Yes, it is true we have found a home for our Pretty in Pink 4 Life bench and how befitting that it happened right before the universal day of Love, Valentine’s Day. It is truly a Love Story that was four months in the making.  Needless to say, we, along with Komen CT and countless others are overjoyed with this very happy ending; one that would absolutely never happened without the good friends of our Social Media Village.

A Sweetheart of a Valentine's Day gift!

 

As it happens we just celebrated our second anniversary on Twitter a week ago, having created our account February 13, 2009.  Simply typing that made me quite nostalgic and consequently I spent the last couple of hours attempting to locate my fist tweet. While I have not been able to locate either my first tweet or the first people I followed, I can remember how overwhelmed I felt at the prospect of engaging in any form of Social Media.  I was so overcome with fear that after the initial set up I did nothing with our Twitter account for almost two weeks, until that fateful day when my then eighteen year-old son agreed to give me a Twitter tutorial; one which lasted all of sixty seconds. His fingers flew across my keyboard as he followed a couple of dozen people and said: “This is all you need to do ….and if you're lucky, they’ll follow you back”. And with that, he was gone leaving me in the driver’s seat without a single driving lesson.  So I began my journey, driving in the slow lane, hunting and pecking, following and re-tweeting, learning and engaging.

Our Social Media Birth

 

Virtual conversations turned into real life meetings and priceless friendships, and as a result, here we are two years later, immersed in a generous, collaborative community of like-minded, talented individuals who make wishes come true and help seemingly impossible dreams become life-changing realities.

 

From Virtual to Real Life 

Photo courtesy of Amy Dragoo of abcdesign.com

 

Off the Tweetdeck into the gallery

Yours Truly with Tamara Stephenson 

photo courtesy of Landino Photo

supporting friends at ICFF

Leslie Carothers, Me, Tracy Hiner, Maybelline Te

photo courtesy of Leslie carothers

And so it was for our beautiful Pretty in Pink 4 Life bench. We had been trying to find a home for it since mid-October and despite tweeting, blogging and facebooking our hearts out about it relentlessly, it remained homeless.

Valentine’s Day was quickly approaching and I was hoping to tap into the gift giving spirit.  I wrote another post about the bench and asked for help. I also emailed many of my SM friends asking them if they would include something about the bench in their posts about Valentine’s Day.  The result was better than I could have ever imagined and the bench has found a wonderful new home where it is cherished and loved.

It currently resides in the home of Philip Erdoes, aka @CEO_TheNewTrad, the CEO of the New Traditionalists, a design house focused on home furnishings and a client of Leslie Carothers the CEO and founder of The Kaleidoscope Partnership – a social media agency for the home furnishings and related industriesShe happened to share our blog post with Philip and as a result, he purchased the bench in honor of his three beautiful young daughters for Valentine’s Day.  And he did it because, as he said :”With three daughters I'm totally focused on that issue”.  And that says it all!

I cannot begin to thank the Social Media Village that made it possible…but I will try.

Many thanks to Marcy Michaud of @Stylesson for sharing our post on her site stylesson.com, Susan de Chaira of @the zhush for writing a lovely post on her blog, The Zhush, Amy Dragoo of @abcdesigns for featuring us on her guest post for @ChicModern, Wanda Horton (@wandashorton ) for her heartfelt post on her site Interior Concepts by Wanda S Horton and Yvonne Blacker (@yblacker) for asking us to be contributors in her fabulous new digital magazine New England Finery

Other good friends that helped make this happen by spreading the word include  @maybellinete @shorelychic @modenus @brivkind @averydesign @jgoden @swaygrl @nestnestnest @exuberanthome @annNyberg @DecoratingDiva @JuliskaDesigns @GimletMommy  and soo many more.

Our Social Media village is powerful and harnessing its power for business is wonderful, but using it to support lifesaving organizations like Komen for the Cure is beyond astounding.

Although this is indeed a VERY happy ending, it is not the end, but rather what we hope is the beginning of much collaboration, in support of Komen for the Cure.

 

 Happily ever after
photo courtesy of Philip Erdoes

 

 

 

Last weekend as I watched the change of seasons unfold in the country, I was astonished by the fact, that despite many early undressed trees and piles of crunchy leaves amassing on the ground, there was still an astounding amount of summer blooms flourishing.   What I found most striking and quite telling, was the abundance of pink roses burgeoning amidst the deconstruction of flora that is synonymous with the arrival of fall; a testament to both their resilience as well as their sheer will to survive.  For me the irony was overwhelming and this unexpected sign of hope, like a beacon on a moonless night represents what organizations like Komen for the Cure offer.

Colors of the season

  

Trees undressed surrounded by a blanket of leaves

  

 

 

The remains of summer blooms

 

Pink power endures


A will to survive

 

When we were first approached by New England Home Connecticut Magazine to host their first Connecticut Fall Networking Event in our Gallery, we were both excited and delighted.  We were thrilled to welcome so many of our CT neighbors and share an evening with others.

To make this event a truly collaborative effort, I immediately reached out to my neighbors and many of them responded so generously, that it almost took my breath away.  Our newest neighbor, Fairway Market agreed to come on board and supply food for the event and Juliska, Colorblends and Godiva Chocolates were more than happy to supply lovely additions for our gift bags.

Fairway's sumptuous buffet

 

Juliska's lovely gift bag contribution

 

Pink Tulip bubs courtesy of Colorblends

 

Dreamy chocolate from Godiva

 

"In the Pink" Gift Bags

 

But it seemed that a gathering of some of Fairfield County ‘s (and beyond) “Best & Brightest” during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, needed to be more than just a networking event and we decided to use this wonderful evening to raise awareness as well as funds for Komen for the Cure, CT.

Anne Morris, Executive Director of Komen CT was on hand to share valuable information with the crowd as we previewed our “Pretty in Pink 4 Life” customized Mid Century bench which we are now selling with ALL proceeds from its sale going directly to Komen CT.

 

 

The "pretty in Pink 4 Life" Bench

  

With a close personal connection, we are deeply committed to supporting Komen for the Cure.  It is one of the reasons we decided to participate in Holiday House last year doing a tabletop and returning again this year, doing a complete room. 

 

Holiday House 2009 "The 4th of July"

  

We hope that through our efforts, we can motivate other small businesses to see that with a little imagination and a lot of perseverance, they can help raise both awareness as well as funds for lifesaving causes.

 

Our new Gallery section featuring the works of Vincent Longo & our Pink Ribbon Chair

 

 

Just before the guests arrive: Pink Abounds!

 

Irwin & Roberta Thomas Mancuso of New England Home CT Magazine

 

 

Let the cocktails begin!

 

The evening was an amazing success.  A melding of designers, architects, suppliers, bloggers and more converged in the Gallery despite less than perfect weather.  Twitter and Facebook friends emerged from the virtual world and joined with old as well as many new friends for a delightful evening of food and fun.

A Happy group including Robert Dean, Beth-Eaton Koch, Evelyn Oschler, Elizabeth Chrystal, Betsy Abeles-Kravit, Anne Morris, Irwin &...Me

(photo courtesy of  Landino Photo)

 

 

Stacy Kuntsel, Tamara Stephenson, Roberta Thomas Mancuso, Yours Truly, Susan Young,

Robin Horton,  Gloria Battista-Collins & Liz Orgera

(photo courtesy of Tamara)

  

With many thanks to our good friends at New England Home Connecticut, including Betsy Abeles-Kravitz, Publisher, Kyle Hoepner, Editor-in Chief, Roberta Thomas Mancuso, Kate Koch, Glenn Sadin & of course our very own @StacyStyle Stacy Kuntsel, Homes Editor for helping make this evening so special.  And where would we be without the brilliant photography of Neil Landino, Jr. of Landino Photo who was on hand to capture the evening.

 

 StacyKuntsel, Roberta Thomas Mancuso, Me being held in place, Kyle Hoepner, Irwin, Steve cassler

& Betsy Abeles-Kravitz

(photo courtesy of  Landino Photo)

 

Though the evening is over, the memories remain, new friendships have been forged and collaborations continue.

So many of you including Kyle Hoepner and our good friends at Juliska, have offered to continue to promote the sale of our “Pretty in Pink for Life” bench and we truly appreciate all of your help.

Together, there is nothing we cannot do.  As the pink roses remain in bloom despite the arrival of cooler temperatures and less than perfect conditions, so too, must we continue to support organizations like Komen 4 the Cure, who allow those roses to continue to survive and flourish.

 And please don’t forget: We are looking for a wonderful home for our “Pretty in Pink 4 Life “ bench.  Anything you can do to help make that happen would be appreciated.

 

The "Pretty in Pink 4 Life" Bench Specially priced at $1800 to celebrate "Life"

 

 

More photos of the festivities to follow soon!

Making Every Word Count

This past weekend, with Irwin out of town, I spent most of my time catching up on work while our youngest began to work in earnest on his college essays.  As we both sat working on our computers, I observed my son struggling to capture his thoughts and best articulate them within a maximum word count and I was struck by the precious nature of each word we utter as well as write.

As an active participant in Social Media on Twitter and FaceBook as well as being a blog writer, I understand the significance of accounting for the written word.  But what about the words we speak?  What if they were subjected to a word count as well?  Despite the fact that I have actively adopted and have been working on a slow home way of life inside and out, I have not yet confronted the editing of my spoken-word; a task that I find a bit intimidating.

 

While be limited to 140 characters, I've still racked up over 14,000 tweets

 

 

 

I always try to limit posts to a single typed page

 

Perhaps if we had a word cap on our spoken word, we would take more care with what we said. Maybe we should consider a word allowance similar to the speed limit on a highway, or the calorie count of a diet.   Having a maximum word limit along with a minimum limit would afford us the ability to strike a better balance between excess and deficiency.

 

Should we apply these to our spoken-Word?

 

 

to strike a better daily spoken-word balance

 

 

It would be an immense relief, at least for me, to improve my self-editing of the spoken word.  What I would give to not fall victim to excessive word use while always being assured of using a minimum amount of words to guard against  leaving necessary things unsaid.  It would be like attaining “word nirvana”.

 

 

 

I already know that this is more easily written than said, so I attempt to devise an experiment to see if it is actually possible to monitor and limit the words I use in my daily verbal dialogue.  Although it is physically possible to count the words that leave my mouth; that kind of concentration is going to so drastically alter everything I will say, that just thinking about it is generating angst.

 

A spoken word experiment: More easily written than said

 

Feeling that kind of anxiety is more telling than any experiment I could possibly enact and I immediately know that this level of achievement is much more difficult than I had even imagined. This startling realization clearly illustrates the substantial difference between the written and oral word and how differently we process and deliver each.  

the subject: My mouth

 

 

I have always preached the “five second rule” to my children but, as in several of my preaching categories, I do not do as good a job in practice. I am at a loss and am hoping to wake up tomorrow morning with some startling self-realization.

 

I left this post unfinished last night because honestly, I didn’t know how it should end.  This morning, however, I realize that there is no definitive ending; at least not for the moment.  What I did remember this morning as I put up the coffee, was to be mindful of my spoken word.  So relieved to not be the subject of my own experiment, I felt an unexpected exhilaration, like I had just been granted new empowerment. 

 

the spoken-Word...In print, of course

 

And maybe that is precisely the point.  If we simply acknowledge the supreme responsibility of being the keepers of the spoken word, we are on our way.  And, much like a calorie or speed limit count, if we measure the amount and quality of the words we choose, then maybe, just maybe we have the chance to achieve “word nirvana”; making every word count.

 

Only on Twitter my Friends, Only on Twitter

When I returned from the country last night, I was exhausted.  I was so tired that I could not even lift a finger to tweet, a condition more rare than the Hope Diamond.  So imagine my surprise, when I awoke this morning to find that today had become Nate Day!

Yes, today is Nate Day.  Don’t waste any time looking for it on your calendar, you won’t find it.  It is the brainchild of The Moggit Girls, Joy and Janet, whom I follow on Twitter.  They have mastered the art of sharing the not so good, bad & “fugly” of home decor with us on a daily basis and always seem to supply some much- needed levity to interior design.

As you MUST know by now, Nate Berkus has a new show that will premiere on NBC September 13th and The Moggit Girls thought it would be a great idea for Nate to fill his audience with bloggers  AND with that seed of an idea, they proceeded to tweet and blog about it and before they knew it, they were contacted by the producers of the show. 

I actually lost track of things after that until this morning when I awoke to discover that it was Nate Day.  While I understand the beauty of Social Media and the collaboration and friendships it has afforded me over the past year, its sheer power never ceases to amaze me.  And when my friend Julie (@jbint) sent me her Nate Day post, which included several of our pieces, I couldn’t resist writing a short piece as well.

And this is how it happens, how things “go viral”, how one idea can be transported and shared, how powerful collaboration can be.  And my favorite Nate Berkus design? 

 

Yes, it is his Twitter page, the design that began this whole chain of events. Best of luck and success with your new show Nate and many thanks to The Moggitt Girls for sharing Nate Day. 

Don't forget to read the amazing collection of #NateDayBloggers and celebrate Nate Day with us!

Another amazing experience that could only happen on Twitter my friends, only on Twitter.

The Sweet Smell of...Roses

I can’t help myself.  When springtime explodes in the country and we are on the cusp of summer my heart literally skips a beat.  When hummingbirds visit while I have my morning coffee on the porch and fireflies light up the night time sky like fireworks, I am in heaven because I know that this is the season when we become more than transient guests in our own home.  This season, however fleeting, is the one that literally forces us to stop whatever we are doing and smell the roses.

While Irwin and I try to get away for at least one night a week during the year and spend part of the winter holidays in the country with the family, it is not quite the same as the late spring and summer when we afford ourselves the luxury of spending considerable blocks of time in our rural retreat.

And…what better way to welcome us for the season than to be greeted upon arrival on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend by a sweet little bird finally building the nest I had been pining for since the start of spring; the nest that has been there every spring/summer since we bought the house, the nest I was so disappointed not to see on Mother’s Day.

 

The perfect building project began on Friday-moved in on Sunday

 

It is part of my ritual.  When I arrive at the house, I walk around and examine the changes in our plantings and check on our seasonal guests including the Robin’s nest in the gutter and the other in our beloved Dogwood.  Imagine my utter surprise and sheer glee when I saw the first specks of mud on the porch roof. At that moment I exhaled, knowing that all was right in our little piece of the universe.

We all know that is so easy to get caught up in the complexity of daily living and lose sight of the time we need to spend enjoying the beauty we are surrounded by.  But acknowledging it and doing something about it are two incredibly different things.  Just the other day, I had that very discussion on Twitter with two good Twitter friends, @tandemantiques and @jonathanlegate.  We all acknowledged the fact that because summer is fleeting, we must take time to “smell the roses”, a priority that we often overlook.  I said that I needed to enjoy EVERY moment of this precious season and take it one day at a time.  Hilary (@andemantiques) agreed adding “It's true - I know that I sometimes squander my now because I'm focused/worried about down the road”, something we are all guilty of and Jonathan added: I’m “always thinking of the future but taking time to enjoy the present while respecting the past.”   A truly beautiful statement that says it all and is something we should all allow ourselves to do.

So, here is to summer and the beauty it reveals to us everyday.  Let’s all make a commitment now to stop and enjoy "the sweet smell of... roses” this season before it is just a memory.

Some of "the roses" we have stopped to smell this season so far: Enjoy!

Superb Spirea

 

 

colossal Catnip

 

Color-fusion

 

 

relaxing Goldfinches

 

A statuesque Iris

 

 Breathtaking Day Lilies

 

A humble bumble bee

 

The beauty of another sunset

 

The Golden glow of evening's approach

 

 

The warmth of a tea light

 

Only nature's song can be heard

 

the dance of the flames

 

Waxed beauty

 

 

Our mentor Charlie, who inspires us everyday & reminds us of how sweet the roses can be!

 

 

 

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity in and around the gallery, all involving the merging and melding of real life and twitter friends. This amazing experience culminated with our first Gallery “Tweet-Up +Spring Celebration” last Monday, May 17th.

The gallery gathering was attended by clients, local media friends, personal friends, as well as Twitter and Facebook friends.   Although my camera fainted and was indisposed aptly on a Mid Century chaise for the evening and I have few photos to share with you, the memories and friendships forged will last a lifetime.

After hearing a year of “tweet-tweet” from both friends and family, it was lovely to see EVERYBODY engaged in lively conversation.  No great surprise to me; I knew that the melding would be seamless because I have gotten to know my Social Media friends quite well over the past year and knew that we shared many things in common both professionally as well as personally.  Why this was such a shock to real life friends and family is quite baffling. 

Many people we know personally have used on line dating, whether it be Match.com, Eharmony.com or JDate.com to find their soul mates for life, love and marriage!   Why then is it so difficult to understand that collaborating and forging friendships via Social Media sites such as Twitter be any less authentic or satisfying?  Whatever the reason ( and I’m sure the name and the icon do not help the urge to utter a stray chirp), our “Tweet-Up” transcended all of the social media hype and rested gracefully on the shoulders of friendship and design, as it should be.

Despite the occasional sharing of a Twitpic or a mention of Foursquare, which I was inadvertently signed up for, the evening was spent sharing experiences as well as friendships and was a delight to host as well as attend.

So without further ado and thanks to @maybellinete for sharing some of her photos- here is a “taste” of the evening.

IFD Petit Fours- a little rough around the edges but delic!

 

Maybelline Te aka @maybellinete, Tracy Hiner aka @tracyhiner & Liz Orgera aka @shorelychic

 

Beth Dempsey aka @ImagesnDetails and Liz Orgera

 

Catherine Avery aka @averydesign with husband Bob and Gloria Battista Collins aka @gbcstyle

 

Liz Orgera and Roberta Thomas Mancuso

 

Catherine & Bob Avery, Richard Marti Jr. aka @ramartijr & his wife Laini

Mona & Mark Klapper

 

 

 Tracy Hiner & Maybelline Te

 

 

 

Irwin & Tracy Hiner

 

Tracy Hiner in the Baughman Love Chair: What's not to love?

 

 

 

yours Truly & mona Klein Klapper

 

 

Susan Blumenfeld, Ruth Warner & Mona klein klapper

 

If for some reason you missed our first tweet-up, no worries, we will be having another event in the fall to herald the opening of....well, we're keeping that a secret for now, but you can stop by the gallery anytime and say hi!

 

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