Weekend Reading

By Kate Riley January 3, 2014

Hello all, are you getting back in the swing of things now that the holidays are over? I woke up with so much energy for a new year of exciting things and a resolution to continue an attitude of gratitude and pursuit of serenity that began late last year and still continues.

Something came over me in autumn that made me more relaxed and confident about the future, and that was taking pressure off myself to define success by the world’s terms and instead define success by my own terms. It didn’t come from any self help book or eye opening article, there was no lightbulb moment.

I just realized over a period of weeks that ignoring the noise of the world and seeking serenity in small doses of daily happiness found in my personal life instead of online created a calm I haven’t felt for years. I determined it truly is about attitude and choices – changing your focus and thoughts to consistently positive ones and saying no to the things that don’t work for you leads to a healthier approach to living and daily contentment.

quince branches


I’m sharing it today only to encourage you too to find your own sources of contentment and believe in your vision of happiness. Ignore all the excessive “you should be” or “you need to” lists of things to do according to others and instead set your own personal goals no matter how big or small that define your own success.

Here on this blog, 2014 promises more posts about what I’m passionate about: sharing beauty and inspiration through decorating and design articles; offering encouraging words through emails or comments; spotlighting creative people in the DIY, design, and art community; continuing features over at Best of DIY and the Best of the Blogosphere series (it returns in 2 weeks!); and in between all of that conversation, more home improvement and DIY posts of our own as Matt and I dip our toes back into the real estate fixer upper market. I’m excited for a year of great things.

That said, here are a few links loved this week…

Start this year with a wall of wisdom for daily inspiration.

January writing prompts for bloggers.

I’m sad to see the VW camper retired, are you?

One couple’s 40 years of Christmas portraits.

Quotes from greats to inspire greatness.

These IKEA cabinet upgrades look fun!

A desktop wallpaper for January and beyond.


And my articles over at Better Homes & Gardens:

red around the house

clean and organized

Red Around the House

Clean + Organized in 2014

What resolutions, passions, or pursuits are important to you this year?




  1. Every link I attempted to click on above, linked me with Jonathan Adler Bedding on Layla Grace. Why?

  2. Kate, I loved this. I loved your thoughts and insights about daily peace and contentment. Coming from someone as successful and driven as you made the message so much more meaningful. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading more thoughts like these.

  3. Wonderful post! Just what I needed to hear today! So easy to get distracted by the world’s noises. Love the reminder to reflect and refocus often. Thanks for sharing, Kate!

  4. I fully support this sentiment! When you work from home, it’s easy to get caught up. over the last few days I was dogsitting and enjoyed bringing the laptop to her nice (and relaxing) backyard. It was such a breath of fresh air {literally}.

  5. You have accomplished so much! You are very talented and have a beautiful family. I’m glad to hear you have found your peace. It’s a wisdom that comes with age that doesn’t let anyone else steal your joy. :) Enjoy those perfect moments. Happy New Year!

  6. How inspiring! Kate, this is just that I’ve been telling myself for the past few weeks and it is so true. The true peace lies within…in what makes you happy from inside; not what the world says about it. And you’re so right…you don’t need a lightbulb moment to understand that. Lots of wishes for you and your blog in the times to come.

  7. Great post. Launching my site in April, I could compare the past nine months to pregnancy: emotional yet satisfying, calm coupled with confusion, perplexing but mostly positive. Too bad my product hasn’t been as beautiful or successful as my children. Your post is an encouraging boost, so I’ve decided to keep going, at least to the 1st Anniversary, and we’ll see how things are then.

    Really enjoy your site.

  8. Thanks a ton for the shout-out to the writing prompts on The SITS Girls, ladies! Much appreciated.

    Wishing everyone at Centsational Girl another fabulous year!


  9. Hi
    I am organizing like everyone else, especially after completing a major remodel. I don’t want as much stuff around. Anyway, can you please give the source for the paper towel holder in the cupboard?? It was turquoise but i think you painted it. It would be perfect to save having it out on the counter. It was in the article Clean and Organize 2014.
    Kathy p.

  10. Hi Kate,

    Like other posters, I just want to say thank you for your thoughts and for sharing this awareness of the importance of quiet, of disconnecting and of honoring ones inner promptings. We can change our thoughts and create increased awareness of the beauty in the world. It means so much to me to find that sentiment here; it is one the bears repeating in multiple domains.

    You make every day better for all of us who follow you.


  11. I love January reflections, a great time of year for looking ahead and making changes. Sometimes I find I can just move things around, put them in a new place, a bench moved from the end of the bed put into service as a coffee table, or a chair given a new cushion. I love your ideas for refreshing up my home, makes winter less blah, and easy on the pocketbook this time of year! Thanks for the inspiration.

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