Thursday, June 01, 2017
By Kimberly Dam
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Leisha and Erik, of Langston Design Co., are a husband-wife design team after my own heart! We all love (and practice) minimalism, have a sincere passion for quality, locally sourced items, love Wilmington and have a genuine interest in the creative process. So, it was only natural that we decide to create something together!! The limited edition Crystal Pier tank/tee!!! (ONLY a few more hours to enter the GIVEAWAY!!)


But have you ever wondered how a particular style or design came to be? How it was created? What the inspiration behind it was? Why they used those colors?


The truth is that we recognize brands or artists just by what we see! Think about Monet's waterlillies, Ansel Adams landscapes, or the Nike swoosh to name a few. Do you ever wonder what went on in the artists mind during the creation of a work of art? It can be fascinating!


Well, today we're going to reveal a little bit of what went on behind the scenes when we created this design of one of Wilmington's little gems: Wrightsville Beach's Crystal Pier.


The inspiration:

Kim: The inspiration for the design, for me, is rooted in my love and fascination for the sky and the feelings it evokes on a spiritual level. Awe and wonder. Blessedness, interconnectedness, perfectness, wholeness, expansiveness. I've always believed that if we spent more time looking up at the sky, we would live life more purposely. We would slow down. Love more fully. Enjoy more. Seek less. The first stage of the design (see design evolution below) began with a photograph that I had taken last October, as part of my Divine Light series. The series, shot on Wrightsville Beach, focuses on the ever-changing night sky and the ever-changing landscape below. A reflection so-to-speak. As above, so below. 


Langston Design: "We wanted to take Kim's photo and place it into a simple shape somehow, because when it comes to a minimal design and lifestyle, simple is actually what stands out! Simple lines are reflective of a modern aesthetic as well, which is inspired by the structures of many modern buildings. We are inspired by simple and striking shapes and lines, such as those in the pier. We actually tried several different shapes before landing on the circle. Kim's image itself has the intricacies of the night sky and pier, and she had already edited it with an intriguing color scheme. Overlaying the elements of the simple, hand-drawn waves incorporated another touch reflective of the sea (actually Kim's suggestion!), and enticed the photograph further into the design realm. When we placed it onto a black mock-up shirt, we had to send it to Kim right away, because it immediately became something that we ourselves desired to wear!" 


The aesthetic:

Erik, Leisha and I all aspired to convey the same aesthetic: minimalism meets locale. We wanted to showcase the locale of Wilmington while staying true to our love of all things minimal. But starting a design based off of a photograph can be extremely challenging, especially when the photograph alone doesn't represent either of your personal styles. We wanted to create a design that was versatile, striking, but also captured that laid-back vibe we love so much about Wilmington. And the photograph didn't fulfill that for either of us. But with a few edits on my part, a little brainstorming and a few design elements on their end, I think we achieved a beautifully balanced design that represents us, as artists, and Wilmington well. 


P.S. I love giving my readers insight to behind the scenes creations, the work of others and spreading a whole lotta love through photography! I believe it fosters a community where we can inspire, grow and achieve more together! If you agree, I ask you to comment, share, like, give us both a follow on Instagram and buy our products! That way, you are helping us create and foster more love and light in this world!


Langston Design Instagram: @langstondesign


Langston Design on the web (I want it ALLLLL!!):


We are accepting wholesale orders for the tee and tank if you are interested in buying for your shop or boutique! Please email for more details.


You can currently shop the Crystal Pier tee or tank ONLINE only. This is a limited edition design that will be available in both my shop and Langston Design's only for the summer, or while supplies last!

Friday, May 26, 2017
By Kimberly Dam
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Hello loves!! I am SOOOOO excited to FINALLY reveal the secret project I've been working on with Leisha and Erik of Langston Design Co.


If you've been following me on Instagram (@kimberlydam), I'm so, so sorry! Haha! (Unless you're a suspense junkie! In that case, you need help ;P) Subtlety is not my forte! It's been extremely challenging to keep the sharing of this baby to a minimum! And to tell you the truth, I'm so relieved it's OVER! Ask Leisha! She had to talk me down a few times. Haha!


But all joking aside, I just want to express how grateful I am for all the love, excitement, and encouragement you all sent my way in the process. I'm truly blessed to have such an amazing circle!! Anyways, I won't keep you in suspense any longer. But I do wish that once you get a good look at the goods, you'll take the time to read Behind the Design, a follow-up post on the creation of this little product that is so near and dear to my heart. 


P.S. If you're not following me on Instagram, do so immediately! We will be hosting a Memorial Day GIVEAWAY, where one lucky person will win a shirt of their choice!!! 


Tank and Tee Apparel: Kimberly Dam x Langston Design Co.

Photography: Kimberly Dam

Models: Rachel Howell and Trevor Rowe

HMU: Rachel Howell


Monday, May 22, 2017
By Kimberly Dam
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Kauai. My love for Kauai runs deep. I have had some of the most fun, crazy, once in a lifetime, synchronistic experiences of my life with my feet planted in this beauty's soil. After all, Kauai is a sweet, sweet symphony of endless rainbows, mindblowing peaks, lush valleys, spontaneous waterfalls, secret lava pools, spirited roosters, and enough dirt roads that leave you questioning whether a.) you're headed in the right direction, and b.) your sanity for continuing when you are.


But, friends, it's her great, great spirit that I miss. Simplistic. Energetic. Grounded. Full. Resourceful. Personally, I feel the most "myself" on the island of Kauai. In highest potential. In fullest expression. In love with my self and all beings. In deep connection with Creator and all things it creates. Possibilities are endless. Opportunities are abundant. And love is ever present.


Needless to say, I can't wait for my return ;) Until then, a few of my favorite captures...


(NOTE: The legend of Hawaii Loa says Kauai was named after the name of his favorite son. And this may be true, but my feeling is that the spirit and energy of Kauai is feminine. DIVINE feminine.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
By Kimberly Dam
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Disclaimer: I had every intention of creating a well-rounded photographic representation of Maui, but Haleakala just stole the show :) The other photographs of the island looked rather sad standing next to hers, haha! So I've decided to post them to Instagram instead, where they can be appreciated and not mocked :P Feel free to follow me at @kimberlydam.

Maui. Maui is interesting. Contrasting. Intriguing. Fickle. Surprising. In other words, homeboy is young, spirited and highly impressionistic. A teenager. Running rampant! Haha! All joking aside, unfortunately, tourism greatly affects the character of Maui, so the presence of the Hawaiian culture and spirit is harder to see, hear and feel. This includes the use and reference to Hawaiian language and folklore. I can't help but feel a little sad for Maui. He seems a little lost. I can only hope in time, he finds his way back to his roots. Maybe you can help him in the quest. I'm sure I saw him. A few times. Upon majestic Haleakala at sunrise. Roaming the mysterious east side filled with unpaved roads and lush rolling farmland. Eating at a roadside Hawaiian barbecue stand. Hugging a tree in the bamboo forest. Standing in the mist of spectacular waterfalls. And leaving little "signs" everywhere.

P.S. After I had completed this post, I happened to stumble across this story about the Demi-God Maui.


"Legend has it that centuries ago there was born the demigod named Maui. The heavens were held by his father, the netherworld by his mother. Maui was said to be the smallest of the family, but what he lacked in size he made up for by being the quickest of mind. Maui also was known to be adventurous if not mischievous. Legend states how Maui was not the best when it came to fishing either, something his brothers excelled at and teased him about due to his lack of success.


Maui, in revenge, would sometimes use his wiliness to fill his boat with his brother's fish. He would pull his boat close enough to his brother's so that when they got a fish he could distract them and use his line to snag their fish. At first, Maui's brothers were in awe of his ability but eventually they caught on and refused to take him fishing. Seeing that her son was very upset, Maui's mother sent him to his father to get a magic fish hook. She said, "Go to your father. There you will receive the hook called Manaiakalani, the hook fastened to the heavens. When the hook catches land, it will raise the old seas together."


"So Maui went to his father and returned with the hook and asked his brothers to let him join in another fishing expedition. They laughed at him and threw him off the boat - but they returned with no catch. Maui scolded them, saying that if they had allowed him to join in on the fishing, they would have more success. So, figuring they had nothing to lose, the brothers allowed Maui to join them in their canoe for another chance. They paddled far from the aina (land) and threw their hooks into the sea. To their dismay, they only were able to catch sharks. The brothers mocked Maui asking, "Where are the fish you promised, our brother?"


So Maui, confident with his magic hook, rose and threw it into the ocean. He chanted a power prayer and commanded the hook to catch the Great Fish below. The ocean began to move, the waves chopped at the boat, and swells rose up around them. Maui quickly instructed his brothers to paddle with all their might and not look back. For two whole days Maui held the line tight, his brothers all the while paddling as furiously as they could. Suddenly from below the depths of the ocean arose the tops of great mountains in a series of peaks that broke the surface of the ocean. Maui shouted for his brothers to paddle harder and not look back while he pulled against the line and forced the peak's even farther out of the water. But alas, one of his brothers couldn't resist; he had to look. And as he gazed back in awe at the sight before Maui's hook he dropped his paddle, the line began to slacken, and before he could call out to his brothers, the line snapped and the magic hook was lost forever beneath the sea.


Maui shouted at his brothers, "I had endeavored to raise a great continent but because of your weakness I have only these islands to show for all my efforts."


And today we find the Hawaiian Islands just as Maui left them those long, long years ago.


Maui's adventures did not stop with the magic hook, however. After raising the islands from the sea Maui settled with his mother, Hina, in the town of Hana on Maui. There she worked on her tapa cloth, frustrated at how the cloth never could dry in the short hours of the day.


So, Maui set off on a quest to strike a deal with La, the sun. La had been being lazy, always in a rush to get back to bed. Maui had noticed that La always rose off the rim of Haleakala Crater, so Maui climbed to the top of Mount Haleakala, weaved a rope using some strong ie'ie vines, and as La raced across the sky Maui snared him down from the Kaupo Gap on Haleakala summit.


Maui made a deal with La for him to "walk" more slowly and steadily across the sky each day - a little faster in the winter, a little slower in the summer. And, thus, today we can thank Maui for our present length of daylight hours."

Monday, May 15, 2017
By Kimberly Dam
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Hmmm. The Big Island. The Big Island is like the humble warrior grandmother of Hawaii. She's a mystic, clothed in grandeur, fire, ancient wisdom and grace. In my travels, I like to think that I got to know her pretty well, but to say such things would be indulgent. Sure, I've driven up to Mauna Kea, only to lose my mind as the clouds circle in like leis, the sun sets the sky on fire and all of the universe's stars come out to wink at you. I've descended down so many dirt paths my feet are officially sacred. And I've been offered so many rides back up by the locals that my heart is pure shaka. Waipio has willed me to learn how to surf and shown me that there is no one right way to live. That it all can be done. Pele and her story (scroll down) have taught me that playing with fire is necessary in creation and that we, as humans, are perfect, whole and extremely adaptable. But there is so much, much more insight and methodology to be learned from the Big Island. But I trust, in good grandmama fashion, she will reveal them to me as I am ready. Until then...



The story of Pele


You will hear multiple versions of Pele's story as you travel the Big Island but there is one in particular that resonates more deeply with me and so, that will be the one I will share. It's a story of wonder, adventure, (and heartache). But first, a little background.


Pele was born to her father, Moe-moea-au-lii, the chief who dreamed of trouble, and her mother Haumea, or Papa, who personified mother earth. So it is only natural, that she is both creator and destroyer, the goddess of fire, lightning, dance, wind, volcanoes, and violence. And thus the creator of Hawaii, described as "She Who Shapes the Land." Now onto the story...


Pele's story is that of wanderlust. She was living in a happy home in the presence of her parents, and yet for a long time she was "stirred by thoughts of faraway lands." At last she asked her father to send her away. But this meant that he must provide a sea-going canoe with mat sails, large enough to carry a number of persons and food for many days.


Pele was sent to her oldest brother, Ka-moho-alii, the king of dragons, or, as he was later known in Hawaiian mythology, the god of sharks. He was a sea-god and would provide the great canoe for the journey. While he was getting things ready, he asked Pele where she was going. She replied, "I am going to Bola-bola; to Kuai-he-lani; to Kane-huna-moku; then to Moku-mana-mana; then to see a queen, Kaoahi her name and Niihau her island." Apparently her journey would be first to Bola-bola in the Society Islands, then among the mysterious ancestral islands, and then to the northwest until she found Niihau, the most northerly of the Hawaiian group.


The god of sharks prepared his large canoe and put it in the care of some of their relatives, Kane-pu-a-hio-hio (Kane-the-whirlwind), Ke-au-miki (The-strong-current), and Ke-au-ka (Moving-seas).


Pele was carried from land to land by these wise boatmen until at last she landed on the island Niihau, where she was welcomed and entertained by Kaoahi. (It is said that she sent back the boat to her brother, the shark-god and after a time, he brought all their brothers and sisters to Hawaii.)


After Niihau, she went over to Kauai, the large, beautiful garden island of the Hawaiian group, where she appeared as a dream maiden before the king of Kauai, Lohiau. They married, but shortly after, she started to feel that she needed to find a place where she could build a permanent home for herself and all who belonged to her. So she left in search of her home.


Pele, equipped with a magic digging tool called a pa-oa, started on her journey. The pa-oa, when struck into the earth, made a fire pit. It was with this pa-oa that she was to build a home for herself and Lohiau. She dug along the lowlands of Kauai, but water drowned the fires she kindled, so she went from island to island but could only dig along the beach near the sea. All her fire pits were so near the water that they burst out in great explosions of steam and sand, and quickly died, until at last she found Kilauea on the large island of Hawaii. There she built a mighty enduring palace of fire, only to eventually learn that her dream marriage was at an end. Her little sister Hiiaka had married Lohiau and lived on Kauai. 


It is believed that whenever Kilauea's crater bursts with lava, it is Pele's jealousy, anger and wrath coming to the surface. 


Okay, so the ending doesn't resonate... but the beginning DOES!! Haha! :)



P.S. I consciously decided to forgo filling this blog post with too many specifics of my trip or tips of what to do or see. Every person is unique and different. Only you know what you want to experience. You are your own compass. Be the way :) Unless your way is underestimating how much time you'll spend at Papakolea and missing out on Punalu'u Bakery's malasadas. Don't do that! It's my biggest food-related regret EVER!


Do you have any vacation regrets? Related to food or otherwise? If so, I'd love to hear them so leave a comment!! :)