Cathy Austin, my sweet friend and interior designer best known for her curated and colorful style, announced that she had been nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Blog Awards (SOWBA) by Holly Phillips. And in turn, Cathy graciously named me as one of her 10 nominees (this is so exciting!). A Sisterhood of the World Blog nomination means I now answer Cathy's’s 10 questions, select 10 new bloggers, and then ask them my own 10 questions. I absolutely love interviewing other creative design talents so I’m all in for this great way to get to know my blog friends a little bit better!
1. If you had a theme song, what would it be?
I have been through the ringer in the past decade plus so there is no way I can pick one. When I am ultra down I play a few of these & eventually it brings me back up to a Rocky Balboa level of 'yes I can, again.' And yeah I sing. Loudly.
Carrie Underwood's 'Before He Cheats', Kelly Clarkson's 'Stronger', Katy Perry's 'Roar', Cher's 'Strong Enough', Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive', and AC/DC's 'Hells Bells' (Yeah, I know, I know, a shock! But when you're in a really bad mood this take-no-prisoners song does the trick to make you feel like a complete bad ass bitch - try it).
2. What is your idea of bliss?
Doing nothing or doing something for no reason. I have an ability to completely check out with the person I am dating in a way I have never been able to do with anyone else. And I can't tell you anything we do - and we rarely go anywhere - but it is actually all of the undoing that is great. We completely enjoy each other's company & companionship in a fully-present & very accepting way. I let guard down around him, can recharge my batteries & unplug for a little while.
3. What was your latest creative breakthrough?
I am doing my own renovation & I have purposefully tried not to look at other designers' work but tried to go for my initial gut instinct, make a decision & stay with it. I have been told by some pretty good authorities that I have a very distinctive style & look. And typical me, I am a bit pleasantly puzzled but profoundly pleased because I don't see that yet. I am always the last to see my own talent. I had to let go of a lot, not by my own choices, but I'm finding once I have accepted things that it opened up more space for creative ideas & that I have a completely open view point to try new design things.
Château de Villandry in France's Loire Valley
Royal Botanic Gardens in London
4. What would be your dream vacation?
I am an consumed, passionate & utterly obsessed gardener. I would love to go to the great gardens of Europe - but would settle for a chance to do multiple trips just to get them all in! A second but very close runner up would be the great country houses of Britain.
5. What is your secret vice?
I rub the inside of my front teeth with my tongue. It drives my kids crazy & I have been photographed no less than a dozen times doing it. If you see me doing it, just slap me - it's what my kids do! I have tried everything from the kooky, having hypnosis, to the extreme, having that area bonded! Now that it's out, maybe I will quit!
6. What is your favorite design trick?
Painting a room a rich saturated color and/or doing everything all one fabric. Nothing can refresh a room more than a change of backdrop & the Texan in me can be seen in almost every aspect & can apply to just about everything - Go big or go home! Simple elements in repeating multiples & used in abundance makes a great impact.
7. What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I left an abusive relationship that I covered up for decades from the shame & fear of retribution. Now I am an advocate & mentor to other women who are currently in or leaving the same. It is not anything I ever expected to happen to me. But it isn't anything anyone ever seeks out or expects to happen to them. It isn't something that happens overnight. I hope I can use my influence to educate others on what I think is one of the final barriers for our society to recognize, accept & force a meaningful change to occur through public pressure.
8. What is at the top of your bucket list?
A bold statement but I believe I have what it takes: I want my own line of home, entertaining & lifestyle, but it's the how to get there I am still working on. I love what I am doing & I love teaching others how to create more beautiful lives - even when they are not!
9. If you could own any work of art in the world, what would it be?
In a world with justice, my René Bouché fashion illustrations would be returned. They were my most personal obsession & they were wrongfully taken from me. It is something that I am still deeply haunted by & having them referred to now, repeatedly as 'bathroom art' is an insult to injury. Karma.
10. What is your favorite interior of all time?
Again another of those cant have one but if I had to it would be the elegant simplicity & comfortable interiors of La Fiorentina. But for inspirations & references I not only look at the work of Billy Baldwin, but also Nancy Lancaster, Albert Hadley Sister Parish, Elsie De Wolfe, Edith Wharton.
Now that I have shared my story, here are MY nominations and questions! Have fun ladies and gentlemen!