Archive for ‘April, 2013’

When the Pursuit of Creativity and Reality Collide

Below is a link to a wonderfully-written article about the struggle to live a creative life in a material world and the conflict it often creates. While written specifically from a woman’s perspective, the struggle she describes is one that nearly all but the few and very fortunate people who make their livings in the creative arts can relate to, no matter their gender. – A Life Designed

I’m For Sale

Creative ambition is lovely, but what happens when you need real money?

BY GENEVIEVE SMITH for ELLE – April 9, 2013

When I was 26, my then roommate was a great scavenger of furniture. One day, she came home with a daybed frame: a twin-size wooden box with only three legs, which is likely why someone had left it on a curb in the first place. The frame sat propped against our dining room wall for the next year, until I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband), and she let us take it. My husband made a fourth leg out of salvaged wood, and we found a cushion that more or less fit the frame in the “as is” section of IKEA. The back was constructed from a mattress pad rolled up and stuffed into a homemade pillowcase, and the whole ensemble was eventually covered with some black corduroy fabric that we bought for $10. All told, I think we spent about $40 on the “couch.” That was six years ago. At the time, I thought of our jury-rigged furniture as a temporary arrangement, a way station on the path to adulthood. Now it serves as a reminder of how slow and grueling the road to financial security can be.

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‘ALD’ Look Of The Week


KISS = Keep It ‘Summer’ Simple.

With temperatures already creeping towards triple-digits in many parts of the country, it’s not too early to begin shedding your winter layers and getting back to basics for fun in the sun. The already hot and sweaty editors at A Life Designed have selected a few ‘must haves’ to help us, and you, keep cool this summer season.

Here in sweltering Phoenix, AZ one can get away with wearing a t-shirt and shorts pretty much year-round, and we do! That doesn’t mean a life spent in baggy shirts and cargo shorts though. Instead, we like;

1.) Armani Exchange’s Pima V-neck Tee and Cotton Chino ShortsSimple without being sloppy, these classics will get you through even the hottest days in style.

2.) Add a touch of retro cool while protecting your eyes from the summer glare with these limited edition ‘Porter’ sunglasses from Warby Parker.

3.) Sandals aren’t the only go-to choice for footwear during the dog days of summer. These lightweight Espadrilles by TOMS offer a stylish, cooler alternative.

4.) The nicest clothes in the world wont mean a thing if your face looks like a dried-out leather baseball glove. Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense with SPF 50+ and Facial Fuel with UV Guard offers your mug serious protection against the harmful rays of Ol’ Sol.

A Life Designed

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Now Playing: Fitz and The Tantrums

Warning! If these guys don’t make you wanna get up and dance… You may be dead.

Now this is fun stuff! Described as “soul-influenced indie pop, Fitz and The Tantrums brings an eclectic mix of Motown and Stax label sounds stirred in with a strong dose of the blue-eyed, Philly soul sound of Hall & Oates. And that’s a very good thing… Really!


Given the Hall & Oates influence, it’s no surprise to us that our first exposure here at A Life Designed to Fitz and The Tantrums came when band founder, lead singer and keyboardist Michael Fitzpatrick and singer/percussionist Noelle Scaggs were guests on Daryl Hall’s highly entertaining Palladia TV show Live From Daryl’s House. It only took them performing a couple of songs together to hear the similarities in style. Fitzpatrick and Hall sounded as if they were born to sing together.

No matter what their influences, Los Angeles based Fitz and The Tantrums is BIG fun and definitely in heavy rotation here in the ALD man cave. Give ’em a listen but be sure to bring your dancin’ shoes… You’re going to need them!

A Life Designed

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Artist Spotlight: Julie Notarianni

The Impatient Gardener

Illustrator, Designer, Art Director… This talented NW artist does it all.

If you’ve been reading the Washington Post recently, chances are you’ve enjoyed the colorful illustration work of Seattle-based illustrator Julie Notarianni. No stranger to newspaper readers in the Pacific Northwest, this talented artist spent several years adding visual interest to stories for the Seattle Times. With Julie’s ability to visually and vividly articulate a stories’ subject matter, it’s no wonder that art directors and editors  around the country are beginning to catch on to the appeal of her colorful style.

Be sure to check out Julie’s blog to view more of this multi-talented artist’s work.

A Life Designed

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Welcome to ‘The Big Heap’


A day of fun in the sun at the Big Heap Vintage & Handmade Festival.

Stuck out in the middle of the Arizona desert(isn’t everything in the middle of the desert here in AZ?), in the tiny cowboy-tinged town of Cave Creek, an annual event of outsized funky and retro fun takes place… The Big Heap Vintage & Handmade Festival. Always a sucker for handmade, industrial-inspired cool ‘stuff’, A Life Designed ventured out into the 90 degree sun in search of some artistic inspiration. We weren’t disappointed.


This 3 day event is a gathering of artisansvintage vendorsjewelersmetal sculptors and musicians, bringing some of the very best Arizona finds in handmade and vintage goods into one place. With sculptor Aaron Voigt’s metal robot greeting me at the entrance, I knew this was gonna be good!


Booth after booth of any type of handmade, repurposed vintage finds you could possibly be on the hunt for were on display. Almost as fun as sifting through the terrific items for sale was taking in the colorful dress and decidedly 60s-vibe of many of the people, both vendors and visitors.



So many great items are available at The Big Heap, it’s hard to pick favorites. One booth that immediately caught my eye was Paris Montana. Anybody that uses an ultra-cool Airstream Bambi trailer to display their goods is tops in our book!



Another standout was the WATTO distinctive metal wear booth. Amazing rock-insipred handmade jewelry, (and more), by a husband and wife team… Very cool.



Lovers of industrial style furniture made of repurposed materials will find much to love at The Big Heap. A particular favorite was the furniture made of old radiators, and chunky steampunk-inspired lights… Brilliant!


All in all, a day spent sifting through the funky finds at The Big Heap is a terrific way to pass the day for lovers of all things handmade and nostalgic. Put it on your ‘to do’ list should you ever find yourself wandering through the Arizona desert.

A Life Designed

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Get Yer Motor Runnin’


The Espresso Veloce V12 Machine… Gentlemen, start your engines!

For those of us who’ve always thought of our morning coffee as petrol for the body, here is a logical dispenser for your fuel; The Espresso Veloce V12 Machine, $TBA.


This caffeine-dispensing beast is handcrafted from common automotive materials like aluminum, magnesium, and titanium and will be limited to a mere 500 units. Ever on the lookout here at A Life Designed for cool ‘stuff’, we’re not quite sure exactly what to make of this, but we applaud the ingenuity and effort!

A Life Designed

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