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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.


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!

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.


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


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.”


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!


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.


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!


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.


It’s a true statement. It’s a hard to swallow statement. The truth is that ultimately WE are in control of the day we’re having. It’s easy to say, well, if you just have an attitude adjustment, then things will get better, but we know it’s not THAT easy. Having a good attitude takes practice. LOTS of practice. I struggle with this, just like everyone else, but I also know this axiom and I take it to heart. When things are getting bad, and they will get bad, I know that it’s the attitude that I approach the problem with that ultimately defines how this will work out. I just read this amazing article about ATTITUDE by Grey Hoy (brought to my attention by my all-time favorite blogger, Tina Eisenberg of Swiss Miss) and he outlines the positive attributes of successful people, and almost every single one as to do with attitude.


One of the most crazy things people ask me is, “How do you do it all?” — to which I roll my eyes, and think… surely I’m not giving anyone the impression that I’m super put together and accomplishing tons of things. I’m definitely NOT doing it all. However, I’m definitely a “DOER”. I wake up in the morning with a list on my mind. I’m convinced this has everything to do with my genes, and almost nothing to do with organization.

Let me be clear — I LOVE ORGANIZATION. I’m a huge fan of it. I’m just not very good at maintaining systems for a long time. I’m just like everyone else. My organization tends to peak in January, and then usually spends the rest of the year on a slight downhill slide. It’s just life. I’m running a company (that requires a TON of organization) — I’m raising kids (more schedules & maintenance) and I’m married to a BOY (who organizes never, dusts never, and resists being organized just to drive me crazy.)

So, how do I get things done & keep it together? Well, I have help. I use a lot of tools* that make my life easier. I am constantly recreating and refining my systems. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I struggle to keep the house put together, especially on work days. I don’t get a nice dinner on the table EVERY night — although I try. I’m not immune to the pressures of comparison. I see people who are doing more with their businesses or blogs, and I get a little frustrated and wish we were further ahead in our plans and closer to our goals. I am learning to understand that we all have different cards we’re playing. I’ve got it easier than some, and harder than others. We do the best we can with what we’ve got, and we’re always trying to do better.

I think you have to accept that a certain amount of chaos, especially when you’re self-employed and raising small children is totally normal. You have to redefine what DOING IT ALL means, in the context of your own life, and your own skill set. I say all that to say… there will be anarchy. Total insanity that is just out of your control sometimes, and you just have to accept that it’s the nature of things. Don’t give up trying though. I am certainly not trying to DO IT ALL. I’m just trying to do SOMETHING positive with the time I have.

* I use a TON of different tools and organization systems for work and home. Would you guys like to hear about them?