Bloggers

Join Me at Meet The Blogger in Amsterdam!

August 22, 2016

Two great things to share today… First, Meet The Blogger! Next, I feel so good if I just say the word… Suit, Suit, Suitcase! Yes I’m a dork, I know… But I have a lot of travel coming up, including Amsterdam on October 1 for MTB, and I needed luggage so SuitSuit Fabulous Fifties collection in MINT arrived and totally saved the day. Best part… I’ll never miss them on the conveyer belt at the airport because they really stand out. And there are three in the collection so I scooped the smallest one up for my little boy so he can travel with a matching bag to mama. At least we’ll see how long that lasts until he wants his own with cars and trucks on it. :)

Join Me at Meet The Blogger in Amsterdam!

I have so many nice places to visit this Autumn and Winter, and I may be getting back to America, so I’m really looking forward to being on the road seeing nice people and dear friends to give lectures, sign books and just hang out with cool people that inspire me. I love work travel, it hardly feels like work, so I consider myself very lucky in this regard.

So… Are you going to MEET THE BLOGGER in Amsterdam on October 1? Please do! I haven’t been at an event in years – the last was in London in 2012, so this is a big scary step for me to get back out there into the world of blog conferences, speaking engagements and book events. I’m very excited but definitely have shaky knees. I took time off during my pregnancy and the first few years of being a new mom so I could really stay home with him, write books (I finished two since I was pregnant) and focus on re-launching Blogging Your Way and other business-related goals.  I’m glad I did, but now I’m eager to go back out there and meet bloggers and creatives again, see what has changed since I took a leave of absense from it all, and most importantly, to connect and inspire as well as be inspired.

On Saturday, October 1st I will be at Meet The Blogger giving the keynote at 10:15 am – a 45 minute discussion to include q+a about creating content – photography and words – for social media and publications from the heart and with passion and courage. I have A LOT to share that I’ve learned in my 10 years of having a career as a blogger and writer, and I promise it will be a discussion like no other because I plan to share my failings and successes and most importantly, help everyone attending to walk away with a lot more than they entered the room with! It’s going to be a very intimate discussion, that is my goal at least, so I do hope you will be there.

To get your ticket to MEET THE BLOGGER please sign up here for Saturday which includes my presentation along with a bunch of other speakers and workshops. Tickets are nearly sold out to act fast. You have to join us!

SEE YOU IN AMSTERDAM!!!! :)

xo

Holly

(Photograph: Holly Becker for decor8)






Small Business

Create Your Own Creative Space – But How?

August 16, 2016

My husband always says I need to work outside of the house with my own studio OR I need to open a big shop. I can’t say he’s wrong. I have several rooms in our home where I store props, my work, have fixed spaces for workshops and of course, my office… But it’s in our home and so I never feel like there is a disconnect from work, ever. I have another office that I use outside of the house where friends work, it’s like a shared space where I pop in whenever I need to but only my laptop stays there… The stuff I need to do the more physical part of my job is all at home.

Create Your Own Creative Space - But How?

photo: sarah sherman samuel for light lab

Whenever I work on my books (currently, I’m planning my 5th) and shoot for clients, my husband gets stressed because part of the house has days when it turns into a photo studio. Last week, several rooms were used for video work so it was upside down again for a few days. As I’m trying to build my business in new ways, I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

I know my fellow creative friends like Sarah, Victoria, Emily, PaulJoy deal with constantly taking their neat creative studios and homes and turn them on their head for shoots and clients… I often wonder how their families deal with it and their colleagues… But more than that, I wonder how to deal with it in my own life — how I can perhaps find some peace within all of this creative, exciting madness!? Well let me rephrase that… I have plenty of peace with it, but with a little boy and a husband, something has to change when your man isn’t enjoying the chaos as much as you do. My toddler stormed into my studio yesterday with a black magic market and immediately grabbed a brand new book and colored all over the cover in mere seconds. It’s impossible to work the same way with a little child around, so I have to get a system in place asap.

Create Your Own Creative Space - But How?

photo: sarah sherman samuel for light lab

I’ve been looking for a creative space here in Hannover, Germany for nearly 6 years, actively for 4 years. Still nothing. I see a separate work space as the only solution – so if you know of anything in Hannover, Germany that I can transform into a large studio space where I can also invite others in to share the space from the time-to-time, please let me know. Because I would love to create my own Light Lab Space and have had a business plan in my hand for this idea for years. I want it so badly and I have faith that someday I will get it but until this happens, I need to create realistic, workable ways to deal with my work at home.

Create Your Own Creative Space - But How?

photo: sarah sherman samuel for light lab

By the way, you can see more photos of the space shown in this post here.

So! Do you have tips and ideas on how to manage working from home – I could use some creative suggestions. Specifically, how do you handle prop storage, and management after you no longer need the props… And how do you handle working at home when you have photo shoots and people coming in and out of the house when you also have a husband and toddler at home? How do you manage it all?

(All photography: Sarah Sherman Samuel)






Travel

Magical Midsommer In Gotland Sweden

August 15, 2016

Good morning friends, I hope that you had a very nice weekend. I spent time in the countryside which was refreshing and relaxing – picking flowers, walking through the vast fields, taking photos and enjoying time with my little boy. I woke this morning to realize that I’d not shared many photos with you from my trip to Gotland. If you recall this past June, I was on a styling and photography retreat taught by German Artist Dietland Wolf in Sweden… And do to begin the week here is my Midsummer photo story with a strong focus on the land where we stayed and the golden sunlight.

Magical Midsommer In Gotland Sweden

All of these were taken on the last evening of my stay on Gotland when the sun bathed the island in the most radiant golden, warm light. When I first started taking photos, the light was more clear and white… Then it slowly became more and more golden. You will notice this in the photos I think. It was surreal to experience the sunset there; I’d not experienced light quite like this before, it was magical and left me in love with Gotland even more. I felt like the island was a special place for not only its natural beauty and stillness, but for the light quality. I noticed it constantly no matter how clear the skies – the island always had the most beautiful light quality so taking photos was a dream come true for me.

Magical Midsommer In Gotland Sweden

Magical Midsommer In Gotland Sweden

Magical Midsommer In Gotland Sweden

Magical Midsommer In Gotland Sweden

Magical Midsommer In Gotland Sweden
I hope you’ve enjoy these photos as much I enjoyed taking them. As I was roaming the property where we stayed to capture my surroundings, I felt overwhelmed with emotion as I knew the next morning I would fly home and I didn’t want the magic to end. I could have easily spent a month on that island (or the entire summer) if my little boy could have been by my side. I kept thinking that the island was perfect for children and families because there was so much to explore and was like going back in time – everything there was so simple, fresh and connected to nature. The bakeries, the farms where we ate, even the little gift shops – simple and authentic in every way.

Magical Midsommer In Gotland Sweden

Magical Midsommer In Gotland Sweden

Magical Midsommer In Gotland Sweden

Magical Midsommer In Gotland Sweden

If you ever get a chance to vacation to the island of Gotland, or take a workshop with Dietlind, don’t even think twice about it – go – and bring your camera!
(Photography: Holly Becker for decor8)






Round-ups

10 Favorite Rug Sources That I Love

August 11, 2016

I love throw rugs, in fact I have 11 currently but about 10 more in storage. Yeah, it’s a little problem, sort of like my chair fetish and problem with indulging in ribbons and paper products and ceramics. Most decor enthusiasts and stylists and decorators and okay, designers and anyone else who is working in a field that involves the home, develops obsessions / fixations on specific things. What is yours?

10 Favorite Rug Sources That I Love

I grew up with wall-to-wall carpet in every home I’d ever lived in until I was 16. Wood floors only arrived to my living space when my parents moved to Boston, to the Swampscott/Marblehead border, and our beachfront home had wooden floors and it was just surreal to me, at sweet 16, to walk on wooden floors. It felt naked, empty, unfinished. I instantly purchased throw rugs for comfort and texture. So many years later, though I love wood, concrete, tile and anything but wall-to-wall carpet, I still prefer the feeling of a soft rug beneath my feet.

Aside from obvious comfort, I also love how they ground the room and in larger rooms, help to define spaces. For instance, a living/dining room combo in a loft can become two rooms without the expense of addition of walls – just add a large area rug beneath your dining table and chairs and a second rug beneath your sofa and seating area to define each “room”. Rugs are really good like that.

If you have wall-to-wall carpet, lots of people still insist on throw rugs to add another layer of comfort but even more, to bring in color and pattern. Some renters have wall-to-wall and don’t like it so by adding an area rug they are able to inject some color and a more personal touch to their rental home.

10 Favorite Rug Sources That I Love

10 Favorite Rug Sources That I Love
10 Favorite Rug Sources That I Love

Where do I buy rugs? I’ll list my most recent suppliers below, my current top 10. Some are in Germany or Denmark but most are available and/or based in the USA. I also have a new source that I’m loving that I found while perusing Pinterest this morning, an interiors brand called Caitlin Wilson Design. LOVE. I really want one of CWD’s rugs now and am trying to figure out which one and how I’m going to make this happen. I’ve sprinkled this post with great rugs from their website – fantastic patterns, right!?

10 Favorite Rug Sources That I Love

Okay so here are my 10 Great Rug Sources at the moment.
1 / Lulu & Georgia – Modern, feminine, eclectic, they have it all.
2 / Dash & Albert – More traditional, very well made.
3 / Impressionen – They stock many brands from all over Europe, not a lot of rugs in their catalog but what they do carry are really good
4 / ABC Carpet + Home – I love buying and/or drooling at their carpets. When in NYC, I always visit their store to see what’s new. They always stock the freshest finds.
5 / House Doctor – Danish firm with nice rugs that are geometric, hand woven, and very affordable.
6 / Armadillo – Australian firm that has dealers in Europe and now, an American showroom. I love their rugs, I have 3 and find them just wonderful and so natural.
7 / HK Living – They have lots of rugs from Morocco that are quite colorful and fun.
8 / West Elm – More trend-driven rugs, very nice, great quality, love this resource for not only price but selection.
9 / Pink Rug Co – I love this Etsy dealer who lives in Morocco and has the best vintage rugs ever. Affordable too and she ships globally.
10 / and… Caitlin Wilson Design – Fun colors and patterns, glamorous, girly and preppy.

I also have a little bonus for you today. Have you ever wondered about rug sizing and placement by room? Caitlin Wilson Design has a very informative post on their blog about this with illustrations for living, dining and bedroom. Here’s the link.

Where do you get YOUR rugs?

(Photography: Caitlin Wilson Design)






Flowers

Flowers By Sonja Klein

August 11, 2016

It’s so common when working primarily online to forget what’s happening in our local everyday community. I fall into this trap now and then, so I thought today I would highlight a local creative kindred spirit that I only recently discovered who has inspired me so much through her floral arrangements. Her name is Sonja Klein from Blumig Heiraten and she is based in Hannover, Germany where I also live at the moment. My wheels are already spinning in terms of how we could collaborate. Here is Sonja…

Flowers By Sonja Klein

And these are some of her floral designs for mostly weddings…

Flowers By Sonja Klein

Flowers By Sonja Klein

Flowers By Sonja Klein

Flowers By Sonja Klein

Flowers By Sonja Klein

Flowers By Sonja Klein

Flowers By Sonja Klein

Flowers By Sonja Klein

Flowers By Sonja Klein

Flowers By Sonja Klein

 Flowers By Sonja Klein

Flowers By Sonja Klein

All of the above photos were taken by a team of local wedding photographers that I also recently learned of, I’ll list them below in case you are looking for great photographers in Hannover or northern Germany in general. Also the cake and cupcakes are by the lovely local baker, Mundus.

Sebastian Weiß
Christin Lange (she is amazing, she took photos for our family when Aidan was born)
Stephanie Segowrney Brouwer
Diana Frohmueller
Anja Schneemann

I love the work that Sonja does, such a great eye – beautiful!






From The Heart

When You Earn More Money Than Your Man

August 10, 2016

First let me say that if I offend anyone by what I’m about to say, please leave a comment and chime in on the conversation because I’d like to hear your side too. But this is my side, my opinion and I’m basing it on my own conversations with women all over the world – not just Americans or Germans or women you think I’m mostly referring. ALL women from ALL over. So with that being out of the way, I shall begin my essay.

When You Earn More Money Than Your Man

Money. It’s never been a hard topic for me to talk about even though I grew up watching my parents fight over it pretty much daily. I don’t understand why something that can be such a bridge in your life can be so bad or so hard to discuss. I’m married and when we get low on funds my first reaction isn’t to fight, it’s to discuss the situation and get crackin’ – do what we can to make it and make it fast. I always tell my husband that he married the best wife in the world when it comes to this topic – I would flip burgers or clean bathrooms if all the chips were down and we needed to pay the rent. I have been close to broke before, I was broke once, and I will never go there again if I am healthy enough to work. No way. My ego will never stand in the way of me going forth and getting a job, any job… I’d perform nearly any (legal and moral) task on earth to support myself and my family financially. I am that woman who would (and has) worked 2-3 jobs to make it. I’m not lazy and my father gave me one thing that stuck – work ethic. I may not always be realistic about money and earnings, but my crazy strong work ethic means that I won’t go down without a fight.

Yet there is something I have to say about money that may make some of you feel a little awkward after I say this. Please don’t. I have earned quite a bit of it in my lifetime, before blogging and especially after blogging. There is no limit to the amount of money a creative person can earn online these days if you work your ___ off and have a few good ideas and are willing to sweat blood to get it. I remember the first 8 years of my online career very clearly because I worked 6-7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, or more. I remember staying up until 4am to write on my blog and to turn assignments in to magazines and newspapers on time. I worked in my sleep. Then I got pregnant and cut back but I couldn’t take a maternity leave, so I took off two weeks leave after I had my baby. I wish I could have taken 6-12 months like most of my German friends (I live in Germany now in case some of you missed that I relocated overseas from Boston) but I couldn’t because my money keeps our family above water.

I have a real love/hate with that last sentence.

I love it because I never in my life thought I could earn more than, let me just say it, a man. When I was growing up, men were the ones earning all of the money and women had part-time jobs or, if working full-time, were definitely not in leadership roles as they are today. So I’m very proud of myself that women have broken the glass ceiling in some parts of the world and can potentially earn more than a man based on their TALENT not on their GENDER. I never understood and still don’t, why a women can do the same job as a man but earn substantially less. But that’s a whole ‘nother conversation.

So I love that I can earn money without my gender being part of that.

Yet I also hate that I earn more than my husband. Mostly because I know that it causes stress in our relationship. I have a lot of pressure to keep earning and sometimes I want to just pull back and go on vacation for a month and blog from the French Riviera. But I can’t because blogging isn’t the only way I earn this living, there is so much more and so many hours are needed to accomplish all that I do.

I believe that the truth is, at their core – men do not like to earn less money than a woman. Do you agree? I know lots of men will say I’m wrong, and I’m sure in some cases I am wrong, but in most cases I’m not wrong. I’ve seen it. I have blogger friends who have divorced over money relating to her earning more than him. I’ve researched this topic ad nauseam and it’s the same across the board. Men don’t like earning less than their woman. I’ve heard it has to do with male pride, I’ve heard it has to do with feeling like they are competing, I’ve heard it has to do with ego. I’ve also heard it has to do with feeling guilty.

But I haven’t really heard WHY THE HELL IT MATTERS so much. I love the idea of pooling cash and both partners dive in and view it as money THEY are making together. Not HER money, not HIS money. THEIR MONEY. If he is helping with the children, and cleaning the house, and doing laundry, and cooking as much as his woman, and he is also being supportive and helping her to be a top performer through his love, then that works, right? Yet, I hear just the opposite. That men don’t want to be known as “house husbands” and they don’t want to stay home and do domestic things while their wife earns the family income. One guy I interviewed when I was writing this article bluntly said to me, “I don’t want to be her bitch!”.

Eek.

I have a male friend, he is working in restaurants mostly until he finds a job in his profession, and he hates it because his partner is some kind of manager at her job and earns more money than he does. And he doesn’t like this at all and has confessed this to me. And to make it worse, she rubs it in his face that he doesn’t have a “real job” and actually declines dinner parties because he isn’t very interesting for her friends and family to be around since he’s not working. It’s not looking to good for appearances you know, that she is the big manager and he is the lowly waiter. This makes me absolutely sick. But there are women who shame their men and I find this disrespectful and a real sign that their isn’t real love in a relationship like that. And when this happens, I get why the man would hate to earn less than their woman.

But I’m not talking about those cases.

I’m talking about female friends that I have who have largely internet-based businesses and they make so much money that their partner could never earn that – even if they were a brain surgeon or a top engineer at some amazing firm – some earn more than half a million a year and up… The ladies I know who aren’t partnered get great dates but never get long term relationships because of the MONEY. Men are intimidated the moment money comes up and they realize their cute girlfriend earns more in one year than he earns in 3 years… And other woman I know are newly divorced and get lots of dates but when it gets serious, and the guy learns of her income, forget it… She hears crickets too. You know the expression ladies… When the crickets come, the man is done.

All of this also leads me to think that some rare couples must exist out there where the woman is making more than the man and the man is cool with it. Right? But I don’t hear those stories. I know Oprah earns more than her man but the media also has had fun at his expense throughout the years letting everyone know it.

So what about a woman who is self made? Who earns several hundred thousand a year in her sleep because she’s an “Influencer”? How do these women get anywhere with men long term? Because all of the men I know are really insecure dating these power women. And how do these women not get used when they do partner up? How are they not becoming burdened with the pressure of being the sole provider? And how are these power women dating men who make less not getting used by these men – how do they know if the man loves them for them or their money?

So this is my essay and now I really need to know what YOU think, all of you, men and women. Because I’m curious if some of you are earning more than your man and if so, how do you deal with this at home? How does HE deal with it? Do you fight over it? And single girls, has your income prevented you from him putting a ring on it? And men, do you have any thoughts on this topic?

(Photography: Holly Becker)

 






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