Christmas Card Outtakes

Hello again, Monday. You are usually not my friend, but since we're in holiday-countdown mode, I'll be nice.

Our Christmas cards were made and sent last week, and picking just one photo was pretty impossible. I guess we could have sent out a couple designs, but I'm an uncomplicated girl and that just seemed unnecessary. So here are some of our favorites and a few outtake shots from our little shoot with my talented pal Jenna Hunger. I'm still totally obsessed with Jim's red + navy plaid — a little more unexpected but still so perfectly Christmasy. 

Getting a dog to smile and say cheese requires a three-ring circus of treats and squeaky toys, but we finally got the right shot of the three of us.

So this was the winner. Thank you, Cooper, for finally understanding what I mean when I say "vogue!" (just kidding).

Hope you guys have a short week ahead, full of gift wrapping and cookie baking! I'll be back on Wednesday with my go-to Christmas cookie recipes. You won't want to miss every delicious bite!

Maine Getaway

Oh, hi — I'm back!

We had an amazing trip to Maine, it honestly exceeded both of our expectations (my only expectation was basically just "LOBSTER"). The weather was hot and gorgeous, the food was divine, and we got to relax and have a perfect summer trip. We spend most of our time in Kennebunkport, where we stayed in a family-run inn right on the ocean, and took day trips to Portland and Ogunquit to explore a bit more. 

Shipwreck site near the Portland Head Light

Lobster buoys

Our favorite lobstah rolls at The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport

This tasty food truck in Portland - great lobster rolls, salads, and Maine root beer

Blueberry ice cream — blueberries are everywhere in Maine

Biking in Kennebunkport

Downtown Kennebunkport

Dinner at MC Perkins Cove in Ogunquit

The amazing view at MC Perkins Cove

My date ;)

View from biking along the coast — who wants to buy me this house?

Maine was charming, beautiful, and totally delicious. I would go back in a heartbeat. We really loved Kennebunkport—although it was definitely a popular vacation spot, it was much less crowded than Ogunquit and felt a little smaller and more charming. Although many of the shops are pretty knick-knacky, there were a few that we absolutely loved—Daytrip Society and Spaces—that reminded us a lot of Cleveland's Room Service and the former Dredger's Union. We spent most of our days at the beach or biking around town, and most of our night walking up and down the beach with a bottle of wine. It was so relaxing and I miss the ocean already.

Thanks for hanging in there while I was gone (and tolerating all of my Instagram photos). It was so nice to enjoy summer while it's still here. How do you plan to spend the last weeks of summer?

Apartment Therapy

Jim and I have been looking for a house for the last few months, and the search seems to be drawing to a close. Although it's really exciting, we both been in our current apartment for almost 3 years, so we've obviously developed some attachment to it. Even though we're outgrowing it, it's going to be bittersweet to leave it behind.

So, to help balance out all of the great memories we've made there, I thought I'd make a list of everything we won't miss so I can check my emotional baggage at the door. Plus it'll be fun to look back on all of these things down the road — and laugh.

We bid adieu to:

- The kitchen cabinet that pops open whenever it wants, or anytime you shut another cabinet

- No air conditioning. The apartment feels like a brick pizza oven in the summer.

- Jumping out of the shower stream whenever anyone in the building flushes the toilet

- Hearing our neighbors above and below us

- Parking in the street! If I get home anytime after 6 there are zero spots.

- Having my workspace in the dining room...and not really having a "dining room"

- Needing quarters to do laundry

- Watching a crazy neighbor yell at cars going by while we sit on our balcony

- No closet space. Really, none.

- Keeping our music down, our TV down, our voices's hard not to be loud!

- Wishing our fireplace really worked

- Walking up three flights of stairs everyday – and being afraid to fall down them when it rains

- One lonely bedroom

I could go on...but I don't want to sound like a big whiner. I just know this will come in handy when we're packing up everything we've acquired over the last three years, and getting a little sad. So here's to heading onward and upward...and to a whole new set of problems ;)

Weapons of Mass Creation: Weekend Wrap-Up

I'm still digesting everything from last weekend's Weapons of Mass Creation fest, which I'm so, SO glad I was able to attend. The event was well organized, well-run, and thought out. Now, I've seen a lot of designers speak. Big guys, like James Victore, Robynne Raye, Karlsson + Wilker...we all have. But there was something about the speakers at WMC, something that made me feel like we were more alike. That someday, we could be on the same page. All these designers have found so much success in their various specialties, all were very different. But they were younger, humble and honest, easy to feel connected to. Mig Reyes of Threadless even showed some of his college work and gave us all a chuckle by admitting that like most of us, we had no idea what we were doing freshman year. Manipulating type in Photoshop? Yeah, exactly.

I didn't take a lot of pictures so I won't give a play-by-play, but I did take notes. So here are my main takeaways from what the designers had to say:

QUITE STRONG: My favorite all-girl design collective. Discussed how their individual strengths give them a group advantage, which allows them to work with a wider range of clients/project. Also explained the importance of knowing how to just hang out and have down time with other designers. Eating Cheez-Its is also an important part of this process.

KEN HEJDUK of LITTLE JACKET: Talked about the revival of the creative high standard here in Ohio and the Midwest. The trend is that smart=cool. If you give a damn, raise the standards. If you raise the standards, the bar is raised. Attention to detail is key.

MIG REYES of THREADLESS: Talked about how to not make crap and still make money. Passion projects are important—do work on your own, no matter how small or how free. Keep it loose and enjoy the process. Passion projects can actually lead to more work than a school or day-job portfolio because your strengths really shine when you're steering the ship. "Fuck the police, make whatchu wanna."

DAN CASSARO of YOUNG JERKS: Anything > waiting tables. There are two types of designers: you're either a John Lennon or a Paul McCartney. John Lennons are heavy on social responsibility and substance. Paul McCartneys are heavy on style and not so much on substance. Johns=Tibor Kalman. Paul=Joe Duffy.

ALEX CORNELL of ISO50: Always be picking up kernals of advice along the way. Also, emulation is futile. As designers we all compare ourselves to others, but emulating them won't get you anywhere. Do what you do best, because no one else can be you.

JESSI ARRINGTON of WORKSHOP: "Doing good" as a designer can be ambiguous and overwhelming, which leads to frustration and inaction. Make it less about good, and more about better! Think of your life as a design project: how would you arrange the elements of your life, as if elements on a page? Also, she got everyone to dress up and lead a color-coordinated rainbow parade for WMC founder Jeff Finley's birthday. It was a sight.

JOSEPH HUGHES of NORTHCOAST ZEITGEIST: Talked about the struggle we all have with comparing ourselves to others, but layered on how tough that can be if you don't have a formal design education. Gain respect by pouring yourself into those personal projects. And, you just have to find someone to take a chance on you. Prove they were right to hire you, every day. Kick ass and own it.

MIKEY BURTON: Further reiteration that self-initiated passion projects can lead to clients and work you'd never imagine. Adapt "will work for work" as your motto, allow even your smallest projects to hold importance in your heart. Also, dicking around screenprinting with your buddies can lead to big things. Case and point: Mikey himself.

AARON DRAPLIN: I mean really, where do I start. If anyone can light a fire under your ass, it's Aaron. Aaron's near-hour-long presentation was funny, heartwarming, and insanely inspiring. As with many of the other speakers, Aaron emphasized how important it is to do what you love, and don't say no to free projects. Do that stupid poster for your buddy's band. Do a free logo. Don't sweat it for days, but give it the effort. He's also got a thing for estate sales and digging around for old stuff with awesome packaging—not only for work inspiration but also to "rescue" all of these amazing American relics from the garbage heap. A message I can totally get behind.

Though there was a strong common thread between everyone's messages, it was so nice to hear all of their amazing and personal stories of success. The festival felt so intimate that I walked away feeling like I now know all of these designers very personally. They're no longer just these design giants that I google or tweet at or drool over from behind my laptop. Plus it was great to pop over to the Happy Dog and see the festival bands, and visit the Wall Eye poster gallery where I got to have a conversation with Aaron Draplin (starstruck!) and see Dan Christofferson paint a totally badass mural. I couldn't be happier with my experience there and I ALREADY cannot wait till next year.

in love with: my windsor oxford

I've had my eye on the elusive Windsor Oxford since the girls over at Design Sponge mentioned it in a bike-centric post. It seemed the perfect combination of good looks, classic styling, and FUNCTION—which for me is the winning combo. I already had a bike, a beautiful black and white Schwinn cruiser, that I got as a birthday gift from my mom back in college. It was love at first sight with it. I rode it around campus all the time.

(nice right? the thing rides like a Cadillac)

But within the last few years, I've gotten accustomed to riding farther and farther, and more often, for all those short trips and errands. I need to be able to conquer hills, feel nimble and quick riding in the streets, and be able to pedal my ass off when Jim is flying ahead of me. So when I saw the Oxford, it felt like a true match for what I needed. But I didn't buy, I just looked and drooled and coveted and hoped I would win the lottery.

Then Friday, I did.

I thought it was an April Fools joke. Somehow, my sneaky little boyfriend had ordered the bike, taken it to get assembled, and rolled it into our apartment without me having the slightest clue. I guess I had talked about it enough that he knew the color I wanted (a classic navy), and got help from my sister in getting the right size.

There were obviously a lot of tears at first but then I got really excited to ride it. We had plans on Friday night so we decided to take it out for its maiden voyage the next morning. We rode to Century Cycles to get some accessories, and then rode back to Lakewood to get brunch. The whole ride was about seven miles, and the bike rode like a dream. It was amazing to have different gears to ride in, and to have a frame that was light enough to not wear me out (my cruiser weighs a whopping 40 pounds). This is definitely a bike for getting shit done.

(headband, hood, scarf, was cold)

My new-bike-joy is in full swing and it's perfect timing for the (albeit slowly) warming temps. So if you see me on the road this summer, 1) wave 2) don't hit me 3) meet me at whiskey island, that's probably where I'm headed.

spring thaw

Yesterday was the first official day of spring, and I'm so excited that it actually feels like it's true. There aren't many things I love more than that first day that you DON'T need a coat! It was so nice here last week on St. Patrick's Day, that we were able to walk to the bar with only light jackets, and there was hardly any chill in the air.

We thought it was appropriate to christen another year on our balcony with our new chairs and table that we bought months ago. Last year we had some old green and white director's chairs but the weather pretty much destroyed them. The new ones are at least made to be outside, so thankfully we can just leave them out.

I didn't waste any time, and reclaimed my spot on the balcony and watched Jim break in his new softball glove. We spent so much time out there last summer and it felt good to be back.

I'm also ready to pick fresh flowers, and we're going to be planting lots of herbs on the balcony too. Jim's dad built us a custom little potter box that runs along the railing at one end, and just kind of hangs in thin air. It'll be perfectly convenient once it warms up enough to plant them :)