Friends & Family: Little Interior Architect Extraordinaire

For this week’s Friends & Family feature, I’d like to give a shout out to my little, Ana! As you guys may know by now, I do these posts around the subject’s birthday, and Ana’s just so happens to be tomorrow so HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY LITTLE! Here’s a little tribute to your beautiful work, I hope you like it 🙂

If you’re wondering why I call Ana my little, it’s because we met when she joined our sorority (Delta Phi Epsilon) a year after I did, and we miraculously met the day her class was picking big sisters, and that first meeting made enough of an impact on both of us that we ended up as big and little. Thankfully, our first impression was right and we were a match made in heaven! 10 years later, we have a beautiful friendship that I cannot wait to keep growing ❤

Ana was an Architecture turned Interior Design major at FIU. Basically, professional crafting on steroids (it’s not for nothing they call it “architorture”), and she’s really really really great at it. Her sophomore year (while she was still declared under architecture) she had to participate in this annual event called a Walk on Water, where architecture students had to build, to put it simply, over-sized floating shoes that would allow them to cross the FIU lake as if they were walking on water. How did Ana do? If you opened the previous link, you know that SHE WON OF COURSE! The structures her and her partner built got them to cross the lake in one minute and thirty seconds flat. They’re even listed on the FIU Architecture Wikipedia page, how cool is that? There were many contests Ana won over the years, including a memorial design. There’s nothing she can’t do ❤

Walk on Water 2007

Walk On Water students ready to make their walk!

Throughout Ana’s career, she had to build a number of models for her classes, which took a lot of time and dedication (and some of her skin) in the process. Here are some pictures I shot of them with my professional camera:

After going through half of her architecture major, Ana decided to change majors to Interior Design. In my opinion, she would’ve succeeded regardless but this was definitely the right move for her, because her eye for detail is just what is needed in interior spaces. Her portfolio is so strong, that she managed to get an internship at the #1 interior design firm in the world: Gensler, which is a magnet for FIU alum. The internship took place in Texas, and then she applied for a full-time job in the Miami subsidiary, and she got it! She stayed with the company for a few years, until a coffee mogul came knocking: Starbucks! Yes, you read that right. Have you been to one of those Starbucks stores that is different from the others, with cool designs, bigger spaces and very unique decor? Those specialty stores are projects of designers like Ana. Like I said earlier, she’s like a crafter on steroids. Here are some of her digital designs from different companies as well as an “artsy” Starbucks store, for your enjoyment:

Focus 2

Design vs. Real Life Final Result


Design vs. Real Life Final Result


Design vs. Real Life Final Result


Gorgeous Design For a Store

I’m always impressed by her incredible work, innovative designs and polished 360 plans. Out of my entire Friends and Family series, shes one of the two who has turned this crafty gift into a major, followed by a successful career (the second post is coming in September!). I’m so proud of her and everything she has accomplished thus far, and I can’t wait to see how far she’ll go!



New OBSESSION: Mr. Kate!

Oh. Em. Gee. you guys! I just found the deepest YouTube black hole I’m about to fall into head first, and possibly never come out of. Most people don’t know this about me, but I spend a good amount of time on YouTube, half as a hobby, and half as work/research. Since I work in social media, I’m always trying to study the trends and see how we can implement whatever the kids want to see these days (hello, am I 80 yet?), but I have also inadvertently gotten invested in the lives and success of many of these digital influencers, and counting. And it’s all because of Jenna Marbles.

My top YouTuber to watch for more than a year now is Lilly Singh, aka iiSuperwomanii, who has a comedy/skit based main channel, and a second daily vlog channel where she shares a lot of what goes on behind the scenes in her life and work, and aims to motivate her viewers to hustle hard as we watch her do every day. Now, because of Lilly, I’ve come across many other creators and I have gotten attached to a few of them, but none have taken my heart and eyes by storm as much as Mr. Kate. An interior design/decorator, Kate Albrecht and her partner Joey Zehr aim to transform pretty much any space they walk into within a very short amount of time, and with all the unexpected twists and turns you can’t imagine. I consider myself a pretty creative and hands-on DIYer and handyman when duty calls, but Kate is simply fearless when it comes to juxtaposing textures, colors, materials and even multiple tastes into a single space.


Kate and Joey, no better DIY Demolishing Duo out there!

Lilly hired Kate to style her bedroom and her home office space, and it was simply love at first sight for me. The magic of Kate – besides her super charming and electric personality, her positive disposition, and boundless creativity – is that when you see each detail she is bringing into any space, there’s almost a speck of doubt “will this actually look good/cohesive with the rest of the stuff?,” and then you get to the end clip where they show the finished work, and you just have to scold yourself for ever having doubted Kate in the first place. She is INCREDIBLE and I can’t get enough of her. I immediately started back-watching everything she had ever posted, which is a lot of content and she has it broken up into series for our convenient viewing. Some of my favorites include:

  • O.M.G. We Bought A House! – a (so far) three-season style show on YouTube, with a format that EASILY competes with anything you can find on traditional TV and the likes of HGTV, where Kate and Joey purchase their first home, and do some serious remodel of every single nook and cranny of a decades-old house.
  • O.M.G. We Are Coming Over! – also known as O.M.G. WACO, taking the original OMG to new heights and places, as Kate and Joey style or remodel the homes/rooms/work spaces of mainly “digitally famous” people who much like themselves, found an online following. This one is a dangerous series, as Kate acts as the funnel to introduce me to many other creators I had no idea existed and now how am I supposed to ever get out of bed from watching so many people?! My favorite part of this one is seeing how Kate really absorbs the personalities and preferences of each of her Creator Customers, and creates a space that they could’ve never in a million years build for themselves, because we all have our strengths, but no one decorates like Kate.
  • Breaking Beige – a shorter series that showcases Kate and Joey making over smaller spaces where regular Joes and Janes suffer at the hands of incredibly monochromatic color-schemes in their homes, and Super Mr. Kate comes to the rescue to break them out of their beige cages and bring color and life into their homes.

All the shows are so well-done, and take full advantage of the season/show format YouTube offers like little other channels do. Kate has a clear vision, and the style of the shows is undoubtedly just as good, if not solidly better than whatever you can find on TV. It’s all really, REALLY well-executed.

I thought about adding pictures to this post of a few beautiful rooms Kate has created, but I simply can’t do that to all the other rooms. You just have to see for yourself! Also, the Mr. Kate channel is just about to cross the One Million YouTube Subscribers mark, so if anyone is looking for a new channel to watch endlessly, I can’t recommend this one enough!

Basically, if anyone needs me for the next couple of months, I’ll be binge-watching Mr. Kate until I can get through all of her videos and take in every gram of the fabulousness Kate has to offer.