Good Goods

I thought I’d start June off with a Good Goods post (read my favorite goods from April). Here are my current favorites:

  1. Draw Your Tomorrow planner from Poketo: Seriously the best planner I’ve ever had. Lots of space for notes and the ability to start the year whenever you want!
  2. Giovanni 2Chic Shampoo and Conditioner: IT SMELLS LIKE PISTACHIOS! Makes me smile every time I wash my hair.
  3. Bodum Canteen Porcelain Mug (Double Wall): Keeps my coffee warm longer and it’s not a huge mug which is perfect because I don’t drink that much coffee in the AM.
  4. Franco Sarto wedges: I’d been on the look out for cute wedges and was so glad I bought these! Great with dresses, jeans or shorts.

Any favorite products you’d like to share? I’m going to take it easy with shopping this June. After we paid off our debt last month it was easy to kind of loosen up a bit but we still have big goals so I need to focus! If you’re a shopper like me (but want to stay true to your budget), check out my post from earlier about shopping alternatives!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the return of HERE WE GO!

Hello Adulthood: Owning Your Own Business

I’ve been officially (and legally) operating my business for almost three years now! I remember receiving the certificate in the mail from the State of Ohio and the letter from the IRS stating my EIN (Employer Identification Number). It was all really exciting – and to be honest – it still is really exciting. Over the past three years I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with professionals of all ages looking to start freelancing and working for themselves. I’ve compiled some advice and tips if you’re in the same place in life (oh and scroll down to the bottom to win a copy of one of my favorite books).

START SLOW // BE PATIENT

This advice is inspired by my mother. She always uses the phrase, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Unlike a lot of small business owners, I never had to take out a loan or invest in a lot upfront. I had my MacbookPro and Adobe Creative Suite and that was pretty much it. It was tempting, as time progressed, to upgrade to all the newest technology or buy software to help with finances but I was patient. I’m just now getting to the point where I can hire contractors, pay for an advanced account with Freshbooks, or upgrade my computers. I do, however, suggest investing in ONE thing before anything else: a laywer. I connected with a lawyer a year into freelancing and I have never once regretted it. It’s nice to know you have that protection and I would highly suggest hiring her/him to write up your contracts. Other great free (or affordable) resources when starting out: Curdbee Invoicing ($5/mo), Square, Dropbox.

BE WISE // START GOOD HABITS

In college I really learned how to handle my money — unfortunately it was because of a lot of failure and a bad experience with credit cards. I registered my business at the age of 22 and knew there were some key habits that I wanted to establish before I began. They included (but weren’t limited to):

  • No using credit for the first 5 years – So far, so good. When I upgrade my computer later this year, I plan on using credit with the cash available to pay it off immediately.
  • ALWAYS USE A CONTRACT. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS.
  • Put 30% away for taxes – This never gets easier but I do plan on paying quarterly starting next year so the final amount owed won’t be so painful.
  • Handle small tasks like email, bookkeeping, account management, etc until it doesn’t make sense financially – It wasn’t until this year that I realized some tasks just aren’t worth doing! I’ve recently hired on a virtual assistant and I’m excited to pass off the bookkeeping soon too.
  • My husband and our personal goals come first – I’m not freelancing full-time yet because our personal goals are the priority right now. We are going to buy a house early next year and so for now I am content with where I am and work hard to juggle two jobs for now.

BE HUMBLE // WORK HARD

I designed my first logo for $50! HEYOOO! The first year that I “tried out” freelancing (2008) I would predominately work with Etsy shop owners and many of them didn’t even have budgets. In early 2010, I was a nanny in order to keep some type of steady income. Often times I spend my Friday nights and weekends working. It’s not always glamorous but it is so, so fulfilling if it’s what you’re supposed to be doing. I think it’s important to work hard and always keep learning. Just remember, there are so many talented designers/artists so prove to your potential clients why you’re worth it! Maybe it’s between you and another designer and the only reason they picked you is because you’re easy to talk to. Be kind!

As a last gesture of sharing, I thought I would give away my copy of Creative, Inc. to one of you lovely entrepreneurs out there. I read this book a little TOO late–I ordered it last year and was happy to realize just how much I had learned on my own! It’s great for those contemplating the small business owner role. The authors, Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Cho, share so much wisdom and really walk you through issues like: creating your portfolio, promoting your work, setting fees & terms, dealing with taxes, handling your bookkeeping and giving yourself a vacation. This giveaway will end at midnight on Thursday, June 8th and the winner will be announced Friday morning.

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Hello June // Blog Updates

As I explained earlier this week, May was a pretty important month and it directly influenced this blog! I’m excited to announce a few new things and share my June TRY THREE NEW THINGS. 

ONE  // I will no longer be accepting sponsors or ads on my sidebar. While I was SO blessed with my March, April, and May sponsors…I’ve decided that it’s not really for me. I found that after opening to Show + Tell to sponsors, I started to dislike blogging. The reason? I felt like I had to blog. I remember one night laying in bed thinking, “Crap I have no idea what I should blog about tomorrow,” but blogging anyways because I felt like I needed to. I didn’t want to slack off and — in turn– allow my readership to decline. My lovely sponsors paid money to advertise here and I took that very seriously. I also wanted to give each sponsor a monthly highlight. I considered lumping all my sponsors into one highlight post but that didn’t feel right either. And so, after three months, I decided to drop the entire concept. I feel free and excited to blog in June (I actually have the entire month already planned) and I want all my past sponsors to know that their support still means the world to me. I plan to highlight a few shops or blogs every now and then via graphics and/or posts.

TWO // I’m excited to be bringing Sonya on board to guest blog on Show + Tell twice a month! Sonya is a friend I met online awhile ago and I admire her as an artist, a mother and a basically love everything that she touches. This year I’ve started contributing and blogging for Weapons of Mass Creation, Piece of Chic, 20 Best Twenty, SavvySexySocial, Arena District, and an occasional guest post here and there. That takes up a lot of time and realized it would be fun to bring in a new voice and take a couple posts off my plate a month. I hope that as Show + Tell grows, I can hire on a few other guest bloggers…so if you ever have a great idea please share!

THREE // Last but not least, I’m excited to share the three new things that I’ll be trying in June!

  • I plan on making my own camera straps — glamorous yet timeless.
  • I will be making and bottling my own natural cleaners for our apartment (inspired by Young House Love).
  • I am going to visit 3 new towns/cities in Ohio (Cleveland being one of them next weekend) and plan on documenting them via film AND video so keep an eye out.

It’s been a long time coming but I’m seriously excited to be blogging again. Planning out my posts for the month of June was a great start because I will be able to feel more in control and not be scrambling for content. I do plan on hosting giveaways but will probably limit it to two per month. The criteria will be limited to products that I would buy myself! As a blogger, I’ve really learned that you need to learn by making mistakes and trying out new things. Welcome June and I hope to see you all on Monday where I’ll be talking about what it’s like being a business owner and I’ll be giving away one of my favorite business books.

WashingtonDC

CITY GUIDE: Washington D.C.

Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Jess who lives in Washington D.C.!

Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, is a destination rich in politics, history and plenty of eighth-grade trips.  However, there is more to D.C. than meets the eye.  Throughout the city there are treasure troves of art, culture, spectacular food and unique activities.

Once you get past the monuments (make sure to visit them at night) and the museums (which I highly recommend), this city guide begins.

On Capitol Hill, behind the U.S. Capitol Building and Library of Congress lies Eastern Market.  This is my favorite place to spend time on Saturday mornings.  The indoor portion of Eastern Market is called South Market.   Here, merchants sell fresh flowers, cheese, and a wide variety of meat, fruits and vegetables every day of the week.

On the weekend, the outdoors come alive with a Farmers Line of additional produce and booth after booth of arts and crafts vendors who sell jewelry, art, clothing and beyond.

One of the hidden gems of Eastern Market is Crepes at the Market.  Mitch, the owner, serves sweet and savory crepes on Saturdays and Sundays all year round and knows many of his regular customers by name.  There is no cash register.  Customers just drop their cash into the appropriate glasses labeled $20, $10, $5, $1 and retrieve the appropriate change.  Don’t miss out on this special treat!

In the northwest D.C. neighborhood of Adam’s Morgan, tucked between Madam’s Organ and the Diner lies Tryst.  This coffee house/bar/neighborhood gathering place is known for its smattering of couches, wing back chairs, yummy pastries and somewhat hipster culture.  Beyond that, the coffee is truly amazing and brunch is served ALL day, every day.

Tryst is located on 18th street and lies in the heart of Adam’s Morgan.  Though known for its nightlife, the neighborhood also provides great day time activities like shopping at Violet Boutique or Idle Time Books.  It is also a short walk away from the National Zoo, which is free to visit every day.

Adam's Morgan DC

A couple of blocks southeast of Adam’s Morgan, is U street.  It is the home to my favorite trivia spot in Washington, D.C. – Solly’s U Street Tavern.  Every first and third Wednesday of the month, Solly’s hosts trivia night benefiting a different charity.  There are always plenty of regulars, great team names and open wallets to contribute to the charity of the week.  Vinoteca is next door to Solly’s and is known for its brunch on Sundays and the Plaza at Vinoteca, a bocce court and outdoor bar in the back.

The U Street corridor has quite a history and personality of its own.  Before visiting, check out which bands will be playing at the 9:30 club and then grab a bite at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl before the concert.  Known as the birthplace of Duke Ellington, this entire area, from 9th to 16th, is worth checking out.

While visiting D.C., you also won’t want to miss some of the great shopping that is available on 14th, just south of U Street.  Current Boutique carries name brand clothing on consignment and Home Rule is the perfect mix of modern and eclectic items for the home.  I love visiting Cork Market & Tasting Room, where they carry a wide variety of wine, a lovely cheese selection, and all the related accoutrements.

Current Home Rule Cork

Finally, just across the river from D.C. (in Northern Virginia) is Gravelly Point.  Upon first glance, this seems like any other park in the greater Washington area.

Gravelly Point

On a sunny weekend afternoon, you will find families on picnic blankets, kids playing soccer and people riding their bikes or running on the adjacent bike trail.  However, looks can be deceiving.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, airliners fly directly above the park on final approach to Ronald Reagan Airport.  If you have never been this close to an airborne juggernaut, it is a sight to behold and makes for a fun day at the park!

A HUGE thanks to Jess for providing this amazing D.C. city guide. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and say hi!

Featured image by Rob Shenk.

Sanity Regained

As we’re nearing the end of May, I wanted to recap the #30DaysToSanity challenge. I can honestly say that I regained my sanity this month. April left me feeling exhausted and frustrated. I had taken on way too many freelance projects, I was working every night, and I just felt unhealthy. Taking on the sanity  challenge wasn’t really about following each and every guideline but rather taking on a new frame of mind. Choosing three new things to try really set the tone of my month. It allowed me to set non-work related goals and freed me to use my weekends for fun and not work. We joined a gym down the street and carved out time during our evenings to get our heart rates up! It makes sitting at a desk not so bad after all.

I spent Memorial Day weekend with friends and family. I made strawberry mojitos, painted my nails, relaxed and enjoyed myself. I’m ready for June and all the new things it will hold. I’ll be sharing my “Try 3 New Things” on Friday. I’m going to make it a monthly tradition. I’ll be sharing some fun, big changes coming to Show + Tell on Friday. It has me excited about blogging again–I have a feeling you’ll all enjoy what’s to come.

*all photos taken on my iPhone with random filters (because I can)

I just want to feel everything

I have a special place in my heart for a handful of musicians. It’s the kind of special where they release a new album and you feel like you’ve heard it a million times already. Or where you’d drop everything to see them perform live and you get butterflies in your stomach before they come on stage. Fiona Apple is one of them. My college roommate and best friend introduced her to me back when I was 18 and I still get excited listening to any of her three albums. She recently released a single titled Every Single Night and is her album comes out June 26th. The title? The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do. Um, awesome. I’ve included a video of her live performance at SXSW earlier this year. Her vocal range, energy and facial expressions are wonderful. If you’re not familiar with any of her albums, check her out on Rdio. (Sorry if you don’t have an Rdio account…but you should.)

Timeless Skin Solutions Giveaway

Timeless Skin Solutions, one of my May sponsors, is generously giving away some Obagi products! Their tote from Obagi contains travel sizes of Healthy Skin Protection SPF 35, Gentle Cleanser and Toner. Obagi is recognized worldwide as one of the leading skin care lines that delivers results and not just promises. The tote, a coated canvas bag, has a roomy interior pocket as well as a ring to hang keys. An Obagi medallion adorns one side of the tote. Since it’s waterproof, it’s the perfect bag to bring to the pool or beach when you’re traveling. The total value of the tote and the Obagi travel sizes is more than $100. The best part? They’re giving away FOUR totes filled with Obagi products. In order the enter the giveaway, you can log in through Facebook or sign in with your email address below. It will allow you to get in 6 entries, max! The giveaway ends Friday, June 1st at 12:01am EST. I’ll choose 4 winners and announce them all on Friday morning. Good luck!

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Happy Friday, xoxo

I created this print for a friend recently. She commissioned me to create seven unique and original prints for her and her boyfriend’s living room. I can’t wait to see a photo of them all framed and arranged! This print is what inspired me to create this free wallpaper for download. I printed extras so if you want one, comment below! The first five comments requesting one will receive it via snail mail! Or if you’re in the Columbus area, let’s get Jeni’s and make the exchange!

I’m pretty excited for the 3-day weekend! My family will be visiting (I haven’t seen my parents since Christmas!) and we have a few cookouts as well. I have a feeling it will be a lot of fun and a little work. What are your plans for the weekend?

Sydney

CITY GUIDE: Sydney

Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Hannah DeMilta who lives in Sydney, Australia! Enjoy!

Sydney is made up of the best of two different worlds in my mind – a modern gorgeous city paired with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. I spend most of my time caught up in that busy city life, but still enjoy that short escape on weekends to be by the ocean. It makes me feel lucky to live here.

One of my favourite (and free) things to do on a weekend is the Coastal Walk from Bondi Beach to Coogeee. If you take your time, and stop for pictures on your iPhone it’s about a 90 minute walk. You’ll see Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly, and Coogee beaches. You can see whales off the coast depending on the season, and sometimes dolphins too.

A great time for the coastal walk is every spring (October through November) when they have the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibit. They bring in more than 100 funky sculptures and incorporate them into the landscape and walk. It’s a fantastic reason for the coastal walk and recommend it if you’re in town.

One of my favourite places for food adventures is Sydney’s Chinatown. Perhaps to those who have traveled and lived throughout Asia this wouldn’t be such a novelty. However, for this Midwest gal hailing from Cleveland – discovering things like late night Korean BBQ and trying my first laksa are memories I won’t soon forget. Head over to one of my favourite spots, Mamak for dinner. This Malaysian restaurant has some of the best fried chicken in Sydney, in my opinion, and the Roti is amazing.

You can also stroll through the night markets every Friday in Chinatown. Markets of every variety can be found around Sydney. Some of my favourite include the Paddington Markets (Oxford Street in Paddington) and the weekend markets in The Rocks – theses ones are great for less “touristy” tourist items. There are booths with lots of handmade crafts and jewelry. My cousin got a stitched photobook with a kangaroo on the cover to keep all of the photos from her trip. I’m also a fan of the Finders Keepers markets, held bi-annually at Carriage Works. They feature local art, designers and cool creative projects.

A really beautiful thing about living in Sydney is that you don’t have to struggle to support local business when it comes to dining out. Locally owned is the norm and you often come to know the people working at your local café or pub. One of my current locals is Robocog Café in Surry Hills. They know how to put on a wicked brunch. The Breakfast ‘Berrito’ and Eggs Rusky are my favouirte at the moment, but honestly I’m a fan of most everything I’ve tried so far. I’ve also come to love Robocog for their quirky decor and fabulous customer service, which helps shape the experience.

I’d be steering you wrong if I didn’t recommend at least one venue to grab a cheeky pint while you’re in town. There are many bars, clubs and pubs waiting to be discovered on your visit to Sydney. Some of my favourite small bars to have recently opened include Tio’s, Darlie Laudromatic, and The Baxter Inn, a mysterious whiskey bar hidden in the city. However, for a casual pub with great views, I’d say visit the rooftop bar of the Glenmore in the Rocks. It’s a beautiful spot overlooking the harbour without the touristy crowd (or prices) to accompany it. Enjoy, and cheers mate!

Hannah works in digital marketing and also has fun curating the Sydney edition of The Fetch, a local ‘What’s on’ guide across businesses, digital and creative in your city. Say “hello” on Twitter @HannahDeMilta or follow her ramblings on her blog hannahdemilta.com.

Featured image by xiquinhosilva.

Apartment Living: Light DIY

I often read home/DIY blogs (like Young House Love) and want to do everrrry single project. Then I look around at my little one bedroom apartment and realize that I cannot knock down walls or replace the hardwood flooring with something a bit more snazzy (and less scratched). This month while taking on Sarah’s 30 Days to Sanity Challenge, I’ve forced myself to get off my butt and actually try new things. I’ve planted my own herbs and vegetables, I’m creating my own jewelry, I made my first terrarium and now I’m going to tackle more apartment DIY projects. Inspired by some of my favorite bloggers (Delicious Duds and Design Curiosities) I hope to be posting more APARTMENT LIVING DIY posts this summer! I’ve been bored lately with some of my content and I want to get excited about blogging again.

So, with all that said, here is my first DIY! It’s a blatant rip off of Young House Love’s BUT I feel proud that I did it myself and give them total credit for being awesome. This project, in particular, really stuck out to me because it didn’t require me to rewire crap or knock things out. I just unscrewed the ugly, pre-existing fixture and gathered the following supplies:

Adam helped me with a lot of it and said you’ll probably need the appropriate bolts/washers and tools in order to remove your pre-existing fixture and then later attach the lampshade. Below is a BRIEF overview of how it went for me. Please head over to Young House Love to get better instructions and photos (what, you don’t love my yellow tinted iPhone pictures?).

After having created it, I wish our lampshade hung lower so that I didn’t have to glue the second half of the fabric AFTER it was hung. Young House Love explained in their comment section that theirs hung low enough from the ceiling that they were able to glue the entire piece of fabric while on the ground and then screw in the piece afterwards. Oh well! It’s the beauty of apartment living. I will have to rip it down in a year anyways.

Hope you enjoyed my first APARTMENT LIVING DIY! If you have any DIY recommendations or tips when you see my sad attempts…feel free to comment below!