Designer knows as ‘The Nester’ gives advice on creating a cozy space

Emilee Geist

For 12 years Myquillyn Smith, known online as “The Nester,” has inspired homeowners to rearrange their rooms to be more welcoming. Smith is a self-taught design-school dropout who took a week-long course so she could be a certified home stager and redesigner. Her newest book is “Welcome Home: A Cozy Minimalist Guide to Decorating and Hosting All Year Round.”

Smith joined Washington Post staff writer Jura Koncius last week for an online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.

Q: How do you describe the term “cozy minimalist”? Is it similar to the concept of Swedish hygge?

A: It’s quite similar, with the focus being on how it affects what we bring into and edit out of our home. I consider “cozy” and “minimalism” tools, not a specific style. You want a balance of those welcoming codifiers, such as softgoods, cushy chairs, filtered lamp light and simplicity, no matter your style.

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10 Halloween decorations an interior designer would buy at Dollar Tree right now

Emilee Geist

Dollar Tree has a bunch of affordable decorations for Halloween. <span class="copyright">Dollar Tree</span>
Dollar Tree has a bunch of affordable decorations for Halloween. Dollar Tree
  • Dollar Tree is selling a range of Halloween decorations for just $1 per item. 

  • Insider asked an interior designer to pick her favorite Halloween items from the discount chain. 

  • Designer-approved items included orange string lights, spooky tea-light holders, and sparkly jack-o’-lanterns. 

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Spooky season is upon us, and that means bargain-priced Halloween decorations are on sale at Dollar Tree. 

The chain is known for its range of $1 wares, which now include a selection of holiday items and frightfully affordable Halloween decor. 

To figure out which seasonal decorations are worth buying, Insider spoke to interior designer Jillian Ziska, creative director at To Be Decorated in San Diego, California. 

Here are some Halloween decorations an interior designer would grab at Dollar Tree right now:

Disclaimer: Prices and availability are subject to change. Keep in

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Fashion Designer Kenzo Takada Dies From COVID-19

Emilee Geist

PARIS (AP) — Kenzo Takada, the iconic French-Japanese fashion designer famed for his jungle-infused designs and free-spirited aesthetic that channeled global travel, has died. He was 81.

The family said in a statement to French media Sunday that Takada died from complications from COVID-19 in a hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris. A public relations officer for Kenzo’s brand confirmed that Takada died, but didn’t give a cause of death.

“It is with immense sadness that KENZO has learned of the passing of our founder,” the fashion house said in a statement. “For half a century, Mr. Takada has been an emblematic personality in the fashion industry — always infusing creativity and color into the world.”

Takada’s death came at the tail end of Paris Fashion Week, whose nine-day calendar is undertaking an unusual fashion season for spring-summer 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was only days ago that the

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How To Build A Recycled Plastic Skateboard? Designer Giving Away Plans For Free

Emilee Geist

Plastic bags, bottle caps and CD cases, with a little work, can be the ingredients for making a skateboard deck. You have to add the trucks and wheels later on, and designer Jason Knight would appreciate a buck or two toward putting the plans together.

Knight, part of the Precious Plastic collective, launched a Kickstarter campaign today to make a download kit that will later be shared online, for free.

The funds generated by the campaign will go toward resources needed to make the kit and an initial batch of decks, according to the Kickstarter page. Anything extra beyond a campaign goal of about 40,000 pounds ($51,000 U.S.) will go to run free educational workshops, where people can make their own deck, to increase global awareness about the possibilities of plastic recycling.

Knight, the

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12 Pieces of Jewelry from Master Designer Shaun Leane are on Sale at Phillips

Emilee Geist

British avant-garde jewelry designer Shaun Leane is out with a limited-edition tome that will celebrate his 20-year-long career and coincides with the launch of an online selling exhibition with Phillips auction house that features 12 pieces of high and fine jewelry from the designer.

The sale, entitled Flawless, also includes pieces from Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Marina B, Maubossin, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Chaumet, to name a few. Leane’s eponymously titled book, published by ACC Art Books ($75), was originally supposed to coincide with an in-person selling exhibition, but Covid-19 put a wrench in those plans. But for fans of Leane’s work, the sale will still be a unique opportunity to purchase pieces like a pair of feather fan earrings ($17,100) or a gold quill collar necklace ($17,400).

Shaun Leane’s jewelry designs are unmistakeable—the kinds that are so out-of-the-box they leave a lasting impression on the memory. If you

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Meet the designer that made a chatbot to flag workplace racism

Emilee Geist

I recently made a chatbot for recruiters to interact with my portfolio, which garnered some attention on Twitter:

You can interact with it here.

This was a simple experiment I did to manage recruitment emails and job applications, inspired by Big Kid Lab. My original intention was to showcase my resourceful skills and get hands-on experience with conversational AI design, but I added some bolder questions to filter out recruiters who represent companies that don’t align with my values. It’s rather alarming if a company still hasn’t taken a stance of support for BLM or other social justice issues at this point. Being a woman of color in tech, I know that their silence represents a larger implication of the way I would be seen and treated in that work environment.

[Read: Are EVs too expensive? Here are 5 common myths, debunked]

Before the recruiter can interact with my

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After COVID-19, Can the U.S.’s Next Top Designer Hit It Big Remotely?

Emilee Geist

If fashion designers are meant to create for those far and wide, then why shouldn’t their home bases reflect that?

American fashion has long been primarily centered in New York City, but the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has made recent fashion design school graduates question the meaning of being a U.S.-based designer. With domestic department stores struggling and the cost of urban life at an all-time high, designers have begun seeing opportunity elsewhere — creating a sudden splintering of talent across the country.

It begs the question: In this time of working remotely, will the U.S.’s next big fashion designer be based outside New York City?

Designers hailing from other cities have tried to hit it big before — to mixed success. But there is something particularly new about this time of virtual connectedness that could make it more possible.

With little to keep themselves busy during lockdowns, recent design graduates

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How to re-vamp your set-up, according to an interior designer

Emilee Geist

Whether you're looking to buy a brand new desk or update your workspace with soft furnishings alone, these are products you need (Topology Interiors)
Whether you’re looking to buy a brand new desk or update your workspace with soft furnishings alone, these are products you need (Topology Interiors)

If, like us, you’re bored of looking at the same four walls after four months of working from home during lockdown, then it’s time for an interiors update.

Whether you’re working from a corner of your bedroom or in a separate study, no matter how big or small a change you make, adjusting your workspace can do wonders for your productivity and motivation.

Focusing on your home set-up may feel redundant as lockdown starts to lift, but some of us could still be working from home for many more months, and sprucing up your space may get you out of that WFH funk.

As the pandemic has forced us to merge our office and personal spaces, keeping them as separate as possible is also important, so

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President Trump Wraps Up RNC at the White House, First Lady Sports Neon Green Designer Dress

Emilee Geist

SEEING GREEN: To wrap up the final night of the Republican National Convention, President Donald Trump on Thursday delivered his lengthy acceptance speech from outside the White House. Having a sitting president give a campaign speech live from federally-owned property with 1,000 mostly non-mask wearing attendees was a discussion before and after the RNC.

The 70-minute address featured attacks against his Democratic rival Joe Biden, talk of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year, criticism of the lawlessness and looting happening in cities like  Portland, Ore., calls for more domestic manufacturing, support for members of the military, pro-life mandates and more. Trump said, “This is the most important election in the history of our country.”

Given the many weighty matters the world is facing and the hour-plus speech, some TV and online viewers understandably may have cast their eyes elsewhere. First Lady Melania Trump was one point of

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Peter Do, New York’s First Designer to Present Spring 2021

Emilee Geist

Last season Peter Do’s inspiration was the final girl in horror films — the last survivor who perseveres through adversity and somehow manages to come out of it looking strong and sleek. Shortly after, by happenstance, a global pandemic forced everyone to adapt and survive a frightening new reality.

With large gatherings and numerous brands on pause, a few issues stemming from the pandemic and specific to the fashion industry have included the future of fashion weeks and what clothes will look like post-lockdown.

Regarding the former, as a brand born from social media, Peter Do has never followed a traditional fashion model, opting out of fashion weeks to hold market appointments during Paris men’s week. It’s no surprise, then, he decided on another unconventional route to debut his spring 2021 collection through Instagram TV. A video of models walking one at a time through head-to-toe and closeup frames was

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