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Archive for the ‘Luxe Loves’ Category

TOP TEN Reasons to Sign Up for LUXE LIFE CAMP

SEPT. 12-14 AT SKYLAND RETREAT

[REGISTER & INFO HERE]

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ROCK YOUR GYPSY SOUL

LUXE LIFE CAMP FALL SESSION: SIGN UP NOW

SEPTEMBER 12-14

Luxe Life Camp is a magical one-weekend experience for women at Skyland Retreat in the mountains of North Carolina. Come solo (most do) or assemble a group of BFFs. We promise a transformative experience – plus archery, horseback riding, interior design workshops, clean/gourmet food, cocktails, relaxation, open-air sleeping porches, conversation and camaraderie. All over the course of three glorious days for one, all-inclusive price.

[REGISTER HERE & MORE INFO]

 

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Unintended Consequences

Luxe Life Camp Postponed

 

Who knew interior design was a blood sport?  I wish I had a sexier story but I fell off my kitchen counter and broke my arm. Don’t ask!  As a result of the spillage, my team (including orthopedist) advise we postpone May’s Luxe Life Camp. Stay tuned for a new date to come this fall.

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CLEAN EATING + DIRTY MARTINIS

 

Luxe Life Camp clean-eating, gourmet fare satisfies every appetite. Our bar quenches every thirst.

SPRING SESSION: MAY 30-JUNE 1

Luxe Life Camp is a magical one-weekend experience for women only at Skyland Retreat in the mountains of North Carolina. Come solo (most do) or cobble together a group of BFFs. We promise a transformative experience at an all inclusive price.

[REGISTER & MORE INFO HERE]

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Conversations With Friends: Windy O’Connor

I heard Windy’s name long before I met her. Her talent and energy drew me to her and when we finally met at my Luxe Life Camp, it was as if we had always known each other. Here is my latest conversation with Windy.

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Lisa:  WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CREATIVE EXPRESSION?

Windy: My first creative expression was singing and creating skits.  My sister and I had an entire routine designed to accompany Barry Manilow’s Copa Cabana album.  I would pretend I was a Partridge of the Partridge family and wanted to be adopted by the Brady Bunch.  (giving away my age here)

Lisa:   YOU’RE AN INTERIOR DESIGNER WHICH IS AN ARTIST  BUT HOW DID YOU TRANSITION INTO A NEW MEDIUM?

Windy: I love design and art. I also realize that I use the same elements in both art and design such as composition, balance of color, layering textures and editing.  I am from an artistic family. My dad sang in a band, my sister went to art school and my mother paints. I was the actress and singer of our family so, fine art in some ways felt off limits. A friend of mine invited me to an art class and I was forever hooked!  I started developing my “miles on the canvas”. An art teacher taught me that to get good at what you do, you have to put in the work and the time. I have dedicated hours every day to making up for lost time. I felt from the beginning that this is what I was meant to do.

Lisa:   YOU HAVE AMAZING PERSONAL STYLE, WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WOULD NOT BE WITHOUT AND WHAT’S YOUR “GO TO” OUTFIT.

Windy: Thank you! I love clothes and always have been obsessed with fashion and fashion magazines. When you come from a small town you have to dream outside the city limits.  Fashion and beauty was and is a great way to dream and express myself.   This season I cannot live without my Isabel Marant Bobby sneakers. They go with everything and they are super comfy.  I also adore my Melvin jewelry. I stack several necklaces and bracelets and you have an outfit! I don’t like to take a ton of time getting dressed but, I want to look like I made some effort. This does the trick!  I also, love to steal style secrets from Lisa Sherry…

Lisa:  WHAT’S YOUR ENTERTAINING STYLE?

Windy: Casual get-togethers are the best! Family friends around the pool or a food truck in the driveway are my favorite ways to entertain. I also love to have girlfriends over for a special lunch or couples night for dinner.

Lisa:   TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOU I MAY NOT KNOW ..

Windy: I have 30+ FIRST cousins!

Lisa:   WHAT’S YOUR DREAM LIFE LOOK LIFE?

Windy: It would look exactly like my life looks now. I would love to eat any dessert I want and not gain a pound!

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Conversations With Friends: Kathy Devereux

Kathy Devereux PR full body blue pants 2013Sometimes my Conversations with Friends blog feature is a way to meet new people who I’ve admired from afar. And, sometimes Convo is one-on-one with someone I know very well. Today’s Conversation with Friends falls into the second category. I’m happy to introduce Kathy Devereux. She’s an amazing friend, a business associate, and, as you’ll see all around interesting, smart and funny, a great trio of characteristics for friends and work cohorts. Kathy is an expert marketer and creative. She spent many years in corporate brand marketing. Today – to the delight of everyone who knows her and especially clients – she is forming her own agency with a focus on her own brand of creative storytelling to support small- and medium-size businesses. She’s very talented and I speak from first-hand experience. Kathy is an at-large member of the LSI team. She’s helped me step-back and think more strategically about what LSI is and, more importantly, what it can be. Curious to know more? Kathy promises a website very soon (we all know the line about “the cobblers wife…” you know the rest), but for now you can reach her at [email protected] In the meantime, read on … 

 

 

LISA: Let’s time travel to the past. What did you want to be when you were twelve?

KATHY: Oddly, in my eighth-grade graduation newsletter I say I want to be a diplomat. Self-knowledge must have eluded me. I’m really the sort of person who likes to shake things up. Sometimes that means UN-diplomacy.

LISA: Okay, your childhood in 25 words or less…

KATHY: Chicago. Cubs. Free range. Lightening bugs and attic fans. Hat-making classes at Sayre Park. Failing Girl Scouts. Twelve is the new thirty.

LISA: Okay, I need a follow up question. Twelve is the new thirty…?

KATHY: At about twelve I rejected the whole premise of childhood. I thought I was grown and self-sufficient. Of course, I had the wonderful safety net of a big, sticky family and friends so I skirted disaster.

LISA: You are a brilliant marketer, in my opinion. You say your expertise is “strategy and storytelling.” Tell me more about that.

KATHY: My marketing approach is a little different. I work with clients to tease out the fundamentals of their businesses – who they are, what services or products are offered, what the company personality is and why, ultimately anyone should care … things like that. These points are not always well articulated, so it’s often a journey of discovery. Very fun. Then, we refine the brand proposition and develop natural strategies to advance. Storytelling is simply creative communication across fill-in-the-blank media to capture the end-user’s imagination and, if it’s done right, win their business.

LISA: Tell me about who would hire you? What do your clients look like?

KATHY: My favorite clients are small- to mid-size businesses with an entrepreneurial zeal. I like contagious energy. For the most part my clients are successful – they make great things or offer amazing services. Generally, marketing has not been a top priority, but there’s a sense that it should or can be. Often there’s the recognition that an orchestrated marketing plan can take them to the proverbial next level.

LISA: You’re a word girl and the “right word” never seems to elude you. Tell me what is your favorite single word.

KATHY: That is cruel question. Just one? I’ll pick YARE. It means nimble and flexible; a sailing term. I have yare on the brain because I just struck it from a piece of creative work. Alas, too obscure. But I’ll use it here!

LISA: And now, your least favorite word.

KATHY: I sorta saw that coming. I’ll take CERTAINTY. I think once we’re sure about things, we stop looking for answers. You know, batten the mental hatches and call it a day.

LISA: I must have an interiors question. Tell me what your office looks like.

KATHY: I love to work, so it’s critical that I love my space. I have wonderful modern white laminate partner’s desk from DWR. I sort of share it with my husband, Kenton Robertson, a brilliant photographer. My physical desk and my computer desktop are sort of cluttered (that’s why Kenton gets shorted). I so admire order, but it eludes me. The room has a bank of windows on two sides with lots of light, divans and chairs for guests and pets – Walter the cat and an imaginary poodle. I’m never more than ten paces from the espresso machine.

LISA: It’s my signature fantasy question. Always last. You are imbued with limited-time magical powers. You can transport yourself to any time and any place for one hour. Where will I find you?

KATHY: I knew this was coming! I’d like to bring Thomas Jefferson to the here and now. I’ll say no more. Just think of the possibilities.

 

Conversations With Friends: Stephen Pappas

I love Conversations with Friends. And, by that I mean everyday quippy banter AND this regular blog feature. The latter gives me an excuse to reach out to people I admire from afar. And, on the flip side, it’s a reason to reconnect friends and favorite people who are not spinning in my everyday orbit. So it goes with Stephen Pappas. A number of years ago, I found myself in a new city with a new job. Stephen was one of the first people I met. He was regularly flying in from one coast or another and we teamed up on many photography styling jobs. I adore Stephen. Over the years, he has been both mentor and friend. Stephen lives the Creative Life. And, the capital letters are intentional. Stephen has wonderful imagination, talent and creativity, expressed in so many ways. Read on now to learn more …

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LISA: Let’s go back to the beginning. Where did you grow up? What was life like for young Stephen-the-Young? 

STEPHEN: I grew up in Southern California in Downey. You didn’t ask for a little-known fact about my formative years, but here’s one anyway. I was a professional child singer from ages 9-13 with the Bob Mitchell Boys Choir. We made movies and records and we sang with the New York City Opera in their Los Angeles engagements in 1969 and 1970. Then, I was part of the The Young Americans from ages 15-18. That led to the world of modeling in my late teens early twenties in LA, SF, & NYC. I was always meant for a creative life.

LISA: Who is your favorite relative? Ah, pick only one. And why?

STEPHEN: My grandfather, Hamid Bey. He was always exciting to be with. He seemed to have no limitations; he was a constant source of inspiration and we were very close.

LISA: Another possibly polarizing question: NY or LA. You’ve done both. Pick one.

STEPHEN: LA – definitely! While some of my dearest and longest friendships are in NYC, the way of life here in LA suits me best.

LISA: You’re a shopper. Spill the beans on the latest, greatest shop you’ve found in LA.

STEPHEN: Garde in West Hollywood. It’s a Bohemian Zen with a wonderful mix of luxury items not seen anywhere else. The owner Scottie (tell him I sent you if you pop in) has a very refined eye. The store is uncluttered, imaginative and chic.

LISA: And now NYC … what’s hot on your personal shopping list?

STEPHEN: The next best thing!

LISA: What was your first real job? No paper routes or lawn mowing? The first job that introduced you to the IRS.

STEPHEN: Burger King. I could only go up from there!

LISA: I love that you are a photo stylist as well as an interior designer. That’s been my trajectory too so I think it’s awesome! Explain for my readers what a stylist does?

STEPHEN: Basically, a stylist brings the picture to life. You compose a room, a piece of furniture, or a client’s product and add or subtract within that composition – whatever it takes, to achieve an eye-stopping image.

LISA: How did your photo styling background prepare you for commercial and residential design?

STEPHEN: It actually happened the other way around. I designed my own room with the monies from a movie I did at age 10. I was always conscious of balance of color, furnishings and space. It seems to have been instinctive.

LISA: What’s on your bedside table?

STEPHEN: Boxes. On my Donghia side table I‘ve a Barbara Barry lacquer box, an orange Jonathan Adler lacquer box, an ebony wood sphere box and a white Crate & Barrel lamp. And, of course, and a lot of books and magazines.

LISA: It’s my signature fantasy question. You are imbued with limited-time magical powers. You can transport yourself to any time and any place for one hour. Where will I find you?

STEPHEN: In the future on a distant star! Plotting my next design phase – Intergalactic Design!

 

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Conversations With Friends: Susanna Kost

I’m switching time zones and going to the opposite coast for this next installment of Conversations with Friends. Meet LA-based designer Susanna Kost. According to mutual friends, Susanna fled the midwest many years ago after a particularly dreary winter. There are tall tales of sixty sunshine-less days that fueled her decision to Go West. Susanna says that she was simply correcting a geographical error and that she’d always been attracted to California sunshine and more. As an interior designer, she loves the sense of freedom, adventure and drama on the Los Angeles design scene. I had the good luck to catch Susanna just as the La Cienega Design Quarter annual design fête wrapped up. Won’t you come eavesdrop….

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LISA: In a nutshell, what is LA design? Pretend I’m from Mars. How would you get me up to speed fast?

SUSANNA: Maybe this will be the screenplay I keep threatening to write – a team of Martian interior designers descends on LA … I have an opening! Well seriously, LA design: it’s fearless. Design precepts that are maybe taken for granted elsewhere, not here. We love color. Clients are open to shaking things up. As a designer, I love the latitude.

LISA: I know you are an accomplished shopper. What’s your latest, greatest find storewise? Do you have a new favorite?

SUSANNA: Such a timely question, Lisa. I love La Cienega Boulevard. The annual Legends of La Cienega just ended. I’m still recovering from 48-hours of shows, seminars and special events. La Cienega is a design destination in LA and two of my favorite shops are Dragonette – vintage Hollywood furniture and amazing jewelry – and my good friend Paul Marra’s shop.

LISA: If you were not an interior designer, you’d be …

SUSANNA: I’d orbit somehow in fashion, flowers or food. Perhaps all three together!

LISA: In my bones, I’m a monochromatic girl (but I love nice stretch into new tonalities). I love your feeling for color. It’s always spot on. Can you describe how a palette emerges?

SUSANNA: I wait for color to come to me and it always does, although never in quite the same way. For example, in a recent project I specified a sixteen-foot concave marble wall – with a fireplace for good measure. Nature gets full credit, of course, but the marble is mustardy-gold with splashes of opalescence onyx. That became the color leitmotif for the entire room. It’s gorgeous.

LISA: Just between us (and my readers) … you and I are both Midwesterners by birth. And we both left! But taking the long view, how has your Midwest provenance influenced your work?

SUSANNA: There’s a wonderful practicality about the Midwest, which I love unless it becomes stifling, of course. Upholstery must always be comfortable. Is that asking too much? I love beautiful things, but not too precious for life. Good lighting is a must. This kind of heartland common sense revved up with some west coast glamour can lead to some inspired designs.

LISA: If you could change one thing in your own house instantly, what would it be? (P.S. Budget and other pesky realities do not apply!)

SUSANNA: My kitchen. Please take it a way and bring me a new one.

LISA: You don’t need to name names, but what client project do you think is most reflective of your own personal aesthetic? In other words, what client home could you move into tomorrow?

SUSANNA: I love my home and covet no other. Even with a remedial kitchen. It’s my heart.

LISA: What is your most prized possession?

SUSANNA: I hate to name drop, but since you asked, I have a fainting couch – a Recamier to be precise – from Gene Kelly’s estate and a set of four Syrian side chairs from Kalef Alaton’s estate. I know I will never tire of these pieces.

LISA: What was your latest Pinterest pin? (P.S. I’m a follower!)

SUSANNA: Wallpapered ceilings – the fifth wall – my latest pin-fatuation. I like rooms that surprise.

LISA: It’s my signature fantasy question. You are imbued with limited-time magical powers. You can transport yourself to any time and any place for one hour. Where will I find you?

SUSANNA: The champagne is on ice. 31 Rue Cambon, Coco Chanel’s Paris apartment. She and I share the same August birthday, which I discovered as a child. I’ve always felt a kinship. It would be fab hour of bubbly and fabric chatter.

 

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Conversations with Friends: John Black

One of my favorite furniture designers is a name most people don’t know. That’s why I’m very excited to out John Black (www.jblackdesign.com) in the latest installment of  Conversations with Friends. In my view, John is the consummate furniture designer. He is the man behind the curtain (or should I say drawing board?) on some of the most beautiful and iconic furniture designs of the last thirty years, engaging with names like Baker, Henredon, Councill, Artistica and Vanguard. John is also a student of design. A John Black chair, for example, connects to the ancient Greeks. Something to think about. If you’re at the High Point Market this week, John’s Compendium collection with Vanguard is a must-see. The LSI team had the pleasure of partnering with John Black and Vanguard on the showroom design. Such a fun creative tour de force!

For now, I invite you to be a fly on the wall for my conversation with John Black. It starts now….

 

 

LISA: You are a furniture designer. I think there may be little confusion about what that is. After all, today there are so may interior designers, stylist, actors, models – you name it – with furniture collections. Can you help clarify this? 

JOHN: The name says is it all. I studied furniture design in school and have focused designing furniture my entire career. Furniture has such a long and diverse history, from all corners of the world, through thousands of years and it just captured my attention. Companies hire me to design for them, based on my point of view. And through that focus, I am able to take each product through the entire design and production process. At the end of the day no matter whose name is connected to a collection, it’s about connecting with an audience through a point of view.

LISA: What are you working on now? Be specific. Look at your drafting table. What do you see?

JOHN: Playing around with the form of a 17th century Italian table for an upcoming collection. It’s the part of the process I truly love, seeing the “modern” in something centuries old. And how in the 21st century, we still have this connection with the past, such as sharing meals around a table. 

LISA: Speaking of drafting tables. Is that an anachronism? Where does creation take place – pencil or mouse in hand?

JOHN: Creation takes place between the ears. More often than not, I visualize pieces in my mind’s eye. Drawing is just my method of communication. I prefer a pencil; for me, it’s more intimate, accurate and much more efficient than a mouse. 

LISA: What is your favorite single piece of furniture in your home – whether designed by you or someone else?

JOHN: A pair of No. 48 chairs designed in the late forties by Finn Juhl. They have this wonderful sculptural quality, made with a level of craftsmanship scarcely seen these days. And proof a delicate chair can be very comfortable. 

LISA: You describe yourself as a modernist and classicist. Fascinating – I’m all about opposites! But tell me more about what this means. Or are you just crazy? 

JOHN: I don’t consider them opposites. Practically every furniture form we live with today was invented in the 18th century, if not before. The difference is the styling. My modernist side loves simplicity, no matter the age. My classicist side embraces historical principles of scale and proportion. They feed and feed off each other.

LISA: I know you studied furniture design at the famous Kendall College. Can you give me a snapshot of what that was like? Even a list of adjectives is good.

JOHN: At that time, KSD was solely an art school experience, with classes in color theory, life drawing, art history and the like. It opened my eyes to a world of art beyond furniture. Although not a model student, it did plants seeds. But most importantly, it’s where I met my wife and partner, Joyce. There isn’t enough space to describe what that has meant to me.

LISA: Is there a style of furniture or a period that you would like to see GO AWAY? Poof. Wiped off the face of history.

JOHN: Not so much a specific style or period; I think all have something to offer, if you look close enough. What I find disappointing is when the soul of a period or style is bastardized beyond recognition, through the effort to be “different.” Most are just lazy interpretations and unfortunately, not a single style or period has been left unsullied. 

LISA: This is a mind bender. What would John Black at 21 say to the John Black of today?

JOHN: Have no fear.

LISA: And, vice versa. What kernels of wisdom would John Black circa 2013 give your upstart self of 21?

JOHN: Pay attention, smartass.

LISA: It’s my signature fantasy question. Always last. You are imbued with limited-time magical powers. You can transport yourself to any time and any place for one hour. Where will I find you?

JOHN: Wow. A toss up between circa 500 BCE to witness the birth of the Klismos OR early November, 1961, at the Cavern Club, in Liverpool, for another birth of sorts.

To learn more: http://www.jblackdesign.com/

 

 

Conversations with Friends: Victor-Raul Garcia

NYC-based Victor-Raul Garcia’s art speaks for itself: it’s passionate, tactile, dramatic, vivid. (And I could go on; I love his work.) But, when I snagged Victor-Raul for a one-on-one recently, I found that as a person he’s as interesting as his work. That’s how it should be. So without further ado, I’m happy to share my latest Conversations with Friends. Meet abstract contemporary painter Victor-Raul Garcia ….

LISA: On your website you describe your work as autodidactic. To be honest, I had to look it up. But armed with my Webster’s definition, I’m still interested to know more about what this means to you?

VICTOR: Autodidactic is basically  ‘self-taught.’ Everything you see projected on my canvases is a result of years trial and error and  sweat and tears. I never set foot in a class to learn how to paint. Instead I have relied on experience, relentless aspiration and the all-encompassing necessity to paint.

LISA: Tell me how you find what’s extraordinary in the ordinary. How do you discern?

VICTOR: Everything is extraordinary in its own way.  If we just stop and take the time to observe, listen, feel, taste and smell things, we will discover how incredible ‘simple’ things can be. A lot of my work is influenced by microscopic images of some of the most ‘ordinary’ things. Beauty is not only skin deep but way below the surface as well!  This quote sums it all up for me:  “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

LISA: How about a lighter question! Look in your closet. Is there a signature color palette in your personal wardrobe?

VICTOR: That’s easy!!!! 50 shades of black!!!!

LISA: You left Peru as a child. What do you miss? 

VICTOR: I miss going to the Miraflores market with my grandmother, hunting for sea monkeys in the ocean (then realizing they can’t survive in water in a plastic bag), Sunday feasts with family which included chicha, papa á la huánquaina, ceviche, papa sorpresa, and turrón de doña pepa, and most importantly, I miss the innocence of it all…….

LISA: Residential or commercial commissions, what’s your preference?

VICTOR: I wouldn’t say I have a preference but I do enjoy the 1-on-1 interaction aspect of residential projects where u get instant gratification from clients’ eyes and words once the art is unveiled.

LISA: Tell me about your last self-directed undertaking. That is, for YOU, not for a client.

VICTOR: B&W photography of the countryside upstate.  I’m working on a photography portfolio next.

LISA: Your grandmother must be a special person. You are going to gift her with a work of art. What is it?

VICTOR: The piece is entitled Gotham. It is my interpretation of the Incan ruins of Macchu Picchu with a modernist/brutalist take. She used to tell me stories of how the Incas communicated with extra terrestrials and built the city as a landing strip. I loved to hear those fascinating ‘fun facts’ about my people as a child! But mind you, she also told me that Peruvians are big chested because of the high elevation there and that we mated with the aliens as well. Lol!

LISA: Color. You are an adventurer. Are you smitten with any palettes right now?

VICTOR: Fire red and bittersweet chocolate.

LISA: What’s hanging on the wall of your living room?

VICTOR: A signed Gilbert & George print, a Reservoir Dogs poster, B&W Japanese paper art and a few of my own art works…..

LISA: It’s my signature fantasy question. You’ve been given a magic paintbrush – which is, of course, the artist’s version of a magic wand. You can transport yourself to any time and any place for one hour. Where will I find you?

VICTOR: Picture it, Macchu Picchu 1533….. I’m an Incan lookout riding my llama and just like Paul Revere would do centuries later, I gallop , trumpet and cry: “The Spaniards are coming! The Spaniards are coming!” lol

 

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