02 | In the Process with Helen Hung

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Photo Credit: Clarzzique
For the second installment of the "In The Process" series focused around creatives, we have Sydney, Australia based floral designer, Helen Hung. From weddings to events to workshops, Helen truly captures the beauty that is flowers in the most creative way. Hope you enjoy the following interview that captures the everyday process of creativity, as well as the need to create.

Habit & Heart: How did you get where you are today?

Helen Hung: I've always had an interest in making things and the creative arts since I was a young kid-- I'd watch Art Attack on TV twice daily and make all the things Neil did on the show! After high school, I ended up studying a double Bachelors degree in Commerce and Arts at the University of New South Wales, majoring in accounting, finance and french-- which have nothing to do with where I've ended up but have been great skills to have. After uni, I worked as a software product manager, and a few years ago, I started making terrariums, gardening and teaching myself how to arrange flowers. I shared a lot of this on my blog and on social media... and then a couple of friends asked me to do their wedding flowers and it's kicked off from there!

 H&H: Many people would not think that floral arranging would be considered an art form. Yet, it is one of the most creative mediums to work in! How would you describe your creative process? What roadblocks do you come across along the way, and how do you face them?

HH: I like to start with a theme, an inspiration piece, or a colour palette at the very least. I find my creativity comes alive most when I'm working with a set of constraints, which is why I like to have an anchor to base a design or arrangement around. Once I've got that anchor, I make some brief notes (normally just on a post-it!) of the shape and impact I'd like to achieve, and brainstorm a selection of flowers I'd consider using. Ultimately, it comes down to the moment at the markets when I'm on a buzz, alive in all my senses. I love to work with seasonal and locally grown flowers, so often it really depends on what is there that week, and I'm often happily surprised by something amazing I've spotted that day that would be perfect with what I'm working on! 

A roadblock for me would be when something i really wanted is not available-- it could be a particular flower or colour for example. In that case, I have to pivot and figure out an alternative on the spot. It can be quite stressful when that happens, but you just gotta make it work!

H&H: Why do you think it is important to create? How do you think the "ordinary person" without an art degree or a creative profession can practice this urge to create?

HH: I'm a HUGE believer that EVERYONE has the ability to create. Everyone is "creative" in their own way, and it's one of those things where the more you make time for it, the more confident you feel in your own capabilities. You certainly don't need a traditional accreditation in order to get started!  

H&H: I would think that doing the floral arrangements for weddings and events could be stressful due to the pressure for perfection. Do you struggle with this? What lessons have you learned through the years of creating?

HH: They can be stressful for sure, particularly when you're just getting started! Then again, I still get a bit nervous every time I'm about to deliver bouquets to the bridal party. There's always that 1% of 'omg what if they don't like it?!!' - fear that makes your nervous. These days, I'm a realistic perfectionist (I may have just made that up myself)-- I set a high bar for myself always, but I also know that there's no such thing as 'perfect'. I make sure I put my 110% into every creation of mine. Communication with the client is key to ensuring that I've done my homework in understanding as much as possible what they want-- descriptively and visually. It's never enough to just ask someone to describe what they want. Their version of "soft pink" may not be what you're thinking!

H&H: Does your city and location effect your work? If so, how?

HH: Yes, because my suppliers are local to me, here in Sydney. If I were to move cities, I'd need to find new suppliers and flower markets in order to succeed.

H&H: What do you hope to portray to your audience and clients through your work? 

HH: The magical nature of flowers. They're absolutely amazing. Sometimes I still can't believe that they just exist, thanks to Mother Nature. Having the opportunity to create living art with them is my way to spread my joy [for flowers] across the world!

H&H: What advice would you give to fellow artists with the same desire to create?

HH: Just start-- go do what you're dreaming about, talking about, scared about. The hardest thing is always just getting started and taking action. Don't be afraid to make mistakes along the way, that's truly how you learn and grow as you create.

H&H: I love seeing the various creations you make at your workshops. What is your favorite aspect of teaching others to create a floral arrangement?

HH: I love witnessing *that* moment when students hit that "aha, I get it!" moment, particularly after initial periods of being a bit uncertain or less confident. Once they've grasped it, they just get going, and you feel amazing because they're getting it and you helped them get there! It's also so much fun being able to see how everyone's final creation is always different from each other's. Like I said, EVERYONE is creative in their own way, and it really shows!

And, that's a wrap! Thank you so much, Helen, for sharing your creative insight into your business. I love that while you still work with 'constraints', your floral creations remain unique to you and your brand. You can follow Helen on Instagram @limetreebower and on her website, limetreebower.com. Or, if you are a Sydney local and in need of some blooms for an event, email her at hello@limetreebower.com or get involved in a workshop.

As the floral designer emphasized in this interview, everyone is creative in their own way. It may not be in traditional artistic mediums, or in florals like Helen's creative expertise, but can come in any form. Ask yourself, what am I passionate about?, what am I good at?, and how can I share this with the world?. That answer is the key to creation, yet the execution is the key to a full life.

Who do you want to see featured on the "In the Process" series? Connect with me via email (catemarg@gmail.com), on Instagram (@cate.marg), or in the comments below. 

How to Decorate With Photos (Without Using a Frame!)

Monday, June 27, 2016

We live in an age where photos are taken left and right. I honestly cannot remember the last time I sat down and actually ate my food before taking  photo of it (joking, joking). As stated on my Summer Bucket List, one of my goals for the season is to print photos once a week. I also recently bought a polaroid camera, so photographs have been popping up all over my room the past few weeks. Being a display-er at heart, it is hard for me to let my photographs remain in a box. However, I also did not want them simply shown in picture frames. Therefore, I thought I would share a few creative ways I have displayed my photos throughout my home. Enjoy!

01 | On A Basket. I recently bought a few of these wire milk baskets from Target (can purchase here) and have fallen in love. With their copper handles, what more could you ask for? To add a little personal touch, I clipped on a few of my recent polaroids on the outside. By adding that extra style, it takes any space to from ordinary to individual. I have also experimented with just one photo or polaroid clipped on each basket, and love the minimalistic look. Plus, who can resist the office supply section at your local Target? Stock up on those adorable binder clips and paperclips! (Pro tip: Want to be an organizational queen? Take a photo of the items in the basket and attach to the front of the basket for a creative reminder of your hidden treasures.)

02 | On the Outside of a Frame. Like I stated, it is hard for me to commit to a certain photo or piece of art for a long period of time. I am constantly changing the walls of my room and the items that I want to be surrounded by. If you still want the traditional & polished look of a frame, keep it! Just do not frame the photo from the inside, but opt for the photo or photos to be attached on its exterior. I personally love the look of washi tape, but an form of attachment would do. I currently have two of my favorite photos from my time in Europe a few summers back taped on a clear frame because A) It's finally peony season, and Paris has the best peonies, and B) I am really into the color of the year combo, Rose Quartz & Serenity, and catch myself continually inspired by it in all areas of life. This method is great for those with decor commitment problems (me!) and love the freedom to shake it up on a regular basis.

03 | In a Book. A while back on Creating A Lovely Life blog, I posted a DIY of this cut out book. In the past, I have used the hallowed book for storing pens, office supplies, and small notes. Then I discovered that it perfectly fits a 4 x 6 photo! I love that the book allows the photo to be seen in a unique way, as well as later being able to be closed and hidden.

04 | On a Clothesline. I have always loved this old-fashioned look because of how much it can add to a space. Whether it be strung across an open wall, or simply added to your existing decorations, this trick is easy & open for interpretation based on your personal style. I DIY'ed my clothesline with wire and attached my photos with these gold clothespins. However, if you want less of the hassle, I love this Metal Photo Clips String Set from Urban Outfitters.

Let's talk! What is your favorite photo displayed in your home, and why?

01 | In the Process with Laura Supnik

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Many of you may be familiar with Madisen Kuhn's book of poetry, Eighteen Years. Yet, accompanying her beautiful words, are simple + lovely illustrations by NYC based artist, Laura Supnik. Today, I am beyond excited to share you with an interview I recently did with her that truly captures Laura in a graceful light as not just a creator but a person striving for a full life. This is the first of many posts in the "In the Process" series on H&H that will share the behind the scenes action from various creatives from all walks of life, locations, and artistic mediums. I hope you will find these gifted individual's stories encouraging and as a motivation to embrace creativity in your everyday. Anyways, let's go to the interview!

Habit & Heart: How did you get where you are today?

Laura Supnik: I've taken art classes since I was little! My family is very creative so I'm influenced by my parents and younger brother a lot. I took classes in school as well as at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design and I had planned to go to art school for a few years. I even got into a bunch of schools with a portfolio, but then last minute decided I wanted a business degree! That way I can do my art outside of school but learn how to better market myself as an artist.  And I really like fashion so I'm currently studying fashion business management at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. So I'm just seeing where it all takes me!

H&H: How would you describe your work to someone on the street?

LS: Small, whimsical, off-beat. It's a lot of simple lines but then I often add things that don't always make sense with what is shown. 

H&H: Where do you find inspiration for your art? How do you continually look to that inspiration in your profession/life despite deadlines and the occasional creative-block?

LS: I find inspiration everywhere! Noticing little things, or noticing big things in a different way. I just try to look at things with a new perspective... although I'm frequently inspired by architecture and nature.

H&H: Many creative people (myself included) struggle with the idea of originality and creating something new in a world when everything has been done already. Do you struggle with this? What are your thoughts on getting past this inner conflict?

LS: Everyone is constantly putting stuff out there, and there are SO many creative people in the world so it's easy to get caught up in worried about being original. But the thing is, we all inspire one another on different levels so as long as you have something that makes your work unique- then let yourself take inspiration from others! Using other artists for inspiration is a great tool.

H&H: I love your collaboration with Madisen Kuhn's book, Eighteen Years! Where did you gain inspiration for your included illustrations? And how has your life and business/art changed since then?

LS: Thank you! Her book is split up into different sections for which I illustrated different flowers for. We both love them so she wanted to include a lot! Madisen has a ton of people who follow her and look up to her so much (me being one of them). A lot of people found me through her and I've been getting a ton of work because of that, and I'm so thankful for it, as well as for my friendship with her! She's the best, and her writing is beautiful.

H&H: I would think that living in such a large city as New York would effect your art. Do you believe this? If so, how does the city influence your work?

LS:  It completely does! There's just so many different people in New York with different ways of thinking. I love it. 

H&H: What is next for you and your art?

LS: I'll be studying in Paris this August through December! 

H&H: What advice would you give to fellow artists with the same desire to create?

LS: Just keep creating. It's easy to doubt yourself but if it makes you happy just keep going.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Laura for being our dose of creativity and inspiration for today. I think we are all shouting "YAY" in unison for your beautiful words as you share you life + art with us. If you want to continue to follow along with Laura, you can find her on Instagram @laurasupnik or on her website here. And, if you wish to pick up Eighteen Years, you can do so on Amazon (tip: perfect "just because" gift to your best friend.)

Who do you want to see featured on the "In the Process" series? Connect with me via email (catemarg@gmail.com), on Instagram (@cate.marg), or in the comments below. 

The Ultimate Guide to a Summer Bucket List

Monday, June 20, 2016

It is important to set goals for yourself in every season of life, not just on New Years Day. Therefore, for the third year in a row, I have created a summer bucket list. This season, with its lack of a consistent schedule and need for spontaneity, can be hard for someone like me who relies on a todo list and planner at all times. Though the warm weather definitely calls for a little R&R, we need to not fall into the tempting trap of laziness and sleeping until noon each day. While many of us have the privilege of daily relaxation, others are up and out the door by 8 am or earlier each day. Yet, that too, should not keep us from having a summer of adventures. Remember that these "adventures" are not confined to foreign places and Instagramable destinations, but can be found wherever you are and and in your current situation.

The 12 things on my 2016 summer bucket list are as follows:

01 | Read 10 books (almost 3 complete, 7 more to go)
02 | Revamp blog website (check!)
03 | Exercise 3+ times/week
04 | Roadtrip 
05 | Weekly Meal Prep
06 | More Picnics
07 | Movies in the Park
08 | Go on a Rooftop
09 | "The Gr8 Big (Scary) Room Clean-out"
10 | Print Photos Weekly
11 | Berry Picking (check!)
12 | Document Hillcrest (my neighborhood) 

Now, my personal tricks to the trade when creating a summer bucket list:

01 | Be specific. As with any goal, the more specific, the more likely we are to complete the task. Instead of simply stating "Print photos more often", I chose the wording of "weekly". This way, I know that by the Sunday of each week, I should have logged onto the Walgreens App on my phone and chosen 10 of my favorite photos from the week. Another tip- include numbers. Not just "a lot" of books, but 10. Not just "exercise", but exercise 3x/week. Whether is it written or just mentally accounted for, being specific really just means simplifying. And simple is always better. 

02 | Be intentional. For me, there is nothing worse that having an incomplete todo list. When creating your own list, think of people who you will complete the goal with or if it is something you want to do by yourself. For example, when I wrote "Roadtrip", I knew I wanted to do this with my friend, Abigail. So the very next week we starting planning the where & when of this trip. Now, this Friday (!!!), we are heading to Nashville for four days! Then, when I wrote "document Hillcrest", I knew this was something I wanted to complete on my own since photography is truly a single-person sport. Therefore, on days I work until 5 pm, I take my camera and by the time I get to my neighborhood at 5:30 pm, the lighting is perfect and I can snap a few shots. Whatever your task is, ask yourself, who will I do this with?where and how can I complete this goal? and what materials do I need to make it happen?.

03 | Make the list creative & display it. I chose to watercolor some typography in my current favorite colors, and wrote each goal in a fun font. Even the process of creating the list was enjoyable since I love practicing hand-written fonts and various typography. Yet, if you do not get as excited as me about fonts (and thank God-- because, I'm obsessed), then opt for creating your list on the computer. Dafont.com has a variety of fonts to choose from that you can download for free. Add color, add personality-- make it yours. After your creation is complete, display it a place where you can continually be inspired by it. I chose my wall beside my desk since that is where I do the majority of my work and plan the day. For you it may be on your door as you walk out of the house, in your car (idea: how cute would a mini-poster be?!), or on your bedside table. Wherever it is, allow it to have a space of its own.

04 Make "have-to" tasks more enjoyable. Here's the thing: there is always a creative hack around mundane tasks. Even in the summer, we still have boring todo's. These tasks are normally only accompanied by sighs and grumbling. For me, this meant what I am calling "The Gr8 Big (Scary) Room Clean-out" since I head off to college in August. Yet, I am already planning on spending one day (yes, one) with my mom, a very large diet coke, and a killer playlist while going through the contents of my room. Other "have-to" tasks for me include revamping my blog website (which is now complete, but took a lot of time & googling "how to ___"), exercising 3x/week, weekly meal prep, and reading 10 books. Though each of these tasks are definitely considered "first world problems", it is still difficult to sit down and perform them. Therefore, be creative. Think of simple ways to make the ordinary fun-- whether that be a reward once completed or a friend to check it off with. 

05 | Give yourself a break! If you are simply skimming this post, I urge you to read this point because it is SO important. I recently listened to The Lively Show's podcast episode with Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love and many others). Then listened to it again. And again. The message was so beautifully worded, and there was much to learn from her wisdom. A piece that really struct me the second time around was her urging us to be kinder to ourselves. This demand is not something that is taught to us regularly, but is so significant to a joy-filled life. She makes the point of this (paraphrased, a lot): So what if you haven't been to the gym in a week? Be kind to yourself. Tell yourself you are only human. And that you will try better next time. But that for now, there is no use in beating yourself up on a small imperfection. And guess what-- we are given the gift of Today over and over again. Let us use it to the best of our ability. Reach out to a friend, eat an apple over a bag of chips, hug your mom. Be kind to yourself. 

I know what you are thinking: CRAP- it is already the end of June. It is too late to have time to complain about this or start every sentence with "I wish...", but it is not too late to take a few moments brain-storming and writing down some summer goals. Maybe it is just three tasks, or maybe it is 50. Either way, this is a way we can be intentional in our life during a season often characterized by the word "break". Guess what? We are not about that life. We are about a life to the fullest-- one with adventure, experience, and grace.

What is on your Summer Bucket List? Let me know in the comments below.

Welcome to H&H!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Friends, new and known, welcome to Habit & Heart!

My name is Cate, and I am the girl behind the creation and content of this blog. Many of you know me from my previous blog of five years, Creating A Lovely Life, and I am overjoyed to announced this site as the next step for me while I now pursue a degree in Journalism. As a person in pursuit of all things creative-- from art to writing to styling, this site is a place where you can truly "[celebrate] real lives through your inner creative". Our lives are made up of habits no matter how routine of a person we are. From brushing our teeth to the core people we choose to surround ourselves with, these consistent tendencies make up our years on this earth. Yet, mere habit is not enough for a genuine, joy-filled life. Habit with an abundance of heart is where true growth lies. Real life to the fullest is one with emotion-- with love and pain, joy and sadness, happiness and hurt. It is one with moments of confusion, of celebration, and of trust. And, in my case, I find it is one with a lot of creativity.

I hope this place is both personal yet relatable, insightful and makes you think, and authentic however inevitably imperfect. Through various posts* on creativity, I hope my words provoke more than surface level content. Not that everything has to be a metaphor, but that through creativity we learn to embrace the process of our lives and ourselves. Since all humans are creative every single day, (If you doubt this, just another reason to follow along this journey), we have much to learn from this desire to initiate beauty.

Without further ado-- hi, hello, welcome all. I'm so glad you are here.

*Posts will be up every Monday and Thursday

by mlekoshi