Today, I have been priming and painting my kitchen all day…and at some point, I took a break to eat some mac n’ cheese and chocolate pudding for lunch–no, it was not the most nutritional choice…but it did bring back some great childhood memories. Ah…I miss the days when eating an entire bag of gummy bears was justifiable because being a little chubby was cute and adorable*wink*
I was a chubby kid…I was girly with a touch of tomboyishness–I enjoyed dance class and playing dress up in my mom’s closet as well as running around “barefooted” in my grandparents’ pasture, making mud pies after a big rain, and going bream fishing with Paw Riley. Oh, all of this recollecting makes me miss the days when life lacked major responsibilities….major responsibilities like car insurance, monthly rent, utility bills, and college fees. Whatever happened to paying for everything with hugs? *wink*
Oh, It seems like just yesterday when I graduated from kindergarten…when I actually just graduated from high school. *deep breath* I do not know who is handling my growing up worse–my parents or me *wink*
Do not get me wrong–I am not complaining about growing up…I have to admit that I am digging this apartment living thing; however, I am not digging the bills that come with it. Now, before my mom calls me telling me that bills are a part of life because she is all about life lessons–I must say that I know bills are a part of life…they are just a part of life that stinks…a part of life where you have to decide on buying a new pair of shoes or paying rent. *wink* No, I am not going to shop myself into debt like Carrie did on that episode of Sex In the City…but a pair of Jimmy Choo stilettos would be nice *wink*
I digress. So, where was I? Hm…that is a good question. To be frank (I guess it would be better to be myself *wink*), I do not remember what my exact intentions were for this blog post anymore…perhaps the paint fumes have finally gotten to me…or perhaps I am lacking important nutrition…nope…it cannot be either of those because I am painting with environmentally friendly paint, and I took my Flintstones vitamins this morning *wink*
Well… it looks like the second coat of paint in my kitchen is dry, which means it is time to paint on a third. Man…I am definitely regretting my decision to paint the kitchen yellow. Please don’t tell my dad that I am complaining about painting with yellow paint because he warned me how difficult it would be…I can hear him now, “I told you painting with yellow wasn’t going to be easy.” Yes, he was right…but this yellow is totally fabulous–so fabulous that I will forget all about the cramp in my right hand…and I will not forget to reveal this yellow beauty to y’all on VIP Home.
Stay tuned to VIP Home next week for photos of my apartment beautification process! I cannot wait to reveal the awesomeness! :)
What do you get when you mix four cups of delicious food with a cup of fabulous personality and two tablespoons of killer fashion sense? Hm…think, think, think…Oh, it just has to be Retro Rad Diva Emily Ellyn as seen on Food Network’s Next Food Network Star and Cupcake Wars! Emily Ellyn grew up on a farm in Ohio where she first fell in love with cooking. “On my family’s farm, we grew and harvested most everything ourselves, and we always had delicious food on the table. When my siblings and I were babies, my mom would set our bassinets on the kitchen counter while she cooked– it’s no wonder I developed a passion for cooking,” explains Emily Ellyn.
I caught up with Emily at the Birmingham Home & Garden Show 2014 where we chatted about her experience on Food Network, her love of vintage, her new line of vintage-inspired kitchen couture, and more! And without further ado, I bring to you the VIP Interview with the Retro Rad diva herself, Emily Ellyn!
VIP: What was it like being on Next Food Network Star?
Emily: My experience on Food Network was so intense. Next Food Network Star is a bazaar ride, but it was so much fun. The day after I was eliminated, they had a voting on who the viewers would like to have back on the show, and 20,000 people voted to bring me back! I have to say thank you, and because of that I was also invited to be a part of Cupcake Wars which was awesome. When it comes down to it, I am so thankful for my experience on Food Network because I gained so many awesome fans, and I was able to show my love of cooking off to the world.
VIP: How would you describe your personal style?
Emily: I would describe my personal style as Retro Rad–I like to mix vintage clothes with more modern clothes. When mixing the vintage clothes with modern ones, I feel like it breathes even more life into the vintage and gives it a little bit more oopmh.
VIP: Oh, I love mixing vintage with modern too!
Emily: Isn’t it awesome!
VIP: So, Emily, what is your favorite item to wear?
Emily: Hm…that’s tough, but I would have to say the cute swing dresses and skirts. They have such a fun personality.
VIP: Oh, I love that style! Reminds me so much of 1950’s fashion!
Emily: Yes! I swear I was born in the wrong era…the 50s is when I should have been thriving! I would have been wearing swing and poodle skirts all day, everyday.
VIP: Have you always been in love with vintage style?
Emily: Yes, I have always loved vintage, and right now it is so cool because it is becoming more popular. Everywhere I look in Orlando [where Emily is currently living], I am like “Ooo! Look at that girl’s vintage dress” or “Oh, I so need to go shopping there.” When I was on the Food Network, I caught a lot of flack because everyone questioned if I were putting on this whole “Retro Rad Diva” persona. Nope, It’s just who I am. When I was a kid, I would ask my mom to pull my ponytail up tighter because I wanted to look like Grease Lighting. I would also beg her to do winged eyeliner so I could look vintage, and my mom was always like, “Emmy, you’re seven years old. You’re not going to school with makeup on.” Now, I just do my own winged eyeliner. *haha*
VIP: Now, let’s chat about food.
VIP: If you could only eat one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?
Emily: Oh, goodness! There are so many–I do not know how to choose!
VIP: If I had to choose one…man, I would have to choose Southern because it reminds me of where I grew up in Mississippi.
Emily: Ooo, that’s a good one! Hmm…this is tough….I have so many favorites, but I am going to have to go with Thai food because it is so diverse. There are a lot of fresh ingredients, you can choose to go vegetarian or eat a lot of meat–there is really a lot of options there. Plus, none of it is super heavy, and I prefer light and fresh meals over feeling so full it’s unbearable!
VIP: Hm…I have never tried Thai food, but hearing you talk about it makes me want to try it! Yum!
Emily: It really is good, and because of the variety of the cusuine, there are a lot of different options to suit different people’s tastes.
VIP: What if you had to choose one last food–not cuisine but food–to eat for the rest of your life?
Emily: Oh, man! You’re killing me here, Abby!
VIP: Now, that I think about it…that is a hard question! I don’t even know if I could answer it!
Emily: Okay, I got it–watermelon or strawberries. I am going with watermelon or strawberries.
VIP: Watermelon with salt is the BEST thing ever.
Emily: Oh…yes! It’s true. It really enhances the flavor.
VIP: Normally, when I tell people that, they look at me like I’m crazy! *haha*
Emily: No, no! I did a special on the Daily Buzz, and I told the stand-in anchor to try watermelon with salt because it was so delicious! I don’t think she believed me.
VIP: I cannot eat watermelon any other way. My Paw Riley is the one who got me hooked on watermelon with salt when I was kid. He had a watermelon patch, and during the summer we would always eat Paw Riley’s homegrown watermelons. Well, there was this one time when I was real little when he sat me down and gave me a slice of watermelon with sprinkled salt on it. He urged me to try it despite the fact I thought it was going to be gross…Boy, was I wrong!
Emily: That’s so cute! Watermelon with salt really is great–have you ever tried cantaloupe with black pepper?
VIP: No, I haven’t.
Emily: Oh, you have to try it! Tell your Paw Riley to grow you some cantaloupe and sprinkle some black pepper on it…Mmmm mmm good!
VIP: What would you say is your ultimate favorite cupcake flavor?
Emily: I really like different–something you wouldn’t find everywhere like vanilla or chocolate. I don’t like for my cupcakes to be disgustingly sweet like a super sweet cupcake topped with super sweet frosting…it is just too much for me. However, I don’t think there has ever been a cupcake that I have looked at and said “Ew no, I don’t want that cupcake!”
VIP: Oh, me too! I love cupcakes! Now, speaking of baking, tell me about your vintage-inspired kitchen couture.
Emily: My friend Cynthia of Cupcake Provocateur is the seamstress for the signature Emily Ellyn apron line. Whether you want a full apron or a half apron, each one is sewn to order and only available on my website [www.EmilyEllyn.com]. Right now, there are aprons with pinup girls, cowgirls, senoritas—oh, and there is also a pink and zebra one that is super cute! All of the aprons are so retro rad—see what I did there.
Did y’all miss the VIP’s coverage of the Birmingham Home and Garden Show 2014? Or the interview with Yard Crashers host Ahmed Hassan? No need to fear, you can check out the blogs right here and right here.
To help celebrate the two year anniversary of VIP, I decided to follow up with another one of my favorite handmade jewelry artisans. This fabulous jewelry artisan was the SECOND PERSON I EVER INTERVIEWED, and today is Throwback Thursday…soooo… *drum roll* Rachel Leathers of Hearts of Stone! Yay!
I absolutely love Hearts of Stone Jewelry because Rachel creates magnificent pieces with natural stones such as agate, jasper, and geode. Each piece is beautifully unique which makes her jewelry very appealing to the VIP–I am always a sucker for one of a kind pieces *wink* To be perfectly honest, I simply adore everythingin the Hearts of Stone Etsy shop. My goodness! How will I ever decide which new piece to add to my collection? Hmmm….
Now, while I go browse Rachel Leather’s Etsy shop, y’all enjoy this fabulous VIP follow-up interview with jewelry artisan Rachel Leathers of Hearts of Stone Jewelry. :)
VIP: What’s new with Hearts of Stone?
Rachel: The newest thing that happened for HoSJ this past year was a new collection, the Black Hearts Collection. I had a heart-breaking break-up with a man [George] I loved who I thought I was planning a life with, but I found out he was seeing someone else whom he married. I discovered what a black-hearted person he really was, so the name of the collection was easy to come by! I wanted to take a bad and ugly situation and turn it into a positive situation, on many levels. Taking the black and gray hearts I already had, I came up with the collection as a way to spill my guts and do some healing along the way. Being busy and creative did the trick, and now I can add to the collection and continue to make pretty things, regardless of the original inspiration.
VIP: Are you working on any new projects? If so, spill the beans! *wink*
Rachel: My newest project for HoSJ is making a necklace to be gifted to the stylist for the next season of “The Bachelorette” in hopes it will be worn on the show! I have made a beautiful white jade heart that I plan to pair with lots of tiny crystals and smaller hearts, and call the necklace “Falling in Love”. Cascading chains will drip from the heart and create a waterfall effect. I’m excited about it and can’t wait to give you a picture! I’ll have duplicates available for sale in the shop, along with a rose quartz option.
VIP: What is your 2014 inspiration?
Rachel: My inspiration for 2014 is renewal and reclamation. Before I met George, I was a happy and content with myself, and part of my discovery after the break-up was the surprise that I wasn’t even happy when we were together. I had accomplished so much in my personal life before we met, and I want that back. I’ve already reclaimed my personal happiness, and now it’s time to get back the skinny body! Finding my joy again has been huge for me, and it will only show itself in my work. I haven’t really created much for HoSJ since the Black Hearts Collection…So, I’m so excited to make a necklace inspired by love, and I want to carry that over into an entire line. It will be a good year!
VIP: What is your 2014 motto?
Rachel: My motto for 2014 is to just give it a try. Regardless of what “it” is, I do best when I just jump in feet first and give something a go. Personally or professionally–it doesn’t matter. You never know until you try, right?
VIP: What color best describes you?
Rachel: Blue has always been my favorite color; however, these days red is what makes me happy! I want a new car and have my eye on a bright red one, my phone cover is red, and I bought a red raincoat that made me feel bold, LOL! Red is a passionate color, and I feel passionate about life right now, so…red it is!
VIP: What is your favorite song of 2014 thus far?
Rachel: My favorite song for this year is one that was a favorite five years ago when I was originally losing weight–Boz Scaggs’ “Get On The Natch”, from the album “Dig”. It’s like an anthem for me, and the song basically says small steps add up when you’re working towards a goal. It has a funky groove to it–it might not be a typical Boz song, but it speaks to me. I’ve been listening to him since I was 17, so his music has been part of my life’s soundtrack, and it is a kick-booty song to work out to!
VIP: Tell us a little bit about your new shop.
Rachel: The new shop is called Genuine Leathers Designs, which confuses a lot of people because there are NO leather garments or accessories! When I was in design school 23 years ago, it was a name I came up with for an assigned collection I designed. My instructor scolded me over it, since I only had one leather garment. I simply said, “but it’s my name.” She looked me in the eye and dead panned, “that’s funny.” How could I not use that to my advantage? And I understand the confusion, considering it is a line of men’s shirts made from 100% cotton!
My hope is to add to the line over the years and not just make shirts. They are fun casual shirts based on bowling/Hawaiian styles–I like to call them “A new twist on an old favorite!” What makes my shirts different is that I use bold prints, but instead of using the print all over the shirt, it is only on the front and back yokes. I then add coordinating solids at the rest of the body and collar to make said print stand out even more. I think a bold print needs a frame to make it special, and by only using the prints sparingly, I accomplish that. Several shirts also include coordinating prints, so each shirt has its own personality. They’re great for any age, from the hipster to the oldster!
VIP: What inspired you to start Genuine Leathers Designs?
Rachel: The inspiration for opening the new shop was to put myself back to work. I’ve been a professional seamstress for 24 years, and the economic downturn really hit me hard. The majority of my career was in the costume industry and work has been beyond sparse. I like the idea of working for myself, and if possible, hiring others to work for me for a change. I’d love to be able to put others back to work as well as myself, and since I’ve been active in the Made in America Movement, that has become part of my mission. Being an entrepreneur never crossed my mind until I began the jewelry and then the shirts. It has been very eye-opening and scary, but so very worth it. I just jumped feet first! Also, I recently participated in the 2014 Golden Globes gift lounge with GLD, displaying miniature shirts and gifting handkerchiefs to the attendees. I’m hopeful this will bring much needed exposure to the brand. 2014 should be a good year for shirts, too!
Check out the VIP’s first interview with the jewelry artisan here.
In love with Hearts of Stone Jewelry? Shop online here.
Today on VIP Home, I would like to chat about a piece that sits close to home. It is a dresser that my Paw Riley made for my mom when she was little girl.
When I was little, the dresser was in my bedroom in its original, stained wood finish…(see photo below).
After being moved throughout several rooms in our Mississippi house, the beloved dresser finally found a home in the living room. While it was there, each person had his/her own drawer to do with what he/she pleased–to a certain degree, of course *wink* In my drawer, I had an assortment of Polly Pocket dolls and Play-Doh…Man, those were the days!
Now, the dresser resides in my bedroom at our house here in Birmingham. Mom and I repainted it “Melody” by Behr Premium Plus Ultra. The dresser truly pops against the dark purple (“Lunar Shadow” by Behr) walls. It looks FAB-U-LOUS!
Hello, fabulouses, I have missed y’all so much! It is amazing how addicting blogging everyday can be–but it was good to take a break:) It was great spending uninterrupted time with family and friends this holiday season, and now I am going to share some of the special moments with y’all! So, come on, let’s take a look at the VIP’s Christmas 2013 Scrapbook! Whoo hoo!