The Beauty of Self-Care: Lesson 8 – Vulnerability + Gratitude

The Beauty of Self-Care: Lesson 8 – Vulnerability + Gratitude

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Image above by Jen Corace

There are so many motivational phrases bouncing around in the universe. On any given day, I can download desktop wallpaper that tells me to “Go get ’em tiger,” “Hustle,” or “Today’s the day.” This is pretty awesome — so much good-vibe stuff out there. But if you’re still on the precipice and awaiting positive change or just beginning a true self-care practice, all that goodness and positivity can make you feel like everyone else is getting a shower of golden light while you’re still stuck with grey skies. If I’m not a 110%, my reaction to positivity is usually to growl and then beat myself up for being a jerk to the world by growling.

True self-care is about allowing yourself to growl, recognizing growling is not something you want to cultivate, and spending time listening to your grievances and saying okay.

When you let you be you, you’ll find other you’s. Better than that, you’ll find non-you’s who genuinely like you being you. Witness the text conversation below. My texts are in blue.

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Please, please, please click through to read the quick story and lesson around vulnerability and gratitude if you’re struggling to care for yourself in a deeper way. Make the time. It’s so worth it. –Caitlin

 

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Another big thank you to our series partner, Aveda, who knows a thing or two about serious self-care. If you can, treat yourself to an Aveda product and make it part of your body’s self-care routine. If your budget doesn’t allow you to treat yourself at the moment, do this exercise and share what you did in the comments for a chance for us to treat you to a complimentary Tulasara skincare kit from Aveda. You can learn more about Aveda and the benefits of the Tulasara skincare practice here. I use this product every day.

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A Montana Home That Honors the Journey

Bridget Ambrose's Home Tour for Design*Sponge

A Montana Home That Honors the Journey

I’ve always been the sort of person who prefers a clear destination to the uncertain, winding journey. Before I take a risk, I like to know it will end exactly as I envisioned, a perfect plan leading to a perfect outcome. This, you’ve no doubt already surmised, has hindered my ability to see how a detour might actually present a never-before-thought-of possibility. So I marvel at how someone like Bridget Ambrose gracefully embraces experimentation, honors the need for unexpected changes, and understands that her home is essentially a “never-ending art project.” Bridget, whose family loves to go on van trips, is the best kind of road-tripper. She knows the place between where we begin and end up is where the real creative magic happens.

Bridget, an energy medicine intuitive with a healing practice at Be Crow Be, and her husband Mathew, a product design director, spent a year updating their 1932 bungalow in Missoula, MT. Local builders Mast and Co. helped them realize their vision by “incorporating all of the original doors, some original lighting, and mimicking all of the original trim,” while also introducing modern touches. But things didn’t always go as planned. A wall in the room the couple nicknamed “the love room” was supposed to have a built-in platform-style sofa. But when they discovered the wall was needed to hide the HVAC, they got creative and designed a built-in bookshelf and desk instead. The process, says Bridget, taught her patience and helped her to see how with every design tweak a new “energy or vibe emerged to build on.” And then, once the updating process was complete, Bridget found herself wanting to fill the empty spaces in her home as quickly as possible. She soon realized, however, that the emptiness actually gave her time and insight to fulfill her creative vision. It’s this spirit of openness that makes Bridget and Mathew’s home pleasing to the eye and great for spinning vinyl while reclining on rugs under the lights of LOVE (slide 12).

These days, Bridget, Mathew, and their 13-year-old son Ryder like to gather in the kitchen around a custom reclaimed wood dining table. Here they take naps, do homework, work, or curl up with a book. Around the corner a letter board on a floating fir shelf reads, “Love yourself more.” Love is quite literally spelled out in two different places in their home. I can see how a home that lives by love as its motto is able to envision possibilities where others see only road blocks. Love, afterall, is what makes the uncertain, winding journey so darn worthwhile. –Liberty Lausterer

Photography by Bridget Ambrose 

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12 Ways to Display and Enjoy Artwork at Home

12 Ways to Display and Enjoy Artwork at Home | Design*Sponge

12 Ways to Display and Enjoy Artwork at Home

Artwork finishes a space in a way that furniture and accessories never can. If a room feels undone, uninteresting and uninspired, it’s likely missing art. Displaying pieces on walls, ledges or surfaces can depend on the space and the furniture being balanced. Size, orientation, scale and palette also play a factor in the way art is arranged in a home. While it’s up to your space and which pieces you want shown, having an inspirational place to start from is always helpful when working to thoughtfully and artfully fill a home. These 12 art displays from the Design*Sponge archives complement the gorgeous rooms they complete. –Lauren

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Two Thanksgiving Inspired DIYs with Waverly Inspirations

Two Thanksgiving Inspired DIYs with Waverly Inspirations

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Our Thanksgiving table is a pretty simple affair. It’s generally adorned with foliage scavenged from the remainder of greenery and colorful leaves in our yard. We were a little behind in collecting the more colorful leaves this year, so my daughter and I decided to create some pressed clay leaves to decorate our table. This simple DIY is a great way to connect with nature as the season changes, and to me, reminds us that warmth and beauty will once again return. How we bring warmth and love to our tables during this chilly season challenges the creative parts of ourselves and is a great, and necessary, way for us to bring comfort to our homes and hearts.

Click through for our clay leaf DIY and a second fabric DIY that can add some warmth and style to your Thanksgiving table and your home throughout the winter season. We’ll be sharing more Thanksgiving DIYs here tomorrow! –Caitlin

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Waverly Inspirations. This project, ideas, and words are from us here at D*S and were created by us,  for you and your family. Thanks for supporting our sponsors that help us create and publish original content like this. The Waverly Inspirations collection is available at Walmart.

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10 Charming London-Based Interiors

Best of London Interiors on Design*Sponge

10 Charming London-Based Interiors

When I was a child, my great aunt sent me a little tin filled with butter cookies from her recent trip to London. It was shaped like a double-decker bus, with people looking out the windows at the sights, presumably (“Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament”). I loved that tin, as it became the home for my Lite-Brite pegs after the cookies were eaten up. All these years later, I still have that little bus and it still houses Lite-Brite pegs. It’s always been more than that to me, though. At a very young age, her gift opened the door to the idea of London and travel for me. It left me curious about the towns, the countryside and the colors of England.

Sometimes I get lost in the set of a movie and more times than not, it’s set in London. I spend most of the movie wondering where was it filmed, with their perfect storefronts and that vintage decor of plaids and the perfect floral wallpaper. I quickly add it to my list of places to visit (again). I have been there once, for about eight hours, when I used to tour with bands, selling their merchandise. Not long enough to take in any of the beauty or the sights. As I got older, the intrigue has continued and moved to the homes of London. Are they all regal and fancy? Are they cozy or cheery? Do they look like the set of The King’s Speech (which is honestly the most perfect movie set in my opinion)? I hope this roundup of 10 London interiors, from previous Sneak Peeks, will answer as many questions for you as it did for me. —Erin

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Design Updates Help a Victorian Cottage Swing Into This Century

Design Updates Help a Victorian Cottage Swing Into This Century, Design*Sponge

Design Updates Help a Victorian Cottage Swing Into This Century

User experience designer and illustrator Jory Dayne had been looking to move for a while, but the high home prices in Salt Lake City, UT had him less than enthused. The houses he was interested in — those that were older and had vintage character — just so happened to be on the more costly end of the already-expensive spectrum. Great. Luckily, a colleague happened to be moving to California, and asked Jory if he would be interested in buying their 1890s-era, eclectic, Victorian cottage. Jory thought, “Jackpot.”

Located 45 minutes outside the city in Provo, the two-story home features a mix of original and updated elements. That being said, Jory’s main goal upon moving in was to “unify the space.” He didn’t want to lean too far into period decor because he felt it would come off as insincere. But if he made the space too modern, it would look like every other house on the block. A happy medium was the answer. White walls throughout help the space feel crisp and bright, while details like original doors and windows keep with the home’s heritage. All in all, you can absolutely still see its original character shine throughout, but all the modern amenities and design touches are 100% there. Mission accomplished. Click through to take a peek. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Weston Colton

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A Vintage Collector’s Treasure-Filled Home in Salt Lake City

In Salt Lake City, UT, an eclectic  home filled with vintage finds on Design*Sponge.

A Vintage Collector’s Treasure-Filled Home in Salt Lake City

Not many houses can make you feel instantly at home. As I walked into Rachael Skidmore’s Salt Lake City, UT place, the warm personality of unique vintage decor, collections, and vignettes instantly made it evident that the space was full of thought and dedication. “I wanted to fill our home with vintage and antique finds, but not have it feel like a museum, or untouchable. Balancing unique, fun finds with functionality was my goal,” Rachael shares.

Around every corner are carefully placed knick-knacks strategically arranged in a way that feels full, but not cluttered. It’s like walking into a treasure chest full of beautifully curated highlights of the past century. From a stunning plate wall to her vibrant gallery of preserved butterflies, each display is acquired slowly as Rachael patiently compiles goods piece by piece.

Rachael’s passion for special stories and the past has translated into her work as the owner of Maeberry Vintage. From clothes to home decor, everything isn’t just bought – it’s collected. Refusing to follow trends, her home reminded me that decorating is a reflection of your own personality and an outlet of expression. Rachael’s refreshingly interesting taste differs from the everyday interior enthusiast, but it’s still relatable enough to truly enjoy. –Tawnee

Photography by Tawnee Madlen Walker

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10 Women I Look Up To and Why

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10 Women I Look Up To and Why

Part of my inspiration for In the Company of Women was sitting down to think about and show appreciation for the women who have provided me with motivation over the years. Some know what role they’ve played and some I’ve never met. But each and every one of them has been the spark, the inspiration, or the kick in the pants I needed to get through a tough time. In a world where we’re told to build our personal brands and stand out from the competition, I feel a stronger urge than ever to do the opposite: to lift up others, celebrate their greatness and voices, and to be happy to just stand amongst them — rather than aiming to be above.

I wanted to share 10 of the (many) women who have played that role for me. I’d love to hear who inspires you, too. If you have a moment, share the women who have inspired you in life and business in the comment section below, and why. xo, grace

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In Good Company

In Good Company

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This week has been a momentous one. And as I head into the weekend and a fresh lineup of posts and ideas for next week, I’m feeling ready to move on to the next project. And for me, that’s something you can pick up, in print, on a regular basis, starting next year. I have strong ideas about how this new project should look, sound and feel, but I want to spend a lot of time listening to what you have to say first. I’m taking the inspiration and motivation we’ve gotten from In the Company of Women (which made the NY Times Bestseller List this week!) and the surrounding book tour and turning those topics (life, work, overcoming challenges, finding motivation and community) into a magazine that is equal parts inspiring and relatable.

So I’d like to know: what would you like to see in a project like this that you’re not already getting in other places? I have no desire to reinvent or overlap what other publications (online and off) are already doing well, so I want to focus on the things we aren’t fully addressing or working on providing solutions for. What would help you stay motivated? Push through tough times? Connect to other people? What would help you feel on track and accountable for the dreams and goals you have? Please leave any and all ideas in the comment section below and know they will be carefully considered, and appreciated, as part of the first issue of this project. Until Monday, sending love and support to everyone. xo, grace

Above: Photo of Maya Gorgoni of Royal Jelly Harlem, an outtake from In the Company of Women, photographed by Sasha Israel.

Best of the Web, 11/11

In the Kitchen With: Brett Braley’s Cinnamon Naan Elephant Ears

In the Kitchen With: Brett Braley’s Cinnamon Naan Elephant Ears

Cinnamon Naan Elephant Ears by Brett Braley | DesignSponge

One of the sweet breakfast combinations I remember most from my childhood is that of cinnamon and sugar. I remember it on cinnamon buns, coffee cake, cereal, and french toast. Sometimes it was crunchy, sometimes it was soft because it had been mixed with melted butter. The recipe this week for Cinnamon Naan Elephant Ears by baker-blogger Brett Braley, from the blog Fig+Bleu, takes me back to those breakfast mornings. I think I’ll take Brett up on his suggestion to eat them with with baked apples or apple butter and confectioner’s sugar. —Kristina

Why Brett loves this recipe: My father is not an adventurous eater; and there are certain days where I would say I am not, either. He’s a meat and potatoes guy, untrusting of anything he can’t pronounce or that doesn’t come in a cellophane wrapper. We used to go to the county fair, my father and I, before the ticket prices were $15 a head and parking was free at the church adjacent to the fairgrounds. And at the end of a long, long day, we’d stop at his favorite stand where he’d buy himself two elephant ears and down them with a Diet Coke. It was his reward for a hard day’s work of being a father while my mother worked the weekend shift. For this recipe, I blended my father’s county fair dessert with a naan recipe that has been sitting around, just waiting to be used at the perfect moment.

Making Cinnamon Naan Elephant Ears by Brett Braley | DesignSponge

Photography by Brett F. Braley

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15 Cool Coffee Tables that Add Interest

15 Cool Coffee Tables that Add Interest | Design*Sponge

15 Cool Coffee Tables that Add Interest

For me, a coffee table is the anchor of a living room. While large furniture and features like windows, sofas, fireplaces and media consoles make a box around the perimeter of a space, a coffee table adds personality, style and substance in the middle. It took me around three years in between getting rid of a DIY coffee table I had made in my early twenties to replacing it with a purchased piece. Three years is really too long to go without a coffee table (for me at least), but I didn’t want to commit to something that I didn’t really like or find interesting.

We’ve seen everything from repurposed carts to DIY pieces to upscale metallic tables on Design*Sponge, and we’ve rounded up some of the most creative and interesting ones. There are so many unique styles out there in every price range. If you need to replace or upgrade your living room anchor, take a look at these great options. –Lauren

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Grace’s Holiday Gift Picks for the Home Decorator on Amazon

Grace’s Holiday Gift Picks for the Home Decorator on Amazon

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Our homes are our refuge. It’s where we gather with family and friends, enjoying the things that bring us comfort and smiles. Home is where the heart is, and to equate that with objects sometimes feels shallow during trying times. While things are simply things, most often they speak to our souls and let that voice whisper softly to those who walk across the threshold of our front doors. A wool throw with soft, chunky tassels can feel like our first blanket we clung to as a child finding their way in the world. The cozy corner of a couch can take us back to the happiness of curling up with a pet in their stuffed bed on the living room floor. For me, having four plush pillows on the twin bed I still sleep in makes me feel protected.

As the holidays inch closer, many of us will put stress on ourselves to either find the perfect gift for someone we love or to knock out our gift and to-do lists as quickly as possible. I do both every year. This year, I’ve pledged to take it slow and to be gentle on myself. In the past, I’ve gotten down because I’ve scrolled through endless web pages, feeling guilty for not making or choosing handmade gifts. I refuse to fall into that trap this year. It’s okay to make some gifts, buy some gifts and sometimes, just give extra love and hugs.

Amazon reached out to us and asked us for some gift ideas for home décor this year. We’re a design site and this was an appreciated request. We’re also thoughtful humans who know that buying gifts is not an option for everyone. This is a call for all of us to do what feels right and is possible for each of us when gifting. It is also a call for us to share gifts beyond our circle of family and friends. I’ve cut my list in half this year and I’m selecting gifts (bought, handmade and self-created) that connect me to feeling of ease, comfort and security, in hopes that I can share some of those feelings with those who receive the gifts. I’m also sharing some special gifts with families that have settled into their new homes built by my local Habitat for Humanity where I volunteer.

Wherever you find your gifts this year, please also find some time to spend volunteering or donating your time or resources. You can find some of Grace’s favorite stylish store-bought gifts available on Amazon here. They’ve put together a helpful section of gift ideas for people who love their homes, including crafters, bakers, home improvers and beyond. Grace contributed to the Home Decorators section and has included some beautiful, affordable pieces — including a comfy striped pet bed, basics that always help create a happy home, and books that inspire and elevate the spirit. You can see all of her picks in the section by scrolling down until you see her smiling face in a photo taken by Sasha Israel, who photographed many of the women featured in In the Company of Women. If you’re stumped on a special gift for a certain someone on your list or need some volunteering/donation recommendations, leave us a comment and we’ll do our best to help! –Caitlin

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10 Instagrammers from Australia and New Zealand to Follow

10 Instagrammers from Australia and New Zealand to Follow

10 Instagrammers from Australia and New Zealand to Follow

There are so many reasons why I love my daily dose of Instagram. My favorite, by far, is its ability to open up the world to me. It may sound over-the-top, but it really isn’t.

Instagram has allowed me to connect with people with both similar and different interests from my own — people I’m constantly inspired by, but otherwise would never get the chance to know. What these people have in common is talent, creativity and openness, regardless of what form it takes on their respective accounts. The thing most of them don’t have in common? Geographical location.

Creativity knows no borders and thanks to Instagram, it reaches us from all over the world. We’re able to share bits of our lives, interests and aspirations with likeminded people, no matter where we are physically based. I live in Finland, but over my morning coffee I can transport myself to the winding roads outside of Nashville, an artist’s studio in Copenhagen or a beautifully decorated home in Kyoto. Lately, I’ve often found myself transported to the worlds of talented makers down under. Today I wanted to shift your focus to a few of these people who have all put a smile on my face. Click through for 10 Instagrammers from Australia and New Zealand to follow — I hope you’ll feel equally inspired! Sofia

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12 Creative Ideas & Tips for Holiday Entertaining

Make your own floral arrangement instead of purchasing one. Head to the flower market the day before your event and follow Elizabeth Ulrich's process to creating a custom centerpiece.

12 Creative Ideas & Tips for Holiday Entertaining

With the holidays quickly approaching, we’re starting to plan our schedules, decor and menus for our family gatherings and holiday parties. Hosting people is one of the reasons Design*Sponge loves interiors. Countless Sneak Peeks over the years end their home tours with, “What I love most about my home is having friends over dinner,” or a similar sentiment. It’s not easy to host people (especially over the holidays when everyone comes with different expectations of what traditions should be), but we’ve collected a few fun and creative ideas when it comes to decor, setting the table and easy recipes to try. What do you do to celebrate the holidays with guests in your home? –Lauren

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10 Well-Organized Kitchens

10 Well-Organized Kitchens, Design*Sponge

10 Well-Organized Kitchens

Kitchens – more than any other room in a home – come with a serious boatload of accessories. Every inch of every cabinet is typically full, and most surfaces are home to some type of tool. That being said, I always find it fabulous when homeowners discover a way to keep their cooking spaces clean and cool even amongst the chaos of daily life. In honor of those families who have nailed it, we are rounding up 10 of our favorite, well-organized kitchens. Whether their accessories are gathered by color or function, style or by need, each proves how living with all the fixings can be as stylish as it is functional. Enjoy! —Garrett

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