MEET: Blaine Hogan

I’m excited to be bringing back the MEET series! I have a wonderful list of amazing individuals that I’ll be introducing you to within the next few months. Today I’d like you to meet Blaine Hogan. Blaine is an artist, actor, writer, producer, and  Creative Director at Willow Creek Community Church. His blog has been one of my staple reads for the past year and he recently released his book, UNTITLED. Enjoy the interview below:

1. While you were writing UNTITLED, what did you find most challenging about the creative process? The entirety of the book is about the hard work of making things and so as I wrote, I kept realizing how much of my own advice I was needing to take. The very fact that the book exists means that I had to try and apply all the principles I was talking about. It was humbling to say the least.

2. What art/artists (outside of writing) inspire you? I’m extremely moved by film and love Danny Boyle. Music is also a huge inspiration and lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Barcelona, Future of Forestry, Lia Ices, and Jon Hopkins.

3. What typically overlooked or mundane things/places inspire you? Cleaning my workspace I’ve found is a great centering technique. Now you can get carried away and use it to procrastinate (which I sometimes do), but when done well, cleaning my workspace simultaneously cleans my mind along with the area I’m about to do my work. Brewing coffee is another thing that inspires me. There is a richness and romanticism to knowing how long and how many steps there were to making this hot, steaming drink that somehow makes me have better ideas.

4. How long did the process of writing this book take? I’d been working on the content for the last 12 years as actor and artist through journals and notebooks. The writing of the actual book took about 6 months.

5. What kind of tools and software did you use? I used a few different tools. I started analog with all journals and notebooks. After wading through those mining for the best material and ideas I moved to Evernote. This is where I kept a running log of chapters and new ideas as they came to me. When I needed to free-write in a clean and clear space I’d open up Ommwriter. I then did the final layouts in Pages.

6. How has the self-promotional aspect been? Not bad, other than the stark realization that no one is going to promote your stuff for you. As an actor I learned pretty early on that if I didn’t look at promoting myself as a business I would never work. I think most artists struggle with this aspect of the work, but I know very few artists who make a living at being an artist without doing some form of self-promotion.

7. You’ve accomplished a lot (creatively). You’ve been an actor, auditioned for theater, you write, you’ve produced. How has this influenced your book and what’s inside? Thank you, Allie. Such a kind thing to say! Because I’ve been so fortunate to work in so many different mediums, I’m able to apply to principles from so many different aspects. My hope is that because of those many facets, anyone who makes anything can find UNTITLED meaningful.

8. How has your identity and core affected your process? I’m so glad you asked this! In fact, in all my interviews, no one has asked it. And in fact, I believe it’s the most important thing. Far too often we focus only on the product – the thing we make – without really taking much time to work on the producer. I’m of the opinion that our insides directly affect what we produce and that the best art comes from the inside, out. Knowing thyself is the THE KEY to making good art.

 I encourage you to purchase UNTITLED for $4.99 on Amazon and follow Blaine on Twitter. Then watch his dance videos. They will not disappoint!

#NOPHO Week 2 : Comfy & Cozy

Hello, Week 2! You make me feel comfy & cozy. 20 photos total, all fabulous. I struggled with this one a bit. Perhaps it was my crazy freelance schedule, the lack of daylight, or wishing I had a cute kid to photograph. Obviously I love my little dog but I really love the shots this week with human subjects. My favorites are: Dabito’s, Sam’s and Kate’s. What about yours?

Next week’s theme is ELEGANT and is due Sunday by 8pm EST. Even if you haven’t submitted for weeks 1 and 2, you can still submit for week 3 here! Just another reminder, be sure to include the camera/lens info, your location, and your website EACH week you submit. It takes awhile to compile the post so all the information in one place shaves off a bit of time.

November Birchbox Review

Last month a few Twitter friends suggested that I try Birchbox! With Birchbox, four to five hand-picked deluxe beauty samples are delivered to your door for $10 per month. Mine arrived last Saturday and I’m excited to share what was inside!

My thoughts on the products:

  • Jouer | Lip Enhancer  – Very moisturizing. I can see myself using this before I go to bed since I use tinted chapstick during the day. A .33 fl oz tube costs $14 so I’m going to need to fall in love with it if I’m going to pay that much!
  • Kate Spade New York | Twirl – I really love this scent! Even Adam loved it and so I believe I’ll be buying a bottle! Or adding it to my Christmas wishlist. I haven’t been wearing perfume for awhile.
  • Thymes | Eucalyptus Body Lotion – A very clean scent. I will probably stick this in my purse and use it until it’s gone! Not sure if I would buy a bottle since I use Burt’s Bees Honey + Milk body lotion.
  • Zoya | Nail Polis in Noel – What a fun shade for the winter months! Can’t wait to use it after my current polish starts to chip.
  • Alex and Isabelle | Classic Hair Tie – Seems like a fun piece to use instead of my boring, CVS brand hair ties.
Overall, I think the Birchbox program is really fun. For only $10/month I’m able to try samples of new products without searching or paying full price for the entire product. You also receive 10 points for every month you receive your box and additional points for reviewing the products in your box. For every 100 points, you can redeem for $10.00! Also, for every $1.00 you spend, you receive a point. It’s a great system (especially if you’re planning on buying specific products anyways). I also love that they offer free shipping on all month’s featured products. My opinion? You should sign up! Here’s an invite!

Monday Link Love

Three of my favorite things on the Interwebs lately. I stopped numbering the items since…I mean c’mon…it’s pretty obvious.

  • I love this planner! I’m obsessed with planners. I currently use a Little Otsu planner but this one might be great for all-things-freelance. Adam and I keep a joint calendar on iCal and I use the Little Otsu planner to keep track of all my own little reminders/workout schedule/meal ideas.
  • Fellow Fellow is such a lovely store! I adore the feather gift tags. My friend Heather has inspired me to take on my holiday gift wrapping as an art.
  • Eames: The Architect and the Painter comes out this month. I’m so excited to watch it!
Enjoy your Monday! Check back tomorrow for my Birchbox review and the #NOPHO Week 2 post on Wednesday!

#NOPHO Week 1 : Arranged

November Photo Challenge Week 1’s submissions! What do you think? Have any favorites? I love Jon’s and Trudy’s. My shot was much more experimental than how I normally shoot. I tend to shoot film or digital with little editing. I decided to actually brainstorm and envision each week’s shot before the challenge started. It’s a habit that I want to pick up when it comes to writing or design. Did you plan your shot out? Or was it more impulsive/in the moment?

If it was provided, I linked each image to the provided website. Make sure to include a link to your website when submitting each week. I can’t wait to see all your submissions for Week 2! The theme is Comfy & Cozy and your submission is due by 8pm EST this Sunday. Even if you didn’t submit for Week 1, you can still submit for the next three weeks. You just won’t be able to win the prize (to enter into the contest portion, you must submit for all four weeks.) Happy snapping!


Some film shots that never made it onto my blog. I’m absolutely swamped with freelance work + preparing my #NOPHO post for tomorrow. Hope your Tuesday is going well! If you’re like me, and already in the Christmas spirit, you can download my friend Evan Savage‘s new Christmas song on iTunes! Enjoy!

Lots of Love, No Links

I usually spend Sunday creating and scheduling blog posts for the upcoming week. This weekend was CRAZY. I mean, yes, I sat at my desk for the e.n.t.i.r.e. weekend but I probably worked 45 hours combined on projects. Although my right arm felt like it was going to fall off…I’m SO excited to share these projects:

  • Betty’s Betties 10th Anniversary Pin Up Calendar. Pin Up photoshoots, Photoshop, InDesign, vintage designs, amazing typography. You’ll want to get your hands on one of these.
  • I’m also working with Evan Savage (a musician in Chicago) to launch his new website just in time for his new Christmas single release! Check back tomorrow for ways to get your hands on the song.
  • If you’re in the Indianapolis area and are looking for a wedding/event planner…check out Lori Solomon with Boldly Chic Events. I’m making updates to her site now!
Regular blogging will continue tomorrow! And be sure to come back on Wednesday because I’ll be posting all Week 1 submissions for my November Photo Challenge!

Lately I’m Loving…

  1. New Christmas music in November.
  2. A new camera. Actually, the one pictured didn’t work (snagged it for $13 on Etsy) but I went to World of Used Photography (the only store that actually makes me drool) and picked up a Minolta SR-T 201 instead. Shooting with it this weekend when I hang out with Ashley. Can’t wait to see how our shoot turns out!
  3. Girls Night at my friend Erika‘s! I met Halle there. You should read her blog.
  4. Scarves and sweaters. So cozy.
  5. Milo Greene! Saw them open for The Civil Wars last night. AMAZING. Listen to them now.
  6. And of course, The Civil Wars. Could their voices BE more heavenly?? (Yes that was a Friends reference).
Hope you all have a great weekend. I’ll be leaving town + getting some serious freelance work done! Don’t forget, your Week 1 November Photo Challenge submission is due this Sunday by 8pm EST! The post will be up on Wednesday.

Columbus City Guide

Today I’m guest posting over at EatDrinkShopLove while Jewel is on vacation in NYC! I thought I’d share the same post over here too!

Columbus is often overlooked as a fun, exciting city. I’ve lived here for over two years and I absolutely love it. I’m still discovering new places but I thought I’d share my favorites. I’ve planned the perfect afternoon if you ever find yourself visiting Columbus. Often times, people will give you recommendations on where to visit before making a trip to a new city. What they don’t tell you is how much driving you’ll have to do (plus paying for all that parking is never fun!) This city guide will literally allow you to park your car in one of our public parking lots and you’ll be able to walk to and from each stop easily!

Stop No. 1: Go shopping at Homage! Who doesn’t love insanely comfortable, vintage inspired tees? I wear these tees to bed, to work out, or during a casual weekend afternoon at home. While you’re in the area, walk around and visit some of my other favorite shops in the Short North (just short north of downtown) like TigertreeBink Davies, and Rowe!
Stop No. 2: Grab lunch at the North Market. Sample from 35 different vendors and create the perfect meal. Whether you love Indian, Japanese, Italian, Vietnamese, Polish, or Cajun…you can have it all. Maybe even pick up some fresh produce or spices. It’s all here.
Stop No. 3: Now that lunch is over…you need to experience Jeni’s Ice Creams. IT’S. THE. BEST. I can’t even really explain how amazing this ice cream really is. My favorite flavor (pictured above) is Pistachio & Honey. Each flavor is made from real, natural ingredients.
Stop No. 4: By now, it should be time for a glass of wine. My favorite place to get a glass (or a bottle) is Camelot Cellars. The interior is gorgeous, the owner is passionate, and they make their own wine. It’s amazing.
I hope that you will make an effort to visit my lovely Columbus someday soon. Whether you’re spending the weekend here or just driving through…I really think you’ll enjoy my little afternoon agenda! If you’re interested in sharing a city guide about YOUR city, email me! I’d love to start a series.