Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Artist of the Month: Jenny Holiday, July 2012

I am so excited to introduce Jenny Holiday, our July Artist of the Month! If you have read Everyday is a Holiday, Jenny's blog, then you know how warm, friendly, artistic, cheery, and talented she is. I love her very distinct sense of style - her blog is my favorite place to be in the cyber world. I could talk on and on forever about how awesome Jenny and her husband/co-business-owner are, but I'll spare you and let her tell you herself instead!

Thank you for joining us on Pink Wonderland today, Jenny! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Oh my goodness, ok, I was born in north NJ, very close to NYC. My parents are both born and raised New Yorkers. We moved to upstate NY when I was a kid and stayed up there till my early teens. We then moved to the Jersey Shore where I’ve been since my junior year in high school. Down here I met my best friend/partner in craft/art/life (Aaron). As soon as we met, we knew it was forever. We started painting furniture for antique dealers right out of high school, studying books on antiques, and just going on instinct we refinished and replicated antique finishes and motifs. Our very first pieces were put in the front windows of some fancy schmancy shops and were selling faster than we could paint.

We both planned on going off to college (for fashion and art)…but soon found that we had already found our calling. We did craft shows, art shows , painted bedroom sets by the hundred. This evolved into creating our very own handmade furniture line and selling to some of the most fabulous stores in NYC and gaining a long list of celebrity clients. Magazines began to call and after a few great features our day to day became a whirlwind… we were working enough for 10 people. We then opened up a studio/shop a few months before 9/11… and it goes without saying that retail in the NY/NJ/CT area was very challenging. So we set our sights on wholesale and ended up doing the NYC gift show and selling to incredible shops all over the country. A total dream! One very big detail that we didn’t consider was that there were only two of us… and every single thing was hand painted by our already busy hands. We worked round the clock getting each and every order out the door.  We knew this is what we wanted to do… but also knew we needed help… or licensing.

Fast forward…we decided to close the store and move into workshop /studio space and concentrate completely on wholesale. The day that we were moving out of the retail shop, my world almost ended. Aaron had moved the entire store to our new space, but after many hours he didn’t show up at home. He was missing for a long time…he left at dawn…and it was now nighttime. I’d later find out that he had crashed the van under a bridge and was out of sight…dying. But in the meantime, not knowing this, his mother and I searched the streets and highways for hours. We went to police stations, called hospitals, kept checking our apartment, the store…we really didn’t know where to look. Later that night, around midnight, I got a call from my father. Aaron was found under the bridge…and flown by helicopter to a trauma center.

So again, fast forward… right through the immediate hospital horrors and try to pick up the thread of everyday living. Art had to be put on pause… LIFE had to be put on pause. The only thing that mattered was Aaron recovering. He was in really rough shape…almost lost his leg, had severe head trauma, and needed multiple reconstructive surgeries. He lived in a rehab for over a month! But he did recover. After many many surgeries he was able to walk… run even! Of course, the rehabilitation had us spending lots of time at home… a place we were not very familiar with in our pre-accident life. We were always on the go… home was simply where we slept for a few hours a night. But post-crash… we were home 24/7.

It was around this time that I found blogs! Oh my gosh my world was just changed forever! I could connect with people right from the safety of our living room. Also, knowing that we could no longer do furniture…no lifting of heavy things, and no van…meant that our art career would be changing in a big way. Being so close to tragedy we truly learned the value of each day and from that point on we became “Everyday is a Holiday”… a name that held more meaning for us than anyone could imagine. From our new home base at home I began selling our art online and started to forge tons of very real online relationships! And honestly the rest is history! :) I know this answer is so scattered and I’ve attempted to cram in way too much information when you simply asked to hear a little “about me”. But I am who I am due to all that has happened to us in the past few years. Our art is our art because of the struggles we overcame.

Did you always know you were going to be a professional artist?
As a kid I would spend hours and hours and hours in my room drawing…most of the time bunnies…with oil pastels. I’d either be drawing, or spending entire days doing my other “hobby”…which was decorating fictional rooms. I would draw up floor plans and then go through the Sears or JC Penney catalog finding all of the rugs, bedding, couches etc! :) I knew I was going to be an artist or a decorator.

One thing that immediately drew me to your blog and shop was your distinct style and palette – pastels, aqua and pink, vintage, sweet, and adorable. Have your style and favorite colors always been the same?
I have allllways loved pink! When we were little my room was pink and my sister’s was purple. My mom would always buy us things in our colors! :) I fell in love with aqua about 12 yrs ago when we would find all sorts of fabulous chippy peeling paint cupboards and shelves at antique shops. And I mostly only wear black. I always sorta combine doll-like cutesy stuff and a little rock n roll…Wednesday Addams meets Betsey Johnson ;)

You mention living in the Jersey Shore quite a bit. How does your location inspire you?
Living on the Jersey Shore is really special. First off, where we live year round is actually a vacation spot to most people. We’re surrounded by rollercoasters, ferris wheels, boardwalk stands, all that good stuff. The signage is amazing…the fun fonts…everything is hand painted…the colors and the lights. And there is so much history. The boardwalks along the Jersey shore look like they did 75 years ago. All the shore towns are full of old Victorian homes. We collect old shore postcards and we can take a short drive or a walk and feel like we’re stepping right into those vintage scenes.  

Who are your favorite artists?
Gosh…I have so many! Too many to list! And as far as “artist” goes…I never limit that term to those who paint or draw, etc…  Maybe at the top of my list is Betsey Johnson! I adore her! Top to bottom…she is who she is. Her art is apparent in every aspect of her life. She is an artist in the truest sense of the word!

Dessert is a frequent subject of your artwork. Do you bake frequently?
I do indeed bake! Often! I LOVE seeing a whole lotta sweets lined up! And I love baking LOTS of one thing! I kinda see it as “playing bakery”.  And I’ve done some big orders over the years. Aaron thinks I’m crazy for taking on the extra stress but I love it. Baking hundreds of cupcakes for baby showers, graduations…that sort of thing. To me it’s a good time!

What is your favorite dessert?
My favorite dessert…oh gosh… well, I adore anything pistachio flavor! So a pistachio cake/cupcake or macaron! :)

What is it like working with your significant other?
We pretty much share a brain at this point. We finish each other’s sentences, and can predict each other’s moves and plans. Our styles really mesh super well.  It isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and I can understand how some couples would end up killing each other…but we’ve found that it works for us. We are good together.  We’ve been successful at it and have plans for all sorts of new and exciting things.

What do you like to do when you are not working?
When not working I love art journaling and painting. My personal painting is way more abstract than the art we sell. I love color and shape and vibe…I get lost in it.  Aaron and I love antiquing; oh and I adore Pinterest! :)

You are such an accomplished lady! You blog frequently, post all sorts of gorgeous projects, paint, run your business, and still find time for your family. Any tips on time management that you would like to share with us?
First, thank you!!! I’m the last person to give tips. I’d actually say I’m looney tunes…haha! What I can say is: schedule and balance are the most important things. When you get stressed or worried about deadlines or orders…the one thing you can count on is your schedule. I know it sounds like I’m over simplifying. But if you put in the time…the same time everyday…you have some control.  And balance…you must take time for yourself. This means time with your family and/or your significant other…time for fun.  If you don’t then you’ll resent your work…and you will just burn out.

What advice would you offer an aspiring artist or someone who wants to start a small business?
My advice is: make your art as often as you can! Get involved in a scene…local or online. Blog! Get out there and meet like-minded souls. Share what you love, what you create, what you are hoping to do. There are so many amazing people who are willing to share their stories and cheer you on! Also know your market. Research all the tiny details. Before you dive in, make sure you are ready to handle the orders and the customer service end of things, not just making the art. Or, if you are an “incurable” artist…and business stuff makes your head spin…then maybe find a partner who will handle all of that stuff while you’re being creative 24/7.

Your decorating and project posts are always fun. Do you have any tips or suggestions regarding decorating and organizing a creative workspace?
Thanks so much!! Our home is not typical by any means. We have bunnies in the kitchen, doll heads on shelves, toy pianos on tables…but the bones of our look is cottagey. I love collections and happy vignettes, but I also love basic, clean design. I like to offset my cottagey pieces with midcentury modern. You should always surround yourself with the things you love and that inspire you. It’s your home…it should represent you and the things that make you you!  As for the studio…I adore vintage cake stands and wire baskets, jars, and crates. One of my favorite things is a vintage shopping basket from an old five & dime. It’s aqua and says Newberrys on it!  Oh…and I adore IKEA for shelves and all sorts of jars and baskets and bins.

Are you working on any projects or pieces that you are excited about?
Right now, we are so excited about our hand painted paper packs! We just debuted our first pack, The Beach Bungalow collection. It is a pack of 6 original floral patterns inspired by summers spent at the shore. We would love to have a full scrapbooking line, and we are currently seeking a partnership to make that happen! We have so many requests for wholesale and there’s just no way we could fulfill all of them if we are producing everything ourselves.  There are so many ideas that we need to turn into licensing agreements. We just need to get to that next level to make that happen. Fingers crossed!

Any big plans for your business?
Aside from a scrapbooking collection we would LOVE a fabric line as well. We’ve known for years that that is what we were meant to do together…and now is the time. We are really excited about all of the possibilities! We dream in pattern and we both work so well together when it comes to creating full collections. We’d love to see our patterns on bedding, dresses, pillows, quilts, bags, etc…  And we also hope to do lots more teaching! We LOVE teaching at fabulous art retreats and events! Overseas would be dreamlike! :)

Thank you so much for sharing your stories and advice with us on Pink Wonderland, Jenny!

You can find Jenny and her (and Aaron's) work in these places:

I adore Jenny, Aaron, and their artwork so much! I have so many pieces on my dream home decor list... and I swear someday (not too far off, hopefully) I will get them all and fill up my walls with cupcakes and pastels! I seriously wanted to post all of the pictures from the shop and blog but couldn't fit them all, so you will just have to check out the links for yourself. But, I am going to squeeze in two more paintings...

P.S. As timing would have it, Jenny happens to be running a giveaway on her blog, including a $45 credit to my shop. Check it out here!

Artist of the Month is a monthly interview feature with an artist. I am very selective about whom I interview - I pick artists I believe in, whose style I truly love. Previously featured artist:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Shana Logic - Cuteness Overload Outfit

Ready for an overwhelming explosion of cute? Visit Shana Logic! It has been one of my favorite websites for a long time now. Shana Logic is all about supporting indie - it's an online boutique selling a variety of goods, all made by small businesses and independents artists. And Shana, the owner/curator, is so sweet, positive, and friendly! She occasionally gets requests for little sketches on the packing slips she sends with orders... and she actually does little drawings for her customers. Shana also rescues squirrels as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. But I diverge (I just think she's really awesome). Anyway, I have acquired quite a few Shana Logic pieces over the years... so this outfit is chock full of SL gear!

Magical unicorns and pink octopi have lots to say to each other. Duh.

Deers in Love T-Shirt by Apple Noggin
Fluffy Bunny Necklace by Locketship
Little Lamb Belt by MyMimi
Alice Charm Bracelet by Locketship
Octo-Plushie in Love by Jayne Danger
Makeup (eyeshadows & lipstick) - Lime Crime

Except for the jeans (which are from Guess), everything was from ShanaLogic, of course. =)

Shana, you rock. Thanks for bringing so much cute to the world and helping support & promote independent artists!

Friday, July 27, 2012

NatureBox Review: June 2012

Subscription boxes have made frequent appearances on various blogs this year. They seem like a fun idea - get a surprise box of different goodies each month. However, none of the well-known boxes sounded quite right for me. While I love eye makeup and am getting back into nail polish, I rarely use other beauty products, so while GlossyBox and BirchBox sound interesting, it didn't seem worth the investment for me. I love the premise of UmbaBox - delivering handmade goods each month. However, My style is dissimilar to the creator's, so I am not sure how well the delivered items would suit my taste.

(Note: A few other new box subscriptions I might enjoy have recently come to my attention, but they were unknown to me at the time of this purchase.)

Enter NatureBox: healthy snacks delivered to your door each month. Bingo! Sounded perfect for me. I have always been a snacker, but made a conscious decision to start bringing fruit and healthier snacks to work in the last few months. Recently, I switched to working four 10-hour days each week (and having Fridays off). I leave work at 6:30 and get home by 7:30, so I am usually starving by the time I get home. I tried bringing more snacks, but I was quickly getting sick of my options. See, I find a snack I like, get instantly obsessed, buy a ton of it, and then get sick of it within a few weeks. Then it sits around in my pantry until its turn comes back around. Bad habit, I know.

Case in point: KIND bars. I was starving and decided to try out a cranberry bliss bar at work one day (our cafeteria has a focus on healthy foods). It was so good. I went online and bought four full boxes of bars in different flavors. After several weeks of having a bar daily, I got tired of them. We have since reconciled and I am working through my boxes at a slower pace, but still. There are a lot of bars left. That's me.

When I read that NatureBox delivers five different full-sized healthy snack packs each month, checked some reviews online (all very positive), and looked through what snacks they provided in previous boxes, I was sold. I signed myself and my parents up (I knew they would love it - especially my dad).

My June box actually arrived in July, since I signed up in late June.

My Review - June 2012 NatureBox

Top (left to right): citrus kick almonds, harvest fruit granola, organic mighty mix
Bottom (left to right): apple rings, sun-ripened white peaches

Apple Rings
The apple rings are delicious. Sweet and chewy, just as described. The box also came with a recipe for cinnamon apple ring muffins, which sound delicious... but I'm not sure there will be any apple rings left by the time I get around to it!
No sugar, fat, cholesterol, or sodium. Serving size: 28g.
90 calories (0 from fat), 23g carbs, and 2g dietary fiber.

Sun-Ripened White Peaches
These were soft, chewy, and unsweetened. I was not a fan of the dried white peaches. Then again, I am fairly picky about my dried fruit. But I didn't like the texture and these weren't really sweet enough for my taste. This was my least favorite item in the box.
No sugar, fat, cholesterol, or sodium. Serving size: 1.5 pieces.
95 calories (0 from fat), 25g carbs and 3g dietary fiber.

Harvest Fruit Granola
Best thing ever. Seriously. This granola is so, so good. There were nuts and dried fruit mixed in - it was so soft and delicious. I really hope they follow through with their idea to offer some popular snacks for sale in larger quantities, because I would buy this. Tons of it. Definitely my favorite in the box - it was hard not eating everything at once!
No cholesterol or sodium. Serving Size: 1 oz (28g).
120 calories (60 from fat), 6g fat (1g saturated), 16g carbs, 2g dietary fiber, 7g sugar, 2g protein. 

Organic Mighty Mix
This was a mix of raisins, dried fruit, nuts, and other seeds. This was honestly not my favorite - it was a bit of a weird mix of sweet, salty, chewy, and crunchy. I'm not keen on raisins and the other mystery dried fruit was just okay. The seeds and nuts were decent but I think they would have been better as a separate snack. It is nice that these were not sticky at all, so they would be nice to bring as a trail mix of sorts on a hiking trip.
No cholesterol. Serving size: 1/4 cup (30g).
130 calories (70 from fat), 8g fat (1g saturated), 15mg sodium, 14g carbs, 2g dietary fiber, 10g sugar, 4g protein.

Citrus Kick Almonds

These almonds are covered in a citrusy coating - they look like sugared almonds but they definitely don't taste like them! "Citrus Kick" is the perfect way to describe them - they pack a punch. Jacob didn't like them, but I actually did enjoy them. I wouldn't say they were among my favorite snacks, but they are interesting for sure.
No cholesterol. Serving size: 1/4 cup.
170 calories (130 from fat), 14g fat (1g saturated), 280mg sodium, 7g carbs, 3g dietary fiber, 2g sugar, and 6g protein.

As you can see above, the snacks were very hit or miss for me. I think it would be perfect either for someone who is less picky than me, or for a family/group of people with different tastes - that way none of the snacks go to waste. You can see the contents of their other past boxes here. I am not sure if I will continue my subscription - I may try another box and see how I like it before making a final decision.

The size of each snack package was decent - midway between sampler size and chock-full. Each package had 3 - 4.5 servings (you can see the serving sizes above).

Possibly because shipping is built into the price, the snacks are on the pricey side. $19.95 for 5 snacks equates to $3.99 per bag, which is about what I would expect to pay at Whole Foods or (insert name of fancy/organic grocery store). Then again, they pick a variety for you and ship it directly to your front door, so there is something to be said for that. Also, with the discount for multiple months, it will cost less per bag overall.

I was impressed by their customer service - friendly, helpful, and professional. I had quite a list of questions for them and they were all answered satisfactorily.

Bottom Line
I would probably recommend this for those who love everything granola/nuts/dried fruits. For someone like me who is a little pickier, I'm not sure it's worth the money.

Notes About Dietary Restrictions
- I called to inquire about if the boxes are vegan/vegetarian. The friendly lady who answered informed me that while the next few boxes are scheduled to be vegetarian, there is no guarantee. They also contain some honey/dairy products so some snacks will not be vegan.
- However, they are looking to provide customizable boxes for these types of restrictions - vegan, allergies, no nuts, etc. Contact them directly to be put on a list, and they will notify you when these options are available.

- $19.95 / mo for month-to-month subscriptions. Use referral code "REFER25" to get 25% off your first box for monthly subscriptions only.
- $99.75 / 6 mo - essentially you get one month free.
- $179.55 / 12 mo - includes three months free.

Want to Sign Up?
You can sign yourself up through their website and they recently added a section for 3 or 6 month gift subscriptions here. You can also sign someone up for a gift subscription and keep paying until you choose to stop. Shipping is included in the price, except for the 3 month gift subscription. Please note that this is a relatively new service and they are frequently changing their policies/features, so be sure to check their site for the most updated information.

If you want to order your own NatureBox or find out more, visit their website here.

Have you tried NatureBox or found any other interesting box subscription services? Let me know if you decide to sign up, and how you like your box!

Note: This is my personal opinion and is in no way sponsored by NatureBox. Just like every review I write, I will always provide my 100% honest thoughts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Portrait by Daisy!

As part of my usual hop around blog land, I stopped by Elycia's blog and read her sponsor post. I visited several of the sponsors, including Daisy of BouxWho. And I was immediately struck by a gorgeous portrait she did of another blogger. I absolutely had to have one! So I commissioned a portrait of my own from Daisy based on some of the photos from my balloon photoshoots (1, 2). She was super fast, sending me the portrait the next day. I don't even know what else to say about it except... look how cool it is!!

If you want a portrait of your own, you can contact Daisy. I checked out her portfolio and she also does other types of artwork/illustration. Very well, I might add. =)

I'm so happy with how this turned out! How cute is Daisy's style? Yep, new profile picture!

P.S. I'm wearing my new dress that Jacob got me as one of my birthday presents. It arrived yesterday and it is THE CUTEST THING. I had a hectic, exhausting day at work and was in an iffy mood, but as soon as I put this on, I just had a huge smile on my face. Unveiling soon!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Florence and the Machine Concert... and Link Love

Saturday was my awesome friend Olivia's birthday! After dinner at Red Robin (Olivia's favorite), a group of us went to see Florence and the Machine. I have actually never heard their music before, but it was cool - unique and fun. Florence has a soothing voice and puts on a lively performance. Plus, her accent is so cool. You might not think so if you're from England, but I'm not and I think it's pretty awesome.

I loved the lighting and stage. Florence was basically a dancing luminous bohemian fairy!

Happy 25th, Olivia! We had so much fun celebrating with you!

Now that you have seen the pretty pictures, I have some reading to share with you. I read a lot of blogs and a few random articles each day. I generally flag my favorites - cool DIY's, recipes I want to try, artwork I discovered, pretty posts, or articles/posts I enjoyed. So today I thought, why not share a few of them here (plus my thoughts)?

- Ashley wrote "A Hero in the Midst of Tragedy," a tribute to one of the twelve movie-goers (someone she knew personally) who died in Colorado just after midnight on Friday. After a lot of contemplation, I almost wrote a post about it, but I just don't have anything of enough substance to say. Just read Ashley's post.

- EDIT: Adam has taken it off his blog, but you can find the original post here. // I really enjoyed "10 Myths About Introverts." I am an introvert, although I hover around the borderline. This rang very true to me and I am asking Jacob (who is extroverted) to read it because I think it will help him understand me better. Especially Myth #5! Right now he just laughs when I fall asleep for ten hours straight immediately after a happy hour with friends (true story - that was Sunday night). And it's fine, because it's a little funny, but I honestly need to recharge. Leave me alone with my art supplies and my laptop and I will make things while watching my favorite TV shows for twelve hours straight. But put me at a party and I will begin fighting the urge to fall asleep after about an hour. That's me!

- This post about Planned Parenthood is so important and simultaneously so sad. With all of the debate about abortion and Planned Parenthood, I think so much of the other things they do goes unseen, often getting lost in the politics.

- After a visit to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) on Saturday, I discovered Joe Ledbetter and his amazing artwork. Granted, it was because I liked a figurine (from his Chinese Zodiac collection) in the gift shop... but hey, it was still technically in the SAM!

Daydreamer, by Joe Ledbetter

- For any other bloggers out there with amateur photoshop skills, Kaelah's "Learning How to Batch Edit Using Photoshop Elements" is a life saver.

- Need a laugh? My good friend Tina introduced me to Bloggess and her epically funny post, "And that's why you should learn to pick your battles." Seriously, that picture with the giant chicken and the caption just kills me. Read it - you'll see. Jenny (aka Bloggess) is coming to Seattle soon for her book tour, so Tina and I may go see her!

Have you read any good articles lately? If you want me to share what I read like this, let me know and I will try to do this more often!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Balloon Photoshoot - The Silly Side!

If you were here from the start or read back to The Beginning, then you saw the balloon photoshoot Zoe and I did for my blog launch. It was a crazy hectic day, some of which you can read about here. Anyway, all of the excitement, adrenaline, exhaustion, and the sheer ridiculousness of wearing a fancy Betsey Johnson party dress and carrying black, white, silver, and pink balloons around random places in Portland led to some serious pictures, some weird pictures, and some crazy silly pictures! It was interesting - we got some weird looks, a lot of smiles, and some sweet comments from passersby.

Once Zoe figured out it was her opportunity to tell me what to do and have me actually listen, she started thinking up some fun ideas. And then some funny ideas.

Fight those balloons!!

It was randomly windy at times. Ever tried to control a giant bunch of balloons? Yeah, it's more the other way around.

Somehow we stuffed all of those balloons into her car. Along with her snowboard and all sorts of things she stores in there... We went to several different locations, so we had to keep carefully stuffing the balloons in and taking them back out of the car. Oh, and Zoe was smart enough to remember to crack a window for the balloons, lest they pop and die!

Somehow, amidst all of the crazy photoshoot poses we were thinking up, we started talking about tae kwon do (which I did for three years in junior high and high school). I think it was something like this:
Me: How? Hehe... Like the tae kwon do power stance?
Zoe: HAH yeah. Oooh you should totally do an intense kick!

Doing tae kwon do on railroad tracks in heels is hard work. Sometimes a reward nap is necessary. Which then turns into "try to look like you're dead!"

So much fun. Thanks again for the amazing photos Zoe!!
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