Sunday, December 30, 2012

A new approach for 2013

“Take a look at the assets you have and see how you can remix them to build something you are excited about. Experiment. Try new things. Tell a new story. It can make a huge difference.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My New Dining Room!

What do you think?! If I could choose a mini-home-makeover as a gift this holiday season, I would go for the dining room. It is the one space where we gather as a family every day. I want it to sparkle again! These items are now on my holiday wish list courtesy of Olioboard. I will let you know if Santa delivers  : )

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Earlier this month, Gathering Change, Inc., a charity formed four years ago by friends of mine (I serve on the board as Creative Director), was invited to attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women as one of the benefitting charities in their Community Corner.

This was the first year that the Community Corner was present at this all day conference in Boston that attracts some pretty amazing movers and shakers (around 8,000 women – plus some very brave men – attended on December 6th, the 8th year since its inception in 2005).

The theme of the day was “Imagine: Find Your Purpose and Make a Difference.” 

Along with a couple of other charitable organizations presenting volunteer opportunities, we were able to share information with conference attendees who stopped by to visit our table in between scheduled lectures presented throughout the day by an inspiring roster of formidable guest speakers.

Arianna Huffington, Dr. Brene Brown, Deepak Chopra and other thought leaders and social influencers were there to encourage and challenge women to step forward and make their mark on the world. They even had a Bloggers’ Lounge and a number of social media roundtables with notable bloggers like Morra Aarons-Mele, author of “Women and Leadership in the Digital Age” and one of my local design favorites, Erin Gates of Elements of Style whose “I’ve got to be honest” conversational tone on her daily blog completely translated in real life. 

I attended as many of the presentations as I could, while still spending some time in the Community Corner with the founder and President of Gathering Change, Dorothy Goodwin. While listening to the positive messages, moving stories, and words of wisdom from keynote speakers and others, I scribbled notes that I planned to pull together later for a motivational post or article. I did not realize at the time that many of the words I jotted down would speak so clearly to me after the emotional roller coaster that I, like so many of us, have been on since Friday’s tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

Below are just my scribbled notes – tidbits really (hopefully I am attributing the right comments to the right speakers). Perhaps some of the messages will speak to you as well. They are in the order that I heard them.  

Charlotte Beers, hailed as the most powerful woman in advertising and current board member at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia: Be leaderly. Step outside your comfort zone. Influence others. Be in charge. Be memorable. Be persuasive. Know yourself and deliver your message with personal clarity.

Marla Capozzi, knowledge management specialist and member of the Massachusetts Counsel for Innovation: We are all connected to each other. Reach out and make changes.

Dr. Brene Brown, research professional and author focusing on shame, vulnerability, worthiness, and courage: Ask for what you need. Most of us are afraid and brave at the same time. Show up and be seen. Dare greatly. A leader will find potential in others. 

Deepak Chopra, M.D., renowned physician and author on topics of mind-body health, spirituality and peace: Our global identity is influenced by technology and connection. Our survival depends on a new identity. We need a wisdom based society that is peaceful, just, and sustainable. A great leader is symbolic of the collective consciousness, an agent for change and transformation. Ask, what kind of world do I want to live in? Be aware, dream, and do. Use social media to harness the power of the collective consciousness to change consciousness.

Arianna Huffington of Huffington Post: How we feel depends on what we focus on. Don’t wait for Washington to solve our problems. Do something. Use communication platforms. We all have the opportunity to reach others. Service and giving back are the zeitgeist – the spirit of our times. Finding meaning in our lives is coming to the forefront right not. It will change the world. (Of note: Arianna’s dedicated Good News section on Huffington Post is designed to provide a sense of optimism by highlighting positive stories that often get overlooked by the media’s traditional approach of report-the-worst-first. She was also quite adamant that we should all get enough rest.) 

Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder of Vera Bradley: Form happiness committees. Giving to others provides the most joy.

Connie Smith, Creative Expressions Coordinator at the Women’s Lunch Place, Boston: I never realized how powerful art could be. Meditative work and creating art can save lives.

Kristin Chenoweth, singer, actor, author: What is your next purpose? What is your inner voice saying? Listen. How do you want to leave your mark and say “I was here?


Thursday, December 13, 2012

On my wish list ...

I have always loved these Pantone color wrapped mugs and am not exactly sure why I have not added any to my own home yet. Maybe I am waiting till our kitchen is redone and we have fresh new cabinets to put them in? When the boys were younger I did color code their belongings – navy blue, red, green, orange – I would start with those (for their hot cocoa and warm cider) and then add a set for Mom and Dad ...

I have contemplated getting some for the Designer Bath showroom in our logo colors ...

I imagine a selection of jewel toned versions would be a coveted gift at a Yankee Swap. Especially now that Emerald Green has been selected as the new color of the year ...

What color combinations would you choose?

For my tips on decorating with Emerald Green,
my post at Designer Bath. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sugar on Top

How do you decorate for the holidays?

Decorating for the holidays is a balance of pure child-like enthusiasm and sometimes-but-not-all-the-times adult-like restraint. Last weekend I took the kids to view decorated gingerbread houses at a local church in Lynnfield and a Parade of Trees held by the Danvers Historical Society at Tapley Hall. The gingerbread houses were decorated by kids in town. The Parade of Trees mainly by business owners and designers. We managed to get through both events, plus some shopping in the town sponsored Country Store, without any mishap (I was picturing trees accidentally knocked down or sugar-coated houses mysteriously deconstructed.)    

Do you pace yourself?

Ben “You mean we can’t eat any of the candy off the gingerbread houses?” Mom “That’s correct.” Ben “Then I don’t want to go.” Mom “If you are good I will give you money for the Country Store and you can buy your own candy.” I gave him $10. He spent every penny.

Or does your inner elf take over?

I am pretty sure that this tree was minus a couple of candy dots when we left. Sorry about that, Cathy!

Are you a fan of all white or a mix of colors?

This wreath was hung just low enough that my 8 year old could select a pop from it, but he did put it back, reluctantly.

Do you like to think outside the box?

He did not take any candy off the gingerbread houses. That I noticed anyway. I promised him we will have a gingerbread house construction day of our own.

Designer style or country charm?

We went to Danvers to see my friend Linda Hentschel’s tree. We loved her over the top blue and silver theme which coordinates with her new logo and corporate identity: i-Design.  

Linda is currently featured in the December issue of Northshore Magazine. Read about her holiday decorating style here.

Company’s Coming Punch

2 liters of lemon lime soda
2 liters gingerale
64 oz. cranberry juice
64 oz. apple juice
1 frozen orange juice
1 frozen limeade
half gallon of rainbow sherbert
cut up lemon and lime slices

for the adults: top with Prosecco

Do you like to get away from all the holiday excess?

Or do you love every minute of it?

Let the countdown begin ...

P.S. The Country Store sold out of our Holiday Boxwood trees! These were my favorites with their ribbon candy like bows.