Essay: I Was Scared Of 4-Year-Olds Today But Learned Something Valuable

I want to write something personal here again because I’ve not done so in months… I guess it’s because something “personal” usually has to be inspired by a certain mood and then, I imagine if it’s really that interesting to belong on my blog or not. Well, I’m not sure how interesting this post will be, but I definitely got inspired by something funny that happened to me today and felt like sharing because I wonder if some of you are out there and can relate in some way to how I feel. Today’s experience was nice though, it resulted in me getting a big invisible hug - a hug that I really, really needed right now, a hug that I’ve craved for months.

Annie Spratt

First of all, I had a great day. It began with a smoothie and rewarding work in my office, then I met a friend and had coffee, and later, I went shopping in the city and got distracted by goddamn Gucci bags again (I can’t explain my sudden interest in Gucci, I’m not even a brand-y person, I blame Instagram), but then… An emergency text arrived.

My son’s pre-K needed me to watch the kids to fill in for my husband since he couldn’t do it. (There was a teacher’s meeting and parents volunteer to help at the school we belong to.) Anyway, I was feeling tired and not so keen on going in, mostly because I hadn’t planned on it and had a 4pm conference call with a brand I freelance for, so I knew being with kids from 3-4pm would be tough.

Thing is, I care about my son and I want the school and the kids to like me, because then he is treated well too. I also reasoned that if I timed it right, I could do the call on the way home from the school anyway, so everyone wins. The school, my client, me.

I rushed in panting a bit from running up 3 flights of subway stairs (which made me very aware that I have to work out more), literally dropped my shopping bags on the floor (H&M, not Gucci), and said hello to all of the cute little 4-year-old faces greeting me. They didn’t really know what to expect from me because this was my first time watching them. I usually go in and out of the school quickly to pick up my little boy, so they know me but they have no clue what my personality is like.

BUT I had a strange first thought when I saw them.

I’m embarrassed to admit this.

I was worried they wouldn’t LIKE ME. (I want to not publish this post after writing that.)

I was actually SCARED they wouldn’t like me.

Had my son been there, I wouldn’t have given it much thought, but he was already home with his father. So it was just me and 12 kids and another parent volunteering whom all of the kids seemed to know and love. But yeah, I was scared of these kids.

I didn’t know why I was scared and even intimidated by them, but I turned that mental switch off and smiled, delivered a good time to them, was totally myself and got them cracking up and some were even on my lap by the time I left. We danced and later, played on the floor with plastic animals. When their parents came to collect them, they didn’t jump up and run off, instead they made their parents WAIT until they were finished with me. Some asked what certain German words were in English and also taught me some new German animal names when I got stuck on a few of them (like Chimpanzee / Schimpanse - more or less the same word!). It was cute and very special.

When I walked home, I had my conference call and by the time I turned my key in the front door, I felt DAMN GOOD. No, actually, I felt GREAT.

After getting home and sorting through a few emails along with the dinner and bedtime routine for my little boy, I thought more about my feelings and tried to get to the heart of WHY I was initially so scared of a pack of kids. What was at the root of this?

The more I thought, the more I realized something. 1. You can’t bullshit kids. You can bullshit adults and they can bullshit you right back. With kids, they see YOU. It’s intimate. You cannot pretend to be happy or feel good if you don’t. You can’t pretend much of anything with kids because they see through it all and even call you out on it. 2. I often second-guess what people’s reasons are when they REALLY like me. Like, I think it’s because they need something FROM me, not because they just like me for me.

I didn’t realize the 2nd part of that until today, but when I think about it, I really, truly do get worn out by this - not ever knowing if people like you for you.

I never did this before I was in a position in my career where I was able to really influence and help other people as I can and do in my current role. When you have a job with a certain measure of fame and success, you sometimes DO wonder if people like you for YOU or do they like you for what you are able to give to them. Whether it’s in your company, your position in another company, or on the internet, sometimes a job can make you feel that way.

Even family. My little boy doesn’t mean to, but every day he asks that I buy him toys, or give him candy, or let him please please please watch a show on television… And when I say no, which I do a lot of, he gets so pissed and suddenly mama is no longer cool or special - mama is the bad one. This goes on all day and ranges in intensity, but I heard this continues for as long as your kids live at home with you, so this is something I need to learn how to manage emotionally (any tips?). I guess this is just normal family dynamics and a case of being married for a long time, because I often feel my husband doesn’t even “see” me anymore. Like what I do is just expected.

I hear a lot of women feel this way, especially mothers but few people talk about this stuff on the internet - because on the internet, your home has to look perfect, you have to look perfect, and your family life has to look like The Stepford Wives Instagram edition.

During my hour spent with kids who needed NOTHING from me but to give them a warm, happy feeling and to be playful - not to buy them something, manage something, sell something, hustle something for them… well it was BEAUTIFUL.

It made my heart feel bigger and fuller than it has in a really long time, to sit on the floor with those cute kids today. It was a wonderfully warm feeling to really experience unconditional love and I wondered about how to get this more in my life - not just sporadically but regularly.

Anyway, I wanted to write this because I had no idea how much it affected me, how much it was draining me, to not feel needed for just me being me. It reminded me of how basic humans really are, how at the end of the day, we really just want to feel needed. To make someone laugh. That’s it.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Artist Raven Roxanne + Seashore Birds

Good morning friends, how are you? Autumn is definitely here, in full swing actually… But I’m still dreaming of all the days spent on Danish and north German beaches and imagining my next trip to the coast again. Seeing the work of Raven Roxanne in my inbox recently gave me some good energy, since her Seashore Birds paintings made me smile and think of happy times chasing my little boy with his sandy blonde hair and bare bum down pristine beaches. And always chasing seashore birds.

Raven Roxanne

Raven Roxanne

roxanne raven artist

I wrote about 8 Southern (United States) artists four years ago here and one of those artists was abstract and impressionist painter Raven Roxane located in Charleston, South Carolina. I never forgot about her.

“My artistic practice is a response to the colors, energies, textures, and composition of my life,” Raven says. I can see that in her work, which is why I believe I’m drawn to it in the first place.

Raven continues, “I have created a lifestyle surrounding my work, thriving on the strength of women, the beauty of imperfection, and the harmony of mental and physical well-being of the figure.”

This is such a lovely statement. I had to sit with it for a moment and let it sink in…

Through my work, I hope to invoke a connection for my viewers while representing the truest version of myself.
— Raven Roxanne, Artist
Roxanne Raven Artist
Raven Roxanne Artist
My personal favorite,  Fly Away , limited edition print.

My personal favorite, Fly Away, limited edition print.

Roxanne Raven Artist
Raven Roxanne Artist

I’m so inspired by her artwork, it’s dreamy and feminine and the colors are always such a delight. I particularly connect to Seabirds though because of the overall theme but also the muted colors are much more soothing to me and what I would use in my home.

I want to call attention to a really HELPFUL blog post that Raven wrote recently because I believe it will be interesting for many of you to read. It’s called, What I Learned Along The Way. In the piece, Raven gives some solid advice to artists and anyone really who wants to grow their business.

Most of the photos in this post were shoot by Elizabeth Ervin, so be sure to check out her portfolio online because it’s just stunning - and also her ‘journal’ has loads of fantastic photos. Also, check out VE magazine for more about Raven and her fantastic life as an artist.

If you’d like to own a print or an original of her work, please visit her website or contact her directly to talk about it. Her prints are available online and also some of her original paintings too, or I’m sure you can commission a piece if you have a special project in mind.

Have a lovely Wednesday!

Love,

Holly

PeopleHolly Becker Comments
Etsy Home + Wellness: Collection 02

Are you ready for my next curated collection from Etsy? My first Home + Wellness collection is here if you haven’t seen it yet, please do check it out because it has so many beautiful things. You know, it is so important to help yourself first but if you can help others WHILE helping yourself, that’s even better and that’s why I love Etsy. Shopping small and handmade helps others and it helps me because I can find beautiful, unique things. Here are my finds from Etsy sellers for collection 02. The first one below comes with a special discount code for decor8 readers so if you need gorgeous linen for your bed, take advantage of the offer. Enjoy.

SeaMe Linen
SeaMe Linen
SeaMe Linen

SeaMe Linens are just gorgeous. I have the Smoky Pink set and love them. You can own sheets from them as well, but lucky you, for a discount! You can take 10% off of your order until October 1, 2018 if you enter DECOR8 upon checkout.

Lamour Fou Print Shop

Lamour Fou Print Shop - Fantastic print shop, I love nearly all of them.

Dreamy Moons
Dreamy Moons

Dreamy Moons - Especially their MINDFULNESS poster.

Forge Hardware
Forge Hardware
Forge Hardware

Forge Hardware Studio - I am always looking to pimp my cabinets and drawers so I like these options.

Orcun Shop - This is one of those shops you almost don’t want to share because you know you’ve struck gold and you just want to keep it all to yourself. THESE TURKISH PILLOWS THOUGH.

Bohong Craft Tea
Bohong Craft Tea
Bohong Craft Tea

Bohong Craft Tea - Gorgeous wabi sabi aesthetic to some of her pieces, I really love them.

The Goodies Wallaper
The Goodies Wallaper
The Goodies Wallaper

Goodies - These removable wallpapers are gorgeous, I cannot stop looking at them.

Double Bubbles Soap
Double Bubbles Soap
Double Bubbles Soap

Double Bubbles Soap - These look quite special and charming and I bet they really smell amazing.

That wraps up my column, dear friends. I really hope you’ve enjoyed my column. Have any Etsy faves links that you’d like to share? Comment with the links below and they may get featured in a future collection of mine here on decor8!

Love,

Holly

New Colors by Farrow & Ball

Hello everyone. I’m so happy to share with you the new colors just released today by Farrow & Ball, they are gorgeous and I’m sure you will love them as much as I do. My 5 instant favorites are Jitney, De Nimes, Treron, Sulking Room Pink and School House White. What are yours?

I have F&B paints in nearly every room of my hall, and love them. The colors are exceptional. In fact, I can’t wait to soon paint my hallway, entry room and little boy’s room. I’m already looking through these colors below to see which I’ll choose because I would love something from this collection. I think the School House White for my long hall would be pretty and the Jitney in my big entry room to replace my Pineapple wallpaper. Hmmmm. I am battling with that at the moment, whether or not to replace my gold Pineapple wallpaper. I really feel like I need calm in my home for Fall/Winter and into next year. I’ve had the Pineapple since my baby was born, so for nearly 5 years, so I think it’s okay to try something new.

Here are 9 the new colors.

School House White

School House White

Jitney

Jitney

Treron

Treron

Paean Black

Paean Black

Sulking Room Pink

Sulking Room Pink

Rangwali

Rangwali

Preference Red

Preference Red

Bancha

Bancha

New Farrow & Ball Colors

So tell me - which do you like???

Love,

Holly

(photos: Farrow & Ball)

Tour A Modern Minimalist Apartment in Vienna

Ready to be totally inspired today? I first found Stylist and Blogger Svenja Brücker through blogging and her Instagram, and simply had to invite her to decor8 for a home tour and to speak about her life and style which she describes as, "Airy, light and with love for the detail!". Svenja, who writes Traumzuhause, is German living in Vienna for a little over two years and has a fantastic city apartment that is very modern and minimalist. She works freelance as a blogger and interior stylist and occasionally decorates residential spaces.

Wall Color: "Off Black“ from  Farrow&Ball .

Wall Color: "Off Black“ from Farrow&Ball.

Together with her boyfriend, they share a 4 room, 120 square meter flat with spacious rooms which boast soaring ceilings and a cozy balcony for two with a city view. What made her fall in love with her apartment and decide to move in? It was easy, "the classical details of our apartment like the beautiful herringbone floors, 4 meter high ceilings, double wing doors, huge windows, and tiny details like the light switches and the original brass door and window handles - everything presented together made me fall for this place! For me, it’s the perfect stage for all the furniture that I love!".

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What does Svenja love in her apartment, when it comes to her personal belongings? "A couple of weeks ago did a little hallway makeover and the new round mirror hanging there turned out to be a favorite piece of mine as well as the Saxe chair from byLassen that I got recently. Besides that, I love my white linen sofa and the old workbench that I use as my coffee bar."

Tour A Modern Minimalist Apartment in Vienna

SHOP LIST from photo above - all from Connox: Mirror UMBRA, Chair BYLASSEN, Wall boxes from MUUTO, Table light from LOUIS POULSEN. Wall Color "Chelsea Walk" from the Architects' Finest Collection from Schoener Wohnen.

Rug from  Touda , Sofa "Richard" by  B&B Italia .

Rug from Touda, Sofa "Richard" by B&B Italia.

I had to know why Svenja put her coffee bar in her living room though, so I asked and she explained that it's right near the kitchen, where they work a lot, so having it near to their desk was the perfect solution because the door to the kitchen is almost always open so it feels like one big space anyway. I love this coffee bar, I can't stop looking at it!

Wall color: "Pavilion Gray" from  Farrow&Ball

Wall color: "Pavilion Gray" from Farrow&Ball

Tour Vienna Apartment

As I looked through her gorgeous home photos, I wondered where she shops. Where does she find all of her lovely things? Here are some stores she highly recommends: Connox, Dopo Domani, Geliebtes Zuhause, The Posterclub and Granit. I can vouch for Connox (they are based here in Hannover!), Granit (big love for them) and The Posterclub, I shop there too. I have to look into Dopo Domani and Geliebtes Zuhause, I've not heard of them but am eager to check them out.

Wall color: "Pavilion Gray" from  Farrow&Ball .

Wall color: "Pavilion Gray" from Farrow&Ball.

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Chair:  Fredericia J64  from Connox.

Chair: Fredericia J64 from Connox.

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Paint color on wall: "Light Gray“ from  Farrow&Ball .

Paint color on wall: "Light Gray“ from Farrow&Ball.

My home is my shelter and also the place where I can do whatever I want to do and where I can surround myself with all the things I like the most.
— Svenja Brücker

With every apartment though, there are things that we don't like and wish to change. I asked her about that too. "I would love to change the bathrooms and the kitchen. Not because I don’t like them, but because there are so many more interesting and more beautiful options out there. Being surrounded by all those perfectly designed kitchens and everything else on a daily basis is sometimes really hard and creates a lot of desire. I guess everyone working in the design field knows what I’m talking about!". Yes, absolutely!

Now for wish list items. We all have them! I asked Svenja and she reveals, "That’s a tough one! I got a thing for outstanding lighting, so I always have a new lamp on my mind and also on my wishlist. At the top of it is the Vertical Globe lamp from Atelier Areti and also the Oda lamp from Pulpo right now. I would really love to own those! Besides that, I have a white or light grey Gervasoni Ghost sofa on my wishlist (but need a second living room for that)."

I always have a new lamp on my mind and also on my wishlist. At the top of it is the Vertical Globe lamp from Atelier Areti.
— Svenja Brücker
Svenja Brücker

Svenja Brücker

We also talked about her Instagram photos because, in addition to her apartment, she shows a lot of fantastic travel destinations from her many, often exotic, adventures. I was curious how these locations have inspired her interior style so we chatted about this and she revealed, "Every beautiful place that you see affects the way you look at things. Traveling definitely inspires me a lot but I don't try to recreate a style from a travel destination at home." She continues, "What works for your home often has to do a lot with the design of the apartment itself and also where it is located. I really like the easy-going modern Balinese style but I would never try to recreate this in my Viennese apartment because that would be not authentic to me or to the property or location."

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Santorini: We celebrated my birthday in Santorini last year and stayed at this magical little boutique hotel called „Charisma Suites“.

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Australia: What inspired me most about this country was the amazing energy that I felt in the big cities like Melbourne and Sydney. I have never seen so many unique places for food and coffee with outstanding quality everywhere. I felt that especially in Bondi Beach and Byron Bay, people were super laid back but also full of energy at the same time, I really loved this special vibe. 

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Bali
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Bali: A lot of Aussies live on this island and you can see it everywhere because they took their relaxed, inspiring lifestyle to Bali. Other than the many creative cafés and beautiful beach clubs, I also love the pure beauty of the country itself. I still remember the first time I saw one of the big rice paddies. Bali is pure heaven to me!

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Joshua Tree National Park: Last summer we took a road trip from Las Vegas to Palm Springs and spent one day at the gorgeous Joshua Tree National Park. Definitely worth a visit!

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San Luis Hotel Südtirol: One of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been to is this little gem in South Tyrol called, "San Luis Lodges Hotel“ some weeks ago. You can sleep in a tree house and watch birds and deer in the woods surrounding you while sitting in a hanging chair. Talk about a perfect getaway!

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and Vienna (where I live!): Jonas Reindl, which is my favorite coffee shop that I visit almost daily, Volksgarten (especially when the hundreds and hundreds of roses are blooming), Lunch at Erich and strolling through the nice little streets surrounding this place afterward, the magical Palmenhaus at Schönbrunn and Lamée Rooftop Bar to enjoy the view above the city in summer.

Thank you so much for this wonderful tour and your insights into home and travel, Svenja. Was lovely to have you here today on decor8!

(Photos by Svenja Brücker, with permission.)

When Everyone Goes Right, Go Left

Hey, hey everyone! How are you doing out there??? I'm good, just getting my groove and focus back after a long hot summer that had a lot of beach vacations and country drives on my agenda! In fact, I really lingered and spoiled myself this summer because we had the best summer weather in all of the 9 years I've lived here in Europe and I had to take advantage of it. It was like 4-5 months of non-stop sun and beauty. Even today, it's September 4th and 82 degrees and sunny. I feel like it's been a never-ending dream to have these sunny skies and beautiful, long days.

Minted Art decor8

I've also been working a TON on some secret projects - I'll reveal them later this year - but you really won't believe what I'm up to behind the scenes and fortunately, all of you will be (hopefully) happy when I make my big reveals. Let's just say that I have some big stuff brewing and I'm very excited to explore some new, uncharted territory for myself.

I've also decided to change DECOR8. I have some aesthetic changes to apply later this year, but for now, I needed to get back to my roots and just author the blog (mostly) alone. I'll have Anke Illner and her tabletop stories still, because they are infrequent enough to not feel like extra work for me but also they really inspire all of you (and me too) and I can't imagine not having those stories on my blog right now. I love all of my writers, but I really want to just write decor8 by myself again as I once did many, many years ago. I feel like blogs have evolved so much that most you barely recognize as a blog (they are more like magazines or websites), mine included, and I honestly MISS the times when blogs looked (and read) like blogs and were more imperfect and warm and where the author was truly present. 

I have this expression, "When everyone else goes right, I go left", and I really do live this way. Right now, everyone is on Instagram and, if they have a blog, are making them super gorgeous and full of perfect photos and amazing content. And I love that. But I also know I cannot deliver it and also that some diversity is nice and so why not take this as my opportunity to do something else and try a new approach - the approach that always feels the most authentic to me - to just write stuff here as I once did, regularly, and share what I love, what inspires me and to make is as non-commercial as humanly possible. I want to take a very organic and inspired approach to decor8 now. I don't have ads here and I don't use affiliate links and when a post is sponsored (which is not so common) it is clearly labeled as such.  But that's about the extent of how commercial I get on decor8. "I want to go left", I want to still have a blog and share a bulk of my content and creativity on here, not solely on Instagram.

So yeah, that's what I'm thinking about lately - getting back to my blog roots, saying goodbye to my beautiful team on the blog, and moving decor8 into a more personal space once again.

How are you lately? What's new for you? Are you blogging and if so, what is your blog URL so I can check it out? Any thoughts on blogging - do you still read them? Do you see value?

Love,

Holly