Add Some Style To Your Surroundings with H&M Home

H&M Home

I like nice, stylish house stuff that doesn’t break the bank as much as the next person but lately, I’ve been feeling completely, totally uninspired. Nothing has really spoken to me, style-wise. We finished remodeling the basement guest room months ago (I gave you a sneak peek on Friday) but it felt a little barren. Our kitchen towels were all stained and verging on threadbare but I was bored by everything I came across. We needed new mats for our bathrooms but I didn’t want another solid colored option.

And then, I was idly sitting on iChat last week when Bianca sent me a link to some gorgeous housewares. After clicking, my reaction went something like this: “Where is this from?! I need to know! Tell me more! NOW!”

I was suddenly dropped into a retail oasis of type-covered items, many of which were influenced by vintage New York themes. You know, the coolest subway tickets and maps. And it was all available from H&M. Wallet-friendly price tags for stuff I’d been dreaming about for ages?! That never happens!

Needless to say, the subway ticket-inspired hand towels will dress up our bathroom and (hopefully) distract from the fact that it really needs to be remodeled. And the map-covered duvet will add some oomph to our all white guestroom.

H&M Home

These a few of my favorite things: 1. soap dispenser, 2. soap dish, 3. bath mat, 4. guest towels, 5. duvet cover, 6. glass jar, 7. candle, 8. tray, 9. mug, 10. napkins and 11. hand towel.

H&M Home

I am so glad H&M has online shopping now because I’ve never seen any of the home line in our Portland location. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to spruce things up around my house. And this time, there’s no remodeling required!


P.S. I am still working on the slow server issues with Dreamhost. Apologies if the load times are dragging on your end, it’s been a frustrating week trying to get it sorted and I appreciate your patience!

The Week in Pictures: 8.2.13

Week in Pictures

Week in Pictures

Week in Pictures

Week in Pictures

My week got a little sunnier when a surprise package from my friends at Poppin showed up. I already had most of their yellow office gear so these pens are a welcome addition. I’ve also been freshening up my office and taping up favorite mementos everywhere.

Week in Pictures

This week I found some great inspiration lurking in a paper sample book and the new issue of Marie Claire. I’m moving onto a photography book project soon with close to double the pages of anything I’ve ever done so I’m in full-on research mode.

Week in Pictures

Today I did a test print of Rock n Roll Bride magazine to do one last check before we send it off to print and it’s always a scary moment! But I’m really happy with the way everything looks outside of the screen. A welcome relief! Haha.

Week in Pictures

This week it occurred to me that I never shared our remodeled basement with you. Part of the reason is because it just felt a bit unfinished — definitely barren and lacking in personality. I’ve vowed to get back to work and shake it up into top form before the end of the year. Our house has been feeling really neglected lately and it’s time to recommit to getting it into shape.

In other news, I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of the slow load times on my site lately — it’s been super frustrating, especially since I just upgraded my server. We finally figured out the issue today and I’m hoping to have a fix in place by next week. Thanks for sticking around, I know how annoying it can be!

Have a great weekend, everyone. I’ll be holed up, formatting a whole lot of Austin Blogcademy report cards but it’s always super fun discovering new blogs. Only two weeks to go till Texas! Can’t wait.

Link Love: 8.1.13

link love

Link Love

• I’m enamored with Sabrina Smelko’s 365 Days of Type project where she posts customized numbers representing every day of the year.

• Two New York friends who were burnt out on the ups and downs of dating found themselves single at the same time. 40 Days of Dating chronicles their experiment of dating each other.

• Made me laugh: Filter Fakers is a roundup of Instagram photos that have been tagged #nofilter but lists what they actually used!

• Kandee Johnson spills her secrets on how to get glowing white teeth.

• 9 easy to steal habits of the super successful.

• One of my favorite symbols, the Swiss cross, is huge in decor at the moment.

• Don’t quit your job to chase your dreams until you’ve read this.

• The new edition of Launched! is out, chronicling the best in blog redesigns.

• Honest By is a clothing e-commerce site that provides transparent information on what it actually takes to manufacture an item with a price calculation breakdown.

• Give your neglected trash can a makeover!

• Are you great at chatting with a friend? Then, you’re really good at sales.

• Jordan from Oh Happy Day has some awesome Paris insider tips.

• I love this hand-drawn map of Manhattan from 1890.


Image: Andy Warhol.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.

Community College: Is It the Right Choice For You?

Community College: Is It the Right Choice For You?

Over the last few months I’ve gotten many, many emails from potential design students inquiring about whether community college is the right fit for them. I’ve lightly touched on the subject before but I want to go into more detail today as to why community college was the best choice for me to continue my education.

I’m pretty passionate about community college because not only was my experience amazing but it got me to exactly where I needed to be in my career without compromising my budget, timeline or goals.


My path to community college

In 2005, after wrapping up a degree in Business Administration, I just wasn’t content. I knew it was because as much as I loved business, I felt a nagging void in my creativity. I’d always dreamed of being an artist but I didn’t think it was a practical path I could earn a living at right away so I’d chosen the so-called safe route. But by 2005, I’d discovered graphic design on a more serious level and I wanted in. Everything clicked: I liked type and layouts and grids a whole lot more than painting and sketching. I’d found my calling.

I did some research online and made appointments with potential colleges. Every time, I kept running into a wall, both with class schedules and cost. I lived on my own and needed to work full-time to support myself, yet the classes would often have huge gaps of time between them, scattered throughout the day. I wanted in but I couldn’t figure out how to make it work with my retail hours.

It all came crashing down when I made an appointment to meet the head of a graphic design program at a university and he scolded me for turning up early (?!). Then, after a glance at my transcripts, he pointed out that I was missing an art history class that was required. Since it was only offered once a year, I’d have to sit out completely. I begged for a workaround — could I still enter the program and then make up that class when it came around the following year? He wouldn’t budge and his tone was condescending. I was beside myself; why would I ever hand over a huge sum of money to someone who couldn’t even treat me with compassion and respect during a 15 minute meeting?

The more I thought about that meeting as I walked back to the bus stop, the more I wondered whether I even needed another four year degree. Both my boyfriend at the time and our roommate had earned their design degrees from community college and were extremely skilled. They both had full-time design jobs, even without fancy credentials. Maybe I could do that, too.

I then remembered that there was a limited entry graphic design program at the community college I’d spent my first few years at (I’d found out about it long after I’d graduated).

I looked up the number and called them up right there, on the spot. The head of the program, Chris Maier answered right away. I explained that I already had a 4 year degree. Did I need another to be a graphic designer? I also didn’t have a lot of time or money and needed a flexible schedule (no, I wasn’t asking for a miracle, but pretty close to it).

She explained that the class sizes were very small and program was comprised of back-to-back classes two to three days a week. If finding a job was my goal post-graduation, she assured me she could help. And later, I would find that it all held true. I was 25 by the time Fall 2006 rolled around and my goal was to be a full-time designer by 27. I’d had more time to research and I knew for sure that the program was exactly where I needed to be in order to make that happen.

Community College: Is It the Right Choice For You?

Things moved along quickly from there. With only two years to learn about design, the projects were fast-paced and everything had a purpose; there was no time for filler content. I loved every minute of it. And funny enough, the girls seated on each side of me were in a similar situation as I was: both had Bachelor’s degrees in completely different subjects and were back in our program for design. It felt good to know that I wasn’t the only one in class that had done a 180 to start over in a different field because even though many people around me had the best intentions, they definitely questioned my move.

By this time, my brother had gotten into the cool art school I’d always dreamed of going to. The jealousy I felt quickly subsided when I realized that my entire program cost half of just his first year. By my second semester, I landed a project designing album art for Virgin Records and that check was the same amount as my first year of school. I’d broken even.

Once I’d finished that first year, I walked up to my teacher on the last day of class and told her where my dream internship would be if I could choose from anywhere. She had a contact there, and the next day, we were in touch. It took me the entire summer to get in but by the time year two of my program rolled in, I had a paid internship at a design studio in Portland. A week after I graduated, I had my first full time design job. Within a year of that, I was doing freelance for Forever 21 and had designed a line of goggles through Smith Optics.

Having a two year degree for design never hindered me in any way. When I was asked about it in interviews, I would explain that I already had a four year degree in a different subject and I’d wanted to break into the industry as quickly as possible. It was as simple as that.

Instead of worrying about whether there was a prestigious institution stamped across my diploma, I put all of my time and effort into improving the quality of my portfolio and learning on the job.


Can you really learn everything in two years?

When you only have two years, of course you’re not going to learn everything there is to know about design. Design is a massive subject and even with six years of professional experience now, I still feel like I’m only scratching the surface.

When it comes to design, you end up learning so much on the job that any perceived gaps you have are filled in quickly. For instance, I didn’t know much about print production. But then, I did a freelance gig at a studio that ended up lasting for over a year. Nearly all their work was heavily production-based and though the learning curve was high, I eventually broke through. It just takes time.


In Closing

Community college won’t be for everyone. And if you have a big college fund set aside, by all means live it up! But for me, it was the perfect choice. I have absolutely no regrets and the education I gained in two short years got me to exactly where I needed to go. And remember, there are other paths you can take — once you’re done with the two-year degree and have all the basics out of the way, you can always transfer into a university or art school and continue on (many of my classmates did).

I had friends that went to art school and I sometimes used to wish that I could have had that experience, too. But to be completely honest, the only reason my design loans are paid off now is because I chose the community college route. I definitely didn’t want massive debt hanging over my head as I moved into the next chapter of my life.

When it comes to college, always weigh your options carefully, meet with multiple schools and understand what you’re signing up for. Community college is something that’s not talked about a whole lot as an option when it comes to graphic design so I just want to remind you that a quality education doesn’t have to be solely attached to a huge price tag.


I attended the MHCC Integrated Media program with a focus in Graphic Design.
Photos by Made U Look.

What I Wore: 7.29.13 | Newsprint!

What I Wore: Newsprint

Newsprint, big baubles and distressed white heels with lucite buckles? Just another typical Sunday outing! I have a crush on anything newsprint but finding clothing covered with it has always proven difficult.

What I Wore: Newsprint

This is one of my favorite outfits ever. Carrie Hammer sent me her Newspaper Skirt earlier this year and I need to remember to wear it more often. I love that the waistband of the skirt sits a little higher because, well, I accidentally shrunk that sweater I’m wearing and it’s obscenely short. Yet, I like it too much to give it up!

What I Wore: Newsprint

I Wore:

Newspaper Skirt, Carrie Hammer
Sweater, Sonia Rykiel for H&M
Necklace, H&M
Heels, Quelques Shoes De Plus


What I Wore: Newsprint

And, a few avant garde / newsprint inspired items I’m loving: 1. Carrie Hammer Newspaper Skirt, 2. Altru New York Times Shirt, 3. Maison Martin Margiela Lock Necklace, 4. Alexander Wang Agata Heels, 5. Diptyque Candle, and 6. 3.1 Phillip Lim Scout Bag.

Have a great Monday!

The Week in Pictures: 7.26.13

Week in Pictures

Week in Pictures

Week in Pictures

This week was very trying but there’s always bright spots if you look for them. Rocky always makes everything better. And, he is the most pampered dog in the entire universe. He loves organic chicken and organic cotton Pia Wallen cross blankets.

Week in Pictures

It feels good to be getting so close to finishing a project that’s been in the works for months — Rock n Roll Bride magazine. Editorial design is one of my biggest passions and even though it’s a lot of work (I do the art direction, design and production on these issues) it’s such a huge payoff to see it in print. Needless to say, I’m so proud of Kat for the effort she’s put into the content — we’re itching to show you the full thing!

Week in Pictures

During the week, a few packages arrived in the mail, even though I hadn’t been shopping. A confused grin spread across my face when I noticed a Kate Spade box on the doorstep. Huh?! When I tore it open, I was met with a glistening turquoise Palm Springs or Bust bracelet and a thank you note from Kat for (another) project we’d just wrapped. And then my client Susie surprised me with a box of chocolates from San Francisco. Really cheered me up — nothing can replace snail mail!

Week in Pictures

As the Austin and London Blogcademy dates creep closer, we’ve been putting together posters which we use to advertise with online and then put up at the events. These are always a nice little escape from client projects and a creative challenge to keep styles consistent while giving each city some iconic representation.

Week in Pictures

Have a great weekend, everyone. I’ll be hiding out getting Rock n Roll Bride ready for print and hanging with my two favorite boys, Joey and Rocky (always). It’s the simple things in life these days that mean the most to me: long walks, good dinners at home, surprises in the mail and texts from my mom.

Any plans you’re looking forward to?

Link Love: 7.25.13

link love

Link Love

• If you’re ready to take your DSLR off auto once and for all but need a refresher on the basics, this overview is super helpful.

• I love Braid Creative’s tips for manifesting money and dream clients.

• Looking for a way to pick up some basic Photoshop skills? Check out the PS I Love You e-course.

• Elsie and Emma talk about how they got their book deal.

• Made me laugh: medieval pet names.

• I’m always curious to read about other designers’ processes.

• Was all that time you spent watching Netflix worth it?

• Behold the best 404 pages on the internet.

• Design*Sponge covers the modern etiquette of navigating food allergies and dietary restrictions.

• It’s always interesting to scroll through Humans of New York. One question leads to so many great conversations.

• Anil Dash’s 10 rules of the internet.

• Where have all the good book covers gone?

• If I ever make it to upstate New York, Bear Mountain is on my must-see list.


Image: Fancy.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.