The Joy of White Space

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Henry Kissinger once said, “There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” Does that sound familiar? I am embarrassed to admit how many years of my life could have been described that exact same way. But not anymore.

I crave white space. And I am moving mountains these days to have white space in my life. It’s critical to my happiness and my mental health. It brings me joy. White space traditionally means the area on the written page or screen where there are no words or characters. It’s about leaving room on the screen or page for elements to breathe. And personal white space is leaving room to breathe in your life or your schedule.

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Winston Churchill practiced lots of white space and I think we can all agree he had a remarkable and productive life, right? He would wake up around 7:30am every day and spend most of his morning in bed (this is my favorite place to work in the morning–who am I kidding, I’d work in the bed all day! ) Here, he had breakfast, read his mail, caught up on all of the national newspapers and dictated to his secretaries.  At 11am he would get out of bed, wash and take a walk in the garden. His lunch was from 1–3:30pm most days, and was usually a full three-course meal with his family and guests. After lunch he would often work again until around 5pm. He then took a nap–a long one–at 5pm everyday for an hour and a half.  At 8pm he would have dinner—dining again with family and guests. Usually he returned to his study for another hour or so of work after dinner. I don’t know about you, but this honestly is a perfect schedule in my opinion–a beautiful mixture of rest, work, love and enjoyment–every day.

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White space is exactly that. Room for taking a nap everyday and not hiding it, or explaining it, or feeling guilty about it. White space means time with family or friends, including making spontaneous plans with them and having the freedom to make them happen. White space means alone time. And for me, some of the most important white space is work, but on whatever I want, for as long as I want. What a treat to lean into my creativity or brainstorming exactly when I want to, when the mood strikes or when the ideas come. And I believe if we use our white space as an opportunity to live in our sweet spot, to do our life’s work, to live our purpose–then a life full of white space can bring financial freedom too.

A great example of a famous lover of white space who has made a great living doing what he does best is Tim Ferris, author of The 4 Hour Work Week.  Here’s a peek at Tim’s typical schedule. Mondays and Fridays are generally off-limits for phone calls from Tim’s assistants, so he has the flexibility to take a long weekend on either side. How’s that for white space?  Tim also schedules very few things into his calendar period.  That way he doesn’t need to stress about multi-tasking to get things done. Tim says: “The goal is to spend as much time possible doing what we want by maximizing output in minimal time. I don’t have to do anything in my schedule. I choose to do them because I like them. None of them are financially-driven or unpleasant obligations. If the chance to do something more fun comes up last-minute, I can cancel all of them.”

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We have to remember that choosing a life that is right for us, even when no one else you know is living this way, is not only ok, it’s imperative. And just because this sort of schedule (or lack of one) isn’t culturally celebrated or even accepted in America doesn’t mean that you can’t create a life full of white space perfect for you. The glorification of busy is old news. White space is the new black. And on this second week of my 52 weeks of JOY, living with white space is far from empty…it’s what fills me up!

Wishing you much more white space in your life this year!

Joyfully yours,

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What if?

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There have been so many years that I have created a laundry list of goals, intentions, and plans to start the new year. I’ve hit the ground running with intensity and focus. And I am not saying that I don’t have goals for the year, or at least that I will. But I am still fleshing them out, I think. I am taking my time deciding what I want for 2017. I am not putting a time limit or pesky deadline on myself. I have so many deadlines already in life, so this year I am being kind to myself. Staying peaceful and relaxed. And this cool state of mind has me wondering…

What if I only had 2 goals for this whole year, 1. Finding JOY and 2. Loving myself more? What would happen?

It’s simple, its profound. And I have a strong feeling way deep down in my gut that it might just change everything.

What do you think? Are you ready to simplify to succeed? Let’s continue this conversation in the comments.

Joyfully yours,

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I Love a Snow Day!

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Oh how I love a snow day! I think I wish for them as much as my 6th grader. There is something about having permission to stay in your PJ’s all day, even if you are working from home instead of playing outside that makes the day magical.

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A warm bowl of homemade veggie soup, several hot cups of tea, my daughter cuddled up by my side and some snow-filled doggie kisses make working from my laptop when it’s 15 degrees outside just about perfect. Yes, yesterday was my first JOY post for the year, but today couldn’t be more filled with JOY if I tried.img_0650Happy Snow Day from Beckett and Izzy, too!

Joyfully yours,

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52 Weeks of Joy!

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JOY. It is the word that I selected to define 2017. And I couldn’t be more excited to be on this year-long quest for joy. But let’s be honest. The journey will be a LOT harder than it seems. Its just been 2 days since I announced my word of the year and I have already had dozens of things come up that could steal my joy, increase my stress level, knock me off track and all in less than a week! I am working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. But that’s the thing about it, it takes focus and effort and lots and lots of practice to find JOY and keep our joy every day.

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I also love the idea of sharing JOY with others. And helping them find their JOY each week. I gave the book 52 Lists for Happiness to several of my clients and friends for the holidays, and there was a reason for that. I already knew that my Word of the Year would be JOY, and I wanted to start the year off right with a focus on happiness and joy for others and for myself!

I’m also continuing this theme right here on my blog every single week, all year long by introducing a new blog post every Thursday for 2017 called 52 Weeks of Joy. Each week I will  highlight something that’s bringing me joy right now, in the moment. And I hope you will join me in this practice.

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So for my very first post, I want to talk about the Joy of Family! Having just had my favorite Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve in all my 44 years, it was being with my family in our new house (with our new puppy) that made it so special. There is nothing in my life that has, or ever could, bring me joy like my family. They are the center of my universe, and the reason for everything I do. Too often in our lives, we get caught up in the “busyness” of life and forget to stop and appreciate what’s most important to us. I am putting a strong emphasis on giving my family my time and attention this year. It’s one thing to tell them they are important, and it’s a completely different thing to SHOW them.

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I’ve never been more thankful for my hard-working, rockstar husband! We’re almost 15 years into our marriage and we’re happier and more in love than ever. I am making a big effort to travel less for my work, so I can travel with him for his work. Scottsdale and New Orleans are just two spots in our upcoming travels together and we’re thinking of squeezing in a trip to Chicago too. I couldn’t be more grateful for the joy he brings to me and to my daughter! She is definitely a daddy’s girl. Yes this year is going to be a great one for us–especially when we jet off to Aruba for our 15th anniversary this Spring!

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The apple of my eye is my sweet little mini-me daughter who is getting closer than I want to admit to being a teenager – eek! She’s the sweetest and happiest person I know and brings joy to everyone she knows! I want to enjoy every minute with her in 2017 and the next few years because I know that the time will fly by and she’ll be leaving the nest before I can even imagine. It’s time to really appreciate her and our special times together and believe me, there will be a lot of those this year.

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If you know me at all, you know that one major source of joy in my life is my mom! She’s so important to me and my life. She’s the heart of our family and in many ways, she’s the heart of my business, too. She’s my creative muse and sounding board, and always gives me the best advice personally and professionally! I joke that she’s really the boss because I just couldn’t do what I do without her right at the center of it all. I often say if she quits, I quit.

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I’m really lucky to have so much JOY in my life from my family, including my dad, my brother and his wife, my niece and nephew, and the best in-laws a girl could ask for. These are blessings that I’m really counting in 2017 more than ever. I want to be sure that this is a year filled with appreciation, celebration, and joyful memories with these people who mean the world to me.

So what brings YOU joy? Who is at the center of your world? Let me know in the comments section below – and then let THEM know! We only have one life, and it should be filled with happiness!

Joyfully yours,

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Shiny New Year: 4 Tips for Working with Metals

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There’s one trend that I know will never go out of style, and that’s the use of metallics in the home! Whether it’s copper, brass, gold tones, silver, or nickel, metal looks are a timeless way to add sheen to your decor. I have a few tips for using metals in the home to make the most of the trend, so let’s take a look:

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1. Go hot and cold. You can warm up a cool grey with a gorgeous brass or gold, or you could try a nickel with hot red! Opposites really do attract.

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2. Treat metals like colors. Use metallics to pick up the colors in the room. For example, above I used the gold tones in the lamps to complement the gold on the wing chair, throw, and pillows. It becomes part of the palette that way!

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3. Blend in. Sometimes you want your metals to play a supporting role, rather than being the star of the show. So select hardware and fixtures in a tone that blends into the background colors of the room, like the silver tones against the grey in the bathroom I designed above.

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4. Soften your approach. Remember that all metals don’t have to be bright and shiny. Sometimes it’s a good idea to soften them, with a rubbed or aged finish. That works well in a bedroom where you don’t need bright shine, or in a setting that features vintage or traditional decor.

So how do you mix metals in your home? Do you like a brighter spotlight or a quiet sheen? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

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