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Capistrano Beach, CA

Habitation Co. is committed to honoring the process of living in a particular place and the journey of discovering beautiful objects that reflect the unique styles and stories of artists around the world.  Every pretty item you purchase supports creative individuals, communities, and organizations on almost every continent.

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About the Process: Creativity, Meditation, and Finding Inspiration in the Everyday

Hailey Fynaardt

 image courtesy of Marianne Angeli Rodriguez

image courtesy of Marianne Angeli Rodriguez

Marianne Angeli Rodriguez is an artist and designer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her work is greatly inspired by her unique upbringing in various countries and cultures around the world, as well as the sights, sounds, and flavors she experiences in her everyday life. I fell in love with Marianne's work after finding her on Instagram before our own trip to New Orleans a few years ago and have followed her creative journey ever since. In fact, one of Marianne's "Offerings" paintings hangs in my own home, and inspires me on a daily basis. When Marianne and I discussed the idea of offering a collection of her original paintings through Habitation Co., I couldn't wait to learn more about her creative process! You can find links to our collection of original paintings in the shop after the interview. 

Enjoy the process!

Hailey


I never once considered taking up art seriously as a career, but I always had the urge to create things... It was an unusual effort of sustaining what seemed like a dormant beast, that I was subconsciously both avoiding and hoping would wake up.

Tell us a bit about your creative background growing up...

My parents are avid collectors of art and handmade goods, they acquired interesting pieces from travels abroad, and from local artists in whichever country we happened to be based in, including sculptures, textiles (rugs, accessories, traditional garbs), hand carved furniture, and paintings. Being surrounded by these unique items made me curious about art. When I was 10, I lived in Guatemala and our neighbor happened to be a watercolor artist, so my mom arranged for me to take an after- school session with her. That was my first ‘real’ art class. I never once considered taking up art seriously as a career, but I always had the urge to create things, so I made it a point in high school and college to take every single elective course in the arts. I took classes in photography, ceramics and mixed media collage. It was an unusual effort of sustaining what seemed like a dormant beast, that I was subconsciously both avoiding and hoping would wake up. 

When did you discover your true calling as an artist and decide to turn your passion into a business?

When I moved to New Orleans from New York, there was a period when I was completely on my own with few friends, I spent a lot of time by myself drawing and painting quietly and comfortably. Although I still had a job that I reported to, I would spend my evenings on personal projects, which grew into doing commissions for other people, and then further to collaborating with local and national brands. 

What core message do you want to share through your work?

I hope that my work is a reflection of the eclectic sensibilities that have helped shape me, to share beauty through various arrangements in color, pattern and texture. Deeper than that, I want my work to be a gentle reminder of how we are all connected, to appreciate one another and to appreciate nature. 

 image courtesy of Marianne Angeli Rodriguez

image courtesy of Marianne Angeli Rodriguez

Can you walk us through a normal day in your life?

I begin my day attending to my three pets, I make sure that they get their care and exercise. Over coffee, I go over my small goals I hope to achieve for the day. Lately my schedule has been completely erratic and nocturnal. I handle all of my admin tasks in the late afternoon/evening. I start the creating process around 9/10pm usually up until 6/7am, sleep til noon, and start over. This may change with the season... 

Where do you tend to create your best work? What's your favorite time of day?

My best work comes about when I’m by myself in my home studio. My favorite time of the day are the couple of hours before sunrise, and then right at dawn - that tiny window of darkness before the sun comes up is magical. I’m usually wrapping up my work and washing my brushes at this time.  

You're a total nightowl! Where do you find most of the inspiration for your work? 

Thanks to the internet, I find a lot of interesting images on Pinterest and google that I’ll file for reference. I am obsessed with folk art. I love going to and always find inspiration at flea markets, vintage stores and ethnic food markets. I also draw a lot inspiration from foreign films in the set and costume design. 

 image courtesy of Marianne Angeli Rodriguez

image courtesy of Marianne Angeli Rodriguez

If you could host a dinner party for 3-5 dream guests (past or present) who would you invite, what would you love to ask them?

I would invite his holiness the Dalai Lama, Alan Watts, Bob Ross, Salvador Dali and Ellen Degeneres. I’d ask them each what they would have done differently in life, and then after dinner we would all do group Karaoke.

Now that's a Karaoke party I'd love to come to! Can you share a bit about your creative process: what is your first step in creating a new painting?

I like to produce work in small groups or series, this way it becomes a longer drawn-out practice with the opportunity to go back and forth and refine whatever ideas and notions I want to capture. Sometimes I draft ideas out in pencil in my sketchbook and other times I go right in with paint. I often switch between watercolor and acrylic.

Are there any books, podcasts, blogs, etc. you would recommend for someone interested in a creative career?

There are so many wonderful resources out there to choose from! Personally, my creative journey this year has been tied strongly with my quest for spiritual wisdom -  keeping creativity a priority while putting forth the conscious effort to be a better human. I feel it’s important to first have clarity on what your intentions are, especially in doing creative work which serves as your unique message that you cast out into the world. On my website I have a section listing the various resources that have inspired me to pursue a path with more mindfulness. (link at bottom)

 image courtesy of Marianne Angeli Rodriguez

image courtesy of Marianne Angeli Rodriguez

Where do you hope your business will be in 5 years?

It would be a dream to have a brick and mortar studio-shop space that would dually function as a small center for community gatherings geared toward the practice of meditation and all things related to wholesome living. 

That sounds amazing! Ok, last question: if you could hop on a plane tomorrow, where would you love to go? 

The sacred sites of the Buddha, Thailand


Shop our exclusive collection of original paintings from Marianne's "Offerings" series here

To view more of Marianne's work and follow her creative journey visit:

Website: www.marianneangelirodriguez.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marianneangelirodriguez/

Link to meditation resources: http://www.marianneangelirodriguez.com/dhamma/

 

About The Process: Building Community and Branching Out in a Small Business

Hailey Fynaardt

A few weeks ago, Habitation Co. turned one. At the risk of sounding cliché, in some ways the past year flew by, but in other ways (and on most days) this has felt like the longest year of my life. In the short time that I have been building my business, several of our friends have had actual babies of their own and as they've shared their stories of sleepless nights and mini-milestones, I've nodded along, picturing my own delirium-inducing-joy-filled-days of keeping my own "baby" alive. But the thing is, a business isn't a baby (it actually drives me crazy when people refer to them as such), and compared to a delicate, darling, awe-inspiring newborn human, a business is a nebulous, illusive, all-consuming, tentacled beast with an appetite for blood, sweat, and tears. Also, no one asks you if your baby is "making any money" or if you "still like it"... that would be weird. 

But this beast of a thing? I love it, like really love it, more everyday. Sure, this past year has had its ups and downs, but I feel like a kid on a rollercoaster who was just told I could stay on for another turn- white knuckles, nausea, nervous excitement, and all. A year is hardly enough time to get the hang of anything (marriage taught me that) but I'm starting to feel less and less like an imposter every day. I guess in some ways, this first year felt like getting to know a new friend (again, business: not human), who is also your roommate, or your conjoined twin, or maybe it's mostly like that weird mole you should have looked at. Well, this isn't going as planned, but then again, that's pretty much my point.

More than anything, this past year has been a lesson in letting go of expectations, control, big fluffy dreams, and fear. I've learned to embrace failure just a tiny bit better, and let my guard down when it comes to making a complete fool of myself- if only, as it often is, for myself. And I've had a helluva time doing it- and the "doing" is what it's really all about. Habitation Co., in various manifestations, had been a dream of mine for over a decade, like a little seed that I carried with me through college, cross-country moves, on job interviews, and around the world, and while last year was when I decided to finally plant it, it still has so far to grow. (ok, now it's a plant?)

Today, Habitation Co. is primarily an online shop- a space where I have been able to convey the essence of habitation, "the process of living", through curated products that help tell a part of this story in a tangible way. Throughout the course of sourcing and selecting products made by people I admire, I've been able to blend my love of storytelling, culture, history, style, and design with my interest in taking better care of the earth, and everything on it. Also, a shop was familiar.

My love of shop life goes way back to my first job in high school working for a lovely locally-owned stationery and gift boutique where I made lifelong friends over a few years. In college and beyond I learned everything I could about the ins, outs, and upside-downs of managing a small business from mentors I still deeply admire. I love being a shopgirl- getting in early, staying late, merchandising, customer service, holiday adrenaline rushes- the whole gig. But when it came to opening my own shop, I wasn't in a position, financially or otherwise, to start with a storefront, so I decided to test the waters of online retail. 

If you've ever held the palm of your hand over a jacuzzi jet, you have an idea of what it feels like to start an online retail business with little to no prior experience, but I was determined to swim. For a year I swam upstream, working my way backwards through business school by way of books, podcasts, blogs, e-courses, webinars, newsletters, and more, trying to learn all I could about how to run a successful business, expand my reach, refine my brand, and find my purpose. I became a total geek over creative entrepreneurship to the point that I started to pursue a career as a business-branding-lifestyle-all-the-things "consultant". I figured I could put my 2,000+ hours of research into practice,  and save someone else some time and money to invest in their own ideas. This lead to me working with a few local design clients and to me starting a local group for creatives that meets monthly to chat small business, creativity, and ideas for collaborations which has been amazing, though I started to wonder if I could do "both" (I saw my shop and my creative services as separate) and worried that I would have to choose between them as a lot of business "advice" recommends. But, I can't choose- not in the way parents say they couldn't possibly pick a favorite child- but because my beast was born with tentacles, lots of them, and they are all essential for its survival. I know that now. 

This past year has been spent mostly thinking about the "Habitation" part, but the "Co." really encompasses so much more. Traditionally "Co." stands for company, but in this case, "community" feels like a better fit. My dream for this business is to grow into a vibrant creative community, a space to share ideas and experiences about this "process of living in a particular place" that we're figuring out together.  I am so excited to see how Habitation Co. continues to evolve, both in my personal creative journey, and as a platform for sharing inspiring stories about people, places, and things I discover along the way. 

So here's where I tell you what to expect from Habitation Co. but I delete and re-type that sentence five times because I'm sonervousexcited to even put it out there... but here goes:

People: stories about or interviews with artists, writers, travelers, chefs, farmers, teachers who are making the world a more beautiful place and exploring "the process of living" in their own ways.  I'd really love to explore different mediums to see what makes sense or how that could evolve. A Podcast? Events? Retreats? All of the above? I'm in, if you are! 

Places: travel guides or tours of where we travel, work, eat, shop, live. As someone who dreams up imaginary trip itineraries or mentally redesigns houses in the shower, I'm super excited for this one, and I love getting all up in people's spaces, so fingers crossed they'll be cool with it, too. 

Things: objects, art, products, books, documentaries, clothes, food, tools, and more that reflect what Habitation Co. is all about. Slow, simple, quality, beauty, natural, ethical and the like. 

Ideas: this is a big one that will usually share a space with one or more categories above,  but here's where we'll be talking about sustainability, entertaining, creativity, business, and life in a way that feels casual, approachable, non-reproachable, and proactive. We're all learning. 

So, I didn't think I wanted to write this post, and halfway in, I knew I didn't want to publish it. A year isn't long enough to know a whole lot about a business or what it means to have one. I mean, at a year old humans are just learning what to do with their teeth and toes, and what gravity feels like, and we start to recognize pieces of their personalities and preferences. Again, I'm not comparing a business to a baby, but I guess I understand the temptation to. I want to say that this year has taught me "so much" because it's true, but then I think, "what do I know"?  I'm hoping that in another year, I'll look back on this post and laugh at how little I really knew. In reality, I'm still in entrepreneurship pre-school, so yes, if at the end of a year of doing this, I've learned to not pee my pants in public, occasionally ask for help, and develop my fine-motor skills, then I'll consider it a win.

And speaking of help, I would love any ideas or input for how to make this space better. Do you know of someone who should be featured on Habitation Co., or of a product that could be a good fit for the shop? Do you know how to produce a podcast? Let's chat! info@habitationco.com

...

Thanks, seriously, for being a part of this process- and for reading this wholllle thing. 

Talk to you soon!

Hailey

Storytelling: Making Meals & Memories (& a GIVEAWAY!!)

Hailey Fynaardt

If there is one thing, a single language, that unites all of us, from every corner of the world, in huts and houses, shanty towns and skyscrapers, it's food. Food is often synonymous with emotion- love, grief, joy, fear- but perhaps most of all, comfort. Food, or more specifically, preparing it, is truly a feast for all of our senses- smell, taste, sound, sight, and feel. It is also closely linked to our memory and can instantly transport us back in time, whether to our grandmother's kitchen or a tiny cafe around the world. 

These days, with so many options at our fingertips, we may spend more time scanning restaurant reviews than recipes, and we rarely put much forethought into what goes on the dinner table. This is why cookbooks are such a great opportunity to not only learn something new, but create new memories with and for our loved ones. But without context, a cookbook can feel stagnant or overwhelming, which is why we love cookbooks that tell a deeper, personal story- of the recipes they share and the people who have passed them along to us.

In Her Kitchen is a wonderful collection of stories and portraits of grandmothers around the world, a glimpse inside their kitchen, and the secrets behind their signature recipes. There is something so raw and pure about the women in this book, it is savory from cover to cover. While many of the recipes are from places most of us may not be able to find on a map, with a few surprising ingredients (um, caterpillars?), each of these grandmothers welcomes readers into her kitchen, tells you to pull up a chair, and without bothering to ask if you're hungry, serves you up seconds and thirds of her special dish. 

The Plantiful Table is a colorful, globally-inspired treat that focuses on sustainably sourced and local plant-based ingredients. The author, Andrea Duclos, is a lifestyle blogger based in West Palm Beach Florida where avocados and jackfruit grow bigger than our heads. She writes about simple living, sustainability, travel, family, and of course- food! Drea has been vegan for several years, and when she had her daughter, Marlowe, it was only natural for her to raise her on a vegan diet at well. "What Marlowe Eats" is a super-popular segment on her blog and the inspiration behind this family-friendly cookbook. Her husband, Alex, is a chef as well, and they share a passion for food from all around the world so expect some super colorful, plant-based dishes like pad thai, tamales, and even paella!

C O O K B O O K   G I V E A W A Y!

** Since we love both of these books so much, and since Drea happens to be our friend, so we decided to host a fun cookbook giveaway over on Instagram! We are giving away a copy of In Her Kitchen AND The Plantiful Table to ONE lucky winner! Just follow Habitation Co. on Instagram, and leave a comment on the giveaway post with your favorite meal that reminds you most of home! **

Visit Habitation Co. on Instagram! Winner will be selected Thursday, May 26th!

Click here to see our other cookbooks and here to visit Drea's other favorite picks!