Happy {Season of Change} Weekend

Well, we’re saying so-long to another month. WTF. I never knew life could go this fast, feel this frantic or  be this high flying. As I look back at the first three months of 2013, I gotta say I’m really satisfied with what’s in my rearview mirror.

That’s a good feeling. But there’s still work to be done…

Since January, the blog has started tackling new territory, from sharing more of my personal style, to debuting the Loft Life 2.0, to adding both a shop and all kinds of new columns {like this, this and this}. We even expanded the Apartment 34 team, who I already could not live without! And in fact it’s almost a year to the day that I left the corporate world to launch my consulting business and run this little ole site full time. Time really does fly.

Good things every single one of them, if I do say so myself.

After ending 2012 in a bit of burned out funk, I cannot even tell you how good it feels to have rediscovered energy, inspiration and total excitement about the world of blogging. There are about a billion people I need to thank for this, from dear blogger friends, to my endlessly patient and supportive husband, my family, my clients and to you dear readers. Knowing you’re out there, and what goes on at Apartment 34 might mean something to you… Well it’s what keeps me going, six years strong.

So this weekend, we’re taking the next BIG step. I won’t reveal all just yet, but it will involve the site being down all weekend. Suffice it to say, you will definitely want to stop back by Monday morning. If you read this site on an RSS feed or other reader, I highly recommend dropping in on www.Apartment34.com for the day. I really really hope you like what you’ll see!

In the meantime, here are some fun things to keep you busy, if all the egg hunting and chocolate bunny eating isn’t enough:

~ This is freaking adorable

~ This looks freaking delicous

~ This is freaking brilliant

~ This girl and her pup look so freaking cute

~ This girl is, just, well, freaking amazing

~ This class sounds freaking perfect

~ This girl featured our loft in her Joss & Main sale. Freaking cool!

~ This is such a freaking good idea

~ And this giveaway is, well, you get the gist

We’re also saying good-bye to our March sponsors. If you live in San Francisco, run don’t walk to Bae Home because they are having a moving sale and the deals are so freaking good! And if you’re more of an online shopper, be sure to check out Lulu & Georgia. It’s time for spring cleaning, i.e. the perfect time to swap out tired decor for something fresh and new!

And even though the site is going to be down for the next couple days, I’m going to ask you one favor. Please help me win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York Fashion Week!

When you cast your vote in the Pavan Jet Set Sweepstakes, you’ll give me a chance to spend an all-expenses-paid week on fashion’s front lines AND you’ll be entered to win a trip for two to Paris! You know you wanna go. You can vote right here.

So bookmark all these links and go vote, because we’re saying ta-ta for a couple of days.

Till Monday!

instagram of my shoes captured by emily anderson of @ejaphoto

Idea to Steal {7}

This week’s Idea to Steal relates to a bit of a hot button issue, but it’s not my intention to stir up controversy. See, we have differing opinions in our household, as any healthy marriage between two passionate people should, but this is particularly stark when it pertains to the hottest topic of the day….guns.

Now, I don’t want to incite a debate about the merits of one position or another. I can only say, as someone less comfortable with the idea of guns in my home, that I just really love this:

ideatosteal7

A shotgun as dramatic coffee table art! Sadly, I have no idea where this is from, but I’m going to keep my eye out at every vintage shop and flea market I visit!

It seems like the perfect compromise, don’t you think??

image via here

Women Werk: Introducing sweet & spark

There’s nothing I love more than seeing a girl going after what she wants, especially when it comes to business. Entrepreneurship can be an intimidating and daunting prospect, but with a lot of hard work, sweat and let’s be real, tears, it can be done and quite successfully.

That’s why I’ll jump at the chance to support a fellow woman who is out there doing things on her own. That brings me to the new online jewelry shop sweet & spark. Founder Jillian Bremer had me as soon as she shared her mission:

“to always be authentic and share your spark”

So love that ethos. That’s why, when Jillian asked if I would join a group of fellow bloggers {and fabulous ladies I might add!} to be a part of her lookbook shoot, I jumped at the chance. Spend a day playing with fabulous fashion, jewelry and getting all done up? Count me in. As you can see, the result was tres chic!

We all gathered at this amazing warehouse-like office space in downtown San Francisco to pick through the sweet & spark collection of vintage jewelry.

That is how sweet & sparks works: Jillian has partnered with her buyer – her dad! – to shift through estate sales, flea markets or yard sales on the east coast to find unique earrings, bracelets and necklaces. They focus on pieces produced between the 1940s and 1990s. After careful research, they estimate the decade each piece was produced in and have noted it in the descriptions.

The best part? There is only one of each piece available for purchase!

We were tasked with putting together black & white looks from our own closet and then got to accessorize to our fashion heart’s content. Here are a few outtakes from the day of shooting!

I had to rock my rock n’ roll look barefoot to keep from being a head taller than the balloons!
I also had the chance to sit down with Jillian and learn bit more about her vision for sweet & spark as well as get a few words of wisdom for you aspiring business owners out there! Here’s what she had to say about life as a lady entrepreneur.

What do you think makes your shop different and special?

The novelty of sweet & spark is that it’s authentic vintage jewelry, meaning there’s only one of every piece. Thanks to the rise of blogs, I think we’re experiencing a shift from following specific trends to having unique style freedom. I have yet to run into someone that doesn’t appreciate vintage!

Partnering with my dad on his love for antiquing, he’s doing the dirty work scouring yard sales, flea markets & antique shops along the East coast and I’m out West, building curated assortments of quality, designer signed costume jewelry from the 40s-90s. At the core we’re about the classics and seasonally, we are building collections mimicking current trends which we roll out on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. Check back often, there’s always something new!

What gave you the idea or made you want to start sweet & spark?

With over five years of corporate buying experience for large All American bands, I was most recently working on a new brand with American Eagle Outfitters, which closed last May. I decided to spend the summer home in Buffalo and for the first time in my life, found myself embracing my dad’s love for vintage by spending time out shopping with him. It was then that I had the realization that no one was bridging the gap between the mass market and the overwhelming & un-glamorous world of sourcing vintage pieces. Specifically, there isn’t anyone focusing on just jewelry  – for most vintage brands, it’s an afterthought.

So, I decided there was never going to be a better time. At that point I’d been lifestyle blogging under s&s for over a year and had a basic understanding of what it would take from a creative standpoint to execute my vision. I spent hours on YouTube, took a few Skillshare classes and posted on Craigslist for things I couldn’t figure out on my own. I’m a big believer in just getting started and letting it evolve from there. {editors note: brilliant piece of advice there. Write that one down!}

If you had one piece of advice to give to fledgling entrepreneurs or one thing you’ve learned about business that you never would have otherwise considered, what would it be?

A constant struggle for me along this crazy ride of entrepreneurialism is embracing the unknown. While the possibilities are incredibly exciting, they are also scary at the same time. I’m constantly learning how to let go of expectations and trust intuition it will never lead you astray.

Well I for one want to congratulate Jillian for jumping into that scary abyss. We’re all going to be better and more beautifully accessorized for it!

Be sure to see all the stylin’ bloggers who starred in the sweet & spark lookbook {I showcased her Add Edge Trend Collection}. I have a feeling this brand is going to be one to watch for a long time to come!

images via Sweet and Spark & Vanilla Extract