Yearly Archives

2012

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Meeting Sweet Paul

March 15, 2012

I recently met Paul Lowe from Sweet Paul and he was so calm and well, yeah, sweet. I didn’t know what to expect really, but I thought that it would be nice to meet him while I was in NYC so I took a shot of courage and sent him a message and said that I’d like to meet him in person and would he be interested in popping by the light studio where I was teaching in Soho to say hello. It was a long shot since we aren’t really web friends and I’ve never really talked to him before, but I believe in just asking people for things because if you don’t ask, you have no right to complain when stuff doesn’t happen in your life. So I asked.

Meeting Sweet Paul

And I received. Paul Lowe walked in during our class and not only did I meet him, but he so nicely met lots of my students too who wanted to know more about my mystery guest – and for those who did know who he was, well they had a total “moment” — I could tell.

Meeting Sweet Paul

Most of us are inspired by and like to see those who find success primarily from blogging as Paul has, I have, and so many others who began their career mostly by sharing their passions online first and then wham-o! It resulted in amazing things for their life and careers. Paul is incredibly talented and deserves his success and from my brief chat with him, he was very warm and polite but also grounded. He seems like someone that I would get on well with if I had only had spent more time chatting him up. But of course, I had a class to teach and so the Sweet Paul visit was quick but still deeply inspiring to me personally and I wish to thank him so much for stopping by to say hello. I’ve met some incredible people throughout my own blogging journey over the years and Paul was a highlight. Thanks, Paul.

Meeting Sweet Paul

Meeting Sweet Paul

I love these two spreads (above) as it really reminds me of the work of my favorite stylist, Dietlind Wolf in Germany whom I wrote about in January – she did the same thing with watercolors and food. Dietlind is a known trendsetter in the world of food styling here in Germany. The two spreads above are by Alicia Buszczak.

Meeting Sweet Paul

Meeting Sweet Paul

Meeting Sweet Paul

Meeting Sweet Paul

Meeting Sweet Paul

Meeting Sweet Paul

And with that, I’ll shout out the recent issue of Sweet Paul magazine (Spring 2012) with some images from it, and you can watch for it at Anthropologie stores sold nationwide and in the UK as it will arrive in printed fashion there very soon for Antho customers. Yay to Paul for scoring that collaboration, a huge win!

(images: sweet paul magazine)






Travel

ABC Kitchen

March 15, 2012

I recently had the pleasure of dining at ABC Kitchen in Manhattan not just once, but 3 times in the span of 11 days! I know, right!??! Amazing. It’s a hard place to get a reservation but it seemed I knew the right people or had a stroke of luck. I want to tell you about it because I was so deeply inspired by the interior and from the exquisite organic meals that I enjoyed there. Here are some of the things you can expect to see in this space that are also sold in the adjacent ABC Home store in case you wanted to get this look at home…

ABC Kitchen

Above: 1. Jan Burz porcelain 2. Vintage plates from your local flea market or antiques dealer 3. I loved the mugs – I ordered tea and was immediately impressed by these. I was told they sold out but now I see them on their website and am sad because I wanted a set of 6 for my home here in Germany. They were the absolute best mug ever. 4. Clear glass egg lamp, 5. Integral tables, 6. Basic white chairs you can find anywhere – these are the Steelwood chairs but they no longer stock them at ABC so try something like the Arper instead, 7. Elena Lyakir fine art photography, 8. Integral bar stool.

ABC Kitchen(I snapped this above with my iPhone during brunch on Sunday.)

Amazing chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is also the mastermind behind this gorgeous eatery, who also happens to be an author of a cookbook called, “Home Cooking with Jean-Georges,” and I just bought a copy after visiting his restaurant because the food was that good. I’m so smitten by ABC Kitchen that I want to shout out to the world that if you ever get a chance to eat at this place, DO IT. These photos that I found online don’t even do this place justice, it’s even better in person.

ABC Kitchen

ABC Kitchen

ABC Kitchen

ABC Kitchen is heavenly – the service was great and the crowd was completely free of pretentious creeps – you know the ones that normally flock to these types of foodie places – this was definitely a cool crowd but without the attitude which made the atmosphere even nicer. The food was top notch – fresh, organic, locally grown and amazing and the price point for what you ordered was excellent. Everything from their wine to cocktails, desserts and breads, brunch and dinner, salads and entrees – it was all impressive and exquisite – it’s a real farm-t0-table experience.

The interior design is equally delicious with white brick walls, mercury glass behind the bar and in the bathrooms, exposed beam ceilings brought in from old barns, gorgeous furniture and lighting, lots of recycled elements… There was nothing about it that I would change. The design was mostly done by Paulette Cole, CEO and Creative Director of ABC Home, and felt cozy, unique, delicate and intimate. I also loved the vibe and that no matter how packed it became (and it was always packed), it was never too loud and the music never overpowered the conversation, it was there but subtle and the lighting made everyone look their best – it was always beautifully illuminated day or night. There are no windows in the dining space so there was no natural light, which definitely made it an ideal place for dinner but not idea for taking photos and definitely not ideal for brunch – I enjoyed brunch but it feels more like a nighttime spot for me and I totally loved it.

Another highlight of this space came down to the attention to detail – like the place settings. Brown eco-friendly kraft paper place mats, vintage linen napkins, petite flower arrangements in tiny square glass vases, vintage silverware, mismatched floral-patterned vintage china, handmade porcelain dinnerware in white by Jan Burz — nothing was too precious yet everything felt so, so precious – how did they do that!?

ABC Kitchen

Some of my favorites on the menu included: Roast Carrot and Avocado Salad with Crunchy Seeds and Citrus, Cookie plate, Shaved Fluke with Blood Oranges, Roasted Kabocha Squash Toast fresh ricotta and apple cider vinegar, Crab toast, Roasted Beets with Homemade Yogurt,Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Eggplant Toast with marinated peppers and lemon , Pear Bourdaloue Tart, Birthday Cake, Salted Caramel-Peanut Ice Cream Sundae, Grilled Chicken Waldorf Salad, Roasted Eggplant Toast with marinated peppers and lemon, Still Warm Fresh Mozzarella olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, Black Sea Bass with chilies and herbs, baby market potatoes and spinach and of course a glass of Riesling trocken, Sybille Kuntz 2008, mosel, Germany!

Yes, all of that – whenever I went I was with several people and we just ordered lots of plates and shared everything tapas style which I highly suggest doing because then you can try a little of everything. What a special space and a new favorite place to eat in Manhattan. While in NYC, I also ate at Il Bagatto (sat next to Kirstie Alley! ha ha!), La Esquina (great Mexican food in a really cool underground “hidden” space), The Standard Grill (ate undercooked fish and got deathly ill for two days – spent a lot of money to get sick), The Breslin (nice place but severely overpriced and very salty food, incredibly rude waitstaff – we were all shocked.)… Also ate at a few random places in Koreatown that were excellent and ate at a little cafe above Kinokuniya book center which had great sushi and Asian desserts and ate at two different locations of Le Pain Quotidien which has really good food for a “fast food” eatery.

Can’t remember all of the other locations where we ate – but had breakfast a few times at egg in Brooklyn and that was fine but I still don’t understand why Biscuits and Gravy had one biscuit on a plate with a bowl of gravy on the side – the waitress promised me that it only came with one biscuit, maybe I was just hungry or daft but I thought for $10 that was quite pricey for one biscuit! I noticed this happened a lot in NYC though with waitstaff, most acted totally disinterested when you had something to say that wasn’t super positive and gushy. Oh well.

But ABC Kitchen rocked – loved my experiences there and I’d definitely go back and hope you’ll check it out too!

A special thanks to my dear friend Leslie for sharing this gem of a place with me in the first place!

(images: 2nd image: holly becker, all others: abc home)






Home Tours

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

March 15, 2012

Hello friends! How are you today? I’m so happy to be back home from NYC because I’ve missed blogging daily and feel so energized and motivated to write and connect with you once again. I thought I’d begin with a lovely post created exclusively for decor8. Ready?

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

I love a good tour – especially of a creative workspace since so many of us dream of having a nook (or entire studio) where we can do the things that we love in an environment that supports us in every way. This is the studio of photographer Jeremy Harwell who recently built a new studio for his photography and he wanted to share it with all of you today. I think it’s a gorgeous space and I hope that it inspires you!

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

Creative Studio Tour of Photographer Jeremy Harwell

About Jeremy, “He started his own freelance business in 1992 working as a photojournalist for several newspapers, covering news events as well as professional sports. He recently spent 8 years at Ralph Lauren, where he was the Creative Director for the New York stores as well as shooting fashion and interiors. In 2003 Jeremy and family moved to Georgia to live the simple life and start a studio in Senoia… Jeremy has won numerous awards including Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Accolades of Excellence. He has also been published in Bride and Modern Brides magazine.” I love reading about his journey and how long he has worked in his field – his blog shows so many gorgeous examples of his work, I encourage you to check it out for loads of eye candy inspiration!

What do you love about his photography studio? I love that it is both masculine and a bit feminine, I think the interior is well thought out as he deals with a lot of brides so having that feminine touch is essential in the decor. I adore the soda, that pale salmon is gorgeous and works so nicely with the brown and green tones. I also love his big silver LG monitors, they look great but also quite classy for a monitor. What do you think?

(images: Jeremy Harwell)






Travel

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

March 7, 2012

Hello dear friends! I must say that being in NYC is nothing less than energizing as my head is spinning with ideas and I feel very excited about the road ahead of me since I’ve been able to build out some ideas since coming here last week. I’m in New York until Sunday night, tomorrow I begin working with Debi Treloar, but for the first half of my trip I was with Leslie Shewring working on our class called the Blogging Your Way Road Trip.

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

For those of you familiar with Blogging Your Way, it is a class I founded three years ago online as a virtual workshop that takes place a few times each year and it is where I teach, along with my friend and biz partner Leslie, about taking a creative approach to blogging, photography, styling and many other topics that relate to all of that. Our goal is that once you learn the technical aspects of blogging in those dummies guides, you’ll come to us to learn the creative and fun stuff. Of course, we teach some nuts and bolts too about copyright law, how to deal with copycats and template ideas but over all our approach is that if blogging is looked upon as less of an exercise of writing and more as a creative pursuit, your time online will count more and you’ll reach more people. I believe strongly in using your blog as a catalyst to live your best life, meaning let the blog motivate you to do things that you love so you can then turn around and share them with your readers. Your blog should be a motivator, not a chore.
Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

When I thought about teaching this class offline I wondered often how it would translate but after this weekend I can tell that it translated quite well! I felt very honored to be among so many talented and creative woman on both Saturday and Sunday, some flew in as far as London for our workshop and others from Seattle, Kentucky, Ohio, Boston, D.C., it was quite amazing really. Leslie, who taught the class too, was amazing in her execution of her materials previously taught online through our class. Taking all of that material offline to teach hands-on was exciting for me to see her do so effortlessly and very well. She rocked it and if you were at the class I am sure you will agree with me. Saturday was more of an intense learning session and Sunday was more about interacting and moving around the room – working hands on.

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Overall, I felt the class gave students something very special in a small learning environment that just isn’t offered that often out there – most classes as huge or part of conferences and while those are great – many of our students commented that they preferred working in and learning with smaller more “niche” groups and this is exactly what Leslie and I were shooting for  – to provide our students with a very special learning environment where they could work closely with us and one another.

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

I’ve been teaching and lecturing for 15 years and same with Leslie, but this was a very special weekend and we enjoyed taking BYW offline and hope our students did too. We really bonded with loads of our students and want to thank Melissa de la Fuente, Michelle Verdugo and Julie Cove for helping us stay organized – these ladies were so critical to our success – and also to thank the very dear, dear Alex at Divine Studio for the gorgeous light studio where we taught. I also must thank Paul Lowe from Sweet Paul for being an inspirational drop-in guest on Sunday – his message was, “Just keep blogging, you never know where it can take you”. With his online magazine about to become a print version sold exclusively at Anthropologie stores, he is a stellar example of someone talented who was able to find their voice and audience through blogging. I must also thank my publisher, Chronicle Books (Peter and Lorraine!!!) for supplying our students with lovely notebooks from Jill Bliss, Rifle Paper and for sending out the French General books for our students on Sunday.

Highlights From Our Teaching Trip in NYC

THANK YOU STUDENTS for coming out to meet us and spend time learning together – we hope so much that you enjoyed it and will forever remember this road trip – it was wonderful!!!!!

xo, Holly

(images: those watermarked: mirror mirror and in out blogger audrey smit, all others by holly becker)






Rooms

Jason Grant for Murobond

March 2, 2012

Hello my dear, dear friends. I’m sorry I’ve been missing in action this week. I’m currently on deadline with my next book and teaching a workshop this weekend with Leslie Shewring on blogging, photography and styling so things have been crazy hectic. I’m hoping everything will be back to normal with daily blog posts from me very soon because I miss being regular here – it is really hard for me to step away and it always makes me feel sad to leave you for too long.

Jason Grant for Murobond

In the past month, I’ve been working in the Netherlands, Paris, England and now New York City. I’m excited, tired, a little disoriented and energized all rolled into one. In each place I go, I make it a point to meet a few blogger friends or people who are creative colleagues in other ways. It keeps me going in many ways. For instance, in the Netherlands I had Stephanie Rammeloo and then Eline Pellinkhof to keep me company. In Paris, I met up with Nichole Robertson and had breakfast with Emilie Griottes. In London, I spent time with Sania Pell. Here in NYC I will meet up with many lovely ladies which I’m excited about.

I don’t really think my brain knows where I am, although last night as I looked out of my hotel window at the Empire State Building, I did feel a bit more grounded: I am in America in an amazing city – the big apple! I’m rushing about today putting final touches on our class for this weekend, which completely sold out for those still looking for seats (we’ll come back again one day), so I won’t be blogging much between now and Monday. But I did want to pop in to give you all a big virtual hug and to let you know that I’m alive and well.

Jason Grant for Murobond

I thought I’d share the third collection for Murobond Paints called “Gray Scale Garden” from stylist and creative director Jason Grant today. He wrote in to give me an exclusive on this which I thought was way cool so I wanted to run it right away. I selected these photos below as they inspired me the most from his photo shoot for the collection. These photos were taken by Lauren Bamford in case you’re wondering – and they are just brilliant. The man shown in one of the photos is Jason himself.

Jason Grant for Murobond

Jason Grant for Murobond

Jason Grant for Murobond

Jason Grant for Murobond

Jason Grant for Murobond

Jason Grant for Murobond

Jason Grant for Murobond

Jason Grant for Murobond

Jason Grant for Murobond

Jason Grant for Murobond

Lovely colors Jason and beautiful shots! See you again on Monday with highlights from New York and the class we’re teaching! Yay!

(images: lauren bamford)






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