Pretty (Happy, Nice) Girls

Smiling, happy girls backstage at Chloe, Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015 via Her New Tribe

I've been on a client shoot all week teaming with pretty girls (and guys). The group is also smart, funny, insanely talented, interesting, creative, and, most important, supremely nice.

The experience feels timely, as Audrey and I have been spending a lot of time lately talking about mean girls, cliques, and how to survive the general social nightmare that is tweenhood. She knows how she feels, how she wishes it would be, but she's having a hard time navigating it.

I just keep reminding her that the adults she admires most now were probably not the ones setting the world on fire in junior high, and that it never (every) pays to be (or be friends with) the mean girls.

I try to drill in to her every day that being kind and thoughtful and happy (or as happy as an angsty pre-teen can be) is the best brand of cool.

Wish me luck.


On Being Present

My friend and one of my mentors Christine Allison sent me a link to a piece about artist Anne Truitt's book, The Architecture of Bliss, last week, and minutes after reading it, I hopped on the amazon.com and purchased that bad boy.

It was this excerpt that did the trick:

"My mother’s moral force radiated from her like a gentle pulsation. Sensitive people picked it up and found her presence delicately satisfying.  
She was herself only when alone.  
This satisfaction with being solitary was a tremendous source of freedom for me. It implied a delight in self and affirmed my own obsessive sieving of experience. By taking her mind totally off me, she gave me my own autonomy. I knew from experience that she was careful and responsible. I realized that she would have watched me had she not been sure that I was all right. And, if she were sure, I could be sure. Very early in my life, I set out stoutly to look around at everything."
I spend a lot of time trying not to sink into the black hole of motherhood guilt lately. I'm not doing enough/I work too much/I'm not up at school enough/I'm not present enough.

That last one is the kicker for me, as deep down I know that's the only one that really matters. That the girls have their own rich inner lives, that they're comfortable being alone, that they feel confident and strong and capable isn't dependent on me baking that extra batch of cookies for the Halloween carnival or chaperoning the field trip. No, those things form in them because they know I'm there, fully.

This constant busyness we've cultivated has made me and Bryan supremely distracted people. Sadly, I see it happening to Audrey too. (Millie, still has the blissful single-focusedness of youth... I.m jealous.) True Presence (with a capital 'P') is rare. Constant multi-tasking is the name of the game friends. It's the only way to get it all done, we argue. It's a dangerous place to be.

But I think so much of our perpetual "being distracted" is our (sad) attempt at simultaneously trying to give to the girls and give to ourselves. It's when we're depleted that we're at our worst as parents, partners, friends (the list goes on). So in addition to being present with the girlies when we're with the girlies, carving out time for ourselves and showing our kids what it looks like to have our own rich inner lives is a key part of the equation too.

So here's to a week of (trying) to be present and (trying) to snatch time to make ourselves better people. It's not going to be easy, as it's gonna be a crazy week at work and the girlies activities are at an all time high. But something's gotta give. I'm not sure of the plan, except to recognize and attempt to course correct. (I'm guessing it's also going to involve a lot of putting down the iPhone.)

Wish us (me) luck.


Loloi Rug's Fall Ad Campaign (Or Life Lessons Learned On A Photo Shoot)

Xavier takes center stage...

A while back, the incredibly kind and lovely folks at Loloi asked me to be a part of their new ad campaign featuring creative people in their own homes. I said yes, and then (and this was the hard part given my control freak tendencies), I had to, well, let things go a bit.

Some outtakes from the day

The day-long shoot involved a talented team of home stylists, photographers, creative directors, and a hair and makeup artist who schlepped, hauled, rearranged, rearranged again, polished, fluffed (you get the idea) my living room (and me). And then I got to pose for a gazillion photos, which, I can safely say, is my least. favorite. thing. to. do.

But, here's the thing, through it all, I also got a big fat lesson from the universe in the form of experiencing first hand what it feels like when someone else comes into your home and starts moving your stuff around (i.e. the exact same thing I do to all my beautiful, wonderful clients every day) or when you're the one in front of the camera hoping you don't look incredibly stupid (what a slew of amazing subjects did for me during my tenure at D Moms).

So, let's just say I didn't only get to be in a national ad campaign, but I (hopefully) became mildly less aesthetically tyrannical too.


The finished product in Rue

The campaign, which dropped this week in Rue, House Beautiful, and Elle Decor, also introduced me to the amazing Loloi team (who have since become friends), and their gorgeous rugs (Adler, JourneySaraha, and Vincent, I'm talking to you).

I think it's safe to say I came out the winner that day (even if my hair was flat).


Loving...On A Wednesday

More of Karina's gorgeous work... Obsessed.

Celine designer Phoebe Philo taking her daughter to work. Go Phoebe! (Photo by Saskia Lawaks for Vogue Paris via Keep it Chic.)

Le Labo's Santal 26... Best. Candle. Ever. Full stop.

Zak and Fox's killer linen textiles inspired by "long-abandoned Roman ruins in Morocco." Dying to use this on a chair or a bench or a stool or a... (you get the idea).

Every piece in Protagonist's fall collection via The Line. Stunning minimalism at its best. These are "have forever" clothes friends.


Some Scenes... From The Week

Millie taking in some sculpture at the Nasher

Vignettes in Joshua Rice and Jessica Stewart Lendvay's stunning shared office at Barry Whistler Gallery. (Notice the Allison V. Smith photo of my dreams above... sigh).

Dallas ceramicist Paul Schneider's gorgeous work...

Pretty paintings at BelAir Studio & Design

Rugs at our favorite secret spot... (Shhh it's Art of Old India in Dallas).

Oragami sculpture at Gallerie Noir

The stacks at Barry Whistler

More Gallerie Noir goodness...

Talley Dunn

Joshua Rice Design

Antiques Moderne

Gallerie Noir

B. Gover

Barry Whistler Gallery

Adam Silverman at The Nasher Sculpture Center

Let's be honest here. If I'm going to be good at my job, I have to get out of the studio. I have to explore and suss things out, seeing them first hand, touching, experiencing, marveling. And yet, dang it man; it's hard to pull away from the computer. And worse yet, when I do leave the electronic box-o-information, I tend to hit my usual haunts.

Sure there's the actual "computer work" that has to be done: the emails to answer, the research to do, the orders to place, the estimating and invoicing and just general doing. But then there's the rabbit hole -- down, down, down (for hours on end) into the visual other world that is the Interwebs. (Pinterest I'm talking to you.)

So I'm proud to report that a series of otherwise unplanned events over the past week had me breaking the "chained to my computer" cycle. Friends, I got out. I went to galleries I'd never been to, off-the-beaten-path shops, nurseries previously unfrequented, antique stores, showrooms... I went to the Nasher twice (!). I saw, touched, ogled. It was a good thing.

So now I'm making it official, marking time on my calendar (thanks for the push Sam) for a weekly marvel date. I'll hit some of my favorite spots, throw a couple of newbies into the mix, and see what happens.



Some (Late) Scenes...From The Weekend

Most of my weekends feel decidedly less than glamorous (think: catching up on the laundry, watering the plants, taking in a kiddo volleyball game or two, hitting the grocery, and other sundry/not very exciting errands...). But not this weekend friends. No slogging for me. I went to tea at the Taschen Library in The Joule, a luncheon at Neiman Marcus, dinner at a friend's book and cactus-laden house, and a magical brunch featuring roaming chickens at Janet's lovely casa.

Watch out! I'm officially a fancy lady (of course my version of fancy involves cacti and chickens). I mean I didn't cook once this weekend.

Laundry and the grocery store, you are dead to me.

I could get used to this.


Millie Finally Gets Her Day

I think it's safe to say that my sweet Millie frequently gets the shaft. She is, after all, the little sister -- she gets hand-me-down clothes, hand-me-down shoes, hand-me-down bedrooms, and lately even hand-me-down attention. (That last one being particularly shameful to admit, but I blame it on Audrey's current struggles with 5th grade homework... Oy vey.)

The kid has been squatting in her sister's old room, last "decorated" when said sister was 2, and has never complained once. Never mind that this very same sister has been the recipient of two bedroom makeovers, including one that was designed for a magazine shoot (i.e. we blew it out). Clearly it's high time that the Millster got her due.

Enter "Operation Millie's Totally Awesome New Purple Bedroom" (her title).

Ok, confession time. I've been acting all freaked out about the purple thing, but it's all a big charade. I love freakin' purple. Love it. It's my secret guilty pleasure. In fact, purples's been my jam since I was a Prince-obsessed tween.

Prince...sigh. Ok, moving on.

We've been pinning for months. Scheming. Strategizing. Negotiating. Millie was a tough customer. Scratch that. She was the Hardest. Client. Ever. (Kid's got an opinion.) And finally we settled on the design direction happening in that moodboard above. Finally.

Now it's go time. We swathed the walls in Benjamin Moore's Majestic Mauve last week. Curtains were procured. A new rug is in route. Art is being pondered. I've cajoled Bryan into some IKEA hacking action. It's all coming together.

Can't wait to get this bad boy done. Stay tuned...


And Speaking of Birthdays...Scenes From a (Fete Filled) Weekend

The weekend involved celebrating two of my favorite people's special days...

First up, sweet baby Wil's first birthday soiree, wherein there was tamale noshing, cake smashing, teepee lounging, and feather donning. (Oh and the littles had fun too.) Sam knocked it out of the park with a slew of sweet/simple/meaningful/memorable/clever details. Sam is just good like that.

It was the perfect way to honor the first 365 days of this amazing little man's life. Well played sister. Well played.

Next up my rockin' little mama Gracie's mermaid-themed 9th birthday festivities. Utter magic. I'm telling you friends, nobody creates dreamier kiddo parties than my insanely, gobsmackingly, (unfairly) creative friend Achlee. Full stop.

Hope your weekend was splendid.