Best of British - Banksy Street Art

Street artist Banksy is one of my favorite artists, I appreciate his style and how he likes to push people’s buttons; like this recent piece that appeared in East London. It is depicting a child laborer sewing British flag bunting, and was coyly placed on the side of Poundland (the UK version of Dollar Tree). 

Find out more about the artist and similar street artists in the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. I also feature Banksy’s work in my “Modern Art” board on Pinterest

Best of British in Design - Anne Carrington

To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee taking place in the UK this weekend, I am sharing my favorite British things and today it’s all about design.

One of my favorite British artists is Anne Carrington, a sculptor that uses large amounts of common objects like buttons, flags, bottle tops, nuts, bolts, scraps of vintage fabric, and creates masterpieces out of them. I love her Pearly Queen made of pearl and shell buttons commissioned in celebration of the Queen’s diamond jubilee, a piece used by The Novogratz @ Sixx Design in their home and design projects.

Anne Carrington's Pearly Queen in Bungalow Hotel 

I also adore Anne Carrington’s “Crown Jewels” made of pearl buttons on canvas.

Anne Carrington's Crown Jewels

Anne has made a 9 ft velvet banner sewn with half a million gold buttons to decorate the stern of the Royal Barge, Spirit of Chartwell. It will be at the front of the Diamond Jubilee pageant running along the River Thames on June 3rd

Anne Carrington's Royal Banner

You can buy a print version of it and her other work on her Website

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Marking 60 years of The Queen of England’s reign, the Diamond Jubilee will be taking place in the UK this weekend.

There will be lots of celebrations and street parties in England and being a Brit myself I thought I would share all things British this week. Starting off with some of my favorite photographs of the Queen – the icon and mother:

Queen Elizabeth II by Dorothy Wilding 1952

Queen with Prince Andrew by Cecil Beaton 1960

Patrick Lichfield  1971 

Left: 1953 Right: 1954 

Queen Elizabeth 11 has appeared on countless cover, banknotes & stamps

The Fancy

I have just joined The Fancy community; similar to Pinterest you browse images in various categories such women’s, men’s, kids, art, media etc. and shop for them at the same time. As you click on things you fancy you unlock opportunities to collect badges (similar to SneekPeeq) and are awarded promo codes for discounts.

I actually think there is more choice for the male audience on The Fancy than Pinterest especially in the “media” category which features cool gadgets, artwork from classic movies, record covers, design books, boy’s toys and general lifestyle gift ideas….ideal for birthdays and Father’s Day coming up!

Here are a few examples of what I “fancy” at the moment:

Rachel Zoe sandal on The Fancy
Notebook on The Fancy

Horbert MP3 Kid's Player on The Fancy
Dear Photograph book on The Fancy
Paul Smith mini on The Fancy

You can also find out about popular culture in the “media” section, for example I came across this poster by Pascal Witaszek with his idea for new bio flick on Walt Disney by Ron Howard starring Ryan Gosling, it’s a great idea…I hope it would happen one day!

Mock Ryan Gosling poster by Pascal Witaszek

The Fancy is a lot of fun to browse, so join up and invite your friends through Facebook or Twitter!

Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary

Photo: Adam Davies

I still have to pinch myself when I drive over the Golden Gate Bridge; it is an amazing site to see!

The Golden Gate Bridge is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this Sunday and there are lots of fun activities happening around San Francisco leading up to the big fireworks display over the bridge on Sunday night starting at 9.30 pm.

Further information about the entertainment, the best place to view the display, when the bridge will be open and closed etc View Website

Odwalla is one of the sponsors of this weekend’s Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary Festival, and will be hosting the following family-friendly activities:

East Beach Footprint – Festival attendees can find two Odwalla tents set up at this location. Other than a free smoothie sampling station, there will be free face painting (made from soy products) and a planting table where kids can plant fruit seeds in biodegradable cups to bring home.   

Marina Green Footprint – Odwalla will have one large tent set up at this location and is encouraging families to stop by to participate in a fun interactive Golden Gate Bridge mural-building activity made out of recycled post-it notes. There will also be bean bag toss games and additional sampling opportunities.

Among the free samples that will be distributed at both locations are the new Odwalla Smoothies for Kids

Mom, Inc. - The Essential Guide to Running a Successful Business Close to Home

For those of you wanting to start a home based business or creative venture whilst balancing the demands of motherhood…this is the book for you!

Cat Seto and Meg Ilasco from Mom Inc. Daily  are experts in running a successful home-based business whilst running a household. Cat Seto is a blogger mom who runs a stationary business in her studio and boutique on Polk Street in San Francisco. Meg Mateo Ilasco is a mother, freelance writer, artist, author and the co-founder and creative director of the fabulous home and lifestyle magazine Anthology.

Meg Ilasco & Cat Seto - authors of Mom, Inc. book

Cat and Meg share their wealth of knowledge and personal experiences in this inspiring and practical guide book about how to run a successful business from home called Mom, Inc.. It is full of informative advice on how to choose the right business for you, how to write a business plan and mission statement, find clients, and stay focused at home.

Cover of Mom, Inc. book

The Marin Scoop spoke to Cat Seto to find out more about the book:

What inspired you to write the Mom Inc. book?

I started an online community of designing moms (Mom Inc. Daily) after a difficult pregnancy and recovery. I wanted support from moms who were creative in spirit, juggling work and family and doing it online seemed the most efficient means of doing that. That's when Meg Ilasco approached me to co-author the book with her. 

You feature some interesting enterprising moms in the book, who did you speak to?

We spoke with 17 inspiring design moms. They range from bloggers like Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom and Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty to fashion and cake designers like Cynthia Rowley and Sylvia Weinstock. Of course if you have little ones then you'll also recognize Christiane Lemieux of Dwell Studio
Q & A with founder of "Style me Pretty" in Mom, Inc. book

What factors makes a home run business successful?

Knowing when to draw the line between your time with work, and your time with your family. You need to treat your business as the real thing. You can still have all the perks like wearing pajamas until lunch and being able to pick your kids up from school, but you need to give yourself hard deadlines and be able to say "no."

What are the main obstacles a mother comes up against when trying to launch her own business?

Time and the space to really map out a structured plan. This book has a section called the "Mom Statement" and it's about coming up with not just a mission statement for your business but a mom statement about your goals for your family. Taking both into consideration is helpful when trying to launch a business.
What advice would you give a mom trying to pursue her passion project and make it a reality? 

Don't be afraid to ask for support. Most of the moms we interviewed could not have accomplished what they have without asking for help, advice or gleaning information from those around them. If you lack time, join a mother's group that might be entrepreneurial or creative in nature so you can bounce ideas off of one another.
Description: Description:

Mom, Inc. book

I started reading Mom, Inc. last week, which was at a very poignant for me as I was starting to work from home, whist writing my blog and looking after two children while my husband travelled. This book helped me think through a lot of factors when considering working from home, the pros and cons, and helpful advice on how to handle the difficult balancing act. I highly recommend it!

Read more articles about mothers who run successful business in my “Local Businesses & Stories” section.

Mom, Inc. is published by Chronicle Books and available through  or an independent book store near you. 

The Conversation

I am really enjoying an alternative talk show on the Lifetime channel called The Conversation featuring high profile female celebrities who have interesting stories and experiences to share.

Each week British host (and photographer) Amanda De Cadenet curls up on people’s couches and has a honest and open conversation about “what women talk about” with inspiring and funny guests, it almost feels like you are listening in on a private chit-chat amongst friends. As Amanda puts it; “it’s basically the universal language of women.”

You can catch the first three episodes through The Conversation Website, and be sure to watch the first show when Amanda sat down with Jane Fonda, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zoe Saldana and Sarah Silverman to discuss topics like relationships, grief, postpartum depression, sex, body issues and more. 

Produced by De Cadenet and Demi Moore (who is working behind the camera more than in front these days). The Conversation has a list of impressive guests including Lady GaGa, Alicia Keys, Rita Wilson Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and funny lady Melissa McCarthy etc.
Check it out every Thursdays at 11.00pm/10.00 pm central or visit Lifetime to check your local listings.

Follow The Conversation on Twitter , Facebook & Tumblr

“Bike Life” Sponsored Video by Schwinn

Most of us have strong childhood memories of carefree days riding our bikes with our friends. We also remember our first childhood crush and how that made us feel. The butterflies when we dated in our twenties, leading up to the big day when we said “I do”. Children come into the picture, and as they grow and become more confident we teach them how to ride a bike. It all comes full circle.

This is a classic story of boy meet girl, told beautifully by leading bike company Schwinn in their new advert “Bike Life” that you can catch here on The Marin Scoop (sidebar).

Schwinn has a great selection of children’s bikes and trikes on their website for kids 3 – 12 years old in classic styles and colors. You can also shop for helmets, gloves, knees and elbow pads to make the learning process easier and safer.

There is lots of useful information on the Schwinn Website including how important it is to select the right size and fit, and the adjustments you can make to ensure a safe and comfortable ride. There is also some great advice on how to teach your child to ride a bike; it’s probably very different to the way you were taught as kid!

The Schwinn Biking Journal is a clever idea as you can use it to record family memories of your children learning to ride a bike for the first time; the tumbles, the tears, and joy when they did it by themselves for the first time! As your family goes on bike rides together you can log your journeys, how far you went, and your findings along the way with photos!

Schwinn is a great company to have in mind when investing in bikes and riding equipment for your family.

“Bike Life” is wonderfully shot story that should inspire you to get on your bike and get in touch with your childhood love of riding!

This post is sponsored by Schwinn

Family Fun at Jack London Square, Oakland

This Mother’s Day weekend take a trip over to Oakland to experience lots of fun activities happening in Jack London Square.

For the active family members; there is the Family Cycling Festival at the Sunday Farmer's Market  featuring a Family Cycling Workshop with East Bay Bike Coalition , a 5-mile bike ride with Geared4Kids , a kid-friendly bike decorating station and fix-it-yourself demos by Spokeland Bike Co-Op.

Jack London Square waterfront 

Take to the water by booking a private small-boat expedition on the Bay with the Square’s newest permanent resident; Bay Voyager, or take a sailing lesson with J World Performance Sailing. Families can also partake in a canoe or kayak tour of Oakland estuary with rentals provided by California Canoe & Kayak

There are plenty of great places to stop and enjoy brunch along the waterfront such as the Peruvian restaurant Bocanova, Il Pescatore Ristorante , Miss Pearl's Restaurant & Lounge  and my favorite; Miette to satisfy mom’s sweet tooth, or take stroll around their Farmers market sampling a wide selection of fresh produce.

Bocanova in Jack London Square

The kids can let off some steam running around the new outdoor play area located in the Pavilion Plaza with state-of-the-art climbing structures. The expanded green spaces and new outdoor seating area are perfect for a family picnic with the goodies you found at the market. It is the ideal way to spend some family time in the sunshine!

New Play Area in Jack London Square

You are my Sunshine Birthday Tea Party

My daughter celebrated her first birthday yesterday, so we celebrated with a tea party. She is a little ray of sunshine that has brought so much joy into our lives so the theme was the song; “You are my Sunshine”.

Sunshine theme birthday party

I turned to Pinterest to get my inspiration and ordered most of the party supplies from independent craft designers on Etsy. I also credit Tori Spelling’s new party planning book "CelebraTORI" for some of the styling ideas.

Sunshine Birthday Dessert Table

The delicious birthday cupcakes with little sunshines and white clouds by "Who Doesn't Love a Cupcake" was the focal point of the dessert table, next to the “You are my Sunshine” print was by Beau Chic Printson Etsy which is placed in a simple white frame from Target

Beau Chic Prints on Etsy

I hung lemon yellow and baby pink polka dot flag banner bunting from Jilly Bean Kids across the top of the window and a large mirror above the mantelpiece. 

I filled glass jars from Michaels  with yellow and white candy that framed the cake stand. I filled yellow and white stripy paper bags from Jilly Bean Kids with the candy for the parents to take home for older siblings or themselves.

I found the most beautiful yellow and gray paper pin wheels from Elizabeth Street on Etsy that I placed in mini glass jars filled with sugar.

Elizabeth St pin wheels

Pastel stripy straws for the cloudy apple juice were from Dime Store Buddy perfect to use in lemonade this summer.

Scones with cream & strawberry jam
Sandwiches & rainbow fruit kabobs 

I served finger sandwiches, fruit scones with cream and strawberry jam, rainbow fruit kabobs, mini pots of yogurt and mango puree for the babies and pastel colored macaroons.  

Mad Hatter by Cinamon Girl on Etsy

As it was a tea party I couldn’t resist these fantastic cardboard stand up props of the characters from “Alice in Wonderland” by Cinamon Girl on EtsyThe Mad Hatter stood by the teapot and the white rabbit by the clock, they are fun decorations for a children’s room or to place on a book shelf!

"Who Doesn't Love a Cupcake" 

Special thanks to Miranda and Paulette at "Who Doesn't Love a Cupcake"

The Shops at Target

Not only is Target a great place for finding everything you need all under one roof from fertilizer to flip flops, but it is an exciting company that collaborates with so many great brands. From Liberty London which was Target’s first designer collection spanning multiple departments, to the frenzy that was Missoni for Target.

The shops at Target

Their new partnership program is one of their most interesting to date. It is a new concept of selecting five small niche shops and offering their unique products within the Target stores around the country and online. From the home emporium Privet House located in Connecticut to my favorite The Candy Store based right here in San Francisco!
The Candy Store at The Shops for Target

The Candy Store  is located on Vallejo Street at Polk, just a few minutes walk from where I used to live and work so it was a regular place for me to stock up on my favorite British chocolate bars! The store is stocked with lollipops, toffees, chocolates and lined with glasses jars filled with every kind of candy imaginable from all over the world!

Privet House at The Shops at Target

The Shops at Target will be an ongoing project that will partner with the shop owners of specialty stores to co-create affordable limited-edition collections. The first flight of stores will be Cos Bar (cosmetics), Polka Dog Bakery (dog treats), Privet House (home ware), The Candy Store (candy) and The Webster (fashion).

Polka Dog Bakery at The Shops at Target

“It is bringing the boutique experience to Target” says Milan Vukmirovic, founding partner of The Webster store in Miami.

The Shops at Target debuts this Sunday May 6th, so I may have to do a quick shopping sweep as soon as doors open to pick up some candy before setting up my daughter’s birthday party. Necessary?  No, but it’s the trill of discovery!

The Webster at The Shops at Target

Target also announced that an exclusive home collection by designer and TV presenter Nate Berkus will be launching in October…exciting times ahead!

Target Style Facebook page

A Little Savvy Events Party at Modern Cookie Company

I was kindly invited along to the Modern Cookie Company in Larkspur the other week to watch the creative team at A Little Savvy Events set up a first birthday party for jewelry designer Ashley Morgan's  daughter.

Ashley Morgan & her daughter

I first wrote about Modern Cookie Company when it opened in December (read article)  and it is fast becoming a social hub in the local community and a popular place to hold children’s parties.

Modern Cookie Company

Each party can have a made-to-order concept and this particular party’s theme was based the birthday girl’s favorite things; “puppies & polka dots”. I was rather interested in coming along to take a look, as I am also planning my daughter’s first birthday party, so I wanted to pick up a few tips!

A Little Savvy Events party at Modern Cookie Co

A Little Savvy Events is a new division of A Savvy Event which specializes in weddings and bespoke events based in the beautiful Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma.  The head of the company is Kelly McLeskey Dolata who has extensive experience in organizing and managing events in the Greater Bay Area and specifically in the wine country. She is also a mother of two children; her latest addition was just 6 weeks old at the time of this party, so she is also a bit of a wonder woman as well as a momtrepreneur!

Being a mother and her ability to organize stylish children’s parties, made launching a sister company specializing in fun children’s events a natural progression. A Little Savvy Events was founded in February with the belief that “gorgeous and once in a lifetime events aren’t exclusive to grownups!”

Dog theme dessert table by A Little Savvy Events

The Marin Scoop spoke to Kelly McLeskey-Dolata to find out more…

When and why did you first start to organizing events?

I started my company A Savvy Event in 2007 after working in the hotel industry for 10 years. I used all the knowledge I gained from planning corporate events to social events and weddings and started A Savvy Event.

I have always had a love for planning parties! It sounds so cliché to say I have been planning parties since I was a little girl but it is the truth! I remember planning my fifth birthday party and I told my mom that I was a big girl and I wanted to have a luncheon birthday party and that all my friends need to dress fancy because I was bigger! So we had a beautiful luncheon in my mother’s formal dining room and everyone wore there Sunday's best! I truly love planning the events and designing them! It fits my personality to a tee! You have to work countless hours and have lots of energy, patience and personality! 

Why did you decide to start a sister company dedicated to kid's parties?

I have always loved children and I have always wanted to do something with children! For a while I thought I wanted to be a teacher but I tried that and it just wasn't for me. In 2010 I gave birth to my daughter Kate and from that day forward I knew A little Savvy Event was going to happen! It took me two years to build it up and work on the business and exactly two years to the day she was born: A little Savvy was born! 

Party hats by Jessica at Prop shop Boutique 

What are the key elements to a successful kid's party?

Organization is Key! Lots of FUN and fun Activities for the kids to enjoy!

What should you bare in mind when planning a first birthday party? 

Usually the first birthday party is for the parents then the child and that is true as the child isn't old enough to express what he or she wants however with A Little Savvy we really try to learn about the first year of the child's life so we can make the party about him or her and personalize the event so people even though usually most of the guests are adults feel like they are at a celebration for the child and that their personality and their first year shines through at the event!

What are the things you want people to take away from attending a party you have planned? 

That a party can be well orchestrated, that no detail was left untouched and that they had a great time! It doesn’t have to be pretentious just carefully thought through and thoughtful.

Creative party services from A little Savvy Events

How do you give back to the local community?

We love to give back! This past year we did a holiday party and raised close to $5000 for Loving Ella Foundation ! We love to look for organizations that help children locally that we can either donate our time to or raise money for! 

Tell us more about your forthcoming craft classes

Well we are a bunch of crafters at A Savvy Event and we love to share our ideas with others, so this year we launched our first ever craft series and it has been a huge success! Our most popular classes have been our "for the love of chalk" class and “How to photograph your children” taught by Allyson Wiley. We are getting ready to launch our summer series of crafts and we will even have a mini-series that kids can sign up for! So stay tuned!!!! Fun things are happening!

How do you come up with a concept or theme for party i.e "puppies and polka dots" and develop it with the client?  

We sit down with each of our clients and we have a questionnaire that they fill out to get to know them as a family and their child! Through the questionnaire and our discussions we usually can come up with a pretty cool theme or take a theme that is popular and put our own spin on it! I never want two parties to look the same because no two children are the same! Each party and theme should reflect the child we are working with! To me that is what is so fun and challenging and makes me love what I do so much!!! 

“Puppies and Polka Dots” Party Ideas

Print Your Party created the cute puppy flag bunting, signage, and printable labels on the bottles, cups, straws. Check out Andrea’s website for more free printables!

Print Your Party sign 

This impressive birthday cake of the birthday girl’s dog was adorable and created by inticing Creations

Dog birthday cake by inticing creations

It’s a great idea to offer a creative activity at a children’s party, like this cookie decorating station with the icing served in dog bowls. There was also eatable doggie biscuits served in doggie bowls dotted around the party.

Cookie Decorating Station at Modern Cookie Co

The guest’s goodie bags contained this beautiful alphabet print by petite lemon and faux fur hats by SpiritHood Kids

Alphabet print by petite lemon 

If you are looking for a company to help you organize a baby shower, gender reveal party, sip & see and children’s birthday parties, then A Little Savvy Events does it all! Check out their website for further information about their services included stylized children photoshoots with Allyson Wiley Photography who provided these beautiful pictures.  

Special thanks to Lisa Hanson and Nina Sadjadpour for making this article possible!

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