Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nine days till Sweden

Photo by Mia Lalander
Butterflies are running rampant in my belly!!
I am so very excited for my big trip to Stockholm.
All I want when I go there is to buy a wooden dala horse.

This photo was sent to me from this amazing Swedish
 woman who has been taking such great care of my grandmother.
I will hopefully be meeting her for some espresso while I'm in Stockholm.
The photo above was taken on her phone.

If this is what Stockholm looks like through a phone, 
then I can't wait to see what I will find through my camera lens.
Ooooooooooooo!  This is gunna be good!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fashion runs in the family

The women in my family are not only strong, hilarious and at most times crazy,
but we also have a pretty great eye for fashion!

My mother is so cool.  I mean just look at her.  I only hope I look that fantastic 
when I'm her age.  She trained me well.  Never repeat an outfit and always 
wear blush and lipstick.  Key lessons I've learned in my 26 years.

And then there's my little cousin.  She bombs into my family barbecue
looking like she was plucked out of Mad Men.  She is absolutely gorgeous.
This dress looks so fantastic on her and the colors were perfect for our
colorful cook out!  Of course she put up a fight when I tried to take her picture.
So I snuck this great candid of her. 

Her dress is from H&M and her beautiful necklace 
was a cheap but chic find from P-Town!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bohemian Barbecue

This dress is the perfect BBQ dress.  
You look pregnant already so you might as well eat
and drink so that you're at least hiding a food baby 
under all of that fabric.  

Sigh.. the above photo is such an MK shot.
I miss my bag lady days.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Holiday in the Sun.

Does anyone get that reference? 
I'll just let you Google it..

On Saturday we celebrated 
my aunt's birthday and my uncle's retirement.  
We had so much fun.. so much food.. and so much sangria!!
It was what I needed to kick off the crazy month of June!

Permission to wear white.

Happy Memorial Day y'all!
Even though the "white" wive's tale is just that...
I felt I had to support the tradition today.

I was feeling a 60's vibe with my dropped waist line, 
flat forms, bucket back and oversized cocktail ring.
And yes... the heart shaped sunnies were a no brainer 
addition to the outfit.. but by now you all know they exist.
It's kind of hard to miss them.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A change will do you good.

My new, authentic antique mirror.
I needed a new look for my new outlook.
My room feels so much lighter now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Finding my happy.

I firmly believe people come into your life for a reason.
That reason is usually a learning experience that you can take with you.
As of recent I've been experiencing a lot of internal battles.  
Battles that I have found myself trying to pin on other people like
"Oh I feel this way because this person did this."  Everyday 
it gets worse and worse leaving me feeling more anxious and more stressed.
So much so that I've been having trouble sleeping and concentrating
and it's causing my face to have this pitiful squishy look to it.

Well, I just took an hour long cab ride from downtown Chicago to O'Hare with 
the most amazing man.  When I entered the cab we joked and laughed about
something but 20 minutes later we were in this really deep and nice conversation
that I needed more than anything.  He had reacted to something I said 
and so started telling me about something he learned a year ago.  Basically, 
he was talking about the power of the mind.  

                         "you are wise
                                 cabdriver man"

Now this is all stuff I had heard before.. nothing new.  
But what was different about this conversation was
instead of just saying "you are in charge of your own happiness!! 
Ta-daa!!  Now go be happy!", he taught
me how to implement that concept in my life.  

I told him about my stress and he told me that my stress is not actual stress. 
That it is in actuality just life, and fun and learning and experiencing new 
things and that that I, in my mind, made it into stress.  I know y'all are 
probably thinking "Ok Karen... calm down.." but honestly it's true.
I keep taking these wonderful things that should be exciting, happy and fun and 
building them into these tangled up balls of stress and torturous anxiety.

It was bizarre that this concept is something I've known and 
even preached about, but something I had yet to actually implement in my life.
 And this guy... was just placed in front of me and was like 
"girl... this is how you do it". 

Buddha.  Buddha came to me! 
Kidding.. but anyways..

We touched on how you get what you give.. and again I know 
I've said that soooo many times! But what I was missing out of this concept of 
Karma was that you can't give to get something out of someone else.  
Even if it's something as small as a smile.
That is not the point.
..and you will get let down.
But you need to give positivity and good energy purely to better you as a person.  
Not to literally get something tangible in return.  

I keep finding myself saying "why is this happening, I'm a good person" 
but I'm missing the point.  I need to be a "good person" or 
whatever.. to better myself.. to make me happy.. and stop trying to find
happiness through the reactions or gestures from other people.

And when you find that happy.. you will be giving it to other people organically.
 Not because you're putting in effort to try to change someone, something
or some situation.  When you meet a truly happy person..
there are so many good things that come out of your experience with them.
Whether it's inspiration, a good vibe or whatever.. and now I get it.
I want to be that person for me. 

You can't control what other people do, but you can control what you do.

It's simple... and I thought I understood it.
But clearly I was missing the point.

We also talked about holding onto negativity and grudges.
But that's a whole other conversation.

He was also really passionate about Louis Vuitton's window displays.
So he's like.... super cool.


Last but not definitely NOT least. 
Dinner at Balena.  Hoooly shit. I have never tasted food
like this before in my life.  Plus the drinks were out of control fantastic 
and more importantly.. the ambiance and design was great.  
A perfect hybrid of masculine and feminine. 
A whispering of shabby chic among the most beautiful industrial pieces.
The perfect portrayal of "Italian with a Mid-western twist",
which is the inspiration behind the food.
The service was impeccable too!

I had such a lovely time.

To start I had the bruschetta of oil poached tuna with marinated beans.
It's definitely a starter for two... I ate the whole thing.  Totally fine.
The flavors and textures were so unexpected and just absolutely perfect. 
Then came my entree.  Ricotta ravioli with swiss chard in a brown butter sauce. 
Heaven.  Heaven. There was a slight hint of lemon.. I can't even.

For drinks I had the Manlino and the Strawberry.
Both fantastic and refreshing.

I can't wait to go back.
I'm absolutely exhausted.

the Wit

This place was beautiful.  The view? Amazing.
The food was meh.  Everyone totally thought I was a prostitute.

I made it to the bean!!


I've been waiting years to take my picture in the bean!
 So of course I had to have an hour long photo shoot with myself.. by myself.
There was a literal riot, million man march going on behind me...
seriously no lie.  NATO was chanting on the streets.. and my face
just lit up when I laid eyes on this b.  I had the dumbest grin on my face,
my camera was out..  angels were singing.. I morphed into an Asian tourist..
all of this going on with NATO + 30 cops lined up behind me.
Can you picture it?  I painted a fantastic picture of it so you should be able to!

No shame is the name of the game.

Good ol' Chic...... that's what us business women like to call Chicago.
No that's not true.  I just made that up.  But seriously.  I got a lot done today.
And now I'm sprawled out watching Pawn Stars in my creepy-as-shit hotel room.
I'm totally going to wake up to the twins from The Shining at some point.

Above was my first stop of the day after seeing the space I will be designing.
Jake Melnick's Corner Tap... best hot wings I've ever tasted in my life. 
And the bartender wasn't bad looking either.  I was really surprised he didn't ask me out
after watching me shove sauced up chicken in my face hole for an hour.  
No shame.

Now my day was so all over the place that I'm going to post everything separately.
DEAL WITH IIIIIIIT.  Those two cocktails from dinner are still kickin'.. clearly.

Monday, May 21, 2012

She's a cold hearted snake

When I saw this little guy wrapped around my co-worker's neck
I got super excited! Immediately I asked where it came from and of course..
so cool.. it is an heirloom from her husbands family.  
How beautiful is that.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

with love from san diego

A piece of me from the West Coast sent me this tonight.
At first my stomach dropped because it reminded me of what it use to feel like 
to be amazed, inspired and to have my heart beat faster.
This photograph is of a partial solar eclipse over Cali taken by my Dobies.

Shit like this is beautiful.. amazing.. incredible.. awesome.
All the words that we over use and abuse on nonsense that doesn't matter.
Thanks Dobies for making me feel good.  You made my heart smile!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Summer Travels

The past couple crazy weeks have got me really excited 
for my upcoming travels!  Weirdly enough these travels are for 
work and not pleasure, however I'm pretty sure they are going to 
feel like a fantastic vacation from the insane realities of my life.

Every weekend I am either traveling home or going to see friends..
and as much as I feel so grateful to have my family and friends I am mentally 
and emotionally exhausted.  Life can just be too much sometimes!

These business trips.. I will be on my own, experiencing new
cities and countries, focusing on myself and my work and I am really
looking forward to it.  I can take a deep breath and regroup!

I leave for Chicago in a few days!
Besides meeting with some people for work, 
my only hope and mission is to photograph myself in "the bean".
I also would love to enjoy a really nice dinner at a restaurant that I've
only heard about on the Food Network or Bravo.  
Big plans!

After Chicago is {drum roll please} Stockholm!  
When I'm there I want to look like the girl in the photo above.
After Sweden I am off to Chicago again, home, New Hampshire,
 upstate New York, LA, DC and probably home to Boston again.
I would also love to fit in Charleston, SC.. maybe for my birthday.

This summer will be filled with new and beautiful experiences. 
I have only dreamed of having a career that allows me to travel and be creative.
I never thought it would actually happen.  I am so very excited.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A walk in the park.

My shoulders and forehead are pink.  Summer is on its way.
Can't wait for ice cream cones and sundresses.
So many pieces hanging in my closet that are excited to feel the warm weather!

Table for one, outside please.

 Today was lovely.  I went to Central Park to lay out in the sun,
then went and sat outside for an early dinner.   It was what I needed after 
such an intense whirlwind of a week.  Just some time to myself.

Sometimes I need a meal, outside of my apartment by
 myself to collect my thoughts, eat and have a nice glass of Riesling. 

This week was great hanging out with the Swedes.  They taught me a lot 
about life in general.  To take time for yourself.  That it's ok to step back and take
a time-out to gain creative inspiration.  Everything I grew up knowing, but all of
that was pretty much erased the second I went to college and got a real job. 

I think I just need to take a deep breath, find balance and feel inspired.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Ivy League Event

The Ivy League book signing event was a great success on Thursday night!
Our little Prince Street Rugger store was packed with people.
A huge congratulations to the author Daniel Cappello!

This was my first legitimate event I have designed professionally.  
I must say I was a proud mamma! I had such a talented team helping me
and such a beautiful space to work in!  I have found that event design is definitely
something that excites and inspires me.. I haven't felt so proud of something in a 
really long time.  I am definitely a lucky girl.

The interesting/fun part of this was figuring out how to make a 
garden party both masculine and "Ivy League" appropriate.
The direction we went in was keeping our floral elements green 
and our decor rustic, clean and linear. 

Succulents are beautiful and masculine.  
They're graphic and provided texture and pattern to the environment.
The lanterns had a great balance of a modern yet vintage look.

Again, the party was absolutely wonderful.
There was so much character to be found in the details. 
Our servers wore our Yale oxfords with the new Gant Rugger aprons from our 
FW12 collection.  The music playing throughout the event were 
a capella groups from different Ivy League schools.

Cheers to a great night!