Thursday, August 29, 2013

Start at the Center

CHICKS ROCK! is happy to welcome Cherise as a guest blogger:

Cherise is a Professional Interior Stylist and Lighting Expert. Her love for the individuality of people, a passion for design, and an adoration of the place we call home that fuels her work and her life.

“home” can have so many different meanings

“home” is (but not limited to) …


the place you should always be who you are

wonderfully built to support your lifestyle

If you’ve ever found yourself trying to take a living space – apartment, condo, bedroom, house – and transform it into a place that shares any of the above qualities, you may have asked yourself “Where in the world do I start?!”

Like many, you may have turned to the internet and searched the 100′s of beautiful design blogs online, or perhaps to popular television channels such as HGTV and DIY Network. These are great places to get ideas, but if you’ve walked away less than ready to make your dream home, keep reading. Often times you don’t need to look any further than yourself.

Homes are extremely personal places. They become personal not necessarily by starting with a “great idea,” but by starting with the person – you. If you don’t have any connection to the idea, no matter how great it seems, chances are it won’t serve a purpose for you in your daily life.

The first question to answer is:

who are you?

and the second is:

what will make you happy in the space?

The answers to these questions can look a LOT of different ways, as many ways as there are people.

Some people are ready with their own ideas, and others may feel like they don’t have any at all. No matter where you’re at, I’m here to help you uncover what’s inside and translate the YOU into your space.

by putting yourself at the center of your home design, you will create the home you feel most supported in and truly connected to

A quick break from serious stuff for a fun analogy!

i love wine

I enjoy a glass at home with my dinner, or while catching up with a friend, wine tastings at wineries, or to celebrate a special occasion. To set a good example, I’ll tell you that my love of wine is reflected in my South Philly home (or maybe not since wine doesn’t hang around long in my house!).

Recently I went to the best wine bar ever during a trip to see my big sister in St. Louis. At Robust Wine Bar they successfully demystified wine tasting for the average person, a feat that deserves an award in my opinion. Our waitress did an excellent job asking us questions to get a sense of what we liked. Next she made suggestions based on the information we gave her about ourselves. One of our friends at the table admitted she has wanted to try more red wines, but has been intimidated and unsure of which ones to try. The waitress made a suggestion based on her preferences, and gave her a useful tip on how to become more comfortable trying red wines: Start with the sweeter reds and work your way up to the drier reds to develop the palette slowly. She ended with “Keep in mind that the best wine isn’t what I like or what anybody else has told you to like. It’s what YOU think is the best one. That’s the best one. Period.”

In this moment she gave us permission to be ourselves – exactly who we were at that moment. Her ability to create a non-judgmental, free-to-be-me environment and to guide our decisions based on who we were and what we liked resulted in the most enjoyable wine tasting experience I’ve ever had. Fun. Relaxing. This is what wine tasting is all about.

Likewise, in your home it’s about being in an environment where you feel completely comfortable being yourself, and where you can hopefully have fun and relax too. As your guide, I will make suggestions on how you can work your way forward on this path based on who you are. There will be many opportunities to try new things, but no pressure!

what you choose for yourself is going to be the best thing for you

To demonstrate how you can make yourself central in your home, my next few posts will be focused on design ideas in my home that have “Cherise” in the center. In addition, we will be visiting the homes of some of my closest, most creative friends to give us a broad view on various approaches. I’ll include tips and questions you can answer to keep you pointed in the right direction.

(all pictures are from my Dec 2012 trip to Argentina – I did a bike tour of Mendoza wineries)

Originally posted at ispaci

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Shake Your Groove Thing

CHICKS ROCK! is happy to have Kristina back as a guest blogger this week. Kristina Leonardi is the founder of The Women’s Mosaic. She is a career/life coach, speaker, seminar leader and expert in the areas of career development, work/life wellness and personal growth. The following was originally posted on November 28, 2012 on Kristina's blog.

Do you have the discipline to be a free spirit? ~ Gabrielle Roth
In the movie Silver Linings Playbook, the main characters Pat and Tiffany are in training for a big dance competition that turns out to be much more than a fancy booty shaking contest.  A unique romantic dramedy, it's a film that shows there is a fine line between sanity and insanity, acceptable versus unacceptable behavior, and the beauty of living life to the beat of your own drum.
In the movie The Sessions, Mark O'Brien is confined to an iron lung 20 hours a day, existing on a gurney unable to move from the neck down, and yet he writes poetry, is a professional journalist and decides to hire a sex surrogate so he can experience the most human of experiences. We go along on his journey (based on a true story!) and find him to be one of the most alive, loving and liberated individuals to have ever lived despite such extreme physical limitations.
And as seen in the movie Lincoln, our 16th president is clearly not your Average Joe.  He was always thinking out of the box, used his quirky sense of humor to diffuse or illuminate situations, and took numerous risks throughout the most heart-wrenching circumstances our country has endured.  He stretched the Constitution to its limit, working within an established framework while implementing his own interpretation and/or bending the rules based on his hard-earned wisdom, keen observations and superior judgment as unprecedented needs arose and critical decisions had to be made in order for progress to occur.
In the conscious movement class I take, we are told to  'dance it your way' and have breaks of  'free dance'  where we boogie as we see fit; it's not chaotic because there is an organized structure and unity contained within the flow as we come back together intermittently as a group throughout the hour.  It's a super-small class because for many people, when given the opportunity to move and think for themselves, even for just a few moments, is a daunting and uncomfortable feeling; it's an empowering exercise that requires more effort and less inhibition, and many simply don't know what to do if they are not following the instructor. And that, my friends, is indicative of a larger problem with implications reaching much farther than a gym studio.
Spielberg's Lincoln asks, "Do you think we choose to be born? Or are we fitted to the times we're born into?"  As citizens of the 21st century, we are certainly living in extraordinary times that will require us to become the fullest and most unique beings we are meant to be.  We each have something that needs to be expressed, something that no other person on this planet, no one who has come before or will come after can express. Right now we need new ways of looking at old problems and to change old ways in order deal with new problems, so it's more important than ever for you to do your own thang, because there is no other way to generate inspiration and birth innovation.
In any era it's easy to get stuck in past habits and sucked into the zeitgeist of the day.  Resist the urge to follow the herd, fight to honor yourself, think and speak your own thoughts and begin to know and create yourself anew every moment of every day instead of getting swept up by social media, news, commercials, and even your peer groups, work and ethnic cultures or family and friends who are all, consciously or not, forces that can easily grab hold of your mind, body, spirit and/or bank account.  Don't let your physical characteristics, family roots or societal dictates squash all the rhythms inside you that might be quite different from what those outside influences might have you believe, say or do.
Not sure exactly what your groove thing is? Give me a buzz and I'll get you started with some basic choreography and point you in the right direction, because ultimately You Should Be Dancing your own steps throughout life, hopefully with a fun disco floor beneath your feet along the way!

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