Monthly Archives: February 2012

Making Lists and Dreaming Big

nubby notebooks


In a post that resonated with many of you, Doing What You Love, I discussed the process of actively taking steps to get from point A to point B in your life and mentioned that one way I moved forward during times of uncertainty (of which there were many) was by actively making lists of goals.

I was really serious about that list-making, too. One of the drawers in my flat files is devoted to storing old notebooks. These notebooks date back to around 2002 and are packed with notes and thoughts about what I wanted my path to be. Looking back, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do with my life but I knew it would include a combination of art and design. As the notebooks progressed, I did a lot of sketches of art pieces, began thinking more about my website and jotting down new ideas for design projects. Somewhere around 2005, I started making lists of potential design programs. Everything continued to progress from there. I had a few setbacks along the way but I kept pushing forward because it felt right. I worked through what I wanted first on paper, then made a plan of how I thought it was most feasible.


nubby notebooks


I still actively keep notebooks but these days, they are mostly filled with thumbnail sketches of logos, ideas for blog posts and client feedback. I also keep a daily planner now as well (you can see some of my old ones on the top of that stack). I know that many of you use digital means to track your to-do lists and goals but there’s something incredibly satisfying to me when I write everything out. It’s cathartic, a release. When I cross an item off, I’m letting go and moving on.

Looking back, I didn’t always know what exactly I was doing or how I was going to make it happen. All I knew is that I needed a change and I needed to feel like I was moving forward each day. Sometimes, all it takes to get started is a pen, paper and the drive to create change in your life, no matter how small it may seem at the time.


The Week In Pictures: 2.26.12 // Las Vegas Part 2

las vegas 2012


las vegas 2012

Yes, this is really Vegas.


Welcome to part two of our adventures in Vegas! If you’re just tuning in, catch up on part one here.


Thursday / Day 04

las vegas 2012

Vegas definitely made me want to wear more brights


We started off our morning passing the faux Arc de Triomphe on our journey towards more dark casinos and gigantic malls. My favorite shops are tucked inside Ceasar’s Palace and it’s always a trip stopping by there because marble, fountains and statues are everywhere. Oh, and let’s not forget the massive portraits of Elton, Celine and Rod.


las vegas 2012

las vegas 2012

Caesar’s Palace is the epitome of Vegas glitz


las vegas 2012


We engaged in a bit of window shopping but finally found our holy grail inside the MAC Pro store, with walls merchandised in an array of rainbow pigments.


las vegas 2012


After posing next to an amazing bronze Sigfried & Roy statue, showgirls and a group of Elvises, we took a break in front of a McDonald’s to eat some ice cream.


las vegas 2012


A Michael Jackson impersonator with a striking resemblance to Corey Feldman in pancake makeup would not stop giving us the eye. But man, could he dance! Multiple awkward crotch thrusts later, we said our goodbyes moved onto our next adventure.

That night, we found another winner for dinner, Holstein’s. Located inside the Cosmo, they specialize in gourmet burgers and booze-filled shakes. I had the best vegan burger of my life, seriously. They take American fast food to a whole new level.


las vegas 2012

Bond, The Cosmo


Because we’d been so busy in the days leading up to our shoot, we’d barely had time for a drink (I know, I know…in Vegas, that’s nuts.) So, we ventured out to Bond, a glamorous crystal and LED-drenched hangout with cushy seating and massive chains (?!). This bar was a definite highlight of the trip.


las vegas 2012

las vegas 2012

Dancin’ the night away at King Ink


One drink later, we moved on down The Strip. With the promise of free admission, we were lured into King Ink inside The Mirage with a tattoo parlor in the back…but the place was completely dead. We did what any other visitor would do on their last night in paradise: we made our own party, dancing through the center of the back patio. When in Vegas, one thing you’ll quickly notice is that music is piped in everywhere. You’ll find tunes blaring all along The Strip, whether it’s at the Bellagio water show (my favorite was when the fountains moved in time to Billie Jean) and coming from every restaurant, bar and hotel complex at top volume. If you’re in the mood, just dance your way through it all, like we did. Gala, Kat and I had dance-offs every morning and night in the Cosmo elevator to fellow passenger’s horror (some looked away, others wouldn’t even step in).


Friday / Day 05

las vegas 2012

las vegas 2012

Chinese Gardens, The Palazzo


I have no idea how five days flew by so quickly but we weren’t quite ready to drown away our sorrows. Instead, Gala and I danced down the strip one last time, past the Bellagio fountains and into the beautiful Chinese New Year-themed gardens.


las vegas 2012

Herve Leger, The Palazzo


After a few more last-minute peeks inside glamourous boutiques, it was time to hop in a cab to catch flights back to opposite coasts. Vegas is what you make of it and this particular stay was pretty awesome. In hindsight, here’s a list of what I’m glad we did and what we’d do differently next time (because, there’s always a next time):


Things I Am Glad We Did

• We took the time to hang out at multiple casinos and people watch. Vegas is the people watching capital of the world. This is partly because big hair, false eyelashes, sequins, spray tans and miniskirts are all considered acceptable at all times.

• We tried a new restaurant every night. Because of this, we got to experience a variety of great atmospheres.

• We switched it up and stayed at a new hotel. When you stay at the same place every time, your surroundings become familiar and stale.

• We made multiple trips outside of The Strip. This gave us a better idea of what Vegas was like beyond the confines of the manufactured metropolis.

• We browsed but barely bought anything. We peeked into many stores and admired a lot of beautiful objects, but beyond that, we really focused on spending quality time together. Stuff is just stuff. Memories (and photos) last forever.

• We used every possible opportunity to dress up. There’s so many amazing sights to shoot and posing in jeans and a t-shirt just doesn’t convey the same energy. Vegas is one of the few places where you can truly go overboard so embrace it!


Things We Would Do Differently Next Time

• Bring more cash. The ATM fees average $5.00 on The Strip (ouch!) and cabs charge a hefty fee if you use your card.

• Check Yelp reviews before visiting restaurants. The newest, hottest places weren’t necessarily the best.


las vegas 2012

Eat your heart out! Here’s our best Criss Angel impressions.


• Check out a few shows. We’d talked about seeing David Copperfield, Peep Show, Criss Angel and Bite. But time got away from us and we never had a chance to make it happen. This gives us an incentive to come back.

• Skip the room service. It tends to be overpriced and not very well done.

• Book a massage. We ended up walking a few miles a day and were exhausted at the end of each. Next time, I’ll leave more time at the end for some pampering.


las vegas 2012

Our view from The Cosmo


Viva Las Vegas! Have you been? Did you love it or loathe it? Anything we should add to our list for next time?


The Week In Pictures: 2.26.12 // Las Vegas Part 1

las vegas 2012


las vegas 2012

Our view from the 52nd floor, The Cosmopolitan


After pulling a stress-filled all-nighter to deliver a bundle of client work, I boarded a plane bound for Vegas Monday afternoon. My mission for the week was simple: to take a much needed break from work, escape reality and spend some quality time with friends.

A lot has changed since I first visited Las Vegas back in 1998. This time, Gala and I both wanted to stay at the newest and most buzzed about hotel on the strip, The Cosmopolitan. With a sophisticated, urban vibe, mirrored surfaces and crystal chandeliers draped from every conceivable surface, it was an ideal choice in comparison to the overly gilded options we’d encountered during past stays.


Monday / Day 01

las vegas 2012

Crystal sculpture in the Cosmo casino


After quick flight from Portland and a five minute walk through the casino with my huge suitcase in hand, I arrived at our room at The Cosmo. It was love at first sight with the feeling of a glamorous apartment (The hotel was originally slated to be condos.)


las vegas 2012

Night One with Kat and Gala. Wearing: Sonia Rykiel for H&M sweater, Shareen Vintage skirt and H&M tights.


For our first night in Vegas, Gala and I met up with our friends Kat and David McNeil for a drink at the lobby bar, Vesper, a shimmery tundra named after an obscure James Bond cocktail.


las vegas 2012

Vesper, The Cosmopolitan


Afterwards, we hit a WPPI-related party at Planet Hollywood.


las vegas 2012

las vegas 2012

Gallery Nightclub, Planet Hollywood


During our visit to The Gallery, we fell in love with a disco ball galaxy hanging from the ceiling as well as a carousel horse and rhinestone-encrusted tub. The highlight of the night was watching David take the stage and belt out a Bruce Springsteen tune. That Brit had all the lyrics down by heart!


las vegas 2012


Back at our hotel, I found my new home — a stiletto sculpture along the edge of the casino. Prime real estate, if you ask me.


las vegas 2012


Our night ended with ill-fated, overpriced room service. Just don’t do it, ever. From them on, we saved our pennies and hit the hotel concessions stand instead.


Tuesday / Day 02

las vegas 2012

Every morning, we passed Faux Paris.


Kat, Gala and I got off to an early start engaging in our favorite holiday pastime: shopping. We were in need of a few last minute shoot essentials but came up mostly empty-handed.


las vegas 2012

Herve Leger, Caesar’s Palace


las vegas 2012

Admiring Louboutins, Caesar’s Palace


We took a short break in between the shopping madness to get our fortunes told by Zoltar. They were pretty damn good for a buck.


las vegas 2012


If you’re on the hunt for vintage, as we were, Vegas is a no-go. Really, don’t bother. After taking multiple cabs and walking miles through various parts of town, our search for vintage goodies was a complete bust (two of the stores were completely shuttered).


las vegas 2012

las vegas 2012

Fremont Street


Between shopping, we visited Fremont Street for the first time. Fremont Street (also known as Glitter Gulch) was the first paved street in Vegas (1925) and is considered the older, original Las Vegas. It’s a fascinating trip through the past, complete with many of the original casinos from the 40s onward. Western themes and vintage typography are everywhere. Fremont is the real deal; it’s not the glammed up facade of The Strip.


las vegas 2012

This casino was past its prime but the carpet was amazing.


Drinks are cheap and plentiful, the signs for showgirls and escorts are more graphic, and the once glamorous past along this street now feels distant and faded. Cab rides run around $20.00 each way from most of The Strip hotels.


las vegas 2012

On our way out to dinner. I wore an H&M shirt, Zara skirt and Ai for Matiko boots.


las vegas 2012

las vegas 2012

Amazing art covers nearly every corner of The Cosmo


Tuesday night was spent exploring the art and resturnts of the Cosmo (much to Kat & David’s dismay, Gala & I wanted to stop every 10 feet for a photo op) and feeling really anxious for our big shoot on Wednesday.


Wednesday / Day 03

las vegas 2012

Group shot with the team of photographers and assistants


The shoot we’d been planning for weeks was finally happening. Our hair & makeup team and photographers arrived at 9 am sharp and got to work. We ran through outfit pairings, threw our belongings into garbage bags and hit the road. The first location at Circus Circus was so much better than I could have imagined. I loved the old Vegas feel.


las vegas 2012

Goofing off between photos at Circus Circus


The scenery of the second location, a ghost town in Nelson, felt straight out of a movie and thanks to the team’s hard work, everything went off without a hitch. The entire day was brimming with a sense of optimism and willingness to come together in a way that I’ve rarely experienced.


las vegas 2012

las vegas 2012

Location two: Nelson, Nevada


That night, as we were cruising back towards The Strip in the rental car, blasting 80s rock tunes and laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, I felt a surge of thankfulness to be a part of this experience with my friends.


las vegas 2012

10 hours later: the aftermath


Back at the hotel, we tiredly dragged garbage bags of clothing and vases of flowers through the long stretch of casino, resembling fallen showgirls swathed in feathers, sequins and taffeta.


las vegas 2012

Paris Las Vegas


All of our meals up until Wednesday night had been lackluster; this time, we weren’t leaving anything to chance. After scouring Yelp reviews, we decided on Mon Ami Gabi inside the Paris. If you’re grabbing a meal on The Strip, this is your place. The food was excellent and much more affordable than some of the other places we’d tried. Do make reservations; otherwise, the wait can run over an hour.

At the end of the day, I had a realization: the best moment of our trip had nothing to do with shows, shopping or glamour. It was by far the time spent in a dusty ghost town surrounded by amazing company. It’s hard to explain but Las Vegas is one of those places that can feel overwhelmingly lonely if you’re there alone. Wandering through dark casinos, I was acutely aware of how different my experience would have been had I not been vacationing with two close friends and taking part in big group-inclusive events. The artifice is fun but the people around you are what really bring the experiences to life.

Thanks for joining me for part one of this magical, glitz-filled adventure. Stop by tomorrow morning for part two!


Ghost Town Glamour Girls

viva las vegas

Photo by David McNeil


I am so sad to be leaving Vegas today and saying goodbye to my two girl vixens, Gala and Kat. Our time together culminated in an all-day shoot on Wednesday involving Airstream trailers and a dusty ghost town at sunset (I can’t wait to show you more!) We’ve spent the last few days swathed in ruffles, lace and sequins, having dance parties in the elevator, posing with statues, avoiding creepy celebrity impersonators and obsessing over magicians (we’re talkin’ about you, David Copperfield). Moments like these make me incredibly thankful. A full Vegas recap brimming with the good, the bad and the sequined is coming soon!


Viva Las Vegas!

viva las vegas


viva las vegas

viva las vegas


viva las vegas

1. Packing for my getaway / 2. Our balcony view / 3. My note from Gala


On Monday, I landed in Las Vegas for a much needed girl’s getaway with Gala and Kat. Between strolling up and down the strip for hours on end, doing magazine edits, ordering overpriced room service in the middle of the night and soaking up the beauty of never-ending bright lights, this has been an amazing experience I’ll never forget. I hope you’re having a smashing week! Tune in for a two-part installment of The Week In Pictures beginning this Friday.


The Week In Pictures: 2.17.12

week in pictures


week in pictures


week in pictures


week in pictures


Tuesday was Valentine’s Day and I took the day off from blogging to spend some extra time with my two special valentines, Joey & Rocky. I woke up early, wrote Joey a special letter and sealed it in a black envelope. Then, we went out to dinner at our neighborhood bar. Totally low-key and sweet. I also challenged myself to photograph all the hearts around me (some of which made it into this post).


week in pictures


The Starbucks Valentines-themed cups were pretty cute. I love the handwritten messages.


week in pictures


I have a magnetic strip in my office and tack up all the snippets, stickers and business cards with heart-shaped magnets.


week in pictures


Tuesday: a rainy morning walk in My Valentine’s footwear of choice: The All Caps Dahlia.


week in pictures


I’ve always loved the handwriting on the side of Stumptown cups. Yes, their coffee is awesome but equally so is their hot chocolate.


week in pictures


The Florence Broadhurst for Kate Spade collection has me so excited for Spring. Kate Spade never overlooks any detail; I love how even the tissue paper is covered in the Japanese floral pattern.


week in pictures


I keep hearing about the French Paper Company and came across this ad in a design magazine. I’m totally digging their graphic treatments and Pop-Tone colors.


week in pictures


Yesterday, I stopped by my favorite guilty pleasure, Burgerville. Whenever any of my friends visit Portland, I drag them here for milkshakes. The best Burgerville adventure I’ve ever had included a glitter-covered pink gnome. And with that, I’m off to finish packing for Vegas next week. Have an adventurous weekend!


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