When food stylist, photographer and writer, Mowie Kay, showed up at my book launch at Liberty in London just to give me a hug and wish me well with my new book I knew that this was a guy that I wanted to work with someday. He was charming. And social. And I liked him. I just didn’t know how we’d ever cross paths again because we are in two completely different circles with me in interiors and him being an over-the-top foodie. Well, kismet has its way and after the party Mowie told me about his magazine idea and that he’d like to shoot me cooking in London and have me pull together an article featuring some of my favorite recipes. Gulp. Well…
I was flattered, but I don’t cook a single meal that is so amazing that it deserves to be in print (!) and I’m completely fine with admitting it because I’m not a foodie and tend to admire the whole food craze from afar. I’m perfectly content to press forward with my often fusion style cooking as Julia Childs and Nigella feel simply unreachable to me. I love to eat out, once a week (sometimes more), at foodie types of places though along with those ethnic eateries that are complete hole-in-the-walls but have drop dead amazing meals. Tony Bourdain is my food idol and there is nothing styled up about what he eats. And I have a ton of cookbooks, though I am first to admit that I buy them for mostly their design and photographs though I have most recently experimented with the Ottolenghi cookbook gifted to me by Leslie. I read food blogs, but I don’t really read them, I scan to see the pretty photographs because I can’t imagine making the things that I see.
I often feel like it’s a patience thing. But it’s also a free time thing. I don’t have hours to spend on meal planning, preparation, cooking and clean up each day and some of the meals I see would take an unskilled cook such as myself quite awhile to whip up, never mind to be photo worthy. Long story short, I’m not the perfect candidate to contribute to a beautiful foodie magazine! I don’t fit the profile, my piece of cake on a plate looks like a piece of cake on a plate, not artful or overly styled at all.
My goal with food is to make it with love, from my heart, and then put it in surroundings that make it look so much more enticing. So I thought about Mowie’s offer and was tempted to kindly turn him down… But then I thought, “Hey, I love to style tabletops and I adore entertaining, and I do know how to create a good mood around food… So perhaps there’s my angle for a story in a food magazine”. And so, with shaky knees, I pitched to Mowie an alternate idea and since I know Mowie loves pink, I tried to make it as close to his aesthetic as possible without compromising my own. Ah, a story was born and he accepted my idea! You can find my story on pages 61-73!
I spent a day prop shopping (mostly in my own china cabinet), making things by hand, ironing linens, and then I went to work during day two to pull it all together and photograph it and now it’s in Mowie Kay’s beautiful premiere issue on computers everywhere – click here to view the entire magazine and to read my story beginning on page 61. I also give lots of tips in my story on how to make a tabletop come alive on a budget and I’ve included a luncheon playlist on page 73. I hope that you enjoy it. The tabletop was definitely a spin off from the one Leslie, Sania and I did for Liberty in London – for my table at home, I was able to use stuff I had already and channel some of that Liberty inspiration into it as well.
In the article, I mention my friend Anne Wendlandt (above on page 69), you can see more of her work on her blog since she’s not linked in the article (sorry, Anne).
There’s even a nice page in the magazine where Mowie interviewed me (that was fun!) and he is giving away 3 copies of Decorate, thanks to my London-based publisher, Jacqui Small. If you would like to win a copy of Decorate just comment on his blog HERE and you’ll be entered to win one of 3 copies. :)
Thank you Mowie for including me in your premiere issue and I wish you loads of success with your e-magazine!
(images: holly becker for mowie kay)
I have some sweet news! I just found out that Chronicle Books just kicked off the blog tour of Decorate! I can’t wait to tell my co-author Joanna, she’ll be equally excited to follow along to see what all of these lovely friends and bloggers have to say about our book.
I was so excited when last Friday, Maxwell at Apartment Therapy gave it a glowing review (thank you Maxwell!) and so after that huge high I’ve been flying on, to hear about the book tour that just kicked off is quite exciting especially since another blogger I adore, Oh Joy!, was the one who kicked things off – I am very honored that Joy did that (thank you, Joy!).
Below is the official listing of all those bloggers who are part of the Decorate Blog Tour that will run between now and July 15th, the day after my 10 year wedding anniversary so the timing of this is quite perfect – yay!
AND if you want to win a copy of the book, please leave a comment on the Chronicle Books blog HERE and they’ll randomly pick some winners for the contest.
I want to give everyone a big hug for being part of this blog tour for me, thank you a million times thank you!
(image: holly becker for decor8)
I’ve known artist Lisa Congdon for a million years, well not really but because internet years are like dog years, my knowing her since 2005 feels like forever. I first met her when she was still working as a Director of Program Development at a San Francisco non-profit education consulting organization and not yet a full-time artist as she is now. Back then, she was blogging under the name A Bird in the Hand to share her creative process and thoughts about everyday life, the work she created after work and on the weekends (pillows, collages, paintings, etc.) and to connect with other creative women (read an interview that I had with Lisa in 2006 here). Like most of us who took a leap of faith to leave our comfortable careers behind, I was cheering on Lisa as I watched her make that big leap and I’ve been cheering ever since.
I’ve always liked Lisa and have enjoyed watching her career blossom and grow throughout the years. She became a full-time artist and is involved in so many projects these days that I can’t keep up with her and I love seeing her talent being appreciated and well, seen everywhere. I’m so happy that she now has a book that has been published my Canadian independent publisher Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE called A Collection a Day. I was wondering when someone was going to be smart enough to approach her to do a book!
Why collections? For those of you unfamiliar with Lisa’s obsession with collections, she has been crazy for collecting random objects for years now – since childhood really, and she even started a blog dedicated to them with photos that span one full year where she shared her collections one by one in many interesting compositions. Her goal was to give herself a creative challenge by photographing all of them for the 2010 calendar year and her passion resulted in many online fans who grew to love her bloggy project. Very cool, right? I think so… Each page in her book shows the collections that she shared on this 12 month long blog project and I love seeing it as a book because her collections really shine so much more in print, plus I can flip through it over and over again for inspiration and well, the sheer pleasure that book flipping brings. :)
I love seeing talented people like Lisa who are online connecting with their readers, forming a tribe, and then being recognized by others including publishers who then take their work and publish it in print. So much of what we blog gets lost in the archives — I’m so happy that Lisa’s project didn’t.
I’m proud of you Lisa and congratulations on the new lovely book! xo
You can purchase Lisa’s book here.
(images: holly becker for decor8)
Hello everyone! How are you doing today? I’m going to gush a bit first but then I want to talk to the dreamers out there who want to write a book. But first, this week has been awesome for me because I’m working with Chronicle Books on the Decorate Book Tour for the US and it’s all coming together now! I can’t believe they are sending me on a tour around the states so I’m going to visit as many places as I can in 10 days to meet lots of you! I’m traveling alone and feeling a bit shaky kneed about it but how many times in life does your publisher send you on a book tour!? So I’m going for it with a huge smile, my camera to record the entire adventure, and I can’t wait to meet you guys because it’s going to be so rad to hug so many that I’ve only tweeted and emailed up until now. I also plan to adopt some of you as dinner and lunch pals so I hope you don’t mind. After the official US book tour, I’ll return to the states to be a keynote speaker along with Oprah’s own Cristina Ferrare at The Creative Connection in St. Paul on September 15th (come if you can!) and I’ll be doing a book signing there on the 16th as well so if you can’t catch me on my little book tour this summer then I’ll be back in September in St. Paul!
Once Chronicle has everything carved in stone (we’ve been working on this for months so it feels good to be nearly finished) I will announce the dates on decor8 and also on the Decorate Facebook fan page. And a huge by the way… I’d like to thank all of you for supporting Decorate, making it a Wall Street Journal Bestseller at #2, and for keeping it in the #1 spot since it pre-ordered back in early March on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. I mean, hello! This is some kind of wonderful. I know my publishers are still shaking their heads as I think they knew the book would do well but not “sell-out” well, because it sold out in the US online and the reprints won’t arrive until the beginning of June. It’s also being reprinted in the UK. Insane, right?!?
Decorate – A Wall Street Journal Bestseller at #2 – because of YOU.
So now for the dreamers in the house who want to write… Well first, you have been so supportive of me and as a result, I feel invigorated and so positive — you guys have shown the world that a blogger can go from “just” a blogger to a best selling author thanks to readers who truly care to make that possible. I was told by a friend once that a publisher told her that the readership a blog has wouldn’t translate to book sales. I’ve been told that bloggers who write books can fail miserably and that people who blog may not have the skill to author a book because blogging is so much different from “real” writing. While all of that can be true, I refused to believe it. After all, I’m the girl back in 2005 who was pitching story ideas to shelter magazines about blogging and had them turn me down flat saying, “Blogs will never amount to anything, don’t bother.”
Well it looks like all of us who are blogging, the little engines who could, are the big engines who DID. And that sorta rocks when you think about it. We as the blogging community are out there voicing our opinions, planning events, being invited to big time events, being seen in major publications and on television, getting book deals… I guess the saying is true that, “if you build it they will come.” It’s wonderful to have so much faith in something and to stick through it (in good and in bad times) only to see that the something you invested so much of your energy in actually paid off – and for me and so many of you who are blogging, all of the time and energy we’re spending building so many important connections has paid off – immensely.
I’ve heard some publishers and so many others say discouraging things about bloggers who want to write a “real” book and about the collapsing publishing market in general, that it would have been easy to not bother pursuing my dream to be a published author. Despite the negativity I decided that I would do it anyway because brick walls aren’t always there to stop us but to see how badly we truly want something, right? Plus, I had this feeling in my heart that it was the right direction for me to take and that if I jumped, the net would appear – and that net was you, so my new saying is,
“Jump and then the interNET will appear.”
I believe that like never before. I want you to believe it too.
And the result of going for it… Well, I wrote a book – yes that’s true – but YOU did the most important part, you bought it, are still buying it, and are showing so much support that I wake up each day feeling luckier than the day before. love you guys, thank you for making this whole book thing so worthwhile for me. I’ve had hundreds of blogs write about the book (see here) and 5 star reviews online at various stores, Decorate is being talked about in huge publications from InStyle, Canadian House & Home, Good Housekeeping to Livingetc and and 8 page spread in Red magazine (shown above).
Another unexpected perk, since the end of last year my daily readership has swelled to over 45,000 unique visitors each day. I cannot believe how many people are finding me through word-of-mouth online thanks to all of you in addition to the help of my fabulous publishers Jacqui Small/Aurum Press, Chronicle Books and Murdoch Books for sharing my book in advance at the big fairs and book events in New York and London. I’m so happy to welcome new readers to decor8.
Decorate is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life, outside of getting married, so thank you all for giving me some pretty amazing moments and for accepting my gift to you who follow decor8 as loyally as you despite the billions of other things you have to see and do online these days. Decorate is a gift from me that you can hold and enjoy for years to come and since you’ve accepted it with such enthusiasm and support then I’m ready to not only go out there and meet you guys but I think I’ll continue to write and blog and think of even new things to get involved in to inspire and encourage you — because I love knowing that something I’ve done is out there making a difference, making you feel inspired and making you feel part of this community of design blogging because you are – we are all a part of it and it’s so, so special. I will forever remember this “blog era” as some of the best days of my life.
So in the end, I want you to believe in your dreams because sometimes good stuff can and does happen and you often have to just believe in your dream and act on it and see what results. Sure, it’s a risk but I believe that the greater risk is to not try at all and to never know if your dream could have come true.
What do you think?
I’ll be back in a moment with a gorgeous home with a country modern touch, so stay tuned..
[images: holly becker (top), wsj (middle), red magazine (bottom).]