{motivational monday: when it’s ok to quit}

Monday is like a mini fresh start every week. You get a chance to start the week off right, a little more refreshed, maybe on a new health kick, clean laundry and fridge full of food. 

For me today is a super big fresh start. Last Friday was my last day as a full-time employee for the company I’ve worked for as a Graphic Designer & Art Director the past 6 years. It was my choice so it’s a good thing. Some people are happy and even desire comfort, familiarity, routine, processes, a solid chain of commands and stability….but that doesn’t happen to be me. I was getting a little too comfortable and for a creative person that’s trouble and leads to an itch to move on to something new. 

I began looking for a new opportunity but the truth is that the jobs available didn’t really appeal to me. I found myself mindlessly applying for positions that I wasn’t that passionate about. I realized that I was spending more time working on my blog than I was applying for jobs. I thought that was a pretty good sign of where my passion was so I decided to start taking this little personal blog of mine more seriously in March and the momentum has only grown since.

The Alt Design Summit in San Fran was the perfect kick-start to this new life change. It validated what I was already feeling and gave me the inspiration to follow my gut. Many people have referred to what I’m doing as brave and/or crazy. It’s funny because it definitely took me awhile to make the decision but once it was made, there was no fear, only excitement. All I could think about was the sick feeling of regret I would have if I didn’t do it. For me regret trumps fear any time.

I finally took the leap of faith and quit my job so I can put the energy & time I really desire into the blog and hope that creative opportunities will follow. So here I am! I’m definitely not a planner or goal-setter, but first on the list is “make a plan” followed by “set some goals”. I love this quote because not having a plan does make me a bit anxious, it also excites me. 

I highly recommend picking up the book The Dip by Seth Godin (thanks for the reco Kate!) if you’re questioning your current job situation. It’s a crazy fast read (two lunch hours) and the way that I describe it to my friends is that the book is a big smack in the head. The main idea is to forget the advice that quitting is bad and change your mind to think that quitting could be great, even the smartest thing you’ll ever do.Whenever I have a moment of weakness I just keep this in mind. 

(source)So is that a big enough dose of motivation for a Monday!? I want to thank everyone who has been a support in this decision so far and bare with me while I try and find my path because I’m sure there will be some mistakes, but that’s how we all get better & stronger. I hope this blog can bring you some inspiration or just a well-deserved break in your day & I encourage you to share anything you see that you love 🙂 



A week ago today I took off to San Francisco to attend my first Alt Design summit. It’s the first time that Alt has come to the city. The main conference takes place in January in Salt Lake City over three days. I had heard about Alt and knew that some day I would make it there and make this blogging thing a reality. I was super excited to surround myself by like-minded people and get inspired and educated on what I need to know to make my blog everything I want it to be. And it didn’t disappoint. 

This is going to be a long post but hopefully you find it interesting. Or maybe you just want to fast forward to the photos…that’s ok too. 

From Mariam Naficy of Minted:
– remember the C’s; conviction, consumers, courage, cash, creative management, collaboration
– an idea rarely works on a first try, don’t give up 
– an entrepreneur doesn’t care what other people think

From Rena Tom of Makeshift Society:
– nothing is original, accept it, get over it and learn to make things your own. 
– spend time offline and don’t compare yourself to others
– get out of your comfort zone often
– be present in the world
– don’t be afraid to change your mind

From Alix Tyler of Modern Kiddo & Meg Keene of A Practical Wedding:
– think like a big blogger
– spend money to make money
– learn to fail forward
– uncomfortable feelings are necessary and important

From Mike McCue of Flipboard:
– The main thing…see below. The point is, stay focused!
– learn to negotiate fairly & don’t be greedy
– the journey is the reward
– leadership  is about giving your team a sense of purpose
– hire people who know what you don’t & have a mentor

It was great to be inspired but I found all the business advice the most useful. I think everyone in the room was a creative person or we wouldn’t be there but we could use a little help figuring out how to make a living from our creativity. I especially enjoyed the round table discussion on selling your own ads by Liz Stanley of Say Yes to Hoboken.
(above 2 photos: credit Brooke Dennis for Atly)

Now the fun stuff…. A beautiful intimate dinner at the Creative Bug Studio. The decor was handmade and perfect. 

To see even more pics of this evening, check out the site of my new photographer friend, Megan Tsang

Crafting station, sponsored by Creative Bug.

AltSF mug shot photo booth sponsored by Michael Miller Fabrics.
Amazing swag from all the wonderful sponsors. Oh and my shoes will hopefully make it into a video by Creative Bug

I could probably do a whole entire post on the amazing food we were served. Seriously – it was incredible, gourmet, delicious and all complementary. Oh and there usually was a cocktail bar around too which never hurts. 

We had lunch at the Tonga Room in the Fairmont Hotel which was quite the space. We were all transported to a tropical destination in the middle of the conference. How fun does this look? 

(all food & Tonga Room photos credit Brooke Dennis for Atly)
Super excited to check out the Pinterest head office for our closing cocktail party. The theme was Alice in Pinterland. More swag and more fun. A great way to end the event. 
Just a handful of the wonderful bloggers I met. We are slowly falling down the rabbit hole. 

And that’s it! Well to be honest it’s not it but it’s the best editing job I could do with so much packed into 24 hours. After this great experience I’m hoping to get a ticket for the big AltSLC (fingers crossed). Time to make things happen!

* please note, all photos, with the exception of the two noted by Brooke Dennis for Atly are original. Please link with love. 

{inspiration: time for Alt San Francisco!}

Today I’m heading to San Francisco for Alt SF. It’s the first time that the super successful and inspirational conference is setting up shop in The City by the Bay. I’m pretty excited! The Alt NY conference was a short time ago and all the recaps on twitter and the blogsphere are really pumping me up for this one. I think this will be the perfect dose of inspiration, creativity, energy and advice I need to help me make my blog and my ideas come to life. If you’re reading this and going, let me know!

(photo source unknown)

{spaces: inspiration}

With all the decor projects going on in my own loft these days I thought it was a good time to share some of my favourite places to go for online home decor inspiration. The list of resources really is endless but here’s just a handful that I go to on a regular basis. Warning – make sure you have some time to spare before diving into these because you will get sucked in! 

APARTMENT THERAPY is a giant well curated resource. It’s broken down into many different categories – my favourite being the small spaces category. They have their 9th annual Smallest Cool Home contest running now with tons of inspiration for your little piece of the world. 
DESIGN SPONGE was one of the first blogs I started following and I still love it. It’s a lifestyle blog with many different categories but I look to their Sneak Peak category for home decor inspiration. I really do feel like I’m getting a sneak peak into the owners life by seeing how they live. And if you want more inspiration at your finger tips you can get the Design Sponge at Home book.
BLOESEM BLOG is my little taste of another, simpler life. A Dutch life. I’ve always loved Scandinavian inspired design and lifestyle. I love the simple beauty in the home decor that inspires me from this area of the world. Those Dutch sure know how to stick to the less is more rule of design. 

COVET GARDEN is close to my heart because it’s based out of Toronto (where I live) and each issue showcases the a special space from the city as well as their unique owners. It’s nice to know that what you’re looking at could literally be down the street. Also I love the personal touch of the owners story and taking their taste and translating it to other forms of style for people to be inspired by – like what you may find in their closet or on their iTunes playlist. 

Rue is an online magazine that’s been steadily growing. It’s great for style inspiration of any kind but I love their home decor stories. They are usually a little more glam than my typical style but who couldn’t use a little more glam in their life? They just released a brand new issue dedicated to the unique & well known style of the Pacific Northwest.

SFGIRLBYBAY.COM is a beautifully curated blog by local San Francisco native Victoria Smith. She’s a self proclaimed “photographer, photo stylist, design junkie, and bonafide flea market queen”. Needless to say she has great taste.  
URBAN OUTFITTERS is a well known brand and retailer who’s website I’m constantly perusing. I’m a big fan of the mid-century modern look and find that Urban Outfitters home decor has tons of really affordable options to get that look. In 2012 they came out with their first Home Catalog which is full of great decor inspiration.

Well there you go! That should keep you busy for awhile. You’ll want to redecorate your whole place by the time you’re done. Hope you find a ton of inspiration to make your living space your own special retreat.