If any of you have ever been to Jayson Home & Garden here in Chicago, you’ll know it’s a special place for special things. To get lost in this expansive menagerie of the unique is easy and pleasurable. We were set to meet blogger and interior designer Alex Berlin of Things That Sparkle for the first time here and sure enough we ended up wandering around searching for one another, unsure of what the other would look like. And finally, in the sun room next to a glowing vintage yellow chair (shag and all) the modern Alex stood. She laughed and said it was like we were on a blind date together. But our time together was anything but awkward.
|"When I post about things like fashion, I try to keep within my general asthetic so that way, even when I’m not posting about interior design necessarily, they know what my taste is."|
If you aren’t already familiar with her blog, Alex possesses a special way of weaving in and out of life’s fun and carefree times, all the while sharing her deeper thoughts on success and the constant strive for happiness. Nothing overstated, nothing too flashy, just the things that are on her mind, the things that make her smile, and the thoughts she has along the way.
Things That Sparkle reached a new level of blogger success due to a crafty Nutella recipe, and Alex Berlin Design was the proof that passion is probably the most important ingredient for success in our work lives.
|"With [Alex Berlin Design], I am ok with the lines being blurred because I love it so much. When I have to work until 10 o’clock on a Saturday night, I’m ok with it."|
As we strolled around Jayson, the easy gentle nature of Alex unfolded into the wise insights of a genuine woman allowing herself to enjoy the life she’s living and the work she’s doing.
Alex Berlin on switching careers:
This is what would have happened: I probably would have stayed in [marketing]. I wasn’t bad at it. It was a very safe place for me. I think my job would have been something I kept very separate from my personal life in order to be happy. With [blogging], I am okay with the lines being blurred because I love it so much. When I have to work until 10 o’clock on a Saturday night, I’m okay with it. There’s something very fulfilling about doing what you love. It seems like a given, but really finding something you feel passionate about and that feeds your soul - there’s nothing better.
Alex Berlin on taking risks:
I’m not inherently a risk taker, at all. Quitting my job – I never, ever, thought I would do something like that – I applied to 20 schools [for college]. I like options, I like things planned out. I graduated in four years when all my friends stayed at Boulder for six years. I had a job that started two days after my graduation. I don’t like things to be unstable. With that said, I think quitting my job and turning down that job in marketing was the first time I’ve ever stirred the pot. I won’t say I enjoyed it – it was really scary and I felt unstable – but it pushed me to do this.
On childhood influence:
My parents both have a really great interior design eye. Neither of them are designers. I always wanted to be involved in their decorating stuff. Even as a kid they both would include me in the process. I think that was really my first sort of interaction with design. When I started going to school and I was doing a full architectural floor plan, they were like “Oh, this is not [just] choosing paint colors.” And there is nothing wrong with choosing paint colors! To be honest, that’s my favorite part of the job. But it made sense to them then why I was going to school for a year and a half. I wasn’t going for just color theory classes. I was going to implement and understand [design].
I opened a Blogger account and hit publish. After a year and a half I decided that I should do it. I didn’t realize how impactful blogging was for a long time. At first, I was really private: I never used my name, I never posted a picture, I never said where I lived. And no one wants to read that. You can’t identify with it, you can’t understand the voice behind what you’re reading. There are parts of it that make me really uncomfortable, and there are parts of it that I’m ready and willing to embrace. I just kind of find a place I feel comfortable in.
"The more original content you have, the better off you are. Pinterest has pushed that on people and it has taken blogging to the next level."-Alex Berlin