Design*Sponge

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Biz Ladies: eBook Marketing 101 – Strategies for Launching Your Online Product with Success

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The digital world has brought with it many wonderful innovations – the mp3, the app and, my personal favorite, the eBook. With this ease of online publication, I’ve been able to read the expanded works of those I admire – from bloggers and new authors, to chefs and how-to mavens – in the simple and instant click of a download. The eBook revolution has opened the path for more individuals and business owners to disseminate their materials, too, and with companies like Artful Publications, the publishing process has become seamless. Meg Sylvia, the founder of Artful Publications, shares her passion for helping creative bloggers and entrepreneurs self-publish eBooks by providing strategic marketing, planning and contemporary design, and today she offers a bit about how you can successfully get your eBook products into the hands of more readers and consumers.

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10 Travel Instagram Feeds to Follow and Swoon Over

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To say I’ve been afflicted with the travel bug in my time would be a lie – I’ve got a full blown case of travel-itis with no cure in sight. My hunger for travel often takes a precedence over my actual hunger pains (grocery shopping…what’s that?) and if my pup were allowed to travel along with me around the world, you better believe I’d live the life of a full-fledged nomad. But since this daydream is just that, I often find myself turning to Instagram for a heavy dose of travel-lusting relief/major travel jealousy all at once. So if you are looking for some travel inspiration, incredible eye candy, or just a quick escape from the work week, take a peek at these epic, traveling Instagrammers. - Stephanie

Above: alexstrohl – His larger-than-life scenic landscape photographs are simply breathtaking. Something about the way he captures a scene makes me want to breathe in the fresh air.

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Make Room For: Elle Woods

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I am not ashamed to say that, despite not really liking school all that much, I thoroughly enjoyed Back-To-School, an annual activity that I partook in with near fanatical zeal. Call me a complete and total nerd, but there is something outrageously thrilling about the scent of fresh composition notebooks, newly sharpened pencils, and brand spankin’ new pink erasers. For some, back-to-school marked the dreary end of summer break, but for me, it was a chance to bust out some fresh new sneakers, plan my locker decorations, and don whatever new personality I was wearing for that academic year. People who approach the minutia of school with similar flair really excite me, which is why I think that Elle Woods, the fabulous law student heroine of Legally Blonde, is pretty much my spirit animal. When it came to back-to-school, girlfriend was about it. Snazzy outfit with smart-looking glasses? Check! Heart-shaped notebook that perfectly matches your first-day ensemble? Check! Pink, scented stationery, because it “adds a little something extra?” Now, that is a gal after my own heart. Unfortunately for Elle, her particular brand of frenetic enthusiasm was somewhat ahead of her time, making her something of an odd duck out at Harvard Law. Still, her scrappy personality, unwavering perseverance, and encyclopedic knowledge of perm maintenance allowed her to wade through the adversity with style. In honor of Elle Woods and her undying dedication to style and academia, we’ve collected an assortment of rooms that we think she would feel right at home in. Check them out, in all of their hot-pink glory, after the jump! —Max Read More

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A Modern Family Farmhouse in New York State

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Dana McClure and her husband Chris Lanier split their time between two places – a loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and a small farm in Olivebridge, New York. Today, we’re peeking into their home in Olivebridge. Like many creative couples, Dana and Chris wear many hats. Dana is a visual artist with a focus on printmaking, collage and textiles. She freelances for a range of clients as a graphic designer and Chris is a chef, grower and food stylist. With the birth of their son just seven months ago, the couple decided to try to simplify their life and leave more room for doing the things they love the most. To that end, Dana just ended her 10-year stint teaching at Parsons so that the couple could embark on their first joint venture – Ravenwood. They’ve started by hosting a series of dinner parties in Brooklyn and in Upstate New York that showcase their homegrown and homemade products. Before settling into this Olivebridge farm, the couple had spent years renting cabins in the Woodstock/Phoenicia area. Their weekend visits turned into full season visits and soon they were looking at real estate “just for fun.” After a few years of leisurely looking, they honed in on what they were really after – something within two hours of the city and a house that didn’t need too much work. When they found a house on a 4-acre cow pasture down a windy road, they began turning their dream of having a small produce farm into a reality. Today, they grow food on about one acre of land and raise chickens and turkeys, and it’s just the beginning! -Amy

Photography by  Bob Martus

Image above: “Our 10-year-old frenchie Mackenzie has claimed every couch we’ve ever had to be her own,” says Dana. “We were hoping once we moved upstate she’d be basking out in the sun and coming along on hikes in the woods. But a city dog at heart, this is where she prefers to be. Our living room is probably where we spend the most time as it’s attached to our open kitchen where we entertain often. The artwork on the walls is a mixture of my own monoprints and collages with some beautiful work by my friend and colleague Simona Prives. Until we can get a fancy couch one day, I try to dress up our nondescript one with a rotation of textiles and my own hand-printed pillows to keep the room changing from season to season. This space gets a ton of light with south-facing windows that stretch from floor to ceiling, so it’s the room most filled with plants – a fiddle leaf fig, a ‘white Christmas’ hosta and a ficus tree. Art, design and cookbooks are usually piled high on our coffee table and end table (both street salvaged in Brooklyn). The Eames lounge chair was a much anticipated gift to my husband for his 40th.”

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Image above: “The open shelving system in our dining space is something I sketched out for Chris and he figured out how to build it. This process is sort of how most projects get done in our space. I’m a strategic thinker who likes to pre-visualize everything to a fault and Chris is more of a ‘let’s get to work and start making’ kind of person. After many years in restaurants and collecting props for photo shoots, we’ve gathered a lot of ‘stuff’ that gets used pretty regularly so we thought it best to keep everything accessible. (Now that we have a little one, we may need to rethink those bottom two shelves). Our dining table was bought as a discounted display table in a Cobble Hill boutique years ago. We custom-made the benches to fit.”

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Creating a Serene Home in Brooklyn

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When Kristen Cesiro, an interactive designer at Gilt, moved into this prewar Brooklyn Heights apartment, her then-boyfriend (now husband) and film producer Andrew Goldman had already been living in the space for four years. Naturally, the couple’s first challenge was to find a way to revamp the apartment so it felt like it belonged equally to the two of them. They tried to be discerning with what they kept and what they sold, until the home felt like it told their story. Prior to Andrew moving in, the previous tenants were the owners/founders of Twenty2 Wallpaper, and while they left behind beautiful and useful touches such as the giant cabinet units in the bedroom and light fixtures in the entryway, the home was a bit of a wallpaper laboratory. The two walls in the living room were covered in different paper that competed with the wallpaper in the entryway. This was the first thing Kristen insisted on changing and she spent two days peeling off that wallpaper and repainting the walls. It was not an easy task, but it completely changed the feel of the space and created the type of calm, quiet home that they both were looking for.  -Amy

Photography by Isabelle Selby

Image above: “Our bedroom gets arguably the best light in our apartment,” says Kristen. “It’s so bright in the morning that we had to buy blackout curtains so we could sleep in on the weekends. Of all the rooms in our home, this is the one I felt most strongly about keeping calm and serene.”

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Image above: “We have a little reading chair that’s not pictured here, and we use this brass lamp to light it up at night when we’re sitting in it. The deer statues were purchased from an antique shop in Vermont one weekend while we were on vacation with my sister and her boyfriend, and we like to think they are good company for our record player. The eye poster is the Eye Eye print by Fine Little Day, and I love it tremendously. The poster behind it is from the Pencil to Pixel exhibit I went to last year by Monotype.”

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Room to Grow in Texas

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When Emily and Colby Allen started looking for a home in Fort Worth, Texas, they first zeroed in on the neighborhood – the Fairmount National Historic District, filled with beautiful Craftsman homes, a community garden with chickens and a tight-knit community that hosts neighborhood parades and arts events. They had been living in an older, dark home so when they found this 1918 restored Craftsman with beautiful natural light, an open floor plan, a big porch, hardwood floors and period details, they were hooked. And since Emily is a baker and event designer for her own company, Cakewalk Bake Shop, the fact that the kitchen had just been updated sealed the deal. In fact, the biggest challenge was figuring out how to make use of all the space. They rearranged things a hundred times before settling on a layout that works for them. They turned the upstairs into a master suite with the biggest room becoming the den/study, the guest room became their bedroom and another small room became the office. It’s a home with plenty of room to grow into.  -Amy

Photography by Apryl Ann

Image above: “The living room ended up orange somehow, which is funny because it’s not one of my favorite colors, but I love the rich textiles and warm lighting,” says Emily. “It feels a bit ’70s to me and like stumbling into a quirky cabin. Our diva cat Arnie has taken ownership of our Turkish pouf.”

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Image above: “Our dining room is by far our most minimal in the home, and I love how clean it is.”

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Image above: “While we lived together for years before settling down as a married couple, this home has felt like a magical place where we have grown so much individually and together when stuff got real. It’s a place where we have really grown up and home to so much evolution. It will always be a symbol of this time in our lives for me.”

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