Field Trip : The Eames House


One of the highlights of spring so far has been, without a doubt, a visit to The Eames House in the Pacific Palisades. Rama and I snuck away while the kids were at school one morning. It was overcast and quiet, and we got to explore the grounds and house exterior without interruption. 

It's no secret I'm a big fan of Charles and Ray Eames, and it felt a little bit like a dream to peer into their home and imagine their life together.

Charles once said: "At all times love and discipline have led to a beautiful environment and a good life." Looking through the windows, you can see that he and Ray truly lived that. There was love in the carefully curated collections, the stacks of textiles and books, beautiful artifacts and artwork. And there was a true marriage of form and function, utility and warmth. It is what I aspire to as a designer... and as a home maker, too. 

A Girl & Her Uke

The other day, Rama pointed out that it's been a while since I'd had an actual factual hobby. Before I had kids, there were a lot of things that kept me occupied, like arts and crafts, going to shows, keeping a sketchbook, and even learning how to make a web site.  But these days, making web sites and designing has become my job, and my sketchbook is mainly used for exploring ideas for other people's passions. I realized I needed to carve out some time for creative pursuits just for me.

So I picked up the ukelele Rama gave me for our anniversary earlier this year, and I hopped on to YouTube in search some instruction. I found the best gal with a simple tutorial and got playing.

When Rama came home that evening I was so excited to play for him what I'd learned, a super simple version of Bob Marley's Three Little Birds. It was just three chords, and my fingers stumbled over them, but when I sang along, it almost sounded like I knew what I was doing. 

Illustration by Rama Hughes

Strawberry Season

As far as I'm concerned, this is one of the most wonderful times of the year in Southern California: Strawberry Season. Since today's Earth Day, here are a few photos from my daughter's school field trip to a local farm, where we got to pick perfect, red, ripe strawberries to our hearts' delight.


Few things make me happier than bowls full of berries at the ready, and I know my kids agree. They can eat a pound of berries in 5 minutes flat! 

The Story Behind the Silhouette

There are some famous photos in our family. You know, the ones that everyone remembers—the ones that reveal an entire history. The photo above is a famous one. I look at it, and my childhood comes flooding back to me. 

As many creatives know, branding your own business is sometimes the hardest task. When I went freelance over 10 years ago, the name Darling Studio just stuck. And when it came time to pair the name with a logo, the idea of a silhouette just fit. They weren't so trendy back then, and the aesthetic matched my sweet design style at the time. Plus, I had this family history. 

People often think that the silhouette in my logo was drawn from a childhood photo, but I was actually 29 years old when I traced it! I was still wearing my hair in pigtails. 

I have been tracing our own family's history and progress with silhouettes. These Thank You notes were drawn when Henry was about 3 and Maira 1. The rubber stamp below was updating a couple of years later. Now that my kids are nearly 7 and 5, it is probably time for another update. 

Love Fools

Happy 49th Anniversary to my parents, who were the first people to teach me about unconditional love. I still catch them looking at each other like they are in this photo sometimes, and it melts my heart. 

now showing : my interview on creative thursday

My friend Marisa inspires me. She is not only wildly creative but she is kind, courageous, thoughtful and thought-filled. Any time we hang out we talk for hours and hours—we even got parking tickets one late night because we’d lost track of time.

So when she asked if Rama and I would participate in her new web series Creative Thursday, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I knew it promised good, honest conversation about one of my favorite topics: Living a creative life. 

Today our episode airs. As I write this post, I haven’t yet watched it, but I know we talked a lot about our jobs as a designer (me), as an art teacher (Rama) and as parents (both of us)—and what it’s like to do what we do every day. I know there were a lot of laughs, too.

I hope you’ll check it out and enjoy! The other episodes feature some wonderful artists, designers, makers and shakers too, and there’s so much good food for thought.

Illustration by Rama Hughes

40 Good Things

My 40th birthday is this weekend, and to celebrate I'm doing something good. 40 good things, actually.

I've made a list of 40 things that can bring joy to myself and the people around me, and I'm going to try to do them all before year's end. These things might be tiny tasks or they may involve a grand plan. They may take 30 seconds or span a whole weekend. They may involve a stranger, a friend, a family member or myself (because I deserve a little kindness, too!). One thing's for sure, though: They are gonna be good.

40 Good Things

Give someone else a present
Pay 5 strangers compliments
Leave 10 lucky pennies on the pavement
Leave 15 comments on social media
Send 20 postcards to friends

Leave 25 love notes in the world
Write in my journal for 30 minutes
Give $35 to a charity
Take a 40 minute nap
Do every good thing that presents itself that day

Write a letter to someone you admire
Bake cookies for a neighbor
Cook Rama's favorite dinner
Spend one hour of uninterrupted Henry time
Spend one hour of uninterrupted Maira time

Let Rama sleep in
Make a mixed CD and give it away
Let the person behind me cut in front of me at checkout
Take my mom out to lunch
Treat myself to a massage

Help a new mom
Ask a stranger how his/her day is going
Offer a Mac tutoring session to Mom & Dad
Donate things I don't need to Good Will
Give spare change to the next person who asks for it (if no one does, put it in our travel piggy bank)

Buy coffee for the person behind me in line
Bring treats to the kids’ teachers
Make lunch for Rama (put a love note in it)
Write a thank you note to a former teacher
Feed someone who could really use a meal

Forgive someone
Apologize to someone
Make someone laugh
Reach out to a friend who may be struggling
Send a random friend flowers

Tip someone generously
Give Rama a back rub (don't time it)
Go one day without complaining
Go one day without gossiping
Call a family member just to say "Hi"


Care to join me? Follow along here or on Instagram, where I'll post about it from time to time. I'll use the hashtag #40goodthings.