Pretend this was posted yesterday.  The internet didn’t get up on New Year’s Day.  It must have been hungover.  It refused to work and allow me to write and post this on the 1st. 

I did not see the ball drop last night.  Which is exactly how I like it.  Matter of fact, Tate and I were in bed by 8:31pm and at 10:28pm I shut off the tv, and closed my eyes on 2015.

It was P.E.R.F.E.C.T.

Since moving to the country, Tate and I have developed a difference pace to life.  It has NOTHING to do with my age (I see you rolling your eyes) and everything to do with the lack of street lights and the fact that it is really dark in the country. In the trees.  By the river.

On a side note, I bought a stun gun this year.

Paranoia.  Now that has everything to do with my age.

I blame it on Jules. And the squirrels.  They torment her through the windows. She barks.  And not like “Hey you pesky squirrels, Stop It.”  NO.  She barks like “HEY MOM! DO YOU SEE THAT GUY OUT IN THE WOODS? THE ONE WITH THE WHITE MASK. HOLDING THE CHAINSAW!? YEAH HIM!?”…BARKS!

Anyway, I digress.

Back to my early bedtime routine.

I don’t really make actual pen to paper resolutions. But I do LOVE each New Year.  The thought of a clean slate.  A rebirth. A renewal of sorts.

So late in 2015 I resolved to slow down and go to bed. Early.

It gives Tate and I a chance to connect.

Connect….to the wi-fi.

You know. Sit side by side while each searches the web on their phones.

Him checking out the latest UFC fight highlights

And me scrolling Instagram.

We don’t have long talks about dreams and aspirations or “cuddle” for hours.

I see you smirking….come on now.  This is a family blog.

But we do stop the day and just be available to each other.  You know, should he suddenly decide to break into a narrative about his dreams and aspirations. Wink. Wink.

Ok, seriously.  This has been one heck of a great (and busy) year and I have a tendency to stress out and sometimes freak out, when business and life gets busy.  I’ve learned from Tate the practice of just being still.  In the moment.  So I guess you could call that my New Year’s Resolution.

To be still.





Sorry mom. That sounds really dirty.  What does that really mean?  “Balls to the Walls?” Sounds painful.



It begins with me.


Connecting with you more often.

I promise to not say awful things like “cuddle” and “balls.” (fingers crossed, behind my back)

But before we head into 2016 let’s take a look at 2015.

Here is my list of things that made me cry in 2015. (in no particular order)



At the end of December 2014 we moved our Bismarck location to a beautiful new space in downtown Bismarck. So we started off 2015 in a new home.  While I’m very proud of this space I’m even more proud of the lovely couple, that runs this location for us.

Kelsey and Trent Boyce are an employer’s dream.  We were so lucky to be present at their amazing wedding ceremony this past summer.

You can feel it…the love.  It jumps right of the screen.  These two are the real deal.  I can’t wait to watch their marriage grow. And by grow… I mean Babies!  I like to ask them often when the babies are coming.  They LOVE it. 🙂


Isn’t she beautiful.  I just love this girl.

Oh comes the crying.  Let’s move on.


You know what else I love?


All of you.

For showing up at our Junk Market events and standing in line, in the cold that is North Dakota.  Just thinking about it makes me cry.

Thank You.  Not for making me cry.  But for being you…and showing up.


Speaking of crying.

Did I mention we sold our house this year?

We also bought a house.

Both of these made me cry.  Big Happy Tears.

Jules gets embarrassed with all the crying.  She can’t even look at me.

2015-06-01 21.37.31

With the purchase of our new home began our largest fixer upper ever!  Well actually our first fixer upper that is a entire house and not just furniture or cabinets.  We have always wanted to live in the country and while we weren’t initially looking for a remodeling project, we fell in love with this home and the thought of giving it new life.  We also fell in love with the couple we purchased it from, and we’re excited to carry on what they had started.

The entire process will be documented here in the blog and in the pages of Design and Living Magazine as 2016 unfolds.  The goal is a room a month.  We’ve finished a few already but as spring approaches and Junk Market and Design Conference approach, we may not make our goal.  But we are going to give it a try.

You can see the first two blog posts here and here.



Ok. Ok.  I know what you are thinking.

When are you going to mention Joanna Gaines and the fact she was in your kitchen?

Doesn’t this make you cry?

Yes. Yes it does. Big. Fat. Tears.

2015 will always be remembered as the year I met Chip and Joanna Gaines and served them lasagna in my kitchen.

Dreams come true.

Makes me cry.  Not because of the awful decor I had then, (Dream, Bistro, Cherry Oak, who was that girl?) but because they are as kind, gracious and lovely in person as they seem on tv.  And because of it, they set in motion a series of events and opportunities that put Eco Chic on the map.  And because of that, families will be changed and more dreams will come true.  So we enter 2016 grateful for Chip and Joanna Gaines. So if you are reading this Joanna…(I’m sure she is, she’s not all)  we thank you for the time you spent with us.  We are forever changed.  xoxo

Holy shit the tears are flowing now…and since I’m sitting in Starbucks typing this, (because internet in the country is iffy)  let’s move on before I begin to scare the nice folks sitting near me.


Oh yeah. She was in my store too.  UNBELIEVABLE!


Then the stage at Design Conference.  Where those of you in attendance can attest to the truth they spoke and how it changed each of us.

It was a good day.  A VERY good day.


Let’s move on.  For the sake of the nice folks in Starbucks.

We also got to spend some time with our nieces and nephews on the Gaikowski side of the family.  And if you know me at all.  You know they make me cry.  I love them so much.



Well this one scares me if we are being totally honest.  She woke me up like this one morning.  I’m still in counseling.


There were plenty of auctions in 2016.  I may have fallen in love with tea cups. This makes Tate cry.


I once again traveled to Nashville to attend the Dave Ramsey EntreLeadership Master Series.  I’m a huge fan of Dave and his entire organization.  I also have a slight crush on the city of Nashville.


While in Nashville this year…

I cried…

ON National TV!

Big FAT Ugly Crying.

You see, the CMT Christmas Special was all SOLD OUT but at the last moment my dead uncle Stan got me a ticket.

Yes, my DEAD uncle Stan.

It is a long story…

So I cried.

They saw me crying.

They stuck a camera in my face.

There begins and ends my television fame.

The sweater I was wearing was also made of wool and very itchy.  So it could have been the sweater.  Either way, the night it aired my friends broke Facebook making fun of me.

My friends make me cry.  They never miss a chance to remind me how utterly ridiculous I am.  I love them.

That sweater I don’t love.  I threw it away shortly after this  was taken.


What doesn’t make me cry is sunsets.

I’ve seem to have a habit of taking photos of them in 2015.

I plan on continuing this habit in 2016. You are welcome.

What Instagram needs is more photos of sunsets. I’m sure of it.


Jules’s love and admiration of Tate remained true in 2015.  She could stare at him for hours.  I have all the faith in the world that this love affair will remain strong in 2016.


I’ve saved the best for last.

When I think of what made cry the most in 2015.  THIS comes to mind first.  It’s not the clouds. While they were very scary, they didn’t make me cry.

2015-05-25 14.18.36

It was SEVENTEEN hours in a truck with my sister.  Almost all of the hours looks liked this.  From North Dakota to Texas we drove through rain.

It wasn’t the rain that made me cry.

2015-05-25 20.05.49

It wasn’t the fact that we got to deliver a couch to Chip and Joanna Gaines.

maria and tanya with Chip and Joanna

It wasn’t the fact that we got to watch them tape an episode of Fixer Upper. Although that was freaking cool and by FREAKING I really mean the “other” word, but this is a family blog.


Eating dinner at the farmhouse and taking a photo with Joanna in her kitchen was cool.  (Sorta…OMG!) But it didn’t make me cry.

You wanna know what made me cry the MOST in 2105?

Getting to spend SEVENTEEN hours and a total of three days with my sister.

2015 will forever be the summer of sisters.

Keep your new house.  Keep your couch.  Keep your sunsets.

I just want more time with those I love the most, and that list begins with this girl.

Here’s to 2016!

Let’s go Home and be Still.


Cheers & Tears,


Kitchen Makeover with Chalk Paint ®
Design Style Workshop


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