Recap: Quirky, Feminine, + Eclectic Brooklyn Studio

Hey Folks! I’m so pleased to announce that I am now a Houzz home tour photographer and writer. I’ve had a passion for interiors and understanding the emotional connection people have with their spaces for years, and I’m excited for the opportunity. So in honor of my new job, I started a new series, Recap, to show you snippets of my home tours, *yay*. Today I’m sharing with you the wonderfully quirky and eclectic home of Annie Mistak, an interior designer and founder of Brontosaurus Inc.
My Houzz: Whimsical, Flirty Style for a Designer’s Brooklyn StudioMy Houzz: Whimsical, Flirty Style for a Designer’s Brooklyn Studio
My Houzz: Whimsical, Flirty Style for a Designer’s Brooklyn Studio
I love the way Annie mixes vintage and new pieces to create a modern Holly Golightly vibe. This is her first apartment as a newly single gal, and she used pieces that showcase her vibrant personality and keen eye for detail. She makes quirky look chic with her spray painted dinosaurs and Grey Gardens inspired cat food cans. And how about those palm tree printed chairs! Get the full tour here.

My Burgeoning Freelance Writing Career

Well Hello There! So glad to see you. I’ve been wondering where you’ve been- ha! *wink*. Hopefully, you’ve been living life to the fullest and enjoying spring. Aside from chasing little ones and working a full-time clinical job, I’ve been busy transitioning to a more creative career, incorporating my passion for design, fashion, and style into my work as a psychologist. I know very few (practically none) who have done this, making the path a little more difficult but hopefully that much easier for anyone coming up behind me. Part of my plan is to offer creative consulting services which I’ve spoken about here. But another part of the plan is writing for online magazines and websites that cover my creative interests. It’s all very exciting and really helps me to sharpen  my writing skills. Among the websites I’ve been writing for is The Everygirl, a popular website for 20-somethings looking for inspiration to navigate young adult life. I’ve written a bunch of wellness and other related posts for them. Below are a few:
the everygirl difficult personality

Here, I wrote about how to deal  with difficult personality types. I enjoy making psychological concepts relatable to lay people. It really is a different, and  refreshing style of writing considering that most psychology articles are written for esoteric journals and often complicated by psychological jargon.  I based the difficult personality types on actual clinical personality disorders (histrionic, narcissistic, depressive, compulsive, dependent), but stayed away from discussing full blown personality disorders as I felt it was beyond the scope of the article. I wanted to strike a balance between being entertaining and informative; providing psychoeducation and introducing the readers to different types of people without getting too clinical, especially since most of that information can be found on other, well-known websites. Read the full article here.

The Everygirl and Design Psych

I was really psyched to write about design psychology, a branch of psychology that focuses on meaningful and emotionally fulfilling design. It’s a relatively new field and looks beyond focusing on the aesthetics or safety needs of a space to social and psychological  needs that push us to achieve a self-actualized sense of place. I incorporated some tools used in design psychology to helps clients create a “blueprint” of their ideal space, including creating a vision of an ideal space based upon past, present, and future sense of place, picking favorite objects that evoke meaningful memories, and getting rid of objects that do not have meaning. See the full article here.

the everygirl and shopping
For this piece I wanted to target over shopping and ways to cope with it. Over shopping is similar to other types of addictions in that you use a “thing” to avoid dealing with deeper level issues that are often harder to address directly. So as an alternative to faulty coping skills, I offered some tips for dealing with poor shopping habits such as figuring out the reason you over shop, what you’re getting from it, and learning to use other, healthier ways of coping.  You can read more about the article here.

For sure writing can be challenging, particularly with my hectic schedule. But it is also super rewarding to have an opportunity to be creative. In addition to the The Everygirl, I have also recently been hired as a contributing writer for Houzz.com. I’m thrilled to be able to photograph and write about people’s homes for the My Houzz series. I have a passion for interiors, and writing for Houzz is icing on the cake. So stay tuned for posts about my home tours! Until next time folks.

Having a Moment with Stand-out Kitchen Details

Hello lovely people, and happy spring! If you’ve been following me for some time, you know I love spring. It feels so fresh and new, and makes me just want to clean up and get all my things in order. This season we’re preparing to re-do our kitchen, something I’ve been wanting to do since forever. And I’ve been thinking a lot about the details I’d like to have. I want my kitchen to be modern and elegant with interesting details that make it unique and give it that extra oomph. So I decided to do some browsing around for inspiration, and made it a point to pay attention to anything that made me stop and look. I’m learning to trust my gut, and if there’s something that peaks my interest, I study and try to figure out what about it makes me drawn to it. Here are some kitchens with stand-out details that made me look twice.
glam kitchenMyDomaine
While high-gloss, glam kitchens aren’t as cutting edge as they used to be; and yes, gold is everywhere and kind of losing it edge, I still love this kitchen for its interesting mix of styles and textures. I love the glossy brass stools, and I can’t say enough about that pink marble table. Although you can’t see it in the pic, the other side of the room morphs into a sort of chic vintage vibe with mid-century chairs and a floral rug; and the touches of silver tone down the brass. Altogether it feels very chic retro lady.
Farmhouse Kitchen by Newtown Kitchen & Bath DesignersBare Root Design Studio
This farmhouse kitchen with it’s shaker style furniture feels very warm and inviting. And that leopard cube? I’d say it’s the exclamation point in the room. I like that it functions as a very transitional piece. Here  it’s classic American, but it would look equally comfortable in a modern, glamorous space.
Industrial Kitchen
The turquoise cabinetry gives this industrial style kitchen an artsy vibe. It’s modern, fun, and not too precious, perfect for someone who likes to be creative in the kitchen.
ombre-mirrored-pendant-cWest Elm
When I first saw this wallpaper, I thought it was floral. And while the marble look is quite nice, I thought it’d be really cool to have a floral wallpaper juxtaposed against the ultra modern light to give it an eclectic feel.
mirrorThe Kitchn
When you don’t have a window over your kitchen sink, hanging a mirror there instead adds light and opens up the space a bit. I really like how the mirror reveals glimpses of the other side of the kitchen. And what do you think of that  pink dish drainer? I adore it. I know dish drainers aren’t often thought of as desirable décor, but just like an outdoor clothes line, there’s something so romantic about it. It reminds me of kitchens long ago before people used dishwashers. Instead of hiding it, find one you look and show it off.
subway tile wallElle Décor
How can you miss the black and white tiger in the room? While I may not be inclined to hang a picture of a tiger in my kitchen, I love the idea of an oversized portrait. It’s something you might expect to see in a living room but not so much a kitchen, which is why I love it here.
kitchen rugTurbulances Deco
I enjoy putting non-traditional rugs in kitchens, and an ethnic rug  gives this  modern kitchen some soul, don’t you think?
Justina-Blakeney_Jungalow-kitchen-lr-9The Jungalow
I’m really digging these colored handmade backsplash tiles. It adds so much texture and depth to this simply styled kitchen. Even if you can’t find handmade tiles, colored tiles are a nice way to add interest to an otherwise simple, understated kitchen.
chandelierElle Décor
This white, sparsely decorated kitchen could feel sterile were it not for a few carefully placed points of interest like the sophisticated vintage stools and the cool, vintage chandelier. In fact, the white kitchen actually makes the chandelier stand out, making it the star of the show.

So these are a few kitchen details that caught my eye. And in case you wanted some ideas to make your kitchen stand-out, I’ve compiled a few interesting pieces drawn from my inspirations. You’ll notice a mirror for over the kitchen sink, the brass stools, the floral wallpaper with the modern light, the vintage light and more. Try any one of them and see if they add that extra something to your kitchen.

standout kitchens

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5 Tips for Transitioning to a New Career

You’ve been at your job for a few years now and feel the need to shift. And it’s not just any job, but one you went to school for so you feel super conflicted about changing it.

You thought you had it all figured out.

Go to school for this many years, get this and that job, and if it doesn’t work out, you could always switch, right?

Absolutely. One of the most important pieces of advice I’ve gotten is that we all have the right to change something we don’t like about our lives. If you don’t like your hair color, change it. If you want a better attitude, change it. And if you aren’t satisfied with your career choice, change it.

transition 1

But there’s another piece of advice, people don’t often tell you.

Changing careers is hard.

Especially if you and your family depend upon the career you have now. Sometimes it’s not as cut and dry as changing a career as much as it’s about incorporating a new one into your old one—kind of like what I’m doing (see here). But it’s nonetheless challenging.

transition 2

I started off my career path with a clear goal in mind and earned my way to a Ph.D. in counseling psychology— an accomplishment which took a large chunk of years out of my young adult life (11 years to be exact). I knew I was doing something meaningful, and the idea that I could make a real difference in the lives of others by helping them heal from the inside out was nothing short of amazing. But just because I had a clear goal doesn’t mean I didn’t have questions.

Like what about all those days I spent glued to the fashion channel looking at runway shows, or being inspired by fashion magazine layouts, and dreaming up outfits I’ve never seen? What about all those interior design magazines I spent hours sifting through, and the hours daydreaming about how I’d design a room? What was supposed to happen with that? Maybe they would just be relegated to pastime hobbies. Maybe.

transition possible 2

But as the years passed, I started feeling unfulfilled professionally. I began looking at blogs and people doing creative things that inspired me, and made me rethink my career path. Did I make a mistake? Did I pick the WRONG profession? The mere idea of it was disturbing enough to keep my head spinning and the tear ducts flowing until I couldn’t even think a clear thought. I was suffering from what psychologists call dichotomous thinking. It’s a cognitive distortion that suggests things have to be black or white, with no in between. It’s a rigid, unimaginative, emotionally-driven thought process that never allows for a resolve and keeps you stressed.

I didn’t have enough faith to recognize that life flows, and a career decision you make at one stage in your life can be just as valid and right as a different career decision you make at another stage in your life. And it does not mean either one was wrong.

It all works together for good— if you let it.

And if you’re willing to handle the challenges that come with the turns, you can make a successful change. Here are some tips I’ve learned to help you through the process.

1. Get re-educated. Even if you don’t have the time or resources to get another four year degree, there are many other ways to get re-educated such as through online and in-person training programs. Of course, the requirements you’ll need depend upon your chosen profession, but you may be able to start off with a certificate, or you can take courses to learn a specific skill, or even read up and train yourself. Long gone are the days when you have to sit in a classroom to get an education (although there’s nothing wrong with that, ha!). Now with a little creativity, you’ll be surprised how much you can learn at a fraction of the cost it takes to get a four year degree.

Mood board

2. See what you can take with you. It can be disheartening to feel that you put so much work into a career only to decide to change it just as you were starting to make good money from all that hard work. But if you can find a way to use what you already know and apply it to your new career, you may have a renewed perspective on your skills and what you can offer to others. One of the things I really like about psychology is it’s applicability to other professions. I can apply it to design and make it work for me instead of feeling like I have to follow a traditional psychology career path. Even if your new career bears very little resemblance to your old one, you may still be able to find a way to apply what you already know with a little out of the box thinking, making the transition just a little smoother.

3. Strategize. Most of us can’t just pick up and leave our job at a moment’s whim (if you can, ruuuuun! and don’t look back). But for the rest of us, it’s going to take a little more forethought. If you decide that you need a shift in your career, don’t get frustrated and give up if you don’t see a job move in your future. Often the conditions are never perfect enough for us to do what we’d like to do. So we have to take life by the horns and create it ourselves. One way to do this is to strategize a plan for you to transition. For me, I allow myself certain days to work on blog and business stuff while still carving out time to do my full-time clinical job. It doesn’t always work and sometimes I get discouraged, but if you keep plugging away at a thing, you’ll eventually get to where you’re going.

4. Be compassionate. This can’t be stressed enough. There are so many people who want to change careers but they feel they don’t have  enough time, or money; or they feel they’re too old, or they don’t have enough support or resources. Whatever the reason, they stay where they are, in a place they’d rather not be and grow miserable. But if you are doing something, even if it’s small, it’s a sign you aren’t stuck, and have a passion for living and growing. So when things get tough and you feel like nothing is happening, remember you ARE doing something even if it feels not enough. Because eventually a whole lot of not enough begin to equal enough.

5. Don’t quit. Now I’m at a point in my career when my diverse interests and passions are starting to coming together—my inclination to work with young people, my knack for counseling, my love of design… And by considering it all, I’m better understanding the unique calling I have on my life. It’s like one big puzzle, and there are some days I’m so excited, but other days I’d rather sit on the couch and watch television (actually that  sounds like a good idea on any day). Either way, I made up in my mind not to quit even when I want to. Trying to put the pieces of my life together is actually a great motivator. It’s like trying to solve a big mystery that is me, and maybe it is that way for you too. What components of your life are you putting together?

These are some of my ideas about how to transition careers. If you have any of your own, feel free to share them here. I’m always looking for new ideas.

(BTW, these pics are from my family room/office. It’s not completely finished but it’s coming together slowly but surely.)

Developing Your Personal Interior Style

Happy holidays! Did you enjoy your Thanksgiving? I had a quiet one with family, and am making a conscious effort to savor the joys of this season. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas goes by quickly and I really want to slow down and appreciate all that God has given me. But I’ve been busier than ever with my full-time job and working on my photography and styling skills. It’s definitely been challenging getting my consulting business (read about it here) off the ground, but I’m happy to be finally getting an opportunity to flex my creative muscles after years of classes, papers, and dissertation. I’m currently taking a class with Holly Becker of Décor 8, Blogging Your Way. And I’m learning a lot about how to develop my personal style. I’ve  been inspired by beautiful images on blogs and websites to create my own inspiring spaces. And this past weekend, I put together a scene I call Festive Creative (see images below).
Festive Creative 1
I love this type of styling so much, and can do this work all day. But it certainly isn’t easy, and I thought it would be helpful (to you and me) to talk a little bit about the process that I went through to create the scene and what I’m learning about developing my personal interior style from the perspective of psychology.
Festive Creative 3
One of the first things I did before I put together this scene is think about what type of space inspires me. And after some brainstorming, I decided to create a scene that reflected my love of inspirational, beautiful things. Particularly as a new creative, I need to be around things that spark my creativity, and I wanted to capture that with elements that conveyed a pretty, fun, glamorous, classic, and global aesthic. It’s a lot I know, but I like a challenge, hah. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able capture all of these in the final cut.
Festive Creative 5
Initially, I was going for an Inspired Creative look, but when I could not find all the props I wanted to use, I changed my original idea and decided to include a festive element instead. One of the more challenging things I learned about styling is that the there may be a huge discrepancy between the ideas in your head and resources to achieve those ideas such as finances, time, and access. But I imagine the more I style, the easier it will be for me to manage these types of issues. This time I took pieces from my home and put them together to create a look that matched the closest to what I was going for. I love using magazine cut outs because it is a stylish, inexpensive way to capture what you want without having to spend extra money.
Festive Creative 11With regard to the styling elements, I used the peach/pink wall color to evoke a feeling of prettiness; the red roses, leopard fur coat, and vintage pics of Diana Ross convey a sense of glamour; and the bentwood chair is vintage with classic flair. I also used the Asian-inspired vase to infuse a little global vibe into the space; the magazines and magazine cut-outs suggest an inspired lifestyle feel; and the tree and glitter shoes are certainty festive. So what do you think, did I capture “Festive Creative”? I’d say so.
Festive Creative 6
Now let’s talk about the psychology behind all this styling. Based upon my knowledge of creativity research, I’d like to share three tips I found helpful with my styling projects.
Festive Creative 7
Number one— intrinsic motivation, or just doing something for the sheer joy of it, fosters creativity. So it’s a good idea to seek inspiration when you are not expected to, or when you are not under pressure to do so. This way you can let your creative juices flow outside of the contraints of stress and anxiety. Sometimes I’ve been guilty of searching for inspiration in the moment when I’m under pressure to do so, like when I need to complete a blog post. During these moments, I tend to feel negative and like I’m not  giving my best. So I’m making more of an effort to search for inspiration when I don’t necessarily need to.
Festive Creative 5
Tip number two— It’s not a bad thing to be extrinsically motivated either. That’s when you’re motivated by an external goal.  While extrinsic motivation can be negative it isn’t all bad if it’s viewed as supportive and useful such as the use of rewards or constructive criticism that motivate you to keep at it rather than undermine you. A great  external motivator for me is the class I’m taking. Although I love to style, time constraints have always made it difficult for me to do more of it. But the class has certainly pushed me to do more, and is giving me the momentum I would not have had otherwise. So if you’re looking to improve your creative skills, look for opportunities to be extrinsically motivated so that you can be held accountable and make less excuses to do what you love.
Festive Creative 13
And tip number 3— work out the creativity that’s in you. Research on creativity shows that creative people use higher abstract thinking, greater divergent thinking, and are highly motivated. And while it sounds good, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. Just because you are creative, doesn’t mean ideas and concepts  just fall in your lap. It’s a challenging and strenuous process to think conceptually, explore a bunch of solutions to come up with an answer, and to remain motivated in the face of stressors. That’s why it’s been challenging for me to go from just admiring and being inspired by beautiful images to actually creating them. But if you feel passionate about what you do, you can bear it, and you will be a better creative for it.
Festive Creative 12
So this is what I am learning and I hope this helps you too. What are some tips for creativity you have found useful?