⌘ tamer animals ⌘

daily inspiration for creative natives

pattern: tamer animals kids

Taylor P.Comment

Summertime means lots of flowers, green grass, and blue skies. We're working with Spoonflower fabrics to produce some awesome summery collections for our children's line for 2018! Here's a sneak peek at some of the designs we have on the drawing table. Which one is your favorite?

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design therapy: carnaby crush

design therapyTaylor P.Comment

This week we're crushing on op art, bright colors, florals, and playful lines. Ever since I can remember I gravitated towards mod fashions in a big way. The summer mood for me lately is bringing back memories of running around the streets of Chicago sifting through racks upon racks of vintage dresses sidewalk sales and ogling space age furniture. Secretly, though, I wish I could find a time machine and go back to Carnaby Street in its heyday. Would you wear some of these outlandish fashions, too? There's a reason why some late sixties fashions are still so timeless today and not in the least dated. Do you know what it is? Ferocity, Designers like Mary Quant broke the mold but ultimately it came down to the confidence of the wearer. Some of these fashions are absolutely fierce and there are so many lessons we can learn from the successes and failures of previous generations. 

This show-stopping op art dress with vibrant colors is AMAZING. (is)

This show-stopping op art dress with vibrant colors is AMAZING. (is)

Super relevant simple style with high contrast. (is)

Super relevant simple style with high contrast. (is)

The late 60's-early 70's had such iconic style when it came to shoes. We love these over-the-top statement flats. (is)

The late 60's-early 70's had such iconic style when it came to shoes. We love these over-the-top statement flats. (is)

Minimalist vs. Maximalist (is)

Minimalist vs. Maximalist (is)

Floral prints for DAYS...(is)

Floral prints for DAYS...(is)

Carnaby Street style in a nutshell. (is)

Carnaby Street style in a nutshell. (is)

A more modern take on vintage fashion but everything they have is pretty amazing. (is)

A more modern take on vintage fashion but everything they have is pretty amazing. (is)

Classic, simple lines but killer style. (is) 

Classic, simple lines but killer style. (is

Pretty much anything Colleen Corby wore was amazing. (is)

Pretty much anything Colleen Corby wore was amazing. (is)

Sunnies in every shape. (is)

Sunnies in every shape. (is)

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shop update: limited edition necklaces

Sonam A.Comment

Tamer Animals S U M M E R 2017 C O L L E C T I O N

We are releasing a limited edition stock of printed pendant necklaces by designer/illustrator Taylor Parker (and TA founder) in honor of our rebranding campaign.

Taylor Parker is an architectural/textile designer, illustrator, children's book author, and maker. Through whimsical designs and vibrant colors she hopes to capture the beauty of abstraction through a marriage of nature and the built environment. These designs are a fun and playful way to liven up any wardrobe!

Features: 
*Printed design in a resin-filled silver-tone metal alloy bezel-style pendant. 
*Pendant is 1" in diameter.
*20" silver-tone metal chain with an adjustable closure.
* Simple, sophisticated design and a one-of-a-kind piece!

To view the collection, click here.

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daily drifter: diorama

daily drifterAlly R.Comment

 

di·o·ram·a

ˌdīəˈramə,ˌdīəˈrämə/

noun

  1. a model representing a scene with three-dimensional figures, either in miniature or as a large-scale museum exhibit.

    • historical

      a scenic painting, viewed through a peephole, in which changes in color and direction of illumination simulate changes in the weather, time of day, etc.. (source: google)

We find ourselves longing for this little finite space that can be controlled. This diorama, this little box, a glimpse into our world or someone else's.  In this place we are kings/queens. In this place we seek divination. We can go wherever we want to go, do whatever we want to do, and be whoever we want to be. In a world that is constantly in flux we stare into the abyss of this life that contains us, longing for the simplicity of childhood daydreams and seasons in the sun. But are we three-dimensional or just flagellating our vices for the masses? Are we a carving etched on history or a living, breathing real boy/girl living inside a scene that replays itself in a myriad of ways into dusk? Today we are searching for answers to whether we live inside this fragile frame or outside in a wild sea of ignorance. 

 

 

xoxo,

Ally

"Richmond, VA" by Ivan Echevarria

"Richmond, VA" by Ivan Echevarria

"cindysherman" by Julian Knaack

"cindysherman" by Julian Knaack

"Untitled" by Martine Eshuis

"Untitled" by Martine Eshuis

"allthingsredfrog" by Magdalena Bodzioch

"allthingsredfrog" by Magdalena Bodzioch

"Amor é montanha" by Tuane Eggers

"Amor é montanha" by Tuane Eggers

"Neon Caravan" by Naomi

"Neon Caravan" by Naomi

"Love Tester and Physical Fitness" by Oliver Liria

"Love Tester and Physical Fitness" by Oliver Liria

"Untitled" by gilbert terrazas

"Untitled" by gilbert terrazas

"US of A" by Louis Dazy

"US of A" by Louis Dazy

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interior superior: Aurelie's "Frozen Fever" Kid's Room Tour

interior superiorTaylor P.Comment

My daughter really, really, really loves Frozen. Like she is in mad love with it. She loves Elsa. She loves Anna. She especially loves Olaf (although her absolute favorite character is Hans hands-down. Go figure!) She is obsessed with the songs and seems very attentive to fairy tales in general. She loves nature and being outdoors so it was very important to bring aspects of those into the design. She adores The Sound of Music, too, so as I began restructuring her nursery I was trying to find some way to tie in all of the things she loves into one space.

The end result was more maximalist than I had anticipated, which is way outside of my usual wheelhouse as an architectural designer with an eye for minimalism. But over the years I have accepted a certain level of creative mess and I think for kids it is important to stimulate them and give them a space that is not so stoic that it becomes boring and lifeless. We do follow the Montessori method for many things but I guess we've sort of made our own chaotic version of it. Aurelie is incredibly bright and it seems like the more colors and textures that are around her the happier she is so there is quite a bit of emphasis on vibrancy. She was born in the late springtime and tends to gravitate towards a color palette that reflects that so many things in this room feature colors she tends to be drawn to. 

When I was younger my mother used to go all out and paint pictures of our favorite characters on the wall. There was something very endearing and special about that and I hope to continue that tradition. I do think decals are fun (and definitely easier to remove if you needed to very quickly,) but it feels so much more personal to take the time and design something for my daughter even if it isn't 100% perfect. Even though she'll probably change her preferences half a dozen times in the near future, seeing the big grin on her face lately when she sees her friends on the wall is well worth the work! 

The room was originally built with the first portion of the house sometime around the 1870's. Although it has been updated since, it still retains its high ceilings and lots of light. I wanted to create somewhere where she felt safe and free to let her imagination soar while also paying respect to the architectural details of the room. Although there are many things as a designer I would change, I love seeing her have a space all her own that reflects the unique individual she is and her interests! 
 

If you are currently in the planning process, here are some takeaways from this experience that may be of help to you:

1. Repurpose a Bookshelf
Every time I moved I kept lugging around a massive bookshelf. It was sturdy and it did its job well so it probably moved at least 5 times with me already! But one day I was trying to figure out what to build for Aurelie's books/toys and realized the shelf would be perfect. I made it horizontal and refinished it in an afternoon. I also had wooden dowels installed halfway up on some of the shelves so that she couldn't pull the heavier, higher books out and potentially hurt herself. We removed these recently but they worked perfectly! 
2. Brackets Are Your Friend
We used brackets for nearly every shelf and piece of furniture to bolt them into the walls. Not only do they serve their purpose perfectly but they also are great for uneven floors and walls that are not orthogonal in old houses like ours. 
3. Murals Are a Pain in the A**
The mountain mural took forever and because of the settling of the walls did not always match up perfectly. The painted ones took a long time as well. Are they totally worth it? YES. Are they awful to work on? YES. Just fair warning that it's more of a project than you'll anticipate initially!
4. Tacky Tile is Okay
I used to absolutely abhor the primary colored foam floor tiles, but in all admission my daughter is thrilled and has a blast with them. They may be tacky as all get-out but kids love them and they are worth the investment even if the style wants to make the inner designer in you cry just a little.
5. Don't Be Afraid to Experiment
Experiment! Her nursery was a lot of trial and error with moving things around. Kids grow so quickly and just because they are into something right now doesn't mean they will be tomorrow. It is good to be safe and try to stay within the bounds of what is realistic and has the  longest lifespan in your household-- but don't be afraid to step outside the box and try something completely unorthodox. Some of the best designs are caused by happy accidents.

What about you all? What are some successes/failures you have had when designing spaces?

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food coma: printable recipe cards! + our favorite drink ever!

Taylor P.Comment

I don't know about you guys but I love to cook. Do you ever create something that you love only to realize you don't remember the ingredients and amounts you put in to make it? BUMMER! 

But fret no more because we made ya'll an awesome and colorful set of recipe cards to enjoy! And the best part? It's FREE!

Titles, descriptions, measurements, ingredients, etc for your recipe-chronicling please. There is also a "f/c" for oven temperatures so you can bake whatever you want to perfection. NICE! We really love using them and hope you will as well! 

And here is our top-secret chai latte recipe that we have been drinking nonstop around the office! When I was in Pilsen in Chicago a couple of years ago I found a cute coffee shop that had basil-infused lattes. I loved the idea of that and it was mighty tasty! But my love of chai knew no bounds and I wanted to try something out just to see. Sure enough-- it is awesome with chai, too!:


Want your own set? Download our free printable recipe cards here and get cooking!

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GIVEAWAY YAY!: Cactus Necklace

giveaway! yay!Taylor P.Comment

🎈GIVEAWAY ALERT! 🎈

We're kicking off our Tamer Animals rebranding launch with some fun giveaways in the next few weeks! Yay! This giveaway includes a sweet little necklace from our new collection that will be available in our Etsy (http://tameranimals.etsy.com) and TA shops. It is a silver-tone metal ice resin-filled pendant with hand-painted/gouache cacti on a 20" chain. 

How to enter:

1. Follow our new Instagram account @tamer.animals! 

2. Like or comment on this post (here or on instagram!) 

For extra entries:

3. Tag a friend who might love this (or a few!)

4. Repost/share on instagram so other folks can join in on the fun! (And make sure to tag @tamer.animals or #tameranimalsgiveaway so we know you shared it!)

Fine print: Winner will be chosen at random on the morning of July 4th and notified via private message! This giveaway is in no way conducted by, sponsored, or administered by Instagram or Etsy. Participants must be 18 or older and contest is open to United States residents only at this time. 

#giveaway #giveaways #etsyshop #etsyseller #etsy #necklace #handmadejewelry #handmade #makersgonnamake #makersmovement #getcreative #jewelry #design #designer #tameranimalsgiveaway #contest #contestentry #win #winnerwinnerchickendinner #illustration #gouache #watercolor #cactus #cutegiveaway #giveawaytime #instagram

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roll call: summer

roll callSonam A.Comment

HELLO SUMMER!

This month is starting off with a bang (rebranding! yay!) and we have a bunch of new features, amazing products,  and new writers to add to the mix.  It's the season of rebirth and we're evolving into our best iteration yet! Click through the gallery below for a sneak peek of (just some of!) the magic coming this summer:

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daily drifter: freedom circa 1984

daily drifterAlly R.Comment
"Obscure Dogma" by Fabrizio Ara FAHC

"Obscure Dogma" by Fabrizio Ara FAHC

War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.
— George Orwell, 1984
"Untitled" by Toby Harvard

"Untitled" by Toby Harvard

"74110013" by Matsuki Narishige

"74110013" by Matsuki Narishige

"Dos imensos dias em que fomos tão grandiosamente pequenos" by Tuane Eggers

"Dos imensos dias em que fomos tão grandiosamente pequenos" by Tuane Eggers

"Untitled" by Martine Eshuis

"Untitled" by Martine Eshuis

"Untitled" by Lola Li

"Untitled" by Lola Li

"Williamsburg, VA" by Ivan Echevarria

"Williamsburg, VA" by Ivan Echevarria

"cherry pop" by Samantha Ashcraft

"cherry pop" by Samantha Ashcraft

Italy 2017" by Sofia Podestà

Italy 2017" by Sofia Podestà

"La musica è vita" by marcus greco

"La musica è vita" by marcus greco

"Entrance"  by Chang-Yeol Choi

"Entrance"  by Chang-Yeol Choi

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daily drifter: dusty clockless hours

daily drifterAlly R.1 Comment
"As montanhas também dançam, lentamente, a dança do desintegrar" by Tuane Eggers

"As montanhas também dançam, lentamente, a dança do desintegrar" by Tuane Eggers

Even the damned in Hell have the community of their suffering.
— CORMAC MCCARTHY, Suttree
"I'll be back soon" by Anton Krasnikov

"I'll be back soon" by Anton Krasnikov

"scirocco." by Guglielmo Cherchi

"scirocco." by Guglielmo Cherchi

"The Village in the Mountains" by Lucas Marcomini

"The Village in the Mountains" by Lucas Marcomini

"Jesus Christ Superstar" by Piero Donadeo

"Jesus Christ Superstar" by Piero Donadeo

"Portland OR . 2017" by gilbert terrazas

"Portland OR . 2017" by gilbert terrazas

"San Francisco, CA" by Ivan Echevarria

"San Francisco, CA" by Ivan Echevarria

"untitled" by Toby Harvard

"untitled" by Toby Harvard

"Untitled" by Kathryn Young

"Untitled" by Kathryn Young

"Self portrait" by The little fawn*

"Self portrait" by The little fawn*

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counterculture: Why I Make No Apologies

countercultureTaylor P.Comment

There was a point in my life when I was known as an “A-P-O-L-O-G-I-S-T.”

I literally was called this by more than one person and at the time it didn’t really bother me. I laughed about it, self-effacing, depreciating my self without a hint of awareness about what being such entailed. My awkward self would process things accordingly:

Them: “Ouch! I stubbed my toe!” 
Me: “I’m sorry!”

Them: “My dog died today.”
Me: “I’m so sorry!”

Them: “I hate my coworker so much!”
Me: “I’m sorry!”

What I probably should have followed up with would be an account of how I am a sensitive person, an empath, who feels things intuitively and picks up on their sorrow or pain. I just wasn’t sure how to say that in a way that didn’t sound ridiculous. By saying “I’m sorry” it meant so much more. It meant “I support you. I am here for you. I can imagine how that feels and it sucks. I am trying to walk in your shoes to understand.” So being labeled an apologist, over time, gets grating. Because I wasn’t apologizing just for the sake of apologizing— I was trying to connect in a meaningful way and did a poor job of it.

The more ironic thing was that an apologist isn’t even what I was. An “apologist” is actually “a person who offers an argument in defense of something controversial” according to the dictionary. I was just under-confident and unable to communicate fully. I have a history of feeling too much, thinking too much, and generally carrying all of that weight around for no reason other than some misguided overwhelming guilt and the unconscious thought that I somehow could take in someone’s pain or sadness so that they would feel less of it. I still wish this was how it worked because I would do it in a heartbeat. 

I totally believe that we should all take ownership of our actions and especially apologize meaningfully if a situation warrants an apology. There are so many times that I look back and wish I would have apologized for something I did or said. I can think of very few times in my life that I did something intentionally to inflict hurt on someone though (I can count those on one hand)— but when I have one can rest assured I probably felt worse than they did about it and agonized over it for many years.  Sometimes so much time has passed that it would be more awkward to apologize than to simply let it go and hope that the person knew you saw the error in your ways. I have a few of those, too, and I imagine they know I had regrets.  I still think about them and wish I would have had better awareness to make things right when things happened rather than waiting too long to where it was immaterial.  

But now in my thirties I have learned THAT there are things we should NOT apologize  for.

We should never apologize or make excuses for who we are or what we do. If I am living in righteous and humble ways, it’s not my responsibility if someone passes unfair judgement on me or makes false assumptions— That’s on them. Someone that has known me even for six months intimately would only know a small fraction of who I am, and I imagine most people are fairly complex, so I shouldn’t have to apologize for my complexity or my intensity. I am an extremely driven and aggressive person and I have implemented rather high standards over the years but the highest standards are on my shoulders. I am long-winded-- I love to write. I love the written word. I am a person of great verbosity and being apologetic will not phase me from being genuine and true to my form.  I have been and will probably always be a person that walks to to beat of my own drummer. I had an ex send me a video on dancing in a style he felt was more refined than my own and I said, "Why on Earth would I want to dance like everyone else? How boring!" Hell or high water, I dance the way I want to and don’t care if I look dumb doing it. I’ll apologize only when it negatively affects others. 

We should never apologize for not putting up with bad behavior. Nope, nope, nope, nope.  If someone mistreats me, I have every right to explicitly tell them how I feel about it. If it affects me, I shouldn’t have to apologize for standing up for myself. I have self-awareness enough these days to know when I am at fault or if the other person is at fault (or in many cases, if we both are.) I spent a lot of time holding my tongue in the past and it wounded me. Now I say exactly what I think with as much kindness as I can muster and in the end I have no regrets about that. I’m just learning to be a little bit more concise and straightforward about it. 

We should never apologize for having a past. Yes, I wore black in high school (FYI: not a gothic/devil-worshipper but just had an eating disorder and was ashamed of my body! THANKS, Naysaying Relatives!) I had a lot of boyfriends/partners. I was married once. I have debts. I changed majors. I owned a cafe/vintage store/venue that crashed and burned after a year. I come from a dysfunctional family. I started more projects than I can ever finish in this lifetime. I have had bad things happen to me that shouldn’t have happened to anyone ever. I did burlesque.  I used to cuss like a sailor. I used to drink and sang karaoke a bit too much.  I have written a few ranty-angsty letters before to boys— my point is, all of those things are part of the fabric of who I am, but they do not define me. Every year I grow, I become, and I transcend. I learn and evolve. The person that inherently defines me is my rather spirited character but the person I was even a year ago is a ghost and shadow of my former self—I barely recognize her at all. Life is fluid and ever-changing and so are we. 

We should never apologize for walking away in the spirit of self-preservation. If I have walked out on someone, there is a huge chance that I had really, really good reasons for doing so. It’s never a decision I make lightly.  It doesn’t mean I stopped caring about the person but it does mean I am not going to play anymore. I am too old to engage in toxic relations with people and want to focus that energy on the people and things that bring joy and passion into my life. 

We should never apologize for bad/sad/messy/off days. Sometimes we all have bad days— sometimes we’re antisocial or awkward and that is okay. I was super-guilty of being self-conscious about not being a “small talk” person or apologizing for being unhappy when legitimately horrible things were going on in my life— but no more. I’m letting that freak flag fly. Welcome to my (creative) mess. 

We should never apologize for being sensitive. I was often accused of being “oversensitive” in the past and now that I’m older I have kind of balanced out and am sensitive on a palatable level. But that doesn’t mean that I should never be allowed to cry, or be upset, or have actual emotions about anything. In a society of disconnect, being sensitive is a liability. My sensitivity is what comforts my daughter when she cries and cuts people slack when they clearly are having a rough patch. I should never have been made to feel ashamed for feeling things more deeply than some people do. 

I apologize for the things that matter.

I support those who need supporting and whether it comes out as “I’m sorry” or a long diatribe about how much I love and am there for them, it’s genuine and from the heart and people that take issue with that just need to get over it. I’m NOT sorry about that one. No one should ever have to apologize for being kind.

We should only apologize for the things that are worth apologizing about. We shouldn’t have to feel guilty or sorry about things that are out of our control. Just because someone doesn’t take ownership doesn’t mean you have to. We should use that energy in more profound and constructive ways to fuel our inner fires and become what we are meant to be. So guys— no apologies. You’re officially on notice! :)

 

 

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Let's Party!: 25 Amazing DIY Easter Egg Ideas You NEED in Your Life Right NOW

Maddie C.Comment

It's that time of year again where everything is full of life and flowers are blooming everywhere. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, there is something very wonderful about dyeing eggs. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood were in the kitchen, painting and dipping eggs and putting those little plastic shrink wraps with the chicken or bunny printed on them. Traditionally Easter eggs were a symbol of fertility/rebirth/bored farmers, but the egg game has definitely hardcore evolved the last few years (blame Pinterest!) I'm really excited to try some of these out with my own kids this year and make some new traditions and memories (terrarium eggs, anyone?!) I want to do them all--they're so pretty! What kind are you wanting to do this year? The possibilities are endless! 

via Artistic Moods (work by the talented Dinara Mirtalipova)

via Artistic Moods (work by the talented Dinara Mirtalipova)

via SheKnows
via Whole Foods

via Whole Foods

via My Poppet
via Oh Joy!
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daily drifter: feelin' fine, feelin' good

daily drifterAlly R.Comment
"老泥妹" by k ying wong

"老泥妹" by k ying wong

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.
— Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat
"neukölln." by Robert Basik

"neukölln." by Robert Basik

"icefalls" by Veronika Gilková

"icefalls" by Veronika Gilková

"..." by Stephane Grasset
"untitled" by Toby Harvard

"untitled" by Toby Harvard

"Chloé, 2017." by Giulia Micheila

"Chloé, 2017." by Giulia Micheila

"Noa | Worthy Is the Lamb" by michel nguie

"Noa | Worthy Is the Lamb" by michel nguie

"Rims" by Susan Blase

"Rims" by Susan Blase

"untitled" by Lucía Pereyra

"untitled" by Lucía Pereyra

"Klimt Memory" by Naomi

"Klimt Memory" by Naomi

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hygge: mint julip edition

hyggeMaddie C.Comment

These are the simple, cozy things. When the world is hectic and emotions are high, it is nice to focus on the feeling of the ground beneath your bare feet, the cool hardness of the ceramic plate, or the soft fluid feeling of petals. This week we are rounding up some of our favorite minty marvels from across the world:

sources  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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daily drifter: the accolades

daily drifterAlly R.Comment
Pietrisycamollaviadelrechiotemexity.
— Lemony Snicket

In matters of meritocracy, sometimes we haven't the faintest idea what is going on. We humbly oblige some more moderate version of ourselves to demonstrate how to behave in modern society, yet our current society is full of upheaval and a future that has yet to be determined. We call them the accolades, these momentary glimpses of privilege and centrifugal forces that we often take for granted.  Some call it divination or intervention. We walk blindly or swim into their seas, letting the current and the windswept sand direct us where we're meant to go and where we belonged all along. 

 

xoxo,
Ally

"Untitled" by Alex Dietrich

"Untitled" by Alex Dietrich

"homesick" by Giuliana Massaro

"homesick" by Giuliana Massaro

"red 6" by William Boulter

"red 6" by William Boulter

"Flight over Nazca desert" by _GOZ_

"Flight over Nazca desert" by _GOZ_

"Untitled" by Kathryn Young

"Untitled" by Kathryn Young

"Selfie underneath the stars" by Matthijs Bettman

"Selfie underneath the stars" by Matthijs Bettman

"San Francisco, CA" by Ivan Echevarria

"San Francisco, CA" by Ivan Echevarria

"hopes" by topshiha sultana

"hopes" by topshiha sultana

"My city through my eyes" by Maria Evgenidu

"My city through my eyes" by Maria Evgenidu

"Untitled" by Benedetta Falugi

"Untitled" by Benedetta Falugi

"Portland OR  .  2016" by Gilbert Terrazas

"Portland OR  .  2016" by Gilbert Terrazas

"De nuevo al frio" by Em Bernatzky

"De nuevo al frio" by Em Bernatzky

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counterculture: and like the phoenix, i rise, i rise || ten meditations

countercultureTaylor P.
"lone descent" by Dafni Kemeridou

"lone descent" by Dafni Kemeridou

THE RISING TIDE

Life can be painful and confusing but at the end of the day every experience shapes and molds us. The end goal (we hope) is that we evolve into better, kinder, wiser versions of ourselves. The older I get, the more I try to refine myself as a person and become a better version of myself. But that better version isn't without growing pains or failures. There are many times I have made lapses of judgement, poor choices, and thrown caution to the wind. I will continue making mistakes and I know that, but I will do my best not to make as many.

When I had my daughter, something within me changed. I am no longer the person I once was-- in a way I became the person I used to be, only I took a detour. In some ways it has made me more loving and patient, but in other ways it has made me more discerning about who or what I want in my life for the next cycle. I am no longer shackled to the things that held me captive before, and although there are different limitations now, I feel more responsive to the world and more confident about my place in it.

Last year I crumbled to dust and was almost swept away by the events of life, but somehow I found courage and strength to rise from the ashes. I am no longer the same but something different. But it also means no longer tolerating that which does not create happiness. When any relationship, big or small, brings you more pain than joy it is time to let go. If I have learned nothing else these last 31 years, it is that I now know when to walk away and when to stay. 

I am focusing on raising our daughter and giving her an awesome start at life as much as I am able. I have started meditating have been on a silent self-improvement campaign, living mindfully, and streamlining my life. I am surrounding myself with people that are not so focused on material things, or status, or constantly dwelling in negativity or drama. Although I have always been one to take accountability or eat crow where it is due, I am furthering those initiatives by being more self-aware and preventative. I am more determined to build and maintain those relationships where it feels mutual and being the best mom, daughter, girlfriend, friend, and acquaintance I can be. I am educating myself on so many subjects right now, kickstarting a business, writing books, volunteering, and throwing myself into my new job with all of its meaningful work. I am casting out disingenuous friendships and dishonest relations and striving toward being around people who have integrity and make me want to be and do more. Selfish and selfless but nevertheless growing. But I want to be a better version of myself for my family and for myself


Throughout this process, I often return to these TEN Meditations Fit For a Phoenix:

1.  ACCEPT (AND RESPECT) WHAT WE CANNOT CHANGE
I read this article and it really resonated with me. I think much of the time we feel like we are in control but it is such an illusory idea that we have control over anything in our lives. Even our decisions, however minor, generally have a process. It can be frustrating to recognize this powerlessness within us. However, there is great courage in allowing everyone the space and respect to be their own person. There is great sacrifice in loving yourself and accepting that your power lies not in what you can control but how you navigate the sea of change. 

2.  NEVER REMAIN NEUTRAL (BUT TAKE THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE OFTEN)
The great Elie Wiesel once said: "We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere." I think it is important to have integrity and stand up for yourself (or others) when there is injustice. Remaining neutral may be peaceful but it order to help influence change in our society or improve the quality of life for others it is of paramount importance that we find our voices and be willing to intelligently and compassionately support those who need our support.  If we can take the path of least resistance, that is ideal, but in all things we should be mindful of
the fact that collectively we have the opportunity to make big or small changes within our circles or communities if we are willing to try. 

3. FORGIVE WHAT WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND
We all make mistakes and misunderstandings are a direct result of not being the same person. I know I am often guilty of only seeing my perspective until I remind myself that other people process things differently and no one is wrong in that respect. Perception is reality. So I am very conscious of trying to think through the motivations of others and attempt to understand where they are coming from and why they do the things they do. I may not forget the transgressions but this has allowed me to forgive them, for the human error exists in us all. Just because I don't understand something or share the same values doesn't mean that the other person’s process is any less valuable or real. This fantastic guided meditation by Deepak Chopra is so helpful in combatting the negative and disparate feelings resulting from this confusion. 

4. TAKE COMFORT IN THE PASSING OF TIME
When my childhood pets died suddenly, I thought I would never heal. I probably cried every day for at least a year. They were with me through so much of my life and the world felt very empty and lonely without them there. The grieving process for any end can be long or short, fast or slow, and has its own way of operating. Grief doesn't have a timeline or a guidebook. Whether a physical death or a figurative one, we are reminded of our mortality, of the clock ticking, and of the feelings associated with uncertainty. We must take comfort in the fact that we are able to have time now to manifest change within ourselves and within our lives. Rather than taking a fatalistic approach to life, we should make every minute count with those we hold dear and consciously not take them for granted. We can take comfort in the fact that slow or fast, we can choose to create wonderful experiences during the passage of time that will be timeless. 

5. BE PRESENT
Along with being more self-aware, being present in our lives is of great importance. I know at times I am guilty of looking at my phone a bit too much or distracting myself from feeling or experiencing on more profound levels just to escape momentarily, but in an age where connection is fleeting we need to be more present and in touch with not only ourselves but the world around us. There are so many details we probably miss every day if we would just look up and interact with our environment and the ironies of life. 

6. REFLECT ON IMPROVEMENT
Start a bullet journal. List goals, accomplishments, and create detailed plans for improvement. Really evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on the person you want to be without the limitations of societal or personal obstacles and outline the steps to achieve your dreams, even if you don't know what you want 100%

7. BE MORE VULNERABLE
Don't let bad experiences hold you back from love or happiness. I know for me personally I accumulated bad experiences in a mental suitcase and traveled around from place to place saying,"Oh no-- I've seen this before." It wasn't until I met my current boyfriend that I realized that after years of thinking I had all these issues and hangups that made me unloveable that I actually DIDN'T have those things-- I just made poor choices in who I made myself vulnerable to and often we were incompatible in that respect. So I went into this relationship with no roadmap-- I went in sans suitcase and I found that by being MORE vulnerable, letting my guard down, and not letting my past mistakes discolor the very bright and sunny portrait that I was-- I was loved and accepted for who I am intrinsically, regardless of my faults. And now I don't feel the anxiety, fears, or insecurities that came with all of the others because I am being the best self I can be (not what someone else expected me to be) and being completely transparent. 

8. TAKE A LEAP INTO THE UNKNOWN
Like many of you, I have fears: fears of failure, fears of financial ruin, etc. Real, legitimate, crazy making fears about not being good enough. When we constantly compare ourselves to others and their successes, we are focusing meaningful energy on something useless and depressing. Sometimes we have to take calculated risks and take chances that we normally would talk ourselves out of. By putting the focus back on ourselves and taking INSPIRATION from the things that enrich our souls rather than being green with envy over what we feel we have yet to accomplish, we can map positive strategies to maximize our success. Be consistent. Be intentional. Rather than worry about potential failure, reorient your mindset to what success looks like and attempt to make your dreams come true. You won't know if you can succeed if you never try it. 

9.  CREATION IS CATHARTIC
There seems to be a strong correlation between wellbeing and creation for those geared toward more artistic endeavors.It is a mutually symbiotic relationship.  I feel more alive, more vibrant, and more confident when creating things than in any other aspect of my life. It is my lifeblood, how I recuperate, and is generally what keeps me in good spirits the majority of days. Having that outlet is important. When faced with a creative block, I have to really work hard at other areas of my life to generate the enthusiasm needed to sustain the same level of expansive optimism that I normally take for granted. The catharsis lies in the ability to channel more articulate ways of doing things, as the more you do a particular task the better you can accomplish it in the future. By creating, you maintain some semblance of control. Like other creators and artists, you can find unique ways that work for you to get the creative energy flowing. 

10. RISE ABOVE
Always be your best self. Always treat people as you would like to be treated. Respect those is different situations from your own. Don't rush to judgement. Remember that when you face adversity, it builds your character. If you aren't changing then you are stagnating. Rise above your limitations. Rise from the ashes and become your higher self. 


What are some things you do regularly to improve your life?


 

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daily drifter: burning bridges

daily drifterAlly R.Comment
How can you rise if you have not burned?
— Hiba Fatima Ahmad

The theme this week around here has been a poignant one. We ask ourselves two questions:

1) How far do we persevere to lose ourselves for love?

and 2) When do we know when to give up?

There are no simple answers. Situations are complicated-- relationships are complicated. We live in a digital age where friendship is often a shell, a guise, surrounded by fragile bridges. We strike those matches, say that we have had enough, and let those fires of Babylon burn. 

In order to rise above we must fall below. It takes great adversity to often build the best character and sometimes takes burning bridges to find other routes to our destination. The journey of life is a series of layers-- we are constructed of stars and finer things. But beneath our sordid frame lies a fire that burns ever brightly, ready to engulf that which needs transcending. I am the Phoenix. Watch me burn and live again. 

Have you ever burned a bridge? Did you strike the match and never look back?

"Self portrait." by The little fawn*

"Self portrait." by The little fawn*

"A luz saindo pelos olhos" by Tuane Eggers

"A luz saindo pelos olhos" by Tuane Eggers

"STRTLGHT" by Anthony Bailey

"STRTLGHT" by Anthony Bailey

"Di nuovo verrà l'estate V" by nonplusultra22

"Di nuovo verrà l'estate V" by nonplusultra22

"dry the river" by Christopher Mongeau

"dry the river" by Christopher Mongeau

"pomelo fruit 6" by William Boulter

"pomelo fruit 6" by William Boulter

"untitled" by Joseph Rustia

"untitled" by Joseph Rustia

"untitled" by David Paton

"untitled" by David Paton

"18A_0142" by Andi Singer

"18A_0142" by Andi Singer

"the light" by Adrielly Alves

"the light" by Adrielly Alves

"pragmatic anarchism" by Michel Nguie

"pragmatic anarchism" by Michel Nguie

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daily drifter: everything is alright | everything is finite

daily drifterAlly R.Comment
When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.

When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.
— Wisława Szymborska

President Obama spoke tonight for the last time as President. Regardless of your political leanings, I know many of you feel the difference in the air. The world feels unsettled and listless but full of sparks of energy and hope. The future is full of confusion and exhilaration. We wake up every morning saying a silent mantra of "I'm OK" but are we really? We're sitting on a thin line between war and peace and we're worried about when and where the other shoe may drop.

Yet on some levels we are at war within ourselves. We sit on the precipice of change yet we stare into the brightness of our screens and drink our caloric maximum to dull the sensation of having no control. We have faith or lack it but there is this air of difference that permeates everyone and everything. We distance ourselves to stay intact and fear being vulnerable to the dangers and pleasures that life brings.

I'm OK. You're OK. Everything is alright. Everything is finite.

What does yesterday, today, and tomorrow look like for you?  
 
                                                                                        <3, A

"Sadness is a blessing" by Sacha Bertrand

"Sadness is a blessing" by Sacha Bertrand

"Surrogate" by Piero Donadeo

"Surrogate" by Piero Donadeo

"Untitled" by Toby Harvard

"Untitled" by Toby Harvard

"Untitled" by elif yalim

"Untitled" by elif yalim

"Untitled" by William Danton

"Untitled" by William Danton

"White (II)" by Isabella Bubola

"White (II)" by Isabella Bubola

"Untitled" by Kristina Zdravkov

"Untitled" by Kristina Zdravkov

"Somos um pedaço de cada possibilidade" by Tuane Eggers

"Somos um pedaço de cada possibilidade" by Tuane Eggers

". | barracks without soldiers" by I'm from Caravaggio

". | barracks without soldiers" by I'm from Caravaggio

"Untitled" by Em Bernatzky

"Untitled" by Em Bernatzky

"When the summer heat dissolves memories" by AirSonka

"When the summer heat dissolves memories" by AirSonka

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interior superior: the city in color

interior superiorSonam A.Comment

This week we are very enthusiastic about adding those little pops of color and texture into our spaces. Whether "home" is in the city or in the suburbs, our wellbeing is often influenced by the spaces we inhabit (see this article and this one for more info.) Many in the design industry know this quite well, but what about the rest of us? Here is a weekly roundup of some unique ways you can add a more dynamic aesthetic to your living space. Elevate your mood = elevate your life, right? 

Also, if you're a creative native, don't feel bad if you're not a "minimalist." A lot can be said for a messy desk (or house.) For example, you might be a creative genius. Or maybe you are just a sloth like me-- I won't judge! 

P.S.--We are HUGE fans of this fantastic app. You should be, too!

Warm matte finished wood and pops of complimentary colors can add so many happy vibes to an otherwise plain kitchen (source)

Warm matte finished wood and pops of complimentary colors can add so many happy vibes to an otherwise plain kitchen (source)

Patterned tile in your kitchen or bathroom is great, but taking a color out of it and reproducing it in your textiles or dinnerware is even better! How pretty is this? (source)

Patterned tile in your kitchen or bathroom is great, but taking a color out of it and reproducing it in your textiles or dinnerware is even better! How pretty is this? (source)

Sometimes your "pop" of color can be warm tones against cooler ones. The result is clean, modern, and inviting. (source)

Sometimes your "pop" of color can be warm tones against cooler ones. The result is clean, modern, and inviting. (source)

Live plants, warm earthy shades (green, blue, and brown) can liven up a space while still looking effortless. (source)

Live plants, warm earthy shades (green, blue, and brown) can liven up a space while still looking effortless. (source)

Adding an accent pop of color in a room and tying it in throughout the house with your belongings can aid in pulling a theme together without being overbearing. (source)

Adding an accent pop of color in a room and tying it in throughout the house with your belongings can aid in pulling a theme together without being overbearing. (source)

Vintage vibes abound, using complimentary vintage pieces and poppy bright colors (such as on the door) can be party in the front and business in the back. We love how these vintage pieces mesh so well with the new ones! That rug really pulls everything together also by adding playful texture. (source)

Vintage vibes abound, using complimentary vintage pieces and poppy bright colors (such as on the door) can be party in the front and business in the back. We love how these vintage pieces mesh so well with the new ones! That rug really pulls everything together also by adding playful texture. (source)

Happy murals, bright (but not too bright) colors, and whimsical rugs can create a safe and imaginative space for the kiddos. (source)

Happy murals, bright (but not too bright) colors, and whimsical rugs can create a safe and imaginative space for the kiddos. (source)

Although we wouldn't recommend doing this to EVERY wall or EVERY room, extremely bright pigments can be eye-catching and spur the creative native in you to action (as can coffee.) (source)

Although we wouldn't recommend doing this to EVERY wall or EVERY room, extremely bright pigments can be eye-catching and spur the creative native in you to action (as can coffee.) (source)

Unique geometries and bright contrasting colors really make this space feel comfortable and friendly. (source)

Unique geometries and bright contrasting colors really make this space feel comfortable and friendly. (source)

The pops of color here and wood texture are phenomenal and make the room seem cozy despite its size. (source)

The pops of color here and wood texture are phenomenal and make the room seem cozy despite its size. (source)

Prints with similar styles and colors can work beautifully together while creating interest.  (source)

Prints with similar styles and colors can work beautifully together while creating interest.  (source)

Bright colors work well against wood furnishings and white walls while not appearing overly cluttered or ambiguous. (source)

Bright colors work well against wood furnishings and white walls while not appearing overly cluttered or ambiguous. (source)

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counterculture: becoming velveteen in 2017

countercultureTaylor P.Comment
"Untitled" by Kathryn Young

"Untitled" by Kathryn Young

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.
— Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

 

 b e c o m i n g 

In 2016 I was faced with the daunting task of reevaluating myself as a person and as a company. I was forced (sometimes kicking and screaming) to embrace my imperfections as a new mother, daughter, girlfriend, and brand identity and it caused many direct and indirect changes in how I decided to move forward with this brand and its complexities.

I came into the beginning of the 2016 a very broken person without a definitive direction. I had lost my job I loved, completely lost my motivation, a lifelong dream felt like it had died, and I was in a very painful relationship that was sucking the very heart out of me. I became much colder as a person, more distracted, and the blog suffered as a result. But in the midst of chaos there are little miracles that give us greater insight into who we are and where we need to be.

2016 was a year of profound change for me on a personal level and it helped me reconnect with my higher self, my true self, in ways that were nearly a decade in the making. I became a new mom after a very horrible pregnancy and childbirth experience but it gave me strength I never knew I had and the confidence to let go of fears about myself and my competency as a human being. I had to take time out, which I never had the time to do the past several years, and that made me reevaluate who I was as a person and where I wanted to be. I was able to do a lot of self-reflection and the mental and emotional footwork that can only come in solitude and time which made me a better person in all aspects of my life. It started out as a very destructive year and ended as a very healing one in which I came to terms with the fact that I was stronger and more capable than I ever realized. Even when tragedy might have struck, as it almost did multiple times this year in sometimes major ways, I was able to overcome fear and anxiety in ways I previously had been unable to. 

b e c o m i n g  REAL 

I transitioned into this new year learning that success isn't always a linear process. Sometimes it means taking two steps forward and two steps back (or, in my case, ten) to be able to articulate yourself correctly. Sometimes it means reevaluating the image you see for yourself and making adjustments to your perception of who you are as a person versus who you are as a quantitative brand. Talking about ourselves so often while engaging in a balancing act between being publicly present  and disengaging our egos can be a tough act to follow at times.

I think as a creative person it can be quite difficult to put yourself out there as a brand in a way that doesn't become disingenuous and self-serving. For me, being introverted in an extroverted way often becomes uncomfortable. You are letting people into your private life or at the very least a carefully curated image of who you are and what you want to present as a divine truth of your character or vision. Because at the end of the day, on some level, it is a business or a gallery showing-- there is really no escaping the reality that it is not intrinsically genuine 100% of the time no matter how much you wish it were otherwise. That would be impossible to achieve even with the best intentions. And by speaking so much about my personal experiences, I fear that it comes across as a level of narcissism and superiority that doesn't actually exist within me. I am much happier behind the brand, behind the scenes where I am not a figurehead for a cause. 

In my daily life, I often strive for being honest to a fault and transparent so it is sometimes difficult for me to "put myself out there" when I really just want to bury my head in the sand and pretend someone else is manning the helm that is prettier, wealthier, and more creative. We often want to come across as more put together, more light and airy, more fun and vibrant-- all while engaging in the daily struggles of existence that never make it from pen to paper because of fear or hesitation to show what is more sacred and less interesting to the masses.

For myself as a company it has been a long and arduous journey fraught with may hats and may mistakes along the way. I feel as if I am always embarking on some new venture or another. This blog has been a labor of love-- of finding what works and what doesn't. Life gets in the way and despite my best intentions it usually leads to a hiatus as a result of the ill-fated writer's block that comes with piling too many things on your plate at once. I'm surprised I'm not a culinary genius at this point with having so many pans in the fire! Consistency has been a disappointing and unachievable goal placed on the back burner somewhere between careful planning and differing reality.

This distilled version of myself is something I struggle with, as I often think if we push data too far in one direction we become flat and meaningless but the other direction we can come off as narcissistic and petty. For anyone that knows me on a deeply personal level it is probably quite surprising that I would choose to brand myself so publicly as I am an intensely private person. I struggled with poor self-image most of my life and was extremely uncomfortable when put in situations where I had to share myself or sell my persona as something shiny or flawless. 

I grew up with my nose in books and my head in the stars so I am not interested in the spotlight but as a lifestyle blogger I know that branding is important. You are selling yourself as a brand and not a breathing entity at times and need to meet the expectations of your readers even if they differ from actual concrete reality. This can be often be disconcerting and exhausting, though, because there is often a pretty obvious disconnect between the integrity of who you are as an evolving person and the stability of your image as a "brand." We don't think it matters but as a rule most people don't like change and there is an unspoken level of perfection that we like to see other people strive for in order to inspire that vision of perfection for ourselves. 

I am probably the least likely person to win the perfection award but perfection can be achieved when we stop holding unrealistic expectations of what perfection is which has been a tough lesson for me in life. So if I have any actual goals this year for this blog on a personal level, they are to be more articulate  and more genuine as a person and as a brand. You will likely not see perfection this year but instead be privy to little imperfections, tiny failures, and something more representative of being more tangible.

 


For the new year, my current process is three simple words: BE MORE VULNERABLE.

What is your mantra for the new year? 

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