Interviews

10 Questions With Shauna Niequist

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Lo and I both fell in love with Shauna Niequest’s writing style and her down-to-earth, authentic, faith-filled self when reading her book bread & wine. She has a way of writing that is relatable, refreshing, and full of honesty and hope. We were so excited when we heard that she was coming out with a new book, Present Over Perfect, and even more excited when we had the opportunity to do a 10 question interview with her. When Lo and I put together these questions for Shauna, we hadn’t read the book yet, but now I am more than halfway through and cannot say enough good things about it. It’s one of those books that makes you look forward to bedtime, just so you can get under the covers extra early for some reading time. The description on the front cover could not be more on-point when it comes to a hint of what you will find inside- “leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living“. There are so many sentences underlined, starred, and hearted on the pages that I have read so far, that it is slightly crazy-looking if you were to flip through. It’s that good. If I had to pick one favorite quote (so far) it would definitely be this- “It’s [being present over perfect] about rejecting the myth that every day is a new opportunity to prove our worth, and about the truth that our worth is inherent, given by God, not earned by our hustling.” I don’t know about you, but I am with Shauna- hustling for perfection is exhausting and not worth the struggle. Being present, real, and full of love during all of life’s moments (the good, the bad, the messy, and the not-messy) is much, much more appealing. Scroll down to read our 10 question q&a and thank you, Shauna, for being you!

1. Congrats on the release of Present Over Perfect! How exciting was release day? Dish on all of the fun details.

The funny thing about release days is that really, nothing happens–you have that date on the calendar for so long, and then it comes, and you just spend the day in your pajamas, replying to people on social media. But all day long, people I love stopped over, bringing flowers and my favorite lavender honey, and fish tacos from my favorite Mexican spot. One of the guys that worked on the release with us—our good friend Tim—stopped over early in the morning with a box of Stan’s donuts and some Blue Bottle coffee…Tim knows what we love, and it was fun to start off the day sitting in the kitchen with him. And then at the end of the day, when we had received good news about how the release was going, my parents and my brother came over for a champagne toast on the front porch—with plastic cups, kids riding their bikes in circles around us, and frozen pizza.

2. We are so excited to dive into your newest book. If you could pick out one thing that you pray people take away from it, what would it be?

My prayer is that this book is essentially a permission slip for people to leave behind the pressures and expectations and roles that they’ve always played, and live freely out of their essential selves, with all the strengths and flaws and dreams and limitations that each of us have.

3. The writing process really fascinates us. Can you shed some light on how you begin to write a book? I remember reading somewhere that sitting down to write was sometimes the hardest part of the process for you- is that still true and if so, how do you overcome that challenge?

Yes, certainly, sitting down is the hardest part—it’s so easy to think of a million other things you should be doing. What helps me toward that end is structure: I write like I’m going to work—good work, work that I love, but work nonetheless. The discipline helps me—there’s so much freedom within the parameters of discipline.

4. We fell in love with you and your writing style when reading Bread & Wine. The concept of inviting people in your home and gathering around the table has really influenced us when entertaining. In that book, you talk a lot about imperfection over perfection. What are your tips for people who might be refraining from inviting people over because their home is not up to the unrealistic idea of “perfection”?

I very firmly believe that people would much rather be fed in a slightly messy, sort of normal home instead of a rigid, perfect, super-buttoned-up space. If people want a super-refined, exactly perfect experience, that’s what restaurants are for. But home cooking should always make you feel at home, wherever you are.

5. The cover for Present Over Perfect is so great- is there a story behind the converse shoes? Lauren and I are big fans of chucks, so we are dying to know!

At one very important point on my own present-over-perfect journey, I snapped a photo of my chucks while I was sitting on the dock in Northern Wisconsin. That phone photo captured so much, but it wasn’t high-res enough for the cover. So honestly, we tried to recreate it a million different ways, and the one that finally worked was taken by my husband over Thanksgiving weekend on a freezing cold day—we put a movie on for the boys in the car, and ran out to the end of the dock. I’m sure my publisher was horrified when I insisted my husband (not a photographer) could get the shot, but he absolutely did!

6. Your Facebook page is such a fun one to follow. I love the way you are honest about the real, REAL parts of life. Like the raccoons. 🙂 What is your approach when using the Facebook platform to connect with your fans?

To be honest, I don’t think much about social media—very intentionally. It’s a fun way to connect, and there are people that I enjoy following and learning from, but it’s such a small slice of our lives, and I think we get into trouble when we make it bigger than it should be. Real life is so much sweeter than internet life.

7. When looking back at all of your books, and reminiscing about the writing journey for each, do you have a favorite? I know picking favorites is so hard, but if you do have a #1, we would love to know which one and why.

Really, Present Over Perfect represents the greatest life change for me, so it means the most.

8. What is the best piece of wisdom you have ever received that has remained as a constant reminder in your life?

My friend Laura always says, “start where you are.” I love that. It’s easy to see all the reasons you think you’ll fail, or how enormous the task ahead is, or how unprepared you are. But just start where you are, wherever that is.

9. Lauren and I have been talking about the importance of rest and slowing down lately. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day rush, but it’s way too exhausting! What are your tips for slowing down despite chaotic circumstances?

I love that you’re asking these questions! For me, these are a couple things that really helped:

First, talk with the people you’re closest to about wanting to live more slowly—that way, they’re on your team, cheering you on, encouraging you, instead of wondering about what’s changed. Second, start small: you don’t have to over haul your life all at once. Begin with small, concrete steps: put a couple home nights/family dinners on the calendar a couple nights a week instead of being out every night, or make a list of things that make you feel rested and playful, and mark out time on the calendar to do those things—many of us have been ruled by our calendars for so long that it’s helpful to use the calendar to essentially plan some things that should come naturally: rest and play.

10. I love this quote that you recently posted on Facebook: “Love is never found in the hustle.” Amen to that! Can you elaborate on this concept of love and hustle and why the two don’t go hand in hand?

I hate that the word hustle has become so prominent in our culture: hustle is all about pushing, earning, tricking, multi-tasking. These are not the things that bring life and love and deep connection. The best things are built slowly, with care and creativity and depth. I don’t want anything built on hustle—that feels cheap, and flimsy, and temporary. I want to practice believing that there is so much more to life than hustle.

5 Things About Me

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Melissa (the most fab LOLO editor of all) and I have recently been extra inspired by people’s stories – who they are, what they have been through, and what they are currently up to. Vulnerability is a beautiful thing, and we came to a mutual conclusion: we want our posts to be heartfelt and engaging, and we are super pumped to make a little blog shift and dive a little deeper into our thoughts! Let us know what you think of the direction we are headed + Insta, Snap, Tweet, or FB us on what you want to hear more of!

Today on this lovely Thursday, we are changing things up a bit. Before I start sharing my heart with you guys, I wanted to share 5 things about me that you may not know!

I AM A TWIN.
I have a fraternal twin sister who has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. I cherished the years growing up because we always had a built in partner-in-crime. Yes, we finish each others sentences. Yes, we know what we are thinking without speaking. And fun fact: our husbands had to re-teach us how to tell stories because we always had each other to fill in the missing pieces. #oopsies #otherhalf

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I AM A HEALTH NUT.
I felt like I was constantly bloated in college, so I decided to slowly eliminate foods to discover what was causing it. From that point on, I can read about the benefits of foods or anything health related all day long. I make a breakfast smoothie every morning filled with the purest form of spirulina, chlorella, chia seeds, cacao nibs, colostrum, and the list goes on! It has changed our lives, and being mineral-sufficient eliminates the desires for salty snacks and sweets! Jase and I also have a tower garden in our back yard, and it is so fun to pick organic veggies and fresh herbs for dinner or a fresh mint tea. Not to mention, organic food from home has the richest flavor. #obsessed

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MY DREAM IS TO HAVE A MINI FARM
Yes, you read that correctly. Ever since I was little, I have been a lover of any animal, and when they are mini, my love for them only increases! I am pretty sure this dream is possible, right?

IMG_2804WATER BRINGS ME LIFE
I grew up going to the lake almost every weekend in Texas, which has created in me a sense of home when I am near h2o. Boat rides, body surfing and water-skiing are my favorite water activities + I feel like all the worries in the world dissipate when I am sitting by a lake or hearing the ocean waves. Another bonus: those relaxing places always create the most special times with friends and family. Oh, and yes, alkaline water brings me life too.

1INTERIORS INSPIRE ME
In the last few years, I have gained such a love for interiors. It started developing when my friend Anna and I worked with her mom to decorate our apartment. She is an interior designer and taught me so much! My parents recently renovated part of their home, so it was so enjoyable to hear about every detail in the process. Jason and I started with a blank decor slate with our house in Cali. It has been such a long yet sweet process, and we are still in progress! There is something about a home that reflects those in it and creates such a communal place for those invited in. It is so important for your home to be your sanctuary, your place of rest, and your spot to develop deeper friendship and create special memories.

#followfriday // natalie borton

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natalie borton // jewelry

Thank goodness for the weekend, right? We are especially excited about this Friday because today we are introducing you to a favorite girl of ours, Natalie Borton. She is the one behind the lifestyle blog Thoughts by Natalie and she also has an amazing jewelry line that she designs and creates. Lauren and I both have the Addison necklace and it’s the perfect delicate, gold necklace to pair with almost any outfit. Natalie’s style is laid-back, effortlessly cool, and easily stylish- all things that we love and things that inspire us daily. If you like the sound of that, you should definitely follow her on social {both Instagram and Facebook} and make her blog a regular read. To top it off, she is also a contributor to the Glitter Guide– another site that we are always checking out! xx

natalie borton // jewelry

natalie borton // jewelry

images via natalie borton // necklaces were gifted

Jean Paul Gaultier Comes to Dallas: The Story Behind the Mannequins

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There has been a hype around town, and I think it has to do with Jean Paul Gaultier bringing his world to Dallas. From the gaiety at the events leading up to this arrival to the unbelievable increase in sales for local boutique, Forty Five Ten, and resale shops carrying JPG clothing, the Big D is experiencing great expansion into the world of fashion. It is bringing a new air of inspiration to the city, and we all are noticing. Dallas fashion icon, Jan Strimple agrees: “Dallas is fashionably on fire! Having Jean Paul Gaultier in our city is exhilarating. It’s a feast for the eyes and soul. It captures his provocative nature, his proclivity for inclusiveness, and makes the viewer think.”

Not only was I honored to attend the press conference and soft launch of the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit, “From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk” at the Dallas Museum of Art last Thursday, I also had the personal pleasure of sitting down with mannequin designer, Lucie Jolicoeur, and her brother over a lovely lunch to discuss the stories behind the extraordinary creations produced by Jolicoeur International.

What is so fascinating about the Quebec City native, Lucie Jolicoeur, is the immense passion for her work and the creative process. She is greatly dedicated to the quality of the manufacturing that she personally oversees the entire process in China. She assured me that an arm or a leg never gets shipped out without her approval. But what stunned me the most was the fact that nothing is made by a machine, resulting in one-of-a-kind mannequins, crafted with the most delicate care and attention to detail. For this exhibit, they were even transported by planes rather than the usual mode of transportation by boat in order to meet tight timelines.

A fascinating point of view: The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit debuted in Montreal, and the shift to the Dallas scene caused for changes to the mannequins. Each mold was altered to fit the aesthetic and culture of this city. New, stronger positions with smaller waists countered the more relaxed postures displayed in Montreal. A major difference, in fact, surfaced in the posture of a man on his knees. The workers in China were esteemed to be part of such a “special” project and were quite intrigued by the idea of creating a male mannequin, which is at times a rarity.

Jolicoeur International took it one impressive step further by joining creative forces with a company to produce animation on the mannequins. They speak, blink, and even sing to the audience–something so innovative that we are all esteemed to have the chance to see.

A Personal Note: The mannequins are outstanding. From the distinct shape of their faces to the color of their skin, the model shapes collaborated beautifully with such an esteemed designer. The designs proudly filled the themed rooms–Boudoir, Skin Deep, Punk Can Can, Metropolis, and Urban Jungle, and they added such quality, witt, and personality to the entire exhibition. Bravo!

About the Exhibit

Making its U.S. premier on Sunday, November 13th, at the Dallas Museum of Art, the exhibit includes some 130 haute couture dresses and ready-to-wear pieces spanning the 1970′s through the present day. In addition to 30 animated mannequins, the multi-media experience also presents photographs, sketches, and film and television excerpts – some never before seen by the public.

Running through February 12th, 2012, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier will make only one additional stop stateside at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young, before heading on to Europe.

Admission to this exhibition requires a special ticket, starting at $16, available for purchase online, at the museum, or by phone at 214-922-1803. Click here for additional ticketing details. (Info from DFW Style Daily).

The Story Behind the Model: Anya Brill

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The modeling industry is like a close-knit family. It is a fascinating art, as if fashion meets acting, and what’s even more fascinating is hearing the stories behind the models. They seem to embrace their personal selves rather than conform to the mediocre, and that is why I highly respect this profession. Meet Anya Brill. She is progressing in the modeling world, and she shares with LOLO her journey and her beauty tips. Whether you are an artist or an accountant, her career goal mindset for the future is a framework for adoption!

How did your modeling career start?

When I was thirteen, my mom signed me up for a Back-to-School Fashion Show. I fell in love with modeling the moment I stepped onto the runway. When I was fourteen I did another Back-to-School Fashion Show, and my love for modeling grew even more. I was 16 when my hobby, modeling, turned more into a career. It all started with being a Campaign model for Tess Designs here in Austin, Texas.

What has been the biggest surprise about the industry?

The biggest surprise I have experienced is that it is all about relationships. There has not been a lot of competition between models, but rather a lot of friendships are being built. I have also worked with many Christians, which I love, because I too am a Christian. I definitely see God’s hand in my career.

What is your biggest goal in your career path?
I love traveling and hope to travel abroad. I see myself walking the runway in Milan and Paris. Of course, I hope to be a part of New York Fashion Week as well, and one day be signed by Elite Model Management in NYC. My ultimate goal for my career is to have my own brand name, ‘Anya’. I am looking into it now and have big dreams for the future!

What is your favorite part about living in Austin?
I love Austin’s fun, laid-back vibe. While the fashion here is quite casual, Austin has a growing fashion scene. This summer I walked in Austin Fashion Week and loved every second of it. I was nominated in the top five for Best Female Model: Industry Choice and Best Female Model: People’s Choice. My favorite part about living in Austin is that Austin is weird and no one cares what you look like. After a photo shoot or runway, if my hair and make up are ridiculous, everyone loves it!! I love going out after gigs!

What are the must-have items in your purse?
Lip Gloss! Lip Gloss! Lip Gloss! I could not live without my lip gloss! As well as my phone and my credit card!

What music are you listening to now?
I love to work out to the popular hits. I really like the strength of Carrie Underwood. I love Enrique Iglesias, Skillet, LeCrae, and anything that keeps me energized.

What is your favorite beauty tip?
Hmmm…that’s a hard one. It has to be “Less is More.” I’m also a big believer in good posture; it always makes you look taller and thinner. My number one advice is to always bring a smile.

If you could follow the career path of one model, who would it be?
I would LOVE to follow in the career path of Gisele Bundchen. She went from being a model for Victoria’s Secret to modeling all over the world for big designers and is now a household name. I love the fact that now she’s known just by her first name, which is also a personal goal for me! She was also a volleyball player like myself and had humble beginnings before conquering the whole world of fashion.

Guilty pleasure?
I have to have my hot fudge sundaes! I couldn’t live without them.

Who is your style icon?
I really admire Rachel Bilson’s sense of style. She has really gone from being an actress to being known even more for her personal style and good taste. I would love to be known for my own style and be a muse for designers. I love fashion and hope to be a big name!

Credits: First photo- Designer: Jessica Ciarla, CIARLA Bridal, Make Up: Avery Allen, Hair: Andrea Juarez, Photographer: Juan Deleon; Second photo-Designers: Megan Summerville, Makeup and Hair: Edith Henry, Stylist: Edith Henry, Photographer: Michelle Babb; ; Third photo-Designer: Jessica Ciarla, CIARLA Bridal, Make Up: Gertie Murray at Rae Cosmetics, Hair: Andrea Juarez, Photographer: Shane Michael Gordon

The Story Behind BonBon Jewelry Designer Micah Yancey

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Micah Yancey is one of those super-hip ladies that has an obvious knack for designing, and her talent reveals itself in her totally awesome jewelry creations. LOLO Magazine sat down with the woman behind BonBon Jewelry last week to dish out the story behind her fabulous earrings and necklaces, her favorite Dallas coffee shop, and her style muse that you wouldn’t quite expect (but it rocks!). Read on!

What led you to start designing jewelry?  I’ve loved creating and designing jewelry in a wide array of materials since I was in elementary school.  I was the go-to girl for friendship bracelets as a kiddo and in college, I made beaded necklaces for friends’ outfits when we were getting ready to go out.  I always had a love for jewelry and jewelry making, and my passion became a full-time career in 2010.

How do you choose your materials?  It’s important to me to design pieces with high quality and eye-catching materials that have a look of sophisticated trendiness while still remaining affordable. I seek out beautiful gemstones, paying close attention to cut, color, and clarity, that provide the color pop that I want. I know I’ve found the right gems when I literally gasp at the sight of them!  I work with 14 karat gold fill and 24 karat gold overlay pieces, because these metals are a higher quality and do not change colors over time (or against the skin).  I love the richness of gold pieces with fine lines and negative space to draw the eye to the amazing stones.

How do you decide on a color palette?  I always watch the New York and Paris runway shows to take note of styles, necklines, and the color palettes that my favorite apparel designers are using in their collections.  Because jewelry is an accessory to your clothes (most of the time), I like to take note of the trending apparel colors and then decide which of those colors I want to use, in addition to the hues I feel would best compliment the trending colors. I also consider which gemstones are the most popular in specific seasons year after year, making sure to incorporate the classic favorites into a new and fresh palette season after season.  The color choices can also come from anything that has inspired me, and I really think that so much of the decision-making process comes down to a feeling I have about certain gemstones.  I see a stone and whether it’s in the palette or not, if it makes me gasp and I think I can use it, I’ll incorporate it into my work, so that others may enjoy it, too!

What is your most popular design?  My most popular design is the earring that definitely lives up to its name, “Number One Stunner”.  It’s a 14 karat gold filled textured marquis shape with a heart cut gemstone dangling from it, and the gems are all completely luscious in color and cut.  It’s the perfect throw-on-and-go earring and it transitions extremely well from day to night.

A Personal Perspective

What is your favorite restaurant in Dallas? While I haven’t been back in Dallas long, a favorite of mine has always been Hibiscus.  I can’t get enough of their mac and cheese! Coffee shop? Again, I haven’t been in Dallas long, but a place that’s really close to my studio that I’ve recently developed a love affair with is Coffee House Cafe.  Their french pressed coffee is heavenly. Place to shop? My favorite place to shop in Dallas…I can’t decide!  I’d have to say it’s a 3-way tie between Krimson & Klover on Cole, L. Bartlett in West Village, and Northpark Mall.  I love the indie brands and pieces at the boutiques paired with pieces from H&M, for example.

Who is your style icon?  My style icon is Leandra Medine, founder and editor of The Man Repeller.  In addition to being intelligent, witty, and chock full of hilarity, she exudes style in so many new and fresh ways.  What I love most about her style is that she dresses herself and others for style’s sake without man pleasing, yet she’s sexy (and she knows it).

To see the full BonBon Jewelry Collection, check out her website and visit her super fun blog to keep up with the scoop, such as photos of the Today Show’s Ann Curry wearing her stunning jewels. And if you love what you see, join in on the Facebook hype and like her page!

Support Pink Month!

For every purchase of the Pink Sugar Blossoms style (shown above) or the Strawberries and Cream style, we will donate $25 to the Komen Foudation for a Cure! These styles can be purchased on the website. THANK YOU for helping us support breast cancer research!

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