Earth Day with Coclico

April 22, 2015

Coclico Spring

Coclico shoes are beautifully and thoughtfully designed, and it’s an honor to collaborate with them as a brand ambassador to tell their story in honor of Earth Day. Coclio sustainably creates their shoes in their small, family-run factory in Mallorca, Spain from materials sourced locally in Europe. I love this quote from them:

At Coclico, we believe that luxury isn’t the ability to purchase endlessly, but the privilege of choosing wisely.

I’m re-evaluating my privilege and what luxury actually is when it comes to Earth Day, shifting my ideas of how I can contribute to the health of the environment. From big decisions like purchasing a car to smaller decisions like purchasing shoes, carrying them through with intention and awareness of their environmental impact is easier said that done. But I can research what’s in my ability to choose, and this Earth Day I’d like to bring more integrity into what and how I consume products.

Whether that means buying less stuff overall (God knows my closet doesn’t need any more), getting rid of stuff, or to not buy “stuff” at all and invest in quality pieces, I hope to take my privilege to choose seriously and wisely.

Okay now back to Coclico’s darn cute shoes!

Coclico x Irenekly


The Ozark Bootie in nude nubuck.

Coclico x Irenekly


The Harlen Wedge in navy leather.

Coclico x Irenekly


The Ziggy Bootie in black leather.

Coclico x Irenekly


The Fire Heel in nude leather.

Aren’t they all gorgeous? I can attest to their comfort and durability, too. Hope Earth Day for you all is more than just one day of giving back to our environment, but a day to thoughtfully consider how we can better love this world we live in!

Ushering in Spring

March 20, 2015

It’s always a fun time when collaborating with my good friend Sammy of BUD Botanical Banditry, and even better when adding in a gorgeous dress from Modern Citizen. The loose theme around this collaboration is “Spring’s soft entrance amidst Winter’s dark,” or something high-level and sappy poetic-ish like that. Though in all honesty, watching winter light change to spring’s has been pretty amazing, and something I do want to capture. I also wanted to challenge myself to shoot in lower light and am pretty happy with the way these photos came out! Still lots to learn, but I hope I’ll always have lots to learn.

Big, big thanks to my friend Caitlin for modeling. Her graceful beauty is breathtaking, especially paired with some gorgeous BUD blooms!

Ushering in Spring - irenekly

Ushering in Spring - irenekly
Ushering in Spring - irenekly

Bud Botanical Banditry x Irenekly

Bud Botanical Banditry x Irenekly

Bud Botanical Banditry x Irenekly

Bud Botanical Banditry x Irenekly

Forest In A Box Invitations for My Bridesmaids

January 27, 2015

I’m sure every bride feels like her bridesmaids are something special, but boy, are these lady friends of mine incredible. I’m so humbled and excited to officially ask them to be a part of leading up to the big day and beyond.

Knowing how bridesmaid  duties can be taxing and overwhelming, I wanted to create something more personalized to the wedding and go the extra mile to make something nice for my bridesmaid invitations. On second thought, I should have included some tasty chocolate and a bottle of wine in this box… Anyway. Read more about this whole process here, where I shared wedding/bridesmaid thoughts on Chronicle Books’ blog.

Irenekly - Bridesmaid Invites

I had way too much fun jumping back into Illustrator and finally getting to design again. Special thanks to Kelsey, who helped me figure out how to print this tricky little Polaroid card!

Some details and themes that inspired the invitation:

  • All things redwoods-related, as Garrett and I will be wedded under a canopy of redwoods
  • Gold paperclips, just because
  • Dried moss and flowers
  • Festive pops of my favorite accent color

Irenekly - Bridesmaid Invite

Do you like my makeshift + strategic blur? Heh.

Irenekly - Bridesmaid Invites

One of my favorite parts of designing this invitation was putting together a little pamphlet of bridesmaid bios + fun facts. My secret hope is that these ladies, though several of them are mere acquaintances, would become lifelong friends. Let’s hope that throwing a bridal shower and attending invitation-folding parties would only bolster cheer and goodwill, not drive people crazy…

Irenekly - Forest in a Box Bridesmaid Invites

Ta-da! Here it is all put together. This is definitely one of the most fun projects I’ve put together in a while, and watching my bridesmaids open these boxes (and receiving exclamation-point filled texts from long-distance bridesmaids) was simply the best.

Onward, #WrinklyMaids!

Bud Botanical Banditry – Part Two

October 22, 2014

I’m still a little speechless over how these photos turned out. As I mentioned before, my friend Sammy just officially launched his new venture: Bud Botanical Banditry! What an exciting process and an honor to contribute to his budding (sorry couldn’t resist) portfolio.

So…my friend Madeline is truly a stunner. Okay, the bouquet is also a stunner. Put two stunners together in a photo and boom–ethereal magic is born. I can’t thank her enough for the amazing job she did. Also, I tried several different edits for these as I couldn’t make up my mind which was the best, but the third down might be my favorite. Looks like it belongs in a 70’s wedding album!

Irenekly for Bud Botanical Banditry

Irenekly for Bud Botanical Banditry

Irenekly for Bud Botanical Banditry

Irenekly for Bud Botanical Banditry

Irenekly for Bud Botanical Banditry


If you ever need to be impressed out of your socks for anything floral, Sammy is your man!

Botanical Banditry – Part One

October 15, 2014

An enormously talented friend of mine, Samuel Go, is making serious waves in the floral design world with his stunning arrangements. When he asked if I’d style and shoot some of his arrangements for his blooming portfolio, saying yes was so easy peasy.

I deeply admire Sammy’s commitment to finding and explore beauty and have definitely found a kindred spirit in him (and in his gorgeous fiancé Sarah). We can get so excited about any small tendril, petal, or any glorious and tiny detail. Here are the results from our fun time together! Thanks to our wonderful friend Becky, who opened her beautiful home as mise-en-scène for our photo shoot and offered sage advice throughout.

Botanical Banditry - Irenekly

Botanical Banditry - Irenekly Botanical Banditry - Irenekly

Botanical Banditry - Irenekly

And hooray for continued creative collaborations, as I shoot another portfolio session in a couple of weeks, featuring Sammy’s gorgeous bouquets and a gorgeous model friend o’mine. Can’t wait to show you all the photos!

How to Throw a Pickling Party

September 7, 2014


The lovely Sarah of Ardent Magazine reached out to me a couple months ago about writing some stories for the magazine, and I of course said an honored yes. Here’s the first one–a watercolored poster of how to throw a pickling party, inspired by my birthday pickling party not too long ago. 

How to Throw a Pickling Party - irenekly

How to Throw a Pickling Party - irenekly

Snap up the last of that glorious summer abundance and do some quick pickling! Make sure tasty beer and a most excellent playlist is involved. And friends! The most important part of any party. Read the detailed how-to here

Flower Festooning

April 24, 2014

Irenekly - Flower Festooning

Add flowers to any equation and I am a happy camper. We had way too much fun figuring out this festoon business from one of our new books, Decorate with Flowers, and also had some real struggles with Vine-making. Ex: Clogs are really loud and should be taken off when making a stop motion video. But everything was still so much fun to be a part of, and especially photograph!

Irenekly - Flower Festooning 2

Here’s Guinevere masterfully tying on a dusty miller to some twine. Also, those are excerpts from Pride & Prejudice pasted onto hang tags. Literature and beauty–we like those two things.

Check out the rest on Chronicle Books’ fabulouso blog!

Reads, Lately | 01

April 16, 2014

This post is about a month late, but better now than never! It’s intimidating, attempting to write a post that looks something like a book review. The immediate expectation created when expressing opinions on literature kept me hemming and hawing on giving 4 out of 5 stars to this or that, or on extending furrowed brows of critique to the internets. But I’ve decided to soften the blow by combining my thoughts with a small vignette of where I was when reading the book, so hopefully creating a more experiential review of sorts. Also, working at a book publisher definitely helps in making my love for all things bookish extra public and wordy.

I should also mention that everything I seem to be reading these days is by female authors! Not too surprising, but still delightful. I’m enjoying the dive and subsequent swimming into the voices of these fabulous women and learning more about my own voice in the meantime.

Irenekly - Goldfinch
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tart.

The where: 2014 had just begun, everyone and everywhere was telling me that this was the book to read. Because of how hefty it is (784 pages!), I only read it in the comfort of home and as this picture connotes, had tons of distractions keeping me from finishing it more quickly.

The what: continuing from that last thought – I was surprised that I wasn’t more drawn to the main character or even the story. Perhaps the expectations were too high? The sheer length was daunting, considering I wasn’t loving it from the start. But gripping at parts it was, as were the masterful character portraits. Overall, I am glad to have read it but won’t be putting it on my favorites of the year list.

Irenekly - My Life in Middlemarch

My Life in Middlemarch, by Rebecca Mead

The where: after feasting my eyes upon the gorgeous cover for too long, I finally had the chance to crack this book open whilst home sick and stuffing myself with rice porridge. (Put a coddled quail egg in that porridge and I guarantee an expedited recovery!) I did wish my surroundings were a bit more provincial or pastoral, however comfy my futon + sweatpant combo may be.

The what: I’m actually still in the middle of Middlemarch, though it’s past March–sorry, terrible pun–and am seriously contemplating bookmarking my page until I actually read George Eliot’s Middlemarch. I know, it’s embarrassing and shocking. I haven’t read one of the greatest novels written for grown-ups, as touted by Mrs. Woolf, and I call myself an English major. But books on how books change you are so compelling! And Rebecca Mead’s lovely writing! I couldn’t help but start reading. Anyway, what I’ve read so far is excellent and I can’t wait to resume.

Irenekly - Mr. Fox

Mr. Fox, by Helen Oyeyemi

The where: now here was a book I easily brought along to wherever! The airport, the train, the cafe–I loved finishing each chapter in a different surrounding.

The what: ooh, I really enjoyed this one. Helen Oyeyemi is an author to watch/read! Her clever and violently vivid prose successfully paints a range of inter-connected stories all depicting the complexity, danger, and beauty of love. So satisfying, that feeling of being pulled in many small directions to ultimately be led to one big destination. I’m also surprised at how much I ended up liking Daphne Fox!

If you are looking for a new book to read, I hope this small roundup proves somewhat helpful! I’d also love to hear your thoughts if you’ve already read any of these books.

Next up, books by more powerhouse ladies: Maira Kalman, Flannery O’Connor, and either Margaret Atwood or Zadie Smith. Let’s see how long I can keep this homage to women authors going.

Birthday Scotch

January 27, 2014

I had been scheming knock-his-socks-off birthday gift ideas for Garrett since December, when while on my usual Pinterest perusal, I noticed myself pinning lots of packaging designs for spirits. Vodka, scotch, gin – I love that there are so many possibilities with design involving all the different, delicious libations and I knew that Garrett loved it too. But it wasn’t until I saw the Migrant whiskey label design and read the story behind it (here), that the idea struck on designing a personalized birthday label for him. Obviously, huge amounts of inspiration were taken from the Migrant design – I just added some fun icons and cheesy puns.

Here are some examples of cool label designs and the final design for Garrett:

Irenekly - Garrett's-Whiskey2

I found this really awesome bottle in some random shop on Piedmont and I’m so glad the end result turned out okay! Printing labels is tricky business, but sticking them on is even trickier. I gave up any notions of perfect smoothness and decided that the wrinkles were intentional to create a more “vintage” effect.

Irenekly - Garrett's Birthday Scotch

Happy birthday, Garrett! I love you and may this next year be filled with lotsa whiskey.

1., 2., 3. 

Flowers in Our Hairs

October 25, 2013


My wondrous bosom friend Becky and I embarked on a most fun adventure on Monday: floral wreath making! Made a stop at the SF Flower Mart, where we ruminated on which blooms and boughs would be best to fashion into wreaths. We settled for a good variety of budded eucalyptus, pink pepper branches, Cafe Au Lait dahlias, the mysterious blue flowers which I’ve sadly forgotten the name of, and picked up some floral wire.

While I was still in the middle of making my first wreath,  I looked over at Becky to see that she’d already made and donned this marvelous creation! She’s a floral genius! I love that her wreaths retain the natural, slightly erratic shape of the blooms and sprigs, yet work so well on top of her lovely head. Here are some of her masterpieces:



Very Frida Kahlo, no?


This one makes me giggle, hehe. All in all, a great day spent putting nature in our hair!

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