2013 // 2014

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(calendar via Note to Self)

2013 was an incredible year for me. Not only did I produce and write a book ( a f@#king book, you guys! A real one!) I also saw my little company grow by leaps and bounds, bought and renovated a house of my very own and got to meet Oprah and shake her hand. OPRAH.  It was a year of milestones. One for the books, if you will.  But I have found that the more success I achieve, the harder I am on myself to do MORE. Reaching goals once thought unattainable fuel the fire of my imagination and confidence, leaving me overwhelmed with ideas about what else I might be able to do if I work hard enough.  Because it’s all possible with hard work and a little luck. ALL OF IT.  Andrew is probably rolling his eyes at this rarely heard positivity from me, but it’s true. I never in a million years thought any of the above was possible. And look what happened.  So I have some goals for 2014 that are a little less on the “bucket list” side and a more on the “tweaking my life to make it more enjoyable” side.

1. A RENEWED COMMITMENT TO THIS BLOG

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I’ve been committed for sure, taking a few days off for the holidays nearly killed me with anxiety and guilt. But I want to bring fresher, exciting , unique content to this site in 2014.  It’s given me everything I have (business-wise) so I want to respect that and never phone it in.  But one person can only do so much- I toy with bringing on a person or two to post also…. what are your thoughts on that?  What else might you want to see?

2. SPEND MORE TIME OUTSIDE

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I love being outside, but I don’t try hard enough to spend quality, active time outside. Sitting on the patio drinking wine does not make me “outdoorsy”. I want to hike more. Investigate this amazing part of the country I live in.  And other parts too- I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon for example! I want to go! I want to ride horses in Montana on a dude ranch!  I want to see New Orleans! Ok, maybe I’ll start with a simple hike….

3. GET BACK INTO YOGA (AND FINALLY START TAKING BARRE CLASSES!)

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I used to be a die hard yogi. As I got busier I let my commitment slip. I have taken to half-assed treadmill and weight workouts at the gym instead.  But I never feel better then when I get to a couple yoga classes a week and really wring all my tension out.  I need to get back into that (especially since Andrew got me that coveted yoga mat for Xmas!)  I also want to start taking barre classes, I have a great studio LITERALLY two blocks from my house and a 10 pack of classes waiting for me. JUST GO ERIN! I fear people will laugh me out of the studio, and I need to get over that. I’ll just be all “Go ahead and laugh at my tuck, I’ve met Oprah”.

4. BE MORE CREATIVE FOR CREATIVITY’S SAKE

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I love to paint. I’ve painted a few things for my own home that people have asked to buy. I want to make time to paint more. It’s so relaxing (unless I’m hating how it’s coming out and then it’s all curse words and ferocious brush swatting). I want to take my time and work on things slowly. And maybe sell them. But mostly do it for myself. I did get a bachelors degree in it, after all.

5. SPEND MORE TIME BY THE OCEAN

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This one should be easy-peasy with the new beach house my parents built this year!  But beyond that, I happen to live on the coast of an awesome part of America. I want to drive up to Maine and walk the beach, or just to Rockport and have lunch on the water. It’s rejuvenating and healing and I can think of no place I am happier than by the water. Ok, maybe cuddling in Ryan Goslings arms as we watch The Notebook. Just kidding honey. (Not really).

6. NURTURE MYSELF MORE

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When your super, duper busy as I was this year taking care of yourself seems to fall by the wayside. I’ve been drinking too much wine. And not eating the best food I can (I was introduced to the McDonald’s Snack Wrap this year and HOT DAMN.) I can feel knots in my shoulders and my skin looks sallow. No matter how busy 2014 is I want to take better care of myself. Cook better food, take the time to pamper myself a little, and drink less wine ( but French women drinks lots of wine and they look good so do I really have to?)

7. GO TO ITALY WITH ANDREW

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We’ve been talking about this for months, and I want to just BOOK a trip to Italy with Andrew for the spring. We deserve it. He is so awesome to travel with (me- not so much- I pretty much turn into Linda Blair if faced with a plane delay). I have amassed a ton of Amex points and we just need to DO IT.  The last time I was in Italy I was 16 with my all girls boarding school peers and it was the most magical trip ever- I can’t imagine how fabulous it would be now! The question is- Rome and Florence? Florance and Tuscany? Rome and Poisitano?

8. INVEST MORE IN MY BUSINESS

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(print via The Eveverygirl)

I may talk the talk, but I’m not walking the walk as fully as I could be. I’m financially really conservative most of the time and spending money scares me.  But I need to BELIEVE in what I’m doing and INVEST in it. This year might be tough as I also plan on investing in my house and starting that addition renovation we so desperately need (one full bathroom is not working), but I can do more for my business and NEED to.  Investing in myself and my business is a vote of confidence in myself I need to cast.

Thank you all for such an amazing year, all your support, comments, letters and hellos when we cross paths out in the world. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!

58 Responses to “2013 // 2014”

  1. Ayleen says:

    You are an inspiration Erin, in that if you work hard enough and want it badly enough, you can make it happen. I hope 2014 brings you even more of what you hope to achieve. Go to Italy! Travel not only gives you inspiration and a perspective on life but also fuels a relationship and makes it stronger. My vote is Florence with trips into the surrounding countryside. There are beautiful little towns within an hour of Florence. Also Cinque Terra if you can swing that way. Have a beautiful year and thank you for bringing beauty into my mornings!

  2. Sarah says:

    I love your blog and have come back to it daily for the past five years (or nearly five years) because I love your unique voice and perspective. I would rather YOU post less frequently than a team of contributors grinding out content on your blog. I find myself going back to the blogs that have adopted the contributor format less and less, and when I do, I skim for posts from the original author. So take time for yourself; time away from this blog occasionally if you need it. We will still be here, I promise.

  3. Erin says:

    Love having your blog to read M-F. Your Friday Style is my favorite, though all your posts and suggestions are great. Keep up the great work! As far as travel – a few years ago we went to Italy and slipped a Montalcino visit in between Rome and Florence. We stayed at Castello Banfi (http://castellobanfiilborgo.com/en/home/). Expensive, but worth EVERY penny. Amazing views, wonderful accommodations, terrific food. It was a perfect breather between two amazing cities – and opportunity to drink more wine!

  4. Megan says:

    Florence and Tuscany for sure! I went to 7 different cities throughout Italy – Florence was my favorite and Rome my least. Tuscany is just beautiful!

  5. Erin Gates says:

    I agree with you Sarah, I find myself reading blogs with contributors less too!

  6. jillian says:

    i love loveeed italy! we went for two weeks this past september. rome, florence and venice are a must! xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  7. Natalie says:

    Erin,
    Congratulations on your amazing year, I can’t wait to buy your book. Please contact me if you need recommendations for nola, it is definitely worth a visit! As for Italy, I am planning a surprise trip for my husband’s 35th and one of our stops will be at this hotel- might be worth looking at: https://www.tablethotels.com/Tenuta-San-Pietro-Luxury-Hotel-Restaurant/Lucca-Hotels-Tuscany-Italy/117220
    Also I agree with Sarah!

  8. Mary says:

    Erin-
    Happy New Year! Great resolutions… I’m impressed you even make them. These are all good ones. I so enjoy reading your blog. Keep doing what you are doing!

  9. sounds like such a lovely year and i love your goals for the upcoming year. And you’ll be fine in Barre classes; they’re not nearly as intimidating as you’d think! :)

  10. Matthew says:

    re. Italy: Florence + upward in Cinque Terra. UGH.

    HNY Erin!

  11. Cathy says:

    Erin,
    You’ve had an incredible year to be sure. Congratulations on a job well done and the much-deserved accolades!
    As for Italy – Florence is wonderful for art (painting, sculptures, etc.), and Positano or Cinque Terre are both lovely for relaxation. Maybe check out Lake Como – it is also beautiful there, and the town is so charming. Skip Milan unless you’re really into fashion. (All just my humble opinion and general experience.)
    As for barre classes – I can totally relate…except for that part about Oprah. ;)

    You totally kicked butt this year, and the rest of us can’t wait to see what’s next!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Congratulations on a wonderful year of successes! I would rather see fewer posts in a week than see more from other contributors. I’ve found that when other bloggers hire writers, the blog loses its original voice, style, and appeal.

  13. Katelyn says:

    Erin-

    I love your blog, I’ve been a daily reader for only a year now but I haven’t missed a post. My husband and I went to Italy two years ago to visit my brother who was living in Pordenone, about 45 minutes north of Venice. It’s an amazing little city where you feel completely immersed in the culture and did I mention the mouth watering food?! We also took a day trip to the Dolomites where you have breathtaking views of the towns below and the smell of fresh air is quite invigorating! About half way up the mountain we came upon a ski town and had a fantastic meal at Edelweiss. The trip was wonderful, you should totally do it! Your readers will be waiting to hear all about it!
    Congratulations on all your success this year!

  14. Anna says:

    Congratulations on all of this years successes, Erin! I always enjoy reading your blog especially because we are a local blogger ( I blog from the Boston area as well :) ). My dearest friends honeymooned in Italy this past spring and they said that Poisitano was their absolute favorite!

  15. Erin says:

    Erin,
    Happy 2014 one day early! Just wanted to stop by and let you know how much I appreciate all the time and effort that you put into writing this blog. I agree with Sarah (above) about contributors. I would rather read less posts from you than have a gaggle of contributors banging out daily content. After all, your point of view is the reason that we all keep coming back. Enjoy the new year and take plenty of time for yourself. As far as Italy is concerned, Rome is a must and there is nothing prettier than the Italian coastline. If you haven’t already, watch Rick Steves’s episodes on Hulu about Italy, maybe it will make the decision easier! Happy traveling!

  16. Patricia says:

    Wow! What a year of accomplishments. And I love your list for 2014. I’ve set my goals for 2014 with “live happily ever after” as my primary goal.
    I do not want to see you get so burnt out again so please do take more time for yourself. I’m okay with guest posts even though I read your blog for your unique point of view and humor. Or fewer posts would work too.

  17. Zoe Royall says:

    Work it, girl!! One blog that does contributors right is Garance Dore. I LOVE Alex’s posts – I actually love the whole Studio. Talent is talent. No one likes bad/boring contributors, but a good voice is always welcome. You’ll know the right person when you find them. Happy New Year!

  18. Kathryn says:

    Happy New Year my dear. Excited for your 2014 and amazed at all you have accomplished! I will cheers to you tonight!

  19. Colette says:

    We did a five-city tour of Italy, and if I had to do it again, I’d just do Florence, Lakes region (Hotel Albergo Milano- gorgeous view!), and Venice (incredibly romantic- Hotel Antico Doge).

  20. Star says:

    Erin,
    Thanks for a year of great posts.
    I agree with the above posts. What’s special about your blog is the personal connection people feel to you.
    Getting updates on your life becomes something people want to come back to read about as they get to know you.
    In my opinion posting less would be better than becoming like those other blogs out there that are inundating us with posts by guests.
    Happy New Year

  21. smash says:

    Congratulations on an amazing year Erin! I agree with everyone that your voice is what brings people in, but I also think you can recognize people that your readers would relate to. In the end you have to do what feel right to you. Maybe try it out a few times and see? I would be more than happy to contribute! Xx

  22. Marta says:

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog this year! Your aesthetic is incredible, and you have a great, real attitude.

    I wanted to throw my two cents in about Italy – I vote Rome/Positano! We did our honeymoon in Ravello (it’s a little town that’s not too far from Positano) and I just ADORED the Amalfi Coast. It’s so romantic and beautiful. Rome is a fabulous change of pace from that – and everything is scenic and walkable!

    We also enjoyed Tuscany and Venice, but Amalfi Coast/Rome were my favorites!! I would make a second trip to go enjoy some of the wine areas more, and Florence.

    Here’s to a great 2014. More yoga and biking-barre classes are on my list also! Cheers! Happy New Year!

  23. Lacy says:

    Do Rome and Positano. On a clear day take a private boat tour (we did 4 hours for $300) to the Emerald Grotto and then spend the day in Capri. The Emerald Grotto is much less crowded than the Blue Grotto, but both are a magical experience…and “waiting in line” on a private boat in the Mediterranean sea isn’t so bad!

    We stayed at the Excelsior Parco in Capri and were treated like royalty. The views from the hotel are absolutely breathtaking and it’s half way between the marina and Capri town, nestled into the mountain. They have a driver on staff who will take you wherever/whenever you want to go. Can’t wait to see pics from your Italy trip! Book it!

  24. EBeth says:

    I’ll add my congratulations, too and echo the sentiment that the reason I read your blog daily is for your unique voice…not because I need more information. I have a few well-known blogs that I check on daily and some have taken on additional contributors and I jut don’t like them as much. Although, I don’t mind the occasional outside contributor – i.e. the guest post that brings a different perspective. So I would vote NOT to bring someone in on a regular basis.

    Also, we went to Rome, Florence and Venice this past summer – incredible trip! Rome and Florence were our favorites by far!

  25. Colleda says:

    Erin,

    Thank you so much for your frank honesty – always! I absolutely adore that about you. I also appreciate that your blog isn’t ‘over the top’ and some of your picks and suggestions are absolutely attainable.

    I’d love to see more decorating posts, I could use some serious help around my house…my bedroom looks like a freaking homeless shelter and my husband and I can not agree on art what-so-ever! So, if you’re asking my opinion, that’s what I would like to see more of – you, working your magic on my house! :)

    In all honesty, thanks again for some really great words this year. Much success and joy to you in the new year!!

    C

  26. Taylor says:

    I look forward to reading your blog each day- your posts are always unique and inspiring. My husband and I went to a dude ranch in Montana for a week and it was one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken. We went to http://coveredwagonranch.com/
    It’s a ranch right outside Big Sky . The family and staff at the ranch were incredibly hospitable. They have over 60 horses that are fit for any riders experience (I was a first timer and felt completely comfortable). The rides and views were incredible and the food was quite amazing as well. Our only bad meal was when we left the ranch for dinner one night. Also Yellowstone is only an hour drive away. Just thought I would share! Cheers to 2014!

  27. I agree with Sarah – I would prefer posts from you less frequently than daily posts from someone I don’t know. Congratulations on a great year and wishing you a great 2014 as well! PS. First do Florence then Rome – while Florence is amazing – Rome is so stupendous that you can’t help feel Florence is just so nouveau compared to the ancient beauty and historic element of Rome. So better to go light and then deep. Positano is lovely but suits another itinerary altogether – Naples, Capri, Positano, Ravello, Sicily is best done together. Italy makes better sense that way…

  28. Diplospice says:

    Happy 2014 to you! I adore your blog and look forward to the coming year. I love fashion Fridays, so if you ever want to grow your business by starting a personal shopping division, I’ll be first in line!

  29. CC says:

    My favorite posts are posts of your work. I would love to see more! Thank you for your excellent blog. Not only do I love your sense of design, as a New Englander stranded in the Big Apple, it’s comforting to get a chic fellow New England girl’s perspective on life.

  30. deb says:

    big kudos on your accomplishments in 2013! in answer to your question on contributor bloggers– i’d rather see less of YOU than “fillers”. that’s what makes your blog a must-read: your voice………! being in the same biz, close proximity (NH) and an infrequent blogger, i have many of the same goals for 2014 (#1, 3, 4, 5 ,6 ,8)! also, next time we cross paths (BDC) i will stop to say “hey”! all the best for 2014!

  31. Sarah says:

    Congrats on all your accomplishments this year! I honeymooned in Italy this past September. We traveled to Florence, Rome, Positano, and Capri. I loved the Amalfi Coast but after 5 days I felt a little bored. I REALLY loved Rome and Florence as there is so much to see and do there. I would highly recommend doing some private tours of the typical sites because it makes a huge difference in the overall experience. If you go to Florence you should definitely do a Fiat tour of the Tuscan countryside! See: http://500touringclub.com/ We did this winemaking tour and it was AMAZING, by far one of our favorite tours of our whole trip! The Fiats are so tiny but my husband is 6’5″ and was able to squeeze in just fine!

  32. Jamie O. says:

    You are going to love, love, love barre classes! I’ve become obsessed and drive a half an hour, each way, to the studio nearest to me about three to four times a week. It’s that good. Congrats on your successful year, and cheers to nothing but greatness in 2014!

  33. Callie says:

    I agree with the others who said they read your blog every day because it is YOUR blog. My resolution two years ago was to pick only five blogs to read daily (so I wasn’t taking so much time away from “real” life!), and your blog was one of those five. Your thoughts and words are what make your site so good. Please… no contributors! I even read parts of your posts aloud to my husband because they are so good (for example, your HH quotes from yesterday). :)

  34. Emily Reed says:

    Erin, yours is still the only blog I must – MUST – read daily. I’ve been reading since before the blog world was even close to “exploding” and continue to do so. I feel like we are sisters separated at birth with the exact same taste in literally everything, from neutral palettes in our houses to black-and-gold everything to, of course, leopard – always. No matter what happens or how busy things get, I will never miss a day of EOS. If your content weren’t enough, you are seriously hilarious. I would love for you to lighten your load by bringing in blogger help, but I would so miss you on the days you weren’t writing! Also, for what it’s worth, do not miss Rome. Just don’t. There’s so much to see and is gorgeous at night. Venice was actually my favorite (it feels like you’ve stepped right into a romantic movie – like it’s not real life!), and Florence my least. Florence is a beautiful city, but I was there in college and knew nothing about art history – which would not be a problem for you! I would think Tuscany would also be a must, though I did not have time to go. I love all your “resolutions” – you continue to inspire me and simply bring a little dose of happiness to each of my days. Thank you for all you do – I wish you and Andrew a very happy 2014.:)

  35. Lilly says:

    I’m excited that you will be trying out barre classes! Welcome to my addiction! It really makes a difference.

  36. Heather E says:

    I love your blogs original and authentic voice. Take more time for yourself and be content. Your readers will understand if you take a week off for christmas or a random weekday off if your uninspired. I find that when I over do I spin my wheels more and actually accomplish less. A day to relax, unwind, convene with nature only sparks my creativity more. I would skip the guest bloggers, your readers will understand if you take a day for yourself. You have remained a favorite while I have stopped reading other blogs that feel less organic and human.
    Happy new year! Someday some lady is going to be as thrilled to meet you as you were to meet Oprah! True…

  37. PattyM says:

    Florence and Positano for sure. Skip Naples but enjoy all the other cities along the Amalfi Coast. Just be sure that you go in the spring. I understand it is too crowded in the summer. I promise that you won’t regret it. I haven’t read all the other comments so please forgive if this is repetitive.

  38. Sally Leonard says:

    Happy New Year! If you go to Italy and visit Florence PLEASE take the time to visit Siena. It is much older than Florence and you feel like you’re back in time. Even better if you can visit during the Palio, an annual horse race in Siena.

  39. Good for you Erin! You have to go to Florence!!You will be so inspired and can walk everywhere. And check out Venice. It is the most magical place I have ever been. Imagine you and Andrew on a gondola. It doesn’t get more romantic than that!

  40. Julie says:

    Hi Erin,

    Congrats on the book and your success – so happy for you! What is the brand of those awesome boots you have a pic of? I can’t see the label…I love them! Happy New Year and I hope you make all of your new year resolutions happen!

  41. Mary says:

    Erin,
    I would love more posts about your work and decorating, less emphasis on stuff to buy. I really enjoy checking your blog daily and find I usually hoping for a good home style post.

    Thanks for being funny and honest.

  42. franki says:

    Amalfi ALL THE WAY!! It is fantastical!! franki

  43. Liz says:

    and what a year it was! who knows what is in store for you but you must take the trip to Italy with Andrew you both deserve it and it will be so inspirational for you. There are so many wonderful cities to see I don’t think you could ever be disappointed in any. I do suggest you take a look at http://www.mrandmrssmithotels.com they have the most amazing small luxury boutique hotels and inn’s I want to stay in all of them. I agree with others we love you blogging don’t add others who will only dilute your blog but maybe you could get Andrew….. to do a few blogs, just a thought.
    Happy New Year to both of you hope to see you in Maine in 2014!

  44. L.D.Smith says:

    So candid & accessible, you are. (Ha ha. that was very Yoga-like now that I think about it.)
    I love your resolutions, and share several of them.
    John and I want to take a trip to Italy, too. You’ll pick an amazing city combo. I mean, can any combo there really go awry anyway? That country…swoon! Luggage tan belts matching luggage tan shoes matching luggage tan handbags and gloves, all bedecking beautiful people. Va bene!!
    Great post.
    Happy New Year!
    (about the wine, well…nothing advise-wise, but your musings made me self-reflect on that topic, too. don’t think two glasses a day is over the top, but i love that we’re gut-checking on this. I worry more about people that don’t)

  45. Tamara says:

    Erin,

    Happy New Year to you! Just wanted to write a quick thanks for making my mornings better! I always look forward to reading your posts and they add happiness to my days. Your writing is fun, enriching, and inspiring. This is really the only blog I have felt the need to go back to regularly. Love the design tips, fashion, and career-oriented posts.

    Italy is spectacular! BOOK NOW! I’ve rented a villa in Tuscany and done day trips to Florence, Sienna, and even Rome. I also hear biking throughout Tuscany is awesome (and would also add to your “be outdoors more” goal).

    All the best to you and Andrew in 2014!

    T

  46. Gray says:

    I agree that you should post less often instead of having more contributors.
    You are such an inspiration to your readers and so funny! I love your conversational tone, and feel like you’re just talking to me while we’re having wine on my deck. I wish for you a wonderful 2014, and hope more great things come your way.
    Gray

  47. Lindsay says:

    Erin, congratulations on your successes this year. I agree with the above commenters that I read your blog daily for your voice, and if you need to post a little less frequently to keep your sanity then so be it.
    In terms of tweaking your life to make it more enjoyable, I think that this is an essential goal! I spent my twenties and early thirties working very, very hard as a medical student, then resident. I’m now done with my training and while I’m still working very hard as a doctor, I also take a lot of time to enjoy my life and the money/flexibility that my career (and lack of children) provides. In 2013 I spent a week in each of the following places: Vermont, south Florida, Spain, France, Wellfleet, Seattle, and Belize. Planning travel, traveling, then reliving your travels in memories is just wonderful! Good luck in all your endeavors!

  48. Susie says:

    Book your trip now! You deserve it. Elements of Style is a fun and special place to visit every day and it’s all due to your hard work and creativity.

    I’m 35 and went to Italy with my husband 7 years ago. It’s a trip we still talk about, and have fabulous pics to show for it!

    I loved the beauty, history and busyness (and shopping!)of Rome. You gotta see Venice just to see it, but 2 days and 1 night is enough in my opinion.

    Don’t miss Cinque Terre, it’s simple and stunning and a perfect way to end the trip. We would go back and stay here for days! Amazing food and wine, but no frills and the most breathtaking views of the riviera.

    Do it!

  49. bridget says:

    i find it so surprising that you feel bad about your commitment to this blog! of the many blogs i read, i find yours to have the most interesting content and to be the most frequently updated! i love that i can always count on a new fun post. it helps that i adore your style :) just wanted to note that!

  50. jennyg says:

    Happy New Year from a faithful reader. I love your blog and everything you post!! I also take your advice on products all the time and am inspired by your style! Keep on with your awesomeness in 2014!!!!