You know how sometimes it takes a minute to process what happened… well in my case it can take up to a year. This is all for posterity’s sake.
Last summer I went to London and Paris with my longtime childhood friend, Hamp. Since Hamp is a weird combination of a geriatric and a toddler, he “let” me do all the planning. Which worked for both our lifestyles.
I made a detailed itinerary but here are spots of note we hit:
British Museum, Neal’s Yard/Seven Dials, St. Dunstan-in-the-East, Tower of London, Borough Market, St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. Chapelle, Notre Dame, Cluny Museum, Eiffel Tower, The Lourve, Millennium Bridge, Notting Hill, Portobello Road Market, Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert Museum, Trafalgar Square, Sketch, Kensington Palace & Gardens, Westminister Abbey, Tower Bridge, Parliament of England, Stonehenge, Bath
If you would like the exact itinerary details it will cost you. I’m upping my fee from one ice cream cone to two. Thank you very much.
We almost missed our flight to London but we ran through the Charlotte airport like the scene from Home Alone and made it on to the plane with minutes to spare. What I didn’t research before going to London is that it was going to take 3 hours for us to go through customs once we got there. Luckily we made friends with some folks in line including Typhoid Dylan (we don’t know his real name but that’s his name in our hearts).
Anyway, here are some pictures pretty much in sequential order.
The young and the restless made it to London!
St. Dunstan-in-the-East is basically a secret garden that’s not so secret.
We walked across Tower Bridge.
Got lunch at a market… how very English of us!
We got up early and hopped on a train. It is true what they say… Paris is always a great idea.
I’ve been to Paris before but I think I’ll never tire of it.
St. Chapelle is undeniably beautiful, floor to ceiling.
Back in London and we took a walk around Notting Hill. How dreamy!
All the colors! Now I need a magenta door.
Like any vacation of mine, there was a lot of art and ice cream.
When you’re in England you might as well go see Stonehenge, right? ** If you go to Stonehenge, I highly recommend paying a little extra to go on the tour before or after the site is open to the public so that you can go all up in them! Totally worth it! **
On our trip to Stonehenge we also went to Bath (which was a gorgeous city) and the ancient town of Lacock (quintessentially English).
Back in London I tried to take the most London AF pictures ever.
One of my favorite exhibits I’ve ever seen was Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at the V&A on our last day.
And no trip to London would be complete without high tea at Sketch.
That was the extremely condensed version of the trip. Overall, London is a great city to visit! It’s easy to get around and there’s so much to see. Believe it or not, I didn’t see everything. I’m ready for my return trip!
Over the Christmas break I watched a really interesting documentary about artist Cai Guo-Qiang called Sky Ladder. You can watch the trailer below…
I found Sky Ladder to be super inspiring as a creative AND as a human being. I would recommend this documentary to anyone that needs a little inspiration to persevere (all of us right?). The wide variety of art he makes really resonated with me. I have a lot of interests and I always feel like I need to choose one path but I can never decided. It was reassuring to see a prolific artist that didn’t choose just one path and is still successful. Granted he’s already “made it” which allows him the freedom to do whatever he wants but it’s still aspirational nonetheless.
Check out some of his work below:
Please let me know if you watch it and what you think! See more of his work here.
Remember in my New Year post and I mentioned using Instagram as a place of inspiration instead of jealousy? Well I went on a following spree of illustrators last year. I found a lot of good ones out there (later posts?). But the one I freaking love the most is Maria-Ines Gul.
I’ve always admired artists that are simple/minimal, clever, and interesting. I think it’s partly because those are my goals as an artist/illustrator/designer but I also know/appreciate how hard it is to do so. Simplicity is hard!
Maria-Ines Gul’s illustrations are perfection. They are perfectly quirky, understated, witty, interesting, and minimalistic. They are feminine but not girly. They are current but not trite. I basically want to be one of her illustrations.
I love the range she has in her work. Some pieces are super minimal while others are worked up a bit more with detail and whimsy.
All of her girls just seem so cool. Like I said… I want to be one of her illustrations (probably the least cool thing to say).
Who’s inspiring you these days?
Back in May I had an opportunity to attend a VIP party to view the first Southern Living Inspired Home in Montgomery, Alabama. I partnered with one of the sponsors, Legrand, and took over their Instagram for the night.
The home is located in the relatively new neighborhood development, Hampstead, which is a sustainable community combining homes, restaurants, retail, offices, schools, a YMCA, and even a community garden. From the moment I turned into the neighborhood it felt familiar. I found out later that the same designers who designed Seaside, Rosemary Beach, and Alys Beach designed Hampstead and it is just as ideal– a little bit of a The Truman Show vibe.
The home is really beautiful. It overlooks a lake and is adjacent to one of the community pools. Like I said, ideal. One of my favorite things about this home is the courtyard/patio area. I can imagine having a dinner party or two out there. Throw it back and play a little flip cup maybe? Cornhole anyone?
I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with the interior designer for the project, Brooke Johns. Brooke is super sweet and talented with a very supportive husband, Phillip. Phillip was responsible for getting Legrand as a sponsor. Phillip is a self-proclaimed “lighting fanatic.” My first ever meeting with such a person, ha! Lucky for me, Legrand reached out to a local “design fanatic” to attend the event and Instagram on their behalf. And Instagram I did…
As a relatively new homeowner I’ve noticed even the smallest upgrades can make a big difference in the overall feel of your home. Light switches are one of them! I wish when my dad changed out all of our light and electrical outlets I would have known about Legrand. Beauty and function, y’all.
Basically I hung out for a couple of hours, played on Instagram, and talked to people. You know, MY FAVORITE THINGS.
I had a great time at the event. I was a little nervous leading up to it since I’ve never Instagrammed for someone else much less a big company but it was AWESOME.
As always, you can follow me on Instagram here.
I was searching for a spring inspired lesson to teach to my elementary students. I came across a really good lesson on symmetry and butterflies. One of Andy Warhol’s prints was included in the blog post and I instantly needed more.
I’ve never considered myself much of the butterfly-type but hey we’re all aloud to change our minds.
If you’re not familiar with Andy’s butterflies, let me introduce you…
The above butterfly is the endangered San Francisco Silverspot Butterfly. This was part of his series of screenprints titled Endangered Species from 1983. (image)
Andy Warhol started his career in the 1950s as a designer and illustrator for magazines like Vanity Fair, Mademoiselle, Bergdorf Goodman, and Glamour. He would actually have his mother write descriptions or titles on many of the drawings because he liked her cursive handwriting. (image)
Andy Warhol actually invented the silkscreening process at his studio called The Factory. This process enabled him to mass produce a single image in his signature style. (image)
Like many artists, Andy Warhol referenced famous artists and periods of art that came before him. The above painting is titled Tondo. Tondo’ is a Renaissance term for a circular work of art. (image)
Andy would paint these butterflies and other illustrations with ink and then blot them with paper to get that perfectly smeared look. Color was possibly added at one of his coloring parties, hosted at the fashionable Serendipity 3 café. He would encourage his friends – some of whom would have helped him create the original illustrations – to color the works with an inventiveness that adds to their whimsical nature. (image)Now I’m going to start planning my own coloring party. You are all invited! (image)
One Friday earlier in January Greg and I went to a favorite spot in our neighborhood, Hot Box, for dinner. As we were walking up to the airstream trailer to order (yes, really) I noticed a twenty dollar bill on the ground. I Asked the people around if it was theirs. No one claimed it. Mine! So, I used it to pay for our meal. Awesome, right? (Image above by me)
Two days later we went to The Summit to shop for Greg a new pair of jeans. As we were walking back to my car a delivery truck passed and we heard something fall out. We turned around to look and Greg says, “It’s meat!” We saw a car coming towards it so we had to decide right then what we were going to do… (Image)Obviously we stopped the car so that we could pick up TEN POUNDS OF FRESH GROUND BEEF that literally fell from the sky. Thanks Evans Meats! Do you know how much ground beef is going for per pound these days?! They happen to supply some of the nicest restaurants in town so you know it’s good quality. (Image)Two weeks later on a Saturday, Greg was scrolling through Facebook. He saw a post from one of our favorite venues, Iron City, about a surprise Blake Shelton concert that night. Normally you wouldn’t think of either of us as Blake Shelton fans but I am a big Gwen Stefani fan. Iron City was giving away free tickets to the first 1300 people that showed up RIGHT THEN… (Image)
We contemplated for about two minutes and decided it would be a fun time because Blake is funny and I might get to see Gwen in real life. We jumped in the car and made it to Iron City eighteen minutes after the post… (Image)
There was no line and we were about the 50th people to get tickets. Thirty minutes later there was a line around the building and people were getting turned away. We didn’t see Gwen but we still had a great time. I mean, we would never pay for Blake Shelton tickets anyway. (Image)
Be mindful, be present, be in the moment y’all. It also helps to be a little shameless. You never know what you will find. Be on the look out. (Image)
Podcasts have been around for awhile. The first ones I tried to listen to were kind of boring and not that great of quality in sound or content. So I quit them for a few years. But I’m here to tell you, things have changed! There are so many good ones now. I have a whole slew of podcasts I listen to regularly. I listen to podcasts when I’m getting ready in the morning, cleaning the house, on my commute, painting my nails, etc. I listen whenever I have a mundane task and it makes said task so much more bearable. And if that’s not convincing enough, it will make you feel super smart and pretty. Maybe not but maybe so!
Here a few of my current favorites:
Oh Boy by Man Repeller & Monocycle by Leandra Medine of Man Repeller
First of all, I wish on a daily basis that Leandra and I will become friends in real life (because she totally is my friend in my head). I started reading her blog, Man Repeller, years ago. I devoured her book in a weekend and thank the good Lord above she started TWO podcasts in the past year. On the Oh Boy podcast Jay Buim (Man Repeller’s videographer) interviews cool ladies that are basically doing cool things. These interviews don’t make you feel like you’re not doing cool things but it encourages you to make your own cool things path. Cool things! Monocycle is just Leandra pontificating on whatever she feels like for 10 minutes. She’s so witty and honest it’s always a fun listen. Ps. I’m a fan girl.
This podcast features public radio producer and writer, Starlee Kine solving mysteries that can’t be solved through googling. The mysteries can seem silly but the path with which she takes to solve them always reveals really interesting stories along the way. I resisted listening to this podcast for awhile because I thought the mysteries weren’t mysterious enough (ie. not like Dateline) but once I finally gave in, it became one of my favorite podcasts. I wish I could think of a personal mystery for her to solve. Season 2 is in the works and I cannot wait!
Favorite Episode: Kotter (Season Finale)
The Jealous Curator : Art For Your Ear
This one is perfect if you are interested in artists and their creative processes and habits. It is hosted by the blogger of “The Jealous Curator,” Danielle Krysa. I have discovered so many artists through her blog (I like to think we have similar tastes). This might sound weird but she has a really nice voice to listen to. The interviews are fun and light but there are always little nuggets of creative wisdom to hang on to. She has interviewed some of my favorite artists including Wayne White (!!!). She includes a blog post for each artist she interviews so you have a visual to go along with the podcast which I think is a nice touch.
Favorite Episode: Trey Speegle (but they are all good!)
Other podcasts worth a listen (if you haven’t already):
This American Life – weekly theme, interesting stories
Serial – one on going story/mystery per season
Invisibilia – “the invisible forces that control human behavior”
RadioLab – human interest stories
Freakonomics Radio – I like to say it’s “fun” science
The Lively Show – a little self-helpish but interesting people
#girlboss radio – very similar to Oh Boy but with Sophia Amoruso
Being Boss – on running a creative business
After the Jump – interviews creatives of all kinds with Grace Bonney
Creative Pep Talk – for illustrators and graphic designers mainly
Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorites? I’m willing to give it a listen!
I had visions of a white house with black accents. Then I snapped back to reality and realized that doesn’t fit the feeling I want for my home or fit my lifestyle (three dogs ya know). Once I was over that fantasy I started thinking about what would work. I really love neutrals but not really tan. I prefer cool colors but I also want some warmth. I’ve made mistakes when choosing paint colors (see: painting my apartment living and dining room peachy puke pink) and I didn’t want to do that again. This go around I took my time and carefully planned out and considered every aspect of my house. (image)
Here are a few things I considered when choosing my paint colors:
1 :: What I like and what will work
I LOVE seeing homes online where every room is a rich colorful hue. Think royal blues, emerald greens, and turquoise. But, could I actually live in that for years? As much as I want to be super bohemian I have to be real. I like to look at images of bold rooms but I don’t actually want to live in that day to day. I like neutrals. (image)
What to do: Close your eyes and imagine you are waking up in your comfy bed. What colors do you see? Imagine the perfect Saturday morning drinking coffee on your sofa, what is surrounding you? Don’t think about it too much. Is it light and airy or moody and dramatic? Really consider the space in which you can live and relax.
2 :: The things you can’t change
I can’t change the direction my house faces. I can’t change the tone of the wood floors, cabinets, or countertops. I can’t change my ceiling height. I can’t change the layout. These are all important things that are often overlooked when choosing paint colors. (image)
What to do: Take inventory of the kind of light each room in your house gets throughout the day. Paint colors will look different depending on the amount of natural light. A dark room painted with white will look dingy whereas the same paint in a west facing room will look bright and airy. Second, figure out the undertones of your floors, cabinets, and countertops. You will be most successful in choosing paint colors if you can keep with the existing undertones. When in doubt, google it!
3 :: Layout and Flow
Are you living in a loft where everything is open or are you in a traditional 1950’s ranch house where there are distinctly divided rooms? What rooms lead to another room? How do you walk through your house to get from one end to the other? My house has a mix of distinctly divided rooms and then some rooms that flow to another. (image)
What to do: Stand in each room of your home and take note of each other room you can see. For instance, when I’m standing in my dining room I can see the living room, kitchen, and a little bit of the hallway. My dining room has a small doorway to the kitchen but a wide opening to the living room. Thus, for flow’s sake I painted my dining room and living room the same color. Think about where it would be natural to have a change of color and where it would be best to continue a color.
These are just a few things to get you going choosing colors for your home. They are merely suggestions. Ultimately, pick what you like and what will make you happy. For me, it made me happy to carefully research and plan. If that’s up your alley, I came across some really great blog posts that are more in depth on the process:
Living room and Dining :: Cotton Balls, a slightly warm, creamy white
My Bedroom and Office :: Chelsea Grey, a warm dark grey that has a browny-green undertone
Guest Room and Hallway :: Collingwood, a warm light grey
Bathroom :: Soot, a dark almost black navy
Kitchen :: Sioux Falls, medium dark grey-ish blue-green
Finally, the moment I have been waiting for for half my life has arrived: to decorate my very own house. Like every decision I have agonized over what to do. Trust me if I were a stranger to myself I would be quick, confident, and decisive. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. 1/2/3/4
I’ve been collecting design inspiration for YEARS. Even before Pinterest I would keep folders on my computer of images or the real old school way with scrapbooks from design magazines. With my big moment finally here I started feeling overwhelmed with all my thoughts, wants, and inspirations. I realized I had to approach it like any graphic design work that I do for a client.
I look at a lot of interiors online. Interiors can be gorgeous and “Pinterest worthy” but not realistic. I needed to think about how I wanted to feel at home before I could decided on how I wanted things to look. For me, I want to feel cozy, relaxed, and happy. (image)
Tip :: Once you have a two to three guiding words, make a bubble map (word in the middle with arms and more bubbles of words/things you associate with that word) for each word. It helps to also have some context to what each words means to you. Cozy to me means being surrounded by things that I love and a lot of texture. Cozy to you might mean plaid and a lot of wood.
Since interior design is one of my biggest interests, I had a general idea of things I like and don’t like and what would and wouldn’t work for my life/house. I decided to start a fresh Pinterest board and went through my old one moving anything I thought would fit my feeling. 1/2/3/4/5
Tip :: If you’re thumbing through a home design magazine and see something you like, look for the designer’s name. The designer will more than likely have a website, a Pinterest page, and an Instagram where you can find more inspiration in their style. Also, most magazines these days have a Pinterest page with varied boards for different design types.
After I spent a few
days weeks pinning images I looked for what was reoccurring in the types of images I pinned. This includes colors and styles as well as finishes and textures. (image)
Tip :: Sometimes I’ll pin an image without much thought and out of instinct. When I am refining my direction I will ask myself what is it exactly that I’m drawn to in each image. It could be a wall color, a feeling, or an actual object. Getting specific is going to help you later when shopping and styling.
I looked at my common themes and started refining my inspiration searches. I also started thinking about paint colors and accent colors. You know, the fun stuff! Above is my guiding mood board. I love black and white but I knew I couldn’t live in a black and white house (especially since I have three dogs). I also crave warmth but I don’t like warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows). I decided to find warm neutrals, a touch of warm blue-green, natural textures/elements, and mixed metals. I have incorporated a little bit of dark blue here and there. I think I’ll do another post on how I chose my paint colors. I have a lot to say! 1/2/3/4/5/6
Tip :: It helps to be familiar with some interior design styles and words. If you’re not sure there are all sorts of quizzes online like this one and this round up of seven to help you. Once you can associate some words with your style you can do more targeted searches for inspiration and shopping. I’m drawn to Midcentury Modern and Warm Industrial with a touch of Eclecticism.
It’s hard not to want to buy everything at once. I have to continually remind myself that it’s a process and there is no real “finish.” I made a list in order of importance. First on the list was paint. It’s the easiest thing to do to make the biggest impact. When making my list I thought about the things that would make a difference first in my everyday life. For me, this was rugs. I continue to work this way through my never ending list. (image)
Tip :: When shopping don’t lose sight of the feel and style you want. I might be tempted to buy a neon pink dachshund statue but it’s not going to work with what I’ve got going on already. Most of the time if you buy only things you love (and need) they will work out but keep your plan in the back of your mind or literally in pictures on your phone.
I hope through sharing my process I can help you figure out your own domaine. I’m not an interior designer by degree or trade but it is something I have been interested in for a long time. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like me to help you with anything. I would be glad to do so!
There’s so much to say about Instagram I thought it needed another post. I feel like all people use Instagram a little differently but there have been some fun things I have discovered. Here’s my little breakdown:
Challenges vary in scope. Sometimes they can be daily challenges, weekly challenges, or challenges for the month. They can be used by a company for a chance to win something or they can be geared toward sparking your creativity. I think challenges are fun because they make you think about what kind of photo you’re going to post. Everyone loves a good challenge! Here are a few I thought were fun:
- It’s My Week :: This account gives you a weekly theme like places or food and you interpret it however you feel for a chance to be featured on their account. Even if you don’t want to participate this account has beautiful photos.
- 100 Days of Happy :: This isn’t just for Instagram but the challenge is documenting what makes you happy for 100 days in row. In turn you’ll be happier. I’m all about the happy.
- Capture Your 365 :: If you need a little more direction, Capture Your 365 lays out daily challenges each month. You also have a weekly prompt if committing each day is too burdensome.
- If you need more ideas, either google or search in Pinterest for “instagram challenge” and you’ll find something you like.
I’m calling them collective hashtags because I don’t know if they have an official name, they are kind of similar to challenges but a little more loose. I’m most familiar with ones within the design community. Bloggers/designers/whomever come up with a hashtag and invite people to use them. The result is pure eye candy and also a great way to find new folks to follow. Here are some of my favorite ones:
- #poppytalksummercolours :: Blogger Jan of Poppytalk hosts this hashtag every summer. She also does one for every season. The fall one is my favorite! She asks people using the hashtags to post particular colors on certain days to make the hashtag feed extra beautiful.
- #DSpattern :: Design Sponge hosts a few different hashtags (#dsfloors, #dstexture, #dsrainbow, #dslettering) but this one is my favorite to peruse.
- #ABMlovesmurals :: The girls over at A Beautiful Mess like Design Sponge come up with some fun hashtags every now and then. They are also a fun/inspiring account to follow. Also check out #ABMlifeiscolorful.
- #dresstherainbow :: Super fun Brittany of House Lars Built has done a few hashtags that she also makes challenges for herself. Her latest one is so fun and I can’t wait to see how she’s going to do it. You can participate and win a $500 gift card to ASOS. All the details here.
There have been a few people that have caught my eye because of their GENIUS creative use of Instagram. Sometimes I’m like “Why didn’t I think of that!?!?” I’m always intrigued by other people’s creativity and it pushes me to be on top of my game. Here are a few example for you viewing pleasure:
- @sophieandlili :: Jennifer Vallez is a doll-maker, illustrator, and designer. I started following her account because I saw her genius idea of watercoloring other people’s (popular) Instagram feeds. Hello, smart advertising! You can see them all under her hashtag #igwatercolorstories.
- @dailydoodlegram :: Illustrator Geffen Refaeli creates these simple pen illustrations that combines one element from two other people’s Instagram pictures. They result in a provoking and magical little illustration. She always includes the handles of the people she’s borrowing from so you can see the original inspiration images. They are really incredible.
- @rachelryle :: I can’t begin to fathom how Rachel makes these AMAZING illustrated stop motion Instagram videos. They are so freaking cool and I’m in total awe of them on the daily. Amazing I tell you! Go now and watch them all! I’ll meet you there.
As always, is there anything I’m missing that I should know about? Let me know what your favorite hashtag is to follow.