Maker Monday: Dog Color

Happy Maker Monday! 

This week we are happy to feature Masako Roberts, a pet portrait artist! We love how she captures the spirit of your fur baby and turns it into a piece of art you can showcase in your home forever. We also love Masako’s overall passion for having your pets turned into works of art. Just like we have photos on the wall of our family, Masako makes sure your pet isn’t left out and gets their rightful place among the frames of family members. To check out more of Masako’s work or to get your four-legged best friend’s portrait visit her shop, Dog Color, and to learn more about her creative journey, read on!

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: My name is Masako Roberts. I was born Japanese and did my undergraduate at Missouri Western University. I graduated from Maine College of Art with an M.F. A in 2001. I met my husband in school in 1999. My husband and I moved to NJ for opportunities and possibilities. I was attracted to the New York art scene and had a dream of making art. I worked in Chelsea as a gallery assistant, an artist assistant, retail sales, a translator in NYC etc. We currently live in Newark, NJ.

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East Nashville’s Best Eats

BY CAILIN BURKE

After our morning of traveling, shopping and checking out some of the city’s coolest street art, we headed to Barista Parlour for much needed coffee and snacks! If you’ve checked out our blog at all, you know we love discovering and hanging out in new cafes. Most Nashvilians raved about Barista Parlour and we liked that it had such a cool cafe space and motorcycles just chilling out front. And of course, the coffee!

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Feature Friday: LHE Bakes

Happy Feature Friday!

20170225_143618We are incredibly excited about today’s feature, because Lisa He of LHE Bakes creates the most beautiful baked goods! We love how her business has grown since the start, now creating dog treats, custom cookies for clients, and even cookie subscription boxes! She isn’t afraid to try new techniques or experiment, and we think that’s what makes her creations stand out and be so well executed! She’s gotten to where she is through practice and balance — and has some great advice to give through her own creative journey. Keep reading and get ready to seriously crave some cookies!

Castle Logo: Tell us a few fun facts about yourself!

lhe logo 3: Am a software/medical device project manager by trade, but love to use my hands after my “day job” is over.  I am slightly obsessed with my dogs. I know I’m going to have dogs for the rest of my life. My husband and I are pretty dedicated to fitness! We eat a “if it fits your macros” lifestyle and lift weights 4x a week– we were feeling really out of shape after getting our first jobs out of college, and realized that it was time for a change so we can live better, longer. We also LOVE doing obstacle races (for fun, not competition).

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Castle Logo: How did you discover you had a passion for baking and wanted to pursue it to start your own home bakery?
lhe logo 3: This was a complete accident! One day in college (this was in like 2008) I came across a photo of a French Macaron. They were SO ADORABLE that I became instantly obsessed and spent YEARS trying to perfect them. These beautiful little treats definitely sparked my passion for baking. Over the years, I’ve always maintained some form of creative outlet aside from my day job– because I need a well rounded life to be truly happy. I finally took the plunge last year and started this little gig on the side– haven’t looked back since!

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Exploring East Nashville

BY CAILIN BURKE

Even though we all had traveled and just arrived to Nashville that morning, we wanted to make the most of our day and check out our new stomping grounds! We got an Airbnb in East Nashville and it was an adorable house near a huge park and conveniently 5-15 minutes from everything. A lot of the other houses in the area, like the one below, were super colorful and almost every one seemed to have an adorable porch swing! We personally love staying in Airbnbs because it’s cool to be in a more residential area and get a glimpse of how a Nashvillian lives! We picked one in East Nashville because we had heard the area was growing and had a lot of cool spots, but was outside of the toursity areas.

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Well what we heard was true — because East Nashville quickly became one of our favorite pats of the city! After stopping into our house to get the Greyhound off of us, we headed to Five Points to walk around, see some street art, and shop! Five Points is the center of East Nashville in terms of food and businesses! Right away we stumbled upon a huge few walls that had a bunch of murals and grabbed some photos.

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Maker Monday: Illustrator Beth Briggs

Happy Maker Monday! 

This week we’re featuring illustrator, Beth Briggs, as part of a new expansion of our Feature Fridays! We love her fun and expressive illustrations. Her pieces portray a lifestyle, capture a client’s style or even show off the personality of your beloved pet! Beth’s story to becoming a full-time illustrator is so inspiring and is a testament to not giving up on your dreams and taking the leap to pursue them wherever life has landed you. It’s never too late or too early to dream chase. Beth has always identified as an artist and we think that’s a big part of recognizing your passion. Find something that makes you feel more like yourself, as Beth did, the world will take notice! Keep reading to learn more about Beth’s creative journey!

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: My story is best summed up as reinventing myself at 50, I guess! I began my custom illustration business in 2014 when I found myself stuck in a non-creative day job and longing to illustrate again. My kids were just about grown up and I realized it was now or never to see if I could turn my dream into a reality. On my 50th bday I began to post daily fashion stories (illustrated collages featuring a fashionable character) on IG. I am very excited to finally be quitting my day job to pursue my illustration career full time thanks to the renewed popularity of fashion illustration and the wonders of self promotion through social media! I didn’t even have a Facebook account prior to 2014 lol. I will be moving to sunny Sarasota in May 2017 where I will continue to grow my online business which includes custom pet, bridal and fashion portraits along with live fashion and party sketching. I hope to pursue my love for teaching watercolor technique as well. I’m adding digital products as well such as Clip Art Collections to encourage the artist in everyone!

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Arriving in Nashville & Heading Straight to CREMA

BY CAILIN BURKE

A few months back we went on a six day visit to Nashville, Tennessee for a girl’s trip! We had always wanted to go to Nashville to eat amazing food, try out their cool coffee shops, and of course… hear some live music! When we discovered that we had a Greyhound Road Reward to take a free bus ANYWHERE, we wanted to get the best value and chose Music City! With all the public transportation and crazy long commutes we’ve done in the past, we knew we could handle the 24 hour bus ride. After several transfers, sitting in bus terminals, and long naps — we arrived!

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We started our Nashville visit with caffeine and food of course! Straight from the bus terminal we walked to CREMA, a really cool cafe and artisanal coffee roaster that we heard amazing reviews of! We each got an iced chai latte, and they were amazing! They were pretty spicy which I really enjoyed, and unlike the normal chais I’ve had in the past. Since being home, I’ve found myself craving one of these again but can’t find a place that makes them the same!

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Feature Friday: Zuri Collection

knot necklaceHappy Feature Friday!
Today we’re excited to share the story of Abby Alley from Zuri Collection. Being a conscious consumer is so important, so we love what Abby has to say about her mission and the women behind her brand. We, ourselves, love to purchase fair trade items or buy from brands that give back to a cause or create job opportunities in the communities that need them. If you’re going to buy a product anyway, why not choose one that makes a positive impact? We love Abby’s heart for Tanzania and the women who create all of the gorgeous, handcrafted items for Zuri Collection. Read along to hear more about the impact her business is making and see some of the beautiful pieces the talented artisans of Tanzania make.

Castle Logo: Tell us about yourself!
zuri_website_logo-01_1_6fc9197e-d069-448a-a83e-8977fa75a1b5_200x: My name is Abby Alley, and I grew up outside Chicago, but have been living in the city for the past 10 years. I have two younger sisters who both live in Chicago, which is so much fun! A few fun facts about me: I’m a Cubs fan, the beach is my happy place, I suffer from a bad case of wanderlust ;), and my faith is really what drives what I do.

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Spektor Coffee Roasters

BY TARA BURKE

We’ve got another coffee oasis spot for you guys! As you all know by now, finding cool coffee shops wherever we go is kinda our thing. There are too many amazing coffee places in the city that no matter how hard we try we will probably not make it to all of them…which is what makes the city so great in a way, but in Upstate NY you have to sometimes search for them. Cailin came across Spektor Coffee in Glens Falls, NY on Instagram so on a nice day we drove up for an afternoon caffeine kick!

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Feature Friday: Ashley Olinger

Happy Feature Friday! 

This week we are featuring Ashley Olinger, a Pittsburgh based freelance illustrator and designer! If you’re a fan of color, gradients and simplistic yet bold design you’ll find all of it on the stickers, pins, and cards she makes for her store, YEAHYELHSA. We love Ashley’s perspective on finding inspiration on the fly, creating in the moment and examining the ordinary. We definitely think these perspectives and her willingness to keep experimenting shows in the spirit of her work! To learn more about Ashley’s design journey, read on!

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: My name is Ashley! I am almost 23. I am a freelance illustrator & designer living in Pittsburgh. I love bright colors and thick lines, and I spend my free time screen printing and going to shows.

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Honey & Tea Tasting

BY CAILIN BURKE

Nothing new here — this post talks about matcha, again! … But for all of the matcha lattes in NYC, my favorite green drink is few and far between in Upstate New York (our hometown). I was looking up where I could find matcha in the area, and saw that Saratoga Tea & Honey had one on their menu! So there we went!

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Before we grabbed a latte, we went straight to the back to see their “Honey Room.” It’s just how it sounds, a room with jars of honey everywhere! You can taste all of their varieties which was so fun! I love honey in my tea, yogurt, and smoothies, but for some reason don’t like to eat it plain — so I wasn’t jumping up and down at the chance to sample tons and tons of honey.

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