We’re fallin for fall! Check out District Bliss’ favorite things about autumn!

For a while, we were pretty unsure whether or not fall was actually going to happen for us in the district, but finally,¬†the weather is cooling down and we’re able to bust out cozy flannels and boots and watch as the leaves change colors. Fall has so many wonderful things to offer so we asked our team what their favorite things about this season are!


I love football, the mild temperatures, and the colors of the leaves as they change. I love soft socks and warm blankets, cuddling with my new puppy who is just learning what colder weather feels like and is continually confused when he steps out the door, and spending time with friends and family.

-Sara

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My favorite things about fall is the brisk weather, cozy scarves and blankets, fall scents and the first snow!

-Ashlin

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Hot drinks & comfort food! ūüėč

-Brittany

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How cute are these customized glasses? Made by our very own Sara!

Ugh! NOT pumpkin spice everything! ūüôĄ

Summer is my jam, I have no idea why people love fall, I think this is an excellent question! ūüėČ But if I must…I love Thanksgiving. I find it to be a fun, more relaxed start to the stressful holiday season. I like reusing our Halloween pumpkins for decor. I like my kids bringing in acorns and sticks and leaves and wanting to “decorate” the table. I LOVE turkeys made out of drawing your hand! I like everyone laying around after eating and watching a movie and napping and days that last all day and into the night and through multiple meals. Those are my favorite kind of days.

-Tracy

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Ha, Tracy! I definitely agree with you – I love summer because I don’t have to worry about layering on as much!

But I do love fall because the changing of the leaves and being able to be outside without breaking out in a sweat. I’m not a huge pumpkin flavored type of person, but I love being able to try warmer foods like warm apple pies, hot tea/cider, etc.

-Cassie

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I won’t lie and you can call me basic, but I love the holiday drinks at Starbucks! Peppermint mochas are where it’s at! I like getting to see all the leaves change colors on the UMD campus. I also love getting to wear cozy flannels and big sweaters. I am all about sweater weather!

-Melanie

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What are your favorite things about fall? ūüėČ

Happy Veteran’s Day!

America, United States

Happy Veteran’s Day! Veteran’s Day is a national holiday where we recognize and honor all who have served in the US Armed Forces. We thank you for your service and all you have done for our country. You have put your lives on the line to answer the call of duty to serve our country and protect our freedom. We’re forever grateful.

To those currently serving, we send you much love and support and thank you for everything you’re doing!

Lately, times have been trying and tensions are high. We must remember that veterans and those currently serving today have fought and are still fighting so that we may have a voice. What we do with our voices is up to us. Use it for peace, use it for kindness, and use it to speak up. Speak up against injustice, unfairness, and speak up for those who are not able to be heard.

Have a great Veteran’s Day and if you see a veteran, be sure to thank them for all they have done!

Get crafty with AR Workshop Alexandria! Meet the rad venue of our upcoming DIY Workshop & Vendor Social!

Meet AR Workshop Alexandria!

AR Workshop Alexandria is a boutique DIY Workshop offering hands-on classes for creating custom home decor in a cozy lounge style atmosphere. You can customize beautiful signage and home decor with colors and designs of your choice and enjoy a fun and crafty night out!

This adorable and unique space the spot for our next District Bliss DIY Workshop AND DMV Vendor Social! Katie Nguyen Wells, the rad owner of AR Workshop Alexandria, is an all all-around rockstar! Katie has been in the business for 8 months now and brings a great blend of business sense, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit to her new role.

We want you to join us in this rad space for a night off!

Click here to get crafty with us!

Click here to mix & mingle at our Vendor social!


Why did you decide to join this company?

People are seeking unique experiences and community and I wanted to offer a space in Old Town where friends and family can gather to relax, create, mingle, AND leave with a piece of art that they proudly made themselves. AR Workshop offers hands-on classes for creating custom home d√©cor in a lounge style atmosphere. In the heart of Old Town Alexandria, our charming loft-style lounge is the perfect venue for a fun and unique Girl’s Night Out, Corporate Team Building Activity, Fundraiser, Birthday Celebration, Date Night, Moms Morning Out and Kids Parties and Camps. Our class offerings include customized wood plank or framed signs, lazy susans, wood centerpiece boxes, canvas pillows, and canvas wall hangings, and so much more! Our retail shop offers a selection of on-trend home d√©cor gifts and accessories.

What is your favorite part about what you do?

I love wearing all the hats and having my hands in every aspect of my business. From growing our brand and meeting and partnering with other local businesses, to teaching workshops, to curating and buying products for our retail shop. I also love our cozy studio and being in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. There’s a lot of good vibes, energy, and laughter coming out of these walls and seeing the happy and proud faces (of all ages) and projects leaving our studio will never get old.

Do you have a favorite story related to your business that you’d like to share?

We are a part of the Old Town Boutique District, which features over 30 unique shops showcasing one-of-a-kind items and hard-to-find brands. We recently participated in the District’s Shop & Stroll event where shoppers visit each boutique to win prizes and the grand prize winner gets a HUGE shopping spree, along with a 50% off coupon to use at ANY boutique. Of all the boutiques the winner could choose to spend their 50% off coupon, they chose AR Workshop. Having only opened our doors 8 months ago and being a ‘newbie’ to the District, that was a great compliment and honor.

Does your company provide additional services that you’d like people to know about?

We are hosting many different creative workshops at our studio and creating a community where you can learn a new craft and skill — Upcoming workshops include Hand Lettering, Watercolor, and Floral Arranging. All being taught by other local DC Artists. So many more to come….

Is there anything you’d like our readers to know about you personally?

I’m a corporate mom turned creative entrepreneur and small business owner in her 40’s. It’s a daily struggle to balance being a mom, wife, and business owner. It’s chaotic, it’s not pretty, it gets done, it takes a village. But, I’ve never been more professionally fulfilled and happy. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing right now.

Get Social! Stay up to date with AR Workshop Alexandria! IG | FB | Pin

#arworkshopalexandria


Sponsors

District Bliss Networking Tips: How to Nail Your Next Networking Event!

Networking. Dun, dun, duuuuuun.

Networking can be terrifying. You’re entering into a room full of strangers hoping to leave with brand new connections. So whether you’re searching for the in to your dream job or looking to make quality connections with new friendors, putting yourself out there takes practice! The District Bliss team has put together a list of our top networking secrets of success. We want you to feel prepared, confident and ready to own any networking event!

TIP 1: Be authentic. Everyone wants to know you care about what they are saying. And, actually care! ūüėČ
TIP 2: Ask questions about the people you’re talking with. We all like to talk about ourselves; try not to talk too much about yourself and focus on the person you’re talking with.

TIP 3: Wear something memorable. I cant count the number of times I’ve left an event and said, “I really loved hearing about [name]’s business! Did you meet him/her? (S)he was wearing that geometric shirt and colorful pants,” or had someone remember me for wearing a bright yellow dress. There are so many people who are terrible with names – and faces – but those people will remember what you were wearing!

TIP 4: Have fun, smile, and be happy! Positivity is contagious and people around you can sense your mood. (This is especially important if the event is being photographed — seriously! As a photographer, I cannot stress that enough! It’s so sad when someone looks unhappy in a great photo!)
-Sara, District Bliss Co-Founder

TIP 5: Be early! I am almost always awkwardly early everywhere I go. But when it comes to networking, it pays to be the first one in the room.  You don’t have to choose who to approach or make your way into a conversation, the next people to arrive are naturally going to gravitate to you and introduce themselves. Boom! Networking with very little effort!

-Tracy, DC Blissbassador 

TIP 6: Ask open ended questions!  This way, the conversation does not end with a simple yes or no to your question.

TIP 7: Remember as many people’s names as possible that you meet, so you can address them personally when you see them again in the future. Obviously, this is easier when you collect business cards!

-Brittany, VA Blissbassador

TIP 8: Be an active listener! There’s nothing more frustrating when you’re speaking with someone and they seem very disinterested (e.g. looking around the room, not making eye contact, etc.) When you’re an active listener, you building a rapport with that individual which can lead to a meaningful relationship!

TIP 9: After a networking event, follow up with those individuals no later than three days! While those individuals are fresh in your mind and you have their business cards, reach out to them thanking them for their time, bring up a point or topic that you two discussed so that they’re able to remember you, and be proactive about meeting up with them to discuss further partnerships! If they don’t respond within a week or two, follow up again!

-Cassie, DIY Blissbassador 

TIP 10: Take notes! If you’re talking to a lot of people, chances are it may be harder to remember all the awesome things you discussed with your new connections! Bring a pen + a small notebook to jot down any key points or things you’d like to remember about the person/conversation when you follow up with them! You can even write on the back of their business card!

-Melanie, District Bliss Unicorn + Assistant

Happy Networking!


Photographs by Chris Ferenzi Photography

District Bliss Witches You A Happy Halloween!

Eat, drink and be scary!

We’ve been prepping all October for this day, from¬†pumpkin carving, to scary movies and haunted houses and hayrides, Halloween is finally here!

Even if you’re past the age of trick-or-tricking, that doesn’t mean you can’t get in the Halloween spirit! Throw on a costume and be someone or something new for the night! Get as creative as you want! Blissbassador Tracy has the right idea! Check out Tracy as the Mother of Dragons and her adorable dragon family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If dressing up isn’t your thing, nothing’s stopping you from enjoying candy. So whether you’re out with the kids ringing doorbells or partying the night away, stay safe and stay spooky!

Happy Haunting everyone!

Celebrate the holiday season with District Bliss! Our December Vendor Social is LIVE!

District Bliss DMV Vendor Social | AR Workshop Alexandria | 12.05.17 | 6-8:30PM

The winter season (even though it doesn’t feel like it) is almost here and we want to kick it off with you, our friendors, fellow entrepreneurs, and creatives! Join us at AR Workshop on December 5th for a night of drinks, treats, special giveaways, mixing + mingling, and of course – FUN!

If you’d like to be a participating vendor, click here!¬†

JOIN THE FUN!


Our Vendor Social is a happy hour where creatives + entrepreneurs can take a night off, celebrate their hard work, and make quality connections. We want everyone to feel welcome while having a great time!

Everyone is welcome!

Join a fab group of creatives, makers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, artists, wedding + event vendors and more! Help us to create a supportive community of creative entrepreneurs! Woohoo!

Edward Underwood Photography

A little bit about AR Workshop Alexandria

Owned by Katie Ngyuen Wells, AR Workshop Alexandria belongs to a franchise created by Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff. This cute boutique offers mixed media workshops for home decor, parties, design and styling skills!

Leveraging her corporate recruiting background in technology consulting and start up environments, experience running her own event styling business,¬†Petite Social, and a creative eye and love for DIY, Katie brings a great blend of business sense, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit to her new role and we’re so excited to have her as a participating vendor!

TICKET INCLUDES:

Admission, complimentary beverage, sweet treats, fun activities & giveaways, rad entrepreneurs & quality connections Рand a great time!

If you are interested in making a donation to The Women’s Employment Network, please head to our Splash page and purchase your ticket. A portion of our ticket sales go towards this worthy cause. See you at our event!

What you can look forward to

Chris Ferenzi Photography

MEET OUR PARTICIPATING VENDORS

FEATURED VENDORS

AR Workshop Alexandria | Venue

CharmCat | Designer

My Sweet Array | Dessert

…more to come!

MEET OUR SPONSORS

17hats | Business Management

Black Sheep Bride | Ecofriendly Wedding Inspiration

Heartful.ly | Charitable Registry

Six Degree Society | Curated Networking Events

Creative Successful Entrepreneurs | Creative Business Coaching Services


DISTRICT BLISS GIVES BACK

– What can/can’t I bring to the event? Yourself! Business cards, if you’d like to do some networking.

РIs my registration/ticket transferrable? You may not transfer your ticket without the permission of District Bliss. Additionally, tickets are not transferrable between vendor categories.

Please be sure to RSVP in the correct category. We strive to be fair to all vendors. Thanks!


Have questions about District Bliss DC Vendor Social | Event + Creative Entrepreneurs ? Contact District Bliss LLC

Join us for a special DIY Holiday Decor Workshop hosted by District Bliss and AR Workshop Alexandria!  

DIY Holiday Decor Workshop |  AR Workshop Alexandria

November 14th, 2017, 7-10PM

Believe it or not, the holiday season is almost here! What better way to kick it off than with a DIY! District Bliss is teaming up with AR Workshop to bring you this awesome DIY Holiday Decor Workshop!

In this class, you will get to make a Plank Wood Sign, Lazy Susan or Centerpiece Box!  ALL HOLIDAY DESIGNS are available.  Customize your project with your choice of (non-toxic!) stain and designer paint colors. Come make, mingle, and enjoy complimentary bubbly or beer during your workshop (limit 2 glasses per guests). You will receive a VIP card after class Рattend 4 workshops, get the 5th project free! (up to a $74.50 value)

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HOW TO REGISTER:¬†Guests MUST register and select their design on AR Workshop’s Website

  1. Scroll through and choose your project design from our photo collection. Make note of the design name.
  2. Choose the quantity for your project and click “Register Now”
  3. On the registration form, enter the Design Name (required in order to prepare your stencil) and personalization, if applicable, for your project. Proceed with checkout. PLEASE NOTE: If you would like us to create a new Custom Graphic Design for your project, an additional $20 fee will apply. Your registration must be submitted at least 72 hours before the workshop. Please order the CUSTOM GRAPHIC DESIGN + Project ticket and include all design details at checkout.

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News Flash! BUSINESS OWNERS CAN CUSTOMIZE WITH THEIR LOGO! Get your brand painted on a customized piece and show off your biz!

Materials provided:

Wood, Hardware, Tools, & Paint.

Sweet Deals!

All retail in our Gift Shop will be 10% off for workshop attendees that evening. Shop from a curated selection of on-trend home decor gifts and accessories and check off friends and family on your nice list!

GET CRAFTY HERE!


About AR Workshop:

AR Workshop offers hands-on classes for creating custom home d√©cor in a lounge style atmosphere. In the heart of Old Town Alexandria, our charming loft-style lounge is the perfect venue for a fun and unique Girl’s Night Out, Fundraiser, Birthday Celebration, Date Night and more! Our class offerings include customized wood plank or framed signs, lazy susans, wood centerpiece boxes, canvas pillows, and canvas wall hangings, and so much more! Our retail shop offers a selection of on-trend home d√©cor gifts and accessories.

About the Leader: Meet Katie Nguyen Wells!

Katie.jpg

I love wearing all the hats and having my hands in every aspect of my business. From growing our brand and meeting and partnering with other local businesses, to teaching workshops, to curating and buying products for our retail shop. I also love our cozy studio and being in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. There’s a lot of good vibes, energy, and laughter coming out of these walls and seeing the happy and proud faces (of all ages) and projects leaving our studio will never get old.

Get social! Follow AR Workshop! IG | FB | Pin

 

RECAP ALERT! Shaughn White & Co. taught us how to be our own handymen!

We love being able to team up with DC friendors to help bring the DMV fun + crafty + informative DIY workshops!

Shaughn & Co., a local realtor company here in the DMV area, offered a¬†free¬†DIY Workshop which involved repairing + installing drywall. The event was held in Petworth at Annie’s Ace Hardware!

Both Shaughn & Co. and the staff at Ace Hardware were incredible to work with! A mix of 20 people attended the workshop: some were residents of the neighborhood, word of mouth, and District Bliss.
¬†Three different stations were set up to demonstrate how to install drywall on¬†a small, medium, and large sized‚Äč hole. Each demonstration took about 35 – 45 minutes which allowed attendees to rotate to each station and being able to install the drywall themselves. It was a very great and well attended event and the attendees seem to really enjoy the workshop!

Thank you so much to Shaughn & Co. and Annie’s Ace Hardware for leading + hosting this DIY workshop¬†to help teach the community a super handy skill! Say bye-bye to those pesky holes and nicks in the wall!

Stay tuned to see what DIY workshop we’ll announce next! If you’re interested in being a workshop leader, click here.


We’re throwing it back to our very first NYC Vendor Social! Read about CharmCat’s creative process that led to the rad painted gemstone signage!

One of the best parts about District Bliss is getting to connect and work with some amazing + talented creatives! Meet CharmCat!

We’re throwing it back today!¬†CharmCat was the rad designer who created our signage at our VERY FIRST NYC Vendor Social! CharmCat, aka Ashleigh Pritchard, specializes in “artistic wedding invitations, custom maps, and everyday stationery designed with original watercolor artwork created uniquely for you!” Her designs are all hand-painted and customized to help bring your vision to life! If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind invitations, she’s your gal!

Ashleigh posted this awesome blog sharing her creative process that led to the gorgeous gemstone inspired signage for our NYC Vendor Social!¬†We just had to share! Keep on scrolling to read Ashleigh’s blog post about her process and be sure to check her out!


Painted Wedding Invitation Process

I create wedding invitations that feature original paintings. But that’s kind of abstract and hard to grasp. Plus, as an artist, I’m a really visual learner. I recently started video taping myself whenever I paint, so you can see just how my¬†painted wedding invitation process goes.

How I went from concept to a complete painted wedding invitation design featuring jewel tone gemstones.

Step 1: The Client

Many of my designs are inspired by custom work that I do for a client. Repurposing my work not only cuts down on the time it takes to make an original invitation design, but it cuts down on the cost to you as a client.

In this case, the client was District Bliss, which puts on fabulous events where vendors and engaged couples can socialize without the pressure of selling or being sold to. Their events currently take place in Washington, D.C., and New York City. And they are fabulous, so go buy a ticket!

The Sara(h)s emailed me to say they needed some signs and name tags for their NY social this past February. They were going for a jewel-tone theme and sent along their ideas on stationery:

“As for the design on the cards, I was thinking maybe some 3D diamonds/stones piled up in one corner of the card (like if someone just dropped a pile of diamonds and they fell naturally).”

Step 2: The Concept

And I was off! I browsed Pinterest and stock image sites for inspiration (yep, even I use Pinterest!). When I find images with the right color or angle, they get printed and put on the inspiration wall. I do this every time I paint.

Inspiration images of gemstones taped to the wall, ready to be used as painting reference. A vital part of the painted wedding invitation process.
Pictures of shiny things!

Artists are experts at copying. Especially with something this geometric, I needed lots of references to get the shapes just right. It’s a vital part of the¬†painted wedding invitation process.

Step 3: Actually Painting!

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I spent three hours painting. I threw away¬†the first two paintings I did.¬†I know a timelapse video makes it seem easy, but it’s the hardest part!

Step 4: Digitize and Design

After the painting was done and dried, I swapped out the video camera on my homemade stand for a DSLR. The painting was¬†photographed in all its glory and detail at super high resolutions. Like, I could print some of these poster-size and you couldn’t tell! This way I can get the best print quality.

When I paint designs that include multiple elements, I always paint them separately. In the case of these gemstones, once in Photoshop I split them one from the other so I can move them, rotate them, and make my own custom clusters. I can also change the color using Photoshop. In this case, although I painted in all purple, I chose to do a combination of purple and turquoise to match the jewel tone theme.

gemstone_web

Step 5: Print

Since gemstones are sparkly by nature, and the decor for the event included glass and candles, I thought shimmer paper would be amazing with this design!

Gemstone painted wedding invitation design printed on shimmer metallic paper.
Gemstones design printed on shimmer metallic paper.

Last Step of the Painted Wedding Invitation Process: Enjoy!

The original signs and name tags were finished off by layering the shimmer printed paper over purple and teal cardstock for a real pop of color. The shimmer didn’t stand out as much because the event was dark, but everyone loved their classy gemstone tags!

Photo courtesy Photos from the Harty | Wedding, Event, & Lifestyle Photography | www.photosfromtheharty.com
Photo courtesy Photos from the Harty | Wedding, Event, & Lifestyle Photography | www.photosfromtheharty.com

This painted wedding invitation design is the newest design, now available in the shop! Save the dates, invitations, thank you cards, menus, and more.

You can also take a peek at my page about the painted wedding invitation process for more info.

Question: What do you think of the painted wedding invitation process?

Follow CharmCat! IG | FB | T


This is a guest blog. Original blog post here.


Honoring the lives lost on September 11th, 2001

We will never forget the events of 9/11

For younger generations, September 11th, 2001 may be a faint memory or not a memory at all, just a lesson from a history book.¬†For older generations, it’s a memory that’s as clear as day, right down to the exact time, place, and all the emotions that were running through their bodies as the 9/11 terrorist attack¬†unfolded.

When the first plane struck the World Trade Center, the world held its breath, confused. Two more hijacked planes went on to fly into the South Tower of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The fourth aircraft crashed into a field after the 44 passengers and crew members were able to overtake the hijackers who had diverted the plane’s course to Washington, DC. An estimated 2,977 people were killed in DC, NYC, and outside of Shanksville, PA. (Source: CNN)

The world watched as the two 110-story World Trade Center buildings collapsed within one hour and 42 minutes

Photo by Melanie Outtarac, University of Maryland College Park

While the attack happened 16 years ago, it hasn’t been, and will never be, forgotten

To those whose lives were lost, you’ll always be in our hearts and our hearts are with those who are remembering and honoring their loved ones today. We deeply thank and respect all the brave men and women, from firefighters to police to civilians, who risked and/or sacrificed their lives as they fought to save and protect others.

American flags placed on McKeldin Mall at the University of Maryland to honor all the lives lost on September 11, 2001. Photo by Melanie Outtarac.

This world is a crazy place and life has seemed even more unpredictable than before in 2017, but it’s important to always remember to cherish the time you have with your loved ones, have strength, and throw kindness around like confetti¬†‚̧ԳŹ

District Bliss Remembering 9/11. Never forget, band together, support one another
Photograph by Chris Ferenzi Photography

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