fashion. wine. design... and my life.

Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

That’s my pen…

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm

pen2Pentel.

ENERGEL.

Liquid Gel Ink.

Metal Tip .o7.

And ONLY black ink.

As of late… that’s my pen of choice.

In true “Bob Dole” fashion, I’ve always kept a good writing utensil close at hand.

An Army officer for a father, this practice, along with the notion that one should have a signature with “strength”, was subconsciously ingrained in me as a child.  I’m certain that my artistic abilities heightened the attraction for “all things” that made a mark.  But…evolving with age, it wasn’t until the high school years, that I became utterly obsessed — naaaaah — probably more like, enchanted with pens.

Fellow lovers of pens… you know how we do, eh?

The aisles at Staples stop us in our tracks.

Truth be told… it is any pen aisle in any store that will cast this magnetic draw.

Even if we are loyal to a brand, just gazing at the potential possibilities keeps us entranced… like a toddler exploring a new toy, it is both eye and hand candy!  Weak, I say!  Haha… it is a weakness, that is also exhilarating!  Annnnnnd with that “weakness”… referencing my initial statement; you HAVE to be a lover of pens to comprehend.

As a pen devotee, I am giddy… rather proud to say that in early March of this year, I won an Instagram contest sponsored by #pentelofamerica, my FAVORITE brand of pens.  

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Script on paper, with a quick nod to the past Washington DC blizzard like conditions, earned me several new free writing goodies!  Who knew that $250 in brand spanking new writing tools, delivered to my door… could have the same impact as the first sip of a fabulous glass of wine!

Haha… I’m spinning off course.  So all embellishments aside…

There is power in a pen.

A good writing pen.

One that effortlessly accentuates and enhances your handwriting.  One that simply glides as you write…  where the weight and size of the pen feels fabulous in your hand.  One that is attractive in its appearance… absolutely showing no signs of grime.  One that dispenses theeeeeeeeeeee “perfect” ink.  And one that puts that “professional” stamp and emphasis on what you do.

Did you get that last statement?

(Enter the mildly OCD me… the me with a few pen “pet peeves”)

That last statement is the true power.

Within a professional environment, a good pen… a good writing pen matters.  Simple as that!

The professional setting?

The full gamut of professional environments…. which includes any setting from the grocery store, to the doctor’s office, to schools, restaurants, retail establishments… you get where I’m going, right?   In a professional setting, don’t you dare require my signature/ask me to complete a form and then extend a pen that lessens the experience with your business.  (Actually, my one exception is automotive repair shops… with their hands embedded in oil changes and such, they can’t help the muck that accumulates on their pens).

I get that “lessens”  could read as such a harsh word.  Sooooo, without sounding haughty or arrogant, for truly, I’m only talking about a “pen”… I offer this anecdote.

With my career as an interior designer, it is common for my design firm to finish the month with a half of a million dollars (or plus) in sales.  The cost of our product, coupled with the amount money generated in sales, absolutely sets the tone for the “expected” experience with my firm.

While projects, as well as the final price for a project vary, the experience offered to each client is fair and consistent.  It is a full design service experience.  Naturally, each client tailors the service to suit their individual project needs… but completing the project, while protecting the “experience” is always priority.  And with the interior design field… it is an aesthetic experience.  One that begins with the initial designer/client meeting… and ends with the client “signing” on the dotted line.

Circling back to the power of the pen…

Such a tiny component of the experience.  Most may not even make the connection… or, bet yet, realize the relevance.

But how, as a professional, does one present a project (possibly in a range of thousands of dollars), engage the client and secure their “by-in”… and then… (wait for it)… extend a pen for their signature that reads “Suzi-Q’s hot-buttered Muffins”… you feel me?

It’s important.  It matters.  And albeit a minor element to the big picture… it matters!

It must matter… for in my professional world, I am a stickler for my writing tool.

So much so that, since my firm provides their own type of pen, I have always (since being employed with them) personally purchased my own pen of choice.  Nothing extravagantly expensive either…. a pack of 7 of my tool of choice may cost about $9 or $10 bucks.

What’s wrong with always wanting to be prepared… armed…  and ready to enhance the momentum of the “experience”.

Sounds silly, eh?

So if I tell you that several at my company have followed suit… does it still sound silly?

Surely this is applicable to other areas in both personal and professional worlds.  Curious if you too might share this belief…

I always have a pen.

Pentel.

ENERGEL.

Liquid Gel Ink.

Metal Tip .o7.

And ONLY black ink.

My pen.

Haha… and don’t be offended if when you extend yours, I reach for mine.

Cheers!

-k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…things are never what they seem.

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2013 at 6:48 pm

blogLooking out of my kitchen window while peeping at facebook, tunes from Pandora floating in the background (Beyonce today — don’t judge) and sippin’ on my favorite coffee with organic half and half, I saw my friend’s status… and it was like she read my mind.

Six simple words… “things are never what they seem.”

My shoulders twitch from an immediate chuckle and I’m now wearing a huge grin.  From over 8,000 miles and a different time zone away she always appears at the most appropriate moment.  Haha… I’m chalking it up to energy —  how in the world did she know that I was JUST about to write a blog on the very same subject?!

Don’t let me lose you… and please don’t wander off so quickly, for I am not about to blog about anything negative.

Her words, “things are never what they seem” are incredibly refreshing to me and embody one of the most important life lessons.  Simply put, we all have unique stories.  In turn… completely embracing this truth and refraining from applying your own perceptions to the life of another (I know… much easier said than done) is the key to finding that ethereal happiness we all desire.  Right?

Countless people seem to have contemplated this and figured it out.

How easily can one find quotations by Confucius stating “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” or Theodore Roosevelt saying that “Comparison is the thief of joy” … what about our very own “Live your best Life” Oprah Winfrey and her many mantras… “With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.”

Haha… calling Dr. Richards.  Dr. Richards?

Naaaaaaah.  I’m not a psychologist.

I’m creative.

I’m an artist, an interior designer… a stella & dot stylist.  Actually, “completely right-brained” might offer a more precise description.

Emotion, intuition and nonverbal communication steer my actions and furnish me with insight.  Couple that with over four decades of wisdom (in the form of life lessons) a splash of analytical tendencies and a wholesome love of self… I’m thinking that in itself could afford a figurative “Dr.” status!  Haha… just kidding!

Seriously though… I’m just like you.  Working hard, trying to be a productive member of society/my community, wanting each day to feel good and basically, be happy.  And of course…sometimes, lose sight, start glancing at that “greener grass” and make assumptions about what may or may not be in another’s world…  shit, I’m human, eh?!

But… I always come back to the notion and much-needed filter, “things are never what they seem”.  These words act as a refreshing reminder and enable me to completely appreciate what I have in my world.  Because the bottom line is, we ALL have unique stories… and discounting yours while elevating someone else’s will only generate for you, a long (actually, it should read: looooooooooooooooooog) road of internal discontentment.  Yep… I said it!

The past 54 days have been some of the most enlightening days in my lifetime and have fortified this belief.

Since shaving my head, the amount of feedback that has been forwarded my way has been incredibly humbling and at times surprising.

Without going into great detail… the feedback stems from being showered with complements, told that I was an inspiration/brave, asked if I was undergoing chemotherapy and even received an embarrassingly unwanted head-rubbing.  Some have revealed to me that they could never see themselves doing this and why they couldn’t… others told me that when my hair grows back I should think about wearing “this” type of style and they proceed to tell me what “this” should be… and others have simply embraced my new look… and left it at that.

Hey, I know why I shaved my head and I am still comfortable and delighted with my decision.

But, going back to… “things are not what they seem” — with each response, my “right-brained” self used the comments as a gauge. A dual-sided gauge no doubt, for surely those that decided to give me feedback had some sort of preconceived notion as to why I would or would not shave my head.  Sometimes what I thought an individual might say, they didn’t… or, what I thought they wouldn’t say, they did.

Can you imagine 54 days straight of “something that someone said or did” granting you with continuous “ah-ha” moments?

Well…welcome to my world… and I would NOT trade it for anything!

Surely my friend didn’t have my hair adventures on her mind when she posted her status… but I can guarantee you that in some way, shape or form… her reason for posting her statement directly relates to we ALL have a unique story.  AND simply… embrace it for what it is!

55Tomorrow is day 55…

with an open-mind, I enthusiastically await what comes my way.

Cheers!

-k

A note to my 42 year old self…

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm

What do you do with your notes to self?

You know, those personal collections of thoughts, repeated mantras and declarations that you remember or recite.  Notes to self that often are generated via a life lesson…  acting as an aid in maintaining our confidence, elevating our spirits, keeping us sane and/or reminding us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

For me, the notes are nothing more than the randomness that constantly swirls throughout my head.  Poignant and witty bits of wisdom that present themselves daily and (THANK GOODNESS) as I age, become vividly crystal clear.

As a wife and a mother of a teenage son and a pre-teen daughter it is important and necessary that I have presence.  Even more so for my daughter, me being of sound mind, strong body and calm spirit plays a key factor in our relationships.

BUT, first and foremost, I am a woman.

An independent woman, a woman who works full-time outside of the household, a woman who has an artsy side and enjoys being social, a woman who takes pride in her appearance… and, as important and significant those roles are, I am a woman who is conscious about and determined to be defined as more than a wife and mother.  So, as a woman, I am adamant that presence starts with me!  And for BOTH of my children, I would encourage them to do the same.

Haha… not to get all “Oprah’ish” on you, but the reality is that my notes to self steer that path.  They keep me energized, balanced, allow me to reflect and in times when I lose focus, they do what Hansel and Gretel attempted to do with bread crumbs… they help me find my way home.

I bet there are an abundance of women (perhaps men too) who identify with me and my note to self.  We all do this… we jot down or think thoughts that will rejuvenate us and propel us forward… helps us to “get our minds right!”  It’s human nature, eh?

Wondering if I am alone… but my notes repeat themselves.  Like fashion trends, they are cyclical; coming in and out of season over time and when appropriate.  A few years into my fourth decade, I can easily spot and appreciate those patterns.  Haha… I keep a stash of notes and draw upon them frequently.

My favorite note to self, I keep as the sole information offered in my “about you” section on my facebook page:

“What I know to be true… Change is constant, inevitable and beautiful.  You should accept your imperfections.  Time heals all wounds… AND, this too shall pass!”

So elementary but specific to us all, eh?  Incredibly apropos for “life” and the myriad of situations and events one will encounter.

I recently stumbled across a random note to self that I quickly scribed in a matter of 10 minutes.  Written approximately 3 years ago, in reading it again I was compelled to share — actually with the hopes that in the future, my children might read and appreciate their mother’s candid thoughts.  At the time, I was given an assignment to write down 25 random thoughts.  These were my thoughts — and to this day, they continue to be relevant.

1. I absolutely love the color green.
2. Despite my imperfections, I think I am beautiful… and I wish more women embraced themselves in this manner.
3. My children are my heart… they are little apples off of the tree and I am often humored as to how they have adopted so many of their parent’s characteristics.
4. I love my husband’s shoulders.
5. I am so proud that my siblings and I have a wonderful and loving relationship.
6. I feel sorry for those that do not know the joy of having a great friend.
7. I love MAC eye shadows.
8. I should read more…
9. I enjoy the smell of coffee, yet I don’t really drink it (Haha..an update:  a busy work schedule and a need for caffeine, as of 2012, I occasionally drink coffee).
10. One day, I would like to go to Africa.
11. Music invigorates me.
12. I am an artist… in a perfect world, I would immerse myself into an art project… and everyday, create something magnificent with my hands.
13. I miss my grandmother.
14. I love my daughter’s hands… from an early age, they have always appeared wise and mature.
15. My son’s introspectiveness amazes me.
16. A great glass of wine and good company is a wonderful treat.
17. I love accessories… a fabulous pair of shoes, a snazzy handbag, the perfect coat….mmmmmmmm, it takes me there! 😉
18. I am always on the prowl for the perfect shade of red… both lips and hair!
19. I love to cook… and KNOW I should do it more often.
20. My children have a great dad.
21. Sometimes, I yell too much!
22. I enjoy decorating my house, your house… any house.
23. One day, I will own a dog… although, Ziggy, the cat, isn’t bad (as of 2012, we now have Izzy the cat).
24. I love listening to and watching my loved ones laugh.
25. I AM BLESSED!!!!

Haha… pretty much, that is me in a nutshell… do you feel as if you know me better?

Well, I definitely intend on frequenting this list often… and of course, continuing to write new notes.  But I do feel inclined to add a #26…and it reads as such:  I am happy!

Cheers!

-k

The Aunt is the secret…

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Sometimes you just never know the what, the where or the who that will spark your creative juices and provide inspiration.

Your muse, eh?

I speak the truth when I say that I digest the universe for inspiration.  Don’t chuckle… for I am being serious!   Creative stimulus is abundant… literally every situation (good or bad) can be a catalyst.  As a matter of fact, a recent facebook message from a loyal blog reader proved as such.  Nothing lengthy, actually rather short and sweet… a few words that simply requested a lil’ motivation via my next blog post.

Motivation you say…

I can do motivation.  So NB, this one is for you… and hold on tight, because it is all about french toast!

Trying to connect the dots?  French toast… motivation… what in the hell do they have to do with each other?  Haha — in my world, they go hand in hand!

Define the word motivation as you may; determination, force, enthusiasm, drive, stimulation… in a nutshell, it’s basically something that gets you going.  Something that gets you excited, puts a pep in your step… makes you energized, eh?  Pretty much, it makes you feel good — and HAPPY!

Well, check this out…

As a youngster, breakfast was my FAVORITE meal.   Between my mother’s creations and scores of servings of my grandmother’s “can’t nobody cook like you” breakfasts, I was well feed.  Not to discount my mother… but my grandmother was a beast.  Not to go off on a tangent and deviate from my motivation topic… but remember the scene in the movie The Color Purple when Ms. Celie was making Mister breakfast?  If you can remember the manner in which those dogs on the front porch were hypnotized by the aroma — they were struggling… whining… trying anything and everything to get through the screen door to eat Ms. Celie’s food?  Yep… that right there describes my grandmother’s cooking!

At any rate… along with loving breakfast, like many children, I had an unquenchable sweet tooth.  The sweeter the breakfast the better.  Sugar and syrup were my best friends — a perfect marriage — and their presence at breakfast was mandatory.  Cream of wheat, pre-sweetened boxed cereals and pancakes were #1 on my list… and all was good.

Until…

I tasted french toast.

Honestly, the introduction is somewhat vague.  For certain, I remember eating this unbelievable treat during brunch at restaurants.  I also recall enjoying the tastiness numerous times at friends’ houses when they served “dinner for breakfast”… but as for home, for whatever reason, it just wasn’t on the menu.  You know I asked… basically begged… but the end result ALWAYS fell short of my expectations.  If I wanted to enjoy french toast, that irresistible, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness again, I knew what had to be done…

Ahem — did someone mention motivation?!

That damn french toast put me in a trance.  I wanted more… and if they weren’t going to make it properly… I would do it myself.  But, for someone who’s only cooking experience involved a carton of milk, boxed cereal, pop-tarts and peanut butter & jelly, the task appeared impossible.  Haha — and this was long before the days of the internet and Google.  So there was no quick search on the web to streamline the process.  Nope!  This process was truly an experiment — old school — and a massive amount of trial and error!

And I learned…

Through batches of soggy french toast.  Charred french toast.  French toast with too much egg.  French toast with not enough egg.  French toast with eggshells — ewwwwwwwww!  I learned.  Eventually, I got it right.

Even managed to create a “once you have my french toast, you’ll never crave another’s” recipe with a secret ingredient in the batter.  A recipe that some several decades later, I still follow to this day!

Most important, I learned what I know to be  an invaluable life lesson.

Motivation thrives on perseverance and perseverance will eventually afford a success.  How is that NB for a bit of wacky wisdom?!

As for my french toast and that secret I mentioned — 

always use 3 eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and add a little Aunt Jemima pancake mix to the batter.  It creates a better consistency in the batter, which sticks better to the bread and cuts down on the likely hood of it being soggy in the center.  Nice, eh?

But… since it is a secret, I’m not sharing my proportions of mix to milk — guess you’ve got to play that one by ear!

Cheers!

-k