I recently had the opportunity to design packaging and shelf labels for Everytable, a new company that has the wonderful mission of making delicious and healthy food accessible in all neighborhoods. It was slightly surreal to spot the designs in today's New York Times, as well as online in the Los Angeles Times. What an honor to be a peripheral part of such a wonderful project. I'm excited for its Grand Opening this weekend!
The Denim Jungle is available on Amazon! It was officially released late last year and, I'm told, has been delighting readers near and far. It was such a thrill to illustrate. I'll be heading to Seattle next month to properly celebrate its launch with the author. Let me know if you get a copy!
I'm thrilled to announce that I recently finished illustrations for THE DENIM JUNGLE, written by Angela Taylor Hylland. Here's a look at the cover art. It's available for pre-order now on Amazon and is officially coming out November 23rd. Find it here: http://bit.ly/TheDenimJungle. Follow my Instagram and/or Facebook for exclusive first looks at the designs. xx
I'm beyond thrilled to share my latest collaboration with Flannery Good of Fashion Tweaker! She made this stunning clutch out of my "Double Neon Abstract" fabric (gold pom pom from ban.do). It's totally surreal to see the design come to life in such a stylish and beautifully crafted way. The full post (and more pictures!) can be found HERE, as well as Flannery's DIY tutorial!
I'm thrilled to be one of 30 artists participating in the BoxcarOne Artist Series for Revolution Design House. They sent me a set of their gorgeous wood boxcars and I created "Rainbow Wanderlust," which will be showcased at their Open Studio on October 9th as part of Design Week Portland. Check their website for show and purchase info!
Here's a sneak peek of a new collection I'm working on.. Introducing the BOHO GRAND MONOGRAM COLLECTION. Right now it's only available via custom order, but stay tuned for more info...
(Please email me for further info on monograms/words on all types of pieces.. if you can dream it, I'll do my best to make it happen!) xx
I'm thrilled to announce my first collaboration as a tastemaker for Great.ly... Introducing the "Spectrum Showers Cloud Mobile" from TheRainbowRoom. It is available now exclusively in the Precious Beast Great.ly boutique!
This beautiful piece is made by hand (in exotic Ibiza!) by the very talented Claire Beaman. I love how it turned out - truly vibrant and whimsical - perfect for so many different spaces. It's also a fabulous gift for anyone who appreciates a good rainbow. (Supplies are limited, so grab one before they run out..!)
I feel so lucky to be a part of Great.ly as both a maker and tastemaker. It gives me an opportunity to work with people all over the world and explore new mediums. Claire was a joy to work with and, thanks to the magic of the internet, we were able to go back and forth until we came to the perfect design to share with you. Enjoy!!
Last month I was honored to be named an official "Tastemaker" on Great.ly! This means I get to curate my very own online boutique filled with beautiful pieces made by fellow talented makers. I'm thrilled to be able to showcase the fabulous finds I come across and also have a great reason to collaborate with the rad people I want to work with.
I've been a "Maker" on the site ever since it launched (with my art available in other Tastemakers' boutiques), but I felt compelled to open my own boutique and luckily Great.ly said yes! Check out some of the fabulous finds in my boutique:
Please feel free to message or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to discuss a feature or collaboration. In the meantime, please check out my very own marketplace and stay tuned for great things to come..!
Whether it is 10am on a Tuesday or 9pm on a Saturday, Marissa Harrington is likely up to something fabulous that you want to be a part of. Thanks to her boundless passion and eye for detail, one quickly learns that her photography studio, Bourbon and Goose, is much more than meets the eye. Based in Downtown LA's chic artistic hub, The Unique Space, Marissa snaps dazzling portraits, offers creative direction to high end brands, and collaborates with cutting edge makers. Once a week, she transforms the space into the setting for her popular #HappyHourClub, serving up bold cocktails (such as Thai Bloody Marys, Vanilla Bourbon Bombs, and Guinness Ice Cream Floats) to her loyal following. Part entrepreneur, part Renaissance woman, Marissa is definitely among LA's creative movers and shakers.
Precious Beast recently had the opportunity to sit with Marissa for SOMEONE YOU OUGHTA KNOW... WITH BOURBON AND GOOSE…
PB: What inspired you to start Bourbon and Goose and how did it come together?
MH: I started blogging 2008 for friends and companies I worked for. I love social media and content creation. At the time, my blogging focused around food, events and beauty products. I wasn't ready to start my own blog until 2011 when I needed an outsource to express my creativity outside of my day open. Thankfully with Sam's encouragement, I developed Bourbon and Goose. Looking back, I realized I should have just dived in but hey, lesson learned. I think that's part of the driving force on why I morphed Bourbon and Goose into a photography studio. I wanted to take a risk and put together all my passions. Since it is now a photo studio, it's given me a chance to use my creative direction and photography skills to help individuals and companies get their visual voice out there.
PB: Where did the name come from?
MH: When Sam and I first started dating we both had our drinks we preferred when going out with friends. He loves bourbon and during that period of my life, I loved Goose and soda (grey goose). After reminiscing about one of our nights out celebrating a friend's birthday, Sam informed me he referred to my girlfriends and I as the Goose Crew. I couldn't stop laughing about it. Voila the name was born!
PB: When did your passion for photography start?
MH: My grandpa and grandma were notorious for taking photos and writing on the back of each photo of what was going outside the frame. Those photos are now my most valuable treasures. Looking back, it made me realize how storytelling through photography has made such an impact on me.
PB: What are your tools of choice?
MH: Canon EOS 60D and anything made by Profoto and Adobe.
PB: Where do you find inspiration?
MH: If I'm stuck in a creative rut, I go for a walk or bike ride. I love walking around Downtown LA and being inspired by the community. I'm also notorious for going off the grid, which I get from my mother—taking mini road trips or camping excursions to unplug and refuel.
PB: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
MH: Hands down: dogs. They are the funniest models. I'm itching to do pet photography and would love to volunteer with animal rescues to support their mission. If you follow me on facebook, this isn't a surprise. ;)
PB: What would be your dream collaboration?
MH: Working with Darling Magazine. I love what they stand for and what they are bringing to the online community.
PB: You also host the very popular #HappyHourClub - can you tell us about it?
MH: I created #HappyHourClub on a whim with the intention to try out different cocktail recipes for the website. It's now grown into an informal meet-up, perfect for meeting my online community in person and also spending time with my friends. It's every Friday (unless noted) from 4-6pm. Each month I do a larger #happyhourclub with a featured Cocktail Curator, who shares their favorite recipe. The tasting allows attendees to try out the craft cocktail before it hits the Drink with Us gallery. In short, it's really just an excuse for me to be social and meet new people.
PB: What's next for Bourbon and Goose?
MH: Next month I'll be speaking at Academy of Handmade's summer workshop, Blogging for Makers, a beauty shoot for a series I'm working on and portraiture series. Very excited for the month ahead since it's filled with so many creative endeavors.
PB: Where can people find out more?
MH: Definitely check out the website. Bourbon and Goose has information about the photography services, a drink with us gallery featuring all the latest cocktail collaborations and the blog showcase all the work in the studio. Also, my instagram pretty much gives you a glimpse into my daily activities and inspiration.
If you drink wine, enjoy great cuisine or live in LA, odds are you've crossed paths with Alex Weil. With an impressive resume that includes tenures as Head Sommelier at Bouchon Bistro and Beverage Director at Osteria and Pizzeria Mozza, Alex has worked alongside industry giants and helped shape world renowned wine programs. His vast knowledge, warm character and generous spirit leave you wanting to add one more seat to your table to further bask in his infectious passion for the finer things in life. This LA native is also a first time father, recently welcoming twin girls, Audrey and Charlotte, with his wife Christine, a theatre administrator. Alex's journey so far has many of LA's movers and shakers curious to see what's next for him and, in the meantime, seeking out his private consultation services (often over a round of golf) on everything from cellar curation to private wine tastings.
Precious Beast recently had the opportunity to sit with Alex for SOMEONE YOU OUGHTA KNOW... WITH ALEX WEIL, SOMMELIER EXTRAORDINAIRE...
PB: Do you remember your first glass of wine?
AW: I do not remember my very first glass of wine but more than likely around the age of 12 or 13 my father gave me a sip of something he was drinking at Sunday night dinner. I probably hated it.
The first glass of wine I loved I do remember quite well though. It was a red Bordeaux purchased by a family friend from his son’s birth year and poured at his 21st birthday. The difference between properly aged wine and young wine was then, and still is now, staggering to me. It doesn’t just taste different, it also feels different.
PB: When did you know that you were destined for a career in wine?
AW: Not until I was working in the wine industry actually. I enjoyed the interaction with customers being a barista during college afforded me and had a very positive experience visiting Sonoma with friends during my junior year of college. When it came time to get a job after graduation I had the opportunity to work at a wine store. I took the job, took to the industry and decided to make working in wine a career.
PB: You've worked with so many incredible people (Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali, Thomas Keller, Christian Navarro, to name a few...). Are there any lessons or takeaways you can offer from those experiences?
AW: That anything is possible if you are willing to work for it. That no detail is too small to overlook or ignore, and to be detail oriented to the point of being obsessive. I’ve worked for obsessive people that make everything look easy and I’ve worked for people whose very reputation is built on the public’s knowledge of their obsessive behavior. But, they all were obsessed with the details.
Being around so many entrepreneurs specifically I have also learned to do what you do best and surround yourself with people who fill in the gaps. No person is an island. That’s very hard for some people to see. That you need others to be successful.
PB: In your opinion, what makes a wine great? Terrible?
AW: We should concern ourselves more with good wines than great wines. Great wines become trophies and are easy to learn about through excessive press and to buy. All you need is the money. A good wine though is any wine made by people who care and is reflective of the place where it was made. All good wines by the way are worth trying. Yes, there are proven vineyards that can, when the conditions in the vineyard and winery align perfectly, yield wines that are reference points in winemaking but many of those wines are considered very good. We should learn to embrace the good and very good.
A terrible wine for me is any wine made by recipe and has no bearing on the place from which it was grown. Terrible wines are, for the most part, commercial endeavors only and reflective of the Sales and Marketing team that has advised on what will sell. Companies make terrible wines. People make good wines.
PB: As a wine expert, any wine tips, tools or tricks of the trade you can share?
1) Everybody should drink more white wine in general.
2) Remember that you can pair wines to the mood as well as to your food.
3) When travelling, drink the wines from the place where you are staying. When at home cooking, drink wines from the places where your dish comes from. Or where the predominant seasoning is found.
4) If you like a wine, take a picture of it. Then you can try wines from the same producer, or made with the same grape, or from the same region. After you’ve tried a few wines from a producer, or region or from the same group you’ll begin to develop a mastery of that producer’s/region’s/grape’s style
PB: I'm sure you have many, but please share a dream menu....
AW: Lunch or dinner outside with pate, charcuterie and cheese with a wonderful loaf of bread. Roasted chicken with carrots or any root vegetable. Something with fruit in it (or fruit itself) for dessert. Cold bottles of Sancerre and Vouvray.
I’m becoming simpler in my mid-age.
PB: You've said that one of the aspects you enjoy most from the work you've done is interacting directly with customers/clients. Is there a particular client or type of project you're drawn to?
AW: Polite people. Interested (and interesting) people. People who respect that I am a professional just like them and therefore have an opinion or information worth considering (just like they do in their profession). I understand earning trust is a two way street, but people who are initially trusting are more fun to work with than people who are initially skeptical or who just simply order you around.
PB: How has fatherhood changed you. Any big first Father's Day plans?
AW: I’m sure it has but it is hard to step outside myself and see by how much. I don’t feel different; I just now have something to talk about to all of our friends who have children! And perhaps a bit more tired than before.
I still believe, as I did growing up, that major events change a person instantly. I am always a bit surprised when they do not therefore. It would seem our experiences shape us more than change us. I definitely catch myself thinking that I feel the same as I ever did, and then a baby crying from the other room confirms very little is the same as it used to be.
No big plans for Father’s Day this year as my twins still dominate our attention 24/7. I did put my wife on notice though for Father’s Days in the future. The holiday always falls on the last day of golf’s US Open and for my gift in perpetuity I would like peace and quiet to be able to watch it. I do like ties though. I won’t be upset if my daughters give me ties for Father’s Day.
PB: From childhood to college to career, you're an LA man. What do you love about LA?
AW: The endless variety of experiences that Los Angeles offers. I love the diversity you can find if you drive a street like Sunset or Santa Monica from the ocean to beyond downtown. We have everything here. The weather doesn’t hurt either. Plus, I think we lead the nation in street food. Who else comes close?
PB: What do we have to look forward to from Alex Weil?
AW: I’ve been saying for years that it is time to own a restaurant of my own. I have my eyes on an existing restaurant and am working on an acquisition plan. I can imagine few better ways to spend a life than by meeting, affecting, and being affected by people in the community through food and drink.
PB: Where can people find out more (or get in touch)?
With vision, passion and a team of experts at her disposal, Jennifer Farmer-Knowles' company, Mi Vida Vintage, transforms one of a kind pieces that have seen better days into works of functional art, ready to be taken home and cherished. Mi Vida Vintage also specializes in custom built furnishings, with Jennifer collaborating with her customers to create designs that are truly made to order. Her charm, drive and no nonsense attitude have helped turn Mi Vida Vintage into the decorative force it is today. Somewhere there is a piece of furniture...it may be an old couch covered in boxes in a garage...a '70s bed frame a couple is contemplating tossing...or it may simply be a figment of your imagination... and any way, one thing is true, after Jennifer works her magic, odds are you're going to want to take it home.
Precious Beast recently had the opportunity to sit with Jennifer for SOMEONE YOU OUGHTA KNOW... WITH MI VIDA VINTAGE…
PB: Tell us about Mi Vida Vintage - what inspired you to start it and how has it evolved?
JK: Well, I got laid off from my job in the music industry and I really didn't want to go back to another low paying job. I had always wanted to work for myself and was constantly starting little things on the side with friends. I always thought I would be doing something in music, but when my husband and I moved into our own place after getting married, the first thing we needed was furniture.
I had heard of "refurbished" stuff and went on craigslist to find a painted dresser for our bedroom. I found out that a girl was selling stuff locally out of her garage and thought, Hey - I can do that!! What started as a hobby and a way to make some quick money has turned into full-blown obsession and something that I have been able to make a living at doing and actually enjoy.
PB: You clearly have an extensive knowledge of and passion for vintage decor. When did this fascination begin and how did you study it?
JK: I think I've always been a fan of vintage but not necessarily furniture and décor…thrift stores, classic rock. I always felt like I was an old soul but I honestly never really had any interest in design or furniture until I started doing this. My knowledge comes from hours and hours of Googling, youTube videos, books and just asking a ton of questions to anyone who will talk to me.
PB: What do you look for when hunting for vintage pieces and where do you find them?
JK: Basically stuff that looks cool and has good bones. I didn't really care about the quality in the beginning because I didn't really know what I was doing and as DIY tells you, anything can be fixed! With vintage, there are some things that make an item really, really hard to be refinished and I've learned to look for those things and not buy pieces that could make our job 10x harder. I've had to pass on some cool stuff before because it would just be too much of a hassle to make any money.
Where do I find pieces? Really, anywhere that sells furniture…I'm out and about doing most of the buying myself frequenting thrift shops, swap meets, etc. I do also have several vendors that send me items when they get them in which makes things a lot easier for me.
PB: Any regrets over a piece that slipped through your fingers or one (or a project) you picked up that you later regretted?
JK: Regret might be the wrong word but I was extremely upset when I found this amazing Brutalist Dresser in San Diego and a Broyhill set for a really great deal. The night before I was going to drive out to get it the dude with the Brutalist emailed me and said, "sorry, just sold it to someone else!" I was so pissed! I cried a little and then I sort of got over it and was going to get the Broyhill set but then that person never got back to me either - double whammy!! I still have yet to score a Brutalist OR Broyhill and I'm still upset about that so if anyone sees one please let me have it.
There have been a few times when I've taken on clients (against my better judgment) knowing that they were going to be difficult. I work really closely with everyone to make sure visions are met so when someone is difficult it really, really stresses me out and upsets me. I have learned that you can't please everyone but damn it, I really try to and I take it very personally since essentially the business is me. I try my best to offer competitive pricing, be extremely responsive, do quality work and stay within our projected lead times but sometimes there are just things out of our control that in turn affect everything. I’m constantly looking to streamline the process to make the experience smoother.
PB: You've been responsible for some amazing transformations. Where do you find the inspiration for these custom pieces and what details do you pay particular attention to?
JK: I'm not sure if I can take all the credit. A lot of the times our customers design their own pieces. I would like to think that I play a big part in with the way I present our work, but I let the people tell me what they want. If someone asks me for a specific style of piece that I've never heard of and then they don't place an order with us, I'll do the piece anyways to have something new and fresh! Other sources of inspiration are drawn from things that I think just think are cool. Sometimes something will just pop into my head and then I'll spend hours searching on the internet to see if anything like it exists.
In terms of details, I'm pretty OCD that is why I could never do the labor myself. Nothing would EVER get done. I hate uneven paint, drips, badly painted hardware, ugly fabric, etc. I want everything to be as perfect as possible.
PB: What has been the most exciting moment so far with Mi Vida Vintage? The most frustrating?
JK: I was really excited when someone placed the first order for a custom built piece. That was awesome since that is the direction I'd like to move in and have a few stock pieces available for people to customize.
There are a lot of frustrating moments but a big one for me is seeing competition surpass or seeing someone do an idea that you clearly had first. That's pretty frustrating on a creative level but I have faith that my path will lead me in the right direction and that it's all part of the growth process. I need to not let it hold me back and stop me from getting to where I need and want to go.
PB: How did your personal journey lead you to this moment right now?
JK: I think having parents that are entrepreneurs definitely played a big role. From a young age, I always wanted to work for myself since that is what I was exposed to. I've always been very independent and stubborn and I don't think I make very good employee because I don't like being told what to do. I think knowing that and accepting it helped me make the leap to just do it and not take another job that I would be miserable in. Although I'm grateful for all the experience and positions I've had prior to doing this, life is just too damn short to work lame jobs and I want to live my dream/ not someone else’s. ………Besides that, you should know that I play bass and my husband and I record music. Hopefully we'll be playing some shows soon!
PB: What do we have to look forward to from Mi Vida Vintage?
JK: A new website with new pieces, more high quality "as is" vintage pieces and some one of a kind custom designs! Some more upholstery will be in the mix. That's really the direction I want to go in and what I want to focus most on the most. Also, possibly some collaborations with other cool local designers.
PB: Any advice for your fellow vintage junkies and aspiring business owners?
JK: Don't buy cheap stuff. In the beginning I would literally buy anything and then get back to my shop and realize roaches had been pooping in it and it was missing a leg. Take a little time to inspect the quality of the items you buy and educate yourself in any way you can so you're at the top of your game. Find angles to differentiate yourself. I'm a very curious person and am not afraid to ask questions. If I don't know what something is or understand a question, I straight up say it or just ask. Most knowledge is a click away these days.
On the biz side, I think the best things happen by accident and are not necessarily created with intention from the beginning. I feel like a lot of successful people/businesses did not set out to do what they're doing, it just happens that way. They get bored and frustrated easily and are constantly trying new things until something starts to work. You have to find that thing and run with it. You won't know what you're doing in the beginning but it's ok to fake it till you make it! As long as you believe in what you're doing, so will everyone else.
PB: Where can people find out more?
JK: I'm currently revamping my website so you can visit us there at www.mividavintage.com or find us on Facebook//Instagram//Etsy or if you're in LA come by and say hi!! I definitely wouldn't be upset if you brought me cupcakes.....just sayin.
When Tiffany McCauley made the decision to start eating clean five years ago, little did she know that she was, not only altering the course of life as she knew it, but shaping her destiny. Since 2009, she has been spreading the word, educating and inspiring others on the ins and outs of clean eating through her popular blog, The Gracious Pantry. Tens of thousands of followers check in on her site daily, looking for the latest drool-worthy recipe (from Coconut French Toast to Quinoa Tortillas to Avocado Pesto Alfredo Sauce), hoping to learn about a new culinary tool or trick, or simply to bask in the warm community that Tiffany has created. This busy single mother based in Northern California is up to the task as she finds herself at the forefront of a massive lifestyle movement, with a knack for making it accessible and engaging for both novice and advanced clean eaters. With a booming business, including two co-written cookbooks under her belt and her first solo one due out this Fall, Tiffany is living proof that success comes from following passion and that life can evolve to exceed one's wildest expectations.
Precious Beast recently had the opportunity to sit with Tiffany for YOU OUGHTA KNOW… WITH THE GRACIOUS PANTRY.
PB: Tell us about The Gracious Pantry - what inspired you to start it and how long did it take to catch on?
TM: I started The Gracious Pantry in September of 2009. I had been eating all the wrong foods for years, and my health truly reflected that. Once I had my son, I knew I had to do something to become a healthier mama. So I researched various diets, hoping to find one that would fit my lifestyle. I found a few books at the bookstore on clean eating, and realized that the recipes in those books were very similar to the foods I grew up on. They were the same types of dishes my grandmother used to cook for me when I was young. I soon realized that cooking with whole, natural ingredients was a creative outlet for me. Food became for me, what paint is to an artist. A means to create and express myself. The blog was a natural extension of that. A way to keep track of the recipes I was creating. When it started, it wasn’t really with the intention of turning it into a business, although I hoped early on that I might be able to do so so that I could work from home and raise my son. It really was just a means for me to share healthy recipes with people. But now, it’s become my passion to do so. I thrive on the idea of showing people that real food can taste amazing.
PB: Here's a tricky one - Can you define what "clean eating" means to you?
TM: In a nutshell, clean eating is about avoiding processed foods. It’s about eating real food, the way nature intended. It’s also about the quality of your food and getting as many nutrients into each bite as you possibly can. Quality, real, whole food is what our bodies were designed to use for fuel. When you give your body what it needs, it thrives. There are various diets that have sprung up around clean eating and a few different methods with which you can approach it. But at it’s core, it’s simply about real food.
PB: How long have you been "clean eating"? What drew you to the lifestyle?
TM: The birth of my child is what initially got me started on the idea. I wanted to stick around to see him grow up! When I started having actual health problems, getting healthier for him became my main motivation. Everything I do is to try and give him a good life. And that means being able to live long enough and well enough to give that to him. He’s a high energy boy and I have to keep up! I live for that kid.
PB: Can you tell us a little more about you?
TM: I’m a California native. I’ve lived here my whole life but I’ve never been to Disneyland. <gasp!> I live with my son in beautiful Sonoma County. I got my degree in fashion design. I love music by Elvis Presley and the one addiction I’ll never give up is pistachios. I think I could forgive somebody almost anything if they brought me a pound of roasted, salted pistachios (with the shell, please). I’ve played the piano since I was seven years old and I’m somewhat okay at singing in an operatic voice, but I don’t know a single opera song. <tragic> I sing a lot in my car, usually country music or oldies. I can knit, sew, play one mean game of Connect Four, and my favorite color is red.
PB: Where do you find inspiration?
TM: I find inspiration in everything, everywhere I go. But particularly at the grocery store, and especially at this time of year when the fresh produce really starts to hit the shelves. I could spend hours in the produce section.
PB: You share the the most amazing recipes. Where do they come from - do you create them yourself or find them somewhere? Have you always been skilled in the kitchen?
TM: I grew up with a few cooking lessons from my grandmother when I was younger. But ended up avoiding the kitchen for most of my life. I just couldn’t be bothered. I essentially had to start teaching myself from scratch when I started to eat clean. My mother has lived through thousands of my phone calls with all sorts of culinary questions. Thankfully, she’s patient with me
The majority of my recipes I create from scratch. I simply step into my kitchen, see what I have in the fridge and start thinking about what combinations would go well together. It’s one big culinary experiment, but it’s working pretty well so far. I do occasionally convert other recipes just to show people, not only how to do it, but also to prove that it can be done. You can absolutely still enjoy most of your favorite recipes. You just have to use different ingredients. But recipe conversions are pretty much the minority on my blog. I love the process of creation too much to do that very often.
PB: What has been the most exciting moment so far with The Gracious Pantry? The most frustrating?
TM: I’ve had several exciting moments along the way. But two stick out in my mind the most.
First is getting a cookbook deal on my own. The first two cookbooks I wrote, I actually co-authored with a friend. But this new book is all me and I’m really pretty proud of that.
But truly, the most amazing thing for me has been to look back at nearly 5 years of hard, round-the-clock work and realize it actually paid off. I’ve created something worthwhile, something that helps other people, and I did everything on my own. It’s been a wild ride, but the gratification and accomplishment has been worth every bump in the road. That’s really exciting for me.
The two most frustrating aspects of blogging have been trying to get good photos (I do okay, but there is a lot of room for improvement, particularly with food styling.) and seeing my work get stolen so frequently. I’m constantly hunting down my content that has been copied in full and pasted into some other site on the web with not even so much as a small credit link provided. But that’s part of having an online business. It comes with the package.
PB: What do we have to look forward to from The Gracious Pantry?
TM: Definitely more cookbooks! I have a million ideas and can’t wait to tackle each and every one of them. I’ve recently started to develop meal plans, which have been well received so far. I’m also considering teaching some clean cooking classes locally and hope to write for a couple publications in the next year.
PB: Any advice for your fellow clean eaters or any aspiring bloggers out there?
TM: For my fellow clean eaters who are just starting out, it’s critical to remember that the difference between this being a diet and making it a lifestyle is what you do when you "mess up". If it's a diet, you'll throw in the towel after one mistake. If it's a lifestyle, you realize that you aren't perfect and you’ll simply do better at the next meal. The choice is truly yours. Focus and achieve!
For any aspiring bloggers out there, the key to making it work is to be persistent and never stop learning or improving. You also have to do this because you love it, not for the money. If you love it and keep at it, the money will come eventually.
No one curates for the free spirit quite like Tara Mazzeo Jackson. With a knack for finding anything and everything quintessentially bohemian, Tara is clearly emerging as a lifestyle guru for the whimsical wanderer. One need not dig too far on her popular “Bohemian Living” Facebook page to see that this South Floridian is as authentic as the timeless snapshots she posts. Her treasure trove of obscure pictures and quotes never ceases to enchant her audience (nearly 6000 and counting at last glance). After the palpable reaction to her latest exquisite post subsides, one is left wondering, "Where did she find that?" and, undoubtedly, "Who is this girl?"
Precious Beast recently had the opportunity to sit with Tara for SOMEONE YOU OUGHTA KNOW... WITH BOHEMIAN LIVING…
PB: Tell us about Bohemian Living - what inspired you to start it and how long did it take to catch on?
TM: I am certainly not alone in the amount of time I spend online. Within the last year or so, I began to find myself thirsty for an e-community. Something more than the one-sidedness I was bumping into left and right all over the web. In my mind's eye this was a place where kindred spirits could come together in one cozy spot and get a dose of beauty, humor and inspiration. Kind of like a vitamin for the soul.
So with a love for connectedness, a lifelong hobby of building inspiration boards well under way and a killer collection of inspiring imagery already at my fingertips, I launched Bohemian Living with the hopes it would bloom into the e-community I was on a quest for.
So far, so great! I am humbled (and really stoked) to say that in less than 9 months our community has blossomed to just under 6k members. I contribute that to two things: 1) Positive energy attracting positive energies. 2) The human element. The fact that I make it a point to respond and interact with anyone and everyone who takes the time to comment, write and reach out. That right there is what makes this a heart-swelling and motivational activity for me.
PB: Here's a tricky one - Can you define what "bohemian" means to you?
TM: Bohemian to me means a true lover of the "right now". Someone who can find joy in simple pleasures and beauty in the overlooked. Someone who can walk, crawl or climb through life's trails and tragedies and maintain their gratitude for "today". Someone who is willing to say "I'd rather know than wonder what if". Someone who sees artistry all around them. Someone who is guided by authenticity. Someone who is a rebel in all the fun ways and someone who isn't interested in the rat race and instead listens to what makes their heart race and follows that instead.
PB: How old were you when you first felt connected to the bohemian lifestyle?
TM: I was a youngster when I realized I was drumming to a different beat than the rest of my inner city family and friends. They can all confirm this with an enthusiastic nod (alongside lots of stories and giggles). However, it wasn't until several moves around the country and lots of life & experience lived that my most pure boho self blossomed. It's been a process of shedding layers. I'm down to sun-kissed skin now and love it.
PB: You've recently started revealing more about yourself on the page, much to your audience's delight. Can you tell us a little more about you?
TM: Me in a nutty shell....here goes: I am a Gemini, through and through. I carry a journal with me always. I have a serious case of wanderlust. I was born and raised in Boston and will forever call it home. I met the love of my life (and now my husband) on the edge of the jungle in a magical little surf town in Costa Rica. With my camera in hand time goes by at record speed. I refer to my nieces and nephews as "fireflies". I am known to strike a (yoga) pose just about anywhere. I truly believe in making choices based on the following question: "Will I regret NOT doing it?".
PB: Where do you find inspiration?
TM: Oh, the inspiration bank. It could be anywhere at anytime, really. I could be walking through the city and see a piece of graffiti that just stops me in my tracks. I could be at the beach and find a shell that whispers for me to make something with it. Flowers, oh flowers always grab my attention! I am a sucker for a vibrant sunset and I'm literally a word lover....a true, real life, lover of words. Because of all of the above, I don't really go anywhere without my camera in hand to capture whatever magical bit has me spellbound.
PB: You find the most amazing pictures. What do you look for and where do you look when producing content?
TM: My only requirement (aside from it not being vulgar or offensive) is: If I don't feel it, I don't post it. The imagery I curate absolutely must move me. It's truly the pulse of the page.
My curating, storing and organizing is done mostly via Pinterest. I have always been a fan of building inspiration boards (we're time traveling back to the vintage days of scissors, magazines and tape..imagine?), so when I found the online equivalent (Pinterest) it was love at first pin.
Any time I'm surfing the web and come across an image that I think would fit Bohemian Living I'll pin it for future reference. Each morning I'll comb through images as I sip my Earl Grey tea and prepare the day's lineup.
Cherry on top: This exercise has the best way of setting an awesome tone to my day.
PB: What has been the most exciting moment so far with Bohemian Living? The most frustrating?
TM: The most exciting moments have been when I receive a note from someone who follows the page telling me that a post or quote I had shared made a positive impact on their day. I know that must seem really cliché to anyone reading this right now (I totally saw you roll your eyes! hahaha). The truth is, there was a time in my life that I had been moved at a time that I really needed it by an image or words that were splashed across the web. So the thought that I get to pay that forward is really a gift I never imagined.
On the other paw, of course there are frustrating moments too (just to keep things balanced, ha!). In all honesty, this doesn't happen often at all and when it does it usually takes form in comments that can sometimes come off as a tad bit rough around the edges. Never anything outright ugly, just an observation that I think has more to do with "social media etiquette" and us, as a whole, actually being the writers of such a handbook.
PB: What do we have to look forward to from Bohemian Living?
TM: Bohemian Living is just at the beginning of (what I'm hopeful will be) a long legacy. As the page continues to grow, so will the community, the name, the story and the mission. All of which are unfolding as I type.
PB: Any advice for your fellow "wandering gypsies" or lifestyle curators out there?
TM: My best piece of advice is to listen to the magical bits that truly move you, that make eyes light up and your heart race. It's those bits and pieces that will never steer you wrong. It's what I refer to as authenticity and it's important in anything you do.
PB: Where can people find out more?
From the dressing room to the boardroom, fashionista Kelli Goss Johnson has always done it with her signature flair and style. With an impressive resume that puts her alongside film marketing giants, billionaire entrepreneurs and iconic fashion designers, one thing has always been constant – Kelli’s enviable and seemingly effortless style. One can’t help but feel that this rich work history has rubbed off on Kelli in the best way possible and led her to exactly where she is supposed to be, sharing her keen eye and je ne said quois with us through her latest project, lifestyle blog Bellas a la Mode. Launched earlier this year, BALM chronicles fashion, food, and everything in between through the eyes of Kelli and her notably fabulous kindred spirits, Shelby, Lindsay, Laura, Courtney and Arlene. You need only take one look at the blog to quickly realize that we benefit greatly from the fruits of their labor.
Precious Beast recently had the opportunity to sit with Kelli for SOMEONE YOU OUGHTA KNOW... WITH BELLAS A LA MODE…
PB: Tell us about Bellas a la Mode - what inspired you to start it and how did it come together
KG: I was inspired by our group's collective love for fashion and food... we're all equally obsessed yet we have completely different styles and takes on everything. I felt that having a style site with different girls on it would be interesting and a lot of fun.
PB: Where did the name come from?
KG: I loved the play of "a la mode" relating to both fashion and food. I spent a lot of time finding the right name because it was important to us that it fit.
PB: How did your personal journey lead you to this moment right now?
KG: I've always been obsessed with fashion, for as long as I can remember. Additionally, I've always loved art, especially photography. For years my father has been asking me, "What can you do to bring all these things together?" The blog has been the answer. I can put my love for fashion and photography into one and use my graphic design degree as well. The final push: being laid off and all of a sudden having a ton of time and zero excuses to go after it.
PB: How old were you when you first became style conscious?
KG: I think I'm still working on that! There are pictures of me at 2 years old with an armful of bracelets with matching purse and shoes ... I'm not sure if I would label that "style" necessarily but at a very young age I was clearly aware of putting some form of a look together. My personal motto has always been "It's not what you wear but how you wear it."
PB: Where do you find inspiration?
KG: All around me, wherever I go. I believe you can find something to inspire you anywhere.
PB: What do you look for when producing content?
KG: What currently is interesting to myself at the moment: an inspiration, something I saw, anything I am obsessed with. It must be visual enough so that the right content can be created around it. That is super important to me.
PB: What would be your dream collaboration?
KG: Oh where to begin!! I would love to be styled by Lagerfeld, mostly because I just want to have tea with him and meet Choupette.
PB: What do we have to look forward to from Bellas a la Mode?
KG: More of everything! One day I would love for us to have our own small brand of basics and accessories, but that is a dream away.
PB: Any advice for other fashionistas or any aspiring bloggers out there?
KG: Just go for it. Be yourself and be confident. No one else has your voice, so why not put it out there?
There are fun custom orders and then there are FUN custom orders. This one fits the latter category. Sasha Dennig of Callixto reached out to me to inquire about getting some painted wood sticks to use as part of the display for her big showroom opening in Hong Kong. A handful of days later, three sticks were on their way to make the long journey from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. I'm loving the pictures she has been posting of the sticks on Instagram. Her style is impeccable and, FYI, her boutique is also online - check it out at www.callixto.com.
I've been asked several times over the past few months, "How was that craft fair??" You see, Precious Beast had (actually shared) a booth at Renegade Craft Fair in LA last December. Overall, it was an incredible experience, from the excitement of getting in to getting to know my booth mate (Silvana San Francisco) to meeting all sorts of great people to spreading some good ol'e Precious Beast love. It was also pretty exhausting (there is no way I could've done it without my parents' help..seriously). I prepped for two months straight leading up to it and it probably took about two months to recover from it... I definitely have a whole new appreciation for people who participate in craft fairs.
I'm probably going to sit the next few or so out so I can enjoy the fair as an attendee, but I'll always have these amazing pictures taken by Sherise Lee of The Radder. Meeting her was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend! Thank you, Sherise, the lovely people I met at the fair, and, of course, my friends and family for their support.
So something VERY exciting is happening and I can finally share the news. Serendipity Gallery in St. Louis is now showcasing pieces by Precious Beast!
It all started with my Art-o-Mat birds, which led to Christmas ornaments, which led to a large collection of everything from wood signs to "I Love You, Dammit." pieces to large abstract paintings (such as the one pictured). I want to say a big thank you to gallery manager Lisa Anne Houdyshell for being so welcoming and brilliant. It really is a thrill.
To see where it all started, you can watch Lisa Anne with Art-o-mat® guru Clark Whittington and my "Woo Bird" on the news: http://bit.ly/Ms6dSr
Here's to the beginning of a beautiful artist/gallery friendship...!
St. James' Episcopal Church held a contest to find a logo to mark its 250th Anniversary Year and...I won! The historic church, located in beautiful Arlington, Vermont, has stained glass donated by none other than Norman Rockwell. Nearly 30 artists entered and I must say it is a true honor to be chosen.
What a thrill to first see a curious picture of my "Woo Bird" in what appears to be a TV studio and then find out that it was on a FOX 2 St. Louis news segment! So surreal to watch the reporter pull one of my pieces from Clark Whittington's brilliant Art-o-Mat creation. To learn more about the clever Art-o-Mat machines or find an Art-o-Mat location near you, please visit www.artomat.org. To watch the video, click HERE.