Jan 31, 2012

Tuesday Tunes v.6 | Tribute to Etta James

Inspirational. Timeless. Legendary.
Etta James.
Rest in Peace.

These are a few of my favorite Etta James tunes. I mean, realistically, how can you choose?
Linking up with Danielle from Tongue Tied in Awe for Tuesday Tunes. You should too!

ALSO! If you haven't entered this AWESOME giveaway from Elgie Designs, you should check it out. Win a pair of crochet earrings and a crochet necklace? You lucky, lucky dog! Giveaway ends this Friday!

photo sources [1/2/3]

Jan 28, 2012

I remember: cupcakes in Raleigh

I'm going to start putting "I remember" in front of posts where I share photos that I've been digging up on my hard drive or memories I'd like to recall. I honestly haven't been able to take photos as much as I'd like to this semester and I just love looking back on that ones I have taken. Great, great memories.

These were taken May 5, 2010 in downtown Raleigh.

Cupcake Shoppe is a cute little local, well cupcake shop! This was honestly the first and only time I ever went which is so heartbreaking because the cupcakes are to die for! Living in Boone for college makes it difficult to support local shops in my hometown. Don't worry Cupcake Shoppe, we WILL reunite! The bottom two photos are two of my best friends Nicole and Frederick, who also happen to be siblings.
Oh cupcakes, why are you the definition of perfection?
ALSO! If you haven't entered this AWESOME giveaway from Elgie Designs, you should check it out. Win a pair of crochet earrings and a crochet necklace? You lucky, lucky dog!

Jan 27, 2012

Featured Shop: Elgie Designs & A GIVEAWAY!

I am EXTREMELY happy to present to my readers a great local artist from Boone, Laura who is the face and creator of Elgie Designs! We were brought together by mutual friends from Appalachian and I am so happy to showcase her shop. I feel honored to host a giveaway with her beautiful jewelry. Without further adieu!

Getting to know Laura:

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself Laura and why you decided to open shop!
Well, my name is Laura Guidry. I'm a sophomore at Appalachian State University. I've flirted with several majors and I'm starting to think Interdisciplinary Studies might stick...at least this semester. I like writing, crafting, the cello and I'm fairly certain several friends are planning an intervention for my coffee addiction. I opened shop so I could channel my exploits in crocheting and knitting into something productive. I became addicted and there were not enough days in a year to handle the amount of earrings I was making so I figured I should share the crochet love.

2. What's the background behind the name Elgie designs?
The name Elgie designs comes courtesy of my best friend Chloe. She decided way back in high school that my initials sort of resembled an old lady name so we just spelled it out and a nickname was born. The nickname has stuck since then and who knows, maybe when I'm a old lady wearing enough crochet/knitted accessories to be confused for an Afghan, my grandkids will call me Elgie too.

3. Whose/What is your store inspiration?
Hmm....where does my inspiration come from... I like bold, funky accessories that tell a story. You know, that weird bracelet that your uncle brought back from vacation that you're not sure where it is from and is hanging on by one thread but by golly, has an awesome loud print. So, my inspiration probably comes from all around... traveling, different textures, yarn, that really cool bead from Beadbox or that old scarf that looked like it was craving some unraveling so it could take a new shape. And hopefully, my inspiration turns into some pretty nifty creations, the ones that show off your personality and are a little offbeat and funky. And never the same as the next.

4. What's your favorite part of being a handmade shop owner? 
My favorite part of being a handmade shop owner is, well, when people wear my designs! It's the coolest feeling to see someone incorporate something you made into their style and completely own it. You sort have to fight the feeling of a mom before their kid gets their driving permit...you know what I'm talking about, the feeling like you want to whip a camera out and have them pose despite the potential of completely embarrassing them. Gosh.

5. What's next for Elgie designs? 
Lots of crocheting and creating because Elgie designs will be at Boone's Art Crawl, February 3rd at Lucky Penny! You can also find some earrings made just for you on etsy as well as in Asheboro at Colorshow Gallery and in Wilmington at Lula Balou and Aqua Fedora. I'm working on some new designs so if you go to ASU and see a girl wearing a funny looking necklace (or is that a necklace) yarn creation, it's probably me, trying to figure out a new design and getting emotionally attached to a failed attempt. Don't you worry though, there will be plenty of lovely things for you at Art Crawl and on etsy!
Isn't she just so cute and lovely! Here's a little glimpse of what she creates!
Check out her shop for more items.

One of you ah-mazing readers will have a chance to win a pair of yellow crocheted earrings AND a brown crochet necklace! How lucky of you. I'm so jealous. I'm dying for one of each!

Here's how to enter:

MANDATORY: [Leave ONE comment]
(1) Visit her shop, tell me your favorite item, AND like her shop on Facebook! Leave me a comment afterwards with your email letting me know you did this and so I can contact you!

OPTIONAL: [Leave a SEPARATE comment for each]
(2) Add Elgie Designs to your favorites on Etsy!
(3) Follow this blog via GFC or Bloglovin'
(4) Share this giveaway via Twitter, Facebook or Blog about it! Be sure to leave your link in the comment. If you tweet about it, tweet me so I can see it! (@mashleyvega)
(5) Leave me your favorite quote!

Wow FIVE entries for this wonderful giveaway :)

Giveaway is open until midnight Friday, Feb. 3, 2012.
Winner will be announced Saturday, Feb 4, 2012.

Be sure to visit Laura at Lucky Penny in Boone for her trunk show during Art Crawl on Friday, Feb. 3!
Support your local artists + shops! 

Jan 24, 2012

Tuesday Tunes v.5 || The Study Mix

Tuesday Tunes v.5 by melissa vega on Grooveshark

Readers of mine, I present to you "The Study Mix" also appropriate for relaxing, cups of tea, moments when words are unnecessary, those moments before bedtime, a bath or to let your mind wander. This being my last semester of college, I really need to buckle down and make sure I graduate with some good grades, since graduate school is in the plan. I listen to these songs over and over and over again when I'm doing anything school related. It puts me in a good place and I hope it does the same for you. So for those of you in school, good luck this semester and hopefully this playlist will help take out the stress.

If you have any instrumental pieces or movie scores that are your favorite, please share! I'd love to be introduced to new music and add to my studying playlist.

Linking up with Danielle from Tongue Tied in Awe for Tuesday Tunes. You should, too!

*This photo was taken four semesters ago while I was studying for a Biology exam. Flashcards + coffee = go time, with a side of a nap.

Jan 22, 2012

Cookies + Cupcakes

What else does a girl need?
Some baking, yummy frosting, an apron, measuring and the scents. Oh the scents!
I got my domestic on and I must say, I have officially jumped on the baking bandwagon.
The pumpkin cookie recipe has been floating around the blogging world for awhile and I must say, it is definitely the easiest recipe ever. Here is the recipe I used. The cream cheese frosting is made from scratch. I'm sure you can find an easy one to find floating on the web. I have already made these cookies four times in the last month. Oops :)

The Sprinkles cupcake mix was sent me from LauraJane for Package Pals 2011 and I finally used it! LauraJane [looks like] an extremely talented baker and since she couldn't send me cupcakes, she sent the next best thing. Ain't she a sweet thang? Well they were delicious! The pinwheels were won from a giveaway from Meg and from Earth Cookie Creations! Aren't they precious?! I made the cupcakes for a potluck and they were a hit! Only have three left. Actually...now there are only going to be two ;)

Keep calm and bake on!

Jan 20, 2012

NCMA: North Carolina Museum of Art

Sometimes, all you need is a little trip to the museum.
It's the little things. I'm linking up with Lindsey, From the Aisle to Aloha.
Museum trip on 01 | 13 | 2012
Ah, a trip to the museum. An art museum.
Sometimes that's all you need. Did you know I've never been to any of the museums in Raleigh and I've been living there for years. By years, I mean practically my whole life (with the exception of going to five different elementary schools including Richmond, Guam, Cary and Raleigh) ANYway, the museum was lovely. I felt so grown-up, I actually read the descriptions (I mean, did you really do this on school field trips, be honest) and I absorbed it all. Also, the NCMA has this kickBUTT restaurant inside their second building that looks so cool! It's on my list of places to eat in Raleigh :] Any one want to come with?

So in conclusion, when you need a little lift, time for thought and some good ol' inspiration, go to the closest art museum possible and make some art of your own ;)

Have a safe and inspiring weekend!
Be sure to check out the previous post about my lovely friend Chelsea's creative and innovative shop! Her shop is almost as lovely and cute as she is :)

Jan 19, 2012

Featured Artist + Shop: Chelsea of Leather and Copper

I've started a new FEATURE blog series, where I'd like to showcase some talent and passions of artists and shop owners all around I've come to get to know and admire! It won't necessarily be a weekly blog series, but I'm going to post them as often as possible.

For the first blog post, meet my adorable and even more talented friend Chelsea.

The interview:

1. First off, tell us a little about yourself. Your quirks, favorite color, anything!
My name is Chelsea Brendle and I am a senior at Appalachian State University.  I am studying Art Education, Art History, and Studio Art. Let's see...my quirks? Oh dear...too many to name, I'm sure!  One might be that about 75% of my closet is made up of thrift store finds!  (Which reminds me - we definitely need to have a GW trip soon, Melissa!)  My favorite color is grey.  I know it sounds boring, but it is really just so beautiful.

2. How did you decide to open up a shop? What was your inspiration for Leather and Copper?
I started Leather & Copper in May of 2010.  I had been dabbling in other crafty areas and had already started an Etsy shop for those, but I became much more serious about this one.  It all started when I just decided to check out the Tandy Leather store.  I came home with a starter kit for leather tooling and I knew that I had found something that I loved!

3. How do you juggle being a college student and handmade shop owner?
Being a handmade shop owner is kind of perfect for being a student.  I have always wanted to have a job while at school, but didn't know if I would have enough time; this way I can choose my own hours, do something that I love, and even make a little bit of income from it!  I also have this weird thing where I kind of like to be busy (I have never taken less than 18 hours a semester!), so it works out well!

4. What are the things that inspire you most?
I have a confession: I am a Pinterest addict. Matt (my boyfriend) tells me I spend way too much time on there, but he just doesn't understand.  A lot of inspiration comes from there - colors, patterns, designs - but a lot also comes from art classes as well.  I love seeing different art motifs from around the world, and art history classes are wonderful for that.  Oftentimes, I have more inspiration than time to actually make the pieces! I definitely need to get better about that! I have a feeling that I will be adding a lot more stuff to the store soon, so stay tuned!

5. What are some future plans for your etsy shops and well, life?
I am going to finally sit down and make a lot of new inventory, so that should be coming soon to Leather & Copper!  I also sell my goods at Ruby's Gift in NoDa in Charlotte, but I am hoping to also get them in some local stores in Boone.  As for life...whew...I wish I knew! haha.  I will be taking my last semester of classes now, and then student-teaching in the Fall.  After school, I would absolutely love to find a job in the arts.  I definitely want to be an art teacher, but I would also be happy in any art setting.  I definitely want to travel as well - there is such an amazing world out there that I can't wait to get out and see!  Whatever happens, I want to continue Leather & Copper and keep working on my own art!

Thanks so much, Melissa! Your blog is amazing - I always look forward to your posts!

Her work:

Isn't she adorable?! And isn't her shop just wonderful? I definitely need to grab one of her cuffs before we both split after college. I hope you enjoyed her little interview and definitely check out her shop! I love having talented and crafty friends like her :) Also, I know that she LOVES custom orders so be sure to shoot her a message on etsy or email her! So a big thank you to Chelsea for taking the time to let me interview you and share your art with the blogging world!

*All featured artists are handpicked by me and I am in no way compensated for the featured posts on my blog. I just want to share the talents and passions of different artists all around! Support your local artists.

Jan 17, 2012


So, I'm obsessed with glasses. What's new?
I had some fun with GlassesUSA.com's virtual try-on mirror!
Obviously I couldn't stay away from the thick-rimmed glasses.
Bad habits die hard :)

Well, I would like to introduce to you all GlassesUSA! I was on their site for hours looking at their selection of high quality frames and lenses. I seriously didn't think they would have such an array of cheap glasses...you're not even breaking the bank. They offer prescription eyeglasses (what I need most), rx sunglasses and multi-focal. It was super easy to maneuver around their site to find the pair just for you.

What makes them so different from other glasses companies?
Well, they offer a 110% lowest price gaurantee (all the eyeglasses frames I tried on were well under $100) and a 100% satisfaction gaurantee. They even have a generous refer-a-friend program. Check out their site for more details!

Check out their Facebook and Twitter (@GlassesUSA) to stay up-to-date on all GlassesUSA happenings and deals! Like this one >>

As a New Year Sale:
Take 20% off any pair of eyeglasses and get FREE US shipping with the code: New2012
Take 10% off any order of prescription glasses. Code: Blog10

Hurry up! Go shopping or at least have some fun trying on a pair (or two, or three). Try thick-rimmed frames if you're used to metal rims or vice versa! Definitely go outside your comfort zone to find a pair that's right for you. They make for fun (and somewhat) embarrassing pictures as well.

*I did receive compensation for writing this blog post, however, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday Tunes v.4 | Josh Garrels

photo source: one // two
Close your eyes and think of the words inspiration, raw, hope and think of driving with the windows down, taking the back roads with the one you love most by your side.
That is how Josh Garrels makes me feel.

I've just recently stumbled upon this genius of a musician. I introduce to you Josh Garrels. I truly can't believe I've survived without his music for so long, but better late than never right? His latest album "Love & War & The Sea in Between" was released last year with the single "Farther Along" which made me first fall in love with his music. Just listen for yourself. I could probably talk your ear off about how inspiring I have found his music, but I don't want to bore you.

If you like the album, he even has it as a FREE download here.

So come on, go download it. Let his raw and inspirational music flood your ears, get into your veins and thoughts and let him change your music collection forever.
Also, check out this blog post I've stumbled upon where Josh and his [very cute] family are interviewed and photograph. A genius musician and a family man? Just. Can't. Beat. It.

*I'm linking up with Danielle of Tongue Tied in Awe. Go check out her blog, write up your Tuesday Tunes post, share some music and link-up! Danielle and I would love to see the music everyone is listening to!

Jan 15, 2012

laugh list v.2

I'm back with my laugh lists. Check out the first one here.
Since the beginning of the semester is right around the corner (and by corner I mean TUESday), I decided I needed to start this semester off with a few laughs because, let's face it, it's the only thing that's going to keep me sane. Along with coffee, some inspiration and a few road trips to surrounding cities to escape (because for some reason I like to do that).

Well, let's begin!

1 >> Karla, from Casual Bedlam referred to this photo in her blog post and I couldn't help from laughing. Hard. This is basically foreshadow for my final (yes final) semester for my undergrad. I know you college studs can relate ;)

2 >> I literally ran across this video while I was writing this laugh post. Fate?

"Hey can I borrow your Nickelback cd?"
"I completely understand my taxes."
"Hey does anyone know how to make Papyrus my default font." (My favorite)
Okay, I'll stop ruining it for you now. Watch the video!

3 >> One of my best friends, Catherine (who is also known as my Soul mate) left me this beautiful note on my typewriter (okay, cue the Hipster jokes. I know, I own a typewriter). Loved how she included that little "that's what she said" joke. I am surely immature when it comes to that joke (apologies) so I appreciated it.
 4 >> I saw this the top photo from tumblr and realized I had definitely done this a few weeks ago. Yup kids. I stuffed myself in a dryer. I used to do this a lot time to time as a little nugget, so it definitely felt a lot more snug than I'm used to. Regardless, it was nice little trip down memory lane. Just don't let your friends close the door and press the start button even for a second. Yup, my wonderfully kind and passionate friends did that to me. Ouch, right? You might have seen me tweet this photo if you follow me Twitter ;)

5 >> Last but not least, I found this "little gem" on my car window after I left Wal-Mart late one evening. Flattering? Maybe... Classy? Not one bit. Above everything else, it made me laugh. I think he got me at Eskimo.
(I apologize for everyone who saw the post earlier where the picture didn't work! Here it is!)

He's a keeper isn't it?
So great, I didn't even feel the need to blur out the name or number...
What made you laugh this week?

Jan 13, 2012

Rainy days + used book stores


This past Wednesday I felt it was about time I took a trip to our local Ed Mckay's and spent some store credit I had built up from selling them some old books. I had a lovely $24 to spend and at first I had about *seven books in my hand and realized what I really wanted to buy was just one, To Kill a Mockingbird. Hands down, one of my favorite books and now I finally own it. Then I wanted to build up my record collection so I bought four. Yup, all for $24.
I'd say that day was successfully wonderful. Wouldn't you?

Ps - Isn't my mom cute? :) Her and my little sister were so patient while I walked up and down the endless aisles of books + records for (what felt like) hours.

*The reason I didn't go through with buying seven books is because as much as I love owning books, I only want to own books I actually love. I'm trying to step away from my hoarding tendencies and become a little more minimalistic. So instead, I wrote down all the book titles, hopefully find them in my local library and potentially buy them if I feel they belong to my bookshelf.

DIY: Pencil Holder

Inspired by this pin, I borrowed a drill from a guy friend of mine and attempted to create my own pencil holder a few weeks ago (in the midst of finals). At first, I stared at the drill for about a good 10 minutes trying to figuring out how it worked. I even made a phone call to another guy friend of mine, but really, how could he help over the phone? Then I proceeded to give it a shot (by putting a lot of pressure) and broke a 9/64 drill bit (it's one of the tiniest ones). Why did I try to drill this into this big block of wood? Don't ask and don't worry, I replaced it :]

After getting the hang of putting the right amount of pressure and angling the drill the right way, I finally was able to drill some holes using the 3/32 drill bit. After the wood chips all over my living room floor, I decided to move my project OUTside and thus, success! It was time consuming and my hand cramped up a bit, but overall, it was a successful DIY! I found the piece of wood while shooting my friend's save the date photos and therefore (without the cost of replacing the drill bit, which was $1.94), the project would've cost nothing!

I plan on using the pencil holder for some new art pens I've had my eyes on :)
Did you do any DIY projects recently?

Jan 12, 2012

Contact Sheets || B&W Film

I miss you.
I have spent nearly all my afternoons and evening with you two years ago.
It was hard not to fall in love with you.
You inspired me.
You made me feel passion.
You made look at things through a new perspective.
You made me feel like a true artist.
I made mistakes with you, but they were beautiful mistakes.
There was no such words like perfection in your vocabulary.
You helped me understand what it truly felt to take a photo.
Not a snapshot, but a photograph.
You made me believe that photography is truly painting the world with light.
Thank you for being my light.
I miss you.
I miss you, film.

From an earlier post, you may not have noticed that I took a black and white photography class two years ago and it truly was the best experience I ever had. These are a few of the contact sheets I have from class. What are contact sheets? After you develop the film (and let them dry), you cut them into slips of five and insert them into a page protector. You then transfer it to photo paper in the dark room like you would for any photo. This way you can see all your pictures on that roll of film at once and decide which photos you want to develop individually. This also helps see which shots were overexposed or underexposed. I think these contact sheets are a work of art in itself. Tells somewhat of a story doesn't it?

I hope to continue to use film more. As far as developing goes, I have no access to a dark room, but maybe one day, yes, one day, I will have one of my own. I guess I should add that to my bucket list, huh?

Jan 11, 2012

Neri Wedding

Do you remember when I mentioned I got the opportunity to shoot a wedding for the first time? Well, I finally am revealing the photos to my blog readers! One of my best friend's brother and [now] sister-in-law got married November 19, 2011 and they asked me to be their photographer for the reception portion of their beautiful day. I felt so honored, but I was extremely nervous. Their wedding was absolutely stunning and her dress was b-e-a-u-tiful!

Thank you Aimee and Ansell for extending this lifetime of an opportunity for me. It makes me (relieved) and happy that you enjoyed your pictures! I also had an opportunity to work with the lovely ladies Stephanie and Jamie who are the face of Viva L'Event. They were the geniuses behind this fabulously planned wedding. Be sure to check out their Facebook page and stay up to date with all they do.

All photos are (c) Melissa Vega

Jan 10, 2012

Tuesday Tunes v.3

I love sharing with you all new artists that I find. The genres will pretty much range considering I almost love everything, but that's NO to dub step. Sorry. If you want to share music as well, make sure you check out Danielle's blog tongue tied in awe, where I will be linking up! She has one of the best tastes in music so you'll surely find something you like!

Anyway, I introduce to you Jillian Edwards!
A hopeless romantic, just like me, except she actually knows how to put her feelings into lyrics. Something I have not gotten the hang of, or sing, or play guitar for that matter. ANYWAY, if you're into the cute, easy-listening, romantic, singer/songwriter type of music, she's your girl. She's just as cute as her lyrics.

Ps - There's a little surprise at the end of this blog post, so be sure to check it out.

photo source. one // two

Take a listen:
Jillian Edwards Tuesday Tunes by melissa vega on Grooveshark

Like what you just listened to?
Well, I've got the greatest news! Her album "Galaxies and Such" is a FREE DOWNLOAD on Noisetrade. Be sure to click here and download it so you can listen to her over and over again like I've been doing. Also, her newest album "Headfirst" is under $7 on Amazon [I just bought it!]. Go support lovely artists like this one.

Hope you enjoyed :]

Jan 5, 2012

When in doubt...

(c) Melissa Vega Taken August 2010

I am indecisive.
I think too hard, I worry, I contemplate pros and cons and I allow my mind to get clouded with what ifs, "Am I making the right decision?" along with worrying about the ending rather than the beginning. I am sure all of you have felt this way one or another, you're basically not human if you haven't :] 2012 is opening a lot of doors for me, along with closing a few. While being in college, I have gotten away with not having to make too big of decisions because the next four years were basically planned out for me. Now everything is up for grabs. My life was planned around "semesters", Spring Breaks, summer sessions or ratemyprofessor.com. Some friends of mine are off to Graduate School (which I will eventually get to), marriage, new places, foreign countries or staying right where they are (which is perfectly fine.) As for me, who knows.

Isn't it kind of fun though?
Just not knowing. I have a few exciting things lined up for 2012 including a trip to Thailand and a three month trip to the Philippines, but after that I am going to have to make some decisions. One thing I know for sure though, is that I am truly going to let my heart guide me.

Recently my mother told me to follow my head and not my heart (when it came to love) but I just can't do it. I don't want to be safe.  I don't want to make the decisions that seem like the best for me externally but not internally. She had the best of intentions, making sure I didn't get hurt but If I follow my head, where's the excitement? Following my heart will definitely get me hurt and get me in life's little pickles, but that's where you learn the most. I want to learn. I want to to grow. I want trial and error. I want to look back and say, "You know what, I don't regret what happened, because I followed my heart." I want to live in a different state, make new friends and let the old ones grow.

I want to want.

So do me a favor this year and let your heart guide you.
Don't over think.
Don't worry.
Don't think about what if's and listen to your heart.
If you look back at your life, the best things have happened because you listened to your heart.
Am I right?

Jan 3, 2012

Tuesday Tunes v.2

Hey friends :]

For Tuesday Tunes this week, I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite bands, Freelance Whales. I got to see them last year in Chapel Hill and they were absolutely stunning! They were some of the nicest people in the world and love to get to know their fans. I think they can change the music scene. One of my favorite things I respect about them is that they all play five instruments each, minimum. I may be exaggerating but regardless they all switch instruments during shows and definitely show their individual talent.

"To call them multi-instrumentalists might be a little overdone. The kids in Freelance Whales are really just collectors, at heart. They don’t really fancy buffalo nickels or Victorian furniture, but over the past two years, they’ve been collecting instruments, ghost stories, and dream-logs. Somehow, from this strange compost heap of little sounds and quiet thoughts, songs started to rise up like steam from the ground."

Enjoy this lovely band dubbed Freelance Whales.
They're so cool, even Starbucks had to use them for a commercial here.

**last two photos were taken at the show I went to two Octobers ago.

Jan 2, 2012

A glimpse into my holiday season, 2011

First off, can I just say how lame I have been with my blogging!
I had envisioned my break just a little differently, however, I would not change a thing.
Here's a little glimpse into my Christmas.


Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were beautiful ones filled with so much love, new scarves (thanks Mom!), Just Dance 3, lobsters, doggies, warmth, some of my favorite cousins (a new one!) and just overall fun. As you can see from the pictures, my family knows how to celebrate - with JUST DANCE 3 of course! At one point, we have about 15 or us dancing together. What a perfect little way to celebrate life and family. Of course I wish my whole family could've been with us, but regardless, it was a beautiful time.

So I kept talking about Just Dance 3, well, we even captured it on video. Enjoy!

I also added my bucket list FINALLY to my blog! Read along :)