JUNE CHALLENGE: DOING WHAT MATTERS MOST

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June is here!! We're officially halfway through 2016 and just as it happens every year, I'm looking up thinking, "Where has the time gone??!".

When January slides in it feels like 12 months--hell, even 6 months--is a loooonnngggg way away.  And then before I know it, the Atlanta weather is sticky, everyone's showing off their summer bodies & I start taking stock of what I've accomplished since the beginning of the year. I'm normally a "6 month goal check-in!" kinda gal but this year I've decided to mark this halfway point by doing something radical: I've made a personal commitment to spend the next 30 days doing the things that matter most. And just what makes this simple idea radical?? The fact that I spend a lot of time doing OTHER things that keep me "busy". I do the things I THINK I should be done (post here, create more engagement there, figure out how to monetize X, get more clients/more money, etc.) but to be honest, I don't always feel like I'm doing the RIGHT things. And in this case, the "right" things are the ones that matter to & for me BEYOND the snappy business advice....the things that speak to who I am as a person. I've been on a wheel of what feels like a lot of DOING--trying to "make" or "force" things to happen--versus just BEING, which means working according to flow and moving inRIGHT action. All of this "busy-ness" is actually counterintuitive to how I believe the world turns and how I should believe my life should work. So I figured it's time to line up with what I believe. There's nothing wrong with having a full calendar (I detest the word "busy"), but too often I think we fall victim to filling the holes just to fill the holes. Or at least I have. Like there's something wrong with silence spaces or doing the work that comes easy. The need to DO all the time makes it seem like there's one tried & true route to "success" when there's not--and by working in a way that feeds into the myth, I feel like I'm abandoning the things that really matter for what "the world" says is right. Which doesn't make sense because my beliefs are metaphysical in nature (stay with me here). So I'm calling bullshit on myself. I want to be in the flow of allowing and inspired action...and because of that,I'm taking a step back. Doing less to do more. 

 I've decided not to waste my time "checking back over my 2016 goals" or mapping out more things to do before the calendar year escapes my grasp. I know that a lot of what I really need to be doing right now is WRITING. About secrets. love. entrepreneurship. business advice. confidence. staying in your own lane. making room for God. I have a lot I want to talk about! And a lot I want to hear from YOU about! For years I've believed that being successful in business is related to how much I'm worth as evidenced by how many clients I have at any given moment & how much they're each paying me--you know, what i'm doing to make the machine run. But when I think about how I really want to be spending my days, the kind of work I really want to be doing, who I most want to work with & the kind of legacy that I most want to leave, I know it's about building a special kind of COMMUNITY. And as a result, there's always a single refrain running through my mind: Write. Write. Write. So that's what I'm committing to do this month. 6 blog posts. And that may not seem like a big deal to you but because it's the thing I think I run from the most (which is odd because it's also one of the things I want to do the most) 6 is me really pushing myself to put pen to paper over the next 30 days. To stop putting off the inspired ideas for the ones I THINK are "best" because I'm trying to force what I think is right (what the "experts" say & what other people are doing). Because what's really right for me a this moment, is to write (as much as 6 scares me). And to know that I'll meet who I need to meet, travel where I'm supposed to travel and create what I'm supposed to create but in a more meaningful way--all because I listened to my heart. 

So that's my plan for my "6 month business check-in":

focus on what matters most

. And my question for you is this:

Is there something you'd LIKE me to write about?? A question you've been wanting to ask me or something you'd like my take on?

If so, leave it in the comments below...or email me if that makes you feel more comfortable. dayka@daykarobinsondesigns.com

Happy June!

THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A PRACTICE

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In the world of spirituality and metaphysics, there is a lot of talk about having a "practice"--the thing that keeps you connected to your Source, whatever you may consider that to be. 

I whole-heartedly believe in the power of a practice, but I admit that it's an area in which I am still growing (read: not as consistent as I'd like to be). But when life gets a little crazy, like it did last week, I'm reminded why it's a belief that I never stray too far from. 
In my spare time, it's rare that you'll find me watching a ton of TV. I have cable, but the channels are so basic that it's almost like I don't have it. There's only one box and it's downstairs in my Living Room, where I'm more likely to watch it if friends come over and want to tune into something special. 
Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead? Haven't even seen 'em. 
DVR? Don't have it. 
I cut the TV out in 2013 when I realized that going to bed with Law & Order and Dateline on my mind wasn't doing me any good. I actually completely turned the tv off for months and just read, and once I noticed how much better my days were getting, I kept it up, making sure to fill my brain with positive & encouraging things every morning and once I settled into bed at night.
So for me, this is a big part of my practice.

But the importance of having a practice for me is less about the day-to-day and more about having a place to turn when the proverbial shit hits the fan. Because it's never IF it hits the fan but WHEN it hits the fan. Sometimes it hits in my business life and sometimes it hits in my personal life....other times it may be both at the same time. Could be as small as my hot water heater going out (like it did this week!) or as big as....well, big. And I don't just mean praying/meditating about a resolution to whatever your situation is--I mean something that keeps you grounded in the truth of your bigger picture. Something that reminds you to focus on your guiding beliefs. It's always interesting to me when I hear people pray for God's will to be done, because from my perspective, it IS always done....the only thing I pray about is the grace to surrender and let go of my attachment to what I want the outcome to be.
And I do this by reminding myself that there's no place that God is not, and that the Universe is always conspiring in my favor, even when it doesn't look like it. It's what I constantly reiterate to myself (and others!) and what I need/want to be reminded of when chaos appears to be all around. To be reminded in the moment that--as David Ault always says--even in the apparent absence of order, there IS order, to the degree that I believe it to be so. 

So how do you develop a practice?
Well first of all, there is no ONE right way. It's a personal, intimate thing and first requires you to figure out what you believe about life. And it should be a reflection of what you want to see in your world. If you want to see yourself with great relationships & a successful business, speak that!! It's as easy as saying something like, "I know that my business is a success and all of my relationships are moving me towards my highest good." Keep in mind that it's often a journey to our "highest good" but if you continuously remind yourself that everything is working together for your good, after awhile that's all you'll see. And conversely, know that if your narrative about your life is that it's always a challenge, nothing ever works out for you, all men are dogs/women are sluts and you're never gonna get there (wherever "there" is for you), then don't be surprised when that's all you see reflected, because what we focus on grows. Developing a practice is like building a muscle--the more you use it the stronger it gets--so when those moments of pure chaos come, you can choose to teach yourself to be silent in the midst of the storm and know that regardless of what it may look like, all is well right now. 
This is true for your finances. And your business. And your relationships. And everything in between.

Because a practice is a very personal thing it will look different on each of us but I would suggest you start with doing it once a day, maybe even twice a day if that feels right (morning & night) . It could be meditating, reading books that keep your mind/spirit centered, prayer or even something that just makes you feel good and gives you strength to face each day with courage & love. My advice? Don't get caught up in the vehicle, but do find SOMETHING to read/do/say daily that reminds you of the truth who you are. Because there is SO MUCH out here trying to remind us of who we've BEEN, who you SHOULD BE going forward and how to live your life now...and 99.989% of it is BS. Remember that when you change your mind, you change your language. And when you change them both, your whole life will change.
There's no trick or gimmick, just me & you, owning the truth of who we are.
And if having a practice can make you do that, I'd say it's something worth having.

MY 2015 IN REVIEW....AS TOLD BY MY 2016 SELF.

I decided to give myself a break this year and take some time with creating my goals. 
I sat down at some of my favorite spots--even cleaned my office and cleared off my ENTIRE desk (such a feat, if you know me)--but nothing was really taking ahold. The process was feeling forced with all of the   "New Year, New Me" pressure going around, so I decided to dial it back and just let things unfold organically. To remember that going into the new year without a clear set of goals doesn't mean that I don't know what I want for my life and that it's okay if my goals don't come to me in the timeframe that I think they should. Matter of fact, I've been hearing this same thing from a lot of people in my circle. I knew what I wanted generally speaking, but could only put my finger on one or two specifics that weren't even values based. 

But then I went to an incredible all day seminar this past weekend and through that, the loose ideas that had been floating around in my mind over the last few weeks crystalized into something more tangible. Something that's been right in front of me all along. 
2015 is my year of Intention. 
Making sure that every move I make is in alignment with who I say I am.
Nothing more, nothing less.
And hearing this word probably isn't a surprise to you if you've been reading this blog as of late--my focus on intention is an expansion that has been taking place for a few years (3, to be exact), though it didn't really start making its way to this platform until the beginning of last year. And why am I so focused?? Because I believe that we, either intentionally or unintentionally, create lives that reflect what we believe about ourselves. So essentially, if you (1) get clear about what you want (2) and let go of being attached to how it comes, you will see all of the good you want and exactly what you believe. Not always what you ask for mind you, but always what you believe.  
So instead of laying out the specifics of this year's agenda, I'm approaching this thing from a different perspective and thinking about what I will say about 2015 when January of 2016 rolls around. So here's Dayka in 2015, as reported by my 2016 self. 

2015 did NOT disappoint. In addition to intentional, joy & peace were two words that defined my year--words that speak to the greatest sense of happiness and tranquility I found by being in alignment with what I felt led to be doing. I had an adventurous year because I changed my perspective & didn't limit the adventures moments to the times when I was traveling--I found great adventure at home and finally, truly, spent more time discovering this fantastic city that has been so good to me. 2015 was my year for lots of dating. And I'm not just talking about fantastic people taking me out on fantastic dates--which they did--but I dated myself a lot, too. All of those great date ideas I'd been saving up for the "right time/right person"? I did them all last year. I was the one I was waiting for!

I took care of myself like a MF. I mean, really. Recommitted to the discipline of eating in a way that optimizes my body & makes me feel (and look) good. Was hyper-viligent about monitoring my stress level, which is imperative to my auto-immune disease, and set firmer boundaries regarding things that didn't fall in line with keeping me physically balanced. All of the things I'd been wanting to write about for the last few years, I finally did. I stopped worrying about whether they were "on topic" or "strayed from the brand", and instead, I just wrote what was on my heart and let my words set out to do what they intended (I AM my brand, after all!). And because of this, lots of new, paid, writing opportunities opened up...something that I didn't even realize I wanted until 2 years ago.
That paper line that I'd planned on launching in 2014?? It finally went to print this year and it found audience of people who really supported & embraced the message. Knowing that it's out there is such a joy (there's that word again), because it's a huge part of who I am and what I believe in. My first NYC jobs--plural--happened this year. I could never have imagined the how, who, or what but happen they did and consequently, I can say that 2015 saw DRD expanding to NYC! Lots of mini-vacations in 2015, too--some with my super tight girls, some by myself, some 2 hours away and at least 1 international escapade. My passport hadn't seen some stamps in a few years and 2015 was the year that thang got dusted off. 

And that's it (for now).
The basics?
I will be healthy. I will be adventurous. I will be full of joy. I will live with integrity. And I will love. 
Not "I want to", but "I will".

All intentionally, of course.
And so it is. 

WHAT I'M EXPECTING FOR 2013 (AND WHAT I'M LETTING GO OF)

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     lara casey
Ooh, I love me some goal setting.
This year I separated my personal & professional goals into 2 separate lists and took a few days to really think about what I want my life to look like for 2013 and more importantly, who I want to be. I'm still tweaking my lists but I wanted to share a few of my goals for 2013 with you. This year, for a change, I'm working on goals AND strategies--meaning, not just putting an idea down on paper but doing the planning now to figure out what behaviors will be required to meet my goals over the next 12 months. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!
BUSINESS
Use DRD to add more value to the lives of my clients, customers & readers.
Write an ebook.
Produce 3 videos for my blog/website (more would be ideal, but this is a good start).
Photograph (professionally) all of my design work.
Launch free-standing online e-commerce site.
Charge enough for my work so that it reflects its actual value (borrowed this wording).
Own my voice. 
Get a business accountant (needed that yesterday!).
Receive national press coverage for my work.
Write with transparency, thoughtfulness, & intention.
Rent a storage unit for furniture.
Connect with some new bloggers.
Send out monthly newsletters (sign up on the right!).
Finish my Dining Room, Living Room, & Office (it is my business, after all). 
Expand my influence as a brand.
List & sell more vintage furniture.
Learn Photoshop.
Accept blog ads. 
Become a contributor to another blog or major website.
Create financial abundance. 
PERSONAL
Hit my goal weight-120lbs.
Buy health insurance.
Eat 90% Paleo.
Go indoor rock climbing.
Discipline my thinking.
Schedule regular haircuts.
Pray daily.
Make 10 new friends.
Host a dinner party.
Love>Ego.
Celebrate the special moments of those close to me.
Learn to shoot at a gun range.
Attend more local events (@ least once/month).
Clean each room once/week.
Have fun.
Continue yoga, start pilates again.
Be intentional about traveling (even if it's not far). 
Read everyday.
Buy more candles.
Invest in me. 
Serve.
In addition to these goals, I'm breaking them down by strategies ("What action do I need to take to accomplish this goal?") and then also writing a few paragraphs about who I want to be at my core (which is more about feeling than doing, so I love this part). 
In 2013 I'm also committing to let go of:
Over analyzing.
Giving myself permission to be paralyzed by my fears.
Unintentional living.
Playing too small. 
Thinking there's not enough. 
Obsessing over my house.
Always trying to stay 2 steps ahead ('cause right now ain't so bad!!). 
I plan to type all of this up, print it out, sign it (makes it feel more official) and post a copy on my bulletin board where I can see it daily. And I'm looking forward to crossing everything off this list over the next 365.
So now it's your turn...what goals, intentions and/or strategies are YOU committing to for the new year??

Wrap Up: My Scott Antique Market Vendor Experience

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I'm back from my loonngg weekend (last weekend) as a vendor at Scott's! I'll tell you upfront that I made ZERO DOLLARS, but my overall experience was still really positive. I'm happy that, by doing this, I was able to check off a goal that's long been on my list, and the experience definitely helped me get clearer about what I want to do.   I won't go as far as to rule it out, but don't count on me doing it again soon either!  Here are a few things I learned during my time as a vendor this past weekend...

  • Markets like these aren't for the faint of heart. Scott's has a lot of permanent vendors and these are people who pretty much work the antique market "circuit" as a living. For them, it's not about making a killing (so to speak) over one weekend as much as it is about meeting a monthly goal. Translation? Don't set up a booth and expect to go home with empty hands and fat pockets 4 days later--that probably ain't gonna happen! For me, I think the process is a bit too tedious & time-consuming to do as a side hustle. Believe me when I say that setting up and breaking down your booth is no fun. I had grand ideas about doing this elaborate setup, but once I saw all that it took to get those beautiful display booths together, that plan was quickly scrapped.   
  • The vendors are all really nice and extremely helpful. I had no clue how things ran out there, but my neighbors all went out of their way to fill me in on all the details only a regular would know, like Friday's start late so there's no sense in showing up early (as I did at 9am!). I definitely would've been lost without them!
  • Here's a tip on Selling 101--don't hold anything, EVER. Often times you only have 1 time to make a sale, so make it when you can.  I, unfortunately, had to learn this the hard way.

When I initially announced that I would be at Scott's,  I wrote that this venture was fail proof and yet risky, and here's what I originally meant:  it was risky, because there was upfront money (and ego) involved, but it was also fail proof because being in business for yourself means taking chances like this in an effort to grow.  All things being equal, I really feel like I came out on top. I learned that vending is hard work--setting up a booth, sitting there for 8 hours a day and then having to pack everything back up is no joke--probably not for me. Will I try my hand at Scott's again? I'm not counting it out...but it won't be next month! Special thanks to Sherry Hart, Claire WatkinsNiki McNeil, Sara Street Cook, Carla Schwartz, Tara, my girl Jenn who all came out to see me during my stint--your support was greatly appreciated!

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Are You Still Here??

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I know I've been gone too long! I miss blogging on a daily basis, but now that my schedule has grown exponentially, I'm finding it harder and harder to create content and finish the projects that I love to do (and have waiting everywhere)!  As you see, I'm still adjusting (to school + work & life!) and trying to figure out a realistic schedule that I can stick to.  The days of posting 5x/week are gone for me, at least for now.  My goal as of late is to post 3 days a week, so that's what I'm still shooting for.  I miss the days where I could spend hours reading and commenting on blogs, but so many good things are happening for me now, so I'm really trying to stay in the moment and take advantage of what's in front of me.  I hope you all understand and won't leave me! :)

Now that I've ended another quarter and have a short break, I finally have time to make a dent in my ever-growing to-do list, which excites me to no end (seriously).  I'm beginning to clear (and clean) the clutter from my home (10 weeks worth, so I'm going one room at a time to make sure everything's spic n'span!) and working on my poor, neglected nightstands that I picked up some time ago.

I finally found some hardware I love,

but they seemed to be a bit uneven, so I headed back to one of my favorite spots (Anthropologie) last week to find some replacements.  Though these others weren't my first choice, I still think they'll look great once the refinishing is completed.

The plan for the tables is to fill the old hardware holes, drill new ones, sand, (possibly) prime, repaint, and finish with a top coat of wax or polyurethane.  I've decided to stay with my initial color choice of black because I think I'll get more use out of them that way.  I got a good deal of work done on them yesterday, so I'm hoping to be done by the end of the week and ready to show on Monday (I would really be proud of myself!).   I have so much to do and so little time before one of my best friends arrives for her annual visit in a few weeks--here's a look at my to-do list:

  1. CLEAN (kitchen, bedrooms, living room, dining room, office, bathrooms, etc)!!!!
  2. Complete nightstand makeover
  3. Disassemble bed, sell old nightstands and bed.
  4. Install office (closet) shelving
  5. Touch-up paint around the house (lazy painting costs more in the long run!)
  6. Have car detailed
  7. Read Eat, Pray, Love (yes, I'm the last person on the face of the earth who hasn't read it) and The Help (heard great things about this one!)
  8. See Sex in the City 2 (please see above note--thank God it's still at the $1 theatre), rent The Last Song
  9. Find trim for bedroom drapery
  10. Relax

Ambitious list, given my schedule, but I'm determined to knock out at least 50%.  Keep your fingers crossed for me . . .  :)

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Where Will You Be In 4 Weeks/Months/Years???

I love, love, love this song, and since I feel like my post today is about something inspirational (in a round about way), I decided to share this with you so you could listen as you read. I hope you love it as much as I do . . .

Remember those letters we used to write to our future selves in high school (and/or elementary)?? Well thanks to Jess at Make Under My Life (a site I really love), I found out about a site called Future Me that allows you to do just that! You can write yourself a letter to be delivered at a later date of you choice, and it's absolutely FREE!! What a great way to not only hold yourself accountable, but to also remind you of your optimism and hopefulness at a later time when you may really need it (or remind you of how little faith you had when you didn't know good things were coming your way!). You can also choose to make you letter public but anonymous, so that it will appear in the public letters section which is on the website. I had a chance to peruse through some of the public letters and people have written some interesting and personal things. In some ways, looking through some of the letters helps to remind me that people across the world struggle with some of the same things I do. Here are a few excerpts:

I would imagine you are still with Michael who in 2009 seems to be a wonderful wonderful guy. You have travelled to many overseas places with him and gone on numerous architecture adventures.
You guys plan to get married and your families love each other... kind of.
You are a confident, happy and independent woman!! If you haven't all of the above, at least you should still have enough courage, inspiration and energy to work towards your dreams. All the best from 2009. (TO BE DELIVERED APRIL 2014)

And Jamie is a great kid, even if he does grate on the nerves sometimes. Remember how he woke up this morning with kisses. And being solo is better than being with someone who wants to own you. This freedom was hard won. Being lonely is still better than still being married and hating your life. (TO BE DELIVERED MAY 2006)

Be kind to yourself - the whole world is there to rip you down, you should be there to build yourself back up again. No one is going to do this for you.
Much love and respect
-Me (TO BE DELIVERED JAN 2010)

I hope you're taking care of yourself. And finding yourself, too, because as I write this, you're lost and wondering where exactly things started to change and you started giving yourself away. I hope you've found your beauty and talent again. I hope you've stopped giving in and giving up. I love you. (TO BE DELIVERED APRIL 2007)

I really like this idea and plan to craft one this week. I think I'll have one delivered in a few months, and then maybe do it again to be delivered next year. It will be interesting to see if I've accomplished some of the things I'd like to do this year and if, as many people wrote, I've eased up on myself a bit. Time flies so quickly, it's good to be able to take a photograph of your brain at any given day of your life. I think as I create mine, one of the things I know I would like to tell my older self is to remember to focus on living life as I work toward my passion/destiny, and not try to force something that isn't, or get down because I'm not "there" yet. I think "there" is more of a journey than a destination, but I'll know better in a few years! :)

Do you think you'll create a letter to yourself? What things would you want to tell you older self??

Vanessa De Vargas

Photo courtesy of Houzz.com, Vanessa De Vargas

I'M BACK!!!



Are you glad to see me???? I hope so. I know, I know, it's been a long break, but I found it nearly impossible to do much blogging while my family was in town. To tell you the truth, I didn't look at many blogs either, so if I visited yours regularly before Thanksgiving and you didn't see many/any comments over the holiday, please know that it wasn't personal!! I've had my mother & grandmother in town since December 15th (to Jan 7), and my sister has come for an extended vacation, so it's been very busy. To those of you who emailed and sent well-wishes, thank you!

I'm excited about the start of this wonderful new year. I'm believing that great things will be happening for me in 2010 and hope you are believing much of the same for your own life. Good things are already happening around here since my scanner is FINALLY working! It's been good to have a bit of time to take care of things that have been a bit neglected around these parts. I'm not into making resolutions, but I am trying to get better about being more intentional with writing my goals down this year. I know that the statistics don't lie when they say that people are more inclined to accomplish their goals if they're written down, so I hope that this will help as I continue my long journey on the path to my destiny.

Here are a few of the goals I hope to accomplish in my little crib this year:

1. Organize my kitchen pantry by adding this door storage (that I originally had until the guys who installed my flooring cut the door and threw the piece away!!!).
2. Paint my guest bedroom (I tried a modified Tiffany blue, but it just didn't feel right. I think I need to stay focused on warmer colors . . . ), and find/finish nightstands. Hopefully I can find a way to salvage my curtains . . .
3. Finish my master bedroom, which means either sucking it up and paying the $400 for crown moulding, or busting out the paint and finishing the 2-3 inches of unpainted space at the top. I also want to get rid of my head/footboard, move my bed in front of the window, and frame my sea fans that I've had for 3 years now. While I'm at it, I figure I'd say the outrageous and add bamboo flooring, because you never know--it IS possible!!
4. Install shelving in my office closet to help me keep up with my paperwork and provide additional space for my books and magazines. My 3rd bedroom/office only has one uninterrupted wall space, so the furniture layout is funny (I have a couch in addition to the desk) and I'd rather not waste a bunch of space with bookshelves when I can optimize my awkward closet.
Don't let your office look like this!!
On another note, I'll be making some changes to my blog in the coming weeks and months, which I'm VERY excited about. I'm looking into redesigning my blog in the coming months and will be adding something like some inspirational posts (think Oprah's "What I know For Sure" feature) with comments, quotes, and ideas pulled from different sources. I'll still be blogging about design and refinishing furniture, but I know we can all use a bit of inspiration & hope (or at least I can!) to help make it through all of the days in between. I hope you'll enjoy the changes and will continue to follow me throughout the year. Thank you for making my first 6 months of blogging a wonderful experience! It really is something special to have your ideas & efforts validated by people who probably wouldn't know me if they passed me on the street! I feel loved!!
**I accidentally posted this last night without photo credits--oops! Photos are courtesy of Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Boston.com, and Canadian House & Home, respectively. It also posted about 3 times, because it took me forever to figure out that it's 2010 and not 2009--duh! To those of you that received multiple emails, SORRY!