The Unexamined Life..Of Your Coffee Table

I love to explore, I like to plan a whole day in a new place, it gives me a new perspective to return home with. Traveling has been an influence on everything in my home. Experiences bring my imagination to life and I love to daydream about all the possibilities.

I try to make the best of what I have to work with, in part out of care for our environment but also because every object has potential!

So in cultivating my blog over the years I’ve been exploring avenues that I enjoy. Some of the most exciting experiences I’ve had in my life I’ve been completely terrified of. Example: every single place we traveled in California had to be on the side of a mountain, and I am not a fan of heights. Am I glad I did them, yes. Was it terrifying, also yes! College, scary, did that too. Living with other people I didn’t know, scary, did that. Running for a town political role, suuuper scary but also exciting! Buying a home, scary, but extremely rewarding!

So what I’ve been doing lately has been designing a business. Im terrified. I really don’t like change. I have a pretty cushy job, and a pretty easy life. What business do I have trying to mix that up? Well the goal has been to step out of my comfort zone, to give the world a chance to understand what it is I want to give back to it and to try to live my best life!

So here it goes…

Background: I grew up an only child. Which requires me to answer the question, how did you like being an only child? I’ll be honest, it was fine. I pretty much had my imagination to entertain me, instead of another human. I think it also made me look closer at myself (critically) and also the relationship I had with other people. My fatal flaw is people -pleasing. While my parents were older from start, I had to grow up relatively quickly, with a few challenges. Mom had mental health issues, Dad had some workaholic issues. Everyone has issues, but it made my story, and shaped a lot of my strengths.

Neither parent really cared about our living space outside of whether it was clean(it was very dysfunctional). So I found myself making my bed, fluffing my stuffed animals and putting my own decorative towels in the bathroom for when guests came over. Right… I know, people pleaser. They didn’t see the value of a well designed home space. They did have some taste (sort of) Dad was kind of hippy, which now in the era of mid century modern times has found its way back in vogue (go Dad). Mom was more artist, mixed with Greek iconography. So my house was a shmorgusboard if hippy, Jesus and artwork. Not the most cute assembly of furniture pairing. Lots of random paint splatters, brushes and equipment… but it was home.

What I found myself doing in my younger years was constantly reorganizing my own space. My room was like my safe place. The family didn’t always get along, and life wasn’t always roses and sunshine. I tried to stay positive, keep my own space in order and looking as good as I could have it with the resources I had. I remember the feeling of seeing the redesigned space. It was like a breath of fresh air. The odd thing was remembering where everything was placed in the new arrangement. It was necessary to use what I had to work with because asking for something deemed “unnecessary” was more aggravating than making the best of it. In a lot of ways this allowed me to utilize the things I had creatively. I credit the rents with giving me a hard time enough that I had no choice but to make my own designs.

So here I am adulting and trying to find my purpose, and recycle, and drink enough water, and meet my personal goals, you know, be responsible (eye rolling emoji). What I’ve found is that I really want to help people live in the space they feel the most at home. Some people see the value in simplicity while others want their Pinterest dreams to come true. I’ve just found a happy balance of function and artsy, with unique hand made peices. What I’ve always wanted is my space to feel comfortable to anyone who enters. After years of trial and error I think I’ve achieved my design goals.

What is so counter intuitive to so many of my friends and family is making their space work for their family while still meeting their asthetic goals. I’ve always loved Martha Stewart, and I’m a huge fan of HGTV. The difference between my inspirations is that I try to incorporate personal experiences into spaces.

So many designers make your kitchen look like a home and garden magazine but fail to reflect the people who live there. One thing I love is holding the mirror up and saying you are, where you live. Your space is part of your health. Your wellness is directly related to your environment, and for me, I find clarity in order, and reorganization.

Part of the journey I am on in life is bringing my life experiences into my living space, as a reflection of who I am, where I’ve been and what I love.

I have so many photographs of my better half, Joe and I. I have pictures of our cat. I have my mothers artwork, our grandparents wedding photographs, friends, family, trips we’ve been on etc. Our kitchen has been completely redone (by us), and is now pig themed, subtly. before

(Two different times of year so bare with the decor in these pictures)

Our chandelier is restored from basically a dumpster to full beauty (Joe deemed it to be trash).

We built our own bar, we built our headboard, our kitchen island, our entry bench, our master bedroom bench. We redesigned our bathroom fixture. We built custom shelving, we built our ottoman, we’ve upcycled more stuff than we’ve bought. I’m proud of that.

Everything in our home has a story, and it’s about who we are and what we love.

We have made a beautiful space using mostly what we had, and adding our own spin. Our molding may not have perfect lines, although he did a very nice job for a beginner! Our life might not be exactly what you see in a magazine but it has cracks that came with weathering. My favorite part about our home is our life in it. After so many life experiences it’s easy to lose track of where you’ve been. I find a memory around every corner in the lake house that we love.

So I am officially beginning the exciting (and scary as hell) adventure of starting a consulting company for interior decorating, with a focus on life experience, and functional needs. I love to be reminded of all the fun I’ve had. I love my family, and my friends and I make it a point to focus on the positivity both in my life and in my home space. I have helped so many people see positivity and opportunities in their space so they can grow into it or shift into a better arrangement.

As for the coffee table, we turned it into an ottoman.

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Palm Springs- Cali forni yahhh!

When you drive into the dessert-y-seemingly uninteresting route for about an hour in the dark, only to come across perfectly placed palm trees, underlit, you enter into the parallel time of 1970s glamorous Palm Springs!!

This place like many others in Cali have this odd nostalgic romantic aura all around. It wasn’t a mirage, it was like Las Vegas, in that it offered a destination in a place that was so unexpected without the strung out Vegas vibe. Surrounded by mountains, this dessert city had so many facets of Americana proper.

Granted we only had a full day of exploration, but we truly loved the time we had.

The must do list:

1. Relax.

It was vacation and yes even the most exciting adventurers were in search of a good soak. It’s actually science.

We soaked in the hot spring fed pools at the Miracle Springs Hotel and Spa. In all honesty it was not the Ritz; the room was dated and there was a plastic spoon behind the night stand that had become part of the rug, but the pools made up for it.

Our room overlooked the courtyard with 8 different pools, with a fake background, I mean mountains in the back (seriously the mountains did look fake!) All of these glorious pools were different temperatures and were heated naturally by underground hot springs. After the previous 2 days of 45,913 steps and plenty of car time, our bodies were in heaven in this little oasis!

I wouldn’t recommend the hotel for a lavish experience, but if you need a good soak after a long journey then it’s 100% the place to stay.

It was cold at night and extremely windy, but once you get in the pools, it’s like warm hug!

Obviously I need a hot tub or at the very least a proper soaking tub… next house goals!

2. Tacos in full color!

….Because obviously my goal was usually tacos. So the next day we planned the day around soaking, lunch, and leisurely shopping. Also, dinosaurs but I’m getting ahead of myself.

After waking up and soaking for a few hours, we checked out and headed to lunch at (in my opinion) the ideal Palm Springs ambiance! It was like where you expect the lucky charms leprechaun to hang out, the skittles commercials to be filmed, the artists to be in their element… etc. It sure was colorful!

Bonus that they had these awesome Barbie (my favorite) modern art displays in their lobby.

What I loved the most about this was the mid-century modern design that was so authentic to the town. It had a certain joie de vivre unlike anywhere else; freedom, excitement and culture! It felt like a place made for tv. I suppose that is why movie stars loved Palm Springs. It’s a strange but comfortable get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

But the tacos….

were fresh!

And so the glorious experience came to an end…but actually just lunch.

3. Vintage shopping

Every Pinterest girl knows, that the best vintage clothes are in California and the capital of vintage shopping is clearly Palm Springs, or at least Pinterest told me (so it must be true)!

I’m going to be honest I was semi-obsessed with this particular location and was thus on a mission to find it. It wasn’t easy, in fact my poor sense of direction and little knowledge of anything in the area didn’t help, but we finally located it, after a little bit of round about walking. I will say I was surprised that there were not rows of glorious vintage charm shops lining the streets but I suppose we all have expectations. This store did not disappoint!!! If you are looking for the most fabulous classic Haute couture peices, at pretty reasonable prices, then The Fine Art Of Design is a must!!!

Did I mention I’m now officially obsessed (moreso than before) with hat boxes. I need to calm down. This place was quintessential vision. I loved it! I didn’t find the “can’t live without item” I was hoping for but in all honesty it was the experience of it that I can wrap myself up in. The pieces were cultivated and chosen with such care as if chosen for a personal closet rather than for resale.

I think I felt so comfortable here because across the street from a French cafe was a Greek cafe and marketplace, and so my Greek and French heritage was finally on the same page, or at least the same street. Everything made sense and all was in alignment…

I could go on and on, but ultimately it was a colorful day full of zest and high fashion vintage and tacos, what else is there?

4. Du du du dinosaurs!

Yes Pee Wee had a big adventure, and so did we!

We really didn’t stay long, because we knew we had to arrive at Joshua Tree for our next destination before dark, as instructed by our Air BnB host. Spoiler: we stayed in an airstream in the desert and it was awesome!

However like the great dinosaurs of Peewee’s Big Adventure we had to go out with a bang, or was it the ice age? It was definetly getting cold…. ( I didn’t see the movie) either way we found our way out of the dinosaurs and into the desert… and onto the next adventure.

So long Palm Springs you sexy dessert flower! Not only was it a cool laid back groovy experience but the dessert of Palm Springs also made clean energy, for all my green friends! These turbines were rad!

Thanks for reading! Hope you liked it! We sure did!

Leave a comment! Send feedback! Definetly check out Palm Springs if you ever get the chance, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen, felt or done!

Next up… Joshua Tree!

Cali-forni- yahhh part II (Adventures in San Diego)

San Diego

Goals: Art, Tacos & Sea Lions

Picking up from Laguna, we drove right into San Diego. At night it wasn’t much to see, a city with lights, but no wow factors.

It wasn’t “late” but the time was 10:30-11pm which to our east-coast-bodies thought was more like 1-2am. We arrived at our next Air BnB, a bit confused since we were in an area that seemed to be an industrial park…

(Side note: we also had a really hard time finding our first Air BnB in Venice but it was only because we were tired and it was sort of a sneaky gate entrance.)

So we knew this BNB has specific directions from the confirmation email. You had to go into a gated parking garage (with a code) walk to a specific wall, to a lock box (another code), get the key, exit the parking garage, drive down another street to enter the parking garage then find the specific condo # parking spot. At that point we were cranky.

We eventually figured it out… and proceeded to our least exciting Air BnB condo. It was just vanilla. Nothing grand or special; it was clean thoug

We then proceed to pass out (dead) from our long exciting, fun filled day, with the next day’s plan ready to be implemented.

Lesson 1 of San Diego-Leave a trail of bread crumbs when you leave the condo…

First one up gets the coffee, so that was me. I spotted a Starbucks on our way in the night before. I took the key and carefully snuck out because being the good girlfriend that I am I decided I’d surprise Joe wth breakfast and coffee… I proceeded to Starbucks were the gentleman named my cup “Rabbit” because Robyn didn’t register for some reason (haha). If this wasn’t a sign that I’d gone down the rabbit hole I don’t know what was.

So I left, walked around a different path, thinking I was checking out the area. Wrong! So I went back in, swiping the key fob, only to get to the elevator and….no dice. The key fob didn’t work. We were on the 4th floor. So naturally I took the stairs, coffee and breakfast in tow. Once I arrived at the top, I was yet again locked out. Joe was definetly still sleeping, so I couldn’t very well wake him.A gentleman came out to the stairs probably on the same mission I was (caffeine), and had no access to the top floor because he didn’t live there (weird). So smart girl that I am, I returned back to the scene of the crime (the garage from the night before). Upon arriving I get into the nearest elevator (because why would it matt which elevator you take up) key fob still isn’t working. The custodian nicely swiped me in. Finally!

I was en route to eat my yogurt parfait in peace.. I get to the door, insert the key…. yes this was the right room number 407. Insert the key. Nope, said key did not work.

This is the same building I walked into with Joe and used this same key less than 12 hours ago! Now it’s time to wake the bear. What exactly was going on!? I was half-way through my large cold brew and so I know I was fully functional. Did someone send me to the twilight zone!??

I call joe. “I’m at the door can you open it…”

Joe- “ummmm no you aren’t”.

“I was in the parking garage, I took the elevator, I walked down the hallway, I’m at 407, the number is on the door”.

Joe- “uhhh you definetly are not.”

“Ok let’s try this again”….

Down the elevator.

Into the garage.

Around the corner.

Into the courtyard, in through the door I went out originally this morning. The pool was on my left…

Up the elevator. Nope it’s not working again… to the stairs.

Someone is coming out, I go in. Calling Joe-

“okay I’m here, 407, open the door”Joe, “Nope you aren’t, do you want me to come get you”….

“No! I will figure this out…”I finally found our actual room after the 4th or 5th attempt. In doing so I learned the buildings were identical; same numbers and amount of floors, but you each one was actually separate from the rest. That was the reason my key card would only work on one elevator. Extremely stupid.

So we proceed to exit the Air BnB with a scathing review of the insanity we faced both during the light of Day and at night, the rubik’s cube hotel was now behind us. First stop on our Journey through San Diego was La Jolla.

La Jolla

Not to be confused with La-Jol-a. Pronounced La-hoy-ya. (Thanks mom!)

So we arrived early (about 9:30am), we started our walk from children’s pool which was originally created for kids to swim in a protected space, then later became the hot hang out for the Seals.

As you can see the seals were quite happy. There were even babies!!!

We walked from here all the way down to Jim’s Sea Cave!

We walked down the steps to a cool little ocean cave.

From there we continued exploring all the way to Jim’s.

Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave was on the itinerary because it was originally created during the prohibition era. Yes the boardwalk empire on the east coast had some rivals!

145 Steps of man made cave was no small feet back in the day!

So that was pretty cool, a little history a little exercise and a lot of steps!

We definetly worked up an appetite and were ready to tear up some Tacos!

So we opted to walk around a bit and see the shops around La Jolla en route to The Taco Stand.

We have now officially checked off Seals and Art (a little art) from the list….

About the tacos..

Were they the best tacos ever? Maybe! The place was cool, cafeteria style but man were those some good tacos! Also the guacamole was top notch!

We were now off to Balboa Park, but not before stocking up on snacks, water, and miscellaneous items we needed for Joshua Tree- Yosemite. So we stopped to pick that list of stuff up and were on our way!

We had wanted to see a bit more of the gas lamp district and in fact had initially booked our AirBnB right in the center of it, but sadly they cancelled on us last minute…

Balboa Park

As we entered there was a building size pipe organ and a small concert being performed.

The architecture was clearly Spanish and Greco Roman romanticism; I mean look at the detail! So beautiful!

Joe wanted to check out the fine arts museum and I saw Frida hanging on the wall… for those of you you don’t know who Frida is…. she’s a hero. She paved the way for a specific form of art that was self expressive, political and just down right baller. Check out the Frida Kahlo exhibit if it ever comes through your city.

So I went to see Frida.

Second lesson of San Diego– just ask.

We enter the building, pay for our tickets, go through the exhibit listed Frida…

Not. One. Portrait.

So I asked, and as it turns out the tuesday prior they sent the exhibit back to Paris.

Sad, but there was other art so we moved on. The building was incredible and we officially checked art off the “San Diego goal bucket list”.

Next stop Botanical Garden!!

I was on a mission though, Pinterest made me obsessed with these colorful steps. I swear Pinterest is always to blame.

My mission was find the colorful steps in the Spanish Village, which was pretty complicated to find based on the map…but we made it!!

This was kind of a marketplace of goods and art and it was everything I hoped for!!

It basically had hand painted steps. The candy land of America. It was amazing! Simple but effective design.

So we had seen art, the botanicals and the Spanish steps, but that wasn’t all… then we hoped to check out some local breweries since the city is known for their craft brew game. We also had 2 more beaches and at least one coffee shop to check out before heading to our next destination.

We decided coffee first, then we needed to get to the Torrey Pines / Black’s beach at sunset to get the full effect and we were running short on both energy and time.

Landing at the amazing Cafe Bassam we enjoyed European style coffee and flair.

We opted for coffee instead of beer, and we were off, back toward the Coast to finish the day with some amazing views.

We arrived at Torrey pines which on a clear day overlooks Orange County, and all the way down to Tijuana.

This is where some people (not me) paraglide off the high cliffs all the way down to La Jolla proper. It’s pretty spectacular except for those of us who are afraid of heights.

Here you can see a small group of specs near the water, and yes those are people.

We were at least a thousand feet up. Or a million in my scared mind.

On that terrifying cliff there were some pretty spectacular views, although not the most amazing sunset. Still, we closed the day with this grand San Diego cliff and just like that, we had made the most of a beautiful day in San Diego.

6:00 pm we left for our next adventure to the retro- fabulous dessert sanctuary of Palm Springs. There are 9 days total of this glorious Californiadventure and 7 to go…

19,708 Steps

30 flights of stairs

Seals. Tacos and Art.

✌🏻until next time San Diego.

We learned lessons and we had fun, but we didn’t get to check out a brewery or see the Gas Lamp district, so we’ll have to go back someday! The rest of the journey is coming soon! Like, share, comment and follow for more adventures, inspirations and sentiments. Let me know what you think! I love to hear from you!

Next… up Palm Springs!

Ciao!

Mind Over Your Matters

Have you been paying attention to yourself lately? It’s a funny thing that we constantly put people in our lives ahead of ourselves and wonder why we get headaches, sickness etc. Women are especially guilty of this kind of selfless behavior because of our (maybe natural) inclination toward care-taking. We need to cut ourselves off! If we can’t take care of ourselves, do we expect others to? (We shouldn’t.)

In our world today we face trauma daily; in the news, in our community, maybe at work, definetly on social media, and yet do we know how that affects us? If we have become desensitized to some of the usual broadcasts than what does that mean for our well being? It is a learned condition to be at a heightened awareness during times of danger. Our fight or flight response is both adrenaline with cortisol and ladies it not only makes us fat, but it makes us tired and generally unwell. We need less trauma, and less drama!

So what do you do to lower your stress if you have so much stress!? How can you enjoy the life you have now and not in the rear view…You have to get your mind over your matters.

First things first: look at your day and ask yourself how much time do you spend checking in with yourself? I do it at least 3-4 times a day. I need to. For the time being, I work with a population of people who have emergency after emergency. Maybe they are getting evicted, maybe they lost their job, but whatever the case, by the time they come to see me they are in a desperate situation. It’s not easy to manage other people when you haven’t checked in with yourself. You have to, like they say on a plane, secure your oxygen mask before assisting others.

Which brings me to my second extremely important concept. Breathing. When is the last time you took a full deep breath? It seems silly but when we are stressed we take shorter, lighter breaths and this doesn’t allow your body to flourish. Here are reasons to inhale properly… and trust me when I tell you that you will feel better. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to take a deep breath. If I find myself getting aggressive or irritated I try to check my breathing because it really can realign you. Also the more oxygen the less wrinkles… it’s science.

If someone asks you what brings you joy? Could you answer them?

Take a few minutes and jot down things you like to do… now, make time for them! I say it over and over to everyone I talk to, that you need to have you time! You need to be happy, for your sanity, and for the sake of your loved ones. I’ll give you an example. I went through about 2 and a half years of very dark, very unhappy times. My father died, he left a mess of an estate, my mother was dependant on me, I was balancing my feelings like an iceberg.

It was clear that things needed to change and I knew they would. Sometimes we face trials, and sometimes we create them because we are too wound up. We get ourselves involved and react quickly because we haven’t checked in about why this triggers us? Or maybe we know and yet we are falling into the same negative pattern. Stop this habit.

I know for me, I needed to separate myself from the problems I was facing. I knew when I removed myself, mentally, and didn’t own those issues, I could tackle them more effectively. It’s a neat trick about taking your mind over your matters and realizing that you are not your problems. You are a beautiful human doing what errands life has given you. Some have more to shovel than others.

Build meaningful relationships. If a relationship you have isn’t serving you, why keep nurturing it? I’m not suggesting you tell your friend that, since she’s been busy, we no longer have a friendship. The reality is people are doing the best they can. If you are finding that someone is too needy, or the relationship is strained because they always have to be right, or just generally exhausting, just stop. I see so many wonderful women in my life giving into feeling bad because they can’t do everything in their romantic relationship. Yet, they never question the other party!? I think ladies, if you need a break from feeling exhausted in your friendships, or in your romantic relationship…You don’t need to say it outloud.

You simply need to stop, think about your needs and say, okay I’m going to change something.

Ladies we are all (or at least most of us) guilty of staying in a relationship with someone too long, or letting one surface that we aren’t really sure about. This is selfish, and in a way it’s destructive. We shouldn’t be staying in romantic relationships simply because we are that age, or we want it to work, or it’s gotten better. No! These situations lead down a road of greater unhappiness later.

My example is being in a relationship with someone who checked off all the boxes in my superficial needs list (minus the good looking box)… he bought me presents, he was thoughtful (when he screwed up) and he strung me along. This isn’t love, people. He was not only the wrong partner but he wasn’t even a very good friend. He was jealous, mean, and why did I tolerate that? I was used to it. I didn’t know my worth and I let it go on for too long because it had already gone on for too long. In hindsight I lost a lot of opportunities to grow during that time…. but it was a valuable lesson!

When it finally ended it was like a breath of fresh air, and a relief. Sure I was sad, only because I was used to this person being on call, or checking in or whatever. It was super unhealthy and I know now where I went wrong. I didn’t listen to people who cared about me.

So what’s the point of this story? Don’t date jerks (easier said than done)? More like if you know in the back of your mind it’s not right, you’re right. If your actual friends agree with what you probably already know, then get out! Your life matters, you should be happy, you shouldn’t feel weighed down by the relationships you have, romantic or otherwise. They should be easy.

Not only should you be making meaningful connections in love but also in general. Find people who have good souls, and keep them. I learned this lesson, many times. Sometimes we try to categorize our circle as if we need a reason to be with the people we surround ourselves with. No! We aren’t “the plastics” (‘Mean Girls’ reference) we don’t need to be friends with people because we perceive them as better than we are! We need to be friends with them because they add value to our lives. If they don’t add something… ask yourself why you like them, if they are simply an acquaintance that’s okay! Not everyone needs to be your friend. You can just be friendly!

I find this overarching theme in my life being that I really, genuinely, like a lot of people, and therefore I want to be around them and yet I know I have 3-5 people I could call in the event of an emergency. Being a friend and having friends involves some give and take.

You find out during great times and during terrible times how the people in your life fit. I know now what qualities in people I value and what qualities I’d rather not get involved with. I suppose you learn this as you get older in general. I feel for my poor stupid 12 year old self… (man was she a push over). To a degree you live and you learn. Never compromise on supportive shoes, or friends… because both will be a pain after a while..

I was recommended a podcast by my cousin who is not only one of the healthiest people, but also extremely intelligent and trendy (highest praise)! I’m sharing it because I gave it a try and I was pleasantly surprised. I found out that some of the concepts I’ve been mentioning in the blog are mainstream and relevant (or maybe it just reinforces my general outlook). His show touches upon things such as finding your tribe, getting clear on your purpose, your needs and healthy habits. Life amplified with Dan Mason is the podcast. I found it to be honest, and in line with alot of what I talk about here. Check it out!

Bottom Line(my mom’s favorite line) :

Self care is key. Get yourself to the nearest mirror and ask yourself how you are doing then get your mind over your matters! You have the power to change your mind and your life!

If you liked this blog, please share it with a friend you think might need a boost!

Check @everynowandthenct out on Instagram and find some of my favorite designs, foods, places and just about everything!

Find inspiration and then make your own!

Thanks for checking out the latest blog and stay tuned for what’s coming up!!

How to Break Your Stress Cycle… (and other adulting hazards).

When did you decide this was it? Did you wake up today and decide this is exactly what you meant to do? Well from 7:00am-5:30pm, Monday through Friday I do not. Then, after my day is over, I return to what I meant to do with my time. I know what you’re thinking: You’re Batman?! Sadly, no. I’ve managed to micromanage myself into a clear cycle… one which must be broken!

Here we go!

I go home, and proceed with the rituals established when I started a 9-5… (exercise, make dinner…you see where this is going). If you have kids you already know the struggle. Butthis is not a parental story, this is self imposed insanity! Arguably worse because there is no small child to blame for why I am so burnt out. (Sound familiar, friends?) I digress.

On the weekends I have the luxury of relaxing right?

Absolutely not.

I’m cleaning. I’m prepping. Yes, I’m having a little (carefully scheduled) fun. But all the while thinking: “I need to do something productive so I’m not ‘stressed out’ this week.”

Yes some might say this is anxiety in full form; stressing about feeling stressed. I happen to think it’s a condition that being in the modern workforce instills in us. It’s the fear…

What is the fear?

You’re afraid to be late.

You’re afraid you’ll get fired.

You’re afraid you aren’t meeting the goals.

You are afraid that you might derail your diet or whatever limits you’ve placed on yourself.

You’re afraid of drama in the office, or just nervously watching your back because fake-friend-Terry (not a real person) is going to snap at any moment.

Afraid of your boss.

Afraid of offending someone.

Afraid of growing old.

Afraid of being a disappointment or failing your team.

Just plain old strung out and scared for Monday…. All throughout your weekend… as you fly from errand to errand, carefully making sure to stay within your budget, while you grocery shop with the rest of the working class crowd.

Then FOMO (“fear of missing out”: for the real adults) kicks in, and you realize you spent so much time being afraid you only really have 1 day or maybe mearly hours of your weekend left. Those precious hours of recharging or just being “yourself” are quickly evaporating. Now that you’re really triggered, you’re scrambling to make the most of what is now the end of your Sunday. You realize that you still have to return to your daily “grind”…and the fun sizzles right out…

So why are we hard wired with the fear?

In a book I recently read called Tribes it addresses the fear as a manifestation of a “sheepwalking life”. Basically, if you deviate from your self imposed or office imposed “norms” then you get the fear. The fear is not defined in the book but I thought it was valuable to mention.Throughout this book I find it outlandish and yet romanticized to consider changing up the “status quo”, and forge a not-so-cookie-cutter path. However I don’t know when I’ll have time… (But if you are ready to change or or perhaps already have, the book is compelling and worth a look! Back to my point…)

Insert sadness…

Then sadness and reality is the next stage: It’s Sunday. That Friday-feeling has completely turned into your meal prepping Sunday blues…

How do you make a mark on the world with 2 days off (if your job is insignificant) and when 79% of the total 2 days is spent stressing out about the week ahead?

Regret, here it comes people…

It is during this point that you decide to sulk. You have to return to real life and yet you feel that you hardly got started. Suddenly the high school math homework nightmares seem like they really could have been the answer. You should have gone to school for something “better”… and the Monday-dread wouldn’t be this bad. Bargaining with yourself is also a stage of grief… (just saying).

So the cycle continues…

How do you break the cycle of adulting stress? I have a couple of simple solutions to get your needs met and live a little!

1. Make a list of happy wants and needs.

Yes I want to clean out my closet. I do not need to do that to function on Monday. Make your list work for you!

Use categories:

  • Things you want to see this weekend: A movie? An art exhibit? A new park in town? Yes the world exists outside of Facebook, you need to get there!
  • Things you want to do for peace of mind: (see above cleaning of the closet.) There is a lot to be said for good living space vibes and fung shui.
  • Goals are always good. They make us feel like we must pay attention to them. If you need to set goals to see a movie, do it!

2. Make time for yourself ALONE, no social media allowed.

  • The latest Facebook rant can wait for 45 minutes. You need time for you.
  • Find a quiet space and just hang out with your fur baby, or read, or be still. Meditation is an idea but something tells me you aren’t there yet.
  • Gather your thoughts. Focus your attention on what your body is telling you. Maybe you need a pedicure, and it’s clear…
  • Give yourself the break you need, don’t harp on the things that aren’t getting done. You don’t NEED to do everything.

3. Try something new.

  • I promise: It’s hard but it’s rewarding. Try a new route to the grocery store. Try a new recipe. Try to step outside your comfort zone and feel uncomfortable. I assure you it’s a step in the right direction. You need this!
  • Change the routine in a way that allows you to get your needs met and gives you new perspective. Maybe you just needed to do your grocery shopping online for once, from the luxury of your couch. So what if it costs $10 for delivery! You deserve a break!

4. Do something you care about, if you don’t know what that is… take the first step.

  • Maybe you always wanted to learn a language. Try it!
  • Maybe you like to paint or draw or some art inspired thing. Do it!
  • Maybe you really want to give back to your local community.
  • Maybe you just want to spend time looking for ideas for a new project.

Burnout is born when we give up our time for things we don’t care about.

We must actively pay attention to what our thoughts and our body and our lives are telling us. I know personally, I’ve been known to overdo it. I have to check myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed and bring it back to home base.

Perspective is how you look at things, but self reflection is how you choose your path. You can conquer the things you think are looming and have a life! You can look at it as a positive or a negative but you still have to show up on Monday…

Remember! You decide how to spend the time you have. Once you find yourself in the cycle, I hope you dance (I mean stop it from spiraling)! If you need an intervention phone a friend, make a plan, but don’t sit idle and suffer through a weekend of the same stressors. You need to recharge and you don’t need to be everything to everyone!

Now get out there and be free to own your freedom!

Trading Flowers for Adventure

Seeing how it’s Valentine’s Day and the social networks will be flooded with a million women’s flowers from significant others or chocolates or date nights… etc, I would like to admit, I too am guilty. I’m guilty of posting the obligatory picture of flowers, cards etc. adding to the multitudes of flower pics hashtags and all.

This year for Valentine’s Day I’m not getting flowers, and it’s not because he doesn’t love me, but it’s because I took the wheel and decided that this year was going to be different!

This year instead of flowers, wine and unnecessary (but still cute gifts) I planned a 10 day adventure in Southern California…

February in Connecticut was just cold enough to give you cabin fever and we did get a few good warm beach-y days here, but it’s better than a beach! Now, obviously not everyone wants to see the world, and not everyone wants to spend Valentine’s Day in the hottest, lowest altitude point of the world…(bad jokes are coming) I definetly don’t feel like the lowest person in the world.. haha… (get it?)

Anyway it’s beautiful and exciting and dangerous! It’s a lot better than a box of chocolates and flowers. It’s memories.

I believe that gifts are nice, but when you give someone adventure, they remember those moments for a lifetime. I will not remember the flowers (although they are always beautiful), I won’t remember th chocolates (sad) or the wine (double sad), but I will always remember my Valentine’s Day in Death Valley.

Not only is this place a natural phenomenon but movies like Star Wars were shot here. Some of the great western classics were shot here. The most incredible story was of a woman, who happened to have a flat tire, here in the Death Valley junction. She found an old opera house (which is next to a haunted but cool looking town) and decided to stay and buy the place. She was a successful ballerina in New York City and in the 40s (or around there since the details were loose), she came into the bar at the restsraunt we ate at last night. She would come in regularly and an artist decided to honor her with this painting.

As it happened she then became world renowned for her opera house in the desert which would draw people and critics from all around the world. And to think… a person with a flat tire would do all that…

So let’s just hold off on the flowers and start believing in our hearts that we don’t NEED flowers and instead we need to be ourselves, let free into the world to see and do everything we want! I still want flowers to decorate my home, I still like chocolate and I still will probably hashtag something Valentine’s Day-y but, the point is, don’t settle for anything less than adventure!

He/ she needs to give you wings to fly and I’m sure the flowers will serve as a reminder that you can totally start your own world renowned opera house in the desert. Support the ones you love and be true to yourself. This year I’m doing all the things with the people I love, and maybe we’ll see some dessert flowers on our journey.

We love basic vanilla!

So here’s a quick run down of the last few years of color trends. We don’t even realize, but from decor, to what we are wearing there are color schemes, on trend. I’m almost certain if you are a regular manicure lover you acknowledged these subtle changes. Yes cherry chutney will never die, no, that’s not all!

First it was teal, I’m sorry sea foam green and coral, together. Circa 2012-2015 or so…
We look back and think that was a little much… like Lily Pulitzer could pull it off, but not my kitchen.

Then suddenly the 80s! What the hell are kids today trying to do! The only good thing the 80’s brought us was Madonna and leggings (I still do like warm up socks), but the point is, the bleached mom jeans, neon colors and disco lifestyle was a little hectic. I’m glad it didn’t make a full come back.

Then… “mid-century” the 70s, I mean it’s okay. I’m not a big fan of orange and green, but the plants I will accept.

However! My dad, bought a lamp, and this lamp is one of those overhanging lamps that has a marble floor mount. It is quintessential “mid century” but it’s what the hipsters call authentic. Let me tell you, it’s back people!

Those frugal baby boomers did it, their style from their 20s-30s is officially back, and they managed to keep it under plastic so it’s in mint condition!! Just kidding but that lamp lives on, and I’m surprised in some ways but it was a pretty easy transition style. Simple white overhang, gold frame and marble base. I digress, it’s a cool lamp.

Somewhere in the middle of trying to decide which decade we like better, 50 shades of Grey… out with the beige in with the grey… all the Grey! Grey walls grey handbags, grey lifestyle people! This is not a drill!

Well at least now or at least as of lately the Scandanavians are influencing our lives, with the semi-new trend of Hygge . Pair that with the wellness mantra we totally need in the U.S, high blood pressure / heart conditions on the rise, and boom!

Minimalism. Tiny houses. Total confusion! Total simplicity!

White. The color that truly isn’t a color. That was 2017s favorite! I’ll admit it was a confusing time in America, but it’s tried and true like vanilla, it goes with everything and it’s easy to change later!

Blame the millenials for getting everything they wanted, if you want. Blame post- mondernism if you’re into that, but whatever you do, do not think this will leave quickly. White, beige, grey.

We love neutral because #hygge !

Finally, a lifestyle to fix all the greed, boring, but light and airy. Clean, but lacks substance.

Do minimalists still shop at Costco for toilet paper, and where would they store it?

All very real questions, related to our favorite basic vanilla colors.

Now for the dramatics, yes it’s official the 2016 color and all the way through 2017 was Blue, not just any blue, but a deep ocean blue. Blue and white, the contrast we love! Some say it’ll be back like the China pots we all of a sudden loved again from the late 80s/90s.

So everyone likes to guess what’s next and I’m sorry but I really want the shabby chic, farmhouse to stay a little longer!

Clothing is different the 90s has returned and I don’t know about you guys but I really didn’t like velvet the first time around, but now… I’m not sure. I do a little.

New-old- nostalgia-like concepts have been a feature of style, art, music, design, decor. It is often that we recycle these trends in an effort be reinforce the feelings of the past, like a Christmas tree ornament. We love that warm hygge feeling.

Frankly I’m excited for the new colors on the chopping block, purple, possibly a forever romance color, it’s warm, inviting and rich. Obviously it’s going to pair easily with grey and white. So what else? Green!

Sage to be exactly, maybe designers felt they needed to clear the negativity, but whatever! We love it!

We also seem to love teal again but a bluer teal than before, a more romanticand moody version.

Let the color -design wheel keep on turning!

My friends, just remember, neutrals will never die, but don’t be boring! You can dazzle yourself with just a pop of color!

Be sure to check out the latest trends by following my Instagram account. I’m always on the look out for new color, fun designs, and local flavor!

So get out there and paint! Or change your shoes! Anything but straight minimalism, white on white is over rated, and no one likes a vanilla person (without rainbow sprinkles)!

The Law of “Fake it til you Make it”

I started this blog about 2 years ago, with the intentions of doing some kind of event planning, which I quickly decided wasn’t the right fit, how did I come to this conclusion? Well, a couple of reasons, but mainly because I realized the reward was not as exhilarating as the hype. I guess I expected work to be something like this, “Robyn, even from childhood would do (insert thing I was really passionate about), and it was clear then that she would also be an (insert passion again).”

After hiring a terrific career coach, I truly expected someone to tell me “What I was MEANT to do” and I learned, there is no perfect answer. In some ways I was disappointed to discover that, but as it turns out, one skill does not define you! Mark Langford my career coach, also a former CEO, hiring manager, near death experience-er, (and bonus points for Harvard business school,) has a book, that really is a terrific read, called Thank God It’s Wednesday!

So I set off on a journey to find my passion, and here’s what happend….

The truth is, doing pretty flower arrangements, setting tables, planning a meal or making a town wide event really felt good because, I am, by nature, a people pleaser. So as such, I should have already known that I would be disappointed in the responses of those who I had aimed to please.

I realized that despite my greatest intentions I couldn’t make a living on my “party planning passion” and it wouldn’t be the right fit for me (my passion is clearly not singular). I guess the reason I decided this was both, negative self talk but also MAYBE this wasn’t my passion after all? So how do you know?

Strike 1.

I still plan on killing it at thanksgiving,  and yes I still enjoy all that goes along with the process of planning an event…

Now, “Taco Tuesday “, is still over the top. Yes that is a mahi mahi taco, with fresh chopped salsa and creme fraiche . So what? Those things may seem frivolous but they make me happy. I like to feel like what I do, and work for is exactly as good as it looks. It feels good to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Sometimes, other times it tastes better when someone else makes it, it really depends on the mood.

That’s why having your taco and eating it too is so important. Who else can appreciate the taco like you can? The world is your taco! Make it with all the toppings…

(Enough life lessons and Taco joys)

Getting back to the long winded explanation of the creative process… I moved on to interior designer, that’s my ‘passion’ I know it! I have a good eye, I know what other people want (people pleaser), and I can do it! Then I found out, Pinterest and HGTV really give false expectations on a few things.

Reasons not to believe anything Pinterest or HGTV tells you:(a short list)

  1. Popcorn ceiling isn’t just spray,scrape repaint. It’s messy disgusting and it never comes off clean!! Who invented popcorn ceiling? The devil, that’s who!
  2. Ripping out carpet does not always turn up beautiful (just needs some wax) flooring, sometimes it’s subfloor shit and you need to buy new flooring… lesson learned.
  3. Not everything can be solved with coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and other life hacks, sometimes you need an electrician,so you don’t blow the power out of your whole 2nd floor while cooking the thanksgiving meal..(some other time I’ll explain)
  4. No one ever looks human during demolition and the final “touches” of fairy dust and pillow fluff is actually sleeping, because you’re dead.

NO ONE is casually invested in flipping a house, and been able to get through it without complications, and nor have they had the luxury of tying up $600,000 in capital, in the process. Just saying… I still love designing spaces but I know one thing, it’s not my “thing”.

Another strike.

I can’t help but feel like the process has made things very interesting. I know my strengths, and my weaknesses. Many lessons are learned through the process of finding ones passion, I’d advise someone to enjoy that process. I know I have. Though I don’t know that I’m the person to explain HOW to find ones, passion, I will tell you it’s not always singular. I would argue that because we are such complex individuals, there is no way to assign only one passion out ourselves, nor should we.

So now what? Focus on what’s next, nor what is forever…

Am I living my passion? Mostly

Am I getting everything I want out of life? YES.

In order to find your happiness, or your “passion” or whatever it is you are looking for, you have to start by putting yourself out there, trying new things, and faking it until you make it! 

Also, know that the process, is just as important as the outcome!

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Opened Heart + Opened Mind= Creativity & New Perspective

As we have begun our new year in 2018, so begins a new way of looking at ourselves. I am looking for new ideas and new opportunities every day. If I want something I’m passionate about, I roll up my sleeves and give it my all. What I’ve been noticing lately is that when we stay focused on our goals, we get results (duh right?). For me though, it seems like I’m always doing 100 things and hoping one is “the” thing… but not everyone fits into a box.

So what I’ve decided is that I’m going to do all 100 things I like to do, and who knows maybe they are all “the” thing I’ve been putting on a pedestal… or maybe I’ll just have fun doing a bunch of random projects and finding satisfaction in knowing I did them.

So what I’m trying now, is focusing on decluttering and recharging. For me personally I go through phases. Sometimes I’m in a funk and I just want to browse Pinterest, and chill. Other times I’m plotting my next project or gearing up for a big plan. For some people, running marathons is the same idea. They think about what they want, they visualize their shoes hitting the pavement (they also train) and slowly (actually rather quickly), the day comes where they show up to the race. They obviously kill it because that’s how life works. You just have to get yourself ready, and let yourself win! The worst thing you can do is be complacent and go through the motions of life… you must focus on what you want but also what comes knocking at your door.

I recently read a book called E-squared by Pam Grout which was a compelling set of experiments geared to focusing your energy. I don’t know if I’m 100% into the universe energy work, but I’m opened to the concepts. One of the experiments is about noticing what is around you. Example: I’m going to focus on white cars… for 2 days. Suddenly for the next two days I’m amazed by the fact that white cars are by far the most prevelent on the roads, yes it’s science. Or is it perception? The world will never know for sure, but it’s good for your spirit, knowing you have a say in what is going on around you. Some say it’s magnetism or the power of positivity. I say, whatever, it’s a good way to stay focused and open yourself up to what you want.

How is it that what we focus on, comes to fruition? Well because we get after it! So the focus of this week is decluttering and creating! I find that when you remove unwanted (insert person, place or thing) you have room to get back to a blank canvas. When we allow ourselves the freedom to do what we want, we are opened and when we are opened we can grow!

So lace up your pajamas and recharge or run in your running gear or just go out with a friend and change the normal routine a little. Open your mind. Get your creative juices flowing and make this new year the one you want. You owe yourself that! If you’ve resolved to do something and haven’t, start fresh on Monday and keep starting over!

Bob Ross says, “there are no mistakes only happy accidents” because like art, you have opportunities to change, move, and shift. The perspective is up to you!

Happy recharging! Post and let me know what y’all are doing or any ideas you want to share!

Til next time!

New Years Resolutions for Beginners…

A new year brings with it a whole new plan, a new car smell if you will…

But-

Whenever I think of new car smell I get slightly nauseous… It’s something I remember from childhood, not from my parents because they never drove new cars, but from a trip to the beach in the back seat of a friends car. I think the feeling still sits right… a little nauseous but most new things feel that way I guess.

Many people consider themselves to be a “type” or a “category of person”. Not me. I’m more of a little of this and a little of that but maybe I glance at the recipe to make sure it all turns out decent. More of the type A mixed with the wanderers spirit. So what does that equal in car?

Does adventure+ control freak= Jeep person? No, I think I’m more of a purist and the wrangle seems too sporty for me… Well here it is, a complete re-evaluation of everything I thought I knew about myself because of a major life decision, that really isn’t that big a deal. Did that seem as anxious as I intended? It’s like every choice we make, big or small seems to close in on the person we are or are trying to be, but what if it’s just a car?

Here was my sentiment on the process. I’m not making the kind of money that requires status, nor do I have any based on letters following my last name. I don’t need a spaceship of technological features, but I don’t want a tin can. Why don’t they make Honda’s like they used to? I love Honda, or at least I did until mine started having trouble.

I’m not surprised that the car manufacturers are mimicking the American income brackets and social classes by making economy cars look like total shit, and expensive cars unattainable.

I digress.

It’s a big pain in the ass to decide what you want for the next 5 + Years, because that new car smell (if you like it), eventually goes away.

A car is not a home or an asset, but more of a liability, and a leaky piggy bank. I wish they made cars like the old days, like they made everything. Fixable and wholesome. Or at the very least, made well enough to WANT to fix and brag about. Cars have had a tough history, I mean it’s still relatively new and now we have 100% electronic cars!

Ultimately, this is a new purchase, a big change, and much like a new year, brings with it a set of rules.

I will not eat in the car.

I will get a car wash once a week.

Etc.

until you don’t do any of that…

So what’s the point in stressing about a new year or a big change if you end up doing what you’ve always done?

This year make the choice to stick to whatever it is you resolve to do. Be reasonable! You aren’t going to lose 100 lbs in a week! You are NOT going to make a major change, right away. The good news is, small incremental changes lead to big ones!

So if you are buying a new car or if you are just trying to stick to a budget. Be fair but be firm!

Make a choice to change something small, and start making it part of your daily routine, that way when you re-evaluate yourself in 50 weeks trying to decide if you are more of a “free spirit” or a “tight ass”, you will have a better understanding that you don’t NEED definition. You NEED to know what YOU NEED/ WANT, and that starts every day, not just the first 3 weeks of January!!

Good luck, and remember you can do anything, as long as you commit to doing it!