5 Questions with Desha Peacock of Sweet Spot Style

I'm so excited to bring you this interview today. I met Desha Peacock in one Holly Becker's (of Decor8) blogging eCourses, and I'm always impressed with what Desha is working on next. She is now the author of the amazing book Create the Style You Crave on the Budget You Can Afford. After only 23 days on the market, the book is already in second print for 5,000 more copies!.

As I mentioned last week, Desha is coming to Ann Arbor, MI (as well as many other locations on her book tour!) on Thursday, July 17 for a workshop on finding your own Sweet Spot Style. You still have a couple of days left to register - if you're in Michigan or northern Ohio, don't miss out on this event! You'll also receive a copy of Desha's book with your registration.

Ashley: How long have you been practicing Sweet Spot Style in your own life?

Desha: About 10 yrs ago my friend asked me to join a lunch time group and we read Barbara Stanny's book Overcoming Underearning. I had already read lots of personal development books, but for some reason I began to really practice the principles behind intention (probably because I was feeling desperate and needed a miracle!). I was in a job that I didn't love, and for me, that's just not acceptable. Doing work I love that fuels me is really important and if I am not able to access my higher purpose via work, I get physically ill with headaches, neck tension and low energy. SO- I began practicing how to use intention in my life to take my ideal dreams and make them into reality. After 9 months I had manifested things in my life that I previously thought were impossible (I write about this in the book). That was enough for me! I've been practicing Sweet Spot Style living ever since. 

What is usually the #1 obstacle that prevents people from living the Sweet Spot Style life?

Well there are a lot, but the #1 obstacle is that people aren't tapped into the greater possibility that exists in their lives. They are convinced that they can't have what they want and have a list of reasons, facts and figures to prove it.  And it makes sense that we shy away from the thing we really want because it's scary to shed your layers and admit what you truly want. People love to judge others and they may think what you want is silly, stupid, care-less, selfish, meaningless…. the list goes on. People will tell you why you can't have it. You might also think you aren't talented enough, good enough, strong enough, young enough, old enough…. and if you finally muster the courage to admit what you really want, and then go for it with all of your heart and soul it's scary because what will happen if you don't get it? How devastating would that be?

So, it's EASIER to do the thing that's CLOSE TO the thing you really want to do but it's not as rewarding and you won't feel fully fulfilled until you admit what you want and start taking action towards it. I'm not saying it's easy, but there is a formula and it does work if you are open to it. 

What is one change people can make today to set them on the path toward Sweet Spot Style?

One easy thing you can do right now is this: stop worrying about what others think and be honest with yourself about what you want. We only have one life, so why waste it trying to please others? Please yourself and those that love you will be happy for you. 

What led to your wanting to write a book? Was there a moment when you knew, "I have to write this"?

As I mentioned before, creatively expressing myself in my work and living in my higher purpose is really important to me.  Part of my mission is to help others tap into their own potential and help them creatively express themselves- creating more joy and beauty in the world. 

And to be honest, the method in which I do this is not important to me. I started off with a local TV show and interviewed people in their Sweet Spots and then the opportunity to write a book came along and I knew it was right because I felt EXCITED. So whether I am working one-on-one with clients, leading groups, making videos or writing books- as long as it is fun, creative and could inspire someone to live a better life- than I am all for it! When you are living life on purpose, the vehicle through which your message is delivered doesn't matter as long as you are in alignment. Let the universe decide and go for it!

What was your favorite part of the book writing process?

Oh my, there were so many things that gave me joy with this process. I've learned so much about design, photography, publishing and marketing! I really wanted to write a home decor book that people would read and so I tried to channel my inner creative voice and talk to the reader as if I were having tea with a friend. This made the writing process really fun. 

There are 17 stories in the book about how busy people with limited budgets are creating their own Sweet Spot Homes- I learned a lot from these stories and they inspired me. Also, it was great fun (and also challenging!) to decide on which pictures to include. I had thousands of pictures and could only choose 100, but it ended up begin more like 200!

Thanks again to Desha for taking time out of her busy schedule to do this interview! And if you want to learn more about the Ann Arbor workshop, head on over to Sweet Spot Style now!

Playing Dress Up: A Review of eShakti.com

Just last week I shared my 30 Before Thirty list, and part of the point of the list is to push myself out of my comfort zone. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you may have noticed that I hardly ever post pictures of myself. When I travel, I'm behind the camera. I am interested in fashion, but selfies do not come natural to me.

A few weeks ago, eShakti contacted me and offered me a dress of my choosing in exchange for honestly writing about my experience. Perfect timing, really - this was the chance to go out of my comfort zone.

Taking your own picture is a lot harder than I thought it would be! And please, do not adjust the color of your monitor - my legs really are that pale.

I really fell in love with the pattern of this dress. I only became interested in pink and wearing dresses at all in my 20s. In my younger years I would always hide behind over-sized t-shirts and hoodies. Although now I love to wear dresses for special occasions, I'd like to be comfortable wearing dresses every day.

So about this dress: I love that it comes with pockets. I'm a sucker for pockets in dresses so I can keep an ID case or lipstick with me and not need a purse. Actually, all dresses come with pockets on eShakti. Since every dress can be customized, you can request the pockets be removed if you're not into that.

For example, this dress could have the length, the sleeve type, and the neckline customized to my liking. In retrospect I would have chosen a different neckline since this scoopneck is a little too low for me; however, I did customize the length from below to above knee-length.

In addition to personalizing your dress, you can choose standard sizes or enter your measurements to get one custom-made for your shape. I went with standard sizing and I wish I would have entered my measurements for an even better fit.

One complaint: I wish this dress were lined. For the prices that these dresses go for, I think they could be lined.

My ordering and shipping experience:

When ordering from eShakti, the dresses are made in India at the time of your order, so shipping does take longer than ordering from other sites; however, you can select expedited shipping if you're in a rush. I believe the standard delivery takes 18 calendar days - mine came in a little less time than that.

Finally, they use DHL for their delivery service. DHL is not my favorite, because they require a signature to deliver, and if you aren't there to accept the package they give you the alternative of leaving a signed note with your tracking number. This isn't a problem for some people, but there have been times in the past when my package came earlier than expected and I wasn't even in town to leave a signed note. All worked out in the end, but I prefer other shipping methods.

Overall, I love the concept of eShakti. They make shopping really fun for women of all shapes and sizes, and if you get measured correctly you'll never have to have a dress tailored after purchasing. Yes, I did receive this dress for free, but I had made three purchases from eShakti before they even contacted me to write about them. I've had nothing but good experiences so far, and I'm looking forward to seeing eShakti grow and gain new styles.

You can visit eShakti.com to see their current collection - currently new customers get $25 off their first order! You can also connect with them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for deals and style ideas.

Sweet Spot Style Workshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Hello Michigan and northwest Ohio! Have you struggled with designing a space that not only reflects your personal style, but actually inspires you to be more productive and creative? Then you are invited to sign up for the Sweet Spot Style Workshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Thursday, July 17!

You may remember my mentioning Desha Peacock and her amazing book new book Create the Style You Crave on a Budget You Can Afford. I am so excited to have a mood board I created included in the book - I'll admit I've been showing it off to family and singing this book's praises!

Registration is just $30, and you won't even have to buy your own copy of the book: it's included with your reserved spot in the workshop!

I think this will be an amazing opportunity to meet other local creatives; to discover something new about yourself; and if you work at home like me, finding your Sweet Spot Style could be the first step in linking your professional life to your home life.

Would you like to learn more? Visit Sweet Spot Style now.

Ready to sign up? Click here, and I'll see you there!

My 30 Before Thirty List + a Printable Worksheet

How could it have been 4 years ago that I wrote my 25 before 25 list? It doesn't feel that long ago, but SO much has changed since then:

2010: we lived in Naperville, IL
2014: we live in Michigan

2010: I had a newborn baby and a 1 year old
2014: my girls are now 4 & 5!

2010: we lived in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment
2014: we are homeowners!

2010: I was still selling my stationery line online-only
2014: I've sold my work wholesale to stores; in a local art gallery - things really picked up!

2010: I had long red hair
2014: I have a short, angled brunette bob

Of course, there are still more changes I'd like to see in my life. This isn't some profound bucket list, and this list is personal. I will be 30 in just under 13 months. I hope that is enough time to make all of these things happen!

1. Take the kids to the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on MSU campus.
My husband and I have been there a couple of times, but I'm looking forward to exposing my girls to more art.
2. Write a book proposal
My book has been developing in my mind for almost a year now - it's time to get this ball rolling.
3. Find our go-to apple orchard and pumpkin patch
Fall is all about apples and pumpkins in Michigan. We had an orchard and a pumpkin patch we always visited when I was growing up. We need to find something like that where we live now
4. Complete a 30-day Challenge of some kind
Whether it be photography, creative, reading, cultural, exercise or food-related
5. Take a year off of work to recalibrate my mind and body - for real this time
6. Go to a show or concert at The Wharton Center
7. Visit a Laura Ingalls Wilder site
8. Take the kids on a boat on one of the Great Lakes
9. Re-learn how to knit
I knitted in college, and I'd like to start knitting scarves to donate in the winter
10. Learn Photoshop and Illustrator
I don't need to be an expert, just proficient enough to use them without instructions
11. "Bike" across the country
It's a virtual ride from Virginia to Oregon. I ride a stationary bike in the evenings after I put the girls to bed. Having a real distance goal will make this more fun!
12. Bake a lemon meringue pie
This is my favorite pie, and I've never made one myself! I love baking pies, and honestly I think the meringue intimidates me
13. Drive across the U.P.
South to north, or east to west
14. Take a community center art class - I'm leaning towards watercolor or ceramics
15. "Walk across Michigan"
Much like my stationary biking goal for the U.S., I'd like to log my walking miles and virtually walk across the state of Michigan
16. Invest in a good pair of shoes
I'm talking some real "big girl" shoes here - the kind that cost a lot but will last forever. Some staple like a black pump
17. Organize all three hall closets
Sounds fun, right? Well we have these three closets in our hall, and 2 of them I haven't re-organized at all since moving in almost 3 years ago. Seriously, this needs to get done
18. Find our go-to brunch spot
I love going out to breakfast or brunch on the weekends. It doesn't happen very often, but I don't want to resort to Denny's or IHOP - I want to find a real gem in East Lansing or Lansing!
19. Try The Purple Carrot food truck
this is a food truck that is usually at the East Lansing Farmer's Market. It even made it to the Food Network (or was it the Cooking Channel?) We need to finally try it out
20. Share my paintings
I've been painting for years, and I've never shared them publicly or privately, except for the large abstract ones in my living room. I think it's time to share
21. Finish my bedroom
My bedroom has been half-decorated for half a year now. It's time to roll up the sleeves and finish it!
22. Bake the perfect cake from scratch - solidify my go-to recipe
I've made a few cakes from scratch, but I'm always searching for recipes. I need a standard, delicious chocolate and yellow cake recipe that I can rely on
23. Do a fashion shoot
Errr, sort of. I have this dress that I agreed to photograph myself wearing, but it's so hard for me to take my own picture! I promised I would though, so expect the results soon
24. Go vegan for a week
I've been a vegetarian since I was 12 years old. Going vegan for a week shouldn't be that hard...
25. Buy a madeleine pan and bake madeleines!
My daughter is partly named after the madeleine cookie, and partly named after the little fictional French girl, Madeline. It's about time I actually made her cookie namesake
26. Buy a journal and complete Keri Smith's 100 ideas
I really miss having a journal! Keri's list of 100 ideas sounds so fun, too.
27. Let my husband teach my to drive a stick shift
My husband prefers manual cars, and has been wanting me to learn since we met. He has one, and it would be great if I knew how to drive it if I had to
28. Solidify my signature chocolate chip cookie recipe
As a mom to two little girls, I just feel like I need a signature chocolate chip cookie recipe. I remember coming home to freshly-baked cookies after school, and I want that for my girls, too
29. Buy a croquet set and teach the girls to play
30. Become a morning person?
I am a night owl, for sure; however, my girls are starting gradeschool this year and next, so I want to shift my internal clock to be ready for bed by 11 and wake up by 7. Right now I'm a 1 AM to 8 AM kind of gal.

Have you been meaning to make a "__ before __" list of your own? I've created a little worksheet for you! Organized into categories, you can put all of your thoughts, hopes, dreams, desires, must-do's and would-like-to's on this worksheet. Customize it with your own number and age-specific goal.

Get your free, printable bucket list worksheet here.

Have you already made your XX by XX list? How is it going? Share a link in the comments!

Simple Graham Cracker Flags

Summer is almost here, and that means Independence Day is just around the corner! These deliciously simple graham cracker flags are perfect to celebrate the day - even the kids can help make them. Really, they're delicious any time of the year. Not American? No problem - you can arrange the toppings any way you like!

You'll need:

  • graham crackers
  • cream cheese
  • jelly, jam, or preserves
  • plastic sandwich baggie
  • blueberries

Spread the graham crackers with cream cheese. Place a couple of spoonfuls of jelly in a sandwich bag, and snip off the tip of a bottom corner. Use it like a pastry bag to squeeze the jelly through and "paint" stripes of jelly horizontally across the cracker.

Press fresh blueberries into the upper left corner - 2-3 rows of blueberries will do.

It tastes just like cheesecake to me! I made them for my children, but I had to make one for myself as well. Who doesn't love a simple, easy, and delicious snack?
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