Boost your mood and enjoy a happy home with these practical ideas from DIY pro and lifestyle blogger Maria Kamara. A former professional opera singer, the first African American woman to win Miss Michigan, and adoptive mom Maria shares her inspiring journey to living with joy from the inside out.
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
- Life as an opera singer
- Importance of setting boundaries
- Her father’s inspiring story and a note on gratitude
- 3 simple ways to quickly transform your space with minimal effort
- Top tips for maximizing space in small bedrooms
- Practical advice on simplifying your life and organizing your home
- The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – https://amzn.to/3NiMDdG
- Chantilly Lace OC-65 | Benjamin Moore – https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/paint-colors/color/oc-65/chantilly-lace
- Tween Bedroom Ideas – Elsa’s Bedroom Makeover – https://purehappyhome.com/tween-bedroom-ideas-elsas-bedroom-makeover/
- Elsa’s Little Girl Bedroom Makeover – https://purehappyhome.com/elsas-little-girl-bedroom-makeover/
- Make a Small Bedroom Look Larger – 5 Tips – https://purehappyhome.com/make-a-small-bedroom-look-larger-5-tips/
- The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. – https://amzn.to/3oIzArz
ABOUT: MARIA KAMARA-HAGEMEYER
Maria Kamara-Hagemeyer and her husband, Jeremy, founded Pure Happy Home, a budget-friendly website for creating a cozy living space. As parents of five, they share a passion for DIY and design. They offer design inspiration, family moments, and DIY projects to their audience near Lake Michigan. Maria and Jeremy are committed to living a life of faith and value, contributing beauty and harmony to the world. They promote creativity and self-awareness while providing tips and inspiration to their followers.
CONNECT WITH: MARIA
- Website: Pure Happy Home: https://purehappyhome.com/
- Instagram: @purehappyhome: https://www.instagram.com/purehappyhome/
- TikTok: @purehappyhome: https://www.tiktok.com/@purehappyhome
- Pinterest: @purehappyhome: https://www.pinterest.ph/purehappyhome/
- YouTube: Pure Happy Home: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMIswpt_Vja0Vc3hyZEwHOA
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If I had the gift of walking into someone’s space and saying three things and they would magically happen first, it might surprise you, but I would say declutter. I think that clutter, mm-hmm. Sucks energy from us. And when I declutter, my whole being feels lighter and more positive. So decluttered. And then the second would be paint.
Paint is so economical. It’s a budget friendly fix, and it’s almost instantaneous. And then the third thing I would say is your window treatments. And I think that window treatments are something that we kind of overlook, but light has a big effect on how we feel, how we think, our energy and mood. Welcome to the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast with DIY Healthy Lifestyle blogger Ahna.
Fulmer empowering you to transform your life. One imperfect day at a time. Well, we are here with Maria. Maria, welcome to the show. This is so fun to have you. I am really happy to be here. Thank you. I have to tell you guys, we initially were scheduled for, I think it was last week, and then Zoom was doing crazy things, so we got going on a chat, text message, and I was like, okay, this was a God thing actually, because we like learned all these things about each other, which is really exciting.
So be prepared because Maria’s going to actually come on a second time cuz I was texting her and y’all can see pictures of her beautiful family. I was like, oh my word. You have such a beautiful family. They have like the rainbow. There’s just this beautiful color spectrum among their family, which is makes my heart so happy.
Thank too, and they adopted so we like made this connection. So she’s coming on later. Because we’re gonna do a second episode all about adoption and I mean you, your backstory is just so cool. There’s so many things going on, but let me give it to you for a second and share with us a little bit some of your backstory and, and how you got to where you are with pure Happy Home.
Well, part of it was, Becoming a mom, I have to say. And we did. We’ve adopted three times. We came back for more. We grew, our family grew. I always like to say like, who grew in my tummy and three grew in my heart, but our background story for adoption goes back even further than that, and I won’t get into that too much.
We’ll save some for later, but that’s coming. Jeremy and I have been really on a journey of. Following our hearts from the get-go, and that was something that we decided we really wanted to teach our kids too. So my initial. When I was little, my initial thought was, I’m gonna grow up and move away and have a career and never get married.
And then I met Jeremy, so that all changed. And I have a Master’s in Music emphasis on vocal performance, specifically opera. And so that. Was really just a beautiful education that I had in music, which you might not know this as well, we’re singers over here, so my daughter’s big in the musical theater.
I’ve been singing for years. I love that. So when I saw that, I was like, former opera singer. All right, let’s learn. Did you use that? Like did you sing? Yeah. Where did you Yeah. I sing mostly out East and in the Midwest, small opera companies like Cincinnati Opera, which isn’t too small anymore, and Dica Opera, but this was many years ago and this was before babies.
And I remember we were married at the time and we moved out east and specifically so I could commute to New York City better at more easily. And. I saw this little baby and my hands started to sweat and I thought, I know that my body is telling me something, but my heart is telling me something as well.
And I said to my, one of my coaches who my coach accompany, I told him and he said, don’t even think about it. You can’t have babies until like you’re at least in your late thirties. Yeah. And then probably just one. Yeah. And I thought, he’s right. I have a decision to make. And so I really prayed about it and at the end I just, I knew that I didn’t want to do this.
I didn’t want to be, and no. No shade to anyone, but I didn’t wanna be that woman in New York who had three dogs and a pretty okay opera career. So I decided, and Jeremy supportive, and we thought let’s just do what our heart calls us to do. And that was to build a family together and we wanted to do that.
Both through biology and through adoption, and that’s just what we did. So I also started homeschooling and that’s where I just threw myself into all things home, and that is where Pure, happy Home really was born in following your heart and doing what. You knew you wanted to do, even though everything in the background says, no, your education isn’t this.
No, you’re doing very well here. No, people say, who know you don’t do that. Do this. At the end, you really only have yourself to be responsible to and Right. That’s when we decided, or I decided to let go of. The career and really start a different career transitioning into motherhood and homeschooling and home and what that means.
And I’ll tell you, that wasn’t a popular voice of mine with my friends and colleagues. Yeah. And our oldest is 23, so this was 23 years ago. And feminism didn’t mean go home and raise babies, right? Yeah. Feminism meant something else. And I had two. Well, especially in that industry, it’s very mm-hmm. Yeah.
Like you, and this is actually true. So interestingly with my background in medicine, this isn’t dissimilar even in medicine, especially if you are in the medical track, like to be a physician, right? It’s a really challenging, you have to decide how long you’re willing to put, do you want kids? How many. How long are you willing to wait?
I mean, it’s definitely something that you have to think about, and I don’t think we were ever told. I mean, I’m, how old am I? 36, 37? I don’t even remember one of those two, and it’s like, I never thought about that. That really wasn’t something that crossed my mind like, oh, I might have to really think about my career in addition to being a mom.
It’s like you just sort of like, ah, I’ll figure it out. Well, they say you can have it all. That’s what we were told. I’m a Gen Z and the fact is you can’t have it all. But you can have it all at different times perhaps, but all at one time. That’s pretty rough. Like and, and I’m all for working moms, 100%.
And I have three daughters, so I want them to follow their hearts, whatever that means for them. But you can’t be a full-time stay-at-home mom and have a full career. It’s impossible because you need to take care of yourself. And honestly, I think that I only realized that when I started to really get into pure Happy home and started blogging.
That is a business in and of itself. Added on to that, I homeschool. So there’s only a set amount of hours in the day and you can’t be 100% a great blogger. 100% a great mom, 100% a great homeschooling mom. Yeah. And then there’s you and there’s your relationships outside of yourself and kids. That’s too much to carry in one day.
Yeah. So you do, and yet we do it. S I feel like we put that pressure on ourselves all the time. And I like what you’re saying because I think as women especially, and I’m with you, I mean I’ve always worked to some degree and I don’t ever foresee myself not working to some degree, right. And capacity, whatever that looks like.
But I do think. Especially now in an age of empowerment for women more than ever, which is certainly not a bad thing, but I think we get conflicted whether we realize it or not because mm-hmm. There’s so much pressure, right, all of the time, because there’s still the innate desire in most of us as women, to be the nurturers, to be, you know, the caregivers for our children, and so mm-hmm.
Even if we’re a full-time, you know, c e o, whatever it is, we still have that inherent desire in us. To be that for our children. Absolutely. But we’re then being pooled in a million other professional directions, right. That were probably not as prevalent however many decades ago. And so we, we feel the pressure, we feel it probably more than we ever have before.
Yeah. And then add social media and everything else that we don’t Oh. Yeah. You know, it’s even recognize the voices all the time coming at us. That’s right. It’s important to set boundaries and not just with other people, but for yourself as well, and be honest with yourself as to what really brings you joy.
I told you earlier that my youngest was in school where she, she will be homeschooled next year. She’s the only one that spent two years in school that spent any time in school. And I needed to say, Hey Maria, you cannot do all of this. Mm-hmm. I tried to do a little bit of everything, but I couldn’t homeschool her along with her siblings and do the business.
Mm-hmm. And take care of myself. I mean, it is just ridiculous. So choose your joy and don’t let anybody else tell you that it’s not for you or yours because. It’s one precious life. We live. I tell my kids this all the time, set your boundaries early. Set them with me, your mom, your dad, your siblings. Yeah.
Set them with your friends and know what you really love to do, and then go after that, whatever it is. Yeah. Well, I love what you said earlier, and for those of you listening and watching, I want to offer this as a word of encouragement, as Maria said that. In a sense you can have it all just not at one time.
Yeah. It’s impossible, right? Yeah. That concept of seasons I think is something that is so important for us to remember and be willing to give ourselves that grace and ask for help and delegate. Y’all have heard me say it a million times. Yeah. Delegate to accelerate, like delegation is, I love it. Key to moving forward.
So, and you, you’ve said that really in your own way as well, so be encouraged women, especially listening. You do not have to do all the things. That’s right. I’m speaking to myself more than I should be. Like looking at myself in the mirror here. I, I have to point this out because I think this is an interesting storyline that you have as well.
You were former Miss Michigan once upon time. Yes. Yes, I was. Tell us a little bit about that and what you took away from that. Oh, guy. It was a way for me to pay for my schooling. I have a bachelor’s and a master’s and I was, can get costly and I remember, I don’t remember who suggested it. I think it may have been my mother because I had an extra semester of undergrad and she.
Saw something for a local pageant that then went on to Miss Michigan and Miss America. And she said, why don’t you consider doing this? Because my four year scholarship, my music scholarship had run out and I needed that one extra semester. And I looked at it and I said, this is a pageant. You can earn money.
And I said, fine, I’ll go exploit myself. I was not for it. Thanks mom. Exactly. But it ended up being, A road to about $40,000 in scholarship money towards my wow degree. So I was glad I went and did it. It’s not, I took part in the Miss America program, not the Miss USA program, which is very different. At least it was back in the day.
And I was the first Black Miss Michigan. So I was glad to get that checked out. Oh my. Aw, we needed one. We needed one. So it was me. So my background is that my dad is African and my mom is Dutch. And so I spoke on the issue of multiculturalism and unity through diversity we have here in the United States.
And so it was a very empowering year for me. That’s the third podcast coming. 100%. I can talk and talk and talk. We all kinds of things that we could talk about. I love that. And for those of you that don’t realize this, her husband is white. I don’t know what his ethnicity is. Probably Dutch. Yeah, he’s like all German.
Dutch. German. He’s Dutch and. So, yeah, that’s beautiful. But yeah, it was a positive thing for me. Although I do remember I didn’t like the backlash. I didn’t like for years I would try to hide that I had been Miss Michigan because as soon as someone found out, not always, sometimes it really let me know who this person was and I’m speaking of women cuz we are hard on each other.
But as soon as they found out, they either were supportive or they would exclude me and they were a little. Well, there’s a stigma to pageant people and pageant tree and, and I got that because I wasn’t on board at first, but I really felt I don’t need yet another reason for someone not to like me. Yeah.
So I just would kinda hide that I did it and years later, probably was like a decade and a half later, I remember. Looking back at some photos, miss America, and where I had received a talent, I got one of their talent awards there and I thought, oh my, that’s Miss Michigan. I.
I just started that when I was like, most of these girls train, you know when they’re all through high school or for sure through college, which I just walked in and I had to do it three times and that’s part of why I got so much money cuz each time I was think I was third runner up, first runner up, then Miss Michigan.
But it was such a great vehicle for me and I thought, be proud of this. I don’t care what anybody thinks. Like it’s probably age. It’s probably age meaning like, I don’t care if you like me, it’s great if you do. It’s fine if you don’t. Yeah, and that took me a while to get to that place personally. Hmm. I mean, what you’re saying is so beautiful in that regardless of what anyone’s backstory is, I think I.
Women especially even men too. But there’s so frequently that sense of I’m letting somebody else speak into my worth. I’m letting somebody else’s assumptions speak into how I see myself. And you know, I love hearing people’s stories of how they grew and everyone’s like, the puzzle pieces all look a little different for each person.
It’s true, but it’s so beautiful. Then to be able to bring in. That perspective and that worldview to your own family and into your own home? Yes. And just how you see, how you see the world. Where was your dad from in Africa? I’m curious which? Liberia, Africa. Okay. Which is West Africa. He was born in the bush.
And his mother, yeah, he was the youngest of a Muslim family. And his mother saw that there was a school, an Episcopalian school in a town a bit of ways, and she decided he needed to get an education and she was a healer in the village and had quite a bit of clout. So that was the only reason. Plus he was the youngest and a little sickly, and so his father said, okay.
Meaning like he’s not my first son. He is not that healthy and mm-hmm She was who she was. So he went and found out he was just a very gifted student, an academic. He spoke about six dialects. And so the priest, who my father’s so admired and talked about for years, the priest said this. Boys school and the nuns would take him with when they did some evangelizing and because he spoke all these dialects and so he went through the whole boys school, thanks to the Episcopalian church, and then he was so gifted, they decided we’re going to fund your first year in the States, and then the rest is up to you.
So he went to Michigan State as a PolySci major and ended up getting his PhD. And my dad was just a really amazing person. I missed him. I have goosebumps. Literally, I just got goosebumps. Well, how old was he when he came over to the state? I think he was about, I think he was about 20 when he started at State.
I’ll have to ask my mom, but he may have been 21. Wow. So he was a little bit older, but, um, I can’t imagine the overwhelm. Like, I just can’t imagine the cultural, like I hear these stories and I just for a brief second, try to put myself in their shoes. I just cannot even fathom. Yeah. Crossing cultures like that, especially at that age.
Yeah. 20, that’s two decades in a totally different I can, yeah. I have so much respect. I just, we truly can’t understand that. No. Well, I can’t. I can’t. It’s unbelievable. He, he, he had some really wonderful stories and I treasure all of them. I really do. And as a first generation American, I am so proud to be an American.
My dad never became an American citizen. He really wanted to keep his Liberian citizenship. He loved home. He’d call it home. And he was fascinated by America, respected America, and especially politics, but he wanted to keep his own citizenship. But he really encouraged us to be active citizens, to know what’s going on in our world and to be critical thinkers.
And I tried to do that with my kids as well. We live an incredible country with so many possibilities. You know, when my dad was born, he was not afforded many opportunities. It’s because of, um, the Episcopalian church that he got to come here and become. Who he was. And he died far too young of lung cancer.
But he really loved to teach. He really loved to encourage people to stretch their minds. And that’s something that I try to do too with my kids. Oh, that’s beautiful. And it’s just such a humbling reminder too that regardless, you know, even just from a political standpoint in our country, regardless of what side of any coin that you fall on, till you really assume that, Global perspective.
It is so easy to take for granted, not just the rights that we have, but the right that we have to even think critically and express that critical thought because there’s just so many places around the world where you simply don’t even have that. Right. It’s true. It’s very true. So it is. A moment to be grateful, regardless of the frustrating elements that can sometimes come and the sensationalism and everything else that falls into oftentimes that realm.
I love hearing stories like that, and I hope you all listening are encouraged to just take a deep breath. True. And just be grateful for the opportunities. That’s true. That’s, that’s true. We have, there is no other, what was his name? What was his name? My dad’s name. My dad’s name was Faci and his American name is, Biblical name, um, was, or Christian name, I guess they call it was Edward.
Yeah. So he was Edward Sian. Yeah. So Sian, um, yeah, fa and that’s Well Fas, we’re honoring you here today. Love that. Well, we would not be chatting if it was not for you. Yeah, it’s true. That’s so true. I think many times that. And I think we can all say this, we are ancestors’ wildest dreams, right? Mm-hmm. And so many blessings.
We have so many blessings. And like I think you said a moment ago, to take in that perspective that, you know, no matter what side of the coin we’re on the, what we have right now, the, the power we have to choose and to verbalize what we believe. That’s not a given at all. Places. Right. Or in all times.
Right. That’s true freedom. Yeah. Yeah. Aw. Well, we are going to take a quick break, but when we come back, stay tuned. We’re gonna play a speed round of that, this or that with Maria. Get to know her a little bit. Oh, we’re gonna chat her. She’s like, Hmm, I didn’t know that was coming. We’re gonna hear more of her expert advice on practical ways to make your home a happy place right when we come back.
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Accelerator course today and start your own transformation story. All right, we are back here with Maria. Okay. Maria was not prepared for this. We’re gonna play a round of this or that. Two options, no stress, whichever one comes to your mind sooner. Chocolate or vanilla? Ice cream. Vanilla. And then what is your favorite ice cream?
Like if you could have one. You know I am. Maybe this. Uh, this isn’t a popular opinion, but I really like the, oh, shucks. What’s it called? And I forgot the, it has walnuts in it. Butter. No butter. Pecan. Pecan. Like butter. Yeah. Butter pecan. Butter pecan. Yeah. Yeah. So pecans. Yeah. Or pecans, not walnuts. Makes sense.
Yeah. It’s a nut of some sort. It’s the unpopular nut, the chewy thing in the ice cream. Yeah. That, that thing. It is probably an unpopular one. That’s, I love that. Okay. Candy or baked goods? We like our sweets over here. Ooh, I’m gonna go with candy. Ooh, okay. What’s your favorite candy? It’s just serotonin boost.
Yeah. Yeah. I, I like nerds. They’re chewy and the texture. That is so funny. I love that. And I’m married to one. I’m married to one as well, so that’s Yeah, me too. Me too. My husband is a computer programming. Oh, I love it. Yep. Nerd. For sure. I’m surrounded by male nerds in this house. Okay. Uh, Kindle or an old-fashioned book?
Old-fashioned book. Kindles are not my favorite. I don’t like Kindle. So book, what is your favorite book? Yes. I have to pick one Favorite book. I know this is, oh, this is challenging. Let’s say, let’s say fiction like your favorite fiction, fiction book of all time. Probably The Red Tent. I love that book. Oh my goodness.
Read Red. The Red tent tent. And who’s it by? Oh gosh, I don’t know. I can’t remember. Read it. My editor will find it. The Red Tent. I read it. My grandma passed away. Yeah, I read it after my grandma passed away. Probably was that like 17 years ago. And it was so well timed. It’s Christian fiction and it is so incredibly well written.
I love that book. It’s a good book. I love book recommendations. There you go, guys. It’s biblical, not Christian fiction. It’s, it’s biblical fiction. Okay. Okay. And I believe, yeah, I believe the woman who wrote it wrote it from the perspective of, well, I won’t give it away. Read the red tent, it’s worth it.
Read the red tent. We’ll make sure that’s included in the show notes so you can find it on Amazon easily. Would you rather be a ninja or a pirate? Ninja Ninja. Would you rather wear flats or heels? Flats? I’m five foot 10, so I really don’t need the heels. And of course, chasing children or keeping up with children flats.
Yeah. Yeah. Oh, you’re a beautiful five foot 10. I love it. I’m five foot nothing. Oh, get the we. My daughters, I always laugh. I’m five foot three, so I’m not entirely five foot. Nothing Good. Yeah. That’s all you do. Always laugh. I’m like, sorry girls. You got no hope. No hope. I played volleyball. So it was a very evident, you know, you’re like lack, you’re a lack of vertical.
Yeah. Was was pretty obvious. So one of the things that you are so good at on your website, and again it’s pure happy home.com, you guys check it out and we’ll make sure all these links, of course, as always will be on the show notes and. What is important to me to highlight, and I had, I had mentioned this to Maria earlier, and for those of you listening is it’s so important for us as women to be able to correlate how the walls of our home affect our health.
We don’t think about it in this way enough, and as you guys know, I’m all about holistic health, which is making sure that we take into account our emotional, mental, physical, social yes. And spiritual health in order to truly thrive. Well and fulfill our God-given purpose with more energy. Amen. And joy.
And our home is so essential to especially our emotional, mental, and social health. Those three elements are specifically impacted by our homes. So Maria is a home di I lifestyle blogger. She’s got all kinds of amazing things on Pure Happy Home, and we’re gonna tap into some of her practical ways. For us to be able to make changes and improvements in our home so that we can just feel that much more joy when we step into our space.
So I’m gonna start with a really easy one. If you could pick three DI IY changes as somebody is stepping into their room and they think, I just wish, I just need something. I just don’t like the space. It feels cramped. It feel, fill in the blank. What are three ways that somebody could fairly quickly change a room?
Well, if I had that gift that would, I love doing that. If I had the gift of walking into someone’s space and saying three things and they would magically happen first, it might surprise you, but I would say declutter. I think that clutter sucks energy from us and when, when I declutter my whole. Bean feels lighter and more positive.
So declutter, get rid of the things that you don’t truly love, need, or someone else in your family truly loves or needs it, because that’s our issue when you have a lot of kids. And then the second would be, the second would be paint. Paint is so economical. It’s a budget friendly fix, and it’s almost instantaneous now.
Last night I was painting my walls. I just, I don’t know what got into me and I decided this is the day, and I painted. So paint can bring you from a room that is pink to a room that is mm-hmm. Tope or in its, The tone of a room. Again, if you look at color psychology really absolutely does affect us as well.
If you want something to be happier, go for a bright yellow, or if you want something to be more calm, go for a white or a pale blue paint. It’s a game changer. And then the third thing I would say is, Your window treatments, and I think that window treatments are something that we kind of overlook, but light has a big effect on how we feel, how percent we think our energy and mood.
And I love to always bring the outdoor in. And a simple way to do that, mm-hmm. Is to. Open up your windows in terms of how you frame them. Mm-hmm. When I go to some people’s homes, I’m surprised as to how much of the window is covered. Mm-hmm. By the window treatment when it doesn’t need to be because it’s daylight and they should be getting in as much light as they can.
You can choose window treatments that allow all the light to come in, frame the window beautifully, add an aesthetic pleasing atmosphere, and. Let the light come in and then at night give you the privacy and close up, and it’s not as budget friendly, but thanks to Amazon and a few other places. You can find window treatments that will do all those things for you a hundred percent.
I love that you said that cuz that has been one of my top tips over the years. And for those of you listening, one of my tips is to use shears because one of the number one pushbacks that I get is you want privacy. Evening the daylight. Cuz your home might be fairly close to a sidewalk or that big front window that you have.
Mm-hmm. But shears. We’ll still allow more light in, but from the outside looking in, it almost like blurs everything on the inside. So to Maria’s point, it enables you to still close them if you really want that privacy even during the day, but still allow a lot more light. In what paint colors are your favorite?
What paint, I should say wall paint. Like what would you, yeah, what’s your go-to? I do love Chantilly Lace. Mm-hmm. By Benjamin Moore. I think that’s a great warm white, and I have a lot of white color. Did you guys miss that? That Chantilly Lace? That C H A N T? Yes. Chantilly Lace. Chantilly Lace. Like the song.
Lace and a pretty face and, oh yeah. Okay. That’s an old country song. Keep going, keep going. No, we’re not done. Thanks to my grandpa, my Dutch grandpa. I know that. I love it. That’s so funny. So I think for me, lace, okay. Yeah. I always tend towards warm colors and I’m not coming up with another. Name. What’s the one behind you?
What’s the white on the wall behind you? This is a ca. Oh, this light right here. This is more of a gray and I’d have to look at, that’s a Sherwin Williams and I don’t remember the gray color. Mm-hmm. But if you go to their bread of neutrals, you’ll find mm-hmm. And this is kind of a cool gray. And then this and back me is a restore find.
This is used paint that someone donated and I love it. Too. Yeah, so, but I tend to usually go for neutrals when I’m decorating or add maybe doing a room makeover for my girls room makeovers. And that’s on the blog. They’re two bedroom room makeovers. We did not go for neutrals. Of course they both wanted color.
One was a really pretty terracotta and then the other was a really pretty periwinkle when they had that right Periwinkle as color of the year a couple years ago. Okay. So yeah, we have to, as parents, I think honor our kids’ own, because you’re saying it, it’s about our health and our wellbeing and Yeah.
We have to honor their own tastes and desires for their spaces. Yeah. Unless you’re like the mom like me, who doesn’t, so I have to tell you what happened. We are in a rental house right now, and this house, like we’re making it work. We’re grateful. However, I have all three children in one room, like. Major sacrifice happening over here.
Yeah, it’s a first world problem. However, yeah, so I have two girls and a boy. They’re all two years apart. And my daughter, my youngest, really, really wanted a rainbow unicorn room. That’s what she wanted. Rainbows and unicorns in this room. And we were like, well, honey, you’re gonna be sharing a room with all your siblings.
So yeah, it’s just quite been very plain in this case. How about a, how about a rainbow unicorn poster? Pillow. We got her a sticker. You know, you get a, a sticker child, be happy. She’ll probably thank you later. Thank you mom, for not letting me do that. I think my son’s already thanked us. Oh my goodness. Yes.
Well, they’ve made it work. They, we’ve been here almost a year now and they’re making it work one day. Yes. You sacrifice long-term gain. We’ll get there and. Yes. And so much good came out of that. I’m sure them sharing a room too together and that’s, yeah, whatever came out of that, you can’t pay for that like that.
Right. What you learn about each other and the bonding and, and even the fights too. That’s, yeah. There’s always an opportunity in these more challenging situations to learn something, to grow in character, to take it and put it in your backpack and, and use it for later. Yeah, absolutely. And I think the number one, like not to go off on a caveat here.
I think the number one thing that we’ve learned is that the fact is we can live with less. Yes. The forced simplification has been, yes. That’s been the number one takeaway is that wealth is not how much you make, it’s how much you have. Yes. And that goes for everything. Just that sense of this is enough.
Like this is enough. So for right now, one room for all three children, I love that. This is enough. I love it. Speaking of bedrooms, this is a perfect segue. This was not intentional. One of the posts that I loved on your website. Some of these tips would be true of really any room, but bedrooms, again, it’s no secret over here.
We’ve talked about bedrooms a lot because sleep is the body’s holistic reset button, and our rooms need, our bedrooms, need to be a place of rest. The bedroom is not the place to feel anxious or like the walls are closing in on you. Mm-hmm. Bedrooms ought to be a priority. We often don’t think of them that way, and yet we spend a third of our life.
Sleeping in our bedroom. Yeah. Yeah. So give me your, you had the post was called Five Ways to Make a Bedroom Look Bigger. So give me some of your bedroom makeover, tits. Well, that was specifically written when we were doing my oldest daughter’s bedroom. It’s so pretty. I’m looking at it right now, by the way.
It’s so pretty. One last time before she is outta the house forever. I was like, let me just do it one more time. So we did, and she was moving from a twin bed to a full size bed. Mm-hmm. So I think one of the things that people forget is wall space is good real estate and don’t always think of pushing your bed into a corner and taking up two walls.
I think unless it helps you sleep well. Makes you feel maybe cocooned or, or something. Try to avoid doing that. And so with her bed, we in a smaller bedroom, her large bed in a smaller bedroom, we did, we got it away from the wall. It’s just against one wall. And then we also put this huge armoire that she has in there, kind of across from her bed and sort of into the corner.
Not completely. We fit in also. A desk in there as well, I think. And we had darker walls that she wanted that gave her that cocooned comfort feeling. So we had to be really careful to make sure that we didn’t add too much because we already had the big bed and the dark walls. So we ripped out the carpet in her room a while back and had just plain flooring in there, which really, when you put a rug in that kind of, Slowly encroaches, I think, on that space.
Whereas if you just have flat, no a door and flooring, that leaves a. Kind of cleaner aesthetic. We also made sure she had lots of light in there to keep it. She only has one window, so to keep it right in there as much as we could and not get dark. And every corner kind of is illuminated, which pushes the walls back.
And I know that can sometimes be costly, but there’s always something called a thrift store. And you can run there and find a good looking lamp and maybe spray paint it if you don’t like the color. Yeah, put it in your corner and. Of your bedroom and push those walls back a little bit with light. In my bedroom, we have light walls.
I think that it gives it a more airy feeling. I like that white wall anywhere in the room, but ESP in any place in the home, but especially in the bedroom. It just is very peaceful for me as well. Mm-hmm. And then we don’t have a lot in it, except for on the walls we try to. Keep things off the floor as much as we can.
Yeah. And we have some simple art and mirrors. Mirrors reflect light. Mm-hmm. And especially if you have it across from a window, it’s almost like having another mirror in your home. And then again, you open up your room. It’s like there’s the outdoors. Even though it’s not there, it’s a mirror. It’s still that illusion of space.
That’s a wonderful tip. Actually, I’m all for mirrors from just a decorative standpoint, but what she said to remind you guys of this is blazing mirrors across from windows or across from light is a really great, that’s a great concept. It’s gonna instantly make your whole room feel bigger instantly.
Yeah. Yeah. I love that you mentioned organization, and this is something that we’ve mentioned before and women fall on different, I mean, this is true of men too, but fall on different sides of the organization conversation. For some, it’s like, well, I don’t mind. The clutter that I live in, yeah, I’m not a naturally organized person and it doesn’t bother me.
I know where everything is, and if you’ve not heard me say this before you guys, I am gonna say it now. It might not bother you, however, unless you are the only one living in the space, it might be bothering. Other people and making them anxious and then their anxiety and they might not even realize it.
Their anxiety, their stress levels are going to then bounce back to you. And so you may actually be feeling the stress without even realizing that the clutter that isn’t bothering you is bothering other people. And that is gonna end up bothering you, Ahna. That’s incredibly doesn’t. Good point. Yes. So this is for everybody.
I just wanna point that out. Unless you are living by yourself. And even then I would argue organization. Is he? Yeah. So tell me about organization and like your bathroom organization tips was a great post, but just in general, any organization tips? I am all for. I love me. A good organizer. I don’t know how popular this opinion is going to be, but I have learned this from years of trying to be organized and that is, I think you’ll agree, Ahna.
Just have less stuff. Oh, have less stuff. Say a third time for the people in the back. Say it again. Don’t buy it. Have less stuff. I hate to say it’s that simple, but it really is that simple. The less you have, the less you have to organize, and I don’t want to spend my days organizing. I want to set my organizing.
Schedule my, my organizing plan, and I don’t want to do it three months later. I don’t want it to fall apart, and I’m sure we’ve all been there. We’re like, we saw something great on the blog and we’re like, oh, I’m gonna buy my life or my bathroom or whatnot. Pay 50, 60, 70 to do it months. That whole place is like a tornado went through it again.
So really, and I, I know organizing people aren’t gonna wanna hear this, but it’s not about the product as much as it is about having less. And then set your schedule to take care of it and honor that when we get dressed in the morning. I’ve taught my kids time and time again. You don’t just get dressed and then it looks like a tornado came through the bathroom.
You get dress because yeah, I can get dressed in 10 minutes, but then look at the bathroom and our kids share. We have five kids. One is at college, one is home from college. So four kids are sharing one bathroom and they have got to put away what they have used. It’s as simple as that. So we can have as many fancy organizing gadgets and plastic as there is out there, but that’s not going to do anything unless you are committed to putting away what you’ve used right When you use it, and I don’t know what kind of cook you are, but I’m the kind of cook where I clean up as I go.
I just prefer it that way. That’s just kind of, mm-hmm. How I lived my life. Because being at home, being a stay-at-home mom at first, and then being a homeschooling mom, and then being a mom who works from home and home is my work. I have got to stay focused and how I am. Put together, clutter does derail me.
So I have just learned to put away what I have used right after I’ve used it for the most part. And then just to have less stuff now. Yeah, you need systems in place and I think that there are a few things that do help, specifically with the bathroom is everything has to have its place. So if a drawer isn’t convenient because.
You don’t like bending over when you’re putting on your makeup. Then get a little container and put it up higher so that it’s right eye level and as you’re putting on your makeup, you’re just putting it back when you’re finished with it and it’s eye level. You’re not bending over like said 10. So maybe for you, you’d want a drawer because it’s more convenient for you to just lean over and and put it back in your drawer.
So think about how you work and how you. Live and what your habits are, and then go out and buy whatever you need to make that easier for you to do. I dunno if that makes sense, but No, that’s, yeah. Yeah, everyone. Something I wanna point out here that you said, so for those of you listening, if you like, think of a space in your house that you wish was less cluttered, whatever it is, like think of that one space and then a principle that Maria just shared is, organization needs to be practical.
So think about that space and what could you add to it. That is practical. I’m gonna give a really, really silly example. So when we’re waiting to find the property that we want to live on forever, whether we like totally renovate the house or build a house, et cetera, but one of the things that I have designed into, or will.
Into the house is like a drop zone, which a lot of people do. It’s really popular, like the mudroom, you know, they often look really cute with their own designed lockers, et cetera. Yes. So here’s a practical organization example that I will not do because I know for a fact we will never use it. It always blows my mind when people have baskets at the very bottom that’s meant for shoes.
It looks so cute. Mm-hmm. But here’s the reality I have learned, cuz I tried that in our third home. I put a basket in the bottom that the kids were supposed to pull out to put their shoes on. It never ever, ever happened. It never happened. And so I saw this pile of shoes in our little drop zone all of the time, and they never went into the basket because nobody feels like bending down to pull out a basket to put in their shoes.
Yeah. Even little ones. No, my, no, I don’t even do it. And this was the thing I realized I don’t even do it. So my design for a future home has changed. So that instead of a basket at the bottom of these little like built-in Yeah. Lockers is just simply going to be an open cubby space that we can smart kick our shoes under smart so it’s not still cluttering.
It’s like out of the way, but nobody’s having to bend over to pull out a basket that is just like a really simple example. But you said that in your own words, and so I’m encouraging everybody think of that space. What can you put there that is. Practical, right. Organization that is practical, not just pretty, that’s, that’s very smart because we as humans, I’m listening to a book called The Willpower Instinct, and we as humans only have, we don’t have a finite amount of willpower.
So decide what is most important to you to be organized, where to be organized, what really just drives you insane. And then place systems around that to help eliminate it becoming cluttered and a mess and help maintain the order and focus your willpower on that. Like for me, it’s always kitchens. Well, not kitchens, but kitchen and laundry room.
Mm-hmm. And the bedroom is number one, honestly, the bedroom and bathroom adjoining master bedroom. That has to, that’s always, this is my sanctuary. Our sanctuary always has to be put together. But second to that, kitchens and laundry room. So for somebody else, it could be our home office and the mudroom, I don’t know, whatever.
Mm-hmm. But place your willpower in those areas that really. Bless you and keep you peaceful and maybe let go of some of the other areas because we don’t, we can’t, again, I’m coming back to they can’t do it all. We really cannot do it all. And um, so some of the things you have to let go of and say it’s not that important.
I think that it’d be really hard to find somebody’s home with, especially with children that is 100% organized. And then if it is, I’m a little skeptical as to what’s going on in that home and how much joy is in that home and how much Amen is in that home. We need to feel safe and comfortable in our spaces.
Right. So it, it doesn’t, that doesn’t always mean having everything perfectly organized or together. Yeah. And ours certainly is not. I, I think sometimes people think that you’re a father. My, our is very much not. Yeah. Ours is not, there are areas that I need it to be, especially our, our bedroom and bathroom, like I said, in functional kitchen and laundry room, but mm-hmm.
The pictures you see online, they mm-hmm. Are no longer like that. They have been messed up. Just so know. I mean, I caught that moment in time and then we use the home, right. And then mm-hmm. So I, some folks said to me, or a friend said to me, you never show your house messy. I was like, do on Instagram once in a while, but.
I don’t care to see a messy home unless right after I’m gonna see how someone has organized it. So, yeah, absolutely. Maybe I should, and there’s nothing wrong. Once in a while maybe. But I think this is an important thing to highlight cuz this is a little bit of a pet peeve of mind, is I understand that sometimes it’s easy to look at somebody, what they put on Instagram and Instagram is what you just said.
It’s a snapshot. It’s not right. You know, sharing all the behind the scenes. But we also, which I’m all about here, I’m perfectly empowered, is for a reason. Like we need to learn to live in the tension of the mess and still right. Thrive and feel joy and embrace that. However, we were designed to appreciate beauty.
Yes. You know, we in our hearts, yes, we were designed divinely to aspire to and appreciate beauty. Yes. And there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is that we have misplaced what beauty is and what value it has in our lives. We’re not valued because we’re pretty, something is not valuable because it is beautiful, but it is not wrong to appreciate.
The beauty that exists. And so in my mind that is the beauty of a beautiful home. The beauty of a beautifully decorated and organized room should fill us with joy, not with a sense of like, ugh, less than, I’m less valuable. So if we can like start flipping that narrative in our mind, and also giving ourselves the freedom to appreciate beauty, just making sure we’re not misplacing the value.
Yes. Of that beauty. So I love your beautiful home. You’re a happy, beautiful home. Thank you. I think that that, I love what you said. I completely agree. You are right on track. We are meant to appreciate beauty. It’s innate. I think that where we get off track is when we let other people define what beauty is for us.
Absolutely. Not just in our homes. Absolutely. Like that can we, that’s a whole nother conversation. Mm-hmm. But you need to be able to see the beauty in your own home as Sure you see it in someone else’s, but let’s see it in yours as well. And yeah. And you know, I think that that’s part of. That kind of inspires me when I go on and write my next post about what I hope for my viewer.
I want them to see possibilities in their home and then to be able to attain it. I wanna give them ideas cuz I’m always full of ideas to help them create that home and find and define your own beauty. Mm-hmm. Love it. And that is pure happy home.com. You definitely wanna check out Maria’s beautiful website.
Tell me where else people can find you if they wanna follow you. Yeah, see your beautiful family and just more of your heart work. Can they find you? I. Yeah, you can find me on Instagram and TikTok where I do share a lot of behind the scenes and family stuff. Maybe not a lot, but some, you know, they’re getting a little bit older, so they want some privacy and that’s okay.
But I’m also on Pinterest and on YouTube. I do YouTube shorts a little bit there too. Are you pure happy home for all of those? Yes. Yeah. Okay. I am so I’d love it if people would follow me on Instagram. I think that’s probably where I am the most, but TikTok as well, I, I really do enjoy TikTok at Spot.
Maria, it’s been such an honor to have you on here. I just, I pray God’s richest blessing over your heart, your home, your family. I cannot wait to chat again. Y’all stay tuned. It’s been such an honor having you. I’ve enjoyed it and you are pretty amazing. I have to say. I am happy that my first podcast could be with somebody with such warmth and insight, so thank you, Ahna.
Aw, thank you. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast. I would love to hear your thoughts. From today, head to your preferred podcasting platform and give the show an honest review and let me know what you think. Remember, you cannot be redefined, only redeveloped, one imperfect day at a time. Your story matters and you are loved.