When In Milan…

Alright, I’m about to go totally photo heavy on y’all! Remember last month when I was in Milan jurying the Electrolux Design Lab? Well, my mom came along with me and we took a few extra days to explore the city. I mean, I’m not about to fly halfway around the world for business and not check out the culture!

 

Milan isn’t a massive city, and the heart of it all is based around the Duomo Cathedral (sidenote: love the logo). The structure took hundred of years to complete, and once you see at the intricate design throughout it’s easy to understand why.

 

It was free to explore inside, but for a few Euro you could clime a couple hundred steps to the top which we of course did. It rained. A lot. But that didn’t stop us (or my mom from wielding her Pittsburgh Steelers umbrella!).

 

This isn’t the roof, but a terrace near the top. It was impossible to take a bad photo! And yes, still raining.

 

Directly across the north side of the plaza lies Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It’s a covered open air shopping court with Prada, Gucci – you get the idea. Directly underneath this gorgeous dome is an inlaid bull, legend has it if you stomp on his testicles and spin around three times it will bring good luck!

 

Here it is from across the plaza. My mom talked to a local and was praising the architecture of the buildings, he mentioned how all of the Milanese take it for granted since it’s all around them.

 

La Rinascente is in the same building as Galleria Vitorio Emanuele II and is nothing short of seven levels of of heaven. Name after name of top level fashion designers that I could never hope to afford. But heaven lies on Level 0 in the form of Design Super Market.

 

Aisle upon aisle of everything I’ve ever seen on a design blog ever. I was head over heels and my mom was staring at me like I was a lunatic for the entire hour I shopped.

 

And then we went tot he 7th floor. Food paradise. Including a mozzarella bar and chocolate shoes.

 

The lighting was kind of all over the place, so my photos are as well. That honey on the top shelf? So went home with me.

 

The packaging was incredible. I mean, come on. I think my eyes were bugging out of my head.

 

While we were riding high on food, we walked over to Peck. I’d heard great things about this two-level gourmet market, but was only mildly impressed. I was only able to snap a few photos before they yelled at me. Italy is interesting.

 

And of course we visited our share of gelaterias. Duh.

 

Our last night we had to switch to a different hotel, this was our view from the balcony. Definitely a lovely way to say goodbye to Milano.

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October

Started the month off right, with the most comfortable costume shoes ever!
Did a little decoratin’.
Made yummy pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese filling.
Instated Wednesday Night Pizza.

 

Spent lots of time with these goobers.
Got to visit my Grandma and my favorite bathroom face, thanks to Sandy.
Did some cat loungin’.
So proud of my web developers, way to go Cooper House!

 

Received the best gifts! A thank you from Cursive Design.
New pieces from Stone & Honey’s Arcos collection.
The best name plate EVER from Capree.
And skull shot glasses from Style & Pepper!

 

Flew business class for the first time, don’t want to go back to economy!
A rainbow of Repettos.
A long day of business in Milan.
Gorgeous balcony room near the Duomo.

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9 Months

I love this photograph of Pete from sometime in the early ’80s. It’s how I remember him best, with no confused look in his eyes and a shock of wavy (though receding) hair. These were the days he spent teaching me how to hit a ball and appreciate underducks on the swings in the park behind our homes. The good ‘ol days, for sure.

Once again, three months has brought lots of change.

First and foremost, at the end of August we hired a daytime caregiver. Her name is Crystal and she’s 25 and contagiously bubbly, which puts Pete in a good mood of his own most days. She’s with him a little longer each day than I was, allowing all of us (me, my mom, and my stepdad) to go back to our full work routines. I spent the first three days of her employment with the two of them, hoping for a smooth adjustment. And on the third day when I explained to Pete that I would see him the next week instead of tomorrow he said, “If you gotta go, you gotta go!” A good sign if there ever was one.

Secondly, my mom closed up Pete’s Pennsylvania home early last month. After several trips back spent weeding out twenty year old receipts and other junk, it was time. Plenty of furniture was given away and his car was sold. Everything else was boxed up, loaded onto a moving truck, and sent into a storage unit here until we can root through it all. Of course Pete has no idea all of this has happened, though the only houses he asks about these days are boyhood homes.

I’ve gone back to freelance graphic design and blogging on my own time, instead of hurriedly in the evening hours. It’s good. And though I thought there would be a modicum of guilt attached to this moment, there really isn’t. I know that I did my best job helping Pete for as long as I could. And now it’s nice to visit for Sunday dinners instead of being the one telling him he can’t do something he wants.

So for now this will be the last Pete update. I cannot even begin to thank you all for your kind comments and emails and shared stories and words of wisdom. They mean more to me than you’ll even know. This site was never meant to be a story of the trials and tribulations of my life, but I’m so happy that when it took a tiny turn in that direction you were there as always.

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September

Bought my first fall bouquet.
Started fostering a chiweenie named HOT DOG!
Spotted the first pumpkins and gourds.
Read a lot of books.

 

Saw redwoods for the first time.
Did a lot of traveling and earned some serious dark circles (and maybe one crossed eye).
Made the first pumpkin bread of the year.
Visited Marimekko.

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Mighty Summit 2012

A few weeks ago I flew from NYC – and the HP Designer Matchup reveal – to San Francisco for Mighty Summit. Midway across the country I had an allergic reaction to something in the plane’s air system and spent most of the time gathering tissues from the restroom and hoarding them like a small squirrel. I showed up at SFO to meet a few of my fellow summit goers with rubbed off makeup, a runny nose, and red eyes. HI, I’M KELLY.

Me showing up in dire need of antihistamines and the four of them immediately jumping into action let me know what an incredible group of carefully selected women I was about to spend the next few days with. Go-getters, helpers, doers, sympathizers. We stopped in downtown San Francisco at a Walgreens for tissues, allergy meds, and snacks and drove two hours north to a small town in the Russian River Valley called Guerneville and made our way to Boon Hotel + Spa.

 

We were the last car to arrive (thanks in part to me) and showed up to a bawdy group of ladies enjoying margaritas and a taco truck that had driven right up into the middle of the resort. Fiesta! Sombreros, handmade piñatas, and Mexican food is now in my Top 10 Welcomes for sure. We were even highly encouraged to grab a “room burrito” for a midnight snack. My kind of people.

 

Boon itself is gorgeous, tucked into the bottom of a hillside climbing with redwoods and palm trees. All of the rooms surround a common area with a pool, hot tub, and cabana. This is where the majority of time was spent talking, making plans, and wining. Tough to beat considering the always clean orange beach towels and stacks of magazines.

We were paired up in our rooms with someone who was most likely a stranger on Friday and a good friend come Monday. My roommate was Kristin Appenbrink of Real Simple, a girl with a plan that one.

 

Besides the hotel and spa, the owners of Boon are also proprietors of Boon Eat + Drink and Big Bottom Market. They provided almost all of our food and it was incredible. For real. As in there wasn’t one thing I shoved into my pie hole that wasn’t an A+++. Ask me about the yogurt that was more like custard some time. Or the curry chicken salad sandwich. Or the polenta lasagna. Or just visit and try it all yourself.

 

After a pajama-filled breakfast around the pool Saturday morning, we headed to Moshin Vineyards to get a little insight into winemaking and tasting. We saw the sorting process, tried the grapes (SUPER sweet), and witnessed some bottling in the works.

 

Then we stood outside on a gorgeous day trying about six different wines for ourselves. All before noon.

 

But everyone knows that one winery isn’t nearly enough, so we headed down the road to VML. To say the grounds were well manicured would be an understatement, there were flowers literally everywhere you turned. And lawn Jenga. We settled in at picnic tables mere feet from a lilypad-covered pond for lunch. And a little more wine tasting, naturally.

 

This is what I look like while listening. And this is what I look like with Rena Tom.

 

After some down time (or work time or nap time, depending on who you might ask), we gathered for a relaxed dinner.

 

Nights and mornings were downright cold, and a well-stoked fire was welcome. There were even s’mores, but I think everyone was too stuffed with food and alcohol to enjoy any.

 

 

Boon was actually named after the owners’ dog, a nine year old boxer/lab/pit bull mix who made his rounds daily to say hello to all of the ladies before retiring to the chaise of his choosing. A rough life by any standards.

 

Sunday was the big day, the punctuation mark on the trip. After walking the trails through Armstrong Redwoods we gathered for lunch and Life Lists. Before we ever made our way to Mighty Summit we were all tasked with creating our own list of goals, everything from the easily attainable (plant a lilac bush) to the extreme (hug Oprah). Now we were asked to choose five items off our list that we wanted to accomplish in the next 12 months, asking the group for help achieving one of them.

There’s a reason this is one of the last activities, after having a few days to get to know one another. I’d liken it to a verbal trust fall. You’re putting a lot on the table and it can get emotional. And afterwards? You feel drained and exhausted and awesome.

 

And a lot like you just entered the best club ever. And then you risk your lives climbing on a fallen centuries old redwood tree and you do evil laughs for the sake of photography.

 

Sunday night we all gathered for our celebratory farewell dinner in downtown Guerneville at Big Bottom Market. Our hosts, Maggie Mason and Laura Mayes , said a few words about Mighty Summit and why they put it on every year and then we each received a necklace with five small gold rings on it. One for each of our goals.

 

I left Might Summit with a better sense of self than I’ve had in quite some time. Goals clearly outlined, plans written down, proposals in the works. All thanks to Maggie and Laura who thought it would be a great idea to start an annual retreat for women in media, who might combine their awesome powers when together and create something bigger.

If all of this sounds amazing, you should definitely consider attending the on steroids version – Camp Mighty – that’s taking place November 15-17 in Palm Springs, CA.

Also? We took lots of good free stuff home, you can try your hand at winning a bag full of it too!

 

Attendees: Amber Doty – The Daily Doty | Anne Sage – The City Sage | Catie Nienaber – Cuffington | Christine Koh – Boston Mamas | Dana LaRue – The Broke-Ass Bride | Elizabeth Stark – Brooklyn Supper | Fiona Tang | Jessica Zollman | Jessie Char – Char* | Jordan Ferney – Oh Happy Day! | Kate Nicholson – Modern Baby | Katherine Stone – Postpartum Progress | Kathleen Shannon – Jeremy and Kathleen | Kristin Appenbrink – Real Simple | Lily Stockman – bigBANG Studio | Maggie Shipstead – author | Maile Wilson – Epiphanie Bags | Meg Biram – MIMI + MEG | Meredith Sinclair – HOO-DEE-HOO | Rena Tom | Sarah Bryden-Brown – blogstarSarah Lane | Sarah Urquhart  – Alt Summit | Stephanie Brubaker – stephmodo | Tiffani Jones Brown

Sponsors: Lands’ End, boon hotel + spa, Mixed Bag Designs, Tieks, Lemonade Handmade Jewelry, fiestyelleEpiphanie, Wine Sisterhood

Photos by Kelly Beall: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,
Photos by Maile Wilson: 10, 13, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26

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August

It seems like I blinked and August was in my rearview mirror. For real, it seems like I can barely remember much of it outside of foster dogs and lots of mornings spent on the patio with Pete.

Clockwise from top left:
Celebrated this girl’s 13th birthday – I have a teenager!
Received a most epic bruise breaking up a dog scuffle. (Anyone else see the skull face? Okay.)
Made this White Peach Cardamom Crumble. So good.
Started fostering a chiweenie. Named Hot Dog.
Helped Rusty find a home! (Miss him sooo much.)
Bit the inevitable bullet and adopted Bebe as my own.

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New Addition

A baby in the form of a pup named Bebe. She started off as my foster dog six weeks ago and I knew I’d be keeping her almost from the start (as did my Instagram followers who nicknamed my feed Bebe-cam!).

I picked Bebe up at the animal welfare shelter as a terrified stray who had been brought in. She was so scared, in fact, that I had to physically carry her to my car because she wouldn’t walk. For the next few days she was glued to my side and her little body shook every time she exhaled. Lots of time was clocked with her sitting in one place staring at the wall. But little by little her personality came through, and my-oh-my what a little firecracker! We believe she’s a Yorkie/Cairn Terrier (ALSO SEE: Toto) mix, but can’t be sure. What we do know is that she’s roughly a year to year and a half old and tips the scales at 8.9 lbs. Some small dog syndrome definitely comes with this tiny package as Piper can attest to. They’re still getting used to being sisters with the occasional dog fight, but time should take care of that.

I think I’m now maxed out with my animal menagerie, two cats and two dogs seems like a good combination and the right place to stop. Of course I’ll still be fostering dogs, just not adding to the permanent residents. And PS: Rusty is still up for adoption!!

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Rusty

Hey. Like the picture says, I’m Rusty. Part Irish Setter, part King Charles Spaniel. I’m about a year old and weigh around 20 pounds. I’m pretty awesome. You know, housebroken and stuff. I like to play, rawhide is my drug of choice, and I get along really well with other dogs. Kelly (er, Design Crush) has been fostering me for about a month now through a great organization called Safe Haven. They saved my life, literally. I go to adoption events every. single. weekend. But no one’s taken me home yet because I like to bark when all of the other dogs do, something about me not making a good showing there. Yadda, yadda, yadda. At Kelly’s I barely bark at all, only if Piper starts it first. I like to get up close and personal with her two cats, but only sniff ’em real good. At night I like to chill out on Kelly’s feet or snuggle with her, sometimes I even help her blog. When it’s time to go to bed I walk right into my crate, arrange my blankets, and am out like a light for a good 8-10 hours. So yeah, pretty awesome right? I love living here, but I’d really like to find my family. So maybe if you live in the Oklahoma City area (or close by) you might want to meet me and love me. You can email Kelly at designcrushing (at) gmail (dot) com if you’re interested! Peace out.

UPDATE! Rusty was adopted on 8-26-12 by a college couple from Wichita, KS. He’s finally found his forever home, and I’m going to miss this guy so much.

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July

Celebrated 5 years of Design Crush!
Found the one plant that likes my gardening style (or lack thereof).
Peanut the Cat turned 12 July 4th.
Plenty of hot days and golden hours.

 

Took on this little stray girl (Yorkie/Cairn Terrier mix), Bebe, as a foster
And a few days later this handsome fella (Irish Setter/King Charles Spaniel) mix).
We celebrated Piper’s 4th adoption/birthday July 28th.
I spent lots of mornings here decompressing and trying to slow down.

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Celebrated

Remember last month when I mentioned Design Crush was turning five and we were going to celebrate? Well we did!

Two weeks ago a great group of friends and supporters spent an evening at The Wedge chowing down on gourmet pizzas and libations, including a fresh-squeezed grapefruit margarita named The Crush just for the occasion.

Danielle (left) and Susan (right) of EngageOKC were my lovely sponsors/coordinators who put everything together. And did I mention it was 100+ degrees outside? And that it took place on a patio? Because yes and yes, so please ignore my hair.

My favorite local stationery shop, Chirps and Cheers, put together these fun goodie bags for everyone who came to celebrate. You guys, Black Pearl erasers. I didn’t even know such a thing existed!

Two of my favorite ladies in attendance, Erin of CooperHouse and Kate of Cookie and Kate. Erin and her husband, Tim, are my web developers and instrumental to any sort of success Design Crush has experienced. And Kate made the best mixed berry bundt cake with lemon cream cheese glaze as a celebratory dessert.

My family (well, the few who live in Oklahoma) even made an appearance. My stepdad Bill, my mom Cynthia, and the infamous Pete!

I really can’t say thank you enough to everyone who reads Design Crush, I don’t have the words. However, as a small act of gratitude I have ten goody bags that I’m giving away to the first ten commenters. Please leave a valid email address to be contacted.

And here’s to five more!

All photos ©Regan of Afashionado

 

Update: We have our ten winners, watch your inbox folks!

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