Old #turquoise amazingness. (Taken with Instagram)
I’ve been taking a photography class in NYC for the past 5 weeks and I just finished this week. Check out all of my photos I’ve taken on my Flickr!
I just stumbled upon a great way to be creative every day during the month of May on my friend’s Instagram. An Australian blogger created the #APhotoADayMay challenge, where you are given a prompt for each day and you upload your photos into an album on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. More info here.
I will be uploading my images weekly, and cannot wait to do this challenge for every month this summer. THIS IS SO FUN. All you Instagram-obsessed, iPhone addicting artsy kids out there should join in this challenge with me! Even you’re not artsy… taking pictures is FUN!
We can pretend that someone wanted to graffiti my initials. Maybe I’ll photoshop this later.
Amanda and Marc take on LA. (I typed Amanda and Squi, but it looked weird, but so does Marc. Ugh.) We drove all over, shopped a ton, ate great meals, saw the coolest cars, avoided traffic, BUT saw zero celebs and endured unexpected sucky weather. It was warmer in St. Louis, Potomac, and New York. Minus a day at the beach, here are some of my LA favorites:
1. Favorite Day: We drove to Santa Monica through the canyons and on the Pacific Coast Highway. Walked around on the pier then walked 2.5 miles along the beach to Venice Beach. Went to the best restaurant for lunch (see #3) and found the best store (see #2) that wasn’t even on Alix Jurick’s comprehensive 12-page guide to LA.
2. Favorite Store: KoLu Clothing in Venice. Small boutique, hand-picked clothes, nicest employees, best/most unique selection, not outrageously priced, and didn’t hear one complaint from my boyfriend. However, “Don’t Tell Dad”…
3. Favorite Restaurant: Gjelina in Venice (thanks for the rec Sophie!) Great atmosphere, very cool interior and amazing food. Our meal: 1. marinated beets with burrata, walnuts and balsamic. 2. Mushroom, goat cheese, truffle oil thin crust pizza. 3. Roasted cauliflower + broccolini with garlic and chilies. 4. The must have dessert: Butterscotch pot de crème.
4. Favorite discovery: A dark chocolate mini bar called ChocoVivo in Venice. It is all natural stone-ground dark chocolate without added in soy or dairy; just the cacao. We learned a lot about this amazing process and did a tasting of 6 different flavors (75% cacao, almonds + sea salt, Shangri-la, mayan tradition, ginger + vanilla, coffee + vanilla bean) plus some of their chocolate butters (spreads). TO DIE FOR—I will never eat any other chocolate again. The tasting was $5 for the two of us, best money we ever spent! We each bought two bars too, we couldn’t resist.
5. Favorite view: Lunch at Geoffrey’s in Malibu. We sat outside overlooking the Pacific and it was beautiful. It was perfect. All the tables are situated so everyone in the restaurant is looking out at the water. Yummy food and cocktails too!
6. Favorite tourist moment: It was my first time in LA and we had to see the Hollywood sign, Squi had actually never seen it either. We had time to kill so we googled “the best place to see the Hollywood Sign” and were given an address. It was like a scavenger hunt/the Amazing Race. I put the address in my Google Maps and ended up driving through an unbelievable neighborhood that climbed up the hills. It felt like Greece with cute homes and gorgeous mansions rather than white rectangles. The roads were SO narrow and windy—it was really scary. Finally we got to the scenic point and it was actually really cool to see the iconic sign that close. I recommend the adventure.
7. Favorite experience: Marc’s brother is a record producer (www.mattsquire.com). So awesome, and he works with a lot of cool people. I learned all about how songs are put together, the process behind making a record, and everything he does. One day, he brought us to the studio with him to hang out with Nickelodeon star, Ariana Grande and see her record. We happened to be in a historic recording studio where Frank Sinatra used to record. I was pretty blown away. I got a glimpse into the world of music and it was unbelievable. I got to see where artists record and what goes down when they record. Once in a lifetime experience.
8. Favorite purchases: Young, Fabulous, and Broke maxi dress, Parker tan and coral sheer backless top, and orange jeggings.
9. (Favorite) thing I don’t want to do again: Eat at In N Out burger. I understand I had to try and it was really good, but it doesn’t need to be repeated. I don’t do ketchup or mayo, so the “special sauce” didn’t do it for me. #whitegirlproblems
10. Favorite unexpected moment: We took public transportation. In effort to save some money after my visit to KoLu we took the public bus from Venice back to Santa Monica where our car was. We missed the bus we were supposed to take twice, didn’t know how to insert our $1 and got to listen to a 20 year old crazy girl talk about how she wanted to commit suicide over some guy in Israel who was apparently dating someone new, who was going to get a restraining order on this girl? We tried not to pay attention, but it was hard. Then a woman behind us told us we should totally check out Cheesecake Factory in Beverly Hills. Thanks, but we prefer Katsuya.
11. Favorite once in a lifetime experience: We got to go to a taping of Chelsea Lately, and we sat in the front row directly next to Chuy! It was SO cool to see a live taping and see how quickly an episode is shot. They don’t mess around. Chelsea was fabulous as always, making us laugh out loud for 20 minutes straight. I even got a nugget hug from Chuy at the end. Mwa! Phones weren’t allowed inside, so no photos :(
Los Angeles was so much fun and such a great trip, but I won’t be moving out there justtt yet :) NYC here I come (still).
^ Found some AZ in Venice Beach—how perfect! Maybe I’ll use it for a header?
I’m currently flying from LAX to STL, and spring break is officially over. Crying to myself in seat 28A after my amazing trip to Austin and LA, and I’m finally listening to mom who called a few days ago just to tell me “you better blog about SXSW and LA before you forget about it.” Psh.
So in Austin, I attended SXSWi (aka South by Southwest Interactive) For dummies: a huge conference thing about technology, social media, startups, emerging trends, etc held annually, GOOGLE IT. I learned so much about networking, startups, social platforms and how to make it in the real world. Our crew consisted of a few hzdg-ers and a few dormify-ers—including mom.
First step of applying my new found knowledge: make this blog post concise yet interesting and packed with information. I’ll start with 10 things I learned (in chronological order):
1. Always carry cash. Not all cabs have a credit card machine like New York does.
2. Necessary for all college kids:
Bytox = a patch you stick on your body 45 minutes before drinking that guarantees a hangover-free morning. It really works. We passed out over a hundred while we were there and people were coming back for more. Check out dormify.com for details.
3. You don’t sleep during SXSW, so plan accordingly. Wake up early for sessions all day, party all night.
4. Forties = fab. People in their forties aren’t old, they are fun! SXSW was like a huge party for smart, successful professionals to unleash their inner frattiness.
5. Talk to EVERYONE. In my case, tell EVERYONE about dormify. Don’t be shy, you could be sitting next to your company’s biggest new investor (or, the guy who did Lady Gaga’s social media guy).
6. Austin is an unreal city. You would never believe it is in Texas. It’s extremely unique, trendy, and just plain COOL. I’ve never seen so many food trucks (Korean-Mexican fusion and cupcakes were my faves). Also, the coolest restaurants EVER. Go visit Austin.
7. I saw Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann speak. Pinterest is HUGE. I’ve been obsessed and pin things constantly. If you or your brand doesn’t have a page, JOIN PINTEREST NOW.
8. If JayZ is playing a huge concert sponsored by Amex right next door to your hotel, figure out a way to get in. Don’t settle for watching the live stream on Youtube in the hotel bar.
9. Media people want compelling stories. When pitching your startup to the media, let the girl in college tell the story and sell the brand. (We made that mistake, then I had to talk in front of an audience unexpectedly.)
10. You don’t always have to act like a college student. I felt extremely young at SXSW, so I acted like I was at least 25. It’s fun to go around pitching Dormify and handing out business cards. Except the fact that everyone thought my mom was my sister. I’m kind of used to it, but still…
10 things I experienced and had to share:
1. For three nights, the hzdg + dormify teams were invited onto Zappos’ “Delivering Happiness” party bus. Basically: a pimped out school bus with blacked out windows, really loud music, a full bar + bartender, the best drunk snacks, and a ton of drunk people networking and having the time of their lives. Awesome.
2. Karen’s new favorite cocktail (and mine), and everyone at the W knows it. Cucumber, jalapeno, lemonade, and vodka. Try it.
3. Tom Colicchio and Andy Cohen (on Bravo) led a session about transmedia in the television world. Cool to see them up close! Andy is hilarious.
4. A 15-year-old kid named Lane Sutton led a session. He is an entrepreneur and social media coach/consultant. He’s Andrew’s age and is smarter than most people I know. I was so impressed and felt pretty unaccomplished. Whatever, I emailed him.
5. Favorite restaurant of the trip: Uchiko. Japanese farmhouse dining that gives Sushi of Gari a run for its money. We did a testing menu: big eye tuna with goat cheese and apples, crispy Brussel sprouts, the craziest sushi rolls you can imagine, and fried milk to name some highlights. Also, spotted Molly Sims there, who Steph already knows, duh.
6. We drove out to the heart of Texas with the Zappos crew to Smitty’s Market, for the best barbeque ever. Sorry Pappy’s. No forks, no plates, no problem. Just a lot of meat.
7. College is the best time to start a company. Universities need to encourage entrepreneurial students from different disciplines to come together and turn an idea into something real. Collaboration and competition is necessary for a startup to be successful, and college campuses have literally every resource you need. Faculty must encourage entrepreneurial spirit.
8. In addition, all colleges should send faculty, advisors, students, anyone to SXSW. You learn more in Austin than you do in school.
9. Google Village is really cool. I sent a video message from Austin to a digital Coke machine in Chelsea Market in NYC and watched live as a stranger watched my video and picked up a free Coke.
10. Emily Schuman, the creator of one of my favorite blogs Cupcakes and Cashmere was invited to speak at SXSW. The day that I conquered Austin alone, I went to hear her speak and was even more obsessed. She is fabulous. She’s currently building her brand and wants to focus on interior design. I obviously pitched Dormify to her afterward. She’s into it. Hopefully you’ll see an interview with her or a pattern designed by her on the site soon!
Always in need of a charge. Thanks FedEx!
Claw machine for beer at the trade show.
Giant doodle boards of notes from various sessions.
Zuckerman/berg family love.
My next project for my Motion + Interactivity class is to create a title sequence for a TV show or movie that we make up. I was given the letter B and asked to choose a word that starts with B to determine what my show was about. I chose the word blue jeans and these are the three mood boards I came up with for potential styles of my title sequence. Mood boards are so fun to make, and a great way to generate inspiration and source material. Who ever thought my homework could consist of PINTERESTING?! Um, awesome.