secrets of a biz owner

I learned this secret over time. At first I didn't believe it - or maybe I just thought I could do everything myself, gosh darnit.

When I first started out, I often felt like it was just me back here behind the computer screen. I was a loner, a rebel! Out on my own with nothin' but my ideas and a selfie stick - ewww kidding! I'll never own a selfie stick... unless someone gets one for me, then I guess I'll try it.

But the truth was, collaborations were happening all the time. It was never just me. And the best, most fulfilling, most exciting projects I've ever done have been collaborations. Remember Eat Drink Create?It's Business Time? Ah! The best.

Sure, you can accomplish a whole hell of a lot on your own. But the real magic happens when you team up with the right people. Note: very important to find the right people to collab with. Those who share your vision, your work ethic, and dreams of starting a rap duo. That always helps ;)

Secret bottom line? Your best, most scary-exciting ideas will probably require other people. While sometimes, from the outside, it seems like creative biz owners are simply logging in and killin' it all on their own. The truth is, there's probably a whole team behind them. Pushing them, creating content, and sharing their zones of genius.

So don't be afraid to reach out to that person about your collaboration idea. Or finally hire an assistant to help you send out all those orders. It can be scary to branch out and bring others on board. I mean, our businesses are important to us! We've worked so hard! But trust that urge to grow.

Don't work in a vacuum. Go find your team. They're probably looking for you, too!

Want more secrety biz secrets? Catch up on this series here!



Guys. I'm starting a new collaboration + offering soon and my excitement is off the charts. I can't spill the beans quite yet, but I just had to give you a sneak peek of the moodboard I made for it!

Normally I do moodboards for client projects like logo design and web design. But moodboards can help organize any project or collaboration. It's so helpful to get the look and feel of a project laid out during the building + planning phase. Because really, it informs every phase that follows...

My method for moodboarding? I'll start collecting inspiration on a secret pinterest board and then try to distill it down to just a handful of pins, like you see above. With so much inspiration out there, it can be a surprisingly painful process. But every time I do it, I try to remind myself: the refining process is where the magic happens. And doing said refining with, say, a beer or a margarita? Totally allowed.

I kid, I kid. But I'm not kidding about the awesomeness that is launching this month. And P.S. it involves this superwoman :)

I can't wait to share everything soon! Very soon.




whimsical balloons by laura ruth Oh hello, friends. Things are heatin' up with Eat Drink Create right around the corner! The artsocial headquarters is a wonderful mess of balloons, goodie bag treasures, and name tag assembly lines. This event is going to be off the heezy! And I only bust out that phrase when I reeeeally mean it.

So while I don't have June's Project Brown Bag recap for ya quite yet, the PBB train must roll on. Louise of Laid Off Mom is hosting the final round of PBB - psst and there's a twist!! So head on over to Laid Off Mom for the deets and to sign up to be a contributor!

It's only the best collaborative art project around. No big deal.

Image: Whimsical Balloons by Laura Ruth.


summer vacation project brown bag It's here! A new Project Brown Bag! Get excited, friends. This month's theme is one that will surely inspire you like cray. Cray, I tell you.

June's theme is: SUMMER VACATION. This time of year always reminds me of my childhood - eating Otter Pops, running through the sprinkler, going to the "beach" aka Cherry Creek Reservoir. Summers are so magical... I could totally go for an Otter Pop right now. Louie-Bloo Raspberry.

What were your summer vacations like when you were a kid? Tell me... visually. Oh yeah, we're gettin' creative like that. Join myself and Laid Off Mom for the most awesome collaborative art project around. Here’s how it works:

01  The first 3 commenters to leave a “Hell YES” in the comment section will have the privilege of being our art contributors for the month.

02  Contributors will email me their mailing address and a 200 x 200 pixel image of themselves, to be used in a blog post. (Please send to

03  I will mail an art canvas to the first person to comment, and brown paper bags & mailing labels to each contributor.

04  Based on the theme of the month, the first contributor will add their own interpretation of the theme onto the canvas, using whatever art supplies/medium they wish (within the allotted time limit: 2 days) then that person will insert the piece into the provided brown bag & mail it to the next contributor whose address is provided on the mailing labels. (You get the art piece, you add to it, you send it out)

05  Once the canvas has passed through each contributor, it will be mailed back to me, the host. The host may/may not make their own contribution to the piece, then they will blog about it the following month with an intro about all our artists.

After a full year of art projects, we can look back and enjoy the artwork that has passed through so many different talented hands throughout the country!

* all contributors will be providing the postage

** all contributors must live within the contiguous United States

There is no right or wrong way to decorate or add to the canvas. Create what you want with whatever supplies you have!  I’m a fan of confetti… that’s not required, but I’m just sayin. As long as the canvas fits into the bag, you are good to go.


P.S. check out last month's finished art piece on Laid Off Mom today!

Image by artsocial.


tim-walker Friends. Are you ready to get creative? You know I am. Well, me and Louise of Laid Off Mom have created one awesomely creative project for you guys, called Project Brown Bag. Get excited. Here's the gist:

We'll mail out a brown paper bag, art medium, and mailing labels to three people. Based on the theme of the month - psst January's theme is renewal - the first contributor will add their own interpretation of the theme onto the medium, using whatever art supplies they wish, then that person will put the piece into the provided brown bag and mail it to the next contributor (whose address is provided on the mailing labels). Once the art piece has passed through each contributor, it will be mailed back to us. Then we will blog all about your rad creations the following month.

That Louise has got some great ideas, eh? She's hosting this month of Project Brown Bag, so head over to her blog for more details and to enter to be one of our art contributors!! Wahoo!


Image by huckleberryyy found here.


I'm pretty excited for this round of the IN LOVE series, friends. I basically want all of Christie's picks...

Hi artsocialites! To be honest I had to do a little research for this week’s IN LOVE series to find out what was trending during this fall. I was thrilled to hear that sweaters are BACK, specifically graphic sweaters. Hi my name is Christie and I am addicted to sweaters. Warmth, comfort, no fuss... sweaters are already my fall staple and now they are “in”, Christmas came early for me kids. Okay, now that we got that little spiel outta the way let’s check out what I’m fallin’ for. [Sorry for that bad joke...]

Bold, flashy, not your granny’s duds. 1. Friends, this sweater is not for anyone that wants to blend in with the crowd. Show-stoppin’ neon, and a bold graphic make this sweater uber chic. 2. I’m obsessed with geometric triangles and this sweater feeds into that. I love the slightly longer length and can see it paired with some comfy leggings and sitting by a fireplace.

Playful, whimsy, and something you could have worn as a kid. 3. Yeah, that’s totally a polar bear sweater. Sure you could have worn this in elementary school but why leave it in your past? Wear this sweater like a balla and it’ll put a smile on your face. 4. When I look back at pictures from my youth I was always wearing the most ridiculous prints and patterns. This 80s/90s geo print pullover is nostalgic and yet totally cool.

Calling all type-lovers, designers, or people who wanna walk around like a billboard. 5. Since I surround myself with typography it makes sense to pull that into my wardrobe. I love how simplistic this sweater is. 6. I’m a lover of red. It’s as easy as that!

Sweaters for a date, or gallery opening. Fancy-that! 7. Sequins, sparkles and black. This is a statement sweata. 8. Since I’m loving the Peter Pan collar trend but not sure if I can pull it off this sweater is the perfect option. It comes with a detachable collar for the brave.

Are you a sweater lover or are you jumpin’ on another fashion trend this fall?

See more from bedsidesign on twitter, facebook, pinterest, and instagram… and you can also get a sneak peek of our pins for the IN LOVE series right ova here.



Happy Monday, friendies! While I'm playing in New Mexico this week (psst I rode on the world's longest tram yesterday!), I've got some suh-weet guest bloggers lined up for ya. First up, Christie of bedsidesign has gotcha covered with our IN LOVE series...

Since Erin is road trippin’ this week we thought it would be fun to talk about some of the things that we love about trekking on the open road.

1. Confession, VW Beetles are my favorite. I’ve never had one but I think they would be the cutest car to take on a road trip and I just loved the suitcase racks on this vintage one.

2. My dating relationship with the hubs was via long distance. He was in Binghamton (then moved even further to Syracuse) and I was in Long Island. That’s an average 5-6 hour drive that we swapped taking almost every weekend so I’m very familiar with road trips. The one thing that I made sure I never forgot no matter what season was a good hoodie. This is actually the one I took with me!

3. I love how adventurous road trips feel and this quote pretty much sums it up. P.S. Did you notice Erin featured an elephant in her roundup as well? Crazy!

4. Whenever I go on a road trip I make sure to bring at least one new CD. What’s a road trip without music? I love how epic each CD gets when you attach it to awesome memories. If I was taking a road trip this week I’d bring the new Mumford & Sons with me.

5. I never would start a road trip without bringing along a cup of coffee. My husband and I have our own personalized Keep Cups that we pretty much take everywhere. Not only can you pick the colors of your cup but they also have the ounces marked on the inside of the cup so that baristas can properly measure your drinks! You know what that means? Discounts for bringing along your own cup and less trash that you have to accumulate in your car. That’s a win win if you ask me!

6. Slip on shoes are a must for me because when I drive long distances I like to do so barefoot. Maybe I feel more connected to the vehicle or maybe it’s just more comfortable [most likely the second option] but when I need to make a pit stop for gas or for a stretch I just want to get out and go. These are the TOMS that I have and they can double for being all fancy or convenient tp pump gas. They are also extremely comfortable.

7. True story: I usually start a road trip in a pair of sweats, hoodie and slip ons. I also start without any make up *gasp*. That’s why the last stop I take before I “arrive” I get out, and get ready! I throw on some jeans, a fancy shirt and my TOMS still look good. One time I took a trip with a friend to visit our boyfriends [now our husbands]. We stopped 10 minutes from their apartment and headed to the rest area bathroom to get ready. While I was putting my makeup on a lady tapped me and asked what I was doing. At the time I was putting on some MAC fluidline eyeliner which I admit looks a bit odd the first time you see it. Well her question turned into me giving her a 10 minute makeup tutorial from putting on eyeliner to curling your eyelashes. My friend got a kick out of it and our boyfriends laughed at us later. Moral of the story? Having a well stocked handy-dandy makeup bag can create memories.

What do you love about taking trips on the open road?

See more from bedsidesign on twitter, facebook, pinterest, and instagram… and you can also get a sneak peek of our pins for the IN LOVE series right ova here.


You know those things that make you happy no matter what kind of mood you're in? Cupcakes, balloons, a boss song from your past? Well in the name of the Be Happy Linkup and collaboration month (holllaaaa), I'm teaming up with Christie of bedsidesign for a little guest posting all about the things that bring us happiness. For the next few Mondays, she'll be sharing her very favorite things here on artsocial... and I'll be sharing my picks over on bedsidesign. Check 'em out, yo. I am thrilled to start this fabulous collaboration with artsocial. To kick-start this series I would like to share the things that make me happy as way to introduce myself to you. I tried to showcase the various things that make me... well, me!

I’m a lover of minimalistic/cozy interior design. Often those two do not go hand in hand but I am all about reality and at the end of a long day I just want to feel comfort (in a stylish way!). I am currently working through classes for interior design and blog a lot about trends and styles that I love. I came across Castle, an Australian company with stellar bed linens in fun prints. I could live in this picture.

I am not a morning person. I admit, I am addicted to coffee and I love it. I am lucky enough to have a husband who loves brewing coffee in different ways. My favorite is via Chemex - plus it looks so cool when you serve it to friends.

I’m a New Yorker. I’m all about representin’ where I hail from. I grew up in Long Island and there’s nothing quite like it. I moved to Syracuse in 2010 and I’ve fallen in love with this city. I love the diversity that this state offers. My current day job is at a letterpress print shop so I am continually surrounded by beautiful typography so this doubles as 2 things. NY + typography = a happy Christie.

Nothing can move me quite like music can. I grew up playing piano, and singing. I even tried out a music program in college but realized I didn’t feel quite at home with the classical style. I love a good folk band and while playing in a band a few years ago I was introduced to the melodica and my life was changed. If you haven’t heard this instrument you must!

Who doesn’t love a good Essie nail polish? Clam bake is my favorite color because it reminds me of Long Island summers and pretty much looks great with everything!

Colorful, geometric shapes inspire me. I also love Pantone swatches and paint chips and these little Leif boxes put a smile on my face. Skipping to the shelf - I love this for the same reason. I love how simplistic it is.

I am obsessed with sea otters, like for real. These cuties are from the Vancouver Aquarium.

Mark Rothko is my favorite artist and I have this print in my home. I can’t NOT smile looking at it. It captivates me.

Since I grew up near the ocean and my father was a fisherman, anchors are very dear to me. I have an anchor tattoo and I even had a nautical/anchor themed wedding. These earrings are just darling.

I can’t wait to be back here next Monday with more of the things that I am IN LOVE with.

Thank youuu, Christie!! See more from bedsidesign on twitter, facebook, pinterest, and instagram... and you can also get a sneak peek of our pins for the IN LOVE series right ova here.


It's only September 12th and I've added a lot to my plate... I have some really exciting collabs coming together (psst one involves a fab guest blogger and the other involves Pinterest + YOU). So excited. But I want more. Like when you're so stuffed but still manage to find room for dessert...

What I'm already learning from my collabs are keep it simple and, if you can, make it interactive - it's the most fulfilling that way. Sharing the love with other bloggers and my readers is really the best part. Like the Be Happy linkup? I LOVE reading your posts (linkup tomorrow, ya hear!) I'm endlessly inspired by you guys. And I've gotta say, the pay it forward giveaway was one of my favorite posts ever. I loved seeing the giveaway spread to other awesome blogs.

After that blog-giveaway-lovefest I started thinking about how uh-mazing it would be to continually give back by hosting a pay-it-forward giveaway on the reg, as a thank youuuu to all of you rad folks. But buying everyone gifts could get spendy - although I'd do it, I tell ya! So I'm takin' things up a notch by starting a giveaway collab... as we speak I'm scouting out shops to work with who would be interested in sponsoring the giveaway by providing the goods in exchange for a little (big) shout out on artsosh... the goods don't have to be big or expensive, just a little something to spread the love. If you know of any makers of super awesome shtuff (even if it's yourself, self-promotion is allowed, nay encouraged! Go for yours!)  who would be interested in paying it forward, then send 'em my way:

Pretty excited to see how this one comes together. It could take some time, but hey, Live with Intention, Blog with Intention... and I intend to give back.

Image found here.


When I first had the idea for artsocial, I was so excited I couldn't sleep at night. I'd stay up thinking about the future and all of the amazing possibilities. I guess when you have an idea that causes you to lose sleep, you should act on it, huh? I got these same exact butterflies when I decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into this blog happiness project and the Be Happy linkup. And just like before, I can't sleep. I keep waking up waaay too early in the morning, so excited, thinking it's time to start the day. What is with me! But ya know, I think a part of me knew lots of awesomeness was about to take place and just couldn't wait to get started.

So far for Collaboration month, my main strategy has been to ask, put it out there, tell people I want to collaborate. Straight out asking for help and support is extremely effective. Unicorns for Socialism recently wrote a grrrreat post about this very topic. How did I ask for support? Basically, I've used this blog and every single social media channel in my control... the most effective for me? The blog and twitter. Although I've also noticed, by subscribing to some of my favorite sites and blogs by email, I've gotten some pretty great potential collaboration opportunities sent my way. This Alt class being one of those things. And of course, Blog Brunch is always a great place for collabs to start...

But through twitter, in only one week, I found out about a pay it forward giveaway on Bedsidesign (that I already know I'm going to do again next month!), learned sooo much about sponsorship (through #blogbrunch), was introduced to an awesome new blog friend to swap buttons with, and came across an exciting little opportunity with to be a ambassador (light shining/angels singing). When I first saw this crazy awesome chance to work with, one of coolest brands ever, my reaction was waaahhhhhh, I wanna do that! So clearly I had a strong HELL YES reaction, which means go. for. it. I (practically) ran home to fill out the application. I was so nervous, like ridiculous nervous, reading and re-reading the application a gazillion times. I'm being so silly! I thought, if it's the right thing, I'll get it. If not, there are plenty of other opportunities. I anxiously submitted it and pretended it was no biggie...

A few days later I found out I was not chosen to be an ambassador. My little heart sunk. I found myself surprisingly disappointed by it. I tend to be overly romantical about everything and think that opportunities like this come about for a reason (blah, blah) and since I was starting collaboration month on the blog and found out about this opportunity to work with a great brand, clearly that meant it was put on my twitter feed at that exact moment just for my eyes to see... sighh. Welp. No, not the case.

I was so annoyed with myself, but not because I didn't get accepted. I was annoyed because after alllll of the positive, amazing feedback and opportunities that came about within one week (!) I was letting the one disappointment get me down. Am I that insecure?? Gah, ego!

Remember what Gretchen said in The Happiness Project? To enjoy the fun of failure? When I first read that, I must admit I didn't quite know how to receive it. Fun? Failure? No, they don't go together. Having such a strong background in academics mixed with my go-getterness makes this point hard for me to accept. Gretchen explains:

[Failure is] part of being ambitious; it's part of being creative. If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly.

Well that I do agree with. Pushing myself to strive for greater things on the blog isn't always going to pan out how I want it to. Sometimes, it will force me into a very uncomfortable confrontation with... well myself and how I deal with failure. But one thing is for sure. I will never let my discomfort or fear of failing stop me from trying, from asking, or from applying again next month to be a ambassador...!

Wow is this really only week 1 of my official happiness project? Great lessons already. Neato gang! I can't wait to read your happiness posts - link up below!!

<img title="link up. be happy." src="" alt="" width="600" height="200" />

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