This or That Vol. 6

It’s my favorite game- which do you prefer? Home or Closet???

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A navy Mongolian Lamb vest or throw pillow?
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A sleek, modern, minimalist leather chair or handbag?

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Feminine gilt details via mirrors or a pair of heels?

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2014 Home Trends to Ditch (& to Keep!)

A new year means a whole new set of home trends. And while some things that became popular in 2014 are now “modern classics” there are others that have run their course. Let’s take a look.


The pattern most overused it 2014 has to be this one.  Everything became covered in chevron- from bathmats to crockpots.  Now, not ALL chevron patterns are “out” (keep reading), but I’d skip on the bold colored, smaller scale printed items.


Small Town Charm

Andrew and I rang in 2015 quietly, just us and the dogs, at my parents beach house on the CT shore.  After a busy, crazy year it was exactly what I wanted for my last night of 2014.  On New Years Day we had no plans so I suggested we go walk around the nearby town of Essex, CT.  I hadn’t been there in probably a decade or more and I recalled my parents saying it was a lovely little town.

Man, were they right! As soon as we pulled down Main Street I was ready to jump out of the car, itching to take pictures.  The incredible old homes simply blew my mind, and since it was holiday time, the whole town was decorated perfectly- no inflatables or plastic- just lovely greenery, bows and lights.  Andrew said this town made him feel like skipping. I agreed!  I grew up driving around with my dad looking at houses in pretty towns (or “real estalking” as we call it now) and as an adult I find that I now do just that for fun too! So we did!

This little situation nearly had me in tears it’s so good. Those windows??

Fashion Friday: A Fresh Start

Ahhhh, hello new year!  While I find New Years Eve a bit hokey (I spent it quietly with Andrew, Bax and Ollie by the shore with a yummy dinner, some champagne, The Good Wife season three and a 10 p.m. bedtime), I do love the concept of a fresh start.  A renewed energy and spirit really helps you spring out of bed in the morning.  So, as we plan for all the big things we’ll do in 2015, we can begin with small changes.  Here are some of the ways I plan to kick off the new year…






2014 was quite a year. Quite a year, indeed.

Not many people in this life get the chance to hold a beautiful bound copy of a book they’ve written in their hands, never-mind seeing it succeed and their names on the New York Times Bestseller list.  I still can’t believe I was one of those people. Still, months later, a quick peek of that striped spine on a bookstore shelf still leaves me speechless. Not to mention the thrill of my cross-country book tour, not only because I was on my own book tour (say whaaaaaat?) but because I got to finally meet many of you in person and share that magical experience with Andrew.  After nearly eight years of talking to you through this blog, to get to hug you and look you in the eyes was so gratifying to me. Overwhelming and mind-blowing too, of course.  It still amazes me that people I don’t know in real life read what I have to say.

We also go to see the dream of adding an addition onto our house turn into reality.  And what a spectacular reality it is.  Not often do things surpass my expectations (the curse of being a ridiculous perfectionist) but this DID. In every way. We had an amazing team working on the house and I felt confident in the design and decisions we made.  And now, every time I walk into my master bedroom and bathroom or realize I don’t have to go into our dark basement to do a load of whites, I feel gratitude head to toe.  It’s so wonderful to see this little, smoky, old house turn into everything I want it to be (of course, my brain has moved onto Phase 3- and oohhhhh, it’s gonna be GOOD- when we can afford to do it, of course!)

But this year wasn’t all triumphs, no one’s year ever is.  My struggle to get pregnant resulted in an early miscarriage and a failed first IVF attempt, both of which caused us a lot of pain and put an extra dose of fear into my heart.  But what’s good about going through all this is that I finally feel ready.  I am in the space where I really, really want nothing more than to be a mom- where as two years ago I was nowhere near that.  I was still conflicted, unsure of what I really wanted and certainly not ready to be someone’s mother.  I have to trust my own timeline and not constantly compare it to everyone else.

The other thing this battle has taught me, and this has been a very recent development, is that you cannot control everything.  I’ve spent my entire life, thank to fabulous parents, with the understanding that if I work hard enough I can accomplish anything. And I have. And being a control freak has served me very well in my career, and I have to embrace that. But this is one thing I have absolutely no control over.  And after the tears dried, a sort of peace settled into my heart- an acceptance I have long tried to find within me- that this is not my fault and I can’t spend all my days devastated because I am not pregnant yet.  It’s a waste of a really blessed life.  There is something so freeing in the ability to finally believe that and  I’ve actually been so much happier since then.  We are heading into round two of IVF with a new doctor (Dr. Ashby, for all those that commented and suggested her), new hospital and a new found sense of well-being.  And while I’m still scared it won’t work, there is hope.

While we were going through our first cycle full of shots and stress, Andrew got laid off.  The timing could not have been worse for lots of reasons, and it was a really hard moment for our relationship.  There were certainly some “why me?” moments when adding up the infertility and the job loss all at once.  But Andrew is the most resilient man on the planet, and not only saw the loss of his job as a GOOD thing (he wasn’t very happy where he was) but as an opportunity to make his own dream career come true.  And seeing him so happy right now, jumping up to get to work every morning, makes me so happy.  He’s been so supportive to me while I worked endlessly on my career, and I want this year to be “The Year of Andrew Gates”, with me in the supporting role, not the star.

But the best thing about 2014?  Andrew and I have never been in a better place in our marriage. Ever. I am so lucky to have him as my husband (as those of you who got to meet him on tour reminded me) and I think he feels lucky to have me too.  And that right there is such a gift.  I feel like we’re on such solid ground right now, like everything has sort of shifted into place, and no matter what happens in 2015- good or bad- we’ll get through it, celebrate it, love it, hate it and endure it together.

And to all of you- those who have read this blog, bought the book, shared your joy and pain with me this year, showed up to signings and even those who doubted me- THANK YOU.  It’s you who still make me so excited to open this computer every morning and blog.  It’s you who made my dreams come true this year. I don’t know where I’d be without your support- probably still in a grey cubicle working on insurance spreadsheets and dreaming of the life I have now. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And to 2014- thanks for being the best year yet. Until 2015. :)