#MondayMantra: Inspirational quotes to motivate your week

#MondayMantra: Inspirational quotes to motivate your week

One of my favourite things on instagram right now is the hashtag #MondayMantra. Images marked with this hashtag include motivational quotes and great typography meant to remind you of your purpose and kick start your day / week off right. Here is my round up of the best quotes available for purchase- I love that you can support an artist AND give your desk or gallery wall a shot of inspiration at the same time. 

Knowing the why behind your what has been so important to me this last year, as I write about here. Knowing your "why" is what will keep you going when things are difficult, when things are not convenient. This print by the MotivationShop on Etsy is a great reminder to know your why.

This is the print I currently have sitting on my desk.  Being nice has always been a far better strategy for me compared to other alternatives. Love this print by Heather Francisco for Minted, available at Indigo.   

If you really, really want something, I am convinced you make it happen. I see this with my clients in their budgets when I thought we were at the max. And I see this in my own life in the things I prioritize and make time for, even when my spare time is scarce. So this print by TheMotivatedType on Etsy is a great motivator- if you want it, figure out a plan to do it. No more procrastinating. 

  

This quote by Shasta Knight might seem contradictory to the last, but it is actually quite related. My biggest "secret," and the most common answer I give people when I answer the question "how do you do it?" is this= I know what I am good at and what I am not. And I do my best to delegate accordingly. I think I currently say no more than I say yes (which is really hard for me). This quote is a great reminder to keep priorities in order. 

Finally, from the lovely SS Print Shop, I am always mindful that His plans are better. 

What are your favourite quotes to keep you motivated, help you be more productive and make your space inspirational and beautiful? Love to know in the comments below.  

HOW TO STYLE (AND FINISH) A ROOM IN 48-HOURS

HOW TO STYLE (AND FINISH) A ROOM IN 48-HOURS

For the last 5 years I have been fortunate to work on some great HGTV shows including with the Property Brothers and For Rent. While some timelines on design shows are slightly altered for story telling purposes, one thing that is 100% factual is I usually style the space 48-hours before they are revealed on camera due to back to back renovations and crazy timelines. 

What does "style the space" mean? It means that I begin with an empty room, and then in 48-hours it is brought to camera ready perfection including furniture, accessories, drapery and artwork. It's normally a team of at least 3-4 people including an art installer and handy person for furniture assembly and other odds and ends.  

This experience has been really helpful to me as last week we finally, actually, completed our #canningreno. Pictures are hung, pillows are placed, all the little details that go in to making a space have personalized character are finally here. We did it all for a fun media project I am working on (more on that in a future post!) but because of that I was on a crazy deadline and the bulk of it happened in a 48-hour frenzy. 

So for today's post, I thought I would share some tips that might help you finish off a project in your house that you haven't been able to commit to finishing. You don't need a media deadline to make a deadline happen (although it is helpful let me tell you!) but to give you a push here are some strategies to help you style and finish a room in 48-hours.

1. IMPOSE A DEADLINE

For me it was media deadlines that got me mega motivated to finish- but it can be something as simple as a birthday party, long weekend, or maternity leave that can be a hard deadline and motivate you to finish. Experience has shown me with clients, that once you move in to a space and you get used to seeing it a certain way (i.e. ugly: no drapery, original light fixtures, original paint, no art, etc) you get so used to it and it becomes normal. If you're a new homeowner and you have just moved in, resist the temptation to wait. Because you won't do it. Set a deadline and stick to it- you will be so happy you did! 

Then if you are going to do the whole 48-hour thing, book some friends, book time off work, for the 48-hours before this deadline and get her done! 

2. MAKE LISTS

For the purposes of this post I am going to assume major items have been completed in your space: all renovation type stuff like painting, millwork, any construction. This needs it's own timeline beyond the scope of this post, Move in your major furniture pieces and then take stock of what is missing. In our experience working on TV shows and going through what I did last week, here are the major items that contribute to styling: 

major furniture (sofas, tables, principle chairs, etc)
rugs
drapery
pillows
throws
side tables
lamps
sconces
art on walls
frames on surfaces
table top accessories (trays, books, candles, sculptures, clocks, cloches, vases, etc)
baskets
flowers
accent furniture (ottomans, poofs, accent chairs, small side tables, etc.)

Make your list of missing items and then divide them by retailer. For example, this past week to get my house done for my shoot I made trips to the following retailers for all the small items (basically everything but furniture): Elte, Elte Mkt, Bouclair, Indigo, HomeSense, Michael's, Home Outfitters, and then HomeSense 5 more times (just kidding, but not really). 

When you are working with a 48-hour period, you have got to grab stuff that is off the rack and ready to go. These retailers above all fall into that category. Also, they all have good return policies so buy more than you need and return stuff after.

You always need more than you think. 
 

3. DIVIDE AND CONQUER

In point 1 I mentioned book friends to come over for the 48-hour period. Make sure one of them is handy, or hire a handy person to bring tools over and do some of the installation related things if you are not handy yourself. This is the order I typically do things, and I usually divide my team accordingly:

Phase 1: Put in all major furniture. Assemble as needed.

Phase 2: Lay out rugs, select from options. If you are 100% certain about the rugs do them first- you may have to pull out all the furniture in order to lay the rugs properly. Use an underpad. 

Phase 3: Hang drapery and install art and any hanging shelves or mirrors. I do this before accessories as I want to pull accent colours out of the artwork and use in pillows, throws, accessories, etc. 

Phase 4: plop in what I call "grounding" accessories like pillows, throws, trays on tables, books on side tables, lamps.

Phase 5: layer in small layering accessories like vases, small sculptures, picture frames, other shiny things. 

4. SCHEDULE

On Property Brothers especially, this is how we scheduled our 48-hours. It totally works as a schedule for a 48-hour marathon decorating bonanza.

DAY 1

9am- arrive to site, unload cars, note any random deficiencies or paint touch ups you will have to take care of later. 

10am- if furniture is not in the space already, load in all major pieces. I love working with Home Installers, Avery Moving, and Metric Movers for pick up, drop off and installation of large pieces. 

11am- take stock. Look around and make a list of all the stuff you still need to grab from the accessories list. Arrange by retailers and get in to cars and go!

12pm- eat on the run! I love grabbing a quick lunch at Elte when I can swing it! 

5pm- return home with all your goodies. Unload. I like to organize everything into like items: pillows, small accessories, shiny things etc. I also like to put them in an area out of the way so you aren't moving things 10 times- like a hallway or foyer. Eat a power dinner!

Start to style- Move things around, keep trying things until you are happy with groupings. I try to work as long as I can into the evening so you can be far ahead for the next day.

DAY 2

9am- With fresh eyes, look at the space and see if there are any holes you need to fill- what else do you need to find or buy to make the space feel complete? 

10am- Shop again to fill in any gaps you might be missing. Return anything that didn't make the cut. 

1pm- Come home and style again. Just keep working until you are happy with compositions, try things in different areas, styling really is part instinct, part experience, part trial and error. 

Work until you are happy! Not that I suggest this, but there were definitely some VERY late nights working until we were satisfied. It really is a bit of a process to get a home totally styled- and you will continue to add an edit post your 48-hour deadline for sure- but working with a deadline gives you a solid foundation to tweak your home. 

5. FINISHING TOUCHES

Here are some "secrets" that our team cannot leave a space without doing:

Steam everything: drapes, sofa, pillows, throws- you won't believe the difference it will make! I almost always have a travel steamer in my car for styling "emergencies"!
Lint brush everything: I use painters tape if I don't have a lint brush.
Goo Gone everything: I love the Goo Gone in spray format- super convenient for getting off price tags, etc.
Flowers everywhere: flowers add such a nice final layer, a little element of life and colour in a space- flowers go in every room we do.

Whether or not your home is appearing on a TV show or you just want a TV worthy space, it won't feel this way without the finishing touches listed above. You won't believe the difference these finishing touches make- they are worth all the time and energy to create a space that is inspiring, comfortable and yours. 

Styling a room in 48-hours is a service we provide as an option for clients. If you'd like to know more about our 48-hour styling service please contact us– we would love to help you finish off your home!

DRESSING THE BUMP: CURE FOR FRUMPY DAYS

DRESSING THE BUMP: CURE FOR FRUMPY DAYS

Fellow pregnant mamas- I have found the cure to feeling "pregnant frumpy".  I dare you not to feel super feminine and take charge confident in these pants. If I am being honest these are a little bit out of my every day comfort zone- but I must say on dsys when you just feel so gross and exhausted theses pants are a real confidence booster! 

I paired it with this shirt and a fav necklace from my collection. 

And pregnant in heels yes please (even if it is only for an hour).

Shirt & jeans: Thyme Maternity. Necklace: Over the Rainbow. Shoes: Winners. 

Special thanks to Mike Dizon at mdd photography for capturing this very special time in my life! 

SECRET TO AWESOME WALLPAPER APPLICATION

SECRET TO AWESOME WALLPAPER APPLICATION

When I put up the wallpaper in my living room  I did it with a baby on my back (lol, I was determined): 


 

And when it came time to tackle the basement, baby was big enough to leave on the floor beside me, so no baby wearing necessary : )  

It started like this:

And ended like this:

I love wallpaper for the vitality and instant energy a pattern like this will add to a space- love this Kelly Hoppen ikat by Graham and Brown. This print is just so happy! I feel so wonderful when I go down to my basement surrounded by this energy. 

I truthfully don't recommend installing wallpaper yourself UNLESS you are willing to "practice" first. Meaning, you're OK that the first few times you do it it might not be 100% perfect.

If you're going to attempt to install wallpaper, here are my tips for awesome installation. 

1. WORK WITH 2 PEOPLE

If you're a beginner I highly recommend working with 2 people. One person can hold the paper while the other pastes the wall. It is a bit of a physical gymnastics if you are not used to it as the paper can fall on your head, be cumbersome to work with. So if you have a friend who can help it will make the leaning curve faster. 

2. BE PATIENT

You really cannot rush wallpaper installation. To line up patterns there really is no secret trick- use a level to make sure the pattern is straight but it really is just an exercise of patience. Go slowly, breath and be patient. The results are so worth it. 

3. USE THE SHARPEST KNIFE AND CORRECT TOOLS

I don't use any special kits or fancy tools- but what I have learned from experience is to change your blade consistently and make sure it is sharp at all times- you'll get a cleaner edge and avoid frustration. What I also find really helpful is a large table nearby to lay out your wallpaper lengths and keep them organized and in order. Essential tools include:

  • large clean table to lay out strips 
  • knife that you can consistently change the blade on
  • level
  • plastic smoothing tool to get out air bubbles
  • wallpaper paste, paint tray, liner, roller and cage to apply the paste
  • small sponge to pick up extra wallpaper paste

4. HIRE IF YOU DON'T HAVE TIME 

So if you think this is ambitious and you don't have the time to PATIENTLY apply paper- I recommend you hire. Wallpaper is very delicate. If you rip it- there goes $$$$. And while I think it is a skill that can be learned with experience, it is not an easy skill. It really is worth every penny you will pay an experienced installer for professional looking installation. 

Have you got any tricks (other than hiring!) for awesome wallpaper installation? Love to know in the comments below. 

 

 

WHY YOU SHOULD WAKE UP EARLY: CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER NIGHT OWL

WHY YOU SHOULD WAKE UP EARLY: CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER NIGHT OWL

Up until fairly recently (and most of my life post-high school), I was a crazy night owl. I would work after my kids went to bed and work well into the early morning hours… usually until 2am at the minimum. I justified this behaviour as I felt more productive at night, I wanted to be around my kids during the day, and just never considered myself a morning person. 

So many people I admire have early morning routines that they swear by, and I just always assumed I could never be like them. I had every excuse under the sun as to why waking up early would never work for me. 

So I am here today to confess, as a former night owl, that I have changed. I have joined the early risers and WOW has it impacted my life in a positive way. I am more productive, happier, and while I don't have any specific stats to share yet as I am still fairly new at rising early, I am going to measure how much more I get done in a day and share those stats with you. A recent podcast by Pat Flynn (also a former night owl) also sealed the deal for me on the whole notion of getting up early and inspired me to write this post. So from a former night owl, here are my top reasons you too, should try waking up early. 

1. SILENCE IS GOLDEN

Fellow mamas take note- we need silence! We spend so much of our day patiently (or not so patiently) listening, responding, reacting, resolving, and if you have multiple kids like me, it can get pretty darn noisy. Regardless if you have children or not, the world of notifications, dings, bings, and demands on our time can make for an irritating cacophony. I wake up at 5:30am and my house, thanks be to God, is so still. From 5:30-6am I sit in total silence. During this time I pray using an app that I talked about in this post  that is helping me read the Bible in a year. Whether you spend it meditating using a tool like the Muse headband, you pray, or you honestly just sit- silence is so absent in our world today and I think we need more of it. Try it- I think you'll like it. 

2. START THE DAY WITH EXERCISE 

So truth be told in my very pregnant state I have been making excuses on this one- but as Hal Elrod shares in his book The Miracle Morning, fitting exercise into your morning routine has huge positive implications for the rest of your day. Your metabolism is jump started and remains elevated, you start the day with more energy and you are invigorated, awake and alert. I think it's also a great strategy because it gets this important health benefit "out of the way" so to speak- you're not worried about fitting it in later or feeling guilty because you didn't. I'm going to start tomorrow with a gentle prenatal workout- and make it easier for myself to not cop out by laying out a work out outfit at the foot of my bed. 

3. INVESTING IN YOURSELF WILL PAY OFF BIG TIME

In another awesome Pat Flynn podcast, Pat interviews Elrod and Hal quotes Jim Rohn: "Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development".

This is so cool, and so true. We have to invest in ourselves if we expect to see change in any area of our lives. The morning is a beautiful time to delve into motivational reading, listen to a self-help podcast or work on a goal setting exercise for an on-line course. You can do this over coffee and eggs post work out. Even if it's only 15 minutes a day- that's 15 minutes closer towards a goal, 15 minutes richer in strategies or knowledge that you didn't have before. I used to just try and fit kind of exercise in while driving, or in line for groceries or what not- but the consistency I think is what is beneficial, and again starting the day with this kind of mindset will have implications on other decisions made later on.

4. IT IS BETTER FOR YOUR FAMILY

I used to wake up with the kids as my alarm clock. And I would basically wake up in a state of anxiety- the thoughts of here we go again, I am so tired, please just stay in your crib for 15 more minutes, get your own breakfast, etc. etc. etc. would overtake my mind in a state of hazy, caffeine less confusion. I love my children- I hope that is apparent from my blog- but with 4 small people with really loud demands it would feel like an onslaught. 

Now- I am up for a full hour and 45 minutes before they are, and it is amazing. I am usually dressed for the day, have had a cup of coffee, am smiling and in a positive mood, and honestly feel ready to meet any unforeseen child related challenges that happen first thing. Sometimes I even have their breakfast laid out before the little pitter patter of their feet come greet me in the kitchen. 

Total transparency- the pitter patter of kids' feet used to sound like wild elephants racing down my hallway- now it's a sound I know will only be a pitter patter for a finite amount of time. I mean it, for me this is the best part of getting up early and probably why I have stuck with it- it has had a really positive impact on my mood and my family and contributed to the success of our morning routine in general.

I am also less grumpy, and again let's keep it real: my husband LOVES this. 

5. BECAUSE EVERY MORNING SHOULD FEEL LIKE CHRISTMAS

Again to quote Elrod from Flynn's podcast, shouldn't every morning feel like Christmas? As Hal puts it, Christmas is a day people are typically so excited about, that they can't wait to get out of bed. No snooze alarm, they are up and at 'em ready to go.

He argues: shouldn't every day be like this? Shouldn't every day begin with looking forward to what is ahead instead of hitting snooze reluctant to start?

The transition for me going from waking up whenever the kids woke me, to an alarm at 5:30am was fairly rocky. I really did not like it at first. It felt so foreign to my body and just plain gross. But after a few days of doing it and starting to see the positive impact it has become muscle memory quite literally- my body is way more used to the routine and I believe my sleep cycle is better because I wake up less groggy. I am no expert in sleep or health strategies to be totally honest- but I do know when things are working- and waking up early totally is. 

One last note- you might be thinking there is no way I could do this ever in a million years. You might be thinking- I wake up with a nursing baby in the night, I am so sleep deprived already, Lisa you are crazy. I hear you- and said the exact same things. But I can say from personal experience I am converted. It does mean I have to get to bed earlier which means we are diligent about bedtime routines for our kids and cleaning the house after dinner as close to bedtime as possible and I don't watch nearly as much TV as I used to- but the sacrifices have been worth it based on how good I feel in my new routine. 

If you'd like to try a new routine I'm excited to read through The Miracle Morning and implement some of the strategies Hal recommends that I am not currently doing like journaling. 

What is your morning routine like? Love to know in the comment below.