28 May 2007

Un Merci

For all those throughout the ages who sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedoms, we say thank you. And to the families of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice, our thoughts and prayers are with you today. Happy Memorial Day.

24 May 2007

A Sale of Delightful Proportions


For all of you diehard holiday shoppers out there, our door will be thrown wide open this Monday for Memorial Day from 10 AM to 5 PM. And there's a SALE...oh, is there ever a sale! Beginning today, save 10-50% on hundreds of items throughout the store. We are clearing out some wonderful things to make room for next season's shipments. Sales abound in just about every category in the shop, so you're sure to find that perfect graduation or hostess gift, gift for yourself, or accessory for your next get-together. Here's a peek at some of our sale items, plus a look at some of our new finds. Pallets and boxes are arriving daily, so be sure to check in regularly to get first shot at what's new! Feast your eyes and read on for more details...

We're in love with our new Cafe de la Tour Eiffel tabletop collection. From our mugs and dessert plates to our latte bowls and mini bowls, this stuff is not only quintessentially French-y, but is sturdy and microwave/dishwasher safe--safe in the hands of your kids and safe after a long night of entertaining when all you want to do is load up that Kitchenaid and fall into bed.

These little birds, carved from bone, are actually corkscrews! A really special hostess gift when you particularly want to impress.

Have a picnic with Louis! Meet Louis, our new collection of plastic picnicware. Available in Minuit (Blue), Rouge (fuschia), and Verte (bright green), we've got 12" plates, 9" plates, and 7" bowls. Add easy panache to your next outdoor gathering. Elegant and striking without the high pricetag.

Our Marmiton pottery, in buttery yellow, rounds out our French Farmhouse-inspired table. Classic French Country style.

We love olivewood and this cheeky guidebook to l'Italia, a great gift for someone taking their first trip OR for the seasoned traveller.

We don't think you can ever have too many fun little drinking glasses. These French Coin glasses are great for water or something a little more lively.

It ticks! It tells time! It filters light beautifully through its metal mesh background printed with an urn. It's a clock!

No French-inspired store worth its salt is without a rooster on something. Get your fix with our plush seat cushions. Wouldn't these look so cheery and handsome on your porch or on your kitchen chairs?

Our Moroccan Mini Tumblers just feel like summer to me. In red, green, purple, and (my favorite) blue. Hold one up to the light and you'll catch the fever, too. Now I just need a cabana on the beach, a bonfire, and a starry night. Romance in a glass.

Red, white, and blue are toujours fresh.

These little babies have the sweetest faces. How can one resist?

Shell chic.

One highlight of our sale: crazy savings on bedding. Our bed, done up in a Bella Notte duvet and sheets, with throw pillows by Bella Notte, Pine Cone Hill, and D.L. Rhein, is a dreamlike summery escape. Remember going to bed when it was still light outside as a kid? Now you'll want to when you're bed is this well-dressed. For the duration of our SALE, save 20% on all Bella Notte (include custom orders) and 40% on all of our other bedding lines. Pillows are marked down, too.

Due to popular demand, we've expanded our line of Barkology tees. In soft, layerable cotton and the juiciest colors and most versatile neutrals, you are sure to love the way these fit. Take it from a curvy girl--these tees are immensely flattering! Available in sizes small through extra large. And for all of us CAT lovers out there, Barkology/Me Me Meow has designed a tee just for us! Try it on here.

Our Metal Jonquil Candelabra look right in all seasons.

Studied Bohemien: our vintage and sea-inspired collection of jewelry by These Flowers, This Moon meets our Wilde's Seaside Holiday picnicware collection. They love each other! Go figure.

Awash in a delicate baby pink, our Bistro au Petit Tonneau tableware collection is the stuff of our Parisian fantasies. (And we have lots of them.)

Our wire scrollwork birdcages are a hot sale item. 'Tis the season.

To serve appetizers on, or to hang on the wall as art, or to use as a message board with pushpins...this is the question. So many uses, so much character, such a great price. We can't stop selling these Parisian Breadboards!

A shade off of robin's egg blue, a shade off of turquoise, our Chez Germain collection of dessert plates, latte bowls, and glasses looks fresh, fresh, fresh.

A vintage shopping cart and antique seltzer bottles from South America add layers of character and charm.

Our little red Chez Pastis bistro display. From shiny little Harem glasses to the perfect red-and-white water pitcher to a fabulously fun serving tray, let our fantasy inspire your own!

A note to all of you reading out there: we are still in the process of creating our website (with e-commerce!). It's a long time coming but hopefully it will be worth it! We are taking the process slowly to make sure we truly love what's being developed. We want our online presence to reflect our store as much as possible and give our shoppers an experience similar to the one they would have in the shop. Meanwhile, if you ever see anything in a photo on this blog that looks interesting, please send me a private e-mail at theblissfulhome@yahoo.com or call the shop at 330-492-2500 and we can discuss pricing and shipping. We ship UPS Ground to anywhere in the continental U.S.

Thanks for reading and if you're in our area, we invite you to come in and spend part of your Memorial Day weekend with us at The Blissful!

21 May 2007

What Brand Are You?

I love magazines, don’t you? Yum.

Yesterday, I was hot-diggity-dog pleased to find an interesting article on a topic I love to think about and play with: the art of branding. As a boutique owner, defining a brand identity for one’s store is a critical piece in winning customers and making sales. In my mind, it’s the cornerstone of everything. This article, featured in the May issue of Domino magazine, explores the idea of personal or self-branding--being able to distill the essence of one’s own personal tastes, credo, or philosophy of life and style into two words. (You can double click the photos above to read the article yourself.) The writer describes her experience of a phone consultation with Carrie and Danielle of carrieanddanielle.com, who provide the service of self-branding through asking their customers a series of imaginative questions designed to elicit information about their deepest desires, inspirations, and in fact, identity. I don’t know about you, but this process sounds very cool to me. If only I had a spare $500 sitting around, I might consider contacting Carrie and Danielle myself. In lieu of that, I thought we could try a stab at it here ourselves.

At The Blissful, we carry a line of candles called Capri Blue (for those of you who have been in, they’re the ones in the big fat cobalt blue jars). The best-selling scent, for us, is Boho-Luxe. When I first decided to carry this line, I had pangs of longing over the name of that candle. For me, Boho-Luxe perfectly describes my own personal style. So that's it for me: Boho-Luxe is my two-word style statement! I’m a little bit Bohemian (naturally curly hair worn long and ‘unstyled,’ natural makeup, jeans almost always), but always with a Luxe edge (unusual jewelry, rich beading, patent leather stilettos the color of cola with grenadine—okay, you won’t find me wearing these often, especially not in my shop where I'm on my feet for ten hours a day). Boho-Luxe translates into my home decorating choices, too. Now, while I’m establishing and funneling all my resources into my business, feathering my nest is—shall we say—on hold. But in my previous apartment, my furnishings reflected a Boho-Luxe aesthetic—bone-colored walls, a sofa and oversized chair slipcovered with a merlot-colored tapestry, Indian-inspired throw pillows, a sisal rug, fat candles in sherbet-y colors on grand candelabra. People would tell me it was feminine but not girly, artsy yet ultimately comfortable. Boho-Luxe!

The article explains that your two-word style philosophy should guide you in an 80/20 ratio—the first word should dominate 80% of the time, while the second word provides the unexpected accent or finishing detail. Pump the 20% up a bit too much and you've crossed over into overdone or something totally different. In my case, though, the ratio flip flops depending on my mood or the occasion. Decorating my patio? Boho dominates. Dressing for a wedding? Luxe wins out.

Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment sharing your two-word self-branding statement, and give us an example of what your style ‘looks’ like. Have fun!

18 May 2007

On Where To Start

The other night as I was driving in my car, I had a minor epiphany. It was about 8:15 in the evening, and I was heading home from a personal shopping trip (for those of you who know how I usually feel about shopping, you can then imagine how glad I was to be heading home). I need some Spring clothes and I have very limited time to spend looking for them. That night, I decided to take a deep breath and plunge in. I picked up a couple of tops, a couple of pairs of pants, and one pair of inexpensive shoes. (For the record, when I tried the pants on for my mom the following day, she told me, “Those are not cute. There is nothing cute about them. From the waistband to the hem. Not cute.” [sigh] And back they’ll go.)

So back to the minor epiphany. I was driving and enjoying the fact that it was still light out, enjoying the fact that I was alive and driving my car freely and going anywhere I wanted to in this town…my town. And that’s when it hit me. My town. Where I live. Where I do business. Where (most of) the people I love are. This is my life. I am an…adult(!)…and I live in this town and I’m more or less directly responsible for helping to make this town great. I contribute to the way people experience this town because I am a business owner. I interact with the public. I am no greater or lesser contributor than any other person in this town, but I am one contributor. I make my own contribution. And it’s the contribution only I can make. And you know what? In that moment, I experienced fully a small, quiet moment of complete fulfillment.

Why were these thoughts significant to me? Probably because a mere year and a half ago, I never dreamed I’d return here to live, ever. Much less open a business here, ever. These turns of events occurred to me as good ideas just weeks before I actually went and made them happen. Before my big life change, I had a cute apartment in one of those trendy “lifestyle communities” that tend to attract young professionals who aren’t quite ready to be home owners. I was a teacher with enough years under my belt to mean job security when the levies didn’t pass. I had interesting students and great teaching partners. I had friends and a dating life. I had a supportive family to talk to on the phone. I had a relationship with God. I had a treadmill in my living room, a coffee shop to frequent on Saturday mornings, and a front porch with a bistro table where I once served a boy I liked homemade Pad Thai by candlelight. I had a whole life!

But it wasn’t ultimately fulfilling. I didn’t know why. I talked about it at length with my girlfriends, over dinners and glasses of wine and Caramel Macchiatos. And I quickly discovered I wasn’t alone. Most of us felt at least mildly unfulfilled and creatively untapped, even those of us who worked in the more creative fields. Even those of us who were married with children. The sort of unfulfillment we were talking about had nothing to do with the relationships we had or didn't have. It was something having to do with just us, and with our unique gifts and talents.

I knew my unfulfillment wasn’t a permanent condition. After some months, I even sensed the time was nigh for a shift. There was hope for me. I felt as if I were in the birth canal, waiting to be reborn as something new. I just didn’t know what.

I bet that many of you out there have found yourselves in a similar position—unfulfilled by your workaday existence (even if that workaday existence is admirable, honorable, enviable, lucrative, and/or on many levels, rewarding!), primed for a change, desirous of a new life (or at least parts of a new life). But maybe you didn’t know what needed to change. Or if you did, you didn’t know how you needed it to change. Or maybe you have felt as if you need everything to change. I know that I have felt that way at times.

So fifteen months ago when I first decided that the change I needed in my life was to leave teaching and start a business, I experienced a tremendous sense of ownership over my own life. Not that I ever felt like a puppet before. Teaching, after all, is akin to running a small business in many ways. (In some teaching models, students are to be considered as the customers of schools.) In leading a classroom, you define a brand identity (How does this classroom run? What are the expectations? What are the rewards of a job well done?), set up procedures and policies, manage paperwork, lead meetings, devise creative solutions, constantly troubleshoot, etc., etc., etc. But given all the freedom and liberty I experienced as a creator and a “proprietor” in my own classroom, I still felt as if that wasn’t enough for me. It wasn’t enough for me to work within the system of a school. I wanted to create the system.

For any of you out there experiencing a similar malaise, I am speaking directly to you. Further, I am speaking to those of you who strongly suspect that the unfulfilled desire in your life is to start your own business. I am not by any means suggesting that most malaises can be solved by starting your own business—heavens, no! If anything, taking such a leap can open the door to malaises you might not want any part of—if you don’t have the spirit, the mindset, and the attitude of an entrepreneur. But if you know that you do or even that you want to…I’m talking to you.

Just the other morning I attended a business growth seminar that was, quite frankly, life changing. I have a totally different view of my business after listening to and engaging with the ideas that were offered to me there. Here’s one thing I know for sure: by my own assessment, I may not yet deserve to wear the term entrepreneur. With mine being such a new business, I think ‘self-employed’ is a more fitting term for me—and I wear that term proudly with a smile. But I know that I have the spirit of an entrepreneur, and that is a role I am claiming for myself and for my future.

So back to that epiphany, the nature of which was this: this life I’m leading, I created it through conscious, deliberate choices, the stimulus for which was unfulfillment and the impetus for which was a desire to live the life I will want to look back on when I’m ninety-five. So here’s the question: when you're ninety-five, what passion of yours could you die happy knowing you fulfilled? Dealing in antiques? Designing clothing? Providing childcare? Creating greeting cards? Instructing Pilates? Catering parties? Helping others achieve their fitness goals? Whatever that “undying passion” is for you—I urge you to allow any current unfulfillment you might feel over not pursuing it become a tidal wave of momentum to go for it! Start with unfulfillment—go ahead, it’s okay. But don’t stay there. Keep dreaming, wishing, hoping, and planning. Those are your keys to unlocking a more fulfilling future.

12 May 2007

On Giving Life to Dreams

Sweet Alexia, my new little niece. She was always our dream--we just didn't know her yet.

This blog is not only about my shop, The Blissful Home--what's new, what's inspiring us, where we're headed--but it's also about my journey as a shop owner. As many of you know, it's been about fifteen months since I left a very fulfilling career as a high school English teacher (a career I worked and prepared very earnestly for, then practiced for four years) and threw myself headlong into the dream of a lifetime: creating my own business. At the age of twenty-seven (when I opened my first shop), I didn't know what I didn't know (as Dr. Phil says), but I did know that something was propelling me forward into creating and defining my own life's work on my own timetable and on my own terms. The seed of my entrepreneurial dream grew into a brick-and-mortar boutique filled with casual and remarkable French and European-inspired furnishings and gifts, located in a place I never dreamed I'd return to: my hometown of Canton, Ohio. And here I am today, here we are, growing our customer base, thriving, and learning so much.

While I delight in and will continue to delight in using this blog as an online presence for my customers, many of whom check in regularly to see photos of new merchandise, read about our trips to Market, learn about upcoming events at The Blissful, and divine the inspiration behind our latest collections, I have a fresh new purpose in mind for this blog as well. If, as we go down the road, I feel the need to branch some of my posts off into a second blog, I will, while maintaining this first, original one.

So here's the new thing blooming inside me: I have a desire to dialogue with other women (and men, for that matter!) who are interested in launching or have already launched their own creative businesses. Whether that be shop owning, web design, jewelry making, freelance writing, or something else entirely, I want to talk about issues related to being an entrepreneur, what I define as creating a life's work for onesself by doing something in a way that has never been done before. I want to gather the insight of other people doing what I do--or who would like to be doing what I do. These particular posts will by no means be an "advice forum" of any sort--my name is Abby, not 'Dear Abby', after all. Rather, I will frame them as reflections of one young woman who is shaping her dream into something pretty exciting, and doing it with the help and support of many, many other people, not the least of whom are my wonderful customers. In fact, I will focus much less (if at all) on the what and the how of starting your own business. I will probably focus more on the why and the who--why do we choose entrepreneurship and who are we when we choose it? Along the way, I will probably ask more questions than I will provide answers. Sometimes just having the conversation with others who are engaged in the process is as valuable as anything else. But here's one thing you should know: I am a very positive person and almost refuse to focus for any considerable length of time on negativity. Yes, stresses and bad days are a part of life, a part of retailing, and certainly a part of owning your own business. I'm no Pollyanna wearing rose-colored glasses, but I am a bouncer. No matter what happens, I bounce back with hope and optimism. So there will be no wallowing around here.

Thank for you reading along. I welcome and invite you to post comments anytime.

Oh, and Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there, including those of us for whom our creative endeavors are our little babies (at least for the time being). To everyone out there giving life to your dreams today, I say cheers.

07 May 2007

Sid Dickens Is Here!

The long-awaited surprise has finally arrived!
Well, everyone, it’s time for us to announce our “tremendous surprise.” Yes, it’s our big reveal: The Blissful Home is honored to be the new, exclusive retailer in this area for Sid Dickens Memory Blocks. Behold our new Sid Dickens wall, below. I encourage you to double click all of these pictures and view them up close.

If you have never seen the work of Sid Dickens, you must come in and check it out. Sid Dickens is an artist from Vancouver, Canada, who along with a team of up-and-coming young artists, creates handcrafted, handpainted, 6x8 inch decorative tiles, called Memory Blocks. Made of painstakingly-detailed plaster, each tile is hand-finished either to a porcelain-like quality or cracked with the look of weathered stone.

Heavy and substanial, these tiles are surprisingly easy to hang. Each one is pre-drilled in the back for a nail or screw; simply install your nail or screw into the wall and hang. Our grouping of 42 took a relatively short time to hang once some easy measurements were taken and marked off.
There are so many ways to display these blocks. They are stunning in a large grouping on a wall that needs to make a statement, enchanting in a smaller group of 2 or 3 or 5, and just one tile can be a magical addition tucked into a shelf with a small collection of objets. From your entry hall to your living room, dining room, kitchen, powder room, studio, office, or bedroom, Sid Dickens can be a fantastic complement to your existing d├ęcor, or can provide the inspiration for a redecoration of grand proportions. Each tile bears the Sid Dickens imprint and comes with a poem or insight on the back side to give the owner a window into the story, impulse, or moment that inspired Sid himself. Each tile is finished on all four sides as well as on the front, so no matter what angle you view it from, it’s a thing of beauty and a true work of art.
We are particularly enchanted by Sid Dickens’ work because of the storytelling aspect that is so part and parcel of his Memory Blocks. In Sid’s own words, “there is magic in the past. People like to feel they are an integral part of the story of humanity, and my tiles have the weight and feel of another era, a time when things were more permanent and long lasting. I think it’s this aspect of the tiles that make people want to reach out. In essence, they want to touch history.”

Romance, mystery from times past, fairy tales, ancient Art and Music documents, mystic and mythic symbols, references from board games and botanical books, and historical motifs from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo periods—these are just some of the influences upon each unique image that comprises the Sid Dickens collection.

Sid Dickens Memory Blocks have received international acclaim and now decorate fine hotels and restaurants worldwide. They have also found a following with celebrities, including Liv Tyler, Hilary Duff, and Vanessa Williams. But this is not a reason to fall in love with Sid Dickens.

Come in and see for yourself and you'll know what I mean.

Mom's Day Sale

Debbie and Abby (my mom and I).
Mother's Day is this coming Sunday, May 13th. Here's why I love and appreciate my mom: she gave me life. She helps me figure myself out. She's funny and goofy (I had to get it from somewhere!). She doesn't mind being my sous chef when all I need is someone to crack the eggs. She's been supportive of each and every dream I've ever had. She's loving beyond measure to everyone she knows. She works hard. She looks great in pajamas. And sometimes, when I ask nicely, she'll dress my salad with the perfect blend of oil and vinegar that somehow only her hand can achieve.
Through this Saturday, we're taking 10% OFF our jewelry, candles, and body products. (Sale merchandise excluded). Included in the sale are our paperweights, scrapbooks, and photo albums by Elements/Jill Schwartz. Let us help you match up the perfect gift with that special woman in your life who nurtures, encourages, and makes you feel like the whole world is your oyster.
See you soon!
P.S. I went crazy today taking pictures of our tremendous surprise (see the previous blog), and hardly any of them turned out well because the light in here just wasn't right this morning. As soon as the sun hits the wall next to our cash wrap in just the right way, I will be shutter-buggin' up a storm. Another blog to follow...

05 May 2007

Take a Good Look at This

Our collection by These Flowers, This Moon.

And again.

Just in time, our often-asked-about blue vintage screen door sold off the wall from behind our jewelry display. (Deb A. knows a good thing when she sees it.) Just as after a show has run its course in the theater, the set crew must "strike the set" and rebuild something new, a boutique owner is constantly striking her own sets (or parts of sets) when something sells, or to make room for new merchandise, or simply to give customers a new way of looking at current merchandise. When the blue door left, we slid a beautiful, heavy, Provencal-style mirror behind our display of These Flowers, This Moon jewelry, and voila! a new set was born. We are loving the soothing, calm, creamy effect of Kelly's jewelry against our bone china and natural harvested shells. (By the way, Miss These Flowers, This Moon has relaunched her blog. Pretty pictures, lovely observations on style, human nature, and her own journey as a jewelry designer. Check it out!) We love the distressed, butterscotch-y frame of the Provencal-style mirror and the quiet chicness of our new Mirrored Monogrammed Lamp alongside it all. The vintage-style perfume bottles are glittering in the lamplight and the five finger starfish hanging out nearby are loving it all, too. But like all good things, this downright Rachel Ashwell-ian moment is coming to an end. Because...

On Sunday, my mom and I will enter the store long before we'd really like to be out of bed and leave the store long after Desperate Housewives is over (no problem here: I stopped watching when Zack came back to woo Gaby). We are striking the lovely set that you see pictured above--striking everything on the wall around it, too--and Monday morning, we are debuting a tremendous surprise. Don't worry: These Flowers, This Moon is getting fabulous new digs elsewhere in the store--we wouldn't have it any other way--and we are also creating some other new displays. I promise to thoroughly photograph Monday's surprise and blog about it. In the meantime, here's a big hint: www.siddickens.com

Stay tuned!

01 May 2007

Adventures in Columbus

Petit Fours galore

Need I remind you that we have petit fours aplenty this week at The Blissful? You'd better come in and have some so that my mom and I don't eat them all ourselves. Our Paris in the Springtime sale is in full swing and we're moving the merch at a nice clip today. One customer told me she's coming in every day this week to capitalize on the "one per customer per day" thing. 'Atta girl. We also just received a shipment of the most deliciously French tabletop (dessert plates, latte bowls, mini bowls, mugs), so we're lacing together display ideas in our heads as the hours whirl by.

The above photo actually has nothing to do with the subject of this blog, which is an account of our latest trip to Market in...[drum roll, please]...Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus Market Place is a regional tradeshow that contains showrooms representing thousands of lines for retailers to buy. This Market, like most (if not all) such tradeshows, are wholesale only, which means not open to the public. Here, retailers get a preview of what's to come in home decor and gifts. Sometimes this outlook is tremendously fun and inspiring, and sometimes it's...not. We are pretty selective at the Columbus show. There is a lot to see (no comparison with a big show like Atlanta or Chicago, though), but only a fraction of it can work in with what we do at our shop. A lot of what's there is Primitive Americana, which, if you've been in my shop, you know we are anything but. But I feel an inexplicable draw into each and every Primitive showroom. "I just want to look!" I'll tell my mom as I make a beeline for the door. There is something about grubby candles, teastained American flags, and snowman dolls with long carrot noses that gets me every time! What is it? Maybe I'm a country girl at heart. The funny thing is, I would never buy Primitive for my own home or my shop. I just like to look at it. I will say that some of those showrooms have the best displays in Columbus.

But we made our usual rounds. Our mission this past Sunday was to tweak and finalize our Christmas order. Yes, Christmas. Usually your Christmas order goes in sometime in January/February and starts delivering in June. We put in a couple BIG Christmas orders at the start of the year, but it'd been so long since we'd seen the stuff, we needed a second look. So with our order printout in hand (and one of my fancy gel pens), we descended on the Market with the goal of adding to, deleting from, and adjusting quantities of ornaments, door swags, tabletoppers, you name it. We're so glad we went, as it helped to see that we actually wanted 48, not 16, of what I am predicting will be our best-selling ornament of Holiday 2007. You might snicker at these minutiae but I am telling you that it is just these kinds of tweaks, predictions, and adjustments that can put money in your pocket (or leave it sitting in the glitter glass dust) at the end of the season. Our second look also helped us to determine what we had ordered that, at a second glance, is just not us, and thus, needed to be cancelled. We hone our look with every day that goes by and every purchase order that is written.
One resounding truth I came away from this Market with is that there is a lot of cute stuff out there--but that doesn't mean it's right for us. As a retailer (and I wonder if those of you reading out there agree with me), it's tough sometimes not to give into pressure from certain customers who are particularly vocal about what they think would sell or would like to see us sell. Or in which direction they would like to see the store evolve. I know one shop owner who listened to a well-meaning but overly pushy customer of his, invested in a whole collection of something the lady convinced him he needed in his store, and bam--at the end of the season, he was left with the whole collection. He said the line was great but didn't 'feel' right to him even as he was ordering it. Yet he made the investment against his better judgment. He'll never make that mistake again. This is why I try so hard to stay true to my vision. It may not be for everybody, but for those who get it and appreciate it--they really get it. On the other hand, it's essential to listen to customers because, after all, they are the reason we're in business! It's a tricky dance, running a retail boutique.

So what did we find in Columbus? Three hours of scouting yielded up a new (for us) line of handmade holiday ornaments and decorations totally in keeping with the look we love. It's very Eclectic Farmhouse Chic, very funky French farmhouse. We're tentatively planning on an early November holiday open house. I have a beautiful new storybook in my mind filled with all of the great holiday finds we have on order and I can't wait to share it with you this fall. If my exuberance over the holiday season seems a little much for May 1st, it just might be! But I'm telling you as I told my friend Kelly on the phone this morning, I could shop for Christmas decorations all year long. I would be a great 4th quarter buyer for some big department store--nothing but Harvest and Holiday on the brain, all year long, and lots of it!

On a different note, because I never fail to recommend a good thing when I know it, I will tell you that if you are ever in the Short North Arts district of Columbus, do yourself a favor and have lunch or dinner at The Happy Greek. This restaurant on High Street is known as the hands-down best place to get Greek food in Columbus. My mom and I shared the Vegetarian Sample Platter. Whoh. Tasty stuff.

And so this blog ends as it began: with a commentary on food. It's a good thing I work out a lot.