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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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So this is what I am learning and I hope this helps you too. What are some tips for creativity you have found useful?

The Perfect Nude

AdornNov 06 20150 Comment

It’s true that many theories about psychology and color are misleading and erroneously suggest that our reactions to color are absolute, and promote very specific emotions. But really, the impact colors have on us is mediated by a range of factors including experience, culture, context, and personal preference. And as with any type of adornment, a lip color  communicates a lot about us and the way we choose to interact with the world. (See my post about it here.) There are some days I want a color that communicates a down-to-earth,  yet sophisticated vibe, and nudes usually do the trick. But I’ve always had difficulty matching nudes to my yellow undertones. Many of the nudes I’ve tried make me look washed out, or are too powdery, and I have had a hard time knowing what tones to look for. But when a friend of mine had on the perfect shade of nude that looked like it might work on me, my hunt was revived and I set out to find the right one.

Nude LipsThat color my friend had on was “Infinitely Likeable” by Mac. And just my luck, when I went looking for it, it was discontinued (ugh! Don’t you just hate when that happens?) But of course, the search must go on, and I finally found three shades I thought would work along with a coordinating lip liner. They are Nars Bahama, Hour Glass Femme Nude,  Mac Half N Half Amplified, and Mac Spice.

Nude lipsticks
During my hunt, I surprisingly learned a few things about nude lipstick I didn’t know. For one, you don’t want a “nude, nude” lipstick. That is, you don’t want a shade that matches your skin exactly because then it looks just like concealer. To get that fresh faced look, you’re nudes should have pink or rose undertones to brighten you up.

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Another eye opener was learning the difference between nudes and naturals. Unlike nude shades, natural is designed to resemble the shade of your lip. It makes perfect sense, but was something I hadn’t really thought of before. The Nars Bahama (shown above) is a natural and not the nude I was looking for, but I liked it a lot.

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Choice number 2, the Hour Glass Femme Nude, looked really pretty in the package, but when I put it on, it had a white, powdery undertone that looked a little too garish. It’ wasn’t at all what I was going for so I immediately crossed it off my list.

Nude, perfect

Thankfully, the Mac Amplified (shown above) hit the spot just right. It had the pinkish, rose tints I was looking for and blended well with my yellow undertones.  I was also set on finding a lip pencil that worked with most nudes, and I choose a deeper color to give my lips some dimension. Of course, I wouldn’t have known to choose any of it had I not had help at the counter, so it’s always a good idea to ask questions.

Nude lips, PL finalAnd there you have it, my hunt for nude is finito, of course until the next, great shade becomes available. Have you had a hard time finding nude lipstick too? What nudes do you wear?

My Fall Working Girl Wishlist

Hi there! How was the rest of your summer? I’ve been busy  trying to move forward with some of my goals for the year. You may already know that I’m in the process of transitioning to a more creative career with my start-up interior and wardrobe consulting company.  I’m thrilled to be able to incorporate by passion for design with my background in psychology, but there are a lot of little steps I have to take to make sure that the company has a strong foundation. Also, you may not know  that I’m  an aspiring children’s author and writer, and I’m excited to announce that I’ve recently joined on as a contributing writer for The Everygirl.  Twice a month you can check out my articles on a range of different topics related to mental health and wellness, and I’ve gotten some really good feedback so far. You can check out my latest article here. And as though that isn’t enough, I plan to start my decorating course this fall. I’m really looking forward to it all, but I find that I’m constantly trying to find that work/home balance. Don’t get me wrong, I love having three little ones at home, but like a friend told me the other day, you’re not going to get all that cuteness without a cost —exhaustion!

So here we are at the beginning of fall, and I absolutely love new seasons,  namely fall and spring. They’re always exciting for me because it’s a chance to start fresh. I especially love a fall wardrobe because there are so many opportunities for showcasing your personal style with layering and substantial pieces like boots and coats. Only there are tons of trends this season I can barely keep up. I usually peruse through magazines and websites to give me inspiration  and direction. Otherwise, I find that I don’t have a sense of what I want or like, and I’m liable to buy pieces that don’t move me or add umph to my wardrobe, you know what I mean? So I’ve put together a wishlist of sorts, some pieces are definitely out of my price range, but still useful in helping me to flesh out the look I’m aiming for this season. I’ve really been drawn to modern shapes and texture lately. They offer a nice alternative to more traditional silhouttes, and add a little something to a classic wardrobe. I also got bit by the over-the-knee boot craze, and I’m currently on the hunt for a pair. I don’t know what it is, but all of a sudden I just wanted an over-the-knee boot. I’ve  seen them styled in really cute ways, and I suppose I just succumbed to the hype —isn’t that always the way? After looking over my wishlist I noticed that I’m really into feminine, girly, quirky pieces. (No surprise here.) All them are ones I’d wear to work on a day that I was feeling pretty creative and chic. So I decided to call it my working girl wishlist. Check it out.

 My Fall Wishlist

It’s hard to pick out a favorite since I love them all, but I absolutely adore those lace-up shoes. Everyone seems to be wearing the pointy-toe version which I like as well, but I like that there’s a round toe option.  Oh, and there’s something about that blush bow blouse that just reeks of pretty, and it looks great on the model. What are some of your favorite trends this season? And what goals are you trying to accomplish for the rest of the year?

bow blouse||puff sleeve sweater|| floral pants|| lace-up shoes|| ruffled blouse|| cape|| fringed sweater||leather culottes|| tweed dress|| tweed pants|| midi skirt|| over-the-knee boots

Having A Moment With Stacked Earrings

Wearing loads of jewelry is a hallmark of disorders like Histrionic or Borderline Personality Disorder. The idea that wearing a ring on every finger is a sign you are “one of them” is a stereotype that speaks to the high level of attention people with these disorders often demand. And while most people aren’t extreme attention-seekers, I think many of us have attention-seeking tendencies even it it’s buried somewhere beneath our more reasonable and logical selves. We enhance our self-image with clothes and jewelry, and who wouldn’t want some positive feedback at least some of the time? Some would argue that they don’t dress for anyone but themselves, but any type of adornment conveys a message, whether intended or  not, that others interpret. It’s a complex message that distinguishes us from or merges us with the wider culture.  Sometimes it appeals to fantasy,  other times it is very practical, and it usually conforms to our value system.

As for me, I certainly enjoy dressing in ways that hint at my more fanciful side. I love classic pieces with unexpected details, or a twist in my accessories or jewelry. But at any given time, I may not care to wear any jewelry, or I might want to pile it on. It usually depends on how stressed, distracted, or inspired I am. Lately, I’ve been into stacked earrings. I really like the different combos I’ve been seeing. Pairing colorful crystals with whimsical and geometric studs, or streamlining it with multiple pairs of the same earrings in different sizes makes for some really interesting ear candy. I recall getting multiple ear pearcings in the 90’s when it was all the rage, and haven’t worn them for years until now. It feels like it’s 1995 all over again, and I’m kind of liking it. Here is my inspiration.

stacked earrrings


What do you think of the stacked earring trend?

1. @Lulu Frost 2. Rashida Jones  3.  Arik Kastan 4. @Brokenenglishjewelry 5. Zoe Kravitz

*Lady But Earrings-Betsy Johnson *Earring Set- Kenneth Cole

The Truly Profiles: Meet New Favorite Blogger, Melissa of Simply Bohemian

We all have our favorite superstar bloggers. You know the type. The seasoned bloggers who have been at it for years, developed their skills to perfection, and accumulated the adoration of the masses. We love them and almost can’t imagine a time when they weren’t larger than life. But what if we knew them way back when, before they had years of experience under their belt, before they became a household name. Would we see the “it” in them or just pass them by. It’s hard to say. But I’d like to think I could recognize a talent when I see one at any point along their career journey. Case in point, newbie fashion blogger, Melissa of Simply Bohemian hasn’t been blogging long, but you can’t tell from her captivating (I’m not exaggerating) Instagram pics and  pretty, understated blog posts. As you may tell from the name, her style is undeniably bohemian, and she captures it in such a pure, elegant way, it’s hard not stare at them. In short, this girl’s got talent.

I wanted to interview Melissa because I felt it was the perfect opportunity to better understand how a creative talent just starting out, makes it all happen. So when I asked Melissa for an interview, I was happy she said yes, not just so I can introduce her to my readers, but so I could pick her brain and take a few nuggets for myself (I’m a little selfish like that).  You’ll want to hear what Melissa had to say about starting a blog with fear and insecurities, and what inspires her. Read the full interview below along with her beautiful Instagram pics for your viewing pleasure.

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TB: Hey Melissa! I want to first start off by saying that I love your Instagram feed and blog. It really does reflect a simple bohemian lifestyle, and it’s infused with so much beauty and personal style. I understand it took a while before you decided to start your blog. What were some of your reservations, and what made you decide to just go ahead and do it?

Melissa: Thank you so much, Sarah, for your kind words! Before I hit publish for the first time, I had lots of reservations. Did I have anything to say? Would anyone care? What if I couldn’t do it? Silly, I know. My husband encouraged me greatly, and I finally decided to jump in and start. To do something for me, for us, and to not let insecurities rule.

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TB: I  love that. Where do you look to for inspiration?

Melissa: I tend to find inspiration in little moments— over a quiet cup of coffee with my husband, a slow sunlit walk with my dog, a piece of music, the way a dress falls, a pale pink wall, and flowers. Always flowers! Little adventures out of the house can really spark your inspiration!

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TB: Definitely. It’s those non-stressed moments when inspiration flows so easily. Speaking of non-stress, your outfits reveal a relaxed approach to dressing with a keen attention to detail. What are some of your favorite places to shop?

Melissa: I love shopping at Free People and Anthropologie. Their displays are always thoughtful, beautiful, and inspiring. I love finding that special piece there! I also love Madewell for well done basics.

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Simply. Bohemian 10TB: It’s easy to see that your Instagram pics are well curated. What is one thing you learned about photography since you started your feed?

Melissa: I’m still learning every day! I think the key is consistency. Constantly going out capturing the things that catch your eye, the moments you want to remember. Keep trying new things, new perspectives, new edits until you find you. I am always looking for how I can capture what I’m seeing and feeling in this shot. Always keep honing your individual perspective.

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TB: Great info. And what advice do you have for anyone who has been thinking of starting a blog, but doesn’t know where to begin?

Melissa: Start. Just start. I didn’t know what I was doing, (I still don’t) and I was so nervous to hit publish on the first entry! Take time to think about what makes you excited, what inspires you. Think about how you can share that with others, and maybe even inspire them to capture the moments around them.♦

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I love what Melissa had to say about starting a new venture in spite of her insecurities and fears. It goes to show you that we all, no matter how talented, have fears to overcome, and it is in the overcoming that you get the confidence to push forward. Melissa, I wish you all the best as you embark upon your new career path. I’m sure we will all be hearing more of you in the future.

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All of the pics can be found on Melissa’s Instagram here.♥