Can I Run Away to Vermont?

Being a decorator/writer/stylist person sounds really fun and stress-less. But let me assure you, I have never had a more stressful job in my life. So some days I like to throw hissy fits and declare that i am going to quit and go live a peaceful life somewhere more remote where I don’t exhaust myself by comparing what I do/have/look like to everyone else in this mini-metropolis OR on the interwebs.  I mean, I do a lot, but even I feel like it’s not enough when I see other people in my industry launching product lines and magazines while having their 7th baby and canning organic vegetables for fun while making a four course meal (and photographing it).  I am more the type to eat cereal for dinner and wonder what $6 bottle of wine will go with it best. So I hallucinate that I can  just run off to somewhere with lots of fresh air, wear Patagonia while hiking and writing a book and painting and have ten dogs and GO BAT SHIT CRAZY because I am a high strung perfectionist who can’t even sit and watch TV without also being on the internet working while simultaneously flipping through a magazine. But a girl can dream, right?  Especially after seeing this little adorable spread from House Beautiful about this adorable couple who have design business and wine bar in Vermont and live in this kick ass cottage. It’s that creative, laid back life of my dreams. *le sigh*

(This looks so much like my own bedroom it’s scary)

Oh, and they wrote two books too. Slackers.


  1. I’m also a high-strung perfectionist (at least when it comes to my home). My husband has done worlds to ground me, but I still get stressed out way too easily. I didn’t realize how much I was stressing myself out until I had to temporarily move away from home for a few months for work and leave my home and husband. It forced me to just let things go and not try to work full time, go to school, tackle home improvement projects, bake fresh bread, learn to sew, and host parties all at the same time. I’m about to head back home and I hope I take some of this “new-found knowledge” with me.
    Hang in there…I’m sure all the people in the glossy magazine stories have a crazy side you don’t get to see.

  2. This would be the perfect place to wind down. I go through such back & forth opinions on if I would like to focus on buying a weekend home near the beach or in the country as a place to get away and decompress. Wish I could afford both! Being pulled in a hundred directions can be tough, but you have acheived so much. Be grateful and thankful! :) Keep inspiring us like you do.

  3. Run away to Vermont…then come back! Within the first few hours of vacation, I always think I could luxuriate in leisure for the rest of my life. Then, by Day Three, the boredom drives me absolutely bonkers and I miss my multi-tasking, can’t-sit-still lifestyle! I think it’s time you book a lil getaway and indulge in the luxury of boredom.

  4. Okay fine, you have twisted my arm, I will get a second home in Vermont next door to you. I promise to bring my brood of doggies and keep the bar fully stocked.

  5. This cottage is insanely cool isn’t it? Don’t beat yourself up about what you’re not doing, focus on what you’re doing well. As much as being a brand and blogging it seems smart, isn’t it nice just to settle down eat your cereal and not worry about your camera, the light for photos, what linens you’re using? Seriously girl, you’re killing it in your own way!

  6. I’m trying to convince my husband we should move to Vermont, and this post is excellent fodder for my campaign. Thank you! (Aside: It seems like everyone in Vermont grows pink cosmos.)

  7. Erin, Do you have any idea how offensive it is for your readers to have to listen to you complain about your very charmed, blessed, and healthy life? You have no idea how lucky you are it is so sad. Reality check?

  8. Wait a minute … envying someone for being more stylish and accomplishing so much in their fabulous life? Um, that’s exactly how I feel when I read your gorgeous blog! :)

    Those Vermont pictures are totally fantasy-inducing.

  9. Erin – I had a total breakdown this past weekend when I went home to visit my mom. I cried and cried because of how stressed out I feel all the time, letting work and “problems” cloud what a truly wonderful life I have. My mom said she was in the same position about 10 years ago and so she started keeping a Gratitude Journal. Every night before bed she would write down 5 things she was thankful for that day, from healthy, beautiful children (ah hem! you’re welcome, Mom!) to an awesome new nail polish. She looks back and some are silly, but it really helped her focus on the best ad happiest parts of her life. She said it ends her day on such a positive note that she can’t help but wake up in a good mood. Most of the time. :) The grass is ALWAYS greener. ALWAYS. It’s been so eye-opening for me to see that I’m not the only one that feels this overwhelmed. I would much rather look back on my life in 50 years and reflect on my wonderful husband and two furry dog babies than flip through some coffee table book that has my name on it. When you’re 99 years old, what will REALLY be the most life-fulfilling thing to you? Focus on that and the rest is for the birds….

  10. that is the cutest place ever! I want to run away there too.

    and I say to each his own. I think everyone is stressed in their own ways, so while it may seem like that mom with 7 kids, making homemade baby food in heels is doing well, I’m sure she’s sucking in another area. we can’t do it all all at the same time. life is a marathon, not a race. and plus, cereal really isn’t that bad for supper. i kinda like dirtying only a bowl and spoon versus pots, pans, plates, glasses for a whole meal.

  11. Relax and count your blessings. You have good taste and are drawn to beautiful things, don’t let that fact add stress to your life…enjoy it.

    Artistic people are in constant state of visual stimulation. No one can take part in every trend or afford to constantly alter their wardrobes and homes. The most beautiful interiors are not perfectly on trend, the best ones are evolved, classically styled with a few updated elements to make them come to life.

    Lindsey’s comment said it all….gratitude.

  12. Erin,
    I love that you are so honest in a design world that demands beautiful perfection. Creative perfectionist types struggle constantly with these feelings, as I’ve been discovering. It’s hard to keep perspective and know when we have “done our best and now rest.” And yet, so often what we see in creative others is what they want us to see. There’s heartache and insecurities in us all. You have great style, and you inspire so many people. Keep on going…and listen to your husband! He’s right about how special you are and how you need down-time sometimes. ;-)

  13. I have that mirror over the bed in pic 3! My parents bought it for me about 8 years ago. :) That said, Vermont would drive you crazy with boredom. Everything looks quaint in pictures but the winters are harsh. We use to go every Christmas to visit my husbands family and the novelty wears off on day 2.

    Don’t worry what others are doing as some are probably jealous of how far you’ve come in your career and wish they could be you.

  14. If I ever have a total meltdown due to being a perfectionist, I’m definitely going to Vermont to recover! That home is gorgeous. In the meantime, I’m going to take deep breaths, think good thoughts, and count my blessings.


  15. This business will drive you crazy. We work for perfectionists too, so that adds to the stress. I just had my most profitable 2 months yet but I ran myself ragged. I too have been wondering if this will really be worth it someday and who and what am I ignoring now that will come back to bite me on down the road. Oh yes….exercise!

  16. Erm, is this cottage for real?! It’s like someone has delved into my daydreams and made them into a real-life home. Gorgeous. Oh, and I know where you’re coming from, perfectionist-wise, as I am one myself… but from the outside (and no one but you will know what it’s like on the inside), you appear to have a wonderful husband, a beautiful home and an enviable career. Take a breath, count your blessings, and go take a weekend break at an adorable inn in Vermont. Happy weekend to you :)

  17. I TOTALLY hear ya girl- I am in that same space right now- after drooling over the same HB spread- and then spending the past week in Mansfield at my folks house (while we were out of power) I find my mind wandering the same way, and constantly asking myself- WHY do I have to constantly keep myself so damn busy? WHY do I have to always have my plate so full?. and the biggest question- why can’t I just be satisfied in a moment and not always be searching for that perfect space in life to feel satisfied- and if I move out in the country- will I even actually ever be satisfied???UGGGGHHH!

  18. OK, so I’m the mom of two, soon to be three. I cook decent meals, and take pictures of them – because I love gorgeous food (not that mine is!), but I want to learn to better use my camera. YET, most days I can’t scrap together a decent design-oriented post because I’m paralyzed with self-criticism that it would never/could never draw as many adoring readers as bloggers like yourself enjoy.
    Bottom Line: Comparison to others is poison – both creatively and personally.

  19. I can understand how you feel but I think that you should be very proud of yourself! you have a wonderful career, you do amazing things, your work is your passion and that is such a blessing! I also look the empty half of the glass mos of the times, but the other half is already beautiful…is just that I sometimes forget to look at it!

  20. #whitegirlproblems You have a job, a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a seemingly loving family and support system around you. Please don’t offend the rest of us who might be out of work, have a sick child, or are not married with your complaints. We come here for stylish inspiration, as a source of entertainment and escape from the stresses of our lives. Please don’t burden us with yours, or we won’t keep reading.

  21. Thanks for posting this! First of all this is gorgeous (I think i just pinned like every picture). But also I can totally relate to the comparing yourself to others who are doing what you’re doing and feeling like you come up short, or aren’t doing “as much” as other people are. So it’s nice to know that others feel that way too, especially someone as talented and productive as you!

  22. Olivia- I typically don’t respond to posts like yours but I have to defend myself here. You have no idea what my life is like and what I’m dealing with behind closed doors. NO IDEA. Do you know how offensive it is to be told you are simply here for others entertainment and to keep your emotions off your own blog? VERY. I will write whatever I wish to and will not be told to cover up my problems with pretty pictures if I happen to be having a particularly tough time. My biggest successes as a writer are when someone tells me that from me admitting my faults and feelings to the world she doesn’t feel quite as alone. And if reading insults from someone like you is part of that, so be it.

  23. Erin – I think it’s pretty apparent that you have TONS of readers who read your blog because they love YOU, not your pretty pictures. I read your blog because I adore your voice that comes through and I feel like you’re incredibly relatable. Talking about being stressed and feeling like you aren’t good enough is something we all feel from time to time and it’s nice to know that even design superstars such as yourself feel that way.

    To Olivia, good riddance, you won’t be missed as a reader if you can’t appreciate that. If you want pretty pictures, go buy a magazine or something. The rest of us will stay because we like Erin just as much as her fabulous taste.

  24. Kerry (I’m ashamed to share your name right now) and Olivia: Really? This is ERIN’S blog. She can write about whatever she wants here. No one’s making you read it. And like Erin said herself, you have NO idea what’s going on in her life. Sure, it may look ideal to you, but the grass is always greener right? I’m sure there are aspects of your lives that we’d all envy as you sit there and whine. Why don’t you follow one of the old golden rules: if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

    Erin, keep rockin’ girl. Take a VT weekend to de-stress. You deserve it!

  25. I swear Erin, you stay in my head. For real, today I have been extremely discouraged with things and kicking myself for how my life has not yet planned out the way I…..PLANNED. I feel at my age (29) I should have done so much more. So I feel some relief when others who have done way more than me, experience this same thing. At least I’m not the only one who feels this way at times. :-/

  26. Hey Olivia – for your information, readers of EOS actually DO want to interact with Erin on a personal level. Yes, her design aesthetic is great and inspirational, but I for one truly enjoy getting to know Erin. Any robot can re-post stylish rooms on their blog. Erin is not only talented but very REAL, which makes her and her blog INTERESTING!

    If you don’t like hearing how she feels, buzz off. It may even be a little selfish, but it’s somehow calming to know that someone I admire and find ultra stylish struggles just like myself and a lot of other readers.

    Erin – hang in there…and vent away girl!. Having grown up in Massachusetts myself I can’t help but think that your perfectionist personality and the fast paced, competitive environment you live in is frustrating you. Having been a reader for a long time, I know that you know what’s truly important. Regroup, refresh and work on the perfectionism for your own piece of mind.

  27. My mom always told me that’s it’s a fool’s errand to compare ourselves to others. There will always be someone smarter than you, and someone prettier, someone skinnier, more successful, etc. But those people probably have their own issues. Maybe they are dealing with a lot of things you don’t know about. Maybe their employees hate them. Maybe they’re boring or dumb as a brick. Maybe they married the wrong person. Or maybe they really are perfect in every way. Who knows. Doesn’t matter.

    Like others posted, here’s what I see: You have a good family and good marriage. You’re lucky enough to work hard at a job you love and to make a living in a competitive, creative profession. You’re skinny and attractive and dress well. You get to travel to exciting places as part of your job… and then you’re not even stuck in a conference room when you get there. I’d love to be able to look at design blogs and magazines and call it “work.” I do that to escape work! You’re very lucky indeed, no matter what other hardships you’re facing.

    Hope tomorrow is better. We all have rough days.

  28. Hey Erin!!
    1) I love the photo you posted where they use a shelf as a bar instead of a whole standalone piece of furniture! Genius!
    2) I’m 23 and have been out of college for a year and am still trying to figure out job/life etc. It seems really daunting when people in the 20s, 30s and beyond have everything all figured out (or so it seems) and all I really have figured out is that i’m obsessed with my dog! So I love reading EOS because it helps remind me that we’re human and we’re never going to get to that perfect place where we have everything figured out… because it doesn’t exist! Even if we had everything we wanted instantly we still wouldn’t be “there”. We just do the best with the life we’re given.
    3) I always try to remember these quotes: “Be kind for everyone is fighting a hard battle” (note the word everyone!); and “….give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough – give the world the best you have anyway. In the end is was never between you and them anyway.”
    4) If you believe in a heaven then just remember thats where we’re striving towards. We feel overwhelmed in this world because we were made for another :)
    5) Thanks for your writing and if you ever need a ski vacation you and your fam are welcome to my place in Denver!

  29. Yay Erin! This is your blog and I LOVE how open and honest you are on it. It’s easy to get caught up into comparing ourselves and of course, people are only going to share the pretty and perfect on their blog. I really respect how you have shared issues about work/life balance, trying to figure out if and when you want children and your eating disorder. Your honesty is what keep me coming back. Please, please, please don’t shy away!!

  30. Really liked this post. Probably because I can relate. One of the downfalls of blogging is seeing what everyone else is doing/making/saying, etc, and feeling like we, ourselves, are not measuring up. Ive actually thought, “does she have more hours in her day or what?” And Im not a particularly insecure person, its only natural. But one of the upsides of blogging is reading an honest post, identifying with that person, and feeling inspired because of it!

  31. Stop trying to live in everyone else’s world and live in your own. You’re a beautiful, successful designer that other people envy…that’s the thing with envy, we can all find someone else to wish we were more like. Instead relish in your own fantastic world, because to someone else it is…and it should be to you too! Enjoy that $6 bottle of wine and that bowl of cereal, you deserve it! Cheers, C

  32. Well hey, I completely get what you’re saying and feel EXACTLY the same way. Lots of other design bloggers post about rooms and people that while inspirational, are also intimidating. It’s too much perfection for the average person who actually has to work an office job. I find your style refreshing and glad I’m not the only one who eats cereal for dinner on occasion =). Don’t change a bit!!!

  33. Girl, I laughed out loud (and choked on my cold cereal at 10 pm on a Friday night) when I read your post. Way to say what a lot of other people are too afraid to say. One of my former coaches called it “letting your panties show.” Our weaknesses are part of our humanity. And wouldn’t it be nice if some of your readers gave you some grace…

    That said, I often compare what I’m up to (in my biz more than my personal life) to all the other folks (ahem, competition) out there- and the who’s better game can be tough. I don’t want to give you unsolicited advice (ain’t that the worst kind???) but I can tell you about a conversation my mom and I had today.

    She went through my (recently deceased) Grandma’s belongings, including her purse and was encouraging me to embrace her simplicity- she had , like, one lipstick and didn’t change her furniture for thirty years. She didn’t really care about material things at ALL.

    I told my mom, “Yes, and, caring about clothes, shoes, paint colors, books, shoes, Chesterfield sofas, art, jewelry, and lip gloss are part of me and a big part of my life. Not out of frivolity and excess, but from a place of a sheer joy in beauty/aesthetics.”

    Of course, with that love comes the temptation to compare what I have to what others have.

    When I start to do that, I go back to my gratitude journaling too. I have one particular journal for it (purchased in Italy and a gorgeous book in its own right) that is dedicated to a list each night. It has become the most amazing chronicle of the simple things in life. I love to leaf through it and see things like: sunset, pink champagne, sparklers, my little brother, glitter, and orange velvet. Magic.

    I will never be a woman with only one lipstick (or one hobby/interest), and that’s ok. But I can still be a woman who finds simplicity and contentment in my own way.

    I hope that happens for you as well.

  34. Maybe I’m way off, but I took this post as a rather humorous vent about a stressful work life — nothing to get up in arms about here. I for one appreciate the honesty especially where there might be a temptation to appear “perfect” and always happy. It’s refreshing and real.

  35. Feel like that a lot! Actually yesterday I was talking to my husband about how much I hated our bookshelves and this and that around the home and about all the changes I wanted to make like NOW… I am sorry I made him feel pressured (there’s always the money issue that relies on him).. at the end I apologized for my loud-voice and excitement and really thought that the most important thing is that we are ok, we are together, we have a home.. and the most important stuff that has no monetary value. At the end its just about living happy and we don’t need to show or compare that.. we just feel happy and are capable to do greater things.
    However, I think I need some organization since the days are not enough for me and I see people doing it all!!

  36. People that do too much (parent, run a magazine, own a side business, have another main career, are pregnant, cook gourmet meals) make me anxious. They must be anxious too. You have already made a name for yourself. Enjoy this career and let those other things go. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. I love your blog and enjoy your witty commentary. I’ve saved MANY blogs on my favorites but yours is one I check all the time. Peace. :)

  37. There is always going to be something about life/work/friends/family that is overwhelming or has the potential to send us over the deep end. Find you happy place (corny yes, but maybe a get away to something peaceful and quiet is in order) I definitely know the feeling :-)

  38. Hey Erin, remember some of us look at you and wonder how you do it! I have two kids. Don’t work. It’s enough to make me nuts. And one kid is in-utero, not even born yet.

    You’re doing great lady. Hang in there.

  39. Your honest writing inspires many comments as usual. Your blog is your own expression, keep up the good work and say or post whatever you want..

    Try to not be so hard on yourself. I wish we as women could learn how to love ourselves more. It is so difficult to do!!!

  40. Having left the city a bunch of years back for a “quiter” life in upstate NY, I’ve actually never worked harder. That being said, I’ve never felt more fulfilled, happy, energized, and creative.

    As far as your readers comments, I agree with @Imogen.

    Keep up the beautiful and inspiring work.

  41. Erin,
    I have been reading your blog for well over a year, and I only read the same 3 blogs daily. (You are my #1.) I don’t know what I would do if you weren’t here for me to read daily, or if you changed the way you write. Because honestly… it’s the way you write that keeps me coming back day after day.

    Yes, I am a recovery perfectionist (though I’m not sure how well the recovery part is really working.) But I have to tell you that my favorite parts of your posts are when you are you. (Human) It’s comforting to know that there are others, like me, who have struggles and challenges. I think you are incredibly brave for sharing your emotions for everyone to read, because I have a hard time doing that. (Not so much in person, but in writing, that’s a different story.)

    So with all of that said… I think you are beautiful just the way you are. (Faults and Perfectionism) You make what you do look easy, though I know it is not. Be encouraged and inspired by all of the wonderful comments you have received from this one post. You are well thought of and loved.

    Have a great day!

  42. Are you fishing for encouragement and validation from your readers? You need to stop whining. The time you spend complaining and yoking yourself to others, could be time you use to get ahead. You are your only competition, not others in the biz. Only you will make yourself succeed, or fail. It’s your choice.

  43. I usually don’t post comment because posting on a blog is a bit like being a groupie, it’s a one-way virtual relationship where someone puts her life in the public light, followers follow for many reasons and when they put a comment it is usually to say how great and beautiful the person is, all based on few words and great pictures without really knowing the person. As much as I enjoy reading blogs, I have alwas been puzzled on comments people leave. And this is the reason why I am posting one today. Not to tell you how great and pretty you look , or not how wrong you are for posting few negative lines about your life. First of all, I think negative and positive comments are a way to have a balanced life, so if people don’t have anything nice to say it is also their right to talk, otherwise it is called a dictatorship. But, on the other side, people should treat each other with kindness and respect, life is difficult enough without making it harder on everyone.
    And that’s what I want to comment about. Someone can have all the material things in life to be happy, have a great family and a fantastic job and still feel sad and struggling with life. It seems very unfair but it is that way, happiness and inner peace comes from within, not everyone reaches inner peace in this lifetime. So as much as Erin’s life seems perfect, she might battle with inner issues we don’t know about, and it’s no one’s business either. There is no competition in suffering, and when someone is not happy or feels anxious, it takes a serious work on oneself to get out of this state. And I do understand that some of this comment may have been hurtful. On the other side, some of your readers may have a difficult life too: some might not have a family, might be jobless, or a job where they kill themselves everyday for not enough money to pay their bills, they might struggle having a roof and food on table for their kids everyday, or the worst: have lost their health. And I believe that maybe your posts were hurtful to them too because they must have thought that you push it a bit too far but again, it is all based on what you show us on posts.
    At the ends, all of these comments are a small summary of what is wrong with the way we treat each other. Women are unable to be nice with each other, and to themelves. Society puts pressure on us, it is true, we need to be superwoman, super body, super career, super mom BUT as women from Western countries, we need a reality check (and that includes myself also): we have the choice to say no to that system. We can go to school, we can speak our mind, we can work, we can have our own bank account, we can marry whoever we want for love, we have everything we need around us. Perfection doesn’t exist, and when someone needs to control all the little things and can’t be happy unless everything is perfect, then it is not being a perfectionnist, it becomes about trying to control the bigger things in life. And we, women, tend to not be able to let go, but inner peace comes at the moment you start to let go and you start to enjoy the little things that matters. And sometimes running after things we can’t have and the idealization of what happiness or life should be, makes human miserables. Stress and anxiety will make you lose your health.
    Erin, you’re your own boss, you have a job you love, your family seems to be there for you, so if you need to unwind or change rythmn , then it is up to you to make the changes you desire deep down. Because we were fortunate to be born on the good side of the world, and unlike most women on the planet we are allowed to decide what we want.

  44. Erin,

    Please ignore the rude comments from the very few haters. I for one come here because you DO share your personal life with us. Honestly, when I read your posts I laugh my ass off because I can totally relate to you. You are hilarious, beautiful and just a touch neurotic…but hey, who among us isn’t a little neurotic? Please don’t listen to that shiz and keep being who you are. I get very bored of blogs when all that is posted is photos of a layout or chair options. Part of the fun of reading blogs is getting to know the personality and person behind those blogs. Your blog is a perfect mix of style, photos, fashion, glam and your freakin’ hilarious personality. KEEP IT UP GIRL!!! You are a daily read for me and countless others.


    P. S. I still crack up everytime I think about how your husband said that your dog was trying to send a morse code to the vet to not send him back home. I have even retold that story and could barely get through it bc I could not stop laughing.

  45. LOL – this cracks me up. I’m the same way. I was just telling my husband last night that I want to move to a place where I never have to see another human being again unless I make a concerted effort to, ha.

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