A funny thing happened to me recently. I don’t recall when exactly, but let us say it was this past Spring because I really believe it was then. Anyway, I was perusing the Wednesday morning farmers’ market in the local square, strolling from the flower stall to the bread cart, when someone most pleasant with clear eyes and an overall lovely appearance, looked straight at me to exclaim, “Holly! You are from the blog decor8….”, and well taken a bit off guard (as you can imagine) I agreed that indeed I was and asked whom she might be and a conversation ensued. I learned that she reads decor8, runs a beautiful blog herself and that she goes by Milas Deli or Susanne Irmer.
From there, we exchanged emails and she shared a link to Milas Deli with me. Upon clicking, my jaw dropped. It was one of the most beautiful food blogs I’d come across in awhile…
In fact, Milas Deli left me with a very calm feeling, it made me FEEL something for food much like Nigella does – and unlike some cooks and food blogs out there which often make me overwhelmed because they’re so perfectly perfect (who really serves perfect food night after night) and overly propped, Milas Deli felt natural and light and the way I feel when I’m eating with friends… Completely in love with the wine, the food and the friendship – not the perfectly perfected recipes and the over-the-topness of the table decor – but of the beauty found in a more relaxed approach to eating that so many westerners are seeking to get back – pleasure, joy, simplicity. I need to connect emotion to food. It cannot be all about overly propped food shots and recipes that are so complicated that I feel discouraged and slightly unfeminine trying to cook them. When I cook, I want to feel like a woman – feeding my family and providing something with soul. Yes, that’s it – I need a soul connection or in this case, a head-to-heart-to-stomach connection. A blog like Milas Deli gives me good energy when it comes to food – from presentation to cooking to licking your fingers clean. I commend her for authoring such an inspiring space.
Truth is, Milas Deli has really had an influence on me ever since I first found Susanne in the farmers’ market here in Hannover, Germany where I live. I read her blog whenever I can, though I do cheat a bit and read in Google Chrome often after translating it into English because I don’t want to miss out on anything until my German is fluent. Plus, no matter how well I learn my new second language, English is my mother tongue and so there is comfort when reading it especially if a topic is somewhat emotional in the first place. And food is so super emotional. The way you prepare it, the love you put into it, the passion.
My husband is the male version of Nigella. When he cooks you see his passion in action. He prepares without following a single recipe yet the things he makes evokes feelings that only food from a dear husband or your grandmother can bring to the table – his food is comfort, soulful, made with love, nourishing. He made a simple chicken vegetable soup last week that felt like a bowl full of love. I imagined as I ate it (I can be very animated truth be told) that little hearts were floating around in the broth. I felt love with each bite. I often wish my husband would make a cookbook and write stories around his recipes but because he does his best work when he’s not in the spotlight, he most likely will save the kitchen for his family and I respect him for that. It’s sexy to watch someone cook like that though, isn’t it? (Nigella is so sexy when she cooks.)
But I digress. Back to Susanne and her blog. Her photography is stunning but she also takes a very journalistic approach to her work and the stories she tells, the shoots she produces, the locations she captures. Her story angles are great and so are her literal angles as she moves around her subjects from cafes to chefs to a plate of ravioli. I admire the work that goes into a blog like hers so very much. In fact, I was stunned and happy when she enrolled in my online course, Blogging Your Way, this past June. What an honor to have her. I felt like she could teach me a thing or two about taking photos!
I recently ran into Susanne with another friend of mine, Berit, in the local forest. I didn’t recognize her at first – she had her hair up (I first met her when it was down) and it was a bit wet out – but the moment she said her blog name I knew immediately who she was and felt so embarrassed that one of her biggest fans had a momentary lapse of memory, forgetting those very eyes and the warmth that greeted me on that day in Spring when I first met a talented new friend. I’m sorry Susanne but hopefully this post makes up for that and perhaps it will win me a spot near to her one day for a cup of coffee and a friendly chat. I’d like that.
(Photography: milas deli/Susanne Irmer)
I heard someone predict recently that Pinterest will ultimately kill off our blogs. I felt a bit put off by that. Maybe they don’t realize that most of what is pinned is from blogs. If there are no more blogs, where are people going to find all of the fab DIY projects bloggers are posting, the great decorating tips, home tours and inspiring art and graphic design… Sure, people will pin from websites but when you look at what you are pinning, isn’t most of it from blogs? That is why I think that this prediction is a bit off. But…
BUT there is one thing that rings VERY true and that is this: Pinterest can kill SOME blogs, or shall I say, harm some bloggers. Here is why: Pinterest forces bloggers to STEP IT UP a notch simply because Pinterest is showing our readers EVERYTHING in one place. Pinterest is like a boat with a massive trawling net catching everything thanks to its massive member base. This sheer volume of stuff forces bloggers, magazines and even book publishers to step it up. I don’t think that is a bad thing, the better we each nudge one another to become a bit more polished, then there is nothing wrong with that. Iron sharpens iron.
The point is that none of us can repetitively toss up photos and leave it at that on our blogs. A little chit chat is needed. A little of, “I love this because…” and “This works because…” and “I think you can learn from this because…” goes a really long way for any blogger. If you want to add value through your blog content then put your heart into it. Be a bit more bold and lay your opinions openly out there, express yourself more freely than ever (as long as you don’t become a meanie, not what I encourage), be honest and funny (if you want to be funny), be yourself… Blog YOUR way. That will set you apart from the pack. Then Pinterest does not threaten your beautiful blog – you can use it to promote your blog and Pinterest will continue to tap in to all of us who are using it for their content. Currently, Pinterest drives more traffic to decor8 than Google.com – so I’m not complaining – that’s good stuff. Thanks, Pinterest.
I wonder what your honest opinion is when it comes to Pinterest. Do you think it is killing blogs? Do you think it is making bloggers step back and reexamine their blogging approach? Do you USE the content you are pinning on Pinterest to create anything – are you doing anything with all of that inspiration? As a blogger, are you finding more traffic coming in to your blog from Pinterest? I’d love to hear your take on it.
By the way, I’m on Pinterest. Follow me if you’d like, I’m @decor8.
I’m very excited to announce the official launch party for my next book, Decorate Workshop, on Tuesday, November 6th at Anthropologie on Regents Street in London at 6:30 pm. It was difficult finding the right place to launch the book, should I do it on my home soil and launch in America or do something a little closer to my new home in northern Germany? When Anthropologie approached me asking if I’d like to hold my launch at their gorgeous Regents Street store, I had my answer. It would be London.
After visiting 20 cities in both America and Europe for Decorate last year, I am not sure I will go on a big tour for this book since the holidays are coming and I am going away on vacation in December, but I may do a US launch for Decorate Workshop in New York City or Boston early next year in January or February. For now, LONDON is where I’ll be and I hope we can fill Anthropologie with bloggers and blog readers and have an amazing time together!
This event will include two special guests, a dear blogging colleague of mine from London who goes by the alias Bright Bazaar — the wonderful Will Taylor — AND an American stylist who once worked for Domino magazine, James Leland Day, who is not only IN Decorate Workshop but will be talking about how to style your home like a pro. Will will be interviewing me, we’ll be talking about blogging and books, I’ll explain how a book comes to together and how to break into book writing, it’s going to be a wonderful event! I’ll also answer your decorating, styling, book writing and blogging questions because like most events I do, I am asked questions on every topic and I love to just go with it and cover the spectrum – more fun and everyone gets their answers.
A spread showing James’ home in my book.
For those of you not able to attend, I hope that you don’t feel left out. I’ll be tweeting from the event LIVE (follow me @decor8 from 5:30-9:30 that day for pics and updates) plus we have a blog book tour that we’re scheduling for the UK, then the US and in February, in Germany, with some of my favorite bloggers, THEN later in November a video coming out about the book AND I’ll share photos and fun stuff as I go on the Decorate Workshop board over on Pinterest. That way, everyone is part of the fun somehow!
To RSVP for the London event, please email ANTHROPOLOGIE by November 2nd – they need a final headcount so it’s important that you send them a quick email with the subject, “Decorate Workshop Launch Party” and send to community [at] anthropologie [dot] eu
Books will be available for purchase that night at Anthropologie, so please RSVP by November 2nd so we have enough copies. I’ll sign your book (of course), too. I can’t wait to see you all and to see what you think of my book. :)
Good afternoon decor8 readers, it is Jillian here with another edition of Shopgirl Visits — fresh off the plane from New York! When planning my New York trip a few weeks ago, I decided to arrange some shop shoots. I used Sibella Court’s ‘The Stylist’s Guide to NYC’ as a starting point but I also asked Holly for a few suggestions and she pointed me to Lotta Jansdotter. Photographing Lotta’s Brooklyn studio was at the top of the list so I sent an email and an appointment was scheduled. Mission (almost) accomplished!
You know who Lotta Jansdotter is, right? Just in case you don’t, she’s a Swedish designer extraordinaire who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and you’ll find her distinctive designs on fabrics, clothing, greeting cards, rugs, bags and crockery. She’s also absolutely lovely and I was made to feel very welcome during my visit in her light-filled studio located in an old warehouse in the district of Gowanus in Brooklyn. Would you like to join me on a little tour of her workspace?
This is the main work area.
Lotta’s studio space has a Scandinavian design aesthetic, which really appeals to me.
A mood board.
Some lovely little vignettes.
Colourful fabrics, tape and garlands. These pretty washi tapes with her designs and the wonderful decals make me want to get crafty!
Lotta’s new collection in shades of blue for the iconic store, Fishs Eddy.
Some tools of the trade.
I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Lotta’s studio, located at 131 8th Street Brooklyn NY. Lotta has a blog which you’ll find here and she also runs printing workshops from the studio. You can get all the details about the workshops here.
I’ll see you again in November with another fabulous New York find. Until then, – Jillian
(photos & text: jillian leiboff)