31 January 2013

The Perfect Weekend Bag

 
Does anyone need a new overnight bag or carry on bag?  I used mine recently at Alt and realized I should show these to you guys.  These are army bags from Rothco, a trusty company we used to source some vintage army shirts back in my Harvey Faircloth days.  I traveled with these bags every time I went to see Danny in Boston, while we were dating.  These bags are SUPER durable and CHEAP.  I've had mine for a few years now and will probably always have them.  The above bag is $16.49. 

I also have this smaller "tool" bag and use it for cosmetics and toiletries, while traveling.  I love it.  $18.99.   
  



 If I ever buy another, I'd get this nylon one.

Have a great day, everyone! 

-Mara

P.S.  These bags will go with me somewhere fun soon.  I figured it would come up, so I just might as well come out and tell you.  Eeks!  We're going to HAWAII!!!  I really can't believe it.  Danny's company invited us on a trip.  It could not be a better time to take a break from this cold weather.  It will also be our last fun outing before my upcoming surgery and the transfer of our frozen embryos.  (Do I think of them all the time?  Yes, I think of them all the time!!  :)  :)  I hope they're little survivors.)

And, if you have any tips for Maui, please do share! 

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30 January 2013

The Language of Love at Alt Summit


Stefan Sagmeister was one of the keynote speakers at Alt Summit and, as you can imagine, Danny and I were thrilled to no end as we're already huge fans.  Remember 'The Happy Show' art exhibit I wrote about here?  Well, he created it.  Yes, he's a genius.  He combines research about happiness with some of the best graphic design I've ever seen.  He also created 'The Happy Film'.  He showed us the first 12 minutes and I was just dying over it.  It will be in film festivals soon.

AND!  I just have to share with you a sweet moment that happened during his presentation...

He used what Danny calls, "The Language of Love"!!!  :)  :) 

Here's how it went down...

During his presentation, he mentioned that when he speaks, he normally doesn't practice thankfulness like he should and normally doesn't express thanks to the organizers of a conference.  He said he used to think it was boring and avoided it.  "BUT..." he says, "There is always time to change."  And with that, he invited Sara and Gabrielle up to the stage to thank them so sincerely for all that they had done. 


You can see from the photos how happy this made them....they were literally just beaming!! 


And, he really, really was so sincere and didn't hold back.


And you know what?  Doing it made him so happy, too.

And it made the audience smile and feel all that love from him as well.  It really did change the energy in the room and made us all feel a little happier.  (LOVE & VULNERABILITY REALLY IS MAGIC - it affects everyone around you!!!)

If any of you have taken our classes, you know how much we believe in boldly and intentionally expressing this kind of love and gratitude.  :)  Being vulnerable enough to share love really is the most beautiful way to connect with people in a real way.  Danny learned how to do this when he was 19 years old and he hasn't stopped doing it since.  The key is to do it very deliberately and sincerely!  Whether you are expressing love for your family or loved ones or addressing an audience of any kind, there are ways to make this happen.  You may have to put some thought into it in advance so that it can be as sincere as possible.

For example, if Danny is speaking to an audience he doesn't know - whether it's for work, the blog, or for church - he will often times ask around to find out some good things about the crowd.  And then he will pass on those kind words to the audience when he speaks.  See?  It can be done.  Even for people you don't know.

Much love to all of you,

Mara

(photos by Justin Hackworth)

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29 January 2013

What Love Looks Like



I ended up getting a little sick towards the end of Alt Summit (I can just see it on my face in some of those photos.)  And I'm still recovering here at home.  

But I wanted to share with you this short and sweet little video about what love looks like to different people.  This will get you in the mood for celebrating love in all it's forms this February.

Right now I'm feeling some love big time from Danny as he just made me a ginger bath and is taking good care of me and making me hot tea and soup and giving me zinc.  :)

What has love looked like for you this week?

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28 January 2013

I Love, Love, Love the Blogging Community

                                                                                                                (photo by Brooke Dennis)

I cannot even express how amazing Alt Summit was this year.  I mean, I actually teared up like 4 times just from the sheer beauty of this blogging community.  The support, encouragement, creativity, and sense of community that is among this group of people is like nothing I've ever seen before.  I feel so, so fortunate to be a part of it - it truly has enriched my life so much.  

 
Loved seeing Jenny upon my arrival at the hotel!  I get to see her every week in Brooklyn, but there was something so nice about seeing friends from home at the conference.  And, do you like our nearly matching jackets?  So fun!  [Also, turns out I had to work some polka dots in for the dinner the first night as the theme was polka dots.  Good thing I had one polka dot item in my stack of t-shirts.]
I was so happy to meet Amy Hackworth.  I've kind of been stalking her from afar as I knew she was Justin Hackworth's wife + the co-author of Stephanie Nielsen's book, Heaven is Here + she's a new contributor on Design Mom.  See what I mean?  This is one talented woman.  And she could not be more delightful.  I just loved her and wish we could see each other often.
 
 
Having Danny at Alt Summit with me was my most favorite part.  :)  This guy is such a joy to be with and travel with.  And - you can't imagine how much he helped me with carrying bags, shoes, laptops, etc.  At times when we were just exhausted from the long days, it was the best thing in the world to sit next to him in one of the hotel lounges and - you know - just hold hands and rest and be together. 



It was so great to reconnect with Brooke White and Summer Bellessa, the amazing women behind The Girls With Glasses Show.  I met them last year at Alt, and I'm so happy that we've been able to stay in touch.  I like them both so much.

 
This is Brittany Watson Jepsen from The House That Lars Built.  I've admired this woman from afar and felt so grateful to meet her in person.  She is so lovely you can't imagine.  And that dress!  Love it so much.  Actually, I loved every single thing she wore at the conference. 

This woman is Sheri Silver.  She is an amazing force of good with an awesome blog.  We've been on-line friends but have not yet met in person, so it was just wonderful to finally meet her.  She lives in New York so I can't wait to meet up with her soon.  (She was actually born and raised in Brooklyn!)
I loved, loved, loved meeting so many of our dear readers.  That really was one of my favorite parts of the whole experience.  It was so nice of people to say hello and I'm so glad they did.  Thanks to all of you!!!  Here are two photos with two of them (above and below).  I so wish I had gotten more photos!

 
This is one of my favorite women in the world, Merrilee Liddiard, of Mer Mag.  I feel so lucky to say I go way back with Merrilee.  She used to live in Brooklyn and I got to have a close-up view of her amazing talents and love and generosity.  Seeing her at Alt is one my favorite things.
 

I hope many of you already know Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks.  This woman is incredible.  I mean, one of the best you could find.  She is doing so much good in the world.  And it was so fun to hear that she knew about our blog!  :)  :)  Holy moly, I was so flattered.
And this one.  Oh, Koseli.  I love her so much.  She felt like home away from home as she also lives in Brooklyn (see her awesome new blog here).  We serve on the Relief Society presidency together and it's a delight to work with her.  She's also a contributor for Design Mom.  I must say, it's so nice to have a blogging friend.  We love sharing blogging tips with each other and plan to start up a mini blogging group in Brooklyn ASAP.

These two were super awesome.  They're some Irish wedding bloggers from One Fab Day and have made quite a name for themselves in Ireland, a place where wedding blogs are near non-existent.  I just LOVED seeing so many women out there using their talents to make a living and doing what they love.  SO INSPIRING!

Loved rocking Danny's jeans (from Uniqlo, of course - his favorite store.)  The key was rolling them up at the bottom - and then not zipping them, but just folding over the front for a tighter fit before belting it all together.  Try it!
LOVED meeting the wonderful husband and wife behind Tiger in a Jar.  They are filmmakers and create so much breathtaking beauty.  Oh my. 
BRAIDS!  As you can imagine, lots of awesome braids at Alt this year.
Danny and I got to join Brooke & Summer for a late night dinner.  Loved getting to spend some more time with them.
Love this guy so much.
Anya!  She's from The New Diplomat's Wife and has become one of my dear blogging friends.  She is just wonderful and lovely in every way.



And yes - we all get so tired by the end that we just sit anywhere we can to rest.  Here's Brittany Watson Jepsen and another creative I've admired for so long, Eva, from Sycamore Street Press.  I looove her taste and letter pressed designs.  I'm telling you, I was in heaven meeting all of these creatives whom I consider some of the best ever.
 Every where I turned, Danny was having great conversations with everyone around him, which was so sweet to see.  It's what he does best.  He seriously loved being there. (photo by Brooke Dennis)

These two are the brains behind A Practical Wedding and gave one of the best classes at Alt.  It was on Media Kits and the info. was sooo helpful.  Meg said she might put the info. on her blog, which would be worth checking out, for sure.  (photo by Justin Hackworth)
 
 
I have admired Whitney Johnson from afar for years.  She's one of the most accomplished women ever (we're talking co-founder of Clayton Christensen's firm, Rose Park Advisors, a former highly ranked analyst on Wall Street, a contributor to the Harvard Review, and a TEDx speaker.)  It was such an honor to meet her and have a long chat.  She also has a new book I'd love to read, Dare to Dream(photo by Brooke Dennis)
These two made me tear up.  Gabrielle Blair and Sara Urquhart are sisters and the founders of Alt Summit.  They could not have more support and love for creatives, bloggers, entrepreneurs, and well- if I had to guess - I think they have a soft spot for supporting women to do great things.  They really are some of my heroes.  I'm so thankful for all they've done for me and the blogging community.  (photo by Karen Walrond)
 
 Here we are on our way out...feeling so grateful, inspired, exhausted, motivated, empowered, proud to be a part of this community, and ready for another great year!

Love, Mara

P.S.  Big shouts out to all the new people I met!  I can't wait to check out all your blogs and hope we can stay in touch and find ways to collaborate together this year.  Wishing you all the best in your endeavors!


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22 January 2013

Sneak Peek: My Outfits for Alt Summit

So - today, the very last day before Alt Summit, I finally tackled my closet to figure out what to wear.  I also didn't purchase a thing and hoped that I could put together some things that I already owned.  Would that make you nervous?  I know some people plan out outfits well in advance.  I guess outfit planning doesn't make the cut for me until absolutely necessary.  And well, today had to be the day.  :)

And you guys - I got so very lucky.  Yesterday I was texting with the J.Crew stylist who taught a workshop I put together awhile back.  (See all her tips I've written out for you here & here & here, in case you missed them.)  It turns out that we were going to meet up today to discuss a few projects/workshops for this year and she said she'd just come over and help me pick out my outfits, too.  SO fun, right?  It was amazing to have someone take a fresh look at what I already had.  Here are the outfits of the day...

 
Scarlet dress.  Double belts.  Danny's scarf.  Burgundy shoes.

 
Taffeta skirt, silk top, men's leather belt, winter white jacket (a little piece Marina brought with her)

Harvey shirt, J.Crew pencil skirt, men's leather belt, flower in my pocket.

Cozy for the plane:  Harvey shirt.  Danny's sweater.  Blue denim from Target.

Lace dress, jacket from Old Navy from many years ago, Danny's scarf (he doesn't know yet that I'll be borrowing all his stuff.  :)  :)  [Note to commenters:  I have a longer slip for this dress, but it didn't make it into the quick snap shot at home!]

 
Harvey silk circle skirt, Danny's J.Crew chambray shirt (unbuttoned and crossed over in front for a tighter fit), necklace made longer using ribbon from my closet.

  Silk top, taffeta skirt.  Pink belt & flower.

 
Lacy top, lots of necklaces, men's leather belt, and Danny's black denim from Uniqlo 
(unbuttoned in front and crossed over for a tighter fit, then pulled tight with the belt.)

What do you think?   For me, I'd say these beat the cozy pajama pants and cozy sweater I normally wear while blogging.  :)

Alright, have a great week, everyone!  I have a few posts I may share with you while I'm away.  And I hope to write a bit from the road.  I'm so excited to see the next several days unfold.

-M

P.S.  Marina's expertise is helping people to style items they already have as well as recommending items that need to be replaced.  She works with clients in New York or anywhere and has affordable rates.  I know she is working with some clients in Salt Lake City this month.  If you'd like to make an appointment with her, email marina@closeteurnyc.com.   

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18 January 2013

It's Not Too Late to Start A Blog

(Image via)

So, things haven't been just all "love" around here...because behind the scenes I have been planning the class I'll be teaching at Alt Summit, which is next week!  So, my mind has shifted from my list of blog ideas and drafts to how on earth this Blog About Love even happened??  :So nope, no outfit planning.  No shellacs on nails or fake eyelashes.  haha.  It's just been all class prep for me.  But it's actually been a good experience putting this together.


The panel I was asked to speak on is called...


As in, they'd like to know about my experience being a blogger on the scene for two years or less. 

They'd like to know...

  •  How have I found such great success in a seeming short amount of time?

  • Why and where is there more room in the blogging world for new bloggers?

  • If I were launching a blog right this minute, what advice or tips would I give myself?

Interesting topic, right?  I feel both honored + inadequate to teach on this as I'm not exactly blog saavy...I'm just a girl writing her guts out in hopes that it resonates with people, but still feeling very fresh to the world of blogging and tricks of the trade.  BUT, I've come up with a few ideas of what I've done this past year.  And I'm so happy to share any bit of it.

It has also been fun to hear the secrets of success of my awesome fellow panel members (they've also been blogging for two years or less - and I've already learned a ton from them!)
 
Kirsten Krason / 6th Street Design School (from South Jordan, UT.)  She writes about interior design and has her own design practice. (I really think I have to get that Moroccan leather pouf.)


Stephanie Morgan / Modern Parents Messy Kids (from Seattle, WA.)  Stephanie writes about all things useful to parents.  I especially love her "Project Organize Your Entire Life" series. 


Erin Kennedy / My Thirty Spot (from Phoenix, AZ.)  Erin shares advice for any woman in her thirties.  (She has a cool "Love for Thirties" Project where people share what they've learned in their thirties)

 And here we are!


I'm so glad I've gotten to know these awesome women behind these blogs.

And now, I'm dying to hear what you guys would say...(though I admit, I feel strange and vulnerable straight out asking this!)  But....here goes... 

Why would you say think a lovely community of people has been coming to read our blog?  You all probably know better than I do!  I may even quote you in my panel!    

Thanks so much!

Mara

P.S.  Also, if you have thoughts about any of those questions - for my blog or any blogs - I'd love to hear.   I certainly hope to improve this little space this next year...in lots of ways.  I have big plans and I hope I can carry them out!
P.P.S.  These are my favorite kind of moments at Alt Summit...the ones where you get the inside scoop.  I can't wait to have my mind soaked with new ideas and new inspiration...(you can't imagine the wealth of information that Gabby Blair has going through her mind...and she just shares every bit of it that she can.  It's so amazing.  I try so hard to follow in her lead.)
(Photo from Alt)

And, of course...I love seeing all the famous bloggers & creatives.  This year I hope to meet the lovely Emily Henderson.  (She recently just wrote about me, here, which made my day!!)

(photo by Laure Joliet)


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