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SHAPERS /// DRAWINGS OF DOGS

In an interview with Stephen Colbert last year, writer George Saunders was discussing his book "Lincoln in the Bardo" (which is exceptional, by the way) and in that conversation, he happened to so succinctly and beautifully state, "Empathy is a superpower." Those words have since been jotted down on a post-it and stuck on our desk since - a reminder that we all can be super heroes if we remember and attune ourselves to compassion and kindness. 

On this EXTREMELY salient topic of empathy and tenderness, we're thrilled to share the latest installment of SHAPERS with U.K. illustrator "Drawings of Dogs" (aka Henry James Garrett). We first spotted Henry's incredibly witty, clever, super smart, "politically punchy while somehow managing to remain playful" illustrations on Instagram and are beyond happy he took some time out of his work to answer our Q's with his A's. (By the way, Henry, major gratitude from us to you and your U.K. compatriots for your recent 250.000-strong march of resistance!)

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LILY SPINDLE: The writer Sue Monk Kidd once said "Empathy is the most mysterious transaction that the human soul can have, and it's accessible to all of us, but we have to give ourselves the opportunity..." Do you feel this is true? Is empathy accessible to all of us? And, if not, is its inaccessibility, denial, or nonexistence what's plaguing and poisoning the world at the moment?

So, I’m actually writing a book about empathy and kindness at the moment (there will, of course, be lots of drawings to accompany the text). This is a great question.

Empathy is accessible to all of us. In fact, because empathy evolved quite a while back, it’s not just humans that can empathise; some of our cousins in the animal kingdom can too. Rats feel other rats’ fear for example. We all have the capacity for empathy – the capacity to share in one another’s pains – but the problem is that we can accidentally turn our empathy off. 

The big problem right now (if I can grossly oversimplify for a moment) is that people are switching off their empathy toward certain groups because they have false beliefs about those groups, or they don’t know enough about those groups.

I’m not saying it’s an accident. It’s not. Lying about some group – like migrants – and stoking or redirecting hate toward them is a good distraction technique. And that’s what’s going on at the moment. But every time in human history we’ve turned our empathy off towards a specific group, atrocities have inevitably followed.

But there’s a really easy solution. You’ve got to listen to people and listen to them directly. Let people tell their own stories (don’t get Scarlett Johansen to play them in a movie). When we hear peoples’ stories directly, we will always empathise with their suffering.

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LILY SPINDLE: While you draw all sorts of animals, lending personalities and voices to them (all of which seem completely apt, by the way!), you began your illustration venture by drawing dogs (hence your moniker and ongoing project). And your pup, Billie, is your constant companion, yes? What is it about dogs that you so distinctly and intimately connect with? As dog lovers ourselves, we can think of a zillion reasons, but of course always love hearing everyone's own perspectives as to why dogs are SO AMAZING. 

I met Billie when I was 15. I was unwell and off school for a year and so my parents finally let me get a dog. They hoped she’d keep me company and keep me engaged in the world and she did. I love Billie so much and loving someone unconditionally and feeling completely at peace in their company is one of the best, most healthy, feelings in the world I think.

Dogs are fascinating to me from an artistic perspective because they reflect our humanity in really interesting ways. Here’s an animal that we bred, more than any other, specifically to function as an extra companion. So, dogs show what we want in a friend. And guess what: they’re super needy but super loyal.

                              Billie, Henry's constant companion and little heartbeat at his feet. 

                              Billie, Henry's constant companion and little heartbeat at his feet. 

LILY SPINDLE: If you could have lunch with one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? What would you order?

Hmmm, well I’ve made a super close friend through Instagram who I’ve yet to meet, so I’d use the dream lunch to do that. She’s my first proper internet friend and she also happens to be famous. So, I’d pick Alexandra Billings. I can’t remember how we first internet-met but she’s an incredible activist and actress, and Kitty (my partner) and I would be soooooooo happy if we could have lunch with her and her wife (we’re currently separated by the Atlantic ocean).

I would order so much vegan pizza, and burgers, and chips, and it would be delicious and wonderful.

Henry + Kitty. Photograph credit to Tania Gardner Photography (https://www.instagram.com/exploredreams/

Henry + Kitty. Photograph credit to Tania Gardner Photography (https://www.instagram.com/exploredreams/

LILY SPINDLE: Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I’m a morning person. I go to bed at 11 every night and get cross/anxious if I can’t for some reason. Sleep is super important for my health – but then it’s also something that it’s easy to turn into a worry.

I wake up sleepy but if I’m going to get anything good done workwise it will be in the morning.

I also love coffee, and love breakfast. If Kitty and I can have avocado toast outside on a sunny but cold morning, I will be incredibly happy all day.

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LILY SPINDLE: What's currently on your bedside table?

We sleep on a mattress on the floor haha.

I always have a Harry Potter book to hand. I read it to Kitty if she can’t sleep.I also keep a book nearby so that if I have an idea in the night, I can write it down and go back to sleep.


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LILY SPINDLE: As a thoughtful, evolved, kind-hearted, caring artist, what's your key piece of advice to the nurturers, empaths, and do-gooders of the world?

Haha, if I answer this it sounds like I accept that beautiful compliment as true. I’m ok, but I’ve got a lot of room to be better.

But if I could give one piece advice to a group of people who are trying to be better, it would be this: there is no such thing as too much empathy, there is no one who can feel pain whose pain you shouldn’t empathise with. If you want to make sure that you do empathise with everyone, you need to be humble, reflective and willing to learn by listening. Your empathy can be exercised, and strengthened, like a muscle; you just have to find people who have lives very different from your own and listen to their stories (but don’t angrily demand that they tell their stories, or listen to someone else who claims to be able to speak for them).


PS - You can find and purchase Henry James Garrett's work by going to THIS LINK

It's that time of year again, y'all. It's Punchlines for Paws!

Here's some mid-March musings for you lovely creatures! 

First of all, we're pumped the sun has come out again here in Los Angeles and, secondly, we are SUPER PUMPED for Punchlines for Paws next month! Who can resist gut-splitting laughs and adorable rescue dogs? Pretty much NO ONE. Whitney Cummings and Andy Richter will be gracing the stage, among many other funny, animal-loving folks (famous and otherwise). Crazy good silent auction items, to boot. We're talking crazy good - art, trips, jewelry, clothing, services...it's all excellent. Pssst....we'll be donating a free 2-hour in-home design consultation with, you know, US, so there's at least one thing you know you wanna bid on! All ticket and silent auction proceeds go to Home Dog LA and A Purposeful Rescue, as these two amazing (and entirely female-run) organizations have joined forces for this particular event. Buy your tickets ASAP! 

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What's the psychology and pragmatism and creative discussion that results in color creation of the Pantone sort? This fascinating read on color forecasting in NY Times Magazine blew our minds. How did Pantone create 1999's Cerulean Blue? What particular pink was 2014's color of the year (you product junkies will know this, no doubt)? In what ways does color subtly communicate? Yep. Minds officially BLOWN!

Get yourself to The Broad . . . "One hopes for something resembling truth, some sense of life, even of grace, to flicker, at least, in the work." Jasper John's epic exhibition at The Broad, featuring more than 120 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints, is on view until May 13th. It's been described as blissful. We can all use a bit of bliss, no? Get your tickets here.
 

Is your house holiday-ready?

It's barely Halloween and while the Fright Night masks are still on the shelves, retailers are stocking their spaces with holiday baubles, garlands, glass ornaments, and fake wreaths. It may seem crazy to launch the countdown to the holiday festivities so soon, but the celebrating, cooking, and partying of the the last few months of the year begins pretty much NOW and there's nothing like the occasion of entertaining friends and family (and co-workers, in-laws, neighbors, et al) to make you wonder aloud, perhaps gripped with a wave of coinciding panic, "IS MY HOUSE HOLIDAY-READY?"

Never fear, my dears!

Deb and I were talking the other day about how often we operate under tight deadlines with clients for one reason or another - surprise birthday party, cast and crew party, fundraising event, and the list goes on. We LOVE helping people get their homes together to not only feel like a place THEY love to be, but also a place they're proud to share with others. And sometimes all it takes is an outside well-practiced, creative perspective to bring your space to a more gorgeous place -- whether it involves additions or omissions or shifting the awesome things you already own (usually a combination of all three!), we Lily Spindle ladies thrive in the art of reinvigorating everything from a teeny room to an entire home. 

Case in point, for many months our friend Heather had been hunting for a rug to bring together her living room. So after a few conversations with her, Deb and I immediately hopped to it and scored her an awesome deep pink and apricot striped Turkish 5' x 8' rug (having told her we thought that Amalfi/Venetian pink was the right vibe).  The rug arrived within five days, she got herself the rug pad, and Heather was entirely stoked with the result. This is what she had to say about our work: "You two birds helped me conquer my carpet block within 24 hours! Your expert eyes quickly honed in on just the right textures and colors and I love my joyous living room even more now." Check it out below...

Heather's Noguchi coffee table and Eames molded plywood chairs are now fabulously moored by the colorful Turkish rug we discovered..

Heather's Noguchi coffee table and Eames molded plywood chairs are now fabulously moored by the colorful Turkish rug we discovered..


This Franklin Hills patio with an incredible view was staged and ready to roll for our client's cast and crew party and, come evening, the summer air and flickering candlelight completed the cozy scene. 

This Franklin Hills patio with an incredible view was staged and ready to roll for our client's cast and crew party and, come evening, the summer air and flickering candlelight completed the cozy scene. 


We also just wrapped up a project that took three and a half weeks from start to finish. Lily Spindle outfitted our client for an entirely new space, starting 100% from scratch and sourcing every single thing for his pied a terre from doormats to dining chairs and pretty much every conceivable thing in between! *Not-so-great iPhone snaps shown below! 


And so, DON'T FRET ABOUT THE IMMINENT HOLIDAY PARTIES + DINNERS, ok? Lily Spindle is at your service with our years of design experience. 

Need a new sofa?
Done.

Need an oversized vintage mirror in the alcove?
Copy that.

In need of an original painting?
Check.

Not even quite sure what it is that you need?
No worries! We'll sort it for you/with you/on your behalf. 

xx ~ Rebecca + Deb 

SHAPERS / / / GRAY MALIN

Top of Aspen Mountain.

Top of Aspen Mountain.

Few of us have the opportunity to get an extended, windowless aerial perspective on the world, to hover above its cacophony and bustle and, released from that ceaseless din, perceive the patterns and beauty the singular perspective of being aloft can offer. Los Angeles photographer Gray Malin, however, succeeds in both perceiving and capturing these uncommon, charming, and colorful perspectives on park loungers, beach lovers, ski disciples, city dwellers, and single swimmers. He does all this from the cockpit of a roving helicopter, no less. (sidenote: there are loads and loads of fun shots of his feet dangling from the door of a moving helicopter.)

Gray's high-contrast, vibrant photographs reflecting the unique beauty of New York, Australia, Bolivia, Italy, Greece, Namibia, Cape Town, Antarctica and then some, adorn the walls of countless designers and photography bon vivants (and his best-selling images are emblazoned on beach towels and umbrellas, bikinis, aprons, and Iphone cases, lest you prefer Gray Malin photos-to-go). 

We first stumbled upon his photography several months ago while attending an animal rescue gala here in Los Angeles, where one of Gray's photos was up for auction. We quickly joined his awe-inspiring Instagram following of 149,000 fans and are beyond thrilled he was willing to be featured in our Lily Spindle SHAPERS series!

xx - Rebecca + Deb


Your photography vibrates with color, joy, and life, whether it’s capturing the populous of Aspen mountain skiers or the understated humor in a pair of llamas adorned with balloons. Is your attitude relatively joyful when you’re capturing these images? And when you look at them later, framed and hung in new and different environs, what emotions do they conjure for you?

I definitely aspire to create artwork that evokes joy, so it’s accurate to say that my attitude while shooting is positive. I love seeing the work in it’s intended home, the walls of one’s home, so it’s always a happy moment to see it truly come to life in client’s homes.

Gray Malin + Stella, his beloved rescue dog.

Gray Malin + Stella, his beloved rescue dog.

You and your husband have a dog (of course). Can you tell us a bit about how she came to you - how old, name, et cetera? Is she a fabulous model for your photos?

We adopted Stella about 5 years ago, and she has been brought nothing but happiness to our home. And, yes! She’s a great little model. We’ve worked together a few times..haha!

Central Park Lawn. 

Central Park Lawn. 

Maroubra Bay Swimmers.

Maroubra Bay Swimmers.

Who are your three favorite photographers and could you describe each of their bodies of work using two adjectives for each?

1) Slim Aarons - Classic & Luxury

2) Cristo and Jeanne-Claude - Forward thinking and structural

3) David LaChapelle - Editorial Fine Art


If you could have breakfast with one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? And what would you order?

I’d love to meet Martha Stewart.  We’d share something delicious inspired by one of her recipes, perhaps a quiche and talk decor and entrepreneurship.

Carry-on Cocktail Sprinkle Kit? Get one  here .

Carry-on Cocktail Sprinkle Kit? Get one here.

Velvet or Mohair? Stripes or Polka Dots?
Velvet. Stripes.


Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Is there such a thing as a late morning person? I’d have to say I’m a bit more of a morning person, as I love to get in exercise before hitting the ground running for the work day.

What's currently on your bedside table?

A yummy smelling candle I got from Collette in Paris, while I was there for an event last spring.


What would we be surprised to know about your design proclivities?

Not sure if it’s much of a surprise, but I love fresh flowers. Whenever possible, I like to incorporate into decorating as they just add that extra pop of color and softness to a room.

Hamptons Lone Swimmer.

Hamptons Lone Swimmer.

La Dolce Vita; Positano.

La Dolce Vita; Positano.


Lily Spindle’s SHAPERS profiles the people whom we consider to be remarkable movers and shakers, doers and dreamers, trailblazers and big thinkers, the people who are doing things a little bit differently and unconventionally, with immense heart, passion, and authenticity in what they do. Artists, designers, writers, philanthropists, iconoclasts, artisans, heroines, voyagers, and all kinds of extraordinary extraordinaires will be interviewed in our SHAPERS series. Enjoy!

FIVE SIMPLE TIPS TO SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS

I sat down intending to write this post about the best modern holiday decorations or the top ten ways to make your house sparkle with holiday cheer using things you'll easily find in your pantry and then I thought, 'Holy smokes, we can't, in good conscience, tell our readers they should gleefully be placing glittery glass balls in a bowl or wrapping the banister with silver and gold garland while singing every carol in the book.'

This can be one of the most intense times of the year and I can't pretend it isn't. The holidays have the capacity to be magical. They can be beautiful. They can be heartwarming. And they have the potential to be incredibly stressful. I'm talking, like, insomnia-inducing, heart-palpitating, breakdown-inspiring stress. The gifts to buy, the traffic to navigate, the places to be, the food to make. Are you feeling superduperanxious yet?

OK, deep deep breaths, baby. We're going to help you alleviate the holiday stress and take it in stride, by being pragmatic and present and deep breathing (no joke). You can do it.

#1 - DEEP BREATHS BRING YOU BACK

It's SCIENCE -- deep breathing positively impacts your heart, brain, digestion, and immune system. Imagine that your deep breaths are the brake that stops a careening car (your body) from gaining additional speed and crashing into a brick building. One of the best and most effective breathing exercises I've learned is this: Breathe in through your nose for a FOUR COUNT; hold the breath for a SEVEN COUNT; release through your mouth for an EIGHT COUNT. Do this a few times and I promise you, it's like a shot of endorphin tequila leveling out your soul. (And then maybe do that shot of actual tequila anyway, just in case.)

#2 - LESS TIME CLEANING, MORE TIME BEING

The dirty dishes can wait. And you don't have to clean underneath the sofa before your guests arrive or take on the landscaping project of the entire backyard to start and finish in two weeks. If it's crazy-making to even consider the elements of resolving a project, that's a sign that the frenzy will only escalate as the insuperable reality of the job takes hold. Your friends won't care (or even notice, most likely) if your home isn't spotless (tip: it will never be truly "spotless"!). What's of much greater importance are the conversations and humor and time bonding with your beloveds.

#3 - YOU CAN SAY 'NO' + STILL BE LOVING

During the holidays, we're invited to about one billion fetes and events and gatherings and "white elephant" parties. If you're anything like me, you want to say yes, you want to be able to do it all, and do it all well. But, hey, will missing an art opening across town on a Thursday night be the worst thing in the world? NO. No, it will not.

Just say NO. Try it. Practice it in the mirror to get used to the sound of it coming out of your own mouth. Now, mindfully and with love, say no to the events you cannot make, the dinners you cannot attend. Set those boundaries, baby, because you're the only one who can.

Maple walnut pie from Huckleberry Cafe on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, CA. photo cred: Huckleberry Cafe

Maple walnut pie from Huckleberry Cafe on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, CA.
photo cred: Huckleberry Cafe

#4 - TAKE-OUT TIMESAVERS ARE NO-BRAINERS

Your favorite green bean and almond dish, butternut squash and arugula salad, and ginger cake with salted caramel glaze are tried and tested showstoppers. You don't need to make these delectable concoctions from scratch. Make it easy on yourself and order these elements of the holiday meal ahead of time and pick them up, ready to roll. No prep time = more time for you to breathe deeply and ground yourself.

#5 - BE NICE. BE GENEROUS. BE KIND.

Being altruistic to others makes us feel positively about humankind in general and specifically in regards to the people upon whom we're bestowing our magnanimity. And it goes both ways - the trust and connection created from kindness mirrors itself between the giver and the receiver. Giving releases oxytocin, the hormone released during sex (YOWZA!), galvanizing feelings of warmth and euphoria and connectivity. When you're on an oxytocin high, you feel more empathy and compassion towards others, and this high can become infectious, with the ability to kick off a "virtuous circle," person after person becoming generous and kind. Can you even imagine? A contagion of kindness making us all a bit cheerier and allied with one another? How phenomenal and astounding could that be?

Volunteering your time at an animal shelter, soup kitchen, hospice, community college or non-profit organization, or even donating blankets to an animal rescue you follow on Instagram and adore from afar can elevate your soul, reduce your stress levels, and, wonderfully and surprisingly, lengthen your joyful life.

Let's do this thing, holidays! You got this.

xx - Rebecca

Let's do this thing al fresco style

It's like your momma always said: buy your snowblower in May, your bikini in August, your chocolates after Valentine's Day, and your outdoor furniture in the midst of summer! Well, maybe your momma didn't share those bright and shiny pearls of wisdom. But WE are!

Here in Southern California we're lucky enough (er, sort of, given that this past January was the driest on record since such record-keeping actually began in 1895) to be able to dine al fresco pretty much all year 'round.  To make it easy, we've put together a grouping of some of Lily Spindle's top picks for super stylish and unbelievably affordable dining tables and dining chairs!

And, here you have it - a few simple + straightforward outdoor dining + designing tips ::

Don't forget the lighting! Just because you're outdoors doesn't mean the lighting isn't crucial. Candles, globes, hanging lanterns, chandeliers and string lights provide romantic, atmospheric lighting and, let's be honest, pretty much everyone looks gorgeous when bathed in the soft, warm glow of mood lighting.

Don't be afraid to bring the indoors out! Graphic, fun rugs outside are pretty wonderful when used in a lounge area and the New York Times' T Magazine recently featured an awesome selection of outdoor pillows ranging from Maharam to Missoni to Holly Hunt, so go for gold and be fearless

Do bring art into your outdoor space. As an extension of your home, your exterior design deserves as much consideration as your interior. And we promise you, art is not exclusive to the walls of your living room! 

Six words -- colorful pots. colorful pots. colorful pots.

Lily Spindle Top Outdoor Dining Tables
  1.  Devon Dining Table, Restoration Hardware. 96"L x 40"D x 29.5"H (teak); $1900
  2.   New York Reclaimed Teak Table, Teak Warehouse. 98"L x 39"D x H30"H;  $2795
  3.   Coronado Dining Table, Restoration Hardware. 96"L x 40"D x 29.5"H (teak); $2665
  4.   Manhattan Reclaimed Teak Table, Teak Warehouse. 98"L x 39"D x 30.5"H; $2295
  5.   Trestle Table (reclaimed teak), Teak Warehouse. 98"L x 39"D x 29"H; $2595
  6.   Crosby Teak Dining Table, Serena & Lily. 102"L x 39"D x 29"H; 2050
  7.   Somerset Teak Trestle Table, Teak Warehouse. 98"L x 39"D x 29"H; $3795
Lily Spindle Top Outdoor Dining Chair picks
  1. Kruger Dining Chair in Turkish Tile Blue, Crate + Barrel. $99/each
  2. Garvin Side Chair, Aeon Furniture Industrial Classics. All Modern. $140/set of 2
  3. Lisboa Dining Chair, DWR. $120/each
  4. Kruger Dining Chair in Ribbon Red, Crate + Barrel. $99/each
  5. Lyle Dining Chair, Crate + Barrel. $199/each

It's FLASH SALE FRIDAY, yo

Lily Spindle's Flash Sale Friday

For an as-of-yet-undetermined stretch of time, we're celebrating YOU and US and all things good + lovely by holding a FLASH SALE FRIDAY every, er, Friday. These flash sales will, to be fair, often be dog/animal desirables, but not always, and we'll be mixing it up weekly with accessories, pottery, and jewelry and maybe even some spectacular vintage books - basically, all of the things that are smaller than a breadbox that we also happen to cherish and adore. As of now, we don't anticipate have a FSF for a sofa, but who knows? Anything could happen.

AND so, let's get to it! For this week's FLASH SALE FRIDAY, we have a cast iron Irish Setter doorstop, made by Virginia Metalcrafters, circa 1960s. Measuring 9" long from nose to tail tip, 7.5" high, and the stand is 3" deep. Zero rust or wear. Spotted online and elsewhere for $80, but our Lily Spindle loves can get him for $25. Who doesn't love a stylish doorstop?

Oh, and if you haven't checked out our Instagram page and you want to be in the know about these sorts of things without fail, start following us! https://instagram.com/lilyspindlelosangeles/