Oakland City Guide

Thank you for letting me be apart of your week this week! I absolutely loved being here. Before I leave you, I wanted to take some time to introduce you the town that I call home – the sunny side of the Bay: Oakland, California. Oakland always seems to get a bad rap in the news, but it is also home to a ton of incredible, often overlooked treasures that make it a truly beautiful city. These are a few of my favorite places around the city to eat, drink, and play. –Kim from Bright Room Studio

Oakland City Guide by Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

And while these are a few favorite spots that I like to visit, there are hundreds (thousands?) I left off the list! 

EAT: 

Oakland is  a hot spot for amazing food.
1. Cholita Linda: I love tacos, especially fish tacos, and these are my favorite. The tacos are served in an awesome casual space with bright colors and cool, Mexican antiques.
2. Toast: A great place to grab a glass of wine (see below!) but I really love their food too. They make a fantastic white bean spread, amazing meatballs and a flourless chocolate cake that is to die for.
3. Geta Sushi: A total hole in the wall of a space, but the sushi is awesome and super reasonable.
4. Boot and Shoe Service: One of many great places for some gourmet pizza. The others are all good too :)
5. Mua: A huge warehouse space with bumping music and crazy art…and awesome food. The cheese-less Mac and Cheese is insane. 

DRINK:

1. Toast: Like I mentioned, the food is great, but is also a fantastic place to have a glass of rosé on a warm afternoon or pinot on a cool evening. They have a dog-friendly patio with umbrellas for warm days and heaters and blankets for cooler ones.
2. Bica Coffee: My personal favorite coffee shop. Perfectly hipster and the lattes are divine.
3. Blue Bottle Coffee: Their production facility is in Oakland, which is cool to see, plus their coffee is delish. I’m looking forward to doing a tasting or tour here sometime soon.
4. Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon: Also known as “Jack London’s Rendezvous,” this place is full of history. Right on the water with a beautiful view of the boats of Jack London Square, this use to be the first and last place to get a drink before going to dry Alameda. The inside is amazing, with a crazy slanted floor thanks for the 1906 earthquake and gas lighting. Check it out for the history, have a beer and enjoy the view.

PLAY:

1. College and Piedmont Avenue Shopping: There are tons of adorable shops on these two streets where you’ll find perfect gifts, decor, and things you didn’t know you needed. I love Nathan and Co., Maison d’Etra, Bella Vita, Atomic Garden and Neighbor, among others.
2. Lake Merritt: An icon of Oakland and a great place to walk your dog, people watch, or even take a gondola ride!
3. Jack London Square: One of my favorite place to go on a nice day. There are tons of food and drink options, almost all of which are dog friendly. They also have tons of great craft fairs and famers markets throughout the year.
4. Knowland Park: A new discovery, this park has incredible views of Oakland and all the way out to San Francisco. Another great place for a hike with the pup.

These spots aren’t technically in Oakland, but thanks to Oakland’s central location in the Bay Area, we get to take advantage of the beautiful surrounding areas too.
1. Point Isabel Dog Park: Actually in Richmond, but a spectacular dog park with miles of off leash space, an adorable cafe, and sweeping city views.
2. Alameda Antique Faire: Fantastic and HUGE antique faire that takes place the first Sunday of each month. You’re guaranteed to find something awesome.
3. Pippa and Co.: The cutest party supply shop you ever did see. Oh, and (shameless plug!) I teach watercolor classes there.

How to Add Personal Details to Wedding Invitations

My favorite thing about creating custom wedding invitations is being able to incorporate personal elements in to each and every suite. No two couples are the same – so why should their invitations be?! Here are a few favorite personal details to add to wedding invitations. –Kim from Bright Room Studio

Lovely venues: I love having the chance to illustrate wedding venues and incorporate the illustration on the invitation. The venue is such a big part of the wedding and featuring the beautiful buildings, wineries and venues is a perfect way to set the tone for your big day.

How to Add Personal Details to Wedding Invitations / Venue Illustrations / Bright Room Studio for Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Add Personal Details to Wedding Invitations / Venue Illustrations / Bright Room Studio for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Puppy Love: Dogs and paper are two of my favorite things, so they make me REALLY happy when they are together on an invitation. I think its possible to still keep it sophisticated and chic while including your  furry friend.

How to Add Personal Details to Wedding Invitations / Puppy Love / Bright Room Studio for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Maps: Maps are not just functional, they are also fun ways to add a little more about you two. Among the locations to your wedding, why not also note your first date spot, favorite place to grab a beer or point an arrow to your home town.

How to Add Personal Details to Wedding Invitations /Maps / Bright Room Studio for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Fun Wording: Wording is another great place to inject some personality in to your invitations. I love the fun descriptions of the weekend events – and this poem written by the groom kills me. If you want to keep the invitation wording more formal, RSVP cards and details card are a great way to add some more personality.

How to Add Personal Details to Wedding Invitations /Creative Wording / Bright Room Studio for Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Add Personal Details to Wedding Invitations /Creative Wording / Bright Room Studio for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Bright Room Studio is a member of the Designer Rolodex  – you can see more of Kim’s beautiful work right here or visit the real invi­ta­tions gallery for more wedding invitation ideas!

Photo Credits: Bright Room Studio

Midnight in San Francisco Wedding Invitations + A Little Behind the Scenes

Emily and Eric’s wedding invitation design is one of my favorites! They were such a fun couple with a great eclectic design style. And today I wanted to add a little something extra and share a little from behind the scenes of this particular design. –Kim from Bright Room Studio

This design is completely hand-lettered, which means lots of sketching, drawing and scanning! I switch off between using tracing paper and just regular printing paper (often scrap paper from something else) for my lettering, depending on how much I want to sketch before hand. I also use a high-quality marker paper when I use a pointed calligraphy pen. This pile of scans became a bunch of different designs for the bride to choose from.

Behind the Design: Midnight in San Francisco Watercolor Hand Lettered Wedding Invitations by Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

I typically explore a bunch of different design directions and present many different options to my clients. I think it really helps for them to see a variety of ideas… some that are more formal, more rustic, or more whimsical, depending on the vision they initially share with me. I find that even the designs that the clients don’t choose help them hone in on their aesthetic. From there, we narrow it down, tweak, mix and match until the design is perfect. But not everything makes the cut! The ones that don’t sometimes become elements of the RSVP or details card, sometimes are repurposed for other designs – and sometimes just go to the design graveyard.

Behind the Design: Midnight in San Francisco Watercolor Hand Lettered Wedding Invitations by Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

My clients and I work together to refine the invitation suite until it is perfect. To me that means that it is cohesive, unique, clean and special. We finesse the little details like envelope color and twine as that can really make a difference in the whole product.

Here is where we landed with Emily and Eric. I like to call this one “Midnight in San Francisco.” I love the personal details, unique textures and cool California vibe.

Midnight in San Francisco Watercolor Hand Lettered Wedding Invitations by Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Midnight in San Francisco Watercolor Hand Lettered Wedding Invitations by Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

The design was digitally printed to  showcase the depth of the watercolor textures. I love how the map has a subtle feeling of tie-dye, which winks at San Francisco’s Summer of Love.

Midnight in San Francisco Watercolor Hand Lettered Wedding Invitations by Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Midnight in San Francisco Watercolor Hand Lettered Wedding Invitations by Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

The details really brought this together. The perfectly sourced vintage stamps, old postcard and subtly-rustic details made this eclectic suite come to life!

Midnight in San Francisco Watercolor Hand Lettered Wedding Invitations by Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Midnight in San Francisco Watercolor Hand Lettered Wedding Invitations by Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Design by Bright Room Studio

Printing by Mercurio Brothers

Bright Room Studio is a member of the Designer Rolodex  – you can see more of Kim’s beautiful work right here or visit the real invi­ta­tions gallery for more wedding invitation ideas!

Photo Credits: Bright Room Studio

Tips for Working From Home

Like many other creative entrepreneurs, I work from home. Some people assume I must stay in my PJs and work from my couch all day. But working a few steps from where I do dishes and laundry can sometimes be a challenge. I am my office coordinator, janitorial staff, accountant, cook, and receptionist. I can sit down at my desk and get lost in emails any time of day or night or weekend or holiday. But while it working from home may not the PJ-wearing, movie-watching life that people sometimes to imagine, I really love it. I’ve found that a few simple habits help me maintain a healthy work-life and get my work done, all from the comfort of my own home. –Kim from Bright Room Studio

Tips for Working from Home from Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

1. Keep a schedule. I used to work in my PJs for a few hours in the morning and then shower mid-day, but you know how that goes. Sometimes the shower gets pushed later and later, sometimes my mid-day shower break took way too long, and sometimes taking a break to shower breaks my creative momentum. Now I get up in the morning, shower and get dressed (in real clothes!), get a cup of coffee and get to my desk at 9am. I’ve found my mornings to be WAY more productive when I started my day “properly” – I can jump in to big projects more freely and I don’t feel embarrassed to open the door at 11am in my sweats. That doesn’t mean there aren’t yoga pants days, but I try to keep that as a little treat on rainy or cold days or when I have a lot of production projects to do.

Tips for Working from Home from Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

2. Keep a dedicated space (if you can). I’m lucky enough to have my own office space and I try to do my work in there (my hubby has a corner of the office but I take over more and more all the time). I have a large monitor that connects to my laptop and a nice comfortable chair that helps keep me at my desk (working on my laptop on the couch isn’t as efficient). This keeps me from answering just one more email late in the evening. My office is decorated with inspiring things to make sure it is a place where I can happily work day in and day out. 

Tips for Working from Home from Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

3. Set some boundaries. This means for you – and for your friends and family. For me, I try not to answer emails in the evening or weekends if I don’t need to. I might pop in the office to quickly respond to someone but, in general, I save communication to business hours as best as I can. I do my best to treat my work-from-home job the same as any other job, so we have a dog walker just like we would if I worked in an office. For friends and family, its a little harder, because you always seem so available. When someone asks if you can go shopping with them on a Tuesday, just let them know that you have to work (you’d be surprised how quickly using the word “work” changes people’s perspective on your time!). It will take some reminding but they’ll start to realize that your flexible schedule isn’t just open and free all the time.

Tips for Working from Home from Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

4. Podcasts! People always ask if I get lonely working alone. I don’t, but I do sometimes miss the energy of having other people around. Podcasts are a great way to mix things up. They are perfect when you are doing work that doesn’t require too much focus. My current go-to favorites? This American Life, The Mystery Show, Start-Up, Reply All (and anything else that Gimlet will release next), Invisibilia, The Lively Show, and After the Jump. 

Tips for Working from Home from Bright Room Studio / Oh So Beautiful Paper

5. Enjoy the good parts of working  from home! Don’t be so strict about keeping your schedule that you don’t get to reap the benefits of working from home. Whenever I can, I do my shopping on weekdays and I meet my mom for lunch at least once a month. I get to make dinners that require more cooking time because I can get them in the oven mid-afternoon. And since I don’t have office lunches or coffee breaks, I sometimes make up for it by treating myself to a nice lunch or latte break at my desk. 

What are you tricks for staying happy and healthy while working at home?

Photos by Chiarashine Photography

Hello from Bright Room Studio

Hi Everyone! Every now and then I love to invite stationers to guest post here on Oh So Beautiful Paper and share more about their business and creative projects. This week Kim from Bright Room Studio is stopping by to say hello. Welcome Kim! –Nole

Hello! I am so excited to be here blogging with you this week! I’m can’t wait to share some of my work and behind the scenes. But first, a bit about me.

My name is Kim and I am the owner and designer of Bright Room Studio based in Oakland, California. I specialize in custom wedding invitations and other fun hand-lettered goods.

hello from bright room studio
Photo by Chiarashine Photography

I graduated college with a degree in business and minor in graphic communications. I entered the world of advertising as an account manager and wasn’t doing anything creative… except for when I got to make my PowerPoints extra pretty (that was one of my favorite parts of the job – perhaps it should have been a sign!). After four years in the ad industry, I was burnt out and craving a more creative career. I then started going to school for interior design. But once again, I found that I was more excited to create logos for my fellow students than do the floor plans. While this was happening, I was also planning my own wedding and creating my own wedding invitations. I loved creating my invitations and paper goods for my wedding, and began to realize that this might be a good fit for me.

hello from bright room studio
Photo By Chiarashine Photography

At the beginning of the following year, I started to advertise myself as a custom invitation designer. Doing custom designs was a nice way to get in to the industry, and I loved the personal interaction I got in addition to the time spent designing. I booked a few key clients who were just the jump start I needed.

My journey into calligraphy and hand-lettering started around the same time. I didn’t know much about it, but I could never find quite the font so I started to write the text out myself. I then took Melissa Esplin’s I Still Love Calligraphy class. The more I learned about letters and began to study them, the more I fell in love with hand-lettering. It’s funny… I realized I had been doodling words and letters for as long as I could remember, I just never realized I could make a career out of it!

hello from bright room studio
Photo by Trynh Photography

As my business has grown, I’ve continued to developing my skills as an artist (it is so hard to call myself an artist, but I’m working on it!). I’ve worked with many couples to create their invitations and other paper goods and wedding signage. I have a line of products that I sell through my Etsy store, and I teach watercolor lettering.

hello from bright room studio
Photo by Bright Room Studio

I feel so lucky to be where I am today… and especially excited to be hanging with you all this week! So stick around for more behind the scenes and design ideas and don’t forget to drop by Instagram and say hello!

Bright Room Studio is a member of the Designer Rolodex  – you can see more of Kim’s beautiful work right here or visit the real invi­ta­tions gallery for more wedding invitation ideas!