Provo Mural Guide: A Lars Tour

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Why Murals?

Murals have been around forever but have seen an unprecedented bout of popularity since the rise of Instagram. They can be incredibly simple, like The Pink Wall of Los Angeles fame. They can also be intricate and heavily patterned. I’d be crazy not to include our murals in a Provo mural guide! The House That Lars Built team has actually painted two pieces around the town already! In 2016, I teamed up with Dove Chocolate and painted one of their classic foil-phrases behind an antique shop: What are you waiting for? The brilliant letter-artist Jill DeHaan helped design the scripting and whatnot. I had the hardest time selecting colors, but am really pleased with how it turned out. It feels wonder-full. 

Our “what are you waiting for” mural is located behind Block 100 Antiques (145 N University Ave) in Downtown Provo.

Another mural painted by the Lars team is our geometric color wall! Everything we do is about color. You can see why in our video Hue Are You? Asking a person what their favorite color is might be a silly question, but as a person who is crazy about color, it means a lot to me! The wall we painted is a tribute to color, and our geometric patterning was designed to the let hues shine. This mural of ours is located on the west side of 111 W 600 S.

The Provo Mural Guide 

Of course, our murals are not the only ones in town. I love seeing all of the art contributed to my community by fabulous artists, and I’ve narrowed down the list to some of my favorite murals. If you ever come to town, visit the murals! It’s like a community museum with the sky as the roof. 

Colorful Provo Mural

Located at 27 100 W

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CHOM Mural

Painted on the side of the tasty burger joint CHOM, this mural is allll about line play. The wall is broken up into three segments; one has a white, rolling line wandering along a black background. Another section has a circle segmented by an invisible line. The invisible line cues a color change! 

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Color Block Wall

Located on the north side of 150 S 100 W

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Maeser Park Wall Mural

This lovely work is featured prominently in a local park, and the quasi-primary color scheme reminds me of fun childhood years. I love how the artist used a familiar color scheme, but altered the colors just enough to hold my attention. Located at 600 S 500 E.

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“This is our home” Mural

Located at 111 W 600 S Provo, UT.

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Leuven Provo Bike Mural

With its hot pink hue and white lettering and bicycle, this wall painting makes me smile and remember days when a bike was my only way around town! I still love ‘em, and am happy that Provo has its own delightful bike culture. This mural is tucked back behind FoxGlove Flowers and Rent-A-Center near 470 W Center Street in Provo.

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Musicians Mural

I love funky illustration, and these musicians are definitely feelin’ it! The proportions are silly, the colors simplified, and each person has a unique identity and emotion. I could look at this one and giggle for quite some time. This one is a must-see on any Provo mural guide. Located on the east side of June Audio, located at 39 W 200 N

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Shapes Mural

From a design standpoint, this mural speaks to me! It’s fairly simple, but the shapes are organic and brightly colored. The color scheme is consistent throughout, but no shapes near each other have the same hue. It creates a lively vibe as my eyes hop from one shape to the next!

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Fish Kiss Mural

I think I could do something similar to this mural! If you’re looking for some DIY inspo, check out the mural on the side of the Fish Kiss spa. The round bubble shapes present a casual riff on polka dots. Love it. 

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One Time in Provo

I figured I’d wrap up my Provo mural guide with a piece painted in the city’s unofficial town square. Part of why I love this one is the varied script – the cursive is simple yet elegant, and reminds me of a storybook. The big punchy block letters stand out and remind me of my excitement just to be here!  

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Take a Walk

No matter where you live, take a long walk around town and look for art. While art in your community might not be as obvious as a gigantic mural, I hope you’ll find some wonderful secret spots in the town you call home. 

And if you are local to Provo or Salt Lake City and want to visit even more colorful walls, check out our full guide here!

How to make your own mural

Want an art installation with big impact but minimal clean up? Our oversized paper-chain mural is the perfect choice when you don’t want something permanent!

Draw your own mural! We made this one in our old studio that doubled as a massive coloring page anyone could help color in! Just tape up some large white paper and go to town.

Or for another great temporary option, learn how we made a sticky note mural here! Yes you read that right, a mural made completely out of sticky notes.

Click here to see our process for painting a lemon mural in our office! We also added a dainty wall mural to Jasper’s nursery when he was first born. We are big fans of going all out for a real mural, indoors or outdoors. Don’t worry! You can always paint over it one day.

 

 

Paris-Inspired Design: A Bastille Day Bash

How to visit Paris without leaving home

Bastille Day is akin to the USA’s Independence Day in that it marks an important historical turn towards democracy. The bastille building itself was an armory that citizens of Paris stormed and set political prisoners free on July 14, 1789. Modernly, people celebrate in different ways all over the country! My favorite tradition takes place each year in the gardens of the President’s residence, the Palais de l’Elysee. The President hosts a picnic!! Isn’t that amazing? Take your own trip to France tomorrow by celebrating Bastille Day!

Cue the inspiration for my Bastille Day celebration: I’m throwing myself a picnic. Make your picnic simple and clever with these printable placemats!

Our Paris cake toppers from illustrator Jessie Kenelos Weiner, author of Paris in Stride are available for FREE! Download your own and make breakfast extra sweet tomorrow morning. Plus, you can count this as tomorrow’s homeschool geography lesson 😉

How to celebrate like a Parisienne

Lars girls love garden parties and all things French, so this particular celebration is downright delightful. I whole-heartedly suggest you decorate with some adorable France printables, as they are an easy way to play with the stylish theme: Paris-inspired design. Take color cues from there! The tricolore of red, white, and blue is simple and classic – just like French design. Don your best Breton striped top (blue and white of course), chic trousers/skirt, and a pop of color in the form of red lipstick. Stay up late and light off fireworks to celebrate the end of the day. 

Print off our Paris crown and invitation suite here for your next party. Whether you are celebrating Bastille Day, a garden party, a birthday party, or anything else – this party is sure to be tres chic.

How to decorate and dress like a Parisienne

I can’t write about Paris without mentioning how much I adore the style and design identity of this city. With each encounter, I feel creatively inspired. You got your first taste of this with our tips on how to recreate the iconic style of Monet’s French home. And everyone knows Paris has the best fashion. They even have a best baby’s clothes! As I figured when I visited while pregnant with Jasper. Here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks for incorporating Paris-inspired design in your home and wardrobe. 

1. Don’t overdo it

You’ve probably heard this quote from Coco Chanel: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” I’m pretty sure she is talking about accessories here…  Still, the advice stands – Paris-inspired design/fashion tends to be somewhat minimal. The pieces themselves can be extravagant and ornate, but use a light hand when decorating and accessorizing. 

2. Mix the classic with the eclectic

Part of what makes Paris so magical is its history. There’s just so much that has happened in that ancient city, and all of it feels magical. Select pieces that reflect the growth of the city! Ornate mirrors and crown moldings look fantastic juxtaposed with chic European modernism. Picture a chunky strand of gems or pearls atop a simple black suit jacket. Or fabulous shoes beneath a pair of pleated shorts. Invest in a few significant Paris-inspired pieces, then really showcase them. 

3. Embrace romance

The feel of Paris is really worth celebrating and if you’ve been, you know that feeling is one of romance. It’s almost as if some city official found a way to transform Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose into a scent and then pipe it through every vent in the city. If you’ll take a moment to recall the romantic moments of your life, I’m sure you’ll discover what I have: it’s all about the details. The same idea goes for creating a romantic feel for a space or look! Pick one romantic touch, like long-stemmed candles, your grandmother’s hand-embroidered pillows, ornate frames surrounding photographs from memories you love, sheer curtains, or a touch of crystal. Little details like these can make even the coldest rooms come alive. 

Paris-inspired Decor

 

France-inspired art prints to hang on your walls

We firmly believe anyone can pull off a beret, and this print from Monica Dorazewski agrees! Or for a more subtle reference to the city of love, transport your self to the Palais-Royal with this Stripes is Rhythm print from Jaqueline Diedam.

Fill your home with the art of French artist Julie Marabelle. We carry some of her stunning papercut art in the Lars Print Shop and they have added a touch of a French garden to my bedroom. You can read more about her life in France here.

Other fun French items

Everything you need for Paris-inspired design filling your home. If you are planning a trip to France, our favorite guides are Paris in Stride which you can read more about here. As well as Paris by Design by my good friend Eva Jorgensen. You can also find our guide to small shops in Paris here. As well as our itinerary from our last visit to France, here!

 

Enjoy! 

A Lars Girl in Mexico City: Travel Inspired Design and Fashion

Mexico City definitely is at the top of my list of favorite trips. Truly, it is a place of dreams. The gigantic, bustling city is home to almost 9 million residents, and the feel of the city is indescribable. I’m trying to teleport there using fashion and interior design; I’ll let you know if it works!

I visited Mexico City a couple of years ago with friends Nadia Coates of Casa Palomi, Meta Coleman and Chaunte Vaughn. (You can find Chaunte’s work in our print shop here! And some of Meta’s curated home picks here.) We went to visit Abby Low, whose work is also in our print shop! Abby’s book This is Mexico City is full of the color, print, and culture that inspired today’s post.

I am imagining what A Lars Girl would wear if her wardrobe was inspired by Mexico City. And what her home might look like. After getting a feel for some of the amazing sites in our Mexico City guide here, explore the links below for A Lars Girl top picks for fashion and decor.

Mexico City Inspired Fashion

 

Accessories

 

Read more about this amazing place

La Ciudad

Ciudad de México is an ancient city. Long before the land was called Mexico, the Aztec civilization built impressive temples and monuments in the middle of what was then a lake. Due to Spanish imperial efforts, much of the ancient city was destroyed or buried beneath new buildings. Modern renovation projects have done a beautiful job of peeling back the layers, allowing the city to truly shine. Though its past isn’t pretty, a beautiful way of life and a unique design sense has developed literally out of the ruins. Now a modern and very cosmopolitan place, Mexico City is a truly fascinating spot. 

La Mezcla

Old-world European architecture meets older ancient architecture, and all of it fits into an amazing modern place. When I think of Mexican design, I tend to think of folk art and textiles brim with life! Bright colors are used on funky patterns. But when I think of Mexico City, complex stylistic ideas with refined elements come to mind. Once there, you’ll know what I mean. If you’re looking to steal the style, try designing with Old World tastes, then decorate with clean-lined modern elements that allow ornate intricacies to shine. Conversely, try designing in a contemporary, clean design, then add some flair with natural or folk elements. To see this mezcla (mix) work in real life, check out pictures of the Museo de Artes Popular! Its architectural style is stunningly simple art deco, while the works within it are traditional and FUN! 

The residents of this city know how amazing it is, but most are happy to share the place they call home. I became friends with my cabbie and the local barista pretty quickly, and they clued me into the real neighborhood spots. Only true locals know the local spots. So, make some friends and get exploring! While you’re there, or even if you’re just lazing around the house, bring a dash of la Ciudad de Mexico into your life! See our shopping list above and below for clothing items and home decor that we think make the mark.

Mexico City Inspired Interior Design

Artwork

Decor

 

 

How to make writing in your journal fun and creative

Why should I write in a journal?

Baby prompts journal with promptly

We have all been told the importance of writing in a journal for our posterity’s sake. If this is the reason you write, I admire you for it! Preserving history and making sure your great-grand kids know what it was like during the COVID-19 pandemic and the beginning of tik tok is a noble reason to keep a diary. Though for some of us this motivation wanes from time to time, and we find our personal history missing some pretty major gaps.

For me, I have found I am the most consistent with writing when I make it a creative project. This post is full of tips on how to make your journal writing more fun and creative, and we think it will keep you more motivated than ever! Keeping a diary can be a creative outlet that helps you  get pumped up in the morning or wind down at the end of the day. It can help you learn discipline making good habits.

How writing in a journal can improve your art

I remember reading the book Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron which discusses the importance of “morning pages.” The idea is that, first thing when you wake up, you write at least 3 pages of stream of consciousness in your notebook. No thinking of making sense, just writing whatever (whatever!) comes to your mind. Doing this regularly unlocks your creativity and trains your mind to let ideas flow freely. I love this idea! It takes all of the pressure out of writing daily.

Different types of journals

If you are stuck on page 2, it’s possible you aren’t using the right kind of journal for you! Try out a new kind from the list below:

Writing prompts

My Life In Color a creative and colorful guided journal

Wreck This Journal

(And other journal books you get to color in!)

Photo books

Write one line a day

Travel journals

If writing daily feels like too much right now, stick to travel books instead! Find one that will be sturdy enough to stay nice in your carry-on, reflects the place you are visiting, and fill it with memorabilia and travel stories to tell your friends back home!

how to improve your handwriting for journaling

Different ways to fill in your journal

If you’re the queen of filling up the first few pages of a notebook never to touch it again, I feel you. I see you. No one wants a journal that jumps from 8th grade to Senior prom to their wedding day; so when we find an old (and mostly blank) book it’s hard to find the motivation to start writing in it again. Though there are not many feelings better than starting a fresh crisp new notebook, our hope is that with this complete journal guide we can all start a brand new diary and then actually stick with it! And remember, when you reach the end you can reward yourself once again with another beautiful empty book.

The key to filling an entire journal is remembering this is meant to be a modge podge book filled with your growth, mistakes, good days, and everything in between. No one’s life is free of spilled milk and mascara stains, and your journal shouldn’t be either! As a recovering perfectionist, even I can promise that a full messy journal is a much bigger accomplishment than a half empty perfect looking one.

If you are having trouble overcoming your desire for perfectly dotted i’s and margins free of doodles – try this: abandon your perfectionism in at least one area of your life – your diary. Doodle to your hearts content. Bring your notebook with you to the breakfast table and don’t worry about spilling your coffee. Fill your book full of ticket stubs and anxious scribbles.

If we are overwhelming you, take a deep breath. There is a more structured way you can learn to love a messy journal – this Brave New World journal is filled with prompts to help unleash your inner artist. Baby steps, baby steps.

Try these creative ways to fill your journal

Doodling

While trying to jog your memory of what happened this morning, don’t be afraid to doodle in the margins, or fill the entire page! This snapshots in time say just as much about your current self as your words do. Our daily flower drawing challenge is the perfect place to start! Draw a daily flower in your notebook and use this to keep yourself on track with writing!

Bullet points

Don’t stress over a novel of your day, just write at least a few key bullet points at the end of your day and call it good! If that’s all you can do, it’s a great place to start. Before you know it you’ll find yourself wanting to write more and more!

Collect recipes

If writing or doodling aren’t really your things, figure out what is! One idea is to gather family recipes and write down the memory you have attached to them. Making and writing our the recipe for your mom’s infamous chocolate cake is sure to start a flood of memories you’ll be itching to get down on paper. Try keeping a notebook dedicated to recipe related memories!

Baby boy's first birthday party

For Jasper’s first birthday I filled his baby book with photos, pins, and other paper momentos from his party! I can’t wait to show him when he is older.

Our favorite journals

Hardcover

Simple ruled

Dotted

Bullet

Unruled

This colorblock journal is customizable, comes in multiple color choices and page options!

Customizable

Journals for kids

Stickers

We promised you ways to make writing more fun, so of course we had to include stickers!

These habit forming stickers are such a fun way to keep yourself accountable (for more habits than just writing daily!)

Journal supplies

Hold all of your journaling supplies in this folio! These pastel pens are on sale in our shop now for a limited time!

Craft the Rainbow full set

All of the items in the photo above are on sale right now for Craft the Rainbow month! Click here to see the sale and start your own My Life in Color journal! 

New York Cake Topper

New York Cake Topper and Confetti

We love all the components of this cake topper. It really is the essence of New York on a cake! You could also make cupcakes and top each one with a different New York scene.

Materials: 

Instructions:

  1. Print out the templates on heavy-duty white card stock.
  2. Cut out shapes using scissors.
  3. For the cake topper, place a bamboo skewer in the middle of the back side of each NY shape and adhere with hot glue.
  4. Stick each NY shape into the cake and artfully assemble.
  5. Decorate the table with some confetti and your cake and celebrate!

Make sure you snag this book to plan for your next NY trip! Tag us with #larsmakes so we can see all of your New York creations!

Miami prints by Jane Merritt

Miami City art prints

Like the other prints in the Lars Print shop, each design can come however you’d like–as a download where you can print it off yourself or as a print in the mail in a variety of sizes or it can come framed and/or matted. Here we put three together and I think they work perfectly together, no? All that Art Deco glory–so good! 

You can find the prints in our Lars Print Shop!

And you can find our art lovers guide to Miami here!

You can see Jane’s work here.

Copenhagen city guide

I’ve been wanting to share my favorite Copenhagen tips for years now and I don’t know how it’s taken 9 years to do so. Wait, yes, I do! Consider it one of those “never a tourist in your own city” moments, meaning, I experienced it all, just never wrote it all down in one concise list. Well, thanks for your patience! I’ve received numerous emails over the years asking for my recommendations and I’ve given them out, but I always thought that I needed an extra “oomph” to get it out into the world. That extra oomph was our recent trip to Denmark visiting family and revisiting some of my favorite haunts. Guess what? They still hold up! And they’re amazing.

If you’re planning a trip to Denmark, here’s what you MUST do:

Mexico City Guide

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Growing up in Southern California, Mexican food was a staple and Spanish was second nature. I had briefly visited Mexico back when you didn’t need a passport, but I’m embarrassed to say that I really didn’t know much about the thriving culture that is Mexico. I mean, I wasn’t hiding under a rock and I knew and had witnessed many aspects, but until you live it and see it at its best, it’s really tough to comprehend how thriving a culture really is.

Abby Clawson Low, a designer whose work I’ve admired for ages, moved to Mexico City a few years ago and documented her adventures (you can check out her Instagram here and here) and I couldn’t help but gawk at every image. She revealed a side to it that I didn’t knew existed. She brought it to life! She recently released a book about it called This is Mexico City and it inspired me to finally make a visit just in time for her book signing. Along with former Mexico City resident and Utah Valley tamale maker expert, Nadia Coates of Casa Palomi, and my good friends Meta Coleman and Chaunte Vaughn, we hit up Mexico City with two babies and lived to tell about it.

I call our experience an “Ode to Barragan” because the focus of our trip was discovering the work of Luis Barragan. I am forever changed!

Here’s what to see, what to eat, and what to do in Mexico City! Lars approved!

Lars’ Must Sees in New York City

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New YorkI had the opportunity to go to New York last month for work and lucky for me, I got to go back for round two this past weekend! New York is one of my favorite places in the world and I will never pass up an opportunity to explore the big apple. Baby J accompanied me on both trips, and though it slowed my usual pace, there’s nothing sweeter than seeing faces light up once a baby is around. It can melt even the crustiest of hearts (see my story below!). I felt so empowered to find that I could still visit my favorite places with a baby.

You may be thinking: “Brittany, how do you get around New York of all places with a BABY?” Well, thanks to Uber, we were able to navigate the city seamlessly. It can be done! And today I’m giving you a rundown of my favorite shops, restaurants, and sights of New York so you can start planning your own trip. And whether you have a baby, traveling solo, or a whole gang of girls, Uber’s new On-Time Pickups Guarantee is sure to make your trip stress-free.

New York

Our France itinerary

It’s been a few weeks since our trip to France and as we’ve been cooking on all 4 cylinders since, what with the One Room Challenge and all of our holiday content, not to mention some upcoming big projects (stay tuned!), but I’ve now hunkered down to share our itinerary because if you ever get to the chance to plan a trip to France I’d highly recommend so many things that we did. They took my breath away. I mean, look at my face here! That’s the look of pure joy (and it’s all staged because we’re pulled off to the side of the road 😉 )  Because we were there for a wedding, it took us to a part of the country that I’ve always wanted to go to but hadn’t prioritized yet. It was a life-long dream really.

Instead of creating a comprehensive Paris guide, I’m just noting a few bucket list items that may or may not be the Eiffel Tower. You can find those in all tour books. These are worth it, but not mentioned as often. Here we go!

Best Baby shops in Paris

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Baby shop tour of Paris As you might be well aware by now because I have tendency to deluge you with travel photos and Instastories, I was in France for two weeks last month for my brother-in-law’s wedding. We planned our trip so we’d have a bit of exploration time, because you can’t just go to France and not soak in all the magic, right? At the time of our booking I wasn’t pregnant, but once we found out that the little guy is on his way, I thought it would be great fun to dedicate a couple of days to baby shopping in Paris. In fact, when I was there last year for a conference, my friend Anne of Pret a Voyager, took me to a number of beautiful baby shops, which at the time were so inspiring, but not relevant to my life.
This time around, I put in hours of online research to identify the best ones and a number of Parisian friends stepped in to offer their advice. Thank goodness for an insider’s view! Paul and I ended up spending 2 1/2 days walking around the city exploring beautiful shops and feeling so lucky we got to be there during such a beautiful time of the year. I was 7 months pregnant and all of a sudden the aches and pains that everyone talked about of pregnancy became my reality, though I’m sure walking for 10-12 hours a day had something to do with it. We decided that we need to come back annually to repeat the process…and perhaps stay for a number of months 😉 Baby shop tour of Paris

The installations of Chateau Chaumont

LES PIERRES ET LE PRINTEMPSI just got back from the most glorious trip to France (actually sitting in the airport on our last leg now!) for 10 days and I can’t tell you how many miracles happened to make it such a particularly memorable experience. Well, miracles combined with a lot of poor customer service, but that’s par for the course, I suppose. I hope you were able to follow along on Instagram and Instastories because I did a lot of documenting. A lot. But don’t worry, I’ll be more thorough here on the blog. Lucky you 😉

Flower Power festival at chateau ChaumontI wanted to start with one of the most magical experiences of the trip: Chateau Chaumont. We went to France to attend the wedding of Paul’s brother who lives in Denmark and got married to a lovely lady from the Loire region. I had done a ton of research on which chateaux to visit as we’d have a car for the first portion of our trip thanks to our friends at AutoEurope so we planned a road trip for the days prior to the wedding staring out in Brittany and Normandy and then working our way down. I knew we’d have a bit of sight-seeing time around the wedding celebrations, but, like all travel schedules, time is way more limited than you think it’s going to be–gah! The day of the wedding was one such example. We had about two hours to go do something before we had to get ready for the town hall wedding in Onzain. Instead of the chateaux I had researched, I looked on the map and noticed one just across the river–because that’s what happens when you are in chateau-land–chateaux just appear out of nowhere. We popped over and what do you know? There’s a Flower Power Festival. You can imagine my excitement.