wisdom Archive

I love you WAY more than paper • Real Life

Hello, friends.

You were probably wondering where I’ve been for the past week or so. Those of you who follow me on Instagram were somewhat in the loop. Our little boy was actually in the hospital for a few days because of an infection. I tell you the truth: never are you more helpless and at the mercy of others than when your child is confined to baby jail with an IV in his tiny little arm.

I will try not to be any more dramatic than I need to be. But maybe these details can help someone avoid a similar situation. We noticed little B had a prolonged fever for about a week or so (and also some pretty yucky things happening in the diaper dept., of which, I will spare you.) Suddenly, one afternoon, his temp spiked to almost 104. It was super high for several days and his pediatrician had us come in for blood work. (Mamas who have ever been with your infant when there has been blood drawn: it plain old SUCKS. The worst thing ever.) We left the doctor and would wait for results. 24 hours later, the culture came back positive for gram negative rods, which, I learned, is the shape of the BAD kind of bacteria (think E. Coli, meningitis, etc.) Rather than wait and see what the contaminant was, we were immediately advised to get to the hospital and start him on an antibiotic. As soon as the drugs hit his little system, his fever went away, praise the Lord. (Seriously, you guys, it had been almost 2 weeks of this fever mess. We just assumed it was teething.)

So we stayed at the hospital while we waited for more conclusive test results. A day or two later, the verdict was in: salmonella.

This is me, hanging outside the baby jail in the world’s most plush recliner. (Not.)

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking what every other mama is thinking: HOW in the world did he get salmonella? He’s a baby. He doesn’t eat “big boy” food. Do you just live in squalor? Do you lick raw chickens for sport?

Of course, the answer is no to those last two, and thank you very much. Believe me, mama guilt hit me HARD at that point. “This is all my fault. I’m his mom, I should have protected him. Give me all the bleach you have. I’ll use it, I will!”

The doctors assured me that we could drive ourselves nuts trying to figure out where this came from. The best things ANY of us can do:

1. Keep a tub of warm soapy water in your sink whenever you are cooking.
2. Use a washcloth in said tub to wipe down countertops thoroughly and often.
3. Wash the packaging on raw meat. (Who knows how many people have had their hands on it!)
4. And let’s be honest, merely rinsing off fruits and veggies isn’t enough. We’re using a few drops of grapefruit seed extract in water and washing produce that way. (Grapefruit seed extract is an antibacterial. You can stick a few drops in your kids’ juice, too, and it will help guard their little systems. Of course, I’m no doctor, so check with your ped first.)
5. Use Clorox to clean surfaces after handling raw meat. I love the natural cleaners as much as the next girl (in part because, seriously, isn’t the packaging so adorable??) but NOTHING kills bacteria like Clorox. (White vinegar probably does a good job, too, but I just am not taking any chances these days.)

Salmonella can live on surfaces for MONTHS. It’s okay to be a little bit more Monica Gellar Bing than you think you need to be.


So, besides becoming a complete clean freak since my last post, what else have I learned?

First, (and this is surprisingly tough to say): I cannot do it all, and I don’t want to.

My cute friend Jillian gave me a great analogy yesterday: your life is a stovetop with four burners. Each burner represents areas of commitment in your life: your spouse, your kids, your job, friends, church, you fill in the blank. The thing is, you can only have two of those things on the front burners at once. The other items can be functioning, but they are on the back burners. And as tough and as fun as it is running my own business, Miss Wyolene is NEVER going to replace my husband or my children on either of the front burners. It is a balancing act, for sure, but honestly, this whole experience has lifted a weight off of me in that sense. I’m not built to do it all and do it all perfectly.  I’m built to fail if I try it all on my own. And I’m so thankful that as a Christian, the Lord offers to take our burdens. Y’all, I have TRIED to carry them. I’ve tried to carry others’. All while putting out this whole “I got this” vibe that is such a lie.

Second: Being joyful doesn’t come from me.

Because when faced with tough circumstances, I’m kind of a big ol’ bummer. When little buddy was baby jail bound, he was in such good spirits. He flirted with the pretty nurses and jumped up and down in his crib. It hit me while we were saying prayers with him that, he has EVERY reason to be sullen and whiney (and there was some of that when he wasn’t feeling well) but overall, he was so joyful. Talk about conviction. How do we get through tough situations with smiles on our faces? It’s NOT pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, smacking ourselves in the face and screaming like drill sergeants “BE HAPPY OR ELSE!!” God wants to GIVE that to His children. And thank goodness, because otherwise, it just isn’t going to happen for me.

This verse came to my mind as I observed little B’s happy disposition.

Third, and this kinda relates back to my first observation: I am a mom. And I love my child WAY more than I love paper.

My clients are SO important to me, and thank goodness they’ve all been SO understanding through this. Even they have encouraged me to be like “uh, hang with your family.” And I wanted to! I just had a hard time taking the week off without feeling guilty. Or without scrolling through Instagram and being like “DANG IT, I’m not creating anything to put out there!” The thing about creativity, I find you can’t force it. And last week, greeting cards just weren’t on my mind. So, I’m done beating myself up when I don’t produce something new every second of every day. I can’t, and I’m letting myself off the hook. If my child or my husband needs me, they get me first. Everything else can wait.

So, moving forward, and with His help, I’m reworking things a bit. I think this experience honestly will make me a better mom and a better biz lady. I don’t have time to make things I’m only just “meh” about. Quality over quantity. And that new invitation suite can wait if little B needs a longer nighttime snuggle.



P.S.- I’m going to be updating my Christmas card promotion in the next few days. It got derailed last week. And that’s okay.


Brand Yo’sefff | Giveaway Day #4

A big Thursday hello to you lovelies!

Once again, I am so delighted by all of the sweet words of encouragement you all have sent my way this week. I’m loving this new blog and every time I see it myself, I can’t believe this is where my thoughts/creations get to live. If you missed it earlier this week, I’m imparting a little bit of wisdom that I’ve gained in my two-ish years working on this business. There are so many things I’m still figuring out, but I do think I’ve tucked a few things away that I’m happy to share here.

I’ve looked forward to today’s “nugget” all week. Branding can be a huge, scary, sometimes expensive word. It means a commitment to yourself, to your clients, and to the people you hope become your clients. Even though there are elements of my brand that I am 100% certain of, (my logo is my grandmother’s signature so I mean, c’mon), there are others that are continuing to evolve as I learn more about how to exist in this space I’ve started to create for myself. One of those areas is my own personal style…and the energy to leave the house wearing something besides my Bridge Run tee from three years ago. I’ve realized the importance of imparting your brand all the time. What you wear and how you present yourself speaks VOLUMES about how seriously you take yourself and how much value you place on people you meet. For instance, if I wore a hoodie, lounge pants, and flip flops to a meeting with a potential bride? Chances are she’d go find someone else….IF she even made it past initial pleasantries. You want to instill confidence in others that you are who you say you are and that you are so confident in your work, that it shines into other areas of your life. And, like most of these nuggets, I do struggle with doing this ALL the time. ESPECIALLY with my little man in tow. Somedays, I’ll look up from my work, it’s 2pm, and I’m a complete mess. And I need to run to Publix to grab food for dinner. I would probably give myself a pass at that moment and pray to not run into anyone who might be in the market for custom wedding invitations. Gotta be honest, I’ve met potential clients at the post office, you guys. I was mailing out some Christmas cards and a girl saw my handwriting and asked for my card. I must have looked a bit disheveled because I never heard from her. I know, I know. Who KNOWS why I didn’t hear from her. (Who hires someone they meet at the post office? SOMEONE WITH PRETTY HANDWRITING, DARN IT….#pickme! #sadface.) In all seriousness, I had a two month old at home and probably wasn’t looking my best. Who knows if that little difference would have mattered to her or not. But whenever possible, it’s better to play it cute, right?

So, what’s Miss Wyolene’s style? It’s really just whatever I like (and honestly, most of that time that’s Anthro. When I can afford it. Usually when it goes on sale.) My taste is a bit all over the place, but I tell myself at least I know that. I love anything feminine with exaggerated elements. Giant, fluffy skirts. Warm pinks and reds. Lots of colors. Or no color. I’m not opposed to a big bow every now and then. But I also love clean lines and flattering cuts. I love prints. I love prints with florals. Florals and more florals. Prints on prints. Patterns and prints. Am I brave enough to wear that stuff out in Greenville? No. And I usually don’t spend money on risky items. I am practical in that if I’m going to drop big bucks on a piece of clothing or an accessory, it’d better be something with some longevity. I just can’t afford couture trends. Who can?? So you have to get creative to let your style shine on a limited budget. I went back through some of my Pinterst boards and tried to pick out items that best summarize what I would wear every day if I could.

And I have a treat for y’all today! My friend Christina Nicole is giving away some fabulous earrings to one special Miss Wyolene reader! Talk about a gal who knows her brand. EVERYTHING Christina does: her Instagram feed, her packaging, her marketing, her styling…it is all SO. HER. She and her husband Travis are such an awesome team and if you stalk them enough like I do, you’ll think they are out of a movie. Except that they’s really nice and legit.

I mean, how can you not love these bohemian chic products and images???!

IMG_0739 IMG_9533

Now, I know I’m not eligible for these pretties, but Miss Wyolene would wear the HECK out of these, just so you know!

How can you win them?

1. Post a picture on Instagram of your go-to wardrobe piece. It can be clothing, an accessory, whatever. What makes you feel most like YOU when you leave the house?
2. Tag @misswyolene and @christinanicolestudio in your post.
3. Use the hashtags: #misswyolenehasanewblog #todaysheshandingoutearcandy  and #ilookawesomeinthis

Winner will be announced her on the blog tomorrow morning as well as on Instagram. Open until 12am EST tonight.

Congratulations to @cmt1204 for winning the precious Xenia cake plate from yesterday’s contest!! Woohoo! 

Happy day to you, friends!




The Creative Community | Giveaway Day #3

Dear lovelies,

The party keeps rolling here at Miss Wyolene! I’ve been hoping to take a few days to impart a bit of the knowledge I have obtained while being on this journey of creative entrepreneurship. (Here and here if you missed it!) I’ve also reached out to some friends who have been generous enough to give you awesome things on my behalf. They are fabulous fellow makers and I can’t thank them enough for celebrating with me.

Speaking of those who have joined me on this journey, I wanted to take a minute to thank the ladies at Love Inspired who created the GORGEOUS site you are looking at right now. Cathy Olsen really captured the look and feel of my brand in this site and I just love the little details that she included. I have a sneaky feeling that our relationship isn’t over…but more on that later. Thank you, Cathy, for this beautiful home for my words and work. You have certainly inspired me!

Probably one of the most important things I’ve learned on this journey is just how important building a solid community of creators has been. When I left my job at an advertising agency of 300+ people, I quickly realized how lonely and scary it can be to send a file off to a vendor without the approval of a creative director or an account executive, many of whom have remained close friends and cheerleaders. Not seeing them every single day was a shock to the E in my ENFP. (Myers Briggs for those of you who are like “???”.) While the peace and quiet (when the little guys is sleeping, of course) is a really good thing at times, at other moments, you feel like you’re floating out there in creative space wondering “what the heck am I doing?” I needed some people. Slowly, through social media, coffee dates, and a few shows, I began to build up my arsenal of like-minded creatives. Building up these relationships has probably been the single most important thing I’ve done to stay in this long term. And it’s so awesome to be able to have different spheres of folks: locally (even down the street) and all over, thanks to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. At any given time, I can call one of these friends and get advice and more often than not, feedback on new projects. I cannot stress the importance of building these relationships over time. Treat people to coffee, ask questions and LISTEN. Buy work that you love. Promote others as much as possible. These people will become part of your inner circle and you’ll have the foundation you need to pay it forward. This approach works SO MUCH BETTER than sending out random emails to creatives (who are pouring their souls, years, and sometimes tons of money into their work) and asking them to tell you everything they know so that you can do the exact same thing they do. Pour into others and they will pour out to you. Those relationships are the best investments I’ve made by far.

Which brings me to a new friend I’d like introduce to you all! Meet Jessica Franco. Jessica owns Xenia Hospitality and Home Decor and makes adorable cake stands out of vintage plates. Jessica is a GREAT example of getting to know your local craft community. She lives here in Greenville and while we haven’t yet met in person, I met her through a mutually creative pal. And for those of you who do live in Greenville (or are looking for some fun events to attend), she will be selling her fabulous wares at both the upcoming Indie Craft Parade as well as the Farm Fresh Fair and Market. (Craft fairs are a GREAT way to connect with makers and artists. Having done a show or two myself, I loved meeting other creatives who had been hard at work for months getting ready! I’ve actually made  some seriously quality friendships through shows!) In the meantime, you can buy the cakestands locally at Mountain Creek Mercantile. Aren’t these lovely?? They make me want to throw a party with lots of desserts.

cakeplate-29 copy
Indie Craft 3 Indie Craft 5

And guess what?! Yep, Jessica has graciously provided the plate below to one lucky reader today!

Here’s how you can get your hands on yours!

1. Post a picture on Instagram of a friend who encourages you. (I know we don’t get to see these people every single day, so a latergram is fine!!) Write a little something about that person and tag them if they have an Instagram account! (It’ll make them happy to know you think they are awesome.)
2. Tag @misswyolene and @Xeniahome (Be sure you are following us so that we can see your entry!)
3. Use the following hashtags in your post: #misswyolenehasanewblog and #igetbywithalittlehelpfromthisfriend

I will be taking entries all day until 12am EST tonight!! Have fun!
And congrats to @jones_blair for winning the Simplified Datebook from Emily Ley in yesterday’s giveaway! (Didn’t win? You can buy one here.)

Have a lovely day, friends!



The Value of Being Organized | Giveaway Day #2

Hi Friends!

Thank you all for being SO awesome and supportive yesterday with this new blog release! I’m so blessed to have such a sweet community of readers. Annnddd did you SEE? The REAL Miss Wyolene left a comment. Made my YEAR. And the celebration continues! As I mentioned yesterday, I am taking some time this week to not only surround this blog with some fanfare (insert confetti cannon here), but also to reflect on a few disciplines that have helped me reach this point. Now, you might have taken one look at that title and laughed out loud. I know, I know. Artists are not usually known for being the most organized people. However, you might be surprised to learn that I kinda get a kick out of organizing the junk drawer. (Of course that statement alone suggests the fact that yes, we do have a junk drawer or two.) Or streamlining the shelving system in my office. Or labeling client file folders. (That last one includes using office supplies so, yeah, I’m all in!) But in all honesty, it takes major effort to do it and to maintain it.

Since the little guy was born, and since we’ve moved into a new house, I’ve seen even more clearly how beneficial it is to be organized not just in business, but in all areas of life. And as women, it’s super important to get this down as best we can, just because of all of the hats we wear! I’ll be honest, I straight up struggle with keeping everything organized. My artsy fartsy side wants to make messes and throw order to the wind re aforementioned junk draw. But the responsible side of me knows that there are doctor’s appointments, church functions, vacations, meals to plan and I know NOTHING will happen if I am a frazzled disorganized mess. I know y’all hear me on this. Because this challenge isn’t unique to me. We ALL struggle with busyness and responsibilities and the need to keep it all together. Ultimately, we all want the same things: to be successful without sacrificing time with the most important people in our lives. Getting ourselves organized and buttoned up is a crucial step to getting there. And I need all the help I can get.

Enter Emily Ley.

The woman is my hero. For so many reasons. First, she is a mama and creative small business owner. I kinda feel like we’re in the same camp walking towards the same prizes, ya know? She understands the struggles I mentioned above. In fact, she combines her gifts of organization and creativity (did y’all know they can successfully coexist?) to create products that stand out as tools for a richer, more organized life. I got her Simplified Planner™ for Christmas and I LOVE IT. Let me tell ya, it has become a foolproof way to stay on top of things here at the Young house. I’m convinced that Emily’s products save my family from at least half of would-be meltdowns. Here’s how Emily describes her planner:

The Simplified Planner™ is designed as a “home base” for all the STUFF we manage daily – all those things that pull at our hearts. Bob Goff (author of one of my favorite books, Love Does) put it best, “The battle for our happiness is fought on the pages of our calendars.” 

The Simplified Planner™ even has sister recipe version. I might become a collector, to be honest. And I’ll be the first to point my brides towards her Simplified Wedding Planner. Oh to have had a consolidated system during my wedding! I would encourage you to spend some time on Emily’s blog. Her products, her attention to detail, her bright colors, the very real voice she communicates in…it’s the kind of site you leave a happier person just for having hung out there. Check out just a small sampling of her products:


Emily has played a huge role in helping me develop a focused vision for my business. If you are thinking about striking out on your own and are worried about to make everything balance, I can’t think of a better person to send you to. Check out the coaching segment of her business, as well. I found it to be a great investment in the future of Miss Wyolene.

SO! For today’s giveaway, cute Emily has generously offered one of her Simplified Datebooks to a lucky Miss Wyolene reader! Yay!!


I’m mixing up the entry rules today just a bit! Here’s what ya gotta do:

1. Take an Instagram shot of an area of life that either you desperately need to organize (admitting is the first step to recovery, am I right?) OR an area that you have conquered and that you’d like to document as proof.
2. Tag @misswyolene and @emilyley
3. 3 New hashtags today! (cause you all know I love a good hashtag) Please use #misswyolenehasanewblog #shesgivingawayfuntreats and #simplifiedplanner

Contest is open through midnight EST tonight and I’ll tag/announce the winner tomorrow morning!
Congratulations to Instagram friend @eshasta for winning yesterday’s awesome Laura Cooke mug!

Have a wonderful day!