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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
How 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?
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.”
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!”
Tell 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:
blogger’s note:I’ve been getting lots of inquires about the brush stroke lamp I created out of a Goodwill find. This post was originally published as a collaboration with one of my favorite health and style bloggers, Peaches to Pearls. The Jana Bek inspired design is a quick and easy weekend project that makes a statement!
Hello Peaches to Pearls readers! I am so honored to be guest blogging for Luisa today! Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Tarah. I’m a 24 year old graphic designer from Charleston, South Carolina. When I’m not painting, eating up the holy city (literally… yum!), or sending beach pics to my freezing loved ones in Chicago, I write Blanc – a lifestyle blog for professional newcomers.
Besides being President and Vice Pres. in the 5’2″ and under club, little Miss Luisa and I have a lot in common: we believe a pop of color makes the outfit (or room), a doughnut is better with sprinkles, and that you don’t have to spend big to go big. Oh! and we can’t pass up the J.Crew sale rack.
Today, I want to share with you a little about Blanc. It is my mission to relate: to share my experiences and to tell you the tales of what young 20-somethings could really use in life (or just for fun!), rather than which $59 platter you should buy. Because at some point in our lives, we are all new. We are a clean slate, we are fresh eyes, we have yet to be molded. We are blanc.
If you’re starting to say say “cut to the chase Tarah – how do I make that damn lamp,” then don’t worry, I got you girl. Today I’m going to share with you a designers hack: my $25 lamp created to mimic one of my favorite interior designers Jana Bek’s (http://janabek.com/the-shop/) legendary beacon.
Here’s what you’ll need:
A lamp (obvs) – pick something with a smooth surface that can easily be painted
Spray primer & spray paint (I used Krylon’s 2-in-1)
Acryllic paint, color of your choosing
An inch and a half wide paint brush
Metallic paint pen (optional)
Clear acryllic gloss finishing spray
Step #1: Let’s start with the lamp. I found this show stopper at Goodwill for just $5! Notes on finding the perfect fit: pick a lamp with a large surface area. This allows your pattern to translate easier.
Step #2: Spray prime and paint your lamp. Be sure to hold your spray can at least 8-inches away from the lamp in order to get an even coat.
Step #3: Let the painting begin. Create a scene of large and small overlapping ovals. There is no proper way to methoidize this step, so just go with the flow! Painters tip: I used an paint brush with hard brissles and mangled them pre-painting. Since the goal is to get a brushed look, I wanted the ends of the brissles to be a little flared.
Step #4: Accenting the lips. Every girl loves a good stained lip and so will your lamp. I chose to paint my base a metallic gold to add a pop of sophistication. I used a paint pen that I had on hand, but metallic paint will work as well.
Step #5: Seal the deal. Coat your final product with a gloss finishing spray to add dimension.
Step #6: Add the accessories. I topped my designer-look alike off with a geometric lamp shade I found at Target (on sale for $24.99).
When always looking your best is our #1 priority – let’s face it, we all want Luisa’s closet…SWOON! – we tend to forget to dress other parts of our lives: our home, our creativity, and sometimes our diet. I challenge my fellow Peaches to Pearls followers to do something creative this weekend. Create your own Jana Bek look-alike, organize your closet (see my tips here (http://blanc-blog.com/2015/01/19/team-organization/)) or simply make a Valentines day card for a friend. Share your findings with me on social media via @blancblog and hashtag #boldwithblanc.