A Girl Named Leney


Posts tagged Business
There Isn't A Shortcut
Photo by Siobhan Watts of Bless The Weather

Photo by Siobhan Watts of Bless The Weather

I’ve been getting a lot of messages lately asking how I lead such a ‘different’ life.

How did I take the leap of faith to do ______?

How did I overcome fear or indecision?

How did I come to lead a life doing what I want to do?

How did I figure it all out?

And while I feel pressed to say that I absolutely do not have it all figured out and that you cannot compare your beginning to someone else’s middle... truth be told: I’ve always been asked this question.

Because I have always lead a different life.

I think to some degree it does come more naturally to me than most to live counterculture.
I must admit that I strive to be different to an unhealthy degree at times. But there are a lot of circumstantial things that have contributed to my counter perspective of how to live.

For example:

I didn’t go to college. 

I started my own business at 18.

I’ve lived and traveled alone much of my adult life.

I live minimally and slowly.

I don’t own or watch a TV.

I have never been in debt.

I refuse to use dating apps.

98% of my clothing is vintage/thrifted/secondhand/handmade.

I sold 50% of my belongings to live on the road for an undetermined amount of time with no real destination and no real specific reason.

Essentially, I go against the grain in regards to a lot of societal norms.

Hopefully I don’t have to state that if you do the opposite of any of these things I don’t think you’re doing it wrong or think less of you…. but if I do have to state it… well... I just did.

Everyone has a different path by which they choose to reach their goals and their desired way of life. I am not saying my way is the way, but because I am continually asked “how I do it” I thought laying out some of my personal history would help answer that question.

But in thinking more in depth about it, I do have some specific beliefs that I realize are major components in my lifestyle that contribute to me being able to live so differently more often than not.

  1. I refuse to let fear dictate my life.
    As soon as I’m scared of something I realize that it’s most often an indication of wanting to avoid a kind of vulnerability. However, it is within vulnerability that I grow so I try to embrace those opportunities vs. running away from them. 

  2. I purposefully put myself in new situations and environments.
    Especially alone. Because that is where I will grow, learn the most, and meet new people.

  3. I am always looking for new things to try.
    Because trying new things creates a resiliency when you inevitably fail at half of them. And having a constant stream of change in your life can help stimulate ideas and an open perspective which leads to paths you otherwise would never have been exposed to.

  4. I read. A lot.
    I don’t keep up with the news to be honest, but I read books voraciously as well as articles and other things of interest that come across my path. I think that having a constant source of things to read helps too in the widening of your openness to the world, and in turn, it’s openness to you.

  5. When I feel drawn to something, I go after it.
    I’ve learned to trust my intuition and recognize that most of those feelings are for good reasons that rarely lead me astray. 

  6. I see mistakes as stepping stones to the next right thing and live without a regret mindset.  

But most of all guys: There isn’t a shortcut. 

You just have to decide at some point to live the life that you want to live. 

Overall, I live with the idea that I would rather make mistakes by doing something than from not doing something.
Perhaps it’s an incorrect viewpoint, but I’ve always felt that action is better than passivity in most cases. Personally, I have a reoccurring theme in my life of passivity leading to seasons of unhealth. So when it comes to doing something vs. not doing it... usually I just do it.

But most of all, I want to put out the reminder that I didn’t just arrive here right off the bat, in this magical looking place, (and again, this feels like one of those things I probably don’t need to say but in case I do…. Instagram is not the whole story guys).
Behind this accomplishment or that goal is years and years of trying different things that did not work out, pursuing what I thought were open doors, only to have them closed in my face, getting my hopes up about opportunities that seemed like the right thing, only to be sent back to the drawing board. Everything in my life has built on top of itself and accumulated over a long period of time to this particular season of rightness. And even now, within this good place, there are imperfect and frustrating things because, well, that’s life.
Have I been handed certain chances? Sure. Have I had some opportunities fall into my lap? Of course. But I have also worked my butt off for a very long time, tried new things after failing old ones, continually gotten back up after being knocked down and not given up on myself or my dreams.

So please, please, remember to not compare your journey to someone else’s. That doesn’t do you, or the person pulled into your comparison, any good at all. But moreover, it doesn’t do your individual dreams any good. They were planted inside exactly you for a reason, so quit looking backwards and trying to figure out how someone else got to where they got to and put your energy into forward thinking and choose action instead of stagnation.

I would love to engage more in conversation about this topic though and hear your thoughts on it, whatever they may be.
Feel free to comment below, send me a DM on instagram, or shoot me an email.
I love having in depth conversations with you all and it’s so many of those conversations that have led to solidifying and expressing these personal beliefs which is something I’m very grateful to you for because it’s helped in my own growth and forward focus.

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A New Direction

so i meant to post this the same day i announced the new website being up, but wouldn't you know it i blinked and it's already over a week later...
but then i ended up wanting to share my New Perspective post first anyway. which i'd love for you to read, if you haven't already, to grasp a better understanding of where A Girl Named Leney is heading and what my heart for it is.

but yes friends, superb news. the new website is up! 
i wrote and deleted twice (or maybe three times) the following words, but i truly don't know how else to say that: i could not be more excited to finally share this new direction with you guys! 

today i wanted to go over some notable changes within my business to help you better understand where it is i'm going and what all of these new changes mean! 


ventures are what i am calling the different components and pursuits that make up my business.
these will undoubtedly change and evolve as i too change and evolve as an artist.
(you can read about these on the ventures page here, but i wanted to give a little bit more in depth explanation of each one!)

FOLKLING — i have been a life-long thrifter. my mother took me when i was young and i remember the excitement of finding treasures of varying kinds to give a new home to.
she's truly the one who's taught me the value and beauty in giving things new life
it was also my first introduction to shopping and learning to spend my money wisely.

as i've found and made spaces of my own over the years, one of my favorite things has been curating their vignettes. i love photographing my home and the pieces of it i'm always rearranging. it's something i shied away from for a long time, as my space is something that's very sacred and private to me, but i found so much unexpected joy in sharing it.

in addition to vintage homewares, i have an affinity for vintage clothing.
do i risk sounding like a broken record by saying that they just don't make things like they used to? well, it's true. there was nothing that educated me on this front more than watching this film and reading this book.
again, i grew up thrifting, and so have always had a fairly unique and eclectic wardrobe because of it. however, in my early twenties, i started shying away from secondhand and got caught up in the fast fashion industry and excessively consumed and over-bought, until my closet door and dresser drawers weren't able to close.
it was sometime in 2015 that i finally recognized the problem and started getting back to my roots.

i've been exclusively buying secondhand and handmade clothing for two years now and i feel so proud and accomplished in being able to say that! 

and so, because of my passion for adopting and curating unique things to give them new life, i want to help educate and pass that love onto others.
shopping small, locally, secondhand, sustainably and ethically are all elements of consumption that are incredibly important to me.
for it's not necessarily consumption that's bad, it's how we consume and why.
so i want to encourage others to examine the ways in which they're doing that and give them more options and promptings for an alternative lifestyle.

you can follow Folkling on Instagram and Facebook.

SUSTAINABLE KNITWEAR — i've been knitting for about 17 years. i didn't fully understand patterns when i first learned, so i started making up my own and have essentially been designing ever since. i started my etsy shop in 2011 and have had 6 knitwear collections released and sold on that platform, with smaller batches of "unofficial" bodies of work sold on commission and an as-i-made-them basis, before that. if you'd like to take a stroll down memory lane with me those were:

Sartorially Inclined: A Mens Knit Lookbook
Sartorially Inclined: A Ladies Knit Lookbook
On The Road
Gypsy Soul
The Classics Collection
OOAK Knitwear

it's amazing for me to see how far i've come in my work and watching my style and aesthetics change over the years.
similar to Folkling, in 2015 i had a "come to God moment" in regards to how i was living, what i was putting value in, knowing the origins of what i bought, having more of an appreciation for the process of products and making things from scratch.
my knitwear didn't escape these revelations.
i realized that i had no idea how the yarn i used for my pieces was made or where it came from. was it made sustainably? were the animals used in making it raised ethically?
when i started looking into it, the things i found along the lines of factory pollution, harmful chemical usage and animal abuse were troubling. 

as i changed other aspects of my life in regards to how i ate, dressed and shopped, it was bothering me that this aspect of my business wasn't fully aligning with my values as well.
so after two years of studying and learning the art of processing, spinning, and naturally dyeing wool, i'm going full steam ahead with this new kind of knitwear!

from now on, all of my pieces will be made from yarn that i've either: 
1. fully, from start-to-finish, processed and then spun myself from fiber i've sourced from a farm that i've built a relationship with and, when possible, visited myself. 
2. spun myself from roving that's been made and processed by a trusted source. 
3. bought from another like-minded fiber artist locally or during my travels. 
4. recycled.

additionally, some pieces will incorporate natural dyeing (something i'm still learning the vast art of!), furthering each pieces story and one-of-a-kind-ness.

i'm really excited to fully pursue this path of creating. it feels really good to have this align fully with who i am as both an individual and an artist.

sustainable knitwear will be available through my Etsy shop as well as the Folkling instagram.
you can watch a video on how i process wool here.
p.s. i don't know how to shear sheep yet, but just know that element of sustainable knitwear is in the works. ;)

THE TRAVELING PHOTOGRAPHER — i've been "the traveling photographer" for some years now, but i want to refocus that aspect of my business in three ways.

but first and foremost i want to be honest with you all in saying that in over eight years of doing photography as a job, six of those full time, i have experienced some burnout.
the rush, stress, and keeping-up-with-the-joneses mentality that is in a significant part of the digital photography industry, has put me through the wringer on more than one occasion.
i want to be true to my heart and the passions i feel that i was given for a reason, and right now the below is how i feel pressed to chase after them.

1. to focus (no pun intended) on primarily, if not exclusively, doing travel related work, because that is where my heart and inspiration are most in sync.
2. i am not a smile-at-the-camera-and-point-and-shoot kind of photographer.
i need you to know this if you want to hire me to work with you. this isn't to say i will never take photos of people smiling at the camera! but the way i document is a little bit different than most.
you can read more about what that means here.
3. i have fallen in love with film over the past few years and am presently undergoing a more intensive pursuit in educating myself on this medium. i have both film and digital on my portfolio page, and you can see some other film work under the film tag on the journal, but until recently this has all been more or less for personal documentation.
i think at it's essence though, it's the "slow living" aspect of film that i've fallen in love with.
i would really love to start branching out into working with film more in my sessions and collaborations with people. so if that's something that appeals to you as well, say so in your inquiry!

TUMBLEHOME — those of you who have been long time followers are familiar at this point with my self identification as The Daughter of A Sailor. 
most often conveyed by way of my hashtag on instagram.
this story became one that a lot of people really loved reading about and were intrigued by. so i decided, along with my father, to share more of our adventures through a separate platform in the way of creating Tumblehome! in addition to sharing our adventures on the water, and our somewhat alternative lifestyle pursuits in the way of living more slowly, intentionally and mindfully, we both really love making things with our hands. after realizing a lot of people loved the things we make, we decided to start offering them to a wider audience.
which also feeds back to my aforementioned desire to surround myself with well-made things and cutting down on the need for over consumption by buying quality vs. quantity.

you can follow Tumblehome on Instagram and Facebook.

all of that being said, i am also pursuing writing more, which isn't officially listed under ventures right now, but that's something i might change.
i've been honored to be a part of several publications in the way of magazines, books and online articles over the past few years and conveying my heart through words has been such an amazing experience and way for me to connect with people. the conversations and various relationships i've had a chance to engage in as a result have been truly life giving at most, and thought provoking at least.

i'm pursuing refining my writing skills and being more consistent with putting out new content that is writing based, whether here on the journal or on instagram (a place i frequently share thoughts and musings).
if you want to learn more about this you can read Writings From A Would Be Beatnik.

in conclusion: all that i am pursuing is fueled by, what i call, the art of slow living.
you can read more about that here, and on posts on the journal under the slow living category

speaking of slow living, i'm starting a newsletter!
i technically have had the newsletter around for a while, but i think i used it... once? twice?
yea. not very much. 
i have some new ideas for it including a bi-weekly email that contains a sort of roundup of various slow living, mindful, and intentional things i've come across around the web and found value in.
what do you think?
it's still an idea in the works, and i haven't sent out the first one yet, but if you think you'd want to at least check it out sign up for it here!

we made it to the end friends! i know that was a lot all at once.
all of that has been inside of me for so so long, upwards of a year now, and being able to convey it to you now, fully as a whole, feels good.
i hope it all made sense! 

essentially: before now, i was primarily focusing on my knitwear and photography. now i have two new ventures i'm pursuing as well as a little bit of tweaking to my current ones with a few extra strings (or strands of yarn??) in between that tie everything together.

i appreciate you taking the time to read this. 
i've been having some wonderful and thought provoking conversations with you guys lately (over email/instsgram direct messaging especially) and i just want to say how grateful i am for you.
i'm grateful for your insightful comments, your encouragement, your engagement, your positivity, your beautiful minds, all of you.
thank you.
i wouldn't be anywhere close to getting all of this off of the ground if it weren't for you.

if i had the time and ability, i'd knit you all sweaters from 100% leney-processed-and-dyed wool. 
over all, i want to thank you for giving me grace as i pursue these new ventures and navigate their newness and working-out and chase after that every calling dream of living a fulfilling and passionate and purpose filled life using the gifts and abilities i was given.


i want to work with similar minded people who align with the values and lifestyle that i am working on pursuing! 
so if you feel like that's you, come say hey (even if it's just because, i love having conversations about all of these things).

Ten Years

i visited one of my favorite places last weekend the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
this place has been witness to so many moments in my life.
both with others and alone.
it's a place that feels like home to me.
(feel free to search the VMFA in the search box at the bottom of the site to see some of my other visits there from over the years)

i specifically went to see the new exhibit of Jasper Johns and Edvard Munch's work and was surprised by how much i loved it and was inspired by their artistry. 
previously only familiar with Munch's The Scream, i was truly enrapt with the diversity and beauty of both of these artist's work.

i read a plaque on one piece (often the words on the plaque beside a piece of art end up meaning more to me than the work itself. i'll frequently snap photos of them or write them down in a notebook. words immerse me.) that stated that Jasper Johns worked on his cross hatching technique for ten years.
ten years.
that's about a third of my lifetime.
i've heard it said that to truly have mastered the art of something and to do it well is to have stuck with it for a decade. 
an idea, in this have-it-right-now society of ours, that's so foreign.
we are used to instant gratification.
what is it to work at and stick with something consistently for ten years?
perhaps that strikes you as discouraging, but i find it the opposite. 
because it's a reminder that success, in all of it's various forms, is not instant. that the achievements truly worth having in life are worth working hard for. as, once obtained, they will taste all the sweeter for we truly know what it was to earn them with our blood, sweat and tears.

my business is reaching it's sixth birthday this spring, and while it's changed and varied in it's execution, i'm proud to say that i've stayed true to who i am as an artist and how that's translated in different ways over the years. it feels good to look back at something and, while the look of it doesn't appeal to me now, or my tastes have changed since, i'm still proud of it. because i know at the time of it's execution, that was who i was, and i embraced that and lived it out fully and gave it my all.

so here's to the next four years, to reach that ten year mark.
i hope i look back when i get there and am able to still be proud of what i've created and what i've worked for. 

p.s. another realization and thought brought about by the exhibit was on the resiliency that joy brings amidst despair, which can be read here.
p.p.s. this exhibition prompted me to get back into painting more than ever (something i shared a few weeks ago)! you can see a photo of that here.

Revisting Core Values
film photo by Meagan Abell

film photo by Meagan Abell

i happened to re-visit my list of core values today (which can be found here on my website. but for the sake of this post i’m going to list them below).
they’re something i wrote three years ago. 

and if there’s one thing i’ve learned about the power of words, it’s that writing-saying-proclaiming them out loud in one of those ways, is so powerful.
even if we don’t constantly come back to their original documentation, putting them out there in the world intentionally is often enough for us to end up embodying their message subconsciously.

i think this because i have to say that despite the fact that this list has been on my website for over a year, it’s on a card that i stick into each and every order i ship out from the shop, and i’ve shared it a few times here and there on social media when i first wrote them, i haven’t especially meditated on them or kept them in the forefront of my mind.

and yet, reading them today, i realized that my life embodies these values.
this is what i live out.
this is my life.

and the pride i have in that, in myself, for bettering my world which includes myself and the people i have the opportunity to come into contact with, is such an incredible thing.
it's so important to think on these things.
to live with an intentionality.

what are your core values?

1. Do everything with Passion
Do my best in whatever situation I'm presented with. 
Stay tremendously interested in things. 
Above all point back to my creator in all that I do because He's the source of all things good. 

2. Be in a state of constant Exploration. 
Seek adventure not just in traveling. 
Challenge myself. 
Always be willing to learn new things. 
Observe the world around me. 

3. Love.
Fall in love with people. Their stories. Their uniqueness and individuality. Love them where they're at, wherever that might be. 
Fall in love with work. With what I get to do for work. With the process of things. 
Be in love with my life. 
And above all: Remember what love is

4. Enjoy the art of the every day
The simple. The routine. The ordinary. Because there's beauty in all of it. 
Live in a state of thankfulness. Have it be a part of my lifestyle, not just a list. 
Collect moments not things.

5. Create. 
Whether that's knitting a sweater, taking a photo, building a new relationship, or learning how to make really amazing guacamole. 
Make more. 
And in the making, don't be afraid of failure. 
Remember that no great thing is created suddenly. 

6. Dream fearlessly. 
Do not let the world's standards or definitions of what's possible define who I am, what I want to be or where I want to go.
Have vision and drive for doing and being better. 

Never settle. Aim high. Go confidently. 

7. Inspire. 
Help others discover their dreams and passions by simply pursuing my own. 
Pursue excellence. 
Encourage and motivate others to be the best that they can be. 

8. Be Leney.
Authentic. Confident. Unique. Genuine.
Whether that's the donut obsessed Leney, the avid picture taking Leney, the never not knitting Leney, the Leney who likes to dance to cheesy pop music or the Leney who likes getting on buses alone to find a new adventure at the other end. 

Remember that comparison is the thief of joy and to not let my vision of who I want to be obscure my view of who I actually am. 

What To Do When You're Overwhelmed & Spreading Yourself Too Thin: A 7 Part Guide by A Girl Who Used To Be The Queen Of Doing Too Much
Photo by Meagan Abell

Photo by Meagan Abell

A very dear friend of mine recently asked me:
"What do you do when you feel like you're spreading yourself too thin but have opportunities that are hard to say no to? There's a lot going on which is a good thing, but I'm feeling overwhelmed."

Oh boy did I have thoughts on this subject.
I used to be the queen of doing too much.
Over committing myself, trying to do it all... I worked myself to death (no really, I would literally get sick with how stressed and busy I always was).
And so when I was writing her a little note about it, I realized I had a lot more to say on the matter than would fit in a text. So I decided to make a list. A list I decided to also share with you. Just in case any of you lovely people also need a little prompting or inspiration as to how to get out from under the weight of all of the things you're trying to do all at once. 
Or maybe you're not doing too many things, but you don't feel content and you aren't doing the right things. This list speaks to that as well. 

We are not meant to overwork ourselves, to be stressed, to be always be running around like chickens with their heads cut off. If you're like this, something needs to change.
Ask for help.
Cut something out.
Take time away for yourself.
Put something on the back burner.
Say no. 

I would really love to hear your thoughts on this topic friends.
Let's help encourage one another to cultivate a healthier way of living!


What To Do When You're Overwhelmed & Spreading Yourself Too Thin: A 7 Part Guide by A Girl Who Used To Be The Queen Of Doing Too Much

1. Say no.
Just do it. Start saying no. To everything. Okay maybe not everything, but a lot of things. Because you might need to prune and pull back from more than is initially necessary so you have the clearest head possible to start evaluating your commitments. I've found its easiest to start with as clean and empty a slate as possible and add things back as is needed and called for. 

2. Make a list.
Write down every single thing you are committing your time and energy to activity/job/extracurricular/hobby wise. 

3. Pray over the list.
If praying isn't your thing, just get yourself nice and quiet and really and truly ask yourself what of these listed things you really need to do. Sometimes there are things you may want to do but you don't need to do. We can't do everything we want sometimes. Ask what it is You're supposed to do. What's priority. What's best for right now. What's best for later. What's best for never even. Also, sometimes it can seem like you're doing more than you are or stressed more than you need to be, but once you clearly write it down it can free up your mind and help you focus and discern what it is you need to get done. 

4. Trust your instinct/gut/intuition/discernment.
The more I practice this, the more I almost instantaneously know whether or not I should do something when an opportunity presents itself. Even for things as simple as someone asking me to get coffee. If I said yes to everyone who asked me to get coffee or to hang out or to go to an event, I would literally never be home.
And I love my home.
Having time to myself to recharge and rejuvenate is really essential for me so that I can be fully present in the other areas of my life when it's most important. 

5. When new opportunities come business wise- Again, trust your gut.
And say no to most things. I used to say yes to every interview, every feature, every photo opportunity, every collaboration, every shop, every meet up, every craft show and market... But it very quickly became way way way too much. And I realized that most of them weren't even as great as they promised to be, or were worth all of the time and work I put into them for what I got in return. Granted, you need a season of this perhaps to have some different learning experiences, figure out what it is you want and where you want to go. But once you've figured that out, stop saying yes to everything.
Say yes to things that make you want to get out of bed in the morning because you're so excited to be apart of them. Things that you want to do first before all the other things on your to-do list. Things that align with your vision of who you are, who you want to be, where you want to go.
Above all: Do not be afraid of missing out by saying no.
That's living in fear.
That's not who you are.
Opportunities will always be there.
Put the important things first. 

6. Figure out your important things. 
For me: Family, my own well being (health, mentally and physically which also encompasses my passions, dreams and goals) and my friends. Not always in that order but that's honestly what it comes down to for me. The people in my life. I will always put the important people in my life first and before activities and jobs (within reason of course).
This doesn't always look how you would think though. For instance: A great job opportunity that will cause me to miss a friends event will earn me enough extra money to work less the following week so I can take a day off to help my Dad with something important. Or, by skipping a family event because I need to have some alone time after an extra busy work week, which will allow for me to be present and better able to love and serve them at an important get together next time. You get the idea. Just figure out what the important things are in your life to you. Maybe even what your core values are. That honestly was the most helpful aspect for me in figuring out what it is I needed to do with my time and energy.

7. You do not have to explain yourself to people.
You do not have to go into an in depth explanation for everything and everyone you say no to. First of all, most people don't expect that (or a lot of the time even care). Second of all, the people who love and get you, are going to understand. And if they don't.... that's on them, not you.
As long as Your motives are out of love and doing what's best for you and those important people in your life... you're golden.

Don't over think it. 

The Importance of Shopping Small
A lovely little corner of  Na Nin Vintage

A lovely little corner of Na Nin Vintage

This is something I posted on Instagram this morning, but I had a few extra thoughts I wanted to share so I decided to share them here.

Today is Small Business Saturday. Which, if you didn't know, is a holiday created by Amex in order to promote shopping at small and local businesses.

Shopping small isn't about being trendy. 

It's about supporting your community. 
The place in which you live.
The hard working people who are living out or pursuing their dreams for the greater good.
It's about investing in QUALITY vs. QUANTITY.
Knowing the person behind the product.
The maker behind the creation. 

A sentiment I've been working on implementing into my life more over the past year or so.
People often complain about how expensive it is to shop small/local, and I get that, but honestly when you buy one quality item you save yourself time and money down the road from having to buy five poor quality items after they quickly wear out/break/go out of style. Plus there's the whole fast fashion issue and the excessive consumerism mindset that plagues so much of our lives (if you haven't watched True Cost, do it. It's on Netflix)
Besides, really and truly think about it, wouldn't you rather know where your money's going? Who it's going to and what it's being used for? I think there's far greater value in that than we realize. And what goes around comes around. So make it a point to invest in and support small businesses, not just today, but on a regular basis. Because it's what's best for this here world of ours. We're all in this together after all. 


So those were my words from Instagram this morning, but then a friend of mine brought up the additional thoughts on how so many people don't have the ability to invest in quality and well made things. That that is in fact a luxury and a privilege. And how we should also be conscious and open to not only shop small, but shop second hand.
Which I 100% agree with.
And so I want to add on some more thoughts to this topic and way of thinking.
First by clarifying that when I admonish you to shop at small businesses I'm definitely also including vintage/thrift/second hand shops. Because I do think it's important to buy second hand as much as possible instead of just buying new things all of the time. ***Insert a reiteration of the dangers of fast fashion here***
Secondly, I also think it's important to seek out businesses and artists that make an effort to give back in various ways. I in no way want to come across as elitist and privileged in my declaration of the importance of shopping small, which I know it often can be construed as because it sometimes is more expensive. Rather I want to speak to the value of supporting smaller businesses BECAUSE of how much our community and society as a whole is hurting and doing this, sowing back into people, supporting each other and helping one another out, is so very important in helping out the greater good of our communities. 

It's a hard issue as a whole to address because of its various intricacies and how it goes so much deeper than the surface of just how we shop. 
I think I tend to get overwhelmed when looking at the bigger picture of our country and how it's hurting and impoverished and then seeing the privileged and those more well off (which I undoubtedly am one of, simply because I have a roof over my head and the ability to put food on the table on a consistent basis. Not to mention how I have extra to spend on much sillier/trivial/unnecessary things). I think my way of approaching the issue is hitting at the hearts of so many at the middle/upper class line and how consumerist we are, which is so toxic to not only ourselves and those in this country but those in other countries as well. We have so much in comparison to many who have so little or often even nothing. And my heart is at a place where I'm trying to speak to that issue on the surface so that we can then work our way down to the deeper issues and turn around and give to and help those who are maybe hurting a little more than we are.
It's what God calls us to do after all.
Be a good steward of the blessings he's given us. 
I definitely have been wrestling with more extreme ways to do that though. I recently cleared out a lot of stuff and gave a carload of things to a halfway house, but even things like that make me sick to my stomach. The fact that I have a carload of excess is just wrong on so many levels.
I'm definitely trying to figure out what living a life centered on Gods will in this area looks like. 
But more than that, what it looks like to not stand above reaching down to those less fortunate, but stand beside them hand in hand.

This is something that's been on my mind a lot lately, not just because I am one of those small businesses, an artist and a maker I hope people will support, but because I want to make a positive impact with my life and what I'm doing with it. Whether that's with the services I offer with my knitwear and photography or whether it's with being a consumerist/shopper myself and where I spend my money and what and who I choose to support with it.

It's also a topic of conversation I would love to hear your thoughts on, whichever side of it you take, because I want to be able to openly discuss this. So if you have some thoughts, please share them in the comments or even shoot me an email.


OOAK Knitwear By A Girl Named Leney / www.agirlnamedleney.com

So last week I released The Classics Collection, which was part 1 of 2 in regards to the new direction I'm going with my knitwear. Many of you might have been thinking, "part one? What does that mean...?" Well today I get to tell you.

This part, part two, is an aspect of my business that's been in the works for some time now. One that I've had in the back of my mind as a dream and a possibility for so long I don't really remember how or when it started.
I would mention it off handedly to those closest to me, trying to curb my over enthusiasm for this idea I had that I just couldn't shake, wanting to give it my full attention but needing to let it marinate for just a little bit longer.
To say I've been over-the-moon excited about sharing this is an understatement. 

It starts with the phrase: One-of-a-kind.

OOAK Knitwear By A Girl Named Leney / www.agirlnamedleney.com

These pieces are inspired by...
the places i’ve been,
the people i’ve met,
the words i’ve read,
the images i’ve created.

All of which are unique, to themselves, their own, one-of-a-kind. 
Much like you are.

OOAK Knitwear By A Girl Named Leney / www.agirlnamedleney.com

I believe that your clothing, what you wear, says a lot about you.
It adds to your story, your make-up, who you are as an individual.

And so, shouldn’t those pieces in and of themselves hold a story all their own?
I think so.
That’s why my knitwear is one-of-a-kind. 
Each design is a piece of art.
Each piece tells a story. 
Of a person. A place. An experience. An idea.
When you own one of these pieces you are the only one to own it.
Aside from me, the creator, you hold it’s story. 
You are now the caretaker of it’s story. 
And it, in turn, becomes a part of yours.
The Stories The Things We Own Tell.
I think they're terribly important, though often overlooked. 
I find that the things we invest in are the things we cherish and value most. Which in turn speaks to what kind of individual we are. What we put stock in. Who we want to be.
At least so is the case for me. 

OOAK Knitwear By A Girl Named Leney / www.agirlnamedleney.com

This is not a new concept for me. 
At least not in the story telling aspect. My designs and the pieces I create often come with their own story. 
"I was knitting this when..."
"I got the idea for this piece from this photo I shot here in..."
"I picked up this yarn there during my travels and I made a..."
"I was on the road and day dreaming out the window and all of a sudden..."

My travels bring together, for me, my two biggest passions: Knitting and photography.
I'm rarely anywhere without knitting in my bag, or a camera (even if it's just my iPhone), everywhere I go I find some yarn to add to The Travel Blanket and the places I see, stories I hear and people I meet always seep into my work in one way or another. 

OOAK Knitwear By A Girl Named Leney / www.agirlnamedleney.com

There's value in scarcity. Individuality. Uniqueness. 

OOAK Knitwear By A Girl Named Leney / www.agirlnamedleney.com

So in addition to The Classics Collection, there will be a rotating selection of OOAK knitwear.
As inspiration strikes, as my suitcase become filled with yarn from far and away and as I find new stories to tell.

Stay tuned for the first piece hitting the the shop soon.

Photos by Meagan Abell

A New Way To Set Goals
Via  Instagram

So I want to talk about this podcast I listened to this week.  
So revolutionary for me in the way of goal setting. I think many of you know how goal oriented I am, (let's just do a re cap of goal-centric 2014 shall we?) especially in the way of list making.
But this was a take on goal setting I hadn't heard before (and I've heard a lot of them) and it really opened my eyes to a lot in the way of how to not only set goals more effectively, but how you actually might be setting the wrong goals. Or maybe not the wrong goals per say, but how you might be trying to achieve them in the wrong order

I'm going to go more in depth about what I'm talking about but I definitely encourage you to give the actual podcast a listen! The best part is in the latter half, so it might feel long but hang in there and hear the whole thing!

I also just want to say that this post is 100% credited and attributed to Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon of Being Boss and their guest for this podcast episode, Chalene Johnson. Without whom I wouldn't have this content! So thanks heaps to them for sharing these awesome ideas. If you are your own boss, or want to be, I definitely recommend checking out their podcast.

So, because having things written out for reference is really nice, I decided to write down my version of what Chalene talked about. 
So grab a piece of paper and pen and keep reading!
Step 1 | 
Write down the following categories

1. Physical Health
2. Mental Well Being
3. Environment
4. Finances
5. Family + Friends
6. Significant Other / Love Interest
7. Career / Purpose
8. Growth / Getting Smarter
9. Pure Joy / Hobbies
10. Spirituality

Step 2 | 
Quickly go through and score your contentment in each of these areas from 1-10.
Ten being the most content.
Don't over analyze this too much, just do it as it comes to you.

Step 3 | 
Take a look at how you scored each category.
Which areas are your lowest?
Are you surprised by them?
The areas that you scored lowest in are main attributors to your unhappiness or lack of goal achievement. Pretty eye opening huh?

Step 4 |
Write your top goals in your lowest scored areas.
In other words make it a point to work first on where you're least content.
Next to each goal write, "what would it take to do this?" The answer is either accountability or money.
Keep that in mind when pursuing these various goals. 

Step 5 |
After evaluating all of the above, ask yourself "What could I do that would make most of these things happen?"
Make that answer your 11th goal.

The areas I scored lowest in were my physical health, finances and pure joy/hobbies. I'm going to go a little more in depth with each of these areas to further give an example of how they're affecting my goal achievement.

Finances: While I am pretty savvy when it comes to spending and I don't over indulge very often, I am not as organized as I would like to be when it comes to my finances. I am always behind in my accounting and expense reports and receipt filing which makes for extra stress come tax time. Or, let's be honest, all the time. Because I spend money on my business all the time, and my lack of organization in this area is a constant reminder. Every day. And it has effects on my mental well being more than I realize. Sometimes to the point where it hinders my productivity. 
Not only that, I also want to be more consistent in the amount of income I do make every month so I can save more and be smarter and more planned with bigger purchases and investments. Something I have a hard time evaluating when I can't quickly pull up the answer to what I made on any given month, expenses and costs of business aside. 
So there's that.

Physical health: Last winter and spring I was killing it with working out and eating well. Then came the warmer months, traveling, and... well.. things just sort of fell by the wayside. It's hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you don't make it a priority and I definitely was not making it a priority over the summer. This has led to some not-so-great feelings towards how I feel physically and, in turn, mentally as well.
So a few weeks ago I started to take action against that again and I've already been feeling better. So, hearing the podcast and reaffirming that health is one of my lower scores, made total sense to me and just re-motivated me to tackle the whole getting-my-butt-healthy-and-fit again plan that I've already been implementing. 
Which as a result has led to me feeling better and more motivated about my other goals and other areas of my life.
See? It really is all connected.
I think that was the biggest takeaway for me while listening to this honestly. Everything in your life is interconnected and one area will inevitably effect another at some point. 

Pure Joy / Hobbies: What? That makes no sense... I have hobbies.. sure I have hobbies...
Scoring lower in this area initially confused me but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized I really didn't have a ton of stuff I could easily think of that were just pure-joy, simply-for-the-pleasure-of-it, not-in-some-way-work related things.
Of course I have to preface the following with saying that I am extremely thankful that I get to do what I do for a living. Knitting, traveling, photography? I couldn't dream up a better dream job. It is my dream job. However, all of those things were once upon a time my hobbies. Things I did just for fun. And while I definitely still enjoy them, immensely, and can often do parts of them just for me, it's really hard for me to do them apart from a this-is-work mindset. 
And ultimately anything I do in those areas attribute to my growth and success work-wise anyways. 
What were the things I did that weren't fueled by work, a need for money, were just for fun or just for me? 
I had to think about that one for a little bit. 
So finding hobbies, activities and things I love to do, simply just to do them, productivity inducing or not, has been something that's really eye opening for me. 

So. What's my 11th goal? 
Work smarter.
Maybe I'll expand upon what I mean by that in another blog post, but I think this one's long enough for now so I'll end here.
I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this.
Was this in any way as eye opening for you as it was for me?
What are some of your goals?
Comment below and let's talk about it. 

More goal oriented things...
-Make sure your goals are oriented around, and pushing you towards these things.
-Paul Jarvis and Jason Zook of Invisible Office Hours, had a podcast episode this morning on Goals which is also a great listen-to on this topic.
-While dreams and goals are different, they are connected. Here are some thoughts on my dreams from the archives. 
-Elise also has a great podcast on this topic as well which you can listen to here.
(I am so about the podcast life these days... can you tell?

Film Is Not Dead

Due to a peak in interest, and because I so love shooting with it, I am now officially offering the option of film as an additional ad on for all weddings and portrait session packages! 
This includes Instax polaroids (pictured in two sizes above) as well as 35mm film. 

If you'd like to know more about how this works or are interested in adding some to your already booked, or soon-to-be-booked session, shoot me an email

Business | Keeping Up With Emails
Photo Cred: Meagan Abell

Photo Cred: Meagan Abell

I read this post last week on worthiness vs. busyness and it spurred some thoughts I had on the subject of separating your business and personal life and unplugging from time to time. Primarily in regards to your email inbox. 

While I would love to be able to remove my email from my phone, as Nicole talks about, I really can't afford to. I'm away from the computer/traveling so much and I frequently have to be able to check it and communicate with clients or reference info on a shop order etc. 
while I'm on the go.
However, I don't have it notify me every time I get an email.
That would literally drive me insane... I don't understand how some people can live like that! I understand for certain important emails, but for every time you get an email...? The same applies for Instagram/Facebook/Twitter notifications. If I were notified every time something happened on any of my social media... my gosh I would never not be attached to my phone, it's bad enough as it is!
Although after reading the post, I did move my email app from the prominant bottom placement on the home screen of my phone, to the very last page. So now it is a little more out of site/out of mind and it's not so easy to just unlock my phone and tap it. Now it takes a little more invovlement and makes me think about it and check myself, so I'm not just mindlessly checking and refreshing email when I should be focusing on other tasks.

Emails and keeping up with them, as a whole, has been a lot more manageable and less stressful ever since rebranding though I have to say. This is largely due to the fact that I got a new business email as well as a nice and organized way for people to contact me.
I used to have my old business emails just forward to my personal/main gmail account, but now I have it as a seperate account completely so that I am better able to seperate business vs. personal life.
Turning off and relaxing and taking a break from work when I need to is something I struggle with. Mainly because I primarily work from home and so work is, literally, around me all the time. But now when I'm checking my personal email at 11pm at night for that correspondence I have with a far away friend (or, let's be honest, the thread with my brother that's all about Taylor Swift youtube videos) 
I won't see the custom order inquiries and photography questions and other business related emails.
Because I'm incapable of reading those without going on long rabbit trails of work that, don't get me wrong, I love, but I have to end the work day sometime... Otherwise I will be up until 3am trying to answer emails that can wait until the next morning.

For similar reasons I actually don't have the Facebook Messenger app on my phone. 
In a world where we are constantly plugged in, connected, on, and going going going, you have to create as many boundaries as you can get!

You also have to remember that your email isn't your to do list, it's everyone else's.
So prioritize times for checking and attending to it, but don't waste your time by checking it all day every day. Because you can waste so much time doing that!
^This is still something I have a hard time doing myself, but I'm working on it.

I also recently discovered the wonders of actually utilizing the archive feature on Gmail.
My inbox has never looked better! 
Now I can actually see the emails I need to attend to vs. the piles and piles of stagnant ones that aren't neccessarily active, but ones I can't delete.

Phew. That was a long tangent, but you get the idea!
What works for you in regards to keeping up with your emails?
Any tips/tricks?
I'd love to hear!

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