Tuesday, January 8, 2013

BOOK WE LOVE: Design*Sponge at Home

Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney (Artisan Books).

Start clearing off space on your coffee table now. I have a new found love of interior design books, and can often be found perusing through stacks of them in bookstores. I have found the winner. This book is by the creator of the hit design blog, Design*Sponge, which also happens to be one of my all-time favorite blogs.

Divided into five categories including sneak peeks, DIY projects, DIY basics, flower workshops, and before & after, Design*Sponge at Home captures the essence of the blog: creative, sophisticated, and beautifully artistic. The first section includes photos of gorgeous homes from all over the world, with tips sprinkled throughout, such as how to renovate on a budget, highlight a favorite collection of books and objects, and use reclaimed wood in your house. Bonney even gives us a look into her own Park Slope apartment, and how she makes the best of some of its quirks, including a ten-degree slant throughout the rooms, and its lack of natural light.

In the chapter on DIY projects, you'll learn how to make recycled cake stands, map-covered boxes, citronella candles, and so much more. Bonney will teach you sewing and floral design basics, how to paint furniture, and the necessary skills to create your dream home on a budget. The before and after chapter will change the way you view your space. Each renovation project shows the exact cost, time, and level of difficulty. Unlike many other before and after sections that I've seen in interior design books, which make it seem like every individual has endless funds for renovations, Design*Sponge focuses on keeping budgets low.

Design*Sponge at Home will have a permanent home on my coffee table, and I will continue to read the blog almost daily. The book is beautifully thought-out with gorgeous photography, and provides its reader with hours of inspiration, entertainment, and ideas.

Click here for more information.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Stress Less in 2013

It may seem like no matter what you do to attempt to relax—yoga, massage, dance classes, drinking green tea—you still feeling insanely stressed out. To help you start the New Year off properly, here are some tips on how to slow down and stress less.

1. Slow yourself down, if only for a couple minutes.
Being stressed out affects our everyday life in surprising ways. When you’re stressed, you may feel restless, anxious, and have difficulty concentrating. It doesn’t help that our society constantly pressures us to move quickly and be available on our iPhone 24/7. It’s time to tune out. During your lunch break, shut off your phone, step away from your desk, and really focus on what you’re eating. Take smaller bites, and breathe deeply. In the afternoon, if you’re craving sugar, go for a brisk walk instead. Use that time to focus in on your surroundings. When you return to your desk, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and more energized.

2. Don’t do activities that feel like a chore.
We're not suggesting you stop writing papers or going to classes, but stop doing the things you have control over. Is serving on a board feeling more draining than enjoyable? Resign. Do you have a toxic frenemy? Distance yourself from her. If your job is no longer rewarding or enjoyable, update your resume and start looking. When you fix the situations that are troubling you, you'll feel stronger. Reclaim your power.

3. Try something new.
It’s the start of a New Year, and what better time to start a different activity? Whether it’s water aerobics or a Thai cooking class, sign up for something you've never done before. Plus, it’s an excellent way to make new friends and expand your social circle.