advice

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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Feature Friday: Studio Twenty Six

Happy Feature Friday!
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We can’t wait for you to hear about Kelsey of Studio Twenty Six in today’s feature! If you are parents or excitedly expecting, Studio Twenty Six makes the most amazing baby blankets and accessories. We love Kelsey’s mindset behind her brand, wanting her pieces to be a useful (and beautiful!) part of each family’s lives. Her blankets not only look so cozy, but are great to use for almost any age. And as Kelsey says, wanting a blanket that wouldn’t be quickly outgrown by her son was one of the reasons she started her brand! Keep reading to learn more about her start and the fun products she creates!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.
studio26: I’m Kelsey. I’m a 27 year old Iowa Native. When I’m not “making” I’m a wife, mom, bookworm, animal lover, and full-time sales territory manager.

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Castle Logo:  We love your Etsy shop, Studio Twenty Six! How did your store start?studio26: I have always had a love for creating and an entrepreneurial spirit. When I was a little girl I remember going to my grandmother’s house and she would let me help her hand stitch her Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. Ever since then I found a love for sewing, but it wasn’t until college that I got my first sewing machine as a Christmas gift. I worked on a few small quilts over the next few years, and it wasn’t until I became pregnant with my son that I really started picking up a passion for sewing all kinds of fun baby things for his room. As I searched for the perfect blankets, sheets, etc. I found it was hard to find something that fit my style and didn’t scream “baby”. I wanted his room to be modern and unique with a style he could grow with and wouldn’t feel outgrown when he transitioned from baby to “big boy”. I had so much fun creating everything, and with encouragement from my mom I decided to turn my new found hobby into a business. I spent my maternity leave putting together my first wholesale order, and as my wholesale business started to increase, I decided to take the plunge and open my Etsy store 6 months later in February 2016.

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Favorite Fall Tracks

BY CAILIN BURKE

Once fall hits, my music taste goes from upbeat and summery to more quiet and folksy. My favorite genre in any season is indie folk – but in the fall I really have a hard time listening to anything else. I’m always looking for new bands to listen to, so I’ve mashed up some undiscovered talent with other songs you may have already heard!

And if there’s any artist/song you think I should check out, let me know in the comments or on any of our social feeds!

Just click the image below to start listening to some of my current faves!
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Feature Friday: Halloween Makeup Q&A with Hannah Concannon of The Dress Up Box

Happy Feature Friday – Halloween Edition!

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 4.24.34 PMThis week we were lucky enough to have TWO makeup experts give us Halloween tips and tricks before the big day! Although getting the perfect costume is important, making sure your makeup enhances that look can tie the whole thing together. If you want to transform your face this Halloween but need to know how to do it, Hannah Concannon of The Dress Up Box has you covered! On her Instagram and website she features a Face of the Day, a new creative look done by Hannah on her own face! We love checking out her pages to find out what she’s doing next! She has a lot of experience and great recommendations for products you can use at home, so keep reading to get some ideas and make sure to also check out Part I with Erin Scott Beauty! And Happy (almost) Halloween!

Castle Logo: We love that you do a Face of the Day. What are some of your favorite looks you’ve done so far ?

DressUpBox_Banner_060914_331: This is definitely a tough one. My favorites change all the time, but at the moment here are the ones I keep coming back to:  The Moon, The Blue Fade, The rainbow swirls, and, of course, Darth Maul.

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Feature Friday: Halloween Makeup Q&A with Erin Scott Beauty

Happy Feature Friday – Halloween Edition!

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 8.58.50 pmThis week we’re showcasing TWO amazing people who answered some of our own questions as well as some of the questions you guys sent us regarding Halloween makeup. First up, we have Erin Scott of Erin Scott Beauty. Not only does she have great tips and trends for this Halloween, but she gives tons of makeup tutorials through her YouTube Channel year round! After Halloween is over and you need some makeup inspo, be sure to head to her page! You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter to see all of the looks she has done so far. If you still don’t know what you’re going to be this year, keep reading for some ideas from Erin Scott Beauty and make sure to also check out Part II with Hannah Concannon of The Dress Up Box.

Castle Logo: What are you being for Halloween?

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 4.31.00 PM: I’m planning on doing my Half Skull, Half Glam Makeup look which I featured on my YouTube channel.

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Feature Friday: Illustrator Ann Shen

tumblr_me5jodMvUZ1qbwmaiHappy Feature Friday!

Today we’re featuring the fun and bright illustrations of Ann Shen! We have actually been familiar with Ann’s work for awhile since we always come across her illustrations in different places online. We love how her designs have an aesthetic that makes it easy to recognize her work and we’re so excited to get the chance to learn more about her. From selling her pieces on Etsy and doing freelance projects, to working on her very first book (that will be released next fall!), Ann is one busy creative! Luckily she took the time to answer some of our questions and show us how much she really loves what she does. Read on to brighten up your Friday by seeing her illustrations!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.
1445381491323: Hi! I’m Ann and I’m an illustrator, letterer, and graphic designer based in Los Angeles.
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Feature Friday: Caterham Design

22_September_Kate_Website_Profile_Photo_1Happy Feature Friday!

Today we’re bringing to you Catherine Dawes of Caterham Design! We fell in love with her hand-lettering instantly and think it’s so cool that something as simple as a phrase can be written to look fun, stylish, or even sophisticated. Catherine really does a great job in making sure her typography communicates something. We love how her pieces all have their own feeling or vibe attached to them! She has a lot of great advice to share and we can’t wait for you to keep reading to learn more about her creative journey thus far.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about who you are.

CD logo:  Hi! I’m Catherine, a graphic artist from South Africa specializing in hand-lettering and calligraphy. I run my design studio, Caterham Design, from a dusty farm on the edge of the Kalahari; where I drink lots of coffee, eat my fair share of buttery pastries, and create hand-crafted designs for creative, artisan companies and individuals.

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Feature Friday: Ballerina Alisa Uzunova

Happy Feature Friday!

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This week we are excited to feature our first dancer on the site, Alisa Uzunova! Being former ballet dancers ourselves we love a good dance Instagram and particularly love Alisa’s. She is a very talented ballerina who is relentlessly pursuing her dancing dreams. Although being a dedicated ballet dancer is a lot of hard work both physically and mentally, Alisa doesn’t think of ballet as that harsh competitive world many view it as. It is simply her passion and one of her keys to happiness. All the hard work is just another stepping stone to achieving her goals.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, my name is Alisa Valerieva Uzunova I was born on the 17th of July in a small beautiful city named Veliko Tărnovo in Bulgaria. I knew from a young age of that I wanted to become a ballerina, every where there was music I always used to start dancing and moving on the rhythm. That’s why my mom decided to put me in a ballet class. I remember my first class when I was 4,5 years old. From then on I said to my mom that I want to become a ballerina. And luckily enough when we moved in 2007 to Brussels, Belgium we found new great ballet teachers, to help me live my dreams. From the age of 12-14 I studied at the Royal Ballet School Of Antwerp under Artistique Director Michael Shannon. Because the school was in a different city I had to stay in a boarding school. After 2 years in Antwerp I decided I wanted to do more ballet and moved back to Brussels to train at a privte school, the Brussels International Ballet School where we danced from 10am until 6pm. After that, I studied my academics for about 2 hours a day. That extra training helped me get better for the Vaganova Ballet Academy.

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Castle Logo: When and why did you start dancing?

I’ve actually always been dancing. My mom used to tell me that even when I was a baby and couldn’t walk yet. I still tried to move whenever I heard music. At the age of 4 or 5 my mom decided to put me in my first ballet lesson. I remember I was wearing this cute little pink leotard and pink skirt. From then on I knew I wanted to do this all my life. At that age I didn’t really know yet what I was supposed to do to become a ballerina, but somehow knew I would.

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Feature Friday: Sculptor Jesse Nusbaum

Happy Feature Friday!

BEARFor today’s feature we have sculptor Jesse Nusbaum of Jesse Nusbaum Art! When we first saw his sculptures we were amazed by the complexity, size, and realism of them. Well, actually… we’re still amazed! And how could we not be?! His huge sculptures are so impressive and unlike anything we’ve seen. Jesse is definitely a testament to doing what you love. He was set to be on a completely different career path, but his love of art outweighed everything else and he decided to pursue it. This feature will be sure to inspire you to follow your own passions just like Jesse!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 22.09.34: I am 25 years old and have lived in Weston, Connecticut my entire life.  I have always had a passion for art from the time I could write and draw.  My other great passion was sports.  I tried all of them on for size.  I got my black belt when I was 7 years old and played on local teams and travel teams in soccer, basketball, baseball, and wrestling.  I was captain of my wrestling team and baseball team in high school and was selected First Team All-State in baseball in my senior year.  I led the conference in home runs, RBIs and stolen bases.  On the art side, I won the Best Sculptor Award during my junior year and senior year in high school.  My father is an attorney in Westport, Connecticut, and the “plan” was that I would be a political science major, which I was at Muhlenberg College initially, and then I would attend law school, which I did for a total of three weeks at the Charleston School of Law, at which time I immediately realized my passion for art far exceeded any desire to become a lawyer.

After leaving law school in September 2014, I immediately commenced my career as an artist full-time.  Two of my husky sculptures are being gifted to Coach Kevin Ollie of the University of Connecticut in recognition of his 2014 National Championship and the second one is being gifted to Coach Geno Auriemma, the Women’s Basketball Coach at the University of Connecticut, who just won their third straight National Championship and Tenth Overall Division 1 Championship, tying a career NCAA record. Upon request, they will be displayed in both of their offices.

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Feature Friday: #KOLLOQUIAL

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

1390202_161861170689982_934640064_nThis week we are featuring Donna Ko of #KOLLOQUIAL. She designs a custom line of totes which feature popular song lyrics on them. We love how simple they are, but at the same time they are absolute show stoppers. People instinctively read what’s on your tote and may even get a flashback to one of their favorite 90s songs. Read on to learn more about #KOLLOQUIAL. Also read the whole way through, her last piece of advice is priceless!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself?

KOLLOQUIAL: Born & raised California gal working full time in advertising as a Senior Copywriter during the day, and moonlighting as some kind of designer, embroiderer, business lady-person.

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