Alapash Chicago, IL

When you walk into Alapash, you may feel overcome with the irresistible urge to purchase everything in sight, simply because everything is so beautifully and artfully arranged. And when you meet Marco, the shop owner, you may never want to leave. What's most wonderful about this shop is that Marco enjoys collaborating with a variety of artists, giving it an even more authentic feel. Everything in here seems to have a story, and these pieces are versatile enough to fit into a number of different styles. If you're in the Chicago area, you ought to stop by!

4 Ways I Use Evernote for Freelancing and Life

Oh, Evernote. I don't know what I ever did without you in my life. Before you, ideas were scrawled on scraps of paper and I had nowhere to keep track of delicious recipes I wanted to try! Today, I thought I'd share some of the ways I've used this versatile app to stay on track with all my various freelance and life projects.

1. To Compartmentalize My Life As a freelancer, your responsibilities can range from social media guru, to accountant, designer, blogger and photographer - all before lunchtime. In this way, Evernote has really helped me to compartmentalize all the different aspects of my business (and personal life) so I can keep my thoughts and ideas organized. The way the app is structured allows for a lot of freedom, so you can organize it in any way that makes sense to you. I keep separate notebooks for each project I'm working on, and from there each note details a more specific aspect of those projects. For someone who has so many different things to focus on, it's really helpful to have everything separated this way.

2. To Flesh Out Blog Post Ideas Often I'll have an idea for a new blog post or even a new series that needs some space and time to develop, and this is where Evernote has saved me! It's the perfect place to get my ideas down and come back to them when I'm ready to go deeper, or add some related articles, questions or images to the note.

3. As a Place for My Paperwork Contracts, policies, descriptions of services and products all have a place on my Evernote account as an extra backup. Plus, I can always access my paperwork in a pinch. When you spend so much time perfecting these elements of your business, it's important to have them in a safe place, yes?

4. To Save Interesting Articles As you can tell, I love sharing articles on twitter and here. It used to be that I would see an article and email it to myself... it would get buried by the end of the day only to be completely forgotten and - worst of all - unshared! So now it's easy to keep them in one place for when I'm ready to organize them and share.

Lastly, it's free and syncs to all your devices so you can reference things on the go! It has truly changed the way I approach my creative process, especially when I don't have a sketchbook on hand (although that isn't often).

This post is the first in a series about freelance tools and how I use them in my business.

An Interview with Tokara Sexton of Love Sexton

I'm super excited to present to you the first ever interview on this blog! Hopefully there will be many more to come in the near future - I really believe in supporting other artists and small business owners. I love reading about how they got where they are today, their process and the challenges they may have faced along the way. So, let's get right into it! Love Sexton features accessories that are bright, sassy and will definitely make you stand out in a crowd. The combination of color and texture makes for a truly astounding look. You can learn more about Tokara and Love Sexton through her Facebook page, or on Twitter and of course you should head on over to her shop and check out the rest of her work!

love sexton interview1

First of all, where does the name Love Sexton come from? Sexton is my last name. I meant it to be sort of like the end of a letter, as in "Love, Sexton". I’m very intrigued with the colors in your work. What draws you to the materials you use? What first inspired you to paint such bright colors onto faux leather?

I am drawn to all bright colors. I love to surround myself with them as they make me happy. My house is painted in bright blues, yellows, and pinks. I am an artist at heart, I really wanted to incorporate my painting into my accessory making. I had been making the gold, black, and white style feathers for a long time, but I wanted COLOR! So through much trial and error I finally found the right fit between type of paint and type of material. 

Are there other materials you’d like to try? I have worked with silks before but I have never tried painting them. I think that's a future venture.

love sexton earrings

Did you have any big challenges when you started Love Sexton? Any current challenges? Start up money I guess was the biggest challenge. I really want only high quality supplies in my shop so it took a while to build up a collection of items and materials to work with. As for current challenges, just keeping up with demand all by myself. It's still at the point where I am enjoying it and not too stressed out, and I want to keep it that way. 

What is your personal style like? I guess I am part rocker style, part pin up girl. Very opposite. I am a very girly girl either way. I wear a lot of black with bright pops of color like the Neon Aztec earrings, or bright makeup.

Do you have any major influences or places to go for inspiration? I love all fashion. Love the designers who take chances. Love to check out fashion blogs.

love sexton pink and gold earrings

How do you go about promoting your shop?

Etsy is a great place to get noticed. I try and contact boutiques and blogs when I have time. It's kind of hard to promote when you're running a one girl business. 

Where do you hope to see Love Sexton in the next year? For right now I would like to maintain. I have some new ideas in the works, so I would like to get enough time to create and get those out.

Do you have any pearls of wisdom for other creatives? Be patient, try not to get discouraged (I have been doing this since 2006). Keep coming up with original pieces and your hard work will get noticed!

Thanks, Tokara!