Happy Easter!

Just a quick note to say Happy Easter! I hope you are having a wonderful day enjoying time with friends and / or family - whether it be at church, lounging, playing games, or cooking an Easter feast! As for me, I spent the day finishing my outdoor "Spring Spruce-up", and using what I have, I figured out a way to create an outdoor eating & conversation space for us to enjoy for a bit, before it gets ridiculously hot outside (122!!) and we're locked indoors. Previously, we'd have my mom and Marcia come over for dinner and the day. Last year, I think it was too soon after the move for me to realize the void... but this year: I got homesick - plus it's my mom's birthday. I also missed our dining area and being able to create some festive tablescape, so I took it outside. I'll share later, but for now - enJOY your day! Happy Easter!

Thanks for stopping by...


We've all got to start somewhere... and my first dabble into posting and sharing on the Internet was at HGTV.com's Rate My Space back in 2006. Although I don't post as frequently on the site as I did when I started, from time to time I do pop over, take a look around, and seasonally share a post. Yesterday I popped over to see what they were featuring for Spring and Easter, and I came across "25 Easter Decorating Ideas". I remembered I had one picture featured in their post (from 2010), but they must have added or updated some of the images because yesterday I saw three more of my project photos shared! And one was from my "Spring Stoop" I had done last year here in AZ. Here's what was featured at HGTV.com...

While I was visiting HGTV.com yesterday, and looking through all the pictures I've posted (yes - missing our FL home too), I realized I never made a post of the entire house as a tour - I would only post individual rooms or tablescapes. It was from this act of "sharing" photos and the DIY info behind them that myself (and I think MANY others) got inspired to start blogging.

See more of my HGTV.com feature in tab above: FEATURES

Since the last post I shared on HGTV.com was back in November for Thanksgiving tablescapes, I thought I'd share the Realtor photos of our Florida home when it went on the market. This morning, It's featured on the front page of Rate My Space in Highest Rated and Most Viewed, which I thought was pretty cool...

Top Rated & Most Viewed within 24 hrs of posting.

The post I shared in 2008 at HGTV.com is still mentioned to me online today. I've come a long way since then, evolving and changing my style... but the mixing, the thrifting, and seasonal changes are still my key design elements today...

Many thanks to you (the viewers) and many thanks to HGTV for not only featuring my shares, but for launching the first platform FOR people to share xo

Thanks for stopping by!


Spring Break & Catching Up

Have you ever been so overwhelmed with info, you need to take a step back to process it all? That's kind of how I felt after attending the Design Bloggers Conference... Although I didn't really get a moment to really stop after coming back. There were not only tons of photos to sort, organize, tag and share, but I also dove into refinishing pieces for a client project! I so miss being able to work outside more as I did in Florida. Here in AZ, the colder winter temps have started to warm up, and it's been perfect weather for painting -- and even a little gardening and outdoor Spring Spruce up (both back & front yards) this past weekend! After I refinished the pieces for my project, I installed while the client was away, and got to do a true "reveal" when she came back on Monday. Not only did she love the space, but so did her clients she had this week.

Having my first year of AZ living under my belt now, I kind of know a little more of what to expect: Come May-August, I'll definitely be staying indoors more. Knowing this, I'm in the process of setting up more online projects - I had my second online project set up last week and have another conference call today about an upcoming online project. In between these has been learning the new look of Pinterest, attending new webinars, dentist appointments, converting the closets for Spring, Spring thrifting, bought a few domain names to sell, setting up a new branch of Focal Point and getting returns done after the client project was completed.

Two of the topics discussed at the DBC were about picking your social media platform that best suits you and how blogging is going to be evolving into doing more video. If you blog, you KNOW how long it takes to pull together a post (without "cheating" on content) - Shifting posts to video (new for me to learn how to) will help shorten the time to posts plus give motion to static images. I believe though, both are needed (static images TO pin PLUS video for fresh content & engagement). I know I've changed my blogging pattern of posting along with types of posts. Two years ago, I was posting daily - Monday thru Friday in the AM... but since moving to AZ, I haven't quite found the sweet spot time slot to post. I know also since Pinterest came along,  I've been doing more sharing on Twitter & Facebook -- stopping myself from posting my own pictures because of wanting them to be pinnable images - editing pics takes a lot of time to do.

The weather has been SO incredibly beautiful here lately for Spring (Thank God!!) but... my nose needs a break from all the painting and sanding I've been doing the past two weeks along with my skin needing a break from the sun and over-spray :). This week I'll be focused on pulling together fresh new posts of DIY projects, style solutions, decor tips along with my client project process & reveal, and our trip to LA -- so please... Stay Tuned!

Happy Spring!
Thanks for stopping by!

My First Experience at the Design Bloggers Conference

For me, attending this years Design Blogger Conference was like opening that box of chocolates and not knowing what you're going to get. Not only was it an experience to travel to a new place (more about the LA experience in the next post) but it was also a new forum or means of meeting people. It's super easy to meet people when you're young and in school - you hang with your clique year after year. And even meeting people online, you can get a sense of what they are about from what they share or post on social media (their 'voice'). What you can't get though is the sound of their laughter, the brightness of a smile, a goofiness in their mannerisms or how polished their fashion style really is. Attending a design blogger conference, you get all that PLUS wine & sake tastings, social media takeaways, swag-bags, the thrill of contests, photo opps, showroom parties, dinners, and the moments when a presenter really speaks to your heart, mind and soul - not to mention the new connections for collaborations you're able to make 'in real life' with sponsors.

The stage setting for the Design Bloggers Conference was relaxed with a living room like set furnished by Calico Corners featuring the new fabric line from Nate Berkus (ding ding - LOVED it!) Large screens supported slide presentations and video clips from most all of the presenters - with images of not only SEO graphs, analytics and logos, but sharing how inspiration was transformed into design as well as sharing personal moments during a designer or bloggers career.

In between the DBC presentations, the room of 400 bloggers, sponsors and designers emptied into the hallways for photo opps, discussions and lines were made for coffee or the bathroom :) The other line bloggers rushed to were the charging stations to give their mobile devices a little kick. Thankfully, because of a little tweet chat with some veteran attendees (Thanks Leslie!), I came equipped to charge myself plus those who sat with me, like Olio Sisters Selma Hammer, Leslie Carothers and the CEO of Olioboard, Sheilah MacSporran herself. After all the OlioLove we've shared online, it was the least I could do (to bring an extension cord + power strip!)

In the evening, most participated in a "girls-night-out" type of get togethers at LA showrooms, shops and restaurants. I had been invited to the Lamps Plus dinner at Wolfgang Pucks in Universal City for opening night. I'd say it was the ice-breaker leading up to meeting more people at the main event. I was grateful for the invite (thanks Ivette!) - It was a great way for online connections to share a glass of wine, ask questions, and share inspirational experiences with one another (Thanks Lisa & Brooke!)

The ultimate highlight of the event: Getting to meet Leslie Carothers in real life! 
What a genuine & kind person - Smart cookie too!

Some of the highlights for my experience were listening to presentations from designers like Charlotte Moss, Barbara Barry, and Windsor Smith. Charlotte stressed the importance of "Show me the content" and also the importance of crediting image sources correctly on blogs. Barbara shared a personal "ah-ha" moment when she was forced to 'slow-down' and really live in her own home - An injury caused her to stay put a while, and she started to notice placements and lighting in a whole new way. Windsor shared her innovation of 'Room In A Box', plus how success is different to different people - It doesn't happen overnight (Windsor has been in the biz for 17 years), just keep doing what you are most passionate about. Windsor also pointed out how we're spending more time at home: our home has become: our office, our restaurants, and our stay-cation spots.

I probably most related to something Charlotte does that I do too: taking photos of details everywhere you go. Since Jeff drove us over to LA (huge savings on airfare - Thank you sweetie!) I had the chance to take in not only new areas of Arizona, but California was well (more about that later).

I learned a little more about the "what's next" for social media. In a word and beyond Pinterest it definitely is about going viral with video. From a new design network being launch to feature only feature video to the evolution print media today. Newell Turner gave an outstanding presentation on how his shelter magazines are leading the way with social engagement (Pin-able images) and creating apps to bring to life to a static image through the use of video.

Me with Jennifer of Decaporter at the closing party at Harbinger LA.

Love the agate finials and Selma blowing kisses! (Jeff took that shot!)

LOVED meeting and spending time with Sheilah from Olioboard - especially for her birthday Tuesday night!

It was really great to meet Lori Dennis IRL - she thanked me for the retweets & shares of her current challenge + cause.

Received the nicest compliment from Andrew Joseph - He told me he really enjoys reading my posts! Thank you Joseph! Pleasure to meet you!

Though traffic was intense around the city of LA, it was worth sitting in to be a part of the closing party hosted by Kravet and Traditional Home at Harbinger LA. This was another means of getting to meet and even rub-elbows with some of LA's elite designers and create some future prospects / collaborations (that was a huge deal for this thrifty-budget babe!).  Because of being connected to more experienced event attendees like Leslie, I was able to meet design blogger & camper super stars like Tobi Fairley and Lori Dennis. I was even approached by the Communications Director of Calico Corners and Lamps Plus, which gave me the opportunity to share posts I've done promoting their product on my blog, as well as discuss some future collaborations amongst us.

What do you get when 400+ people are tweeting in a room? 
You get a hashtag TREND on Twitter!

From the girly moment of high-pitched "oh I so wanted to meet you" in the hotel cafe on day one, to the hand-shakes and card swapping through-out to the long hugs good -bye that came Wednesday morning - The Design Bloggers Conference was surely as sweet as that box of chocolates - not knowing what you're going to get, but enjoying every bit of the new experience.

 Snap-shots of slides

I took a ton of photos (around 400) between my camera + cell phone and the event was also being photographed by Courtney Price. That I know of, Courtney shared most of her photos on Facebook. I've upload the majority of my photos to sets on Flicker, and shared some of them in small albums on Facebook. I figured by uploading the majority of the photos to Flickr, I'll be able to pin from there to the DBC2013 board I created before going to the event... and I can also share photos on the group board for the Design Bloggers Conference... which was the other important take-a-way: Sharing info & picking your platforms. With so many social media platforms available, engage on the ones that work best for you. 

 Winner of one of the giveaways: Selma Hammer received $2000 to create a design video to launch on the new Design Network.

Jeff was a HUGE support throughout this experience. He actually went to Rodeo drive and picked up this white shirt at Ralph Lauren and told them about the conference, Olioboard and my blog. They were so interested in it, they actually pulled up my blog and my boards there in the shop!

For more photos see:

For more in depth recaps of other people's perspective on the conference, check out the other links below PLUS you can still read tweets at #DBC2013

(posted March 7)

(be sure to also watch the great short video too!)

(takes you to her Facebook notes - be sure to also "Like" her page!)

 My 5 Top Takeaways from my first Design Bloggers experience: 
1. Build your alliances.
2. Content is 'Queen' & Visuals Rule
3. Utilize SEO - Tag your zipcode
4. The next big thing: Go viral with video
5. Think mobile

I hope you enjoyed my first Design Blogger Conference experience... I know thanks to a little encouragement to go from Leslie, I really enjoyed being a part of it!

Thanks for stopping by...

Thank You & Congrats To The Olioboard Challenge Winners!

MANY sincere THANK YOU's to all who had voted on my "Virtual Visuals" board in the Tobi Fairley "Get Published Challenge" at Olioboard! Thanks to all your dedication to voting and your support, my board was able to make it into the Top 25 boards - and I am grateful for that.  My board placed #14 out of 420 entries which is nothing to sneeze at! Thank you again -- And CONGRATS to the TWO Top Winners the judges selected from the Top 25 who get to go to Tobi Fairley's Design Camp: Jennifer Reynolds and Anna Lattimore!
Here are the 2 winning boards the three judges selected to win the tickets to Tobi Fairley's Get Published Design Camp:
 Above: Crazy For Stripes by Jennifer Reynolds was selected for second place.
Visit Olioboard to see more of Jenn's board details here: Crazy For Stripes.
Above: Sparkling Mint Bedroom by Anna Lattimore was chosen as the first place winner of the Tobi Fairlet Get Published Challenge. See more details about Anna's board at: Sparkling Mint Bedroom.
The judges were Crystal Gentilello, founder of RUE magazine, Ronda Carmen, founder of All The Best | A Passport To Stylish Living blog, Krissa Rossbund,Senior Style Editor at Traditional Home. Learn more about Tobi's Camp at: Tobi Fairley's The Journey To Getting Published. See all 420 boards entred at Olioboard here: Get Published Challenge.
Thank you again for your votes on my board, Virtual Vignette. I was honored to be a part of such a talented group -- and actually had the chance to meet Tobi Fairley this week at The Design Bloggers Conference -- details coming shortly so stay tuned!
At the Design Bloggers Conference:
From left to right: Tobi Fairley, Denise McGaha, Brooke Carter Wallace, Lynda Quintero-Davids (me!), Leslie Hassler and Sheilah MacSporran. Sheilah is the CEO and Founder of Olioboard.
Congrats again to the winners and thanks for stopping by!


Coming Soon: Dwell With Dignity Pop-Up Spring Thrift Studio

It's that time of year again  where Spring is in the air! And time for the Dwell With Dignity Spring pop-up Thrift Studio! The Thrift Studio is a bi-annual 30 day pop up shop created to provide financial viability and fundraising for Dwell with Dignity through selling their warehouse of overstocked donated, gently used furniture, housewares, accessories and high end designer finds to the public. This limited time only thrift shop concept will be hosting a Preview Party (sponsored by One Kings Lane) on Thursday, April 18, 2013. Tickets for the event will become available on March 15, 2013. Tickets are $125, and are available at Dwell With Dignity or at the door.  

The pop-up Thrift Studio will be open to the public from April 19 - May 18, 2013 ~ Tuesday - Saturday from 10am to 5:30pm... and on Sunday's from noon to 5:30. You can read more about the event at Dwell With Dignity and my previous post at: A Pop-Up Thrift Shop and A Thrift Studio Event.  Below is a peek at some previous Thrift Studio Vignettes...

Vignette Courtesy of Laura Lee Clark

Vignette Courtesy of Breckinridge Taylor

Vignette Courtesy of The Container Store.

 Vignette Courtesy of  Designer Michelle Nussbaumer.

For more information about Dwell With Dignity visit their website at DwellWithDignity.org, where you can also become a member of their community with your donation. You can also join them on their FB page, or even follow some of their project boards by Kim Turner on Pinterest.  Kim recently participated in the Charity Causes Oliohop (see: Get Vignette Set With Olioboard) earlier in February. I'm excited to finally get to meet her at the Design Blog Conference this weekend in LA! I've read on Dwell's Blog they are looking to expand the Dwell With Dignity concept with additional chapters - It would be wonderful if one of the chapters was here in Phoenix! (Stay tuned for more info!)

Thanks for stopping by!


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