HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
The best blog post you will ever read is quite a claim, isn’t it?
But that is how strongly I feel about what I’m about to tell you.
Much sharing today in honor of this new year.
But it isn’t about paint colors or furniture or painting your brick fireplace.
It’s partly some of my story of how I got to be where I am in the world of blogging but more-so about the people who got me there.
And a blog you must read (not mine) My hope is that by the time you get to the end of that blog post, you will feel encouraged and inspired as never before.
The new year is a common time for self-reflection, renewal and resolutions we intend to keep but very often don’t.
Why is that?
This is what I think.
As sappy as this may sound, I think that every day should be New Year’s Day.
Sorry. Did you just throw up a little in your mouth after reading that?
Yeah… me too. ;]
And while I can say with 100% certainty that I don’t feel like this every day, it’s my aim. Pinning it all on one time of the year is a recipe for failure. It’s like crash dieting to fit into the dress you need to wear in one week.
It’s quite difficult and not very healthy either.
In addition, deep down, we doubt ourselves and often sabotage our best efforts before we even give them a chance to succeed.
We have an innate fear of failure; fear of making a mistake or being judged harshly.
But what I’ve discovered in the last two years is that if one doesn’t go out on a limb sometimes, there will be no chance of flying. Birds don’t fly buried deeply into their nests.
And maybe you already know this, but I believe with all of my heart that failure is your friend, not something to fear.
Believe me when I tell you that I have had many failures in life, however, each one taught me a valuable lesson that I needed to learn. Sure, it didn’t feel like it when I was going through it, but after I was able to look back in the rear view mirror, it was clearly a blessing.
Risk + Failure = Blessing.
Jon Morrow often recounts how his first two blogs were miserable failures. Third time lucky and massively successful! That blog which I recommend very highly if you’re a blogger or are thinking of becoming one is Smart Blogger.
BTW, there is no affiliation/compensation whatsoever— because I’m just not that smart. ;]
Still, my blessings are many this year and next year is already promising to be just as if not even more amazing.
But, it wasn’t always like that. Far from it. The reality is, that I’ve frequently suffered from depression, low drive and crippling self-doubt.
Surprised? Well, it’s true. While my disposition is exactly what you see here because that is my personality, the other has been a lifelong struggle.
Here’s an incident that made me crawl back into my shell for a time:
About 5 or 6 years ago, I used to read Vicente Wolf‘s blog. He would sometimes ask questions and this one time, I proudly gave a fairly lengthy answer that I felt might be helpful to him and/or other readers.
It included a link to my portfolio; not the one here, the old one on my first website. I published the comment and forgot about it. But several weeks later, I remembered and went back to see if anyone had responded.
Indeed someone had.
And what he had to say horrified me.
He told me that my designs were terrible and that I needed to go back to design school.
WTF? Of course, I was mortified. Providing some small measure of consolation, I saw that another commenter had come to my defense. I did that too. I said that my clients were “soccer moms” with mud rooms and with fairly conservative, young-traditional tastes in Westchester County, NY. They were all very happy with what I did for them. It was not meant to be the haute couture of interior design.
Not that I should’ve had to defend myself. Frankly, if it had been my blog, I would’ve taken the idiot-troll’s nasty comment down. Flame comments are not allowed on my blog.
While I knew that Troll’s remark was not true, a part of me doubted that. And perhaps I always will, but I think that I’m getting better now.
I did stop reading Vicente Wolf’s blog after that.
Not long after that, I began this blog…
I was all gung-ho.
Laurel Home was created from nothing, all on my own.
I did it on my own because I couldn’t find anyone to help me! But help, I needed! (and eventually got)
It wasn’t until I got the help that I was able to begin to right the ship and turn it around. Although, I am very glad that I did start it on my own because I learned how my blog works. It’s something I recommend highly
But what happened is that I moved in December 2012 and in June 2013, I realized that my phone hadn’t rung in six months.
That is when I found wordpress expert Eileen Lonergan. I’ve mentioned Eileen many times. I still work with her and can’t recommend her highly enough.
By the time 2013 ended, I was beginning to see the results of that help.
But there was still much to learn and do. And then I found badassmomma interior design mentor and blogging guru Alycia Wicker. Alycia gave me more information that I needed–specific to interior designers.
And she told me about Jon Morrow and to get his headline hacks PDF, so I did.
I started following Jon’s blog and when he announced in the summer of 2014 that he was going to have a blogging course, I clamored to sign up.
He’s a darn good sales person too, but definitely, the best $2,000 I ever spent!
Deerfield Beach, Florida
Shortly after I started the course, I went to a seminar he gave in Florida in October 2014. Luckily I was one of his students who received an evaluation.
Jon told me exactly what I needed to do with my blog to take it to the next level and beyond.
And that’s what I did.
But here’s what you need to know and why this is the best blog post you will ever read.
Jon has a rare form of muscular dystrophy. He wasn’t expected to live past the age of 2 (he’s now 34). He’s completely paralyzed except for the ability to move his face and talk.
99.999% of the people like him who manage to survive are living in a nursing home.
Sounds pretty depressing, huh?
Nosiree! Jon is a millionaire many times over with a staff of full-time employees that he supports and he lives now in Texas in what I’m sure is a beautiful and comfortable home.
And he did it all from being one of the most bad-ass-bloggers that God ever created. In fact, he even helps his folks out! Not too shabby for a dude who writes blog posts with his mouth.
Jon Morrow and me (duh) at the end of the Florida Smart Blogger Seminar.
This week, Jon launched a new blog that explains how he did it.
The name of the blog is– Unstoppable.
And I get chills writing that because if a young man can create something big out of nothing and as he puts it, “can’t freaking move,” then anyone can.
And that means you and me. Every one of us.
I don’t ask for much but I’m insisting that you read his first post. I promise that you will see your life in an entirely new way. If you wish to not be inspired, then don’t read it.
Jon is proof of how blessed each of us is. Even when the shit is flying fast and furious. And it does, for everyone at times.
Okay, this part is hard for me.
It’s difficult because it sounds like I’m bragging. Oh well… here goes…
There was a time, when I felt that everyone was doing (a lot) better than me and hearing their list of accomplishments made me feel like even more of a loser.
Yes, that’s right.
I know that some of you may find that difficult to believe, but it’s true. And no, that’s obviously not the bragging part.
How did I change that mindset?
I’m not exactly sure, but certainly the illness and subsequent death of my dearest friend two years ago, had something to do with it. Plus:
- The very real possibility of being destitute, along with some members of my immediate family is a powerful motivator.
- Maybe just finally getting to a point, where I realized that I didn’t have a lot to lose.
- And you guys. You spur me on. Your kind words and encouragement are my food and water and sometimes the air I breathe, too!
I am awfully proud of myself. It’s a dream I never thought possible to have come true. But I have turned this blog into a thriving business.
And with the help of Eileen and Marsha Stopa who is my blogging coach, (and Jon’s primo assistant) I am finally making a good living.
Like, really good. :]
And on March 5th, I am going to be giving a workshop at the Design Bloggers Conference that outlines very clearly exactly how I did that.
I’m so excited about that and yes, I’ll be giving out the recipe for my “secret sauce.” AND, for those taking the workshop, you can sign up to get a written version of my workshop for free.
The Design Blogger’s Conference. is in LA this year. My talk will be at 1:00 and will repeat at 4:00.
However, the workshop rooms are not that large; there is a capacity of only 60. I understand that there have been a record number of sign-ups so if you want to get in, please don’t tarry.
Also, if you sign up for the conference by January 9th, you’ll get the early bird price.
In addition to me, there are some fabulous other workshops and incredible speakers! This promises to be the best Design Blogger’s Conference ever!
By the way. How did I get the gig?
Pretty simple. I asked for it. :]
It’s taken me 60 years to figure that one out. yeesh!
Sure, I had to write a proposal and get accepted by the committee, but it never would’ve happened if I had sat around on my boney arse waiting for them to approach me.
And there’s one more.
This one I was asked to be a part of.
I am now officially one of Veronika Miller’s Design Hounds.
Woof!!! (Is my makeup okay?)
If you don’t know who Veronika Miller is and you’re a design blogger, she is definitely one to suck up to! lol Veronika is way cool, so it should not be a problem.
Oh wait. I lied. There’s even more!
I was asked to be on a panel about color trends. (can’t wait) ;] It’s in Orlando next month at KBIS (Kitchen and Bath Industry Show)
So get ready for some posts about kitchens and baths!
I recently found out that another member of the panel is
HOLYCRAPBALLSOFFIRE!!!, I almost feel entitled to say the F-word, however, I will only say the F-word on this blog if the word “cancer” comes after it. But that is how excited I am.
I do think it’s only fair that we get to sit in alphabetical order though, don’t you? haha!
The fabulous Amy Wax, another New York color specialist and blogger is also going to be on the panel.
Here’s to a wonderfully successful, prosperous 2017 for all!
Please share with us if you like, something you’ve overcome or have done, will be doing or want to do!
Don’t be afraid of sounding silly or weak.
We’re all silly and weak.
And that includes the ones who sound/look “perfect.”
Laurel, you are one of THE BEST design blogs out there.
LOVE all your photos and commentary. I am impressed that you have written a comprehensive resource guide too.
And you don’t need to go back to design school!!! Also, you seem witty and kind.
Rock on with your bad self! 😉
That is so sweet Laurie! I use the resource guide too! (Laurel’s Rolodex). One of my favorite uses is simply when I can’t remember the name of a source. Instead of racking my tired brain for two hours, I’ll have the answer within a minute.
Thanks for this post. Hits btw the eyes. And most of all, thank you for ur honesty.
You’re welcome and glad you enjoyed it! Or at least found some inspiration. I know that I did!
I hope you don’t mind me commenting long after your blog was posted, but I keep going back for more and more. It seems that you answer EVERY comment, and I feel sort of guilty – I will not keep it against you if you don’t.
I just feel it somewhat rude if I have a great take-away from a blog and don’t say it. I come here for some your great interior sense and a bit of entertainment, but today I got something much much more. I went over to Jon Morrows sites, and I don’t think I can ever be the same. It change me.
Thank you for that, and thank you for being so open and generous, for sharing the good the bad and the imminent fabulous. Mia
It is never too late and your words mean so much to me; thank you, thank you!
Laurel- I’m not sure how I found your blog – but it must have been from some Google search I did on color about a year ago. I “retired” from the fashion industry about 17 years ago when my son was born. Job sharing, email, cell phones and telecommunting were not options back then. Over the years, volunteering and dabbling in vintage furniture (and of course raising my kids) has kept me busy. But as my kids have gotten older – I have found myself – yearning to get back into the race.. But something has been holding me back from taking that 1st step. Fear of failure? Rejection? I rarely – if ever – post a comment on someones blog. But I wanted to reach out to you to say – THANK YOU – for being brutally honest and inspirational in this blog post. It truly resonated with me.
It makes my day to hear that! And while it may not appear so, I believe that those are universal feelings experienced by all.
Why do some appear to be super-confident and like they have it all together?
They appear that way because that is what they let you see. :]
You can do this! Just be careful who you get help from.
I feel like I discovered you, way back in 2014 when I was googling BM Chantilly Lace. Of course that’s just my narcissism at work.
Its very brave of you to publicly admit failures. I always have admired your confidence and appreciate all you share of yourself, your wisdom and your talent. I have a somewhat different style but very much enjoy seeing what and how you pull things together. Best of luck on all your upcoming ventures.
One question: do you find that affirmations work for you?
Thank you for such a sweet note. I am not detecting any hint of narcissism, however.
I think that positive thinking ie: affirmations are helpful. I can’t say that I’m the best at it. But once I’ve said to myself “I can do this” and then put my mind to it, it usually does happen.
If I have too many doubts, then it’s a lot harder.
Heart, passion, courage, talent, faith, inspiration, honest vulnerable, strong, generous, beautiful. All words that describe you, Laurel. Congratulations on the much deserved success of your wonderful blog and a deep and heartfelt thank you for everything you’ve given me. Happy New Year!
I’m just sitting here not knowing what to say because thank you seems a little lame, but just know that I so appreciate those words! I do try to live by them even when times are tough. xoxo
I am the next in a long line of readers who read your blog religiously but do not comment. I found your blog some months ago while looking for a color consultant for my customers. I have owned a painting company in the midwest for less than a year and was frequently asked what color should the customer paint the interior of their home. I previously used color consultants through our paint supplier and was less than pleased with the results. While doing the search, lo and behold I found your blog and I have been hooked every since. I was at a home show last fall and so many attendees had questions like “what’s the latest color?” “what’s color is popular this year?” Since I am not a designer, I am a painter, and I didn’t think it made sense that everyone paint their home the Benjamin Moore color of the year, I began sharing your blog address. I’d tell them to take their time to go through your blog …you are beyond helpful, you are entertaining and fun to read, you provide so much advice and common sense, and you can inspire confidence in their decisions. THEN they can give me a call! I am planning for our shows in February and March and trying to figure out where to put your blog info so that it’s easier than writing it on the back of a business card! Thank you for being here for those of us who are not blessed with your special talent but we can borrow (and buy) yours!
How incredibly kind you are! I’m very appreciative of your sharing as well! Thanks for such a wonderful note. It definitely goes in my special file! xoxo
So, I like many of the above commenters do not comment on blogs, LOL, BUT you deserve a big thank you. You communicate so authentically, I feel as if you are a friend giving advice. I so enjoy getting your blogs its always something to look forward to and I take my time and pour over the advice and images. Keep up the great work!
Thank you so much Susan for your sweet words. It spurs me on!
OK, I am a lurker, never a poster nor commenter, but you have left me no choice. You, Laurel Bern, are amazing. Not only do you have fabulous taste – you also have a gift for communicating your design advice with both wit and wisdom. Your sassy and friendly writing style makes me feel like we *could be* holed up in a cute little coffee shop gabbing about design dos and don’ts. You have a knack for being approachable yet authoritative when it comes to design. And it’s not just because I agree with everything you espouse; that’s clearly a coincidence. 😉 In all seriousness, I am always thrilled when a new post pops up in my email. I know I will learn something – AND feel like I’ve received a visit from a wonderful and wonderfully clever friend. I have also searched your blog archives in my personal home-remodeling adventures. You have never steered me wrong. Thanks for being you, being fabulous, and being brave enough to keep trying! Third time was the charm for you – and a gift for us!!
Oh wow Brooke! We need to come up with a far better word than “lurker,” at least for you! I realize that it’s the common vernacular for a blog reader, who only reads but never comments. But doesn’t it sounds like one who’s about ready to be taken away in hand-cuffs? lol
Well, if they do, I hope they drop you off at a coffee shop near me first and we’ll shoot the shit!
Your kind, kind words mean the world to me! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
And now that you’ve “pounced,” please come back any time! xoxo
So many congratulations!
I so enjoy reading your blog; you totally deserve all the good things coming your way!
Thank you also for your generosity in sharing sources! I’m considering starting a design & travel blog this year, just for fun, but I’d still like to do it well.
All the best in the new year!
Thanks so much Shelby and all the best in your new endeavor! I am also in the process of putting together a blogging guide. A lot of people are interested in how I’m able to make a good living from my blog. My guide is going to be different. For the most part, I’m only going to talk about exactly what I did and do, not what’s possible.
I find when someone is talking about something I know little if anything about, too much choice makes it all the more confusing and then all systems break down.
And since I’m not a real geek lol and taught myself (with help of course) everything I’ve learned, it’ll be written in a way that the average human can understand.
I’ll keep following for sure! Speaking as an average human, I’m sure all your work will be (as always) much appreciated.
First of all I NEVER reply or comment on any blog. But yours is totally different from any other I’ve ever read. You are a genius, you are beyond entertaining, and your language is fine AND hilarious!!! Congrats on your accolades and to the lucky people who get to see you and hear you speak. Your blog is my porn. I relish every word, every link and study it like I’m at Harvard. I have copied every single post and have my own Laurel Bern file in addition to buying your “guides”. Oh, how I would love to sit with you and hear how you finally stopped allowing someone to crush your soul! You are an inspiration and have given the world a joy! A beautiful thing!!
Oh my! That is just beyond kind! I have a file for messages like this that I save for a not-so-great day.
I will sit with you any time!
Succinctly, I realized after several years that it was never going to get any better; I figured a way out and I left. I’m not saying it was easy. The adjustment was very difficult and just when I was beginning to feel better about 10 months later, I got the news that my BFF was dying.
That’s when I started to really focus on this blog–blindly at first. But it felt right and I enjoyed it.
Thank you again for such a lovely, lovely note!
I’m so damn proud of you and everything you’re accomplishing! I heart you to pieces! xoxoxo
Thank you so much honey! I love you too! xoxoxo
This just warms my heart! Congratulations my dear! You create so much beauty in so many ways and to so many people. May 2017 be the best adventure ever! xoxo
Thanks for all Karen! And the same to you as well! xoxo
I love your blog ever since I found it about 2 months ago. Your blog pages are filled with beautiful rooms, great advice and your fun personality. I especially enjoyed your New Year’s post….for many, many reasons. I look forward to your posts in the year ahead and beyond.
Thanks so much Lynn. All the best to you as well!
Thank you , Laurel, for sharing your talent through the blog. I throughly enjoy reading each post! Additionally, I’m happy you shared about Jon Morrow. My daughter had spinal muscular atrophy as well and he is a true inspiration. I’m excited to follow his blog now as well!
I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter, but glad that you found Jon’s blog. I’m looking forward to following it as well!
Happy New Year, Laurel!
A few days ago, I was bumping around on FB and read “Unstoppable” from your link there. Thanks for introducing his remarkable story and then amplifying your story in this post. Congratulations on these wonderful upcoming events! So glad for your personal and professional achievements and success!
Thank you so much! And all the best to you as well!!!
Congratulations on your well-earned success.
Thanks so much Ellen!
Laurel. Your awesome personality drew me into following your blog, and your informative, knowledge rich content has kept excitedly waiting for each new post. Thanks so much for what you do. I’m really excited to start my own first new blog Rock Haven Farm in a few weeks. Your post today has given me extra confidence. Wishing you a HAPPY AND SUCCESSFUL 2017!
All best wishes for your new endeavor! That’s very exciting! And thanks so much for your kind words.
Laurel, I think that you are immensely talented and generous to boot. Your story is very inspirational. Keep up the good work.
Thanks so much Amy! I really appreciate that. All the best to you as well!
Laurel, I’m finding in my own life that the more I rejoice in others’ success, instead of wishing it was me, I find that I receive more as well. I plan to continue that mindset because it sure feels a lot better than being negative about myself. Which is how I’ve always been but am slowly changing that. Besides, I am excited for you and feel that you truly deserve it!
Thanks so much for that Christina. I feel that way too! I get excited for others, especially when I know that they worked hard to get there. It makes it seem possible. All best to you dear Diva!
Happy New Year and thanks for this wonderful post! I never comment but always enjoy your humor and talent! Congratulations on a great year.
Thanks so much Jen and all the best to you as well!
Oh Laurel, you are such an inspiration to all of us. I admire your incredible spirit. And yes, alphabetical is the only way to go.
Thanks so much Mary! HNY!
Find it funny that Nate Berkus is in all caps. Just my opinion, and who am I?, but i think you are head and shoulders better than he as a decorator.
You mean Nate should be saying — Oh WOW! I’m going to be on a panel with LAUREL BERN!!! HOLY CRAP!!!
please… pretty please??? can I sit next to her???
Thank you so much! You’re too kind Alice!
I appreciate, beyond, this post. It is timely and honest and vulnerable – the ingredients to making a difference!
I’ve had a passion for Interior Design for a while. I did not attend college of any sort (for a host of reasons, but mostly socio-economical) and have always felt the shame and lack of self-confidence that effect has had on my life.
2 years ago, after my youngest started school, I timidly approached a local design firm with photos of my home in hand, and asked to intern. The wonderful, strong woman who owns the studio took me under her wing and began to show me the ropes.
She’s the one who introduced me to your blog!
I’ve learned a lot there and while my confidence is growing, I’m still struggling a great deal with self-doubt. It’s nearly crippling. Which is weird, because I’m approached a fair amount for work, even through my Intagram account. However, when I get a job, I become CONVINCED I’m not going to “do it right”, that everyone else has it figured out way beyond myself.
And holy cow, I’ve gone to High Point twice and both times left feeling equal parts inspired/waaaaaaay out of my league.
I think I may be rambling here, but what I’m trying to say is that your post really resonates and inspires me (especially the part about the not going for “haute couture of interior design” and with social media I can’t help but feel like I’m the country bumpkin of all interiors), especially because I admire you so much. And if you’ve had those struggles, that shows me that maybe, just maybe, I’m not a total talentless hack. 😉
What a delight you are!
It’s taken me 60 years to really get this concept. But 90% of the time, the people who make it in just about any field are the ones with the biggest set of balls!
If you get the message like I did growing up, that one shouldn’t hope for too much and you’re not going to amount to much anyway, it’s difficult to shake off.
If you got hired by this designer (I think I love her – lol) and she took the time to show you the ropes and you’re getting job offers from your instagram account, believe me———— you are good enough. You are more than good enough.
OHMYGOSHTHISISAMAZING! lol! Thank you for the laugh – but more importantly, thank you for your words! They mean an almost embarrassing amount to me. xo Happy Happy NY!
I get the feeling embarrassed over kindness too. Like, thank you for telling me how wonderful I am? Am I really? I’m not really. I am really? lol
Happy New Year Laurel, I wish you many blessings. Thank you for introducing me to Jon, by doing that you have helped me to decide what my New Year resolution will be! Lots of love, Kim
Jon is bright star amongst the brightest stars! I’m so grateful! All the best to you in all of your endeavors! xoxo
Laurel, we are on the same wavelength in so many ways! I had that “unbearable option” vs “one very scary one” 18 months ago; making the decision to sell a stately, beautiful home I inherited from my parents or endure living beside a “new build” of 6000 sq. ft glass and steel house after the neighbour tore down the old English cottage built c. 1920. We moved. And now we are in the process of gutting and renovating a beautiful Victorian semi-detached 20 minutes’ walk from my work and I’M LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!! (We are living elsewhere while the reno goes on 😅). We hired a very cool designer who really listens and comes up with great suggestions! Can’t wait for your kitchen and bath posts. I enjoy everything you share and I wish you all the best for health, happiness and prosperity in this wonderful year to come!
That sounds so exciting and fabulous! It’s wonderful when one finds a designer that’s on the same wave length. I felt that way with my clients too! It really doesn’t work if they don’t get it. Frustration for all parties.
In the meantime, there are a lot of kitchen posts already here, if you haven’t seen then. If you type in the word ‘kitchen’ in the search box right under my bio on the side bar, they should all pop up!
Hi Laurel: Loved this post. I have been following your blog for a long time and I am thrilled with your success. I have learned so much from you. I started my little home design blog a couple of years ago and in one of my first posts I linked to one of your posts regarding trends. I couldn’t believe when you sent me a gracious (and very funny) email thanking me. I was so flattered! Well my little blog has been completely neglected and ignored since last March due to many of the factors you discuss: low drive, self-doubt etc etc. I am just starting to feel ready to start diving in again so your post is very timely for me. Thanks as always for your kindness, grace and willingness to share your gifts with all of us.
And thank you too lovely Jo for your wonderful support and sharing.
No worries that you took the time off. When I moved, in 2012, I was very sporadic. I truly felt like a transplanted tree and since no one was reading my blog anyway, thought it didn’t make any difference. I was right. It didn’t. lol
It wasn’t until I found Eileen and even then it took months to straighten out the mess I had made, that things began to turn around.
When I started to see the results of my efforts, it spurred me on and then you guys started showing up and that propelled me further. I continued to learn what I needed to do… and here we are. xoxo
WOWZA!!!! What a great post, and what a lot of good news – GO YOU! Your blog is always a favorite. I’m so glad you’re killing it. So many blogs (including my own!) seem to fade and die. It’s so fun to have one I love that is consistently bringing fun, fresh reads.!!! Cheers, and happy new year!!!!
Thank you so much Stephanie! And the fact that so many blogs go under is why I’m speaking at the conference.
There are techniques and strategies that no one ever talks about or rarely talks about in the design world. Bloggers it appears follow the mistakes that other bloggers are making.
Below is what I always see and my thoughts about that. When I say *you* I don’t mean you. :]
Subscribe To Our Newsletter.
Who’s “our?” (unless there are multiple authors)
And why the hell should I?
And why are you covering up what I’m trying to read with that crap?
Laurel, thank you … this is just what I needed. Jon’s post is amazing and I appreciate you sharing! I won’t bore you with the details of my situation but I am already looking at things from a different perspective to see what changes I can make. HNY !! Congrats on your upcoming engagements and the success of your own blog, I truly think we are all here to support and cheer each other on!
Change sure is scary but things will change no matter what.
When I was a child in southern Indiana, the hottest place on earth (except for death valley), we used to live at our swim club in the summer. I remember trying to learn how to dive. Maybe I was six or so? I stood there on the ladder (!) for hours it seemed, afraid to go in head first. Finally, I did and then there was no stopping me. I joined the swim team in a couple of years and swam for two hours straight every morning! I had a great racing dive and I was tall for my age, so did really well!
I just needed to make that first dive. :]
Laurel, you are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and great taste in this fabulous blog!
Thanks so much Malkie. It’s you guys who inspire me! Love how that works! HNY!
Happy new year Laurel and congrats on your well-deserved success! I came across your blog a couple of years ago and your paint colours and in fact all of your posts were so helpful as we downsized from a big family home to our cute, urban townhouse. Now we are in the process of rebuilding a summer cottage on a lake in Northern Ontario and we will be using your decorating advice there too!
I will send pix – the “before” shots looked like the house on Green Acres! I look forward to your posts every Sunday – you have fans in Canada!
How fabulous and thanks so much for your kind words! Yes, please send me pics. If you’re a subscriber, you can send them back to any email I’ve sent you. That will go directly to my regular email.
Hi Laurel! My blog is 7 months old (I think I occupy a different voice/niche than you) and I sooooo want to go to the conference this year, but my husband and I have our first vacation in 6 years planned for exactly that week! as in, we are leaving on the 5th, flights and hotels and babysitters already been booked for months. Is there anyway I can read the version you were talking about in the post? I’d be happy to pay. Please email if you want to discuss privately.
You are the best design blogger out there! I have learned the more from you than any other blogger, both about blogging and design. Many, many thanks!
Oh definitely keep with the vacay with hubs! That’s vitally important!
But, I am going to be writing it all out in a guide. That’s for two reasons. One, I have 45 minutes. Ha! 45 minutes to share what it took me 3 years to learn doing this every day!
But that’s fine. I’m writing it all out for those attending the workshop to have for free and will be selling it on the blog for those who can’t attend and want to learn how I went from zero to over 260,000 individual readers and over 500,000 page views a month and the ability to make a nice living from my blog.
If someone had told me three years ago when I was getting 30 page views a day that I would be averaging nearly 17,000 a day, 3 years later, I would’ve laughed in their face and said that they were dreaming!
copied directly from google analytics for the month of december. Insane! I know! But if I can do it– anyone can!!!
I do feel like I’m living in a dream sometimes! My BFF passed away after a hideous illness in February 2015. I am positive that she’s behind all of this!!!
Yes, I’m exactly where you were 3 years ago. 😉 I blog each Saturday — pretty meaty and in-depth pieces. I’ve gotten some writing gigs from regionals magazines because of it, but definitely looking to go to that next level. For November and December I had about 2,000 views each.
BTW I remember reading about your friend’s passing and how deeply it affected you. (I’ve been here for a while 😉 Our true friends never leave us.
That’s awesome! Keep going! And thank you for your kind words about Elaine. New Years Eve two years ago was the last time we were alone together and I could clearly see that she was dying. I miss her terribly.
Great post Laurel!!
When I saw the title I thought -‘all her posts are the best posts I read’ (but this one IS special)! I’m VERY glad that you are able to make a living from your blog!!!
I have started a blog …but it is more of a way to educate and drive interest to my new Home Staging business. I don’t plan to monetize it – I want to be ‘THE EXPERT’ in home staging in my area.
It is amazing to me that I am a (baby) blogger –because I was always the girl that couldn’t write at all! It was agony for me to have to write anything more than a thank you note (and they were not easy either).
I’m only at the beginning of my blog (and business)journey (I do have some help with it) but I’m learning every day! My three word for the year are “GROW MY BUSINESS”. And one of my goals is to post 1X week!!
Thanks for the encouragement–and I look forward to your post every week!!
Hi Maggie S,
That’s wonderful! I remember the days when I would read other people’s blogs and comment and then I realized that I needed to start my own.
I only wanted to attract more business in the beginning. But no one was reading it. I mean, I am averaging more page views in one day now than I was getting in the first 18 months!
So, I know what it’s like to be scraping the bottom for a long time and also what it took to rise up to the top. That’s what I’m going to be speaking about at the Design Blogger’s Conference.
It isn’t a fluke. It isn’t because I’m a great designer or even a great writer. It’s because I used a lot of strategies that got the attention of my sado-masochistic lover– Google and our bi-sexual houseboy– Pinterest. hahahaha!
Metaphorically, of course!!!!!!!!!!!!! but that’s how it feels!
Just want to say that COMMITMENT is THE word. Posting once a week is wonderful. Keep to it unless someone dies. Never make excuses for not posting. No one cares! And you are NEVER too busy! One of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear this:
“Oh, I’m so sorry– I’ve been too busy too blog!”
Yawn… well, then I guess I’m just too busy to read your lame blog!
One rockin’ post a week is a thousand times better than 4 or 5 throw-away posts!
Can’t wait to give my workshop!!!
You are so right!!
It is not my goal to blog 1X week–it is my COMMITMENT to blog 1X week!!
I find your blog interesting, helpful and transparent ….and those are good things! However, I find your language oftentimes, to be offensive. Surely you can do better!!!
No. sorry. I can’t do better! This is who I am. I’m 60 years-old, going on 61 in 5 weeks and I’m just a foul-mouthed aging bitch. In fact, if you heard me in real-life, you would run for the hills.
My suggestion is to stop reading if it bothers you so much.
I believe you were invited to share a personal goal, not a goal for Laurel! Best of luck in the new year!
My goal, like a few others who have commented, is to trust in abundance, including to rejoice in the success of others.
That sounds like a wonderful goal. All the best to you! Miss you! xoxo
Laurel, I am the proud owner of both your Ultimate Paint Palette & Home Furnishings Collection and your Essential Paint Color Collection. When I opened each for the first time, I nearly wept, overcome by the breadth of information and knowing the extraordinary time it took you to develop the ideas for each and to present the information in such a meaningful way. And, your blog is the best resource I have found on any design topic. It’s like being able to rely on Julia Child’s gorgeous cookbooks; if she said a recipe was so, it really was just so. Please don’t stop doing what you do, because there are many of us out here who need you. Blessings on you in 2017.
Wow! Now that’s the way to begin the New Year. It’s wonderful people like you who’ve helped to make my products a success. Yes, I’m very proud of them and put my heart and soul into each one. But that’s just me talking.
Having your wonderful endorsement is an amazing gift. There aren’t enough thank yous for that!
Blessings to you as well! Your encouragement is the food I need to keep going! xoxo
I needed this post. Thank you. Thank you for being real with us.
As another commenter said, you deserve your success. I always learn from and enjoy your blog. Started following about mid-2015. It’s one of my top three blogs to follow.
How I would love to attend your presentations/ panels. All of them.
Happy New Year, Laurel!
Please do! Not everyone is a design blogger. A lot of companies send a rep to attend. But even if you don’t, thanks so much for your kind words!
While I was searching for color ideas for my home I stumbled upon the various color posts from Laurel. Each time I found something really useful Laurel was the author. Thank you for being honest and forthright with your blog posts. For those of us who are just trying to make our homes a bit more comfortable and really have no clue your advice is priceless. Now if I could only get some really down to earth advice how to get my head out of my butt…..😉
Is your head forward in your butt or a backbend into your butt? If it’s the latter, I recommend that you join Cirque Du Soleil. ;]
If the former, it’s possible that it hasn’t been up your butt long enough. You will know when it has been because the pain of living like that will become so uncomfortable that the scary unknown will be far more attractive. Been there.
I did everything in my power, but you can’t change other people. And when I couldn’t take any more of certain soul-crushing behaviors, I left my 25-year-marriage.
Best decision I’ve ever made. No, my life is not perfect, but at least I can hold my head up high and not live in constant fear of being traumatized.
Laurel, I’ve laughed but never cried while reading your blog, but today…well I just can’t stop the tears. I’m almost to the point, you speak of, where the scary unknown is far more appealing than living in fear of being dipped in hot trauma again. This post, with the comments, has been especially honest, transparent and encouraging. Thank you and all the best to you this new year!
Oh honey, honey… crying is good too, but I’m sorry for whatever it is that you are going through. Yes, there will most likely come a tipping point and it will be unmistakable. It took me several years. But just know that no matter what you are going to be okay! xoxo
Thank you so much Laurel for your fantastic blog and also for pointing me in the direction of Jon’s new blog. You were right. It is the best blog post I’ve ever read. Happy New Year!
I’m so blessed that God sent me just the right people when I needed them! Thanks for your sharing too!
Thank you so much for including me in this post as being part of your success team! So much hard work and intelligence has been poured into this site, it’s an honor to be included here. Jon’s post brought me to tears and I had my children read it. The message is much bigger than blogs. Cheers to you and 2017! I am proud beyond words of you!
Here she is everyone! My website goddess!!! Eileen can tell you what a hot mess I was! It’s true. She won’t because she’s a class-act all the way, but she could.
I had two websites, two blogs, two physical addresses and four google + accounts!
I think we found my listing on page 20?
And then the entire site blew up in an update!
Good times. lol
Jon’s story should be made into a movie. They’d need to use a dummy though for the child beating scenes though.
For those who haven’t read Jon’s post. (and I very much recommend that you do) Jon’s mother would beat his chest as a child until he was black and blue and sometimes a rib would crack. Child abuser? Farthest thing from it. She HAD to do it in order to keep him alive! That’s just the tip of the iceberg of hell he’s had to endure.
Happy New Year Laurel! We honestly all do struggle with our own things. This year was the worst and best for me on record. My husband had just retired from the military and taken a job that traveled out of the country 180 days a year and I had just had our second girl in two years. We had just moved back to the US (our 5th move in 8 years) and I was STRUGGLING with things. I had always been a drinker, but I would only have a glass or two of wine because who drinks alone? Then I found a kindred mom in the neighborhood who liked to drink. Like me. And who was struggling. Like me. I’m sure you can figure out where the rest of this story goes. Other things were introduced and a few months later, I was in a treatment facility with others who were struggling. Just like me. I have been sober 7 months. I’ve enrolled in interior design school. My wonderful husband took another job and moved us away to a place where I have support from him and others. Just like me. I have a disease that runs through my genes like blue eyes or the ability to roll your tongue. But it hasn’t stopped me. It didn’t kill me, although it tried. And in the summer, I’ll head to college to start school with people who LOVE interior design. Just like me.
I’m truly crying– real-life salty tears. It is just like Jon said in his post.
Sometimes we don’t rise up because we just haven’t had enough pain yet. Not that it takes pain to succeed, because it could also go the other way.
It takes strength and courage to rise up and a conviction that one wants to have a better life. I’m so happy for you!
All the best in your interior design endeavors too!
Happy New Year, Laurel!! You made my day. It is 7:00 am in the morning on January 1 and you have inspired me to go out and try to be what I hope I can be. I had kind of decided I was too old, unable, etc. but what have I got to lose?
Thank you, thank you!!
BTW, I love your blog…You are so informative but also funny and witty! I love seeing you in my mailbox…..thanks!!
Only when you stop breathing are you too old. ;] My 94-yr-old mother wrote her first book at 75 and her second at 84.
Thank you so much for your kind words. It means so much to me! HNY!
I’m so grateful for you and your blog. I wrote you earlier in the year and you were so kind to write back! I only wish you were in Europe! I am still feeling like I have design schizophrenia but with your blog, I might just make it! Happy New Year!
I try to write to everyone who writes me because I know what it feels like to be ignored. Occasionally someone slips through the cracks. Probably more often on email, because I need to answer them as soon as I read and I can’t always.
Happy that the blog can help you! HNY!
Happy New Year to you, Laurel! I wish you all the best for 2017 and hope that more joys than shadows will be the constant of the next year.
I still remember the first time I came across your blog- you did a tongue-in cheek post on John Rosselli(Bunnny Williams’husband)- and it felt like I had found a treasure.:-)
You are such a talented, wonderful designer, but more so, I so admire your kindness, ability to laugh at yourself, and your generosity!
You deserve every bit of good fortune that comes your way..
Thank you, thank you so much– for all of your kind words and support. It means so much to me!
The Bunny/John post was definitely one of the big turning points for me. It’s a good example of going out on that limb. I took a chance and it paid off.
I’ll be speaking about that and a lot of other things at the Design Bloggers Conference.
All the best to you as well for 2017 and beyond!
First, Happy New Year and congratulations on the success of your blog!
Your post could not be more timely as I too struggle with depression( Winston Churchill used to refer to his depression as the Black Dog) with all of the oh so tiresome symptoms. I have been wanting to start a blog for sometime but have been plagued with similar problems you described before starting my first blog.
With today being New Year’s Day, woke up feeling low. After reading your blog, I went straight to Wordpress and registered my 2 blog ideas ……. wow, they provide all kinds of support….. I now have a framework to start….
Finally, as an multi award winning sales professional, just wanted to add my 2 cents as to why your blog is successful.
First, in a world where interior design is almost always pretentious and “precious”, you’re approachable and realistic. Despite you’re down to earth manner, your design mantra is still aspirational….. i.e……. the home all of us soccer moms dream about….. and Yeeees, that was a dig at the for mentioned troll!
Wishing you much continued success and blessings for 2017!
Brava to you Lynn for taking that first big step! But first of all, you need a self-hosted wordpress blog. wordpress.org, not wordpress.com. That means that you’ll have a website host such as blue host as your server. I outgrew them, because even with a virtual private server, they weren’t handling my spikes in traffic very well, but they are terrific for newbies.
I very much recommend contacting Eileen. http://eileenlongergan.com. She is the nicest person ever, her fees are very reasonable and she will get you off on the right foot with the plug-ins you’ll need for success.
It’s a very steep learning curve. I won’t kid you. And make no mistake, I went through periods of being phenomenally overwhelmed. But now, most of that, I can do automatically! And the more challenging stuff, I get Eileen to help me with.
In the cards, within the next few months, I’m going to have to do a site redesign. I’m using a prophoto 5 template, but they now have prophoto 6 which is an entirely different thing (too difficult to explain) and maybe within a year or so, they may not be supporting what I have or updating it.
All the best to you in 2017 as well.
Thanks so much for the advice again….. really, really appreciate it.
I have followed and enjoyed your blog for years. I am not a big commenter, posted one I believe.
I follow a number of US design blogs. I do not actually read all of them, for me it is more about the pictures.
Your blog on the other hand….I do read. Why? Because of your candour and humour. You are so open, direct and frank about all kinds of issues where others are afraid to share any insider-trade-info.
Again this latest post, you are sharing so much.
For me blogging is not in the cards. To do it right, you do need to not just be good at the content but also the technical stuff to make it work. Not my cup of tea. It has been suggested I should, but I am too busy with own successful business, based out of Europe. I read blogs for inspiration and relaxation. I am your demographic. ( fyi. I used to be a full time interior designer, now my own custom lamp collection has become my core business. Not planned any of this….it just happened and grew very naturally)
You mentioned in the post: you felt like a loser as all the others were doing so much better. My feeling about that is that there will always be people who are doing better. You can always find reasons to beat yourself up. I am surrounded by many ‘more successful’ people. It never bothered me I was not as successful. I was being successful , maybe not a big as them…but good enough. I never envied them, as I saw and realized what it had cost them to get there and still have all these issues and worries. One needs to realize when you are in a ‘happy place’ and enjoy it. Most people forget to look at where they came from and what they have already accomplished. I know we need something to strive for, but often it brings more frustration than joy. Not very many enjoy the trip up.
I am glad to read you are doing so well and are actually living off the blog. Does this mean this is now your core business. No longer doing interior design?
Ron van Empel. The Netherlands
Everything you said is insightful and true.
It is only a handful of sand in a vast ocean of people who stop by here every day who comment. I had no idea it was possible.
And you also right about the behind the scenes stuff. It IS a full-time job plus hefty over-time!
And no, I have not taken on a new client in 16 months! So yes, this is my core business. I wasn’t going for that in the beginning, but after I launched my first product, I realized that this is where my path had lead me.
What’s funny is that I wrote a post which fantasized much of my current reality. (well, minus the living situations and hot dudes!)
I guess we’ll need to work on that one! lol
Hi Laurel, I too found your blog when I needed it the most–a flood causing a total remodel- but I was very unprepared to receive hysterically funny and thoughtful caring commentary about color let alone life! Back in our ‘day’ they said ‘You color my world’. And you have! Best of everything in 2017.
Well… I believe that it’s all related. For instance, I think how different I feel when I’m shlumping around in my jammies vs. when I’ve just had my hair done, make-up on, nicely dressed and out and about.
Thanks so much for your sweet comment! It makes my day too!
“Don’t be afraid of sounding silly or weak. We’re all silly and weak. And that includes the ones who sound/look “perfect.””
BEST thing I’ve read all year (and it’s now 1:45 a.m. on Sunday morning, January 1st, 2017, here in Las Vegas).
Hahaha! I’m honored nevertheless!
Happy New Year!!!! 🍾 In Nov 2016, after 18 years with the same company I turned in my resignation. It was an extremely hard decision to make but I was presented with a cross road that I I had to take. I had planned to stay with my company for 6 more years when I could have retired BUT shit happens! Enough said. I was not in a position to retire but I could not allow my integrity to be compromised. I believe in karma and everything happens for a reason. I have been touched by the amazing support I received from people I have worked with … Never realized I was so respected, admired and loved! I don’t know what is around the corner for me but I am trusting in the universe and what will unfold in 2017. For now I am doing what I enjoy most .. Decorating my home..in the process of painting my bedroom today! 😊 Thank you for sharing your story about meeting Jon. My challenges are non existent compared to his … What an amazing person! Best to you in the new year!
I have the same philosophy that you have. It’s very difficult when faced with an unbearable option and one very scary one, but I believe that you did the right thing. All the best!
Like the first commenter on this thread, I found your blog in a (desperate) search for white paint. (BM Super White was the winner for me!) From there, you saved my bathroom paint that would have been atrocious, but now is a subtle pale blue (SW Mountain Air that looked too washed out and grey on the swatch) that is the perfect blue for a bathroom. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I now love reading all of your posts. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise!
Thanks so much for your kind words!
I originally stumbled across your blog looking for white paint (went with Cloud White, btw)…but you have since added so much vibrant color to my life! I just luv your blog! Thank you for all that you share!
That’s my number one post. I just checked and that post has had 636,353 unique visitors stumble across it!
That certainly blows my mind! If someone told me that would happen three years ago, I would’ve said that they are dreaming!
So glad the blog has been a help to you!
I also found you looking for best white paint colors for woodwork when prepping our house for sale. What a life saver you were; part designer, part shrink. Love the blog and thrilled for your success. Now that I moved, even your kitchen posts were helpful though hubby not thinking the unfitted kitchen would work in our small space. Happy 2017!
Interior designers ARE shrinks! lol We wear many, many hats at times plus my mom was one and I’ve had a lot of shrinkage myself.
Oh husbands! Just shut up and sign the check! lol
I love your blog. I have painted the whole house with your advice and love it. I look forward to your informative, funny posts. I hope you have an amazing 2017. Thanks for all you do.
Thanks so much Karen and the same to you as well!
I enjoyed your latest post on blogging and your mentors and training. I’ve been reading your blog for almost two years. Almost two years ago, I was laid off from my technical professional position in the oil and gas industry. And have been looking to re-invent my life ever since. I’ve considered writing a blog in the future.
Somebody said something very wise to me several years ago.
“Just do it!”
haha. But the thing I just did then was a mistake. I had it all backwards, but I learned a lot from it. And even though it was a mistake, I felt like at least I had accomplished something!
Happy New Year! and thanks for the inspirational words! I’ll be reading through those recommended blogs. I’ve started a blog but now have to keep it going! You’ve inspired me to do so! Thanks and have a fabulous year!
Good for you! That’s a great start. And that’s what I’ll be talking about at the conference. The behind the scenes stuff and strategies that will help grow ones blog so that it can become a profitable tool.
Of course, some are only hobby blogs and then it doesn’t matter.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Same to you Betty!
It’s obvious that you put a lot of work into this blog. You deserve your success. Thank you for helping us!
Happy new year!
And the help will continue. I enjoy it a lot and it doesn’t feel like work unless my site is having a technical issue. :] HNY!!!
Happy new yr –
Thank you for your great blog and helping us make this world a more beautiful place!
Thanks to you too Pam! HNY!