About Me

some of the best career advice I’ve heard…. from that guy next to me on the plane

IMG_2127

As interesting as it is to people-watch at airports, striking up a convo with that stranger next to you can really be eye-opening.   Over the years I’ve met people from all walks of life.  Some of the most memorable have been a pro surfer, a woman who started a non profit to save animals, a childhood friend of Brett Favre, and now, Pat Williams, who taught me some pretty important life lessons that day.

We were boarding the flight back from our Miami trip when Pat sat next to me.  He was probably in his late 50’s/early 60’s, with a large hat on and a friendly face.   I said hi to him, then immediately warned him of my fear of flying.  I reassured him that I wouldn’t throw up or anything, but he may notice claw marks on my husband’s arm.  He asked what scares me, and I told him how I can’t wrap my mind around how something can go up in the air 30,000ft and land exactly where it’s supposed to.  My fear of flying (like everything else it seems!) has been getting worse with age, and I haven’t been able to kick the thoughts of OH SHIT THIS PLANE IS GOING DOWN every time we take off.

Pat is one of those people who are upbeat and instantly inspiring, and told me he had a severe health problem and used his faith to get through it.  He had me interested, so I asked what happened to him, if he didn’t mind sharing.  Turns out, he had a liver transplant a few years ago because of cirrhosis of the liver, but never was a heavy drinker!  (Did you know that approximately 15% of those who have liver cirrhosis get it without cause?)  He described what it was like to be on that waiting list for an organ for years, not knowing if the disease would take his life before he’d have his shot at a transplant.   I apologized to him for going through something so difficult.  He just said, “Hey I’m glad it happened.  It made me a better person than I was before. And for that I’m thankful.”

As we talked more,  I learned of his previous background in building materials and sales.  I brought up something to him I don’t always talk about in my career, something I struggle with.  I love interior design, but I also fight a internal conflict with it from time to time, finding it hard to personally justify all of the overly expensive things I put into client’s homes.  For instance, if some pillows are like $2000,  I think, Wow we could have fed like how many children in Africa with this money!?  If you know me at all, you know I have a huge problem with letting things go to waste or blowing money on stupid shit, so it can make me feel guilty sometimes.

Pat’s response was that these people come to me because they want advice on how to spend their money, and it’s my job to guide them through the process.  It doesn’t make me a bad person because I’m selecting a $50K appliance package for their home.  He encouraged me to find a way to give back, whether it’s some extra money I make on a job to a charity, my time volunteering, or share resources I have with others.

We talked about all kinds of things and it made the flight go by super quick.  We said our goodbyes and I really felt like meeting him was a powerful and inspiring experience for my life and career.

These were main take-aways from our convo.  It’s such valuable advice for a young designer like myself, but really could be helpful to almost anyone in creative or sales positions:

  • Remember: You are the best thing that ever happened to your client.  You are an expert in your field, so if I client comes to you for expertise it’s because they believe in you.

  • Stand behind your work, and never apologize for the work you do.  (Unless you screw something up, then apologize.)

  • Don’t do business with anyone you don’t like.  You will almost always lose money.  And if you don’t lose money, you’ll lose time.  It’s okay to fire a client if things are not working out.

Glad I could share some of this insight with you! Enjoy the weekend ahead!

I’ll be back on a plane in less than 24 hours, heading back up to the Mitten…. who knows who I’ll meet!  Have you ever met anyone interesting while traveling?  Or has someone you barely knew been able to provide you with helpful advice? 

Advertisements

our miami trip in pictures

Is Memorial Day weekend really here?!  Too crazy.

We spent our 5 year anniversary in South Beach, and I realized I haven’t shared pics from our trip yet!  Most of them are Insta-repeats but none-the-less, as you can see, we had an amazing time.

PS> Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Take a moment to remember why we celebrate this holiday weekend.  Cheers to those brave individuals who sacrifice so much while fighting for our freedom!  xo

IMG_2135  IMG_2219 IMG_2251

????????????????????????????????????

IMG_2254

IMG_3317 edited

IMG_2258

????????????????????????????????????

IMG_2148

five.

On this day 5 years ago, my life was about to change.  I was excited and hopeful.  Maybe a little stressed because of the rainy windy, 35 degree Michigan morning.  Our pup,  Maci, was about 6 months old, and as I took her out for a walk, my thoughts were a mix of calm and chaotic.  

the dress

the shoes

I had just completed the nearly year long task of the wedding planning rollercoaster.  Self-labeled as “the biggest party of our lives” for nearly 200 guests, I couldn’t believe I was actually going to pull it off, planning it all from 1000 miles away.  More importantly was the realization that today I was giving my life to another person.  For me this has always been a big deal.   I wanted to marry someone I could see myself growing old with.  Someone who you consider a best friend.  And sometimes as girls we get caught up in the planning, but this is one of the most important decisions you can make.  After 6 years of being together, I felt so ready to be his wife.  We felt like we knew it all, but really we were just 25 year old big kids, ready to take on the world together.

So back to that chilly morning-  I was so exhausted running on about 3 hours of sleep.  The bridemaids and I cut watermelon til almost 2 in the morning the night before, but dammit we were going to have those Strawberry Watermelon Mojitos I planned or else this whole event just couldn’t go down.

I didn’t consider myself a Bridezilla, but as an interior designer, I couldn’t have been too far off.  Design is in the details.  I DIY-ed everything.  From the invites to the centerpieces, to the drink picks to the name cards.

coral, tangerine, & champagne wedding details

That morning seemed to fly by.   You feel like a Princess or celebrity.  People running around, catering to your every need.  Something I definitely am not used to.  Hair. Check.  Makeup.  Check.  Get dressed.  Check. Alright now hop in this car and we need to get you to the Church and get you married.

We got there a few minutes late.  But that’s okay because they can’t start without you when you’re the bride, right?  As I was standing in the back of the church, there were people trying to sneak in, thinking they were late, but nope it hadn’t started yet.  It made me laugh but also almost cry seeing friends and family I haven’t seen in years.  It was one of the best feelings knowing everyone was there from near and far just for you.  Really, all I could think was wow I’m about to get married. It all just felt surreal.

me

Walking down that aisle was a moment I will never forget. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t nervous.  I really just couldn’t stop smiling.

It all seemed to go so fast.  The whole world just seem to melt away and it was just us. We said our vows and then POOF we were married!

you may kiss the bride

Untitled-020

And then it’s easy coasting from there.  Because all the things you stressed out about for months during planning just seem to come together.  Finally I could relax, let go, and just have fun!

trolley pic

bridesmaids hidden lake gardens

I may be biased, but it was the best party I’ve ever been to.  We danced all night.  We got to hang out with our friends from all different points in our lives, from Elementary School to new friends we made in Florida.  It was so incredibly weird yet so exciting to have them all under one roof.  Every chance Nate & I got back together to dance or check in with each other, it was like “OMG I’m having so much fun. Isn’t this the best night?! ”

MSU roomies nate & paul the fam dance

Words cannot describe that day really.   It’s more like this overwhelming amount of love you receive from all angles.  I felt so happy.  Like I was in some type of daydream that just happened to be true.

So basically what I’m trying to say, is if I was to do it all over again, I’d do it the same way.

first dance

Nate, you are my heart and soul.  And my (heart-shaped!) rock.  You made me a believer in love at first sight.  You have been there for me when I’ve needed you the most.  And I hope I can find ways to love and thank you for another 50 years.  I love you thiiiiiiiiisss much, Hun.

Love, your Precious.

sunset kiss

(Photo credit: Silver Thumb Photography)

NCIDQ exam + life updates

Nobody puts baby in the corner.  Unless the baby is your blog.  And you have a massive test to pass that takes over 2.5 months of your life.

dream office

Good news is that it’s all looking up from here! I took my NCIDQ Practicum test a week ago Saturday.  It’s the last section in a series of 3 that I have to conquer to become a Registered Interior Designer.  I’m just so excited to have it behind me, go back to normal life, and get back to some blogging!

The week leading up to it, my mood was consistently somewhere between frazzled hot mess and a snapping turtle.  It can be so difficult to balance work and life alone, then throw 2-3 hour daily study sessions into the mix and it was enough to make me feel insane.  (It makes me really wonder how all those Moms out there do it!?  Major props to them!)  I even was dreaming in test mode.  Not to mention, feeling extremely nervous.  You practice drafting techniques and memorize those codes until you can (literally) recite them in your sleep, but you still don’t know what scenario you will get on test day.

ADA Bathroom

I’ve found in any situation that is scary and unknown, the best thing you can do is just tell yourself “you got this”.  Believe in all of the work you have put in and be confident you are ready to take on anything.  Setting yourself up for success is also helpful!  I Googled “brain foods” and “what to eat before a test” because I feel like I needed every ounce of brainpower working with me on test day.

I woke up that Saturday at 5:45am. I got to the test site about 45 minutes early.  For someone who is habitually late I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to get there and get comfortable.  We tested for 4 hours, had a 1 hour break, and resumed testing for 4 more.  In the last couple hours I had a headache and felt like poo, but as you’re racing against the clock you just have to keep going.  I finished with about 5 minutes to spare, just long enough to review a previous exercise.

Leaving there, I felt a sense of overwhelming relief mixed with exhaustion.  It was done and over.  I felt positive about it and accomplished.  It went about as good as it could have!  YES. Now it’s time to get some Chinese take out and call it a day.

Later that night and the days following was what I like to call the “oh sh*t!” phase.  Oh sh*t did I label that correctly? Oh sh*t did I remember to dimension everything? Oh sh*t did I make that counter the correct height and long enough?  Oh sh*t?!  These thoughts would enter my head randomly – like during the workday or in the middle of the night.  Then I would panic, try to remember back, then either breathe a sigh of relief or ultimately just try to forget it since what’s done is already done.

I think you just want to succeed so much that your subconscious keeps all these thoughts right there in the back of your mind.   It’s like your brain tries to come up with reasons why you passed or failed so you can have clarity on your outcome, instead of feeling like you’re stuck in limbo waiting for your results.  I tend to over-analyze everything, but since I wont find out the results for 2-3 months, I’ve accepted that I need to let it go. So that’s where I’m at… just hoping for the best over here!! 🙂

Guadalupe River - New Braunfels

The last few months have been a blur with how busy things have been.  It being April already is unreal, but I’m excited to see what this month brings.  I feel like it is almost like a new year for me again.  I’ve started to set some more career and personal goals.  The wildflowers are in bloom and we went river tubing for the first time this year!

Tracery Book

In other exciting news, I found out over the weekend that I won Tracery‘s giveaway, so I get a copy of their new book! So super excited to get my hands on this pretty little treasure.   You should all get a copy too! I’m sure it will be fabulous!

xo.

(images link back to their source)

feeling like i’m back in design school

Lately my life has been taken over by this little thing called the NCIDQ interior design exam.  AKA my licensing exam.  AKA what I have labeled as my career defining test.  For the latest couple of months, I’ve been studying in the evenings after work, and I tell ya what, these drawing exercises have definitely been putting a cramp on my weekends.

Maybe you remember in the blog’s earlier days me mentioning that I passed the first two sections of this test.  Yes, it was awesome – but, moving on – I still have the other 8 hours to pass. This time it’s the hand drafting portion of the test. And honestly, this FREAKS ME THE F OUT.

floorplan sketch

Let’s be serious here: it’s the first time since college I’ve picked up a drafting board, templates, and triangles.  So… 7 years?! (Wow, I feel like a dinosaur.)  My house currently looks like a studio bomb went off.  Tracing paper on the floors.  Study guides on the chair.  Books haphazardly thrown about.  Drafting dots on the dining table.  Laptop with about 27 tabs open, with crucial info that I CANNOT FORGET or else I will never forgive myself.

I’ve always been a pretty good test taker, but by that I mean I am a pro at cramming info in my head and regurgitating it correctly on exam day.  This test is different – it’s a series of 7 drawing exercises.  There’s no way to cram –  it’s all about understanding, being a quick problem solver, and having legit skills.  When I started this whole process I was so rusty at hand drafting it’s not even funny.  Despite all of these uneasy feelings, I officially registered myself for the test last month on the day before the deadline. (Commitment issues?  Maybe.  But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t wait to the wee hours.)

Anyways, I take the test 9 days from today, next Saturday.  Excuse my absence from the blog as I get through home stretch.  If anybody has any strategies, thoughts, or good luck charms they want to pass on I will love you forever. xo. Okay, rant over.  Hope you are having a great week!