Recap: Colorful + Chic Harlem Digs

Hey Folks! How have you been? I'm still juggling my day job with my business and hoping to cross over soon to full-time business (*fingers crossed*, *hands clasped*). I've also been busy creating an undergraduate class, The Social Psychology of Clothing, and am excited about the prospects of teaching it. Hopefully, more on that soon. But today, I wanted to feed your senses with some serious home eye candy. Last month, I had the opportunity to tour the home of interior decorator, Minetta Archer, for Houzz. Minetta has a way of mixing color, patterns, and texture in such a wonderfully refreshing way. I don't doubt that she is on her way to becoming a powerhouse in the world of colorful interiors.

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And her home is not the only thing that stood out during the tour. Her colorful outfit was a perfect complement to her home, and it made me think about how our wardrobes and interiors can really enhance the other. Minetta's outfit is classic bohemian chic with a fabulous yellow top and ethnic patterned head-wrap. I couldn't help but notice that she looks exactly like where she lives. If I just saw her on the street, I'd imagine she was going home to an global chic decor with lots of color and texture, just like her outfit.

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I've been really interested in ways to use interiors and clothes as a catalyst to the life you desire, and I see such great benefits in using your clothes and home to positively reinforce the other. I mean, shouldn't we look like where we live? Shouldn't our home look like us? At it's best, both our home and wardrobe provide us with opportunities to express our creative selves and reveal a lot about our emotional lives.

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So if your home was exactly the way you wanted it to be, what would your wardrobe look like as an extension of that aesthetic? I love classic furniture pieces mixed with the unexpected and pops of color; and that is how I'd describe my wardrobe as well. But if you haven't thought much about this, it may be good to consider, particularly if you think your home is doing way better than your wardrobe, or vice versa. You can look for clues in your home to build the wardrobe you want. If you like color, neutrals, and/or pastels in your home, you may like those colors for your clothes too.

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And the reverse is also true. If you have a fanciful or a modern wardrobe, maybe you'd like a similar aesthetic for your interior. In essence, use the confidence you have in one to build confidence in the other. Agree? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

See the full tour here.

 

 

Recap: Modern + Fun NYC Studio

Hi There! This week I wanted to share with you a house I toured over the holidays. It's the home of interior designer, Molly Torres. She lives in NYC with her fiance, Hary Portnof. Molly's home is modern, young and fun, and right next door to the Empire State Building (definitely a wow factor)! But one of the things I really enjoyed about Molly's home is the passion she put into decorating it. Creating a home you're passionate about is really a catalyst for a passionate life, wouldn't you say?  According to design psychology, a home that fulfills your aesthetic, social, and psychological needs, to name a few, encourages you to be more fully expressive in other areas of your life, both personally and professionally.

Molly's passion for her home is reflected in her attention to detail, and the creative ways she has made the physical challenges of the space work for her and Harry. When Molly first moved in, the space was more like a dorm room. But guided by her vision, she turned the 520 square foot studio into a chic home with clearly delineated spaces that both her and her Harry love. See some pics from the tour below:

I love the way Molly incorporated her fiancé's love of music (he is a music producer) with her more feminine aesthetic. Being able to decorate for everyone in the home goes a long way with fostering in them, a sense of pride and belonging. For me, it's been a challenge to incorporate my husband's interests, particularly since the aesthetics of home have not been a priority for him. But I've realized it's not so much about how attuned others who share your space, are with the aesthetics, as it is about allowing them to be reflected in the home in some way that is aesthetically and psychologically pleasing to everyone.

 How challenging has it been for you to incorporate the style or tastes of those you live with?

See the full article on Houzz.

These pictures originally appeared on March 13, 2017, on Houzz.

Recap: Charming Folksy Style in Brooklyn

Touring homes for Houzz has become one of my favorite things to do. I consider myself to be a keeper of stories, and my understanding of others has been enhanced because of it. As a psychologist, I've gotten to hear stories about others' emotional life, and as an interior design writer I get to hear about their emotional life as it's reflected in their home. To be able to go into people's homes, hear their home stories, and document all this is important to them is not a privilege I take lightly. 

Last month I had the opportunity to tour the home of an Etsy seller at Mamakea Vintage, and her boyfriend, a vintage tech-recycler. Not only were they a cool couple to work with, but their home personifies their free-spirited, creative approach to life. It's filled with keepsakes, chotchkies from their many road trips, and vintage technology. Even if folksy isn't your thing, it's hard not to admire the way they have been able to use their home as an extension of everything that is important to them-- being environmentally conscious, celebrating their ancestry, and furnishing their home with objects that hold personal meaning. Here are a few pics I took from the tour.

Clearly the plants are the star of this homey pad.  There's just something about plants in a home— they give it life, serenity, and the sense that the residents are truly caring individuals.

Read the full article on Houzz.

These pictures originally appeared on December 27, 2016, on Houzz.

Recap: Coping With Difficult Relatives Over the Holidays

Hey folks! When The Everygirl asked me to write about ways to cope with difficult relatives over this holiday season, I wanted to be able to share all that I've learned in hopes that it would make someone's family holiday gathering just a little more pleasant. I think it's a topic that's relevant to a lot of us who have had to brace ourselves for dealing with those relatives that require an extra dose of inner strength. Some of us grow up with an impression of what a near perfect family should be, and it can be hard not to use it as a barometer for our own family experience. Others of us just want a functioning family, never mind perfect. Whatever your family challenges are, there may be some comfort in knowing that you are not your family. Still each of us has a unique impact on our family dynamics, and we can learn to interact with relatives, especially difficult ones, in ways that facilitate our own inner growth. Here are a few tips I mentioned in the article:

1. Deck the halls with self-reflection

What do you think your reaction to your difficult relatives says about you? This may be an easy question to answer for some, and more difficult for others. But it is a question worth answering if you want to learn a little more about yourself. I’ve had relatives who embarrassed me to no end, and I realized it was mostly because I felt they were a reflection of me. I had difficulty disassociating my identity from theirs and felt invested in making sure they were more perfect so I could appear to be, too. This type of self-understanding helped me to address personal issues such as my inclination to feel responsible for family issues outside of my control, and may do the same for you. 

2. Put a label on it

What do you think is wrong with your relatives? Are they pompous, untrustworthy, bullies? Maybe they have a legitimate personality problem. Whatever it is, label it. While I normally wouldn’t recommend boxing people into categories, in this context we can take a cue from doctors who use this method to make it a little easier to understand and manage patient symptoms. Trying to attach a label to your difficult relative's “symptoms” may be a helpful way to detach yourself, and see your relative’s behavior more objectively. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend sharing this label with the difficult relative unless you are looking for a full-force blow out. But used for your own purposes, it can create a healthy distance between you and the difficult relative, and may make it easier to not take it so personally. 

3. Wear their shoes

Perhaps taking an empathic stance might minimize your negative reactions towards difficult relatives. Do you know how your difficult relative got to be so difficult? Maybe they had a challenging childhood. Maybe they feel misunderstood and cope by lashing out. Or just maybe they are trying to connect with you and don’t know how. Whatever it is, knowing a little bit about them adds a different dimension to their behaviors that may make them a little easier to tolerate. 

4. Check your perspective

If you are anticipating a stressful family holiday gathering due to one or more difficult relatives, you are probably thinking of all the ways they are going to get on your nerves. This does nothing to put you in the holiday spirit, and may make you anxious and uptight. But if you want to have a better attitude about it, engage in a relaxing activity like exercising or journaling before the gathering to get you physically and emotionally prepared to deal with the family chaos. Relaxing allows you to think more clearly so that when your difficult relatives come at you, you are better prepared to deal with them. 

Read the full article on The Everygirl.

This article originally appeared December 14, 2016, on The Everygirl.

 

 

Dining Room Inspiration: Island Luxe

My dining room is coming together slowly but surely. It's big on the slow part and small on the surely, but it's getting there. So when Chairish asked me to create a mood board for their social media showing how I would style my dining room using mismatched chairs, I was happy to do it. Although I haven't decided whether or not I'll use mismatched chairs in my dining room, looking for different chairs was a great exercise to help me discover what I'm drawn to. After looking at countless dining chairs, light fixtures, and other dining room furnishings, I came up with an eclectic mix (no surprises there) of midcentury mod, and Caribbean and French inspired furnishings, all of which work to create a luxe feel. I love the way the rattan chairs, the ornate French bench, and midcentury mod chairs work to create an upscale casual vibe. Check out my mood board below:

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wallapaper| abstract print|rattan chairs|chandelier|

dining table|danish modern chairs|leopard bench|

plant|bar cart|male pic|dot fabric

What do you think? I love all the pieces together,  and it seems I'm always drawn to ethnic influences like the Trinidad wallpaper, maybe because of my Jamaican heritage. I particularly like the Black male portrait — I usually include a portrait of a woman, but I've been trying to incorporate a more masculine feel into my rooms lately. Blame it on two sons and a husband. What dining room furnishings have you been drawn to lately?