Bangkok to Atlanta & Back

Sun March 23, 2014

Right on the heels of our official CFMichaels launch I packed my bags and headed back to the US for the first time in nearly two years.  The thought of trekking 9000+ miles and just under 30 hours door-to-door does give you pause, but I couldn’t have orchestrated a better and more timely reason to return than the 2014 Design Bloggers Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

I know, a conference?  Really?



Adam Japko, President of social media and content marketing management company, Digital Sherpa - as well as fine wine expert and author of Wine Zag - assembles a powerhouse of internationally acclaimed interior designers, business and social media experts and entrepreneurs, television personalities, design industry and trade products sponsors, and most importantly bloggers from around the country, and hosts a pretty great informational and inspirational 3-day party.


There’s a lot that goes on and a lot to take in.  In one unique venue, bloggers and designers have the opportunity to learn how to better build their business from the challenges and successes of renowned veterans in their respective fields, everyone benefits from social media and marketing experts sharing industry innovations and key principles on how to better build their brand, and like-minded individuals get to connect, reconnect, collaborate, help each other, break bread and share a glass in the name of design.

There’s a certain giddiness that goes along with it too, rubbing elbows with people you’ve only read about whose work you’ve long admired.  Far too many names and too much talent to single out, but a select few I got to meet and spend some time with top my list.


Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, who’s built the largest antiques touring company in Europe and who’s credited with “conquering countries faster than Napoleon,” is an absolute whirlwind of energy, smarts and style. For me, the added commonality of being an expat (as well as also once living in Berlin) and hearing how she leveraged her unique situation and took the entrepreneurial reins to reinvent herself was a motivating and valuable lesson.  Meeting her was a true treat, and she is just as delightful as she can be.

I also had the great great pleasure of meeting and spending time with Tami Ramsay, the Georgia half of the highly lauded design firm and blog Cloth & Kind, shared with designer, founder and co-owner Krista Nye Schwartz. I love everything they do – their individual and combined design styles are second to none.  At first meeting I got a taste of Tami’s generosity and warmth, and I can only add that if I were a client in need of a designer I’d wait in line, or beat down the doors, to work with her.

buddha eye

Designers Blair Farris, Cathy Austin and Holly Hollingsworth Phillipswho apart from their individual firms and industry presence collaborate on the top-notch online publication Peachy the Magazinewere a joy to meet and a dynamite trio of inspiration.  To round it all out, I was sandwiched during dinner (a gourmet feast hosted by Adam Japko and Woodfire Grill that could’ve been televised) between the darling Christy Robinson Davis and the larger-than-life PR extraordinaire Andrew Joseph - the final cherry on the conference cake.

more wat pho 4

We’re just starting to roll here, and I can’t think of a better send off than being in the company of such impassioned design talent, entrepreneurs and larger-than-life personalities.


Images taken at Wat Pho, Home of the Reclining Buddha

All images CFMichaels

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  1. It was so great to meet you at the Design Bloggers Conference and learn just a bit about your fascinating story. Your new shop site looks beautiful and I wish you much success and happiness in your new exciting venture.

    • Carla says:

      Jackie, it was a pleasure to meet you as well. Thanks so very much for the lovely compliment and well wishes, and taking the time to send a note – wow, made my day!

  2. tami ramsay says:

    You are such a doll Carla! The highlight of the DBC was meeting you and so looking forward to our friendship and creative collaborations! Can’t wait also to share you and CF Michaels with our readers. They are in for a treat, to be sure.
    Best to you always, love,

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