19 October 2008

Thank Yous to Bloggers, Readers, and Stalkers!

There's nothing better than coming home to packages, especially packages you didn't order or expect. What makes it best is when it's not even your birthday! This is just what happened to me today when I came home and found two large boxes on my front porch awaiting my arrival. Since I've started blogging, I've gotten all kinds of wonderful surprises in the mail - snail and Internet. Some surprises came from other bloggers and some came from readers, and some even came from stalkers!! The thoughtfulness and generosity that goes into these gifts always truly amazes me.

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Today's bounty: two packages left on the front porch

I've always written here that when I started blogging, I had no idea what I was in for. I thought I would write a few short stories and maybe have my friends and family read the blog, if I was even that lucky. Well, I've been very, very lucky. My readership has grown and for that I am immensely grateful to you, the Reader. I've met so many people along the way - through emails and in person and I've made so many friends both in real life and in virtual life. Now, after writing Cote de Texas for some time, I feel an intense responsibility to my blog, to get my stories out to you, to write what you want to read and to make your valuable time spent here with me worthwhile. I have learned that truly, the most rewarding part of blogging, the thing I never realized would even be important, is the friendships I have made. While the act of blogging is a solitary sport, something you do by yourself - somehow, it becomes this great community of people: the other bloggers I commiserate with on a consistent basis, the people who faithfully leave interesting comments, the people who privately email me, the lurkers who read anonymously whom I never will really know, and the ones who stop by my house (!) - the "stalkers." So, thank you to all of you - each and every one of you. It's been a great ride because of you. This is a tribute to you, the reader, the fruits of the labor. This is, in short, an introduction to the community of people who make up Cote de Texas:

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Valorie's package, along with her new business card designed by PVE.

Opening up the first of the two packages I got today, it comes from Valorie Hart or aka Visual Vamp. Valorie lives and writes her blog in New Orleans where she runs a bed and breakfast for tango dancers and visitors to the Crescent City. She is also an interior designer, an event planner, and an author -- you name it, she's done it. Today, she sent me a copy of her book, Gotta Tango, along with a DVD. Thanks Valorie, I can't wait to read it and watch the DVD and maybe even coax Ben into trying out the Tango, though I sincerely doubt that will happen! The vision!

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World Famous Tango Couple: Valorie and her husband, Alberto Paz. The book is available, here.

The second package today is from one of three woman who are affectionately called "The Stalkers." Two of the stalkers live in Houston, the third lives in North Carolina. The three woman are avid, or should I say rabid readers of Cote de Texas. One morning, some time ago, when I was, oh so gorgeous in my glasses, frizzy hair and sweat pants (the blogger uniform), the two Houston stalkers rang my door bell. They started bowing down to me as if I was a queen - it was hysterical. The third stalker from N.C. was there in spirit on the cell phone. The three of them had first met online on the Tracy Porter web site and became fast friends. Next, they discovered my blog and became readers. When I wrote that I had stalked the Wheat's house, they decided to do the same thing to me. It was all in great fun. After their stalking moment, we decided to meet up for lunch, where I was properly dressed for the occasion and looking slightly better than when they had surprised me that morning. After that lunch, we became friends. The four of us like to email each other about decor and life and politics and religion, things like that. One stalker, Cindy, is in the middle of building a new house and likes to get ideas on finishes for her new home, including carpet, furniture and lighting fixtures (lanterns!!) Dianne from N.C. is remodeling her master bedroom right now and has questions about fabric and upholstered headboards.

And then there is Virginia. the third stalker, poor V! Her house was insanely damaged during Ike. Trees fell on her roof and came through the ceiling and water poured through the holes and in general, she was left with one huge mess. The four of us have spent the past few weeks helping her redecorate her hurricane damaged house via emails and digital pictures. The first big decision for us was a new paint color for Virginia's family room. Now we're rearranging her furniture and accessories. It's not an easy task doing that over the web, but we're trying. The emails have been furiously flying back and forth and I suppose Virginia felt a need to thank me for my help. Virginia - you shouldn't have! It's been a blast helping you! So, here's the other package today, from Virginia: The Toddy or "how to get brewed coffee when you don't have electricity." I'm sure you will remember that the one thing I missed most during the dark days of Ike was no brewed coffee!! Thank you SO much Virginia - I can't wait for the next hurricane to try it out. Just kidding. I'll try it out this Sunday.

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The Toddy: Virginia's solution for coffee when there's no electricity!

While her gift shows what a sweet and thoughtful person Virginia is, something else really explains it better: She is adopting a five year old poodle who was abandoned in Galveston during Ike! How great is that? If, by chance you, too, are interested in adopting a homeless pet from Hurricane Ike, email me and I'll get you in touch with the proper people, via Virginia.

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Virginia, one of the three "Stalkers" with her new adopted dog, abandoned during Ike. This was taken during her interview process. Aw, soooooo cute!

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The Stalkers helping Virginia get her house back in order via emails. Here are the paint samples we had to choose from for her family room. These samples were all nixed in favor of a Pratt and Lambert I recommended - always the big mouthed interior designer!

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During the remodeling: Virginia's beautiful green desk in the family room with the new paint color. I suggested she move the green urns from the mantel to the top of the desk to give it more height in the high ceiling room. Don't they look great there? Sooo pretty. The next choice for the Stalkers is the new carpet. I've got one in mind for Virginia to use - a two toned, white on gold trellis patterned flat weave. We'll see if everyone agrees on that one!

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The second Stalker is Cindy. She's in the middle of building a new home and sent us all pictures of it's progress. Cindy has ordered two gorgeous lanterns, custom made from Bevolo in New Orleans for her kitchen. They are going to be such a focal point - can't wait to see them!

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An inspiration picture for Cindy's kitchen - her two lanterns will be over her island, just like this. Lanterns are traditionally outdoor fixtures, but lately they have become the hottest thing for indoor applications.

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Dianne, from North Carolina, is the third Stalker.

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She is currently remodeling her master bedroom and just ordered a wonderful, curvy, upholstered headboard in a creamy linen fabric. Of course, we are all keeping up with every choice she makes. This picture is what Dianne has copied her headboard from - I love it!

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Dianne sent me this picture of her beautiful front yard with it's large, winding, brick-trimmed flowerbeds. I'm so envious! I live on a small, town lot and would love to have room for landscaping like this!

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Other emails and surprises have come my way from readers and bloggers. For instance, last week, Anne Harwell, aka Annechovie, the artist and blogger sent me this magnet - what a wonderful surprise! Thanks Anne! She said this reminded her of me because my motto (and my mom Betty Rae's too) is "I don't do clothes, I do houses." So true. I would rather shop for my house than my body any day of the week. What about you -if you read design blogs, you are probably the same exact way.

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Emails, I get emails! One of the most fun parts of blogging is the emails. Every day I get pictures from readers who ask advice or just want to share their life with me. I love it! I get a chance to glimpse into your life and your home. Sometimes, an email leads to another and another and another and before you know it, there's a new friendship built. This picture is from one such reader who has become a great friend via email. He is a notorious commenter, with a biting wit, never afraid to speak his true mind -- all done behind the veil of anonymity. Only I know who he is in real life! He is a gifted artist, an unbelievable faux painter, and an interior designer. He needs to write his own blog! This is his wonderful house. Built before the turn of the century, it is in upstate New York. Just look at that gorgeous balcony - they don't build houses like this anymore !!!!!

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This is a reader who's become a real-life friend (until I found out I was OLDER than her mother!!!!). She's a young interior designer in Lafayette that I once featured in the blog. Here, she sent me this darling picture of herself all dressed up for her first day on a new job. She's going to kill me for this!! But I think she looks fabulous. She's trying to wink in the picture, ala Sarah Palin. If you need to hire a designer in Louisiana, be sure to give her a call. Email me for her number. And to read her feature on Cote de Texas, go here.

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This reader sent me this gorgeous painting of her yard. She had hired an artist to paint the same scene in all four seasons - here is spring. Isn't that a great idea? I love getting emails from readers like this who share their home with me. It makes it all so much more interesting and makes the readers come alive to me.

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It's great fun meeting other bloggers and readers in real life. Here is Patricia Gray of the Patricia Gray, Inc Blog. She is a brilliantly talented, award winning interior designer from Vancouver. We met up in Dallas this year for market and are planning our second trip, hopefully to New Orleans! Can you guess which store we just hit up? ha!

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One day, I came home to a wonderful Kenneth Turner candle left on my porch from a reader in Houston. How sweet can one be? And Kenneth Turner too - my favorite candle! Since then, she's become a client. She's remodeling two bathrooms right now, and this is the custom sink going in her powder room. Totally French, totally gorgeous. We just picked out the sconces for the powder room at Festoni, my new favorite To The Trade showroom in Houston.

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Aw, the original Houston bloggers! Inside the Loop (Courtney), Ex-Pat Ronda Carmon of All the Best Blog, Moi, La Dolce Vita (Paloma) and Carolina Eclectic. Since this picture, the group has grown!

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Maryam from Morocco and the writer of My Marrakesh sent me this beautiful silver dish from the souk as a thank you for helping her with a project. It was great fun - reread the adventure here. Recently, Maryam traveled to Rwanda and has written a heartfelt and horrifying account of her time there. The series is not to be missed and I urge you to read it, if you haven't already.

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This reader sent me gorgeous pictures from her home because she felt we had the same aesthetic. We do! Here is a picture from a birthday party given in her honor. The hosts went to her house and took her favorite accessories to decorate the party with - what a great idea! Here - an array of design books, blue and white transferware, Santos and roses decorate the main table. Isn't this beautiful? You should see her house - it is gorgeous!

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This blogger (who shall remain anonymous for now!) sent me pictures of her house and hopefully, I'm going to help her get it published! Fingers crossed!!! This is just a hint of her interiors to whet your appetite until then. I love this vignette, with its crusty, antique console, mirror, cloche, silver, and coral.

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The first reader I ever met "in real life" lives in the valley of Texas and we met up while I was vacationing on South Padre Island. It turned out she was a friend of my best friend, also from the valley, so the three us went to dinner and had a great time. We were going to meet up again this summer, but unfortunately, Hurricane Dolly changed our plans! See you next summer!!

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At one point, I was going to go into the online business with another blogger and my good friend, Pigtown-Design, graciously offered to come up with a logo! I absolutely loved this, but unfortunately the business never got off the ground. Thanks Meg anyway! It amazed me how swiftly she was able to design this absolutely perfect logo, something I think she would like to for others!

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One of the most popular things I ever blogged about was the Wheat's house in Houston. You readers absolutely loved her home and later, we even got a glimpse of her beach house (which miraculously survived Ike!) Sally was a reader of my blog who just happened to live across the street from my sister-in-law's sister (got that?) She graciously allowed me to take pictures inside her house for you. I dubbed the event - "Stalking the Wheats." Psst: I am going to have big news to share with you about the Wheats soon! Reread the article here.

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This reader from the East Coast contacted me to redesign her house, via emails. We worked on it together for a while until she decided she wanted to be a designer herself. She now has more clients than I do! Here is her living room one Saturday night after I had her move all her furniture around the room to check out the scale. Designing online is not easy!!! Besides interior design in common, we share fathers who were both in the grocery business which was fodder for endless conversation.

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This reader came from Decorno after I commented there about her design questions. She has a lovely home, filled with English antiques and accessories. She was looking for advice on ceiling fixtures and paint colors for a bookcase. I love the English Country Manor style she is going for. Isn't that telephone a charming accessory?

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After my post on Cote de Texas' Top Ten Designer: Lynn von Kersting, this reader emailed me tons of scanned photos from shoots I didn't have. I hate to scan, so I really appreciated the effort it took this reader to do it. It really makes me feel like I am reaching the readers when I get emails like this from you who want to participate in the topic!

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This photo came from a reader who told me we had a lot in common, aesthetically. And boy, was she ever right! We share a love of the exact same things design wise, which is a huge compliment to me judging from how beautiful her house is. This reader is involved in design and really knows her stuff. She should be writing her own blog. We are planning to meet up soon! So beautiful!!!!

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Remember my Starbucks route drive-bys of West University houses? The owner of a real estate company in Houston, Roger Martin Properties, contacted me and asked if she could run a contest in her newsletter using these houses. The first person to identify where all the houses were located would win a few prizes. But first I had to go back and get all the addresses - a few even I had a hard time finding again! There was a winner and we are going to have a little awards ceremony - as soon as Ike is totally forgotten.

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This is just a hint of a living room from a reader who sent me pictures of her house. It is just gorgeous! I love her dark painted walls and her mix of fabrics and that ladder in the corner is so charming. The exterior of her home is absolutely stunning, too!

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This reader emailed me for paint advice and sent me a picture of her skirted console table and the ingenious way she made the conference table taller! I loved this email AND her dining room!

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Ron Van Empel from The Netherlands became a close friend after I showcased his company, The Empel Collection. He makes gorgeous custom lamps and lighting fixtures and is an interior designer. Here are his hand drawn plans for a bedroom in a house he is renovating for a client in Houston! Isn't this bedroom going to be beautiful? He has promised me I'll be able to show you the pictures after the job is completed. I can not wait!!! Ron is also adding on to his shop in The Netherlands and is always emailing me pictures of the progress. I had great fun figuring out the floor plans to his office space one weekend - aided by the hundreds of pictures he sent me! Ron is one class-act and I can't wait to meet him in person this Christmas.

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This reader was so kind to send me pictures from the Southern Living showcase house. What I loved about it the most is Wisteria provided a lot of the furniture and accessories and it was a great chance to see their items in a different light. The house was beautiful and I thank this reader so much for taking the time to send these to me.

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The artist Harrison Howard has become another great email buddy after we struck up a conversation about his art. We write each other notoriously long, labored emails about everything from our children, to art, politics, and work. Above is one of Harrison's paintings. I recently bought 4 from his collection myself. To see more, be sure to visit his web site here.

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For my birthday, Patricia from PVE drew this painting for moi. It is amazing all the details she put in it - my dog, my books, my zebra pillows! The armadillo!!! A few weeks later she sent me note cards with this watercolor on the front. Patricia is one of the most gracious and selfless design bloggers out there. Thanks PVE!

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This reader emailed me pictures of her house - looking for advice on wall colors and rugs, etc. Actually, I thought her place looked pretty good as it is.

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This blogger, Things that Inspire, has been a constant source of information on Atlanta designers, shops, and whatever else we are both into at the moment. Somewhere along the way, we became great friends! This is a cropped picture she posted on her blog from her living room. I love the series of eggs with identical gold frames hanging between gold silk drapes. So beautiful!

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This reader is a fabulous interior designer. Here she shared a picture of her pergola with me. I love those chairs. She has sent me pictures from client installations and pictures of her own home. She has wonderful taste in furniture and fabrics and she especially loves Robert Kime, a girl after my own heart!!

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This is the living room of another email blogging friend whose friendship started with an advice question. She has her own blog, Peeking Thru the Sunflowers and really didn't need any help from me, as you can see from her house in the country which was once an old schoolhouse!!! It's all white slips, red silk and toile with seagrass, sconces, chandeliers, and mirrors - everything I love! Every time she moves a chair or a table (which is quite often) she will send me a picture as she knows I love to see her progress.

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Cote de Texas reunited me with someone I was once kind of related to! She just happens to live in this gloriously beautiful house in Fredericksburg, Texas. She is a collector of just about everything out there and her house is so amazing. She writes her blog from the hill country here.

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This English blogger once sent me the most delicious smelling bars of soaps in the world!! Hey, W: I'm out of them now, hint, hint! His blog, The House of Beauty and Culture, is so intellectually stimulating that half the time I have to email him and ask for clarifications. He is so patient with my stupidity. I have learned so much from him about classical interior design, antiques, and well, just beauty & culture, and you will too when you visit his blog. He sells antiques besides doing interior design. The photo above was from a booth of his a few years back. I can spot a few things I would love to own myself, starting with those gorgeous chairs!

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I once posted on libraries and a few readers sent me pictures of glorious libraries around the world. Now, this is a library! I love when readers send me pictures of things I should have used. If only I would get the pictures beforehand. Maybe I should announce what I am going to blog about first and then let people send in pictures. That would make my job much easier.

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Twice now, my friend from Italy and now San Diego has sent me a stack of the best French magazines in the world!!!! Now, THAT's a friend! She recently bought her first house in the United States after spending several years in Italy with her family. They are in the process of remodeling and she is doing a wonderful job - it's amazing what a coat of paint and refinished hardwood floors will do to a room.

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I recently asked my readers to help raise money for DonorsChoose.org - a charity that lets you pick the project you want to donate to. The recipients are classrooms from low socioeconomic neighborhoods. I picked a project that was one of the more expensive ones, thinking it would take a long time to raise the money. I was stunned when Cote de Texas readers completely funded the project within just a few days. I think the head of the program for bloggers in Houston was surprised too. Everyone was overwhelmingly generous and I thank each and every one of you for your donations. Since the project was funded, I get to donate to a new classroom with the matching funds - so in all, Cote de Texas and its readers will be funding two classrooms. Congratulations and thank you all again!!!!

There are so many other bloggers out there who have helped to contribute to Cote de Texas along the way. There are two bloggers in particular who have been there from the beginning to help me, guide me and encourage me - my two blogging mentors from Atlanta: Courtney of Style Court and Jennifer from The Peak of Chic. They have always scanned and loaned me images whenever I've asked (and I've asked a lot!) and without any hesitation at all, thanks y'all. There are the bloggers whom I turn to for endless advice, laughs, and help with my insecurities: Jackie Blue Home (Type A-writer and all-time funny lady), Katie-Did (interior designer with a wonderful house of her own), Linda Merrill (my Something's Gotta Give partner in crime!), Liberty Post Editor (she's been there from the start), Mrs. Culater (who loves Country English Manor design as much as I do and she even lived in one of her own!!), The Material Girls (two darling young IDs), Kriss from Alkemie (world traveler and ID), Mrs. Blandings (with the prettiest house ever!), the two Interior Design bloggers from Northeast Florida: Urban Grace (too talented for words) and Simply Seleta (too beautiful for words) and my newest email buds, Renee Finberg (writing the most interesting blog around) and the young, uber-talented Artie, from Color Outside the Lines.

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And then there is this crazy person, none other than Megan Arquette of Beach Bungalow 8, a source of endless late night laughs, although since she has married, she's been too busy at night now! :( I know when she sees this, she will crack up laughing, like I am now!!! Thanks Megan for all the great times and I love those wreaths hanging in your garoffice - like the stepladder too.

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ok, Megan is really quite beautiful - as this picture taken at her beach wedding this year shows.

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And finally, last year Houston House and Home featured my house on their cover (to read the article go here!!) It was such a exciting time, going into stores and seeing my dogs on the cover, what a thrill !!! Aren't my babies adorable? You know, of course, they match the decor! The funny thing about this picture is we couldn't get both of them to sit still together, so we took one picture with one dog and another picture with the other one (The Springer, Georgie, was the problem dog!) and the photographer somehow spliced the two photographs together. In the end, I offered to mail out copies of the magazine to anyone out of town who couldn't get it. The response was overwhelming! I can't even begin to tell you how many magazines my friend Lisa and I mailed out (well, mostly Lisa did the mailing!) In truth, I have only one person to thank for all of that recognition. The popular blogger, Melissa from The Inspired Room, wrote about the magazine and everyone from her blog came to visit mine. Most of her many readers have since stayed around and I have Melissa to thank for the success of Cote de Texas! She's always there for advice and a friendly ear when I need one. She's quite an inspiration and probably the nicest person on the design blogosphere! Thanks Melissa for everything.

I truly hope I didn't leave anyone out!!!!! If I did, I apologize and let me know - by email!!

112 comments:

  1. Your posts are always such fun, but this one was a favorite! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I am touched. I always look forward to hearing from you. You are such a joy.

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  3. What a lovely post Joni - so wonderful to hear of all the friendships you have made and the fun you have had along the way. xv

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  4. Joni ,
    your blog is such a wonderful source of inspiration , and you are always so kind to give great advice and encouragement , the amount of work that goes into your posts does not go unnoticed.
    Thank you ,
    Chris

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  5. Wonderful post about the fantastic world of blogging !!!
    I think it is a new way of life and a new way to meet friends

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  6. Joni, Your photos are wonderful!!!!!! You should post your email pictures just for us to get another glimpse of all this beauty. The talent out there just truly amazes me. I wonder if the east coast designer you were helping before she decided to go out on her own is anywhere near Philadelphia?
    I could comment on every photo but I need to read it again. I will say my favorite (real) house of all time is the Wheat's. (not including SGTG house). xo, MB

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  7. It certainly has been an incredible journey. I feel as though my world has opened up with blogging. I am so happy that we met and you are, hands down, the best feature blog writer on the internet. You own a magablog! In every sense. Congratulations on all your success and I have no doubt that your star is rising!

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  8. Your posts are always so well thought out and make for a good read!! I loved this post about so many of the blogs I know and love! Blogging has so changed the world in the past few years and opened doors and friendships for me as well! Long live the blog!

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  9. What an incredibly generous (with time, thought and wisdom) blogging fixture (for lack of a better word...) You are!

    Great post...and Is that first pic your kitchen table? Adorable.

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  10. Virginia (The Stalker)October 20, 2008 at 9:09 AM

    Joni - your spirit of generosity never ends...to thank US when we ALL should be bowing down to you (not just the stalkers!). Your blog really does feel like a community and today we met "our" neighbors. Ok, off to look for carpet per your instruction! :) Thank you for making my home beautiful. I so enjoy The Cote Course!

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  11. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on your blog this morning and found myself?!!!!! What a tribute to be featured! LOL
    You, Joni, are the most generous, kind,funny and informative person in blogland!!You have helped me in so many different ways. Your blog success is very deserving. We are lucky to be taught by you!
    Thank you a million times dear friend.

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  12. This post was great- it was so fun to get an inside look into all the pics that your readers have sent you over the past year!

    Also, thanks for your kind mention. Lauren and I both really look up to you, your blog, and your design work- it's all so inspiring...and also nice to have a design mentor that we can email crazy questions to! :) Keep up the great blogging! Hopefully we will get to meet someday!

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  13. What a wonderful blog family you have aquired. Great post, it was fun seeing all the interesting things people send.
    I love all the great people I have met through blogging, an added benefit I hadn't anticipated.

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  14. If I were only in Houston, I'd end up on your door step too! We all have the best time reading your blog! Thank you for including us in your life. It is funny how we all get to know complete strangers, isn't it?
    Now, I've got to run, I've got all these links in your post I have to check out! Thanks, Joni!

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  15. Joni, I've really enjoyed getting to know you through your blog and the sweet comments you leave on mine. You are so gracious and approachable, not to mention talented, that I truly feel I know you. Thanks for what you do. Cote de Texas is what Canyon Wren Cottage wants to be when it grows up. :-)

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  16. Joni,

    What a wonderful and thoughtful post. You have made so many amazing friends which is a tribute to your generosity!

    Nancy

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  17. Joni - you are collecting so many friends because you are so warm and wonderful. I'm thrilled to be part of the posse!

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  18. Lovely happy posting -- of course the content about your new-found friendships did not surprise me -- your true kind soul and Southern charm come through with ALL of your writings. Your words shine, glow and sparkle -- and do the same for your readers. So -- I will thank YOU for being there in some best and bright days AND for brightening the darker ones!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage who is waiting for your own decor book (yes -- I AM a pest! LOL!)

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  19. Oh, I'm inspired by your tribute to all of your blog friends, and I am so happy to have been mentioned! ;)

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  20. I don't usually leave a comment, but I just had to today! This was such a great post...I loved revisiting your favorites. Thanks for entertaining me with your wonderful photos and witty writing.

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  21. Fantastic post, Joni! The more I learn about the blogging community, the more I want to be a part of it myself. It's only been a few months since I started regularly reading my favorites, and already I feel the pull to write my own so I can join the fun! I have to say though, while your blog provides endless inspiration for my newborn design business and blog-envy, it's also a bit intimidating. . . you've set the bar very high!
    Thanks for all of it. . . the inspiration AND intimidation. . . they're BOTH helping to prod me along on my new path.
    Have a Happy Monday!

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  22. Hi Joni
    What a heart-warming post! The best thing about my having started blogging is surely meeting up with you, my friend!

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  23. Oh my gosh, Joni!! What a delightful entry today!!! I am such a NEW KID on the Block with this blogging experience, but this has encouraged me to keep at it! What wonderful, warm friendships you have made through Cote De Texas! I am so impressed, but not surprised because I have found you to be so lovely and warm yourself in my short time in blogland.
    This is one ENTRY that I will be looking at for awhile.....so much eye candy!.......
    Your the BEST!!!!
    REGARDS,
    MIMILEE <><

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  24. I ADORE this woman. Nobody else has ever had me laughing, with tears rolling down my cheeks, as we IM back an forth.

    It's a good thing we don't live closer or else I'd be over at her house bugging her while she's trying to write the most comprehensive postings out there.

    I'm still pushing for that blogger convention in L.A. or blogger/reader get together.


    and while the step ladder remains somewhere out in that garage, you'll be happy to know, the wreathes were put out in the trash (my neighbor dug them out and now has them hanging on her fence)

    big hugs joni

    Megan

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  25. What a wonderful post Joni. Not only are you a wonderful writer and a gifted designer, but as this blog shows, you reach out to others with your generosity and kind spirit and are instrumental in making the design blogging world one big happy family. My goal is to be on your list next year! (he he)

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  26. Oh my what a fab post. I love it, love it and I immediately get up and fluff up a coffee table or move a picture after reading your blog. I also note the time they were written....you make so much sense at such a beastly hour. I too keep up with Cindy, Diane, & Virginia through email. We met on Tracy Porter blog and then branched off and they introduced you to me. They inspire and delight me. I know I keep promising pics which are forthcoming but I've been preparing for a HUGE garage sale with 7 other pals. It's going to be so big that we ought to make Dallas' Daily Candy. We are competing with Halloween, even considered cancelling due to the economic climate, however DH reminded me that our clients haven't lost big bucks in their 401K. So all that to say more to come. Oh P.S. our country home is halfway between Houston and Dallas and my DH heard on the news that 200 Ike animals would be euthanized if not adopted. So on 9-20-08 our boxador was adopted. His name is "IKE" and he knows he's a mighty lucky fella. Well then we decided that since Ike would be spending his weekdays in the country with DH he would need a buddy. soooooooo we went to the SPCA in Dallas and adopted Otis (australian shepherd mix). they are precious but enuf good will OK.
    P.S.S. back to the French magazines. Tracy Porter said one of her favs was Maison Francaise. I have looked everywhere and cannot find. Does anyone have a source? MERCI
    TEXAS FRANCOPHILE

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  27. Oh goodness I'm wordy today. Forgot to ask if the white pitcher and sugar bowl? on your table in the first picture are Red Clay Pottery? tHEY ARE GREAT
    TEXAS FRANCOPHILE

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  28. I so enjoyed this post Joni! This is exactly why I love your blog so much! Once again, I just have to say...you are fabulous.

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  29. Your dogs on the cover!! The absolute pinnacle! What a thrill!

    We are on the same wavelength today...I just put up an appreciative post, and of course mentioned you!!
    I love visiting here, as does Edward!

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  30. LOL! Loved "meeting" the other circle of bloggers and fans---what fun! You are a rock star blogger! Thanks for the warm and funny post.

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  31. Hi Joni, too funny that you just posted this as I was about to email you and ask for more advice; actually more advice on advice you have already given me :)

    I LOVE reading your blog, you always open my eyes up to something new and beautiful everyday!

    You are certainly someone to look up to with your style, grace and warmth. I only hope by reading your blog some rubs off on me.

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  32. Wow, you have stalkers! That's big! Next thing you know, papparazzi will be camping outside your door, and we can all say we knew you when! You're the best, Joni, and have been so helpful to me, and obviously lots of others.

    -Lana

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  33. Rosemary: Teacats - if you would ever leave your email address I could email you!!! You are NOT a pest!!! haha!!!!

    Joni

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  34. Those wicker chairs from reader Cindy's new kitchen are fantastic. They look like the same ones I've admired in an issue of Martha Stewart's Living a few months back. Can you tell me where they come from?
    Thanks so much!
    Wendy

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  35. Joni, You are something else! I couldn't believe that you put my silly photo in there! Just so EVERYONE will know (b/c I'm paranoid) I have NOT touched the interior of my new-old house! I did NOT specify the "bar room" etching...and it will be one of the 1st things to be eradicated.....stay tuned ;)

    Seriously, though....I appreciate everything you do for me, and truly TRULY love you to pieces. I hope I'm juuuust like ya when I'm an old lady ;) JOKING!!!


    Kisskiss,

    Andrea

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  36. What a lovely post! FUN to see what some of the bloggers look like. You are such a lovely person that is why so many flock to you bloggers and stalkers alike.

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  37. I just stumbled upon your blog last week wile searching for Farrow and Ball paint. Thank you for your answer. I love your style and my timing was perfect because we just moved back to Houston and just bought a new home. We used to live in West U then Southampton and then we built a custom "old, new house" in Virginia (where my kitchen looked remarkably like Cindy's inspiration kitchen--lanterns and all). Now we are back in Houston and will move into our home this Friday. I am knee deep in paint chips and fabric samples.

    I LOVE the chairs with slipcovers at you table. Any suggestions on where I can find some locally? i might e-mail you a photo of my old kitchen just for fun.

    Kim

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  38. Oh, I also wanted to add: Congrats Virginia on your standard poodle!!!! I have one too and I cut his fur quite similar to the way yours is cut. They are the best!!!!!!! I doubt I'll own another breed, and ours is an adoptee too! From Jasper Tx..... we lucked out!

    Oh, get this! The owner of the store that I have recently started to work through is requesting that I bring my dog to work with me!! How cool is that?

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  39. wow... can we feel the blogging love?? WONDERFUL post!! we should start a national bloggers appreciation day (or week?) for the bloggers and readers we love the most. it's just amazing what all of this has turned into!

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  40. Wow! What an absolutely wonderful post! It is just so dear and sweet! Since I just started blogging it is wonderful to see what can become of it, THANK YOU for sharing your stories! Again!
    ~Miss Kris~

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  41. Ditto what everyone else has already said! Thank you so much for including me...I'm honored and thrilled to have finally met the famous Joni Webb! Your blog is amazing and you're not so bad yourself. I'm so glad you "stalked" me!
    Sally

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  42. You are an amazing woman...is it any wonder why we all love you so? I often think about asking you for advice but then, I am afraid you would see my house and die from laughter! None of us want to see you succomb to this awful fate!
    I have never seen a post here that did not inspire me. I adore your wit, your heart, your way with a transferware plate!
    These bloggers are all such wonders and I am tickled that you have been able to connect with so many of them. I am green with envy that thye have met you or connected with you in some sweet way. *grin*

    You wanted to thank those who supported YOU, but it is US who want to thank YOU! You are a wonder Joni Webb. I adore your blog. I adore YOU!

    Love,
    Sue

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  43. Joni, you are a treaure and your posts are so gorgeous with grand images. I am creating larger & larger with my art; so keep me in mind! I can ship wherever your heart desires!

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  44. Joni... first, thank you for the kind words. It's an honour getting to know you and even more of an honour doing a favour to you.

    This blogging thing has been such fun and has opened my world to so many terrific people, two of whom I will meet in London next week. I hope to have the privilege of meeting you in person one day, too.

    You are more than generous with your knowledge and enjoy sharing it with us. For that, and for everything else, I thank you.

    xoxo

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  45. What a hoot! Oh my gosh!!!! What a hysterical surprise to open up your blog today.

    You my sweet friend have the biggest and best heart!!!! Thank you sooooooo much for being always so gracious and kind with all of my questions.

    XXX~

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  46. Wow - what a tribute to blogging and all of your blog friends! Your post is wonderful, inspiring, and must have taken hours to compose.

    You must get dozens and dozens of emails a day, and yet you always answer my emails SO quickly. You are amazing, I don't know how you do it! My gift to the Donors Choose was the least I could do for you, as you have done so much for me!

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  47. Hey Joni,
    THANKS for visiting me today....glad you got a kick out of my encounter with Mr. Randolph! I still laugh about it....and the funny thing is, the very next year, I had Charles Faudree as my house guest and he absolutely LOVED all my STUFF....you know the MORE stuff you have the better with Charles! That is so hilarious to me!

    I have just read over your entry here and enjoyed it again!

    Great post!

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  48. OH, yes, I just noticed you have a tri color Cavalier as I do too! Aren't they wonderful???? My cavalier is named BO after the great BO JACKSON, no less! He is almost 5 years old and is my baby, too! I want to hear about yours. Your Springer is precious too!

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  49. Stalkers with design sense! That is a wonderful twist. Love this post.

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  50. Joni! What a wonderful post! I hope you realize you give a gift to all of us readers each time you post! It's like leaving a little present "on the door step"..only it's in my lap top!! HA HA! Your posts are so inspiring, fun and educational! It's so nice to see how wonderful the world and the people of the blog world are! :)

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  51. Joni, This post was so very interesting. The kitchen with the two lanterns over the island is one of my favorite kitchen images ever!! It looks like a showhouse, do you know anything about it or the light fixtures over the island or breakfast area?

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  52. What a great picture of Megan!! I almost spewed my morning coffee I was laughing so hard. Joni, I'm honored to be amongst these friends of yours... thanks for always being just an email away!
    xoxo
    erika

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  53. Dear Joni,

    Thank you so much for all of your efforts. Your posts about the way we live and our homes have a lot of meaning, especially in these times.

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  54. Hey fellow Houstonian! Haven't been in 'blog' land much lately...but, wanted to stop by today and say "hey"! My gosh girl....you need to start your own fan club. :) Can I be president? hehehe...great blog today...as usual. Look forward to seeing you the next time you come "outside the loop"! xo...deb (the junkin' yaya)

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  55. What a nice tribute to your regular readers (and stalkers).

    You have a wonderful blog and it's always great to stop by to see what you've posted.

    It was also nice to read about your lovely home in the link to the Houston House and Home article.

    Melissa's blog is one of my favorite haunts.

    Have a great week.

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  56. Oh Joni,
    Just as I am trying to write a puny post, I procrastinate and visit you, and boyohboy, you do it again and again.
    Why you are not profiled in every article about blogs is beyond me.
    You are the Pearl Mesta of this big blog party!
    I'm gonna wrap myself up in some pretty paper with a big bow, and have a stalker leave me on your doorstep so we can have a giant hug, and laugh until we pee!
    xo xo xo xo xo xo xo

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  57. Visual Vamp - "Pearl Mesta" - you never hear that name! Perfect for Joni!

    Joni - thanks for including me in your great post. You certainly give, and receive, a lot of blog love. Truly inspiring.

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  58. Joni - what a fascinating post! I Loved reading about the different friends and people you got to know along the way of your blogging adventures. You have quite a readership and it is well deserved. You put so much love into your blog and to all of your readers as well. I, for one, am certainly glad that I ran across your beatuiful blog.

    Cheers to forging more love and friendship along the way,

    Karen

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  59. Hi Joni! Great post! What you may not know is that you were one of my inspirations to start my own blog. You have been a great help, exchanging emails about accessories and lighting and paint - always quick to return emails and help answer a question! Through you I have connected with other bloggers and friends. You create a wonderful open forum and you are so generous sharing your time and your experience! What you deem a qucik response is alway thoughtful, well written and chock full of valuable information. You have made a difference, inspired many and continue to better your community! A role model for all us!!

    Thank from the bottom of my heart!!!
    xxx-
    Gina

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  60. What a lovely post :)

    I just love coming here for a visit !!!

    Kathy :)

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  61. Funny you should mention "lurkers" today, I have been one for the last year or so, but yesterday I figured out how to have a google account. So now I can and will comment. I love all of the inspiration that I receive from your blog. You have such great pictures and information pertaining to decorating styles. I have just recently purchased a 1924 bungalow and I need help knowing what color to paint the interior. It is small, 900 sq. ft., with an open floor plan, so I want to paint it all one neutral color. I am thinking of a light gold, do you have any suggestions for an almost neutral gold? All of the trim is old oak and it has refinished original oak floors. I have two gold wingback chairs and my couch is a creamy chenille. My dining room chairs are dark brown leather as is my recliner and bar stools. I have dark red pillows, canisters and throws, so that is my accent color. Thank you for any help you can give me!

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  62. What a response! I am so glad everyone enjoyed this! I did leave out a few people - but I couldn't find their email pictures - so I apologize for that!!! It was so much fun going back and looking at all the pictures.

    Note to Anon posters - and Cindy in particular - is you have a personal question - please email me because I dont have your email address!!!

    Thanks again everyone for all the great comments = I stilll haven't even finished reading them all - there are so many!!!!!! Joni

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  63. Hi Joni, I've been working DAY and NIGHT!!!!
    My Parisian Give Away (valued at $200+) is now posted. This truly has your name written all over it!! You won't believe your eyes! It is my way of showing my heartfelt appreciation for all the support I was given in the infancy of my blog. My Lil' Boutique's Grand Opening is now official too. I'm slowly filling it with my favorite designs and treasures. I'm truly enjoying this blog journey, especially the new friends I'm getting to know through our visits. Thanks for sharing your precious time with me.
    *SWEET WISHES*!
    Sara

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  64. I guess I would be considered a "lurker" on your blog. The first night I found it, I stayed up almost all night reading all of your old postings. Such beautiful pictures, and what you write is always so professionally done. I guess I thought if you were getting 50 or more comments on each posting, you sure didn't care about having another commenter! But not wanting to be a "lurker", I decided to post a comment and let you know how much I LOVE YOUR BLOG. laurie

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  65. Joni! Thank you sooooooo much for the inclusion in, as Mrs B put it...your posse! It is an honor and a privilege! You have so many of my favorites up here. I just have to say it has been such a fun ride! I think we started at about the same time, and it has been so great to "grow up" with you through this blogging world. You are a very dear friend with always a kind and encouraging word. You are the BEST! Thanks for all the hard and very thoughtful work you do. It is so very apprecaited.
    xx
    Katie

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  66. Joni...that was fabulous. I loved reading about how your blog and friendships have grown... so cool. And you are a great source of inspiration for so many of us.

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  67. you look sooooo graet in the fotos.
    and just as i thought to myself; 'that i love those white chairs' , i read that you love those white chairs !!!!
    great stuff !!
    thanks

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  68. What a sweet post, Joni. You truly are the consummate blogger. I'm so glad to have met you. :)

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  69. what a wonderful post! you really are just the best joni!!!
    xoxo

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  70. What a fun post!! I can't wait to check out all of the blogs you mentioned. There are so many creative and sweet people out there!

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  71. It must take you a long time to gather all of the information and beautiful inspiration photos for your blog. Just wantted to tell you again how much I enjoy it! I always scroll through the photos first and then go back and read about them....kind of like eating an Oreo cookie! ha ha ..sorry - I was just being silly.

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  72. Thought I'd highlight your admiring and stalking numbers...9,860 inbound to you and 20,467 in links... my my.

    Anytime you feel like checking, go here:

    http://wholinkstome.com/?url=

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  73. eeewwww! I'm a lurker- that sounds creepier than the stalkers...maybe I should start leaving comments :)

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  74. I get an email alert when you have a new post but I wait until I have time to really read everything and follow your links. Reading your posts are like getting a new decorating mag. in the mail!

    Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into your blog.

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  75. Joni- I have repeatedly said this year that the best, most surprising thing I've done in my life is start my blog. It's amazing the virtual community of talented wonderful women that are out there. You are a pioneer. Thanks.
    -Erin

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  76. Hello!
    I'm new to the website and am loving all the great info and photos! I'm a huge fan of Olivine, Helen, Kathy and Pipi who have introduced me to the site, good stuff!
    -Angela

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  77. Good Lord Joni - you get the prize for best post ever. They are so long but so funny and interesting and beautiful that I can't stop reading to the very end.

    I love reading your blog because although you are clearly extraordinarily talented and chic and have such posh tastes, you are also wonderfully down-to-earth and self-deprecating and witty and approachable. I liked you from the minute I read your first post. Now isn't that something to achieve with one's writing - to convey who you really are so well?!

    I know none of us really knows you, but the YOU that you share with us is utterly perfect. Wish I lived closer and you could take me on some drive-bys and teach me a thing or two about a thing or two, you wise woman you. Hope you enjoy all your wonderful gifts. I think it would be weird to get presents on my doorstep, but with such a following, I guess you will have to get used to the celebrity!

    Keep up the great work Joni - I for one appreciate all you do, and every post brings a smile to my face - whether it's a great room or a witty remark (like the one about the blogger uniform - sweat pants, etc - too funny!!!).

    Bug hug to you, Terri xo

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  78. Andrea V - tried emailing you but could not. Yes, Standards are awesome. We already had one; so the one above is now the little bro. Stella & Duke. They are loves...

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  79. I love this "behind the scenes" post. You have such a passion for design AND blogging. You are inspiring to me and many others and the fact that you are a dog lover, makes you even better!

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  80. What a great post...and love all the pictures!!! It is nice to come home and have nice packages waiting and the people you meet blogging...priceless!

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  81. Wow... What a beatiful and meaningful post! By what I have read about you, my instincts is right on target! You have touched a lot of hearts, lives and homes. Continue to add the golden moments to a day.
    OK I will confess I too am a stalker of your blog!
    Have a golden day~

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  82. Artist,CC, and Virginia,
    So this is where you have been. I go to this sight regularly but I haven't read the blogs just Joni's entrys. It was so fun to see what you guys look like and to know more about you.

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  83. Loved all the eye candy! That was so fun.......Bonnie

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  84. You sure have made a lot of friends & contacts over the year, Joni. Congrats on your great success in blogging and here's to many more. I think if I lived in Houston, I'd have to come by and meet you too!

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  85. You sure have made a lot of friends & contacts over the year, Joni. Congrats on your great success in blogging and here's to many more. I think if I lived in Houston, I'd have to come by and meet you too!

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  86. You sure have made a lot of friends & contacts over the year, Joni. Congrats on your great success in blogging and here's to many more. I think if I lived in Houston, I'd have to come by and meet you too!

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  87. You sure have made a lot of friends & contacts over the year, Joni. Congrats on your great success in blogging and here's to many more. I think if I lived in Houston, I'd have to come by and meet you too!

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  88. People actually send you things for blogging? I must be posting wrong or something.

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  89. What a sweet post, Joni!Just saw it! I have been bogged down with work and so am way behind on my blog reading. Thanks so much for the mention. You are a treasure and I am so grateful to have met you!

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  90. I need to stop going out of town b/c I always seem to miss out on the best posts!! And 89 comments! Is that a design blog record? I truly think that in our little part of the blogosphere that we have the best bloggers and the best readers. Everyone is kind, enthusiastic, and supportive- most of all you!

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  91. Ok, how I missed this I have no idea. THANK you so much for the sweetest mention ever {tears!} You need to be known, and I am happy to spread the word about this amazing blog! You do an awesome job!!!

    xoxoxo

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  92. Hi, I LOVE your blog! It is so perfect! Thank you so much!

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  93. Joni,
    I can't believe I'm finding to this so late! Somehow it's linked to my post today.
    Mid October was right in the middle of a crazy busy period so I wasn't on line much.
    I loved this post! It's wonderful to see a real human behind your amazing blog. You are such a lovely person. I think one of the reasons for the success of blogs is that are connected to people who readers can email/stalk/communicate with. And yours is definitely one of the best! Thanks so much for your great work, Joni.

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  94. how odd, like breathing in the dreaming world this post was linked to my post published today- six months later. weird.

    but it was delightful to read again. alway a pleasure seeing those happy big zebra pillows on your pristine linen sofas. such a pretty room!

    c.

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  95. LOL, that post must have taken you hours! It's so good to read positive news in a doom & gloom world - proof that there are good things happening!
    I'm a new lurker from New Zealand:)

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  96. I love all the lighting in you pics. I paricularly light the crystal chandeliers. Thanks for the great blog.

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  97. Joni, You have really touched so many people in such a positive way...including me. So many of the comments show that appreciation as well. Blessings.

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  98. I enjoy reading your blog. You have some great insight, information and inspiration.

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  99. I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

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  100. Hello!!! cotedetexas.blogspot.com is one of the most excellent innovative websites of its kind. I take advantage of reading it every day. I will be back.

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  105. [url=http://www.pi7.ru/seks-sekrety/2932-podrostkovyy-seks-vo-francii-statistika.html ]Эксперимент Теслы. Каковы мнения по поводу его существования? [/url]
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  111. Do you by chance still have the address available for The antique brick West U house (Roger Martin Properties)?! I adore the exterior and would love to do a drive by. We are in the initial stage with our architect and this is a perfect example of what we want. If you have a moment and still have the address, I would so appreciate the address.

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