101 THINGS IN 1001 DAYS + A THANK YOU

Today is my birthday and I considered not writing a post, take a day off, celebrate sort of thing when I realized there was no better place I’d like to be than here with you! Okay, Paris or a tropical paradise might be a nice runner-up… I am not coming in here today to brag that I’m a year older, sheesh, no one likes a braggart, but to share a little tradition and maybe you might want to take it up as well. On my birthday I like to write out a list of things I would like to accomplish for the year ahead, it’s kind of like a new years resolution but I don’t have to give anything up. One year I wrote out 101 things I’d like to accomplish in 1001 days. I only wrote 65 of my 101 things, but I actually accomplished quite a few of my ‘goals’. Some of the items I can cross off my list were get married to my Fancy-check! Move out of our apartment and out of Los Angeles-check! Drive cross country- check! Take a calligraphy class-check! Re-read the classics-check! Teach a photo class-check! Sell some of my photographs-check! Have some of my photographs published in a major magazine-check! Leave my horrible job-check! Have Besotted Brand be my job-check!!! Move to the country-check! Have a baby (working on it). Re-design my blog (one day!) There’s some others that are coming into fruition as I write this, but I promise to divulge them when they have become a reality.  I have not been coy about admitting my propensity to procrastinate so to be able to see everything I have been able to accomplish in such a relatively short amount of time has been very inspiring. It’s so easy to focus on what we haven’t attained, instead of what we have. I think part of that problem is not having the ‘documentation’ to look back on. If I hadn’t made this list I might have forgotten half (or more) of the things I wanted to accomplish and then when I did do them I wouldn’t have remembered that I wanted to, then I wouldn’t have the incredible satisfaction of taking pen to paper and crossing off my list.  I am writing a new list today and pinning it to my wall, I want to be able to see it everyday and review where I am at, I like to make myself accountable (someone has to do it). 
I want to thank you all for sharing my journey with me here, those that stuck by me when I had a horrible job and had my pay cut in half and there were no new jobs in sight, thank you for letting me share my fear, frustration and your hope. Those that encouraged my photography and gave me the confidence that I needed to be able to pursue my hobby with great gusto, thank you! All of you that made my transition from decision to moving cross country (into the country) and cheering me on, gosh, thank you! Everyone that has shopped at Besotted Brand, worldwide y’all; that just blows my mind and makes me 21 kinds of happy (and grateful), thank you! Those of you that stop by here, my tiny portion of the interwebs,  I just feel so lucky all the time like I’ve won some secret lottery of life, thank you, thank you, thank you!

P.S. Monday we are opening up registration for our world famous Souvenir Foto School! We are doing a Food + Foto edition and it looks  like it is wrapping up to be quite the class!!!

LIAM STEVENS + CYNTHIA WARREN

I was having the hardest time deciding which artist I should showcase today on my designated lettering Thursday, so I decided to showcase two of my faves in the hand-lettered serif department. Both of these artist could easily warrant their own posts, they are both prolific and have talent in spades and maybe one day I will, but for today I am hoping together they will inspire a deep appreciation for their craft. I can’t get enough of these specimens and it’s hard to wrap my mind around how difficult these projects were but they made them look so effortless. Granted, the above by Liam Stevens has a bit more cheek thrown in (those illustrations are to die) and Cynthia Warren’s menu (on the bottom) is near flawless, no that is not a font folks, that is all hand done and is as beautiful as the day is long (to me at least). I love that it was created in 2003, but is still relevant, hip + classic. Yes, I would love a font like that (look at the ‘lowercase’ ‘O’s, and the lowercase ‘E’s so, so good!
I looked and looked and couldn’t find a single resource for you if you wanted to explore this style of lettering, quite disappointing.  The only thing I can suggest is to create an alphabet specimen chart from a serif font you admire in your program of choice (Word, PS, Illustrator, etc), print it out and then start tracing it. I suggest tracing so you can get familiar with the letterforms before you take it on yourself and start free handing it eventually creating your own unique hand. For the Ex Libris bookplate  that was in a printed hand versus a script I used a few tools–a #2 pencil to draw lines on my sketch pad, a Micron 005 pen (this is SUPER fine) to create the basic shape and to create a ‘hollow’/outline for me to make heavier lines and a Pitt artist brush in cold grey to fill in the ‘hollow’ creating that thick downward stroke.  It’s a lot of steps indeed. It took me longer to do that one bookplate than it took me to make the entire download! If you have any suggestions for this please let me know, because I have had many test runs and very few moments where I thought I was getting anywhere with this style. If you have no desire to try this yourself you can download a pretty cool serif font called Bodoni at Home here (love the ‘W’s’) and (no I don’t work for her, but I have mentioned her a lot lately) but Magpie Paperworks has the really awesome (and affordable) Saltpetre font that I am pretty goners for.P.S. Total segue here but Cesar Milan re-pinned one of my pins today and now I feel like it totally legitimizes all the time I spend over on Pinterest pinning cute pup photos….

VINTAGE BOOKPLATE DOWNLOAD

If you like/use this download, won’t you please consider buying me a cup of coffee so I can make more of these in the near future for you? You can donate to my tip jar here.  Thank you kindly!
I originally had another vision for this download, more modern + graphic patterns (thanks to Michelle P. a pattern genius); but I am currently re-reading the classics and am deep into Jane Eyre so my inspiration is currently of another era. I wanted to take some of my lettering practice and incorporate it into the download, the middle one is one of the fab realistic calligraphy fonts I shared with you last week (Jacques & Gilles).  I love to read and I love collecting books, nothing can compare to the feel and smell of a paper book but I am reading (and loving) Jane Eyre on my Kindle. Almost all the classics are available on the Kindle for free. Do you have any idea how this delights me? I love my Kindle because I never lose my place and I can look-up words on the fly.  It amazes me how many words I can look up in a single reading where as if I was reading a ‘real’ book I may have made a note or two to look something up, but may or may not have actually gone the extra mile to do so. After every reading session I feel a bit of accomplishment. That being said, these bookplates are for your paper book collection.  You don’t have to listen to me, but my suggestion is to print them on textured paper and use archival glue (okay or one of those archival tape thingies) to paste them in your books.  You could print out a bunch put them in a glassine envelope or muslin bag and give as a gift. Of course you can always go the easiest route and just print them on a full label sheet. Scissors will give you a more homemade look, but a nice Exacto knife, straight edge ruler (make sure it has a cork back) and cutting mat will give you beautiful, professional results.  Just click here to download, enjoy!

P.S. Any suggestions for my next classic tome I should read?

GREIGE + A WINNER!

I think it’s high time I announced another monogram winner. I love the simplicity of this two-letter monogram, it’s classic but a bit mod. This week the winner is Christine F.; who happens to be the owner of a beautiful on-line shop called Greige.  I was weak in the knees when I clicked her link and saw she owned this beautifully curated collection of home furnishings. I decided to make this a dual post, announcing the winner and introducing you to this luxe destination. It would seem Christine and I share a similar aesthetic and love for the raw, natural, neutral with a surprise glam element thrown in (hello, lucite trunk with rope handles). I have spent an inordinate amount of time Pinning items from her shop for my future dream home.
If you would like to try to win a future monogram, just re-pin this Pin and leave a comment with your monogram. Please make sure there is a way for me to get a hold of you too! For those that didn’t win, please keep trying!  And if you can’t wait you can use the code IWANT at check out all week long to get 50% off any monogram of your choice!

GWYNETH PALTROW + J. CREW

I don’t usually post about fashion, but when two favorites come together I think it warrants a post, no?  I received an email from Gwennie (via Goop) wherein she teamed up with J.Crew for a transition into fall preview. It was executed flawlessly, Gwyneth modeling the clothes and then a little link on how to get the look.  I am a G.P. fan, so this sent me over the edge of euphoria when coupled with styling eye candy powerhouse J.Crew. I don’t spend a lot on my wardrobe, (unless it’s shoes or handbags which I feel are investment pieces), but I do like the quality of a lot of my J.Crew acquisitions. Their belts last forever and I don’t know what they do with their ribbed tanks, but they seem to never lose color or shape; I have a navy ribbed tank that has lasted me years
I am getting excited about fall in my new neck of the woods, previously in the City of Angels we didn’t really have any delineation between the seasons, September often brings a second coming of summer (but hotter than you would ever like), so it will be novel to experience a seasonal change. Maybe I can rejoice in the Pumpkin Latte cravings with the rest of the blogosphere, as the thought of a Pumpkin latte in September in Los Angeles is about as enticing as getting bamboo shoots pushed under your fingernails. On another note, I know I promised downloads and hopefully I will have those ready for you by tomorrow! I am also announcing another winner for the monogram giveaway tomorrow so I hope you stop on by to see if it’s you!