Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Friday: Game Day Cupcakes

Happy Friday! In the tradition of our studio's Cupcake Fridays (the make-believe holiday we created as an excuse to inhale sugar) I had to post the most adorable cupcakes and baby shower. Daphne and Bryant are friends who are expecting their first baby. They are also BIG time sports fanatics, especially of UM and CAL where they hail from. My little sis and friend Jihwon came up with a shower that fit them to a tee: an all out sports themed baby shower complete with these Game Day cupcakes.

above: the "turf" on the cupcakes are made of shredded coconut and green food coloring. The mini-pennants make great little favors.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shop Friend: Turtle Papers

I don't know about you, but I have been having a case of "Pre-Spring Fever" lately and getting all of my running and workout gear in tow so I can soak up the nice weather in the city. Friend and fellow designer, Jennifer Tam, of Turtle Papers creates the kind of stationery that is the antidote for a case of Spring Fever. Her designs are so fresh, vibrant, sweet and uplifting!

The two of us met in NYC where we were both debuting our lines and I immediately fell for her whimsical and spirited style. Her studio is based in Seattle and you can purchase all of her Turtle Paper goods online at Etsy.

above: just in time for Easter and spring!

If her stationery isn't adorable enough, check out Jennifer's hand-silk screened "hip baby tees."


Our spunky Matryoshka pillows from Thomas Paul arrived at the shop and I love them! This Russian nesting doll motif can't help put a smile on your face.

above clockwise: why not make your own pillow or skirt with this fabric? Thomas Paul pillow. Pink Matryoshka pillow. Thomas Paul square pillow.

Above clockwise: this locket has a nesting doll inside of it. Make your own necklace with this charm. Dainty earrings.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

ShopFriends: Customer Appreciation

I thought it'd be fun to start featuring some of the pretty outfits that our customers put together from the boutique! This is Helen, who stopped in on her way to a cocktail party wearing one of our favorite silhouette blouses. We love Helen because she is always so warm and adorably polished!
Above: I love silhouettes. Our Cat Seto Egyptian Chamomile custom invitation (top right) is perfect as personal stationery or for a chic shower. Valentino clutch, blouse from Anthropologie, Kate Spade "Katie" pump, 7 for Mankind wide-legged jeans. Strawberry sorbet earrings. Black crochet hat.

Shaman Drum: Going Non-Profit

A quick addition: I posted earlier about my fond memories of being a part of Shaman Drum Bookshop. I discovered today that over the weekend there was an article in the Ann Arbor News that announced after twenty-seven years, owner Karl Pohrt's plans (above right) to turn the bookshop into a non-profit entity: "I don't think the book business in this country, as a business model, has worked for anybody. ...Ann Arbor is a wonderful book community, and so this is a good place to play with that, to experiment with new (business) models."

I personally remember when corporate giant Borders opened up on the corner. Shaman Drum still held its own, but not without its share of worries which has instilled in me the importance of supporting independent businesses. Karl's goal is to "turn Shaman Drum into a center for literary arts." Wow! What an amazing endeavor. And yes, I have always felt it was a hub for the literary arts. I am so glad to see the continued evolvement of this special place--I wish them all the best and hope that it will continue to inspire many other generations to come!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Shop Friend: Shaman Drum Bookshop

Here it is, my all-time favorite indie shop in the world.

I am SO excited to post my Shop Friend, Shaman Drum Bookshop, because it is very near and dear to my heart. Shaman Drum is located on the University of Michigan campus of Ann Arbor, Michigan and is considered one of the leading independent bookshops in the country.

I've always said that I don't have any retail background to opening up my boutiques, but the closest was probably my nearly three year part time stint at Shaman Drum before and during my grad school days at University of Michigan. All of us were nose-deep in our books and studies but we considered it a privilege to work there. And yes, we were expected to stock, mop, cash out customers and help out with the local events...but most of all, we were expected to have our "stuff" down about goings on in the literary world and be able to assist the customers on this. Dare I confess, I never felt like I was in a retail environment but a place of learning.

The Ann Arbor campus is about as ideal of a place of learning as it can get and Shaman Drum Bookshop seemed to come out of an episode of Northern Exposure with a smart and somewhat quirky staff and a never ending, revolving set of infamous authors and poets and artists that always had us on our toes.

Call it utopic, other-wordly, authentic or just plain was unreal and a great joy to be able to work in an environment like that. I had a chance to visit the shop when I was back in Michigan for the holidays which affirmed for me that this remains one of the truest of true indie shops.

For one, everyone who worked there was a budding writer, or philosophy major...even the store manager happened to be my poetry professor, Keith Taylor, who had such an enormous influence on my writing and other writers in the community. We were surrounded by beloved books and we all loved literature...there wasn't a spine or new author we did not know or gossip about. Some of my most memorable memories were of the Beat Generation poets like Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder who were friends of the shop. The late Allen Ginsberg came frequently and if you were lucky, he would draw you a pen and ink monster when he signed books. I also remember rocker Patti Smith pulling me aside and giving me advice on teeth hygeine (apparently bad teeth were the bane of her existence).
above : a photograph of my poetry professor, Keith, and a zen reading nook.

above right: Beat Poet, Allen Ginsburg and one of his many "drawings" to the shop.

They have a section on their website called "why should I shop local" with scholarly books on indie biz with titles like "The Small Mart Revolution" and "Surviving the Converging." They have always been firm believers in shopping local and shopping independent and organized many local events in the community to promote this. I am so thankful to have had the experience of working there because it certainly influenced my decisions as an indie designer (and shop owner) today. Yes, my boutiques are pink, girly and I doodle (err, call it design) more than I write as of late...but the essence of Shaman Drum has certainly rubbed off on me.

Monday Giveaway: Bloom Boxes

Yes, it's Monday. And what better way to kick off the week than with a giveaway? I was recently put to the task of writing an article on giving "affordable luxuries" and I could not think of a better way to invest five minutes of your time than to put away our obsessive texting and "Crack-Berries" for a moment and jot a hand-written note to someone you care about!

Deni Kellogg
Justin Pearlman
Patricia Mercurio
Stef Moss
Maggie Goodwin

You've just won yourself a set of our new Bloom Box notecards and a choice of thank you notes from our shop. Email us at and we will put aside your stash!

And If your name doesn't appear, surely it will as we LOVE giveaways!

*Want to be added to our list? please give us your email at

Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Friday: Effortless Glam by Sofira

I posted earlier this week about the label Sofira, and Sian was so kind enough to send me over some of their new designs from their '08 summer collection. Hope you enjoy the additions!

This Malysian based label continues to create gorgeous pieces that follow an effortless glam.

Anyone watching the Oscars this weekend? I think this Lila dress is a little Oscar-esque! Thanks for the pics Sian! And Happy Friday everyone.

Be sure to stay tuned next week! I'll be back with giveaways, more fun posts and a trip back to my all-time favorite indie shop that inspired so much of what I love to do now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

See By Chloe...and Live By Chloe

This See by Chloe "Cruise 08" ensemble is so fresh, modern and completely wearable. Close your eyes...what might her apartment look like? I thought I'd have some fun and try and put that question to task.

My absolute favorite way of decorating: Hi+Low your room!

Clockwise: Invest in a ruby glass Murano Chandelier and Ribbon Chair by Pierre Paulin. Mix it up with : Slat Bench for $199. Fantoni bowl/ashtray $249. West Elm vases. Helen Frankenthaler print.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

hi+lo: wood grain

Splurge: I think this is quite extraordinary. Created by Nymphenburg for Fertile Garden, this Wood Grain Breakfast set is a painted faux-rustic masterpiece and an investment at $4,000.

Steal: Martha Stewart's Faux Bois rug. Barka table linens lend texture to your table settings, 4 for $50.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Passport to Egypt: Sofira

With the season being all about bursts of jewel and bright tones, check out Sofira. The label is inspired by Grecian fashion, including a line of Cleopatra style dresses that look super sleek and comfortable.
below: Jennifer recently took a trip to Egypt and she brought back photos, textiles, and teas that had us all dreaming up ways to channel Cleopatra. If you don't have a passport to Egypt, make it happen in your wardrobe with some delicately jeweled tunics or Grecian inspired dresses!

below: Dresses by Sofira. Accessories from Anthropologie. Horchow tufted chair.

Monday, February 18, 2008

ShopFriend: Haute Bride

I had the pleasure of dropping in on the grand opening of Haute Bride in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco last week and wanted to post up some pics from the event. Haute Bride carries exquisite couture gowns, shoes and veils. But what makes this salon special are its one of a kind custom bridal accessories designed by owner Lindsie Jones.

above: necklaces and brooches to swoon over!

above: This is Meghan who joins Haute Bride and will manage the salon. She was the Audrey Hepburn of San Fran that night! Thanks again for the invite Meghan--it was so great to see you!

If you don't live in the Bay Area, check out their website for stores that carry their couture accessories.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Friday: Day after Valentine's

Happy Friday everyone! Hope all of you had a fun Valentine's Day. I am not usually a big reveler of the "V" Day but Mariko shared with us something we did not know before: in Japan the women celebrate Valentine's Day but not the men. Girlfriends ditch the boys and give each other gifts like chocolates and go out to great and genius is that? Thanks to Cadenza, we had a little of that at the studio. We share an affinity for sugar at the studio and were given mini roses and mini cupcakes along with Jennifer's watermelon drinks. Even my friend Jen stopped in with some of her infamous sugar cookies.

above: Yes, it's Bogey in a foam cupid outfit wondering what in tarnation is strapped to his derriere?! Be silly and carefree this weekend! I'll be back next week with some grand openings and other fun posts...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

ShopFriend: I Dream of Cake cont'd...

As promised, here are some more photos from my visit to Shinmin's I Dream of Cake gallery/studio. And since it's Valentine's Day, what could be more appropriate than presenting such sweet and heartfelt creations?

Above: mod and luxe...these were taken from Shinmin's studio where the gorgeous cakes sit in gallery displays for customers to preview and dream over.

above: Aren't these woodland flora themed cakes exquisite? Shinmin has a background in graphic design and it truly informs her vision. She is inspired by print, pattern and artwork and I was so delighted to hear that she's a stationery fiend as well!

Her space is truly inspiring. It is no surprise to hear that her space has recently received an AIA Award. I felt like I was walking into a gallery and found myself taking the time to admire each one of her pieces. The only giveaway was the scent of something sugary in the air!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ShopFriend: I Dream of Cake

I had the most wonderful time meeting with Shinmin Li of I Dream of Cake. She is crazy talented and her dedication to detail leaves me speechless. We happen to share mutual clients who had always wanted us to meet and we finally made that happen. Lucky for me, I got to see her amazing studio...or should I say "gallery" in the heart of North Beach where she both showcases and creates her edible works of art. I couldn't resist taking pictures of her studio and her cakes (which I will post up later) but first, I just had to show all of you some cakes from her Haute Couture line. And YES, those really are CAKES ladies and gentlemen...

Jaw dropping right? Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

new year, new you: Chris Benz

We are getting lots of fun Spring items in at the boutique. Why not start the new year with a new you...even if it means a tweak here and there, or an a new designer or label that you've never tried before? I am in love with new designer Chris Benz and his Spring 08 collection which has been getting raves for its "reverent and ecclectic" take on American sportswear.

above: I love the pairing of these olive/chartreuse pieces. Fresh with a little vintage styling AND you can wear it to work!

The 25 year old designer is from Seattle and considers the "Great Gatsby" and "Addams Family" as inspiration.

studio sketch: I saw his one-shoulder silk charmeuse dress in Neiman's spring book and started to drool as I sketched it. If there is one new piece that you want to try this season, purchase an asymmetrical/one-shoulder elegant and fluid on the eyes!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Be My Valentine: Dolan Geiman

I love Dolan Geiman's artwork and reproductions. And lucky for all of us, he has created a series of love birds for the Sacred Art in Chicago just in time for Valentines Day!

The series is available until February 17th. But don't fret, you can also visit his etsy site where he offers affordable options for his posters and prints. I'm coveting a few myself :).

Friday, February 8, 2008

Kimara Ahnert: Makeup

Happy Friday! Before I head off for the weekend, I thought I'd post about makeup extraordinaire Kimara Ahnert. We have clients who swear by Kimara and her team's work. I hear words like "glow" and "polished to perfection." Her celebrity client list is endless and her fees are on the pricey end, but for a truly special event and wedding she is your go-to-woman. Her studio is SO up my alley. Located in Manhattan within a townhouse furbished in french decor, Kimara's vision was to create the environs of a chic home for her clients.

Not in New York? Kimara offers a full line of makeup and skincare products online. I LOVE that her skincare line can be used for those with sensitive skin!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Growing up, this was always a special time of year where we wished health, happiness and prosperity to one another. My father passed on traditions such as no fighting, no washing your hair (or you'll wash the good luck away!) and lighting a pack of Black Cat firecrackers on the porch (which in the 'burbs was not always a good idea).
The Lunar New Year is a time of family, feasting and all out celebration. Wear your most glorius red, coral or pink! Above: Dresses by Christian Lacroix, Zac Posen and Marchesa. Miu Miu sandals. 2004 issue of Lunar New Year stamps.

above: 2008 heralds the Year of the Rat