Archive for March, 2014

Monday Motivation: Too Busy to Design a Life

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How’s your life going? Are the days flying by like they are for me? It’s amazing how they can get faster and faster the older we get, right?

Over the weekend I was thinking about whether all the things I am doing to fill my time are things that I love. Asking myself the question, “am I am overwhelmed with things I love in my life or am I underwhelmed with too many things that really don’t matter to me” has become my litmus test for editing my schedule when times get too busy.


But today I want to take it a step further. Because yes, it’s ok for some times in our lives to be busier than we hoped but is that ok all the time? For me this is pretty much the norm because I am a doer. I am the reason I have so much on my plate and I seriously doubt there will ever be a time when I am not doing more in a day than many people do in a week. That isn’t to say I think other people should do more. Many people would think my life is miserable. Many people would never want to move at my pace. And that is ok for both of us.


I am happy with my life the way it is. And I don’t judge others for moving at a different pace.  I love accomplishing a lot. I am driven and making big things happen is my lifeblood. But I do have to ask myself the question every few weeks whether I am getting my schedule too packed. Am I too busy going through the motions, that I don’t take time to design a life?


This means something different for everyone. In my life, as long as I’m over-the-moon about what I’m doing every day, I’m at least 50% on track. And then I have to be extra careful about falling so far into my workaholic tendencies that I forget my self-care practices and other things that are important to me like my family.


I also have to keep one foot here in the present while dipping a toe in the future. Here’s what I mean: I am a firm believer that living in the present moment is the only way to be truly happy–enjoying the journey. Breathing in the moments of joy and accomplishment help me know the little moments are ultimately the big ones. But I am a visionary by nature, so for me to design the life I want, I have to spend some time on a regular basis, “seeing” what I want my life to be 1 year from now or even 5 years from now. This helps me make a guideline or a roadmap for my life that gets me the results I want in the present and future. It’s the way I design a life I love, even while living a full day-to-day life.


There have been so many times over the last few years that my mom has said, “Things have just been so crazy lately and when things slow down I am going to …” followed by a list about relaxing or getting healthy or getting organized or having fun.  And finally after noticing how many of these conversations she and I had, I decided that our life is always going to be “so crazy.” Or at least mine is, because I design it that way. And since I am lucky enough to have her help me at work and with my family so I can do all the things I do, by default at least a part of her life is going to be this way, too.


So Mom and I stopped waiting until things “aren’t so crazy.” We even stopped saying those words. We stopped waiting to carve out time together—time to travel and have fun, time to get healthy. We just made it happen in the midst of the chaos. We stopped thinking about “when things get back to normal” and started realizing that THIS IS NORMAL.  This is the life I have made. And I must make sure that I design all the important things into this life, in and around all the exciting and busy things that I do.


So what about you? Are you too busy to design a life that you love? Are you checking things off your bucket list every year? Are you hitting marks in your health, your career and with your family that are on your goals list, in and around your daily life? And if you aren’t–what are you waiting for? There is never going to be a time to start being the person you dream of. You are never going to be less busy. You have to be that person now. Today.


There is a saying that says “We only live once,” but I prefer the version that says “We only die once, but we get to live every single day.” So let’s make the most of those days. Let’s design a life that we love. And let’s stop waiting until things slow down to design it, because if your life is like mine, those slow periods may never come.


Happy Monday, Friends. I hope you start today designing a life you love. It may be a busy Monday, but now’s as good a time as any to start really living!


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Soulful Sunday: An Invitation to a Devine Garden

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Last week I spent a glorious day in the California Wine Country. There was so much sunshine, fresh air and of course…wine. And it reminded me of another time spent with sunshine, fresh air, and wine in the Kinderhook, New York, backyard of my friend Michael Devine.


Kinderhook is a quaint town off the Hudson River and Michael sure knows how to entertain. He’s a chef, a gardener, and a gracious host, not to mention a textile designer. His fabrics decorate his backyard “Bagatelle” and other nooks and crannies of his happy home.


The good news for all of us is that Michael has just written a book about seasonal entertaining with Rizzoli called An Invitation to the Garden. And it’s just in time for Springtime entertaining and al fresco dining.


In fact, the book is about entertaining year round. And it’s full of tabletop ideas, delicious recipes, and beautiful china, even a new pattern designed by Michael himself called Cyclamen that I am dying to add to my china collection!


The photos are gorgeous including this happy “Lantern-Lit Drinks Party.” The recipes in the book are so delicious. Michael has cooked a few of them for my mom and me personally.  Trust me, this book is a must-have. Rizzoli has hit it out of the park again.


Just looking at the book fills my soul and these Marshmallow Pops just may fill my tummy really soon, too. I hope you’ll get your own copy so you can put Michael’s talents to work in your life (and soul) today.

Happy Sunday, Y’all.


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Self-Care Saturday: Are you Overwhelmed or Underwhelmed?

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3abb2f9731cc463e99b37a8b6a4b21d8So I have a question for you. Are you overwhelmed in your life right now? Is there too much to possibly get done and no time to do it? Do you feel the stress of deadlines? Is everyone pulling at you from clients to employees/co-workers/your boss to your family and friends? Are you lacking sleep and rest and relaxation? And is there no light at the end of the tunnel anytime soon?


Now I have another question for you. Are you sure it’s OVERwhelm that you’re feeling? Or is it possible that you are UNDERwhelmed with too many things? Here’s what I mean. I am not questioning that you have more on your plate than you could possibly get done. But here’s the difference…


Being overwhelmed but passionate about all the things on your plate is one state of being. And for the most part that’s what my days look like right now. There are so many exciting clients and partnerships taking place in my life right now that I am a bit worn down trying to keep up with it all. But I am overly excited about the possibilities of it all in a good way. I am having trouble sleeping because so many big ideas are running through my head and I am pinching myself on a regular basis to make sure all these amazing things are really happening.


And then there are the things on my plate that feel like chores. That feel like a J-O-B. That I dread and try to hide from. And the moments, days, weeks that there are more of those than anything else, or maybe even only those things, that’s where the rubber meets the road for me. Thats when I bring this baby to a screeching halt and reorganize, re-prioritize, and eliminate anything and everything that isn’t A.) making me happy and B.) making me money.

So on this self-care Saturday I ask you this. Are you overwhelmed or underwhelmed by your life? Overwhelm is hard on you but with passion behind it all, it can actually move you more quickly to your goals. I don’t know about you but when I have more to do than I can do, but I’m passionate about what’s on my to-do list, then I get more done than I can imagine. So having a lot on my plate can be a great motivator for me.


But nothing is worse than being underwhelmed with too many things. No one should have to work that hard and be uninspired and possibly underpaid too.


Some of the most important self-care involves permitting self awareness in your life. Being honest with yourself about whether you are happy doing all the things on your plate each day. And if you’re not, be kind to yourself and make a change no matter what other people think. If you are going to work as hard as we all have to they days, you should love your work. And if you love what you do, the money will follow.


Happy Saturday friends. Life is short so don’t spend this weekend being underwhelmed.


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Color Palettes You Won’t Want to Miss!

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Well I am happy to say that I returned to my own house just this morning after a week of being in San Fran and a red-eye flight. And boy am I happy to be home! I’ve earned a little R & R this weekend.


Three fantastic days of Function-Driven Interior Design with creativeLIVE are over and I have to say all three of my 3-day courses with CL in the last 6 months were amazing. But today while I get a little downtime and get caught up on a few things, I thought you might enjoy a colorful end to your week.


My friend Scot and my friend Cassandra have both highlighted some gorgeous and fresh color palettes on their blogs this week that you don’t need to miss. And be sure to follow the link on Scot’s blog to see the whole slew of fun, movie-inspired color combos.


So take a little visit over to Scot and Cassandra’s fabulous sites and I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

TGIF y’all! xo,

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New House Diary: Function-Driven Design

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New House Diary

Welcome to another edition of New House Diary. I’m in the thick of my Function-Driven Interior Design Course with creativeLIVE and it has me thinking about the function of my new home a bit more than I already was.

Last week I gave you a glimpse into my floor plan and a sneak peek at a few things I am thinking about changing. Today I thought I would give you a bit more insight into why these decisions are right for my family and me.


In my creativeLIVE course this week I taught a segment on Lifestage+Lifestyle+Layout=Livable. And if you haven’t seen the course this week, you just might want to grab it while you can because this section alone is worth the price of the entire course. It’s all about making your home work for you, to fit your needs, or shall we say to tell your story.


It helps us understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the design of a home. It needs to be personalized to fit your specific needs and those of your family at the specific age or phase of life you are in while also accommodating your unique set of interests, habits, and hobbies. And I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely in the stretchy pants and wifi stage. 😉


Nate Berkus says it best. Our homes should be uniquely suited and designed for us, housing our personal collections and representing who we are and what we love. For my family, some of the changes I am planning to make are perfect for us, but understandably could be different for many of you if you were to live in this very same space. So just for fun, here’s a little more insight into what I am thinking and why several of the decisions I am making are customized to our needs and our home. The plan is for these adaptations and customizations to make the home more livable and functional for us. Here we go…


1. Swapping the dining room and the study is the best-case scenario for my family in this space for a number of reasons. First the existing dining space is currently holding my round dining table and there is barely any room to move around the space. The room just isn’t large enough and we actually want to increase the number of people we can seat. So a new dining space that is larger and a new dining table that is either oval or rectangular will allow us to add 2 more seats at the table. Since both spaces (the existing dining room and the existing study) are adjacent to the kitchen there will really be no change in traffic flow for food service. I am adding a swinging door to the corner of the new dining space and Voila! The kitchen will be just a few steps away.

2. The existing dining room will now be the new study. Part library, part TV room, and maybe even a dash of man-cave, this is a space my hubby intends to take over. By removing the door to the living room, we will be able to have a great wall for the sofa on one side and on the living room side we can now have deep enough cabinets to hold all the AV equipment which was a problem with the existing doors leading into the study. Cabinets existed on the living room side already, but they’re not deep enough to hold equipment and the doorway prohibited us from going any deeper. Additionally, opening up a double doorway from the new study into the hallway will allow great access to the wet bar which my husband will love. Plus it will add a bit more ease of traffic flow through these spaces.

3. Enlarging the kitchen by 3 feet by taking in the existing laundry closet is a priority for me. It will allow more function and storage in the kitchen and remove the less than functional laundry closet from the hallway. I will also remove the peninsula/bar in the kitchen and replace it with a center island. I designed a similar oversized island in my last home and really loved the added counter space and room for additional appliances like a microwave drawer and wine cooler. I will be bringing those appliances to this new island, too.

4. I’m  going to enclose the very dysfunctional and awkward mudroom area off the garage entrance and make it a part of the new master closet. A stacking washer and dryer will come into the master closet with a second laundry area upstairs near my daughter’s room or at least the option for adding one there later so we don’t have to tote her clothing up and down the stairs forever. The existing master closet is very small for a house this size so by taking in a portion of the breakfast area, the entire mudroom, the existing bathroom linen closet, and the existing master closet, a sizable master closet will take shape…hooray!

5. And I’m going to be making several other tweaks to the bathroom including a smaller water closet with added bookshelves or a small closet on the bedroom side. Removal of the large garden tub in lieu of a freestanding version, and a larger master shower are all in the plans. I am also hoping to add a window in the bathroom for some natural lighting and fresh air access.

And these are just the most significant structural and functional changes I will be making to the space. Of course there are hoards of decorative ones to make the entire place super chic.


So I hope this insight helps my floor plan ideas make a bit more sense. Or at least give them a point of reference to the way we live and our family’s priorities. It’s always great to know the method behind the madness, right? I am excited to meld this home with remarkable “bones” into a plan that works well for the activities and needs of our little family of 3.

What ideas have you used in your home that are unique to your bunch? Let me know by leaving a comment. I would love to hear your function-driven design ideas, too, and ways you’ve tailored your home perfectly to you.


Happy Thursday, Friends. And be sure to catch my final FREE day of my 3rd creativeLIVE course  today  in conjunction with House Beautiful magazine. We’re having a ball solving some of the most frustrating design challenges. We’d love to have you join in the fun by enrolling here.


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