Tuesday, May 25, 2010

cerulean interviews... grace bonney

We obsessively follow the online musings of Design*Sponge founder Grace Bonney. Her blog/ website extraordinaire covers interiors, style, food, and do-it-yourself projects, and has forums for female entrepreneurs (she speaks our language through and through). Her inspiring site keeps us motivated to try new things. Her use of technology to stay connected while on the go inspired a cerulean travelogue- and so we tracked her down on her iphone between antique fairs, high powered conferences and lowbrow coffee breaks. Here is what she had to say…

cerulean- How did you first begin Design Sponge? What milestones have you reached or are working on reaching with the site?

I began design*sponge in 2004 while I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. ;) I've been proud about a lot of things we've done with the site, but launching the Biz Ladies series in 2008 in person was amazing. I was so proud to have been a part of that, and happy to have been surrounded by so many talented female business owners.

cerulean- How would you describe your own personal style in clothing? vs interiors?

Hmm...I'd say preppy, girly, classic. As I get older I find myself leaning more towards old-school classics and things that make getting dressed and looking pulled together easier. In my interiors I'm the same way, but I take more risks (bright colors, crazy patterns) because I don't have to wear them outside.

cerulean- What are your favorite luxuries in life?

Iced coffee or tea breaks during the day, the occasional car service (vs. the subway), and eating at nice restaurants when we can.

cerulean- What is your favorite vacation destination?

Savanah, Georgia and Montmartre in Paris- they're always locked in a dead heat for first place.

cerulean- What is the one thing that you take from apartment to apartment?

My cats and my husband. Furniture wise? Not a lot- I really enjoy using new apartments as an excuse to trade in old furniture (ebay, craigslist, etc) for "new" used furniture.

cerulean- What can we find you reading?

Magazines or websites, I'm sadly not a huge book reader. Though I've gone through a lot of business books lately.

cerulean- What are your favorite indulgences?

All the pieces listed above, combined with chocolate after almost every meal. Life is too short to pass up really good sweets.

cerulean- Who was your favorite interview/ contributor for Design Sponge?

Working on the Design*Sponge book I got to meet and work with designer Genevieve Gorder, who was the reason I fell in love with design. That was a major high point for me.

cerulean- Who are your interiors style icons?

Dorothy Draper, Ruthie Sommers, my mom.

cerulean- If you had to have a completely different career, what you want it to be?

Something involving food or a specialty food shop.

Grace's blog, Design*Sponge. Click the image to be take directly there.

Grace featured in the November 2008 issue of Domino Magazine, where she and the site are listed as a “leader of the pack”.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

stay in the loop while you're out and about....

One might argue that the point of going on vacation is to unplug- literally. Unplug from your computers and modems, your phones and tvs and appliances. To completely get away from the rat race of our daily lives, and this is all true. I completely agree… with one little caveat.

We can only unplug for so long before our jobs and lives demand we return, or else. Most of us cannot go away for months on end and expect our jobs to be there waiting for us when we return. So what if by plugging-IN while on vacation, just a little, we could then stay on vacation twice as long??? If by using the convenience of the very technology we are trying to escape, we can do just enough work to keep our lives and jobs moving along, short vacations can become indefinite hiatuses.

I gave this a lot of thought while on vacation in the Abacos a few years ago. Cerulean was a fledgling little business that needed me, I was sure. How could it go on for 10 days while I was away? I found people I relied on and left it in good hands, and I was home before anything disastrous could happen.

But if I had been on email for a certain period of time every day of that vacation, those 10 days could easily have become a month without major affects to my livelihood. Think about the possibilities! While we go on vacation to escape the overload of technology in our lives, the RIGHT use of technology can send us on a semi-permanent vacation! It’s ironic that bringing work on vacation can in essence extend that vacation, but it’s a thrilling concept, none the less.

As someone who’s REAL life’s ambition is to travel, maybe live somewhere exotic one day, this is a thrilling idea. Without completely cutting off my life, my job or my livelihood, I can hit the road! I can be checking emails in a marketplace in Marrakech, or emailing customers about the fit of a particular shoe from a beach in Bora Bora, or talking on the phone with designers about next season’s collection from Costa Rica. Work goes on and I’m not missing a thing, but Im also able to experience great adventures and other cultures at the same time! All of this is now possible with our phones and the widespread availability of wireless internet, which wasn’t possible just a short number of years ago.

Grace Bonney, founder of style and interiors blog Design*Sponge, recently contributed a guest post on a tech blog about this very thing. We have been obsessed with her inspiring blog for ages and her ideas about using technology to allow you to leave the office, not be chained to it, was right in line with my way of thinking. Check out all the different Apps she uses to stay in the loop while she’s out and about.

You can check out her blog, Design*Sponge, by clicking here, and her tech post by clicking here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I am obsessed with anything Mexican, Latin, or Spanish… and so cinco de mayo is always one of my favorite holidays. We had a little soiree last night with good friends under twinkle lights and papel picado banners (the cut tissue paper garlands) with fresh margaritas and homemade tamales. Summer temperatures have arrived along the Gulf Coast (along with a depressing oil slick, it would seem) and so we stayed cool with our fresh cocktails and a shady spot under the trees until the sun went down. You wouldn’t believe how many limes you have to squeeze to get one good margarita, but its worth it. And tamales are much easier than you would think- once you figure out what kind of peppers to buy and plan on soaking the corn husks way in advance, it’s all pretty easy and cheap! Of course the first round of margaritas went down too easy, and by the end of the evening we were in heated political debates and trying on dresses in the Cerulean stock room late night. Nothing like some post-cocktail shopping! Sadly, most of the photos didn’t turn out since we dined on a dimly lit screened porch- you couldn’t get a feel for the fiesta. Below is what we have… while the image of a few of the guests came out all blurry, I love it that you are getting a frame by frame laugh!