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Tour Gracias Madre In West Hollywood, California

Hey guys, its Kelly Brown and Holly asked me to stop in from time to time to post tours of beautiful spaces that I shoot professionally so you get to see them first. This is my debut post on decor8 so I hope that you enjoy it! I am so excited to share with you a shoot I did recently at Gracias Madre, a plant-based (vegetarian & vegan) Mexican-inspired restaurant in sunny West Hollywood, California. In my opinion, the only thing better than eating a really, really great meal, is eating it in a beautiful atmosphere. Wendy Haworth and her design team along with patio designer, Scott Shrader, have created just that at Gracias Madre. By the way, you can click on any image below for super large views to ohhh and ahhh over the details and to pin!

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I visited the restaurant during a recent trip to LA and immediately fell in love with the space, not to mention the food! I couldn’t help myself but to walk around the entire restaurant checking out every inch of the space and noting all the amazing design features. Lets just say its on my “must go to” list in LA. The plantain fritters and the sopes, so delicious! Oh, and the drinks! Small batch mescals and tequila with housemade syrups, shrubs, tinctures, and bitters! Yep, I had myself a good time!

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With a Mexican flare, the interior is fresh and bright, perfectly utilizing color and pattern to balance out the large space. Cozy corner nooks and an amazing outdoor patio makes you want to stay there eating and drinking all night. Its no surprise that Gracias Madre received the People’s Choice Award from The American Institute of Architect’s 10th Annual Restaurant Design Awards in Los Angeles.

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Executive Chef, Chandra Gilbert and Beverage Director, Jason Eisner go above and beyond to create beautifully distinct dishes from local and organic ingredients. Here’s what they say about the restaurant: “We first conceived the idea of Gracias Madre while visiting the families of our employees in Mexico. We wanted to both; offer organic Mexican food to the communities we serve as well as honor the mothers who work tirelessly in the kitchens of Mexico and often live without their husbands and children while they work side by side with us in California. Inspired by some of the recipes of these families and the love of their mothers, Gracias Madre serves organic, farm fresh, locally sourced food, full of flavor and love.” So, what do you think? Wouldn’t you love to eat (and drink!) in this beautiful space?! I know I can’t wait to go back! -Kelly

(text/photography kelly brown)

Posted in food on July 22, 2014

Food In Motion: Red Cabbage Smoothie

Are you guys brave foodies? Me, not so much. But sometimes I have my moments. Hello everyone, this is Jewels again from Liz & Jewels with another episode for Food in Motion. Here in New York, I see people on the streets all the time with smoothies in unexpected colors – mostly green. So they must be putting things in there that go beyond berries and bananas. Word on the healthy street is that it’s kale and spinach. I did not grow up putting vegetable in my smoothie, but I am willing to give it a try!

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So for this culinary experiment I’ve mixed red cabbage, cucumber, pear, pear juice, mint, and for optional seasoning I’ve added lime. As I was making this I kept thinking, “This will NOT be good. Colorful. Photogenic. YES. But not good (to taste). Why am I doing this.” I had a childish “gross-face” on when I finally tried it. But luckily my narrow-minded taste buds were happily surprised because this smoothie actually tastes AMAZING. I promise you: it is sweet, refreshing, minty – basically everything you expect from a smoothie!

This time I was having a little fun making the video by trying out stop motion for the very first time! Yay! Another first!!

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And for those who still need a recipe after watching, here we go:

A large handful of chopped up red cabbage
1/3 of a cucumber, sliced
1/2 a pear, sliced
1 cup of pear juice
a few mint leaves
lime for decoration
ice cubes

Throw everything in the mixer. Add some ice cubes. Be creative with the decoration. Enjoy! – Julia

(Video and text: Julia Cawley)

Posted in Food In Motion on July 21, 2014

Micro Trend: Pineapples

Hello friends and happy Saturday to you all! My lovely columnist and dear friend Gudy Herder will no longer cover trends on decor8 since she’s decided to take a leave from traveling to trend shows as regularly, so I’ve decided to go back to producing my random trend posts based on what I see online and during my travels locally. I will miss Gudy but I’m sure she’ll come back and visit us again soon. So let’s talk about a trendy little motif that you’ll see dotted about in the fashion and interiors world right now, particularly in parts of the world where it’s summer. PINEAPPLES! 3aa9a744c9473bbd15d20e251e6e2307 pineappletrenddecor8

Pineapple feet print (bottom left) by Kim Fearheiley.

You either love ‘em or hate ‘em. In celebration of this trend, I had a virgin piña colada for lunch with my girlfriend yesterday which helped reiterate the fact that I’m a pineapple fan to the core. As a motif and food! I believe its popularity and whether YOU like it or not has to do with where you live. Like if you’re in the middle of Ohio this motif may not speak to you as much as if you live in Miami or LA. I grew up on the South Carolina seacoast so I can totally imagine working pineapples into our family home back in the day or running around with a pineapple clutch under my arm. But in northern Germany, not so much. For me to hop on this trend, I’d have to work it in subtlety at home or include it in a summer party theme. I remember as a kid we always had a golden pineapple on our bookcase. It symbolized hospitality. And of course, one on our doormat. Maybe that was just a southern thing growing up in South Carolina. I remember seeing pineapples more commonly there, especially as brass door knockers. So tell me, where are you based, would a pineapple motif fit your world? Or would it feel out of place? So, let’s look at some fun pineapple-y things that I found online that may inspire you. I personally LOVE seeing all of the yellow and citrus hues – it makes me happy!

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Pineapple Love print from Hard to Find.

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DIY pineapple ring dish by Jade and Fern.

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Pineapple t-shirt from The Working Girl.

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Pineapple pattern from we heart it.

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Pineapple wallpaper designed by Rifle Paper for Hygge & West.

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Gold pineapple wall decals by Empire Lane.

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DIY Pineapple piñata by Studio DIY.

pineapplepillows Pineapple throw pillow by Eloise Roberts, throw pillow by Sibylline, throw pillow by Jacqueline Maldonado, pillow by Grace, solo pineapple by ez pudewa, pillow by marta li, fresh pineapple by penelope prince, fruit pineapple by Madelyn Bilsborough.

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Pineapple straws DIY from Sugar and Charm.

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Pineapple art print by ez pudewa, print by Grace, tribal pineapple print by sunkissed laughter, The Gilded Pineapple by Amy Lowry.

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Free printable gift wrap at  Whimsy Box.

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Mint green resin pineapple, white pineapple lamp from Horchow, pineapple accent lamps from Horchow, Pineapple poster from French Blossom.

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Print from Letters on Love on Etsy.

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iPhone cases by Field Trip: pink blushmint, blue, black.

pineapplestuff Girl’s t-shirt from JCrew,  Labdip skinny jeans at Anthropologie in pineapple print, Pineapple still life tee at Anthropologie, Anthro pineapple print pillow, pineapple-y paradise cove tablecloth, pineapple tights for kids by Strathcona.

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 A more grown up take on this trend is the Pineapple print by Kara Rosenlund.

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Pineapple cookie jar as seen on the Hunted Interior.

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Great art in the home and one with a pineapple! Fun! As seen on room gallery.

 So what do ya think? Are you in love or not? Psst: Looking for pineapple print fabrics? Visit spoonflower here. Or are you feeling hungry after seeing these lovely prints? Try this pineapple skinny smoothie…

Have a lovely weekend everyone, see you next week!

(images linked to their sources above.)

 

Posted in trends on July 19, 2014

Can Full-time Bloggers Live Off Of Rainbows + Hugs?

Hello lovely readers and friends. How are you today? I had quite a good week because it began with our wedding anniversary which was so, so nice this year to celebrate it with our baby. I hope all is well with you, too. So! I want to bring something up in this space because I wonder what your thoughts are and I wonder if this is just one rare comment or if lots of people are beginning to see blogger’s who make money as the bad guys? So let’s see what you think.

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I already know what I think! First, the comment that was left on my blog last night.

“dear holly, please allow me to be very frank. it’s all too much for me. all your books and now an online shop – you are marketing yourself too much for my taste. it has become all about earning money and i can feel the spirit fading away. so sorry to say so and i really grant you every success possible but i fear you are loosing your magic touch by selling, selling and more selling. still, all the best, uschi.”

I’m open to comments left by readers, I mean, we all have a right to our opinion. Yet, I’m always baffled when someone thinks a blogger who spends 8-10 hours a day putting together content for their site, employing others, writing books, teaching workshops, etc. is somehow supposed to be doing all of this for free and the moment they explore alternatives, they’re told they are “losing their magic”. They are judged because they earn their living from this work. Every blogger that I know who is having success with it tries to turn it into something that yields revenue so they can quit their jobs and spend time doing something that enriches their life. What’s wrong with that, really? If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be back in my cubicle at the investments company in Boston feeling like I’d never reach my childhood dream of authoring books. Isn’t this what we want for others though, to come out from under the clouds and find something positive to get involved in that makes them happy that is also good work that impacts others in a positive way? Don’t we want happiness for others?

This morning my husband told me he replied to a comment on my blog. I asked him which comment because I had approved the one above last night so quickly that I didn’t even read it. I was so tired and the baby needed me. When I read his comment, replying to the one above, the tears started to flow. He really nailed it for me – how I feel about making money as a blogger, how I feel about marketing what I do, all of it. So please read his reply below. I wonder if perhaps this will encourage those of you who, like me, are trying to keep it real and support your families by doing what you enjoy.

Hallo Uschi,

This is Thorsten, Holly’s husband and the “tech guy” behind decor8. I’ve just read your comment while performing some maintenance on decor8. This isn’t the first comment of this kind on decor8, by no means, and it certainly won’t be the last. I don’t usually comment on Holly’s blog since being her husband we have our conversations offline, in person. But there are occasions where I feel compelled to join a conversation publicly for means of coming to my wife’s aid. This is such a case.

I have been at Holly’s side, and on her side, ever since she started blogging back in 2006. She had and always will have my respect, support and admiration for all her hard work. I have been with her through the sweat and tears, the bullying, the name calling, the attacks on her reputation by other bloggers. It was atrocious at times, it was repulsive, it was disgusting. But she stuck with it. She had a goal: to make her dream of becoming a (paid) writer come true. As a writer myself sharing that same dream I kept saying “go for it”. I am proud of her for all she’s accomplished – proud of her successful blog, proud of her many published articles, proud of her books and all that’s yet to come.

Do you know how all this comes about? Through hard work. Unlike a good majority of bloggers Holly doesn’t grab content from other sites and reword it. She tries hard to make sure all her posts are not only original, as much as online writing can be original these days, but also reflective of her vision. This takes time and effort, often in excess of eight hours a day. She then publishes it free of charge on her blog for everyone’s enjoyment. In addition she wrote three books so far, each one taking a good year of preparation, negotiation, and traveling. I was there, I know first hand. I know about the stress, the tears, the heartaches, the doubts.

Now, as mentioned, I am a writer myself. I used to write articles for magazines, newspapers and various multimedia outlets. I call myself a journalist. A journalist is someone who writes professionally usually producing work for hire or selling articles. No one would ever accuse me of selling, selling, selling or losing my magic touch because I charge for what I write. In fact, if publishers would expect me to write for free I’d complain, probably loudly, on the web. Many people would come to my aid denouncing the “evil” publishers, those “greedy bastards”, the “disgusting freeloaders”. I expect to be paid for my hard work, everyone does.

Yet somehow bloggers have no right to that. They are expected to publish content for free. They are expected to do it out of the goodness of their hearts. They are expected to be magical creatures apparently living off of rainbows and hugs. Dare I say this holds true mostly for female bloggers. The moment a female blogger tries to find forms of compensation for her hard work she is chastised by a good percentage of her gender. She’s selling out. On the other hand if I, as a man, were to start a tech blog, had ads from major sponsors, wrote tech books, went on paid speaking assignments, did consultations etc. I’d be considered a successful man. Seth Godin comes to mind, also Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. It speaks for the still pitiful state of female empowerment in our day and age, the biggest opponents being other females.

So I say, YES, this is in part about earning money. Of course it is. How can it not be? How can Holly and other predominantly female bloggers be rightfully expected to do all this work for nil? More so for those who have made this a family business. Worse yet, are such family businesses judged by tired old societal frameworks like the good housewife and the hard working husband? He goes off to work while she takes care of the home and the children and everything she does is a hobby and will not be allowed to ever be more than that? Aren’t we beyond the Mad Men era by now?

Thorsten

So what do you bloggers and friends of bloggers think of this? I am curious so chime in!

(image: rainbow garland, etsy)

Posted in real talk on July 18, 2014

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