Office Inspiration: Rosa Beltron's design studio

09 16 2013

Browsing the visual wonderland that is Apartment Therapy, I came across the home office tour of interior designer Rosa Beltron.  I love the industrial look of metal alongside the pops of vibrant colours in her studio space (which is converted from a former garage!).  If you’re short on space in your office, this lady has got to be the inspiration for creative storage design!

Image: {Main} {Light} {Bar stools} {Storage boxes} {Noticeboard} {Chair}

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Secrets of my Success: Nitika Chopra

09 12 2013

Through her online magazine Bella Life, Nitika Chopra is doing her bit to encourage people to make happiness a habit and, to coin her mantra, to “let go and live big“. And she’s a living testament to that mantra. Nitika excitedly shared her story with me, how the concept for Bella Life was born and how her big dream of having her own talk show has become a reality. Ahead of the premiere of Naturally Beautiful, which airs on September 24th, Nitika shares the secrets of her success…

What has been the ‘defining moment’ that set you on the path you’re on today?  How did you get to where you are now?

So, four years ago I started trying to figure out where my passion lay.  I realised that I really love to take care of people, I really love to be creative, creating new concepts and ideas, and I also really love the camera and expressing myself through film.  I tried to figure out how these three things came together, how they might become a career.  What I really uncovered, through a lot of meditation and working with a coach, was that I really wanted to have my own talk show.  It felt like an ‘out there’ dream but I decided that I wasn’t going to give up.  I decided to take my dream and work out what I could do with it, what I did know.  I realised that I could create the concept, that I could have guest interviews like they did on the talk shows I aspired to and I could be on camera with my own YouTube channel.  I asked God to let someone see this concept as a show one day.  I started with no idea really of what I was doing and I did it anyway.

[Tweet “”It felt like an ‘out there’ dream but I decided that I wasn’t going to give up” @YourBellaLife via @EmmaGwillim”]

What has been most effective for you in your achievements so far, in turning your goals/visions into reality?  Where do you start?

I have this video called ‘The Girl Who Cried Entrepreneurabout my experiences of starting Bella Life as I had been searching for a long time for my passion and what my future might be and I kept trying a lot of things.  It felt like every week I was having a new epiphany of what my future business was.  I look back now and I have compassion for that part of me because I did all this to work out what my passion truly was.  To the outside world it looked like I wasn’t really doing anything – I would create business cards and invest money in different ways but I would never actually do anything with these ideas.  So when I started Bella Life I made a promise to myself to not invest a single cent for a year.  I told myself if I could focus for a year, do the networking, do the research, work on the business for a year without spending any money on it and still want to do it then I’d allow myself to invest and go for it.  And I did it.  I spent my time researching the format, looking at what I liked and didn’t like about other websites, and looking for the person that was going to build the site for me.  I was really starting from scratch.

How do you stay motivated and inspired?

I lean towards positivity more than some people.  I realised at a young age that you have two choices: you can either be miserable or you can be happy.  I know being upset and miserable affects my health – my body is my biggest teacher and so when I get upset I know within 24 hours that I’ll have a physical manifestation of that.  So, although things obviously upset me at times, I choose to listen to my body instead.

How do you deal with fears, challenges and obstacles, and how do you overcome them?

My approach is to have massive compassion for myself.  I know we can have a tendency to go straight to problem solving – get it done, get it figured out and deal with the feelings later… but I really don’t agree with that.  I believe all those feelings will show up in your body, in your conversations, in your spirit eventually.  I try to have the courage to go to the real problem, to the root, to choose compassion.  To do that I usually ask myself: “what is really going on here?”.  I look at what’s triggered me, what’s really bothering me.

[Tweet “”I try to have the courage to go to the real problem, to the root, to choose compassion” @YourBellaLife via @EmmaGwillim”]

Tell me about your vision/goals for your future.

Oh my gosh, it’s really big.  It’s hard to say out loud.  When I had the vision for a TV show, I also had a vision that Bella Life would become a global lifestyle brand – a brand that women go to for happiness, positivity and healing.  At the time I put it on the backburner as it felt too big a vision, the TV show was big enough. I’m still formulating what the brand really could be and how it could be different to what’s already out there, and still be true to who I am.  I’m still unfolding the vision…  And, of course, I want my future to involve lots more television.

What do you believe is the secret of your success?

I am one determined little sucker.  My dad used to tell me I was really determined – if I had my mind set on something I just wouldn’t shut up!  When I get passionate about something I cannot NOT work on it, I can’t let it go.  It takes over me.

[Tweet “The secret of success? “I am one determined little sucker” @YourBellaLife via @EmmaGwillim”]

What tips would you offer ambitious women reading this?

There’s a part of creating your dreams where it’s brilliant and beautiful to not have a plan.  I didn’t know how I was going to get my own TV show.  Hold your vision and go with your gut instinct, your intuition.  But don’t be foolish.  I only stopped working in my full-time job in January when I started filming the TV show.  I’ve been holding down a full-time job and building my business at the same time – it was exhausting BUT I knew that I was going to be fed and pay my rent so all my creative energy was not weighed down by the pressures of my daily life.  I think there’s a balance: be free and follow your passion because that’s what you’re meant to do BUT also give yourself a secure foundation to do that.

[Tweet “”Be free and follow your passion because that’s what you’re meant to do BUT also give yourself a secure foundation to do that” @YourBellaLife via @EmmaGwillim”]

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Behind the Scenes... A Tiny Arrow

09 10 2013

A Tiny Arrow is all about creating clothing and accessories for a magical childhood.  The collection of feather crowns and clips are so beautiful – what little girl wouldn’t look adorable with one of these creations in her hair.  Inspired by her own daughter, Janis Wales began A Tiny Arrow just this springtime… and already demand for her intricate creations are rightly on an upward trajectory.  Janis kindly shares a peek behind the scenes of her fledgling business today…

Hi Janis, please introduce yourself to the Glitterati Girls…

I’m Janis Wales, owner and designer A Tiny Arrow

Tell me a bit about your business:

My business is all about fun and whimsical creations for little ones. Right now I am mainly focused on feather crowns and clips, but I also have a few other accessories…and moccasins are coming soon! I plan on expanding to clothing sometime next year

Describe your typical day/week schedule.

Well, up until a week ago I had a full time job so a typical day meant waking up at 6am to reply to emails, update my shop and despatch orders from the previous day. Then, my daughter Arrow would usually get up around 8am. I’d make her breakfast, play for half an hour and then get myself ready and it was off to work. I was the Director of Merchandising for an apparel company for 11 years. When I got home around 6pm, I would make Arrow dinner, play, give her a bath, read a book, sing a song and she was off to sleep. Then around 8:30pm it was time to start working on my business, often until about 1am. This would repeat every day. A Tiny Arrow was growing so quickly that I could no longer keep up with both so I made the decision to quit my day job and focus all of my attention on my business instead. It’s only been a week so, right now, I’m playing catch up. Now, my day starts at 6am.  I answer emails, update my shop and make Arrow breakfast…then get to work.  I’ll take little breaks throughout the day to play a game, go outside and draw or spend time with Arrow but I am pretty much working on my business all day. Unfortunately I am still working to about 1am until I can get caught up..I hope!

customHow do you plan and organise your time?  What are your biggest challenges with this?  What tips can you offer?

My time is not really organised at all right now! I wish I could say it was. I started this business about 5 months ago and have been really fortunate to have it grow so quickly…but with that has come plenty of challenges. I just moved into a new office in our home and I have slowly been organising all of my supplies. I know I need to make the time to get organised because, in the long run, it will make my process more efficient but I am so busy I haven’t set aside the time to do it. It’s also a new challenge working from home. It’s so tempting to stop what I am doing and spend all day with my daughter – and it doesn’t help that she can see me and doesn’t understand why I’m not playing with her. (This is why I am moving to a new office in the house!)  I think the only tip I can give right now is to go easy on yourself. You can’t do everything all at once. Set goals and come up with a plan that is realistic. Don’t try to be everything to everyone – as long as you are passionate about what you are doing, people will notice! 

[Tweet “”Don’t try to be everything to everyone – as long as you are passionate about what you are doing, people will notice!” Janis of @atinyarrow via @emmagwillim”]

What are your essential office tools?

I absolutely need tweezers, tiny embroidery scissors and lots of containers. I have so many little odds and ends that I work with… I have to have all kinds of different storage containers to house them in so I don’t lose my mind.

Are there any websites or apps that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurial women?

I don’t know how they do it but every time I get an email from Paper & Stitch it’s like they were reading my mind.  There is a great section on the blog that is dedicated to the business of being creative and I swear every time I’m thinking of something or wondering how to do something…they’ll suddenly have a post about it.

I also cannot live without the app Afterlight. I use it to edit every last one of my photos.

Describe your workspace and how it integrates with your working style. 

I am just transitioning into my new home office and I couldn’t be more excited about it. It’s a nice wide open space surrounded by windows and lots of natural light. It’s a small separated building from our home so I will be able to work uninterrupted. The biggest plus is the room is wired up for playing music…loud, which is key for me. Music keeps me motivated and inspired!

lolaHow does it motivate/focus your work?

Having this space separate from our main home is huge! It was really hard working inside the house since Arrow didn’t understand why I wasn’t playing with her all day. I felt horrible. I started this business to hopefully be able to spend more time with her…but during this transitional time I really need to focus and get my business functioning on a true schedule.

What book has most inspired you?

I used to read all the time.  Now I barely have time to read my own mail. I wish I had a book to tell you about…but I’m not even going to try to make one up.

What’s your typical working lunch?

Lunch is a luxury right now.  Lately I’ve been making fresh fruit and vegetable juice every day for lunch. It’s quick and I feel energized again after drinking it.

And how do you switch off once the working day is done?

My working day doesn’t end until about 1am so shutting off is falling asleep…and it is the best feeling ever!

What makes your life sparkle?

My daughter is definitely the sparkle in my life. She is what motivates and inspires all that I do. She is the reason I started this little venture and I am so excited to see where it goes!

If you want to see more of Janis’ beautiful work, visit A Tiny Arrow shop on Etsy or say hello on Facebook.

Images: {1} {2} {3}


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Office inspiration: Dotty over Sugar Paper journals

09 09 2013

It must be the years of conditioning.  September = back to school = new stationery! Oh yes, an excuse to overhaul notebooks, pens and pencil cases. A time to don your best handwriting as you write on that precious, first clean page.

I have my eye on these Sugar Paper journals.  Chic and fun in one.  Now, just to decide what colour…

Images: {1} {2}

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The Wealth Files: A simple method to tackle credit card debt

09 04 2013

I got my hands on my first credit card when I was at university. It was a bit like the forbidden fruit at first, I looked but didn’t touch, but, at some point, I gave in.  I’m sure it must have been for some very necessary purchase at the time: a new outfit for the end of term party, travel tickets to see my friends in the summer break…  But I didn’t stop at one.  In fact, leaving college, relocating to a new city, buying my first property, travelling, lots of the milestones of my twenties were all with the “help” of a credit card (or two).  The result: the should-have-seen-it-coming credit card debt.

Reaching my goal of being credit-card-free was a long, hard slog but small successes along the way kept me going.  I used Dave Ramsey’s  ‘snowball’ method.

The usual advice is to pay off the card with the highest interest rate first, but the snowball method does things a little differently.

First you revert to paying the minimum payments on your cards.  You heard me right – minimum payment only.  Instead of spreading your efforts in trying to over-pay each month on all your cards, focus on one.  Then you tackle debts one-by-one, starting with the smallest balance first.  The idea is you clear one balance and use the amount you’d budget for it each month to add to your next balance payment, snowballing the overpayment with each balance you clear.

To try the snowball method to tackle your credit card debt, follow these 6 steps:

– Revert all credit card payments to monthly minimum amounts.

– List all your debts in order from smallest balance to largest.

– Choose to focus on the smallest balance.  Over-pay as much as you are able until the balance is cleared.

– Celebrate your first success!  This keeps you motivated to achieving your debt-free goal.

– Tackle the next smallest balance, adding the minimum payment amount from the cleared balance to make an overpayment, ‘snowballing’ the amount you’re clearing and the speed at which you’re moving towards being debt-free.

– Keep going.  Keep focused on the freedom of clearing the debt and celebrate as you see your total balance owing come down.

Have you tried using the ‘snowball method ?  How did it work for you?  What tips do you have to share with other Glitterati Girls who want to be debt-free?

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Tools of the Trade: Life By Design 6-month planner

09 04 2013

It’s back-to-school time.  It’s that time of the year for new starts, fresh intentions.  Do you have goals for the year?  If yours could do with a little jump-start, my free Life By Design 6-month planner could be just the ticket….

They say ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish’ so, instead of crossing your fingers and wishing, start planning action.

  • Download the free Life By Design 6-month planner here
  • Declare your big, beautiful vision: what is it that you want to achieve? How will you feel once you’ve made this happen? How will you know when you’ve done it/achieved it?
  • If your vision is your ultimate destination, what are the stepping stones that will get you there? Write these mini-goals on the planner.
  • Decide what you can do right now and this month to move you towards those goals?
  • Then plan what you need to do within three months and then six months.
  • You may want to review this 6-month planner weekly and use it to direct your weekly and daily task plan.  
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Behind the Scenes with Kelle Boyd of Anne Kelle Designs

09 03 2013

AnnKelle is the story of a childhood dream rekindled.  As a child Kelle says she loved to draw.  She’d proudly carry around the sketches of her own clothing line and wedding dresses in her school backpack.  But, when she grew up, she traded in her coloured pencils for a career in public policy.  It was while she was working for the Mayor of Nashville that Kelle’s path led her to a local craft store where she decided to buy some art supplies as a stress reliever.  In a flash, her creative streak was reignited.  Kelle’s renewed passion turned into a business, Ann Kelle Designs.  Now a sucessful woman entrepreneur, Kelle is proud to have caught the attention of her peers and her gorgeous designs are sold in small boutiques as well as large US retailers, Target and Barnes & Noble.  

We’re lucky today to get a peek behind the scenes of Kelle’s business…

Hi Kelle, please introduce yourself to the Glitterati Girls… 

I’m Kelle Boyd, the girl behind Ann Kelle. I currently design paper goods, personalised stationery and fabric.

Describe your typical day/week schedule.

No day or week is the same. I work Monday through Friday (and most Saturdays). My hours are flexible. If I get a late start, then I work through the evening. Some days I start early and end late.

How do you plan and organise your time?  What are your biggest challenges with this?  What tips can you offer?

I’m a list girl. Each week there are different deadlines and work tasks that must be completed. I write them down in my calendar for the week and then assign those to certain days. I try to have at LEAST one day where all I do is design. Those days are the best! A special tip is to be sure to give yourself a day off. I know it’s hard, especially in the beginning. But, I think it’s so important. For me, I don’t work on Sundays. I don’t talk about work, try not to think about work . . . I have the day off.

[Tweet “”I try to have at LEAST one day where all I do is design. Those days are the best!” @annkelledesigns via @emmagwillim”]

What are your essential office tools?

My Mac laptop, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Whenever there’s a storm alert and I go to my safe place, I always grab my laptop.

Are there any websites or apps that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurial women?

I use Quickbooks for accounting. I still have an accountant, but Quickbooks helps me keep everything organised. I try to do “bookkeeping” at least once a month, so everything doesn’t pile up.

Describe your workspace and how it integrates with your working style.  How does it motivate/focus your work?

I work better if the environment is clean, organised and bright. My walls are white, as well as my furniture. I have a huge inspiration board, which is a mixture of my designs and other photos that inspire me and help me stay focused on my brand.

What book has most inspired you?

The Dot by Peter Reynolds. This book inspired me as an artist. When I was a child I drew all the time. My dream was to be a designer, but I wasn’t confident in my art. Sadly, I eventually left my childhood passion of art. It wasn’t until 15 years later that I picked up a paint brush again.  This book spoke to the little girl in me that didn’t believe in her art.


What’s your typical working lunch?

I don’t like eating at my desk. I like to step away even if it’s for ten minutes. I work from home, so thankfully the kitchen is just around the corner. I typically eat a meal I’ve already prepared for lunch, left overs or I walk up the street to this local cafe to grab a salad.

And how do you switch off once the working day is done?

I enjoy my job, so it’s hard to turn it off.

What makes your life sparkle?


AnnKelle-stationery If you want to check out Kelle’s beautiful work, head over to her website or you can say hello on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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The Wealth Files: 3 tips to spend less money

08 28 2013

Are you always running out of cash before the month is up?  Do you rely on guesswork rather than a budget?  

Spend less, save more: it sounds simple … but dull. It can be easier to turn a blind eye when you’re handing over your hard-earned cash for that must-have item.  But, if you want to achieve your financial goals, these three tips to spend less money can help break your overspending cycle.

1. Get your mitts on it:

First off, have a budget.  Once all your fixed expenses like mortgage, car, insurance and so on are paid for, what do you have left?  Budget for what you’ll allow yourself to spend and then draw it out of your account as cash. If you’re forever using your debit and credit cards, you’ll spend a “plastic premium” according to psychology bods – it’s far less painful to hand over your credit card than wads of cash.  I promise, you’ll be far more conscious of your budget if you use cash.

2. Trace your steps:

If, after a couple of months of using cash, you’re still over-spending you may want to track your expenses.  Keep it simple, just write down what you bought and when, and how much you paid.  It can show where you’re big expenditures are and if they’re ones you’d want to cut back on.  On the other hand, it might show that your budget is too tight and you need to allocate more to your spending pot.

3. Ask yourself this question:

If you’re an emotional spender, ask yourself this question each time you’re about to buy something: “do I want it or do I need it?”  This can often be enough to be the wake-up you need before you hand over the readies.  You could even add a want/need column to your expense tracking list.

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Behind The Scenes with Sarah Tucker Events

08 27 2013

As our second wedding anniversary approaches, I’m getting a little misty-eyed thinking back to our big day.  Hand on heart I wouldn’t change a thing… BUT looking through some of Sarah Tucker’s work gives me heaps of inspiration for a re-do! Enjoy taking a peek behind the scenes of Sarah Tucker Events

Hi Sarah!  Would you like to introduce yourself to the Glitterati Girls:

I’m Sarah, the founder of Sarah Tucker Events

Tell me a bit about your business: 

It’s a boutique wedding design, style and coordination studio.  I love creating environments for weddings that reflect the stylish couples well.  I love orchestrating weddings to go smoothly and for all to feel at ease – the couple, the bridal party and guests. 

Describe your typical day/week schedule.

It is 100% different since my son came into the world!    I used to work, work, work… now I feel like I work smarter and harder.

How do you plan and organise your time?  What are your biggest challenges with this?  What tips can you offer? 

I love my day designer by Whitney English – it has helped me tremendously!  I have RescueTime downloaded on my computer to check-in weekly on what I’m spending my screen time on.  It’s been a huge help to identify where I’m wasting time.  I believe in setting your clothes out before you go to bed, and preparing before you go to bed for the next day.  It really starts you on the right track. 

What are your essential office tools? 

I can never have enough scissors!  As well as my Mac laptop, ipad, Photoshop, BlogStomp and Lightroom

Are there any websites or apps that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurial women?

I love Think Splendid, a social media consultant for the wedding and hospitality industries.  Her advice is always on point! 

What book has most inspired you? 

Rework by Jason Fried

What’s your typical working lunch? 

I love to go out to lunch and get out of the house since I’m at home much of the day.  I try to plan about two days a week to go out to lunch.  The rest of the time it’s leftovers from dinner I cooked the night before, or a turkey sandwich and some veggies. 

And how do you switch off once the working day is done? 

It’s so hard to do!  So much of what I do is what I love to do so I’m often finding inspiration for my next project or current project from my own life.  However, when I’m on vacation, I’m on vacation.  I work hard to align everything so I can breathe easy and enjoy my vacation. 

What makes your life sparkle? 

My faith and family.  All of it could be gone tomorrow but if I had them, I would still count myself richly blessed.  

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Secrets of my Success: Natalie MacNeil

08 22 2013

A David Guetta song may literally have changed the course of Natalie MacNeil’s path to success.  The Emmy award-winning founder of Imaginarius, best-selling author and “chieftess” at She Takes on the World shares her inspirations, fears and motivation, as well as that Guetta-inspired ‘aha’ moment  that inspired her to start an online business…

divider-02 EG greyWhat is your title/position?

Chieftess at She Takes on the World Inc.

What has been the ‘defining moment’ that set you on the path you’re on today? 

I was torn between starting a business and getting a ‘real job’ after university. I was on a trip in Europe to give myself a change of scenery and the space to decide what I really wanted to do. I was visiting the Czech Republic and listening to a David Guetta song called The World is Mine when suddenly I drove by a giant globe that was two stories high that said The World Is Yours. As crazy as it may sound, that moment gave me all the courage I needed to follow my heart and start a business. It’s also where the seed of inspiration was planted for She Takes on the World, now listed the last three years in a row on ForbesTop 100 Websites for Women.

What has been most effective for you in your achievements so far, in turning your goals/visions into reality?  Where do you start?

My signature plan is called the MAP (Master Action Plan), which I walk people through in my book and in The Conquer Club, a hybrid in-person and online community for entrepreneurial women on my website.

My MAP combines goal setting with vision boarding and strategic planning. It’s a business plan for those of us who are creative and like visuals. I look at my own MAP every day, morning and night. It’s my guide. In my MAP Sessions I help people get clarity on what they really want, define their perfect customer, slay the dragons that get in the way of success, set bigger picture goals and milestones, and a whole lot more.

How do you stay motivated and inspired?

I find inspiration everywhere. I travel a lot and the change of environment and scenery keeps me inspired. I’m also very motivated by all the emails I get from my readers around the world, hearing about how my book or blog or work has inspired them. I always read those emails on the entrepreneurial down-days to pick myself back up and remember why I’m doing what I’m doing. Entrepreneurship can be a crazy roller-coaster ride.

What has been your biggest lesson learned?

Trust your gut. Always.

[Tweet “”Trust your gut. Always” @NatalieMacNeil via @emmagwillim”]

What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?

I had a lot of fears around writing my first book. When I finished it I was afraid of what people were going to think, especially because you can’t change it once it’s out there. I held my breath when I got my first review and breathed a sigh of relief after reading it. It’s hard to put yourself out there sometimes and I think we all care, at least a little bit, what other people think about us and our work.

To release my fears I have a meditation that I do. As part of the meditation I write the fear on a little piece of paper then burn it and watch it go up in smoke. It always feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

What do you believe is the secret of your success?

I think the people you surround yourself with – employees, mentors, friends and family – make or break you. I don’t allow anyone to bring negative energy into my business or my life and that makes all the difference. I think there is a lot of truth to the Jim Rohn quote: “you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.”

[Tweet “”The people you surround yourself with – employees, mentors, friends and family – make or break you” @NatalieMacneil via @emmagwillim”]

What 3 tips would you offer ambitious women reading this?

When I was starting out with my first business I had no idea how to move forward but I MOVED FORWARD, and I figured it out as I went along. If you keep taking steps forward you will always figure it out. No successful entrepreneur has ever felt 100% prepared; I guarantee it. So my advice is to just start, seek help from mentors and experienced entrepreneurs, then launch and learn from your mistakes.

[Tweet “”So my advice is to just start, seek help from mentors and experienced entrepreneurs, then launch and learn from your mistakes” @NatalieMacNeil via @emmagwillim”]

What book has most inspired you?

I read a lot of entrepreneurship and business books that feed me with new ideas and inspiration, but Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love and The Law of Divine Compensation have probably had the biggest impact on how I view my business and my purpose. 

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