angel 1….as we acknowledge International Women’s Day I thought I’d like to do so by way of sharing a rendition of a letter I originally sent to a long list of my “angels”, back in 2008.

HERE I serve to acknowledge, that which has grown exponentially for me, since that first writing in 08, the great value that I’ve been Gifted by MY Beautiful Women, and for which I am truly grateful. You all ROCK!

Some of you I call my family….my mother and mother in law, sisters, daughters, nieces, aunts and cousins.

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Some of you are old friends from lives gone by… school chums from Kitchener and Winnipeg and from my years living overseas in Haiti, Thailand and Taiwan…and also from the 4 years in Ontario with my young and growing family.
Some of you are my “Maine” friends, where you’ve contributed to making it my home for 13 years….before my move to Maryland just over 3 years ago.

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Some of you are my new “Eastern Shore” friends that I’ve met through church choir, the gym, or the Chesapeake Women’s Network.
Some of you are customers that have become more than that as we both took the chance and got personal.

Some of you are business owners, like myself, that I have met as a result of being out there doing my business.

Some of you I came to know through the business of raising and selling our golden retrievers.

ruth and gal pals good karma

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Some of you I’ve met through my membership with WITHIT and High Point Design Center.

Some of you I have been blessed to have as partners/support in my business at ZAAR.


Some of you are people that have simply come across my path and we have “connected”….be it by way of a blog, twitter, instagram and/or facebook.

ALL of you are women of substance.
ALL of you have touched my life in a way that you cannot know.
ALL of you have shared with me a part of you that I now call my own.

All of you have a Story.

All of you are Beautiful.
And ALL of you have given of yourself to me, and I now would like to give back, by, letting you know….

My life has been enriched by the force that comes from sharing with other women…..  And,what I know for sure is that the presence of each and every woman that has come into  my life has contributed towards my life moving forward.

And so, just this moment to say thank you…light poster

Thank you for being there.
Thank you for being who you are.
Thank you for the ear.
Thank you for your caring.
Thank you for your understanding.

Thank you for your encouragement and support..
Thank you for your gift of friendship.

Thank you for your sharing.

Thank you for your example.

Thank you for adding to my “light”.

Thank you for opening my world to this wonderful “sisterhood” and becoming part of my Circle of Angels. I am so blessed.

ruth fb profileRuth

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As a member of WITHIT for the past 6 years I have had ample opportunity to see first hand how the WITHIT Word spreads….would be a whole nother blog sharing how many times I’ve seen a simple introduction  lead to a deeper meeting  and before you know it a really cool connection is made and the rest is history as our lives become enriched for a new resource, a new friend and even a new member. Jana Platina Phipps, Betty  Lynn Eller, Deb Klein/ the core of the NYC chapter and NYC Inside Design Tour,  you ALL ROCK at this!

It has been so rewarding for me to be part of just such a scenario,  most recently as a small group of like minded women ended up together,  put their heads together, and somehow landed on a date where IT “worked”, penned IT on our respective calendars and made IT happen.

IT being the inaugural event for the newly formed DC Metro Chapter of WITHIT.

2015-06-17 21.06.48-1At a lunch meeting on May 22nd, IT was determined that June 17th, 2015 IT would be. Without hesitation Victoria Sanchez generously offered to host this event at her gorgeous store, Victoria at Home, in Old Alexandria. We all left with our respective to do lists and we set off back into our busy busy lives, with this new nuance added.

The event was less than a week ago and I still have a buzz for the energy that filled the store 2015-06-17 18.46.06-1as 50 plus women (and a smattering of men/so happy you joined us) mingled and chatted while nibbling on a delightful array of savories and sweets, punctuated with a tantalizing sangria.

How wonderful was it to introduce so many people to WITHIT in one fell swoop? How wonderful to do so in the beautiful surroundings of one of our newest members store? How wonderful it was  for Amanda Kinney and I, as veteran members, to share with the group a little about our WITHIT experience and what it could mean for anyone that cared to join? How wonderful for the enthusiastic response to said introduction, as people approached us to not only express a desire to join but also to host future events?

Yup, IT was amazing! The energy was amazing! The response was amazing! And the joy felt by all of us that contributed to make this happen…well, it was right up there with amazing.

2015-06-17 20.03.55Someone asked if there was a minimum number of people needed to merit a Chapter being formed, and I said, “we are all good”…no minimum requirement to meet. Chapter is formed. We are here to stay and we are so excited for what will follow.

I was so tempted to detail out  how this all came about/as I really like how IT happened, but suffice it to say, that what happened last week in Alexandria VA was a result of putting something out to the universe. IT was a result  of people coming together to offer what they can to make IT happen… of offering something to fill a need for those specifically in the home furnishings industry… AND most importantly, of people saying YES to the invitation….the rest is history as they say.

Thrilled for the people I worked with and met that fine night and so very much look forward to our thriving DC Metro Chapter. It’s going to be great!


P.S. Anybody has more photos to share, or comments on the night, please feel free to do so.

…and what else is WOW for????

deb barrett profile pic WOW…. Yes, it is first and foremost for the honor I have of securing Deb Barrett, whose self proclaimed mission is to “inspire and energize her fellow design peers by sharing her knowledge and experience about her two passions- couture window coverings and trendspotting and Design.”   for my Lunch n Learn on Sunday April 19th at ZAAR Design Center….specifically as she is hpmkt logo 2leading, with Jackie Von Tobel, their inaugural VIP High Point Buyers Tour/ in cooperation with the High Point Market Authority, during this Market….she also leads a tour to Paris each year around the Maison & Objet case you are interested. YES!

read more about Deb her list of accomplishments and what she has to offer is VAST!

deb wowWOW…is for  the award, yes it is called the “WOW AWARD”, she was honored to receive in January, in Las Vegas, and wow award logopresented/awarded by WITHIT, for her commitment and work in the area of Education in the Home Furnishings Industry. CONGRATULATIONS!

WOW….is for the wonderful women that were nominated for the award alongside her….that being Katy Garrett of Connexion Software and Maria Killam of Maria Killam Colour & Design.  (Yes color is spelled correctly. Maria is a fellow Canadian and that is how we spell color/colour.) 

WOW….is for the fact that both Katy and Maria have spoken at ZAAR in the past. YES! And now, 3 for 3 eh? HONORED!

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WOW….is how I feel when I recall my first connections with each of them (@ WITHIT Conferences) and how it evolved to the place where they respectively agreed to speak at ZAAR….Katy’s topic “How to Think Like a Million Dollar Designer” and Maria’s topic “Deconstructing Whites For Interiors I The Essentials Every Designer Must Know…. were smashing hits and I know  Deb’s seminar will round this all out nicely taking us on a World Tour: Smart Designs From the World’s Top Markets. AMAZING!

WOW…is for their energy, their expertise, the way they so warmly communicate so much knowledge to their audiences… SMART WOMEN SHARING!

WOW…is for the many WITHIT Members that turn out for these seminars….THANK YOU!

ruth and maria and withit gals

WOW….is for what you will feel after hearing Deb speak. Having had the pleasure of hearing her present in September at high point dc resizedthe High Point Design Center’s Designer Appreciation Day I can vouch for the fact that you will not only learn a lot but you will enjoy the process.

WOW…is how I am going to feel as I welcome YOU  to ZAAR Design Center, filling our showroom with an engaged audience, excited to learn what Deb has to share….GRATEFUL!

Won’t you join us for this WOW event????

Ooops, almost forgot to mention…this is an IDCEC CEU Accredited Course AND it is FREE!

 Sunday April 19th

12:00- 1:30

           Lunch n Learn with Deb Barrett

       ZAAR Design Center

741 West Ward Ave, High Point NC

ZAAR flag(note we are in the former Drexel Heritage Factory/entrance is on Green. Look for the yellow flags.)

Go Anywhere Shuttle Available to Transport  PH: 336.887.RIDE (7433)

FYI, have been advised that they now have GPS units installed, so no problem locating us 

RSVP Appreciated/not Required.  207-838-2675

abyzaar showroom pic….easily accessible by the Go Anywhere bus during Market, AND available ALL YEAR, by appointment,  for To The Trade Customers!

There’s alot of buzz going on about the revitalization of High Point and how it can, and should, be so much more than home to the twice hpdc logo squareannual Furniture Market.  I have been a believer of  this for years, in particular at the level of being a destination point for designers to shop between markets in addition to during markets. High Point Design Center, a group I joined in 2008, has this at the core of it’s mission, and I deeply respect all that they have done and continue to do to support this.  Yes, it is by working together that we can make  this a reality, and I love the collaborative Spirit amongst the showroom members that emulate this.  However, there are many businesses in High Point, available to do business year round, that you might not know about.  Some “secrets” in High Point that shouldn’t be a secret if you will.

With this in mind I am excited to introduce to you, a neighbor of mine, that I have  only recently been made of aware of, that , like me, has turned their warehouse into their showroom.  If I didn’t know about them, and they are only 1 mile from me, I am guessing you don’t know about them either, and thus this introduction is my Gift to you, because you’re going to love what they have.

C & S Acosta, in business since 1985, like Antiques by Zaarin business since 1999, is a family business, and have been showing in High Point for over a decade.  And like Antiques by Zaar, their focus is on Asian product.

In their words…

2014-04-09 14.11.06“We are probably best known for our beautiful selection of blue and white hand-painted 2014-04-09 14.17.50porcelain and antique reproductions of bronze sculptures imported from Thailand. However, over the years, our collection has expanded to include accent furniture, wooden handicrafts and magnificent mirrors that are made in other regions and exotic islands of Southeast Asia.”

Get a sneak peak of their fabulous warehouse/showroom here. Product is not only exquisite but well priced.

If you have a need for beautiful Asian furniture or porcelain, you do need to check out the both of us.

Antiques by Zaar, is at ZAAR Design Center, at 741 West Ward (A on map).

NOTE: Although address is West Ward, the entrance ZAAR flagis on Green. Look for the bright yellow flags. C& S Acosta (B on map)  is but a mile from us. Continue down West Green (left  hand turn), turn right onto West Market Drive  and turn right when you see Trucking company  sign. They are located in building behind that business.

abyzaar to acosta map

Know that ZAAR will have a smattering of C & S Acosta’s merchandise displayed at ZAAR , just to give you a taste of the fine craftsmanship of their product.

ZAAR is open 9;00- 5:00 from Saturday April 18th, through to Thursday April 23th, hosting a lunch n learn with Deb Barrett on Sunday April 19th, starting at 12:00 CEU Credit course….and although not required, RSVP appreciated.

Look forward to seeing you.


…and more ,on the Changing Face of High Point.

For over 100 years High Point has been considered the Furniture Capital of the World and since 1909, high point market logoyes, 1909, it has been host to the infamous High Point Furniture Market.  The square footage of the Market alone is bar none to making it the largest trade show in the United States and the reputation of the show continues to stand strong as THE place to spot trends.

DSCN8730Holding strong to it’s core values/offerings to the community of sellers/buyers that twice a year block out their calendars for  “Market”, it has however had to change with the times….and it is with making these  changes that High Point Market  remains a vital resource it is for so many…..but perhaps with a twist if you will.


You know “the same but different.”  No doubt a  shift is occurring before our eyes  and it is an exciting and noteworthy one as a tidal wave effect of purely positive repercussions  continues…  one that is reflected not only the changing product offerings but also the growing trend for the Interior Design Community to contribute at a much deeper level than simply as a consumer. All of it I find it quite simply exciting.

I well recall my first visit to High Point in 2003, with my directory earmarked to visit any exhibitor that looked like they might

abyzaar market sq showroomcarry Chinese Antiques. Wanted to see if it made sense for me to come here with my Chinese Antiques and also see what I had for competition. Well, apparently I found enough cause to take on my first “home” in Market Square and did so in 2004. My initiation tour 10 plus  years ago had me traipsing all over the place, but Market Square felt like it was the right place to show my unique one of a kind pieces,and that is where I started my Market career as a High Point Exhibitor.


antique and design center logo 2Is it any surprise  that what is now a well known “go to” place for designers to hit isantique design center none other than the  Antique and Design Center, spearheaded by the dynamic duo of Karen Luisana, and Amanda Kinney, has found a home in the halls of the Historic Market Square, for over 70, yes, 70 vendors that come to show and sell each Market.



The ambiance of the old building lends itself perfectly as home to this unique one of a kind venue in the heart of Market Square, and with ready access from the Suites. The icing on the cake is that each and every Market the team at the Antique and Design Center offer a steady diet of exceptional educational events, targeted to the Design Community.  Market after Market they just keep on stepping it up on the educational offerings by  hosting an endless stream of impressive and relevant seminars presented by people well renowned in their field. This year is no different and you can go here and be blown away, as I was, looking at what they have lined up for you this Market. NOT TO BE MISSED!

Yes, the Antique and Design Center is the true essence of the changing face of High Point. I choose to ZAAR flagalso contribute to the changing face of High Point and am excited to be part of this wave.  I have been in High Point for 11 years now, but 4 years, and 4 warehouse moves later, I have found my “home” in the repurposed Drexel Heritage Factory on the corner of Ward and Green…just a mile from the heart of High Point….where I show and sell my Chinese Antique furniture and accessories, also representing product from Distinctive Chesterfields and C & S Acosta….just to name a few.


I am so proud to  share this vision, with the Antique and Design Center,  for what we can each  bring to the table to be part of a vital, and yes, changing, High Point.

If you don’t have a visit to the Antique and Design Center or Antiques by ZAAR  on your agenda, be sure to add it, and be sure to take in at least one of the many educational treats  have lined up for this Market.

NOTE:  ZAAR Design Center will host a Lunch n Learn on Sunday April 19th at 12:00. CEU accredited talk by Deb Barrett, will give you a WORLD TOUR, focusing on Smart Designs from the World’s Top Markets.  RSVP Appreciated, not required.  text 207 838 2675 or email


….and MY SCORE Mentor. How lucky am I eh? 

I KNEW, from our very first meeting, summer 2010, that I had been simply Gifted by way of Nancy coming into my world, blogged about it/SCORE here….How wonderful that she has joined such an auspicious group of similarly committed mentors in being acknowledged, as they all were, what is  now 3 years ago, at the White House.


Although I moved from Maine over 2 years ago Nancy and I have stayed connected by way of phone conferences….and as I had the pleasure of such just yesterday, and it so happens to be the anniversary of when Nancy was so acknowledged at the White House, I felt inclined to once again share with my world how this woman has, and continues to be there for me and my business….so bear with me as I give a little gush over Nancy Strojny my Maine based SCORE mentor.

With a 20 plus year career at Proctor and Gamble, and now running her own consulting firm, she no doubt has experience, which brings with it wisdom which she so readily shares.

But even more so she brings a warm directness, yes Nancy is gifted at giving one the most polite “kick in the pants” than anyone I’ve ever known…. a willingness to take YOU on as the whole package, offering a perspective that is impossible from the vantage point of working in the trenches, giving guidance and advice, but with the knowledge that ultimately the decision to act upon any of it is up to you. She gives permission, something we need to be doing for ourselves btw, to make a decision, and then to do the unthinkable, change your mind as things unfold and change for you/your business.  She isn’t afraid to be straight and because you know she cares you are grateful for the honesty…and the push.

She shows pride in your accomplishments and understanding when you need to take time to “clear the path”…but always always always bringing you ever so gently back to you and your dream and making you believe in your possibilities and doing whatever she can to help you reach the goals you set.

There is no doubt of her committment to the process and to you as the person and the business you represent and as such she is right there with you…as your mentor, as your cheerleader, as your guide, as your champion, as you butt kicker, and as your friend.

In her intro at the Champion of Change ceremony she said she wanted to give back what she was given by the “extraordinary group of men” that mentored her at Proctor and Gamble, and thus her deep involvement in SCORE, which is such a good place from which she can do just that. I am but one voice saying that she has so done that. Yesterday was the 3 year anniversary where she was nationally acknowledged that she, in a very big way, is doing  just that for many others ….

And so now EVERYBODY knows what a great mentor I have!

…yeah me. Yes, we shall “rock on!”


previous posting, I Scored with SCORE,

st pattys dayYes, one generally associates the color green, particularly kelly green, with March, it being the month wherein St Patricks Day 2015-02-25 22.56.24-1falls. Is it a coincidence that it is also the month where winter, we hope, is winding down and we start to think Spring?  And after this particularly harsh winter weather  I have a feeling that seeing Green/Spring  will be welcomed with even more fervor than usual.


DSCN4693 DSCN2799At our house in Maine we had more than a handful of large trees that DSCN9361just sang Life as the new green leaves showed their faces for the first time each Spring. I see those in my minds eye as we anticipate yet another round of “weather”….and maybe it is this image that comes to mind that invites me to enjoy the freshness of the color Green, when I see it splashed on the reproduction Chinese pieces I have splattered throughout my showroom. …and perhaps why I found a citrus green for my kitchen walls when I said goodbye to the antique white that permeated my home.

IMG_0593So, in the Spirit of wanting to bring this feeling of Freshness and Life I wanted to suggest that bringing a pop of Green into your home might just be the ticket….to, especially when in the midst of a severe winter,  keep you feeling the freshness of New Life all year long.

Whether you call it apple green, or citrus green, or lime green, the vibrant green, as shown below, has ALWAYS been popular, and I always have a good selection of such available, or on it’s way.

As my Gift to you, I’d like to, for the month of March, offer a 10% discount on anything I have that has a even a Spot of Green…not just the popping lime green, in it….further enticing you to make this winter time purchase by offering FREE Shippingagain,throughout the month of March….specifically within the contiguous United States.

ruth showhouse for home page resized for hpDo check out my website for what Pops of Green you might find/fall in love with and need to call your own. Let me know should you have any questions/need more photos/info or if you already have your own pop of green in your home, I would love to have you share it by way of a photo….or you can post such on my facebook page.

And, although we do all pine away for the green of Spring, do enjoy best you can the winter season that is upon us that if nothing else makes us appreciate Spring all the more.


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…OR, validating yourself in this upside down world. 

Once upon a time you needed a brick and mortar to validate your online presence. Now brick and mortars need an online presence to be validated. Go figure.

It was 1999, just after our move to the states, after an 8 year stint in Asia, when my husband and I determined to OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAestablish our online business, selling, of all things, Chinese Antiques. Business model was to NOT have a brick and mortar, but to set up shop on the world wide web and take it from there.

What did we know going into this? Won’t go into what we didn’t know, which was plenty 

We  knew that…

zaarlogo small we had a source for a product that we had an affinity to…. building on relationships made during our 8 years living/working in Asia

zaarlogo smallwe were breaking new ground….being the first online only sellers of Chinese Antiques.

we felt we could offer competitive pricing/create a niche….because of our business model and running it very lean/doing ALL the work in house…yes, learning ALOT along the way.

zaarlogo smallcombined we had the skills required to make this come to fruition….not to mention the determination.

The website went live August 2000 and it wouldn’t be until Thanksgiving weekend, yes, of that year,but it felt like FOREVER,  that I would make my first online sale.  Will never forget the euphoric feeling of being “found” online AND then to have someone take the plunge and make that online purchase from ME!? With that I was officially in business, and away we went.

As husband continued to work the Search Engine Optimization side of the biz more people found us and had an interest in shopping with us and would call. As such the question would inevitably come up as to how we ever got into this business, and so I would ramble on with “my story“….

zaar_family_sm….and  this had me rethink the advise given to us by our web designer that the “about us” section on our website was insignificant and that although it needed to be there, that people didn’t tend to read it, therefore just give it lip service.  Didn’t take long for me to determine that it would indeed be  a relevant part of my site and that people would read it, per the conversations I’d been having…and so I edited what I had thrown up there to give the whole enchilada.  You can read that full version here/ shorter version here, as is on the website.  In fact it was where they first started to get to know WHO Antiques by Zaar was….WHO was the driving force, the heart and soul of this particular business….where they first started to gain confidence in us as sellers.

Yes, people want to do business with people, and telling them who we were straight out did us well as a foundation to move on.  We furthered this by starting an online newsletter in 2004. And, as was my way, I would tend to include constant contact logopersonal  tidbits in the preamble, click here to visit past newsletters,….  I had plenty of fodder with having lived in several countries,  the start of this of my 2nd biz,  3 kids underfoot/raising golden retrievers, on a farm in Maine…you get the drift/ways to connect with people/letting them into my world...leading to the “meat” of the missive which would be announcing a new container, show dates and the such.

My newsletter remains to be a vital connecting point to my past customers as well as prospective s,  that have given me permission to put their name on my newsletter list…. a list which has grown to be  a  qualified list of over 5,000 strong…. proudly sharing that my “open” and “click through” rates consistently remain above the industry standard.

twitter fb and linkWith the onset of Social Media the venues to connect in the virtual world, in addition to my audience of 5,000,  have grown at such a rate that it is sometimes hard to keep up with. The good news is that there is this plethora of opportunities for businesses of any size to put their word out there and let their customers get to know them prior to making any kind of purchase.  That is “the way” now isn’t it????  What is expected of businesses…to become transparent. The bad news is that you are competing with such a massive body of businesses doing the same.  The good news is, there is only one YOU and it is up to you to make your Unique Voice heard.

Considering my tendency to be upfront and personal in a simple newsletter, it should be no surprise that I felt I’d been granted a true Gift with the introduction of the blog. THE perfect platform to do more of the same, reaching more image with peeps However, I have found the blogging road a bumpy one, as is evidenced by the frequency of my posts. Love hate relationship really.  But as I continue to figure out a blogging rhythm that works for me, I can’t afford not be seen/heard, and over the course of time I  have come to a place where I feel I can stay present in the virtual world in a relevant way, that is indeed manageable.

I am validating my, now 2 businesses,  daily where it counts….  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Houzz, and via my blogs.

Welcome to the long winding road of learning and growing, giving and sharing.

Ready, set, go!



No, not something you would normally consider….but yes, it does work….as shown below by, not one, but two of my customers.

Maria  Hasenecz , of Wyndmoor, PA, and Antiques by Zaar customer since 2007 , was determined to get her armoire of choice into her bathroom, which, you must agree, looks gorgeous! What you don’t know from the photos is that the desired location for the new home of her most recent acquisition, was on the 2nd floor of her home, which has, as part of it’s charm, a set of steps too narrow to accomodate getting this piece to its desired location.

Of course, on the day of delivery, who would have a crane booked towork at her home to address other upgrades she was working on? That would be Maria. And thus the Chinese armoire was lifted by crane and plopped into into just where Maria wanted it, by way of the window. Love the story….see previous blog, here, showcasing Maria’s decorating gift, with her original AbyZaar purchase, a lacquered coffee table.

Tilton Fenwick, of New  York NY also positioned a Chinese Armoire, a “kitchen” cabinet to be exact, in the 1890’s farmhouse that Suysel, Antiques by Zaar customer since 2004, bought for her family as a weekend retreat from NYC. The entire home , which the design team gutted and rebuilt and decorated, was featured on Houzz, and worth a visit.

                            Bathroom  bathroom

So pleased that our Chinese Kitchen cabinet served so well in the main bathroom of Suysel’s country home AND that so many on Houzz appreciated the application and made comment on how well it worked/looked/felt.

Click here, to read previous blog written on Tilton Fenwick ,Antiques by Zaar and Metropolitan Home….also enjoy the work of Tilton Fenwick as showcased on the Home page of my website.

…and should you want to consider using a Chinese Armoire for similar application/or otherwise, be sure to check out what we have available, by clicking here….

Would LOVE to see/share photos of how you have positioned your Chinese Armoire!


zaarlogo215 years ago, when setting up the template for the Antiques by Zaar website, it was a no brainer that red, such an important color in the Chinese culture, would be integral in the presentation of my company.

ruth-new-wheels1And as I am integral to this company, it became natural for me to bring red into my wardrobe/accessories more than I might have otherwise….and even going to the point of  buying a red car! It just seemed to make sense.


As years have gone by red has definitely evolved to be not only a color I identified with because of my business, but has become one of my favorite colors, as I feel it quite simply, as I’ve stated in the subject line….that it is a Happy Color.


I feel good wearing red.  I love red accents in my home…be it on my Libby Langdon sectional sofa, shown here with my family over Christmas Holiday, or the red painted on my bedroom walls.

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2014-12-23 22.07.04And now I’ve determined it to be the signature color for all my mailings. Whether it is a catalogue, leather samples, or thank you card, it will come to you in a red envelope. I know a red envelope would stand out in my mailbox from all other 2014-12-30 15.45.06incoming mail and I like the idea of the attention I anticipate it drawing when the recipient of my mailings opens their box.  No, never any bad news in a red envelope from yours truly.


I am not alone in my love of the color red, as is evident by the customers that have purchased  red pieces and used in a myriad of decorating schemes….

….as Anthony Michael Interior Design did with a Chinese Antique daybed…

AMichael-LP2550_GuestBedroom resized


….or Designer Cynthia Mason accented an entryway in a clients home…

sideboard red cynthia mason


…or how my customers, who worked independent of a designer, found a home for a spot of red themselves….

rai peterson

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…and even used a red velvet chesterfield sofa stage center.

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No, I am far from alone in my love of the color red and enjoy seeing the bold, and even the subtle, ways red is being incorporated into the homes of my customers, infuses me and just makes me feel…well, happy.


ruth heart 1 And on that note, I sign off…until next time/hoping you had a good Valentine’s Day weekend.


P.S. Should you want to share how you use red in your decorating, I would love to see and share.


Oh yes it’s that time of year again, yes indeed it is.2014

Really can’t allow too much more time to pass before it will be “too late” to put out what has become my annual New Year’s missive, recapping 2014 and putting out there my aspirations for 2015…and so here it goes.

ari and nicks weddingWedding bells rang in the air at the Olbrych family this 2014, which in essence was the main theme for the year….and might I say, one I wasn’t aware would be when I wrote my blog this time last year…which you can revisit here….so yes, things got reprioritized as the year panned out.

I really can’t take any credit for the beautiful weddings each of my  girls orchestrated, less the fact that they inherited my love and skill of throwing a good party, as each  did a fabulous job doing just that/throwing  a lovely party for their family and friends….Arianna in Toronto in September, and Avery at Disney in November….yes, my Fall High Point Market was flanked by a wedding on either side.


ave wedding collage

Our family is blessed with the addition on Nick and Jesse, and I, as their mother, am happy that Ari and Ave have each found someone that loves and supports them as these young men do. God Speed to you all.

olbrych fam 3


And so on to 2015 . Can you believe it? This will be my 15th year in business…nothing to sneeze at eh?

I think this landmark anniversary is the perfect impetus to making this A Year of being Thoughtfully Grateful. So, to that end I have launched a Gratitude Campaign….wanting to reach out to ALL that have contributed to getting me from what was an idea of a business, to being a business. There are so many of you!…this is a HUGE job…good thing I have help!

2014-12-23 22.07.04

2015-01-06 16.53.29

Yes,this is my year to say thank you to YOU, and YOU and YOU. To not only the hundreds of customers I have had that have trusted me with providing them with the purchase of a very personal product/giving me opportunity to give the exceptional customer service I like to give…but also tothank you the people that have partnered with me to help get me from there to here, and to those that are quite simply  in my corner. I have so many cheer leaders, supporters, friends and helpers . I am truly humbled.

And so it is with ALL of  YOU in my head that I work.

I look forward to  continue on offering a very interesting product line…whether it be for my own business, distinctive logo smallAntiques by Zaar, or the company I rep, Distinctive Chesterfields.

I look forward to seeing both businesses continue to grow and flourish, one customer at a time.

I look forward to promoting the businesses of others and organizations of which I am a member, namely  WITHIT and High Point Design Center.

I quite simply look forward to sharing my gratitude with my world this year.

….and on that note, a final, only for this missive, Thank You.

May your 2015 be one full of Gratitude, Joy and Thoughtfulness…whether you are the recipient or the giver…it ALL counts.





I didn’t grow up with a dream to have my own business or even more specifically that I would end up in the home furnishings biz.

I grew up knowing that I wanted to make a difference….plain and simple.

For many many years I quite assumed that this would play out  by becoming a social worker and that I would open my home to troubled children as my parents had during my lifetime. And then I went to Haiti , first time as an impressionable 12 year old/ending up as a volunteer fresh out of college, and I thought it made sense to segue from being a cultural liaison, which I did for 3 years,  to pursue a degree in development education and further evolve that which had started with my time in Haiti.

I desperately wanted to help the people of Haiti, of this country where I spent more than 5 years of my life, which I had kado banana cardGOTTEN so much from, including a husband, and to which I wanted to offer something in return.  It was important to me. I was open to ideas.  Giving back to Haiti was how I wanted to make a difference.

Think outside of the box. Remember your goal, help the people of Haiti, and not necessarily by educating Americans, as I was pursuing….how can this be done?

kado cardAs a tour guide I had made many friends in the crafts people of Haiti, with whom I would encourage my visitors to shop. Limited market. Great product.  Help these people by bringing their product to America and selling for them. Over a sandwich at Chez Tony’s, with Mark Olbrych/then fiance/now husband of 28 years,  on Delmas 31 in Port au Prince Haiti, my first business, Kado D’Haiti, was born. Translated “Gifts from Haiti” this name spoke to me at many levels. Not just that the business was selling Gifts From Haiti, but that I had received so many Gifts , I said that already didn’t I?, from Haiti, that I wanted to Gift Back.

Through Kado D’Haiti I felt satisfied that I was making a difference/supporting Haitian families as I bought and sold their crafts. And with moving from Haiti to Boston and then to Waterloo Ontario, I did this…oh yeah, and all the while birthing and raising 3 babies, for nigh on 5 years, at which time a move to Asia would merit me passing the reigns of my precious business to my sister. I was sad, to say good bye to this part of who I was.

For the next 8 years I would be making a difference by being full time mom and expat wife as we moved our family to mark kids 1Bangkok Thailand, and then Taichung Taiwan.  On the side I would contribute to women’s groups…at one point being the “expert” on Making a Life in a Country Not your Own, offering advice to those new to this realm. I was served happily as the consummate party thrower.  It was good.

1999 we would move our family to the States, to start the next chapter…the chapter which my current tribe knows me best for….as owner of Antiques by Zaar. Husband took leave of his corporate career and we started his and her businesses, from our farmhouse in Maine.  Big changes of all sorts for all of us.

zaarlogo2The next 10 years I would make my difference by learning and working a business from it being nothing but a dream and  having a “failure is not an option” attitude, with my husband, to support our family. Well, we did have connections, we did have a corporate guru and we did have a keen sales person, BUT we did NOT have it all figured out before plunging in...that I can assure you.  I guess you could say we had vision and my family counted on living off of the income from this biz, and thus I/we were driven. And we were successful.

But we were now entrenched in the home furnishings biz. Just say 2008 to anybody in this biz and see what kind of reaction/litany of stories you get, on what changes needed to be made to keep it all going.  For our family that meant that husband would leave the biz and return to the corporate world/moving to New York, so we could have a paycheck we could count on to support our 3 college students and, well, our home.

ruth showhouse for home page resized for hpThat was 5 years ago. I took on the whole Antiques by Zaar enchilada, doing whatever needed to be done, and more learning/boning up on the things that husband had done for the biz that I hadn’t touched. My goal was to survive….to not let the economy, or anything, get in the way of this business I was so entrenched/vested in, to  BE.

It was more about making it, than making a difference. Funny thing is though that by making it, by no means am I talking as if I have “arrived”/still very very much a work in progress, I have something to share with others that may be travelling a similar path, and by doing so I am indeed able to stay true to my calling of wanting to make a difference.

I have had numerous road blocks. Quite possibly my self being the biggest.  I have experienced more than my share of doubts. I have been distracted,  and I have  made mistakes. BUT I have not given up on myself, and just when my biggest doubts loom,” something” happens that encourages me forward, call it a God Wink if you will,  to keep on keeping on.

I’ve surrounded myself with people that support, encourage, listen, and offer guidance. I’ve reached out for help. I’ve wordslearned that even though the survival of my business is contingent on ME fueling it forward, that I don’t have to ...actually can’t, do it alone. AND that now that I have survived, it is time to do more than that and THRIVE.

I am further spurred forward to successfully forge my way on, to show other women, that quite frankly, if I can do it, YOU can do it too. Working to be successful in my business is what I need to do to be true to my mission of “making a difference”….and part of that is sharing this with my world,….crawling out from under the rock I’ve been hiding under.

Because I’m so stubborn, and it takes me a LONG time to learn some lessons, this process has taken longer than it “should”, but then again, because it is so very personal might be the very reason it is such a winding road.

I am so thankful for the many female role models I have in my life that SHOW me what ONE WOMAN can do/be, and I raise my glass to them and I aspire to join WITH them in Being a Woman that is Making a Difference.

ruth fb profileOnward and upward.










..because there is no better Gift I could give myself AND my business. End of Story. How’s that for a testimonial eh?

withit ruthThis is not the first time I have written about the value of attending a WITHIT event…  and in fact over the past 4 years I have in one form or another included a reflection, where I have been effusive about what I have garnered from attending a WITHIT sponsored event. Why? Because I get so juiced up about it and can’t stand other people not knowing about it/missing the opportunity.  

Seriously, aside from having High Point Market dates set in stone I also have the annual WITHIT leadership withit bannerconference, which takes place each August, and the WITHIT sponsored New York City inside design tour, which takes place each May, as solid don’t mess with my schedule dates, as they are booked!

Why? Well, I already stated that succinctly above, but more so, as my years in WITHIT grow in number so do the benefits that I reap as I embrace all that membership in this vital networking group has to offer, and there is no better way to get sold on the benefits of being a WITHIT member then by attending their leadership conferences. Talk about bang for your buck!

withit gals 2As with every WITHIT sponsored event it is done first class. Great venues. Inspiring speakers. Breakout sessions, round tables (of which I had the honor of moderating one a couple of years back), and loads of opportunities to start and foster friendships that simply grow organically as you take this time to be with what feels like a curated group of women that are your peers and subsequently your friend once you say hello.

Jena Hall, one of the founding members of WITHIT, implanted an image in my mind, during her presentation a couple of years back, that epitomizes my association with what  I’ve coined as my #withitgalpals….and that is of a string of women, on a stairwell if you will, each with her arms outstretched. Each is reaching up with her right arm as someone is there grasping it/ elevating her and with her other arm each is reaching down as she is elevating another. THAT in a nutshell is  what I feel about my experience at each and every gathering. We each have something to get and we each have something to give. Perfection! Need to create that actual image at next conference, don’t you think?

I write this on the cusp of the Spring 2014 High Point Furniture Market . I’ve been participating in the furniture market since 2004. My, how my Market experience has changed since those early days of coming here alone and working alone….

Here in 2014  am looking forward to sharing a house with 5 other women, all of whom I am honored to call my friends…or my withitgalpals, as we all indeed share membership in this group and how I met them all.  :)

I look forward to attending the WITHIT sponsored events, including pre market kick off, Sunday breakfast and Competitive Intelligence,  where I can foster those budding relationships and spark new ones….and also be educated/inspired!


I look forward to hosting my own Lunch n Learn on Sunday, where John Lusher will be speaking on Social Media for Interior Designers….John, who I initially “met” on twitter back in 2009 via fellow WITHIT members. I look forward to having, as I have had the pleasure of experiencing in Market’s past,  a bevy of WITHIT supporters attend said event. And I look forward to using this event as a platform to promote WITHIT to my guests. 

I similarly  look forward to supporting the many WITHIT members that have showrooms, are hosting events, seminars/lunches/parties and/or are launching product lines in various showrooms.  The list here is impressive and way too long to include here.

CRLaine_Logo_2012xxxI look forward to spending a fair bit of time in the CR Laine Showroom, where my Chinese antiques are working hand in hand to showcase the wonderful products put out by this NC based company. Their VP of merchandising, a WITHIT connection initially sparked on facebook and then fostered at Market breakfasts, has grown into a mutually satisfying trade partnership and friendship…simultaneously.

We are an impressive lot, if I do say so myself, and we are entrenched in the High Point Market at so many levels….to the point where High Point Market practically serves as another WITHIT sponsored event.

So, yes, quite abit to look forward to. What a great back drop with which to do business all the while, wouldn’t you say?

And you know where I will be May 16-19 and Aug 11-13.  Hope to  have the pleasure of seeing you in New York and Atlanta GA respectively as well.

In the meanwhile, a successful High Point Market to all.





abyzaar trad homeYou can’t imagine my delight when I received this sweet tweet from Suysel Cunningham, advising me of the inclusion of Antiques by Zaar in the most recent article produced by Traditional Home announcing the new  fabric line put out by Tilton Fenwick for Duralee. pg 34-35.

In an accompanying email it was evident that Suysel was excited for this exposure for my collection/wanting me to know that Antiques by Zaar would be listed as a resource within the pages of the magazine. Here she was introducing a new fabric line and taking the time to ensure I was tuned into this publicity for my business?!

This personableness is further reflected in how Suysel and Anne chose to name many of their fabrics for the people that have supported their business…ie Quintessence fabric being named after the blog with that same name as penned by Stacey Bewkes. See her comprehensive blog here, on the Tilton Fenwick fabric line intro.

So, congratulations to Suysel and Anne, being the tilton fenwick-the gals“shooting  stars” that you have been in the few short years of your collaboration….notably acknowledged by TradHome back in May, 2011, and which I wrote about here, along with my own history being on the pages of  Traditional Home magazine, which begins with inclusion in the 2008 article, “Its Good to be Ching”  ..and more specifically for this most recent accomplishment where you simply continue to shine…and with so much style!

My own association with Tilton Fenwick does go back a ways…to the time when Suysel was working for Markham Roberts, when she landed online at Antiques by Zaar  for her project work, and delightfully so, for herself personally as well.  That takes us back to 2005, when she purchased the classic black sideboard featured in the article, where the teams fabric line is so beautifully showcased and the sideboard serves as a relevant accent to complement the ensemble.

Tilton Fenwick- abyzaar copy

From that beginning, where we were introduced by way of our mutual love of Chinese Antiques, followed by a few chatty calls, we have continued to  maintain a salient presence in each other’s lives for these 9 years!  and a friendship has evolved as our paths continue to cross….

…for adding a “touch of Asian” to their decorating schema s is something the team leans towards, as is  apparent from the various projects they have had published, and which  I’ve happily had a hand in and which I’m equally happy to share a smattering of here…

Purposing a Chinese Kitchen Cabinet as a linen cupboard in a bathroom….this trend written  about in my blog posting entitled, Chinese Armoires in the Bathroom? Mais Oui.

tilton fenwick-kitchen cabinetbathroom

Using a Chinese Book/Display case (and porcelain stool) in their well received showroom, a bloggers office,  for the popular  NYC fundraiser Design on a Dime, and written about here.

Tilton Fenwick

…and again, at the usage of a porcelain stool, in their Southampton 2012  Show house of which I included in a blog posting, quipping how These Gals are EVERYWHERE.


Again, congratulations and continued success to this dynamic duo. Happy  to be a part of your world and look forward to many more years of collaboration, and, yes, friendship. Just LOVE how such wonderful people come into my world by way of my business. Great stuff!


If you haven’t purchased your copy of the most recent Traditional Home you can see  the full article at this link…Tilton Fenwick- Trad Home

Since 2009 I have added to my habit of recapping my year prior, that of putting forth word(s) of “intention” for the2014 3 year forward. Again, as I reflect on how the past year panned out, keeping these stated  intentions in mind, I have come to realize that  a thread  is indeed woven throughout that year with that intention serving as anchor/backdrop for all that I have done.  It’s like an invisible thread that you aren’t always conscious of, but, as it was set, is there…if you let it be. I realized this more fully as I reread the below missives for each year…and yes, it put a smile on my face and encouraged me to continue on with this for yet another year….as it serves a relevant purpose.

Past years….2009 Responsibility.  2010 Structure and Discipline (although on recap felt that the year actualized to be “determination, ownership and accountability.” 2011 Focus, Presence, Growth. 2012 Honor, Believe, Achievable , 2013 My Best Self

….and now for 2014.

Connect:  Why Connect?

Anybody that knows me would question why I would focus on the word Connect, for as to even the casual observer, connecting would be something that I would be considered quite good at …. 53 years of Life experiences…. 5 countries of residence, bearing roles of volunteer, mother of 3, wife of 27 years, expat, business owner, dog breeder…just to scratch the surface...yes, LIFE have given me PLENTY to Connect about…

Similarly, no surprise that when I took Tom Rath’s Strength Finders Test that Connectedness was one of my top 5 Strengths…all noted in this missive.  However, I have determined that this Gift I do have, really and truly needs to be Optimized, at ALL levels…..DEEPENING the connections with My…

zaarlogo smallSelf. To stay true, to stay tuned, to stay present, to be responsible, to stay intentional. Eat well, sleep well, exercise well, spend/save well….get the idea? 

God. To draw on The Strength and hold the Faith that can be found only through this particular and most                           important Deepened Connection. Morning “reflection” time serves well to foster this.

zaarlogo smallPurpose. Yes, to dig deeper and hold onto what I deem My Purpose… which, by the way, if I had to pin it down would be to “make a difference” and to do it with Passion.

Past. I know we’re supposed to let our past go, but I’d rather work to put it/keep it in perspective. Respect the                lessons learned, appreciate it and understand it is part of who I am today….the good, bad and the ugly.

zaarlogo smallGifts. To respect the Gifts I have been blessed with. To Sing, to Write, To Share…and yes, to connect.🙂

Family. To BE Love …. for these people I call my Family…that from whence I came and that which I  have                        created.

zaarlogo smallFriends. To those I already have the privilege of calling my dear friends, and to those I can’t wait to call my friend.

Business. To remember that it is only I that can Believe it forward, AND that I have an amazing group of                           supporters, peers,  happy past customers and a boatload of potential customers that are just waiting for me to                call on them to be part of this movement….not to mention a steady flow of opportunities just there for the taking.

zaarlogo smallGrateful Spirit. To ALWAYS remember to be Thankful.

So, yes, Connection is at the absolute Core of my Intention for 2014, and, per above, a tall order.  And yes, although considered a “top strength” I honestly don’t feel that I am truly optimizing this Gift/Strength that I acknowledge as mine….and man alive…IF I can truly make this my focus for this year, optimizing this Gift, what great and wonderful things will further result from what I truly love and thrive on. The sky is the absolute limit.

Yes, what an exciting year to anticipate with this as my invisible thread pulling me forward.

Thank you for letting me share this here. Taking the time to think this through/put it out there simply serves a step towards accountability. Talked about that in my last blog eh? Yes, ALL tied together.🙂 Look forward to staying true to this as the year pans out before me.

And you. What are the words that you are putting out there to pull you forward into making 2014 the great year it can be for you? Would love to know.



2014Here it is again….the beginning of a New Year…and here I am doing what I have consistently done for the past 5 years, setting forth a blog that encapsulate’s the year prior to put into context the year forward.  Have taken time to re read these blogs and I am touched by my honesty, passion and drive that I feel consistently flying off the screen. And so, after a hiatus in writing I am hunkering down to keep this tradition alive.

IMG_0502Similarly, as I prepped to do this years annual New Year entry, I found myself re reading the January pages of my daily diary, which I am now entering year 8 in keeping, reminding me a little more succinctly of what was just a year ago. It was on that very first day of 2013 that I concluded my first entry by stating….” 2012 was a year where it  took all I had , physically and emotionally, to move from  my life in Maine, to this new life I am creating for myself now in Maryland. THE JOB (for 2013)  -to bring my Best Self to the table and to work and live with purpose, passion, compassion, love and integrity. Amen and onward.”

So, how did I do?  Well, before going there I need to couch this in the fact that what I felt  I knew for sure, was that I needed help to do this. I couldn’t do this alone and I was ok with that.  And so it was, with this  “Best Self” mission in mind I joined the band wagon of various networking/support groups that I thought would help me forward. I became a member of Jane Pollak’s Soul Proprietor Mentorship community. I attended the Savor the Success Rock the World Conference and signed up for their NYC based monthly networking/mastermind meetings. I attended the WITHIT leadership conference, I continued to receive input from my Maine and Maryland based SCORE mentors and most recently I attended the Personal Success Institute Seminar in NYC.

words woman cardAll good, being a part of these  dynamite communities, feeding off the energy, success and support of others, looking for ways to maximize myself in my life/ truly seeking to unearth what it was that I felt was holding me back from spurring myself forward to a higher plane.  And each of them offered bundles of wisdom and value, and ALL of them various forms of accountability, and new opportunities for friendship. But it just wasn’t clicking like I thought it should. Yes, I kept looking for someone to be THAT person to hold me accountable and frankly, as good willed/well intentioned/well poised each opportunity for such was, it wasn’t sticking for me. Because, I  now realize, that, in the long run,that it is I alone that have to be fully accountable to myself first and foremost. I have to want it bad enough….to Be that Best Self….to negate/change bad self inhibiting habits/point of view, to reach out to people, to ACCEPT AND ACT ON the help that is indeed offered. I had to be more intentional. I had to stop whining/thinking too much and simply DO.

And so now, with the year behind me, I ask myself this question. How did I do?  Not in straightforward fashion, but in my own zig zig zagzagged and with moments of being stalled fashion, and after truly pondering this, I can say that I really did ok.

My Personal Life: We are a package deal and having one’s personal life in order is as imperative to a successful business as is anything. And having one’s own business, one of the great benefits, is being able mom and aveto take time to do things that matter with the people that matter to you… going to Disney and running the Princess Half Marathon with my daughter Avery, or making a trip to Toronto specifically to support my daughter Arianna, in a fund raising event she organized/was responsible for, for the Canadian Brain Tumor Fund, or as simple as actually taking down time on weekends with my husband for outdoor activities…taking advantage of life on the Eastern Shore of MD, with biking, kayaking, boating and fishing.

New Home, New Life:  Last October moved to Maryland after being in Maine for 13 years. Need to meet new people….and hard to do when you travel as much as I do, and already having strong networks both in High Point NC and NYC. BUT with concerted effort I am making inroads to establishing a network in MD. The  Kent’s Island United Methodist Church choir is where I get my fix to sing and find my joy with a welcoming group of people.  Club One boot camp classes. FINALLY started attending classes regularly just the week before Thanksgiving…although on the brain at least since July.  6:00 am boot camp classes 3 times/week, not only offer a great work out, but also more to meeting people AND has helped to adjust my working/sleeping schedule to IMG_0342something that is simply healthier….ie, no more working until 2:00 am for me. And,  after a year  of living with antique white on IMG_0459my walls I took the time to focus on putting life into the walls of my home and filled them with COLOR, COLOR, COLOR….ALL of my favorite colors fill the walls of my home…red, purple, citrus, teal, blue and green…YUM. Further delight in opening my color drenched home for my first party in Maryland, inviting neighbors and new friends from choir/gym for a Christmas Open House. LOVE having people eat, drink and be merry in my Home…just love it.  And ended the year with the most delightful of Christmas’s  with all of my children and their significant others, gathered all around me.

That’s it, the back drop for the movement I was able to simultaneously  make, and  recognize as being made,  in what is my business life.

zaarlogo2For 13 years I have successfully been selling Chinese Antiques on line…my greatest gift is in making the prospective customer comfortable with the process and trustworthy of the company and the product they are interested in.  I continue to enjoy doing this for Antiques by Zaar, but this past year I was able to extend this expertise through yet another venue, working as US Sales rep for a British based company called Distinctive Chesterfields….an added nuance to my already busy life that keeps me more than busy and happily doing what I love most/connecting with people as I help meet a need. Add to this the ruth fb profilefact that other  business relationships that have been fostered over the years have reached a level where business is materializing, coupled with the aforementioned personal triumphs, I can honestly can say I have ended 2013 well….no  BUTS about it….bringing my “Best Self” to this New Year…no, not perfect, but a version on My Self that has evolved over this year to this place where I find myself further poised to work AND continue  living  with Purpose, Passion, Love and Integrity.

Bring it on 2014.


Dusting. Not a fan. And yesterday afternoon as I donned the duster and spray I moaned the fact that this had to simply be the epitome of working IN my business, not ON my business. What was up? Was I not making any kind of headway? Anyone can do this. How did I manage end up with duster in hand, doing THIS job? I was supposed to be concentrating on “big picture” stuff, not dusting!

But, there was no one else available… least not during the time I had allocated to do it. …and, per below, it appeared that I NEEDED this job, at this time, to put things into perspective, for that “big picture.”

NOTE: with the help I did have yesterday we, together, did the “heavy” ,thoughtful and relevant work of setting up the showroom, placing the new load of chesterfields and chairs that greeted me on my loading dock yesterday. Yes, we were looking pretty, but, still, sadly, dusty .


Was going to start in the back, as it seemed to be the dustiest, but then determined better to start at the front, for, IF I didn’t get the job100_2739 done (which I pretty much did…yeah me!) then at least when people entered they would feel welcomed straight away, and that was the start of a change of attitude.

What was I whining about? I expected people to come by and I wanted them to feel that we had prepared for their arrival, that they felt welcomed. I should be excited to dust, to anticipate, and yes, to welcome.

And so, to the drone of the fluorescent lights  I made my way through each of the 3 rooms of my 12,000 square foot showroom, putting out the welcome mat with each spray and swish….all the while in a rather communal state as  I reconnected with my purpose.

zaarlogo2Antiques by Zaar, my now 13 year old business of providing customers with beautifully hand picked treasures from China.  Antiques by Zaar, that business that has opened up my world to a bevy of people that I otherwise would never have met. Antiques by Zaar, that entity that I’ve chosen as the vehicle to give me voice. Antiques by Zaar, that anchor for the newer ZAAR Design Center.

ZDC_topAh, ZAAR Design Center. That vision of creating a collaborative showroom. ZAAR Design Center, a venue for companies to showcase their product all year round in High Point, not only during Markets but also in between….supporting the mission of the High Point Design Center.  ZAAR Design Center, that “address” for those that appreciate the value of a High Point address, with or without another showroom.  ZAAR Design Center, a warm place to do business with more than a handful of companies that have great product, represented by people of great substance.  ZAAR Design Center,  a good place to do business from and a good place to grow….together.


DSCN8193You might question is this for real? She went down this road while dusting?  I truly did and I felt so compelled to share this as it is simply yet another example of how an attitude change can altar your mindset for a job at hand.  Frankly, I think it surprised me that I got so reflective and full of “warm fuzzies” while dusting.  Yes, I hate dusting at the best of times (not quite as much as vacuuming and ironing though) and thus why I think it so relevant that I was able to Shift as I did. My mind was open to it and I allowed it, and it happened, and when I Ieft yesterday I did so with   knowing that when I opened the doors today that I, AND my guests, would most definitely feel WELCOMED, as I had prepared…and yes, dusted.


…or, the Magic Penny Effect.

withit conf imageIn August I attended the annual WITHIT  (Women in the Home Furnishing Industry Today) conference, which had as it’s theme “The Vision of the Modern Renaissance Woman.)  My 4th time. It is ALWAYS a great great conference and I ALWAYS come away from it fired up and warmed up by the bonding that occurs during the conference. But for the first time I determined that I was ready to step it up a notch….not quietly  be present, taking it all in, but to work a little harder at putting myself out there.  This meant sucking in a deep breath (on more than one occasion) and yes, ASKING. As a result…. I had a place to rest my head the night before conference, and further fostered a budding friendship,  I have a new accountability partner, all because of a decaf Starbucks encounter,  I have a great speaker lined up for Market, because I approached her after hearing at a round table we both attended that she was already lined up/wondered if she’d be interested in adding a new venue to her schedule….and she said YES,  I have some great ideas that need to implemented into my social media outreach, because I thanked someone for encouraging me along in my forays on social media way back in 2008,  and  I have benefitted by reaching out and calling on women that I’ve come to know and respect, for advice and counsel, as I determine the next right step to take to grow my business. You know who you are.🙂

Sara King, principal at Optimum Insights, led one of the break out sessions at above mentioned conference, offered a new perspective on “asking” when she put out to the room full of women….”who here felt  good doing things for other people,” To this  the room immediately filled with raised hands. She further put out to us…”when we don’t ask we rob the giver the ability to give/feel good…like we feel when we give”. Hmmmm.

I don’t really believe in coincidences, but more in serendipity, and I think ASKING , either by you or by someone else, is what helps make such moments serendipitous and furthered to be times of connection. All this to say I guess my mind was open to this ASKING mentality when, shortly following the conference  I was ASKED for a unique request, which I responded to…well, read about it below…

Christian Cedras, the managing partner of the BHi Music Group,  is the epitome of being an  asking agent and he started a chain of asking that ended up in a photoshoot that I helped pull together….yes, by carrying on the ASKING.

ruth and jon and the jones

Jon and the Jones,  a newly formed NYC based band, which he represents, he felt NEEDED a traditional English chesterfield sofa as backdrop for the band’s marketing materials, as it spoke to their unique style.  So he went about the mission of securing a sofa for said shoot…unabashedly advising that he wanted to do this for as little cash outlay as possible.

Nuts and bolts he ends up calling me, for, as, in addition to having Antiques by Zaar,  I am the US Sales Rep for a company called Distinctive Chesterfields. He asked did we have a NY showroom. No.  We chatted for a bit as I tried to figure out how I could help him get what he needed. He then went on to ASK did I have a NY customer that might be ok to let the group use a sofa?  Brazen eh?  I delayed slightly and then said YES, and immediately thought of my customer  John Angier (also in the music business as an arranger) if he’d be up for this unusual request. He actually  was but there was a scheduling conflict and he couldn’t offer his sofa for a couple of weeks. Band was wanting to shoot the photos sooner rather than later. So, I ASKED yet another NY customer, Esther Budanitsky, a newly minted lawyer, that I thought just might be up for it. Go figure, admittedly an unusual request, but she thought it would be fun and so said YES.

End result. The band got the shots they needed, with the “perfect” backdrop….and within their budget.  Esther enjoyed opening up her home for this unique request and the lot of us all left the evening with a sense of kinship that was fostered in all the Giving that was Gifted in those ASKING moments.

jon and the jonesSide notes.  Christian and his fiance Krista and I share a connection to Haiti on many many levels…including fact that his aunt owned the house my parents rented and which has served as a guest house for missionaries for over 20 years.  In casual conversation found out that when Esther first moved to NYC she shared  an apartment, not only in the same building we currently have an apt, but on very same floor!

Esther and I grew our connection from customer -sales rep to new level of friendship and we both felt good about being part of this bands launching, taking a very keen interest in their path to success….and looking forward to hearing them in concert at B.B. King, headlining the Charity Concert for the 9/11 Memorial Foundation on September 17th.

Recalling this all simply gives me a warm fuzzy, and further makes me realize what my big takeaway was at the conference.

And so, I will continue to work on ASKING, and I will continue to see what opportunities come my way by saying yes to someone else ASKING. Nuts and bolts is, “it’s all good.”


….DRINKS With Libby, and, and, and….

withit logo squareWITHIT,  is first and foremost a networking group for, just as it’s acronym says, Women in The Home Furnishings Industry Today…but what you possibly don’t count on, is the Gift of hard and fast friendship that you receive from so many of the women that you meet as you frequent the events planned by the organization. It’s like a pool of people have been handpicked for you and all you need to do is show up and fuel the connection that has been ignited by shared membership in this group. How cool is that?

I first joined WITHIT in 2008, and by the nature of the person who introduced me to the organization, the ever so lovely Kathleen Holterman, I knew I would be in good company. However, it would take me until 2010 to FINALLY NYTourmanage it into my schedule  to attend their annual NYC  Inside Design Tour, blog on most recent tour here….of which I now plan as part of my April each year, followed by attending  the Leadership Conference that same year, held each August…ditto there. NOT to be missed.

What I didn’t anticipate this year was a 2nd Design Tour to follow in June. How lucky could I be???  Yes, it would be my good fortune to be included on what I have quipped as the Long Island Inside Design Tour as organized by Deborah Klein, of DK Inside Designer…who I met on that very first NYC tour, and have been friends with since.

The ever generous Deborah pulled together a fabulous weekend that was delicious on so many fronts that I hardly IMG_0103know where to start.  She seamlessly brought together a group of people that knew each other, Betty Lyn Eller, Alicia Connolly, herself and yours truly (yes, all WITHIT members/who spent the weekend together….TOO much to write about/include here)  and merged us on Sunday with NY based Designers that she does business with ,each that just knew Deborah, and toured us around Sag Harbor, orchestrated lunch in the park, a visit to English Country Antiques and then to the inaugural Hampton Holiday House before heading to the home of Libby Langdon for cocktails, photo opps and more time to mingle/get to know each other.

IMG_0208She used the Holiday House as the anchor,  to gather us all together, and created a day of it.

And before going any further, if you haven’t had a chance to visit the Holiday House, you still have until Monday July 21st to do so….it is worth it and it supports the cause of Breast Cancer Research.


Everyone tours these homes with their unique perspective, but the takeaway is the same…of being visually  and creatively delighted and inspired.

Personally for me it was my delight to see two of my Antiques by Zaar customers presenting rooms at the house. Thom design house group picFilicia, AbyZaar customer since 2002 and WITHIT Supporter,  happen chanced by for a visit and took the time for a photo with our group, and Design House of the Hamptons, customer since 2011,which positioned an Antiques by Zaar Chinese Greek Key Console  in their “ladies room”.


And of course a pleasure to support the work of fellow WITHIT member Libby Langdon, who took on the project of the hallway to showcase her new line of peelable wall paper, skills as a photographer and her carpet line.

After said inspiring visit it was off to Libby’s Long Island home for a cozy evening of cocktails. As we took over her living room, the energy and fervor was audible as the air filled with the dance of words as women that had only met that day became friends.

We were a group of 11, 4 of which held membership in WITHIT…. one of us being the 2013 president. Somewhere in the course of the chatter a natural opening came for Betty Lynn to espouse the benefits of joining WITHIT and participating in our events. IE, you want more of “this” then come on along and you will NOT be disappointed….and she had 4 in the peanut gallery supporting this, including our 2 hosts.

End of the evening we all left giving each other hugs and saying how great it was to get to know you/promises to stay connected…and with social media, an easy promise to keep.


Yes, we all had in common the bond that we work in some part of the Home Furnishings Industry. A more salient bond is  that most of us also share the common denominator of working solo…be it in home office or studio, and although dealing with people and product daily, we work in a bubble. On a day like this the bubble was broken for many of us as we joined with others that experience a similar working environment.

007Deborah, you did good. Thank you so much for joining us all together and orchestrating all…taking us out of our respective bubbles and leading us through an inspirational day…and for some of us weekend.

And Libby, thank you for your kind hospitality in opening up your home to us.

I for one left the weekend feeling like I was on a cloud, with immense gratitude  for how my world continues to be enriched by the gift of friendship from my growing bevy of “gal pals”…and not to forget all the Design Inspiration.

For pix of the Design Tour Day, click here, and for pix of the entire weekend click here.


P.S. My walk on a cloud continued for yet another two days as I extended my time in Long Island to visit Antiques by IMG_0276Zaar customer, since 2002,  come friend, Sylvia Muller, proprietor of the Mill House Inn in East Hampton….THE place to stay in the Hamptons…and, per new AbyZaar customer/old friend of the Mullers suggested, it  could also be touted as the Antiques by Zaar Showroom of the Hamptons for all the AbyZaar merchandise that has found a home at Mill House.

….we are here to Lift Up and to Be Lifted Up.  

I LOVE the image this evokes, don’t you? Thank you Jenna Hall for implanting this in my brain, during your address to withit logo squarethe WITHIT Conference attendees what is now 2 years ago. Will need to capture that image in real life…next WITHIT event🙂

Seriously, we ALL have something to offer each other. Nobody has nothing to give. But we are all at different places in our lives, and it only takes a spark of a conversation for the door to open for such a beautiful transaction to occur where you either find yourself Giving or Getting….the real beauty in that you Get when you Give…this is not new news eh?.

withiti inside design

And what a beautiful thing to experience this first hand, full out, with a group of women, Gifting this to each other. This is what has been my experience this past 3 days in New York, as a participant of WITHIT’s Annual NYC Inside Design Tour….and it can be yours too. Yes, a plug for WITHIT’s Annual Conference right here.

It is my 4th year on the tour, and each tour I come away with the self same feeling of exuberance ,of being fully withit ruthrecharged/energized and just plain excited for the camaraderie that has been felt throughout the entire event, and this year is no different….why should it be?  All the ingredients for a fantastic experience are there.

The Venue/The  Planning Team

NYC as the “venue”. How can you go wrong there?

Hostesses Betty Lyn Eller, yes, our 2013 prez, and Jana Platina-Phipps (and committee of Deboarh Klein and Alicia Connolly)  care so  deeply about the experience they want the tour members to have and it shows. Each year simply builds on the year before.

The Doors We Were Welcomed Into

stiletto network bookThis year the weekend was launched with a cocktail party  in the to die for apartment of a client of Mary Knackstead, WITHIT member….and so much more,  topped off with a book signing of Stiletto Network by Pamela Rykman.

Other Doors?  Carpet Town, Baker, Crosby Street Hotel…all in Soho, Good Housekeeping Research Institute, Tinsel Trading, Global Views Showroom,  and Apartment Therapy …also a WITHIT member.

withit jana and betty lynThis is by no means a complete list…yes, we covered ALOT of ground…. of what we experienced this weekend…simply these are the places and people that hosted us,welcomed us, and fed us, ever so graciously….and on Sunday it was a group of drowned rats that came through each door….ending with a wonderful sit down dinner at the National Arts Club, thank you to WITHIT member/artist Barbara Krohn, for opening this door for us, topped off with a book signing by designer Celerie Kemble.

The Tour Members

As members of WITHIT, the one thing we all have in common is an affiliation to the Home Furnishings Industry. And under that umbrella there is a phenomenal  gambit of expertise, from all angles and spectrum s of the industry, which in and of itself is inspiring.

The other thing we all have in common is that we have each taken time out of our busy lives to come together for 3 days of “inspiration” as that is what we’ve been promised…ie, it better be worth it eh???🙂

withit good housekeeping

withit park gals

withit dinner

I don’t think I am out of line in saying that every single participant of the tour left NY with a glow…one that was garnered from a weekend that wasn’t only educational and inspirational from the well crafted and executed program, but was completed by the many exchanges that happened at the cocktail parties, lunches/dinners, and yes, walking from one event to the other.  We all left feeling like we had fed off of each other…feeling less alone, feeling understood,  supported, inspired and acknowledged….and more.

withit subway

stiletto network

Yes, WITHIT is definitely part of the “Stiletto Network”….and I am so thrilled to be part of what is a new and exciting movement that is sweeping the nation….of women, executed by women and not only for other women but for the world. As we join forces, helping each other UP, we are indeed changing the world.


P.S. Want more pix of the WITHIT weekend in NYC ?  Check out the Pinterest Board where all are invited to post our fave pix.  Also, HERE are my pix on my personal Facebook page.

With the onset of Social Media we have been given many challenges as well as many opportunities. The challenge, if you will, is to carve out the time, to take advantage of the given opportunities of growing the visibility of ones business over the air waves.

IMG_0583It can be seen as a quagmire of sorts and thus intimidating and daunting. It was in a presentation I gave at ZAAR Design Center, on April 21st, that I tried to sort this out for those that joined me for our Lunch N Learn, which focused on Growing One’s Online Presence, based on 12 years of having an online based business.

I don’t pretend to know it all, but I do know that I’ve learned a few things along the way, and that I am continually learning, and thus tweaking and adjusting as I continue on.  AND I believe very much in the premise of what Social Media is based on…building relationships with people online as being viable. Letting people know who you are and connecting with people. Giving you and your business a place to show and grow in the cyber world is a great asset to your business. Yes, a Gift!

However, over the years I, like most, have adjusted, and continue to adjust, what I can expect from myself to maintain this presence, and still have time for wearing the many other hats I don as an entrepreneur.

For instance, my blogging. I LOVE to write. I have plenty to write about.  I LOVE to connect with people with this blogmedium, and for a time I attempted to put out at least 2 blogs/week, using that as my main source of drawing people in.  I found that I couldn’t keep up with this and was letting the guilt of not blogging as regularly as you “should” , at least to be “relevant” in the blogging world, get in the way of my joy of sharing/being what it was meant to be. Yes, have curbed this to once/month for each biz.

And then there are the relevant portals where my customer base is hanging out. No, it is not enough anymore just to twitter fb and linkhave your website well ranked. We are to go where our customers are.  I don’t need to quote you the statistics that qualify that it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Houzz.

So the question is how do you maximize the output across the airwaves, with the least amount of time? And, as I shared in my presentation, I feel that I’ve come to a place where I’m able to do this, taking a relatively small amount of time to put it out there. And yes, blogging still remains relevant, as does putting out  a newsletter, like my blogging, once/month newsletter for each biz, to your already defined audience….but want to focus here on those daily nudges to show your’e present.

For maximum punch it matters where you house the photos you post, just keep an eye on the stats on your website as sources of traffic and you’ll see what I mean, where you draw them from to further  share.


pinterest-iconPinterest and Houzz are  THE places from which you want to house, no pun houzz iconintended/ok, maybe just a little bit intended, your photos. The subtle photos are those that show, in my case Chinese Antiques or Product from ZAAR Design Center, your product/service in settings. And then there are the less subtle photos of your product, with descriptions and prices…and links to your website that  is in perfect form to put out there as well. These places, and I’m told Instagram should be included here, although just jumping on that bandwagon now, are where you want your photos to come from.


twitter fb and linkWhere do you want them to go? Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. All of them.

And when do you want them to go?  Early morning, noon, and early evening…all prime times.

How do you want to get them there when you want them to go, without planning to be at your computer/on your phone, managing this constantly?

Tweet deck and Hoot suite are 2 of the most commonly used dashboards for such. I use Hoot suite and can only comment on that portal, but I think both operate pretty similarly.

On a perfect day I will end it with the following practice in place. Log into Hoot suite   Pull up either  my Pinterest or Houzz account…feel free to follow me on either one and/or the other. Grab a photo, one either shared by a customer or found in the cyber world, and add a comment that pertains to the image.  Use the scheduling function on Hoot suite for it to go out around 7:00 the next morning….on Twitter, Linked in and Facebook.  Then, go back and find a product photo of a piece similar and more directly suggest that I have such available in my collection, and post this around noon time, or early evening.  I do this both for Antiques by Zaar and ZAAR Design Center.

I’ve been doing some variation of  this rather consistently since mid January and have grown my audience for Antiques by Zaar on Facebook from 735 to over 1,000 and have a decent percentage of people “talking” about it. Also do this for ZAAR Design Center, a newer business, and as such a smaller base audience. Mid January I had 35 “likes” on that page, and that has now grown to 282, although with the help of a 10.00/day Facebook targeted ad helping that get a boost.

I am well aware that Social Media is all about engaging and that this approach is simply about growing your presence with a daily practice…and this blog is already long enough without delving further….not to mention I have other thoughts on how to invite people into your circle…yet another missive for that. This is a way to let people know you exist, to entice them into your circle. After that the meat of it happens by taking it a step further and engaging/deepening a relationship.

IMG_0593In closing I would like to also point out that my personal Facebook page is (and fully intend on adding twitter to this/just not as comfortable there ….yet!) where a lot of engagement happens….whereas I see the biz pages more as a place to post regularly…less engagement happening there.  I am my business and the people I hope to do business with I anticipate many to become my friends (just my way!) and thus I have no qualms, tastefully, sharing my personal world with my business world, not unlike how I’ve been doing in my online newsletters since 2004…just ask anyone who’s on my list🙂,  on my personal Facebook page, where I share my world and my Self.

I welcome you to My World and I welcome any comments/questions or tips you may have to add to this. We all have something to learn from each other and I welcome any tips that may be useful to me and my audience.


P.S. For you High Point Market goers, check out my Pinterest Board on ZAAR Friends/Highlights @ Market.

866 868 9227

2013-02-21 16.59.02I have just returned home to Maryland for a few short days before hitting the road again next week. I would be remiss in not capsulizing what was an incredible trip that made most question my sanity when advised what my schedule was…. to be at Unity in NC and 2 days later in FL, prepping for my first 1/2 marathon. Frankly, it was empowering enough in and of itself…the fact that I actually made it work logistically.

But on a deeper level…

As a member of the High Point Design Center, since 2008, I have attended the February Unity in Design event each year.hpdc new logo bar

hpdc unity 2013

For a quick primer on what this event is all about, I akin it to a mini Market. Member showrooms are open for the 2 day event which is geared specifically to designers, who are also treated to breakfasts, lunches and networking cocktail parties, for the duration…not to mention a solid roster of educational events relevant to the industry.

 It is one of the 4 times/year that I KNOW I will be in High Point, the other 2 being the High Point Furniture Market and the 4th being the annual WITHIT Leadership Conference.  I  attend to promote both of my businesses, Antiques by Zaar and ZAAR Design Center, the former which serves as anchor for the latter.  And each time I leave High Point after said event, I do so with a warm glow, knowing I did right by my biz to be there.  For not only is it a good opportunity to draw in new customers, it is also a great opportunity Unity elvesfor me to connect at a deeper level with those that are working, as am I, to foster a year round business to the trade, in High Point. I am energized by this commitment we share and the way in which we serve to support each other AND the needs of our customers….more on this on ZAAR Design Center blog that will roll out following this missive.

2013-02-20 16.27.37 UNITY 2013 was the perfect time for ZAAR  to launch the introduction of our newest Trade Partner, Sans Souci Sisters. With all the warm fuzzies about it seemed the perfect opportunity  to inaugurate the permanent presence of Christmas @ ZAAR. Yes, Sans Souci Sisters are your GO TO workshop to have one of a kind heritage and memory Santa Claus’s handcrafted to your specifications. Suffice it to say, we are ecstatic to have Kimberley and her heart warming Santa s as a permanent fixture at ZAAR.

Thank you to all that put out so much effort to make this entire event what it was….those that organized it and also those that came to take benefit of what was organized just for them. I truly feel it to be a  win win and why I tout it/support it/participate in it as I do.

So, fueled by all these positive juices I scurried out after the cocktail party/silent auction, that was organized to benefit the Sandbox organization, which by all counts was a smashing success, to make the 6 hour drive back to my new home in MD, just long enough to change suitcases, and catch a bus to NYC, where I would be meeting my daughter for what would be a “power up” of a different nature, in Orlando FL.

Yes, I would be changing up my business attire to a tutu, matching ones made by daughter Avery, and join over 25,000 others , over 22,000 of these being women, in the 5th annual Disney Princess 1/2 marathon, in support of the Leukemia/Lymphoma Foundation. Leave it up to my Disney Darling to add this to my bucket list… no, it wasn’t on it, but as a reasonably regular runner, not an unreasonable thing to ponder as something I would do….although the most I had ever done in the past was a 10 k. The prospect of doing it in a tu tu did take some of the seriousness out of the fact we were to complete 13.1 miles!

mom and aveThe energy of literally thousands of people, at 4:00 am, in the Disney Park, decked out in assorted costumes, yes,with a high preponderance of tu tus….including on several men, was something in and of itself amazing to be part of. So many people, EACH with their own goals, to meet by completing 13.1 miles, one way or the other. I could only vouch for what my goals were for this.

The obvious one was to simply complete it, and to that end I have been reminded that you really can do anything you set your mind to. Not going to lie, after doing a solid 8 miles without stopping, I did let my head start to get to me, and my attitude wasn’t the healthiest. Although I was determined NOT to walk over the finish line, my pace had pretty much deteriorated to what could be considered a fast shuffle.

And this  brings me to what was the greater goal of what participating in this meant to me, and that was to do something 2013-02-24 19.43.53big with my daughter, to create a memory for us to share. As such what puts the biggest smile on my face/warms my heart the most, as I recall this, is how my 22 year old, who was able to keep a clip faster than her old mother , remember, I had regressed to a fast shuffle. To her credit, for the best part of the run we were side by side,… during the last 1/4 mile, came back, urged me on, and as we crossed the finish line, reached over to grab my hand and raised our hands in united victory. THAT was the bomb!

On all counts it was  crazy to attempt to make it work logistically to be in NC Tues-Thurs, to meet in NYC to get to FL Sat for a Sunday event. But, each event was of import to me, and I felt merited the effort it would take to participate in both….and, at the other side of all of it, including the 3 hours it took to do 13.1 miles, I couldn’t be happier that I can say I DID IT!

I did what was right for me as a business owner, and then I did what was right for me as a mom.

So, yes, POWERED UP I am, and in the context of a UNITED Spirit…from my HPDC colleagues,  trade partners and customers in High Point, and by all those that determined to complete 13.1, but especially by my very own Disney Princess Avery.


P.S. If you have a thirst for more Disney marathon photos, feel free to visit this facebook album.🙂

….simple elegance, in house or garden.  Great way to add a touch of Asian ambiance.

Just see here the many ways they’ve been used by my customers.

NOTE:  a large stock these what are rare finds is available in High Point. Check here for a wonderful selection of tall panels and here for a variety of sizes….and for more ideas on how others have used these classic beauties, check my Pinterest board on Chinese Screens here.

hannah cracked ice

Last week, during the HPDC Designer Wed, we had the pleasure of a visit from Joyce Allen-Crawford. The intention of her antiques by zaar prizevisit was two fold. As owner of her own design business she was scouting out pieces for her clients, and as Manager for the High Point Convention and Visitors Bureau, she was delivering the token of their appreciation as shown here.

Joyce and I met several years back, through our mutual association in the High Point Design Center and thus she was aware of my antique business and the fact that my warehouse for my collection was located in High Point….actually, quite literally 1 mile down the road from the Convention Center/Visitors Bureau.  She was also aware of my interest in doing whatever I could to support driving business…retail or trade, to boost the commerce happening in High Point.

Thus, it was a shoe in for Joyce when she first set foot in our showroom. She quite simply needed to  decide what would work best in the Center. Per the photos below, you can see that our pieces pull together the setting quite nicely.


mongolian sideboard, pumpkin stools

Great job Joyce. My Mongolian chest,  black pumpkin stools and love seat have added to the warmth created by Joyce…with further contributions from several other furniture companies based in High Point.

abyzaar_post_front_fall12Thrilled to be able to add to the ambiance of the Welcome Center and also to have this venue to promote my business. Yes, we keep a nice stash of post cards available, shown here on the left, to offer contact info, as well as keeping a basket of fortune cookies available…with our business card attached of course.

And similarly, am happy for the opportunity to offer yet another furniture shopping resource to visitors to High Point. All good for everyone eh?


100_1505FYI, yet another hat Joyce wears, as she serves as rep for the jewelry line Cookie Lee.  Thrilled that she joined several vendors in November at our first annual ZAAR Design Center Christmas Bazaar. We had a great day…first hosting guests from the High Point Design Center and later in the day from WITHIT….evening event punctuated a potluck dinner and presentation from Kimberly Stone ,WITHIT and ZDC member, of Sans Souci Sisters, sharing the story behind the very personal hand made creations in her Santa Claus’s.  Check out photos from that great event here.

2012I just went through my 2012 blogging calendar to verify what I already knew. I have been, at the best, sporadic in my blogging the entire calendar year…and no, it doesn’t make me happy to bring attention to this, but it is what it is and rather than pretend that I’ve been attentive and just roll along, I’m going to address it head on.

As I said in my October blog, I believe that as a blogger it is so much more than just opening blogdoors for your respective businesses, it is also about honestly sharing about YOU. Frankly, I tend to over share and so it is as much a surprise to me, as it may be to you, that I quieted my Voice so much this past year. And so I’ve been thinking on this and what 2012 was all about for me.

DSCN9361In my New Years Blog for 2012 , “My 3 Words”  I made mention, among other things, of the intention of getting our house sold. It was couched with many other Goals. Little did I know how that ONE would consume my entire year…and for various, not necessarily obvious reasons, get  in the way of , among other things, my blogging/sharing….not necessarily because of the real time it took to do the job but more so the emotional roller coaster I went on as I tried to stay the course of a big decision made….and only now, with the task behind me, am willing to put it out there.

The intention of this missive, aside from expounding on what was my focus  this past year…did we really expect it to sell as quickly as it did?  is to share with you an example of the magic that can happen with some specific goal setting in place, as that is what I felt happened this year. Things did line up well, and many people helped out, read about my “gifts” here, but I do believe that setting a course and the intention did help things along.

As someone shared on my Facebook wall today:

“To will is to select a goal, determine a course of action that will bring one to that goal, and then hold to that action until the goal is reached. The key is action.” Michael Hanson….and might I add belief AND the universe helping to line things up, as I said above???

zaarlogo smallGoal.  Have house Market ready for Fall 2011.  Check!

started this in the Spring, and good thing we did too…

zaarlogo smallGOAL .to have it photo ready for Thanksgiving 2011. Check!DSCN8631

ready the day before the Holiday, talk about cutting it close.

zaarlogo smallGOAL. To have one last Christmas with all the kids. Check!

...and THE warm fuzzy of course was having the Family all together.

understand a couple of the kids anticipated at least one more, after 2011, Christmas in their Maine home. I had other plans...sorry.

zaarlogo smallGOAL. To have the house show ready, not quite the same as photo ready, by the New Year. Check!

...good thing I started defrocking after Christmas ASAP, as we had our first showing Jan 5th!

zaarlogo smallGOAL .To have it Sold  by Spring/Mid Summer. Check! 

5/26, last day of Spring Market, an offer came in that we accepted. Closing date was pushed to 7/16, per my request….needed ALL that time to empty a house and barn FULL of Stuff!

zaarlogo smallGOAL. Simply to have IT all done….meaning yard sales, dumpster filling, salvation army pick ups, selling off of aruth silly

tractor, packing, purging and more packing and purging.…for said July 16th closing. Check!

again, working right to the bitter end.

zaarlogo smallGOAL.  To find a home that had the following: neighbors, no more than 45 minute drive from Amtrak station, a small private yard where I would still feel like I had nature around me, IE  not look onto my neighbors back yard, master room with tub (yes, I love my baths and no, not every master en suite has a tub!), appealing office space, 3-4 bedrooms, so as to accommodate kids when visiting, ample storage space, close proximity to a marina, and enough wall space to hang the art that we’ve gathered over the years.  Check!

….although the yard is a tad smaller than we wanted and we only have 3 bedrooms,  I feel we SCORED!

zaarlogo smallGOAL. to find a new home with above specs  by end of August. Check!

again, cut this one tight…found our new home on August 31st! Didn’t realize I had hit this goal until the end of the olbrych new houseday and made me smile when I realized I had . I had been looking since May and was getting quite discouraged and approached that day (trip # 15 i believe) with a negative nilly attitude of expecting to be again disappointed in what we would be looking at. Go figure, such would not be the case.

zaarlogo smallGOAL. to be moved in by Oct 1. Check!

had lined up temporary living in MD for 3 months. Was keen to save on that last month’s rent if I could. Closing was 9/29 and movers landed on my doorstep 10/1!

zaarlogo smallGOAL. to be unpacked and set up enough so that when I came back from October Market I wouldn’t feel I was coming to a disaster. Check!

in the course of a week all boxes, less wall art, was completely unpacked.

zaarlogo smallGOAL. to have all utilities sorted out and internet connected before hitting the road to Market. Check!

actually kind’ve messed up here, as, although I met that deadline,  I should’ve  had internet sorted out prior to actual move, but not having internet for that first week gave me the focus to unpack without distraction, and that I did.

Yes, it was hard to leave our family home of 13 years, but I do feel that it was the right decision and I do feel that I have landed well, here, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

And yes, my business was back burner ed while this was all going down. BUT, I am so grateful for the above time line, for when you look at it, IT all went along quite quickly. AND I am further grateful for the FEELING that I have, of seeing something through…that once the decision was made, and things were put in motion, that each motion acted as a stepping stone to a conclusion.

So, now. Big deep breath. I have indeed landed, and here I am, starting the new year in my new home. Settled into the home nicely but just getting my toes wet in settling into the community,  and now, READY to make a set of GOALS for my business that will bring the same magic that I experienced this past year….and THAT topic will be addressed in a separate blog posting, to follow shortly, for real!

Happy Goal Setting.

Enjoy the Magic of Seeing them realized.


Anybody that knows me knows that I LOVE opening my home for a party. Well, as  the heart and soul behind Antiques by Zaar and ZAAR Design Center, I am beyond thrilled to be opening my “business home” for it’s first annual Christmas party.

Yes, it is a bazaar, but it really is a party…a place for you to warmly invite in the Holiday Spirit, to be infused by the creativity of others, to be welcomed into a showroom that exudes excitement, as the collaborative Spirit of the 15 companies that show/sell product there, all culminate in a beautifully staged setting…of course, decorated for the Holiday Season.

I am so excited to welcome you in, and know that if you can’t make it in person that we shall know you are with us in Spirit, and perhaps will join us at another time. Whether you are able to join us or not, please Do read below for details of what is planned….

WHEN?  Oh my, it’s this Wednesday, November 14thwhich not so coincidentally is also Designer Wed,  starting at 9:00 and going through to 5:00 pm.

WHERE? In the former Drexel Heritage Factory @ 741 West Ward Ave, High Point, NC. Right on the corner of Ward and Green.

WHO’S INVITED? Anyone that wants to be infused with the Christmas Spirit, and while you’re at it get a jump start on Holiday Shopping…or just come along and join us for Hot Cider and Ginger Snaps, a visit and a good look around.



Kimberly Stone of Sans Souci Sisters…. appropriately being introduced @ ZAAR for the first time. Specializing in custom heirloom Santa Claus.

Kathleen Holterman of Holterman and Company…with her vibrant collection of oil paintings.

Dave and Barbara McGinnis of Wood n’ Clay Studio, a husband and wife team with talent to burn…or should I say turn wood and throw pottery.

…and of course all of above will have handiwork to sell, or you can special order.


Jeff, Sherry, Julia, Alice and yours truly.

…and lastly what is a Bazaar without asking, WHAT IS THERE TO BUY…in addition to above noted? Yes, there is So Much MORE!


Aria: Jewelry, Scarves and Dresses

Cookie Lee: More jewelry

Designed to Heal: Monica Hodges with her new line of  home made soaps!


Product from People that are Passionate about their businesses and are gathered together @ ZAAR to give YOU a Special Shopping Experience.

note: please excuse lack of photos below…computer glitch, but please check out this album on facebook for some wonderful product photos, to lure you in🙂

Lamps Galore:

Flambeau  moved their entire Suites showroom into ZAAR and are JUST newly installed, chandeliers and all!  But we also have lamps from Lorna Dewey and Antiques by Zaar.

Artificial Plants and Trees:

New Growth Design are THE best at what they do, with a made in North Carolina product that can’t be beat. (Had the pleasure of touring their facility this past Sunday!)

Italian Pottery:

Fortunata has the corner on that one.

Other Home Accents:

pottery and wood pieces from Wood n Clay, iron work wall art and nick knacks  from Haiti and porcelain and wood stools from Antiques by Zaar.

More Artwork: 

Kathleen Holterman is joined by another local artist Katy Allgeyer, who is now on an amazing trip of a lifetime with her boyfriend Scott Morgan. She blogs about it regularly here…is worthy to follow this journey.

yet more distinctive  art by the Elizabeth Lucas Company.

….and gripping photography by Bruce Barone of Massachusetts and Sylvia Muller of East Hampton NY.


Lorna Dewey and Antiques by Zaar present very different but equally appealing product.

Pillows and Throws:

The Oriole Mill, yes another made in North Carolina product, has a line exclusive to ZAAR available to purchase.

And then there is FURNITURE:

From the UK:

Touchwood, Lorna Dewey and Distinctive Chesterfields.

From the US:

Cabeen Originals, and Bellascenda.

…and from China, Antiques by Zaar.

And ALL of this is so beautifully positioned that each persons product accents the other.

Do come and enjoy what we have prepared for you to experience, and no better time than to do so then now.

So very much look forward to welcoming you!

Ruth, for all!

866 868 9227/ZAAR

Working my way back to sharing my voice by way of my blog, and have been wrestling with which of the many topics swirling around in my head I should put out there first. This posting appears to be necessary back drop for me to move forward,  for there is no lack of material to write about…

Recent High Point Market has provided enough food for thought, on the products, on the people and on the businesses of the people with the product, that I could simply, well, go on  forever.

Similarly October being  Breast Cancer Awareness Month offers me yet more. My affinity to support  Breast Cancer Research, but also cancer in general, personally, and through my business, and the stories behind those people that have been affected by  cancer, that are dear to me, gives me more to talk about.

On Moving….why you move to where you do and how you manage it. Yes, fresh on the brain as just moved from Maine to Maryland after 13 years….but with past experiences moving around the world…Canada, Haiti, Thailand, Taiwan, and finally the States….I do have some experiences to share. Overseas I was considered abit of an “expert” on living as an expat…mostly about attitude eh?

On Entrepreneurship….the role model of my parents, the role model I’d like to be for others, with experience of 2 businesses, growing into a 3rd  business.   The desire to support those that have taken on the not so secure, but oh so satisfying life of working for oneself….taking the risks and accepting the challenges that although unique to each business, are shared challenges faced by all entrepreneurs, embracing the attitude  “failure is not an option”.

On Building Relationships online…remembering the pioneer I was in being the first online only seller of Chinese Antiques, of doing “warm fuzzy” e blasts long before social media and online relationship building was a “trend”. Of the values of building trust and confidence in you as a person is the only way to promote your product and how Social Media has opened doors for all levels of businesses and is ours for the taking as we move on with Patience, Persistence and Presence!!!!

On the Power of Womankind …and what we mean to each other, lifting each other up, and the value in being open to the women in your world and how doing such can change your world…

On the Value of Collaboration….so  many many fine examples I have before me of companies and people that believe, as I do, that there is enough for everybody to go around. Share the resources! Everybody wins…which brings me to my new entity ZAAR Design Center, which is moving from being an infant stages to greater maturity/value….and the Gift this continues to be.

On the lessons of life learned by being a parent….what our kids can teach us. How parenting changes as our children grow and as we grow to know ourselves better, and as we learn to respond to, rather than react to what life throws us…sharing this with our children as they each evolve into their own persons.

On the challenges of the economy….and what that has meant to the lot of us. Again, how we respond to it. How it can open doors for us…doors that otherwise may not have opened.

On setting Goals, or setting a back drop for said Goals,  and the Power of that…

On being Grateful. For the Gift of Life. For the Gift of Family. For the Gift of Health.  For the Gift of People that Believe in You/Support You/Lift you….yes, for Friends.  For the Gift of 2nd Chances. For the Gift of Faith, Hope and Love.

Yes, I have LOTS and LOTS to write about and the blogs that will follow will touch any number of these themes….ALL of which are relevant to the essence of what is MY Voice.  Yes, I have “stuff” to share and for those fellow bloggers out there…I think you’d agree that blogging is as much an exercise in how to share your personal voice as it is to introduce people to you/your business.

I look forward to delving deeper into the blogs of my peers as I make my way deeper into the blogging world.

….and on that note I welcome myself back after what was an apparently needed hiatus.


Lisa Ferguson of Decor Mentor is a strong advocate of taking Tom Rath’s Strengths Finder test, a test that, through a series of questions, will help you determine your strengths. I love Lisa’s “elevate” philosophy. I love the energy she has and her focus and drive and how she puts herself out there, making opportunities happen, not only for herself, but for all those that she comes in contact with. She walks the walk…and, if you’re going to High Point Market next month, she is everywhere, doing her thing. Just check out the events calendar! So,  her vouching for the value in taking the test was enough for me…and, so I did such, today.

The test/approach is “unique” in that the typical focus is on people’s weaknesses and how we need to overcome said weaknesses. The test is straightforward and simple to take, and only takes about 30 minutes.

My take away?

My top 5 were not any surprises to me, but what going through this process did do was validate that I am doing exactly what I should be doing, and that in and of itself was beneficial, although, not going to lie, I still wanted to have my known weaknesses validated and be given some directives on how to work through those….for that I am getting some top notch advise on my audio version of Steve Willinghams’ Inner Game of Selling…a book/CD I refer to often!

Yes, I can feel good about the “strengths” identified as being Mine. Now to work I go, using these all in the Life I Live and Work I Do, with all the People I Love!

So, as one of my strengths is communicating, any way I can, I am going to end this by sharing  my top 5, according to how I answered the questions.


“Everything happens for a reason. You are sure of it….you are considerate, caring and accepting…. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives….your Faith is Strong.”  NOTE: Connecting/Caring came through as one of my “purpose theme” in exercise directed by Tracy Tyler , founder of Strategies for Success, @ the WITHIT Leadership Conference I attended in August….along with Staying Healthy, Making a Difference, Parenting with Wisdom and Love, and Inner Peace.


“You can sense the emotions of those around you….you can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own….you help people find the right phrases to express their feelings…to themselves as well as others…you help them give voice to their emotional life…witnessing the happiness of others brings you pleasure”….YES!

Woo: (stands for winning others over….if you didn’t know)

“You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you…strangers are energizing…you are drawn to them…you want to learn their names, ask them questions and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport… derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection….in your world there are no strangers you haven’t met yet—lots of them”. SO TRUE!


“You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write…AND HOW!.whether an idea, an event, a product’s features and benefits, a discovery, or a lesson—to survive….you and to divert people’s attention toward you and then capture it, lock it in….this is what draws you toward dramatic words and powerful word combinations…this is why people listen to you…your word pictures pique their interest, sharpen their world, and inspire them to act!” MY HOPE!


“You see the potential in others…each individual is a work in progress, alive with possibilities…when you interact with others, your goal is to help them experience success…you look for ways to challenge them…signs of growth in others are your fuel….they bring you strength and satisfaction….many will seek you out for help and encouragement because on some level they know that your helpfulness is both genuine and fulfilling to you.”

If you aren’t sure of where you stand in it all, I suggest you taking this test to clarify. A bit of advise, do buy online, as you can get for half of what the book sells for in book stores, BUT, don’t buy a used copy, as the access code to do the online test is only valid for one user.


…and in yours?

No surprise that my own home, as written in a recent blog, Chinese Country Antiques in my Maine Country Home, Chinese Antiques are prevalent…due in part to our near decade living in Asia and further encouraged by my love for the genre of furniture I’ve been selling for the last 12 years….and, per the prevalence of Chinese Antiques in Show Houses, shelter magazines, and the portfolios of more than just a handful of designers,  many who I proudly can call my customers, Meg Braff’s work shown on left here. I feel secure in the future of my business…ie, it is not a passing trend. A touch of Chinese works just as well with modern as it does with traditional, or, of course, stands well enough on it’s own.

And below a few examples of that “touch” as seen in the rooms at the Hampton show house.

It was Kat Burki‘s usage of two non matching consoles, purchased from yours truly, that admittedly first drew me to visit the Hampton Designer Showhouse in 2009. So elegantly presented in this powder room, wouldn’t you agree?

That same year Carole Reed used a red lacquer console/desk in the library.

Last year Tilton Fenwick added an accent by way of over sized Chinese porcelain stools.

And this year would be no different with the sitting room as appointed by Old Town Crossing, who used a black lacquer console table and complementary kang coffee table.

I would LOVE to see how you have put a touch of Asian , or more, in YOUR home….and would love to share such. And if inclined to include a quip about what you love about your Chinese infusion, or how you came to love Chinese antiques, please include.


P.S. See how some of my Antiques by Zaar customers have  placed thier Asian infusion in their homes, as they have shared and allowed me to post in my Home Gallery.

ALSO, the Hampton Show House is still open until September 2, if you are inclined to take a visit.

…OR Change, Change, Change, OR Ending a Chapter/Starting a Chapter, OR to Uplifting and Being Uplifted, OR We Women Rock….or simply Thank YOU!

Yes, this blog has been mulling about in my head for weeks now….feeling the need to acknowledge not only what has been a very clear change in my life, central to this being the recent sale and move from what was our home in Maine for the past 13 years….to starting a new life in Maryland, address yet to be confirmed, but to also acknowledge the forces that have contributed to getting me from “there to here” and which I count on getting me from “here to there”

Yes, I am very well aware that it is all “up to me” but I cannot deny the “forces’ of which I speak of, which come in the form of  that growing bevy of womankind which have come into my Life, and which I can call my friends.

To my Maine based gals….

I thank you for sending me off so well. For those that attended my pre launch of yard sale party, to those that similarly attended the lovely soiree at Connemara Farm, by Anne, my neighbor and friend… to the  many that I was able to connect with for a farewell lunch or dinner.  I felt so incredibly embraced and loved.

For you, Nancy Morin, YOU were by my side for almost an entire year as we moved from one stage to another in making the move happen….moving forward when I felt stalled, assuring me of your calm presence and assistance right to the day the movers showed up.  You kept me from going over the edge, and I felt there often, and quite simply pressed on. I purged and you packed. You organized my barn into a full fledged Good Will Store for 2 two day yard sales and posted items on Craig’s List so I could do my part and sell sell sell.

To Nancy Strojny, my SCORE mentor and Carol Emerson of Custom House Business Services, I thank you for giving me latitude as I allowed this move to consume me emotionally, BUT did your jobs and brought me back, reminding me of the business that is mine/dependent on me to breathe life into it and spurring me to the next step knowing when this move was behind me that I would return to  nurture and grow this Gift I have in my business.

To my daughter Avery, who upon graduation from college, yup, last one!  and after being away at school for the last 4 years… spent a full 3 months with me. What a delight!

To my team in North Carolina, Jeff Moore and Sherry Mitchell, who, over the summer did a phenomenal job keeping all in a forward moving motion, initiating a complete revamp of the ZAAR Design Center, managing Designer Wednesdays and more. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. check out pix of the fine work here…and plan to come have dessert with us 9/12/12 and see for yourself! I’ll be there.

These forces, these women, all helped get me from There to Here, and I know that they remain with me as I continue to move on.

Further to this I add as a collective, the fine Women I find myself connected to through my membership in Withit.

How great it was to attend the recent WITHIT conference which was themed Pathways to Success: Strategies, Connections & Meaning.  A conference I touted I knew I couldn’t afford to miss, and as I shared on Leslie Carouther’s facebook….

I went to the conference this year, as I have past 2 years, KNOWING what I was needing/expecting…not only from the exceptional speakers I knew would be lined up, but also from the opportunity to meet/get to know better, the wonderful array of professional women that run and attend this conference. I was not to be disappointed in the least. If there was to be a big takeaway it is that simple reminder that it is indeed all up to me and it is indeed possible…to do/be all that I vision for myself. The conference itself is such a great venue for exceptional giving and getting.

Nuts and bolts is that were it not for the exceptional women that I’ve allowed into my life, and I’ve just scratched the surface here, my life would be so “without”. What I love is that there is as much giving as getting that goes on….that as I have been uplifted I know I have uplifted others, that as I have been mentored, that I can also offer mentoring. There is no base line here. It is a kinship of Kindred Souls….each of us reaching, each of us relating, each of us caring and each of sharing.

It is by doing all of this that we can indeed get from there to here, and move from here to there…each finding our way to do what we can to Elevate ourselves,  Be our Best Selves, and Shine Shine Shine.

….and so onward we go, individually, yet collectively, to make a difference for ourselves and to those whose lives we touch and whose lives subsequently touch us.

Yes, thank you for Being a Friend.


13 years ago we moved our family of preteens  from Taichung Taiwan to New Gloucester Maine. Although the children were all Americans, they had only ever visited the U.S., with previous residences being in Ontario Canada and Bangkok Thailand, and were excited for the move State Side, specifically to the bit of God’s Great Earth we had purchased at 301 Peacock Hill Rd in New Gloucester, Maine.

Our 8 years in Asia had been good for the family, and it was a natural  for us to fill our home with items that reminded us of our travels and lives in Asia….and with a smattering from Haiti as well, where hubby and I met/lived for several years pre kids.  Our kids only realized how “different” their home was when friends would come over and oogle over what they simply knew as part of their expatriate heritage.

I’m pleased with the feeling that was evoked with the preponderance of the Asian touch…ok, a little more than just a “touch” of Asian I must admit…in our country home. In part because I feel that it is what having Asian pieces worked into your decor does, and in part because it represented a part of the world that was, and remains relevant to us as a family. For me,decorating with items that evoke memories enhanced by items that just look good is the perfect mix for making a house a home….

Antiques by Zaar, the family business of importing/selling Chinese Antiques, was established in 1999, and has continued to give us opportunity to keep our Asian connection alive….not to mention give me a treasure trove of items to choose from to place in our home.🙂  It’s such a joy to have this venue in place to serve as a continuance of our Asian experience which started in 1991 with our move to Bangkok, when kids were a ripe 4,2 and 1, and to serve as a venue for me to be part of a world of people that, were it not for the business, I wouldn’t ever have known. Not to mention it’s pretty cool to be running an online antique business from a Maine farmhouse. My neighbors got a kick out of that.

Yes, 301 Peacock Hill Rd has not only been our home, where we raised our kids, and bunches of golden retrievers, it has also been the corporate headquarters for Antiques by Zaar. And after 13 years we are moving on , specific address to be determined, but can advise we have honed in on Eastern Shore of Maryland…giving way for another family of 3 pre teens to make their memories here, and to make this home theirs, with their own mix of treasures.


P.S. For a peak at how the house looked before we came in to make it “ours” take a glance at the photos in this album….yes, same place but quite a different look.

I have been struggling with how to capsulize the many wonderful things that transpired during the recent High Point Market, and have finally come to terms that it will simply have to come out in driblets as one posting simply would not suffice….and would be way too long for a single blog.

I choose to launch this by honing on  the absolute staying power of my little  Art Deco Desks, in particular the lime green version,  for they held as much impact in 2012 as they did back in 2006, when   featured  in this 2006  Home Accents Cover, continuing to make an impression, by the fact that not only was it “Style Spotted” this year, but also chosen as an accent piece in the C.R. Laine Showroom…

….and similarly showcased in Shane’s Collection store at 201 N Main, also in High Point. Yes, they were everywhere!

It is also popular with, ZAAR Design Center member, Designer Kat Burki, who also has a bath, body,fragrance and candle line, as she used a non matching pair so elegantly in her Southampton show house dressing room….which later were showcased in a  2010 Traditional Home article featuring  Kat and her work.

…and Antiques by Zaar customer Babette Glauner, added this pop of green when revamping her bathroom.

Similarly, would it be any surprise that in my own home, one of these fresh treasures can be found in my daughter’s bedroom, show casing her Disney globe collection?

Traci Zeller, who “Style Spotted” the art deco desk, also spoke to an audience of 40 people, on Sunday, @ ZAAR…sharing her insight and expertise on what a Social Media presence can mean for your business. How appropriate that I gifted her one  of my art deco desks, and she chose, what color, but green!

Thank you Traci. And thank you to all who continue to find charm, as there is ALWAYS space (my daughter has one in her 390 square foot studio apt in Toronto!) in the addition of my kang chest/converted to art deco desk…read about said transformation here.

Traci Zeller

colorful and styling designer, blogger, speaker …and did I mention she is all this as the mother of twin boys, who also passionately works to help other moms of multiples?

next gig:  Style Spotter @ the High Point Furniture Market AND speaking @ ZAAR Design Center Sunday April 22. Join us for our first “lunch and learn” where Traci will address Social Media: Why NOT Engaging is NOT an Option. Drop me a note if you’d like to join us.

C. R. Laine.

proud producers of  hand-cut, hand-sewn, and hand-tailored furniture in North Carolina. …since 1958.

Their News?  They have moved their showroom, from IHFC, to the Hamilton Court Building, Space 201…excited for the fresh visibility and a showroom double the size of thier previous location.

And???? Antiques by Zaar is thrilled be adding to their colorful collection, with Soicher Marin, Currey and Co, and Design Legacy.

Shane’s Collection ….

as is evident by his vibrant window display of his store stocked with colorful mix from Currey and Co, Kate Guy and Antiques by Zaar.

Katy Allgeyer aka Feng Shui Girl

…debuting her “Fortunate Flowers” mixed media series at ZAAR Design Center this market!

Hannah Dee Interiors…

yet another colorful designer who JUST launched this spanky new website.

and Antiques by Zaar

…who is, for the first time, offering customers an opportunity to ORDER their own “pop of color”…as introduced in this recent newsletter.  Place your order by May 5th for July delivery!

Look forward to seeing you for a very colorful Market!!!!


“Chinese antiques are integral in many of my projects, whether residential or hospitality interiors. They add confidence, strength and color to both  traditional and contemporary interiors. For me, their age and their lines hold the intrigue of stories untold of places far and away from our shores.”

 Jan Lamont/Coastal Architects.

antiques by zaar customer since June 2008.

With offices in Nanaimo British Columbia and Kittery Point Maine, the name “Coastal Architects” is most appropriate for this husband and wife team of architect and interior designer, who “commute” between the two coasts and have ongoing projects in both.

Am thrilled that back in 2oo8, when working on a hotel project, that they let their fingers do the walking and found the Antiques by Zaar website, and within a rather tight time frame we shipped off a loveseat and pair of chests to Maine from our North Carolina warehouse.

The beautiful Stage Neck Inn in York Harbor Maine, one of their many east coast clients, recently had a redo of thier lobby lounge, and per Jan’s above statement, are you suprised that a smattering of Chinese antiques found their way into the comforting  area that overlooks the ocean?  I had occasion to swing by there a couple of weeks ago on a return trip from High Point NC to my home in Maine, and grabbed a few photos, to share with you here…

NOTE: A lovely fireplace is also situated in this room but didn’t photograph so as not to be intrusive the couple that were enjoying their newspapers by the roaring fire.🙂

…and I know them, love them and want to give a shout out!

KNOW I am only scratching the surface, and I KNOW that I am one of MANY that are shouting out to Suysel and Anne and their fine work, but add to the noise I will….

So thrilled for the continued exposure and success of their 2010 established “boutique” NY based interior design business…momentum which just seems to keep on going…

V and M , Vintage and Modern, included them in an eblast that came through  my email today,where they were featured and shared some of their “likes” ….

On twitter last week I read about the gals heading to the gala event at the NY Lillian August store, launching New York City Cottages and Gardens,  where they created the window display, shown below, which will be up for this coming month. See bunches of pix here, at the Tilton Fenwick blog.

….don’t  miss the” touch of Asian” added to the mix in the attention getting window display, by way of a ceramic garden stool….something they also used in the Southampton Showhouse this past summer.

Traditional Home loves them enough that they were included in their 2011 list of top 20 designers to watch, AND, now Elle Decor has them on their watch list, as Sarah Firshein,  Curbed editor,  nominated them as Blogger’s Choice for Interior Design!

…yes, that is just a teeny bit of what these gals are up to.

LOVE all that you are doing. LOVE the energy, passion, style and sense that you exude.

Yes, a fan, and thrilled to have you as a customer and friend of myself and Antiques by Zaar.


Read previous post on Tilton Fenwick here.

…. in an entry or  hallway,  a living room, dining room or bedroom. Yes, a Chinese Sideboard could just be that which serves you well….   Just check out below how some of my Antiques by Zaar customers have so beautifully worked them into their decorating schemas. …going to have to call this my “touch of Asia” series eh…first window screens and now sideboards.



and if you think a Chinese Sideboard might be what will work for you/your client, be sure to check out the entire selection available at Antiques by Zaar by clicking here.

Look forward to hearing from you….


Last week I shared, in this blog,  my “Life” words. And here I just want to share with you one more missive on “words” for my year, and then it’s full steam ahead….

The concept of capsulizing  in a handful of words what I resolve to prioritize for my New Year is something I’ve done for the past 3 years now…a practice I find more useful than resolutions, per sea . For instance, in 2011 I honed in on Focus, Presence and Growth,  and which I wrote about in this blog….2010 was  Structure and Discipline, although in retrospect the 3 words that would best describe the “essence” of that year would be determination, ownership and accountability…the year before that was Responsibility (at ALL levels)…you get the drift.

These words are not to be simply replaced with new words, but more so relevant words are grabbed onto to couch the essence of the priority for the year…each years words serving to build up from one year to the other….with continuity of  “Spirited Vision” being the constant that serves well to make Life more a continuum than a series of ends and beginnings….at least that’s the way I like to look at it.

Before moving onto 2012 I feel the need to ponder just some of the landmarks for me this past year…things that I could grab onto and say, “hey, I did that and it mattered in my world. yeah me!”

This can be as simple, but certainly relevant, particularly after I got over the issues of adjusting to each change , as the fact that in 2011 I  upgraded all computers, data base systems and accounting/credit card processing software.  Or the unanticipated but opportunistic, move of my High Point NC warehouse this past August, to a location that really hits it on the mark, and where I am happy to call HOME to my inventory and also the evolving ZAAR Design Center…which, by the way, now has grown to have 8 partners showing with Antiques by Zaar!  Or that my participation in the blogging world was acknowledged by my peers at WITHIT, who asked me to moderate a round table on blogging at their annual conference last August. Or, on a personal level, that a decision was made, and acted on,  to sell the family home, after 12 years, in Maine, AND to that end had it listed just prior to Thanksgiving.  I know there is so much more,  but these are some of the building blocks laid last year that serve as foundation for this next year.

And so, with this backdrop I share with you here  my 3 benchmark words for 2012.


…my Self, my Family, my Friends, my Business, my Vision, my Talents, the Gift of Life I’ve been Given, the Opportunities that come my way….the renewed Commitments I’ve made to ALL of the above manifested by Being True to All and Living a Life that is one of diligent steadfastness…and fun!


….or “trust”  in My Self, in the goodness of those around me that are there to Love and Support me, in the Value of  My Commitment and the Gift given from Hard Work…BELIEVING that my efforts will be Honored and that it is simply for me to do the work and BELIEVE that I will be compensated accordingly… And that it is Mine for the Making And Taking.


Who and what is stopping me? Can be painfully honest here and say it is ME. Yes, the economy has participated in offering challenges to me and my business/life…but, nuts and bolts is that it comes down to ME, what I do, what I HONOR, what I BELIEVE, what I FOCUS on, how I make my PRESENCE known and what I do to foster my GROWTH….see, last years words all here🙂 ….and, as simple as it sounds, Believing that “It Is Achievable” gives me no out, as, that it is!

...more words, as gifted to me by my daughter.

A tall order here….this blueprint to help me plot and plan and move into 2012… with  the effervescence of all these wonderful encouraging and inspiring sentiments couching my every move.

2012. Bring it on!


P.S. …and if you have words you’d like to share that serve you well for this coming year…I’m all ears.

I LOVE starting a fresh journal and 2012 marks the  6th year for keeping a daily journal… a practise which has become so much a part of me that my day just isn’t quite complete until I fill a page with my thoughts on the day that has just passed.

In addition to this daily journal, which is “tidy” in that it is in a bound book, and has a confined space to scribe my notes for the day, I also have journals that hold more in depth entries, that I tend to write when flying somewhere, and I have scads of “notes” scattered throughout the pages of assorted notebooks/daily minders and simply on scraps of paper that I happen upon.

The below comments on “LIFE” are just such a scribbled note to myself, and with my handwriting, this is one serious scribble,  that I came upon stuffed in the back end of   my new daily minder for 2012. It “appeared”  to me as I was about to shut down for the night, hoping for inspiration for this blog to come after a rest…and so, I am just kind of sort of feeling that it was these words that are what I am meant to share with you in my Launch Blog for 2012.

Life… is the one word I wrote, with the below listed out.

to give, grow, learn and love

to use stumbling blocks as stepping stones

to offer comfort and solace

to be caring and understanding

to give it my best shot

to Laugh from my Heart

to show Spirit

to know that there is Power in One Good Soul

to respect People and Life itself

to Smile from the inside out


to be Blessed and be a Blessing.

….and so, with sharing these words here I can toss that  messy sheaf of paper, dated 9/24/10, finish up my cupo tea, lightly laced with amaretto, have a soothing tub, and make my daily journal entry, calling it not only a day, but a Good Day!




You can hardly flip through the pages of any of your favorite shelter magazines, or as shown here, accenting the C.R. Laine showcase  Interhall showroom at Fall 2011  Market…see additional pix herewithout seeing someone using either a vintage style, or modern version of, the Chinese Garden Stool, as they work themselves so well into any styled setting… it almost seems to be a “must have” to complete at least one room in one’s home.

….eons ago we had a great source for a steady supply of vintage style garden stools, which was great as we sold ALOT of them,  but last couple of years we’ve been unable to locate a reliable source for this ever popular item….until now.

Yes, happy to advise that I have recently secured a new supplier, and thus can once again offer these hot items. ….not only the vintage style but also fresh, modern colors….as shown here in classic cool white, in the Design on a Dime Tilton Fenwick showroom of a blogger’s office…which yes, also happens to sport an antiques by zaar etager….read about abyzaar/tilton fenwick here.

If you have photos to share of how you’ve placed one of these lovelies, would be thrilled to share it…or, if you have need of something similar for you, or, to you designers,  your client’s homes, do let me know if I can help. Small selection can be seen here, on my website…more to come soon!

What a wonderful way to bring a touch of Asia to your home!


P.S. Can be seen @ the ZAAR Design Center in High Point. Open the 2nd Wednesday of each month 9:00-5:00, or otherwise by appointment….or, of course, 24/7 online!

“It’s ALL good!”

Yes, that is how I would, succinctly, capsulize this most recent “6 days that mattered” which  to those in the home industry know  such is referring to the Fall 2011 High Point Furniture Market.

For 8 years I have participated as an exhibitor in the High Point Market, and there is no doubt that I, like all, have seen, and likewise experienced, a lot of changes over the years. And although there is a general contention that “traffic” is down, I feel safe to say that the general contention also is that the people that are coming to High Point, are a purposeful buyer and that the tone out and about is upbeat and positive.

My take? Well, anyone that is at Market is still in business, and as such we have great cause to celebrate. We have sustained our businesses through an economic upheaval, which probably shouldn’t be put in past tense quite yet, that has taken a huge toll on the home furnishings industry and all associated with it. The casualty list is one that is not to be ignored and any of us could just as easily be on said list….BUT, we’re not.

Everyone at Market is actively in business, each  doing our part to keep it all going…and TOGETHER we continue to contribute to the well being of our economic climate by refusing to participate in the recession….this downturn which has served as a great equalizer, among many other things. But fact of the matter is that our businesses mattered, and all of us have done the things we needed to do sustain and grow… tighten the belts, skim on some of the “extras”, be creative/resourceful,collaborate, work more for less,etc etc …. to fuel ourselves on. So, bravo for us!

And in keeping with the celebratory feeling I have whilst amongst all at  Market, I would like to add how appreciative I am of MY ever evolving community in High Point….one in which a sense of collaboration is prevalent… to the point of humbling me as I take personal benefit from doors that continue to open ….relationships that continue to be fostered/introduced and enrich my life and ultimately my business. I aspire simply to honor the support and collaborations that continue to become part of ZAAR’s presence in High Point.

Yes, Market Fall 2011 was all I had hoped for….

A nice contingent of customers found their way to our new, easy to locate,  warehouse/showroom, also known as ZAAR Design Center, on the corner of West and Green. see photos here.

As a trade partner of C.R. Laine I was beyond thrilled to hang my hat in their Interhall showroom for a good part of the week…giving me a platform to be in front of a steady ebb and flow of people , many of which I knew and which was great to re acquaint with, and many which I was able to make an initial introduction, that were drawn into their show stopper showroom. See pix here.

As a member of WITHIT I reveled in the opportunity to further entrench myself in this organization, by attending the events they sponsored, namely their educational breakfast which featured Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder of Apartment Therapy, and the Competitive Intelligence/Trends Forecast event.

As a friend of many fellow exhibitors, I enjoyed supporting their events and “wins”…speaking in particular here of Red Egg‘s win as Showroom of the Year award…see additional  photos here.

And after all is said and done I know that between now and the next Market I have continued opportunities to promote, not only my business, but those that have joined me at ZAAR Design Center, as we remain open for High Point Design Centers Designer Wednesdays, and plan on active participation in the annual Unity in Design Event, held in Feb.

So, yes…it is all good.

Thank you to all that participated at every level to make Market a relevant experience to all. And onward!

…and should you like to add a perspective to what your thoughts were on Fall 2011 Market, I’d love to hear them. Designers, Marketers, Buyers, Exhibitors…please bend my ear!


….for being so much a part of my sense of well being on the occasion of my 51st birthday.

I apologize for doing this in a blog, and warn that this is decidedly”gushy”,  but it seemed the ONLY way to adequately address the too numerous to count well wishes I received over the weekend….yes, on facebook!

Some of you I know quite well,…some from “other lifetimes”  and we keep abreast via face book….

Some of you I know “somewhat”/have met in person…and am getting  to know better…and we do much of that … via face book.

And many of you I know simply by the postings I see on my wall, and have yet to meet you  in “real” but in the interim, we get acquainted… yes, on face book.

Nuts and bolts is that on a daily basis I enjoy visiting/engaging on my wall, where the  prevalent tone is…positive, uplifting, supportive, affirming, inviting, and deliciously supported with many outstanding photos.

This is the “norm” and I’m always delighted by what I take in…yes, on facebook. BUT, to have that all directed straight away to me…well, was a tad overwhelming. You did it…I was rendered speechless.🙂

adding to what I also received from my dear familywhich actually rendered me tearful (in a good way)…. I simply embraced being embraced all the day long. Yup, it was MY day!

The sun shone brightly on Sunday. I didn’t do anything “exceptional”  less drink it all in…ending the day with a delightful visit  by a handful of dear girl friends that joined with me in the eating of my beautiful, and delicious, cake…thanks to cake artist Zach, son of mine.

ALL of this, ALL of YOU, just warmed my soul….on what was the occasion of my 51st birthday…I did say that already didn’t I? You got it ???

Thanks bunches.

Hope ya’ll are having a great week. I sure am.

With great fondness and appreciation….


….for the 2011 Fall Market in IHFC, Interhall IH 404!

So excited about the invitation by C.R. Laine for Antiques by Zaar to serve as one of their “trade partners” . Look forward to seeing/feeling the merging of beautiful product lines, the synergy of impassioned sales people presenting their respective lines, the embracing of past customers/friends  and the thrill of making new connections.

Sharing some photos….

BEFORE the “magic” is done, this is some of what is being worked with… and yes, you can count on seeing how it all comes together to present next week…for “the next 6 days that matter“.

No, not something you would normally consider….but yes, it does work….as shown below by, not one, but two of my customers.

Maria  Hasenecz , of Wyndmoor, PA, and Antiques by Zaar customer since 2007 , was determined to get her armoire of choice into her bathroom, which, you must agree, looks gorgeous! What you don’t know from the photos is that the desired location for the new home of her most recent acquisition, was on the 2nd floor of her home, which has, as part of it’s charm, a set of steps too narrow to accomodate getting this piece to its desired location.

Of course, on the day of delivery, who would have a crane booked towork at her home to address other upgrades she was working on? That would be Maria. And thus the Chinese armoire was lifted by crane and plopped into into just where Maria wanted it, by way of the window. Love the story….see previous blog, here, showcasing Maria’s decorating gift, with her original AbyZaar purchase, a lacquered coffee table.

Tilton Fenwick, of New  York NY also positioned a Chinese Armoire, a “kitchen” cabinet to be exact, in the 1890’s farmhouse that Suysel, Antiques by Zaar customer since 2004, bought for her family as a weekend retreat from NYC. The entire home , which the design team gutted and rebuilt and decorated, was featured on Houzz, and worth a visit.

                            Bathroom  bathroom

So pleased that our Chinese Kitchen cabinet served so well in the main bathroom of Suysel’s country home AND that so many on Houzz appreciated the application and made comment on how well it worked/looked/felt.

Click here, to read previous blog written on Tilton Fenwick ,Antiques by Zaar and Metropolitan Home….also enjoy the work of Tilton Fenwick as showcased on the Home page of my website.

…and should you want to consider using a Chinese Armoire for similar application/or otherwise, be sure to check out what we have available, by clicking here….

Would LOVE to see/share photos of how you have positioned your Chinese Armoire!


….from none other than Antiques by Zaar!

So thrilled for the collaboration with Shane Phillips, in his retail store so aptly named “Shane’s Collection”, which is just that…. a great collection of  furniture and accessories  as selected and displayed so eloquently by Shane himself. Truly, the man is passionate about what he does and you can feel it from the way he creates his window displays, which simply draw you in….such as the black and white themed vignette he did for his grand opening earlier this summer…and which I just have to share here.

Conveniently located on the corner of Main and Kivett in High Point, NC,  he is open 6 days a week, servicing both retail and designer customers.

Yes,  he would specifically would like the Designer community to know that he is there to welcome you each and every Designer Wednesday, and will also be open throughout the duration of Market, welcoming your business.

NOTE: Antiques by Zaar Showroom at 1500 West Green Drive will unfortunately NOT be open for Designer Appreciation Day, Wed Sept 14th….

Please visit our retail venue @ the corner of Main and Kivett, at Shane’s Collection…..where you will be sure to find  something to suit your tasteful palette and your pocket book….and enjoy meeting Shane while you’re at it. He’s not only a talented designer with a discerning eye, he is just a really nice guy!

The store truly is a must see, and I hope these couple of photos serve as a teaser to have you stop by, for I promise you, you will be delighted.

For more information on Shane’s Collection, contact the man himself at 336 991 0867.


Although I carry with me every day many wonderful  “takeaways” after attending each WITHIT conference, see blog posting from last year,  I would be remiss in  “moving forward” without an acknowledgement by way of a blog posting from last week’s conference….besides, this is kind of expected from me by now eh..sharing said takeaways.

So, between hurricane Irene, and thus a power outage, and heading to Ireland, with husband to mark our landmark 25th anniversary, I am going to shoot out a few words, joining my many fellow WITHIT members who are similarly posting on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The “takeaways” are numerous….

A reconnection with friends.

New connections….and GREAT to see so many students with us!

New opportunities for my business. You can anticipate reading about this in future blogs/newsletters🙂

New opportunities to help others with their business. Thank you for the honor of leading your blogging roundtable.

A renewed appreciation for how and why WITHIT came into being in the first place. Thank you Jena Hall for sharing

A true sense of this vision being just as strong today. Thank you to the leaders who remain so committed to the vision

Opportunity to applaud,see, hear and be touched by iconic women in our industry/role models each in their own right.

WOW awards…..

An awareness of the “new world” we are in and what that means for how we approach our business. Keynote Elm Street Economics.

A better understanding of all that I can do with my iphone, in addition to grabbing emails, texting and oh yeah, using as a phone.🙂 Pre conference workshop.

BUT, it is the pervasive Spirit that I am enveloped with me that anchors me/serves as my “core” …

For all of above is couched in a Spirit of…









For the women of WITHIT share more than the commonality of being associated with the Home Furnishings Business, they are…

Professional….yet cuddly…I so know there are photos out of the snuggle bunnies on sofas at the bar.




Colorful….in personality and in how they dress….many loving a “splash” of color…so fun!

Connected…in all the right ways🙂

Have a Voice and are not afraid to use it….whether in written, spoken word or in song.

Are willing and eager to share, listen, support, uplift, encourage, mentor and be mentored.

Knowingly a little “gushy” here but I simply can’t emphasize enough the value of being part of a community of supportive and like minded women. So, if you are part of the Home Furnishings Industry, do yourself a favor and join WITHIT. If you’re not, go out and find yourself a community…and don’t let geography deter you, many online groups offer same...but do it.

I am able to nurture and grow my business, because I have taken the time to nurture and grow myself….and with that I am “powered on” and you can too!

Soooo, get Withit and feel yourself grow and glow!


P.S. Am well aware of lack of photos in this missive and there are numerous reasons I am going against what I preached at my blogging roundtable re importance of having images help grab your reader. But I simply felt that this message needed be posted now…not a week from now, when I’d have a chance to get photos for this….gives me reason to “repurpose” and send with photos at a later date🙂

….were the words emblazed on three different pillows that were part of our “gift pack” upon registration at the 2011 WITHIT Leadership Conference, which was just held in Raleigh-Durham earlier this week.

I chose “succeed” as it is that candle I hold before me as I work to nurture and grow my business...but “inspire” was a close 2nd, I have to say.

Which word do you like in front of you as you go about your business/life?

And if you were at the conference, which pillow did you choose and why?


Thank you to wright showroom solutions for providing what was a  visually delightful welcome as well as a great take away.

P.S. Yes, another posting forthcoming on what was another great conference….just a warm up here.🙂

….quality or quantity?

Who doesn’t like a large fan base and following, on facebook, THE place to be for your business…and don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this portal to meet and get to know people.

BUT is it more important to have a large following or to have a qualified following? And should you be promoting yourself/business/growing your following on your personal page or solely on your business page?

Don’t know about you but I have a steady flow of “friend requests” come in on my personal profile… people which I don’t know, less what they put out in there for me to see, before I accept them as “friends” … and which I go through  individually before adding to my following.

For any of you thinking of asking me to “friend” you, please know this…

1. Having a healthy number of mutual friends is not enough reason for me to bring you into the fold.

2. If you want to be part of my flock I would like to know a little more about you than just your name….ie, don’t block your information so that I can only see who you are AFTER I friend you.

3. I would like it that English is the language you are posting on facebook. No offense, just that I don’t speak, nor can read anything but English.

4. A provocative profile photo doesn’t entice me to add you….

I’m not saying that some people have slipped through the cracks on me, but I am trying to keep my audience/friend list one that relates to who I am and what I do, and above helps.

I am so thrilled that so many people have indeed entered my world by way of my personal page on face book, and look forward to growing my community here….one that is satisfying to you and to me…and I think the above guidelines help to keep all in check.

Now for fans/likes….

I often see…”like me and I’ll like you” as people seek to grow their fan base on their business page on facebook.

Although I have on occasion suggested” liking” antiques by zaar to those in my personal following, IF I think relevant to who they are….ie, if you’re in the furniture or design business….BUT I much prefer people “liking” antiques by zaar because they want to support me and keep tabs on what’s up with my biz here, as that is what I use this page for.

And know I will happily “like” your business for same reasons…ie, I like you/what you’re doing, or what your sharing on facebook,which incites me to check out more of what you’re all about, and subsequently want to support you….not just to have you “like’ me in return…although the gesture is appreciated.🙂

Soooo, IF you are interested in me and/or my business, I welcome your support in what I do by “liking” antiques by zaar, where I post my blogs and updates on my biz….and let me know of your business, which I will happily support by “liking” as well.

And if you think we share further mutual interests, I am happy to receive your friend request as well and will happily accept/welcome you to my world.

Would be curious to know what you think about how and where is the  best place to grow your facebook audience.

Should you leave business to the business fan pages and have your personal profile for just that, personal “stuff”?

If so, how do you move people over from your personal page to your business page? Do they want to go there or do they prefer interacting with you on your personal page?

Does it really matter who you have where as long as you are engaging?

Would love to know what ya’ll think of this, but in the meanwhile I shall enjoy sharing with those that have joined me on my biz page and/or on my personal page….yes, all on Facebook.


It ends well when…

…I can look back at my “to do” list and see that it is “mostly” complete. And yes, I include what I plan on doing for personal as well as business side..gotta try and fit it ALL in! 

….I have “touched” each of my children, and my mother, somewhere in the course of my day, either by phone, email or text.

….I feel I have interacted effectively with those that surround me virtually.

….I have put in a good day in support of my self/my vision/my business. 

….and I have exercised. Been back burnered this summer with a sprained ligament that isn’t healing quickly😦

I like to end it well by….

…..munching on a bowl of those colorful fruity cheerios as my nighttime snack.🙂

….Preparing a “reasonable”  To Do list for the next day.

….Making my nightly one page journal entry.

…having a languid tub

…having my coffee prepared, so that I just have to press “on” upon rising.

….have the kitchen tidied, so as to not wake up to the mess…ok, have to admit not done as consistently as I’d like BUT yes, I do like it when I do do it.

….having a blog or newsletter prepared and scheduled to hit the airwaves as I’m having my coffee at 7:30 the next morning.

… remembering to be Grateful for the many people and opportunities that I have and continue to be Blessed with.

And by ending my days with these activities/thoughts, it simply helps me start that whole cycle over again, starting “well” the next whole new day.

Happy Monday and to Many Happy Endings and Beginnings to you all!


….did I say repurpose?

It truly is great to know that your blog has a shelf life much more than just the original posting… one of my big “take a ways” after listening to a presentation given by Melissa Galt, of  Melissa Galt Inc, at High Point Furniture Market, and happy to give her credit here.

There are many many portals out there to do just that, and I would  like to remind you of the basics, as well as reinforce one which isn’t considered part of “social media” , that being the online newsletter…

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been putting out an online newsletter since 2004…one in which the “meat”, or my business updates,  were couched in personal antidotes…. See some past issues here…thus making my newsletter not just a venue to give company updates, but also give people a chance to get to know who is behind this business and at same time staying close to those who have done business with me. 

When I started dipping my toes into the blogging world, and as stated in my very first blog, I intended to reverse that and couch the “personal” side of my business with the meat of my business, that of selling Chinese antiques online.

And what I’d like to propose here is that the merging of these  two mediums, your newsletter and your blog, is a great way to maximize your output/reach.

OR, if you’re having a hard time engaging as a blogger, and aren’t touching your customer base, prospects and past, by way of an online newsletter, I would encourage you to start with that first…if a choice is to be made….for the following reasons:

1. Knowing your audience knows you, or is at least is familiar with your company, is a much easier writing experience, ie less intimidating, than trying to draw a new audience in.

My logo is very recognizable and is front stage on my newsletter and blog header…and, btw, is my name in Chinese.

2. You can use this online newsletter as a way to warm up to the discipline of blogging, as output for a newsletter is good monthly, whereas to make any impact with blogging you need to put out at absolute minimum once a week.

3.  It simply is good form to touch regularly those who know you, simply to remind them that you’re  there, ….for when they need what you have again…and to give those who haven’t decided to shop with you yet, a place to get to know you. These people need to hear from you and the online newsletter is unobtrusive and inexpensive.

…AND also is a place to show that there is a PERSON behind the business. My face is pretty familiar by now as well🙂

And, with this online newsletter in place you have a wonderful place to imbed your blogs, sharing with a defined audience/your mailing list, what you are writing to a non defined audience….especially since you can now easily SHARE your newsletters of choice  on Facebook, Linked in and Twitter. LOVE it how these are all so connected for us!

Yes, I consider your newsletter as a primo place to re purpose your blogs. And I’ve taken to this and love merging these two forms….

1. As part of the text…giving a lead in to what is fleshed out in the blog, thus reducing, but at the same time increasing, my information put out in the newsletter…example here in my Thanksgiving missive.  I like to have at least 3 blogs worked into my newsletters like this.

2. By listing  of all blogs posted in 2 month span. This gives my mailing list an introduction to my blogging …example here… particularly as there’s a pretty good chance they wouldn’t otherwise find/read my blog…so nice unobtrusive way to invite them in as readers, follow my output.

3. And/or by pulling  together several blogs that represent a particular topic, to bring attention to…such as blogs which have as part of their content, applications of Chinese Antique Furniture…example here. Matter of doing a sort for them.

I have given precedence  to this specific venue to repurpose as I feel it is not commonly considered and not as obvious as what I am simply going to list below…

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn…

1. When you set up your blog you can have it that your blog will automatically post on Twitter and Facebook. IE, you post your blog and off it goes…

2. By adding  a SHARE button on footer of each posting, others can readily post your blog to their audiences. Also, this is the way I share on my LinkedIn groups.

3. AND, lastly, I often embed past blog postings into current ones….as I did at the beginning of this post.

If you’re already doing an online newsletter, good on you for having  in place this platform to further repurpose your blog. If I’ve incited you to think about  doing an online newsletter, as a preface to doing a blog, great…

I use Constant Contact and love it. Some friends swear by Mail Chimp as well, although I’m not familiar with it.

I so KNOW of the value not of only putting out an online newsletter, but the value of being REAL within that form, that I simply want to encourage others to consider the same, and let this venue of staying  in touch with your customers/prospects work for you, and further to have this platform serve your blogging efforts as well.

Do let me know how you’re doing either in producing a newsletter and/or a blog.


HINT: When  you gather your names/email addresses of your customers, I advise putting them in excel format, as by doing so it is really easy to add them into constant contact mailing list, share your list with others, or use in other formats…. IE, repurpose said list once compiled🙂

Classic, clean, modern, natural and….

A touch of Asian.

How can you not fall in love with how Kathleen, of KMH Design, has merged it all so effortlessly in this San Marco Home?

The Chinese console, positioned “just so” opposite the fire place, serves well as anchor for a pair of gorgeous framed photographs, and accented with natural artifacts and supported by a more traditional styled upholstered chair.

Thank you Kathleen, for sharing your beautiful work showcasing  how well a touch of Asian works in your “non Asian” decorating schema.

Photo credit to: Thomas Hager

Design credit to: KMH Design

Chinese console credit to: proudly,  Antiques by Zaar

P.S. Pulled this below example from an issue of Elle Decor, from a home in the Hamptons, which takes it even one step further when it comes to mixing traditional and modern, wouldn’t you agree?

Yes, that single piece of antique simply makes the otherwise generally  modern look “pop”.

If you have an example of how you’ve mixed an Asian piece (or two) with a modern, feel free to share. I will post…and give credit.