Hi friends! Happy Monday. It’s a new week and I’m very excited to be back on the blog. Noteworthy posts are where I keep it the realest of real. This blog has always been my safe space to share and the cornerstone of my business I feel most comfortable at. This post is a bit different than most. While I’m still sharing links, things I love, and updates… I also wanted to discuss some major takeaways and plans that came from that last week, and believe me when I say- I learned A LOT. I tried to be a sponge, step away from work, absorb as much information as possible, and put a plan into action to do a better job at being inclusive and diverse in the posts I share. Click through for a long, heartfelt, honest post before we officially kick off another week of design on Room for Tuesday (lots of fun projects ahead, BTW… including our dining set makeover tomorrow)!
First and foremost- to my Black friends and followers, I can and will do better to support you. I am truly sorry it took last weeks events to recognize that I can do better. To everyone who shows up here to read my blog, I promise to keep this a safe place that is inclusive, welcoming, and equal for everyone who wants to engage, read, and participate! I’m so grateful you come here to read, learn about design & renovating, take the time to chat with me, and I hope this feels like a valuable home improvement resource for you. On that note… while I primarily share design related topics (my passion), the design industry as a whole has a TON of room for improvement in terms of equality and diversification.
Moving forward, I’ll be adding more design diversity to my corner of the internet. That includes sharing a more diverse range of artists, retailers, and makers in roundups, as well as featuring more designers of color across my channels. I want to be part of a long term solution. I spent last week gathering my thoughts, learning, endlessly researching, and while my voice was more quiet than usual, rather than posting and cramming it all into a weeks time, it felt more natural and beneficial for me to create a plan of action that is lasting for my space here on the internet, within the design niche. I stumbled upon a quote that stuck with me last week, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” In other words, once the hashtags stop trending, I want to continue this positive trajectory toward equality. I know this won’t happen overnight and will be a longterm effort. I can say for certain- I’m committed to doing better here on the blog, and am still trying to figure out how I fit in on a larger scale (design scholarships, being a better ally to my fellow design bloggers when it comes to partnerships, etc). Some things you’ll probably notice, like obvious designer shout outs, and some things you may not, like products included in roundups that are retailed by a more diverse range of people. Regardless, I’ll be back here doing the work. That is my promise to all of you, and it’s where I’m beginning.
Aside from design (in our personal life), Emmett & I have eight biracial nieces and nephews- I know shaping the world they grow up in starts with measurable change at home. We’ve had many, many conversations about changes we can make, things we can do, ways we can show our support, and hopefully make a difference. I just wanted you to know, a lot of work and changes will be made on our end, behind-the-scenes. I’m not going to lie, it was uncomfortable… further learning and discovering what people have endured and the privileges we have enjoyed because of our skin color. Although there are many things that need and should be done to change the course of the present and future, we have to start somewhere. Without getting too personal or political here, Emmett & I created a list of things we’ll be pushing for here at home, but something at the top of that list, we’ll always keep advocating for: kindness & speaking up against racism. Our goal has always been to show kindness toward everyone. I hope that shows through my voice and presence here on the blog. My quick thoughts? I know I will be contacting my city leaders to discuss my concerns. I know I will be focusing more on my local political elections than ever before. I know I will continue to speak out anytime I witness racism (this will create long standing change as these behaviors are passed onto children & generations to come), and will do better to diversify and be more inclusive with my blog and my business. And I know that if others do this, we will see positive change. It has been a hard year, no doubt, but I’m convinced there is good to be found. I just wanted to speak from my heart, and focus on the good that can come from this.
Last week, I received alllllll sorts of messages (the good, the bad, and the ugly). To those wondering if my home interiors blog is “turning political”… the answer is no. My passion has been and will continue to be design focused (check back tomorrow for a regular design post). For me personally, this felt like a civil rights and humanity issue that could not be ignored. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I stand for kindness, love, and equal opportunity for all. There is no room for hate or negativity here on my blog or any of my channels. I’m happy to say, 99% of my friends and readers here are kind, genuine people that I’m proud of and better for knowing… thank you for that! I don’t have all of the answers and am certainly not an expert on the subject matter, but shining light on these shortfalls cannot hurt. It also felt wrong to move forward with a “regular design post” today after a such a heavy week, without speaking from my heart. Last week I was told to “stick with interior design and shut up.” While I politely ignored those requests…. I felt compelled to share. Equality it too important. Kindness is too important. Human life is too important.
Having said all of that, ready for the lighter hearted portion of this post? Here we go…
While I took time away from the blog last week, we made some progress in the guest bedroom. I mapped out our millwork, placed that order, and figured out my DIY upholstered bed. That’s the route I decided on… I’m going to reupholster the existing bed (it’s the same bed from this post) and hopefully change the shape of the headboard. My goal is that it is unrecognizable by the time I’m finished with upholstery. I’m a little nervous because it sounds like a big undertaking, but it’s in the works for this week and next. I’ll be sharing as I go. It could be a big fail, but I’m going to give it a try. It will be interesting for you to watch either way. Haha!
As if I didn’t love Etsy enough already (see my ‘Best of Etsy’ posts here), they announced this last Wednesday.
I think it’s safe to say we could all use a smile. If you could use a comedic moment, these videos made me laugh… you have to watch part one and part two. What. A. Year. Isn’t it crazy knowing we’re living and experiencing history in the making?
I could listen to Tabitha Brown talk forever and ever (she’s a vegan food influencer with a heart of gold). Did you guys see her video last week? Quick to love and quick to listen. Her message definitely resonated with me: let’s start being mindful of our intentions and what we are quick to do. That video also put a smile on my face and pep in my step.
We spent Saturday evening hanging out at our neighbors on their newly updated deck I posted last week. We grilled out, did a lot of talking, the dogs played, we made these cocktails (an old favorite), and I was reminded how important it is to have genuine, caring people in your corner.
I thought this article shared interesting insight on how home design and architecture could shift post pandemic. From material choices to moving away from open concept floor plans- it really makes a lot of sense.
For those of you that have stuck around this week, thank you! This is a tough, emotional time for everyone and many decided to part ways. I’m really thankful you’re here! I mean that. I’m excited to keep learning, improving, and sharing more design posts on the blog this year and hopefully for many years to come. I have lots of fun posts lined up this month, projects to tackle, and inspiration to share.
Lastly, I’m linking some woven items from a Black-owned shop I discovered this week on Etsy. Guess who got a new dog bed? Signing off and sending lots of love to you all! See you tomorrow, friends. I’ll be sharing our dining set makeover.
LexieJune 8, 2020 at 6:54 am
I am sorry you were met with such negativity after taking a pause last week on regular content. Thank you for using your voice and your platform to speak your beliefs. <3
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 10:52 am
Thanks Lexie! Negativity is sometimes part of this job… I know not everyone will agree with my mindset or even my home aesthetic, but now more than ever- I’m trying to focus on celebrating our differences. I know everyone is handling last week (and this challenging year) in their own way. Anyway- I truly appreciate your support and hope you have a beautiful week :) xo
LaniJune 8, 2020 at 7:24 am
Thanks for being a thoughtful and kind voice on the internet. I really like that you took the time to think about the changes in your life and blog before moving forward with them. Looking forward to seeing them peek through in your work.
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 10:48 am
Thank you, Lani! I’m also looking forward to growth and switching things up around here for the better. I have a lot to learn, but I’m excited to keep evolving. xo
DanielleJune 8, 2020 at 7:47 am
I appreciate the humility you’ve shown through this as well as the commitment you’re making!
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 10:46 am
Thank you, Danielle! I have a long way to go, but I’m committed to doing better one step at a time. xo
PeggiJune 8, 2020 at 8:40 am
Good morning, friend. Last week was tough. Speaking personally, I certainly didn’t think of myself as privileged or fragile, but here we are. Change will happen if we work at it. I’m in.💪
I did see that Tabitha Brown video; her velvet voice! Also, I found a bunch of interesting vegan accounts.
I look forward to seeing you reupholster the guest bed! I never doubt your skills, but watching an experiment could be fun.😘 Can’t wait to see the fabric you choose.
As always, I’m here for you and whatever you choose to share.💜
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 10:44 am
Good morning, Peggi! Last week was tough. It was certainly a week of learning, reflecting, and discovering ways I can be better. Tabitha Brown has the BEST voice- I’ve also tried some of her recipes and they were amazing. I’m hoping to find fabric for the bed today or tomorrow… wish me luck! This will be my first time venturing out into actual stores (other than the grocery) since Covid. I’m excited to support my local fabric warehouses, as I know they’ve been struggling. Thanks for always being here and for showing up with a positive attitude, which always makes me smile. Happy Monday Peggi :) xo
LaurenJune 8, 2020 at 8:58 am
I think what you had to say regarding last week (and the things you said during last week), very definitely capture where I’m at. There was some tough conversations had in my household, and I’m sure there will be many more. Personally I had to take a step back and reflect on my own inner thoughts, what I was taught, and how that has shaped me. I found myself questioning everything, and in the end I realized that in situations like this, I have always shied away from speaking up. I tend to be a very vocal, opinionated person, but confrontation is not my thing. I sort of had a moment of reckoning with myself. That was an eye opening revelation for me. I know that moving forward it will be crucial to find my authentic voice and speak up. I value the fact that you’re doing the same in a way that feels right for you. Those videos made me laugh…so true! I’ve noticed a lot of people wondering what the rest of 2020 will hold, and for me I have to believe that there will be much more light and a better world on the other side of all we’ve experienced so far. Tabitha Brown is absolutely a joy to this world!! Her calming voice, her messages that hit the heart, and the way she expresses the deep stuff in a way that isn’t combative…loving everything about her! I’ve found so much talent and love to fill my feed with, and businesses that were deserving of so much support and love even before all of this; it saddens me that it took THIS to make it happen…but you’re right. We have to start somewhere. Interesting article about post-Covid client requests! But honestly, it makes sense. I have found myself wondering about my own home and some of the spaces we’ve yet to tackle. How do I stay true to a more open concept Mediterranean style, and still carve out a space where Jeff can work comfortably from home? How do I create a space for the kids to functionally do schoolwork? It has me reimagining my home in a way I never did before. Specifically, because I’ve made the decision that if my kids can’t have normal schooling in the fall, I’ll be schooling from home until that goes back to normal…it’s a lot. Tons of changes in our world that are definitely going to be reflected in our homes. Thank you Sarah for it all. I appreciate your perspective and encourage you to keep sharing in a way that feels authentic to you!! Happy Monday friends! Let’s make it a beautiful week for everyone!
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 10:18 am
I’m with you, Lauren… it was a tough week for everyone. Aren’t those videos hilarious? Who knew what this year had in store for us?! I’m also convinced good things will happen this year (and they already are, if we look closely). I could listen to Tabitha talk all day long- her voice and message is always so comforting and insightful. I’m also really glad to hear you found amazing, talented people to follow last week. I feel like it will be interesting to see how design evolves post pandemic- definitely better WFH office spaces, and more function in the home for the family who inhabits it. As always, thank you for showing up to read and chat. I echo your thoughts in making it a beautiful week- totally on board for that! xo
DannaJune 8, 2020 at 11:47 am
You said so much of what I have felt or been thinking about. I too dislike confrontation. I feel like it gets into a battle of who can win.
Have a great week!
LaurenJune 8, 2020 at 12:33 pm
Yes Danna!! I’m not interested in a battle of wills; this should be a battle of minds…our own and others, to fight for the next step, and then the next, until we have successfully seen the re-imagining of our world into fruition. Can’t stop won’t stop, if you will. All the rest is just arguing to me, and when that is present, I tend to shut down rather than step up. It’s going to take a lot for me to deconstruct my own insecurities with that process in my head. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. It’s nice to know that my thoughts are shared. And it’s always great to have friends trudging through it with you!
MaryJune 8, 2020 at 8:58 am
Thank you for speaking up and standing up. We cannot be silent. Your thoughtfulness and kindness shine through your words. It will take all of us moving forward, one step at a time, in our own way, for change to happen. You have brought us one step closer.
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 10:08 am
Thanks for your encouragement, Mary! I totally agree with you… as long as we’re moving in a forward direction and continue progressing, that’s when positive change will occur :) Have a wonderful week!
DeborahJune 8, 2020 at 8:58 am
Thanks for this, Sarah! Your kindness definitely comes through, and I look forward to seeing how ongoing personal growth will lead to growth in your design skills, too!
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 10:05 am
I’m so glad to hear that, Deborah! I’m feeling optimistic and always welcome growth in my personal and professional life. Have a great week!
ColleenJune 8, 2020 at 10:43 am
There are two Sarah’s in my life, you and my daughter. Yep, my daughters name is Sarah too 😊 and I couldn’t be more proud of both of you. Honestly, I’m not really very social media savvy but I visit your blog everyday as I truly get inspired by your willingness to share your journey and I love starting my day here. Not to mention great design tips and home renovation guidance which I sincerely appreciate. And I’m totally in awe of how much talent and amazing people that grace the blog sphere of the World Wide Web 😉 Lord knows I need all the help I can get.
As the mother of a biracial child, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤️
Can’t wait to see the guest bedroom reveal and did you say dining set makeover 😍
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 10:57 am
Thank you so much Colleen … for your incredibly kind words and for taking the time to read the blog everyday! Lots of love to you and Sarah :) Have an awesome week! xo
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 10:48 am
I previously came here just for the design stuff, but I. Love. This. So. Much. Thank you for putting in the hard work and for helping us think of design from a new perspective!
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 10:54 am
Thank you so much for the encouragement, Sarah! I have a long way to go, but I’m ready to get to work and keep moving forward in a positive direction. xo
CoreyJune 8, 2020 at 11:30 am
This is such a well-said and thoughtful article. I’ve been reading a ton of these types of posts from people and blogs I follow and this one was very insightful. I appreciate that you’ll be showing more BIPOC designers and products – it’s the little steps that we all have the ability to make that will have a lasting impact over time. I also like that you touched on the way you’ll be supporting and sharing Black-owned businesses even when we, your readers, don’t necessarily know or see it. I’m afraid we’re going to see many influencers using their voice for social justice just this once and then never again. But you strike me as authentic and your commitment to being kind and equitable really comes through in your blog. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn from you! Both in how I can be a better at home improvement and how I can be a better, kinder, and more accepting person!
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 9:25 pm
Thank you Corey! I appreciate that. I definitely agree- small steps in the right direction will make a lasting impact and hopefully will be attainable (while helping to avoid burnout). While I can’t speak on behalf of other influencers, I know I’m committed to doing the work longterm. I do feel for those influencers who have tried to speak from their heart this past week and have been on the receiving end of hateful messages and comments. It’s a tough place to be. Anyway… I’m also really looking forward to learning together! Thank you so much for being here and for taking the time to chat :)
Kim BJune 8, 2020 at 11:33 am
Bless you for using your platform to speak up, and I love your thoughtfulness in expressing that this isn’t something to be done in a week in one big spurt, but rather something that we all need to do for the long haul, in a sustainable way.
I too am sorry that you have been subjected to negative feedback. Thank you for standing up for what is right .
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 9:30 pm
Thank you, Kim! You’re exactly right. Last week I felt so many things and was tempted to act / speak quickly, but then I realized that didn’t feel sustainable or honest on my end. I’m glad I took the time to reflect, figure out what I can personally do better, and create a plan of action that is long term. Thank you for being here and for your kind comment :)
TraciJune 8, 2020 at 11:41 am
It warms my heart that you began your blog this week with post reflective thoughts. It means the world to me and to others that look like me, that these tough conversations are being had. Even more so that people are being intentional in wanting to seek change. I thank you!
2020 has been tough. I’ve already learned so much about myself and am praying that as the year continues to unfold that I will learn even more. You have a wonderful And amazing opportunity right there within your very own family, to be intentional . (Being biracial also brings its own issues unfortunately) You are so blessed! But I’m sure you already know that. 😉
Have a good week!
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 9:36 pm
Thank you, Traci! This is honestly the only thing that felt right to post today. After such an emotional week learning, reflecting, and sorting through feelings, I felt like publishing this blog post marks the beginning of a new chapter for positive change… at least in my life (with my family) / corner of the internet. Like you, this trying year that is testing us, is making me learn SO much about myself. For that, I’m thankful. I hope looking back, we can say this year brought growth and positivity amongst all of the obstacles. Hope you have a wonderful week! xo
DannaJune 8, 2020 at 11:45 am
Sarah, you are so genuine and caring! I loved everything you said. Thank you for the courage and willingness to take action or make change. You said it best: “Equality it too important. Kindness is too important. Human life is too important.” My family and I have more to learn and actions to take.
I am taken back at all the wonderful black blogs & businesses out there that I did not know existed before. I know it has part to do with analytics (?). Tabitha is a hoot! Love her calming and reassuring voice and personality. Beginninginthemiddle has beautiful rentals that I would love to stay at.
Looking forward to your posts this week and the guest bedroom. I’ve got a lot of things to sell or donate this week so I may not have a chance to read your blog daily BUT I will catch up. Have a great week.
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 9:41 pm
Hi Danna! I missed you last week. I hope you had a good weekend! Thanks so much for your kind words. We all have a lot to learn, but as long as we’re willing to learn, grow, and spread kindness- that’s the important thing. Social media analytics always have frustrated me. I’m not super tech savvy and I hate that it only shows me a fraction of the accounts I follow. Isn’t Tabitha wonderful?! Catherine & Bryan (beginninginthemiddle) are my friends in real life. They’re so incredible at what they do and they have the kindest hearts. I also need to purge, sell, and donate. It has been on my to-do list for months, and I keep procrastinating. Haha! Happy organizing! See you when I see you on here :) xox
JoniJune 8, 2020 at 5:05 pm
Thank you for taking time to reflect before taking a thoughtful, kind approach instead of posting a knee-jerk response.
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 7:44 pm
Thanks so much for reading Joni! This felt like the right approach for me (especially for such a serious matter)… I like to research, reflect, consider all options, and find solutions based on that. Have a good week! xo
ArdithJune 8, 2020 at 6:41 pm
Like you, Sarah, and your other readers here, I have given last week’s events a great deal of thought. I have felt such grief and heavy disappointment. This is where my scrambled thoughts have landed.
I have always been intrigued yet bewildered by my fellow humans. I find people to be totally fascinating and at the same time, utterly frustrating. I could sit and listen to their life stories for hours (and any chance I am graced with, I do so). But face-to-face, precious few express interest in learning about the other person. This fact is especially paradoxical given the online propensity to pour over complete strangers’ information, and the formidable amount of support and generosity bestowed upon said strangers.
While social media would have us believe that people are totally transparent and open, I have found the opposite in real life, more and more so with each passing year. Everyone seems to run their lives within a strict enclave. And entry into that enclave can be difficult, if not downright impossible.
The result of this approach to human interaction is a massive social gulf like the one we are facing at this very moment. No one “gets” anyone else. Other people are not valuable. Other people are expendable.
This frankly breaks my heart, and soul. Where is the authentic curiosity about one another? Where is the true appreciation for what we can learn from each other, every single day? Where is the real grace we should be demonstrating…and simply because we easily have it in our power to do so?
My husband and I lost our brother-in-law last month. What grieves us in particular is that we really only began to know him in the past couple of years, especially this past year. For someone who seemed content to be an enigma (certainly for the prior decades my husband had known him), his opening up to us was such a sweet, delightful surprise. Now, I will miss the silly birthday songs he would leave in voice mail. I will miss long conversations with someone with whom we barely scratched the surface. I won’t get to hear about the results of his next bread baking session, the latest birthday cake created, this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.
I want to cry because I feel like so many people are enigmas. The emotional walls are up, and only those who exactly align with one’s particular take on life are allowed beyond those walls.
We should not treat others as interlopers in our lives. ALL lives matter. All experiences matter. None of us is more important than the other. Plus, we might just learn how very intriguing the other actually is. At least, I believe this should be the starting point for our interactions with each other.
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 9:58 pm
Hi Ardith! I’ve missed your comments, and I’m SO terribly sorry to hear about your brother-in-law. Sending you a big virtual hug. It’s never easy to say goodbye to a loved one, especially on top of an increasingly difficult year. Last week was certainly an emotional one for everyone given the recent events and protests. Like you, I love interacting with others on a personal level. Nothing beats spending quality time together face-to-face, or making new friends in person. I was raised in a tiny rural town where everybody waves at everybody, small talk is mandatory, and lack of internet service or cell signal meant no social media. I definitely understand where you’re coming from on that note. I also agree that our life experiences and those we cross paths with, shape who we are as individuals. While I can’t speak for others, my walls are down, I’m an open book to anyone, and I’m always happy to chat or listen… whether you’re take on life is similar or dissimilar to my own. Like you- I appreciate learning about the stories that makes someone who they are. Keep your chin up, mamlet… and let me know if you ever need an ear. There is still lots of positivity and goodness to be found this year, I’m convinced! Lots of love.
ArdithJune 12, 2020 at 12:01 pm
Thank you so much, lovely lady. As always you are a gracious and generous person.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to add this reference to my original comment. It’s a podcast I just finished listening to on the Art of Manliness website: Finding Connection in a Lonely World. These two gentlemen beautifully articulate what may lie at the heart of the behavior I have observed, as well as the tragic behavior shared by the media.
This is an Interview with Dr. Vivek Murthy, he served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, and he’s the author of the book Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.
SarahJune 12, 2020 at 12:25 pm
Thanks so much for sharing, Ardith! I’ll definitely give it a listen. Sounds super interesting! Hope you have a fabulous weekend :) xo
BrittanyJune 8, 2020 at 9:33 pm
Keep it up Sarah! I see there are a lot of us in your corner! And thanks for sharing your action steps with us. Looking forward to seeing how the guest bedroom comes along!
SarahJune 8, 2020 at 9:59 pm
Thank you so much, Brittany! I can’t tell you how much that means to me. Fabric shopping for the guest bed DIY was a miss today, but better luck tmrw. I hope your week is off to a good start :) xo