A Miami Guide to Photo Styling

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That’s it! I’m moving to Miami.

Okay, not really but it would be nice, wouldn’t it? Hot temps, killer cocktails, and art deco architecture that makes you stop in your gladiator sandals – what could be more tempting?

Over the past three months, I’ve been on a bit of a travel splurge. I managed to cover five cities in five weekends; eating up (literally and figuratively) every bite of culture possible. September took me to New Orleans, where the French-inspired artwork, jazz music and cajan tastes filled the streets. October started in Sea Island, Georgia and ended on what would become the unintentional Florida excursion: Miami one week, spontaneous Taylor Swift concert in Tampa the next, and two weeks after that, a trip to Orlando Disney’s Magic Kingdom for a work conference. Not bad, aye?

Not only did was the site seeing creatively inspiring, but it also brought me back to basics. Take South Beach Miami for instance. Yes, the streets may be filled with barefoot tourists and restaurant hostesses tempting you with BOGO margaritas, but the city has an added pop. It’s inspired by the art deco era of architecture and I just can’t get enough.

The art deco style is characterized by its bold geometric shapes and vibrant, high contrast colors. Though the style is often noted for it’s symmetry, it is also renowned for it’s intricate ornamentation. Now now, I won’t make you sit through another art history class (am I the only person in the world who got anything out of those?!), but I will give you the goods on how to take this deco-fab look with you.

Upon arriving home and making my travel photos frame-ready, I realized these art deco photographs highlighted each of the styling techniques I use daily. As we all know, it’s the smallest details that can elevate your social media pages the most. Let’s talk photo styling, shall we?

The off center photo on the left let's the fruit take the stage. The green apples are a perfect contrast against the pink of the fruit's skin.
The off-center photo on the left lets the fruit take the stage. The green apples are a perfect contrast against the pink of the fruit’s skin.

The Rule of Thirds. There is something beautiful about a perfectly centered shot; but there is something interesting about an off-center frame. Let the items in the back of the frame tell a story too. Try it at home: use the gridlines on your iPhone camera to map out your space.


 

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Create Angles. The straight and narrow is an obvious choice. Adding a sharp angle to your photo makes for unexpected drama. Try it at home: perhaps that marble cheese board turns a sharp 45 degrees before snapping the holiday tabletop pic.


 

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For added drama, take your negative space to the max by highlighting a single object in your shot. But don’t forget the rule of thirds!

Never Forget Negative Space. My coworker makes fun of me for this one (It needs more negative space, dang it!). I am a true believer that the items in your photo should be balanced by the same amount of negative space. My OCD can be at ease! Try it at home: start with a blank canvas an step back – literally. Your morning read and Christmas socks will shine a little brighter by using your cozy white comforter as negative space.


 

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Taken in Sea Island, Georgia. I love the way the palms create an organic frame around this sanctuary. Natural details at their finest!

Add life. Avoid the art history still life paintings you studied by adding life to your photographs. Try it at home: live plants dangling from your styled #shelfie or even a hand reaching for popcorn on your Sunday vibes post will work.


 

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Don’t forget the hidden detail. People appreciate the authenticity in your posts. Don’t skimp on making sure you capture ever detail. Try it at home: an ornate vintage tea cup can add instant style to a stale coffee table shot.


Lastly, the golden rule. Always, always photograph your subject in natural light. Yes, that even means your Christmas tree!

Share your shots with me on Instagram with #boldwithblanc. Happy styling! 

 

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The Fake It ‘Til You Make It Theory

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In the eighth grade, my best friend Lindsay introduced me to a theory of hers: fake it ’til you make it. No, she wasn’t telling me to get catty with the popular crowd. She wasn’t telling me to cheat on tests or go to the tanning bed. She was teaching me to work hard and never let anyone or anything get me down. When the going gets tough, smack a smile on and keep pushing because, ultimately, you are worth more than the tough time you are going through.

A bit harder than it sounds, huh? When school work turns into work-work, friendships come and go so quickly, and high school flings turn into long distance challenges, this theory can sometimes be forgotten. Yet even after ten years, our juvenile hypothesis still exists. Today, I like to think of that 8th grade advice as my beginner’s course at Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS academy.

New York Time's Best Seller, #GIRLBOSS (photo sourced)
New York Time’s Best Seller, #GIRLBOSS (photo sourced)

You may have heard of Sophia Amoruso. She turned her hobby of selling vintage clothing into a 28-million dollar corporation called Nasty Gal – without borrowing a dime, I might add. She is also the author of the New York Times Bestseller, #GIRLBOSSSophia knows what’s up, and if you ask me, she is an avid user of the F.I.T.Y.M.I theory.

I read #GIRLBOSS about eight months ago. To this day, it has become some sort of ambition-bible to me. I have never been one to have a strict belief system. I don’t put all my eggs in one basket when it comes to luck, magic, or anything of the sorts. I guess I have found that there is too much uncertainty in life. Though, there is one thing I can count on 100% of the time and that is myself. No tricks in the book can work as well as me working my ass off to reach a goal. Period. And when times get rough with work or relationships, that’s when you roll with the punches and keep moving.

I think it has to be mentioned that since the day I was born, my mother has warned me of two (among many) tormenting habits of mine. One is the ever-classic “watch your tone, Tarah Kathryn” and the other being “You are your own worst enemy.” Whether it was a prom dress that I wasn’t 150% confident in, a senior thesis that I picked to pieces right before it was due, or the 10-billion mistakes I made when starting my first job, I have NEVER had a problem scrutinizing myself.  Honestly, I think it comes pretty natural to most of us.

Now, I like to think of myself as a little angel and devil; a cheerleader and rioter; a Jekyll and Hyde of sorts. Everyone gets into a rut every now and then. It’s important to know how to motivate and have confidence in yourself because, trust me, sometimes it’s all that matters. It’s all about kicking ass but knowing when your plate is too full (sorry October blog posts!). Whenever I have a stressful week or a day that makes me feel numb inside and causes me to have to ice my eyeballs from computer-staring (yes, that happens. Sorry doc.), I turn to chapter six and let Sophia tell me why it’s so important to keep going and keep pushing.

“You get back what you put out, so you might as well think positively, focus on visualizing what you want instead of getting distracted by what you don’t want, and send the universe your good intentions so that it can send them right back.”

Without even knowing it, Sophia has read the F.I.T.Y.M.I handbook in more ways than one. In an early chapter, she talks about role models and the art of comparison. Though admiration can be good, there can also be a discouraging side to it – hello social media superstars!

“I don’t want you to look up, #GIRLBOSS, because all that looking up can keep you down. The energy you’ll spend focusing on someone else’s life is better spent working on your own. Just be your own idol.”

The dictionary defines the word “fake” as a thing that is not genuine; a forgery or sham. The irony of the F.I.T.Y.M.I theory is that, in order to truly make it, you can never fake yourself. In order to make your way to the top, you have to stay true to your values. Listen to others but take everything with a grain of salt. The second you lose your sense of encouraging-self, your theory has failed.

Before ending her book, Sophia instructs everyone to bet on themselves. Her stance is clear and to the point, stating that if you are frustrated because you are not getting what you want, you need to stop for a second and ask yourself: Have I actually flat-out asked for it? We can’t expect the world to read our minds.

“Whenever I’m faced with improbably situations, I remind myself that if I really want something badly enough, I have it within myself to make it happen.”

#GIRLBOSSes across the country chimed in on Sophia’s badassness and gave their own “how-to” tips:

Alexi Wasser, creator of imboycrazy.com advises us to “figure out what you love doing and don’t suck at, then try to figure out how to make a living doing that!”

Christene Barberich, Editor in Chief of Refinery29 urges readers to “stop caring so much about what other people think. Find a way to hear what you want. I don’t know if there is any greater feeling than proving you are your own biggest advocate.”

This is starting to sound like a You-Go-Girl speech for the ages, I know, but consider the sources here. Each of these women #girlbosses, have started companies, elevated brands, and formed solid, respectable reputations. They know what their talking about because they faked it ’til they made it, letting nothing get in their way. Whether it’s your dream to start your own company or to be the best employee your boss has ever seen, their advice works for you.

“You’re challenge as a #GIRLBOSS is to dive headfirst into things without being too attached to the results. When your goal is to gain experience, perspective, and knowledge, failure is no longer a possibility.”

Now, I am not Sophia Amoruso. The accomplishments under my belt probably look like a crumb left on her kitchen counter, but I get her and I don’t take her advice lightly. I have spent the beginning of my fall on a workaholics binge – and I wish I was talking about the tv show. That being said, I made little time for myself and my relationships. I forgot that the one thing that makes me most happy is my creativity. I was in a creative funk. Welp, it’s time for the funk to end and for me to get back to the blogisphere with my second #nextlevelchallenge:

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6 steps to get out of that creative funk:

  1. Know when your plate is too full and diet. Freelance design was taking over my me-time this summer. By cutting that out of my diet, I had time to write again.
  2. Rearrange your space. Move the furniture, change up your artwork, add a plant. Creating new scenes in your daily life can help you see things through a different light.
  3. Have a birthday. Okay, you can’t technically do this now if your birthday is in March but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate you. Order the champagne with lunch and get the pricey shoes.
  4. Explore. Get out of your everyday landscape and go see things. This is where I feel most inspired. Shh, my 4-day excursion to Miami is coming to the blog next week!
  5. Call an oldie but a goodie. A bestie always knows the answer; even the ones we don’t want to tell ourselves. Catching up with someone you love can make all the difference.
  6. Read and write it out. This is the best advice I’ve ever been given. Write out your thoughts. And of course, read #GIRLBOSS. Obvs.

In the final words of Sophia, “bad bitches are taking over the world… We’ve arrived, and we’re killing it. There’s a chance for you, #GIRLBOSS. So take it.” … and fake it ’til you make it. 

xoxo

Meet Designer Ashley Rodriguez Reed

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We see thousands of photos a day. Our Instagram feeds are filled with the perfectly polished coffee table and pumpkin spice lattes have made their cameo appearance in every fashion blogger’s ootd. We drool, we scroll, we repeat. It’s not often when we stop to notice something different.

In the overwhelmingly huge Javits Convention Center, I stopped.

This past spring, I flew to New York to get inspired by the National Stationary Show. The work of each vendor was exquisite. Though, after walking aisle by aisle, I began to notice a lot of similarities around me. I could easily spot the top five trends in the stationary biz.

Getting lost in the maze of the convention center, my senior designer and I found ourselves wandering into the SURTEX marketplace. Surtex is the global B2B marketplace for sourcing original art & design—where artists, art agents, licensing agencies and licensors connect with manufacturers and retailers to create the next best-selling products in every category imaginable.

The first booth I saw was Ashley’s. My senior designer and I both stopped – yes, physically stopped and looked (a rarity at these shows). Ashley Rodriguez Reed had something that the others didn’t. She had flare. Originality. Spunk. Complexity. Her work was captivating.

This summer, I got to know a bit more about Ashley and the inspiration behind her unique patterning. As an artist and designer, Ashley has set her goal on a surface pattern line full of textiles, wall paper, and more. As a teacher, she continues to inspire young artists and designers.

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Tell me about your brand. What do you stand for as an artist?

I started to develop my brand in 2015 when I committed to building a business around surface pattern design. My style is meant for people who love art, color, and fun! I make artwork that is inspired by many different things, but my artistic style of using layering and texture brings a unique element.


I want my artwork to bring joy, inspiration and a sense of play into people’s lives.


I couldn’t agree more! When did you know you wanted to pursue art as a career?

I knew very early on that I wanted to be an artist. In elementary school, art was my favorite subject. It was the only class I could easily focus on. In college, I thought I wanted to do fashion design, but that changed to fine art. I liked the freedom that a BFA would give me. I studied printmaking and textile design before going on to my MFA in Fiber and Material Studies. Now I am a designer, teacher and fine artist.

That sounds like quite the full schedule. What are your day-to-day activities like?

Right now everything has been all over the place due to my move to San Fransisco. When I get back into a routine, my day to day would be teaching art, drawing or painting at my home studio, continuing to build collections, and working on my overall brand. With my fine art practice, finding time to work on art projects varies. If I have a show, I might be in a larger studio space screen printing and building on the weekends. The past 3 years I was teaching undergraduates as an adjunct professor at Tyler School of Art. That was an amazing experience!

This year, I had worked toward SURTEX by building my brand. I’ve always found ways to piece things together and continue to balance work and art making. It can be nerve-racking at times to have a lot of unknowns but it’s also freeing.

How would you describe your style? What inspires you most?

My style is a mixture of geometric + bold meets texture + illustrative. I’ve always gravitated towards pattern, lots of color, and layering. Nature is my favorite place to look. There’s so much interesting beauty in nature. There’s also the relationship we have with nature from how we cultivate it, shape it, and sadly destroy it. I’m interested in cycles in nature, growth, and transformation.

I also love fashion. Fashion is interesting because it changes all the time and it’s a way to express ourselves. I love seeing people take creative risks and wearing bold prints with confidence!

I hear ya! With several creative outlets available at your finger tips, you have to have a favorite. Which medium keeps you loving what you do?

My favorite creative outlet is printing. I love screen-printing without a plan. For example, I might make a few screens and then overlap and layer different patterns and create different compositions from them. I also like to play with different materials and see what they can do. In graduate school, I found that cardboard was in an abundant supply. I decided to work with it and see how I can sculpt with it. It was a challenge but the more I made, the better I understood how to push the material. I like that kind of process.

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You have taken patterning to another level. What is it about patterns that you enjoy?

I’ve always enjoyed how patterns express so much. For example, if you see a certain type of pattern, you may be able to identify the culture and/or time it comes from. It is like another language that can tell us about a person, place, or thing.

Creating pattern is very stimulating. It is mesmerizing as well. Even though surface pattern is so prevalent, there is still a skill to designing a very interesting pattern. I like playing with structure and color. A good pattern has to be considerate of this.

I’m in love with your cod pattern (above pillows)! What made you decide to work animals into your new line?

Thank you! When I first started, I made patterns that were less illustrative, with only abstract shapes and designs. Then I realized how much I love and adore animals and illustration. About halfway through designing my collections, I really began to draw animals because they make me happy! I thought, why not start to draw them and see where it goes. A lot of pattern for children has animals but I wanted to make animal patterns that adults could enjoy just as kids do.

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What goals do you have for your artwork? How would you like it placed in the design world?

I would like to have a line of fabric that people can buy yardage from and make anything they want with it such as bags, pillows, or clothing. I see my work as many types of products and it would be amazing to see what other people do with them. I want the patterns to be used creatively by people who like to make, style, and design themselves.

What advice do you have for emerging artists?

Keep making no matter what! It’s hard to find time when we have other jobs and life obligations. Creating a space that you can work in is also helpful. If you don’t make a place or set aside time, it will slip away. Stay connected to other artists and ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s something you want to know. It can be scary to put yourself out there but it’s the only way. Don’t be afraid of what other people say. I’ve had many moments where I’m thinking to myself, I must be crazy for making/drawing this. What am I doing? But then, I just keep going. You have to have faith that it will work out through the process if you stick with it.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I think I’ll still be living in the Bay Area and probably doing a combination of what I’m doing now. Teaching is a passion of mine and I want to continue to be an artist/designer and educator. In five years, I want to have seen my artwork licensed on a line of textiles and see how people have been inspired to use them. I would love to see my pattern on home interior textiles or wallpaper. I’m excited about where it will go! I’m looking forward to more collaborations with businesses, artists, and students!

The Quick 5!

A musician/band you never get sick of is: Pink Floyd

Your favorite outfit in your closet is a: jersey knit tank dress. So simple and easy!

Coffee or Smoothie? Coffee!

Beach bum or Mountain climber? Climb the mountain to get to a beach.

Role model: My mom


Find Ashley online:

http://www.ashleyrodriguezreed.com

@ashleyrodriguezreed

 

Get the Look: Aspen Inspiration

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When you’re a florist’s daughter, you spend lots of time “smelling the roses;” drifting off into a creative space making your own floral arrangements and crafting holiday cards. In my glamorous elementary years, I discovered I had a knack for art. PlayDough, paint by number, stained glass kits… these were in abundance. During my middle school years I took things more seriously (ha!), dabbling with terracotta, paint brushes, and the art of collage. I loved working on paper, but there was one subject matter I became most fond.

I loved to rearrange my room. I mean, LOVED. My  rectangular personal hang-out would have a new vibe at least once every other month. If I couldn’t rearrange my own room (because let’s face it, my mom got sick of me moving furniture), I’d go over to my friends’ houses and rearrange theirs. I even convinced my family friend’s parents to let me rearrange their basement… I was like, fourteen.

Needless to say, I get a little excited at the thought of new and innovative design. I’m a regular ol’ sponge, if you will; ready to soak up fresh takes and up and coming design aesthetics.

Not much has changed in the past decade. I still love bringing new items into my home (tour here), and though I may not completely remodel the carriage house, it’s always nice to add fresh touches. And don’t worry, the decor list for my first home is on-point! I gather inspiration from some of my favorite designers, as well as elements around me. Some of my most recent (drool-worthy) inspo came from a work trip I took to Aspen, Colorado.

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I have to say, I’m pretty lucky to get to travel with my career as a graphic designer. Not to mention, I’m traveling with some of my best friends. I can’t name too many people that get those perks. Though there are many cities on my wish-list to visit, but oddly enough, Aspen wasn’t one of them. Sure, mountains are cool and all but… they’re mountains.

Boy, was I wrong. (I mean, duh.)

Each and every corner was a bit more breathtaking than the next. Color was everywhere and the architecture was so diverse that I don’t even know how to categorize it in my brain. Look left for cottages and look right for modern basket-weave architecture (is that even a thing?! YES.).

I’d have to say that one of my favorite spots was Hotel Jerome. I was color-crushing every. single. room. The deep blues of the cafe complimented the cowhide floor panels in such a unique way. The Prospect Room was a lighting-guru’s dream with sconces that could blow you away. Not to mention the chocolate striped flooring, rope-filled wall panels, and moldings that even the big-wigs would drool over.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Jerome
Photo courtesy of Hotel Jerome
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Photo courtesy of Hotel Jerome
Photo courtesy of Hotel Jerome
Photo courtesy of Hotel Jerome

In the week upon my return, I was not only jet-lagged and tired as hell, but I was also craving more design; more adventure. On August 12th, the Charleston West Elm store held it’s grand opening, including private tours for tastemakers in the area. I saw so much of Aspen in West Elm’s latest collection. It was the chic and luxurious side of  masculine industrial design, not to mention the range of worldly decor elements.

A decade ago, I thought Hobby Lobby would be my signature style guide for everything chic in the world. Well, no offense to Hobby Lobby, but I’m happy I grew out of that bubble. Design inspiration can come from anywhere. This month it’s Aspen and next, who knows? All I can do is keep exploring… and rearranging, of course. To wrap up, I’m sharing my favorite Aspen-inspired affordables from the latest edition to King Street, West Elm.

Happy shopping, my friends!

 

blanc’s big break + next level challenges ahead

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This summer has been one for the books. Though I’m not sure which book… because honestly I don’t see a lot of people interested in reading it. Sure, the highs trump the lows, but sometimes it’s the lows that we remember most. Not always because they hard or hurtful, but because we learn something from them. The sum of this year’s summer is equivalent to x2 = y6 + zy7k ^ 42 

 

What does that even mean, you ask? In lamest terms, it was challenging. It seemed as if life threw me sour lemonade and expected me to work my ass off to make it back into a whole fruit.

 

Between the added leadership and responsibility that came with my powerhouse coworker leaving for her NYC dream job, my identity being stolen and my bank account being hacked two months later (literally, I have zero dollars to my name at the moment and the most generous coworkers who buy my lunch), and the type-A “Planner’s Curse” that includes the big-ol’ stress ball of forever looking into the future. Will my boyfriend get a job in xyz city? Would I go with him? Is my portfolio prepared for that? What if I can’t get a job? Do I want to stay in graphic design? (Am I really admitting this online?!?) Some things never change (see my very first blog post).

 

Hence, the blogging break. Am I grateful for these challenges? 150%. They have  influenced me to step it up a notch and explore where I want this life to take me. This summer and the people in it have inspired in more ways than one.

 

I’ve always been one to oogle over a strong female entrepreneur. Motivational talks, how-to guides, inspirational quotes – I eat that stuff up like it’s ice cream about to melt. There’s always been a part of me that gets those entrepreneurs. It feels as if I have all the tools to start my little fire, I’m just waiting for my spark to catch flame.

 

Over the past few months, I’ve gained three new big sisters in the professional world. Though I’m not sure they know I exist, nor that I stalk their accounts on the reg, but they have proven to be my some of my best advice givers. Has anyone ever told you something that stuck with you for longer than you expected? That’s it.

 

Let’s hear the list, shall we?

 

Mandy Rye, founder of the ever popular and always innovative Waiting on Martha blog. I met (yes, MET!) Mandy at The Southern C conference in Charleston, South Carolina. Her talk about social media was one of the biggest highlights of the weekend. My hands chicken-scratched notes as I tried to restrain my major girl-crush on the stellar Mandy.

 

Mandy’s Advice that stuck: Ask yourself before posting, does this reflect my brand? Never, ever publish a photo unless it’s in natural light. Quality is better than quantity.

 

Aliza Licht, DKNY’s famous PR girl and author of Leave York Mark. Aliza’s taught me to love Twitter again. She also taught me that it’s more important to be the listener. It’s the listener, not the loud mouth, that is the more intriguing.

 

Sophia Amoruso, founder of the fastest growing fashion brand, Nasty Gal and author of #GIRLBOSS. My current obsession and frankly, my motivational bible for the professional world. I’m reviewing #GIRLBOSS and why you just HAVE to read it later this month on Blanc. Stay tuned, my friends. Sophia’s advice that stuck: Work. For. It. You don’t get what you don’t ask for.

 

With a summer of new challenges behind me and a reel of professional advice spinning in my head, I finally started to feel like I could write again. I am inspired again. With this inspiration, I want to start a whole new version of blogging. Let’s get to the nitty gritty. Let’s get to what really helps us professional newcomers. Mandy, Aliza, and Sophia inspired, I’ve come up with a little something I like to call the #nextlevelchallenge.

 

Each month, I will present a 10 day challenge that will push you (and me!) to do and feel better. My first #nextlevelchallenge is 10-days of early rising. For some, this may mean nothing. For me, it will be a challenge worth taking. I have a bad habit of setting my alarm for 7, snoozing until 8, and getting into the office at 9:30 (oops).

 

In one Forbes study, specialists link rising early to optimism and satisfaction in your day. Early risers report using their morning quiet time for organization, goal-setting and planning out their days and weeks ahead. Early risers are also less likely to get easily stressed or depressed throughout their day. And let’s not forget the metabolism boost that comes with a morning run!

 

So here we go, my friends! I’m back at it. Ready to share all that I’ve been saving up this summer and ready for my first #nextlevelchallenge. Who’s with me?

 

Share your #nextlevelchallenge ups and downs with me on Twitter via @blancblog

Blanc on The Everygirl’s Home Tour

Today is filled with excitement as I share something very dear to me – my home! I had the pleasure of hosting one of my favorite blogs,The Everygirl, and photographer Nancy Beale at my Charleston abode, where we talked about home decor, graphic design, and Blanc’s “ah-ha” moment.

See the entire feature on The Everygirl!

Getting Personal with Society Social’s Roxy Owens

Let’s face it. If you haven’t dreamt about a piece of furniture yet, you are about to. Every night before I fall asleep, I go over my day’s accomplishments and tomorrow’s to-do list (yes, I’m that type A). I think about all the things I’m thankful for, along with how I forgot to pay my credit card bill and how much I really need a new desk chair for my 5-9 pm blogging gig. I ooo and ahh over Society Social’s Matisse Chair on my iPhone and fall asleep in shades of avocado and orchid twill.

Meet Roxy Owens – owner and head designer of Society Social, a home and lifestyle furniture line featuring bold colors and tropical influences. As a leading tastemaker in the home and entertaining industry, Roxy has received high praises from HGTV, House Beautiful, Southern Living, and Lonny.

Known widely for her renaissance of the bar cart, Roxy has taken the home-decor industry by the horns by inviting bright colors, bold fabrics, and fine-detailed materials into the mix. Getting to know Roxy’s business mottos and career overview was easy – two of my favorite blogs had done the heavy lifting for me. As an aspiring designer, I knew I had to say hello – even if it were only to ask some silly questions of my own (Roxy, can we totally be BFF’s?!).

 

9 Q’s for Roxy O:

You almost single-handedly brought the bar cart back to life. If you could pick one other  furniture or fashion comeback, what would it be?

“That is so sweet! Thank you! I definitely took on a mission to bring the bar cart back and have been so tickled to see it make a spirited resurgence. I would love to see classic rattan in more homes, whether it’s natural or newly refinished in a pop of pink!”

 

Give me a walkthrough of your closet. What items are your staples?

“I don’t like to spend a lot of time getting dressed in the morning because it makes me feel like I’m not focused on getting to work, so my closet is filled with easy, casual go-to’s like breezy dresses, linen tees (love!), and my favorite ripped jeans. After hours, I loved to dress up and have a weakness for glam dresses and caftans so there’s a few of those in there too!

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A good hostess should never run out of ________.

“Champagne.”

 

You are designing a friend’s powder room. Do you splurge for the patterned wallpaper or make a statement with a funky mirror?

“How do I possibly choose? Both!”

 

What book should be on every girl’s reading list? 

“It’s summer so an easy, beach read to be enjoyed with a cocktail in hand. Crazy, Rich Asians is hilarious and fascinating all at once.”

 

Beyonce has offered you her private jet for the day. Where do you go and what do you do? 

“I would pack it full of friends and family and off to Positano we would go!”

 

What item doesn’t belong on your bar cart, but is there anyway?

“I live in a small NYC apartment, so every piece of furniture has to double task. The top of my bar cart is styled as an end table, while the bottom holds all our glassware and booze. I don’t think there are rules in decorating! The most important thing is to make the space your own!”

 

What do you love about the first piece of furniture you created and what do you love about the last? 

“What I love most about the design process is the very end of it, when customers send me images of their home and how they’ve made SS their own.”

 

At the end of the day, what complements your gin and tonic?

“I’ve been known to take a few laps around the room, dancing solo.”


I can’t thank you enough, Roxy! I’ll join your dance party any day.

Find Roxy on Instagram via @societysocial

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 reasons to shop the farmer’s market

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Blanc_Farmers Market

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I’ll admit, I’ve always been a bit of a hippie. I use canvas shopping bags on my trips to the grocery store, I will never waste a veggie or fruit (I freeze them before they go bad for smoothies!) and I not-so-subtley used to post notes above my sorority house’s trash cans saying “Please Recycle”. I’m most likely not saving the world, but hey, it’s a step in the right direction, right? Reduce, reuse, recycle, everyone! 

It’s probably no surprise that I’m an avid farmer’s market shopper. When I first moved to Charleston, the Mount Pleasant farmer’s market was about 50 yards outside my front door. I remember the first Tuesday that it was open: I jumped for joy and told the girls at work that I had to leave right at 5:00 to make it to the market.

I can be such a dork about my veggies.

You’ve heard the saying and seen the hashtag, “Shop Local,” but do you do it? Sure, I personally may not have the budget to shop in the local Charleston boutiques (TJ Maxx is more my haven), but I can shop local for my produce, and it has it’s benefits.

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8 reasons to shop the farmer’s market:

1. It’s budget friendly

Pop Quiz: How much would large carrots, strawberries, and red tomatoes cost at the grocery store? Organic produce would cost you about $15 and if you’re anything like me, you will have to find 30 different ways to cook potatoes so they don’t go bad before you eat them all. Last Tuesday, I bought a bundle of large carrots, local James Island strawberries, and 6 red tomatoes for $7.25. Good enough for me!

2. Farm-to-table freshness

Produce can take weeks to get from the field to the store. Farmer’s market produce comes straight from the field to the selling table allowing it to be bought at it’s peak for flavor and nutrition.

3. Clean eating

How many people have jumped on the clean eating bandwagon? Though most grocery stores now offer an organic section, organic produce comes at a cost. Skip the processing and preservatives.

4. Put those Pinterest recipes to good use

If I’m experimenting with a new recipe, I will ask the farmer’s market stand attendant (sometimes the farmers themselves) what is the best way to store/cook/reheat the specific item. Most of the time they will tell me their favorite food pairings as well!

5. Never over-buy

Living on my own does not always mean I’m able to shop for one. For example, it is a painful task to try to figure out how to make use of an entire bag of red potatoes. I just don’t eat them that often and yet I seem to need them for a recipe every other week. The farmer’s market allows me to buy the 3 potatoes that I need, instead of the entire bag.

6. Think outside of the produce section

A lot of markets will have food that won’t be in the grocery store – like 10 different kinds of heirloom tomatoes!

7. Find local vendors

Most farmer’s markets have more than just produce. It’s a great place to shop local for honey, bread, pasta, seafood, and even cheese. Supporting your local economy has never tasted so good!

8. The inexpensive date night

Clear skies and the smell of zucchini in the air! Okay, it may not be the most romantic place on Earth, but a lot of farmer’s markets can certainly be creative. My local market has live bands, hot pretzels, and snow cones that I just can’t get enough of! Grab a quick bite and some sunshine while you enjoy the live music.


Find a farmer’s market near you!


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mother’s day: diy breakfast in bed tray

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My poor mother. She has received a boat-load of Mother’s Day gifts that were handcrafted with love and personality: hand-cut heart-shaped cards, finger-painted murals, and discombobulated pottery to say the least. And hey – I grew up to earn a fine art degree so I had some skill as a child, right?

Let’s face it, when it comes to DIY, we can’t all be Martha Stewart. But that doesn’t give us the right to give up! Ladies and gents, you have a week to get your act together and serve your mum breakfast in bed in style. Introducing, the do-it-yourself serving tray: durable wood, clean-safe stained glass, and stylish copper handles. Trust me – you can do this!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 14 x 14 inch cut smooth wood  (this is your base)
  • 12 x 12 inch stained glass (find tons of pre-cut color/pattern choices at Hobby Lobby)
  • 1/4-inch copper pipe, 2 pieces at 12-inches long
  • 1/4-inch copper elbows, 4 total
  • permanent adhesive glue
  • paint and primer
  • power drill and 1/4-inch paddle bit

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Step No. 1: Prep your base

Start by sanding your wood base, if needed. Apply a primer, then the paint color of your choice. I chose to paint my base an off-white to allow the copper and marble green to really pop.

Step No. 2: Adhere the glass

Using a strong adhesive glue, coat the back of your stained glass. Place in the center of the painted wood base. Let dry.

Step No. 3: Attaching your handles

Start by applying permanent glue onto each end of your copper pipe and then attach the copper elbow. Do this for both sides of your pipe and let dry. This will be your handle. Position the handle on your tray and measure the length from each elbow’s center point. Mark the center points on the tray with a pencil.

Next, use your power drill and 1/4-inch paddle bit to drill partially into the wooden base (roughly 1/8-inch). You may want to seek assistance with for part if you have never used a power drill.

Finally, fill your newly created intention with permanent adhesive. Insert the handle elbows into the intentions so they fit snug. Let dry.

Step No. 4: Mimosa’s and Mom

Surprise your favorite lady with fresh blooms from the garden and a bubbly mimosa to start her day. Happy Mother’s Day!


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Don’t forget to share your creations online! Tag @blancblog and hashtag #boldwithblanc

xoxo