West Elm New Orleans Opening

Last week's West Elm festivities still have me in a happy frenzy.  It started with a giveaway that sweet Juliet Meeks won and an Upperlyne & Co. home office makeover. Then, a dinner at Le Petite Grocery with the amazing West Elm corporate team, including creative director Vanessa Holden, who I've been obsessed with since reading her The Everygirl career profile. (If you haven't read it, hop on over here.) Just as I was making a bee line to the dinner table, Vanessa tracks me down to introduce herself. I literally shook this woman and screeched 'HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM!' D'oh! Not the greatest first impression. But she didn't mind it at all because she's quite possibly everything you'd hope she'd be. Funny, approachable, and humble like the rest of her team. It's no wonder she's lead this brand to what it is today. 

Following that day, a few great lifestyle bloggers including Graham Blackall of Glazed and Confused, Aimee Broussard, Leigh Ann Chatagnier of My Diary of Us, and Emily of Louisiana Bride Blog and I were invited to preview the store in all its glory. The store, located in the former Pippen Lane, is a welcomed addition to Magazine Street. In addition to its usual envy-inducing selection of furniture and home accessories, the store highlights great local makers and crafters by selling their products in the Love Local section. If you need to find me, I'll be the creeper shopping at West Elm weekly.

Shortly following the private preview was the grand opening. It seems the entire stylish New Orleans community came to welcome West Elm with a big hug. Drinks, shopping, the cutest photobooth, and a second line made for the happiest happy hour I've been to in a long time! Welcome, West Elm. We're so happy you're here.

Vanessa just chillen.

Vanessa just chillen.

An intimate dinner at Le Petite Grocery. Oh the shrimp and grits!

An intimate dinner at Le Petite Grocery. Oh the shrimp and grits!

The adorable local makers display. So many greats including dear friends Flying Fox, Tchoup Bags, Lion Heart Prints, and The Grove Street Press.

The adorable local makers display. So many greats including dear friends Flying Fox, Tchoup Bags, Lion Heart Prints, and The Grove Street Press.

With Vanessa Holden, Creative Director of West Elm

With Vanessa Holden, Creative Director of West Elm

With Summer Suleiman of Healthy Summer and The Grove Street Press girls at the grand opening party

With Summer Suleiman of Healthy Summer and The Grove Street Press girls at the grand opening party


Style After the Post-Adolescent Idealistic Phase

What’s wrong with Josh? Is he going through his post-adolescent idealistic phase?
— Dion, Clueless

Good news guys. I'm no longer in the Post-Adolescent Idealistic Phase, PAIP for short. Whaaaat up Clueless fanatics. You know, that time when your attitude and style was largely trend driven? You didn't hesitate to try drop-crotch pants (guilty) or the brightest cardigan to mimic dear Blair Eadie (guilty, again) while simultaneously trying to save the world. I know I'd still be in this phase if I seriously considered overalls. The difference nowadays is instead of spending time looking at everyone else's closet, I funnel that energy into my own. More often than not, I buy and get excited for essential pieces in different variations. For instance, a basic tee in every color not in the rainbow but found in the forest or someplace Earthy like that.

Since graduating from PAIP, it's been delightfully easy to get dressed daily and pack for trips. On my most recent travels, I'd basically pack the same items in a small carry-on: denim, basic tees, a skirt, some kind of jacket, sandals, and pumps. From there and like my grocery-buying strategy, I just mix-and-match for the appropriate weather. Sure, I can be a perpetual outfit repeater but one less closet dilemma makes for a happy traveler. No muss, no fuss.

Have you survived PAIP? Still navigating it? I'll share more fashion horror stories if you do!


Upperlyne Home: Office Makeover

In my previous career choices, I never hesitated to jump right in to streamline systems and to implement processes that make things work better. Whether it was education, IT, or operations there was a common sensical approach to solving problems. Working for yourself (or trying to!) is a different animal. One without a clear formula and with a different kind of stress. There are no set work hours so days bleed into one another. My biggest challenge has been trying to structure my days so I can be productive because every minute is valuable.

While the sunroom with its beautiful, historic French windows (pictured right) is easily one of the best features in my apartment, it's been sitting stale since last August after a failed attempt at making it an office. Instead of looking forward to working here, I use it as an excuse to go to coffee shops. Such a waste of money!

Somehow the stars aligned and the West Elm fairies sensed my desperation for a functional and inspiring workspace. In addition to the craziness of opening their first store in New Orleans, they decided to sprinkle some love my way by helping me tap into my home office's potential. 

When it comes to home decorating, I am two things: minimal and a scaredy cat. Take a look at the before picture. The large 40" x 60" canvas on the bottom right has been sitting blank for two years because I'm afraid to commit!

Fortunately, the best thing about West Elm is how easily their products integrate into anyone's home without sacrificing personal style. With their help, we added dimension to my space by layering objects in a way that doesn't clutter the room. They also taught me how a few great investment pieces like the desk and chair can go a long way. It's incredibly satisfying to see a room come to life simply by following through. Guess you have to live that concept in every possible way!

I couldn't be more in love with the results and thrilled that I get to work in this space every day. A million thank yous to the wonderful West Elm team for making my office dreams come true and helping make the process of building the dream so, so much more inspiring!