B L O G
beautifying, loving, organizing & good things
for your home & life
for your home & life
What to give the person who has everything? How do you acknowledge loved ones / friends without cluttering up their life with more, well, "stuff"? Give the gift of time, of experiences shared, and memories to treasure.
I came across a great blog from 365 Things, and encourage you to explore these clutter-free gift ideas:
At a recent Destress, Dejunk, Declutter workshop I gave out prizes and what did they win? Starbucks gift cards. Why? I encouraged the audience to treasure the gift of a leisurely cup of coffee with a dear friend. What else can you do? Give your grandchildren memories, not stuff. Drop in to see that elderly neighbor who rarely comes out. The gift of a listening ear is more valuable than any doo-dad, tchotchke or souvenir.
Give us a thumbs up and share this blog with your loved ones. You may be the trend-setting pioneer in your family / circle of friends!
Music, Music, Music
Music has the power to transform and change how we feel. Just ask our friend, Barry Goldstein, author of The Secret Language of the Heart.
Here are five of our favorite songs we featured on Make Your House a Home show.
1. Can't Stop the Feeling, Justin Timberlake
Feeling blah? This is the song for you. We can't help but #singalong. We featured this song on the Sunshine in my Pocket podcast.
2. This is Home, Bryan Lanning
This song was new to us, but quickly became an obvious choice for the show. We featured this song on the Be Open podcast. Enjoy!
3. Home, Phillip Phillips
When we want to chill, this is our pick. This song is so relaxing and it just sounds like it feels to come home.
4. You Make My Dreams Come True, Hall and Oats
And oldie but goodie, you can't help but move and groove along. To hear how one business man is making many people's dreams come true, listen to theDreams Come True podcast.
5. Uptown Funk, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars
We saved the best to last! We loved this song so much, it became the theme song for the show. Every time we'd begin a show with this music, the producer, guests and the intern were dancing. (Maybe it's a good thing you can't see what goes on in the studio.)
There's a reason it's been viewed over 2 billion times! (Yes, that's billion with a b.) Enjoy the video.
Give us a thumbs up and tweet to your peeps.
What is Heaven at Home?
For some people, it’s having a certain number of bedrooms. For others it’s having a home with a particular square footage. For some people it’s having that sub-zero refrigerator or Viking range. For others it’s living in a certain zip code, or in a particular town. And I’ll never be happy unless __(fill in your own definition)____.
I remember a friend of a friend in another state. (Note: I was not acting as her designer. I have to say that up front.) She had a lovely home, but she was not happy at all. She said she was simply miserable until she had her kitchen upgraded to the hilt. So she hired someone to install the highest end appliances, custom cabinets with rare woods imported from who knows where, redoing the existing counter tops and so forth. Every time I’d see her at a social event she kept talking about this kitchen, how she couldn’t sleep until she had such and such appliance, and the built in cappuccino maker and so forth. In fact, she upgraded way past the neighborhood standard. She spent huge amounts of $ on this kitchen, spending as much as a small home in some areas. At long last the kitchen renovation was done.
But… was she happy? Did she feel she truly made her house into a home? You guessed it. Miss "I Must Renovate My Kitchen to be Happy"… was not happy. Sure the space itself was beautiful, but she was still restless – still seeking something external to make her feel happy at home. So, she turned her attention to her bathroom. Spent HUGE amounts of $ to redo the layout and the finishes in the master bathroom. Again, after thousands upon thousands of dollars were poured into this area – was she happy? Not at all. Don’t worry – I did not work on that project, because I realized that redoing every room in the house was not going to make her truly happy at home.
What happened next? I remember her saying, “Maybe I need to get all new furniture.” Last I heard she was thinking of selling her house and building a new one. On and on it goes – I lost touch with her years ago, and I really hope she has found true happiness.
Here is the thing I learned by watching her and others like her. So many people THINK the only way they’ll be happy at home – truly to have a sense of peace, joy & contentment at home– is for the external reality – the home’s finishes and appliances and so forth – there are many that THINK the external reality has to be just “so”. Here’s the difference – those external things – they’re just what makes it a pretty HOUSE.
Here's the big secret – happiness, true contentment and JOY at home –has nothing to do with how much you spend on your home. Ask any lottery winner who bought a huge mansion and is still unhappy. If this concept is new to you I encourage you to watch Hollywood director Tom Shadyac’s I AM. It’ll open your eyes.
The square footage of the home does not make your house a home. The PEOPLE and EXPERIENCES and JOYFUL MEMORIES you make in the space – that makes your house a home. Having a piece of whatever artwork you purchased…made by such & such doesn’t make your house a home – it’s the quiet sense of joy with your four footed friend curled up on your lap, as you have your cup of tea. IT’s the pleasure of having your dear friend come for a real in person chat at your kitchen table. That’s what makes your house a home.
And that’s this month's home tip – in order to have a bit of heaven on earth, do not look for certain materials or finishes or brands to make you happy – be grateful for what you have, focus on the people, experiences and joyful memories you’re making in the space, and you WILL experience deeper joy in your HOME.
May your own house be filled with people, experiences, and joyful memories that make your house into a home.
So many people live with blah, boring beige walls. Move beyond beige with some inspiration from Mother Nature.
I was walking on the south side of town, and saw a woman crying and she was standing next to a van and the woman in the van was beaming. What was going on?
Leticia was so proud of her daughter. Leticia’s daughter was starting college in St. Louis, new beginnings. So exciting. Much to their shock, Leticia & her daughter realized that somewhere between the drive from Santa Fe NM and St Louis MO, the daughter had accidentally dropped her wallet. Can you imagine how horrifying that would be? Starting school w/o your license, credit cards, the whole bit…. It’s stressful enough moving out of state, but it’s even more stressful when you don’t have your wallet. So many things would go through your mind – what if someone runs up her credit cards? How is she going to get all new ID before school starts… and so on.
Here’s where the lady in the van comes in….. Claudia was driving her van in Santa Fe and saw something in the road – she stopped and sure enough – it was the wallet. She made the necessary phone calls and connected with mom Leticia, to return the wallet.
I just so happened to walk by as they were meeting to return the wallet. It was a beautiful thing to behold.
Claudia took the time to do the right thing, and mom Leticia’s prayers were answered. There are lovely people doing good things every day. That is indeed good news.
I encourage you to be on the lookout for good people doing good things. I really believe there is much good in the world – we just need to pay attention and notice.
Jest 'Fore Christmas - by Eugene Field
Father calls me William, sister calls me Will,
Mother calls me Willie, but the fellers call me Bill!
Mighty glad I ain't a girl - ruther be a boy,
Without them sashes, curls, an' things that's worn by Fauntleroy!
Love to chawnk green apples an' go swimmin' in the lake -
Hate to take the castor-ile they give for bellyache!
'Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain't no flies on me,
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!
Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the cat;
First thing she knows she doesn't know where she is at!
Got a clipper sled, an' when us kids goes out to slide,
'Long comes the grocery cart, an' we all hook a ride!
But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited an' cross,
He reaches at us with his whip, an' larrups up his hoss,
An' then I laff an' holler, "Oh, ye never teched me!"
But jest 'fore Christmas I'm as good as I kin be!
Gran'ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,
I'll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,
As was et up by the cannibuls that lives in Ceylon's Isle,
Where every prospeck pleases, an' only man is vile!
But gran'ma she has never been to see a Wild West show,
Nor read the Life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she'd know
That Buff'lo Bill an' cow-boys is good enough for me!
Excep' jest 'fore Christmas, when I'm good as I kin be!
And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemn-like an' still,
His eyes they seem a-sayin': "What's the matter, little Bill?"
The old cat sneaks down off her perch an' wonders what's become
Of them two enemies of hern that used to make things hum!
But I am so perlite an' 'tend so earnestly to biz,
That mother says to father: "How improved our Willie is!"
But father, havin' been a boy hisself, suspicions me
When, jest 'fore Christmas, I'm as good as I kin be!
For Christmas, with its lots an' lots of candies, cakes, an' toys,
Was made, they say, for proper kids an' not for naughty boys;
So wash yer face an' bresh yer hair, an' mind yer p's and q's,
An' don't bust out yer pantaloons, and don't wear out yer shoes;
Say "Yessum" to the ladies, an' "Yessur" to the men,
An' when they's company, don't pass yer plate for pie again;
But, thinkin' of the things yer'd like to see upon that tree,
Jest 'fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!
We are all starting to put up the Christmas tree. How can you take your tree from so-so to spectacular? It’s certainly not how much $ you spend on the decorations. It’s not necessarily the height of your tree… There are simple steps to take your tree from so-so to spectacular. This week’s Be Your Own Designer tip… 7 steps to the perfect Christmas Tree. Whether your tree is a table-top 18" hi tree, or 18' like the one above, these steps work every time.
1. SET UP & FLUFF UP. Of course we all set up the tree. We make sure it’s well situated and make any structural adjustments to ensure stability. That part is obvious. But the fluff up part is something we tend to rush, and it’s an important step. If you have an artificial tree take your time to really fluff out the branches. Move some of the bendable branches up, AND push some branches downward as well. By fluffing out each and every branch, you make the tree look fuller and more natural.
2. LET THERE BE LIGHT. In fact, lots of light. I love light (and not just because my name is Alana Light.) If you have a pre-lit tree… great! But feel free to add more lights.
My general rule of thumb is 100 lights per vertical foot. In other words, a 9’ tree can have 900 lights. I’ve been known to add as many as 1200+ lights to a 9’ tree. If in doubt, add more light. As a friend said, "It's not done until the tree can be seen by the Hubble Space Station!"
3. RIBBONS & SPARKLE. Wired ribbon, ropes of beads, pearls, popcorn, pompoms whatever you like to use, this is step 3. Many people put the ribbon on later in the process, but after 30 years of decorating trees, I’ve found that adding the ribbon now is easier in the long run. Don’t just wrap it around the outside like you’re wrapping a burrito with saran wrap.
Whether you prefer a horizontal look or vertical ribbon pattern, weave the ribbon in and out of the branches, tucking the ribbon about ½ way back into the tree. How much do you use? A typical 9’ tree would take 3 rolls of ribbon (that’s 30 yards). Buy more than you think you need, and you can use the extra to coordinate the packages with the ribbon that matches the tree. Ooh – you’re starting to get the designer look already.
Next up... the real fun begins.
4. LARGE ELEMENTS FIRST. Have you ever gone to the Dallas market with acres of Christmas trees? Have you ever seen the tree at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego? You’ll notice that designer trees have larger scale décor elements. We’re talking bigger ornaments here. The taller your tree, the bigger the ornaments you can use. It doesn’t have to cost you very much.
BONUS: BUDGET ORNAMENT. You can easily make twine ornaments around a 9” balloon. Dip the twine in mod podge mixed with glitter. Just like papier-mâché, wrap the twine around the balloon. Once dry, pop the balloon & viola… a beautiful, perfectly scaled large ornament that costs next to nothing to make.
Large scale ornaments really make the tree look like you hired a designer to do it. Now we're on a roll. What's next?
5. MEDIUM & SMALL ORNAMENTS NEXT.
These go on the outer edges of the branches. Now it’s really coming together but we’re not through yet.
Ready for the surprise factor many people overlook?
6. ADD FILLER for FUN. What do I mean by filler? Sprays of berries. Sprays of curly cue’s. Giant bows you can make easily or buy pre-made. Any of those pics you can find at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby will do. They don’t cost a lot but wow –do they really fill in those holes. Anywhere you can still see wires or the tree trunk, fill in with filler. When you’re adding the filler, keep stepping back from the tree, to make sure you’ve got a balance and you’ve filled in all the holes with filler.
Last but not least.... drum roll please....
7. ADD UNEXPECTED JOY to the tree. For the first national bank tree on the plaza, we added Santa Clause & his elves to the tree. For a family with young kiddo’s, maybe a giant Santa hat as the tree topper. For a music lover, it might be your first trumpet you played in Jr. high… I want you to always smile when you see your Christmas tree… and that’s the key – add something that brings *you* joy.
7 steps to the perfect Christmas Tree! Happy decorating.
We love to hear from you. Email us and leave comments below. Have a blessed Christmas season.
When we're talking about your home's decor. Watch this brief video for 3 examples you can use right now in your own home.
Meditation instead of detention. It's working.
Baltimore Maryland's Andres (Andy) Gonzales and his friends Ali & Atman started Holistic Life Foundation. They bring meditation into schools and it’s replaced detention! Over 7K students per week learn to center in, and forgo violence. “Mindful Moment Room”, the oasis in a school. Results speak for themselves... three years with zero suspensions. The kids are growing up through the program and returning to help the younger generation. Kudos to Andy, Ali & Atman – you are indeed the A team.
The publisher of Mindful Magazine wrote, “Andy, Atman and Ali’s work should be a model for communities across the country.” Amen.
And there's more.....
Andy discussed this program with Alana Light as the #GoodNews of the week segment. You'll want to listen to this interview.
How can you implement this in your city? Would you like to begin a program in your area? Contact Andy, Ali & Atman by CLICKING HERE. Be the change you wish to see in your community. It's up to each one of us, and this "A Team" is showing the way.
Give this positive news a thumbs up and share with your friends. Have a beautiful week,
Recently I was in TX teaching a live Destress Dejunk Declutter workshop, and we talked about a principle that I’d like to share with you. After you’ve decluttered your home, and everything that you have is really a reflection of who and what you are today, how do you know what to display and how to do it in a way that makes your home look its best? In other words, how can you make sure the things you need every day, don’t look, well, junky?
I have a simple principle that’s the guiding light when it comes to what to keep out:
WHATEVER IS VISIBLE IS USEFUL *and* LOVELY.
Repeat after me, "Whatever is visible is useful AND lovely."
Kitchen: heart of the home & clutter magnet
How can you apply this in your home? Let’s start in the kitchen, probably the most clutter-catching area in the home. After you have decluttered your kitchen counters, you only have out the things you use every day. Let's say you like to cook, but those jars, cannisters and items just junk up the counters - what do you do with them? Corral your clutter by placing baking / cooking items on an oversized tray. Just like that, you have a still life - instead of a mess.
Staying in the kitchen - I see a lot of homes where people have lots of snacks out on the countertops. If this is you, here’s a suggestion. Grab an over-sized basket or mixing bowl – like a mixing bowl or an interesting serving bowl you use when you host dinner parties. Place your snacks in the basket or bowl – potato chip bags, granola bars, small tin of nuts… whatever your family likes to nibble on, just put them all in the over-sized bowl on your kitchen counter. Now, instead of a disorderly pile of bags and such, you have one single container with all the snacking goodies. Visible, useful and attractive. See how this works? And the benefit of this particular application of this principle, is that when you have a movie night, you can just grab the bowl and head for the couch.
The next most cluttered room in the home usually is the master bathroom. If you have an assortment of lotion bottles, perfume, hair spray and what-nots, and you want to keep them out, let’s take it from cluttered jumble to an attractive display. How? Grab a tray and put all those misc. necessities on the tray. There’s a book about how to do the "adulting" thing, and they talk about this principle. Anything and everything looks better when put on a tray!
Or if you're like me and you have a seeming jumble of hair appliances (how many curling irons do I really need?!?), here's another idea. Put all the daily hair necessities into an attractive basket– and you have instant charm. Now instead of jumbled mess, you have an orderly composition – a still life – a study in loveliness on your bathroom counter. Every morning your organized bathroom says, "Well done, you!"
Visible. And. Beautiful.
Whatever you have out visible, make it look much nicer by putting things together in a basket, bowl or on a tray. This tip takes minimum effort but has a big impact. Reach over and pat yourself on the back.
Happy organizing, Give this a thumbs up.