Category Archives: creative process

Glisten & Grace Our Systems

Glisten & Grace: Our Systems

Student. Intern. Lifestyle blogger. Graphic Designer. Educator. Branding Expert.

Everyday I wake up and have multiple hats to wear. Systems, they’re something that are vital to a thriving business. If you don’t have systems, you’re probably operating in the land of dysfunction. With a few simple tweaks and a bit of discipline, your life can be freed from the hours behind your screen, the headaches that can come with walking aimlessly throughout your business. While systems aren’t sexy, if your systems suck, you’ll know and will be feeling the pain for years. Hey there fellow entrepreneur, what do you think about getting on top of the pain points in your business and developing systems that work? Today we’re making things super practical, as we pull back the curtain and let you in on our systems. Grab a cup of coffee, you have 10 minute read ahead, it’s one of our favorite posts to date.

Glisten & Grace: Our Systems

1. We swear by The Chalkboard method.

We came across this method a few years ago and as a visual person, it keeps our long term goals in mind. (You can listen to the full concept on Being Boss podcast here.) While we don’t have a full wall to dedicate to a chalkboard, we’ve opted to place ours on a smaller bulletin board with pieces of cardstock instead. We have a long-term goals listed, as well as short term goals, and weekly to-do lists. This keeps our quarter’s goals in front of us. Our categories include 10 Collaborations or Sponsored Posts, 10 Affiliates to add, 10 Clients, and quarter sales increase to date. By having blanks in front of our workspace, it keeps us looking forward to grow as a company.

2. When the credit card bill comes in, we fill in our spreadsheets. 

For most entrepreneurs, there’s a massive groan when it comes to all things finances and taxes. It’s easy in the midst of the daily grind to ignore items and have a massive headache when tax season comes around. When your credit card bill arrives in the mail, take an hour and make sure to transpose expenses on an Excel sheet. (We always prefer something on our hard drive for our business finances.)

3. We dedicate 1 Hour a Week to Writing for Instagram.

Instagram is our favorite platform and over the summer, we’ve been tweaking our methods. With a few launches coming up this quarter, we can’t wait to see how this platform continues to grow. Honest engagement and great content are our jam. For most folks, Instagram can feel like a chore. With a content-focus to our Instagram, we spend an hour to write for Instagram a week. This allows us to space to develop our content a week ahead, revise the copy, and shoot accordingly. We do the same for our social media clients, seeking their approval for copy, prior to posts going live. This gives your social media a strong presence and strategy as content rolls out.

4. Have an automated system for onboarding clients.

When we receive an email, we have four e-mails drafted that typically meet the needs of any client. If a client requests a meeting we send a form via Google Forms, to have a better idea of what they’re looking for if the meeting is a cold call. Any client meeting is restricted to one hour before shifting to a consultant meeting. Our contracts are fill in the blank proposals. They take less than 30 minutes to modify for each client. Within each proposal is a hyperlink to sign the Contract via SignNow and another link to Pay a deposit via Paypal. It’s simple, fast, and keeps back and forth communication to a minimum. Once clients sign contracts, they receive moodboard instructions, a branding questionnaire, and pre production deadlines for their project via Google Calendar (particularly for dates that require their approval).

5. Personal life hack: Do 2 loads of laundry and dry cleaning, while cleaning the house.

In two hours we are able to get all of our chores done for the week. We begin by starting with dry cleaning in the dryer, then place whites in the washer. We then follow with darks, the load that has the most hanging items to dry. We combine our whites and darks in the dryer, while most  of our denim we line dry. (Usually it gets dry within a day due to the Redding heat.) This reduces our energy bills by only using the dryer for dry cleaning and one load of laundry a week.

6. Spend Sunday evening prepping for the week.

Whether it’s meals or scheduling, if we wait until Mondays to write out to do lists, schedules, or be prepared for meetings, we’re already behind. Instead of investing this energy on Monday mornings, do this on Sunday evening to be prepared and hit the ground running Monday morning.

7. Have an admin day once a quarter.

We firmly believe that if it doesn’t exist in Google Calendar it doesn’t happen. Here’s how we keep our calendars organized. For work, here are our calendars: blog posting content, photoshoots, work deadlines, and meetings. For the rest of our life: we have home, birthdays, bills due, and  This keeps everything on appropriate calendars and makes our color coding hearts delighted.

8. Develop templates in Evernote. 

Ever feel like your notes from client meetings get lost in your stack of Moleskines? We’ve been there. Rather than trying to keep everything on paper, we’ve gone digital.  We developed a few templates that we swear by. We have one for Client Intake meetings, one for a Project Brief, and one for a Creative Business Plan. How do we use them? In your Evernote dashboard, duplicate the template and retitle the note for the specific client or project, modifying the content below each prompt.

9. Track increased income/sales and to invoice in the same Excel sheet.

Every quarter this year, we’ve exceeded our sales goals, which is a big, big deal for our company. We track every invoice and payment received in excel. Once a client receives an invoice, their payment is marked in yellow. Once payment is received and cleared in our account the line goes back to no fill. We have a separate tab titled, “To Invoice” for clients on retainer where we’re working on multiple projects at a time, this allows us a simple time tracking system. We’re fully aware that this can be done through Bonsai or Honeybook, but have opted to keep our expenses streamlined, investing in less subscription services and digital products, keeping our overhead low. At some point we may switch over to an online platform, but for now our clients on retainer are familiar with our systems and it works.

10. Automation is your friend.

There are seasons where we’ve subcontracted, had personal assistants, and hired other creatives we respect in our field. There are other times where flying solo has been the name of the game. Sometimes you need to delegate to an accountant or a web developer (we do both of these) and other times it’s as simple as stopping by Trader’s to pick up a favorite salad and apple on the go. Coming in under $5, it remains less expensive than eating out and is far, far better for you. Other times you just need to hire someone to clean your house, do sourcing for shoots, or handle laundry. There are loads of tools out there that can help you automate your business. ( One of our most popular posts about that right here.)

What are some of your best systems in your business? What are the rhythms and season of your year? How does the seasonal calendar guide your systems?

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.



our grown up school supply list

Our Grown Up School Supply List

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Today marks an important day as I head back to school for the last time. It’s a very happy first day indeed! As I’ve grown older the back to school tradition has remained a great reason to maintain my gear, pick up a few great office essentials, and return to a routine with more structured hours. This list includes a great bag, office essentials, and some great camera gear to freshen and brighten up our office hours and work this year.

Keep reading for our grown up school supply list after the jump!

our grown up school supply list 2

1. Day Tote from Everlane: Everlane just released a phenomenal line of items for fall. Last week we shared with you their upcoming denim line and have fallen for this tote. I love the rich brown color and can’t wait to have this as my standard bag. (It perfectly holds my MacBook and all my cords, leaving room for all the essentials.)

2. Set the World on Fire foil pencils from Small Glow Shop: I absolutely love having writing instruments that keep me motivated throughout the day. These simply white pencils with a gold mantra “Set the World on Fire” are a great way to add personality and some motivation regardless of how the day may feel.

3. Key Metal Flash Drive from Kingston: As far as upgrades and essentials go, this in an absolute favorite of ours. We use this as a client gift and have one on our keychains as well. For every time you’ve thought, “Where’s my flashdrive?” now you’ll have it ready to go and use as quickly as possible.

4. Leather Mousepad from Appointed: We’ve been in the process of overhauling our workspace, part bedroom and part creative studio. It’s an interesting combination and something we’ve been working towards this summer. As we’ve sourced items, we’ve been sourcing minimal and beautiful products for the deskspace. We’ve fallen in love with the details of the items from Appointed and the way their items are stunningly beautiful.

5. Marble MacBook Case from Ohio Design Space: Ready to protect your MacBook and add a bit of style. We’ve fallen in love with the rich colors in this case and the bit of style it adds to an already gorgeous MacBook.

6. Wireless Camera Flash from Godox: Every year, I add camera gear for a variety of shoots and the specific needs of clients. Over the past year, I’ve gotten many requests for shoots requiring an on-camera flash. We love this one for it’s ease of use and compact nature.

7. Waxed Cotton and Leather Strap from ONA: When it’s time to upgrade from your existing camera strap, we can’t recommend ONA enough. We purchased our camera and laptop bag from them last year and love the smart nature of the strap. With a gray waxed cotton and contrast of brown leather, this strap is creative, chic, and is perfect for any shoot.

8. Leather Pencil Case from Appointed: We’re rounding out the list with this amazing leather pencil case. It’s refined, updated, and trades your Lisa Frank pencil case of the past with something that shows class in the best of ways. Our case is filled with Microns, Steadliner pencils, erasers, and drafting guides. It holds the best of our hand lettering and design tools for whatever our clients may need.

Day Tote |  Gold Foil Pencils | Key Metal Flash Drive  | Marble MacBook Case
Leather Mousepad |  On Camera Flash | ONA Camera Strap | Leather Pencil Case

This post contains affiliate links. I will receive compensation for this post if products are purchased. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that support Glisten and Grace.

new work in portfolio- the mcconnell foundation-01

New Work In Portfolio: The McConnell Foundation

There comes a time in life where you have a full circle moment. This project was one of those moments for me. Over a year ago, I started a business filled with hope and optimism. Due to unforeseen events, 6 months later I was forced to close that business and was absolutely devastated. I have put my heart and soul into it. Believing in the future of Redding and revitalizing downtown, I didn’t know that a year later I would be allowed to collaborate on a project with an absolute dream client. When the call came to work for The McConnell Foundation, I jumped at the opportunity. Sometimes when you trust that it’s all going to work out, beauty truly comes from ashes. This project became deeply personal as I poured my life into it over the past month.

Today we’re taking you behind the design process as we share the new work in our portfolio for The McConnell Foundation.

Keep reading for the full process after the jump!



Inspired by the surroundings and texture of The McConnell Foundation, we focused on woods, greens, and a natural palette. It’s currently popular, but on point with their existing identity as we created an additional identity for the event. We love the plays of transparency, overlays, and simple hand lettered marks within the moodboard. It provided strong direction for the final identity and was well loved by the client. (The McConnell Foundation is a private independent foundation located in Redding, California.  As a Northern California broad-based funder, grants are awarded to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, public education, and government entities. They are behind many of the stunning landmarks in Redding, the Land bridge in Yosemite, and are beginning to issue grants abroad.)

mcconnell foundation rough logos

Rough Logos

These were 5 of the logo options presented to the client. Our final logo choice had movement, a contrast with flat and 3D forms, solid shapes and bold use of line. Playing with layovers over foliage images there was depth added to the mark.


When creating collateral for this event, I wanted to create something that was stunning, valuable, and truly showed belief in Downtown Redding. I didn’t want to be limited to simple typography, but rather embrace the idea of a historic line drawing with the contrast of type within the identity and adding a stroke, giving it a hand lettered feel. By adding landmarks throughout Redding, it reminded of what is going well, speaking of hope and future in the people of Redding.

If you’ve ever been in Redding, you know our natural resources are stunningly beautiful. Each attendee to the event received a note stack placed on a birch plywood backer with a matte black brad. It was an updated take on the foundation’s interior and stunning environment they’ve built at Lema Ranch. The wooden texture added permanence and weight to the stack.

Are you a business looking to build out your brand, have the largest impact and step up your game? We currently have client openings for the fall. We’d love to hear from you!

Contact us here.




day in the life glisten and grace

Glisten and Grace: A Day in the Life

Over the years, there’s a question that I receive over and over again. It’s simple, “What does your day look like? How do you fit it all in?” Today we’re peeling back the curtain and letting you behind the scenes. Here’s what a day in the life looks like at Glisten and Grace.

Keep reading for the full post after the jump!

IMG_4962 6:00 AM While our heads are still resting on our pillow, we’re still working. We recently made the shift back to having posts and social media go live for the blog at 6:00 PST. Our reasoning was simple. Originally being from the east coast, we hoped that our readership would migrate to looking at the blog on their lunch hour, 9:00 AM PST. This didn’t happen. In hopes of regaining some ground, we’re making strides to post everyday at 6:00 AM by automating our posts and using Hootsuite to schedule our Facebook and Twitter posts. The good news? It’s been working! Welcome back, our dear friends from the east coast.

7:00 AM Rolling out of bed and head to the gym. I try to get a good half hour to hour workout in before the day starts. This gets my heartbeat going and reduces my coffee intake. Often times I’ll listen to a podcast, catch reruns on HGTV, or listen to an audiobook to past time and keep me entertained at the gym. (I get bored super easily on cardio machines at the gym, to be super honest.)


8:00 AM Shower and get dressed for the day. I’ve shifted to a somewhat minimal wardrobe that always contains black either on the top, bottom, or both. While it’s a uniform of sorts it always looks nice, elevated, and can span errands, client meetings, or simply a day’s work.

8:30 AM Finish getting ready and head downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast is pretty quick with a bowl of scrambled egg whites (3 to be exact) and some diced chicken sausage. It’s delicious, healthy, and packs in the protein, giving me plenty of energy for the day. At this point, I’ll decide if I want to work from home for the day or work from a coffee shop. Every day is different and it keeps a bit of variety in my routine.

day in the life

9:00 AM: Social media content for clients goes live. We use scheduling options, but post for Instagram in real time. At 9:00 AM, we also post Instagram content for the blog.The rest of the morning is spent responding to client emails, completing revisions, and working in batches for existing clients. Our mind is most alert at the morning and late at night, so we find this gives us the ability to work in blocks of time. It’s hard to gain ground on any project without a 3-hour block of time. We schedule our days to have 3, 3 hour blocks of time with a few active breaks between.

Noon: Time for a lunch break! Today’s lunch consisted of a quick run to Chipotle. We saved the other half for dinner, with a side of chips it’s perfect and cost effective.

1:00 PM: Depending on our energy level, we take a 30 minute nap after lunch or plow through our list of errands. Most of our high level tasks are completed by the end of the morning. Our afternoon block of time is intended to keep us moving, when we’re starting to feel a bit more tired. (This is also when eye strain or a food coma is quicking in.) Today, we’re working on styling a few tabletops, sourcing food, foraging floral, and working on a few project launches. We’re plowing through the list of tasks this week, preparing for a full fall and winter season!

4:00 PM: Finish any deadlines for the day and respond to last minute emails. We turn off our email throughout the day, keeping focus on the task at hand. Opening our email at the end of the work day, allows us to tie up any loose ends for clients and set our task list for the next day.

Golden hour: It’s shooting time. With sunrise around 5:45 in the morning, we make sure to hit golden hour during the evening. It’s a great way to finish the day. Today we’re working on shooting some styled stock photos for an upcoming launch! We can’t wait to show you these collections because they’re absolutely stunning. (Imagine the kind of stock photography you would want as a creative, blogger, and entrepreneur. We’re creating the kind of stuff we wish was on the web, but seems to be absent.)

8:00 PM: Dinner and a walk. With long days of production under our belt, we love to take a break and sit down to a delicious meal or go for a walk with a friend. It’s a great way to be social with others, finding a bit of connection, and getting away from the desk. (It can get a bit lonely working from home or remotely on a team.)

9:00 PM: As much as we hate to admit it, we absolutely work best under pressure. We spend our last few hours of the evening, making sure blog posts and content are ready to go live the next morning, and any final deadlines are submitted for the night.

10:00 PM: Say goodbye to bluelight and screens. We spend our evening with a good book, roommates, and a bit of quiet to wind down. Setting the phone on the opposite side of the room, we give our eyes a break rather than scrolling through mind numbing feeds.

Thanks for joining us behind the scenes and spending the day with us.

How do you spend your days?

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.


5 Tips on Creating Systems that Work

When it comes to all things business, my personality is a rare combination. I thrive on both process and structure within creativity. Due to some of the larger projects I have taken on over the past few years, my business has lead to consulting and helping other creative entrepreneurs build their business. Whether it’s conversations about planning, branding, or launching something to the public, many struggle to make and stick to systems. I’ve found that many systems can be quickly adapted and modified to something that works for you, your life, and your business.

Over the past year of listening to entrepreneurs, here are 5 tips on how to create systems that work.

Know thyself.

One of the biggest hangups in business is not knowing the best ways we work, process information, or derive creative energy. Here are a few great questions to ask yourself:

  • What’s the motivation behind my company? What are the core values behind it? How will this motivation propel me on days where I don’t feel like hustling?
  • When do you have the most energy? Schedule your days accordingly. If mornings are your thing, dedicate your creative, heavy thinking, project dreaming, copy writing time to this. If evenings are your jam, leave your mornings for sourcing, errands, and other things that make your business tick.
  • If structure and systems feel overwhelming and daunting, like everything within you wars against it, it’s time for a heart check. Ask yourself why? Have you believed that being creative means an on-the-go, carefree, nomadic life? Does structure feel counter to driving something creatively? Figure out a way to reconcile this tension and find a way to move forward. Without systems, you might feel like you’re drowning. Access the feelings within and make a plan to move past them.

Break things down into manageable parts.

When it comes to major project launches, overhauls, or client projects, break things down into something that is scaleable and manageable. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will any good business. Look at what you need to do. Break out a pen and paper. List it out and break it down. Know what your capacity is and what is manageable for you. For month long projects, I break down pre-production deadlines week by week. This allows for a bit more flexibility throughout my days allowing for things to have breathing room. However, I do know what I need to get accomplished throughout the week and get to it. If you’re offering services and have income goals for your year, look at your pricing structure and how much work you need to do to get there. For example, if you want to increase your sales by $20,000 for the year, divide that amount by 4. This means you need to increase your sales by $5,000 each quarter. This is a manageable $1600 per month, around $400 a week. Base your hourly rate and pricing structure accordingly.

Develop systems for pain points in your business (or life). 

Have an email list to develop that you’ve been putting off? Are you terrible at keeping a house and a healthy lifestyle? Do you have sheer panic when it comes to tax season? Develop systems for the things that slow you down and are pain points. In our house, this is really practical. We love things to be clean, but really hate spending days off doing chores. We take one morning to get everything done. Here’s how it works for us. We start with laundry. While we are doing our first load of wash, we put anything in the dryer that might need dry cleaning. As things are in the wash, we clean out the fridge, make a grocery list, and do a quick clean of the house. We switch laundry, put in our second load, and head to the store to put up anything we might need for the week. In around 3 hours, we complete everything we need to do (including 3 loads of laundry and a load of dry cleaning) for the week and it’s ready to have anyone over. We do the same thing for our bookkeeping. When our credit card bill comes in, we transpose expenses to excel. We try to do it once a month, but if we get a bit behind, we do it once a quarter. Taking things in smaller pieces, relieves pressure, and keeps overwhelm at bay.

Stick to your systems.

There are weeks where we don’t want to stick to our systems. We see friends who work a part-time schedule and it’s easy to be envious, want to bail, hit the lake, and embrace the carefree side of life. Dreams and going after a career are far from easy. It takes crazy amounts of time to get where you want to be, but in the long run we’re thankful and so grateful for what can happen when we choose to follow our systems.

Remember the purpose of systems. They provide freedom to run after greatness. 

As an entrepreneur you got started for a reason. You had an idea, a plan, and something that excited. You probably got into business for yourself for a good reason. You love the idea of working from your yoga pants in bed, the flexibility in hours, or the idea of building your own vision. The purpose of systems is to serve the greater good of your business. It allows for freedom, growth, and abundance to occur. Systems allow you to tweak things, make improvements, and with a bit of discipline provide creative freedom unlike ever before.

How are you doing at developing system? Is this a pain point in your business? What tasks do you need a system and a workflow for?

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.