Seeing Red

Using color in your homespace is the number one way to express yourself.  Even purposefully choosing not to use color such as using tones of white in a monochromatic scheme is a choice intended to create a subtle, peaceful energy in your home.  What colors you choose in your décor scheme should be carefully thought out.  After all, your homespace is the most personal outward expression to others of how you live your life.  Using color (or the lack thereof) should bring joy to you.  Even this month’s edition of Veranda magazine’s main story is titled, The Joy Of Color and the words are in hot pink!

As I wrote a few months back in a blog post titled, The Power Of Color, it is important to let the colors you use in your homespace accurately express who and what you are.  No two homes should remotely look the same.  Homes should be as unique as those that dwell within them.  My own daughter-in-law, Kathleen Brami Aliff is the epitome of understanding this.  Her home doesn’t keep up with the trends.  Her home reflects her personality through and through.  Kathleen loves Red.  Kathleen sees Red as a means of expressing who she is.  And so, Kathleen’s love of red flows throughout her entire home whether it is shown in full bloom as a backdrop (as in wall color) or in splashes of it in fabrics and accessories artfully placed in every room.

RED:  The warmest of colors, Red symbolizes passion, energy and excitement.  It is often the color chosen by extreme extroverts for self-expression.

From little girl to grown woman

Loving Pink

Loving Pink

I have been planning to write about Kathleen’s love of Red ever since my early blog posts on color.  In fact, after The Power Of Color, I wrote a post on the color Purple and “The Purple Lady” (aka Lisa Hensley) titled, She Loves The Color Purple.  Like Lisa, Kathleen knows what makes her feel good.  And, like Lisa, I interviewed Kathleen for this article to get a glimpse into her psyche about her love of red.

What I found out was really interesting.  Here I thought I pretty much knew what made my daughter-in-law tick.  Yeah sure, the color Red matches her but, I never knew how or why she “morphed” into this color when in actuality most of her life her color of choice was Pink.

“All the way through high school I was in love with Pink.  I even used to wear Pink.  I wore Pink all the time.  After I met Ben he asked me to quit wearing it so much and so for me, Red seemed a classy, grown-up version of Pink.  Now Red is my statement color.  It is my signature color.  I love shoes and shoes in my view look better in red.”

That’s what Kathleen told me.  Wow, I thought, who knew?  Red was Kathleen’s metamorphosis of Pink – the grown-up version of her.  Very interesting.

So, let me give you the psychological slant on all this.  The color Red speaks to creativity.  It is sexy, powerful and full of energy.  Make no bones about it – Red catches your eye.  Period.

Yep, the color Red matches my daughter-in-law to a tee ~ confident, outgoing, and full of attitude.  Feisty she is and so her love of red absolutely, positively outwardly fits her personality.

Express yourself

Quite naturally then when Kathleen and Ben got married her love of Red influenced their homespace.

The boldness of Red

The boldness of Red

It’s all about details

It’s all about details

“Every room has something red in it.  Whether it is the wall color, a pot or a plant.  Even for Christmas this year one of my gifts to Ben was something red for his “man cave”.  So now even that room will have touches of my love of red in it.”

Red jazzes it up

Red jazzes it up

For someone visiting their home, no doubt Red speaks to you in each room even if in subtle ways.  What I love as a decorator is how well she has pulled it off.  Her homespace is comfy cozy and yet, very unique.

That’s what we all should strive for in our own homes.  Self-expression makes or breaks the true beauty of your space.  If your space does not match who and what you are, the energy of the space will be off.  It’s just that simple.

Everyone should have a decorating mantra that goes like this:

Express yourself.  Just do it.  Express yourself.

Kathleen has and loves to show it!

Red boots

Photo Credit: Kristin Vining Photography

To loving color…

Cleaning The Mirror

January has been an amazing month for me.  As I wrote in a recent post titled, Post-Holiday Confessions From A Decorator, I had some really, really heavy-duty stuff to deal with the first couple of weeks of the month – which is why I chose to use the holidays to be still, to be quiet and to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas.  Last week was my “down time” to review and then renew after all the heavy-duty stuff I had experienced had come and gone.  Little did I know that a simple trip to the movies over the weekend would be the proverbial wake-up call for me to listen up and that another big lesson was coming…

Important messages come to me from the oddest places.   Some of the messages are good and some well, suffice it to say, not so good.  Here’s an example of a good one – I remember when I first began my blog I had numerous articles written and ready yet, I still couldn’t find the words for my opening post that in my view would best explain what I meant by my tag line – Everything begins in the home.  I fretted and fretted for weeks trying to come up with just the right words.  Then I attended my niece, Britney’s wedding and voila, the words were said out loud to me.  Funny- I had been searching for the words in my head – little did I know that I would hear them from someone else.  I remember I felt cold chills come over me when the words started from the lips of Reverend Bob McAden.  A voice in my head said, “Listen up Jamie.  Here are the words you have been searching for”.  I listened and boy oh boy, they certainly were the words I needed.  So, once more thank you Rev. McAden for the words you spoke and then allowed me to share in my blog post, The Sacredness Of Home.  They were (and still are) the perfect words to explain and express the importance of HOME.

Anyway, I had another one of those messages this past Saturday and at the oddest place – the movies!  Here I was thinking I would sit back and be entertained.  Oh no, not this time around – this “not so good” message was meant to teach me I still had work to do on myself.

The Man in the Mirror

The movie, Joyful Noise started out normal enough but something came over me when the Michael Jackson song, Man In The Mirror began to be sung by the incredibly gifted singer-actress, Keke Palmer.  I felt goose bumps begin to erupt, I felt the pulsations in my body of recognition that it was time to focus and I felt the overwhelming knowledge that I was supposed to listen up to every single word…

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways…

If you wanna make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and then make the change”

Hearing those words brought me a flashback of this past Christmas Eve.  My David and I spent the entire Christmas Eve day in downtown Chicago.  Being home alone we thought that this would be a fun and different way to spend the day so we rode the train into the city and went exploring.  We walked and walked and walked.  It was cold and windy so we both had on heavy coats, scarves, hats and gloves.  While walking down Rush Street a man approached me and asked for my spare change.  Ever the polite southern woman I answered him, “No thank you”.  After all, I was walking briskly in the cold and would have had to take my gloves off to get to my purse to get to my spare change – way too much time and trouble.  Well, I didn’t think another thing about it until about ten minutes later the man was ahead of us on the street talking to another gentleman.  He turned to me and said, “I want you to know I don’t ask people for money all the time.  I just recently lost my job.  You don’t need to be sorry for not giving me yours”.  I was mortified to say the least.  Had I seen my reflection in the mirrored storefronts I passed, I am sure my cheeks would have been red.  But the real shock came two blocks later when we crossed the street and headed in a different direction.  At the intersection David watched the man continue down the street and then stop to talk to a homeless woman.  David watched him take all the money from his pockets and give it to the woman (clearly someone that needed it more than he did) and then walk away. When David told me this, I was stunned and truly humbled.  Here I was busy on my way (on Christmas Eve no less) and I didn’t take the time to give my money to a down and out man on the street when just a few minutes later he gave what he had to someone less fortunate.  It was all I could do to keep walking and not run for the nearest alleyway to privately shed tears of shame and sorrow.  Would I have liked to see myself in a mirror at that moment in time?   Not hardly!

Cleaning my own mirror

So when Keke Palmer sang the words I realized change (actually more change) needed to begin with me.  I needed to look in the mirror, take a look at myself and make a change.  W.O.W.  Here I was comfortably sitting in the movie theatre, “convalescing” from a grueling few weeks of immense stress with the assumption that I had “prevailed” through all the trials and tribulations of the last five years, wanting to relax and enjoy a hit musical-movie.  Yet somehow I was being reminded of Christmas Eve in downtown Chicago in a not so flattering way.  I could visualize the man on Rush Street in total detail.  I even remember the homeless lady- she was wearing a white coat and carrying all her belongings in a grocery cart.

Hearing the words of this song put so much into perspective for me.  The words brought on a myriad of thoughts to ponder and truth be told – many of which might take years to work through.

  • Everyone has their own vantage point from which they view life.
  • The way we present ourselves to the world must always reflect our true selves.
  • Mirrors reflect our true colors not the black and white we perceive.
  • To inspire change in others we must first change ourselves as thoroughly and effectively as we can.
  • Actions speak louder than words.
  • Love is the most important verb in the English language.

I’m not sure where I am going with all this newfound insight.  I just know that besides carrying small bottles of hand sanitizer with me everywhere I go, I will also carry small bottles of Windex in case I ever lose “clear sight” of the reflection others see of me in my words and actions.  Moving forward I want to “clearly” see my true self in the mirror and at the same time I want to present to my family, my friends, my fellow human beings and my earth home the true reflection of who I am.  And, in each and every moment of each and every day I need to be mindful of the power I have as an individual to inspire change in the world.  Let it begin with me as I clean the mirror.

“And no message could have been any clearer

If you wanna make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and then make the change”

21 Days To Kick A Habit

It is time to ask yourself:

Is there anything negative in my house I would like to change?  Is there something  I do over and over again like a bad habit that really bugs me?

Is there room for improvement in a particular area of my homespace ?

My guess is you can answer YES to at least one of these questions.

Maybe you procrastinate about taking down holiday decorations  even when another holiday is right around the corner.  Maybe dirty laundry stays piled on the floor.  Maybe those dust bunnies have grown into dust monsters.  Maybe you have never removed the sofa cushions from you sofa for a good vacuuming (this one is gross!).  I have seen all of these bad habits time and again.

I am often amazed at the sense of style people feel it necessary to present to the external world while neglecting the truly important world right inside their homes.  This is in the form of how they wear their hair, how they dress and what type of car they drive.  All the while homes get neglected.

So, do you want to change?

Did you know that scientists believe it takes about 21 days to change a habit?  This is because we naturally resist change.

21 days…

That means change will need intention.  Change will need focus.  Change will need discipline.  Change will need time.

Time takes time.

But you are worth it.  Each time you conquer another bad habit it empowers you to conquer another.  Slowly but surely your homespace shows positive change.

You can do it!

Your homespace deserves it!

One thought…

A beautiful home impacts your mood and behavior.

Conquer those bad habits.


Post-Holiday Confessions From A Decorator

For the entire month of December – in fact, from Thanksgiving on I spent my time on both the Blog and my Facebook Fanpage writing about Christmas Traditions (mine and other guest authors), giving “Helpful Holiday Hints” and showcasing beautiful examples of holiday décor.  Who would ever guess that I, a decorator, a believer in all things magical for Christmas time and one who professes to know and expect décor detail would not decorate, bake, send cards or do anything traditional for the holidays?  (Well, I did do Advent gifts though.) Seriously – even I wonder at this all.  My entire life I have expressed the importance of traditions – particularly holiday traditions.  I even sing the song, “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!” throughout the year unaware that I am even doing it.  Christmas and all its pageantry means that much to me.

Because of some necessary travel to Charlotte, NC next week and all it entails, travel there for the holidays was just flat not an option.  So, there went being with my kids, grandchildren and God’s Littlest Angel.  That’s one tradition down the tubes.  Decorating for Christmas?  I must confess I decided not to do that either.  I left my entire collection of Nutcrackers, my collection of Santa’s and all my sentimental Christmas tree ornaments in their boxes in the basement.   All I did was put a simple wreath on the front door and a Menorah  (yes, my darling David is Jewish) on the antique side table in our kitchen.

Front door wreath

Our front door décor

Why did I ignore all the trappings of Christmas this year?   Not even listen to any Christmas music either at home or in my car?  Funny thing – in mentally and emotionally preparing for next week I knew I needed to be still.  I needed to be quiet.  I needed no distractions.  So I decided not to indulge in any part of the traditional preparations for Christmas and instead use the time to reflect on the true meaning of the season.

Joy of all joys, I absolutely, positively celebrated Christmas and what it truly means.

I focused on PEACE.  PEACE for myself and PEACE for people everywhere.

Now don’t get me wrong.  The Friday before Christmas Eve I embarked on a very long morning of sitting on my pity pot.  It didn’t help to talk to my sister-in-law, Becky and hear her excitement at this being the first year in a long while that all three of her boys, wives, fiancés and their dogs would be home for the holiday.  Or hearing my sister, Mary Ann shout with glee on the phone that every single Christmas present was wrapped and ready and family was already arriving to start the holiday weekend.  Or hearing that God’s Littlest Angel was walking and here I was in Chicago missing it all.  Or, most of all, that my very own baby, my youngest son, Jimmy had become engaged to a wonderful woman (Lailuma) and I wouldn’t get to celebrate quite yet with them live and in person.  Text pictures of her engagement ring didn’t do the ring justice I’m sure!  Ugh… the pity pot sure got worn out that morning!

Second night of Hanukkah

Second night of Hanukkah

I tired of sitting on the pity pot though.  So, I picked myself up, chilled a bottle of Veuve Cliequot for the evening and did what my heart, mind and body always craves – I went to nature.  While walking in nature I reflected on the real side of things.   The real side was this – I realized that I was thankful to have had the wherewithal to use the entire month of December for total quiet and stillness.  With so much free time on my hands not devoted to the hustle-bustle of Christmas preparations, I gained so much insight.  I want to share with you what I pondered, reflected on and learned over this last holiday season I chose to celebrate without all the glitter.  And in the words of what many hosts say when announcing the winner on TV Shows like X Factor; I list the lessons learned and/or reflected on “in no particular order”:

  • Like Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz I have found that HOME has been here for me all along.  I don’t have to be “home” in Charlotte with my kids and grandkids to have them at home in my heart.  My heart home is always there ready to embrace them unconditionally wherever I be, wherever they be.
  • I can really focus on the essence of Christmas without all the fluff, commercialism and festivities and wonder of wonders; it is awesome to do this.
  • In loving and living with a Jewish man I can appreciate that mankind benefits most with an attitude of inclusivity and not exclusivity.
  • The true meaning of the Christmas season is PEACE.  No true peace can come without forgiveness of oneself, of others and of humanity as well.
  • As much as I love music and in particular, Christmas music – Silence is Golden for it is in the moments of silence that we hear what we really, truly need to hear.
  • I have learned on a whole new level what it means to live simply.
  • Traditions won’t go away if you choose not to observe them on occasion.
  • Memories never fade.
  • Feeling lonely is a choice.
  • Life is to be lived actively loving oneself, others and all mankind.
  • PEACE requires action.
  • Actions speak louder than words.
  • The truth, ohhhh the sweet, wonderful truth will absolutely, positively set you free.

Happy New Year everyone!  May 2012 bring you wisdom.  Oh, and may it also bring you the courage to use it!