Author Archive

5 Design Principles that Make Your Home More Restful

A well-designed home has the power of the ocean in that it can simultaneously energize and relax you! It can inspire you to live a joyful, more balanced life as in eating right; exercising; getting plenty of downtime; sleeping better; and being more mindful of the life you get to lead on this big, blue marble in the sky.

The good news is an ocean front home isn’t the only way to live healthier and happier. Knowing a few of the basic design principles and elements we designers employ at work, can help you plan your home around your (and your family’s) wellbeing.

Via Atlanta Homes


According to college design textbook “Inside Today’s Home” by LuAnn Nissen, the elements of design are space, form, line, texture, light and color while the principles of design are balance (symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial), rhythm (repetition, progression, transition and contrast), emphasis, scale/proportion and harmony (unity and variety).

Interior design, architecture and art are visual fields and the language we use to describe them is often subjective. This terminology provides designers with a common vocabulary for general aspects of design, as well as an explanation as to how and why the elements work, i.e. look and feel so good to your senses!

Enjoy this special edition of Joy of Nesting, and thank you for being a valued reader!


Light is important to your physical and psychological wellbeing. It affects your mood, immune system, changes the appearance of your surroundings and informs your body when it’s time to wake up or go to sleep.

There’s natural light, ambient light (also called general lighting), task lighting and accent lighting. Natural lighting brings light into your home via window space and open curtains and is a great way to improve emotional wellness.

New LED lighting, also known as circadian lighting is available with smart home systems and mimics the sun’s natural affects throughout the day in order to assist your sleep patterns. They are customized to fit each person’s individual needs.


Via Elle Decor



Color is a powerful design tool and one of the easiest ways to engender feelings or emotions in your home. But reaction to color is highly subjective and each color comes with its own attributes and/or stigmas attached.

For instance, yellow can feel sunny and cheerful for some people and signify cowardice for others. Pink is a pretty, feminine color that some love and other’s find cloying.

When you create spaces with health and well-being in mind, choose cooling, restful colors like cool blues; soft lavenders; pale blue- greens; the palest blushes; and crisp, clean neutrals. Cool colors recede, meaning, like a hairline they “go back” so when your walls are painted in light, cool colors it visually increases the size of the room. It adds depth at the end of a room, hallway or garden path.


Via Indulgy


To give your home a healthy feeling and visually enlarge your spaces, use light, cool colors with minimal color changes and minimal darkness to lightness contrasts meaning keep everything fairly light, even if the colors are different.


Texture describes the tactile feel or appearance of the surface of an object like stone, mohair or chenille fabrics, or a woven basket.
For purposes of health and wellness, textures as they pertain to fabrics and other furnishings around the home should be soft and comforting such as beautiful baskets and rugs.

Texture can absorb or amplify sound. It affects the maintenance of an object. The shiny surface of a glass table is easier to clean but shows every little smudge. The rough surface of a stone hearth shows little dirt but is harder to clean. In some places in the home, smooth textures are preferable in order to keep surfaces clean such as countertops and cabinetry.


Via Atlanta Homes



Balance (symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial) refers to the equal distribution of weight, size or bulk of an object or space on an axis in an aesthetically pleasing composition.

Symmetrical balance, also known as formal or passive balance, happens when one side of something is the exact same as the other half: a mirror image. This type of balance can be seen in a pair of sconces flanking a painting above a fireplace; two candlesticks flanking a centerpiece on a dining room table; or two exterior lights flanking a front door.

Asymmetrical balance, also referred to as informal or active balance, is differing objects arranged along an axis, equal distance apart but of equal weight or bulk. It’s used in casual design and is generally more complex than symmetrical balance. Rather than having identical objects on an axis, this type of balance relies on mismatched items with equal scale or perceived weight. Asymmetrical balance can be seen in arrangements of framed prints or photography on a wall; and in the floor plans of a ranch style residence.


Via Home Bunch


Radial balance is identical or differing objects placed in a circular fashion. It can be seen in modern residential spaces, museums and commercial buildings. Radial balance is chairs around a table in the middle of a room; a crystal chandelier; or the structure of a circular rotunda. It directs your attention to the center of the space or object. It is the least used type of balance.

If done right, a space with any of these types of balance will calm you while spaces without balance can make you feel unexplainably uncomfortable. All are appropriate for interiors design with health and wellness in mind.


I love including plants in my design projects and in my own home. A home without plants or flowers doesn’t look finished or feel inviting. Bringing nature indoors is a great way to enhance your mood and help get you through the dreary months of winter. My favorite design adage is that “if your home is missing something and you don’t know what it is it’s most likely greenery, texture or scale”.


Furlow Gatewood


I have several go-to looks for decorating with greenery. I love to do one nicely scaled topiary in a great jardinière or ceramic pot, between a pair of interesting lamps, placed on a lovely tray or a stack of books.

I also love to do topiary in pairs, particularly on the dining room table in pots that coordinate with the room. My favorite dining room table arrangement to do is a central tray of alcohol bottles flanked by two modestly sized topiary.

I also love doing tall plant racks filled with one to two types of plants or flowers like maidenhair ferns, violets. This is equally beautiful indoors or on outside patios. I have a rack of maidenhair ferns in my little dining room that gets lots of sun and is easy to water.

That’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed this week’s article on wellness interior design as much as I enjoy sharing it with you. For a bit more on wellness interior design, then check out the Wellness Home Cheat Sheet I created just for you.

It will give you ALL the deets on wellness design and will help you instill wellness elements into your next design project or remodel. Here’s a link to the Wellness Home Cheat Sheet again.


Via Pinterest


Bye for now!

Staging Primer: Styling, Repair and Housekeeping Tips for Selling Your Home

Even with the help of experts, selling your home requires significant effort on your part especially if your housekeeper has been ‘a-wol for a-while’! Or maybe you’ve postponed general maintenance and repairs in favor of that vacation you finally rescheduled after covid or you needed a new car.

Above, Phoebe Howard.

Whatever the case may be, here are some great hacks I’ve created for selling your home, or maybe just for making it a little more inhabitable for yourself!

All large surfaces like windows, windowsills, lighting, chandeliers, floors, carpets and walls should be clean and possibly freshly painted if need be. Just because you can’t see the dirt doesn’t mean others won’t see it either.

Ballard Design

Furniture and draperies should be clean and in good condition but few people want to replace their furniture just to sell a home. Services like Coit Drapery Cleaners will come to the home and clean upholstery provided it’s not frayed. If it’s frayed, cleaning will cause the fabric to further deteriorate.

If the sofa or chairs are especially unattractive, you can spruce them up with high quality throw pillows and throw blankets in neutral colors. Discount stores such as TJ Maxx and Home Goods have a great selection of fine quality pillows at very affordable prices. I like to use three matching twenty inch down blend throw pillows on an average sized 90-inch sofa and one 18 inch throw pillow per small chair or one 20 inch pillow for a large chair. Leave some solid wood accent chairs without pillows.

Via Ruby Beets

High-quality, cream-colored throws hide a myriad of sofa and chair sins and transfer nicely to your new home.

Keep small table top accessories to a minimum. Instead use larger items like stacks of hardbound design books, lamps and faux or natural plants in decorative pots or jardinière.

Keep framed family photos to a minimum. Remove all table top family photos but retain wall galleries in hallways and stairwells.

Via La Dolce Vita

Keep all mail and clutter under wrap.

Sanitize bathrooms with a little Clorox here and there. Yes, it is toxic so use sparingly but it gets rid of household germs and smells and gives the rooms a really fresh, clean feeling.

Fluff the pillows and throws. This makes a bigger difference than you might realize.

Open the windows if possible. Nothing beats clean, fresh air. It not only smells better; it feels really healthy upon entering a home. Like a walk in the woods.

Miles Redd

Fluffy white towels, white sheets and white toilet paper give bedrooms and baths a spa feel. Dingy bedding and towels are easy and affordable to replace but do buy good quality.

A few small vases of scented fresh flowers are a nice touch. Scatter them in unexpected places too like the hall, kitchen and bathrooms. I like just one variety of flower and color per arrangement, for instance all white roses or all lavender lilacs.

Via Lonny

Refrain from home scents like scented candles and sprays. Scent is highly subjective. People who are accustomed to high end scents don’t care for cheap scents and vice versa.

Hide electrical cords behind furniture and counter top appliances. Do you best to tuck them away out of sight.

Clear counters of all but the most basic items. Buy fresh brushes, sponges and caddy for next to the sink and decant your hand and dish soap into matching clear glass dispensers.

Create conversational furniture arrangements with sofas and chairs facing one another, not the television.

Via Pinterest

Clear coffee table and end tables of clutter.

Wash all doors and door frames near doorknobs. Use a damp rag and baking powder.

Spot clean walls with the same.

Mirrors make a nice wall accessory and visually increase space. Particularly nice if they are reflecting a beautiful outdoor view!

Ready to take a deeper dive into staging your home? I created The Functional Home Blueprint to help you create a livable, clutter free home. …Sign up for my free digital eBook and create beautiful places in your home for downtime and reconnecting with yourself and your loved ones.

Get organized and energized with my easy tools, attractive container ideas and simple home office hacks.

Carve out spaces to exercise.

Maximize your kitchen to follow through with healthy eating; and utilize all your rooms. Plus, a BONUS: my fave home workout equipment!

Here is that link again. That’s it for today. Bye for now! Shiree

How to Get a Wellness-Inspired, Living and Dining Room

People of all ages and levels of wellbeing are interested in leading their best lives in their homes and that means their homes must support them in all their health and wellness endeavors, with or without a gym membership.

Being at home more has made everyone think differently about how your home supports your health and wellness. Now and for the foreseeable future, your home is one of the most important assets in your life, not just as a financial investment but from an emotional stand point too.

You need it to be not only beautiful to your senses but also, supportive of the healthy lifestyle you want to lead. A bright, well-planned kitchen for prepping healthy meals; a bedroom designed as the perfect down time respite; a beautiful, comfy common area or two for reconnecting with yourself and loved ones; inspiring spaces for your workouts; and restful color schemes. Making your home ‘user friendly’ doesn’t mean you have to give up the aesthetics you want either, in fact, quite the contrary. How it looks is actually super important too!

A beautiful room has all the power of the ocean because it elevates your mood, energizes or relaxes you, and most importantly it inspires you to live a healthier, happier, more balanced life. But if your home is dragging you under instead of supporting you in your best life, let’s get you some real results post haste.

I’ve got you covered.

Where to Begin

Start your design projects with the living room and work your way around to the dining room and entry. Whether you design one room or your entire home you want the styles and colors to flow; to form a visually unified whole.

I always start with the living room. Sometimes you need additional window space, sometimes you need a doorway widened, and sometimes you need a strong visual anchor (some might call it a focal point) like a mantel, fireplace surround and flanking built-in bookcases. It depends on the home and budget.

Above, Leanne Ford

A room is like the inside of a box. It’s what you put on the inner surfaces of your box that counts. What paint will you put on the walls and ceiling? High quality paint has more pigment, a richer quality, and better formulated colors. I love Farrow and Ball, Pratt and Lambert, Fine Paints of Europe and Dunn Edwards.

What kind of flooring will you choose? Choose the best flooring materials you can afford and keep the choices to a minimum to avoid what I call patchwork quilt syndrome. I’m partial to flooring of bamboo, hardwood, natural stone and luxury vinyl tile. What will be the size and placement of the doors and windows? It depends on your room configurations and what will be seen from the new windows. All choices should be compatible with your architecture, geography and according to your local building codes.

Furniture and Accessories

Choosing furniture and accessories is an art, not a science! Therefore, strict decorating rules really don’t apply. However, there is always one best furniture arrangement in almost every situation.

Start each room by placing the largest pieces first, with no furniture placed on diagonals. When first starting out, I like to stand in the main entrance to the room, where you approach the room, generally coming from a formal or informal entry. I try to make the biggest design statement from this vantage point. In my own living room, you turn left from the formal entrance from a double wide doorway with a Palladian arch Since only the side of the fireplace is seen upon entry, I placed the sofa to be the main focal point facing the entrance. The sofa, main armchairs and cocktail table are grouped around the fireplace, floating in the room. I also chose this floating arrangement because the room is over 800 square feet and a room this large really needs two to three conversation areas, or furniture groupings.

Function always comes before aesthetics however, so if you don’t observe foot traffic, your furniture placements will look silly. For smaller living rooms with through foot traffic, furniture can be placed against the walls, about three to six inches from the wall. In another of our homes I didn’t place the sofa and cocktail table facing the entrance because it would have created a major bottleneck to one of the bedrooms. Instead, I placed armchairs in that spot. Because they didn’t require a cocktail table in front of them, they didn’t block traffic. And because the armchairs were the first thing seen upon entering this living room, I made that arrangement extra attractive with a unique end table between them and a beautiful arrangement of flowers.

An average size sofa is 90 inches wide. An average size chair is 34 inches wide. For larger rooms you can go well over 100 inches for sectional sofas and 40 inches for armchairs. Just remember with pieces this large, other furniture will look dwarfed if they’re not to this scale.

Choose simply and elegantly designed cocktail tables and lamps. A lot of designers think they can save their clients’ money by choosing cheaper lamps and tables but really, it’s better to save money on the overall size of your home rather than skimp on quality anywhere else in the home.

Today good quality lamps cost $800- 2,000 per lamp. Similarly, many cocktail tables today have poor quality and tacky design. When in doubt, choose iron framed designed cocktail tables with simple finishes in gold, black or gunmetal gray and thick, beveled glass tops. Wood finishes are particularly sensitive to nicks and chips in many of today’s products so again, go with high quality brands.

I’m fond of telling my clients and readers that a dining room is a vast sea of wood. Think about it. Wood chairs, wood table, wood sideboard. Add to that wood frames on the floors, base and crown molding and doorways. It has all the potential for being the coldest feeling room in the home! For this reason, I always have at least two chairs and drapery panels done in fabric. I love to coordinate them with whatever is going on in the formal living room, even if they not within sight of one another. Whether you have print fabrics or solid fabrics include a sense of continuity between the two formal room’s finishes and materials.

How your rooms flow; how you place furniture; how densely you furnish your home; the amount of natural light it has; the ceiling height; even the dimensions of the doors all add up to the overall feel of your home.

A home that’s open with plenty of natural light, natural materials, healing colors and clean lines give your home, and thus, you the feeling of wellness and contentment.

Thanks for dropping by Joy of Nesting! I love sharing all my best design and wellness tips with you right here on the blog and on my InstaGram page! But I also created this great little, at a glance check list to help you better navigate the whole new world of Wellness Design! It’s free yes, but it acts as a great primer and outline for your journey to a healthier home.

Here is the link to the Wellness Home Check List.

See you next time friend!


“Your Exercise Sweet Spot: how to create time and space for yoga, workouts and meditation”

You’ve been procrastinating on your workouts. You know you need to exercise but you don’t want to go to the gym and you don’t have a designated spot in your home. It’s time to stop right now and identify ‘your exercise sweet spot’. 




Whether it’s a proper in-home workout room, a guest room, or an unused corner of your formal living room, decide on the best option and start optimizing it! Your health is priority number one.

Have any items you will need stored nearby such as hand weights, a rebounder, a Yoga mat, stationary bike, etc. Earmark a nearby closet or purchase attractive, lidded baskets for storage. If everything is close by and in attractive containers (that maybe even coordinate with your design scheme!) you’ll be more likely to use them. You are setting yourself up for success early on! 




I also like to have a few new gadgets to inspire me like an attractive mat, great fitting workout clothes, 5 and 10 lb. hand weights, a stability ball, foam roller and kettle ball. Having these little purchases handy signal to your brain that it’s time to work out and that you’re important enough to invest in. And hey, turn on some fantastic music and light a soy scented candle while you’re at it!

There is usually at least one untapped spot in your home to claim as your workout space. Choose a space with plenty of natural light and if possible, one with a view. Don’t feel you have to have only one space for working out though. Having two or three spaces is ideal. Where you use your stay bike can be completely different from where you do your yoga, or use your rebounder.




When the weather is good my favorite yoga spot is on my beautiful, protected patio surrounded by potted boxwood and ferns. In bad weather it’s at the end of my large formal living room with big picture windows overlooking a beautiful garden path and fountain. Once you’ve experienced the ease of working out at home, you’ll wonder why you never bothered to do it before.

In order to be effective, in order to actually move that stubborn needle on your fitness-o-meter you will want to be able to rely on your home as a default place for exercise. I’m not suggesting you give up your fitness center or yoga studio, keep them by all means. But home is where you will be your most consistent. Let’s dive into why. 




“Motivation is overrated. Environment often matters more” says James Clear in his book “Atomic Habits”. The majority of my workouts happen in my own environment: at home in our den and out in nature around the neighborhood. In the den, I have a stationary bike; a rebounder that I love to dance-bounce on; a yoga mat; stability ball; ankle and wrist weights and hand weights. These didn’t cost a fortune and they don’t take up a huge amount of space and that’s why the den is so perfect for them. The den is also where the big flat screen is. When I work out, I allow myself to watch Netflix, Peacock and Amazon Prime movies. 

My days are so tightly scheduled that there really isn’t much time for television. Having a movie or favorite series on in the background is great impetus to get my afternoon workouts done. This works beautifully for me, and I’ve been consistent with my exercise programs my whole life, so I know this will work for you too.




A designated, in-home space for exercise helps you be more consistent on a daily basis, with or without a gym, social distancing or not. Going to the gym for some of us is not an option. But there’s more. Relying solely on a gym allows too much room for excuses. “I’d have to do my hair or drive somewhere to workout” or “I don’t feel like going anywhere in the rain” or “by the time I drive, park and walk to the gym i won’t have enough time left to workout”. 

Sometimes even a short ten minute drive to your club and finding a parking spot and walking across the parking lot can be too much when compared to the thirty second walk to a den or workout room in your home. 

Equally important to where you work out, is the mindset shift of the actual ‘scheduling’ your exercises. The actual scheduling it in your daily calendar is a huge shift from just hoping you’ll get your workout done before dinner. The three most powerful ways to do this are 1) set a certain time of day, every day to exercise. 2) split your workout into two shifts, one in the morning before work, say a 20-minute session on your stay bike or 15 minutes on the rebounder and one in the afternoon, such yoga and abs. 3) put it in your digital calendar.  

For me, a 7:30 a.m. stationary bike session and a 4:30 Yoga session work extremely well. And lastly, make it non-negotiable. When you think about it, nothing is as important as your wellbeing. Being physically and emotionally healthy is the foundation for everything you do from feeling and looking great to how you show up for yourself or as a partner or parent, to how you perform at work, to how deeply you enjoy your down time. 

Get out your digital calendar. If you don’t have one, get one on your phone today. Digital calendars allow you to type in an activity and repeat it on a daily basis without the need to retype it over and over again. Starting next Monday, schedule your morning exercise at 7:00 am. Choose from walking, treadmill, stationary biking or rebounding. 

Next, schedule your afternoon workout at 5:30 or whatever time you know without a doubt you’ll follow through. If you wait too late in the day it won’t get done! The afternoon workout should be devoted to weights or yoga.  Having set routines will keep you successful. And if you fall off your routines, do not, I repeat, do not beat yourself. You’re going to slack off. This is a fact. Just accept it as part of life and forge ahead. Come Monday, get right back on that pony. No excuses! Monday is a non-negotiable day and sets you up for success the rest of the week. 

Lastly, save Sunday for an enjoyable walk with the dog, or take Sunday off completely. Down time is important enough to schedule too!



That’s it for today. Thank you for tuning into Joy of Nesting! If you don’t already follow me, I’m on Instagram at @ssegerstrom where I post all things design and wellness. And if you’d like to delve deeper into my health and wellness plans, take my free ecourse, the  7 Week Wellness Challenge for Women! When you’re healthy, in shape and feeling attractive, taking care of yourself is an incredible joy! You can read each module in under fifteen minutes, just once a week.

Bye for now!


Here’s that link again, 7 Week Wellness Challenge for Women.


The Fall Home, Beautiful Ways to Freshen Your Look Before Halloween … plus To Do’s for Your Fall 2021 Calendar

Each season has its own energy and fall inspires baking, entertaining and freshening up your nest. To help you make the most of it, I’ve compiled my favorite list fall decorating plugins to freshen the home and elevate your energy. 






It’s okay to want your home to feel and look it’s best. It is after all, a foundational part of living your best life. Keep it clean, organized and beautiful to the senses and it will reward you every day of the year.

Saying goodbye to summer is definitely bittersweet. So, let’s set you up for success now by dialing in some autumn joy around the homestead.  

Seasonal Wreaths

Make the announcement at your front door that you’re ready for fall. Try fresh wreaths made of olive leaves and branches, or beautiful magnolia leaves.

I like to skip the bows. I like the look of just the greenery but also, so many bows are cheaply manufactured these days.

Lap Blankets in Autumn Tones 

Lap blankets are such a cozy touch. I think I have them in every room! They encourage downtime and snuggling and impart feelings of wellness into your home.

What autumn hues can you add to your home that won’t look out of place? Rusty colors like cognac and burnt orange tend to go well with blue or gray themes. Just look at a color wheel and you’ll see they’re opposites on the wheel and quite compatible.







Salt and Pepper Shakers 

I have shakers for every season. My cherished shakers for fall are a pair of classic ceramic pumpkins my sister-in-law Ann gave me. It’s a joy to bring them out every year. 

Autumn Candles

There are so many great fall candles to choose from. I especially love Votivo Tuscan Olive and Black Ginger; and Archipelago Pumpkin Macchiato. I also love little pumpkin shaped candles. They look so sweet scattered on tables and kitchen counters. 

Fresh Foliage

Any fall foliage is beautiful indoors. If you’re lucky enough to have them in your garden and know how to work with difficult materials, branches of maple, fig, pomegranate, and pear make spectacular entrance arrangements. Remember to pulverize a few inches of the ends of the branches so they can absorb water. Use a tall, narrow, heavy vase for such arrangements and a sturdy, heavy “frog”. ‘




Some suggestions.

Nandina/Heavenly Bamboo is an absolute beauty in the fall. No water needed.

Liquid Amber is lovely too. Pulverize the ends of the branches so the water can get in. 

Pyracantha berries are toxic but if kids and pets aren’t regulars in your home, they’re beautiful in tall vases. Again, pulverize the ends.

I love fresh persimmons in my entry; as a dining room center piece; and on my kitchen counter. When they’ve ripened, I make Sharon Shore’s soft and tender persimmon cookie recipe. 

Pomegranates look great on your table tops, last for weeks and are quintessential fall fruit. Red pears too.

Myrtle, besides smelling great is beautiful in cut arrangements alone or as a filler. They require no water, and look good for months.



Fall Items for Festive Occasions

Tablecloths in tones of burnt red, chestnut or deep olive green.

Napkins, fall themed paper and fabric.

Serving platters, rustic or refined.

Special vases (as opposed to plain, clear glass)

Fine china, crystal and silver.

Handmade ceramic dinnerware and serving pieces.

Rustic wooden salad bowls.




For your 2021 Fall Calendar

Fall is a transitional time and in Martha Stewart’s newest book “Organizing: the Manual for Bringing Order to your Life, Home and Routines” she states going from summer to fall means getting back to basics like freezing big-batch soups; preparing the garden for next year’s blooms; and reorganizing your pantry and closets.

September 25th, plan a weekly fall soup menu through November. I love vegan soups and do red bell pepper soup; tortilla soup; and minestrone among many others in vegan form.

September 30th, plan a monthly baking menu through November. I do homemade apple pie, pumpkin pie, white bread, focaccia and cornbread.

October 1st, bake apple pie.

October 15th, plant spring annuals and bulbs in pots. I like snapdragons, pansies, stock, tulips and daffodils. Plant before the ground turns cold and you’ll be rewarded with a health spring bloom.

November 1st, bring sensitive plants and topiary indoors for winter.

November 5th, hire help to do a deep cleaning around the home and garage.




November 15th, hire an organizer to work on the kitchen and pantry.

Baking and Cooking Product Rave 

My good friend and scripture expert Darlene recommended Miyoko’s Vegan Butter to me several months ago and it literally changed my life. I use it in all my soup’s, in baking, cooking fish and roasting veggies. It’s delicious! Thanks Dar. 




That’s it for today … and if you’d like to dig deeper into creating a home that elevates your mood and supports and inspires you to live a healthier, happier, more balanced lifestyle then check out my premier download “The Wellness Home”!

Bye for now! 


Here’s that link again, “The Wellness Home, 5 Steps to a Beautiful, Restful Home for Women who Value their Health and Wellness”. 

Decorating Tips for Inspiring Wellness and Stress Management



Living your best life on the daily means including certain lifestyle habits and systems such as creating a beautiful, functional environment; consistent daily exercise; high quality nutrition; stress management, and plenty of down time.

Image above, Axel Vervordt 

Taking the time to create a beautiful, restful home will be the one thing to set you up for success in many facets of your life and make all your tasks including daily self-care easier and so much more enjoyable!

One of the most important decisions you’ll make for feelings of restfulness and wellbeing at home is the right color.






Image Via Houswears Blog


Colors sitting next to one another on the color wheel are considered compatible and create simple combinations. Cool colors like blue, green and some shades of purple are restful. Cool colors recede. On walls they increase the size of the room and add depth. To visually enlarge your space and create a restful appearance, use light, cool colors with minimal color contrasts.

Palest celadon green, soft grayish taupe, pale lavender, light flesh tones, creamy whites and muted grays soothe the eye and alleviate anxiety. You can carry these colors throughout your home with paint, trim color, carpets, window coverings and soft furnishings. Opt for soft taupe wood finishes.

For fabrics, choose soothing textures and again, minimal color contrasts. Subtle, faded linens and cotton; silk velvet; and mohair are beautiful choices that also feel wonderful. 






Image via Pinterest


A room is like the inside of a box. It has 6 planes: 4 walls, a ceiling and the floor. Cheap paint, insufficient window space, out of date or non-descript window coverings have a big effect on the overall look and feel of your home.

High quality paint has more pigment, a richer quality, and better formulated colors. I love Farrow and Ball and Pratt and Lambert.

My go to colors in Farrow and Ball are soft and complex. They are Pavilion Blue; Ball Green; and Slipper Satin, white. Keeping color’s light, muted and cool contributes to feelings of comfort and calm.

Well placed windows, sufficient window space and windows that are made from quality wood or at least framed in wood visually enlarge your spaces, bring the outside in and generate feelings of healthiness. Seeing plants and nature in your home helps balance your energy and motivates you, and is a wonderful mood enhancer.

French doors are one of the best investments in your home and are a great addition to virtually any room in your home.





Image via Fleaing France


Choose the best flooring materials you can afford and keep the choices to a minimum for a restful look and pretty backdrop to your favorite fabrics, furnishings and accessories. I’m partial to flooring of bamboo, solid hardwood (I don’t care for engineered wood), tile, natural stone and for challenging maintenance areas, luxury vinyl tile.

A Dedicated Wellness Space

To have success following through with yoga and other types of exercise, find a room to call your own and make it a place you look forward to going to!

Have any items you need on hand such as hand weights, a rebounder, a Yoga mat, Yoga blocks, foam rollers, etc. in a nearby basket, closet or armoire for easy access. If everything is close by and in attractive containers, you’ll be more likely to use them.

By doing yoga and other types of workouts in the same place and at the same time each day, you build that habit and you will be more likely to follow through. 





That’s it for today!

One last thought, if getting started is hard for you, or if you’re stumped on your design project, or just plain need a little inspo I created this killer ebook “The Functional Home Blueprint”. It’s packed with ideas, frameworks and mindset tips to help you …


  • Create beautiful places in your home for downtime and reconnecting with yourself (and your loved ones)!
  • Get organized and energized with my easy tools, attractive container ideas and simple home office hacks.
  • Carve out spaces to exercise; maximize your kitchen to follow through with healthy eating; and utilize all your rooms. 

Plus a BONUS: my fave home workout equipment!


Here’s that link again! The Functional Home Blueprint. 

Bye for now!


How Beauty and Organization Energizes Your Home






It’s been proven that buildings, especially your home plays a major role in how you feel, eat, exercise and sleep, and even affects the health of your immune system.

Studies have shown this but I also know it firsthand because my homes have been my foundation and respite through the birth of a son, to the building of multiple businesses, to the loss of a beloved spouse. They have been major sources of energy, creativity, comfort and joy. They’ve provided shelter certainly, but they’ve also given me emotional security when I needed it the most.


How your rooms flow; how you place furniture; how densely you furnish your home; the amount of natural light it has; the ceiling height; even the dimensions of the doors all add up to the overall feel of your home. A home with an open furniture layout with plenty of natural light, natural materials, healing colors and clean lines gives your home, and thus, you the feeling of wellness and contentment. When each element is chosen within these perimeters the result will be a home that’s healing to your frayed psyche. The goal is to create a home where you feel healthy, organized and on top of your game. 

Placing your furniture and other design elements correctly is one of the most important ways to impart energy and efficiency into your home. Placement should be kept simple and straight forward. Nothing should be put on angles. Not rugs. Not sofas. Not fireplaces. Not kitchen islands. Not sinks. Even when a home is for the most part well designed it will still feel unstable with design elements placed on angles and won’t stay in style very long. 

Start placing furniture with a large scale piece first, like a large cabinet, built in or hutch. These acts as storage for things like entertainment equipment, books and servings pieces and also as excellent visual anchors for the whole room. Having an ‘anchor’ piece as I like to call them (like a cabinet or fireplace) and knowing where to place them will later simplify the rest of the furniture layout. I also prefer to plan the living room around an ‘entrance facing’ sofa whenever possible. By that I mean place the sofa facing the point of entrance to the room.

Next identify any door to door traffic patterns (most living rooms have more than one doorway). Always keep traffic patterns clear of furniture and cords. Remember don’t try to get creative with furniture layouts. Save the creativity for your furniture styles, fabrics, rugs and accessories. 


Choosing sofas and chairs without skirts gives your rooms a clean, open feeling. This allows light to flow underneath them and it will also visually enlarge your space. Sofas and chairs with skirts create a cozier, “fuller” look in large spaces. Sofas and chairs without skirts in large spaces can look great too but keep in mind they create an open, airier look. Choose sofas 85 inches and underfor small rooms. For large rooms, choose sofas 90 inches and over. 


Instead of cumbersome sofa tables and end tables, use the cocktail table as a place to set drinks and save the end tables for between armchairs. If lamps are needed next to the sofa use beautiful, brass swing arm lamps. They come in a variety of metals like shiny nickel and brushed brass. They don’t disturb the lines of the sofa, they don’t tip over easily and they’re easy to reach. The light source is just near the shoulder when seated for optimal reading. 

Too much furniture is just as disconcerting as too little. Too much looks silly and too little feels impersonal. For the average size living room you need a 110 inch sectional or one 90 inch sofa. You also need two 34 inch armchairs, two wood framed accent chairs, one cocktail table, and one to two end tables for between the armchairs.


Color is a powerful design tool and one of the easiest, cheapest ways to engender feelings or emotions in your home. But reaction to color is highly subjective and each color comes with its own attributes and/or stigmas attached. For instance, yellow can feel sunny and cheerful for some people and signify cowardice for others. Pink is a pretty, feminine color that some love and other’s find cloying. White is clean and crisp to one person, while sterile and harsh to another.

When you create spaces with health and well-being in mind, colors like cool blues; soft lavenders; pale blue- greens; the palest blushes; and crisp, clean neutrals are key. These colors are cooling, restful and ‘receding’ meaning they create feelings of spaciousness. 

Bringing Nature Into Your Home

Remember the importance of nature in your home. Bring nature indoors by expanding window sizes and by decorating with plenty of well placed plants and flowers. Live plants help clean the air in your home. Open your windows during the milder hours of the day year round. I do this daily year round except on the most inclement days. Other ways to bring nature indoors is by using natural, non-toxic building materials such as hardwood, bamboo, stone, and metals like copper, nickel and iron.





How Organization Elevates Your Lifestyle

A cluttered home causes anxiety and contributes to arguments; missed workouts; poor eating habits; lost items; missed deadlines and more. A cluttered home even contributes to… more clutter! 

Think about how smoothly your life runs when you can easily find things, or how pleasant chores and tasks feel when you have high quality tools to work with. And how balanced you feel when your home is in order. These are powerful, joyful standards to live by every day of the year! 

In her book, Martha Stewart’s Organizing: the Manual for Bringing Order to Your Life, Home and Routines Martha says “An orderly and organized life calls for creating and then sticking to clear rules, preset schedules, and to-do lists that are dictated by your own lifestyle.” She says, “This deliberate approach will save you from disorganization and leave you free to spend less time on chores, and more time for the activities that prove meaningful to you.”  And the best impetus I know of next to reading her book is to start by finding attractive baskets, tubs, bins, drawer inserts, totes on hooks, labels and Lazy Susan’s that exactly fit your needs. However, before you make the actual purchases you have to figure out what needs organizing.

With the room of your choice, start by emptying completely the closets and drawers; sorting and keeping only the things you need; and getting an assessment of the sizes and types of storage items you want. Allow a few days to do this and go at your leisure.

I recommend beginning with the kitchen and pantry; then the laundry room, then the garage with bedrooms, bathrooms, hobby rooms and living room/family rooms last.





How Eliminating Household Toxins Aids Your Health

With environmental toxins like pollution and pesticides so prevalent; and chemicals in your food, water, household cleansers and grooming products our world is a much different place than when your grandparents grew up here.

Most homes have over 500 chemicals and toxins. Today’s cleaning products contain chemicals have toxins that cause asthma, free radical damage, lung inflammation, asthma-like symptoms, hormonal imbalances and even cancer. You breathe these toxins in when you use them, and they pollute the air in your home for days.

While all natural household cleansing products like lemon juice, baking soda and white vinegar won’t kill virus’, they do a great job at light to moderate cleaning. Hydrogen Peroxide is an effective anti-bacterial. Borax, castile soap, Mrs. Meyer’s product line, Nature Clean Living, Method and Ecco offer low toxin levels for larger cleaning jobs. I love Dr. Bonner’s All Purpose Castile Soap for mopping floors. It’s concentrated and just a full tablespoons cleans my whole kitchen. I also love Murphy’s Oil Soap for my wood floors



Opening your windows on a daily basis, even if for just thirty minutes improves air quality and smells fantastic. That’s it for today! And if you like polished skin, high energy, and an elevated mood you have to try my amazing eCourse, The 7 Week Wellness Challenge where you learn tip of the spear health and wellness basics on fasting, eating and exercising for joy and convenience, and how to make your doctor part of Team You!


See you soon, bye for now.

Never miss a blog post, follow me on InstaGram and glean lots of inspo, tips, ideas on health, wellness and balancing an active lifestyle!

Design and Wellness Blueprint Series 3 Steps to Mastering Your Mindset

Well hi there!

You are going to want to carve out some special time to get through this one. There is a lot to absorb here and I’m betting you’ll find it super helpful.

You have some crazy food cravings, right? Ice cream. Cheese. Bread and butter. And I’ll bet you lack sustained energy throughout the day too. You want to make yourself healthy salads and daily green juices but they take too much time and then end up not tasting as good as processed foods so you make them only occasionally. 

When you have free time, you spend it distracting yourself with things like social media instead of utilizing that time to exercise, prepare healthy meals or get a healthier variety of down time. That’s called buffering and by the way, I do it too. We all do. You want more energy. You want to look stunning for your partner of course, but more importantly, for YOU. You want to use your extra time to take better care of yourself but it’s just easier to turn on the television or scroll Facebook. 






Here is why what you’re doing isn’t working: you are first of all, looking in the wrong places and relying on the wrong sources. Second, you’re looking for an easy fix. 

In order for you to move the needle on your wellness endeavors you need way more nutrients than you’re used to. You need a more efficient kind of down time and a consistent, better quality exercise routine. But you don’t feel like taking the time to do those things consistently because you have no impetus or energy. It’s a vicious cycle! 

I’m going to show you how to break those cycles by adopting some new mindset practices that will give you better results and new frameworks because without the right frame of mind you’ll stay in your old patterns and continue doing things that don’t work. Follow me? Let me give you some examples.






Mindset 1, Rethink Your Food Budget” 

Paying for organics is a big hurdle for most of us. It sure was for me. Why is that? 

Most people spend a large part of their monthly budgets on prescription drugs, top dollar wine labels, designer brand alcohol and select cuts of meat yet balk at the extra cost of healthier, more flavorful, pesticide-free produce. 

Money is a highly charged topic, I get that. It has taken me over seven years to get used to paying more for my organic food. I initially resisted paying for anything organic and eventually I overcame that to the point where now, I very seldom buy anything that’s not organic, all natural and plant based. 

Think of it this way. It’s human nature as consumers to want to upgrade, not downgrade right? With that in mind you’ll find that once you commit to buying the highest quality food, you’ll instinctively want them more often to the point you won’t want to settle for less. It’s just like when you get spoiled by name brand purses or a luxury car. Consistently stay the course and allow yourself to keep gravitating to better and better food. I’m to the point where instead of feeling pampered by a fine bottle of wine or imported cheese (big no no’s for health challenges), I feel pampered when I treat myself to a special food item or two each week. Like this week it will be giant California artichokes with a dipping sauce of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, cumin, fresh chopped garlic, hot chili pepper flakes and olive oil. I might even add a big dollop of Best Foods mayonnaise for the artichoke heart. This type of treat is a weekly occurrence for me and signals rewards to the brain. Reward yourself in this way at least twice a week if not more. 

So how do you overcome these mental hurdles to get where you want to be. Let’s find some ways to expand your organic-shopping-comfort-zones.





Don’t Change It…Ex-Change It! 

In addition to rewarding yourself every week in order to not feel deprived, you will also adopt a new mindset not to ‘change’ your priorities, but to ‘ex-change’ them. By that I mean instead of buying wine, cows’ milk cheese, cows’ milk, beef, lamb and pork which are highly acidifying and no longer part of your new, healthy lifestyle you are going to replace them with some ah-mazing foods and treats! Again, you will do this in such a way that promotes enjoyment so you won’t feel like you’re giving up anything. 

Instead of unhealthy, pasteurized cow’s milk you’ll have delicious, organic, all natural almond milk. I buy two bottles of vanilla MALK brand raw sprouted almond milk at Whole Foods weekly. There is nothing artificial in it. It’s real food. You can also make your own at home with a Vitamix and nut filtering bags which is more affordable than buying it. I have a glass of Malk in the afternoon, often with organic, real maple syrup on ice and it has replaced my iced latte habit very nicely. It’s absolutely delicious and much more affordable than Starbuck’s! 

Instead of beef, pork and lamb you’ll eat anti-inflammatory wild salmon. Instead of cow’s milk ice cream, you will love Van Leeuwen’s delicious, oat milk ice cream. You can also make home made coconut milk ice cream and top it with macerated blackberries or cherries in season. Mash the berries up to release their juices, add lots of lemon juice, plenty of pure organic maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and a tiny pinch of sea salt. You won’t believe the flavors! These are non-addictive treats but limit sweet treats to a few times a month. 

You are also going to do away with all the expensive skin care products you’ve been splurging on. No more fancy cleansers, toners, night creams or day creams. Surprise! You don’t need them.





Unpronounceable ingredients are invariably chemicals and exposure to chemicals should be limited. Everything you do going forward is to increase your nutrient intake and clear out toxins on a daily basis. 

Skin care products that you buy, by their very nature must contain at least some chemicals like preservatives and binders. They have to have chemicals or they won’t last on the store shelf. They would separate and become unstable. So to avoid chemicals you’ll use natural items like pure castile soap, unrefined coconut oil, raw unfiltered honey (for patting facial massages) and cold pressed olive oil right out of your kitchen. I’ve been using them successfully for years. With the money you save on expensive skin care products, wine, meat etc. you will now redirect yourself to healthier foods which are part of the best skin care program albeit internal, in the world. 

You’ll also justify the additional costs of organic foods by the fact that you don’t have expensive hospital, doctor and prescription bills. But in the long run the real justification isn’t cost, it’s how good you will look and feel. I see other women with arthritis, diabetes and other chronic illnesses swollen and toxic from steroids, pain killers and bone builders, losing their mojo and my heart goes out to them. I want so badly to tell them what a joy this lifestyle is.





Mindset 2: Rethink How You Spend Your Time 

You won’t just have issues about the expense of organic foods. You will also most likely have to overcome mental blocks about the time it takes for daily juicing, salads and exercise. The truth? Making yourself green juices every other day takes less time than making a daily breakfast. And making a big raw salad takes about the same time as making a sandwich and side snack.

Food prep is a time trade off, so don’t expect to be spending more time preparing food unless you’re currently reliant on pizzas and fast food in which case just know in advance you’ll have to make gradual, sustained changes in your life. 

I’ll be brutally honest though, the time that’s required to maintain a healthy fitness level, meaning aerobic exercise and muscle and bone building exercises takes a commitment and mindset shift. I charted my own plan below with some exercise specialists’ input: 

Here’s what my own fitness practice looks like: 

Biking or rebounding- 20 minutes daily. Walking- 15 minutes daily (with my cocker spaniel companion, Riley). Weights and Abs- 45 minutes Monday, Wednesday and Friday (I don’t go to gym currently due to COVID). Yoga- 90 minutes Tuesday and Thursday. Optional tennis, hiking, kayaking on Saturday (totally joyful, fun, non-structured activities!) Rest on Sunday/ plus David, Riley and I take a 30 min. walk. 

So that’s a total of 1 ½ to 2 hours a day five days a week plus an extra credit, optional sixth day for unstructured activities. You’ll notice I only do Yoga twice a week. It is the most demanding time wise, as well as the most demanding physically and mentally. What type of Yoga you decide on is a personal choice but I’ve been doing Bikram Yoga at home for about 25 years. I do the Bikram postures but opt out of the extreme heat because I don’t feel it’s healthy. Also, I have low blood pressure and it makes me faint.

We All Have the Same 24 Hours in a Day 

Remember at the beginning of the book when I talked to you about doing enough of the right things? Let’s explore that for just a minute. You and I and your cousin and your dog all have the same amount of hours in every day. What sets us apart is how we choose to allocate those hours. You can choose to be a television watcher. You can choose to travel extensively, providing it’s in your budget. You can choose to watch three hours of television and scroll social media every day. Will you have the same wellness results as someone who chooses to use their three free hours caring for their mental and physical health? Of course not. No matter how busy you are, I know you can free up the time it takes to take care of your health. Your life literally depends on it.


How to Make the Most of Your Time 

What are the most typical time wasters? You probably know the answer to this. Here they are again: scrolling social media, watching television, binging on Netflix and puttering around the home or office without clear objectives. There’s more but you get my drift. 

How can you make the most of your time? I learned a fabulous tool and concept from my business coach Tobi Fairly call Zero Time Balancing which she modified from Dave Ramsey’s financial budgeting concept. This tool and concept changed my life. I can honestly say without Zero Time Balance there is no way I could do what I do in a day. 

I prefer to use my iCalendar but you can use Google Calendar too. It has more gadgets like highlighting and color sorting for types of tasks. The concept is that you block out every wakeful hour of your day. For instance I rise at 6:00 and I go to bed at 10:00 so I chart everything in between in increments of .50; 1; 2 and 3 hours. I have a feature on my calendar that allows me to repeat the calendar every day so I only have to adjust my calendar on days when I’ll be veering from the schedule. For instance today I have a 7:00 pm meeting. Normally 6:00 to 10:00 on my calendar is for reading and down time but I had to alter it for the 7:00 meeting. 


My day is constructed in such a way that the transitions from activity to activity are as smooth and efficient as possible. For instance I group my household chores, bike time, walking Riley and making my green juice all between 8:00-10:00 am. Then 10:00 to 1:00 is content writing time for my business, like I’m doing right now. I work a solid three hours on content writing blogs, articles for other online publications, and posts of Facebook and InstaGram. From 1:00-2:00 I have lunch and do a few little chores. From 2:00 to 4:00 is Outreach Time. I reach out to contractors, realtors, InstaGram influencers, magazine editors and other types of industry partners. At 4:00 every day I stop work and either head to the fitness center or to the upstairs loft to do my Yoga. So my calendar says that—Weights or Yoga. See how you can work with your calendar to keep you on track for your fitness and wellness goals. It takes some practice but I promise you will love it once you see how great keeping agreements with yourself feels. It is the biggest self-confidence booster there is. Also you don’t even have to think about what you need to be doing. Just check your calendar for instruction. And actually, your cell phone where your calendar lives dings when it’s time to begin a new activity.





Mindset 3 Rethink You Perception of Your Doctor 

I get it. We’ve deemed doctors as deities. And they are pretty awesome people. Is there a more noble profession than helping people with their health? Not in my book! But let’s look at your relationship with your doctor another way. They are an expert who you’ve paid to be on your team. Your team, not theirs. Not the hospitals. Yours. The sad truth is unless they specialize in it many doctors don’t have a clue about maintaining your health and even then they may be woefully behind current science. I know! Hard to believe right? Diagnose and prescribe is great for acute illness or accidents but getting and staying “healthy”? That’s a different subject. 

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not suggesting you go off any medications such as antidepressants, statins or insulin, cold turkey. That would be dangerous! What I strongly suggest you do is find not only a nutritionist for an hour or two consultation, but also a highly reputable integrative doctor. An integrative doctor is one who mixes holistic medicine with conventional medicine. Tell them you have been reading and doing research and you are interested in making lifestyle changes with diet and exercise: that you would like his or her help in decreasing and eventually eliminating altogether your prescription drug intake. If they are informed and progressive in how they treat their patients, they will support you in this goal. If not, keep looking till you find one who will. Most small towns have at least one integrative or holistic doctor, maybe two. Most cities have a small handful. They are popping up everywhere but they are still woefully in the minority. Finding yourself an integrative doctor doesn’t mean you’re old doctor is bad. It means that he or she is human. Likely they will catch up with these advances later, when they realize their practice is declining due to patients looking for more progressive care. Further, they are busy and often don’t have time to study new ways of treating patients. 

Most illness is chronic illness, not acute and medications do not “cure” them, only mask the symptoms and create more problems. Medications for chronic illnesses are a risk filled band aid with many potential side effects. But there is so much stigma attached to even questioning the effectiveness of doctors or prescriptions. And so many people look at medication as the Gold Seal answer to every health problem. Do you understand the difference between acute and chronic illness? You need familiarize yourself with those terms. Some people with acute illnesses are actually kept alive by medications for years. And where would we be without pharmaceutical drugs for surgeries. These are valid uses and I am so thankful for doctors, surgeons and prescriptions in those instances. They literally saved my life years ago. But believing or suggesting that medications are meant for a long term wellness practice is ludicrous. Make sure you understand the difference.

So from now on, please let me encourage you to be your own advocate. Read the books, not internet news which is filled with contradictions and conflicts of interest. Doctors get paid by pharmaceutical companies to promote their drugs. Do you really want to fall prey to whatever Pfizer is promoting this month? Only to find out in two years it deteriorates your jawbone or causes suicidal thoughts or oopsy, this prescription doesn’t mix with that other one and you’ve been taking them together for six months. 

When you look healthy on the outside, it’s because you are healthy on the inside. Mother Nature is no dummy. You can’t take short cuts with your health by taking pills. They backfire eventually. You gotta walk the walk Mama. You will get back what you put in in spades, I promise! 

There you have it! These mindset tools will get you some real results. Just remember, only you can apply them to your life. Get started today okay? 

And if you need help with your home design projects then check out my Micro Design Strategy Sessions. They save you a ton of frustration from buying the wrong thing and then having to live with them for the next ten years! Or putting a ton of effort into choosing something, hating it and then having to replace it. Plus we work with your style and my know how so you know it’s gonna look like YOU only better. And we work extra carefully around things you want to keep so there’s never that “new-stuff-making�old-stuff-look-even-older” business! Click link for more deets! 

Micro Design Strategy Session

Be sure to follow me on InstaGram here where I recap all my blog posts into micro-blogs and I post tons of pretty pictures, design, wellness and stellar salads! 

PS… here’s that link again where you can get all the fun details! Micro Design Strategy Sessions

Styling the Patio Like a Designer (with Things from Your Hardware Store!)




Who doesn’t love being in the garden? The fresh greenery, the blossoms, the smells. Sitting in my own garden or on the patio fills me with so much joy and energizes me like literally nothing else. I really feel for those who have seasonal allergies!





Styling the patio is one of the most enjoyable, satisfying and dare I say, ‘easy’ design projects you can do! To get you started, first peruse your favorite hardware stores, nurseries and even a discount store or two like Home Goods or TJ Maxx for an idea of what’s available right now, then start planning your space to understand what size furniture you need and what size pots and plants will work. Don’t be shy with size. I like to err on the larger side believe it or not.





Rather matching the materials of your furniture, coordinate them. Choose things made from a variety of materials. Wicker or wood both mix well with iron, but iron doesn’t mix well with aluminum. Iron and aluminum are too similar to create visual interest plus the iron makes the aluminum look a little cheap.

Also, choose two to three matching pieces like I did with my dark brown weather resistant settee and chair which are my anchor pieces. This shows some planning and provides continuity. Then add different materials like iron. I added a black iron settee and a black, weather resistant, woven egg chair. These provide variety and give my outdoor room a unique, custom vibe. Adding even one piece of interest like a fashionable teak daybed with lots of pillows makes a big statement.





For accessories, always choose items that have a job or ‘purpose’ such as oversized lanterns, candlesticks, potted topiary, big comfy pillows in weather resistant fabrics, and even subtle wall décor like metal candelabra’s, iron trellis or wall fountains. By accessorizing your patio with things that have a purpose you’ll keep it from looking pretentious.

I recently ‘planted’ and ‘styled’ my own, current ‘downsized’ home patio using all the beautiful glazed pots, full grown plants and iron pieces that came from my previous home. Because this yard is so much smaller than my previous home, I had lots of fun things to work with. 



I added things that go well with my existing potted ivy, double ball topiary, in gorgeous turquoise glazed terra cotta pots with bronze metal ‘feet’; my 8-foot-tall Texas privet triple ball topiary in a large cobalt blue glazed pot; my 20-year-old Meyer lemon in it’s rolled rim clay pot; the mature star jasmine I trained on a iron spiral topiary frame; and the five, enormous asparagus ferns that previously surrounded our pond.

For the remaining iron planters and glazed pots I brought to the new home, I purchased English lavender, Spanish lavender, white bacopa, white geraniums, and several beautiful, upright rosemary from our beautiful nursery, Green Acres and my local Home Depot. I’ve never been a fan of colorful gardens, preferring instead lots of greenery and touches of white and purple flowers.





But before purchasing any pots or plants, get your furniture placed. Placing the furniture will likely be the most challenging task you face. When placing furniture, place the outdoor dining table and chairs first. Try and place them so they are situated the closest to where you’ll exit the home with the food. In my previous home, because there was a central beam right in the middle of the patio, we had to be inventive. Also, one half the patio is covered so I chose to put the ‘softer’ furnishings under cover leaving the table and chairs to be placed furthest from the kitchen exit. In other words, weigh your options. 




This is where you and another family member might want to move things around, trying several arrangements. Or try the old-fashioned way, using life sized paper cut out versions of the furnishings you intend to buy.

Once you get the right furniture layout, it will feel ‘right’. You’ll know it like you know when you’ve bought the perfect handbag or jacket. You know without a doubt. I like to say it ‘double clicks!





Shiree’s Style File

For a more polished patio look, keep fabric, furniture, flower and planter colors to a minimum.

Opt for natural materials like iron, wood and woven for your furniture, but materials that are weather proof and also natural looking are great choices too.

Do your base patio plants in classic evergreens like boxwood, English, French or Spanish lavender, rosemary, ivy, Texas privet, ferns and ivy and also add classic flower choices like white geranium and jasmine.

Choose classic garden art such as statuary, urns, plinths, trellis’, bird baths and fountains with a focus on quality, particularly in their finishes. Current day garden art has notoriously bad finishes. You can train your eye by touring Designer Showcases with gardens; paid garden tours such as Fioli in Northern California; and travels through Savannah Georgia, New Orleans, England and France where their sense of garden style is unerring.

Choosing patio fabrics is a challenge. If you’re unsure of how to use style, colors or don’t have a clear idea of quality stick with Sunbrella fabrics that are black, white, dark green and a little red.



The garden is one of the best places for down time and yoga, but  if you’d like to create a yoga and wellness space within the home, then check out my free download, Yoga and Self Care Spaces for Women with Arthritis
It shows you how to create the space you need to support and inspire you so you can be more consistent with your exercise routines. Your environment has a much bigger effect on your follow through than you think! 
That’s it for today friend! Bye for now!








Summer Entertaining Outdoors, Post Vaccine!

Summer and outdoor entertaining are almost synonymous, and now that the doors to our lives post covid are slowly opening, we are chomping at the bit to cook for our friends. 

As the gathering house and garden for many a summer party, I have summer entertaining down to a veritable science. Here are some of my best tips for organizing your next outdoor dinner party.



Via Suzie Anderson 


Shiree’s Blue Print for Success
Monday- menu, table settings, and flower planning.
Tuesday- table linens washed and ironed. Place in a convenient place till the day before the party.
Wednesday- shopping for groceries, flowers and wine.
Thursday- have the house cleaned and do the “do-ahead” food prep. Pull out the necessary serving pieces and put them in a convenient place till the day before the party.
On Friday- do any baking or dessert that needs to be done, flower arrangements, choose music, more food prep, chill the wine, and do the table settings.
That leaves Saturday morning for the remaining food, a little time to get dressed, clean the kitchen one last time, and make the final preparations for your guests’ arrival.

Because I don’t have a lot of counter space in my kitchen, I usually set up a buffet on the dining room table and let guests serve themselves. There is a swinging door separating our dining room from the kitchen. This means I can close off the kitchen when it’s time for guests to come inside and serve themselves.
I like to get into a festive mood a couple of hours before guests arrive by turning on the music and pouring a glass of iced tea. Right before they arrive I assign the husband the jobs of door greeter and of lighting candles, opening and placing the wine on ice, and pouring us a glass. Since most guests enter our home by the front door, and access the patio through the living room, we open all the windows so we can catch the evening breezes and hear the fountains from outside.
Via Southern Girl City Mom
Once the noshing begins, take this bit of advice: make no excuses for the food. Friends and family are happy to be in your home enjoying your hospitality, and they really don’t care if the asparagus is a little undercooked. And don’t remind them. Put your perfectionisms away and enjoy yourself without explanations. People won’t remember the chilled salad fork, they’ll remember your relaxed, contented demeanor.

Shiree’s Style File

For parties of more than eight guests, encourage them to move around by doing a table for wine, glasses and chilled water in one room and a table of hors d’oeuvres in another. Shrimp is a great way to get people to circulate too.
Keep last minute plans to a minimum to avoid stressful situations when guests start to arrive. Do menus that can be mostly done in advance.
Remember to provide things such as a few throws for guests if the night turns cool and lanterns for candles so the wind won’t blow them out.
I like to use white, unscented candles for entertaining but have been known to cheat and mix in battery operated ones too. They’re especially nice for hard to reach places or if children are present.
Grab a guest to assist you and personally serve the dessert course and coffee as an intimate touch. Let guests pass the tray with sugar and creamer.
Never use paper plates, plastic cups, and plastic utensils. Use cloth napkins if possible. I like plain white, ten inch buffet plates (one of my caterer friends says they’re too big but I love them), vintage silverware, and simple, clear glass, high quality wine glasses so guests can appreciate the color of the wine.
Via Cynthia Reccord
That’s it for today! And if you like polished skin, high energy, and an elevated mood, you have to try my free eCourse, The 7 Week Wellness Challenge where you learn tip of the spear health and wellness basics on fasting, anti inflammatory eating, exercising for joy and convenience, how to make your doctor part of Team You and more.  

Written so you can go at your own pace in an easy to read, easy to follow eCourse format delivered right to your inbox each week. 
Click here and give yourself the best Mother’s Day gift: the gift of health and wellness!
Bye for now, Shiree’