Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Four Years Seems Long Enough...

You guys... I'm blogging.  Like, BLOGGING blogging... not just posting about a fundraiser or day planners.  I just looked. It has been nearly FOUR YEARS since I last posted an actual, REAL THOUGHTS blog post. As most of you know, Instagram ate blogs. And four years ago I was fine with that. Sometimes formatting a blog is frustrating, and editing is annoying, and coming up with content is debilitating. But then Instagram went and ruined itself. They got rid of the chronological post order, started inserting ads every three posts, and killed the amazing community that I LOVED. There are many times these days where I suddenly see a post from someone that I haven't seen in months, and I'm like "Oh my gosh! There's @barnowlprimitives... how have I not seen a single one of her posts in 6 months??? Did she stop posting? Nope! There's her beautiful feed... all filled up with images Instagram has been keeping from me. Jerks."

Last month we bought a new house. It's a tract home in a brand new community just down the road from our current town, but we bought it early enough in the process that the foundation wasn't even laid. So the next 6 or 7 months while we wait and watch it being built, I will be choosing tile and countertops and flooring and paint colors and window treatments and having an absolute blast with it all. A friend of mine suggested that I start a new IG account to track our progress and share all things #houseoflaughter (which is what I have named our new home because I feel like every home should have a name and our new street name means laughter and I love it). I loved that idea because it also gave me the opportunity to start a fresh account. With fresh faces to follow. I have limited my followings on that account to all things home design and I love logging in each day to get inspired.

One of the new accounts I am following is @chrislovesjulia. I'm not sure how I found them, but they are DIYers that are in the middle of their first professional remodel on their master bathroom, and I am really enjoying watching the process. And Julia blogs (here). And I have been reading her posts. Which got me to thinking... do people still read blog posts??? Because I love writing. I miss it. And now that I post much more sporadically on IG, fewer and fewer people see my posts and I miss the interaction. Hmmm... maybe I should blog again???

So here I am. Back at it just three years and nine months after my last real blog post. Maybe no one will read this, and that doesn't bother me. The writing is cathartic and I like having a journal of big life events, and moving into our first new home and what we think will be a long term home is a big life event that should be documented.

I guess I should start from the beginning of the story.

Two years ago a new community opened up very close to our current one. We fell in love with it. It is nestled in the hills and surrounded by protected land, which means that certain parts will NEVER be built on, and views will stay views. It is literally 3 miles from our current home, but it feels like you're out in the countryside with the hills and the cows and the beautiful, old oak trees that the developer left in place as part of the community. We knew we wanted to move out there. We have never purchased a NEW home, and that was something that I have always wanted to do. Ever since I was a little girl I LOVED model home shopping, and I have just always loved the idea of being original owners and moving onto the street at the same time as all of our neighbors. So we started looking at models and choosing floor plans and picking out lots. But then, just as we were about to pull the trigger... something stopped us. It just didn't feel right. And in the end we decided that staying in our current home and remodeling and increasing our mortgage payments by only A LITTLE BIT was a better idea than doubling our mortgage payment on a house that wasn't quite THE ONE.

If you've followed me for a while you know how that story goes... we took our current home to the studs and lived through a three month reno that turned into six months. It was grueling, but fun, and I LOVED my finished product so much. It made the house that we had lived in for 5 years at that time finally feel like a home.

A few months after we finally finished that reno, and a month after we had opened our new business and I was DROWNING in the demands of my life, my friend Jen and I went to look at some new models that had opened up in this community. And the second I walked into the plan 3 of that neighborhood it felt like home.  I LOVED IT. It was a dream house. But as I said, we had JUST finished our reno and I was so overwhelmed by our new business, and we were in the middle of Choose Joy planning and talking about moving the 2018 conference out of state, and needless to say... moving was NOT an option.

Then at the beginning of this year we sold the business. Insert GIANT sigh of relief here. And my Choose Joy team grew and became this AMAZING group of ladies that just get stuff done, including moving our conference to a new state in a new month with ease. All of a sudden, my life felt less insane.

And then a few things started happening in our current home that had us itching to leave again. So I took Nathan to those models that I had fallen in love with... and he fell in love too. We started talking and thinking and dreaming and (of course) spread-sheeting and praying. There were only a couple of phases left to be released and we decided there was only one lot that we wanted. We snuck onto the construction zone one Sunday afternoon and walked the lot and prayed over it and asked the Lord to open the doors if this was meant to be our home. Beau spit on it. Apparently that was his way of claiming it. And before we knew it... we got the call that the lot was ours for the taking!

The purchase agreement included one caveat.. we had to have our current home in escrow within 30 days, and sold within 75.  Basically, my life got flipped turned upside down (are you singing the Fresh Prince theme song now too???). In the last month I have: packed up and purged half my house, packed my family up to temporarily move into a friend's vacant condo so that we didn't have to live in the house while it was on the market, gone to Atlanta to finalize some details for Choose Joy, sold our home after just a few days on the market for well over our asking price, gone through inspections and appraisals and repairs on our current home, started the design process for our new home because we already hit two upgrade deadlines, sent my son off to Haiti for a missions trip, and been on an extended family vacation to Hawaii. Oh and rented an apartment for us to live in for the next six months while our house is being built. A 1200 square foot apartment for the 5 of us and our large dog. We're on an adventure people!

In less than two weeks we will move out of our home of seven years. The home that we brought both of our daughters home to, but one that has never really felt like where we were supposed to be.

So now... I PACK. I am trying to force myself to stop pinning inspiration pics for the new home and focus on getting us packed and moved, but that's not nearly as fun. It's proving a challenge. And the only reason I have had time to write this (rather lengthy... sorry) blog post is that I am sitting in a tire shop waiting for them to get the nail out of my tire. I'm sure this won't be the last time I will have to do this in the next six months... hazards of visiting a construction zone often.

If you made it to the end of this post, I feel like I should reward you with some pics. But now I am remembering why I stopped blogging... posting pics on blogs is a pain. But okay... I'll do it. These are the builder's pics of the model for our floor plan.

The Exterior Elevation. Only this is not our color scheme. Our stucco will be off-white, the front door and shutters will be a dark grey/blue, and the brick will be a little darker.

The Dining Room. We are going to put built-in cabinetry on that right wall with a wine fridge, a pellet ice-maker, and some storage for my serving dishes. We are also going to put a brick arch leading into this room from the hallway.

The Kitchen. There will be an exposed hood above the stove top and we are eliminating the cabinets with the glass doors and replacing them with open shelving. We are also adding another layer of cabinets above the uppers, so that the cabinets go to the ceiling. I'm still debating whether I am going to do the island in the darker color... at the moment I am leaning towards all white, and they will be shaker with matte black hardware. I am also leaning towards the built-in fridge (not shown here).

The Master. I LOVE the slider to the backyard. We are going to do the wall behind the bed in brick, because I love my brick wall that we installed in our current home. And then I am planning a very white, very romantic, very luxury hotel-room feeling room decor.

The Master Bath. This is one of the things I am the most excited about. Our current master bathroom is TINY and I hate it.

The Loft. This will be our teen hangout space. We are planning a comfy couch, a foosball table, some pinball, and a mini-fridge in the built-in.  

The back of the house. The wall of windows at the back of the loggia is bi-fold doors that will allow us to completely open that wall between the living room and outdoor dining area. The slider on the right is our master bedroom.

The loggia. Has anyone ever heard that term before or is it just a CA thing??? Because it's a new term here even. We had to look it up two years ago when it started appearing on all the builder's floor plans.

Those Hills. That will be the view from our lot. That is one of the things that I am the most excited about. Our current home is surrounded by houses that look into our yard. The privacy in this new yard will be AMAZING.

So there it is. I blogged. And now you're all caught up. I can't promise that the blogging will continue, but this felt good. I miss the tapping of keys.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

For Amy Lou

Thank you so much for helping me do a little something for an amazing woman that does so much for everyone else. If you have already received the information email, please use the PayPal donate button at the bottom of this post to donate. If you haven't receive the information email yet, please submit your email address below.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Choose Joy Bundle of Joy Fundraiser


We’re sure you’ve seen lots of pretty green + floral design posts popping up in your instagram feed lately, because the time is drawing close for the Choose Joy Conference!! This conference is such an amazing experience + connection point for many women [and their hubbies!] who are traveling the hard road of infertility or journeying through the adoption process.  

The majority of our conference attendees are currently in the process of financing infertility treatments or adoptions & are saving every penny possible to put towards this.  We do everything we can to keep ticket prices low in an effort to still allow these growing families to attend Choose Joy, and in turn do lots of really awesome fundraising to cover the costs of the event as well as give away a HUGE pot of cash to one conference attendee to aid in their journey towards becoming a parent!

And here’s where we’d love to partner with you, lovely!

We are putting together a giant shopping spree to raffle off.  

[cue the fireworks!!]

We are asking vendors for a store credit of at least $25 to their shop as well as a coupon code good through the end of the year.  We will then sell the coupon code bundle for $5, which will include all the vendors coupon codes and 1 raffle ticket which will give purchasers a chance to win all the shop credits from all the participating vendors!  They can purchase additional raffle tickets for $5 each if they want more entries to win the giant shopping spree grand prize ;)

To be clear, we are asking for two things: a store credit for the winner of the raffle, and a coupon code that can be given to everyone that purchases a raffle ticket.  Most shops are doing 10-25% off, but please feel free to offer whatever coupon or promotion works best for your shop!

Here are all the great things about this idea:

*You don't have to have a product ready to go right now.  

*The winner may not ever cash in the store credit, which would mean you helped without having to give anything away.

*The winner might order even more from your shop than the value of the store credit!

*Your business will be promoted to every person that buys the coupon bundle, and you will get lots of orders that you might not otherwise!

If you are willing to help, here's what I need from you by THIS THURSDAY (March 30th):
  1. Please set up the coupon code WECHOOSEJOY2017 within your own shop.  We are trying to make the code the same for all participating shops for this coupon bundle gift to make it easy on shoppers when they visit each shop!  If for some reason you are unable to set up this exact code, we understand & you can set up something different.  The code should be activated NOW and expire no sooner than December 31, 2017.
2.  Fill out the following google form link.  This will capture all of your info for us -- easy peasy!

3. Email us back if you have any questions, friend!!

Thank you so much for reading this email and considering helping the Choose Joy families!! 

Emmy, April & Rae
The Choose Joy Fundraising Team

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Corrected Pages for 2016 Planner

If you purchased a 2016 Day Planner from me, unfortunately you may have noticed that there were two incorrect pages in July.  I accidentally slipped some 2015 pages in there.  My fault.  I'm sorry. 

If you would like to print the correct pages and glue them in your planner, you can find them here.

The August 2016 to July 2017 Planners will be available soon.  Hopefully without flaws.  Stay tuned. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Day Planner Resources for Days

The Day Planners are in the shop!

I'm so excited for you to see the new Day Planners.  I am IN LOVE with the paper that my printer used.  It is so high quality, and bright, and beautiful.  

I kept the planners simple to keep the cost down and to make this business work for me.  And now I can't wait to jazz mine up with some of the resources below.  To get to each shop, just click on their shop header image.

[These are all shops that I came across myself.  None of them have asked me to share or are sponsoring this post.]

You will want one.  Then you will want one for every book in your house.  

I have to admit... when I first saw this post I COULD NOT figure out what this product was.  I looked through her whole shop trying to figure it out, and then I *almost* convo'd the shop owner to ask her, but I was too embarrassed.  Then Robyn came over and started telling me about these rad things that you can use to snap anything into your spiral binding.  Like you could stick an invitation to them.  Or a zipper pouch.  Or an appointment card.  And EUREKA!  I realized THAT'S what I was looking at this morning.  And now I want a million of these.  It's brilliant.

She also has snap-on laminated covers that you could add to your planner easily.  Select "It's Just Emmy" from the options menu on her listings and she will make sure that your order will fit your planner.  *FOR 15% OFF YOUR ORDER ENTER THE CODE: ITSJUSTEMMY15 AT CHECKOUT*

I miss my fancy, pretty, personalized covers.  But those days are gone.  Or at least on hold.  So perhaps I can interest you in a Fabric Planner Cover?

All of these vendors have said that they can make a cover to fit my planner.  Just be sure to let them know when you order that you are covering the It's Just Emmy Day Planner.

Again, My Pretty Week let me know that she can make these tab pages to fit my planners.  There is a drop down menu on each listing to select the planner style that you want your dividers to fit in.  Select "Just Emmy Planner" [she was limited on characters, so the It's was nixed] before adding the time to your cart.

And last, but not least... my favorite thing... STICKERS!  As my friend Jen said the other day, looking through these shops is like looking through calendar porn.  I want to buy ALL THE STICKERS.  I kept my layouts really simple, crisp, and clean black & white on this planner, which means that these stickers will really stand out!  You can find hundreds of options on Etsy, but here are my favorites.

Tell them I sent you!  And don't forget to tell your friends about the NEW and IMPROVED, used-to-be-Much-Ado-About-You Planners!


Tuesday, June 09, 2015


Okay, so I haven't really blogged in almost a year.

Instagram ate my blog.

But I have recently had the opportunity to help a couple of friends who are trying to organize Instauctions for big causes, and since I have run so many I can practically do it with my eyes shut [and have learned all the what-not-to-dos along the way], I thought it was high time I resurrect my blog and put this out there for anyone else needing help.

So here you go.  You might wanna grab a glass of wine and settle in...

Choose a date, start and end time, and a title for your auction.

Here are my recommendations about these things.

For the date: I recommend ending on a Thursday evening.  Midweek is definitely best.  People are busy with their families on the weekend.

For the start and end time: Keep in mind that you need to consider time zones.  If you close the auction at 9pm PST that means that your East Coast followers will have to stay awake until midnight to place their final bids.  You will lose some bidders.  I generally close between 6 and 7pm PST, which seems to work best for everyone.

For the title: Keep is simple.  I *highly* recommend opening new IG and gmail accounts for your auction, so keep that in mind when choosing your name.  Don't make it too long for a good hashtag.  [Be sure to check availability of usernames for IG and gmail before settling on a title.]

As I said before, I *highly* recommend opening new IG and gmail accounts for your auction.

You will need a gmail account in order to use my system, and just trust me on the fact that having a separate account for the auction will make your life much easier.  [You may even have to open multiple email accounts, but we'll get to that later.]  I suggest using the title of your auction, for example if your auction is called "The Smith's Adopt" make your email

Same goes with the IG account.  Make it @thesmithsadopt.  Opening a separate IG account will keep you from flooding your follower's feeds and possibly losing them.  I always post reminders and sneak peeks on my regular account for all my followers to see, but all the auction items go on the new account.

Click on the links below to open my spreadsheets.

Auction Vendors
Auction Winners

You will need to save a copy of each one to your own Google Drive account [be sure you are logged in under your auction gmail account]. To do that, just click on the File menu and select Make a Copy.  Title them whatever you'd like.  Now you will have an editable file in your drive.

The Vendor Spreadsheet is where you will store all the information for your auction and eventually you will just cut and paste information from the Vendor Spreadsheet into the Winner spreadsheet. You will use both of these spreadsheets for your mail merge, but more information on that in steps 9 & 11.

You can adjust the column titles to whatever works best for you, add or delete as you like, but THERE ARE TWO COLUMNS ON EACH SPREADSHEET THAT YOU CANNOT CHANGE.  On the Vendor Spreadsheet, do not change columns C or Q, and on the Winners Spreadsheet, do not change columns B or F.  These are the columns that make the mail merge work.  I have highlighted them in green so that you will remember to leave them as is.

Contact shops that you have relationships with and ask them to donate an item for your auction.  If you don't know them personally, be sure you explain who you are, how you know of them, and why you are fundraising.  Keep it short and sweet, but pull on heartstrings as best you can.  Chances are these vendors get lots of requests so don't be offended if you don't hear back from them or if you get a no.

Be sure you include the following in your initial contact:
  • Who you are
  • What your cause is
  • The date of your auction
  • What they need to do if they would like to donate an item
  • The date that you need their donation information by
  • Ask for their email address
No matter how you are contacting them [IG DM, Etsy Convo, text} be sure that you get their email address so that you can email them the info on their item's winning bidder.  To use my system you have to have email addresses.  You'll see why later.

As you receive donations be sure to record all the appropriate information in your Vendor Spreadsheet.  This is where you need to STAY ORGANIZED.  Keeping all the info in your spreadsheet will save you lots of time and headache.  Make it a habit of adding at least the vendor name into the spreadsheet as soon as you hear from them so that you won't forget about their donation.  You can always fill in the rest of the information later.

Be sure to let vendors know that they will hear from you via email once the auction is closed, and remind them not to ship anything until they have confirmation from you that the winner has paid.

Because you are using a separate IG account, you can start posting your donations as they come in.  This will make it much easier than trying to post them all on auction day, and it will get people excited about the auction items!

For each item I use this format [feel free to copy and paste]:

Item 1: Item Title
Donated by: Shop IG
Retail Price: $
Bidding Starts at: $
To bid please leave your email address and bid amount and TAG THE PREVIOUS BIDDER. 
Auction opens Thursday, March 12th at 9:00am PST. ALL BIDS POSTED BEFORE THIS TIME WILL BE DELETED.

IG is terrible about line breaks and does not always keep them once you post.  The dotted lines will serve as line breaks and will help keep your information clear and easily read.

You need to be sure to use item numbers for my system.  It will make your life a lot easier, trust me.

Before you begin your auction, post rules and information that your bidders will need.

These are the rules I post:

The Smith's Adoption Auction starts Thursday, March 12th at 9:00am PST and will run through 7:00pm PST. For more information on the cause we are supporting click on the link in our profile. 
To bid on an item, please leave your email address and bid amount and TAG THE PERSON YOU ARE OUTBIDDING. 
Please bid in whole dollar increments. 
Shipping is included within the US.
We will begin closing items at 7:00pm PST. This will take some time. Each item is open for bidding until it is marked CLOSED 
Happy bidding! 

Be sure to post that BIDDING IS OPEN!  Then keep an eye on your items.  Try to answer questions when you can.  If you notice that someone bids out of order, for instance someone has already bid $40 and someone below them bids $38, comment to recognize the highest bidder.  I usually say "Oops @soandso, it looks like @theothersoandso had a higher bid.  @thethersoandso is the current high bid at $40."

If a bidder forgets to tag the previous bidder, I will usually comment and say "Don't forget to tag the previous bidder!  @soandso, it looks like you were outbid."

You will get the most bids in the first and last hour of the auction. Don't panic if you aren't getting tons of bids all day.

Be sure to give good warnings about the close of the auction.  I like to start with a 1 hour warning, then a 30 minute warning, then a 15 minute and a 5 minute warning.  At the 5 minute warning I remind them that we will START the closing in 5 minutes, and that each item will remain open to bids until it says CLOSED.  This usually makes for a good bidding frenzy and also makes it a little more fair because people can't just swoop in at the last second.  They don't know when the last second will be.

If you have a lot of items, you will have trouble closing.  I'm just warning you.  IG freaks out when you are posting quickly and can shut you down.  If you have more than 30 items I suggest having friends help you with the closing.  In that case I will say when I post the rules that items will be closed when marked CLOSED by... and then list whoever is helping me.  If you have friends helping, just assign each person certain numbers to close.

When closing, it is best to not use the exact same phrase on each post.  That is what makes IG freak.  If you just vary it slightly, then you should be okay.  I will post things like "this item is CLOSED", "CLOSED", and "all done, this is CLOSED".  By varying it a little, you should be able to keep posting.  If it stops allowing you to post, wait a minute or two and then you should be able to continue.

Just worry about getting the items closed, and then you can go back and tag winners.

Once every item is closed I then go back and tag each winner and remind them of their winning bid amount.  I also let them know to expect an email within the next 24 hours from [whatever email address you created] with payment instructions.  I say something like "Congratulations @soandso!  You are the winner at $40.  You will receive an email from within the next 24 hours with payment instructions."

Now you need to get all the information into your Vendor Spreadsheet.  The awesome thing about using Google Drive is that you can share your spreadsheet with friends and they can help you with this part.  Anyone that you allow editing access to will be able to input information into the spreadsheet.  So again, you could assign each friend a certain set of item numbers and they could input all the info into your spreadsheet for those particular items.

You are now going to use your spreadsheets to send your first mail merge, which will be the Payment Instructions email to all the winners.

One note: It is very helpful to know how to sort your spreadsheet.  If you don't know how to sort, click here for Google's explanation.  I go back and forth between having the Vendor Spreadsheet sorted in alphabetical order by the Vendor and sorted by the item number, depending on what I am doing, and you will need to be able to sort the Winner Spreadsheet in alphabetical order by the winners.

Once you have everything filled out in your Vendor Spreadsheet, it is time to copy and paste into your Winner Spreadsheet.

After you have all the information in the Winner Spreadsheet, sort it by Winner.  You will probably have people that have won more than one auction item.  You will only want to send one email to each winner.  Sending more than one is likely to send you to the spam folder.  So at this point you need to go through your spreadsheet and combine information on people with more than one item.  For example, if Jane Smith won item 3 for $25 and item 35 for $40, then in one row under Item Number you put "3 & 35" and under Bid Amount you put "$65".  Then you will want to delete the second row for Jane.

Once you have only one row for each winner, you are ready to send the mail merge.

To do the mail merge:

1. Open your gmail account that you have created for the auction.

2. Click compose and draft an email that you will send to the winners.  Leave the Recipient email blank.  Here is the email that I send:


Dear $%Winner IG%,

Thank you so much for participating in the Smith's Adoption Instauction!  We cannot thank you enough for your support of our family.

Congratulations on winning the following item number(s):
$%Item Number%

The total that you owe is:
$%Bid Amount%

In order to save us HOURS of time invoicing and to avoid losing money to PayPal fees, we are going to attempt to have you all pay by simply sending the amount you owe directly to our Adoption Fund through PayPal.  {Of course please feel free to send more if you would like to make an additional donation.}  

Please send the amount stated above to:

Once you have sent your payment, reply to this email letting us know that you have paid and please be sure to provide your full name and shipping address so that we can pass that info along to the vendor.

If you purchased an item with custom options, the vendor will contact you directly.

If you do not have a PayPal account you will not be able to send money in this way.  In that case, please reply to this email and let us know that you need us to send you an invoice.  You do not need a PayPal account to pay an invoice.

To pay with a PayPal account, please see the detailed instructions below. 
1. Go to and login
2. Click on the "Send Money" tab
3. Fill in the email address:
4. Fill in the donation amount {at least the amount above}
5. Select the "family or friends" option {this will send the money without incurring fees}
6. A new screen will come up for you to review your payment and confirm.  PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK THAT YOU HAVE ENTERED THE CORRECT EMAIL ADDRESS. 
7. In the "Message" field please make a note of the item number(s) you are paying for
8. Click "Send Money"
Thank you again for your generous support and for making our auction a HUGE success!
Jane Smith

You probably noticed some funky characters up there within the email.  This is how the mail merge works.  In the places where you see something like "$%Winner IG%" gmail will pull the information from your spreadsheet to fill in the correct name on each email it sends.  

3. Save the email to your drafts folder.

4. Go back to your Winner Spreadsheet and click on the Mail Merge menu.  Click on "Step 1: Initialize" and then click "Accept" to give this application permission to run your mail merge.

5. If it doesn't take you directly to the next step, then click on the Mail Merge menu again and then "Step 2: Start Mail Merge".

6. Under "Please select your Mail Merge template" you will want to find the subject line of your winner email and select it.  Under "Please write the sender's full name" you can either put your name or the name of your Auction.

7. DO NOT CHECK THE BOX THAT SAYS "BCC YOURSELF".  You are limited to sending 100 emails a day through gmail Mail Merge.  If you BCC yourself it counts each email sent as 2 emails.

8. Click "Start Mail Merge", and now watch the magic happen.  As each email is sent EMAIL_SENT will appear in the Mail Merge column.  It will only take a few seconds to send all your emails.

If you have more than 100 winners, you will need to open a second gmail account to send more emails.  If you have to do that, then I suggest just adding a 2 to your original email.  For instance, if your email is, make the new one  You will need to put a copy of the email in the drafts folder of this email account, and you will need to share your spreadsheets with this email address so that you can send the mail merge from here also.

This is kind of a pain, as you will have two email accounts you will have to check and track, but unless you have a VERY large auction you probably won't need to do this.  I ran an auction last year that had about 135 items, and I had enough duplicate winners that I still had less than 100 emails to send.

Be sure to post on IG that you have sent the payment instructions.  If you have time I would also recommend tagging the winner in each item post and letting them know that you have sent the email.

As the payments come in and you receive replies from the winners, be sure to record everything in your Vendor Spreadsheet.  Within 24 hours hopefully you will have the majority of the payments received.  It's important to get the winner's information to the vendors as soon as possible so that they can get the items shipped.

After 24 hours I suggest sending your first round of emails to the vendors.  So here's how that process should go:

1. If you have not received payment from a winner, type "No Payment" in the Winner column.

2. Compose an email in your gmail account to your vendors.  This is the email that I use:

Good Afternoon!

Thank you again for participating in the the Smith Family Adoption Auction.  It was a huge success, raising over $5000!!!  Well beyond our goal.  

Below is the information for the winner of your donation.  If you donated more than one item you will get separate emails for each item.  If under "Winner's Name" it says "NO PAYMENT" that means that we still have not received payment on your item and are working on contacting the buyer.  If we don't receive their payment by today we will move on to the next bidder.  As soon as we have a paying bidder we will forward the information on to you.

Item: $%Item%
Winner's Name: $%Winner%
Winner's IG Name: $%Winner IG%
Winner's Email Address: $%Winner Email%
Winner's Mailing Address: $%Shipping Address%

If you need any information from the winner like color or size choice, please contact them directly.

Thank you again!

Emmy and team
3.  Do another mail merge, this time from your Vendor Spreadsheet.

No matter how organized you are, there will be some people that won't pay you on time.  Even though you have asked them to pay within 24 hours, they won't.

At the end of 24 hours I go through my spreadsheet and anyone that has not paid I tag again on their item post.  I will say something like "@soandso, did you get the payment instructions email?  I have not received your payment confirmation and shipping address.  Please pay by tonight at midnight PST or we will move on the the next bidder.  Thanks!"

I try to give as much grace as possible, but usually if I have not had any contact within 48 - 72 hours then I will move on to the next highest bidder.

On rare occasion I will repost a few items in a mini-auction that I will run for maybe 3 hours or so.

If you need to resend an email to a winner or a vendor, it is super easy to do through the mail merge.  Simply erase the EMAIL_SENT from the Mail Merge column of anyone that you would like to resend the email to.  It can be one person or several, or all of the people... so if you wanted to send a different email than the first one you sent you can compose a second draft, delete all the EMAIL_SENT text from the mail merge column, and redo the mail merge.

For the vendors whose winner's pay late, you will need to resend their emails as you collect the winner's information.

I think that pretty much covers it.  If you have any question at all, please comment below and I will respond.  If you have a question, I'm sure that someone else will have the same question.

Good luck with your auction!  If you use my system, I would LOVE to hear from you about how much money you raise so we can keep track and celebrate all the people that are being helped.  Because if you know me, you know that #peoplehelpingpeopleismyfavorite.


Monday, June 08, 2015

Day Planners are Back!

I started this blog to start over after closing my planner business.  I honestly never thought I'd be back.  But I have tried and tried to find a planner that makes as much sense to me as mine did, and I just haven't.  I have tried several of the more popular ones, and even a few cheapies from the office supply store and Target.  Nothing that works for me like mine did.

So here I am.  Getting ready to open sales on Day Planners once again.

Those of you that have used my planners before will find that the layout and quality of this planner is just what you expect.  The main difference is that I will not be offering personalized, decorative covers.  The cover will be a very simple white cardstock, with a clear protective cover over that.  I will be posting some tutorials on how to fancify your own cover [do you like that word I just made up?], and I will even suggest some Etsy shops where you can purchase fabric covers if you'd like.

If you've never used my planner, here's a little low down on the layout:

The planner includes Monthly and Weekly layouts.  The Weekly Layouts include hourly columns for the weekdays, and large spaces for the weekends.  Each weekday has an area at the bottom that you can use for whatever you like.  I like to use that space for meal planning, to do lists, and it is where I put things like birthdays and anniversaries.

You will also receive a sticker sheet of Monthly Tabs that you can easily insert yourself in the clearly marked locations on the appropriate pages.  You will get instructions... don't worry... I promise YOU can do this easily.  It should take you no more than 10 minutes.

The planners are spiral bound with plastic spiral binding [not metal... I hate metal bindings].

There are 12 notes pages included in the back of the planner.  You will also find Year at a Glance pages for 2015 and 2016, and a two-page spread for August 2016 thru July 2017 that will give you ample space to start planning events well in advance.

The best part to me is the price.  $25 [plus shipping].  Even the cheapy office supply store planners are more expensive than that.  I guarantee you will find this is the best value for your money!

Soon I will post a Planner Resource Checklist with lots of awesome vendors and products that I think you will find helpful.

I'm hoping to have my sample in hand very soon and can post lots of pics for you.  And if all goes as planned, the planners will be on sale in my Etsy shop on June 15th.

Questions?  Please feel free to comment below and I'm happy to answer and questions you have.