Tag Archives | personal style

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.


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.


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.


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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My Yearly DIY Post

I’m not a crafter and I don’t do much holiday decorating.  But there’s something about the crispness of fall that has me itching to create.  And I don’t mean creating gallery walls or moodboards or furniture layouts. I mean actually with my hands creating something.  Maybe it has something to do with being outside more?  I miss being outside so much during the oppressive heat of summer.  Lately I’m gazing at sunsets, watching the kids play in the yard, and hanging out on the porch.  Maybe that’s it?


So I’ve found I’m in the kitchen more often, baking goodies that I normally would never be stirring up myself (my husband has the love of cooking in this family).  And last week I actually wandered around on that crafty aisle of Target looking for something fun to do with the kids.  I picked up this pad of punch out paper leaves and had no idea where it would take us.


My daughter LOVED it.  She worked on painting and coloring leaves for over an hour.  My littlest guy painted a few leaves.  I found myself painting leaf after leaf.  My oldest couldn’t have cared less.  Oh well, to each his own.

I didn’t have a plan for the leaves when we were finished with them, but the colors were so pretty and fall-ish that I was inspired to make a banner for the living room.  I roped some twine up there and used some masking tape to attach the leaves.  I love the organic color of the watercolor paints and how it just brings a little bit of festive whimsy to the room.  I’m sorry to say that this pad was on sale so I can’t find it online to share with you.  Maybe they still have it at your local Target if you’re interested. If not, you could use this template to print out your own, though that would involve a lot of cutting (not quite as fun and easy.)  Here are a few more simple/minimalist fall garlands that would be fun as well.


I totally get how decorating for the seasons creates this cozy atmosphere and builds a sense of excitement, especially for kids.  But as a sort of minimalist and practicalist (I know that’s not a word), I often forget that.  I don’t like to have little vignettes of scarecrows and plastic pumpkins and hay bales around even though I LOVE the coziness of them when I walk into other people’s homes or little boutique shops.  I even study them in my friends’ homes (they don’t know I’m doing it or I would be like a weird stalker) because I’m trying to figure out how it looks so cozy.  I think it has something to do with using what you love in your own home.  Which might be why it doesn’t work for me.  When I bring in stuff that isn’t me or my style, it makes me feel cluttered in my brain.  I’ve tried and usually end up returning it or putting it in a Goodwill pile.


My daughter on the other hand is constantly looking for a reason to decorate for an occasion or party.  I’m convinced she will one day have the coziest cutest house including scarecrows and hay bales that look adorably perfect for fall.  Anyway, I’m thinking I might ought to start taking her advice a little more often. She may want to paint the walls all pink though, haha.


So here’s my fall decor for this year- watercolor leaves, and you can see those little white pumpkins on the mantle too.  I picked those up from Trader Joe’s.  I also got one of the big “Cinderella” pumpkins to keep on the breakfast room table.


Cheers to the changing of the seasons, getting outdoors more, and creating a home you love, however that looks for you.




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Chair Rails Don’t Have Feelings

Dining Room // The House of Figs

Today I’m sharing some new dining room photos with you because I updated that gallery wall.  The pictures in it were pretty outdated.  Plus I had been wanting to change it for a while, the style of it just wasn’t me- I hung those items when we first moved in, just to kind of get something on the wall, using what we had from our last house.  Over time though, with learning my style a little more and experimenting and hearing this house “speak” to me I wanted a little more of a modern feeling in that room.  You can see what it looked like before here.

So its a little more colorful now, with more clean and straight lines, and anchored by that large piece that says “Life is Beautiful.”

The House Of Figs 8

We have what I feel like is a basic suburban 90s floor plan.  The entry way opens to a formal dining room and then leads into an open kitchen and living room.  There’s nothing really custom or unique about it. When we had the floors put in we had the baseboards replaced with taller and more simple ones and I love the slightly custom feeling that gives the house.  The chair rail was already there though and had been originally painted a bright glossy white while the rest of the dining room was painted a different color.

Chair Rails Don't Have Feelings// The House of Figs

Honestly though, I didn’t love that chair rail.  I love woodwork and craftsman detailing, but this chair rail feels wimpy to me and like it didn’t really deserve to stand out on its own.  Sorry ’bout ya chair rail, but I’m just speaking the truth. Painting it white would have drawn attention to the fact that it was really just a builder grade wannabe trying to be custom.  Ouch, am I being harsh?  Its okay, chair rails don’t have feelings, I promise.  So we just decided to paint it all the same color as the wall.  Paul thought I was a little crazy at first when I suggested it but I found some inspiration pictures with similar looks and he went for it.  I love the effect it created.  We still get to see  the architectural detailing, but its not this wimpy white line across the room.  Dining Room // The House of Figs

Are you thinking of  doing something a little “out there” in your house but afraid of how it might turn out or how its a little different from the norm? Just remember- chair rails don’t have feelings!  Neither do walls or windows or tables (even antique ones) or couches or photographs or books or pillows.  We are the ones with the feelings and we get to decide what happens in our homes.  Go forth, be brave, and offend all those inanimate objects.  Maybe its time to say goodbye to some of them or recover them or repaint them.  They truly won’t care, I promise, and it just might be worth the risk!!

Dining Room // The House of Figs



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Learning To Do Your Thing

There’s something I have learned in my 30s that the high school version of myself wishes she would have learned a LONG time ago.  It still takes some reminding now and then, but I’ve learned that it covers many areas of my life- decorating, fashion, politics, marriage, raising children, etc.


photo source

Its that age old expression:  “You do your thing, I’ll do mine.”  I’m sure that was carved on a cave somewhere, right?

Since this is mostly a decorating blog, I’m focusing on how this applies to your home, but you’ll see how the application is a wide one.  In a lot of ways, the design world can make us feel trapped by rules.  You must have this certain size rug, you must have this many throw pillows.  No more than this many colors in your palette, no less than this many lemons in the bowl. You must have this much money or this brand new whatever to have a beautiful home.

So we end up feeling paralyzed, stuck, unable to make decisions for fear of breaking these rules that “those designers” will arrest us for.

While it is true that there are certain, we’ll call them “guidelines,” that lend themselves aesthetically to the home, the only way for you to discover how pleasing or unpleasing these guidelines are to your own eyes and in your own home are for you to try them out.  In your own home.  It takes some experimentation. It takes a starting point.

Choose a color and paint that wall.  Hang up those darn pictures that have been sitting there for 6 months.  A year?  Make a few extra nail holes.  Okay, twenty extra nail holes. Go buy a curtain rod and hang up those curtains.

What is it you’ve been putting off because you’re afraid of making a mistake?  You’re afraid those designer police will arrest you? I’ll let you in on a secret- they don’t exist.  Haha!  But you’re smart- you knew all along, didn’t you? So take the risk you’ve been waiting for.  What’s the worst that could happen?  You don’t like it and you spent a few hours of your life painting or hanging up pictures.  It wasn’t time wasted, it was time spent learning about your likes & dislikes- your personal style.  Learn from what you didn’t like and move on- find what you do like.

There Are No Mistakes

Found on Society 6

When you’re shopping for things for your home, come focused with pictures of your home, measurements, maybe inspiration pictures from Pinterest or blogs.  Even I get distracted in places like HomeGoods, Target, Hobby Lobby, and Round Top (where I’m headed this weekend!).  There are so many pretty things and I could end up with a cart full that I don’t actually need or have a place for.  Save receipts so you can try it out if you’re unsure.

Find that you’re buying too many small tchockes to compensate for a large space you don’t know how to fill?  Return them or sell it all and save up for that nice larger piece you really wish you had.

Really the whole point here is just do your thing!  It takes time and practice along with experimentation to learn what your style is. Don’t worry about trends or what everyone on Pinterest or Instagram is doing.  You do you.  Shouldn’t your home be the one place where you are the most comfortable to be yourself?  The place you are free to experiment in and try new things? Let it be your style lab- curating and collecting the things that make up you and your family.

This very likely will mean getting rid of those things that are not working for you and your family.  Just the other day I revealed over on Instagram that I do not enjoy seasonal decorating.  Its taken me a while to admit that to myself, but over the years I have found that any decorating I know will only be temporary I really don’t have the energy for.   We have balloons and a store bought banner that comes out for birthday parties. My fall decor includes a few real pumpkins and some branches I found at Hobby Lobby.  I used to think I needed to have boxes and bins of stuff but I realized I dreaded setting it all up and it made me feel stressed.  Last year was the first year I trimmed down our Christmas decor and only put up a tree, plus let the kids decorate small trees in their rooms.  What a relief it was to finally realize this is how I like to do it.  I found freedom in realizing I could just be me and that I could finally get rid of the seasonal decorative stuff that was stressing me out.

Fall Decor :: The House of Figs

Side note here: this doesn’t mean I judge others who enjoy seasonal or birthday party decorating.  If you enjoy it- its your thing!  I can now appreciate what others do without bitterness or thinking “Wow, they have too much time on their hands” because I know that its something they love.  I spend my time in other ways, clearly, like hanging gallery walls and making videos of them, ha!  Can’t we all just be free to do our own thing?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Anyone needing to hear this today? What have you been putting off that you could do today or this weekend? Any purging that needs to happen?

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