Positive Negativity

We're all about the power of positive thinking but is that a good thing? Negative emotions have a power of their own. Maybe we should rehtink them. Can a little negativity be a positive?

If you have ever seen the movie Inside Out, you know the story is from the perspective of five emotions in the head of a girl named Riley: Fear, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, and Joy. The emotion in charge, Joy, can always find the bright side of anything and tries her best to make sure everything is always upbeat and happy. One of my favorite things about the movie is that it showcases the importance of all the human emotions and the roles they play in our lives.

Much like Joy, we all want to be happy. Radio stations and blogs pride themselves on the positive environment they create. News outlets receive complaints about their coverage of depressing news stories, as if the journalists themselves decide the events that happen each day.

When I'm feeling down, I reach for the coffee and chocolate for a pick-me-up.

Fear, anger, hurt, disappointment...these are what we think of as negative emotions. We want to avoid them. However, these negative emotions plumb the depths of what it means to be human. They are the emotions that show us who we are and why we do what we do. They are complex. They beg to be analyzed.

I find the "negative" emotions fascinating and mysterious-it's why I'm drawn to them. I can't be distracted from feeling them, nor do I want to be distracted. There's a kind of satisfaction I get from allowing myself to dive down and go through the depth of emotion and rise up on the other side with a deeper understanding of myself and the world around me. 

It seems there is no such depth to happy. Happy is what it is. You usually know why you're happy. It doesn't need to be figured out and, unless you are a scientist, you don't want to think too hard about it.

I'm not saying that people should stay negative and wallow in emotional pain. I am saying that there is a place for feelings like discomfort and sadness, that they have a beauty and depth to them that is underappreciated. We should not be so quick to run from them.

At the end of Inside Out, Joy realizes that the one emotion she has pushed away for Riley's entire life is the the only one who can put everything right again. She finally understands that Sadness has a valid purpose, as do Fear, Anger, and Disgust.

It's a fun movie meant to entertain but it teaches a lesson most of us, like Joy, would do well to learn: that all emotions are important. We shouldn't feel like we've achieved something by being positive all the time. We too need sadness just as much as we need joy.

Sometimes, we need it more.



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15 Lessons to Learn by 30

This month I turned 30.

For me, birthdays are usually not too different from any other day. I'm not sentimental about them and, since I prefer to avoid being the center of attention, I'm perfectly fine with letting them go by with little to no fanfare. Except this one. When I reached 30 it hit me hard. Much harder than I thought it would.

I've been married almost seven and a half years and it really doesn't feel that long. In the next seven and a half years, I'll be nearing 40. The realization of just how fast time goes now that I'm older, the pants that fit tighter than they did last year, a week of sick kids plus sleep deprivation, all added up to one bad day.

So I started doing what I normally do when I'm stressed. I made a list. A list of 15 lessons that I've learned in 30 years. I filled in with posts from my Instagram account because I was lazy for something different than my usual photos. Just for fun.

15 Lessons to Learn by 30: This month I turned 30. I made a list. A list of 15 of the more important things I've learned in those years. Here I am at 30.

1. It's ok to start a project or hobby and then quit if you fall flat on your face. You learned something about yourself even if all you learned was that you weren't good at it.

2. How to make my own phone calls and schedule appointments.

3. Coffee is amazing. I'd also like to add that I began adoring coffee before it was cool. It's better hot anyway.

This month I turned 30. I made a list. A list of 15 of the more important things I've learned in those years. Here I am at 30. With my coffee bar.

The best part of waking up is seeing this every morning. And every afternoon. At night it's just cruel. #coffeelove #drinkallthecoffees @realinspired


4. It's possible to outgrow friendships, especially as you get older and your interests and values change. You may always be friends and love each other deeply, but you might not be as close. It is sad but it is also ok.

5. You don't ever have to give up on your ideals or quit hoping for their realization.

This month I turned 30. I made a list. A list of 15 of the more important things I've learned in those years. Here I am at 30 with my favorite Sherwin Williams paint pallette.
The Sherwin Williams guy took pity on me and gifted me with this. It's a dream come true! I was sqealing over it for the rest of the day! #colornerd #ilovepaint by @realinspired

6. Public speaking isn't the end of the world(but I'd still rather jump in a pit of nonvenomous snakes).

7. It's ok to be introverted. If someone thinks less of you because of it then it's their problem, not yours. You are not broken; our culture is.

8. Read anything and everything. Never stop.

This month I turned 30. I made a list. A list of 15 of the more important things I've learned in those years. Here I am at 30 with CS Lewis and Harry Potter books.

When #bookworm loves #harrypotter and #cslewis. Oh, the irony...@realinspired


9. Broken hearts heal. They might not forget, but they do stop hurting.

10. Trust your intuiton.

11. Perfection is impossible. Strive for it but be ok with falling short.

12. You have to make your kids do things themselves. It's so hard to implement in real life and I still fail at it, but I know I have to allow them to fail or fly on their own.

13. Marry your best friend. Someone with similar interests that understands you and loves to let you be you.

This month I turned 30. I made a list. A list of 15 of the more important things I've learned in those years. Here I am at 30.
I don't usually get all sappy and share this kind of thing, but this is my Valentine gift from hubby. I share it because it made me cry and gifts usually don't do that. This one did because this man encourages me to pursue my dreams and try scary things. He's the reason that I'm finally finding my voice and writing the daydreams I've carried in my heart my entire life. He makes me feel brave enough to try. I'm so glad I married my best friend! by @realinspired

14. You have to be that kind of person for the person you marry too. It goes both ways.

15. Listen. Listen when people talk. Listen when they're hurting or disagree with you. Really listen. Sometimes that's all you can do or all anyone needs. You might learn something in the process too.

This month I turned 30. I made a list. A list of 15 of the more important things I've learned in those years. Here I am at 30. With a picture of lights in Lowes.
When I was little, I thought home improvement stores looked like places where dreams came true. That's still what I think at 30. by @realinspired

Here I am at 30.

Do you have any lessons you have learned that you could add to the list? Want to follow on Instagram? Follow this link to the Real Inspired Instagram account!



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Create a Meaningful Spring Mantel

How many of you have left your Christmas decorations up until way into January? Usually that's me. This was the year I determined to get it all put away and redecorated right after New Year's. I had everything packed up except the tree before I remembered the Christmas tree box fell apart when we brought it out of the shed.

The tree stayed up until February.

Once I got our new Christmas tree storage bag and the tree was packed away, I resumed my plan: clear everything out of the rooms and give it a chance to "breathe" for a few days before bringing in any other decorations. I removed everything but the wall art. Those few days stretched into a couple weeks because, after all, I'm the one in charge of this show and I'm a turtle.

My Nana always said I had two speeds: slow and slower.

It's true.

Since I took so long to get around to it, spring is nearly here. I skipped straight over winter decor and went straight to something that works for anytime but has a subtle spring theme too.  I made sure to use all neutrals to make it work with our new(to us) retro flower chair. It need reupholstering but I'm planning on a slipcover for a temporary fix because that print is way too cool to paint over.

Create a Meaningful Spring Mantel with faux horse head taxidermy, wood, succulents, books, and feathers for spring. Coordinated with brown recliner and retro yellow, orange, and green flowered wing back chair.

Create a Meaningful Spring Mantel with faux horse head taxidermy

Create a Meaningful Spring Mantel with faux horse head taxidermy, wood, succulents, books, and feathers for spring.

Create a Meaningful Spring Mantel with faux horse head taxidermy, wood, succulents, books, and feathers for spring.

This may be my favorite mantel decor so far. Why? Because nearly everything I used has a special meaning or memory attached to it. 

That camera belonged to my great-grandpa. The silver pitcher was my grandmother's and the feathers were found on land belonging to Hubby's grandparents. I've had the turtle shell since I was a little girl, I bought the small horse figure on a trip to Mexico, and the wooden tray was used at our wedding. I love horses and we both love books.

This mantel tells a story about us.

Create a meaningful spring mantel that works for anytime but has a subtle spring theme and why you should be telling your story with your home decor as explained with a Nate Berkus quote.


Decorating with the things we love, that tells our story, makes a home so much more than the four walls that keep the rain out. It makes it meaningful. It creates bridges for the spaces between people by telling others who you are. 

You are not the sum of your things, but without your story connected to them, those things are merely empty trinkets. Use the things you love, not the things you think you should use because it is a trend, or was expensive, or because it was a well-meaning gift from your great-aunt Josephine in Ohio whom you have only seen twice in your life. If you love it, use it. 

Tell your story, in the way only you can. 



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The One Thing That Changed My Kitchen

I have been at war with my kitchen since we moved in over 5 years ago. I rearrange stuff on the counters and think to myself, "Yo, I totally won this fight. You don't look awful anymore. I winnnnn"! And then the kitchen sits smirking all night because it knows that tomorrow I'll shuffle in bleary-eyed and slump my shoulders in defeat.

It's come a long way for the kitchen with the wallpaper from Mordor, but the magical white paint is not quite magical enough for this one. Here's a reminder of where we started...

I have been at war with my kitchen since we moved in over 5 years ago. I've arranged and rearranged. Still this room has baffled me. It feels cluttered even when it's clean and organized. That is, it did until I did this one thing...here's the kitchen before with tacky 80's-90's style and gold trim.

I have been at war with my kitchen since we moved in over 5 years ago. I've arranged and rearranged. Still this room has baffled me. It feels cluttered even when it's clean and organized. That is, it did until I did this one thing...here's the before with tacky wallpaper and gold trim with knotty wood cabinets

And then we moved on to this(old pictures but I don't have recent ones because it's been my least favorite room)...

I have been at war with my kitchen since we moved in over 5 years ago. I've arranged and rearranged. Still this room has baffled me. It feels cluttered even when it's clean and organized. That is, it did until I did this one thing...after the wallpaper came down and painted white with knotty wood cabinets.

I have been at war with my kitchen since we moved in over 5 years ago. I've arranged and rearranged. Still this room has baffled me. It feels cluttered even when it's clean and organized. That is, it did until I did this one thing...after with white paint and wood table, and diy canvas chalkboard.

The wallpapers gone, it's been repainted. we've put in new flooring(twice!), I've arranged and rearranged. Still this room has baffled me. It feels cluttered even when it's clean and organized. That is, it did until I did this one thing.

I hung a platter over the range.

That's it.

I have been at war with my kitchen since we moved in over 5 years ago. I've arranged and rearranged. Still this room has baffled me. It feels cluttered even when it's clean and organized. That is, it did until I did this one thing...white platter hung over the range or stovetop with wood cabinets.

I have been at war with my kitchen since we moved in over 5 years ago. I've arranged and rearranged. Still this room has baffled me. It feels cluttered even when it's clean and organized. That is, it did until I did this one thing...wood cabinets and snowbound white walls with white platter hanging over range to create a focal point.

I have been at war with my kitchen since we moved in over 5 years ago. I've arranged and rearranged. Still this room has baffled me. It feels cluttered even when it's clean and organized. That is, it did until I did this one thing...white platter hung over range

I have been at war with my kitchen since we moved in over 5 years ago. I've arranged and rearranged. Still this room has baffled me. It feels cluttered even when it's clean and organized. That is, it did until I did this one thing...created a focal point by hanging a white platter over the range in snowbound white kitchen with knotty wood cabinets.

Suddenly, the cabinets weren't so orange and the countertop didn't look so cluttered. I have no science explanation behind this one, except that I'm sure it has something to do with a focal point. Since this is the first wall you see when you walk in, I should have thought to create a focal point here years ago, especially since there isn't any backsplash.

I rearranged this kitchen over and over for years after I removed all that wallpaper. I groaned every day over those orange cabinets. In the end, all it took to make this room bearable was one large, white platter.



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10 Perfect Blue Farmhouse Rugs

I love farmhouse style, the color blue, and cushy rugs! Here are ten of my favorite blue rugs. All of them perfect for creating that farmhouse style!
Rugs are hard to pick. There are so many patterns and colors that it can be hard to decide on the best option. You also have to take into account durability and cleanability. I know, not a word. We've been over this.

Our house really doesn't need rugs because we have carpet(ugh!) but I do think rugs really define a space. I would love to add a rug to any of our rooms but, when you don't need them, it's hard to justify the expense.

Well, I can justify the expense. I doubt my husband agrees with me. I also have little boys standing in line to ruin any rug I bring home so I'm reluctant to buy any until they are a little older and not tracking play-doh everywhere.

All this doesn't change the fact that I can drool rather profusely over a good rug.

My Favorite Way to Hang Curtains

It is not fun to sit in front of an open window at night. We all know that's when the boogeyman comes out. No matter how many times you tell your inner 7 year old to grow up, you still can't bring yourself to look out the window.

I don't even watch horror movies but I'm pretty sure open windows are a big no-no. Those empty windows must have window treatments of some sort, especially when it's dark. If not for my own privacy, then for the sake of my own overactive imagination. Take that, Jason(full disclosure: I actually had to look him up to make sure I had the right character)!

Flowy curtains are my favorite, especially when they puddle slightly on the floor. My favorite way to accomplish this is to hang my curtains with ring clips. The only reason all the windows in my house aren't like this is because I haven't gotten to them yet. I'll go ahead and add that to the million things I haven't done.

But just you wait.

I love long flowy white curtains in my farmhouse inspired summer living room. My favorite curtain hanging method is a curtain rod and ring clips.Obviously, ring clips aren't the only way to hang curtains but there are three reasons why this curtain hanging style is my favorite...

I love long flowy gray curtains in my gray master bedroom, and my favorite curtain hanging method is a curtain rod and ring clips.Obviously, ring clips aren't the only way to hang curtains but there are three reasons why this curtain hanging style is my favorite...

I love long flowy white curtains in our farmhouse kitchen dining area by the table, and my favorite curtain hanging method is a curtain rod and ring clips.Obviously, ring clips aren't the only way to hang curtains but there are three reasons why this curtain hanging style is my favorite...

The latest room to get the curtain treatment was our kitchen. I used an Ikea rod that I stole from the guest bedroom(so I could hang the pretties up in there instead!), covered it in a few coats of oil-rubbed bronze(ORB) spraypaint, and added some ORB curtain rings from Target. I used rehemmed tablecloths, also from Target, for curtains.

There are three reasons why this curtain hanging style is my favorite...

I love long flowy white curtains with oil rubbed bronze hardware, and my favorite curtain hanging method is a curtain rod and ring clips.Obviously, ring clips aren't the only way to hang curtains but there are three reasons why this curtain hanging style is my favorite...

1. Easier to open and close. Having my curtains on rings allows me to pull the curtains back quickly without having to climb on a chair and wrestle a curtain over that pesky bump where the two halves of the rod come together. It's why I never use those fancy S shaped shower curtain hooks either. Just jiggle these a little and they glide right over.

2. Feels casual. The look of traditional tie back curtains lends itself to a more polished look. I happen to prefer the comfy, casual look. The exposed hardware adds interest and an industrial feel. Curtains on ring clips are a common look for farmhouse, cottage, and industrial styles because it feels more relaxed and unstructured.

3. Curtains cover less window area. I like to open my curtains every day and the wider the better. With the rod hung wider, the curtains don't cover any of the window, which means better lighting and an unobstructed view.

Obviously, ring clips aren't the only way to hang curtains. There are grommet tops, tab tops, rod pocket, ring clips, and pleated. How you hang curtains is all about your preference and personal style. As long as those windows get covered up when it's dark! Which way is your favorite?



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