LOCAL LOVE:: THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU ARE FEELING ARTSY BUT YOU AREN'T AN ARTIST

A NONCREATIVE'S WAY TO GET THE JUICES FLOWING

As the noncreative in the office, I am surrounded by endless talent and artistic prowess on a daily basis.  Every once and awhile I like to test out my own talents but it can be very intimidating.  St. Petersburg is a bustling mecca for art and there are so many cool ways "non-artists" like myself can exercise our own artistic flair.

Morean Art Center: The Hot Spot

The Morean Art Center has so many different classes and artwork shops.  You are sure to find something that you like.  Team LGD recently spent an evening at The Hot Spot- a neat annex of the Morean Art Center where we learned the basics about glass working.  It was a fun, exciting night surrounded by all beginner glass artists.  We made ourselves glass flowers.  Check out details here.  

Makeme Studio

If you are feeling a little intimidated by the more formal setting of Morean, you should check out our friends at Makeme Studio.  Team LGD has also taken a bracelet making class there.  Get a group of friends together, bring some snacks, and sign up for one of their Adult BYOB classes. Makeme also has a packed calendar full of many different types of mediums.  You are sure to find something that interests you. Their motto is Less Pinning, More Making!

Check out more details here.

 Our team had so much fun making bracelets at Makeme with some of our great reps!

Our team had so much fun making bracelets at Makeme with some of our great reps!

Whim So Doodle

A local St. Petersburg fav, Whim So Doodle is a shop full of awesome art supplies as well as an ever-changing calendar full of classes in all different genres. Everything from hand lettering, to painting and many other creative ventures in between!

Check out more details here.

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Painting with a Twist

For those of you that aren't in the Tampa Bay area, Painting with a Twist is EVERYWHERE- 39 states, actually.  We love our local shop and the many fun painting events they set up.  Painting with a Twist is away to be artistic without being an artist.  Their motto is Fun Art, Not Fine Art.  

Check out more details here.

Art shouldn't be intimidating or overwhelming.  If you feeling like trying something new, I would recommending taking an art class.  Most classes are reasonably priced and only a few hours commitment.  You might find a real passion for a new hobby!  

Get out there and get artsy! (you might even see me there)

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DESIGN CHAT:: COUNTERTOP CONFESSIONS

To all the renovators , the cooks, the wine drinkers, the families with little humans ...this one's for you....

It's me, Nicole! Here to help with some countertop pros and cons of all these beautiful materials mother nature provides us, and some amazing engineered ones which have many people turning their heads in disbelief!

With busy lives and being constantly on the go, everyone is looking for those two special words... MAINTENANCE FREE.  So by popular demand I give you .....

Quartz

  Design via Joanna Gaines: https://magnolia.com/our-show/episode-01-lunar-lander/    Pro Tip: Want the look of marble without the maintenance?? Look no further!

Design via Joanna Gaines: https://magnolia.com/our-show/episode-01-lunar-lander/

Pro Tip: Want the look of marble without the maintenance?? Look no further!

  Design via Studio McGee: https://www.studio-mcgee.com/studioblog/2017/2/27/emerson    Pro Tip: resistant to scratches, stains, and can withstand heat

Design via Studio McGee: https://www.studio-mcgee.com/studioblog/2017/2/27/emerson

Pro Tip: resistant to scratches, stains, and can withstand heat

  Design via Jaclyn Peters Design: http://jaclynpetersdesign.com/#/highway-206/    Pro Tip: What you see is what you get! No unexpected variations in color or movement    Con: ummmm.... still searching for one! Check back with me when you find someone who doesn't like an indestructible and impervious product :)  

Design via Jaclyn Peters Design: http://jaclynpetersdesign.com/#/highway-206/

Pro Tip: What you see is what you get! No unexpected variations in color or movement

Con: ummmm.... still searching for one! Check back with me when you find someone who doesn't like an indestructible and impervious product :)  

Next up is our old friend....

Granite

Granite comes from the process of crystallization of magma below Earth's surface. In short your countertop was flowing molten lava at some point! This helps to explain the density of the product and  why there are so many variations of movement and color within granite to pick from!

  Design via Akin Design Studio:                                                http://www.akindesignstudio.com/the-rad-reno/aihi5pryzo7awahg2mk0ta6tielvvt    Pro Tip: sealing is recommended to aid in the resistance against etching, dirt and spills

Design via Akin Design Studio:                                                http://www.akindesignstudio.com/the-rad-reno/aihi5pryzo7awahg2mk0ta6tielvvt

Pro Tip: sealing is recommended to aid in the resistance against etching, dirt and spills

  Design via Britt Lakin Photography: www.brittlakinphotography.com    Pro Tip: Most cost effective option when considering a natural stone. Normally the more clean looking the higher the price will be.     Con: Can tend to lean a bit busy, therefore consider picking a more subtle backsplash tile when working with a granite.  

Design via Britt Lakin Photography: www.brittlakinphotography.com

Pro Tip: Most cost effective option when considering a natural stone. Normally the more clean looking the higher the price will be. 

Con: Can tend to lean a bit busy, therefore consider picking a more subtle backsplash tile when working with a granite.  

Wood

The beauty and warmth  this natural element provides is a favorite of mine.  Wood is sure to compliment any solid surface paired with it. With its rich hues and ability to manipulate the intensity of the finish, this application is an art piece all on its own!

  Design via designer and  stylist Liz Kamarul personal home:     https://www.instagram.com/p/BjuVQEaH9sY/?taken-by=liz_kamarul    Pro Tip: Excellent work space for the chef in you! Wood is very forgiving on cutlery, but dents and scratches can occur in the wood during constant use. I personally love the character and story it creates. 

Design via designer and  stylist Liz Kamarul personal home:   https://www.instagram.com/p/BjuVQEaH9sY/?taken-by=liz_kamarul

Pro Tip: Excellent work space for the chef in you! Wood is very forgiving on cutlery, but dents and scratches can occur in the wood during constant use. I personally love the character and story it creates. 

  Design via Amie Corley Interiors: https://www.instagram.com/amiecorleyinteriors/     Con: Refinishing of the wood will need to take place, but is dependent on how often it is used. Typically time span is 10-15 years

Design via Amie Corley Interiors: https://www.instagram.com/amiecorleyinteriors/ 

Con: Refinishing of the wood will need to take place, but is dependent on how often it is used. Typically time span is 10-15 years

... and of course, saving the best for last

MARBLE

...I'll just be over here swooning all day, everyday over this beautiful stone. The movement, and colors the earth produces will never cease to amaze me. For centuries some of the most beautiful sculptures and structures have been made with marble. Indoor, Outdoor, on floors, ceilings, and walls! So when people ask "can I use this on my counter?" My answer always is ,"of course you can!!!" I know what you're thinking- "yeah, but i will also become a slave to it," and my answer  is of course you will haha! BUT, here are some tips to help you along the way!

  Design via deVOL Kitchens: https://www.devolkitchens.co.uk/kitchens/classic-bespoke/brochure    Pro Tip: Sealing is your best friend .... for life!     Pro Tip: Do not let anything acidic sit on the countertop- lemons, vinegar, tomato sauce will etch the stone

Design via deVOL Kitchens: https://www.devolkitchens.co.uk/kitchens/classic-bespoke/brochure

Pro Tip: Sealing is your best friend .... for life! 

Pro Tip: Do not let anything acidic sit on the countertop- lemons, vinegar, tomato sauce will etch the stone

  Design via Dreamy Whites Blog personal home:  http://dreamywhites.blogspot.com/2016/04/french-inspired-kitchen-makeover-french.html    Pro Tip: To help remove stubborn stains use a  poultice paste, and thank me later!

Design via Dreamy Whites Blog personal home:  http://dreamywhites.blogspot.com/2016/04/french-inspired-kitchen-makeover-french.html

Pro Tip: To help remove stubborn stains use a  poultice paste, and thank me later!

I hope after reading this you are a bit more confident the next time you are out selecting countertops! I'm sure I'll hop back on here soon and we can talk about some materials which are not as commonly used!

Until Next Time!

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AN OPEN NOTE:: SELF CARE, SELF LOVE, MENTAL HEALTH, STRUGGLES + HAPPINESS

MAKING YOURSELF A PRIORITY

Lately, I have been giving a lot of time and thought to self care, love, mental health and happiness. So much, that I am really just compelled to write about it here. This is a bit of a stray from our usual happy and beautiful design centric entries - but I think that's quite okay, this is real life. I believe in authenticity and a certain level of brutal honesty, in my opinion, it all ties together in the end. 

With the recent news of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain ending their lives and also someone I knew on a personal level, it really shook me in an unexpected way. I obviously am not friends with either of these talented celebrities, but in the strangest of ways - I almost understood. It's been said that Kate Spade didn't seek out help, because she is afraid of what it would do to the image of her brand. The image of her brand. How have we created a world that at some point we feel our brand is more important than our wellbeing, our lives, our families and our friends? 

And then, oddly enough, I get it. She created this brand, that was so happy, cheerful, colorful and lively. I mean, she even has a perfume called "Live Colorfully" which I love, and until recently just found out it gives Kristin a headache. Oops, sorry, Kristin.

My first designer bag was a Kate Spade, man, I was proud of it. I still have it. It was my first purchase as a "career woman". When I graduated college, a mentor of mine once told me "Don't under estimate the value of a good handbag / tote.  It will pull your entire look together and make a statement." I smiled largely when I purchased that first designer bag and I thought to myself  "This is my career handbag. I'm here."

I find myself often getting wrapped up in the image of interior design, the image of the company I have worked so hard at creating. This is my "baby" as many say to me with a smile. When I meet strangers and they find out I'm a designer, it's always the same response "OH! WOW! That must be such a fun career, I just LOVE HGTV." Let's be honest, I will be the first to admit, it IS a fun career. I am so fortunate to do my passion every single day. Then I catch myself, almost feeling as if I am living a double life, because yes, while it is fun - people do not understand the day to day in and out of the design and construction industry. Dealing with tons of sub contractors, lead times, delivery expectations, quality control, and having to tell clients that their budget just isn't enough for that space they are dreaming of - that is always the hardest. It's almost heartbreaking, because guess what, we want it to happen to, but sometimes there is nothing we can do.  And this is just a small business in St. Petersburg, Florida, doing the day to day, trying to survive and keep this dream rolling. So I couldn't even begin to fathom the weight of all of this to a celebrity status individual, where large scale social media, tabloids and who knows what else come into play. 

Then - and then there is the personal side of life. That we all have. Spoiler alert:: I'm about to get real personal, so you should just stop reading if you aren't interested, think it's too much, or if it might ruffle your feathers for putting honesty and real life out there. Yeah, I'm looking at your Judge-y  McJudgerson. 

Some know, but many don't - I got divorced last year. Wow. Yep. There I said it. I got divorced. I just threw it out there on my business design inspirational blog. But, again, this is me being authentic, honest and real.

Let me tell you, going through a divorce, it 'effing sucks. A lot. No matter how respectable, amicable and cut and dry it is (thankfully, mine was all of the above.) It sucks. it distracts you, it overwhelms you, it makes you cry, it makes you feel like a failure and oddly enough it also makes you hopeful for the future (at least in my case it did). So many emotions are pulled different ways. I was basically a hot emotional mess most of last year. In the end, we are both happier and potentially better people for acknowledging that our relationship was over. I believe in my heart, we want nothing but happiness for each other. The year was tough, but I got through it, with the support of truly amazing friends, family and my loyal and loving team. 

Oh, but it's not over yet. Just when I thought it was, and I was in the clear and working through the whole process. My ex-husband is seeing my (now former) best friend. Yep. SUCKER PUNCH. The best friend I had since high school, my roommate in my early 20's, Maid of Honor's in each others weddings, there for the birth of her son. All of it. That kind of best friend. Yeah, sounds like an Emily Giffin novel doesn't it? Funny, those were our favorite books we would share. Oh, the foreshadowing. 

I'm gonna let that one soak in for a second ---

Okay, cool. We on the same page? I cannot even begin to describe the amount of heartache, betrayal and overall shock that I felt (and still feel) through all of this. I felt like my divorce was being resurfaced and at the same time, I was losing my best friend. The two people who were my people, were no longer my people anymore. I was devastated. There were days I didn't want to get out of bed, my brain couldn't focus, my heart wouldn't stop hurting, my mind wouldn't stop wondering. However, mostly, I just couldn't comprehend it, I think maybe, because I genuinely could never do that to someone. 

Finally, I decided, enough was enough, I wasn't going to allow them to have any more of my headspace. So I turned to friends, family, nature, health and fitness to get me through it. This is where this whole open letter thing comes full circle and it will make sense why I just dumped my personal life on you. 

At the end of they day, we all go through things, some similar situations to mine, some much deeper and traumatic and some could simply be a string of bad luck events. However, at the end of the day, it's about finding our tribes, it's about finding our people that we can lean on, that we can cry to, because it is okay to cry. And guess what, some will even cry with you, in the most unexpected of ways, on a back patio grilling dinner with a bottle of wine, they will cry with you and you will feel human. Lean on your friends, I have friends here locally and on the other side of the continent that have lifted me, showed me my strength when I couldn't find it and helped me wade those muddy waters. They have made lists for me when I'm down, all the reasons they find me amazing. And guess what? You can bet your ass I saved that list in my phone and I read it from time to time. They have sent me cards, they have gone on walks with me and my dog, they have put flowers and coffee on my desk with a cheeky note to bring a smile to my face. Don't be afraid to break down those walls, to scream if you have to. 

If you are feeling hopeless, down, confused, or just simply feel like you are aimlessly walking through life - I encourage you to find ways to settle and clear your mind. Here are a few examples that have helped me through the process, if you are local, I encourage you to check them out, but if you are afar, something similar may be in your area:

  1. Nature - I have made it a priority to be in nature and be without screen time, really be away from it. I have enjoyed paddle boarding, riding my bike, walking my dog and sometimes just sitting on my balcony enjoying a sunset. if you can, find a friend that wants to do it with you, or do it alone. Do what makes you happy. 
  2. Therapy - Sometimes speaking to a professional is the perfect medicine. I have been seeing a life / business coach for years, but when things started shaking up in my life, it turned into a weekly thing. We talk about my struggles, we talk about my celebrations, gratitude, what I need to work on and goals. We cover it all. Dr. Jaime has been an integral role in my journey and success. 
  3. Fitness - Oh my goodness, has this been HUGE for me. Okay, so here is the deal. When things get crazy, isn't it our bodies and fitness that we always let go first? *Lisa raises her hand, slowly* Getting a good workout in is such an immediate mood booster. So I found my local fitness gang, here they are: Krazy Kardio - I hit up a few times a week, the owner / trainer Kellie is one of the most positive and energetic people I know. There are some days I dread hitting that warehouse gym at 6am, but I know deep down, the workout endorphins and Kellie's personality will kick that sorrow mood out the door;  Central Cycling - sometimes it's just good to zone out, ride a bike and get your mind right; Body Electric Yoga - Ohhhh how I have coveted to be a yogi, but I could never get my head there. I'm pretty sure this wild ride I have been on, has forced my body to crave it. So I've incorporated yoga a few times a week, which I must say, I think it's working! I'm still learning (a lot) and likely screw up 90% of the moves, but hey, I'm trying, and it makes me feel good. I'll get there
  4. Find your tribe - Okay, let me just say, I have a few tribes. Don't feel like you have to limit yourself to one, or if you have one really kick ass one - roll with that! I have my work tribe, I've got my design tribe (fellow designer boss ladies), I've got my tribe I've been friends with for years; and I've also got my Boss Babes tribe. Whoever your tribe is, find them, and love them hard. Lean on them, when you are feeling in the slump and don't feel like doing anything, make yourself go to that event or dinner with the group. Your later self with thank you. It's all about finding like minded individuals to share your life and your story with, and learn theirs. 
  5. Travel - If possible, travel. It opens your mind, opens your heart and opens your eyes. 
  6. Find your passion - thankfully, I do mine everyday, so I was able to focus on that. Find what makes your heart sing and let it grow.
  7. Journal - Write it out. Write it out. Write it out. Whatever your heart desires. And don't bullsh*t journal. You know, when you write just on the surface, for fear you will die and someone will find your journal and think "Man. She was screwed up." Write for real. Also, put someone in charge of making it top priority of finding that journal and burning it, God forbid anything should ever happen to you. My former best friend was my point person for that, so that reminds me I need to find a new potential journal burning friend, hit me up if you want that task.  Write so raw, so real, so unhinged. That's when it will help you. 
  8. Give yourself a little grace - it's okay to be sad. To be in your head. To just be pissed. Sometimes self care means eating that pizza, drinking that wine and watching that movie. It's okay. Do it. Just know when the right time is to call in the troops and pull yourself out. 

At the end of the day, I'm not sharing all of my personal struggles with you for sympathy or things like "Wow, she has had quite the awful year!" I'm sharing because sometimes people need realness. Sometimes people need to know that everyone doesn't have a perfect life and they aren't alone. I'm sharing because maybe you are seeking ways to get out of a funk you can't shake, and maybe my short list above will provide some kind of inspiration. I'm sharing because you need to know that sometimes people suck and it's okay that it might impact you. I'm sharing because you my friend, you will get through it. Do I still have crappy days? Absolutely. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to apologize. Apologize to family, friends, clients and my team. Apologize for being mentally absent, for letting things slip through the cracks, being overwhelmed, getting a little off path, and sometimes crying out of nowhere. However, I want to also say thank you, thank you for supporting me, for being there and helping me, for not freaking out when you ottoman might have been late. Geeze Louise, it's always the freaking ottoman that messes it up. (Am I right, designers?!?)  For realizing I am human, and we all need a hug, a laugh, a glass of wine or someone to talk smack with. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

If you do feel you are in a dark place, don't be afraid to reach out, ask for help, ask for support, see a professional. You will be pleasantly surprised how many people are in your corner, love you and want nothing but to see you thrive. 

*National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 - You are loved. 

Love, light and positivity. You've got this. 

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DESIGN CHAT:: KID ART GALLERY WALLS

HOW TO DISPLAY YOUR BUDDING ARTISTS' MASTERPIECS

As parents, we all think our children's artwork is amazing and has the potential of being world famous some day.  We are bombarded with handprints, scribbles, sweet holiday sentiments, and everything in between.  We love our children and their budding talents but what can we do with ALL the art that is sent home?  My answer is... MAKE A GALLERY WALL!!  Gallery walls are fun, sentimental, and a great way to have your children get involved in personalizing your home.  

Lisa Gilmore Design has recently installed two family homes incorporating kid art gallery walls.

Lisa Gilmore Design New England Family Home Project

We changed up the frames with this design.  We chose mixed metals, white, and black frames to highlight the children's art.  We added some structural, non-kid design elements to break up the wall a bit.  The art is hung in a balanced yet, whimsical way.  

 Lisa Gilmore Design Bold, Vibrant, Chic Project

Lisa Gilmore Design Bold, Vibrant, Chic Project

For this project, we hugged a corner and varied the size of frames and artwork size significantly.  The bright colors of this growing Picasso flows into the bold, chicness of the home's design. 

To add a kid art gallery wall in your home, please remember these few tips: keep it fun & creative, leave room for additions, and be prepared to feel random sentimentality when you look on your wall. 

Happy Hanging! 

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