For nearly three weeks I have been trying to tell you that I flew to Hollywood to meet Windsor Smith and Jeffrey Alan Marks because I won the Wayfair Trade Tastemaker Award for Best Design Innovator. I’ve lost track of the number of posts I started and stopped, wadded up and tossed into a virtual trashcan. I just can’t get the tone right. Either I am all slick PR braggadocious and hot doggy, or I sound like I grew up in the woods and chew alfalfa in my overalls. Frankly I am not great at talking about myself, and overalls are for toddlers.
But I can’t pretend this awesome and amazing thing didn’t happen, right? I have to be me. Fluff your pillow and grab the wines. It’s story time.
A while ago I saw that Wayfair was holding a fancy contest with super famous judges. Even my mom knows who Candice Olson is, Jeffrey Alan Marks (hereafter referred to as JAM, he’s truly outrageous) is a Million Dollar Decorator, and Windsor Smith did the jaw dropping House of Windsor for Veranda. They are tip top talent in the design field. I thought, hey it would be cool if these incredible people looked at my work. I sent some pictures in.
A couple of weeks later I got a call from Wayfair saying I won and could they fly me out to Hollywood to party with JAM and Windsor Smith? I got dizzy. I almost fainted. I said yes.
So I arrive in Hollywood and check into the very cute Palihouse, which feels just like home except way quieter.
I try to meet up with internet friends Molly Luetkemeyer and Christian May, but none of our schedules align and I’m feeling kind of lonely and like maybe I should bust out that alfalfa I brought with me. Instead I walk up and down the La Cienaga design strip, and I happen by some building with Kelly Wearstler‘s name on it. Awesome! I decide to check it out, but I am confounded by a key pad??? Then some helpful person enters a code, and I step in to a marble elevator and step out to the Chocolate Factory…
Somehow I ended up in Kelly Wearstler’s private office and she is just over there and I get scared and run away. I wish I could sugarcoat this part to make me sound cooler and more worldly, but I can’t. At least I am not wearing overalls. Meanwhile my instagram friends are pestering me to go back and give KW my card, so I huff and I puff and I finally go back to give the solicitous gentleman at the reception desk my card that matches the elevator floors.
By now I am sweaty and pumped full of adrenaline, and I have to shower and dress and pretend I am a smart designer badass. I put on my swanky extra special YSL dress and… the zipper breaks. Half way up or half way down — it depends on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, I guess. But either way I am completely stuck in this stretchy Chinese fingertrap dress and I have to be downstairs in five minutes. I contort myself circus style until I wriggle free and then I realize I have to wear my Plan B outfit, which is a silk jumpsuit bearing more than a passing resemblance to strapless pajamas. No choice.
I head downstairs to rustle up some nerve calming vodka and the sweetest ladies from Wayfair are there, and they say such super flattering ego boosting things to me. Things like: I love your work, and we had to have you here tonight, and 5,000 people entered this contest and you really stood out.
Wow. At this point I am feeling pretty good, maybe even great. This is kind of a big deal and I won in the category that feels the most… me. Crazy boundary pusher me.
Then I meet some of the other design winners, and they are truly talented people. Dan and Brian from BHDM have bicoastal offices and tons of staff and are so legit. Ben and Gen from Pencil and Paper have over 30K instagram followers (what!!!) and Gen has on hands down the best dress ever. Maegan and Corrie from M. Swabb are taking over SoCal and looking good while doing it. Everyone has a partner except Brynn Olson, who has enough energy and charisma for 10 people.
And here I am… getting more and more nervous and ordering more and more vodka. This can’t end well.
JAM and Windsor Smith arrive and they glow with the radiance of superstardom. Seriously, it hurts my eyes to look at them because I am having a hard time aligning real life with what’s happening right now. It could be the drinks, but mostly it’s just so surreal. Nevertheless I find myself hanging out with Jeffrey Alan Marks and having our picture made:
He is so charming and good looking it’s ridiculous. I have never seen a more impeccably turned out man. And I am wearing a pajama jumpsuit that is two straps away from overalls, with stilettos. How did this happen?
We head into dinner and even more swanky people arrive. Orlando Soria of Emily Henderson fame and the current creative director of Homepolish is standing right in front of me, and instead of saying hi I recite his entire resume to him like a blog savant. Smooth like butter. Jennifer Mehditash the editor of California Home and Design is there, and we talk print vs blogs for a while. She says it’s better to be featured on a blog because it will bring in clients. I say I want to be in magazines so I can sleep with the paper under my pillows at night. And speaking of, some of my projects were featured in Make it Over Magazine last month:
I solve problems with paint. Not a bad gig.
Meanwhile, Mat Sanders the creative director of Domaine and designer of Jessica Alba’s beautiful guest house sits next to me and I spazz out a little because DOMAINE. They own the interior design corner of the internet. I’ve had a few pictures published on Domaine but getting a full feature has always been a dream. I want to say this to Mat and be a pushy business lady, but instead I try to be cool and have an actual conversation. Mat pretends not to notice that I am talking too much, and for that I adore him.
And then… and then, and then. Windsor Smith. Words cannot express how much I love Windsor Smith. I mean, really genuinely love her. It turns out she is from Texas and went to UT, and she’s so down to earth and kind and encouraging. Plus she is a straight up girl boss running an empire of incredible design products and projects. I was so inspired. I’m having trouble typing.
Have you seen her amazing new book? I got an autographed copy. The words are kind of wiggly because we were feeling a bit wiggly by then.
And I also got this picture. It makes me feel like a stalker fangirl, but I don’t care.
Those are the crown jewels of my spectaular evening. If you are reading this wacky post Windsor, thank you for giving me encouragement at a time when I needed it most.
After dinner I danced with Brynn and the M. Swabb girls until almost 2am, at which time my stilettoed feet literally went numb and I had to stumble up to my room. They are still kinda numb in the mornings when I wake up. Totally worth it.
And that’s really the end of my story. Except it feels like it should be the beginning of something. I’m currently focused on wrapping up some big projects and documenting tons of finished spaces so you can have new pictures to look at.
Like this bad boy, the result of a fantastic client collaboration.
Then I might even write a press release and send it to big blogs and magazines. Who knows?
I have so many things to show you and also news to share, so stay tuned to this here blog and please check my instagram for the freshest updates.
Most importantly, thanks to Wayfair and to the judges for your generosity, for believing in me, and for gifting me with such an amazing experience.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Your support means everything to me.