Category: how to

How To Stop Researching + Start Taking Action

Want to stop procrastinating, battle perfectionism, and giving up on your dreams? Read on for five tips to finally start taking action towards your goals! #Successful #Habits #Routine #DailyHabits #Mindset #SelfImprovement #PersonalDevelopment #PersonalGrowth #SelfHelp #Routines #Balance #GrowthMindset I can see the tiny ‘like’ notifications piling up under the comment on my Instagram post. 12, 13, 14 likes.

And honestly? I get it. Because the comment is so, so relatable.

Who among us hasn’t done this?

Who hasn’t spent weeks or months researching: 

  • How to launch business
  • The best way to calm your brain down + be more productive
  • Steps to be a better ally
  • How to figure out a budget, once and for all

And then … that’s where it ends. We never actually publish the first blog post or start using our planner or call our senators or open our banking app.


And, I’d venture, we’ve all felt bad about it.

It sucks to give up on ourselves and our goals. It sucks to witness ourselves productively procrastinate – yet again. It sucks to hide from what we want under the guise of “research” … and know that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Sidenote: If you want help taking action on any of those bullet points, I soooo highly recommend this $100 ecourse bundle.* It’s $21,675 worth of courses that’ll help you take action on, well, just about anything. I bought it and have loved it!

As someone who’s prone to this behavior and has (mostly!) gotten past it – here are my best tips to stop researching + start taking action.

1. Realize that at a certain point, research is procrastination + self-sabotage 😬

#painfulbuttrue. Should we have a basic understanding of hashtags before we start an Instagram account for our businesses? Probably.

Is it a good idea to read a bunch of books about anti-racism? FOR SURE.

Can we benefit from watching Youtube videos about budget spreadsheets and couponing?
I would imagine so!

But there is absolutely a limit to what we can learn from Google or books or Youtube videos. At a certain point, we have to actually do the thing. We have to publish the post, speak up at the city council meeting, call our credit card companies.
Because what we’re doing with our months and months of research? Procrastinating and self-sabotaging in a really impressive, socially-sanctioned way. Click To Tweet

2. Break your goal down into little steps. No, even smaller.

One of my coolest tendencies is to wildly underestimate how long things take and how much work goes into them. V fun!

You, too? This looks like writing a five-point to-do list for a goal that really requires something more like 37 bullet points.

If 37 bullet points sounds overwhelming, make each bullet point comically easy + doable. Make each step so dang easy you won’t avoid taking action and you’ll set yourself up for success.

Super easy, tiny steps ➡️ we’re more likely to complete steps ➡️ easier to stay motivated.

For example:

“Find a mentor” = no
“Spend an hour reaching out to friends and see if they know anyone in my career field of choice” = yes

3. Create outer accountability

The vast majority of us can keep commitments to others, but not to ourselves. We’ll meet deadlines for clients or bosses but blow off the marathon registration or our morning meditation practice.

We can make taking action easier by giving ourselves some outer accountability.

  • Make an appointment or pre-pay because you won’t disappoint your trainer, coach, or therapist by flaking out
  • If you’re taking an online course, take it with a friend and schedule times to chat about it or do the work together
  • Tell your friends on social media that you’re working towards this goal + tell them to ask you about it next time they see you!

4. Track your efforts, not your outcomes

☝️ This should be my first tattoo. A hard truth is that results are a lot slower than we’d like for, well, pretty much everything.

And when we’re taking action – sending pitches, calling our representatives, applying for academic programs – very often the outcome feels like … nothing.

Like, you literally never hear back.

And when it feels like you’re not making progress, it’s super easy to give up, and go back to hiding in research.

Let’s track our efforts instead! How many applications did you send out? How many petitions did you sign? How many times did you gently nudge someone to reconsider their implicit bias?

You can make a literal paper chart on your wall that you fill with gold foil stars to track your efforts! ⬆️ A thing I do and extremely recommend.

5. Celebrate said efforts

The very first online course I ever created – were you here for The Post College Survival Kit? – took months to create. It was $40 and I sold 4 seats – one to someone who clearly bought it as market research.

And you know what? I still took myself out to dinner and toasted the fact that I’d worked really hard and kept my promise to myself.

When you take action towards something you want … when you get out of your own way … when you keep your promises to yourself – YOU CELEBRATE THAT ISH.

I hope this helps you stop researching and start taking action. It’s a hard habit to break! It might take you a minute! But it’s totally possible.

P.S. Don’t forget that amazing $100 ecourse bundle! I bought it myself and FINALLY figured out how to run Facebook ads after 6 months of half-watching Youtube videos and poking around in the Facebook ads manager!

* The first time this bundle was offered, I used it as a fundraiser for Minneapolis organizations and we collectively donated $4,500 dollars. This time, it’s just a good ol’ fashioned “here’s a great sale I think you should know about, I get a cut from any purchases that come through that link.” 😉 The sale runs July 6 – 11th!

Photos by STIL and Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

How to find your dream apartment

Want to find your dream apartment? Don't we all! I've rented 13 apartments in 17 years - all my best tips are here! //
Did you know that I’m oddly passionate about …. renting?

Such a sexy, hot-button topic, right? I’m also Pretty Serious about refugee resettlement and climate change but if you want me to get really excited? Let’s talk about mortgage rates or how to make your apartment look great on a budget.

Of course, there are many reasons to buy and maybe homeownership is totally, totally right for you. But when you own, housing-related costs are usually the biggest expenses in your budget. Homeowners have less free time due to the upkeep that houses require. If something in your life changes – you get divorced or married, you get an amazing job offer, your family grows or shrinks – it could take years to sell your home and find a new space that fits your new life.

If you want to buy a home, you should do it!

If you want the freedom of renting, come sit next to me and let’s talk about how to find your dream rental – something in a cool neighborhood, with affordable rent, and an awesome landlord.

After 13 rentals in 17 years, I’ve got this ish DOWN. Here are all the questions you should ask yourself before you sign a lease, plus some handy tricks to find the best places!


How To Hygge (Or: 29 Ways To Actually Enjoy Winter)

Want to know how to Hygge? Looking for things to do in winter or winter survival tips? You're in the right place! Tap through for advice from a 3rd-generation Minnesotan about how to survive winter! #hygge #wintertips #cozy
Imagine looking forward to the cold and dark of winter.

Can you picture it?

Pulling out your favorite soup recipes and a pile of cozy sweaters.

Lighting candles around the house and inviting friends over for sledding and board games.

Snowshoeing through a forest muffled with snow, towards a bright cabin full of your favorite people

When we put it like that, six months of dark and cold seems almost …. pleasant.

If you’ve never heard of hygge before, it’s the Danish concept of warm coziness during the winter months. It’s “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people” (according to Denmark’s official tourism website.)  Those Danes actually enjoy winter! They embrace it and look forward to it! Whaaaaatttt?!!

And as a third-generation Minnesotan of Scandinavian descent, I know a thing (or 29) about winter. I know how to cozy down and warm up.

So if you, too, are looking for a more social, more enjoyable winter – this post is for you. Bookmark it for the coming months when the excitement of the holidays has worn off and now it’s just cold and dark and dreary. Pour yourself something warm, settle in, and have a read.

How to Hygge (or at least hate winter less) 


How To Chase Your Dreams Without Hating Your Life

Can you chase your dreams while still having a social life? Can you chase our dreams without going broke? Do you really need to drop $$ on a new computer or camera? Click through for 12 tips from people who have made it happen //

When I was nine years old, I told my parents I wanted to be a writer.

Loving and supportive and deeply pragmatic as they were, my parents patted my tiny, third-grade hand and said, “That’s great! Maybe you should get another job and write at night. See how that goes first?”

And while I resented their advice even at that young age, I followed it. For years, I taught ESL at a non-profit, coming in early and leaving late so I could write on my work computer.

For two years, I spent every 45-minute lunch break leaving comments on other blogs. I learned to live on, like, $2 because I was saving money to leap into self-employment.

While all this sounds a bit hard-assed and dire in retrospect, I’ve discovered that it’s not unique. Nearly every dream-chaser and goal-achiever I know has a similar story! Last month, Rêve Consulting invited five dream-pursuers and me to speak about what we’ve learned by chasing big, audacious ambitions. I was amazed that so many of us shared similar epiphanies!

Below, you’ll find some of my personal revelations as well as those of Tricia Khutoretsky, founder and curator of the Public Functionary art gallery, Jamie Millard co-executive director of Pollen Midwest, and my husband Dr. Kenny Blumenfeld, senior climatologist for the state of Minnesota.

12 things you learn while chasing your dreams­­­­­­­


11 Charming, Clever DIY Headboards

Looking for DIY headboard ideas? You're in the right place! Don't blow $$$ on a new headboard, make one yourself instead!

Have you ever noticed that headboards are weirdly expensive? How is this piece of wood that keeps my pillow from falling down between the mattress and wall $500?

Thankfully, ASID-certified interior designer Liz is here to help!

Now that I am officially done with mourning the loss of summer, it’s time to pick myself up and focus on the best thing about autumn. The perfect windows-open sleeping weather is here, at least in Cleveland. My constant desire to snuggle under a cozy blanket has me thinking a lot about beautiful beds and I’ve come to a conclusion: it’s hard to have a proper adult bedroom without a headboard.

Jamming your pillows right up to a plain wall just doesn’t seem quite as luxurious as the finishing touch of something to lean against while watching the Big Lebowski for the eleventy-third time. Sadly, this is my life!

My 100-year old apartment has tiny bedrooms and losing a few inches to a headboard means my glorious king bed won’t fit.

But, I’m determined to rectify this so I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite unconventional headboards that scoff at spatial and budgetary constraints. I’m skipping using room divider screens, palette wood, and reclaimed doors because they’re all over the interwebs.

11 Charming, Clever DIY Headboards 

My favorite is always the classic upholstered headboard with linen bedding. Do it on a budget by upholstering a large sheet of foam core

Looking for DIY headboard ideas? You're in the right place! Don't blow $$$ on a new headboard, make one yourself instead!

Work wallpaper into a strong vertical line by placing it to the ceiling, but not much wider than the bed. Your ceilings will look taller. There are a bunch of inexpensive removable wallpapers on the market right now. Or, you could starch a piece of fabric to the wall for the same look.

Looking for DIY headboard ideas? You're in the right place! Don't blow $$$ on a new headboard, make one yourself instead!

Spruce up a DIY palette bed with a ye olde wall map. You could work a palette as a headboard, but I’m a little tired of seeing them. Is that just me? Probably.

Looking for DIY headboard ideas? You're in the right place! Don't blow $$$ on a new headboard, make one yourself instead!

Wallpaper or stencils can be applied to mimic a traditionally shaped headboard, but without the price tag or commitment to power tools.

Looking for DIY headboard ideas? You're in the right place! Don't blow $$$ on a new headboard, make one yourself instead!

Go big with height and width and install reclaimed ceiling tiles right to the wall. Make sure the edges aren’t sharp! You could always frame around the edges with strips of 1x to ensure nothing snags. Bonus points for a regal pet.
Looking for DIY headboard ideas? You're in the right place! Don't blow $$$ on a new headboard, make one yourself instead!
Keeping the reclaimed building materials theme going, how sweet is this mantel turned headboard? It’s a great alternative where there isn’t the width for bedside tables.
Looking for DIY headboard ideas? You're in the right place! Don't blow $$$ on a new headboard, make one yourself instead!
In a nod to traditional tapestry hangings, a dowel rod and a favorite fabric will pull the eye up and lend an extra layer of softness.
Looking for DIY headboard ideas? You're in the right place! Don't blow $$$ on a new headboard, make one yourself instead!
So will a rug. A RUG! I’m doing this in my next guest bedroom.
Looking for DIY headboard ideas? You're in the right place! Don't blow $$$ on a new headboard, make one yourself instead!
 Can’t find a proper headboard to fit under a high window sill? Use floor or seat cushions!
Looking for DIY headboard ideas? You're in the right place! Don't blow $$$ on a new headboard, make one yourself instead!
I’m obsessed with the idea of framing cork or peg board as a headboard.
Looking for DIY headboard ideas? You're in the right place! Don't blow $$$ on a new headboard, make one yourself instead!
And last (and most definitely not least), just paint a headboard right on the wall. Bravo to this designer for having the guts to do it in black chalkboard paint. Just use a chalk marker so you don’t get the dust of normal chalk.
Looking for DIY headboard ideas? You're in the right place! Don't blow $$$ on a new headboard, make one yourself instead!
And there you have it, a bunch of well-put together beds that will make you feel like a proper adult.  Just remember to Treat Yo Self and invest in quality sheets to make your slumber that much more luxurious.
Thanks so much for the great ideas, Liz! Have you guys DIY-ed a headboard? Share your tips in the comments!
Photos by Project Newton Corner // Bellechasse 2 // Louise de Miranda // Louise de Miranda // Farrow & Ball // House Nerd // Dreamy Whites // Castro Residence // NW 13th Avenue Loft //  Sleeping Loft // Fells Point // Headboard guest post // cc

How To DIY Cheap, Classy Looking Window Treatments

Yes! You CAN DIY window treatments that look nice and don't cost a fortune. Click through for 9 ideas that will help you deal with low ceilings, small budgets, and even un-removable blinds. //

Window treatments are weirdly expensive, aren’t they? Like, how are those curtains HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS???

Thankfully, we have Liz to helps us DIY window treatments that won’t break the bank. And Liz is an ASID professional designer so you know she knows what’s up!

Hello, friends! I’m back this month to talk about an aspect of design that often makes me a little batty… window treatments.

Exquisitely detailed custom silk draperies make my heart swell when they’re done right, but the cost associated makes my eye twitch.

Most of my clients aren’t in their “forever homes,” so I feel like it’s a disservice to use a big chunk of the budget on expensive window treatments that likely won’t work in their next place. But, most off-the-shelf drapery panels leave a little to be desired. So I’m here to discuss some the land of the middle.

Before I get into the details, I have one demand: just say “no” to heavy, swagged, multi-layer draperies that are out of place anywhere other than a legit mansion. Simplicity goes a long way when it comes to window treatments.

Start by thinking about what sort of fabric you want to use. If going the ready-made route, stay away from faux satins and silks since they tend to look cheap. Cotton blends are my favorite.

If you need to blackout or insulation properties but are gasping at the cost of lined drapes, order some Roc-Lon instead and add it behind your panels.

If going the DIY route and sewing isn’t your bag, source wide fabrics with pre-finished edges. Sheets, drop cloths, table cloths, duvet covers, and burlap are all great options when finished out with lining. Drapery clip rings are the quickest way of securing the fabric to the rod.

How To DIY Cheap, Classy Looking Window Treatments // yesandyes.orgMost bathroom, kitchen, or windows with a sill high off the ground can get a shade. Skip the mini blinds and go for a bamboo stick-shade or roman fabric shade. There isn’t much of a cost difference if you get them from the right place. Cough cough, IKEA, cough. Or, you could craft a faux shade out of any piece of cloth… placemat, scarf, pillowcase, or your old Coachella shirt.

How To DIY Cheap, Classy Looking Window Treatments //
Height of draperies is really important. Do yourself a favor and skip the 84” tall panels if the top of your window frame is 78” or taller. Instead, go with a 96” panel or longer and hang them as high as you can, extending at least 6” on the sides of the frame. Your ceilings will look taller when the drapes are hung higher on the wall, particularly if the fabric color is close to the wall color.
How To DIY Cheap, Classy Looking Window Treatments // yesandyes.orgIf you’re working with a series of windows, consider using long rods and individual panels for each window. Again, it will make your ceilings look taller!
How To DIY Cheap, Classy Looking Window Treatments //
A top valance can hide mini-blinds that your landlord won’t let you remove.
How To DIY Cheap, Classy Looking Window Treatments //
Hide off-center windows and make small rooms look larger by draping an entire wall.
How To DIY Cheap, Classy Looking Window Treatments //
Help open floor plans flow by choosing similarly colored draperies in adjacent rooms. Also take a look at how the shades are layered to create a luxe look and make the windows appear taller by hiding the space above the window frame.
How To DIY Cheap, Classy Looking Window Treatments //
Did your landlord paint the ceiling the same color as the walls? Create strong vertical lines that help the room look less monolithic by opting for bold drapes that hug the ceiling.
 How To DIY Cheap, Classy Looking Window Treatments //
And finally, if you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings, you can get those extra-long drapes by adding panels to the bottom of normal height drapes! It’s a look that’s on-trend right now and your wallet will be happy.
How To DIY Cheap, Classy Looking Window Treatments //
Confused about terms? Drapes are full width and will close fully; curtains are stationary panels. I just learned this a few months ago, which is quite sad for a professional designer!

And there you have it! I’m happy to answer window treatment questions in the comments.

P.S. How to fill your home with cheap, beautiful things from thrift stores

Sources: 1. Window Treatment Ideas  // 2. Window Coverings // 3. Lombardy Lane // 4. Young House Love // 5. Jan Hiltz Interiors LLC // 6. Ashton Woods Master Bedrooms // 7. Philadelphia Penthouse // 8. Small room, big curtains // 9. Lynwood Remodel // 10. Modern Interior Design //  11. Belleview Project