The Experience Gifts!

Not all gifts come with a big bow and lots of wrapping paper. Sometimes the best gifts are intangibles, experiences that you can give to reinforce the importance of shared time and shared memories!

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Tickets to the Circus. We never really stop loving the circus. The gut-rolling flights of the acrobats, those speed-demons on motorcycles in the metal orbs, the shine of the costumes, the thrill of the music, the sweet cotton candy and the magic of the big top all add up to a wonderfully creative holiday gift!

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Cooking Classes. The most delicious experience of all, a cooking class is truly the gift that keeps on giving! Once you learn to make that yummy risotto or that tart lemon pie or that crispy paella, you won’t soon forget!

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Yoga Retreats.Give the gift of serenity to your loved ones this season. Encourage those you love to take a step away from the fight or flight of everyday life and step into the quiet, the peaceful, the mindful, the balanced and the calm. Namaste.

DIY Gift Ideas!

Struggling to come up with the perfect gift idea? Why not use your hands to make something beautiful for your family this year? Whether you are knitting a scarf or making homemade jam, gifts that we pour our heart and soul into are always a hit!

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Incense holder. Grab a jar or a glass and fill it halfway with sand (if you want to get fancy, you can layer different colors of sand!) Then thread a few meaningful charms onto a ribbon of burlap or colorful yarn and wrap it around your container. Place a few seashells or pieces of colored glass on the sand. Pick out a lovely assortment of incense and place each stick deep in the sand. Voila!

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Picture Frames. Grab a picture frame from your local thrift store. Load your glue gun with glue and get ready to get crafty! Depending on what you have lying around in your craft drawer or closet, stick with one theme and glue adorable things around the edge of your frame. I recommend sea shells, wine corks, rainbow yarn, bottle caps, pebbles, old coins, buttons. You can choose the photo you want to display first and then let that dictate the frame decor!

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Personal Scrapbook. If you find that you are the kind of person that holds onto movie ticket stubs and wedding invitations, consider finding a small scrapbook to fill with memories with one specific friend. Add in notes to remind them of moments you shared. Find photos of the two of you and try and set the book up as a timeline of your friendship!

Time to Cozy Up!

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Fall is the time to get reacquainted with the inside of your home. Rekindle the romance in your life with cozy nooks and snuggle-worthy throws! Light a few more candles, take it a bit more slowly, drink a bit more tea, take a few more deep breaths each morning before heading out to face the world. Here are a few suggestions for how to really cozy up this fall…

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Tea. Put the kettle on and brew up something spicy and warm! Add some crushed cloves or cinnamon to your tea this fall to get the health benefits of these powerful herbs. Let your warm cup of tea become an autumnal hot toddy by adding a dash of bourbon and a few drops of honey. Breathe deeply and continue to cozy up!

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Throw. Aesthetic Content makes a few deliciously soft and vibrantly colorful mohair throws that will bring a bright spark to your living space and invite you to wrap up and take it easy! A small basket with a handful of throws in it will make your living room seem more welcoming and warm, encouraging the creation of a zone of zen in your home!

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Books. Take the time out of your busy schedule to read a book. If you don’t know where to start to find a good book that will draw you in, check out goodreads.com. Take a few of the quizzes and the site will generate a list of books that you might like, based on your interests! Fall is the time for quiet meditation, preparation for winter, mentally debriefing the summer, and taking care of yourself. Let your imagination take off as you plunge into a great book and feel the physical release as you lose yourself in the story.

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Music. Throw on a pair of Cheetah Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, lean back in your armchair or stretch on your yoga mat, and press play. Whether you are listening to your favorite band, simple nature sounds or a classical symphony, music has the power to calm the mind and relax those racing anxiety-ridden thoughts! Part of getting cozy this fall is getting calm and letting go of the thoughts that don’t help you feel centered and strong.

DIY ‘Life Worth Living’ Dream Jar!

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What you need:

-Tissue paper (any color! Ideally, use some paper that you already have laying around!)

-Scissors

-a container of Decoupage Glue! (“Decoupage” comes from the French “cutting” and it refers to any project that involves cutting paper and glueing it onto an object!)

-a foam brush

-one jar (mason, spaghetti, jelly, peanutbutter, any glass jar with a lid that is clean and empty!)

-a postcard or a physical picture that makes you happy and brings you joy (but that you don’t mind cutting!

-a small glue gun and one stick of glue for your gun

-a sheet of paper and a pen

-Stickers of the letter of the alphabet or sticky paper that you can cut into letters or shapes

-an open heart and a willingness to get to know yourself

 

  1. Use the decoupage glue to paste small pieces of tissue paper to the outside of your jar
  2. Let the jar dry overnight.
  3. While you let your jar dry, take some time to meditate on your personal mission statement, what makes you tick, what makes you ‘you’, what you want your life to be about. Write down 10-15 things that you would consider your personal priorities in life, (emotions or values that will help you bring life – and its ups and downs – into perspective!)
  4. Place the pieces of paper with your personal thoughts on them inside the jar!
  5. Cut a circle out of the photo or postcard that is the same size as the metal lid of your mason jar.
  6. Use your hot glue gun to attach the photo circle onto the metal lid
  7. Seal the jar with your new lid!
  8. Use your stickers to decorate the outside of the jar.
  9. Place your ‘life worth living’ jar in a place that you will notice every day and take time to remember what you have written inside the jar! Breathe, relax, enjoy each day.

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10 Questions to Answer before you meet with an Interior Designer!

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”What is my actual budget?”

This is a pretty important question to address with your partner or family before beginning any design project! Make sure you know your upper limit so that you can clearly communicate to your interior designer. This way, you will be able to rest easy that their gorgeous ideas won’t break your bank!

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”Is there one room in particular I want to focus on?”

Remember that you can benefit from the expertise of an interior designer even if you are only looking to give new life to one room of your home. Most interior designers will welcome the challenge of working in a small space, so don’t feel like you can’t reach out for professional help just because your project is smaller. Narrowing down exactly which rooms you would like to focus on will also help your interior designer give you ideas on the rooms you are most concerned about!

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“Do I want lots of colors or do I want a primarily monochromatic look?”

One way to figure out whether you are looking for a vivid color palette or a more subdued monochromatic look in your home is to take a quick peak into your closet! Our choices in clothing and jewelry can reveal a lot about our taste in decor and in home aesthetics. Be sure to explicitly let your designer know if you are looking for a colorful eclectic design or a more calming color palette.

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“Where do I fall on the form to function scale?”

Is it more important for you that a side table has storage or that it looks stunning? Do you choose your rugs based on looks alone or on maintenance factors? Do you take time to sit in dining room chairs for a while before you purchase them to assess their comfort level or do you opt for the silhouette that speaks to you? These are all questions that will help you determine how much you value the function (ie: the practicality) versus the form (ie: the aesthetic beauty) of your furniture. Once you have an idea of your personal preference, share your thoughts with your interior designer so they can keep that in mind as they are creating ideas for you!

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“Do I already have some ideas or am I starting from a blank slate?”

Are you looking for someone to come into your home and give you some direction, or do you already have a sense of what you would like to do? If you are just looking for another set of eyes and a bit of confirmation for thoughts that you have already put together for your space, it is pretty important to communicate that to your interior designer! They will factor in your ideas into their work and their suggestions if you let them know what you have been thinking about! Don’t worry, if you are at a loss and can’t even begin to imagine what might work in your space, a qualified interior designer will be able to suss out a style that fits you and your home!

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“What furniture do I already have that I want to keep?”

Just because you are thinking of redecorating or remodelling doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of all of your existing furniture! Maybe there is a dresser that you have always wanted to convert into the base of a sink, or a piece of art that you have never been able to make work in your living room or a cuckoo clock that you wish would work in your entryway! Let your interior designer know about these ‘heritage pieces’ that you want to hold onto and incorporate into the new design!

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“Do I want my decor to match my house or contrast with it?”

Whether you are moving into a new home or simply rethinking your current home, it is worth taking the time to see the house itself as a powerful player in the interior design process! The style of architecture, the natural light, the flow of movement through the house and even just the size of each room are factors that go into the statement that your home is already making (even without decor or furniture!). Let your interior designer know if you are looking for a decorative style that matches your home or if you are hoping to create a contrast between the house and its contents!

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“Am I ready to remodel or renovate my home?”

Make sure that you are not caving to internal or external pressure to change your home! It’s always a good idea to breathe, relax and take stock of the aspects of your home that you really love. Take the time to determine whether you are ready for the ordeal of remodelling or redecorating your home. This will ensure that you will fully enjoy the process, secure in the knowledge that you made a wise and careful choice!

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“Do I know what I like?”

This is the time to browse through any home design or decor magazine you can get your hands on! Tear out the pages you  like and begin assembling a binder of ‘things you like’. Jump into Pinterest and Lux and Houzz and Instagram with an eye out for home decor that speaks to you, living rooms that make you yearn, bedrooms that make you say ‘yes! That!’. Ensure that you know what you like by figuring out what you don’t like! Establishing your personal taste, likes and dislikes, will help your interior designer enormously and will guarantee that you are more satisfied with their ideas!

Benches that you need this fall!

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ENTRYWAY:Nobody likes to see a piles of shoes accumulate next to their front door! A basket can begin to solve your problem but then you end up rifling through shoes and adding stress to your life every time you leave your home! An entryway bench is the perfect solution! It offers a comfortable spot to rest while you remove your shoes and ideally will have a shelf underneath for you and your family to line up your shoes!

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OUTDOOR: Just because we grow up doesn’t mean we stop wanting to be kids sometimes! The pure joy of swinging on a swing is unparalleled and can be experienced all throughout your life. A cozy swinging bench hanging from a tree in your front yard, a rustic bench rocking you on your front porch or even a modified tire swing for ‘big kids’, life is your playground so go have fun!

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FRONT YARD: We often give our backyards a lot of love and it can be easy to forget about the social potential of the front yard! Placing a lovely park bench in your front yard can encourage you to reach out to your neighbors or spend some time outside before you go inside after a long day!

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BEDROOM: Give yourself a little bit more time to prepare for each day in the morning. Invite yourself to spend some time in your bedroom (your boudoir!) before you head out to face the world. Choosing a soft and welcoming storage bench for your room and placing it near a window will help you organize your space more efficiently and grab a bit more natural light to help you wake up each day!

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DINING: Choosing a dining bench for one side of your dining table is a brilliant idea! Just remember not to leave your guests in the lurch with no back support throughout an entire meal! There are plenty of dining benches with backs that provide the rustic farmhouse chic style to your dining without creating an uncomfortable lower back situation for your dinner guests!

Containers for a Calmer Life

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-Bedroom: Try having a small basket for lotions and oils next to your bed on your nightstand. This will serve to consolidate your lotions in one place and to remind you to take some time to love yourself every day!  Rub a dime size dollop of lavender scented lotion into your arms before you head off to dreamland, this will help deepen your breathing and let you focus on rest instead of your to-do list!

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-Entryway:  The never-ending quest for an organized and beautiful entry console can be more easily solved than you think. Carefully pick out two baskets or trays for your entryway table or console. Keys in one basket, miscellaneous in the other! These containers  will help make the moment that you arrive home less stressful. As soon you as you get home you need to start unwinding and relaxing: seeing a pile of clutter will be counterproductive!

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-Kitchen: Take the time to pick out a few containers for your kitchen for your dried goods. Opening a cabinet to see a nice clean line of air-tight containers with your flour, lentils, rice and sugar will help calm the mind before you start to prepare a meal!