All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I'm free...

Don't be afraid of your freedom!

Ah, the Soup Dragons. This song takes me back to high school, when the world was full of possibilities (which is why I loved the soundtrack and plot behind The World's End, one of the funniest movies of 2013.) And after four years at Ye Olde Dayjobbe, the world is full of possibilities again because...

I'm free. To do what I want. Any old time.

That's right, I'm transitioning away. Going solo. Becoming master of my own fate (mostly.) Some of you may already know that I'll be doing some work with this great online design service because a) they pay more, b) I think they're the way this business is headed, and c) it feels good to work with regular people.

But I'll also be free to act more (I've just been cast in a play) and figure out if my partner and I want to move somewhere else.

I said I'm free. To be what I choose. To get my blues. Any old time.

Of course, I'll have even more time to blog and bring you new ideas. For example, spring is here (at least in San Francisco), I got my David Hockney portrait framed, and spruced up the mantel again:

So here's to the first day of the rest of my life. Let's see what happens!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Get fresh at the weekend (showing out)...

Had the afternoon off from various side projects, so we walked down our favorite little stretch of 24th Street in the Mission District. At Adobe Books' new(ish) location, I came across this exhibit of hobo inspired art in the back gallery. I love how artist Briar Bonifacio took a smattering of old frames and grouped them together to create something larger and more graphic.

I've always been a fan of salon-style groupings and gallery walls, but this takes the idea to another level. Love it! And I love getting new inspiration on my time off. It renews the way you look at things and recharges the creative batteries.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Semi-charmed kind of life...

Spending the weekend in Palm Springs for a friend's birthday, but brought work and my laptop with me :-(

Here are some scenes from my morning run today:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

That's the return to youself, the return to innocence...

I know I've constantly mentioned my (and my partner's) descent into becoming crazy cat people, but this week it gets even more personal. I want to tell this story not only because of what we recently purchased, but also because I constantly tell new clients (and you, the readers) how you should feel comfortable in your own home. At the end of the day, you have to enjoy living there. Not me, not any judgmental relatives, nor any snotty frenemies.

Your home should really reflect who you are, including any quirks or specific needs. If you happen to love clean, minimal spaces, and designer furnishings, then that's just great--you've made my job easy. But if you have a collection of glass elephants you can't live without, then it's my job to help make it look amazing--and I always welcome the challenge! Baseball cards, Italian horror movie posters, beer cans from around the world, Hummel figurines--if you love your stuff, then own it. Don't be ashamed. Your confidence and passion will be inspiring.

I remember one holiday season when I was maybe eight or nine years old. I went to school one day all dressed up in some crazy Christmas finery: green parachute pants, some wacky holiday character t-shirt, a flashing wreath pin on my cardigan, a big novelty Santa pen on a string worn as a pendant...there may have been tinsel and a Santa hat involved, too. I was just walking my chubby self from one end of the classroom to another when younger girl, about seven or eight years old, stopped me. She gave me (and my flashing accessories) a long look up and down.

"Wow, you've really got some Christmas spirit," she sneered. We were all advanced children, but she seemed particularly gifted at sarcasm. Her words made me wither inside and filled me with doubt. Suddenly I wondering if everyone thought I looked crazy. Was it the pin that tipped things over the edge? Why hadn't my mother said anything before I left the house?!

That girl's comment, along with all the other equally judgmental criticisms throughout elementary, junior high, and high school made me so afraid of how I was perceived by others. Was I wearing the right clothes? Should I really be eating that? Do I seem straight enough? As I got older and became more sure of myself those questions didn't panic me as much. But in the past few years as an interior designer, I've seen others plagued by similar doubts and fears: How will others think of me based on my home? Do I need to have that designer chair? Can I get more space to hide all the junk I don't want my friends to see?

Whenever I see that anxiety on someone's face, I tell them about my crazy cat stuff, my comic books in full display for guests to see, or my partner's collection of books piled up on the floor. I tell them (and you, readers) to be proud of what you have. They're only material possessions, so if they don't make you happy then get rid of them or replace them. Don't let your inner gay fat kid's flair get squashed. When you surround your space with the things that make you smile and feel happy (and even innocent, like a child), then you've finally created a home.

And if you ever visit my place, you'll see a space that belongs to two very happily crazy cat people.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

Happy new year, everyone! Hope your holidays were full of merriment, reflection, relaxation, or some combination of all three. That's how I've spent this last week starting all my emails to vendors, clients, and work friends at Ye Olde Dayjobbe, and the wishes and sentiment is sincere. All my Bob Cratchit sadness and fatigue went away with the start of the New Year.

I didn't have any major resolutions, but last week I started to see all the things I've missed out on over the past few months of working so hard, so I reached out to see if I was too late to scoop up some things I've been wanting for quite some time. It's been with one eye toward a new home--perhaps for retirement, but definitely to buy and be able to fix up. Location unknown. What I do know is how I want to fill it with the following things that have been discontinued:

1) A BassamFellows daybed for McGuire - I should have known it was my last chance when I saw it on One Kings Lane a while contacts at McGuire have told me the brass and walnut version I love is gone, gone, gone...I really want the walnut one--I don't think I can settle for rattan (which McGuire still has a few of.)

2) A metal cat door knocker like this. I saw one on One Kings Lane and eBay recently and lost out on both. Someday...! (And yes, I will always be a crazy cat person. Even if we end up with a little pooch friend.)

3) A pair of Lubna Chowdhary cracked teal tile lamps for West Elm. These would look perfect in our future Palm Springs bedroom. I was a fool to not act faster!

Have you got any leads? I keep checking eBay and consignment stores...I'm desperate!

I guess part of the New Year is about focusing on me (us) and my future with my partner. It's funny and I feel kind of silly for being so materialistic and focusing on "things" (even though it's part of my job.) I guess it's because we just saw the comedy "This Is The End" last night about the apocalypse and it made me feel bad about coveting things and placing so much importance on material goods...but just as I was getting down I also realized that we've got to live for the present, and having a pleasant home can really help create a refuge or retreat from all the daily dramas and catastrophes that hit us.

I'll keep you posted on how things go this year. I'm looking forward to the adventure!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Well tonight thank god it's them instead of you...

This has been a really busy season--nothing seems to have let up much at Ye Olde Dayjobbe, and working on the candy store over the past couple of months has taken up time. In addition to all that, I also began moonlighting with a new design service that seems to be the wave of the future for regular folks.

For the first time in 15 years, I found myself working on Christmas Eve as well as today (Boxing Day for folks who know/care about/celebrate such things.) When I first moved to San Francisco (said 15 years ago) I had a retail job to make ends meet while I stayed with relatives and figured out this city. So without (many) friends, family, or traditions it didn't seem like such a big deal to work Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas.

This year, however, I felt it. Close friends and my partner all had this time off and I didn't. This morning I woke up with a new appreciation for those who do work during the holidays. Even though it may not matter to some people (for various cultural or religious reasons, or lack thereof) I still think of this season as a time to reflect on the year that's passed. I realize how much I've taken for granted--the managers and colleagues I've had who chose to work during the holidays--so today I salute you. Today I'm right there with you.

Next year, however, I plan to make it clear to everyone that I'll take this week off to recharge, reflect, and reconnect. And I'll be even more thankful for the people who grin and bear it and work through it all.

(Like the people at the Chinese restaurant where my friends and I have dinner every Christmas Eve...)

(Or friends and family who only have one day off to spend with loved ones...)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I want candy!

I've spent the past few weekends here and there helping some friends who won an amazing opportunity to start their own business. Downtown Sacramento had an amazing competition for potential small business owners to help revitalize the area.

Friends (and former Retrograde clients) Camille and Andy won this year, so after helping with their home a few years ago they asked me if I could give them some recommendations and help for their new business, Andy's Candy Apothecary.

How the hell could I pass up helping on a candy store!?!?!?

Andy's dream of bringing gourmet (as well as obscure, imported, and nostalgic) candy to downtown Sacramento is one of many signs that the state capital is really blowing up. During trips to visit them and the site, I'd have amazing coffee and eat at gourmet (and well designed!) restaurants and bars. It made me think twice about going back to the central valley (!)

Here are photos from the grand opening weekend:

I even got a shout out on the entry chalkboard, woo hoo!

Check it out when you can--it's worth a trip to Sacto to see the store and explore our capital city!
 Andy's Candy Apothecary
1012 9th Street (between J and K Streets)
Sacramento, CA