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Exploring the WORLD of Design

So, I pahked my cah in Havahd yahd the other day (I visited Harvard Square) and there I spotted a travel agency featuring a ’round the world’ airfare special for only $1,300 USD. I nearly dropped my latte as I froze in the street, eyes fixed on the big neon sign showing photos of exotic destinations and smiling faces. I thought about a favorite book by David Elliot Cohen, One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children, about the adventures of the Cohen family, a courageous bunch that sold everything, resigned from well paid jobs, even gave up their massive home in California, to globe trot for one year with their children. (If anyone knows the Cohens, please tell them I am dying to see what they are up to these days. Fascinating bunch.) I digress…

Anyway, that same sign announcing the exotic adventure also brought back memories of an evening spent with Jean-Francious, a young man from New Caledonian (via Paris) that took a year off to explore every major country in the world along with several islands and a few U.S. cities. I met him in the early ’90s as a teenager. He had visited Boston during the 11th month of his journey to see my friend, Judy. Upon his arrival, Judy invited a gang of us over to meet her exotic explorer. As Jean-Francious laid out piles of freshly-developed photos, fanning them out as he spoke, I sat their feeling somewhat out of touch with the world, especially since I had never crossed a U.S. border at that time.

After Jean-Francious left for his next exciting destination, Judy and I rambled for hours about his amazing adventure and some of hers as well (she had studied abroad for some time). I remember casting forth my dreams of landing on new soil, hoping that someday I could also sit amongst friends reciting stories of far off places I’d ventured.

About a month later, I received a gift subscription in the mail. It was my first issue of European Travel + Life magazine with a note of encouragement from Judy. It said something along the lines of, “educate yourself until you have the chance to immerse yourself.”

Thanks to the support of Judy and others, I now have stories to relate about my own distant travels, one that turned out to be a trip of a lifetime – when I met my now husband at the luggage carousel in a small German airport.

Isn’t the support and encouragement of friends so important? Doesn’t it make sense to look outside of your country to see what else is happening in the world, and in this case, in the design world? Let’s do that for a moment together. I’ll be back to feature some of my favorite design magazines and why I think you should consider reading them, too.

Will I be taking that $1,300 flight? Not anytime soon. Unless the pages of a magazine count…

Posted in inspiration on April 13, 2006
decor8 shop

Pushing Past your Design Comfort Zone

This is an Oprah moment. Pause for a second and think this over, especially useful if you’re stuck in a design rut due to your lack of risk taking.

Grab a pen. If you type as much as I do in a day, you may have forgotten what one looks like. You can find them in some random cup on your desk in blue and black. Grab one. We all do it at times. Some way more than others. We wake up and do the same things, over and over again. Bagel and coffee. Toast and tea. Same applies to decorating your space. Key here is to push past your comfort zone, break the mold, and challenge yourself.

Write down 5 small things that you may not usually lean towards pulling off in your space. Maybe you’ve wanted to wallpaper ONE wall, but you’re scared. Get crackin’ fraidy cat! Maybe your entire space is too neutral. Blah. Boring. Yawn. You have to change that!

Whatever the case, you can and you will make positive changes in your space if you start your top 5 list. Pick one and commit to doing it THIS WEEK. Once you’ve completed that task, proceed to the next and keep working your way down the list until you’ve shed your design fears and your space is fresh and really reflects who you are and not some template of what it could be if you only would add an amazing orange pendant light or that bright fuschia wall.

You can even write your list here, under the comments link below. Sometimes voicing your design fears in public can motivate you to get started. You’ll find that the more you work your way down your list and break the mold, the more daring you’ll get when it comes to design.

What do you think?

(photo from mushroom girls virus. I just thought it was pretty.)

Posted in inspiration, tips on February 16, 2006

coffee + cre8tive [thurs feb 09 06]

here’s some visual candy for the day. I left some white space around this image so you can really focus on the colors.
*out of these postcards, which one appeals to you most, and why?

*how would you use this in your space? wallpaper? pillows? art? other?

*other random thoughts?

answer below by clicking on the comments link.

(photo from Finn Style.)

Posted in inspiration on February 09, 2006

coffee + cre8tive [wed feb 08 06]

visual inspiration to stimulate your senses.

feel: calm. like i’m standing in a modern kitchen on a sunny day drinking fresh squeezed oj in a t-shirt, jeans, barefoot, barefaced. uncomplicated. anything by Moby filling the air.

see: flowers and butterflies. no butterflies are in this pattern, but upon first glance, i almost see them fluttering across the bottom.

use: i’d use the pattern as potholders and dish towels in a modern kitchen with orange walls and everything else in pure white – very issac mizrahi shiny white lacquer cabinets. A few tall ceramic canisters on the counter in shades of green, yellow, and pink to match the pattern.

fave color: the fresh pink. i see grapefruit sliced, one half laying on a white cutting board, the other half laying belly side up on the counter, the sparkly fruit smell filling the air.

you’re up!

*how do you feel when you see this pattern?

*what do you see?

*how would you use this in your space? wallpaper? pillows? art? other?

*what color do you like the most in this pattern?

answer one or more below by clicking on the comments link.

Posted in inspiration on February 08, 2006


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