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07 Feb 17:59

An Open Letter to Those Who Don’t Feel “Good Enough”

by Marc Chernoff

An Open Letter to Those Who Don’t Feel Good Enough

Oftentimes the hardest part of the journey is simply believing you’re worthy of the trip.

This short article was inspired by an email we received last night from a new course student:

Dear Marc and Angel,

Life hasn’t been the easiest on me over this past decade.  I won’t get into all the details now, but these hard times have left me with many cracks.  And although I’ve still managed to be a reasonably successful person, I often struggle desperately with my self-confidence.  I just don’t feel good enough most of the time.  I feel flawed.  I feel like my cracks make me undesirable.  It’s all in my head – I know it is!  But I really need help shifting my mindset.  I need a new outlook.  Do you have any insight that might assist me?

A Shy Student

Our reply (an open reply to all who don’t feel “good enough”):

Dear Shy Student,

It’s time for a quick story about life…

Once upon a time there was an elderly woman who needed to walk down to the (more…)

10 Feb 18:00

Netflix & Chill is so Real There's Data on It

04 Feb 18:00

Wearable Skylines: Architectural Rings Wrap Up Global Cities

by Urbanist
[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

architecture wrapping cityscapes

Jewelry for urbanists has taken a new turn with these silver, gold and platinum cityscapes, each featuring iconic buildings, monuments and landmarks from major metropolitan centers around the world.

architectural ring collection

Ola Shekhtman, a goldsmith from North Carolina, has crafted rings around cities including San Francisco, Boston, New York City, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin and Hong Kong, selling them online via Etsy.

architecture finger jewelry

Growing up in Siberia, Ola wanted to travel the world, eventually visiting London and San Francisco before moving to New York.

architecture silver gold rings

With the help of 3D-modeling software, she created this series to capture the spirit of places she has been and those she yet wishes to visit. Buyers can likewise decide whether to pick places they live, favorite past points of travel or goal-oriented rings for desired future destinations.

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22 Global Tales of Ghost Towns and Abandoned Cities

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Wood Rings Translated Into Moody Piano Music

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

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04 Feb 16:28

Let them eat cake

by tylercap


03 Feb 12:00

6 Gorgeous Modern Planters You Can DIY This Weekend

by Jacqui Adams

modern planter - old brand new - freshome

Spring is on its way, and that means it’s time to welcome color back into the home. Indoor plants bring interiors to life, freshen the air and celebrate the growing season. But finding just the right planter for your curated interiors can be a big challenge.

These six modern DIY planters are easy, inexpensive and perfect for design-conscious homes. From mini-pots accented with silver leaf to large-scale mid-century stands in pretty pastel hues, these modern planters are the perfect way to welcome spring into your home. Best of all, you can make them this weekend. Take a look, and let us know which one(s) you tried!

1. Mid-Century Egg Stands

These whimsical pastel mid-century modern planters are built using wooden stands to give your home quirky but classy “Mad Men” flair. Get the how-to here.

Modern planters - Sugar & Cloth - Freshome

Image: Sugar & Cloth

2. Geometric Copper Vessels

Metallic accents bring light into gloomy interiors and look cute to boot. Make these modern planters in a variety of geometric shapes for visual interest. See the DIY here.

3. Silver-Leaf Concrete Planter

Concrete modern planters are a stylish-home staple, and they’re surprisingly simple to make. Dress yours up in silver leaf for extra-chic style. Learn how here.

4. Ceramic Wall Pockets

Decorating walls with plants instead of art gives the eye a soothing place to rest, and — bonus! — cleans stuffy indoor air. See how to make these modern planters yourself here.

5. 2-Minute Donut Planter

You won’t believe what these chic two-tone concrete planters are really made of. Hint: they cost less than $5 and take less than five minutes to make. See the secret here.

6. Paint Drip Planter

A coat of glossy paint can make any boring container a modern masterpiece. Choose a bright primary shade, or one that matches your décor. Get painting here.

modern planter - old brand new - freshome

Image: Old Brand New

Which of these DIY modern planters is your fave? Let us know in the comments!

The post 6 Gorgeous Modern Planters You Can DIY This Weekend appeared first on

01 Feb 00:24

10 Things Enormously Productive People Refuse to Do

by Marc Chernoff

10 Things Enormously Productive People Refuse to Do

Besides the intelligent art of getting the “right things” done, there is the often-forgotten art of leaving the “wrong things” undone.

This past month at our first annual Think Better, Live Better conference, dozens of people asked me how Angel and I “get it all done.”

In one woman’s words that were captured on a video testimonial recorded at the conclusion of the conference:

“Marc and Angel, how do you do it?  How are you so enormously productive?  How do you host incredible conferences, write hundreds of blog posts every year, coach hundreds of Getting Back to Happy students like myself, personally respond to student and customer emails so promptly, and still have time left to spend with family and each other?  I haven’t a clue how you make it all happen, but I’m so grateful you do…”

From the outside looking in, I can see how certain people might perceive us as being “enormously productive” – perhaps possessing some kind of magical potion that allows us to accomplish more than what seems humanly possible.

The truth, however, is that there is no potion, just a set of consistent, intentional choices to abolish the negative habits, beliefs and behaviors that would otherwise fill our lives with needless stress and our calendars with lots of waste.

And we didn’t invent the wheel here either – all of our closest mentors and peers walk a similar journey of maximizing productive output by minimizing mental and physical time-wasters.  I encourage you to join us…

1.  Refuse to wait around.

Stephen King once said, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

An obvious bias toward (more…)

01 Feb 00:00

These are the Most Tattoo-Friendly Companies to Work For In the U.S.

by Patrick Allan

Visible tattoos can be a bad idea in the professional workplace, but companies are getting more lenient as time goes on. Here are some of the most tatt00-friendly companies you can work for.


27 Jan 16:00

Floating Bonsai Tree Hovers Magically in the Air

by Jacqui Adams


Here’s possibly the most Zen home accessory of all time: a bonsai tree that actually floats.

The Air Bonsai, designed by Japanese studio Hoshinchu, is a gravity-defying container system that allows a bonsai tree to float magically in the air.

Each mesmerizing Air Bonsai set is made up of two parts. The round, mossy “little star” cradles the plant’s roots; the handcrafted porcelain “energy base” hides built-in magnets that suspend and rotate the little star.


Both pieces come in a handful of finishes ranging from the modern (the smooth, white Shirotsubaki set) to the traditional (the earthy, lava-rock Suzumushi set).

If you’d like to snag a floating bonsai of your own before the limited-edition sets are all gone, head over to Air Bonsai’s Kickstarter page.




The post Floating Bonsai Tree Hovers Magically in the Air appeared first on

28 Jan 02:00

Cyclist-Centric Decor: Furniture with Built-in Bike Racks

by Steph
[ By Steph in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

bike shelf 2

Bikes are a convenient way to get around in the city, but if you’re like most of the cycling masses in crowded urban locales, you probably don’t have a dedicated and tidy-looking spot for your bike inside your apartment. Space is always at a premium, so sometimes, just hanging it from the ceiling is your only option. But what if an existing piece of functional furniture could be adapted not only to store your bike, but put it on display, too?

bike shelf 1

This series of bike-centric furniture by Chilean designer Manuel Rossel features simple cut-outs for bike wheels. Not only is there always a place to put your bike, you’re basically making it a major focal point in the room (which could be a good or bad thing, depending on whether you’re riding a replaceable thief-unfriendly beater or a bike that’s a work of modern design in itself.)

bike shelf 3 bike shelf 4

That’s intentional, says Rossel, noting that when you put a bike on top of a bookshelf, it take the place of what would normally be the center of attention: the television. “It changes the cult of the TV to one of the bike,” he told Fast Company. “It’s a way to optimize space that’s scarce in urban centers. If you already store your bike inside, it’s a way to avoid marking the walls. It also turns into a firm support that keeps the bike from falling.”

bike shelf 6 bike shelf 7

The furniture line includes single-tier bookshelves with either straight or angled bike niches, a sideboard and a couch. The bikes are currently only available in Chile, but may soon go on sale internationally.

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[ By Steph in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

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26 Jan 19:00

11 Essential Tech Skills You Need to Get Hired as a Web Developer

by Melanie Pinola

The skills you’ll need to land a job as a front-end web developer will vary from one place or one position to another, but there are several skills that are common to most web development jobs. Skillcrush shares 11 of them below.


25 Jan 00:48

15 Quotes that Will Change the Way You Treat People

by Angel Chernoff

15 Quotes that Will Change the Way You Treat People

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
― Desmond Tutu

This morning a deaf man came into the soup kitchen where Marc and I volunteer our time.  He looked nervous and immediately handed me a note letting me know that he was unable to hear and that he also had health conditions requiring him to eat low sodium foods.  After exchanging notes back and forth several times, so I could place his customized food order, his final note to me read:

“You are so incredibly kind and beautiful, inside and out.  Thank you for being patient and accepting of my disability.  Even though I’ve been in need, I’ve been too afraid to come here for past few days.  I bet your voice is as beautiful as your personality.”

This was my most recent “in your face” reality check proving that the way we treat people makes a big difference in this world.

So with the power of kindness in mind, here are some of my favorite quotes from our blog archive that I often re-read just to remind myself to treat people a little better than necessary:


quote 1


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20 Jan 18:30

The Droids You’re Looking For? 10 Amazing DARPA Robots

by Steph
[ By Steph in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

darpa cheetah gif

No need to get too concerned about a robot uprising just yet, if the finalists at last year’s DARPA Robotics Challenge are any indication, but that doesn’t mean the field hasn’t made some impressive advances. Typically developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, most recent robotic creations were created to someday take the place of humans in dangerous scenarios like disaster response and war. We may still be a long way away from robot soldiers (which are, frankly, kind of terrifying), but DARPA and the teams that participated in the challenge have still produced some impressive results.

Challenger: DRC-Hubo
darpa hubo 3

darpa hubo 2

darpa hubo 1

darpa tasks

Held from 2012 to 2015, the DARPA Robotics Challenge was a bit underwhelming for robot fans, resulting in more funny GIFs of robots falling than amazing feats of robotic technological prowess. The entrants used the tall and gangly ‘ATLAS’ humanoid robot technology developed by Boston Dynamics as a base, and then made their own improvements. The goal was to develop semiautonomous ground robots that can complete “complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments.” South Korea’s Team KAIST won with its DRC-HUBO, beating 23 other teams from around the world. The robots were tasked with opening doors, operating valves, driving cars and climbing flights of stairs. By the final challenge, where the robots had to take more risks, there was a lot more toppling, including one that fell so hard it lost its head.

Challenger: Running Man
darpa running man

darpa running man 2

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Crowd favorite Running Man, by Team IHMC, was particularly adept at walking and balancing “in a complete whole-body control algorithm,’ hence its name. This guy took the lead early on and was only edged out by DRC-Hubo during the final challenge. Running Man successfully drove a Polaris off-road vehicle all the way down a dirt track, got out, walked to a door and opened it before successfully completing several more drills, but then fell and couldn’t right itself twice in a row. While the bots were being remotely controlled by their human operators for part of the time, they generally had to figure things out on their own.

Challenger: Tartan Rescue CHIMP
darpa tartan 1

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Looking significantly less humanoid than the other challengers, Carnegie Mellon’s CHIMP dominated the challenges early in the competition, completing all eight tasks and picking itself up after falling. Designed to go virtually anywhere, the all-terrain bot moves on all four of its limbs, which is pretty cool to watch when it’s scaling vertical surfaces on ladders or working itself up to a full run. None of these robots move at lightning speed (one DARPA official likened the pace of observing the competition to watching a round of golf) but they’re doing some pretty cool things nonetheless.

Challenger: LEO
darpa trooper gif

Lockheed Martin’s Team Trooper produced the ‘Leo’ robot, named for Leonardo da Vinci. This bot stumbled when it started to close an open valve but then stopped midway through, requiring human intervention. Lockheed focused on the ability for a human operator to assist Leo at varying levels of autonomy, from sending commands to pick up tools to planning arm and finger trajectories manually if the robot was required to use an entirely new type of tool. It’s easy to see how this ability could translate into real life, helping robots carry out life-saving tasks like shutting valves at a malfunctioning nuclear power plant.

Next Page - Click Below to Read More:
The Droids Youre Looking For 10 Amazing Darpa Robots

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[ By Steph in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

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21 Jan 02:00

Masterpiece Mashup: Genre-Crossing Digital Art Compositions

by Steph
[ By Steph in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

masterpiece mashup 2

Diverse artistic disciplines from graphic design to architecture come together, crossing boundaries and merging eras, to bring the likes of Marina Abramovic and Marcel Duchamp together in this series of digital compositions. Italian architecture student Davide Trabucco diagonally bisects square-shaped sections of classic paintings, film stills, ad campaigns and photos of buildings and installations, putting them together in unexpected ways.

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The series, entitled Confórmi, has artists, designers and architects stepping into each other’s work, juxtaposing mediums and genres that you’d never imagine seeing in one image. These seemingly disparate masterpieces seamlessly meld together, revealing the basic elements of design that they all have in common, like composition, color, lines, tones and textures.

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The Nike swoosh (designed by Carolyn Davidson in 1971) merges into the rooftop terrace of Curzio Malaparte in Italy. Architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe steps in for the bartender in Manet’s famous 1882 painting of the Folies-Bergéres. Darth Vader’s light saber becomes an illuminated gallery installation by Dan Flavin.

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Says the artist (translated from Italian), “I created this ‘archive’ to manage my ‘heritage’ of knowledge and references in art and architecture. The new images, then are born like this: at the very moment in which a painting, a facade, a sculpture I remember another. The subtitle of the work then, the forms belong to no one, aims to highlight that the artist and his products are independent… most forms are often already present in nature, and only need us to process them and give them new meaning.”

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[ By Steph in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

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22 Jan 21:00

Read How a Third-Grader Thinks Nexflix and Chill Will Dissuade People From Voting For Donald Trump

22 Jan 12:00

Fresh Picks: Best Modern Wall Clocks

by Cynthia Bowman

Time is all around us and accessible in the most unexpected of places. Most of us check our smartphones when we need to know what time it is, and that’s only if our smartphone calendars don’t remind us where we need to be throughout the day. Then there are all the electronics and appliances in our homes displaying the time in one way or another.

Yet there’s something special about a good, old-fashioned wall clock — not just any wall clock, but one that doubles as a functional object to keep us on track while serving as a statement piece or even a work of art.

Hanging a modern wall clock adds a sense of sophistication to the room. If you’re looking to add a fun and functional design element, we’ve put together a collection of the top choices available online.

Here are Freshome’s picks for the best modern wall clocks.

Image: Scandinavian Designs

Image: Lumens

Sebastian Herkner for LEFF Amsterdam Felt Wall Clock

Dimensions: 13.75″ diameter

This Dutch-made clock ($149) is made of recycled felt. Its striking gray fuzzy face is molded and stamped into shape to create this simple yet bold design, whose orange hands add a welcome pop of color.


Image: Fancy

Ivan Kasner for LEFF Amsterdam Hazy 35 Clock

Dimensions: 13.75″ diameter

The Hazy 35 Clock ($199) is another modern wall clock by Dutch design firm LEFF Amsterdam that made it onto our list. Its unconventional look is inspired by a blurry perspective that tells you what time it is while still looking like a ghost on the wall.

Image: Studiove (

Image: Studiove

Studiove Manifold Clock

Dimensions: 14″ diameter

The hands of the Manifold clock ($76) are made of plexi sheeting and move in a 3D pattern that changes form constantly. Mesmerizing in its effect and variation of color, the Manifold clock is more than just a timepiece — it’s a Zen gazing object.

Image: Umbra

Image: Umbra

Michelle Ivankovic for Umbra Ribbonwood Wall Clock

Dimensions: 20.25″ diameter

The Ribbonwood clock ($60) by Michelle Ivankovic is the winner of the retailer’s 2014 Umbra/Humber Student Design Competition, and for good reason. Natural ribbons of bent beech wood update the clock’s nod to mid-century modern design and elevate it into something that’s very 21st century.

Image: Umbra

Image: All Modern

Mercury Row Metal Wall Clock

Dimensions: 20″ diameter

Mercury Row takes the hot art trend of retro-starburst patterns and converts it cleverly into this Metal Wall Clock ($35).


Image: CB2

CB2 Copper Wall Clock

Dimensions: 13.5″ diameter

CB2 perfectly describes its Copper Wall Clock ($50) as “ahead of its time.” The rose gold finish is on top of the home design trends for 2016, and this is an easy way to mix it in with the metal finishes already in your home.


Image: DWR

Rasmus Gottliebsen Watch Me Wall Clock

Dimensions: 11.25″ diameter

When a dose of pop art is a must in a room, the Watch Me Wall Clock ($50) is the perfect candidate. It’s available in your choice of four color ranges; perhaps a Watch Me gallery wall is in order!

All of these modern wall clocks are lightweight, easy to hang and battery powered. You can move them from room to room as the whim strikes, or continue to add new ones to your collection.

The post Fresh Picks: Best Modern Wall Clocks appeared first on

21 Jan 01:34

5 Timeless Ways to Turn Your Life Around at Any Age

by Marc Chernoff

5 Timeless Strategies for Starting a Successful Life

Things can change if you want them to, at any age.  Life changes every single moment, and so can you.

Last week I received three emails with the exact same subject line – “Turning My Life Around” – from three different coaching/course students.  This synchronicity certainly caught my attention.  Each of these student’s emails went into detail about their life situation and danced around the same fundamental theme and question:

“I don’t know what I want to do with my future, but I want to be successful…  So what should I do?”

Obviously a sweeping, open-ended question like this is difficult to answer.  But here’s my attempt to answer it for all of us – a short list of five timeless principles and strategies Angel and I live by – a list worth working on regardless of your age or what you decide to do with the rest of your life:

1.  Focus a little less on the future, and a little more on the present.

Yes, it’s healthy to plan for the future, but not at the full expense of today.  The truth is no matter how smart you are or how hard you try, you can’t accurately figure out the future.  Even people who have a systematic (more…)

18 Jan 15:00

Seven Useful Microsoft Excel Features You May Not Be Using

by Alan Henry

Microsoft Excel is packed with useful data management features that don’t see a lot of use, like pivot tables, index and match, and conditional formatting. If you’re just using excel to sum and chart columns, this graphic can show you some other tools to help you become the spreadsheet ninja you always wanted to be.


15 Jan 16:30

After Asking for an Allowance Advance, a 6 Year-Old Learned a Professional Lesson From Dad™

funny parenting image dad responds to 6 year old's request for advance in allowance

Submitted by: (via sonan303)

Tagged: toys , letters , parenting , money , win
14 Jan 20:00

‘Great Wall’ of Western Australia Takes Green Living to a New Level

by Erica Reiling

The-Great-Wall-of-WA-001The Great Wall of Western Australia, possibly the longest rammed-earth wall in the southern hemisphere, winds along the edge of a sand dune and encloses 12 earth-formed residences. Created to provide short-term housing for seasonal cattle farmers, this design by Luigi Rosselli Architects is a new, eco-centered approach to remote North Western Australian architecture.

The 755-foot wall is composed of iron-rich, sandy clay found at the site and pebbles found at the adjacent river. This ancient building technique uses simple materials to create a wall 18 inches thick that blends into the landscape and provides a natural, energy-efficient cooling barrier from the scorched subtropical climate.


Each residence has a covered veranda, staggered to maximize privacy. Though contiguous on the outside, the internal dwellings are not linked. Designer Sarah Foletta used a restrained selection of natural, hardy materials and furnishings to give life to the interiors.

Sitting atop the residences is the “chapel,” a multi-functional hub and meeting room for the property. Gold anodized aluminum lines the ceiling; a glass-covered oculus adds a celestial connection to the pavilion; and curved, sliding glass doors provide protection from the region’s dust storms. [Photography by Edward Birch]







The post ‘Great Wall’ of Western Australia Takes Green Living to a New Level appeared first on

11 Jan 08:10

The Best Weeknight Chicken Dinner

by joythebaker
The Best Weeknight Chicken Dinner

Sometimes making dinner is an exercise in You’re Not Going To Beat Me, Monday.  Let’s acknowledge that it takes grit and fortitude to stand in the kitchen and hustle ingredients together at the end of a day.  Sure, we can easily categorize dinner as a nighttime necessity, but I prefer to think of it as radical self-care… because anything that isn’t popcorn or scrambled eggs is me really taking care of myself. 

This dinner is thoughtful in its ease and economy, making us very good at adults, if only for today.

Continue reading The Best Weeknight Chicken Dinner at Joy the Baker.

10 Jan 21:00

The Most Common Health Issues That Affect 25 Different Dog Breeds

by Kristin Wong

Dogs are our friends, and they rely on us to make sure they’re healthy. Some breeds are prone to specific health concerns, and this infographic breaks it down.


11 Jan 17:30

Build Your LinkedIn Profile From Start to Finish With This Massive Visual Guide

by Kristin Wong

You’ve got six seconds to impress a recruiter on LinkedIn, and once you reel them in, you want to make sure your profile is solid. This giant visual guide tells you the basics of what you need to know to make your profile stand out.


03 Jan 15:00

A Visual Guide to Slowing Down and Enjoying Every Moment

by Alan Henry

We’ve discussed why time feels like it’s flying by, and how to slow it down , especially as you get older , but this visual guide puts some of those best tips into a simple, easy-to-follow graphic, perfect for looking over if you’re in the middle of a busy workday.


01 Jan 19:00

Maybe Reverse Psychology Will Work?

01 Jan 14:00

5 Design Resolutions for 2016 to Make Today

by Cynthia Bowman

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” — Oprah Winfrey

While Oprah probably said this in reference to self-improvement, why not take her quote and apply it to home improvement? We’ve put together five design resolutions to help you get your home’s design just right in 2016. Read on.

Image: Increation

Image: Increation

1. I resolve to declutter.

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes the homes we feature on Freshome look so good? Here’s a secret: It’s the lack of clutter and tchotchkes. If your home is more reminiscent of an antique mall, it’s time for a clutter intervention.

Go over every surface in every area. If the task is too overwhelming, ask your best buds to come over and help you make these tough choices. Depending on the level of clutter in your home, you may owe your friends for life, so choose who comes over wisely.

Make three boxes or piles: donate, discard or decorate. Decide quickly where each item should go so you don’t overthink it; be ruthless in your decisions. Your decorate pile should be the smallest. Discard and donate anything you don’t love (or have a good reason to keep).

Show no mercy to anything that is broken or has seen better days; if you really cared, you would have fixed it by now. Packrats, don’t start shopping for replacement items yet. Make it a rule of thumb to discard or donate one item for every new thing you bring home.

Image: Design Opera

Image: Design Opera

2. I resolve to add color.

Mocha, vanilla, cappuccino and latte are great coffee drinks, but boring furniture and design colors. For 2016, get into the mindset that beiges and off-whites are not colors; they are what’s on the wall when you’ve given up on life. Even bright white is more contemporary and bold.

One of the fastest and cheapest ways to transform your home is by adding color. Paint a wall (or several). Add some removable wallpaper somewhere. Or get a new sofa slipcover, bold throw pillows or a rug with an interesting color or pattern to update your space.

Image: Ownby Design

Image: Ownby Design

3. I resolve to make grown-up design choices.

When we say grown-up, we don’t mean Great-Aunt Thelma grown-up. It’s time to make more sophisticated choices, like getting rid of the tired leather sofa that has been a hand-me-down since the 1980s. And acknowledging that college banners are not considered wall art. (Ever.)

Some other ideas for making grown-up design choices include:

  • Investing in quality furniture — or living with less until you can.
  • Moving your Beanie Baby collection from the living room to a storage closet.
  • Using lava lamps and other kitschy items for theme parties only.
  • Taking a picture of the dried roses your ex gave you years ago, and then throwing them away. Hanging dead flowers is bad feng shui; plus, it just looks bad.

4. I resolve to think about the little details.

Details make your home special. Instead of thinking about a major (and expensive) overhaul, start with small, manageable habits, including:

  • Making your bed every morning.
  • Even better, making your bed using coordinated linens. This will require you to put some thought into matching your pillowcases to your duvet cover.
  • Bringing home fresh flowers every now and then.
  • Keeping surfaces clean and dust-free.
  • Getting a good set of tableware.

Other ways to mind the details include fixing those little things that annoy you, like oiling the hinges on your squeaky door or adding felt pads to your kitchen cabinets to keep them from slamming shut. Tackle one detail at a time, and finish it before you start the next one. Speaking of which …

5. I resolve to tackle unfinished projects — or nix them.

If your home is starting to look like a showroom for home-improvement projects gone wrong, it’s time to be realistic. Trash that tile mosaic project you started last year, or vow to finish it this weekend.

Look around and admit defeat if you see too many unfinished projects. Decide which ones you’ll honestly be able to do; hire someone to finish the rest, or donate the materials to an organization such as Habitat for Humanity. Maybe someone in need will have the time to make their own concrete stepping stones with that kit you bought.

Don’t be afraid to share these design resolutions with your friends and loved ones who need it the most; maybe they’ll take the hint. (If someone shared this post with you, you probably need to think about making some design resolutions yourself.)

Will you resolve to make any design resolutions in 2016? Can you think of any that we missed?

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31 Dec 00:58

12 Good Reads that Will Change the Way You Think, Live and Love

by Angel Chernoff

12 Good Reads that Will Change the Way You Think in the New Year

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news over the last few years, the general consensus seems to agree the act of reading is in decline.  As avid readers and authors, the statistics make Marc and I cringe sometimes.  But we’re optimistic for another reason.

Why?  A readership catastrophe is really just a leadership opportunity.  In other words, for people who know how to respond effectively, any “catastrophe” is just another way of saying “there’s an opportunity for improvement here.”

Marc and I have been avid readers for decades: self-improvement, business, history, spirituality, philosophy, current events, fiction, and then some.  Most people think of us as writers, but we know the only way to be a good writer is to be a great reader first.  Reading has enabled us to learn and grow into the leadership roles we fill today via our blog, book and course/coaching.

We’re not alone either.  We know very few leaders who are uninterested in reading, regardless of their industry or profession.  And many of them read even more frequently than we do.

The bottom line is that all readers are likely to become leaders in some capacity, even if they are simply leaders within their families and close social circles, or leaders of their own peace of mind and happiness.  And with reading in decline, readers possess a comparative advantage in all walks of life.

The biggest advantage that reading gives us, I think, is the fact that it’s one of the most efficient ways to acquire new information, and we all need a lot of everyday information to keep things in perspective and seize good opportunities.  But reading does more than just give us a new set of tools for thinking; it actually upgrades all of our existing intellectual tools as well, especially our problem-solving and analytical capabilities.

As readers, we not only learn more, but we are also more proficient at deciphering misinformation – our habit of reading gradually improves our judgment.  And being able to correctly size up a situation is crucial for being effective at whatever we’re doing.

Speaking for myself, I know my reading habit has sharpened my edge.  I’m always enamored when I’m working on a puzzling issue and some out-of-left-field piece of information comes to mind from something I’ve read that helps me put all the pieces together.

So with the importance of reading in mind, it’s time to read or re-read our 12 most popular posts (based on the number of reader views, social shares and comments) from this past year.  If you give them a chance, each one of these quick reads has the power to change the way you think, live and love, so you can stay on track to living at your greatest potential….

  1. 12 Little Known Laws of Gratitude (That Will Change Your Life) – When Marc and I discus the importance of gratitude with our coaching/course students, we often get a “Yeah, yeah, I know…” response.  But the truth is, most of us don’t know – because we’re forgetful.  In the haste of our busy lives we neglect many of the basic laws of gratitude, and thus miss out entirely on their positive effects.  This post is a good refresher, for all of us. (more…)
28 Dec 20:00

Small Hotel in Spain Combines Rustic and Contemporary Details

by Lavinia

architecture charming hotelThis small hotel, designed by Lucas and Hernández-Gil Architects, was developed in two old houses.  Located in a charming medieval village in Segovia, Spain, Hotel Ayllón features a combination of rustic and contemporary elements. The project developers sought to preserve the original details of these dwellings.

“The main idea was to create a simple and sober effect,” the designers said. “The site itself provides calmness, with shades of color that give freshness just like the poppies in the Castilian wheat fields. The route to the hotel is a great experience for guests because it unveils the complexity of the surrounding medieval architecture.”

charming hotel (2)The hotel has 18 rooms and three common dining areas. A courtyard unites the two remodeled houses. Wood was used extensively throughout the interiors, creating a warm and comfortable feel.

Contemporary furniture and splashes of color add personality. The attic rooms are particularly welcoming, with their cottage-like ambiance and windows overlooking the medieval village. [Photos by Jara Varela]
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23 Dec 14:00

Contemporary Bay Window Ideas for Your Modern Home

by Cynthia Bowman

Bay windows are a versatile home upgrade for many reasons. Some people think of them as traditional and outdated, but we think their many benefits make them worth considering — which is why we present these contemporary bay window ideas.

Sure, there are some drawbacks to having bay windows; these include the expense and difficulty of finding good window treatments for them. Also, the space can be awkward, interfering with outdoor areas or leaving little useful room inside the window for little else than potted plants.

However, today’s bay windows are worth adding to a space for many reasons:

  • They add extra square footage (and value) to your home.
  • They add light to a room, thanks to the panoramic glass that lets the sun shine in from different directions.
  • They can open and close, adding ventilation to the space.
  • They can be versatile if they are well planned. Some common bay window uses include a daybed, reading nook, bench, storage unit, built-in shelving, dining/kitchen banquette or a combination of these.

We’ve rounded up some of the best contemporary bay window ideas from around the world. If you’re considering adding them to your home, here are seven elements you should keep in mind.

Contemporary Bay Window Ideas


1. They can offer a dramatic architectural feeling to a room.

A bay window can successfully highlight a room’s unusual bones and architectural elements. When working with a striking space, it’s important to consider how the bay window design will affect or enhance the space. When in doubt, use a free online room planner to view various bay window layout options and make the best choice for your space.


2. They can be the focal point of a room.

The right bay window can draw the eye to its warm, inviting nook. We humans are attracted to cocoon-like spaces. To really build on the focal-point aspect of a bay window, consider using rich colors, textural fabrics and plenty of pillows to encourage lounging.


3. They can be the perfect place to incorporate storage.

Use the negative space in the bay window design to build in hidden storage. Open shelving is common, but it can collect clutter and dust. Drawers, or cabinetry with doors, add plenty of space while maintaining a clean, uncluttered look.


4. They can have a minimalist and contemporary vibe.

When adding a bay window to a room, consider using a simple, straightforward design. Clean lines and angles are more contemporary and easier to work with than some of the rounded or octagonal bay window shapes.

Keep storage and cabinetry understated by hiding hardware and using European hidden hinges. Choose the latest fabrics and accessories to dress the space beautifully but sparingly.


5. They can be accessorized to pull together a space.

Use colors, patterns and textures that are inviting and tie in with the whole room. Some good accessories for the space include:

  • lighting
  • pillows
  • a throw
  • a small tray
  • a side table
  • luxurious window treatments


6. They can be a comfortable place to lounge.

For the ultimate sense of luxury, invest in soft and durable fabrics; the highest-quality foam you can afford for the seat cushion; and large, fluffy goose-down pillows. Round bolsters are another contemporary element that make for comfortable (and supportive) pillows for your bay window lounge.


7. They can beautifully showcase a view.

A spot featuring a beautiful view is the perfect candidate for a bay window. They open up the space in all directions, thanks to the expanse of glass. A strategically placed bay window can frame your view like a beautiful frame enhances a work of art — not to mention the bonus of having a comfortable spot from which to admire the landscape outside.

Use these contemporary bay window ideas to create a bright, beautiful space. Today’s designs no longer demand that you sacrifice beauty, form or function; you can have them all!

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23 Dec 16:00

How to Shop, Cook, and Eat Healthy When Eating for One

by Stephanie Lee on Vitals, shared by Andy Orin to Lifehacker

Solo folks face unique challenges for eating healthy, beyond a lack of cooking skills. It’s less fun to cook and eat alone, and very little food comes in packs of one. The trick is to muster up the will to cook once a week so you can enjoy healthy meals for the next few days.


06 Nov 14:00

35 Fresh, Modern Table Setting Ideas to Wow Your Guests

by Cynthia Bowman

You’ve taken inspiration from our decorating ideas for creating a luxurious bed or a warm, inviting living room to give your home a fresh, modern vibe. Now we’re here to share tips on giving your table a fresh, modern look with the best table setting ideas.

Whether you set your table only on special occasions (such as holiday dinner parties) or leave your dining table beautifully set at all times, take inspiration from our modern table setting ideas to give your dining space the perfect finishing touch.

Table settings can be used in more places than just your dining table. Place them on your kitchen counter, outdoor patio table or breakfast bar. You can even use them for a special meal around the coffee table.

We have some concepts and tips that will make setting your table simple and stylish. The secret to an eye-catching table setting is the layers; layering a combination of texture, color and accessories creates a rich, beautiful tablescape.

Here are five categories to help you get started on your table setting ideas.


Layering your plates creates visual impact.

1. China and Glasses

You don’t have to spend a fortune on plates or glasses to create an elegant table. Accessorized the right way, your table settings will look like a million bucks. There’s no need to match; feel free to go with a mismatched theme. Some ways to dress up your china and glasses:

  • Stack your china. Start with a dinner plate, follow with a salad plate and top with a bowl.
  • Use chargers to dress up your plates. A charger is a hybrid between a placemat and a plate. It frames the plate and is just large enough to create a nice frame or border around it. You can be creative with chargers; cut them out of decorative paper, or use simple wreaths or leaves under your plate.
  • Group drinking glasses. Having more than one glass per setting adds a stylized look to your table. Try a grouping of wine glasses and a water tumbler in each setting.
  • Get creative with silverware. Tie the silverware together with twine or ribbon, or place it artfully in your napkin to add a special touch.

Repeat the colors of your linens throughout your table to create a cohesive look.

2. Table Linens

Linens will set your table apart from the ordinary. Luckily, there is a huge variety of stylish, affordable table linen choices. Keep a box or drawer filled with the different linens listed below in colors, textures and patterns that mix and match. Some holiday-themed linens are also worth keeping in your linen box to add some holiday fun to your table settings. Essentials include:

  • Table runners. A runner is the most contemporary way to dress a table, especially if you don’t want to cover up a beautiful wood or glass tabletop with a tablecloth. Table runners are also versatile; you can layer them over a tablecloth, place them sideways to use as a shared placed setting with the person seated in front of you, or arrange a simple runner with candles.
  • Tablecloths. A tablecloth is optional, but worth adding when you’re executing a special color theme or want to cover your table.
  • Napkins. Don’t skimp on cloth napkins; they add a nice touch to your dining table. Consider them an important part of your table design. If the idea of having to wash napkins after a dinner is too much, pick up some disposable, banquet-style paper napkins. They come in lots of bold colors and fun prints.
  • Placemats. Placemats create a stylish space for each place setting. Try them in woven vinyl or treated cotton; both types will clean up easily with a damp rag. You don’t have to use rectangular placemats; square ones give a table a contemporary look, while round placemats break up an angular tablescape.

This creative centerpiece displays calla lilies horizontally instead of vertically.

3. Centerpieces

Bring out the beauty of your table settings by using a centerpiece to create a focal point. The centerpiece will unify and pump up the volume of the table’s theme. Be creative, but remember to keep it low and narrow; tall centerpieces make it hard to see people across the table, and large ones can crowd your place settings.

A good rule of thumb is that you’ll need a minimum of 14 inches on each side of the centerpiece for place settings. Subtract at least 28 inches from the width of your table; that’s how much space is left for your centerpiece area. Some centerpiece ideas include:

  • Flowers
  • Twigs
  • Candleholders
  • Crystals or river rocks

Ornaments and silver accents give this table an elegant and festive theme.

4. Decorative Items

These will give your table a personal touch like no other. Use items that have a common theme or a personal meaning throughout the table and place settings. Some ideas for decorative items include:

  • Objects such as bird figurines or small, colorful vases
  • Unusual napkin rings
  • Holiday-related items such as fall leaves, pumpkins, reindeer or small Christmas trees
  • Place setting name holders
  • Small bundles of flowers or herbs for each place setting

A minimalist display of candles and flowers works well in a modern room.

5. Candles

Candles are an easy way to make a bold table statement; that’s why we’ve given them their own category. Use plenty of candles on your dining table. They’ll cast a warm glow and create sparkle if strategically placed near shiny objects.

Choose unscented candles to accompany a meal; scented candles can clash with the aroma of the food. If candles are not practical, use battery-operated candles or strings of light on your table.

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A luxuriously dressed coffee table is ready for dinner for two.

Table settings aren’t exclusive to a dining table. You can also set a kitchen counter or coffee table for a special meal or morning breakfast.

Take inspiration from our table setting ideas and make your next dinner party memorable. Be bold and express yourself, and you can’t go wrong.

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