Friday, January 13, 2012


This post is inspired by a fabulous dinner I had recently with my friend Jules at Picán, an amazing restaurant in downtown Oakland, California. (Yes, they have amazing restaurants in Oakland. Several in fact!) The food was superb and the overall experience was one of the best I have had in a long time.

The owner, Michael, who we schmoozed it up with, describes the cuisine as “gourmet southern with a hit of California.” Michael, or Mr. Picán as Jules and I affectionately call him, was interested in what we do. We told him we were both going through career/life transitions. He shared his success story with us which began as an executive in corporate America for many years and now as a restaurant entrepreneur.

We talked a lot about taking leaps of faith in life and following our dreams. He told us the story about how bumblebees really shouldn’t be able to fly, based on how they are designed and specifically their wingspan. Some scientists contend that aerodynamically bees shouldn’t be able to fly. But bumblebees don’t know this and they continue to fly on in blissful ignorance.

He related this to persevering and not listening to people who tell you you can’t have the life you want. Yes, we got pretty deep with Mr. Picán which just added to our overall memorable experience. So when I saw this fabulous quote stamped on a burlap tote today I thought of Jules and Mr. Picán and following my dreams.

Pave Bee Pendant Necklace
Stella & Dot photo

And made me want to start wearing my Stella & Dot bee necklace again for good fortune!

Stella & Dot photo

Or how about this fabulous bee broach, also from Stella & Dot?

 glassybaby photo

One more thing, on a recent visit to Seattle, Jules bought her first glassybaby. The color is called "believe." She lights this gorgeous teal vessel every night before she goes to bed.
Her mantra is to believe in herself, in her dreams. Maybe it should be bee-lieve!

Hopefully someday soon I will be writing a blog post about Jules and her successful book and movie deal that I know will become a reality for her because she (and I) believe!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Living Colorfully

 Kate Spade photo

I have to say I was a bit disappointed this morning when I saw Kate Spade's Facebook post that they are abandoning their year of color theme and moving onto stripes. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE stripes, and I’m sure Kate’s will be colorful, but I really enjoyed how they approached and elevated color last year. If you missed it, their color blog is a lot of fun.

 Kate Spade photo
Fortunately my mom gave me Kate's The Guide to Living Colorfully book for Christmas. It is a collection of six little books, each dedicated to a different facet of a well-lived life. According to Kate Spade creative director, Deborah Lloyd, "in the pages of dress, celebrate, charm, decorate, travel and think, we've compiled our tips on topics like demystifying the dress code, hosting a theme party (one of my favorite things!), determining how much to spend on a wedding present and deciding how to set up house in an apartment." I have some thoughts and ideas on these topics too that I will be sharing with you in my next few posts.

Today, I’m starting with “dress” because it’s fun and the colors that are coming out for spring from Tory Burch, J. Crew and yes, Kate Spade, are so vibrant and fresh!
In my in-box this morning, I received this fabulous email from Tory Burch touting colored denim as the bright new basic. I’m glad I can get another season out of my orange jeans.

Tory Burch photo

Now I have my eye on J. Crew’s green jeans. Have you seen them? Wow! This picture doesn't do them justice.

J. Crew photo

Speaking of J. Crew, have you seen their new catalog? It is complete eye candy and so colorful. The cover is covered (literally) with ballet flats in a variety of colors.

J. Crew photo

I am in love with this trench coat from J. Crew, in “modern red” of course! It's the perfect pop of color for a gray, rainy Seattle day.

 J. Crew photo

And I’ve decided a red dress is a must-have, even more than a LBD. I bought a red dress for my birthday party recently and have gotten so much wear out of it. I accessorize it differently each time and it feels like a different dress every time I wear it.

 Kate Spade photo

I leave you with this quote from the end of Kate Spade's Dress Colorfully book.  

Kate Spade photo

Until next time, live colorfully!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Swedish Modern

Happy New Year friends! This is my first post of 2012. Yikes! I want to get into a more regular schedule but life is busy, so my goal is to post as much as I can in the New Year without being hard on myself for not fitting it in. I get so much joy out of writing this blog and sharing my thoughts, ideas, inspirations and adventures with you in this way.

During winter break, Sofia and I went on an adventure to Ballard – a neighborhood in Seattle where many Scandinavian immigrants settled years ago. Now Ballard is a hip, gentrified neighborhood with few signs of the Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Finns and Icelanders who settled there. Except for the Nordic Heritage Museum, a gem of a place that houses “an internationally recognized museum and cultural center where people of all backgrounds are welcomed to be inspired by the values, traditions, art, and spirit of the Nordic peoples” (according to their website).  Inspired we were!

Our adventure took us to the Nordic Heritage Museum because I wanted to see the Josef Frank exhibit. I had never heard of Frank before but when I saw an ad for the exhibit featuring his colorful textile designs, I knew I would love it and that Sofia would too. And we did!

Josef Frank Exhibition

Austrian-born designer and architect Frank (1885–1967) is considered a leading pioneer of Swedish Modern design. Frank married a Swede and moved to Stockholm in 1933. Unlike the severe approach to modernism taken by many of his contemporaries, Frank emphasized comfort and informality, producing whimsical designs inspired by nature. Frank’s lavish use of bright, bold colors and floral patterns quickly became popular with a host of Swedish designers and clientele.

Frank believed that complex, colorful patterns produced a calming effect in a room as long as the walls remained white. According to Frank, "The modern living room has white walls; that is the only possibility to preserve the freedom of introducing into a room whatever one wants without being hindered by colored decorations." Such walls, Frank believed, provided the proper backdrop for mixing an assortment of textile patterns. One textile might serve as curtains, another as a bedspread, and a third as furniture upholstery.
Sofia's favorite was the Hawaii pattern. (below) According to Svenskt Tenn, Frank found inspiration for the Hawaii pattern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There he found a remarkable collection of “Trees of Life” from the north side of the Indian peninsula. This pattern, with its intertwined stems, bears similarities to these trees.

My favorite was this Cattleya pattern. Cattleya is an orchid that grows in the rainforests of South America. I love the vivid colors and the happy, joyful flower pattern. I especially loved it on this couch - see below. Doesn't it just look so inviting and comfy?

I thought this green chair looked fun and inviting too.
Apartment Therapy went a little crazy with Josef Frank wallpaper and pillows... pretty fun if you ask me.

If you're up for a little Scandinavian culture and a colorful adventure, I hope you will visit The Enduring Designs of Josef Frank exhibit, which runs through February 19 at the Nordic Heritage Museum.