Changing & Putting Happiness First

Captured by Nicole Catherine

Captured by Nicole Catherine

I’m changing. I feel it in my heart. I feel it when I go to sleep at night, and when I wake up in the morning. I feel different. It’s scary but deep down I’m loving it.

Life isn’t always easy, I think we all know that by now. Recently I went through a bit of a rut and I wanted to talk about it today. Given today is the first day of Spring, as well as the International Day of Happiness, the words “blossom”, “growth” and "joy" come to mind. Today feels like a good day to talk about just that. 

For starters, this space of mine over here on the web is fairly new. For those who don’t know me, I am an Interior Designer, TV Design Producer (aka lead behind the scenes designer for those home renovation shows you see on television), as well as the Founder/Creative Director of mine and my husband's company, The Design Hunters. On paper this all sounds great; which, don't get me wrong, it is, and my family and friends literally think I have the coolest job ever. I pinch myself all the time because I can't believe this is my life. However to be completely honest, the “busy”, as well as the down time from the “busy” can be paralyzing. My design partner, Tommy and I, who met while designing on the hit show ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, always talk about the struggle of filling our creative souls, when we already had a successful career, both financially and personally in our early 20’s. We were just babies, but the job and role on Extreme Makeover could definitely be considered a peak in our design careers, for more reasons than one. Years later, it’s been personally difficult to try and carve out a new type of “success”.

Over the past couple of months, the weight of “success” has been hard to grasp. Kris and I, a newlywed couple, were supposed to spend a majority of our time during the upcoming years in New York, renovating our NYC apartment and working towards finally making it a home. For the past 5 years since we’ve been together, our NYC home has been sitting there, empty, waiting for us to fill it with love. However, not even 30 days after moving to the east coast, a job calls and we were back in LA. My mind knows what season we’re in, but my suitcase has absolutely NO idea! We’ve been living out of airbnb’s and families' homes and as you can imagine, it’s a bit chaotic. On top of this, last month, while I was working on a TV show with 12 hour days and preparing for client installs, I was blindsided by an unexpected family death and a car accident that left me with a rental for nearly a month - as you can imagine, February was not my month.

I’ve suffered depression early in my 20’s from work exhaustion and I was starting to feel the symptoms all over again, but in a different way. Luckily, this time around, I wasn't traveling on the road and by myself in hotel rooms. I was surrounded by the strong support system I grew up within, my family. I’m sharing this because as an outsider, you wouldn't have known.  I was walking around, interacting with coworkers and friends as if all was ok; however, the moment I was alone or when I would see my husband, I would just break down. The nightly anxiety attacks were happening and the crying was paralyzing and frightening for my loved ones. I looked in the mirror and felt bad for the girl I saw. Sad right? I wasn't happy and that was really hard to accept. I also really missed my godfather who suffered a heart attack and it was hard to get back on track. I really don't believe our culture gives us enough time to grieve and I was working through missing him and coping with the legacy he left behind. What the heck will my legacy be? On top of this I was really hard on myself for not getting it together during these difficult times and that was painful. I truthfully had/have it all and I needed to remind myself of that. I have a healthy and loyal family, and an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G husband (whose love and affection is inspiring), great friendships and exciting work opportunities on the horizon. So what the hell was wrong? I started to write down the things I knew for sure. It was scary, but at the same time SO liberating. I needed to change things up. Little by little, the small changes started to alter my life in big ways. 

I wanted to share my roses, after the thorns, with all of you today. Instead of crawling into a deeper hole of the unknown, I listened to my heart and started to pull out what I already knew. 

INNER JOY

I realized that little things truly bring me joy. I am a big surprise girl, I love executing extravagant surprises for the ones I love, but for me, little things like bike rides, a delicious new tonic recipe, or the smell of flowers and the joy on a loved one’s face when they can't stop laughing, are truly the best. Kris and I have made it a part of our daily routine to go on bike rides, sometimes twice a day, to step away from it all. What's great about the bike rides, is that they are simple. They aren't planned, we go when we both want to go. When either of us needs a break, we get on our bikes and just cruise around the neighborhood. Sometimes for half a mile, and sometimes for 8 miles. These breaks have become my favorite part of my days.

I was also raised Catholic and although I do not practice regularly, I am very spiritual and love the moments when Kris and I pray together. This gives me hope and keeps us a stronger unit.

Rose Takeaway: Making hobbies and small acts of joy a part of your daily routine can be life changing. Sometimes you just need to change things up!

Captured by Nicole Catherine

Captured by Nicole Catherine

PERSONAL GROWTH

I realized that I do want to become a mom, and rather sooner than I thought. It’s not because a majority of my friends and family are onto baby #2 and #3, and it’s not because of my age. It’s because I know Kris and I are going to be the best parents. I wasn't being honest about this and I wasn't making it a priority. Over time, it started to creep up on me. I've always been known to family as the world traveling "free spirit", and this is no longer solely what I want my identity to be. I want to be known as the world traveling mama! :)

I also can’t wait to make Kris a dad and I can’t wait to bring more bundles of joy into my awesome family. Lately, I've been visualizing the future and all of the beautiful things on the horizon and it fills me with so much joy!

Rose Takeaway: Visualize the future and all of the beautiful new experiences on the horizon. Imagine what your new days will be like. Imagine what you want your new days to become. Doing this made me overwhelmingly happy. 

A BLOSSOMING CAREER

I realized that I am more than just a designer... and let me elaborate on that. Design is my passion, it is my calling, but I don’t feel that that's it for me. I love our company. I am so proud of the team and portfolio we’ve built, but sometimes I find myself wanting something more. Something more meaningful. This is what this blog serves for me. It is my way of living out and documentaing the most passionate life I can live. I’m inspired by all of the beauty around me, beyond home design and I have fun tapping into that. I feel alive in the kitchen and I love listening to podcasts to better myself. The thought of “wellness” to me, isn't just some stupid LA fad that all the trendy girls are doing. It’s a lifestyle that I take very seriously. I respect those that are putting themselves out there. They are doing all of the leg work to show you how you can live a healthier life. I’ve seen the effects of not taking care of yourself and I only want to better myself and those around me.

Rose Takeaway: Never put yourself in one box. Just like seasons change, people change.  If your job isn't making you happy, whats the point. Change things up to make it exciting, or find a new passion. Seek a career that brings you joy. Accepting and tuning into your personal evolution can be life altering.

Captured by Nicole Catherine

Hopefully this will inspire you to dig deep and really pull out your inner happiness. This blog post was hard to write. I contemplated not posting it and felt insecure about it, however, I followed my heart in hopes that it would benefit even just one person. 

You should feel alive and happy, no matter where you are standing today.  


Happy First Day of Spring, AND Happy International Day of Happiness! XXVVH