Please Note Giveaway Winner

Congrats Candace M. for winning the Please Note giveaway! I chose the winner via random.org and she won with her comment:

BACKYARD BASH!

i have those. bashes, that is. in my yard. and not having to design the invites would be magical!!

those are freaking adorable.

I’ll email you, Candace, and pass along your mailing information to Elizabeth from Please Note. Thanks to all who entered!

Blogging Vacation

I’m off to Nashville until Sunday and so I’ll be taking a little blogging break while I’m there! Just a reminder:

Read the full blog post here. You can start snapping photos for the challenge on Monday! See you then! XO

 

Free iMac Wallpaper + More

I collaborated with Blaine Hogan and created this iMac wallpaper featuring a quote from his book, UNTITLED. You can download the iMac/iPad/iPhone set here. The quote reads:

“Becoming a great artist is about sitting and paying attention to the world that is passing everyone else by.”

Enjoy and be sure to check out Blaine’s blog + book.

‘Please Note’ Giveaway!

If you missed my interview with Elizabeth Jackson from earlier today make sure to check it out! She has graciously decided to giveaway any single item in her Etsy shop, ‘Please Note!’ In order to enter into the giveaway, head on over to her shop and comment below with your favorite item! I will choose the winner via random.org on Friday and announce it here and on Twitter! I mean…sushi notecards? What could be better? Good luck!

MEET: Elizabeth Jackson

MEET Elizabeth Jackson! She’s from Los Angeles and her blog Please Note encompasses food, crafts, I Love Lucy and more. Enjoy the interview and check back later today for a giveaway from her Etsy shop!

When did you start blogging as “Please Note”? When did you set up your Etsy shops? My paper Etsy shop came first. I opened it about a year and a half ago, specializing primarily in invitations. After expanding the shop a bit, I decided to start the blog. The blog will be 1 at the end of this month and I’m thrilled with how much it’s grown. With each new reader, I’m motivated to make it better and better. The newest part of the my little trilogy is the vintage shop.[Below: a bit of her growing nesting doll collection]

What does your blogging schedule look like? I try to write five posts each weekend and post one per day during the week. The order of my posts pretty much depends on how I’m feeling each day.

What are your favorite types of blog posts that you create? What seem to be the most popular among your readers? I LOVE posting recipes. I try to do at least one recipe per week. Not only do I really enjoy cooking but taking photos of the entire process is really fun too. These posts also seem to be the most popular. [Below: her peanut butter chocolate chip cookies]

Your shops are amazing!! How do you go about promoting them and what are you most popular products? I’m proud of my shops and how much they’ve grown, especially the paper shop. I’m so busy during the week that the amount of orders I’m receiving now is just enough, so I actually don’t do much promotion. My most popular product is definitely the dinosaur birthday invitation. I’ve had moms on numerous occasions tell me that their son or daughter picked them because of the “realistic and scary” dinosaur.

Do you blog and sell through Etsy full time or do you have another “day job?” I currently work full time as a product photographer. This is why I tend to write all of my blog posts over the weekend. I post one each morning before I head off to work. [Above: pom pom garland that she blogged about]

What advice do you have for those that are thinking of or just starting to blog? I think the most important part of blogging is to not get discouraged. It was definitely a slow start for me, and that’s why I’m so grateful each time I see that I have a new reader. Also, make sure that you’re blogging about things that really interest you. Like I said before, my favorite posts are my recipes and those posts are also the most popular. That’s no coincidence. Blog about what you love and people will love your blog. [Above: DIY Black Apple Doll tutorial that Elizabeth blogged about]

If you want, you can follow Elizabeth on Twitter and be sure to visit her blog and two shops! Check back this afternoon for a giveaway from her paper Etsy shop! *All photos by Elizabeth Jackson

The Day I Threw Away 100 Things

Last week my friend Meg tweeted about one of her favorite blogs, Make Under My Life. Jess (the blogger) states that it’s about designing a life of intention and I loved her post about throwing out 100 things. Obviously Jess’s blog soon became one of my favorites and I took on the challenge myself. I threw away 100 things (and as Jess points out…after you recycle, upcycle and donate…you’ll still have trash which is what some of this stuff was). Here’s what I threw out:

  • a pair of goggles
  • a pair of sunglasses
  • a lamp from IKEA
  • 4 unused journals
  • 13 PRINT magazines
  • 3 Whole Living magazines
  • an issue of The New Yorker
  • an issue of Dwell
  • an issue of Crave
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 2 wallets
  • 1 thing of Clinique face powder (wrong shade)
  • 1 brutes bee’s travel set
  • 2 CDs
  • French manicure strips
  • a laptop sleeve
  • 3 books
  • a laptop bag
  • a purse
  • a pair of Christmas pants
  • a Christmas sweatshirt
  • a trench coat
  • 12 shirts
  • 6 cardigan sweaters
  • 3 dresses
  • 8 pairs of underwear
  • 3 bras
  • 4 random socks
  • a pair of old slippers
  • a necklace
  • a headband
  • a tube of lotion that i don’t like
  • a old bottle of Ralph Lauren perfume
  • 2 candlesticks
  • a bag of tea light candles
  • 4 unused Christmas themed paper plate sets
  • 4 coasters
  • a Christmas themed tin
  • 1 gross, broken dog toy (not pictured…Desh kept trying to take it back)

It feels really good to throw crap out. Especially clothes. I went through my dresser drawers and closet and asked myself, “Do I ever like the way this looks when I put it on?” or “Have I worn this in the past year?” If the answer was no then I decided to get rid of it. The cool thing is it’s fun to re-gift (without acting like you re-gifted) or donating old magazines to doctors’ offices. And so now I challenge you…get rid of 100 things!

P.S Sorry for the yellowy awful pictures. I got rid of my stuff Sunday evening and I’m hardly home with sunlight anymore!

Nail Polish Swap Event

Last week, I hosted a Nail Polish Swap at Camelot Cellars in the Short North. Around 30 ladies showed up, wine was ordered and lots of polish was swapped. I will definitely be doing this again (maybe quarterly?). Planning fun, little events like this is a great way to meet new people and branch out of the usual networking, professional type events.

*The two photos of people taken on my iPhone. All the rest were taken by Halle!

Beauty Review: MyGlam Bag

I’ll be reviewing MyGlam’s January bag today! I found out about MyGlam a couple months after discovering Birchbox (which I really love). I thought I would cancel my Birchbox review to give MyGlam a chance for the month of January. MyGlam states on their site:

Every month, you receive a brand new Glam Bag with 4 to 5 of our top beauty finds! These full-sized products or deluxe-sized samples are selected by our stylists for you to enjoy.

A lot of the brands that they boast about on their site are brands like Urban Decay, Tarte, NYX, and Mai Couture. Here’s what was inside the January bag:

1. Cucumber Facial Peel-Off Masque by Freeman: This smells awful. In my opinion, the whole “cucumber” scent trend has passed. I didn’t even try this because I don’t really use anything but Clinique facial cleanser and lotion. This retails for $4.49 in any drugstore.

2. Cleansing Conditioner by Wen: I actually liked the scent of this conditioner. On Amazon, a 16 oz. bottle of this conditioner sells for $36.80. I’ll be interested in using it soon – a hairstylist I just talked to said that many of her clients use it in between shampooing.

3. Hot Ticket Nail Polish by The Balm: I have never heard of this brand…but that’s not saying much. I mostly stick to Essie, OPI, Deborah Lippman, and Zoya. I didn’t particularly enjoy the color and the formula seemed cheaper. A bottle of this polish sells for $10.00 on their website. That’s INSANE. I can buy a bottle of OPI for $8.50 and it’s 10x better.

4. Cover Duo Concealer by Sheer: I actually like this mineral concealer. I looked up Sheer Cover and it looks like you pay monthly for a kit. I don’t necessarily know how much the individual concealer sells for but Amazon has JUST the concealer for about $25. I used it and I really like it. It’s more of a dry concealer and I like that there are two shades (summer and winter).

Now that you know what was inside, I’ll share some thoughts about the whole experience.

  • First of all, MyGlam’s website is lacking in many areas. I signed up for MyGlam back in December. They seemed to be adding features to their site every time I logged in to check on the status of my bag. Right now, they seem to display the current bag’s contents with links to the brands’ sites.
  • They don’t award points for reviews or referrals. They also don’t allow you to purchase any products directly through their site.
  • My MyGlam bag smelled like moth balls. Ew.
  • The total value of the bag did end up being about $45. You get full size (or deluxe) samples and you pay $10/month. No matter how unhappy I was with the choices, I did get a deal.

In the end, I decided to cancel my MyGlam subscription. I tried to sign back up for Birchbox but they are actually sold out of subscriptions right now so in February, I will be trying Turntable Kitchen’s Pairings Box. It’s a a curated food and music discovery experience, delivered monthly! Check back late February for my thoughts. You can also read my reviews on my November & December Birchbox and Julep Maven!

SanFran

CITY GUIDE: San Francisco

Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Heather Zweig of San Francisco, California.

Each year, more than 16 million visitors make San Francisco their destination of choice. From the breathtaking scenery and the Golden Gate Bridge to the rolling hills of iconic Victorian architecture, it’s no wonder so many people flock to this incredibly unique city.  With that said, I hardly ever see a wide-eyed visitor because they rarely venture into the backbone of SF culture, the neighborhoods outside of the tourist traps.

The easiest of these neighborhoods to boast about is Hayes Valley. Sandwiched between Laguna and Franklin Street, Hayes is beautiful, colorful (literally), lively and one of my favorite places to walk around.

1. When my family and I moved to the bay area six months ago, we learned a very quick and valuable lesson, a car is completely useless. Find decent parking, leave it at home, pay a garage for the day, do whatever it takes to ditch your automobile.  Between the BART, the Muni and the fact that the entire city is only 7-miles wide, you will have a fuller and more enjoyable experience on foot.  Hayes Valley is no exception, parking is rarely found and with all the amazing detail and color dotting the streets, simply driving past would be a crime. Plus, most in-phone maps and navigation systems come equipped with walking and bus directions, a handy tool for exploring.

2. Start your walk with a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever warm drink suits your fancy.  You can select from the Blue Bottle stand, a personal favorite and the mini version of its famous big brother a few miles awayRitual Coffee, another quaint outdoor coffee stand; Seesaw, family friendly with a play area for children; Mercury Cafe; Momi Toby’s Revolution Cafe & Art Bar; etc.

3. Once you have your beverage in hand, each and every passing retail store is worth checking out. A few of note: Bibliohead, new, used and rare books in a charming space; Room Service, the mecca of eclectic furniture; and Ver Unica, friendly staff with even better vintage clothing.

4. The most important aspect of Hayes Valley is the food. Several charming cafes and restaurants line the streets and although I have only personally tried a few, I have yet to be disappointed.  La Boulange offers delicious soup, salads, sandwiches and the oh-so-important brunch; Hayes & Kebab has a wonderful assortment of organic Mediterranean dishes; Stacks specializes in breakfast; Zuni Cafe; Suppenkuche; and for pizza, Patxi’s Chicago Pizza.

5. A few other places of note: Absinthe, french food and wine bar; Two Sisters Bar & Books, delicious brunch, food and cocktails; Taste, a modern Chinese tea house and a must if you’re in the area; and Smitten Ice Cream, made to order treats in 60-seconds using liquid nitrogen.

If you ever find yourself wandering the streets of San Francisco, I hope you give Hayes Valley a look. I have only scratched the surface of what there is to do, see and eat in this quaint nook of town, go and discover for yourself!

Heather is a wife, mom and freelance photographer (all photos in this post taken by Heather). She can be found blogging at We Three Zweigs, on Twitter as @heatherzweig or on her personal favorite, Instagram as @HeatherZweig. She will also be judging my next photo challenge!

Featured image by Alain Picard.

#PHONEPHOTO Challenge Announcement

I’m excited to announce my next photo challenge! This photo challenge will be an exclusive camera phone challenge. Lately, I’ve been extremely inspired by Instagram and everyone’s photos. Obviously, cameras on cell phones aren’t what they used to be and I’m excited to see the results of this challenge. As you can see above, I’ve chosen your judge and your prize! Your judge, Heather Lea Zweig, is a twenty-something aspiring photographer living in the foggier half of California. I swoon over her blog daily and I can’t get enough of her work. Heather participated in my last challenge and so I’m excited that she is involved in the #phonephoto challenge as well. Whoever is chosen as the winner will receive the 8×10 inch print above. It’s one of my favorite on Society6 and I’m excited to share it.

NOW ON TO THE DETAILS! This challenge will take place during the majority of February. You technically can begin taking photos on Monday, January 30th but you won’t submit anything until Sunday, February 5th. Instead of submitting ONE photo like last challenge, you will be submitting FOUR photos each Sunday. The four photos that you submit need to be unified as a set. Each week is defined by a theme but each theme is a certain color. Make sense? Are you a visual person? Okay, below is an example of what I mean. Week 1′s theme is “white.” I chose four photos from my iPhone that represented “white.” Obviously those photos aren’t LITERALLY white but I want to see you all take creative liberty and use the color themes to really think outside the norm. Perhaps in Week 2 when the theme is “red,” your four photos will only have elements of red that really pop out.

Got it? Awesome. Below is the schedule. Each week is defined by Monday through Friday. At the end of the week, you have a day or two to submit your four photos to me.

Wow, as I’m typing this all out…I feel like I just wrote a mini novel. I hope it all makes sense. To end this post, I’ll write the technical requirements for each photo and submission. I’ll probably write a reminder post next week before it officially starts. I’ll also be posting the submission button on my sidebar once the photo challenge begins. The button will take you to a page where you can upload & submit your photos as a .zip file. It will also list all of the technical requirements and the photo challenge schedule.

  • Send your four photos in a .zip file. Crop them each as squares. If you do not, I will make the crop.
  • Make sure your photos are at least 350 px wide, .JPG format, & include your website in the comment section if you want anything linked back to you.
  • No nudity or weird crap. Sorry, my mom reads my blog…I think.
  • Please save the photos under the following format: FIRSTNAME_PHOTO#.jpg (ie: ALLIE_PHOTO1.jpg, ALLIE_PHOTO2.jpg…etc
  • If you want your set arranged a certain way, name your photos according to the corners. Upper left should be named with #1. Upper right should be named with a #2. Lower left should be named with a #3. Lower right should be named with a #4.
  • This is a camera phone challenge. That means: no DSLR or film photos.
  • You must shoot within the week prior to the due date. That means starting Monday, January 30th you can start shooting for Week #1 (White).
  • The photo must be submitted Sunday by 8pm EST.

If you have a question, leave a comment below! I will respond. Pshhh, and you thought a camera phone challenge would be easy. I’m excited!