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Sture & Folke: So In Love!

It’s a beautiful moment in my world today because I received a gift that absolutely blew my mind a few seconds ago and made me, for once, speechless. As I opened the package, I gasped upon seeing the most gorgeous baby/toddler blanket ever handmade by Karin Stenmarck, the founder of Sture & Folke, a Swedish designer living in Switzerland. She presented this to me & my growing family and I cannot wait for my son to enjoy this blanket when he arrives in January! I want to watch him play with the tabs and linger on the lush velvet and linen top. I also adore the reverse side of the blanket since it’s a Liberty print and everyone knows about my long running obsession with their fabrics… Want to see my new blanket?

Sture & Folke: So In Love!

Sture & Folke: So In Love!

Sture & Folke: So In Love!

To say this made me happy today is an extreme understatement. I am leaping for joy and while I’m gushing about things less and less the older I get (and the more I see), this is definitely gush-worthy. It’s so well made and special – the materials are of such high quality – so if you are having a baby or know someone who is (they also stock toddler size) then you simply must consider this blanket. Sture & Folke has many to choose from in their small online shop so be sure to check them out. Here are others in their collection for girls and boys. If you want the exact blanket that I have, it’s called the Crowberry comforter and is available here.

Sture & Folke: So In Love!

I really appreciate the combination of soft, natural materials on the front with the tiny florals on the cotton reverse. Such a stunning combination. I don’t know about my baby-to-be but his momma here is already in dreamland…

Thank you Karin for this beautiful gift.

xo,
Holly

(images: top 3/Holly Becker, others: karin stenmerck)

Posted in kids on October 24, 2013

Blues & Greens: Fall Table Setting Idea

Fall is here! The sun is back out after a period of gray and rain with temps that are cool and bright blue skies. Fall in northern Germany looks and feels just like what I’m used to back home in Boston. I was surprised when I relocated and realized that New England autumns and Northern German autumns are the same – including the gorgeous foliage and for this I am so grateful! To capture some of the season’s gorgeousness, I’ll spend the next few hours strolling the city, parks and forest nearby to collect fallen objects and then, head to the flower shop for snowberry (German: Schneebeeren) branches. I adore their round, fleshy bulbs and their slightly pink tint. In a tall vase, they  look quite striking on the dining table – which is exactly where I intend to display them. Do you love them, too?

Before I go, I simply must share a few lovely things I’ve had in my shopping cart over for a few days now since I’d love to create a fall table around a blue & green theme. Why these colors for fall? Blue is a direct translation of the sky and the green leads us in the holiday season with its pines and lush greenery. I’m thinking to organize a special family dinner before the baby’s arrival to gather everyone for an inspiring meal. Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in Germany (obviously), so it’s also a way that I can host something festive in November that makes me feel like I’m home again. Some of my favorite things for a table spread are shown above. I hope that you enjoy them!

Blues & Greens: Fall Table Setting Idea

1. This tablecloth would be my foundation piece. I’d use neon green fabric paint and a very fine tip brush to highly a few rims on the plates and patterns here and there. That’s a nice way to customize a covering like this. When I saw it I immediately thought of my younger years when I was a coloring book addict! 2. I’d then cut this chalkboard table runner in half (width-wise) and lay it down the center to add some drama and to eliminate the need of using placemats. I’d write everyone’s name with chalk above their plates in chalk (maybe lime green?) in my best swirly handwriting, directly onto the table runner. It’s all about the unexpected touches, right?  3. Next, I’d add these animal head vases to display down the center of the table. I would prop them on antique books of varying heights to add dimension and drama and fill them with various berries and dark, dramatic dahlias. 4. I’d add linen napkins with a yellow neon border to top each plate, tied with some twine with a small stem of berry tucked inside from the animal vase arrangements. Neon yellow will further lift the palette and bring out some of the green foliage in the vases.

Blues & Greens: Fall Table Setting Idea

5. I’d mix and match these dinner plates. 6. I’d pull a nice mix of stemware together, like this gathering along with 7. these to add a quirky touch. 8. I’d place a cushion or two on my chairs to bring in more color and fun pattern. And finally… I’d add tea lights in simple glass votives dotted around to set the mood and my playlist would include: Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood… The song featured in this AMAZING video below…

Do you plan to entertain in November? What type of party will you host? Do you have an idea as to a particular theme you’d like to try?

xo,
Holly

(images: anthropologie)

Posted in Decorating Tips on October 24, 2013

Who Are These Bloggers?

I know, I know… This news has already hit the internet like a hurricane and yet, the waves continue. And of course, these types of things always hurt the most when delivered from someone with whom you have the ultimate girl crush on. If no one cared about Martha Stewart, no one would care about her comment, right? But since so many do and it is understandable why, some have asked me – Do I think she was right or wrong? I think she was voicing her opinion and you have to be ready to hear both the good and the bad from others in any field that you’re in. It’s not always going to be rosy, glowing and dripping with sticky sweetness. Sometimes we have to listen to criticism in our communities, not blame the source, but really THINK about where this is coming from. One thing I learned from my favorite psychology professor that stuck with me for years, that I try to teach to my own students today, is the value in criticism. Most people RUN from it. Don’t. This isn’t to say that someone calling you lazy or dumb is valuable because often, people tell you what they think about themselves – you are just at the wrong place at the wrong time. And other times, maybe you were being dumb or lazy about something and that’s good to consider because you may need to learn more about something or work on your tendency to flake out. All constructive things that, although came in a very ugly package, can still be a gift.

Who are these bloggers?

I thought that for all of the bloggers out there who felt offended by the recent comments made by Martha Stewart about bloggers, that we could think about ways to become even better at what we do. Because as my grandmother always told me, “That which doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger”. Self-reflection can be an invaluable tool of growth that can literally transform you along with your blog and your business.

Another thing I thought about it that maybe we can, as a community, answer her question, “Who are these bloggers?” through our own blogs – you know, writing better bios on our sites, speaking more openly with others about our backgrounds, having more courage. I’ve met thousands of bloggers through my e-courses and I try to challenge them to think about who they are and what their intention is, what they’re best at and how they can really showcase that online. So many bloggers are way too shy in their bios. I remember a workshop that my adorable friend Steffi Luxat and I taught together in Hannover last winter and one of the students was terrified to write in her bio about the ribbons and things that she designs that are sold ALL OVER GERMANY. I couldn’t understand this and Steffi asked her WHY and she meekly replied that she didn’t want to make others feel jealous or like she was showing off. In speaking with many bloggers, this hasn’t been so uncommon. Lots of women, especially, tend to devalue their work. Do you?

Maybe it’s worth considering for your own blog to have a stronger bio on your site, a better About Me page, that says who you really are. No need to be vague. What’s your mission? Here’s mine. I believe that bloggers have some amazing stuff to share and tell about themselves if they’d just demonstrate more confidence and go for it.

Why does this matter? Lots of reasons. It’s good for you first because it can help you value your own work more. It’s great for your current readers because you may reveal some things no one has known about you before, giving them more respect for what you’re doing online. It’s also good for the reputation of our community because it’s a way that we can all answer a question that not only Martha, but people active in magazines and even television often ask – Who Are These Bloggers? They know what we’re doing and how popular we are but trust me, more than Martha asks this question. Hundreds of people in the media ask and often, they don’t really know the answer. Why do you think so many of them approach bloggers to work for free – to write for their websites, to use their photographs at no charge, to attend their events and report on them without pay… They don’t know most of our backgrounds, our value, that some of us are really working very hard to produce our content and test our recipes, author books, design products, etc. When people KNOW you then respect is the next natural step if you’re good at what you’re doing. So take time to tell your readers today, or this week, just SOON — who you are and what you do and a little bit about how you got to where you are and you can do that by writing a better blog bio.

Am I upset at Martha? Nope. Does she owe bloggers an apology?  Nope. In fact, if she came back to apologize I would lose a bit of respect because there are too many people in this world who say what they mean then back-peddle just to save their skin and who needs more of that? One thing I’ve learned living among Germans (and Europeans in general) is to just call a spade a spade and move on. No sugar coating needed. It’s healthier to just say how you feel than to constantly live one way to the public and another way at home. Many of my peers sent me the video and when I first watched it, I honestly only felt surprised because I know how supportive she has been in the past to bloggers including me – I was on her radio show (proof!) as a guest when my second book released. I didn’t really understand where her comment was coming from. Then I thought that perhaps she is just frustrated for whatever reason and most likely, that reason comes down to not understanding the big picture. We all get frustrated in business – especially when we’re being forced to work with and understand people who are self-publishing online at remarkable rates who are changing how people digest information. Ten years ago, everyone ran to magazines for the latest content and trends but today it’s a different story.

One thing Martha said that was particularly interesting to me was a point she made about how bloggers are not experts. I want to speak to that point for a brief moment. I don’t think most of us really go online to hear what the experts think when it comes to the hottest new color for Spring, we’d rather see what our favorite fashion blogger is predicting because it makes us feel like part of something larger and we can contribute by commenting with our own predictions. There is this friendship thing that makes the expert thing not so valuable these days (to me, at least). I don’t need an expert to help me find a dress for a party or to recommend a lipstick. I need experts to give me medical advice and to help me with my taxes. See what I mean? Decorating isn’t rocket science, nor is fashion or art or anything else that most of us in the creative community share online. We mostly just want friends and support, people who care about us, not experts, to give us opinions so we can walk away with some new ideas that “our blogger friend in New York found”. I’m not online to learn expert opinions on topics that are so totally subjective anyway – I’m online to see what Sania is up to and what Bri is wearing and what Joy’s daughter Ruby is up to over on Instagram and whether or not Garance has posted any more of her fabulous Pardon My French videos. What do you think?

So bloggers, who are you? Maybe if you want to answer that question on your blog you can – and then link your BIO below. That way, I can learn more about you and so can my readers but mostly, because it’s just good that you do it for yourself.

Keep your chin up, my friends. Often criticism is gold in disguise.

xo

Holly

(image: holly becker)

Posted in blogs on October 23, 2013

Blogging Your Way e-course: Intention & Style – Now Registering!

I’m so excited to announce that we’ve opened registration for our mega-fabulous upcoming Blogging Your Way e-course called “Intention & Style. I’m 26 weeks pregnant so this is the last class I’ll be doing until next Spring, so catch me now before I begin nesting! :) For this online class, I’ve asked Photographer/Stylist Naomi Robinson from Bakers Royale and Better Homes & Gardens along with Lisa Nieschlag, who is a stylist, graphic designer and cookbook author with her fourth title releasing in January to be my very special co-teachers. (Psst: Lisa also helps produce these really great food recipe videos with her partner, Julia.)

Our e-course will focus on INTENTION as a blogger and will motivate you to really fall in love again with blogging in case you’re currently in a rut because let’s face it, we bloggers can get into ruts. We’ll also focus on STYLE because c’mon, the blogs most of us love have a specific style and really put a lot into their content right? So we’re going to help you to learn how to take professional-looking photos of crafts, interiors, food and more that you’ll be proud to share online and we’ll cover photo editing along with loads of styling how-to’s so you can style your photos in a way that gets your posts a lot more pins and social media shares.

Blogging Your Way e-course: Intention & Style - Now Registering!

 

In this online course we’ll cover:

Blogging Topics Include: How a successful blog is created and maintained, staying strong and true to your brand and vision, growing your audience (in a new way), how to make money as a blogger, pricing your services, why “free exposure” isn’t enough and how to demand payment when companies approach you to work for free, what’s hot in blogging today and what we predict will follow, how to turn your ideas into actions, how to outsource, working with others (including your competitors), how to deal with difficult people and situations such as blogger privacy issues and we’ll even include a case study to examine top blogs and why they work. Plus, we’ll include a bunch of bonus tips and ideas as we go so you’re head will be a-buzz with new and fantastic ideas that you can put into your blog today.

Styling & Photography Topics Include: Taking photos from set up, composition and styling to shooting bright, shooting dark & moody and post editing. We’ll also cover camera settings and talk about aperture, exposure, exposure compensation and white balance for natural light, artificial light and for mixed lighting. In addition, we’ll explain macro photography and show you how to set up and the capture details of smaller objects from floral arrangements to tiny finds from the flea market. Another topic we’ve included is photo editing and how to process Raw files using Adobe Lightroom 5. You can use a cloud version of this software via the Adobe website for Free for a 30 day period. For the styling portion of our class, we’ll take you from A-Z from how to choose a theme, location ideas, prop selection, planning your shoot day and how to  to set up a room like a pro along with setting up vignettes or objects on a tabletop, food styling how to’s and more.

Blogging Your Way e-course: Intention & Style - Now Registering!

 

Class: Blogging Your Way: Intention & Style e-course
Duration: November 1-29, 2013 – includes 12 months forum and site access
More details: HERE

REGISTER HERE – We’ll close registration when the class fills up!

Hope to see you soon!

xo,
Holly

Posted in blogs on October 23, 2013

Books:

Available now on Amazon

Further editions available include: Portuguese, Danish, Czech, Slovak, French

Courses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way for Beginners
e-course, April 17 – May 15, 2014
Find out more and sign up now.

Styling With Holly Becker
London, May 2014 (Date TBD)