ARE YOU STUCK IN “BEING PERFECT”?

ARE YOU STUCK IN “BEING PERFECT”?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to be perfect.  Some people would call it a value, others a flaw.  No matter how you look at it, the need for perfection pops it’s ugly head for most of us at one time or another.  We want everything to be “just so” before we put it out to the world.  How do I know?  Because I’ve been there!

For a few months now I’ve been postponing a few projects that have been on my list for a long time.  Different excuses seem to get in the way.  Then, I began procrastinating, which lead to guilt, and then stress.  Sound familiar?  It wasn’t until I watched a video in a class I’m taking, that I realized I was stuck in being perfect.

Some women need to be perfect in everything they do.  Other women are selective.  We all want our children to have perfect manners when they‘re in public.  We usually want to look our best for a date or a job interview.  And when I make the time to sit down and paint, I expect it to be perfect every time!  Of course it’s not!!!  Then I avoid painting for a while and do something that I know I’m good at.

painting class exercises

What about our homes? There are so many ways we create perfection in our minds.  We want the perfect paint color, the perfect designer, the perfect budget, the perfect weather before we start the kitchen remodel.  The list goes on and on.  How many times have you passed on an opportunity to join a book club because you were self conscious about hosting it at your house?  I remember my mom telling me that I couldn’t have a sleepover because the house wasn’t clean enough!  Often we’re so focused on not failing that we don’t even begin the process. We’re on “overwhelm” before we even get started!  The sad truth is that if we just take action without waiting for the perfect kitchen, the perfect wall color, or the perfect window treatment, our lives would be more enriched with relationships and happy memories.

Let’s take a look at a few things that can make a huge difference in getting us out of perfect and into action:

Realize that nothing is perfect.  Did you know that Amish quilters always leave one mistake in their quilts because “only God is perfect”?

Be realistic. Acknowledge your limits of time, money and resources.  Don’t let these obstacles keep you from moving forward with little changes.

Be flexible. Realize that the project will probably take longer than you expect.  Go with the flow and relax.  Enjoy the process.

Trust yourself.  If you inner voice is telling you not to buy something.  Listen to it!

Be authentic.  Be true to yourself. And, please, don’t check your personality at the front door.  Every woman brings their own dreams, visions, and talents to the table.  Don’t be afraid to let your uniqueness shine.

Make a plan.  Small steps, done consistently, are sometimes better than one big effort.  You know the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant?…one bite at a time.” Use these words to guide you through your home makeover.

Mistakes happen.  Sometimes you have a “What was I thinking!” moment that sends you into a panic.  Instead of feeling like you’ve failed or having a meltdown, sit back, take a deep breath, and get creative.  There’s almost always a way to fix it.  Did you forget to measure the wall, or test the paint color in the room?  Learn from your mistakes and take that with you into the next project.

Take risks.  Sometimes it’s fun to shake things up a little.  Go ahead.  Add some turquoise to the walls.  Throw an animal print pillow on the sofa.

Seek help.  Network with your friends, hire professionals, or take a class.  I can’t stress this enough!  So many design disappointments happen because you didn’t ask for help, assumed your contractor could read your mind, or didn’t want to pay for help.

Be kind to yourself.  If updating your home is taking too long because of no money, no time, or no help, it’s time to tell yourself good enough…for now.  Throw caution to the wind, call your friends, and have a spur of the moment party.  Sometimes entertaining at the last minute is the perfect excuse to not be perfect !  You’ll be more relaxed and feel less pressure.  Best of all, your guests will feel welcomed.  And isn’t that the point… enjoying what life has to offer?

 

 

5 Important Action Steps to Simplify Your Life at Home

5 Important Action Steps to Simplify Your Life at Home

Life at home is anything but normal these days.  Most of us have been cooped up at home, feeling more distracted than ever.  Some days it feels like a blessing, as if God hit the reset button just for us and we finally have time to breathe and regroup.

Other days we just wander around the house aimlessly, distracted by the news and conflicting reports on how to stay safe.  Between homeschooling and work-from-home the day is gone before we know it.  Focusing on anything is hard. 

Now that we’re spending so much time at home, suddenly we see our spaces with new eyes, and we’re definitely focusing on it.  After weeks of staring at the same walls, sitting on the same sofa, and prepping meals on the same island that became your home office and home school, we long to make some changes. 

Clients are telling me they’re finally ready to update their bathroom, change wall colors, or buy new furniture Here in our house, we’re working on all the projects that we’ve been putting off.  For years I felt the porch was too dark.  It was all I thought about when I sat out there.  So the project of the week was painting the porch!  It’s funny how such a simple change like paint color can bring peace of mind.

cans of colorful paint

Keeping life simple so we can enjoy it more is a lifestyle choice that’s becoming more accepted.  Do you ever wish you had more room for fun and joy in your life?  I know I do!  After all the tension, uncertainty, and distractions simplicity at home is a good place to start. 

After thinking about what I really want, (and the list was long) I narrowed it down to these 5 Important Action Steps to Simplify Your Life at Home…

Action Step #1: Re-evaluate Your Stuff

Too many possessions will complicate your life and lead to clutter.  Living in a cluttered space drains our energy, our attention, even our bank accounts.  And who wants that?  Have you ever spent time organizing the clutter and all of your stuff, only to find that after a week, it’s a mess again and you can’t find anything?

cluttered desk

Do you have a closet filled with clothes from 10 years ago?  A pantry filled with expired food?  Five sets of dishes?  Instead, think about what you really value in life and start to live a life based that.

Right now, I value being active outside.  I no longer want a lot of stuff that I need to dust or maintain.  And that includes house plants, books, and nic-nacs.  Slowly these things are going to new homes.

Action Step #2:  Look at Your Time Commitments

learn to say no

Review your list of values and set priorities.  Then use your Best YES (and your Best NO) to help you decide what is good for you and your family.  You can start bringing joy into your life by doing the activities you actually love doing (gardening, being creative, relationships with family and friends, etc.). The things that no longer serve you can be off your plate!

Action Step #3:  Focus on Your Goals

goals

As women, we love to be people-pleasers and over achievers.  Can you relate?  We set all these goals for different areas of our lives and think we need to work on all of them at the same time.  This is crazy, and a recipe for a mental explosion!  You want to be homeschooling Mom of the Year, lose weight, decorate your house by yourself so everyone has their own “work space”, plant the garden…The list goes on.

Take a deep breath and know that there’s a better way.  And that is called FOCUS.  I like to make a brain dump of all the things I want/need to accomplish.  Then I’ve learned to choose one important goal for each area of my my life: personal, home, and work.  Once a goal is completed, I can move on to the next one.

Mentally release the rest of the list for now.  And don’t beat yourself up with negative thoughts if you fall off the wagon and binge eat or stop a project for a day or two.  Just focus on your ONE THING again until it’s done.

Action Step #4:  Eliminate artificial and toxic ingredients

health

Eating clean, intermittent fasting, plant based are all the internet talks about these days.  We work so hard at it.  Somehow we forget that just as we watch what goes into our bodies, it’s equally important to watch the ingredients in our cleaning products, our skin care products, and our makeup. 

My journey began with the simple need to find a product for my clients that would clean granite counters and stainless appliances without leaving a “greasy” residue.  Chemical cleaning sprays began bothering my breathing, so I switched to “clean”.  And now unexplained skin issues have made me start looking at the chemicals in skin care products and makeup. 

Do yourself a favor and start checking ALL labels.  Not just on food.

If you want to learn more about clean beauty, visit my website: www.beautycounter.com/randidestefano 

Action Step #5:  Stop Multi-tasking

chaos of multitasking

Have you ever caught yourself checking emails, watching TV and trying to carry on a conversation with your kids?  Chaos, right?  And nobody likes feeling stressed from doing too many things at one time.  Just like focusing on one goal at a time leads to success, working on one task at a time has the same effect.  Being focused on one thing at a time allows you to do your best work, and no one feels like you’re not paying attention to them.

“Simplifying your life will bring balance, freedom, and joy.  When we begin to live simply and experience these benefits, we begin to ask the next question, Where else in my life can I remove distraction and simplify life to focus on the essentials?” – Joshua Becker-

To learn more ways to Simplify Life at home, follow my Instagram page: www.instagram.com/simplifylife.randi

                                                                      And my Facebook group:   Simplify Life

 

7 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY KITCHEN …and what I wish was different

7 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY KITCHEN …and what I wish was different

Our kitchen was designed by me, with my hubby’s input, eight years ago when we were building our new house on the lake.  Back then I wasn’t cooking as much as I did when our family was bigger.  But we had high hopes of changing that with our new Lake Lifestyle.  We poured through magazines, visited model homes and studied the kitchens of all our friends to come up with the perfect design for us.  And when we moved it, we loved it, and still do today!

Fast forward to this time of Stay at Home when restaurants are closed, trips to the grocery store are limited, and stock-piling of toilet paper is the new normal.  Lifestyles have changed, and life in the kitchen has become very active!!!   We’re spending most of our time there working, home schooling, and cooking.  If it wasn’t before, the kitchen has definitely become the Heart of the Home.

With all this extra at-home time on my hands, it’s been perfect to reflect on what’s really important.  And what is not.  I started out doing what most people are doing….de-cluttering and purging!  The donation pile is getting bigger every day.  I even found some strange things in my drawers and have no idea what they are or why I bought them! Can you relate?

The biggest surprise of all is how small, and unorganized the refrigerator and pantry seem with so much extra food and supplies.  No, we aren’t hoarding toilet paper!  And so with that Ah Ha moment, I created my list of What I Love About My Kitchen…and what I wish was different.  Have you started making your own list of things to change?  Let me share mine:

 7 Things I love about my kitchen:

  1. The steam oven! It’s become the workhorse of the kitchen.  We use it daily to reheat food, bake, thaw food, sous vide meat, etc.
  2. Our big island is perfect for spreading out to prep food.
  3. The walk-in pantry is the first one we’ve ever had!
  4. Dish drawers
  5. Spice pullouts
  6. Coffee/tea station
  7. The warming drawer is a lifesaver for dinner parties when everyone brings something hot.

What I wish was different…

  • An organized space for vitamins and supplements
  • A space for my ever growing essential oil collection
  • Really good food preservation/refrigeration
  • A larger pantry for more food and all the party platters
  • More space for storing paper products
  • Square containers for flours, sugar, and grains that fit better in the cabinets
  • Less “stuff” on the counters

After 60 days of Stay-At-Home (but who’s counting), this is what I’ve discovered.  We are blessed to be healthy, blessed to have Zoom to connect, and blessed to live in a home that we love.  This time of reflection has made me realize that it’s time to press the reset button and get back to what’s truly important to each of us.

…….. have you been having your own Ah Ha’s about what needs to change in your kitchen?  Maybe your dream kitchen changes are different from mine, and maybe they’re the same.  I would love to hear how this Stay-at-Home time has impacted the way you look at your home today.  Is it serving you or NOT?  Please comment below and tell me what you love about your kitchen and what you would love to change.  I promise….NO judging and NO commitments!

Your Space Matters: 3 Secrets To Design Your Life At Home

Your Space Matters: 3 Secrets To Design Your Life At Home

 

Your Space Matters.  It really does!  As we go about our day, following our crazy schedules, it’s so easy to get caught up in life and ignore this place we call home.

And then one day we wake up and notice that things around us are looking a bit worn and tired. There are rooms we avoid because we just don’t feel comfortable there.  Sometimes we’re unorganized and often late for work or carpool because we can’t find the car keys.  Does this sound a little bit familiar?

And worst of all, because we feel this way, it starts to impact the way we act around other people and how we respond to them…even if we don’t realize it.  You know what I mean.  The kitchen counter is piled with a PTA project that needs to be finished, so you’re stressed.  Then the kids start clamoring for your attention…and you snap at them.  Or you’re embarrassed to have friends over because your kitchen “doesn’t look as good as their kitchen.”

We’ve all been there at one time or another, and it’s not a fun place to be.  Now’s the time to sit back, take a deep breath, and make a plan to design your life at home.  Here are my 3 secrets to making it happen:

Secret #1:  Define your values

Start by making a list of everything that HOME means to you. Do you want it to be a retreat to come home to at the end of a long hectic day?  Do you love to welcome family and friends?  Next make a list of your priorities in order of importance.  But be sure that they fit what you value most about home.  A good example of this would be loving to cook but dreading it because your kitchen is always a mess.

Secret #2:  Discover what works for you and your lifestyle

How do you want to live in your home?  If you love to be relaxed and casual, then choose furniture styles that reflect that.  When low maintenance is something you value, a clean and simple style with few accessories might be the way to go.

How do you want to feel when you’re at home?  Do you want to feel relaxed, unhurried, and stress free?  What about energetic, organized, and carefree?  Think about the lifestyle you have now, or even the one that you’d like to have, and create your home makeover to compliment that.

What do you want more of?  For me it’s more creative time.  If I don’t create a space for that to happen, I don’t plan it into my day.

What do you want less of?  Maybe you want to spend less time cleaning or staying on top of the clutter.  Less accessories and better storage solutions would be the answer.

Secret #3:  Just do it!

Too often we make excuses….
I don’t have the time.
We can’t afford it.
I can’t live through construction.
I don’t know where to start.

So many times these excuses are just us getting in our own way because we’re afraid to take that first step.  Start with something simple and begin the process with what you already have.  Get rid of the outdated floral arrangements, move lamps and pillows to another room, or re-purpose a table for another use.  One client realized that she was spending less and less time in her home office, and instead working later and later at meetings and other busy work.  As soon as she admitted to herself that she really hated the way her office made her feel, she was ready to make a change.  And guess what?  A new paint color was enough to soothe her feelings of uneasiness, and she’s now using her office again!

 

Bring The Colors Of Santa Fe Home

Bring The Colors Of Santa Fe Home

 

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for. – Georgia O’Keeffe

When I think of Santa Fe, I think of Pueblos and pottery. I think of art. But mostly, I think of the beautiful colors of the earth, sky, and mountains at Ghost Ranch and the surrounding area. Each time I visit, a sense of calm washes over me and I feel at home walking around looking at the turquoise and blues, the corals, purples, and tans. They remind me of Fall…my favorite time of year.

                                                                   

So it was no surprise to me, when we moved to our last house and I discovered that everything I unpacked was turquoise, coral, blue or tan! People who know me best could see it, but it took starting fresh…with a clean slate…to make me see it. Now I realize, that except for the years of trying to follow the latest color trends, I always seem to go back to the colors that make me happy. Maybe this is why I get so excited to decorate for Fall. It’s the time of year when everyone wants to make their home a little cozier by adding deeper, richer colors and textures.

                                                                                     

                                                                                     

Here’s a checklist of some favorite ways to bring the colors of Santa Fe home this Fall:

  • Add a bit of nature by collecting pinecones, acorns, or wildflowers and placing them in bowls or vases.
  •  Visit your local craft store for dried or silk flowers to add to your favorite piece of pottery.

  • Change your pillows from summer colors to fall colors and patterns.

  • Mix and match your dishes by adding salad plates with beautiful Fall colors. If you’re lucky enough to find 2 or 3 patterns with the same colors, your table top will have more interest. I found a really nice collection at Pier 1, but it’s even more fun to search flea markets for the perfect plate.

  • Coordinate your new dishes with colorful, Fall placemats and napkins.
  •  Add a textured throw to your sofa or favorite chair to snuggle in on a crisp Fall evening.
  • Bring in nature’s own with heirloom pumpkins and squash. I love the new colors of heirloom pumpkins ranging from sage to deep greens, white, and deep orange.

  • Remember that anything you add to your home should be more about being true to your lifestyle and budget than trying to out-decorate your friends…it’s all about Authentic Living Interiors!!!