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After a prolonged search for an event space, I turned to my blog friends for help. And none of them helped, because they are all jerks, but I remembered that Jordan had attended an event at the Sunday Suppers studio a few weeks before I started searching. So I emailed Karen, the owner, and name-dropped Jordan, and all of a sudden I was having NYC camp at this gorgeous space.

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The whole place is painted white, with white floors, exposed beams and columns, and gorgeous natural light. Oh, also,  a full kitchen, complete with industrial appliances and marble counters, and real glassware, dishes, and so forth. So, basically, my house. Isn't it lovely?

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The tables are handmade and ridiculously heavy, but did that stop me and my two tiny friends from moving them all around so the campers could see properly? NO. I may have a couple slipped discs now, but all in the name of education. 

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Yes, yes, y'all. I've started taking this to every camp. The people seem to like it. Thanks again, Vanessa!

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My friend Sarah -- you know Sarah, right? She's a genius? -- recommended her friend Kat to do the flowers. Not only is Kat funny and adorable, but the flowers turned out so beautifully I nearly wept. I told you Sarah was a genius.

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Top photo: The view from the studio. Bottom photo: Sarah B, Genius.

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This here is Beckie, who served as my intern/assistant for the weekend. She's sitting there like that because she is tired from DOING EVERYTHING. This is actually the last minute of quiet before the campers arrived. Beckie is contemplating jumping out one of those windows, probably. 

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We had a full house in the NYC class. Also coffee, mimosas, and hysterical laughter.

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Here we are doing introductions. I am the short one standing on a bench. My favorite part of this was when I asked each camper to introduce herself and tell us her greatest irrational fear, and someone was like, "I don't have any irrational fears. Only real ones. Like, bears." I'm afraid that one is irrational, Lifelong Resident of New York City.

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It still shocks me when people act like they are interested in what I have to say, and then I am doubly shocked when they tell me they learned something from it. I think what is so helpful to me is that, after every camp, I have a better understanding of what works and what doesn't, and it helps me to refine the way I share information so I'll present it even better the next time. On that note, I would like to apologize to my very first class, since y'all clearly learned nothing. (Just kidding.)

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The whole of the first day of camp is classroom-style lecture/slides/discussion, so it helps to lubricate + caffeinate one's students as often as possible. I think we went through a gallon of coffee and half a case of prosecco on the first day. These ladies were FUN by 5 in the afternoon.

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It also helps to feed them food. I cannot thank Radish NYC enough for their delightful lunches -- Radish catered for us both days, and everything was pitch-perfect, down to the HOMEMADE SODAS they brought, like, oh, now I'm in Williamsburg. Also, they delivered everything. Total bonus for Beckie.

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 Campers lunchin'.

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I do not know what is happening here.

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And then we had more class, and good snacks, and it was time to go home.


Day 2! The weather and studio and campers were just as beautiful as the first day, except now we were all best friends. Instead of jumping right in with the campers' individual houses, which I usually do, we started the day with a kind of AB Chao Dewit Master Class, which means the campers learned the important ways I like to make beds, hang curtains, arrange art, and style everything from furniture to tables. I know, you are riveted by this schedule change information. ACTUALLY, smarty-pants, it worked really well, and I plan to do it again.

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Lucy charmed me with her funny name tags.

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We again had a delicious lunch care of Radish, and then it was time for...

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SPECIAL GUEST NICK OLSEN! Do you have a question, lady in the back?

Nick was kind enough to stay and answer questions for as long as the campers had questions, and it was so nice for them to get his take on NYC-specific problems: renting, radiator fires, where the best upholstery guy is located, how he stays so trim despite a steady diet of cheeseburgers and gin and tonics.

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"It's this big."

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Quit taking pictures and get back to work, Beckie.


After Nick was finished with the class, we refreshed with a little snack break and he signed autographs for all the ladies. Just kidding. Nick can't write, y'all. No, seriously, we were all so happy to have him there and now he is under contract to attend every single camp I ever have, for the rest of time. Thanks, Nick!

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Another fun surprise was when Sarah from Rivet & Sway, who came as a camper, busted out her case of beautiful frame samples. Naturally, we swarmed them like nerdy little design bees. I couldn't decide on anything, of course, so I think I'm going to do their awesome home-try-on thing.  

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We decided to take our group photo in our sample glasses. Studiously adorable. Photo by Hateful Buntsy, who attended camp the second day for the sole purpose of getting to make fun of me later.

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 And now it's time to thank some of our incredible brands and sponsors for this camp. Baggu, of course, who keeps me in adorable bags for every camp.

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The unfairly talented Hannah sent the photo prints. The perfect start for a gallery wall, don't you think?

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I've mentioned before that the number one rule I have for campers is "BE BRAVE." Can you believe these? Holly from HollyWouldPress sent these gorgeous prints, and they are even better in person. Holly's shop has some really cute things, AND she is a fellow southerner. Nashville represent! Go see her over at Etsy.

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 In other local artisan news, I have long admired Madeline's work at Mimosa. For instance, she does work like the initial necklace you see above, a thing she must have known I'd wear every day (I do!). Madeline is based in Baton Rouge, and don't think I won't go down there and hug her neck in person for creating the FLAMAZING original necklaces for camp. Look:


What's that? It's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen? I agree. Sometimes I wear like five of them at the same time. Y'all, they are so lovely that they made the campers CRY. That is maybe the highest compliment that can be paid, right? At least it is in my world. You make me cry, we're in love for life. Also, now I really need these earrings for the fall. In addition to the site, Mimosa also has an Etsy shop with even MORE pretty things for you to look at and have. Yay, Madeline! 

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Oh, also, this girl I know sent a box full of individually autographed copies of her new novel, You Take It From Here. That was pretty nice, I guess. 

Actually, it was incredibly sweet, especially since this girl is about a hundred years pregnant with a baby she will probably name Anna Beth. Thanks, Pam. I love you.

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Another big thank you to all my ladies who came to camp! Y'all were so fun and sweet and, yes, my favorite class ever. See you next year.

Please enjoy some of the Instagram photos we took, right here.


PS. Want to come to camp? I want you to! The last one of the year is a mini-camp (one day) on Saturday, December 8 in Chicago. There are a few spots left, so come on!

AuthorAB Chao
Categoriesdesign camp
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