Life & Business: Anna Joyce

Life & Business: Anna Joyce

Life and Business: Anna Joyce

It’s easy to make excuses, especially when it comes to your career and your dreams. Life’s short and it often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, or that you’re too far behind to start now. And, truthfully, running a business is hard. Excuses can pile up easily for why you’re not chasing after that thing you’ve always wanted, but at its core, often the only thing holding you back is yourself. It’s never too late to start – and Anna Joyce, who could, by all means, give every excuse in the book, is proof of that. Anna’s is a story of resilience and getting back on the saddle, galloping after her passion. On top of being a mother and wife, and having been told “no,” Anna has found the time to build a brand, make all of her pieces by hand and write a book. Today Anna is taking us inside her business to chat about following your passion, trusting your instincts, the value of a great photo and how failure is often another opportunity in disguise. –Sabrina

Portrait photo by Dane Tashima. Photography by Lisa Warniner, styling by Chelsea Fuss.

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Hotel Turned Beautiful, Efficient Apartment in Portland

Casey wanted furniture with open, light frames to keep the space from feeling heavy. She found this couch on Craigslist for $100 and had it reupholstered in a grey wool blend tough enough to stand up to use by Casey and her dog Winston.

Hotel Turned Beautiful, Efficient Apartment in Portland

My first apartment living alone was a 390-square-foot oddity. The door opened into a main room that was more like a wide hallway, too small to fit more than one piece of living room furniture. A curtain turned the front into a makeshift bedroom and dining area and my couches ended up in the technical bedroom. It’s what worked in the strange space and it’s all I could do to functionally — and somewhat beautifully — live there. When Casey Keasler moved to downtown Portland, OR, two years ago, she knew it would be important for her to find a home she could work out of, share with an assistant, find historical significance in and walk easily to and from downtown with her dog, Winston. She found everything she needed, except excess space, in this two-room apartment in a 1914 hotel converted into rental units. Looking at Casey’s Instagram account, you’d never know that her apartment is 365 square feet. Her perfectly proportioned furniture, design solutions and the gorgeous natural light pouring in makes her place feel airier than it is.

Casey is an interior designer who works for herself and from her home. Her use of the space to accomplish all of the various aspects of her life in the main room is pretty remarkable. Her lounge area with her couch and bar flows effortlessly into her small dining area. Since Casey loves to entertain, she’s created a space that achieves her hosting needs, despite the apartment’s small size. “The process is always evolving and organic. Come back in six months and things will have changed. The place is small, so it took me some adjusting to realize what I actually need on a day-to-day basis. I got rid of a lot of stuff,” Casey says. “I wanted the place to be a background for everything that I do. My place needs to have a life that can evolve. Because of my lifestyle, it needs to do many things, but also be a relaxing environment for me to live and work.” It’s one thing to create a functional space, but Casey has created a beautiful home as well. —Lauren

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Life & Business Profile: Karie Reinertson of Shelter

Life & Business Profile: Karie Reinertson of Shelter

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Karie Reinertson is one badass lady. She has worked for environmental nonprofit groups, was an intern and chef for a school in Vermont, and has traveled across the globe as a volunteer for environmental education centers. Today you can find Karie in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, NC with her husband and business partner, Rob, where they run SHELTER COLLECTIVE, which offers product design, event curation, and experimental and experiential projects. On top of this, Karie heads up SHELTER, a stream of SHELTER COLLECTIVE, where she designs and makes handbags from high-quality sustainable materials. As busy as Karie may be, she graciously took the time to chat with us about being multidisciplinary, patience, going with the flow and what to consider before starting your own business. –Sabrina

Portrait photo by Tim Robison, product photos by Karie Reinertson.

Read the full post after the jump!

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Pittsburgh, PA City Guide with Michael of The Urbanist Guide

Pittsburgh, PA City Guide with Michael of The Urbanist Guide

Pittsburgh, PA City Guide

One of the best things about traveling and discovering a new city is stumbling upon that fringe cafe or restaurant tucked away from the main strip — the unassuming spots that locals covet. This Pittsburgh guide is chock-full of those hidden gems, thanks to Michael McAllister, a publisher and editor at URBANIST Guide which produces free, fold-out, full color travel guides. Yes, that’s correct, it’s actually Michael’s job to explore cities, namely his hometown of Pittsburgh, a city with lots of history that’s undergoing a huge revival. The development of Pittsburgh has brought many jobs and, of course, countless new independent businesses and shops that Michael is eager to share with us today! Read on for the best Pittsburgh has to offer, from food and drinks to shopping and art. Sabrina

Photos by Laila Archuleta

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A Texas Home Infused With Organic Style

"If we didn't have to get up," Kelly says, "we would never leave the living room. All three of us [including pup, Ellie] pile on that couch, listening to records, drinking coffee, watching the sun set and rise. Behind the couch is a solid poplar bench with sliding dovetail joints, one of three I built in this room."

A Texas Home Infused With Organic Style

There is a big difference, I think, between so-called “relaxing” interiors and interiors that are “relaxed.” “Relaxing” interiors tend to be the purview of specialists, their soothing qualities (muted colors, soft textures, harmonious symmetry) meticulously orchestrated down to a T. Contrived with deliberation and purpose, these spaces are sort of like the Hannibal Lecters of interiors—well-coiffed, cool, and collected on the surface, but tightly-wound and more than a little off-kilter underneath. Think the intense tidiness of a luxury hotel or the clinical serenity of a hospital. Relaxed interiors, on the other hand, are ones that seem to exude calmness from a deeper level, from the inside-out, if you will. Allowed to evolve gradually over time, they are guided by impulse rather than overthinking, their sense of “rightness” a little more hard to pin down or define.

This is what I think I love most about designer Kelly DeWitt’s Webberville, Texas home. When she and her boyfriend, Travis, moved to this small town on the outskirts of Austin, they were looking for a place that would allow them to unwind after working at their respective businesses (Kelly builds furniture under the name KKDW and Travis works as a steel fabricator under the name TA Norman). “We wanted a space that felt like an escape after a full day of work,” Kelly says, “ostensibly after feeling very stimulated by design, and/or coming home sweaty, dusty, and tired.”

Built from the ground-up by their landlords five years ago, the home was pretty much move-in ready when they signed the lease, little more than a coat of paint needed in order to make it livable. This smooth transition is something that seems to have aided the couple in the long-run, allowing them to approach their homemaking with ease instead of urgency. Thus far, “it has been a pretty organic process,” Kelly says. “The house continues to take on different designs and moods, and every couple weeks, things will start to slightly shift around.” This organicism plays out in beautiful ways across the space, from a large-scale drawing tacked on the wall to a cluster of plants with leaves that spill languidly over their containers. The space is certainly considered, but in a way that allows for effortless change—it’s charming without being precious, beautiful without being ostentatious. “I wanted to create a retreat where I could let my mind wander, where I wouldn’t feel stifled, and where we could both let inspiration filter in naturally,” Kelly says. “I love being in my home.”

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A Bay-and-Gable Home in Ontario’s Arts & Culture Hub

A Bay-and-Gable Home in Hamilton, Ontario's Arts & Culture Hub

A Bay-and-Gable Home in Ontario’s Arts & Culture Hub

The city of Hamilton, Ontario has a tough past, but it is a city that’s increasingly getting attention for its rich, grassroots arts and culture community (watch for an updated city guide coming soon!). Hamilton is slowly becoming the cousin of Toronto and neighbors me in Milton. I’ve actually spent the last few weekends there exploring its vastly different neighborhoods and casually browsing open houses. With countless beautiful streets lined with Victorian homes, hundreds of waterfalls and castles, and a strong arts scene, it’s no wonder why creatives Hollie Pocsai and Mike Jerome chose to call it home. Their early 1900s bay-and-gable style Victorian house is shared with their cats Tanooki and Meatbulb (yes!) and is close to the downtown core, which was on their “must-have” list when they were house hunting just over five years ago.

Hollie owns and runs White Elephant, two boutiques focusing on Canadian-made and handmade goods, and Mike is a graphic and motion designer, so being situated in the heart of the arts and small business community is priceless for them. Complete with all of the dreamy old home features such as pocket doors, super-wide trim, original plaster ceiling medallions and a lush, private backyard, they also discovered some not-so-welcome surprises when they moved in: Walls caked with over eight layers of wallpaper and original hardwood floors that were painted salmon pink! Their home continues to be a work in progress, but it’s a labor of love they wouldn’t trade for anything. “I think I’m closer to striking a balance between everything falling apart and everything coming together,” laughs Hollie. There’s just something about this perfect imperfection that I think makes a home more beautiful. –Sabrina

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Studio Tour: Honeycomb Studio

Studio Tour: Honeycomb Studio

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One of my deepest, unwavering goals in life is to grow into one of those tragically cool older women who have a white, asymmetrical bob and spend their days throwing pots in their home ceramics studio. Maybe I was a potter or an art teacher in another life, but there’s always been a part of me that longs to spend days in a studio working on plates, pots and vases. For that reason, I tend to hang around potters’ studios, hoping one of them will casually ask me to assist them. That day is probably pretty far off, so in the meantime I continue to admire and look up to people who are full-time potters and ceramicists.

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Courtney Hamill is the founder and owner of Honeycomb Studio, a small batch porcelain shop based in Atlanta, GA. We’ve written about her beautiful work before, but I was happy to hear from her last month and get a little peek inside her sunny West Midtown studio. Every piece Courtney makes is handmade, whether it’s cast from an original mold or thrown on her wheel, so each piece is completely unique. I love seeing where her work comes to life, so I’m thrilled to share a glimpse inside her studio today, photographed by Whitney Ott. Thanks so much to Courtney for sharing her space with us! xo, grace

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Beyond The Bed: 12 Tips For The Best Guest Room Ever

A reading lamp and an alarm clock are nightstand essentials, but think about adding a few trays to corral loose items like wallets, change, glasses, and keys.

Beyond The Bed: 12 Tips For The Best Guest Room Ever

When it comes to dressing up your home, the guest bedroom can sometimes get the short end of the stick. While all the other rooms get tended to, the guest room often ends up with a mean case of middle-child syndrome: sad, forgotten, and possibly filled with broken furniture and underutilized exercise machines. It happens, we’ve all been there. A great, usable guest bedroom can be a wonderful thing to have in a home, though — especially if you frequently entertain friends and family. If you’re interested in getting on top of your guest room game — and creating a space that even you will want to spend the night in — here are 12 tips and essentials for making your guests feel right at home. —Max

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William Suran + Best of the Web

William Suran + Best of the Web

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I don’t know if it’s the cold weather or the endless sheets of ice on our driveway, but I’m craving color and freshness right now. I’m so ready for bright spring flowers and the sort of lushness that only comes at the beginning of spring, when everything is that yellow-green color of new growth. Sadly, everything outside will still be iced over for a few more months, but in the meantime I’ve been filling my screen with photos and paintings of beautiful flowers.

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These watercolors I found on Instagram are my absolute favorite right now and it turns out they’re by an artist, William Suran, just around the corner from us in Brooklyn. Whether you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by real versions of these or just need some color and beauty on your screen today, I hope you’ll enjoy William’s stunning watercolors as much as I did. You can follow William and see more of his work on Instagram, his website and at this gallery online. xo, grace

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In the Kitchen With: Nik Sharma’s Sevaiyan

In the Kitchen With: Nik Sharma’s Sevaiyan

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I came across Nik Sharma, the author and photographer behind the blog A Brown Table, on Instagram a few months ago. I do not post a lot on Instagram, but I love to scroll through the images in my feed in hopes of spotting any images of Hulk, Australia, and colorful (and tasty-looking) food. Nik’s photo that day stood out for many reasons. After the initial introduction, I hopped over to his blog and I was doubly pleased to find that his recipes are equally as enticing as the photos, many of which have strong Indian influences and are inspired by Nik’s Indian heritage and time spent growing up in India and the United States. I jumped at the opportunity to have him on the In the Kitchen With column. Nik is sharing with us a sweet dish from his childhood called sevaiyan, or Indian vermicelli kheer. I wish they offered this at my local cafe for breakfast!  -Kristina

About Nik: Nik is a freelance photographer, supper club cook, recipe developer and writer in the San Francisco Bay Area where he shares his love for all things delicious on his blog A Brown Table. His work has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens, Food52, The Kitchn, Life and Thyme, and many more. When not in the kitchen or behind the camera, Nik can be found indulging in his desire to collect as many delightful cookbooks as possible, sifting through thrift stores for vintage finds and planning adventurous trips. Nik can be found on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

See how to make Nik’s Sevaiyan after the jump!

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Julia Rothman’s Nature Anatomy + Giveaway!

Julia Rothman’s Nature Anatomy + Giveaway!

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One of my absolute favorite pasttimes as a child was collecting insects, wildflowers and greenery in those little “junior explorer” kits you could buy at toy stores. I loved being able to look at nature up close and learn more about everything, from ladybugs to buttercups. Now that I’m getting close to my mid-30s, I still feel the exact same way. Living in upstate New York feels like one giant explorer kit, in that every morning I’m outside following tracks, taking pictures and trying to identify animals or plants everywhere I can. That same spirit of excitement and wonder fills the pages of Julia Rothman‘s new book, Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World.

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The follow-up to her illustrated guide to life on a farm, Nature Anatomy approaches everything from clouds and flowers to feathers and mushrooms with the same curiosity and wonder that we all had as children. I’m not someone who needs a nudge to want to learn more about the structure of a leaf and what the phases of a moon look like, but if you’re someone who’s ever walked outside and looked up (or down) and wondered how the natural world around you works, this book is a fun and beautiful guide to learning more. There are over 700 illustrations in Nature Anatomy and each one comes with interesting facts, a story or a lesson that helps you understand more about the natural world. I can’t wait to read through this (a few times, probably) and for two readers today, you won’t have to wait long, because Julia and Storey Publishing are giving away two copies of her book! All you need to do to enter the contest is leave a comment in the section below answering the following question: What was your favorite nature-related exploration or discovery when you were younger? Share your story below and two lucky readers will have a free copy sent to their door. Click “read more” below to see pictures from the book! xo, grace

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Sights & Sounds For Your Winter Morning

Sights & Sounds For Your Winter Morning

Photo by April Valencia.

Photo by April Valencia. PortfolioVSCo | Instagram | Tumblr

I’ve met a few people who classify themselves as “winter people” and I have never quite understood them. Like so-called “morning people,” these rare creatures seem to revel in a time that is especially inhospitable. Bitterly cold, arid, and icy, winter typically finds me holed up inside my home, layers upon layers of knits covering my body. The days that fall between December and March don’t even really register as “real” to me, but seem more as a bleak, purgatorial ellipses between more forgiving months.

That said, waiting idly for spring to come seems like an awful waste of time. As much as I tend to hate winter and its sun-deprived days and subzero nights, I need to remind myself that each season contains beauty — and something worth savoring. To me, the beauty that winter holds is its bleakness. If summer is the drunken party animal of seasons, filled with riotous celebration and explosive color, winter is its sober, harshly minimal counterpart. Winter is subdued. It’s slow. And above all — winter is quiet. I think, if I had to choose, that this is what I love best about winter. Even if you are walking down a bustling city street, all of the sound seems to have been utterly consumed — muffled by the snow, ice, and cold. It’s a time when you can hear your thoughts, a time to let your mind wander, if you let it.

If you need some inspiration to get out of your own winter funk and into a more silence-embracing mindset, here are seven beautiful photos and songs to start your day on the right foot. —Max VIEW MORE

A Kitchen Remodel Fit for a Cookbook

Eva and her husband did all the demo on their own, including taking out the arch, and building reclaimed wood countertops and open shelving. They hired a contractor to remove the sliding glass door, install a wall with a window and install the flooring.

A Kitchen Remodel Fit for a Cookbook

Now that we’re deep into working on our home, I have a newfound and extreme appreciation for anyone who decides to DIY any level of their home makeover. From small painting projects to total overhauls, doing things on your own while you still live in the same space is no small undertaking. Today’s makeover comes from Eva Kosmas Flores, who had her own book contract (so exciting!) as inspiration to give her home kitchen a serious DIY makeover.

Based in Portland, OR, Eva is a full-time stylist, photographer and blogger. When she and her husband bought their 1930s English cottage-style home this summer, they knew the kitchen would need an update. So when Eva’s cookbook contract with Haughton Mifflin Harcourt came in and she knew she’d need a place to shoot her recipes, it was the perfect excuse to start with the kitchen. Along with her husband, Eva made over the majority of the space by hand, creating a dream room that will not only be a great place to cook on a day-to-day basis, but will be perfect for her book photography. Read on to hear more about the process and see photos of the final look! Thanks, Eva! xo, grace

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A Jewelery Maker’s 400-Square-Foot Nest in Philly

The first thing Madeline did when she got the keys to her place was paint all of the walls white, except for the bathroom, which she painted with Valspar's 5005-4B Green Peppercorn. "I have an enormous plant in my shower," she adds, "It's kind of ridiculous, but it does make my bathroom feel a bit like a tropical oasis, and you just can't beat that!" Adding a shelf to the radiator created more function and storage. On the windowsill is an oil painting Madeline's had since she was a teenager, along with her signature scent (Cannabis Santal by Fresh) and some candles.

A Jewelery Maker’s 400-Square-Foot Nest in Philly

When I graduated from art school and was working my first “big-city job,” I lived in a small, all-white 300-square-foot studio apartment in Toronto that I coined my “nest.” I’d ride my bike to work and back, so my $40 spoked beauty became a permanent fixture in the entryway, leaning in the space under a floating shelf. When jeweler Madeline Tolle shared with me that she jokingly calls her white 400-square-foot studio apartment by the same name and that one of her biggest concerns is the function of her bike, it felt like déjà vu! “I need my furniture to be in a way so that I can get my bike in, and rotated around to then hang on the ceiling!” And, oh, do I commiserate!

But even though Madeline’s space may be small, it’s darn mighty. As an independent jewelry maker who runs her own business, she spends most of her days away at her studio, so when she gets home at the end of a long day designing and producing her jewelry and managing her business, Georgraphy 541, her humble studio apartment is her sanctuary where the name of the game is calm coziness. -Sabrina

Photography by Zack Gross

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Home Ec: How to Keep a Clean Home

Home Ec: How to Keep a Clean Home

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Today is the very first post in a new and ongoing series on our site called Home Ec. Inspired by the classes some of us grew up taking, these new posts will be about simple ways to keep your home functional and beautiful and working to meet the needs of your family. Whether that means mastering the art of decluttering, making spaces pet-friendly, finding ways to keep kids’ rooms clean or just making tidying up easier, these posts are about finding ways to help make your home make you happy. There is never (ever) one right way to do things and there is no home or home plan that is perfect for every person. These posts are intended, much like Modern Etiquette, to help share some trusted guidelines that you can use, or tweak, to suit your needs.

I was SO happy to see all of your requests and ideas for upcoming columns, so please stay tuned for those topics soon. But first I wanted to start with a topic that’s near, although not always dear, to my heart: cleaning. To be quite honest, I don’t love cleaning. I am someone who has both learned to live somewhat minimally (so messes are less likely to happen) and someone who is pretty okay with things being piled up here and there and getting to the dishes when I have time. But I genuinely understand and embrace the idea that a clean, tidy house is one that helps you feel relaxed and restored at home. When the Mrs. Meyers Clean Day team sent me a copy of their “no-nonsense” clean home book, I gravitated toward one section of the book immediately: A quick and easy guide of what to clean in your home and how often. Broken down by frequency (i.e.: once a day, once a year), the book made all of the household chores on my list feel less like a burden and more like a simple guideline of things to do. Because let’s be honest, not everyone has time to mop the floors and scrub the sinks every day. But once a week? That might be doable.

No matter what frequency is right for you, this easy, downloadable guide is designed to help you have a map to follow when you have the time to spruce things up a bit. Whether you’re just spraying down your counters or getting down and dirty with your tile floors, it’s always true that chipping away a little bit every day always makes things a little easier. So I hope this starter guide will help you feel more in control of things at home and help make messes feel less overwhelming. Remember: no one, and no home, is perfect. If you can only get to one of these things on this list, it’s better than none. And it gets you one step closer to feeling like you can come home, drop your bags at the door and feel relaxed and calm. xo, grace

Download the printable guide here!