**OUR OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED MONDAY, DEC 31ST AND TUES, JAN 1ST FOR THE NEW YEAR HOLIDAY. We will reopen Wed, Jan 2nd and all emails and voicemails will be returned at that time** To celebrate the new year, the entire shop is 20% off (ends tonight)! Great day to treat yourself to something you may have had your eye on, code celebration. Click here to visit shop Hello and Happy New Year’s Day……when you read this I will have been away at one my favorite spots, my home away from home, Palmetto Bluff where we will ring in the new year for some much needed R and R. It was a last minute change in plans as we were supposed to go to Argentina and as much as I was looking forward to going, in terms of sheer relaxation, I can’t think of a place I would rather start 2019 in than beautiful, idyllic Palmetto Bluff. I prepared this ahead of time and fingers crossed it posts when it’s supposed to. Hard to believe that we are down to the last day of 2018.. Overall it has been a great year, one filled with so many wonderful “highs” and thankfully not too many “lows”. But I have a feeling that 2019 is going to be even better:) I am grateful that you were there with me along for the ride to share in so many adventures, many more to come. As I have done the last few years, I like to feature a favorite post or two for every month from the last year (had a hard time choosing as there were many) and a few personal reflections after that, on both things I have learned this year as well as things I aspire to achieve in the new year. I want to thank each and every one of you for following along, sharing this fun and sometimes crazy journey with me. Having thousands of virtual friends from all around the world makes me feel like the luckiest girl! I can’t imagine life without my blog and shop, a true purpose for me in my life and I feel so fortunate to have found my calling and something I truly love doing! Best is yet to come, I promise:) And onto some favorite posts from each month of 2018 to reflect back on- ___________________________________________ JANUARY My Christmas party recap from Dec 2017 click here FEBRUARY This Bluff Diaries post is when things really started happening over in PB, it was an exciting time, click here MARCH Started my “blue and white lovers club” and love that we have a place to celebrate our incurable affliction:) Click here ‘ Also a big fan of Mary McDonald …such talent! Click here APRIL Derby Style, Ahhh that Kentucky Derby, love everything about it. and this post was devoted to all things Derby, click here MAY Buffalo checks, always loved them and still do. This post talks about how they are timeless in my book, click here and had to share this post on an enchanted afternoon where I hosted a group of lovely ladies for lunch, click here JUNE This is the post on the white party we threw for my sons college graduation, click here And of course have to include this post on the “Teddy Takeover” click here JULY Lusting for lacquer, loved it then and still do more than ever! Click here AUGUST My New York, a post I did on my perspective on NYC and things to see, do and taste. Click here Also loved this post on Lusting for lemons, such a fresh look at how to use them! Click here ‘ SEPTEMBER Of course Teddy’s one year memorial post was the highlight of the entire year, looking back on the life he lived and that we were so lucky to share with him makes me smile every time I see it, click here Created this post, party planning 101 in response to many general questions I get about tips and tricks when planning a party, click here Also did this post on fabric lampshades, and just months ago announced I am coming up with my own line of them! Click here OCTOBER A few times a year I create a little newsletter announcing all that is new and exciting, past and present. This was a fun post for me as it highlughted how far my little business has come:) Click here NOVEMBER Did this post “A guide to decorating a Christmas tree” by popular demand, and its good to have as a reference for Christmas 2019! Click here Also enjoyed doing this post, “Setting a blue and white table” click here DECEMBER Of course loved many of my posts in December since it celebrates the glorious season of Christmas, this one highlights all my decor. I was late to the starting gate but it did get done! Click here INSTAGTAM PICTURE HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2018- PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON 2018- I learned how important it is to work hard but to also recognize that when you need a break, you need to acknowledge it and take it. Amazing what things like a 25 minute power nap can do, a day off all to yourself, turning off your phone for a few hours, just taking a time out for however long you feel is appropriate. I would say 2018 is the year I got a lot better at doing this and it pays back in spades:) Quality over quantity. I feel this way more than ever about everything- food, I like quality food and good ingredients and believe you get what you pay for. Friends- I like having my close inner circle of friends who are tried and true vs too many, clothing- I love the feeling of something well made, I believe here too you get what you pay for. When it comes to trends it can be fun to throw something in that is not super expensive but for the long haul I prefer to invest in good classic pieces from clothes to handbags. Starting early! This is a BIG one for me. Being a retailer and now a wholesaler, there is that inevitable learning curve. And I have taken my notes and checked them twice:) So much so, that i am already planning on holiday 2019! So many exciting things lie ahead, cannot wait to share. Suffice to say you will start hearing me talk about Christmas in Aug/Sept and for our wholesale customers we will have products to ship late summer! Seize the day! As I get older I realize more and more the important to take advantage of every opportunity that is out there for the taking. Travel, I LOVE to travel. I hate to fly though:( I have a son who will not get on a plane and hasn’t for 6 years, so this has kept us from taking the family trips we used to take which I miss terribly. Come 2019 however, my husband and I vowed with or without them we are going to get back to more travel…there are still so many places I want to see and discover! Set a personal goal for yourself. Any goal. I made 2018 the year for me to get healthy and it was the very best decision I made all year. I had never worried about my weight and honestly ate way more than I should have. But eventually things slow down and those reckless eating habits catch up. I wanted to lose a certain amount of weight and get back to my size 8 and I did it. I did not look at it so much as a diet but a lifestyle change. I feel better than I have in years and to me, there is no greater investment than in ones health. If you go through life assuming everyone is fighting some kind of a battle, big or small and help when you can, you just never know the power of your giving someone a break. Without going into details, someone I knew I could sense needed help, too proud to talk about it, I insisted and once we got past that barrier, and I learned the extent to which they were suffering, it astounded me and made me so grateful that I listened to my inner voice. I think there are many examples and opportunities, some very small and some more profound like this out there for us all to be able to participate in. If and when you can, help, give and donate and I don’t mean just with money, I mean with your time and attention. There is a lot of need out there and to me nothing feels as good as knowing you have possibly made a small difference in someones life and have given them hope, even if just a sliver. Be kind and practice every day kind gestures. We live in a mean world. Look on social media, and how people talk to each other, the horrible things they feel so entitled to say. It shocks me really. It is a sad new reality and one which I will not play into. My motto if is you have nothing nice to say than move on and I really mean it. So get used to saying nice things, trying to see the good and positive in other people and not be afraid to say it or compliment someone. When you feel good about yourself, you want that feeling to be contagious and to pass it onto others. Our world today is tough enough to navigate through without the added stress of judgement and belittling from others. I think at the end of the day, almost everyone is simply doing the best they can. Be authentic. I feel like our world has become a very inauthentic place. Where people can hide behind screens of many sorts,manipulate their online images to reflect someone they may not be. To aspire to celebrities who’s lives are often manufactured and whose very appearance is really if truth be told, the masterful work of several “artists” who prod and pull on them every day. Doesn’t sound very glamorous to me. We all have our shortcomings, I love and gravitate towards those who understand and don’t run from a little self deprecation. It is refreshing because in a world where perfection is the goal, we are all very much imperfect and that will never change. So to find authentic people and voices is to me, a real prize. You never have to cover up how you might look or apologize for things you might say because when you are authentic, there is no hiding or illusions. It is the real you, out there for the world to see and accept or not. Be healthy! No matter your age, it is never too late to get healthy. I have always knock on wood been a healthy person. But I didn’t always eat the right foods. Yes I love bread, chocolate and cheese. But yes, those are also a fast track to weight gain. This past year I decided to really educate myself on nutrition and watched several excellent documentaries, read books, went to a nutritionist and educated myself. There are things I no longer eat (sugar for one) and many things I eat very very little of but I have also added several healthy new things that I love eating to my diet and that insure I am never hungry. It is a lifestyle change and one I will never regret. No time like the present! People make these lifestyle type changes all the time with great success (when really motivated) Be the change you want see in the world (a favorite quote from Ghandi) Life is not always fair, while I may always show the beauty, good and inspiring on my blog, I have problems and hiccups just like anyone else. My blog and shop have become my happy place and are literally therapeutic. If I am going through something difficult, when I enter my office, it is like I enter into a different mindset. I am by nature, a positive person and while I recognize not everyone is like me, it doesn’t; stop me from thinking like I do. I wont change that because it makes me happy and gets me through a day. In part, this is my nature but also I owe it to a friend- I have a friend who is the most positive person I have ever met. I have seen her look through some mighty rosy glasses when things in her life really challenged her. I always admired her ability to do that. She sees the good in people, doesn’t have a jealous bone in her body and looks at life as a beautiful gift even when things are not going as planned. I have learned from her and try to lead by example and feel lucky to have her as a friend. Lastly, being in my 50’s I have a fair number of friends and relatives who have lost a parent or in some cases both. Some have lost siblings or children (especially tragic). It has been heartbreaking to see their pain which never really leaves but gradually over time, subsides. Through their losses, I realized how precious life is, how time can be fleeting and how important it is to hold those we love close and not let go. If it means calling a parent when your not in the mood to talk, just to say hi, just do it. That two minute conversation can easily be the highlight of their day. I am certainly not saying anything that isn’t said ad nauseam, just saying it as a reminder to myself to make every minute count and never let a day go by without checking in to tell someone you care about, that you love them and your thinking of them. To make quality family time as often as you can. You don’t want to look back and feel like you could have and should have done more. Family first. Always, they are the only ones we’ve got. I will never stop praying for peace and for people to just go back to being kind to one another, simple decency and civility. I can only hope there might be a slow revolt in progress with people of all generations tired of the instant gratification era and maybe just maybe start engaging more in eye to eye contact instead of screen to screen (myself included here)! THE NEW YEAR GIVEAWAY- One lucky winner is going to win a beautiful new porcelain vase from our newest collection OR one of new newest gorgeous silver trays (winners choice). All you need to do to enter is- 1. Click here to visit the shop 2. Poke around and come back and tell me an item or two you love 3. Leave your comment (if using a first name please add your last name initial) 4. Check back on Sunday morning where I will announce the winner! _______________________________________________ And that’s a wrap on this very first day of 2019. I plan on making every day count and am starting 2019 with a bang. Already many exciting new items in the works and there will be no grass growing under my feet:) That said, I also plan to take time outs when I feel I need it and that includes more vacations:) Thank you once again for following along with me, it’s been such fun to share life and life’s journeys with so many of you.. I appreciate your loyalty, friendship, encouragement and inspiration…..YOU are the ones who motivate me! Would love to hear what your reflections are and what your wishes are going forward into this exciting new year. Cheers to a fabulous 2019!