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Travel

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

August 23, 2011

Hello everyone! As promised, I want to keep you in the loop as I’m on my book tour in the U.S. to let you know where I’ve been, where I’m going and how each city has received me – so far, so good! One city behind and 5 more to go! Tonight is my event in Chicago at Anthropologie and then I’m off to San Francisco first thing in the morning. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind but I am not jet lagged, feel great, and am enjoying each moment of it because the last thing I want to do is return home and have it all be a bit of a blur. So I guess you can say that as much as I possibly can at least, I’m savoring the moments.

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

photos above by the lovely Kim Lucien

Boston was a joy. I was careful to not invite all of my friends because I thought it was better to get together with them separately, but I did invite 10 or so of my closest and it was so nice to see them again after being away for two years. I also was able to see lots of my Blogging Your Way students – I really loved putting a face to their names. I was able to meet so many people who, up until now, I’d only “known” online and so I think it will help to strengthen these already good friendships now that we’ve seen one another and know we are the real deal.

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

Me and Matthew Mead – weeeee!

When I arrived to Anthropologie on Saturday morning, I was greeted by an enthusiastic staff who were all so happy to see me. This instantly put me at ease. My good friend, Boston designer and Decorate contributor, Fernanda Bourlet, was there to greet me as well as she was my special guest for the event. She was going to speak for 5 minutes about mood boards but in the end we ran out of time but I want to thank her for being there with me – the support meant a lot. Fernanda is a very talented and special lady!

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

After arriving, I was lead upstairs to the area where I’d be doing a mood board demo and they set everything up so beautifully I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was like going to a wedding with a buffet of baked goods, mimosas, bottled waters hand decorated with fabrics and a huge bookcase that they decorated with my book and fabrics, swatches, everything I had asked for and much, much more. There was even a huge mood board for me to work on and above it, tissue paper pom poms hanging from the ceiling.

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

My signing table was on the 1st floor, they wanted me to be more centrally located for that part of my event which was a great idea. The table was gorgeous and completely set up with pens, flowers in an “H” mug, stacks of Decorate, a big poster and more of the tissue paper pom poms suspended overhead that were also upstairs. No detail was overlooked. Even the “rope” used to corral people into line was handmade with fabrics. It was all so impressive.

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

Photo by: Desha Peacock

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

Photo by: Amisha Thakkar

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

Above: Flowers to sent to wish me well on my book event – so sweet – from Rag & Bone Bindery in Providence. VERY nice gesture.

Aside from having a book signing in Anthropologie (a dream come true), I was able to meet so many readers of decor8 and now, Decorate, and I made sure to spend a little time with each person because the last thing I wanted was for someone to stand in line and then be brushed off. I was very happy when people thought to give me their business cards because it helps me later on when I want to keep in touch. I also brought my signing book so while everyone was standing in line, they could sign my guest book while I was signing at the table. When I went home that day, I read each entry and it made me smile to know them all now in a much more personal way.

After my 30 minute presentation, I was going to take a 30 minute break but when I walked downstairs and saw a huge line I knew it was time to meet and greet everyone so I took my seat and started signing. I signed books non-stop from 11:30-1:15 and the event was supposed to end at 12:30! THANK YOU BOSTON! That was an amazing kick off event for me and I’ll never, ever forget it. I also have to thank Chronicle Books for getting me over here in the first place and sponsoring this tour along with the generosity of Anthropologie and their creative ideas – I am still blown away by how much thought they put into the event.

For everyone I met – I’m honored that you took the time to come out to meet me on a beautiful Saturday morning when you could have been at the beach! Thank you for taking time to see me and I’m so happy I was able to sign your book. I also want to thank everyone who wanted a photo with me – this may sound funny but it is also a real moment for me when someone asks that. :) Thank you for making this blogger feel like a superstar, it’s a nice feeling sometimes – we all need a little love and encouragement.

Boston Highlights From The Decorate Book Tour

Ladies who took me out to lunch after the Anthropologie event. I’ll post all of their names next week so you can meet them, too! Photo by: Monica Lee.

Embarking on this book tour alone was one of the scariest things I’d ever done. Flying to the states unsure of what would happen at the first event was a challenge for me on all levels but I’m glad I just went for it – my determination to meet as many of you in person as possible paid off and I’ll go home next week with the satisfaction of knowing so many more of you than before on a much more personal level.

THANK YOU BOSTON!!!!

(images linked to their sources below, if unlinked, I took them.)

Events + Markets, Travel

Meet Me Today In Boston

August 20, 2011

Hello everyone! I’ve landed in Boston and though I’m totally jet lagged I’m up preparing for the Decorate event at Anthropologie this morning and very excited to meet all of you who are coming out. I am so glad to be back and really look forward to it and to introduce you to my talented and lovely special guest. For those of you who couldn’t get a seat to the 10:30 a.m. mood board presentation (it will last for 30 minutes), you are invited to join us immediately following (try to get there by 11:30 since I leave at 12:30) to meet me and have your book signed. That portion of the event is open to the public so stop by!

Meet Me Today In Boston

Meet Me Today In Boston

See you soon at Anthropologie on Boylston Street everyone! Yay yay yay! See the above invitation for details.

Next Stop after Boston: Chicago on Tuesday, August 23rd.
(image: Anthropologie)

Books + Magazines, Travel

Markets of New England

August 18, 2011

Hello everyone! I’ve been so busy this week preparing for my upcoming 13 day US book tour for Decorate! I’m pinching myself that this is really about to happen, ME on a BOOK TOUR! Oh my, this is going to be the ride of a lifetime! Since Boston is my first stop, I thought I’d shout out a beautiful book by New Englander, Christine Chitnis, called “Markets of New England” published by The Little Bookroom.

Markets of New England

Constantly amazed by the talent in her native region, Christine decided to write a book about crafters, artists and farmers who inspire her there, including many in Boston. Here are some photos from the book that she thought you may enjoy.

Markets of New England

Seeing these pictures, which were taken by Christine herself, gets me even more excited to be back in Boston tomorrow where I spent nearly twenty years of my life. I’m dying for the smell of the salty air and some fresh grilled seafood and maybe even some clam chowder. I love the coast… I’ve not been to Boston for two years since relocating to northern Germany so I’m very excited to return and I wonder how it will feel to be back on American soil in a place that I once called home.

Markets of New England

This book also made me think about the South End Open Market – I definitely have to hit that this Sunday! Anyone else in Boston have plans to go or do you have a booth there?

Markets of New England

Markets of New England

Markets of New England

Markets of New England

Note: I usually don’t post about books until I’ve seen them myself, but with 38 positive reviews on Amazon, I trust that it’s a good one though I can’t personally say whether I like the book or not — I’ve only seen the photos shown above. I guess you can consider this post a headsup that the book is out there and to check it out the next time you’re in a book store. Hopefully I’ll get a copy of it in the future and then I can do a proper review of it. Until then, enjoy the sneak peek above and if you own a copy please let me know what you thought of it!

Lovely book, Christine!

(images: Christine Chitnis)

Travel

A Caravan Hotel Room at Huettenpalast Berlin

August 12, 2011

If you’re into the whole caravan trend but still don’t consider yourself outdoorsy enough to actually rough it by staying in one surrounded by night noises, then perhaps you should try camping indoors at the Huettenpalast hotel in Berlin developed by Silke Lorenzen and Sarah Vollmer. The concept itself is so genius, you could really do a lot with this idea. Instead of checking into a hotel and disappearing, you can socialize with others outside of your camper while still being indoors. Ha! So cool. Check out these great rooms within rooms… There are cottages too!

A Caravan Hotel Room at Huettenpalast Berlin

A Caravan Hotel Room at Huettenpalast Berlin

A Caravan Hotel Room at Huettenpalast Berlin

A Caravan Hotel Room at Huettenpalast Berlin

A Caravan Hotel Room at Huettenpalast Berlin

A Caravan Hotel Room at Huettenpalast Berlin

Instead of your standard hotel room, Huettenpalast recycles camper trailers and refurbishes and fits them to an indoor space for 40-60 Euros a night! If you’re a social traveler who wants to meet new friends and enjoy the great indoors, then this just may be the hotel for you.

Would you stay at Huettenpalast? Thoughts?

(images: huettenpalast)

Travel

Creative Flats

June 29, 2011

Goodness! I have so much to write about this week that I almost wish I had a team of writers that I could just assign all of these stories to because it’s hard to cover all of the stuff that I’ve been finding lately. I’m so inspired by a lot at the moment, my cup is flowing over. I think it has to do with summer and all of the people I’ve been meeting on my recent trips  – and even here in my own city there is so much to explore and do that keeps me energized to write. I’m going to keep you busy for the next few months with all of my finds so I hope that you enjoy what I have to share in the weeks to come. Are you ready to drool over this amazing business idea and these great flats? Because the company I’d like to share is called Creative Flats and the concept is brilliant.

Creative Flats

Though these flats are only based out of Montreal (too bad I don’t visit there each year as I once did when I lived stateside), the idea of having creative, beautiful resting spaces on vacation, a home away from home, isn’t a new idea but also isn’t so common even despite all of the traveling that creative people do to promote their work or to simply gain inspiration.

Creative Flats

Creative Flats

Creative Flats

Creative Flats

Creative Flats

Creative Flats

Creative Flats

The idea behind Creative Flats, which launched 11 years ago, is to serve style conscious clientele who want to stay in high-end beautiful apartments vs. cracker box ho-hum hotel rooms for the same price. Creative Flats is owned by decorator Nathalie Bouchard and stylist Annie Horth and together they bring that Nathalie/Annie charm to each apartment for a stylish, authentic and even home-y feel. I love how they mix objects from different periods and how detail-oriented they are. They’re a little Domino meets Vicente Wolf which is the best of the best really. Clean, modern, fresh.

I just stayed at a hotel and though it was nice, there was no attention to detail, security or comfort. I think the idea of Creative Flats is a great one – you have your own apartment, you can enjoy space to spread things out, everything is taken care of for you so you are completely comfortable. The more I travel, the more I crave comfort and convenience. I want extras, in fact, I expect them if I’m paying a good amount for the room. I want to enjoy beautiful surroundings but even more, I want to feel secure and taken care of and though it seems odd to say this, I want to feel like I am a special guest – I like that.

What do you look for in hotels and apartment stays away from home? Have you ever stayed in an apartment vs. a hotel? I have a few times, and some were hits and others definite misses or shall I say, “Run Screaming!” misses because they were that horrible. I wonder what your travel experiences have been most recently at hotels and apartments? Care to share?

(images: creative flats)

Travel

Meet The Blogger Recap

June 28, 2011

Hello everyone! I’ve finally sorted through a bunch of photographs and made some time to pull together a few images from our Meet The Blogger event in Amsterdam this past Saturday. I have a million photos in this post to share, but there are nearly 200 more in this flickr album… First of all, it was a huge success and exceeded my expectations as I think was the case for all who attended. The space was packed with stylish, inspiring lifestyle bloggers from various parts of Europe so together we had over 120 (mostly ladies) gathered to listen to lectures, eat cupcakes and have a glass a wine but the focus of course, was to mix and mingle and walk away feeling confident and ready to take on the world! How did Meet The Blogger come to be? I’d had meet ups in Europe before in places like Berlin, Stockholm, London and Amsterdam but hadn’t hosted a meet up in awhile and wanted to do one again now that I’m living in Germany. I just needed a little push… And wasn’t sure where to even begin as I’m in the midst of so much right now in my life.

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

But then, out of nowhere, that push came from the lovely and organized Lise, who has a job in corporate by day but who blogs by night over on the Urban Style Vibes blog in the Netherlands, and she too was dreaming of pulling together a meet up for bloggers. I’d not known Lise until she contacted me so I had no idea we shared a similar dream to host a blogger’s event. She was a bit farther ahead in her dream than I, she already had chosen a name (Meet The Blogger) and talked about the idea to hold the first event in Stockholm or maybe Amsterdam. I guess we can call this kismet because she had heard about the launch of my book, Decorate, and so she emailed me to see if I wanted to get involved in something she had only just started to plan called Meet The Blogger. I had no clue what it was about, but she told me some of her ideas and then I shared some of my own and Lise had a logo created and started to set the whole thing into motion because I wanted to do another book launch party and a blogger’s meet up combined, only this time in Amsterdam since my book is sold there in English at the American Book Center.

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Since then, Lise and I have talked a lot since February to work out how this event would run – it didn’t come together overnight! She was so easy to work with though at times it was tricky as we had to do everything by phone and email. That’s why when Lise flew up to London to meet me in person at the Decorate Liberty launch party in April, the whole idea of working with her made me much more comfortable. I thought it was very kind of her to connect with me so personally. While Lise and I were busy behind-the-scenes planning Meet The Blogger, we decided to pull in some sponsors so our guests wouldn’t have to pay for the event and we thought a goody bag would be a nice incentive to get everyone there – who doesn’t want free stuff?

As our ideas grew, Lise connected a fellow blogger, Janneke Romijn, who got involved — she happens to be a writer and publicist. Janneke is another amazing woman. I got to know more about her recently and she really inspired me with her personal story, she is such a determined woman and very strong and I admire this so much. So between Lise, Janneke and I this dream to host a blogger’s event started to take shape.

I worked on finding a location for the event, at first Lise found something outside of the city but my eye was on doing it in the city to encourage people to come. The location sort of fell into my lap because The American Book Center wanted to get involved and since they are friendly with Hotel V thanks to Rick Lightstone (Rick you’re the best!), they were able to get us that space for the event at no charge to us. Great!

Once we had the location it all felt very real and exciting and Lise and Janneke met with the hotel to work on the details while I made it my mission to tell everyone about the event so that we’d have lots of people invited and involved — who wants to host an event and have no one show up? So I literally told the whole entire internet. And people responded and before we knew it, we had sold out and had to actually turn people away as the space couldn’t hold everyone comfortably otherwise.

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

As one domino fell, effortlessly pushing the next, we started to pull together our sponsors. In the end, British designer Kelly Hoppen sponsored all of our drinks (sadly, she wasn’t there but her lovely publicist came) and Lily’s Cupcakes kept us all saturated in sugary sweet goodness. Flavourites came to talk about their blog and business and we had Dutch designer Mariska Meijers give everyone a lovely bookmark for their very own copy of Decorate (placed in our goody bags) and Dutch interiors magazine 101 Woonideeën gave everyone a few copies of their magazine and talked about the event on their blog too (here). The name tags that everyone wore came from Wolfie and the SneakThe American Book Center gave away a few copies of Decorate and co-author Joanna Copestick, also attended which made me so, so happy as she was such a huge part of making Decorate come to life and though she’s shy about attending signings, I’m just so happy she flew in from London to be a part of it all. I even got her to sign some books with me not only at Meet The Blogger but at The American Book Center later that day. 

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

I was personally thrilled to have VTWonen as an official sponsor, their editor-in-chief, Monique de Ruiter, attended Meet The Blogger and that really impressed me and I enjoyed meeting her very much. VTWonen so generously gave us our own photographer, Jurriaan Hoefsmit, for the day to shoot the event and they gave everyone a copy of VTWonen as well. They also announced the event in their magazine before the event and gave us a wonderful shout out on their blog yesterday, which we are so grateful for. My husband, Thorsten Becker, also took photos which was great.

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

The event was so wonderful, I really enjoyed meeting so many bloggers in this part of the world and it really impressed upon me the need to get bloggers over here together again in the future because they certainly are interested in these events and many asked us when the next blogger’s networking event will take place! That’s exciting! I’ll announce something on decor8 in the near future as I’m looking at BERLIN, GERMANY for an event in October and that one will really rock as I love Berlin and already have a few great sponsors on board for that one. Yay for bloggers in Europe, what an inspirational bunch of people who came out on Saturday, it was so encouraging and lovely for me but also for all – the buzz in the air was contagious and the vibe was so positive.

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

Meet The Blogger Recap

If you missed this event I hope that you’ll come out to Berlin in October for another blogging event to network and learn — the date will be announced on decor8 sometime this summer so you can get it on your calendar. It will also be in conjunction with Callwey Verlag, a huge German publishing house who will be releasing Decorate in German around that time with the title, Lust auf Wohnen, so I’ll have copies of it available in German at the next event which will be really fun for me to share!

By the way… I wanted to add captions to all of the photos with everyone’s names but I just cannot remember all of the wonderful people I met so I decided to not list anyone because some I do know but I felt like it would be unfair to list them without listing everyone. I hope that you understand. If you are shown in any of the photos above, please comment and say hello so people know who you are!

And well finally I need to point out the real reason behind a mix + mingle for blogger’s like this. I want people online to make lasting connections. I’m a connector, and through my online Blogging Your Way class that I teach along with Leslie Shewring and Thorsten Becker, I’ve always taught my students to not be scared of taking risks and to try to meet up with fellow bloggers in their own cities from time-to-time just to solidify those online relationships. I believe that relationships can only deepen when people take their virtual friendships offline for a bit to share, connect, laugh and run around with their cameras snapping a zillion photographs as you simply cannot get two blogger friends in the same room without cameras click, click, clicking!

I love sharing my book with everyone, I’ve had so many ask me to share it and sign their copies and events like this allow me to connect with people, which I love. It means a lot to me to be part of your life, offline too, as a personal friend and even a bit of mentor because I want to encourage women to just go for it when it comes to realizing their dreams and I want to help them to see a way out if they are currently stuck. So I hope this blogger’s event, the book signings that I do, classes that I teach both on and offline, continue to encourage and motivate people to connect, mingle, share and to learn and grow together.

To conclude this super long post, I want to thank all of our sponsors and also to my partners-in-crime, Lise and Janneke. I’m happy that together we were able to put Meet The Blogger into motion! We love you Amsterdam!

Update: A VERY special thank you to our volunteers for helping us to set up the event and for registering our guests as they arrived: Kate Baxter, Carole King, Jantine Vaartjes and Caroline Sleijffers.

(Photography: Jurriaan Hoefsmit, Thorsten Becker and Holly Becker.)

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