Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Sisterhood of Blogging

Lunch with Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Designs // Feb. 13

Three years ago this week, I was flying home to a blizzard-weary Boston from a most fabulous (and snow-delay extended) blogger trip to New York with my dear friend and fellow designer, Barbara Elza Hirsch. Being invited guests of Jason Wu during New York Fashion Week courtesy of the Brizo brand was an experience that neither of us will ever forget, and I am so glad we got to share in the fun together!

Blogger experiences have a way of bonding people, and even though we know each other pretty well and have participated in plenty of events together since then, Barbara has asked me to answer 10 questions about myself in honor of the “Sisterhood of the World Blogger’s Award. Well, I am honored to be asked, Mon Amie, and at long last I have my thoughts in order! I figured that most of us use Instagram these days to share our thoughts, inspiration and adventures, so I have decided to tell my story with images from my feed and answers below. To learn more about each image, visit me here.

1. what I love about blogging

2. a favorite movie

3a. preferred pet

3b. my “wish I could have one pet

4. a favorite designer: Alexa Hampton

5. a favorite meal at Temazcal

6. inspired by these design friends
(and many more!)

7. what’s on my nightstand

8. a favorite place to visit

9. a favorite room to design

10. yes! to vessel sinks

1. What do you love about blogging?

What started out back in 2009 as a way to express myself creatively through words and pictures, has turned into so much more than that. While at first blogging provided a platform to share my thoughts on interior design with an unknown audience, it quickly evolved into a way to bond with a larger community and to do business with brands. The opportunities I have had to attend blogger events both near and far and to develop relationships with others, has been greater than I had ever anticipated when I penned my first post. And even though blog readership is probably decreasing, I still value knowing that I can easily catch up with other bloggers, or get to know someone new, by visiting their online diaries or gathering at a blogger event. Bloggers essentially are writers, and there will always be readers along with a growing need for fresh content, so while the industry has changed a bit, I am hopeful that it will remain relevant even as it reinvents itself.

2. What is your favorite film?

A recent movie that I actually paid to watch in a theatre was “Joy.
 First of all, it was pretty cool that parts of it were filmed in my hometown of North Reading, Massachusetts, and Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper were in places that I pass by regularly (and have since taken a selfie in front of!) Second, I loved watching the story of how an outside-the-box thinker brought an idea to life and created a successful business by solving a common problem, in turn improving her own life and her families lives. I love entrepreneur success stories, especially when they feature women who succeed despite the odds against them.

3. Are you a dog or a cat person and why?

While I had both growing up, and my husband and I had cats when we were first married, I have since fallen in love with bunnies as a favorite family pet. Once they are tamed, they are just so sweet! Understanding bunny language is definitely a learned art. To get a small typically timid animal to trust a large human feels like a real honor. If we were to get a dog, however, I would choose a Pomeranian and it would be a girl since I am so outnumbered by the male species in this house!

4. Who is your favorite interior designer and why?

While I have had the opportunity to meet or be in the presence of many celebrity interior designers over the years including Nate Berkus, Candace Olson, Thom Filicia, Jonathan Adler, Iris Apfel, and other design superstars who I completely respect and admire, I have to say the one that stood out to me as someone who could make you feel like you could easily be her friend was Alexa Hampton. She actually spent a lot of time hanging out with myself and some other designers during Blogfest one year, sharing some funny stories about being a mom, etc. Of course we live completely different lives, but for that evening we were design friends (I am sure everyone else who meets her feels the same way!) A favorite design team that I admire (but have never met IRL) is 
Joanna and Chip Gaines from HGTV Fixer Upper. I really love how they work together, how they take their business seriously, and have so much fun doing what they do. Secretly, I wish my suburban farmhouse life was a little more like theirs in that they quickly finish all their projects and someone else pays for them : ) 

5. What are you cooking/eating tonight?

Feeding a family of six that includes four teenage boys is typically a buffet style event featuring some type of chicken with pasta, and often times take-out. I used to love to be all Martha Stewart with my recipes (this was pre-Pinterest days and definitely before children!) but now I would much rather whip up a simple green smoothie or go out for a beet or kale salad (with wine of course!)

6. Who is the person in your life who most inspired you professionally?

I am always inspired by the people around me, including my family, but especially my friends who are also in the business of design. In addition, I often look for inspiration by connecting with people via social media who are at the top of their game (whatever that game may be), people who are pushing themselves past their comfort zone, people who are willing to share what’s important to them, and those that offer advice to help others live better lives. Most people that I follow on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook or on blogs, have all inspired me in some way to try new things, travel to new places, participate in opportunities, and to share what’s possible. 

7. What do you have on your nightstand right now?

My nightstand is actually a vintage chair. We have them on either side of our bed. I like that there isn’t much room for clutter to accumulate on them. I always have the following beside my bed: my kindle for reading (back lit so that I don’t need to put a light on to read late into the night), lip balm (a must have), aromatherapy items for relaxation, a heart shaped selenite crystal for energy clearing and chakra balancing (goodbye stress), and at the end of the day my eye glasses (can
t see a thing without them!)

8. Share a favorite travel destination.

I have really loved the trips I have taken to New York over the past few years. I have gone by car, bus, train and plane (my favorite is air travel for this one!) They have always been blogger or design related events that I have shared with good friends (or have made friends while there) and most have been recorded on this blog. Whenever I see NY scenery on TV or in a movie I long to go back. I would, however, like to discover a new favorite destination that we can enjoy as a family while our kids will still travel with us!

9. Tell me your favorite room to design or blog about and why.

Although I have done my fair share of bath design related posts, and living room makeovers run a close second, I would have to say that public spaces are now my favorite “room” to design. Show house spaces like the ones I designed for the Endicott Mansion at Glen Magna Farms are my favorite way to design as I wish, using the fabrics and furnishings and objects that I love most. A current “public space
 project that I am working on involves designing retail visuals for a local high-end dress shop. I have some neat conceptual ideas and design selections in mind for this boutique-style shop and I can’t wait to share the end results!

10. Do you think vessel sinks are in or out?

As a former full-time marketer for a luxury bath showroom, I have seen some really beautiful vessel sinks over the years, from marble to brass to ceramic to bamboo. My instagram photo above features one from Gessi that I saw while on #BlogTourLA. Specifying a vessel sink in a bath design is an excellent opportunity to add a sculptural shape or a unique visual art form to a room that is usually all about function. When paired with the right faucet, counter, and tile combination, they can be elegant and timeless. They are always interesting!

Now that I have officially answered Barbara’s questions, I am posing this challenge to one local design friend who is relatively new to blogging plus 7 bloggers who I have recently met via online blogger communities/events and would like to get to know better. There are a few that I have actually never met in person, but perhaps I will someday? For your assignment, if you choose to participate, please do the following:

Select 7 of your personal Instagram photos and share in a blog post why these moments are among your favorite online memories. Then share your post with me via your favorite social media channel (Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) and link back to this blog post. Be sure to invite 7 bloggers to participate when you post your answers. I look forward to reading YOUR visual story!

Diana of The Delightful Diary

Corinna of A Designer at Home

Alex of Literally Everything

Quiana of Harlem Lovebirds

Ashley of Simply Designing

Toni of Design Dazzle

Athena of Fitness and Feta

Allison of MrsKTechnology 

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