Dakota and Mieka’s Nursery

April 1st, 2014

With Mieka on the way, I figured it was about time I finally finish the nursery! And now that she’s here, I’m calling it done and moving on to the next. So without further ado, here is Dakota and Mieka’s shared digs!

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The design of this room became based around my favorite tangerine, orange and creamy yellow hues in effort to create a warm, cozy nursery that feels bright and happy even on those cold, dark days of winter. These are a few of my favorite items in the room:
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1. Geo Zipper Drum Shade Pendant Light from Shades of Light
2. Espana Area Rug from Home Decorators
3. BÖJA Table Lamp from Ikea
4. Modern Wall Frame from Pearhead
5. Fox Plush Toy from Personality Ink
6. Handmade Joel Dewberry Aviary Pillow from The Red Pistachio
7. Elephant Animal Hamper from Home Decorators
8. Deep Pole Handle Storage Basket from the Basket Lady

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I chose Glowing Apricot 165 by Benjamin Moore for the wall color and Pearly Gates 190 for the ceiling. Kevin sanded the floor right after we closed on our home in 2011 and together we painted it with a clear, water-based polyurethane.

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The decor of the room centers around this beautiful handmade quilt and matching Joel Dewberry pillows I found from The Red Pistachio on Etsy. It is my absolute favorite part of the room and worked as a color palette for all the other oranges, yellows and patterns I wanted to incorporate.

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The bunting banner was handmade by myself and my grandma who helped sew them! I was able to find fabric from the quilt on Etsy. If anyone is interested I can do a template download and tutorial for this in the future. I absolutely LOVE how it turned out!

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The prints and frames shown here were featured in a previous blog of mine, and the valance was made using this DIY tutorial.

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Most of the furniture (like the crib and the glider) were things that I found on Craig’s list for super cheap. The glider was in great condition, minus it’s old red cushions, so I ordered new ones in a creamy, soft microfiber material from the Nuture Center. Other furniture (like the bed frame and nightstand) were things from my previous bedroom set that I painted white to match.

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And there you have it! If I missed anything or you’d like to know more just ask!

A Ten Minute Trip to the Tropics

February 21st, 2014

After enduring this week’s (hopefully) last blast of winter’s wrath, I think another trip to the tropics is in order. The Como Conservatory, a mere ten minute drive from our house, gives Dakota and I the ability to feel humidity levels far above the dry desert tundra that is our present residence and the backdrop to pretend we’re frolicking around in Central or South America. I never got around to posting these pics from our first visit there this winter (pre-2014!), proving that pregnancy has definitely taken it’s tole on my blogging ambition. Hopefully, with Mieka‘s quickly approaching due date, I will find the time to show you all of the “cool, pregnancy induced” nesting projects I’ve been up to lately! Until then, think spring!

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Remembering Grandpa One Year Later

October 29th, 2013

There’s an old adage that says, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” We all come into this world powerless and innocent. One can only hope that the family in which we are born is one of unconditional love, good health, prosperity and happiness. According to internet calculations, the probability of me being born as the granddaughter of Bruce Warzala is 11 in 10 to the 2 million, 685,000th power. I think I won that lottery, because if I could have the choice of a grandfather, I’d definitely choose Grandpa.

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My grandfather was a very positive man who always had a smile on his face. I admired his attitude towards life because even though life’s not always easy…he sure made it look so. He was a depression baby, born in August of 1928; graduating from Harding High School in St. Paul Minnesota and eventually college at the U of M. He met his future wife, my grandma Jeanne, through friends Ken and Maxine Russell. Their love was greater than the nearly 450 miles that separated them for 2 years of their courtship and they went on to say “I do” in 1950. Grandpa worked as a civil engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation in order to support their quickly growing family. By the time 1964 rolled around grandma and grandpa had quite the handful…my dad and 4 uncles.

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According to my dad and uncles, Grandpa was a great father. He was very involved in coaching his sons’ hockey and baseball teams in addition to heading the Maplewood Athletics Association. My uncles recalled memories to me…from my grandpa teaching them how to water ski at Lake Levitte during the summers of their youth to dredging the woods for black bears who’d make their way into campsites and hoard trash.

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And then there’s Grandpa from my perspective. The granddaughter perspective. My grandfather was a fun-loving man whose sense of humor and positivity could make anyone feel at ease. Anyone, that is, who wasn’t dating one of his four beloved granddaughters. As one of those granddaughters I got to witness, firsthand, my husband Kevin as he nervously tried to answer my Grandpa’s infamous “What are your intentions here?” question. I think having five sons allowed him an excuse to be overprotective of his granddaughters. It’s like the protectiveness trait within him grew exponentially in my generation after not being utilized as much in my dad’s.

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I admire my grandpa’s commitment to building and fixing things. It seemed like every time my parents went on vacation and Grandpa came to stay with us he’d find something that was “broken” and in need of a little love. To say my grandpa had ingenuity might somehow be an understatement. For example, I remember a time in which the door to our basement wouldn’t shut. I don’t think business cards would have been my first idea as a solution to this problem, but it’s true he found a way to use my dad’s business cards as a shim in the hinges. Fixing the door and putting my dad’s business cards to use, now that’s ingenuity.

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Another thing I remember about grandpa is his persistence. And specifically, his persistence with bananas. Breakfast at Balsam just wasn’t complete without a banana. “Would you like a banana Danielle?”
“No thanks grandpa.” I would answer.
“Are you sure you don’t want a banana?”
“Yes I’m sure grandpa.” I would say.
“What about half a banana?” He would ask.
“No thanks grandpa.”
“What if I cut it up and put a few slices on your cereal?”
……..“Alright.” (When it wasn’t a banana it was milk.) But Grandpa’s persistence was always in direct connection to his concern for the health and wellbeing of our family, and for that I love him.

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In recent years, grandpa had become persistent in his emails. Albeit, all of his emails were Forwards, one entitled “Bananas…READ THIS…Some good things to know” caught my attention. That, among “3D Ping Pong” and “Cat on a Roof”. Funny thing, I got a call from Grandpa one time asking for my email address after realizing that my name had mysteriously disappeared from his contacts list. That phone call made me realize the importance of these forwarded emails in addition to wasp spray, colonoscopies, the boogie woogie, and every other email subject I received from then on.

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Big B was grandpa’s nickname. And Big B symbolized, to me and many others, his big and powerful heart. It was amazing… the amount of space in his heart for family and friendships. It’s as if his heart was always full of love but at the same time capable and ready to love more. Part of me thought that heart would never stop beating. And although it did physically, Grandpa’s heart has transcended himself. There’s his heart within each and everyone one of us here today, and his legacy of love and family will never ever die. It will live on through our children, our children’s children and our children’s grandchildren. Even if the world ends tomorrow it is my belief that that love will still be floating around somewhere, ready and waiting to cling to whatever form of life it finds.
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You never forget the family member who dressed up as Santa, delivering presents on Christmas in an attempt to foster their grandchildren’s growing spirit and belief in magic. I know I never will. As children, the stepping stones of life are bridged by those of whom we have no choice…family. And to that, it’s amazing…how unbelievably fortunate I am to have been born the granddaughter of a man named Bruce Warzala.

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The one and only picture I have of Grandpa and Dakota. I will cherish it forever. Love and miss you, Grandpa.

“Even When I’m Gone” Music Video

September 28th, 2013

My husband Kevin along with his band, Quietdrive, recently debuted the single, “Even When I’m Gone” to mark the start of Childhood Cancer Awareness month this September. The song was inspired by Kendal Lividini who, at 17, passed away after a courageous battle with Acute Myelogenus Leukemia. Despite the circumstances she faced, she showed that hope, love, positivity, and strength are what really matter in life. Through Team Kendal Kidz, Kendal’s parents are able to keep her message and dreams alive by spreading smiles and hope to kids with cancer.

The song, released through Team Kendal Kidz, Children’s Cancer Research Fund and Rock the Cause Records, is a tribute to those who lost their lives too young. It’s available to buy on iTunes and all proceeds go to Team Kendal Kidz and Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

The music video for “Even When I’m Gone” was released just last week, and I’m proud to say… PUNY produced it! I was excited to be a part of something so meaningful, profound, and close to my husband.

Please help to spread awareness and Kendal’s message by sharing the song or video with friends!

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Behind the Video
Lead designer Tousue Vang along with design director/PUNY partner Vincent Stall created a concept that centered around an eternal beating heart, that upon closer inspection, shows us the memories and legacies left behind by the kids who’ve gone before. Whether it be Claire’s love for art or Zach’s gift for music, the visuals give us an idea of the passion and drive contained within each young soul. My role in the video included designing a couple collages, gathering stock photography and image assets, image production, and some photo retouching.

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All of the imagery reflects the beauty held in the lives of the individuals and was meant to be symbolic for each person’s passions and accomplishments.

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These beautiful photos of Kendal help demonstrate the simple and natural image enhancements—done in effort to make the photos even better than they already were. A little bit of color correction and red eye adjustments really helped to increase the overall quality of the video. At the same time, we were conscious and very careful not to interfere with the nostalgia of these precious moments captured.

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This video is easily one of my favorite projects to ever take part in and I’m so happy that PUNY involved me. The message and meaning that this video carries surpasses anything I’ve ever worked on before and I’m so proud of my PUNY colleagues (Tousue Vang, Vincent Stall, Mark LaCroix, Mike Owens and Chris Handrick) for making this video great!

Taryn Christine Photography

August 1st, 2013

I’m excited to share that Taryn’s site is finally live! It’s a simple, responsive, one page design with a modal gallery and a blog feed in the footer. The design features muted colors—inspired by vintage globes & maps, hand drawn lines over beautiful photography, and watercolor textures behind cutout photos. The launch of her accompanying blog has been pushed back to September/October due to Kevin’s jam packed music schedule. I’ve included how the integration of her blog looks in the site designs below, but you may notice it missing on the actual site for now.

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The dual-sided “sticky” navigation bar converts to a one-sided menu button in the mobile realm that side slides to reveal the content areas and “follow me” links.

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Find Taryn at www.tarynchristinephotography.com and be sure to consider her for your next photo session! I know I can’t wait for her to take photos of my family again soon!