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

 

 

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!

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!

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. 

Las Vegas City Guide

Illustrated Downtown Las Vegas City map

I grew up visiting Las Vegas WAY more than I ever wanted to. Being from Southern California, it was always a practical pit stop on our way to other destinations. Admittedly, it’s a welcome sight after miles of thirsty desert, and for a child it’s a fantastical Disneyland of sorts. But you get into walking the strip and realize, “hey wait a minute, there’s something odd about this city of neon lights and magic shows” (alas, it may have something to do with the hundreds of naked girl fliers being passed out by men flicking them in their hands). After an unfortunate experience with my family involving not reserving a hotel for the night and ending up at a trucker motel in North Vegas and finding a surprise in the bathroom (hint: it’s not what a 10 year old should be seeing and no, it was not a dead body), I swore off Sin City. 

However, since moving to Utah it has since become the closest destination with some sort of entertainment component and I LOVE staying in hotels so we’ve been discovering the city more and more and you know what? There is WAY more than meets the eye. I recently met illustrator Abbie Paulhus who introduced me to the lesser-known and totally rad side of Las Vegas and today she’s sharing her favorite spots along with this beautifully illustrated map.

I’m so excited to get to share about this because I’m so passionate about people seeing that there’s more to Vegas than just the strip and “sin city”. Here are my favorite spots in the arts district of Downtown Las Vegas:

Cuba Travel Guide Part 1: logistics

Havana, Cuba travel guideI’ve been giving some sneak peeks away of our trip to Cuba over the past few weeks and it’s been so interesting hearing your reactions. Most are floored that we (Americans) could even go and others have mentioned that you are anxiously awaiting a travel guide because they are planning their trip too. After our experience, there is a lot we were really pleased about and other things we would have done differently.

I’m breaking the guide into two parts. One part for logistics on how to travel to and around Cuba and the other for things to see and do. I don’t normally provide traveling logistics, but because Cuba is still rather unknown to Americans, information was somewhat hard to find.

Let’s dig in.

Cuba coloring pages

Brace yourselves, because I’m going to be talking about our trip to Cuba for awhile! We took a team trip to Cuba two weeks ago, mostly Havana, and a quick trip to Trinidad as well with a special purpose in mind. I’ll be revealing more about our special purpose soon, but I thought I’d start with a few coloring pages. It’s a great time to visit as flights are super cheap. We found ours for $250 each!  I’ll be sharing a travel guide soon so stay tuned.

About 5% of Cubans have Internet and even then it’s on dial-up so it’s slow and shaky. I knew wi-fi would be hard to find, but I wasn’t prepared for such a scarcity. I thought it might be easy to pop into an Internet cafe and tell my family I was alive, but that was not the case. And somehow instead of finding the break relaxing I found it to be a bit unnerving. But, all is well and I’m alive to write about it. #problemsofablogger Instead of Internet while you’re down there, might I suggest printing these out prior to your trip to color as your traveling entertainment. There are three to choose from.