Objects, Travel

Sandberg Raphael Wallpaper + Hehlen Castle

February 16, 2015

On Valentine’s Day we went with our little son to Schloß Hehlen (Hehlen Castle), a very sweet castle built in the 1500’s located about an hour away and enjoyed the most beautiful cakes in their cafe, Kaffeewirtschaft, on the castle grounds. Aidan enjoyed his babycino so much and when I took his little hand and walked him around the cafe, he was thrilled. I was too and I particularly loved the wallpaper near the fireplace, so I snapped it and posted on my IG. Within seconds, the wallpaper manufacturer identified it as the Raphael in Green by Sandberg. I didn’t even tag it! That’s the beauty of Instagram – you can post nearly anything and someone will identify the place, the product, even the person within mere minutes.

Sandberg Raphael Wallpaper + Hehlen Castle

Sandberg Raphael Wallpaper + Hehlen Castle
(my iphone photo above)

Sandberg Raphael Wallpaper + Hehlen Castle

After visiting the Sandberg website I also found it in a few other colorways but the beige instantly resonated with me as the room it’s shown in looks exactly like my living room – the large window to the right, the linen sheer curtains, even a similar pendant light! You can imagine how this reawakened my need to wallpaper a feature wall in living room! Now I’m trying to decide – will it be a Sandberg, Designers Guild or Farrow & Ball wallpaper? Hmmm.

Sandberg Raphael Wallpaper + Hehlen Castle

Isn’t the lovely? I particularly love it with the marble table and the pretty plants and wooden seating. Fresh and simple with a touch of rustic romance.

(images: sandberg //the snap of me and my little one by his papa)

 






Books + Magazines

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

February 16, 2015

You know how I was talking recently about buying a little home, a sweet cottage, somewhere in Germany, Denmark (or possibly the Dutch/German border near the coast) that we could visit some weekends and in the summer? I still haven’t decided where and when yet, but I stumbled upon this sweet and very tidy example of a cottage that could be a nice option only this one is for rent via Red Cottage Inc. and it’s a tad far from home now because it’s in Freehold, New York! But wow, doesn’t it look so European, like it’s been plucked straight from the French or English countryside? And so simply decorated.

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Seeing this place and thinking further about buying a cottage has made me think that when I do find the perfect place, it needs to be decorated very simply and definitely uncluttered. In fact, I’ve been reading a great book about organizing and removing clutter from the home that my former book publicist, Lorraine Woodcheke, sent to me now that she’s working for Ten Speed Press called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese de-cluttering expert and cleaning consultant Marie Kondo and I just love it. I’m working currently to apply it to my great annual spring clean that I’ll soon get started on.

This little book is already an international bestseller with millions of copies sold and is a best-seller in many parts of the world like the UK, US, Japan and Germany. Wow, I can see why the moment I started reading it back in October! It’s so easy to follow, compact and you get through it quickly — plus the most important part is that I found so much of what Marie said both practical and necessary.

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Marie’s tips on sorting papers and storing books are ones I really need to listen to. Marie believes that, “Letting go is even more important than adding,” and “The fact that you possess a surplus of things that you can’t bring yourself to discard doesn’t mean you are taking good care of them. In fact, it is quite the opposite”.

She also believes that the things that we own, when we look at them, evokes emotion within us and that these very real feelings give us the energy for living and that putting your home in order can create a vibrant and happy life. I absolutely agree. Her book is so popular in Japan that it was turned into a television series. I had no idea that Japanese society had a problem with clutter!

Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? What did you think?

(images: red cottage inc. and seattle refined)






Home Tours

Home Tour: Seattle Home of Interior Designer Brian Paquette

February 16, 2015

I’m a fan, like everyone else, of Berlin-based online publication Freunde von freunden and of course, their two very cool books are prominently displayed on my bookshelf. I particularly love this newish profile they have up on their site sharing Rhode Islander Brian Paquette who is now Seattle-based and working as an interior designer. His home is so cozy and warm, a mood I’m really into at the moment and not so much light, bright spaces with bright colors… More moody, deeper hues, very tactile, lush plants and definitely a smell of wood burning in a nearby fire complete with crackling timber. The crocus may be popping up here in Germany, and yes we are quite lucky as it’s nearly 50, my bones still feel very much like it’s the dead of winter and though spring is in sight, I crave the warmth and seclusion of a warm winter interior with masculine touches.

Home Tour: Seattle Home of Interior Designer Brian Paquette

Continue Reading…






Shopping + Products

Cityscape Photography Crush

February 16, 2015

I’ve been really into cityscape photography for the past year. But not just any cityscape because I think the generic ones are cheesy (sorry). I’m dying for a print like this one below that I found at Yellow Bungalow (it’s sold out) and it has to be a landscape shot. Whenever I find something that I love though it seems that it’s sold out, impossible to source, too expensive or not available to ship abroad to Germany (big tears). I am completely, utterly hooked on owning a cityscape like this one, in these gorgeous clear blue and neutral tones… What a stunner.

Cityscape Photography Crush

It can be of New York, London, I’ve been to so many cities I really love them all, though this Manhattan photo takes the win – it captures the true essence of a splendid city that I spent a lot of time working and playing in for years. Living in Germany but being an American from the northeast, I crave a few visual connections in my current home, through objects, to create an invisible thread from here to my world over there across the Atlantic. This photo above the bed in the swoon-worthy home of Andy and Amber Bell can be found on the Design Files. Here’s a full view of it below.

Cityscape Photography Crush

 

From Tucci Brown.

Cityscape Photography Crush

Petra Bindel for Elle Decoration Sweden – see image far left on wall. It’s not Manhattan, but a similar cityscape that I also love.

Cityscape Photography CrushHere it is again. Still sourcing. No luck yet.

Do you dig cityscape photography as much as I do at the moment? Do you own one? If so, who is the photographer and what city is proudly displayed on your walls?

(images linked to their sources above)

 






Blogging

The Power of Newsletters

February 12, 2015

Hey there dear friends and welcome to the next installment of Blog Trends (#20blogtrends) where we examine 20 trends-of-the-moment in the world of blogging. If you’ve missed the first 3 installments of this 20 article series, please visit the links at the end of this post to catch up. Today, let’s talk about newsletters. Yes, newsletters. Those old school things you think you really don’t need. You do.

The Power of Newsletters

First, I don’t mean RSS feeds or subscribing to an email digest of a blog – those are essentially just delivering blog content to your inbox or feed reader without visiting the actual blog. And they work fine but from my experience, are definitely not the best way to reach (or keep) your readers attention and very difficult to monetize unless you write a lot of sponsored posts. One of my main problems with these types of subscriptions is that if a company decides to pull the plug like Google did with their RSS reader not so long ago, you can lose tens of thousands of your subscribers overnight, like I did, and there is no way to get them back. What happens if Bloglovin’ does the same? Also let’s not forget social media platforms like Facebook while we’re at it. For example, if Facebook decides to involve fees in maintaining a business page, or a community page, what then? They already have put the pressure on us to pay to extend our reach to those who have liked our pages, right? I’ve spent a lot of money on Facebook trying to reach all of my fans but does that really even make sense? It’s sorta stupid to be honest.

That’s why I believe that the old-fashioned newsletter is the best way to not only keep your your community updated but also retain it more or less indefinitely. How so? Because your subscribers’ email addresses are stored in a database, whether you use an internal newsletter, e.g., a plugin for your blog, or an external company such as MailChimp. This means that even if the newsletter service bombs out, drastically changes its fee structure or decides to inject their own ads or the plugin you’re using is no longer maintained, you still have your precious contacts.

I was the editor of my school newspaper for years and later, after high school and college, I launched several newsletters for the companies that I worked for and acted as Managing Editor for each. I’ve always loved reaching people by any means possible – and today, through my blog and social media channels. The point is, you do whatever it takes to reach your readers and potential new fans of your work. Not everyone wants content delivered in the same way or even through a blog, Facebook post or Instagram photo. So you have to try and try again until you land on a ‘sharing formula’ (as I call it) that works for you. Makes sense, right?

Look at goop. A good example of a newsletter (or lifestyle publication, as they call it) that works well. Once a week, you feel like Gwyneth Paltrow and her best friends are sending you an email sharing the best of the best. You feel like part of her “It Girl” club. And everything links back to her website so you are immersed in all thing Gwyneth. If you like that sort of thing, then it’s the best lifestyle newsletter out there. The thing is, she had to get smart about her business which is why she is building an Ad-Sales Team at the moment. This is something we bloggers could do well to imitate.

Remember the Daily Candy craze, particularly between 2004-2006? Oh my goodness, when the founder still owned that site it was the bomb and also just a newsletter with links to the site. Sadly, the wrong people got a hold of it and ruined the whole thing – it’s gone. But why not pick up where corporations are falling? Why not think of smarter ways to build and maintain a newsletter that will work for your brand?

In my last Blogging Your Way e-course, Nichole Robertson from Obvious State taught about the power of the newsletter so I want to include a few points from her lesson below in case you wonder what sorts of things you could talk about in your newsletter to make it different from your blog – and interesting enough for readers to subscribe to.

Weekly Roundup
Some people subscribe to newsletters via Tinyletter.com. If you create an account there, you can send a personal letter at the end of the week to your fans that includes your favorite links, what you were up to that week and other goodies. Even if your fans didn’t read your blog all week, and they didn’t have time to check you out on social media, the once-weekly newsletter helps you stay in touch with your tribe.

Personal Newsletter
Our emails are jammed with marketing messages. How cool would it be to receive something that starts with a dear, ends with a sincerely, and feels personal? Seth Godin sometimes sends newsletters like this and I always look forward to them. Colloquial language is key here. No headlines, subheads or calls to action necessary. Go old school and stand out.

Behind the Scenes
Everyone loves bonus content. Share special content with newsletter subscribers only. This works well when you are launching a book or traveling, for instance. When Nichole from Obvious State wanted to share her new book, The Paris Journal, she sent newsletter subscribers the first three chapters for free several weeks prior to launch and they loved it.

Do you subscribe to any newsletters? If so, which ones? And do you have a newsletter for your blog and if so, what types of things do you share?

You may also like:

* 01  Blog Trends: Slow Blogging
* 02  Blog Trends: Become Your Own Blog Star
* 03  Blog Trends: Earn Money Without Guilt

(Text: Holly Becker, Nichole Robertson. Editor: Thorsten Becker. Graphic: Leslee Mitchell)






Rooms

Little Years

February 11, 2015

One of my readers tipped me off to a sweet German website with heartwarming portraits on family life called Little Years. With a little one who just turned 1 on Monday, family life is always on my mind. I adore my son so, so much and want to be the best mama to him while still reaching my own goals and dreams. It’s nice to find a site dedicated to normal, working families who live nicely yet not perfectly, and are somehow able to do it all and still reach career goals in addition to being great parents. It’s encouraging to see, in particular, families much larger than my own who are making it all work.

By the way, did you recently catch the interview Jimmy Fallon had with Gone Girl actress, Rosamund Pike? If you didn’t watch it, you can catch a segment of it here on Hulu. First, she showed up looking gorgeous and not at all like she just had a baby, and next, she spoke so candidly about how she was on the phone being interviewed, while in bed, with her two boys crawling all over her and that her eldest son got his truck stuck in her hair during the call. She confessed to basically having to cut it out before her dress arrived that day for a fitting. I mean, it’s so easy to forget that many other strong and hard-working women are out there playing magician on a daily basis to make their dreams come true while also being great moms to their little ones.

Little Years
Courtney Adamo and her family (shown above is her youngest), the co-founder of Babyccino, living in London.

Little Years
Courtney Adamo

Little Years
The story of Cecile and Charles in Paris. Cecile is the founder of Smallable.

Little Years
More from Cecile and Charles

Little Years
Cecile and Charles

Please visit Little Years for stories in English and German and for more photos too.

(little years)






Scroll Up

SUBSCRIBE - IT'S FREE!

Hello! Do you want to gain IMMEDIATE access to my exclusive content, DECORATING TIPS, TREND reports, HOME TOURS + more? Sure you do! SIGN UP today!


Email address
Secure and Spam free...