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Wardrobe Remix: Day 1

Last fall, before I started blogging regularly, I participated in the 30 for 30 Remix which is basically, 30 articles of clothing for 30 days. Each day you try to do a remix of those set items and in doing so, you learn to make do with less, and maybe examine your wardrobe more closely before dashing out to buy a new outfit.I thought Spring would be an excellent time to start this again, especially since I’ve added some fun new items of my own design, as well as a few thrifty finds, and a sampling of pretty things from local boutiques. The last time I did this, it was HARD. I mean, REALLY HARD. Especially on those days when nothing seems to quite work. I will attempt to post daily, but may end up doing a weekly round-up. I do have lots of other things I’d like to write about, so I may try to spread these out a bit. For now I’m shooting in my office on the chalkboard background, which is an obvious homage to my friend, Kathleen, but also because, you’ve seen my office, I really only have one wall available to pose on.  Kendi Everyday, the original author of this 30 for 30 Remix, shoots her images outside, so I’m thinking of trying a bit of that tooAs I post these, I will highlight the article of clothing that is “new” to the series. Today I’ll start with the cropped linen trouser. I just LOVE these! They are so comfortable, and I can easily dress them up with heels. I don’t know what it is about linen, but I always feel a little like I’m on vacation when I’m wearing them. I bought this pair at Wild.Flower in The Plaza District.When heading out, I almost ALWAYS throw on a scarf. I get cold easily, so I like to know I have a little coverlet, if I need it.

DECORATOR CHALLENGE

I’m excited to launch my first Pippin + Pearl Decorator Challenge and to give one of my readers a chance to win a custom 24″ x 24″ painting by yours truly. 🙂 The Decorator Challenge is simple. You take one of the images of the paintings shown below and create a room around them. Choose wall color, furniture, draperies, accessories, lighting, rugs and anything else you can think of that would complement the artwork.

If you’re a whiz at Photoshop, you can lay it out that way, or if you prefer, simply create a board on Pinterest and add all the elements there. You will then post a link here in the comment section to your layout image or Pinterest board. You can enter up to five rooms (one for each of the paintings listed) and each one will be judged separately. I will be enlisting the help of my friend, Sunshine Campbell of BD HOME & DWELL MAGAZINE, in judging the entries. There are a few rules that you must adhere to for your entry to be considered, so read the rules below carefully before entering.

1) Create an image layout (no larger than 1024 pixels wide at 72 dpi) and post on your blog/Flickr (somewhere that is public so we can view the image) — OR, alternately, you can create a board on Pinterest labeled “Pippin + Pearl Decorator Challenge” and curate all your items there.

2) EVERY SINGLE ITEM in your layout or board MUST be credited to the proper source. This includes my paintings. If you do not include a link to every source for your board items as well as this blog post in your entry, it will be not be eligible for consideration in this challenge. Crediting sources is important and if you participate in the decorator challenge, you are responsible for making sure your items are labeled and linked properly. If you’re not sure of the source, then don’t use the item.

3) You MUST post the layout or board link here in the comment section.

4) You may enter up to five rooms using each one of the paintings shown below, but you may not have any overlap in your items. i.e., you can’t use the same chair in one that you use in another. Each board must be original.

5) You may also receive a bonus entry (after entering at least one board) for tweeting about this challenge using the hashtag #decoratorchallenge and our twitter name @pippinpearl or @pippinpearlblog. Simply post the link to your tweet in our comment section.

6) Do not alter the painting images. They must not be cropped, color adjusted, or otherwise changed in appearance in anyway. Framing or matting the image is encouraged. You may resize them, but take care to constrain proportions. Overlapping items on the edges of the painting image is expected in a design layout, but be sure that the painting is the central item and not covered up by all the room items.

7) You will be judged on your overall design coolness factor. 🙂 Originality, complementing the artwork with color, texture, theme. There is a lot of room for creativity here and we are super excited to see what our design lovin’ friends come up with.

This contest ends on April 2nd, 2012. We will announce the winner on April 9th, 2012. Winner will receive a custom 24″ x 24″ painting created by Erin Cooper and shipped to their home. Decorator Challenge open to U.S. Residents only. Good luck!

LEAN ON ME

This could just be the preggy hormones talking, but I’m feeling very thankful today. Thankful for my husband who is my very best friend and who shows me every day what it means to love someone unconditionally. Thankful for my family and all their support, and extremely thankful for my wonderful friends. I have been feeling that my friendships are a little one sided lately. My loved ones have been taking much better care of me, than I have been of them. I haven’t been listening as much as I should, or keeping all my promises, and I’m going to work on that. Starting today.

 

HIRING CLEANING SERVICES – FOR THOSE WHO ARE BUSY OR THOSE WHO ARE FEELING LAZY CLEANING THE WHOLE HOUSE

Not everybody is fond of doing household chores, especially if the work involved is very tedious and requires a bit of effort to accomplish.  At times, our inclination to focus more on our work, the type of work that pays for our bills, that we sometimes fail to give any attention to the chores we have at home.  Whether it is laziness to do our household chores, or the negligence to accommodate doing some of the chores we have at home means that there are times that the mess just simply piles up.

Even if you say indiscriminately that cleanliness is next to Godliness.  The fact of the matter is that you are still clean with your body and that it is just your home chores that fail to receive any of your attention.  If you try to consider the mess that you are building up each and every passing day, you may say that the clutter that is developing in your home is a stuff of nightmare.  To be able to get rid of your clutter without actually lifting any finger, you may want to consider hiring some maid cleaners from cleaning companies that provides different lines of cleaning services.

When you hire a cleaning lady from a cleaning company, you can state what days and time of day you would like them to visit your place and perform their cleaning magic.  The frequency with which you would like the maid cleaners to perform their cleaning duties is up to you.  If you only need them to clean once a week, then you can inform their manager that you only requires once per week cleaning.

These days, it is safe to say that the business of cleaning companies is booming as more and more people are requesting the services of cleaning companies to do their cleaning work for them.  Of course, one of the main advantages in hiring maid cleaners from a cleaning company is that Calgary cleaning services train their crew very well that they are able to accomplish difficult cleaning situations both efficiently and effectively.  Their training, experience, and knowhow on how to do proper cleaning along with the different methods involved on how to do it allows them to be more desirable to hire when it involves cleaning tasks and duties.

If you are not comfortable hiring maid cleaners from cleaning companies because you fear they may damage some of your stuff or worse become a victim of theft, then it is your personal right and interest not to get their services.  Even so, this type of negativity over such matters can be a bit offensive on the business owner’s part since they try their hardest and their very best in properly qualifying the cleaning crews they hire.  Their extensive method in properly identifying the people who work for them is sufficient enough grounds for people to hire them for their cleaning services.

THE EFFICIENT TRAVELER’S GUIDE TO ALT SUMMIT

Hey friends! It’s the time of year when we all start gearing up for Alt Summit, the design bloggers conference in Salt Lake City. I wanted to share with you my tips for traveling light and making it easy on yourself. I’ll admit, I packed a little heavy last year. Not TOO bad, but still, I brought plenty of things that I wish I hadn’t bothered with. So, here’s my advice to myself

1. TWO BAGS IS ALL YOU NEED.

You don’t even need a big suitcase. Travel clutter is the result of poor planning and indecision. You’ve got time right now to plan your outfits and decide what you want to wear each day. I have advice about the outfits you need too, and I’ll cover that in a minute.

The efficient traveler explains:

You need a lovely large tote that goes with everything. This should be big enough for your laptop, but small enough that it doesn’t look like you are an insane bag lady who carries her entire family in her purse. These gorgeous totes by Fossil are PERFECTION.

You’ll carry this on the plane as your PURSE. You will put all your most important stuff in here for your trip.

You will then need an expandable CARRY-ON BAG. I kinda dig this one because it can also be a backpack, but I’m kind of a backpack wearing sort of person, and not everyone is. So, now listen, don’t go buy a fou-fou piece of luggage just because you think you need to impress other designers as you are rolling through the lobby. Let’s be practical here. It’s more important to get a bright luggage tag, just in case you do end-up having to check your bag and identify it amongst a sea of black bags.

The reason you need the expandable bag is because you WILL come home with swag. All kinds of little things you didn’t plan on bringing back with you. You’ll note I didn’t say — bring a fancy notebook or pen, because I got gifted with 3 notebooks last year, and a bunch of pens. You’ll be set on that front.

2. WHAT DO I WEAR?

There are going to be lots of people telling you WHAT the heck to wear to a design blogger conference. Last year it was a sea of stripes, polka dots, and top knot buns. I don’t have enough hair for a top knot, and I don’t own any polka dots. So, I just go with what works for me, and that basically involves boots, tights, cute dresses, a cool jacket, and a scarf. If you want to see my style board, you can check it out here: Alt Summit Fashion

The efficient traveler knows the following little bits that should help you narrow down your choices:

a. Your travel wear should be comfortable and layered. It’s cold outside in SLC, as in absurdly FREEZING, but it can get very warm in airports and planes when you travel. So wear sensible boots, and layer your shirt, sweater, and jacket. Bring your scarf & gloves in your carry-on.

b. Day wear for panels & classes should be feminine casual. It’s plenty warm in the hotel, but the temps can vary depending on where you are. You’ll be doing a lot of trucking around in the hotel, so be sure to test your kicks and make sure they are broken in before you go. I think it’s important, especially if you’re networking, to wear something notable to help people find you if they need to. “She’s over by the giant swan wearing a bright yellow scarf!”

c. Evening wear should be fun and memorable. This is a chance to wear something over the top. Most people are looking for an opener to chat, and a crazy dress or shoes are a great way to be remembered.

d. Don’t leave your wardrobe open ended. The schedule at Alt Summit moves at a brisk clip. You won’t want to miss out on things because you’re agonizing over what to wear. Pick your outfits ahead of time, take a photo of each one and save it to your phone. It’ll make getting out the door each day a breeze and leave more time for doing all the stuff you want to do.

3. GETTING AROUND

The staff at Grand America was pretty helpful last year when it came to transportation. If you’re concerned about getting to & from the airport or around town, be sure to read up on the shuttles, taxis, and the Light Rail that runs right in front of the hotel. Be sure you have a little cash on hand for tipping the taxi drivers.

4. DIVING IN

If it’s your first time at Alt Summit, you might be nervous. I was. I’m an extrovert who will talk to ANYONE, and I wasn’t that nervous before I arrived, but was nearly paralyzed with nerves for half of the first day. It’s overwhelming! There are so many new faces. Beautiful faces you KNOW , but can’t quite recall their actual names. (You can call them by their Twitter handles…but it’s a little awkward.) At any rate, I want you to know that it’s best to get your bearings, and just sit down next to anyone that you meet and strike up a chat. We are ALL there to meet new friends and connect. Have your cards at the ready, and just dive in. I made SO many wonderful friends last year and I almost can’t believe that I was so nervous at first. I didn’t have a single negative experience with anyone. Even some of the famous bloggers that I was nervous to chat with were just so warm and friendly.

The efficient traveler says:

a. Sit next to a new group of people at every class and at every meal. Even if you came with friends, do not sit with them! 🙂 Break out and go meet new folks and you’ll get so much more out of the event.

b. Unless you REALLY need to type your notes and live-blog your panels, I’d say forgo bringing the laptop to the panels. I ended up traveling light during the day and taking notes on paper most of the time. Bring your smartphone and take photos, but mostly — just try to be present. Don’t spend your whole time on a screen. You can always break away in the afternoon to go blog or type up some notes in the afternoon.

c. Bring a clip or rubberband to collect your business cards. This is a really big deal at Alt and you want to be sure you don’t lose track of your collection. Each evening, I made sure to follow my new friends on Twitter & add them to my Feedly under “Alt Summit” friends.

5. MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TICKET

The Alt Summit coordinators do an excellent job of setting you up for success in terms of what you will learn. They have different “tracks” for beginners and intermediate bloggers, so you should be able to identify quite easily where you should go during the conference. But, I will tell you a little secret — the REAL stuff happens in the conversations. And by real I mean, the connections and plans. It’s normal for us to sit in our little bubbles and make plans about the future, but Alt Summit is where you go to connect with people that can help you make things happen, and vice versa. This means you have to extend yourself more than you’re probably used to and take a chance on talking to people about big ideas. This isn’t the time to sit back and observe. If you’ve wanted to connect with someone, you have an obligation to yourself to make the most of this chance.

The efficient traveler says:

a. Make a list now of people you’d like to connect with at Alt Summit. Consider reaching out to them via Twitter or email and set up something informal.

b. If someone reaches out to you, even if you’re not sure why or how you can help them, just GO WITH IT. Maybe you won’t end up collaborating with that person, but at the very least, you will have a new friend or connection that will enrich your experience.

 

Debunking the Renters Insurance Myth

Renting an apartment or a home is a solid option for people who cannot afford a mortgage. Even for those who can afford to buy but still decide to rent, Sylvan Lake renters insurance comes in handy. While homeowners get homeowners insurance, renters should consider having sylvan lake renters insurance.

Why You Should Have Renters Insurance
Very few renters have insurance. Most of the people assume the landlord’s policy covers them. Others think they do not have enough belongings that warrant an insurance cover. To others, it is an unnecessary liability.

The sylvan lake renters’ insurance cover protects personal property and certain liabilities that may occur in your rented apartment or home. Reports on renters insurance uptake indicate that 95 percent of homeowners have an insurance policy against 37 percent of renters.

Here are some benefits of taking sylvan lake renters insurance

Affordability
In 2011, renters insurance was $187 annually. However, the rates depend on where one lives, how much is being deducted, and the coverage chosen.

Covers loss of personal property
The landlord’s insurance policy will cover the building but not the renter’s personal property. Even if you do not own much, you will realize it will cost a couple of thousands of dollars to replace whatever you lost. The insurance policy will protect your electronics, furniture, jewelry, clothes, computers, and other personal items.

Liability coverage
What happens when someone is injured while in your house? Renters insurance will cater for any legal expenses, compensation, or court verdicts. The amount of liability coverage depends on the financial capabilities of the renter and the policies of the insurance company.

Covers your property while in transit
Unknown to many people, the renters insurance protects personal belonging whether at home or in transit. While traveling, your possessions are covered against loss or theft. However, ensure you understand the policy or seek clarification from the agent on what constitutes a loss.

Covers additional living expenses
In the case of any additional living expenses and one is unable to live in their houses, you will be reimbursed to cover the difference between your normal and additional living expenses up to a certain limit.

Types of Renters Insurance

Actual cash value
This coverage pays to replaces your possessions. However, they exclude the depreciation based on the policy’s limit.

Replacement cost
The insurance company will pay for costs that will replace your possessions. However, they do not deduct the depreciation.

What Does The Renters Insurance Cover?
Losses from fire, smoke, or lightning
Theft and vandalism
Natural calamities such as water damage and windstorm

Branding: Honestly Margo

What were you doing when you were 12? I was probably drawing absurd fashion sketches, rollerblading, and being obsessed with Jonathan Brandis, of Sea Quest. I am pretty sure I didn’t have any ideas about starting a business, which is why I was SO impressed when I received a message from Margo Gianos, a 12-year old girl from OKC who was looking to start a business selling her handmade all-natural lip balm. Tim was equally impressed with her organization & plucky spirit, and convinced me to take the project.

I met with Margo and her mother Irene and found two energetic souls, brimming with ideas and ready to make their brand a reality. I spent a lot of time talking with Margo about her voice and what she wanted from her brand, and we all worked through a naming strategy session where we decided on HONESTLY MARGO. In my head, I always imagine Margo messing up the kitchen with all her experiments and then her mom coming in and saying, “HONESTLY, Margo!”

Margo & Irene hired a local photography & videography team (another husband & wife duo!) CHOATE HOUSE to do all the promotional images as well as the brand video for this project. We were SO impressed by their work and how they took everything we created for Margo’s brand story and made it come alive. So impressed, in fact, that they’ve become our go-to resource for our local branding projects. Check out the fantastic work they did for HONESTLY MARGO

Because of Margo’s unique business, we decided to forego the products I usually include in branding (letterhead etc.), and instead swapped them for labels for her products. Her first set of all-natural lip balm flavors are named FIONA, PENELOPE, and JULIET… also known as: Fruity Colada, Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Caramel Apple. You can find these products at these retail locations:

Cayman’s – Norman, OK
Plenty Mercantile – Oklahoma City, OK
Luxe Objects – Oklahoma City, OK
blue seven – Oklahoma City, OK
The B. Hive – Gainesville, TX
Pumpkin & Bean – Englewood, NJ
Sweet Spot – Cresskill, NJI have to say that the best part of this process was embracing Margo & Irene’s unabashed love of COLOR. These two have a lot of brightness in them, and it was so much fun finding the way to communicate that in the colors & design.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING TODAY?

I’ll tell you where you SHOULD be going… The Holiday Pop-Up Shops.

Images by the wonderful Greer Inez

I’ve already been a few times, especially since a big number of my clients & friends have been represented over the past few weekends. This weekend you can see some of my colorful (and affordable) small works in the Always Greener/True North Living pop-up. So, head on down and get some lovely local gifts for your loved ones, and just enjoy the day in Midtown.Also – my lovely & talented friend Allison Bailey is the brilliant mind behind this series of Pop-Up shops. She was interviewed by photographer Ely Fair for her small businesses series. Look at this perfect shot of Allison among her snow globes, and then go check out her article about The Holiday Pop-Up Shops

TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN WHOAH

I mean this sincerely when I say that I hope your 2014 is amazing. 2013 was a rough year for the Cooper camp, but I’m a firm believer that you make your own luck. I try to just keep going, and keep believing that I can have the things I need if I work hard and have a little faith. And I do have the things I need: my family, my friends, and a roof over my head. 🙂

That said, when I started last year, I tried to make a list of the things I really wanted out of my life. I tried to draw a clear picture of what a happy life would look like specifically for me. This is what I wrote in my journal last January:

* I want to have the freedom to travel to see new places.

* I want long blocks of time to create art & work on projects.

* I want to have a good relationship with my family.

* I want a home that is easy to manage & a comfortable place to live.

* I want to have a respectable reputation as a creative.

* I want to have genuine friendships with people who understand me and vice versa.

* I want to feel strong & calm.

* I want to learn new things, and share ideas with others in a meaningful way.

So, these aren’t really resolutions, but just statements about what I really want. Articulating the end goal, as opposed to making a list of resolutions helped me accomplish more than I’d ever thought possible. Now as I start 2014, I’m doing so many new things that I never tried before. I’m finally launching my creative workshop (and hoping to take it on the road!), getting chances to speak in public about my passions, initiating creative collaborations with new friends, and I’m learning more about painting, hand-lettering and lots of other creative things I’ve been curious about for years. Even though it was a long & hard year for our family, I feel more excited about the future and less worried about the unknown.

So, maybe instead of a resolution, try drawing a picture of what your happy life could look like in one year. Just put it out there and see what happens. For me it was a lot of little steps that built toward a new place, and maybe it can be like that for you all too.

I wish you a safe & happy holiday and I’ll see you next year.

p.s. It’s worth noting that my approach is the result of a couple things I learned listening to that Neil Gaiman keynote address, and hearing Stefan Sagmeister speak at Alt about his happiness project. Stefan challenged me to get very specific about the things I actually wanted and to discover what would really make ME happy.
Neil Gaiman basically says this, (and this is the bit that resounds with me) :

“Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be – an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, making good comics and supporting myself through my words – was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal.

And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain.”

HOLIDAY MUSIC MADE WITH LOVE

A long long (long) time ago B.C. (before children) , when Tim and I were first dating and during the early years of our marriage, we had a LOT of free time. Time for leisurely brunches, dinner parties, ski weekends, camping trips…AND, recording holiday albums, y’know, for fun. We recorded these songs and sent them to our far flung families & friends as a holiday gift.

We did a lot of things together that bonded us in those early years, but these songs really represent our first creative collaboration and we love listening to them together. This album isn’t anything fancy — we recorded in our little sound booth in our house — and Tim played all the instruments, with the exception of Silent Night where I played guitar. Tim produced & mixed everything — he’s talented like that — and we took turns singing. The player below allows you to listen, or download the MP3 using the little arrows on the right hand side. So, go have a listen. I hope you get a kick out of our little collection!

AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR…

Hey kids! I just wanted to pop in and say how incredibly grateful I am to all of you that shopped & shared about my sale. It was a red letter day for my little studio and it warmed the cockles of my heart (yeah, I said cockles!) that so many of you enjoy my work and want to hang it in your homes.

I am taking a much needed break until after the New Year, but I wanted to leave you with some holiday cheer.3. My talented photographer friend Greer just posted pics of her son Leo’s nursery, featuring a commissioned painting I did for her. I don’t do commissions for just anyone, but I couldn’t resist this sweet little man. I feel like this was a perfect project for Greer and I to collaborate on and I’m thrilled that her palette and my style meshed so well.

I’M STILL HERE & APW LAUNCH

Hello everyone! Thank you for your patience as I dropped off the face of the planet for a week. 🙂 I have been busier than a one-armed fiddle player over here trying to juggle all my normal projects, AND… launching the biggest brand redesign & website we’ve worked on to date.A Practical Wedding is a website that encompasses so many awesome things. Basically they are a resource for laid-back, feminist weddings and supporters of egalitarian relationships of all kinds… even the non-married kind. I have been reading this blog for a long time, and the content consistently moves me. These women are writing about really important things, and it was truly an honor to help re-brand them and collaborate with them on the new websiteHere’s the thing about a site like APW. The content of this site is always relevant. It’s not like fashion or news where yesterday’s post is old hat by the end of the day. They have content that dates back to the beginning of the site’s inception that is as important and poignant now as it was then. Not only that, the community on this blog is like a giant extended family. The comment threads are some of the best, funniest, most insightful things I’ve ever read — and in this day & age of anonymous comment bullies, I think that says something about the kind of website this is, and the people who are active participants in this discussion.

I say all that to say, this website is a perfect example of a content driven blog, and the design that I’ve done here was created specifically to promote and frame everything contained within. Tim & I worked closely with Meg & Maddie and tried to create a well organized and thoughtful user experience for the audience. I feel like, even though the site is in Beta, we really were able to create some great tools and methods by which to get at all the amazing content in this site.

The coming weeks will have lots of activity as we roll out new features, make the site responsive (HUGE job for Tim!), and refine the user experience. Please, go over and dig in. I want to know what you guys think of the site & the experience.

Shout-Outs: A big thank you to G. Wink for help creating brand guidelines and files. I also want to thank Steph Shilling, my design assistant, for helping me take these concepts from sitemap to real life. It was the BIGGEST sitemap we’ve ever tackled –as in, you could wallpaper your bathroom with the flowcharts we created — and she helped me get it all done, and backed me up on so many things during production. Most of all to TIM. I’m really glad I married a genius developer who doesn’t mind working on my glitter encrusted designs. 😀 He took this thing from design concept to real life and worked harder than any of us. Thanks honey!

IN OTHER NEWS…

I have 7 new paintings to add to the shop! I will be photographing them and putting them up this week — PROMISE. Since I’m not doing any shows this holiday season, I’ve decided to skip printing my calendars in-house, but I will be posting lots of new prints to Society 6 so you can still scoop up some new works as stocking stuffers.