life

looking back before i look forward

Around this time every year, before I start planning and goaling up 2016, I find it really helpful to reflect on the last year.  I look at the accomplishments.  The people, places, and projects that made the year anything but ordinary. I try to learn from the mistakes and struggles so I can be stronger and better the next time around the sun.

Looking back on 2015, the best moments were ones where I felt in Awe.  Like being in the presence of beautiful architecture.  A pop of dramatic color.  Being inspired by plants, animals, and nature.  Going above and beyond what I thought was possible of myself.  All of these moments are what pushes me to my full potential.

2015bestnine - nataliyaborener instagram

Last year, my mantra for the year was to simplify.  Did I succeed? In some ways, I can definitely say I did.  But I have a long way to go.  I’m a complex person, so simplifying doesn’t come as an easy task. I’ve realized this goal is a lifelong one – cherishing what you have, refining what you want, and focusing on what you need.

My biggest career accomplishment was completing my NCIDQ certification.  After a conquering one final 4 month study binge and 8 hours of testing, I now can be a registered or licensed Interior Designer.  It was something I put on my career bucket list nearly 10 years ago, and it feels so good to cross it off.

Despite all of the awesomeness, 2015 wasn’t my favorite year.  I’m extremely blessed in so many aspects of this life, so it’s no big deal, just there were a lot of personal trials I’ve had to face. Relearning who you are and what you want is not easy.  Especially when you are so sure of yourself practically your whole child and adult life.  It’s like you wake up one day and everything is no longer black or white.  There’s a whole lot of grey.  Way over 50 shades.  More like 500.  (Any designer will agree!) And it’s hard to navigate your way. But the best advice I can give anybody is to stay true to yourself.  The rest will work itself out.

How was your 2015?  Great or just meh?  What was your self-discovery or favorite moment of the year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

thursday thoughts: la dolce vita

Dreaming is a form of planning

Maybe you saw this post last week from Paloma over at La Dolce Vita.  This quote has been ringing in my head ever since, so I had to repost.  Many times it’s perceived that letting our minds wander is time wasted, but really, how do we know where we are meant to go if we don’t take the time to dream?

Just something to think about.

xo.

catching up

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  So I know you must have missed my posts!

We have a lot to catch up on.  But where to begin?

Michigan peonies

The last time I blogged was before the official start of Summer…. and now it’s August.  Insanity.

I’m not going to give you some lame-o reason why I have been so silent.  Like, “oh I was busy”.  We all are busy.  We all have commitments, families, responsibilities, unexpected life events – and we all have the same hours in the day as Beyonce.   It’s all how you prioritize and manage your time.  And it’s safe to say that I’ve sucked at that lately.  A lot of times I find it extremely hard for me to just write, draw, or do anything random that I enjoy in my free time.  But as with anything you love, you pick back up where you left off.  So here it goes.

June flew by. We made our yearly vacation back up to the Mitten.  We spent a week trekking across the state – hitting Chicago, Detroit and everywhere in between.

Chicago Riverfront

I swear, there is never a dull moment on these Michigan trips.  Every year I bring a book along with me and am lucky to crack it once. Sure, it’s a little ironic because you go on vacation to relax, and we do get some down time, but it’s more like relaxed chaos.  Everyday of our trip seems to get booked up with commitments as we try to cram a year’s worth of hangout time into 1 week.   It always seems to feel hectic when we go home.  You’d think being there for a whole week would be long enough to see everyone we know and love, but it’s amazing how each time I go up there are people we miss.  I guess it’s one of the hard things about having family and friends spread out.  And you know, deciding to live about 1,500 miles away from your hometown.  But really, there’s no other feeling like being back at the place you will always call home….that place that takes you back to your roots.

Pure Michigan - Hidden Lake Gardens

And by the way, I had the best freakin’ time in Detroit.  Being downtown was absolutely phenomenal.  There’s revival in the air and I’m proud to see it coming back.  I just had to shout that out to the world.

Oh and if you find yourself there, do yourself a favor and hit up Detroit Institute of Bagels.  I bought one… and then followed that up with a whole dozen for the road.

IMG_2486

Our summer in Texas has consisted of lots of river tubing and picking back up with what seems like the endless list of renovating and maintaining an old house.  Don’t get me wrong, I love our 1954 ranch and would not trade it for anything.  Okay, mayyyybbbeee an oceanfront home on 30A, but that’s about it.  I can’t wait to share some of the details and some other new things happening around here in some future posts.

It’s good to be back to blogging after my sabbatical.   Hope you are enjoying your summer too!

Texas Sunset

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? 

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