That Time I Planned a Dance Party

In Bed by Ten-1-Design Crush


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.


In Bed by Ten-2-Design Crush


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.


In Bed by Ten-3-Design Crush

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.


In Bed by Ten-4-Design Crush

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.


In Bed by Ten-5-Design Crush

Photo Matt Dayak

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.


In Bed by Ten-6-Design Crush

Photo Matt Dayak

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!


In Bed by Ten-7-Design Crush

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.


In Bed by Ten-8-Design Crush

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!


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SUMMER + HP Sprout (+ a Download)



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.





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.




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.



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

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A Welcoming Front Porch

Front Porch-1-Design Crush


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.

Product provided by Lamps Plus in exchange for this post. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush.

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Neoflam-1-Design Crush


I’ve been trying to cut back on costs before summer and its full schedule of activities and events hit full stride, mainly by cooking at home more and eating out less. A big part of being in the kitchen for me is enjoying the process, and having sturdy hardworking pieces to work with can make or break the experience. So when Neoflam asked if I’d like to try out some of their retro cookware I didn’t hesitate. I was surprised by just how light their cast aluminum pieces are, a huge difference-maker when lifting a potful of my famous (among dozens) peanut soup. The sleek lines and colors look so good in my kitchen that I’ve opted to keep my stockpot stovetop even when not in use. (Check out the Promotions section of their site to score a deal of your own!)


Neoflam-2-Design Crush

Neoflam-3-Design Crush

I received product in exchange for this post. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush!

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National Painting Week: The Office Reveal (+ a Giveaway)



I did it. I created an accent wall that I love that doesn’t feel tacky or cliche, but that still packs a punch. In this case the key was choosing two muted hues as well as embracing my love of geometry. But let’s back up for a minute and check out the before photos of my home office.





The bare basics and oh so boring. A small Parsons style desk, office chair, filing cabinets to hide supplies, and artwork that has yet to find a home. Of course no room would be complete without a wayward throw rug, yes? As I mentioned in my last post, the walls had been painted a greyish white and that’s about all I’d done in this space since moving into my house last September.




Before charting out the diagonal accent wall I’d settled upon, I gathered a length of rope and a few thumbtacks. The first step was maneuvering myself up to the tippy-top of my ladder to reach the high ceiling, where I tacked the rope in the upper corner. (No small feat for this 5’2″ girl.) I drew it taut as I pulled down to the opposing corner and tacked a few places along the way for reinforcement, then followed the line it created with painter’s tape. My (mad) method ensured a straight line, which is oh so important if you’re the OCD type like me who might obsess over any imperfections later on.




It took two coats of SW 7110 Cosmetic Blush in my favorite Sherwin-Williams combo, the Emerald line in a satin finish. I’ve used this tag team on my last four painting projects and love it. Once the second coat was on I removed the tape by pulling away at an angle for a super crisp line. (A pro tip is to always remove painter’s tape while the paint is still slightly wet.) The low VOCs made the smell of paint non-existent, so with a small crack of the window I was able to start working in my office almost immediately.




If you noticed, I turned my plan for a diagonal accent wall into more of an accent corner! I didn’t plan on it beforehand, but once I started taping things off it just felt right. So I went with it. The end result feels a bit like a pink beam of light shining on my workspace, which has been an especially welcome presence on overcast days.





I relocated my desk to the newly painted wall and kept things simple with a brass lamp and fresh flowers. (Trust me, that desk will be cluttered in no time.) The project as a whole took just around two hours spread over two days. I have a few more pieces of furniture to add before the office is 100% complete, but this refresh is perfect for the immediate future!





For the past three years I’ve teamed up with Sherwin-Williams to mark National Painting Week. Together we’ve tackled the front door and hall bath at my old home, and now my office. Each project wasn’t huge as a whole, but made such a positive change in my space.

Visit the National Painting Week site and see what other bloggers are doing to update and celebrate! Leave a comment below sharing if you have plans to switch up an area in your home for National Painting Week for a chance to win $100 from Sherwin-Williams. Giveaway ends May 17th at midnight EST.

I received product and compensation from Sherwin-Williams in return for this post. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush!

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Life & Type

Life & Type-1-Design Crush


Life & Type is a collaboration where you provide the idea and they provide the letterpress machine, the design templates, and the craftsmanship. Together you work to create a personalized, large format art print that shares your life in type. I had the chance to team up with creator Daniel Richardson to work through the seamless process he’s streamlined and make my own.


Life & Type-2-Design Crush


After settling on one of their three available templates (with more to come soon), and a theme of previous addresses of places I’ve lived, we got to work. I filled out the simple template form, submitted it, and received a proof within 24 hours. I made a few tiny changes to my original wording and gave the go ahead to Daniel.


Life & Type-3-Design Crush


That’s when he took the reins setting type and printing. A few days later my custom poster was in the mail and on its way to my doorstep. In the meantime Daniel emailed some photos of the process, a step that’s included in all orders that really sends the experience over the top.


Life & Type-4-Design Crush


When my Life & Type poster arrived I was even more impressed than expected. The paper is super luxe, the type is beautiful, and the entire experience was just so personalized. A poster like this would make such a fantastic gift for so many occasions – graduation, a new home, a wedding, etc. I know this beauty will be hanging in my home for years and years to come.


Life & Type-5-Design Crush

I received product in exchange for this post. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush!

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Pinking Up the Office

Hus & Hem-Design Crush
Hus & Hem

I’ve been dragging my feet on getting the second floor of my house into shape in a big way. Plans have been underway for months, but the puzzle pieces have been slow to fall into place. Right now the focus is on my office because I’m desperate to break a bad habit I’ve developed since moving last September – working from the couch.


My Scandinavian Home-Design Crush
My Scandinavian Home

I painted the smallish room the same custom white-grey/grey-white that I covered the rest of the house in, but I want to add something inspiring and different. This is the room where Design Crush gets put on the page after all, so I think it needs to reflect the personality of the site.


Max Attenborough-Design Crush
Max Attenborough

As you can surmise from my inspiration here, I settled on a pale pink – SW 7110 Cosmetic Blush to be exact – and a play on an accent wall design. It started out as one thing and as I got to taping off turned into something so much better. I can’t wait to share the redesign with you all next week for Sherwin-Williams National Painting Week!


Brooke Holm-Design Crush
Brooke Holm

I received product and compensation from Sherwin-Williams in return for this post. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush!

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Chatbooks + #365quotes

Chatbooks-#365quotes-1-Design Crush


I first learned of Chatbooks back in January, and they kept passing through my head as I tried to come up with a solution for creating a printed version of last year’s #365quotes Instagram project. (If you’ve been following along, you likely noticed that I failed fantastically at this year’s attempt – #365lyrics – about six weeks in.)


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A few months later they happened to release just what I was looking for, a 365 page book made just for putting this sort of project on paper. I downloaded the free Chatbooks app, searched my Instagram feed by the hashtag #365quotes and selected all the tagged photos. After swapping out the cover to the one I preferred and clicking Order I was done.


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A few days later the printed result showed up on my doorstep. To say it was gratifying to flip through the pages would be a huge understatement, the paper was the perfect weight and texture. And I love that I can order additional copies for anyone who requests their own book.


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Chatbooks has some other great book options as well. The Instagram series prints a new book automatically  in 60-page (a photo a page) volumes. You can edit which photos get included and even change captions. The Chatbooks series is a daily scrapbook come to life. The best part is that multiple people can add photos, almost like a group text. You can then delete photos you don’t want and edit captions once again in this 60-page option. Last is the custom book, where you can upload between 30 and 365 photos celebrating an event or focusing on a theme. Invite others to add their perspective as well, photos will automatically arrange themselves chronologically.


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I’m really looking forward to cataloging more life events with Chatbooks and embracing the printed photograph once again.

I received product in exchange for this post. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush!

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Artifact Uprising (+ a Giveaway)



Somewhere along the road of finding my home’s style I began to incorporate more art and fewer personal photos. With the exception of a black and white photo strip of my mom and I when I was less than a year old there’s, well, nothing of the sort. But my iPhone – like your smartphone, I’m sure – has made me take more notice of the world around me. I’m constantly snapping photos. I rarely print them though, so when Artifact Uprising reached out about teaming up I realized now was the perfect time.




My favorite piece is the [Signature] Print + Wood Cleat for its casual feel and versatility. Tired of the print? Have a new one printed and swap it out. I went with a photo of my mom and stepdad’s backyard in Oklahoma that I took the day they moved out of their longtime home last summer. Just looking at it I can remember the rain falling and the movers carting box after box out the front door.

There are several layout options to choose from, so you get the best visual appeal for your photo. The wood cleat is handcrafted with beetle pine that’s reclaimed from Colorado, and pairs perfectly with an ultra thick [signature] print. The easy-to-use magnet closure system makes swapping prints out so easy.




I also created a Wood Calendar with twelve of my favorite Instagram shots. The beetle pine clipboard has a big magnet on the back, so it’s perfect for hanging right on my refrigerator. Artifact Uprising updates the calendars they print on a rolling basis, so there’s no need to wait until next January to enjoy it. I’ll be making it a yearly thing and ordering a refill pack next April.





If you haven’t already, here’s your chance to experience Artifact Uprising. One of you will win $150 to create your own printed memories! You could do a little something nice for yourself or think a few weeks ahead to Mother’s Day and even graduation. Enter below, you have until April 21st. Good luck!

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I’m so happy that we can finally say winter is behind us. Not only did this last one seem endless, but it was also the first spent in my 115 year old home. My 115 year old home with all new windows, but a lack of great insulation and a disgustingly high heating bill. The temperature indoors never rose above 64-degrees yet my bill never went under $300. I knew this might be an issue when I purchased the place of course, but that didn’t make it hurt any less.




I knew I needed something programable, and Nest Learning Thermostat‘s promise of learning my habits to program itself was irresistible. Smart technology is everywhere in my life, so why wasn’t it yet working to save me money?




I’d heard great things from friends who had switched to Nest themselves, so I was eager to give it a go myself. What I was less sure about was installing the unit on my own, I’m not the handiest person. After turning the breaker off and removing the old thermostat I was left with a gaggle of wires and remnants of buttercream wall paint. Thankfully there was a simple step-by-step guide that was easy to read and follow (and extra paint in the basement).




Honestly, it couldn’t have been easier. I screwed in the wall plate (isn’t that built-in level handy?) and connected the wires before popping on the cover. THAT WAS ALL. Nest immediately updated itself through my wifi, then asked me a few simple questions like where the unit is located in the house and my zip code. It’s been busy learning my patterns for the last few days and I’m looking forward to seeing the result on my gas bill.




I can also control my Nest through my phone using the app, like if I’m going to be late getting home. Using Auto-Away it automatically switches into away mode to be more energy efficient, and a little green leaf (the Nest Leaf) shows up when I’m saving. Summer isn’t all that far away either, so I’m really looking forward to the Airwave function that helps lower costs by cutting AC runtime according to the humidity level in your home. That’s not even the end of this super smart thermostat, which blows my mind. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that sleek design that looks so nice on the wall which doesn’t hurt one bit.

Do you have a Nest? Do you love it?

I received product to review for this post, all words and opinions are mine and mine alone. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Crush!

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