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Paper Source Wish List

Have you checked out Paper Source lately? I threw down a chunk ‘o change there last night to satisfy my paper cravings (and to organize my office) but you know, I have no real habits — I don’t smoke, I barely drink, you’ll never find me in a nudie bar with ten dollar bills (what a visual! he he!) and I’ve cut out Starbucks (almost) from my life, I go there maybe once every two weeks vs. daily as before — so I made room in my budget for the occasional paper splurge. Justified. I feel much better. What did I buy? For one, the cat butt pencil sharpener (my word) and some PaPaYa! file folders. Here are a few others that I liked, some went into my shopping cart while others remain on my wish list for pining…

Office Update

In no order, but I assure you all are accounted for in this link list: Curry dots bracket label, the purple comp journal, paper suitcases with striped interiors (I ordered two, one in chartreuse and the other in papaya), white cat pencil sharpener, file folders with pink birds, fish letterpress cards, orange paisley thank you notes, pool cloud dots label and the holy crap eraser.

(images: paper source)

Posted in Rooms on May 28, 2009

Let’s Talk About Balance

Hello? Is it me your looking for? Sorry, I’m having a Lionel Richie moment. Cheesy I know, but good cheese. So, I’m a little late in posting today but can I just say that I had such a great morning!? I did. Totally. I’ve had a lot to do lately since I’m preparing for something pretty big in my life that I’ll tell you more about on Monday because then I can actually say something but in my preparations I’ve been busy, busy, busy! I’m not trying to lead anyone on by telling you I have good news to post about but frankly, telling you this and putting it out there that I must tell you is keeping me on track with “it” so it’s in no way meant to tease people. I’m not one who likes tease and I quite hate being teased (asked my husband) myself. But on my Monday I’ll tell you about this news. Believe me, you most likely won’t care so much but I totally do and can’t wait to tell you. But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about finding balance which I’ll get to now.


So where have I been all day? Well nothing life changing or anything but gosh this morning I had a lovely breakfast date and it felt so good to go out to breakfast during the week — something I try to do every so often and if you haven’t had a stack of french toast at a greasy spoon lately then I highly suggest going for it because all work and no play makes Jane a very dull girl. Lingering at breakfast for a few hours felt like having a massage on an exotic island complete with boozy fruity drinks being served by a cabana boy named Marcelo, who has a swimmer’s body and eyes the color of the sea. And an accent. Must have an accent. Okay, breakfast wasn’t really that good but it still felt like luxury. I’ve been driving myself quite hard during the week and not really enjoying what it means to be a freelancer — can you relate to this? Yes, you say? I almost feel like I could write a commercial for antidepressants, sleep aids or memory loss.

Hello. Do you suffer from total frustration? Do you sleep between the hours of 4am-7am only to press repeat and work another 18 hour day? Do you leave the house in two different pairs of shoes? Do you forget to shower some mornings, putting it off until after lunch? Do you think about work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Then you need Freelance-free, a new drug that helps you get a life!”

We laugh but it’s kind of sad. I say I keep normal business hours, and I do, but then I have to factor in the additional 6 hours each night on top of that and though I unplug on the weekends, I often wonder what I left corporate for, you know? Like what was really the point of saying goodbye to the fat paycheck and benefits if I maintain the same stress level and frustration on my own?

April 1st I decided to change things in my own life, one of which was to unplug on the weekends. I mention how I am able to do in an interview over at Ink on my Fingers. During the week, I’ve been trying to show more flexibility in my schedule and to not burn myself out by over-committing. I think we women (and ok, sometimes men though I think the boys do better in this department than the girls), but I think we ladies tend to commit to more than we can sometimes follow through on. I see this often in the circle in which I run and I’m sure in your own circles you have observed this yourself. Running, running, running yet being totally unaware. That’s not such a great way to run a business! My goal, starting April 1st, was to be more “aware” – more in the moment, and I found that by giving myself mini breaks during the week and by unplugging during the weekends, I’ve reclaimed my sanity and my inspiration is overflowing once again. I had thought that balance wasn’t important, it was more vital to just get things done already… and over the past few years I’ve been learning a lot more about balance and schedule and my own personal goals and I guess just coming full circle with all of this which has helped me personally to start blossoming and to feel more in tune with myself, in control, and on my game. Now this is why I left corporate, this is the freedom and direction I was hoping for.

I remember waking up on my birthday this past March thinking, “It’s time”.

features & pears

I didn’t know what my head and my heart were trying to tell me, but intuitively I felt like something shifted inside of me in a big way which lead to my April 1st change. Life isn’t some race to the finish line nor about who is faster or better or who has more money or talent, like my grandmother always said, “There is always someone smarter, prettier and richer than you are so be your best because it’s impossible to be the world’s best” and you know, I didn’t beleive that when I was young but I really get it now. Life is about balancing all the things you need to be and do and manage so that each of those things gets the right amount of attention that they deserve. Working only to neglect those you love is not balance. Working to neglect yourself is a really bad decision. Working towards goals others are setting for you is kind of stupid. Working on projects you don’t truly like, just because you sort of ‘fell into it’ is also kind of a waste. In the end, it’s all about balance for me and continuing to live an authentic life that feels right for me personally. Not right for you or your friends or some group of people. And being balanced and finding the right fit is absolutely the most important thing and it doesn’t always come in your twenties, for me it comes now in my thirties, but I’m happy to be more balanced and aware of this now. Sure, my closet still needs organized and as I type my sink has some dishes calling out to me to be washed (Holly, Miss Hollllyyyy – do you hear them? I’m blocking them out), but in my heart, head, emotionally, spiritually, in every way I feel very aware, balanced and on track.

How about you? How are you doing in this regard? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Burnt out? Are you constantly working and not really feeling any better for it?

All of my feelings I think many of you are dealing with on a regular basis, am I right? I can tell you this — please examine what things you are saying yes to and what you are taking on and make sure these things line up with the goals you have for yourself. When I was teaching the Blogging Your Way class online, which I’ll teach again starting in October (the announcement and enrollment link will be posted on decor8 on August 10th), I realized just how many wonderful, talented and very eager people there are who want to blog from the heart and who really want to be authentic and one-of-a-kind and this gave me so much pleasure because I loved learning about each student and their goals for their blogs, even career goals. All of this learning was a joy to me because as a blogger, I don’t always get to jump into the heads of fellow bloggers. I mean, I could never just go up to another blog author and ask them about their goals, dreams, etc. because they’d wonder about my motives. But in the class environment, as a teacher, the barriers were down and conversation flowed — I was able to freely speak to my students through podcasts and listen to their fears, dreams, issues and the experience was so encouraging and enlightening for me. And I learned that we all are in the same boat, we all get frustrated because we all get out of balance and lose our direction at times and usually it’s because we start saying yes before we think about what we are saying yes to.

To wrap up I simply want to say that I had a nice morning and I’m glad that I allowed myself the freedom to just have breakfast out. It felt balanced and special. And well, I guess I should reveal that I ended up in Nordstrom (you have to pick up the new Trina Turk designed Clinique bag free with a $25 purchase, it’s floral and lovely for Trina fans like me) and then I went to Anthropologie but honestly, Anthro during sales season is somewhat depressing because everything is thrown everywhere, but I still had a good time checking out the store displays and smelling all of the candles. :)

Okay so talk to me people. I really want to connect with you guys on this topic and see what you think about freelancing and finding balance, do you have it? Do you need it? Do you seek it? What are you doing to be more balanced?

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Ramblings on May 28, 2009

Meet German Artist Carolin Samson

I’ve been working on this interview for a few days after seeing German artist Carolin Samson comment on my blog recently. I clicked over from her comment and viola! I discovered her blog and Flickr photos. Upon noticing her flea market addiction, I knew I had to write to her to learn more about her life and work. Here’s what I found out after chatting with her.

Artist Carolin Samson

Carolin lives in Regensburg (Bavaria) with her husband Lutz and studied art, German literature, textile design, philosophy and public relations (bio here). A few years ago she relocated from Hamburg to Regensburg where she works in public relations and as a blogger for a finance company. In Hamburg, Carolin taught art and had a gallery there called Kunst Leben.

Artist Carolin Samson

In Bavaria she offers art classes on her day off and is working on some fun new creative projects with other artists in her local community which include a food/art event and a pop-up store showcasing the work of up-and-coming young artists. She also has a blog called Day Date that I just discovered last week, it’s great! Would you like a glimpse of her home? In addition to pretty photos I’ve also asked Carolin a few questions about her decorating and inspirations as well as life in Germany.

Artist Carolin Samson

Hi Carolin! The first question I have for you is this: what inspires your decorating choices? I collect knick knacks for years at flea markets, during my travels or in nice design/decoration stores. I love these often kitschy objects and love to have them around me every day, so that it’s important to me that the knick knacks are kept in special places. All the other things I love are placed around them.

How many rooms is your apartment? Four – 1 room for me, 1 room for my husband, 1 living room and 1 bedroom, and we have also a bathroom and a kitchen.

What do you love about Germany? I love the creative places you can find in almost every city. If you want, you can realize here all your dreams. Germany offers you a lot of opportunities.

Artist Carolin Samson

What do you like to do for fun in your city? We have a lot of places here in Regensburg to visit like the historical part of the town with the bars and cafés. And an art scene were you can find many exhibitions and new galleries.

Do you travel much, if so where do you go for vacation? I traveled the world with my parents when I was young. I also studied in Paris and Venice. Then I lived one year in Mexico teaching art. Now my husband and I travel often, at least until we have kids ;-)) . Last year we went to Malaysia, Finland, France, Africa, Los Angeles… and in six weeks we will go to New York and then to the Maledives. I love to travel. It’s the most inspiring way to live.

Where do you shop for most of your interiors items? At flea markets.

Artist Carolin Samson

Artist Carolin Samson

Artist Carolin Samson

Artist Carolin Samson

What trends do you notice in German decorating right now? The German creative scene loves the mix of classic design like Bauhaus, new design and stuff from the flea market. Habitat and IKEA is very important for the basics, especially for the students. But you can find more and more independent design shops with lovely things from all over the world (for example – ok-ok versand).

What are some of your favorite magazines? Oh! I’m addicted on magazines. I read almost everything about decoration, lifestyle and fashion. My favorites are at the moment: Blonde and cut. But I read also every issue of Vogue, Elle, Elle decoration, Casa Deco, Elle bistro, Decoration and Häuser.

It was nice to meet you Carolin and thank you so much for sharing bit of your apartment today! :)

(images: carolin samson)

Posted in Home Tours on May 27, 2009

Atlanta Bartlett & Dave Coote

I’ve been an Atlanta Bartlett fan long before I started writing decor8, in fact it was her work through the pages of her design books that inspired me early on and was one reason why I started taking art & design classes. My current favorite book is her new one, Easy Elegance, photographed by the great Polly Wreford whom I’m profiled here in the past. It’s heavenly, I absolutely suggest picking up a copy and I’ve made it easy for you to find it because it just-so-happens to be the decor8 book of the week. You will cherish this one forever, trust me.

Atlanta Bartlett

Atlanta’s work as an interiors stylist absolutely clicks with me and my own personal style, when I look at the rooms and tablescapes she pulls together I always think, “Oh yes, perfect”. I frequently stalk Atlanta’s website but gave up awhile back since it wasn’t pulled together nearly as beautifully as her books and did not have much to look at — it was more of a placeholder for what would come… And now as I did another drive by of her site today, to my surprise, I found that her website was gorgeously redesigned. I am so thrilled to see it. I believe you will be to, it’s bound to make a Bartlett fan out of you if you aren’t already.

Atlanta Bartlett

I noticed on her site that she’ll soon be launching an online shop called Pale & Interesting. Sounds enticing enough… It also sounds like perhaps what I should call myself right about now with my white legs and arms. :) Atlanta currently designs decorative ceramics for The Big Tomato Company and those are available here.

Atlanta Bartlett

And.. if all that weren’t enough to qualify her for the title of superhero goddess, she also co-owns The Beach Studios alongside her husband, interior designer Dave Coote. Together they handpick locations and offer them as shoot spaces for film, photographic and television industries. You can view them here (prepare to drool).

Dave Coote

And speaking of Dave, who I must include in this post because like the saying goes, behind every good woman is an amazing man, he just launched his gorgeous website showcasing his portfolio.

Dave Coote

Dave designs rooms but something that really sets his work apart from the pack is that he also designs workshops and cabins out of reclaimed wood, made to order! Wouldn’t you love to order a craft hut or some type of outdoor/indoor atelier space?

No doubt you also have favorite stylists, decorators and designers. Who are yours? Please share them with me! :)

(images: atlanta bartlett, photography by chris everard, polly wreford and penny wincer)

Posted in Designers + Stylists on May 27, 2009


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