rebecca cox

12 Black + White Pendants to Knock Your Socks Off

Ah . . . the almighty pendant. Strong on its own, marvelous in a group, it plays well with others, serving its own purpose and distinction in a space already offering recessed or spot-lit sconce lighting. A single pendant in a bathroom can be surprisingly stunning, a series of pendants down a hallway is a solid middle finger to the tradition of modest, subtle flush-mount lighting, announcing “more is more, babe. live with it.” And because we’ve had a few clients over the years wonder about the vernacular of “pendant” versus ”chandelier,” here are the general contrasts between the two: while a pendant is a singular fixture hanging from a rod, cord, or chain, chandeliers are oftentimes hanging by a chain with a central body and varying branches extended from the main body; pendants can provide wonderful task lighting while chandeliers impart a more romantic glow (otherwise known as “mood lighting” rendering everyone’s skin flawless); there’s also a fairly strong price disparity between pendants and chandeliers, with pendants typically being less costly versus the larger dimensions, more expensive materials, and the cost of professional installation a big-ass, ornate chandelier can require.

Here’s a handful of pendant “rules” to play by:

1) In an entryway, a pendant should be hung approximately 7’ from the floor. (We’re not big fans of the word “should” in most contexts, but when you don’t want people walking into the bottom of a pendant light upon entering your home, I think “should” is appropriately used in guiding decision-making). Of course, if you’ve got a 30’ ceiling in your two-story foyer, the suggested 7’ guideline wouldn’t apply - in the grandiose, sweeping foyer scenario, we recommend splitting the vertical space into thirds and hanging the pendant 2/3 from the ground floor.

2) Over a dining table, the standard drop is anywhere from 28” - 36” between the bottom of the pendant and the dining table itself. Most common and a fairly safe guideline is to go with 30 inches. But if your ceilings are taller than 8 feet, you can easily keep 36” - 40” of space between the dining table and pendant and no one will rudely comment or quietly think you’re a weirdo.

3) Hanging multiple pendants over a kitchen island or dining table is a fabulous way to bring needed light into your space while also making a conscious design statement by way of the scale, shape, color, material, and style. Typically, they ought to be hung 24” - 30” apart from one another, so use that as a guideline to determine the number of pendants you’ll be hanging! ****For example, if your kitchen island is five feet long, two medium pendants (approximately 12”-16” diameter or thereabouts) should suffice. Find the island’s center point of 36” and hang the two beauts equidistant from one another (so let’s just say 15”- 18” each off the center point, depending upon if you want 30 or 36 inches of space between the pendants). Yes, it’s a bit of math, but mostly it’s math plus instinct (which I realize is more math) - the pendants need to relate to one another while not leaving too much unlit island on either side and not seeming mashed together like a codependent couple. Got it?

4) ALWAYS have dimmers connected to your pendants (and any hard-wired lighting in your kitchen, den, living room, TV room, library, or lounge, for that matter). It’s beyond worth the necessary additional costs during installation. Even if you want to save those extra bucks and you’re nearing your budget’s high-end or are over budget and having a meltdown, HAVE THOSE DIMMERS INSTALLED IN YOUR HOME’S COMMON AREAS. Not only will their addition monumentally improve the quality of your own life residing there, but dimmers increase the heck out of your home’s value, so it positively impacts your potential resale down the line. (You can thank us later.)

For awhile, it seemed like everyone and their second cousin twice removed had this IKEA pendant and I wouldn’t blame IKEA for never ever discontinuing the design because it’s GOOD (and less than $70, for heaven’s sake). We saw this dang pendant EVERYWHERE in Los Angeles and its common placement in restaurants, for example, belied its insanely low price point. The range of pendant designs is incredibly broad, from mid-century modern to bohemian to traditional, and the pricing is equally all over the place. The excellent news is this - you can get a DAMN FINE, sizable, beautiful pendant for less than $500 (and you don’t have to join the IKEA legions to do so).

More than half of the black and white pendants we’ve pulled together here fit that under-$500 niche - one is inspired by Japanese teapots, another inspired by an overturned water vessel, another made from two delicate tiers of bent bamboo slats (!!). In the realm of pendants, there’s certainly no shortage of Tom Dixon knock-offs, but we’re pretty much purists when it comes to George Nelson, and the older the better! For the purposes of this post, we’ve specifically opted for black and white pendants, but I’m 100% confident we can devote a future post to our favorite rattan, glass, and brass pendants, so stay tuned for a future pendant-love post!

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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.
 

SHAPERS / / MEG CRANSTON

Strolling through the massive Art Los Angeles Contemporary show earlier this year, we spotted (and Instagrammed) one of Meg Cranston's incredible dog portraits and we immediately knew we had to feature her in SHAPERS. Currently the chair of the Fine Arts Department at Otis College of Art and Design, her sculpture, paintings, and video/performance work have earned her international accolades and she's exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, The Getty Museum of Art, The Hammer Museum, Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, The Carnegie Museum, K21 Museum, Dusseldorf, and the ICA, London, to name just a few.

Also, she has a super cute pooch named Jenkins and began a shelter dog photography project back in the mid-2000s, which ultimately helped to increase the number of dog adoptions, and we are always and forever 100% fans of that kind of altruism and creativity! 

Many,  many thanks to Meg for so intelligently and thoughtfully tackling this SHAPERS q+a! Enjoy!  

Can you tell us about your project photographing shelter dogs back in 2008? What was the experience like, what inspired the project, what was the endgame artistically or otherwise and how did it affect you/your work?

I was looking to get a dog and spending some time on the shelter websites. I decided to try to photograph all the dogs in LA shelters over a one month period. I tried to photograph them myself but quickly realized it isn't that easy to photograph a dog. So I partnered with the various shelters to get their photographs. That was a bit tricky because it involved working with the Chief of animal control. He was suspicious at first because he had to make sure I wasn't creating an expose on the shelters but then was happy to help. The most interesting thing was the quality of the photographs from different shelters varied a lot. At one shelter, the worker taking the photographs was careful to "art direct" the images. He posed the dogs in green settings even with some fake flowers arranged. He had the dogs standing in action poses so they looked lively and happy.

Compared to other shelters ,were the dogs were photographed in cages or on leashes, those animals looked highly adoptable. That shelter in fact did have higher rates of adoptions.

Because people primarily look at shelter dogs on websites, being photogenic is a life or death issue. 

The paintings I did of the shelter dogs takes that a bit further. Historically there are many dogs in paintings though typically they are high status dogs - hunting dogs or pets of wealthy people. The paintings of George Stubbs would be an example. I decided to do rather monumental portraits of ordinary dogs - shelter dogs who would not typically be painted.

Meg Cranston, "Corgi," 2014. 

Meg Cranston, "Corgi," 2014. 


Meg + Jenkins. 

Meg + Jenkins. 

What's your favorite thing about living in California?
I like the attitude of people in California. Theyhave a relaxed confidence that's easy to be around. The artists in Los Angeles aren't freighted with a lot of rules. They do whatever they want. Europeans especially admire that. 

 

How does teaching art influence your own artwork?
Besides paying the bills? I love teaching because in my courses, I have to write lectures about new topics all the time. If I didn't teach I doubt I would read as much or stay as current. Also there is a part of me that's a performer. Giving lectures is a kind of performance. It's fun. Of course the students are all fantastic. I have said many times, I have never had a bad student.

Art students are the best and most interesting students one can teach.

Meg Cranston, "Poodle Mix," Installation view, Michael Janssen, Berlin, 2014

Meg Cranston, "Poodle Mix," Installation view, Michael Janssen, Berlin, 2014


Which decade resonates most poignantly with you - 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s? I admire art of the 1960's for its clarity and optimism, art of the 1970's for its intellectual rigor, art of the 1980's for its focus on recasting artistic values as political. 
 


Meg Cranston's "California" and "Fireplace 12" at the Hammer Museum for  Made in L.A. , 2012.

Meg Cranston's "California" and "Fireplace 12" at the Hammer Museum for Made in L.A., 2012.



The scariest thing you've ever done?
I do stand up comedy. That's pretty scary especially for the audience.


Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I am a night owl who has to get up at 6am. It's a dilemma.


Name three of your favorite sculptors/3-dimensional artists and use a single word to describe each.

Alberto Giacometti  -  armature
Brancusi  -   base
Franz West  -  scale


What books are currently on your bedside table?
Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School

 

*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.

SHAPERS / / / LISA CHESTER SCHROEDER

A couple times a year, I'm lucky enough to be invited to dine in the magical Culver City backyard of Lisa Chester Schroeder and her husband, Denny. A lovely, warm, and gregarious couple, they never cease to amaze me and my man with the multiple courses of deliciousness (some of which has been purchased during one of their many international jaunts), accompanied by more than a few bottles of wine and hours upon hours of conversation. Ubiquitous at these dinners are artists, writers, designers, inventors, and, like any skilled hostess, Lisa assigns the seating, so you can't simply cozy up next to your partner and casually kvetch about the traffic on the 10 or your annoying new co-worker - your curiosity and amity concerning the unknown are mandatory elements of the consummate experience.

As Southern California mainstays for a long while, Lisa and Denny are close friends with many contemporary artists, so they've an enviable art collection, and having worked with Herman Miller in several capacities for nearly two decades, Lisa is a fount of knowledge about the company and its inner workings. Naturally we couldn't wait to chat with Lisa about the ultimate deities of design, Lisa's own rescue cats, and what she cannot go without during her travels in our SHAPERS Q+A*! Enjoy! ~Rebecca


Could you tell me a little bit about your job as a global account manager with Herman Miller? How long have you worked with the company?

I am fortunate to be entering into my 18th year at Herman Miller.  While working here, I have had many different roles.  Over the past 4 years, I have been leading the Western US as the Director of Sales for our Healthcare team.  Many people don't realize that Herman Miller has been providing solutions to the Healthcare industry for 50 years.  It all began with Robert Propst.  Providing solutions that can enhance the experience of the caregiver, the patient and the family members is incredibly rewarding. 

I imagine you have at least a handful of interesting anecdotes, having worked with Herman Miller for so many years. Would you be able + willing to share one of these unforgettable stories with Lily Spindle?

Yes, I do and yes, some of these I can not share.  But some I can.  What is interesting about your question is the way you asked it: "unforgettable stories".  After an employee has been with Herman Miller for 20 years, we become known as a Water Carrier.  In Native American societies, the water carrier plays an essential function that helps a tribe survive. Former CEO, Max DePree, introduced the concept of water carriers to Herman Miller in 1987, and described them this way in his book, Leadership Jazz: “The tribal water carrier in this corporation is a symbol of the essential nature of all jobs, our interdependence, the identity of ownership…” Part of the role of the Water Carrier at Herman Miller is to pass along stories to the newer employees within our organization.  One of the reasons we use stories is that this is a way we as humans can more easily learn.

Here's a story for you that you may not know:

In 1954, Charles and Ray Eames designed a home for Max DePree and his family in Zeeland, MI.  After residing there for approximately 20 years, he was contemplating selling the home.  Word got around town that he was considering the sale.  At the Herman Miller company picnic, one of our employees asked if he could purchase the home.  However, Max had not decided yet, if he would sell, but if he would, he would give the first option to buy to him.  The DePree family sold the home and the Herman Miller employee, Rynbrandt,  purchased it in 1975. Herman Miller purchased the home back in 2010 with plans to restore and preserve it.. The side story goes that Max began looking through old photos of the home to assist Herman Miller in the restoration.  As he spotted pieces of furniture that had been in the home, but had since been passed along to his family, he began calling his children to give it back in an effort to place back to its original "home". 

Charles and Ray Eames, posing with their chair bases. Photograph: Eames Office

Charles and Ray Eames, posing with their chair bases. Photograph: Eames Office

Collage of a room display for An Exhibition for Modern Living, 1949. Photograph: Eames Office

Collage of a room display for An Exhibition for Modern Living, 1949. Photograph: Eames Office

 

You are, as far as I'm concerned, a gastronome of significant proportion. Your dinners last for hours upon hours, replete with multiple courses, many bottles of wine, and a buzzing table of artists, writers, designers, and entrepreneurs. Did you ever consider making beautiful, delicious food your full-time passion?

Rebecca, yes, I have pondered this in the past.  However, at my age now, I enjoy simply providing my gift of cooking for friends and families.  I began cooking at 4.  When I was 6, my father told me that I should be a "food taster" in a restaurant. Back then, food critics and chefs were really not on the radar of my family in my small town. 

I have a dear friend that is a chef and caters beautiful meals, upon my retirement, I would love to work for her.


Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Morning. I get up most days between 4-5 am.


You and your husband, Denny, have quite a few rescue cats. What are their names and where are there most beloved sleeping spots in the house?

Nambe-on top of the cat tower
Sir Stirling-on top of Nambe
Julia Alexander-In the Eames aluminum chair
LBC (little black cat)-under the Eames sofa
Mija-on an orange pillow on the Eames sofa


Name your favorite Herman Miller design and describe it using three words.

Eames Molded Fiberglass Chair
-Comfortable
-Classic
-Sleek

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It seems like you travel a lot (like A LOT a lot) for your job. What are the things you never travel without?

-My coffee press and Peet's Coffee (two things, but they go together)


If you could have lunch with one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? And where would you dine?

Julia Child in my backyard.


*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.

Roll out the welcome mat with our top 10 doormat picks!

What better way to greet a new year than with the almighty welcome mat? From irreverent to elegant, the welcome mat says quite a bit about you in a mere 20 by 30 inches. It’s one of the very first things visitors see upon approaching your home and it’s a chance to showcase a bit of your personality and style, ‘cos you know you got it.

Incidentally, if anyone knows the history of the doormat and would care to share its anecdotal inception, we’re all ears – all I could manage to find on the information superhighway was that the word’s first use was in 1946 (allegedly). So much for an information superhighway.

In no particular order of greatness, here you go! TEN MATS to make your front, back, and side doors more awesome than you ever thought they could be. *(Lily Spindle insider tip: most of these can be just as fantastic when used indoors - for instance, a Chilewich mat by your kitchen sink is one of the simplest ways to add color and texture to your kitchen, renders sink-standing considerably more comfortable, and they're exceptionally easy to clean - just spray with cleaner and hose these babies down!)

These colorblock, textured mats made in Maine from reclaimed float rope are durable and pretty. Get 'em   here  .

These colorblock, textured mats made in Maine from reclaimed float rope are durable and pretty. Get 'em here.


Handmade in Oakland, CA, constructed using fire hoses, these beauties work in a mud room, garage, or at your front or back door. Get 'em   here .

Handmade in Oakland, CA, constructed using fire hoses, these beauties work in a mud room, garage, or at your front or back door. Get 'em here.


Proud dog owners, heads up! This jute doormat from Nino is available   here

Proud dog owners, heads up! This jute doormat from Nino is available here


Made in the Philippines, using scrap flip flop foam procured from sandal factories, making these dang pretty and environmentally kind, as well. Get 'em   here .

Made in the Philippines, using scrap flip flop foam procured from sandal factories, making these dang pretty and environmentally kind, as well. Get 'em here.


Hello, GORGEOUS. Make your visitors feel sexy + attractive, even if it's just the UPS dude with your Purple Carrot delivery. Get 'em   here

Hello, GORGEOUS. Make your visitors feel sexy + attractive, even if it's just the UPS dude with your Purple Carrot delivery. Get 'em here


In a bold graphic chevron and made of vinyl, this Catherine McDonald design is all sorts of audacious. Get 'em   here

In a bold graphic chevron and made of vinyl, this Catherine McDonald design is all sorts of audacious. Get 'em here


The Hippo mat, designed by Ed Annink and produced by the Amsterdam-based company Droog, is made of PVC and coir. Hungry, hungry hippo, anyone? Get 'em   here

The Hippo mat, designed by Ed Annink and produced by the Amsterdam-based company Droog, is made of PVC and coir. Hungry, hungry hippo, anyone? Get 'em here


We love these Chilewich shag mats in a major way. They're spectacular inside and out and are mega easy to clean. Get 'em   here

We love these Chilewich shag mats in a major way. They're spectacular inside and out and are mega easy to clean. Get 'em here


The Feet-Back II Radius doormat features a stainless steel base and plastic (replaceable) bristles. Made in Germany, you can get 'em right   here

The Feet-Back II Radius doormat features a stainless steel base and plastic (replaceable) bristles. Made in Germany, you can get 'em right here


A little humor (hand-painted, no less) never hurt anybody. BYE FELICIA! Get 'em   here

A little humor (hand-painted, no less) never hurt anybody. BYE FELICIA! Get 'em here

Hello, new year

Donut, Greta, Fred, + Lucie wishing you a healthy + creative + fun + beautiful 2016.

Donut, Greta, Fred, + Lucie wishing you a healthy + creative + fun + beautiful 2016.

It's 2016!

My husband and I stayed in last night, of course, as so many of us with animals do on these bacchanalian holidays, and endured a panting, pacing, panicking shepherd mix twisting her head maniacally towards the celebratory explosions in the sky until around 2 AM. Yay! Kablamo! Happy new year! Crikey.

OK, all that wild, inconsolable canine terror aside, a new year invites the very real opportunity to loosen the grip of whatever (or whoever) isn't serving you well and to create your own damn future, filled with much more of what you love, much less of what you loathe, and an expansion of this thing we're all in together.

I read this recently on Instagram and, heck yeah, it sounds hokey as shit, but it can be enlightening + powerful, seeing the disparity in those things and recognizing that you have the power to make changes in your world.

MAKE A LIST OF THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY
MAKE A LIST OF THINGS YOU DO EVERY DAY
COMPARE THE LISTS
ADJUST ACCORDINGLY

with love from me and Deb and the rest of the Lily Spindle cohorts.
xx - Rebecca

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.
― Neil Gaiman


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

The Power of the Pillow

Ferm Living's Kelim Cushions; $100+up; available at Lawson Fenning. (image source: Domino)  

Ferm Living's Kelim Cushions; $100+up; available at Lawson Fenning. (image source: Domino)
 

Pillows are powerful - good ones can make your space pretty damn spectacular; bad ones can create a real downer of a room. For that matter, even a boatload of superfluous pillows piled onto a sofa can make your space look disorganized and somewhat junky and, hey, if you've gotta move pillows from one piece of furniture onto another just to be able to sit your butt down, you've got too many pillows. And that's much too much of a good thing.

Deb and I find we're shopping for pillows several times a week, as throw pillows are entirely unique to each space we see and there are zillions of options out there in the world. In our exhaustive and entertaining adventures in pillows, we've learned a thing or two. Here are a few Lily Spindle tips:

#1 - Whatever size the pillow cover is, go one or two sizes up with regards to the insert (i.e. a 20"x20" pillow would call for a 22"x22" insert). Unless you happen to love a flaccid pillow and abhor a plush, fulsome pillow, of course. And in that case, entirely ignore this wisdom..

#2 - If the sofa is leather and slopes backwards at all, try to find pillows that can (literally) stand on their own, like a thick Kilim or cowhide pillow. A slippery silk or velvet pillow typically slides onto its back like a helpless turtle when placed against leather upholstery, which may sound kind of adorable but it looks kind of terrible. Trust me.

#3 - Mix your patterns and textures, but do so with discretion to avoid looking like a lunatic. For instance, if you're using a bold pattern in bright primary colors in one or two pillows, the others should be relatively neutral - quiet patterns or one particular background color with a single stripe or detail that complements the whole lot of them.

In general, pillows should require zero assistance and effort once you've got the right ones dialed in. Their job is to hang out and be awesome. We've gathered up a few of our favorites right here, from the divine to the darling. Have at it!

xx - Rebecca

   Mid-20th century Indonesian silk Ikat pillow, $330; 1stdibs.

 

Mid-20th century Indonesian silk Ikat pillow, $330; 1stdibs.

Aviva Stanoff Purple Stain Velvet Pillow; $275+up; abchome.com

Aviva Stanoff Purple Stain Velvet Pillow; $275+up; abchome.com

Stone Textile Studio's Tuxedo Pillow; $215

Stone Textile Studio's Tuxedo Pillow; $215

Vintage Moroccan pillow; $450; Habibi Imports.

Vintage Moroccan pillow; $450; Habibi Imports.

Mud cloth pillows; $110-$140; Etsy

Mud cloth pillows; $110-$140; Etsy

Donna Wilson wool pillows - Badger, Pup, Elk, and Kitty; $140/each

Donna Wilson wool pillows - Badger, Pup, Elk, and Kitty; $140/each

Dark Indigo, $200+, House of Cindy

Dark Indigo, $200+, House of Cindy

Malibu pillow (made of vintage Mexican Serape); $230; House of Cindy

Malibu pillow (made of vintage Mexican Serape); $230; House of Cindy