Saturday, April 22, 2017

One Room Challenge: Hanging in my Closet




“Dress gives you the opportunity to express yourself – who you are, who you think you are or who you want to be.” 

– Iris Apfel


Over the years I have had the pleasure to attend some really fun events and meet some pretty cool fashion and design icons as a result of this little blog. When I posed with legendary interior designer and fashion maven Iris Apfel in 2009 at her Rare Bird of Fashion exhibit that I was covering as a blogger, I had no idea just how iconic she truly was – Iris is a master at remaining relevant even when what is fashionable comes and goes (have you seen her latest jewelry collection for HSN, put forth in her 90s no less?) Her words of wisdom spoken that evening seem fitting to me today, as I look at the clothes hanging in my closet, wondering which pieces will make the cut to hang out in my new master closet when my One Room Challenge project is complete (halfway mark already!) And yes, I still have clothes in my closet dating back to the year 2009! How does this happen???

Getting dressed for memory making.

I think the reason I have a difficult time letting go of outfits from my past is because many of them have special memories attached to them. Do I still wear these clothes? Some of them, yes. Im just now realizing that only yesterday I wore the black jacket in the photo above to work and then out to dinner with friends! Other pieces have not been worn as frequently over the years, and to be completely honest some may not even still fit me, but they do still have a special place in my heart. When I look at them patiently waiting on their hangers, Im reminded of times that were definitely outside of my normal routine. Times that were pinch me moments. Below are my top 10 outfits that I just cant seem to part with ...




1. Black and gold zig zag dress with black ribbon bow.





2. Jewel toned wrap dress with braided leather belt.





3.  Classic gray pencil skirt with royal blue ruched top.





4. Ikat patterned fitted shift dress (with pockets!) 







6. Silk ombre-colored dress with animal print vintage scarf.






7. Bright green banded cocktail dress with hot pink wrap.





8. Black lace and sequined cocktail dress with cowl neck.







9. Classic grey sheath dress from Calvin Klein
(lampshade optional : )

BlogTourLA instagram photo with designers
Christian May and Ashlina Kaposta




10. Two-toned dress: black asymmetrical top over white skirt.  

More recently ... my consultant trip to Vegas with Rodan + Fields.
Hanging with some favorite characters snap via Instagram.


What super outfits are hanging in your closet?

Have you had a chance to see the latest Lego movie? Even Batman has a closet full of costumes that chronicle his personal career journey over the years (and he was quite attached to his wardrobe favorites, too, I must add).  Fashion has the power to transform. To create confidence. To provide super hero like protection as we face the world outside. Its accessible armour, and on our best days it can be really FUN! So for now, I will be holding onto some of these rare occasion costumes and will be finding a special spot in my new closet for them, although I will be more than happy to add something new to my fashion mix when the next opportunity presents itself. I recently decided to give Stitch Fix a try, so I am hoping that helps me to break out of my fashion comfort zone a bit.





One Room Challenge media partner:





Back to my scheduled design makeover ...

So just how is my ORC makeover going? I dont have much progress to show this week unfortunately, which is why I resorted to taking a good look at what I plan to move into the new space and ended up going down this memory lane rabbit hole of blogger fashion. I have, however, found a great way to get rid of unwanted items (I promise to try hard to find some!) My town has set up a few collection bin sites for clothing, shoes, purses, linens, fabrics, even stuffed animals. The money from donated textiles will benefit our school system (they will all be properly recycled). Now I can get rid of even my oldest fashions and worn to death shoes and not worry that they will end up unused or unwanted in some donation bin or landfill. If I was really motivated, I would try to sell the better items online, but I just dont have it in me. Id much rather bag them, drop them off, and move on (unless you see something you like here : ) Only my true favorites will be allowed to move up to the new closet. Once it is done. Please let it get done. 

Check out the latest Calling It Home One Room Challenge design updates for week 3 (invited designers) here and (guest participants) here




Sunday, April 16, 2017

One Room Challenge: Hot Mess Stage


One week into the Calling it Home One Room Challenge and this is where my master closet project is at: the hot mess stage. Not much pretty to show, but this behind-the-walls-view means that progress is being made.






The new closet is roughly 5 feet wide at one end and then narrows to 4 feet wide at the other end with jogs created by the adjacent master bath. The overall length of the closet will be just over 14 feet long – which is great – but the slanted hip roof causes the height of the wall on the shortest side to be less than 4 feet tall (so this wall is only good for tops, skirts, and pants folded on hangers) while the opposite wall is about 8 feet high. The far end of the closet will be for long dresses (fortunately I don’t have a lot of these in my wardrobe!)





I vaguely remember my mom having a very similar shaped closet in our home growing up. It was large enough to get lost in as a kid. I used to love going in there and checking out all of her outfits (many that she made with her Singer sewing machine). It was the 70s and she did have a lot of long dresses and pant suits in her closet, so I guess it might have been a bit taller on the back wall than mine will be. My favorite part of visiting her closet was peeking inside a huge black steamer trunk that she had in there (seriously, how big was this closet??) Inside the trunk was where she stored the patterns and fabrics that she used to sew outfits for herself, for me and my two sisters, and then later to make doll clothes and quilts.




Dress made by mom for my vintage doll
displayed at a local design show.


I do happen to have a couple of large black steamer trunks handy that I found on the side of the road a couple of years ago. If there is room, I will be adding one to my closet, too : )

Come back next week and hopefully we will have walls up!

How are the other One Room Challenge participants doing on their week two? Check out the guest participants here and the sponsored designers here.





media partner: House Beautiful


Thursday, April 13, 2017

If Money Was No Object: My Vintage Top 10





What would you choose for yourself if your budget was without limit? I was recently asked this question and was happy to shop with abandon for my dream room, selecting gorgeous vintage items from Decaso, Decorative Arts Society.

If you are familiar with the online vintage site Chairish, this new sister site is founded by the same stellar team.

About Decaso: “It is an ultra-curated selection of exceptional antique and designer furniture offered by the world’s most respected dealers.”

As a blogger asked to choose my “Bucket List” favorites, I fell in LOVE with the 10 vintage items above. Details for each item with links to more info are listed below.

My theme? A classically glamorous room to entertain guests, enjoy a cocktail or two, put my feet up and get cozy.

My fantasy budget? Just over $30,000 (without adding in the cost of the original art). Not unreasonable for custom and vintage, but certainly outside of my typical price range. A girl can dream, right? If I had to choose just one of the ten, I would probably take home the bar cart. What would your fantasy room look like?



1 // Still Life With Upright, Oil on Canvas by Anne-Louise Ewen

2 // Leaded White Glass Sphere Pendant

3 // Italian Brass Chiavari Chair in Mongolian Fur

4 // Regency Style Designer Taboret Bench by Randy Esada Designs

5 // Charles Hollis Jones Lucite Faux-Bamboo and Brass Serving Cart

6 // Four Capiz Star-Shaped Pendant Lights

7 // Italian-Inspired Settee by Stripe

8 // Early 20th Century Oushak Carpet

9 // Pair of Fishskin Covered Chairs

10 // Custom Mid-Century Coffee Table











Thursday, April 6, 2017

One Room Challenge: Master Closet!





It’s time to finish our master closet design project, and what better motivation than signing up to participate in the Calling It Home One Room Challenge! Above is my dream closet mood board along with a photo of the carpet that we will put on the floor of this walk in space that runs the full length of our four square Colonial farmhouse.

As I always say, our house may look big, but really it’s just tall. The third floor attic that we transformed into our master bedroom is large enough to include a decent sized room, a modest sized full bath, and a walk in closet that spans the width of the house and has been on the back burner for far too long. Truth be told, I am looking forward to the day when I can move all of my party dresses upstairs from my second floor office closet (who am I kidding, I am starting a fresh wardrobe with all new clothes once this project is ever completed!)

Come back next week to see our layout plan for this time-to-get-it-done new and functional space. In the meantime, check out the other guest participants who are committing to accomplishing at least one of their home renovating dream projects over the next 6 weeks. Will you be one of them?


media sponsor ...

items on mood board ...
pendant light via Arhaus
typography art via Minted 
velvet hangers via Amazon 
little black dress by Emporio Armani 
wedge shoes by Ugg via Zappos
ribbon stitch bag by Fendi



Saturday, April 1, 2017

My Salon Space Reveal!


Ahh St. Germaine, my favorite! How cute is this picnic with adult beverages to go? I loved this colorful and creative window display that I recently saw in the plaza that houses my new Rodan + Fields by appointment only salon space. Have you seen it?


Wow, it has been awhile since I have stopped by to post here on Design Vignettes! When I first started this blog in 2009, I was a stay-at-home mom, looking for a creative outlet to share my love for all things design. For those of you who have followed my journey, I have traveled a varied career path since then, definitely not a straight line, but always with the goal to make a living and build a business doing what I love (if you want the unabridged version of the story, pour yourself a drink – Prosecco with a splash of St. Germaine perhaps? – and open up some past posts ... maybe grab a bottle or two as it will take awhile to go through them all ; )

Flash forward to July of 2015 when I was introduced to the opportunity of representing the Rodan + Fields premium skincare brand ...



Just a glimpse of my Rodan + Fields skincare consultant journey. 


The photo above – taken during R+F convention, October 2016 – features the companies two founding dermatologists, Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields (who first found success with their launch of Proactiv) and standing by my side my long time friend, Leah Guimont, who first introduced me to the Rodan + Fields brand.


What I liked most about R+F, besides how amazing the products made my skin look and feel, was that this was a business I could build in my spare time. I didn’t have to work 40 hours a week, didn’t have to travel, didn’t have to invest a lot of money, and I could get up and running with my own product website plus virtual training with the click of the button (oh, and I paid $45 to enroll as an Independent Consultant, although I truly wish I had signed on with one of the large product-filled business building kits to take advantage of the special discount). And while this business model is based on e-commerce and virtual sales, early on I knew that I wanted to set up a space outside of my home where I could show the products to others while training new consultants on how to become a brand rep for Rodan + Fields.

And I guess a part of me really just wanted a room of my own that I could decorate as I wished, and always have it look exactly the same way as when I left it. That is how I became a “by appointment only” salon owner at Salons by JC.  




Salons by JC at Redstone Plaza, Suite 29
117 Main Street, Stoneham MA






Since I opened my R+F salon space (Suite 29) in mid-November of 2016, I have had a number of open house events, have met with and trained new R+F consultants, and have been introduced to the many other talented salon stylist neighbors who are all running their own businesses, in their own ways, in their own spaces. It is a high-energy place to be, with a constant buzz of stylists and clients sharing stories while tending to the much needed ritual of self care (services offered range from cuts and colors, to waxing, to massage, to nail care, to micro-blading, to extensions, and more). 

The concept of Salons by JC is to provide independent beauty industry professionals a way to run their businesses without having to manage all the overhead that typically comes with salon ownership. There is a concierge service at the front of the building and once inside there are dozens of suites for rent. I am so happy to have one of them! 




Just some of the salon owners at Salons by JC (with room for more!)




Above is my vision board for my salon space that I shared during the One Room Challenge last fall. Below is the before photo. I realized that I never did show my after photos, which is why I am finally taking the time to write this post! 




And here is how it looks today ...










Many items in my space have been repurposed from design shows that I have participated in over the years that I have been holding onto ever since. It’s so nice to have found a home for them! The You are beautiful! slogan (and movement) was initiated by an artist that I follow online. Links to these stories and spaces are at the end of this post.



Rodan + Fields gifts to go that I offered during a holiday shopping event.



A place for everything and everything in its place!

Rodan + Fields skincare product collections (Soothe, Unblemish, Redefine, Reverse and Lash Boost) are displayed on top of shadow box frames that have before and after photos pinned inside. I also use this table top area to sit down with new consultants and answer their getting started questions face to face. Having the products on hand for show and tell makes it super easy to explain their benefits. 






I usually have product samples to share and gift certificates for purchase.





Cupcakes served by my neighbor, Nikki of Boss Beauty, at her open house.





One thing I have learned from being a part of this new industry – social selling – is that the key is to show up, whether that means scheduling appointments (I would like to do more of this), reaching out to existing customers (have enjoyed doing this since I started), or inviting others to give this brand – and business opportunity – a try (how about YOU??!!)






Setting personal business goals is great, but taking the action necessary to yield the best results is required for true success. My plan is to show up even more in my salon space, which I have found has helped me to show that I take my R+F business seriously. There are women and men who have grown amazing businesses with Rodan + Fields. Some have retired from their day jobs, and others use R+F to add to their mix of offerings while supplementing their income. For me, it has been a way to remain creative, market a brand I love and trust, and help others to improve their skin – and their lives – all while earning enough to cover my own product usage and business expenses while growing something bigger for down the road.






If you have been thinking about a new chapter for yourself, or have been wondering how to add additional revenue to your beauty industry business without adding additional hours to your day, I’d love to help start you on your own R+F journey.

Whether you are local to Boston or are located states or even countries away (we are in Canada now and will be launching in Australia in May of this year) I’d be happy to share what I know with you. Email me at yblacker@verizon.net to learn more or visit my product or business opportunity pages (links below).





What I really love about this virtual skincare business is that it provides each independent consultant with the tools needed for success: from an easy to navigate website, to great marketing materials, to complete order fulfillment, to comprehensive online training, to private facebook support groups with other consultants who end up as friends. It truly is a brilliant business model – I am so glad it was presented to me – it really has been a blessing and a gift. If you would like to meet some of my R+F friends in person, we will be hosting an opportunity event mid April at a local restaurant. Reach out to me for a personal invite. Would love to have you join us!







Visit my Business Opportunity Page