Mail, Meow Mix and Maximizing Delivery Duty to Make the Mundane Meaningful

Mail, Meow Mix and Maximizing Delivery Duty to Make the Mundane Meaningful

It’s Day 161 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and though I’ve been sicker than a dog, after giving Zumba a miss and sleeping for four hours, I wanted to write about how my Pink Collar Savvy & Chic cat loving mail lady not only drops off mail but Meow Mix to maximize her delivery duty. A few months ago, I posted on Facebook when my husband told me she specially delivers cat treats to our cat Skylar daily and got a great response. As much as that was fun, there is a real lesson to be learned from how this female mail carrier maximizes what some may consider a mundane duty to make it meaningful.

Skylar, who I intended to be an indoor cat quickly let me know she had other ideas. At about five pounds, she’s petite but rules the neighborhood like a lion does the jungle. Still, her size causes neighbors to want to feed her and I’ve had to discourage many from doing so or she won’t ever come home! Mail Lady Sheila is the exception. Since I’ve been working from home, I made a point of introducing myself and learned she adores felines and feeds them all along her route. Getting out of the truck and loving on them is part of the special delivery service. And so her furry friends don’t have to do without when she’s off, the treats are stashed in the truck with instructions for the other mail carriers to carry out distribution activities in her absence.

This weekend, I heard the mail truck pull up and smiled to myself. A few minutes later, I was surprised to hear a knock and figured a package was being dropped off. When the knock persisted, because I wasn’t feeling well, it took me a bit to get to the door, so I had to wave Sheila down before she pulled away. Apparently, she’d taken the time it took me to answer to tear the lid off of her special delivery and to write an accompanying note. I was right about a package being dropped off alright, but as you can see below, the people in the house weren’t its recipients.

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Mail Lady Sheila went above & beyond to ensure her meaningful ministry carries on.

When I told my neighbor Jen about this, she informed me she’s talked with Sheila too and is aware of her love for animals. Jen’s dog has been the recipient of treats as well! I don’t know if Sheila loves delivering mail, but whether she does or not, she’s found a way to incorporate a passion into her job. So often you hear jokes about mail men hating the animals on their routes, but for Sheila, they’re likely the best part of her day. Delivering mail is her job. Delivering love to animals is her true service. Her ministry. It makes the mundane duty meaningful.

Sheila reminds me of the lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman’s song Every Little Thing You Do:

While I may not know you,

I bet I know you 

Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all?

Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long

As yo do everything thing you do to the glory of the One 

who made you,

Because He made you, 

To do 

Every little thing that you do 

To bring a smile to His face

Tell the story of grace

With every move that you make

And every little thing you do.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Chick I believe we can serve our purpose and others, including animals, by not just going to work, or working at home, but by being intentional about maximizing opportunities to show grace to those around us when we’re there. I’m certain God is pleased with Sheila and smiles as much as I do when she does her special delivery duty. As pleased as that makes me, it’s not nearly as much as it pleases  Skylar who knows that the Mail Lady Sheila’s truck not only contains mail but Meow Mix!

What little thing can you do to bring a smile to the face of someone in your workplace or at home? God will smile too.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

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Landing to Library – Savvy Chic-ing Some Underutilized Space

Landing to Library – Savvy Chic-ing Some Underutilized Space

It’s Day 160 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’m excited to report it’s also Best Views Ever Day for the blog! I was pleasantly surprised to learn this just now when I sat down to post. I hadn’t looked at statistics all day, so it seems the old “a watched pot never boils” saying applies to blog stats as well! This morning Joel Osteen’s message was about when the storm is at its worst, that’s when we experience a power surge. Learning that my all time views almost doubled in a day was just the power surge I needed. I appreciate all of you for taking the time to spend a little of your day with me here. Now, on to the reason I wasn’t plugged in all day: I was busy Savvy Chic-ing an underutilized space on third floor and transformed the landing into a library.

As an avid reader, I’d love to have an entire room dedicated to books, but with a big fat blended family, though our home is relatively large, it doesn’t have any vacant rooms waiting for books to take up residence! That being the case, soon after moving into the house my hubby already owned, one of the first things I did was put my childhood bookcase on the center of the long landing wall which served no purpose other than being a walkway to bedrooms, the children’s bathroom, the linen closet and the catwalk overlooking the living room. For the last seven years the bookcase has done its duty alone (once one of a set, I wish I wish I knew what happened to its twin!). But as I’ve broadened my horizons and added new authors to my favorites, my book collection has outgrown the solitary bookcase.

For a while now, I’ve had a Shabby Chic style shelving unit in mind and have half-heartedly looked for it. Then, lo and behold, yesterday, when I was at the Christian bookstore redeeming a coupon, I wandered down to Old Time Pottery and found two shelves that I thought would foot the bill stacked on top of one another to make a tall bookcase. Knowing how much it would mean to me, my sweet hubby met me, we got the van, and he went and picked them up for me without batting an eye. Yes, he wanted me to be happy but I think he also wanted avoid the towering stacks of books on the landing from tumbling down! To top it off, he took me to Endless Shrimp Fest at Red Lobster for date night. He’s a keeper. ; )

Today, while I was home alone, I spent many happy hours rearranging ALL of my books (they’re alphabetized) – the secular authors on the bookcase I painted Shabby Chic sage green back when I was married to my wasband – and my Christian authors on the new shelves, which look distressed with age. Then, I shopped the shed and rooted through all of the boxes from my old office as well as the house to decorate the shelves. With a little time and love, the landing is now a functional, beautiful library.

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Two shelving units stacked on top of one another gave me the height I wanted. It’s filled with books and has tons of room for more.  Florentine picture frames with family photos, $1 candle holders from Goodwill and some sentimental pieces, the provide Savvy Chic function and beauty.
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The new shelves and the old go well together. They are united by the books, Florentine frames and Shabby Chic sage green that is woven through both.                                                                      Brown is not my usual go-to, but I like how it plays off the brown stair railing.                                                                                                        It also makes this space, located just outside the master bedroom more palatable for my hubby. 

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Chick who loves maximizing her space by transforming underutilized or quirky spaces into functional, beautiful ones, I hope my project inspires you to take a look at your spaces and image them serving more of a purpose. When you do, you may be surprised to learn that instead of being the spaces you just want to rush through, they become the spaces you want to relax in. That’s what happened to me today – I spent a lot of time reading on the landing. Oh, I mean, The Library!

What landings, hallways, nooks, closets, or cubbies could you Savvy Chic to fit your home or office needs?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

~

 

Stepmom

Stepmom

Day 153 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and the evening was spent celebrating my youngest stepson’s twentieth birthday. I spent the first part of the day resting up for the party after feeling under the weather the last few days. I knew I needed to conserve my energy for when all of the boys, including a few of their friends, came home from golfing ready to watch Sunday night football, eat enough for an army and trash the house like rockstars! We’ve functioned as a blended family for the last decade ever since their dad and I first met, and seven years ago I officially became their stepmom.

Being a big fat blended family has had its share of ups and downs. At the beginning, there was a lot of conflict when I redecorated the house, except for their rooms and the man cave, in an attempt to make it feel like ours vs. the one they’d lived in with their parents. Toward the middle, the almost thirteen year age difference between my oldest stepson and my biological son and how the older boys interacted with the younger one caused some challenges. More recently, I’ve had my feelings hurt when the boys inadvertently did or said something that reminds me that they love me in their way but absolutely adore their mother.

Then there’s the fact that my oldest stepson became a dad when my son was eight. Since I was still trying to get him out of bedwetting, I was nowhere near ready to become a grandma! I felt like I’d only been pregnant a short time ago myself. My compromise was becoming Mimi, a play on Tammi that feels endearing without going full-on grandmother mode. I love being Mimi and have a sweet relationship with Izzy where she comes to me first whenever we’re gathered because she knows I’ll not only meet her physical need for food, drinks, toiling help, etc., but I’ll dance, play on the floor and sing with her too. Even so, there are times when even she will behave in a way that reminds me I’m the stepmom to her dad.

Sometimes my husband’s actions or words communicate the fact that I’m not their mother just as loudly. I believe this is a challenge for many stepparents and find for us, it’s best if I step back and let the biological mom and dad handle most situations. Of course each family must figure out what works best for them…

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Middle, Surrogate, Youngest (Birthday Boy), and Oldest Stepsons. Me, Stepmom/Mimi and Izzy.

Thankfully, I’ve experienced as many or more ups over the years as a stepmom than I have downs. My stepsons nicknamed me LT (Little Tammi) after Ladanian Tomlinson, an NFL football player, and apparently, it’s a compliment. They have had my back, championed, defended, and gone to bat for me. And they tease me mercilessly, which my husband says is a true sign of affection. Recently, when I announced I was having a yard sale, John, the birthday boy asked, “Can we put you in it?” I heard the smile in his question and responded, “I don’t think there’s a high demand for stepmoms.” His immediate response: “Oh, well, I guess we’ll have to keep you then.” Made. My. Day.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who’s been around since John was eight, James was eleven, and Jordan was fourteen, I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a stepmom. It has challenged, grown and stretched me in ways I wouldn’t have believed possible. I’m so proud of the dad Jordan has become, the man after God’s own heart that James is, and the confident, mature young man John is becoming. His father shared with me today that John has decided he wants to have his own athletic wear line. That was no surprise to me as I’ve always been aware of his artistry, attention to detail, good taste, eye for fashion, and entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve encouraged these in him because we have them in common. Or maybe, just maybe, he got them from his stepmom…

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John’s 20th Birthday Party. Stepmom and Dad were the photographers. 

I’d love to hear from any other stepmoms – your sorrows and successes.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Make New Friends But Don’t Lose The Old

Make New Friends But Don’t Lose The Old

Yesterday, Day 151 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project started off rough. I had plans for the weekend to dance with my Zumba tribe Friday night and to do lunch with a dear friend from my teaching days today. Thursday night, however, I developed a sore throat. When I woke up yesterday morning after a fitful night’s sleep with what felt like the beginning of a cold, my first thought was, No, tonight’s Zumba for the Cure! My second was, And I’m supposed to have lunch with Terri tomorrow! Considering the week I’ve had dealing with my Ds, I desperately needed the time with my new Zumba friends and my old friend of nearly twenty years.

Desperate may sound like an exaggeration, but I knew I was in a desperate time when I turned to DayQuil as first resort! Next, I decided to give the networking meeting I’d planned to attend a miss. I’d been looking forward to it, and brunch with a member afterward, but felt lousy enough that I knew I needed to rest if I had any hope of being up for two hours of dancing. I spent the day doing nothing more taxing than responding to emails and by 6PM felt as if I could at least get to the Zumbathon, even if I didn’t last the duration.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that as soon as I arrived, the palpable positive energy of all in attendance rejuvenated me. Back in 2014, following an emergency hysterectomy and a second surgery a few months prior, I experienced a breast cancer scare of my own, one where the doctors thought I was at stage four right up until the biopsy results. The benign tumor was large enough that it had to be removed anyway. It was a nightmare, but nothing compared to what the brave women fighting cancer actually live through. Dancing with the new friends I’ve made since I started doing Zumba to regain my health after my female diagnoses was and is such good medicine for me! I truly feel better when I’m dancing, especially when it’s For The Cure.

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Pink Collar Coach and new friends from Lakota YMCA Zumba.                                                           Even my athletic wear is Calvin Klein. LOL! Shoes are New Balance. 

Thankfully, this morning, Day 152 of the Project, there was no trace of a sore throat. I got an uninterrupted night’s sleep and woke up ready to dance again and to do my lunch date. Terri and I go back twenty years. Although we rarely see one another because of, well, life, whenever we do, it’s like we just pushed pause on our last conversation. At one point, when I was a Leadership Coach at 4C for Children, I told her about a vacancy and she came to work in the same department as my dear friend, Kibby. The three of us had a ball at Cracker Barrel just bonding over our personal and professional lives. Good food; good friends! As much was we all talked, Terri and Kibby made sure I got to talk about my troubles. Being able to openly share what I’ve been going through lifted the weight a bit, and it was so obvious that they were willing to help me bear it (Galatians 6:2). In addition, Terri had some personal (and hilarious) insight into the situation because she was around when I was married to my wasband! Laughter is also good medicine!

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Terri & me. Old Friends. Love this woman! My dear new friend of five years, Kibby, took the pic. Love her too. Calvin Klein cold shoulder w/ grommets and tie sleeves, maxi skirt, perforated bag. 

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who understands that some of life’s greatest lessons are those we learn as children, though I wasn’t a Girl Scout, I’ll use their admonition: Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold. The Bible tells us that someone who has one true friend is rich. I have many. Some silver. Some gold. All invaluable. All treasured.

How about you? When was the last time you connected with that old friend – not just on Facebook but in real time?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Zumba Instructor Status Success and Instructing Scribes to Set S.M.A.R.T Writing Goals

Zumba Instructor Status Success and Instructing Scribes to Set S.M.A.R.T Writing Goals

Today, Day 145 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project was a day to recuperate from yesterday, Day 144, which was one of the busiest days I’ve had since I’ve gone full-throttle with my business. It started with all-day Zumba certification training where I not only achieved Zumba instructor status success, but met some amazing ladies who share my love of dance and Jesus! It was an amazing experience. After dancing all day, I made a mad rush to get to the Dayton Scribes Mini Writing Conference where I sang and presented on setting S.M.A.R.T. writing goals.

Though I’m asthmatic and used a lot of my breath dancing, I opened my presentation by singing a chorus from one of my all time favorite’s, which is included on the CD I recorded to accompany my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul. It’s from Nicole Norman’s Legacy.  

I want to leave a legacy,

How will they remember me?

Did I choose to love?

Did I point to you enough? 

To make a mark on things

I want to leave an offering

A child of mercy and grace

Who blessed your name unapologetically

And leave that kind of legacy.

Then I spoke about how we can’t leave a legacy if we don’t use our gifts to bless others. For writers, that means sharing our writing. And whether you’re a writer or not, you probably know that a goal without a plan is just a wish. So, even though you’ve probably heard about S.M.A.R.T. Goals at some point, I hope what I presented will serve as a helpful refresher:

S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting

Specific: Clearly define your goal in as much detail as possible. Avoid being vague. Think of The 5 Ws – Who, What, Where, When, and Why.

My Example: I (who) will work at my desk (where) and make needed revisions to my manuscript (what) within the week (when) in order to submit to my publisher (what, who) and make my deadline (why).

Measurable: Be able to measure the outcome and how you will track your progress. Use numbers.

My Example: I will follow a revision plan consisting of one revision session per week day for one week until all are complete. 1/5, 2/5, 3/5, 4/5, 5/5 (Could use # of chapters, words, etc.).

Attainable: Make sure your goal is realistic. While it can be good to set stretch goals, it is not good to set yourself up for failure. Set yourself up for success by devising an appropriate writing plan that is reasonable. Also, be sure you have all needed resources.

My Example: I am going to revise half a section in the morning, take a creative health break, then revise the remainder in the afternoon. I’ll need to mark the sections that need revisions beforehand. I’ll also need coffee! ; )

Relevant: Consider whether your goal is worthwhile and enhances your (writing) career. Why are you doing it? Because someone else suggested it or because it’s actually important to you? It should fit into your life and larger (writing) goals.

My Example: I am setting this revisions goal to not only abide by my publisher’s request but to appeal to more readers. I can’t be so married to my writing that it will turn readers away. It will also help me to grow as a writer.

Time-oriented: Your goal should have a specific timeframe, with dates.

My Example: I will have all revisions complete within the week, by Friday, October 6. (Putting a reminder in your phone is helpful).

Writing it down is so critical to success. If you think you don’t need to and aren’t even willing to do the “work” of writing it down, it’s highly improbable that’ll you’ll do the real work to reach your goal…

There were many gifted writers and presenters there, so I was humbled and honored that the information was well received. And the song was a blessing.

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My editor, book coach, and award-winning novelist, Linore Rose Burked.  Kim Villalva, consecutive writing contest winner since 2000 and Dayton Scribes leader.                                    Regency romance author, Kristen Malone. And then there’s me, Pink Collar Coach in                   Calvin Klein pink blazer (my signature of course), cream blouse, black skirt, hose, and booties. 

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Coach who also received a warm welcome from my social media sisterhood regarding becoming an instructor, including the request for a special class, I pray I’m leaving my legacy…And I’m going to practice what I preach and devise S.M.A.R.T. goals around a Pink Collar Zumba Holler party where we can dance the Ds (you know depression, divorce, dysfunctional relationships, diagnosis, etc.) away!

Thank you for celebrating my successes with me! I suspect we’ll have some of yours to celebrate at our party once you set and succeed with your own S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Beauty from Broken Things – Even When Damaged, We Can Still Serve Our Purpose

Beauty from Broken Things – Even When Damaged, We Can Still Serve Our Purpose

On Day 142 I didn’t set out to do I a DIY restoration project, but I’m so glad that’s how it turned out because not only did I now get to use an item I thought could no longer work in my house, the project reminded me of two important lessons that can be applied on the home front and in the workplace: 1) Beauty can still be found in broken things, and 2) Even when we’re damaged, we can still serve our purpose.

  1. Beauty can still be found in broken things.

As much as I purport to love all things Shabby Chic and am usually alright with imperfections, my OCD about symmetry had me headed to return a damaged piece of faux architectural salvage. I thought it was wood but found out the hard way that it was resin. I’d purchased it a while back and had planned to spray paint it white, however, somehow, when I took it to the store to select the right paint color the day after purchasing, a large section broke while it was in my shopping cart.  By the time I realized it, though I literally retraced  all of my steps and searched high and low, the broken chunk seemed to have disappeared into thin air. Attempts to have the janitorial crew notify me if it turned up proved futile, and I was close to tears because it was the only one at the store.

Eventually, I found something else (featured on the blog) and resolved to return the original piece since it must have been damaged to have broken so easily. Due to time constraints, I never made it back to Old Time Pottery for my refund and wasn’t in a rush to go back. The thing is, I love the piece and wasn’t at peace letting it go. Then, this morning, inspiration struck and I was thrilled that I’d held on to the broken “salvage”. After about an hour’s work, I’d lovingly mended the piece and restored its beauty.

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Broken, mended and still beautiful.

 

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With a broken “wing”, this piece still wanted to fly.
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A new “wing” traced onto paper and then two pieces of corrugated cardboard.      
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I stapled the two “wings” together.
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Next, I hot glued the two “wings” and inserted them right at the break point, where they fit perfectly.
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Spray painted. (Had to flip picture from phone, hence repaired “wing” on opposite side.
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Brown Sharpie used to distress.
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Crayola brown pencil used to distress.

2. Even when damaged, we can still serve our purpose. 

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The damaged piece now hangs above the door in our powder room. It’s not perfect, but I still love it. I’m proud of my creativity, resourcefulness and ability to see past the damage to be able to understand that the piece can still serve it’s original purpose. Perhaps it’s not serving where I’d originally intended – between the dining room and living room – but I found an alternate location that actually works better. The “salvage” now picks up the taupe-y browns in the powder room’s artwork and complements the scrolls on the light fixture. The really cool thing is, it has taken on more meaning because of its story.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who’s been broken herself, I’m so glad that God looks at me and still sees beauty. Despite all the damage – a dysfunctional childhood, divorce, domestic relations custody challenges, destitution, discrimination, all the “Ds”, I’m so thankful that He gives me chance after chance and provides countless opportunities to still serve my purpose (evolving): coaching, encouraging, and inspiring other women to minimize their personal Pink Collar barriers and to maximize their beauty and best Savvy & Chic professional lives. All to His glory. Not only that, He uses the damage to give me a story. I believe with all my heart that I mean even more to Him because of it. I know He sure means more to me.

What about you? Have you been broken by the personal barriers that try to render us “returnable”? Do you know that you’re still beautiful? And that, if you let Him, though damaged, God can still use your to serve your purpose?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

 

 

 

 

 

There’s No Place Like Home After a Whole Day Assertiveness Workshop/Work Week

There’s No Place Like Home After a Whole Day Assertiveness Workshop/Work Week

“Mama tired,” is what I told one of our Sole Supporters as I sank into a chair following the massive pack up of our workshop at its conclusion. I coined the term for our High Heeled Success workshop helpers, and boy were we thankful for them yesterday! The night before, when we didn’t have any because one of the most faithful recently moved and others couldn’t make it, it took my partner in crime and me four hours to set up. Combine that with the fact that the actual workshop day started at 6:15am so we could arrive at 8am, start promptly at 9am, and then go non-stop until 4pm. The hour lunch break doesn’t count as we have to get ready for the afternoon segment. When the workshop ended, the networking began. Debrief and thankfully dinner concluded the day. All that not to complain, but to explain why I’m tuckered out. In fact, I haven’t ventured beyond my back deck today because for me, there truly is no place like home after a whole day workshop. Or a work week for that matter.

I’ve been a Joel Osteen fan for years but am still always amazed by how God uses him to speak directly to me every time I watch. His message this morning was on weariness and how we need to practice good self care when we’ve worked hard. Prior to setting up for the workshop Friday, I attended an early networking event with H7 Evolve, met with my book coach, and updated my business materials to reflect The Swan Experience (updates on that in another blog) so I could distribute during the workshop.

Years ago, when I first consulted Kay Fittes, High Heeled Success’ CEO, about operating my business full-time, I explained how I thought that would give me more work life balance. She warned me that to the contrary, if entrepreneurs are not careful, we can work all of the time. Now I understand her caution! But it’s not just business owners who have to be intentional about making time to be at home when much of our lives have us out and about. Even those who work from home or are full-time home makers may find ourselves flying all over the place so much that home is just a landing pad.

That’s why today, other than making a quick run for coffee supplies, because home just isn’t home without coffee, I’m laying low right here. Rather than a landing pad, I’m using it as a power docking station. It’s officially fall, so I’m enjoying the velvet pumpkins I’ve sprinkled throughout my rooms. Later I may read, watch a movie, or even re-watch Season I of “Victoria”. Regardless of what I do, it will serve the purpose of recharging my batteries so I can go out and live my purpose coaching, encouraging and inspiring women, all to His glory.

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White Shabby Chic inspired velvet pumpkins are my take on autumn decor.                                     The purple one was a DIY project featured in a previous post. 
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Pretty pink Shabby Chic inspired velvet pumpkin.                                                                                    Sign hanging above the door visible through pass-through is so true for me and my hubby too.                                           

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick, home really is my happy place. That’s why I take pictures of it and share about it with you readers. I hope something you see or read here on the blog causes you to truly make home your happy place too. After all, we spend so much time working, whether that’s on the home front or in the workplace, and whether we’ve spent a weekend presenting a workshop or doing other work related things, that most of us can relate to what Dorthy longed for as she clicked her heels and repeated, “There’s no place like home”.

How intentional are you about taking time to be at home? About making it your happy place?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach