Category Archives: Featuring…

Featuring: Balue/Co.

A few months ago, I got the most adorable card for my birthday. Curious as to who the designer was, I looked up the name and BINGO, came across Balue/Co. I loved the style, and upon learning more about the company and designer, discovered they were based in Seattle. I emailed Lauren, the founder and creative behind this fun brand, to see how our home town influences her work, and what her art background is.
Featuring Balue/Co.

1. What was the inspiration behind starting Balue/Co.? 

Balue/Co. was born out of a need for a creative outlet outside of the corporate design job I had at the time. Balue evolved out of a little blog and Etsy shop I was running at the time, simply called Lauren Wallace Design. Back then I made jewelry, but my background is in graphic design, and I eventually felt that I wanted to take my shop in a more graphics-focused route. I’m continuously inspired by pattern design, and began working within that more and more in my spare time. I launched the collection in 2013, and Balue/Co. was born!
2. If you could describe your company in three words, what would they be?
Focusing on the experience I want people to have when they encounter Balue/Co. cards, I would have to say versatile, thoughtful, and a little playful.
3. Do you have an art background, or were you naturally gifted?
I grew up drawing, and I’ve dabbled in most of the studio arts, but it wasn’t until college when I really became focused on graphic design, which is what I got my degree in. Lately, I’ve been enjoying getting back into a studio environment, working on a variety of little side projects involving hand lettering and illustration. It’s a fun challenge to create art off of the computer, and I enjoy the imperfection of non-digital work.
4. What are some things you do when you have a creative block?
Well, in Seattle it’s definitely going outside for a walk around the lake, or just through the winding quiet roads behind my place. Otherwise, I think just getting away from your project for a while, even just 15 minutes, can be a real help. I watch YouTube videos, clean my apartment, bake something tasty… I’ve definitely found that my best work comes organically when I take my time with a project. If only projects could be like that at work!
Featuring Balue/Co.
5. How much does Seattle influence your work?
Seattle keeps me creatively fueled in many ways, which in turn inspires me to keep trying new things in my work. For example,  I’m finding a lot of pattern inspiration in the plants and flowers that are overflowing from my neighborhood. I also find that a lot of my inspiration comes from local music, travel around the Northwest, and the food culture here in Seattle. 
6. Coffee or Tea?
Coffee! This is Seattle, after all.

Featuring: Bliss & Bone

Bliss & Bone
A few months ago at The Cream event, I was fortunate enough to meet Carl + Cindy, the creative masterminds behind the unique and beautiful stationery and design agency, Bliss & Bone. Being a huge stationery fanatic (and having worked in the custom stationery industry) I was immediately drawn to their booth by their design aesthetic and individuality. They harmoniously combine the raw with the etherial, the rugged with the refined and the avant-garde with the eternal, and I have never seen anything like it. I can’t get enough of their innovative and fresh ideas, and was lucky enough to ask Cindy some questions behind her + Bliss & Bone’s creative intelligence.
1.Where does the name Bliss & Bone come from?
Bliss is the emotion. It is pure elation and joy. It represents the feminine.
Bone is the tangible. It is strength and commitment. It represents the masculine.
Bliss & Bone
2.How do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from everything around me and pay close attention to trends in fashion, art and interiors.
3.When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
I typically start with an inspiration board whether we are working on wedding invitations or a website. It really helps to set the tone and communicate a starting point to the client. It’s a great conversation starter to get us headed in the right direction.

From there the process varies slightly depending on the product but I dive head first into design and go back and forth with rounds until everyone is thrilled.
Bliss & Bone
4.What is the most unique invitation that you have created/your most favorite?
That’s a tough one. I try to make each invitation unique and approach each project with the question, what can I do differently this time?

My favorite is typically the most recent project since it’s where my heads at in the moment. Once I move on, I try to create work that is just as exciting as the last.

5.How do you/Bliss & Bone stay organized?
We are constantly working on this and finding ways to improve as we grow. Internally we have a lot of systems and processes in place and utilize items like dry erase boards with schedules, projects status and progress. Individually we all use a project management program called Asana that allows us to track our personal tasks and manage work flow.

It’s a work in progress and fortunately I have a really good memory when it comes to this stuff 🙂
Bliss & Bone
6.What is your motto, or how do you stay calm + positive under stress?
Great questions since I’m not sure I have one. Personally, I stay calm and positive as long as I’m organized. I like to talk about the next day, what is on everyone’s to do list, and how it’s going to get done. If I feel that everything is in its place then I can relax.
Bliss & Bone
Special thanks to Cindy for taking the time to answer these questions. Photos via Bliss & Bone and here.

Featuring: Courtney Khail Watercolor

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting Courtney Khail at Alt Summit. Not only is she a total sweetheart, she is also a very talented watercolor artist and stationery designer. I love watercolor art and knew that Courtney would be a great feature on From Rain to Shine. Enjoy!
Courtney Khail Watercolor
1. When did you discover your love for water colors?
To be honest, I can’t remember when I didn’t love them. Growing up, if I didn’t have one of those cheap watercolor sets to play with, I’d just smash up these plum colored berries that grew in our backyard and paint with those. So maybe that was the moment? I still remember how beautiful the different shades of indigo were against clean white paper.  

Of course, I am also incredibly fortunate to have parents who nurtured my creativity from a very young age. They enrolled me in a fine arts magnet school when I was ten years old (I attended that school until I graduated from high school) and when I was 12, they put me in private watercolor classes after school. I think they could see a passion for art in me that I didn’t realize was unusual or special. I think that’s common with artists though. If you’re an artist, that’s just simply what you are. You don’t choose it, it chooses you. So you never really have a moment per say, it’s more of a journey.
2. How did you turn your hobby into a full business?
Does stubbornness count as an answer? Because that and passion started my business. 
In all seriousness, I’m very Type A and as I neared the end of my college career I wasn’t sure what to with my life. I had the belief that success could only happen with a “normal” career path- you know- one with promotions, and raises, and health insurance- but no matter how hard I tried, I just never felt fulfilled in a “normal” job. I always felt as though I was meant to do something else entirely. Around the same time as all of those “what am I doing” questions were plaguing me, my now husband and I were planning our wedding. I couldn’t find anything I liked for our invitations, so he suggested I design them. So I did. And the more I immersed myself in all of it, the happier and more fulfilled I felt. I was drawing and painting again! Making creative decisions! Even when it was incredibly difficult, it was worth it. So with my husband’s constant love and encouragement (which I can’t stress enough just how important that was,) I decided to take the leap into self employment and launch my stationery company. It wasn’t easy, people tried to talk me out of it left and right, but at the end of the day, I loved doing it and I was too stubborn to even entertain the thought that I shouldn’t at least try.
So yea. Stubbornness and passion. (And my incredibly supportive husband.) 
3. When you are struggling with a creative block, what do you do?
If the weather is pretty, I get outside. Hiking, tennis, skiing–anything that requires focus and takes my mind off what I’ve been working on. 
If it’s not a pretty day though, I bake. Since painting isn’t formulaic (or at least not for me) baking calms my mind by giving it specific instructions to follow. If you follow them, then you’ll normally end up with something pretty spectacular. Even more so when you think about the fact that you pretty much just started with flour, eggs, and milk. That sense of accomplishment is key- especially if I’ve spent most of my morning staring at a piece of paper or a canvas thinking “seriously? Come on now. MAKE SOMETHING.” And worse case scenario? You get to eat cookies (or whatever you baked) which is a win in my book.
4. Any advice for someone looking to have an art based career that you wish you had known when you started?
Do your best to separate yourself from your art. At the same time though, give it all of your soul. Contradictory yes, but you have to find that fine line between throwing everything you have into a piece and being able to step back and realize it might not be something that sells, or even that people like. And when you realize that may be the case, you have to be able to force yourself to disconnect with it and not take that criticism as personal criticism. That’s a really hard lesson as an artist because you are your art and when someone criticizes it or doesn’t like it, it can sometimes feel as though they aren’t saying those things about your art, but instead about you. That only makes you defensive though and defensive artists don’t make good art. Defensive artists make scared art–or even worse, they stop making art all together.
5. Who are some artists or designers that inspire you?
Since my list of current artists changes all the time, I’ll stick to the artists that never change. I love the work of Rothko, Pollack, and Clyfford Still. I also love early 20th century modernist photography. Overall I tend to gravitate towards artists with a colorful, modern aesthetic. Very clean, and un-fussy pieces. The type that pull me in with their false simplicity.
6. Favorite color combination?
Black and white–maybe with touches of light blue or moss green.
Courtney Khail Watercolor
[Thank you Courtney! All photos courtesy of Courtney Khail Watercolors]

Featuring: Asia Pietrzyk

A few months ago, I came across Asia Pietrzyk’s work + portfolio and fell in LOVE. Her work is so playful, unique and creative, it’s like a visual candy land. I contacted her because I knew she would be a perfect fit for my From Rain to Shine Features. Asia is a designer, illustrator and creative who lives in Stockholm. I picked her brain about her creative process and what she does in a dreaded creative block. Thanks Asia!
1. How long have you been designing + illustrating and what sparked your interest in this field?
Growing up I knew I wanted to become a creative but I didn’t know what to focus on. I loved to draw, read, write. I was struck with literature, film, art or even poetry. My parents were a little bit skeptical about my passions and kept telling my that living life as an artist may be interesting but pretty hard. Back then, I didn’t have enough strength to follow my heart and eventually I ended up with a Masters degree in German literature. I realized two or three years later that I didn’t want to be a teacher or interpreter. I went back to drawing and painting, invested in a few books about graphic design, lettering, illustration and I knew that it was the right path to go down. It’s been over 4 years since that happened. Today, I am very happy and I truly love what I do.
2. What is your creative process like?
It depends on the project. If I’m working on a completely new subject, I always start with a lot of notes and stickies. I write down all my thoughts and ideas, the good and the bad ones. Sometimes, I make very rough sketches, but usually I go straight to Illustrator where I work a lot with colours and shapes. I also will visit Pinterest or ffffound to get inspired. Looking through great projects and feeling a bit jealous (in the healthy way of course) always motivates me.
3. How would you describe your design style + aesthetic?
I’d say it’s simple, bold and sometimes a little bit quirky and naive. I focus on contrast, colours and simple shapes when illustrate. I admire Scandinavian design and its simplicity & minimalism especially since I  live in Stockholm. Every thing mid-century catches my eye, and recently I discovered very old Japanese ink paintings to be very inspiring as well.
4. How do you handle creative blocks and where do you find inspiration?
Well,  first of all, I don’t panic. If I feel stuck and can’t come up with any ideas, it is a sign that I need to take a break as soon as possible! We are not machines, everyone has good and bad days. If you don’t have a tight deadline, stop staring at your screen, chill out and take it easy. Watch a silly movie, clean your kitchen, just do something that doesn’t remind you about the block. I get inspired a lot by old Polish movies, reading biographies of people I admire,  good stories and music and, of course, by nice food. Recently, food has been my number one inspiration. I do love pinterest and ffffound. Another website I visit often is Freunde von Freunden. I think that other people and their amazing stories are the most inspiring.
5. What is your life motto or phrase?
Make mistakes and learn from them.
6. Is there any particular project or design you did that you were exceptionally proud of?
Yes! It’s the Hooray Bag from the new collection. I was SO happy last year when Jen Gotch, the creative director, contacted me and asked for help with some new products. She wanted me to play a little bit with hand lettering and word “hooray.” I hadn’t worked too much with lettering, but I do love letters and always admired Jessica Hische’s amazing work. She is so good! I wanted to do something simple, and decided to use my “clumsy font” that was created about three years ago for a personal project. I sent it to Jen and she loved it. If someone told me a few years back that my hand lettering would be printed on bag I wouldn’t have taken it seriously. Now, I feel so flattered to see how many people bought this bag and actually love it. Seriously, it’s every designer’s dream.
7. Favorite city in the world?
I guess Berlin and Stockholm. Berlin for being such a multicultural, crazy place and Stockholm simply for everything. I am very lucky to live here.
Asia Pietrzyk Feature | From Rain to Shine
Thank you to Asia for answering the questions and providing the images!
[Interested in being featured? Contact]

Featuring: Elephant Bites + David Elgena

A few weeks ago, my friend told me about this awesome to-do list app, Elephant Bites. It combines great design, productivity, and visual gratification. I love any and all new apps, especially ones that are well designed and organized. I contacted the designer + developer, David Elgena, to pick his brain about the inspiration behind Elephant Bites, as well as his design process.
Elephant Bites

1. What was the inspiration behind this app?
I guess the main inspiration behind the app would be the Creighton Abrams quote “When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” It’s something my parents would always repeat when something felt too overwhelming to accomplish. The problem though, was that we’d all just be saying out loud like some kind of incantation, hoping it would just dissolve the task. But that never lasted. Thus, ElephantBites was born. An action-biased tool that walks you through the process and does it in a fun and memorable way. I truly believe anything is possible if you break it down into small enough ‘bites’.
2. What role did design play in the app creation?
For this app I came up with the idea, sketched it out and then began designing the user interface. Once I was happy with the idea and function of it, I began contacting illustrators who’s work I loved and felt would really add value to the experience. After getting in touch with Dan Matutina (the illustrator responsible for those great introduction illustrations and starting elephants) and sharing the vision of the app and a little bit of direction, the app started to really come together. Then from there, I began coordinating with my developer to start coding the app up. About half way through…I realized it could really benefit from some more beautiful art. Then after some more coordination I worked with a few more illustrators to add their ‘interpretations’ of the elephants in (which are available as In App Purchases).

Elephant Bites

3. What inspired you to curate all the elephant drawings?
Most of my apps are inspired almost entirely out of one frustration. That frustration being the lack of ’emotion’ in apps. Its frustrating to think that we carry around super computers in our pockets, and the prevailing solution to the paper checklist right now is…a digital check list. I think the use of elephant drawings really brings character and delight to the user. Hopefully taking more advantage of the $600 device it sits on. The simpler answer would be, that they also help visually reinforce the metaphor.
4. Where are you from and do you have a design background? What do you do full time?
I’m currently in Nashville, TN …but, I just moved here from Miami, FL about a year ago. Before that, Pennsylvania. I move a lot so that question never gets a simple answer, haha. I do have a background in design and art. I studied both Graphic Design and Studio Arts in college, and I have 99.9% of a Masters in Visual arts (long story). But oddly enough, a lot of my User Interface design is heavily influenced by my experience oil painting. I’ll avoid a rant here…but in an industry where we kind of downplay formal education…there’s a lot to be learned from the basic fundamentals of design, color, etc. that a lot of new designers I feel are missing. Full time, I’m a mobile product designer at Lonely Planet!5. What are some of the funniest or craziest accomplishments you’ve seen people use your app for?
The funniest…probably visiting the parents on vacation right after I launched it and seeing them pull out their phones to show me what elephants they had ‘eaten’. Craziest was probably when my developer told me during development, that he was using the app to help keep him on task during development, haha. That was like ElephantBites inception.
Elephant Bites
6. What is your most favorite thing you’ve accomplished with Elephant Bites?
So this is going to seem insignificant, haha, but my favorite thing has actually been using it as a shopping list! I love the satisfaction of walking through the grocery store and checking off items and seeing the little graph fill up. I guess it’s so satisfying because I can complete it all in one day.
Elephant Bites
7. Any more apps being designed by you in the future (other than your weather app)?
Yes. I’m actually working on a pretty significant redesign of the Weather Dial…coming out hopefully for its 2 year birthday in June. Besides that I have a plan to create an entire suite of apps that are really design focused. Basically solutions to everyday apps that I would like on my phone. Those will be set in the same style as the Weather Dial redesign…so I’m pretty excited about it!
Elephant Bites
[All photos courtesy of David Elgena]

Featuring: Zooey Magazine

I’m super excited to feature Zooey Magazine today, a lifestyle magazine with the aim of creating a dialogue for the everyday woman. The magazine is feminine, vintage and very well designed. I also have the privilege of being a contributor for the publication that is available online and in print. I asked Lucia, the founder and editor of the magazine some questions behind the inspiration and creation of Zooey.
Zooey Magazine
1. What was the inspiration behind starting Zooey Magazine?
I faced a lot of difficulties in my childhood, issues that I still struggle to comprehend today. I didn’t have a role model to confide into, and thus, I turned to entertainment. Movies, television, books, magazines, etc…were my enjoyment. Of course, I didn’t understand much of the content in most programs…or magazines, being as I was 8 when I first started reading US Weekly and watching Buffy. As I grew older, I began to fully understand the detriments of consuming such a culture like tabloids… A culture based on discriminating others. So, I spent a lot of my free time watching female-led shows and female-empowering books. I loved what they had to offer (especially the little girl as I was!)! Yet I never understood why magazines couldn’t offer the same or why society is so fascinated with celebrities’ whereabouts and weight loss, and why the media encourages it. When I was 16, I thought of creating a platform for smart girls (women now), who wanted something different…something more meaningful…more embracing of the female sex. Thus came Zooey. The media has such a powerful voice and influence over people. Why not use it for good? I felt that, if I had Zooey growing up, I would feel more safe and happy to know that there are people in the same position and who want the same things. Zooey is the confidant in everyday life. That’s what I like to imagine it to be. 
2. Where do you look to find new women to show case or feature in your magazine?
Everywhere? People find us, and sometimes we find them! Malala, for example, was someone I was so enamored by after reading about the attempted assassination a few years ago. If you don’t know who she is, Google! She is the epitome of a hero and I so desperately wanted to work with her as she was on her big educational campaign last year. Of course, by the time I found a bridge to her she was back in school (that’s important too!). But quite frankly, we find all women to be empowering. There’s just an angle you must take when approaching them as a subject to a story. 
3. Finish this sentence: “In 5 years, I see Zooey Magazine……..”
As simply a worldwide community of women who want to help other women. 
4. Describe the character you named the magazine after.
J.D. Salinger authored a novella called “Franny and Zooey.” Zooey is the brother in the story, who is intelligent, kind, and loving. I would rather not provide a literary analysis – it’ll sound a lot like a college paper! But I thought that his character would translate well as Zooey Magazine. After all, it would have been too vain to call it Lucia and that’s harder to figure out how to enunciate than Zooey. 
  Zooey Magazine
5. Who do you think in today’s world embodies a “Zooey” woman?
My mom. While she may not have a college degree, I think she’s smart, loving, and brave and embracing of who she is and who she wishes to be. But then again, isn’t that every woman too? You just have to discover it within yourself, as Wordsworth would say. 
6. What is an inspiration quote/message that resonates with you or your life motto? 
Sam Levenson once said, “Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm. As you get older, remember you have another hand: the first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.” It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, a celebrity or not, it’s a duty to give back. What kind of life would we lead if we ignore everyone else? 
[All images courtesy of Zooey Magazine]

Featuring: Meredith Carty

When I came across Meredith Carty‘s photography and design work, I knew she would be great to feature on the blog. Her style is happy, bright and clean with pops of color. I had her answer some questions about her passions, inspiration and background. Enjoy!

Meredith Carty
1. Where did you learn/train in design and photography?
I started taking photography classes back in high school and I had an amazing teacher! I went to college at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in LA. I decided to study graphic design there because it would allow me to take my love of photography even further.
Meredith Carty
2. What made you decide to enter into a creative field?
Art has always been a huge part of my life…for me a daily essential is to create. Also, I always wanted to be a mom and I thought that a job in a creative field would allow me to create a little more flexibility with my schedule. It’s so important to me to be available for my kids.
Meredith Carty | From Rain to Shine
3. Name one of the most creative projects you worked on and were proud of.
One of the most awesome projects that I got to work on was the Seafoam Edition of Project Life with Elise Cripe. I turned all of her sketches and ideas into digital files. Elise was a dream to work with and seeing the project so well received by such a large community was amazing! I walked away from the project with a wonderful new friend and it allowed me to chase some of my own dreams like my pop-up shop!
Meredith Carty | From Rain to Shine
4. How would you describe your style and aesthetic?
 I would describe my style as lifestyle/editorial. I love pops of bright color against white and quirky details. Bright, simple, clean, fresh. You can check out the pinterest board I created for my brand here.
Meredith Carty | From Rain to Shine
5. What motivates you?
Time and experiences with my family and friends motivate me…they are really the most spectacular people. My heart always feels so full after time with them. Travel is high on the list for me this year and if my favorite people are included, even better! My word for 2014 is thrive, so I have big dreams :).
Meredith Carty | From Rain to Shine
7. Where do you find inspiration?
My inspirational sources include some of the usual suspects: Pinterest, design mags, my favorite bloggers, Instagram. To get away from the computer, I’ll take a stroll through Target or Anthropology… and Gap Kids is a favorite! I’m learning that collaborating with other creative friends or a trip out of town is crazy inspiring for me. Santa Barbara with my loves is the best!
Meredith Carty | From Rain to Shine
8. Are you a morning or night person?
 I used to be a morning person…and maybe the perfect vanilla latte could convince me to be again – haha!  I’m going to try not to be such a night owl this year because of the kids and school schedules, but I can’t make any promises. Plus, a hot Sacramento night (poolside and after the sun has gone done) is one of my faves! 
Big thanks to Meredith for her awesome photos. Be sure to check out her Instagram and website!

Featuring: A Pair of Pears

Sometimes, I come across a site that immediately inspires me. I want to see and read everything they have to say. That happened when I found A Pair of Pears. The pair of designers behind this awesome blog is a creative couple who shares fun finds, inspiration and their work (which is really good). I picked Jamie’s brain about what makes their blog tick.
A Pair of Pears

1. What made you decide to go into a creative field?
Ever since I was little I have loved art. So I never really questioned what I wanted to do when I grew up. It was kind of a natural progression from coloring in coloring books to designing paper goods for our shop.
Art Hand Lettering | A Pair of Pears
Water color | A Pair of Pears
2. Explain what your blog is about and your inspiration behind it.
We started our blog the day we got engaged 5 year ago. At the time we were in college and far away from both of our families, so its main purpose was to keep our family updated on things we were doing. After we got married and moved to LA, it was still a place for us to keep our family up to date, but we started really loving blogging in general and began sharing more of our work and inspiration. When I really think about it sometimes it’s kind of weird sharing our life with complete strangers. But at the same time a lot of these strangers are now friends. Friends that are encouraging, and supporting. Featuring A Pair of Pears
3. You do hand lettering. What is your process in creating your prints?
All of our prints start because they are something we want to have for ourselves. For instance we created the tandem bike print in our shop because we love tandem bikes. We rode a tandem bike around Mackinac Island on our honeymoon and since then we rent one every time we go on vacation. So we designed the print for ourselves and then put in our shop too.
Once we have the idea I usually start with a good ol’ #2 pencil a paper. I’ll just start by sketching out different lettering styles and layouts. Once I have something I like, I start refining it until I’m happy with it. At this point I take it into Photoshop and really start getting into the details and colors. My favorite part is taking it to the printer and seeing it printed out on paper. It’s really satisfying to see something go from sketch to screen and then to a beautiful finished piece of art. I don’t think that will ever get old.
Hand Lettering | A Pair of Pears
Hand Lettering | A Pair of Pears
Hand Lettering | A Pair of Pears
4. What do you do when you are having a creative block?
 I stop whatever I’m doing ASAP! If I don’t stop, I tend to get really upset and frustrated — and that just causes more problems. So I’ve learned the best thing to do is take a walk, watch some TV, (preferably Parks & Recreation or Sherlock) or just take some cuddle time with my pup. Usually when I make myself stop thinking about what I’m working on for a bit I can come back refreshed and try again and usually get somewhere.
A Pair of Pears
5. What is your life motto?
Be intentional.
6. Favorite app on your computer/phone?
Printic! I just discovered it a few weeks ago and only because they emailed me asking if I wanted to try out their app. The branding is so beautiful and I just can’t get enough of the cute little Polaroid prints.
Type + Prints | A Pair of Pears
7. How do you stay organized?
Ha! Well I TRY to stay organized. But let’s be honest: it doesn’t happen all the time. Usually my apartment gets neglected so I can keep A Pair of Pears organized. When I get a project I schedule it out so I know what and when I need to do everything. For that, I usually use Google Calendar. I have different colors that I use for different categories: blog post, personal projects, client work all that goes on there. That seems to do the trick.
A Pair of Pears

Be sure to check out A Pair of Pears, and all of their awesome hand lettering and design. Seriously good stuff!

[Special thanks to Jamie from A Pair of Pears for all of the photos]

Featuring: Shop Sweet Lulu

Last month when I was at Alt. Summit, I had the privilege of meeting the girls of Shop Sweet Lulu. If you haven’t been to their site/don’t know who they are, stop reading, and go check it out NOW! They are an awesome (like, seriously awesome) company with a wonderful online party store and overall positive aura. I chatted with them a bit about the brains and beauty behind this happy and colorful company.
From Rain to Shine Alt. Summit
[Stevie + I at Altitude Design Summit]
Shop Sweet Lulu Party Feature

1. What was the inspiration behind the creation of Shop Sweet Lulu?
 Jessie: I was a crafty, stay-at-home mama that found a creative outlet planning parties for my children.   I loved sourcing unique products, as well as creating handmade elements for the parties.  I was lucky enough to turn that into a business!
Shop Sweet Lulu Party Feature
Shop Sweet Lulu Party Feature
2. What is a motto/quote Shop Sweet Lulu tries to follow?
Jessie: Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.

Shop Sweet Lulu Party Feature

3. What is your favorite holiday to celebrate?
Jessie:  I think Valentine’s Day has recently been bumped to the top of the list!
Stevie: I really love Valentine’s Day because of the colors. I consider my kid’s birthdays holidays too… the day they were born is my most favorite day to celebrate!
Shop Sweet Lulu Party Feature

Shop Sweet Lulu Party Feature

4. Favorite product(s) available?
Jessie: Everything. I love it all.
Stevie: That is hard, can I say all of it?! I really love the things we are probably most famous for: paper straws, oversized balloons & the glass milk bottles. However, I love our assortment of party crafting supplies & all the goodies we have to package presents & treats up all pretty.

Shop Sweet Lulu Party Feature

5. Finish this sentence: A party is not complete without…..
Stevie: balloons & a pretty cake.
Shop Sweet Lulu Party Feature
Shop Sweet Lulu Party Feature

6. Where do you see Shop Sweet Lulu in the future? Taking over the world one fab party at a time? etc…
Stevie: We would love to be a household name… the Martha Stewart of party pretties. We would also want to publish a DIY party book.
Shop Sweet Lulu Party Feature
Shop Sweet Lulu Party Feature

A HUGE thank you to Stevie for all of her help with this post.  Shop Sweet Lulu is a great resource for any party, event or holiday gathering that you need awesome decor for. As a special treat, they are offering 20% off until Valentine’s Day! Put in those last minute orders and use promo code PARTYLIKEALULU. Can’t wait to decorate my next party with all they have to offer.

[Photo credit: All photos provided by Shop Sweet Lulu except the first posted image. Thank you Stevie + Shop Sweet Lulu!]


Featuring: Mornings Like These

For those of you who are always on the hunt for something beautiful, you must check out Mornings Like These Instagram, or their site here. It is such an inspiring and positive community focusing on happiness and celebrating the ordinary, especially in the morning. I caught up with the site’s creator, Joy, and asked her some questions about what motivates her.
Mornings Like These [@kccesiro, via @morningslikethese]

1. What gave you the idea to start Mornings Like These?
Mornings Like These came into being very organically. I was on a weekend beach trip with some of my close girlfriends and I woke up hours before everyone else. I sat upright in bed looking out the window at the sunrise over the ocean. I opened a window and just sat listening to the waves in the distance. There wasn’t a peep in the condo and all was still. I thought to myself that I needed ‘more mornings like these’ and in that instant, I knew I had to find a way to bottle that essence for as long as I could.
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2. What is your ideal morning?
It’s hard to say… I’ve had so many great mornings and they’ve all been completely opposite of one another. I’ve pulled all nighters, woken up for the sun rise, slept in way past the alarm, and woken up right on time. Every morning is different and I can’t say for sure what my ideal would be but I can say for sure that there is coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

3. Name one morning ritual that you love to do when you have the time?
Weekend morning hikes. I developed an appreciation for trails and hiking over the last year and it feels amazing to challenge yourself, both physically and mentally. It’s important to seize a moment when you’re given one, despite how good staying in bed feels.
[@mono1984, via @morningslikethese]

4. What inspires you?
Everything. Really, I am so in awe of every little thing. People in particular, though… When I see someone being so firm in their convictions and motivated in their cause, I get so stoked. I have so much respect for people who don’t ask and just do. There is no reason to tread lightly in this world. Leave your mark and be fearlessly persistent when it comes to following your dreams or exploring an idea. Be gentle but not fearful. 
5. Coffee or Tea?
As much as I love tea, coffee has a permanent spot in my heart. I stick around in the kitchen most mornings during the brew process just so I can smell the hot coffee when it first hits the cup. So good.
[@reamaerooney, via @morningslikethese]
6. Summer or Winter?
Absolutely and 100% winter. I’m a January baby so maybe it’s just in my blood. Winter and cold weather allows you to cuddle more, eat more, and sleep more. Also, hiking trails are usually less busy in cold weather. Win/win!
[@theriaultsam, via @morningslikethese]

7. What is your life motto?
Live unapologetically. We are human and by design, we are flawed. You might as well love the life you’re given and shake things up when given the chance. Dye your hair blue, get a piercing, fall in love, praise God, stay up all night, make messes but learn to clean them up.  Some people are so afraid of what being hurt feels like and that is such a waste of time to me. Just go out and let stuff happen to you. You’ll thank yourself for it.
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All photos provided by Mornings Like These.