Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bilbo and Me: A Real Summer Love

A Well-Used Patch of Reading Grass
Credit: Samantha Lamb/Tumblr

Did you read anything this summer?  I sure did.  Summertime is great like that - gifting those of us who have a spare couple of hours during the day with some extra sunlight and a soft patch of green grass to lay on so that maybe we're able to take a breath and jump into an adventure.  My choice this past June? Re-reading The Hobbit (for the third time).  J.R.R. Tolkien's prelude to Frodo and the Fellowship's infamous journey always reminds me of the first time reading it: my older sister Diana and I sat in our parents' backyard, eating peanuts and drinking blue Kool Aid and found ourselves magically tied up in dragons, dwarves, and one brave little Hobbit.  That was more than a few summers ago, but with the anticipation of the first installment of the film adaptation approaching, I felt I owed Mr.  Bilbo Baggins a visit.  I traveled from Bag End to the Lonely Mountain and back this June!
 What was your summer adventure?

Monday, August 27, 2012

New York, New Friends

We are proud to say that, while in New York, we had the pleasure of meeting the great mind behind blog Made by Girl - Jen Ramos.  What a fantastic honor it was to have also been included in the list of NYIGF products that caught her eye.  Pyar&Co. thanks you so much, Jen!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Novel Idea

Smythson Large Floppy Manuscript Book/Barneys New York

Watching the children of the neighborhood march down the street, decked in gold and navy hues, pleats and buttoned blazers has us yearning for the days when we'd beg mom to write our names in her elegantly classic script on the crisp covers of our black and white speckled notebooks. Although those days are long gone, why not treat ourselves to some grown up school supplies, like Smythson's Manuscript book? The oversized pages are cradled between the poppy-colored leather binding, inspiring us to finally begin working on the next great novel, or maybe even help us transform our mundane notes and to-do lists into a flowery, Fitzgeraldesque description of a modern day working girl!

Friday, August 17, 2012

NYIGF Preparations

To fall in love with a place is one of life’s most unique pleasures. It happens when a stranger smiles warmly at you across the street, finding yourself less a tourist, even when the camera hangs comfortably around the neck. It happens when you enter the neighborhood bakery, the petite, lovely owner asking for your name as she hands you a loaf of French bread - so good, you forget you are not in Paris. But above all, we find ourselves falling in love with a place while the anecdotes and visions that have twirled in our minds over our voyage synchronize to the experiences we are living outright. This is the moment when the excitement we fantasized about finally turns into reality.

Anna Bond/Rifle Paper Co.

For Pyar & Co., the road to the New York International Gift Fair has been chaotic, with our team finding distinct lessons to pack in our valises, alongside our well-planned outfits and comfortable, yet fashionable shoes. However, as our team finally departs from our Chicago headquarters to the shimmering land of New York, we are as sparkly, vibrant and lively as our pillows!

A box of pillows is a lot heavier than you'd think!

Each box lifted down flights of stairs, each letter carefully addressed and stamped, each pillow carefully dressed to meet its new owner, all tangible contributions adding a wholesome notch onto the thermometer chart, bringing us closer and closer to full New York preparation. Eager to turn our hard work into lasting memories, our team curiously awaits meeting the names we have come to recognize from the hours of fulfilling research. Those names are transforming from abstract into faces that will become our life-long friends. The cosmopolitan backdrop to our success, New York will prove to be a worthy snapshot in the Pyar & Co. scrapbook.

New York, Pyar & Co's ready to take you by storm!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Date with Alex Berlin

If any of you have ever been to Jayson Home & Garden here in Chicago, you’ll know it’s a special place for special things.  To get lost in this expansive menagerie of the unique is easy and pleasurable.  We were set to meet blogger and interior designer Alex Berlin of Things That Sparkle for the first time here and sure enough we ended up wandering around searching for one another, unsure of what the other would look like.  And finally, in the sun room next to a glowing vintage yellow chair (shag and all) the modern Alex stood.  She laughed and said it was like we were on a blind date together. But our time together was anything but awkward.     
"When I post about things like fashion, I try to keep within my general asthetic so that way, even when I’m not posting about interior design necessarily, they know what my taste is."

If you aren’t already familiar with her blog, Alex possesses a special way of weaving in and out of life’s fun and carefree times, all the while sharing her deeper thoughts on success and the constant strive for happiness.  Nothing overstated, nothing too flashy, just the things that are on her mind, the things that make her smile, and the thoughts she has along the way. 

Things That Sparkle reached a new level of blogger success due to a crafty Nutella recipe, and Alex Berlin Design was the proof that passion is probably the most important ingredient for success in our work lives. 

"With [Alex Berlin Design], I am ok with the lines being blurred because I love it so much. When I have to work until 10 o’clock on a Saturday night, I’m ok with it."

As we strolled around Jayson, the easy gentle nature of Alex unfolded into the wise insights of a genuine woman allowing herself to enjoy the life she’s living and the work she’s doing.   

Alex Berlin on switching careers:
This is what would have happened: I probably would have stayed in [marketing]. I wasn’t bad at it. It was a very safe place for me. I think my job would have been something I kept very separate from my personal life in order to be happy. With [blogging], I am okay with the lines being blurred because I love it so much. When I have to work until 10 o’clock on a Saturday night, I’m okay with it. There’s something very fulfilling about doing what you love. It seems like a given, but really finding something you feel passionate about and that feeds your soul - there’s nothing better.

“There’s something very fulfilling about doing what you love. It seems like a given, but really finding something you’re passionate about feeds your soul. There’s nothing better.”– Alex Berlin

Alex Berlin on taking risks:
I’m not inherently a risk taker, at all. Quitting my job – I never, ever, thought I would do something like that – I applied to 20 schools [for college]. I like options, I like things planned out. I graduated in four years when all my friends stayed at Boulder for six years. I had a job that started two days after my graduation. I don’t like things to be unstable. With that said, I think quitting my job and turning down that job in marketing was the first time I’ve ever stirred the pot. I won’t say I enjoyed it – it was really scary and I felt unstable – but it pushed me to do this.

"I think having my house published in Chicago Magazine was by far the biggest thing. For a designer to be published in a tangible magazine, it was really amazing. And it was my own house. A project is amazing, but my own house was the very first thing I ever did."

On childhood influence:
My parents both have a really great interior design eye. Neither of them are designers. I always wanted to be involved in their decorating stuff. Even as a kid they both would include me in the process. I think that was really my first sort of interaction with design. When I started going to school and I was doing a full architectural floor plan, they were like “Oh, this is not [just] choosing paint colors.” And there is nothing wrong with choosing paint colors! To be honest, that’s my favorite part of the job. But it made sense to them then why I was going to school for a year and a half. I wasn’t going for just color theory classes. I was going to implement and understand [design].

On blogging:
I opened a Blogger account and hit publish. After a year and a half I decided that I should do it. I didn’t realize how impactful blogging was for a long time. At first, I was really private: I never used my name, I never posted a picture, I never said where I lived. And no one wants to read that. You can’t identify with it, you can’t understand the voice behind what you’re reading. There are parts of it that make me really uncomfortable, and there are parts of it that I’m ready and willing to embrace. I just kind of find a place I feel comfortable in.

"The more original content you have, the better off you are. Pinterest has pushed that on people and it has taken blogging to the next level."-Alex Berlin

Thursday, August 2, 2012

An Urban Oasis

Like a bustling green oasis nestled within a vast urban terrain, the Green City Market of Downtown Lincoln Park was a welcome sight. 
“We see mostly the same people. We talk about how their week was and what they are looking for this week.” – Walter from Granor Farms
On the brink of our own market debut at the New York International Gift Fair, a trip to India wasn’t a viable option.  So, there we stood: breathing in deep, drinking in the organic inspiration of veteran marketers.   

The crowd swirled and folded around each vendor hoping for a glimpse of the unique and the fresh.  The farmers didn’t boast of their hard work or push the benefits of their hormone-free, pure fruits and vegetables.  They stood quietly behind their work, letting the vibrant greens, reds, and full flesh speak for itself.
“I’m absolutely in love with being here. I love showing people and feeding people local, healthy food.” – Paula Jermias, Market Manager of an independent farm in Urbana, IL.
 “Sometimes it just doesn’t work out,” we were told by vendor, Zach Harris.  And yet here he was and there he would be each day after, confident in his purpose and his ability.  Harris was tanned with strong hands.  He spoke plainly and we understood the value of his words. 

Green City Market had an essence about it, a transformative power.  By pairing the patrons with something special and desired, it found searching, hopeful faces and turned them satisfied and smiling.  And then there was gratitude.  Gratitude for the process, for the appreciation, for the mutual creation of happiness.  We look forward to just such a place while we prepare for New York.