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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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!

6 Steps to a Thoughtful Event


1. Plan plan plan…if you don’t have a plan… You should hire a pro.

There’s a few key elements of a fabulous party… The first thing you need is a date. People have lives and so do you, so give them plenty of time to rsvp.

If you want this party to be a success send out a real invitation, no Facebook, email, or texting please. It’s just not as effective as a mailed invitation. Plus they allow people to post it on their fridge or in their calendar so they don’t forget!

Paper invitations add taste and flare to your event, it’s a timeless tradition, don’t skip this step.

I’ve been recently fond of the invitations matching the theme, but that’s a personal preference. They don’t have to be fancy, just in writing and in the mail!

Depending on where you have it you may need to confirm your headcount, and you will need to know your headcount for planning food/ booze so don’t skimp on this very important detail.

This is the most crucial peice of the process but don’t worry… Just make sure to thoroughly count your rsvp’s and make sure to advance the rsvp date at least a week (minimum) before your event.

If you are hosting with a caterer they will need a headcount by a specific time, the same goes for an event held at a remote site.

2. Have a theme.

For every occasion there can be an overlapping theme, cause or design scheme. Whether you are hosting a birthday party for a 6 year old (who knows what they want) or you are preparing for a bridal shower, have a theme, it’ll look much more put together.

My mother recently retired from her job. Her life was quite interesting, she’s an artist, she used to teach art classes when she stayed at home raising me, so her theme was clearly art inspired. She not only taught art, but her topic of interest and the theme she painted the most was beach inspired landscapes…

Which coincidentally brought me to my next theme, the beach… Where she was moving to… So!!!! “The art of retirement” was the theme, and I incorporated art and beach themes in unison.

My friend Melissa made this beautiful cake from scratch. It was tasty too!!!

Once you have a theme, everything falls into place: food, decor, booze, everything!!!

3. You don’t have to pay a million dollars to have a fabulous party, just make sure there is food and booze.

Based on your number of people, your guests taste and your theme you have to build a menu.

I typically stick with wine and beer because it’s well received by anyone. Vodka is a taste, gin is a taste and generally people have different preferences but if they don’t like wine or beer… There’s always soft drinks.

Consider about 1/2 bottle of wine per person and 2-3 beers per person. You’ll probably have left over booze but that’s okay! Some places will let you return unopened bottles, but you can regift it or just save it for your next function!


Present the booze or just stick it in a cooler it all depends on your crowd… You know a backyard barbecue does not necessitate the level of preparation as a shower or a milestone event.

The food has to be good. You can’t have a good party without good food. All other things may fail but a good scallop wrapped in bacon never fails! (Just an example, many people do not care for bacon or seafood.) You must know your audience.

You need to know your crowd enough to know if they are picky, if they are upscale or if they are laid back. Ideally, easy crowds are the best but usually you have a few of the picky and classy type mixed in. Pick items that are staple foods either of the culture you/ your crowd is, or just straight American classics.

Your menu should have 3 elements appetizers, main entree type foods, and dessert. Obviously if it’s a cocktail party this may not apply but you want to have a couple light apps, a couple hot apps, and light and hot foods for the main course. Dessert is easy, anything and everything goes, except ice cream that’s a commitment.
I chose to make all my food from scratch, but if you have it catered chances are they will suggest more but you don’t need to have it all, especially on a budget.


Levels are important. You have to have food on the bottom and food on the top otherwise the display has failed.

We chose cheese, meats and crackers, deviled eggs,  antipasti skewers, bacon wrapped scallops and shrimp cocktail.

As you can see there’s some decor mixed onto the display it helps give wholesome theme flavor throughout the party.

4. Don’t stress.Make signs instead!

People are instruction oriented, they need direction, they crave order, they need signs for things so they don’t mess it up. The social pressure at the party is high, don’t make people feel stupid trying to figure out where to start on the table or how to scoop the salad dressing. No one likes to admit it, but people don’t usually think like a host… They need to know what to do.

Signs are pretty, they make your life easier and people feel better knowing they didn’t mess everything up!


Especially if there is a guest book or a special game in place. Directions are necessary!


You can make them jazzy or straight forward but it’s also a conversation peice so think about it before you put it on the table.

5. Every detail counts. If it didn’t matter it wouldn’t be there… 

Here’s a list: (how mine starts anyway)

Tablecloths

Chairs

Centerpeices

Silverware or plasticware

Paper or plastic in general for all materials.

Decor

Think of this as a general concept. The detail can be as intense or as simple as necessary.

Personally I know every table needs a runner and a centerpeice, to make theme cohesive.


They don’t have to be fancy, I took books off my bookshelf, mason jars, wild flowers, shells and then I staggered them with different colored / sized glass containers.

I wanted it to be reminiscent of reading and relaxing on the beach with nature and lots of different colors. I incorporated the beach artist with a New England type of feel. I’m pretty sure I nailed it.

Each table had spray painted copper cans with paint brushes in them, and fun facts with photographs of all my mom’s achievements. Luckily I had a lot of material.


Oh I also had the party in the location where she taught art for 15 years, a small gallery in town. It’s all about the thoughtful details.

6. Have help because you can’t do it alone if you want to pull it off. 

Don’t think for a second that 100% of the work was done by me, even though I’d like to take credit for it. I simply knew what I wanted it to look like, and I directed people accordingly.

I had help to place the food, pour the ice, move the tables and chairs and all the heavy lifting in general. If you don’t have help, you will never want to do another party again. You have to be a team player and you have to assign duties, trust me it’ll save you a headache.

7. Just because you are the host doesn’t mean you can’t party!!!

Part of the fun of a party is relishing in your hard work but also in visiting with friends and family. Make your menus easy and your beverages easy so you can set it up and leave it alone. Don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful event you have created!

You may not be able to stand up by the end of the running around, but sit back and relax with a glass of wine and take in the energy of a group of happy people midway through an event that you made happen.

Don’t forget to accept compliments and remember that the point of celebrating is to honor life’s moments, with people who you love. Take the stress out of the equation and you will be a natural!

Cheers you party animal you!

5 Lady-Skills to Consider..

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1. Be honest about what you want, with him.

This is a major point because so much social media show dishonest men leading women to mistrust, without even giving the benefit of the doubt. Don’t assume his phone is going off because he’s talking with someone else, give him a chance. Maybe you’ve been burned before, maybe you just need a reason to be angry or keep your guard up, but what if you were wrong? Some men, aren’t jerks. Some men, don’t cheat. Some men do, but if you’re honest and you’re nose is clean, you walk away with integrity.

In thinking your date isn’t worthy of trust, many women feel like it’s okay to lie to their partners, then justify it with… “They do it too…” If that’s the case, just get out now.  STOP THE CYCLE OF BAD RELATIONSHIPS. Lying in a relationship is like lying to your doctor, it’s not going to make you better…. Just be honest with each other, because you could continue for 10 years in a relationship with someone you always knew wasn’t right for you, but stayed for all the wrong reasons. Do yourself a favor, and be honest, and if he doesn’t like it… find someone else… It’s not that hard these days, there’s apps for that.

2. Cook. 

Women scorn the kitchen for their 1950’s role of housewife and all their feminist counterparts… But really it’s a life skill. Everyone, yes even men, should know how to make some basic meals, and it is pretty satisfying.  No one is naturally good at cooking unless they have at least given it an honest effort… Ladies, just because we are women doesn’t mean we can’t still make a fantastic meal, we aren’t giving into a stereotype, we are simply making a meal. It’s also a fantastic way to broaden your horizon and do what you are so scared to… Try something new. Try a meal kit hello fresh or blue apron are great for beginners, or just follow any recipe on Pinterest.

If you burn it, throw it out and try again. I promise if you make something that is truly delicious you will be proud and as I’ve said before, bragging rights are an added bonus.  Make yourself a 5 star meal, or make it for your mom, but just try!

 This chicken dish took me a good year to perfect, but it’s worth it every time. It’s chicken,spinach, red roasted peppers, tomato, artichoke hearts and fresh mozzerella in a lemon butter sauce. This obviously was not made with my innate skill set it was made with trial and error.

3. Educate yourself on current events.

How many people follow the local candidates on Twitter? How many women are exercising their right to vote, they should. It has been a long road for equal rights and still woman are under represented in the polls, and in politics. The difference between a woman who has an opinion based on hear-say and the one that has something relevant to add to a conversation  is clear.  An opinion based on facts sticks out very clearly to those who know what the subject matter is. The term it is better to be seen and not heard would apply ONLY if you don’t know the content of conversation. The more you know the more people will respect you.

Respect is better than frivolous attention. Be seen and be heard and make your opinion count.

Be able to talk to anyone on any setting that is a valuable asset.

4. Be polite and praise your fellow lady.

We all feel insecure. We all worry if we have something in our teeth. We are all human but ladies need each other.  Respect your fellow woman. Compliment instead of criticize. Be a woman’s woman, we aren’t all catty cliques stuck in high school. Some women are worthy of friendship but all women are worthy of appreciation because if not for nothing else, we are women!

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Be silly if that’s what it takes to be kind but open your heart to your fellow woman and honor her for her. Men have a fundamental difference in relationships with other men, and that is simplicity. A boy meets another in the school yard with a toy he also likes and they are friends for life… A girl meets a girl, they play for a while, and then challenges her until they can no longer tolerate eachother. Let’s invest in the future by showing our fellow humans respect and honor. Women, be nice to each other, celebrate each other and teach our daughters to be better women too.

Give an extra compliment… Just because.

5. Be present.

Listen. Don’t just wait to speak or hold your next thought while there is a break in conversation, really listen to those who speak to you. You would be surprised what you can learn by simply listening to someone’s story or simply what anothe knows that you do not.  Put your phone away and talk to your company.

Take a breath and realize that nothing in life is permanent and every moment is precious. Try something new, and don’t be so close minded.

If not for nothing else at least you tried…

Check out more posts, like these, and if you’re interested in coaching, check out The Tribe page for more info!