Ask The Expert, Personal, Studio

March 2, 2023

A Refreshed Holly, Rejuvenated Sablewood, and New Business

It’s me, hi! (Are we over Anti-Hero jokes now? I’ll never be over them.) 

You may be surprised to see this blog post โ€“ after all, it’s been almost 5 months since I’ve graced your email inbox or shown up on your IG feed. (To those that reached out to check in on me: so grateful for you!)

To explain my absence, I’m going to get a little personal. Being present on social media has always been a priority for me because sharing my knowledge and experiences is important to me. Helping my clients feel celebrated and seen is important to me. But my mental health was deteriorating, my physical health was going down the drain, and social media was not going to fix it. I was writing checks that no part of me could cash.

There was no break for Sablewood in 2020 or 2021, which I will be forever grateful for because it brought me to where I am today. The problems arose when business grew quickly and I didn’t take the time to breathe; as you probably know, since you’re on my email list, Mr. Sablewood and I built a studio in our backyard for meโ€ฆwhich I promptly grew out of and moved into my warehouse space last July/August. It’s been a ride!

But in November, I finally reached my breaking point with, well, everything.

At my annual physical, my doctor told me it was time to make some serious changes to my eating habits and lifestyle. I was stressed all the time, constantly in a bad mood, depressed (though I didn’t see it at the time), and eating absolute garbage. I made excuses not to do things with friends and focused on my work, but was missing the joy it once gave me. Product creation took a backseat and I was basically just treading water to keep everything around me from sinking.

Then my dear friend recommended Peloton to me. Let me preface this next bit by stressing: I am not here to recruit you or to sell you a Peloton โ€“ promise. Reader, this was not something that called to me. After the Mr. Big bombshell and the general cult-y vibes this exercise equipment inspires, I was more than a little resistant. 

There wasn’t another option I could see for myself, though. Running outside is sort of enjoyable, but it’s too cold here in WA for this Florida girl and I listen to too many true crime podcasts. The gym? Nah, I could talk my way out of driving somewhere to work out without breaking a sweat. (See what I did there?) What about hiking or group sports, you might ask? Well, the only sport I’ve ever loved is golf…which kind of explains everything you need to know about me and sports: the more solitary, the better. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Normally, I wouldn’t share this level of personal deets with everyone, but you know what? This was tough, and doing hard things should be celebrated. If you’re struggling with your weight or food or exercise or your mental health, reach out. I’m not just a stationer โ€“ I’m a person working through the same things you are.

But the Peloton? I was am OBSESSED. Never have I ever looked forward to exercising. When my husband and I went to D.C. a couple of weeks ago for his birthday, he booked a hotel with a Peloton bike in the gym there for me. And you know what? Even after walking 10-12 miles per day while exploring the capitol, I still got on that bike in the evening.

There’s plenty of different challenges on the bike from mileage to the leaderboard to monthly goals, and there are more classes on demand than I think I’ll ever be able to take. 9 times out of 10, at the end of my daily rides, I’m moved to tears because I can’t believe how far I’ve come. To have been a couch potato as recently as November 2022 to having completed over 100 rides (almost 150!), to give love back to my body and watch it heal…it’s empowering. It makes me legitimately treasure my time exercising. I 100% get those mantras that I once rolled my eyes at: to be able to show gratitude for my sweat and hard work.

If you’re on Peloton, follow me and we’ll cheer each other on! I’m very active, taking anywhere from 1-3 rides per day. Look for me: HollyGoRidely

Exercise wasn’t enough: my diet had to change, too. So I re-joined my favorite lifestyle program (Weight Watchers) after 15+ years. I made it a goal to cut out white bread (oof), restrict my dairy and sugar intake (double oof), eat more protein, and finally, quit soda. That last one was a challenge for a few weeks: I’d love nothing more than food in pill form, but sweet drinks are my kryptonite.

My goal was to lose 10 pounds by our anniversary in April. But as of today, I’ve lost 15 pounds. 15! Like, what?!

My mental health has done a 180ยบ turn. Finding the positives doesn’t feel like reaching for the stars anymore. And my productivity? Holy moly. It’s been years since I’ve felt so energized, both physically and mentally! What else have I been up to?

  • I’m learning Italian
  • I started outlining my next book in detail โ€“ย it’s going to be something completely different than my normal fare, but still fiction!
  • We’ve been traveling and have lots more on the books!
  • I’m working through my bookshelf more and more. Reading has always brought me joy but it’s tenfold now!

Hand to heart: the Peloton and changing my mindset around food through WW has altered the trajectory of my health for the better.

Normally, I wouldn’t share this level of personal deets with everyone, but you know what? This was tough, and doing hard things should be celebrated. If you’re struggling with your weight or food or exercise or your mental health, reach out. I’m not just a stationer โ€“ I’m a person working through the same things you are.

If you’re still with me, now for the business-focused news!

After a lot of hemming and hawing, it’s official: Sablewood will now be a wedding-exclusive business!

We’ll still offer products of course, but under a different brand name. Introducing: Dorabird!

Dorabird was named for our newest kitty addition: a one-eyed tortie who has a colorful personality and united our little family. Dorabird will be focused on gifts, since my love language is gifting: think more enamel pins, keychains, wrapping paper, tissue paper, and an occassional greeting card. Like a well-written book, all of the products will have a story behind them.

I’m working hard on the website, so stick around for the official launch coming soon! Our Instagram and FB pages are live and our social media presence will grow, so follow along to see more. ๐Ÿ™‚


I’m spreading out in the studio more and more! Recently, we’ve added a binding machine, paper cutter, and foil press to our warehouse. I’m super excited about the foil press as we’ll be bringing in customization for Sablewood’s vow books as well as our custom and collection invitations.

The consultation room keeps getting facelifts as well: our door now has our logos on it (thank goodness!) and I’ve changed the accent wall color from our signature Sablewood blush to a rich, forest green.

I’m still working on decor โ€“ “one step at a time” is my new motto over here! ๐Ÿ™ƒ

A New Kickstarter!

You know me: I’m happiest when I have a full plate of to-dos! One of my new wholesale stockists requested a line of zodiac products, which I confess I had on my “Future Projects” list for ages but never seemed to get to. His request pushed me into high gear, and now I have a new project live on Kickstarter!

If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s an all-or-nothing funding platform that helps me with my giant enamel pin releases โ€“ like this one! It’s 12 pins based on the Zodiacs, but with my signature stamp design as a twist. I LOVE them and the blue tones carried throughout the series, and I hope you like them!

If you’d like to pledge, the link is here: and the campaign will be live until April 1st, 2023.

That’s it for now!

Thank you so much for reading through this, frankly, super long update on things around here. I’m so grateful to every one of you for sticking it out with me, checking in to make sure I’m still okay, and for supporting me while I got myself back together.

Let’s continue moving through 2023 strong, with intention, clarity of mind, and gratitude!

xo Holly

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