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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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

meet the blush label

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BLANC_TheBlushLabelHow do you define style? Google defines the noun as “a distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed.” But come on, isn’t style way more than that?

Some of us dream of Clueless Cher’s revolving closet of the 90’s – bound forever to fashion forward magazines and the styles found in local boutiques. Others focus on style at home – form, function, and originality. There is an entire multi-million dollar industry focusing on this word. Style. It’s quite overused, wouldn’t you say?

Let’s remix this baby. Redefine style and what do you get? Confidence, originality, trend-setting, unexpected combinations, courage, poise, unique details, and ultimately, a defined design.

As a designer, a pet peeve of mine is to see inspired works overused in the industry (chevron, you poor thing…). Skilled designers are emerging daily, but who’s to decide if they have this newly-defined style or not? I’ll tell you one thing, The Blush Label nailed it.

Meet sisters Christie and Mary, the design duo and creative directors of happy hour and home. The two may not have revolving closets, but they dream of a day when the linens in their homes would be as colorful and lively as the clothes in their closets. Posh patterns and layered color combinations rule the scene in their works. There is a sophisticated chicness that overtakes you into a sea of tropical color combinations.

They have formed a brand that truly embodies style. I spoke with Mary to get the label’s full story: where they started, who they’ve become, and what advice they have for women entrepreneurs.

Try not to drool, okay?

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Tell me about the Blush Label. Who are you as a company? What do you stand for?

“The Blush Label is a home decor and entertaining accessories company based in North and South Carolina. We’ve designed our line to be functional and affordable with a bright color palette. Since we launched our line, it’s been important for us to stay true to our design aesthetic and to our affordable prices.”

How did you start? Who had the “big idea” and when did you know it was time to say “let’s do it.”?

“We were on a trip to Puerto Rico in 2012 when we decided to start the business, but it took us two years of prep work before we even launched. Starting a business doesn’t happen overnight! We launched a blog first (Things That Make Us Blush) to make sure there was a market for what we wanted to do, after that we decided to go for it.”

What challenges did you have in your first year? How much did self doubt play into things, if any?

“There were a lot of challenges and of course, there still are! But the important thing is to always stay true to yourselves and true to your customers. We’ve had glitches in the system and orders take longer than expected, but those issues happen when you’re a small business. The important thing is how you deal with those issues that will set you apart. It’s important to believe in yourself – always. We can’t stress that enough. There are times when we’ve doubted projects or product lines and they’ve ended up being huge for us. The important thing is to try and to not take it personally if a particular product doesn’t do well.”

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You started with cocktail napkins. Why is that?

“We launched our business in phases to ensure that we weren’t overwhelmed when we first started. It was a decision that worked very well for us. If you’re starting a business, test the waters with what you can handle first and then expand from there. Doing that will help you refine your processes in small increments along the way.”

What other product have you designed since the cocktail napkin?

“It wasn’t until High Point Market that we realized how many products we now offer! Decorative pillows, coasters, place-mats, glassware, serving trays and silk scarves.”

What makes you different from the other entertaining retailers?

“What makes us different is our design aesthetic and pricing. We offer quality products at an affordable price in bold color schemes, and we also design everything in-house – you can’t find it anywhere else!

BLANC_TheBlushLabelTell me about your individual styles. How did you merge those? How do each of your strengths play into The Blush Label?

“Christie’s style is more bold like Kelly Wearstler, but mine is a little more classic. I love the classic blue and white scheme with pops of color. One thing we do agree on is our love for gold – we aren’t big on silver finishes. Everything in our line was originally inspired by our father’s native Puerto Rico. The island is oozing beautiful, bright colors and we’ve incorporated those in our products. We also love to travel so while we were in the Amalfi Coast last year, we decided to bring in some of the colors we saw during that trip as well.

We each have different strengths, and we’ve divided those up to help our brand. Christie is the Creative Director so she designs everything and builds our product portfolio. I head up the business side of the company and handle our accounts, finances and PR. We both take on a lot, but we’re very supportive of each other in our areas of the business. We are constantly communicating, which is key for us! We hold FaceTime meetings three times a week to keep us on task.”

What goals have you accomplished as a company or personally at this point. What goals do you have for the future?

“It was our goal originally to make this into a full-time career for both of us and we’ve accomplished that, which is huge for us. Starting a business and working on it while having a full-time job is incredibly hard. There are a lot of late nights and early mornings, but as long as you have the drive and desire to make it happen, you can.

As a company, we’ve grown leaps and bounds within a year of launching. Our product portfolio has grown and we continue to open new accounts with great customers, stores and designers from around the world. We plan to continue growing from here by increasing our presence in the marketplace.”

What advice do you have for young women looking to start their own brand?

“1. Stop doubting yourself and go for it! We’re lucky to have each other to lean on when we hit a rough patch. Some entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of having a business partner (especially one from your family) so it’s important to always stay motivated.

2. Listen to the women who have done it before you. We met the founder of a well-established and fast-growing company the other day and her advice was on point for where we are in this stage of business. They’ve been there before and know what it’s like to be where you are in your stage of business.

3. Use the feedback you receive to improve your product. We did this after our first market and it helped us immensely with one of our product lines. Don’t take the feedback as someone being negative – use the feedback to your advantage to improve your line. This can be difficult since there are some products we’re attached to, but take a step back and really listen to your market.

4. Read! There is so much amazing material out there. Newspapers, blogs, magazines, editorials, etc. – stay informed about what is going on in your community and the marketplace.”

What’s your best seller?

“Coasters and glassware – we can hardly keep them in stock!

What’s your favorite piece?

“We both love the pineapple rocks glasses! The Bombay Scarf is another one of our favorites.”

 


Shop my favorites:


See more of The Blush Label online and on social media:

www.theblushlabel.com

@the_blush_label

color your weekend

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If you’re friends with Kate (Spade, that is), you are familiar with the happy command that has us all under a spell: live colorfully. Well, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but color is ‘in’ for spring. Ground breaking? Not really, but let me finish –

Since before our time, artists and designers have been using color to evoke emotions. There is always a reason for color. Marketing strategists have designed entire brands based off the psychology of color and how it influences and signals a response from people. So why is it that every spring we are yearning for pops of pink and bright yellows? Maybe it’s because our chic head-to-toe-in-black look can’t be worn in 80 degree weather. Or could it be that we are just itching for brightness after the cool winter months?

Either way, Kate has it right. Adding a splash of something fun can lift your mood and brighten your spirits, whether that splash is in your wardrobe or on your counter tops. In honor of Good Friday and the festive few days coming up, I’m sharing 5 ways to color your weekend – all for under $50.

Get out your pastel shorts, people – it’s spring!

 live colorfully this weekend:

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One of my favorite things to do on a rainy day is to go to art galleries. For my Charleston friends, starting today, you can join Gallery Row’s First Fridays on Broad, an art walk featuring over 16 galleries, restaurants, and boutiques. Grab a glass of pinot and get inspired!

For my followers not living in the low country – don’t worry – I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ve teamed up with Natalie Taylor Humphrey for an Instagram #LIVECOLORFULLY giveaway. Find me on IG (@blancblog) and follow the instructions for a chance to win Natalie’s gorgeous girl shown above, as well as some gems from Reece Blaire!

Blanc Blog PillowCreate Color

When it comes to DIY, you should never underestimate yourself. Inspired by the talented artist, Maria Kamara, I decided to add a little funk to a boring pillow case. Here’s how you craft it:

1. Start with a durable fabric pillow case (canvas, twill, outdoor fabric)

2. Insert cardboard inside the pillow case so your paint does not bleed through to the other side of your case

3. Mix two parts paint and one part textile medium. Using a textile medium will keep your paint from chipping off or crunching up.

4. Go for it. The more abstract the better!

5. Let your work dry overnight and insert your pillow. How easy was that?

The Color Run in Charlotte, 2012
The Color Run in Charlotte, 2012

Run for Color

The name says it all. The Color Run is said to be the happiest 5k on the planet. Work your butt off and release some endorphins (yes, Elle Woods!) while getting splattered with powder-paint along the way. The most colorful contestant wins in my book. Attention Atlanta girls: they’re coming to you TOMORROW!

Blanc, The Poplin RBWear Color

You know my obsession with Reece Blaire. The girls of sass, wit, and sophistication have done it again with their 2015 spring line. Need I mention that they are a finalist in the Belk Southern Designer Showcase? A favorite of mine, the Poplin earring, is on sale for $30 online, or win it on Instagram (@blancblog) for the Blanc #LIVECOLORFULLY Giveaway. Winner will be announced on Easter!

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Take the weekend off from salads and quinoa and be a little bad. Tis the season, right? One dozen carrot cake cupcakes coming right up! My favorite recipe is on Pinch of Yum!


Bonus

One lucky follower will get an extra treat from the Easter bunny. Enter the Blanc #LIVECOLORFULLY Giveaway on Instagram to win the Natalie Taylor Humphrey original painting and Poplin earrings from Reece Blaire.