Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Living Room Reveal: Before & After

Collecting art is definitely a weakness for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love bringing art home from my trips or creating my own to display.

But there is one downside and that is that I’ve started to run out of wall space in my apartment!

Then it recently dawned on me that creating a “gallery” wall in the living room would solve that problem and give me a way to spice up the most lackluster room in the apartment!

So after a few weeks of planning and prepping, the revamp of the living room is finally complete. I love how the gallery wall looks and how much it changes the feel of the entire place!

“Before” – the TV wall feels a bit empty

“Before” – the sofa seems to be floating in front of the big, white wall

“After” – the art, rather than the TV, becomes the focus and coincidentally compliments the colors of the newly styled bookcase

“After” – the gallery wall of art ties all of the furniture together

I love the mix of art medias – from tile to silkscreen, etchings, photos and posters

Rhino Robbie helped fill in a small gap of white wall

The Fiery Furnaces raccoon print was taken from the book “Gig Posters”

Monday, March 28, 2011

Petition for Cats in the Workplace

My boyfriend picked these decals up for me when he got his car washed recently. They made me laugh as soon as I saw them and put a smile on my face every time I see them on my back windshield.

It makes me feel a little “suburban mom’ish” but that’s how much I love my fuzzy kids!

Sami on the left, Wylie on the right

Friday, March 25, 2011

MY Happiness Project: Month 1 - Status Report

One week into MY Happiness Project and I’m three for five on my goals for the first month. That equates to a 60%...which isn’t great if you’re in school but pretty good for my first week!
  1. Get more (consistent) sleep – Um, not quite…my bedtime has actually been more erratic than usual

  2. Get more exercise – My biggest success! I hit the gym three times this week (cardio 1, yoga 2)

  3. Clear the visual clutter – On a roll! I already finished my biggest redecorating project but there’s a few more to go

  4. Clear the mental clutter – A big YES! I’ve cleared out almost TEN pages of email in my inbox, only six more to go

  5. Tackle one nagging task – Um, not quite…I’ve continued to procrastinate on even starting this one, blurg

Thursday, March 24, 2011

No Rhinos Were Harmed During the Making of this Art Project

Has anyone else noticed the growing design trend of cardboard animal trophies?

Well I have and I think they are awesome! They’re animal friendly, earth friendly, beautiful, unique...and I just had to have one!

And thanks to my wonderful boyfriend, I got my very own from Cardboard Safari over the holidays!

Not only do they create amazing products out of recycled cardboard, but Cardboard Safari is also located in my childhood hometown of Charlottesville, VA so I was happy that we could support a local business.

Until a few days ago, poor “Micro Robbie” had been sitting unassembled in his packaging for the past few months. But then my recent bout of redecorating had me looking for that one standout piece to hang on my gallery wall and out he came!

The laser cut pieces looked intimidating at first but in no time “Robbie” was put together and up on the wall…the perfect finishing touch!

I can’t wait to get started!

By the way, I love their logo

Those are a lot of little pieces!

The back of the plaque

Close-up detail of the laser cuts

Fifteen minutes later and he was ready to hang!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jury Duty is Not for Morning People

Remember how I said that 2011 was all about firsts? Well I experienced another one today…jury duty.

After being excused from reporting on Monday and Tuesday, I received an email last night that I was scheduled to show up today.

Needless to say I was less than enthusiastic about the early morning, but it turned out better than expected. In fact I scored a work-from-home day because after only an hour of jury orientation, I was excused to go home!

So back home I went to Wylie and Sami where I spent the remainder of the day answering work emails and starting more projects around the house! It was just lovely...and super productive.

And how was your day today?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fun Mail From Around the World!

Over the past week, I have received lots of fun snail mail from around the world!

My first postcard through PostCrossing came all the way from Saga, Japan!

The color wheel pendant necklace from Yellow Owl Workshop came packaged in the most unique and beautiful way!

The attention to detail was incredible!

The pendant was more beautiful in person and has become my new favorite piece of jewelry!

The Ninja Bunny necklace from CryWolf arrived today all the way from Ontario!

I love their silver logo!

I can’t wait to debut Ninja Bunny tomorrow at work!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Petition for Cats in the Workplace

In the fifth episode of “The Sami & Wylie Show”, Sami battles the always-nefarious chili pepper refrigerator pen while Wylie plays the part of innocent bystander.

The Sami & Wylie Show: episode 5 from Jenn on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Japan’s Animals Need Our Help Too

The earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan only nine days ago not only affected its people but also their animals.™ has teamed up with The Hunger Site to earmark 100% of their donations to the emergency assistance and recovery for Japan’s animal survivors.

Please take a minute to click here and lend your support.

Friday, March 18, 2011

And the Verdict Is?

What could make a beautiful seventy-five degree Friday afternoon even better?

Getting an email that I was off the hook for jury duty on Monday!

Yup, I got summoned for jury duty a few months ago and have been dreading it ever since. So this news made my weekend!

Now I just have to cross my fingers that I’ll get off the hook for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday too.

Have a fabulous and creative weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

MY Happiness Project: Month 1

Gretchen Rubin’s first chapter in “The Happiness Project” is all about boosting energy because she found in her research that “being happy energizes you, and at the same time, having more energy makes it easier for you to engage in activities – like socializing and exercise – that boost happiness.”

She tackles “both the physical and mental aspects of energy” by making sure to get more sleep and exercise AND to bring a sense of outer order to her surroundings in order to bring inner peace.

Okay, if I didn’t already have a twin I would seriously consider the fact that we were separated at birth! I absolutely agree with her assessment and the fact that the mental aspect of energy is just as important as the physical.

In fact, I’ve recently come to grips with the fact that I need more sleep now than when I was in my 20’s and that it is finally time to break my bad sleeping habits. I’m definitely less focused at work when I have those super sleepy days and less inclined to do anything productive (like exercise or work) when I get home.

I also have recently started to redecorate my home and streamline the tchotchkes and visual clutter in order to find some inner Zen. I still love stuff and could never become a minimalist, but I’m starting to enjoy the negative space too. And another bonus is that when the apartment feels clean and organized I feel like I can tackle any project…which is definitely necessary these days!

So with all that in mind, I’ve compiled the following five ways that I’m going to boost my energy over the next month:

  1. Get more (consistent) sleep by going to bed regularly at an earlier time
  2. Get more exercise by working out 2-3 times each week
  3. Clear the visual clutter by redecorating and donating all the excess to Salvation Army or Goodwill
  4. Clear the mental clutter by finally clearing out the 16 (yes SIXTEEN) pages of new and old emails in my hotmail account and staying on top of them by checking email regularly and unsubscribing from all the spam
  5. Last but not least, I’m borrowing another idea from Gretchen and am going to tackle at least one nagging task - which will be to finalize the selling of my car with the DMV and County (yes I have put that off for over three months, sigh)

I can’t wait to get started!

Do you have any other ideas for boosting energy? What would your list look like??

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An Introduction to MY Happiness Project

I came across Gretchen Rubin’s book, “The Happiness Project”, while shopping in Anthropologie last year.

The title and colorful cover caught my eye but I decided to buy the book on the spot after reading the introduction:

“One April day, on a morning just like every other morning, I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of wasting my life. As I stared out the rain-spattered window of a city bus, I saw that the years were slipping by. ‘What do I want from life, anyway?’ I asked myself. ‘Well…I want to be happy.’ But I had never thought about what made me happy or how I might be happier.”

I was stunned to find that Gretchen (a successful writer, mother and wife) had the same worries and concerns that I did and every page I read had me nodding my head in agreement! The biggest difference between us though was her ability to so eloquently articulate all the thoughts that I’d never been able to find the words to express:

“It was time to expect more of myself. Yet as I thought about happiness, I kept running up against paradoxes. I wanted to change myself but accept myself. I wanted to take myself less seriously – and also more seriously. I wanted to use my time well, but I also wanted to wander, to play, to read at whim. I wanted to think about myself so I could forget myself. I was always on the edge of agitation; I wanted to let go of envy and anxiety about the future, yet keep my energy and ambition. Elizabeth’s observation made me wonder about my motivations. Was I searching for spiritual growth and a life more dedicated to transcendent principles – or was my happiness project just an attempt to extend my driven, perfectionist ways to every aspect of my life?”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

And while I recognize how extremely blessed and fortunate I am by all the good in my life, I am excited by this opportunity to continue my personal growth and self-discovery.

Care to join me??

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ten Ways I’m Going to Kick Ass in 2011

So it’s already mid-March and I’ve just realized that I never posted my list of goals for the year!

Last year I set ten goals for myself to help me break my bad habit of procrastinating my life away. Today I am very pleased (and maybe just a little surprised) to say that I actually achieved a lot of them and in the midst of accomplishing those personal goals, I ended up creating a habit out of living life!

Of course, filling all my free time with fun activities has one downside and that is that I haven’t been left with a lot of time to focus on starting Live Love Life Now™.

And since I have fully acknowledged that self-motivation is not one of my greatest talents, this year’s To Do List will incorporate a lot of business goals to help me break the meddlesome procrastination that lingers when it comes to pursuing my business dreams.
  1. Finalize Trademarks
  2. Open an Etsy store
  3. Sell my first Live Love Life Now™ product!
  4. Collaborate with at least two artists
  5. Go on a road trip
  6. Interview people who inspire me
  7. Experience new cities
  8. Sign up for a dance class
  9. Do more volunteer work
  10. Partner with Rikki’s Refuge and give back thru Live Love Life Now™

What's on your To Do list for 2011?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Petition for Cats in the Workplace

Even though our home has played host to a revolving number of guests over the past week, I have enjoyed the company so much!

You see my boyfriend has started the last year of filming for his documentary and after returning home from a trip to Mexico and Texas, he and his crew spent the weekend filming in Baltimore County.

We hosted everyone at our place and I was happy to have him back home and to be around the production again. Even though the days were long with driving and lots of filming in the cold, it was exciting to get back in the swing of things and to spend time with his uber creative friends!

Most of all, I enjoyed the added bonus of the cats bunking with us at night in the bedroom.

Of course after five nights of restless cat syndrome, I was kind of looking forward to today…and getting the house (and bed) back to ourselves.

I will miss their fuzzy warmth tonight but I am looking forward to sleeping straight through the night! And I think Wylie and Sami are happy to have the apartment (and us) back to themselves.

fluffy Wylie

soft Sami

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cats Do the Darndest Things!

Thanks to Ellen DeGeneres and her love of cute animal videos, I discovered a new hilarious cat video!

I hope it puts a smile on your face like it did for me – enjoy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

For Me? You I Shouldn’t Have!

Sometimes you just have to treat yourself to something special. For me, that day was today!!

Now I just have to patiently wait for them to get here...

Ninja Bunny Necklace by Crywolf
Too awesome for words - this has been on my wish list for months!

Color Wheel Pendant by Yellow Owl Workshop
I just discovered this today but it spoke to my inner artist and I just had to have it!

What’s the last thing you treated yourself to on a whim…just because?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Petition for Cats in the Workplace

After a tremendously productive weekend chock full of redecorating, it was hard to sit still at work all day when I wanted to keep designing away at home!

But I got my fix tonight by helping my sister start a salon gallery wall in her apartment. We spent so much of the evening reconfiguring her artwork on the carpet - to make sure we got the arrangement just right - that we ran out of time to hang it all up! But what we did manage to hang looks amazing and I can’t wait to get started on my own wall!!

Alas, that will have to wait till the boyfriend is back home because I need to reframe a few things first. But I am partway through the redesign of our bedroom and I am really excited to surprise him with the new, serene space.

Don’t worry – there will be plenty of ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures to share once everything is done!

Until then, I am going to take a load off and relax for a little bit with the fuzzy ones. I hope your Monday was just as wonderful and filled with art!

wonderful Wylie

sweet Sami

Friday, March 4, 2011

Home Alone and Inspired!

It’s Friday, I have the whole weekend ahead of me…and I feel a To Do list coming on!

My boyfriend is out of town for a week shooting footage for his documentary and the thought of him working and pursuing his dreams has inspired me to get seriously productive.

I have felt a bit unmotivated the past few weeks and have avoided posting any To Do lists for that very reason. But tonight I am feeling energized and motivated and therefore have decided to post my goals for this weekend…to ensure that I take action!
  1. Try out idea for upcycling vintage bottles
  2. Go to Ikea in search of new frames to spice up old artwork
  3. Start redecorating apartment (specifically bedroom and living room)
  4. Begin writing entry on the Happiness Project (most amazing book ever!)
  5. Design and post Blog Love section
Wow, those are five meaty tasks to undertake but I’m excited to get going – especially the trip to Ikea (which happens to be one of my favorite stores in the world!!).

What are your goals for this weekend? And how do you keep yourself motivated and on task??

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Treasure Hunt Finds

Having driven a fair distance for the ‘barn crawl’ this past weekend, I was pretty adamant about making it worth my while…which meant I wanted to find treasures everywhere we stopped.

Of course, finding things I want is always easy. The challenge is to find things I can a) afford and b) fit into my apartment.

Fortunately, I found a few treasures at each stop that fit into both categories! On the flip side, I think I may have started two new collections – oops!

Following is a photo diary of our shopping excursion and a list of the stores we searched!

First stop
Ekster Antiques
38532 Pheasant Hill Lane
Hamilton, VA 20158

Second stop
Baileywyck Shoppes
21197 St. Louis Road
Middleburg, VA 20117

Third stop
Victoria’s Past Tyme
760 East Main Street
Purcellville, VA 20132

The barn at Ekster

The barn surprised us with extra rooms of more goodies!

The interior was chock full of treasures!

There was so much to look at that I had to keep revisiting rooms

>My first purchase of the day! I think it will make a gorgeous terrarium

The mint condition vintage Coca-Cola machine at Baileywyck Shoppes was amazing!

I have always wanted a printer’s cabinet like this one!! Alas, it has to remain on my dream list…for now!

Detail of an incredible vintage pinball game – and yet another piece I couldn’t afford to take home!

My second purchase of the day…and the first piece of my new tin collection!

My third purchase was a Hagerstown Dairy container to add to my milk bottle collection

We noticed Victoria's Past Tyme along the road and had a feeling it would have lots of treasures to look at inside – and we were right!

I don’t know why but I have a thing for roosters…and I fell in love with this guy!

My fourth and last purchase of the day is a multi-utility grater...and the first piece of another new collection!