Posts tagged from the heart
The Fear Of Being Judged

Hey there friends! OK so let's talk about being judged because we all hate it right? But first, a little bit about why I am stuck on this topic at the moment... I recently watched a film called Dior and I, have you seen it too? Wasn't it so inspiring? It's the story of Raf Simons' premiere couture collection at the house of Christian Dior. I was surprised and equally inspired by Simons - especially that he doesn't sketch and that he didn't speak a lot of French when he first started at Dior. I remember how held back and limited I felt when I first moved to Germany and today, how I still feel limited because I'm not fluent yet, so this film inspired me to see that the goal for Simons was simply to communicate in whichever way he could - translators, collaging images to show a final look he'd envisioned, broken French, French and English combined, through lots of mood boards, facial expressions, hand gestures... Even tears. Whatever worked, he did it. He communicated in many cases, beyond language. RusticRomance_Becker3LOWRESWEB

So much of communication is visual and also "felt" through touch or the way someone looks at you, don't you agree? Hand gestures, body language and eye contact are what you first rely on before learning a language but even during. When people get intimidated because they can't speak a language fluently they should remember that communication is the single goal regardless of how that is accomplished. Get your message through no matter what! Who cares who judges you with your bad accent or horrible grammar? Just speak!

Lots of bloggers ask me if they should write their posts in their mother tongue and in English to reach more readers. I always say yes, do it. And then the next question usually is, "Do I still write in English if my English is not good?", and I still say yes, because it will get better the more you write, it's endearing to others to see you writing in another language despite the grammatical errors, and communicating is the goal, not perfectly, just honestly.

I said this last week about my photography, but by putting ego aside tasks become so much more enjoyable and the perk is, you learn faster. I agree with this more each day, to sometimes place the ego aside, and just let your heart take you. While I've never been egotistical, I definitely held myself back at times when I felt "not good enough" at something. I was afraid of judgement.

Interestingly enough, I wasn't this way when I lived in America.

This fear of judgement only occurred after I moved to Germany and slowly started to see how cultural it is to be suspicious, envious and to fear judgement. There is also this deep-seated desire to be seen as great at everything which can be so limiting and even simple-minded in my eyes. I slowly absorbed the local "fear of judgement" which caused me to be less free-spirited, more guarded, and quite anxious that friends would envy me if I did do very well at something.

During the times when I place ego and fear of judgement aside and just jumped, I generally have the most fun and ended up finding the most success. My new attitude has been to say, "Screw it", when ever I get too hung up on what others think of me.

Another great thing about following your inner truth, or voice, is that you attract the right people to you and friends who really love you for who you are. I am working backwards in many ways now to try to get back to being the me that I was before relocating to Germany. I know I live here but I want to go back to my free-spirited ways when I didn't give a damn what anyone else thought and I certainly didn't care if someone judged me.

I want to laugh and live and not conform or be someone I'm not. I also have a little boy now to set an example for and children can quickly tell whether mommy and daddy wear two different faces.

I really loved when Simons' was being interviewed during a car ride to Belgium and he was asked about his work in ready to wear Men's fashion and how much of a minimalist he is, that the general idea was that he wouldn't fit the House of Dior with such a minimalist aesthetic. He sheepishly grinned and said that those people need to wait until his first show, then they could judge him, because he's actually not a minimalist at all just because he worked for some brands that were.

When gorgeous dresses merged with walls of flowers at his show, it was evident who was right and who was wrong. It was evident that those who judged him needed to adjust their view. It was also clear that judgement from others' wasn't going to bring him down.

I'm not shy and quiet, reserved or understated. I am bold but tactful, clear but loving. I like being the life of the party. I like communicating my ideas in any way that I can - gestures, smiles, laughter, broken German, English and German, tears, hugs, a gentle hand squeeze with eye contact, and sometimes very clear and good German. In the end, judgement from others will never stop me. We all need to work at becoming a bit more unstoppable don't we? Just go for stuff and stop worrying about what people will think. What would Beyonce do? Right?!

Screw them. She'd say that and Raf Simons would say that and most people out there who have success say that. Sure, there is always this fear of failing or whatever, but the fear of NOT trying has to be stronger. The fear of being judged can never be so strong that you don't bother trying.

So yeah, screw people who say you can't, question you, ask why you would bother, challenge your belief in self.

Feels kind of bad to say that but also really good, doesn't it?

How does judgement from others affect your life? Is your culture generally supportive of free-spirits and creatives or a little skeptical? Does your family or do your friends tend to hold you back at times? Does fear of judgement hold you back? What has helped you to push beyond fear?

(image: holly becker for decor8)



The Magic Of Not Trying So Hard

I've been thinking lately about life and what really makes "a good time" good and it always comes back to having friends, someone you are partnered with (if they add happiness to your life), simple times like sloshing through mud puddles giggling with your children or making homemade bread, and letting a lot of laughter into your life - sincere, genuine, from the heart. I also think a home that I feel proud of qualifies here because I can't really enjoy life without feeling at home in my environment. juliaceaser

I never realized how overly sensitive I am to aesthetics (in the home) until I had my son and suddenly home really started to feel like a real place beyond just pretty stuff and the occasional cocktail party or movie night. I deeply cherish the times that I have to spend with him watching as he examines everything in each room with curiosity that is often rarely present with most adults. I love seeing how our home is becoming part of his childhood memories and I want his good times in life to be not only outside of the home, but inside with us, too. I want natural moments and funny times to be more important than keeping up appearances or having the best new toy or gadget. I want his childhood to feel sincere and unscripted so he looks back and remembers the great times with us and not a Pinterest -friendly lifestyle where he couldn't touch anything outside of his bedroom because mommy had to Instagram it first for her followers.

We are all so focused on the next big vacation, the new home, the new car, making more money, the job promotion, having a flatter stomach, doing anything to "save" our relationship (as we drown), and trying hard to please others before pleasing self. Of course, I can add more to the list, but those are just some of the things that pop to mind. And I wonder why we always strive for these things when, at our core, simpler times make us happy? And why are we always looking to the next fix and not enjoying what we have today? Why can't we enjoy the person in front of us instead of making plans with someone else on Whatsapp during dinner? Why can't we just live in the moment more and bask in the beautiful light that soul connections and genuine conversations can bring without constantly seeking the next fix?

Have you ever fallen for someone? If so, I hope it went in your favor. If not, you know how it goes - you feel this deep, gut-turning connection that runs very deep, you aren't even sure how you ever lived without them until that moment. You then proceeded to do all you could to win their heart, and later it goes sour because you tried too hard and scared them away. You weren't natural, you came across as aggressive, you lacked patience. You lost them.

Have you ever fallen for someone you couldn't have (they are married, for instance)? This is even more brutal because you don't try at all and you effortlessly win their heart and you can't do anything to scare them away. You both know there is something real that could result in such beauty and joy, but you also can never be with them. They came to you too late, as the expression goes. These loves are the much-written about affairs in steamy chick lit novels, the forbidden fruit.

And yet, isn't it so remarkable that when we are not looking, when we are our most natural, and not fighting to win that love walks in? I wonder why we are at our best and attract the most beautiful people when we are unrehearsed and natural? I remember when I was single, I had such a hard time finding a nice man to date. Was it all of the makeup, trying to look "hot", trying to be the most intelligent in the room? Was it simply all of the trying that scares love away?

My grandmother always told me when I least expect it, "it" would happen. This has been true for so much of my life, especially when it came to getting pregnant. We didn't even try, I just let go of constantly thinking about it and decided to go live my life and it was then that I suddenly skipped a period and realized that the magic of not trying so hard is a very real kind of magic.

I'm not saying to be selfless, to live a life without intention, nor to focus only on the moment without a plan in sight. I'm not saying to live passively. What I am saying is to give everything a moment to sit and to think about it before diving right in or making plans for the next moment. Some berries are best eaten fresh-picked whereas others are ones that have sat out for a few days in the summer sun. The happiest person is one who can look at a situation or moment and quickly ascertain whether to enjoy now or save for later.

I hope that as I continue to age and evolve as a person, as a woman, and as a mother that I can more quickly make better calls of judgement and learn what to savor and what to store, what to cherish for today and what to work towards for tomorrow and most importantly, how to balance my need for stable, intentional living with my overwhelming desire for spontaneity, freedom, travel and experiencing all of the joie de vivre that I can in life. I am so full of fire and courage, curiosity and passion that often the smoke I cause from running so fast blurs out everything else around me and I lose track of being in the here and now. And enjoying it.

These are things that I often think about when the house goes quiet late at night and I sip a glass of wine and gaze onto the street below from my balcony. I think about love, life, magical moments and simplicity. I think about how being less intentional may be a good goal to have. I also think about how I have done so much within my own life and business that came because I wasn't out aggressively hunting and hustling for it. And I wonder why we try so hard to have more when all we really need is less.

Do you think about these things too?

Photo: Julia Caesar

From The Heart: Dreaming of Summer

It's always so nice to come across a new blog or find something in general that just resonates with where your heart has wandered at the present moment. I'm thinking of the coast, flowers, tones of green, blue and peach, interesting floor and wall tiles, linen bedding, pretty cafes but also dining al fresco, fresh healthy and colorful foods, pretty cocktails to sip, clean open spaces and very bright natural light. These things are all so summer-y too. When I ran into the Style And Create tumblr site today, I felt connected to what was posted there in a big way. Here are some current inspirations... tumblr_njh7mry5kU1u0jhn8o1_1280

Photo by Anders Bergstedt for Entrance


via Cereal Magazine, Photography Kate Holstein


Design by Loft Szczecin, Photo by Karolina Bak


Alvhem Mäkleri


via Cereal Magazine, Photography Kate Holstein


Photographer Francesco Lagnese


The Primary Essentials


Japanese stylist & creator Yukiko Masuda


Dolly and Oatmeal 


Restaurant Italy in Copenhagen


via Cereal Magazine, Photography Kate Holstein


Restaurant Italy in Copenhagen


Japanese stylist & creator Yukiko Masuda


Styling Pella Hedeby & Marie Ramse, Photo by Sara Medina Lind 

tumblr_nnpql5jkgz1u0jhn8o3_r1_1280 From vtwonen, Styling by Kim van Rossenberg, Photography Sjoerd Eickmans


via Cereal Magazine, Photography Kate Holstein


Japanese stylist & creator Yukiko Masuda


From vtwonen, Styling by Kim van Rossenberg, Photography Sjoerd Eickmans

Do visit and see if you feel the same.

(images linked to sources above)

From The Heart: Have a Mindful Weekend

Hello friends and happy weekend! I had such a productive week so I'm feeling great while simultaneously wishing I had more hours in each day to do all that I have in my heart to accomplish. Do you feel this way too? I'm really starting to iron out some wrinkles in my work / life and I feel so much more invigorated and energized since I started working with my dear friend and life coach, Laurie Cameron, who is doing weekly Skype sessions with me to guide me - mostly in becoming more aware, mindful and intentional but also to run my business way better and to step up my game! I often know what I need to do, but really crave a trusted companion to act as a sounding board. But I also want an expert to go to for bulletproof methods that I can follow to reach goals and climb new heights. Laurie is both. flowers

Last week we talked all about setting boundaries and social media. How sometimes we need to truly tighten the filter. What a truly fascinating discussion that turned out to be. I'm seeing a shift in my life already from working with her and would love to share some points from our conversations here in the future so Laurie and I are trying to map out what that could look like so everyone can benefit from our chats. Would you like that?

Part of being more mindful is to appreciate what we have versus what we don't have. To be more thankful and to address those with whom we are thankful to. This week I feel proud and thankful that I sold some of my photos to a magazine in Germany, landed two contracts with American companies to work on some wonderful content for them on decor8, started prepping for a photo shoot at my home this Sunday and Monday with a lovely photographer, two models and a makeup artist (fun!), was asked to be in a very cool book and I found out that I am in the Elle Decoration Directory - a massive honor (and on newsstands now until April 8th. Cover with the supplement that I'm in is shown below).A big thanks to Elle Decoration for including me in their annual directory. Really, truly honored.

All of this in one week. And there is more but those were the things that came to mind first as I typed.


I'm also enjoying my days with our son who will turn 14 months on April 9 and who is so full of joy and life. Everyone on the street stops us to say how sweet and friendly he is. This makes me happy! He was really kiss-y this week - always kissing me and his daddy and he started blowing kisses when we say goodbye to people - he blows kisses at them with this cute little mu-ahh sound at the end. It's the best. I never understood why moms melted over this stuff until I became a mother. It's the best moment when your kid does something so completely precious at such a young age. I think most babies his age blow kisses, but when it's your baby it's such a beautiful sight.

There is so much more going on in my life right now but I'll share more of that later because I need to sketch out some ideas for the shoots so I really nail it on Sunday and Monday. I can't wait to work with Susanne, Esra, Manuella and Ditte - girl power from Belgium, Denmark, Turkey and Germany. I feel so lucky to be working with such great women.

I wish you all a very happy, mindful, purposeful, intentional weekend. 

(images: top: holly becker bottom: elle decoration uk)


From The Heart: Do Happy People Notice The Weather?

I've been so busy lately with work and play (my birthday was last weekend), my little boy running everywhere and organizing play dates (he has more of a social life than me), it's all exciting but also tiring because of the stupid weather. It continues to drag on in this dull and gray depression and my goodness do I need the sunshine. This morning I woke up, after it was sunny and in the 60s yesterday for the first time in forever and looked out the window and was like WHUUTT. Because yesterday I stayed home all day working and reasoned that the good weather would continue today (I'm an optimist) so I could go out today. NOPE. Didn't happen. I saw a quote yesterday on the beyond lovely IG account of @verdenius (who works for Jamie mag in the Netherlands) that read, "People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy". I wonder if this is really true. Is noticing the weather a sign that you're in some kind of misery? maike4

Maybe it's just young people or people who just sorta coast who don't notice. Like me in my twenties. I never thought about the weather. I never sat around wondering what will happen this weekend OUTSIDE. Will it be sunny? Warm? Cold? WHO CARED when I was 22. I only cared about boys and clothes and work. Now I'm a million years older and the weather forecast is ALL I THINK ABOUT.


Why do we get old and talk about the damn weather so much? I'm not bored. I'm very busy. Life is good. Yet the weather is something I think about more than the stuff I should be thinking about. Perhaps we think about the weather when we live in shitty weather places. Yeah, that must be it. I grew up on the beach in sunny South Carolina. I moved to Boston after high school and back then, I don't remember 100 feet of snow in the winter. It was different weather-wise in New England when there was four distinct seasons. At least I think. When I left New England in 2009, the weather was extreme. Nor'easter (is that how you spell it?) every dumb day until like May. I got the heck out and thought Germany would be the promise land because there is so little snowfall over here and I reasoned anything is better than opening your front door to a wall of snow that reaches your neck.



We don't get much snow, this winter none at all. But we do get dark angry clouds that pee on us constantly and frown down in their big gray stinky moods. And then they disappear in seconds and it's sunny and perfect. You are tricked and so you jump into something cute to wear and run outside and boom! The big gray master of disaster cloud guy is back looking down, only this time shooting lightening bolts and laughing in his best brew-ha-harrrr voice. So then you ditch the idea to go lay on the grass in the park or chase your kid at the playground because it's pissy again and you just feel super annoyed and wonder what has made you such a weather freak anyway? Like who cares, can't you still lay in the grass in the park with rain pouring down on you and lightening bolts dancing in the skies? Not unless you want to die.


So that's how weather is here. It's moody and annoying. It's kind of like that Laurel character on The Arrow, Katie Cassidy, who is constantly like "Dad" insert uncomfortable long pause "Dad, I'm sorry". And is acting like she is such a sweet sort of lost girlfriend type who is suddenly studying how to become a ninja and then begins bashing people over the head, while all of the time, being all sensitive to her father and nearly crying whenever Arrow tells her she can't fight. The weather here is very Laurel. Annoying. By the way I only watch The Arrow because I'm blown away by the amazing acting (not), incredible fight scenes (no) great storyline (ah, no again) and Stephen Amell (yes!).


Ok so now it's your turn, what are you guys doing? I'm actually prepping for a shoot this weekend. With a photographer, makeup artist, models, props and everything! Weeee! You can follow that chaos and adventure on my Instagram @decor8 if you feel a tad interested. I'll be grammin' on Sunday and Monday to show you a few behind-the-scenes. The photos will end up being used in a few projects, the most significant for my newly designed e-course site that we'll be launching in April.


Hope you are all doing good!

How's the weather?

(photos: Marieke Verdenius)