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Monthly Archives: August 2018

Pillow Talk with Beth Kuttner

A true trailblazer, Beth Kuttner has created her own path in life and her career. This powerhouse business woman and mother-of-two is the founder of craft fair Homespun, director of development for local non-profit African Women Rising and has a new venture in off-road vans in the works.

I first met Beth in July when DIANI Living participated in Homespun. I was excited for the opportunity to get to know her more as we sat down for my fifth Pillow Talk series.  Beth really has a firm sense of self and it’s clear that her interests really dictate where her energy goes. I admire how grounded she is and am so excited that you’ll get to know her too. We chatted about a little bit of everything, from inspiring female brand builders and stepping into nature to recharge, to her life’s greatest accomplishment.

When you were in school, what was your favorite subject and what did you want to “grow up” to be?

Art. I wanted to be a painter.

You have your hand in a few different projects, what contributed to you becoming the business woman that you are today?

I took a different path after high school and didn’t attend college. I moved to Paris at 18 and started modeling. My first day in Paris I shot the cover of Elle magazine which was a huge deal, but I, of course, was clueless. I worked in the business for many years and the experience of traveling the world and doing it alone shaped my life.

What is the inspiration behind Homespun?

Homespun began as a backdrop for my husband’s furniture design business. His workshop was a 5,000-square-foot glass greenhouse on the Gaviota Coast. I wanted to create a marketplace to showcase my husband’s work and curate a collection of handmade goods.

The first show in 2015 brought the community together and I was shocked by the tremendous response. Santa Barbara hadn’t seen anything like Homespun and I certainly had no idea it would grow into what it is today.

Explain your role as Director of Development for African Women Rising.

As director of development I raise awareness for what we do for women in post conflict Africa. We work in Northern Uganda and have programs in micro-finance, regenerative agriculture, adult literacy, and girls education. AWR is a grassroots nonprofit and has done so much to change the lives of women. I’m honored to be a part of the AWR team. Go to our website: africanwomenrising.org to learn more.

Which female entrepreneurs do you admire?

That’s a question I could answer for days. The first two that come to mind are my friends, Micheline Pitt and Lori Stern. Micheline is a clothing designer in Los Angeles. Her 1940’s inspired line, Vixen, empowers women of every shape and size from XS-4X. Lori is a chef who I have watched blossom over the past couple of years. She uses nature as her palette and her creations are visual masterpieces. I’m so proud of them both. They have built brands on their own terms with grace, kindness, and tenacity.

What do you think is the single most important ingredient to success?

Never give up.

How do you try to manage your work/life balance?

A small example is unplugging midday to take a walk on the beach. Technology shouldn’t rule one’s life. Stepping into nature is a terrific way to balance. I also love to host intimate backyard dinner parties. Nothing better than cooking all day and feasting with friends.

What do you see yourself doing next to express yourself professionally?

Living the van life @iglhautallradusa (shameless plug). My husband and I are the U.S. distributors for Iglhaut, the world’s most capable on and off road van. I am looking forward to this journey on the road meeting overlanders and selling our product.

How do you manage the fear and doubt that inevitably creeps in when you’re paving a less trodden path?

At this stage in my life, I do not let fear drive anything I do.

Was there any opportunity that you had in your life that you didn’t take?

Can’t think of one.

What is something you’ve accomplished personally or professionally that you never dreamed possible for yourself?

My greatest accomplishment is raising two daughters and homeschooling them both until 8th grade. It will forever be my greatest achievement and nothing can even come close.

What’s the biggest gift you give yourself to recharge?

Gardening. I’m sometimes in my garden from sunup to sundown.

What’s the first thing you do after you wake up?

Stretch and let the cat in.

What’s the last thing you do before bed?

I check in with my children and give my husband a kiss.

How do you make your bedroom a sacred space?

I keep it uncluttered, dimly lit, and dog free.

For more information on Homespun, email Beth at bethkuttner@me.com

To learn more about the Santa Barbara non-profit African Women Rising, visit africanwomenrising.org

Follow along on Beth’s latest venture with Iglhaut on her instagram: @iglhautallradusa

 

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Archer Zip Front Jumpsuit, $425

Peasant Ruffle Top, $370

Near and Far, $29.99

 

Long Sleeve Blouse, $385

The Outsider Crop in Honey, $210

Thais Sandal in Bronze Cocco, $250

Barbara Streisand, $70

Pure Linen Striped Queen Duvet Cover, $380

 

 

 

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Floral Arrangement Tips with Caroline Diani

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Fresh flowers around the house is one of life’s most simple pleasures. They instantly brighten up any room and are a lovely touch for when you have house guests. Creating the perfect floral arrangement can be daunting, which is why I like to keep it simple.

Whether you’re picking up a bouquet from the farmer’s market or cutting some stems from your garden, DIANI Living’s new glass bottles and vases are perfect for simple floral arrangements. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes that stand beautifully on their own or clustered together for a layered look.

I typically buy fresh flowers weekly and to make them go a long way, I like to keep the arrangements simple and follow a few tried-and-true tips for long lasting blooms that instantly enhance any room.

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When it comes to picking out flowers, look for blooms that are in season. Your local farmer’s market, floral shop or even your own backyard are all great places to find flowers that are in season. Our Garden Flora book is a great source of inspiration.

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Choose foliage that varies in size, texture and shape for an arrangement that catches the eye. Including a few focal flowers with unique buds or bursts of color will help anchor your arrangement.

I typically start with the tallest flower and work around that, keeping the overall shape organic and asymmetrical.  I like these small vases with narrow necks because you can use one or two stems per vase. By clustering the vases together and changing up the height and stem length, it creates variety and a lovely layered look.

Before I begin arranging in the vase, I like to trim the stems and cut off any dead leaves or broken petals. Our Tajika Scissors are a great tool for that.

Let the mood and colors of the room dictate your arrangement choice. For example, I chose a yellow color story for the bathroom to add a fresh, energetic feel to the space.

In the living room, I wanted my arrangement to complement my home decor. I went with single stem arrangements and chose flowers with natural hues and texture.

For the bedroom, I opted for warmer tones and more romantic shapes to set the mood. 

Shop our glass vases and bottles, as well as gardening books and accessories online at dianiliving.com or in-store.

On Caroline: The Shirred Agata Top from Apiece Apart, to inquire call 877.342.6474 or email customercare@dianiboutique.com.

 

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Elan Bottle, 3″x4″, $15

Round Elan Bottle, 3.75″x5″, $15

Highball Vase, 2.25″x4″, $6

Tajika Large Scissors, Copper, $120

Highball Vase, 2.25″x8″, $12

Garden Flora, $40

Centipede Vase, 3″x3.5″, $10

Caroline Diani

Shirred Agata Top in Pachu Mama, $265

The Low Slung Jean in Pearl, $310

The Low Slung Jean in Pearl, $310

Highball Vase, 2.25″x6″, $10

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Pillow Talk With Colette Cosentino

At DIANI Living, we know that a single home piece has the ability to transform a room. But decorative artist and muralist Colette Cosentino takes this to the next level. From ornate ceiling paintings to whimsical wall murals, Colette has been enhancing home interiors with her stunning decorative art for over 20 years.

I recently got a sneak peak inside her Santa Barbara studio and art gallery for our Pillow Talk series. While she added some finishing touches to a canvas, we chatted about her artistic process, inspiring lady bosses and her favorite place to recharge.

When you were in school, what was your favorite subject and what did you want to “grow up” to be?

My favorite subject was, of course, art. Music was always right up there too. I knew I would end up in the arts, whether as a musician, actress or artist.

What contributed to your goal of becoming the decorative artist and muralist that you are today?

Decorative painting is a career I fell into by way of working in set painting and set restoration at the Granada and Ensemble theaters in Santa Barbara. Before moving to Santa Barbara I really didn’t know that decorative painting was a thing outside of that which is historical. Never in a million years did I think I would be painting decorative ceilings and beams in people’s homes. With one opportunity came an accidental career.

What is the inspiration behind the work that you do?

I’m very drawn to nature. I’m moved by lacy leaves, trees, water, horizon lines, clouds, stars, and twilight skies. So it seems because of these things, I’m compelled to create.

What is your artistic process like? How do you maintain that while also fulfilling a client’s needs?

It all depends on the project, and a delicate balance to be sure. I need to let a project swim around in my head for a time before taking ideas to paper. Then I like to experiment and create without an agenda, allowing for mistakes and creativity. Then I’ll go to work within the confines of the project, once all the wiggles are out. This seems to work out best for everyone.

Which female entrepreneurs do you admire?

Firstly, my mom. She has always been successful at being self-employed. From selling Tupperware in the old days to owning a frame shop and gallery to selling real estate. She’s a go-getter.

Also, I really admire Caroline Diani. I’m impressed and inspired by what she has built here. I admire her thoughtfulness about life, her aesthetic, her approach. Other lady bosses: Christy Martin (Modern Romantic) and Patti Pagliei of Waxing Poetic. Also: Oprah.

What do you think is the single most important ingredient to success?

The most important ingredient is believing in yourself. Plus: don’t give up.

What’s the most challenging part of your professional life?

The business aspect 😉

How do you try to manage your work/life balance?

It sort of works itself out.

What do you see yourself doing next to express yourself professionally?

I’m working towards making my work accessible on a larger scale to all those who are moved by it and want a piece for themselves.

How do you manage the fear and doubt that inevitably creeps in when you’re paving a less trodden path?

I’ve eliminated all other options, and yet I hold on loosely. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster—from feeling strong and confident to asking myself, what the heck have I done?! I have been practicing putting one foot in front of the other. Keep moving forward with what’s right in front of me, that way it’s not all so overwhelming.

What have you been most afraid of trying in your career, but you did it anyway?

Renting a decent sized art studio in a retail location in downtown Santa Barbara. But I did it and I’m so glad I did.

Was there any opportunity that you had in your life that you didn’t take?

About 20 years ago I was offered a position to create for a company that made artful home decor products. I do wonder sometimes where that road would have taken me.

What is something you’ve accomplished personally or professionally that you never dreamed possible for yourself?

I have not accomplished it yet.

Any sleep rituals that you use to help quiet the mind after a long day?

Sleep comes very easy to me. I’m usually pretty worn out by the end of the day.

How do you make your bedroom a sacred space?

I like to have all white bedding and freshly laundered linens. It really does something for me.

What’s the biggest gift you give yourself to recharge?

It’s rare, but sometimes I will allow myself to actually spend the entire day in bed, which is my favorite place. I’ll check out entirely, nap and binge watch TV. It’s not glamorous, but it’s divine.

What’s the first thing you do after you wake up?

I look out of the window. I like to position my bed next to a window, it feels like you are sleeping outdoors that way. I love waking up and looking out to the morning sky, examining it closely.

What’s the last thing you do before bed?

Look outside at the night sky and stare at the stars.

Thank you Colette, your artwork is breathtaking! To learn more about Colette and her decorative artwork, visit her website www.colettecosentino.com or stop by her gallery and studio space at 11 West Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara.

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Vintage Floral Batik Pillow With Poms

Vintage Floral Batik Pillow with Poms, 20×33, $330

Vintage Linen Fern Pillow

Vintage Linen Fern Pillow II, 22×22, $165

Vintage Linen Fern Pillow

Vintage Linen Fern Pillow, 19×19, $150

Dotted Line Pillow

Dotted Line Pillow, 17×24, $150

Azzedine Long Sleeve Blouse

Sea Azzedine Long Sleeve Blouse, $350

Isabel Marant Etoile Release Blouse

Isabel Marant Etoile Release Blouse, $440

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Caroline’s Go-To Summer Recipe

Caroline Diani

In the summer after work, Jeffrey and I want to be outside enjoying the weather as much as possible. So when it comes to meals at home, we like to keep it fresh and simple.  For those of you who don’t know us well, we’ve been experimenting with a mostly vegan diet, which involves exploring the local farmer’s market for fresh produce and turning to plant-based recipes for inspiration. I’ve been digging into my collection of cookbooks from DIANI Living and one of my favorites for fresh seasonal fare is Sunday Suppers: Recipes + Gatherings by Karen Mordechai. We love her concept of slowing down and celebrating the traditions of food and community. There’s a simplicity to the time spent preparing and sharing locally-sourced food that helps me feel grounded after a busy day.

During the summer months I find myself turning to her Watermelon Salad with Lemon and Coriander Seed Dressing for a quick and easy dish filled with bright flavors and a satisfying crunch. It’s a great mix of fruits and vegetables and packs up well for lunch on-the-go, as a light dinner or tossed together for a last minute pot luck with friends.

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I don’t know what I would do without our DIANI Living Apron!

(Trend Top from Isabel Marant Étoile)

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Our Large Serving Bowl and Round Teardrop Spoons are perfect for tossing together summer salads.

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For this recipe and more delicious dishes, shop the Sunday Suppers: Recipes + Gatherings cookbook on our website or find it in our store!

 

 

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DIANI Living

Sunday Suppers, $35

DIANI Living

Large Serving Bowl, $225

DIANI Living

Amola Hand Harvested Sea Salt, $12

DIANI Living

Round Teardrop Spoon, $70

DIANI Living

Handmade Dessert Bowl, $35

DIANI Living

DIANI Living Apron, $130

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