Let's Talk About Sex

Oh yeah! I'm going there. I firmly believe that our environment impacts our life.

What do you think your bedroom says about your sex life? Are there clothes on the floor, dust bunnies under the bed and a closet stuffed with, well, stuff? Now if this is an infrequent thing, I totally get it, but if this is your constant state, it may be impacting your love life. 

I have experienced what a chaotic bedroom brings into my life and what a designed peaceful sanctuary has invited into my life, which is why I'm writing this blog post. It may be time to think about the interior design of your bedroom. 

Image via Domaine

Image via Domaine

  • The first step whether you are married or single is to think about how you want your bedroom to feel and what activities will be happening in the room. I recommend that your bedroom be used for sex, sleeping and maybe some reading. You'll notice that television watching is not a part of this. Some people love piling into bed and watching TV, if that's you great, but if you find the television is interfering with some other more important bedroom activities then please banish it. 
  • The other thing I recommend banishing from the bedroom are cell phones. I can hear you already shrieking, 'but I use my phone for my alarm'. There's this crazy invention that's been around for centuries called an alarm clock. Try it. I leave my phone outside of the bedroom because it has too many temptations and I fall down a black hole and then, oh look, it's way past my bedtime and I'm a cranky beyatch when I wake up the next morning. 
  • Lighting is super important. You want to have some mood lighting. Get some lamps or put that overhead light on a dimmer switch. On the flip side please feel free to have sex in the daylight 'cause you are freaking beautiful. 
  • Make your bedroom feel like a sanctuary. It should feel like a place you can retreat to and shut the door and block out the insanity of the day. 

Those are the things I recommend if you are single or partnered. For all the single people please read on. 

  • I remember reading an interview with an old school hollywood actress and she mentioned that your bedroom should look good with your skin. Chances are you'll already be drawn to colors that look good on you (check your closet for some inspiration). I'm definitely a Fall color person. Does anyone else remember the season color books and how to's that swept the nation in the 90s. Or is it just me. So as an autumn I look good in burgundy, deep orange, mustard yellow and teals. If I were to put icy blue in my bedroom it's just not going to feel good to me and it will make me look pasty. 
  • You want to make space for someone to come into your life. If your closets are overflowing and there isn't a spare drawer, then where is someone going to leave their toothbrush when they spend the night. 
  • Have more then one or two pillows. You want someone to feel comfortable in your bed.
  • Speaking of the bed, keep it in the center of the room with a nightstand on each side so your guest doesn't have to crawl over you in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. 

When I moved into my apartment I was so focused on the living spaces that I neglected my bedroom and it had no style and it became a dumping ground. I started first with decluttering and then bringing in color, texture and art from my travels that held happy memories and was peaceful. At the time I was trying to date, which quite honestly is a special form of hell and I wasn't really meeting anyone. Once I cleaned out my closet and dresser and made some space, that was when someone special entered my life. Sadly, he didn't stay, but that might mean I need to clean out another room in my house ;)

You don't have to take all of this advice, but mull it over. There may be a couple of things you want to change up in your bedroom. And if you need a little bedroom therapy feel free to contact me. 


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Why you should do a technology free day

I was at a creative event called Camp Boundless at Catalyst Ranch over the weekend and one thing they did, which I was happy to comply with, was to take our phones when we walked in the door. 

Here are a few things I learned about not having my phone on me:

  • I grew up in a a day and age where cell phones were not the norm. Surrendering my phone and not having to be connected was delightful. I find it slightly weird that people text me to confirm something that we have already confirmed. When I say yes to something I'm committed. Yet, in this day and age you can say you are 'interested' and then just not show up. That's a whole other blog post!! 
  • The moment we do not remember the name for something or the name of a member of a band we reach for our phone and search for it. A day of not being able to do that made me realize that a) my memory is truly bad (but it always has been) b) who cares!!! How many times while having a conversation do you reach for your phone to provide the answer when who cares who the answer is. Yet, the conversation is disrupted and guess what, now you are on your phone. Just say it will come to me later and move on. We do not need to carry an encyclopedia around with us. 
  • I missed taking pictures. I realized that while I do take some pictures to share on Instagram, I often take pictures to help with my faulty memory. For me it is delightful to flip through my phones pictures and remember trips and adventures. 
  • I need to set aside my phone for longer periods of time. I think we are all so accustomed to getting an immediate response and I need to retrain myself and my lovely friends and family that I'm not always able to respond immediately. It's a huge distraction and when I'm in the middle of doing something it breaks my focus. 

On a positive note I love that my phone keeps my connected and apprised of what my friends are doing who are not living close to me.   

I would like to look at my phone as a tool for helping me live my life and be engaged with people. Right now though, I feel like I've been letting it control me. Right now as I type this my phone is in the other room and there are no dings or buzzes interrupting my train of thought (I've turned those off) and it is awesome. I feel focused and clear on what I want to be doing right now. 

You don't have to hand your phone over to someone to reclaim some of your time and mental focus. Here are a few things I do to not let my phone take over my life. 

  • Turn off notifications. Do you really need to know that someone has liked your facebook post or instagram photo? You can control what you get notified about and you do not need to be notified about ever single thing. 
  • Take certain apps off of your phone. I've taken facebook off of my phone and I just open it in a browser if I feel the need to check in. Not seeing it front and center helps me not open it just because. 
  • Set your phone away from you. Right now mine is in the other room so I can't see it. Out of sight out out of mind can sometimes be a good thing. When you feel yourself reaching for it for no reason, then you know you have a problem. Tons of research has gone into making you need your phone or facebook or instagram. They know how to get you to want it. 
  • Don't bring it into the bedroom. Just don't. If you need an alarm use this crazy thing called an alarm clock. 
  • Clean up your phone. Keep the background picture clean and less chaotic. I've kept my main screen pretty clean and only have the things that I use most often there. 

On my second screen I've saved everything I do not use as often and grouped them into folders. It means I can find things quickly and I do not have a ton of visual clutter. 

  • Sundays I declare social media free zones. If it is something work related, then I will do it, but I will not absentmindedly be scrolling through instagram or facebook. I give myself a day to be disengaged. 

I want to be a happy and healthy person and that is almost impossible to do when I am disengaged, my mind is scattered and I my brain is constantly darting about without settling on one thing. I do things like mediate, practice yoga and eat healthy, but none of that can counteract the power my phone has over me. I need to have an active healthy phone practice!

Do you have any phone tips and tricks? 

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Hanging Temporary Wallpaper

I love my wallpaper! I really wanted something on the main wall in my dining room and I wasn't sure if I wanted paint or wallpaper, but I wanted a little bit more. Paint would have been easy but I wanted to dip my toes in the wallpaper craze. Except, I rent and so I started looking at temporary wallpaper. I'll admit I was a bit skeptical but it was easy to put up, looks awesome and you can't tell it is temporary.  Here is a post where I talk through some of my options. I really liked them, but then I started to feel like the house was going to be way too formal. I'm not a formal person and I wanted a little bit of quirkyness in my home. Then I found this alligator print temporary wallpaper from Target.  

I still have a bunch of art to hang and some styling to do, but I really like how this room is shaping up. 

My mom is one of the few people in the world who likes to hang wallpaper. She offered to come to my place and help me hang it. Before she got there I prepped the walls. I filled any holes with spackle and made sure they were smooth. Every bump on your wall is going to be highlighted by the wallpaper. Part of the reason I liked the alligator skin wallpaper is that it has a slight texture that I feel helped hide some of the lumpy bits of my old walls. Sorry the pictures are a little hard to see, but it was the end of the day and the sun was setting so we were getting a lot of light. 

The first step is to measure your wall from left to right and make a light pencil mark in the middle. That is where you want to start. If it would have been me I would have just started where ever, but thankfully my mom was there to provide guidance! Then using a level (thankfully we had a super long one that was my grandfather's) run a line up and down the wall. You want to use the level so that the line is straight up and down. 

Roll out your wallpaper and measure the height of the wall and then add a few inches. Then cut your paper. Don't worry if your bottom line isn't completely straight because you trim the bottom piece. The roll I had wasn't long enough to get another strip out of it. 

Next, remember that line you drew on the wall, now you want to line up the left edge of your wallpaper along that line. You can start with an inch or so of overhang at the top and trim it later. 

Keep pulling down the back lining of the wallpaper and smooth it as you go. We started using the fancy felt tool, but found using our hands was much easier. Then you'll want to use an exacto knife to trim the top excess and the bottom. 

The nice thing about the temporary wallpaper is it was super easy to readjust if you started crookedly. What really surprised me is how good it looks. When I tell people it is temporary wallpaper they are shocked. The real test will be when I go to remove it, but it didn't seem super tacky so I have high hopes it will come down easily. 

It was a great way to add some interest to the main wall in my dining room. I highly recommend adding some temporary wallpaper to your life. 

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What I cooked this week

Image via Donna Hay  (mine did not look as pretty, but it sure was tasty!)

Image via Donna Hay  (mine did not look as pretty, but it sure was tasty!)

I have been struggling with low energy levels for years now. I've had a couple of bad bouts of depression so I figured it was that, but it can't be the only reason. About five years ago I could barely get out of bed and since I have depression I just thought I was depressed. I went to the doctor for my annual checkup and my vitamin D was so low they couldn't even measure it. Guess what people?! Low vitamin D means you have no energy. 

I'm currently in therapy and it is going well, but my energy was still super low. The irony is that I am still relatively high functioning, but I still wasn't feeling like myself. I've always had a lot of irons in the fire and I refuse to just stop learning, challenging myself, meeting new people and running my business because I'm tired. Nope, not an option. 

A few months ago I got to meet Phoebe Lapin who wrote The Wellness Project. I will admit I almost didn't go to the event because I was feeling self conscious about my weight. It is hard to get healthy when you feel like you are going to be judged. Phoebe was awesome and I love that her book talks about living life on your own healthy terms. So, I highly recommend the book. 

I followed the recommendation in her book to do a month gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, caffeine free and nightshade free (no potatoes, tomatoes, or eggplant because they cause inflammation) eating. It surprisingly wasn't that difficult, but I think it is because I was mentally ready. If I would have forced myself to do this I would have hated it, but I really wanted to try to find some way to feed my body good stuff to get it going. I needed to jump start my engine. 

There were a few tweaks I made: 1) I allowed myself a splash of cream in my morning kishr tea (which is delicious). 2) If I was out to dinner I could have one drink (which was a gin and tonic). The reason I did that was because I know myself and when I am feeling deprived I go overboard the other way and eat everything in sight. 

I'm over a month out and I've still been eating gluten free, sugar free and nightshade free. I've let a little bit of dairy creep back in, but instead of it being at every meal, I only have a little bit occasionally. I've been able to continue eating healthy and it has been awesome. 

It is also easier to eat healthy because it is fall and I am in full on nesting mode.  I feel like I've been pinning every thing I see because I want to cook it! You may want to check out my Mmmm Food board for some inspiration. 

Last weekend I made myself some brunch and these Sweet Potato Hash Browns with Avocado and Poached Egg were delicious. This week I made Roasted Cauliflower, Caper and Tuna Spaghetti with rice spaghetti noodles. I also swapped out organic sour cream for creme fraiche. I also made a Cauliflower and Rainbow Chard Frittata. I love frittata for dinner. I couldn't find rainbow chard and so I used a mix of spinach, chard and kale. I also had feta cheese on hand and used that instead of the goats curd. 

What was great about making these recipes in the same week was I was able to roast one head of cauliflower for two recipes and I used the juice of a lemon in one recipe and the rind in the other. I highly recommend you check out Donna Hay. Her recipes are so simple, but taste complex. Good stuff. 

Have you been cooking anything tasty?? 

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Stress Free Holiday Tips (no really!)

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A friend posted a picture the other day that showed Halloween decorations on the left side of the aisle and Christmas decorations on the right. I guess we are skipping Thanksgiving this year! Except, when did having to buy a ton of stuff and decorate automatically give you Holiday spirit? I’ve always loved getting some pumpkins or beautiful multi-colored corn, maybe a bale of hay…I live in the city so the hay won't work, but definitely I can definitely get some pumpkins. 

I’ve stepped away from the holiday’s in a big way. I don’t buy any decorations, I make minimal plans, and I barely buy any presents. I also stopped buying wrapping paper years ago and I save gift bags over the year and simply use brown grocery bags to wrap presents. 

I reached this point because I used to go in debt every holiday season, and hey guess what, it never got paid off and it just kept accumulating. For years I would get sick every holiday. I was run ragged and worn down. The not taking care of myself thing got really old.

So I asked myself what do I want from the holidays? Friends and family. That was it. I wanted to be able to see my family without feeling anxiety about having purchased the perfect present and I wanted to share the season with my dear friends.

It took a few years to reach that point! Change doesn’t happen overnight, but this year I’m embracing the holidays (albeit a little gingerly) and I don’t have the dread I normally feel taking up residence in my stomach.

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Here are a few things that I did:

  • I bought a fake tree. This was a really hard decision to make because I love Christmas trees, but I reached the point where it took so much time, effort and money. So, I bought a fabulous vintage silver 1950s tinsel tree. Because I miss that Christmas tree smell I buy some greenery and decorate my fireplace mantel with it. 
  • I stopped going to all the parties. I really narrowed this down and instead of going to parties I choose intimate dinners with friends, or a good old fashioned movie night.
  • Years ago I insisted that we buy pizza for Christmas eve because we would have a huge dinner Christmas eve, brunch Christmas day and Christmas day dinner and we spent all the time in the kitchen and no time hanging out with family or watching the Christmas parade or cartoons!!
  • I stopped buying everyone Christmas presents. This became kind of the norm with my friends. I mentioned to a couple of people that I was on a tight budget and really cutting back on present buying. I whittled my list down to 3-5 people. My cousin and I had a great talk about not exchanging gifts and instead I buy her son a little something extra. We loved giving each other gifts but we both recognized that keeping the budget in check was more important.

It seems strange to be talking about the holidays this early, but every year I forgot to share this message. Just because it is the tradition doesn’t mean that you can’t change the tradition.

Give yourself permission to choose your own health and happiness. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. And Happy Holidays.

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