Ok, the secret's out. I know (Instagram analytics told me so!) that you guys LOVE LOVE LOVE mixing paint videos. So, I have a treat for you, watch below. Zen out and chill and enjoy!
A question that comes up a lot in the creative world is that of inspiration.
Where do you get inspiration? How do you stay inspired? What inspires you to paint? What do you look at for inspiration? What happens if you run out of ideas? How do you deal with creative block?
Well, today let's just tackle the idea of inspiration for an artist. I love painting and I have the problem of "too many ideas". I suffer from total inspiration overload. It's amazing because I have a treasure trove of ideas to paint from at all times (especially in the spring and summer, because those are my favorite colors and subject matters - petals and oceans!). However, I have learned to channel and organize my inspiration a little bit through social media and on Pinterest.
I have recently been using Planoly to help manage my Instagram posts and it has helped me immensely with controlling my enthusiasm for all things visual. USE PLANOLY if you need help with curating your feed, studying your brand colors, channeling your energy and sharing images that truly reflect your business. It also saves a TON of time.
For other visual inspiration, I would love to state here that I use all of my own travel photos, but that's just not the case. I wish I traveled the world for a living and collected beautiful moments myself, but maybe someday?! For now, I use Pinterest. It has been an amazing tool to collect inspiration. My boards are grouped by my biggest interests: Color, Travel, Nature, Cities I love, and Interior Design and Decor.
Feel free to fall down the rabbit hole of Pinterest with me, will you!? It's so fun!
As an artist, I often get asked by other creatives what my favorite painting supplies are, so today I am sharing a little list to help you get started on painting your own abstract wonders!
Here's my list of favorite art supplies for painting in acrylics:
1. Paint: My favorite kind of paint and the best quality out there is Golden. The investment is WORTH IT! If you are just painting for fun, I recommend starting with a student brand paint, like the Basics line available through Liquitex.
2. Art Supply Stores: My favorite art supply stores are Artist and Craftsman and Blick online. Both have AMAZING deals and I usually shop when there are great discounts to help save some money. Also, I secretly love trolling the aisles of A&C and just touching and smelling all of the art supplies. :)
3. Brushes: I paint with Acrylic paints and I love to use a variety of brushes for my work. This choice is completely based on preference. I prefer to use flat brushes with strong bristles, as I apply the paints in a thicker, more "impasto" manner most of the time. I like to use both synthetic and natural haired brushes, but I can offer the suggestion that it is worth pulling on the fibers a bit at the store to see if hairs fall off. I HATE when there are rogue hairs in my paintings after the fact. Insider secret: Ikea's kid department has AWESOME brushes.
4. Canvas vs. Paper vs. Birch Board: This age-old debate (Actually, I guess the oldest debate was just stone, but I digress) is really 100% based on textural preference. Most artists are really tactile people, so we all have our crazy idiosyncrasies based on them. I am a canvas and paper girl for no other reason than just because "I like them"!
5. Oil vs. Watercolor vs. Acrylic: Again, this choice is totally personality-based. I LOVE acrylics because they literally match my personality. I am quick, cheerful, bright, and stubborn. We work well together. Oil painting requires a bit more technique and ventilation as well as A LOT of patience (which is not my area of expertise!). Watercolors are free-flowing and require a bit more control, but are LOTs of fun. So, basically, just start experimenting and see what you enjoy the most.
6. Water Jars: This is a relatively important issue. It seems like any cup or jar will do, but that's just not the case. (I know, it seems like I am taking this WAY too seriously!) Talenti gelato jars are literally the best because they are broad on the bottom and balance when full of heavy brushes. Also, Mason Jars are perfect and come in both the short and tall varieties, which help with balancing really tall brushes. The idea here is to pick a water jar that will not fall over and spill, which happens quite often if they are full of dirty brushes.
An affordable option for decorating your home with Artwork by your favorite artist (cough, cough!) is to order a large, oversized print of their work. So many people have been reaching out to me recently about this, so I wanted to share all of the details with you today.
Sizes and Pricing:
30x40 - $500 ("Summer Storm" print only)
How do I order? Just email me.
Arrival time: 2-3 weeks.
Will my print be signed by Megan? yes!
Where should I frame my new print? Framebridge! (New Framebridge Customers: Use code ARTBYMEGAN15 to receive a 15% discount on your first order!)
Hi friends! Here is a little round-up of some of my favorite places in NYC if you find yourself taking a weekend adventure here! This list includes all of my favorite things to do in Manhattan. If you're also visiting Brooklyn, here's a little post about Brooklyn, too!
The Best NYC Art Galleries:
The must-see galleries in Manhattan for me are the Whitney, the MoMA and the MET. They are all amazing for entirely different reasons, so pick whichever is closest to your other destinations and go wild!
MoMA- for an amazing selection of Modern Art plus a super cute cafe and awesome kids' area. My favorite part at MoMA is the outdoor area, which is so lovely for a little rest during a trip to the city.
THE MET - for the quintessential NYC experience, go to the MET. It's stunningly beautiful, but HUGE. Take a section and enjoy it, instead of trying to see it all in one day. My favorite wing is the Egyptian wing, where the reflection of the windows on the indoor pool are amazing. Also, you can spot Jackie O's old Apartment from the window; this wing was designed by her architect that way on purpose! Also, the MET rooftop in summer is perfection.
The Whitney - My favorite museum experience in Manhattan is the Whitney. It's in a hip, fun area called the Meatpacking District, right near Chelsea Market and some AMAZING restaurants, so it's a great afternoon during a weekend visit. Also, the architecture of the building itself is art. It has terraces on each level, allowing you to go inside and back outside during your weaving through the galleries. Also, they have my ALL TIME FAVORITE DeKooning Painting.
Best NYC Restaurants:
- Fuku + (Midtown) - the most delicious Korean chicken on the planet
- Burger Joint in Le Parker Meridien (Midtown) - the coolest hipster (hidden) burger joint
- Café Medi (Lower East Side) - my favorite restaurant of all time?
- Eataly (Flatiron) - sit on the roof for amazing views and delicious food
- The Smith (Multiple Locations) - I like the East Village location, but they are all delicious!
- Tiny's. Literally the cutest little pink restaurant ever. Be sure to visit the Balloon Saloon next door, too. It's a hilarious little balloon and gift shop.
- Chelsea Market (Meatpacking) - try Los Tacos No. 1. Trust me!
- Jack's Wife Freda (Soho and West Village) - Brunch of the Gods.
- Big Gay Ice Cream (East Village, West Village and Meatpacking) - no explanation needed.
- Joe's Pizza (Greenwich Village). Walk up and eat it at the window. It's the NYC way.
- Cafe Habana. (Soho). I legit can't stop thinking of the food here. Get the corn.
Best NYC Parks and Adventures:
Central Park is totally worth it. It is a touristy spot, but it's magical. Be sure to see the Sailboats Pond, Bethesda Fountain and wander around to see the amazing views of the skyline.
The High Line, over in Chelsea is an old railroad converted into an above ground park. It's so breathtaking and has amazing views. Be sure to walk all the way down to the Whitney Museum where it ends at the southern point.
Bryant Park is one of my favorite parks in the entire city. I love how it's a manageable size, has a grassy area, a carousel, cafes, walking areas, and board games all in one park. It's worth taking some time to explore and you might just end up staying for hours!
Battery Park is beautiful is spans all along the Hudson River with amazing views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and some amazing little spots along the water for resting, playgrounds, and cafes. It's a really clean, gorgeous area and if you're up for it, take the Staten Island Ferry, too!
Walk around Soho. Be sure to check out the amazing shopping, cafes, and do some seriously fun people watching.
Top of the Rock. Go to the top of Rockefeller Center for a beautiful panoramic view of the city and Empire State Building. It's one of my favorite places in the city.
Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge from Chinatown to Brooklyn. It's one of my favorite things to do in NYC. The skyline views and beautiful history and architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge is just amazing.
Best NYC Bookstores:
Rand McNally. Bonus points for cutest cafe, too! Also, an awesome kids' selection downstairs.
The Strand. The HUGEST bookstore with literally any title you can imagine! No trip to NYC is complete without checking it out.
A little round-up of my favorite Art and Business Books!
"Think Like an Artist" by Will Gompertz, is my new favorite book!
It breaks down the qualities of artists and is delightfully refreshing if you are encountering a little summer slump or total burnout. The author focuses a great deal on the personality traits that set entrepreneurs and artists apart, which is really interesting to read about if you are currently pursuing an art-related passion or dream. One of my favorite parts about his writing are all of the annecdotes about artists throughout history and the tales of their funny personalities. It's awesome, check it out!
"Creative Block" by Danielle Krysa.
Anyone who knows me knows what a HUGE (Crazy?) fan I am of The Jealous Curator. I find her voice (podcast, too!) to be so honest, refreshing, and kind in a world of competitive and crazy. Her books is nothing short of magical and I love it. I have re-read it a couple of times now and every time I want to put it down, I cannot. She profiles many artists and their stories and the writing is fresh and real. I LOVE THIS BOOK.
"Chasing Slow" by Erin Loechner.
In a time of MORE, MORE, MORE, this book is amazing. It reminded me to slow down even though I want to fight really hard to achieve my dreams. Erin Loechner is one of my favorite bloggers and has always written from such an interesting perspective that makes you really think about what matters in life. I highly recommend this book for not just art or business, but for a reality check on life, too.
"The Promise of a Pencil" by Adam Braun.
If you know me, you know I love the organization Pencils of Promise. We partnered with them for the Rise Summit and have raised money to build a school soon! I love the mission of this organization and the slow, thoughtful approach they take to building community. In his book, the Founder Adam Braun tells his life story in relation to the forming of PoP and it's so compelling. It makes me want to pack a bag and go build schools immediately! But more importantly, Braun celebrates those people who are forging their own paths to build a life and career that they are proud of. Go check this book out.
Ok, what are your favorite books for inspiration and business ideas? Be sure to share in the comments below!
Apps by for entrepreneurs and small business owners:
As a mom, small business owner, volunteer leader of a group of growing creatives (TuesdaysTogether NYC) and contractor for an amazing start-up in San Francisco, streamlining, efficiency, and organization are really vital aspects of running a relatively stress-free life. I have discovered a few apps and programs along the way that have completely saved me and I wanted to share them with you today!
Note: I am not being paid to share any of this information with you. I just like to share what I have tested hopefully help out another busy or stressed out small-business owner.
For social media organization: Planoly
Planoly has completely changed the way I see and use my social media. I have become more cohesive in my messaging to my followers, my feed is more organized, and I can think clearly about what my weekly work will look like in advance, which is so helpful as a mom. They are a lovely company and their customer service is LEGIT. Go check them out.
For business workflow: Honeybook
As a contractor for Honeybook, I am continuously amazed at the high quality of service that this workflow tool for creatives offers to their incredible and growing community. When I began using Honeybook, it seemed too good to be true to have invoicing, contracts, billing, taxes and financial tools all integrated into one software that was attractive, customizable and easy to use. And when I say user-friendly, I mean it. It's intuitive and so streamlined and simplified. I love it!
For my website: Squarespace
I can honestly tell you that what I love most about my website is removing the guess-work in building my site. I have such a limited time as a one-woman-business-owner and I want to be able to capitalize on my work as an artist when I can. So, using the clean, well-designed templates that Squarespace has to offer has saved me time, frustration, and has given me the freedom to focus on other parts of my business as it grows.
For finances and taxes: Quickbooks
I have learned so much about finances and managing money from running my business and it's all thanks to Stephanie at Steadfast Bookkeeping and Quickbooks. I was originally very hesitant to master the money management aspect of my business, but I am thankful for this intuitive and user-friendly tool that syncs with my Workflow Tool to simplify my finances and help me to budget for future years of Art by Megan.
For time management and scheduling: Calendly
I have recently implemented using calendar appointments into my business in order to streamline my Admin days and allow for complete days of creativity in my studio. If I can schedule 5-10 calls on a Monday, I know that the rest of the week I can remove the distraction of admin tasks and to-do lists and create, paint and experiment. Freeing up my mental space for creative moments has been a HUGE lifesaver, and I am thankful for the email integration that Calendly offers.
Let me know in the comments below what tools you use to help streamline your life and business! I am always on the hunt for something to give me more free-time with my loved ones or to paint, paint, paint. Really, I just want a clone of myself so that I can paint all-day and she can run the business. Is there an app for that?
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Ideas for how to take a trip to Paris and see “it all” with a kid.
Recently we returned from a family trip to Paris. It was an amazing experience and it was made even more special because it was our first chance to show our little one how awesome Europe is! I wanted to share a couple of kid-friendly ideas, hints and tricks that made our time more enjoyable. Paris, we are totally, head-over-heels in love with you and cannot wait to return someday.
Idea: Get the Paris Lib Pass. It is totally worth it if you expect to see at least 3-5 of the major sights and their website is super easy to navigate.
Go on the Eiffel Tower Tour. (Yes, it's totally a necessary evil, but totally worth the NYC style pandemonium and waiting.) Reserve your tickets online and schedule ahead to help with the lines and only go to the 2nd level if you are a little (or “OMG MAMA, WE ARE WAYYYYYY TOO HIGH UP IN THE AIR) afraid of heights. Also, do this activity first so that you don't spend the whole week with a little person asking "When do we get to go to the Eiffel Tower.....".
Then after the Eiffel Tower, hop on the Double Decker Bus tour (comes with your Paris Lib Pass) and enjoy some sightseeing that is super fun for a little one. Riding on the top of the bus allows the little ones to see much more without having to walk too much. Being a tourist in Paris is a truly a marathon, not a sprint, my friends.
Hop off the Double Decker Bus tour to see Sacré Coeur. It was awesome. The little street that leads up to the church is hilariously funny and reminded us a little bit of Canal Street in NYC. We climbed the stairs halfway, stopped and listened to the cutest old man quartet play some Parisian jazz and checked out the view. Note: the stairs themselves are the coolest part of this experience for a kid. Why do they love hopping up and down them so much? It was a great way to enjoy a sunny afternoon with amazing views of the Paris skyline.
A crazy but amazingly delicious and memorable dinner if you are in the Place Vendome area is Le Soufflé. Soufflé for everyone for every part of the meal. It may seem decadent, but we were in Paris, after all.
After Le Soufflé, head over to the Ferris Wheel in Jardin des Tuileries. The view is amazing and it’s such a fun late night activity for a kid. We loved seeing the city from above and having a little "pod" in the Ferris Wheel all to ourselves. It was only “a tiny bit scary” to be up that high, according to the little lady.
One thing we noticed while traveling was that we didn’t have a concrete itinerary for each day and it made the trip SO MUCH more fun. We slept in, we ate 3 hour long lunches and played games and drew pictures at the table. We ate bread and cheese until our bellies were so full we thought we would never eat again and then walked down the street and ate ice cream. That’s vacation done right, we say.
If you need more advice on how to enjoy Paris without overdoing it, we loved Abby Grace’s post here.
So, after a lazy morning and midday, what does one decide to do? Visit the Louvre. Ok, here’s the deal. The Louvre is BIG. Like too big for a kid to enjoy, but you can totally outsmart it two ways:
1. Because you have your museum pass so you are super chill about walking in and out quickly because it was already “paid for”.
2. Just walk around Egyptian, see the old castle walls of the original building and then pick 2 more things to see. Take the elevators and get a map and pretend to be on a treasure hunt. People always see my photos and think that my little one totally loves museums but let’s be real here people, they can only handle so much. So, make a tiny little plan, bribe them with croissants and then promise them that if they let you find the Mona Lisa you will take them to the playground later. #parenting
After the Louvre, play in Tuileries Gardens. Wander, take silly photos and smell the flowers.
Dinner idea: Chez Monsieur in the Place Vendome area was great. DELICIOUS food, (we had the veal stew and the profiteroles), the service was amazing and so friendly, and they were completely ok with having a happy little tiny woman in the restaurant. We noticed that as long as she wasn’t roaming freely and shouting, Parisians were totally down with our little woman joining them for fancy meals.
Play in Gardens once more and then hit up the Musee l’Orangerie. AKA MY FAVORITE MUSEUM EVERRRRRR. Omg it’s so good. I almost cried. Ok fine, I cried. As a little girl, I was totally enamored with the work of Monet and read “Linnea in Monet’s Garden” all of the time so seeing this was literally a dream come true for me.
Then switch to Airbnb. (link to our AWESOME apartment here)
We decided to stay in two totally distinct areas in Paris to really try and soak up the “tourist” area and the smaller cobblestone street vibes of Le Marais. I would recommend doing this for anyone who wants to really see the area and feel a bit more like you are living there instead of just visiting. PS – Le Marais is 100% kid friendly.
Eat crepes at Le Breizh in the afternoon. Wait in the line if you must, it’s worth it. Also, some people hit up the Picasso museum afterwards but we were being ultra lazy and just played in the playground and then wandered around instead. Both are solid options.
The best part of the Airbnb experience was that we arrived, got some groceries (bread, cheese, wine, salami, etc.) and stayed in and snuggled and watched movies. It was a perfect part of the trip to take it easy and it made the day so much more low key. Also, we washed our clothes in the tiniest washer ever and it was awesome. *and hilarious*
Go to Ile de la Cite. See Notre Dame (climbing is cool, I guess, but I personally think it’s overrated…don’t tell my family I wrote that.)
See more about traveling in Paris from a person who is even grumpier than me (Anthony Bourdain)
Notre Dame is gorgeous from the outside, has a sick playground and benches, and the views alone are breathtaking. Also, the gardens.
Go to Shakespeare and Co. TRUST ME. It was awesome, complete with a beautiful antique bookstore, modern bookstore, café and more. We wandered the aisles and shipped for hours. Also, there are ladders for climbing to get books and if your kid is into Beauty and the Beast that is literally their dream come true.
Take a boat ride on the Seine (it’s part of your Paris Lib Pass, but we mixed up where to get picked up so just bought tickets…it was still worth it!)
Dinner idea: Literally any sidewalk cafe in Le Marais. We tried out Camille (thanks to a recommendation from my friend Lauren), and it was yummy traditional food and service and totally chill vibe. Nice for a kid because they make pesto pasta which is literally her life. The grownups ate escargot and totally grossed out the kid. It was a good, giggly time had by all.
Try a café for breakfast. Literally any of them in Le Marais are delicious. Order a “menu” which consists of orange juice, coffee and a croissant. Eat outside if you can, it’s so fun to people watch and enjoy the morning feeling like a local.
Get a picnic at Eric Keyser and head to Versailles for a day of adventure!
Note: The RER (Paris Subway) map towards Versailles is a little cray. Head towards Versailles and make sure 100% that you are actually going to Versailles. Or just embrace the fact that you might get lost and make some cute old lady friends in the process. Whatever floats your boat.
At Versailles, go QUICKLY thru the inside because it’s abysmally boring for kids. Then play, play, play all day outside and frolic and picnic. The best thing we did at Versailles was rent bikes. A bicycle and a bicycle-built-for-two, to be exact. It was so fun to pedal around the gardens and stop to see fun things like Marie Antionette’s pink castle, beautiful landscaped gardens and race one another through historical ruins.
Dinner idea: Le Petit Chatelet next to Shakespeare and Co. We decided to head back over to Ile de la Cite after Versailles and it’s so fun to see Pont Neuf’s street performers and musicians and Notre Dame at night. Note: aforementioned "super awesome" playground. Le Petit Chatelet is an experience! We sat next to the fireplace where they prepared the meats and the waiter was a riot. We know 0% French and muddled through in a hilarious fashion. He was completely down for the adventure and we appreciated how funny he was about it all.
Off to Marche des les Enfants Rouges. Oldest street market in Paris and full of delicious and beautiful international food options. We enjoyed some wine, lentil soup, and a charcuterie board and then indulged in some Moroccan sweets for dessert. Also, there are flower markets and we wandered through a bit and literally smelled the roses until the flower man legit shoo-ed us away.
Then, off to Luxembourg Gardens! SO, beautiful and awesome for kids! Rent a sailboat and enjoy a seat next to the pond. The playground situation is amazing here, but bring cash because you have to pay to play. Also, there is a marionette show on Wednesdays and Sundays. We spent the whole day just relaxing in the Gardens and wandering around.
Headed home but not without eating more chocolate croissants and stopping for a proper breakfast send off at Frenchie Jr. on Rue du Nil in Le Marais. It was absolutely delicious and the entire street had little gems along it. Isn’t it just cruel when you find little treasures on the day you are leaving?
Then we got some baguettes from Eric Keyser to take on the airplane and headed to Dublin.
- Crepes at Le Breizh in Le Marias
- Bike Ride in Versailles
- Seeing the Waterlilies at Musée l'Orangerie in Tuileries Gardens
- Dinners at Le Souffle and Chez Monsieur
- Picnic in the Park at Versailles
- Riding the Ferris Wheel in Tuileries Gardens
- Macarons at Laudureé
- Musicians on Pont Neuf
- Sacré Coeur Musicians
- Espresso breaks midday
- Croissants all day every day
- Watching your kid soak up a totally new culture
- Watching them make friends at the park despite language barriers
- Teaching her to people watch and sit at a café for hours.
- Teaching her to draw or play something silly when they get “bored” while mom and dad drink wine
- Watching her eyes light up when the Eiffel Tower “twinkled” each night on the hour for 5 minutes
- Hearing her happy squeals as she rode on the bicycle with her best friend, Dad.
Part 2: The Ocean + why I can’t stop painting it…
- “Megan, why do you paint the ocean?”
- “Mama, you should try to paint something else like a dog or a bird.”
- “Megan, what’s your deal with the ocean?”
I can’t really answer this question, but I will try to put this crazy obsession into words.
I think I paint the ocean because I am drawn to things and attracted to learning about things that:
1. Scare me + I cannot understand.
2. Are beautiful + powerful.
- Enter randomly selected Spanish major in college.
- Enter dating and marrying my best friend even though it scared the crap out of me.
- Enter living in Spain and getting a MA I wasn’t qualified for but fighting hard for it.
- Enter love of travel and new adventures.
- Enter not minding getting lost.
- Enter love of oceans? I think so.
I love being adjacent to something that scares me a little and that I cannot understand or comprehend.
Now, a little story…
When I was 12, I went to the beach with my best friends in 8th grade. We were there for a weekend or something and it was great fun. I even had a new two-piece bathing suit that I would be debuting and it felt so adult and daring of me. Well, as we swam out to sea, we noticed that the waves were extra strong. Like, “weird-strong”, as my 8th grade (or probably current) self would have described them. So, like the responsible and thoughtful ladies that we were, we kept swimming out further and further. Suddenly a wave crashed and I lost them. And then another wave crashed before I could catch my breath. And another and another. And another. Then, I couldn’t breathe and I started flailing my luckily long and gangly arms around yelling for help from the rip tide that was swallowing me up. And a handsome young, perfectly tan (as the story always goes) lifeguard had to save me and literally drag me to shore. I lay there with my eyes closed utterly embarrassed and very grateful that I hadn’t drowned. But also in complete awe.
That was a day where I learned the power of the ocean. I was scared and in love *with the ocean*, not the lifeguard. Come on!
And, to be honest, I love that feeling. I love to be a little bit in awe. Not always at the time (like whilst drowning and flailing and screaming), certainly, but the rush of adrenaline afterwards is amazing and kind of addictive to me.
I love how beautiful and powerful the ocean is.
One more little story…
In college, I studied abroad in Spain. (I know, I don’t talk about it enough, ha-ha.) The ocean and beaches there are ridiculously blue, colorful, powerful, amazing, and gorgeous. One weekend, we decided to road-trip down to a town called Cadiz for Carnaval (Spain’s Mardi Gras). It was insane. It was one of those moments that you look back on and think, “Man, whose life was that?”
But, one of my favorite memories from that weekend was when our group was hanging out on the beach during a really windy day and the ridiculous boys decided to run into the ocean. It was a chilly, wet 50 degrees out and the ocean was like ice. But, I wasn’t going to let them get all of the credit. I was going to go in too. (Note: I HATE cold water and being cold in general, but I also have a fierce competitive streak and an even fiercer feminist streak.)
So, there we were, running into the Atlantic Ocean in February in our *bathing suits* (I was, I promise!) and I have never felt more alive. Yes, of course I was freezing my ass off, but it was such a beautiful and powerful feeling to be a woman swimming out further than the boys and doing what they could do without any fear or concern. (Note: I went home and took a bath and drank some red wine and it was all-ok.)
I felt beautiful and powerful thanks to the ocean.
- I loved that feeling of being BOTH that day.
- I liked that a combination I had always convinced myself was an impossible contrast wasn’t.
- I didn’t want to be beautiful OR successful someday.
- I didn’t want to be pretty OR limitless.
- I didn’t want to be in love OR free.
I wanted to be both.
That day at the ocean was a little awakening just like the day I almost drowned.
I love that combination…beautiful AND powerful. I like how it relates to being a woman. I like how it makes me feel like that is a possible combination. I like how scary it is.
So, I think that’s why I paint the ocean. But, check back with me in like 3 years and my answers may be completely different.
STUDIO SERIES: A new little blog feature offering a sneak peek into the wacky, colorful, nutty, and funny world of "Art by Megan".
photos above: left (my parents), right (Amy Frances Photo).
Part 1: Why I paint + a tiny biography + the time I colored the walls pink
A question that comes up a lot when I meet new people or talk to other creative is “When did you start painting?”. I can honestly answer, never. I never “started” painting. It wasn’t a decision that I made one day to become artistic or creative, just like I can imagine that people who are really good at dancing (not me) or math (also not me) never consciously made a decision to start. It was always just there.
I have mentioned in previous blog posts that my husband affectionately refers to me as “the exchange student”. Meaning, that while most 80s/90s kids have memories of movies like “The Goonies” and “Babysitters Club”, I have vivid memories of Crayola’s new color collection release dates (anyone remember when Robins egg blue launched? I do!) and worrying about it my built in crayon box sharpener was clogged again. My family would watch “The Cosby Show” and I would color and sing to myself. My brother and his friends would play pirate games and I would draw our treasure maps in crazy detail. I would read (for fun) the atlas because I loved the shapes of maps and the colors blue and green. Then I would draw real countries and fake countries and weird symbols and stuff that I dreamed up and hang them on my closet door.
10 other weird things I used to do as a kid:
- I used to collect rocks and color them cool colors and then place them around my house and garden.
- I made maps of my neighborhood like everyday for a while. It was intense.
- I obsessively cut out pieces of paper from the Washington post, magazines, and other books when my parents weren’t looking.
- I wore a lot of tie-dye from the year 1986-1996.
- I enjoyed sitting on our deck and “painting it” with a bucket of water on a hot sunny day.
- I loved the smell of a fresh pack of construction paper.
- I ate some of the pasta from the summer camp class on making necklaces because it just seemed like such a cool idea.
- I would draw little pictures on the walls with pencils and then act like I had no idea how they got there. Cave paintings, maybe? Magic? I had no idea.
- I loved ironing leaves between wax paper and probably ruined the iron doing it approximately 8 times.
- I organized by Crayola box by ombre effect and got really annoyed at friends or my brother if they weren’t placed back into their designated spot.
Now, a little story…
My uniform socks were red one year and I was so excited about the bright new color that I celebrated by laying in my bed with my crayons and notebook and put my feet on the wall. Well, much to my amazement the dye from the socks was actually like a faint pink marker when rubbed on my bedroom wall vigorously. So, I lay there and listened to my record player and rubbed the wall dreamily turning it from bright white to “catholic-school-knee-sock” pink. It was amazing. My parent’s disagreed.
So, in answer to your question, I never started loving color, shape, making art, doodling, making a mess, or, yes, painting. It was always there, just wishing and hoping to become a real-life job someday.
In summary, thank you for supporting Art by Megan. It’s my little dream come true.
We just recently celebrated our 2-year-anniversary as New Yorkers and I can't fathom how time has passed so quickly but also feel kind of like we have lived here forever. Our kid officially sounds like a total Brooklyn kid and says the following phrases with confidence, "I'm wahhhhlking here", "Whattyatalkkkinngbout", "Get online (instead of in-line)", "Ma, I'm taking out the Gaahhhhhbage", among other hilarious Brooklyn phrases. Also, we have a serious laugh developing here. Just trust me that it's a tiny bit like Fran Drescher on "The Nanny".
A 2017 interview with my favorite little lady (LL):
(Read last year's interview here.)
Me: What's your favorite thing about NYC?
LL: The playgrounds, the food, and the museums.
Me: Where's your favorite place in NYC?
LL: "Gino's (Pizzeria in Bay Ridge)."
Me: What's better, Brooklyn or Manhattan?
LL: "Manhattan because there are lots of parks there. Brooklyn because there's stores nearby."
Me: What's the best food in NYC?
LL: "The pizza."
Me: What's the coolest part of riding the train?
LL: "That man who plays music on his guitar or any instrument"
Me: Do you miss Maryland?
LL: "Kind of."
Me: Where should we go next in NYC?
LL: "To all of the parks and the playgrounds and some new museums"
Me: What's the best part of living here?
LL: "That we can scoot around and can ride bicycles instead of driving in the car. New York City has lots of good museums and lots of questions to answer."
Me: Do you remember the day we moved here?
LL: "Yes. Hard. We didn't find any of our plates or silverware or forks or anything!"
Me: Who are your best friends in NYC?
LL: "June, Amina, Lukas, Jude, Teddy, Nicholas, Violin Nicholas, Miss Sotiria, Ivo, Nessa, Louise, Vesper, Alessia, Eli, Esteban, Cody, and Adam."
Me: Do you like New York?
A list of things that will never, ever get old about NYC:
- When the nice Mariachi guys come on the train and serenade us on our ride home.
- Ordering any cuisine or wine online and having a nice guy on a bicycle bring it to you like a genie.
- Hearing 25 different languages at the park and wondering what everyone's unique story is.
- Being asked if I speak English. Do I look like I am from somewhere else? I am still confused.
- The food: OMG.
- Coffee Shops: The hidden, secret good ones.
- Family adventures all over the city: Picking a spot on the map (or subway map) and just going!
- Central Park & Prospect Park. Every single time we walk through them, we find something new and awesome to explore.
- Christmas in NYC.
- Springtime in NYC.
- ok, fine, I am completely in love and there's literally no day I hate in NYC. Except the days where the snow has melted just enough to create ENORMOUS puddles of slush. Those days are gross. Oh and the days where we catch mice in the mousetraps and I have to call neighbors and ask them to come rescue me like Rapunzel in her tower. But otherwise, yea, it's amazing here!
But the biggest lesson learned in 2017 is as long as we are all together, anywhere feels like home!
This week, the Tuesdays Together NYC group presented at The Love Union event in Brooklyn, NY on the topic of "Community Over Competition." I realized that I wanted to encapsulate the moment to refer back to later and to share our amazing mission, so here is my attempt at capturing the perfect, amazing, completely surreal moment forever.
A little background...
Here's the thing, it's really hard to run a business. And it's even harder to run it while fighting for what you believe in and not compromising your ethical beliefs. As I began working as a full-time professional artist just under 2 years ago, I developed a different kind of business plan, an ethical plan. I had been given a glimpse into how cutthroat and competitive people can be in running a business, especially as a sole proprietor or small business owner, and I didn't accept it. I wouldn't stand for it. Not for Art by Megan.
Well, let me tell you something. It's not easy to run a business this way. It's slower, it's not at all glamorous, it's less productive, it's frustrating, it's full of double and triple checking simple business moves, and it's not necessarily trendy. But, at the end of the day, when I look back on my life and my business (because let's be real, they are one, whether or not I want to officially admit it!), I want to be proud of it.
My business plan:
I want to show the world that if you stand up for what you believe in, people will SLOWLY fall in love with your brand. I want mothers to know that running a business while running a household and raising a little person (or people) is not at all conducive to productivity, but that it's worth it. I want younger followers and fans to know that following a dream comes at a lot of costs, but not at the cost of compromising what you know is right. I want my own daughter to know that by treating others fairly, with compassion, and being kind takes you a lot further than other "Business Plans".
So, that's my business plan. I hope you steal it and use it.
Note: I thought I was INSANE when I officially decided this. And then, I became part of a community of people who also believed in this. They shouted it from the rooftops. They treated others fairly, with compassion and love. The cheered for their competitors. They celebrated with "enemies" in the industry. They dreamed big in meetings on the second Tuesday of the month in a room filled with strangers who also want to run a business in a different, radical, new way. They are called the Rising Tide Society, and you need to look them up if you haven't heard of them.
Ok, back to yesterday...
Members spoke about their favorite Tuesdays Together NYC memories and shared things that gave me hope. We are doing something almost impossible here, but SOMETIMES it works and when it does, it's amazing. (It's kind of like parenting, no?!)
Catherine of The Bayith mentioned that she is dreaming bigger than she ever imagined with members of our group. She said, "it's like you can have an idea and think it's totally crazy and then someone else offers to do it with you". It's just amazing to have a group of crazy dreamers to call friends and "co-workers". That's community.
Alison of Lifestyle Maven Events stated that she loves our group so much for the camaraderie and sanity it provides to us entrepreneurs. "We need one another", she so simply put. I am not sure how much she realizes that is true for me. I needed a little NYC family and found one in this amazing organization. That's compassion.
Yesterday during our panel at the event, Danielle of Lace and Scone said, "it's community over competition, not community without competition". She's completely right. It's more about perspective than anything in running a business. Just put the community first, then yourself second. It's a perfectly simplified way of living where you always can fall back on a philosophy to make ethical, correct, fair and informed decisions. That's changing the world.
Kate of Kate Alison Photo yesterday talked about how having the foundation of our group gave her the confidence to challenge the status quo and form a business that was honest and that she was proud of. Instead of settling for how her industry portrays love, she decided to take a different approach. She stated, "I would have never become the person I am without this group." Kate, thank you for daring to be amazing, honest, and open and setting that example to others in our group. That's leadership.
Marina Warner of The Warner Firm shared that her favorite memory was from a styled shoot that we worked on as a group in January. She said "it was amazing just to work on something that we all believed in, that was bigger than us, and that simultaneously helped our businesses". The photo shoot was an amazing success because we all respected one another and had so much fun! Was this photo shoot a huge deal? Yes, we were all there to fight some industry "norms" we stand against and we wanted to change the world in a tiny way. Was it also an amazing mimosa-filled morning? Yes. That's daring to take risks together.
Let me tell you a little secret about myself. I am secretly 100 years old, technologically speaking. I have vivid memories of my teaching days where I often opted to use chalk on the chalkboard instead of the fancy projector for fear of all things electronic. (side note: I am married to a legit computer genius, so there is literally no excuse for this, but I digress!)
So, when I began to work with Honeybook earlier this year, I was IMMENSELY HESITANT. I called their customer representative and basically introduced myself as a grandmother who can barely turn on their computer. Several minutes later, I had a fancy new account with coordinated forms, automated emails, and MY OWN WIDGET. (Yes, I had to google what a widget was. Don't hate.) They are internet wizards and I cannot stop calling to check-in and basically have them life-coach me.
Now, when someone wants to commission an original painting, they can fill out a fancy little automated form on my website. Then, magically (that's the technical term for it, I assure you.) the information that they input, comes straight into my Honeybook account, where I can contact the client directly, send official emails, and streamline my entire life and business.
You might think I am being sarcastic. But please be assured that this has changed my life. I am currently weaning myself off of my insane (have you seen "A Beautiful Mind"?, yea it's like that) sticky-note and sharpie system and I feel really freaking good about it.
In 2017, I hope to automate other things. Like maybe I will make a grocery list on my phone and actually place said phone into my purse prior to shopping. A girl can dream! #lifegoals
Happy Monday, friends.
If you are an entrepreneur in need of streamlining or systems management, check out Honeybook here.
Want to check out my widget? here you go!!
Have you ever traveled to a new place and stopped dead in your tracks at the immense beauty of something new? Or gasped at the beauty of a work of art at a gallery? Or been brought to tears by a single image? I have. Guilty. All of the above.
I am not an overwhelmingly emotional person, but these things happen to me. There is a link directly from my eyes to my heart and sometimes I cannot even handle how beautiful the world is around us. Other times a simple memory made visual can stop me and totally derail my mind to daydreams and happy memories.
So, this is my little plug on my soapbox on why visual artists are so important. I know that it's extremely hard to realize that what we are doing (as makers, artists, illustrators, photographers, and other visual artists) MATTERS in a world of big problems to solve. However, I know from first hand experience that those BIG problems cannot be solved without heart and love. And love comes from inspiration. So, there you have it!
"Time stands still in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life" - Brian Andreas
Last winter, we had photos taken as a family. It was a cloudy, damp, quiet day in December and we were headed to see the Rockettes together as a joint Christmas present to ourselves. I asked my friend Chi-Chi if she could snap some quick photos of us as a family to remember the moment, but to also capture these NYC memories that are happening so quickly and fleeting. When I opened my email a few days later, I saw what felt like a regular "family date" captured perfectly on film. I burst immediately into tears. Not sad tears, but proud, grateful, gut-wrenching, honest, and bittersweet tears. I am so grateful for these images of us and will never forget that beautiful, rather ordinary, but wonderful day.
The power of an image is just incredible. Keep taking photos, making art, making what you love and following that dream, my friends.
At our last Rising Tide Society Tuesdays Together Brooklyn and Manhattan meet-ups (look us up!) we spoke about Productivity and so many great ideas were shared for small business owners and creatives alike.
Here is a HUGE list of ideas to help with organization, time management, streamlining, and general emotional well-being when running your own business either part or full-time. We've got your back!
The Pomodoro Technique. Basically you set a timer and work your little tush off for as long as you can and then switch gears when the timer dings. It works great for me, and I have A HARD TIME focusing. Seriously, can someone back me up on that? The struggle is real. Read more about it here. Similar to this theory is also the concept of time-blocking, which was recently featured in The Huffington Post.
30 / 30 app for Block scheduling / Task management.
Tailwind app for visual marketing.
Planoly for scheduling Instagram posts and organizing.
Calendly for scheduling meetings
Boomerang for scheduling emails
Project Management + Collaboration Software:
Journalling and List-Making:
The Bullet Journal. This is a really awesome concept for the people who need to be creative with their time or who haven't found the perfect solution to having an organized planner. Create your own with a special code and format that they help you learn! I love it. I have all of these blank notebooks that are just dying to be used properly and might just give this one a try in 2017.
Pzizz app. A guided mediation app that allows you to set a time and music / voice level and sleep through stressful times. I LOVE IT. I have a hard time sleeping when my mind is racing and it's amazing. Trust me. Thanks for this recommendation, Kate Alison Photo!
Encouraging Thoughts + Staying Positive:
Thankful app to track your gratitude each day :)
Silver Linings Creative Co talked about saying her to-do list out-loud and saying "the day is not over", even if the morning wasn't the most productive...there's always time to redeem lost time!!
Other awesome ideas + tips:
Co-working and Mastermind groups! Coming soon to our group.
Raquel Miller Gochnauer says that even if you work from home, you can still get dressed up like you have co-workers or work outside of the house.
Jaadin Adele talked about being realistic when setting goals and knowing your limits, especially as a mom (preach!)
Marina Warner makes a weekly list and limits time on certain activities so that she doesn't over-do it on one task, sacrificing quality on others.
Danielle Voisin mentioned color-coding and allocating a financial value to time spent on tasks
Nick Collingwood talked about finding his sweet spot for productivity and doing chores during the time of day when he knows he wastes time anyways...brilliance!
I love working with clients to commission an original piece of artwork for their homes based on happy memories, favorite color schemes and fun travel experiences. Here are a couple of photos of my recent commissioned art pieces from Manhattan, Boston, Florida and Brooklyn! Enjoy! M
If you are interested in talking more about commissioning a painting for your home, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the "Commission a Painting" widget on the homepage.
What do Celia Cruz, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Paula Abdul, Beyonce, Julietta Venegas, and the cast of Pitch Perfect have in common? They are all active members in the production of Art by Megan paintings. Lady Jams playlist....here.
I cannot explain exactly how the magic happens but there is a special shoutout to Spotify + coffee in order.
I love teaching and during my transition from full-time High School teacher to full-time artist I missed the teaching part of my life A LOT!
Recently I have started to teach painting classes ("Abstract Oceans" and "Abstract Petals") at Kristen Coates Gallery in Newport, RI. I just love watching hesitant adult artists turn into confident beginners in the course of an hour or two, it's so much fun and empowering. Plus, there is champagne and that always helps too.
Here are some photos that my awesome friend Kim of Kim Lyn photography took during my most recent trip to Newport for "Abstract Petals". Kim, these photos are so gorgeous, you are such a talented photographer! And I have begun to notice that I look like my sweet grandma when I teach + it makes me so happy!
I would love to host a painting party someday in my future amazing backyard (Brooklyn problems) and am always up for an adventure, so contact me if you know of any fun opportunities!
Today I am SO EXCITED to share a project with you all that the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Long Island Rising Tide Society chapters have been working on for MONTHS!! We wrote a FREAKING TRAVEL GUIDE, guys!! #dreamjob
So if you are traveling to NYC sometime soon, consider yourself a creative or at least a fun person, and love a good adventure, we have got you covered! I will share this in three installments + Brooklyn is up first because I am biased + there's no shame in my game.
BROOKLYN GUIDE FOR CREATIVES:
Culture: Inspired places + hidden gems
Greenwood Cemetery: It’s beautiful, and if you climb all the way to the top there are gorgeous views of the city. There are also a ton of famous people buried there which can help you piece together a lot of the city’s history (Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley to name drop a bit). Heads up, they are real strict on closing hours, but a beer hall opened close by….greenwood park (in the booze section). http://www.green-wood.com
Brooklyn Museum: Large museum featuring 1.5 million unique and diverse collections. Past ones have included works from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kahinde Wiley, and the museum is currently featuring a retrospective on boomboxes by Tom Sachs. The first Saturday of every month is “Target First Saturdays,” where you can see exhibits, dance, and participate in art activities, all for FREE! (Location: Prospect Heights) www.brooklynmuseum.org IG: @brooklynmuseum
Brooklyn Heights Promenade: Stroll along the picturesque walkway along Cobble Hill and Historic Brooklyn Height’s Neighborhoods, while enjoying the best view of Manhattan out there! It’s a great spot for a morning walk, sipping coffee, or just reading a book and soaking up the views.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an urban botanic garden that connects people to the world of plants, fostering delight and curiosity while inspiring an appreciation and sense of stewardship of the environment. http://www.bbg.org/ (Park Slope)
Grand Army Plaza: Grand Army Plaza is a public plaza that comprises the northern corner and the main entrance of Prospect Park featuring the “Soldiers’ and Sailors’” Arch. (Park Slope)
Morbid Anatomy Museum: A museum, coffee shop, library and event space. See a variety of exhibits and of things nobody is interested but us, such as medical wax sculptures from the 1800’s, or make take a taxidermy class or watch a silent film on witchcraft through the ages. Great coffee to boot with lots to look at in the cafe if you’re not up for an exhibit. They also host regularly host the famous Morbid Anatomy Flea-market which happens often, but check their website for dates. www.morbidanatomymuseum.org (Gowanus)
Food + drink:
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream: Best Vegan Ice Cream: DELICIOUS http://www.vanleeuwenicecream.com/ (Boerum Hill + Williamsburg + in Manhattan - East Village and West Village)
Farmacy: old fashioned ice cream parlor with games, delicious treats and a laid back environment. http://www.brooklynfarmacyandsodafountain.com/ (Carroll Gardens)
Ample Hills Creamery: Best Ice Cream in NYC http://www.amplehills.com/ (Park Slope + Manhattan - Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea)
Song: Best Thai food (Park Slope)
Four and Twenty Blackbirds, amazing artisanal pies by the slicehttp://www.birdsblack.com/ (Gowanus Brooklyn)
Mac Shack: This little hidden gem has the best mac & cheese in NYC. It’s small and coss. Perfect for take out but nice to sit and eat at their high bar tables. You have to try the lobster mac, the curry shrimp mac . . . and really just all the flavors. http://macshackny.com/ (Clinton Hill)
Dough Donuts: The constant line out the doors of the this small doughnut shop says it all. Hibiscus, Nutella, Coconut, and Dulce De Leche are some of their amazing flavors. The donuts are made in front of you and are huge (but not one judges you if you get two all for yourself). It’s a must visit and don’t worry, the lines move fast! http://www.doughdoughnuts.com/ (Bedstuy)
Peter Pan Donuts & Pastry Shop, the best donuts in NYC, nay the world (disagree, come at me!). Low key and old school coffee shop vibes and donuts that will mend a broken heart and help you reach enlightenment. http://peterpandonuts.com/ (Greenpoint)
Dunwell Donuts, The only place I’ve ever been where vegan baked goods have tasted as good if not better than non-vegan baked goods. Try the PB&J donut if they have it available. Real hip and chill vibes. http://dunwelldoughnuts.com/ (Williamsburg)
Uncle Louie G’s: Their motto is “Italian ices and ice cream so good, they’ll make you feel like a kid again.” They ain’t lyin’. A classic Brooklyn treat. www.unclelouiegee.com (Multiple Locations)
Gino’s, delicious old-school Italian food in authentic, garlicky setting. http://ginosbayridge.com (Bay Ridge)
Tilda: Excellent food and coffee. HOWEVER, if you only had to get one thing I would say get the chocolate chip cookie. It rivals Levain’s, and they also do a chocolate chocolate cookie with bits of olive in it to give it some nice salt-y flavor layering. (Clinton Hill) http://www.tildaallday.com @tildaallday
Fette Sau: Euro style BBQ joint. Don’t be afraid of the line. Get a growler of beer from the bar to wet your appetite while waiting for the amazing food. Very busy once the weather get’s nice. Best to go with about 4-6 people so you can divide and conquer the food/table/beer line. (Williamsburg) http://www.fettesaubbq.com
Maison Premiere: New Orleans Styled Oyster Bar. Just won the James Beard award for best bar in the city, so I bet it’s going to be pretty packed these days. However, it’s a gorgeous space with and outdoor patio. $1 oyster happy hour where you actually get to pick your oysters and not be given a mixed plate of “east coast oysters”. (Williamsburg) http://maisonpremiere.com
Greenwood Park: Indoor/Outdoor Beer Hall (S. Park Slope/Windsor Terrace) http://greenwoodparkbk.com/blog/
Slowteria: Delicious, authentic and creative tacos and cocktails in a cool, casual setting with an awesome outdoor patio out back. Located at the bottom of Carroll Gardens, easily accessed by car and with easy parking too! Excellent service, kid friendly and delicious! http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/la-slowteria/
Grimaldi’s Brick Oven Pizza: Best pizza in Brooklyn...maybe... (Dumbo) http://www.grimaldis-pizza.com/home
River Cafe: The restaurant with the best view of the Manhattan skyline. (Dumbo) http://therivercafe.com/
Beehive Oven: In May 2014 BeeHive Oven opened its first restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY serving comfort food that takes one to a feeling of “home.” BeeHive takes great care to make everything in house. In fact they like to say they make everything but the honey and hot sauce. When you sit down for a meal at BeeHive Oven, you will taste the care that goes into every dish. They source the best ingredients they can find and source them properly. Many of the ingredients are locally sourced, however there are times that the best ingredients come from a little distance away. No matter where the ingredients come from, each bite will tell you that your meal was made with the utmost care. Chef Treva's recipes come from classic training and years of experience from many generations. Each dish, reflects a heritage but is updated to reflect a taste that takes you “home.” The dishes are not artisanal or forced but simple and delicious that cause many guests to tell stories of growing up. It is the best compliment to have a guest say the meal reminds them of someone they love. (Williamsburg) http://www.beehiveoven.com
Tom’s Restaurant: Classic diner food with a Brooklyn twist, enough wall ephemera to keep you entertained, and homemade, fresh and portions that’ll make you happy. Known for their breakfast/brunch, ordering anything that should be buttered comes will get you a surprise side of homemade butters (cinnamon, strawberry, and mango- I always take home the leftovers). If you arrive and there’s a line wrapping around the building- don’t fret because it not only goes fast, but the delightful staff will come out and serve the line samplings of their menu from turkey bacon, to cookies, to even coffee. (Prospect Heights)
Cafe Mogador: On any night at Café Mogador, expertly braised tagines are served alongside house-made bread fresh from the tandoori oven. At the core of the menu are Moroccan-Israeli traditions, yet French, Indian and New American flavors also reflect the heritage of the people who have helped create the menu over the years. Sourcing organic ingredients wherever possible, the restaurant prides itself on quality and consistency. The curved wooden bar offers a wine list boasting some of the best value and vintages in the city and a versatile list of seasonal hand-made cocktails. Friendly staff welcome guests like family, and over thirty years of history permeate the candle lit space. (Lower East Side + Williamsburgh) http://www.cafemogador.com
SEA: Amazing Thai food with a unique and serene ambiance.(Williamsburg) http://seathainyc.com/
Soco: Southern food with a twist is paired with cocktails & DJ sets at this sleek active scene. http://socobk.com/ (Clinton Hill)
Sweet Chick: Gourmet chicken & waffles star at this hip, down-home Southern comfort-food resource with cocktails. (Williamsburg + Lower East Side) http://sweetchicknyc.com/
Habana Outpost: With a year-round To-Go location and a fabulous outdoor area open in Spring/Summer, Habana Outpost’s Brooklyn location promises delicious food, killer margaritas, and a fun time. They screen free outdoor movies on Sundays and frequently host family-friendly events. http://www.habanaoutpost.com (Fort Greene)
Oasis Falafel: So Mamoun’s in LES is the best, but if you want to keep it in Brooklyn and you love pickled cabbage, Oasis is for you. Killer babaghanouge while you’re at it. (Williamsburg)
Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club: Pretend you’re visiting the most rockin’ retirement community in Florida as you drink and play shuffleboard. Great for parties or just showing up for some beverages and games. http://www.royalpalmsshuffle.com/ (Gowanus)
Bar Bruno: 520 Henry Street. Low key Mexican themed cafe, great for drinks or brunch - some outdoor seating, cute bar, good overall atmosphere. Also a good place to have a drink while waiting for your name to be called at Lucali, some of the best pizza (and BYOB!) nearby. www.barbrunonyc.com (Carroll Gardens)
Fancy Nancy: Brightly colored retro bar with comfort food and signature cocktails.www.fancynancybk.com (Bed Stuy)
SISTERS: An art deco dream bar with all day food and drinks and a back room for live music and DJs. Come for the drinks, leave wanting to redecorate. http://www.sistersbklyn.com/ (Clinton Hill)
Stoptime: Speakeasy with nightly live jazz. Come classy. http://stoptimebar.com/ (Bed Stuy)
Surf Bar: A cool night or day time bar and restaurant with a fun experience unlike any other. Let’s just say it bring the beach to the middle of Brooklyn! Come here all year long and expect a summer vibe. (Williamsburg) http://brooklynsurfbar.com/
Business: Co-working spaces + Shopping small:
Shackleton Thomas: Husband/Wife Furniture and Pottery Makers just opened an outpost from their Vermont workshop in Brooklyn Heights. Gorgeous pieces, handmade, and truly amazing people. Not on the cheap! But great for gifts. I mainly want to make more money so I can one day buy a bed from from Charlie. http://www.shackletonthomas.com @shackletonthomas
Artists & Fleas: indoor hip market with dozens of independent makers and collectors showcasing art, jewelry, fashion, design and vintage. http://www.artistsandfleas.com/ IG: artistsandfleas (Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Chelsea Market, Manhattan)
Industry City - “The Landing”: Indoor industrial space in the growing Sunset Park area between Park Slope and Bay Ridge, is this little gem! The Landing is a great co-working space that does not require payment, offers sweet treats and coffee, and has great indoor and outdoor spaces for creatives to mingle and take a little time off. (Sunset Park) http://www.cityfarmny.com/#!the-landing/vb55l
Berg’n: A Brooklyn beer hall with great food, indoor and outdoor picnic style tables for a friendly all day hang out and co-working space. http://www.bergn.com/ (Prospect/Crown Heights)
Budget: Do like the locals do (+ money saving tips)
Juliana’s Pizza: get it to-go and have it as a picnic in the park (Brooklyn Bridge Park), http://www.julianaspizza.com/. (Brooklyn Heights)
Hanna Food: This might seem weird because it’s legit just a deli/grocery. However, they make baller sandwiches. Legend has it that if you went there enough you would get to create/name a sandwich. This is how the current lineup is filled with sando’s with names like, The Ex-GF, Hannibal, Michael Jackson, Alexandra, The Hangover, and Hannibal (a tofu cutlet sando with brie, and apple, and avocado). Grab it and walk over to McKerran Park. (Williamsburg, Lorimer Stop) http://www.yelp.com/biz/hana-food-brooklyn
Coney Island Beach Fireworks: From the end of June to Labor Day there are free firework show every Friday night at 9:30 pm. http://www.coneyisland.com/tourist-information (Coney Island)
L Train Vintage: Multiple locations of cheap, warehouse, and unique vintage off the L line. You’ll be amazed what you go home with, but be sure to inspect your pieces for rips or stains. http://ltrainvintage.com/
Street Food Carts & Trucks: Guaranteed amazing. If you’re in any major tourist areas, head a block over for the cheaper carts.
Best "window-shopping" walks:
Smith St.: From Brooklyn Heights to Caroll Gardens a fun energetic street with cool shops and restaurants to explore.(Brooklyn Heights/Caroll Gardens) http://www.smithstreetbk.com/
Montague St.: Beautiful stroll down a fun street with chic shops and restaurants. Start from Court St. + Montague all the way to the Brooklyn Promenade. (Brooklyn Heights)
5th Ave.: From Park Slope to Sunset Park a strip of some of the best shops and restaurants in Brooklyn. Start on 5th ave. + Atlantic all the way to 5th ave. + 18th st. (Park Slope/Sunset Park)
Bedford Ave.: A majority of the cool things that happen in Williamsburg can be found on the Bedford Ave strip. A trip to Williamsburg isn’t complete without it. You can start on Bedford + North 6th St. And have fun exploring from there!
Inspiration: Instagram-able spots
Brooklyn Bridge Park: Cool outdoor space with outdoor art, carousel, multiple restaurants and lots of green space with a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline. http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/. Instagram @brooklynbridgepark (Brooklyn Heights)
East River State Park: waterfront park with close-up stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. Tons of food spots close by. Park includes nice bathrooms, play area for kids, a soccer field and picnic tables. http://nysparks.com/parks/155/details (Williamsburg)
Smorgasburg, very popular weekend food celebration. Lots of vendors with a variety of food and probably the latest craze (cro-nut, raindrop cake, or whatever is next). Usually crowded but Sundays at Prospect Park tend to have shorter lines. http://www.smorgasburg.com/ (Williamsburg-Saturday, Prospect Park-Sunday)
Prospect Park, a HUGE park full of trees and rolling hills in the heart of Brooklyn. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same dude who designed Central Park, he declared this park his masterpiece so you know it’s good. Great for running or biking and also great for just hanging out. https://www.prospectpark.org/
Bushwick Street Murals: Get off at the Morgan L stop and wander
BK Heights Murals: Get off at the F High Street Stop to see the “Yes” mural and you can easily wander to the neon murals
Coney Island Art Walls: An outdoor museum of street art. (Coney Island) http://coneyartwalls.com/
Williamsburg Bridge: A fun walk with a cool view and an awesome pink bridge! (Williamsburg)
Brooklyn Heights Brownstones: The perfect place to get lost and admire the beautiful brownstones of Brooklyn. Perfect to walk through before or after you walk to the Brooklyn Promenade. Corner of Clinton St. + Remsen St. all the way to the Promenade entrance on Remsen.
Eastern Parkway: Gorgeous tree lined street, take it all the way up to Prospect Park and relax there!
Megan Elizabeth: Megan is an abstract artist, Rising Tide Society leader and supermom living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Her work is available at Kristen Coates Gallery in Newport, Rhode Island and at Mac + Murphy in Charleston, SC, in addition to in her online shop. She loves to enjoy the city, take photos (on her iphone), drink coffee, and spend time with her family and friends on “NYC adventures”. Follow along on with her on the journey as an artist and mother in NYC on instagram at @artbymegan and online at www.artbymegan.com.
Candace Camuglia: Candace Camuglia is a photographer and artist born in Staten Island, raised in Tokyo, and made in Brooklyn. She is the founder of Whom Studio, photography for creative brands and beings, which has been built on a foundation of a lifetime growing up and participating in the creative community. When not working with creatives, she is working on a variety of her own personal projects in a varying mediums or scouring New York and the world for the most impressive land and city scapes, collecting found objects in transit. www.whomstudio.com @whomstudio @casualscience
Amanda Michele: Amanda Michele is an abstract watercolor artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been shown across the United States and as far as Australia. She lives with her partner, Matt and dog/studio assistant, Molly Moopy. When she isn’t painting you can find her playing ukulele, training for a marathon or just exploring this amazing city. Check her out online at AmandaMicheleArt.com and on Instagram at
Luba Grosman: Luba Grosman is a photographer for businesses and families. She creates story driven photography that captures personality of her subjects and connections between them. Portfolio can be viewed at www.lubagrosman.com, IG @luba_grosman.
Rachel Hanon: Rachel is a lifestyle photographer living thriving in Manhattan, NY. She LOVES coffee, Gilmore Girls, and dogs of all shapes and sizes. Check out her work on instagram at @rachhanon, her thoughts on Twitter at @rachhanon, or her full portfolio online at www.rachelhanon.com.
Hannah Lowe Corman: Hannah lives in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, where she is an abstract painter and yogi. She could stare at clouds for hours from her apartment balcony, turning them into inspiration for her moody paintings, which can be found on hannahlowecorman.com. Follow her travels and artwork on Instagram @hannahlowecorman.
Jenny Fu: Jenny is a wedding photographer living in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, NY. She moved to New York four years ago from Texas because she wanted to live her dream of working in the big city (but also because she dislikes hot weather). She loves hanging out at home with her french bulldog, exploring the city, and eating all the awesome food New York has to offer. Follow her on her instagram at @jennyfustudio or visit her website at www.jennyfu.com.
MaryAnna Coleman: MaryAnna is an artist living in Manhattan. She primarily paints with watercolors with subjects ranging from animals to houses/buildings/places. Her work is available by contacting her through the website, as well as Artisan Spirit in Spring Lake, NJ. She loves spending time with friends in NYC, enjoying what the city has to offer, making friends with the dogs of NYC, and checking out fun cafes/bars/restaurants. Follow her artistic work and progress on Instagram at @MaryAnnaColemanDesign and her website at www.maryannacolemandesign.com.
Rachel and Chris Gochnauer: Rachel and Chris are married lovebirds living in Brooklyn, NY in a cute apartment they renovated. They love storytelling using the mediums of photo, short films and interior decor. They adore cities, sleek design, movies and amazing cuisine. Check out their online shop for awesome NYC prints and other work at www.crcreativestudios.com and on IG @crcreativestudios.
Andrea Cohen: Andrea Cohen is the owner and designer at Chuppah Studio, a boutique design company specializing in stunning modern chuppah rentals and custom designs. She splits her time between Brooklyn, NY and Los Angeles, CA. Andrea is also a nationally celebrated sculptor and part-time professor at Parsons School of Design. The beach is her favorite place and biggest source of inspiration. www.chuppahstudio.com, IG @chuppahstudio
Erin Braun: Erin Braun is an artist and destination wedding designer living on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, NY with her husband Brett. With experience as a professional fashion designer and abstract painter, she brings a fresh perspective to the world of weddings and events. She loves exploring NYC, coffee, spending time with her family in Ohio and Michigan, gathering inspiration wherever she goes, and traveling whenever possible. Follow along with her journey and work in design, planning, custom invitations, florals, and painting on instagram @erinbraundesign and online at www.erinbraundesign.com
Chi-Chi Agbim: Chi-Chi is a wedding, portrait and lifestyle photographer living in Brooklyn. She’s obsessed with preserving memory and photography is her tool for freezing time. An art lover, hopeful romantic and glass-half-full kinda gal, she finds lots of inspiration in her daily NYC living and travels around the world. http://www.twotwenty.co/
Marina Warner: Marina is a Brooklyn-based attorney and owner of The Warner Firm, a law firm providing legal services to individuals and businesses in the fashion, arts, entertainment, media, and technology industries. She loves discovering new NYC eats (so she doesn’t have to cook) and exploring the Big Apple with her pup. www.thewarnerfirm.co
Eileen Meny: I am a brooklyn based wedding and portrait photographer and have been kicking around new york for the last 8 years. I still have a bit of my hometown CT preppy style, got a little weird studying theater at Brown in college, picked up a taste for whiskey and bit of a sailor mouth working in bars for 7 years, and now am a full time wedding and portrait photographer. I like learning about people and creating images to tell their stories. http://eileenmenyphotography.com insta: @eileenmenyphoto
Daniela Grafman: A native New Yorker from Queens and Brooklyn, on paper, Daniela is a Certified Wedding & Event Planner, has a Bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, and serves as a Board Member for the NY Metro Chapter of the International Live Events Association. Off paper, chocolate is a true passion of hers, she loves to dance like no one’s watching, and her glass is always half full sometimes with an extra lemon. She has been coordinating and planning weddings, corporate events, non-profit galas, personal celebrations, and fundraisers for the past seven years, assisting in the growth of Vision Event Co. as the Chief Amazement Officer & Partner for the last 5 years focusing on event coordination and entertainment production. Www.visioneventco.com @visionsofd
Meghan Stolar Brown: Meghan Stolar Brown is the manager of Two Bright Lights, a network that connects photographers, event planners and vendors with over 400 publishers across the country and around the world. Meghan has extensive event planning and marketing experience at companies like Antony Todd Events and Roubini Global Economics, and understands the challenges and opportunities event entrepreneurs face. Her love for music and events grew from singing and playing piano as a toddler, to performing in recording studios and at weddings and events in the years since. Meghan holds a degree in Music Business from New York University, and lives in New York with her husband and (if everything goes her way) their future dog, “Chet”.
Angelina Montalvo: A Native New Yorker from The Bronx and works in the food and hospitality field. She received Double Bachelor's Degrees in Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management from Baruch College and Baking & Pastry Arts from CUNY BA. She has experience planning children’s parties and has been on-site support for various non-profit and culinary events. Her love and passion is event planning and baking, which inspired her to start her own company, Angie’s Fairies Event Planning, focusing on dessert table services. In interests outside of these fields, include tennis, music, graphic designs, DIY projects and anything in the creative arts. www.afparties.com, IG: @angiesfairies_eventplanning
Alie Bianco: New to New York City, Alie Bianco is a wedding, portrait , and event photographer based in NYC and Washington D.C. Alie Bianco received her Bachelor’s in Fine Art Photography from Towson University in 2010. She continued her studies in Florence, Italy in 2014 and received a Master’s in Museum Studies specializing in Photographic Archives. She currently works for Time, Inc. with the LIFE Picture Collections (yes, almost just like Walter Mitty). Her goal is to continue doing weddings in both NYC and DC focusing on the real relationships and raw emotions of the special day. www.lovecharmphoto.com ; IG: @lovecharmphoto ; FB: www.facebook.com/lovecharmphoto
Nevica Vazquez: Nevica Vazquez is a Business Strategist to creative bosses who want to make their income predictable by consistently booking dream clients. Her love for business and marketing led to a BS in Business Management and a Certification in Business Strategy. She works with creative entrepreneurs who are talented and passionate at what they do. She believes that with your business foundations in place, the right strategy behind you, and your skills & passion guiding you, you can have the profitable business of your dreams. It is her mission to work with creative biz owners on the strategy of their business; so that they can create a life of work they love, while having the time and money to spend with the people who matter most! www.nevicavazquez.com | IG: @nevicavazquez
Shadi Garman: Born in Iran and raised near Seattle, Shadi Garman now happily calls New York City home. Shadi is a wedding and lifestyle photographer, who specializes in natural light and capturing candid moments. She loves succulents, but stress out about their watering schedules. An avid traveler, Shadi has an MA in International Affairs and loves to learn about other cultures. Explore her work here: http://www.shadigarman.com & IG @shadigarman
Yari Santiago: Yari Santiago is a native New Yorker in every aspect and have lived in 4 out of the 5 boroughs! Yari is a planner of fancy events who believes in the beauty of elaborate details. She is also a believer of grace and kindness. Yari loves mani/pedis, anything gold & sparkly and of course everything Kate Spade. Yari currently resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (NYC) with her amazing husband. The dream began in 2013 as she began to plan every single detail of her wedding. After 22 years in the workforce, Yari finally decided to follow her heart and pursue her passion and decided to make a drastic career change and do event planning full time. Follow along on her journey of designing and planning events. www.cakeandchampagnenyc.com | IG: @cakeandchampagnenyc | FB: www.facebook.com/cakeandchampagnenyc
Justina Michaels: Justina is a native New Yorker who loves to continue to explore the evolving city. A background in art helps her bring a unique perspective to event planning, whether it be a fabulous wedding at the plaza, or an intimate affair for family and friends. She makes it her mission to understand each and every component of the day and has taken classes ranging from cake decorating to floral and graphic design. When she's not working you can find her in museums looking for inspiration and taste testing every piece of chocolate and cake she can find. www.fittingfetes.com IG: @fittingfetes
Lana Keller: Lana is the founder of Stem & Bloom, a flower subscription service in Manhattan and Brooklyn. She started Stem & Bloom after 14 years working as a fashion designer, drawing on her love of flowers and color. Favorite NYC activities include visiting the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, going out for tacos and margaritas, and long weekend brunches. www.stemandbloom.com @stemandbloom
Kate Alison Bancroft: Kate Alison is a wedding and portrait photographer based in NYC. After working as a photographer at Disneyland for years, she now captures the fairytales of fun and creative couples with unique images using bold colors. She loves tattoos, glitter, and rock’n’roll. www.katealisonphotography.com @katealisonphotography
Stacey Natal: Stacey Natal is a children’s portrait and event photographer in NYC. She loves to capture the natural essence of childhood. Along with photography, she is now mentoring and coaching other moms that want to start their own creative venture helping them break through the overwhelm with clear cut strategies and mindset work.
Photography: Total City Girl - www.TitalCityGirl.com IG: @totalcitygirl // Mentoring: Life Happens Now - www.LifeHappensNow.com IG: life.happens.now
Zaira Stefani Vallejo: Zaira is a Miami-transplant living (and loving) in New York City. Zaira has been collaborating with industry professionals to create stunning event atmospheres with Nuage Designs since 2012. She also crafts marketing campaigns for the brand, taking concepts from grand ideas to execution across email, blog and social networks. When not playing with textiles or uploading pretty pictures, you can find her enjoying a fancy cocktail, shopping for new shoes or exploring Magical NYC. Connect with her on Instagram @zairavallejo. http://nuagedesigns.com/
Amélie Walker-Yung: Amélie is the owner of Castle Builder Design (www.castlebuilder.com), a web design company in NYC serving creative companies and innovative individuals. She is also the baker and blogger of Cupcakes by Amélie (www.cupcakesbyamelie.com). A New Yorker for almost two decades, Louisiana-born Amélie currently resides with her husband in Brooklyn Heights. IG/Twitter: @cupcakeamelie