Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Alt NYC: Finally, a recap

Well, this only took me a little over 2 months to write. After seeing so much NYC in the news over the past week, I was inspired to finally write my Alt NYC recap and remember the city in a happier time.

To keep in form, I'll title this "Through the Awkward Eye" again, even though my experience in New York was littered with far less awkward-ness than back in Salt Lake City. I know, it's disappointing. Well, it all started because I was lucky enough to have won a ticket to Alt in NYC about 2 weeks before the actual conference. Honestly, I was a little torn. On one hand, I was over-the-moon excited to be able to go to Alt again, and this time in one of my favorite cities. But the other part of me was shaking in my boots, because once again, I would be putting on my big girl pants and *gasp*, mingle with others. Visions of my painfully awkward experience in SLC were playing out in my head and kind of made me want to puke. I know what you're thinking...."Why would you want to go again then?". Well, at the end of the day, Alt is such a beautiful and inspiring event that makes your heart burst with creativity and motivation and unicorns and cool stuff like that. No matter how awkward my first encounter with Alt was, everything I took away from the conference overshadowed that. Not only the things I learned at the conference, but the things I learned about myself, and the confidence I gained to feel comfortable in my own skin. And boy, am I glad I ventured out again...

Dare I say...Alt NYC was better than the Salt Lake City event. It was 100 times smaller, and was only one day, but those 2 things, I think, are what made it so amazing. I didn't feel as overwhelmed as I did in January and it was just so much more comfortable and natural overall. It didn't hurt that Martha Stewart made a guest appearance either! I think experiencing Alt for the first time back in January, I was able to be much more laid back this time around, and was more eager to learn than to impress. And honestly, it worked for me. People were actually coming to me, instead of slowly backing away. Maybe it was my killer bright red pants, who knows. Don't get me wrong, I still did have a few awkward conversations, but all in all, it was fantastic.

The caliber of the speakers in New York was amazing. Especially Tina Roth Eisenberg, from Swiss Miss. I was pretty floored listening to all the speakers, and felt so invigorated and honestly, like I could take on the world.

Believe it or not, I talked with a bunch of cool folks and DID NOT scare them away immediately. It's true, it's true. I actually managed to make decent small talk and sound like a normal human being. The whole time in my head, I was like, "Hot damn Tara! Work it, work it!" I was pretty impressed with myself. Even during the party at the end of the night, I talked with 3 separate people, and did not miss a beat. No studdering, no weird comments, nothing. After my pleasant conversations, I decided to duck out early, you know, while I was ahead. No need to push my luck in the awkward department.

The view from the rooftop of Martha Stewart Omnimedia

The 2 1/2 glorious days I spent in the city were pure bliss. Even though I've been to NYC multiple times previously, it was like I was re-discovering the city again. And, boy oh boy, I fell in love hard. Exploring the city by myself was perfect. It was so nice to get a little time away and re-group. There's no other city to feel more inspired, than New York City.

I very much hope that there is another Alt in New York in the years to come, it's such a great alternative to the January event. Personally, I think the one reason I love this conference so much is not only is it wildly inspiring to creatives like me, but both the Salt Lake City and NYC conferences made me push my boundaries of comfort, which made me more confident and led me to produce some of my best work this year.

I was totally blown away by the High Line.

On one final note, since I did so well being a normal person for once in my life, this post won't contain any embarrassing stories of me giving my medical insurance card to the car rental agent. (Oh god, I still cringe and get barf chunks in my mouth when I think about that...) or anything like that. And, unfortunately I won't be attending Alt Summit in Salt Lake City this January either, so you'll have to wait for more embarrassing stories in future posts. Don't worry, there are guaranteed to be many my friends, many...

*See my first Alt Summit recap here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

New Christmas Card

Added a brand new Christmas card to the etsy shop last week! Tis the season!

Inside greeting: "Hoping all your holiday wishes come true!"

Find it here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


One of the many reasons I've been a terrible blogger lately, is because for the past year we've been doing a major remodel of our upstairs attic space. We live in a 100 year old bungalow home with loads of character, which originally drew us to the house, naturally. In addition to all the history of the house, we also loved that almost all of the upstairs space was unfinished when we bought it. This meant that we would be able to completely remodel it just the way we wanted to. Score.

Well, fast forward to five years later, we finally started the remodel project (last summer 2011), and holy smokes, talk about a daunting and exhausting task. We had always dreamed of the day when we would get to pick out our dream layout and all the fun stuff of a brand new space. But little did I know how time consuming and stressful it is to have every decision completely up to you. Wasn't this supposed to be fun and easy? Our new space is huge and basically doubles our current living space, adding a huge master bedroom, master bathroom, office and loft area. So, there were lots and lots of decisions to be made. What I learned so far, is that Adam and I are terrible at making quick interior decorating decisions. It took us, seriously, 6 months to pick out hard wood flooring. I cannot tell you how many hours have been spent looking at wood. It kind of makes me want to barf just thinking about it. The thing is, we want everything to be just perfect. And perfection is a stressful thing.

Well, finally, we are in the home stretch of the finalization of this remodel (kind of...) We are currently finishing the master bathroom (which took 1 year of picking out just the right tile...seriously, what is wrong with us!?) The master bedroom has been finished for a while now, and once the bathroom is complete we can finally move into the new space. I'm also currently in the process of moving my office into the new office space. Even though we are in the final steps, I'm predicting we still have a ways to go. There is still the daunting task of converting my current office space into a loft space, picking out the perfect bed, closet organization, and overall decorating of the entire space. sigh.

Although it's been a long process littered with Adam and I arguing over toilets, paint color and tile, it's been amazing & rewarding to see this space that was once a dingy attic home to a terrifying bat, turn into a beautiful, natural light drenched, living area. We wanted this space to reflect our eclectic style, combining modern elements with vintage charm. We want to stay true to who we are and let this new space shine with our personalities, while still honoring the original character of our home. So far, I'm loving the little details that we've started incorporate, like a 60's mod sputnik light, exposed brick and bright colored flea market finds. I'm already falling in love hard, and even though the space isn't perfect yet, I know it's completely "us", and well, that's pretty perfect in itself.

Above pictures are a little glimpse of my favorite details so far, and since it's become such a huge part of our world, I'm excited to share more about the remodel in the months to come!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fun with Hand Lettering

I recently designed some wedding invitation samples for Genevieve & Alex for their summer bash next year. I love their fun color scheme, and overall "party" feel to their celebration. I decided to do something a little different on these samples that I've never done before...hand lettering! It was so much fun to draw out some of the fonts, and give these puppies a little extra touch of whimsy. Hopefully I get to do some more hand drawn fonts soon!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The glorious roadtrip: Nashville, TN

We are back from a glorious roadtrip down south today. Way back when Adam and I were youngins, we took the most fantastical roadtrip down south and hit tons of roadside gems, like Dollywood, Graceland, the list goes on and on. So, we decided to go back down south again and take a mini roadtrip to Nashville, TN, and Kentucky. There's just something' about the open road, and that sweet Southern air. Here are some pics from Nashville if you'd like to see.

Printer's Alley

Hatch Show Print. Very very cool.

We loved Nashville, and all the music in the air. It made me wish I could strum a banjo. I'll post more about some other gems we found along the way...

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Card Alert

We've been so busy lately, that I totally forgot to post about our newest card! You can find it in our Etsy shop now.
on front: "You're goin' places"
inside: "Good luck!"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Alt Summit NYC

First of all, I never win anything. So, when I saw Alt running a contest to try to win a coveted ticket to the first ever NYC conference, I decided to play along (but tried not to get my hopes up). Well, much to my surprise, I actually won a ticket! Needless to say, I am beyond stoked and grateful to Bing for running the contest.

I attended Alt for the first time this past January, and it was fabulous, although I did step out of my comfort zone quite a bit, as remembered by this post.  NYC is one of my most favorite cities, and am looking forward to visiting again. I'm thinking I might take in a Mets game, visit the Whitney, and stroll around Brooklyn. I've been to NYC quite a few times before, but am always looking to see something new, anyone got any suggestions?

Time to dust off my big girl pants and try this thing again, and hopefully keep the awkward-ness at a minimum. But really, who am I kidding?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I love this quote, "If someone is really the one, you'll be willing to go on any adventure with them". So true, so true. 8 years ago, Adam and I had our first date, and we've been going on adventures ever since.

I've been loving this blog lately, especially this post about relationships.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Go and get 'em!

Just saw today that the US and World Journey Journals are now live on the Urban Outfitters website! Get 'em while they're hot! Find them here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Custom Globes

I've been craving more adventures and traveling lately, so when I came across these custom hand illustrated globes, I was instantly smitten. All the designs are made to match the original globe artwork, and each is designed by hand, so no two are the same. This one was my favorite, but check out all of their designs at ImagineNations.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What I'm listening to: Wild Flag

I don't know if it's because I'm getting older and about to approach my 30's, but lately I've been reflecting more on my youth and getting real nostalgic and crap. Lame, I know. But one thing I've been doing a lot lately is re-discovering my favorite 90's music. Lots of Cranberries, The Breeders, Blind Melon and the embarrassing list goes on. One of my favs was Sleater-Kinney. So I was incredibly excited to discover 'Wild Flag', a band comprising of 2 members of S-K, along with some other rockin' gals. The album in fantastical, and it fills my need for 90's nostalgia but in a more grown up package. Thumbs up.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Girl Crush: Greta

Let's get real, every so often I get girl crush's. My last one was Zooey Deschanel, but let's face it, she's freakin' everywhere and her once charming quirks are now getting kind of old. I'm so over it.

Now enter, Greta Gerwig! Lately I've been watching some older movies on Netflix, like "Baghead" and "Hannah takes the stairs", and discovered the quirky and awesome Greta Gerwig. I love that she's under the radar. I'm super excited to check out her new movie, "Lola Versus". Watch the trailer here

Friday, July 6, 2012

The beginning of something

Well, I can finally let the cat outta the bag! We are so very excited to announce that you will soon be able to find our US and World Journey Journals on! We are thrilled at this opportunity, and can't wait to see what the future holds for us and these nifty little journals that we love so much.

We are going to have a few dozen celebratory drinks this weekend (let's be honest, I'm drinking as I write this). Hope you all have a happy weekend, and we will keep you updated on when the journals go up on the UO site!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hello Summer

Lately, I've been trying to take more photos of our everyday life. And that usually includes tending to our blossoming garden, 2 crazy dogs, Hemingway Daiquiri's, and 1 stubborn 2 year old.

Pardon my lack of blogging lately. Summer and wedding season is in full swing, and that means blogging gets put on the back burner, unfortunately. Here are some things I've forgotten to mention recently:

*We got some love last week on DesignMom! Don't know the blog DesignMom? Well, it's only one of the coolest blogs and was named "Top Website of the Year" by Time Magazine. Umm, hello.

*I'm going to be participating in my second styled wedding shoot with this lovely lady.

*You can now find our cards in two new Milwaukee stores. 'Waxwing' in Shorewood and 'The National' in Walker's Point. Very excited to be apart of these two fabulous stores.

*Our journals and cards can now be found in Australia, mates! And the store looks super rad too.

And, as we keep hinting at big news, we promise that it will be revealed very very soon! Is the anticipation killing you? I know, but calm down.

Friday, June 15, 2012

After Success?

Last week marked the 4 year anniversary of me leaving my office job and starting Cracked Designs full time. (I had been doing CD part time on the side for a year-ish  before that) It seems like forever ago since that time and I remember being so terrified and excited for what the future held for CD. I had all these goals in my head and couldn't wait to fulfill each and every one. Now, 4 years later, I look at those original goals and realize that I've accomplished them all. Pretty crazy, right?

You always read about what it takes to pursue your dream in life etc., but there doesn't seem to be any guide to what happens after success. Even though I've been runnin' this show for 4 years, I'm now faced with the same terrified and excited feeling in my gut I had all those years ago when I first started, and find myself asking that same question, "what happens next?".  It's always thrilling to be working towards something, but lately I've felt at a bit of a stand still, and I'm faced with making even bigger (and scarier) goals. It's a great feeling, but an odd feeling as well.

Anyways, I love this little company I've created. If I could, I would give it a fist bump, but then would make fun of how fist bumping is lame, and we would high five instead, because that's old school cool. Yes, these are the things I think about in my spare time, giving high fives to my own company. Deal with it.

PS: Obviously, some very exciting news is on the horizon, and I can't wait to share it with you all in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New Tyke

I forgot to post this last week, but we have a new card up in the Etsy shop! "Congrats on your new little tyke!" Go here to get it now!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Aloha, Hawaii!

Adam and I got back from Hawaii earlier this week, and since then I have been in a coma of depression that I was not prepared for. Hawaii really did a number on us. The first week back from any vacation is always rough, trying to get back into your groove and getting back into work...but this goes beyond that. I've found myself browsing airline tickets to Hawaii instead of working, sipping on Mai Tai's instead of drinking the usual Summer Shandy, and putting on Elvis' 'Blue Hawaii' on loop. To say that we loved Hawaii is an understatement.

First off, Adam and I don't 'do' vacations probably like normal people 'do'' vacations. We usually pack in a huge assortment of odd tourist traps, off the beaten path "hole-in-the-wall"s, and discovering local flavor when we go on trips, and Hawaii was no different. We didn't spend a ton of time relaxing on beaches, instead we searched out some 'un-touched' Hawaii and hung out drinking Kava out of coconuts. It....was....amazing.

We traveled to 3 of the islands: Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, our favorite probably being Maui. It was surprising how different each of the islands were, but all equally stunning.

We, of course, tried lots of local beer and had some of the best Mai Tai's on earf. Seriously, I'm starting to wonder if they slipped crack into those Mai Tai's, they were addictive .

Some highlights of the trip included:
- 'Nakele Blowhole' in western Maui: we hiked down the rocks and got a close up view of this crazy ass blowhole, and boy was it worth it. It was windy that day, so the waves were rockin' and the blowhole was spraying like nobody's business.

- 'Aina Nalu' was our hotel in Maui and it was like staying in a jungle treehouse hideaway with 2 gorgeous pools.

- 'Maui Brewing Company': we liked this brewery better than the much more popular  'Kona Brewing Company' on the Big Island. It was really laid back and the beers were especially tasty. Kona did have a better patio though.

- 'Volcanoes National Park': everyone should go here. The hike in the crater was amazing, and despite the rainy weather we had, it was a surreal experience to see how lava could completely cover a road.

-Mai Tai's: We had a ton of different Mai Tai's, but our favorites were at 'The Royal Kona Hotel bar', 'Kimo's' in Lahaina, and the 'Feast at Lele' Luau.

- 'Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge' in Kona: This place was the bees knees, fo' real! It was off the main drag, and had some of the best tiki drinks on the planet. Our waiter was from the Milwaukee area too, and super nice.

Ah, Hawaii, what have you done to me? I get freakin' teary eyed looking at these photos, and long for my next Hawaii fix. Well, Aloha Hawaii, until we meet again!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Time to rest

Wedding season has been particularly busy this year, and has definitely kept us on our toes for the last few months. So now, it is time to get out and travel and take a much needed vacation. We're headin' to Hawaii for the next 10 days, and once we're back we'll be ready to pump out the cards faster than ever. Aloha!

PS: The etsy shop is closed for the week, but never fear, we'll be back to open it up on Monday June 4th.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sass-Quatch Party: Part 2

So, as promised, here are some more photos from Beckett's 2nd "Sass-quatch" birthday party. We totally decked out the house in full Sass-Quatch Forest style, complete with lots of green balloons, "vine" streamers and of course the glorious and majestic Sass-Quatch Forest! (pictured below) I cut out giant cardboard trees and painted them green, taped wooden stakes to the back and stuck them in the buckets full of rocks to help them all stand up straight. They looked pretty darn coolio.

I also got a bunch of vintage style jars for every guest so everyone could make their own very little terrarium to take home with them. I had a terrarium station set up, with buckets filled with rocks, dirt, sand, succulents, and instructions. Plus I had a little box with a whole slew of figurines, ranging from army men to dinosaurs, so you could add a little rad-ness to your terrarium (See top photo)

Perhaps the most fun thing about the Sass-Quatch Forest is the Sass-quatch cutout that was attached to one of the cardboard trees. I cut out the face, so everyone could poke their head through and become a real live Sass-Quatch!

I made little vine streamers out of ribbon and green paper leaves that I cut out. I glued them all onto the ribbon and hung them jungle style all over the room. They turned out pretty cool and better than I expected.

I'll be back to post more photos this week, including the most awesome Sass-Quatch cake!

PS: In case you missed it, here are the invitations!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Indie Wed MKE

Just wanted to quickly share that the most fabulous wedding show in the world is going TONIGHT at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee! Indie Wed has moved north and is going to be putting on the first ever Indie Wed Milwaukee! So so excited to be apart of it, I can't stress enough how amazing this show is. If you are getting married and are in the greater Milwaukee area, definitely come and check it out. It's from 4-9 tonight, and you can buy tickets at the door for $15. Look for US there too of course, we'll be right by the door at booth #3! See you there!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Temporary Tattoos

I've been really diggin' temporary tattoos lately. I've always secretly wanted a tattoo, but will never get one because I'm too much of a chicken. I really love the ones from Tattly, seen here.

Sass-Quatch Party: The Invitations

I'm excited to share the party invitations I made for Beckett's 2nd birthday party a couple weeks ago. I loved the idea of a "Sass-Quatch" themed party, because little Beckett is quite the sassy boy, and often could probably be mistaken for a wild beast with the temper tantrums he throws. I also wanted to come up with a party theme that I hadn't seen before!

So anyways, I was really excited to make these invites, naturally. I went all out and created a "field guide" type pamphlet that contained all the party info (along with some fun text), and was all packaged in a cotton muslin pouch, on which I hand drew the little arrows symbol. It all was sealed up in a handmade envelope complete with the "Explorer Society" logo sticker! Obviously, I loooooooved making these! Stay tuned for more party posts soon!

PS: See the "First glimpse" here.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ring Simplicity

 I'm usually a pretty plain jane when it comes to jewelry. Since I work from home and am on mom duty 24 hours, I usually don't give jewelry a second thought. I've been trying to be better though, since I actually do like jewelry. When I found these rings on Etsy recently, I was instantly smitten. I love how they are equally simple & beautiful. I also really love how they don't break the bank either! I was contemplating picking up one of these beauties, however this girl does have a birthday & mother's day coming up....

TOP LEFT:  infinity ring from Luttrell Studio, TOP RIGHT: Green ring from Luttrell Studio, BOTTOM: Knot ring by Autumn Equinox

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A First Glimpse

This past Sunday we threw a super fun 2nd birthday party for Beckett. I've been working on editing all the photos from the party, but thought I would share some snippets of the party to give you a first glimpse. It was soooo much fun to plan and design all the elements of this party, and can't wait to share all the deets in the coming days!

PS: Beckett's amazing shirt is from Gnome Enterprises.

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Mom & Dad Cards

We have 2 new cards in the Etsy shop! A Mother's Day ("You're Sew Great") and a Father's Day ("You're grilly great) card. Both are equally awesome, so you should probably get one right away. Find them here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hoppin' on the crazy train

In less than one month, my son will be turning 2 years old. (Although, he's been perfecting the "terrible two's" behavior for months now...) So, naturally it is time once again to plan a spectacular birthday party for the little dude, and go "way overboard" as Adam likes to say. I came up with the most awesome party theme, which is SO freakin' hard to come up with because most themes have been done to death, but I think I may have nailed it! I went a little crazytown last year, (as seen here) so of course I have to top myself and hop on the crazy train again this year. I just mailed out the invitations today, but wanted to share a few sneak peaks of them. I love them so hard, and can't wait to share the full photos of the invites in the next month!