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Christina Kwan / tide & bloom

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sunny stuff

We’re officially in the dead heat of summer, but cool stuff keeps happening.

Stuff is blooming.

Atlanta hydrangeas

Stuff is ripe.

strawberry

Stuff is going on sale.

Buffalo Exchange in Atlanta, GA

Stuff is .. festival’ing?

Old Fourth Ward Park Arts Festival

Stuff is sunny.

FL-Tampa-trip-6

s’more grams

I don’t have a smartphone, but thanks to an incredibly generous boyfriend I get to instagram to my heart’s desire! Favorites tend to include food and fashion. Can you blame me?

[instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/bttpZ4H_0i/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/btv1YhH_4F/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/bo7LLeH_5_/ width=325][instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/bZxwL6n_3z/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/cCOkF-H_5i/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/cCgw9pH_6y/ width=325]

the diversity of dreams

I’m usually spouting one-liners or quoting inspirational pins about how to chase after and believe in your creativity. While I fully stand behind all of that motivational media, I sometimes forget that creativity permeates everything and dreams do not solely entail artistic pursuits. Thankfully I was reminded when I read this blog post by Lisa Jakub. She cites a Thought Catalog article on “drones” versus “dreamers” and shares her distaste for the negative connotation often given to more traditional 9-to-5ers in the world. The dictionary definition of a dream is a strongly desired goal or purpose. There are no other parameters, no right or wrong, and no mention of any social norms. All that matters is the instinctual feeling of wanting a certain life for yourself.

the diversity of dreams | tide and bloom

I’ve lived most of my life on the fence between my creative self and my intellectual self. The latter was of course always touted as the more likely moneymaker of the two, yet here I am slowly dragging my feet through the mud of being artist. While this is a valid and worthwhile choice, I cannot pretend that I am above or any more enlightened than others who would have chosen the other way. If I had desired to become a doctor or if I had desired to major in technology, I would have done it to the best of my ability and that would have been just as admirable as what I am doing now.

While I’m always gushing over other traditionally “creative” individuals – artisans, choreographers, designers, chefs, etc – today (and hopefully moving forward as well) I would like to congratulate those who pursue the dreams that are not so directly related to my own. To the doctors, lawyers, accountants, scientists, teachers, and everything in-between: I appreciate your dreams more than I can ever say. It is your creativity within your chosen profession that keeps the world functioning, growing, evolving. Your mark, while it might not a visual one done by hand, is a thing of beauty as well.

So if you enjoy what you’re doing, if you are living out your desires… keep doing that, whatever it may be. Have faith in the value of your dreams and allow that to be your guide. (Now it’s time for me to peace out because I’m getting cheeezy).

[ image via tumblr ]

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dance daydreamer

I’ve been quiet for too long. In addition to drawing and wearing lovely stuffs, I’m obsessed with dance. Now that the annual season of SYTYCD is in full swing, I can let my freak flag wave and admit that if I had one wish at all, I might wish that I could be a professional dancer. There’s not a legit reason why I can’t since you can do anything you really set your heart on, but my heart seems set on so many things that dance usually falls by the wayside. Thankfully in college I got the chance to grow as a dancer and performer through a student organization – shout out to Dancin’ Gators – but unfortunately ever since I graduated it just hasn’t been a priority of mine.

Since I only have time to daydream about choreography, I’ll just go ahead and do the next best thing and share the choreography of others. And there’s nowhere I’d rather start than with my favorite hip hop choreographer duo, Keone and Mari Madrid. When they were revealed as a new choreo pair on SYTYCD, my heart jumped right out of my chest and stayed glued to the tube. I spent many a night in college watching and re-watching and re-watching their YouTube videos for inspiration. To see them get globally recognized with their moves on national TV was so… uplifting.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/lZw_n_-tyk4]

I just can’t get over the way their unique understanding of movement and musicality. They fluidly mix dance genres (jazz, hip hop, contemporary, locking) and create formations that are so visually striking. I really can’t stop gushing over it. Their routines just embody everything I love about dance – fun, spirit, musicality, and diversity. These are all things I aspire to have in my own moves, if I ever get around to making some new ones. Let this be documentation that I promise I will choreograph new routines and remind my body of all the different and beautiful ways it can move. Until then, here are a list of my favorite routines from Keone and Mari.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/-_aF3GmCc94]

pinspired: july

As you can probably already tell, I’m addicted to media. Thanks to technology and ever-present social media, I have endless sources for inspiration to chase after my dreams no matter how defeated I convince myself into feeling. One of the best resources for my inspiration is none other than the every day addiction we know as Pinterest. I have two accounts – a personal one and one for this blog – but T&B gets pinned on way more nowadays. Below you’ll find some of my favorite recent pins. Be sure to follow Tide & bloom on Pinterest to see more of my daily obsessions!

regret

on taking chances : pin // source

ElephantCeramics_MilkFarmRoad

elephant ceramics for milk farm road shop : pin // source

creative masters: jeanée ledoux of finely crafted

While I enjoy sharing the struggles and triumphs of my own life, I thought it might do everyone well to start exploring the lives of others who are also striving to manifest their dreams. I’ve decided to entitle this interview series “Creative Masters” because all of these individuals have mastered the art of forging their own paths and are a great inspiration to me (and hopefully you too). They listen to their inner selves and are willing their unique visions of grandeur into reality. I’ve had the extraordinary privilege of coming across so many talented creative professionals in the past few years and I’m so excited to be sharing with you how they came to be the amazing pathfinders they are today.

Atlanta is so pleasantly filled to the brim with extraordinary people who make it their life goal to enhance your visual living experience. Jeanée Ledoux, of Finely Crafted, is exactly one of those people. She and I met through the blogosphere and I was immediately enchanted by all the colorful and charming goods her store has to offer. After finally meeting her in person, I knew I had to do this wonder woman justice by sharing her awesome story on T&B. Jeanee is one of those girls you’d love to have in your friend group because even upon first meeting (an impromptu one at that) she is so lovely and easygoing. Not to mention she obviously could decorate your house at the drop of a hat. Jeanée opened Finely Crafted less than a year ago (seriously) and is already making her mark among the ranks of the awesome. If you don’t have a chance to check out Finely Crafted at Paris On Ponce, do not fret. Finely Crafted is officially going online in September of this year!.. Just in time to make our holiday season that much merrier.

Jeanee Ledoux of Finely Crafted

Describe Finely Crafted in three sentences.

Finely Crafted is a cheerful destination for home decor, gifts, and personal accessories inspired by modernism and mid-century kitsch. My boutique supports independent artists and small companies who pour their hearts into their creations, many of which are handmade. The Finely Crafted blog delivers store updates and artist info, but it’s also a source for DIY projects and a community that celebrates the craft movement and modern design.

Finely Crafted in Paris On Ponce, Atlanta GA

It’s a delightfully curated store for sure! Tell me more about your background and how it led you to this.

I’ve been hot and heavy with the craft movement since 1999, when I took my first job as an editorial assistant at Storey Books in North Adams, Mass. We published DIY books on cooking, gardening, sewing, etc., and I’d spend lunch breaks poring over projects and dreaming of writing my own craft book one day. In 2005, after several years of thrifty decorating projects in a few apartments, I wrote “Abode a la Mode: 44 Projects for Hip Home Decor,” published by Sterling. “ReadyMade” magazine was new, and book publishers seemed to be scrambling to find young makers with a fresh point of view on crafts. That same year, my sister Suzanne and I founded Honeydoux jewelry, which featured vintage buttons and stones. We got into several boutiques and sold directly at craft markets, which gave me some merchandising practice. In 2009 I designed the projects for the DVD “Re-Construct: Eco-Friendly Crafts Made Easy,” co-hosted by Garth Johnson of Extreme Craft and produced by Eyekiss Films. All my crafting seemed to hover around hobby status, financially speaking, so I took a break in 2011. I stayed involved in the handmade community by volunteering at craft shows, like ICE, and supporting makers I admire. I began thinking of myself as a craft cheerleader rather than a crafter, but I knew I wouldn’t be content on the sidelines for long. Last summer I felt drawn toward retail, so I made an “If I had a store” Pinterest page. I made a casual inquiry at Paris on Ponce and showed my page to one of the owners, and I had a signed contract for my own mini-boutique just a few days later!

Finely Crafted in Paris On Ponce, Atlanta GA

Wow. You’ve had quite a journey! What gave you the courage to make the leap to begin Finely Crafted?

I’ve never been afraid of starting businesses — Finely Crafted is my third! Renting booth space at Paris on Ponce is a low-risk way to dip my toe into the retail pond and see whether I like it. I do need to give myself lots of pep talks, though, to feel confident about designing the store. I’m not an artist and have very little merchandising experience, so I can spiral into heart-wrenching “who am I to do this . . . ?” thoughts. Having a space that hundreds of people judge every week makes me feel quite vulnerable! I’ve always been a fast learner and hard worker, though, so in the end I trust that I’ll scrape together enough know-how and style to be successful.

I know how you feel about being vulnerable. But your love for the work of the artists you represent obviously shines through. Who’s your current fave among the Finely Crafted artists and why?

I’m crazy about Leah Duncan! Her wall art and home decor (I carry prints, tea towels, and pillows) are inspired by diverse genres — from impressionism to Scandinavian folk art — but the patterns and colors are always distinctly her. There’s a joyful, dynamic movement to her drawings. For example, the paddle cactus on her tea towel looks like it’s dancing. Her oh-so-50s colors are some of my personal favorites, like sea foam, peachy pink, and goldenrod. Leah and I are collaborating on limited-edition prints that will be sold by Finely Crafted only, beginning this fall. I’m so excited and grateful that an established artist I admire is willing to take a risk on a retail rookie!

Finely Crafted in Paris On Ponce, Atlanta GA

I can’t wait to see them! I doubt anyone could call you a rookie of any kind with the life experience you’ve had and the collaboration sounds perfect. The craft and DIY movement is very hip right now. How do you set yourself apart from others like you, yet still remain relevant? 

starting small

One of the biggest mental setbacks I have is the fear that I’m not as great as the people I admire and aspire to be like (artists, bloggers, entrepreneurs, etc). Those beautiful creative professionals seem like they have everything together so effortlessly and they continue to surprise me with their ability to stay fresh, relevant, and inspirational. Despite knowing that they all had to start somewhere, I always find myself feeling so far behind with so much left to go. Why do I feel like I have to start big and so close to the end?

starting small

I keep forgetting that you don’t begin a success. You become a success.