It’s the last day of the month! I hope you take a second to take stock of the past four weeks and see what wonderful things you got to experience in March 2015. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my top ten list, so stay tuned!

Today I wanted to announce that my blog got a little makeover! I’m not sure if you noticed yet, but if you’re reading this in a feed, pop on over to see the new look! I’ve also done some editing with the pages and products, so poke around and have some fun! This new design was executed by Kaelah of The Clueless Girl’s Guide.

Have a great end of the month– make sure you make it count, darling!

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
my new blog design

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
my new rainbow keyboard from Etsy

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
this girl doing some egg dyeing in her front yard

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
the beautiful building paint on this dance studio in DC

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
the black-lit wall in my favorite bar

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
getting a piece of cake for myself when I got Joe his birthday cake

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
surprising Joe with balloons on his birthday

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
the ceiling display in Free People

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
hanging out with Britney Girl Dale again

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
knitting Joe a Ninja Turtle mask for his birthday

What’s on your happy list this week? Tell me in the comments!


Decorating For A Happy Life | Uncustomary Art

You’re supposed to surround yourself with positive people if you want to succeed and live a happy life, but what about the times you’re alone? We spend a good deal of time in our homes, and we don’t always think about the way our living space looks as having an impact on our mood and mental health… but it does!

I like to think about this in application to home decorating and design: Organization is different for everyone, but I know that I have a much easier time creating when I can physically see my workspace and know where all my supplies are. Creative people are notorious for a messy living space because of the way our minds work. We constantly have dozens of “tabs” open in our minds, always thinking of the next project. Some people thrive in a messy area as long as they know where things are, and some people don’t because everyone is different.

Since everyone’s tastes are different, there isn’t a one-tutorial-fits-all post to write up to make your living environment the ideal space for you. Some people might need a lot of white space, some prefer to cover corner-to-corner. Themes can range from color to time period, color palettes can be muted or neon. It’s all up to you.

Today is the start of a new series where I interview people with beautiful living spaces. These people don’t live in mansions, but they have made every square foot count. I’m going to give you a peek into their homes, where I hope you can draw inspiration from their decor. Remember that I can’t tell you how to decorate, but I hope that what you take away from this is the importance of creating a place to play, work, and sleep that is aesthetically pleasing and inspiring to you.

Decorating For A Happy Life | Uncustomary Art

Up first is April of April’s Twisted Entertainment. She lives in a one bedroom, one bathroom house with a big basement. She actually went to school for interior design and worked at a firm called Designing Women for eight years, so she’s not exactly a newbie to this whole making shit beautiful thing. She doesn’t decorate professionally anymore, but she is available for hire for all of your party and entertainment needs– hello face paint, stilts, and elaborate balloon twisting!

Decorating For A Happy Life | Uncustomary Art

Has decorating your living space always been something that interests you?

“Yes, I wanted to be an interior designer as a child.”

Decorating For A Happy Life | Uncustomary Art

Has the amount of space you have to work with ever intimidated you, be it large or small?

“I think design challenges are always fun, so small or big doesn’t matter.”

Decorating For A Happy Life | Uncustomary Art

Where do you tend to go first for furniture or decor purchases for yourself?

“I usually go to Home Goods, thrift stores, second chance stores, or yard sales.”

Decorating For A Happy Life | Uncustomary Art

Would you rather make something yourself or find an already-made cheap option?

“I usually can’t find the exact thing that I want, so I end up making it anyway whether it’s painting or altering it in some way.”

Decorating For A Happy Life | Uncustomary Art

Do you have any tips for people with small living spaces?

“Yeah! Give me a call!”

Decorating For A Happy Life | Uncustomary Art

How has creating a beautiful space affected your happiness and productivity?

“I… have to do this. I don’t know why. I can’t live in a space that’s just white walls. I have to bring in color somehow or do something weird.”

Decorating For A Happy Life | Uncustomary Art

What’s your favorite thing in your house?

“My basement– the toy room because it’s so fun and colorful.”

Decorating For A Happy Life | Uncustomary Art

The upstairs of April and Sean’s house is very adult-like at first glance. The color schemes are elegant, there’s a lot of texture, and most of the seating is on chairs or couches. Going downstairs is like going into a wonderland you didn’t know you could still enter as a grown-up. There are swings, stuffed animals, and a black-lit room with a glowing bubble machine. Hula hoops, candy, inflatables, and… did I mention a ball pit? She has an adult-sized ball pit in her house.

Decorating For A Happy Life | Uncustomary Art

Don’t let the upstairs fool you, though. That gorgeous fabric-covered ceiling is what stands over our head when we’re about to do lip-sync performances, otherwise known as “backstage”. And that wall next to those gorgeous animal-spotted chairs actually turns into a stage. This residence is home to the coolest couple I know, as well as the most elaborate, and fun parties you’ll ever have the pleasure of attending.

Decorating For A Happy Life | Uncustomary Art

Make sure you follow April’s entertainment business on Facebook and contact her if you need any advice on decorating. What’s your favorite part of April’s house?

If you think you’re a candidate for a beautiful living space interview, please e-mail me! I promise you don’t have to have a ball pit to be eligible.


Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

After I graduated The Blogcademy I made online friendships with some other Blogcadettes, and one of them was Latanya of Sprinkles and Booze. Last month, she asked me if I would come to the Monarch Workshop in Connecticut. I checked out their website and realized how like-minded these babes were. Confetti, photoshoots, networking? Sign me up. Connecticut seemed far away, but it turns out it’s actually only a four hour drive from Baltimore. Everything started coming together.

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

The only downside was Joe’s birthday party was the night before I needed to be there. I ended up partying till 4:30 in the morning, got dressed, and hopped on 95 North. I got there in great time despite the snow storm that got more intense the closer I got (Happy Spring, right?). We met at the B:Hive in downtown Bridgeport where we were offered fruit, coffee, and the opportunity to say hi to the babes we’d seen online.

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

Maddy and Jessica (of Oh My Gemini and The Confetti Bar, respectively) welcomed us and let us know we were about to take a little field trip a street over to The Bananaland. Dozens of energetic and beautiful women trekked in our sparkly shoes through snow puddles and up the two flights of stairs where we were greeted by magic. The tables were decorated in the most aesthetically pleasing way. Everything was stunning. We found our name badges which designated our seat, placed next to our own bottle of champagne, notebook, gel pen, and welcome pamphlet created by Marcy Kovac (who let us have the workshop at The Bananaland).

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art
After we peeked through our swag bags full of amazing freebies from generous sponsors, we got to introducing ourselves. We were asked to bring a tchocke with us to give the group a better idea of who we are. I shared a glittery gold star magic wand, explaining how I believe in magic and want everyone to love themselves even if they’re weird like me and hang out on bridges dressed as a Troll doll. Plus, I leave glitter wherever I go. Lots of ladies were from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York but there were actually a couple women from Maryland! Even Danielle, who was from Baltimore! Such a cool coincidence. The energy in the room was palpable, and people started getting emotional hearing others’ stories. We were feeling inspired just an hour in.

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

Next up was a talk from Cara Alwill and a follow-up activity where we all made our own vision boards. Then we had a mini yoga session with Kat of YogaKat Fitness, where we basically just got to dance our butts off to Natalie Merchant. I was complimented on my dance moves, and I loved with Kerstin came over and we danced together. Our lunch and consistent snackage was catered by Whisk + Brush. Everything was delicious, we had tons of choices, and people have already been asking for recipes! If I knew how to use anything except a microwave, I’m sure I would be asking for them as well.

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

Before we went home for the day (or to a hotel in my case), Debra Wolf talked to us about nutrition to promote an overall healthy lifestyle, and Julia Lovallo educated us on effectively branding our businesses. It’s probably no surprise that a majority of the women at this workshop run their own business either instead of or in conjunction with a corporate job.

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

Throughout the day, Ashley raffled off free products and services from our sponsors. I put 2/3 of my tickets in to win this gorgeous sequined tablecloth by Candy Crush. Unfortunately I didn’t win, but there’s really nothing sad about this experience. Everything that happened was just extra cherries on top of the most delicious sundae.

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

We walked into a different table set up on Day Two, which was really smart on the part of The Dream Team. We were able to mix and mingle with new babes that might have been four tables away from us the first day. We drew angel cards (I got “Inspiration”) and spread out to do a full hour-long session of yoga with Kat. It was calming and intense. We had some seriously tasty brunch (again from Whisk + Brush) that I filled up on and was grateful that we ate after yoga. Then we sat down to do a Q&A session with The Dream Team, where we got well-rounded answers to our questions on life and business.

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

Next up was a talk from Michelle Bablo, which was probably my favorite part of the whole weekend. I had already gotten to know Michelle a little, but her talk blew my mind. It was incredibly inspirational to hear her story and advice. She wants us all to just fucking go for it, and I whole-heartedly agree.

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

Did I mention that throughout the entire weekend Nicky Digital had set us up with a photobooth and props where we were able to take as many pictures as we wanted? It was fabulous and a great bonding activity. Featured here is Sarah of NYC Foodie Finder.

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

To wrap up Day Two, Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom came to talk to us about supporting other women and her fabric line at JoAnn’s. She provided us with fun supplies to make our own garlands. We snacked on popcorn and cookies as we made our crafts and exchanged business cards and contact info to keep in touch with each other.

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

I’m really grateful that Latanya invited me to this workshop, and I can definitely recommend it to anyone considering it. There’s not an official date for the next event, but I think it’s a safe bet to assume it will be sometime in the Fall. I’ll be sharing more about my general experience in Bridgeport, Connecticut soon. I hope you enjoyed the eye candy that is the Monarch Workshop, a totally undefinable experience.

Monarch Workshop | Uncustomary Art

Mojalvo shot some gorgeous footage of this weekend. How many times can you spot me?


Today is Joe’s Birthday, and to celebrate I’ve got some pictures of Bug and the opportunity for you to win some money! Maybe it’s not your birthday today, but we’re gonna act like it is!

Happy Birthday From Bug | Uncustomary Art

Happy Birthday From Bug | Uncustomary Art

Happy Birthday From Bug | Uncustomary Art

Happy Birthday From Bug | Uncustomary Art

Happy Birthday From Bug | Uncustomary Art

And I do actually have some Bug Birthday postcards for sale for cheap. You could get some to send to far away friends to let hem know you’re thinking about them on their special day!

caley | chelsea | amy | ninasophi | karli | hannah | kati rosepaige | mary | hayley | libby
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Hey beautiful! After spending the weekend in Connecticut with a bunch of fabulous women and taking eleven hours to drive home (while stopping in Bridgeport, Manhattan, Edison, Newark –both New Jersey and Delaware–, and Trenton), I’m pretty happy to be back in my bedroom with Bug and his fluffy belly.

Today, in addition to happy photos is your chance to win a free camera! It’s open to all countries, so check out the happy then enter to win!

10 things making me happy lately:

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
Seeing giant dandelions while I was driving through New York

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
The amazing Monarch Workshop — more soon

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
Beautiful architecture in Connecticut

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
Street art in Manhattan

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
Celebrating Joe and Brooke’s birthdays in style

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
Proof of kindness

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
The way this broken cross looked

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
Seeing an elephant themed carnival ride driving down 95

10 Things Making Me Happy | Uncustomary Art
Hanging out with Britney Girl Dale

What’s making you happy lately? If I ask you in a couple weeks you might be saying “winning a camera”! Interested? Enter to win below!
Dressing Dallas      |     Emma Cristy      |     Hello Rigby     |     Dottie Box
——————————————————————————————————–
 
A couple specs about the giveaway:
- the giveaway will run for ten days after which the winner will be selected at random, contacted, and announced via this post, the post of the day, and all social media outlets! Please check all those places before asking weeks later who won? :)
- Again this is open internationally! hooray!
The winner will receive the Canon Rebel T5i in a kit with an 18-135mm lens, a battery and a battery charger, camera case, tripod, SD card, lens cleaner, and lens hood:) 
- Winner’s entry will be verified before the public announcement.


If you’re in the Baltimore or Anne Arundel County areas of Maryland, it’s likely that you’ve seen Dale Crites, affectionately known as Britney Girl Dale, Ke$ha Girl Dale, and most recently Madonna Girl Dale. Last month, I was out running errands and saw her and her friend jumping up and down enthusiastically on the side of the road. It wasn’t exactly unusual since that’s where us locals usually see her strutting her stuff.

I waved her down and gave her a ride home after asking if I could interview her at some point. Once the snow melted and we could get our groove on without frozen winter obstructions, I headed over to her house. Dale skipped over to meet me carrying sparkly wings, a boombox, and camera gear. We drove to a county police department and greeted an officer in the parking lot before getting down to business. And by business, I mean dancing ferociously to Madonna.

Britney Girl Dale | Uncustomary Art

Madonna has been a favorite of Dale’s since she was thirteen years old. Music has been an important staple in her life for as long as she can remember, but it became especially important after a tragic episode of sexual abuse from a family member. She used music like Madonna’s to escape from negative feelings and to find happiness again. And it seems to be working. Check out that smile!

On an average day, Dale gets up earlier than most to check all of her social media. She really loves connecting with her friends and fans online, and utilizes it to the fullest extent to reach a wider group of people. You can even hear her sometimes chiming in on 98 Rock. The rest of the day is usually comprised of cleaning the house, taking care of her dogs (Sasha and Caeser), and dancing.

Britney Girl Dale | Uncustomary Art

Sometimes the dancing is in her living room, and sometimes its on Ritchie Highway, although she’s careful to not do that too often because it can be distracting to drivers. You can’t blame them, though. That energy is infectious! Her favorite place to dance is at fire and police departments, and she really seems to have a great connection with plenty of local officers. She says they make her feel loved and supported.

That doesn’t mean Dale doesn’t experience her fair share of haters. Putting yourself out there to the public in an unapologetic way is sure to get you some criticism. She is the frequent recipient of many nasty comments and gestures as she expresses herself way around town. I asked her what she does about it, and she just replies, “Ignore the haters, honey”. It’s that simple to her! She’s doing her thing, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

Britney Girl Dale | Uncustomary Art

I asked if she had any advice for people experiencing hate, be it for dressing in drag, gender dysphoria, or abuse and maybe don’t find it as easy to let it roll of their back. She said, “Keep on going with your dreams. Don’t ever let bullies get to you. Life is too short to give up. Let the haters hate more”.

Hopefully you’ll luck out one day and see her out and about (like the guy in the photo below). Don’t be shy! Come on over to say hi. And if you get to hang out with Britney Girl Dale, you’ll sure be in for a a fun time full of high fives and smiles. She does her part to inspire others and make them happy. Things that make her happy are concerts, dogs, dancing, men in uniform, and music.

Britney Girl Dale | Uncustomary Art

I hope you’ll “like” Britney Girl Dale on Facebook, and check out this fun dance footage. Hear the whole song here.


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