I don’t know about you, but I tend to procrastinate on holiday preparations. Sometimes it’s because I’m too busy with other things that were more important when I said “yes” to them. Other times, the perfectionist in me keeps thinking “what if?” What if a better table decorating idea comes to me later? What if there won’t be enough variety of food? Crazy, right?
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to think about what can be done right now that will bring more joy and less stress to the holiday. Remember, we want to avoid holiday chaos and focus on enjoying our family and friends. The answer could be discovering the ONE THING you want to accomplish with the preparation and the meal. For me, that would be enjoying our time together, staying calm, and living in the moment. When I focus on this….and how long it will take to pull it all together…it’s time to get real and make a plan.
Let’s take a look at some simple steps to avoid holiday chaos:
What can you easily accomplish in the time you have?
Remember that people typically come to a gathering for two reasons: food and fun. YOU are hoping to create lasting memories. But be realistic about the amount of time you can spend planning and preparing. When you’re completely exhausted by the time you sit down to dinner, it’s hard to enjoy the meal and your guests. Take it from me…been there, done that! My little Thanksgiving secret is that one year I went on strike in cooking the meal. But that’s another story for another day! LOL!!!
As you plan your meal, remember to delegate a dish or two to anyone who offers. Your party will be easier that way. And the bonus for your guests is that it lets them try a new recipe as well as feeling helpful.
What should you buy? What should you DIY?
Sometimes you just can’t do it all yourself. So you need to decide what can you buy and what can you realistically do yourself. Costco, Trader Joe’s and Fresh Market have delicious, prepared food that can fill in for side dishes you don’t have time to make.
This same mindset holds true for the table decorations. Most of us dream of having our Thanksgiving table decorated with perfectly coordinated china, colorful linens, and beautiful centerpieces. With a peaceful walk in the woods and a quick “shopping trip” around your own home, you can easily create a look that will wow your friends and family.
How to handle the clutter when guests are staying overnight?
I like being neat and tidy (most of the time), so a house full of overnight guests, luggage, and cramped quarters can feel a little crazy and chaotic.
Some of the ways I’ve managed to keep clutter to a minimum is to make sure everyone has a designated area for their family’s “stuff”. At my house that means all coolers are stored in the room off the garage and toys are kept all together.
Creating an out-of-the-way private space for guests to keep their suitcase will make them feel welcomed and keep the clutter to a minimum.
We all want the holiday to be a joyful, fun-filled and stress-free time. We want our guests to feel welcomed and comfortable. And most of all, we want to create cherished memories that last a lifetime as we give thanks for all of our many blessings.
Have you ever walked into someone’s home and it is absolutely the perfect colors? You want to curl up in a chair and make yourself right at home. Maybe grab a glass of wine and a really good book. And while you’re sitting there you begin to wonder how they accomplished that daunting task?
There are many tricks, tips, and secrets that designers use to create the perfect color palette for themselves and their clients. And one of these is to let nature do the work for you.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m outside is to take a good look at everything around me. I notice the textures of tree bark. I look at the way light plays on a mountainside. Maybe it’s the art classes or the quilts I’ve made that have created this awareness. Maybe it’s just one person’s passion for color and texture. But through each experience, I’ve learned that nature is the best form of color combination you’ll ever find.
As I was looking at this beautiful lake photograph, thinking about Fall, and feeling nostalgic about leaving our lake home for new adventures, I realized that most of my favorite colors are in that photo. And, most importantly, I use these guides to help me with my own color selections.
Let’s look at the photo above to see how you can make it work in your home for your next DIY project.
1. Find one dominating color that really speaks to you and use it freely. For me it’s the beautiful blues of water that range from deep blue to turquoise.
2. Next choose a secondary color from the photo. Red would be my personal choice. One of my favorite pieces of pottery just happens to include both of these colors!
3. After that, choose one or two more to be accents. These colors can be present in pillows, throws, towels, and any other accent piece you’d like to use.
4. Finally select one color for a background and paint your walls. My go-to neutral wall color is usually Benjamin Moor Cedar Key. It goes with everything and makes a good background for colorful art work.
Take a look at these accent pieces found online. They’re great examples of how you can follow the steps above to create your own color palette, and then shop on your own to find the perfect accents to pull it all together.
And, if you’re renovating, be courageous and step out of your neutral color box and just go for it!!!
If you’ve been thinking about adding some pizzazz to your home this Fall, don’t know where to start, and are nervous you’ll make a costly mistake, be sure to grab our FREE report!
Starting a home renovation project is a big step. For most people, it’s a fun and exciting time. They enjoy the process, have fun selecting their products, and want the very best when it comes to the people they choose to work with.
But every once in a while a client starts the process with a sense of dread. They’ve heard “stories” from their friends and family about the horrors of construction. So they worry in advance about the mess and how long they’ll be inconvenienced. What will they do for meals? Where will they set up the temporary kitchen? Will the guest bathroom be too small for both of us while we live through construction? If you’re considering a renovation or any type of disruptive project at your home. I hope that you’re not letting these stories scare you away.
I think we’ve all had some type of disruption to our home at one time or another. Maybe you’ve had new carpeting installed, or hardwood floors refinished. Maybe the entire house has been painted. No matter what project you’ve taken on, it probably brought chaos into your life and a lot of anxiety!
We want everything to turn out just the way we imagined…PERFECT! But too often we expect perfection all along the way, and become impatient if a little glitch appears. I can relate because it happens to me too. And what I’ve noticed is when I’m tired, and the chaos has dragged on too long, I get impatient. I start to hover around the workers (or my husband) to make sure the job is getting done “right.” And when I find one thing wrong, I start looking for other things that aren’t perfect. Has this ever happened to you?
Since I’ve been spending some time with cabinet installations lately, and disappointed that a ding or two is keeping that perfect kitchen on hold for a week or two, I started thinking back on some of my clients’ projects. I realized that the clients who were the most stressed out were the ones who had unrealistic expectations of how a project works.
And it also reminded me that when stress and anxiety creep up and rear their ugly head, it’s time to follow these 3 Simple Steps:
1. Take a deep breath! When you see a mistake, a ding, or anything less than perfect, take a step back and breathe. Know that it will all come together perfectly in the end. Maybe not today or tomorrow. But it will be perfect soon.
2. Trust that the people you’ve hired want the very best for you and your project. You’ve hired the very best. Don’t hover around the job site to watch them at work or ask a lot of questions. I know you might want to watch the process, but imagine your employer looking over your shoulder all day long. It probably slows down your work and makes you anxious.
3. Take a break. The banging, sawing, and drilling will get on your last nerve after a while. So make it a practice to get away for a little while each day, especially if you work from home. When you’re at the job site all the time, you start to notice every little imperfection to a cabinet, wall or seam. Let your installer work their magic to make it perfect and you’ll never notice there was a problem. After all, that’s why you’ve hired the best!
If you’re thinking about a home renovation, whether it’s a small project or knocking down walls, you might be afraid of making costly mistakes. And that’s why I’ve created 3 Costly Home Renovation Mistakes and How To Avoid Them. All you need to do is click on the button below…easy peasy!
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.
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?
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.
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?
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
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
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
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
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
Most of us love a good DIY project every now and then. I mean, who doesn’t love the challenge of planning a project and seeing it through to the end? And then there’s the added bonus of saving a little money. But lately, I’ve been hearing from a lot of Design-It-Yourself’ers that they’re disappointed in the way their remodels are turning out. As I listen to their concerns, one common thread stands out loud and clear. The biggest mistake they’re making is not communicating EXACTLY what they want to the people who are helping them.
Being over-the-moon excited with your finished design project is what you dream of. The vision you have in your head is sometimes the only thing that keeps you going when the dust and drilling is getting on your last nerve. But unless you get that vision out of your head and onto paper, you might be headed for disappointment. No one can read your mind, so communication is the key to your project’s success.
Somehow, in the rush of our crazy lives, the small details seem to get lost in the shuffle. We assume “they should know that”. But they don’t. Everyone working for you has their own idea of how something should be installed. It might be standard in their industry, but not how you want it to look.
Here are just a few of those little details you need to consider:
1. The height of your shower head. Where do you want it? Be sure to tell your plumber or contractor.
2. The height of the tile in your shower. Do you want it to go to the ceiling? Is there crown molding?
3. Garbage disposer…Do you want it on the small bowl side or the large? On the left bowl or the right? There is no right or wrong answer here, but you need to communicate this with the plumber. If you think about how you like to work at your sink, and plan accordingly, incorrect installations won’t happen.
4. Counter top overhang. Standard is 1 1/4″ – 1 1/2″. Make that clear with your counter top people. Check it for consistency once it’s installed. In my own kitchen, the first installation had different overhangs all around the island and had to be re-done.
5. How high do you want your window treatments hung? To the ceiling? To the top of your trim? Somewhere in between? You need to decide this before they’re constructed and then communicate this to the installer.
6. Placement of pendant lights. Size of the pendants and size of the island usually determine how far apart they should be. Your installer may have a different opinion than you do, so make it clear ahead of time. Also, ceiling beams or joists may throw a wrench into the plan. Keeping an open line of communication with your installers and contractor will make these last minute changes less stressful.
7. Exact placement of mirrors and vanity lights. This is determined by ceiling height, backsplash height, size of the lights, etc. Plan and ahead and then communicate this plan to everyone involved, especially if you can’t be there when they’re installed.
To avoid miscommunication on your design project:
- Ask a lot questions about the little details so you know what to expect.
- Understand that, if the details aren’t spelled out in advance, you’ll get calls for last minute decisions. If you’re not available to answer, something might get installed where you don’t want it.
- Plan out every detail of your project before construction begins and make sure your contractor and subs are on board.
- Arrange to have daily or weekly updates on progress.
- Hire an interior designer to handle these details for you. A designer will make sure they’re installed according to your vision.
Always remember that how well you communicate your design vision determines how happy you’ll be in the end. And that’s exactly what everyone wants for you!
If you’re finally ready to begin your own home makeover, contact us today to schedule a Design Success call and get your project started in the right direction . Info@RandiDestefano.com