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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.)

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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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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?

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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.

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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! 

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My friend Heather took me to EcoFlora last night for a belated birthday present/terrarium building class! Located in Clintonville (a neighborhood in Columbus), this little shop stole my heart! So many gorgeous flowers, succulents, and jars. My terrarium turned out differently than I had anticipated but I love it. I chose a little succulent and an air plant to top it off. Don’t you like my little bird? Adam and I decided that we’re going to go back for our three year anniversary and make a terrarium together however…I have a feeling I’ll be back multiple times before late June.

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Weekend Recap

I had a great weekend filled with music, friends, film portrait sessions and gardening! I didn’t get to work on my necklaces but I’m going to pick up supplies this week on my lunch break. I got a pedicure (which is such a fun treat) and Adam and I got free tickets to see the Avett Brothers on Saturday night! I also figured I should show you a little preview of the two shoots (both shoots were taking in 85+ degree heat so I commend my clients for looking amazing).

If you’re in or near Columbus and want some film portraits taken, let me know!

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Sponsor Spotlight: Ciera Holzenthal

I’m excited to introduce you all to Ciera today! She is one of my May sponsors and is incredibly talented. I love her work, chatting with her on Twitter and her blog

  1. Name: Ciera Holzenthal
  2. Age: 29
  3. Location: Born and raised in New Orleans but have been living in Boston for the past year.

Q. When did you start designing?

A. In high school, I was excepted into the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). I went to my normal high school for half of each day and NOCCA for the other half to study visual arts. During my time at NOCCA I realized that I could not see myself as a fine artist but I also found that I was very organized and systematic while working on projects. We had a few computer/design sessions and although I was not exactly sure what it was, I knew that I wanted to be a graphic designer! When I went to college, I switched back and forth between design and photography and finally decided to focus on design.

I got a job right out of college at a great advertising agency and gained a lot of experience in my four years there. A time came when I was not learning anything else from being there and rather than looking for a position at another company, I decided to give freelance a go! I have been working for myself full time for almost two years and love it!

Q. What type of work do you get most excited about?

A: I love branding small businesses. Some of my favorite projects are when I design a logo and then get to expand the identity from business cards and websites to posters and invitations. Applying my concept to multiple items in order to create a cohesive brand for a company is really rewarding.

Q. What are your essential tools? What do you love to create with? 

A: I always have a sketchbook for brainstorming ideas. I use In Design on my MacBook Pro for almost every design that I create. I am obsessed with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2. I use it to take photos of my work for my portfolio and all of the photographs on my blog. I use Lightroom and Photoshop for editing photos.

Q. Any advice for those looking to start a career in the design world?

A: I definitely recommend gaining in-house or agency experience. Being surrounded by a group of people that you can learn from is great and can really push your boundaries. I would not be where I am today if I would have gone straight to freelancing from college. I learned so much about organization, client relations, presentations, print production and multitasking at my first job!

Q. When did you start your blog (which I love by the way)! Any advice to those looking to start their own blog?

In 2009 I started blogging as basically a photo dump. I would post my iphone photos with a little caption and might expand a little here and there. I knew I wanted to create a portfolio and site that potential clients could check out, so in 2010 I decided to take my blog to the next level. I switched to a self hosted WordPress site and started posting on a regular basis with consistent content. It has been growing ever since into what you see today!

I think the most important advice I can offer for someone wanting to start a blog is to write about what you love and not what you think people want to hear. Blog because you love doing it.

Be sure to connect with Ciera by visiting her blog and following her on Twitter! If you’re interested in sponsoring Show + Tell in June, contact me and we can chat!

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Link Love + Weekend List

It’s Friday! Hurray! Here are a few links to some of my favorite internet finds this week:

Weekend goals:

  • Re-evaluate what I’m doing with this blog. I have a few series (City Guides, Here We Go, Photo Challenges) that I love but I’m getting bored. Any tips or suggestions?
  • Shoot a roll of film on this camera and this camera. I have TWO photoshoots booked this weekend!
  • Watch the Bachelorette on DVR with one of my best friends and eat cheese/wine. Don’t judge.
  • Go to garage sales!
  • Go to the gym (yeah I do that now…crazy).
  • Find some basic tools and materials and make my necklaces! My Japanese vintage beads are amazing.

What are you doing this weekend? SHARE! 

*Photo taken on my Canon A-1 – B&W film

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Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Fiona of The Corner of the Internet I Call Home!

Trying to create a guide for London without dividing it up somehow was impossible. So many Londoners see the river as a wall; separating the North from the South. I’ve used the same scheme, just for simplicity, but clearly you might want to dip into both parts of the city if you come and visit. Finally, I’ve included the nearest tube stop in square brackets for most destinations – buying an Oyster card and using the tube & bus network is really the only way to see London!

North London

North London contains the larger part of the city, encompassing the West End, the East End, the tourist mecca of Camden, and the beautiful greenery of Regents Park, Hyde Park, Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath. These areas are typically covered by any tourist guide, and you can lose yourself in these places alone for a good few days!

Starting in Hampstead [Hampstead, Northern Line], you can almost imagine you’re hundreds of miles from London – the windy lanes and traditional English houses make it a lovely place to explore. The main street has become increasingly chain-dominated, but there are still a few antique stalls down Flask Walk which can be fun to browse. Rather than heading back underground, I’d really recommend the walk down the hill to Camden. It takes about an hour, but you can break your journey for lunch in a pub like the Rossyln Arms. It’s an affluent area, and the houses are lovely, and on a sunny day it makes a great little break from the busyness of the centre. Camden [Camden, Northern Line] itself is incredibly touristy, and most places should quite simply be avoided. However, the Stables market is in an amazing building, where the workhorses for the neighbouring canal were housed, so might be worth a peek before you pop back into onto the Underground.

A favourite spot of mine in north London is the Barbican [Moorgate, Northern Line], which divides opinions with its 1960’s architecture. It houses an art gallery, a concert hall, several restaurants and cafes and has a large residential section. It’s rarely busy (which is a welcome break after somewhere like Camden), so you can grab a coffee from the Foodhall and sit by the central pond and admire or despise the towering concrete walls.

From the Barbican, it’s a short (but easily confusing!) walk to Farringdon [Farringdon, Hammermith & City/Circle/Metropolitan lines]. This is a relatively trendy area, with media industry workers spilling out around pubs in the early evening. La Cucina next to Smithfields market, is a small family-run restaurant, and finding better Italian food at that price is near on impossible.

Every area of London has its own nightlife “type”, so it’s worth researching if you’re keen for a particular type of music. My all out favourite pub-venue in the city is the 12 bar on Denmark Street [Tottenham Court Road, Northern/Central lines] where folk, punk, and blues are all equally likely to be played.

South London

The one drawback to south London is the lack of the Underground – only a small percentage of the London Tube stops are south of the river, and instead a network of overground trains and buses connect the area.

If you’re keen enough, getting up early to visit one of the south London markets is an experience far detached from the tourist trail. On a Saturday, Deptford Market [New Cross, Overground or Deptford Bridge, DLR] lines a street with crockery and food stalls, but the real gem is the flea market round the back. Only time-honoured locals are allowed to barter (seriously – I’ve seen people get barred!), but the prices are very cheap. Bermondsey market [short walk from London Bridge, Northern/Jubilee lines] on Friday mornings has a fantastic history, once being the spot where thieves were legally allowed to sell stolen goods. It’s still an amazing antiques market, and the best time to visit is 5am, when the place is bustling with antiques dealers coming to make an offer on all the best goods.  If you need your beauty sleep, Borough Market [London Bridge, Northern/Jubilee lines] is a great food market, although years of renown have pushed prices up – still, a venison burger from there is worth every penny! The market runs Thursdays to Saturdays until 5pm, but other days of the week there are still some great permanent shops which make the trip worthwhile.

For the geekier visitor, the tiny Brunel museum [Rotherhide, Overground] is a great stop. Brunel is lorded as one of the greatest Britons ever, having propelled British industrial innovation forward almost singlehandedly. But one of his less known accomplishments is the digging of a tunnel under the Thames which predates the London Underground system significantly. This work of Brunel Sr. and Jr. is the focus of this small museum, and walking tours are available on Tuesdays and Sundays, which take you into part of the original tunnel. They also host some great evening/night activities, which you can find out about here.

One of the most striking silhouettes on the Thames bank is that of Battersea Power Station, decommissioned in the 1980’s, and now used for various events. It’s an iconic building, with a typical 1930’s design. From there, you’re well placed to explore one of the loveliest parks in the city. Battersea Park, unlike Hyde Park and Regents Park which are dominated with tourists, is a park for local people who jog, play football and walk their dogs.

The advantage of the more fractured transport infrastructure in south London is the small “town centres” which were central to the local community back before the general sprawl of London encompassed the areas. Places like Clapham Junction [Clapham Junction, National Rail Station], Wimbledon [Wimbledon, District Line], Dulwich [North Dulwich, National Rail Station] and Putney [East Putney, District Line] have really held onto these areas, and small independent delis, cafes and restaurants thrive off the affluent community. Café Prov [Herne Hill, National Rail Station] and Lolo Rojo [Clapham Junction, National Rail Station] are great for lunch.

The one ‘touristy’ spot in London I can’t get enough of is the South Bank [Waterloo, Northern/Jubilee lines]. The stretch from Waterloo Bridge to London Bridge is rammed with cafes, restaurants and venues. The British Film Institute and the Royal Festival Hall both have great cafes and bars inside, and the Royal Festival Hall often hosts free concerts and recital in the entrance floor, so you can enjoy some live classical music with your wine. Next to these is an open air secondhand bookstall, which you can browse through as you continue your journey downstream. Rather than paying 15 pounds to take the London Eye, the OXO Tower has a free viewing gallery which has a spectacular view at sunset.

This all puts you in walking distance to my favourite restaurant in the world. Brindisa in Borough Market [London Bridge, Northern/Jubilee lines] originally began as a Spanish foods importers, but quickly realised that they had all the ingredients for a fantastic tapas restaurant. You can’t reserve a table, so don’t arrive hungry! Instead, get your name on the chalkboard and grab a bottle of Rioja from the bar and nurse a glass while you wait for a table.

A huge thanks for Fiona for contributing a city guide to one of my favorite cities! Be sure to visit her blog and follow her on Twitter!

Featured image by hpmnick.