Archive for the ‘ruminations’ Category

2013 // 2014

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

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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!

Getting Older is Not For Wimps.

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

The other day I was at the mall looking for something smashing to wear to a VERY cool, amazing event I’m going to this weekend (of course I found nothing, NOTHING!) and I caught myself saying the following things:

1) “Why is the music so damn loud in here???”

2) “What, is this dress cut for toddlers??”

3) “This needs to be looser”

It used to be the case that these are the phrases that I would only hear when out shopping with my mother– from my mother.  But now all of the sudden I am saying them!

THEN  I was backing out of my driveway the other day and almost ran over an entire family when I caught the sight of, like, 30 new grey hairs sprouting out of my head. Evil, wiggly things! GAH!

And finally I went to the doctor and was smacked upside the head by the knowledge that I am 1/2″ shorter than I thought (am I shrinking??) and 8 pounds heavier!  Could my metabolism be shutting down at 33??? No more mindless hummus and chips???

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No, seriously, what is happening?  I feel like the aging process went from 0 to 60 in a matter of 6 months and now all I want for my impending birthday is to have a bunch of lasers pointed at my face to help erase all these ridiculous sun spots that are multiplying like friggin’ rabbits despite the SPF 2,500 I wear now.  I am pretty sure my mom warned me about this when I was a 16 year old lifeguard slathering on OIL and baking in the sun 8 hours a day. Why didn’t I listen????

It’s so strange to watch yourself change in this way, and I know this is child’s play compared to what’s to come, but you also couldn’t PAY me to be 21 again.  No thank you. I was one of those weird people who did not like college and felt kind of lost and tortured in my early 20′s.  Although I still feel unsure of a lot of things, time and life has given me a more solid ground to stand on and understanding of myself.  I can only assume (and hope) that that only grows with age along with a greater acceptance of one’s self.  Like Sally O’Malley. She’s my role model.

This whole recognition of getting older thing just means it’s time to be more diligent about taking care of myself and knowing that confidence and happiness is the best beauty treatment there is (#besideslasers). Because no cream is gonna do it. And fighting it tooth and nail is like trying to staple jello to the ceiling. Pointless. I’m a little less scared of cutting my hair for fear that men only like long hair (I got a man and he better like my hair whichever way) and a little MORE scared of everyone’s health and making sure I do something important and real in this life. It’s a re-balancing of concerns and desires, I suppose.

How about all of you??? Anyone else feeling like they have entered a long term relationship with Father Time?

Labeling Your Style

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

I get asked a lot how one defines their style or in what style they should decorate their home.  And in fact just yesterday I was asked what MY signature style is. And to be honest, I was stumped. This is hard for me to answer since I personally have no one defined style as it turns out. I LOVE EVERYTHING!  Sometimes I feel it would be so much easier if I could package myself up as one clear look- preppy, traditional, modern, minimalistic…. but the truth is I think we ALL can be a little “Breakfast Club” when it comes to our style.  I do have friends who are 100% die hard preppy and others who would rather die than wear or decorate in anything pink.  But for the most part I feel like a lot of you are like me-  you like a lot of things, looks and colors.  We all have the capacity to change our style as we age and experience more of life. And I think that my chameleon-like style helps me be a better designer.  But oh, I sometimes wish I could be all French fashionista and be like “I only dress and decorate in black and white!” :)  Instead this is what my brain looks like:

I am preppy…

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and can be edgy…

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but a bit bohemian…

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and yet ladylike…

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I like bright color…

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but also light neutrals….

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and dark, deep colors too.

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I love the mountains…

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and the sea…

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but I do know one thing FOR SURE.

Always…

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always…

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always…

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leopard. :)

Which goes to show that if you stick to buying only things that make you want to do cartwheels in public and clap your hands like an idiot, you will find your style.  Eclectic is a very overused and broad word, but there really is no other way to describe it.  Your style is your own personal mix of delightful goods that represent what makes you happy!  So let’s not try to put a label on it, shall we?

From His Perspective: For A Cause

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Hi Guys- Taking a little detour from my usual style/design/renovation topics to bring you this important message from Andrew.  Please consider coming, spreading the word or supporting this cause! After all, it’s incredibly stylish to be charitable, no?

It has been a while since I have written a blog post. I have all sorts of excuses like a new job, it was the summer, and you may have heard that we moved. So now that I have gotten into more of a groove with work and the house, I hope to get back to doing a post here and there.

But before we get back to my normal topics, I coerced Erin to let me make a blatant pitch, on a relatively non-blog related topic.

About three years ago one of my New Year’s resolutions was to do something unselfish. Get involved in some way, with some thing, which is for the good of others. Of course we all know that those of us who do for others get just as much, if not more, from it but that is beside the point.

My aunt invited us to a charity dinner at the Seaport Hotel in Boston benefiting a cause called Summer Search. She was on the board of this charity at the time and raved about it. Also, she said would foot the bill for our seats at the table and there was to be an open bar. So Erin and I crawled out from under our rock to go out on the town, hob nob with the philanthropic folks in Boston, and have a couple glasses of wine.

As we ascend the escalator to the second floor of the hotel to register, we are already feeling intimidated. Lots of older, richer, wiser people who all seem to know each other. Erin and I deicide our best course of action is to b-line it to the bar for a glass of wine. As we make our way through the crowd, bar in sight, we are stopped just shy of our goal by Daniel.

“You guys probably want to hear about my experience with Summer Search,” says Daniel in a confident, youthful voice. As I begin to say “right after we hit the bar” he launches into his story.

I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t prepared to hear such a sad, heart wrenching, tale. I wasn’t prepared to hear that this young man was abandoned by his parents, spent life in and out of foster homes, and considered a problem child because of his drug use. I wasn’t prepared to hear it from a seemingly confident, educated, outgoing young man who closed his story with where he was going to college and what he was going to do with his life. Could a charity really make that big a difference? I had my doubts…anyone can get lucky once.

And then, as Erin and I had a glass of wine, others came up to us. Each one cheery, confident, disarming, and bright. Each one with a story not to be believed. Parents on crack. Escaped from another country while their parents were left behind. Shy, abused, addicted. They were the forgotten. Their lives too hard by the time they were 15 for anyone to believe in them. Spend the money where it has a chance, most would say. These kids are a lost cause.

We sit down to dinner in a room with 750 other people. 750 educated, advantaged, successful, caring people. And as we begin the first course, we hear from more of the students. These 17 year olds, getting up in front of the most intimidating crowd, sharing their stories with a passion, grace and delivery Dr. King would have been proud of. It was personal. It was stunning. I would have been nervous to speak in front of this crowd and I am life-long salesman who loves to hear myself talk, and yet these kids were brimming with confidence! It brought tears to our eyes and I knew I had to be involved.

Summer Search spends a lot on every kid it allows in, about $6,000 each, per year. For a charity, that is unheard of. Not every kid is accepted. They have to be recommended by a teacher or guidance counselor. They then go through a series of intense interviews. At the end, about 60% to 70% get into the program. They are assigned a Summer Search staff member to guide them from their sophomore year on. Each week they meet with their mentor to track progression in school, family and life.

At the end of their sophomore year, they are sent on an outward-bound type of trip…actually, in most cases it is an actual Outward Bound program they are in. They are not there with others who are Summer Search students, but with all the kids who you would normally find partaking in such a program. No special treatment, no segregation. Nearly half of the kids in Summer Search Boston have never even seen the ocean. The ocean you could pay $2.00 on the T (subway for non-Bostonians) to go to. The ocean that is less than 10 miles from any of them. And now they are on a plane, set out in the woods or desert, with a group of people they have never met and who have likely had far more exposure to the world. Scary.

Their Junior year is the same. Every week meeting with their mentor. And at the end…an international trip in which they spend half the time helping others and half the time with a host family learning about the culture and language. Such an incredible opportunity.

Of their peer group in the Boston area, 7% graduate high school. That is not a typo. 7%. Needless to say, college is not even a consideration. Of the students in Summer Search, 98% graduate high school, 93% go to college, 89% graduate college. Most are the first generation to go to college, never mind graduate. These are kids who have truly transformed not only themselves, but the generations that follow them as well. Ask any one of them what they want to do with their life and they can tell you, in great detail, both what they want to do and exactly how they are going to do it.

I could go on, but I need to get to the point. What I have done to play my small part in making this organization grow, is to help throw a party to raise money and awareness. For those of you in the Boston area who are free Friday 21st, we are inviting you to an event at the W from 7 to 11. Tickets are $75 and include beer, wine and snacks. It is always fun, great music, you get to meet some of the kids and there are raffle and auction items that are pretty cool. If you want to come, click here to order your tickets and get more details.

If you can’t come, but you want to help support this cause, please click here to donate. Any amount is greatly appreciated. Just imagine what could be done if everyone who read this donated $5 or $10?

If you want to learn more about Summer Search click here.

Thank you all for all that you have done for Erin and me. You all feel like a part of our family and keep Erin going and growing. And thanks for listening to me ramble on about Summer Search. I can’t help it. Hope to see you there.

Andrew

P.S. Note from Erin: Pleeeeeeease come support this (and hang out with Andrew and I) and spread the word about the event!

A Little Monday Inspiration

Monday, June 4th, 2012

As of late I feel like I’ve been a little overwhelmed and lost, professionally and personally. It seems as though there is a ton going on in my life, or rather around my life, while I sit in the middle of the frey watching it all and wondering “and now what ?”.  I think its so easy to get sidetracked in this life- by money and power and shallowness and selfishness.  I fall prey to it constantly, and feel almost as often that I’ve lost the real purpose of living and breathing.  It’s not about making more money than the next person or being more famous or more fabulous- it’s about embracing the moments you create and being aware of what’s real and true- love, laughter and the small things like a sunny day, the ebb and flow of the ocean and the smiles of those who you love and love you back. But as soon as I recognize these truths I almost simultaneously forget them and fall back into my old ways of stressing and comparing. How do you break this pattern? I envy those who seem to have mastered it (although even the most “zen” people I know also fall victim to these human truths occasionally).  Which is why I WORSHIP Anne Lamott. She is one of my favorite writers because she is both flawed and phenomenal when it comes to the wisdom of living life.  And this graduation speech she gave recently is such a wonderful example of that. Read it. Share it. Read it again. Because all of us need to be reminded of this daily.