on the road: durham/raleigh, north carolina (#2)

by darraugh collins in

I've posted about my travels to Durham previously (here and here) - these centered around my friend's wedding festivities, and include lots of recommendations for places to eat and things to do. Well, I just returned from another visit. This time to help my friend with the nursery for her first baby. We hit some more great places in Durham and nearby Raleigh that I want to share.

I always enjoy eating and shopping at Parker and Otis in Durham. The food is delicious, and they carry an incredible selection of kitchen goods (cookware, cookbooks), specialty foods, and adorable items for children. Recently, the Parker and Otis folks opened a nearby home goods boutique, Chet Miller. Imagine gorgeous Rifle Paper Co. wallpaper and stationery, along with a well-curated collection of paper and travel goods and fun home accessories. Bull City Burgers and Brewery is a great place for a quality burger and beer. Bonus points because they had gluten-free options in food and beer! Then we walked over to the new 21C Museum Hotel, housed in an historic bank building. We grabbed a drink from the bar and did a walking tour to see the art. We hopped back and forth between Durham and Raleigh as we were gathering items and ideas for the nursery. We stopped in a local chocolate factory, Escazu, and were blown away by the incredible aroma of pure chocolate. It was heavenly. We had some homemade peanut butter hot chocolate, which I highly recommend. We tried a neat place for dinner called Primal Food and Spirits, that specializes in meat, fish, and vegetables - and everything was gluten-free. The location doesn't do justice to the great food served here. The Cheshire Cat Antiques Gallery is a 20,000 SF space in the Cameron Village shopping district in Raleigh. We scored a great oriental rug here. Nadeau Furniture (also in Cameron Village) is a neat place to find affordable furniture and home goods sourced from artisans around the globe. Motorco is a music events space that also serves great food. We stopped here for dinner and then checked out Bull City Ciderworks - a cider bar specializing in gluten-free, pure ciders. Unless you're a regular, try a flight of cider and explore your favorites. Parlour Ice Cream Company in downtown Durham serves up delicious, locally-made flavors to a steady stream of fans. The Refectory in Durham is an unassuming place serving up tasty food with lots of options for gluten-free and otherwise, healthy eaters. Of course, no trip to North Carolina is complete without a stop for BBQ. The Pit in Raleigh specializes in Eastern Carolina BBQ with its signature vinegary tang. And why stop at one chocolate factory, when you can visit two. Videri Chocolate Factory (directly across from The Pit) is another bean-to-bar organic chocolate dream house. You can see the operation firsthand, and then stop in the coffee bar for some otherworldly sipping chocolate. Don't forget to buy some chocolate for the road. And then follow that with some chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Did I go too far? Nah. If you like your denim premium and made locally, you definitely need to stop in Raleigh Denim - where a factory full of sewing machines are hard at work. DECO is a great gift shop in downtown Raleigh stocked floor-to-ceiling with ideas. Oh man, we had such fun! Until next time, NC...

inspiration: oregon coffee shop

by darraugh collins in

Dapper & Wise is a new coffee shop in Beaverton, Oregon - near Portland. I'm a big fan of Schoolhouse Electric, so I loved seeing their lighting used in the design of this space. The warm wood, brass, and wallpaper choices make this so charming.

*All photos via Endlessly Enraptured.

inspiration: dreamy dollhouse

by darraugh collins in

Seeing this dollhouse caused me to get seriously sidetracked, so I knew I must share it. West Elm commissioned Sydney, Australia-based, Linzi Macdonald (@littlelinzi), to make some of the brand's iconic pieces in miniature and chronicle the DIY project on Instagram. My childhood Barbie dream house has nothing on this. So dreamy. Makes me want to be a little girl again.

inspiration: 1950s gas station in berlin

by darraugh collins in ,

Juerg Judin is 52 year-old gallerist in Berlin who purchased a rundown 1950s gas station that had been for sale for years. He'd had his eye on the place for a long time, but suddenly he feared someone else had bought it - only to discover the "for sale" sign had simply fallen down. That was his wake up call, and now he's turned the space into an urban oasis in the center of the city. He created a lovely outdoor garden with chickens and ducks, a beautiful open kitchen, and a perfect private exhibition space for his art collection. To me, this is like a dream. I envy this man and the relaxing atmosphere he has created. Beautiful.

*Please visit Freunde von Freunden for the full interview and additional photos. Photos via Freunde von Freunden.

find: justina blakeney for hygge & west

by darraugh collins in

I never thought I'd be so in love with wallpaper. There are just SO MANY good ones now. Yesterday, Hygge & West released their collaboration with The Jungalow's, Justina Blakeney. I'm a big fan of Justina's boho style, and couldn't wait to see how her wallpaper designs turned out. They're fantastic! I'm dreaming of ways to use them...

read: "soulfari" reading list

by darraugh collins in

I've shared many books with you that have been hugely inspirational to me over the past few months. I wanted to compile a list for easy reference. These are important reads and I'd love to hear if you've found inspiration from them also.

watch: tv shows to binge watch

by darraugh collins in

One of the newest American...er, past times, is binge-watching TV shows.  A year or so ago we got rid of our ridiculously expensive cable subscription. I'm not a huge TV watcher (binge watching aside), so it was perfectly fine by me. Recently, we renewed our cable subscription - only because antenna issues caused buffering and drove Bob crazy while watching sports. Most TV I watch is on Apple TV thru Netflix, Hulu, or the like. Honestly, I can't stand to flip thru dozens of channels only to find nothing worth watching - in my opinion. I certainly get the appeal of binge-watching shows, though it does feel like an eternity in between if you watch one season in a week's time and then have to wait a year to see the next season. Here are the shows we've binge-watched this year:

Parenthood -  We fell hard for this show about the Braverman Family in Berkeley, California. Six seasons didn't seem like enough.

Friday Night Lights - The Taylor family and a small, Texas football town made this show a huge favorite. Kyle Chandler is, shall we say, the cat's pajamas (even though I have no idea why people use that expression), and I'm a big fan of Connie Britton.

Damages - This show is incredibly well-written and acted. Glenn Close plays an amazing character whom you love-to-hate. A friendly family drama this is not. It's suspenseful and dark...and you'll remember when flip phones were cool, as this show aired before smart phones.

Homeland - Now in its fifth season, I didn't think Homeland had a purpose after the death of a main character (no spoilers here), but I'm still enjoying the brilliant acting and writing of this show.

House of Cards - I've always loved Kevin Spacey. He just gets better and better. This show is a political thriller with an amazing cast, and the writing is beyond good. It's all about politics, so expect lying, cheating, and a general lack of ethics.

Bloodline - Perhaps you caught my "cat's pajamas" comment earlier and know exactly why I decided to give this show a try (hint: Kyle Chandler). Taking place in the Florida Keys, this is the dark tale of the Rayburn family and the secrets that come to light. I have to say it was nice to see Sissy Spacek again as the matriarch of this clan. There is only one season so far, but I hear a second will be around next year.


by darraugh collins in

It's a rainy, gloomy day here in St. Louis, so I decided to share some inspiration via what I'm pinning on Pinterest. To get source information, you can find me @theloftonbroome.

inspiration: crème design

by darraugh collins in

I love design of commercial spaces at least as much as I do residential design. For me, there is a connection with a place - not just the food there, but how the environment makes you feel. The places where I am inspired and noticing all the details, are the ones I always want to go back to. If a place has phenomenal food, but a less-than-inspiring atmosphere - I've noticed that I don't naturally think to go back there. In other words, it must be a feast for all your senses.

Hospitality Design magazine had an interview with the founder of Crème Design, Jun Aizaki, so I was curious about their work. This firm is based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and does a lot of projects in New York and Philadelphia. Here's L'amico - the restaurant at the Eventi hotel in Chelsea. There's a nice balance with the warm wood offsetting the tile and dark metal.

I love the design of this Philly-based food truck, Guapos. Bottle caps were collected, sorted by color, and attached to sheet metal for the exterior design.

Red Farm is a modern take on Chinese food with two locations in New York City. You don't typically get this rustic, farm feel to a Chinese restaurant.

etsy pick: good common zen

by darraugh collins in

My dear friend, Susan, created some beautiful coloring pages for children and adults in her Etsy shop, Good Common Zen. These are instant digital downloads at $1 a piece. Print them off on quality cardstock to give as a gift, or frame for yourself. Or, if you're into coloring as a form of relaxation, print these off to take on trips, or in the waiting room at the doctor's office. If you've been following my posts about Brené Brown's books - you'll know the value of creating, and being creative, to every person. Coloring is all the rage. Join in the fun!

read: "daring greatly" by brené brown

by darraugh collins in

It's certainly no surprise that I'm a fan of Brené Brown's work, and this one was huge for me. It takes her first two books, which focus on the journey to living a wholehearted life - and seriously ups the ante.  She dives deeper into previously discussed topics of shame, guilt, vulnerability, trust, disengagement, joy, and gratitude- sharing examples from her personal story, along with her research. She lays out the different shields we use to avoid vulnerability, such as perfectionism, serpentining, smash and grab, and numbing. Let me tell you - you'll recognize yourself in some of these, and others you know. Personally, I have struggled with perfectionism - needing or wanting everything to be perfect and being upset when it isn't. When she talks about perfectionism being associated with depression, anxiety, life paralysis, and missed opportunities - immediately, I know I don't want my life to be defined by any of those. Perfectionism is self-destructive and sets us up to feel shame, blame, and judgement.

"Start creating to start recovering from perfectionism."

Two hot topics that I get increasingly frustrated with are politics and religion. She touches on these as they relate to the important topic of disengagement. If you're a parent, a leader, a manager, a teacher - you're going to find valuable insight into getting comfortable with discomfort, and how critically important feedback is to our success, both personally and collectively.

Brené identified these ten tenets from her research on what it means to live a wholehearted life:

Wholehearted Living

  1. authenticity - letting go of what people think
  2. self-compassion - letting go of perfectionism
  3. resilient spirit - letting go of numbing and powerlessness
  4. gratitude + joy - letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark
  5. intuition - letting go of the need for certainty
  6. creativity - letting go of comparison
  7. play + rest - letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol
  8. calm + stillness - letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
  9. meaningful work - letting go of self-doubt
  10. laughter, song, and dance - letting of being cool and always in control

Theodore Roosevelt's speech, "Citizenship in a Republic", delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1910 inspired the title of this book with this powerful passage:

It is not the critic who counts:
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles
or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man [or woman] who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,
who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again,
because there is no effort without error or shortcoming,
but who knows the great enthusiasms,
the great devotions,
who spends himself for a worthy cause;
who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement,
and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who knew neither victory nor defeat.

Dare greatly.