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This time last week I was in Los Angeles at Design Bloggers Conference.  I had thought of going before, but the timing never seemed right.  This year I decided to take the plunge and it was so worth it.  For my Atlanta friends, DBC is moving to Atlanta next year!  I have already registered.  Be prepared, this one will sell out quickly.

 

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I spent most of my time with these two amazing ladies.  Amanda of Amanda Carol at Home and Jen from At Home in the Northwest.  If you have read many blogs, I know that you have heard it a million times, but the relationships that I have built through blogging have truly changed my life.  These women and several others are my mentors and my sounding boards for both my professional and my personal life.  It is a complete bonus to be able to spend time with them face to face.

 

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Our trip started low key with a Starbucks and a relaxing conversation by the hotel pool.  Yes, it is supposed to be warm in sunny L.A., but on this particular day it was quite cool and those people must have realllllly wanted to take a dip in the pool!  We were exhausted from traveling and were in our room by 7pm.

 

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The next day the fun began with a trip to H.D. Buttercup.  A fabulous store in an even more fabulous historic building.  Here are a few shots from inside.

 

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Love the repetition and the sparkle!

 

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This was the greatest accent table.  It’s hard to see in the photo, but the top and side of the wood is actually exposed.  Fabulous piece, I wish I could have gotten a better photo.

 

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Love the creativity here.  You can use just about anything to create wall art!

 

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But the highlight of the night for many of us was meeting Jeffrey Alan Marks and Ross Cassidy from Million Dollar Decorators.  I hate this picture actually, but Ross thought it was cute and that made it all okay.  He was truly a super nice guy and we all had fun chatting with him!  (Although, I did think I might have to pull a few people away.  Amanda!)

Now on to the serious stuff, there were so many wonderful speakers and not nearly enough space here to tell you everything that I learned, but I’d like to share with you a few things that inspired me from 4 of my favorites.

 

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Windsor Smith is a self taught designer, who started her business when her children were small.  She told us stories of being on the phone with very important clients and having to stop in the middle to tell her kids to “stop fighting” or “give that back to your brother”.  You know, the kind of stuff many of us do on a daily basis.  She was so down to earth and relatable.  She made this high wire act that we call life sound doable.  Her goal and my takeaway was to bring the family back to the center of the home.  No formal spaces.  She looks to create new seating arrangements to work for multitasking.  That way the entire family can be present in the same room, but still doing their own thing.  Love this!

 

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 9.24.23 PM“As a blogger, you are accountable to yourself.” ~ Charlotte Moss

I was amazed at how seriously Charlotte Moss took her blog.  I had often wondered if people like her even wrote their own blog posts.  Understandably so, I have trouble keeping up with this blog and I haven’t done half the things Charlotte Moss has done!  While I have no idea if she writes them all, I do now understand how important it is for her to share her stories.  Her blogma as she calls it is…

Be informed, be selective, be kind, be accurate, be respectful, be ethical and most importantly be original, have a point of view.

These are words that we can all learn from and live by.

 

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Newell Turner is Hearst Design Group Editor in Chief.  He’s kind of the rock star of design magazines.  I remember when I first started blogging, just two years ago, how closed minded magazines were to bloggers.  There was honest fear that the traditional magazine was dead.  Newell Turner and particularly House Beautiful have led the charge to embrace bloggers.  In 1896, House Beautiful printed it’s first issue and they are still on the cutting edge today.  House Beautiful created the first pinable magazine.  Newell Turner called the magazines pages “live paper”.  His view of how magazines will be in the future was truly innovative and inspirational.  If he has his way, you will not recognize a traditional magazine in just a few months time.

 

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Finally, there was Barbara Barry.  I have loved this woman for a long time.  When I was young and before I knew what the profession of interior design was, I loved her work.  After hearing her speak and devouring her book on the plane ride home, I now completely understand why.   She was very soft spoken, but every word she spoke meant the world to me as a designer, as a woman and as a human being.  Here are a few of her quotes that truly moved me.

“Our emotions do not need an education.  We know what we feel.” ~ Barbara Barry

I do not have a formal interior design education and occasionally this creates insecurity within me, but whenever I finish a space and I step back and look, I do know what I feel.

“Simple things inspire me.  Sometimes we miss the beauty around us.  Don’t overlook it.  It’s restorative.  Be inspired by it.” ~ Barbara Barry

“Beauty is always in.  There is no trend to those kinds of things.” ~ Barbara Barry

This is so very true.

“Design is what we offer the world.  It pours out of us.” ~ Barbara Barry

“Our eyes need to rest from the visual impact of the world.” ~ Barbara Barry

This is something Sherry tells me often.  Your eye needs a place to rest in a room.  There is no need to put something in every single space.

“Modern is right now and also everything before.” ~ Barbara Barry

The dance of design  “I wait for my ideas to hatch in their own time.” ~ Barbara Barry

She told us a story of starting work in her office one day and then ending up in the garden picking flowers.  Back at her desk, she then found herself making tea.  Back at her desk again, her closet suddenly needed to be organized.  Once in the closet, white shirts organized cool to warm, a color palette came to her as she looked at her own clothing.  Once again she was at her desk settled in to work.  She calls this her dance of design.  I’ve always called it my design ADD and thought of it as a negative.  With Barbara’s permission, it is now my dance as well.

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Barbara Barry and me

 

After she spoke, I had the chance to actually meet Barbara Barry and share with her the impact her work and her words had on me.  She listened intently, said thank you and then proceeded to compliment me on the color of my outfit and my hair.  Gracious cannot even begin to describe this woman.

I have taken her words to heart and over the next year I hope to make changes in my life to make it more simple, more beautiful and to enjoy each moment.  I will strive to create inspired spaces for my clients that they can feel beautiful in as well.

I deserve this and you do too.  Barbara Barry reminded me of that and I will do my best not to forget it.

Have a wonderful, inspired day!