Summer to Fall Transitional Mantel

I taught a class at Haven on how to connect with brands.

In case you haven’t noticed, connecting with brands is big business for bloggers.

You’ve probably seen a few sponsored posts around blog land.  And you’re rolling your eyes right about now at how many there are.

And you are right.  So right.  But that’s a discussion for another day.

In my session at the conference, I talked on how to negotiate with sponsors and get sponsored posts.

You can thank me later. 🙂

And in my research for the class, I discovered 8 words that you should never use in a business correspondence.  I meant to share with my class to demonstrate my incredible business knowledge.  But I forgot.

I was too busy talking about lampshade parties.

Fall Mantel Ideas

So if you write business correspondence and you’re a blogger or a business person.

Or if you are just curious.

Here are 8 words you are never supposed to use when talking to a brand:

1.  Like 

Try to steer clear of “like that’s incredible” or “like I can’t believe that.”  In conversation I use this all the time.


It’s left over from the 90’s.

Mantel Decorating Ideas


2.  Exclamation Points

Okay, these aren’t really words.

More like punctuation.

But when you use 10 in a sentence !!!!!!!!!!  they can feel like the writer is excited.

And I ask you.

Is this a problem?

3.  Really

I love this word.


It’s the perfect stand-alone-place-emphasis-on-your-statement-I-really-mean-it-word.

But I think it’s a talking word, not a writing word.

Summer to Fall Mantel

4.  Amazing

Totally juvenile, the research said.





This un-amazing talk makes me a little sad.

5.  Things

I totally agree with this.

Using things in a sentence shows a complete lack of imagination and style.

What are the things?  Name them.  For example, “5 social media strategies” or “5 steps to a business plan.”

Summer Mantel Ideas

6.  Recontextualize

I’m not really even sure what this word means?

It sounds made up to sound important.

Kind of like operationalize or seismic shift.

Unless you are talking about earthquakes….steer clear.

7.  Sealing the deal

This falls into the category of overused expressions.

It kind of sounds like you are selling a used car.

In a polyester suit.

8.  Literally

I use this all the time, too.

I can see their point, though.

It’s a little overstating the point.

Literally. 🙂

Fall Transitional Mantel

So there you have it.

What not to do.

And because I’m a rebel, my next pitch letter is going to look a little something like this:

Dear XYZ Company,

It was so nice to meet you at Haven!!!!!!  I feel like we connected and I can’t wait to recontextualize our discussion and take it to another level.


Like, there are so many things I want to discuss and so many great things and ideas I have for our business partnership.


Can’t wait to talk soon.

Sincerely your business BFF,


PS  I’ll let you know if I “sealed the deal.” 🙂

Oh….and did you stop by for some transitional mantel decorating and stayed for the business talk?

Sorry it took me so long to get around to the point of this post.

To make it up to you, here’s a little moving picture tribute to the mantel that works from summer to fall.

Literally. 🙂

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


  1. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Haha, like that's too funny!!!!! Literally. Snort. I enjoyed that, really. Lol, ok, I'll quit. As for the mantel....noooooo, I'm not ready to transition to Fall. I just got all my seashells out and all. Sigh. I think they might stay until August. I'm a rebel that way. :D Have a wonderful weekend, my friend. Cecilia

  2. Image for Lisa at celebrate creativity Lisa at celebrate creativity

    Karianne, I agree with every one, especially the uncalled-for and overuse of the word "like". It's very valley-girlish, isn't it? Remember valley girls? Lol Anyway, I do like the mantel and your mini movie version. Have a lovely day.

  3. Image for Lynn in Florida Lynn in Florida

    Karianne- Like your post was literally amazing!!!!! I was really, like literally blown away! There were so many things about it that made me completely recontextualize my concept of life! Like, your post sealed the deal on you being the most amazing blogger, literally! And I took every word to heart, like every word!!! Amazing!! P.S. Thanks for making me giggle like you always do! Lynn in Florida (like your biggest fan...literally!)

  4. Image for Robin Stephens Robin Stephens

    My money's on you that the gals took away lots of helpful, advancing information w/o the leftout part. Makes me wish I were a blogger. Weekend ahead: Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Image for Leona Leona

    Karianne, Like it is really amazing how you recontextualize the things that you do!!!!! It literally does seal the deal for me !!!!! Stay Happy :-)

  6. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    So, like, you literally did a great job of conceptualizing your thoughts on the!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great weekend! ;)

  7. Image for Emily Emily

    I agree, but feel appropriate use of exclamation points can communicate excitement. But what do I know. Really?!

  8. Image for judith judith

    You are hilarious. I cannot abide the use of the word "literally," because almost no one knows how to use it. I've been meaning to compliment you on your ability to use correct English. It seems that so many bloggers don't even take the time to proof read their posts. That may sound picky to some people, but I was taught, "If it is important enough to write down or type, it is important enough to do it correctly." I can't believe you gave us the business lesson but did NOT tell us how to make the mantel decoration! Very sneaky of you. I may have missed it, but where did you end up putting your "free" chair? Please keep entertaining us as only you can. Judith

  9. Image for Laura Laura

    Sooooo good! I bet that's another one to add to the list: soooooo. :-) Actually, I've heard another one recently that I've tried to drop from my correspondence. Just. "I just wanted to write to you about..." It almost sounds like you're asking permission or are sorry about writing to them. It's so much stronger if you write: "I wanted to write to you about..." See? Less sorry. Amazing!!!

  10. Image for Michele @ The Vintage Vixen Michele @ The Vintage Vixen

    Your example of what not to write is hilarious!!! And thanks for the glimpse of fall, which I was ready for on Memorial Day (I am not much of a summer person, can you tell?!) I would add a few lumina baby pumpkins to the mix to keep with the neutral rustic theme.....and because I love lumina baby pumpkins!!! Great job as always!!!

  11. Image for Ananda Ananda

    dear Karianne, you are literally, like, the most amazing blogger and artist in soooo many ways!!!! I mean, really, you have to come teach at Snap so I can meet you and learn from you total awesomeness!!!! xoxo

  12. Image for Michelle Rudis Michelle Rudis

    I concur with the five words never to use in business writing, having had lots of business correspondence experience. And maybe it's because of all that experience that I just cherish the way you write to though you're conversing with close friends. Which, of course, you are! We all adore you, Kari Anne.

  13. Image for Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns

    Great advice! As a Paralegal in the legal field for the last 18 years, I draft letters and documents and even more email correspondence and never use any of those words in business writing. I wish I could have heard your talk on sponsors, I need to learn all I can. I love the mantel, it's beautiful :) I'm not ready for fall just yet, there are more summer nights to enjoy and concerts under the stars to attend!

  14. Image for Dale D. Dale D.

    Enjoyed this posting and almost choked on my coffee as I started to giggle quietly, trying not to wake up the family. Too funny and what a wonderful frame of mind to start my day. I so appreciate how you capture those moments we have all experienced, with such wit and humor. I have missed your blog this past week while I was away at a hula competition, so catching up on all that you posted has been a delight. By the way, that fall mantle decor is a keeper, unique and earthy.

  15. Image for NomaJean NomaJean

    SHOW-OFF!!!!!!! I love the moving picture and the Fall mantel (and I promise never to use the forbidden words in my business correspondence. Who knew????

  16. Image for carol carol

    Seriously. You forgot to include seriously. And, I might add, you have way to many of those pop-up "things" on your posts. Seriously. But other than that, I love reading about what you've been up to!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Image for Lisa Lisa

    You can't hear me right now but I am exclaiming how much I enjoyed this post and your moving picture thingy. The word thingy should probably also be on the list. Maybe this should be a regular post that you just add words to. LOL

  18. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    You've forgotten a word - basically. Maybe it's more of a spoken than written thing as well but I know people that start almost every sentence with it. Basically, it makes me twitchy.

  19. Image for Diane | An Extraordinary Day Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    It also has a winter vibe to me. I love to see browns and whites together for winter. Seriously should no doubt be added to the list... because... seriously... I use it all the time because I'm not kidding... I take this blogging thing quite seriously. ;) Have an extraordinary day, my friend!! p.s. so sorry I didn't make it Haven.... my fingers are crossed for next year!!! :)

  20. Image for Dagmar ~ Dagmar's Home Dagmar ~ Dagmar's Home

    I enjoyed your session and your story of the lamp shade parties - that's actually a great idea to get the girlfriends together! :) I loved meeting you in real life - you are a wonderful, funny speaker. Thanks for inspiring us all. I use a lot of :), but not in professional letters. Hope that's okay. :) Dagmar

  21. Image for Susan Susan

    I soooooooo enjoyed reading this and had to nod my head at all of the words listed...I never use them in business correspondence, but when it's personal, all bets are off! hehe! I like to tell the people in my life that they are sue me! And I know my use of ellipses is wrong, too...but brings my life a little bit of joy, so why the heck not? Love your mantel all decked out for autumn sooooooo much! In particular, I am crushing on that sweet architectural detail which you started out with...truly beautiful and *gasp* amazing in every way! :)

  22. Image for Julie G Julie G

    Here's a random question for you. What font did you use for the word mantel? I really, like totally, literally love that script font!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks ;)

  23. Image for Peg Peg

    I feel speaking and writing well has gone from what was expected back in the day, to an art. I take great pleasure in your blog and your writing style, so much more than you know. Wish I could have attended Haven. Love all you do, friend! : )

  24. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    KariAnne, you made me cry!!!!!!! Yes you did. You see, you said --- I can barely get that word out -- Fall. Really!!!! As in leaves falling, temperatures falling, and that UGLY word -- snow falling. I haven't even been through spring yet and here it is almost f .. f ..fall. I know that that umm season is supposed to be an awesome time when there are pumpkins on the ground and Halloween decorations are everywhere with goblins and witches but I'm just NOT ready. It used to be my favorite season -- but then I grew up and had to deal with what comes after that season. *sniff* Well, I'll just have to think about it another time. Tomorrow is another day. {Hey, am I garnering any sympathy, here?} I sure wish I could have made it to hear you speak -- I really, REALLY, need to hear all the advice I can get about brands!. Oh! I love your moving mantle photo -- have a great evening. {May I add a few more exclamation points????} That is the way I speak!!!!! :-)

  25. Image for Cindy Cindy

    Your next pitch letter is the best! I'm sure all the English majors out there gotta kick out of that one:D There's a special place in heaven for English majors...Lord knows if it weren't for them, the our language might have died! Lol!

  26. Image for Ann weisman Ann weisman

    Pretty fall mantel. Wait what is fall? It is 99 here today. Keep up the awesome work. Hard not to use that word when it comes to you!! Oops!

  27. Image for Sharon Sharon

    I bet your class at Haven was jam packed with good tips and helpful information; even without the 8 words to avoid. I would have loved to be there for that. The mantle looks absolutely beautiful. I love all of the texture and layers. And, just in case you need the encouragement, (because even rockstart need reminding sometimes) you are awesome! Wonderfully and fearfully made, with a contagious cup full of joy. And, I just want to thank you for sharing your gifts and talents. Watching you shine is a great reminder and source of encouragement for me; a crown held over my head as a reminder to live up to who I am. On that note, happy weekend, Karianne!

  28. Image for Kathie Kathie

    Love, love love the mantel but so not ready for the f word......I enjoyed your "what not to write" but am also wondering about the lampshade party. Will look forward to reading your future posts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Image for Jane Jane

    Thank you, big time (oops, that may be another no-no)!!! I consider myself a grammarian and should have been an editor by trade. I can proof read 'til the cows come home! Hopefully you are sending a good message out to help some great women! Jane x

  30. Image for Barbara Neubeck Barbara Neubeck

    ... wonderful post KariAnne.. I have to admit to using some of these words you recommend we not use... and I especially LOVE using dots....... and xxxxx I laughed at your 'Letter' .. I wanted to tell you that I really like your mantel decorations but you've taken the words right out of my mouth... No... seriously ... how can I say I really like it without saying r e a l l y . . . It's a good thing that I just talk on blogs and don't have business connections to worry about ... Have a great day ... Hugs... Barb xxx

  31. Image for Cyndy Cyndy

    The other word or I should say that bugs the poopoo out of me is "I think". Either you do or you don't! (exclamation noted) Be decisive and on point *like (haha) confidence ;) BTW - this one says no to Fall transition ya-know? *Like I don't wanna talk about fall yet, cause I *think its still summer here in So Cal for at least another 3-4months

  32. Image for Amber Amber

    Normally, I'd use exclamation points and tell you how amazing you are. I totally would. But, today I'll just say thanks for the giggle and I love the mantel.

  33. Image for Melanie Melanie

    I loved the mantle pictures and the pitch letter tips. I attended your workshop at Haven (for those who are wondering about lampshade parties--they are incredible!), and ate up every tidbit you shared. So glad to have a few more tips--thank you KariAnne :) It's on my to-do list to pitch some brands this week. Maybe I can seal the deal.

  34. Image for Jill Seibert Jill Seibert

    How like, totally awesome, I came to see the pretty mantel and got a business lesson, too lol. Thanks for the tips and I agree with you on the word literally. Why does it seem no one knows what that word literally means? Anyway, the mantel is just gorgeous! It's nowhere near fall here in Florida and I don't have a fireplace anymore, but someday, someday as God is my witness I will have a mantel again! Found you on the Handmade Tuesdays party. Have a great day!

  35. Image for Stacey Stacey

    Oh how funny! Aren't we all guilty of these words? My son literally says literally in every conversation. It like drives me crazy! Now so really...what does recontextualize mean? My spell check doesn't like it!!!!! Adore you, Kari Anne!

  36. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    I would also like to know where you found the swag on the fireplace--I love all of the textural interest it adds. Thanks!

  37. Image for Lisa Lisa

    HI how are you? I was laughing as I was reading this so much because I use like and totally and amazing all the time with tons of exclamation points too. Karianne, I just think of you often in my blogging life and thank you so much for our first conversation way back when by the way. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful mantel and for linking it up to our Something to Talk About Link Party. I will be featuring it tomorrow morning at the party and sharing it all through Social Media too. I hope you can come back and join us again xo Lisa at Concord Cottage

Comments are closed.