“That’s just how she is – a lot of things, small things. She makes me happy every day.”
In celebration of Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, we met with some of our favorite creative couples in New York City who make it work both personally and professionally with the people they love. Meet fashion blogger Raquel Paiva and designer/photographer Lindsey Thoeng, the powerhouse duo behind style blog RaquelPaiva.com. Hailing from opposite sides of the world — Raquel from Brazil, and Lindsey from Holland — the two creatives use the blog as an outlet to document their adventures in the home-away-from-home they’ve found together in New York City.
We talked to the duo about what it means to creatively collaborate with someone you love, and the challenges and triumphs of working and living together in Greenpoint, New York.
Meet Raquel Paiva & Lindsey Thoeng, blogger duo:
Tell us about your creative backgrounds — what do you do, and what brought you to the city?
Lindsey: I’m originally from Holland, but I came here about eight years ago to start an internship at the United Nations, where I’m now working in Design & Digital Development. It’s been nearly eight years in the city already without any definite plans to stay. On the side, I’ve been doing photography, mostly in the evenings and on the weekends. I’m not sure where my interest in photography started, but I remember always having a camera on me and realizing that I liked shooting portraits.
Raquel: I came from Brazil to learn English, and I was at first just going to stay for a year-long program. But then, through a mutual friend, I found out that I could change my visa to attend college here. I got super excited, you know, coming to New York City and seeing all these beautiful things. I knew wanted to stay here. I’ve been in the city for about two, three years now.
I was always into fashion and styling, so I guess that’s what I liked about New York City — there’s a lot of freedom; everyone wears everything. Then I started doing the blog too, now I’m taking styling classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
What’s the story behind how you met?
Raquel: We met about two years ago. It was three months after I’d moved to the city, and I was at The Industry with some friends to celebrate my roommate’s birthday. It’s not exactly a place where you think you’re going to meet someone. I was there dancing and she caught my eye — my friends were like, “go talk to her!” But I was too shy to introduce myself. My friend introduced us to each other, and one thing led to another.
if you had to put it in a few sentences, What is it that you love about each other?
Raquel: With Lindsey, it’s really natural — she really knows what I love, and she knows how to make me happy, even with the smallest things. In the beginning, I was tentative about being in a relationship, but I really liked being with her. I was fighting against that, though, because I was afraid of how I’d do with school, or that I’d lose track of what I wanted to do. But I just couldn’t help it — she just makes me happy. That’s how she is — a lot of things, small things; she just makes me happy every day.
When it comes to collaborating on a creative project, what makes you work well together?
Lindsey: We have the same vision, and we usually have the same ideas. Once we decide that we’re going to do something, we just go out and do it. It’s usually really quick; it doesn’t feel like an effort and it’s super easy.
Raquel: In addition to having the same vision, we also have the same styling ideas for photos. She also likes my clothes…most of the time. [laughs] We both inspire each other, but when it also comes to things that we don’t like, it’s really easy to talk about it. The communication’s there. We both want to be productive, and we know each other’s strengths, we just get the job done really fast.
I like everything to be perfect, but Lindsey takes this even further. She sees all the details in everything — she’s not happy if it’s just okay. She wants it to be amazing. Now every time I do anything, I think about how Lindsey would see it — whether it’s writing, styling, or anything else.
What advice do you have for other creative couples, especially those who live and work together?
Raquel: Sometimes it becomes hard to separate when it’s work time and when it’s fun time. You have to find a balance. I really love doing the blog, and it’s hard for me to tone down and stop talking about it. But staying inspired and staying true to why you love this and why you’re doing this, because in the creative world there often isn’t much of a reward or a payoff, especially in the very beginning. It’s a lot of work. You have to stop and remember that you can’t just be waiting for an external reward to be happy; it has to come from yourself.
Lindsey: It’s helpful to remind each other the good parts of working together, because sometimes it feels like so much work.
Raquel: That’s why we sometimes do photos just for fun — for no reason, and just for ourselves. Even if nobody’s going to notice, it’s something that we can share just between ourselves.