April 25, 2013

The Global Wares of Cuyana + A Seattle Spring Soirée

Cuyana Sustainable Style and a Seattle Spring Soirée

Let's face it, sustainability and style don't always manage to come together successfully. But Cuyana founders Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah have succeeded in what can sometimes seem the almost impossible. Custom designing their own products, they source and have created country-specific, limited-edition collections that celebrate each country's culture and local craftsmanship.

Cuyana Products

As if that wasn't enough of a great start, a percentage of their profits are donated to "charity: water" in an effort to help support the charity's mission in providing safe drinking water to communities around the world. Does it get much better than that? Um, yeah. Because they also offer free shipping and free returns (on U.S. orders)! I know, right?! (And their reusable gift boxes? Don't get me started! Love!)

To top things off, Cuyana is throwing a "Spring Soirée" in Seattle next Tuesday, April 30th, from 5pm to 8pm at Black Bottle with myself and Cassandra of Coco+Kelley being your hosts! And you're invited! Come and enjoy cocktails and bites while we peruse Cuyana's wares together! You'll get to see Cuyana's products up close and personal plus get 10% off that night. When you RSVP (Yes, Seattle! R. S. V. P! You know what I'm talking about!), select "The Bedlam of Beefy" in the drop-down on the RSVP page and you'll have the chance to win a gorgeous leather tote. And if you refer 5 friends you'll score a free canvas tote as Cuyana's "thank you" for helping spread the word (details on the RSVP page).

Let's get our sustainable, stylish swag on, kids! Click the image below to sign up and I'll see you there!

Cuyana Spring Soirée Invite - Click Here to RSVP


April 11, 2013

Art & Manufacture Ceramics




Blue and white is a classic combination, certainly a favorite one for me, and I love the rustic quality of its application on the offerings from Art & Manufacture Ceramics. Something about these pieces has me imagining sipping on morning tea or coffee while hearing chirping birds, the slight creaking of a swaying hammock, and the crunch of pea gravel underfoot. And if there's the sound of a conversation in French? That sure wouldn't hurt either.

AND I *LOVE* CLEAN, CLASSIC WHITE.


April 09, 2013

Pillow Love from My Bearded Pigeon


Throw pillows are such an easy way to interject some color and personality into a design scheme. And, frankly, I'd much rather open a box or a shopping bag and, bam, pull out some pop than pour over color samples and commit to a weekend of painting. My Bearded Pigeon has some super sweet options in their Etsy shop that can help you do that very thing.

I know it's Springtime for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere so some of you might be expecting something a bit more colorful and/or floral being featured. But as I live in the Pacific Northwest and am surrounded by pine-laden woodland goodness I couldn't help but get down with their nature-inspired prints. But from the nature-inspired options above, to antique maps, to this pixel rose print, there are plenty of possibilities for getting on with your pillow pop.


April 08, 2013

Flight Tag Prints by Neil Stevens


Flight Tag Prints by Neil Stevens • London & New York

Growing up I was lucky enough to do a lot of traveling. A lot. I miss my jet-setting days so much (despite the fact that there are flight attendants from British Airways out there that really deserve an apology from me - let's just say my young, inexperienced self had a serious throwdown - throwdown - with the in-flight bar service). Anyway, my subsequent travels have been decidedly more refined much like these sleek and sophisticated Flight Tag prints by image maker Neil Stevens. I love how they possess a decidedly contemporary quality while simultaneously harkening back to the good ole days of air travel. You remember those days? When we got all dressed up and behaved ourselves with conduct more becoming? Well, some of us, anyway.

Flight Tag Prints by Neil Stevens • Venice & Paris

April 05, 2013

Block Printing Party at the Seattle West Elm & Friday Favorites



Ready for the weekend, kids? I'm sure many of you are! Hope your week has gone along swimmingly and that you're ready to dive right into your Saturday. (Ignore what I just did there. "Swimmingly"? "Dive"? Ugh. Sorry.) Anyway, happy Friday. 

This week I was fortunate enough to get the creative juices flowing by participating in a block printing workshop presented by the Seattle West Elm and Urban Craft Uprising. So. Much. Fun! Led by the lovely and talented Phoebe of elSage Designs, a delightful group of us gathered in the middle of the West Elm showroom to learn about block printing on textiles and to give a go at printing up our own tote bag. Phoebe made up some super cute kits with everything we needed to get to sketching, carving, and printing.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: SKETCHING AND CARVING MY PRINTING BLOCK, MY FINAL PRINTED TOTE, SOME FINAL NAUTICAL WARES MADE BY MY TABLE MATE RENAE. AND HER CLASSIC WHALE MOTIF IN ACTION.

Now, my background is in printmaking (Yeah. I actually have a degree. Surprise, surprise.) but my skills have been laying waaaaay dormant. Much. Too. Long. Phoebe's workshop was just what I needed to clear out the cobwebs and a reminder that all my excuses for not keeping up with my printing were, ultimately, hogwash. Within a couple of hours we were all walking out with our custom printed totes in hand! Easy peasy! I did get a little hung up in the beginning wanting to bust out something super stylish but I let all of that go and decided to just do whatever and have fun. I think our mutual fears of getting ink on anything in the store helped a lot of us let go of whatever design perfectionism we might have been feeling. Such a great, casual, creative time!

Be sure to check out your local West Elm Facebook page (e.g., "West Elm Seattle") and see what fun stuff may be happening in your area. Up next in Seattle is Entertaining Made Easy with my churros compadre Cassandra from Coco + Kelley which will be a great way to kick off Spring and Summer entertaining season! Ooh, that reminds me! Better take my kaftans to the cleaners for all those upcoming pool parties! What? You were expecting me to say my Speedos? Yeah, none of us want that I can assure you.

ME WITH SOME OF MY PRINTING BUDDIES AND SABRINA FROM WEST ELM IN THE CENTER. THAT'S PHOEBE, OUR WONDERFUL INSTRUCTOR ON THE FAR RIGHT.


And now for some Friday favorites to send you off into the weekend...

April 03, 2013

Spring Awakening


PHOTO BY UNCLE BEEFY

I'm guessing you're all a bit churro-ed out at this point, am I right? Hey, I don't blame you. It was something of a churros-fest for a bit around my house after that post and I can tell you that several items of my wardrobe had more than enough of churros, also. So if you need someone/something sympathetic to talk to I'll send you a pair of my pants.

Anyway, a lot happened shortly after that post. A root canal, a crown, a gum graft surgery, the dog needing knee surgery (cha-ching, cha-ching), more difficult moments with my mom, and then receiving the word from my, now former, employer that I was getting laid off. [What the...?! Thump!] What timing!!! There's no question that wishing for better timing played on rapid repeat in the immediate moment that I received that news. But what better timing? I mean, really? It's such a pointless consideration since the timing is what it is and wishing for reality to be other than what it is is pure crazy-making. Believe me, I'm an expert in this department. Would you like your straightjacket gift wrapped?

However, as luck/grace would have it, I slipped into a whole new approach this time around. Remember all that talk about surrender in this post? And this one? Well, I sure do! And I'm hoping the 3rd time is a charm and the universe can finally move on and get around to teaching me more about 'abundance' or 'employment'. In all seriousness, though, within moments of hearing the news that I'd be losing my job this feeling of complete calm came over me and I knew that this was all going to work out. No fainting couches necessary. No piñatas for the pending pity party. No faux-positive pep talks. Just an inner, confident stillness that I hadn't experienced before.

As the news spread, people seemed to expect two reactions from me - tears and/or anger. Anger was a big assumed reaction. But somewhere inside of me I knew that anger was as pointless as 'better timing' and it never even bubbled much less rose to the surface. Yes I was sad that 2.5 years of working with some great people was coming to an end but this also made me feel more grateful for the experience. Instead of being focused on what was being taken I was finally able to focus on the gratitude for what I'd been given. What a concept.

And if you question whether God has a sense of humor? Know that the day I got my layoff notice was the day after I had my gum graft surgery done. Why is that funny? Because I was completely unable to eat OR drink alcohol! What good is despair without cake or cocktails?!! This time there would be no stuffing down of emotions with the tines of a fork. No drowning of sorrows with a bottle of bubbles. Nope, kids, I was on my own in dealing with this cluster of whatnot. And what a difference that made. Because in staring this beast down directly I realized it wasn't nearly as vicious as I might have imagined. If this was my circus, this time I'd be the ringleader.

Now this isn't to say there haven't been blips of worry on the radar and it's only natural to expect that more of those moments may come. But, all in all, if any moment finally tested my ability to surrender then this had to be it. Hadn't it? Lord I hope so. Regardless, right now I'm just wanting to mark this occasion and really try to remember what a profound feeling of relief this new approach has given me versus the years of angst-ridden days and nights needlessly fighting against what simply was.

In some ways I wonder why it took so long. In some ways this all seems rather obvious now. But that's just hindsight talking. And looking back is pointless when you're finally looking forward.


p.s. - Hey, and while I'm here, if you know of anyone or anyplace looking for creative, artistic, social media savvy, hard workers or just for someone with model good looks and the potential to add a serious upgrade to the office snack pool please let me know. If you're on LinkedIn you can find out more about me via my profile. Thanks, kids!