And then there was La Dolce Vita. I am so very excited to share my interview with the founder of the blog La Dolce Vita and the Editor to the newly minted High Gloss Magazine, Paloma Contreras.
To begin, I should note that I adore all of the designers and bloggers that I have interviewed for the "Mission: Design" series, but I must admit La Dolce Vita is special.
After moving into my home in late 2007, I quickly turned my attention to remodeling and décor questions. I worked hard to create beautiful spaces throughout my home, spaces that incorporated my existing furniture pieces as well as new design elements. Paint colors, artwork, window treatments and accessories were just a few of the questions to tackle. Even with a stack of inspiration books that I had created over the years, I still wanted some fresh ideas. I turned to the internet. I immediately found myself gravitating back to one amazing style blog, La Dolce Vita.
As the name suggests, the blog La Dolce Vita celebrates the visions of a very sweet life. The author, Paloma Contreras, wants to share all the beauty of interior design, fashion, travel, great food, and inspiring people and places. This gorgeous online respite includes such features as Fabulous Room Friday, the motivational "Quote of the Week", a lively interview corner named "10 Things I Can't Live Without", as well as a cornucopia of inspiring design and fashion blogs. As if this wasn't enough, Paloma is ready to unveil her new online lifestyle magazine, High Gloss. Read on to discover more.
DC Metro Mom: I am always interested in what makes people start blogging. You have shared that you did so to fill some down time during your summers off from teaching. Did you ever anticipate the life that blogging would create for you? What have been some of your biggest surprises?
Paloma: When I started my blog, I never imagined that it would lead to so many amazing things. I really started it as a creative outlet and as a way to start writing again. It's actually neat to go back to the beginning and see how La Dolce Vita has grown over the past three and a half years from a series of personal essays and random thoughts to a bona fide style blog. The most rewarding thing that has happened as a result of my blog is how much I've grown as a person and the fact that I have been able to tap into my passions. Blogging has afforded me the opportunities to meet some of my style icons, establish friendships with likeminded people, and ultimately, follow my dreams by starting High Gloss Magazine
DC Metro Mom: As mentioned, you started off as a high school Spanish teacher. What made you gravitate toward a design blog?
Paloma: I enjoyed many aspects of teaching, while I felt bogged down and stifled by other elements of the profession. I struggled with a lot of guilt when I decided to leave teaching because I'd been working for "the greater good", yet I felt unfulfilled. I began writing my blog in July of 2007, right before the start of my last school year as a teacher. As I said earlier, I needed an outlet for tapping into my passions and interests.
DC Metro Mom: Your blog, La Dolce Vita, has seen tremendous growth since its inception in 2007. Your readers wait anxiously for each new post and applaud your work through the gracious and supportive comments that are posted. What is it about La Dolce Vita that resonates with readers?
Paloma: That's a really great question and the readers could probably answer it better than I can. I've always been very honest with my feelings and who I am. What you read on La Dolce Vita is not a persona, it's the real me. I try to treat people kindly and I don't think I put on airs, which makes me relatable, I suppose. And of course, from a style standpoint, some people really identify with my style, which is what keeps them coming back, but this could be said about any blog. People gravitate towards things they love and identify with.
DC Metro Mom: You have an amazing eye for fashion and, of course, impeccable design and décor style. Have you ever consider offering design services to clients either in person or via the web? Something tells me you would be in demand!
Paloma: That's sweet! I did consider offering design services for a while, but for whatever reason, I couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger. After leaving teaching in 2008, while flailing and trying to find my new direction in life, I considered going back to school and studying design. While I've done a few projects for friends and family, I feel most comfortable writing about design. I don't know. It could have something to do with the fact that I am a major control freak and working with clients requires a lot of give and take.
DC Metro Mom: I think most people assume that blogging takes very little time and is just a hobby. Readers sometimes don't know the hours that it can take to craft an interview and bring it to life on a blog. Or the work it takes to create an inspirational storyboard replete with multiple photos, image descriptions and links. Can you take the reader through the creative process of creating blogs like your "Fabulous Friday" series?
Paloma: Blogging is definitely a labor of love that requires a constant search for inspiration and hours upon hours of work. Having said that, it's also a ton of fun! Some of my series like "10 Things I Can't Live Without", The Style Files, and the new "Dream Home" series require a lot of research and months of planning. For "This Week's Quote" and "Fabulous Room Friday", I really try to tap into whatever is inspiring me that week. Sometimes, I just stumble upon a great room that is perfect for the series, while other times, I'll have a specific style in mind.
DC Metro Mom: It is plain to see that you adore travel. If you had to pick one city to live in for a year which city would you choose?
Paloma: That's a tough one! There are so many cities that I love for different reasons. My husband and I absolutely love London, though the winters would be hard on this Texas twosome. We also love Barcelona and I would love to live in Spain! I adore that country so much. Stateside, San Francisco is one of my favorite cities and it would be nice to be close to so many places in California. I recently visited Laguna Beach and Newport Beach for the first time and it's gorgeous down there. If I were looking for a slower pace, that's where I'd go.
DC Metro Mom: If you could create your own nursery, what would it look like? Can you indulge my readers with a few inspiration photos?
Paloma: I like the idea of creating a space that a child can grow into. I'm not really a big fan of themed rooms, like "butterflies" or "sports". When the time comes for me to design a nursery, I'll likely start with a color palette that I like, something with an unexpected twist, and I'll build on that with personal touches and accessories. (Nursery images attached)
DC Metro Mom: Children can often create budget challenges in any home? With daycare or the loss of an income, budgets quickly become compressed. Many of the mothers I talk to are at loss for how to effectively design a stylish room on a budget. What advice can you give to create a great family room, living room or bedroom?
Paloma: One of the most cost-effective ways to create a big impact in any room is to paint! Painting a room can change the entire look of the space. I also love sources like Homegoods and vintage shops for unique items that add a bit of punch while being very cost-effective.
DC Metro Mom: Last question, what can La Dolce Vita readers look forward to in 2011?
Paloma: I have plenty of design and fashion inspiration in store for my readers. I will most likely incorporate some more personal posts and include more about my travels since my work for High Gloss requires me to travel a lot for photo shoots. I have a very good feeling about 2011 and hope that it has great things in store for everyone!
Many thanks to Paloma! You can visit La Dolce Vita at http://paloma81.blogspot.com/.
Home & Design Bug Page - Kitchen - Grey Crawford
All Other Images - Courtesy of La Dolce Vita
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