A couple of weeks ago, my lovely and talented friend Hilary popped by the studio to shoot our work space and record an interview for her fantastic blog Our Style Stories. It was such a great experience from start to finish. That Hilary is a pretty rad gal -- a total class act. Full stop.
Herewith a few more snaps from Hilary's visit. And if you're so inclined you can listen to our interview here.
Last week was a mash up of office organizing (my sample closet is a thing of beauty friends), a little fun with fabric paint, rock shopping, final preparations for Thrift Studio, a very, very early morning news appearance that had Sam and me waking at the altogether ungodly hour of 3:15 a.m., and a big DIY-heavy install at the Galleria Dallas (which happened to occur right after the very, very early morning news appearance.) Let's just say I was not my most bright and shiny and leave it at that, ok?
Post said appearance + install, I hopped in the car with the fam and made the trek down to Austin for Audrey's Destination Imagination team (a very cool nationwide program) to compete at state. In between the mixers and the challenges and the general pint-sized creative goodness, we managed to nosh some tacos, hit Spartan and JM Dry Goods, and squeeze in some bonding time with my college bff and her hubby and girlies. Alas Audrey's team didn't make it to Nationals (the top five teams go and they placed sixth...heart-breaking), but the experience was invaluable. Once she made it past the anger and sadness, we were ripe for some "why losing is sometimes a (really) good thing" action, followed by some (equally essential) Amy's ice cream action.
She seemed to emerge from the whole enterprise happy and generally unscathed. I'd like to think it was my wise words, but it was probably the ice cream...
Shit, who am I kidding. It was definitely the ice cream.
A little reminder of where it all started (i.e. our inspiration board).
Not long after I joined Swoon, our mutual friends Kim Turner and Lisa Robison, the lovely, passionate, and immensely inspiring duo behind Dwell With Dignity, asked Sam and I if we'd like to design a vignette for their spring Thrift Studio event. It took us, oh, about 2.5 seconds to respond with a resounding Yes.
For the uninitiated, Dwell With Dignity is an amazing non-profit organization made up of interior designers and volunteers "dedicated to creating soothing, inspiring homes for families struggling with homelessness and poverty." The organization designs, provides, and installs home interiors (think: furnishings, art, bedding, kitchen supplies, food in the pantry -- the whole enchilada) with the belief that changing a person's surroundings can help change their outlook on life. Clearly, a mission I wholeheartedly support.
The velvet curtains going up...we're getting there.
Twice a year the organization hosts their Thrift Studio fundraiser, a 30 day pop-up shop selling furniture, housewares, accessories and high end designer finds to the public. The event kicks off with a preview party featuring room vignettes created by six local designers using items from the Dwell With Dignity warehouse as well as donated items. Everything in the vignettes is for sale with all proceeds benefiting Dwell with Dignity.
I'm not gonna lie friends, creating the vignette is an undertaking. It's not unlike (I can only imagine, of course) one of those whirlwind TV design shows. There's the mad dash through the warehouse alongside your fellow designers to nab your picks. There's the procurement of other lovely goods to take things to the next level (Global Views and Duralee came through for us, big time.) And then there's the design and install using all manner of grit, ingenuity, and, maybe (but I'm not saying for sure), a little bubble gum, band aids, and a handful of swear words.
But it is, without a doubt, worth it. From our initial mood board (photo one) to the finished space (snippets below), we were inspired and excited by the organization, the cause, our fellow designers. We'd do it again in a heart beat.
If you're in Dallas you can still buy tickets to this Thursday's Preview Party where the spaces will be officially unveiled in their entirety. I'd love to see you there!
Snippets from our finished space. I'll share the entire room after this Thursday's Preview Party.
Image of me, Sam, and Wil hard at work taken by the lovely Hilary Walker
Last summer, when my friend and now partner-in-crime Sam approached me about joining her at Swoon, one of the topics that came up was surviving/thriving as a working mama. At the time, Sam was pregnant with her first child, in her final trimester, about to enter an entirely new phase of her life while at the helm of a growing business. Suffice to say, she was at a major crossroads.
Being a dear friend, she also knew that I was pretty darn close to complete and total burn out. I loved my job at D, loved being an editor, but the whole writing three blogs/producing a quarterly magazine with only one other person/serving as market editor for another bimonthly publication was starting to take its toll. I was tired, mildly irritable, and definitely stressed. But most distressing was the fact that I was starting to feel like, well, not exactly the world's #1 mom. Oh and the best part? My current job was overseeing a magazine focused on how to be a more balanced/happy/inspired mother.
Sam and I knew that there wasn't a magic bullet, no working mother panacea, and, as sad as it is to admit, more than likely no such thing as work/life balance. But we also had a hunch that there was a better way... I mean there had to be, right?
I've been at the studio for nearly eight (!) months now... Our crew includes seven employees, three dogs, and, occasionally, two girlies (mine) and a dreamy, dimpled baby boy (Sam's). (And apparently we're not alone). Our days consist of strategizing, dreaming, designing, making, schlepping, hauling, and sometimes a little drinking and dancing. In between, we dash out for parent reader and pediatrician appointments and school performances, and we try our darndest to stay sane while doing it (see the drinking and dancing).
Some days we pull it off. Some days, well, not so much. But we at least know we're taking a stab at that better way. It's a start. And that's enough for me.
A snippet from our Thrift Studio vignette... more to come soon. Stay tuned.
Millie and Wil hanging out sans mamas
Last week we were all about installing our vignette space for Dwell With Dignity's fantastic Thrift Studio event (so excited to be a part of this amazing organization), which, I'm not gonna lie, was a bit of an epic undertaking. So, by Friday, I was in serious need of a little downtime. Truth be told, I've been in need of a little mama downtime for a while... It's easily been two years since I've gone away on any sort of girlfriend trip -- you know, the kind where you can chat it up with your homies, imbibe a bit, and (essential to the whole operation) not be needed by anyone.
So a two-day excursion with Sam and our friend Sarah to Round Top for the annual spring bacchanal-o-antiques really couldn't have come at a better time. And we were prepared friends -- stacks of magazines, fully charged phones primed for pinning, ample car snacks, tunes -- primed and ready for all the treasures awaiting us in the dusty fields. Watch out.
The trip did not disappoint, as we came home toting some serious collective goodness. The high points of which included: a big stack of Turkish towels (all); brass urns, ink drawings, pottery, and a kilim rug (me); more art, a killer marble sink, and an insanely beautiful slab of petrified wood (Sam); even more art and a snowy white cowhide rug (Sarah).
Never mind that the adventure also included getting trapped inside a small town Wal Mart during a monster hail storm (we made the best of it by giving ourselves manicures at the customer service desk), two massive steak dinners, a stolen piece of art (never fear, it was an accident and we promptly went back and paid for it), and an iPhone being hurled out the car window as we sped down the highway (don't ask).
I rarely devote a loving post to a single person, place, or thing, but this week I'm making an exception for the insanely lovely artwork created by NG Collective.
All masterful plains of color and sinuous curves, the abstract paintings are the product of a long-distance creative collaboration between sisters Laura Naples and Kristen Giorgi. I've been Internet friends with Laura since I first started blogging 7 (!) years ago, so I love seeing how she's evolved as an artist. But I really love the idea of sisters creating beautiful things together (ahem, Audrey and Millie...hint, hint). Love, love, love that action.