28 September 2013

october events in southern california!

good gosh almighty- fall is here with a BANG! so many great events happening over the next few weeks:

i will be reuniting with veronika miller of modenus as she brings her signature phenomenon, blogtour, to los angeles for the first time! so excited for this opportunity to hang out with my social media friends from around the globe. jill seidner of material girls and i, as blogtour london alumni, will be hosting the #blogtourLA gang on wednesday for a brief visit to the la cienega design quarter and the west hollywood design district, with hosted stops at dragonette and mecox gardens. partay!

then there is the premier of the westedge design fair, sure to be chock full of the best in cutting edge design. i know that some of my favorite lighting peeps, zia-priven, have been working on something BIG and special to decorate barker hanger during the event running october 3-6, so can't wait for that!
and the following week, look for me at one of my favorite events, the los angeles antiques art + design show at its new location in culver city, oct 9-13.  i'll be stopping in over the weekend for a panel or two, but will for sure be at the star studded opening night to benefit teh decorative arts and design council at LACMA, a great cause!
and in the midst of all this madness, i'll be part of a panel on "career blogging" at design camp orange county, oct 9-11 (i'll be focusing on blogging to brand and build a design career. i might have some experience in that arena. or not). speaking at 9am on the 11th will be interesting, since my brain doesn't turn on 'til noon, so who knows what i'll say?) there are just a couple seats left for camp so GET ON IT!  ;-)
then, on the 14th, i sleep. ;-)

27 September 2013

design camp orange county winner!

so exited to announce the winner of the design camp orange county giveaway- donna p. of "d for design"!  i've been following donna on facebook for a while now, so it will be awesome to finally connect in person!

and if you were disappointed to not be a winner, never fear-  a lil birdie told me that a couple of seats may still be open for october 9-11th, so if you love design, and want to learn, be entertained and network your booty off, sign up here!

26 September 2013

tom scheerer decorates

m21 doesn't often get tongue-tied- seriously, i am never at a loss for words- but i have to admit i did get a little starstruck earlier this evening at the beautiful hollyhock showroom during the book signing for "tom scheerer decorates". i mean, i knew i respected the man for his amazing relaxed, yet decorative interiors (no small feat), and for our shared love of bentwood furniture and saarinen tables, but i didn't expect him to be all nice and tall and handsome and personable and stuff, so that threw me off my game a little bit (we talked hair products, you know, as you do at a book signing for a interior design legend in the making). you know it's funny, somehow i always expect my fellow designers to be a little diva-esque when they are also super talented like tom, but when i've met those designers whose work i admire in person, to a one, they've all been lovely, genuine people.  i guess that sort of accessibility translates into good work.

anyhoo, i suggest, no, i order you to buy mr. scheerer's new book- it's all kinds of awesome, and mimi read does a fantastic job of putting words to the pretty pictures. you won't regret your purchase, decorator's honor...

ps- thanks to vendome press for sending me my review copy (which is now signed- yay!). i woulda bought it anyway, but it's always nice to get a package in the mail.  ;-)

pps- thanks to max humphrey of burnham design for letting me press him into being my photographer tonight. see? talented designers really are nice people too!

18 September 2013

updates: design camp free giveaway + travel inspired decor at 55 downing street!

please visit my latest post over at 55 downing street about adding a little (not a lot) international jet set travel style to your decor, like incorporating a trunk as furniture like brooke shields did in her living room photographed for architectural digest:
decorated by david flint wood
also, please don't forget that you can do a lil traveling yourself if you enter my design camp free ticket giveaway in orange county california! drawing ends friday, so you'll need to make your travel plans to join me on october 9th-11th asap!  it's gonna be awesome, campers!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

16 September 2013

a tastemaker, an influencer and an experienced professional walk into a bar... (a rant, not a joke, unfortunately)

i'm sorry, but i have to rant for a minute here...

every day i am asked to take part in a variety of activities as a tastemaker and influencer, and honestly, though i can't participate in everything, i am flattered to be asked. i've worked hard over the last 6 years to promote myself as an interior designer through my various social media channels, and before i started social media, i slogged away as both a design assistant and under my own name, then there was the years of schooling before that. so while i'm happy to wear the hats of tastemaker and influencer, i am also an experienced design professional. an expert in my field, if you will.

so when a *large* internet-based commercial venture (you know their name, we all do) approached me today about working for them by creating content for their site, i was flattered, and gratified that a big company like that was interested in partnering with me to help promote their first foray into the home sector. i immediately responded back that i would be happy to consider working with them, and what was the pay rate?  to which they responded (and i paraphrase) "no pay, but we'll promote you through our website"... um, wait- isn't that what you just approached me to do?  not only "promote you through my channels", but use my experience as a design professional to provide content, in addition to lending my "gravitas"as a veteran in the home design field, to your endeavor?  that seems to be a lot to be asking without compensation beyond "promoting me".  and they weren't just asking for a quote and a headshot (usually happy to provide if it's the right fit), or anything simple, but asking for hours of my time creating exclusive content for them to then commercialize.  i declined and explained that i am a working designer, and that to devote time to their site, takes away time spent with my own clients and i also explained i have obligations to several media partners who are willing pay me (or at least provide some quid pro quo), so working for free wasn't fair to those partners either.

and, normally, it would have ended there. i would be flattered they asked, and that would have been that. after all, the internets is still sorta the wild west with no rules, unions, or even etiquettes for these situations, so whatevs...  but then i  looked on their site and found them boasting of the following facts:

  • they have over twenty million dollars in outside funding.
  • they have been profitable for several years running.
  • they operate at 90% gross margins. 

and that kind of pissed me off. dude (and i use the corporate "dude" here), don't brag about how much money you have and how much fat profit you are raking in while asking people to work for free. i mean, they have 90% gross margins. 90%. let that soak in. ninety percent! and yet, they want me to provide content for them for free. i had to ask myself, what if they actually paid people for content, and/or to promote their site, what would their margins be then? 80% 70%? 60? those are still pretty healthy, right? for those of you who are business owners, what is *your* gross margin?? surely not 90%, and if it is, what business are *you* in? cuz i wanna switch!

which leads me to the meat of my rant: why as a tastemaker or influencer, or as i prefer, an expert in my field, am i not worthy of being compensated? especially when your own business model says you have the wherewithal to do so? don't i deserve a teensy tiny slice of sumpthin' for helping you build your business?  i know if this company's CEO asked me to decorate their own home they'd understand as an experienced professional that i would need to be compensated. i mean they *could* find someone with little or no experience to decorate it for free, but it would probably look pretty bad, and it would certainly cost more in mistakes than i charge in fees, so it would be a bad business decision, right? then why isn't that same principle applied to their website? why wouldn't they jump at the opportunity to pay a small amount to be associated with someone who is not only talented, but experienced, and an expert in their field? surely it would make their site look better than being associated with someone with no experience and no eye but who is willing to work for free? i just don't get it, and the sad thing is, i know the company doesn't care. as an experienced professional and an established social media voice, i'm going to refuse this "opportunity" but there are a hundred kids behind me who will probably jump at the chance to toil for free to get their names on a website with millions of users, and that is sad. they haven't been around long enough to realize that they are being taken advantage of, and that providing content for others without compensation nets them nothing.

i know by posting this that i might scare off potential brand partners, and perhaps even lose a few of my existing ones for being an outspoken bitch but that's a risk i'm willing to take. it's important for those of us who have worked long and hard to get where we are, that we are appreciated and valued. we are lending not only our followers, but our names, hard won experience and knowledge, and that is worth something. certainly we deserve more than the average college summer intern would get- a nice mention and a pat on the back.  (side note: don't get me wrong- sometimes, like with a college internship, it's smart to work for free). i just think that large, established companies, with funding... and profits! ought to be compensating for content, and that we, the content providers need to start to learn to say NO if there is no quid to go with the pro quo. after all, they pay their executives, they pay their shareholders, and they for damn sure pay their IT department, so it's time they start paying their content providers as well. some companies have already learned this, and i applaud you- now please go tell your friends. ;-)

and that's the end of that rant. thanks for reading, and fellow bloggers, i hope you'll join me in sometimes saying "NO".  not everything that puts your name on someone else's website is an opportunity. well, it is for them, but not always for you.

ps- for those of you guessing along at home, i have no desire to publicly name the company. if you are profitable, have 90% gross margins ,and think you don't need to compensate content providers in a tangible way, well then this post applies to you too. ;-) that said, please note this company is not currently officially in the home sector, but would like to be... 

13 September 2013

won't you be my guest? FREE GIVEAWAY to attend design camp orange county oct 9-11!

top california interior designers: kathryn m. ireland, nathan turner, timothy corrigan, jeff andrews, cliff fong, christopher kennedy and... christian may? (insert needle on the record sound). wait, did you read this list correctly?

yeah, i know- that was my reaction too, when media personalities and celebrity interior designers, lori dennis and kelli ellis, asked me to join such prestigious company and be a counselor at their upcoming design camp orange county. after looking over my shoulder, and verifying that they were indeed talking to me, i course said YES, and figured that since they already have a string of interior design camp successes under their belts, i should just trust the experts that i was an expert too, and go with the flow!  ;-)
design camp founders, lori dennis & kelli ellis
all kidding aside, i am totally honored to be speaking on a 'career blogging' panel with blog super stars paloma contreras of la dolce vita and julie thigpen of belle maison, and figure after slogging through the blog world for 6 years (an interwebs eternity) that lori and kelli are right and i just might have learned a thing or two to pass on to my fellow design campers! if nothing else, i can crack a joke or two, while hopefully offering up a nugget of wisdom every now and then, albeit from my slightly skewed decorator/social media addict perspective.  ;-) added bonus, in addition to the aforementioned amazing list of names already mentioned this post as counselors, i also get to hang out with good friends like public relations guru, rich pedine, and brand strategist/social media marketing genius, phil pallen, who are smart AND funny, and who will learn us a thing or too, all while making it so fun we won't even know we are being schooled!

and that in a nutshell sums up design camp- exceptional experts in our industry, educating us in the most entertaining way... and did i mention that there will be tons of free door prizes for attendees, and good food, and maybe a cocktail or two?  sounds like a slice of interior design heaven, right? well, how would you like to be my guest for design camp orange county on october 9th - 11th for ABSOLUTELY FREE? yup, we're giving away a ticket worth $1297 for free!  free, free, free!
design camp seattle attendees- don't you wanna be a part of this?
this is an amazing opportunity to learn, network, and mingle, so be sure to enter our giveaway by noon on friday september 20th! YOU DONT WANT TO MISS THIS ONE, KIDS! so enter NOW by leaving a comment on the blog, and then for more optional entries, please share this post with your friends via your facebook page (honor system), like the design camp facebook page or tweet about design camp! easy-peasy!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
see ya at camp!

06 September 2013

on 55 downing st.: international style- decorating with globes!

maison21 interior decoration
hop on over to 55 downing st for my latest selections on decorating with international style!

04 September 2013

thanks, burnham design- maison21 featured in lonny!

just wanted to congratulate max humphrey from burnham design on his fab feature in september's lonny magazine, and thank max and betsy for featuring one of my paintings in max's chic apartment! i'm so honored!

one of my cubist series paintings is the backdrop to max's chic bar area.
max and betsy, two of my favorites from LA's amazing design scene!
lots more great stuff in the september lonny- go check it out, here.