Brown Bear Eat’s: Interview + Look Book

Happy Tuesday Inspiration Den readers! Today we were able to interview Sabrina + Hourik of Brown Bear Eats, a Cottage Food Operation based in Orange County, California. We love organic, local, allergen conscious companies and are thrilled these kinds of companies are popping up more and more. So happy to see our friends company  doing so well with their sweet treats distributed at various coffee shops and bakeries. I hope everyone enjoys my interview with Brown Bear Eats!
Screen-Shot-2014-01-06-at-9.28.23-PMBrown Bear Eat’s Website
Amber: How did brown bear start & how did you come up with the name & logo?
Sabrina: Name and logo are easy. I love animals, especially forest animals. I have personified all the people I care about into a forest animal. Making my mother a momma bear, a brown bear!
The logo was an ingenious doodle on the back of a napkin by a close family friend who was part of the early BBE brainstorming sessions.
Brown Bear Eats has actually always been around! But never as a structured and functioning business. Bear has cooked and baked for like EVERYONE, from the East Coast to the West Coast of the US. Everyone that has eaten her food has remarked that she needs to open an eatery! It took years of convincing to get the Bear to finally get on board with marketing her food, as she was uncomfortable with putting a price on her idea of love and nurturing. I graduated from college in December of 2012, and by late April 2013 we had decided to make Brown Bear Eats our new life.
Amber: What is your favorite Brown Bear dessert?
Sabrina: white chocolate chip cookie, peanut butter cookie, and the homemade hazelnut chocolate shortbread sandwich cookie.
Hourik: It’s hard to pick one, but our GF brownie is the best brownie I’ve ever had.
Amber:Why did you decide to incorporate a GF & Vegan option?
Sabrina: A few of our friends have various allergies and lifestyle choices we wanted to honor. We have an inclusive attitude in all areas of our life, our business is not be any different. We want our products to be accessible to all.
Amber: What inspires your creations?
Sabrina: everything my mom touches in the kitchen turns to perfection- the taste is off the charts, and the appearance is charming and one of a kind. Outside of my mother, possibly everything about Joan’s on Third in Los Angeles is an inspiration.
Hourik: Classic desserts. I don’t like to reinvent the wheel. I take careful note of the way things look.
Amber: Do you have any words of wisdom for any up and coming bakers/artist that are trying to pursue their dreams?
Hourik: laugh a lot. Work hard. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s not going to be hard work. Make sure you have an excellent product.
Sabrina: get a partner, preferably family! Diet Coke and naps
Amber: Where can we find brown bear eats products?
Brown Bear Eats:
For personal orders email,
Amber: Anything new in the works that you can tell our Inspiration Den readers?
Sabrina: There’s always new things in the forest as we like to call it. We love a challenge and we like to make up new recipes.
So happy to feature this mother daughter team here in The Inspiration Den! Thanks Sabrian + Hourik!

Help Make “WILD ONE”!

Happy Tuesday Inspiration Den readers! Some of you may remember when we interviewed Dianna of DAVIE ART in the Den a few months ago, I fell in love with her little characters and now they are coming to life in her new Children’s Book, WILD ONE!

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For the month of November, artist DAVIE will be crowdfunding to publish her children’s book, WILD ONE. Take a look at her kickstarter page and support a your local artist.

WILD ONE pushes her audience to live brave and wild lives. It acts as an art book perfect for a coffee table and a family’s nighttime ritual before their little ones fall asleep.

DAVIE has been doing art for the last 3 years. She started doing street art and her work quickly evolved into shows at galleries and a freelance business.  Her style has simple black lines and a classic aesthetic. To view DAVIE’s portfolio, visit her website!


fox reward photo WILD ONE Page WISE OWL pageFor more on Davie Art check out her Instagram & don’t forget to hashtag WILD ONE!




Instagram: @davieart  #makewildone

Shannon Kirsten – Wildflower – Look-book + Interview

Today we are featuring Shannon Kirsten: illustrator + Photographer. As an invitation designer myself I have a special interest and am super inspired by other illustrators and designers.  I first saw Shannon on a green wedding shoes post & fell in love with her work and then I made my way to her blog which is equally inspiring! I hope everyone enjoys my interview with Shannon! Have a happy Tuesday!!!!

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Amber: Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself & your artistic aesthetic?

Shannon: I am a photographer and illustrator born and raised in Florida (on the gulf coast).  My degree and background is in fashion.  I began my career working in textile then graphic design for a couple large apparel companies.  I started to freelance on the side and found that I really loved illustration and using hand painted elements in my designs.  Overtime I also started to do more hand lettering and experimenting with other paint mediums like gouache and watercolors.  I never thought I would be doing calligraphy but I’ve grown to truly love it.  I now focus mainly on painting custom wedding invitations, whimsical art prints, and other little paper goods!  When I’m not painting, I’m photographing. Photography has been a lifelong hobby of mine that finally turned into a real business.  I have been working on fashion photography projects for a couple of years now.  As of last year I also started photographing weddings.  In both of my mediums, femininity and nature are a consistent element in which I’m constantly inspired by.  I am drawn to pretty and dainty but I love a touch of rustic…things with an edgy, dark side as well.


Give Thanks Print/LOVE Sage Print

Amber: Where do you find inspiration?
Shannon: Always a hard questions for me, I think inspiration is everywhere.  You have to choose to not just look at things but truly see them.  I keep a notebook with me, sometimes ideas hit me at the strangest times.  I love flowers and animals.  Growing up by the beach is very inspiring and beautiful.  I love all things vintage. I am also very inspired by the online art community, it’s amazing what social media has done for small creative business.  I constantly find other artists on Etsy and through blogs that I fall in love with.  It’s very inspiring to me to be able to follow along on people’s journey.  My three best friends that I grew up with are a fashion designer, a wedding / event stylist, and a graphic / stationery designer…being on this adventure with them, being able to bounce ideas off of each other and be challenges by them is also something that greatly inspires me.
Amber: What’s the most inspirational piece of decor in your studio or art space?
Shannon: I’m in the process of an exciting studio renovation, but one of my favorites that is going up after the walls are re-painted is a print by Kari Herer (found on Etsy). She combines illustration and photography in a really beautiful way. I have a lot of my pictures from different travels around the studio, they take me back to some very special times in my life.  I recently printed tons of tiny square photos from instagram…I love having those memories of special times and people I love.  I also have a gold screen print (also from Etsy) that simply states “hustle”. I keep it in sight as a constant reminder to literally hustle and create the best work that I can each day.
Amber: Do you have a favorite work of art and can you tell us about it?
Shannon: I’m not sure that I have a favorite.  Most recently though, I released a couple of photos from a series I’m working on (I attached one for you in case you want to share!) They combine my painting and photography.  When I first began I was so torn and overwhelmed by the thought of how will I or do I need to tie these two businesses together.  I struggled with it for a long time.  As my style evolved and I have begun to find my niche with both illustration and photography, I see them working together a lot better now.  So this was very exciting to start a project that will show both sides of me.  It showcases my aesthetic very well.  I’m my biggest critic so to feel proud of these already is quite exciting.
Amber: What is your dream project?
Shannon: My dream project would be working with free people, anthropologie, BHLDN, Kate Spade, and/or Marc Jacobs.  Those are my favorite brands. I would die to shoot or illustrate for any of those companies.  I love look books and magazines…it would also be a dream to get hired to shoot and illustrate / design a really cool look book or catalog for a fashion designer!
Amber: Do you have any words of wisdom to those artist pursing their dreams?
Shannon: Just go for it.  The time it takes to dream about something could be invested into starting.  It can be very scary to start something new, especially when it involves leaving a stable income and job to freelance or start your own business.  Once you start creating and networking it’s like a new world opens up, reach out to people, tell them what you’re doing, ask them for help.  More times than not people are so encouraging and helpful.  One of the hardest things I had to learn was “the worst people can say is no”. It’s true though, you just have to ask and not be afraid to put yourself out there! There is such an amazing community on the web of artists and bloggers.  We (as small business/creatives) are so lucky to live in this time of social media craziness. Posting on facebook / instagram, etc has literally helped launch my business and continues to aid me in sales and connecting with new, amazing people.  Get your self out there! It has never been easy.  There have been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears involved in my journey so far, but this is the most rewarding and incredible adventure of my life.  I feel so blessed to wake up and live this everyday.  Anyone can do it, you can be anything you want to be with passion and hard work 🙂
For more inspiration + to purchase some of her awesome work check out the links below!
Thanks for letting us feature you and your awesome work Shannon!!!!
Don’t forget to get your Halloween cards + party invites here!! Send one to a friend!

Say Hello to our newest Inspiration Den contributor!

I’m so excited, today we are introducing the newest member of The Inspiration Den team! There are two reasons I’m excited to have Lindsay with us, First,  I LOVE food and think her recipes are inspirational and actually delicious! Secondly, Lindsay and her family have certain food allergies, which makes all of her recipes usable for others who have these sensitivities. I think people  finally paying attention to what they eat and how food affects them is amazing.

All that to say I would LOVE to introduce Lindsay Esparza, our newest recipe contributor for The Inspiration Den!


Amber: What got you started in creating allergy safe recipes for your family?
Lindsay: While I have always had dairy allergies, I used to still eat it and suffer the consequences. It wasn’t until my daughter was born with allergies to eggs, dairy and soy that started me on a complete revamping of our diet.
Amber: What is your favorite part about putting together a meal and coming up with a recipe?
Lindsay: My favorite part about putting together a meal is seeing all the hard work pay off with the end result. Coming up with the recipe takes a lot of searching and planning, but that’s all part of the fun. I enjoy thinking of things or trying to tweak recipes to fit our wants and needs. I go to sleep dreaming of new things I could try. It may be an obsession.
Amber: Where do you find inspiration?
Lindsay: From my extreme like of food, baking, cooking and eating!
Amber: What’s the most inspirational piece of decor in your home?
Lindsay: My pistachio green Kitchenaid mixer. I’m in love.
Thank you Lindsay! We are so excited to have you here in The Den!
If you would like to hear more from Lindsay keep an eye out for the launch of her new sit Fancy Food Thoughts, also if you have any questions or comments for Lindsay regarding her recipes or information on food allergies leave a comment below!

Davie Art: Interview + Look-Book


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I’m so excited to introduce Dianna Grobstein of DAVIE ART! Love her technique and love for woodland animals! I hope everyone enjoys her interview and drawings as much as I do, and for all those Portlandia peeps you must check out this talented local gem! All images are available as prints or cards in her shop!

Amber // The Inspiration Den – Dianna Grobstein // Davie Art

Amber: Can you tell The Inspiration Den reader’s a little bit about yourself and how “DAVIE” got started? 

Dianna: I am from Los Angeles and have lived in Portland for the last year and a half. I have been doing art since I was young, with my father and grandfather both being painters. I think I was my dad’s muse because about 90% of his paintings were of me. I have always loved art and found ways to be creative in everything I did.

A few years ago I started DAVIE. I actually remember the day when it happened. I was doodling at my job and a coworker asked if she could commission an illustration for her apartment. I had never really worked with pen and ink, and after that point drawing has become quite an obsession.

In the process of finding my style of lines and technique, I created the name DAVIE so I could do street art, and “protect my identity”. I was never much of a troublemaker, so I quickly stopped and just focused on creating a business. But my heart still wants to take my art to the streets. Maybe I will again someday.

Amber: Who and what inspires you and your work?

Dianna: I feel like my art teeters on the line of imagination and fiction. Some small details will look make-believe while everything else can seem somewhat realistic. I love books with raging imaginations and getting lost in their worlds. I need to make more time for books because I always get so excited to create after reading.

Amber: What’s your most inspiration piece of decor or detail in or of your studio?

Dianna: I have a piece of art by Kyle Field in my studio. I’ve always loved his work as well as his music (Little Wings), and have one of his drawings on my desk. He’s such a kind soul and is someone who has had a very authentic and genuine journey. He seems to keep true to doing what he loves while finding a large underground following who appreciates it. Looking at his drawing keeps me on track.

Amber: Any advice for the artist and dreamer?

Dianna: People have different views on this, but I tell people to just start creating and not fear your audience seeing the dirty process. Most people want to have all their ducks in a row before anyone views it, but that’s not always realistic. Allow yourself to make changes and grow in front of people. I’ve realized these last few years that nobody really cared that I’ve changed my website design or my logo. I’ve become more productive and less worried what people think.

Amber: What’s your favorite piece of art work you’ve ever done or your favorite drawing?

Dianna: I’ve grown very attached to the Rabbit that I did about a year ago. Whenever I finish drawings, I typically feel unsatisfied with the outcome to be honest, but I kind of shocked myself with how much I liked the little guy.


Rabbit Print

Amber: Looks like your main form of art are ink illustrations, why did you choose that over other forms of drawing or painting?

Dianna: I like clean lines and simplicity. I tend to wear a lot of black and white, and my house decor follows suit. My friends have critiqued my behavior as borderline OCD and so my art has always resembled similar patterns of my lifestyle. I like drawing because it feels more controlled than when I use to paint.

Amber: Can we expect any shows from you in the future and are you working on anything special right now?

Dianna: I’ve got a show going on in Portland, OR now showing my “Animals with Weapons” series. I’m also dabbling with the idea of a series called, “Animals Sinking Ships”.


Animals W/ Weapons

Along with doing series, I like to follow what other artists in town are working on and try to grab coffee with them. I’m working with one guy to create my own typeface, which I’m super excited about and will realistically be launched in about a decade. I also want to work with this guy named Lord Blakely here in Portland and learn how to do graffiti style lettering this summer. I love drawing and am working on fine-tuning my style, while exploring other creative ideas with friends along the way.


Dianna of DAVIE ART!Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 8.33.58 PMAnatomy by DAVIE ART


Welcome Amber of Amber Lay Events! Our New DIY Contributor!



Here are a few of Amber’s DIY’s she put together for her website!

I’m so excited to have a new DIY contributor in The Inspiration Den and wanted to take a sec to introduce her to all of our readers! Check back tomorrow to see Amber’s First DIY post on How to Add Succulents to a Bouquet! Perfect for a wedding or event!

The Den: Tell our readers a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Amber L.: Hi there! I am Amber Lay, the founder of Amber Lay Events (ALE). We offer Event Coordinating & Planning, Custom Florals, and Design & Styling. While we often find ourselves doing weddings, we love to help with charity events, birthday parties and just about any other event under the sun. Speaking of the sun, I can’t get enough which is why I call San Diego my home and spend just about every minute I’m not working at the beach or as close to it as possible. Oh, and did I mention that a portion of our proceeds from each event goes to the one of the great CAUSES we partner with?! We feel very strongly about giving back to our community so we let our clients choose the CAUSE of their choice!

The Den: What inspired you to start designing, planning, and creating events, DIY’s, and everything in between?

Amber L: When I was in high school I saw the TV show called “Whose Wedding Is It Anyways” where they documented the lives of wedding planners. After just one episode I knew it would be the perfect career for me! With a lot of persistence I soon found myself living in LA and interning with my favorite celebrity wedding planner from the show.  Then while getting my degree at San Diego State University, I rediscovered my passion for creating. That is when I delved into the floral design side of the wedding industry. Upon graduating, I landed a job  Hostess with the Mostess (HWTM), the popular party blog. There I learned about DIY’s and started contributing posts on HWTM. There are so many talented people in this industry and Southern California takes weddings, creativity and design to a whole other level so I find that inspirational in itself.

The Den: Who inspires your work?

Amber L: Ever since I was a little girl my dad instilled a strong work ethic in my siblings and me. While we despised him at the time, now I understand why he had us laying tile at the age of 4 and installing sprinkler systems at the age of 11. He wanted us to be strong, independent and hard-working individuals. His drive and ambition inspires me to work hard everyday so that I can be completely self-sufficient and independent financially. But working hard isn’t enough. I have always known that I wanted to do something that I am passionate about, something that makes me happy to go to work everyday. Each wedding I do I seriously get the biggest high from. That’s how I know I truly love it. Plus weddings are usually one of the most important days in someone’s life so being a part of that is an honor.

The Den: Anything currently in the works for the ALE Team?

 Amber L: Yes!!! We have lots of fun projects going on all the time! Right now our biggest project is the launch of a new branch of ALE called Cotton Clouds For A Cause (CCFAC) ( My clients often times ask for advice on what to do for wedding favors. I always recommend donating to the charity of their choice and doing an in lieu-of-favor card letting guests know that a donation was made in their honor. Most of my clients love the idea of donating but want something tangible for their guests too.

With that feedback the idea for CCFAC was born…we offer cotton candy favors in custom and creative packaging. Since the portions are small (I mean let’s be honest, wedding guests already have appetizers, drinks, dinner, drinks, cake, drinks, usually a dessert bar of some sort, more drinks, and sometimes even comfort food snacks at the end of the night so they don’t really need a huge chunk of cotton candy) a portion of the proceeds from each favor go to the same CAUSES that a portion of ALE event proceeds go to…and yes the client gets to choose the CAUSE! We also offer event packages where we spin fresh cotton candy at events with a portion of the proceeds also going to the CAUSE of the client’s choice.

Amber Lay Events FB//Twitter//Web

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