Monday, September 30, 2013

{within-spiration | az foto}

Happy Monday! We arrived to the end of September. Just in time to experience a few weeks of fall in Tucson. Toda's Inspiration comes from the photography of the amazing Dominic Bonudcelli, AZ Foto. He recently returned from one of his fabulous gigs photographing for Rick Steves in Europe. We are going to be using these shots in a project of ours, and are so incredibly inspired by them, we had to share them with you! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

{simply sweet | flower arrangements}

Happy Friday! 
Today's Simply Sweet post is brought to you by Rocky Top Print Shop on Etsy. It inspired us to look for some Classic Flower Arrangements.
Here's a good link from Martha Stewart on Flower Arranging. And here's one from Real Simple Magazine.
Have a beautiful weekend!

{thursdays take two | a blog named scout}

Time to share another great blogger! Today's post comes from A Blog Named Scout. It's author is freelance event designer, Jenn Elliott Blake. She inspires us to travel and enjoy the simple things. Here's one of her latests posts for you! Enjoy!



•  16.SEPTEMBER.2013
Pinch me moments don’t happen too often in life, but when they do it’s generally best to stop and take close notice. Slow down…take the moment in…breathing deeply, consciously appreciating the subtleties of the minutes passing. This dinner party in Nashville was most certainly a “is this really happening” moment in my life, as the beauty of the people involved and the southern hospitality vibe for this sweet dinner/launch party couldn’t have been any more ideal or goose-bump evoking.
A few months back I had the pleasure of traveling to Nashville, Tennessee to design and style a dinner for the latest print issue of Anthology Magazine. From the moment Anna and I arrived at Emily & Sloane’s beautiful home and atelier in East Nashville, I realized what a spectacular couple of days were ahead of us. Emily is an amazing artist (she’s been painting since she was a toddler!) and her 1950′s studio took my breath away.
I couldn’t imagine a more inspiring space to create a dinner party reflective of the artist herself – from her inspiration boards scattered amongst completed works, to her jars of colorful brushes & the dappled light from the skylights overhead. Sloane was kind enough to make the tables for our dinner (I paired them with rustic benches rented about an hour south of Nashville) and upon arriving, Emily with her sweet baby bump in tow, was gracefully displaying some of her latest work on the outer rim of the space where we set up the tables. To have the opportunity to support such a beautiful couple in celebrating the re-launch of Emily’s work was quite the honor.
With every table design must of course come the food. Oooooohhhhh the food!! Words cannot even describe the complexities of taste and delight that came with the feast Lisa created for us. Lisa is a spectacularly talented pastry chef (check out her blog Buttermilk Road for her inspiring Sunday Suppers!), so we were certainly blessed to have her spend much of her day in the kitchen kneading & rolling fresh yeast rolls, primping a summer salad, and perfecting her coq au vin. Yum!
Any time I sit down to initially visualize a tabletop design for an event or party, I reflect on what makes this particular celebration so special and unique. I shared lots of details of my inspiration for this dinner on Anna’s blog in this post last week, but the short of it was that I really wanted the dinner to envelop and reflect art through a plethora of mediums. From colorful paint splattered brushes for name cards, pottery centerpieces filled with wild vines and Emily’s studio brushes, to a colored pencil embossed menu on illustration paper, I was hopeful that each detail reflected the purpose of the evening. I intentionally left the paint spotted sheets covering the floor of studio in their place during the dinner to also reflect the authenticity of the space and beauty of Emily’s art palette.
One of my favorite details of the night were the flowers. When I arrived in Nashville I had no idea what to expect as far as availability, color and stem options, but when Emily suggested we venture about 20 minutes away to her Mom’s garden I could barely contain my excitement – it doesn’t get much fresher than that! I hand cut stems of Lenten roses and vines from her mother’s beautiful yard the morning of the party, and allowed them to organically flow from the pottery pieces I spread across the table. I loved how the vibrant green of the leaves and stems added that “living” touch to the table. It made the event all the more special to have her mama’s garden breath life into the decor, and meeting Emily’s mom was the cherry on top of the day.
Although every last bit of the juice soaked rolls made us groan with delight, Lisa’s dessert : a gorgeous coconut cake (I pretended it was my birthday cake, as I turned 30 on the day of the dinner) made my night. Everything paired beautifully with Robin’s selection of wine’s and I laughed endlessly amongst the conversation around the table. It was so much fun getting to know some of Emily, Lisa and Sloane’s most cherished Nashville friends and each person’s personality complemented the evening so so well.
Intimate dinner parties happen to be my favorite kind of celebrations to design for. There are so many opportunities for unique touches (they usually allow you to be more budget friendly too!) and you’re often inspired to pull serving elements & props straight from your surroundings. Emily had the most amazing brass flatware on hand (just enough for our group!) and tiny french glass yogurt jars held votive candles that provided just enough light as the sun settled.
Anna, Emily, Lisa, Amy and Sloane thank you so much for taking me into your hearts and for making my first visit to Nashville so special. It was an honor to meet and work with each one of you, and I will treasure our time together and that scrumptious dinner for many years to come.
Be sure to snag the current issue of Anthology Magazine for more images and the fantastic recipes from the night!
photography credit : amy dickerson

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

{within works | 6 tips for passing the NCIDQ}

Designistas! Good Morning! Today's post is all about the dreaded NCIDQ. We get this question a LOT "what advice do you have for people trying to get NCIDQ Certified?" I decided to do a post about it so that we can continue to add hints and tips to this post and people can pass it on!
I took the NCIDQ in 2007, luckily passed on the first try. I also took all of the exams at once. Some people felt better spacing the exams out, and it will be up to you to see what fits best with your study habits. The first thing that I want to say is Congratulations! It's a big decision and step to take and I am thrilled that you are doing it! I'm a big believer in the NCIDQ and stand by it 100%. Ok, so here are my tips for you. Good Luck!
[First first first...find out what the Eligibility Requirements are]
1. Find a study partner. This is huge. It's going to take months to study for this exam and there are so many details to consider. There will be days that you do not want to read about HVAC or Type 2 Wallcoverings or ADA. These are the days that you will need a study budy. Find one. Make a schedule and keep yourselves accountable to each other.
2. Sign up for a STEP class in your area. I took mine through ASID (see link here). There are also PREP classes/workshops that are similar to STEP and they help prepare you for the practicum portion of the exam. (see link here)
3. Get some literature. There are tons of books out there, so ask around to see what your peers are reading. I wouldn't purchase a lot of them because then you will just get overwhelmed. Definitely get yourself a reference manual. This one is from Amazon.

You'll probably need a codes guidebook, if you don't already have one from school. This one is also from Amazon.

4. Make FLASHCARDS! It's super old school but they work! I had my flashcards as well as online flashcards. I would have the website open so that I could quiz myself throught the day. The site that I used is no longer around, but there are tons of options out there so just search until you find the one you want. Make sure you get a free site. It's not worth paying for. I found the following sites: Study Blue, Course Hero, and Flashcard Machine.
5. Peppermint, Highlighters, and Sticky Notes. You will need a stock of these guys. Peppermint is supposed to help you study. You will have tons of papers and books and notes everywhere so get out those sticky notes and color coordinate yourself! Same goes for highlighters. You only have a short amount of time to memorize a LOT of stuff so pull out the trusty highlighter to get your eyes to go exactly where they need to prior to glazing over.
6. Get some rest. Do NOT pull an all-nighter prior to the exam. What you gain from extra study time won't compensate for the loss of alertness and ability to concentrate. So no matter how many times this worked for you in college do not do it here. This is why you study months in advance.

So those are my top 6 tips for passing the exam! Good Luck to you! The public thanks you =) As I do.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

{to sigh for | 3 top baby boutiques}

I don't think anything is cuter than baby clothes! There are some amazing designers out there creating some gorgeous pieces! Some to mention are: Talc Boutique, Le Petit Coco, and Bunnies by the Bay. There are tons to choose from, but today we will just mention these three.

I am in love with these clothes! Simply to sigh for!

Monday, September 23, 2013

{within-spiration | 7 spooky photos at the Hassayampa Inn}

Good Morning Designistas! Today is all about vintage inspiration! Last week we had the pleasure of staying at the Historic Hassayampa Inn in Prescott, Arizona. This stunning hotel opened its doors in 1927 and designed by one of the Southwest's most distinguished architects, Henry Trost. The Inn is truly splendid. Our room was comfortable and quiet and the 1927 vintage elevator was still working!

I decided, since Halloween was around the corner, to take some spookier photos of the hotel. Lets consider for a moment that at one point this Inn was a boarding house, radio station, and an interim campus for Prescott College. Through all those years I would suspect that a ghost or two would take up lodging here. So with my trusty Hipstamatic Camera I went to work to capture the darker side of the Inn. 
First we start with my luggage, a vintage Samsonite that I purchased at a yardsale for $5.

The room had a view of the front of the Inn, a restaurant, and a busy street corner. I personally just loved the vintage-y curtains.

Below is a view of our hallway. It was super quiet, and very white.

The fire escape windows had a lovely seating area.

View from the fire escape

Just in case...

I couldn't help but snap a selfie with this filter to see if it would make me look spooky too.
If you're in Prescott, I highly recommend this Inn. Walking distance to everything, food was yummy, and although I saw no ghosts in my one night stay, I expect to see some next time!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

{thursdays take two | I ART U}

Today's Thursday's Take Two Post comes from I Art U. Jennifer Young is a Lifestyle Photographer and the author behind I Art U. The photography is just splendid and we had to repost at lest one of her blog posts! Enjoy!



May 14, 2013

My husband used to climb Mount Whitney regularly when he was younger and decided this year it had been too long since he had last ventured up--so he decided to take the trek once again...this time, with me in tow. We headed up via the Mountaineer's Route. I had no idea what I was in for or how challenging climbing Whitney would be--I had only heard a few stories in the past. MW is the highest summit in the continental US at around 14,500 feet. If you've ever climbed Half Dome in Yosemite, the trailhead of MW starts at around 8,000 feet, which is close to the elevation at the top of Half Dome. Crazy? Yes. Intense? Mmhmm. Amazing? Most definitely!
Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the top, but the journey was beautiful. I couldn't believe how much the terrain vastly changed from mile to mile. During the climb I swore I would never attempt it again (it was painful at times!), but now that it is after the fact...I may reconsider another attempt. Maybe...
It was a day of firsts for me--using an ice pick, putting on crampons, glissading...there's something about learning and experiencing new things that keeps me going. Time to train for the next adventure! 
"Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple." Willy Wonka