Sweet Sixteen

Here it is folks, my Top 9 moments of 2016…according to IG….

final-top-9I’m happy with it. Quite happy with it, actually. And I must say that, overall, I’m quite happy with how 2016 shook out.

2016 seemed to be quite controversial.  For the past several weeks, every single time I check social media there is a post portraying the last year as some sort of Hell on earth. A meme or status about, “Will 2016 please just be be over?”  Seriously, I think it’s obnoxiously dramatic. Yes, I understand that half of the country is upset because the Presidential candidate they voted for lost. A lot of celebrities passed away. And living in St. Louis, Cardinal Nation, some people I know were sore that the Cubs finally won a World Series.

Man up, people. The Presidential candidate that the other half of the country voted for won. Being disappointed over the result is all the more reason to keep on keepin’ on. Also, people die every single year. And newsflash, not just famous people. Yes, it’s sad but, it’s unavoidable. Are you really in a state of depression because Alan Thicke is gone? Gimme a break.  And I was lucky enough to be in Chicago when the Cubs became World Champions.  It was amazing. The entire town was ecstatic and so, so proud. It was truly a happy day.

This is not to say that 2016 didn’t have some lowlights. I had struggles with health, my own and my beloved Mister Hemi, the exhaustion of running a business, and a few shitty client experiences. Unfortunately there will be struggles every single year. It’s part of life.  I like to keep it 100, but I also do my best to keep it positive. Not because I fancy myself to be some sort of influencer, but because I hate listening to people whine. Whining is so not chic. It’s like, the opposite of chic. Being grateful, optimistic, and a problem solver is sexy. But not the cheesy, motivational-quote-poster-with-an-image-of-a-lion-perched-on-a-mountain-in-the-background type of optimistic. That is just plain embarrassing and definitely not chic. I’m talking about an all around, go-getting attitude. That is sexy.  Hopefully y’all feel me and get the message I’m trying to convey.

Anyhow, I digress…

As I take time the to plan out my goals for the next year, I have also reflected on some of my personal milestones in 2016. This past year brought me and my business wonderful memories and opportunities that I’d like to share.  In no particular order, I present you a few of my favorites.

ADA Awardsjdm-year-end-review-2016St. Louis AT HOME Magazine hosts an annual competition by name of the Architect and Design Awards.  After my short lived career in competitive reality television, I had been too skittish to subject myself to public judging again.  After encouragement from friends and colleagues, last year I decided to submit for the first time. I ended up receiving the second highest amount of nominations with 6 nods. I felt pretty proud considering my “firm” was just me working out of my guest bedroom and I was only outnumbered by a huge architecture firm that has been around since 1976.

The night of the awards could not have been better. I wore one of my signature all-white ensembles and rocked one of my all time favorite hairdos, thanks to my amazing friend and stylist Sara
Per my request to “bleach my hair so blonde it looks like my head is on fire” my locks initially turned a Marge Simpson-esque blue mere hours before the awards, but she knew exactly what she was doing and it turned out beyond fab, IMHO.

jdm-year-end-review-2016-6I ended up taking home three winners; Master Suite, Millwork, and Window Treatments, all from my famous black bedroom, but the by far the best part was sharing the experience with my friends and family who came out to support me. Having my parents there with me and some of my closest (and craziest) friends was very special, and meant a lot to me.

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My Anniejdm-year-end-review-2016-4I have been a super fan of the genius designer behind the uber luxe brand Euro Trash, Annie Smith, for several years. Like, super duper fan. In true psychopath cyberstalker fashion, I have blogged about her not only once, but twice.  Her ability to tell a story through design is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. She is truly my idol.

Through the wonderful world of Instagram, she found me and became – get this – a fan of mine.  Like, Holy Shit! I remember getting butterflies when I realized that not only did she follow me, but she was liking every single one of my posts and wrote the sweetest, most complimentary comments. After realizing we both live in St. Louis we met up and we have been bonded together ever since. I’ve never met anyone that “gets me” and understands me the way she does, as I do with her.  She is my soulmate for sure.

Not only is Annie stunningly gorgeous and talented, but she is the most down to earth and generous person I’ve ever met. She has done so much for me in such a short time I don’t know how I will ever repay her. I value how close we are and how much I’m included in her life now. Like, I was with her while she was getting hair and makeup done for her wedding.

It’s kind of crazy.
jdm-year-end-review-2016-2And what an amazing wedding it was. Damn, we had good time.
jdm-year-end-review-2016-10So just remember this folks, you can find true love on the Internet.

Beyoncejdm-year-end-review-2016-14For me, the most impactful event of 2016 by far was Beyonce’s Formation Tour. I’ve been a Beyonce fan since the Destiny’s Child days, but in the past 5 years or so her and her music has empowered me in several ways. I have always thought it was ridiculous to hear people say the lyrics of a song helped them get through a hard time. I mean, how lame can you get, amiright? But I had just never experienced it for myself.

After being successful in my 20s through real estate development, I entered my 30s coming out of the recession having lost my job, all my money, my home and my self esteem.  Most likely as a result from that mental damage, I wound up in a relationship with a controlling and abusive person that caused me to lie to my friends, family and myself and to believed I was trapped. I have vivid memories of staying up all hours of the night on my laptop watching Beyonce videos on repeat during bad times. Her words really did remind me that I am, in fact, a Bad Bitch that can take care of myself.

Luckily, I got my shit together and those days are long gone, but my love for Queen B remains strong. After a traumatic experience buying fraudulent tickets to The Mrs. Carter World Tour (def a lowlight of 2013, to say the least) I took no prisoners when she announced The Formation Tour. Thanks to some of my amazing girlfriends, I saw the shows in…

Chicagojdm-year-end-review-2016-11St. Louisjdm-year-end-review-2016-15and Nashvillejdm-year-end-review-2016-3Everyone always asks which was my favorite show. It’s hard to say, as they were all special for different reasons. Chicago was by far the most cathartic, I had the most fun in St. Louis, and her best performance and crowd was for sure in Nashville. I’m truly sad I wasn’t able to see her in more cities. Yes, I know I sound crazy and maybe I am, but I kinda like that about me.

Healthjdm-year-end-review-2016-17That picture is of me the morning of NYE, December 31, 2016. It is exactly what I look like. No makeup and dirty hair. Unedited and unfiltered.  And I am proud of it.

Why?

Because I’m exercising. All by myself in my building while my gym is closed for the holiday.

Most people are unaware that fitness is a huge part of my life. I’m not exactly skinny, I think “checking in” at the gym is tacky, and I wouldn’t be caught dead posting a gym selfie on IG. I much prefer to share glimpses of the glamorous parts of my life, and keep all of the hard work that it takes private. I constantly use the phrase “Never let them see you sweat” both figuratively and literally.  I hold a lot of value in that sentiment.

For a few years I maintained an extremely disciplined workout schedule that consisted of 5-6 group exercise classes a week at my gym.  (Seriously, 5-6. Sometimes 7). I didn’t realize it at the time because (like everyone else on the planet) I’m my own worst critic, but looking back I was fit AF.

In the middle of Summer 2015 I went through a humiliating breakup that caused me severe depression.  I self medicated with Tito’s. Lots, and lots of Tito’s. I fell off my fitness routine and within a few months I bloated up like half the cast of Vanderpump rules. (Let’s just say I was NOT working on my summer body).  Then in October my gym’s Fitness Director (and the instructor of almost all my favorite group exercise classes) left to take a position at a gym way too far away from me to join. By New Years 2016 I went from bloated to not being able to fit into any of my clothes. In a desperate attempt to lean out quickly I started running like a psychopath which resulted in flaring up an old lower back injury, which caused severe sciatic nerve pain down my left leg, which caused a loss of feeling in my left foot, which then led to me almost breaking my left ankle. It was a total shit show.  I wasn’t able to exercise for a month. I lost an enormous amount of strength and felt completely disgusting.

Being too self conscious to go to the gym, my dear friend, and talented trainer, Julia agreed to privately train me until I was got healthy and strong enough to get back to group exercise classes. We set a time frame goal, and I achieved it. After a few months of slow and steady progress I was looking for something a lot more intense and got hooked up with certified nutritionist, trainer and all around bad ass Samantha Adams.

I mean, the woman is pregnant and still kicks everyone’s ass at the gym.jdm-year-end-review-2016-18She has a solution for any physical ailment and calls everyone out on their bullshit excuses. I’m still really a little scared of her.

When I first met with her she evaluated my diet and immediatley made me take a blood test to identify which ingredients I was ingesting that needed to eliminate. I had absolutely no clue that everyone’s body digests food differently and some of the “healthy” foods I regularly consumed were making me look and feel like shit. My test resulted in a relatively short, but quite challenging, list.jdm-year-end-review-2016-16Chicken? Blueberry? CAFFEINE?! ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?!

I started my new eating regime right after my birthday on November 14 and was as disciplined as possible, with a few important exceptions, through the holidays. (Over my dead body am I not cheersing with my infamous cranberry based holiday punch!) Seriously.  I have not had chicken, popcorn or Starbucks in over 7 weeks.  I’m back in the gym 5-6 days a week, two of which are training with Sam, and I’ve started experimenting with acupuncture, cupping and soon colonics (Lord Jesus pray for me on that one!). I am now enjoying the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and starting to feel like my old self again, and with more hard work I’m confident I will soon start to look like my old self again.

Press jdm-year-end-review-2016-19This past year I had enough talent and luck to receive lots of  great press coverage on my work. I am fully aware of how narcissistic it is to be proud of receiving press and I couldn’t care less.  I work my ass off trying to keep my clients happy and having fun throughout their project, while the behind-the-scenes drama is enough to make most people want to pack up their bags and head to Jamaica to sell beaded necklaces on the beach for the rest of their lives. I do whatever it takes to make my work appear effortless, despite the struggles and sleepless nights that requires.

I am honored to say that I was featured in three separate issues of St. Louis AT HOME Magazine, Ladue News, Good Housekeeping, and HGTV Magazine. I also contributed to ElleDecor.com and The Huffington Post, and was named a Designer of the Month by Wayfair.com.

Press and social media are my only forms of advertising, which I obviously need to generate clients. The articles written about my brand and my business result in me having the ability to continue doing the work I love, and for that I am very grateful.

Partiesjdm-year-end-review-2016-20Admittedly, the majority of my nights are spent working until I finally crawl in bed or binging on Bravo in sweats on my sofa. I require lots of down time and nights spent alone recharge me for the hectic days ahead.

But there is no denying that it. JDM. Loves. To . Party.

There are few things that excite me as much as planning a killer outfit, getting my hair and makeup done, and being festive . Just call me Mariah Carey.

Minus the Times Square NYE performance.

And the greasy backup dancer boy-toy.

But anyway, I do love a good party. I love hosting them and I love attending them. And 2016 was filled with lots of memorable celebrations.

I hosted a fancy dinner party honoring my talented friend Ted Collier, lots of informal brunches, and my annual Ghouls Night In dinner party right before Halloween.jdm-year-end-review-2016-21I went to Birthday parties, art openings, charity events, and winery trips.jdm-year-end-review-2016-24I am so grateful, and still shocked, that I received my first ever surprise birthday party, organized and thrown for me by the most important people in my life. I can’t explain how special, and surprisingly shy, it made me feel. Such a great day that I will never forget.jdm-year-end-review-2016-23I wrapped up the year by co-hosting my very best friend Sarah‘s 8th Annual White Elephant party in her new condo.  A tradition that means so much to us and all of our friends.  It really helped make her new place feel like home, which is the best gift I know how to give someone.jdm-year-end-review-2016-27The last soiree of 2016 was a very spontaneous FRIENDSmas gathering at my my place organized by my ridiculously brilliant, over the top, gorgeous glamazon of a friend Rebecca. She was in town for the holidays and wanted to see as many people as possible, so I offered up Casa de Daredevil which, by the way, turned pink in 2016. Keeping with the Sweet 16 theme I guess…..

Well, I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking.  You people have no idea how insane my work schedule was the two weeks up to Christmas. I had a client install on Thursday 12/22 AND one one Friday 12/23. I have never had two installs in the same month, let alone back-to-back two days before Christmas. I thought I was going to drop dead of a heart attack, but instead, I invited Rebecca and all of her St. Louis friends over to get our Christmas Krunk on.

And I’m so freakin glad I did.

We had an absolute blast. A blast that resulted in a Christmas Eve hangover for everyone in attendance and a black eye for me, (Seriously, don’t ask.) and it was still all worth it.

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I had a lot of fun in 2016, but the most important part of the year were the relationships I developed. I built new friendships, strengthened existing ones, and even had a few that fizzled out. The exact same happened for my professional relationships. More than ever, I believe that people are in your life at certain times for a reason. And also out of your life for a reason. We usually can’t see what that reason is at the time, and often we still still can’t figure it out after, but I don’t doubt for a moment that it all serves a purpose.

Thank you so much to my family, friends, clients, and even my social media supporters, for helping make 2016 a fantastic year. I appreciate you all more than I can ever show.

Here’s to 2017.

Cheers!

Comments

  1. You are _________ (fill in the very necessary long blank).. to me and those around you. I love everything you bring to this world, bae. I laughed and cried and beamed through this post, remembering this year with you and watching you from NYC… in my JDM lady lair. I love you! Keep kicking ass my love! XOXO

  2. Sharon Ayres says:

    Well if your 2017 is half as beautiful as the pics from ’16, you’re going to have one hell of a next 12 months! Cheers for an exciting and wonderful new year!!

  3. Robin Christensen says:

    You need to add a way to unsubscribe on your site – and unsubscribe me.

  4. Jana Leigh says:

    What a year on which to reflect you have had! I like your drive, your style, and your philosophy. 2017 is going to an interesting road to good things, finally. I have no doubt you will be poised to ride the wave.

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