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The award-winning Fathom Magazine is celebrating Sicily this week.  I’m trilled that I get to join in the festivities.

IMG_4629My article is about Sicily and the solo traveler.

When I booked my trip, I didn’t think it was a big deal that I was traveling alone.   Then once everyone and their mother kept saying, “Wow, you’re going to Sicily by yourself?!”, I started to get nervous.

You can read about my Sicilian adventures HERE.

The entire series is fantastic.  I want to book a trip now.

 

In the States we tend to define ourselves by what we do for a living.  Therefore, working in any creative field is not easy.  There’s the whole art vs business debate, the struggle to actually make a living, and the fact that most people have no idea what it is you do day-to-day.

I sometimes buy into this, feeling unanchored because I cannot be put into a specific category.   The last time I was in Los Angeles, I was speaking with a friend who’s an agent at CAA.  He  told me that I was over-thinking everything.  I could decorate and write.  I didn’t have to choose one over the other.

My brain couldn’t process this.  How could I BE two things at the same time?!

Thankfully, several of my very talented friends reminded me that creative people are creative.  Basta.   If you’re a truly creative person, you will not be fulfilled unless you are able to do the work that inspires you. It doesn’t matter what the medium is.  They also told me to stop confusing what we do with who we are.

Robert Downey Jr acts.  He also sings… well.  This confuses some people.  I don’t know why.  This is not a Paris Hilton “Stars Are Blind” situation.

Here he is singing one of my favorite Police songs.   I love his little dance move at the end.  I do that too but in the privacy of my own home.

Buon weekend!

All over my neighborhood are signs like this:

siamoferieBefore I was on Hollywood’s schedule, so August was a busy time for me.  While all my friends and neighbors fled the August heat and tourists, I stayed behind in Rome writing and pitching TV projects.

Now I’m on a local schedule and it’s a trip.   Last week I was running around town making sure to touch base with my vendors before they closed up shop for the month.

There will be NO furniture deliveries in August.

September will be out of control.  Everything is being pushed to that month.

In the meantime, I’m going to use this period to catch up on office paperwork. I also need to find more space in my tiny apartment for all the new books I have.  I’m literally running out of room.

One friend (who just left town for the rest of the month) suggested I see a few movies.  Then we started laughing because most of the movie theaters are closed too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Felicia and I met a few years ago through a friend in NYC.   She’s wicked smart, funny, and has a killer sense of style.  Along with being a ridiculously talented writer, Felicia is also a gifted photographer, baker, and cook.

Felicia recently left her high-powered/profile job and is traveling in Italy and France for three weeks.  It’s not easy to walk away from something that looks great on paper (especially in this economy).  It takes a certain kind of fearlessness to step toward the unknown.

I love her blog. The way Felicia writes about life, love, food, etc. is extraordinary.

I just read her Florence dispatch and I all I have to say is, “I need to book a train ticket pronto.”  I hope her writing and her photos will inspire you.

Buon Weekend!

 

I was at a Rome Bloggers meet up a few months ago and one of my fellow bloggers told me she missed my old blog.

My former blog was more personal and a bit all over the place.  One day I would write about politics , or my friend’s big Italian wedding, and the next day about some silly pop-culture thing like the horrific “Kwanzaa Cake” made by Sandra Lee.

The blogging world has changed a great deal since 2005.  It’s become a big business and very niche.

When I first started this blog I felt a lot of pressure to keep it extremely focused.  I understood the advice from my social media savvy friends.  They would ask me questions like,”What’s the point of your blog? What are your goals for the blog?  What IS your blog, personal, design, lifestyle, expat?”

Something clicked when I read my friend Felicia’s recent post.

I should worry less about labeling my blog or trying to shoe-horn it into a very narrow space.

Design blogs are more than pretty pictures. The popular ones have a POV or narrative that’s engaging.  They have to be, thanks in part to the explosive success of Pinterest.

Interior design is influenced by many things… art, fashion, music, film, travel, the list goes on.   I like to write about those subjects as well and I will.

It’s a new year and time to loosen the strings a little.

 

 

 

Last month I attended Kathryn M. Ireland’s Interior Design Bootcamp in Los Angeles.

That would be Kathryn the internationally known designer, NOT Kathy the former SI cover model.  One Hollywood exec said to me, “I thought you were talking about the model the entire time.  Alas, now our conversation has become less interesting to me.”  Too funny.  Gotta love Hollywood.

It would be hard to describe a packed four day schedule in one short blog post.  Overall, it was fantastic experience.  I was very impressed by Kathryn and her team, Jen, Rebecca, and Francesca.  I learned a lot and enjoyed meeting my fellow bootcampers.

There were only seven of us.  Six were in different stages of our careers. One bootcamper had a new house.  For her it was a good opportunity to see how a designer works.  Some bootcampers had degrees in Interior Design and their own showrooms, while others were self taught and just starting out.  It was a great mix.

If you watch the show MILLION DOLLAR DECORATORS or have read anything about Kathryn you know that along with being a talented textiles and interior designer, she’s a fantastic host.  We met some heavy hitters in the business and it says something about Kathryn that everyone she introduced us to was warm, and down-to-earth.

The workshop was organized (binders, books, baked goods!)  We received excellent nuts and bolts information and advice about the business of design.   There were guest speakers who talked about the state of the industry, branding, product development, publicity, and social media.

We also visited several high profile showrooms with Kathryn, like Lucca, Nathan Turner, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Peter Dunham, Christopher Farr, Jasper, Pat McGann, etc.

Martyn’s was our last showroom stop. He had drinks and quips for us.

There was down time too (and plenty of wine with meals). We went on a hike in Will Rogers State Park with sick views of the Pacific.  It wasn’t mandatory but a nice way to kick off a long day.  That day we visited  Kathryn’s print shop.  She opened it in Los Angeles instead of outsourcing the work.  The time it takes to hand print fabric is no joke and that’s why it’s expensive.

We worked on our mood/presentation boards for our projects with input from Kathryn and her team.  I wanted to pull my hair out as I tried to draw my floor plans by hand. Luckily for me, one of my fellow bootcampers was a kitchen and bath designer.  She talked me down off the ledge.

I can’t really say which highlight (there were many) of the workshop was my favorite.  I can say I returned to Rome feeling excited about the future and inspired.

For more information about future Bootcamps, check out Kathryn’s WEBSITE.

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I do have a laptop, a phone, and other modern electronics, but I love putting pen to paper.

For a while I tried to keep a To-Do-List on my computer.  However, for some reason, I kept going back to using legal pads to make my long lists.  It made no sense to have two lists going.  I had to get organized.

Moleskin Daily Planner

Finally, a few weeks ago I bought a Moleskine Planner.

I’m a big Moleskine fan.

Moleskine Daily Planner

This one book has helped me so much.  I like being able to physically cross things off my list as I complete them.

Design-wise, I adore the stylish simplicity.  These well crafted books are made without distracting bells and whistles.

Are you old-school too or a computer only type of list maker?

For those who don’t watch NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”, here are two clips explaining what the heck the title of this post is referring to.

Not having a steady paycheck is of course one of the major downsides of starting your own company and/or being a writer.  Your landlord doesn’t care if your latest script is hilarious.  If it doesn’t sell, you can’t pay your rent.

Another downside is the lack of structure.  I work from home.  My laptop is always around.  I don’t take the weekends off.  I feel guilty if I’m not working on novel number two, tweaking the AGD business plan, finishing a rewrite on a spec, working on my TV idea pitches, etc.

The thing is, I’m producing diminishing returns.  I’m fried.

I finally hit the wall last week.  While I do have a slew of pitches coming up, (which I have no control over), I have to get some kind of schedule in place.

I also need to treat myself once in a while.  I have been so severe with my budget, it’s insane.  I can account for every single euro I spend.

I have no desire to have credit card debt or to be irresponsible.  But I cannot continue to live the way I’m living.   Something has to change.

So, I’m going to loosen the reins a little.

Treat. Yo. Self. 2012 has begun.

I’m in shock.  Nobody outside her immediate family knew she was even ill.   Here’s a link to the ABC News breaking report about her death.

While she may be better known for her films, Nora was also a very witty journalist/novelist.  Her book “I Feel Bad About My Neck” is hilarious.

Nora and her words will be truly missed.

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