Bon Vivanting at MyNewOrleans.Com

Visit the Bon Vivant blog or the Let Them Eat Cake blog at MyNewOrleans.Com.

Visit the Bon Vivant blog or the Let Them Eat Cake blog at MyNewOrleans.Com.

These days, the style bloggery is happening at MyNewOrleans.Com. In addition to my weekly Bon Vivant blog, which focuses on living well and finding ways to make life more artful, I also contribute to and edit the official daily wedding blog of New Orleans Bride Magazine, Let Them Eat Cake.

Be sure to check the News and Events page on this site for the latest public talks, media appearances and segments and any other relevant scoop.

Also, don’t forget to visit the Photography page for new images in my various fine art photography series and visit the Bon Vivant NOLA store online to buy photos and more.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Crafts, coffee shops and designer Marie Flanigan: It’s a Friday round up!

TGIF, y’all.

Stopping to smell the fleurs in my hood

Stopping to smell the fleurs in my hood

It was a pretty quiet week by all accounts, but admittedly, I needed that kind of week. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back, slow down and refill the creative well.

For me, that usually entails long walks, usually in my Houston neighborhood of Montrose. There’s no zoning in Houston, so that makes for a chaotic and often comical mishmash of architectural styles, especially in artsy neighborhoods such as Montrose.

For example, a charming, one-story, 1940s bungalow might be tucked in next to a four-story Mediterranean behemoth, next to a blocky, modern wonder, next to a seemingly bombed out abandoned warehouse.

There is no rhyme or reason, which keeps it visually interesting and it’s sort of a great conversation starter. Also, as illustrated in the above photo, my neighbors grow beautiful flowers and I get to enjoy them on my walks.

I also got crafty this week, which is unusual for me, as I don’t consider myself

I made this with glue!

I made this with glue!

a crafter. Years ago, I made a plastic bag holder, so that when I forget my reusable shopping bags the plastic scourge is forced upon me and I have no choice but to leave an establishment with it, I can at the very least save the bags and use and use them some more. But, I didn’t like any of the holders I saw out there in the world, as they usually had fabric with chili peppers or little  country houses and whatnot, which just isn’t my style (now there are so many cute ones on the market, like these I found on Etsy).

Though I cannot sew myself out of a plastic bag holder, I managed to piece together a handy and stylish holder using fabric, grosgrain ribbon and fabric glue. As mentioned, it somehow has lasted years and is holding up like a champ, apart from the ribbon coming loose the other day. So, armed with Gorilla Glue (the greatest invention ever if you are clumsy), I repaired the “handle” and added a little fleur-de-lis detail using my letter wax and seal. Magical!

Blacksmith Coffee Shop is the newest on the bean scene.

Blacksmith Coffee Shop is the newest on the bean scene.

As the week wore on I was pretty bored with walking, crafting and catching up on episodes of “30 Rock” — OK, that last one is a lie, because I never, ever tire of that show. So, I checked out the newest addition to Houston’s bean scene (I totally just made that up “bean scene” and it made me laugh when I said it in my head), and to my ‘hood (it’s not just wacky houses and flowers, people!)  Blacksmith Coffee Shop, at 1018 Westheimer (right next door to Burger King and across from Hay Merchant and Underbelly).

(Sidebar: Did you think I would ever get to the end of that sentence up there? Me either.)

Brought to you by Bobby Heugel of Anvil Bar & Refuge fame and David Buehrer, the local roaster behind Greenway Coffee Company and the reason I’m awake most days, Blacksmith is serving up yummy eats and handcrafted coffee. The interior is simple, featuring a lot of steel work as one might imagine given the name. Clean lines and natural materials define the space. I’m a huge fan of the bar running the length of the window, because it’s wide, offering a good deal of space for laptops, notebooks and, oh yeah, food and coffee. 

That brings us to today (FINALLY), when I met and interviewed Marie

Check out the fabulous conference room at the new design studios of Marie Flanigan Interiors. Photo by Jill Hunter

The new design studios of Marie Flanigan Interiors. Photo by Jill Hunter

Flanigan of Marie Flanigan Interiors. Flanigan has been a great source of mine for the past year (check out this piece on creating hotel style at home) and I was thrilled to get a tour of her new design studios (at 2525 Driscoll), which are open to the public one day per week.

As usual, I’m writing a piece about this for print publication, so I’m not giving up all of the goods, but via collaborations with local design favorites such as Circa Lighting, Mecox, Lam Bespoke, Ligne Roset and Laura Rathe Fine Art, to name a few.

My meeting with Flanigan was an inspiring end to a week that allowed my creative brain to relax a bit. Hearing about her new endeavor, what gets her motivated as a designer and how collaborating with local vendors and her clients keeps her energized has me primed and ready for next week, in which will involve writing, writing and then some additional writing.

How do you get and stay inspired to create? Share it with the group, then go out and have a great weekend. You deserve it after the week you had, no?

Dragon player: Feng shui for the new year

Image

Johnathan Adler Dragon, $350

Each day, I get an email with a feng shui tip of the day from Astrology.com (Stay with me, those of you who aren’t into this “woo-woo,” “New Agey” stuff — it’s all about symbolism!). Yesterday’s was to place a small dragon next to the faucet in the kitchen to bring more prosperity into my life, among other things:

… Inviting a dragon into your home will assist in the fulfillment of all of your intentions, as dragons represent and invoke courage, enthusiasm, positive energy and flow. In fact, a properly placed dragon can strengthen your life force, increase prosperity and bring fortune and luck.

The American Feng Shui Institute defines feng shui as “the study of how the environment affects those who dwell in it.” A basic principle is to incorporate feng shui’s five elements – earth, wood, fire, metal and water – throughout a home (you can read more about it and how to feng shui your entryway in a piece I wrote for the Houston Chronicle a few months ago featuring wisdom from designer Teri Pugh and feng shui consultant Gina Castellano). Perhaps it’s because I’m a writer, but I’m a believer in the power of symbolism, so if seeing a little dragon image by my faucet each day helps me better slay the dragons of my day and makes me think prosperous thoughts, I’m game.

So, the hunt begins for a fabulous dragon. I’m hoping to find a modern one, such as the snazzy guy pictured above, $350, at Jonathan Adler (as a bargain hunter, and one who as much as I believe in symbolism, believes that saving money also increases prosperity, I’m sure I can find a less expensive dragon that’s just as cool, but you get the idea).

The dragon, according to the tip email, also can be placed in your office (behind you, rather than in front of you where you’d be “confronting” the dragon) and in the romance area of the bedroom (oooh, la la). But, the email cautioned, not in the bathroom, lest you “flush all your dragon luck away.”

Here’s to a prosperous 2013 and slaying all of your dragons.

What little omens, good luck charms and symbols do you put around your house and why?