coral reef exhibit that I had gotten really excited about while reading Yelp reviews on our hour drive up to the zoo, only to get there and find it inexplicably closed forever. Sad face.

There were super cute mangy arctic foxes (they were shedding their white winter coats for summer) next to the ADORABLE otters. Apparently there were 6 of them, but they had to put them out in threes because one was violent.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

Over at the petting zoo, the pygmy goats were hanging out like… goats. One decided to scratch his belly on a log. I regret not going in and petting the goats.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

Across the way were some llamas. Doing llama things.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

It was interesting to see a black rhino, considering I’d only ever seen white ones at the Detroit zoo. It gets me all excited to see new animals at all the other zoos.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

What I’m not excited about? PEACOCKS.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

Yes, they’re pretty, but oh. my. god. I don’t know what it’s called when birds are trying to get it on, but Potter Park Zoo has a LOT of peacocks who are DEFINITELY trying to get some.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

I got to see a white peacock close up for the first time, too.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

 

The poor peahens were all stuck up on top of everything while the peacocks freaked out and screamed all day.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

I could not get enough of these meerkats, though. They are the most ridiculous, expressive animals in the world and I love them.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

This little guy on the lookout was the best of all, and later when they all started digging holes and lounging in the cool sand, people stopped by in droves to giggle at how adorable they are.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

Around the corner, the mongoose were strutting their stuff in their sandy little enclosure.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

This one was my favorite. WORK IT!

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

Inside the bird and amphibian house, this iguana was being all iguana-y and chilling on a log.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

And in the middle of it all, there were three tigers. One of them outside:

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

And three of them inside behind glass. We were able to get closer to the tigers than I ever had been and it was really exciting!

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

The king vulture was quite possibly my favorite animal at the zoo. He reminded me so much of Friar Tuck from Robin Hood. I swear I almost broke into his enclosure and took him home.

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

He will be mine and I will call him Friar and I will love him and squeeze him and hold him…

I guess I can’t bring home a vulture, can I?

I almost forgot to add these little gems to the story. Throughout the park, there’s these animal cutouts that you put your face in (I’m sure there’s a name for them) and we took pictures in the tiger one. Me…

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

Aaaaaaaand my charming mom:

SwankyLuv: Potter Park Zoo

The tigress.

Can you tell we’re taking photos specifically to scrapbook?

Jul 30

The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

This past weekend was Ronan’s birthday party up at the Port Huron KOA Kampgrounds, and naturally, I was charged with making the cake. There was one thing that was mandatory on the cake, and that was it had to involve moose because that’s what Ronan’s mom calls him.

When I was first trying to find a design for the cake, I came across this in a Google search and figured a few changes could get a moose or two involved and fondant would be safer to take camping than buttercream.

I was originally going to use fondant for the moose cake topper, but when I saw Wilton Shape-N-Amaze at Michael’s, I figured why not give it a shot.

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

And it totally worked! They were ADORABLE.

The rest of the cake, on the other hand… let’s just say I’m not a huge fan of fondant and angrily threw it all away when I was done with this cake. Never. Again.

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

So, it actually turned out really cute, but 90% of those dots are covering a mistake or a seam or a hole in the fondant. OOPS! What did I do wrong with my fondant? I know I made it a little thin, but that cannot be the only reason why there’s so many mistakes.

Oh well!

I loved the little one on the front of the cake. It was my favorite part of the whole thing. I liked it better than the moose family on top.

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

And then there was the smash cake. Butter-free buttercream over a 4 inch white cake that was around 6 inches tall and a bunch of sprinkles on top in the shape of that same one. I used the number 1 cookie cutter from my Wilton 101-Piece Cookie Cutter SetSwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell, pressed it into the frosting, and filled it with a thin layer of sprinkles that I pushed lightly into the cake. Then I “randomly” placed the rest of the sprinkles around it with a pair of tweezers.

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

So cute!

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

I’ve never been more thankful that kids only turn one once.

 

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

When we brought the cake out to the pavilion on the camp ground, everyone was AMAZED at how cute it was, and Ronan wanted it big time! Prepare yourself for gratuitous amounts of CUTE in the following pictures.

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

He was especially excited when we sat him in front of HIS cake!

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

This kid was after my own heart when he gently placed his fingers into his cake and then tried to shake off the frosting that stuck to his hands…

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

But eventually he got it and LOVED IT!

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

The rest of this isn’t going to be about the cakes, but I had a BLAST at the KOA and I need to share!

Most of Saturday was rain-filled, so when Humphrey went out in the mud, I wrapped him in a towel and put him in the stroller, where he promptly fell asleep:

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

On Sunday when we were packing, Andie folded up all of the blankets, and he jumped right up and laid down on them like the king of the world.

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

Then, Jim and I took off for the batting cages so that Andie could pack in peace, which was super fun. I definitely said at one point “Oh, it’s baseball!” I clearly hadn’t gotten enough sleep.

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

When I went out for ice, I of course needed a souvenir and bought pretty rocks (look for a display for these in the near future)

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

And during our last few moments in the cabin, Andie and I went back inside to this adorable sight:

SwankyLuv: The Polka Dot Cake from Hell

We had a great weekend and it was a ton of fun! We’re already talking about next year and other trips that we could take this year like the Toledo zoo, Cedar Point, and more camping!

Where do you go camping with your friends or family? Any other suggestions of stuff to do in the Michigan area?

Mar 11

Halloween at College Scrapbook

SwankyLuv: Halloween at College Scrapbook

Halloween at college was always something interesting. Freshman year, we spent a lot of time at Target (because it was closer by bus) and also did a little thing called Haunted Hall.

SwankyLuv: Halloween at College Scrapbook

Haunted Hall was part performance, part building, part trying to keep a bunch of people organized, but mostly scaring the pants off of people. We used an empty residence hall and decorated it and figured out routes and all that fun stuff and people would come and donate cans of food or money to enter.SwankyLuv: Halloween at College Scrapbook

Unfortunately, my senior year they stopped doing Haunted Hall and I was sad, but I still have tons of great memories.

Mar 08

College Scrapbook

SwankyLuv: College Scrapbook

Like I said yesterday, I have a whole bunch more photos to scrapbook, so here is my first page of my college scrapbook. I LOVE how it turned out. LOVE.SwankyLuv: College ScrapbookI did have to splice together two pieces of yellow for the background of the photos, and I may or may not have cropped someone out of the photo on the left (Ok, I did), but I think this is a great, fun, happy beginning to my awesome college scrapbook.

I really do have more projects than just scrapbooking, but for now I’m having TONS of fun. I’m sure I’ll get bored of it soon and post some other projects, but for now, I have some awesome scrapbooky goodness to share.

Mar 07

The Wedding Scrapbook

SwankyLuv: The Wedding ScrapbookGetting all of my scrapbook paper and embellishments organized has really inspired me to scrapbook everything I have. And I have a TON of photos that need to be scrapped. That might be all of what you see for the next few days, but worry not, I have more projects that need to be done!

SwankyLuv: The Wedding Scrapbook

I may have gone a little crazy with the rhinestones on these pages, but I like them and had space to fill. You can never have too much sparkle!

SwankyLuv: The Wedding Scrapbook

Now that I’m done with my favorite photos from my best friend’s wedding, I’m going to move onto some college stuff that I already have printed. I have to print photos from my other friend’s wedding and my brother’s wedding, but I have tons from Vegas and college that I’m going to move onto next.

SwankyLuv: The Wedding Scrapbook

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