Sunday, August 21, 2011

Decor8 / Decorate Book Signing Event with Holly Becker in Boston

Holly Becker of Decor8 and me

I was so pleased to be able to attend a wonderful RSVP only event right here in Boston yesterday! My friend and fabulous licensed artist Monica Lee invited me as her "Plus-One" to the Decorate Decor8 Holly Becker Book Promotion Events here in Boston at Anthropologie. Holly's bestselling book, Decorate, is on a six-city U.S. promotion tour, and all of the signings/events are at Anthropologie stores! I don't see how it could get any better OR more perfect or fitting. Seriously. What a thrill it was attend all events—the Decorate book signing, Holly's mood board demo, and then a private lunch with Holly in attendance!

A fun day was planned as I was set to meet up with Monica right outside of Anthropologie, where the first portion of the event was taking place. When I arrived, Monica was waiting outside for me, talking to a very statuesque, attractive and stylish chick with REALLY great hair and an awesomely happy yellow flower brooch! It was none other than Holly herself, and I was a little star-struck, got tongue tied for a minute there. It happens, when you meet someone you admire sometimes. We've all been there. Anyway, Holly was just about to run into Anthro to get the set-up going, and Monica and I were off skipping to ma-loo for a morning beverage. How pedestrian does Starbucks sound, when it's right next door to a Max Brenner chocolate emporium restaurant (one of Monica's favorite places)? Of course we popped in there for some morning pre-event Mexican Hot Chocolate! Yum!

Monica Lee is just the brightest crayon in the box! Hello, she is so much fun!

Then, it was off to Anthro and upstairs to the Mood Board Demo where I was so happy to see my friend Ellen Crimi-Trent, whom I knew was coming to the signing but it was a pleasant surprise to see her at the Mood Board event. She was just there sitting pretty waiting for the demo to start! It was fun to have friends I know here, although there were several solo people that I chatted with and everyone was really friendly and chatty and in a good mood and we all had a great time.

The demo!
We all got to listen to Holly's stories, and my first impression of Holly (okay, second impression, since I met her outside) could not have been better. Holly's an all-around 'real girl' and she shared 'real' stuff.  She was also disarming—I was simply charmed! Unassuming, authentic, genuine (are those last two the same thing?) those are all adjectives that are descriptive of this woman. Anyway, she made me (and I think, everyone) feel so comfortable and glad that we came. She was a pleasure to learn from, and to talk to, on "stage" and off. To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect of meeting Holly, you never know what people are like in person. But I came away with the feeling that would love to just hang out with her and that I had made a new friend. (I'm not kidding or just being ridiculous! I'm honest. She is the real thing!)

Getting down to business, she shared her step-by step-ideas for how to go about the seemingly insurmountable task of designing a room (...and, truly, you ever saw MY house, you would see that I truly NEED her advice, and probably more than ANYone! NO exaggeration.) The Mood Board demo was great, I finally have a better understanding of some of the finer points of  the "whys", the "how's" and, well, a little more of the "why's". I won't go into any hot details here, but I will tell you that I am signing up for her next "Blogging Your Way" e-course (which I believe will be early next year). After having lurked on the "Blogging Your Way" Flickr photostream during the class about a year ago, then talking to folks who have taken the course and benefited from it, then today sitting in on the Mood Board demo myself, and then further getting more of a personal sense of Holly herself, there is now no doubt in my mind that I will greatly benefit from this course. (If you are intrigued too, you should think about it!)
Holly and I after the demo
Monica Lee and Holly
I know you're now probably asking "What's the connection between designing a room and the Blogging Your Way e-course?" Well, the Mood Board is the common denominator that I am aware of, and it is the element that is explored in the course that I initially find captivating (though there are probably other connections too). As I understood it explained by Holly in the demo, the Mood Board is a visual tool that interior designers use to help them to formulate their ideas into the design of a space. After digesting this, I realize that all creatives sort of have their own "version" of a mood board. I know that I have my own version of how I put my own inspirational "wire frames" together in my mind and then on paper, before starting out on a new illustration, or a new art licensing collection. We all have our methods. As for the Mood Board, I'm now fascinated by the ways people use the tool, and how it connects to other creative exploratory tools, as well as other aspects of self-evaluation and reflection, and also goal setting. And, from what I hear about the Blogging Your Way e-course, there is a lot of focus on this type of exploration that happens. I know I could personally benefit from this type of work. So, there you go!

Holly signs my Decorate book!

Next came the book signing! By the time I made my way downstairs to have my book signed, wow was that line out of control! This was okay, I didn't mind waiting in line. Hey, I was at Anthro where I can spend quality time with the merchandise as I wait. What's not to love! (Hide the wallet!)

Ellen had already gotten her book signed earlier, but she joined me in line to chat. She ended up starting a conversation with the people who were in front of us in line. So, they hit it off and were talking some shop. The gentleman was a very cool guy, clearly well-versed in interior design and decor and I spent the time with my mouth mostly shut as I had a lot of interesting stuff to absorb. I did talk a little bit though, and really enjoyed talking to his companion as well, whom I later learned was his wife. She was fun and we had a few good chuckles, especially about fashion trends (my motto there is "Just because you CAN, doesn't mean you SHOULD"... but I digress!) Well, I later learned these two friendly line-waiting neighbors were none other than interior design expert and decorating master  Matthew Mead, and his wife, the lovely  Jennifer Mead, co-President of the company Matthew Mead Style and Managing Editor of Holiday with Matthew Mead quarterly magazine. Okay, so by now I can feel the interior design fairy dust in the air... between these two super-pros and Holly Becker in the house, was I Alice dropping down into the interior design rabbit hole?

The book itself..
Just an amazing accomplishment. Decorate is a nice big, thick book, high quality and gorgeous photos, chock full of not just eye candy, but practical ( yes, PRACTICAL!) advice and ideas for decorating and home improvements. Case Studies are outlined, featuring all kinds of different rooms with different needs and different styles. There are tons of practical little tips and tricks. I am SO interior design challenged (sad but true) that I honestly can't imagine anyone actually needing this book more than I do. (Gee, I better get busy!)

Lunch time! After the signing, a large group of us met at the local restaurant a stone's throw from Anthro called the Back Bay Social Club. The lunch was organized by Julieann Covino of Jace Interiors and CreateGirl. THANK YOU, Julieann, for organizing the lunch! I got to meet a bunch of great people I probably would not have crossed paths with otherwise, and have a nice meal and some fun conversations.

There were several locals at the lunch. I love to network and meet people in different walks of creative life whose passions intersect with mine. But, oftentimes, this happens at travel-only events such as conferences. You continue to keep up with your contacts, and in some instances you even grow friendships long-distance. But there is something extra-special about having these types of friends that are close to home— there is the possibility to "grow more local", LOL. So I'm trying to follow everyone on Twitter, Facebook and the like, and hopefully I'll be able to metriculate more into the local scene of broad-spectrum creative entrepreneurs I met across the tables at the lunch.

Two of Holly's close friends came to the events and lunch (left and center) : (left) The Lady In Pink (I don't remember her name (sorry-please help!) but she is also Holly's hairstylist and is clearly very talented!) and (center) Sondi Caserio who I talked with for much of the lunch, and to the right is Rochelle of brand new landscaping magazine Leaf.
Me and the effervescent Sondi Caserio
Me and Miss Firecracker herself, my friend Ellen Crimi-Trent

Afterwards, Ellen, Monica and I went back to Max Brenner for even more chocolatey goodness and more chat time.  Desha Peacock  (The Desha Show) had originally joined in but had to bail. It was so great to meet Desha, and I hope I get the chance to chat more with her in the future.

After much fast and furious shop-talk and life-talk, it was time to finally wrap it up, and we said our good-byes.

Hope you enjoyed my play-by-play of the day. If you are in any of the other cities which Holly is traveling to on the Decorate book signing tour, I would highly recommend taking the plunge and popping in. You will be glad you did.

(For more photos, please check my Flickr set for the event here.)


desha peacock said...

Great post Kathy! I feel so lucky to have met such a great crowd, including yourself- wish I could have stayed, but the little one was ready for my return, but hope we can reunite soon. thanks for the shout out, too!

Kathy Weller said...

Totally understand Desha! Was so great to meet you. Sorry we did not get more of a chance to chat. I will now be watching The Desha show and getting up to speed on you! :)

Amy Colburn said...

I happened upon your post through the Creative Connection Event facebook page. I love your account of this! I had to giggle that you were standing in line next to Matthew Mead and didn't know it at first! Great fun reading about your amazing day. So happy to have "met" you. I am an illustrator, also. I am just getting into licensing, so I will browse your blog (don't mind, do you?!) to learn more about your beautiful work! Happy illustrating. :) ~Amy

Kathy Weller said...

Amy, thanks for your comment. You know, I am so glad you got a kick out of my account with the Meads. Here's another piece: When Matthew was introducing himself to me, and telling me the magazines he'd formerly worked with, I actually, audibly, made a little accidental chokey noise directly after he said the words "Country Home". I only realized I'd made the noise a moment after I did it. When looking back, it was a moment of high comedy. In reality, I don't know if anyone else heard it. I will always remember that little gasp though. Ha! Funny stuff.. :)

Good to meet you too!! And yes, please do browse my blog! :) Hope you enjoy it!

Monica Lee said...

Kathy! Oh my goodness, I am just sitting here with my big cup of coffee and have not even started to write a post and WHY should I? Can't I just point an arrow towards yours!? This is adorable and your pictures are really good!! I so enjoyed you too! (Thank you for making me feel like a bright crayon!)

cecilia said...

Coming here by way of The Desha Show :) I took the BYW e-course this past Spring and found myself re-visiting my "homework" this month to help me re-focus on my goals. It's a really fantastic class - one of which you'll learn more about Holly's journey through blogging! I hope you enjoy it. I was at the book signing too! It's so nice to know that everyone feels the same about Holly - that she's a genuine, sincere, humble, creative person!

Kathy Weller said...

Thank you Cecilia! I commented to your blog post too! I greatly appreciated meeting many of the ladies who took the BYW class. In fact I remember when it was announced last year. I *wanted* to take it... but I didn't jump. And now, I won't miss the opportunity again.

Monica, your post is so great!!! I'm glad you posted too! I love your voice both in blogging and in person (it is the same fun, funny, bubbly voice!)

Hey readers, here are the other posts of the day from monica, cecilia and desha:




Surplus Lamps said...
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