Like it or not, when you write a blog, no matter what your subject, you know ultimately it’s not about you. It’s about the reader.   I’m assuming as a reader of blogs you’ve figured this out too.  Lately I’ve heard people talk about how they can’t read blogs or look at pinterest or read magazines or watch tv because they find themselves leaving depressed or feeling like they want more stuff and I think that’s a very real threat.  However, I also think we can help control our emotions simply by changing the way we approach the blogs, shows, magazines, and shops we frequent.

Let me show you what I mean.

I find a lot of inspiration from one of my favorite creatives, Lisa Leonard.  You might know her from her famously popular shop, Lisa Leonard Designs.  Well, I’ve gotten to know Lisa over the years at conferences, emails and twice we’ve spent a few days at the beach together with our incourage group and y’all she could pretty much have a successful career in like ten different fields if she wanted from decorating to fashion to business coaching to marriage counseling–this woman is so much more than a pretty jewelry shop.

I want to tell you that Lisa is one of the most inspiring women I’ve met and I’m trying to figure out exactly what it is about Lisa that I find so inspiring so I can apply it to my own life.  See how I turn it around and make it about me?  That’s the secret of being inspired, it sounds selfish but, it’s not.

Wanna see what I mean?

1. Focus on How You Can Apply What You See

For example, Lisa is mom to two boys and she just recently created this family style art gallery in a once nondescript loft space.  When I look at this photo I don’t feel bad because we don’t have a loft.  Instead I’m inspired by Lisa’s use of color and pattern and her hand drawn frames on the chalk board.  I also like how she took a room that her family wasn’t making much use of, listened to what they wanted and shopped the house and turned it into something that suited her family.  That’s inspiring.  That makes me evaluate the spaces in my house and how we are using them.

2. Ask Yourself Why You Are Drawn to a Photo

Here’s her entryway at Valentine’s Day  this photo inspires me to celebrate the seasons, it only takes a few minutes to create a little garland like that and even little boys think that is special.  Also, I like the practical bench and the shoes in the photo simply capture real life and make me feel normal for having shoes on the floor by the door too.  If there are not shoes by your door I’m not sure we can be friends.  I’m reminded to see the beauty in the everyday.

3. Get Up and Try Something New Right Now

When I saw this How to Make Pinwheels post at Lisa’s blog, I immediately grabbed a piece of square scrapbook paper and made my own pinwheel. Instead of just thinking in my head what a cute idea it was and pinning the photo and feeling sad that I’ve never made a pinwheel, I knew it would mean more if I took two minutes and went ahead and followed her directions and learned how to make my own pinwheel–once you make one the directions are burned into your brain for life. So that’s exactly what I did, I got up and made about 15 pinwheels.  They are addictive.   I can’t wait to show you mine later this week.

So when you are online and you pin that great recipe, instead of moving on to the next food blog, go ahead and grab your grocery list and write down the ingredients to one of the recipes you’ve pinned.   For example on my Food Pinterest board I have 82 pins and so far I’ve already made 20 of them–I just counted.  Don’t just pin for looks, pin for learning, that way your husband eats a delicious meal and is all “Pinterest is the best invention EVER”!.  One of my friends even lets her husband pick a dinner a week straight from her pinterest meal board he loves it, and so does she.

4. Spend an Extra Few Minutes on Something You Wouldn’t Normally Do

Lisa’s no bake mini cakes are a clever idea and remind me that I don’t have to go to great lengths to make something special. Semi-homemade has the same impact as “from scratch” and sometime, presentation only takes an extra 5 minutes.  Normally I would just plop a few cakesters on a paper towel but this post reminded me how easy it is to make something really special.  This picture also reminded me of the many uses for paper straws, I just ordered more this weekend.

5. Read/Browse/Look with an An Attitude of Learning

And my very favorite posts from Lisa are her What I Wore Wednesday posts, these posts are pure wardrobe gold.   She knows how to use color and pattern and texture and she’s an expert at the art of layering.   Once you read her posts for a while you notice how she will wear a certain item different ways–it’s really helped me think outside the box when it comes to layering.  And, the secret for being inspired to action is not to just read a post and think “oh my gosh she is so cute and her hair, I wish my hair were curly and I can never find cute jeans and I need to lose 10 pounds and I could NEVER pull that look off even though I love it, I am so depressed…“.  NO, this is how NOT to be inspired, this is NOT how to approach blog reading. STOP IT.  You need to train yourself to look for the takeaway instead think, “Oh I have a dress that is a little too short, how cute would it be paired with jeans like Lisa’s”.

So for me that meant one day after I read one of Lisa’s posts about how she shops for jeans and I was feeling like I hated all of my jeans instead of hoping that Lisa gets paint on her cute jeans like me, I promptly went out and bought the kind of jeans Lisa recommended.  You know, because it’s all about me. And just for fun, a few of my favorite clothing posts of Lisa’s that I’ve found incredibly helpful and applied to my own wardrobe::

how to wear color

how to build a layered outfit

the best jeans for cuffing

And bonus, I’ve also noticed that with Lisa’s outfits–just as I like to decorate a room, she usually has ONE statement or signature/large/eye-catching piece and the rest of her outfit plays a supporting role.  It’s a great way to springboard putting together an outfit or a room.  Lisa isn’t showing off her cute clothes, she’s teaching us how to put together an outfit and I for one am listening.  Are you?

I’ve found it helpful when I see an inspiring photo or read an inspiring post to ask myself what it was that I learned from what I saw or read.  It helps me have a take away from what I’m reading and instead of focusing on the skills of others and lack of my own skills, I try to figure out what I can learn from them–it completely changes shopping and blog reading and pinterest lurking–it’s ok to make it about yourself and what you can learn and apply.  It’s really the only way to not be wasting your precious time.

keepsake bowl

Maybe you just want to bookmark Lisa’s blog and let the inspiration wash over you (or smack you in the face depending on how inspire-starved you may be).  Anyhow, Lisa, I’m so grateful that you take that risk of feeling like a fool and pull out your tripod and snap photos of yourself in your thoughtful outfits–it’s really helped me!

And you?  You and I out there looking for inspiration, fighting to apply what we see rather than allowing it to take us down that stinky, sad, depressing comparison path?  You are my kindred spirit, my fellow inspiration hunter, seeker of good ideas and application and a better, cuter, funner easier, cheaper, more hot glued, way?  You are already amazing too.

Now I want to hear from you, who inspires you? If they have a blog, feel free to leave a link in the comments (more than one link per comment and my blog will think you are spam and block your comment so watch out).