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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Promises, Promises

Nothing is as easy to make as a promise this winter to do something next summer; this is how commencement speakers are caught.  ~Sydney J. Harris

Yes, well.  I can vouch for this.  The call came in September.  Would you be available to speak to a group of students on March 1st? at five o’clock?   Of course, I said agreeably.  After all March 1st was farrrrrr away—it was after Christmas, for heaven’s sake.  And, March 1st is a Tuesday; really, what are the chances of a conflict?  What’s that you say?  Oh yes, one hundred percent chance of conflict.  (Like having to be a five-hour drive away in Saint Simon’s Island, Georgia, for an 8 am Wednesday meeting.)

Still, a promise is a promise.

So, on Tuesday, March 1, I will be the guest speaker for about 50 senior university students for their final Apparel, Textile and Design Forum.  (Yes, secretly—well, not secretly anymore—I have a life other than the one I write about here.  Don’t be shocked; I know you do, too.  Have another life, that is.  If not, then, well, you might be over-sharing, just a bit.)

I’ll be talking about fair trade and batik and Peruvian knits and ata grass and well, some other stuff, too.  Stuff like retail experience, and customer service, and color stories.  And faith-based businesses.

The inviting professor called me to confirm early last week.  Tuesday, March 1st, 5 pm.   Right.

I mentioned that I would like to bring along some sample fabrics and clothing, so I would need a small table.  I was told that was fine, and that I could have access to the room at 4:50.  Seriously?!  A whole ten minutes to set up?  Welllllll, okay, I can be quick. 

My next question was if there would be someone with technical expertise to help me connect my laptop to a projector so that I could show some photos of artisans and so on.  A long pause followed.  I sensed trouble, so I offered to bring my images on a dvd or usb, if that would make things easier.  I think I remember hearing throat-clearing before I was told that this particular room didn’t have a screen or a projector, and that there would be no one to help me.

Did I mention that I am supposed to speak for 40 minutes?  No pictures, no Power Point, it’s just gonna be me.

Plan on a generous Q and A session, kids.

The best way to sound like you know what you're talking about is to know what you're talking about.  ~Author Unknown

Although I wouldn’t say I’m a seasoned public speaker, I’ve had some opportunities and I actually enjoy it sometimes.  Still, forty minutes is quite a bit. of. time.  And, frankly, I’m floored that I’m supposed to speak to design students without the benefit of visuals.  I suppose I will rely on the above advice as well as the advice below.

Always be shorter than anybody dared to hope.  ~Lord Reading

 Photography by Charles Ryan Barber. 
For more information about the clothing featured here, email Town and Country Mom.


  1. We have a Go Fish store on the square here. I've been to the one in St. Simon's but didn't really know how many others there were.

  2. There are fourteen total; most of them are in the south, although there's one in Ventura, Ca; one in Indianapolis; and one in Cape May, NJ. We are friends with the folks who own the Marietta store, although I've only been to their store once. It was particularly memorable because we got a flat tire about midnight in front of the Big Chicken!

  3. This is really funny... because I can actually relate. Had a similiar experience a few years back and was utterly panic stricken without any "aids" on stage but thankfully it went very well, in fact far beyond my expectations once I found my comfort zone. What ironically, I bet will happen is 40 minutes will race by, you will be on fire and having a grand old time and will be stunned when given a cue that time is up.....and the momentum is really going...isn't that how it always happens? Good luck, I am sure you will be a big success....

  4. Oh dear! 40 mins is a loooong time when you need to fill it with your own voice!
    Hopefully hands go up a lot so you dont have to keep thinking of things to say!

    I have to give a speech in a few weeks and I keep putting it off lol but I was told the shorter the better!

  5. My neice is studing design in TX - she won "Denim Runway" last year and got to go on a trip to the factory where they made her winning design.

  6. I love that you have a double life, and you're right, I think we all do. Congratulations on your speaking gig. You'll do wonderfully! :) xoxo

  7. I have no doubt but that you'll be fantastic. And my curiosity is terribly piqued...

  8. maybe you can dance a little? or magic tricks?
    I am sure it will be fun and fabulous...I love public speaking! I am jealous!
    have fun!

  9. good luck, my dear!! you'll do great! so don't leave us hanging, your other life sounds quite amazing!!

  10. Wow! You are like, super cool! I love hearing about your "other" life and think you are just going to knock it out of the park, my friend. Let us know how it goes! :-)

  11. Hi: I just found your blog from your comment on Reggie's...This is great! Where do you live? I just moved to North Carolina, just south of Chapel Hill. Moved from the cold and snowy Hudson Valley, and oh so glad to be here.
    How DID the talk go? I hope you will post! I'm going to follow. and I'm looking: you don't Twitter do you?
    See you soon, Libby

  12. A little late on my response.....I can't wait to hear how it went!!! LOVE that you are a "double agent"....reminds me of GET SMART! I would have NEVER guessed! I hope we get to meet one day....going to Oct. 8th Clemson game!!


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