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March 12th, 2014

Seriously you guys? Yesterday was bananas. Just look at this!
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Your pre-orders made me the #1 best selling Home Decorating book on Amazon yesterday (and still today) not only was I in the Top 100,  I was the 44th best-selling book ON ALL OF AMAZON. What the what??? ME? A giant, huge thank you to all that bought the book.


Writing (and producing) a book feels impossible at the start. I spent many a day thinking “I’m never going to get this done. EVER. It’s impossible”.  But like most other tough things in life, if you focus on little parts you soon start to see the whole come together and it gives you a map to completion. Deadlines help too to scare the bejeezus out of you and hold you accountable. I still won’t believe this is done and real until I hold a physical copy in my hands, but yesterday has me believing a bit more.  So thank you.

Drumroll Please…. Cover Reveal & PRE-ORDER!!!!!

March 11th, 2014

Thank you SO much for all your amazing comments and support yesterday.  It really blew my mind and made my cry a couple times. You are a very special group of people, and I appreciate the not one person called me a hot mess. Truly.

And now we can move onto something REALLY exciting- MY BOOK! (Pre-order HERE!)

I signed my deal with Simon & Schuster (the best publishing team ever, by the way) in January of 2013 and somehow, some way it’s now time to reveal the cover and open up for pre-orders!  It’s been an incredible experience chock full of blood (I ripped off a toenail when moving a bed at a shoot), sweat (lugging accessories, flowers and sometimes 500 books in and out of shoots and up countless flights of stairs) and and tears (“I’m never going to get this done! My book is going to suck!”)

But now it’s done. And while it’s not HERE yet (it’ll be out the first week of October) my part is completed.  I still don’t believe it’ll actually be a real book, like on shelves and stuff.  It’s too surreal for me to actually cross that giant goal off my bucket list this soon in my career.  But alas, I will rejoice a little today. And share a bit of the book making experience with you. But first, meet my book:

Gates_cvr_final copy

(image by Michael J. Lee design by Jennifer K. Beal Davis)

Oh, and the spine is striped too- with gold foil lettering and of course the end papers will be leopard. But you probably guessed that already. :) I think that spine will look so SICK on a bookshelf! :)

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It a mixture of a mini-memoir and design guide, showcasing personal essays (like yesterdays) with hundreds of images of my work you haven’t seen before.  It’s organized by rooms in the home, so, for example, the bedroom has an essay about marriage and then entry one about the stressful choice to move from the city to the burbs. I really, really hope you like it.

But if you think picking a cover for your own book is easy think again. I think Jenny, my book designer, and I had about 100 versions using different pictures, jackets over hardcover, paper over board, detail shots versus vignettes. I’m not going to show a lot of them because then I’d be showing too many of the pictures I’ve worked SO hard to keep secret (it’s been very hard not to share with you!!!) But here are some of the other variations on our theme…

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My Anxious Life

March 10th, 2014

** NOTE:  The cover reveal and pre-order have been pushed back to tomorrow due to some issues getting the book up on certain websites. Sorry, but I promise it tomorrow!!! In the meantime, it’s been a long time since I did an emotional dumping on you so prepare yourselves. ;)

hello-my-name-is-anxiety (1)

Earlier this week I sat in my doctor’s office complaining of a host of ailments. As I fidgeted on the table atop the crinkly paper sheet I ran through all the things that COULD be wrong, but deep down something reminded me that most likely whats wrong is what’s always wrong ever single time I feel like I’m dying-

My anxiety.

My people are an anxious tribe.  There is certainly something genetic and chemical about my long struggle with an anxiety, as proven by the prescriptions held and nervy nature those I love and that are genetically linked to me.  I have been on and off medication for my anxiety my entire adult life, and just now am I coming to grips with it’s true affect on my health and life. Late is better than never I suppose.

I honestly don’t know what it’s like to not be anxious or full of worry.  I envy those, like my husband,  who do not operate with a daily current of dread running through their system. That relentless tug in my gut that says “what if what if what if what if”.  EVERY. DAMN. DAY. I worry about being on time. If my dogs are being walked/have run away/ eaten something poisonous.  Did I turn the oven/ curling iron/ iron off? What if someone I love gets hurt? What if a client hates something we ordered and I have to pay for it? What if my house explodes? What if my husband gets sick or gets in an accident? What if we don’t have enough money?  What if my book fails? WHAT IF.  I have convinced myself that this kind of behavior prepares me for the worst, so when it happens I’m ready, and when it doesn’t I’m relieved.   But Andrew sees this is suffering twice instead of once or not at all.  Why freak out about something that may not happen? Somehow my DNA can’t compute that kind of thinking.

But most often and dramatically my anxiety likes to manifest itself as hypochondria.  It’s kind of a family joke that I am always dying of something. Like that time I thought I had a neurological disease and after a MRI it turned out to be my new handbag rubbing a nerve in my elbow and cutting off circulation.  Or the time I had to go to the emergency room because I was having a panic attack that my hair was all falling out after a bad dye job.  Or the year long back pain that turns out, was caused by muscle tension from stress.  Or my sometimes severe TMJ (temporarily cured by the best thing ever, “Jawtox”, by the way). Or my horrible bout with insomnia after getting married. I would gladly take a full body scan over a Birkin bag any day of the week.  But it’s always something that turns out to be “nothing”.  Except anxiety isn’t nothing. It’s a whole lotta something and it’s hell to live with and oh-so-real for those of us who struggle with it.

But back to my doctor’s appointment- while I had come in pretty sure I had a brain tumor, the doctor did not seem so worried. In my book, dizziness + sinus pain +  full ears +  vision weirdness = BRAIN TUMOR. But she knows something you don’t. That about three weeks ago I went through something incredibly shitty and painful and anxiety provoking and that’s oddly when these symptoms started.   And I have a feeling it’s all related. Farther back and wider spread than I had imagined.

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Fashion Friday: Olivia’s Sleek Look

March 7th, 2014

Olivia Palermo is one of my TOP fashion icons of the current day. She really rarely misses and always looks a perfect mix of classic and edgy. You’ll find her face plastered all over fashion boards on Pinterest.  I saw this look of hers there and thought it was a great look that a lot of women with different body types could sport for a night out during these chilly temps! A belted peplum top topped with a boucle jacket (even a nicely structured cardigan would work too) and leather pants (or faux leather), great heels and a smokey eye and you look classy AND cool. :)


Here are some choices to get you a similar look (and how much do I want those shoes from Sarah Jessica Parker’s new line?? MUCHO.)


1. // 2. // 3. // 4. // 5. // 6. (or these) // 7. // 8. // 9.

and BIG NEWS- I get to reveal the cover of my book and launch the pre-order campaign on MONDAY!!!! So check back in!!!!

Also, today an interview with me is on Boston Magazine’s site- check it HERE.

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Getting Some Sun

March 6th, 2014

Those of us born and bred in New England are typically a hardy breed of people who treat bitching about the weather as our national pastime. I typically hate winter, but deal with it in exchange for our gorgeous falls and summers.  I always end up uttering the “why do I live here” phrase in February/ March but after this brutal, brutal winter I am really pondering that.  We spent five days out in Scottsdale, AZ last week and while sitting at the pool in the dry 80 degree sun I looked at Andrew and said “Maybe we SHOULD move…”  He got all excited because he would move somewhere south or west in a heartbeat as he is FROM the south- but I am a stubborn New Englander and likely would never relocate no matter how much I talk about it.

But man, was it nice to be in the sun.  We stayed at Sanctuary on Camelback and had such a wonderful stay. The grounds are gorgeous, the spa amazing and the food truly fabulous. The rooms need refreshing for sure (I’m available), but what made up for that one little “miss” was the absolutely best staff and service- truly it was Four Seasons level service (maybe even better). We were amazed. Here’s a little peek into our trip via my Instagram.




The beautiful landscaping.

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The smell of orange blossoms is what heaven must smell like.


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