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The *New* Petaline

Alison Brownrigg sent the sweetest email to introduce her online boutique, Petaline, a shop focused on presenting the talented works of Pacific Northwest (USA) artists. Alison is looking to expand to include the entire west coast, so if you are interested in learning more, try contacting her via her blog. Petaline carries a carefully curated selection of goods, everything from paintings to photography, fashion, and found items. As I browsed the store, not only did my eyes light up the moment I found the paintings and clothing, but I discovered the prices to be very affordable considering that most things are either one-of-a-kind or limited editions.


Thank you Alison for sharing your store with us!

(images from petaline)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, small business on July 12, 2007
decor8 great.ly shop

Budget Travel *New* Look

You are amazing. Do you know this? If not, here’s a huge pat on the back from me. I put out my cry for help the other day in regards to my upcoming vacation (leaving tomorrow!), and you replied with fantastic tips, links, even the owner of the Headquarters Gallery & Boutique in Montreal wrote in offering to be my tour guide. I mean, hello? And human kindness is hard to find? Whatever! Then reader Nicole commented about the current issue of Budget Travel featuring a story, My Montreal Is Better Than Yours.

Not realizing the issue was online, I ran out to perform pre-vacation errands (toothpaste, travel size shampoo, maps) and hit the local Barnes & Noble for a copy. I haven’t read Budget Travel in years. I can’t recall if I even ever read it. For some reason, when I thought of Budget Travel magazine, visions of articles featuring the top 10 hookah lounges in Amsterdam and the best hostels in Europe (not already featured in a teen horror flick) danced in my head. Was I wrong.

I couldn’t put my finger on why, but this issue looked different to me perched on the newsstand than when I’d passed it by before – I felt compelled to grab it this time, and to read it, which I did from cover to cover. Why hadn’t I given it a chance before? As I scanned the editor’s page the answer was revealed: It was JUST given a major makeover. No wonder! It looks prettier. A little like Cookie magazine (layout and design) mixed with Travel + Leisure (I’m a huge T+L fan), I loved the font, the format, the imagery, everything felt very fresh, hip, and young. But not too young. I didn’t get the impression that BT was only geared towards the college crowd, but us older girls can be proud of our quest for a good travel bargain, too. Above all, no peddling of hostels as a hip alternative to hotels and a very informative issue all around. There was even an article about hugging pandas in China. Hugging! Pandas! That was all it took for me to fill out the subscription card.


And Nicole, thanks for the tip because I found the best blog in this issue authored by two Montreal-based bloggers, Endless Banquet. I can’t wait to get up north now and check out all these great places! And everyone else, go read Budget Travel!

(some images from budget travel and the endless banquet)

Posted in inspiration, small business, travel on July 11, 2007

Tips for Quebec City & Montreal?

Help a girl out. For our upcoming anniversary, we’ll be in Quebec City and Montreal. Any cool tips to share?
I’ve been to Montreal about 20 times since it’s only a 4 hour drive, but we’re always there visiting friends, not really as tourists. I’ve never ventured far out of their neighborhood (near Atwater market), Old Montreal, or the downtown area, but since we are spending the first two days alone, we’re going to explore a little so I’d love some help.

I’m looking for vintage and modern home stores, good eats, clothing consignment shops, Japanese shops (for zakka, magazines, books, CD’s), bakeries, sew shops, and fun little districts where there’s a heavy concentration of coffee houses, eclectic shopping and galleries to cruise. (I have a few city links for Montreal in my right column, but I’m willing to beef it up to benefit all if you care to leave links.)

Anyway, thank you in advance for any fun tips you may have. Oh, and we leave on Thursday and will be in Montreal for the first 5 days, then it’s up to QC until the following weekend. I’ve never been to QC, so I’m completely lost when it comes to what’s what up there. Of course, there are a slew of travel sites, but I’d rather hear it from my friends, so please share! :)

(image from Flickr user IreneS. You have to check out her Montreal folder.)

Posted in inspiration, small business, travel on July 09, 2007

Confessions of a Design Blogger

Dear Friends,

I have a confession to make. I’m not concerned about the evolving state of the internet, the frantic pace of blogging, or coming up with new things to talk about here. Hanging out with you each day is fun. It’s the constant exposure to products that have me worried. I think my days before blogging had their benefits. Let me explain.

You see a tiny fraction on decor8 of what I field in a week via email. So many inquiries, everything from strollers to high tech gadgets, and beyond. And then there are the gems. Those are the things that I post. The sincere emails that actually address me by name (!) and completely blow me away with their talent and overall design aesthetic. But it takes a lot of digging to locate the diamonds. A lot. And frankly, I often miss the old days when I was a bit naive to it all. I could walk into a store and not feel like I’ve see that already a thousand times. I’m not being uppity, I’m being honest. You must understand. You read blogs, so you see tons of great stuff constantly, too.

The overwhelming exposure to products is wonderful on one hand, because when you are a somewhat new writer trying to balance interior design consulting and clients, the more you know the more you are considered a valuable resource and are looked to for guidance, and that is undeniably a great thing. But on the flipside, ignorance is bliss, right? It’s almost like the internet and email in general. You don’t know how you survived without it, but you certainly have no life now that it’s here. And you wouldn’t trade it for the world, but still.

So! Here’s the real issue. I was standing in the middle of BoConcept over in Cambridge the other day looking for a simple bed. Nothing crazy. And I felt a tad bit overwhelmed. I think the sales associate noticed, because he grabbed me a bottled water and asked if I had additional questions. I detected that he put emphasis on additional a little more than all the other words, but who can blame him? I was absolutely determined to know everything about their beds, aside from all the product knowledge I already had from pouring over their catalogs and website before I even hit the showroom floor. I think I covered every single question known to man about a bed.

But the one question he couldn’t answer, that I need to know desperately, “Will this bed truly make me genuinely happy, or once it arrives, will I have regrets because 100 new styles will be available by then?” I didn’t ask him that, but the thought crossed by mind. I mean, God forbid it arrives and there’s a pang of regret because a new style is introduced that I like even better. This is a bed people, a bed. And I’m having hot flashes. But I assume this is the life of most designers, and design bloggers, and anyone else who is constantly surrounded by product, product, product. Blog readers included. I can only imagine how a magazine editor feels after about 10 years of sifting through product submissions. I know that the average consumer feels overwhelmed when making design decisions to, because I hear this constantly from readers and clients.

Truth is, I can make decisions and decorate for you and all of your friends, but lately, I can’t seem to make a single design decision for myself. Okay, I purchased those Alex drawers that I blogged about from IKEA recently, but I’m talking big ticket purchases more than the under $500 stuff. I have no problem spending money in other areas of my life, but when it comes to big ticket items for the home, my brain freezes.


So I’m throwing these thoughts out into the world today, somewhat Dear Abbey style, to see what you have to say on this topic. Does anyone else suffer from design ADD? What do you do to manage it so that you can make decisions, throw down that wad of cash, and just roll with it?

(image from holly becker for decor8)

Posted in inspiration, small business on July 03, 2007

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