A mini trip to Chicago had been in the works since last November when we bought tickets to see Coldplay at the United Center. Obviously when you plan THAT far in advance, you have no idea that you’d be just starting out freelancing full-time or that your husband would only be in his 4th full week at his new job. Nevertheless, we jumped in the car and headed off to Illinois on Tuesday night, picked up my siblings and headed up to the city! I absolutely love Chicago and hate that we’re six hours away.
We stayed downtown, went shopping (oops I cheated on my spending freeze! I bought a $30 dress for a wedding!) and went to the Coldplay concert on Wednesday night. IT WAS AMAZING. I’ve been to 8 Coldplay concerts now and I must say that it was the most entertaining of them all. A lot of people hate on Coldplay but I’ve loved them since 2001 and will never stop. I’ve been to almost every Coldplay concert with my friend Megan and it was so great to add another one to our list. Every single person got a free wristband before it started and at various times throughout the concert they would all light up at the same time, flashing and blinking. It felt like I was in outer space surrounded by a 30,000 stars.
I walked away from the experience and spending time in Chicago with a few thoughts:
- Spend more time in Chicago (professionally and personally). Most of my family lives there and some of my best friends. It’s very near and dear to my heart.
- Create amazing experiences through my business and what I do. Johnny Cupcakes focused on this when I saw him speak at WMC Fest earlier this year. Spending the extra money and creating something memorable is always worth it. That concert was exactly that.
- My siblings are amazing. I’m 10 years older than my sister and six years older than my brother but they are two of my most favorite people on this earth and it’s so fun to spend time with them.
Now it’s Friday and since I essentially just HAD a weekend, I foresee a bit of working in my future this weekend. Do you have any fun plans?
Providence is a unique, thriving community of artists, entrepreneurs and craftsmen. With both RISD and Brown University calling Providence home, it’s hard not to have an eclectic mix of people, places and events. You can walk the city easily and that’s one of the best ways to discover some great places.
The RISD Museum has been a staple of the Providence art scene. Boasting a huge collection that ranges from pre-historic artifacts to Picasso’s to modern day pieces, the museum is definitely worth a visit. I love nothing more than going in on a Sunday afternoon and wandering around, just taking it all in. I find the collection to be so impressive that I constantly find new pieces that I had never noticed upon previous visits. Also, the Chace Center, which is the newest addition to the museum, always has an interesting exhibition, be it an exhibition of glass works by Dale Chihuly or an exhibition of work by the RISD faculty.
If getting down and dirty and making something is more your cup of tea, head over to AS220’s Printshop, Labs and Media Arts. AS220 has really made the artist’s community available to everyone. You can learn how to operate the Vandercook Proofing Press or Takach Etching Press to make prints, create unique 3D objects by using the laser cutter or transform some old photograph negatives into Cyanotype prints. Workshops are offered every month that can introduce you to a whole new process or take your knowledge to the next level.
With all of the artwork seeing and creating, you can definitely work up an appetite. Providence is known for its amazing food and there is no lack of variety here. Stop by Viva Mexico (conveniently located next to the AS220 Printshop) for an authentic mexican meal, grab a falafel wrap or gyro at East Side Pockets on Thayer Street or head to Federal Hill for some of the best Italian meals (seriously, any place on the Hill is fantastic).
My favorite Providence eatery and bar to stop by is Tini. As it’s name suggests, the restaurant is, well, teeny. Seating only about 20 people around the marble and stainless steel bar, it’s an intimate dining experience. Cocktails and entrees are constantly changed, depending on the season and what the local farmer’s are able to provide. There are some regular dishes and drinks you can always count on, such as the Tini Weenie (the best gourmet hot dog I’ve ever come across) and George’s Pink Margarita. Occasionally, Tini will offer drink making courses where you learn how to create different cocktails and get to munch on some yummy snacks (gruyere and portabello mushroom crepes, anyone?).
Providence also offers many unique boutiques, if you’re on the hunt for an outfit that no one else has or just want to surprise someone with a handmade gift. Westminster Street is home to some of my favorite Providence shops (along with even more fabulous places to grab a bite to eat). My favorite shop to find funny, creative gifts is Craftland. Every item in the shop is handmade, with most products created by local artists. They have a wide variety of items from fun letterpress cards to beautiful ceramic cups and bowls to huge, lighted marquee letters (check out that exclamation point!). The shop also has a gallery space which showcases talented, local artists.
Queen of Hearts and Modern Love is a boutique that’s across the street from Craftland. QOH is the clothes side of the shop whereas Modern Love is my go to place for shoes. Both shops have a kitschy-vintage soul to them, with shoes being propped upon old record players and accessories being displayed on old type drawers. I’ve been known to stop in to “window shop” and leave with whole new outfits. Karen Beebe, fashion designer and owner of QOH and Modern Love, has done a fantastic job curating both shops with items you can’t find elsewhere. Plus, everything is reasonably priced so you can be fashionable without breaking the bank.
Whether you’re here to eat, see some art, shop or relax, Providence has you covered on all fronts.
Featured image by Stephen Downes.
Last weekend I “attended” Blog Brunch and (like always) walked away with so many new ideas. One idea that I loved was trying to learn MORE about your readers. It’s easy for me to just blog puke every day but who just wants that? Here’s the thing, I can’t keep track of every blog that interests me and there are so many times that I interact with people through my blog but never really get to learn more about them! I feel like I know you all by name/avatar but I want to know more!
So here’s my plea: TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF! Below I’ve listed 5 questions. Feel free to copy and paste the list into the comment section and answer them below! I hope to do this once a month.
- Where do you live? Be as generic or specific as you want.
- What do you do for a living? What are you doing when feel like you’re really living?
- You have to move out of your house in 5 minutes. What items do you grab?
- What’s one brand that has your loyalty?
- Share a link to your blog!
Now that I’m freelancing full-time, I decided to reassess and improve the ways in which I can connect with others. It’s easy to join every social network but it’s harder to be intentional (and use your accounts for different/unique purposes). I’ve listed the different places that I connect with others and how exactly I like to use them:
1. Twitter // @alliepal
I use Twitter daily (sometimes even hourly). Half of the people I interact with are local and the other half are designers/creatives. I schedule 6-9 tweets to go out throughout the day via Timely.is. Scheduled tweets can feel a bit impersonal but since I’m always around to respond…I don’t feel as bad. Half of the tweets that get sent out are links to interesting articles that I’ve come across recently and the other half are links to my own blog posts. I feel that Twitter is a great way to stay relevant and personal. I find and meet great bloggers, designers, and local entrepreneurs every day! While I do follow over 1,000 people, I keep everyone in private lists and focus on keeping tabs on them that way. For example: I have a list of close friends and so I can check that easily in the morning and throughout the day focus on my blogger list, designer list, client list, etc.
2. Instagram // @alliepal
Instagram is by far my favorite online community. I decided to be really picky and specific when deciding who to follow and follow back. I wanted to keep it visually stimulating and inspiring and so when I launch the app on my iPhone, I’m usually smiling while I scroll. I often feel that the Instagram community that I’ve curated is a positive one and I love being a part of it. There are some people that I follow on Instagram that I don’t necessarily follow on Twitter because their images (in my opinion) resonate with me more than their tweets! Simple as that.
3. Facebook // allisonlehmandesign
I’ve really dropped the ball when it comes to my Facebook page. I used to update it a lot with recent designs but as I got sucked into my office job, it really became scarce. I’m excited to bring the page back to life and focus on freelance living snapshots from my iPhone, tips, and blurbs from current books that are challenging me. Facebook and I have a weird relationship and I’ve cut my personal account down to about 45 close friends and family.
4. Pinterest // @alliepal
I’m most excited to start using Pinterest more intentionally! To me, Pinterest always seemed a bit pointless (while simultaneously sucking me in). I’ve decided to use it as a place to share a few specific things:
- Gluten-free recipes + products
- My own blog posts (sporadically)
- Design resources
- Mood boards with clients
Also, I started a new Instagram account (@glutenfreepal) and Tumblr yesterday that will focus on my healthy + gluten-free lifestyle. I’m hoping to add more random recipes and tips to the Tumblr as time goes on. Feel free to follow and ask questions!
How do you handle your social media accounts? Any accounts that you’ve really enjoyed that I’m not currently a part of? What’s your pet peeve when it comes to these sites? I’d love to hear from you all!
Adam and I have been renting for a little over 3 years now. We love the apartment we live in now. It’s close to the grocery store, coffee shops, restaurants and just a few miles from downtown. Lately we’ve started talking about BUYING. It’s a scary thought and I’m pretty 50/50 as of late. Quitting my stable, full-time job definitely contributes to my doubts but I also really love sending in our (cheap) rent check and calling it good. Leaky roof? Meh. Broken A/C? Buy a new window unit. Scratch the wood floor? Eh.
But then my thoughts drift towards a bigger space (our one bedroom apartment isn’t exactly spacious), an office, an area to spend outside, and accommodating guests! The idea of renovating can go from sounding adventurous to downright terrifying. Decisions, decisions.
What has your experience been like? Do you rent or own? Pros and cons for either? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
For the past few months, I try to attempt 3 new things that I’ve never done! So far, my track record hasn’t been so hot but I have high hopes. I’ve actually learned a lot. I’m learning just how much you can do in a month (the answer: not as much as I thought). Here’s what I’ve done so far: made popsicles, created my own necklace, planted herbs, and took a class on terrarium making!
So what’s up for August? Well I’m working around my spending freeze so I needed to do things that won’t break that vow:
- Design postcards and send to friends and family. Be creative, practice calligraphy and use lots of color.
- Go skinny dipping. It just has to happen.
- Actually record a video with my iPhone and edit with Photoshop.
If you keep track, you might notice that #3 is the same as last months. I was able to research a lot more and purchase a membership through Lynda.com (for tutorials). I’m excited to record a video during our time at our family’s lakehouse later this month!
I have high hopes for August. This month I’ll begin freelancing full-time, joining an amazing studio here in Columbus, travelling to Chicago, relaxing in Michigan, and (hopefully) accomplishing these three things!
My friend Catherine visited last weekend and it’s always fun to take out-of-town guests on a little tour of Columbus. We…
- Spent some time at Goodale Park, read magazines and played with everyone else’s dogs. 82 degree on Saturday was a dream.
- Ate at Jeni’s. Obviously.
- Tried One Line – a new coffee shop specializing in hand poured coffee. Delicious.
- Perused Flowerchild and I had to pass up those amazing $24 Stuart Weitzman teal heels (stupid spending freeze).
- Brunched at Jury Room.
While I had a fabulous weekend, I learned my lesson and suffered a little bit too. I became too relaxed with my gluten-free diet and must have eaten something that did NOT agree with me. I had an awful headache on Saturday, felt extremely exhausted and some other unpleasant symptoms too. I don’t think it helped that my work week was a bit crazy and we ate out almost every night (due to the fact that we didn’t have any motivation to cook). I need to be better about eating at home this week and getting my workouts in! I embrace routine but with all the traveling that’s coming up…I need to be better and more aware.
Any tips for keeping some type of routine when travelling or juggling a hectic schedule?
I’m really excited to be hosting this giveaway! Nourish approached me a few months ago about trying out their organic skincare products and then sharing it with my readers. It’s finally time! I was able to try their aluminum free deodorant (almond vanilla…yum!) and am so happy with the quality and scent. The consistency is a lot smoother than most deodorants and feel like the scent is a lot softer and subtle than most.
I love this company already and especially love that you can find their products at Whole Foods. Their products, which are all organic, are also all under $10! Perfect.
Now it’s time for you to try it out! I’m giving away a bottle of their Almond Vanilla organic hand wash to one of you lucky lovelies! This hand wash (which comes in a 7 fl oz bottle) is chemical free, gluten free, vegan, and organic. You can enter multiple times below and the giveaway will be open until Thursday at 11:59pm EST. The winner will be announced on Friday. Good luck!
THE WINNER OF THIS GIVEAWAY: KATHRYN CHAMBERLAIN!
[Essie’s Raise Awareness, family reunion shot with my sister and aunt, Beach House concert, after work drinks]
I’m enjoying this summer a lot. I’m also enjoying:
- Taco trucks
- Upgrading the RAM on my Macbook Pro
- Cold brew coffee
- Milo Greene’s new album
- Benefit they’re Real! Mascara
- Coconut oil
- All of your amazing support this week
I hope you all have a great weekend – any fun plans? My best pal Catherine is visiting us for the weekend and I get to celebrate TWO friends’ birthdays.
I’ve been trying to visualize the future these past few weeks. Where do I see myself? Where do I see my business going? What are my plans? I have a lot of things that I want to try and experience now that I have a bit more freedom with my schedule and how I make money. I always make lists. Post-it note lists, Moleskine lists, printer paper lists, iPhone notes list…um this is a list? (I have problems.) Here’s a short list of a few things that I want to try now that I’m self-employed (as realistic or dream-like as they are):
- Explore the art of videomaking and experiment with cameras and software
- Grow my film photography business
- Have a home office (and then someday have my own office outside of our home)
- Open my eyes to UX/UI design + best practices
- Meet some of my blogger friends in real life
- Freelance from another city for a week
- Financially sponsor WMC Fest in Cleveland
- Utilize my design blog regularly
- Work with an accountant and pay taxes quarterly
- Pull an all-nighter (just kidding)
Anything that I should add to the list? Do you ever make professional goals? What about all you lovely self-employed readers? How do you keep it fresh and new?