THE LONGER STORY
I grew up in Woodstock, NY in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, an area that remains dear to my heart. I moved to the Midwest in high school and graduated from The University of Kansas with a degree in political science and double minor in psychology and fine art.
From there I returned to New York to study occupational therapy at Columbia University. The integration of mental and physical health inherent in the profession was attractive to me. I also liked that there is a lot of creativity in the practice and many areas to specialize in. Getting that degree - and luckily a full scholarship - was one of the best things I have done for myself.
While at Columbia, my roommate had the full video series of Bill Moyer's Healing and the Mind, which cemented my interest in what is now, two decades later, a booming industry known as "wellness". Along with a whole host of self-study, my continuing education in health and wellness includes course intensives in massage at The Open Center, nutrition and cooking at The Natural Gourmet Institute and hatha yoga at Integral Yoga; I incorporated wellness principles into my therapy practice and also gravitated toward professional development in sensory processing disorders.
After a decade and the opening and closing of a successful private practice, I shifted back toward creative pursuits that I felt were becoming more marginalized in my life. Simultaneously I had a growing interest in sustainability. I found that I lived a fairly earth friendly existence in NYC with a small home, no need for a car, access to organic produce, etc. but I was hard pressed to find new clothing made in an earth friendly way. I did not see sustainability taking root in fashion as it had done in other lifestyle industries, such as automotive, food and architecture. Some eco-friendly options existed, but I found the aesthetics limiting. I either had to compromise my style or my ethics, so I leaned heavily on vintage pieces or thrift shop finds.
With the idea of creating what I could not find, I enrolled in fashion design courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design. While I learned how to make clothes, I also researched earth friendly fabrics, studied how to run a fashion business, explored my relationship to clothing and perused the crossroads of style and sustainability. All of this was documented in an online project that, much to my surprise, gained some interest. To learn more about that visit fiftyRX3.
That was 2005, early days for both blogging and sustainability's infiltration into the mainstream. There was a lot of green buzz and blog buzz in those days and I met and made friends with many like minded people across an array of industries. I ended up doing more work as an editor and writer than I did as a designer. Ultimately I learned that I did not want to become a manufacturer, which is fairly inevitable in fashion, and that I did not want to be a writer. I wanted to be more directly and actively creative in a way that also aligned with my values.
In 2008 I decided to do another year long project. I had joined a neighborhood garden and could spend hours there photographing. I decided to capture the garden over the course of a year. This was pre-Pinterest and Instagram. I uploaded my photos to a website and did little to share them. Not to my surprise, this year long project did not gain internet buzz, but it did make me immensely happy. Nature is indeed magical and healing. You can view some of the photographs here.
A few years later I ended up working on a renovation project with a friend who is a contractor. He complimented my design ideas as we went along and in the end encouraged me to start working with clients. This ultimately led to the interiors business that I have today. For more information please visit VERDOIER.
Peppered throughout the years, I have been fortunate enough to travel to many places, often for extended periods. The highlights include Oaxaca, Barcelona, summers spent sailing tall ships in the Northeast and more modern cruising in the Med. These days I am more often exploring closer to home and currently split my time between NYC and upstate NY.