Tag Archives | do your thing

The Holly Mathis Creative Class

This Saturday I’m continuing my journey in learning more about business that I discussed in my last post.  I’m taking a class.  I’ve taken classes before- online.  In fact building this blog was part of a class I took through Jones Design Company.  But this class will be in the flesh and I will get to meet and learn from someone who’s work I’ve admired for a long time… and all in the atmosphere of this beautiful studio space.

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Holly Mathis is an interior decorator who has her own shop in Brenham, TX.  I’ve followed her blog for a long time and can’t tell you how many of her images I’ve pinned over the years.  She has a way with fabric, pattern, rugs, and just knows how to create a beautiful classic Southern aesthetic.

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And Saturday I get to spend all day with her!!!  Well, me and like 10 other people.  I’ll be learning from her in her studio and then we will have lunch at her house.

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Amidst taking down notes like a crazy person I will for sure be snapping away photos as well.  I’ll also try to do some insta-stories so you can catch my real-time excitement, though I’ll do my best to reign in the star-struckness and play it cool.  If I can, haha.  But in all seriousness, I’m excited to meet others on this journey, to learn and be encouraged about how to do this small business thing well and intentionally.  And hopefully get some questions answered about how the decorating/design business world actually works.

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Follow along with me on instagram if you’re not already.  And I’ll be sure to blog about it afterward as well.  Here’s to learning and growing and meeting others on this journey as well!

xoxo Bethany

 

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Fear vs. Ambition vs. All or Nothing Thinking

Aka the world’s longest blog post title.

I get asked a lot how my business is going.  I so appreciate friends being interested in my work!  And my answer varies.  In fact, sometimes I’m not really sure how to answer.  I do still take clients and I do still work.  My littlest guy is in school two days a week now so that has opened up some time to work.  Its also shown me that I don’t enjoy working the entire time he’s at school and that for my own sanity I enjoy taking some of that time to do other things like grocery shop and clean my house, listen to podcasts & music, or just watch tv.  I know that all of this is a complete luxury and for that I’m very grateful.  Not all women have the option of choosing when and how much to work and I’m aware of that.  So I say all of this out of that knowledge and with a grateful heart of the situation I’m in.

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A gallery wall layout I’ve been working on with a client.


Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t pursued my business more, why I haven’t taken it “to the next level.”  Why don’t I feel a drive to grow my client base, make things more “official,” etc?  Some of it, I think for sure, is a little bit of fear.  I don’t actually know much of anything about business.  I know what I’ve taught myself about design, I know what I love to do, and that’s about it.  I struggle with pricing myself and how much my service should be worth.  I struggle at times with “selling” my ideas and my view of design because I truly believe it is SO subjective.

I admire my favorite designers like Lauren Liess, Shea McGee, Emily Henderson.  They all work so hard and have such a defined style and client base.  I wonder about what it must take to get to that point.  What kind of ambition, sacrifices, hours of hard work, constant learning from mistakes, networking, etc has it taken?

I told myself at the beginning of this year when my littlest started preschool I was going to take the year to decide if I was really going to “go for it” in that sense.  That I would pray, work, use the year to educate myself in the business world some and then decide: will I go for it or will I just stop? I’ve spent so long just sort of awkwardly wavering in between.  Always on the edge of fear and ambition.

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A playroom/homeschool moodboard currently in process.

And so I have done exactly that over the past few months.

I’ve prayed, I’ve read, I’ve taken on some new projects, I even signed up for a design business class with Holly Mathis (another designer who’s work I truly admire!!) that will happen later this month.  More on that later, for sure.

And now I find myself in a little different mindset: does it really have to be all or nothing?

I read Present over Perfect recently (more on that later, too) and I resonated with so much of it.  If you’ve read it you know it speaks a lot to the workaholic (which I am not).  But it also speaks to remembering to be present in the moments when you’d rather distract or numb.  I can often find myself being lazy and/or afraid, desiring to numb rather than face whatever’s really going on.  And that distracts from my goal of doing this work thing intentionally.  That’s the word that’s coming to me in this season.  That’s how I desire this to be whether its small or big or nothing at all.  Whatever it is, I want it to be thoughtful and intentional.  Not haphazard and certainly not motivated by fear.

guestroom-design

A simple neutral guest room also in process right now.

So for now I work in a small way.  And I’m discovering thats okay.  It doesn’t mean I’m afraid.  I can work in confidence and take on what I feel capable taking on.  I want to take on what is good for our family and then say no.   I’m still learning how that looks for now, but anyway, that’s the long answer to “how’s your work going?” in case you ever wondered. 🙂

If you’ve read this far, you get a trophy now.  Thanks, friends, I’ll be back soon.

xoxo Bethany

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On Taking a Break

Its summertime and I’ve been in need of a break.  I’m learning the balance between work and play, remembering I’ve only got 18 summers with them, but also knowing I need a little time for myself carved out in there too.

Summer1 Taking a Break

Something had to give and it ended up being the blog for a time.

I’ve still been working a little and will have a few projects to share with you at some point.

I’ve been reading a ton (summer reading is the best!) and want to share those with you too.

But we’ve mostly just been going to the pool, staying up too late, watching too much TV, and taking a few little trips here and there.

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I’m stunned when I realize June is pretty much over and before we know it school will be back and the busyness and schedules will start up again. It’s funny how seasons are like that.  Ever-changing.  It’s been nice to just relax into this one.

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So I’m still here.  Just doing my best to soak up this summer.  Giving myself permission to take a break.

xoxo

Bethany

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The Ministry of Mediocrity

It came at a time that I needed it most. I was knee deep in comparisons; trying to keep up with the Joneses (and failing miserably) and that’s when I read it.  A friend of mine wrote a blog post about her “ministry of mediocrity.”  This was years ago and she doesn’t blog anymore but recently I contacted her to ask if I could write about it here. I still think about that post often and I’m so thankful she said yes.  It has to do with the “purpose” side of home-keeping, hospitality.  And it has nothing to do with a perfectly made bed, fluffed pillows, or a well curated gallery wall.

It has to do with being mediocre.

So what is this ministry of mediocrity, exactly?  Well, it could mean inviting friends over to hang out with a sink/counter/table full of dishes and not apologizing for them.  It could also mean not shaving your legs or repainting your chipped toe nail polish and still wearing shorts and sandals because its hot outside.  Its remembering that we’re all human, nobody’s perfect, and revealing your own imperfections creates a space for true connection.  Sound scary?  Maybe it is, a little.  But its also brave and leads to intimacy and realness- creating a sense of belonging that we all crave.

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When we furiously scrub our houses, selves, and lives to gleaming perfection before interacting with anyone, we give this impression that this is how life really is.  We appear untouchable and unreachable. Our homes may be even a little uncomfortable.

But what if instead of perfection we purposefully aimed for mediocrity with the intent of ministering to others?  What if we aimed for just “good enough” housekeeping?  Just “good enough” cooking, party-throwing, hair-fixing, decorating?  Whatever it is that eats you up because you’re just not perfect or its just not your thing- let it go. Enough of this super-woman “I-can-do-it-all” lie.  When we reveal our imperfections to one another, we actually minister to eachother, saying “you are free to be exactly who you are.”

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When someone invites me in from the perspective of a ministry of mediocrity, I feel at ease, I feel comfortable. I know they are more interested in connection and friendship rather than creating a mirage of perfection. I am allowed to be myself and reveal my own imperfections: messy house, unshaven legs, at times ill-behaved children, and all.  They have ministered to my soul by just being themselves: which is at times genuinely, perfectly mediocre.

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Spring Living Room Tour and a Paradox

I realize that I’m a decorator/stylist blogging here, and I haven’t shown you pictures of my house lately.  The thing is, it doesn’t change that often.  Maybe this is kind of a paradox in the decor blog world, but truthfully, I have some minimist tendencies and once I get a room “right” for me, I like to leave it alone.Spring Living Room_2

If you know me in real life and you’ve seen any of my closets or my garage you’re laughing at the thought of me being a minimalist, aren’t you?

But, I don’t really shop much for my home.  I mean, I did when I was first decorating each room.  But now, I like to use what I have and I don’t like bringing in anything that isn’t going to add a lot of purpose.

After coming out of a little season of some major discontent, I pulled open the shades a little higher, fluffed the pillows a little more, and started seeing things (literally and figuratively) in a whole new light.  Fluffing smushed couch cushions, bringing in some fresh greenery, and clearing out clutter can really make a world of difference in how I feel about my home.

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I have a small assortment of pillows and covers that I change out somewhat seasonally, but really its more just about what sort of colors are “speaking” to me at the moment.  Right now, I’ve been wanting subtle neutrals, not a lot of brightness.

I changed out the coffee table books and added in a small succulent that was a gift from a sweet friend.  I’ve had it for a few months and have not killed it, so I’m calling that a success!

Spring Living Room_4

The top two little books on the coffee table are ChatBooks made from getaways Paul and I took together- one in New York City, the other in San Francisco.  I used to keep them on the shelf, but they’re so pretty and I love having them down where we can look through them now.

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I’m still really enjoying the ottoman and side table here for early morning moments of quiet.  Of course, we use it all throughout the day, but it is totally my happy spot.

I haven’t changed or rearranged the bookshelves one bit with the exception of adding or changing out books as they are read or loaned.  These shelves are as functional as they are decorative for us and I love the practicality of them.

Spring Living Room

New around here? Check out my shelf styling tips here.

If I’m being truthful with you here, what I’ve really been wanting is a new couch.  It just isn’t in the budget right now though so instead of buying a bunch of smaller and less expensive things to fill that void, I’m making peace with waiting.  I’m working to get the “bones” of my house right and I don’t want to fill it up with things I don’t need.

Less really can be more.

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What I’m Reading: Spring Edition

Thanks so much for your kind words on my last post!!!  I could just hug you all!  And I feel so free to write more now knowing that I’ve just put it out there!

I know I’ve talked about books before, so I guess that makes it the easiest to start there- with what I’ve been reading lately.  I tend to read in spurts and get distracted easily, but I love to read.  For me its usually a mix of fiction and non-fiction, lately leaning a little more toward non-fiction.  I read a ton on our drive to Disney a few weeks ago and finished two books and got halfway through another.

WhatI'mReadingSpring

First up is An Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling.  The tagline is “Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest.”  He starts the book off describing Jesus as a relaxed guy.  Hmmm, I’ve never heard that before but I’m totally down with it.  He reminds us of Jesus’ patterns of early rising and prayer, of intentional communion with the Father, His “unhurried abiding,” and the evidence that he was never in a rush.  I feel like I underlined practically the entire book.  It also has questions at the end of each chapter that really allowed me to reflect on what I was learning.  This is one that I didn’t want to end and I know I will go back to it.

The second one was a much lighter read, in fact I read it in one long day in the car. Ever After by Vicki Courtney is “life lessons learned in my castle of chaos.”  Any of you other young moms out there relate to that tag line?  She talks a lot about how our expectations and dreams of being the princess in the castle and having Prince Charming along with the perfect home, perfect husband, kids, etc set us up for disappointment and frustration. Those things were never meant to fulfill and satisfy.   Its a funny and quick read, but still has some really great stuff.

Next on my list is the one I haven’t finished yet- a fiction book called The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.  I’ve loved everything else I’ve read by her and this one is no exception.  Her stories are usually set in some old home in England (think Downton Abbey) and span generations of families. There’s always a little romance and mystery.   I haven’t picked it up again since our trip, but I still really want to finish it!  For some reason I feel like I’m wasting time reading fiction and that I can only read it when I’m on vacation.  Anyone else like this?  So we’ll see if I finish it by summertime…

Lastly, have I talked about Big Magic too much for you yet?  Seriously, extremely inspiring if you’re doing any kind of creative work.  Or even if you’re not.  It has helped me think so much more lightly but also bravely about blogging and and about my design work.  I know I quoted her the other day but here’s one more, this time on fear… “It isn’t always comfortable or easy… but its always worth it, because if you can’t learn to travel comfortably alongside your fear, then you’ll never be able to go anywhere interesting or do anything interesting.”  So interesting for me especially as someone who has battled fear and anxiety in a lot of ways for a long time.  Living a creative life isn’t about squashing your fear or even necessarily living fearlessly.  That gives me a lot of hope.

What are you reading lately?  I’d love to hear!  I’m always looking for new suggestions!

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Three Things I’m Loving

Every once in a while I like to post about three things I’m loving lately… inspired by Jamie Ivey’s Happy Hour podcast (Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Check it out here!).

First up, I’m just obsessing lately over this beautiful living room and whole house tour.

Neutral Living Room

It reminds me so much of Lauren Liess’ style and much of what’s in her book, Habitat.

Habitat

When I’m in a Lauren-Liess-neutral-natural-vibe, unfortunately I sometimes start hating on my couch and looking for new ones with straight lines and a linen/textured look like the one in the Southern Living tour above.

When I’m in this mode though, I try to think rationally about what I can do just a little bit differently to change things up without buying a whole new living room.  So I switched out some of my pillows for more neutral tones with graphic patterns (ones that I already had) and also cleared the bookshelf of any bright pops of color. I like what it did for the space with the only real color coming from the books. It even helped me embrace the old couch again.  Its eleven years old and getting pretty ragged, but I want to live with it a bit longer until my littlest is a somewhat older and until we’re ready to get something that will last us a long time.

Graphic Neutral Living Room

(you can see a previous and more colorful picture of my living room here)

Next up, I’m loving this article I found on Apartment Therapy about decorating for your personality type. Its based on the Myers-Briggs personality assessment (you can take a simplified but free version of it here or here but I found it the most helpful just to read through the 16 different types).

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I’ve always thought of decorating as a subjective art, not a science.  Its completely about personality and differing tastes. Like I’ve said before, I don’t have any magic formulas- you just have to try different things and figure out what you love. And since I have a background in psychology (For real, a master’s degree. Its good to finally know I’m maybe getting a little use out of it now? Haha!) I found of this extremely interesting.  I also figured out I’m an INFP.  What about you??

The last thing I’m loving right now (and this has nothing to do with decorating, but I’d say it has to do with beauty) is No Bake Cookies.  My mom used to make these when I was growing up and so every once in a while I like to surprise the kids with them.  Since the New Year, Paul and I have been trying to cut out a lot of the sugar and processed foods we eat though (I know, bummer!), so when I was having a major craving for these things last night, I googled an alternative recipe and found a pretty good one!  Find the recipe here.

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If you’d like the original recipe and not the “healthy” version you can find it here.  Even if you don’t want to make these cookies, please read her article because its absolutely hilarious and probably explains why I crave them every so often… she calls them PMS Wranglers if that gives you any hints.

Anyway, TMI?  Haha!  That’s it for me, today!  Want to share something you’re loving lately??  How about your personality type??  How does it affect your home?  I’d love to hear from you!!  Have a great rest of the week.

xoxo

Bethany

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