The ladder part of the year seemed to have flown by! It must have been the travel I was able to do (and much needed too!) From visiting my Godmother down the shore, to a trip to Miami and even a day trip to Sedona with Jeff in November... It was great to get offline and enjoy some outdoor time. The outdoor time also included a fall picnic in the park, putting together a garage sale, and spending some time with new people I've met here in AZ... all ending the year with of course - catching a Christmas cold (which is still lingering a bit today). But I'm grateful for all the experiences, even though some were just too short. Here is Part II of my 2013 Rewind... Be sure to check out Year in Review - My 2013 Rewind Part I (Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or glass of wine - this is another long post!)

September was not only my month to get ready to travel (yay! East Coast - here I come!) It was also the launch of the Design Pin Program for HomeGoods. Each of the 10 contributors shared tips about styling vignettes to bedrooms to bathrooms, baskets wall decor, and even lighting. The decor tips helped give style solutions to design dilemmas via Pinterest, but the program was also shared via Facebook, Twitter, an email blast from TJMaxx Corp, as well as announced in stores over the Muzak system and entrance signing. Some of the Top Pins have come from designers Amy Chalmers, Sherry Hart, Hooper Patterson, Erika Ward, and myself... (You can view at my post the Top 15 HomeGoods Design Happy Pins Tips & Tricks) The HomeGoods Designer Pin Program proved to be so successful, they decided to continue it through December...

Most repinned image from the board!

After meeting Heather back in August, we worked together on a Shop & Style day project up in Paradise Valley, plus she referred two consultations to me, I was able to do before leaving on my trip back east at the end of the month. One was for a master bedroom restyle and another was for a AZ Tuscan style home that needed to be styled for an upcoming wedding the homeowner would be hosting in her home. 

 (shop and style for storage day with Heather at HomeGoods in Desert Ridge)



Besides these projects, and also completing a tooth replacement, it was getting closer to my time to plan, pack and fly back to NJ and Miami. The week before I left, I did a little consignment shopping at My Sister's Closet, and I organized what to pack for my trip. I had to pack for two different climates because it was getting cooler in NJ plus days were starting to get shorter. Packing layers helped - just not with the bag weight! I left Phoenix at 10 am, and because of the time change, it was 6pm by the time I landed - a non-stop flight - in Newark (and met a Jersey Girl (Deborah) on the flight, who visits AZ to see her daughter!) 

After claiming my bag, I made my way to the car rental place (got a super cute baby blue mini Cooper!), got my transponder for the tolls, checked directions with attendant before I left, and I was off onto the Jersey Turnpike...

Although I followed the directions of the parking attendant, and I had studied the maps before I left Phoenix (I don't like using the GPS) I was over too far to the LEFT at a toll plaza, when I needed to be to the far RIGHT... and before I knew it - I was driving under a sign that said HOLLAND  TUNNEL!!! To say I freaked was an understatement. Yes - I lived in NJ for ten years, but I never drove it, with all its routs and exits - my parents did because I was under ten.

Perfect surprise at the hotel - and MUCH needed after a LONG day of travel!

Thankfully, I was able to call a family friend in New Jersey who was able to guide me through Bayonne, Jersey City, Newark and back to the Turnpike South to head down the shore to my Godmother's. By the time I reached the hotel, it was 9pm, Jersey time. I freshened up and 15 mins later I was meeting up with friends for drinks, and we ate at a Jersey diner. We had such a great time together - we didn't even take any pictures :)

October was the month I was looking forward to all year - I'm in New Jersey, during the Fall, the air is brisk, I see leaves changing, smell the sea air and I was about to spend some long overdue quality time with my Godmother - my Aunt Lily, and see the Jersey Shore - One Year after Super Storm Sandy (which is what prompted the trip back east to begin with!)

Toes in the sand + leopard maxi ... it doesn't get any better than this!

I can't begin to tell you how much this trip meant to me - It's quite possibly the last time I will see my Godmother... And I think we both knew / know it. I remember when I was walking back to the car to leave and head back to the hotel, she called out to me to come hug her goodbye -- again... We embraced each-other while standing in the middle of the street in front of her apartment. I'm SO grateful for not only this time, but all the times we shared together as I grew up. She brought me to NYC, lunch at the Plaza, days at museums, shopping at FAO Schwartz and Lord & Taylor... brought me to Rockefeller Center to see the rink and the tree, as well as the times we shared together at my home in NJ on Christmas Eve (thanks to my dad driving to Ft. Lee to pick her up and bring her home) ...  Every holiday since, I recall those precious moments. I remember playing dress up with her heels and Borghese make up and pounding away at her typewriter, as if I had something important to say... Now I pound away on my laptop, wear heels and appreciate art, culture and City dwelling...

She doesn't know it, but when she went into another room, I had shot a few pics of items she use to have in her apartment in Ft. lee, and she still kept in her place in Spring Lake... I use to make a tea party with her white Demitasse cups and espresso coffee pot... I think part of why I enjoy thrifting & vintage shopping is because I think I'm going to see some of these items (or similar) and relive the memories, and the feelings of joy they bring. 

After visiting my Godmother in New Jersey (yes - I made it back to the airport to return the car, without getting lost again!! lol) I flew south, back to Miami to see my mom -- whom I haven't seen in TWO years since we moved out to AZ....

It was SO good to see my mom... Hug her, talk about 'the good ole days', and EAT some of her delicious home cooking - from American comfort food of roasted chicken, to Jersey Italian 'sawsages & peppas' to rich & creamy Cuban flan! I had just learned how to take selfies so we were having fun goofing around with some pics... Considering she doesn't have a computer or even a cell phone, she was a good sport about it - but did say not to post on Facebook (too late! lol) While in Miami, my mom and I went to Vizcaya (yay! culture, history and RAIN!!) plus I also got to see two very dear friends who came to visit - Marcia, who didn't know I was in town, so it was a complete surprise, and Patricia, who drove down from Wellington and we went to dinner. I was suppose to also meet with some friends on South Beach for lunch, but one girls mom had an accident and they were unable to go - So I spent the day with the spirit of my father...

Trust me, if you lived in the desert after living through hurricanes back east, you'd miss, enjoy and welcome the rain too! 

YUM! Moms flan....

View from moms patio... GORGEOUS morning for sipping coffee!

Marcia was TOTALLY surprised!! 

 I went to see my dad - his ashes are here in Biscayne Bay - I use to go walking on this bridge Sunday mornings and spend the day at the beach with my girlfriend Rebeca...

More time with dad - I tried out this Havana 1957 on Lincoln Road...

Miami style Pina Colada!

Gotta love the sights on South Beach!

 Between moms cooking, Miami foods and dinner with Patricia, I'm surprised I was able to board the plane back to AZ!!


Dinner with Patricia - Mom of 2 gorgeous girls, devoted wife, spirited and truly gracious person I've ever met... We met back in school while studying interior design, regularly sharing a basket of fries with grilled cheese sandwiches during break at the dinner downstairs... except this time when we went to Pollo Tropical, and Patricia brought in with us a homeless person from the street so she could buy him a meal - whatever he wanted to choose from... To this day, that moment of kindness still blows my mind...

Back to AZ - and Garage Sale Time!

After my trip, I came back to Arizona - pulled together the garage sale - which I sold some pieces to the owner of Sweet Salvage, Kim Rawlins! It was also time for Halloween - but we didn't dress up this year (it was actually chilly out!!) but we did sit outside to hand out candy, say hello to the neighbors, and enjoy all the kids in their adorable costumes... I even got a lovely little surprise from HomeGoods: They sent all the contributors flowers!!

In October, I also started to do some guest blog posting for Leslie Hendrix Wood of Hadley Court in Midland, TX. Although Leslie & I are in separate states and we were in different locations in October, I was able to write one of my guest posts on her experience at the Fall High Point Market... (Thank social media and Thank You for the opportunity to write for you Leslie!)

You can read the guest blog posts I wrote for Hadley Court at: 

Writing these guest posts lead to a future project I did for Hadley Court - thanks to Leslie Carothers and my third in 2013 - setting up the business page for Hadley Court on Pinterest in November...

Since Jeff and I had cut our travel expenses this year by flying back east for two separate trips (he flew back in June for his nephews graduation and got to visit with his family in Florida), we did a weekend road trip locally to get in a little "us" time before the holiday season kicked in -- especially this year, since it would be the first time Jeff had to work on Thanksgiving. We stayed someplace out west, between here and Sedona, which helped make the day trip up to Sedona a little shorter of a drive. The air was crisp, I gathered a few fall leaves, we had lunch. and enjoyed the change of scenery for our drive. The next day, we headed to the Phoenix Museum of Modern Art and had a Fall Picnic in the Park, lakeside at a park in Scottsdale (yay! water!) After that break, it was time to get the house and dinner ready for Thanksgiving... and quickly turn it over to Holiday!

I was giggling because Jeff was changing clothes in the car...

Also in November was what 'almost' was a dream come true: We 'almost' were able to move back east! Jeff's name got "thrown into the hat" along with five others to be transferred to a store in North Carolina - The only thing is, it would have been within the next 3 weeks!! We talked about it and decided that even IF it were to happen, I wouldn't start packing us up until AFTER holiday. Be that as it may - my head was already moved back east. I started doing home searches online, and even created a pinboard for them (See Houz Hunting NC). I made mention of the potential move to NC on Facebook, and my phone and Jeff's phone almost blew up!! lol 

I can't begin to tell you how grateful I was for SO MANY people who were SO helpful in wanting to guide us in our home search and who couldn't wait for us to move out there so we could all meet in real life... Sadly though, the store went to someone else, and now we're (patiently) waiting for news to hopefully MOVE back east in 2014. JCP moved some chick from AZ to CA and didn't like it so they moved her within a year to Vegas -- which besides having me scratch my head, it gives me hope, especially since Jeff's District Manager knows our family is all back east. Charlotte would have been ideal for both Jeff & I - he misses going fishing, he loves to golf, we BOTH miss the beach, I have a huge amount of connections there, and we'd be smack dab in the center of being able to fly to NYC.... or south to see our family in GA + FL... Not to mention: north Carolina IS where High point Market is held, so I'd finally be able to attend. Fingers crossed - something comes through -- QUICKLY :)

I definitely enjoy dressing for the cooler weather - and thanks to some savvy secondhand shopping I did at Goodwill and My Sister's Closet (last year) I was able to pull together a comfortable & layered look for Thanksgiving 2013!

I don't know where December went... It felt like it was over in a flash - as was all of 2013! But within the month, I was able to restyle our home for Christmas, do a little baking, some shopping, wrapping and holiday card writing... 

 Melanie in NJ got her card and a dose of sparkle from me in AZ! 

You can see some of our home restyled for Christmas at:

Since I had gotten sick, I didn't get to pull together a Christmas Home Tour as I wanted to - But I will eventually add as a video to the blog tabs above.

Although I didn't have any client home projects to install, two of my previous holiday decor projects were featured: One on (see Hosting the Holidays) and another at (see Shop Your Garden for Easy Holiday Decorations ), I entered and my board won (2nd Place!) an online holiday design challenge at Olioboard (sponsored by & featured on, and I entered & won a holiday photo contest (winning the book - House Proud - I was also published in thanks to Valorie Hart including me in her acknowledgments of her book!!).

 THANK YOU, Olioboard, all who voted and the judge!


HomeGoods also featured a few more photos of projects I contributed to the Design Happy board, along with a SUPER surprise on Christmas: they FedEx'd a card with a Gift Card!! -- Totally surprised!! The HomeGoods Team is so happy with my contributions, they invited me to stay on the Design Happy Team, and join some of the new additions + adjustments they'll be making to the program. They asked if I had any input, which I graciously offered (and they liked!) I'm looking forward to evolving the partnership with them in 2014! I strongly believe my personal retail experience PLUS interior design experience is a huge factor in this strong alliance.  

In December, HomeGoods tested another means of incorporating social media to inspire their customers: They coordinated their first blog party, where they invited the bloggers they have collaborated with to contribute & participate. it was a huge success and they'll be doing more of in 2014! I'm so excited to be a part of the game-changers this year for HomeGoods! You can read about the link-up at my post: Holiday Link Party Highlights 

Speaking of party, I finally got to meet an online friend from here in AZ at a holiday gathering he had at his home. We've been chatting away since last Christmas - with plans to meet up always falling through and this year, we made it happen! It was SO NICE to finally meet Kurt in person, plus he introduced me to two dear friends of his: Shelly and Katie! We all enjoy vintage finds and thrifting, so we're planning on getting together for the new year - and maybe hit some yard Sales!! (Kurt has an excellent eye for fab finds!) 

Christmas was quiet, between my cold and Jeff needing to rest after those long holiday hours... but we did have Noche Buena on Christmas Eve (thanks to Feli's Cuban Kitchen here in AZ - Chef is actually from Miami!) and watched holiday movies and napped Christmas Day...

Merry Christmas!

We got fresh citrus from Florida from Jeff's sis & brother-in-law, which came in handy to help cure my cold...

Besides catching a Christmas cold, I ended the year being interviewed by Jessica Gordan (editor for The Entertaining House) for an article she was writing for Freshome, which was published just before December ended. you can read the interview at Freshome: How to Make Your Home Look Glamorous... which is just what I did for our New Years Eve at home. Last year, Jeff and I ventured out to a place called Mills Drive, but since I was still sick, we stayed in and planned a delicious dinner for two, at a fraction of what it would have cost going out. I had already removed & packed up the Christmas clutter, so I just made the place sparkle with mirrors, glass, existing New Years favors in Silver & Gold... plus the two clocks I have in our home office (so we could celebrate east Coast new years as well as Arizona's time zone (which I STILL don't understand! lol)

I may not have had my interior design projects published in a magazine, traveled the world or attended as many design events as I would have liked to (AZ is a little off when it comes to being in tune with the design industry), but I'm still grateful for the FULL year of experiences and meetings I did encounter in 2013! 

Now it's time to take a deep breath, and get out those pads, pens & agenda Santa brought (yes -- I still use these old-school tools for planning & organizing!) and make the first list of 2014 - Goals, plus plot out all the events happening all over the country to try to attend one or two this year. Two tasks to mark on the agenda are ready to be added: Continued partnership with HomeGoods (and maybe even some blogging for them too!) and I volunteered to create the business Pinterest page for Messages of Hope, created by Leslie Carothers and to launch early 2014 (more about that coming up shortly.)

I started 2013 with this jar I got from HomeGoods - filled it with memories of all the 'good' that happened in 2013 - and now added 'HOPE' to my jar, I also got at HomeGoods (I think it's a sign!!)

Fingers crossed we get to move back east this year! And I'd like to at least double the amount of Pinterest business page set-ups for companies, or even designers. It's 'the' go to place for visual sharing, information and even e-commerce. I recently also cleaned up my own page and re-organized my boards (I have 290 boards, which I did delete some and removed myself from some groups, but I sure wish Pinterest had sub-boards!) 

You can view my boards (and follow too) at: I still keep the "NYCLQ" tag because when I first started sharing online, that was my name and many still recognize it today... I even has it as my tag here in AZ...

I'm making a few changes to the blog this year too - is there anything you'd like to see more of (or less)? Send me a note - I'd love to hear from you!

I spotted this on window while on Lincoln Road - Miami Beach in October...
Sounds like a GREAT goal to keep in mind for 2014!

THANK YOU to all who helped make 2013 a pretty spectacular year for me! And thank you also for continuing to follow my blog, Focal Point Styling!! 


1 comment:

  1. Love that gallery wall of mirrors! Congrats Lynda to a fantastic year ;) You're truly a talented girl!!!



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