Well, Neocon 2013 is just a memory now and while I was sad to leave that fun windy city, I rather be home any day.
Last year I had a list as long as my arm of things I wanted to experience.  First and foremost, the subway stop where it all went down.  You know, it being one of my favorite love stories of all time where Lucy pines over that guy with the crazy caterpillars for eyebrows, and when he falls on the tracks she doesn't even hesitate to save him. {"You jumped on the tracks?!!"} But as fate would have it, she falls in love with his brother instead. My path crossed through that spot a few times this year and it made me smile each time. The steady flow of quoting favorite lines with my friends and aunt on instagram has kept the fun going all week long.

This year I didn't have a plan at all except I wanted to go to a Cubs game Friday afternoon, but that hinged on if we got in on time without a hitch.  And the hitch happened when my coworkers bags got lost and I felt rude just leaving them there to deal with it.  Lucky me I was backpacking it and felt a little smug knowing my belongings were all safe and sound packed up on my back like some kind of water resistant nylon snail. 
After we checked in and I had an unfortunate encounter with a bug in my pita {never again pita place}, I was off on my adventure.  I wandered through the Wicker Park neighborhood adoring the tree lined streets and homes oozing charm.  Then caught the train out to Wrigley Field where the party was just getting started.  For all I knew, the home team had won with all the celebrating in the streets going on.  Turns out they hadn't, but no one seemed to mind at all.  I got caught up in it momentarily and accepted a ride with a big bear and an aging baseball player being pulled around by a guy on a bike.  We made a big loop through the crowds and as we picked up speed and started to leave the crowds behind I was thinking to myself that I really can't just go accepting rides with giant bears.  This could very well be where the story takes an unfortunate twist and the people who last saw you can only describe the guy as having big ears, a tail, and an exceptionally plush coat.  When will I ever learn? 

Last week I mentioned in a not so subtle way that I was anticipating some really dull meetings for the majority of my weekend.  Saturday morning before we walked over to the mart I set a goal to find three interesting things about each manufacturer we visited.  And surprise, I actually enjoyed 90% of the meetings for a few different reasons.  Talking with the furniture designers about their designs was a treat because their passion for their work is contagious.  Having gone to various trainings and factory tours this year, as well as working closely with people across the country day to day, added an element of friendship to Neocon that I didn't have last year.  And while I enjoy the strategy and goal oriented parts of our business, I still found myself gravitating towards the windows or taking photos of details and colors when things got too stiff. I'll blame that on the fact I'll always be more designer than business woman.
When I saw the window display stating, "Be a Design Catalyst" I stopped to take a photo of it because it fit exactly with what I've been thinking about lately. {Or years?}  A catalyst in scientific terms "increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change." The difference between that and what I'm talking about is that being changed in the process is what I'm really after.  Can you build up something without rising yourself?  Or, if you make the mistake as I have sometimes, be broken down when criticism looses that important creative element and veers towards heartless?

Being a designer is most definitely stamped on the very core of who I am.  As far as I can remember it always has been.   Add on top of that an education to fine tune the ability to take apart something and put it back together again and it's hard to turn it off.  This tendency leaks out into my every day life as I'm continually sorting through what I see, cataloging what I would change, and holding up imaginary options to see which ones I like the most.  Though really, I have to ask myself would I reach a new level of happiness and peace if I quit trying to make everything just right and enjoyed the messiness of life?  Being around these designers at Neocon who shape our interior landscape reminded me that I have the ability to build up, or break down, and it's up to me to decide how I choose to shape the landscape of my life. So maybe I don't need to change what seems to be inherent, but moderate? 

I was reminded of a quote earlier this week that fits perfectly.  We thought it was Mandela but I googled it just now and it wasn't him after all.  I was only going to include the part that finished my thought, but it was so good I included it all.

Our Greatest Fear —
it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

OK - the rest of the highlights

Watching the sunset from above the clouds Sunday night as I flew home.

Instead of taking a cab, being picked up from the airport by a handsome man who's arms are beginning to feel like home.

Having that same man give me a bag full of homemade food just in case I was hungry.  I couldn't have felt more cared for. 

Carrying on with the caring theme, having dinner with his parents and being serenaded by music that matched the tempo of my heart.  Mozart was a genius.

{Yes, I know.  I've been incredibly illusive about this handsome stranger and I'm still going to be for now.  Do you expect anything less from the vaguest of vague bloggers?}

A beautiful bright and early bike ride up City Creek.  I love cities, but my heart belongs on the open roads of Utah. 

Big news - Room Recipes - that design book that features a room I redesigned - is available for pre-order on Amazon!!  Actual launch date - August 13th

Grandma Awesome turned 94 today!!! 
This wonderful woman has blessed so many people in her 94 years of being awesome, I'm so glad she's my card sharking - Hersey Kiss loving - brown chair napping - sweet grandma.


  1. Your perceptive insights always make me happier for having read them. Happy Birthday to the infamous, card-sharking Grandma Awesome

  2. I love Marianne Williamson and have always loved this quote...."Your playing small does not serve the world" is my fave. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us! Hug Elma from those of us who are too far away and who all want to be just like her when we grow up.

  3. Wow, neocon whirlwind!
    And I reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally like the part about this guy!

  4. I had no idea that While You Were Sleeping was filmed in Chicago. I always thought it was in NYC.

    I hope that backpack securely holding your items was your new Deuter. Woot, woot.