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Meet Our New Crushes: 5 Social Sites That Are Making Us Swoon

Seeing March around the corner makes us restless. We’re throwing open windows and doors – though still wrapped in sweaters against that bright, biting air. We’re poking in the chilly mulch for the intrepid  crocus (or two). We’re unfolding from the winter, a bit, ourselves. Not quite ready for energetic Spring, we’re craving something fresh all the same. And we’ve found it in these five creatives who share, online, their distinctive visions of a vibrant and exuberant world. Consider this your wake-up call.

1. J.J. Martin is a Berkeley-educated American journalist living in Milan, where she writes about Italian style for the likes of Elle Décor, Wallpaper*, T: New York Times Style Magazine, and WSJ Magazine. Martin’s new website, LaDoubleJ , combines her joyful, insider’s take on Italian life and design with e-sales of her luscious collection of vintage clothing and accessories. Our favorites are her tours of Italian homes and ateliers (look under “Live Like an Italian”), including her recent visit to the historic family home of legendary designer Piero Fornasetti:

A deft blogger, Martin shares glimpses into her own happy life, like snapshots from her 40th birthday party at Rome’s Villa Aurelia:

Martin’s Instagram feed is delightful, too: @jjmartinmilan.

2. International design magazine Cabana, launched in 2014, took only a few issues to secure its reputation as a coveted inspirational source. Founded by Martina Mondadori Sartogo on the principle that “[i]f you are going to do print, you might as well do it beautifully,” Cabana visits spaces drenched in the creative emotional lives of the people who have inhabited them – whether rural bolt hole or pedigreed urban castle. And, almost unbelievably, every copy of each issue is covered in actual wallpaper or fabric, by designers like Pierre Frey, the Italian fashion house Etro, and the Milan textile maker Dedar. It’s hard to convey what it’s like to hold a magazine covered in real, and really beautiful, paper or fabric. It takes a few minutes to catch your breath for the compelling photographs inside, where the images are sometimes printed on specialty paper like vellum, or with unique finishes or lamination.

On Instagram, Cabana offers regular doses of the rich, charged interiors the biannual hard copy seeks out. The Cabana feed has become an essential, regular fix for us, like these 18th century textiles from the Rubelli Group archive in Venice,

or this mix of Hungarian embroidery:

And if you find, like us, that your Cabana crush extends to founder Martina Mondadori Sartogo herself, take a look at this Architectural Digest spread on the London townhouse she shares with her husband and two young sons.

3. Danielle de Lange lives in a village near Amsterdam, where she writes The Style Files, a design and lifestyle blog that features stunning spaces in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. Expect serene photography and a cool Northern European touch: a nice balance to the Italian sites’ maximalism.

4. Rita Konig, daughter of designer Nina Campbell, is an English writer and interior designer whose work appears regularly in Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and House & Garden UK, among others. Her two books – Domestic Bliss and Rita’s Culinary Trickery – are lovely hymns to a kind of openhearted, open-armed life with family and friends. The rooms she designs (or admires) give off that same whiff of lives richly-lived.

It’s possible she also had one of the coolest weddings we’ve ever not attended:

(Guests arriving at her childhood London church being served espresso from a Fiat 500)

We check in on her website, Rita Konig, which collects images of her interiors work and a sampling of her published articles (click “Rita Says”), and we follow her on Instagram here. Be prepared, though: her website also sells linens, lighting, art, glassware, and other chic bits and pieces – our wish list now includes the bottle green “Corners” tray she’s designed in collaboration with The Lacquer Company. Sigh.

5. It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that writer Amanda Cutter Brooks might have invented the Instagram-driven, high-end lifestyle brand. Makes you want to hate her? We find that impossible. Palm Beach and New York bred, Brown University educated, Brooks’ early New York resume is pretty enviable to design geeks, including a stint as fashion director at Barneys New York. A few years ago, she transplanted her young family to rural Oxfordshire, England, the childhood home of her husband, artist Christopher Brooks. Amanda Brooks has chronicled her life since then (and her work writing about remarkable 20th century and contemporary design) on her irresistible blog, I Love Your Style, and in her genre-defining Instagram presence. Seriously beautiful photography, and Brooks’ distinctive writing voice – intelligent admiration for what she considers best in visual culture – have made us loyal readers. And the precious children, dogs, pigs, and horses don’t hurt, either.

Inspired yet? Let us know what’s waking you up these last weeks of winter. And happy first of March!