No, I don’t mean that kind of magic, I’m talking about where I do the bulk of my designing + writing: my home workspace.

If you’re wondering where my computer is, it’s packed up in the laptop bag {gift from the mister} on top of the desk because we were on our way out to work from his office that day.

It’s still not 100% finished but it’s getting there. How rad is that world map hanging above the desk? I picked it up via Fab a couple of months ago and it fits in perfectly with the rest of the room’s aesthetic. I think it’s important to have an inspiring place to be creative; it makes my job a lot easier, that’s for sure.

September 13, 2011 24 Comments Srsly Liz

Gala’s blog is one of the very first I ever started reading & is one of the fabulous people who inspired me to start my own blogging adventure. Her blog is about chasing your dreams, making your life fabulous & features fancy typography & striking images. She is intelligent, fashionable, genuine & obviously gorgeous. Which is why I was over the moon when she agreed to let me interview and introduce her to all of you, my lovely readers. I hope you find her as magical & inspirational as I do!

Name // Age // Location
Gala Darling, 27, New York City

Tell us a little about yourself & your blog. I’m a girl from New Zealand who moved to New York City to make magic happen. Moving here has been a dream come true; it’s really a place where anything is possible. My blog is a seamless & fabulous mix of fashion, lifestyle & ideas on how to make your life more wonderful. It makes me smile & keeps me really busy! One of the most important things I’m doing with my blog is disseminating the radical self love movement. I think all girls (& boys!) deserve to recognise how truly magnificent they are, & that’s what I try to show them, every day.

You are a well-known source of inspiration but who/what inspires YOU? Maybe a better question would be, “What doesn’t inspire you?”! I am invigorated by life. I do my best to make every day as fantastic as possible. I love to celebrate everything & get dressed up every day.

You are quite the jet-setter! Where is your favourite place in the whole world? New York City, which of course makes me the luckiest girl ever! I also love Los Angeles, Las Vegas & Paris. They’re all so different, which is what I adore most!

What do you hope to achieve by blogging? I want to make people happy & open their eyes to their own splendor!

What is a random fact about you? The one thing in the world that I can’t STAND is bananas.

Your fashion sense is sensational. How would you describe your personal style? Orchidaceous! I love silhouettes from the 1950s, colours & patterns from the 1960s & 1970s, worn with futuristic, fetishistic footwear…

{Gala w/ her BFF & another one of my biggest inspirations: Nubby Twiglet}

What are some current projects you’re working on? I’m working on an amazing new course for my readers, which I’m so excited. There’s more video content coming, too, & of course, I’m working on my book!

Any advice for new bloggers out there? Give it everything you’ve got. The world has enough mediocre contributions — if you’re going to do it, do it BIG!

Do you have a personal mantra? Dress up, leave a false name, be legendary! (Hakim Bey)

Connect with Gala Darling; WEBSITE // TWITTER

June 8, 2011 15 Comments Geek Chic

I’ve raved about her before, but Sara is srsly one of {if not *the*} most influential designers trailblazing the female movement in design & I’m so honored she agreed to let me pick her creative brain & share her thoughts with you all here today.

Name; Sara White

Location; Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Where do you currently work? I’m currently the Creative Director at MetaLab, a 25-person firm. We’re based out of Victoria, but most of our work is for US or European clients.

How did you get your start in the design field? When did you *know* it was what you wanted to do? It might sound cliché, but I basically “fell into” the design field without actually ever making a conscious choice to go in that direction. I guess my love for design could be traced all the way back to elementary school, where I “designed” (and I use that term very loosely here) a quarterly magazine using Microsoft Word and distributed it to my teachers and somewhat disinterested classmates. It may have been a clip-art-laden visual nightmare, but I enjoyed creating it. Fast-forward a few years to the beginning of high school, where one of my nerdier friends encouraged me to learn HTML – I picked up a book from the library, cobbled together a Geocities site, and was suddenly completely obsessed with all things design-related.

Throughout high school I ran my own web design business (my clients included a handful of teachers, family friends, and a couple of very small local companies), and in university I studied business, knowing that I wanted to mesh my love for design with a more concrete skill set. I think it was somewhere around the middle of my third year – deep in the middle of a handful of horrific accounting classes, a truly nightmare-inspiring finance class, and a few moderately mind-numbing management and marketing classes – that I realized how much I wanted to pursue something outside of the traditional corporate world, and that design could actually be a very viable career path for me.

How long have you been designing? It’s hard to put an actual number on this. I’ve been designing in some loose sense of the word for about thirteen years, ten of which have been focused pretty much exclusively on the web. To put a more accurate number on the years I’ve actually been designing professionally and full-time, I graduated from university in 2008, immediately started working for a small local firm, quit four months later, then joined MetaLab, where I’ve happily been pushing pixels ever since.

Who are some of your favourite designers/inspirations? There are so many amazing designers out there who are constantly creating incredibly beautiful and inspiring work – it’s impossible to list them all. That said, here’s a small handful of designers whose work has been a continual source of inspiration for me:

1. Andrew Wilkinson, MetaLab’s founder: Yes, okay, I’m listing my boss here. But it’s Andrew’s relentless pursuit of pixel-level perfection that’s helped me become who I am as a designer today – he obsesses over the tiniest details in a design and has a real passion for creating interfaces that are both beautiful and usable.

2. Jessica Hische: This girl is amazing. Her illustrations have such a great, often whimsical style, and her hand-drawn typography is absolutely gorgeous. But besides her work (which speaks for itself), what I really find inspirational about Jessica is that she’s a formidable female force in the often all too male-dominated field of design, and that she successfully made the leap to self-employment so that she can focus entirely on the work she loves.

3. Meagan Fisher: Meagan’s design style, which uses a lot of texture, rounded shapes, and muted colours, is a nice departure from a lot of the glossy, hard-edged design trends making their way around the web these days. It also happens to be closely in line with my own design style, which means that I always find her work highly inspirational.

I could list a lot more designers here – not to mention all the amazing design blogs and sites like Dribbble – but I’ll leave this short and sweet for now.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? On a broad level, I guess my greatest accomplishment would be taking design, something that I’m so passionate about, and turning it into an actual career. I’m lucky to be able to say that the kind of work I do to pay the bills is also the kind of work I’d be doing for fun. On a bit more of a specific level, I feel a real sense of accomplishment every time I wrap up a big project where the design has turned out in a way that I’m genuinely pleased with. And okay, I’ll admit that I feel a bit of accomplishment any time I get to work on a project for a “big name” client – I’ve worked on projects for Apple, NBC, Tweak (a DIY publishing site) and a handful of others that I can’t really mention yet, and it’s been pretty amazing.

When you’re not busy working on projects, what else do you enjoy doing? Chances are, I’m in the kitchen. Outside of design, my other huge passion in life is food – cooking, baking, reading about food, eating out… I’ve even managed to merge my two loves: In my spare time, I’m working on designing and developing a web application for managing all your recipes and the notes or photos you might have to go along with them.

When I’m not in front of my computer or in my kitchen, I enjoy rock climbing (although I’m taking a month off right now after I managed to injure my shoulder), trail running, photography, writing, and globe-trotting.

What are you currently working on? Right now I’ve got a handful of clients ranging from small startups to well-established companies. The projects can be anything from a simple marketing page all the way to a complete interface overhaul for a web application. When I have time, I also like to design Tumblr themes for PixelUnion, the Tumblr theme collective that MetaLab runs. I can’t tell you too much about my current clients, but I can tell you that I’ve got two new Tumblr themes almost ready to go – one’s geared towards foodies, and the other is for personal blogs and has a notebook-inspired look.

Where is your favourite place to be? Paris. Specifically, a little table on the terrace of one of those quintessentially Parisian cafés, where I can sit for hours watching people parade by on the sidewalk while sipping a café creme and savouring a croissant. Or three.

Connect with Sara: WEBSITE // TWITTER

April 12, 2011 6 Comments Geek Chic

As a designer, I’m often asked who or what I’m inspired by. The truth is, anything from a billboard to a piece of music can move me to want to create something. However, there are certain individuals who I admire & look to for inspiration on a constant basis. The following women are designers whose personal aesthetics speak to me & I can identify with. Check ‘em out!

Nubby Twiglet is one of the first bloggers/designers/fashionistas who I discovered and immediately was inspired by how flawlessly she can pull off all three of those categories. A graphic designer who wears mickey ears & a sequin skirt? How could you not love her stuff?

Sara is another one of my creative muses. She’s my age & has already made a name for herself as the Creative Director for the almighty MetaLab. Whenever I look at her work I think to myself, “now why didn’t I think of that?” She’s that good.

Jessica is a fantastical designer who’s illustrations blow me away. Her use of composition & typography is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. She’s super talented & writes a hilarious blog, to boot.

So there you have it, folks, my top 3 inspirational women in design. Whenever I’m stuck in a creative rut I know I can always visit their sites & it will spark something to get me on my way.

Speaking of design, I’ve been plugging away coding my new site design to kick off the new year. Here’s a sneak peek. I can’t believe it will be 2011 in a mere 5 days, good grief!!

I hope everyone is having an OK Monday morning, it’s a short week for me since we get Friday off for NYE. What are everyone’s plans to celebrate?

December 27, 2010 10 Comments Srsly Liz