10.21.2014

TWO HOURS CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE: MY NYC VACATION RECAP

Washington Square Park

My time in NYC was soooooo good.

 DUMBO 

It started out as a business trip that became a bit of a vacation and even though it was NYC and I've been a million times before...this time, everything was just different. 

Ever had a trip or experience where EVERYTHING comes together in the most perfect way that you could never foresee on your own? 
That's a taste of what this was. 
Work with Flynnside Out and the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island brought me out to NY for 2 weeks initially (see more about our incredible work here), then I decided to return for the Designer Showcase Gala honoring all of the RMHLI designers and stay a few days beyond my work needs for a lonnng overdue (and much deserved!) vacation.

Sweet, rockstar Jeana



My vacation agenda?
Relax. 
Roam the city. 
Rendezvous with friends. 
Meet with a few business contacts. 
Do a smidge of sightseeing. 
Blow air kisses to my beautiful godson. 
Reclaim the city as my own. 
And most importantly, to just to be in the moment everyday, soaking in every minute of my trip.



I rented an apartment on AirBNB (my first time using the site) and had a fantastic experience (I can't say enough good things about the site)!!
It was a smaller, 3-room studio apartment in Times Square which, despite all of the chaos of tourist traffic, made it super easy to connect to any subway line I needed. And the true benefit to staying in an apartment, especially on a trip like this, is that it felt like home and gave me a hint of what it would be like if I lived in NYC. Lugging your ridiculously heavy luggage up the steps of a steep, 3 story walk up and traipsing around a 500 sq ft apartment with bathroom so tiny that the front of the toilet barely missed kissing the bathtub??
Now that's an experience that you can't get in a boutique hotel (and I loved every.single.minute)!

If you follow me on Instagram (and you should do that), you know that in the days before I left, I took time to set my intentions DAILY about what I wanted my trip to be, how I wanted to show up for others, and what I wanted to feel while I was traveling...and I was determined to get what I intended in my heart, despite the fact that rain was threatening to dampen my entire trip. I arrived to the rental car counter (needed a car for Long Island), only to meet the most charming Sales Manager who fell in love with my name and promptly upgraded my ridiculously inexpensive rental to the most expensive car on the lot with no change in price. Let me keep the car for longer than my initial reservation and waived all late fees associated with my last minute date change.
And while I had effectively set the tone for my trip prior to leaving, I knew this was a sign of great things to come.

My sis

Telisha Gibson

Kim, my BFF since freshman year at Spelman

This trip was important to me for so many reasons, many of which didn't hit me until I got ready to leave.

I'm 35 years old, and this is the first vacation I've ever taken by myself. 

Even though I have friends and family in the city, I intentionally stayed by myself so I could have time to be alone and move according to my own schedule. I didn't want to shop with friends, or club all night long, I just wanted to reclaim the city as my own & make new memories...venture out at the drop of the dime and navigate the subway on my own (for the first time, ever).
 NY has always been bittersweet for me, because--though I'm originally from the city--I've always associated it with my father, having spent my younger years there visiting him.  The man who used to put me in his lap and let me drive the car down empty cobblestone streets in our neighborhood (loonnngggg before it became known as the Meatpacking District), made me listen to classical music & Charles Kuralt on Sunday mornings and taught me the proper way to eat a NYC hot dog (spicy mustard, extra onions).
He passed away 7 years ago but I've always felt his energy the strongest there and while I've always loved New York, it's also made me a bit sad because I wish he were here to see who I've become--I think he'd be very proud. So it was good to be in NY and make new memories for myself, and odd as it may sound, it felt like my father was next to me the whole time whispering in my ear,
"This city is yours now...make it your own."

And so that's what I did. 
In all of my solitary time walking through neighborhoods streets and cafe pit stops to write audacious plans in my moleskine, I was reminded that I have so much to celebrate! Here are the facts:
I'm 35.
I'm happy. 
 I'm relatively healthy.
 I'm single with no crazy baggage. 
I don't have any kids.
I own my own business.
I have the ability to create value ANYwhere.
I have a really, really good life that I love.
(I'm also very intelligent and pretty hot, but we'll leave that off the list for now.)


Kellan, my super delicious godson who is too quick to ever get an in-focus photo!

And there's nothing holding me back...from anything I want to do.
I had an opportunity to spend a good amount of time in my old neighborhood and I felt the most intense feeling of gratitude for my life...and incredible sense of luck to have been given the parents that I have. It reminded me that my life is so much bigger than Atlanta, and while I've created something here that I'm so deeply proud of, my story is not confined to this city.
There is nothing holding me back from exploring the world....and in all of these last few years of building my business, I think I had forgotten that. But now that I've been reminded, I know I want more.

So while I went to NYC with thoughts of what I wanted to give to the people that I came in contact with, it turns out that the city gave ME the most important gift of all--a chance to reflect on my life, learn myself in a new way and expand my thoughts on what's truly possible for my journey.
And in a nutshell, this is how a 2 hour flight and an itty bitty vacation can change your life....because somehow, someway, it absolutely changed mine.

"Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full--pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back."  
(Luke 6:38, NLT)


10.18.2014

YOU CAN DO IT, HOME DEPOT CAN HELP: DO-IT-HERSELF WORKSHOP RECAP

Big thanks to all of you who came out to Cascade store #130 for Thursday's Do-It-Herself Workshop on Decorative Painting Techniques with Ralph Lauren Specialty & Faux finishes--the turnout was incredible!!


I last attended a Home Depot DIY Workshop a few years ago but this was my first experience with a DIH event and I was sooooo impressed (and to be honest, completely surprised)--Home Depot rolled the red carpet all the way out us!!

With food from Chick-fil-A, music from Majic 97.5, tons of giveaways including $100 Home Depot gift cards AND some Scandal trivia--yes, SCANDAL trivia--it felt more like a gathering of girlfriends than an instructional workshop...it's definitely an event to share with your friends (but you don't have to)! 


Glidden reps were on-hand to discuss the RL line of Specialty & Faux finishes and demonstrate the applications of the Suede, Antiqued Leather and Metallic finishes. The big takeaway?? Applying these products doesn't require an advanced skill set--depending on your chosen technique, simply work in small sections using the specific tools created for your application and build to create your desired look. I had a chance to meet & interview a few of my blog/social media followers who were all surprised at the ease of product...one even said she already had the paint at home but had been hesitant to try it because she wasn't sure of the technique. Her thought? It was much easier to use than anticipated, especially since she also had a chance to try her hand at the application while in-store. 



The Ralph Lauren line of Specialty & Faux finishes features 6 techniques (Suede, Metallic, River Rock, Indigo Denim, Bright Canvas & Antiqued Leather) across more than 40 colors that provide contemporary finishes with an illusion of textured surfaces. The Denim is probably one of my favorites (next to the metallic used in my bedroom, of course!).


As you plan your calendar, save the 3rd Thursday evening of the month for Do-It-Herself Workshops at The Home Depot. They're being held at every location from 6:30pm-8pm and in 1.5 hours, you'll leave with a new skill under your belt and depending on the workshop, even a finished project you can enjoy at home. Previous DIH workshops featured season appropriate projects such as creating an Herb Tower, Hanging Garden and even a Rolling Storage Cart...and you know how much we love a bar, I mean storage, cart! ;-)


Click here to sign up for the next DIH workshop on Thursday, November 20 on Creating a Holiday Marquee (as designed by Ana White) and if you're in my area...don't be surprised if you see me there!  Details will be live on the link soon. 


**The Home Depot has asked me to participate in and promote this Do-It-Herself Workshop (the "Program"), and as a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMWA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.**

10.15.2014

IN ATLANTA?? JOIN ME AT THE HOME DEPOT FOR A FREE "DO-IT-HERSELF" WORKSHOP!


I am OBSESSED with the Ralph Lauren line of Metallic paint (even used it in my own Master Bedroom!) and was sooo bummed out a few years ago when it looked like The Home Depot was discontinuing the line.

Well good news, my friends.

Not only is the line back in stores, but I'm partnering with The Home Depot to present a "Do-It-Herself" Workshop teaching decorative painting techniques using Ralph Lauren & chalky paints. With the holidays just around the corner and entertaining on everyone's mind, this is the perfect time to register, attend, and pick up some new tips to spruce up your home for the holidays. After all, paint is still THE easiest, most dramatic and yet inexpensive update you can make to your home! 

Here's all you need to know:

When: Thursday, October 16th from 6:30pm to 8pm

Where: THD Store 130 Cascade
1032 Research Center Drive SW
Atlanta, GA 30331

Who: Join me, Erika Ward, and your host, Carol Blackmon from Majic 97.5 (WAMJ-FM) for designer tips, refreshments, great prizes and free giveaways! 

Register online today at: www.homedepot.com/workshops and I'll see you there!!

**The Home Depot has asked me to participate in and promote this Do-It-Herself Workshop (the "Program"), and as a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMWA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.**

9.08.2014

JOIN ME SEPT 8TH-17TH FOR THE TOTAL WOMAN SUMMIT!

Are you ready to make the last 4 months of the year the best time of your life??
 (and can you believe we're already in September?!)


Well starting today, join me as Monique Brown of the Feminine Allure Academy presents the Total Woman Summit, an online conference designed to help you position yourself as the woman you've always wanted to become! Join 20 experts (YES, including, me, yours truly!) as we discuss the secrets to living a more fulfilling life in 5 key areas--Your Money, Your Health, Your Spirit, Your Castle, and Your Relationships. Every day for the next 10 days these nationally recognized experts will share their tips to help you create the home of your dreams, generate income by branding your expertise, find your purpose, cultivate your spirit and create inspiring relationships. 

Aaannnnnddd guess what??
We're doing all of this for FREE!!!

Beginning today, September 8th and running through September 17th, you'll be able to log on and hear from some of your favorite entrepreneurs, bloggers and life coaches who have been featured on ABC's Nightline, The Dr. Oz Show, Essence, Forbes, Marie Claire, Fast Company, Black Enterprise, HLN, MTV, Instyle and more. The Feminine Allure Academy has created a virtual experience to expose you to new opportunities that you may have forgotten are even possible for you! 


The Total Woman Summit is for you if:
-you want to learn specific tactics to create a fulfilling life
-you know there's more out there for you but don't know where to begin
-you're ready to set your house in order--literally & financially--to alter the trajectory of your life

I'd love to spill the beans about my talk on creating the home of your dreams buuutttt.....of course you know you'll have to sign up for that!! ;-)

I'm so excited to extend an invitation to you for this exciting event!!
Click here to grab your FREE seat--I'll see you there! 

6.25.2014

BEFORE & AFTER: MY ATLANTA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL WHITE BOX DESIGN CHALLENGE REVEALED!

BEFORE:



AFTER:





The 2014 "Watch List" event hosted by brothers Kent & Kevin Rathbun was an inaugural event for ADAC, the Atlanta design center, as well as the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

It was, by all accounts, also a smashing success. 

10 Atlanta designers were each tasked with taking a blank, 10x10 space and creating magic in which attendees, chefs & mixologists could mingle about for a 3 hour food & wine feast. 

These, without a doubt, are the kind of opportunities that designers love because they free us up to do what we love most--design and create with the sky as the limit. There were a few stipulations--furniture had to come from the design center (ADAC), ceilings & ductwork couldn't be painted, and the space had to go back to it's original state by Monday morning at 10am (paint, furniture and all!), but other than that...we were off to the races. 

I decided early on that I wanted my space to be dramatic and took my design cues from the furniture I was able to borrow. We could create any kind of space we wanted (lounge, dining area, living space, prep space) but what you designed ultimately depended on the availability of of your required pieces. Since I haven't had a chance to go all out on a dining room just yet (excluding a current project!), I had my heart set on creating a dining room vignette. I knew I wanted to start with a bold wall design as a focal point and then build the space in layers. I was originally saving this graphic pattern to use on my own office walls but with the soaring ceiling, the event space ended up being the PERFECT place to highlight this design! I shared sneak peeks on Instagram and Facebook and pretty much had everyone fooled when I posted this pic...



During install, people were so confused when they walked by my space and saw that it had later been painted white like, "Wait--wasn't this space black before??".

Oohhh...just wait...

(lots of paint from my friends at Sherwin Williams!)

The first piece I fell in love with were the pair of Teak chairs from Martin Nash. The chairs weigh a TON, but they are so breathtaking in person..they're like pieces of art.  The Edies rug from Kravet and the gold accented Swaim dining table from Robert Allen became the foundation for my dining space and were accented by the tufted leather Baker dining chairs with chrome nailhead trim. The oversized Tangled pendant from Signature Piecez was custom finished in Ebony to match my decor and was a huge hit for my space...I love it so much I'm thinking about replacing my current chandelier with it!
Finding the right art piece for this space--one that had the right look AND wouldn't be too heavy for the walls which was a major concern) was a chore but I found perfection at Beau Holland Studio in a metal, oversized elephant piece. The space was finished with Arbor Vitae trees & planters from a local nursery plus my favorite Kravet Cross stool (in citron velvet, no less!) and sculptural brass wall art from Baker.  

For the tablescape I combined a mix of my own collection plus vintage & retail finds to reflect a table that echoes the colors reflected in the rug (if I had to choose my favorite colors, without a doubt they'd be black, white & gold). If there's one thing I love, it's a beautifully styled eclectic tablescape. I took a chance & tried my hand at creating a large centerpiece to anchor the table and...I think it turned out pretty well!!



The Rillette of Rib Eye (imagine a pâté made of rib eye steak!) prepared by "my" chef, Jared Ralls of La Boca  restaurant in New Orleans, was by far one of the most praised dishes of the night...so tasty that I went back for thirds. 
And the party?? 
Oh, yeah....that was fun, too. 


Patrón on tap!!! 


Can't wait for next year!

5.19.2014

ATLANTA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL 2014: RATHBUNS' WATCH LIST EVENT


Every Spring Atlanta welcomes the Atlanta Food & Wine festival to the city with 4 days & nights of delicious food, a line up of incredible new chefs (and old favorites) plus a jam-packed schedule of some amazing culinary classes. This year Atlanta chef Kevin Rathbun & his brother, Kent Rathbun (Texas), are hosting an evening of "food, drink, music & fabulous decor" with the "Rathbun's Watch List"--an ADAC-hosted Saturday night event that pairs rising stars in the design industry with emerging stars in the food industry to celebrate "the next generation of Southern tastemakers".

I love that last line...and it's pretty cool that I'm considered to be a "tastemaker", too!

So here's the skinny--I've been paired with Chef Jared Ralls from New Orleans and I'm charged with designing a 10x10 space which is a total blank slate as of now. My team can do anything except permanently change the floors, make structural alterations to the walls or exceed my given spatial allotment. The idea is for attendees to move around the event space and experience each vignette so if tablescapes are tackled, they've asked us not to make them so formal that people think they are expected to sit down for a bite. The room has to return to it's original look by 12pm on Monday so there are also some time constraints with regard to load out, but I'm SO excited about this opportunity! I had to cross my initial idea off of the list because it seemed like too big of an undertaking--I have a tendency to start HUGE and have to scale back--but I've got another plan in mind & up my sleeve....can't wait to share the "after" pics!

So it you're in Atlanta, joint me on Saturday, May 31 from 7pm-9pm at ADAC for what's sure to be a fun & magical evening. If you stop by please find me and say "hello!".

Xo,
D
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