Wellegance

Cultivate a Life of Vitality, Pleasure, Passion and Purpose


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Design a Workspace to Inspire

Most of us have a designated workspace at home which is used for completing work-related tasks at home, paying bills, creative projects, personal business/planning, etc. And while these are important tasks and we probably spend a good bit of time doing them, we often don’t make this space in our home terribly inviting. In fact, many people simply re-create the small, bland and impersonal office cubicle at home (and we all know how motivating and inspiring that environment is!?).

I’m currently in the process of redecorating the office space in my home, so I’ve done a bit of research and planning. Here are the best tips I’ve uncovered for designing a workspace to inspire:

  1. Select a location. Consider things like space, light and noise level. Remember, this is a place where you want to be productive. A too-small space that is dark and noisy will not encourage productivity. So, be sure to find a spot in your home which has the elements you need to work well.
  2. Choose a paint color that inspires you. We think of colors like white, cream and beige for an office space, but no need to limit yourself. The goal is to make this space inviting and creative. For some, that means bright and vibrant colors and for others, soft, calming tones. Use color to assist you in creating the ambiance you desire.
  3. Position your desk so that you have a pleasant, interesting view. This affects your mood and comfort level more than you realize!
  4. Your desk, chair and other office furniture should be both beautiful and functional. How much surface space do you need to work? Do you require drawer space? Shelving? A bulletin board? What kind of chair are you most comfortable in? Think about your needs first and then, when shopping for furniture, look for the pieces that both serve your purpose AND look and feel pleasing. Create a workspace that appeals to your aesthetic and beckons you to spend time there. That might mean warm woods, soft lines, cozy chairs, etc. Strive to make this space feel as warm and inviting as the rest of your home.
  5. Address your lighting needs. In order to minimize eye strain, headaches and discomfort, make sure that your space is well lit. Natural light is preferred, however, you will likely need more light than nature provides. Invest in overhead lights and/or a desk lamp, as necessary.
  6. Think about technology. Determine what technology you require to get your work done and make sure that it’s available (along with chargers, computer mouse, mousepad, cord storage, etc.). Be sure to position your desk so that you have access to electrical outlets and position your computer so that the glare is minimized, as well.
  7. Accessorize with items that inspire you. A space feels more like home when it includes items that we love to look at and things that hold special meaning for us. Whether you display framed photographs, books that inspire you, artwork, fresh flowers, your favorite mug and/or pretty notepads, make sure that you surround yourself with the special little touches that make you want to spend time in this space.
  8. Include your preferred time management tool. I love paper calendars (this one is my favorite one!) and planner books (like this one) so I make sure to have those on hand. If you prefer electronic calendars/planners, you’ll need to have access to those tools.

The last bit of advice I’ll offer is to be patient! If you’re anything like me, when you begin a redecorating project, you want to do everything at once – paint, furniture, accessories, etc. However, it often takes time to truly create a space that’s beautiful and functional. Sometimes, we need to “live in” the space for a while in order to get clear on what we need and want. Having patience throughout the process and giving yourself time to find just the right pieces will most definitely pay off. Your home office will be perfectly suited to your unique needs and preferences, and will quickly become a space that excites, delights and inspires your best work!

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Weekly Wellegant Find: Wool Dryer Balls

Who doesn’t want extra soft, fresh smelling, static-free free clothing? Many of us use fabric softener sheets in the dryer to achieve this result. I used fabric softener sheets for years until, fairly recently, I became aware of just how toxic the chemicals in dryer sheets are!?

Whenever I want to research products and determine their “rating” (how safe, non-toxic and environmentally safe they are), I consult the Environmental Working Group. Their website is a wealth of information and evaluates the safety of just about every product on the market. It’s an amazing resource!

So, when I got wind of the dangers of using dryer sheets, I consulted the EWG immediately and here’s the article that finally convinced me to give up dryer sheets forever and find a safer alternative.

One of the alternatives the EWG suggests is the wool dryer ball, which is simply a ball of felted wool wrapped around a fiber core (wool and its natural lanolin soften fabric and reduce static cling), so off I, dutifully, went in search of one. I didn’t have to look far, as Amazon sells a number of them.

This one by Pure Homemaker is the one that I settled on and I couldn’t be happier. For one thing, it works! Clothing comes out of the dryer fresh, soft and static free. Furthermore, I know that I’m not putting harsh chemicals, fragrance and preservatives on my (and my family’s) skin. Using wool dryer balls is quite a bit cheaper than using dryer sheets and they’re far more environmentally friendly. The wool balls last for several years and can be easily “freshened up”, if necessary, by simply running them through the washer and dryer (of course, you’ll want to make sure that the laundry detergent you’re using is also free of chemicals, fragrance, etc.).

This is an effective and inexpensive way to keep your clothing soft and static-free, while keeping your body and the environment safe and healthy.

Have a wonderful, Wellegant week,

Karen

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

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Easy Outdoor Entertaining

Seating themselves on the greensward, they eat while the corks fly and there is talk, laughter and merriment, and perfect freedom, for the universe is their drawing room and the sun their lamp. Besides, they have appetite, Nature’s special gift, which lends to such a meal a vivacity unknown indoors, however beautiful the surroundings.”
-Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

It’s that time of year when longer days and warmer temperatures make dining “al fresco” possible, and what a joy that is! I absolutely love preparing a meal (usually on the grill), then sitting down to enjoy it outdoors, among the breeze, sights and sounds of summer. It seems to be an instant stress reliever and a beautiful opportunity to be present and enjoy the many gifts of this incredible season.

The best part is, outdoor entertaining can be surprisingly fuss-free. And we all know that the simpler things are, the more likely we are to do them. Here are some tips for hosting an intimate outdoor dinner party:

  1. Keep the menu simple: a salad, protein and a couple of sides are all that’s needed for a lovely dinner. Dessert can be as simple as some cut berries and ice cream/gelato.

  2. Build your menu around whatever is seasonal. Summer’s bounty gives us LOTS of healthy and delicious options.

  3. Include side dishes that can be served cold or at room temperature. Less time spent cooking means more time spent with your guests.

  4. Prep most of the meal ahead of time. Even grilled vegetables can be done in advance and served at room temperature (I love to add a drizzle of balsamic reduction right before serving to “fancy” them up!).

  5. Serve at least one course that you can purchase, rather than prepare yourself. This might be a cheese/charcuterie board, fois gras with crackers, cocktail shrimp, a hummus platter, etc. Certainly, a wonderful dessert may be purchased from the pastry shop. The point is…don’t feel that you need to make everything yourself. Choose how and where to invest your (limited) time and energy, so that you can have fun preparing for the party and not feel overextended and drained.

  6. If using the grill, make sure that it’s in working order and that you have enough gas/charcoal.

  7. Limit beverage choices; a fully stocked bar is not necessary. Still or sparkling water with slices of citrus fruit and a nice wine will satisfy most guests.

  8. Create a cozy outdoor space (click here for some inspiration).

  9. Use real china, stemware and cutlery (as opposed to paper/plastic) to create a more elegant meal. And if you want to add an extra elegant touch, bring your linens out (napkins and/or tablecloth).

  10. Include a couple of small bouquets of flowers, rather than one larger arrangement. If you’re lucky enough to have a flower garden, a few cut flowers and a few sprigs of greens will be perfect.

  11. Make sure to bring outside all of the the kitchen tools/equipment that you need (like tongs, spatula, etc.) ahead of time.

  12. Linger over the meal. Summer seems to beckon us to slow down and savor what’s going on around us. Savor the meal, the setting, the company, the warm weather, the night sky, etc. Enjoy every moment of your very Wellegant gathering!

I hope that these ideas have inspired to partake of this simple summer pleasure. In the words of Savarin, may you enjoy “laughter and merriment and perfect freedom.”

xo,

Karen

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Weekly Wellegant Find: Succulent Plants

I’ve always loved having plants and cut flowers in my home and, after spending some time learning about Feng Shui, I now understand how healthy it is to keep these things in our living space (you can read about some of the principles of Feng Shui here). The problem with keeping plants in my home is that I’ve never had much of a green thumb.

I walked into a local flower shop recently and saw these gorgeous succulents set out on a table without even so much as dirt or water beneath them. They were simply sitting on little mirrors and wooden plates. The shop owner explained that they last for quite a long time, as is. Absolutely no care required. Some of them even bloom, with a single little flower growing from the center. I’d seen succulents planted in dirt, but had never seen ones like this before and found it amazing that they needed no care at all. Sounded like just the plant for me! Needless to say, I came home with one.

If you’re looking to bring some green plants into your living space and want something low-maintenance – in this case, NO maintenance – you’re likely to love these cheerful little succulents.

Enjoy!

xo,

Karen

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DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

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It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

 


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Create Harmony in the Home: the Basics of Feng Shui

Who doesn’t want a more harmonious home environment? You know the feeling…orderly, spacious, clean, light, a place full of natural beauty and a sense of peace. Most of us have a visceral reaction when we’re in a space like this; our bodies and minds relax and our spirits revive. Conversely, when we’re in a space that is tight, cluttered, dirty and dark, we feel that too, in the form of tightness, discomfort, anxiety and frustration.

The ancient Chinese system of Feng Shui is based upon this idea that our physical surroundings are, like everything else, comprised of energy (life force energy, referred to as chi) and that energy affects on a physical, mental and emotional level. The practice of Feng Shui is, therefore, designed to manage the energy of a space to create balance, efficiency, peace, health and harmony.

Some consider Feng Shui to be a silly, “airy-fairy”, rigid, New Age notion. Knowing how strong an effect the energy of my physical environment has on me, I desired to learn more about it. I first researched it years ago, when my family moved into a new home, and again more recently.

While Feng Shui can be quite complex (and, yes, it can be a bit rigid at times), there are aspects of it that I find very logical and practical. My understanding is that the goal of Feng Shui is to ensure that the physical space you’re working with- a room, office, home, yard, etc. – (1) allows energy to easily enter the space, (2) keeps this energy flowing freely throughout the space and (3) prevents energy “leaks”.

Here are some simple, very “do-able” ways to manage the energy of your space and promote balance, clarity, health and harmony:

  1. Allow energy in:

    Keep home clutter free
    Seating plan that encourages interaction and conversation (furniture close to each other without being jammed together)
    Natural elements, such as flowers, plants, a fruit bowl, etc. (discuss five elements
    Use mirrors to create a sense of expansiveness)
    Use natural fibers (cotton, silk, etc.)
  2. Keep energy flowing:

    Good lighting
    Avoid allowing tv or other electronics to dominate the room
    Sense of proportion with furniture (allows for movement between and around pieces)
    Work with color (more vibrant in the living areas; softer in the bedrooms and bathrooms)
    Only include items you find beautiful and meaningful
    Soft edges, as opposed to pointy corners, on furniture
    Keep appliances in good, working condition at all times. Replace lightbulb son that burn out; discard or replace items that break or plants/flowers that die (NO DRIED FLOWERS OR POTPOURRI)
    Have a place for everything, order promotes the flow of energy
    Keep countertops relatively clear (avoid cluttering the surfaces in your home)
    Balance (end tables, lamps, etc.)
    Allow fresh air in when ver possible (open windows or use an air purifier)

    (3) Prevent energy “leaks”:

    Cover the windows (blinds/curtains should allow some light in, but provide a sense of privacy and containment)
    Use rugs to create a sense of grounding and security in certain areas
    No computers, television, or other electronics in the bedroom (and as few as possible in other areas of the home)
    When not in use, close toilet seats, closet doors, cabinets, etc.

I hope that these tips serve you well and that your home is a truly Wellegant sanctuary!

xo,

Karen

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DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!


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Weekly Wellegant Find: Thieves All Purpose Cleaner

Last week, I spoke about non-toxic cleaning products for the home, which is important for everyone, but especially for us women, as so many of the chemicals found in our everyday products are known to been disruptive to the endocrine system and quite dangerous to our overall health.

When I decided to rid my home of chemical cleaning products, I did a lot of research into various products (those of you who know me well know that, when it comes to health and wellness, I LOVE to read and research!). I was shocked to find that many of the so called, “green” and “natural” products are actually far from it.

So I was thrilled to find this product, made by the Young Living essential oil company.

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Non-Toxic Cleaning Products for the Home

Spring is fast approaching (hallelujah!!) and, if you’re like me, you might feel the need to clean things out and freshen things up! By the time spring rolls around, most of us have an intense desire to escape the doldrums of winter. Tired of “ warm and cozy,” we’re now ready for “light and fresh” in just about every facet of life and we long to change things up in a big way – in our wardrobes, homes, food, fitness routine, beauty regimen, etc. For that reason, spring tends to be the time when most of us do our best cleaning and decluttering.  At this time of year, I actually, almost, sort of, kind of, maybe…enjoy cleaning. Just a little bit. Maybe.

Whatever my feelings are about the process of cleaning, I can honestly say that I LOVE the feelings of lightness and clarity that I experience after my home has been, scrubbed down, wiped up and disinfected. It’s been said that physical clutter creates mental clutter and that is most definitely the case for me. The more clean and clear my surroundings are, the more clean and clear my emotional state.

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