That's My Jam - An Inspiring Workspace

I am constantly rearranging items and art in my house. I am a firm believer that your environment impacts your mood, productivity, and happiness. I don't have an office or consistent workspace at my job. I work in any space I can find which includes sitting in the floor in the hallway of schools, camping out in a teacher lounge by a refrigerator, crashing open conference rooms, and keeping office supplies in the back of my SUV. For my startup I have a co-working membership to a workspace but also don't have an assigned space that is mine there either.

While this has made me very flexible, collaborative and a pro at making small talk, not having a personal workspace does impact me negatively at times. I had the desk below set up at home with the intensions of making it a workspace but was just letting mail pile up on it. So I spent a weekend clearing the space and organizing it. Having a workspace that is just mine and inspiring to me has made a HUGE difference in me wanting to work when I got home so I thought I would share it.

I put up two huge cork boards that I got for a few bucks at Menards. I made one of the boards an inspiration board. The other I use for organizing my to do-lists which I will talk about in another post. Here are some close-ups of a few things that are currently on this inspiration board although it is ever changing. I described the pieces below.

  1. I have cut things out I like from magazines since I was in middle school. To this day I cut out photos and articles from magazines and collect them. This photo of will.i.am was from a recent issue of Success that featured him, I just loved the article. 
  2. This is a page from a Vogue magazine that Taylor Swift was featured in. While I do like Taylor Swift, I have it up there because the rocker on the left is a friend my high school, Grant Mickelson. He was her guitar player for years and traveled around the world with her, been on every award show, and played with the greats. Everything he does is inspiring to me but this particular shoot in Vogue really hit home for me that he worked hard to make his dream of playing guitar for a living come true.
  3. My grandpa owned a grocery store for his whole career. This is a photograph of him  in front of his store from when he was young. This reminds me that hustle runs in the family. 
  4. In college I stood in line for three hours by myself at a tiny bookstore to meet David Sedaris one of my favorite authors. I had a great conversation with him. He told me he thought I was dynamite and drew dynamite on my book at the signing. This reminds me that DAVID SEDARIS LIKES ME!  (Next to that book page is a napkin from one of my favorite place in Omaha, Havana Garage a cigar bar.)
  5. When Pinterest first came out I bought these paper mache letters from a craft store and wrapped them in yarn. I named our dog Pax because the word means Peace in Latin and I need peace in my daily life.
  6. This a small print from one of my favorite online art stores Society6. I love the word fuck, what can I say? The little Iowa banner above it I found at a local thrift store. I was so sad about moving to Iowa City and have grown to just love it here and that banner reminds me of that personal evolution.
  7. Years ago Starbucks had a campaign where all the cups had quotes on them. I collected all of them, cut them out, and laminated them. I am considering starting a petition to bring back this campaign.
  8. "Yes And" is my new mantra. I found these stick on letters at Lowes for 30 cents a piece. 
  9. When I was in 5th grade, I would act out SNL characters on the playground instead of playing kickball. My grandma wrote into SNL and got Molly Shannon to autograph a photo for my sister and I. Mine says "Allison, I hope I can meet you someday." (Next to it is a greeting card I liked, so I bought it for myself and hung it up.)
  10. Solid typography. 
  11. This is a photograph from the first group I mentored at HOBY's World Leadership Congress (WLC) in front of The Bean in Chicago. WLC is a large part of my life and this photo reminds me of where it all started.
  12. I was just drawn to this Miley photo. Attitude.
  13. This is a quote I have had from a long time, not sure where I first cut it out from. I just like it.
  14. This is one of my favorite photos of a group of my girlfriends. It was taken at one of our famous themed parties, a $5 prom where we all bought thrift prom dresses from under 5 bucks.

What inspires you?

#Eureka- Map Wall

In our townhouse in Omaha, I framed a map of Omaha that I kept by my desk. I loved looking to see where our favorite places were and also loved the colors in the map.  So when the home decor trend of using maps to decorate started showing up everywhere, I was inspired. I ordered  some old national geographic maps from Etsy and also collected some at one of my favorite stores in Iowa City, Artifacts, which has a lot of random vintage items. I put up the maps on the walls of the guest bedroom using poster puddy.

I decided to spruce up the guest bedroom a bit after putting up all the maps. So I featured the Omaha map on a wall of its own. I hung up some curtains, and got a new gold side table. I also put up some clipboards to feature our favorite travel photos. Right now the clipboards are holding some photos from Bennett's trip to India. I still have a few ideas left to implement for the room but I love how the maps came together and like the vibe of the room so far.

#Eureka - Instagram Display

I love Instagram and take great pride in my Instagram 'work'.  When decorating our new home I decided I wanted a way to display my pictures in some way. I found an old bed spring at a vintage store for a few dollars. I hung it up in our hallway and thought it would be awesome to have a rotating display of my favorite Instagram photos on it and I am pleased with the way it came out.


The first step to making the display was having to print the pictures, which always feels like a hassle nowadays. However, I discovered the free app PostalPix which makes it super, super easy. I just selected what pictures I wanted printed and in what sizes on my phone (this can be done in batches), entered my debit card info, and the prints were delivered  in a few days. Some photo printing phone apps only allow you to print Instagram pictures but PostalPix lets you print any pictures from your phone which is awesome. It is great for Instagram photos though because one of the printing size options is a 4 inch by 4 inch which is perfect for Instagram pictures in terms of resolution. That is the size that I used for my display.


The second step was hanging the pictures from the bed spring. I did originally hang the photos with tape but the tape was not strong enough and they all kept falling off.  I figured the tape would be hard too if I kept changing the pictures because I would have to take the tape off the pictures every time I took them down. I then tried to hang the photos with regular size clothespins but those were too large and bent the photos. So I ended up hanging the pictures with tiny clothespins that I found on Amazon and they worked perfectly.

I ended up ordering a ton of photos when I saw how easy it was to order using the app.  I have some displayed in frames, on my desk, and on the fridge. I intend to keep ordering more, rotating them out, and storing the pictures in photo cartons like I used to in high school when I would get my film developed at the store. I love having printed pictures again, I feel like it is a little bit of a lost art and is way better than giving someone your phone to scroll through.