Sweet Paul in Germany

I am on the run today but simply have to shout out my blogger friend who not only has the English edition of his magazine in stores across the United States, BUT he now has his magazine in German and is sold over here - I found this copy on the newsstand around the corner from my house and snapped a few photos for you with my iPhone. Check it out...

I am SO PROUD of Paul but equally proud that Germany is so keenly interested in lifestyle publications more than ever and are really embracing foreign publications more and more - we even have Martha Stewart Living magazine in German now since the beginning of this year.

It's so inspiring for me, an American living in northern Germany, to see some of my favorite people from the states over here. It makes home not feel so faraway now. CONGRATS PAUL on this amazing adventure you are on! I wish you massive success with you, your brand, all of it.

Sweet Paul magazine is sold in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on newsstands everywhere so make sure you pick up a copy!

(images: holly becker)

Marthe Armitage Wallpaper

I first found out about London-based artist a few years ago but when I saw her work in a hotel in London I nearly fell down. I love what she does and thought you might too. Here is a snap that I took with my iPhone to show it in-situ to whet your appetite, the rest I've combed from other sources on the web. Enjoy!

Marthe creates and hand prints her wallpapers using lino blocks in her Chiswick studio and now I'm wondering if this means I can eventually see it in person and watch her in action? I have to look this up to see if she even welcomes a studio tour. I find watching people doing their thing incredibly inspiring. Here are some of my favorite wallpaper patterns from her collection.

You can buy these gorgeous papers over at .

At beautiful in London.

Wonderful, wonderful, WONDERFUL.

Now I totally want this print in my home!

(images: first photo from me, all other photos via , , and lovely .)

Pinspiring Pins

Hello friends! It's a new week and I have a ton on my plate work-wise but I'm feeling so great and ready for the many challenges I have before me. I think this past weekend was a real breakthrough for me in many ways because I actually did nothing in the office. ZERO work. As a result, I feel so refreshed and happy today. I think I've been working too much and it's been draining me. I've decided to give myself the weekends back and to work on being more productive M-F so I can take Saturday and Sunday off. I went to several music fests, went dancing several nights with friends, and in general I let myself go and dropped the whole work stress stuff. If you are overdoing it with work I REALLY suggest letting go for a few days and doing some things you may not have done in a while. I've not gone dancing in months (shame on me) and I'm glad I changed that. I'm really to make some big changes in my personal life this summer so this past weekend was a major start for me. How are you doing? Any changes in your life currently?

via .

I was looking through a bunch of my Pinterest pins recently (love Pinterest) and noticed that when I pin things there is always a theme to them that develops without being consciously aware of it. Have you noticed that with your own pins? It's kinda fascinating to look back and see those themes, they are very interesting - how we sometimes are so blind to our unique internal process of sorting. It's good to pause from time-to-time though to become more aware of how we collect things, what we are collecting, what these things are telling us about ourselves. Here are some of my most recent pins and what they seem to reveal about what's on my mind. :)

A love for fruity sorbet tones, flowers, and a whimsical endless summer is revealed... 1. via , 2. via , 3. via , 4. via , 5. via , 6. via , 7. via .

Next, I've been pinning lots of German-Irish actor right now. Not sure what this really says about me though except that I have exceptionally good taste when it comes to handsome dreamy actors. 1. via 2. via , 3. via , 4. via .

I love these very graphic spaces that mix old and new and the lovely shine of floors, tiles, glass and mirrors. 1. via , 2. wallpaper photographed by via , 3. article found in the NYTimes via , 4. source unknown via , 5. via , 6. source unknown via .

magazine via reveals my obsession with medical cabinets and polished cement floors, still, years after my initial crush developed.

Color blocking and dots is such a blogger trend, right!? Who doesn't love these looks right now? 1. via , 2. Photography by via , 3. via , 4. source unknown via , 5. via , 6. via , 7. source unknown via , 8. via .

I hope that you've enjoyed these lovely pinspirations!

(images credited above)

The Natural Home by Stylist & Author Hans Blomquist

I currently have a crush on stylist and author and wanted to drop in for a moment to give his work a shout out and point you over to his book, , published by in London. Hans is a stylist after my own heart, giving rooms a very casual lived-in touch with heart. Nothing in his new book looks overly styled or fussed with and I admire that.

I own a few of the books that he has directed and styled for IKEA, but The Natural Home is unique in that it is his vision from cover-to-cover and is completely independent of IKEA so he was able to really go for it and scout spaces for the book that spoke to his aesthetic AND he didn't have to worry about including specific products so he used what was in people's homes to tweak as he worked. There are so many beautiful photos in this book which was photographed by Debi Treloar whom I've worked with on two books.  I can really see Debi working with Hans more in the future, they seem to really click - you can always tell that about a book I think - the relationship between the stylist and the photographer. Debi told me that Hans would deliberately mess things up when styling for a shot - and from what I can see in his book, he did a brilliant job doing that -- the wrong somehow looks very, very right when done by his expert hand.

From Amazon, " is a place where natural materials and motifs are the key elements of a decorating style that is a joy to live with and a joy to behold. Influential art director and stylist Hans Blomquist starts off by exploring the essence of his style. In Texture, he revels in the textures and patinas of natural materials. Still Life reveals Hans' passion for creating displays that showcase treasured pieces, while Plants and Flowers celebrates the beauty of nature and the cycles of the natural world. Color presents his favorite earthy, natural color palette, which provides the perfect backdrop for hits of brighter natural hues. In the second part of the book, Homes, through a series of case studies, Hans explores houses and apartments that showcase the beautiful simplicity and elegance of the natural look." As a bit of a bonus, I've included some photos from his portfolio below so you can see his other work..., Hans is represented by and you can find more information about him .

Bottom line... If you love the idea of living naturally in a relaxed environment filled with vintage finds, texture, industrial touches, old meets new and natural earthy colors you will adore . It's stunning and a current fave of mine!

(images: top 6: holly becker, all the rest: portfolio of hans blomquist )

How I Feel About Meeting Bloggers In Person

I wonder how much of what I'm about to say will ring a bell with you... Well, we shall see won't we? So. I love connecting both online and in person. I enjoy both almost equally, though when I'm feeling a bit anti-social the online thing really works for me - its bunny slippers, yoga pants and my laptop all the way and I can pretty much roll with that for days. But there is this thing about being together in person, isn't there?

When I started blogging over 7 years ago as a profession (gulp! still hard to type that word), in-person connecting was a lot more difficult and creepy even - I remember a blogger calling my home in 2006 and I was totally freaked out by it - and I gave her my phone number and it was still freaky to me that she actually used it! I think the general assumption back then was that loners, drifters and rapists were creeping around online and everyone was doing some major posing including us bloggers - we were lumped into that poser crowd too. Most weren't too keen on connecting outside of the comments section of a blog. Can I see a show of hands if you remember this time online at all?

Do you remember when (insert air quotes) "Social Networking" wasn't even a phrase yet? Blog conferences weren't on the map, Facebook was unheard of and Twitter wasn't around yet. In fact, most people didn't even know or care what a blog was. I remember pitching story ideas to magazine editors in America - I wanted to write about how I felt blogging was an up-and-coming trend and every single editor declared my story idea as totally brainless. One top editor of a very well known magazine hung up on me after saying, "Bloggers will never amount to anything". Today SHE has a blog.

Things got real. Thank god. We little guys had a voice and spoke up. Good on us. And while there are still some people out there who think like , that all bloggers are pretty much self-conscious, I'm hear to say NOT TRUE. I met lots of you on my book tour and when I'm out teaching and wow, I love you guys MORE after meeting you so I tend to feel really good about bloggers overall and think we have a really good thing going on.

Today blogs are going strong and people use them as a resource more than ever. But wayyyy beyond that, we use blogs to make genuine connections and build some of those connections into friendships because it's what friendship is really all about - you find someone you like and start to talk and boom! things start to grow.

In a way, blogging has become an online dating service without the cheesy walks-on-the-beach bios. With a blog, you can build friendships. These friendships can be quite one-sided but then again, not always. You find a blog you like and start reading it. Maybe you get the courage to comment. Maybe the blogger comments back. Your arm hairs stand on end if you're new to blogging because it's this blind leap of friendship that you've taken and in your head, it was scary to reach out to a total stranger like that. Maybe she likes you too? Maybe she also reads your blog? It's like the beginning stages of dating, right? Girl finds blog. Girl reads blog. Girl wants more.

art shown above made by dottie angel

I believe there is a blog for everyone, often multiple blogs. There are so many bloggers that you can pick from when you need a virtual friend. Have you always wanted a perky and creative pal who seems to be eternally on uppers? The blog world has 'em. Have you always wanted a friend who simply gets your obsession with colored paperclips? Bloggers abound with similar leanings, including washi-tape addicts, balloon addicts and bunting addicts. Do you wish more of the moms in your local community would talk candidly about their messed up, whacked out family life or insane children? TONS of those women are online writing blogs and they are witty, intelligent and often over-sharing at alarming rates. When you find a blog with that sparkle - that energy that you're looking for, it can be totally rockin'. Am I right or am I right? But it's a whole 'nother level when these people you click with online become actual friends exchanging emails and tweets. You start talking about your cramps, baby making issues, boy problems and the racy novels you've been reading.

But then...

Then there is this moment during the whole blogger friendship thing where you just want to meet your favorite blogger. In the blogging world, it's common to hear the phrase, "I have a total girl crush on x", which is a non-sexual (or? ha ha!) term that pretty much means you think such-and-such blogger is someone you either aspire to be, secretly want to stalk, wish you could meet, wish you could be besties with, but generally it doesn't mean you want to shower together. A girl crush is a very innocent way of saying that someone makes your life a bit more lovely, that this person inspires you and that you would do almost anything to meet them. It also means that if they lived down the street from you, you'd do some serious drive bys.

Thanks to workshops, meet ups, classes, blog conferences and events we CAN connect. I've taught thousands of mostly women online for over three years in my and these ladies stay in touch, some of them organizing frequent meet-ups in their cities. It inspires ME so much when I hear that my students are meeting, connecting, building relationships that go beyond the occasional blog comment. Opportunities to meet fellow bloggers are everywhere now and we can only expect more to come because people want to connect with their girl crushes. I don't think for one minute that women are pouring into these events solely based on learning. Most of us can refer to a slew of free stuff on the web or buy a book to learn how to set up a blog. We want personal experiences on topics we're curious to learn more about by those lovely blogger friends of ours that we admire. We also want to see if our girl crush was really worth burning our lunch breaks for each day over the past few years. AND when she is, your heart pounds and you shake her hand IN PERSON and OH.MY.GAWD.

Just add water. Insta-friends! Weeee! We love this stuff. Everyone wants to belong to something greater and blogging connects us.We all need a good girl crush (or 10) don't we? These women (and men) inspire us and sharing, touching a life, connecting, offering love and kindness, lending advice, isn't this what most of us are blogging for in the first place?

Think about it if you are a blogger who has been writing online long before the fame (ha ha HA), long before the money (a-hem) from your ads or the possibly of people buying anything from your shop or finding out about other ways you make money, long before all of the sticky stuff - when you strip it all away don't you really just blog for the sake of connecting and sharing? I do. Beyond the gain I've have from a career standpoint, the impact of being out here, with all of you, that this has had on my life is pretty massive and I am eternally grateful that we have this community. Here's to the girl crush! Hurray!

Okay so all of these words above were directly inspired by a recent post that I read on Melanie Biehle's blog, , about an event in Seattle held recently called started by . Girl Crush events are unfolding in different parts of the US now thanks to The Jealous Curator and if you want to go to one, you totally can - just see her for more info.

What do you think of meeting bloggers in person? Who have you met? Did you feel more connected after meeting them when you read their blogs? Did anyone disappoint you (please don't say who) and if so, why was that? Would you attend an event to meet other bloggers or do you not really have an interest in meeting up? (images: )

Limitless Pictures

Hello my dear friends. How are you? We have summer weather here and it's been simply lovely! Sunshine and low 80's weather never ceases to put a spring in my step and after a rather dull few weeks of gray, cold weather this is a most welcome change. Today I heard from Karen, the lady behind , a business based out of England that specializes in putting together features for magazines. Limitless Pictures photographs homes and puts together features for magazines like Elle Decoration, Sunday Times, Red, and more and told me that she is currently looking for new properties. I love the first image below - so much character!

I thought to spread the news I'd show you some images from her portfolio online, though I encourage you to check out her site for more views of beautiful, inspiring spaces.

Thank you Karen for writing in!

(images: limitless pictures)