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Highlights of 2018 from Palm Desert

Okay I already did this on my stories on Instagram, but decided I should also write a post about my year too! 2018 started with spending the month of January in Palm Desert where I am right now (for the third year).

Everyone always thinks we are on vacation but we’re still working! Just from a warmer location.

This time we are here for February too! It will be my first time attending Modernism Week and I’m excited!

I’m writing this post because I think you need to pause to celebrate your life once in a while and the new year is a good time to do it!

And, I’d like to preface this by saying please remember these are the highlights of my year!  So please don’t compare your life to my highlights. Trust me, my life has just as many ups and downs as you and I’m I’m mentioning them here as well!

Maria Killam | Palm Desert

Okay so January when we flew to Palm Desert on January 2, I was barely there a week and then flew to Orlando for the KBIS Show where I was honoured to be included as an influencer with the Modenus blog tours.

During this month, I flew down my Senior Colour Designer Tricia Firmaniuk from Edmonton (she was really happy to get out of the snowstorms) below.

Maria Killam and Tricia Firmaniuk

We got a lot of work done together. The company that I worked with to create the Understanding Undertones colour wheel is in Texas, so it was much easier to be here with the many couriers back and forth to tweak the colours.

Now that we’ve spent an entire workshop season getting feedback from the True Colour Experts who received one in 2018, we are ready to make the final changes so we can launch it on the website.

My subscribers will be the first to know when it’s for sale.

In January of 2018 we had our biggest month in eDesign sales taking in over $30,000. The New Build package we’ve added to our eDesign packages is the biggest reason.

So if you are building and want a classic and timeless home without the trendy finishes that will instantly date your house, take advantage of that here.

We recently had an inquiry about our New Build eDesign package and the question was “Can Maria help me even though I like warm, earthy colours and don’t want white walls?” So first, I have written many posts about how most people CANNOT have white walls even though that is a huge trend.

Therefore, if you want to paint your house a true white, and it works, I will specify one for you. If you want an earthier colour scheme which dictates a more off-white/cream foundation palette, you can have that too. As well as a house filled with colourful walls, that’s where the balance of understanding clean vs. dirty (earthy) colours comes in.

Next last Spring, I was finally able to share this project with you in March, because it got published in Canadian Living for their Spring Issue here:

Then in April we kicked off the Spring workshop tour in Boca Raton:

Then I flew to High Point where I spoke at the Alan Parks Showroom to a standing room only crowd:

Then I met Terreeia back in Nashville where we held our next course:

In Nashville I wore this blue dress which is one of my favourites!

I always hire a photographer to take photos of me and the class on Day 1 for my social media accounts and when I saw all the photos of me in this dress (below) and how heavy I looked in it (this is still a better photo than other ones), well suffice to say I left it in the hotel room to be donated, eeeek.

As some of you know, I mentioned it in this post (scroll down to the middle of the post to read it), I do a 7 Pounds in 7 Days green juice cleanse every Spring and Fall before my workshops. I have been doing this for the last 3 years. It works great, but of course you have to then eat like a person who weighs less after that.

People will often ask “Did that diet work?” Well yes I got the weight off but did it last? It’s hard at Christmas time and in the summer after you’ve been at the lake or on vacation!

However, I was happy to report that I only gained 3 1/2 pounds this Christmas!  When I popped into the nearby salon to get a pedicure the other day, I noticed that the salon still had boxes of chocolate piled up on a back counter so I laughed and said “Was that your Christmas chocolate?” And she said, “Yes, do you want one?”. “No way”, I responded,” I had enough at Christmas”. She shrugged and said “Well we all gain weight together at Christmas time, so we can’t really get upset.”

In general, I am trying to learn to ‘taste’ a dessert instead of eating the whole thing. The other day I was served a huge plate of spaghetti in a restaurant and I ate less than half of it and immediately had it taken away.

Also, I have found that having dinner before 6:00 pm and going to bed hungry also helps keep me slim.

Not amazing, breakthrough tips, but it’s what I’m doing that has been working. It’s truly amazing how much harder it is to stay slim now that I’ve hit my 50s.

Okay, right after my Nashville event we flew to our SOLD OUT Long Beach workshop, where hopefully my clothes fit me better, haha.

Every time we hold a course close to Manhattan, we schedule it at the end of the workshop tour so that Terreeia and I can spend the weekend in the city enjoying the restaurants, do a little shopping, take in a play, AND stay in a hotel where we get this view of the park (below right).

Terreeia buying a scarf at Kate Spade (above left).

Then we went home for three weeks and flew to Chicago for our fourth workshop of the Spring season:

Then the last course of the Spring season in Dallas was completely SOLD OUT for a month before the course with 10 people on the waiting list, so we decided to go back to the same location in the Fall.

But first, Terreeia and I took a trip to Spain and the Amalfi Coast. It was a 4 week trip and one week in, when we flew from Barcelona to Naples, the airline lost my luggage. We flew Vueling airlines and wow did I get the MAJOR runaround for almost 6 months and in the end received $450 in compensation.

I had packed so carefully and shopped specifically for the fact that I would be posting photos on Instagram, this amount was so pitiful compared to the value of the items in that luggage.

And it’s more than the value of the items, there are many personal items that are impossible to replace that took me years to find. Like a bracelet that I’ve had for years that I really miss.

I recommend that you put them on your DO NOT FLY list.

I don’t normally say anything bad about any company, but it was so bad. and they made my assistant jump through so many hoops, called them countless times, mailed in receipts. . . and then, “Oh didn’t we tell you, we need them scanned and emailed too?” If I was the one handling it, I would most definitely have given up almost immediately. Which is obviously what they count on. Enough said.

Anyway, other than that, it was a fabulous trip! And the upside is, I now know exactly what to pack for Italy, in a carry-on for 3-4 weeks here.

The view from our villa in Capri

Halfway through our trip, we flew my Mom first class to meet us in Positano. It felt so good to be able to do that for her. My Mom has worked so hard in her life raising us 4 girls and just taking care of everyone around her, it makes me so happy to be able to treat her whenever I can!

This was the view from our breakfast room (above) in Tuscany for four days!

I was so thrilled that all four of our Fall workshops were SOLD OUT.

The season started with a Vancouver course.

Then we went to Fiji for a course with Tony Robbins for 7 days (where we did a juice and vegetable cleanse – see the Udo’s oil shots below) so we arrived 5 days before so we could enjoy the resort. And it rained. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Well not ALL DAY but either every morning or every afternoon. Too close to the rainy season in October!

There I am at the top of the telephone pole (below left) and after I came down (below right). That was the first day of the course!

The villa with the the infinity pool (above) was on my bucket list so when I saw it on the website, I booked it!

Then we flew home for two days, unpacked and packed for the next two workshops.

Dallas Fall 2018 True Colour Experts

October 31 when my Dallas workshop started I celebrated the 10 year anniversary of writing the blog!

The header of my first blog

Then I won the Modenus Influencer second place award. Thank you so much to all of you for your votes!

After Charleston, I was fortunate that the Board of Directors meeting for the Withit Organization was happening the weekend immediately after the course so I went to High Point where I learned so much about the non-profit and furniture world!

Then we ended the year with a holiday party in our home!


I just received this lovely note from Dawn Devlin in Kelowna who has completed my Live training twice!

I have felt for a long time now that I need to thank you for the education, support and ongoing sharing of your knowledge of tips, trends and experiences. I have been educating myself through colleges, workshops, conferences, distance education etc since I left high school but I have never experienced the sort of colour knowledge that you share because you teach a method and confidence, plus provide the reasoning behind colour choices.

I do approx. 5 colour consults a week, I have all of your colour boards plus some of my own all in a wheeled bag, I have enclosed them all in Clear Bags (as suggested by a TCE) and I take them out when we narrow down the colours. 

You are strong in your teaching and because you repeat and repeat some of your rules, it is easy to replay them in my head when I run into a particularly difficult situation (where someone has been extremely creative with their finish choices).

I have taken your course twice, I have all of your online courses and would take another in a heart beat. 

Please accept my note of appreciation for you, and thank you for sharing!!!

Dawn Devlin, Devlin Interiors | Kelowna, BC

That’s my year, I am so grateful to all of you who trust me enough to buy my products and attend my live workshops! I would never have guessed 10 years ago that I would be sitting in Palm Desert writing this kind of post!

Thank you for your comments which enrich each post and move the conversation forward. Sometimes the comments are even better than the post itself! I really appreciate you all!

Here’s to a great and magical 2019!

PS. I am facilitating a panel about colour at the KBIS show in Vegas in February! Register here to attend!

Related posts:

How to be Smart in a World Filled with Dumb Colour Advice

The 4 Best Whites for Your Open Plan House 

What it Looks like to be in a Private Forum

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  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Hi Maria,
    It seems you had a very productive & busy year. And also some well deserved rest & fun!
    I’m so impressed with how generous you are with your sweet mother & sisters. Your mother obviously raised you right. With a big heart.
    I love when you post pictures of yourself on Instagram. Your clothes are always so colorful. Do you even own anything beige? ?

    • Maria Killam says:

      Haha, lots Mary, it’s actually hard to dress totally colourful especially in the winter 🙂 Thanks for your comment! Maria

  • Lucy says:

    So glad that you gave us your year in a nutshell! You inspire everyone to keep moving ahead as you have done so well! I am proud to say that I have taken your course and have learned much more than I did in college or any other course.. It is fun to follow you on IG to see what you are doing for the day. Love it love it! By the way after looking at all of your classes for the year I see that several men have joined in. So happy to see that men are also interested in learning about your system. How many men are there now?

    Have fun in Palm Desert! I wish I could drive out and meet you one day.

    • Maria Killam says:

      I think we are up to about 8 men who have attended the course 🙂 Thanks for your comment Lucy! Maria

  • Fran W. says:

    Enjoyed your recap of 2018, Maria! Happy New Year to you and Terreeria!

  • you are one busy lady, love seeing all of your journey’s and accomplishments. I’m glad that you started out saying you have “normal up/down’s” like all of us…because your life seems pretty darn perfect! (But I know you and Terreeria have put a lot of work into getting there!) I agree with Dawn Devlin, Devlin Interiors about how much I appreciate you!

  • Debbie says:

    Maria, I enjoyed seeing how 2018 went for you and Terreeia. I enjoyed finally meeting you and Terreeia this past November and taking your Color course. It was amazing. I know my friend Linda thoroughly enjoyed it also. We both learned a lot. Hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy and learn even more the second time around. It wasn’t fun feeling sick during my time there. It could have been worse. I only missed very little of the workshop. Many blessings to you and Terreeia for a wonderful 2019!

  • DeniseGK says:

    Aw, it’s apparent from the photo that you really liked that blue dress! I think you could wear one very similar without it making your photos look bad: some horizontal structuring at your true waist, no dropped skirt, and possible a stronger fabric. Don’t give up something you loved wearing completely! Also, I’m finding that I have to add a little weight lifting to my exercise as I get older (I’m only about 10 years younger than you). Even a little extra muscle boosts metabolism and makes all the other exercise work better. You don’t have to get “muscle-y” to enjoy the benefits.

    Also, you should have listed that sweater with the yellow pom-pom dots as its own highlight – it’s wonderful!

  • I’ve followed your blog for about 9 years, and couldn’t be happier for your success. I think it’s great that you laid out your goals, and achieved them. I’m not as ambitious as you, but my color consulting business is still ongoing. Your color POV has helped me more than anyone or anything else. Thanks for being my role model.

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