Friday, August 22, 2014


This weekend I am going up to Chicago to visit one of my closest friends. Mara and I have known each other since Kindergarten and I deeply treasure our friendship. Mara graduated from DAAP at University of Cincinnati this spring and moved to Chicago to work with a design firm, Gensler & Associates. Mara has always been incredibly talented and super smart. She would have excelled no matter what she studied, but I am so happy that she chose to go to DAAP and am confident it was the best decision for her. I am so proud of all she has accomplished. 
Mara's New Year's Resolution was to complete a watercolor illustration of an animal, once a week. 
Her adorable drawings absolutely make my day - and I am sure I am not the only one that feels this way. 
I selected some of my favorite zoodles below, for you to enjoy! 
I encourage you to follow Mara on Instagram @mararussodesign - you can keep up with her weekly zoodles, as well as her other life musings (food, puppies, and everything in between!)
If you are interested in contacting her about either custom art work or a graphic design project/consulting, you won't be disappointed. 
I mean, come on, I've only been friends with her for 20 years - and I think I have a pretty good head on my shoulders when it comes to things like that :)

Check out her website
Follow Mara on Instagram

Enjoy your weekend, stay tuned to my Instagram for some Chicago pics. Toodles!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Emma Ferrer

Audrey Hepburn's granddaughter stars in an exclusive portfolio, photographed by the grandson of Richard Avedon, a famous fashion and portrait photographer who had a soft spot for Audrey. 
The muse and the photographer meet once again...enjoy the charming photos of Emma taken by Michael Avedon. 
Pamela Fiori interviews Emma here

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Jane Austen

Most of the books I read this year are pretty heavy: 12 Years A Slave, In The Garden Of Beasts, Killing Jesus, One Flew Over The Cuckoo Nest, Fountainhead, In Cold get the picture. These are remarkable books and left strong impressions, but it's time for a little happy-go-lucky. Jane Austen was the first author that came to mind - and Sense and Sensibility is sitting on my bedside table as the next on my "to read" list. 
Austen is a timeless author who will continue to impact readers for generations to come. Her legacy is rich and cherished. She has addressed some of the most relatable issues of love and romance in an enjoyable and charming fashion. Life is not all sunshine and roses for the characters in Austen's novels,  but she creates a beautiful journey - touching all of our emotions in different capacities. 
Austen creates characters with faults that we can find rooted in our own personalities. Seeing characters with their own flaws, making mistakes, overcoming hardships, and encountering life's perfectly unplanned moments, can help us on our own life journey. We can empathize with the likes of Emma and Elizabeth Bennet; acknowledge and appreciate their imperfections, helping us do the same with our own. And, a little like life, the characters that are kind of heart are rewarded. Not exactly as planned - but it helps us look through life with rose colored glasses. 
 It's easy to get distracted by the "romance" element of her stories, just as it is in the modern day. But Austen isn't just a romance novelist. She told the story of life, and love and marriage are two of the biggest players - is that not much different from today? But, when reading her works, keep in mind this quote: "I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way." She envelops this message in each of her stories. 
Just like the characters in Jane Austen's novels, the best way to reach happiness comes from your own effort. There's no rule book, no Mr. Darcy guarantee...but you'll be quite pleased at where your best perfectly happy may lead you. 

A quick synopsis of Jane Austen's works from

Jane Austen's first major novel was written in 1798-99, when she was in her early twenties. It is a comic love story set in Bath about a young reader who must learn how to separate fantasy from reality. Miss Austen sold the novel (then entitled Susan) to a publisher in 1803, and the work was advertised, but never published. She bought it back many years later, and her brother Henry Austen published the novel as Northanger Abbey after her death in 1817. 

Sense and Sensibility was the first of Jane Austen's novels to be published. She began to write it sometime around 1797, and she worked on it for many years before its publication in 1811. The title page said that is was written "By a Lady," and only her immediate family knew that Jane Austen was the author. Impetuous Marianne Dashwood tumbles into a fairytale romance that goes sour, and her practical older sister Elinor copes with the family's financial problems while hiding her own frustrated romantic hopes. 

Pride and Prejudice was first written in the late 1700s, then rewritten in 1811-12 and finally published in early 1813. It is probably the most-read of all of Jane Austen's novels and is a popular favorite among many. Originally entitled, First Impressions, the novel deals with the misjudgments that often occur at the beginning of an acquaintance and how those misjudgments can change as individuals learn more about each other. 

Mansfield Park was written between February, 1811 and the summer of 1813. It was the third novel Jane Austen had published and it first appeared on May 4, 1814. During her lifetime, it was attributed only to "The author of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice," and the author's identity was unknown beyond her family and friends. It is Jane Austen's most complex novel and deal with many different themes, from the education of children, to the differences between appearance and reality.

Emma was written in 1814-15, and while Jane Austen was writing it, it was suggested to her by a member of Prince Regent's household that she dedicate it to His Royal Highness. Austen took the suggestion as it was intended -- as a command -- and Emma was thus dedicated, but the dedication itself is rather slyly worded. Emma deals with a young woman's maturation into adulthood and the trouble she gets herself into along the way. 

Persuasion was written in 1815-16, while Jane Austen was suffering from her fatal illness. She was still working on some revisions at the time of her death in 1817. The novel was published posthumously by her brother, Henry Austen. Persuasion is a novel of second changes, expectations of society, and the constancy of love. 

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Friday, August 1, 2014

vintage kaftan

I love the look of summer kaftans. It makes me think of how wonderful it would be to spend a summer in Capri waltzing barefoot on a patio overlooking the crystal blue water, sipping champagne and probably knocking over a few glasses with my billowing sleeves :) I've never been, but a girl can always dream, and more importantly, outfit plan - right?! 
Everything about the look is exaggerated. Simply wearing the oversized frock isn't enough, the look needs to be accessorized with an oversized hair-do, a whimsical headscarf or turban, and statement jewels - either a collection of bangles or a noteworthy necklace. It's definitely a bit much, but who doesn't like to be dramatic every one in awhile? Despite the "costume-esque" flair of the look, it still manages to be elegant and regal  - it helps that Grace Kelly was a fan!
A kaftan is definitely on my wish-list. I think it would be a fabulous hostess outfit. Although far from practical, how boring would life be if everyone was practical?
Happy Friday :)

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