DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Rachel of Heart of Light

rachelheartoflightHave you visited Rachel, at Heart of Light? Her popular blog features creative design projects, delicious recipes, and vivid photos. Incidentally, it has become one of the first blogs I visit each day. After following her site over the past few months, I have an official blog crush. Working with her via the big Soc Chic giveaway, I found she is also a genuine person (thereby increasing said crush).

So with all my gooey feelings for her and her blog, it is not surprising that I was super excited ecstatic to see her intentions for this week’s DESING YOUR LIFE. I was not disappointed. The intention I automatically know I am incorporating in my own life is in her “Don’t Bring Junk Into Your Life” section. Read on!

Buy less, connect more.

Having just come off a three month shopping hiatus, I can definitely say that cutting out unnecessary shopping improves your life. I didn’t just save money, I found that I had a lot more time for doing other things (who knew shopping was so time consuming?). My new goal is to shop less and make it more meaningful. I want to invest in items I’ll truly cherish, and I want to use my money to support people I feel a connection to. I’m not promising I’ll completely cut out my Target purchases, but I’m definitely stepping up my Etsy and independent designer shopping. It makes me feel connected to my community in a way chain store shopping doesn’t.

Love your home.

rachelloveyourhomeI know people who are tentative about investing time in a place that isn’t permanent, but I believe in diving right in. I live in a rented apartment, but I still spend lots of time making it my own. I painted the walls, I put in additional shelving, I set up display spaces and I planted a balcony garden. I even managed to get a little sewing nook set up for myself, despite our limited space. Loving your home makes every day seem a million times better, so the time investment is well spent.

Don’t bring junk into your life.

This one seems harsh. I sometimes have well meaning people (usually coworkers or distant relatives) give me little gifts that I know I’ll never keep. I used to keep them around out of guilt but I’ve finally drawn the line. Things that I will never love simply don’t come into my apartment. I immediately put them in the car where we have a little Goodwill box. I’m not saying I never feel guilty about it, but I love not having my space cluttered with things I don’t like. And I always hope that they find their way to someone who will enjoy them.

Indulge yourself in things you love, and use them.

display-useI have a serious vintage cookware addiction. I love brightly colored enamel wear, glass cake stands and mismatched tea cups. When I find a piece I adore, I feel no guilt about bringing it home. I’ve made places in my home where these objects live, so I know they’ll have a spot and I use them frequently and display them the rest of the time. And it isn’t just me. I encourage D to display his things too, so our little apartment isn’t just awash in girly stuff. After all, if you truly love something, it should be out in the open, not hidden away in a cupboard. Currently, we’re busy building some more open shelving for a bit more display room.

Cultivate your relationships.

rachelcultivaterelationshipsRelationships are the most important things you have, and they don’t grow on their own. I have several different circles of friends, and I make sure to put time and effort into those relationships. I am still friends with the girls I went to elementary school with, despite the fact that we all went to separate colleges and moved to different areas. We meet up without fail once a year for a Christmas party and we schedule in other get togethers as often as we can. My college girlfriends and I are actually living in the same city right now, and we aim for a weekly girls only happy hour. For local friends, D and I host dinners frequently and often set up recurring friend nights (Project Runway was a great excuse for a weekly get together, but we find substitutes). When you’re far apart, little packages dropped in the mail or regular emails can go a long way. I hate the idea of people drifting apart, and I’ve found that a little bit of effort really pays off in the end.

Just try it.

I’m a naturally cautious person. I’m analytical, I love stability, and I’m not a big risk taker. These are characteristics I value in myself, but I also strive to test my boundaries. Starting a blog was a chance for me to have a creative outlet, and it functions as a daily reminder to keep in touch with my creative side. I can’t believe how valuable it’s been to me. If you have things you daydream about doing, just try them. You can always try something else if your first attempt doesn’t work out.

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  1. christina

    what a fantastic post, so wise and meaningful.

    rachel is great!! i love her & her blog too!
    thanks for posting…

  2. I love Rachel’s blog – for me, too, it’s one of the first ones I read if I’ve got limited time. She is one seriously talented young lady – I think she should have a TV show!

  3. pve design

    Rachel is one of my most favorite crafty bloggers and wise beyond her young self!
    I think she shares so much, her talent, her will-power and her taste is stream-lined and I love it! I just finished making pizza, thanks to her! She inspires me to do things myself. I have always loved the rewards of DIY!

  4. blair

    She is such an adorable blogger. She is always such a breath of fresh air and this interview make me feel the exact same way! I really don’t know how she does it!!

    Also, I can’t wait to see the Astor Street Collection! My brother actually lives on Astor in Chicago:)

  5. Eva

    Great! Design Your Life posts are my favorite!

  6. Jess

    @ Christina, Lynne, PVE, and Tammy: I’m glad you love Rachel too, she’s such a sweetheart.

    @ Blair: I have to say, Astor is going to be a pretty big departure from most other Jess LC collections so I am excited to hear the response from you all when it goes live on May 1st!

    @ Eva: I’m glad you love DESIGN YOUR LIFE :). I think it’s one of my favorites too. I always learn something new.

  7. Jac

    Hi Jess, I found this website through a link from Rachel and just wanted to say how lovely this blog is. I will be going to look through some of your older posts in just a moment! I love Rachel’s blog and her design your life post is great, really inspirational. Have a wonderful weekend! ūüôā

  8. Jess

    @ Jac: I’m so glad you like the blog and that the posts are helpful for you! Let me know if there is anything you would like to see more of.

  9. Rachel, you rock. I especially love the “don’t bring junk into your life” mantra. We have a constant Goodwill box going in the house, but the car is a better spot for it!

  10. joslyn

    i love this interview and i’m with east side bride…i’m adopting the mantra “don’t bring junk into your life.”


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