Friday Wrap Up: Life Lessons At Design Camp

Friday Wrap Up: Life Lessons At Design Camp

This week, just like last, was/is filled with travel

I had the honor of visiting Tobi Fairley & her esteemed Team in Little Rock, Arkansas for a fabulous few days of what is lovingly referred to as Camp

I like grown up camp. We stay in nice hotels instead of tents, have nice wine instead of cold hot chocolate and we can camp in heels!

My kind of camp. Yup.

The Capital Hotel in Little Rock. One of my all time favorites! We shot some videos here so be on the look out for those over the next few weeks...

The Capital Hotel in Little Rock. One of my all time favorites! I shot some videos here so be on the look out for those over the next few weeks…

Besides which, I get to see my peeps.

Want to make sure and share a few quick aha moments with you today. I will do a longer write up next week while High Point Market is in full swing, but want to make sure I share some of those things that really spoke to me:

1) Don’t take career advice from people in the stands

Do I know this? yes. Do I always follow this? no. I sometimes let those people shouting in the stands & not achieving who say they are “only giving me helpful advice” hurt me. Do any of you ever let that stuff in? Then let’s do this together!! No more of that :)!

2) Go after what you want if it’s true to who you are

Yes, I preach this constantly. It is nice to know others feel the same way. I believe this so very much. For those of you who have listened to the free webinar beta test we have out (click here to listen, we NEVER spam emails) you KNOW that about me, but I must say it is really encouraging to hear someone else say it.

3) Persist. And then persist some more. And then?…..persist…some….more…!

Great achievement takes time. I know that. But hearing it helps. Sometimes I feel as if I was more successful at 29 than I am now, and in some metrics that may be the case (ahhh youth) HOWEVER, it’s the total life envelope we are after. Whether we are designing our own homes as our own decorator or designer, working with clients, are artists…whatever our calling it’s a life thing, not a one time thing. I like being reminded of that. I think it’s hopeful.

Off to catch a plane before the dawn today – let me know if any of these reasonate with you!

The speakers were genuine, accessible and in this inimate small group setting, I was astounded at the access. With as many years under my belt & as many things as I have seen…this was graciousness at its best. It was simply a one time type event. Thank you Tobi and her Team (Brooke, Ashley) for bringing the A Game.

All that said? I am ready for home. Time for some capuccino from Berkeley, California & a little SF Fog before heading out again….

Friday Wrap Up: I’m ready for the weekend, how about you?!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann


PS: Do make sure and sign up for our Beta Test Webinar. The reviews have been fantastic. From “WOW!!!!!” to “changed my life” to “it felt fundamentally honest, open and real”…you are simply too valuable to not at least listen. This is the culmination of teaching I have done for over a decade. Even if you are not a decorator, designer…this can be a blessing to you. There is no pressure – we are in beta test. Just take some time & be fed. I know you “feed” those around you…this? is just for YOU!

Tuesday Tidbit: Taking Time to Tinker With Design to Get It Just Right

Tuesday Tidbit: Taking Time to Tinker With Design to Get It Just Right!

It’s always interesting when design doesn’t just “come to you”

I absolutely love this! Decorating & Design is fun…it’s also a bit of work 😉

As a Designer by trade, we sometimes think it should just happen…without work or effort

There are times when we just walk into a space and “see it”

Yes, that’s the mania part

Then there are spaces & places that trick us

I mean really Esher! Image linked. Sometimes this is how a design job starts!

They toy with our heads, they mess with our 3-d modeling

We really have to pour heart & head into it

Do you ever struggle with that?

When you are planning a room at your home or designing one for another?

Is there ever that moment when you think “I’ve got nothing”

Time for a walk

Time for a head clear…a run, anything

I have found that if I try to jam in a bunch of design inspiration in, all I get is

1) over loaded

2) over stuck

But a clear head, some fresh air & time away from the Designing World always does a brain good.

What do you get stuck on?

Do you feel like this is the start or the end?!

Is there a space that you just can’t seem to finish?

Is there a room you’ve just given up on?

Let me know!

Yes, even Designer’s have them…

Tuesday Tidbit: What’s yours?

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann


PS: We are Tobi Fairley’s this week in Little Rock, Arkansas. Enjoying her Get Published Camp with some good friends. We will keep you posted. So fun!

Wednesday Style Points: Sharing Some Show House Love From San Francisco to York, Maine!

Wednesday Style Points: Sharing Some Show House Love From San Francisco to York, Maine!

It’s Spring and those Show Houses are coming into bloom!

Check out the pages & sites of a few friends who are involved in various projects from the Bay Area to Maine!

Are any of them near you?

If so, you simply MUST check them out!!

Scott Meacham Wood: SF Bay Area Woodside Sneak Peek!

Kriste Michelini: San Francisco Showcase Sneak Peek!

Traci Zeller & Lisa Herring Mende: High Point North Carolina

Tam Stone: Kansas City

Meredith Bohn: York, Maine

Style Points: Love it!!

Are there any of YOUR favorites I haven’t included?

Do you have a friend we should support?


I’d love to include them – or you! – on this list!!

Remember, we cannot do it alone.


“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann


PS: If this site blesses you, do share. It’s that candle thing…we don’t lose anything by sharing…we actually bless by sharing! Have a great Wednesday & embrace your style points! They are unique to YOU! xo

Tuesday Tidbit: What I Am Loving Now In Spring Cleaning!

Tuesday Tidbit: What I Am Loving Now In Spring Cleaning!

In the morning, everything…

Along about 11 am ABSOLUTELY nothing!!


Just being honest!

I am fine at doing the regular clean outs – the stuff you can see…it’s part of my job & I love it


This cleaning out my files? HARD for me.

I am that (confession) person who stores EVERYTHING on my desktop



It’s like a wildly out of control pinterest board…and I wonder…WHY can’t I find the files?!

Since we have streamlined & everyone is now offsite or remote, I no longer have the accountability of someone walking into the Studio & looking over my shoulder & seeing the “Desktop” aka my personal pinterest board!

When we started recording the Webinars, I realized something had to change…so I casually dropped everything into a folder called “Hide My Desktop Crap”

Not so pretty…even with a hot pink background & a pug picture overlay…

Yes = true Luxury Design, right?


Now I have spent too many hours untangling this mess & I have MUCH compassion for those real life messes that creep up on us.

Compassion = it’s an amazingly powerful thing. We ALL need it.

Do you struggle with keeping any area clean?

Is there any area that is your hidden confession or pile of “they won’t see that”?

A closet where old chargers go?

A drawer full of things you will go through “next week”?

I know we shouldn’t do these things

I KNOW how powerful it is to be clean through and through

It really is

But sometimes it gets out of control

Real life living. I want my Louboutins to be shiny & perfect, my car shined within an inch of its life…& my outfit perfectly pressed

YES, I have shoe addiction….:)

& then you get a peek at my desktop.


Time to file, edit & DELETE!!

Tuesday Tidbit.

What’s yours?!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann


PS: Practice compassion! Start with yourself….it’s hard. We overcoming perfectionists struggle daily with this. I just finished a GREAT book by Brene Brown entitled “Daring Greatly”. I downloaded it to my Kindle & read it in one sitting. Blessed through & through.

PPS: If you want to stop for an hour & just be filled, check out the Webinar we finally put out there. The link is here. FEARLESS. It’s our word for 2013. If you’ve already signed up your email you will not be double “listed” you are just taken straight to the Webinar! My heart is that it would bless you so you can pay it forward. Remember, it’s really not about “the couch”…xoxo

Monday Matters: Dusting Out The Cob Webs

Monday Matters: Dusting Out The Cob Webs

So it’s Monday. Yesterday was really lovely.

Quiet. Peaceful.

And now it’s back to work!

We are doing some Spring Cleaning

As I have been putting this Webinar together

(it’s partially live)

One of the things that I really struggled with is the computer!

So this Spring Cleaning is all about getting files in order, emptying mail boxes & putting us back in line on line!

At least it’s better than this!

What about you?

Do you struggle with this like I do?

There is a part of me = out of sight, out of mind…

Since the screen saver is cute I assume the rest of the files are in order

I have pugs so can’t resist a screensaver that reminds me…problem is that cute face HIDES my folder mess on the other side!!

ummm…let me just say NOT!

So tech or no tech, am off to delete, re-sort, dump, clean & virus sweep!

Happy Monday!

Let me know if you are up to the same or if you have any tips!

I am all ears!!!

Monday matters & so do you!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann


PS: Our Webinar is up! If you watch it and want to join us for the 8 week seminar, just click the pay pal button. We are trying to put together a coaching package or two, but those links aren’t quite live. Check it out HERE. You need to insert your email to watch. I am quite picky about sending emails so no worries – I will not inundate you! Just ask our subscribers…I think we send one about every 10 days ;)…

Monday Matters: Making A House A Home

Monday Matters: Making A House A Home

I have been trying to practice what I preach and let me tell you, I stink at it!

“Turn your phone off”

“Turn the game off”

“Read a book”

“Walk the dogs”

All the while I am glued to my phone, rooting for my basketball teams, checking out HGTV instead of a good book & throwing a ball in the hall way for the pugs instead off walking them up the hill 🙂

The mirror isn’t kind this Monday Morning…

BUT, there is hope

Why? Because sometimes it’s those things that are slightly out of whack – those vulnerabilities – those “real life transparency” issues that our Children, Pets & Spouses live through with us that shows us if our House….is just a house or if it is really a HOME…

Let me explain a bit:

Monday Morning I always try to re-set for the week

Get those calendars tightened, make the calls, check the orders…plan the schedules…

But coming off a weekend of slight chaos from Junior Prom, to Junior Day at Cal, to tech issues DAY & NIGHT on the computers in the office, I was really struck by how we were all rather off kilter by Sunday afternoon…throw in church (are we always late?!), some spilled coffee & it was not my finest moment – let’s just say moments…

But what kept us all in check?

What kept ME in check?

Our imperfect house held us safe – it was our HOME where we (I) kept returning & getting our (my) balance on…

Not my house but I like this space. It looks safe, easy to engage & cozy. I could curl up here in heels or slippers! Image linked.

Our home was safe for me this weekend. It was beautifully imperfectly ordered to catch our (my) disorder…

This is our family room coffee table. This weekend? No wine or cheese, but there were cleats & magazines piled...real life living...

This is our family room coffee table. This weekend? No wine or cheese, but there were cleats & tech magazines piled…real life living…

I don’t mean it is perfect, it is not

I mean it CAUGHT us after a chaotic weekend as a place we could retreat & recharge

Nap & Nuggle & watch some basketball for the pure joy of it

( Nuggle: What a pug does when you nap…a pug nuggles you )

There is nothing like a dog for an afternoon snuggle when you need a boost…

It humbled me

I am passionate about making Houses into HOMES because it is a blessing and a gift & because HOMES can change lives

I know it is not that way for everyone & I so want it to be…

I am grateful & moved

So this Monday, I am just embracing the joy of the everyday chaos moment

I believe it is what makes our houses HOMES. They catch us when we fall. They hold the JOY in those everyday moments.

Like this, especially for a Monday Morning.

May your week be filled with everyday moments of JOY

May at least some small corner of your house…be HOME to you

May it hold you & keep you safe

May it equip you to go forth and change the world

Monday matters & so do you.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann


PS: If you like what we are doing here, please share! Your friends are our friends.

Saturday Stuff: Oh, I’d Forgotten About That Side Of My Proverbial “House”!

Saturday Stuff: Oh! I’d Forgotten About That Side Of My Proverbial “House”!

We all have them

Those areas we forget about until…

We schedule a party

A visitor is due to arrive

We get the “Donations Accepted” postcard & start hunting for forgotten treasure to pass along

Or…as in my case…one of the pugs goes sniffing around a corner around a corner…and I follow!

Oh my!

I’d forgotten about that area 🙂

Today I’m sharing a few videos that we use to help get at some of those areas in our Life & Home

As part of Saturday Stuff…this gets at the STUFF that holds us back from the inside!!

I need to thank Karen Davis for reminding me of these videos

I love them. We watch & share with clients because one of the MOST important things about decorating a BEAUTIFUL SPACE is being REAL about who we are, where we are, why we are & being COMFORTABLE in that space

May these be a blessing to you.

Saturday Stuff. YOU are worth the time it will take to be blessed by these videos.

Take it for YOU!!!

It’s Saturday. The stuff life is made of.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann


PS: Don’t forget to share what we are doing here with friends who have the same heart. I’d be grateful to build a community of people who desire to LIVE as beautifully as our spaces  look…

PPS: Sign up NOW to be part of our BETA TEST for Decorate Like A Pro System (Linked). We are still in the starting gates. BE in from the ground floor!!! You are SO worth it!

Frugal Friday: Do You Ever Wish You Could Just Ask A Decorator A Question Without Being Charged?

Frugal Friday: Do You Ever Wish You Could Just Ask A Decorator A Question Without Being Charged?

So, I get this all the time…

Can I just ask a question Ann?

It won’t take much time – it’s not like I need to hire you or anything 😉

I just need some feedback


(Me =Radio Silence)

(Me = Deep Breath)

(Me = adding up the cost of years of education, continuing education, clients…& thinking about what that “free information” has actually cost me in terms of my life, my family….& wishing I could communicate that)

Now….ready at the gracious answer – WHY? Because I really DO desire to EQUIP in my heart and if the only engagement you and I ever have this side of heaven, then I DO wish to help you navigate some of the decorating dilemmas you may have.

Timothy Corrigan is seriously one of my all timers. His work has inspired me for decades. Linked to Timothy Corrigan.

THAT is WHY I felt called to put together this Webinar.

It’s why I do the Blog, Facebook, Twitter etc…

To EQUIP you, Freely….and if you want to wade deeper, then you can decide…

I know it’s one of those areas we all think we should just “get”…I mean everyone has a home or a space, right? But we can’t do it alone. Ever. We need each other. I will never cure cancer, but I can decorate. And design. And teach you, free or otherwise.

The nugget for today:

“I believe everyone is capable of designing their own life + home beautifully, sometimes we just need some encouragement”

I hope that this Webinar will be encouraging to you!

You can listen at your leisure, in the privacy of your own home

You will not be put on the spot. You can stop, take notes…engage in the way it works for you!

You know I believe you are custom. You know I believe one size does NOT fit all!

We tackle that head on HERE.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Thursday Spotlight: What To Do About Decorating When You Don’t Know Where To Start?

Thursday Spotlight: What To Do About Decorating When You Don’t Know Where To Start?

So this is a biggie!

What to do? Where to start?

Do you get that dreaded “just find an inspiration”?!

A what?

An “inspiration”…you know…”let it speak to you”

Mental Reality Check HERE: Ummm…last time I checked, my inspiration (whatever that means) wasn’t talking to me (and if it was, I’d be contacting the guys who make those paranormal movies)

I think this is one of the funniest “Decorator Speak” things out there

YES, I have been guilty

Have you seen “S&*t Designers Say?” It makes me laugh HARD because I am so completely GUILTY!! Trad Home = Brills.

HOWEVER, we do tackle this one HEAD ON in the Webinar so you can actually FIND a starting place

One preferably with out needing fabric to talk to you!!

Nuggets: Start with WHO you are, WHERE you are, WHY you are

We break down what that actually means & talk about your Life & Space Envelope

THAT is where you start. Not with a talking fabric 🙂 Or a nebulous inspiration…

WHY? Can you imagine picking out the uniform before you knew the sport?

Chew on that for a minute…

And make sure to join us!! The sign up link is HERE.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann

Tuesday Tidbit: How Much Have You Wasted On Bad Decorating?

Tuesday Tidbit: How Much Have You Wasted On Bad Decorating?

It’s another NUGGET from our Decorate Like A Pro System Free Webinar

My hope is that by sharing some of these things you will just HAVE to join us!!

Here’s today’s question:

“How much TIME, MONEY & EMOTION have you wasted on bad decorating decisions? Or MEDIOCRE ones? Have you ever been angry over your house?”


We tackle this stuff head on.

Why? Because I believe – after so many years in this industry – that if we don’t, we never really get past all that baggage stuff & move on to EXQUISITE spaces!!

Think about it!

What would you give to not make another bad decorating choice?

What would you do if you could avoid the “mediocre” & actually live with beauty that inspired you?

How about this: what would it be worth to you and your family if you were never angry over your space again?

We tackle these issues head on! We talk and teach about WHAT to do about these

How to move forward in PEACE!

Make sure you are signed up for our Free Webinar when it comes out live. The drop date is March 30.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann