What Colors Your World?

I recently discovered CreativeLive.

Their motto – “Learn. Be inspired.”

On their site, I caught a rebroadcast of Tara Gentile’s “Build a Stand-Out Business” class.  In one bootcamp, she asked the question – “What colors your world?”

I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.  For days, I’ve been analyzing what colors my world.  What makes me tick?   What makes my heart sing?  What simple things always make me happy?

Here’s what I’ve come up with.


1.  Hawaii


In September of 2010, I visited Hawaii for the first time, and my life has never been the same.  After visiting Oahu that year, my husband Nick and I checked out Maui the following year.  And again in 2012.  On that last flight to Maui, as we stood in line for the jetway, I looked up at the red digital gate sign.  Just seeing “Kahului” across it made my heart flutter and moved me to tears.

We vowed to never return unless it was on a one-way flight.  I had found my version of paradise and felt more spiritual there than I ever had in my entire life.

Yeah.  I’m so serious about my love for Hawaii.

Since we knew that 2012 trip would be our last for a while, I needed to bring some Hawaii home with me.  Not anything from the land!  No!  That’s never a good idea!  Souvenirs.  Particularly items that I could display around our home.  None of it matched anything else in our apartment, but my heart had to have them.

What Colors Your World? Hawaiian gnome, with my favorite Maui images on canvas behind

Hawaiian gnome, with my favorite Maui images on canvas behind

What Colors Your World? Flip flop coasters and a Maui Farmers Market favorite photo

Flip flop coasters and a Maui Farmers Market favorite photo

What Colors Your World? My favorite lei and Maui mate photos

My favorite lei and Maui mate photos

Because of these things (and more – I’m only showing y’all a few), I get to hop back onto the islands for a moment.  Pair that with some coconut water and one of my favorite Hawaiian radio stations (Yes, I listen to Hawaiian radio stations, and yes, I have more than one fave), and I’m in heaven!


2.  String Lights


String lights, light strands, Christmas lights.

I have them in 5 different places in our home.  They don’t twinkle, and only one of them isn’t white, but I feel like I should’ve left them in my high school bedroom.

I never did.

I was able to take a couple of years off from them, but they are really too irresistible.  They’re so perfectly cozy in our current place!

What Colors Your World? Purple string lights hanging down our bookcase

Purple string lights hanging down our bookcase

Nick and I have never been fans of ceiling lights.  If it’s already installed when we move in, we probably won’t use it.  Those lights are too bright!

We prefer dimmer options and some color here and there.  Ambiance, you know.

I’d like to think that my use of string lights doesn’t border tacky, but I’m so comforted by them, I don’t care.  And Nick appreciates them as well.  Their subtle glow hugs our home in warmth and quiet times.

What Colors Your World? The lantern lights above our dining table

The lantern lights above our dining table

What Colors Your World? White string lights in our bedroom

White string lights in our bedroom


3.  Candles


Most women have a thing for shoes or purses.

I have a thing for candles.

Scent memories are very strong with me.  They always have been.  What I love about candles is that they help take me back to those memories.

When I was 18, I remember going to Hobby Lobby to pick out a candle.  A new candle to burn in my bedroom.  Because my best friend Gina was flying to visit and stay with me for the very first time.  One deep breath of Nature’s Vineyard and I’m back in my childhood room, thumbing through family photos with her.

Another candle brings me back to December of 2005.  To the surprise birthday party I threw for my mom.  One whiff and I’m walking through the cozy hallway of my childhood home, admiring the new engagement ring on my left hand.

More so than photographs, candles take me back to those memories.  Just by inhaling, I’m back at those places in time, and my soul smiles.

When it comes to candles, if the scent smells like being outside, I love it.  Grass, pine trees, rain, forests…gimme all of that.  That and those with a tropical twist – hello, Hawaii!

What Colors Your World? Nature, outdoors-scented Yankee Candles, Green Grass, Storm Watch

Nature, outdoors-scented Yankee Candles


4.  Bath and Body Works


Again, here we have the sense of smell coloring my world.

My love for Bath and Body Works started in 8th grade.  After getting completely sweaty in PE, I hurriedly slide back into my plaid skirt, button my white blouse, and then attempt to freshen up.

I didn’t stand a chance of looking any fresher.

As I ran my brush through my sweaty, dark brown hair, I always wished that air-conditioning was awaiting us back in the classroom.

The other girls in my class – the “cool” girls – had a little trick to transforming themselves back into the female form,

They broke out their lotions.

The bright scents of Bath and Body Works’ Country Apple, Sun-Ripened Raspberry, and Flowering Herbs overpowered the classroom post-PE.  I was amazed at how fresh I felt just by being in that cloud of fruity fantasticalness!

Soon, I would obtain my own plastic bottles of those transforming potions, and to this day, Country Apple is still my number one fave.

Thanks to 20 years of their Semi-Annual Sales and Buy 3 Get 3 Free deals, I have accumulated quite the embarrassing collection.  I won’t throw any container away unless it’s completely empty.  And for 6 months out of the year, I can’t spritz any of it onto my skin for fear of getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.  So, naturally, I have a lot.

I’m not a hoarder, I swear!

The juicy scents of Bath and Body Works have kept me from smelling like a grown woman for years now.  I’m not ashamed.  The shiny, bright bottles.  The fun names and exotic descriptions.  The energy and excitement I feel as I pop off the clear cap.

I am a kid, and it is my candy.

What Colors Your World? A peek at my Bath and Body Works collection

A peek at my Bath and Body Works collection


5.  Sex and the City


I never experienced dating as an adult.  I met my husband when I was 16, and we started dating only a couple of years later.  And I’ve never been turned on by anything involving New York City.

But I love Sex and the City.

What Colors Your World? My beautiful, beloved Sex and the City box set

My beautiful, beloved Sex and the City box set

I started watching it in 2004, right after the show ended.  Prompted by the passion of 2 of my closest girl friends at the time, I gave it a shot.  I shut down the Catholic voice in my head that was disgusted by this celebrated concept of casual sex.

And I enjoyed it.

For me, it was never about living vicariously.  I loved that the show featured 4 female characters that were all very different.  But all best friends.  It was the kind of friendship and closeness that I’d always yearned for but never had.  I felt like they had invited me into their circle.  Their lives.  Their worlds.

I also appreciated that each episode was short, complicated, yet funny.  Like, really funny.  As much as I’m not a fan of mishaps, it happened all the time in Sex and the City.  And it felt real.  Believable.  They gave me permission to laugh, and I did.  A lot.

I’ve now seen every episode at least 5-10 times, and the girls can always make me smile.  Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha always feel like home to me.


6.  Max


Since adopting Max in November of 2013, I’m rarely apart from him.  Like, maybe only a couple of hours a week.

I don’t get out much.

Of course, I plan on that changing soon.

Because of Max, I realized that I could be responsible for another soul and have it not turn into a complete disaster.  (He’s my first dog.  I put a lot of pressure on myself.)

What Colors Your World? Max in one of his favorite sleeping spots

Max in one of his favorite sleeping spots

Without this dog by my side, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to move our lives out here to Colorado.  And I would’ve been so lonely.

He’s quiet and gives me my space.  But he’s always close by.

I truly do believe that dogs serve as our guardian angels of sorts, and he’s supported me through what has been one of the most challenging years of my life.

Hooray for dogs!


What Colors Your World?


If you don’t know me very well, I hope this provides a little insight.

I’m not sure how Hawaii, a dog, lights, candles, body splash, and a girly show helps with that insight, but it’s what spoke to me.

When I first asked myself what colored my world, I didn’t know the answer.  I walked around our home and took in everything.  I paid attention to how my mind and soul reacted.  What stimulated me, what calmed me, what made me happiest.  I think this is all very Steph.  I hope my closest ones agree.  🙂

What colors your world?



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