Color is the Key

As any homeowner would agree, a true home is one-of-a-kind. But how exactly can you differentiate your home from the white-walled apartment next door that has the exact same layout? The easiest and most effective way to express your personality within you home is to use color! Although many people find it frightening to start rolling the walls with bright hues, here are some ideas to help you create a truly bespoke home using color.

Have a color you always gravitate towards? Say your favorite lipstick or your favorite jacket? Try incorporating that color into your home. Use layers of different hues of the same color to bring depth and richness. Many of today’s top-notch interiors incorporate themes from the runways and the streets. So, need some inspiration? Flip through a fashion magazine!

If you are feeling a little bit shy about going “all in” with your favorite color, try a neutral palette with a pop of one color. This will create a focal point and helps distinguish your home from the masses.

Don’t simply focus on the living room. Remember the small areas such as the bathroom. Use a punchy color or even temporary wallpaper to create a designer look (try http://www.tempaperdesigns.com ).

Lastly, mix your use of metals. Gone are the days where you could simply use brass or chrome alone. Think the use of picture frames, coffee tables, etc. Done correctly, this can create a very curated and sophisticated look.

Here are some of my favorite examples. Do you have a favorite way to incorporate color?

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Use of mixed metals and color in Ashley Stark’s living room for Elle Decor

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Bright, punchy wallpaper takes this bland white bathroom to a designer level

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Wallpaper, a punch of green, and a painted ceiling make this powder room a true jewel box.

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Take an old piece of furniture and refinish it in a bright color. Not only will you have a bespoke piece of furniture, but you will have focal point to your room.

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Add a bold accent color to an otherwise neutral palette such as these emerald colored draperies.

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Jennifer-Name

Personal Stylist

Happy Monday! I am excited to share a new opportunity that fell into my lap recently. I have the chance to collaborate with Keaton Row as a personal stylist! For those of you who are not familiar, Keaton Row is a shopping site in which you get matched with a FREE personal stylist who creates customized lookbooks for you according to your tastes. Keaton Row has partnerships with many large retailers such as Nordstrom and Asos. Check out my new stylist page and contact me if you would like a customized lookbook!

xo,

Jennifer

https://keatonrow.com/jenniferwilliams1

The Miracle of Self Compassion Habit

Please take the time to read this great blog post by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. Great advice 🙂

The Miracle of the Self-Compassion Habit

By Leo Babauta

Let’s hypothesize that there’s a substance that’s been irritating you and causing problems in all areas of your life: it causes you to be unhappy, to be stressed, to procrastinate, to be distracted, to be angry with people, to be dissatisfied with your life, to be overweight and unhealthy, to not exercise or eat healthy, and much more.

Horrible substance, right? Now imagine there were a salve that could ease the bad effects of this substance, and make all those other areas better.

The substance is real: it’s your suffering. We all suffer, in small and large ways, every day. And it causes all the other problems I mentioned.

The salve is also real: it’s self-compassion. Which sounds too fluffy for most people, but it’s a concrete practice that will have concrete benefits, in all areas of your life.

Let’s take a minute to explore suffering, and what would happen if you applied the salve of self-compassion.

The All-Pervasive Effects of Suffering

We don’t always think of ourselves as suffering, if we’re leading normal lives. But in fact, we’re suffering more often than we usually realize, just not necessarily suffering greatly. We suffer in small ways, and that affects our happiness, the happiness of those around us, and our actions and habits throughout the day.

Some examples:

  • Stress: Throughout the day, things come up to stress you out, from a new thing to add to your workload to someone criticizing you to the housework not being done. This is suffering, even if it’s usually at a low level (though sometimes it can get to high levels). The salve of self-compassion would reduce this suffering, and allow you to deal with these events/situations more calmly, increasing your happiness levels throughout the day.
  • Frustrations: Little frustrations happen all the time, from people not doing things right to traffic being congested to not being able to figure out why software isn’t working right. This is also suffering. Self-compassion can help you calm down from the frustrations, and handle the situations appropriately. You’d be less angry when you responded, which is likely to result in better outcomes.
  • Anger with others: Someone has pissed you off — your kid just won’t listen, your spouse has said something critical, your boss is being a total dillweed. You’re suffering, obviously. This can result not only in unhappiness, but in actions that hurt your relationship with others, your career, your marriage. Instead, apply self-compassion, and you can calm down, respond appropriately, even with compassion for the other person, who is also suffering.
  • Feeling bad about yourself: There are a million reasons we feel bad about ourselves, from failure to body fat to hopelessness in bad situations. This too is suffering, and it causes us to take harmful actions, like comforting ourselves with food and shopping and alcohol, not taking action, not believing in ourselves. Self-compassion eases this pain, and leads not only to more helpful actions but happiness.
  • Feeling rushed: There’s often a feeling throughout our days that we need to rush to the next thing. Walking, we go quickly. Working, we switch constantly to the next communication, next tab, next super-urgent-can’t-wait-do-it-now task. This feeling of constant urgency is itself a source of stress. Self-compassion can ease this as well, and allow us to slow down, enjoy the moment, be happier in each moment.
  • Distraction: We live super-distracted lives, wasting huge parts of our day. Distraction is a symptom of suffering — we go to distraction because of fear (we’re afraid of harder tasks, of missing out, of failing) and we think distraction is comforting. In turn, distraction tends to increase suffering — we feel bad about ourselves, we procrastinate on important things and make our jobs and lives worse, etc. Self-compassion helps us see this suffering, ease it, and reduce the tendency to distraction.
  • Procrastination: We all procrastinate, on work, on writing our great novel, on learning a musical instrument, on exercise. Procrastination, like distraction, is a symptom of suffering, of fear and thinking we can’t do something. Self-compassion can help with that suffering and reduce procrastination, increasing our creative output, helping us to take care of finances and work tasks and decluttering and all the things we know we really want to do but aren’t doing.
  • Not exercising: This is a specific form of procrastination, and so is a symptom of suffering. It also shows how procrastination can cause more suffering, as a lack of exercise leads to worse health, which leads to the stress and pain of disease. Self-compassion can help us start exercising mindfully and joyfully.
  • Unhealthy eating: We tend to eat unhealthy things because we are afraid of vegetables and not eating junk, and because we need to comfort ourselves from other suffering, and because we think we need the crutch of temporary pleasures. We don’t. Self-compassion eases this suffering and helps us to be OK with not eating Pringles and donuts, with making our bodies feel better.
  • Lack of gratitude: Much of our lives are spent in silent complaint, or sometimes not so silent. We are so unhappy with little things in our lives, which is a form of suffering. These complaints mean we’re missing out on what’s great about our lives. Self-compassion helps us to deal with the pain of these complaints, and instead turn to the amazing things we can be grateful for, which increases our happiness with life all around us.
  • Lack of mindfulness: Most of our lives are spent in distraction, unmindful of the present moment. This is a form of suffering, because if we weren’t suffering we could stay in the present much of the time, fully appreciate the moment as it happens. Instead, we’re thinking about the future because we’re worried about it, we’re obsessed with the past mistakes we’ve made. Self-compassion can ease these worries and obsessions, and instead practice mindfulness with each moment more often.

I could go on forever, because suffering takes many forms. But you can see the pattern: self-compassion eases the pain of the suffering, reducing the bad effects and allowing us to choose more helpful ways of living.

Let’s turn to a method of self-compassion.

A Self-Compassion Method

This is a method you can practice through a daily habit, to help with suffering in all forms:

  1. Notice your suffering, in one of its many forms.
  2. Turn towards the suffering, see it as it is, feel it fully, experience it mindfully and in the moment.
  3. Accept the suffering, instead of trying to ignore it, avoid it, push it away, kill it. Accept that it’s a part of life, a part of you, but temporary.
  4. Wish yourself happiness, wish for an end to your suffering. Give yourself a mental hug, comfort yourself.
  5. Let go of what’s causing the suffering. Just release it, or put it aside. The cause is likely something you wish were different. Instead, appreciate things as they are. Be present with reality.
  6. Be grateful for the reality that’s happening right now.

This is not always easy to practice, and so I recommend a daily session where you turn inward for a couple minutes, and practice without the distractions of daily life. You’ll get better at the self-compassion habit with practice.

But it’s worth the practice. The salve of self-compassion can change your entire life.

Practice the Habit

If you’re interested in forming the self-compassion habit, we’re working on that in May in the Sea Change Program.

Sign up in the next few days to join the Self-Compassion Habit module: get a plan, a video, some articles on the habit, a live webinar with me and an accountability forum. Join us here.

Spring Cleaning!

This weekend I undertook the joyous task of cleaning out two storage units. Before opening them, I had only a vague idea what was in them (surprise!). Since I recently moved, I decided that it was time to declutter and get organized. Here are a few tips I found on how to declutter and not get overwhelmed! Each takes 5 minutes or less and will result in a more organized space!

 

  1. Designate a spot for incoming papers. This can be bills, mail, flyers. Whatever it may be pick a spot.
  2. Clear off a counter.
  3. Pick a shelf. Now that you’ve done a counter, try a shelf. It doesn’t matter what shelf. Could be a shelf in a closet, or on a bookshelf. Don’t tackle the whole bookshelf — just one shelf. Clear all non-essential things and leave it looking neat and clutter-free.
  4. Schedule a decluttering weekend.
  5. Pick up 5 things, and find places for them. These should be things that you actually use, but that you just seem to put anywhere, because they don’t have good places. If you don’t know exactly where things belong, you have to designate a good spot.
  6. Spend a few minutes visualizing the room. When I’m decluttering, I like to take a moment to take a look at a room, and think about how I want it to look. What are the most essential pieces of furniture? What doesn’t belong in the room but has just gravitated there? What is on the floor (hint: only furniture and rugs belong there) and what is on the other flat surfaces? Once I’ve visualized how the room will look uncluttered, and figured out what is essential, I get rid of the rest.
  7. Create a “maybe” box. Sometimes when you’re going through a pile of stuff, you know exactly what to keep (the stuff you love and use) and what to trash or donate. But then there’s the stuff you don’t use, but think you might want it or need it someday. You can’t bear to get rid of that stuff! So create a “maybe” box, and put this stuff there. Then store the box somewhere hidden, out of the way. Put a note on your calendar six months from now to look in the box. Then pull it out, six months later, and see if it’s anything you really needed.
  8. Put a load in your car for charity.
  9. Set up some simple folders. Sometimes our papers pile up high because we don’t have good places to put them. Create some simple folders with labels for your major bills and similar paperwork.
  10. Pull out some clothes you don’t wear. As you’re getting ready for work, and going through your closet for something to wear, spend a few minutes pulling out ones you haven’t worn in a few months. If they’re seasonal clothes, store them in a box. Get rid of the rest. Do this a little at a time until your closet (and then your drawers) only contains stuff you actually wear.
  11. Clear out your medicine cabinet
  12. Pull everything out of a drawer. Just take the drawer out and empty it on a table. Then sort the drawer into three piles: 1) stuff that really should go in the drawer; 2) stuff that belongs elsewhere; 3) stuff to get rid of. Clean the drawer out nice, then put the stuff in the first pile back neatly and orderly. Deal with the other piles immediately!

Thanks for reading!

xo,

Jennifer-Name