Blogcademy New York and a Peek Inside Patina!

The Blogcademy New York at Patina

The first time I saw the interior of Patina, my eyes grew as big as saucers. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time hunting for treasures at antique shows and swap meets with my dad but I’d never seen anything quite like this place. Exquisitely curated with vintage furniture, telephones, typewriters, books and more, it felt like a setting out of a Brooklyn-based fairytale.

Patina had originally contacted us last year but we’d already arranged the final details for our first Blogcademy and it just wasn’t meant to be. Good things are always worth the wait and this time around, we were thrilled to host our brilliant group of blogcadettes in their magic-making space.

The Blogcademy New York at Patina

We kicked off this sixth installment of our workshop over one of the most humid weekends I’ve ever experienced — even with fans and ice cream breaks, it was unbearable at times but lounging on gorgeous vintage couches made the whole experience slightly more glamorous for sure.

The Blogcademy New York at Patina

As the weekend builds, one of my favorite parts of the workshop are the group activities where we circle around and chat with women one-on-one about their ideas and goals for their blogs. I love a big idea but I love it even more when they’re scribbling down precisely how to make them a reality. And this group, with teachers, hairdressers, PR agency owners, fashion bloggers and more in the audience had so many awesome insights on how to introduce more personalized content and tweak their brands to better represent who they are.

The Blogcademy New York at Patina

Enough of my blabbering! In their own words, here’s what some of our attendees had to say about the experience:

“The Blogcademy is fucking life-changing. I sold half of my wardrobe (no joke) in order to attend and I’d sell the other half and show up in nothing but my undies and black eyeliner ten times over: these women are legit. Their energy is through the roof. Their knowledge is powerful. Their commitment is palpable. And they will give you the necessary kick in the ass you need to own your identity, no matter how scary that might be. Between the sparkles, sea of hair colors, and resounding tribal spirit, I kept waiting for Jessie J to burst through the window on a Tarzan rope belting out ‘Just be true to who you are’. (I wouldn’t put it past these three. I believe them capable of anything). But all in all, whether you have to walk 500 miles, subsist on Ramen noodles for a month, or fly on a broomstick to get there…GO. Stop thinking about it. GO. I kid not when I say it will alter the course of your professional career and, by extension, your life.”

Madelin Adena Smith

The Blogcademy New York at Patina

KEEP ON READIN':
Continue reading

The Week in Pictures: 7.5.13 | Hello From Minneapolis!

The Week in Pictures: Minneapolis

Minneapolis was one of those places I’d been curious about for years.

Anyone and everyone I’d met from there would preach the gospel of breezy summers spent on “the lake” and long winters ice skating and snowmobiling. Joey only added to the Minneapolis mystique since he’d spent his early years there — but when I asked too many questions about the place, he’d just shoot me an annoyed look. “You just don’t get it. You have to visit to understand.”

In a way, he was right. When our friend Katherine picked us up from the airport, she’d already conjured up big plans for the night. “Our friends have a pontoon. Wanna go out on Lake Minnetonka after dinner?” Kat, Gala, and I were obviously not well-versed in the necessities of lake life. “What’s a pontoon?” Nothing elicits a laugh from a native quite like that question.

We learned soon enough. Looping through the woods to Lord Fletchers, we suddenly felt like we’d been transported into an 80s teen movie. The restaurant on the lake was surrounded by an outdoor patio full of round thatched roof bars stocked with wicker chairs. Peppy, tan teen girls took our orders as biker gangs strolled past. The sun was out and everyone mingled regardless of social stature while downing a few drinks too many.

The Week in Pictures: Minneapolis

Dinner complete, we boarded the pontoon and zoomed down Lake Minnetonka, backed by a soundtrack of Lana Del Rey and Frank Ocean. Sipping Sofia champagne from the can, it was hard to believe that a few hours earlier, we’d been wandering the streets of Manhattan.

Embracing lake life means that you always have a bikini on under your shorts and tank. You’re not afraid to dive off the side of the boat, even as darkness sets in. And, you’ve jumped off more than one bridge in your lifetime without a second thought. We weren’t ready to go that far so we just sat back and watched our hosts take the plunge.

The Week in Pictures: Minneapolis

The next day, we set out to undo the deep fried sins of our lakeside dinner from the night before. Our first stop was Tao Natural Foods on Hennepin Ave.

The Week in Pictures: Minneapolis

Hearty, healthy and complete with a kick-ass juice menu, it was just what we needed after a week of very questionable food choices.

The Week in Pictures: Minneapolis

Our next stop was Spyhouse Coffee. As a side note, I always forget how spacious businesses (including coffee shops) are in the midwest. So. Much. Room.

The Week in Pictures: Minneapolis

The specialty menu was especially good – we each ordered the Spygirl, featuring lavender. It tasted amazing. Gala and I spent the rest of the weekend scheming about how we could recreate their caffeinated masterpiece.

The Week in Pictures: Minneapolis

As we spent more time exploring the city, we noticed that there seemed to be ivy everywhere. I’ve always loved the way it looks when it weaves its way up the sides of buildings.

The Week in Pictures: Minneapolis

After a day of shopping and Instax-snapping, we were told that dinner at Psycho Suzi’s was an absolute must. A multi-level tiki bar full of shrunken head decor? Yes!!! To entice us further, someone summed it up as “Disneyland for adults.”

The Week in Pictures: Minneapolis

The place was off the hook. We killed time at one of the many bars until our table was ready and couldn’t resist the crazy mugs, which Kat kept. I’m sure her husband and cats are thrilled about seeing that every day! Haha. Dinner was even better. Indulging in an appetizer of deep-fried cheese curds (a Midwestern delicacy), we fell in love with the patron’s jukebox selections. I never thought I’d hear Marilyn Manson in a tiki bar, but there’s a first time for everything.

The Week in Pictures: Minneapolis

Over the weekend, we taught The Blogcademy at a beautiful art gallery, Public Functionary. The space was an industrial dream of polished concrete floors and tons of natural light. Even better, the walls were still stenciled in gold from a previous art show. The group of women in attendance were on top of their game, asking tons of questions and scribbling piles of notes. A full recap of the workshop will be coming soon but in a nutshell, the Minneapolis group blew our minds in the best way possible.

The Week in Pictures: Minneapolis

Katherine is quite the fashion plate and made sure to take us to all the local boutiques. My favorite was Arrow. I loved the space, the complimentary champagne and the selection of labels. So good.

After class wrapped, we headed out to Pride. Such a perfect weekend to be in Minneapolis! I was too busy taking in the sights to snap any photos but let’s just say that the champagne pours off balconies into the mouths below were plentiful and our neighbors’ dance routines kept us endlessly entertained for hours.

The Week in Pictures: Minneapolis

I won’t lie, we were completely Prince obsessed the entire time we were in town and visiting First Avenue was a must. Though I didn’t spot Prince, I did see his star.

We ended our stay with a walk along the unruly Mississippi River and agreed that our visit was much too short. We’re already dreaming of excuses for another visit (and another trip down Lake Minnetonka). Minneapolis, thanks for showing us a good time. I have a feeling we won’t be able to stay away for long.


Special thanks to Jake and Katherine for showing us a good time and laughing right along with us till we cried (but that’s a story for another time).

Link Love: 7.4.13

link love

link love


Source: Sarah Yates for A House in the Hills


Happy Fourth of July!

These are some of my favorite links of the week…

• How you do anything is how you do everything.

• I love Paul Jarvis’ tips for working better.

• Check out this collection of freshly painted houses in the kookiest hues!

• Now that’s some serious dedication! This guy posed for 40 years of yearbook photos in the same outfit.

• Do your goals conflict with your personality?

• What are the biggest mistakes you made when you started blogging?

• Lou Reed reviews Yeezus.

• Alexandra Franzen gives us a backstage tour of her business.

• 5 minute drill: how to negotiate like a pro.

• Camps that focus on getting us away from technology seem to be popping up everywhere.

• The Daily Beast interviews Rick Rubin.


Check out even more Link Love columns here.

Tools of the Trade #7: Creative Market

Tools of the Trade

Creative Market is an online marketplace with tons of goodies designed with creatives in mind. The site is overflowing with beautiful, handmade assets including blog themes (organized by platform), icon sets, brushes, fonts, illustrations and much, much more. At over 7,000 products, the selection is deep and the price points are super reasonable.

I’ve purchased a few items so far and have been really impressed with the quality. Even better, when you make a purchase, you’re supporting the creative community since independent sellers get to keep 70% of the earnings. You can get in on the action, too — if you’re interested in opening up a shop of your own, learn more here.

Another great benefit of keeping up with Creative Market is that they offer new freebies every week!


Photo: Made U Look
Brush set: Mindful Pixels on Creative Market
Check out more Tools of the Trade posts here

The Happiest Place On Earth: A Day at Disneyland

Disneyland with Made U Look

A trip to Disneyland is always better with friends.

When Gala and I heard that Kat had never been to Disneyland, we knew it would be the perfect spot to take her for her birthday. So the day after I arrived in LA in April, we set out to give her a tour of the self-proclaimed happiest place on earth (while staying determined to ignore the fact that it was Spring Break).

Disneyland with Made U Look

We awoke early and hit the road but things didn’t go quite as planned (they never do!) As we ambled along the freeway, Gala got sick next to me and boy, was I thankful that there was an empty Starbucks bag nearby. Once we arrived, we realized just how bad the crowds really were. With every line snaking on with at least an hour wait, we ended up having to bypass nearly all the rides.

CLICK FOR MORE DISNEYLAND GOODNESS…

Continue reading

The Week In Pictures: 6.28.13 | Hello From New York!

the week in pictures

Spending a week in New York with two BFFs was just what the doctor ordered. Routines need to be broken every once in awhile and I’d been feeling really restless, caught up in a routine of all work and no play. Even though our main reason for being together was our workshop, Kat, Gala and I slipped plenty of fun into our packed schedules. These were a few of my favorite experiences during my time in New York…


FAVORITE OLD SCHOOL HAUNT: YAFFA

the week in pictures

Yaffa holds a special place in my heart. I stopped in on my first night in New York in 2001 and it’s been a favorite ever since. I love that it’s remained nearly unchanged since I first saw it twelve years ago. The walls are covered in multiple patterns of wallpaper and there are golden statues, gaudy art and animal prints everywhere. Very Liberace on acid.


FAVORITE COFFEE SHOP: NINTH STREET ESPRESSO

the week in pictures

The morning I flew into New York, it was crazy humid and didn’t let up for the whole time we were there. We just used it as an excuse to stop for lots of iced coffees. Ninth Street Espresso was right around the corner from our apartment and I loved the basic menu, black and white decor, tasty coffee and treats.


FAVORITE SETTING: PATINA

the week in pictures

Patina is a furniture rental business tucked away in Bushwick and there’s just no way to do it justice with a handful of photos. I walked in and was immediately floored — the massive space was full of intricate vignettes, painstakingly curated with the finest in couches, candy-colored typewriters, golden skulls, rotary phones and globes. I’ll share more of the interior soon.

the week in pictures

Back in October when we did our first New York workshop, Patina had contacted us a few days before, offering up seating and their beautiful venue. Sadly, we’d already lined everything up and had to pass. Lame! So when we launched this New York date, we knew we had to partner with them. We’re still gushing about how great they were to work with!


MOST INSPIRING: BLOGCADEMY NEW YORK

the week in pictures

New York was where we held our first ever workshop so to make our way back for a second time was really exciting since we’d made so many changes. Each group of women we meet is so different but one thing holds true: we leave feeling completely invigorated and inspired by their personal stories.

the week in pictures

With the crazy humidity and two whirlwind, action-packed days, we were slayed by the end. Haha.


FAVORITE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE: BITE LIP LAB

the week in pictures

On Monday, I posted about my obsession with Bite. I’d first noticed the packaging at Sephora and soon after, found out that they had a pop-up shop in Manhattan. Well, the experience was everything I could have hoped for.

the week in pictures

I have a full post coming soon (we brought photographer June Cochran along to document the experience!) but here’s a little peek. I felt like I’d entered a mad scientist’s lab…dedicated to mixing perfect lipstick shades.


FAVORITE CLUB NIGHT: ON TOP AT LE BAIN

the week in pictures

Two years ago, my friend Bianca took me out to a club night I’ll never forget: as the elevator snaked up to the top floor of The Standard, I felt like I’d entered a time machine back to the 90s. New York’s finest club kids, swathed in face paint and platforms ruled the dance floor. As I made my way through the crowd, I noticed the jewel of the space: a hot tub with a disco ball spinning above it. At that moment, dancing to house music in a hot tub overlooking the city seemed perfectly normal.

the week in pictures


Photos by Bianca Alexis

This time was no different. Bianca, dressed in a white spandex catsuit, swung by and her friend Tash, reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty juxtaposed with Lady Gaga joined in on the fun. We made our way across the astroturf-covered rooftop to the crepe stand (alcohol and crepes, what a nice mix!) and took in the sights.

If you have a free Tuesday night and a glam costume you’ve been waiting to debut, make your way to On Top. You won’t regret it.


FAVORITE PLACE TO CHILL: WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK

the week in pictures

Every time I walk through Washington Square Park, I feel like I’ve been transported to a colonial setting in a storybook. It’s so beautiful this time of year.


MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE: OUR MEET-UP

the week in pictures

A highlight of our week was getting a group of the girls together from our original Blogcademy class for lunchtime and funtime at The Smith. It was awesome chatting with the grads and hearing how their blogs and lives have progressed since then. Love them so much!


FAVORITE PASTIME: WINDOW SHOPPING

the week in pictures

When I’m in New York, I never buy a whole lot but that doesn’t stop me from doing massive amounts of window shopping. This dress is still on my mind…


MOST FUN: PATINA PHOTO SHOOT

the week in pictures

The girls at Patina had an idea to do a full photo shoot while we were in town and with five unique sets and a crew of close to 10 people, they pulled out all the stops. Honestly, I was blown away with all the planning and coordination it took.

the week in pictures


It’s always hard to say goodbye to New York. We flew to Minneapolis yesterday afternoon and spent the night soaking up the sights on a friend’s pontoon as we floated across Lake Minnetonka. We can’t wait to explore more of the city today and teach over the weekend. Have a great one! xo

Link Love: 6.27.13

link love

link love


Circus and the City by Matthew Wittmann


• Zen Habits explains why it’s pointless to compare yourself and your life to others.

• I’m so impressed with the latest incarnation of Squarespace. Their templates are so beautiful.

• NYC Type documents interesting typography all over the city.

• Taking your vitamins might not be such a good idea after all.

• The newest edition of Launched is live, documenting the best in blog designs.

• When it comes to blogging, some of the best posts transpire when you go back to basics.

• Making your own almond milk isn’t so difficult after all!

• What are your ideal hours to get work done?

• Luminous Lint covers the history of color photography.

• I’m loving the redesigned Kinfolk site.

• The two most highlighted books of all-time are The Bible and Steve Jobs!

• In the late 1800s, Jacob Riis documented what it was like living in New York’s slums.

• Tyler Adam Smith is working on a project, 100 Books that SHOULD be Written and the outcomes are awesome.


Check out even more Link Love columns here.