Business

I Am Enough

May 10, 2017

Hello everyone, I have a little story to tell you today. I was thinking recently about my trip to Zurich last November, when I worked for Blickfang, and how I fell in love with a very special little owl. Would you like to know more? It’s short, and sweet, and just may make you feel all the feels but my goal is that maybe my story will make you see that you are enough, too. So there I was at a shop in Zurich, I cannot recall the name of it but it was so well curated and honestly, one of the best I’d seen in all of Zurich for interiors. In a corner, there sat a little owl and many of his friends. A real owl? To me, yes. But to everyone else, he was only porcelain and merely a decorative object for the home.

I Am Enough

That little owl represented more in my eyes though, so I looked a bit more closely to examine his details. Why was this little figurine calling to me, beckoning me to take a closer look? Upon closer inspection, I understood why I felt a heart connection with this lovely little bird. Let me explain.

Do you see the little mouse he is holding under his wing so gently? In nature, the mouse would have been devoured in a moment, owls are not vegetarians! They’re hunters and must be in order to survive. The artist who made this owl though, Babette Maeder, is of course allowed to tell stories through her creative expressions; to alter reality to create a new idea, a new way of looking at the world. That is the only job of an artist, if you can even call it that – to spark a reaction. If someone is drawn in, the artist accomplished a goal.

When I stood before the little owl, I was a little girl again. Not a strong woman with a family and a company. I thought about the owl as if it were going to start moving about on the table, making its way over to sit on my hand. It had a magical quality, but again, most likely only to me because the other shoppers walked on by.

I realized in that moment that the owl represented me but I couldn’t quite figure out why. I thought some more. Perhaps it was tied in to my desire to heal, protect and show love. To be liked, to please others. To be kind. I am a caring person yet I often forget to show it and can come across as very headstrong – like I have no fears or problems, like I have it all under control. Yet, I have suffered from feelings of self doubt since I was a child. I always wanted to be protected and loved but losing my father when I was 18 was devastating. Not because he died, he didn’t, but because he divorced my mother and started a new life and I never saw him again.

Over the years, I wanted to protect and heal everyone as a result so they didn’t hurt as much as I had hurt. I didn’t realize that getting hurt was character building and if faced and resolved, getting hurt can be a huge stepping stone. Guarding people from getting hurt emotionally is less important than helping to support them through the pain. It’s like a caterpillar emerging from a cocoon, pushing its way through a tiny hole, the force of it all, the struggle, is making it stronger so once it emerges, it can fly. Did you know that if you cut the sack right before the butterfly appears, it will be limp and just lay there and most likely, die? This is because the force of pushing itself out is what the wings needed to become strong.

I read a quote once from Brene Brown that resonated with me, “You are enough”. When I met the little owl in November, he reminded me that I am enough. That being human is okay and to focus on others and to guide them, while also caring for myself, is okay. But now in my life, the most important thing is caring for my son, being a watchful owl, a guide, a consistent source of love. He is my little mouse, I am his mama. That is enough because to him, I am enough. This owl made me see that I don’t need to heal the world, I really just need to be there for my child and then, everyone else can come later as time allows. This was a refreshing perspective for me and a first, for sure.

I Am Enough

Flashback to Zurich in that little shop… So you won’t believe this… The next day after encountering the little own, unknown to me, I ran into the artist at the Blickfang fair! In fact, I was a jury member and we had to pick nominees for an award. As I roamed the fair searching for a winner, looking at hundreds of products, there was the little owl! It couldn’t be! And the artist was there with it and all of her other creations too. I was so shy to say anything to her, so I only grabbed her business card and later, returned to meet with the other jury members and told them, “I nominate Babette Maeder!”.

Months later, the little owl still stayed on my mind. I thought about it nearly every day. Then one day an email arrived and it said, “It was very nice meeting you at Blickfang Zürich. I would love to invite you to my open studio this Friday, if you are in Zurich!”. It was from Babette. How could it be? She remembered me? I felt that the little owl was working behind-the-scenes. I felt he somehow wanted to live in my home.

Guess what? The owl lives in Hannover now. He arrived right before the birthday of my son. Babette Maeder has a permanent spot in my heart now through this small bird. I’ve been wanting to tell you this story for months, but I’ve been so overwhelmed with travel in the past few months (Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne, Paris, Milan, Cuxhaven, Berlin, Oberhausen…) that I couldn’t find a moment to type all of this out until today.

Thank you Babette for putting your work into the world and for touching hearts, like mine. Thank you for letting this owl remind me that to my son, and even to those I work with, and to my family and friends, that I am enough. What I give is enough. And that all of you reading are enough too. Focus on what matters and let the rest wait.

That feels nice.

Holly






Business

How To Crush It: Working With Brands e-Course

May 9, 2017

Oh no! I got so wrapped up in sharing my travel adventures that I still need to tell you all about my current e-course, Working With Brands From A-Z,  that kicked off yesterday and wraps up May 22, 2017! The first lesson was a video from me for 15 minutes followed by 3 lessons. It’s only a two week class so there is no long term commitment or pressure on your part, yet it’s absolutely packed with EVERYTHING you need to know about how to crush it when it comes to working with companies from the smallest to the largest. We’re covering everything we can in two weeks (lesson outline at the bottom of this post) from the importance of engagement on Instagram, the different campaigns you can do, what to get paid and how to ask for money, tips on how to maintain clients, sponsored blog content, how to run your business like a pro. This dynamic, interactive class is packed with ideas for working with companies on campaigns and in other creative ways too that don’t involve social media.

Enroll here today!

How To Crush It: Working With Brands e-Course

I am thrilled to teach this class because I have invested the past eleven years obsessing over blogging and digital marketing while also having to earn a living. I had to learn how to work with clients in a way that benefited them, myself and my readers while still maintaining a good reputation and not compromising my values. I have read and followed everything about working with brands and social media marketing in general and I’ve applied MOST of what I’ve learned… Though at times I didn’t listen and I failed miserably, and had to pull myself out of that hole of pain — but I learned anyway and pressed on. I have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars not listening to some of the advice I was given by well-meaning family and friends who knew a lot more about working with brands and marketing then I once did. I have also generated a lot of revenue by applying what I’ve learned and from thinking of new, creative ways to work with people. I’ve seen all sides – the darkest nights of my business and the brightest days.

All in all, I’ve learned a lot and I’m sharing all of my secrets and tips with you.

I’ve also been on both sides of marketing – for my own brand (decor8) and for other brands to help to promote and grow them. I’ve tried Facebook ads, Instagram ads, affiliate marketing, campaigns for brands, Skype consults with brands, running ads on decor8, hiring ad managers, being my own ad manager, teaching myself how to work with clients, flying to big cities to meet with some of the largest companies in the world to teach their teams how to use social media to extend their brand, lecturing before hundreds of bloggers on social media-related topics, retargeting, polling, newsletters, reading reading reading… If anyone can teach you about how to work with brands, it’s me. But it has taken me 11 years and you don’t have 11 years to learn this – so learn it all in 2 weeks from me.

Bottom line: If you want to work with brands, you have to be willing to spend $129 on this class OR be willing to take the time to teach yourself through trial and error as I have done for over a decade. Think of education as a big part of your self-care ritual because it is – it’s good for your self-esteem because when you are successful at what you do, you glow from the inside out. When you speak confidently about your work, are sought after by brands, when other bloggers look up to you because they see your good work, you shine! Then, you can share that glow with others and make them feel good. Plus, learning is the only way your business can survive and thrive – you have to keep firing up your brain to make new connections, form new ideas and get yourself out of your ruts and routines that can sometimes cause you to stagnant and ultimately, stink at what you do. Don’t be stinky! :)

Because this is the first and LAST time I will teach this topic, I will keep enrollment open for the next few days in case you want to get started. Class JUST began yesterday and new materials won’t go live again until tomorrow, so you haven’t lost time.

Enroll here today!

Full course outline below:
Different Ways To Work With Brands
What Brands Look For In Bloggers/Influencers/Partners
How To Write a Sponsored Post
How To Know The Right Brands For You
How To Find Brands And Reach Out To Them (Pitch email templates will be provided)
How To Post a Sponsored Instagram Photo (or IG Stories, IG Gallery, etc.)
Finding Agents And Ways To Work With Them
When Brands Reach Out To You: How To Handle Them
Pitch Ideas For Bloggers, Instagram Users, and Influencers
How To Pitch To Brands
Red Flags To Watch Out For
Deciding Your Rate
Asking For Money
What Do You Do When Brands Don’t Want To Pay?
Legal tips
Negotiating Contracts
Continuing The Relationship With Brands
30 minute live chat Q & A with your teacher and fellow students (once a week on Fridays)

See you in class!

Holly






Places

Garden & Home Blog Awards In Berlin

April 26, 2017

Hello! Are you thinking a lot about plants and gardening at moment? How about fresh flowers? Well, this weekend, I’ll be in Berlin for the Garden & Home Blog Award event sponsored by Blumen 1000 Gute Gründe, Tesa, Toom Baumarkt, Venso Ecosolutions, Siena Garden, Mein schöner Garten magazine from Burda, Amano Group and Visit Finland, all in conjunction with the big garden show – IGA Berlin 2017.

I can’t wait to meet the many garden and home bloggers attending and to present the winning blog in the “Best Blog Design” category (see all of the finalists here).

I’ve been working hard behind-the-scenes as part of the jury for the past several months and now it’s time to go and award our winners! So Bonny & Kleid, The Nina Edition OR Dekotopia will win in the category that I’ve been selected to present. I wish you three the best of luck, along with the other finalists in all of our categories.

Garden & Home Blog Awards In Berlin

Garden & Home Blog Awards In Berlin

Garden & Home Blog Awards In Berlin

Garden & Home Blog Awards In Berlin

Garden & Home Blog Awards In Berlin

Garden & Home Blog Awards In Berlin

It will be so good to be back in Berlin for a few days, I’m taking the train Saturday morning and returning Sunday night so while it’s only a quick trip, I will definitely be out and about and sharing my less than 48-hour adventure on @decor8 Instagram – which by the way, I recently passed 100k followers – I am very excited about that! So if you would like to follow me to see what I’m seeing in Berlin, you are more than welcome to travel along. I’ll include some IG Stories just for you, too!

Thank you Simone, Julia und Friederike from PRACHTSTERN for including me in this wonderful and meaningful event for bloggers.

(Photos: Blumen’s DIY page)






Interiors

IKEA Kitchen Hack Into Minty Green Gorgeousness

April 25, 2017

I came across an ad on Facebook today and I clicked it (yes, horror!) and landed on the website for Reform, a company that hacks IKEA kitchens with custom cabinets, counters, etc. I really like what they’ve done to this Danish home in minty green so I had to pop in for a moment to share it. I’m currently pretty dissatisfied with my standard IKEA kitchen (quality is good but everyone seems to have it so it feels boring) so I would love to customize it. Seeing Reform made me feel a bit inspired and encouraged to perhaps give my kitchen a makeover. I am so bored with the shiny white cabinet doors and the standard metal hardware that my son sliced his head open on during the first year of his life and his scar is proof of those sharp IKEA handles – I am ready for safer hardware and something a bit more personal.

IKEA Kitchen Hack Into Minty Green Gorgeousness
IKEA Kitchen Hack Into Minty Green Gorgeousness
IKEA Kitchen Hack Into Minty Green Gorgeousness
IKEA Kitchen Hack Into Minty Green Gorgeousness
IKEA Kitchen Hack Into Minty Green Gorgeousness

IKEA Kitchen Hack Into Minty Green Gorgeousness

Shown: homeowner Tikkie Elsøe

IKEA Kitchen Hack Into Minty Green Gorgeousness

Great touches of black throughout this open kitchen, dining and living space too – don’t you agree?

Note: The kitchen is a Basis 01 design. The color of the fronts is S2005-G20Y (green), and the countertop and handles are in natural oak. Their fronts fit all the cabinets from IKEA’s METOD and FAKTUM kitchens.

(Photos: Courtesy of Reform, Taken by Karen Maj Kornum, Post processing/editing: Holly Becker)






Interiors

10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See

April 24, 2017

Hi everyone! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about color and creative, fresh color combinations for interiors. Many want to make a fresh interiors start in the Spring in addition to a good thorough cleaning, so why not experiment with new colors? You can start small to see how they work. I add fresh flowers or flowering plants to experiment with color without a commitment. Once you see how a pop of red or bold pink looks in a room through a bouquet, and you’ve lived with it for a week, you may decide to experiment with that color in your soft furnishings or art. However you decide to add color, the first exercise is to find some color inspo and this post will definitely point you in the right direction.

I found a great resource from Studio David Thulstrup based in Copenhagen — it is their weekly colors and materials mood boards that they add to Pinterest. They are just phenomenal. You’ll want to follow them on Pinterest, particularly their “Our Materials Moods” page. They’re also on Instagram, which I only just found out a few minutes ago while looking around their website.

Below are 10 of my favorite color and materials combinations from Studio David Thulstrup. Maybe it’s time to add-in a fresh hue to your current palette, or a few? What do you think? And by the way, terrazzo is trending – have you noticed?

10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See

1. Green marble combined with warm elements. Brass, perforated metal, velvet, wine, yellow, pink.

10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See

2. Black and blush terrazzo. Travertine, linoleum, stone, pink, light blue, brown.

10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See

3. Dark emerald green with pastel tones and a dash of red. Velvet, emerald green, purple, brass, terrazzo, wood.

10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See

4. Pastel combo and travertine. Glass, dusty green, foam, velvet, cork, wool, pink, net, rubber, terrazzo, grey.

10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See

5. Leaf green and gray. Pop of yellow, terrazzo, natural wood, suede, frosted glass, red, blue.

10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See

6. Purple with mint green, lavender. Cork, stone, wood, chalk.

10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See

7. Blush, gray and touch of forest green. Natural wood, terrazzo, acrylic, fern, stone.

10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See

8. Shades of blue, yellow and orange. Ceramic tiles, colored wood, yellow, rust, orange, minerals, lavender, ceramic.

10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See

9. Purple velvet and iridescent glass with pop of pink. White, marble, wood, metal, terrazzo, red, pastels.

10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See

10. Pastels and lava stone. Aluminum, mesh, orange, blue, pink, yellow, stone, safe, pop of red, acrylic, glass pearls, mirror, resin, stone, steel.

Out of the 10 combinations shown above, do you have a favorite? 

(Photos + Styling: Studio David Thulstrup)






Places

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

April 22, 2017

Hi again and a very happy Friday to you! I simply must report in with more trends and highlights from Salone del Mobile and Milan Design Week. It was such a fantastic citywide explosion of design, I’ll definitely return in 2018 for more of Milan. I was honored to collaborate with Kvadrat on this assignment as their eyes and ears to bring back trend reports for their global clients and customers – and now briefly, here in this post.

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

Milan gave me the inspiration and interior design boost that I needed. I felt so fatigued by everything I’ve been seeing online, over and over again, that I found myself using Pinterest and Instagram less. Milan cured all of that for me with a fresh new outlook and I loved seeing all of the innovative, creative and clever ways that designers worked with not only materials in fresh, new ways but also in how they’re working to conceal things like a/v equipment and that they’re incorporating technology into kitchens, bathrooms and lighting that I found amazing to behold.

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

A list of TRENDS that stood out:

  • 60s and 70s era throw backs
  • art deco influences
  • Bauhaus geometry
  • Memphis-era influence
  • 80s influences as well – like all of the salmon, teal and gold
  • Color color color. White walls were hard to find. Wallpaper was also not that common, bold solid walls and rooms painted in several different colors were the big highlight
  • Circular shapes were all the rage – curvy is in – from sofas and chairs to lighting and coffee tables
  • Seating that looked “hairy”
  • Woven rattan furniture and lighting
  • Cast resin
  • 80s tubular metal chairs
  • Fringe on tables and seating
  • Quirky ceramics with faces and in odd shapes
  • Colored mirrors and glass
  • Luxurious fabrics – mostly solids, not a lot of pattern on soft furnishings – mostly on the floors
  • Bold, colorful area rugs
  • Marble, marble and more marble – in different colors and with dramatic swathes and veining
  • Lighting that stole the show – especially when it came to pendant lighting – the bolder the better
  • Lighting designers playing a lot now with shadows – what shapes could they cast
  • Bathrooms and kitchens have gone dark – light and bright no longer on trend
  • Plants faded into the past, fresh flowers are back
  • Designers worked a lot with creating a sensory experience in their many pop-up installations throughout the city – cinematic and theatrical, too. Lots of candles, music, layering, designers were really looking to give visitors a feeling of coming home and nesting but also that it was perfectly okay to be over the top – more is more!

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

Misc. highlights

  • My first visit to Bar Basso. I’ll be going back. It made no sense but everyone who was anyone was there, so why not?
  • Visiting the Rossana Orlandi Gallery and basking in the beauty of it all. I also liked seeing Ms. Orlandi herself sitting in the cafe surrounded by red tape so no one could cross over to meet her – made me giggle – reminded me of a crime scene. She’s such a great woman, I’d like to have had a chance to tell her so.
  • Eating lunch at Marta, next to Rossana Orlandi, because the vibe was right and food was delish.
  • Eating with 13 amazing people, organized by Agata Dimmich, at Carlo e Camilla. That place was fantastic. the chefs are all trained under Carlo Cracco, an Italian chef and television personality. Just go and thank me later. The interior alone was worth it, the cocktails, the food… But make a reservation well in advance or you can forget getting in.
  • My interview with Pavlo Schtakleff from  and later, running into him and his wife in downtown Milan (total coincidence) and his colleague and having dinner with them. What a gem this guy and his wife are and they have a three-year-old son like I do, so we had lots of funny stories to tell. I’ll share Pavlo and his brand with you next week.
  • My lunch with Amélie Du Passage from Petite Friture. I’ll share her interview on decor8 next week.
  • The DDN magazine blog tour, I wrote about it here.
  • Hanging out with Sania Pell and Mark Wilson. Big, big highlight.
  • Attending the Habitare and Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture party, Nakuna. I got to see some great examples of design coming out of Finland and it was very interesting.
  • Visited the IKEA festival — I enjoyed seeing the styled rooms by Pella Hedeby and Anna Lenskog Belfrage and the many new products IKEA will have soon in-store – like a natural-color rattan cabinet that really stole the show for me.
  • Walking 55 miles in a week and not really feeling it/noticing it until I got home and had to sleep for AN ENTIRE DAY.
  • Experiencing burrata cheese for the first time.
  • How cheap and easy it was to get around using the underground.
  • Eating a healthy lunch and recharging my phone at Re:Charge cafe from HumanScale in Brera — And the excellent service.
  • Escaping the city and ending up on the coast in Genoa and Portofino. The most beautiful coastline I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them in my life. Wow. I will return next year and spend an extra week just lounging at the beach.
  • Seeing “The Visit” from Studio Pepe (I could have moved in right away), Apparatus StudioDimore Studio (magical unicorn experience, no lie) and Salvatori Home in Brera. All were huge highlights but Dimore was out of this world, I can’t stop telling people about it.
  • Listening to Italian pop music for 7 days straight. I always try to do this when I travel – I bring my BoPlay and put it on in my room and synch it to my iPhone and go to the iTunes store, find the radio, and search for the pop music playlist for the country I’m in. Did this last month in Paris and found new music this way. Did the same in Milan, was great and definitely made me really feel “there”, you know? Do you do this too?
  • Noticing the great ceramics of MANI dotted around town. I first spotted her work at Ambiente in Frankfurt and felt they could be a real trend-piece, so seeing them around Milan was a real treat, especially when they were at some of the “it” spots.
  • Spending time with Desiree, Agata and Anastasia.
  • Seeing the interior design of Elisa Ossino at Salvatori Home.
  • The fashion downtown – strolling by the windows of the big Italian brands – very over-the-top in the best way.
  • The friendly and lovely locals in the neighborhood where my hotel was – how nice everyone was, opening doors, just being natural and authentic. Was really great. I can’t believe I’d never been to Italy before this.
  • Learning about the wallpaper designs of Calico Wallpaper, a Brooklyn-based brand. Stunning and drool inducing.
  • Experiencing the massive lighting stand, FLOS, at Salone del Mobile. Amazing.
  • How Milan uses every balcony, patio and roof to garden. It was just unreal to see this.
  • Checking out the gorgeous masks up close and personal, designed by GamFratesi, at the Kvadrat Milan showroom.
  • Meeting the Editor of Casa Facile and seeing my good friend Anabella give a demonstration for them using MT Tape. I loved also meeting so many Italian bloggers at her event, they were so warm and sweet to me. A real joy!
  • The colors of Milan – the buildings overall… Lots of mansions next to buildings in almost total ruins, but the gritty combined with the elegant was appealing to me thought I secretly wanted to take an old building, buy it, renovate and move right in. The overall palette of buildings in the city were very muted shades of orange, yellow, red and blue.
  • Seeing Florim’s pastel tiles in their showroom.
  • Learning about File Under Pop paints from Denmark.
  • Finding the work of Germans Ermics. Love.
  • ALL OF THE SUNSHINE.

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

Side Notes: The one thing I wondered when I was in Milan though was why aren’t more of the big brands involved in the massive and amazing show of design and art? You had IKEA and COS, Marni and Kvadrat, and of course AirB&B… But what about the big tech players like Apple? What about Nike, Pinterest or Instagram? And from the United States, where were some of the leaders in the American design sector? While they may not have a stand at Salone del Mobile, why not partake in a creative installation in the city, sponsor something amazing in Milan, or collaborate with some European brands to build a large area for people to co-work in the city during the week – which would have been amazing if the city had some satellite spots to plug in and work without having to search for a wifi spot or worse, cram into a cafe or pray you could find a plug in a restaurant during lunch.

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

I would like to see the big players get more involved next year in Milan Design Week to not only help fund the smaller design studios who may not have the cash to do their own installation, but also to provide journalists with refuge spots for plugging in and working, etc.

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

Milan Design Week Trends + Highlights You Need To Know

So… that’s my week in Milan. Did you go too? What were your impressions? Did you write about it on your blog – if so, link it below in the comments section so my readers can follow along (and me too!).

Grazie mille!
Holly x

Many thanks to Kvadrat and Kinnasand for this collaboration and for sending me to Milan. All opinions and photographs are my own. Please follow these brands who support me and my work on Instagram @kvadrattextiles and @kinnasand. Thank you.






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