These Are a Few of my Favorite Things...

Crafting a Drop Zone

Whether you live in 600 square feet (me) or 3,000 square feet, you HAVE a “drop zone.” A drop zone is just what it sounds- a place where you drop all. the. things. Get in at midnight? Shoes left at the door, keys on the kitchen counter, bag on the couch, and glasses in the bathroom. Wake up the next morning, foggy and tired, running late, rushing out the door. Now you play the game of "“try to find all. the. things.

A drop zone doesn’t have to be 15 different surfaces in your home. It CAN be system. A place that makes sense. A space that catches the chaos before it lands. After being in dozens of homes and helping ranging demographics find order and peace in their spaces, THE number one peace disruptor I find is a drop zone. A place that promotes function.

So what does it take to create a drop zone? Super simple. Find stuff around your home, take a quick looksy at Target, or hop on Amazon with less than $30 and purchase grab the following:

-a simple key hook

-a mail slot

-hooks for coats, hats, and bags (label for individual child with color or name to give them sense of ownership)

-a shoe basket or bin

It’s that simple y’all. Make it beautiful and lovely and you’ll feel more motivated to maintain the order.

P.S. I’m running a special this month for a $50 Mudroom Makeover Consult. Mudrooms=Drop Zones. Don’t have a Mudroom (again ) your entryway qualifies. Hop on my website and schedule yourself into my calendar.

To Dream.

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The 2018 You Are Women's Conference Leadership were given these Giving Keys in January. The key reads “DREAM.” I’ve had a dream for a while, one where I’m happy in what I’m doing vocationally. Where I feel called and with purpose in my work, and it’s cohesive to the lifestyle I desire.

Starting my career in youth nonprofit work- hard work that had me exhausted, spent, and emotionally drained, did not pan out the way I thought and desired. With my own personal tragedy in the mix, I left the job of service and sought out something more low key. 

I hopped admin jobs, taking time to stay in my lane and do what came most easily and naturally- organizing other people’s information. This provided the respite and self-care I so desperately needed during a time of healing, which I am forever grateful for, but lacked fulfillment and purpose that I so desired long term.

It was during this season that I started getting booked for design gigs. People asked, and I only said yes because it sounded fun and healing. 

A few years later, this year. The year I was given the key to “DREAM,” I had a realization. A calling of sorts. To bridge together my work in non-profit, my desire to help others #enneagram2 (eye roll), and my love and enjoyment for good interior design. An “ah-ha” moment. A calling.

What this year has been is a bridging of worlds, a coming together of ideas. Cultivate Your Space is not an interior decorating business, it’s not a personal organization business, it’s not a self- help or motivational business. And yet, it is. 

Cultivate Your Space is the fruition of hope to help others be fully well. Fully healed. Fully whole. Both in their Inner Spaces (heart, soul, mind) AND their Outer Spaces (the physical spaces we occupy- i.e. our homes, offices). The work I’ve done this year alongside friends, family, and now reaching outside to friends of friends and friends of family has been such a joy. The highlight has been helping people simplify and beautify their outer spaces while watching peace and productivity in their personal lives be greatly affected by those outer spaces. 

So in short: when asked “what do you do?” I answer “I help people heal. In their homes, from the outside in.” Simple enough, right? 

The RELEASE of Anger

Anger. It ebbs and flows. Pokes its feisty head in just the inopportune time. Always lurking, always just below the surface.

I think I have peace with myself and others. I believe I’ve worked through conflict and am not adverse to difficult conversations. But every now and then, the wind blows just right and I lose it. Someone cuts me off in traffic, shares a genuine criticism of me, or looks at with just the wrong glance and I’m undone.

So where does it come from? How is it so repressed? Why is it just below the surface for days, weeks, or months, and only surfaces when it so chooses?

During a season of trauma and recovery from such, I learned a lot of about the mind body connection. I received treatment from a crano-sacrial therapist (look it up, very fascinating) and did yoga multiple times a week. A friend who had experienced similar trauma years prior suggested that I keep my body moving, keep the juices flowing, and keep my heart connected to the physical movements of my body.

During this process I learned that we hold emotions in our hips. Who would of thought?! I’m always mindful when stretching my legs, hips, and thighs of what might come to the surface.

This past week I joined a gym for the first time in over two years. Not only did I not belong to a gym for over two years, but I also haven’t worked out in over two years. I did have two separate, one week energized stents where I worked out daily with a friend. That was cute while it lasted.

During this new venture of joining a gym and actually using it, I’ve seen a lot of anger become uncovered. I was in a cycling class (hello hips!) this morning and a song came on that was slightly offensive to the sexuality of a woman. I immediately became OVERWHELMED with anger. I started to cry and bit my lip to hold my the feels.

What’s interesting is that I had felt this underlying anger rearing up for the past few days, but unable to pinpoint where it was coming from and what I was actually angry at, so I continued to repress it.

It wasn’t until today during my cycling class that it all surfaced. Although I still can’t describe the direct source of the strong feelings, I can tell you this- it’s anger. So while my body might not be capable of sharing its feelings with me, it can tell me they are there and they need to be paid attention to.

So where do I go from here? Today, I sit and acknowledge the feels. I reflect at the anger. I ask questions of where it might be coming from. I dig deep into who, where, and what I might be resenting.

Isn’t it incredible what our bodies are made for? They hold it all, even when our hearts can’t bear it anymore, our bodies store it for later processing.  Today I’m thankful that I can peel back the layers of my anger in a slow, steady process thats on my pace and thankfully my body will be there to hold the rest.

Cultivating a Space

Cultivate: verb, to prepare and work on (land) in order to raise crops; till.

The Cultivating process is intentional. It’s preparation, it has purpose, it has order.

The same is true for creating a physical space you love. It doesn’t have to be expensive, labor intensive, or elaborate, but it does need to be intentional. In fact, my favorite design clients are the ones on a budget. The ones who have little to spend, but are willing to be clever in their cultivation.

My favorite place to start with a design client is asking them for one object that they LOVE. It could be a coffee cup, a rug, a tea towel, or a hair barrette. Anything really. This item is rarely something random, found on Pinterest or in the end cap of a clearance aisle at Target. It’s often something that holds a memory or an experience. There’s often a story surrounding the object.

What would it look like if your entire home was made up of these objects? Memories. Feelings. Stories. Can you imagine? Can you imagine the inner feelings you would experience walking into THAT home? A home that reflects YOU. Not Pottery Barn or Joanna Gaines, but YOU?

If I had one design goal for every friend, every loved one, every client it would be that they find their own personal style. They would discover the visual elements that they love, that they hate, that brings them peace, and joy. Developing your own style starts with understanding your desires. Your style is a reflection of you and all that makes you, you. Isn’t that fun?!

Maybe it’s just me, but what I put on each day, what pillow I choose for my couch, and how I set the table for my birthday dinner guests are all reflections of me. Just like a brand is a reflection of a business, our style is a reflection of an individual.  Do you have a crafted style? Are you intentional with what you buy, wear, and put in your home?

Imagine a home filled with things that reflect you and your family. Imagine a space that speaks life and personality to any who enter. Imagine people knowing you, really knowing YOU, more by walking into your home. What would they say?

Some of the hardest work of developing your own style is reflecting on what you really know about yourself. This can often be a difficult process to begin- “I’m a stay home mom, who am I? Where do my kids and husband stop and I start?” “I’m a missionary with very little money. I take whatever hand me downs I can get and try to be as simple and modest as possible. What would I even express if I were to express myself through style?” “I’ve just been wearing whatever I see is on trend and it seems to work fine. People say I dress cute and my home always looks up to date- but would I say this is really me, or just whatever the Patone Color of the Year is?”

I encourage you to take some time to reflect on your style. Your home, your clothes, your table. Do they reflect who you really are, or better yet, who you really want to be?

Inner Versus Outer Spaces

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So many details go into creating a space that feels like home . To many, decorating a new home is as simple as walking into Target, finding a few items that are functional, grabbing some unused furniture from mom’s house and calling it good. This reminds me of eating a packaged goodie for breakfast, driving thru McDonalds for lunch, and sitting in an office all day- how we treat our bodies is a reflection of care and intentionality- not only for our body, but for our spirit as well.

What if our homes, our offices, our cars, our “outer spaces” were treated as a direct reflection of our “inner spaces?” What if everything that surrounds us visually effects us emotionally? What would it look like to curate our environments in a way that not only reflects who we are inside, but who we WANT to be. The best version of ourselves.

I’ve had this paid hobby of interior design for the past ten years. It didn’t start as a calling to design, it started from a very young age as an observation of beautiful things. As a child, if I was stressed, anxious, or angry, I for whatever reason found respite in rearranging my room, or your room, or any room. Growing up, I think my mom thought it was an impulsivity thing, like I had to have change to make me feel settled, or maybe some form of gaining control. But as I reflect back now, as an adult, I see that it yes, maybe it was a little bit of all of those things, but mostly, it was an expression of my inner turmoil.

When I couldn’t change something internally or relationally, I took that energy and changed something I COULD change. I’ve come to find something therapeutic about physical change. And in my work with many design clients, I’ve found that everyone feels a little better with a little visual change for the better. I’m not saying that change is good or healing for everyone, but having an intentional, beautiful, crafted space is helpful for everyone I’ve worked with.

I’ve heard many people say “I’m not effected by my environment like you. I don’t care what my space looks like. It’s just not a priority. That’s not where I want to spend my money.” or “it just doesn’t matter that much to me.” Although all of those things may be true, I’ve learned that everyone is benefitted by a beautiful environment. The degree to which they are effected may vary, but everyone is emotionally effected by their surroundings, whether they acknowledge it or not.  More so, what effects someone visually and what emotion it inflicts varies greatly from person to person based on a number of personality factors.

In my role as an interior decorator and personal organizer I am typically hired by females. What I’ve come to learn though is that the males in the family tend to appreciate the outcome of our renovations to a much greater degree than the females that hired me. I think women tend to be more familiar with the concept that our environment effects our mental health and wellbeing, or maybe the majority of my female clients just spend significantly more time in the home and therefore tend to care more about how the home presents and functions.

I’ve found it fascinating though how much appreciation is expressed by the male clients. They express how they feel so much more at rest. How they didn’t know the space could look like this. How great it feels to have margin and space in the home. How they could of never envisioned something other than what previously existed.

Take a look around your home, your desk, your car.

What is reflected in your space?

Is it chaotic, scattered, and messy? Does your life kinda feel that way too? Anxious and scattered?

Is your home intentional, purposeful, and practical? Are you a meticulous person who makes choices with thought and intrigue?

Is your home a gathering of hand me downs and clearance items all thrown together and it “works just fine” but would never be a place you would choose to go or entertain? In your personal life are you often accommodating to others, being the last to choose, bending and moving to whatever works best for others, you come last?

For now, take a visual scan of your outer spaces and ask yourself if it in someway reflects the way you feel internally. Is this how you want to feel internally? What would it look like to craft your space to reflect more of what you hope and dream your inner spaces to be?