Creating a Values-Based Home

As a child, your bedroom is your own personal "home". And thanks to my being an only child and my parents' divorce, I was a homeowner, 2 times over. From Titanic posters in the 5th grade, to Wizard of Oz memorabilia in 8th grade, to passed notes in class, cards, letters and 4x6 pictures of me and my friends covering EVERY square inch of EVERY wall in the 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th grade, I always loved my bedrooms to reflect how I felt and who I was at any point in time. I can remember the *exact* moment I decided to move my twin-size bed (at both houses) to come out of the center of the wall, leaving both sides open to get in and out of bed, just like the grownups.

Now that I've lived in my own home for the last eight years, since my Dad passed away and I sold our house, it's been so important to make my space one that I feel proud and comforted to come home and invite people into.

Last week I turned twenty-nine and I decided that for my birthday, I'd create a values-based home office, as I am now self-employed and work from home 85% of the time. I just needed a designated, carefully-edited area to write, create and run my business, based on what I value most: Creativity, Leadership, and Tidiness. So, I made my BFF, Hailey, drive to my house, an hour away from hers, on a freakishly rainy day last week and help me create the home office I had been dreaming of. The only thing I forgot about Hailey, and all design gurus, is they can't just stop at one area of one room. I should have known the seemingly simple task of buying a new desk, new chair and maybe some wall art would turn into a two-day project that would require two Epsom salt baths and a Xanax. (And by 'Xanax', I mean, like, eight different essential oils to knock me out.)

Here's what we did...

We started at Home Goods and found the desk and the chair and the lamp right away.

This chair is great because it works just like any other chair. So, I bought it.

The cash register was in my line of site. We were so close. And then...Hailey saw a coffee table. "You need a coffee table, Erica", she said. So, I bought that, too. 

The thing is, I thought we were done. I thought the desk, the chair, the lamp, the coffee table would be wonderful additions to my already wonderful home. After unloading the heavy sh*t from my car and hauling it up my stairs, then re-loading my old (apparently "very ugly") furniture into my car to take to Goodwill, that's when Hailey looked around my living room asked, " far do you wanna take this?"

Next, we went to IKEA...

This is what happens to me when it's getting late (6:45pm) and I'm no longer useful. Remind me never to become a personal shopper, k?

We bought the rug and a new stand for my T.V....

Clear instructions for life

...that took us until 3:30am to build.

We woke up early the next morning and loaded more of my "very ugly" furniture into my car and organized my new furniture. We made a few more trips to Home Goods, World Market, and Home Depot.

And eventually, my home started to take shape...

Photo by, Alexia Bernal

Photo by, Alexia Bernal

Photo by, Alexia Bernal

The truth is, our home reflects where we are in life and how we feel about our self. I notice how I feel about my home, impacts my relationship with food, my body, my life and the people in it. It's been an easier road these past few months, since identifying my values and making decisions based on them. My carefully-edited home now supports and reflects the leader I want to be, the creative being that I am and the discipline of being tidy, which I work on everyday.



Photo by, Alexia Bernal

Photo by, Alexia Bernal

If you need me, I'll be in my living room...just looking around...

Do Over!


"I could think of things I never thought before. And then I'd sit..and think some more." -a brainless scarecrow

Lately, all I've wanted to do is get high and watch The Wizard of Oz, synced up to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album. First of all, I haven't smoked anything in years and second of all, the Pink Floyd thing DOES work and it's pretty cool, just FYI.

I just want to stop (over)thinking for a while, which is a lot to ask for, since I haven't been able to do this...ever. The wheels are constantly turning, from the moment I wake up in the morning; over-thinking, analyzing, worrying, wondering, imagining, comparing, never stops. I could be in a crowded, dusty, dirty, questionable circus tent, distracted by the most elaborate elephants, lions and ringmaster. There could be popcorn flying, unicycles about to run me over, the Bearded Lady, Siamese twins, the Elephant Man, jugglers, fire blowers, knife swallowers, baton twirlers and tightrope walkers all up in my face and I'd STILL be worrying about my future...and theirs, for that matter. #exhausting.

I started this blog sixteen months ago, with the goal of "helping people", whatever that meant to me at the time. Also, I hadn't written anything in years and I wanted to test, find and claim my voice. But claim my voice as what? As a niche expert? Journal keeper? "Coach"? Article writer? Professional blogger? Recipe and home decor guru? I mean, for the love of God...




Each time I come to my keyboard, I make  it a point to be truthful and humble, and some posts are indeed more "raw" than others. A couple of weeks ago, however, one of my best friends recently told me I'm not being as honest as I could be and should be. She told me I'm holding back. (She's only known me for twenty-one years; what does SHE know?! The nerve.) In any case, yes, in favor of preserving the integrity of the writer (me), which ultimately benefits the reader (you), there are some things I want to clarify about a recent post in particular, so that we may move forward with a clear representation of how sh*t really goes down in my book...which I have yet to write. It's not a real book. Nevermind.

* * *

I recently published a post about my job as Director of a Children's Fitness Center suddenly coming to an end, because the gym itself was closing. I poured my heart out, as usual, expressing my deep love for the families I'd come to know and build rapport with. I wrote about how hard saying good-bye to Circle Time is and the immense gratitude I have for the work I've done and how sad I was to say goodbye. I was so proud of that post; in fact, it is my second most popular post since I've started blogging, so obviously, it was one of your favorites, too.

The day after I published it, my BFF called me on the land line, actually. (Get this, the phone is attached to a receiver and plugged into the wall. Like, I can't leave my house with it. And it doesn't text. All I can do is sit on my couch and JUST converse with the person on the other end. It's bananas!)

ANYWAY, what could have been a quick conversation about how touching and heartfelt my writing is and how talented I am, turned into a two and a half hour assessment of why I lied to my readers myself and didn't own my whole truth in that post. She asked me why I didn't mention that I had already quit and that my last day was going to be June 1st. Why I didn't say I was already set to leave that part of my journey behind before I found out the business had descended into a hellish pit of embarrassment and finally crashed and burned into a flaming ball of shit, no matter how hard I'd tried  was closing. Why I left out the part about me being tired of working 40+ hours a week building someone else's dream, and having the courage to finally build mine. In short, she wondered why I didn't mention that I was going to start my own business.

I am starting my own business. I feel a giggle and an eye-roll come on when I say it, mostly because I'm so unsure of what this business looks like. Truthfully, I'd rather have a full-body, blistering chemical peel than write a business plan. I mean, how can I take my forty-seven passions, talents, education degrees/certificates and somehow contain them, package them into ONE name, ONE explanation, ONE title and ONE source of income?! And furthermore, is there even room for me and all these passions and talents? Do people want what I have to offer? Do they want to hear what I have to say? Am I just going to be another in-your-face-noise-maker in the crowded, disorganized circus of blogs, UpWorthy videos, Facebook updates, Instagram-ready lifestyles and "coaching" services? How do I find the balance between making myself seen and heard while "holding the space" (I hate that saying) for my readers, clients and students to feel seen and heard? And so on, and so on, and so on...

So, this is my day-to-day, minute-to-minute thought process. Ironically, as I talk more and more about to friends, Yoga teachers, and my Evolutionary Astrologist, I feel myself laying down more and more of the groundwork for what I'm ultimately called to do; I am called to educate. I am a teacher and a nurturer and I always have been. Whether it's through Kickboxing, Yoga, working with children, Essential Oils, Intuitive Eating or Eating Psychology Counseling, I consciously teach, I fearlessly listen and I genuinely care about my community.

Perhaps this isn't so much the do-over of a previous post, but an intro into what's really going on in my life TODAY, and what these past few weeks of self-emplyment have felt like for me. I've recently learned the word vocation and career mean totally different things and I'm excited to share that with you. Maybe it's in yours and my best interest to write how it feels to be "self-employed", while not yet collecting a paycheck. Maybe it's time I take a break from writing about my past (as I do in MANY posts) and fearlessly write about what's really uncomfortable for me, what's really eating Erica present. Because really, the world needs more truth-tellers and less noise-makers.

I may have forty-seven passions and it may be easy for me to be pulled in different directions because on some level, I'm afraid if I commit to ONE thing, the other forty-six things will disappear and I'll become lost. (I'm working on it.)

But any way I slice it, any direction I'm headed, I know I'm here to make a difference...forty-seven times over.