Juniper & Scout

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Looking for a shop with a little bit of everything? Juniper & Scout has got you covered. They continually track down the best in modern, handcrafted design so you can always find the perfect gift or treat yo self reward. Everything is made right here in the USA by makers who embrace original design, small batch production, and environmental sensitivity (major bonus). Here are just a few of my favorites below. Use the code DESIGNCRUSH20 at checkout for 20% off your total purchase! ​(Expires 12/15/15)

 

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I reserve the quiet ritual of French press coffee for chilly winter weekends, and vessels don’t get much prettier than this high gloss ceramic beauty with a copper pull.

 

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This bar of Black Gold Equilateral Soap has an activated charcoal bottom to deep-clean pores and is scented with lavender and tea tree essential oils, plus it has that easy-to-grip shape. Pamper yourself or leave it out for guests.

 

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My purse is basically a blackhole, so this Tropical Linen Pouch would be perfect for helping me get organized. It would also make a great gift, you could fill it with other little goodies or toss in a gift card.

 

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Moscow mules are my cold weather cocktail of choice, and while they’re traditionally served in copper mugs I  love these copper cups as a chic alternative. I’d also happily use one on the bathroom sink or to plant a few small succulents.

 

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How sweet would this It’s Good to Be Home embroidery look hung over the front door or near the coatrack? I love the modern take on such a traditional craft.

 

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I get so dry when temperatures drop, and this Rosewood + Blood Orange Lotion Ball looks like a fun way to stay moisturized. It would also make one heck of a stocking stuffer.

 

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If you are or have a creative insomniac in your life you may want to pick up one of these Creative Ramblings Journals. I’d put mine on the bedside table so I could make note of all of the strange Google searches I think of at 3:48am!

This post sponsored by Juniper & Scout. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush churning out fresh content!

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Balancing Life with the UP2

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Activity trackers aren’t exactly a new fad, and to be honest I’ve been known to make fun of those who are evangelists for them in the past. But ever since being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a year and a half ago, suddenly all kinds of health issues that weren’t important in the past are a big deal. Carb intake, working out, getting enough sleep – all things that I’m paying way more attention to these days. Also things that Jawbone’s UP2 are helping me track and even improve upon! Hi, Pot. It’s Kettle. Let’s talk.

 

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I stopped wearing a watch years ago because having it bang against my desk and keyboard while designing was enough to drive me crazy. I was happy to find that the band on the UP2 is an adjustable soft rubber bracelet, and I’ve had zero problem wearing it 24/7. After two weeks it’s already become a habit that I’m not eager to break, and keeping track of everything has become like a competition with myself. It even manages to go with my wardrobe when I stack on bracelets – no small feat! And on days when I forget to throw on any accessories it simply looks like a modern bracelet.

 

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My UP2 has been tracking everything from movement to diet to sleep, and yet I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of its functionality. I’m looking forward to experimenting with the idle alert which keeps you from staying in one place for too long, and the alarm that gently wakes you up in the morning by vibrating your tracker.

 

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I’m not a person who’s ever been extremely active, so I have my goal set to 8,000 steps a day. The difference now is that I’m eager to check my steps as soon as I’ve done an activity – like run on the treadmill, gone grocery shopping, or walked my dogs! I wasn’t expecting just how addicting it would be.

 

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Being able to keep track of every bite of food I put in my body throughout the day is incredibly important to sticking to my recommended 45 carb per meal limit. It’s a relief to know that there’s a record of the results somewhere other than in my mind, and that I can go back and look at what I ate when I was having an especially energetic or exhausting day.

For the past six months I’ve been struggling with sleeping well, I believe it to be a side effect of a new diabetes drug that I’m taking. I don’t have a tough time falling asleep – it’s the staying asleep that’s difficult. Because I wear my UP2 to bed it actually tells me how many times I woke up during the night, when I was sleeping light, and when I was in a deep sleep. In the morning it gives me a report and mentions tips like doing light let lifts when I can’t get back to sleep and getting up to do something productive if I’m restless. This has been my favorite function so far!

 

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What I initially thought was a fad has become a part of my everyday life, and a tool in treating my diabetes. At this point I can’t imagine not wearing my UP2 when it even manages to seamlessly blend into my day-to-day, from lifestyle to wardrobe.

This post sponsored by Jawbone. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush producing fresh content!

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An Outdoor Autumn Harvest Party

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I think we’re all too fast to run inside once the temperatures begin to fade, don’t you? There’s something to be said for embracing the harvest season that’s almost here, cozying up in layers, and enjoying this time of year and all it has to offer before the hustle and bustle of the holidays take over. As I mentioned before, I’m bent on putting my backyard and decks to good use this autumn – plenty of game day get togethers, birthday celebrations, and fire pit parties are already on the docket. I like having an arsenal of dinnerware and serving pieces set aside especially for this time of year and the type of entertaining that I associate with it. What does that mean? Nothing overly precious, pieces that are functional and earthy in material and tone, and a bit heavier than my summer wares.

 

 

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Metals and woods are my favorite right now. The heft and textures they bring to the table (ahem) are unparalleled and, well, a little bit of shine never hurt anyone! I like it when my table looks pulled together, but not pristine. Matchy matchy is out of the question, so mixing metals and other elements is key to pulling everything off. Pier 1‘s Bronze Palm Leaf Serving Bowl is such a great statement piece that brought form and function to my table in spades.

 

 

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My favorite recipes for casual get togethers are simple and fresh. For appetizers I like baked zucchini parmesan crisps and whipped Mexican grilled corn dip. I insist on serving a salad of some type – not always of the leafy variety – and can’t wait to try this grilled potato salad with basil, blue cheese, and tomatoes and this perfect for autumn almond apple quinoa salad.

 

 

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It’s easy to pick up a few growlers of favorite local beers to keep things casual, along with setting out a pitcher of plum spritzers. As the evening cools down even further there’s always a pot of coffee not too far away in the kitchen. I particularly love this Diamond Cut Drinkware because it reminds me of a set of similar glasses my Grandma used to serve iced tea out of every summer.

 

 

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When entertaining outside I like to lean heavily on my trusty grill and my crockpot. One creates delicious things within a few minutes while the other maintains a set-it-and-forget-it frame of mind, with both results usually being eaten on a bun. Case in point are these fried mozzarella and caramelized peach caprese burgers and pulled honey lime chicken sandwiches with corn and cabbage slaw. Hearty and bursting with flavor, they’ll please even your most picky party-goer. A few lanterns helps to further set the mood. One of my favorite outdoor entertaining tricks is using scented candles, the aroma ends up subtly wafting around in the most pleasant way. Simple white plates and cotton napkins help to bring everything else together. Later on we can carry these down to the fire pit to make s’mores and bask in the warmth of another evening spent in good company with good food and drink.

 

 

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No get together is complete without a curated playlist, at least not at my house! So of course I had to pull together some of my favorite songs that channel chill vibes and welcome autumn with open arms. Have a listen!

 

 

 

Hoxton Salad Server Set // Mother-of-Pearl Stainless Steel Pitcher // Diamond Cut Drinkware (Amber) // Bronze Palm Leaf Serving Bowl // White Buffet Napkin Set // Landen Mini Lantern // Landen Black Lantern // Pumpkin Chai Pillars

 


 

Brought to you by Pier 1. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush create fresh content!

4

Outdoor Living

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This summer has felt like a dream. After spending summers in triple degree heat, being back in Pennsylvania this season has been better than I remember. When living in Oklahoma City I always felt like I was jumping from one air conditioned space to the next, spending the shortest amount of time in the sweltering heat in between as possible. I was determined to get my two (yes, two) backyard decks whipped into shape for some outdoor living as soon as possible.

 

 

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I teamed up with the folks at Overstock to make it happen since I’d either sold or donated the majority of my outdoor furniture before moving last summer. My first goal was to create a space that was functional for entertaining 12 to 15 people at a time, my second was to make the area comfortable during summer as well as fall.

It all began with a few Eco Concrete Samai Planters. I love their industrial look and that they’re heavy enough not to topple over if and when the wind picks up. The plants I’ve used seem to love them just as much and have flourished like crazy.

 

 

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The most important addition to the upper deck was a patio set. I knew I wanted something constructed primarily out of wood and ended up going with the Carlisle Rustic Metal 3-piece Outdoor Dining Set from Christopher Knight Home. It easily seats six people and I plan on adding chairs to both ends to accommodate a few more.

Smartfold outdoor folding serving cart from COSCO is the outdoor equivalent of a bar cart. It’s on lockable wheels so I can push it around serving and park it when done. It’s also come in handy when potting plants and making s’mores on the lower deck.

 

 

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I’ve always been on the fence when it comes to outdoor rugs, but I couldn’t really tell you why. The upper deck is in major need of a fresh coat of paint (next summer’s project!) so I thought a rug might offer a solution. The stripes of this black and bone indoor/outdoor rug by Safavieh do a great job of carrying the aesthetic of the interior of my home to the outdoors. And I have to say, the dogs absolutely love lounging on it.

 

 

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The last touch on the upper deck, or the deck that connects directly to the house, is the Laguna Park Bench. The geometric backrest is another extension of my style and the wood and metal of the piece tie in perfectly with the patio set and folding cart. I love sitting here watching the dogs while they’re on squirrel patrol in the yard, especially in the mornings with a cup of coffee in hand.

 

 

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But I have to admit, the lower deck is probably my favorite. When I bought this house almost a year ago I had no plans for its use. Was it built before the upper deck was put on? After? It was and remains a bit of a mystery, but its location right under a gigantic shady tree is just perfect.

 

 

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I’ve wanted adirondack chairs for years now, in fact I can remember telling my mom that they were one of the first things I’d buy once I had my own home. It didn’t happen quite like that, but these Acacia Square Back Adirondack Chairs now live in perfect formation on the lower deck. They’re super comfortable and I love the pop of light blue against all of that brown. Add a few blankets and we’re all ready for the cozy evenings soon to be spent out here.

 

 

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The yard itself is mainly the dogs’ domain and I didn’t want to take up their space with a fire pit, but I knew I wanted something similar to gather around come fall. I instantly fell for the Corvus Aviano Black Enamel Finished Wheeled Fire Pit. Again, I love the mobility of this piece. I can wheel it into the yard should the party get too big for the deck.

So, when are you coming over?!

This post sponsored by Overstock. Thank you for supporting the brands that help Design Crush creating fresh new content!

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Sprout 3D Scanner + a Print Download

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Last month I shared the bright summer desktop wallpaper I created with HP’s Sprout all-in-one desktop and its revolutionary scanning capabilities (check out #GoMakeThings to see how others are getting super creative!). Now they’ve released a 3D capture stage, a brand new accessory that allows you to scan objects in full 3D to print or use however you wish.

 

 

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The stage easily plugs into a USB port on the Sprout and shows you exactly where to position the device. I had a lot of fun scanning random things – an air plant, a binder clip, etc – as I tried to test the devices limits and strengths. Organic shaped objects scan best, and things that are shiny or transparent aren’t going to do well.

 

 

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This teakwood hand has been in my possession for a few years and I absolutely love its shape and detail. Creating a print with it captured from different perspectives seemed really interesting to me and just the sort of job that the 3D capture stage would be perfect for.

 

 

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The capture stage scanned my hand in several different positions, instructing me as it went. I loved that I could do as many scans as necessary (at least three are recommended) to stitch together the object, and it was so rad to watch it become more complete with each pass.

 

 

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I used the touchscreen to flip the newly scanned hand every which way to inspect for any holes and found none. At this point I was finished scanning and it was time to edit the end result. After messing around with color and texture I settled on four organic looks, then saved 2D images of the hand from each side as well as from the front and back. These are what I would use to create my print.

 

 

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I created a new project and with the flick of a finger moved the files from the image library to the touchpad. I scaled down all of the hand views and arranged them just like I wanted the end print to look. I sent it straight to the printer, popped it in a frame, and voila! – new mantel art.

Download your own copy by clicking on the image below.
For personal use only.

 

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This post sponsored by HP. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush create fresh content!

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The Office

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After sharing the first floor of my house here last fall, I’d planned on doing the same with the second floor this spring. As you can see… it’s taken a wee bit longer. You got a glimpse of the office earlier this year when it got a new paint job, but today it’s the whole deal. (The master bedroom and guest room will follow in the next few months.) Ready?

 

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If I’m being honest with myself, I’m 110% surprised at how much color is in my office. It’s tempered in every direction you look by white and black, but it’s still more than I ever would have guessed.

 

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I upgraded my desk to one that would afford me a little bit of storage. The closet in this room is teeny tiny and triangular in shape, it’s located directly over the angled staircase below and has to accommodate its high ceiling. I went with the Prairie School Desk. (Do you just associate Land of Nod with kids? You’re wrong, they’re so much more.) I love its sleek and modern profile and the way it coordinated with a few other things I already had selected for the space.

 

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The VITTSJÖ shelving unit bears the burden of a lot of what a closet would normally be responsible for. The tempered glass and metal are super sturdy, so I’m able to hide a lot of clutter in boxes as well as design books and the blank journals that I can’t seem to stop collecting. Do you like the pops of brightness my yellow accessories bring to the table?

Plants give any space life, and I was determined to make my office feel as light and airy as possible. Modernica’s Case Study planters have been a longtime favorite and this seemed like just the place to use one. (Please note that I have the stand turned upside-down here to add some extra height.) The sturdy ceramic pot and wooden base add a nice earthy touch to an otherwise empty corner.

I debated whether or not to put down a rug in this space and ultimately decided it needed it. I embraced the opportunity to pull in some more color and pattern with this Surya Frontier design from Rugs Direct in salmon, light grey, and navy. It pulls in the light pink accents around the room all while remaining surprisingly neutral.

 

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While I’m all about hanging art everywhere, I deliberately wanted lots of open wall space here. Aside from a few mood board-type things over my desk, the only other thing on the wall is this Never Read the Comments print by Serif & Script. Always a good reminder for anyone with a presence online, no?

 

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I plan on sandwiching a few things under this I Can See Clearly Now Desk Mat. I’m thinking favorite photo booth shots, important notes, etc. Bonus: It does double-duty as a surface protector for my desk and laptop!

 

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I finished things off with a curtain rod sporting ball finials and Little Arches curtains (More color! More pattern!) I was nervous that it might be a bit much and clash with the rug, but the pattern ended up complimenting the rest of the room better than could have been expected.

I’m thrilled with the way this space has come together and can’t wait to see how it evolves. Time to get back to work!

 

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Prairie School Desk c/o Land of Nod // VITTSJÖ shelving unit // Case Study planter c/o Modernica // Surya Frontier rug c/o Rugs Direct // Never Read the Comments print by Serif & Script // I Can See Clearly Now Desk Mat c/o Land of Nod // curtain rodball finialsLittle Arches curtain c/o Land of Nod

1

DIY Modern Shower Memo Board

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You know the drill… you’re in the middle of sudsing up in the shower when inspiration strikes. You’ve figured out the elusive answer to a work brief, nailed what kind of landscaping design you’d like in the backyard, or even solved climate change (here’s hoping). But by the time you step out of the tub *poof* it’s gone. The most fantastic ideas happen when you’re inspired, so why not have a place to write them all down?

Trying method‘s latest and greatest product – foaming body wash – inspired me to come up with a solution. The scents and bubbles wake up my senses and get my creative juices flowing (the ruby orange is my favorite scent of the four available – it’s so summery and refreshing!). So a modern do-it-yourself shower memo board that would both give me a spot to brainstorm and match up with my minimal aesthetic seemed like just the ticket.

 

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Materials:
• 2 – 8 x 10″ pieces of plexiglass
• 4 – 8″ lengths of quarter inch thick wood (varnished or not)
• strong adhesive (I used Gorilla Glue)
• painter’s tape
• white craft paint
• small paint brush
• self-adhesive velcro
• dry-erase marker

 

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Begin by taping off one of the pieces of plexiglass with the painter’s tape, about and inch on both top and bottom. You could also get  more creative and mark out individual boxes, lines, etc – make the space work best for how you tend to process and think. I taped past the edges which helped to anchor the plexiglass in place while I was painting.

 

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It’s best to apply several thin coats of craft paint instead of one thicker one. To achieve the opacity I wanted took three coats with about thirty minutes of drying time in between each. Make sure and pull off the painter’s tape before the last layer is dry, it will help keep the edges crisp and clean. If you get any smudges just use a cotton swab or your fingernail to to fix things up.

 

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Plexiglass is notoriously difficult to drill through, so I opted for a heavy duty adhesive instead. I placed a thin line of adhesive about 1/4-inch from the edge of both the top and bottom, then placed the second piece of plexiglass over the first to cover my newly painted surface. In order to get a really tight seal I placed a few heavy coffee table books on top to act as a clamp, then waited for an hour or so for things to dry thoroughly.

 

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Attaching the wooden edges to top and bottom was just as easy. Once again I spread a thin line of adhesive along the edge of each piece, then placed them so that about two thirds of their width was on the plexiglass and the rest hung off. Then again I set a few large books on top and allowed everything to dry. You could stop here, but I opted to add a second set of wood edges to the backside by repeating the process.

 

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There were lots of possible ways to attached my brand spankin’ new memo board to the shower wall once I was finished. I could add an eye hook and use a suction cup or command strip, but I went with… velcro! Self-adhesive pre-cut squares couldn’t be easier to apply and they allow the board to really stay in place while writing on its surface. (And rest assured, I checked to make sure they survived the humidity and also came off the wall relatively easily!) One went on the four corners of the backside – both sides of the velcro stuck together at this point – then I positioned it on the wall and pressed for about 30 seconds.

 

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I attached a dry-erase marker the same way, with velcro so it’s always handy when I need it.

 

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I’ve used method‘s products in my home for years, their hand soaps and body washes favorites. I love that all of their products are naturally-derived and never tested on animals, a big plus in my animal loving household. These new foaming body washes are super moisturizing and smell amazing. They also manage to add a fun dose of color to my otherwise neutral bathroom. Head over to Target to try them for yourself now through October!

 

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method Foaming Body Wash is sold exclusively at Target now through October 2015. This post is sponsored by method. As always all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush going!

1

That Time I Planned a Dance Party

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It all started with a challenge from Ford and their Switch It Up series to step out of my comfort zone and try something new, something inspiring or challenging or just plain crazy. It ended with what is now a monthly dance party fundraiser that continues to collect donations for worthy causes in my city of Pittsburgh.

But let me back up for a minute.

 

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My friend Matt Buchholz is a fantastic DJ who never fails to fill the dance floor to the point of spilling over. After an event a few months ago he and I started talking about how rad it would be to make these dance parties a more regular sort of thing. We, along with most of our friends, are in the 30- and 40-something range, everyone still likes to go out and have a great time but no one really wants to wait until 11pm for the party to get started. Ideally we’d all be in our pajamas by then watching Netflix.

 

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Photo Matt Dayak

Event planning is something I’ve been interested in the past few years, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get my toes wet. One sit-down meeting later and Matt and I were partnered with Spirit, a newly opened space in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of town. We quickly got the event on the calendar for the last Friday in May – no cover charge, just three hours of straight-up dancing and letting loose after the workweek was done with.

 

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Photo Matt Dayak

We created an event on Facebook and invited all of our friends. And they invited their friends and they invited their friends. Soon nearly 300 people had RSVPed. Matt and I were thrilled, but had no idea what to expect come the day of the event.

 

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When we arrived for setup that Friday the air conditioning was broken and it was absolutely storming outside, buckets of rain being dumped from the sky kind of rain. At that point if fifty people showed up we were ready to call it a success.

So what happened next can only described as sweaty magic.

 

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The people showed up in force – 150+ of them – and danced their hearts out in the sauna that was the dance floor. Everyone was dripping sweat, clothing was soaked through, but no one cared. It was like dancing when you were a kid, everyone was in their own zone just smiling and laughing and feeling it. Living in the moment. It got to the point that Spirit brought out cases of water to pass around because they didn’t want anyone dehydrating or passing out!

 

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Photo Matt Dayak

Before the night was even over everyone was asking when the next dance party was scheduled. We knew we could do something with this, something GOOD. Matt and I had started with the intention of raising money for causes we believe in, but wanted to get people in the door to see what the dance party – what we christened In Bed by Ten – was all about. The  next time we knew we wanted to gather a suggested cover charge as a donation towards something bigger.

 

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Photo Matt Dayak

We’ve since had another IBBT dance party in June that result in over $450 in donations to a local animal rescue, and more events are scheduled throughout the rest of the year! Each month we’ll be donating cold hard cash to different local charities in the name of having a good time and letting our hair down.

Since stepping out of my comfort zone to create this monthly for good event we’ve even had interest from other cities, which blows my mind. Just a reminder that taking a chance can pay off in more ways that you ever imagined.

On that note, I’m excited to share a new YouTube series presented by Ford: Switch It Up! The latest episode features Blogilates‘ fitness expert Cassey Ho stepping out of her comfort zone to create a gallery of her own photography. Take a peek below:

 

A big thank you to Ford for pushing me to do something out of my comfort zone and sponsoring this post. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush going!

 

3

SUMMER + HP Sprout (+ a Download)

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I have two things on the brain lately: summer and the color pink. In my mind the two just go together in a no brainer sort of way. I had the chance to team up the two when HP kindly asked me to try out their latest innovative product, Sprout.

Sprout is a touch-screen Windows PC that has a touch-sensitive mat and projection surface where you’d expect to see a keyboard. The interface is surprisingly simple. The mat and the monitor act like two screens, and you can seamlessly drag objects between the two to create. The hood that extends over the screen is called the Illuminator and includes a scanner, depth sensor, camera, and projector. It’s responsible for projecting that second screen onto the mat, but users can also photograph objects and make 3D scans with its help. Total magic. Don’t feel like using the touchscreen? That’s cool, just unsnap the pad and use the keyboard that comes with Sprout.

 

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I’d recently squirreled away a pack of ombre tissue paper and knew it would be perfect for the creation I had in mind. The first thing I did was lay out a piece on the pad and scan it with a single touch of my finger on the screen. Then I cut out letters to spell out SUMMER and arranged them on the pad beneath the Illuminator. Another touch of that blue camera icon on the screen and we were in business.

 

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After pulling both images that I’d just scanned from the monitor to the projected screen on the pad, and just a little manipulation, I’d created a fun and bright desktop wallpaper design. It took a total of about 15 minutes and I loved getting to use my hands in conjunction with Sprout. Nearly all of my design work take place on a machine these days, and I can’t tell you how good it felt to create something more analog once again.

 

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Download the SUMMER desktop wallpaper here

This post is sponsored by Sprout by HP. As always all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush

1

A Welcoming Front Porch

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While the inside of my 115 year old home has been fairly easy to make my own, it’s been a bit more of a struggle with the outside. I’m in love with the facade but not the siding, the porch swing but not the steps. It’s been a process of learning to love all of the quirks and character that come with living my chapters in this place, all while putting my aesthetic mark on it. This set of DelRay Bay Chairs add a great pop of color and good lines to the house’s first impression from the street.

 

Front Porch-4-Design Crush

 

I plan on replacing the porch light with something low profile, but more modern. And I’ve toyed with the idea of boxing in the porch posts with cedar. I can’t wait to put black shutters on the second floor windows for a more cohesive look, but that will have to wait a bit longer.

 

Front Porch-3-Design Crush

Front Porch-6-Design Crush

 

Other plans for the coming weeks include painting the front door a semi-gloss black, as well as giving the swing a fresh coat and replacing the rusting chains. I have yet to figure out what to do in the small yard area that butts up directly against the sidewalk. Enclose it in black wrought iron fencing and plant wildflowers? Add more hosta from the backyard and keep it as is? I’m undecided and impatient but very optimistic.

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