fashion. wine. design... and my life.

Posts Tagged ‘home’

Ready. Set. Click. Yes, she Canon!

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2015 at 1:18 pm

unnamedIntuitively creative and artistic, eh?

Those in my circle would offer that as an assessment of my current photography skills… and humbly, I would  agree.

Attracted to every aspect of photography… countless hours of snapping images, reading, studying other photographers and web searching have been invested.  Haha — an abundance of trial and error indeed — if you only knew how I have pained over creating bokeh in my compositions!

Self- taught, and a decent photographer… I know that the information untapped is considerable.  Still perplexed by aperture, still perfecting composition and working my camera in manual mode, the mission of becoming astute continues to be the goal.

Action plan?


The action plan has been implemented and it is time for that next step… one that is LONG overdue.

Actually, it should read as such:  L. O. N. G. OVERDUE… for commencing tomorrow, yours truly is beginning studies as a student in the Washington School of Photography, Professional Photography Program.

Shhhhhh.  Listen carefully… you can hear me shouting from the rooftops…“Oh freaking happy day!”

All things happen for a reason…. and the reason that this endeavor hasn’t happen sooner, will perhaps one day be revealed.  I know for certain that timing is crucial; patience even more so.  Especially since two years prior, I participated in conversations with the program registrar and opted out — knowing that a “right-fit” wasn’t right then.

Since that conversation, the signs indicating that I needed to move forward, have been everywhere.   Even more so now…

How does one describe that feeling… the feeling of knowing that the moment is now right.  Elated?!  Yep… elated!

Big picture though…  29 days ago, my 45th birthday was celebrated.

For me, birthdays offer wonderful opportunities to be relished by loved ones, reflect on accomplishments and roadmap the way for new birthday wishes made.

Since turning 40 in the midst of an awful snowstorm… celebrating with friends and family in Paris on my 42nd birthday and shaving my head on my 43rd birthday, that day, 7 February, serves as momentum for newness.

More important, the wisdom that is gained with each passing birthday, I am truly compelled to share.  Since I am constantly learning from others, my hope is that perhaps someone; mainly my two children and especially my daughter (who, even though she will not admit it, is always carefully watching her mother’s actions) can possibly gain something from my experiences.

Back to the big picture…

Tomorrow marks more that just the beginning of a photography program.  It marks the notion that all things are possible and it is NEVER too late to pursue your aspirations!

Back in late December of 2014, serious preparations for this program officially went into play.  All with the objective of pursuing a dream and entering another birthday with a next step of improvement secured — fulfilling a wish made.

In being transparent, the African proverb – It takes a village – is applicable to me.  Without embarrassment I say that even at 45 years of age and working full-time outside of the home, the financial investment of family has enabled this opportunity to become reality.  For that, I am eternally grateful… and deeply touched that they too share my dream and see my potential.

More transparency…

What used to embarrass me and cause me angst in conversation is no more.  Never a untruth told… I just artfully evaded the question or skillfully used semantics in my favor when answering… but truth be told, I did not graduate from college.  For a long list of reasons (some 23 years later, many of which now seem so frivolous) the years spent at The College of William and Mary did not yield a degree… instead, a wealth of knowledge, an unforgettable experience, a close circle of friends, a compassionate man who became my husband and a career in interior design.  Haha — perhaps I did graduate, eh?!

Sans degree, I still know that knowledge is key and educating/investing in yourself is a nonnegotiable.

So… with the many hats that I wear, I am eager to add another and take my photography to the next level.  When my children become adults and coherent to rhythms of adult life, I am hoping that my actions make them proud.  I am hoping that they view me as a role model and see my appetite to improve myself as tenacious… and in their own life, they too follow suit.

This past Christmas, my husband gifted me with a phenomenal 50mm lens for my camera.  His way of offering me a nudge in the direction of my goals.  His words… “Kisha, you are about to blow up!”  My interpretation of his words… in a true T.I fashion, “do it, do it, do it… whatcha waiting for?  Big things poppin’!”

I’m on the move… and my appetite for photography is ravenous.

And… over this year-long program, I intend on quenching it and getting full!

Taking it one step further, my life as a stella & dot stylist and the company mission have definitely been a fantastic influence on my photography ventures… that mission:  to give EVERY woman the means to style their own life.

Well here I go… here I go!

Ahem… what was that?  Did you say you needed to hire me to take your picture?  (wink. wink)


Very soon.











































Host and Hostess chairs: create your dining statement!

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Who says that everything has to match?

Surely not me!

As a lover of an eclectic vibe… pattern mixed with pattern, mixed with even more pattern, I tend to jump at the opportunity to infuse contrasting elements into design.  Elements that on the surface appear to be unconnected but once placed together – into a composition – they read harmonious and seem to sing.  A melody that I find both thrilling and soothing… yet others might find peculiar, perhaps even difficult to understand.

Haha… not to go off a tangent on the subjectivity of design, the point is this:  sometimes mixing things up a bit adds to the charm, interest or DRAMA of a space.  So I say… why not adopt that concept at your table?   Creating a dining space that packs a punch, generates conversation and makes a statement can be easily accomplished simply by adding unexpectedly designed Host and Hostess chairs!

A Host and Hostess what?

You know… the chairs that flank the end of your table.  Chairs traditionally reserved as seating for the Host and Hostess of the “event”… leaving all of the others chairs that surround the table for the guests.  Most often, people tend to keep the Host and Hostess chairs uniform in style… having the differentiation solely noted by the addition of arms.  Works for many… and to prevent anyone from perceiving me as judgmental, this homogeneous look can be appealing.


Why not add another dimension to the look of the room and to the table?

Mix it up, eh?!

Make the design of the Host and Hostess chairs completely different and make them distinctive.  My vote?  I am the one who would suggest that the chairs be mildly over-the-top… border-line obnoxious with their difference.  An over sized pattern.  A bold color.  A noticeably different scale.  A different texture.  Even an added touch such as adorning it with nailhead.  Something that sets them far apart from the other chairs.  Haha… now here comes the trick.  How does one implement this look in a manner that doesn’t read chaotic or random?


It all boils down to the virtue of design.  Design is subjective… and for the most part, there is no right or wrong — beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder!  Keeping that premise in mind as your springboard will make creating your Host and Hostess chair composition practically effortless.  Truth is, there really aren’t that many nonnegotiables with design.  If you allow your individual “design” style to be your guide, practically anything is acceptable and looks good!

Sooooooo, with that said… why not have a bit of fun?!

Take a good look at your surroundings and determine what you like.  Pay close attention and REALLY determine what attracts you.  How would you classify your style?  Any recurring colors? What type of art hangs or leans in your home?  Who utilizes your home… any parameters due to roommates, children, pets, etc.?  What type of dining space do you have… any constraints?

Once you establish your outline, the answer (or answers) for the perfect style of Host and Hostess chairs will certainly follow.  Half the battle is being confident that you are able to make the right decisions.  We are intuitive about our spaces… and we really know more than we think we do about what will work.  However… if needed, help is never far away.  Soliciting the aid of a professional designer will afford (no pun intended) an appropriate solution.

As for me…

My husband and children greatly impact my dining space.  Since we often entertain and “use” the space on the regular, my nonnegotiables stem around comfort and sturdiness.  When adding Host and Hostess chairs to the table, the goal was to make them eclectic in style, find a practical user-friendly fabric (for the husband and kids) with a memorable overly exaggerated pattern (for me).

Happy to report, mission accomplished.

Two Martha Washington/Gainsborough style chairs… traditional in silhouette and upholstered in a luscious ikat print now flank my very rustic table.  They were definitely worth the investment for I LOVE them!  Absolutely makes an impact and adds a bit of “the unexpected” all while being comfortable and incredibly user-friendly.  Haha… with each meal, we all fight over who gets to sit in them.  Like I said, mission accomplished!

Your turn!

If you haven’t already found them… time to get started, eh?  I guarantee that no matter the size of your dining table or space, a pair of unique Host and Hostess chairs will make a difference.  Mark my words… you will not be sorry!

Pssst… now you know that I am a mere email away if you would like suggestions.

I’m just saying…



Closet Combat… will I ever reign the victor?

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2011 at 9:04 pm

As it stands, I am waving the white flag.

This battle – better yet, war – will it ever cease?  I am weary… completely exhausted from the fight.  My arsenal depleted.  All creative tactics and maneuvers outsmarted.  Damn you closet!  When will you let me win?  All I want… SERIOUSLY, all I want is a little organization!

Embarrassed to admit this… but my closet is out of control.

Not because I have an abundance of garments and accessories, but because I have yet to master a system of organization that suits my needs, style and personality.  Sigh… it’s a shame, eh?!  Sad and humorous, right?  Haha – me – a self-proclaimed fashionista, I have absolutely no fashion sense when it comes to maintaining my compact 72″ x 60″  walk-in closet.  Hands in the air… I need some help!

Don’t get me wrong, I have had scattered moments of triumph.  Very short stints, usually achieved by soliciting (or bribing) a partner in crime.  As a matter of fact, a few months before my sister moved to Alaska, she helped.  I know when she sees this current picture of my closet, she is going to shake her head in disgust.  Faint traces of our… ok, her work remain.  Hey… I try.

Come on now… I am a designer.  I possess the basic fundamentals and smarts necessary to accomplish this task.  My strategy, my closet 1, 2, 3’s?  I group like items together.  Within the groups, I categorize by color.  And  for aesthetics, you know, a nice visual effect (mainly to pacify the “Mommy Dearest” in me) I only use wooden hangers.  Apparently, my system isn’t working.  Since I am tired of the piles of shoes on the floor, the stacks of bunched sweaters, jeans in toppled piles and accessories leaking from every shelf… I’m thinking that it is about time for a revamp – maybe even add the 4, 5 and 6?

Hmmm,  I don’t mind being a charity case.  I am open for volunteers with outstanding organizational skills.  Hey now, those that assist never walk away empty-handed.  Trust me, you will be gifted.  In my closet, there  is always something that I am willing to part with… you know the adage about one man’s trash?!

Honestly, I think I need professional help.  Something like AA for closest junkies?  “Hi, my name is Kisha and I’m a closet-holic.”  Or maybe my cutie pie and one of Oprah’s favorites, Nate Berkus?  Perhaps he will swoop in, give my disheveled closet a swift karate chop, wave his magic wand and “poof”… closet utopia!  Pffftt… a pipe dream, eh?  Surely no one wants to tackle this monster… I know I don’t.

So what’s a girl to do?

Probably a more realistic approach:  me, just sucking it up.  I need to roll up my sleeves, pull myself up by the bootstraps and simply jump in.  Or… call and partner with the real pros!  This is where I rely on my BFF – Google!  Do you know how many results the words “closet organization” yield?  Enough to make your head spin!  Easy Closets, Closet factory, Closets by Design, Closet Maid, California Closets, The Container Store… AHHHHHHHHHH!  HELP!

Ok… ok… ok.  I can do this.  Let’s put it in perspective – I mean I have delivered two babies – this closet thing should be a breeze.  I am going to mend my wounds, polish off my battle armor and go back in with a new plan of attack.  Resolve.  Determination.  Game plan:  rally the troops and find some help.  Victory in numbers, eh?  Let the research commence, for one of those website will be utilized!  From my initial research, many offer a free consultation — whew, that’s a start in the right direction!

Surely, someone out there in my blog world must have a similar war story.  Closet combat tales must be shared.

Well… wish me luck as I take on the beast.

In battle position and taking a very deep breath…

I’m going in.  I’m going in!



…the design of HIS man-cave.

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm

“It is your space to do with what you choose.”

My words to him.

With his head tilted, offering a suspicious stare, he responds “Really?”  I respond with a reassuring “Yes!  It’s your space… your man-cave… all yours to design and decorate.”

I said it.  I put it out there, right?  So then can someone tell me why I just can’t let go – relinquish control – let him set down his coach’s whistle, pick up a measuring tape or a sketch pad and design HIS man-cave?!

Who knows… maybe I was being a overzealous with my proposal.  As a designer, I naturally assumed that he would consult me and solicit an opinion prior to executing any design decisions – AND – if I disagreed, he would yield, letting the “designer’s” suggestions prevail.  Let it be known – the intention was genuine.  I was never opposed to him having a man-cave… actually elated that after many years of hard work, we could afford a home that provided that option.  Haha – isn’t that pinnacle for guys…  a man-cave?!

All jokes aside – he is deserving of that space.  Hard-working.  Family oriented.  Dedicated.  Honest.  A damn good man, who simply wants a private haven to prop up his feet, listen to music, watch sports, play a lil’ chess and enjoy an ice-cold brew.  I get it!  And he has that… but, what is wrong with me wanting to participate in the design (ok… now that I typed that, maybe the truth is that I want to CREATE the design so I too can secretly retreat there as well… hmmmmm)?

So… here is the scenario:

After 15 months of his man-cave being nearly complete and moderately user-friendly for the both of us, he decides that the placement of the TV is the source of recurring headaches – thus a change is needed instantaneously!  Makes sense.  Can’t have headaches.  And yes… prior to shifting any electronics and furniture, he did inquire about placement.  Haha – apparently I was a wee bit too demanding with my requests for he moved on and revamped the space… without me – his own way!

I would be lying if I said that it didn’t cause a tiff.  Yep.  It did.  Even more infuriating on my part – because design is not his forte, his focus is on correcting the problem in the space… not the “big picture” and overall composition.  Can I just tell you that as he was chillin’ and experiencing some headache free TV watching, s#%t is everywhere… and if I am going to be able to chill as well, I have got to fix it!

So… here is the solution:

Get strategic — just like in his beloved game of chess.

Him… the king; the most important piece but weak for he can only move in one square in any direction ( parallel to his design skills).  Me… the queen; the most powerful piece for she can move in any one straight direction as far as possible as long as she doesn’t move through any of her own pieces (parallel to me tweaking his design).  I’m thinking you have figured it out.  Yes I did… I exercised a few creative liberties on the design of HIS man-cave!

Not even attempting to acquire a checkmate… reiterating again that my intentions are genuine.  Rolling up my sleeves with my measuring tape in hand, I am actually acting more as a rook – working together and protecting each other (haha- do I need to say that this is parallel to our design skills).  So, while he was busy at work,  I just finished what he started… completed the layout and created a composition.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!   Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

My big reveal — I sent him an image on his phone.  His texted response, “I guess that looks nice.  Haha!”

All I am saying is this – as I am home alone… this entire blog was comfortably typed, with my feet propped up, listening to music in HIS (shhhh —  really our) man-cave.

Success, eh?!



Pillows, plants, candles and throws… oh my!

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2011 at 8:40 am

What in the world would we do without accessories in our homes?!

Wait… let’s not even ponder that question.  You know the answer – homes without accessories are just uninteresting.  A bland collection of rooms void of character and appeal.  Lifeless and just plain old dreary.  It has got to be common knowledge… accessories are a nonnegotiable!  A must for every decorative composition… they provide the flair and zing – they ARE the panache!

So how important are they?  Just imagine that the accessories are acting as a three-dimensional “connect-the-dots” puzzle… one in which each accessory is linked to and dependent upon the next for its definition.  In my profession, when working with clients, we always suggest that a minimum of 1/3 of the project’s budget be dedicated to accessorizing the space.  Minus the upholstered pieces and wood pieces, everything else in the room – the embellishments and frills – are considered accessories and are mandatory.  Suggest as we may, it’s a fact… not every client complies with our advice, and many projects are sold with out even ONE accessory.  But, experience has taught me to be patient.  They come back – it is inevitable!

Really… 1/3, eh?!  Well, in a perfect world, we all would have an abundant income that would grant us the ability to purchase whatever we wanted for our homes.  However, in the real world – especially in my world – we are on a budget!  We tend to pick and choose what to add to our homes and when to add it!  For those of us who can identify with the latter, I can assure you that budget aside (even with a minor tweak that 1/3 ratio) you too can have a well styled and sophisticated space.  Pssssst.  Wanna know the real secret about accessories?  The secret is:  understand their impact, shop with an ardent eye and absolutely incorporate them into your home.  A piece of cake… just do it!

By far… accessories have got to be the easiest, most economical, sure-fire way to quickly transform a space.  Ladies, think of your little black dress… fellas, think of your favorite dress shirt – well, in the same manner that you add snazzy jewelry to accentuate the dress or a dapper neck tie to give the shirt oomph – our homes require that same action.  If executed properly in your home, the accessories will interpret your personality.  Trust me – they will add layers and depth to your home… making it not only more enjoyable and gratifying to you, but for your guests as well.

Some of my favorites, my nonnegotiables?  Besides artwork, I can’t live without (nor should you) accent pillows, plants, candles and throws!  Hey, perhaps not the classic elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire  – but in a design domain, they carry a similar impact.  These four elements are fundamental and can easily wake-up a tired space.  They are fairly inexpensive, they are appropriate in every design scheme, and – to suit your personal style – are available in a plethora of shapes, sizes and styles.

Pillows and throws are the power house for adding color and texture.  Since they can be added and removed from a room with ease, I say go crazy!  Experiment with them… go out of your comfort zone and buy something that you normally might not gravitate towards.  My handy tip.  Invest in well-made pillow inserts and locate the best fabric shop or upholsterer in your area.  This partnership will enable you to better customize your pillows… and as simple as undoing a zipper, your pillows can be changed as often as you wish.  Wondering how many to purchase?  Grouping of pillows can be in odd or even numbers…its all about your look and the design style that you desire to inject in the space!  With throws… haha – just throw them!  On the back of a sofa, the arm of a chair and even tucked in a basket… throws provide warmth on a chilly day but, better yet, they add a richness to your space.

As for plants and candles… they add the softness and ambiance.  Not even going to debate real versus artificial plants – depending on the type of plant and where it is to be placed — in my home, I do both.  All that is important is that you bring a portion of nature inside your of home.  The type of plant is, once again, relative to your design.  Orchids, succulents, twigs, fronds and trees… you decide.  They refresh a space, infuse energy and… not to sound cheesy – they make us happy!  Speaking of moods – let’s talk aura!  Candles.  Candles.  Candles!  They create the atmosphere… the ambiance of the space.  Whether it be pillars, tapers, votives or tea-lights… placed on a candle holder, in a lantern, a rock-filled hurricane or even hanging on a wall – candles add appeal!  Especially when entertaining… they add an intimacy to the gathering and heighten the magnetism of the event.  Haha – and seriously… doesn’t everyone look better by candlelight!

I’m thinking that I may have a few converts, eh?!  Hey… these are mere suggestions.  Me… spreading the love.  I do adore decorative accessories – and as a compliment to self – I do have a knack for arranging them.  Of course, always open for questions and assistance.  So… what are you waiting for?  Time to go accessory shopping!