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Woman Behind the Blog: Justina Blakeney

A peek into her boho-fabulous life

The first time we stumbled upon Justina Blakeney’s blog, we clicked. And clicked. And clicked. Two hours later, we came up for air, full of design (and life) envy. We had a million questions for the Los Angeles bohemian/traveler/stylist; she was game for every one.

q&a!You lived and worked in Italy for seven years. What do you miss most? And what’s your favorite gelato flavor?
I miss speaking Italian, long lunch breaks, and even longer dinners. I miss the cobblestones and my fresco-ceilinged apartment. I miss visiting the countryside and, of course, I miss the food. My favorite dishes were farfalle salmone, ribollita, and spaghetti alla carrettiera. Gosh. How long do you want this interview to be? I’ll stop there, but I could go on and on. As for gelato? Probably cioccolato arancia (chocolate orange).

You live in a self-described jungalow (and your love of plants is fierce). What’s your spirit flower/plant?
Fun (and tough!) question. I’m going to go with coconut palm. We are both very versatile and love the sunshine. We are both tall and hardy. And we both feed people with the milk from our coconuts [laughs].

Finish this sentence: If I weren’t a decorator/stylist/etc., I’d be a _____.
Singer. Or a linguist. Or an archeologist. Or a journalist. Can you tell I have many passions?

What’s your dream day in L.A.?
An early morning coffee and a lap at the newly amazing Echo Park Lake, then off to breakfast at Sqirl (I’ll have the porridge!). Next, we’ll head to WeHo for some window-shopping on La Brea and Beverly and a stop at LACMA. Then we’ll ride the Vespa (the only way to beat the traffic) to Venice Beach to stick our toes in the sand and have a picnic lunch by the water. An early afternoon walk up to Abbot Kinney and then catch an offbeat flick at the Santa Monica Laemmle theater. We’re out in time to watch the sun set over the water, then off to Hollywood to have a ramen dinner at Atch-Kotch. An after-dinner drink and a little bowling at The Spare Room — and home by midnight.

Anything coming up on your travel list? (We have to assume you have one, based on your history.)
[Laughs.] Yeah, I’ve got a travel bug for sure! I will be visiting some cities in the U.S. in the next few months as part of the new book I’m working on (tentatively titled The New Bohemians). The photographer and I will be traveling to Oregon, Texas, and New York City to visit some of the homes and families we’re profiling. After the book is done, a trip to Morocco in the fall.

justina blakeney!

What’s your favorite place in your house? And your most coveted piece?
I love the corner between the two windows in my living room. The light changes there all throughout the day so it always looks different. It’s a super cozy spot, and I spent a lot of time during my pregnancy in that very corner, so it feels like it’s got good vibes. My most coveted piece? That’s tough. I really love the cubby cabinet that I’ve turned into a vertical garden, but I have a lot of artwork painted by friends and family that mean a lot more to me on a sentimental level.

You had dreams of becoming a pop star in your college years. What’s your go-to karaoke song?
[Laughs.] Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’” was a favorite a few years back, but then there are those classics that I always come back to, like “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” by Eurythmics, and — duh — Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

Any secret design resources you’d be willing to give up?
I’m terrible at keeping secrets. I blab about all my resources on the blog all the time. My favorite L.A. thrift shop for amazing stuff is the BTS Thrift Boutique, and Hernandez has great midcentury stuff at better prices than you’ll find around L.A. Another one of my not-so-secret design resources is the online styling class that I teach on Skillshare.

What’s your best advice for someone decorating a new apartment?
Decorate slowly and go to Ikea last, not first.

We love Mangiona, the recurring theme on your blog. Whom would you invite to your fantasy dinner party? What would you serve?
First off, I’d invite Caitlin (the blog’s guest chef) so she could help me cook! And all my other girlfriends scattered around the globe. Next on the list are Sade, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jonathan Adler, Simon Doonan, Björk, Marion Cotillard, M.I.A., Iris Apfel, Zadie Smith, Dolly Parton, Toni Morrison, Jane Goodall, Isabella Rossellini, Tina Fey, and — why the hell not? — let’s invite Clooney, too. We’re having tagliatelle ai funghi as a primo, branzino as a secondo, and gelato for dessert. Can you guess which flavor?

Find out more about Blakeney at blog.justinablakeney.com.

Photos: Courtesy of Justina Blakeney