Never Give Up On Your Dreams

I was recently interviewed by British interior designer and author since she featured a week of inspirational posts from business owners who, like me, are in the design world and have had lots of struggles but have still managed to keep going forward and fight the tide. I was honored that she approached me and so I wrote a huge and quite candid essay on her blog if you'd like to read it. There is an excerpt below...

Imagine this. You are in a career you sort of enjoy but definitely do not love, and you’ve been at it for around 8 years and one day you just have a mini breakdown on the job. That’s what happened to me. I was typing yet another action item into a massive Excel spreadsheet when I felt this wave of emotion hit me. I have no idea, looking back, where it came from but this wave was massive and I felt like I was going to break out in tears. I lifted myself quietly from my chair, walked swiftly to the nearest conference room, and with overwhelming relief, I shut the door and turned the lock. With a typical all-beige and chrome corporate décor surrounding me, I sunk down on my heels, then to the floor where I laid and cried for what felt like days. I remember wishing I could click my heels and know what I wanted to do with my life. Laying on a conference room floor.... .

So now it's YOUR turn... After you read my essay on Kelly's blog, why don't you return and tell me YOUR STORY. I could use the encouragement like all of you, to keep going forward, and I find that by pulling together and sharing our stories we become stronger somehow.

Can't wait to hear from you in the comments below. :)

(image: kelly hoppen)

A Most Charming Book Review

I am sitting here blushing because my friend did a sweet thing and surprise me with a video! I'm so touched by this! Me, speechless - get a camera because this is first! Thank you Steffi, I love this!


I think it's such a creative way to review a book, don't you? It makes me think that together, we bloggers have so many options and ways to present information on our blogs - we are so lucky! The book can be (UK) and (US).

Psst: Can everyone who has the book do me a huge favor? Can you leave a review on Amazon? Thank you, that would be just super. I hate to ask but it would be so helpful!

This really made my day. Thank you again Steffi and happy Friday everyone!



Michele Varian in NYC

Hi it's Jillian here with a very special column! I recently traveled to the states and coming from Australia, I wasn't sure what to expect when I arranged to photograph shop for this column -- though I knew it was likely to be filled with beautiful things after I read about it in Sibella Court's book. It also came highly suggested by Holly since Michele has been so supportive of her and she's met Holly a few times already so it was in the stars: this was the shop I'd shoot!

On the day of my arrival, I made my way to the shop to find the street closed to traffic and lined with movie trailers. A NYPD car was parked outside and it all felt very "CSI New York" to me and a bit exciting. Michele's store was open though and so I made my to the lovely entrance. The store is located in a historical building with beautiful light and to say it's a treasure trove of prettiness is an understatement. It was gorgeous!

Michele greeted me and from there I received the grand tour - though it was a bit overwhelming -- I almost didn't know where to start shooting! In the end I decided to take a systematic approach. I started at one end of the shop where the beautiful pillows are displayed and made my way to the other end. So what did I find?

I discovered quite an eclectic mix of beautiful pillows in jewel tones; furniture - some new and some vintage; jewellery; Michele's new line of wallpaper; lighting; artwork; books; tableware and gifts for the special people in your life.

As I knew so little about Michele's work I asked if she could answer a few questions for me and she very kindly agreed.

Q. What is your design philosophy? MV: My philosophy is nothing remarkable, mostly, it’s just to have things that you love around you and figure out how to put it all together as you go. I like living in a space that reflects who I am and that means it didn’t happen overnight. It also means that it is constantly evolving.

Q. How did you first get into design? MV: I moved to NYC from Detroit to go to Parsons to study fashion design. I worked in fashion for 10 years, but when I started my own business, I decided to make home accessories. I had always enjoyed entertaining at my NYC apartment, and loved creating a cozy and fun environment to hang out in. My primary collection is decorative pillows, which is textiles based with a lot of my knowledge coming from having worked in fashion design. I just launched my first line of wallpapers, which also takes advantage of my experience working with prints while working in fashion.

Q. Where do you source your products - the US, Europe, Asia? MV: I try to support local artists, designers and manufacturers as much as possible. I also really like having things in the store that are a range of prices, so we have some things that are made overseas that are more affordable. I try to keep at least half the store filled with products that are made in North America or Europe by their designers, but these pieces are usually more expensive.

Q. The cushions are lovely. Do you still make all the cushions in NYC? MV: Yes. In the very beginning though, I made them all myself, but now I have some lovely seamstresses here in NYC who do the sewing for me.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I'd like to thank Michele for taking the time to answer my questions and for welcoming me to her shop to spend time chatting and taking photos You can find her her store at 27 Howard Street, New York and her .

See you all again next month with another New York gem! -

(images: jillian lieboff)

Crush: Multi-colored Hardwood Herringbone Floors

I have a total design crush today on a totally rockin' floor. My friend, Charlotte, was recently in Thailand and since I follow her on Istagram, I was glued to her photo stream the whole time wondering what she would find. As a designer and owner of , a huge Danish lifestyle brand, I never know what will catch her eye next. One photo that she posted made my heart leap and I thought, OH YES, BABY! It was of a floor at the shop in Bangkok - multi-colored hardwood herringbone floors.Oh my.

The photo she posted got my creative wheels turning. Why not try a temporary version for a party as an accent using washi tape? I immediately started to tape my floor in my home studio where Steffi and I are hosting a blogger workshop next month. I wanted to see if perhaps I could tape the floors in different spots for the weekend simply to give it a creative touch. I like it and plan to keep going with it in various spots, definitely not the entire floor but here and there... I wish I had the really wide washi tape, doing it in thin strips took about 5 per piece of wood and well, it looked a bit cheesy... So I'm thinking to just do thin strips like this and maybe mix in other colors too - like orange and yellow to match our workshop colors. I love that washi tape is so versatile - it doesn't ruin your floors if you leave it on temporarily. Over time, I don't know... But for a weekend, I'm thinking this could be super cute.

But my goodness, aren't those Stella floors insane!?

By the way, if you are on Instagram, follow me @cattledogs! for IS too.

(image: stella mccartney & holly becker for cattledogs

Sweet Paul: Holiday Video & Issue

Sweet Paul JUST launched his moments ago and it's just beautiful and very inspirational. I also fancy Paul's , congrats to him and his team! In addition to the mag, he recently pulled together a video showing how a story for Sweet Paul is made - a little behind-the-scenes actions which I think is very cool --  that's Paul in the plaid with the tattoos!

In this issue of Sweet Paul, there are loads of stories from a vintage holiday meal spread that looks like it was torn from the pages of a 1940's edition of Gourmet magazine, a Nordic winter food story, a Holiday Brunch collaboration with , a blue Christmas piece and a extraordinary Walnut story from - one of my favorite stylists in Germany! There are many more but you have to to see for yourself because I don't want to spoil it for you.

For your copy, visit Anthropologie stores, and check out the newstands in Germany because it's now over here in German, too!

(images: sweet paul)

Gretchen Jones & Her Cool Apartment

Make it work! Are you a fan? Who isn't, right? Okay so maybe you know by now that the winner from last season was fashion designer (also a !). Her rocker chic bohemian-ness is so cool I think but it goes wayyyy beyond her fashion sense - this lady lives how she feels and dresses - effortless style is just her way of life. I love her Brooklyn apartment, there is a massive spread on today all about it with 24 photos so this is only a peeky peek. Her moody blue-gray walls make her artwork really stand out. I also like how she uses some of her canvas pieces as mini-ledges to display collected elements.

All of the art and pattern in her apartment is quite cool - very eclectic and anything goes. To see more photos, including her closet and bedroom, . These gorgeous photos were shot by .

(images: refinery29 & maia harms)