COLLECTING THE STORY WITH GRACE KIM OF CARPE DIEM COLLECTIVE

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Name | Grace Kim

Number of Years as Business Owner | My husband, Hun and I started GH Kim Photography 15 years ago and Carpe Diem Collective was started 4 years ago with almost a 3 year pause to take care of family. I just relaunched with a new space this past December!

Name of Business | Carpe Diem Collective, GH Kim Photography

Social Media Handle(s) | @gracekimco, @carpediemcollective @ghkimphotography


Where does the name Carpe Diem come from?

Carpe Diem means to seize the day in Latin. It's a motto that my late brother and I both shared together (we even have a sticker picture together with that phrase on it). After he passed away (yesterday was his anniversary coincidentally), it all became even more poignant. When I knew I wanted to start another venture, the name was the first thing that came to mind with absolute surety as he is my inspiration to seize life to the fullest each day.

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What do you love most about being the owner of Carpe Diem?

I love creating and I love people. I have an unshakeable passion to encourage and inspire people to live a meaningful and beautiful life, hence my not letting go of this even after a long hiatus. And Carpe Diem is just one of the ways to bring all of that together. The smiles, the laughter, the inspiration, the aha moments, the sense of accomplishment, the hugs... I love it all.

image | GH Kim Photography

image | GH Kim Photography


Here at Restoration House we love the idea of using our gifts and talents through business to create connection and community with others. Would you say community is something that has shaped the way you do business and live life in general?

I was lucky enough to be a part of different pockets of community growing up, but even so, I personally didn't have many people in my life that were geared towards or interested in the same things that I was, so I found myself spending most of my time listening to all kinds of people in those different communities and learning about them. And through that, empathy is the most important skill that I developed which definitely shapes the way that I do business and live life. But of course I also have my close-knit community of the bestest friends anyone could ask for, who have also shaped me with their love, care, encouragement, and support.

image | GH Kim Photography

image | GH Kim Photography

How would you say you foster community through the Collective?

One of the main ways is that I get to create beautiful and intentional experiences for people to gather together. And during our workshops particularly, we start out by going around the room and answering a question to get to know a little bit about each other. It's important to me that we have an element of digging a little deeper and sparking connection. It's always so good to see bonding during our collectives and also new friendships develop. Another element is giving opportunities for the artists/makers/creatives to come out of what is usually solo time in an independent industry to use their gifts/talents while interacting with people as well. Meeting up in real life is more and more of a challenge these days, so I'm constantly thinking of different ways to encourage it.



How did relationship and community play a part in your life growing up?

I was a PK (pastor's kid) and my family moved around a lot so it was even more important to engage in community. Life can be hard and it can be a lonely world out there. It's so easy to isolate ourselves, but we're all on this earth together for a reason, to help each other and learn from each other. Even as an adult and as an introvert, it's always been important for me to be intentional in surrounding myself with people. I truly believe that our lives have more meaning, purpose, and joy when we are in community.


What are your dreams for Carpe Diem?

How much space do I have on here? ;) Make an app, write a book, produce videos again, get a bigger space eventually to provide even more opportunities for connection and creativity, be able to financially support others with their own dreams, the list goes on. Having said that, I am very thankful and don't take it lightly that I'm living out one of my dreams of having my own space - right here right now. It was a dream that I've had for so long that I don't want to get too ahead of myself and I'm really focusing on being faithful with what I have in front of me and I know that God will bring the right opportunities in the right timing.


Thanks so much to Grace for sharing with us today! For more info on Carpe Diem visit them here. For the day to day dose of creativity and inspiration you can find them in Instagram here.

If you love this be sure to leave a comment or share some of your favorite business owners who share a heart for community and connection in your neck of the woods!


xo,

Kennesha

 
 





THREE THINGS I AM LOVING RIGHT NOW

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I had a meetup with my sweet friend Cassandra the other day and we talked about a ton of different things but one of those things is how we both wanted to be a little better about these spaces and what we share here; both realizing our posts don’t have to be dissertations every time we share on our blogs.

So, in light of that, I thought I’d share a few things that are making me really happy right now.

I’m not sure if this will become a series but I kinda like the thought of that, unless you hate it, then maybe not.

Anyhow, to keep this from actually becoming a dissertation, here goes:

MUSIC

We have Sonos system in our home. Our friend works for Sonos so we started the system with some steep discount codes and added to the system from there. I absolutely love it and when our wifi was down a few months back, I wasn’t sure I would be able to survive without it. Plus, the hubs hates “tiny speaker” sound so, there’s that.

More than the speaker themselves, I’ve been making Spotify playlists almost everyday. Here are a few of my faves that I love blasting over the weekend.

You can add them to your account and do the same:

I LOVE MUSIC Playlist

PEN TO PAPER Playlist

SATURDAY MUSIC Playlist


MOVES

If you’re in Texas, California, The Carolinas or especially Seattle, we have some fun stuff planned for you.

Here’s a look at some of the upcoming events and dates for travel and the book:

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For more information on the Go + Tell class and how you can register click here.

 


MOOD (boards)

Have you ever just been in a funk? Then all of a sudden, the weight or burden just seems to lift? Well, friends, that’s me right now. I’ve felt the weight of writing the book and so many other life situations over the past two years and now it feels as though life is just a bit more light and I can think a bit more clearly. So, in tribute to that light and airy feeling, I’m sharing one of my favorite light and airy boards on Pinterest. If you don’t already follow me there too for more visual inspiration. I just love how the things we see can evoke emotion and shift our mood and the way we feel.


I mean, can you see why I am obsessed?

xo,

Kennesha

#mywholehome with Francois et Moi

Name | Erin Francois

Business Name | Francois et Moi

Social Handle | @francois_et_moi

City of Residence | Minneapolis, MN

Number of years in current home | 3.5 years

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 Tell us the story of your home. To you, what sets it apart or makes it unique aside from the fact that you and your family are the ones who live in it.

What sets our home apart is that it’s a duplex. We owner-occupy the main floor of the home and rent out the one bedroom + den apartment upstairs. The units split in the entry foyer and are completely separate and self-sufficient.

 As far as the home’s history, we know the home was built in 1934 as a duplex, but not much else beyond that. I’d love to know more about the original owners and the thought process behind building a solidly-constructed, charming duplex during the heart of the The Great Depression.

 While opening up walls during renovations we found a newspaper in the wall dated 1937, and one of the headlines read, ‘Gang Smashes Vault, Carries Away $400’. We also found a brochure for professional landscaping services which I thought was interesting considering it was amidst tough economic times.

 

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How would you describe your personal home style?

My style leans modern with moments of Nordic and Mid-century. The home’s architecture style is Tudor Revival and much more traditional. I love the way the our modern personal style juxtaposes the home’s early 20th Century charm.

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What is your favorite space in your home? 

My favorite spot is our living room. It’s THE spot we hang out the most together as a family (we don’t have a family room or den). Most everything in here is hardworking, but also fits our style. The furniture is stain resistant; we’ve eliminated most sharp corners, and incorporated lots of toy storage, etc. so that we can relax and play as a family in here.

 

Also, the room is east and south facing so it gets wonderful morning and mid-afternoon light, and it’s home to some of my favorite collected pieces including an antique Persian Rug (which btw is an EXPERT spill camouflage-er!)

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If you could share one thing about yourself with readers that you've perhaps never shared publicly or via social media, what would it be? 

 

Something I don’t talk publicly about very often was my struggle with post-partum anxiety when my daughter was born.

Even writing about it now, brings up tears because it was probably the roughest time in my life to date. As with many new mamas, my hormone levels dipped super low after having Sylvia. She had colic, and we later discovered she also had severe acid reflux, so if she wasn’t sleeping or eating, she was crying, often screaming. Literally morning to night.

I avoided going on anxiety medication for nearly 6 weeks post-partum in fear of how it might affect my breastmilk.

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I was struggling to take care of myself, much less our tiny new baby. Every day was an intense struggle, and I had never felt so incompetent--so much like a failure

I began seeing a post-partum therapist, and ultimately went on anxiety medication, and within two weeks, I felt so much lighter. I could finally roll with the punches, and I started to find my new normal.

 I don’t share this story very often because I don’t want to come off as ungrateful for our uneventful pregnancy and our beyond-incredible daughter. I’m sharing this because post-partum anxiety is so much more common than I ever imagined, and if I can help even one person to know they’re not alone, they’re not ‘crazy’, weak, or a failure, then it’s worthwhile.

 

What was life like for you growing up in your childhood home?

I grew up in Northern Minnesota, in a town on Lake Superior. We were very middle class—maybe even lower-middle class, but I had a wonderful childhood. My parents were both very involved and worked really hard to give my older sister and I every opportunity.

My mom was (and still is) an incredible seamstress and avid maker, so she was always sewing up clothes and costumes for my sister and me, especially on Halloween. I think I won the church Halloween costume several years running thanks to her.

 My maternal grandmother was a fashion artist for a local department store back before photography was used in print ads. She was also very into making, painting, drawing, etc. too. I remember a vivid afternoon as a young girl, maybe 7 years old, sitting at her kitchen table surrounded by paper and massive box of art supplies and her teaching me how to draw facial features.

 Needless to say, there were lots of opportunities and supplies close at hand for me to experiment with as a kid. I’m not even sure my mom and grandma intentionally encouraged my creativity, it was simply what they liked to do, so it was only natural to include me in the fun.

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What does home mean to you? What do you want others to feel when they enter/spend time in your home? 

For me, home is where I can decompress and recharge with my family. I want others to feel welcome and relaxed as they spend time at our place, specifically great natural light and an uncluttered, thoughtful design sensibility are two ways I try to achieve this.

 

Proudest DIY?

I’d say my proudest (largest) DIY to date was taking on our fixer upper duplex. We jumped in right away with a double kitchen renovation, navigated the process of legally becoming landlords, and found a tenant in a matter of 4 months. Looking back it was a lot, but we didn’t seem to think so. It was a blast.

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Do you think you've learned to embrace your story? Your home? Why or why not? Explain. 

I think I learned to embrace my story or journey sometime in my late twenties when I began to really internalize the idea that there are so many ways to live a full life: all different kinds of American dreams and lots of ways to define ‘normal’.

 Owner/occupying a duplex may seem unusual, but it’s our version of an American dream. We see it as an exciting stepping stone. A way to save for the next place, live in a Minneapolis neighborhood that would have otherwise been a financial stretch, and allow me to work part time when our daughter was born. Being that the duplex isn’t our forever house, I’m not sure I’ve ever really looked at our home situation as something to embrace, but rather to celebrate.

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If there was one piece of advice that you could give to others as to how to embrace their home and their story, what would that be? 

1. I would say try to focus on the positive trade-offs. By living in a smaller/older apartment or holding off renovating your kitchen, are you able to pay down your student loans faster, save for a house down payment or perhaps retirement? There’s a lot to be said for living within (or even below) your means to lay the foundation for goals that might currently be out of reach.

 When we were first married, Ken and I lived in a fairly crappy 1960’s apartment for 6 years in order to save for a 20% down payment on a house.

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2. Practice Gratitude Daily. Write down or discuss with your partner or a friend, one or two things you are thankful for. On freezing Minneapolis winter nights I often think just how lucky I am to have a warm spot for my family to lay our heads. It’s pretty crazy just how powerful gratitude and positive thinking can be.

 

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Thanks so much, Erin, for sharing your home and heart with us.

ABOUT ERIN

Erin, a self-proclaimed Francophile, is an interior styling nut and DIY’er to the absolute core. She uses her background in interior design to create handmade, modern pieces for the home that add originality, beauty and functionality to the everyday and is drawn to visually clean and modern spaces that are softened and made approachable by handmade and imperfect pieces that add soul and affect how we, as homeowners, interact with and feel in our spaces.

You can find her on social here. And on her blog, here. You can also shop some of the items you see above on her blog via the “shop my home” tab.