Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Heather Day

I am so excited for today's post, and to introduce you to an amazing Bay Area creative. Heather Day is an extremely talented artist with a super inspiring concept. I met Heather a few weeks ago and am not only in awe of her work- but I think she's a pretty rad girl to boot. I am excited to share some of her work with you, but first wanted to give a proper introduction to the girl behind the art. Since we all know I could ramble on all day- I thought it'd be best if she told you herself:
Tell me a little bit about your background:
I am an abstract painter and creative professional currently living in the Bay Area. Aside from painting, I also have a new online shop called Home in the Studio where I will be selling textiles, home decor and drawings inspired by my paintings. 

I ventured out to San Francisco from Baltimore, Maryland almost 5 months ago. My boyfriend, Isaac and I moved here with our two-50 pound dogs and a car full of our belongings in hopes for a new, exciting adventure far from our comfort zone. So far, its been totally worth it. California is everything I hoped it would be and more.

I'm a pretty big fan of California myself!! So, when did you know you wanted to be an artist? 
It's hard to pick one defining moment where I chose to become an artist. Attending an arts high school was a great first step in opening my eyes to the possibility of supporting my self solely from my artwork. Pursuing a degree from a college for the arts in Baltimore helped make these interests into a reality. Surrounding myself with other inspiring artists and friends was the motivation I needed to make it happen. 

 How has your work changed and progressed over the years? What is your primary focus now?
My work has really evolved over the years ranging from sculpture to drawing and everything in between. My current work involves a process of layering paint, fibers and various marks. The paintings are about revealing a history of decay and repair through the cycle of personal relationships. My primary focus is to continue experimenting with different colors and mediums. Eventually, I would like to bring this new body of work to the West Coast galleries. The culture out here is so exciting and I am looking forward to integrating my work with the Bay Area art scene.

 Your concept is so refreshing! Where do you gain inspiration?
I draw inspiration from a variety of sources including both historically significant artists and contemporary trends. Two of my favorite painters are Willem De Kooning and Joan Mitchell for their bold and gutsy mark making. I also draw inspiration from traveling through a variety of environments. Since moving to the Bay Area, I have noticed a shift in the color palette of my paintings to include brighter hues such as pinks and pops of yellow. I think this is in part, stems from trends in fashion, architecture, and the general atmosphere around San Francisco. 

Is your painting aesthetic reflected in your personal style (home and/or fashion)?
Undoubtedly, yes! My outfits usually reflect the colors in my work, usually consisting of greys and deep blues with a pop of color. My apartment is very similar however my boyfriend has encouraged us to add a bit more color to our design palette recently!

What is your biggest goal as a creator? 
I will always be pursuing new opportunities to show in galleries, but my current focus is branching out into new markets. The prospect of working across industries and collaborating through textile and design is a really exciting avenue for creativity.

Heather is maybe is the coolest girl ever, am I right?? As someone who can't paint or draw to save my life- I love learning about her creative process and watching her concepts come to life on her tumblr. I knew I had to find a way to pair her work with this blog- so over the next three weeks, I'll be featuring original Heather Day pieces in a fun series. The goal? Pick three pieces of art and show how I'd design a room around each of them. Here's Room #1:

This piece, aptly titled "Washing Machine," is one of my favorites. The high contrast and unique textures are absolutely gorgeous, and I'm a huge fan of the subtle use of bright colors. I knew this duo would be a stunning focal point in a dining room. Immediately, I wanted to pair natural elements with the dramatic textures on the painting- so a reclaimed wood table was a no brainer. The dark palette is accentuated by the zebra hide rug and pendant chandelier, and a few colorful vases compliment the bursts of color. Since my personal aesthetic is usually very light and airy- I added lucite chairs to brighten things up. Lucite can be a controversial design element [especially in my home...], but it's a great way to open up the space. Personally, I'm ready to move right in- but can't wait to hear what you think!! How would you decorate using Heather's work?

Be sure to tune in next week to see Room #2 alongside a pretty fantastic announcement.

For more information on Heather Day, click here

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


top Free People // jeans Citizens // heels Zara // necklace Anna Bee c/o 

This Free People top is my new favorite item of clothing that I've ever owned. It was a gift from Tim's mom [Hi, Cathy!! Thank you!!] for my birthday... and I maybe have worn it like 100 times in the last week. It is SO comfortable but tricks people into thinking you're all dressed up... a method I use quite frequently when putting together outfits. 

We found this beautiful corner full of vibrant blooms as we were walking to a friend's house for dinner. I knew we'd have to come back later and take pictures. LITTLE DID I KNOW... it's quite a commuter corner. There were TONS of cars, folks on bikes, pedestrians, buses, rollerbladers, dogs out for a walk, joggers, tour groups, and more. I just really wanted the flowers as a backdrop so I had to act like this was a normal thing... to be standing on a corner doing sassy poses while my boyfriend took my picture. I mean, that's totally a normal thing to do right? Ahh, the life of a blogger. 

Also- I saw a few questions on IG inquiring about my new blonde 'do! This is as blonde as we went. I really wasn't into the idea of having to cut quite a bit of length to go lighter all at once. I've been growing my hair forever- I can't give up now!! This is the perfect in-between hue, and just light enough that I will be comfortable going to a new salon in SF and trusting them with my locks and a tub of bleach. 

As always- thank you SO much for stopping by! Be sure to check in tomorrow- I've got an exciting post featuring an amazing artist that I adore! 


This weekend was a huge milestone in my life, and it nearly came and went without notice. July 27 was my one year anniversary with San Francisco. I knew the date was fast approaching, but somehow- at 1AM on Sunday morning- I gasped and realized I'd missed it. That's sort of how the last year has gone- painstaking awareness of being new paired with an immediate sense of belonging.

Part of me feels like I just arrived, while the other part wonders how I ever lived anywhere else. The last year has been filled with ups and downs [though truth be told- mostly ups], and each day has brought a new adventure. I've explored neighborhoods and forests, gotten lost [literally and figuratively], made lifelong friends, and truly found myself. Around each corner and over each hill is another opportunity, another moment of beauty, and another affirmation that moving here was the best decision I've ever made.  I truly love San Francisco with all of my heart.

I guess it's about time I start sharing why I love SF so much, and so over the coming weeks I plan to do just that. First, a short time-lapse film of the fog- a part of San Francisco that I never thought I'd be able to endure. Last year, I left Boise's scorching summer temperatures and arrived to a blanket of fog that didn't lift for weeks. I had left my friends, family, and the sun behind- and my future was 100% undefined. Not only was I homesick, I was freezing. I resented the fog for forcing my summer dresses to the back of the closet and I prayed I'd soon get used to the city and the mid-summer chill.

As I gained my footing in my new environment, the fog somehow gained my admiration. I now embrace the weather here, and I wouldn't trade it for "all four seasons" or anything else. The video below is more than just a pretty film about a unique weather pattern. When I watch it, I see waves of symbolism- enough so that I was moved to tears. Seriously, forget Hallmark commercials... I'm now crying during fog videos. Embarrassing, right?? I guess that's just how much I love it here. Whether you're a Bay Area native or still hoping to someday visit- I suggest you watch below. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lavender Fields.

top Tinley Road // pants Anthropologie // shoes Matisse c/o // sunnies Free People 

I recently wrote about Airport Style on Rue Daily, so when we flew back to Boise last Saturday- I thought I'd apply the same principles to my look. It is so easy to throw on yoga pants and a denim shirt [AKA my signature road trip look], but you can find items that are equally as comfortable and a little more fashionable. I scored these pants on MAJOR sale at Anthro, and while they make me look 200 lbs heavier... I really love this look. I've been trying to find pieces that are a little more unique and a little out of my comfort zone. These sort of made me feel like I was a mom headed to Maui in 1994, but I've heard fashion repeats itself so I'm pretty sure that is a style. 

We snapped these photos at my dad & stepmom's lavender farm! Leopard and... LAVENDER. Get it? Anyways, in late July- most of the lavender has been harvested and sold at farmers markets or given away as gifts. There were still a few purple blooms, and YES- it smells SO GOOD. 

PS- I've been having issues with my images uploading at a lower quality when I try to post them on blogger. Have any of you had this problem, or know how to fix it?? I've googled my little heart out but am throwing in the towel. Any tips are SO welcomed. 

Have a wonderful weekend!! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013


This weekend, Tim and I hopped on a plane to Boise to celebrate my 26th birthday. It was a much needed escape... I've been longing to hit the reset button for a few months and this was the perfect occasion. I even turned off my email!! It was so great to spend time with my family, enjoy the hot weather, and indulge at some of my favorite restaurants. FYI- the burger at Fork is still better than anything in San Francisco. Here are my favorite snapshots from the weekend:
1. Our first flight together. Considering we spent nearly a year flying back and forth, this was an impressive accomplishment.
2. Excited to see my sweet (and tiny) mom at the airport. 
3. Enjoying the sun at my dad's pool. What I wouldn't give to be swimming riiiight now.
4. Watching the sun set and the moon rise. I have the mosquito bites to prove it. 
5. A little surprise happy hour care of one of my very best friends.
6. My dad looking out at the Boise River.
7. Birthday Brunch with my mom in my new birthday dress.
8. Saying goodbye to the pool. SIGH.
9. A bundle of fresh lavender from my dad and stepmom's farm. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Inspiration.

[image layout: Rue Magazine // photography: Lincoln Barber // Interior Design: Jessica Helgerson]

Today, I'm sharing one of my favorite July stories from Rue Daily. This home looks like it's nested near the Mediterranean, but is actually just up the coast in Portland, OR. I'm obsessed with every square inch. I'm really inspired by the rustic elements paired with bright colors, and that is basically my dream kitchen. The best part of working for Rue is my constant exposure to brilliant interiors. I've developed such an appreciation for all elements of design, and really identified what my personal aesthetic preferences are. For me, the bright and joyful feel of this space can't be beat.  

This has been an amazing week for me, because I introduced Tim to a concept I like to call "Birthday Week." You see, my birthday is on Monday. So obviously, that means we started the celebration early... and each day this week has been pretty fun. That may sound spoiled, but I know some people who celebrate a whole month. ;) We've had delicious dinners at home and fun cocktails with friends. Tonight, we'll cheer on the Giants and tomorrow- board a plane pointed towards Boise. It's been nearly a year to the day since I moved away, so I'm thrilled to spend time with my family. Time at the pool, visits to my favorite restaurants, and a trip to the salon where I may or may not emerge a blonde again. 

It also is an exciting weekend because tomorrow marks my one year anniversary of leaving my corporate job. It was pretty much terrifying, but a decision that has paid off more than I could ever imagine. I have a lot of posts planned in the coming weeks to discuss that, reflect on the past year in SF, and share my overall experiences with "taking the leap." Essentially, you should all be prepared for me to bully you into leaving your comfort zones, too! 

Have a wonderful weekend, and as always- thank you for reading! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Yes I Rue.

A few weeks ago, Rue Magazine released our first ever Wedding & Entertaining issue! I realized the other day I hadn't shared my favorite bits & pieces with you here- which is a total shame because it had so many beautiful features. Here is a little sampling, and you can read the full issue here

We gave a peek inside Crystal's exquisite bridal shower in San Francisco. 
[florals by Natalie Bowen Designs, photographed by Josh Gruetzmacher]

There was an absolute dream wedding at the Shangri La Hotel in LA. 
[photography by Caroline Tran]

The sky was the limit in the NYC loft. Note: I LOVE the couch.
[photography by Trevor Tondro]

We headed to Oakland to share the incredible home of Lisa Baird.
[photography by Cooper Carras]

Rue's new intern Michaela opened the doors to her shared LA loft. My place did NOT look that cute in college!!
[photography by Monica Wang]

Event planner Alicia Falango turned an old airstream into a mobile office... and I about died when I saw it. So. Gorgeous. 
[photography by Angie Silvy]

Stephanie Bradshaw welcomed us to her bright & airy studio. 
[photography by Joshua Kogan]

And Rue's own Maia shared her refreshing lemonade recipe. She made us a batch during our work session... and it was the best lemonade of ALL time. Highly recommended!
[photography by Eva Kolenko]

As usual, I really loved working on this issue. It was really refreshing and fun, and we all were so proud of the result. Which feature was your favorite?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hint of Bohemian.

top H&M // denim AG // sunnies Free People // bracelet Realia by Jen c/o // boots Dolce Vita [scored at the Gilt City Warehouse Sale!!]

Personal style is such a weird thing. I was just chatting with a friend about how I feel like I've finally defined how I want to dress... I just now have to invest in the pieces to actually make it happen. One of the benefits of having a blog is being able to look back and see old outfits that I once deemed photo-worthy. Now, I deem them super cringe-worthy. Like, even ones from 2 weeks ago. It helps me to better identify what I like and don't like. I can browse Pinterest and blogs for hours and say "I love her look; I don't love that skirt; I am obsessed with those shoes." But when I go to my closet, I am seemingly incapable of putting the style onto my own body.

Does anyone else feel this way?? I often will stumble upon old outfit posts and think "I would literally never re-pin that." BUT I'm the one wearing it! Ugh, total disaster. 

Personal style, I believe, is a process. Here and there, you'll find someone who woke up when they were 13 and decided they would dress like Penny Lane for the rest of their lives and they're doing just that. When I was 13, I wore Dickies + band t-shirts + my hair in a ponytail every day. When I was 17, I wore Hollister + LEI or Mudd jeans. When I was in college, I have literally no idea what I was thinking in regards to style. As I progressed into my twenties, I somehow tried to combine all of these looks and ended up with a closet that often feels convoluted and dumb.

When you love fashion as much as I do, and you respect all different styles- it can be hard to identify and create a look that is your own. Something that you're comfortable wearing, and that feels like you. It's definitely something I find myself working on, and it's not always a natural decision for me. It's a process. It will likely be a topic I address often on the blog, as style naturally changes over time and I'll probably find myself feeling super unstylish again and again.

The point of this entire post/rant is that I really like this outfit. It is more in line with what I imagine myself wearing on a daily basis, and I felt great when I wore it. Just a hint of bohemian puts me on the right track. Another point of the post/rant is to sort of put those feelings out there, and see if any of you find yourself dealing with the same struggle of "I hate everything I wear." I'd love to hear your thoughts!! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Now Closed: GIVEAWAY: Miriam Designs

Today, I am so excited to share the story of Miriam Designs, and offer YOU a chance to win a gorgeous piece of your own!! Based in Nashville, this company is doing amazing things- all while creating gorgeous accessories. 

So often, I find myself admiring product round ups, but feel like I'm missing something. I'm yearning for products and ideas with a little more substance while still offering amazing style and design. I was so thankful when I heard from Gracie Moakler, the owner of Miriam Designs. In May 2012, Gracie met a woman named Ronza at the grocery store. Ronza's story began with struggle (drug use, addiction), yet now is full of redemption and restoration. Gracie went home and created a necklace for Ronza with the word "HOPE" stamped onto it.

Over the next year, Gracie would meet other amazing women who came from similar situations as Ronza. Plagued by addiction, prostitution, or trafficking; searching for a channel of hope. Gracie began teaching these women to create jewelry- and thus Miriam Designs was born. 

As these women are on the journey to recovery, Miriam Designs is giving them jobs and helping guide the way to a new life. It's a truly beautiful company, an inspiring concept, and the jewelry is absolutely gorgeous. 

Here's my favorite: 
Miriam-Designs, "Arizona." You may have seen this shared on Instagram here; I haven't taken it off since I got it!

I'm particularly drawn to the story of Miriam Designs. I don't often talk about it, but I studied Sociology in college. I was so interested in social issues like these, but never knew how I could help. It is refreshing and inspiring to see a young woman like Gracie using her skills to truly make a difference in the lives of others. I couldn't be more passionate about her mission and the wonderful things this company is doing. 

In order to get the word out about Miriam Designs, Gracie and I have partnered up to offer YOU a piece of your own!! 

To enter to win, follow the steps below:

FIRST ENTRY [mandatory to enter]: 
1. Follow Leopard & Lavender using Bloglovin OR like L&L on Facebook.
2. Like Miriam Designs on Facebook
3. Visit Miriam Designs and browse the products. Leave a comment and let me know which is your favorite item. This is the product you'll win!! 

Follow Leopard & Lavender on Twitter.

Follow Miriam Designs on Twitter

That's right, you can earn up to 3 total entries. In order for your entries to count, you must leave a comment for each one. Leave your email address in ONE of the comments so I can get ahold of you!!

TIP: Use this format [leopardandlavender at gmail dot com] when you leave your email address so that I can contact you!

Winner will be announced and contacted next Monday, July 15!


CONGRATULATIONS to Tayler Sanchez:

I will email you to claim your necklace! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Tim's Style: Wine Country Wedding

shirt J.Crew // tie J.Crew // pants H&M // boots Hudson // glasses Warby Parker

Hey everyone!! How was your 4th? I am seriously loving this long weekend... it feels like Sunday, yet somehow it's only Friday?? Independence Day is a miracle!! I hope I get to go to brunch two more times... and maybe even sneak in a movie marathon or something.

Well, Tim looked so sharp as my wedding date, there was nothing I could do but have him partake in a style post. He has such a defined sense of style, which is a trait I find really admirable. I love his eye for fashion... and truth be told, he often gives me tips & pointers for my own looks. Let's just say I never have to tell him what to wear [or not wear]... he's got it all figured out. He's definitely not a "suit" kind of guy, so it was great to see him interpret a wedding look. I really love the pattern mixing, and think he looks like a real dreamboat in those glasses. 

As always, Thank You Tim for allowing yourself to be subjected to the blog again, and thank you all for stopping by! Enjoy the rest of the weekend! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wine Country Wedding

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a BEAUTIFUL wedding in Napa, CA... the nuptials of Crystal [ahem... MRS. Palecek] to be exact. Guests gathered at Durham Ranch, a mesmerizing private estate nestled into a sweeping hillside. The dress, the cocktail hour by the pool, the tablescape, the dance floor under the stars... each and every detail was exquisite. I must say, I don't think I've ever seen a couple as in love as Crystal and Andrew. It is refreshing, inspiring, and makes me truly grateful to know them both. 

As for what I wore....

dress H&M [old] // clutch Francesca's [old] // shoes Zara // necklaces Anna Bee Jewelry [c/o] and J.Crew

I bought this dress a few years ago in Las Vegas. It was approximately 1 billion degrees outside, and a giant silk bag seemed like the only reasonable purchase I could make. It is one of my favorite pieces, and I should probably write H&M a handwritten note thanking them for creating such a quality piece. I'd initially planned to wear sandals, but Tina told me to pull it together and instead I picked up these beauties from Zara. They didn't entirely help when I tried to dance the night away, but I am obsessed with them none the less. 

Also, can we discuss how if I'd thrown on ONE red accessory, I could have changed the entire plot of this post to be 4th of July themed? BLEW IT. What are you guys doing for the 4th?? We'll be heading to a mimosa brunch followed by lounging in the park. THE perfect San Francisco day if you ask me! 

Hope you're enjoying this faux-Friday, and have a wonderful 4th! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Redbook Magazine

A few weeks ago, a dream came true for me. I was featured in Redbook Magazine! I was interviewed about my year without shopping, a feat that I'd brushed under the rug. The highlight of that accomplishment?? Speaking in front of about 700 people in my hometown about the experience. Then time went on, I shopped again, and truth be told- I sort of forget it ever happened. I mean, I was a little offended the Today Show and Ellen never called... but I moved on. 

Fast forward two years, and I hear the familiar stressful ding of a new message in my inbox. It was an email from Sandy M. Fernandez, a Redbook reporter who was curious about the experiment. We had the interview over the phone [she was so nice!!], a few fact checkers emailed, a request for a headshot came in, and then I forgot it ever happened. I didn't really tell anyone, because when it comes down to it- I need to see things in print before I believe them... ESPECIALLY when they're of this scale. Plus, how embarrassing would it have been if I was all #KelliRyderInRedbookMagazine and they decided not to run the story?

June rolls around, and my dear friend Dez sent me a text... "Look who I found in Redbook!" and I almost died. I was in a national publication. In print. In every city in America. WHAT. ON. EARTH. Totally surreal!! The craziest part of it was leaving my apartment in the middle of San Francisco, walking the two blocks to my neighborhood market, and buying a copy. Let's be honest, I bought two. For what? I don't know. To save both, I guess? I wanted to buy three! 

I realize I'm not on the cover and it's just a little blurb, but to me- it is so much more than that!! So often in life, accomplishments come and go and you have to play it cool like it's no big deal... like you're in magazines all the time and you're ready to move on to the next hurdle. Like "oh, this sort of thing happens all the time but you can check it out if you have a moment." Instead of dancing around your bedroom, grabbing celebratory drinks, or hosting a full on party in your honor- it seems easier to smile, briefly acknowledge it happened, and move quickly towards your next goal. Instead, I decided I would whole-heartedly accept how freaking cool this is. Cool enough, in fact, that I sat on my couch and pretended to read it and made Tim take pictures. Now, I'll never forget that time I was in Redbook Magazine.

My interview is also online HERE, so if you haven't immediately rushed to buy a copy- you can check out the article from the convenience of your computer.

And truly, from the very bottom of my heart, thank you for reading my blog. Your support has meant the world to me, and without you there would be no blog. And with no blog, there'd be no accomplishments to celebrate. If I could buy you all a drink and a plate of nachos and thank you in person- I would. :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

My SUPER Low-Maintenance Hair Routine

I've always been pretty good at finding quick, easy ways to do my hair. A lot of that has to do with working at a hair salon in college- a job which required I have awesome hair in front of customers, but a time in life where I was often oversleeping. Plus- I don't like my hair to ever look "too polished," I'm more of a messy hair girl [this is my dream]. 

Since moving to San Francisco, I've taken "low maintenance" to a whole new [almost gross] level. As in a LOT of air-drying, a LOT of top knots, a LOT of this. However, when Misikko contacted me to do a review on hair dryers, I was all ears. I love doing a little something-something when I'm going to a party or on a date with my dreamboat. They sent me the HANAair Professional Air Dryer, and no joke... I LOVE IT. 

This dryer is pretty rad because it is freakishly powerful, like maybe I could blow right out my front door. It has 2 speeds, 3 heat settings, AND the coveted "cold shot button," WHICH you're supposed to use at the end of every dry because it closes up the hair follicle and locks in shine. My hair stylist can confirm that little fact. The Hana Salon dryer also uses Ion Technology and Tourmaline & Titanium Oxide Technology, which sounds like something I made up, but actually helps your hair stay softer and shinier- and truthfully, it works. I've never before had such soft hair after a blowdry unless I'm trotting out of Drybar. 

When I style my hair, I have to consider the wind + fog of San Francisco. This is the ideal product combination for me:

I've used the Smoothing Fluid since my salon days and the Styling Cream is a recent discovery. The combo of the two [mixed together in my hands prior] is absolutely perfect for fighting humidity and avoiding flyaways [aka the bane of my existence]. I just take 1-2 pumps of each and run through the ends of my strands, taking care to avoid the roots. 

When I dry my hair, there is no rhyme or reason to how the back gets dried- but I always use a brush on the pieces around my face. This helps smooth them out, and I can typically sneak an extra day or two before I have to wash and restyle. I'm not a pro at using the brush by any means, but it is a technique that has made a big difference. The concentrator attachment on the front of the dryer helps quite a bit and prevents tangles when I'm using the brush. 

When it comes to curling, I like to just add a little texture- NOT perfect ringlets. Again, I'm a messy-hair fan. I usually grab a few large pieces and curl using this technique

I don't use a ton of hairspray to finish the look- just a few spritzes to hold the style in place for when I step outside and the wind tries to ruin my life. The Sachajaun Medium Hold is pretty good- not at all sticky or smelly, and has great yet flexible hold. This routine takes all of 20 minutes [drying time included, NO joke], and has made my life much easier and a lot prettier. The only change I'd make is a new curling iron, I snagged this one up at Target and it was a dream for about 2 years but is definitely on its final leg. If you have any favorites, be sure to tell me!! 

Check back tomorrow when I post the full look. I figured since this already had 1,000 photos and an accompanying novel, I'd include the final hair look with tomorrow's outfit post so as not to crash the entire internet. 

Thank you to Misikko Beauty & Hana Salon, thank you to Tim for being my wonderful photographer, and thank YOU for reading along. I hope you found this helpful- and if you would like to see more beauty posts or reviews on Leopard and Lavender, PLEASE let me know!  

*hair dryer was provided by Missiko, but all opinions & styling products are my own.