A Free Download To Brighten Your Day!

This past weekend I finalized a project for a client and I got to involve watercolor! I loved it so much I decided to create a freebie wallpaper for you all! The charcoal blob in the middle inspired me to pull a Mumford and Sons lyric. It seemed perfect. I’m digging those bright teals and blues lately. I hope you enjoy! Click here to download ALL versions. It includes a desktop (formatted for a large iMac), iPad and iPhone version! You can download them individually here:

  • Click HERE to download the desktop version
  • Click HERE to download the iPad version
  • Click HERE to download the iPhone version

Enjoy and be sure to share!

ZOMGIMBORED Giveaway

I’m excited to announce the last April sponsor giveaway today (on the last day of April)! Jim of ZOMGIMBORED is graciously giving away two signed posters and a tee that he designed. Amazing! I’m a huge fan of Jim’s work, blog and Twitter feed. He’s always sharing resources, color schemes, and tips. One lucky winner will win these three items and I’m not going to lie — I’m jealous. In order to enter you must:

Once you’ve done both, comment below! The contest ends Thursday, May 3rd at 11:59pm EST. The winner will be chosen at random and announced here on Friday morning. To enter you must have a United States mailing address. Please be aware that shirt sizes are limited and run MEDIUM – XXL. Good luck!

Good Goods

Lately I’ve been trying to avoid materialistic posts. I tend to get tired of that when scrolling through my Google Reader but beautiful, quality products still catch my eye. I thought maybe once a month I’d post a “Good Goods” post. It’ll be a combination of things I’ve recently purchased and things I have pinned or Evernoted. We’ll be debt free in May and I cannot WAIT. I tend to buy things if we have a little extra cash or if I’ve acquired points through Birchbox. I’m hoping to go on a little shopping trip next month for my birthday but I think I’ll end up feeling guilty. Oh well, a birthday girl can splurge right?

  1. LSA International Centro Carafe. I love water bottles, carafes and pitchers. I don’t know why!
  2. Odette Arrow Ring. I don’t really like wearing jewelry with the exception of rings. This one is gorgeous.
  3. Zoya’s nail polish remover. I’ve never experienced anything better. It takes off glitter and dark polish with ease.
  4. Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment. I snagged this with my Birchbox points and it’s almost gone! Addicting.
  5. Klorane Dry Shampoo. I only wash my hair about 3x a week and so I’ve been trying a lot of brands lately. Need to try this one!
  6. Smashbox’s Brow Tech To Go. AMAZING brow pencil. Worth the $26.
  7. RBG Polish in Punch. Another product I ordered through Birchbox. The prettiest spring color! Goes on smooth.
  8. Panasonic Headphones. Recommended by Sharon and I love them! Great sound and comfortable. I’m a sucker for white.
*CONGRATS to Vanessa for winning the Life in Progress Giveaway from this week. Thanks to all who entered. Be on the lookout for a new (more uni-sex) giveaway on Monday.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. I have NO PLANS so I intend on working for a bit but then enjoy free time by reading, cooking and sleeping in. What are your plans?

Fortlangley1

CITY GUIDE : Fort Langley

Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Heather of Tea with Me! I’m excited to share the first Canadian destination! Enjoy.

Is there good food? Is there fascinating history? It’s these two questions that constantly pop into my mind when choosing a place to visit; it so happens that this city has both, plus one downtown street full of chic boutiques. Fort Langley is an overlooked gem when it comes to the Lower Mainland, especially with Vancouver an hour or two away (maybe if Allie is nice she will let me do that guide for you). It’s a hidden secret with the locals and perfect for a low key Saturday.

Start off by going to Wendel’s Bookstore and Café and don’t get frightened away by the lineup, when it comes to food it’s a good sign and it moves at a decent clip. The problem … trying to actually decide on what to get, everything looked incredibly delicious, not to mention the ooey gooey baked treats that tantalize behind a glass shield with seductive whispering, “Take me home with you!”

Once your belly is full and completely satisfied walk down the road for shopping. This is perfect for a day with the girlfriends, unless your fella is in to shopping. It’s time to catch up on gossip between the clothing boutiques, art galleries, trinket stores and even a spa there is something for everyone. There are two treat stores, one dedicated to candy and another for chocolate if you feel the urge to have a little snack or have the same chocolate sweet tooth I have.

Treasure hunters should not miss the Village Antique Mall, a 10,000 square foot place off the main drag full of wondrous items. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but my guess is an individual can purchase a booth and fill it with their items to sell. It can be a little annoying especially if you know what you want, but I find it intriguing to see the style of each person come out.

The Fort to Fort trail, is a flat all seasons trek that connects the first Hudson Bay Company’s Fort Langley site (1827) to the current fort location (1839) which is a National Historic site in the downtown area. The trail takes you through lush vegetation and wildflowers amidst trees to farmland by the Fraser River and Bedford channel.  It’s a serene trek, especially in the morning, when the grass is still covered in dew and the birds chirp (even better when you stop at Wendel’s afterwards.)

Fort Langley was established by the Hudson’s Bay Company, the oldest commercial corporation in North America, over a century ago to trade with the First Nations of the area. The fort isn’t of large size, but it’s still fun to take the kids too, especially around Canada day, when they are doing more interactive pieces. Take them there for a little history lesson, gold panning, and visit the farm animals.

For me, a trip to the town cannot be complete without stopping in at Infusion Bouteaque, either a quick hello to the owners or to try a new tea. They have near on a 100 different loose leaf teas for sale and I love how they have placed them in little bottles for you to open and smell. Its fascinating watching people, shake and sniff, then share the bottles with friends with exclamations of, “Try this one!” They are the tea merchant that first got me addicted to loose leaf tea. As of now they have some help, but if you get lucky and find the owners in, you will see how tea is a pure passion of this couple.

Not as popular as the Vancouver core when visiting British Columbia, but it’s still a fabulous place, well worth a taking a few hours of your day with girlfriends to explore away from the hub of city life.

A huge thanks to Heather for rounding up her favorite places in Fort Langley! Be sure to visit her blog and follow her on Twitter! All photos taken by Heather.

Featured image by p medved.

A Step Back

I’ve been working. A LOT. Like…too much. 70 hour work weeks. Last weekend I had one of those moments where I realized I needed to take a step back. I don’t mean “quitting” anything necessarily but moving things around and restructuring. It was a great weekend to think about it all. One of my friends had her baby boy, another is pregnant, I photographed our friends’ engagement, and two of our best pals moved in down the street. The real stuff. I’m not saying work, blogging and my crazy obsession with Instagram isn’t real. It’s just not what I want my entire life to be consumed by. So what changes am I making? Here’s a list (I love lists):

  • I’m hiring an amazing virtual assistant (details to come). For now, she will handle all inquires and new client emails. Hopefully we’ll build up to her helping with scheduling, blogging and invoicing!
  • I’m turning off my computer by 10pm daily. This is huge for me. I’m usually awake until 12-1am working on freelance projects.
  • Adam and I will wake up at the same time and spend at least an hour together before work. Breakfast, reading, and a kiss goodbye. No more rushing.
  • I recently switched my invoicing platform to Freshbooks. I can’t get enough of it. I’m also starting to track my time on every.single.task so get a better sense on what I’m doing with my time.
  • When in doubt…walk. I want to take more walks with Adam, maybe just Desh and sometimes by myself. Maybe I’ll take a camera. Maybe not.
  • I want to look into either a chiropractor or a monthly budget for a deep tissue massage.

Those are just a few of things I’m implementing (I started this week). I think I’ll be a better wife, friend and business owner if I take steps backward and look at the big picture more often. The photos above were taken recently. Getting tea with Adam, exploring Columbus, and sending letters to my best friends…all good things.

How do you stay balanced & healthy? When do you know you’ve reached your limit? Any tips or recommendations?

*Top four photos taken on my Minolta SRT-201. Bottom two photos taken on my iPhone.

#snapaphoto April Photo Challenge: Week 3

Candid shots of strangers. That was Week 3′s challenge. I had high hopes for my photo. I wanted a shot with a lot of character and emotion but it’s pretty dang hard when you don’t want to shove a camera in someone’s face. When I take my film portraits, I’m SO close to my client’s faces. Awkwardly close. I also waited until it was too cold to finally take my shots. Everyone was bundled up and walking quickly to their destination. I mostly felt like a stalker. I ended up taking my chosen shot while eating at Betty’s (a local Columbus restaurant). I’m always intrigued by people who eat by themselves. I’m not saying it’s weird…but I always admire them (unless they look sad and then I want to invite them to eat with me).

How did your experience go? How did you approach it? What surprised you? Did this week’s challenge make you look forward to or dread this week’s challenge?

If you’re just joining the fun, you can take a look at Week 1 and Week 2 of the challenge. Even if you haven’t submitted yet, feel free to send in your portrait for Week 4 here. All entries are due on Sunday, April 29th by 8pm EST. Good luck approaching your stranger of choice!

Now Accepting May Sponsors

April flew by. I think I say that after every month nears its end. I’m now accepting May sponsors and a handful of spots for swap. If you’re interested, please contact me here. We can chat about your options, opportunities and if it would be a good fit! I love all the support I’ve received for past clients, readers and local businesses. Funds received for sponsorships are used towards hosting photo challenges, purchasing the prizes, sending gifts to the judges, paying for giveaway postage and monthly fees used to host my blog.

All May sponsors will be added to my sidebar on Wednesday, May 2nd since my blog was down for one day in April. Thanks for considering and as always…thanks for reading!

Life in Progress Giveaway

One of my April sponsors, a lovely Etsy shop called Life in Progress, is offering a giveaway here on Show + Tell! To win this cute screen printed tea/kitchen towel (made of natural flour sack), you must visit her shop and share your favorite item (besides this towel, of course)! For additional entries, you can:

That’s up to three entries per person! This giveaway will be open until Thursday, April 26th at 11:59pm EST. A random winner will be chosen and announced here on Friday morning. Good luck!

Also, congrats to Chelsea for winning my Aveda giveaway from last week! Thanks to all who submitted!

April Birchbox Review

Time for my monthly Birchbox review! This month’s was lovely. First off, I loved the bright green tissue paper. I’m not a huge “pink” person and so I definitely noticed this month. Inside I found:

  • Befine daily moisturizer and body scrub. The lotion (SPF 15) definitely smelled a bit like sunscreen but in a way…it made me really excited for summer.
  • YesTo Facial Towelettes. This is actually my favorite brand of facial wipes and was excited to try the blueberry! Plus it’s the perfect size for my purse.
  • Taylor Swift’s new perfume Wonderstruck. Not really for me.
  • Lulu Organics dry shampoo. I tried it and LOVE it. More than any dry shampoo in an aerosol can. It’s actual powder and smells great.
  • Zoya nail polish. Part of their spring collection! So pretty. I’m a huge fan of Zoya. I prefer it over Butter London or OPI.

Overall, GREAT month. I was introduced to two new brands that I love and got products from brands that I already adore. If you want to sign up, it’s only $10/month and you can earn points by reviewing products/buying products/referring friends and ultimately use those points to buy things through Birchbox! I’d appreciate it if you used my referral link! Oh also, I’m going to be sharing some NEW favorite makeup products (brands like RGB, Smashbox, and Zoya!) that I’ve recently invested in next week. Stay tuned!

PSSTT! Last thing: my awesome April sponsor, Emily Elizabeth Jewelry is having a HUGE sale over at her online store (up to 80% off!!!).

I can’t decide between this necklace ($15.00–originally $48.00) and this cuff ($25.00–originally $50.00). If you don’t want to purchase anything yet..head on over to Emily Elizabeth Jewelry’s Facebook page and enter to win their giveaway!  All you have to do is be a fan of their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and answer “yes” in their Facebook questionnaire. You’re welcome!

Chicago

CITY GUIDE: Chicago

Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Andrew Neel, Rebekah Neel, and Josh Ohms (all living in Chicago, Illinois)!

First off, Allie is awesome for having people do these city guides, and she gets the biggest of props from us here in Chi-town. Thanks, Lehman!

To be true to the spirit of Chicago, this guide is divided up by neighborhoods, just like the city itself. If we were to cover all the diverse sections of Chicago this guide would take over Allie’s entire site, so to keep it small we highlighted some of our favorite places in just a few areas of the city.

Lakeview

If you ever find yourself near Wrigley Field, go eat at the Pick Me Up Cafe if you’re a fan of buffalo chicken, breakfast foods, milkshakes, coffee, vegan cuisine, or all things that are good and enjoyable in the world.

This 24-hour, always-open and always-tasty spot has a great vibe and a better menu. The buffalo chicken wrap is so good it caused Andrew to give up his Lent restaurant fast to eat it again, and the omelettes are BAMF. No, seriously, that’s the name of the the best breakfast dish on the menu: The BAMF omelette, which includes spinach, feta, garlic, tomato and the fulfillment of culinary dreams. Go there for food. Go there for milkshakes or coffee. Just go there.

Devon

One of the most visually vibrant places in Chicago is up on Devon Avenue (specifically between Ravenswood and California), where you’ll find Pakistani, Indian and a variety of other cultures beautifully compressed together.

We explored the neighborhood and settled on eating at the Pakistani restaurant Sabri Nihari. This turned out to be a monumentally good decision.

Upon hearing that we wanted to take pictures of our food, the owner graciously invited us to eat with him and the restaurant’s top chef at their table. We were treated to beef kababs with raita, chicken makhani with rice, their eponymous sabri nihari beef with naan, and a variety of other outstanding dishes. Everything was succulent, well-seasoned and, ultimately, pretty dang delicious. The owner also let us photograph newly-prepared dishes on a table they set up just for us, which was an unexpected and surreally cool experience.

While on Devon, we also stopped by the clothing store Studio Elite, not because any of us is in the market for a Sari, but because the interior was gorgeous and filled with vivid colors. We’re fans of frivolous window shopping – if you can’t afford to buy anything anyway, you might as well look at the coolest stuff possible. (All photos taken in Devon were taken by Josh.)

Wicker Park

Wicker Park is one of Chicago’s trendiest neighborhoods and a nucleus of awesome. And what’s more awesome than an independent used book store that sells real life books you can see and touch and smell? Nothing, that’s what. Myopic Books has a bizarre and extensive selection, and you’re guaranteed to spend hours searching through its voluminous shelves (according to the store’s site they carry more than 80,000 editions).

Downtown

For a finale, we’re advocating the fun and free activity of visiting Chicago’s Harold Washington Library Center in the heart of the city. Not only because learning is fun (which it is, kids!), but because the top floor features a breathtaking, massive open space with reading tables and a cool view of the skyscrapers that encompass it. We took a picture of the outside, and we’ll let you discover exactly what the top floor looks like for yourself sometime.

A huge thanks to these three for showing us around their city!Andrew is a writer and filmmaker currently working on a feature film project. Rebekah is an artist who specializes in prints. Josh is a photographer extraordinaire. All three love Chicago.

Featured image by bryce_edwards.