Hello everyone! How are you? I’m doing great! Today I’m off to the farmers’ market to buy some lovely “props” for my home – tomorrow and Friday we are doing shoots here for my next book which releases on my birthday next year, March 21, so I have to get the photos in asap so they make the book. I’ve been too ill up until now to style and shoot anything, so I’m glad my head is above water enough so I can work. This is such an important book to me – it’s going to be really unique and full of color, I just know that you will love it.
Leslie Shewring and I have been working non-stop since May – so we’re about ready to wrap it up now and move on to other projects – so we’re in the twilight stages. We just can’t wait to see it in the upcoming months printed and ready to go out into the world. Next year will be an exciting time for me with a new baby arriving in January, a book in March and then a book launch party in London in May with some book tours and stuff to follow. I really want to bring the baby to the launch party in London – though it will be so tiny, I think it would be wonderful to share something so special with someone so special – and to have the baby meet everyone and be in one of my favorite cities – bliss! I have so many dear friends in London, I’d love to share the joy and also to meet my uncle who lives nearby. So we’ll see. It’s only a 50 minute flight and depending on the baby’s sleep schedule, we’ll know by May whether or not a plane ride is feasible and good for the health of the little one. If not, no problem – I’ll leave little cutie with daddy and escape for a day or two on my own. We’ll just have to see how I feel and where I’m at in May. Still a long way off…
Oh and by the way… My ultrasound yesterday went wonderfully and we found out that though I’m still not gaining any weight, the baby is growing and is the right size, kicking around and doing so beautifully. My doctor said the growth is perfect according to the charts. Yay! I’m not nearly as nauseous (though I still have nausea) either, which is such a relief. I laugh because I thought by now I’d be a beached whale but I lost 20 lbs and look great – though it’s obvious when you look at my stomach that I’m pregnant. The doctor thinks she knows the gender but wasn’t sure because of the position the baby was in during the u/s – so we will know when I have the 3D u/s in two weeks during my 21st week. I have to say, Germans have no problem giving regular ultrasounds – I think I’ve had 5 already and I’m only 19 weeks! Here you have to see your doctor every 4 weeks and then towards the end of December, I’ll have to go weekly. They monitor pregnancy closely here and watch for every possible sign of problems. What she predicts though, gender-wise, made me smile because I’ve had this funny intuition from the start that came naturally but I’m happy either way so I don’t care what the gender is. My mother didn’t know when I was born if I’d be a boy or girl, but she knew instinctively that she was having a girl so when I was born and the nurse told my mother, “It’s a girl!”, she said she replied, “I know, and her name is Holly Elizabeth”. She said the nurse was surprised and my mother told her she knew from the first day she found out she was pregnant. Funny! When it comes to gender, maybe I would care if I already had children and for instance, had 3 boys – I may want a girl. Or vice versa. But when it’s your first, how can you really have a strong preference either way? I just want a healthy child who is happy and who thrives in our home. I know that even u/s can be inaccurate with determining the gender, so I’ve decided to go neutral in the nursery so that if there are any surprises at birth, I can swap out accent colors and not be bothered with it. And that works for me because that’s my design style in the rest of the house anyway.
I’m also planning to buy clothing that can go either way, boy or girl, so I have the necessities at the hospital to wrap my little bundle in so if there is a surprise, we are prepared and not putting a girl in a boy’s outfit or a boy in a little Liberty dress. Though, hey, anything goes these days right?! It will be the dead of winter so I’ll need to bring a few things to the hospital though so the baby has proper attire. I’m not a big planner and tend to be really spontaneous, so I have to admit that thinking ahead about any of this is a trip for me – I’m just not a planner type, but I guess this will come with parenting and also with parenting in Germany where everything is timed with precision and planned so expertly. Up until now though, I’m pretty relaxed about the whole thing. Plus, I have a wonderful midwife so I have an expert to go to for all of my questions because though internet opinions are well-intended, I am keeping my circle pretty tight when it comes to who I’m listening to when it comes to advice. And thank god because the internet is full of wannabe medical experts!
I want to wish you a lovely day – I’ll be back with some more posts later on. I have a new recipe for a delicious Fig and Raspberry Frangipane Tart to share from Jillian Leiboff, a second recipe and video to share from Liz & Jewels, a new contributor to tell you about whom I’ve signed on for a year to do home tours on decor8, and lots more to talk about. See you later! xo
(image: holly becker)
Hello everyone! Today is Labor Day in the US and though I live in Germany, I still observe American holidays so I’ve elected to take today off to begin organizing my home for some upcoming projects. And tomorrow is the BIG DAY… The big ultrasound! I can’t wait to know if I’m having a boy or a girl but more importantly, to check in on the baby and make sure all is well. I have no idea about the gender, some moms instinctively know but I haven’t been able to determine that at all yet. I wonder if any of you had a feeling and then you were right? I am 50/50 – and thrilled in either case.
Today it is cloudy in Hannover, but a happy kind of cloudy. And very cool outside, though we are promised a heat wave at the end of the week so I’m basking in the moody weather today with candles on and favorite French tunes playing in the background. I’m beginning to sort things in my studio and prepare my home for Fall. It’s a ritual I enjoy each year, the big shift, and I love it very much. I’m actually ready for Fall now, are you? I crave all of that cool weather and crunchy leaves, comforting hot drinks and warm blankets and clothing. This year is a little different though, as I am planning a total redux at home since I’ve missed changing things up (haven’t redecorated since 2010) and feel a huge need to make some changes. I never go this long before I alter rooms at home, but now with a baby on the way, I am more motivated that ever to simplify and organize so that I can enjoy my home more this winter when the little one arrives.
The only thing I cannot do now, that is really hard to hold myself back from doing, is to push my furniture around! Argh! This bit drives me crazy because I love moving furniture but it’s not advisable when pregnant to move 300lb bookcases, is it?! So I guess I will be asking my husband and his body builder friend to come by as I play the role of bossy bear and point to stuff. Now that I think about it, that actually doesn’t sound so bad. :)
Have a nice day!
Hello again dear friends. Last night we had an amazing LIVE 60 minute Twitter party and it was such a great event. So many showed up and left us blown away with so many thoughtful and informative answers to 5 questions that the editors of Couch Magazine asked me and then the “panel” which consisted of ALL involved in this party, or chat (you can see lots of those who took part pinned here). It was nice because not only could I give my advice but I could enjoy the great comments rapidly streaming in. The chat was so fast but I used Twubs #decor8couch on “Slowest” for the feed speed because tweets were literally flying in!
Here are the questions and my answers for the chat in case you missed it. Couch will do a full summary on their blog in the upcoming weeks.
Where do you find ideas and inspiration? My answers:
* I pay attention to what I naturally respond to. It can be anything, a film, a shop or a magazine. Everything holds a clue.
* Inspiration may be everywhere, but it still takes EFFORT to filter out the good stuff that ultimately means something to you.
* Look inside of every cloud.Inspiration can come in times of great despair. Allow hard times to open your heart to new ideas.
* Many say “inspiration is everywhere” and while true, it does take effort to filter out the good stuff. What inspires you may not inspire me
2) How can you develop your personal style? My answers:
* Develop self confidence and personal style will follow. If you don’t believe in your ideas, how can you share them?
* Filter! Edit! Be picky with what you look at. Follow only those who inspire you, read what inspires you, pin what you love.
* Avoid copying the personal style of someone else or becoming a trend slave. Stay true to what naturally attracts you.
* Style is about being authentic, bold, confident. Embrace what you love, who cares to impress others? Be totally unapologetic
* Be kind to yourself. Learn, and appreciate, your talents. Style flows when you know what you’re good at.
* Read foreign design/fashion mags, travel, follow taste makers, attend workshops with other creative people, start a blog.
3) What are some tips on how to style & photograph your home that would be helpful for bloggers?My answers:
* Find images that fit your style aesthetic and study placement and angles. You can learn a lot through careful observation.
* Learn basic design 101 principles. Buy design books that are very informative and that show rooms you love.
* Top stylists know how to edit or when to stop “adding”. Learn when enough is enough and show restraint for the best photos.
* Display only favorite things and store the rest. Declutter before shooting. Hide cords and trash cans. Clean surfaces.
* Don’t overload surfaces with “stuff”. Find the focal point of the room and focus there. Think of the story you want to tell.
* Shoot from the belly button or waist, not at eye level, when shooting room views. Don’t shoot “down” into a room, or “up”.
* Remove objects that overlap other objects in the photo for cleaner shots. Add life: fowers, a pet, plants, a cup of tea.
* Buy a DSLR if you can afford it then invest in a great lens. Take a photography class. Volunteer to assist a stylist.
* Learn how to REALLY USE your camera. Turn off lights, natural light only. No flash! Use a tripod if lighting isn’t optimal.
4) What makes a room perfect? My answers:
* When I turn the key, drop my bags and stand in my entryway feeling like there is no place I’d rather be than in my space.
* Home decor affects everything: job performance, relationships, stress levels. Not just about aesthetics, but peace of mind.
* When you learn “perfect” doesn’t exist and embrace imperfection as ideal. When you stop trying so hard.When you are content.
* Experiment, express yourself, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t strive for perfect, strive for personal.
* When a home is unique, personal, and has a feeling of comfort. A space filled with love, acceptance and thoughtful style.
* When a visitor says, “Your home is exactly as I imagined, it’s an accurate reflection of you and decor8, I love it here.”
5) Little changes, huge effect – how can you make small rooms look larger on a budget?My answers:
* Don’t let any space go unused. Consider clever storage ideas. Work with ceiling height to create vertical storage solutions.
* Create zones in multipurpose areas. If living room is also for dining, put a rug beneath each zone to define the space.
* Avoid dark wall colors unless you use a dramatic color on one accent wall. Keep the rest light and bright.
* Avoid furniture that sits against the floor. For an airy feel, opt for pieces with visible legs so you can see the floor.
* Don’t be too stressed over how small your space is. A home is like your body type and wardrobe, accentuate the positives.
We also have a winner selected a random, Laura Redburn from Cardboard Cities, who will receive a free seat (valued at $129) in the next Blogging Your Way e-course in October/November this year. In fact the collage above is from her blog and shows the art of Ryan Pickart. Isn’t his work stunning? I cannot take my eyes off of it. Congratulations, Laura!!
Thank you again to everyone who was involved in our chat! xo
If you would like to add your own answers to the questions above, please do so below. We’d all really love your input, too!
(images: art of ryan pickart)
It’s Friday, it’s Friday! Woo hoo! How are you doing today? I’m really excited for this weekend to come and go because on Tuesday, we will have that big ultrasound that will let us know if we are welcoming a baby boy or a baby girl in January. Monday begins week 19, I’m pretty much halfway through pregnancy already and so extremely in love with being pregnant – despite that the first 16 weeks were hell on earth with illness. It’s been better but I’m still nauseous daily and feeling only momentary bursts of energy.
I’m definitely no where near feeling the amazing energy that everyone promised me would be the case right now. But I do have a bump (which I’m quite proud of) and I have had some friends rub my belly (which I love) so I know I’m looking a little pregnant by now which is really nice. I bought and wore my first maternity dress and though the stomach part has plenty of room to grow into, I’m in love with my stylish gray knit dress. It will look so cute with tights and boots this Fall. I think being pregnant is wonderful, it’s like you can finally not give a crap about your weight. You can love seeing your stomach get larger without guilt and when people see it, they don’t think, “Oh boy, lay off the chips”, they think, “Ahhhhh she’s pregnant, how cute!”. How can anyone not love being adored for having a big stomach?
My appetite has returned but only a little – though I’m not losing more weight so that’s good. I was worried for awhile after I dropped 20 pounds in my first trimester. Yet, I’m only growing in my tummy – no where else – and only slightly, a pound or two. The best thing is that I crave salad, quiche, fruit and healthy drinks. Everything else turns me off. I can eat salmon and eggs but not chicken or turkey. I haven’t had cheese in months, no desire for it. I don’t eat bread, it turns me off whenever I see bread or sweets in the bakery. Candy repulses me – like I cannot have a tiny piece of chocolate without feeling like I’m going to spiral down into total nausea again. If I even think of pasta I feel queasy, so none of that either. It makes me laugh because this baby seems to be whipping mommy here into great health and good shape because I only crave healthy stuff. Ice cream also makes me sick, imagine!? I definitely am the exception when it comes to pregnancy cravings, all of my girlfriends only wanted sweet food, or salty food, or both. And they ate and ate constantly, some craved McDonalds and other craved cake and candy. But here I am, craving a big slice of watermelon.
Could be worse. And for this I am actually quite grateful.
I have so much to plan now that I am close to hitting the halfway mark. Organizing my home. Cleaning out the room that will become the nursery. Buying furniture for the baby, and other necessary things… Touring and selecting the hospital. Etc. etc. etc. I have a lovely midwife now and the program in Germany allows for you to have your midwife and your OB/GYN working with you simultaneously whenever you need them throughout pregnancy, then after the baby arrives, insurance here covers 100% for the midwife coming daily to the house for the first 10 days after birth to coach you on everything from breastfeeding to changing diapers, and they can administer acupressure or acupuncture, etc. After those 10 days, you are allowed up to 16 more paid home visits by your midwife for the first 6 months. I will also be receiving free post natal therapy for getting my body into good shape, flattening my stomach and feeling good again after the birth. It’s such a beautiful arrangement for which I am so grateful! If we were below a certain income level (which we are not), we would also get money every month from the government called “Kinder Geld” to cover expenses for the child from diapers to babysitting services and whatever else. It’s amazing how the German government has these special services in place for families.
So that is my pregnancy update! The moment we find out the gender, I’ll let you know. I can’t wait to begin shopping for adorable little mini outfits. Until now, I’ve purchased nothing for the baby but I’m getting ready to begin ordering sweet stuff the second I know what we’re having. I still don’t have names decided, though I do have a very short list, yet nothing is coming to me yet… Maybe later right? There is still plenty of time!
I’ll be back in a moment with another post or two before I let you go for the weekend. See you soon!
HOW ARE YOU DOING?!?
(image: holly becker)