My Mantra for 2012: QUALITY

…refocus & recoup…

I’ve got a few fun resolutions for my 2012 up on Lili & Mae today! Creating that post also made me look back in depth at the past couple years, and what I’d like to tackle this year. I had a whole other light-hearted post planned, but this is what’s really been on my mind:

I have definitely felt like the past few years have been a blur. So my #1 goal is to be present in the moments. I don’t want to look back at 2012 and feel like another year flew by! I am tired of thinking to myself, “if only I had two of me,” or “if only there were 48 hours in a day,” “if only…” — this will never be! Time to decide what I need to cut out and focus on what will make each day count, to get the most use out of the time I do have. I was totally inspired by this article, “30 Things to Stop Doing To Yourself” (thanks Victoria!). Could it be so simple?

Sounds superficial, but really to me it means two things: actually using the quality pieces I already own — what am I waiting for? Break out those Riedel glasses, drink coffee from my grandma’s china, don that La Perla, wear those Jimmy Choo’s even while working from home, I say! Secondly, invest in quality pieces to love and keep forever. This of course also includes cleaning out the crap that I don’t need or use, in my home, in my office, on my computer, in my closet. To this end, read up on MIMI+MEG’s “Guide to Pare Down Your Wardrobe” , and Arianna’s tips on La Dolce Vita, “Decluttering and Organizing Do’s and Don’ts” — let’s get on it!

I am quite fortunate to be at a point in my career where I can be selective with the projects I take on. I love the clients I end up working with because I know that we are on the same page, working together to get the best end product we can. I strive to find quality collaborations to create quality work. I don’t do templates, I don’t do rush jobs — it’s not my thing. I much more enjoy putting the time and creative energy into each and every project to produce real, lasting results of which my clients and I can be proud. Getting into the details and what makes each unique is so key to success! More of that here: “To Create Something Exceptional, Do Sweat The Small Stuff” (thanks Grace!). Great piece!

Somewhere in the middle of getting married, having kids, owning a home, running a business (or two!) and serving clients, you worry about taking care of all of that, and lose sight of taking care of all this. At some point you realize you really don’t need to run around and always be the hero, the martyr. No one can take better care of you than yourself!  In 2012, I am focusing on little ways to improve my own health, my outlook, my relationships, my character. I hope that it will translate to this little page too.

It’s all about quality. In a nutshell!

Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. Beautifully stated girl! I’m right there with you. No more ‘if only’s’. Cheers to a beautiful new year with a clear focus!

  2. I don’t have the business yet, but totally understands that about between home, daughter and husband you can forget about yourself. This is an easy way to remind all the life aspects you want to improve… thinking about quality! I am with you!

  3. well said, miss! i could not agree more with all of these points, and have very similar hopes for the New Year (and beyond). my word this year is “Simplify” because i have done a terrible job of keeping things simple these last couple of years. here’s to surpassing new goals! ox

  4. loving this post Erika (and your blog in general) what a fabulous way to look at resolutions… feeling inspired to attempt for quality in all areas of my life as well! xxo

  5. This is lovely, E. I feel like every day of the last few months has been a blur of running around like crazy then collapsing in front of a television. That is not the life that is intended for me or the one I want. I pledge to all of your resolutions, too! Love!
    xoxox e (modern24seven)

  6. I love this post, Erika. It’s so true. I especially love that you added in a section of “me time.” I constantly feel selfish if I spend any time on myself, so changing that mind set is something I’m working on. Fabulous post 🙂 Off to lili and mae now xo

  7. Love this mantra Erika…it’s so easy to rush through whatever it is that we’re involved with and just keep pumping it out, checking it off, and moving onto the next…My new year’s resolution is to SERIOUSLY commit to 10 minutes of alone time/silence each day and just “process”…that’s where the quality will come in I’m sure! Beautifully stated!

    Happy Thursday doll!

    Peace. Love. LOL!


  8. Well said Erica! A wonderful mantra to live by, many of these ideas have crossed my mind, but you have summed it up perfectly! And thanks for all the great links to help inspire and keep us on track!

    Best wishes for 2012!

  9. I just clipped all of those in evernote and I too love the 30 things to stop doing from V! Thanks for passing along the other goodies. I need to be the best me, and in order to do that, I must live by those mantras. I’m so incredibly grateful we connected in 2011, can’t wait for whats in store for 2012. Thank you for being an incredible source of daily inspiration!


  10. Great post Erika! I also believe we all have to think about quality, in every single aspect of our lives! And because I like to enjoy every single moment I have learned not to wait for a special occasion to wear something, I just do it when I feel like to, why we have to wait for a reason to be happy?, if sometimes being happy can be so simple!
    I adore this post!

  11. What a wonderful post! I think your blog already is a quality spot for many of us to spend some quality time. Thank you so much! I decided my word for the year is going to be “clean” food, house, thoughts (most of them), etc. I think we all are on the lookout for more from less right now. What do you think?

  12. I LOVE the post, might be my favorite yet. I completely identify. Several months ago something just clicked for me and I have been the happiest I’ve ever been, I parred down my wardrobe to 1/3 of my husbands and only buying things if I truly love them and if they make me feel amazing. I’m using all the things I use to save, like the good candles & lotions, kinda silly but it has made such a difference. I’ve started to really tune in on what makes me feel good and more importantly what doesn’t, sounds ridiculous but I was doing a lot that I didn’t really love doing and not sure why. I’ve been focusing on quality in relationships as well, and there is a definite shift.
    Quality in your work, I think you’ve got that mastered.

  13. What a BEAUTIFUL post, Erika! So inspiring and reassuring! I totally agree with taking your time on’s not a race to see who finishes first, but the one who finishes it the best! 😉