Meet Me & Friends at We Are Social / imm Cologne

We are social! Yes we are! Tweet me, like me, rah, rah, rah! Okay, social media cheerleading aside, I want to invite you to imm cologne, where more than 1,250 exhibitors from more than 50 countries come face to face with over 140k visitors from all over the world to present 100k+ pieces of furniture and other decorating items -- and a big bonus for visitors is that about one third of these exhibitors are totally new. But that's not all...

The most exciting part for me is that I'll be there to speak on Monday, January 14th from 2-4 on, “Blogging Your Way To Success - 8 tips on how others can find success through blogging and social media” and lead a panel composed of 6 social media and blogging experts for, , where we will explore the benefits of social media along with plenty of ideas for all who want to use social media platforms and their blogs in ways that can yield rich results.

Dr. Frank Huber from organized this event for imm and asked me to select 3 bloggers that I thought would be a great fit to the panel that he had already begun to pull together when he approached me last year. Dr. Huber selected Costas Voyatzis from , Ferdinando Napoli from and Micle Mihai-Cristian from because those are sites that he reads and admires and whom he regards as social media experts and success stories.

When it was my turn to choose my three panel experts, I wanted to go with a diverse group with different backgrounds so I selected Will Taylor from , Frederik Frede from  and Stefanie from the OhhMhh blog. Each of our panelists will give a 10 minute presentation so you will get to learn more about them and what they do along with their inspirational story and background. After that, we will break for some mingling and then everyone will be invited to take their seats as we'll then begin the panel -- I'll ask questions so that everyone in attendance can learn from these inspirational people. My goal as the moderator will be to keep it REAL and RELATABLE. I want everyone in attendance, no matter how big or small your blog is, to walk away with plenty of ideas and creative fuel and most importantly, to feel inspired by all of us and our stories. Because really, our stories are your stories. We are a community. We are social!

If you cannot attend, please follow us on January 14th on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and by following us at #wearesocial Location: imm Cologne Congress-Centrum Ost 4. OG, Congress-Saal Sektion 3, Koelnmesse 2:00-4:00

Following the event, I'll be at the Koelnmesse Passage Hall 3/ Hall 11 signing books at 4:45 (both English and German copies will be available for sale).

For more information, please check out the - this event is completely free of charge so please come, bring a friend, and enjoy a few hours of learning, mingling and fun because we plan to make this an event that is not only worth your time but that can be enjoyed by all.

See you soon!

(image: imm cologne)

Flaws Make Us Loveable

Hello, hello! I'm back from my holiday break but oh no! Please forgive me! I'm not feeling very motivated to get back to work though I've heard I'm not alone... You too? Hopefully with this first post I'll be feelin' my flow again. I need to get back into the game!

It's like anything... Mind over body. I want to feel the groove but my body is a bit like "bleh". So first thing I did on Monday morning was to make small but positive changes. I decided to drink more green tea and water, eat mostly salads and go on daily walks (Currently I'm doing 3.1 miles/5km). It's time to get that energy back, focus and start planning ahead because this is going to be a very big year since I'm going on another book tour in May to North America hitting more cities this time and extending certain parts of my journey to teach a workshop, visit family and work on my next book when I'm out on the west coast. Must. Reboot. Mojo.

So! Did you have a nice holiday? What did you do? I didn't really DO anything but that was sort of the point. It was healing to go into a fox hole and hideaway for three weeks. It allowed me time to think which sounds silly but stopping to really THINK isn't something we find ourselves doing often, is it? I believe that is why topics like Slow Living and Mindfulness have become more and more a part of daily conversations happening around the world. We need to be asking ourselves questions like, "Do I want to be doing what I'm doing today by this time next year?" and "What changes do I need to make in my life now?" along with "Am I really happy and if not, what do I need to change to get more HAPPINESS into my life". Oh yeah and of course the most important thing to ask is, "Ryan Gosling?".

Okay maybe that one isn't a question but it most certainly is always the answer (smile). I saw Drive over the holidays and though it's one of those revenge action flicks (not really my thing), Ryan was so charming and authentic in his performance that I finally GOT why so many women are lured in. It's not just the abs, really. If you've seen Drive, you will immediately know what I mean - the boy can act. You know what really struck me though about Mr. Gosling in that film? He comes across like the real deal and aren't we all so much more attracted to people who are authentic? I think sincerity really goes the distance.

You don't have to be perfect to succeed but wow, being genuine can make or break so many of us. In a funny way, watching Drive really highlighted that fact to me because his character was flawed but real and it made me think that all of us are flawed but often that's what attracts us to one another so much. Flaws, imperfection, not being 100%. It's relatable and we want relatable don't we? It's often that slowing down that we do mentally around the holidays that allows us room to think and for me, I have been thinking so much about the importance of being sincere, standing up for what we believe in, owning up to every piece of ourselves (even the flawed bits) and embracing imperfection, individuality and love for self.

I digress...

I'd like to welcome you back to a new year of cattledogs and wish you all a very happy new year. I'll be back in a moment with a post showing products photographed in the home of one of my favorite bloggers featuring newly designed products not shared yet online - in fact the photo above is a glimpse of what is to come. Stay tuned!

- Holly

Little Holiday "Me" Time

Hello my dear friends! I hope that you are enjoying the season and all of the good feelings that it can bring, despite some of sad news we've been hearing lately from countries all over the world having their own trials and tribulations. Despite the bad times though, we have to each try during such moments to pause and reflect on all that is good in our life, in our community and in the world. It's not about being Pollyanna, it's about recognizing how precious life really is and that we have to value the time we've been given on this planet and live each day mindfully, with intention. For me, this also means taking time out.

While I admire bloggers who write 365 days a year (woot woot!), I simply don't want to because I truly need and want time to dedicate to myself and my family - to be in a bubble all of our own - together, with friends, strolling the Christmas markets here and being in the moment without any sense of obligation or "I really need to blog this or that" because the truth it, taking time off is healing and the chance to recharge my batteries after a long year is, for me, a necessity.

I encourage all of you to take a little holiday pause this year - even an internet pause - and make some things with your hands, play on the floor with your children, pay attention to those in your home who are there because they belong to you and are yours to love and most importantly, refresh and refuel. I was going to have guest bloggers post for me while I'm away, but I decided that I want them to take time out too and I don't want to encourage people to constantly surf blogs from now until January 1st because frankly, we all really need to enjoy other things offline to maintain joy and balance and to find more inspiration to put into our blogs again once the pause is over. Take it from me, the social media blog queen, it's vital. :)

I took some photos today after I pulled together this little wall in my work room - it took about 30 minutes and I like it so much. I did this after cruising all morning. I saw so many projects and ideas and felt inspired but wanted to make my own "project" so I stepped away from my iPad and got busy with my hands, scissors and washi tape. These photos are the result.

The beautiful cards came in the post by dear friends and some were given to me recently in person. They mean the world to me, especially when no one really sends paper cards anymore (heartbreakingly so) - I always make room on my walls each Winter to post the cards that did come in.

I will be on a holiday pause until January 9th, so I'll see you on Wednesday January 9th. I may be posting a surprise edition of Color Me Pretty with wonderful Leslie Shewring between now and then though, so watch my blog for that special post.

Before I sign off for the year though, I have some thanks to give. First, to all of you who read cattledogs and support this blog - Thank you for a wonderful, wonderful, year. Thank you to everyone who is leaving feedback on my books over at Amazon. Thank you to all who bought my books this year. Thank you to those of you who follow me on , , and .

Thanks to all who I've taught via (the next e-class is in March!). Thank you to my publishers: (and team!) , , and the other 8 publishing houses who have translated and sold my books. Thank you to for working with me this year on so many lovely photos for my books.

Thank you to everyone who came to my book launch party at Anthropologie in London this past Autumn, including and and to for sponsoring it in the first place. Thank you to my columnists, , and for your beautiful contributions to cattledogs each month. Thank you to the many bloggers who participated in the Decorate Workshop book tour for Chronicle Books, too!

And most importantly, a huge heartfelt thank you to my husband for supporting me and loving me and putting up with living with a blogger but more than that, for working so hard to manage my business, handle my advertisements, work with my clients, support and maintain Blogging Your Way and for the beautiful, "Holly Song" that he composed for my new video shown below for a class I taught with Leslie Shewring in NYC earlier this year. So many assume I'm running my business alone but I'm not, my husband does a huge amount of work for what has become our company and he was the one person who encouraged me to write in the first place when I was so unhappy at my corporate job. Thorsten, thank you so much for being there for me!

There are so many more to thank, including those who advertise on my blog (see the column to your right for a complete view), but I think this post is already long enough. But seriously everyone, you all are a wonderful bunch of friends, thanks for being such a big extension of my family.

I wish you a beautiful and happy season and a wonderful 2013. I'll see you on Wednesday, January 9th!

xo, Holly

First View: House Doctor Spring 2013

Ready to see the never-been-blogged collection for Spring 2013? Of course you are! My dear Danish friend and neighbor, of in Hannover, Germany also happens to be the rep for them in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This is why I always give cattledogs readers first peeks at their latest collections - yeah, I have connections baby! :)

Anyway, let us explore the pages of their new catalog together, shall we? See if you can spot any trends for Spring! I'm seeing lovely pastel tones punctuated by their more saturated friends like emerald which is the Pantone color of the year for 2013 with shots of fleshy peach tones, mint, indigo, black, gray and loads of white with hints of copper - yum!

I just love House Doctor stuff, they are really a leader when it comes to trends in Denmark - I constantly see their collections first and then notice everyone else jumping on the same bandwagon with similar products - which shows me what a leader of the pack they really are and I love that. I think the House Doctor ladies are such an inspiration.

I'm excited for the things that springtime brings, aren't you? I can't wait to pick up a few of those bell jars from House Doctor and some black accessories for my home. I'm looking forward to decorating for Spring, too. I've decided to redecorate a few of my rooms in the Spring so I'm starting to think about my plan of action and it definitely includes changing up the colors a bit. I'm excited to start first with a mood board and build from there. I'll show you the results in March or April.

Have a lovely day! I'll be back in a moment with a special video we shot earlier this year in NYC of me and my friend Leslie Shewring teaching a Blogging Your Way workshop in Soho and then I'll be wrapping up for the year since I plan to begin vacation tomorrow until January 7th. Back in a moment with that video. Loads of love! xo Holly

(images: house doctor)

Brook Farm General Store in Brooklyn

Hello everyone this is Jillian posting from Australia today! How are you? If you love a natural approach to living then you'll love this month's edition of shopgirl where in Brooklyn is given a friendly visit and photo shoot.

This inspiring shop (also with an ) is a modern interpretation of the traditional general stores of New York City. Over the years I’ve seen the store featured on cattledogs and in a few other blogs and magazines, so when it was my turn to visit New York, Brook Farm General Store was on my list. The store stocks well designed practical goods, the kind of items I like to use in my own home.

is located in Williamsburg nestled in a small street just under the Williamsburg Bridge. Philippa, one of the owners, welcomed me to the store and let me wander around the shop snapping away to my heart’s content. The shop is neat, bright clean and light, the perfect palette to highlight the wares on display.

So what did I find in the store? A little bit of everything! There were goods for the kitchen and items for pets. There were things for the office and for the home like lights, brushes, enamelware, rugs and throws. This store stocks iconic brands such as and Opinel in addition to items from their own in house brand, . Of course I had to go home with something, but with so many lovely things all around me, it was hard to make a decision. As I love to cook, a box of came home with me tucked carefully into my luggage.

What would you have packed away in your suitcase?

Next time you’re in Brooklyn, you can find e at 75 South 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211, (718) 388-8642. If you’re not in town, they have a great online shopping site that you can .

Wishing you all the best for the holidays! - .

(images & text: jillian lieboff)

Book Love & DIY Project: Mes petites Kokeshi

Have you laid eyes upon the book, by talented Parisian shop owner ? I first saw it at the Frankfurter Buch Messe in 2011 and fell in total love, I had to buy a copy despite how little French I know (though now it's been translated into German, ). In this book, photos truly do speak a thousand words whether you speak French or German (or not). Adeline's projects are so cute and are all themed around the Japanese wooden dolls. Here is a glimpse from taken by my friend Emilie Guelpa from who worked on the project with her as the photographer.

Recently, felt very inspired from working on this book for Adeline and decided to make her own version of kokeshi dolls at home. She wrote about how she did it on her blog () but here are the items she transformed into little people laid out below. This is such a beautiful and inspiring craft project to work on, especially this time of year with your children. All you need are some wooden shapes, paint, fine tip brushes and maybe some glue if you want to accessorize your little people. You can add angel wings, glitter, feet, hats - whatever you'd like!

I feel so inspired by this project that I'm going to look around in the local craft store for wood pieces while I'm on vacation (I'm taking off December 15 - Jan 7) to see if I can make a few kokeshi of my own. You can even glue ribbon to them and create ornaments!

(images: )