It's time I share my personal story with you.
As a young person, I knew what stress was, but being a child in the 80s, it wasn't a common topic around the dinner table. I always knew I was a "nervous" person, but it wasn't until I was in my mid 20's that I learned the real effects of this. At the time I had what most designers would call their dream job. I designed $50-million-dollar private jets for amazing clients and celebrities worldwide. I got to use some of the most luxurious high-end textiles and finishes, design spectacular interiors without a budget, and stock the plane with beautiful wares from design houses like Hermes and Baccarat.
I would have a day's notice to pack my bag, prepare a presentation, and fly halfway around the world. It was a whirlwind gig with high stakes, lots of demands, and the stress to go with it.
A few years into this career, I started to feel overwhelmed. The constant worry of making a mistake completely overtook me, and the "perfectionist" in me could not handle it, whether the issues were mine or simply part of the job.
I remember a warm day in August when I made a doctor's appointment because I was afraid of having a heart attack. Sitting in meetings, I thought my heart would beat out of my chest. I was stressed out but believed I had a physiological problem separate from the overwhelm. I thought surely, this feeling would pass! Again, I've been a nervous worrier all my life. I thought, "I can deal with this." My doctor checked my heart and said she believed I was struggling with Anxiety.
I began working with an excellent therapist along with my doctor. I started my yoga practice, began meditating, and altered my diet. Even with those new habits, my Anxiety got much worse before it got any better. Due to the severity of the situation, I took medication. I was still coming home so anxious at the end of the day that I would curl up on the sofa, toss a blanket over my head and cry. Did I mention that this also began during my first year of marriage? I think I kept it at bay while planning a wedding for almost two years, but it all came to a head when the wedding was over.
My husband was the most wonderful man during this time and was incredibly patient and caring. I worked on myself so hard with my doctor, therapist, and every healing modality I could. I started to feel better and believed that heading into my 30s was a "rebirth." I could start fresh with the new tools and compassion I'd gained for myself. My whole life, I'd known Anxiety and Depression, even as a small child, but I didn't realize there was a word for these feelings or how to convey them to someone. I eventually left this "dream job" and felt so shameful for a long time. I was so embarrassed that the instant my husband was offered a job in a new city, I couldn't wait to get out of town! In my mind, I just couldn't cut it, and it broke my heart.
This experience was a beautiful blessing in the end. The most important thing I learned was the importance of your space. Your home can significantly impact your mental health. My passion is to educate others and help clients improve their space to feel healthy and happy. While I had no clue what I was doing as a child, I now know why I gravitated toward specific colors, patterns, and designs. I knew what felt good but didn't know why. After extensive training, I now know how to employ Feng Shui, color psychology, biophilia, and more to design beyond aesthetics.
I'll share more of my personal story for May's Mental Health Month. I'll pass along information on what has helped me and how you can easily alter your space to enhance your well-being. All that said, please know this, if you are struggling, there is help out there! Even if you're unsure what you feel, someone can help you discover it. Find people you can talk to, support you, and encourage you as you learn, heal, and grow.
Moving is complicated, and living in a temporary location can be challenging. There is a current theme with clients moving, staying in a temporary place, or being in between homes living somewhere for the short term. One recent client even intended to live in her home for a year, and now they're still there five years later.
I understand what they're going through. In the past 12 years, we've packed our entire home and moved to a new city or state four times! In addition to those big moves, we had smaller moves into or out of a temporary house or rental. I'm not going to lie, I've got a pretty good system down, and it's always exciting going somewhere new and exploring new things. However, being in those "in-between" situations can be stressful! Years ago, we moved from St. Louis to Cleveland and struggled to find a house. We ended up living with family for eight months. Another time my husband and I spent six months living in two different states. There were some tears of frustration and anxiety then!
I've learned a lot during those times, for example, the free feeling of having one suitcase to live out of and not a huge closet to choose from. It's just easier.
Another bonus is we have some hilarious memories. One New Year's Eve, we moved into a temporary apartment. Most of our things were in storage, as we didn't have a new house yet. We were supposed to receive some of our belongings (enough to furnish our apartment), but they didn't get to us because of the holidays. We spent New Year's Eve sitting on folding chairs with takeout, playing Mario Kart. It was one of our favorite memories. Certainly not a glamorous night of celebration with champagne!
If you are in a temporary housing situation, I have some tips that might help.
These moving or in-between times can throw your entire life off balance. I encourage you to do grounding exercises daily. My favorite way is to get up and walk outside first thing in the morning. Kicking your shoes off and sinking your toes into the grass can also feel fabulous. I even just like to spend time physically close to the earth. I'll sit on the floor, do some yoga, sit outside on the ground, and read a book. Utilizing Feng Shui principles, beige, tan and brown are great colors to keep close to your body.
Sleep is important! During these stressful times, you need extra rest. Make sure that your bedroom is comfortable and you feel relaxed. I often diffuse lavender essential oil in my bedroom when I feel uneasy.
Eating is another topic that is important to discuss. You might not have your favorite kitchen gadgets, and you might not even have dishes on hand! Do your best to eat a regular diet still and avoid the easy, fast food. No matter how convenient, it will not make the transition more manageable, and you will feel sluggish.
Plants help you connect. They do! The wood element helps connect your body to a space. Get a new plant! It doesn't hurt to have a new little plant to nurture during this change.
Surround yourself with special things. Moving schedules can quickly change. One time we found out the day before the movers arrived that we couldn't access ANYTHING until everything got unloaded at the new house. We didn't have a new home at the destination, so we quickly had to pull those essential things out to stay with us. Of course, always keep the necessary paperwork so that it is easily accessible. Have a favorite heirloom afghan that you can't be away from? Keep it. Measure the space in your vehicle in which you have to work with. Keep those crucial things that make it feel like "home" nearby.
Keep it easy. I mentioned above that I always loved the easy feeling when we have a couple of suitcases or just the contents in my car. Don't overthink it. You'll come to that point when you don't have that one thing, but it will be okay! Get creative. So you go out to dinner with socks that don't match. Who cares!?!? Make it an adventure.
So now that you have some tips go forward and make it fun!
Spring is the season of new beginnings, growth, and renewal. It is associated with the element of wood, the color green, and the direction of east. In Feng Shui, spring is the time to activate your health, family, and wealth areas of your home.
Here are some simple ways to do that:
I hope these tips help you create a happy, healthy, and holistic home this spring. Let me know in the comments how you are celebrating this beautiful season. And don’t forget to check out my website for more Feng Shui tips and resources.
Natural decor can add a touch of warmth and freshness to your kitchen. You can use materials such as wood, stone, bamboo, rattan, or plants to create a natural look and feel. In addition to creating a natural look and reducing stress, in Feng Shui many of these items represent the wood and earth element which make them perfect for this important room where we nourish our bodies.
Ready to add more natural materials to your kitchen? Here's some inspiration:
Round Cotton Trivets from Amazon - They're 100% cotton and have a great natural vibe! Choose one color or pattern or opt for a variety to create an interesting table display prior to your meal.
Hand Braided Table Runner from Amazon - This runner is a great way to add eco-friendly decor to your table. Finish off with some candlesticks and a fresh flower bouquet and you're ready for spring dinners.
Handmade Jute and Hemp Rug from Etsy - Love the color combo of this natural runner. Adding even a small runner into your kitchen can soften the vibe of your space.
Carrara Marble Tray from Amazon - What a beautiful tray for serving drinks from your kitchen to dining room sitting room or even your favorite outdoor area.
Acacia Wood Serving Board from Amazon - Create beautiful charcuterie displays with this extra-long board. You'll have room for all your favorites and some new items too.
Natural decor can make your kitchen more inviting and cozy. It can also help you connect with nature and reduce stress. Try some of these natural items and see how they transform your kitchen.?
So often we hurry through life and don't always slow down to enjoy some of those everyday things. When was the last time you slowed down to enjoy your shower? A soothing shower at the end of the day can be instrumental in relaxing the body and preparing for sleep. Here are some of my favorite ways to create a "spa like" experience at home.
1. Consider investing in a showerhead with various settings, such as massage, rain, and mist, to create a spa-like experience. These options allow you to customize your shower with each wash!
2. Add your favorite scent! I love using lavender, jasmine, or ylang-ylang essential oils in the shower - just be careful, as they can be slippery on the floor! You can also hang eucalyptus or lavender from your showerhead - the steam allows it to release its scent for another aromatic experience. (Click here to snag my favorite bundle)
3. Bring down the lights. Use dimmer switches or candles to create a calming mood and serene environment. I love to bring in a variety of shapes and sizes of candles. Jar candles always make it easy though!
4. Play relaxing music or nature sounds to help you unwind. Kohler even has their Moxie Showerhead, which can connect and play music from your phone. I'm personally in love with the Moxie. It makes signing in the shower even more fun. Clickhere for the one I use!
5. Pamper yourself with body scrubs or bath oils to enhance the spa-like experience. If you can, splurge on your favorite products (or ask for them as gifts!) to add even more luxury!
Are you a little more inspired to take this time to slow down? Let it feel pampering and relaxing because you need it, and you deserve it!
Often when people hear "minimalist design," they picture a sparse home lacking color, texture, and...well...decor. Does "Intentional Interior Design" sound better? No matter what you call it, keeping excess items out of our homes that don't bring us joy or peace is essential in creating a balanced home. Not only does clutter take up space and time, but it can also subconsciously bring on negative thinking.
Below are some tips for Intentional Interior Design
Decorating with antiques and heirlooms can be a great way to add character, charm, and creativity to your home. Plus, these items can carry many memories and warm cozy feelings. Sometimes just looking at a favorite piece can bring a smile to your face.
I love to collect skeleton keys and vintage glassware when I'm out antiquing. Glassware reminds me of my grandmother's beautiful glass display as a child. One of my favorite antique furniture pieces in my home is an armoire that was in my grandparent's home. They both passed away, but I love seeing this piece of furniture as it reminds me of beautiful memories.
Vintage pieces are a fun way to add interest to your space, for example, using an old chair as a plant stand or an old chest as a coffee table. A client I worked with a few years ago found fantastic vintage doors at a local antique store. We designed an entire room around these doors as the focal point that brought the whole room together and made quite a statement!
What memories do you hold that you would like to reflect in your home? Think of decor you could intentionally find to honor those memories in your space to give your home a sense of peace and nostalgia.
You've probably heard of "Fast Fashion," the cheap and low-quality clothing quickly produced and sold at low prices.
Have you heard of "Fast Furniture"? Similar to clothing, these pieces have a short life span and are soon tossed into a landfill as they quickly break, materials fray, and the furniture pieces fall apart. Also, the manufacturers often use materials and processes that cause significant environmental issues, not to mention all the carbon emissions from shipping.
Below are four easy tips to avoid these fast furniture pieces.
If you're like me, you have a lot of birthdays, anniversary, showers, and other celebrations in your family and are constantly looking for that perfect gift. This year I've made it my mission to give as many eco-friendly and sustainable gifts as possible.