Archive | October, 2010

Ghouls and Giveaways

29 Oct

Sunday is Halloween and we hope you are all getting your ghoulish costumes ready and carving your pumpkins or whatever you like to do on this spooky holiday. Here are a few links to inspire you in between trick-or-treaters and haunted houses.

+ Here is a fun giveaway from the always adorable Rifle Paper Co. They are giving away 2 sets of their cute new Monogram Cards!

+ Anthology magazine is giving away a roll of wallpaper designed by Joy D. Cho of Oh Joy! in addition to a book on Wallpaper Projects by Chronicle books.

+ I LOVE candy corn! Check out Amy Atlas’ ideas on candy corn treats and then over to her fun Halloween Game + Giveaway!

+ Have a costume and don’t know where to go yet? Here are some Halloween events in the KC area. Have you heard of a better one? Let us know!

Have a great weekend and Happy Halloween!

{lanterns via Party City}


DAN MEINERS of Studio Dan Meiners

26 Oct


If you look closely, you will find a ribbon of artistic ability, a natural creativity, woven within each and every one of us.  Within some, that ribbon remains hidden.  In others, it is displayed more prominently but requires regular maintenance; food by way of inspiration, training to sharpen the skill.  Still, there are those very few individuals within whom it is so prominent, so pervasive, that it is who they are.  Purposeful.  Unthinking.  Reflexive.  And whatever it is, it eludes many of us, fascinates us, leaving us to wonder how and what and why.

It is this fascination, coupled with natural curiosity that led me to attend the autumn open house at Studio Dan Meiners in late September.  There to check out the new retail/event/studio space, rub elbows with other creative folk, and get some much-needed design inspiration, I wandered through and around the space taking in all of the displays and everything contained within each one.  I walked slowly so that I would not miss even the slightest of merchandising intricacies.  Soon I found myself deep in a conversation about blogging and social media with a new acquaintance when I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder.  I turned around to see that it was my friend Alex who had brought none other than the man himself, Dan Meiners, over to meet me.  After being properly introduced I found myself being whisked off on a personal tour of the recently renovated, unveiled space, ending up in Dan’s personal office – impeccably styled and complete with well-placed art and picture books.  He was so warm, welcoming, and personable that I felt instantly like a trusted member of his family.  I walked away from that evening wondering how someone with such creative genius coursing through his body could be so – no offense – normal, down-to-earth, and accessible.  I left with a desire to know more.

So when I sat in his office two weeks later, having talked my way into a meeting with him, and we later agreed that I would write a three-part blog series about him, I never imagined that the assignment would also include a work-out and weight-loss program.  As I would soon find out, one long gazelle-like stride of Dan’s equals three of my own.  And that is how I spent much of one Saturday, desperately trying to keep up with the city’s top floral and event designer as he directed his team and transformed the Imperial ballroom of the downtown Marriott Muehlbach Tower for the annual BOTAR Ball.

I arrived at Dan’s studio and event space early in the morning on Saturday, October 16th to find a large team all in branded t-shirts working diligently.  They were loading several trucks with flowers and greenery and props, finishing centerpieces, building and hanging beautiful space dividers from long strands of crystal pieces, and putting together a chuppah, among other things.  With three events scheduled for that day – a wedding at Longview Mansion, a wedding and reception at the Studio Dan Meiners event space, and the BOTAR Ball – each team member had an important part to play in making sure that each event was carried off with precision.  Before I knew it, they had driven off in their loaded delivery trucks and I was alone at the studio with the small crew setting up the space for the wedding and reception that would take place later that day.

Meanwhile, Dan was sitting in his Jeep, inching slowly through re-directed traffic from the morning’s marathon race that wound through the Plaza.  Needless to say, when he arrived at the studio a half hour behind schedule he moved like a man on a very important mission.  I had been warned that he kept a quick pace, but I’m pretty sure “lightning speed” never came out of his mouth.  After a quick greeting, he went immediately about the day’s work, checking in with his team, constantly assessing, moving, asking, directing, adjusting, assuring, and directing some more.

Over the course of the day I heard him raise his voice only once, though he quickly cooled, and the only hint of insecurity I managed to find was when he was asked by the event photographer to pose for some photographs.  Heaping praise upon Dan as he snapped the staged shots, the photographer managed to knock him off-balance for just a moment.  I believe I even saw him blush a bit.  It is apparent that being the center of attention is unnatural and somewhat embarrassing for the man who grew up in the Kansas City area and in the business, and who many know and still refer to as “Danny”.

Upon finishing some prep work at the studio, we hopped into his Jeep for a very quick ride to the Muehlbach where he would focus the bulk of his time and attention.  Though the set-up in the ballroom was predictably fraught with minor issues – the color of a flower being somewhat “off” from what was anticipated, tables being moved once they had been detailed, and a lighting crew who tested the time frame for completing their part of the work – he remained the picture of calm, a trait he says has served him quite well in his business.  He worked tirelessly on nearly every piece of the elaborate design, from setting the centerpieces, showing the team of helpers how he wanted the napkins folded, detailing tables and even setting some of the accent lighting himself.

The BOTAR committee had come to him with their theme for the event and ideas for the space approximately six months prior.  And he, in true Dan Meiners fashion, imagined a space, every inch of which was covered in a very elaborate chinois style complete with a cluster of large, billowy umbrellas with gold tassels hanging over the dance floor, an elegant yet unexpected cherry blossom wallpaper lighting effect on the walls, and a hand-cut and painted Pagoda as the centerpiece of the stage.  I asked him to tell me what it is that inspires him, to which he simply stated that he travels, is a lover of history, and looks at a lot of pictures.  “I find beauty in everything, even the unexpected, like poverty,” he said.  “Even in the way the fishermen line up their fish in the market.”

Though he worked at break-neck speed to finish on time – an element of his business reputation that is extremely important to him and one for which he is very proud – I was able to glue myself to him long enough to glean what I believe are some of the secrets to his well-deserved success.

1.)        A mad attention to details and a strict adherence to high standards.

2.)        A very talented and hungry team.

3.)        A fierce protection of his personal time which keeps him fresh and grounded.

4.)        Very good planning, whether it is business planning or time management.

5.)        The elusive “X” factor.

It is the last one that is so difficult to explain in any kind of detail, even for Dan himself, and I can report that there is no magic pixie dust involved (at least not that he let me in on).  When I asked him about his personal style, he turned to me as he continued to work and with a smile replied, “I just know what I like.  That’s how it works right?”

Author’s Note:  Follow along as we break down Kansas City’s top floral and event designer, Dan Meiners.  Watch for Part II:  Dan Meiners @ Home to be up on the Style Studio site November 23rd.

Photo credits:  Michael Coyazo of MAC Photo.  For a gallery of all images taken that day and to view more of Michael’s work, click here.

This And That

22 Oct

We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t leave you with a little something to inspire and get you through the weekend.  So, here goes.

1.)  Banyan Tree Samui, a luxury villa resort set into a hillside overlooking Lamai Bay in Thailand.  Check out this beauty and other equally-fabulous luxury resorts on sale at some amazing prices on Jetsetter.

2.)  I always make it a point to log on (and log on early) to browse the weekend Tastemaker Tag Sales on One King’s Lane for great buys on home decor items.  You’ll find antique/vintage/gently used, one-of-a-kind pieces hand-selected by leading interior designers at 70% off retail.  This weekend’s sales feature Suzanne Tucker and Hillary Thomas and start tomorrow at 10 a.m.  Ready, set…..

3.)  I’ve been turned on to this Russian artist, Yulia Brodskaya, who does some pretty amazingly beautiful things with paper.  You can see more of her work here.

4.)  Are you ready to turn that pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern?  For some inspired designs that will make even you glow, click here.

5.)  I was thrilled to see the Crate & Barrel holiday catalog in my mail today and I must say that it is absolutely stunning.  You can bet I’ll be dog-earing pages in this one.  If you haven’t received your copy yet, don’t fret.  You can view it on-line here.

6.)  We will be baking and decorating some cookies for Halloween this weekend with some friends.  I love these vampire cookies from Dean & Deluca.  Take a peek at some of the other Halloween goodies they have, but don’t blame me for the weight gain!We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Spooky For Two

21 Oct

Who says Halloween is just for kids? Whether you are just hanging out with friends, or with your numero uno, here are a few ideas to help you incorporate a little spooky into a fabulous evening.

  1. Spider Web Runner, Crate&Barrel
  2. Moonstruck, Target
  3. O’Shaughnessy Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Dean and Deluca
  4. Day of the Dead Mini Skulls Gift Box, Vosges Haut Chocolates
  5. Dandy Black Wine Glasses by Ginori, Michael C. Fina
  6. Baies “Noire” Candle, Diptyque

Big And Little

19 Oct

The world’s largest and most expensive single-family home was recently completed.  Located in Mumbai, it is the home of one of the world’s wealthiest men, Mukesh Ambani, his wife and three children.  When plans for the home were unveiled two years ago, it was billed as the “greenest of all buildings” by partnering architecture firms Perkins+Will and Hirsch Bedner Associates.  The finished product is a far cry from original renderings leaving environmentalists, and many others, completely disgusted.  Despite where you fall on the spectrum, here are some interesting facts about the structure.

  • Cost = $1 billion
  • Square Feet (living space) = 398,000
  • Stories = 27
  • Housekeeping Staff = 600
  • Amenities = health club, gym, dance studio, pool, 50-seat theater, 3 heli-pads, and 160-car parking garage.

In stark contrast to that glut of steel and space, there is a movement toward living within a smaller footprint like Jay Shafer, founder of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and one of the founding members of the Small House Society.  He has lived in the “Epu”, an 89 square-foot plan he created, since 1997.

Since that time, Shafer has designed approximately 15 additional plans with the smallest at 65 square-feet and the largest at just under 900 square-feet.  You can buy a ready-made tiny home or purchase plans and build it yourself.

Want to see more tiny spaces?  Check out the entries in Apartment Therapy’s annual smallest, coolest home contest, or visit the Tiny House Blog.

credits:  Inhabitat, Tiny House Blog, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

Crazy About Silhouettes

14 Oct

I picked up a Country Living magazine a month ago and saw this cute witch silhouette atop cupcakes.  See for yourself. Aren’t they adorable?

You’d think that this image would have gotten me excited about Halloween or motivated me to head to my favorite cupcakery for a sweet treat.  No, not this girl.  These cupcakes sparked a full-on obsession with silhouettes and now I am noticing them everywhere.  It’s hard to believe that this art form has been around since the late 1600’s.  Once strictly black-and-white profile images, you can now find them in an impressive variety of colors, patterns, and shapes.  Though I love traditional black-and-white framed silhouettes,  the pop of plaid you see below is a nice modern twist and gives it just a little something extra don’t you think?

I really like these, too, because they represent a departure from tradition.  They are just fresh and fun.

Of course, you don’t just find silhouettes framed and hung on a wall anymore.  Here you see them on everything from drapery panels to wallpaper to dishware to upholstery.  I’m not sure what I think about the pink drapery panels, but everything else I love.  Now, which room in my house can I wallpaper?

photo credits:  Country Living, Unscrabbled, Amy Butler Design, Growing Up Green, Anthropologie







Cole Haan: The Inspired Life

11 Oct

I recently added two pair of shoes from Cole Haan’s new fall collection to my wardrobe.  Other than being super cute, they are incredibly comfortable.  Say “hello” to the Cole Haan Air Clair.And to the Cole Haan Air Trillby.Naturally curious about what other hot new styles I might find, I decided to peruse their website and happened upon their collaboration with fashion/interiors/portrait photographer Todd Selby (aka “The Selby“), The Inspired Life.  The campaign, which debuted in the spring of this year, profiles real-life individuals shot, as Selby does so well, in their natural environment.  Lindsey Caldwell, musician and DJ.  Jonathan Roquemaure, proprietor of The Index, LTD.  Ryann Bosetti, hair stylist and creative director.  These are but three of the six individuals featured.  All with very different interests, but the same in that they share the brand’s unique approach to life and style.

Cole Haan’s The Inspired Life:  “Lived by individuals who are driven by passion, vision and curiosity.  They make their mark on the world with creativity, imagination and style.”

Does that sound like anyone you know?

photo credits:  Cole Haan

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