The struggle is definitely really ladies. I know, because I have seen it creep into the conversations I have with my closest friends, clients, and even in the whispers of a coffee shop. As women, we are finding it difficult to communicate. We discuss the annoyance of one word answers, receiving the silent treatment of friends, or even the heated disagreements shared between significant others. What’s the deal? Why is the art of conversation so difficult when it could be such a gift?
Think of it this way, if we could learn to communicate more effectively with one another, we would have the gift of understanding (not necessarily agreeing), of listening and our words being received, and a place to move forward from. Add to this the nuances of learning new ideas, exchanging experiences, and being fully immersed in a single moment of conversation; and it makes me wonder why some find themselves trudging through the process of conversation as if they were marching into war. What gives?
The realization of this struggle among women made me think about my own conversations. What makes me drawn to a conversation, what makes the communication shared between my husband and I successful, and what do I appreciate about the people who communicate well? What is this art of conversation and how do we embrace it?
Then it occurred to me-
My husband and I communicate about communicating; this is what makes our conversation feel more like an art and less like pulling teeth. Let me explain.
Black-and-White Conversationalist (The Concise)
My husband is a black-and-white kind of guy. He likes to give an answer clear and concisely in order to provide a solution, voice an opinion, and give direction. Not a bad quality to have as the man of the household. If your husband possesses this quality, respect that he wants to be clear and concise, not fuzzy, with his answer. We could use more of the “let your yes be your yes, and your no be your no” mentality today.
Colorful Conversationalist (The Expansive)
I, on the other hand, love a deep conversation. I like the color in a conversation that threads in between the black and the white. I want to know the “why’s”, share all the stories of the day, and explore an experience fully through words. Just like the black-and-white conversationalist has their strengths, the colorful has perks as well.
However, when you get a concise and an expansive type together, the conversation may lead to frustration if you do not recognize the value in each.
Communicate about Communicating
My husband and I have found the trick to communicating well with one another is the simple idea of understanding why we communicate and the value it holds for each of us. If I mention a thought I was mulling over throughout the day, Tanner might respond with an “I can see that,” or a “Yes, I agree,” or even a simple “Let’s do that”. If I was expecting an exploratory conversation- you know, those ones where you share a glass of wine, enjoy a few appetizers, and watch the sunset on the patio kind of conversation- his short answer responses may be a bit frustrating at first. However, being the expansive communicator, it is my job to speak up. When I want a deeper conversation, all I have to communicate is “I want to create a conversation. I want to explore this idea with you.” This lets my husband know I appreciate his response, but also gives him the signal that I simply want to explore it further FOR FUN.
I want to embrace a passion of mine- the art of conversation- with him, just as I might want to visit a museum, take a walk, or watch him play billiards. The conversation, for me, is the activity.
My husband knows this about me; I enjoy a good conversation, but he would not know this if I did not communicate it. If you find yourself talking with someone who has a different conversation style than you, simply talk about that simple fact, and what it would mean to you to have the type of conversation you would like to have. Often, it is about acknowledging the value you place on conversation for you to have a truly beneficial and positive experience with communication.
This is just one situation in the world of communication. Whenever you bring two different conversation types together, how the conversation takes shape will be unique to the people entering into it. The takeaway is whether you need more or less from a conversation, communicate it; and be willing to listen to what makes a conversation meaningful for the person on the other end. With respect, compromise, and appreciating the value of the art of conversation for everyone involved; you will be well on your way to embracing the conversation well.
Enjoy the art of conversation lovely lady. It can truly be a beautiful experience.
Cold temperatures and windy days- If you ask me how I feel about them, my gut-reaction would be… Not great.
I have to be really intentional about incorporating moments of gratitude, self-care, and activities that bring joy to my life during the winter months. If I don’t, you will definitely see me dragging my feet as lethargy begins to take over my body and mind. I will be walking in the chilly fog of winter, setting my sights on being unproductive, and a season of “hermitude”. You may think I am being a bit dramatic, but truthfully, I am not.
The cold season really does impact me if I let it.
As I thought about my perception of winter, it occurred to me that I must also share with you how this same perspective relates to your lifestyle.
We have two options in this life we have been blessed to live.
Option #1- We walk around in the fog of relationships, work stress, poor eating habits, and the bitterness of not enough time and too much to do.
Option #2- We choose to actively and intentionally participate in striving toward a lifestyle we truly can embrace and experience lightness in.
These are our options. I think sometimes we get stagnant in the lives we live and allow the “weather” to dictate our feelings and our decisions for longer than it should.
So today, I want to encourage you to select Option #2 and take one action in your lifestyle today. It may be simply cancelling an obligation you only took out of courtesy, or it may be a bigger decision you need to consider making.
Choose not to let the physical weather or the weather of life dictate how you will live today. Get out of the fog and live the lifestyle you were born to live.
Yah, cold weather can definitely make me lethargic if I let it; but today I am choosing to see the beautiful white colors of the season, embrace the scent of crispness, and appreciate the preparation of the Spring that will come from this. Yes, I am choosing to not be worn out by the weather.
What option will you choose?
Every year I set about selecting one word I can come back to whenever I need a little reminder of the growth I would like to see in the year that lays before me. This year the word is "embrace" and I want to share a little bit about what this means for me and my 2019 lifestyle changes.
Over the years, I have learned that your strengths can also be your weaknesses. The very attributes that make you the All-Star of what you are good at, can also hinder your growth and ability to experience life to its fullest potential. Recognizing this, I knew that as I was navigating my word selection process, I wanted to challenge myself to grow "against my strengths". Wait, what? Let me show you what I mean.
A Few of My Strengths- Organization, Planning, Creating Schedules, Routines, Introspection
These strengths are what I rely on when it comes to my business, the flow of daily routines and goals, and my ability to be reliable for those that matter most to me. However, these strengths also inhibit my ability to enjoy the messy and creative pieces of life (unless its the structured kind of creativity- ie time carved out in the studio), may cause me to overthink various situations, and leave little room for impromptu events and moments.
It is not that our strengths are negative attributes (actually quite the opposite), however, if you do not shake up your strengths from time to time you miss out on fully embracing the life you have been gifted.
So... Although I am carrying my strengths into the new year (I will still be maintaining somewhat of a daily/weekly routine, setting goals for my business, and navigating thought-provoking conversations), there are a few things I am challenging myself with for 2019. I will be sharing the detailed lifestyle changes in a later post, but here are the highlights:
Make Goals- But- Don't Create All the Solutions
Have a Schedule- But- Allow Messy to Happen
Be Business-Minded- But- Let It Build Naturally From My Lifestyle
Be Introspective- But- Shutdown the Overthinking
Choose to Grow Always- But- Allow It to be Organic
Have a Plan- But- Take Time to Hit an Unexpected Pause and/or Detour
Have a Direction- But- Pray for God to Lead
Live a Meaningful Lifestyle- But- Know Not Everything Needs to be Intentional
In a word- EMBRACE- life and the life moments that make it so special. Although I will always have a plan, a direction, and a heart and mind for growth; I need to remember to embrace the moments that are often undefined, messy, and just plain lovely to experience.
Here is to embracing the year and this life my friends!
If any of these resonate with you, and you would like to jump on board the "creating a lifestyle you love" bandwagon, send me a message, call, or simply connect with me!
(Oh, and hey, if you want my nifty little process for finding your word for the 2019 year, let me know by dropping a comment or reaching out to me on any form of social media!)
Happy New Year lovely lady!
Your Lifestyle & Design Consultant
How present are you?
Be honest. Are you able to immerse yourself in the present moment and experience the sensations, conversations, and the people around you fully?
Let's say for a minute you are able to put the phone down. You are able turn off the electronics, and commit to the event in front of you. You do your part in creating conversation starters, and you even help set the table. When the host asks you to help distribute gifts, you do that too. Oh, and you spend hours picking out the perfect dress, the perfect gifts, and the perfect wine for the occasion. This sounds pretty perfectly present doesn't it?
But if I am being honest with you, this is what I may arguably term "faking present."
Many women have certain expectations for themselves when they attend an event. They run through the experience in their minds, setup the perfect situation, environment, and conversations, and then spend the entirety of the event following through with the performance of said "perfect event". After the event, they contemplate whether or not they fulfilled the expectations of the experience.
When we do this to ourselves, we are putting limits on our ability to be fully present. Yes, it is nice to experience the moment without all of the technology, and yes the ambiance can definitely set the mood for an evening, but there is one more thing you can do to perfect the art of being present....
If you are the host- Once you have finalized all of the plans, let the rest go. Allow your guests (and yourself) to be drawn to where they want to go naturally. Let the conversation lead where it may. Let small imperfect moments be sweet gems rather than mental dramatizations to be dealt with later. See the evening as an opportunity to experience those closest to you exactly as they are.
If you are the guest- Follow any directions given in the invitation (such as Black Tie), but then after that simply show up fully yourself. It's okay if it takes you awhile to settle into the crowd and start a conversation. It is okay if you enjoy the food so much you treat yourself to an extra hor d'oeuvre. And it is okay if you spill something on that beautiful dress. If you can truly embrace these moments for what they are, they become gifts of your ability to be fully present.
As we enter into the Holiday season, it can be tempting to "plan our experiences" (as if that were possible). I encourage you to take a different approach. Have fun enjoying the process of creating an event, picking out the details, and then relax and embrace. Don't plan how you will show up....
Simply show up.
This is how you perfect the art of being present my friends.
*If you struggle with simply showing up, I would love to hear from you! Send me a message and we can discuss our potential work together one-on-one.
Here is your Autumn Reminder for the week...
Get back to your roots.
As the weather cools, the ground becomes cold, the air dry and crisp, and the leaves fall from their hammocks. These particular not-so subtle changes remind me of departure and lack of security. They suggest everything is in a constant shift; and ebb of flow of sorts. Although this may be true, I also find myself reflecting on what is happening underneath the surface. The things we do not see.
You see, the roots of those trees; those trees with their leaves changing color and falling to the hardened and cold soil, their roots remain strong. They contain warmth and energy, growth and security for the trunk (the core) of those very trees.
What if we used Autumn as an opportunity to get back to our roots, our core, our strength and security?
Roots of Family & Friends- Think slow dinners and nights spent in with those you love and who love you unconditionally. Think deeply rooted conversation around a table, sipping wine and breaking bread. Thinking subtle touches of warmth and moments to cherish.
Roots of Culture- Think your story and those that came before you. Think community and the history of the city you live in. Think creating depth and understanding of your lineage. Think about how beautiful having this connection to culture, to history, is.
Roots of Passion & Purpose- Think spending hours doing what you love; those things that resonate with your heart. Think intentionality and purposeful work. Think YOUR WAY. Think reconnecting with like-minded individuals who just "get it" when you mention living a life of meaning and taking a leap for what matters.
Our roots are strong my friends. They are strong in a way we may not often understand, and quite possibly, do not take the time to remind ourselves of. Autumn is an opportunity to dive into our roots.
Let's create warmth, connection, and security with the "stuff that people cannot see".
Dive in and dig deep to find your roots.
I absolutely love this time of year, don't you?! I didn't always, but the older I get, the more I really look forward to the Autumn season. I suppose if we are getting technical Spring and Autumn are equally "my favorites", but who really is keeping track right?
With cooler days, nature preparing for hibernation, and people falling back into the routine of work and school; Autumn is the perfect reminder to slow down, hunker in, and soften our hearts. In the spirit of fall, I intend to build upon this post slowly, bringing you sweet morsels of Autumn reminders throughout the month. My hope is you will appreciate the intentional shorter posts versus some of the novels I tend to write in the form of blog posts.
So, today, here are just a few reminders Autumn is sharing with me today:
Embrace the Warmth- The warmth of loved ones, friends, cozy nights with blankets and warm tea, candlelit dinners, and Autumn walks all bundled up.
Embrace the Slow- The slow pace of enjoying the moment, being present, of home cooked meals, walking simply to inhale the city, and of creating intentional space for meditation and contemplation.
Embrace the Inside- The inside of self when reflecting, of home as you commune among friends and family, and of heart as you soak up the love given to you.
Embrace the Beauty- The beauty of nature, of God's love, and of grace.
What will you embrace this Autumn? Do any of these resonate with you?
Happy fall my friends!
BP Lifestyle & Design
For the sake of all that this blog post represents... I am going to try to keep this "little novel" short and sweet.
Margin of white- What is it? Do I want it? Why is this important?
Margin of White
The space in your calendar where you have scheduled flexible, undefined time. Yes, I realize this may sound contradictory, but it isn't I PROMISE! It can be a couple hours a few times a week, and entire day, or a set hour at the start/end of the day; whatever fills your cup! The point is... keep that space white... mark off the time and leave that sweet precious gem clutter-free.
I Hope You Want It
Most people roughly fall into two categories- the "planner" and the "go-with-the-flow-er". The planner schedules her days, follows them to a "T", and wakes up to do it again the next day. She is scheduled, precise, and determined. The go-with-the-flow-er lets the day carry her where it may, enjoys the journey of the day, sees how much she can fit in as it comes, and rarely commits to anything ahead of time. She is fluid, flexible, and fun. However, when balance is not found, people often cannot grow to their fullest potential. The planner may find herself controlled by her commitments, tired, and too serious. She is not able to stop and smell the roses, because then, she will surely be late. The go-with-the-flow-er may find she is at the mercy of everyone else and their needs, late for the commitments she does make because she tried to squeeze one more thing in last minute, and going somewhere in life, but with no set direction.
The Importance of the Margin of White
When you create the margin of white in your calendar, you are striking a balance with yourself. Whether you tend to be scheduled and you are opening a space for a bit of freedom, or you have no structure and you are scheduling in growth, the margin of white allows you to find balance and carve out a time for true personal growth and whatever that looks like for you. You are allowing yourself a moment to embrace whatever is going to make you feel the best, to reconnect, and dive into something meaningful knowing you have the time and the space to do so.
My charge to you this week....
Carve out your margin of white, and then let me know what you did with it! Happy Monday lovely lady!
Wake up groggy, stare at the countless texts, emails, and comments I "have" to respond to... but don't... get ready for my job that begins at 6am in less than 30 minutes, hustle out the door only to show up to a workplace which is unprepared for the day ahead, think about all of the unanswered forms of communication and the projects that pull at my mind while working, get bombarded by "small talk" texts from people I just connected with in person, respond to all the people I can over a 30-minute lunch break that is usually interrupted, leave work, dive into my purpose-driven work with an immense amount of brain fog and mental exhaustion, hubby and I make dinner (may be the first time we are eating), contemplate the invites to events that I don't have time for, stress about the time crunch in the day ahead, say "no" to all of the important relationships with friends, go to bed still thinking, and begin again...
Does this sound familiar? Can you relate? When, and if, you find yourself in this position, it is time to make a dramatic shift in your schedule, prioritize your time, and make room for the things that really, really matter to that sweet heart of yours!
Here are 3 things to consider when shifting your schedule:
Meaningful Work- What is it that makes your heart sing and fills you with a sense of purpose? Whatever it is, your days should be filled with it. Remove the clutter so you can begin actually using your talents and give to the world the special gift you have to offer it!
My Life- I left my part-time job in order to open up a full week's schedule for my purpose-driven work as a lifestyle consultant, content writer, and home decor creator. It was scary, but so necessary!
Meaningful Relationships- Reality. You can only have a handful of really solid relationships. When looking at your relationships, consider who you can trust, who brings you joy, who understands you completely, and who truly fosters your growth. Think of your spouse, family, and dearest friends. Also think about people you would like to form stronger relationships with. Then, (and get ready for the harsh reality), say "no" to the individuals who don't have the best intentions or do not align with what is important to you in your relationships.
My life- I only say "yes' to those relationships that really allow me to be me, those people who love me unconditionally, and foster my growth as a person. I carve out pockets of time for those relationships, as well as relationships I want to foster. It may seem harsh, but the older we get, the more important those valuable relationships, and carving out the time for them, becomes.
Meaningful Experience- Look at how you spend your time in the morning, evenings, and weekends. Fill those moments with a balance of routine and spontaneity, but only do the activities that fuel your soul and restore you.
My life- I now start my mornings slowly and end my days the same. These are times where there are no electronics, I spend quality time with my husband, and the "work-brain" is turned off. As an introvert, this is sooo important, because I need this time in order to show up fully for the day.
Once you know what you find to be meaningful, shift your schedule so these things are at the forefront of your life. Not-so-fun-stuff will come up, but always consider whether you actually have to react and take on that "stuff" or not... usually we just think we have to.
Shifting your schedule isn't always easy, but it is truly necessary! (Seriously, it is.) If you need a shift in your schedule, but need a little more guidance and direction to do so, you know where to find me lovely lady!
Here is to creating a life that truly reflects YOU!
Life. Is. Messy.
You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. And because it is so messy, we often create for ourselves nice little tidy boxes in order to help define who we are, what we do, and how we interact with the community we live in. We desperately seek to shove "good stuff" into all the crevices and remove all of the negative, the undefined, and the uncomfortable. We want to be able to package ourselves up and deliver what we offer this big ol' world of ours without any muss, and certainly, without any fuss.
But what may we be depriving ourselves of in this process?
What would it look like for you to live for a moment in time in an undefined mental and physical space? Put more specifically, what would it mean to you to make a bold decision because you KNOW it is better for your deeper sense of self and how you choose to live, without having a SPECIFIC plan in mind for your future?
Would it make you uncomfortable? Do you get itchy just thinking about it? If this is too scary, think about this- what would it mean to you to spend an entire day with NO PLANS, NO SELFIES, NO POSTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?! How would you possibly define yourself to the world without documenting who you are as a hiker, a foodie, a human being?.... It is in moments like this that you are choosing to live "Undefined". Your titles, your social media, your career, your family and friends are not there to determine if your package (YOU) is "defined" enough, and instead you are living defined by your internal sense of self and the importance you give to the moment. Do you get where I am going with this?
We spend so, so, so much of our time making sure our lives are defined so that we may be understood by the outside world, but in doing so, we neglect taking the time to filter through WHO WE ARE in the UNDEFINED. In order to live fully in ourselves, we must know who we are in all of the space that is messy and undefined. We must seek to understand our values and our priorities with 100% clarity, so we can get comfortable in the undefined, because that is when we KNOW with certainty that we are truly ourselves regardless of situation and of circumstance.
This week, try not to define, try not to wrap yourself and your life up in a nice little package tied with a bow, and try not to get too definitive in every aspect of your life. Instead, embrace the undefined, hone in on what truly matters, and share yourself just as you are and who you have the potential to grow into.
The undefined may be your space for growth.
Let's talk meal prep ladies! It is often something viewed as mundane, time consuming, and same-old-same-old, but meal prepping can actually be something to look forward to every week! The best part is it can be as time consuming as you make it depending on how much you enjoy to cook and how many other tasks you have on your weekly calendar.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Pick a Theme- The first thing to consider when sitting down to plan your meals for the week is a theme. There are two ways you can do this. The first way is to select one or two food items you would like your meals to center around. (ex. Sweet Potatoes or Broccoli) The other option is to pick a cultural theme. (ex. Mexican, Italian, etc.)
By selecting a theme you are creating a foundation for brainstorming. You have a direction and an immediate rough-draft of a grocery list.
Look at Your Week- The next subject to consider is what your week looks like. Is it crazy-hectic busy or do you have a little more flexible time to spend in the kitchen? Do you have nights that are busier than others? What are the other members in your household committed to?
Take some time to layout your week and think about how much time you will REALLY have to be in the kitchen.
Designate when you will actually meal prep. And this is key... YOU CAN MEAL PREP MORE THAN ONCE IN A WEEK!! Yep. If you have a couple small bubbles of time or just a really big one, you can choose to meal prep once, twice, or even three times!
The important part of the puzzle is to recognize what your schedule allows for.
Get Creative (Or don't)- Now the fun part...at least for me! Discovering the meals you want to cook for the week! Remember to keep your schedule in mind. If you have a busy week, keep it simple. Even if it is meal prepping, the last thing you want to do is spend hours on food when you don't have the time. Plan accordingly. You can write down some of your go-to recipes, or use platforms such a Pinterest to get inspired, or do some of each!
Bonus- You have already selected your theme so you can simply type in "Sweet potato" or "Italian recipes" and get a slew of ideas! Also, be sure to create breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack lists when selecting your recipes. Meal prepping isn't just for dinner chicka!
Once you have selected the meals you wish to make, lay them out in your schedule in a way that makes sense. Easier options on busy days, more complex recipes when you have more time. (Doing this will come in handy for later.) Also use this time to make a grocery list of the items you will need. You may notice that all of your recipes have similar ingredients because you picked a theme at the beginning! Neat eh?
Make Friends with Your Kitchen- Once the groceries are purchased, it is time to actually prepare your goods! Using your meal prep times, begin to think about the meals you have laid out during the week and how much of each ingredient you should prep.
Let's use dried black beans as an example:
If I am using black beans in three of my meals during the week, I will soak that amount in a mason jar filled with water for at least six hours (if not overnight). I will then cook all of them over the stove, and portion them out into how many meals worth I am needing them for. Once I need them for a meal, I will remove the amount I need, heat and season accordingly and viola! It's that simple! The key is to take the time out of your busy day to consider what foods you want to fuel your body with!
Meal prepping can be broken down even more, but this is a great summary to get you started! However, if you would like to learn more about how to save time and still cook meals you love, SUBSCRIBE to my newsletter where you can be kept in the loop about upcoming workshops, groups, and materials to embrace the Foodie in you! You can also set up a consultation to work one-on-one with me!
All of the fun little deets, tips, and inspiration of a lifestyle design journey!