Sofia Vergara is the covergirl on the September Issue of Martha Stewart Weddings and here I am painting her lovely cover shot. Visit Martha Stewart Weddings to see a video of this painting coming to life!
And wait, there's more!
My girl, Martha, and I are offering a little insta-giveaway to celebrate this beautiful new issue of the magazine and the upcoming debut of my 2016 calendar. Share this image on Instagram, tag @inslee and @Martha _Weddings and use #MSWeddingsContest and you might just win this watercolor original and your very own 2016 calendar!
Do you remember the 21st night of September....
Rejoice! We have shifted through time to the best song-month of the year! Gone are the sandy, sun bleached idol hours of August set to the rhythm of a lapping tide. Here comes the crisp, espresso and Earth Wind and Fire fuled toe-tapping enthusiasm of this perkiest of months. It's time for newness and fashion shows!
This month's Calendar Girl is caught in a whirlwind moment between NYFW shows. One of those moments when everything is just on point and the paparazzi are loving it. Even Bill Cunningham slammed on his brakes to capture this radiant creature.
She invites you to channel her inner killing-it, this month. You too are a show-stopping nymph of sartorial magic who is in for a marvelous night for a moondance. You deserve lace up peep toed boots and off-the-shoulder-everything and Meg Ryan's very own bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils. Go get 'em, tiger!
Today I had the delightful pleasure of visiting the Jack Rogers team in their gorgeous new headquarters to see some of my art installed all around the new space.
It is so exciting to see my work framed and displayed in a beautiful space like this one - shiny navy walls spotted with an eclectic mix of old black and white lifestyle shots of the Kennedy Family, aerial beach photography and a few watercolors by yours truly lead you into a sparkling white showroom filled floor to ceiling with every sandal imaginable.
White orchids, brushed gold-flecked linen couches, and chinoiserie accents abound. And when I arrived, the team was all gathered in an airy and bright corner conference room eating cupcakes.
I'm telling you, you can't make this stuff up. Prepsters, it really was all you could dream of and more.
This large 4x5' piece is the first thing you see when you walk into the reception area...
And this, the team favorite, hangs in the designated cupcake eating area...
I am back to round out the rest of your December schedule with more events focused on ME. I assume you've already planned your outfit for my Dempsey & Carroll 2015 Calendar event on December 2nd, which is great. I applaud you for being so organized.
Now, let me be straight with you. The Dempsey & Carroll event is going to be a rager. A 5:30 pm Tuesday night paper-themed cocktail party always leads to a wild time with stories you can only allude to the next day at work without being judged heavily.
Seriously. I'm not going to sugar coat this one, you will be hungover.
You will wake up with glitter in your hair and one of those mysterious black light activated stamps on the inside of your wrist that mean you went to a club afterwards. You will need to call and cancel your debit card because you left your tab open somewhere.
But, I know you all are up to the challenge. My followers are nothing if not resilient. Which brings me to my next point...
If you've sobered up and recovered enough by Friday the 5th and are itching to celebrate more, I welcome you to scratch that itch and come visit me at my studio for the opening night of my collaborative holiday pop up shop, 73 Spring Shop!
This is a truly one-of-a-kind, first time ever, amazing, synergistic, woman-powered pop up hosted by six wonderful brands working together.
Loren Hope, Design Darling, Persifor, Society Social, Three Jane and my own sweet baby, Inslee By Design are partnering up to make your holiday shopping a pure joy.
We each offer a unique product that will check any and every box on your shopping list. And you can tell your coworker/sister/motherinlaw/favoritesoulcycleteacher that you purchased their gift from the designers themselves when you were personally invited to their studio. How thoughtful and resourceful does that make you look? Very.
Not only is this an incredible opportunity to find distinctive and awesome presents, it is also an opportunity to take sick instagrams. Seriously everything about this pop up shop is going to be impossible not to instagram.
I'm talking peony and citrus infused Christmas Trees, a spiked hot chocolate bar, a special station where I'll be dressed as Santa so you can sit on my lap for pictures*... it's going to be incredible.
*That last part about me dressed as Santa just came to me mid blogpost. Have not run this by any of the other designers yet. They may find this a little off-focus. But don't worry, it will happen. If not me, we'll definitely* convince my husband to do this.
*will never happen in a million years
Anyway, we'll be open for business December 5-12th here at 73 Spring Street in room 401. You can find us just off the 6 train between Lafayette and Crosby streets. We can't wait to meet you, toast the season and help you find perfect gifts for everyone you love.
In case you're having a slow day at the office and need more distractions, here's a brief bio about each member of the #73SpringShop crew.
Design Darling, Mackenzie Horan
Mackenzie is an incredibly cute tiny person from Connecticut. She likes monograms and will monogram anything you want on-site at our event. Literally, she will tattoo you with your initials if you so choose. I heard recently that my generation misinterprets "literally" quite often. Let me just say for the record, I know exactly what it means and I've never used it lightly. You know me, I don't exaggerate. Mackenzie is ready to ink you up.
insider tip: She once had a competition with my husband to see who was more bowlegged. They tied.
Society Social, Roxy Owens
Where to begin? Roxy and I are deeply in love. We couldn't do it without each other. Wait...this was supposed to be a bio. I lapsed into diary entry mode.
If you read my blog, you know alllllll about Society Social. Roxy's expert eye and glorious designs make everything about 73 Spring Shop come to life. The entire space is furnished by her. You'll get to see her bar carts, chairs, sofas, mirrors and tables in action at the event.
insider tip: Roxy hates wearing pants. She inspired me to create this print. She's currently not wearing pants somewhere.
Loren Hope, Loren Barham
Loren is the ultimate badass. Because while the other five of us get to plan this event from the comfort of our studio, Loren is video conferencing in from her amazing jewelry designing headquarters in Rhode Island and is having to execute her entire plan remotely while planning to relocate herself, her staff and her inventory to NYC all in the name of meeting you, dear shoppers. You better come buy her stuff purely from a guilt-perspective. But more importantly buy it because it is the hottest thing out there right now - gorgeous statement jewelry pieces that mix vintage stones and styling with modern edge and vibrant color.
insider tip: her husband is obsessed with karaoke and on an unrelated note, she designed custom earrings for each of my bridesmaids.
Persifor, Alex Thompson
Alex and I met and got to know each other through the planning of #73SpringShop and I couldn't be more excited to call her a new friend. She is just all around awesome. You're going to love her. She'll be offering her colorful line of women's wear at our shop. We even have a cute little dressing room for you to change in so you can see how it will all fit. None of that sample sale clothes-ripping-off-in-public madness. (We love you, but we don't want you naked in the middle of our party... as I said, save the weird stuff for the Calendar party on Tuesday)
insider tip: she has a baby girl named T-bone.
Three Jane, Katie Schloss
Katie is the other cutest and tiniest person from Connecticut. If there's anything I've learned in my friendship with Katie and Mackenzie it is that the Elven community of Connecticut is a down-to-earth and welcoming people with a rich history of entrepreneurialism. Katie will be offering her collection of beautiful and creatively designed jewelry. Her earrings are my go-to dress up pieces these days and I can't tell you how quickly everyone I meet compliments me on them.
insider tip: Katie is PERKY. She will out-perk a six year old on Christmas morning. You need sunglasses to look directly at her. Also she's named her future dog, "ribbit"... I'll let her explain this to you.
Inslee By Design, Inslee Fariss
This is me in one of my early creations from my brief stint as a costume designer for the cast of Les Miserables. I am modeling the look I created for Jean Valjean. Around age 9 I retired from costume design and began focusing on works on paper, many of which will be for sale at #73SpringShop. We're talking neon nudes, ballerinas, original watercolors framed and unframed, prints of every variety, calendars both large and small and perhaps ****an opportunity or two for a live custom sketch****
insider tip: my parents will be attending this event with me and will give a short speech on raising a child costume designer without forfeiting my education.
xoxoxo that's all folks! Back to work! I hope you come shop!
I have some grievances to air with you, dear readers. Whyyyy did none of you tellll me when I was all hot to trot on moving to Mulberry Street that I was moving into they eye of the tiger of the hurricane that is the San Genario festival???
You all just sat there like cats that ate the proverbial canary, smiling knowingly (which I read as smiling supportively) while I babbled on about the wonders of Mulberry Street in the heart of divine Nolita. Nolita, the quiet tree lined oasis between Soho and the Bowery.
What's that you say? You didn't know about the San Genario festival either?
I don't believe you for a second. I still blame you for not saving me from my current situation.
But for the sake of clarity I'll go ahead and tell you a little bit about life on mulberry street in the last week of September in case you’re telling the truth....
The last week of September is a time each year - yes each year I will endure this - when hell surfaces and sets up a pop up shop for eleven days directly below my bedroom window.
I'm not exaggerating. I think the San Genario festival may actually be the earthly manifestation of hell.
The eleven days of the festival are an orgy of wastefulness and perversion thinly veiled as an Italian tradition of charity and honoring a patron saint. This orgy involves vendors cooking all manner of fried food, which is then sold to tourists who partially eat it and then quickly lose interest and discard it directly into the sidewalk. Not into the trashcans because they are already bursting. So then more tourists walk through the half eaten food and tamp it down, creating a damp, seething ground-cover of accidental composting that spans the entire length of the fair generating a moist, warm and putrid air quality that permeates absolutely everything.
Yes. So. This festival takes place from the hours of roughly eleven am to eleven pm every single day for eleven days and extends for almost the entirety of Mulberry Street... However as fate would have it, the epicenter of the madness is most definitely at the intersection of Spring and Mulberry.
And yes. I live in a first floor apartment at the corner of Spring and Mulberry. I realize that's pretty specific. Please don't come rob me.
So for eleven days, I attended this festival from open to close practically. Whether I liked it or not, I was there.
I tried to cook healthy Pinterest recipes for my husband and have stimulating dinner conversations over said lentil-based dinners. But as we attempted normalcy, our a/c unit piped in billowing heavy clouds of fried Oreo fumes comingling with the unmistakable aroma of sausage and onions laced with a touch of funnel cake all topped off with the perfume of just generally burning grease and fat.
After dinner, we would try to focus on our nightly TV watching ritual over the sounds of a man repeatedly yelling, "We have sangria! We have red wine! We have ice-cold beer! We have sangria! We have red wine! We have ice cold beer!" loud enough to be heard over the cacophony of every tourist ever screaming at each other and the musical cocktail of seven or eight neighboring food vendors all playing simultaneous and discordant music choices.
Elton John tried to out sing Pitt bull while Shakira had a musical duel with Bob Marley. Three little birds were shaking their hips that don't lie... so confusing.
We tried to go to sleep at a reasonable hour each night, pretending our pillows didn't smell like carnitas tacos and sweat. But the generator-powered floodlights used to illuminate the satanic grease-and-noise-worship late into the night made our bedroom as bright as daytime on the surface of the sun.
And when the lights did finally power down and the music finally really did turn down for what, guess what happened then...
Then booth maintenance workmen began repairs, reassembling, disassembling, general full scale construction projects that lasted well into the darkest hours of the morning involving the blaring of backup emergency beeping from tractors, nail guns, saws, drills, hammers, and the screaming of many expletives. They may have been working on the street below us, but at times it felt as though a man with a nail gun was working directly at my bedside, perhaps shooting said nails into my exhausted brain.
I'm sorry if this is confusing and a lot of information. That is just the nature of the situation. As my husband pointed out, the stimuli overload and ceaseless nature of the event was not that different from tactics used on prisoners of war.
Suddenly it all became clear. The happy discovery of our new apartment was maybe not such a miracle. Not such a steal of a good price for exactly what we wanted. No wonder this magical perfect apartment was available for us to fall in love with this past spring. The previous tenant is probably now off enjoying a year of prayerful solitude on a spiritual journey through Burma.
Just when we thought we couldn’t take it another moment and had our fingers hovering over the call button for 311 to report illegal bulldozing of giant wooden food stalls at three am inches from our windows, it ceased.
The noise and the trash and the tourists and the fumes all receded into nothingness like a horrible nightmare fading away.
Yes, the fair is over, fall has arrived, and we have overcome yet another hurtle NYC has thrown at us. And from this hurtle emerged something quite interesting.
I discovered her while I was storming through the festival, grimacing furiously, trying to part the sea of binge consumption. My Mansur Gavriel bag caught on her Celine bag and it was love at first tangle.
While apologizing and trying to reclaim my bag I noticed two things, one that she had the most adorable miniature dachshund, and two, that we already knew each other.
I had known Daphne when I was really little. Like three years old. To this day my mother insists that Daphne was a figment of my imagination. “The othergirl” as she often refers to her. I know she just thinks I was too much of a wall-flower, shy and sweet to really have a friend as vivacious and fond of rule breaking as Daphne was.
Daphne was a spirited and strikingly beautiful three-year-old, full of reckless ideas to stick metal things into light sockets and steal small objects from model homes. She could do the splits and she had interestingly bad handwriting. She had very long hair. But, quite possibly the most frustrating and intriguing thing about her was that she looked a little like me. But clearly much cuter. It was my first experience of comparison and resentment about my own image.
To this day I am not sure if I loved her or hated her. Toddler jealousy is a hard thing to express.
I hadn’t thought about her in such a long time. I’d almost forgotten about the othergirl after all those years. Imagine my shock when I spotted her in the midst of the hell that is San Genaro! It couldn't be anyone else.
When our bags became tangled and I looked into those bright blue eyes in that sea of smooth skin spread over lightly with caramel freckles beneth a sheeth of perfectly shiny dark hair, I knew for certain this was the same girl I’d idolized over twenty years ago.
If this had been a different story, we might have recognized each other mutually and become fast friends and started a line of organic granola together. But, this is my life so I awkwardly reclaimed my bag and kept on going through the throng of people while considering texting my mom GUESS WHO I RAN INTO but then thinking better of it because I was late to a wedding.
Before she slipped back into the crowd, holding a lemonade and calling her little dog after her, I made a conscious effort to notice and plan to buy everything she was wearing. She would be able to pull off a hat. And she would have the puppy I desperately wanted. And her jeans would have artful rips.
So typical. This was just like when her mother let her wear giant bows in her long luscious hair and my mother insisted that bows weren't our style and that I have a "french" bob of short, un-gender-identifiable curls, reminding me that Daphne's mother was new money.
This was just like that.
This was an interesting development. An interesting development indeed.
Daphne is back.
Last week I shared a glimpse of a wedding invitation on Instagram. Today I thought I'd share a little more detail. Cassie, a beautiful bride planning her upcoming September wedding, commissioned me to create the above botanicals for her invitation design. We focused on the flowers and plants that are being used throughout her wedding. I loved bringing the peachy pinks in and giving these botanicals a distinctly late summer Texan brightness and warmth compared to the cooler springtime tones in my own wedding botanicals.
Cassie worked with her wedding planner, Keely Thorne and her paper designer, Papellerie to create this exquisite suite of paper using my art paired with the work of talented calligrapher Elizabeth Porcher Jones.
The botanicals are printed directly on the reply and reception cards, but then they took it to the next level by printing the florals on the tissue overlay on the wedding invite itself. I love this idea. I wish I could say I thought of it for my own wedding. I wrestled with how to bring my art into my invitation design because I wanted the invite to feel formal and traditional featuring just the calligraphy. We ended up using my art in the envelope lining which was lovely (pictures to come!), but the tissue overlay is pure genius.
And possibly the best part was the stamp... look closely...
Yes! Those are Cassie's family's labs. Aren't they the sweetest things?
Her sweet Cavalier, Mollie had already made an appearance in her Save-The-Date, also illustrated by me. So we figured it was time for the labs to turn into sketches too!
Here's her save the date too by the way, I just realized I never shared it! It is an illustration of her family home where the wedding will take place. Notice Mollie in the front yard...