FACING FEARS this October

10/05/2014 § Leave a comment

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So it’s October, the month of Halloween. Since I don’t watch scary movies, for me this is the month I spend dodging late night TV ads. This got me thinking of how fear shows up in our real lives. I wondered, what fears are keeping me from growing and how can I face them head on this month (without muting them or turning my gaze until they disappear)? Earlier this year I began my own business and let me tell you, it’s not for the faint at heart. I expected a challenge but was surprised at how personal some of these challenges would be.

It has been my experience that all fears will decide to suddenly pop up and have a big party the moment you step out of your comfort zone and thread unchartered territory. It can be a bit tricky this business of facing fears. It requires true courage and even wisdom – not necessarily to conquer snake headed monsters – but to take a good honest look at your self & your habits objectively though kindly, and ask:

  • How am I ? (#1)
  • Do I like where I am now and do I want to keep going down this road?
  • What do I truly want?
  • What realistic small changes can I make today?
  • What long term commitments am I willing to make to make this happen?

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Courage is needed to look at oneself sincerely. Wisdom is needed to sort it all out. Knowing yourself allows you to outwit yourself when you try to sabotage your own growth for the subconscious fear of change. Yup, that’s right. Not only do you have fears to face but once you do decide to face them, it’s very likely some parts of you will resist and will actually sabotage your efforts! You might develop a cold so you can’t show up, you might make yourself a to do list that will take the rest of your existence to complete so you’re “too busy” and “don’t have time” (but is color coding your closet really that much of a priority? really??). Our minds are very crafty, the smarter you are most likely the more ingenious the sabotage. If you’re honest with yourself you’ll likely see that again there’s just more fear. And it’s okay, just “keep carrying on”.

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This month, instead of succumbing to the “fear” I propose we each take a look around and try a new route. What opportunities are YOU not seizing because of fear? Maybe it’s not taking a step in a certain direction for fear of commitment. Perhaps it’s a fear of not being good enough to do something you want. Fear of being alone. Fear of the unknown. Fear of rejection. Fear of failing. What FEARS are keeping you from what you truly want and how can you empower yourself to challenge them this month?

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Finding Fine (& Affordable) Art

08/25/2014 § Leave a comment

One of the most common questions I get asked by friends and family is where to find good quality art at reasonable pricing. For some reason most of the art I see readily available is either really boring stock photography, tired beaten down reproductions (like Starry Night by Van Gogh or Water Lilies by Monet), or are just plain bad. So then where do normal individuals with good taste and limited budgets find decent unique pieces for their homes?

Many clients want beautiful pieces but don’t necessarily have the interest or pocketbook to acquire a serious collection*. So what do I do? Yes, I peruse the shelves of popular vendors (like West Elm, Anthropologie, Williams Sonoma, Horchow, etc) as well as some local showrooms but I also have a growing list of online resources that I turn to. Art is very personal so finding that one piece that speaks to you and that works well within a given space is sometimes a tricky affair. You might have to spend a good amount of time searching for that perfect piece but it definitely helps if you are looking in the right places.

These online shops are good places to start: Good luck with your search!

Dwell Studio

Prints are modern & abstract. Most start around $350 for smaller sizes and go up to about $1,500 for larger pieces. (medium – high price range)


Indigo Dot


Exhibition A

Founded by designer Cynthia Rowley, the pieces are contemporary, edgy, conceptual and avant garde. Signed limited editions by contemporary artists. Most sizes are very reasonably priced starting around $200 and reaching $500+ even for the larger prints (low – medium price range)

Alexandra Dreaming by Kon Trubkovich on Exhibition A

Alexandra Dreaming by Kon Trubkovich


From Le Cri III by Anne Lise Coste on Exhibition A

From Le Cri III by Anne Lise Coste


20 x 200

“It’s Art for Everyone”. As they claim, this is REAL fine art at affordable pricing. Pieces are conceptual and intellectually engaging but are also easy on the eyes, balanced and modern & work well within many different interiors. Prints are signed limited editions signed by the artists. Smaller formats are very affordable (ex: 16″ x 20″ $240) and larger formats quickly jump to typical fine art pricing (30″ x 40″ $2,400). (medium price range)

Poolside by Helena Wurzel on 20 x 200

Poolside by Helena Wurzel


Cemetery Rd, 3169-3327, Viewmont, NY by Pete Mauney on 20 x 200

Cemetery Rd, 3169-3327, Viewmont, NY by Pete Mauney


If you are looking for one-of-a-kind pieces without the gallery prices this is a great resource. Though the overall aesthetic seems to be more commercial than the other shops I’ve listed here, if you dedicate some time you can find some great original pieces directly by the artist. Smaller formats can start as low as $100 and can go upwards of $3,000 depending on the medium and sizes. You must remember these are original pieces though, not prints like the others. (low – high price range)

Reflections by Margaret Biggs

Reflections by Margaret Biggs

Humble Chakra by Christina Massey  on Zatista

Humble Chakra by Christina Massey




If you’ve planned an event like a wedding or a baby shower you’re probably familiar with Minted.com for their beautiful and affordably priced stationary. Turns out they now also sell art prints! Beautifully curated (like their stationary) the site conveniently offers very affordable pricing, a wide range of sizes and the option to purchase framed or unframed. Starting at about $20 for 5″ x 7″ prints and around $325 for framed 30″ x 40″ prints.

Formation by Kelly Ventura

& I Love to Read by Niki Digrigorio


Little Paper Planes

Sells smaller prints at very affordable pricing. Pieces have a contemporary/psychedelic/hipster vibe. Not for everyone, but if you sift through the collection you’ll find some quirky unique gems. (low price range)

Pink Tectonics Print 3 by Amelia Midori Miller on Little Paper Planes

Pink Tectonics Print 3 by Amelia Midori Miller

Print 2 by Jazmin Berakha on Little Paper Planes

Print 2 by Jazmin Berakha

Print 2 by Jazmin Berakha - Close Up on Little Paper Planes

Print 2 by Jazmin Berakha – Close Up

* For those interested in fine art collecting (or window shopping), The Drawing Center‘ s Viewing Program (estab. in 1977 in SoHo, NYC) is a spectacular online Art Registry of curated works by emerging artists.  Be prepared to be impressed & intrigued.


Trace Design: The Studio & The Blog

08/06/2014 § 2 Comments

Hello World! So it’s been a long yet extremely fast and fruitful two years since my last post here on Trace Blog. It’s amazing to look back and see how much has changed and to observe what has remained constant.

The Setai in Miami Beach

View from Above – The Setai Penthouse in Miami Beach

In this time I worked as project manager for Valeria Lopes, a Brazilian designer based in Miami, FL.  I spent a year going to The Setai once a week for a remodel of a beautiful penthouse with North to South ocean views over Miami Beach. I also spent about half a year going to the Icon Brickell to completely finish a 2 bedroom apartment from the bare concrete slabs to final accessorizing. I was ID project manager in a design team collaborating with STA Architectural Group (as well as many other consultants and engineers) on a 17,000 SF new construction home in Star Island. I also managed and assisted with numerous other projects at the firm.

The Setai Penthouse in Miami Beach

In the meantime, I opened the doors to Trace Design Studio to begin to fulfill the requests of personal clients that had come knocking on my door. First, was a young Brazilian couple that had purchased a vacation apartment at the Trump Towers in Sunny Isles. Then a renovation for a young family with a Mid-century modern aesthetic. Then a professional grade minimalist kitchen for a personal chef. And, luckily, it goes on and on…


The Icon Brickell Apartment

I also took a creative hiatus the latter half of last year to experiment with display design and installations as a Display Coordinator at Anthropologie in Merrick Park. The company (part of the Urban Outfitters Group along with Free People)  is truly amazing and having the opportunity to take a peak behind closed doors, even if just briefly, was truly inspirational. It gave me a glimpse into the corporate retail world as well as the foundation of their compelling visual merchandising and story-telling.


Golden leaves installation for Fall 2013

Anthropologie Fall 2013

Forest trunk installation for Fall 2013

Finally, (woof – I didn’t actually realize how much I’ve been up to!) I decided to open The Studio full-time and focus all my time and energy into synthesizing all this experience and information into Trace. I hope you will stay along for the ride.

Thank you for reading my lengthy explanation of what I’ve been up to. I did feel I needed to explain why I had been too busy to post but hopefully now you’re convinced and will forgive me for my absence. I will post about my latest projects but will mostly continue focusing on that which inspires me, excites me and informs my designs.

I’m glad to see you here. Let’s continue the conversation!

Best Always!


Trace @ Art (Basel) Week MIAMI 2012

12/09/2012 § Leave a comment

Is it just me or is Art Basel weekend growing exponentially by the year? Unfortunately for us 9 – 5 Miami-Dade residents, there’s so much to see (20+ shows) and so little time!

Every year I focus on the main event at the Convention Center, so this year I thought I’d mix it up:

Thursday I went to Peace on Earth, an art fundraising event by For The Cause Events benefitting Planting Peace @ FIFTY in The Viceroy. I decided to do my part by bidding on and actually won a photograph that’s already up in my living room!

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at Design Miami (the sister event to Art Basel with a focus on collectible design) and today I’m dedicating to Scope (a large fair in Midtown for emerging contemporary artists and galleries).

I’m about to get out the door for an early brunch to prep me for another day of art. So, the news will come first, the photos will follow in a few days time!

Check back for:

Design Miami/2012 HIGHLIGHTS

Scope Miami 2012 – Emerging ART

Happy Sunday!


The Magical Alhambra in Granada

11/26/2012 § 1 Comment

Precedents, vol.1

It was first year, first week of studio, when my professor suggested I research the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Off I went to the silent Richter stacks to begin an exercise that would lead me, four years later, to the actual orange courtyards of Andalusia.

I didn’t know then, but I was to soon fall in love with the romanticism of this place and the past it represented.

Of course, the illustrations I found from numerous 19th century Orientalists didn’t help at all! These artists depicted exotic (and at times erotic) notions of what life would have been like in the Alhambra when it was still inhabited by the Nasrid rulers (around 889 – 1492). Claude Debussy wrote songs for it & Washington Irving wrote a collection of stories while living in the complex, called the “Tales of the Alhambra“. There’s no wonder I got this romantic notion about the place that could only be satiated by a flight to Madrid, a rental car, and a road trip South to Andalusia.

What follows is a collection of the 19th century illustrations alongside photos from my trip of the same spaces being depicted. For the most part, they are in consecutive order that I walked through the palace and shot them.

There is so much history and legends surrounding this palace complex I thought it’d be best to leave them to the experts and just wet your appetites with photos. If you’re intrigued and would like to know more about the history of the Alhambra, please visit: Alhambra.org

On the way up the hill to the Alhambra…

The Gate of Justice – by Asselieneau, 1853

The Gate of Justice on a cold day in December…

The Patio del Cuarto Dorado – by Frans Wilhem Odelmark, 1889

The Patio del Cuarto Dorado on a busy afternoon…

Detail on opposite wall of the Patio del Cuarto Dorado…

Patio de Comares – by Asselieneau, 1853

Patio de Comares

Detail of door at Patio de Comares

Sala de Los Embajadores – The Day after a Victory at the Alhambra by Jean Joseph Benjamin Constant, 1882

Detail in the Sala de los Embajadores (at the far end of the Patio de Comares)

Arab Baths on East side of the Palacio de Comares

Patio de los Leones – by Asselineau, 1853

Daguerrotype by N.M.P. Lerebours from mid-1800′s

Patio de los Leones

Sala de las Hermanas – Asselineau, 1853

Sala de los Abencerrajes – Asselineau, 1853

Ceiling at the Sala de las Abencerrajes

The Partal Palace portico

View of Granada, Spain from the Partal

Lower Gardens in the Generalife

Generalife – by Doré

Generalife Lower Gardens

The Main Canal Court in the Generalife

Portico at end of Main Canal Court in the Generalife

Looking back in the Main Canal Courtyard in the Generalife

Sultana Court in the Generalife

Peinador de la Reina (Queen’s Dressing Room)

View of the Alcazaba

It’s Turkey Day 2012!

11/22/2012 § Leave a comment

Gobble gobble! I hope everyone has a spectacular holiday with your loved ones with some juicy turkey and all the works!

Thank you readers for checking in and following my blog. You inspire me to keep going and staying creative!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

X O X O ,

The Birth of a Handmade Logo

11/15/2012 § Leave a comment

A few weeks back, when in need of a little graphic design inspiration, I found Work by e Bond – a web and book designer who’s spent several years designing for Anthropologie. You’ll see her site has beautiful spreads with tactile visuals filled with paint sploshes, cardboard, and handmade typography. I’ve always wondered how they actually created these graphics…

Then, while checking in on one of my favorite blogs this Sunday, Bright Bazaar, I found the missing link: “Behind the scenes of making a book cover“.

I had spent all day Saturday shooting the apartment of my lovely and talented designer friend, Lisa Whyte*, and woke up Sunday still in “the zone”. One thing led to another, and I began shooting letters using a long leaf I cut from my garden. I then used a little Photoshop magic to create the above logo.

So here’s my first shot** at what I like to call “handmade graphics”!

The possibilities are endless. The only drawback I foresee: I’ll have to make some extra space to house my growing collection of ribbons, rocks, branches, paper, fabrics, and other beautiful things I’d like to photograph.

* I’m currently finishing up these photos and will share them here in the very very near future!!!

** Click on the logo image to see it more up-close-and-personal!


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