My mom always told me that her bedroom was like her own little sanctuary, her safe space to unwind at the end of a long day.
Until recently, I never took the time to put much thought into my own bedroom, though.
Nick and I always made sure that every other room in our home looked good, was functional and clean, but our bedroom was always messy, full of storage, with a dank old comforter and pillows that needed serious replacing.
As I get older I realize the need for my own little sanctuary, a space that’s inspiring, relaxing, comfortable and offers me the best chance of getting a good, deep sleep.
After much thought and research, I realize the best way to achieve your own bedroom sanctuary is to keep your room clean and tidy: put your laundry away, keep things off the floor and your bed made. Also, limit electronics to reduce electromagnetic fields by unplugging anything near your bed and keep televisions and computers out of the bedroom altogether. Instead of using lamps, add some mood lighting with scented candles; lavender and lilac scents are known to relax people. You’ll also want to minimize bedroom clutter and only use your bedroom as a bedroom, not an office or hangout spot. And most importantly, decorate your bedroom with comfy, cozy and beautiful decor items.
One of the best ways to instantly add some glam and comfort to your bedroom sanctuary is by adding new cushion covers at Yorkshire Linen and Habitat, for example.
Some other reasons why cushion covers are so awesome are that they’re easy to switch out whenever your taste or the seasons change, they’re affordable, and there are so many different styles to choose from! Above are some of my favourite cushion covers, but I especially like the peacock and black sequin cushion covers!
What are some things you do to make your bedroom feel like a sanctuary?
If you had asked me what I wanted to be when I was a little girl, I would have told you an artist or writer. But if you asked me what I thought about my future when I was a teenager, well, I would have said I had no future.
It’s funny how things change as you get older, but how our childhood dreams sometimes don’t.
Although it took me a few extra years to graduate high school, I had that same feeling I have now: I graduated, now what? Even though I had dreams of becoming an author, or an artist, I was still too scared to follow them. It’s a difficult decision to make, deciding on which college program to attend or whether to go at all, but it’s one all young adults are faced with.
Eventually I realized that following your passion is the only way to succeed.
When I applied for a journalism program at my local college in 2012 I once again felt myself feeling too scared to move forward. It took me another year before I gathered the courage to accept my offer of admission in 2013, and after two years of school I’ve finally graduated college, now what?
But after you’ve graduated college, what do you do next?
There’s this intense pressure to hurry up and start your career immediately after graduating. I, too, fell victim to this pressure. So many people are watching your every move, waiting to see what you do next: parents, grandparents, friends, classmates and spouses. And maybe, if you’re like me, you might even put your own self-worth attached to whether or not you succeed right away. The longer you go without landing your chosen dream job, the more you feel like a failure, especially if you take a college program that had others doubting you to begin with. You can’t help but feel the need to prove everyone wrong, that taking journalism or art or whatever, was not a mistake.
By the time I entered my last term at school I was sending out resumes almost every day, trying to find a job that would start after graduation. I even went on a few job interviews, even though I knew in my gut that maybe I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do yet and was considering going back to school.
After going on several job interviews, I eventually decided to spend my summer trying my hand at freelance writing, drawing and exploring my options. I’ve even applied for another program at a university level. This decision was not an easy one to make, but I can’t help but feel that my educational path isn’t quite over yet, even if I had just spent two years studying journalism and was feeling quite anxious to start my career as a professional writer and leave the struggling student lifestyle behind.
But, as life would have it, while I was in school studying one thing, it led to something I felt even more passionate about. Luckily, the program I’ve applied to goes hand-in-hand with journalism and I can transfer my skills, knowledge and college credits over to it.
In my journalism program I learned to do so many amazing things, like how to come up with compelling story ideas, conduct a cold-call interview, create a three minute long news video and improve my photography and writing skills, but most importantly, it taught me that no matter what life throws at me, I am strong, resilient and capable.
So I’ve graduated college and I don’t want to go straight to work. And to be honest, it isn’t the worst thing in the world to change your mind, to go back to school, to forgo the traditional career path, to create your own dream life even if others think that you’re “making a mistake” or “going to fail.”
That’s one of the greatest things about living your life, you ultimately get to make your own choices, despite what others think. And I’m excited to begin the next chapter of my life as a freelancer, as a university student, as a creative entrepreneur. I think the horrible photo above shows how excited, yet uncomfortable and awkward I feel about this new chapter of my life perfectly!
Did you graduate college only to change your mind?
How many times have I wrote a blog post and poured myself into it, making sure it was absolutely perfect, just to have it sit in my drafts because I didn’t have a photo to go with it yet? Well, quite often.
Not having a good photo to go with your blog post can be a major pain.
Obviously you can’t just take one off the internet without permission. And although there are stock photo sites you can use, they tend to be either an increasing expense you don’t need or they’re overused.
So why not create your own stock photos?
It’s actually a lot easier than you’d think.
First of all, you don’t need to have great artistic or photography skills to create our own stock photos. Whether you take photos with your DSLR or smart phone, just keep your pictures simple with a clear subject. Or, if you enjoy visual art like painting or drawing, those always look great, too! And, using your own pictures adds a little bit more of you to your brand to your blog. Plus, chances are, you already have a ton of photos you can use!
So, create a file folder on your computer and get ready to create your own stock photos.
1. Go through the photos you already have.
Chances are, you already have a ton of amazing pictures from past vacations, holidays and family events. Maybe it’s a picture you took on the beach, or a sunset from your bedroom window. I’m sure you may have stopped to capture breathtaking and even boring moments throughout your life that you can reuse on your blog.
2. Keep your camera on you at all times.
Which is pretty easy now that most, if not all, of us have smart phones with pretty good cameras built in them. That way, when you’re out and about, you can takes pictures that you can use to create your own stock photos. And don’t be afraid to shoot everything from flowers to buildings to traffic jams, because you never know what photo will work for a future blog post.
3. Create your own still-life photos.
Sometimes the best photo for you blog post can only be accomplished through still life. Spending a day running around and staging a few props can be a lot of fun and the perfect creative outlet. Still life works great for recipes, blogging tips and creative hobbies like gardening, knitting or painting. Christina Greve has beautiful still life photos that may help inspire you, or check out #stilllifefriday on Instagram!
4. Stage a photo shoot.
Don’t forget that the best blogs show their creative mastermind. So grab a few friends, get dolled up and get some pictures taken of yourself doing what you love to do, whether it’s dancing, blogging, painting or whatever it is that lights you up! Portraits of you on your blog are going to help connect you to your audience, showing them the real person behind the scenes and are excellent addition to your stock photo file.
5. Add your art.
Another great visual for your blog may include art you’ve created. Illustrations, paintings and even little doodles, can add a lot of fun and colour to your blog, and you don’t have to be a brilliant artist to show off your creations. Art is great for helping you create your own stock photos.
After you’ve gathered up some pictures, I recommend creating a file folder on your computer called Stock Photos and organizing them by various words. For example, I have a picture of a pink flower and the words I’ve chosen to use in the file name include: pink-flower-spring-summer-garden. Yes, it makes for a long file name but when looking for a photo to use, all I have to do is search a key word and a list of photos that suit my blog post will come up.
Ideas for your stock photos:
Food and Beverages – baking, cupcakes, kitchen tools, vegan dishes, vegetables, fruit, pint of beer, wine, water, candy, stove, grill, full stocked fridge, grocery bags, vegetable garden, fruit tree, birthday cake, etc.
Seasonal – Christmas ornaments, gifts, bows, Easter eggs, turkey dinner, Christmas lights, fireworks, pumpkins, poinsettias, snowflakes, cabin on the lake, canoe, candles, umbrella, four leaf clover, confetti, roses, sparklers, etc.
Business – laptop, bookshelf, handshake, business suits, smiling people, chalkboard, boardroom, trophy, notebook, money, tablet, globe, etc.
Street photography – pedestrians, bike riding, traffic jams, buildings downtown, store fronts, etc.
Hobbies – cameras, paintbrushes, markers, pens, knitting needles, yarn, sewing machine, garden tools, sport equipment, musical instruments, jogging, etc.
Fashion – makeup brushes, closet full of clothes, jewelry, painted nails, flowers, lipstick, magazines, etc.
Animals – pets, dogs, cats, fish, wildlife, squirrels, ducks, birds in flight, butterflies, bumblebees, etc.
Nature/Outdoors – trees, flowers, animals, lakes, sunset, streams, meadows, rain, beach, park, picnic table, sports field, etc.
Since creating my own stock photo file, I haven’t had the annoyance of scrambling to find a decent picture to go with a blog post in a while. For example, my Mother’s Day post used three of my own stock photos.