Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sounds Good To Me Music Series: More Cello Please

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Thoroughly excited that I just scored 2nd row tickets to see this group! We will be celebrating our 5th year of marriage this March and what better than to listen to a talented chamber group like The Portland Cello Project.   Lucky us, this concert is the day after our anniversary. Worked out perfectly!

 Definitely watch the video––fantastic!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Artist Behind The Art • Sonya Shinn Edwards

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Do you remember last month, when I took you along with me on my Magazine Street Stroll? In that post I mentioned this great artist that I discovered at Source Nola named Sonya Shinn Edwards. I was immediately taken with her work and quickly got on the fast track to find out more about the lady behind the canvas. 

To my delight, she quickly returned my email and was equally swift about agreeing to being featured on the blog. If only I operated my life with such fastidiousness, I wouldn't have kept her waiting for so long! Best comes to those who wait––or however the old adage goes, right?

I wanted to really get to know who she is as an individual, so I asked her for an interview. I can show you art all day long and we can 'ooh and ahh'; but to me, my greatest joy is to share with the world who a person is on a deeper level––for that is what we remember in the end. Sonya agreed to the interview, and I'm thrilled over the in-depth responses she provided us. I think you'll leave this post being as delighted as I over what a kind and insightful individual she is. 

Has art always been a part of your life, or was it something you discovered about yourself at a certain point?

  "I grew up knowing two artists that I admired and loved very much. My grandfather worked as a sign painter as a way to support his family, but his two true passions were painting and baking. He was a talented portrait and landscape artist and his blueberry pies were oh so scrumptiously delicious. I recently acquired a wonderful sketch of an old school house that he did in the 1930s." 

A sketch of an old school house from Sonya's grandfather. 

"My dad, also an artist, a bit of a renaissance man, paints, sculpts in clay and wood and loves to write. During my teenage years, the times spent with my dad, he almost always had a 35mm camera in hand and took photos everywhere we went.  When we would be out sharing a meal or on picnic, he often sketched or jotted words down on a napkin or small scrap of paper so as not to forget the picture or words floating in his head. 38 years later, we talk art and take turns drawing or sketching out our random ideas on pastry covered napkins."

"Around the age of sixteen, I had decided that I would live the life an artist." 

(How incredible is that!?! To know ones self so well at such a young age!)

What is a typical day for you?

"I am definitely an early morning person. I like to get up between 5:00 and 5:30, have a cup of coffee or tea and head out back to my studio.  I will quietly sit for 20 or so minutes sipping my hot drink as I look at the canvases in front of me, contemplating the day ahead.  Once I have loosely mapped out my work day, I head back to the house and get my kiddo ready for school. I am usually back in the studio around 8:30 and ready to put some paint on some canvases. I paint up until 2:20 and rush to pick up my sweet boy from school @ 2:30. My work day is finished." 

Where do you feel most inspired to paint and when?

"I feel most inspired to paint early mornings when it is still and quiet.  I have a 22' by 20' studio with a wonderful barn door that opens up and lets in lots of warm sunlight.  My studio sits about 40 feet from my lil house, sweet!"

Where do you draw the most inspiration from?

"Honestly, I find my inspiration from so many different sources, in nature, photographs, books I have read, or a conversation I might have with a friend. On occasion my son will paint in the studio with me and he is so much fun to watch. He paints with no inhibitions and sings and hums with each brush stroke.  He seems to know exactly were each stroke of color is meant to be placed. Awe-inspiring."

What is your process?

"I usually start off each morning with warm up sketches to get ideas flowing. 
Once I have a general idea or direction, I will begin adding paint to a canvas. 
I paint on 3 to 4 canvases at a time, layering and adding color to each canvas. 
I will sometimes scrape into my paint with the end of a brush or pencil to add texture and interest.
Each painting evolves and changes over time, depending on my color palette, idea and mood.
I paint with acrylics and oil sticks on canvas and paper."

Your background has brought you from Alaska to Dallas, what prompted you to traverse from there to here?

"My dad was in the Navy. I was born in Alaska, but was only there for a few years. We made a short stop in California and ended up in Texas. I have plans to revisit Alaska this summer with my son. We are both so excited!"

If you could meet any artist living or deceased, who would it be?

Frida Kahlo.  Her paintings are so rich with color and passion. She reveals everything without a worry of criticism or judgement.   

"I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration." -Frida Kahlo  

Isn't she spectacular? And down to earth. I love her body of work––especially this series which is a departure from the soft, ethereal aesthetic I fell in love with. The way she pits both the soft and whispery against the simplicity of positive and negative space on the canvas showcases the breadth of her talent seamlessly. I love all of her work, but really enjoyed seeing this the rawness of the black and white pieces in stark contrast her other works.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know her as much as I. If you're ever in the New Orleans area, stop by Source Nola to see her work in person. The gals there are incredibly warm and you'll just adore the shop. 

 To see Sonya's website, go here.




Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Are You a Designer? Join Ty Larkins and Myself in Our First Ever 'Shop Talk' Event!

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I am beyond thrilled (and flattered!!) to be co-hosting this incredible event with the wildly talented and affable Ty Larkins! 

Just a short while ago, Ty approached me about starting a designers think-tank of sorts. Being that collective collaboration is one of my absolute favorite aspects of the design industry, I leapt at the chance to engage in such an exciting opportunity. Ty and I both feel that by sharing experiences, solutions and ideas amongst each other, we grow stronger as a whole. We are so happy to have come together in this effort––as collaboration is indeed the essence of our combined credo's. 

We would love for you to join us if you live in the Baton Rouge/New Orleans area for a night of what we call "Dish and Dish." Hosted at Ty's incredible showroom––an adorable arts and crafts bungalow nestled right in between downtown Baton Rouge and the Garden District, this is an event not to be missed! I can't express enough how much we are both looking forward to this evening! 

If you would like to attend, please email me at  and I will reserve your place for you. (it is limited!) We'd love to see your faces and learn more from everyone!



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sounds Good To Me Music Series: Ain'tcha Granny's Elevatah Music!

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Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and RADIOHEAD? Throw in a little Bowie, some Guns & Roses too, and you have yourself the makings of one fine sounding orchestra. 
Huh? Just watch ;)

 L.A. based, The Section Quartet is one of my favorite contemporary chamber groups. Here, they cover David Bowie's Man Who Sold The World (which Nirvana covered on the 90s as well). As usual, I highly recommend the whole album! 

Another talented group hailing from L.A., The Vitamin String Quartet covers one of my favorite Radiohead songs: Let Down. I made myself sick listening to it about 5 years ago when I 1st discovered their album Strung Out On OK Computer, a complete cover of the whole Radiohead album Ok Computer.

Brooklyn artists, Project Trio are a chamber group comprised of two cellists and a beatboxing flutist––yes, beatboxing flutist! Listen to this version of Sweet Child O'Mine. Fantastic!

Aren't these classically trained artists SO talented???? I love listening to musicians with 'traditional' instruments do a little genre-bending. Keeps it fresh!

Check back later this week, I have something I'm proud to share with you coming up!




Friday, January 14, 2011

The Simple Things

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Like eagerly anticipating hundreds of camellia blooms set to make their appearance and brighten up my winter days.

Happy Friday, everyone!



Monday, January 10, 2011

Sounds Good To Me Music Series: Chicks Rock!

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Today I bring to you 3 artists who have a few things in common: They all have the XX stamped into their DNA. They rarely make it out of the rotation in my playlist.  They are all artists whom I have not had the pleasure to see live. 


Liz Phair 'Exile in Guyville' has not left my earshot for more than 6 months since I was 14 years old. Creature of habit much? I highly recommend if you fall into the following categories: Going through a breakup? I recommend this album. In the mood for clever lyrics and engaging arrangements? Liz is your girl. To me, this is by far Liz's best work (amazingly it was her 1st!)

I've listened to this particular Cat Power album 'You Are Free' for oh, a good 8 years now. Through and through it's a fine piece of work. Some songs are a tad slow for my personal taste, but all in all––an excellent album with a genre-pushing list of songs good for all types of moods. 

Now, Thao With The Get Down Stay Down 'We Brave Bee Stings and All'. I FLIPPED when I first heard this band! We discovered them just a couple of years ago. Great album, great band. Fun and solemn, nostalgic and current. Always makes me feel good when I have this one on. 

Who are your favorite chick rockers? New or old, tell me! I love knowing what everyone listens to and I love rediscovering artists that I may have forgotten about. 

Have a great week everyone!




Saturday, January 8, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake--King Cake

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Mardi Gras season is in full swing in South Louisiana! Just as soon as we're trying to knock off the holiday lbs., get into a New Year's regimen and generally lead a less debaucherous lifestyle, Mardi Gras season kicks off the 1st week of January! Can us Cajuns get a break?????   

Mardi Gras c. 1900 in New Orleans

King Cake––the traditional sweet treat of the season. In Lafayette, Meche's Donuts King Cake is HANDS DOWN the best I've ever had. You can order them online now to be shipped anywhere!! If you order one, don't be mad at me if you eat it all in one sitting. Seriously, it's almost the best thing I've ever tasted. Most King Cakes are dry (to me) but Meche's is (a) doughnut (b) filled with bavarian cream. I don't think I need to say more!

Kir Royale is my offical Mardi Gras cocktail! Champagne with a splash of Chambord––I prefer a lemon zest to float. Delicious!

The level of artistry in the costumes fascinates me––most all of the costumes are made and handbeaded locally by a few gown-makers that still take on such a laborious commitment.


In the spirit of the traditional colors of Mardi Gras: Gold, Green and Purple––I pilfered through my image vault and bring to you, what else but some of my favorite interiors employing each color! 

And again, please forgive me––I've had these images in my vault for so long––years upon years, even. Before I was a blogger, I was an image saver, not info saver.  In some images, I cannot remember who designed them nor where I copied them from! I know much better now than to do that now! If you are aware of who the work belongs to, please tell me and I'll correct it asap :)


David Hicks 

Amanda Nisbet

Jan Showers 

Jan Showers 

Jeffery Bilhuber



Jonathan Adler

Stephen Gambrel

Katie Ritter

Do you celebrate Mardi Gras or have you ever attended Mardi Gras in Louisiana? If you haven't, I recommend it at least once in your lifetime. It's more than just one big party––it's a holiday steeped in tradition, rites of passage, heritage and fantasy. Louisiana would never be the same without it and I am looking forward to this years festivities!




Monday, January 3, 2011

Sounds Good To Me Music Series: José Gonzales and Yann Tiersen

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2011 has started of quietly and peacefully for the Veron household––what had been planned as a raucous exit to 2010 quickly faded to a bottle of wine and an all night hang-out just us two. I'm not sure if that's cute or a big indicator that we are––ahem––getting old. It gets the best of us, eh? 

In the spirit of being more quiet and reflective right now, I'd like to share a bit of what I listen to when I am feeling a bit more introspective. 

 José Gonzales is a quiet, whispery type of musician. The kind that compliments a an afternoon of painting or a low-key evening shared amongst friends. I love his original music, but these two covers are EXCELLENT in my opinion. 

José covers 'Heartbeats' by The Knife. I actually prefer his version over the original.

And here he covers 'Teardrop' by Massive Attack, a band that I love and have seen live. I love both versions. Wildly different, but both fantastic. 

Yann Tiersen is one of my favorite contemporary composers. I get to see him in February and I can't wait!! He wrote the score for both 'Amélie' and 'Goodbye, Lenin!'. If you have not seen either, I recommend adding them to Netflix immediately!

'Summer 78' ' from the 'Goodbye Lenin!' soundrack––gorgeous! 

Here's 'Comptine d'un autre ete' off of the Amélie Soundtrack. I love the whole soundtrack, but this song is absolutely my favorite.

What are your resolutions? Do you make any?  I typically don't, but this year I'm feeling a certain higher-state-of consciousness going on and it got me to thinking: "If I am going to even have a resolution in 2011, what is something I could work on that would, in essence, trump all other 'get rich, get skinny, eat well'" resolutions that magically disappear from our brains in 6 weeks?

2011 is a year that I have chosen to examine the basis of my decision-making and reactions to certain instances. I'm a big proponent of not living in fear and making clear, confident decisions versus fear-based ones. However, I realized the other day that on occasion, I have visceral reactions to words, actions, situations and on some level, I can let a bit of fear––whether recognized at the time or not––dictate how I will move forward. I prefer not to operate in that manner in any capacity of my life and am thankful that I was able to recognize it on the wake of MMXI. 

So guess what? It's time to examine, confront and quite frankly, evolve. It feels good already and I truly believe that everything else falls right into place when you take control of not just your actions, but your reactions by living everyday with stone-cold honesty and authenticity––even when it means facing every ounce of fear you may have in your bones. I swear I've shed 10 pounds already.  

Here's to a happy, healthy, more conscious 2011 :)