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What Are You Thankful For?

I was thinking recently about gratitude. My friend Laurie, who is also an expat from the states (originally from San Francisco) and lives around the corner from me in Hannover, Germany, gave me the idea for this post so I owe the whole gratitude idea to her. You see recently, she held an event for ladies who  live in Hannover (but are from another country) to get together for dinner and networking – I even met a few decor8 readers which was a lovely surprise! It was such a special evening to be with ladies from all parts of the globe — Brazil, America, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands… but in addition to having friendly chats and exchanging information about our new culture, language, lifestyle — Laurie gave us each a piece of paper and spoke for a moment about gratitude. What was the paper for? Well I’ll get to that.

Sunday Suppers

Laurie (who is a change management consultant who works for high profile companies) told us that when people normally relocate it is easy for them, especially when grouped together with others who have relocated as well, to start complaining and conversations can quickly become quite negative as a result. This is one reason why I’ve not yet joined a local expat group — I’ve heard that people in these groups can be big whiners and that’s just not my style. I believe that the more you complain, the more negativity you invite into your life and the more your complaints turn into reality. I also believe that complainers receive less help – people usually want to help those whom they like and complainers tend to have fewer friends. What do you think?

Now back to this inspiring dinner party with Laurie…

She tactfully explained to our group that it’s best to concentrate on what we have in our new culture, versus the things we may miss, and then she asked us to write down what we are thankful for… what do we have currently in our life that we love? Specifically, she asked us what we love about living in our new city. My list covered both sides of my index card and I quickly filled it, which told me something instantly — that I found a great spot to live and work!

The other ladies didn’t realize it (I was discreet), but I took notice of who had to really sit there and think about things to list vs. those who quickly listed their favorite things. I wondered if the ones who quickly wrote their list vs. those who had to really think about what they were thankful have a happier expat experience because they are naturally seeing the good things? Or? It also made think that perhaps by making regular mental notes (and from time to time making them on paper, too) that we all should remind ourselves what we are currently thankful for, what we love about our life, our personality, our home, our city, our job, those close to us… I think being thankful makes us less prone to negative thinking and gives life more meaning. We shouldn’t have to suffer an extreme hardship before we start to appreciate what we have, right?

And so, since yesterday was Turkey Day in America and many of you still have bellies full of pumpkin pie, perhaps it is a nice time to reflect on what you have currently that makes you feel grateful. What Are You Thankful For? I’d love to see some of your lists, would you mind sharing with me in the comments section below? I think writing a list publicly reinforces our feelings and also encourages others to look on the bright side and be more thankful too. Care to participate? I will join you with my list in the comments section below… You may also answer this question publicly on your blog and then leave a link to your blog post in the comments below – it’s up to you.

I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts! :)

(image: Sunday Suppers, a supper club I’m dying to attend someday in Brooklyn that also has a new blog!)

Posted in real talk on November 26, 2010
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Beautiful Norwegian Home

Would you like to see a lovely Norwegian home today? I was so excited when fellow design blogger, Siw Haveland of Design Shimmer in Norway, wrote in to ask if she could share 12 corners of her home with decor8 readers today. Of course! Of course!

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

My favorite corner – this is so charming! Everything about it speaks to me…

I’m always keen on sharing inspirational, cozy spaces that ooze with charm and creativity — so let’s see what Siw’s gorgeous home looks like. This was shot by Oslo-based photographer Sandra Aslaksen and some of these images recently appeared in Norwegian design magazine, Bonytt but other than that, they’re pretty new to the web so we’re all pretty lucky to have this pretty place to check out today. Thank you Siw for sharing your home with us…

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

Her floors look a lot like mine, I have these amazing chevron-patterned wooden floor myself (called technically, herringbone floors). I like the fresh green accents, unexpected and great in a mostly neutral space.

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

What a clear, modern entryway. This is such a great welcoming space, don’t you think? The twinkle lights were the perfect addition. I love how everything Siw does is super affordable and creative. With very little, she does so much!

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

I adore this dressing table, the gorgeous high heels lined up on the floor, the white wooden floors, the mirror, the lamp… okay, ALL OF IT. It’s one of those spaces that makes me feel like it’s just the best thing in the world to be a girly girl.

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

Her tactile, feminine bed covers have to be the most beautiful ones that I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that. I have a crochet coverlet, a vintage one, in white but it’s no where are detailed and amazing as Siw’s cover. I also love that big creamy beige throw on top. It’s such an inviting spread. The rug is perfect as well, I have 3 of them in my home — I love warm, cozy rugs. I also like her closet-as-headboard. Very different and this works perfectly if you have lots of pretty clothes like she does in many different colors and patterns.

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

I like her use of linens and the wooden “DS” for the name of her blog, Design Shimmer, on her inspiration board. I also have a board in the same size that I’ve leaned against the wall in my new workspace too, I have to show you it when I finish my workspace. I’m getting there! Soon!

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

And here is the pretty homeowner and her great glasses. I just love her look, she matches her home I think – don’t you?

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

If you didn’t catch this arrangement of jewelry above her dressing table a few images above, then you can see a closer view… this is a simple wire hanger transformed into a place to display her necklaces. Now this is absolutely budget-friendly!

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

Siw is not scared to mix high and low – in this example an IKEA cabinet with a mid century classic chair and a Kartell Bourgie lamp.

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

And here’s a view of the entire room where that lovely Kartell lamp is on the IKEA cabinet. It seems she used three of those lockers to form a credenza of sorts – what a clever idea!

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

Here’s a view of her very, very white kitchen. Wow!

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

Do you spot anything above that you are particularly drawn to? Anything you’d like to try at home?

I’m always looking to share inspirational homes on decor8, so if you have one — send some photos to me (decor8blog at yahoo dot com) and I’ll check them out for sure! :)

(images: sandra aslaksen)

Posted in Home Tours, uncategorized on November 25, 2010

Ivy & Piper Online Magazine

Would you like to experience another fab interiors e-magazine? Of course you would! We can never get enough of all of these fabulous online magazines can we? I love flipping through their digital pages to see what’s on the design radars of people from around the world. This time we’re peeking in on Ivy & Piper, a new online mag from an Australian interior design duo, Melanie and Elizabeth, who met at design school and realized they shared an aesthetic and now years later, decided to launch a magazine together. They also have a line of pillows, lighting and table linens that you can purchase on their website, too. I love that! Want to check out some of their pages? Here’s a glimpse…

Ivy & Piper e-mag

Ivy & Piper e-mag

Ivy & Piper e-mag

Ivy & Piper e-mag

To view more of this lovely Ivy & Piper magazine on Issuu, click here. To shop for their pillows and things, visit their beautiful website. Enjoy!

(images: ivy & piper)

Posted in Books + Magazines on November 24, 2010

Paula Arntzen – Lighting Love

How truly amazing are the Petit Trianon and Grand Trianon lights from Dutch artist and designer Paula Arntzen? They are available through Artecnica and their list of exclusive retailers — I’m hoping they have one in Germany because I am dying to buy one for my office or living room because it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. Have you heard of Artecnica before? If not, they are a design company in L.A. that collaborates with both emerging and established international designers and together they create inspiring decorative objects for the home and workplace. Can you imagine this light in your home office? I can! Totally!

Paula Arntzen - Lighting Love

About these lovely Trianon lights Artecnica explains, “Named after the palace of King Louis XIV, Grand Trianon is a large, lightweight chandelier made of post-consumer coated Tyvek. When lit up, the Grand Trianon emits a soft checkerboard glow from behind its surface of folded slits.” The Petit Trianon is a smaller, detailed version with identical texture and pattern.

Paula Arntzen - Lighting Love

Paula says of her inspiration behind these lights, “Both lights are a result of a unique experience I had at the Palace of Versailles combined with my love for this elegant material”. What a lovely design, I can’t wait to get my hands on one someday, what a lovely score that would be!

(images: paula arntzen)

Posted in lighting on November 23, 2010

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