This week….because I was feeling totally introspective….I asked a question on my Facebook page….

“If you could give your 20-year-old-self advice…what would it be?”

The answers made me laugh….and cry….and giggle…

….but mostly to think.

Some people said:

“You are stronger than you think you are.”

“Cherish all those family reuions and holiday get togethers… give lots of hugs, take lots of pictures, and yes video tape stories told by older family members.. one day you will wish you would have done this as well as loved, listened, and laughed more as you miss them dearly and can not.”

“Let life evolve at its own pace, don’t be in such a rush.”

And my personal favorite…..

“You are SKINNY! Enjoy it and stop beating yourself up…”


And all this introspection and amazing answers and Facebook wisdom made me ask myself the question.

So….twenty-year-old-self….here goes:

1.  When you mother offers you your grandmother’s linens and silver and handwritten recipe cards and you hesitate because they aren’t really your style and you think they are old-fashioned and you have no idea what to do with them.

Say yes.

One day you will discover Pinterest.

2.  Pay attention in algebra.

When you want to add door moldings and cornice boards and faux transom windows to this little farmhouse you’ll buy in Kentucky….

….it will come in handy.

3.  Keep that prairie skirt and concho belt….because what comes around goes around.

Ditto on the black stirrup pants.


4.  Sunscreen is your friend.

Right along with cuticle cream, deep conditioner and all the beauty advice your mother gave you.


5.  You look amazing.

Size 8 is a wonderful place to be.

All those pictures where you thought you looked like you needed Jenny Craig….ummm….negative.


6.  And please, please, please…..marry that sailor.

He survived the pancakes and the Lee Press On Nails.

He’s a keeper.

BTW….I asked that sailor what he would tell his twenty-year-old self…..he said…..

…..“good times ahead.” 🙂

PS  If you want to make the etched Valentine’s glasses….click here for the tutorial.

Kelli Ryder room

PPS  For everyone who asked about the La-z-boy contest….here is the room that won.

It wasn’t mine….but Kelly Ryder from Rue Magazine did an amazing job creating a fun urban space (love those poufs)!  Here’s the details on the La-z-boy Facebook page.

A giant thank you for all the votes….you are such rock stars and I appreciate it more than you will ever know. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Maureen Maureen

    This made my day! With two daughters just into their 20's, I will definitely have them read this! Great advice! PS: Love your husbands attitude! That sums it all up perfectly :)

  2. Image for Anne Presley Anne Presley

    You are a winner in our books and who doesn't love a good pouf especially when it is pink and pops a room (aka the Gatehouse). Tell the sailor that he is right as usual and the only way to live and live God's way is to think the positive and know He has the best plan for you with "Good times ahead." Glad he kissed under the porch light and even more importantly married and loves you even more today - just the way things should be. Love you and have a sunny day.

  3. Image for Lynn in Florida Lynn in Florida

    I would tell my twenty year old self " Be sure to read Thistlewood Farms blog (self would say what's a blog?) every day, because a charming and sweet girl who hasn't been born yet will touch your heart over and over again! Okay, maybe you'd been born, but you were just a wee baby! And I would tell 20 year old me that there is joy in each day, but you must look for it sometimes. Oh, and eat more chocolate!

  4. Image for Beverly Beverly

    I would take back my twenty year old body. Good times were ahead - and there are more good times coming. Your twenty year old self would be proud of the person you are now.

  5. Image for Jane Jane

    I would have cried had my hubby said that. Funny though, he probably would say that, he's fantastic. I have to follow you on Facebook. I truly think you should have won the Lazy Boy thing. My daughter has her degree in interior design and she was in awe of what you did with your room. Me, too. Thanks so much for stopping by my little old blog yesterday, that was so sweet...I know you have a zillion things going on. Your advice on my living room changes was so appreciated. XO, Jane

  6. Image for Marisa Franca Marisa Franca

    Boy! Could I ever give a lecture to my Know-it-all 20 yr old self. But I agree the important things are people and I wish I would have written down all the stories my momma and papa told me about their lives in Italy. And as I grew older I realized that they were the smartest and most generous people in the whole world. I miss them every day.

  7. Image for Polly Polly

    Oh to look back on those years!! I would have to say "self, marry that first true love and be happy"! Did I do that? Nope, but our parents FORBID us to see each other and we, did of course what our parents said. Do I regret it? Absolutely!! Okay self, have a GREAT day, it's snowing lightly and is beautiful:)

  8. Image for Prudence Prudence

    I am a relatively new reader of your blog. I came upon it quite by accident and there isn't a day that goes by that I do not feel lucky to have discovered you. I must tell you that after being told told of a health problem before the holidays that some days can get me feeling blue, but you pick me right up! Always!!! I don't know if you realize what a blessing you are. Have you ever considered writing? I think you should put it on your "TO DO" list. You have a real gift.

  9. Image for Sheryll & Critters. Sheryll & Critters.

    I feel others have said it. I especially agree with Lynn. And I think I am now also, in love with your husband. I still replay the scene of you told knocking him down at his graduation.... I think it would make a great movie.

  10. Image for Patti Patti

    My friends and I say, " I wish I was a fat today as I thought I was at 20!" Nice post. Helps keep life in perspective.

  11. Image for Kris Kris

    Smiling at your skinny comment. :) I would add to that, "Those super skinny tanned girls who can rock a bikini? In a couple of decades they will be wrinkled and chubby. Outer beauty is momentary."

  12. Image for Terri Terri

    Perfect! This is exactly what I talk to my 21 and 22 year old girls about every chance I get. They've never said it, but I think they feel like no one else but me thinks like this.....I cannot wait to share your post with them! You have a way of finding words that fit perfectly with what the heart is saying. Thank you so much!

  13. Image for Regina Regina

    "Good times ahead." THAT'S the best takeaway! Tell your hubby thank you for me! :) That, and the skinny one . . . I still can't believe my wedding dress was SNUG on both my girls. CRAZY!!!! ;) Cloud of snow flurries hovering right over Marion today! LOL! Have a rock star day! PS - I liked the winner of the La-z-boy challenge, but I couldn't live in it - YOURS? I just KEEP looking back at it!! I want that chevron chair . . .

  14. Image for Meggie Meggie

    Your room was to die for! Can't believe you didn't win! Love all of your little stories! And how sweet your Husband's response "Good times ahead..." :)

  15. Image for Joyce Joyce

    Oh, delightful, do you know Algebra was my worst subject and if I didn't have the great husband that I do all of my pictures, tables and frames would be crooked! Thanks for a day brightener! xx- Jemma

  16. Image for Shannon Shannon

    Laissez les bons temps rouler..... To my 20 year old self!!!! Can you figure it out? Have you ever celebrated or decorated for it? Would love to see your ideas. Thanks, Shannon

  17. Image for Claire Claire

    I would tell my 20 year old self to be sure to get a good may have to support yourself some day. I want to say I am disappointed that your room did not win the Lazy Boy contest. I loved what you did with the rock.

  18. Image for Betsy@coastal-colors Betsy@coastal-colors

    Your advise is incredible! It's so true to cherish each day! I cherish the treasures from my Grandmothers and Mother- even piece of paper with their handwriting on it. So true to pay attention in Algebra! Who knew we would all be doing diy projects that required that skill? Your sailor is a keeper! I think he has a jewel too! Thank you for this precious reminder of the important things in life! You always make me smile!

  19. Image for Ellicia Ellicia

    Are you real sure about the stirrup pants? Those and Spanx are the most uncomfortable pieces of clothing I have ever put on my body. Your recent post about the letters was so touching. Aren't we glad we didn't have home organizational specialists in the past. We wouldn't have one scrap of paper with George Washington's or Abraham Lincoln's signature on it today. Probably not much vintage clothing either if we followed the rule of "if you haven't worn it in two years, toss it out." ;-)

  20. Image for Nancy Barton Bailey Nancy Barton Bailey

    Love your blog and look forward to it every day. Your advice to your '20 year old self' is right on, except maybe the Algebra part. Didn't understand it in school and still don't. I have always been a collector of my family's linens, old pictures, etc. and cherish each and every item. My sweetie is a minimalist, but he knows how important my 'stuff' is to me. We just celebrated our 52nd wedding anniversary - childhood sweethearts, parental disapproval, elopement and here we are. He still makes my heart flutter. Love your decorating and DIY ideas. Keeps my home décor fresh. Thank you for the daily inspiration.

  21. Image for Leslie Harris aka Gwen Moss Leslie Harris aka Gwen Moss

    Wow. Your question is similar to the one I just asked. Hmmm...let me think. I do know that a warm, encouraging hug would definitely happen before any words. And maybe something as simple as: It's all going to turn out. And you're going to be very, very happy someday. I hope you're having a great new year KariAnne, I don't comment much but I'm always here. hugs, Leslie

  22. Image for Nancy Barton Bailey Nancy Barton Bailey

    Just a quick question - where did you find the red kamboi twig Valentine heart? I would LOVE to find those to use for my Valentine's Day décor. Thank you!

  23. Image for Angela Angela

    Pay attention in Algebra made me laugh out loud! I always said that to my kids because I didn't!! Wonderful post, as usual! Happy New Year!!~~Angela

  24. Image for Marian Marian

    What a darling man you have. You must be the jolliest pair when you go out to dinner. You talking, him smiling because he doesn't have to talk. It makes me giggle just thinking of it. On a more serious note, I have no idea how this would be possible, but I'd love to be able to assure my young self that the parts of myself that I gave up then in the name of gaining some self control would be returned to me in better shape in my 40's. Not that I would have believed myself.... The Other Marian

  25. Image for La Verne @ La Verne @

    Karrianne, They got it WRONG! Your La-z-boy room was the MILES. Always know that in your heart. La

  26. Image for Christine Christine

    Karianne, I was so hoping that you would win the Lazy boy contest. It still was a lot of fun I'm sure! I like the comment 'good times ahead' that is the truth. No matter what life throws at ya there are always Still good time to be had! I think etched glass is neat. Cool idea!

  27. Image for Barbara Moore Barbara Moore

    Well, boo. The other room is lovely, but does not come close to your beautiful room. I'm dead serious here, not. even. close. And my twenty year self? Talk to your grandmother more and never settle. Your twinkly eyed sailor is a real keeper.

  28. Image for Claudine Claudine

    You two are blessed! Your husband had the best answer!!!! I think this is my first comment this year, So HAPPY NEW YEAR, adorable Karianne!!!! Lots of health to your beautiful family!!!! Xoxo

  29. Image for Robin W. Robin W.

    I would probably tell my 20 year old self, "Sugar, it's a tough road - but the payoff will be incredible!! Oh, and spend as much time with your Momma as you can!" Your LazyBoy room was the best - still look at it for inspiration and probably will for a while!! And the wrapping paper in your post with the letter hearts and the red hearts - love them and want them, can you reveal where I can get them!! Have a fantastical day - thanks so much for being the bright spot in the day!! And, your Sweet Hubby - what a doll!! I got teary when I read his advice!!

  30. Image for susan susan

    I'd tell myself - "let your husband take pictures of you with the kids" I'm finally organizing my kid's pictures and I'm hardly in any of them :( Regarding the contest - I tried not to look at the names and still liked your room better than all of the others (and I've never been a fan of poufs!)

  31. Image for Debbie @Dewdrop Gables Debbie @Dewdrop Gables

    There are a lot of great things said, I can't pick just one, there are so many ideas running around in my head right now. I think one that stands out...spend more quality time with the girls when they are little...they grew up way too fast!! I'd be interested to see what my 30-something daughters would say to this question! Debbie :)

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