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Ted’s Tip No. 201

Today’s Ted’s Tip is a small compilation of acts of kindness that I asked for last week in honor of my 200th tip and in celebration of Style & Simplicity turning 5.

Visiting the elderly at their home, to cooking or baking for your neighbors and delivering the food as a surprise, to paying for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop or grocery store, holding the door open for someone, sitting with someone who is alone, or letting a car in at a busy intersection, to looking someone directly in the eye and using their name, or simply smiling. Just some of many, many thoughtful simple acts of kindness each day that were submitted. If you want to perk up your day look over the list on Instagram or FB or right here in the comments section. It will warm your heart and make your day. Cheers to daily acts of kindness!

I have drawn the 5 winners. Look for a message by way of the social media channel in which you posted your act of kindness with a message of YOU WON!



Ted’s Tip No. 198

The gift of a note or letter is one of the very best things. To make the process easier, put a small stack of cards & envelopes out on your desk at the ready. That way you can reach for one easily and jot off a quick note in a heartbeat. Makes someone’s day!




The grieving process is quite something. It happens whether you are ready for it or not. Rather, whether you are willing to let the process wash over you. The death of a parent, even at an advanced age, is an ending not like many others. So many factors get mixed in the soup of emotions. Things will hit you when you least expect it, like an item on a menu at a restaurant that brings back a flood of memories. Swim in those memories. Grief is personal and there is no roadmap, so each person’s journey on that road is as unique as they are. I had the not wise thought that since my mother had lived such a full life, dying at 92 that I would somehow grieve less than I would over my father dying at 61. Loss is loss at whatever age. The last 10 years of my mom’s life was challenging for her, which in turn made it challenging for my family. The goal I am learning, is to not have those later memories supersede a whole lifetime of really good ones. Being a fairly task/goal oriented fellow, I am smiling as I type that, I had set a timeline on my grieving. What a silly, silly man. It just does not work that way. I have had many lovely conversations with customers who follow along on the daily blog or social media thanking me for sharing my experience over the last few months. Sharing it is part of the healing process for me. I think we must talk about these things, as death is such a part of life. But really it should be me thanking you all, as talking about it and writing about it is part of my grieving process. We head to Chicago next weekend for her service, a Catholic mass in her honor, followed by a lunch. Each reading, each song, chosen by her. Just how she wanted it–which delights me beyond measure. The above quote I found this morning seemed pretty perfect… X, T



Ted’s Tip No. 191

Take a moment, or more, when you first wake to take a long breath and just be. Give thanks, think of the day before, think of the day ahead. A quiet moment that is yours uninterrupted.



Shirley Ann Watson

My mother died last night comfortably in her sleep after a sudden illness. We flew to Chicago from New York early Sunday morning to be with her. Bailey jumped out of her black Sherpa bag that she travels in right onto my mom’s stomach. TPS getting to hold her hands to comfort her. Oh how she loved them both. We got several hours with her before the morphine and other drugs put her into a restful, almost twilight-ish sleep. Her last words as she held my arms tightly as I stroked her head, were ‘I love you’ as she looked right into my eyes. The hospice nurses could not have been more lovely and caring and warm, to both my mom and to my family. This photo from her 90th birthday a few years ago. She always had such style. Rest In Peace mom, I know dad was anxiously waiting in the heavens for you…



A Hudson Valley Arrival

We traveled through Christmas Day, arriving to Hawthorne a bit after 8 last night. The temperature dropping as we meandered North up to Columbia County, hitting 32 as we drove up the long driveway. Caretaker Bill had once again beautifully prepared the house for us, getting the perfect tree and having it lit so we could see it the moment we drove in. Then our Twelve Days of Christmas began! We are hosting a Boxing Day supper for family today, a new tradition. So it is up and at em’ early getting things ready. Then tons of R&R is on the menu for this stay. The retail marathon a big success (huge THANKS to all who shopped WK this season) but each passing year my 55 year old body takes a tad longer to re-coup. I hope your Holidays have been and continue to be divine and all you wished they would be.

From the Hawthorne Valley, sending much love, Ted2+Bailey



Inspiration In Red and Green

This time of year I especially love red and green together. Or separately. Does not matter. But when combined they do have a jolly-ness to them. The hues in many forms are the inspiration for the post today.






Ted’s Tip No. 176

Take a moment, or many, each day to give thanks.



This and That

This post is about a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Sort of how my brain feels this time of year. So many little details floating around. Being a ‘details’ guy, I don’t want to miss a one. As well as being a ‘live in the moment’ guy, trying like the dickens to savor each and every one.

Here goes! Our kick-off to the festive season ahead starts today with our Holiday Open House at the First & Spring shop, from 10 to 6. Hope you can join us. A lovely new line of candles arrived the other day, Maison Louis Marie. I keep walking by the display lifting the cloches enjoying the scents. We head to WestWard tomorrow eve for our last stay until the New Year, and we are both looking so forward to relaxing a bit before the marathon begins. Well, actually it has begun, but next week is when it really hits you that it is in full motion. Then the festivities begin for the 20th anniversary of WK. Oh my, my body and brain gets tingly with emotions. It will be an incredibly special week. Throw in Thanksgiving just to add a cherry on top of everything. While in the back of my mind I can’t stop thinking of my friend Tami who is a Watson Kennedy alum, who lost her home this week in Paradise, California. My heart just aches for her. I have an idea I would like to share with you all in the next few days to help Tami out, but I need to sit with my thoughts out at the beach to formulate it all. The fires have been devastating for so many. You know I like to keep my posts upbeat but with so much going on in our world and in our country, we all must do what we can to help others and spread as much love as we can. That is where I will leave you on this early Saturday morning as we head into this week of thanks. To enjoy and be thankful for each moment, to make those moments count, to honor those around us, to love all.

P.S. Caretaker Bill just sent us this photo of Hawthorne in the first snow of the season. Had to share. Much love to you, Ted