i didn’t include these in the guide but one thing you’ll notice in paris are the amazing metro station entrances and their art nouveau design. they’re beautiful – they really put our subway stations here in philly to shame! the metro scenes in our catalog were shot at the station on ile de la cite:





here are some other lovely ones:





behind the scenes photos by thomas northcut, other metro station photos from here.


i’m starting to think i have a strange obsession with sticks, driftwood, tree branches… i guess i just really like the idea of incorporating bits of nature into the home. regardless, i spotted this diy the other day and can’t get over it.

you all have probably seen this image before of beautifully painted driftwood by ginette lapalme… i’ve posted it before.  this was the inspiration for the diy project on the blog semi jewels, which takes a piece of driftwood and turns it into a rad key holder:





i’m in love. check out the full tutorial here.

now does anyone know where i can find some good driftwood in the philly area?!?

free people guide to paris

from the moment i set foot in the streets of paris and gazed around, wide-eyed, at the most beautiful architecture and scenery i had ever seen, i made a silent promise to myself that i would one day live there.  growing up, i was very lucky to have the opportunity to spend a lot of time in paris as my dad taught a course at a university there in the summer – we would fly out towards the end and spend time in paris before driving south to spend a couple of weeks in a house we rented from a friend in provence.

nothing ever captured my imagination quite like paris… i wanted to soak it all in. i learned about the architecture, the art, learned my way around its winding streets, and eventually learned the language.  it’s a fascinating city and culture and i know that i will find myself back there one day, living in my little apartment in montmartre …the shutters open so i can listen to the sounds on the street as i paint, read and write to my heart’s content.

should you find yourself in paris, or if you want to get more familiar with the city, we’ve put together a free people guide to paris that you can download from our flickr page!  these are our favorite places to stay, eat, shop and hang out while in the city of lights. hope you enjoy!

view large sizes and download the guide at our flickr page.

all photos in the guide were taken by thomas northcut while our team was in paris shooting our catalog, with the exception of the following:
page 11, page 12 (marche aux fleurs photo), page 13, page 15, page 16 (park photo and cemetery photo), page 17, page 19, page 20 (hotel apostrophe photo), page 23 (top and bottom left photos), page 24 – all of which were found via google image search.

oh and stay tuned for an insider look at paris from gauthier, the male model in our january catalog, and michelle, a model we love who spends a lot of time in paris!


as if having one genius photographer in a household wasn’t enough – guy aroch’s wife, anna palma, is also an incredibly talented photographer. our senior stylist told me about her, and sent along some photos and a video that she shot. what struck me about her work was somewhat similar to why i love her husband’s work- it feels very natural and un-posed. she has a talent for capturing the essence of childhood- imagination, playfullness and fun. this video is amazing- i love the song choice (yeasayer’s ambling alp)!

“XOXO” directed by Anna Palma from SWELL on Vimeo.

and here are some of the gorgeous photos that accompany the video:


see more at her website!

fan stories: kaleidoscope eye

next up is some artwork our reader taylor sent in- a loyal free people fan who reads the blog and comments regularly!  her work caught my eye a little while back when she posted a couple of drawings on our facebook page – i love the spirit that comes across in her drawings, she definitely seems like a free people girl!

(you may recall me posting this one once before… i love it!)


freepeople shoes 001


i also love these photos she sent in! beautiful :)

taylor field

taylor hand with flowers

thanks for sharing, taylor!

and thank you again to all who have submitted stories, artwork and photos! i love hearing from you so please keep them coming to :)

fan stories: on the fresh coast

today i want to share a couple more fan stories that have been sent in!

the first comes from amy, who sent in some photos from her blog on the fresh coast, which is titled after living along the great lakes her whole life and weekending near the wisconson glacial lakes, a common activity among people who live in her area.

i really love the photo of her bedroom, which she decorated with some driftwood wrapped in string, inspired by this photo i posted a little while back:

here’s her take on it:


it looks so cool! i might have to do this :) here are a couple more pretty photos that she sent me from her blog:



beautiful! thanks for sharing amy!

january catalog photographer, guy aroch




when i heard that our january catalog was being shot in paris by guy aroch, i knew before even seeing it that it was going to be amazing. i’ve been a fan of his work for some time now and have a lot of his photos saved in my inspiration folder.  in addition to his knack for beautiful lighting and rich colors, he has a magical way of capturing a fleeting moment.  looking through our paris book i don’t see a catalog, i see a photo diary of two girls’ adventure through paris as if they were being followed around and photographed without knowing. here’s some more of guy’s inspiring work (some featuring model elsa hosk, one of our january catalog models!).





go see more of his beautiful work here. the images of guy shooting our paris catalog were taken by thomas northcut.

monday quote

so shake the dust and take me with you when you do for none of this has ever been for me.

all that pushes and pulls, pushes and pulls for you.

so grab this world by its clothespins and shake it out again and again and jump on top and take it for a spin and when you hop off shake it again for this is yours.

–  anis mojgani, “shake the dust”

image by derek wood.

california sun dried tomato breakfast sandwich

i first came across my breakfast blog when the author, maggie, posted a cute diy project using one of our catalogs.  when i checked out her blog, i was immediately drawn to her unique style of writing and quirky, likeable personality. and she happens to post some really yummy recipes that are right up my alley – organic, vegetarian, healthy and still delicious.

here is one of the recipes i came across on her blog recently that i’m dying to try.  i’m getting hungry just thinking about it:

california sun dried tomato breakfast sandwich


– multigrain gluten free bread

– raw sun dried tomato garlic sauce

– one large farm fresh egg

– one avocado

– sea salt and pepper


toast the bread and spread with raw sun dried tomato garlic sauce. cook one large farm fresh egg sunny side up in an infused garlic olive oil and dress with black pepper. slice avocado and add on as desired. sprinkle with sea salt and more pepper, and voila! breakfast :)

check out my breakfast blog here!