Life + Health + Places + Travels


Forty years old -

Last week, I turned 40 years old. Two weeks before that, my life changed.

The past three weeks have been exciting, terrifying, and filled with emotion. Marking a fortieth birthday—a real milestone, like it or not—in the midst of it all has seemed in equal parts perfectly fitting and totally ridiculous.

“How am I going to tell people about this?” has been the predominant question on my mind for a few months now, and I apologize in advance to friends of mine (including some very close friends) for whom this post will come as a shock. Please understand that I did not shut you out—I shut myself off. Sometimes that’s what you need to do in order to get through.

So, here’s the deal: I moved. Like, really, really moved. As in I moved to New Mexico moved. Yeah. Yeah! After forty years of living in New York, I now live in New Mexico. How about that!

Yes, this also means that after 17 completely awesome years of working for Simon & Schuster, I have left my job. I’m still a book cover designer, of course (much like they say about Marines, a book cover designer is a book cover designer for life), but now I’m a freelance book cover designer! It’s bananas, you guys. PAJAMAS ALL THE TIME. (Just kidding. I’m not wearing pajamas all day. But I’ll write about freelance life in another post.) I’m still designing other stuff, too, so if you need any stuff designed…you know where to find me.

I DON’T LIVE IN NEW YORK ANYMORE, OMG. OMG! I live in New Mexico. Specifically, I live in a part of New Mexico commonly referred to as being “in the middle of nowhere.” That would be Portales, home to Eastern New Mexico University and a whole lot of peanuts.

I realize this information opens up a whole lot of questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them in a way that is in keeping with my need for privacy. Yeah, I know there’s a whole lot of self-contradiction in writing about needing privacy on your blog (FFS, Dorfman), but you know what I mean. To preemptively answer some of the questions I know are coming, here goes…

Evan and I have separated, amicably. He still lives in Brooklyn, and he’s still an important part of my life. Out of respect for his privacy, that’s all I’m going to say on that subject. Bruno lives with Evan in Brooklyn, and Fritz lives in New Mexico with me. So far, that seems to be the best solution for everyone—most importantly, the best thing for the dogs. Both dogs will be learning how to Skype. I did indeed hire a moving company to truck a bunch of stuff out here, so I’m not starting over from scratch or anything. I also hired automobile movers, so as of yesterday I have a car, which is blowing my mind. I NEED TO LEARN HOW TO DRIVE. I am 40 years old, and I have never driven a car. Ever. This should be interesting! I’ve also been cooking about 95% of what I eat, since Portales isn’t exactly a hotbed of vegan cuisine.

You can expect lots of posts about what I’m cooking, how the whole driving thing is going, and, most exciting of all, how my new HOUSE is looking! I’m renting a small, one-story house that I think was probably built in the 1940s, and I’ve been given the landlord’s blessing to make improvements. I CAN’T WAIT! The walls are currently the color of a shiny band-aid, and…well, I’ll post photos in another post. Just trust me that this is going to be a FUN makeover, and this house is going to be crazy cute when I’m done with it.

How ya like them apples? Here’s to the next 40, Life. Cheers!

Portales & Clovis, NM -

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  • Reply Leslie October 29, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Onward and upward. Your blog is yours to curate as you see fit, and I so much enjoy all of the twists and turns…Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Mrs Z October 29, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    WOW. Wow. What an adventure you’re about to have. What a 180º. What a huge amount of courage and faith this will take. Just know you are remarkable and marvelous at 40 or any age. Stay free!

  • Reply Matilda October 29, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Whoa! Best of luck on your new adventure in New Mexico and I can hardy wait to see your progress on your new house!

  • Reply Katherine October 29, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    I wondered given your Instagram feed… I hope the culture shock is the pleasant kind!

  • Reply Nikki October 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Holy moly!

    Congratulations on this next chapter of your life! As a reader, I’m excited to share in your adventures and see how awesome New Mexico is. As a fellow south-westerner, welcome to this part of the country! If you ever venture up to SLC (it’s way cooler than it sounds!) I can point you in the direction of some fantastic vegan places 🙂

  • Reply Laura (LK Art) October 29, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Lots of changes, but change can be exciting! Looking forward to seeing what lies in store for you. And can’t wait to see the new house. Congrats on turning 40 (I’m 40 too)!

  • Reply EB October 29, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Woah! Huge changes! I wish you tonnes of love and luck with your New Life in New Mexico. Best wishes from the UK x

  • Reply kiki October 29, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Anna, I am so overwhelmed with joy and excitement for you–please write your memoirs! Wow, I am just sitting in my desk at work with my heart bursting with love and inspiration. You are amazing and a light and this is so awesome. This is big big big stuff–big zest for life, big hopes big dreams.

    New Mexico is a great place for you to take to the road. You will get this. Your soul already drives, I think.

    We are behind you 100% on this great journey.

  • Reply Leslie Q October 29, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Wow!! Happy 40th and wishing you all the best!!! You are a talented lady and I can’t wait to see what you get up to in this next chapter in New Mexico!!!

  • Reply Marie October 29, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Wow! That’s quite the change. I love the power of a fresh start. That is certainly a beautiful area to escape to. Once you get used to driving, I hope you’ll visit Austin. The vegan food here alone is worth the trip! Also, Happy Birthday!

  • Reply karla October 29, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    OMG! Lots of changes. Welcome to the Land of Enchantment! I am in Santa Fe, having moved here just shy of two years ago. If you’re ever up in this neck of the woods… I’m on instagram at:

  • Reply Jennette October 29, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    happy birthday! I also turn 40 next week so I enjoyed reading your post. FORTY!!?? How did this creap up on me?

  • Reply Anne October 29, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing your life with us, Anna. Lots of changes — and if you’re happy, then I’m excited to take a peek into the new house, the driving, and all the delicious food! Happy 40th!

  • Reply Chelo October 29, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I wish you all the luck and love in your new journey. I am sure whatever you create will be absolutely wonderful. I know the feeling, of shutting yourself off, and the rest, but sometimes it’s the momentum you need to take charge of your life completely. I am so excited to see how you improve your new pad! Sending you vibes of mega support through internet land.

  • Reply Kelly October 29, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I am completely shocked (of course), but wish you the best of luck in everything! 🙂

  • Reply Caroline Royce October 29, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Whoa, major changes indeed! Why New Mexico, out of curiosity? Congratulations on starting the next chapter.

  • Reply Matt October 29, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Holy cow, Anna! This is gonna be fun to follow and I can’t wait to hear about your driving antics. I’m excited for you!

  • Reply melissa October 29, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Congratulations! I recently did some big scary things, and I’m an infinitely better/wiser/calmer person for it. Good for you. Plus I’m really looking forward to more cacti in your instagram photos.

  • Reply Maggie P. October 29, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Happy Belated 40th! I’ve been a fan of your blog for years, and I wish you all the best on your new adventure.

    Also, your hair looks awesome. 🙂

  • Reply Caite October 29, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I just saved this post in my THINGS TO INSPIRE folder. I have loved reading your blogs for years and can’t wait to see what else you have in store for your next chapter. All of those changes are hard and difficult on their own. I wish you so much joy and peace in your new place. Happy Birthday and Congratulations!

  • Reply julia October 29, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    You look fabulous in the photos at the top – just saying – you look as if something has lifted off of you! At some point I would like to know how you decided on New Mexico. All the best to you.

  • Reply Melissa October 29, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    OMG congrats to you! I’ve been dying to make some sort of drastic life change since turning 40 two years ago (and also going through a big breakup). I’ve also been obsessed with moving to New Mexico since visiting Santa Fe a few years back. AND I too have NEVER driven a car! So i will have to live vicariously through you for a while I guess. Ha. Sending you tons of love…and belated birthday wishes! xoxo

  • Reply Amy October 29, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    wow – good for you in making all of these changes and i wish you all the best with them… my life is all about change right now – and it’s forcing me to find a previously unprecedented level of calmness in the face of many storms – i hope this new chapter brings about good things for you – and in any hard times that come about – that you keep a firm hold on optimism, hope and love! all the best to you 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Reply Elisabeth October 29, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    So fun Anna :)!!

  • Reply Louise October 29, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    HOLY CRAP. This explains your recent Instragram photos – I assumed you were on vacation. Best of luck with everything!

  • Reply Guiniveve October 29, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Happy 40th! From a longtime reader, fellow graphic designer, who just turned 40, amicably separated (13 yr relationship!) and also moved. I look forward to reading about your new adventures and projects!

  • Reply Christiana October 29, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    OH WOW!! Being from NM, this is so cool to hear. I hope you enjoy settling in to the Land of Enchantment! Can’t wait to hear/see about your adventures.

  • Reply Victoria Smith October 29, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    way to SHOCK AND AWE!! so excited to hear more about your adventure. and happy 4-0!!!! love you! xoxo

  • Reply Annie October 29, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    How exciting and terrifying. It’s going to be AMAZING!
    Good for you Anna.

  • Reply Tina Slocum October 29, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Happy Birthday! It’s amazing how there’s a real shift when you are about to turn 40. Many of us reevaluate and make the changes we’ve been thinking about and starting a new life/adventure. Your move to NM sounds like a breath of fresh and sunny air. (Although I bet it wasn’t an easy process) so happy Fritz is with you! I’m sure you’ll be able to create some delicious food with the spices, veggies, tortillas (or make your own) and beans. The Southwest is such a great place to live. Welcome and can’t wait to see your new home, driving etc unfold.

  • Reply Danielle October 29, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Wow! Congrats to you on your new adventure! The only time I was in New Mexico was in 1978 and all my 8 year old self remembers was the mass my parents made us go to – in Spanish! Since then, I’ve heard many great things about NM – I wish you all the best!

  • Reply Jess October 29, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Congrats on your new adventure! I admire your niche market for book designing. The change in weather and overall pace of life must be so huge! I admire your self discipline to work at a major firm AND have a wonderful blog AND a shop. It seems like a match made in heaven to go freelance. xo

  • Reply Chanelle October 29, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    I’ve been reading for years, but don’t think I’ve commented. I want to say I’m happy for you and for your new start. I went through a divorce a few years ago and I know it’s both scary and liberating. Can’t wait to see your new place!

  • Reply Monica October 29, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Wishing you all the best Anna! And a belated very Happy Birthday!!

  • Reply Yas October 29, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Change is good! NM is great! All the best from a follower 40er.

  • Reply Tiffanie Turner October 29, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Oh my WOW, Anna. That is huge. What a change, glad to see it’s all so exciting for you. I had been so curious about why you had been in New Mexico. I set out for New Mexico from Troy, NY (after RPI) at the tender age of 23 and lived two years in a two room shack in Bernalillo, NM, just north of Albuquerque. Now there are nothing but strip malls where I was located, but during my time there I had an unencumbered view of the Sandias, and it was a magical time. My husband and I and the kids go back to NM every chance we can. I am really excited for you, glad your separation was amicable, and can’t wait to see what you create as a freelancer and with your new home. Oh, and unsolicited recommendations…..the Wheelright Museum and SITE Santa Fe are my two of my favorite stops, when you learn how to drive up that far! xo

  • Reply Máni October 29, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Wow! Just wow! Happy 40th and all the best for your new life and home. <3

  • Reply HausWitch October 29, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Good for you Anna- go big or go home! Or both!

  • Reply Satu October 29, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Congratulations on your Birthday! And best of luck with all new ventures!

  • Reply Kelly October 29, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    CONGRATS! That is awesome news! Change is a wonderful thing 🙂

  • Reply Karen October 29, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Whoa! My mind is blown! I have been reading you for at least five years or more. I am excited for you and your new adventures. So many questions. I’m sure you are in culture shock. New Mexico is no NOT New York. Wow, just wow! Can’t wait to hear more!

  • Reply Penny October 29, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    It’s a dramatic change of your life path. By experience this is quite painful. I wish (and in a way i am confident) that you are passing through with grace. If you feel lonely in Portales (a place which is like Mars to me), please let us know. I have a theory about “silent” screaming. Happy Birthday after all! Yours, from the far far East (…Greece)

  • Reply imogen October 29, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    LOVE the new photos of you.
    40 is young
    New Mexico!!!!!! Awesome.
    CONGRATULATIONS on following your instincts and passions
    NM sounds fantastic (especially as we head into northeastern winters)
    Full of admiration.

  • Reply Suzanne October 29, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    OMG!! That is so major! Congratulations! And and and I’m actually thinking of moving to New Mexico also! Out of the blue. So crazy!

  • Reply tara October 29, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    de-lurking (do the kids say that anymore?) to say good luck on your new journey. i moved to portland after a lifetime on the East Coast and 11 years in NYC, and it’s definitely an adjustment! and as a 44 year old who as also never driven a car, looking forward to those driving adventures. have fun!

  • Reply Arin October 29, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Wow! Happy Birthday and welcome to NM! I wish you all the best in this strange and beautiful land.

  • Reply Susan October 29, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    My goodness Anna! I knew I discovered your first blog all those years ago for a reason! I have recently moved, less than a week ago, from RI to California! Major coast change! We also had movers pack our lives up. We travelled with two cats. I have to learn to drive out here, it’s so different. And yes, I cook for myself because I have celiac disease! So I am looking forward to your posts even more than usual, they will help me get thru my major adjustment! You are so brave and have all our support! Happy 40.

  • Reply Heather October 29, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Holy wowzers!!! Shocking but exciting all rolled into one crazy post.
    Bravo to you… Looking forward to seeing the new adventures.

  • Reply Laura October 29, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Good for you! At least you picked the wide-open spaces of New Mexico to learn to drive a car. 🙂 I really love the creative vibe there. Will await the posts to come.

  • Reply amy h October 29, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Wow. That is just. SO MUCH! I hope the changes are great for you. Happy adventuring!

  • Reply Sally Lodge October 29, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I’m a long time reader. This is my first comment. Happy Birthday! I’m excited for you and your new life.
    Have great adventures and keep blogging. You mean something to us.

  • Reply Laurie B October 29, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Hi Ana! That is spectacular news and I sincerely hope that the change will bring about a happier and more creative you, improved health and of course lots of updates. Your post was strangely no surprise, I’ve been following your blog for years and in that time you could feel the evolution. Keep your chin up pretty lady, this next chapter is going to been an epic ride (especially if you’re driving).

  • Reply Lizzie Modern October 29, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Wow! Talk about a shock. That’s amazing, really. I wish you the absolute best in your new chapter of life; it’ll be fun to read about. PS, you look stunning in those photos!

  • Reply Ali October 29, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    All the best to you. Can’t Wait to see how you make this house your home, I know it will be as amazing as you are

  • Reply C October 29, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Holy bananas! So much change. So much already said by fellow readers who care about you, & Evan and your dogs…I would like to add I’m also 40 (well, almost) & just learned how to drive, too. A whole new world opened up, in more ways than one. Cheers to you and here’s to settling in to your new home. Xo

  • Reply maria October 29, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    i knew something big was up… could feel it! congratulations on your new adventure! can’t wait to see what you do next.

    ps- happy birthday!
    pps- my grandmother learned to drive in her fifties- couldn’t stop her once she got it. you got this- racecar anna, that’s what we’ll be calling you

  • Reply jen October 29, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    It takes a lot of courage to do what you just did. Both the real life changes and sharing it with the world. It must have been daunting. Phew (wipes brow). Well you made it! And we’re excited to see what the future holds.

  • Reply Ingrid October 29, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    I’m eager to see why you chose New Mexico! As a former East Coaster now living in Colorado, I’d love to hear your take on the… um… cultural differences. Have fun learning to drive! If there’s one thing that you have to do in small cities, it’s drive.

  • Reply Julie October 29, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Happy Birthday! You are really close to Lubbock, Texas…you should venture out this way for one of our first Friday art trails. They are lots of fun and lots of good art.

  • Reply Kelly October 29, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Exciting changes!! Best of luck to you in New Mexico! How do you feel about Hatch green chiles?

  • Reply Kate October 29, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Happy 40th! I can’t wait to see your decorating posts!

  • Reply Trish October 29, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    You probably already know this, but check out onegirlinportales on Wordpress. Can’t wait to see pics of the new digs .

  • Reply Pati October 29, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    I wish nothing but the best for you! Happy 40!

  • Reply Lorrie Whittington October 29, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Yay! Well done you. It’s good to do big changey stuff every ten years. I got married when I was 40.
    Curious why you chose a smallish town in NM. Hmmnnn???
    Looking forward to seening decor/refurb led posts.

    All the best
    Lorrie xx

  • Reply Lisa October 29, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Long time lurker, here.
    Best wishes on this new path!
    But my big question is…who’s going to do your hair ? 🙂

  • Reply Sandy October 29, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Happy 40th!! Life is what you make it!! I’m sure after you get your hands in that new place of yours, it’s gonna shine like a diamond!! Best of luck with everything. Blessings!

  • Reply Simone October 29, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    What an amazing post. What a drastic change. I hope and pray that it brings you everything you hoped for (and more) when you made these decisions.
    40 ain’t that bad and you look fantastic in it.

    • Simone October 30, 2015 at 3:24 am

      PS is there an IKEA near Portales? Does this mean we will get to see a more tanned version of the porcelain skinned Anna Dorfman? How does your amazing mother feel about this (ofcourse she once moved from Sweden to the US)? Maybe you will develop a whole new aestetic, maybe start making your own art!
      As you can tell I am pretty excited for you! You go woman!

    • Simone October 30, 2015 at 3:30 am

      PS I just realised, I got my drivinglicense when I was (I think) about 39 (almost 40), so it really can be done, don’t worry.

  • Reply Fiona October 29, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Wow. Anna you’re just so damn fantastic. BEST OF LUCK!!!

  • Reply nicol October 29, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Happy 40!! They say that life gets happier and more awesome in your 40s and your 30s are the most stressful and exhausting times. So enjoy your new chapter! I can’t wait to read more and see what you do with your new place!

  • Reply Marlena October 29, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Congratulations! And holy moly! Here’s to the next 40 years, indeed! I look forward to reading more about your adventures. Thanks for continuing to trust this space and your readers.

  • Reply Cori Magee October 29, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Happy 40th and congratulations on all the big changes! Change is SO scary, yet so fun. Weird.

    It’s strange to feel so excited for someone I don’t really know (as it’s probably strange for you that we all comment our excitement when you don’t know us), but I am so amazed at what huge changes you’ve made and I think it’s great!!! I love it when people make conscious choices in life and don’t just float around…

    Good luck with freelancing… I’m so excited to see more of your own design work… AND WHAT YOU DO WITH THE HOUSE!


  • Reply Rachel October 29, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Dear Anna! I am SO EXCITED FOR YOU! Impressed and awed and inspired by you and your verve for life. I cannot wait, CANNOT WAIT to read about your new home, and all of your adventures. All the very best to you! rachel

  • Reply Rachel October 29, 2015 at 7:28 pm


  • Reply Laura October 29, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Wow. I’m in shock. I feel sorry for the breakup. That has surely been a tough time for you both. My best wishes for you and Evan. You’re really brave, Anna.

  • Reply sofia October 29, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    you’ve always been so good at following your heart. i love that about you!
    people and situations change all the time & “follow your bliss” is such an inspiring B52s song, isn’t it?
    now is the time for hatch green chiles, some kickass cowboy boots, visiting all the ghosts in mesilla, and sliding down freezing cold dunes at white sands or watching the bats fly from carlsbad caverns. you’ll be speaking better spanish than me at the end of it all. you’re totally my hero (and not just because you’re learning how to drive a car).
    i love you, girl!

  • Reply ombia October 29, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Dear Anna, this are such a big news. I wish you all the best in your new life!

  • Reply hannah October 29, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    wow. use sunscreen. stay hydrated and moisturized. take good photos. write good blog entries. decorate your heart out. don’t miss the balloon fest in albuquerque.

  • Reply Britta October 29, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Wow! That must have been a hard post to write. Wishing you all the best as you settle into a new rhythm of life. I can’t wait to read about how life in New Mexico is going, as well as rental house re-doing and freelancing!

  • Reply Vanessa October 29, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    You’re an inspiration and a role model. May we all have everything we want.

  • Reply Jaclyn October 29, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Wow. Just wow. I’ve been checking your blog for updates and am so happy to finally see one and it’s huge! I love seeing people shake up their lives and I hope this is a great shake up for you.
    I spent some time in Rhinebeck a few weeks ago and thought it was wonderful!
    I can’t wait to read about your new life in New Mexico and your driving adventures. I’ve been driving since I was 15 and currently drive 500 miles a week so the concept of not really knowing how to drive seems so bonkers to me!

  • Reply Ashly October 29, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    Cheers and a happy belated!

  • Reply Smuggleupagus October 29, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Wow! Happy 40th, I too turned 40 this year and also recently separated from my husband amicably. I stumbled upon your blog years ago when I googled the Parcel sofa from DWR, I had purchased one from the DWR warehouse sale outside Cincinnati years ago and I have been hooked on your blog since then. Your blog has provided so much entertainment and information over the years I can’t thank you enough! I wish you the best in your future endeavors!

  • Reply Nina October 29, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    wow, whoa, oh my! wishing you nothing but goodness as you embark on this new phase of your life. you seem to be handling things with grace and positivity. we are all rooting for you. will be sending good vibes only your way. peace and love to you anna!

  • Reply Caroline October 29, 2015 at 9:13 pm


  • Reply Geninne October 29, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    You live in New Mexico! You live in New México! You live in New Mexico! Can you tell I’m over the moon excited and happy that you live in New Mexico??? 🙂 Kisses and hugs xoxox

  • Reply Meg October 29, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Oh golly, this is so inspiring and amazing. I’m sure hard in parts and completely terrifying but I think that’s probably where the magic happens. Thank you for sharing here – your honesty and beauty is what people come back to, regardless of where you live and what you do (though I suspect this transition is going to be a pretty brilliant one). Big hugs from Sydney! xx

  • Reply Mary October 29, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    I CANNOT wait to see what you do with your new digs. Very exciting. And thank you for this post. I’ve been in the doldrums, feeling like life won’t get more exciting, and it’s just so inspiring to see you making such huge changes. Cheers!

  • Reply Kelly S. October 29, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    I’ve been reading you for a whole bunch of years, and this is so big. Like, whoa. WHOA. I’ve seen your recent pics on IG but figured you were just visiting again. Congratulations doesn’t seem like quite the right word, but doesn’t feel wrong either. Best, best wishes.

    And can’t wait to see what the next chapter (or entire book?) holds for you.

  • Reply Naomi October 29, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Happy Belated 40th. Looking forward to reading about your new life in NM. Wishing you a future of happiness, inspiring design and amazing adventures.

  • Reply Vanessa October 29, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Happy Birthday Anna!

  • Reply Sarah (Pink) October 29, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Aw, congrats. Sounds like good things are afoot.

    Your old pal Sarah from Pinktalk, back when you had Absolutely Vile (man, that was ages ago)

  • Reply Heather October 29, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    Happy Birthday Anna! 40 has been wonderful for me so far – you will love it! My husband learned to drive at 34 and he wonders why he was ever so scared to drive before. Driving will give you so much more freedom! Best of luck to you in your new exciting place starting your new exciting life!

  • Reply Nancy October 29, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Earlier today, I was thinking about how I missed your more personal posts, about designing your house and other things. I mean, you have impeccable taste but I don’t read blogs to shop… So, I’m happy to find this in my feed. Congrats on making a major life change. Looking forward to your NM adventures! Happy birthday!

  • Reply Shelly Ragsdale October 29, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Is it OK if I say HOLY SHIT! That’s amazing! AND so exciting! I rarely comment but I’ve been reading D16 for years. I feel like I know you and I just want to tell you that I think this is going to be one of the greatest experiences of your life. I went to Arizona all by myself and lived there for a few years. I don’t know what it is, but the desert does something to your soul. It gave me a new life, I felt like I was breathing for the first time. I wish you all the very best Anna! What a great adventure!

  • Reply Jules October 29, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how 40 is done.


    • sofia October 30, 2015 at 1:42 am

      shut down the comments- jules said it all!

    • Monica October 30, 2015 at 10:13 am

      I second that!

  • Reply Brandy October 29, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Wow!!! Congratulations!!! Looking forward to another Anna reno 🙂 AND selfishly, can’t wait to see your fashion posts for a hot climate (I’m in Austin, and your nyc fashion, while awesome, made me sweat just looking at them).
    Would you consider doing some posts about how you would wear your leggings? And other society6 wares? I’m about to pull the trigger on your leggings, and I’d love to see you style them for heat!

  • Reply jan October 29, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    wow and happy 40th! can’t wait to see your new home! and happy ‘safe’ driving!

  • Reply Jen October 30, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Anna! I just separated from my husband and moved to a place in the middle of no-where, too. I can empathize from my own experience what a rollercoaster ride the emotions are. But for the first time in a very long time (I’m in my early 40s), I’m seeing a blank canvas in front of me and am starting to feel excited. Happy birthday, deepest condolences on the end of your marriage, and heartfelt congratulations on your move and new life. Can’t wait to see how you paint your canvas 🙂

  • Reply laura October 30, 2015 at 12:06 am

    GIRL. i just read this and exclaimed “WHOA!” aloud to an empty house. i am so excited and hopeful for you. and like others have said: you look so completely beautiful and calm and ready to tackle anything! i am looking forward to your next chapter. <3

  • Reply Heather October 30, 2015 at 12:10 am

    You just killed all my dreams of running into you some day on the street in New York! Oh, well. So happy for you. Always love your positive attitude, and find it inspiring when you write honestly about experiencing things that I would find so scary. Whether it’s leaving that corner of your living room without a baseboard (I’d have a mild freakout) or moving to a whole new state (major panick!), you seem to handle things with a kind of grace that I could only hope to fake. All the best in your new life. Looking forward to what you come up with next!

  • Reply Melbournite October 30, 2015 at 12:35 am

    I learned to drive at 40. While it was really challenging (so aware of the consequences at that age), it was so rewarding. I feel so… empowered… no other way to put it. Best wishes on your new life.

    • Erika October 30, 2015 at 7:29 am

      I am 27 and have never driven a car. It is so good to know that there’s others out there who did not learn to drive in their teens 😉

  • Reply AJ October 30, 2015 at 12:41 am

    wowzers – what a year of upheaval and change it’s been for you! I wish you purpose and contentment in your new home and life. I’ll be interested to see how the different geography and light informs your interior design choices! And I look forward to reading about the adventures of you, Fritz and your Clarks Hotel Image shoes.

  • Reply Michelle October 30, 2015 at 2:21 am

    What an adventure! You look radiant. I found divorce and launching out on my own professionally incredibly liberating and rewarding in every possible way. Hoping the very same for you. Happy fabulous 40!

  • Reply Junedotbe October 30, 2015 at 2:33 am

    OMG !!! Ch-Ch-Changes… Turn and face the strange ! I really look forward to reading you for the next 40 years. My question would be : is there an Ikea in Portales ?
    Also. Yes please, vegan recipes ! I live in Brussels, Belgium, and when it comes to vegan food, it might just be the middle of nowhere.

  • Reply Melissa October 30, 2015 at 2:37 am

    Holy cats! What a huge change. Wishing you luck on your journey–and looking forward to reading all about it!

  • Reply Janet October 30, 2015 at 2:38 am

    The right type of scary stuff is really good for us – well, it has been for me! Happy birthday and keep being brave.

  • Reply Anna October 30, 2015 at 2:53 am

    You are so brave and generous! Thank you for sharing your life with all of us. I hope this doesn’t sound weird, because blogs are so unbalanced in the way communications take place between the blogger and readers, but I reacted to your post as if a close friend had told me she was making the same changes. All best wishes! Lycka till!

  • Reply CC October 30, 2015 at 2:55 am

    Anna, you are amazing! I’m sitting here a little bit gob-smacked by your amazingness. All these changes, while some of them sad, sound as though they’ve given you a new sense of freedom, and life. New projects, and prospects everywhere! I’ve been reading your blog for about 4 years and have recently got my butt into gear and started my own. I have so much more respect for the effort it takes to maintain a site like this while actually living your life as well. Well done you for all of your achievements. Happy Birthday! And seriously, if you’ve been able to renovate a house, blog about it, move several times AND hold down a job, being freelance and learning to drive will be a cinch! So excited for you for the future! xx

  • Reply S@sha October 30, 2015 at 2:59 am

    I wondered why you were spending so much time in Eastern/Southern NM since there is very little business/industry there to draw you for work. Good luck! I’ve had two big big moves in my late 30s/early 40s over the last few years, NM–>CA and CA–>Greece. Overall both jumps have been great even though there are moments when you get lonely or feel adrift and wonder what the hell you were thinking. Its good to realize that you can still be adaptable, brave, and open-minded at 40 (and beyond). And, being a native, I fully believe that NM is the best state, so good choice! Can’t wait to see posts about your house.

  • Reply Cindi M October 30, 2015 at 3:09 am


  • Reply Rachael October 30, 2015 at 3:27 am

    Congratulations on this awesome new chapter of your life – and happy birthday, too!

    30 here, also recently separated from my long-term partner and – weirdly, for a Brit maybe – just booked tickets to New Mexico for a post-breakup adventure! Very excited for your new chapter and will be following eagerly along for your NM tips!

    Take care of yourself x

  • Reply caroline October 30, 2015 at 7:27 am

    All that… AND new hair? Best of luck to you. x x

  • Reply Ashaki October 30, 2015 at 7:54 am

    CONGRATULATIONS! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog posts about your skincare, design, pets and your life; thank you so much for sharing! It’s really inspiring to me as an approaching 40, unmarried, vegan graphic designer who loves interior design. I absolutely love New Mexico! I look forward to reading more about your transition to life as a freelance designer living in New Mexico 🙂

  • Reply Amanda @ Heart Tree Home October 30, 2015 at 8:04 am

    40 looks great on you. I wish you the best in your new adventures!

  • Reply phillylass October 30, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Happy birthday and congratulations on your next great adventure! I’ll turn 40 next year and I’ve been feeling very stuck in my life for some time now. I hope I can muster up your level of courage and break through to build the life that I really want for myself in the coming years. I so admire your bravery and your willingness to share your journey with your readers. And I can’t wait to read about your upcoming cooking and design projects. Very exciting!

  • Reply Julie October 30, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I had to reread your post again today. Like wow! This is yooge! Still shocked, and I’ve never met you, but I’m a longtime follower/reader/admirer. And here, I thought you were just on a long vacation. I wish you the very best, Anna, and can’t wait for updates!

  • Reply Sonchia October 30, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Holy bananas indeed. I have been reading your blog for years and what an exciting change you’ve made! NM is the best of all things. The SW is full of incredible things to discover. Welcome and congratulations. I cannot wait to follow along on this new amazing chapter in your life.

  • Reply Ben M October 30, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Having gone through a big change myself in the last year, I wish you all the best with your changes. Such changes are never easy, but I’m sure it’s going to be worth it!

  • Reply Julie October 30, 2015 at 9:53 am

    OH MY G-O-S-H!!!! This is huge!! Wow! Our birthdays are about a month apart so I always look forward to your birthday posts but this one knocked me out of my chair! Best of luck in all new adventures and I am SO looking forward to reading about your car adventures, house fixing-up and the new climate. Think of the skincare regime changes (!) ha. You look amazing and your bravery is an inspiration!! XO.

  • Reply Joy October 30, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Sometimes life calls for a major shake-up! Congratulations on all these big changes–it takes a lot of courage. But most of all, you have full agency of your life and it’s empowering (even through the fog of emotions). Big hugs and Happy 40th!!!

  • Reply Brook October 30, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Never forget: Age is what you make it, and damn gurl, you’re fantastic no matter how many times the earth has circled the sun since you were born! Let me congratulate you on your new adventure. It’s always hard to step out of the life we know and into the life we haven’t yet created, but I believe some of the best things happen when we try something different. I grew up in Clovis, NM, just a few miles from Portales, so I’ll confess that I did a double-take when I read that that’s where you are now. I won’t try to color your getting-to-know-the-place perspective with my own. Let’s just say there’s more than the landscape that looks and feels incredibly different than what you’re used to, and that it’s okay to let that blow your mind for a while. It really is like visiting a whole other country. Go ahead and steep yourself in it. Be sure to get off the plateau and into the rest of New Mexico while you’re there (especially up north)… your creative side will thank you. — Brook, now in Providence, RI

  • Reply Scott October 30, 2015 at 10:24 am

    As my Mom used to say: “life is a dance, so dance baby, dance!”
    Many Years of Joy and Success to you Bella!

  • Reply kim October 30, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Long time lurker here. About to turn 39 next year, a graphic designer, renovator of old houses, (so I’m right there with you) and—more importantly—someone who realized a few years ago that the life I thought I was going to have wasn’t necessarily the life I wanted. There’s something magical about rewriting one’s future. Best of luck to you on your new journey. May it be one full of confidence and optimism.

  • Reply Bridget October 30, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Anna- we are strangers. I only know you through your blog and IG but I’m reading this post with goosebumps and my mouth wide open in amazement! I am so happy for you. HUGE changes that are probably both sad and incredibly exciting. I wish you all the best! You are an inspiration!

  • Reply Tara October 30, 2015 at 11:09 am

    OMG What an adventure!! I am about to turn 40 myself and deep into the “am I doing what I want to be doing with my life” questions. I am wondering WHY Portales, NM? No judgement, just curiosity! Can’t wait to see pics of this new chapter in your life. Warmest wishes and happy happy bd!!

  • Reply Rachel October 30, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Holy moly! This is a crazy-pants post! So many things are happening. Happy birthday and congrats and have fun! I can’t wait to hear more about NM.

  • Reply elena +deco October 30, 2015 at 11:37 am

    The first part of this post made me laugh. I turned 40 in June. The year before my birthday I panicked even if I didn’t want to admit it. Why did I not do this, why did I do that, I should drink less , exercise more, sleep less and work more, or sleep more otherwise I get wrinkles, shall I have another kid or maybe I shouldn’t so I could travel more, shall I live here or there… my head was a mess. Then I turned forty and I understood it wasn’t actually a big deal,I stopped thinking about what it could have been different in my life and I found out that I was very happy and content with what I have. Happy, content and lucky.
    Aging is democratic, it happens to many people and when it doesn’t it is not good news. We just have to focus on the present and be happy for what we got.
    Good luck for new life, it sounds really exciting, I am sure you will be very in New Mexico.

  • Reply Dawn October 30, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Your recent move reminded me of Georgia O’ Keefe’s pursuit to start over, heal + create in NM. Cheers to new adventures, fresh starts + to bravery- all the best to you!

  • Reply Natalie R. October 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Wow, Anna! I didn’t expect this post (-:
    I think it’s wonderful and exciting. Changes are hard sometimes, but you have a chance to experience so much and grow. I wish you all the best, and wow (again), you look fantastic! Happiness, Peace, Love (-:

  • Reply Dorie October 30, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    wow! mazel tov to you on doing things you needed to pursue happiness – i’m sure it was very hard getting to that point but it’s probably a big weight off your shoulders now that it’s done! how do i know? I am writing you from pajamas myself as I, too had the same kind of life moment (only 2 years before 40) and left my full time design job for the freelance life as of this past Monday. Best of luck to you and looking forward to the beautiful photos to come of New Mexican life!

  • Reply Tessa October 30, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Happy birthday and congrats on the move! Thank you for sharing your life with us. I have been a long time reader and admirer, and look forward to reading about your new life and adventures. All the best!

  • Reply Sarah October 30, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Ah, so exciting! So many changes, so many new experineces 🙂 (I actually audibly gasped reading the post, haha)
    Also, may I say, you look absolutely radiant in that picture (the hair is looking gorgeous too).

    All the best.

  • Reply Lena October 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Anna! I have so much respect and admiration and love (yes love! As much as you can have for a stranger!) for you and the gifts you give the world through sharing your art and writing. If you wouldn’t mind, and while preserving your privacy of course, could you please share a bit of what went into your decision-making process? Many of us are stuck and trying to dare to make BIG changes. I can tell from these comments that all of us are inspired by you and could stand to learn a lot–of good, real, substantive life and spiritual stuff–from your valiant move and stunning changes.

  • Reply Janet October 30, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    There is a serious amount of genuine happiness, confidence and beauty radiating from your title portrait. Anna, you’re the shit. Jumping for joy on your behalf! (and HBD to you!)

  • Reply Tommy October 30, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Dang girl!

    I can’t even make myself finish painting the living room!

  • Reply Barbara October 30, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    You have my full support, Anna. Kudos to you for sharing this news with the world. I think I speak for all of your readers when you say you have our love!

  • Reply Erin October 30, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    WOWZA!! So happy for you, Anna – can’t wait to see what’s ahead! What an exciting new chapter!

  • Reply nicolezh October 30, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    All the best, Anna! You are a brave woman and You Rock!

  • Reply LD October 30, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Happy happy birthday!!! What a change! I think this is the first time I am leaving a comment after reading your blog for the past 2 years. Give yourself a year to acclimate, you will be homesick. All the best and much happiness to you!

  • Reply Gina October 30, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    Incredibly brave. Good luck to you. Beautiful space you’ve created here. I’m sure you’ll do the same in NM.

  • Reply Lindsay October 30, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Guuuurl, you got some big balls 🙂 Somehow I can’t picture you in NM….you are so NY……but I, along with everyone else^^^^ wish you the best of new beginnings. After this, the worst year of my life, i wish I had the courage/strength/conviction to do what you just did. It’s a cliche but life IS short, live what’s left to it’s fullest! All the best…..

  • Reply Donna October 30, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    I wish I was in a position to do what you just did. Well done.

  • Reply Abigail October 30, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    I echo many of the other comments, but what I’m really wondering is how your skin care routine will change in NM. 🙂 Wishing you all good things in this new chapter.

  • Reply Claudia October 31, 2015 at 12:42 am

    I’m very sorry things didn’t work out with Evan, but happy that the parting was amicable. You’re so talented and, even more importantly, have such a great attitude, that I know you’ll thrive in your new life. Happy 40th!!

  • Reply RebeccaNYC October 31, 2015 at 12:55 am

    well, that explains THAT! I’m curious: why New Mexico? I think we have all had the fantasy of picking up and moving somewhere completely different…and now you have gone and done it. This seems to be a great way to start your 40’s. Wishing you all the best in your new adventure, and looking forward to what you have to share along the way.

  • Reply anne October 31, 2015 at 7:53 am

    Congratulations and best of luck with the changes in your life! I moved to what I’d previously considered the Middle of Nowhere, Oklahoma from a much larger, more eastern city, a few years before turning 40, and am ok with it (no pun intended). Here’s to sunnier winters!

  • Reply Sam October 31, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Inspiring. Change is hard but good. Wishing you the best. Let the adventures begin!

  • Reply Tanja October 31, 2015 at 11:28 am

    My most heartfelt congratulations, Anna! It takes a lot of courage to make life altering decisions like these.
    I’m turning 40 next year and have yet to muster that courage. So at this point you are definitely an inspiration.
    Happy belated birthday and here’s to new beginnings! I wish you all the best!

  • Reply GregM October 31, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Wow. Congratulations! Similarly, at age 31 in 1992, I moved from Los Angeles, where I had lived for 13 years (and in southern California all my life) to Santa Fe, NM. Not as remote as Portales but still quite a change. I remained there until 1996, when I decide that I was really a big-city boy and moved to San Francisco. I don’t regret the the time I spent in NM and get back to visit friends that will be part of my life forever as often as I can. Even if this isn’t where you’ll end up forever, it still sounds like a great adventure!

  • Reply Deb K October 31, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Good for you! I hope you will be teaching at the local college. You look fab! Welcome to the west-time to get lots of hats to wear for sun protection!

  • Reply Deborah October 31, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Hi, Anna,

    You’re the best. I have been following this blog for a couple years now and always enjoy reading your posts about your home, renovations and life. I truly admire your bravery to move away from a place you lived in for many years. Good for you! I wish you all the happiness and and adventures in your life in New Mexico. I look forward to reading your posts about your life there. Cheers to new beginnings!

    Deborah. 🙂

  • Reply nicole October 31, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Having relocated from NYC to Reno, NV, ended a marriage and (ouch!) separated the dogs, I can attest that the desert is an excellent place to find solitude and get reacquainted with yourself. It’s quiet, weird and wide-open. And towels dry really quickly. Best of luck to you…

  • Reply kate November 1, 2015 at 12:53 am

    I remember meeting you several years ago in the subway station at Rockefeller Center. I asked you “Are you Door Sixteen?” I was excited & nervous (what if I had I had the wrong person… what if you were a completely different personality in person… I almost didn’t say anything to you…). You were so kind, extended your hand, smiled warmly and said “Hi, I’m Anna.” I know I then became bit tongue-tied, but managed to get out something along lines of how much I like your blog. After we parted, I thought, why on earth didn’t I at least tell you how inspiring you’ve been to me personally, so I’m sure there others have been as well?!
    I wish you all the best in New Mexico and life in general, Anna. You are truly awesome. By the way, you continue to be an inspiration, too. 🙂

  • Reply cynthia November 1, 2015 at 1:01 am

    Another long time lurker here. Just wanted to wish you well in your new life. I’m in SW Colorado and as soon as you’re comfortable driving come see us in the San Juan mountains. But, as I’m sure others have pointed out, the closest Ikea is in Denver!! Best Wishes.

  • Reply aoife gold November 1, 2015 at 4:20 am

    my sister put me onto your blog when I was doing up my first house. so in a non creapy way, clearly, I feel you are my friend. can I just say your post was done with dignity (shocked me here on this sunday morning in Dublin). fair focks. sometimes the worst thing is the best thing. I tip my hat to you and the next chapter. aoife xx

  • Reply Jane November 1, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Happy Birthday to a fellow Scorpio, mine is today. I bet you area having better weather than I am up here! You have had sooo many comments, what can I say? Wishing you the very best for the future!

    • Conie November 16, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Anna (and I) share birth dates and we are Libras, not Scorpios 🙂

      All the best to you, Anna – the adventures never ends. I’m ready for a new one and looking for a new house where I can celebrate my next bday,- I’ve read that the sixties are the new forties so I can’t wait!
      Happy belated birthday and all the best with your new life.
      “Courage lost, all lost”

  • Reply Charlotte November 1, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Long time reader, first time commenter- what a lot of change! Hope you’re excited for the next chapter of your life, wishing you all the best from london. Looking forward to seeing photos of your new place.

  • Reply katrina November 1, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    omg, i’m shocked. but heck, first and foremost, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANNA! i’ve missed your posts enormously. i don’t know what else to say except that i’m excited to read about your new adventures in new mexico. new mexico skies… wow, from what i’ve seen on tv (ahem, breaking bad), they’re breathtaking! oh, one more thing: you look Fabulous.

  • Reply kristy November 1, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Happy birthday Anna. I’m 40 very soon and slightly freaking out, but your positivity about so many changes in your life makes me feel slightly better 🙂

  • Reply vieves November 1, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    i’m in (good) tears, shocked. i am so inspired by and proud of you. i’m turning 40 in a year and a half and am trying to find the courage to break up with my partner of 17 years (!), and move away from here.
    happy birthday, you beautiful and brave person, you. i’m a longtime reader and can’t wait to follow along on your new adventure. also, i didn’t get my license until i was 35ish and still have one leg left to do (graduated licensing here in ontario) and i struggle with anxiety (and vegan to boot; really looking forward to the food posts, haha). YOU CAN DO IT! 🙂

  • Reply Kelly November 1, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Congratulations! I am about to turn 39 in a few weeks. To be honest, I dream of doing what you have done, but I lack the courage. I lived in Albuquerque for a couple of years for grad school.( I came from AZ, so it wasn’t much of a shock. ) The food is fabulous in nm, and the best thing is the green chilies ( which can be vegan). If you go to a restaurant and someone asks you “red or green” they are asking what variety of chili sauce – red or green. Both are wonderful. “Christmas” is a mix of both. Two of my classmates were from NY and also had to learn to drive for the first time. It was a major change, but they came to enjoy the culture and outdoor activities.
    Best wishes and let us know when you hear your first Espanola joke. 😉

  • Reply Vanessa November 2, 2015 at 1:28 am

    Happy birthday! That’s a lot of change all at once — but it does tend to come in downpours like that. I hope your transition to a new setting is smooth and exciting, and that the pains of separation (from your partner AND from New York) ease over time. Curious how you picked your new surroundings! Have you always been a fan of the desert/Southwest?

  • Reply victoria November 2, 2015 at 3:45 am

    Wowee, that’s a lot of changes. Happy Birthday! Being in the 40 (+) club myself, it’s not biggie in and of itself. I’m sorry for all the changes you’ve had at the same time, but in awe of your move, wowee, that’s really brave ad impressive, to me at least. I loved all our renos at the house, had dropped off for a while, but definitely want to hear more about the new home and life direction. Well done you and I hope you’re happy xx

  • Reply Cussot November 2, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    I learned how to drive at 43. It was fantastic. Just the thing after a mind-blowing change in your life. New neural pathways! And all that new space to drive in!

  • Reply Bonnie November 2, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    welcome to new mexico! I was born and raised in albuquerque, but moved away right after college. sometimes I miss the desert like crazy, and I’m totally jealous that you get to live there now. NM is such as weird and beautiful place! I have to admit I don’t know Portales at all, but I look forward to future blog posts so I can learn more about it. congrats on all the exciting life changes, and happy 40th!

  • Reply dani November 2, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    W.O.W… Good for you, you’ve got balls! can’t wait to read about your adventures xx

  • Reply Fritz November 2, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    watch out for Heisenberg

  • Reply enannanhelena November 2, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Here I sit in Sweden and realize that I haven’t really got any exact clue about where New Mexico is placed on the US-map, but I guess it’s not exactly next door to New York…

    Happy Birthday! Says a Swedish woman that’s been following you for at least five years, probably more. Can’t wait to see what your new life will bring you, and us – your faithful followers!


  • Reply Chrissy November 2, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU. You’ve made me a little less scared and a little more inspired to make some big changes.

  • Reply alex sunday November 3, 2015 at 3:48 am

    this just feels SO right. 🙂
    and happy birthday from a fellow 40 year old freelancer – currently working in my pyjamas with a glass of wine (it is 11pm here!)

  • Reply Celia November 3, 2015 at 10:31 am

    GUUUURRLLL, I hope I look half as good as you when I’m 40. Keep kicking ass, I love your blog.

    Happy belated birthday from Norway!

  • Reply Elise November 3, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Wow, so many changes! Happy 40th! I look very forward to hearing about your new life in NM (and in a small town, period). You are a very brave woman and an inspiration to so many! Please post about how the driving thing works out; my brother is 52 and has never had a license. I want to convince him to get one so he can help our parents out (since he lives with them). Hoping that it’s never too late to master this skill!

  • Reply Katie November 3, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Congratulations on all of the positive changes, and my condolences for any difficult times that led to this moment. Wishing you so much of the best, and really looking forward to reading about designing your new home and what your experience is like as a full-time freelancer.

  • Reply tanta November 3, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    well well well, I was sorta right sorta wrong when I wrote somewhere else that you’d be decorating another house soon. Just didn’t think it’d be like this! Congratulations are in order, Anna. It takes courage to pull up stakes in so many areas of your life at once, no matter what age. And to leave New York after 40 years is a big deal. I know because I did it after 40 years too, last year, but I’m much older than you. I moved to a little rural town in upstate NY, perhaps forever, perhaps as a transition. You’ll learn alot about yourself, what you love, and what you miss and everything in between. Hope to read about the journey as you take it.

  • Reply TC November 3, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    HOLY CRAP, that all certainly came as a surprise. Thank you for taking us (your readers) along with you. I’ve never been to New Mexico, but for some reason I’ve always had an affinity for it — I’ve always wanted to visit and have felt like it might be a place I’d really, really love (and even live there someday). Excited to read about your journey!

  • Reply coral November 3, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Wow, such big changes! If you start eating meat and attending church I’m going to get very worried, ha! Best wishes, onward and upwards!

  • Reply nicole November 3, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    That’s some real shit and I can relate. I haven’t posted in ages but am a long-time reader, have found myself riding a similar wave of upheaval and find your willingness to shake things up courageous. Life is short and the purpose of being here is to discover what truly makes you happy. I hope you are finding that, Anna. Courage, dear heart and big love on your journey. xo, Nicole

  • Reply jeannette November 3, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    long time reader, also an east coast girl re-settled in NM. courage, l’il buddy. (portales without a car is about the scariest thing I EVER HEARD.) let me know when you require a decent bagel recipe. xoxo

    • jeannette November 3, 2015 at 10:39 pm

      p.s. i’ll send you my excellent old ’70s georgia o’keeffe art book for inspo if you send your address:

  • Reply Misa November 3, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Earlier this year, I read the Zora Neale Hurston quote, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

    This year, for me, has been an answer. Not an easy or comfortable one, but an answer nonetheless.

    Maybe this is the same for you. Sending you lots of love and best wishes in your new journey.

  • Reply Connie C November 4, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Talk about INSPIRATIONAL!! WOW

    This post is SO upbeat & happy & full of excitement! The tone is fantastic! Happy 40th and ENJOY your adventure in New Mexico! (Drive carefully)

    I just turned 50 & hope to move from DC to Texas this year. Here’s to NEW LIFE!!

    ~Connie C.

  • Reply Wendy November 4, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Talk about starting over! I’ll join the chorus and say I am so impressed with your courage to uproot yourself like that and move someplace far away where you don’t have the connections yet (or do you?) I’m curious as to why you chose Portales. I’m sure we’ll find out soon. I’ve been a book jacket designer for a long time too and even though it’s an awesome way to earn your keep, I get in the mood to do something different but I lack your courage, at least for now. Can’t wait to see the house!

  • Reply Summer November 4, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Anna, I actually had to come back after first reading this post in order to process it before I commented, and I’ve never even met you in person. Because: WOW! First of all, happy birthday! Also, I’m very sorry to hear about your marriage; that can’t be easy. However, I’m very excited for your new adventure…when I read that you moved to a small town in New Mexico, I thought “Yes! That was the perfect thing to do!” You will probably look back on your move across country in a few years and be so incredibly happy that you decided on an adventure rather than what was so familiar. Best, best wishes and I’m, of course, looking forward to your new house…and everything else you decide to share on the blog! Oh, and, when you are feeling confident in driving, perhaps go on a tour of all the trading posts in the SW!?

  • Reply Chris November 4, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Holy cats. NYC to NM – the mind boggles. The light alone would be such a big change. Such a grand adventure. Looking forward to what you share. And welcome to 40. It’s not so bad up here.

  • Reply Emily o November 4, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Dude. Keep up the good work. I first found you’re blog at a pretty rough time in my life about 3.5 years ago. I don’t typically stick with blog following as focus has never been my forte. With door sixteen however, a girl had no choice. On account of your honesty, creativity, and integrity, many of your posts just resonated. So I’m sending my best of thoughts and feelings to you in this new chapter of your life. Embrace the changes, the sunshine and the life awakenings!

  • Reply Hilary November 4, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    You have moved to a beautiful state, go to Taos, oh the art in Santa Fe! Once you master driving come on up to Colorado and explore. And might I suggest Crested Butte for the wildflowers in the summer, there are also some awesome old wood floors. Best of luck on all your new adventures!

  • Reply Jemma November 4, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    WHOA!! Was NOT expecting that at all! Nothing to say really (after wide eyed blinking at the screen for several minutes!) except I admire you for taking such monumental steps to becoming the 40 year old you really want to be. Good luck with everything, although you seem to be fully in charge of making your own luck. x

  • Reply karen November 4, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Congrats on your new move. Your a days drive from Patty in Tuscon!

  • Reply Raquel November 4, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    This is so exciting! You are so brave. Cheers to a new beginning!

  • Reply Gillianne November 4, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    You can do Major Life Change! You have a lot of e-support, ready to applaud your victories large and small, in the house and on the road. It’s gonna be a great ride. Just remember to stay hydrated and keep moisturizer and lip balm at hand in that climate. 🙂

    btw, 40 is when my friends and I–now old enough to be your mother–began to feel truly at home in our skin.
    A question: if it’s not too personal, why Portales?

  • Reply sarah November 5, 2015 at 7:35 am

    Your courage for such a change is inspiring! Sending healing thoughts and inspiration your way on your fantastic journey, Anna.

  • Reply Batya November 5, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Anna! That’s AWESOME! Good for you. Or as the kids are saying now-a-days, YOLO. I’m two months younger than you are and I’m bracing myself for the big 4-0. Adding years around the sun to my number count is causing me some mental stress, but the benefits of age are rewarding and they come down to this: we find ourselves being fearless, intrepid, taking “good” risks, and we (usually) have the ability to sift through the nonsense in order to find what makes us truly happy and fulfilled. Four years ago, we stuffed all of our earthly belongings into a 12 foot truck and headed West leaving NYC behind (no small feat because we have a lot of history there thanks to a European ancestor who was probably being chased by a pogrom in 1880 and landed in Manhattan…but anyway). Our family started a new life in Denver, Colorado (hey neighbor!) and we’ve never looked back. Having the balls to do something you know will improve your life is the bonus of turning 40. Glad you’re in NM. Maybe you should open up a vegan restaurant (or come to Denver, it’s not *that* far). I can’t wait to see what inspires you and the remodel process. Enjoy your new surroundings! Happy birthday! And enjoy those breakfast burritos smothered with hatch chili. Yum.

  • Reply Nathan November 6, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and I’d just like to leave you with a word of encouragement! I really admire your courage in making such a big decision and I believe that your courage and determination will go a long way. I googled Portales, looked around the street view, and gasped audibly – can’t wait to hear about your adventures in a totally new environment! Best of luck with your future endeavors and hope the move has been (and will be) a smooth one!

  • Reply kara November 6, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    i am totally feeling this post – and so impressed and inspired by you! i turn 40 in two months and am just aching for a giant adventure. the big, empty, warm vistas of new mexico are the perfect place to stare down your next chapter. really looking forward to hearing about how it goes – and especially, to be honest, about how you navigate the loneliness (the monster under the bed of any adventure) of moving to a such a new and faraway land!

  • Reply kara November 6, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    also, please tell me you are renting one of those cute little adobe one-stories…

  • Reply Katie November 7, 2015 at 12:23 am

    Hey Neighbor! I’m just across the border from you in Friona (about an hour NE of Portales). I’m so excited that I stumbled across your blog. What fun it’s going to be to read about the New Yorker in New Mexico! You’re going to love it!
    You need to get yourself a subscription to New Mexico Magazine. It does a great job covering the different parts of the state, the activities, the culture, and the essence of the New Mexico spirit.

  • Reply annie g November 8, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Do you know…I wondered. I wondered a few months back. The very best of luck in your new life, your new ventures and your whole new world of sunshine. I shall continue to follow you with pleasure. I am old enough to be your mum (just…) and I wish you all the happiness in the world. Go create.

  • Reply penley November 9, 2015 at 3:36 am

    Good for you! I’m sure you can tell from your comments that you’ve got a whole lot of people cheering this fabulous life move from the sidelines. You’re going to have so many adventures! Please tell us why Portales though, we’re dying to know!

  • Reply Sanja November 10, 2015 at 2:59 am

    Your ability to make a lemonade out of really sour lemons amazes me. It is an inspiration for us all not to be afraid to start anew at any age (not that 40 is advanced age :-)). Happy birthday!

  • Reply Jordan November 12, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Congratulations! Now you’re even closer to the source for piñon coffee!

  • Reply robyn November 15, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Wow! I’ve been following your blog a while and am so surprised, impressed and inspired by your move. Happy 40th! I’m 47 and living in NYC and wondering if I have the courage to make a giant life shift like you’ve made. Brave lady. Wish you the best & can’t wait to see the house & life (driving!) transformations.

  • Reply dotty November 17, 2015 at 3:04 am

    Belated happy returns of the day and all best wishes for the wide open vistas of the next forty to come! May you have as many more exciting adventures and escapades as your heart could fit!
    Like many other commenters, I’ve been following your blog since way back when (in my case, it’s for the mutual love of MJ that brought me to Door Sixteen). I hope you won’t mind my mentioning that forty found me newly solo, out of my job, and moving into a new place after 14 years as well, but I STILL don’t know how to drive. You’re way ahead! Go go go Anna, we’ll all be cheering you on :)xx

  • Reply Bre November 19, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Congrats Anna! This will be so amazing and hard and good and challenging – like all things that make life worth living! A few years ago I went through something similar and I just can’t believe how much better my life is on the other side. I can’t wait to see how your journey unfolds. Good luck!

  • Reply monika November 20, 2015 at 12:17 am

    welcome to the southwest! I made the big move two months ago to texas (dallas-fort worth area) after living in seattle for 19 years and it was the best decision I ever made! change is GREAT! you’ll pick up driving really easily…I started up again in 2012 after stopping for nearly 15 years, plus you have the advantage of living in an area where i’m guessing traffic isn’t nearly as congested as it was in NY or the DFW area 🙂 life really DOES get better after 40…stupid as the cliché is!

  • Reply katy November 23, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Happy birthday and I’m looking forward to following your adventures in NM. One of my favorite places on earth.

  • Reply dee November 25, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Happy fortieth! I am staring 50 in the face and have made big changes in the last decade- just not quite so big as yours. All of them were well…. considered – Moving to a different area and then 8 years later a new house. Adopting a dog , then a second dog. Leaving a job that was okay, mostly, but came with a horrendous manager that lead to daily stress.Then taking a job with crappy hours, less pay and a much better boss( and less stress). All of them were hard in the interim except the dogs. All left me happier in the long run. Good luck – I have always wanted to live in New Mexico. ( maybe when 60 is staring me in the face?)

  • Reply Cindy Lin December 5, 2015 at 2:18 am

    Good for you! You are fabulous at 40. It is super scary. I’m sending myself on an exile next year, I feel a bit freaked out and crazy. But I figured whatever scares me should be worth doing. 🙂 And New Mexico is so great! I love the landscape there. Looking forward to see how your new adventures unfold.


  • Reply Karen December 12, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Whoa! I’m a long-time reader who hasn’t checked in in a while, and wow! What exciting news! Having past the 40 milestone quite a while ago, all I can say is “the best is yet to come”. I applaud your adventuresome decisions and look forward to see what you’ll be sharing. Happy belated birthday, too!

  • Reply Cate January 4, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    New York is the worse for your absence and Portales is the winner. Congratulations on your big move! Can’t wait for an update on driving and life in Portales.

  • Reply Christa January 5, 2016 at 11:14 am

    I am going to Taos for my honeymoon on May – can’t wait. New Mexico is beautiful and inspiring. Cheers to you!

  • Reply Jennifer January 7, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Just catching up on your blog as was very confused by all the New Mexico pix in your Insta feed. 🙂 Congrats on such a major life change in so many areas – work, relationship, home, etc. It must be scary as hell but also so liberating!! Curious as to how you landed in Portales, but I do still have catching up to do! All the best.

  • Reply Alana January 12, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I could not believe it when I read Portales, I actually know where that is (I am Canadian, I am rarely familiar with obscure American towns). Our dear friends live there, she is an artist/teacher, he is a prof at the university. They are pretty happy. Their only complaints are the food and having to drive literally everywhere.

    Good luck, I hope you are enjoying your new life. 40 is indeed a milestone. We never know where life will take us, full of surprises.

    • Anna @ D16 January 12, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      Haha, Alana, I gave met them!

  • Reply Stacey January 22, 2016 at 7:19 am

    I have been following your blog since I purchased my house about 8 years ago and googled ‘DIY UDDEN kitchens’ and well, the rest is history. I have drooled over the mutual love of penny round tiles, fauxdenzas, ikea, vegetarian chili, painted floorboards and subway tiles. With our renovations slowing down and our daughter growing up I haven’t looked at your blog since you sold your house and now when I should be going to sleep I check Facebook and see that you have moved to New Mexico – WOW! If you ever need a recipe – hit me up. I’m vegetarian but most of my recipes can be made vegan. I can’t wait to see what you do with this bandaid coloured place….these apples seem good to me!
    x Stacey

  • Reply Emily February 1, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Wow! I’m a longtime reader and rarely to never comment on anything, but really want to wish you luck with all the changes. You’ve really helped me identify my decorating style, and I live in the middle of nowhere in Arizona. I am so so excited to see your take on the Southwest.

  • Reply Hayley February 9, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    You are so brave. I do not think it is an accident that I discovered your blog in January after a trip to New Mexico and I am now trying to get up the courage to move there! My husband and I split after 9 years of marriage, I am heart broken, exhausted and in need of a fresh start. New Mexico is calling my name… Thank you for sharing this journey and for reminding me that I CAN do this.

  • Reply Christine May 26, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Anna – I’ve been a longtime follower of yours, but had my own life distractions this year and fell behind. I follow you on IG and noticed the move, but didn’t dig into your blog again until now. I realize I’m way late to the party but I wanted to echo the comments above and say how much I have appreciated your posts over the years, and how brave I think you are. I recently turned 30, am in the process of a divorce and keeping myself busy with work, my kiddo and our 1932 house that needs a lot of TLC 🙂 I’ve used your posts as inspiration on multiple projects in the past and I’m sure they will continue to help me as I tackle new ones. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I look forward to catching up on everything I missed during my hiatus from your blog, and watching your new adventures unfold real time. I love reading how you roll with all the curve balls life throws at you. You are truly an inspirational person and I wish you the best of luck wherever life takes you.

  • Reply No1uno June 12, 2016 at 1:51 am

    What an adventure you have begun. I think you will find this to be a rebirth of who you truly are. A wonderful change to feel things as new again and not be saddled with times hazards and bumps you can’t shed unless such a transformative action takes place. Live life as it is brand new. I have first hand experience in this and have found that the courage it took to take the action, gives you the strength to make life everything you dreamed of (because of our age, our dreams are real and we won’t settle). Although my new life began many years ago, I can say the life I built after, put the old one to shame. I’m sure yours will do the same. Good luck.

  • Reply Molly December 28, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    I credit you for getting me ‘into’ interior design. I have been following your blog for what feels like an eternity. As a result of my own separation, and divorce, it’s been a while since I’ve checked in (loaded statement.) Sending you a hug, and all the best on your new adventure. I can’t wait to watch us both grow! <3

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