TRAVEL LIKE A LOCAL: WHERE TO STAY

copyrightJasmineDowling

Let me preface this blog post saying that I can not take any credit for the gem locations which we have stayed in on our trips. I am the type that doesn't want to know anything about anything before the trip begins, which is fortunate because my partner Michael loves the researching and planning side of it (most of the time). But after 3 overseas trips I think there is some method to his madness and some cheats along the way so I may as well share. 

HOTELS vs. AIR BNB

I would say that it depends where you're going and for how long.

LESS THAN 2 NIGHTS, Hotel it up. Hotels for me have a couple of things going for them, simplicity and ease. You know 100% what you're going to get. You can get someone to bring you fries at 11PM, Leave your luggage at the desk on check out day, wear a robe. Those things are helpful on short trips but what they lack mean I wouldn't stay for over 2 nights. 

MORE THAN 2 NIGHTS, Air Bnb all the way. When we travel, we like to spend more than 2 days so we 95% of the time choose the Air Bnb life. It has lots of advantages but two big ones stand out to me. You're able to vacation how someone else lives, they have their own artworks, books and local recommendations that aren't out of a sponsored tour guide. The second major advantage is the likely hood of having both a reasonable kitchen and laundry. Especially if you're travelling for a while, there is nothing better than being able to cook your own food. 


FINDING THE PERFECT ACCOMODATION

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVE SHOPS/CAFES IN THE DESTINATION?

Open up google maps. If some of your favourite brands have locations in your travel destination then pin point those on the map and save them. Do the same with any cafes/stores that you have heard of that you want to visit while you're there. Once you have done this your map will have some areas that have more clusters of those places than others. That is where you should start looking for accommodation. 

In all of the locations we have stayed in around the world there were a few things that we were always close to. First up, Aesop. I think this is the most trustworthy guide as to where to stay. If you're near an Aesop you're very likely in a good spot. A few others that I remember are Saturday's NYC, APC and Acne Studios. 

 

WORK OUT YOUR NON NEGOTIABLES.

This list will help you sift through Air Bnb's real fast. Of course beds are a given but also think about things like if you need a bath, an oven, if you want the walk-up experience in NY, if you need a window in Paris. All those types of things. 

For example a Window/Balcony situation in Paris was one of my non-negotiables. But other than that I need lots of natural light, Coffee machine or coffee shop within steps of the place.

 

LOOK FOR PLACES THAT ARE AUTHENTIC TO THE LOCATION YOU'RE TRAVELLING TO

This is one of my favourite things about renting an apartment or house. I believe that homes strongly represent how we live and what is important to different cultures and to me it's so nice to experience that when travelling. The little things like sleeping on Tatami Mats in Kyoto, Staying in a Monastery in Positano or our 600 year old updated apartment in Rome. Those places made our trip so special. 


SOME OF MY TIPS

~ Read the reviews but use your common sense when doing so. I have read so many 'negative' reviews that are really complaining about things that I didn't find to be true, or things that don't even bother me. I have never had an experience where something went wrong at an air bnb and the host didn't fix it or help. Take note of the reviews that discuss the location and cleanliness. 

~ If you're on a budget, Air Bnb is the way to go. You get a lot more for your money than you would staying at hotels. Normally for our trips we give budgets to different locations. For example you may find an amazing place in Paris which means you might need to have a lower budget in Rome. 

~ If you are only staying for a short amount of time or just love the hotel life, I would recommend finding a boutique hotel in your destination. They are often full of personality and quirks that you are less likely to find in the big chains. 


As much as you're probably thinking this blog post was sponsored by Air Bnb, it isn't, we just use it a lot. If you have any gem apartments or hotels you've stayed in, add them to the comments below.

jasmine x

8 THINGS I GOT FROM MY MUM

CopyrightJasmineDowling

EVERYTHING CAN BE FIXED WITH GOOD MUSIC, 
GOOD FOOD or the ocean,

Most kids would agree, your mum singing really loud is always embarrassing but now I totally get it. I can sing a lot without embarrassing anyone because I am home alone so much so that is a plus. The other thing that cures it all is the ocean. I grew up spending every school holiday at the beach so the ocean for me will always be somewhere that my stress or anxieties don't follow. 


DUMB IS NEVER CUTE.

I can't pin point a time where my mother ever told me this or corrected me but this is something I definitely think I got from her. Perhaps because I never saw her acting that way and instead I always observed her talking about things she was passionate about/ had knowledge on or was curious about. Let's just say I am glad for this one. 


FOOD SHOULD NEVER BE RESTRICTIVE

Again, this isn't something that my mum has ever said to me but thinking back on it I can never think of a time where I have heard my mum speak negatively around food. Her approach to eating and food is that it should taste good and you should enjoy the process of eating it. I am not talking about junk food, I am talking about good food. 

KNOW YOUR MONEY

Ever since I can remember my mum has been in control of her money. From when she didn't have to, to when she did. This influences my relationship with my finances quite early on. Memories like making my own lunch and hiding my tuckshop money in my drawers as a form of saving, or keeping all of my holiday money until the last few days so I made sure I spent it on something I really wanted. Fast forward to now running my own business for the past 5 years, making sure I had enough to pay myself, save and pay all the different taxes I need to. This is one thing I learnt from my mum that I am incredibly grateful for. 


IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE RIGHt, DO IT YOURSELF

Mum I love you but this is a good and a bad one. As much as this meant I grew up to have a very strong work ethic this also means we are more susceptible to being used, worn out or taken advantage of. Someone else makes a mistake? That's fine I will fix it, all good. *me every week* 


CHRISTMAS IS KING

To be honest, my mum is up for most festive occasions but Christmas gets taken to another level. One year I counted 4 Christmas trees ranging in style and size. As much as she kills the decorating game (I would describe her Christmas style as rustic Christmas) I think it is the creating the atmosphere is really what rubs off on me. It's about creating a day that is full of food, pimms, music and games. We do a sit down late lunch but everything else is super easy and laid back after all the food has been cooked. 


ALL YOU NEED TO MAKE SOMETHING TASTE GOOD
IS GARLIC INFUSED olive OIL

All I am saying is I don't think it is a coincidence that all of her children moved out and always have garlic infused olive oil in their pantry? Thanks mum for making some expensive olive oil a nessessity. 


DRESS IN WHAT SUITS YOU & MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD

I think I grew up always loving clothes and I think my mum would contest to that. The one thing that I think has been passed down from observing my mum, is how clothes made her feel. Her whole demeanour changes. I think that made me appreciate the joy that dressing can bring. On the other hand my mum has always instilled a strong focus on working out what suits you. It doesn't matter about sizes as long as it fits your body well and makes you feel amazing in it. 

I know this post was a bit of a love fest for my mum but she honestly is the best so she deserves some internet love. I'd love to know what you got from your mum? j x

A GUIDE TO CLEANSING YOUR CLOSET

 

This weekend I took on the dreaded task of cleansing my closet. It is something I have a love/hate relationship with but it always feels like a good time to do it when you're in between seasons changing. In Australia at the moment we are in late Autumn but in Queensland it hasn't really even reached jacket weather. 

I thought to give myself a little more structure to not only keep a method to the madness but also keep myself accountable I would publish a guide on how to tackle a closet crisis. 

 

 

Before beginning, get it all in front of you. I am talking bags, shoes, clothes it all and write off the next 3 hours. 

DSCF0054.jpg
ClosetCleanse_01.jpg

List why you like these items. How to they make you feel, how often can you where them? What shape/colour/fabric are they? This will help you define your personal style and what you should be demanding from the rest of your wardrobe. 

Mine currently are my Acne Leather Jacket, White Tee, Striped Midi Skirt, Polka dot dress, my pink mohair coat. I noticed that all these pieces I feel have a focus on cut and fit to my shape which in return means I find them extremely comfortable. This list also shows that my style is feminine with a slight edge, while being quite relaxed. 

 

ClosetCleanse_02.jpg

Now that you know why you like your favourite pieces, define some questions that will help you put the rest of your items to the test. Do your pieces need to have a focus on trend or cut or comfort? Does the colour match in with other tones you wear? Can you wear it with at least 3 different outfits?

My closet questions are: Are you comfortable in it? Is the cut/fit flattering to you (if not, can it be altered)? Does it go with at least 3 different looks? If it's a top - Can it be worn with high waisted skirt or pants? Because let's be honest that is mainly what I wear. Does it make you feel either pretty, bad ass, festive or chill? (I normally dress for one of those 4 vibes). 

 

ClosetCleanse_03.jpg

Take a step back after you have culled everything that didn't meet at least 75% of your requirements in Step Two. What are you left with? Look at how many tops, dresses, pants, skirts & outerwear you're left with. I am sure you're not sitting equal across the board. Write it down if you need to, this will help with the last two steps. 

My analysis is.. Tops: 10%, most of those are t-shirts. 50% Skirts, a lot of printed skirts. 2.5% Pants. 15% Dresses, mostly coloured dresses, 10% Knits and 12.5% Outerwear. 

ClosetCleanse_04.jpg

If you never wear dresses, having a low dress percentage isn't going to be a worry. So look at your numbers for each and see if that is representative of what you wear. 

For me a 2.5% pants doesn't really bother me too much because let's be honest I don't like to wear pants that much. The area that is alarming me is my tops percentage. I have known this for a while but that's definitely something I need to work on. 

 

ClosetCleanse_05.jpg

We all have our weaknesses when it comes to purchasing things we don't need. Define what those weaknesses are and what you certainly don't need any more of in your wardrobe. 

List of Things Jasmine Can't Buy: Printed or Bright Skirts, Blazers, Short Jackets, Bright Coloured Dresses or Heavy Chunky Knits.

 

ClosetCleanse_06.jpg

Start with the area of your closet that you have identified as abnormally low. Also ask yourself in what situations you find it hard to choose something to wear. The combination of those two questions will help you fill the gaps in your closet. But don't forget to go back to Step Two and ask yourself those same questions when deciding on a new purchase. 

List of Things Jasmine Can Buy: 
Tops. I need to find styles of tops that are slightly dressier than T-Shirts that also go well with high waisted/fuller skirts or pants.

Lightweight Knits. Lightweight knits that can be tucked in or worn over high waisted bottoms, also good for layering.  

Lightweight trench. Because I feel like it is a staple that I am missing. Call me out in the comments if I am wrong. 

Single neutral toned skirt or dresses. Stick to white/black or nude tones to match back with the rest of my closet.

Shoes. Fun Fact - I hate shoes. I hate shoe shopping therefore I have hardly any shoes. I need to get over this. Please leave your favourite shoe suggestions in the comments. I need help. 

 

 

I would love to know what's on your no-buy list and what your closet has been missing below in the comments.
If you follow me on stories and you see me unboxing one of my no-buys you have to call me out haha. 

jasmine x

TALES OF A FREELANCER: STUDY

I feel like I need to pre-face this blog post with the fact that I wasn't studying accounting or finance, law or medicine or anything like that. These lessons are probably more relatable to creative studies so keep that in mind. Straight after high school I went into a Bachelor of Multimedia Design which taught me so much, but nothing about design. 

WHAT I LEARNT FROM MY 1ST DEGREE

~ You will regret signing up to 8am classes, especially if you're not planning on getting home until 3AM the night before said class.

~ Keep your degree in check. First year I didn't really even think about what I was learning or not learning from that particular degree. It wasn't until I was finishing my 2nd year and heading into my third and final year that I thought 'holy shit, you're doing to get a bachelor and have no skills in what you want to do'

~ Look at the classes that are offered in the course you're going into. To be honest if I had of known I would be mostly having to take IT, Programming and advanced Math classes I probably would have gone with a different degree to start with.

~ You can trust no one. Group assignments I am looking at you. 

~ I think this degree really pushed me outside of my comfort zone intellectually. I always felt semi-confident in my abilities in design, business and marketing classes but IT, Programming and Math.... not so much. So many classes were just me or one other girl in a class full of tech guys. It really lit a fire in me that I could do this if I put in enough time to try understand it. I would definitely say that it has contributed now to me knowing that I can do anything because all I have to do is teach myself and take the time to learn. Youtube and Google and self-motivation. 

 
TalesofAFreelancer_Study.jpg

So as I was about to head into my final year of Multimedia Design, my degree changed and the third year classes (that I had been looking forward to) had changed to more IT bases classes. So a month before uni was due to go back a friend (that was in the same degree) and I applied for another course at another uni. We heard we got in a week before classes started and I started a Bachelor in Design (Visual Communication). Weirdly enough, my degree ended up also changing midway through the course. 

 

 

WHAT I LEARNT FROM MY 2ND DEGREE


~ Show people your god damn work. Throughout school and my first degree, I never showed anyone my work. I would work on it so much then hand it in and pretend it never happened. It wasn't until maybe 2nd year of this degree that I actually started to look forward to showing my work for feedback. It was like my whole mind-set on assignments changed. Really when you think about it, design work is so fucking subjective and your tutor is usually the one to be marking it right? So you are going to do better in those classes and on those projects if you ask their opinion and keep revising your project as you go. That way you can fix everything that's wrong with it instead of reading about it on a mark sheet once you've already handed it in. Seems obvious typing it now but I never thought about it like that previously. 

~ Stand up for your work. As much as you should listen to your tutors and their opinion on your work, at the same time you will learn to stand up for your work and what is right for you. In one of my final assessment pieces my tutor couldn't understand what I was doing. There was many conversations how they thought I should do it and at the end of the day I had to just say you know what, that isn't what I am about and that isn't what I am trying to say with this project and I went along with my original plan. Their comment on my marking sheet was something along the lines of that I was right and they now saw what my vision was. I think if you're going to go against the feedback you're given or even when you're presenting your work - do it with conviction. Say why you came to these design decisions and how what you have done communicates that vision. 

 


~ Treat your assignment briefs like they're from clients and you're your own creative studio. Again, this sounds super simple but it didn't really click with me until I started creating more personal work outside of uni. As much as I put a lot of focus on my assignments I never felt like I really made them mine. I didn't try to put my own spin on them and I was just ticking boxes. I think once my mindset shifted everything fell into place. 

~ Stop trying to be so fucking perfect. There were a few tutors that I had that really had a different perspective on design that I hadn't experienced in a teacher before. They wanted something with opinion, something that was done by a human not a computer. Something that wasn't clean and vector. That approach by them definitely made an impact on me and changed my work for the better. 

~ Push the boundaries. You're at university for design, you have almost complete freedom to push projects to weird places without having your client calling you freaking out. 

By the time that I graduated did I know everything I needed to know about becoming a designer? No. but I think you always learn so much more by doing, failing, making mistakes and googling. 

 

ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS

Do you feel like you could have got to where you are now without study / was it worth it?
Terrible answer but yes and no. Skill wise, yes. I don't think I really learnt anything skill wise that I couldn't and didn't teach myself. I think if you are willing to put in the time, practice and research you can learn all you need to. In terms of my direction and mindset, I wouldn't be here without going down that path that I did.

What is better, University or Internships?
I never did an internship because I was already doing freelance at the time but I had a close friend who did internships throughout her degree and I think that was extremely useful and beneficial. Personally doing it all again, I would try get into a design studio just as a student or intern before studying again. I also can't speak from an employer's point of view on this. 

How did you learn lettering or analogue design?
I was completely self taught on that front. When I started hand lettering there wasn't 100s of youtube tutorials or books on it so for me I learnt through practice and experimentation. To be honest, I hate watching someone else do something or reading a how-to so just figuring it out worked well for me. 

Are the technical aspects of design that uni teaches you valuable?
I think it is extremely important to be educated in design as far as basic principles and how to use programs but at the same time you can research and teach yourself all that if you are motivated enough. 


 

 

What didn't your degree(s) teach you?
Where do I start? Taxes, BAS, Licensing Agreements, Client Contracts, How to market yourself, How to charge for your services, How to make money as a designer/artist, What to do if a company infringes your copyright, How to be inspired without imitating, Working out what your voice is as a designer. I think different degrees teach different technical knowledge but I think the above are things they are missing out on. 

Are portfolios important?
100% your work to date is important but I think we could all work on re-shaping our conceived notions of what that might be. You could say that my social media has proven to be my most useful portfolio even. I remember our final assessment at uni was creating a physical portfolio, and instead of making this expensive very formal collection of my work I made an A5 zine of my favourite work to date and even shared what I learnt from each project in the folio. You're constantly creating new work and becoming better so what is the use of having a formal portfolio that only ages once it is created?

At the end of the day, I think it is more important to be self-motivated, hard working, be able to take the initiative to learn things on your own and then ask help/opinions to learn from those around you.

If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments and I will reply there. jasmine x

Read previous Tales of a Freelancer on Niches & Pricing.

BEHIND THE COLLECTION: MUSE IS CALLING

MIS_BLOG.jpg

SHOP THE PRINTS

~ Rainy Charm (Available in A3 & A2)

~ Flower Market (Available in A3 & A2)

~ Rose Coloured Glasses (Available in A4 & A3)

 

This collection for me was all about my muses and what really influences my personal work. I am sure if you ask most artists what inspires them, florals and colour wouldn't be the most original or unique answers but to me it is how it influences my work and how to explore those topics differently that I have before. 

I love flowers but I hate most floral photography prints or books. They are always so perfectly lit and perfectly positioned, so foreign from their natural habitat. I like them slightly wet, slightly dying and slightly dirty. So let's chat through the three 'floral' artworks I have included in this collection... Flower Market is so special to me. It was our last full day in Paris and we decided to spend the day aimlessly wandering when we came across a flower market. No word of a lie, I started to cry. The combination of leaving Paris and stumbling across a flower market was super special to me. Rainy Charm to me is the epitome of my favourite way to shoot flowers. Wet and slightly decaying. She is imperfectly perfect. Then we have Poppy Palette, a mixed media print which really symbolises inspiration for me. My poppies were dying and dropping all their petals and I was so obsessed with how they looked, I had to photograph them. Months later I was looking at colour inspiration and came across those photographs to make a colour palette from. 

MIS_BLOG2.jpg

Then let's talk about the artworks which held colour as their muse. Orange Tree was not only an extension of the fruit prints released late last year but also influenced by the influx of orange and blush into my space. Sedimentary was really the influence of colour and nature on my work, the way that sedimentary rock is formed and the colours between the layers. Last but certainly not least was the Through Rose Coloured Glasses artwork. This print came about from other's comments about my 'theme' that I stick to. Before others mentioned it I guess I hadn't consciously thought about it. For me I think I just am inspired by colours and start being drawn to anything in that colour scheme. I start noticing buildings, signs, coffee cups.. anything really. At the moment you would say I definitely feel like I am wearing Rose Coloured Glasses. I take this print literally but theoretically it's nice too. 

SHOP THE PRINTS

~ Sedimentary (Available in A3 & A2)

~ Poppy Palette (Available in A3 & A2)

~ Orange Tree (Available in A4 & A3)   

I would love to know what your muses are below in the comment section as well as any favourites from the new collection. As always, these days are my most nerve-racking so your love and support never goes unnoticed.

jasmine x