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April 2015
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June 2015

Thanks For Reading My Blog

Thanks

What? Hold on! I'm not going anywhere. :) That title sounds like I'm calling it quits ha ha!  I was just thinking about how neat it is that someone else reads this blog.

I have a friend, a fellow jewelry maker, who just started a blog for her business SmashFire Designs.  I congratulated her on Facebook about it and she mentioned that she loves reading my blog posts.  I had no idea!

Unless someone leaves a comment on my blog, I really don't know WHO is reading.   This has happened before.  I'll bump into an acquaintance and we catch up and they mention that they read my blog.

Really???

I don't know why it still surprises me when I hear about people reading my blog, even if its someone I know offline. You're my friend, you better read my blog right???  Actually no, people are busy, more busy now than ever.   I'll tweet, pin, Facebook blog updates but it's just throwing more content out there in a very oversaturated internet.

When someone takes their time out to check out my blog, even for a minute or two, it's nice and that makes me happy.  

I check my stats regularly but they're just numbers.  I haven't checked lately because my blog writing has slowed down.    

Before this turns into a godawful Alanis Morrissette song and you're reading this, I think you're a peach and thanks for visiting my blog. ♥


SHAG - All My Bones

Last weekend was crazy busy full of fun stuff but one of the highlights was getting to check out the latest Shag art exhibit at the Jonathan Levine Gallery.  I am such a huge fan of Josh Agle ("Shag") and make it a point to see whatever shows he has going on in New York.  

His work is colorful, it's retro, it's kitsch, lots of it is very tongue-in-cheek, and some with dark humor. His work is perfection in my world.  

SHAG - All My Bones

This one was HUGE, it could almost take up one of my walls. I would loooooove to one day have a Shag original. 

SHAG - All My Bones

 

I wish you can see the details but I didn't want to get TOO close to the paintings.  

SHAG - All My Bones

I love the framing too. :) 

SHAG - All My Bones

 

I also love how his brush strokes are incorporated in the image like the lighter green background in this one.  Plus TIKI HEAD!

If you hear about a Shag exhibit in your town, run! Don't walk! If you get a chance to attend an opening, do it.  He will most likely be there and is super duper fluper friendly. :) 

 

 


Another NYC Guide For Tight Budgets

I'm in the middle of planning our city visit this weekend and that planning involves what we can do without spending much money.  We are usually in the Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea area when we're in town and while New York can be expensive, your stay doesn't have to be.  This post is going to be FULL of links to older posts because I tend to write about our stays a lot. 

We sleep on my parents couch so we don't pay for hotels but there are a bazillion options of where to stay that's affordable. You don't even have to stay Manhattan.  Also Air BnB is pretty popular.  Many parts of Queens, Brooklyn and Jersey City are just quick subway/ferry ride away from Midtown Manhattan. 

PhotoLet's talk about ART!  If you love art, there is a lot of it you can take in for free.  You don't have to stand on long lines and pay a ridiculous fee.  Art Galleries are FREE!  It only cost money if you're a big spender and looking to buy some art.  

The Chelsea neighborhood is full of galleries.  Our go to spot is located at 529 West 20th Street between 10th & 11th Avenue.  It is not only the home to the Jonathan Levine Gallery (one of my favorites) but a bunch more galleries all located in this big industrial building.  Almost every floor from top to bottom has one or two galleries to check out.  We usually take the elevator to the top floor and work our way down.  It's also located near Chelsea Piers & Chelsea Market. 

We hardly take the subway (which is $2.75 a ride now, F that!).  We walk along the Westside Highway which is almost entirely a riverfront park on the Hudson. We walk south to Chelsea or the West Village, it's a nice alternative to very popular Highline which is just one avenue east.  The Highline is nice if you go early in the morning.  Most museums either have a free day or free admission after certain hours. I found a nice guide that lists a bunch.

What about food?  

There are SOOOOO many restaurants in the city, don't bother with the big chains you can go to back home.   We have our usual restaurants we dine at in Hell's Kitchen like Gotham Market West, Jing (Asian Fusion), Tulcingo del Valle (Mexican), Island Burgers & Shakes, Georgio's Country Grill, Hell's Chicken(Korean), Bambolio on Bleecker Street in the West Village, and more. Usually when we dine out, dinner is under $35, it helps when you don't drink alcohol I guess.

image from pulpsushi.typepad.com

ONE SLICE of cake from Amy's Bread is big enough for two people.  That is a $2.50 dessert per person!  They have three locations in Hell's Kitchen, West Village, and Chelsea Market.  I always pay them a visit. 

What's more New York than grabbing a slice of Pizza?  I grew up on slices from a bunch of different pizza places, some really good and some really missing the mark.   If you are really strapped for cash, 2 Bros Pizza have $1 slices! And you know what? They're not bad!

You know what else is awesome? STREET FOOD! I'm not talking about the fancy schmancy food trucks. I mean the silver, no-name food stands.  There is a guy on the corner of 9th Avenue and 43rd Street with a fruit stand and it is the cheapest produce you'll find anywhere and they're fresh fruit too! 

When I was working in the city, I skipped Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts in the morning and I got my coffee from a guy on the corner of 55th & 3rd Avenue. A large coffee for $1.25 and it is the best coffee I ever purchased.  I still miss that coffee. 

Photo (2)Yes, there was one morning I actually purchase TWO large cups of coffee from him. I was feeling miserable that morning lol!

You'll find these little coffee carts every few blocks most weekday mornings.  They would also have donuts, rolls, and bagels you could grab. If they were "fancy", maybe even make an egg sandwich.  You don't need to spend a ton on breakfast when you can get a coffee and bowtie for $3.00.

In the warmer weather, you may happen upon a random Street Festival with the smell of sausage and peppers and fried dough in the air.  Don't fight it, give in to the street food greasiness!

There is sooooooo much more I can talk about like Governors Island, Lower East Side, and so much more.  You can always shoot me a question in the comment on where to do, where to eat, what to do and I'll be happy to share some alternative recommendations! :) 


Mad Men Recap

I'm going to make this short and sweet. I was happy with how Mad Men ended last night. My Twitter feed blew up with a lot of WTFs and hate. Not me, I was at peace with the ending, just like the peace Don must have felt at the end (which is what I tweeted).

Don

I love this show so much, I was happy to see it didn't drag on until it stopped being good.  I'm excited for Joan, Peggy, Stan, Roger (who has met his match) and hell I'm even excited for Pete and I could not stand Pete throughout the entire history of the show!

That's how good Mad Men was, they created these characters that you got so emotionally invested in whether you were rooting for them or wanted to see them fall on their face, you FELT something either way, which is awesome.

Did you watch? How did feel about the way it ended? 


Fitness Progress

I mentioned back at the start of the year that I was getting my act together and do something about my weight and overall health.   Yeah going on those 20 degree walks was cool and all but then the snow came and it kept coming and I don't think I'm ready to be this guy....

Jogging-260827_640I started with a mile a day, that's about 15 minutes.  My sneakers were pretty old so I had to get some new shoes and what a difference they made! I got Saucony's Excursion TR8 after testing out a bunch of sneakers at DSW and jogging up and down their aisles. 

Now I'm up to three miles and getting close to four.  The MapMyRun app definitely keeps me motivated, especially if I join their challenges. I haven't won anything yet but they're fun to join.  It's nice to work towards something.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 10.11.12 AM

A glimpse of my route in Fishkill, NY
A glimpse of my route

This month I joined my first team challenge through work.  I have to log in 40,000 steps a week for four weeks, the team I joined is called "Walking Dead" (of course it is!) and even though I don't actually SEE any of my teammates, I like know that I am pulling my weight as we try to get the most steps in the challenge.

Some mornings are harder to get up than others. I don't know if it's my body saying it needs a break or just laziness.  I've been weighing myself every day to monitor my weight loss.  Since I started I've lost 16 pounds.  It's going slowly because I'm not really dieting, don't want to, I like to indulge. :)  But so far I'm pretty happy with my progress, I'm jogging for longer periods and just feel "lighter" so yay! In fact I need to go for my walk now, toodles! 


Buffer Helped Increase My Etsy Views

Whoa! Okay, that title is quite a statement and giving Buffer some props but stay with me.  In addition to reworking the SEO for my Etsy listings, I've stepped up promoting my listing on Twitter. 

BufferThe mistake I made in the past was not sharing the same tweets enough. Maybe a couple of tweets throughout the same day the item was posted and that's it.  I thought anything more would be spammy. That was foolish.  

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 11.42.34 AM

I wasn't adding enough of my personality in my item tweets,  just "NEW! Beaded Red Jade Earrings in the shop! http://blahblahblah" - that's kind of lame.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 11.43.00 AM

It is fun trying to come up with new wording to make my items more interesting. When I do, I got to make sure people actually see it.  My tweet activity is maybe 50 views on average, which is not much.

Buffer is my new favorite tool for scheduling my Etsy/Storenvy shop item tweets.  I can still do this on Hootsuite but I visually like how Buffer lays out up to 10 tweets (I always include an image), or you can "Upgrade To Awesome" - which I'm considering, and add up to 100 posts and tweets and add more accounts including Pinterest.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 11.34.36 AMEtsy sellers (myself included) complained about the drop in shop views.  Retagging items and rewording titles and description helped, but I really saw a jump when I began scheduling tweets on Buffer between midnight and 6:00 am as well as throughout the day.  Comparing Etsy views from January through April 2014 to this year, my views have doubled!  

Twitter is still my favorite Social Media platform and I'm seeing "buff.ly" referrals surpassing Pinterest as my top referrer for 2015.  That's the other thing, "Twitter" does not show up in Etsy stats as a referrer.  The links you share on Twitter show up as Direct Traffic so you don't know for sure if people are clicking those links.  At least with Buffer, you get a better idea.  

You can schedule your tweets manually or add them to a queue with designated times you set up so your updates go out around the same time.  

Have I mentioned the Analytics feature? While I'm not as concerned about "Follower" numbers, I do like looking at performance statistics for different things. For someone who hates math, I have a thing for numbers!

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 9.52.22 AMThe Analytics tab in Buffer shows the recent updates that went out and how much interaction it had.  It gives you a better idea of what's working and what doesn't.   IFTTT, Hootsuite, and now Buffer are all included in my toolbox of time-management greatness.  What do you like to use? 


Jewelry Design Gone Wrong

I am just taking my sweet-ass time with the jewelry shop updates aren't I? Here's the thing, I had an idea for earrings. Now that I've made those earrings, I'm not 100% feeling it. I hate when that happens! I don't even want to post a picture of them.

Instead I have this pretty, pretty, pretty necklace I added which I love!  It is also available in the Storenvy shop if that tickles your fancy.  

GreenkeySo these earrings are sitting at my table and I don't know what to do with them. It makes me think of what Tim Gunn said to a contestant on Project Runway a few years ago, "Do you want THIS to represent what you're capable of?" And the answer for me is no, I guess I better start over.

I mentioned that I love this necklace.  This is how I want to feel about everything I create. I don't want it be "Eh, it's good enough." I want to be proud of what I make and show off. 

Did you ever have an idea for a product or design that you thought would be awesome only to be disappointed with the turnout? What do you do?