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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.


….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.

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 🙂

…by the Souls of a group of wonderful women.

Beautiful gardens @ host of the orignal "Garden Party" Summer 09

The invite list was drawn from a summer Garden Party, that was initiated by my dear neighbor and her friend, and which I had been graciously invited to attend…, (and following offered to host the Christmas version of said party, which pretty much got snowed out ) and, as host for this particular party, I took the liberty of adding to the list from my own circle of friends.

some of you were “new” friends, that I had met from last summer’s  Garden Party…including 2 neighbors down my road that I had not yet met.

two of you were friends I met through my mother in law, and made the 90 minute drive together to attend the party.

one of you sings with me as a fellow alto in the Androscoggin Chorale…which has two concerts next weekend. Unfortuanately I won’t be singing, but look forward to attending….

Tinkerbelle, now Jasmine, has a real tough life...having to ride in the back seat!

one of you is connected by way of having purchased one of our puppies, when we had Peacock Hill Farm serve as our breeding business for Golden Retrievers.

a couple of you are friends from “way back” into the early years of moving to ME and a couple of you are friends made in more recent years.

and one of you I have befriended as a result of doing business  through Antiques by Zaar…and yes, does indeed have a finer collection of my pieces in her home (and Inn) than I do. (Check here to see how great my pieces look in her NH home)….and came all the way from Long Island!

We all were all….

interesting and interested.

happy for the opportunity to spend time with friends not seen in awhile and make new friends.

eager to stay in touch and ensure that it isn’t 8 months before the next “Garden Party”.

appreciative of each person that was there.


I stopped the chatter long enough for all to introduce ourselves & find out how we ended up at said party....& the chatter cont'd followin!

I have ALWAYS loved hosting parties and I personally couldn’t be happier for how my house has truly been warmed by this my first (and by far from last) party for 2010.

I thank each and every one of you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to do something good for yourself and for which more than a handful of kindred Spirits  likewise benefitted.

I could gush on and on but prefer to share with you snippets from emails I’ve received since my St Pat’s Day Garden Party, at 301 Peacock Hill Rd, New Gloucester, ME….my home. (Have had some wonderful “thank you” phone calls as well....)

Thank you SOOOOOOOOOO much!


I needed the company of wonderful women :)))

Thanks so much Ruth. It was so much fun last night and I wish I could have stayed all night.  Keep me on the email list!

Thanks for such a great party!  We had a great time and it was great meeting new people and seeing the ones we haven’t!

…for a great party.  It was super to meet all those wonderful women.  Your warmth as a hostess really set the tone for the whole affair.  See you again soon!

Fabulous home, friends, and hostess!  Thank you so much for bringing all of us together at your house for a great evening.  So much good food and so many interesting people. 

There aren’t the correct words within my vocabulary to properly thank you for inviting us to your home.  We just had the nicest time chatting on the trip up and back, and of course seeing you and all of the fantastic women that made it to your home last night.  It was just what the Dr. ordered.

thank you for a lovely evening with your lady friends.  Your home is so welcoming and your execution of space and design is outstanding.   Your welcoming Peggy and I into your group of lady friends means alot to us, and we could not be more appreciative.  And we hope to see you again very soon.


So, if you’ve been pondering a “girly girl” party, let me offer this by way of encouragement. Don’t dally…find a way to do it soon…you won’t regret it. It is a Gift that keeps on Giving….and is sooooo easy, for all you need is a venue and a list of women that you think would enjoy the company of others. No other pre equisite required. I guarantee a good time will be had by all!

P.S. …and yet another benefit was the post party connections that continue to be made as folks contact me for emails/phone numbers. Yes!