Moving…

Hey Wonder friends! I apologize for being a little quiet around here lately. I have been working on redoing this whole blog and moving over to WordPress, after giving it a lot of thought. Like I said in this post, changes are coming and I wanted the site to represent what I’m going for.

It shouldn’t be too much longer now, but until then, feel free to browse through some of the past posts on here, like these ones for help with your blog, these ones for a little inspiration and advice, and these ones if you feel like getting crafty. If that’s not enough and you want to spend your time more productively, my Get Noticed blogging course is still open for signups.

Thanks for your patience and stay tuned for more awesome things!
xo Dana

The Art and Importance of Discipline

Contributed by Alyssa J Freitas, photos by Ally Marcino.

It’s the little things, right? That’s what people say, yet so often we don’t truly recognize the value of the seemingly small things we do everyday. When you have ambitious goals and lofty aims it can be easy to get discouraged or to feel overwhelmed. However, when it comes right down to it, the disciplines we establish in our routines are what will lead us to success.

Let me explain what I mean. I struggle with accounting; like sit in front of my homework for hours on end in complete confusion, sort of struggle. Clearly, something needed to change in how I prepped for class and exams or else I was doomed to fail (well, perhaps not fail, but certainly not perform to a high standard). I decided that since there was no chance I was going to wake up one morning and suddenly be able to understand debits, and credits, and journal entries, I was going to have to work towards it little by little each day.

So, I studied accounting for at least half an hour daily. Not a terribly difficult task but one that would obviously have positive results. As you would imagine it became much easier for me to do my homework and perform well in class because I was continually working on my understanding and mastery of the subject.

This is all well and good of course, but why don’t we take advantage of the power of everyday disciplines? If it is easy to engage in activities which will improve ourselves, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or reading a little bit each night, then why do make excuses and convince ourselves that we don’t REALLY need to do it today?

There is no truly good answer! What separates those who are moving closer to achieving their goals and making a positive impact on their lives, and those who find themselves perpetually stuck and not meeting their own expectations, is discipline. If that is the case and we acknowledge that to make strides towards our goals we require everyday discipline, how do we go about working it into our routines?

Make the choice.

The first, and most important, thing to do is commit. Sure, sometimes it won’t be fun (I certainly don’t like studying accounting), but by making the promise to yourself that you are going to do it and acknowledging the benefits, you can ensure that you’ll be in it for the long haul. It can also be incredibly helpful to tell others about your plan for a degree of accountability. If it’s really tough for you to have internal motivation, then figuring out a way to partner with someone is the way to go which leads us to the next step…

Fit it in.

Humans thrive on routines. We make sure to establish routines for children and create work processes that maximize our productivity, and we need to do the same for our disciplines. If you want to engage in a healthier lifestyle and made the choice to go to the gym three times a week, you have to make it an essential part of your schedule. Just like you go to work each morning, going to the gym must have that same level of priority in your routine if you want to see results.

Like I mentioned before, partnering can be incredibly helpful. For example, if you and your friend commit to working out together and sharing a ride to the gym you will feel a sense of obligation. Now it’s not just about you but also about inconveniencing your friend if you don’t go. That extra level of responsibility may be the push you need to maintain discipline!

Be consistent and patient.

By virtue of the word, discipline requires consistency. It’s the culmination of daily studying which leads to academic success or the effort to drink more water over time that yields more luminous skin; nothing is overnight. Yes, being disciplined will give you great results, but it’s your patience and faith that what you are doing will ultimately benefit you that is going to get you where you want to be.

We all have the capability and capacity to do great things, but it’s those who commit, make time, and stay patient who will be met with success. Let us be the ones who take small steps everyday towards our bigger goals, without discouragement; secure in knowing that when you consistently engage in positive activity, beneficial results are the outcome.

I am a studious, decorous, college student who wishes she were a better speller. My blog provides readers with resources and ideas to enhance their lifestyle and relationships. From exploring simplicity and etiquette, to sharing a plethora of musings, you can always expect thoughtful and fun posts! Blog | Pinterest | Twitter | Instagram

How To Plan an Epic Road Trip

Contributed by Katie Steckly

We all have the constant struggle – the urge to travel against our ability (or willingness) to shell out the money to do it. As a student, I feel that struggle even harder, between tuition costs and seeing friends going on exchanges or summers abroad. But this summer, I discovered what I believe to be the best and most affordable remedy for the travel bug- road trips!

I drove from Ontario to British Columbia this summer, staying with family along the way and seeing local attractions in each city. The cost of gas round trip was about the price of a single plane ticket to Vancouver- and two of us went on the trip, meaning we basically got 50% off the cost of our trip, plus a way more unique and exciting experience.

But planning such a robust trip can certainly be intimidating. There’s a lot of driving and a lot of places to see. But, with my experience of a cross country road trip under my belt (plus many other road trips- I’m kind of a fanatic) I thought I could share my tips and tricks for planning a fun and adventurous road trip – while still making sure you make it to your destination on time.

1) Decide on a route.

The evident first step to road trip planning is deciding where you want to go. Obviously this will depend on your time frame and your interests, and possibly where you have connections- which we’ll get to in the next point. It’s best to start brainstorming places that you might want to be your final destination (for me it was Vancouver) and then find locations of interest in between. This way, you can punctuate your long days of driving with some active moments in between. For me, this was stopping for a day layover in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Calgary before reaching Vancouver. Deciding how far apart the cities you visit are will totally depend on the overall length of your road trip.

2) Find people to stay with.

My number one tip for an inexpensive, but also more fun and enlightening travel experience, is to find people to stay with. Skip the expense of a hotel, and track down some long lost relative or grade school friends. Not only will it be so much cheaper than staying in a hotel, you’ll get to hear the local perspective on places to shop and eat along the way.

3) Make a list of attractions.

Once you have a route determined and accommodations lined up, it’s time to decide what you want to see. Look into local tourism websites, or the official websites of the province or state. Better yet, check out what travel bloggers have to say! I’ve found some really great round up posts through Pinterest of locations of interests all over the place. Alternatively, look for bloggers who are from the places you want to visit. Just like the locals you plan to stay with, they’ll be a way better resource than any tourism website.

4) Don’t forget your sense of adventure.

As much as it’s important to budget your time, and have a solid plan before you set out, it’s also essential that you don’t become overly focused on following your plans. Leave room for inspiration! If you change your plans last minute, it’s no big deal. In fact, you’re more likely to learn more and have more fun if you take ideas and inspiration from interesting locals and quirky places you find along the way.

5) Get packing!

The final (and probably one of the most important) step is to pack! I could write an entire other post about this topic… or two, or three. But really it’s quite simple: think about what you will actually need. Like, actually. We all like to over plan and overestimate, but really try to keep it simple. There’s no need to be stressing about clothes while traveling, it will take away from your experience. My quick guide: the number of days you’re traveling = the number of tops you will need. A third of that number is the number of bottoms. From there, fill in as necessary.

And that’s it! Now you’re ready to embark on your adventure. There’s a lot to see, even in our own backyards. I hope your future road trip is as wonderful and enlighting and adventurous as you have always dreamed – and that it isn’t anything like those terrible family road trip movies.


Katie Steckly is a full time student, part time blogger who is obsessed with pizza, buying new makeup, and finding the perfect font. Her blog, Thought Couture, chronicles her life as a student and style lover. You can also find her on Twitter, Instagram and Bloglovin’.

Stand Tall iPhone Wallpapers by Emma Margaret

Emma Margaret is a freelance illustrator from the UK, and I immediately fell in love with her work as soon as I laid my eyes upon it. There is something truly magical about her style, the handwritten type, and colour palettes she chooses, which is why I am so excited that she has created a special iPhone wallpaper for all of you Wonder Forest readers!

To check out more of her amazing work, visit her website at Emma Margaret Illustration,  and see the awesome products she sells over in her shop.  If you want to see even more, give her a follow on Instagram or view her blog for progress and snaps of her daily life.

Download:

iPhone 5
iPhone 6
iPhone 6 Plus

To use: Save the image to your device and set it as your wallpaper! You can of course use these on additional devices, just choose the size that suits your screen best!

All designs are for personal use only. Copyright belongs to the artist and they may not be duplicated, sold, or used for commercial use without written permission from the original creator. 

Whats Next for Wonder Forest?

Hey Wonder friends! Let’s chat. It’s been a moment since we’ve done that, hasn’t it? Since Fall always seems to bring forth a stage of growth for me, I thought we could discuss some of the things going on right now… the things you can’t see!

Summer made me lazy (blame it on the sunshine!), but also gave me the time and a chance to make some big decisions. The first being about Wonder Forest and how I want this place to evolve. I’ve always loved writing posts that inspire and spark creativity so I want to continue along that path and provide you with useful and even fun content. However, I want this blog to be our place, not my place. I want to share ideas and insights from others who may have different perspectives than I do, different talents than I do, and different lifestyles than I do. So in the coming weeks you will start to see more posts from people other than myself who have some pretty awesome advice and ideas to share with you!

I want Wonder Forest to be a collection of collaborated inspiration and beautiful things and to build a community that you can all be a part of. I hope that this makes sense, without divulging all of the little details, but I just wanted to prepare you for some new changes that will be happening around this place!

That said, if you missed my previous post about contributing something, check that out here.

Secondly, I have a pretty big personal project underway.  I’ve purchased another property that I’ll be fixing up and either renting out or using as a work studio for a while (haven’t decided) and am pretty excited to share some of that journey and some tips from the experience here as well. Owning multiple income properties is something that I’ve always wanted to do, so to be able to finally take that on and check another task off of my bucket list is pretty awesome and I can’t wait to share this first one with you!

I have also been working on a couple of new e-books, including a digital re-write of Blog Wonderful which has been on my to-do list for quite a while. Like I said though, summer made me lazy so I am just starting to pick up the slack.

So, those are a few of the things I’ve buried myself in lately, not to mention travel planning, boy drama, and finding my own footings once again… but we can save those chats for another day ;).

Lots of love,
Dana

12 Booties Every Girl Needs This Fall

I’ve always had a thing for booties when the Autumn weather drifts in. They are so versatile and can usually be dressed up or down, whether paired with jeans, pants, or a dress. With so many different styles to choose from, I’ve complied a few of my favourite boots for Fall that are easy to wear and make for some necessary seasonal staples!

Over-The-Knee

I absolutely love the look of over-the-knee boots paired with a skirt or a short dress. Not only do they look amazing, they also help keep your legs warm on cooler days, allowing you to skip the nylons!

Classic Booties

A pair of classic ankle booties can go a long way. These look great dressed up or with rolled up boyfriend jeans for a casual but sexy appearance, depending on the look you’re going for.

Staple Wedges

Wedge booties are perfect for those who want a little more comfort in their step. They are easier to walk in and give you a little extra height while lengthening your stride. I love these two more casual looks below for everyday wear.

Wooden Heels

Chunky wooden heels add a little more interest to your standard casual bootie. They come in many different styles, like this western inspired suede pair, or classic black sleek boot.

Buckle It Up

One of my most favourite looks is a good pair of boots with buckles and a leather jacket. The straps and clasps give an edgier feel for that confident badass babe vibe!

Tall Booties

These babies usually hit under your knees or at your calves and can easily be worn with tights, bare legs, or slouchy socks. This length is a must for Fall!

Which type of boot is your favourite for the chillier seasons?

Also check out:
How to Wear Ankle Boots 5 Ways!
Must-have Casual Basics 
 

This post was brought to you by Shopbop. All opinions are my own.

How To Transition From Blogger to Business

Contributed by Kelly Brito 

Going from blogger to business is something many of us want, but we’re not sure how to get started. Luckily, it can be easier than we expect! I have worked with many bloggers that were initially interested in getting clarity for their brands, so they could create a better blog for their readers, but ended up realizing their full potential and went ahead to start their own businesses. We may not realize or intend it, but being a blogger is one step from being an entrepreneur. Everyone has something unique to offer the world, and bloggers are one step ahead, because they have already started to dive deeper into the world they love and share it with their readers. So, how do we make the transition from blogger to business, in a smooth but effective way?

Define Your Niche

Because we want to find our voice, be unique and make sure we have something distinct to offer our community. The best way to be remembered is by being specific. If this is something we’ll be talking about or working with, it better be something that we either really know about or really love.

Define Your Audience

Once we know what we want to do, the next step is to find and define the right audience for us. Not everyone will be interested in what we have to say or to sell. And that’s totally fine. We do not need nor want to attract everybody. The more specific we are about who we want to attract, the better! By defining the ideal audience, we’ll have a clearer idea of how to find them, how to develop the right service or product, and it will be easier for them to find us.

Create Your Product or Services

Now we know what we love doing (or are really good at) and who we would like to work with (our ideal audience). The next step is to create a product or service that will attend our audience needs. What is it that YOUR audience needs?

Most bloggers find the transition into coaching the easiest. For seasoned bloggers, coaching new bloggers on how to start a blog, organize their daily activities, building a successful blog, etc, is something that comes naturally. For fashion bloggers, doing fashion consultation is usually the easiest route.
There is an infinity of ways we can help other bloggers/businesses/people and make money with it.
Of course, we can also create products. What products can you make and your audience needs? The options are so many… Here are some:

  • Blog templates – because many of us can write a blog, but not design it.
  • Logos and branding – branding has become something huge, so if you know how to design, help others create their visual identity
  • Creative copy – writing a blog post is one thing, writing a killer copy that sells is a whole different ball game
  • Styled stock photos – anyone can take photos these days, very few can take good photos -and even fewer have the time to shoot beautiful and styled photos
  • Social Media strategist – some people have the hardest building their online presence and using social media efficiently
  • Coaching and consulting – if you know things that could be really helpful to others, well, then help others!

Create Your Brand

A blog is not a brand. A business is not a brand. A logo is not a brand. A brand is the whole feeling and experience that people have when they get in touch with you, your services, your product, your business…
A brand is relatively complex and cannot be nailed down in one try or one day. That’s completely fine! While our business develops, we understand our brands better and better. Branding is an ever changing process, that helps us define the brand and send our message across clearly.
There are many steps in branding, some important ones are:

  • Visually defining the brand – logo, website, social media, newsletter, etc
  • Brand message – defining what the brand message will be and what the visitor should feel from being in touch with your brand (before, during and after)

Continuously Share Value

Don’t be afraid of giving too much for free. That’s something we are often scared of when starting a business. Don’t worry! We will hardly run out of ideas or services. In fact, the more we work on something, the more ideas we have. Sharing good content for free, will attract more and more of your ideal audience -and it will help convert the prospects into buyers. People often think: “If she is sharing this for free, imagine her paid content!”

Be Organized

When we first start a business, we are usually a one-woman-business. There’s a lot to run behind the scenes and it’s really easy to get things pilled up without noticing it. Then things get messy and we lose the excitement. Many entrepreneurs fail in the beginning, for pure lack of organization. Keep a solid calendar and always plan ahead. This step is a must!

Connect With Your Community

Be present. Everywhere. Find out where your audience hangs out and join them there! If they have problems that relate to your area of work, offer help by sharing advice, be truly helpful. Be honest and connect with people on a personal level, when possible. In my years doing this, I’ve learned that people do business with people, so they value honest human interaction a lot.

There are many other steps to be taken, most of them you’ll discover on your own. But if you need help, get in touch. Ask. Reach out! Starting a business is hard and there is no such thing as “one truth” that will work a miracle for all entrepreneurs out there. There may be moments when we feel like giving up. Don’t! Always remember why you started! Good things hardly come easily, and that’s why one of the first things I suggest is that we do what we love -this way, every day we work, we’ll actually be having fun!

I help creatives build a brand they fall in love with everyday and a business that is profitable. I’ve been working with amazing creatives worldwide for 7 years, specializing in brand strategy for the past 4 years. Few things make me happier than helping people make money doing what they love!- Kelly Brito

The Perfect At-Home Pedicure

It’s time I come clean about something: I’ve never had a salon pedicure. I’ve always found it slightly strange to have another person help maintain my body parts for me and my feet happen to be extremely ticklish. I’m talking I-will-kick-you-in-the-face ticklish, so to offer them to somebody else to primp and poke at has always seemed like a really bad idea.

That said, I do my best to keep them looking proper and with barefoot season coming to an end, it’s about time to undo some of that summer damage. I know I’m not the only one who wanders around outside sans-shoes in the sun!

From beaches to patios, our feet can take a bit of a beating in the summertime. Now is the perfect time to try an at-home pedicure to remove any dead skin and make those footsies ultra smooth. Here are some tips for obtaining the perfect home foot treatment:

1. Remove polish

Start by removing any old nail polish from your toes with nail polish remover and a cotton pad. Acetone free nail polish removers work well, but aren’t always the easiest for darker colours. You’ll want to start with a clean and fresh base!

2. File

Starting with dry feet, remove the dead skin from your heels and balls of feet with a file. I was able to test out the Amope™ Pedi Perfect™ Electronic Foot File with Diamond Crystal Coarse, Extra Course, and Soft Touch functions and think it’s a great alternative to booking a spot at a salon! It is a handheld device with interchangeable roller heads that instantly makes your hard skin soft. It’s automatic (so no manual filing needed!) and works in seconds, giving you seriously soft and touchable feet!

3. Soak

Fill up a large bowl or your bathtub with warm water so that it reaches your ankles. Add 1/2 a cup of Epsom salts or your choice of bath salts to soothe the skin and reduce any inflammation. See also: DIY Lavender and Oatmeal Bath Salt Recipe. Relax and soak for about 10 minutes.

4. Trim

With your nails soft from the soaking, trim your toenails with nail clippers so they don’t extend past the tips of your toes. You should use clippers specifically for toenails as others can break or tear the nails. Cut them evenly and avoid cutting the corners too deep or you may risk nasty ingrown nails. Finally,  using a nail file, shape and smooth out the clipped nails nicely.

5. Hydrate

The skin on your feet is thick which might make it tough for some moisturizers to penetrate. I used Amope’s™ Extra Rich Skin Recovery Foot Cream which makes your feet incredibly soft overnight. It absorbs quickly, smells pleasant, and has a nice thick consistency for your heels. Massage the cream into your feet from your toes to your ankles and let it absorb.

You can finish by adding any new polish of your choice and reveling in the softness of your newly manicured feet!

I love that I am able to do this in the comfort of my own home and achieve great results! Do you do your own pedis or leave that to the hands of a salon?

The Amopé™ Pedi Perfect ™ Electronic Foot File can be used to achieve salon quality results at home! It removes areas of hard skin without any sharp blades to leave your feet feeling luxuriously soft. The foot file is furnished with a safety stop that halts the device as soon as too much pressure is applied to the skin. The pink Pedi Perfect gadget comes with a Diamond Crystal extra coarse roller head, with additional Regular Coarse & Soft Touch roller heads available for purchase separately. Get yours now!

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Amopé™ Canada via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Amopé™ Canada.

7 Awesome Ideas for an Unused Fireplace

With the colder weather blowing in, fireplace season is about to spark up (see what I did there?). While not everyone has a working fireplace, they can still be fun to decorate and instantly add that cozy feel to any room. If you’ve got a mantel or an unused wood burning fireplace of your own, check out some of these awesome ideas for transforming it into something not only full of character, but also useful!

Your Own Personal Library

Try stacking that open fireplace full of books to add a little interest and organize your growing book collection. Placing them so that the paper edges are showing in front helps to neutralize the whole look. Turn them around to expose the book bindings for added colour!

Photo: Blue Eyed Yonder

Photo: At Home In Love

When in doubt, use logs!

Fireplaces and logs just go together. Why not fill that whole thing up with chopped wood for a more rustic feel? This look works well on modern and more contemporary mantel designs, so go on and give the room some warmth, without the fire.

Photo: The Rooster and The Hen

Indoor Plants 

A super simple way to fill that empty hole is to drop in an indoor house plant. Choose a crate that suits the style of the room and adds some contrast against the backdrop of your fireplace.  Vases with some greenery can also do the same trick!

 Photos: Beneath My Heart / Midwest Living

Flowers in front

When you have a monochrome colour scheme happening in your home, adding a touch of colour can do wonders. Set a simple vase or pitcher in front of your mantel filled with your favourite flowers to be reminded of sunnier days.

Photo: Happy Modern

Storage for days

If you don’t have a lot of storage space, being creative with your small quarters can be helpful. You can easily accomplish a look like this below by installing some wood shelving and filling it up with some organization baskets. No storage space will go untouched!

Photo: BHG

Get Festive

With Autumn just around the corner, pumpkins are in full swing. I love the idea of taking inspiration from festive decorating and incorporating that into your unused fireplace! 

 Photo: One Kings Lane

A Pet Haven

Pets need a special space too! If your fireplace allows, your pup might just find comfort  in this little space! Primping it with his favourite bed or eating bowls will make him feel oh-so appreciated. 😉

Photo: Dwell

Best Of The Week: Links Worth Saving // 2

With the week coming to an end, I thought I’d share some of my favourite blog posts from around the web lately. We’ve got everything from blog/business tips to some ultra adorable DIY projects that just might make you want to get crafty this weekend! Here we go…

Some tips on making your flowers last longer... because if you’ve got a black thumb like me, you need all the help you can get!

If you own a business or sell a product, dealing with free product requests can be somewhat of a head-scratcher. Here’s how to handle requests for free products.

Fancy up your wall with this totally simple and modern yarn wall hanging!

Choosing a colour palette for your blog doesn’t have to be hard, and helps to have a visual to refer to. Check out these tips for coming up with your own palette and tutorial on how to make your own colour template.

ZOMG… fruit sushi. Do I need to say anything else?!

Save visitors from scrolling up your website and add this “back to top” button now!

Here’s a super adorable way to turn a boring plain bowl into a fancy, colourful fiesta bowl!

Why you need time off and why you need to think and plan!

I am totally loving this modern planter idea made from a DIY peg board… so unique!

That’s all for today, friends! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

This is my blog about style, design, and life. I am a web designer and graphic artist from Canada with a mind that never sleeps. I ? makeup, DIYs, fashion, and I hope to inspire through words and photos.