Yesterday, I introduced you to the Stella Carakasi brand and told you to get ready for a whole week of Stella on Daisy Tribe. Today we have a really special feature of one member of the Stella Carakasi team, Yarra McClure. In addition to her role as Stella’s Director of Customer Engagement, Yarra is a talented artist with a lifelong passion for painting. She also happens to be one of the warmest, friendliest people you will ever meet. I’m so excited to share Yarra’s story with you, and hope you will enjoy hearing about her journey from a kid who colored on the walls to the accomplished artist that she is today. (She also shares how she finds inspiration – and why her perfect Saturday morning includes coffee and a four pound chihuahua)!
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, my name is Yarra McClure and I am an artist. My art form is painting, varying from small canvases (4” x 4”) to larger works (6’ x 9’). Abstract expressionism, color and landscape are my main influences. I aim to create paintings that are imbued with feeling. When someone looks at my work I want them to feel the aliveness of the image through my use of color and the way that the paint dances on the canvas. Painting, for me, is a way to seek a deeper understanding and connection to the world and myself. My art is where I find my home. To find that “home” I’m often inspired by other people’s work. For instance I might see something and think, “I wonder if I can do that?” Once I start trying to emulate a technique or image I begin to understand what it is and to make it my own. Part of what makes my work unique is the way that I layer paint. My paintings vary from watercolors, to lightly layered acrylic paintings to heavily layered oil paintings. In each painting I work with layers of glazes and washes of paint until I feel a harmony of brushstrokes and color has emerged.
Can you tell us a little about how you got started with painting and how you’ve evolved over time?
I have been drawing and painting since I was little. My parents always encouraged me to draw and paint – I was one of those kids who would draw on the walls. All through school I was always drawing and painting. As time went on and I thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I resisted the thought of an art path. Even in college, studying art didn’t seem practical and I tried to resist. Once I began taking painting classes I was hooked. Painting is a life-long passion for me. Over the last 15 years my work has evolved to include more symbolism, even though it is still primarily abstract. Today I feel more free to juxtapose abstract fields of paint with representational imagery. I have become more comfortable with my painting process over time which translates into paintings that are more fluid. My process is fairly simple, I start with a subject and research it. For instance, I wanted to paint a picture of Tomales Bay after a visit there. I had a general impression and then drew from photos I found after researching online. Beginning a canvas can take time, after an initial painting is established I like to draw into the painting and apply more layers. What comes across to me is a story in paint; you see the process of the painting, and the layers of paint and pencil have a history that comes alive on the canvas.
Which painting is your favorite, and why?
Wow, that is a hard question. In many ways the painting Untitled, 2001 at Stella Studio is my favorite painting (below left). I painted it after I first moved to the Bay Area – I was living in the Mission in an Edwardian flat on Liberty Street and my art studio was in a tiny basement around the corner. I remember sitting in the living room of the flat one evening and looking out the window at the wall of the building that was only about four to six feet away from our living room windows! The light from our windows was creating these beautiful ripples across the grooves of the our neighbors paneled building. This was the inspiration for the painting, and when I look at it I think of city nights and how beautiful the passage of light can be.
What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday morning?
Sipping coffee, going for a dog walk and having long talks with close friends and family. I have a busy life working in the fashion industry with Stella Carakasi – in addition I like to stay active in my free time with academic and creative pursuits. On Saturdays, I like to take Lola, my four pound chihuahua, out for long walks while catching up with friends and family on the phone. I have three siblings and this is how I like to connect with them.
Do you have any advice for living a creative life?
Creativity and beauty is everywhere. For me there is nothing like seeing powerful art to recharge my creative “batteries.” I love being surprised by the work of other artists by looking at street art, visiting galleries and museums. Living a creative life is a work in progress – be persistent with practicing your craft. Also, I recommend finding people you trust to share your work with and to bounce ideas off of – it is important to have collaborators.
Where can we find more of your work?
You can find me at my website, www.yarramcclure.com.
Yarra, it was such a pleasure to feature you on our site today. I loved reading about your journey from childhood to now (my kids love to color on the walls too so I guess there’s hope!) – and I feel like your advice to be inspired by other artists, be persistent with your craft, and collaborate with other creatives – will strike a chord with many of our readers out there. I look forward to seeing how you continue to evolve and inspire us with your art.
Tomorrow we’ll be back for more Stella Carakasi Week on Daisy Tribe, so please check in and see what we have in store!
I have to start out today by apologizing for lagging on a Weekend Inspiration post yesterday. I’ve been sick for over a week now and just had to take a week off from posting, but I promise to be back next weekend with my favorite picks from Pinterest. Today though, I am so excited because we are going to be featuring clothing from one of my favorite designers, Stella Carakasi. Earlier this month, Daisy Tribe was invited to the Stella Studio in Berkeley for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the studio and design house. We had so much fun hanging out in their cool space, trying on some of their gorgeous clothes, and even meeting Stella herself! I originally planned to do a single post about our visit to the studio, but we got so many great photos that one post just isn’t going to work – so today is the beginning of Stella Carakasi Week on Daisy Tribe! Each day this week, I’ll be sharing pieces from Stella’s collection, behind-the-scenes photos of the Stella Studio, and even a Creative Feature on Stella’s Director of Customer Engagement Yarra McClure – who also happens to be an accomplished painter. Today I’m sharing two looks from Stella’s collection, with our Style Editor Delia as the model. The first outfit includes the Sheer Drama Tunic and the Look Sharp Leggings.
Stella Carakasi’s tops are known for their architectural details, making each piece special and unique. I own a couple of Stella’s tops and each time I put one on, I feel like I’m wearing a piece of art. There is so much attention to clean lines, quality construction, and little surprise details, that really make her clothes stand out. But the best thing about Stella Carakasi is that her clothes are super wearable – they are so comfortable and versatile – and can easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion (or lack thereof – I will admit to wearing Stella while doing any number of mundane chores such as preschool drop off and grocery shopping – all while feeling super fabulous and put together with minimal effort on my part).
We styled this outfit with gold drop earrings, a gold cuff bracelet and ring – all from Janet Harrer – along with a brown Evangeline cross body bag (all of the accessories shown here are available at the Stella Studio as well). Delia is wearing a simple pair of flats, but this outfit could easily go from day to night when paired with black heels and a clutch bag.
The next outfit features the Sublime Sweater, More To Love Top, Redefined Jacket, and Look Sharp Leggings.
I love the little details in this outfit, such as the thumbhole sleeves on the top, and the tiny sequins on the sweater that add just the right amount of sparkle to your day. Like many of the pieces in Stella’s collection, this sweater is a blend of fabrics, including Tencel, cotton, cashmere and wool. And these leggings are seriously amazing for the way they smooth and flatter your entire lower body. Like seriously, amazing.
This whole outfit just looks and feels so comfy – and like the other outfit, could easily be dressed up with some black boots or heels for a more refined look.
I hope you enjoyed this post – and I hope you will check back in tomorrow for more Stella goodness! We will be posting about Stella Carakasi all week, including a few more outfits, a peek inside the Stella Studio, and an inspiring Creative Feature. See you tomorrow!
Stylist: Yarra McClure | Model: Delia Canela Vardy | Photographer: Kati Dias
One of the things I love about living in Southern California is that you can go from the beach to the mountains all in a day. Just a short drive can make you feel worlds away! Since this holiday weekend brought beautifully warm weather, we decided to skip the crowded beach at home and head out to the Cleveland National Forest to hike the Holy Jim Trail. Just a bit outside of Rancho Santa Margarita, the Cleveland National Forest covers wooded mountains with lots of hiking options. The most popular is Holy Jim Trail, leading to Holy Jim Falls.
We took the Ortega Highway East, turned left on Antonio and Right on Rancho Santa Margarita Road. The street curves around to the left and you’ll see an open gravel lot on your right with long, dirt road ahead. Pass it first to make a stop at The General Store to grab your Adventure Day Pass and then head back over to the parking. The full hike from this first parking lot is about six miles one way so most people drive up to the Holy Jim parking lot about 4.5 miles up the road. To say the road is bumpy would be an understatement! I definitely recommend a truck with good suspension and tires! Our youngest daughter was squealing like were on a roller coaster at some points on the way up. If the drive up gets too rough there are lots of spots you could pull over to get out and explore or make the hike a little longer. On our first trip up last year, my Equinox was not equipped for the drive so we pulled over and got out to check out streams and little pools surrounded by rocks. We crossed fallen logs and had a great time just exploring. Keep going and you’ll arrive at the Holy Jim Parking lot with a sign marking the trail. It’s actually about another half mile on this trail before you reach the actual Holy Jim Trailhead, but its an easy walk through tiny old cabins that you won’t believe anyone actually lives in way out there.
The trail is great for beginners and you’ll pass families with kids and dogs along the way. It’s about 2.8 miles roundtrip. There are some areas where you will cross a running creek so make sure you’ve got good footwear on and help any kids find sure footing across. My kids at 10 and 13 were having a blast following the trail, crossing the creek and looking for signs of the waterfall at the end. Our youngest is 2 1/2 and she got carried a lot! There were only three or four spots where we were a little nervous trying to get through with her, either crossing water or climbing up or down some steeper rocks. We saw other little ones on passing, and the sturdy backpack type baby carriers looked like the way to go. The more difficult the trail got, the closer we were – and just under an hour from the actual trailhead we found Holy Jim Falls. It’s tiny, as far as waterfalls go. But you can get close enough to reach your hands in and it’s beautiful nonetheless. We stopped for a few pictures and some snacks before heading back down. The waterfall really makes you feel like you reached this majestic destination on your adventure (not so) far from home.
We had a wonderful day getting out and exploring the environment so different from the beach at home, but less than an hour away. It’s a little gem hidden in the forest and a perfect afternoon adventure!
Do you know what I love about January? After the holidays, after the tree comes down and the stockings flee the mantle. After the ornaments are packed away and the post holiday sales are shopped. After all of that, the spring catalogs start rolling into my mailbox, filled with bright and cheery colors, bubbly pastels and fabulous florals, and the promise that winter will soon be over (except for those of us who live in perpetual summer on the California coast). Don’t get me wrong, I love the weather here, but sometimes I mourn the loss of boot season. It’s more like boot day here, which sounds like a theme day at my kindergartner’s school. I digress.
Lately, I’ve been loving the vibrant floral prints that seem to be everywhere. I’ve put together a few of my favorites here. Pair them with smart solids or be bold and mix in a stripe or geometric print. If a floral dress or skirt is too much for you, shoes are a great way to mix in a touch of floral for some unexpected fun.
1. Mod Cloth | 2. Ivanka Trump | 3. Calypso St. Barth | 4. Mod Cloth | 5. Rifle Paper | 6. Mod Cloth 7. JCrew | 8. Rifle Paper | 9. Nordstrom
One of the easiest ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to start cooking your meals from home. The more often you prepare your own food and control what goes into your body, the better you will feel. This preparation will lead you to make healthier choices such as eating less processed food and more fresh whole foods.
Sometimes just having the right tools in your kitchen can make all the difference. Having just a few of these gadgets in your arsenal can really make your kitchen and meal prep run more efficiently. Are you ready to rock your health this year?
Here are 10 tools I believe every healthy home should own to keep them on track in 2015!
1. Mandolin Slicer
Cut, slice, grate or julienne foods quickly and easily. It’s a great tool to slice tomatoes, onions, apples and cucumbers super thin and uniformly. In our home we love to make homemade waffle sweet potato fries using this nifty tool.
2. Immersion blender
Homemade mayo here we come. You can make healthy mayo in just 30 seconds using this tool. It’s also great to blend up sauces, smoothies and soups directly in the bowl/pot they’re in.
3. Veggie Peeler
So simple yet so useful in a healthy kitchen. A sturdy sharp peeler can really save you so much time in the kitchen. It’s helpful not only for peeling potatoes but makes peeling ginger for your green juices a snap.
4. Paderno Spiralizer
This tool is so great for staying healthy. You can make your own gluten free, one ingredient noodles in seconds. We love to make zoodles (noodles made from spiralized zuchinni) or even nooodles from spiralized butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Get creative, the possibilities are endless with this awesome gadget!
5. Mesh Strainer
This one saves me so much time in the kitchen. Making your own bone broths can be so healing for your body. I use this tool so often to strain out bones and pieces from my homemade broths. I also use it to sift my healthy grain-free flours and catch any seeds from juicing citrus.
6. High speed blender
High speed blenders, like a vitamix or blendtec can make any kitchen a dream. Make your own soups that heat up directly in the blender, energy bars, smoothies, juice, grind your own flours, nut butters and nut milks. They’re a little pricey but worth the investment because they last forever and have amazing warranties.
7. Cast Iron Skillet
Cast iron skillets deliver a lot of bang for their buck. They’re a better option than non-stick pans which can be toxic to your health. They are heavy & durable while offering super-efficient heat conduction & retention. They’re great for frying, searing, or baking. You can throw them directly in the oven from the stove top, which I love, and they only improve with age. Cast iron develops a natural non-stick finish after they are seasoned and some even come pre-seasoned right out of the box.
8. Microplane zester
A microplane zester lets you spice things up in the kitchen. Quickly zest an orange, lemon or lime. Grate ginger or garlic super fast instead of mincing. You can also grate fresh coconut, cinnamon and nutmeg for healthy desserts.
9. Food Processor
A food processor is “grate” for grating veggies like broccoli, cabbage and carrots for slaw, cauliflower for cauliflower rice, or even blend your own coconut butter from shredded coconut! You can make a health dessert by blending frozen bananas into a healthy “nice cream”.
10. Crock Pot
A crock pot is an absolute must in my book. This one tool can make cooking healthy a breeze. Make a whole chicken, a roast, homemade broths and soups, tenderloins, carnitas and a ton of one pot meals.
I hope this post inspires you to try cooking healthy meals at home, while having fun testing out some new gadgets! For more ideas on what to make, follow my Paleo food blog and Instagram account.
Editor’s Note: This post contains affiliate links, which help to support this blog and its authors.
We have a great lineup of Creative Features this month, and today I’m thrilled to introduce you to Czarina Nocon of Czarina’s Project – a line of vintage-inspired children’s apparel that is handmade in California. Czarina’s designs have a fun and modern 60’s vibe and are known for their comfort and wearability, in addition to great style. I’ve been a fan of Czarina’s for some time, so I was excited to feature her on the blog. Czarina is one of those people who seems to excel at everything creative – in addition to designing and sewing, she is also an accomplished portrait photographer, and all of the images in this post were taken by Czarina herself. Today, Czarina shares how she finds creative inspiration, how her side project turned into something more, and her recipe for a perfect Saturday (spoiler alert: it includes 80’s music and s’mores!). I hope you enjoy learning more about Czarina and Czarina’s Project.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in the Philippines and migrated to the US when I was 16. I’ve lived in Northern California ever since. I am a mom to two girls. My oldest will be 14 in June and my little one will be 6 next month.
My love of photography started about five years ago when my brother talked me into buying a DSLR. He owned a 5D Mark II. He told me to get a Canon too so we could share lenses. And I did! My first camera was a T1i and then quickly upgraded to a 7D.
I also learned how to crochet and knit, then later on sew for my youngest girl. It was mostly a hobby at first, but later on turned into a small business. I still work full time in a corporate office, so my time is not fully dedicated to sewing. I release one or two garments periodically.
How did you get your start designing children’s clothing, and how did you end up where you are now?
Czarina’s Project started last year. I was still learning how to sew and was working on small projects. I made some newborn headbands and bonnets at first, then started making DSLR camera strap covers. After a couple of months, I started designing my own fabric and sewing organic cotton leggings. The organic cotton leggings pretty much kick started Czarina’s Project. I was staying up late at nights and sewing on the weekends just to keep up with orders. But I was still trying to find exactly what I wanted. I started making dresses, which is the reason why I learned how to sew in the first place. I now have a couple of simple designs that imitate the feel of the 60’s vibe with a modern twist, that are currently available in my webshop. I also just released a new dress for spring.
How have you integrated your love for photography into your business?
I am grateful I have some knowledge in photography. It just makes it look more polished and professional when I post the items in my shop. I also would think that it saved me some moolah, not having to hire a photographer to take professional photos of my garments.
Your daughter seems to be your favorite model. What does she think about all of this?
Ha! She is! She hates trying the dresses on though, and then taking photos. You know, the photographer child syndrome always kicks in.
Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
I had one or two of my photos featured a while back, when I used to take photos every week and join in on photo sharing challenges. Also, having my garments bought and seeing them on kids other than mine feels gratifying.
What inspires you?
My daughters do, mostly my littlest one! Just because she still has that playful childish spirit. She’s polite, fun and I would say very creative.
What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday morning?
Sleeping in! Yessss for extra hours of sleep! Ha! And of course spending time with my family. Lately, we’ve devoted our weekends to exploring the trails and riding our bikes, listening to 80’s music on YouTube while making s’mores in our yard, and just watching a movie before bed time. I would not spend it any other way.
Do you have any advice for living a creative life?
Try new things and don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it quite right the first time.
Where can we find more of your work?
I have a photography blog at purplesheepphotography.com. I need to pick up my camera more and post more recent photos. Then there’s the Czarina’s Project webshop, and you can also find me on Instagram @czarinasproject.
Czarina is currently offering an exclusive promotion for Daisy Tribe readers. Use promo code DAISYTRIBE10 for 10% off your entire order anytime before January 25, 2015.
Thanks for sharing with us, Czarina! I love your enthusiasm and your light-hearted approach to business and life. I hope you’ll all check out Czarina’s webshop and social media to follow along as her business grows.
We are so lucky to have avocados readily available year round in California and there is a rarely a week that goes by that I do not pick up a couple of these green beauties from my local farmers market. Not only are avocados sinfully delicious, but they are packed with omega 3 fatty acids and are high in monounsaturated fat which can help increase “good” cholesterol while lowering “bad” cholesterol.
One of my favorite ways to serve avocados is to make a batch of fresh chips and guacamole. To keep the dish healthy, I avoid the deep fried tortilla chips and instead bake my own tortilla chips. I promise that once you try this easy to make recipe, you will never buy the store bought chips and guacamole again.
BAKED TORTILLA CHIPS
-10 corn tortillas
-Canola or olive oil spray
-Pinch of salt
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Cut the each tortilla into 4-6 triangle shaped pieces.
-Spray a large cookie sheet with oil, lay cut tortillas on cookie sheet about 1/4 inch apart, evenly coat each tortilla chip with a conservative amount of the spray oil, then sprinkle salt over the chips.
-Bake for 5-10 minutes until the chips are a light brown color. Serve immediately.
-2 ripe avocados
-2 small Roma tomatoes
-1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
-1/8 cup finely diced red onion (optional)
-1 teaspoon diced jalapeño
-1 lime wedge
-Salt and pepper to taste
-In a medium bowl, mash up two avocados to the desired texture (I prefer mine a little chunky).
-Add the remaining ingredients and mix until blended.
-Pour up a refreshing margarita and enjoy!
This was a fun week for Daisy Tribe as we have a lot of behind-the-scenes collaborations going on. The northern California girls visited the Stella Carakasi studio in Berkeley for an upcoming blog post, and also worked on a photo shoot for a feature on a new southern California jewelry line called moortown. We’ve been talking with some amazing artists and have a ton of creative features in the queue. Our Healthy Living Editor is collaborating on an exclusive paleo event that will be announced soon, and our Food Editor is prepping for LA Cookie Con next week. We’ve all finally returned from vacations and holidays with family, and are getting back into the swing of blogging and everyday routines. We have some exciting resolutions for the New Year, both personal and for the blog, which we hope to share with you soon. It’s going to be a great year here at Daisy Tribe, and we are so thankful to have you, our readers, following along. For now, I’ll leave you with this week’s inspiration, hand-picked from Pinterest just for you.
Weekend Inspiration – Week 2
A recipe for cookie butter ice cream that you can make in your mixer.
36 stunning bohemian homes I’d love to chill out in.
WhoWhatWear shows us how to pull of the undone look without being sloppy.
Get organized for 2015 with this custom photo calendar from Artifact Uprising.
15 minimalist hacks to minimize your life.
Your downward dog can boost your heart health as much as cardio exercise.
Currently obsessed with this Fuji Instax Mini Camera.
Images found on Pinterest via: Neiman Marcus (top left), Artifact Uprising (top right), WhoWhatWear (bottom left), and Keep It Sweet Desserts (bottom right).
So that’s it! Check back next weekend for more news and inspiration – and follow Daisy Tribe on Pinterest to see more of our favorite things.