It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. One of the many things that I love about this time of year is how lively a city can look decorated for the holidays. Syracuse sure does clean up nice with all the lights.
Ian and I were due for a mini-date and we like usual were a bit strapped for cash. We planned to be “out” during an afternoon and pretty much winged the whole date. Luckily we had a blast and I think you may too.
Find out where/when your city or town will have a decorated Christmas tree. Bundle up if you are in a chilly place [like Syracuse!] and pack a camera if you want. Syracuse is great because they also BLAST epic Christmas music right in Clinton Square – where the tree is set up. We could have also gone ice skating but we were being a bit lazy.
Stroll around linking arms. Talk about your Christmas plans. The key to this date is to talk & see. If you get cold have your significant give you a hug. Caution: I wouldn’t suggest this for a first day. Just sayin’! Now, I suggest after you freeze your butts off to make a trip to your local cafe and order a hot chocolate, coffee or tea. Since I was in need of a little caffeine boost before we saw the tree we went to the Downtown Cafe Kubal location and ordered the most amazing mocha and pumpkin spiced latte. Check out my Instagram feed for the fancy picture of our lattes.
Alyssa from All Things Beautiful has some great cheap date ideas as well! [Today she’s talking all about exploring the historic district of your city – I love this!]
P.S. This is my last post using wordpress.com! It’s a little sad, but I’m onto bigger and better things. Stay tuned for the big reveal on Monday!
I’m amazed that November is almost over. You know what that means – I’m wrapping up my month of refocusing – branding – and redesign. To be honest I’m so ready to move on from this month [in a good way]. I’ve learned a lot about myself, what makes me happy as a blogger and where I wanna take bedsidesign. I initially planned on launching my redesign somewhere in the middle of December but I am just about ready.
Guess what that means friends?
I’m thrilled to share the story behind this month. I was so pleasantly surprised by how positive this month has been. A daunting task turned into a great learning experience. Are you excited? Here’s a few more things to get you pumped up:
As of Monday, December 3 bedsidesign will use Passionfruit Ads for all ad space. I am EXTREMELY excited about this. Please feel free to book some button swaps, or larger ad space or contact me for product reviews/giveaways or collaborations.
I will be adding a contributor to bedsidesign. I know…this is such a tease. I promise you’ll find out more on Monday.
OH, did I mention I will be using the wordpress.org platform? Hallelujah. No more baby blog! I will finally be able to control things [I’m not a control freak I swear!]. I’m excited to share how I made the transition from wordpress.com to wordpress.org and the friends that helped me along the way. If you are thinking about making the plunge you won’t want to miss out on this!
A new look, new ads, new contributor, new platform – what else am I cooking up? Just a few more blog series. That’s right, I was going to wait until January but I just can’t keep them in the shadows.
Thanks for sticking with me through all of this. Your comments, encouragement and support has helped fuel me this month. xo
Next week when I join this link-up I will finally be able to enter the code that shows all the other awesome bloggers that link up too.
Have you started decorating for the holidays yet? We just started to. I decided before I show a full-fledged decorated-for-the-holidays room I should probably show you all the progress we have made in our living room/dining room. Remember how I said our bathroom was in progress? Well, our whole apartment is. We had to be intentional and creative to transform a 12′- 4″ x 17′ room into dual entertainment place. Let’s hang out together [virtually of course] in our cozy combo room:
Using our larger couch as the divider we were able to create an illusion of two spaces. However, when we have a group of friends over some can sit and watch the TV from the table while others can occupy the couches. Oh yeah, those couches cost us less than $450 with taxes and delivery! Mixing ornate details like our mirror with a modern pendant light from Target (only $20!) adds dimension to our eclectic style. A set of chevron placemats stand out on our black table.
Can you tell we are readers, and musicians? Gotta always have the essentials handy! That’s what makes it a living room. I love my thrifted hexagon end tables – yeah only $5 each. Mixing in our love for typography with our apartment means our initials become a statement and a comfy “@” pillow adds both comfort and style. Oh and we are not minimalists when it comes to pillows…that’s on the to-do list.
Our happy Hobstr terrarium is alive and well. A cute, little sea otter keeps it company on our IKEA Hyllis shelves. Some DIY ombre artwork adds a splash of color to our black and white room. I’m kinda feeling like repainting them to match the minimalist artwork I recently fell in love with. And lastly, our little gallery wall is starting to expand.
What’cha think? Feel free to ask me where we got this or that. I was delaying this post thinking the weather might get nicer so the lighting might turn out better – but who am I kidding? I live in Syracuse and winter is coming.
The Local Peek series is branching out. It will not only feature awesome shops, handmade items but also artists and anyone else contributing to the community in Syracuse. If you want to be featured email me at bedsidesign [at] gmail [dot] com with “Local Peek” as the subject.
Tonja Tongerson, a local artist who creates phenomenal portraits is with us today. Her portraits “deal with the reality of illness while balancing a thin line between expression and discretion. While these topics could be divisive, the use of color, humor, and childish aesthetic keeps her work welcoming.”
What’s your favorite thing to do in Syracuse?
I love to go on walks. I experience a city much differently on foot than when I am moving fast on a bike or in a car. When ever I visit a city I try to cover as much ground on foot as possible. Syracuse has some great hidden nooks and paths that are fun to try to find on long walks.
Why do you create art?
It really doesn’t seem like it is an option anymore. There was a time when I was an undergraduate that I questioned being an artist and spent a few years looking for a different career path, but I never found another avenue that I enjoyed as much. So I buckled down and committed to making art. It is what I really love to do and I hope that it is meaningful to others as well.
Can you share a recent favorite read or find?
I feel blessed to have lived in Minneapolis for so long and to be aware of all of the amazing music that is constantly bubbling up from that city. Whether it be Haley Bonar, Rogue Valley, Total Babe or Dark, Dark, Dark- there are tons of musicians rocking the Twin Cities with really unique, amazing sounds. It’s always great to be able to put on their music and feel like I am back home.
What is an interest, or something you’re passionate about?
It is really important to me that I have a garden every summer. I grew up on a farm, my parents were sort of ‘back to the land’ folks, so I always spent time tending to plants and growing vegetables. It doesn’t really feel like spring to me until there is soil under my finger nails and I am scattering lettuce seed. This summer I had my first community garden plot in the Westcott neighborhood, which was awesome and much better than trying to have a million pots on a front porch!
What is on your bedside table?
My bedside table is an unholy mess. I am finishing up my final year of grad school and at this point in the semester things have really started to pile up. My studio has begun to spill into my apartment, so there is art and school work everywhere. I don’t even want to look at my bedside table, but I can tell you every inch of it is covered with a whole smattering of things.
What are five things you couldn’t live without?
-My computer. With both art and school, my computer is absolutely essential. It’s my sketchbook, my process to build up layers for prints, and the place I store all the documentation of my artwork- I use it in all the stages of my studio practice.
-A good audiobook/podcast. I like to listen to books on tape when I am working in the studio. It helps me focus and prevents me from getting bored when I have to execute the tedious parts of a project (like painting stripes on a dress for weeks). Plus it’s the only way I have time to enjoy a book right now, so it’s awesome multitasking.
-A studio space. I spent a year trying to make art without a studio and it was really rough- I had to dramatically compromise what I could make. Since then I have had a range of studios; from basements, to (nearly) unheated studios during Minnesota winters, to great warehouse spaces filled with super talented artists. It’s been really important to me to have a space separate from my living quarters. It allows me time away from the work so I can come at it with fresh eyes. Plus, I am a printmaker- so making art tends to be a messy process.
-Coffee. I spent years working at a coffee shop and so coffee became an integral part of my life. I have always tried to live within walking distance of a coffee shop. One of my simpler joys in life is waking up, taking a walk with my husband and getting coffee along the way.
-Pinball. I am a huge nerd for pinball.
Thanks for inspiring us today Tonja. See more of her work here.
One of the many benefits of working in the Delevan Center is “The FREE Table” or so it is called. Sure the galleries are awesome, my job is pretty great, but that FREE table can be the cherry on top. I knew I struck gold when I found a set of rounded corner wood frames with spotless white mattes. I removed the lovely artwork and displayed it at work. I brought the frames home and couldn’t figure out what to put in them. That is, until I discovered [re]think Syracuse. Remember that awesome print I bought from Craft Chemistry? Well this weekend Ian and I decided to buy 1 more print so that we could display the frames in the same room. Behold:
Print #1: We got a lotta compliments on this one! It is all the different neighborhoods of Syracuse.
P.S. more on that wooden object soon – yes, it is a DIY!
Print #2: The Newbie! Spotlight on Franklin Square. We don’t live in Franklin Square but it is easily one of our favorite spots. We even took a photography date there [stayed tuned for tomorrow’s afternoon post].
I love the color scheme, graphic nature and the story behind the prints. As someone who is in love with Syracuse I was thrilled to see someone else even more passionate about this city. Jason Evans is the designer behind [re]think Syracuse.
“If you are not yet aware of this, it will not take you long to realize — I have an immense [perhaps sometimes overboard] passion for the city of Syracuse. I was born here; I grew up here; I live here; I was educated here; and I am now practicing architecture here. The city has provided me with a forum of interaction, a place to form a wealth of experiences. I am an avid traveler, whenever possible immersing myself in cities all over the world, and bringing that knowledge back home. I am as equally enamored with the wonderful existing urban fabric of Syracuse as I am alarmed by its current apparent state of despair. I can sense, and see, the amazing potential that the city and region is poised on the edge of — just waiting for a little push, for some people to stir things up a bit, for the dialogue to become concrete action.”
Knowing that background info I can proudly display his work in our home and hope that it will become a conversation starter in our living room. I hope to have the complete collection someday [what a great gallery wall idea]. How awesome are all of these?
Last week I shared with you all some of the things that help me since I was having a pretty rotten week. This week is completely the opposite and it rocks, probably because I started it off with the Salt Market!
A market meetup hosted in Syracuse featured a ton of local artists, designers, letterpress printers (the handset type kind!), and jewelry galore.
It was pretty great to see so many people supporting the community. Plus I got to see some friendly faces.
I swiped a ton of business cards. Here are some of my favorites:
Being out and about in my city totally brings me happiness. I love Syracuse. I also like connecting with people who also care about where we live and want to enhance it. Tonight I will be attending a CNY [Central NY!] blogger meet-up. I’m pretty excited to connect with other bloggers in the area – it seems like a pretty diverse bunch. Along with being locally oriented I love this wonderful blogging world.
From guest series like the weekly team-up with artsocial for the IN LOVE series to DIY inspiration by Sara from Beautifully Contained – I love sharing the wealth. Cue commandment #6 from my own happiness project. I’m looking forward to to November where I will be refocusing, re-branding and re-designing bedsidesign. Don’t worry though, there’s no way I can leave community in the dust.
To carry this month’s focus on into November I’m offering you an opportunity to team up with me. <– check it out!
What brings you happiness? And as always, this is a linkup. Join the movement!
This month I am focusing on community. During the planning process of my own personal happiness project I knew I wanted to start out with something I already found passion in. When I am passionate about something it fuels me. Since Gretchen started her first month trying to emphasize energy I thought about where I find energy. What gets me all giddy and ready to jump out of bed in the morning? Community: personally [the network of family, friends and work], locally, and my blogging community. I’m getting pretty pumped because this coming week is jam-packed with local Syracuse goodness. First up: The 4th Annual Salt Market!
When I visited Craft Chemistry Briana told me about the Salt Market. I knew I could trust her suggestion because I already found a pair of dainty, vintage earrings and a cool typographic map print of Syracuse at her shop. Orignal/Independent local artists + live music + food from some of my faveee local eateries? Count me in! I love meeting new creative people and I love the city of Syracuse. Combining these brings me a whole lotta happiness. Just wait… it gets even better: I have friends that are going too! Sara from Beautifully Contained [she showcases her amazing DIY craftiness with you bedsidesigners monthly, plus check out her awesome finds at Craft Chemistry] and Variya [my go-to jewelry friend: remember she made my wedding bling?] are attending. I can only imagine how awesome it is going to be. If you are a local reader you definitely do not want to miss this.
Along with the Salt Market next Thursday night I am also attending a local blogger meet-up. I’m so excited to go to Al’s, a swanky wine and whiskey lounge to meet some local bloggy friends. But more on that soon!
I love Syracuse like whoa!
One of the reasons is because of the amazingly eclectic and talented people who are all doing what they love. I’ve been searching for soy candles for quite some time. I am always blown away by how expensive they are and how most of the time they don’t smell like anything. I overheard that someone sold handmade soy candles at the Regional Market in Syracuse. I figured I would check it out [ and so I dragged Ian there last weekend. Spilled a milkshake all over me on the way there getting milk in my hair and all down my silk shirt. By the time we got to the market it started to torrential downpour. Needless to say we were drenched and I said bye-bye to my straightened hair].
Witty Wicks receives my “bedsidesign” stamp of approval. I wish that technology was further advanced so that there were scratch n’ sniff blogs – okay that’s kinda weird but seriously, these candles are where it’s at! They smell amazing, look super cute and burn beautifully. My apartment totally smells like fall with these lil suckers lit. Aubrey the owner was nice enough to answer some questions and shares how she got started with soy candles!
bedsidesign: How did you get started making soy candles?
Aubrey: I decided to make candles and started out with traditional paraffin wax. I spent about two hours melting the wax and pouring a few candles. At the end of two hours I had a terrible headache, my stomach hurt and I had spilled wax all over my kitchen. I threw out the big block of wax I had left, threw out the pan I had used and went to bed. The next day I started searching for alternatives. I figured if just making the candles was giving me a headache and a stomach ache I certainly could not sell them to anyone. So I researched the wax options and the scent options and came up with a great combo! Soy Wax and Essential Oils. The Candles don’t release any toxins or chemicals into the air so no headaches!! You wont get any black on your walls or ceiling either, big bonus.
bedsidesign: Can the glass be reused? Can the glass be returned to have you reuse it for new candles?
Aubrey: You sure can! I will take back the Large round or Large Square jars and give you a Dollar off your next purchase. One of the great things about the Soy Wax is that it cleans up so easily. When you are done burning your candle you can soak it in hot water and clean the jar out. The labels come off and you are able to reuse the jars.
bedsidesign: What’s your favorite thing to do in your city (or about your city)?
Aubrey: In my former life I worked as a professional actor. After being swept off my feet by my now husband while living in NYC we returned to Syracuse to raise a family. I am so grateful that our city has a thriving theater community. I am able to fulfill my passion for the stage while still being a mom and an entrepreneur. I love attending and performing in local theater. I am a proud board member for Rarely Done Productions a wonderful local Black Box theater.
bedsidesign: Can you share a recent favorite read or find?
Aubrey: I am in the process of moving and building a new home and I stumbled across this blog/website http://thejoyfulorganizer.com/ I not only love all of the packing ideas but just the organizing ideas are amazing. I am a little bit of a neat freak so this site just sings to that part of me.
bedsidesign: What is on your bedside table?
Aubrey: I keep my kids baby books on my bedside table that way if they have done something memorable I can write it down. I was slacking on the updates so about a year ago I put their books in my nightstand drawer and I am happy to say their books are all up to date!
bedsidesign: What are five things you couldn’t live without?
Alone Time, even if it’s spent locked in the bathroom.
Morning walk/jog with my neighbor
The ability to perform in local theater and be creative
Witty Wicks is located at Shed E every Saturday at the Regional Market. If you are in Syracuse I suggest stopping by!
Since I’ve promised an Apartment Tour I thought it would be fun to posts a few teasers before I showcase our new place entirely. I will post them in fragments and you’ll be able to see how they fit together by the end of the month [yikes – gotta keep this place clean!]. Let me know what you think and take a shot guessing where things are!
Where do you think these hang?
Today I’m dishing the behind the scenes details and inspiration that led me to spruce things up a bit over here! Did you notice the new header, social media buttons [to your right] or maybe you saw my new twitter, facebook, and pinterest profile pictures, or the 2 new blog button options! I see amazing blog designs on a daily basis and I am always wondering how the blogger came up with the concept. I am using a wordpress.com theme so I am very limited to what I can actually change. I’ve been thinking about switching over to a self-hosted site for 2013 and I am currently crunching numbers. In the meantime, I decided to change some of the things I have control over. Here is a moodboard that I created to keep me focused while making the changes.
Here are the steps that I took to give my blog a new look. These steps may be helpful for those of you limited in what you can change on your blog!
Step 1: Pick a new font. Although I love me some Lobster 2 for the past month I feel like it has popped up on every blog [nothing wrong with that!]. I just needed a change and wanted to pick something that was a bit more straight forward. After testing our over 30 fonts – seriously no joke – I decided on spinwerad. Do you like it? Another top contender was Kristi so I included it in this moodboard. I will probably use this as an accent here and there.
Step 2: Pick a color theme and stick with it. Most of you know that I LOVE color! This was even harder than picking a new font! I really wanted to stay in a more monochrome palette. Check out this amazing design guide on color with Chelsea Fullerton and Emma Robertson. I also knew I wanted to take the monochrome palette one step further by keeping it in an ombre style. I pinned that amazing table runner by LEIF a while back [16 weeks to be exact – thanks for the accuracy pinterest] and picked the colors right from it. Now I’ll clue you in on a little something: I also struggled picking the colors. Are you starting to see a pattern here? Yeah – it took me a while to make these decisions which I think is perfectly normal and okay. So if you are getting stressed take a deep breath, it’ll be okay. Something I was considering was whether this color palette was “too girly” or not. I rationalized that I am in fact a girl, and there’s nothing wrong with being a little girly.
Step 3: Pick a design theme. I’ve been obsessed with confetti lately [so much so that I requested some of the leftover confetti from Brooklyn Bride had after The Cream Event]. That awesome gold confetti is courtesy of Brooklyn Bride. Doesn’t confetti just make you want to party? Well it does for me and I want my blog to be where the party is at! I found an awesome brush tool and went to town! Let’s be real it was either confetti or sea otters everywhere and I feel like that may have been a bit over the top…but I totally considered it!
Step 4: Design, rinse and repeat… It’s important that whatever I design is cohesive and duplicated where necessary – first I created the blog header, next came the blog buttons. I decided based on some great readership survey results to put a little more focus on Christie Jones [that’s me] so I added a photo of myself in a similar color palette. I designed a blog button that would be straight forward – just my logo, then added that to a second version with my photo so people would know who is behind this little blog. I also wanted my social media buttons to have the same feel so I designed them with a same feel repeating patterns, and colors.
Step 5: Finalize and upload! My finalizing process was taking a break from looking at everything and coming back to it later. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes make all the difference. I also showed Ian and he approved so I made it concrete and hit upload. That’s it!
What do you think?