Pillow Crush

…and now, time for something FUN and COLORFUL! 

I’ve noticed that I have been blogging about business, projects, conferences and such, but not so much in the fun, colorful way I initially intended when I started this blog. It was to be about home interior design, fabulous typography, fashion, food, whatever tickles my fancy. But, it takes time to get the resources, write and then share…and being an solopreneuer designer, blogging takes a backseat.

It’s been a slow week, so instead of wasting the days away – which is good sometimes, because my business is always on my mind – I thought I would get back into fun blogging!

Some of these pieces are from Target stores - not necessarily right now.

Some of these pieces are from Target stores – not necessarily right now.

So, this post is about PILLOWS! I love pillows and even have a pinterest board dedicated to them. It’s amazing how a few pillows [along with some throws or accent pieces] can change the feeling of a room.

pastels-livingroom

It’s like an ice cream shop almost with those colors and smooth surfaces…sweet!

I used to buy the pillow case and the insert, and eventually ran out of room to store the ones I didn’t use! So, I decided to just buy the pillow cases and swap those out. You can save between $15-$25 that way!

pillows

Patterned pillows work great with plain sofas and rugs, although some pattern upon pattern works. You just have to know.

 

And pillows aren’t cheap! I have found that TJ Maxx and Marshalls have decent, affordable ones for as low as $16. Target sells them for about $25 or so. It would have to be a really cool pillow for me to spend more than $25…and I have 🙂

westelm-orange

West Elm splashes of color and geometric patterns

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Justin's red sneakers match the Y20 theme

Justin’s red sneakers match the Y20 theme

In my most recent post about gratitude, I briefly mentioned Justin Skeesuck and his presentation at the AIGA San Diego Y20 Design Conference. You need to read about this amazing man—and his amazing friend and family—especially if you are a creative person.
 
The AIGA San Diego Y20 Design Conference, or as we fondly call it The Y, is a 2-day conference for everyone in the creative industry: graphic designers, typographers, illustrators, installation artists, digital media folks, architects, etc. We focus on the WHY we design or create, inspiring others, sharing our passion and developing a tight-knit community of amazing people—not just in San Diego but all around the world!
 
This year’s conference stood out from the last 6 ones I attended — maybe it’s because of where I was at in my life at that time, or maybe it was the quality and kind of speakers we had—all the above, I think. The first day felt more personal and the second day was more professionally inspirational. Justin spoke on the first day in the morning after a hilarious, creative duo from Mexico: Jorge Gutierrez and his wife, Sandra Equihua. I was only able to scribble down a few notes while Justin spoke, but the feeling he left us all with was emotional and inspiring.
 
Justin is known as The Disabled Traveler who inspires and instructs People with Disabilities on how to successfully navigate and overcome the many challenges they face in their lives, and when traveling. If you didn’t know who Justin was {like me}, you would wonder why he was speaking at a conference with a room full of graphic designers and other creatives.
 
Well, Justin was once a graphic designer himself here in San Diego, and is well-loved by many locals. Now, he’s also a motivational speaker, trainer and accessibility consultant. When he was 16, a car accident triggered a dormant autoimmune/neuromuscular disease in his body that eventually took the use of his arms, hands and legs from him.
 
Being a creative person, your hands are your tools, it’s your lifeblood. I cannot imagine losing the use of my hands and not be able to be creative. What else would I do? I was born creative out of my mother’s womb. Even though Justin was always a positive, happy and driven person, he had to fight hard from going into the deep, dark hole of self-pity, fear, depression and despair as his condition worsened to the point of being 100% dependent on others to feed him, shower him, dress him and more.
 
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
 
Justin eventually came to realize that life was too short, and decided that he didn’t want to go to the deep dark hole. He has a family he loves, and wanted to experience life outside his wheelchair. He said that you can either go that dark place–stay there and dwell in negativity—or figure out how to make your situation work, using creativity in a different way, wherever, however you can. Turn it around. We {me included} tend to focus on our limitations instead of the possibilities. What if we opened ourselves up to explore those possibilities? Instead of living out of fear and anxiety, why not live out of curiosity?
 
Then…what Justin spoke about to us next was mind-blowing. Along with his lifelong friend Patrick, they trekked the Camino del Santiago trail of 500 miles across Northern Spain, with Patrick pushing Justin in his wheelchair. What?! Now that is living without limitations! The trek was filled with a host of challenges, but also amazing miracles, and new friendships developed from people around the world who were also walking the trail. Justin was the first man in a wheelchair to accomplish this incredible journey. You need to see the video and hear the whole story {HERE}.
 
Basically, it’s all about adapting… leading life with love… and even opening yourself up to let others help you because that’s what most people want to do. When you deny the opportunity for others to help you, you deny their joy in life—they want you to succeed. We all carry burdens, for others, for ourselves, even for the world sometimes… it can get heavy and weigh you down. But when you release the burden you are carrying, it opens up the flood gates to receive. To receive what is divinely yours.
 
In Justin’s words, a life is not defined by its limitations, but rather by what is accomplished in spite of those limitations….what you do in life, the life you are given.
 
 

An Attitude of Gratitude

GRATITUDE: We all know what that is: feeling appreciation or thankfulness for blessings or benefits we’ve received. But how often are we really grateful? I mean, grateful in the truest sense—from deep within our soul. Probably, not enough. And is it possible to be grateful even during difficult times, during the dark stormy periods in our life? Why, yes…but you have to dig deep.
 
shutterstock_176834642 walk sunset lowtide 560
 
I’ve been wanting to write about the subject of gratitude, especially after attending the AIGA San Diego Y20 Design Conference this past March. I was so inspired and moved by some of the speakers, especially Justin Skeesuck {more on him in another blog post}. However, right before the conference, I was delivered some devastating news of having to move from my lovely abode where I finally felt at home for the last 2 years {my landlord wanted to sell}. If you knew me, you would know of my constant unwanted moving, and understand how I can get emotionally tied to my home. The news turned my life upside down, and even added salt to some other ongoing wounds in my life at that time.
 
But I just didn’t have it in me to write. I couldn’t see past the crushing of my heart and wondering why?!? I thought THIS was the place I could stay for a long time, it’s perfect for all my needs and desires.
 
I try to practice gratitude every day in my morning journal writings. I find one or more things I am thankful for – from something as big as where I live, to something as small as a cup of bulletproof coffee. Some days it’s a struggle and I cannot even try, I admit. And since this bad news had happened, most days all I could do was whine and pray [beg] to God for a miracle. I did NOT want to move! Again. And the inventory was dry and expensive to boot.
 
This went on for four weeks until one morning when I forced my thoughts to change from the downward spiral to being grateful, humbly grateful…I thanked God, from down in my heart, for this journey—for whatever lesson I had to learn. I surrendered my life to His timing, His ways, remembering His promises. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well, but it’s another thing to be grateful during the storm.
 
Two hours later, I get a call from the property management company saying that the landlord has decided NOT to sell {for various reasons}, and they extended my lease for another year!!! I couldn’t believe it. I fell down on my knees and thanked God.
 
The power of practicing deep-felt, humble and honest gratitude no matter what the current circumstances are. Some might think it’s coincidence, but I believe it was God’s hand — he is in the details, even property litigation.
 
You don’t have to be a Christian to practice gratitude—it’s not a spiritual thing, but it does make a difference in your life. Daily gratitude can improve your health: better sleep, more energy, less stress and lowered blood pressure—even extend your lifespan. It also makes us nicer, more social, more appreciative; it can even help us make more friends, deepen existing relationships, and improve marriages. *source*
 
All it takes is 5 minutes a day to rewire your brain, and only 3 weeks to develop it as a lifetime habit. By practicing being aware of the good things in our life, we train our brain to keep the negative thoughts away, becoming more positive and happier in our life—which takes less energy than being negative and miserable. Plus, being grateful just feels good—all sunshiney, warm and fuzzy.
 
And would you believe, during this time, I got an infographic project from Visual.ly {for Huffington Post/American Greetings} about the affects of gratitude on our body?! God has a funny sense of humor.
 
The Effects of Gratitude by dezinegirl creative studio for Visual.ly

The Effects of Gratitude by dezinegirl creative studio for Visual.ly