Designers + Stylists

My Journey: Styling From The Heart

June 21, 2016

I have big news! I have to tell you guys where I’m flying this morning… I’m heading up north to a Swedish island called Gotland. Have you heard of it? I mentioned recently that I was going but left out WHY… Well my friends, I’m taking a masterclass with Creative Director and Stylist Dietlind Wolf.

My Journey: Styling From The Heart

Dietlind is a leading stylist for 25 years in Germany, styling stories for magazines globally, but mostly German and Dutch publications. She also is a self-taught photographer and for the past several years has coupled her styling work WITH her own photos. Dietlind is also a columnist for Sweet Paul magazine. She designs and makes a line of heartbreakingly poetic and beautiful ceramics that sell in New York City’s own ABC Carpet + Home too, all produced in Hamburg by her own hands, with her own paint, infused with her unique point of view.

My Journey: Styling From The Heart

Dietlind also does some beautiful collaborative efforts with talented people since she is more than a stylist, she makes so many of the props she uses, she is a true artist. She is the first stylist in Germany that ever caught my eye whom I’ve followed for years. When I moved here in 2009, I saw her work more and more in magazines and really took a liking to it. Her style just speaks to me. I am hard to impress when it comes to styling these days. I’ve seen it all… And most of the work I see doesn’t stand out as a signature look or even as special. I feel like some work doesn’t tell a real story and stylists are just showing what everyone else shows in almost the same way because it “works”. I am sure this is largely driven by their clients or the magazine they work for. It’s not that they are copying, it’s just how they were trained. I fall into this at times too. No one is to blame! But some stylists are just fantastic, they definitely tell a story and awaken the senses bringing objects to life.

My Journey: Styling From The Heart

I don’t find most of the styling I see in most magazines and especially in catalogs, that inspirational lately. Do you? Sometimes I believe if you’ve seen one issue you’ve seen them all. The styling doesn’t change and neither do the photography angles, nor do the portraits of people who look almost depressed sitting in their beautiful houses. I don’t find that beautiful or touching, a lot of times I walk away feeling empty. To see a home story with everything perfectly placed and people looking “too cool” to smile or at least show some emotion in their eyes… it’s almost like showing where ghosts live.

My Journey: Styling From The Heart

Why bother learning to become a better stylist if what is already out there works fine though? What has become popular, mainstream, or trendy, isn’t always inspirational, touching or magical. Lots of work can run very vanilla, generic, simplistic but in a negative way. It can sometimes look like everyone has the same muse and is just replicating. A home as a museum and a person as unfeeling doesn’t speak to my heart.

My Journey: Styling From The Heart

On the flipside, there is still genuine magic out there being produced, it’s just not so common. But you can spot it and immediately you’ll know it’s special. Like some of these stories produced by leading Aussie stylists. Or some of the Americans, especially the New Yorkers… Or you look at the work of some of the Spanish or French stylists… Or those living in the UK, Denmark and Sweden… You can’t help but look at their work and feel fire in your belly and love again for interiors, home, food and family. When I stop to study a photo because the placement of objects are so interesting, then it’s no longer just a photo of stuff in a home or on a table, it’s a piece of art, and I love that.

My Journey: Styling From The Heart

That’s why I admire the work of Dietlind as shown throughout this post. Storytelling through mini scenes, through objects, food, flowers, ceramics… inspires me to no end. I am excited that I will get to share nearly a week under her masterclass as a student, to soak in her wisdom and learn a new way. Starting in a few hours, I will land in Gotland and live in an old Swedish farmhouse with my friend Leslie Shewring, and we’ll be only a stone’s throw away from the beach, with a private greenhouse and an organic garden on the property. And we will travel to prop shops on the island and create scenes and take photographs. Dietlind will train us on how to develop all of our senses and bring them into our work more fully, making our styling more robust and magical. I simply cannot miss this experience to train under one of my favorite stylists. I’ve invested so much time and money into this trip, I want to make the most of it – I have a two-year-old boy so stepping out of my role as mommy for 5 nights is a big deal. I miss him already but I cannot think about that… This is fuel for my soul and good for my work, so off I go!

My Journey: Styling From The Heart

I’ve not spoken much about this course because it was something I wanted to keep in my back pocket until I felt ready to talk about it. But I’m thrilled and ready to be molded and shaped like a fresh piece of clay. I am stuck in a certain way of styling and I want to grow. I want to start styling the things my heart feels when I touch objects, I want to display them in a way that tells a story, that makes people think and feel something, I want to approach my work more artfully and create a certain intimacy but also improve my skill set. To me, creativity is an ongoing process of learning, feeling stuck, wiggling out, learning again, getting inspired, going into a hole, coming out, learning, working hard, again and again and again.

I want to learn how to put my own stamp on the work I style, because also take my own photos now and want to write, style and photograph my own book from beginning to end someday. In order to do that successfully, I must take on a new adventure, become a student, and allow myself to feel new light and breath fresh air. My 4th book, with Leslie Shewring, to publish in September, has many photos inside styled and photographed by me. But of course, not solely. I could never style and shoot an entire book at this point along with write it! Yet, this is my goal so to get to that point, I need to train hard. This is the first creative retreat I’ve ever been on in my life where I was the student, so I’m absolutely ready and excited for whatever comes my way and to see what results.

If you want to follow my journey on Instagram, I'll be posting live from Gotland, Sweden from 21 June until 27 June so please enjoy my Swedish feed and leave comments as I go, I would love to read them. I'm @decor8 on Instagram.Click To Tweet

Wish me luck and see you on Instagram!

xo Holly

(Photography + Styling: Dietlind Wolf)


DIY White Party Flower Arrangement

June 20, 2016

Hello and happy Monday everyone! My garden is in full bloom and also all of the meadows. Everywhere I go, there are flowers growing – foraging made easy! As a flower lover there is no way I could skip an arrangement with roses and peonies. Inspired by the outdoors, I wanted to create a fresh arrangement, and add flowers that represent my surroundings this time of the year. My friend is hosting a summer “white” party and this white bouquet is my contribution to her party! White flowers are the perfect gift for a summer white party from my point of view. If you are hosting one, you can make smaller arrangements and place them down the center of an old wooden table. Wouldn’t that be gorgeous?

DIY White Party Flower Arrangement

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” ― Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and TibClick To Tweet

White roses are one of my favorite flowers of all time – they are elegant and light up every arrangement. They look good if they are in a vase alone and they look gorgeous in a bouquet with other flowers. I am so happy it is June and I can chose from all the different varieties! For my arrangement for you today, I collected gorgeous white roses, added white peonies and went foraging in the meadow to achieve the airy look that I was going for.

Flowers used for the arrangement:

* white roses
* white peonies
* wild chervil
* yarrow
* bedstraw

Because the arrangement contained wild foraged flowers I decided to go for a more formal look and made the arrangement round and simple. I learned that cold weather gives some roses a slight touch of pink, some nights are still pretty cold where I live, this is why I also picked white yarrow that was slightly turning into pink. After I cut all flowers to one length, I arranged the bouquet in my hands, turning the slowly growing bouquet, adding the flowers one after another.

DIY White Party Flower Arrangement

Having them in my hands instead of a vase helped me to ensure that the bouquet was not getting too big. The roses and peonies added enough white to the arrangement, so I tried to break it up a little with yarrow, wild chervil and bedstraw.

DIY White Party Flower Arrangement

After the bouquet was finished, I cut the stems to one final length, tied it all up and placed into my vase. Here is the finished arrangement below. This could be a beautiful wedding floral bouquet too, couldn’t it? Or on the table at a reception?

DIY White Party Flower Arrangement

The roses and the peonies are so soft, feminine and fragrant while the wild flowers looked like white lace. All in all a perfect combination for a summer white party.

This is my final column on decor8, I’ve enjoyed so much being here and sharing my floral ideas with all of you. Have a wonderful summer and make sure to keep up with me over on my blog and on Instagram, I’d love that. All the best, Anastasia.

(Photos, styling, text: Anastasia Benk0)


A Giveaway With Atelier Sukha (Updated)

June 18, 2016

I love to decorate, especially with natural fibers like wood, wool, leather and linen. As a lover of Bohemian Style, Botanical Style and the whole Simple Living / Kinfolk  movement, I find Atelier Sukha a beautiful blend of all three to create a distinct global, yet paired back look that feels closest to the way I’d love to live (add to it, a beachfront house!). Sukha is a famous shop known globally as a must-see destination by decor enthusiasts when visiting Amsterdam, yet I was surprised to learn that their online shop isn’t nearly as well known so I thought to team up with them to help them spread the word about their shop. The best way was for me to just open up a flash giveaway on my blog so some lucky person out there could have a chance at winning free beautiful things (your pick up to €150) from their online shop. Then you can bring this handmade, pure and simple style to your home too.

A Giveaway With Atelier Sukha (Updated)

A Giveaway With Atelier Sukha (Updated)To enter*, you need to do the following:

1. Comment below and tell us what you would like to have on the Sukha website.

2. Follow @decor8 and @ateliersukha on Instagram.

When a winner is selected, we will verify the above before announcing.

*This giveaway is open to readers located worldwide. €150 approximate $170 USD total value per winner. Do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. Our winner will be contacted by email and announced at the bottom of this post. Contest closes on Monday, June 20 at 5pm European Standard Time.

Good luck everyone!

Winner is: Julia/mammilade. Congratulations!

xo Holly


The Best Instagram Online Class Ever!

June 17, 2016

Wow that’s a big statement, a very big claim! But this class is really going to be the best ever! But first, I want to know… Do you feel sad when you see your Instagram pics compared to those you follow? Do you feel like you can’t ever get anywhere with it? Do you wonder how people are creating such great photos? Do you wonder how to make money using Instagram? Have you ever considered turning your Instagram into a booklet that you can sell in an online shop? Are you just plain curious about how to make your Instagram experience better?

Do you want to save yourself TIME and FRUSTRATION by learning all you can about Instagram in TWO WEEKS that would otherwise take you a year or more on your own?Click To Tweet

The Best Instagram Online Class Ever!

YES. Of course!

We will answer those questions, save you tons of time and frustration and more, make Instagram FUN, in our BIG BOLD INSTAGRAM #Instapower e-course. Seriously, you will take it and say it was the best class you’ve taken online about IG, we really believe that.

The Best Instagram Online Class Ever!

First, meet your teachers. I’ll be involved in the class, naturally. But I’ve invited two shining stars who are professionals at what they do and can really help you. You will be studying under RACHEL KORINEK from TWO LOVES STUDIO. This Aussie photographer and stylist REALLY KNOWS HER STUFF. She also has been formally trained as a teacher, so her videos and written lessons will provide you with a ton of terrific knowledge. Rachel is awesome at teaching and explaining otherwise complicated subjects (like photography) and is one of the best food photographers I’ve seen, her light and bright images are just gorgeous – so clear and lovely.

The Best Instagram Online Class Ever!

Next, we have PAULINE EGGE, the author of PETIT PASSPORT and a series of gorgeous travel booklets that she’ll detail in class along with how she monetized her Instagram through the creation of those booklets… Pauline is a photographer and travel writer, a lover of all things pretty and trendy, which she sniffs out as she travels and shares the best of the best on her blog with photos she takes herself – hotels, boutiques, coffee shops… Nothing is out of reach if it brings her joy and is something she knows her readers must absolutely check out. I love Petit Passport, which is why I had to hire her to teach this class with us.

How it works:

For two weeks, during the weekdays, we will post lessons each day according to the outline below. Look at what you are going to learn in just two shorts weeks… It would take you at least a year on your own to learn this stuff and with guided learning, you can ask questions and get answers right away from teachers and other students who are genuinely interested in your progress.

What you will learn:

WEEK ONE – Pauline Egge + Holly Becker
July 8 – Intro to class, welcome video from Holly
July 11-14 Below
01: Welcome video from Pauline + Branding Yourself and/or Your Instagram
02: Community Building – Networking, Growing Followers, Gaining More Likes, Best Times To Post, etc.
03: Working With Brands + Monetization. Special focus on how to make and sell guides like the ones Pauline creates and sells on her website. Also information on working with brands for profit using Instagram, what to charge, etc.
04: How to shoot on the street, in cafes, shops, permissions needed, how to style and work with your natural environment, etc.
05: To Be Added

WEEK TWO – Rachel Korinek
July 18-22 below
06: Welcome video from Rachel. Using Your Smart Phone to Capture Images for Instagram: Taking photos using your phone, best practices, apps to use to edit and create.
07: Using Your Camera to Capture Images for Instagram: Taking photos using your camera, Best practices, How to get the shots onto your computer and then phone, Editing on computer/phone, sizing for optimization.
08: Photography Techniques to Get The Most Out of Your Shots. Lighting, angles, negative space, tips for shooting, shooting multiple angles, tips and tricks and problems you may encounter.
09: Styling Your Instagram Images: Styling and Styling Tips (with video how-to), How to find Everyday Items to Use, Importance of Backgrounds and what to use, Tips for Styling when you are out and about, Things you can take with you in your handbag to style when out.
10: Curating a Gorgeous Instagram Feed: Tools, apps to help you curate your feed, How to Stand out and Disrupt Your Feed, Case Studies.

+ BONUS CONTENT taught in our previous IG class.

NOTE: If you took our IG class last year, this is 100% NEW, DIFFERENT and FRESH. It’s not the same material pre-canned and spun out in a new way. It’s NEW. Everything we produce, podcast, video, lessons – all of it – NEW.

July 8-25. Beginner to Advanced, all are welcome!

For $119 you really can’t beat it. And if you want to sign up to be an affiliate, you can learn all about our program here (make money by referring your friends).


I’ll be back in a moment to post a lovely giveaway from one of my favorite shops in Amsterdam. Hold on tight!

(Photography: Rachel Korinek and Pauline Egge)


Gotland Sweden: Travel Tips?

June 16, 2016

Hello friends! I’m excited because I’m leaving in a few days for the island of Gotland, Sweden! You can travel with me via my Instagram @decor8 all next week to see what we do, where we shop, eat, etc. I won’t be bombarding IG with posts but I’ll definitely get some Gotland content up there for sure — all beautiful and inspiring things for you to see in case you want to travel there too. Gotland is an island in the Baltic sea off the coast of Sweden and I am so happy that I can escape from the responsibilities of work and family life to just think, collect flowers, make salads from our garden and take in fresh salty air along with my travel partner, Leslie Shewring.

Gotland Sweden: Travel Tips?

My question to you is, dear friends, what are some must-see places? It can be anywhere on Gotland, we have a car. We love the idea of group dinners, eating outdoors, eating on organic farms, rustic bakeries, shopping in pretty lifestyle stores, seeing beautiful windmills, old homes and the beach… I want to walk the beach for hours… Our goal is really to soak in the natural surroundings and be immersed in Swedish island living for a week.

Wanted: Travel tips for Gotland, Sweden!Click To Tweet

Anything you can imagine. We would love it. I’ve already done a ton of research but before I put my finds on decor8, I want to travel to Gotland first and see them first hand. As I go, I’ll Instagram them, and when I return from Gotland, I’ll blog my travel tips during the first week of July here on decor8.

So, loves… Any good ideas for Leslie and I?

Back soon with a fun contest for you to win pretty stuff for your home from Sukha in Amsterdam. One moment please!

(Photography: The Waves We Make – you gotta go to this blog, it’s amazing)



Recipe: Summer Berry Pies

June 16, 2016

Hello everyone, are you ready to celebrate summer? A proper summer in my book requires a few elements. Number one is for this dreadful rainy weather to end where I’m living and for some sun to come out! Second is to bake plenty of fresh berry pies and serve still bubbling out of the oven, with the scent of melting berries within crusty pastry to die for.

Recipe: Summer Berry Pies

I have been on a roll lately with pies I suppose, having recently came back after spending a week in Lyon, otherwise known as the French culinary capital, and trust me folks it deserves this title every bit. I was staying just across the corner of Pâtisserie l’Ourson qui Boit (which comes highly recommended if you are in the area), where they make tarts with luscious yuzu filling, black sesame and raspberries or an incredible miso and vanilla marriage. When treasures like that are at your doorstep, it is quite appropriate to have more than one breakfast a day, starting with a tart then moving to the traditional French croissant, etc.

Recipe: Summer Berry Pies

Back home, I wanted to make something a little more traditional with fresh blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, the perfect summer berry pie that is easy for you to make as well. If you feel uneasy about making pastry at home, you can also use a store-bought one, but I wholeheartedly recommend giving this homemade version a try.

My secret to any good berry pie is crème de cassis liquor, which is a worthy ingredient to have at home at all times. If you are not familiar with it, crème de cassis is a blackcurrant liquor that is not only my favorite aperitif for making kir (1 part crème de cassis, 4 parts wine or even better use prosecco), but anytime you are making a dessert with berries or rhubarb it will add a wonderful flavor boost. Try it!

This berry pie is pretty good just on it’s own or with coffee for breakfast, but as with any pastry and berry concoction, whipped cream or ice cream is most welcome. The recipe will make 2 small pies for very greedy eaters or can serve four people if you’d prefer a half each.

200g flour
1 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
90g cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp ice cold water

1/2 kg berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
2 tbsp crème de cassis
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg
1 tbsp water

For the shortcrust pastry, in a food processor pulse together flour, sugar and salt, then add butter and continue to blend till it resembles breadcrumbs. Then pour in egg and water and continue to blend till the dough comes together, about 5-10 seconds. Divide the pastry in 3 parts and wrap each in cling film. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.Preheat the oven to 190C/372F. Toss all ingredients for the filling, set aside.

Recipe: Summer Berry Pies

Roll out two pastry parts on a flour dusted surface and press each into a tart case. Then roll out the last piece of pastry and slice it into strips. Fill each tart case to the top then criss cross the pastry strips on top. Beat the egg with water and brush on top of the pastry. Bake for about 50 minutes – 1 hour. Let it cool a little, then serve!

Recipe: Summer Berry Pies

Recipe: Summer Berry Pies

Recipe: Summer Berry Pies

This is my last post for decor8, it has been a lovely journey sharing recipes here with you, but don’t forget to come back daily for more posts from Holly and her wonderful team! – Gintare

(Photography, Recipe, Styling, Text: Gintare Marcel)

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