Princess Johnson Ensures Molly of Denali’s Accurate Native American Portrayal

Published on Friday, February 1st, 2019

After one hour of being made aware of Princess Daazhraii Johnson by attending the PBS KIDS press event for the groundbreaking new program Molly of Denali, I learned a surprising number of facts about Alaska. Princess is from the Gwich’in Native Alaskan tribe and is the Creative Producer of the new show that airs July 15th on your local PBS station. She taught me more about Alaska in a ten minute chat than I have learned in a lifetime. Her influence on the new series is sure to get kids excited about the exciting modern life with nature that ten year old Molly lives. The tattoo Princess wears is to pay respects to her people and to teach her daughters, who think mom is extra cool now that she has made a show with characters like them on PBS Kids. Note: they do not live in igloos!


Happy New Year!

Published on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019


Minds Blown Over New “Palessi” Shoe Event

Published on Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Some days I have to drag out the old blog and give her a ride around the block. Today I’ve been shocked out of designing fabrics, writing and painting to weigh in on this story. As a blogger who has been privileged to receive invitations to amazing experiences and behind the scenes events, I’ve got some insights on this whole influencer thing. This particular public relations occurrence has been a hot topic today, blowing minds throughout fashion, public relations, social media, and all the adjacent professions that cause sales to happen.

Now that I’ve regained consciousness from the shock of how telling this type of “gotcha” advertising is, I have some thoughts. I have extensive experience in the blogging/influencer sphere, years of fashion retailing/merchandising, and through my interior design education, I know how to spot quality in a textiles and skins, so a few things come to mind:

Number One: If you don’t know how to spot the difference between real and fake leather and call yourself a fashion expert, you are a complete fraud. If you don’t catch that part of it, a hard plastic sole with “Made in China” stamped into it should also be the dead giveaway. I’ll give it to Payless, though – Christian Siriano’s designs are very well done for the price. Payless does a great job at what it does, and their branding company should be given whatever award can be given for stirring social commentary. But Payless is NOT a luxury brand, and anyone who understands the difference would not have taken that bait. No one knew enough at the Payless party to say “The Emperor has no clothes.”

Part two: The brand management that made a decision to embarrass these influencers got great viral videos, screen grabs, hashtags, and lots of exposure for Payless, but at what cost to everyone involved in the brand / PR / influencer triangulate? I’ve been a guest at many events like this, and I always try to have good manners. One tries to say nice things about the host. This also conjures up a real mistrust between the influencers and the PR firms who invite them. I realize that the point was to make folks see how there’s no difference in designer originals from their thirty dollar versions, but the ripple effect is that if the influencers have a real following, as opposed to fake paid follower bots, this could cause trust issues all around.

Which leads me to point three: Today, two conglomerates own almost every single international design house on the manicured streets of Beverly Hills, Paris and Tokyo. Your Louis is no longer actually a Louis unless it’s a bespoke trunk – everything else is made by the conglomerate. With the exception of the occasional artistic triumph, it’s all the same stuff. I’ll even go so far as to give the nod to the use of PU, the more recent faux leathers in ready to wear, but real leather is still the finest. If you pay $600 for a pair of vinyl shoes, joke’s on you.

Please don’t think I’m knocking inexpensive clothing and shoes. I buy more pairs of shoes from wholesalers in downtown LA as I do Rodeo Drive. I love that legit designers are doing exclusives for affordable brands, and I own lots of pieces from these collections. I love to buy a cute trendy thing and not pay a lot for it, but I don’t like designer FAKES. Frankly, I’ve always hated the idea, because I am a designer and have been down the road of someone stealing my designs. It doesn’t feel good and it definitely affects the bottom line, a line created from YEARS of education and experience. Case in point: I was gifted an almost perfect faux Hermes Kelly bag, but the pretending makes me so nervous that I cover the logo with the straps at the twist clasp so that the gold leafed “Hermes” stamp doesn’t show. I only use it when the yellow gold color of the bag is perfect with an outfit. I don’t want to be a fraud and pretend that I spent $15K on a handbag – I’d die of embarrassment if someone noticed. I guess I don’t need to worry about that a whole lot anymore.

My final takeaway is that it’s really easy to find a bunch of fake fashionista influencers who aren’t able to spot fakes. Advice to the PR firm attached to this event: if an influencer shows up to your event and says nice things about your brand, don’t embarrass them by pointing out their lack of knowledge. Advice to anyone aspiring to be an influencer in any realm, please – know your stuff. Do the work to learn, and only go to the event if it makes sense to your own brand, even if they’re paying you.


Let the Mania Begin!

Published on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

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Today is the first day I have done actual hand to paper artwork in so long! I had to do some housekeeping, literally and figuratively. The result is that I've appropriated more than half our living room for my art after ridding myself of any ephemera or projects that would not contribute to the focus. This shelf represents so much: all the media I use housed like jewels on a shelf that is upholstered in the new fabric pattern of the passion leaf logo I designed years ago. Atop the shelf are three paper suitcases holding all my pencil drawings of @louisxivofbh @louisxivofbh and more fabrics ready to hit the road. I suppose this is the last time these things will be so orderly; 'cause imma 'bout to tear some stuff up on a creating jag! #art #medium #coloredpencils #pastels #acrylic #ink #watercolorpainting #artist #artistsoninstagram #newattitude #indigenous

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Rockin Out at the Rocket Room

Published on Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Every year we rush through from my husband’s birthday and then to my son’s birthday, to Mother’s Day, and all this happens around end of school year activities which all have special programs and events to schedule. This year has been no exception, and I found myself precariously close to the Critter’s big day with no plan! So, even though it’s taken me awhile to post, I couldn’t get too far into summer before I made sure I gave a huge thank you to the folks at the Rocket Room at RocketFizz in Westwood.

As my Critter (I know, I know, he’s getting too big to call a Critter, but later for that) gets older, the main things he likes are video games and candy. I was so excited to find out that RocketFizz, which is known for its INSANE stock of every kind of candy imaginable, has a party room upstairs that has a video game WALL. I met with Yasmine, the events manager and she walked me through the whole event. It was so easy – all I had to do was show up with cake and have pizza delivered from Ronis.

The staff greeted our guests under a custom banner with the Critter’s name on it and escorted the kids up to the Rocket Room, so there was no worry for me or the parents that they were dropping off at a safe location. The party room is like a lounge for kids and had air hockey, foosball, and a huge wall with four video game screens so that they could fulfill all their old and new gaming fantasies. In addition to these activities, there was a cotton candy machine, and the staff took the kids down to “shop” for their goody bag, which the staff wrapped up in really cute gift packages.

Two hours flew by, then the staff escorted the guests one by one to their parents, and we went to dinner. I think this was the most relaxed I’ve ever been after a party. Thanks again to Yasmine and the Rocket Room / RocketFizz staff for making it so easy!


2018 – It’s ON!

Published on Thursday, February 8th, 2018

My day every day since the strike of midnight December 31, 2017: work on the picture books! I have now completed the first and am nearly finished with the concepts and images for book two. My mother unearthed the book above and brought it to me because I NEEDED it to recall something that I want for my Louis XIV books: a feeling. All I have left each day after loving on my husband and The Critter is for looking for a way to give children the wonderful feeling I had when I read those stories. I have a very important meeting in March that is giving some structure to my quest, so until then I’m all picture book illustrator, all the time. I’m ready to make the dream happen.


Art in Life

Published on Friday, February 10th, 2017

I’m spending time with my other mistress – watch my process (and other stuff) on Instagram Facebook or Twitter!


“Beverly Hills Life” on the Beverly Hills Mom

Published on Monday, November 21st, 2016

Congratulations to Fish Media on their new magazine "Beverly Hills Life" and thanks to Jo Stevens for the great interview on pages 32-35!

When I opened the large white envelope from my mailbox this morning, I wondered what was in it. It’s such a busy week – The Critter gets out of school early every day, I am finishing up the fall cleaning and purge for the holidays, reorganizing my work space to get started on two new projects, and I have new tools that need to be integrated into the ephemera and art media (the kind that includes paint). Once I saw the cover of the other kind of gorgeous media – a new magazine called Beverly Hills Life, I remembered that I’m in this issue! A huge thanks to the folks at Fish Media for including me. I am very proud of the interview by Josephine Stevens – she asked great questions that I may actually use in that artist’s statement I’ve been agonizing over. The mag is super fine – glossy with luxe paper, and includes fabulous stories on Beverly Hills concierge Beverly Harris and photographer Dominick Aznavour This, among MANY other blessings, is something I’m grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! xoxoxo


Selfie Skills from 1986 #TBT

Published on Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Alexandra Anderson Bower at the Greyhound Bus Station, Jackson, Mississippi, December 1986

During my senior year at Millsaps College, I completed forty two semester hours for my Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. This meant that I had a pretty crazy schedule – all I did was work at The Limited, work backstage in the theatre, direct a play for children, take theatre comp exams, take four fine art courses, found the time for the labs for all this artsyness, and a LOT of other core requirements I had not felt like taking when I was in the earlier years of my college career. My photography course required that I have my camera with me at all times, and if my professor ran across me with it off campus, I would get an extra “A” in my projects grades (or an “F” if I didn’t have it). I took this very seriously and always carried it with me, fortuitously receiving two surprise “A’s”, particularly when I was out drinking. I was shooting with my stepdad’s old Nikon F that he took with him to Viet Nam. It was very special piece of equipment with which I managed to take this selfie at three AM at the bus station in downtown, one of my favorite spots to take modern architecture photos. Some things never change. I’m still trying to entertain children with my art, I still love architecture, and I’m still at my creative best at three AM.


Nintendo 3DS and Yo-Kai Watch 2 Bring Generations Together

Published on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

You may have noticed that there’s lots of Nintendo happening on my Instagram recently – it seems that when it comes to games and kids’ entertainment, the blog follows my kid. We received a brand spanking new Nintendo 3DS for review this week, and I hid it for a few days until The Critter made some good grades and did a few good deeds. When I gave it to him yesterday, I realized that it probably made him happier than most anything I’ve ever done – I think he actually had mist in his eyes. He’s very happy to be my “tester”, dove right in, and was able to play with very little interference from me, other than to set the parental controls. I already really like everything about the device, especially the easily accessed information on the Nintendo site, which explains everything a parent would want to know, and that the games rated E for Everyone.

Also being released TODAY is the Yo-Kai Watch 2, which is a game that can be played either on a the watch or the Nintendo 3DS, complete with an adorable city and characters that we love. This post from The Verge really helped me understand the worlds so I have an even higher appreciation for the design and layers that help me relate to my kiddo. The new watch can even project the characters onto the wall!

I really have to thank the folks at Nintendo for making my kid think I’m cool again – I brought home a personalized shout out video just for him from the Yo-Kai Watch Event proving I had met Evan from EvanTubeHD, and now I’m the best mom ever!