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Cleveland, Cleveland, Clevelannnnnd. I write to you as a former Pittsburgher. Gasp, I know.

But, I love you, Cleveland. I root for you! I am one with the 216. Instead of taking my talents to South Beach, I've brought them here, to YOU, like so many others have.

But, there's something we need to talk about.

And this time it's you. Not me.

There is a new video out—it portrays you in a positive light, something I'm always in support of. But, Cleveland . . . why did you cheat on all of your creatives and outsource elements of your new campaign to a Kansas City firm? These are the moments and projects your loyal, devoted and (at times) desperate creatives wait for and you ripped it right from our crippled mouse clenching hands.

The two-minute promo from the KC firm is "good," I guess. Safe, but good.

I'll never quite understand why this city continues to build campaigns around the idea that the entire world thinks Cleveland is a piss on city and that we're in a constant struggle for someone to pay attention to us. 

I know, I know you say—but, in the video it reads: "While they were talking, we weren't listening." Obviously we were, because we continue to address the horror stories and bad jokes, and desperately attempt to defend ourselves . . . over and over and over.

I'm waiting for the campaign that finally manages to let go of past perceptions of you, Cleveland. I want a campaign that loses the persona of the "comeback city" and just starts fresh from day one with an entirely new identity of what Cleveland IS. Not what you were as a city in the past. Not what you will be as a city in the future. TODAY is what I'm interested in.

And, Cleveland—please let that Kansas City firm know that we have talent right here in the Greater Cleveland Area to produce something better than 2 minutes of what is kind of, sort of, generic stock footage of this city.

I would be happy to provide a list of our own homegrown creatives if they are looking for a graphic designer or photographer. Maybe they're in need of a set/prop stylist like myself, or a talented food stylist? Also, if they need any additional tunes from a local band for future videos, I know a great one in addition to the Welshly Arms.

Oh! I almost forgot. Maybe they'd need a painter? One who's from here, has been featured in the New York Times and has chosen to keep his studio in Cleveland, the city that he loves.

Forever rooting for you,


PS | If you could also tell the KC firm that the creatives linked to above are just the tip of the iceberg, it would be appreciated. Thanks!




Styled by Kelley Shaffer / Photo by Peter Larson

I. Love. Thrifting.

There's something about the hunt I just can't get enough of. One of my most frequent stops is Unique Thrift on Lorain in Cleveland, OH. Nothing like some slow jamz and R&B while perusing the aisles for one man's trash/my treasure—if you've been there, I'd assume you know exactly what I'm talking about. But, it's not only tracks like R.Kelly's 'Bump N' Grind' that keep me coming back to Unique. I have found some of my all-time favorite possessions there—like the vessel photographed above.

She was originally listed at $4.99, but it was a Monday, and you know what Monnndayyyy means—or maybe you don't? Fitty percent off EVERYTHING! Do the math and you'll find that I paid under 3 bones for this beaut. She stands at apprx. 15 inches tall with her lid on and she's a show stopper.

PS | Those "florals" were purchased at Urban Orchid, Clevelanders.

Anyone up for some Takeout?


+ I can't believe IT IS butter.

+ Tips on finding modern styles for your space on eBay.

+ Guilty. 

Seriously crying. Grow up, I know—but, I just can't help myself.

+ Most beautiful baby girl jumper.

+ Have always loved this Gray Malin image.

+ This series of quick Q&A's by a group of women (who have undoubtedly done something right) was 100% worth the read. 

+ Bri Emery of designlovefest recently went to Thailand with her man and put together a mini travel guide for her readers. Pretttty nice of her, don't ya think? Be sure to check out Parts I & II. And on that note, who wants to go?

+ Lessons learned from a real life renovation.

+ Hey Clevelanders! Whaddya think about the living room of this home in your neck of the woods? I like what I see!



Isn't there some sort of cliche phrase along the lines of "you're only as good as the people you surround yourself with?"

If that sentiment reigns true, I must be pretty damn great.

Sounds self boasting, right? Well, it's not meant to be.

I guess what I'm actually trying to articulate is that after my birthday celebrations this weekend, I've come to realize that the people who surround me are not only good people, they are irreplacable people. I suppose it's something I've known, but memories like the ones my friends and family made for me this weekend are the kind that draw your unwavering appreciation and gratitude to the very forefront of your mind.

It truly is the small things in life that can seemingly make your heart explode. Sure, I received the kindest of cards and the most gracious of gifts, but the mere presence of those that I love brings an unmatched happiness to my days.

As much as "being happy" is a choice only you can make (as ol' Abe mentioned above), those that bring joy to your world are an essential factor in life's equation. And if you haven't already accepted that fact, I'd cozy up to the idea quickly as your days, which we only have so many of, will be infinitely brighter.

Thanks to everyone who made my birthday what it was. Twenty-seven is going to be a good great year. I can feel it in my bones.




 Today, I'm excited to share another Art Majig Q&A from Erica McKeehen with you. For those of you that are new to Erica's column, be sure to check out her other entries here. Enjoy!


One of my homemaking goals (yes, I have those) of 2014 is to better address the somewhat sad and sparse state of the walls in my apartment. By sad and sparse I mean lacking in general decor and, well, artwork.

I'm not sure how much longer I'll be living in this particular space, but since I moved in over a year ago I have felt compelled to fill up all the empty places. The problem is that my space isn't really that small (that is, for one human and one cat) and my budget is. I'm still working on collecting all the essential pieces of furniture, envisioning the perfect curtains, and deciding on the correct placement of my bed in my bedroom, but those are all seem secondary to filling the almost literal blank slate of walls surrounding me.

Thus enters Etsy, Pinterest, and all the rest -- I'm sure you're all aware of the bounty of gorgeous, one-of-a-kind art (and much much more, of course) that you can find on these sites. I'm a bit of a late bloomer in this discovery, but better late than never.

And so, I encountered the work of Clare Elsaesser via Pinterest. From there it was on to peruse her Etsy shop, blog, website, etc. I became an instant fan of Clare and her dreamy and deliberate paintings, and I reached out to her on behalf of JASPR to do a small (but delightful!) Q&A. I am elated to share her work on the blog and hope that you can connect with the quiet beauty of it in the way that I have.



Q: What did you want to be growing up?:

A: When I was really little, I wanted to be a supermodel. I have no idea why! I guess no one wanted to crush my dreams and tell me I would not grow up to be tall or beautiful. Luckily, in junior high I started taking art classes and my ambitions were redirected.


Q: How does your current environment influence your work?:

A: I live and work in a really gorgeous place surrounded by trees, hills, and water, and though nature doesn't come into play too predominantly in my work, it definitely inspires me in the time I spend staring out the window and daydreaming.

Q: Name five things in your refrigerator right now:

A: My husband Kai (also an artist) is a fantastic chef! Right now we have homemade kimchi, chicken parmesan, and sous vide steak (I was a vegetarian for sixteen years before he turned me) in addition to whatever else is keeping that thing jammed full. Oh, and we keep a bottle of champagne on hand for the next time we have something to celebrate (sometimes this ends up being Friday night).

Watching Trees

Q: When I first discovered your paintings, I was enamored with your series of women embracing bouquets of flowers, concealing their faces. What is this series about to you?:

A: I think of the flowers as something pretty between the women and their identities, and sometimes the flowers are taking over or even enveloping the women. I don't know if other people see anything more than women with flowers when they look at these paintings, but when I work I generally have a slightly darker agenda.

Grew Into

So Much

Q: What's your superpower, or what's your spirit animal?:

A: Kai calls me "Critical Clare." I'm not sure if this is in any way a superpower, but being overly critical of just about everything is definitely a dominant personality trait. If I could just embrace (literally and figuratively) my spirit animal (probably a dog or baby goat) I might be able to overcome my "super" power and become a cheerier person.

Q: Is there an artist or a particular body of creative work that you continually cycle back to for inspiration?:

A: I have been obsessively looking at the work of Swedish artist Mamma Andersson for some time now, but it's only recently that her influence has begun creeping into my work, and I hope I don't take that influence too far!

 Married to the Sea

Q: Who plays you in the cinematic biography of your life?:

A: I would request Andy Samberg, but he would need some serious make-up, and he would have to tone down the funny... to, like, zero. So, maybe Casey Affleck would be more appropriate -- plus we both have weird voices.


A huge thank you to Erica for asking questions and to Clare for answering them.


Erica McKeehen is the general manager of a busy downtown Chicago eatery and an aimless photographer who tries to take one day at a time while perpetually catching up on sleep and compulsively cleaning/organizing/furnishing her apartment



So, the only thing I knew about Gemma Tickle before googling "Gemma Tickle" was that she is the woman behind these balloon sculptures and that totally made me want to be her friend.

After checking out her set design and learning a bit more about her and her body of work, I'm in deep. I'm intrigued by it all and can't stop looking. Be sure to snoop around more on her site for yourself.

She also has this really badass Egg Blog. Yes, an Egg Blog.




This photo makes me love love. Good ol' fashion, weird, awkward, shameless love.

Annnnd . . . a long overdue Takeout to start your week off right:



+ This product could be the official end of my productivity. 

+ Ummm, only the cutest shit ever. This one—I die.

+ This video is old but still hilarious.

+ One Kings lane is currently having a book sale! I picked up a copy of this guy.

+ While on the topic of books, I might need to get my hands on these four as well.

+ A sleek little bottle opener from CB2 for $4.99! 

+ Unbelievaaaabbbbblllleeeeee. Inspired.

+ Feeling nostalgic in wishing airline tags still looked like this.

+ Well this apartment sure is magical.


image source



A whole lot of beauty in this detail shot of Moon Juice, a cold-pressed juice and nut milk shop in Los Angeles. Read more about it here.

Photo by Chantal Anderson



Let's pretend that it isn't winter.

And then . . . let's pretend that we all have disposable incomes to spend on a somewhat pricey collection of planters to stare at while we're sitting outside taking in the warm spring and summer air.

I / Okay, so this one is actually super reasonable! The Bloem Modica 'Maximal' Bowl Planter: It looks good, is "green," and is UV stable and weather resistant. $21

II / Add a touch of Mid-century modern to your home with the Case Study Planter. $189

III / A personal favorite: The Ibarra Ficonstone. This one gets my vote for best buy when trying to find a balance between looks, quality and price. $69.95

IV / The Large Ball Planter from C&B is a good-looking, earth-friendly choice. $149

V / I'm always in search of a reasonably priced planter with height that has a simple shape and minimalist feel. Found: The Shore Polyterrazo Planter from CB2. $99.95

I realize the majority of the planters above may be a bit pricey for some, so if you're looking for a deal, my go-to resources for planters include HomeGoods/TJs/Marshalls, IKEA, Thrift/Reclaim stores and of course . . . there's almost always an option at Target (for everything <3).