Pop Up Party! Happy Mail Happy Hour

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sitting in a cafe exchanging ideas with a blog buddy about creating content, technical challenges, general practices, and upcoming goals, I told MontgomeryFest I'd been wanting to host another #happymailhappyhour but the logistics and timing of it had proved tricky this time of year.  The spirit of the thing is to just write letters and to enjoy ourselves while encouraging others to do the same, as was done so successfully in August.  I have been discovering more paper brands through the magic of social media and the recent Renegade Craft Fair that I wanted to share with friends, while really itching to plan a casual girls' get together, as I love to do now and then.  After reassuring me I could just plan something small, I told MontgomeryFest, "You know what?  Let's just do it.  Let's have another one, a  small one the week after next.  We can do it potluck paper style, and well ... I can figure out the rest."  So we did.  Thank you for the wink of confidence, MontgomeryFest.  It was time.  

While exchanging a few gorgeous notes with letter pressing gem, Allison, of Ink Meets Paper last September,  I kept in mind that her co-creator/ husband, Daniel, and she were more than happy to contribute to my next #happymailhappyhour in some way.  Is there any doubt why this brand was a recent Martha Stewart American Made Finalist?  They generously sent these popular postcards for guests with my order of friendship cards.

Photo by bp.

My next plan of action was to buy more gel pens at Maido because none of the other twenty plus pens I have from Paper Source and Tokyu Hands   had the exact pen tip I needed in bronze nor the rose gold color I desired to use for my thank you notes.  It's not just the paper that counts, but the pens have to feel good and look great too, if you want to get down to some serious writing.  That's MY excuse.  

Testing pens is a psychological exercise.  Read my mind on their testing sheet.  Photo by bp.

Guests were instructed to meet at the cafe at six o'clock, but MontgomeryFest and I arrived an hour early so we could grab the communal table in back.  No reservations, no talking with the manager, which for a rule abiding, reservations making, minimum order worrying person like me was a slight thrill.  Relax, blogger_bp, it's a semi public place for goodness sake, where people come to work, meet and eat. Besides, it's not a library.  

The communal table was the object of my affection for the event.  I don't know what that girl is stressed about -writer issues?   Photo by bp

We got to work, (Pop-Up Style!) as each person arrived with her sharable stationery stash in tow such as handmade pieces, Rifle Paper Co.,  Garance Dore (c/o Rifle Paper, natch), and other various brands. My choice contribution included my favorite, JulieAnnArt (Boom.Manners.), the ever classic and stylish FermeAPapier (Merci), and new hot picks InkMeetsPaper (Grateful You're My Friend & Happy Thoughts),  and the perfect acorn card from the graphically eclectic LittleArrowStudio (Give Thanks).  I also brought some Egg Press (orange letterpressed#write_on cards from their collaborative project with Hello Lucky.

Top L-R: Communal stash; my picks from FermeAPapier, JulieAnnArt, InkMeetsPaper, LittleArrow & EggPress/HelloLucky.  Bottom: Yes To Carrots says yes to #happymailhappyhour too!  SO generous!   Photos by bp

The servers at the cafe were amused, "Are you girls writing cards?  That's so cute!"  After serving plate after plate of caprese or turkey sandwiches and salads, I was relieved that we definitely were going to be able to tuck in for the evening, and that the creative and convivial vibe could commence.  I declared the theme for the #happymailhappyhour:  Gratefulness and Thanksgiving, a time to write to those you want to thank for a simple pleasure, a grand gesture, or even a long overdue love letter.  Need we really have a reason?   We were all grateful to the delightful Digital Carrot  for the surprise Yes To Carrots products she brought for the group!  The cleansers, lotions, eye creams, spot treatments, and FACE WIPES (I am a coconut wipes fan here) made us nearly as nuts at the end of the night as when we started sorting through the stationery three hours earlier - Total comedy.
MontgomeryFest and Carla of AlyssaandCarla getting busy as a Garance muse looks on beneath a bowl of coffee.
 Photos by Lila of LingeringDayDreams

@_lovelyletters_ came to play hard.  A full box of paper and her calligraphy set in hand, she practiced her perfect lettering while I scribble scrabbled away in my cards.  I should have had her at least address one my envelopes to offset my poor hand, or would that have made it more obvious?  There was a collective gasp when some macaroon cream plopped onto one of her pages.  "It's fine, I'm only practicing," she laughed.  If she were in my high school calligraphy class I may have tried submitting her 'practice page' as my final project.   

@_lovelyletters_ and her lovely writing
Photos by Lila of LingeringDayDreams

Writing a note for my neighbor.  Yes, I smile a lot, unless I'm deep in thought.  Smiling's my favorite.
Photos by Lila of LingeringDayDreams

The freaking rockstar bad a$$ DIYer herself, Lila, finally in front of the lens as Ashlee is working behind hers.
Photo by bp.

The Digital Carrot (with a hot cup and a hot mani) and her macaroon stack.  Washi tape and Lila's handmade cards.
Photos by Lila of LingeringDayDreams

Happiness at #happymailhappyhour

It's only been two days and already I am imagining the next time.  I love bringing together varied friends who connect so easily over a shared interest as simple as snail mail and stationery (and beauty products - surprise or not).  A girl date during a mid week San Francisco downpour sets the stage very well, don't you think?   The key to any recipe is always in the ingredients.  This pop up paper party is a recipe worth repeating.

Are there any card lines out there you would share if you were there?  Let's talk about it in the comments below!  

Lately ... 11.19.14

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lately I've been ...

Looking into this {Ambiance Pocket Mirror}
Writing to friends in these {Little Arrow Cards}

Thinking about when and where to wear these {Freshwater Pearls}

Having one too many of those {My Dad's Cookies Gluten Free}
And not enough bites of that {Organic Pink Lady Apple}

Reading a number of those {Remedy Quarterly}

Admiring this {Spoke Art Gallery } 

What have you been up to lately?

All photos taken by bp

Life Changing

Monday, November 17, 2014

I bought a 2" barrel curling iron but it did not change my life.  I was really hoping it would.  It prompted me to finally sign up for Dirty Pop, wanting to add more cardio to my workout and believing sexy hair is required to make the moves work, more than knowing how to dance.  One hour of choreographed hip hop moves poured out by a Pussy Cat Doll- like instructor is how I would describe it.  Forget the  isolated hip thrusts and slithering around, I was fixated on how the teacher and two of the students were working their hair as much as they were gyrating their boo-tays.  As important as coordination, what makes the dancing divine is the full hair tossing, mussing and flipping.  How does their hair know not to stick to their foreheads?  Why does their hair, when pushed opposite to their natural parts,  seem sensual not scraggly?  Am I the only one reaching for my elastic?  

For at least two months, my eye has been caught by many a beautiful head of hair.  The bend at the ends of long haired brunettes, kisses of highlights, perfectly imperfect fly aways, and multitasking jewelry visibly nestled in buns or as crowns showing off an urban bohemian beauty.  I want that casually tossed elegance with the lightness that translates in a photo and the gentle twists and tiny braids that hold up with nary a hairpin in sight.  I use good shampoo, recommended conditioners, and have a variety of sprays, oils, serums, and powders in my bathroom cabinets.  I keep two straightening irons, a massive blow dryer, and now two curling irons in my vanity drawer.    I like that my hair is soft, and I always want it to smell nice, which is the foundation to a properly groomed head, I think, but I will always be that outsider looking in, wanting to up my hair ante even just slightly, but hesitant to dip my toe in the hair coloring pool.  I often forget I have said products and default more and more to the exact opposite of the everyday look I aspire to, sweeping my hair up with the help of these three musketeers:  the elastic (every day), the tortoise clip (when I make an effort), and the claw clip (post shower).  

The three musketeers like to tag team it on a rotating basis.

A curling iron is not going to get me primping with enough time to spare every morning, nor will it make me faster on my feet at a dance class.  I doubt the ideal hair will make me more efficient with my time nor improve my reading comprehension, but having that cut and color will let me focus my attention on other real life changing issues, at least for the next six to eight weeks. Even if the 2" barrel curling iron is not responsible for ushering me into the gates of hair heaven,  it will, with a spritz of Elnett and more effort, make me not have to think about it, and that, for now, will be life changing enough.  

Table For One

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What's funny as of late is this whole mission I am on to find a place to write that isn't my home.  I am not distracted by laundry nor by the television nor by the phone.  My MoJo is just a No Go at home.  It has started to piss me off.


My writing.  Or lack thereof.  So there.  I said it again.  I said what you have been thinking about if you follow me here.  Just friggin write, and let it go.  Changing my dining table out will not make me more productive.  Adding new shelving will not untie the knots in my head.  A nicer light fixture will not expand my thinking.  My habits need a shake up and that includes not overthinking what I am going to write as well as where I will write it.  I have been packing up my things and heading out each day to find the elusive spot to catch my muse, because as DessertComes1st said to me, "The muse comes when you are creating, not while you are staring at the ceiling."  The table for one search has been interesting.

They have been chevron:

They have been cushioned:

They have been wooden:

They have been solitary:

They have been synergistic:

So far so good.   I am breaking some ground, and jazzing up my thinking patterns, but like anything else, I have to do it by myself.  All the workshops in the city and classes on the internet will not get what's brewing internally to translate externally.  A table for one is the gateway to what lies ahead.  Who knew?  Well, that and a pot of tea.

My ticket to ride.  Have tea, will squat for an afternoon.  Photos by BP

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