Cheers to Fall- Not an ending, a time for reflection

One of my inspirational lifestyle leaders, Joanna Gaines (you’ve heard of her, right?) is very open about her love of fall; in one of her recent Magnolia newsletters, she talked about how fall is a time to reflect on all we’ve accomplished for the year and set goals before the year ends.  

This fall, I’m reflecting on the baby steps I’ve taken toward reaching personal and professional goals. With my boys returning to full-time in person learning this year, I’ve had a little more time to focus on some of the stuff that slipped when the little guys were here with me… from the time our oldest was born in 2012, through two more newborns, kids in preschool and then one in elementary school and two in preschool, to everyone being home fulltime during pandemic restrictions, to them being here half days last school year.

I was secretly glad- for about the first semester- to have had them home half days last year. I had been dreading a suddenly empty house after having them around for so long. As the year wore on, however, I found myself realizing a) that I was ready for them to be in school full-time, and b) what an adjustment it would be when they returned to a normal schedule.

One of the questions I was asked most frequently prior to the start of this school year was, “what are you going to do with all your spare time once they all go to school?”

I had answers to that- I had been planning how I’d ideally use my free time for years. First on the list was fall cleaning. Within the first two weeks, my house was finally clean. Not just clean, but cleared out. I sorted clothes to donate. I started the pile for next summer’s garage sale. I tore apart light fixtures, heating vents, appliances- if it could be disassembled to be cleaned, I was all over it. Ryan told someone that our house had never been so clean.

Once I was satisfied with that, I moved on to preparing for a few trips we had lined up- a weekend adventure to an antique tractor show and flea market; a camping weekend in elk country; our last go-karting trip of the summer; a beach vacation… because I’m less of a “pack a bag and go” kinda girl, and more of a “methodical, overthinking over-packer with OCD about leaving my house spotless before we go somewhere.” (Because, seriously, who wants to come home after a relaxing few days away to have to deal with a dirty house?)

I’ve been quite productive in other ways too; I’ve taken time to eat lunch a few times, caught up on some of my shows on Netflix, and had the freedom to make a phone call or two without the boys fighting in the background.  I’ve been writing articles for a publication in Punxsutawney, interviewing interesting people within the community and learning more about my hometown.  And I’ve been involved with a couple of interior design projects because it keeps me sane to create.  One of those projects follows…because, obviously if you’ve been around here before, you know there’s a story here:

This past spring, I received a message from a high school friend, asking for my help in designing an office space for her new wellness practice, a venture she’s embarking on in Pittsburgh where she’s a self-love coach.  The budget for this project was an absolute shoestring, which can be fun because it forces extra creativity to accomplish the goal look without spending top dollar.  Not only did it force creativity, but with the recent delays in shipping, we were able to avoid lengthy waits for brand new furniture deliveries. Jenni, my friend from high school, scoured the internet and bargain bins, and took on several DIY projects to find and create items similar to the ideas I had set out for her in my plans.  

And we did this all without ever meeting in person, by the way.  She sent me pictures and measurements, all through virtual means.  And in the end, we created a space that brought to life her vision of a relaxing beachy/boho/midcentury space for her clients to feel welcome and calm and find their best versions of themselves.  

Jenni’s new practice, Sunflower Wellness, focuses on empowering women by teaching them to love themselves first, in order to deal with feelings of anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief. 

Jenni’s beautiful new office (Sunflower Wellness, LLC)  is based in Pittsburgh, PA, but she is able to meet patients virtually.  Look her up on Facebook or Instagram @sunflowerwellness21 and  

Above is a rendering I created to help Jenni visualize the space. We made a few minor revisions as we went, but overall, everything came together as we had initially discussed.

Above is a photo of how the space came together. Jenni and her husband found local driftwood to hang above the sofa, and the dreamcatcher is one she made herself.

Beginning this practice was a huge leap of faith for my friend, but life has shown her that she’s got the experiences to relate to the women she wants to coach. Her purpose is, “I believe that self-love is the pathway to freedom from anxiety, depression, and grief to self-acceptance. I believe that everyone deserves to feel accepted, and the most rewarding acceptance comes from within.”

My greatest hope is that this office becomes a place where many women find themselves, learn to love themselves, and find themselves overcoming negative emotions. I hope that the love and attention to detail that went into planning this space manifests itself in those who spend time here. And I hope that my friend thrives in her new venture.

Cheers, to fall, to new beginnings, and to accomplish all that we set out to do.




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