As many of you know, John and I just bought our first home at the end of the summer of ’17. It was the ‘unicorn’ of a home we had been searching for FOR MONTHS and the day we closed was one of the happiest of my life. We still have a LONG way to go in terms of making our little house a home, and I often let my mind wander to Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts with incredible interior design. Interior design is a art lost on me in many ways – but I am an avid appreciator, if anything.

I was recently privy to a chance at exploring the 2018 HGTV Smart Home which happens to be, of all places, in our ‘backyard’ of Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, SC. The HGTV Smart Home staff would be onsite to give us a tour and the designer, Tiffany Brooks of Chicago, was THE designer behind the gawk-worthy magic inside. The modern-meets-Southern-classic decor was perfect for the upscale yet unassuming Lowcountry setting.

But y’all… it was a little crazy just how ‘smart’ this home actually was, I MEAN REALLY. From the fridge with a built in espresso-maker to the Pelaton bike ready to ride in the master bathroom to the hidden virtual reality room to the voice activated rolling porch screen to the smart screen to access music and emails on the bathroom mirrors… and not ‘smart’ in terms of technology, but smart in the efficiency and use of the space with eco-friendly design that incorporated natural elements (the stunning plants were beautiful and the natural light was unreal!). But you guys… the thing that pretty much EVERYONE at the event couldn’t stop talking about was the freakin’ smart toilet in the master bathroom. YOU GUYS, it had a sensor that when it felt you coming in, it would gently lift the seat, turn on soft lighting around the basin, and THEN start playing a selection of music from your favorite playlist. You could literally tinkle the ivories and cover the sounds of, ahem, nature’s call (I immediately sent John the video after the tour and he’s like, “Seriously? Of all the things…”).

Okay, but seriously, my favorite part was the art throughout the house that sent my wanna-be-cool-creative-gal heart a’flutter. The gallery wall on the 2nd floor was absolute perfection, and I stared at it far longer and more awkwardly than I thought.


You guys, I can’t believe I’m sharing the secret (okay, I know it’s not exactly a secret, buuuut….)… you can win the HGTV Smart Home. I know! BUT WAIT, there’s more! You can also win $100,000 (generously provided by Quicken Loans®), all the furnishings and technology in the home (and maybe share an art piece – or 12 – with me when you win it), AND a 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC Plug-In Hybrid. I don’t even know exactly what kind of car that is, but I had a hard time typing it all out, so you KNOW it’s fancy! You can check out the link here to vote and do so twice a day; but you’d betta’ move fast because the contest closes at the end of the day on June 7th, 2018.



Thank you to the HGTV crew for the fabulous opportunity to experience such an impressive home – and thank you to Birdie James for helping style me for the event in such an exquisite Ripley Rader frock… because I’m also lost on the art on how to look like decent human being at these kinds of things. I may be no designer, but I do thoughtful style when I see it – and would love to have any of ya’s to make yourself at home in our little Lowcountry community. And let me use your bathroom after one too many champagnes at the Palmetto Bluff hotel.



Get crackin’, friends!

Hugs & High Fives,



Many many moons ago, I stumbled on this quote (where else? Pinterest, of course):

Harbour Affair | Never Apologize for Your Enthusiasm

For years I’ve struggled with a loud voice.

Squealing when I hear there’s a chance of a margarita or ice cream in near future.

Losing my mind when an it’s-so-fluffehhh! dog crosses my path.

Feeling so very, very proud when a long time fitness client does something they didn’t think possible when they walked through the door months ago.

Having my mind blown when I set-up the literally picture perfect shot with my families and couples, drenched in that juicy evening light with perfect expressions.

Hugging the fool out of someone I so truly love, even if I saw them the day before.

Shouting “I. am. SO. EXCITED!” on the phone with my brides when we’re running through their wedding day timeline.

Being “that girl” in a 6:00am workout who blurts I LOVE THIS SONG!

As much as I’ve been tormented with the sharp, gut-wrenching pain of rejection, depression, perfectionism, and need for appreciation and acceptance, I’ve also felt the other side of life just as strongly. And sometimes? I think I’ll never make sense to those who can’t understand how finding a perfectly formed, colorful shell on the beach could warrant the girlish, overflowing jubilation of Christmas morning.

And for a long time, I’ve practiced suppressing it. Hiding it. Playing it so ‘effing cool when deep down I want to run a lap around the building flailing with Muppet arms when I get the tiniest victory or piece of good, happy, enchanting news (amplify this by, like, 1000 if it’s for the people special in my life).

I’m not sure I actually classify myself as an “extrovert.” And I wouldn’t say I’m the most positive or happy-go-lucky person.

But sh*t if I don’t get really overjoyed when I find that extra cookie from lunch I forgot I stashed in my bag.

For a long time, I apologized for it.

So many “Sorry’s!” when my voice raises a few (okay, several) decibels and my smile stretches to the farthest corners of my (so round) face and I shout, “Are. you. SERIOUS?! C’mere and GIMME A HIIIGH FIVE!”

The hugs I tell myself were stupidly inappropriate.

The conversations with perfectly random strangers in check-out lines over an obvious shared love of a product I regret because I’m sure they think I don’t get out much.

It’s a bizarre feeling to experience everything so big, so intensely, and wanting so badly to keep it tightly wrapped in an unassuming box for fear of your overly animated reaction to the simplest things in life will brand you the eternal freak.

 Trust me. I’m often annoyed by myself. #calmdownCelia

But then again, in a world where things sometimes feel so vapid and bleak, can’t a healthy dose of enthusiasm be channeled into something bigger? Or, at least, make the seemingly small feel big? Why can’t we celebrate the little joys a little more?

The truth is, hiding my personality behind a muted, “grown-up” disposition left me often in places where I felt, well, out of place. I was bored and miserable and often more sedentary (or sober – context permitting) than I ever wanted to be. Disconnected from the people or the cause I felt the “mature” (pronounced “mAH-tur”) Celia needed to be a part of for sake of a resume or networking or public appearances. WORSE, I gave people who chose to be unhappy and negative the space to stay in their womp-womp sorts, feeling guilty when I tried to share any good or joyful news or thoughts… I, instead, stayed at their level, choosing topics of conversation that only allowed for spiteful, judgemental, or depressing discourse. It’s so true: Misery loves company.

But Joy does, too.

When I surrounded myself with people who made efforts – large and small – to keep their fires lit; who stayed curious and fascinated by the awesome and mundane; who opened their minds to the “other side”; who remained compassionate and happy in spite of experiencing tragedy or loss; who saw beauty and comfort in the ornate and the everyday; who, too, wanted to feel life at both ends of the spectrum and perfectly in the middle in their deepest sense… that’s when I took the shackles off my wildly enthusiastic heart (and mouth) and let “C” find what makes her tick. And, hopefully, what that’s supposed to do for the world.

For those of you who have given me the space to feel #allthefeelings, who don’t judge (too much) my overly animated personality, and who get excited with me – you’re on the path for sainthood, and I thank you.

To my friends who also experience feelings bigger than yourself, a squealy loud voice, and/or the need to see, feel, and experience it all… the world needs you.

Never apologize for your enthusiasm.

Hugs & High Fives,


JB Marie Photography

Photo by the ever talented Jennifer of JB Marie Photography