The Tour.

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Chicago readers with champagne and books at Jayson Home!

First of all I have to say, I love my husband…but last night I almost murdered him.

Over the weekend I upgraded to the iPhone 6 since my 5’s battery would last about an hour before it would die. Andrew insisted he backed up my phone (and all it’s photos) on my computer before we brought it in to sell- and have the hard drive wiped. I believed him. (Cue foreboding Jaws music…)

Cut to me opening my laptop to blog about our Chicago trip and come to find out- the backup did not work and he had not checked to make sure. All my photos are GONE. GONE! I managed to not have a cerebral hemorrhage right then and there, but the anger is stewing.  Yet another example of why my micro-managing of life is for a good reason (ahem!!!)

He took a couple of the Jayson party on his own phone, but I guess I will use this opportunity to share our thoughts on this tour as a whole (mine AND Andrew’s).  You know, when life gives you lemons…..chuck them at your husband’s head for losing 57 videos of your dogs howling.

I digress.

First, a little fashion.  I went a bit more casual for Chicago with a jeans, heels blazer look made more festive by a fun sequin cami (a good option for holiday time too!) I had forgotten all my jewelry on my dresser at home (oops) so the big chandelier earrings I had planned didn’t happen (but a quick stop into Loft next door to Jayson at least helped me out with a cool bracelet!)
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Blazer- Two Penny Blue // Top- Parker // Jeans- Rag & Bone // Heels- Christian Louboutin // Bracelet- Loft

OK, now onto the deeper stuff.

In the weeks leading up to the tour I was a bit anxious.  I tend to be an “anticipator” (or so my shrink tells me) and my anxiety is greatest before a nerve wracking event.  To say the concept of a national book tour was “nerve wracking” was an understatement.  I was worried about what to wear, what to say and of course, that no one would show up- just me, a gold Sharpie and a giant stack of unsold books (akin to the whole “showing to school naked” dream).

But two magical things happened- people DID show up, sometimes in droves, and even more amazing- I enjoyed every single minute of this trip.

Yes, even the daily trains and flights, rushed schedules and super early mornings.  The long drives, the fast food, occasional creepy hotel and the 54 pound suitcase that felt like it harbored a dead body.  Somehow I managed to put aside all my quirks, my neurosis, my worry and my catastrophic thinking and truly embrace, take in and enjoy every single moment.  And the reason I was able to do so?

You. (And Andrew too, but more on that later…)

From the launch party that packed the house and kept people waiting for hours to the more intimate gatherings where I got to talk longer to individual people, I was amazed by all of you.  I write this blog everyday knowing my stats and that there are many of you reading, but mostly feeling like I’m simply doing it for a few girlfriends.  So seeing so many of you in person and meeting you and hearing your stories, what you thought of the book and why you love the blog absolutely blew my mind.  It made all of this real for me, and I think up until that point it all felt so….well… surreal. The over  seven years of daily blogging, the book deal, the years of design work- the crazy blur of it all came into focus in that week and a half and I finally was able to take a deep breath and congratulate myself on all I’ve accomplished (something I never do). It’s a hugely vulnerable feeling, putting a book like this out, and since I’ve been examining it non-stop for over a year and a half, my self-doubt had crept in about it.  I was most concerned about daily readers liking it, after all you are who I wrote this for.  But after each party I felt less and less vulnerable and more and more proud.  That is the most amazing gift anyone could give me.

Of course before each party I still would get nervous thinking no one would show up and does my hair look stupid, but I didn’t let those silly things take over.  Any self-doubt was quelled by my shock that people would make such incredible effort to come meet me- me!?- and your excitement, smiles and stories put me at ease and for that I will forever grateful to you. Oh, also for buying my book. That too. :)

The other reason I was able to have such an incredible time was Andrew.  When he told me he was going to take time off to come with me on the whole tour I can’t tell you the feeling of relief that rushed over me.  Not only because there were so many logistical things to deal with on this trip that would have frazzled me beyond belief had I been on my own, but also because he is my rock. My safety net. My loudest cheerleader and voice of reason.  Marriage is a series of highs and lows, times of hard work and others of ease- all of which we’ve experienced together.  But on this trip another thing came into focus for me- we are the BEST team no matter what.  We had a blast doing this together, and I would not have wanted to share it with anyone else. And I am so glad so many of you got to meet Andrew and see what a charming, funny, amazing guy he is.  I am pretty sure he could have run off with about 100 women had he wanted too- since the most heard comment besides “I love the book” was “OMG, your husband is sooooo charming! Hold onto that one!”

I plan to.

So to all of you- THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.  An eloquent close? No, but it’s what I want to say to you a million times over.

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Andrew’s Outfit: Jacket- Bonobos // Sweater- J.Crew // Shirt- Bonobos // Jeans- Bonobos // Shoes- Too Boot New York

ANDREW’S TAKE:

Erin thought it would be fun for me to write a “wrap-up” of sorts with my perspective on the book tour, or “The Tour” as I have taken to calling it. Needless to say, we were overwhelmed by everything and everyone. It was a completely surreal experience.

The kick-off in Boston felt like a wedding. Everyone was so happy for Erin and to an extent or by association, me. Like a wedding we wanted to talk to everyone, got pulled in a million directions, were “high” off the adrenaline, and at the end felt the elated/exhausted feeling you get afterwards. Some people even brought gifts! The only thing missing was the band.

And then, in keeping with the wedding theme, we had a day to pack before we were off on our honeymoon! Except instead of a honeymoon we had 8 more weddings.

I won’t ever be able to put into words what it was like for me to meet so many of her readers. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to come out, I became the “warm-up” act for Erin. This wasn’t planned, but kind of started in Boston and evolved from there. The line to meet Erin was long and we were up against the time for the end of the party. Erin said to me that she wasn’t leaving until everyone was done, so I started to walk back to the line and let everyone know. The first group I came up to started asking me questions and we had a little conversation. And then the next group was playing a phone version of Charades, which I love and played for a bit with them. And so on through the end of that line. And then in NYC, I was talking to a few readers right before Erin was about to start signing and when they stepped up to get theirs books signed, the next readers came up and so I started talking to them. And that’s how it all began. I was the greeter for the tour.

It was the best time I have had in a long while. I would do that job everyday for the rest of my life. I had such a good time meeting so many of you, talking to you, hearing how you found the blog, learning what you did for work, etc. Seeing how excited people were to meet Erin, and sometimes me, was incredible. Everyone asked me if it was creepy how they knew all about us, felt like we were best friends, and yet we had never met. NOT AT ALL. It was flattering and humbling. We felt like celebrities. This was my 15 minutes of fame, except it was for two hours, 9 different times.

I have lots of favorite moments, but here are a few highlights:

  • One girl in San Francisco started crying when she met Erin. Granted she told me right before she was a crier and it was going to happen, but still…pretty cool.
  • A brother of a reader (I won’t say where because it may still be a surprise) came to a signing to get his sister a signed book as a present. Needless to say, all the single ladies gave him more than a second glance when they found this out. A couple of the non-single ladies too. J
  • A husband did the same thing for his wife when she couldn’t escape work. He was going to surprise her at dinner that night. I wish I had thought of that one.
  • There were a few readers who I won’t name or share their exact stories, but who shared very touching moments with Erin because of some affect she had on their lives. It was incredible to witness. That fact that Erin, with a blog, can have a profound effect on a few people’s lives is incredible. I think she is most proud of those moments too. (**I am!! – EG)
  • There were a few people who traveled great distances, like 3 hours from San Antonio to Dallas or the girl in Chicago who had taken a bus from Cincinnati. Yeah…a bus.

I do have one regret. Not being able to spend more time in each city. I love all the cities we went to and we wanted so badly to take a day and tour around each one. We had never been to Houston and it is hard to get a sense of a city that big in 24 hours. Especially if those hours are spent trying to relax a little before the party or before we had to hop another flight. But we now have a good list of places to go back and visit. We both can’t wait to get back to Georgetown, which was like a cross between Beacon Hill and The South End for those of you who know Boston. We did however connect with old friends and family at almost every stop, which made the trip all the more wonderful. I even got to meet my sister’s fiancé for the first time as well as my mom’s new diabetes dog, Gibbs (she’s a big fan of NCIS). This one and a half year old yellow lab can smell when she goes low and warn her. Amazing.

While there were many highlights of The Tour, there was one that stood out for me. It was a hug I got from Erin after signing her last book of the opening night in Boston. A huge smile and a few tears, and a hug as tight as if I had just come back from war. It was relief, joy and raw emotion. It was the “We did it!” hug. Not an “I did it” one. I have wanted so badly to be there for her and for some reason this was confirmation she knew it. I will remember that moment like I do her dad’s dance ticket toast. It was just perfect.

And finally, the time I got to spend with Erin (or as some of you may have heard me call her, “Frog”) was amazing. Everyone has ups and downs in their relationship with their significant other. Some days you are in love, some days not so much. But what I have come to realize is that relationships mature or deepen at different rates too. I hadn’t noticed until this trip, but we have become much closer over the past few months. We really enjoyed being with each other this entire time. It felt like we were a team. I was doing my best to make her enjoy the trip and be present in the moment. She was doing her best to let me. It worked.

When I told my boss that I wanted to do this whole tour his first response was why every city? Why not just NYC? I told him it was a once in a lifetime experience and I would regret not doing this. I didn’t realize how true that would be. Thank you to everyone for making this such an amazing time for both of us.



44 comments

  1. For the record, I cannot believe I did that. And for the record, Erin could have, should have, lost it on me. She didn’t. She held it together. I am sooooo sorry! Thank you for not trying to kill me in my sleep (you didn’t right?). I will make it up to you somehow…with lots of back rubs?

  2. Hi Erin and Andrew. So glad the trip was such a success! Erin, I read and enjoy your blog every day, although I seldom leave a comment. Just so you know….
    Keep up the great work. I can’t wait to get the book!

  3. Congratulations on your success! I’m so sad I wasn’t able to see you in Chicago. I adore your blog and I love your book. By the way, I made the Beef Stew recipe from the book, it’s delicious. Both my husband and I loved it. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sorry I missed the book tour but hope to have the pleasure of meeting you both someday when Erin is the designer for the farm we are building in New Hampshire. You are both lucky to have each other – thanks for sharing your lives with your readers!

  5. Love love love this quote from Andrew (it resonates so much with me!) : Everyone has ups and downs in their relationship with their significant other. Some days you are in love, some days not so much. But what I have come to realize is that relationships mature or deepen at different rates too. I hadn’t noticed until this trip (building a new house on my end!), but we have become much closer over the past few months. We really enjoyed being with each other this entire time. It felt like we were a team.

    Congrats you guys! I adore your book!

  6. I just love the two of you together. When I see relationships like yours, where each of you is SO PROUD of the other, in every way, it makes me think that I could only hope for the same when I one day find my match. Go Team Gates!

    PS- Georgetown would LOVE to have you back for a visit! It truly is a magical place and could use another dose of Team Gates, maybe a little more relaxed trip this time :)

    1. I wholeheartedly second Sabrina’s sentiment (and not just cuz our names rhyme!)–I truly enjoy witnessing “the maturing and deepening of your relationship”–particular through this adventure. Having read this joint post, Andrew’s foreword in the book, and followed the book tour–I too, am so glad you took the whole tour Andrew! We love Erin and you are integral to her and why this whole thing works. And it works beautifully because you really are a great team. There is nothing more gratifying to see. From another happily married person–I’m cheering you both on from afar. (This is my first comment ever and I’ve been following since 2008!) Now please go find a reason to go on another tour soon so I can come see you this time.

  7. Hi Erin (and Andrew),

    I am the sister who sent Angelo (the brother) to your book signing…he wasn’t exactly thrilled about it when I first asked but he said he had THE BEST time chatting with the two of you. Congrats on the book and thanks for showing Ang a good time :) (BTW I know you are BMW lovers…his band provided the soundtrack for one of the commercials earlier this year…you may like their stuff! http://www.parlourtricksmusic.com/ )

    1. first, I love the book and was sorry to miss out on the kickoff signing here in Boston but finding Parlour Tricks almost makes up for it. Lovesongs is now on constant repeat this morning!!

  8. What a wonderful wrap-up! I loved reading Andrew’s take on it as well. Congratulations to both of you on such a successful, and above all, fun tour! The book was so amazing, I absolutely loved it and have so enjoyed reading all of these posts about it.

  9. It was so great meeting BOTH of you in New York. My mom and I had the most incredible time and the party absolutely made her trip up from Arkansas well worth it!

    You’re both just as charming as can be. And now that I’ve read the book Cover To Cover I can say that “Elements of Style : THE BOOK” is truly remarkable as well. Loved it.

    Congratulations again. See you both on the blog and Instagram!

    ChrisClark182

  10. It was so much fun to meet you both in Georgetown. You’re a great looking couple. Andrew was so nice. We talked a little about Sodexo and Marriott (very impressed). Erin, you looked so beautiful. You’re always so stylish. Love your posts about fashion and your new outfits. I hope you’ll post more about it.

    Congratulations! Hope to see you again.

  11. From the girl who brought Erin booze,

    You two are so awesome. Thanks for sharing so much of your lives with so many.

    It was a blast getting the opportunity to meet you.

  12. Erin, congratulations on your book launch and all its success! I wasn’t able to attend a signing (come to Phoenix next time, the weather is perfect) so I appreciated this recap of your experience. I started to get a little teary reading your section and then Andrew had me in full tears. Such a wonderful experience for you to share together!

  13. You two are adorable. I loved the book more than any design book I have ever read. I felt like I was talking to a girlfriend who was decorating her house. Just such a refreshing change from the stiff design rags that are out there. Thank you!

  14. Wow I’m glad I’m not the not the only one who leaves their jewelry at home on trips! I so wanted to go to your book signing in Chicago but I was in baby and diaper land. And your husband’s photos of the trip are great! Is be sad about lost videos of my dog too though. Congrats on a successful tour!!

  15. I’m so sad I missed the signing here in Houston. If y’all ever come back, I hope to see you two then! You are the sweetest couple, and such an inspiration. You always keep it real and honest, which makes you both that much more likeable and relatable. Keep on doing just what you do!! I’m so glad the tour was a success and you’ll have wonderful memories to look back on forever.

  16. Loved reading about the book tour and Andrew’s post made me cry! Hope you will add more dates/cities in the future and consider a stop in St. Louis. The book is wonderful, congratulations!

  17. I think it’s funny how peoples lives intersect. Besides the fact that we both share the same name, and Leo sun sign, I feel like I know you through all the posts over the years. I have been a part of your blog and life since the beginning. When I had the opportunity to drive 3 hours to meet you in person in Houston and get a glimpse into your world, I jumped at the chance. My impressive other half decided he too wanted to be part of the excitement. With five kids between us, this is no small feat. Needless to say, we both had a blast. You are right, you and Andrew do make a great team, and we all got to witness that! I love your book, and love even more how you put “real life” out there. I think the world needs to be a more supportive and happier place, and I am grateful for women like you who help to inspire us. Keep up the good work.

  18. What beautiful posts, both of you. Am reading book now on the recommendation of Erin’s editor, KEBM and am loving it. Congratulations to you both.

  19. On behalf of all of us who met Andrew on tour, I’m begging you… Don’t do away with him!!
    Your book is so beautifully done! The essays are my favorite! So much wisdom beyond your years girlfriend!

  20. Congrats, Erin and Andrew!!! So well deserved and so awesome! As long as you write, I will read. Every. Single. Day!!! LOVE this blog!!!!

  21. This entry made me cry – and I am not a crier! It is so refreshing to read about your relationship and how you work together to build each other up. You both “get it” and it is a pleasure to witness as a reader. So happy for your success. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for you both. Oh, and next time you have a book tour, let’s try LA or San Diego. Please? :)

  22. I was crying while reading your husband commentary. A beautiful tribute to you and your relationship. You both deserve all the best! Well done !

  23. You’al “got me,” too…crying like a baby…guess that’s what this book has become in a way. Your happiness shows inside and outside…may you live happily ever after. franki

  24. Erin,

    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on such as successful tour! I am so sad that I could not make your signing in Chicago despite the fact that I live only 10 minutes from there. I sadly had a death in the family the previous day and of course, family comes before everything! I hope that I get to meet you someday because you are so inspiring. My husband and I recently got married and just bought our first home together so I was so looking forward to your designing expertise! Now that the tour is over, make sure you take the time to rest and re-energize!

    Sincerely,

    Megan

  25. So cool to hear both of your reflections on the tour. It’s such an incredible life achievement, and I’m happy I made it to Houston just in time to be a part of it! I am about halfway through the book, and I just love it so much. It may just be the first design book I actually read front to back. :) It’s so refreshing how you highlight both sides of design – the triumphs AND struggles. The way you put your thoughts out there has always been in an inspiration for me, and so many others I’m sure. Thanks for taking the time to give back to your readers and for always keeping it real! xo

  26. I am so excited for tonight! I’m bringing my daughter and she’s asking me if she has to dress up tonight. I told her a little, so she’s wearing a black and white dress (didn’t tell her about the book or the color obsession, but she has seen my closet! :-) ). She’s looking forward to going into the city and she’s getting the design bug. Hit Home Goods last night, she says “find me something Moroccan in either yellow or blue”- my hubby “OMG! She’s become YOU!” Now I will be fretting over what to wear! But I’m sure tonight will be a blast and a huge congratulations to you! This book is so great and not many designers share their inner thoughts, which makes it endearing and makes you laugh out loud! I’m sure Andrew will be happy to get you another purse, heels, or that piece of furniture you’ve had your eye on to make up for the lost dog videos! You’ve made Boston proud! Congratulations!

  27. I’m sorry I missed your book signing in San Francisco BUT I have your book and I LOVE IT !! Congratulations !.

    It was recommended by Tiffany from Savor Home Blog . Your blog is my newest obsession .

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