Inspiration: Dream Spaces

bedroom glass wall

kitchen_blood & champagne

brown white kitchen

Bathrooms, bedrooms, and kitchens are the most creative spaces in the home.  They are where you can become the most vulnerable with yourself; the places were you can explore your desires without judgment. Whenever I first view a home, I think “what does the bathroom look like? Can I be vulnerable in this place? Can I be comfortable with me in my complete authenticity? Is the kitchen a place of experimentation? Does the bedroom make me want to sit down with a notebook and plan out my dreams and ambitions?”

I know! That’s a lot of pressure! However, each space dweller has a mood that fits their personality  and freedom and authenticity means something different for us all, therefore the functional elements of the spaces will vary client to client.

Do your dream spaces help you tap into your creativity?
What functional elements encourage you to dream?

P.S. Check out the Bedroom, Bathroom, and Kitchen Pinterest boards!

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Black Friday: Norma Merrick Sklarek [1926-2012] – Architect

 Hello, loves!  It’s the first Black Friday post of the year, and am I ever excited about today’s featured designer.

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Norma Merrick Sklarek in the 1970s

I usually focus on fashion, interior, and event design, but this week, I want to share someone that has inspired me to be courageous and follow my heart’s authentic desires. There are so many times we look up to others to inspire us…but in reality, we should be measuring ourselves by the person we are today and the person we can be tomorrow.

“The schools had a quota and it was obvious, a quota against women and a quota against blacks. In architecture, I absolutely had no role model. I am happy today to be a role model for others that follow.”

Born on April 15, 1926, Norma Merrick Sklarek was one of the first African-American women to receive an architectural degree, and owned one of the largest women-owned design firms (Siegel, Sklarek, Diamond) in America during the 1980s.

1986 staff file photo of architects from left: Margot Siegel, Norma Sklarek and Katherine Diamond (all A.T.A.)

She was a graduate of Columbia University, but had much difficulty finding a job in the field upon graduation.  Landing a position at the New York City Public Works, she worked there for a while before taking the state test and receiving her architect’s license.  Skidmore, Owings, Merrill then hired her, but she still faced barriers because of her race and gender.  Moving to Gruen Associates in the 1960s and climbing the corporate ladder, she became the leading technical architect for designing the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the Pacific Design Center, and the Terminal 1 at Los Angeles International Airport.

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US Embassy in Tokyo, Japan

As a “highly visible” employee, Sklarek held herself to a noteworthy standard; she was described by colleagues as punctual, and was “mentally the strongest person” Marshall Purnell knew in the field.  Her incredible production management skills and ability to “see in 3D” landed Sigel, Sklarek, Diamond $50 million deals, and she was known for coming in under budget and on time. The autonomous woman she was, Sklarek knew that her passion for megaprojects was where her skills were best used, so she left her firm after three years.

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Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, CA

Because of the era’s racial tension, Sklarek did not always receive honor when honor was due.  But today, Mrs. Sklarek, we salute your passion, ingenuity, skill, and legacy.

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Norma Merrick Sklarek, April 15, 1926-February 6, 2012


Inc.comLA TimesNorthStar News


Wedding Wednesday: Monique + Josh

Everything about this wedding from Style Me Pretty makes my heart swell.

The rose colored flowers, African print bow ties, the flower girls’ head bands,  the red rain boots, the authentic Haitian food, the do-it-together buffet; every detail of this June New Hampshire wedding was well contemplated and executed.  What a lovely couple!

Take a look at the good stuff below, and check out the deets @ Style Me Pretty

Wedding Wednesday_2013_1

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“Feed The Soul”: Courage

This month’s theme focuses on “courage” and the ability to find strength in authenticity–despite the fear!


Welcome to the New Year!

It’s been a great entrance into 2013, and I know there is so much in store for those of us who are embracing the opportunity to set out upon new oceans.  The New Year is always a time to reflect on what we need and desire for the next 364 days.  I’ve always been someone who makes resolutions only to find myself at the end of that year complaining about not getting things done.

The reason I usually had things left on the list is because of fear.  I was afraid to move out of my comfort zone, and I was unwilling to let go of things that no longer served me–even if it meant being in that beautiful place I wanted to be.

This year is different.

 I realized around six months ago that I placed more value in my fear, insecurities, and faults than the future I wanted for myself–than who I was authentically. I placed more value in fear of failing (myself or a client) than pushing the design limits.  I would come up with a design idea, write out the plan, then toss the idea (and the desire) in the trash can.  All because I was too afraid to set out on that new ocean.

Since that realization, I spent the next months feeding myself encouragement, love, and as much of the authentic Ivy as I could.  I required myself to design, dream, and inspire myself.  It was hard. I had to acknowledge that small (sometimes loud) voice that said “What if you fail? What if they hate it? What if you hate it? What if they laugh? What if? What if? What if?!” I also had to come to the conclusion that even if all of those negative possibilities come true, there was a host of other possibilities that could also take place.   “What if I succeed? What if they love it? What if YOU love it? What if they are in awe?”

There are so many possibilities out there–negative and positive.  But we have to be willing to accept them as they are and set out on these unknown seas to get to them.  There are storms ahead; winds will blow; we’ll be scared out of our minds.  But we’ll get to those beautiful places…because we had the courage.

Here’s to the courageous you,

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Inspiration: DIY Baby Shower Gifts

Hi loves!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted (due to chronic illness), but I’m back with a treat 🙂

Baby showers!  I love ’em!  The mini-clothes, the “oohs” and the “ahhs” over imagining the new little one in the cutest miniature outfits ever seen.

The baby shower I attended this past weekend is quite the special one.  My second eldest sister is having my father’s first grandson.
How exciting!  I’ve been dreaming and dreaming of spoiling this baby until he can’t be spoiled anymore…but…that’s not reality.

Truth be told, my family and I are on a very limited budget (we’ve got our own kiddie mouths to feed), and have been since the beginning of the summer.  Fortunately, my sisters and I are a little bit crafty as well as innovative, and we’ve decided to make our own gifts, and spread the love over the years.

Here’s a little bit of inspiration for our spectacular plans, and a few pictures of the final product!

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and here are some quick pictures we took of the lemon scented diaper pail booster, personalized diaper cloths, and 0-9 months clothes separators.  We chose to label the clothes separators up to 9 months because the 1 + 2 numbers were too big to fit on the tags 😦  Nonetheless, they came out pretty awesome, and the lemon scented diaper pail booster smelled amazing!

(pardon  my father’s dining room table…it’s a little messy!)

I hope you all enjoyed and are having a wonderful weekend.

Happy Saturday!!


Inspiration: Designing with Children in Mind

It’s moving time! And this time I’ll have two adults and two children as my beloved roommates.  Per my love for design, I’ve taken up the wonderful task of designing the living spaces within our home.  We’ll be sharing a three bedroom apartment: one master, an office/bedroom, and the children’s room.  My focus for the next few weeks is the living room, as that’s the place we will all share and use the most.

Here are a few tips that I’m using to choose pieces that fit our design philosophy and our family-centered lifestyle.

Use non-traditional pieces for your surface space

House Beautiful

This coffee table is actually an ottoman!  With nice, soft edges safe for children, you don’t have to worry about the little ones bumping their heads or somehow injuring themselves via the hard edges.  It’s also easy to move out of the way for play time.

Use diverse dining room seating

Decor Pad

Benches! Benches! Benches!  My favorite type of seating for when you have children!  Thinking back to when I was a child, it was highly uncomfortable for me to sit in those “grown-up chairs.”  Not to mention, I moved around too much, and had the tendency to rock back and forth in the chair—of course, damaging the legs.  The bench or even a small armless sofa will provide more comfort and make what could be a too formal dining area for children a more homey space.

 Designate areas in every single room

Our Lake Life

Although we’d love to keep all the toys hidden away in the children’s rooms, as active as they are it’s not realistic.  Designate areas within each room for the children by placing commonly used blankets, two to three toys, a coloring book and crayons, etc., in a few small containers.  Slide them under the coffee table; place them into the ottoman, or under the end table.  That way if they’re watching TV or just hanging out, they won’t bring in five million toys and start to clutter.  It’s also a great way to help them feel included in whatever activities may be going on in the spaces.

Here are a few links for more tips for designing with children:

Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments below!


Black Friday: Smith Boyd Interiors

Good afternoon, lovelies!
We’re back with our Black Friday series and I’ve got the perfect inspiration for you!
Here is Michel Boyd, lead designer/owner of Smith Boyd Interiors in Atlanta, GA and one of the hottest new designers around.

His work exemplifies the deep understanding of the balance between modern and traditional, and is fresh and youthful.  Designing residential and commercial spaces his forte is creating boutique bedrooms, treating them as the “ultimate hotel suite.”

“I explore my client’s style, lifestyles, and overall ideas about living.  My job as an interior designer is to introduce things that would have never been considered, yet achieve the right balance of each client’s ideals and reality.”


My favorite project from his website would have to be the Hampton Townhome’s living room.  The seaglass colored walls, velvet armless chairs, and the round coffee tables are just…amazing.  The balance of the straight and curved lines within this room is impeccable! And, oh! the natural light!!

Click here for more inspiration

Check him out on Twitter!

Inspiration: What to Wear to a Happy Hour 1st Date

So! You’ve been invited to happy hour by that fabulous crush.  Scrounging through your closet at 6:30am, you only have 45 mins before it’s time to leave the house for work.  “What to wear?!?” you exclaim  after fifteen minutes of searching for a multi-functional outfit.
Well…..I’ve got the perfect inspiration for you! 🙂

Take a look at the set below: I’m in love with the mint and salmon mix!!  The perfect compliment to a black cropped pant and asymmetric pumps, the mint and black silk blouse is flirty enough for the date, but you’re not going to be freezing in the office or feel uncomfortable for being a little too flashy.

The salmon colored necklace and clutch are also statements that carry over into happy hour, but then toned-down enough to not be a distraction at work.

What to Wear to a Happy Hour 1st Date

See, no worries here.
Go ahead. Take a sip of that martini and knock ’em dead 😉