Speaking of Megan over at Beach Bungalow 8, after reading her blog this morning I’m wishing I could be in California in breezy white linen pants, a sleeveless silk blouse, and some pretty silver sandals shopping by the sea at Gum Tree, located in Hermosa Beach, CA. Wow. Megan blogged it awhile back and describes the interior as, “beachy, sophisticated, laid back” and I’m smitten. California dreaming…. This is totally my style. Love all the white, the stripes, the trunk as a coffee table, so very charming, bright, and energetic.
(images from gum tree, taken by simon harsent)
It’s time for our weekly Creativity column on decor8! Last week we discussed mind mapping and some of us went back to childhood for ideas and inspiration. I remember hearing once that sometime you have to go backwards in order to continue moving ahead. Interesting thought, which is why I think mind mapping is pretty important. Did you get a chance to pull together your own mind map? Do you feel it helped you? Did some of your childhood interests surprise you?
In trying to decide what to talk about today, I imagined myself feeling totally uninspired and drained… What do I usually do on days when I feel anything but creative? You know, when ideas are not flowing, one feels bored to death with work or life in general. It happens to us all. How do I begin to pull myself out of a creative rut? How do I stop negative thoughts from taking root and ruining my day?
Exercise. Whether it’s stretching for 20 minutes or hitting the gym, the positive impact of regular exercise on physiological functions has been extensively studied and confirmed — Exercise boosts creativity!
A simple walk around the block is refreshing and a good way to clear your mind. If I’m outdoors I like to focus on observing instead of participating by paying attention to the sights, sounds, colors, and patterns around me. Sometimes I bring along a camera or a recording device to capture a part of my walk that I find inspiring, whether it’s a building or a conversation that I heard in passing. It doesn’t have to be a sweaty gym routine. A simple walk is nice. Just getting outside to be alone and absorb my surroundings is often all it takes. And I always make sure that I turn off my cell – it’s ME time.
Many successful creative people exercise regularly to recharge and shift their thinking from the negative to the positive. They are first to admit that they have control over their emotions and can choose whether or not to feel bad, uninspired, etc. They take responsibility for their feelings and decide to feel good and if they don’t, they do whatever they can to make that feeling happen in a safe and healthy way.
Whether it’s Yoga, a walk around the block, or a sweat-a-thon at the gym I know first hand that creativity flourishes when exercise is part of my daily routine. When I was in Germany for 5 months, I walked 3-4 miles daily and during that time creative ideas flowed like crazy, I was super productive, and I exceeded a lot of the goals that I had set for myself each week. It was amazing, what a high when you feel 100% in control of your life and creative ideas come naturally! Now that I’m back in the snowy, freezing New Hampshire countryside with no sidewalks and strapped inside of a car all of the time, I walk 4 miles a week (2 weekly gym visits) and I’m not feeling nearly as creative. I see a connection between creativity and exercise in my own life. Maybe you can think about your daily routine. I’m certainly going to make changes, I started this morning when I went to the gym and as a result I feel very creative and alert today.
But enough about me. I thought it would encourage us all to speak to an Interior Designer based in Manhattan Beach, CA who is also a blogger and who keeps her creativity high through regular exercise. Megan Arquette authors the blog Beach Bungalow 8 and exercises 5-6 days a week (an hour daily) despite her busy schedule. Ideally she’ll do 30-40 minutes of cardio (running or swimming) and 30 minutes of weights during a single session. Megan wants to eventually fit in road biking or stand-up paddle boarding (standing on a long wide surfboard while paddling) into her future routines. Go, Megan!
decor8: You’re an Interior Designer and blogger who apparently loves to exercise but I’m dying to know… did you ever hate it and if so, how did you motivate yourself to change?
Megan: I only hate it when I haven’t been disciplined, taken a week off and then know it’s going to get worse before it gets better. I’ve always fed myself the line that “even a slow, 20 minutes of running is better than nothing”. Once I’m out there, moving, zen-ing out, I’m always so thankful.
Holly: Let’s say you are blogging, or really into your design work and you notice that you’ve skipped exercise how do you handle that?
Megan: That’s really about making excuses. I can, realistically, always carve out 30 minutes to do some kind of workout. If I need to brainstorm, or I’m stuck on an idea, exercise provides the perfect time to allow the mind to ‘still’ itself and the creativity to get flowing.
Holly: What are some foods that help boost your creativity and make you feel great?
Megan: I need lots of protein, so I always have string cheese, turkey or hard boiled eggs in my fridge. I love cooking, I’m not that skilled, but I love creating something for someone and sitting down to share it. We were recently given a tagine. Not knowing what to do with this beautiful, conical, cooking vessel, I researched some Middle Eastern recipes that called for all sorts of combinations of exotic spices and proteins. Cooking is such a fun, fruitful and creative process.
Holly: If you belong to a gym how do you motivate yourself to go?
Megan: Well, I actually like going to the gym, I’ve never really needed motivation. I get more done when I’m there. But I will try and mix it up a bit by taking classes. I’ve input the classes that I like on my phone’s calendar with an alarm that sounds 2 hours before. This way, I can wrap up what I’m doing and get my mind readied for a good hour of hard work.
Holly: What are some exercise tips that you’d like to share with those currently not involved in a routine?
Megan: Don’t over do it in the beginning, you’ll become discouraged. No excuses. If you miss one day, go a bit longer the next few days. Keep at it and you will see change. Most of all, be kind to yourself. Don’t look in the mirror and beat yourself up. Love your body, no matter what it ‘appears’ to be ( believe me when I say these things, I’ve been there. I gained over 50 pounds with each of my pregnancies so the I know what it feels like to want to just give up before you begin) Also, go buy something you look good in and feel good wearing at the gym. Even if it’s a great pair of running shoes. The ego boost is priceless.
I’m happy that we discussed exercise this week because I believe that once you have a regular routine you are in a better place to start thinking about goals and dreams. How does regular exercise help you to feel more creative? Do you have a regular routine? What do you do? Have you been making excuses to not exercise and feel badly about it? Have you ever connected exercise to creativity? Did this topic encourage you today?
(images from megan arquette)
Three words for this: Pimp my piano. Okay four. NOW. This is amazing. When I grow up I want to be Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos and live in the land of crochet pianos… Talk about doily love. This takes the doily to a whole new level. I so want something like this for my white flat screen television to give it some texture so it looks less plastic fantastic.
(image from joana vasconcelos via: beijoterias )
The second you hear the words Danish and Design in the same sentence I’m willing to bet beautiful images come to mind. What do you imagine? I see large rooms, clutter-free living, and a great sense of style and an attention to detail that feels very relaxed — like it all just fell into place without much thought. I also think of Tine K Home, a lifestyle shop based in Denmark that I’ve raved about here before. Time for more.
I did a little drive by today (it’s a site that I frequent with hopes of finding new content) and noticed their current 122 page catalog that you can browse right here while enjoying your afternoon tea (or coffee) at work today. Looking at the catalog made me feel inspired and depressed. I realized that I really need to get my act together.
I’ll start by asking you… what decorating plans do you have this year? I’ve vowed to clean things up a bit starting with my wall space. Just glancing at Tine K Home today made my resolution a bit stronger: time to remove all of my art, spackle, sand and paint the walls, and then install only my absolute favorite pieces of work to display vs. the current batch I have fighting for attention. I especially want to make this change in my home office because the spot above my desk contains an inspiration board and 2 calendars, 3 original pieces of art, a paper wreath, a screenprint (framed), a framed photograph, a gocco print, and (yes another and), this tiny faux deer head. I’m not happy with this massive inspiration board which is really just a cluttered wall that is NOT providing any inspiration at all. It’s one big blob of color, texture and pattern — all very beautiful things but nothing stands out. Must. Change. ASAP. I don’t know if you’ve done it before but get this, I make an effort — I TRY to avoid looking at the wall because it makes me feel overwhelmed, confused and out of balance. When I’m working I keep my eyes on my desk because glancing up disturbs my flow. Not good. I need to simplify so I can think.
In fact I’m going to start paying more attention to the visual clutter in my home, from the soap I use on my dishes to the shampoo in my shower. I have always paid close attention to product packaging but this year I want to step it up and make sure that everything I purchase that can be seen is not competing with something else in the room affecting the overall harmony of the space.
I know, you’re sitting there thinking I’ve lost my mind and you are right. That’s the problem. I am losing my mind amidst all this stuff. I never realized this was a problem until I came back from Germany in December. I noticed that I felt so much more at ease and even more creative in my German apartment because I have about 70% less there. The look is clean, bright, serene. I discovered that is exactly how I currently need to live to do my best work.
So those are my current plans in my home – to scale down, remove, de-clutter, have less on the walls but more peace in my heart.
Now let’s get back to the regularly scheduled program: Tine K Home. I see lots of black, pale pink, gray, purple and green tones, mochas, plaids, stripes, attention to detail (embroidery, crochet work, etc.), natural wood, and subtle ethnic influence… Ah. Breathing space.
(images from tine k home)