It Does Mean A Lot

It does mean a lot that you come here to read about design stuff and cool things for the home, and I love to talk about that stuff. Today will be a little different because I like to mix things up sometimes. I decided to share some thoughts about my biggest work in progress: myself, so move on to my other posts if you would rather see some design inspo. I think I’m going to skip the effort of adding all sorts of images and just get to it. (With the upcoming One Room Challenge in a couple of weeks you’ll be seeing a lot of stuff anyway! If you are easily distracted and aren’t going to read my post below, you can check out my first ORC reveal HERE.)


The last two years have been kind of insane for me. It started with my husband getting a job in California, which I wrote about here: JUMPING IN . Feel free to read that first. It will make more sense about what happened and why I’m still in NJ. Then I followed up that post almost a year later with this one: MOVING ON, which was kind of an emotional time.

Who am I kidding? It’s all been an emotional time. And a lonnnng time. Obviously we get nothing in our lives that we can’t handle, and we are handling it pretty well, all things considered. It’s just taking SO LONG. And this slow roll to transition to the west coast has not gone the way I thought it would.

I think I said, in those posts above or at least out loud to some people, that I was going to NOT take on any more clients, wrap that all up, and focus on enjoying all the NYC/NJ/New England things I could. Spending time with family and friends and traveling out west a lot to see my man and house hunt and stuff.


I think that when people have big things happening in their lives and don’t take the time to put themselves first when they need it, it gets unhealthy. If you aren’t nurturing what makes you happy, you won’t be happy. And if you’re not happy, well… you know there’s a yucky, yellow stained snowball that starts gaining speed and heading your way ready to plow you over.

There’s a lot to be sad and miserable about around here, people. Leaving friends, moving farther away from family. My daughters not moving with me and my husband. The distance between he and I, and the long amounts of time I don’t get to see him. After almost 30 years of living with someone, seeing someone every 6 weeks or so kind of sucks. And to add to that, it’s all anyone asks me about when they see me. Or “Hey, this must be SO HARD” in case I forgot. And honestly? It IS hard, but it’s not unbearable and I will be alright. I don’t need the reminder, or to dwell on the shitty parts.

My husband and I have a general game plan, we are not stressed about it, and I truly am excited about our future. I’m not house hunting from afar, which is a big relief, and I’m able to focus on what I’m doing now, which makes me very happy. It’s filling the time up and it feels really good. And we will have a place to live in and my daughters will all be situated in the end, so it’s all going to be fine. (Fine is not always pleasant or easy, mind you, it’s just fine.)


What has happened is that I’ve just had to put my head down, shut out the noise and work my ass off. (Although not literally, that thing is still big.) I needed to do what I love because I just couldn’t quit. It gives me purpose and makes me feel good. I don’t think I realized I was doing this at first. But lately I can see why I’m really doing it, getting stupidly crazy busy, and for some weird reason I feel like sharing it with you.

I am surprised at how much I’m involved in right now, and I am grateful and overwhelmed with the amount of people who want to work with me. I can’t even fit them all into the next 20 weeks or so I have left here in NJ. Doing consultations has helped those people who just want some advice and can handle things on their own, which helps with the work load and the guilt of not being able to work with everyone I want to. While the end of 2017 was just impossible to work while I was reeling from the changes and selling my house, and I thought I was going to just be “done” for 2018, this year has been jam packed with so much that inspires me and gives me life.


My real house hunt is on hold until I actually move out there so now it has basically turned into a fun game of WTF and has spawned it’s own Instagram: REALLY BAD REAL ESTATE, where I occasionally post the crazy things I have seen for sale. It’s REALLY BAD. It’s also been really fun to hear people’s reactions to these gawd-awful houses for sale. Now people keep sharing the butt-ass ugly things they’ve seen with me or on my Facebook and we all get a chuckle. Laughter is my favorite.


So yeah, I’m working on kitchens and bathrooms, living rooms and dining rooms, family rooms and bedrooms, home offices and play rooms, front porches and backyard spaces. I’m running to trade shows and learning about all the latest gadgets, materials, and design trends (like last month’s TRIP TO VEGAS). I’m connecting with people in the business and cultivating great relationships. I’m having fun, I’m learning a lot, and I’m using my creative talent. Oh, and I make some money while I’m at it.

I’m not sitting around thinking about how my kids haven’t seen their dad since Christmas break, or the monthly toilet overflowing in this rental house, or worried about what college my kid is going to go to (because at least I know she’s going somewhere), or freaking out about the cost of real estate in CA, or if people are annoyed with all my Facebook and INSTAGRAM posts about pretty fabric and tile. All that is happening anyway, but I don’t need to focus on any of that. It’s just not productive.

Head down, don’t let the negativity impact me, do the work, bring happiness into clients’ homes, and fill myself up with good vibes. That’s what I’m doing. I have no idea what will happen with my business in CA, but I plan to leave a mark on NJ. It’s not a huge mark, I know. But at least it will be a pretty, well designed one, and a big enough mark for me. And who knows? What happens here before I go could pave the way for all sorts of opportunities in my new location. Or at least allow me to arrive happy and proud of my accomplishments.


Now time passes quicker for me. While it’s been great to focus on this piece that brings me immense joy, what makes it all the sweeter is that it’s nice that I still have a few really good people in my life who get it. They understand that I need to be a little selfish with my time right now but it’s not so much that I’m not there for them. Because I’m always there for them. They know that I have room for their joy as well, and we happily share those things with each other whenever we get a chance. We support each other through the sludgy parts as well. No grudging, no judging. Just occasional nudging. LOL, now I sound like Dr Suess.

Seriously, though. Just sharing random texts, 5 minute phone calls on the drive to or from work, those silly Marco Polo videos and Snapchats. The occasional glass of wine or something stiffer when needed (sometimes virtually). They mean a lot to me too. Sometimes that’s all we have, and we can’t resent that there’s not more of it, we need to appreciate what there is.

For me, the alternative doesn’t bring me joy and that’s why I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing. That by not having all this creative work to give me purpose and fill my brain with positive energy, the void would be filled with all that crappity crappy crap to think about, as well as giving too much room for some people’s negative energy, or harbor resentment. That shit’s depressing, frankly, and I don’t have time for that.

**And please note that at least I think I am making the best use of my time doing what I love, and not monotonously doing the same thing day in and day out until I wake up one day 10 years later. If YOU are doing that, kick yourself in the ass, please.**


And that is ok. I’m not the perfect mother. I’m not the perfect writer, blogger, designer, friend, sister, daughter, or wife. None of my plans in the last two years (or EVER) have gone perfectly. I didn’t sell my house the way I wanted, I didn’t run my business the way I wanted, I didn’t talk to certain people as often as I wanted, I didn’t teach my kids the all the things I wanted… So many things I could list! You know what can bite you in the ass? When you keep thinking about how to make things perfect and you never get there. I admit I spent a lot of time beating myself up for falling short or making mistakes. Or afraid to do things in case I couldn’t execute perfectly.

I don’t know if it’s my age, the people I’ve surrounded myself with or the events of the last two years, but lately I have been able to just embrace it all and know that I’m doing the best I can, I keep it real, mistakes are lessons to be learned from, and that my life is pretty damn good.

And that does mean a lot.

As well as the fact that you’re still here, reading this. Thank you for being here.


If it’s zoning out shopping on Amazon, maybe you’ll check out my AMAZON INFLUENCER page, where the prices will be the same for you, but I might make a few pennies if you use the link to shop. (Is this a shameless plug? Maybe. But if this blog makes me any money at all, it would mean a lot to me!) There are some random lists there, but THIS ONE has some great things like gifts, pillows and candles to coffee table books, lamps and furniture. The lists are always growing and more lists get added so I hope you follow along. Never know, I might have just what you’re looking for.

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Beautiful and transparent…keep it real!

Daniele Rogers

Keeping it real is Refreshing! Great read Chris.
What makes me happy is waking up excited to see what my ever changing days will bring. I love what I do, am able to be creative, make people happy & I am lucky enough to work with my talented daughter.
I work my ass off and am happy to do it & proud of our accomplishments.
Life is good! And I think my husband is still a Hunkasaures Rex.

Thanks for sharing


This is fabulous! You handled this past year with optimism and grace! I wish you all the best but REALLY hope we keep in touch. You have inspired me in many ways! What brings me joy? My kids getting along, my husband happy, when we all laugh together, a good book, good wine, great friends, and a happy and healthy life!! So glad we became friends!


All the friends I have met and yet to meet in real life gives me joy! Including you and your sassy little self! ❤️


I have always loved your attitude.. even when you had an “attitude”…. and watching it develop has been many things make me happy… the simple things.. the joyful things..

Sheri Bruneau

My dear friend. I loved reading this.

Your beauty, your sense of humor, and your ninja sense of design – you are one powerhouse!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It was such a blessing that we got to meet last year and how we have continued our friendship (and continue to grow it). Laughter is one of the things I love to do (#nojudging, #rhymeswith)

Love you my friend!

Sheri Bruneau

My dear friend. I loved reading this.

Your beauty, your sense of humor, and your ninja sense of design – you are one powerhouse!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It was such a blessing that we got to meet last year and how we have continued our friendship (and continue to grow it). Laughter is one of the things I love to do (#nojudging, #rhymeswith)

Love you my friend!

Carla Aston

It’s a hard transition for sure. You are handling it with grace and laughter. Your kids are watching and learning. ❤️

Your favorite client (Erin)

I love this post! At the moment- what brings me joy is building stuff in my garage and browsing IG to connect with woodworkers and makers near and far. I love connecting with people and love learning new stuff! My house brings me great comfort and joy thanks to you my friend!


Ah dammit you made me cry..but in a good way. If your children are engaged in the world and warm and caring people than you’ve succeeded. There is nothing else that matters.

I am not religious AT ALL but someone told me something the other day that has stuck with me, “God throws pebbles, then stones and then boulders” so pay attention to the pebbles my dear sweet beautiful friend.

We do the best we can and if you can make ME laugh—ya done good.

Kevin Wheeler

What gives me joy is really many things. Coming home to my wife and the home we’ve made together, New Technology (I am an IT guy after all), House Renovation TV Shows, Seeing my kids in any activity they love, Seeing your awful real estate postings, seeing the successes of my former classmates, and singing with Rock Voices (An adult rock choir I am in). There are many more things I could list. I find that as I get older, I look to do things that make me happy, and avoid the things that don’t. We have a limited time on this rock, and I intend to make sure I am doing things I like to do!

Patricia Starr

What brings me joy? The laughter of my girls, Matt, my friends and my family. It may sound corny and I’m no comedian or anything, but it fills my soul and gives me purpose.

Deborah Main

Christine this is a wonderful post and I’m so glad you shared it because I didn’t know you were going through any of this. I understand the feeling of wanting to be busy and creative because it brings us joy, and because if we’re not, then yes, we’re left with a lot of yucky shit to live with every day. Whether it’s with your life, a husband thousands of miles away (I know I couldn’t bare that, as we’re celebrating 35 year anniversary in April) or with my life, having to live with chronic illness. Like you, Id much rather focus on bringing beauty into the world than my illness. So thank you for jumping off the design train and sharing REAL life!! We need more of this. Helps us be our less perfect selves and frankly brings joy.

I’m just starting to share my personal story, which is very hard for me. Check it out on Day2 of #marchmeetthemaker on my studio Insta @deborahmaindesigns.

Btw, I signed up for ORC today!! YOU were my inspiration to push myself out of my comfort zone on this one. Thank you. I’m excited!!

Janet Lorusso

I love this, Christine! I appreciate your outlook and your ability and your great sense of humor. And yay you for leaning into life and learning and growing with it. Looking forward to virtually following your adventures and hope I get the chance to meet you IRL somewhere, someday!

Elizabeth Scruggs

what gives me joy?
this post.
your humor.
and every time I see I have an MP from you.
those things give me joy and make me smile!!

I love your honesty and openness!


Proofreading is for wusses.


Rocknon with your awesome self, girlfriend. While there is much to despise about the ‘Book and the ‘gram, I am ever so grateful for the people they have led me to. Would have been lovely to know you IRL while we’ve been on the same coast, but hip hip (yours and mine) hooray that we have this medium to keep connected whatever coasts we’re on.
Thank you for your life perspective, your design perspective, your openness and your general bad ass attitude. Ninja on.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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