4.16.2015

Dana Gibson

Happy Thursday readers!

Whether you've had a good week or bad, at least Friday is almost here!

Today I am excited to be posting about one of the highlights of my Spring Break last week: Meeting the Dana Gibson!

For those of you who aren't familiar with Dana Gibson and her work, you are in for a treat today! Dana, a local Richmond artist, is known for her punchy, bright home accessories which can be found in more than 700 stores both near and far, and even internationally.

Her studio is right around the corner from my house, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit and tour the studio, chat with her, and of course, do a little shopping!

I immediately felt giddy when walking into the studio
and seeing all these pretties!

After introductions and initial scan of the space, I sat down on a couch next to Dana surrounded by these two fun pillows (here and here) and immediately felt at ease. She has a calm, down to earth demeanor and is someone I can imagine laughing with over drinks.

My first question of her was about the early days of her art career. She shared that she enjoyed art as a young girl and grew up taking classes and traveling. I was surprised to learn, however, that she was not initially on an art path. About 20 years ago while she was in graduate school and teaching writing at the University of Virginia, she took a ceramics class for a bit of an escape. While in that class she discovered a love of ceramics, particularly using her hands to create something new and beautiful. Ceramics were her focus for about 10 years and it was these ceramics that first caught my eye several years ago. 


While she still makes an array of ceramics (see the full collection here), she soon felt a desire for more color. With ceramics, you are limited to pastels, and Dana yearned for more rich, vibrant colors in her work. Working with a friend and shop owner in Atlanta, she began creating painted wastebaskets and pictures frames. Available in just about any color palette imaginable, these remain as some of her best sellers today. I had an especially hard time not coming home with the wastebasket pictured below:



She discussed that in people's busy lives today, they have a dream of organization and that she thinks her pieces do well because they can assist in creating an organized, yet beautiful life. Her collection of trays, cups, and cachepots can all be used for storage and we laughed about throwing your junk or mess into a pretty cachepot to declutter and create an organized life (or maybe at least, the illusion of one).  I loved absolutely everything in this corner of the shop and you can see a variety of her cachepots below.


My next big question, and the one I was most interested in, was about her inspirations. I learned that she finds inspiration everywhere, however the first inspiration she shared was fashion. She also went on to say that she was inspired both those that aren't afraid to break rules and combine styles that have never been combined before. We discussed how fashion and decor styles go hand in hand: While young, fashion is a person's first step into creating a personal style and that style can later extend into the decorating of a home. In both fashion and decor, she is grounded in the traditional, but loves to mix it up with strategic color and modern pieces. 

The traditional, yet rule breaking style is evident in all her work!

I dared her to share a favorite color and piece with me...not a small question, as she has so many wonderful colors and pieces to choose from. A color: Pink. A favorite piece: Her Leopard. He can be found in many different pieces and is "a fun guy" and also a customer favorite. She also feels a fondness to her graphic pieces as well as her narrative pieces that tell a story.


Finally, I asked where she'd like to go next and about her vision of Dana Gibson for the future. She shared how fun her venture into fabrics and wallpapers with Stroheim (see here) has been and that in the future she would really love to expand into bedding, rugs, and dinnerware. I say, bring it on!

I was in heaven flipping through this book of her fabrics.

While discussing the future, Dana also mentioned a little bit about marketing and the customer aspect of her work. She shared that as an artist, it is important to listen to the customer and focus on what they want in addition to your own wants as an artist. She loves seeing the direction her customers take with her work, and we talked about this fabulous potting shed that she shared on her Instagram, which incorporated both her Stroheim fabric and wallpaper.


Last, but not least, I got to tour the studio and learn a bit more about Dana's process. In studio, she designs and paints her initial pieces. She then works with several different companies in India to produce them on a larger scale. With her guidance, each piece is created and painted by hand and then shipped here to Richmond, where Dana herself and just 2 other employees check each and every piece for perfection, sort it, and ship out to buyers and retailers. 

When I first arrived Dana was working on one of her 
latest creations, this fabulous pink gingham print!

While retail is not is sole purpose, the Richmond space serves as a bit of an outlet for those pieces that do not meet Dana's exacting standards. While "imperfect" the pieces still felt pretty perfect to me and I was awestruck by all the goodness surrounding me.


And I'm sure you readers can guess that I couldn't visit Dana Gibson's studio without bringing something home! Her favorite leopard lumbar, in pink, of course, is now mine, and I am absolutely smitten with him! He hasn't found a permanent home but is currently resting in this little corner nook of our bedroom that is usually my last stop when finalizing an outfit by topping it off with a necklace!


Are you a fan of Dana Gibson?

What are some of your favorite sources for design accessories?

Where do you find inspiration for your home?

Have a great day!

4.14.2015

Rancho T

Happy Tuesday....and Happy April friends!

I can't believe this is my first post in the month of April.

I had big plans for blogging over my Spring Break last week, but it just didn't happen. That being said, I am feeling recharged and have some great posts lined up for the rest of the month!

This post is an exciting one for my Richmond readers: Today is the grand opening of Rancho T!


Rancho T is the collaboration between Tuffy Stone (of Q Barbecue) and Ed Vasaio (of Edo's Squid/Mamma Zu/8.5); Billy Fallen of Billy Bread and chef Aaron Cross (trained at Richmond's Lemaire) are also on board, so the team is pretty stacked. You can read more about the restaurant's birth here.

On the corner of Morris and Main Street, the cuisine can be described as Southwestern comfort food
...or just plain good.

Friday night, Bryce and I had the opportunity to go for a special tasting at the new restaurant with his stepbrother and girlfriend. We ordered a little bit of everything and shared all around the table which made for an amazing night!

The restaurant has a great laid-back Southwestern atmosphere!

Now for a look at our night: Prepare to drool.

Here's a preview of the semi-final menu!

We started with the kolaches, which were stuffed with sausage and relish. The mustard on the side was bold and tasty!


For our next course, we had chips and salsa, empanadas, and escabache. I'll share that I'm not even typically a fan of salsa, but loved theirs. It was light and sweet! The emapanads came with an amazing green chile sauce, that we encouraged them to bottle and sell to us (haha). And finally, my favorite of this course was the escabache, a delicious medley of chilled roasted veggies.


For entrees we each ordered something different so that we could sample most of the menu. We even were able to sample each of the six sides. Clockwise from the top: Angus Flatiron with Stewed Beans w/Escarole and Swiss Chard & Pigeon Peas; Sweet Corn Tamales with House Salad and Fried Potatoes; Clams and Pork Campanelle with (ah-mazing!) Billy Bread; and Pork Chop with Roasted Yams w/Pumpkin Seeds and Criolla Rice.


My choice was the campanelle, it was delicious and when it came
time to share those clams, I may have been a bit greedy...

Everything was out of this world good. My favorites on the table were the angus flatiron, my camapenelle (so unique), the yams and the chard. Bryce's favorite were the corn tamales and he even said they were as good as any he's had out west. 

Next up, you guessed it, we sampled the desserts! Clockwise from the top: Flan, Profiteroles, Danish Churros, and Orange Caramel Pie.


Yet again, everything was absolutely scrumptious! My favorite dessert was the churros. They had the most amazing citrus flavor. The rest of the table, hands down, agreed that the flan was the best dessert!

After speaking with the chef, Aaron Cross (read more about his journey here) and giving him our kudos, we decided to end the night with drinks at Lemaire, where he trained for 18 months! 

I sipped on the Corpse Reviver #77

Rancho T is officially open for business today and will serve lunch and dinner (until 2 am!!). Yep, you read that right, their full menu will be available late night until 2 in the morning! Be sure to check it out!

Have you been to any great new restaurants lately?

Are you a fan of Southwestern food?

What is your favorite Richmond restaurant?

Have a great day!

3.30.2015

Monday Musings

Happy Monday chickies!

I've got a post filled with random musings for ya today!

Did y'all have a good weekend?

Mine was an especially great one! Bryce was out of town until early Saturday evening, but I caught up for drinks and dinner with some of our friends Friday night.

Saturday I went to barre and otherwise chilled until Bryce got home. That evening we headed to Bryce's stepbrother's house for grilling out and then headed to the club to see his other stepbrother's band, Soul Fly, play! It was the "One More Saturday Night" event and we had an absolute blast listening to Grateful Dead covers and other jammy music! Tie dye was in abundance (as were fried oreos) and we danced the night away.

People certainly dressed for the occasion...

These giant paper flowers, in all different styles and colors, 
were all over the club and I was dying to bring one home with me!

I lost count of how many fried oreos I had...whoopsie!

Soul Fly
Bryce's stepbrother is on the far left!

Sunday was low key. We had a delicious brunch at Heritage and then spent the rest of the day running errands and relaxing.

Heritage used a bunch of Bryce's peppers in their kitchen this fall, 
so when we said hello to Joe, the chef, 
he gifted us one of their very own Texas Mike's Hot Sauce!

One of our errands was to local Sneed's Nursery. We bought some herbs to add to our herb garden and also some pretty new flowers to plant. I had fun playing in their adorable playhouse, as well!


We also admired a bistro table and chairs set they had, but they were way out of our price range. I told Bryce that I knew Target had similar options so we ventured there as well....and surprise, surprise, we hit the jackpot at Target!

We got these chairs on sale! 
They also come in fabulous coral and turquoise options, 
but we thought the black would be more versatile and are going to get some fun cushions for them!

As silly as it sounds, this was the first "furniture" purchase Bryce and I have ever made for the house together, and it felt very grown up, haha!

On our way out, we also spotted this beauty:


I literally stopped dead in my tracks and when I saw the price tag knew I had to have it. Surprisingly, Bryce really liked the table too. They only had one in the store, and it had a little bit of a chip in one corner so I decided to check it out online when I got home. And then...

I saw this baby:


Bryce liked this one even more and I am thinking it would be perfect as a "bar cart" type table. 

I was able to double up on online promotions and get both for just $130. I am planning to check them out when they arrive and keep or return as necessary. We might not have a spot for them now, but they are small enough (and chic enough) to justify storing them, if need be! I am even wondering if I should order a second of the first one to have a pair that could someday flank a couch in a formal living room. Thoughts?

If you haven't figured out, I was in a shopping mood this weekend. I think my desire for spring really has me wanting to "refresh" and buy some fun new things!

That being said, I was so super excited to find that this dress is now available for pre-order!


I first saw the dress on Taylor's blog a few weeks ago, and it sold out pretty much instantly. I have been stalking it ever since with hopes it would be resotcked. It is set to arrive by mid-May and I am so excited

And since we're talking about shopping for clothes now, I also will mention that we popped into Anthro during our errands yesterday...

I tried this shirt on and absolutely loved it...
am thinking I may need to order on pay day tomorrow!

I am also absolutely in love with their 
Paper Crown + Rifle Paper Co collaboration 
and was disappointed this lovely dress wasn't available in store!

I can imagine all of these clothing picks with the Tory wedges I am still lusting over...which brings me to something else I've been meaning to share for the last few weeks (like that segue?): Throw A Tantrum's "Summer Fashion Advice on How to Spend $100", featuring none other than moi, on their panel of 15 Fashion Experts! Read my pick of wedges, as well as the picks of 14 other fashionable ladies here. And while you're at it, be sure to check out all the monogrammed goodies on their site. I am especially loving their monogrammed seersucker bandeau and Lilly Pulitzer state hat shown below!


I've also been meaning to share HoosNetwork with my fellow UVA alums. HoosNetwork is an online community featuring articles focused on education, advice, the work world, school spirit, and entertainment. It was just launched in February and I am excited to see it grow!

Since I'm doing all sorts of musing and am adopting the mantra that anything goes in today's post, I wanted to mention a few recent pins...
  1. This pin has me thinking I need to make s'mores and swap out thin mints for the chocolate...
  2. I am pretty sure I need to make these chocolate covered strawberries this weekend..
  3. It's decided that I am going to have a cheese-cake at my next event...
To wrap up the randomness, we bought a spiralizer on sale at Sur La Table yesterday!


I've been meaning to pick one of these up for a while now and it seemed like a no-brainer yesterday since it is marked down by $10. Tonight we are going to go simple and make spaghetti with meat sauce, using zoodles! If you have any other great recipes, send them my way! I am so excited to use this to help cut back on carbs in anticipation of bikini season (and make up for the fried oreos and thin mint s'mores).

What's running through your mind on this Monday morning?

What new spring purchases have you made?

Have a great day!

3.25.2015

Spring Blooms

Happy Hump Day readers!

I sure am hoping the saying about March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb is going to come true this year. We had some gorgeous weather last week, but this week things have been dreary and cold again! I am ready for April!

Despite the cold, some blooms are still starting to pop up in our yard. I can't wait for everything to come out (especially my grandmother's peonies and irises). Until everything else decides to pop up, I guess gazing at beautiful blooms online will have to suffice...


And here's a look at some of the flowers from our own personal garden from springs and summers past:







And about 99% of that beauty is all thanks to Bryce....I have a pretty black thumb!

What's blooming where you are?

What is your favorite spring bloom?

Have a great day!