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CITY GUIDE: Los Angeles

I was so excited when Ann approached me about possibly curating a City Guide for Los Angeles. I’ve connected with so many clients, bloggers, and designers from Los Angeles and this post makes me want to visit ASAP! Be sure to read through her guide and be sure to add any of your favorite L.A. spots in the comments section!

Hi and welcome to Los Angeles! It’s true what they say about the weather, and even truer about the traffic. However, on Sundays you can escape the latter. Here’s how you should spend a perfect Sunday, my favorite day of the week.

Start the morning off at a flea market. L.A. is a wonderland for vintage-loving magpies. My favorites are the PCC Flea Market (1st Sunday of every month, free admission, inside a parking garage so lots of shade, parking is $2 or street parking) and the Long Beach Flea (3rd Sunday, $5 admission, get a coupon on website, free parking).

If you happen to be here the 2nd Sunday, the Rose Bowl Flea (photo above found on Sammy Davis Vintage) is worth the visit – but beware it is a behemoth and pricier ($8 admission, free parking, bring a sunbrella)! The Melrose Trading Post is also good if you need a fix, because it’s every weekend and manageable in a morning. ($2 admission, street parking).

Now it’s time for brunch/lunch – whatever floats your boat. My favorite brunch place is Canele. They serve LA Mill coffee, so two birds one stone. It’s the best coffee in LA, trust. Order the eggs en cocotte and the meyer lemon pancake for breakfast dessert. You will not be sorry.

If you’re more in the mood for something quick, Hugo’s Tacos is the best and just a couple blocks down from Canele. Lots of veggie-friendly options. Pick the chipotle honey salsa…mmm. Also stop at Proof Bakery down the street for the best baked goods in LA.

Now if you’re heading over to the beach, you should stop by the Museum of Jurassic Technology. It is one of the most unusual places you’ll ever visit. One cannot be told what it is, one can only experience it. For a grander, but unusually underrated, museum experience, check out the Natural History Museum downtown. Incredible dioramas.

In the evening, catch a film at the gilded Vista Theater in Los Feliz, then wander on down and pop into La Luz de Jesus Gallery (inside Wacko’s, the best book & toy store for grown-ups). For dinner, stop a couple doors down at Umami Burger (always check to see if they have cheesy tots! That’s a secret menu tip from me to you). Or wander up a couple blocks to Cafe Figaro and pretend you’re at a Parisian sidewalk cafe (if you squint your eyes). They have an amazing happy hour, or dinner if it’s later. Cap the night off with a scoop from Pazzo Gelato, get the salted caramel rose if they have it.

Thanks for spending the day with me!

A huge thanks to Ann Shen for curating this lovely city guide! Be sure to check out her site (oh my her illustrations are amazing), her blog Annplified and give her a follow on Twitter!

Featured image by Ben Amstutz.

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Here We Go: Inspiration

Today’s Here We Go post was inspired by the tweet: “What to do when you’re feeling uninspired! How do you get your mojo back?” A great, great question. There have been many times where I find my mind completely blank. After three years of blogging, I’ve figured out WHY this happens. It happens when I stop observing. Sure, browsing through Pinterest might spark a curated post or I might develop a roll of film to share but to me that isn’t quality content. Over the past six months, I’ve really tried to stay committed to original content. I decided that I want my blog to be about community. I love hosting challenges, featuring cities, introducing my readers to my favorite people, and sparking conversation. Often times I would create posts like this or this…but how does that add to anyone’s life? Here are a few steps if you’re feeling uninspired as a beginner blogger or even for those that have been at it for awhile:

01. Buy this book. It’s called 31 Days To Finding Your Blogging Mojo. I bought it (only $4.99) and it helped me IMMENSELY. It really has you analyze your blog from your readers’ perspectives, alerts you to popular posts, forces you to look at what it is your blogging about, and even helps you realize what to say when people ask…”So what do you blog about?”

02. Use A Calendar. I will admit that there are times that I create my posts the night before but usually I have them planned weeks in advance. I use my Google Calendar to map out what I want to post and to make sure I’m getting a variety in there. When you’re collaborating with others it really helps to be organized. People appreciate it when you respect their time and knowledge.

03. Keep A Journal. Not a diary but a sketchbook/notebook/whatever you want to call it. I have a Moleskin that I keep with me at all times and have random notes jotted down on pages with blog series ideas, people I want to collaborate with, or things I need to update (like my sidebar, links, categories, etc).

04. Connect on Twitter. SO many of my ideas and feedback come from Twitter and followers who stumble across my blog. It also keeps me accountable when I know people read my blog because they see the link pop up in their feed. Seeing what my followers are talking about can even spark ideas. Be relevant.

05. What blogs do you love? Make a list of 5 blogs that I love or read daily. Why do you love them? Probably because you feel connected to them and their posts inspire you. Be that for someone else!

Obviously those are just starting points. I really love blogging and when I don’t feel inspired…I usually take a short break. If you’re feeling the same way you need to step away from the computer. Read a book that challenges you, spend time with strangers, listen to new music. I truly believe that if you step out of your comfort zone…you’ll create better content (whether you’re a blogger, a designers, an artist, an anything).

I’m so glad that two of my favorite bloggers agreed to share what inspires them:

Even though I’m not a typical fashion blogger, I am involved in one aspect of the fashion industry and my job is to keep track of up to date information from lingerie designers. So keeping up with fashion magazines and designer blogs is definitely one form of inspiration. I actually love following their social media accounts – tumblr and instagram have opened up the world of the designer’s every day life and really gives you the tools to become an incredible blogger. You actually get a glimpse of what inspires them, what their surroundings are like, and who they are interacting with – this all puts everything in to great perspective. Other than that, I’m constantly taking walks. If you stop thinking of how to be inspired, sometimes the inspiration can come naturally with your own surroundings. My neighborhood is built around several lakes, so sometimes going outside, sitting by the lake and clearing your head is all the inspiration you need. – Erinn of Bare Intimates

I run a lifestyle and design blog so naturally, wanting to log my life and share my experiences is a huge part of what keeps me inspired. I love sharing about a swoon-worthy designer I came across or about what I did all weekend. For me, being able to share all of this with you is what makes it fun! I hate feeling obligated to blog so the fact that I am blogging FOR MYSELF keeps me going. – Vanessa of Hello Vanny

What keeps you inspired? What do you do when you’re lacking inspiration? I’m all up for hearing advice and your own tips!

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MEET: Ryan Stryker

I’m so excited to introduce you all to Ryan Stryker! I met Ryan last year at a networking event and ever since I’ve been such a fan of his work. Ryan currently lives in Columbus, Ohio and works as a Senior User Experience Designer for one of the savviest IT Solution Providers in the industry. When he’s not knee deep in design projects he enjoy volunteering his time at his church, exploring the local Columbus food and music scene and is a sucker for a nice glass of whiskey. Follow him on Twitter and say hello!

1. You’re a designer and a developer (which I love). What are you favorite aspects of designing and developing? What are your least favorite aspects of designing and developing? Thanks for the compliment, making the leap from designer to developer has been a challenging but rewarding experience. My favorite aspects of being able to both design and development are mostly related knowing that my vision for the design will be developed to pixel perfection since I can constantly check my work against the design. That being said sometimes I find the opposite can be helpful too, meaning that I can make adjustments on the fly in mid-development or rethink certain areas of the design without changing my original vision for the project.

2. How would you describe your college experience? My Undergraduate Degree was in Visual Communication & Design and was more than likely very different than what designers are experiencing today. At the time (1999-2004) web design was rarely a topic of discussion, instead we focused more on traditional design principles including a mixture of fine arts projects and learning early versions of the Adobe Creative suite.

3. How did you enter into the professional world after graduating? After graduation I worked as a Graphic Artist for several years increasing my skills using Adobe software but also began taking evening classes at CCAD (Columbus College of Art & Design) in Web Design / Web Development in order to create a new website for my employer. The class enabled me to start learning development basics as well as giving me the opportunity to start doing freelance design and development work. After moving on from my position I continued to take classes in web development which has continued to create both personal and professional opportunities.

4. What websites do you visit daily? I don’t know that I truly check any websites on a daily basis other than maybe Twitter. I do enjoy a variety of design blogs including Smashing Magazine, Vandalay Design, Web Designer Depot and most recently Viget Lab’s UX/UI Blog – Viget Advance. I am also very fond of LinkedIn TODAY’s email blasts which provide a variety of industry related news articles.

5. Do you have any creative outlets outside of your day-to-day projects? I have been creating some party invitations, Facebook Page Designs and am starting on some business cards – all of which are done for free for friends. It’s nice to be able to do something altruistic and not have to worry about a proposal or hard launch date. I also recently joined a band playing bass guitar which is a nice creative outlet not design related.

6. Why do you think Columbus is a great place to live as a creative professional? (or maybe you don’t! Explain either.) I think Columbus is a great place for creative professionals! There always seem to be great opportunities for design work both as a career and for full time freelancers. Columbus is also booming with entrepreneurs and start up companies allowing designers fun opportunities to be exposed to a variety of interesting projects. We also have several fun and educational professional organizations like the IxDA, CSCA, Columbus AMA and the Columbus AdFed in which you can meet other people in our industry and swap stories (good and bad haha).

7. Any advice to those looking into or still in college studying design/development? This is a tough question. I think the most important piece of advice for those studying design or development is to really check your motivations for choosing to enter this career path. You have to really have a passion for this industry and be ready to invest a lot of time and effort in order to succeed. I would also suggest obtaining quality internships before you graduate to start gaining valuable professional experience, all too often I see very creative individuals who struggle with professionalism in a typical business environment.

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Good & Lovely March Review

I received my monthly Good & Lovely box this month and I’m excited to share what’s inside. I really loved this box and the variety was amazing. Inside I found:

  • An aromatherapy shower tablet
  • Lavender body and hand lotion
  • Gourmet chocolate covered pretzels
  • Three bags of chamomile citrus tea
  • Topical cream for menstrual cramps
  • Stress reducing foot cream

In case you missed last month’s Good & Lovely review, it’s a monthly based subscription service ($13.99/month) that sends you a box like this the day you start your period! Plus, one dollar of every months subscription goes to provide feminine care to women in need. I’ve been able to chat with the awesome people over at Good & Lovely and am so happy to be supporting them. If you want, you can sign up here and customize your box even more. I think a box like this would be such a fun gift to give (what a surprise for any woman in your life). Be sure to comment if you end up subscribing!

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In Between Seasons

It’s that weird time when the weather could be cold one day…warm the next. We had such a mild winter that obviously it hasn’t been that cold out but the temps seem to be ranging between 40-60 degrees. I thought I’d share some of my favorite “in-between” season items right now. Honestly–I’m kind of on a shopping break–but making boards like these are fun and is sort of a substitute for shopping.

  1. Paul & Joe Sister Tristana wool-blend A-line skirt ($160) for those warm days.
  2. Piano Man Umbrella ($30) for the rainy days.
  3. Boden Rainyday Mac ($178) so you don’t get that outfit wet.
  4. Mobile phone case and Wallet ($12) because I hate lugging around a huge purse in the rain.
  5. Chanel Particuliere #505 Nail Le Vernis ($30) is not too dark, not too light.
  6. Lush’s R&B (out of stock…sad) but supposedly it’s amazing for frizzy hair like mine.
  7. Donna Wilson’s Rainy Day large throw ($285) to cuddle.
  8. Bodum Bistro Mug ($15) is the perfect clear mug. Tea or coffee for you?
  9. Andrew Bird’s new album Break It Yourself has been on repeat lately. So light and beautiful.

What are your favorite things about this in-between weather? Any fun items or accessories you like to break out when spring is just around the corner?

Also, congrats to Kate for winning my Shamrock Shake giveaway! Kate, I’ll get your information from you later today!

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Today’s CITY GUIDE is brought to you by Emma Boyd of Glasgow, Scotland! Enjoy!

Thanks to it’s prettier sister Edinburgh, Glasgow doesn’t often get the first look on a trip to Scotland, but make time to spend a few days in the city and I promise you a world of delight!

While we don’t have castles to roam, our streets do have plenty to occupy your days. Start out in the city centre with a walk along Buchanan Street, our main shopping district. It’s got everything for high street brands to upmarket boutiques, with plenty of refreshment stops along the way. Head to the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) to see a real Glasgow institution – the statue of the Duke of Wellington out front is rarely without his traffic cone hat.

Take the Underground out to the West End for the afternoon, where you’ll find a plethora of coffeehouses, delis, and second hand bookstores. Ruthven Lane may look like any other alley, but down it’s narrow street you’ll find some of the best second hand stores the city has to offer.

Take a break for a coffee at Cafezique… and make sure you try the brownies! Other great coffee spots include Epicures, Avenue G, and Big Mouth Coffee. The sticky toffee cake at Big Mouth should come with a warning label: addictive! Now that you’re feeling refreshed, enjoy a walk through the Botanical Gardens and along the River Clyde – the city’s best kept secret.

If nightlife is your thing, Ashton Lane has plenty to choose from. It’s bars & restaurants are busy all nights of the week thanks to the student and young professional population. Brel does a great selection of beers, or try the Ubiquitious Chip for something a little more upmarket. Catching one of the latest films at the Grovesner Cinema is a great way to the end the day, not least of which because of the comfortable sofas and licensed bar.

Our streets may have less tourists than others, but the people who call this city home love it and are always happy to point you in the right direction!

A big thanks to Emma of Emma Boyd Photography for sharing her favorite Glasgow spots and photos. You can follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook!

Featured image by euphbass.

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Here We Go: Linking

The topic today is: LINKING. As a blogger, I’m constantly linking. Sometimes I’m referencing a business, providing the source of an image, or just sharing additional information. Sadly, I still come across blogs that are linking incorrectly. (Yes-there’s a method. Well, MY method.) It’s like this:

1. When you use a photo in your post, you need to make sure you share the source correctly. Do not write “source” or “via” and link the source that way. Take time to give proper credit! Write out “Image found on Allison Lehman’s Flickr.” (Haha…like my awesome visual below?)

2. Link to the ACTUAL blog post or page. Not just the main domain name.The difference isn’t necessarily for crediting correctly but it saves so much more time for your readers to either learn more about the topic or to find out more information on the image. For example, let’s say in my post I tell you, “Click here to see more photos that I snapped on my film camera–including the photo from up above!” If you really do click that link, it takes you to my blog. NOW YOU HAVE TO FIND IT. Muah hahaha. Really, what I should have done was point you to this post.

3. Honestly? I don’t think linking to Pinterest or Tumblr is acceptable. If you can’t take the time to dig around OR if the source is that lost…you shouldn’t be posting the photo. It really irks me when I click on a source link and it takes me to a non-linked pin. Those sites, while very easy to share, can often lose sight of giving credit where credit is due.

4. Lastly, don’t include your blog URL in the comment box when commenting on other peoples’ blogs. It’s kind of tacky and unnecessary, really! Most blogs allow you to sign in and comment by providing your email/account/URL and that should be enough. Be a part of a blog’s community to share, learn and meet new people. You don’t need to be that person that’s handing out their business cards before you can even shake their hand. Plus, it can often push you into the spam catcher.

Now that you’ve heard from me, I thought I’d share some thoughts from some other amazing bloggers:

Giving credit where credit is due has proven to be a very touchy subject as of late. With a world of Pinterest, ffffound and Tumblr, it’s more important than ever to link to the original source of an image or site on your blog. Our fields of sharing are blurred and if links get broken, we lose the credit to the creator. I was really guilty of not following my own advice when I first started blogging, but now I try to link appropriately to the original artist, source or site in a blog post, which means sometimes I go 3-4 clicks through to find an artist’s site. It takes a little extra sleuthing, but it’s worth finding and posting the right content in the end. –Sharon McMullen

I like links. I’ve been chasing them around the web for years, always curious about where they’re going to take me next. I think properly linking information, especially in blogging, is the same as citing your work in a paper. It gives credit to your sources, and provides the reader with more information to follow should they wish to continue learning more about a topic. – Jim Viola

Including proper credit within my blog posts is a big priority for me. I decided awhile ago that if I can’t find the original source, I won’t use it. The reverse image search on Google often unearths the original source, but not always. In that case, I just don’t use the photo. But really, with the exception of properly credited features, I rarely use other people’s images. I love blogs with original photography and want my blog to stand out from the rest. Plus it means I’m photographing more of my own life, which is always a good thing! –Kara Haupt

What are your thoughts on linking? Do you see “bad linking” happening a lot? How do you prevent it and/or stop it? I’d love your thoughts and feedback! Feel free to leave any ideas for future “HERE WE GO” posts!

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Makeup Splurge

About a month ago, I tweeted to Leigh Ann (a freelance makeup artist), “Hey you. I need help finding the perfect lip shade(s) and a brand. Can you assist? Do you do this kind of thing? ;)” She promptly responded and we set a date to meet at Nordstrom during my lunch hour. An hour later, I was walking out with lots of fun makeup and a new, bright shade of nail polish. It honestly was the best thing I could have done. Leigh Ann, who is amazing at what she does, sat me down and showed me various different “looks.” An every day look, a fun summery look, and a look for when I go out at night. Obviously I couldn’t buy everything but I did choose the makeup pictured above. The photo of me was taken on my iPhone right after she did my makeup. My makeup used to NEVER look that good. I always hated my lip gloss (it never stayed on), my eyeliner always creased and I wasn’t using the best shade of blush.

I would highly recommend snagging a professional makeup artist and having them give you a mini lesson if you feel a bit uninspired by your current makeup collection. I really love the quality of Bobbi Brown’s line, the simplicity of the branding and it’s seriously so affordable. What are you wearing lately? Any new, fun shades? Anything that you SWEAR by? I’m always up for recommendations + a little incentive to go into a Sephora or Nordstrom!

Rich Lip Color in Guava | Eyeshadows in Bone and Rose Gold | Sheer Color Lip Glass in Citrus | Lip Gloss in Rosy | Butter London’s Jaffa

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Giveaway + Charity Spotlight

Did you know that this month Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio is celebrating their 30th anniversary of serving children and families in need? In celebration, McDonald’s restaurants in Central Ohio are introducing a one-of-a-kind, limited-edition, vintage-inspired t-shirt that pays homage to the iconic, limited-time Shamrock Shake – now available in restaurants across Central Ohio! – and raises funds for the local Ronald McDonald House, a home away from home for families with seriously ill children. Proceeds from the sale of each t-shirt, as well as $0.25 from each Shamrock Shake sold in Central Ohio, will benefit the local Ronald McDonald House.

In partnership with Skreened, the t-shirts will be sold here, with prices starting at $21. Thirty percent of the cost of each shirt will benefit RMHC of Central Ohio.

Obviously, I want you to order a shirt and help support this amazing charity BUT I also have a shirt to giveaway! It will be anAmerican Apparel Unisex Fitted Tee.

In order to enter, you must follow Columbus McDonald’s Twitter here and then tweet or post this little blurb on Facebook. Come back here and comment after you’ve done both. (You can comment twice if you post both on Twitter AND Facebook):

I just entered a giveaway on Show + Tell (http://bit.ly/y0wuXs) to win one of these Shamrock Shake t-shirts! http://skreened.com/ronaldmcdonaldhouse

The goal is to sell these shirts because all proceeds go towards my local Ronald McDonald House. If you don’t buy a shirt, at least order a Shamrock Shake. Who doesn’t love shakes? You don’t need to be living in Ohio to enter! The giveaway runs until Thursday (11:59pm). Winner will be announced on Friday.

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Thank you to all who participated in the #phonephoto challenge in February! It was a really fun month and one of my favorite challenges so far. I loved seeing how the colors seemed to pop up in all of your lives. I’m happy to announce that SUE won with her set from Week 1 (WHITE)! Congrats, Sue! I’ll be contacting you via email to get your address. Heather, your lovely judge, said it was so difficult to choose a winner. We were both so amazed at how talented you all are.

As for fun stats and facts, I’ve created a little infographic below. Unfortunately, not everyone who participated filled out my mini-questionnaire so I could only pull data from those that responded!

More fun facts (I was tired so I didn’t put these in the infographic):

  • Those that submitted photos hold very fun jobs! An architect, a project development manager, 5 designers, a production assistant, 2 paralegals, a flight attendant, a marketing events coordinator, an IT consultant, a student, someone in the non profit sector, and another in the food industry! See, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to participate!
  • NO ONE said that Week 4 (YELLOW) was their favorite.
  • Most people discovered the challenge or my blog through another website or through Twitter!

Again, thanks for all who participated and supported/commented each week. I’ll be taking a break in March but I’ll be hosting another photo challenge in April. Let’s just say it will DEFINITELY force you out of your comfort zone if you really choose to take the challenge.