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10 Hot Books That Rock It

I don’t know about you, but a bulk of my spare cash goes on books and magazines. I find so much inspiration from them and always have since I was a child. I purchase a slew of books in particular but not just any and all but only ones that truly resonate with me as I don’t want towering bookshelves filled with titles meant to impress my friends – my books are in my home to inspire me and my family.

10 Hot Books That Rock It

I’m a book junkie and I’m not looking for a cure – cookbooks, craft books, vintage and and antique books, decorating, art, hotels, travel, design… I could go on and on and ON listing the topics of interest that catch my eye. A bunch of great titles recently released and since I’m short on time this week, I thought I’d review 10 of my favorites in a single post. There is a #11, by a special and dear friend of mine in London, but I’m saving herbook review as I want to connect with her for a special interview later on… look for that in early May. But for now, here are my top ten picks from my bookcase to yours…

1. First up, Creative Display by Geraldine James, published by Cico Books. This book is gorgeous throughout with wonderful arrangements of things. I love how Geraldine cleverly shows and tells throughout with pages packed with eye candy that inspires.

2. The next book is from my friend and lawyer-turned-sweets stylist, Amy Atlas and it’s called Sweet Designs, published by Hyperion. I’m so proud of you, Amy! We recently had dinner when I was in NYC for work and she told me her dream is to have this book be a best-seller and I’m all about dreams coming true so let’s help her to see her goal, internet! I don’t think she’ll have a problem though,her publisher and publicist ROCK, they book her on television and in the best magazines and newspapers ever so with her talent and the team backing her up there is nothing Amy can’t do. Working women with kids who opt for a mega career change is a pretty big thing, never mind going into something so completely different and taking a massive risk only to land on success after success. Amy is a very sweet and ambitious lady who knows what she wants and sets a course towards getting it. Amy, all the best on your new book – it’s lovely and I wish you much success! xo

3. Another title that caught my eye recently is called Homespun Style by Selina Lake and Joanna Simmons, published by Ryland Peters and Small. This book is very pink, very girly and loaded with white, floral prints and pastel colors. It’s total cotton candy sweetness that fans of Shabby Chic, Flea Market style and the handmade movement can really get behind. It’s filled with the homes of bloggers too, which makes it a very approachable book filled with ‘real’ interiors. This is the third decorating book by Selina, each one she authors is by theme – the first was Bazaar Style, then Romantic Style and now Homespun Style. Great job, Selina – congratulations!

4. Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by René Redzepi isn’t a new book but it still feels like it despite that it was published in 2010.  It is a breathtaking look at Nordic cooking like nothing you’ve ever seen before, authored by the very chef who runs a restaurant under the same name in Denmark. Foodies from all over the world visit Noma for the experience of it all – hence the incredibly difficult task of booking a table there. This book isn’t a cookbook, it’s mostly inspirational and filled with huge images of food and is effortlessly stylish and top notch.

5. Paris in Color by Nichole Robertson is another book authored by a personal friend. Published by Chronicle Books, Nichole is a first time author and her book just rolled out in good book stores everywhere along with shops like Anthropologie where it’s the perfect fit. I’m so proud of Nichole and love seeing her photos published so beautifully. Her journey began as simply blog content and an etsy shop and today, she’s authoring a book that no doubt will do extremely well and lead her to a million paths I love seeing dear friends find success through their blogs, it’s such an inspiration. My copy arrived this morning and I read the introduction immediately and went through the book page-by-page to take in the many beautiful photos. Great work Nichole and also a big thanks to her husband Evan because we all know that writing a book is a family affair!

My top 10 of the moment

6. I’m a new Sophie Dahl fan and fell in love with her latest cookbook, Very Fond of Food: A Year in Recipes. She is so likeable and brilliant, I find her take on food refreshing and her books charming and well designed. I think it’s so cool that this model-turned-author is the granddaughter of Roald Dahl, a famous short story writer who became one of the most successful and beloved children’s writers of all time – have you heard of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? That’s Roald Dahl’s work. Anyway, Sophie’s book is wonderful and inspirational and makes me want to cook, yum!

7. Ever since finding SY – LOVE FOR TEXTILES in my local IKEA, I’ve been telling everyone about it. It’s a gorgeously tactile book with some of the best styling and layouts ever, it’s breathtaking and gave me tons of ideas for drapes in my home – it even inspired me to make the linen curtains in my kitchen last week. This book takes a very visual, creative approach to textiles and making – there are few words and not a single do-it-yourself instruction but somehow I don’t feel those things were needed because the photos alone were worth a thousand words – what a wonderful book!

8. Bringing Nature Home by photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo is a heavenly book on floral arranging. My mother will love —  I have to send her a copy because she has a background in floral design so it will really resonate with her and may inspire her to arrange flowers more often. Even if you don’t have a natural leaning towards decorating with flowers this book will convert you and make you a believer in sprucing up your space with gorgeous blooms in lush vases, baskets, jars and urns. I love how this book was styled and photographed – it’s my current favorite book on floral design and was really needed in the market as so many of them are quite old-fashioned and frumpy. This one is stunning, fresh, a must have!

9. The Natural Home by Hans Blomquist is the latest author from Ryland Peters and Small that seems to have a huge future ahead of him. The images inside are gorgeous and his styling is superb – I like how he intentional messes up things a bit to make them imperfectly perfect. I can’t wait to sit down and read it when I get some spare time – I’m interested in learning his take on natural interiors, too.

10. And last, but not least, is Interiors by Martyn Thompson. (Note: It’s already available in the UK here, but won’t be out in the US until May 1.) This amazing photographer has been commissioned by top publications all over the world for over 20 years and has decided to do his own book sharing his favorite homes. What a great idea for a photographer to author a book like this for interiors – congrats, Martyn on having the courage to take the leap and much success to you!

These are just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many more books out there that I love and find inspirational but for now, I’ve edited my picks down to ten. I hope you’ve enjoyed this round-up and stay tuned for my surprise author interview next month, a friend of mine just wrote a lovely book and I’ll be doing a special interview with her soon, too!

Books rock! What are YOU reading?

(image: holly becker)

Posted in Books + Magazines on April 24, 2012

What Are We Leaving Behind?

I take a million photos like the rest of us and often I wonder what really is the point after the momentary pleasure of sharing them? What do we do with our digital photos ultimately? We may blog or pin them or perhaps print one or two out occasionally, but after that they often fade into the Instagram sunset or fall into the archives on our blog. Thankfully there are ways to keep your memories front and center. Have you thought to make a few photo books? It may sound a bit grandma to even say that in this digital age but I often wonder what we’re leaving behind. When my grandmother passed away before I relocated from the US to Germany in 2009, the first thing my mother said was that I should take something to remember her by. Do you know what I took? Her photo album.

Paislee Press

Why a photo album? Not only for the photos but for the memories I have looking at them as we’d talk and eat in the living room or crammed into my grandparents kitchen around the table. I remember excitedly looking at their albums as grandma whipped up something homemade in the kitchen, breads and sauces that filled the air and made our mouths water. She’d pop in between stirs to tell us a little tale pointing to a photo or to simply sit beside me as the oven made magic asking if I knew who this or that person was and to always add how young she once was or that she wished she still had her red hair minus the grays. I looked at the same albums over and over again, seeing the same photos, hearing the same stories, yet the comfort and coziness of those moments were some of the best times that I spent with my grandparents growing up. My grandfather would sit in his designated chair with his own stories and often, he’d drag out another album and still another until dinner was ready. This started when I was very young and way into my late twenties. Now they are gone but the moment I take out their photo album with the retro floral cover, I am transported back to times when my little heart yearned to be all grown up and to have memories of my own to share with my family.

Paislee Press

I guess photo album browsing in my generation was the equivalent of families sitting around today with their iPads and phones texting and browsing photos in their digital albums. Or is it? I feel so disconnected lately when friends I’m dining with pull out their phones to text or take a non-urgent call when we’re together. I feel worse when I was in the states recently and spotted entire families out to dinner using their phones while ignoring one another. And it’s not just an American thing, manners are dying everywhere and I am saddened when sending a tweet or text is more important than connecting with those seated before us. Where are the conversations going, the ones I had as a child with my family, and what are they being replaced with?

Paislee Press

It seems more and more are living inside of their own heads and locked away in their own digital playgrounds versus dealing with the reality of what’s around them. Don’t you agree? On our phones for instance, we can ignore a text or reply when we’re ready to have that conversation or worse, pretend to be fine when we’re angry, disconnect when things feel uncomfortable, walk away when fed up, ignore people, it’s entirely possible to pull the plug on anyone at anytime online and then say later that we got busy or pulled away from our phone or computer. In real life, our conversations flow and the back-and-forth exchange is a bit like a game of tennis, questions are asked, answers are given, eye contact is made, a touch on the arm, a warm endearing gaze… You lose all of that completely when your interactions are mostly online. When seated in my grandparents living room, I had to answer their questions immediately – even the uncomfortable ones. I had to sit through their long explanations that would sometimes leave me rolling my eyes. I couldn’t put my iPhone down and text them back later (so to speak), when I may have ‘felt’ like it. I digress…

Paislee Press

This brings me back to photo albums and the digital age in general – what will we leave behind? How can we have the best of both worlds? When I die someday and my grandchildren ask what they want that belonged to me, will they ask for my external hard drive so they can see my photos? Or my iPhone or iPad? Will they ask for anything at all that will connect them to me and me to them in that very special way? Will they remember the conversations we had, the food I cooked, the time we spent on nature walks or will in the way that I can connect with my grandparents in a deeply emotional manner the moment I pick up their photo album? Will they ask to see granny’s blog called decor8? In fact, this was ultimately what gave me the final push to write a book so I could have something tangible to leave behind. For me, having a blog and having a book IS the best of both worlds. How do you balance both – how are you making the best of both worlds in your life?

Paislee Press

With that, I want to tell you about something in print (I know, oh my gosh, PRINT) that I think is just awesome because it encourages children and parents to create, interact and share their digital photos in a meaningful way that involves something called real human contact around a kitchen table or on the sofa. The creation of a physical photo album. These albums are by Paislee Press and I just love them. The formats are fresh and inspiring and I like that you can introduce children to layout and design through them at a young age because you can involve them in the making process digitally (which kids love) BUT they can see it and hold it in PRINT (which I love) afterwards. Then you have the best of both worlds and you are usually digital technology in the way I feel it should be used – to further connect and inspire us not to isolate and separate us which is sadly happening all too often.

What are your thoughts on all of this, anyway? It’s a bit deep for a Monday morning but important to think about because I am consistently seeking ways to find balance online and wonder how you are doing with this so feel free to share… Maybe something you say may spark an idea in those reading your comment.

(images: paislee press)

Posted in uncategorized on April 23, 2012

Happy Weekend!

I’d like to wish you all a wonderful weekend! I’ll see you on Monday and then I’m off to London until next Friday so I’ll be blogging from my hotel next week. I’m looking forward to the trip, a little work and a little pleasure… but I’m bringing my laptop and plan to work in my room at night so I can stay in touch with everyone here on decor8. Until Monday, I’d like to encourage you to check out the decor8 Interior Styling group on Flickr with over 3,700 global members and nearly 7,000 photos of homes submitted by group members – bloggers, decorators, designers, budding stylists and everyone else – it’s a great group and I invite you to check it out! In case you need encouragement, here is a sneak peek of some of the most recent member photos submitted to the pool.

decor8 Interior Styling Group on Flickr

decor8 Interior Styling Group on Flickr

decor8 Interior Styling Group on Flickr

Lovely colors for Spring, right? The bursts of yellow, pink and orange caught my eye. What do you see that resonates with you?

Have a nice weekend and I’ll see you again on Monday. xo, Holly

(images: dottie angel, trisha brink, jane schouten, annabelle, jasna janekovic and gordana mladenovic.)

Posted in uncategorized on April 21, 2012

Inspiration for Parents To Be: Neutral Nursery

Are you expecting? I’m not, but one look at this nursery and I stopped dead in my tracks. It’s the first nursery that I’ve seen in a really long time that actually spoke to me because it’s very simple but with great attention to detail and I adore how neutral it was kept. I know what “studies say” about kids and color but I honestly would have a subtle nursery just like this one in a second and simply bring color in through books, dolls, craft supplies and clothing… There are ways to still have color without painting the walls bright yellow – unless of course that is your thing and if so, go for it!


The key to making a mostly neutral palette work is to vary the tints and tones and texture to add warmth and dimension. I love the striped ceiling!






This room was designed by Sissy + Marley and they sent it in because they thought decor8 readers would really like it. So, do you? What do you think of this color scheme and overall design?

(images: sissy + marley)


Posted in Rooms on April 20, 2012


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