My Surprising Word of the Year (and inspiration to help you discover yours)

elegant life

On Sunday, I celebrated my birthday.

I actually like getting older, because I like who I’m becoming.

Each year:

I’m quicker to call bullshit.

My courage grows stronger.

I deepen and grow.

I let go.

I feel like I become more of who I was always meant to be.

For years, I’ve chosen a word (or two) to guide me through my next evolution.

I want my word to embody something that gets me excited when I wake up each morning, and yet challenging enough that I have a few doubts to work through.

When the new year rolled around, I couldn’t find that word.

Last year, it was style & substance.

This year, I was drawing a blank.

Words such as authenticity, adventure, dazzling, powerful…well, they just weren’t cutting it.

I don’t like to force things, but rather, let things find me, so I decided to just let it be.

Then, my brilliant friend, Angela, announced her word of the year: Nordstroms.

Thanks to her inspiration, a lightbulb went off, and my word found me.

My word of the year resides in Paris on 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore.

It is Hermès.

I’ve come a long way since my days of living like a Wal-mart — packing my life with useless excess, allowing everyone and their mama come through my doors, fighting the crowds and letting my heart be open 24-7 to whoever, whenever, with a sale sign.

Hermès is quite the opposite. Like 180 degrees opposite.

In case you don’t know (because at one time, I didn’t), Hermès is one of the top luxury companies in the world that started in Paris in the early 1800s making horse harnesses and bridles for the English nobleman. Today, their product line includes leather, lifestyle accessories, perfumery, clothing and other luxury goods.

Mention the word Hermès, and you’re whisked away to old-world luxury, where taste, subtle sophistication and refinement reside.

However, choosing this word doesn’t mean I’m going to be buying the Birkin bag (with a minimum price tag of $15,000) or wearing their scarves every day.

Here’s what it means to me to live a year like Hermès:

Take what’s available and make it remarkable

The notable orange Hermès boxes didn’t start out that way. In fact, their first boxes were a cream color. So, why the potiron orange now? Because after WWII, there was a shortage of paper. The house of Hermès was stuck with orange. They took it and made it their luxury brand color. And, to this day, a woman loves to see those orange boxes stacked in her closet.

How to live it: Life isn’t always perfect. Take what’s handed with you and use your imagination to turn it into something remarkable.

Aim for Refinement, not Excess

Even though it’s grouped into the luxury brand industry, Jean-Louis Duman, head of the company, prefers the word ‘refinement.’ They stick to their mission to craft products with the most beautiful materials made by the most talented artisans. They don’t get caught up in trends. They don’t use celebrities in their advertisements. Instead, they focus on their values and stand on the solid backbone of quality and tradition.

How to live it: With so much noise and FOMO (fear of missing out) in our culture, more than ever, I want to be more like Hermès and stay true to my values and offer a quality experience (whether it’s through our company or in my personal relationships) and not be persuaded to follow the masses. When everyone is going right, I want to be sauntering left. Over time, staying true to one’s self pays off.

You may enter, but you’ll quickly be escorted out

When you walk through the doors on 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, you’ll notice a well dressed lady or gentleman standing at the front door at attention. They have expectations of anyone who enters the store: that you won’t start yanking things off the shelf without asking, that you’ll greet the salesperson with respect, that you won’t be loud and obnoxious and that you’ll act like a lady or gentleman. Being well dressed is also preferred. Follow their rules, and you’ll be treated with the utmost respect. Be a jackass, and you’ll be asked to leave.

How to live it: You are welcome into my world, but I, like Hermès, have expectations. They are simple: be kind, understanding and respectful. Be supportive and celebrate life with me. Walk into my life with the intention of adding value, not tearing it apart. I will not tolerate you jerking me around, creating drama or being rude. You will be asked to leave…immediately!

Raise your standards and be met there

Hermès oozes high standards, from the craftsmanship of their products, the design of their stores to their customer service. When sales drop, they may change their marketing strategy, but they never drop their prices. If anything, they may raise them. Years of keeping high standards have attracted customers eager to spend 15K on a bag and tie their scarf around it.

How to live it: When people behave a certain way, don’t like who we are becoming, or we feel like we may be left behind, our tendency is to drop our standards to match those around us. Despite the instincts to react out of fear, I intend to raise my standards (and never devalue my worth), and trust that I will attract more quality relationships into my life.

Focus on craftsmanship and quality

Hermès could be cranking out many more Birkin bags per year, but they remain true to what sets them apart from their competitors: craftsmanship and quality. The Birkin bag is hand-sewn, buffed, painted, and polished by expert artisans in France, taking approximately 3 days to make. No cutting corners with cheaper products or labor. And, they definitely aren’t made in China. When everyone around them is focused on increasing production and cutting corners, Hermès is doing the opposite. And, guess what? They are the #2 ranked luxury brand in the world (worth $19 billion).

How to live it: While Hermes makes handbags, we are crafting our lives. Yet, it’s so easy to get caught up in the more is better mentality and rush through our days cutting corners, and thereby decreasing the quality of our lives. Acting like Hermès requires that we meticulously choose the highest quality ingredients for our lives — people, experiences and things. And, then we must slow down long enough to tend to the details of our lives. If you’re afraid your life will fall apart, think about Hermès and remember $19 billion dollars.

Protect your Birkin

For most people, the Birkin bag is admired from afar. Last year, during fashion week, I ran into Hermès to purchase some scarves. While checking out, I noticed a huge line forming towards the back of the store. When I asked the sales associate what was going on, she informed me it was the line for those who were hoping to see the Birkin, but then she whispered, “Only the lucky ones will get to see it, and very few will be offered the opportunity to buy one.” Imagine: people begging to spend a minimum of $15,000 on a handbag. That’s Hermès!

How to live it: My heart is the beloved Birkin. Yet, for too many years, I treated it more like a rugged backpack, allowing anyone to take it off the shelf, play around with it, tear it apart and disrespect it. I thought I was being all evolved and “enlightened” by taking it, but what I was really doing was suffering a lot of fools and hurting my own heart. The woman I’ve evolved into (and continue to) loves fiercely but she protects her heart like a Birkin. Only the lucky ones who are kind, respectful, supportive and intriguing will be able to touch it (but, unlike the Birkin, it’s not for sale, and even if it was, no one could afford it).

I’m wearing my Hermès bracelet, ridded my Facebook feed of the negative cranky pants and cooked Coq a Vin last night served with Chablis. My year of Hermès is off to a fantastic start. I even love how it rolls off my tongue. Say it with me. Air-mez!

How would Hermès behave?
Where would Hermès spend his time?
What would Hermès allow?
What would Hermès do?

These will be the questions guiding me this year.

Have you chosen a word of the year? If you haven’t found that one, think outside of the box of usual self-help speak (can we give authentic a break?).

Maybe this is your year of Veuve Clicquot or Marilyn. Or Paris or Chanel. It could be your year of the bulldog or the poodle.

Rather than adjectives, think about places, designers, icons, animals or an object that embodies all that you want to feel and become in 2016.

Whatever your word of the year, make sure it deeply
embodies the next evolution of you.
{tweet it}

Want to share it with me? I’d love to celebrate it with you in the comments below.

With Love,


(P.S. Are we connected on Instagram yet?  C’mon over and join the party and watch the year of Hermès unfold.

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91 Responses to My Surprising Word of the Year (and inspiration to help you discover yours)

  1. Tonya — I LOVE this concept and I think Hermes is perfect for you. I was recently shopping in Hermes myself and you are on point! Happy birthday fabulous!

  2. Ah my Word of the Year is “Allowance”. Having a word for the year is a very powerful tool that I’ve used for 5 years. Love comparing the value of one’s heart to a Birkin purse. I’m going to remember this and apply.

    Hermes is perfect for you.

  3. Tonya a belated but sincere happy birthday to a fellow woman of evolution. You wrote a wonderful article and I know it will inspire many women in your fabulous community.

    On that note, you have inspired me to listen to my heart and as my 65th birthday has just passed last week my word for this year is evolution. Evolution because as Darwin found we start from small and grow and transform into something very different. At 65 I am where and who I have become today and over the next year I want to drink in my evolution as it unfolds. I don’t know how I will change but I will. I don’t know how I will grow, but I will. I will embrace life. And your words will keep ringing in my ear.

    Blessings for birthdays and quiet, sophisticated knowledge. Dr Bev

    • Bev, I always love seeing your name pop up. Evolution is such a powerful word and one that I hope I’m still aiming for on my 90th birthday. As my friend says, “When you’re done, you’re dead.” So, I don’t ever want to be done, until it’s all over.

        • Yes, us Caps can be stubborn. It’s one of our endearing qualities, non?

          Speaking of England, I must put that one on my list, because I’d love to meet my English ladies in person, over tea or wine.


          • You would be most warmly welcomed should you ever come to England. London is very close to Paris…
            I adore the idea of living an Hermes life. You express so exquisitely what so many of us have known was missing but could’t quite pin down.
            I wonder how many French Kiss aficionados there are in the UK? Do you have any idea?
            A bientôt.

  4. Tonya, this was a fantastic post!!! Every year I choose a word – actually I host a New Years get together and we spend our time drinking champagne, answering some prepared questions by me that help us review the year… like what we most enjoyed, what we learned about ourselves, what we were most grateful for etc. and then we end with stating our word for the new year and the reasons behind it. Mine this year was “alignment”. I do LOVE the idea of using something a bit more irregular like Chanel, Hermes, to relate to though – perhaps next year:) The combo of luxury and personal development is something I love about you. I look forward to watching your year unfold!

  5. Hi Tonya, thank you for this inspiring post.

    I have just recently discovered this virtual place that you are creating here. It’s a great privilege to learn about you and from you, thank you for sharing your experiences.

    Having read most of the posts here and couple of interviews on other sites during couple of weeks I cannot help but think of another word that I think might be good to focus on and that is Language. Sometimes it seems to me that the way you present yourself and address your audience here is quite the opposite of elegant. I would even say it borders on familiarity of young adults trying to sound “cool”. Perhaps ‘ya’ and ‘kick off’ are part of business jargon those days but calling oneself a (Google) whore? To me this is a striking inconsistency. I consider you to be a lady of very refined taste and high standards in all areas of life and I think that culture of language is very important.

    Please forgive me if my criticism is unsubstantiated. After all English is not my native language and perhaps it’s just my old fashioned European cultural upbringing that doesn’t allow me to appreciate American approach to elegance and sophistication.

    Oh and my word and Leitmotiv for this year? It’s Bergen. Always so elegant, beautiful and proud in the best sense of that word – no matter what the weather is (yes, it’s probably just after rain, raining or getting ready to rain yet again).

    • Hi Radka,

      Thank you for your suggestion! Perhaps, we have different perspectives on elegance. To me, it’s not about perfect language or perfect anything. That view of elegance can often turn people off, because it leaves little room to be one’s self.

      To me, as Yves Saint Laurent said, Elegance is of the heart. It’s about being comfortable in one’s own skin, having kindness and treating one’s self and others with respect.

      As a very wise French lady told me once, “A sign of elegance is when we don’t need to prove anything to anyone.”

      Plus, I’ve been working on “language” since I chose to get rid of my Southern accent years ago…LOL! I need a break on that one for now.

      • Tonya, I had to pop onto this comment thread. I LOVE this idea of an unusual approach to a word for the year- thank you for that!

        I also wanted to say- thank you for keeping it real- always. I adore the way you approach living life elegantly and beautifully and yet still always be yourself (sometimes casual language included).

        Radka, I think as you come to know Tonya better, you might end up loving this about her too. 🙂

        xoxo and Happy New Year to both of you!

        • Oh Juli, thank you for that! I spent way too many years trying to behave in a certain way to gain other’s approval, and as we women know, it’s exhausting. And, I also appreciate Radka’s observation.

          As with all criticism/suggestions/etc., I love to ask what I can learn from it. We are all here to learn and grow, and I’m far from perfect.

    • Hi Radka! Usually I’d agree with you about language. In fact I still do – I notice little things like grammar, punctuation, and even formatting. I still think they are important. I think for people who do not use English as a primary language, we probably take things like these less for granted.

      However, to me Tonya’s style of writing is about “keeping it real”. It sounds more along the lines of ‘playful’ rather than that of poor grammar and spelling!

      Anyway, Tonya, I love the Word of the Year – this could very easily be the Word of One’s Life. I like the concept, and I think Paris is also a good word, except I haven’t been for yonks (probably 15 years).

      Thanks for the inspiration!

      • Oh thanks for that Hui! Yes, I’m all for keeping it real around here, but I respect everyone’s opinion. It would be a rather boring world if we were all alike, right?

        And, Paris is SUCH a good word. When are we going to get you back there? She’s calling you!



  6. Beautifully written Tonya. You are always an inspiration to me.
    Happy birthday to you, all of your wishes really to come true. Many blessing & love!

  7. I applaud everyone for having such elegant words. I have been working on mine a few months before 2016. Not as elegant but the word is organize. Not that I am disorganize but I want things to be calmer and more serene. I had a group of ladies over last Sunday playing games and eating Brie and drinking champagne. Everything was so tranquil. I loved it. So did they.

    • Georgia, I think to live an organized life is very elegant, and if it excites you, then OWN IT! And, an afternoon of Brie and Champagne sounds divine. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Love this post, Tanya.. I too have allowed people into my world that created drama and thought I evolving somehow..
    This part of your post spoke to me directly “The woman I’ve evolved into (and continue to) loves fiercely but she protects her heart like a Birkin. Only the lucky ones who are kind, respectful, supportive and intriguing will be able to touch it (but, unlike the Birkin, it’s not for sale, and even if it was, no one could afford it).”

    Within these few sentences is my word.. it hasn’t come to me yet, however I know it will.. thank you for this blog.. means so much. xo

  9. Hi Tonya,

    It never ceases to surprise me how amazing your writing is. Always rich in content with fresh ideas and executed beautifully.

    You KILL it as a writer! I feel compelled to let you know how incredibly unique you are- it is so rare to find a writer who can be as blunt and no BS as you, yet present it in a way that is appetizing and tasteful to new minds.

    As a current college student, I love it. I’m so tired of reading most female oriented literature that harps nonstop about what to do to get the perfect body, boyfriend, etc in life. What about doing things to make US happy and letting life happen? You’ve changed my mind so much on so many levels.

    I was wondering if you had written a post before about how you get so inspired/what the writing process is like for you. You have such a brilliant voice and I am trying to find my own voice as well.
    If you did, do you mind linking it in your reply? Otherwise, I can’t wait to hear you share about this topic someday!

    Hugs and have a beautiful day,

    • Oh, thank you so much! I’ll come back and reread your comment on those days when my mind tells me that my writing sucks! LOL.

      I have not written a post on my writing life, but I will keep that in mind for a future post, as I know we have a lot of writers in this community.

      Tons of Love!

  10. Tonya, I discovered you earlier this year & joined the movement shortly thereafter. I have been an avid listener to your podcasts ever since – and I just discovered our birthdays are 1 day apart! A fellow Capricorn, that explains a LOT, happy birthday. I turned 40 on the 16th.

    Your words are like rain in a desert to me & have truly inspired a whole new way of approaching my life. I posted over on the FLK Facebook page this weekend, about how your “Are You a Princess or a Queen?” podcast is bookmarked on all my devices, and has helped me to rise above several dramatic moments. Another of your podcasts about “How to Avoid Making a Scene & Ramshacking Your World” describes your relationship with your conservative, religious parents – that one has also meant so much to me personally.

    This Hermes post might be one of the all-time favorite things I’ve discovered here & you can bet I’ll be bookmarking it too. The “Wal Mart” & rugged backpack analogies are so powerful and ones I can relate to. Luxury doesn’t always click with me (even though as a “Queen” I know it should!) but the concept of “refinement, not excess” and “quality” make me want to jump for joy. I love that you pointed out Hermes’ avoidance of celebrities in their ads & staying true to one’s own values rather than pandering to the masses, dropping one’s standards to fit in or be liked & mistakenly calling it “evolving.” This post & podcast was such an excellent confirmation of some of the recent changes I have made in my life. And the Birkin Bag as “my heart” really helped me get it, finally. “Only the lucky ones will get to touch it.” So powerful!

    My word of the year is “Queen,” with the “velvet rope” as a guiding principle. Thank you so much, what a valuable exercise for both the New Year & the birthday evolution that has just happened!

    • Amanda, I loved that post in the Club, along with the infographic. Thank you for your kind words.

      You have chosen 2 powerful concepts for this year. I cannot wait to see how they support and guide you.

      And, from a fellow Capricorn to another, Happy Birthday, and keep climbing that mountain.


  11. Hi Tonya,
    I was very impressed with this post. I love your word and the way it will guide you in this next year. I have chosen the word “Noble”. I am choosing to live by your “Red Velvet Rope” policy, which really resonated with me and has made a significant difference in my life. I don’t know why the word Noble came to me, but it did, and very strongly. My grandmother was of the noble class in Europe before coming to the USA. She always behaved with kindness, compassion and generosity. She took care of her neighborhood during the depression feeding extra kids when her children (10 of them) brought them home, giving the grocer money so he could buy goods that her neighbors could buy on credit, handing down clothing to others, etc. And with never a word of complaint. Her kids treated her like a queen. I am striving to live up to her nobility.

    • Jo Ann, thank you so much for sharing about your grandmother. She sounds like a truly remarkable lady. And, Noble? LOVE that word.

  12. Looks like a lot of us are adding a second word for our year! My first word is support, what I desire to give and receive abundantly, but I love the idea of a second iconic word for how I want to show up in the world. I want to give the word space to find me, Chanel is already whispering in my ear. 🙂

    I adore this idea!

  13. Oh Tonya ! Your eloquence always reaches a special, happy place within me ! My three words evolved into Sustainable, Luxury and Minimalism (out of beauty, simplicity and frugality). I have happily explored the Salvatore Ferragamo brand and have acquired a few pieces. I adore Hermes for you and I am sure that you will embody the qualities you have outlined and not simply be a walking advertisement. I also have to thank you for your red rope policy, when I came to you a toxic relationship had taken my joy… I stand tall now.
    With love,

    • Your 3 words are fantastic, and very much in alignment with what I wrote here about Hermès. Love how this community brings together like minded ladies.

  14. Tonya – Thank you so much for this blog post. Last month I turned 52 and haven’t been myself lately. For the first time ever, I have felt old and I have started to doubt if I’m too old for everything, especially change. Sad, but, true, I seemed to have lost my joie de vivre 🙁 Luckily, for me, our birthdays are close together and you’re right…I do know I’m getting better every year!!! Now, I just need to find my word and get back into french kissing life! Hugs!

  15. I like it. You are a gifted writer. I like your style of writing–easy to follow and makes sense.

    There are two companies whose products that I very much enjoy using–Jane Iredale cosmetics and Badger Damascus Rose Beauty Care. I have actually used some of their other skin care products for years, but I love the new rose products. Also, when they receive your order, they send a confirmation that ends with the sentences: We will let you know once your order is on its way. In the meantime, kick back and relax, cause we’ve got it covered.

    The first time I received that notice, I replied and thanked them. Told them it had been a long time, if ever, that anyone had told me that. And they sent back a lovely reply to my reply.

    However, Badger, or Iredale just doesn’t have the same allure as Hermes or Nordstrom’s.😉

    • Thanks so much Diana! Love the “In the meantime, kick back and relax, cause we’ve got it covered.” Something I aspire to in my own company.

      And, it’s all about if the word is alluring to you. Can’t wait for you to discover it.

  16. Audacious–to be intrepidly brave. It’s how I felt about myself when I was 19 years old, before 50 extra pounds, 20 years of single parenting and setting aside personal goals to meet family needs. As the calendar turned to 2016, I uncovered an old scrapbook and remembered what it was like to be audacious. And I realized that I’ve been pretty darn “intrepidly brave” to lead this family from crib to college.

    So I am, once again, feeling audacious and ready to be “intrepidly brave” for myself!

    • Patty, I love the word audacious.

      What would your audacious self do/wear/say/read/enjoy?

      Great questions to guide you this year.

  17. I really want to try on this attitude this year! Just starting out with my new biz I feel a LOT of pressure to sell things more cheaply, you know, the “no one knows you so you have to let people try out your stuff for free” and the “you have to sell more cheaply until you make a name for yourself, no one is going to pay a lot of money to buy from an unknown”.

    • Serena, when I first started in my business, my rates were lower, but I didn’t see them as cheap. Instead, I saw it matching where I was experience-wise and emotionally.

      That is different for every person.

      Sometimes, we have to wiggle into something bigger. Because of our beliefs, it’s often hard to do quantum leaps. Be gentle and fascinated with yourself.

      I’m so excited for your new biz, and please don’t give it away for free unless it feels really good to do so. You are providing a service that adds value.

  18. I love the idea behind your word. Last year, my word was Roar, for many reasons. This year I’ve chosen Ease. I’m cutting down hard on the busy work, simplifying some things and making others more efficient.

  19. My word dropped into my ear this morning. I stopped choosing to name my year years ago. Each year the name I gave was so brutally challenged, I felt like an utter failure. So I stopped.
    Looking back now I realize it took years to overcome the challenges I faced. I hadn’t failed after all. It just took time.
    Your proposal to choose a word sends me back to the first email you sent to me. You implored me to see that maybe this is the beginning of……an adventure.
    Standing on the precipice of life ready to take off and fly, my word is Bliss. So much in your post resonates with me. Oh, the intimate letters I am writing my clients today. What I offer is priceless, you can’t catch it, and you can’t afford it. But you can experience it. Looking at my feet and checking my pockets taking up what is in hand there is so much for me to share.
    I am such a lucky girl to know you, to be so inspired. You are a gift and that helps me polish my gift. My gift of Bliss. (I’m freakin’ Santa Claus. I love my word, it makes me smile ear to ear – and I need that!)
    God bless you, happy birthday and happy New Year. Sending Love and Bliss

    • Oh Alex, thank you so much for sharing.

      Here’s the thing: when we’re not mindful, we tend to focus on failures, but I’m so tickled that you turned it around and looked at all that you’ve succeeded at.

      Your word should challenge you or you won’t be growing, and equally it should cause so much excitement that you’re willing to overcome any of the obstacles that you may encounter.

      Bliss….what would bliss do?

      Love it!

      Tons of love to you.

  20. Chanel is definitely calling to me. Not only is it an international symbol of refinement and beauty, Chanel herself was a kickass kind of girl (and one I would have loved to be friends with!). Thanks for this beautiful article Tonya!

  21. I can’t remember the last time I actually responded to a blog post. This one really resonated with me though. I have friends that choose their yearly word and I think, “that’s neat, I should try that”. But, then I move on to my next fleeting thought. This time though, after reading about Hermes being your word for 2016, I spent a long time searching in my brain for a word that spoke to me and then realized I should be searching in my heart too! The same morning I read this post my sister called an said she wanted to “gift” me a plane ticket to see her….a week from today! It is such short notice but I said okay and then, out of nowhere, the word found me! Travel. I want more adventure in my life. Travel, by definition, means to make a journey,to move along a course, or to go from one place to another. I feel that this word applies to so much more than getting in a car or on a plane to go somewhere. I want to make a journey mentally, spiritually and physically. I think when we travel we see things outside of our own “box” which allows us to grow in so many areas! I am so excited about the different destinations I can visit in 2016. Thank you for sharing your heart with this blog and website. I have discovered many nuggets that help me become a better me!

    • Hi Lisa, I’m honored you responded :).

      Travel is such a beautiful word, and I love how you reframed it. You can travel without leaving your home – through books, films, your imagination. And, I hope that you experience travel to beautiful places as well.

      Tons of love and keep me posted, k?

      • ” You can travel without leaving your home – through books, films, your imagination.”

        I love this. When I was young I was able to travel quite often and I loved moving to and living in many different places. Now, for a variety of reasons I really am no longer traveling physically, but I travel through books and some movies and TV shows. And, we live in a very beautiful state, so last summer, we decided to drive slowly on the back roads of the county where we live. We saw some absolutely amazing sites–rivers, covered bridges, farms, barns, all types of houses, parks. I know you have blogged about this and that is probably what put the idea in my head.
        I always look forward to seeing your emails in my inbox.

  22. Hi Tonya! What a fun and inspiring comparison! I often tell my husband that I want “la vie de château” – It’s pretty much the same! 😉
    I love that Hermès has kept its authenticity and didn’t evolve to a kind of “fast food luxury” as some other famous brands did. We want an elegant quality life and not keep up with the Joneses!
    With a very busy (and a little chaotic) 2015, my personal word of the year is Serenity! It goes pretty well so far and I commit to keep it inmind and (in actions) during the next months!
    Have a very Hermès Day!

    • Serenity — the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

      I am holding that intention for you Claire AND “la vie de château.”

      Love that!

  23. Hi Tonya! Amazing post, so well written. It resonates deeply with me. I’m new to your community, signed up just recently and already I look forward to your posts in my inbox. My words for this year are luxury and enrichment. I am excited to see where they lead. I’ve noticed since I began to focus on my words, little luxuries have been finding me, example yesterday I passed a store that had an amazing deal on Veuve Cliquot. Yes I grabbed some!

    • Maria, welcome :).

      Ooh….I love your words. Yes, when you shift your focus, you’ll notice the most beautiful things showing up for you.


  24. Tonya,

    It’s so interesting that you came up with Herme’s as your guiding word this year. For many of the same reasons you described, mine is “Diamond.” A diamond sparkles and shines, has strength, has high value, when cut a certain way has a high quality, is sought after, has longevity and is polished and beautiful. There’s also a simplicity about it because it’s grounded from the earth. A diamond is an investment and is also appreciated, so all those words combined are how I choose to focus on my year! Thank you for your inspiration!

    • What a fabulous word Kathy, especially when you break down its essence.

      You are a diamond, m’friend, and I hope 2016 reflects that back to you.

  25. I think that my words for this year are “Miss Phryne Fisher”. I love this character in her TV show. She is a woman who doesn’t apologize for who she is, what she wants, and always looks fabulous doing it. I need more of this in my life. I want to say what I want, have more quality instead of quantity, don’t do things that I don’t want to do. So for this year when I come to a point where I want to compromise myself or my feelings, I should just ask myself “What would Miss Phyrne do?”

      • I changed my word, although I do love some Miss Phryne. My word is phenomenal.I’ve always loved Maya Angelou, and I think her poem sums all of us up perfectly. And this poem will be my inspiration for this year.

        Phenomenal Woman
        Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
        I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
        But when I start to tell them,
        They think I’m telling lies.
        I say,
        It’s in the reach of my arms,
        The span of my hips,
        The stride of my step,
        The curl of my lips.
        I’m a woman
        Phenomenal woman,
        That’s me.

        I walk into a room
        Just as cool as you please,
        And to a man,
        The fellows stand or
        Fall down on their knees.
        Then they swarm around me,
        A hive of honey bees.
        I say,
        It’s the fire in my eyes,
        And the flash of my teeth,
        The swing in my waist,
        And the joy in my feet.
        I’m a woman

        Phenomenal woman,
        That’s me.

        Men themselves have wondered
        What they see in me.
        They try so much
        But they can’t touch
        My inner mystery.
        When I try to show them,
        They say they still can’t see.
        I say,
        It’s in the arch of my back,
        The sun of my smile,
        The ride of my breasts,
        The grace of my style.
        I’m a woman
        Phenomenal woman,
        That’s me.

        Now you understand
        Just why my head’s not bowed.
        I don’t shout or jump about
        Or have to talk real loud.
        When you see me passing,
        It ought to make you proud.
        I say,
        It’s in the click of my heels,
        The bend of my hair,
        the palm of my hand,
        The need for my care.
        ’Cause I’m a woman
        Phenomenal woman,
        That’s me.

  26. Tonya,

    Once again I’m blown away by you. This word embodies everything I love about you and am learning from you about French Kissing Life.

    My word of the year is “luxurious peace.”

    I chose this because I desire more ease in my life but not just for the sake of ease but because as someone once told me I can work on owning my space in this world.

    As much progress as I’ve made in my evolution towards the woman I love, there is still room for more peace and approaching even the most stressful times with ease.

    When I’m able to do that it’s luxurious for everyone around me, my family, clients, friends, even my business.

    I’m only putting things in my home and in my closet that I absolutely LOVE and this is an extension of that. Only showing up for myself and others in a way that I absolutely LOVE and that is calm, focused, and peaceful. So much better than Hurricane Kendrick!(which is how it used to be)

    • Oh Kendrick, those two words just made my heart sigh.

      Thank you SO much for your kind words, and I must admit that I loved Hurricane Kendrick and I adore the woman you’re becoming as well.

      As much as you say I inspire you, you inspire me daily watching you step up and OWN YOUR SPACE and do it with so much grace.

      Love you lady, more than you know.

  27. Hello Tonya – and ladies of the club-

    I have given so much thought to what my WOY should be for 2016. I have done this in the past, and like you, for whatever reason, this year the choice eluded me for quite a while. Then, in looking around my beautiful flat, I my word came to me like a sudden POP! My WOY is: PARIS.

    Yep. PARIS. To me, Paris represents learning to slow down, breathe, make gentle, well thought out decisions and spend time discovering who I am and who I wish to become. As you state it, the next evolution of me.

    In Paris, people slow down. They sit for what seems like hours at cafe’s watching life and the world go by. They take the time they need to reflect and contemplate their own lives and enjoy all that they have – even if what they have is very little. For my next evolution, life isn’t about accumulating anything more than beautiful feelings and memories and joy. I believe PARIS is the perfect representative of this lifestyle that I wish to create for myself. As I choose to become a Modern Day Icon, this quiet reflection is exactly what I need.

    PARIS will keep me going on my path!

    Thank you Tonya, for this wonderful podcast!


  28. My word is a phrase. After taking care of everyone until my well was dry, at the beginning of the year, I said it’s the “Year of Trina”. That meant that “rules” are not going to define my limits and I am going to make the choices and do what I want to do. While elegance and ease are on my radar, re-defining relationships has been my first priority. And, mid-year assessment, things are looking better than ever. And, I’m only just beginning with Miss Tonya! I am really excited about the future, and already starting to think about my word for 2017!

    • Tonya! Such a beautiful article. Maybe your best yet. Love this! Thank you for sharing. This is exactly the concept I’m choosing in my own life. Learning to say “No” in 2016 was the best and most freeing experience. Now I will be “brave”. Gorgeous! ❤️❤️

  29. Hi Tonya,love your post.I was thinking about my new word for this year,while I was driving to Chester for an afternoon out and some relaxing time it came to me,my word is RENEW -in all area,s but taking my time,not putting pressure on myself after all it,s only January and I have all year.Thankyou Tonya for the inspiration.Also before I go,love the red velvet rope idea,definitely will be incorporating that in my life.Thanks again.Sue xx😉🍾👠💄👗👛🌹

  30. This article is mind-blowing and life-changing. I have shared it with my community of amazing women. I wish I knew these things and had the emotional maturity to put them into practice years ago! (Before I let my heart be trampled on so many times by people who did not deserve to be part of my amazing life). I keep this handy and refer to it often, as a way to remind myself that I am of the highest value and deserve my own love and my own respect.

  31. This post was inspiring and life changing! This year, I am going to refine my life and make it exquisite. I deleted Facebook last night, my time suck of choice every night. Tonight, I am sitting here drinking an exquisite glass of Cherryblock, the most expensive bottle of wine I ever purchased, which I bought for a special occasion. Well, tonight is that special occasion. I made a delightful snack of hard-boiled eggs, olives and cheese (my favorite snack), which I will only eat until I am satisfied, and am listening to Parisian music. All by myself. This is for me. I am worth it to celebrate my new outlook. I am going to mindfully stop wasting time on-line, specifically on FB, and read books, blogs, articles that inspire me instead. I am going to focus on quality of food and wine, not quantity. I am worth it. I am going to have a signature style which represents me, black glasses, red lipstick, and, a signature scent, Coco Mademoiselle (my fav for years), and am going to surround myself with items and articles that truly represent who I am today, at almost 38, and bring me joy. I am going to work on patience with my children. I need to take a deep breathe Every.Time I want to yell and make a better choice. Yelling is not exquisite. I have begun the process of simplifying my home by donating or throwing out 17 bags of items last week. I even had to use my neighbor’s trash can while they were on vacation! Only items that spark joy will enter these walls from now…and the purging process will continue. I will set clear work hours, 8 – 4, and will focus on my family, meals and house when not at work. I have a great life, but it needs some tweaking, some refinement. So for my 38th year, the words I have chosen are going to refine my life to make it exquisite!

  32. I just found this inspiring article. Of my word were to be a designer, it would be Chanel. However, I think it shall he Resonate. If. Person, place, idea or thing does not resonate, of its not a He’ll Yes, than I will bless and release it. 🌹

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