I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! We were very happy to run around and play outside, both on land and by the water.
Several years ago, when I interned at Bridal Guide magazine, I was responsible for photocopying important pages from magazines we received at the office that our EIC wanted for her files. Fashion ideas, interesting page layouts, anything that triggered a thought for the future. Rather than just go up to the Xerox machine, do the copies and file the magazines, I would pore over each one, and often I'd make a second copy of certain pages for my own files. This was a great way to learn about the other magazines but also a different way of reading magazines because I was looking at ideas and trying to think of how they could be adapted for a different market.
Though the name of the magazine and exactly what else was in this article escapes me, there was an article in a woman's magazine, and the gist was something like, what piece of clothing changed your life? And that sounds like it could be superficial, but one response was from a woman who talked about her first Marimekko dress in the 1960s. It's been so long that I can't remember anything else she said about her style or the pattern of the dress (though I'm pretty sure if I delved deep into my own files, I have a photocopy of this article somewhere), but I distinctly remember that when she wore the dress, it totally transformed how she saw herself as a woman. Ever since then, I've had an interest in Marimekko. I've also loved mod 60s style since I was a child watching reruns of 60s comedies.
So, I was very interested to belatedly learn that Marimekko and Banana Republic have teamed up for a limited-time summer collection. The collection just launched a few days ago and is selling out very quickly already. These two pieces are some of the few still available online and in select stores.
Of course, there's always the real deal, too. I love these new dresses available on Marimekko's site:
This week, as part of my part-time job, I'm attending a local conference called the WISE Symposium. WISE stands for Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship. All day tomorrow I'll be tweeting and posting from the conference and I'm excited to hear the speakers who have been successful in starting their own businesses, attend the panels all related to starting and running a business, and learning more about local businesses who will part of the expo section.
The company I work for is a small business founded and run by a woman. My mother-in-law is an entrepreneur and I don't think of myself as an entrepreneur, but going out on a limb and working freelance as opposed to being on staff is a direction I wasn't ever sure I could succeed in.
Marie Claire posted 11 of Coco Chanel's best quotes and they seemed especially appropriate this week. The one above is my favorite as it's pretty close to my philosophy on life and decorating (to some extent). Check out the rest of the inspiring quotes here.
image via marie claire
My favorite part of giving gifts is that moment when the person opens the package, sees what the item is, and you can tell from their expression that you nailed it. I spend a lot of time carefully thinking about the right gifts for each person we give to, and even when I go a little over budget, it's usually worth it to achieve that perfect fit.
I still have a lot of shopping to do for my own family, but I put together a few things that I hope can help you as you shop for yours. Let me know what you like!
images via retailers listed
Today is my older daughter's fourth birthday and I don't think it has fully sunk in yet. I still have a bunch to do before her party this weekend. Actually, two parties: My baby turned one exactly a week ago and we're ambitiously trying to have both birthday parties in the same day—one right after the other—since there is so much guest overlap.
We've shortened the parties to two hours instead of our usual three and will have a half-hour "intermission" in between where we'll switch the decor from sunshine and rainbows (for our one year old, because she's our Sunshine) to pink princess (four year old). Cupcake is fully enamored with all things princess, though thankfully, she still likes trains, building towers, coloring, and is getting into the idea of sports.
But design-wise it's queens, rather than princesses, who seem to have the better style reputation. Case in point: these gorgeous illustrated cards from Rifle Paper Co.
Four iconic queens get the royal treatment, each with her own coordinating floral background drawn in Anna Bond's signature whimsical style. I love the saturated colors, the details on all of the dresses, and how regal each woman looks, even though Bond's drawing style is so sweet. I think I would choose Nefertiti for myself, how about you?
The cards are available as boxed sets of 8, single cards, or as an assorted set of 8 (2 of each design).
images via rifle paper co.
When I decided to write my first book review for checkout, I thought it would be a more abbreviated review—the kind I'm used to giving when I have to sum up an inspiring design book in roughly a column-inch.
But this book is inspiring for different reasons. Uncommon Thread: A Woman, A Brand, A Legacy: the Story of Peacock Alley Fine Linens is the autobiography of Mary Ella Gabler, founder and chairman of Peacock Alley, an affordable luxury bedding and bath linens company. The framework of the story, in many ways, is not unfamiliar:
A young woman moves with her husband for his career, starts a family, contends with advancement and career change in male-dominated fields (looking to create something for herself but still have the freedom to care for her children), follows her dreams to see success come and go and come again, and builds something that endures.
The more remarkable part is that the story begins in the late 60s/early 70s when it was much harder for women to be equals and decision makers in the work environment.
Mary Ella operates on a "little black dress" theory in fashion and in her business: Invest in well-made neutral basics and work in texture, color, and pattern thoughtfully. Trusting her instinct to keep it classic has served her well, even when peers and competitors were following fleeting trends.
Timeless lessons for business and life emerge organically; they are not written in any organized list. You see them as her story unfolds chronologically, serving as excellent guideposts for those forging their own paths, especially those thinking of starting their own business. I've included some after the jump.
I'm in awe of people—especially young people—who charge out into the world and try to truly enact change for the better. And I'm equally, if not more so, in awe of people who are in extremely disadvantaged positions and fight to be agents of change for their families and their communities. All the women behind Mercado Global are such people.
Founder Ruth DeGolia began the company as a college student in 2004 after spending time in Guatemala and seeing the abject poverty and lack of opportunities. Over the last nine years, with her heart and business savvy, she and her team have built a nonprofit fair trade organization dedicated to alleviating poverty and developing an infrastructure for female artisans to support themselves. More than 400 skilled women in 30-plus cooperatives across Guatemala craft by hand jewelry, pillows, and bags to be sold in North and Latin America. Mercado Global partners with the indigenous women to educate and empower artisans, and to connect them to the literal global market in order to create the opportunities needed to break the cycle of poverty and to provide education and nutritious food, among other needs, for themselves and their children.
Their chic new handcrafted bags, now available at Red Envelope, directly support the process.
all images via red envelope
#checkout this blog with shop-themed puns
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