Featured Spotlight: Kristen Juen

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Do you ever feel like you want to own everything inside of a catalog or a store such as Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, or West Elm? (Sometimes I do!) It’s one thing to own beautiful things for the home from these stores, but it’s a whole other level when it’s homemade and crafted by local artists such as Kristen Juen from www.saksajuen.com. She creates organic modern, hand-built ceramics for unique spaces and focuses on creating forms that are intentionally handmade, not like everything else.  With all that she makes, she has one strong desire: “I hope my designs spark a connection with nature for modern spaces!”

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Featured Spotlight: Andrea Watson

I’m so excited to be featuring Andrea Watson from Andrea Watson Designs today! It was a pleasure to chat with her through email back and forth, sharing short snippets and stories while collaborating on a 72 hour giveaway (Check our Instagrams @awatsondesigns and @lilspirations to enter for a chance to win 9 prizes! Ends June 24th). She’s such a joy to talk to, and you’ll get what I mean when you read my interview with her!  🙂

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Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an Ohio original, but always knew I belonged on the coast. My husband and I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina in 2010 and have been loving life in this beautiful place ever since. I’m a sucker for palm trees, blue skies, and warm weather 🙂 I’ve been building my little business since 2012 and have really started to eat-sleep-breathe the life of a small business owner. I spend countless hours on my jewelry business every week, but I’ve loved watching it grow organically and couldn’t be happier with where I’m at now. 2015 has been a huge year for me and I’m excited to keep growing and expanding my brand.

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Featured Spotlight: Kristine Brookshire

So glad to know everyone loves the featured spotlight series!  There are a couple of more makers to share with you this week across the U.S.! It has been really fun learning about everyone, what they do, and how they find inspiration (not to mention they are all incredibly sweet.)

Today, let’s meet Kristine Brookshire from southern California! 🙂

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Kristine has always loved art. “My earliest childhood memories are centered around drawing and painting. I studied art all throughout school, even majoring in studio art in college for my BFA. I put off pursuing an art career after college to support my husband through law school and then I got busy having babies. Now I’m a busy stay at home mom of a preschooler and toddler twins but my passion for art is still there. I sneak in painting whenever I can – usually nap times, and after the kids go to bed.”  For years, she took on portrait commissions by word of mouth but recently joined Etsy and Instagram to gain exposure and connect with the customers.I didn’t realize how incredibly inspiring it would be to connect with other artists and makers. I’m blown away by the talent that is out there and the friendships that I’ve made.”

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Featured Spotlight: Sarah Simon

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When it comes to creating art or capturing photographs, Sarah Simon from Seattle knows how to do it well.  I mean, really well.  Known as @TheMintGardener on Etsy and Instagram, I got a chance to collaborate with her on an upcoming giveaway and learn about who she is and the work that she does. Although Sarah started her professional life in Economics and Human Resources, her support from her husband and her passion for creating with her hands, won.  “I began an Etsy and Instagram site devoted to my art and the many inspirations of beauty that catch my eye everyday.”

Her photos on Instagram are really unique. I wondered what she looked for when shooting those pictures so I went ahead and asked her.   Her answer?  Light.  “Light is the most captivating factor for me- it colors our world differently from moment to moment and it creates moods and dictates the flow of our days.  Certain lighting (my favorite is dawn and dusk, the ‘afterlight’) is the most inspiring to me. With a little (or a lot of) coffee and the right lighting – who knows what may be accomplished!”  

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Featured spotlight: Samantha Leung

So you’ve met Tony Quach who knows how to shave some good ice and blend it well with never-ending toppings, and you’ve met Judy Lai who makes beautiful Asian-flavor inspired cakes.  There’s no better inspiration than to hear from the owners themselves!  So this week, let’s meet more awesome people. They have a remarkable talent for art and nature and I’m really excited to share their work with you!

Considering how I was never able to keep a plant alive for long, I recently gained an interest in plants after working in the garden with my students. I decided that when I’ve made room in my apartment one day, I would get some, and there’s no place I would rather get my first air plant than from the Etsy shop, Handmade Sam*Made.  

Samantha Leung, also the writer and creator behind www.handmadesammade.com, creates beautiful Himmeli ornaments and pairs them perfectly with different types of air plants.  She has had an interest in plants her entire life.  “When I was really young, as young as I can remember – around 2-3, I remember spending entire weekends at the Chicago Botanical Gardens with my Mom. We would get there as early as we could, and we would just walk around and read all of the little placards over and over until they would close up for the day. My favorite rooms were always the ones that resembled the rainforest. That shock of warmth and humidity that would envelop you as soon as you walked in, and the scent of the plants and flowers surrounding you. I can actually picture it right now. My mom has always had a green thumb. She is always in the midst of propagating plants, repotting and giving them away to friends. She has the uncanny ability to bring back any plant from the brink, and she’s currently growing a lemon tree in her condo that she started from a lemon that she got from a local grocery store! (Mariano’s for anyone from Chicago.)

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Together for One Night

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This past weekend was quite busy and eventful! I got to attend and volunteer at the Brews, Bites and Wines Charity Tasting Event held by The Promise Society, whose mission is to host events to help raise money and awareness for other non-profit organizations. I recently heard about this organization through a friend and had an interest to learn more about it. I’m really glad I did!

Here’s a picture of the staff and founder of the Rescuing Leftover Cuisine!

At this event, the Society raised funds for an organization called Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, whose mission is to redefine food rescue and end food waste in the U.S.  Did you know that food is the #1 material sent to landfills?? Find out more how this organization helps reduce this problem and how you can contribute or donate here at their site.  

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A Sweet Treat with Judy Lai from Silk Cakes!

Are you in for a sweet treat?  I’m so excited to introduce to you Judy Lai, the creative and inspiring owner of SilkCakes located in LES, Manhattan and Forest Hills, Queens. Judy is the baker behindthose elaborately detailed cakes with unique flavor combinations that you may haveseen at a friend’s wedding, through my Instagram, or through wedding magazines.Recently, Judy and I had a delightful conversation over the phone (she’s incrediblysweet!) about the inspiration behind her craft and how she comes up with the different flavors. I thought why not let the baker herself tell you all about it! Then afterwards, make sure you take a trip over to either of her shop sites to get a real taste yourself of those moist cupcakes and cakes (and snap tons of pictures, for all you foodies out there!)

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Snow Day Giveaway

Are you in New York City? If yes, here’s a giveaway for you! Snowdays and I teamed up to give 5 winners a chance to each win ten dollar gift certificates to the dessert spot, Snowdays on 10th Street! Read below to find out how to enter and check out the the interview with store owner, Tony Quach here!

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To enter, you will need a Facebook or Instagram account. 

 Instagram:  
1) Follow @Snowdays and @lilspirations.
2) Like and Comment through the app on this photo tagging 3 friends.
3) For a bonus extra entry repost this image with #lilspirationsgiveaway!

 

Entering through Facebook:
1) Follow Snowdays Facebook page  and lilspirations page here.
2) Like the photo on my Facebook page and share the post with your friends!
3) Tag @lilspirations for your entry to be logged

 

Good luck, and thanks for entering!

Winner must follow each step in either methods to qualify. Giveaway runs through midnight est on Saturday, 3/14/15. Winners will be contacted through direct message and prizes will be mailed. This giveaway is not sponsored or endorsed by Instagram or Facebook. 

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Behind the Scenes with the Founder of Snowdays Shavery, Tony Quach

This winter is probably one of the coldest winters I can remember here in New York. If it’s not snowing, it’s freezing and turning all the previous snow or puddles into ice!  Yesterday the floors were pretty clean from a couple of warmer days and then it started to snow again today.

But I’ve actually been looking forward to this snow day because how else to celebrate the day than with the popular Snowdays Shavery? You might remember 6 months ago, when I attended their first week opening and shared about the experience (click here to read!).  Since then, they have been the talk of the town (or in our case, the city)!

Over my week off, I got together with founder Tony Quach to tell you about how this unique place came about.  He’s such a down-to-earth guy and cares really deeply for what he does and about interacting with his customers. Now here’s your chance to know him a little bit through our behind-the-scenes interview.  (Make sure you read it all!  You may find a little surprise somewhere below.) 🙂

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Thank you to everyone who entered the holiday giveaway this week! I really enjoyed being surprised with all the entries and letting Rafflecopter generate a random winner! So now, the big announcement…

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Congratulations, Lisa Y!!  Please check your email inbox for more information regarding your big prize!

Thanks again to everyone for entering and stay tuned to another giveaway (and a new web look) in the new year! A special thanks to Wendy Fung for generously giving away this beautiful set.

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