Through her delicate words, simplistic beauty and impeccable taste, this week's Girl Crush is Anabela Piersol of Fieldguided. With the feminine design and gorgeous photography, Fieldguided has quickly become the blog for the romantic in all of us, whether it's finding out about a quaint new coffee shop, the perfect brassier or an organic locally made skincare line, Anabela has us covered. What I love about her blog is the attention to detail and how much she really believes in and supports the brands or locals she writes about. She's a woman of integrity and poise and seems to exude wisdom beyond her years. We share a love affair with this beautiful city, always supporting the community that is so near and dear to our heart which is why we are thrilled to have her as our Girl Crush.
What initially inspired you to start your blog?
I started it for a class assignment, hilariously enough, for a degree I don't use, but I had been meaning to do something like it for a while. I had had a few other blogs in the past, but none of them stuck. I wanted a creative outlet because at the time that I started the blog I was learning a lot of new things (how to sew, how to use a film camera, etc.) while working a desk job. I managed to stick with this one and develop a small audience.
How do you decide how much of your personal life you share? What types of posts do you find connect with your readers the most?
I don't share too much beyond the major details of my life (my husband, my cats). I think the average reader has no idea what I do for a living, or knows anything about my family. I just don't think it's that interesting to people who don't know me! That said, I find that people seem to enjoy or at least respond more to posts where I seem to delve a little more deeply or push myself in a way that I don't usually push myself (e.g. when I spend a little more time on the writing, when I try something different with photography). Unfortunately that kind of thing takes a lot out of me and it's hard to find the time to make it a habit. I wish I had more time to blog but I'm at work during daylight hours, when I feel most inspired.
Design*Sponge did a great article citing that Jason Kottke, a web contributor and writer, declared that 2013 was the year the blog died! I think he was being purposely dramatic but what are your thoughts on that statement and how have you seen the blogging landscape change?
I'm not sure that the blog is completely dead but it has definitely, definitely evolved and changed. It used to be that you could repost something you saw somewhere else, but now I only really love to blog when I can produce my own, original content with my own photographs. Also, now it seems that in order to have a successful blog, it has to be your job, and you have to have a team behind you. I am not in the position to this, not even remotely, which is frustrating because I'd love to do DIYs and posts that are a little more meaty... but DIY posts, for example, take forever and are really difficult to do when you're working alone and don't have natural lighting, etc.! Plus it gets expensive. As far as being a blogger who makes a living as a blogger: I'm convinced that could never happen in Canada. You just don't have the same opportunities a blogger who lives in LA or New York has.
At the same time, it seems to me that if you have a business, you need to have a blog. It definitely helps to get your images out using platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. And you definitely need to be creating your own images, etc.!
You have created a line of super cute totes (which we love and sell at the shop!) and now iPhone cases as well. How did you transition into designing and will you be doing more of it? Where do you find your inspiration?
Thanks! I started working on the phone cases because I'd had a few people ask if I would, and after shopping around for a phone case for my new phone I realized that it was something I wanted to do. At the moment I'm not doing too much of it, because with the platform we're using there's really no risk... I don't have to pay for the cases up front. A lot of the cases I've worked on so far are mostly based on ideas I've had floating around in my head for a while, but I'm hoping that with the changing seasons I'll have a fresh injection of inspiration. Nature is really the most inspiring thing to me but since it's buried under grey snowbanks right now, it's a little harder to find.
Since you are a blogger you must have favourite blogs that you read! What are your top three favourites? How did they make the list of your daily reads?
Here are a few that I love:
The Free People blog: I can't help but love this one since they take pretty photos and blog about things I'm interested in, such as food and yoga and astrology.
The Numinous: This one is kind of an Into the Gloss-style blog but for the more mystical universe.
Amy Merrick's blog: This is my go-to spot for when I need to look at some flowers, stat. I am also a big fan of her sweetly romantic writing style.
You are a huge supporter and promoter of the amazingness of local spots in our beautiful city of Toronto. What are your favourite spots for: shopping, eating, reading, watching a band and finding beauty in nature?
Shopping: Bicyclette, of course! I also really love Likely General, Far Away Eyes, and the handful of used bookstores that are still around (Balfour, Ten Editions).
Eating: Lately I've been craving the unchicken and waffles from The Hogtown Vegan like crazy! I also had a beautiful birthday dinner at La Cubana, followed by drinks at Wallflower, and that was perfect.
Reading: I am such a huge fan and avid user of our public library system. I completely take it for granted but it's so amazing to me that I can just walk up the street and into the library and get any book I want for free. I live near the Gladstone branch of the library and while it's pretty busy, if you go at the right time it's a really nice, light-filled spot to read a book. I also like reading on the subway because what else are you going to do on the subway?
Watching a band: I'm sorry to say that I haven't been out to see a band play in ages! Younger me is so mad at present-day me. I recently went to this totally wild place called Boots & Bourbon for my sister-in-law's birthday and while it's not the sort of place I would have ever thought to go (mostly because I hadn't heard of it before), it was fun! They had a live band and if I closed my eyes I could pretend I was in the show Nashville.
Finding beauty in nature: A couple of weeks ago Geoff and I went to Allen Gardens and it was so good for my soul to see all that green and to feel a little humidity. I highly recommend it. I even recommend a trip to a nursery like Plant World even though it's mostly just orchids and tropical plants at this time of year.
*Anabela also did a wonderful post last summer about "her" Toronto, which is a great collection of hidden gems and her favourite spots around the city.
What is the best advice you have received in this new year? What quote do you live by?
2014 has already been a pretty turmoil-filled year for me and it's been pretty difficult for me to focus and try not to let my negative emotions completely overtake me. I'm trying really hard to change a lot of my thinking, which is a huge process... I ordered a 2014 "tarotscope" from Louise Androlia and the mantra for my sign, Capricorn, was "When I choose love, I allow my life to flow freely." I think that's a pretty lovely sentiment to live by.
Let's talk fashion…what would you say the quintessential Anabela style is?
Unfortunately I'm really bored with everything that I own at the moment, and not in a position to replace it all. But if I'm daydreaming, I would say my dream wardrobe would be full of pale seashell colours, but with a fair amount of black so it's not too saccharine. I love flowy chiffon fabrics, lace inserts, pleats, and maxi length everything, but I also love some menswear touches, like crisp button-down shirts. Minimal accessories, minimal makeup, but really wild hair.
Magic is important to us and we believe it's important to you to. What does magic mean to you?
I find magic in those moments when I feel as though all my senses are heightened, when I feel truly truly alive, aware, grounded, and happy to be here.
[images via Fieldguided]