I hope you've all enjoyed this extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas as much as I have! Usually it's such a mad sprint from one holiday to the next - having some spare time this year has been especially wonderful.
But, lo . . . the holiday season is now upon us - and in full swing. I'm excited to start seeing some of the early entries in the Holiday Decorating Contest over the weekend (click HERE for details and instructions to enter) . . . and know full well that you've all spent these extra few days getting your homes ready to celebrate all the various event that surround this busy season.
But, once our little photo contest is concluded - it's not just little ole me sitting here throwing darts at the board trying to pick out a winner . . .
No . . . once again we have a super talented panel of judges to review the entries and pick the winners in each category - 1) Christmas Tree, 2) Dining Table, and 3) Exterior Entrance/Front Door.
So here, in no particular order are our judges . . .
Though based in Arkansas, Tobi and I have been friends for years . . . and I delight in seeing the amazing achievements that her career has brought her. From her cover-story in House Beautiful . . . to her completely amazing Design Camps . . . she brings a cultured, southern eye (and her great love of colour!) to our panel.
New Yorker Michael brings his 'east-coast' touch to the proceedings. His gracious design work has been on my radar for many years now. From his beautiful gardens - to his amazing line of textiles and accessories - Michael has a clear vision for classic beauty.
Since it's always good to have an international point of view on our panel, Ronda (from her home base in Scotland) seemed like the perfect choice. Many of you may recognize her from any number of places - her blog, her work at Huffington Post, or from her upcoming book, Designers at Home from Rizzoli.
Because we clearly need someone local from San Francisco, Grant has agreed to fit us into his busy schedule - working on design projects across the country. Having lived on both coasts - and travelled extensively throughout Europe - Grant also adds an amazing international flavour to our panel - and since we live about 20 blocks apart - and NEVER manage to see each other - hopefully this will be our excuse to catch up!
One of the best aspects of this new 'online' community that we are all involved in - is the new way it allows us to be in contact with 'our tribe.' And Kathryn is clearly one of 'my people.' A classic, gracious southerner. A sharp wit, and delightful storyteller. And a woman who possesses more china and stemware than I do. If you don't have a copy of her wonderful book, The Collected Tabletop - it makes a marvelous Christmas present . . . or it might even be one of our prizes . . . hmmmmm.
Megan's amazing blog, Beach Bungalow 8, has been an inspiration of mine for years. I have always loved her beachy, bohemian style . . . and I know she'll definitely bring a perfectly 'coastal' vibe to our panel. Megan also holds the distinction of being the first blogger that I met in person after I began writing myself. We still laugh about the four and a half hour breakfast we spent together . . . laughing and getting to know each other.