When my daughter was 8, she asked me why there was a birdhouse on my business card. I told her that it represented how simple life can really be. By creating Campfires and embracing the Four Basics of Balanced Living, living well comes naturally. When you stop and think about it, what really is a birdhouse?
- a sheltered place to rest,
- a place for belongings,
- an entrance (and exit),
- a view to the outside,
- a place to sit,
- and a comfortable place for visitors.
For me, this birdhouse is a campfire, a center of positive energy that encourages meaningful experiences. If we take focus a bit of time and thought in the right direction, we can create the experiences of life, instead of the appearance of life.
This site has been designed to be a gathering place for people, who care about living life in a positive and meaningful way. If you like what you see here, feel free to sign up to receive our quarterly e-communications and tell your friends.
Welcome to lifestyledesign.org, and come back soon!
There really is no place like home – especially if that home is a true reflection of the people who live in it. Like any lasting change, creating a home takes a bit of time and effort, but with some practical tools and a focus inward, it doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. In fact, the process itself, feeds the soul.
We hope you enjoy your experience on this website and return again soon. Meanwhile, please visit www.comfortlivingbychristine.com for all things related to the book!
I just gave this info to the wonderful people at ChangeMYWorldNow.com and thought I’d share it with you:
Lifestyle Design - Comfort Living helps people of all ages live better, by focusing on experiences, not appearances. We offer easy tools and a whole new way of looking at life that help you to feel truly comfortable with yourself. After all, it’s not about being perfect or what other people think – It’s about creating a life that reflects what’s in your heart — which only you can create!
Our Mission Statement:
Connection / Balance / Quality of Life: Combining cross-cultural thinking with practical tools and easy-to-implement ideas, Lifestyle Design - Comfort Living helps people live better by providing consultation, programming and content to empower organizations, communities and individuals to shape living experiences that support personal priorities that feed the soul – simply and inexpensively.
We have all sorts of choices as to how and where we spend our time (and money). This certainly applies to travel as well. Here are some of the highlights from a trip we just did to Peru, Argentina and very quickly, Brazil. This was totally in keeping with our desire to immerse in nature, understand local culture, get more closely acquainted with history and experience cutting edge.
Enjoy — and here’s to your travels being customized so that they suit you to a “T”!
We felt like we saw the best of all worlds, the development of Lima, life on the Amazon, the history of the Incas in Cuzco and Machu Pichu, the diversity of Buenos Aires and the Iguacu Falls. And of course the abundant fod and drinks, from 300 varieties of potatoes, fabulous ceviche, lomo saltados and pisco sours in peru to the dreamy Argentine wines, empanadas, pizza (!) and butter (HUGE) Argentine steaks.
Since “home base” is so important, for us, the accommodations throughout were perfect:
- In Lima, the Country Club
- On the Amazon, the Aqua
- In Machu Picchu, the Inkaterra
- In Cuzco, The Monestario
- In Buenos Aires, the Algodon Mansion and the Park Hyatt
- and in Iguasu, the Hotel las Cataratas on the Brazilian side of the falls.
Beyond these, here’s our list of “tops” beyond the guidebooks:
Pescado Capitale - a local and very cool restaurant with great food and sevice
The fruit and vegetable market in Lima
The Larco Museum in Lima
The Sun Gate on the Inca Trail
The Inketerra Hotel – Peru’s version of the Post Ranch Inn
In Cousco, another fabulous hotel, the Monestaria and the adjacent museum and Map Cafe for dinner (alas the shop was closed by the time we finished the museum tour)
The guides, food, the passengers (only 15 of them) and the people in the villages — and everything on the Aqua Cruise on the Amazon - “Wow”
The Algodon Mansion – Sleek, comfortable, art deco inspired… felt like being in a townhouse home AND the Park Hyatt (another 5 star, this one with a fabulous art gallery and gorgeously expansive inner courtyard where we enjoyed breakfast. We didn’t get to enjoy the spa, but missed out there.
The Paella at Oviedo’s – not on the menu
Saturday street shopping at Recoleto (near the cemetery) and the “subterranean d&d type center there too) and shopping any time in Palermo Soho
La Cuartito – local pizzeria (recommended by our waiter at the Algodon)
The movement and online commmunity,ChangeMyWorldNow.com, Gina Otto has created to empower teens and Tweens. It launched in by in Oct 4th and her book, Cassandra’s Angel, on which it is all founded, is now #19 on Barnes & Noble best seller list and actually has a shot at the New York Times Bestseller List. If you have any interest in buying it as gifts or for yourself (it is truly an amazing book for the child in all of us), if you buy them on or before this Saturday, you will help push it further up the list. This link, www.facebook.com/CassandrasAngel, takes you straight there and tells you all about it. For internet buyers, TODAY, Thursday, October 20, is Amazon.com Day for Cassandra’s Angel (info on the same landing page as above.)
*** Meanwhile, next week, you should be able to go to Ballard Designs’ website, Style Studio (click here), to check out my feature on “Gift-Giving from the Heart”. You’ll find other gift ideas as well as “comfort living” approach to personal, easy and meaningful wrapping.
Feel free to pass this on and make sure you order some of those books (and don’t forget to add some copies of Comfort Living: A Back-to-Basics Guide to a More Balanced Lifestyle, while you’re at it!
Wow, it’s finally here! The date when ChangeMyWorldNow.com, a new children’s social network that launches TODAY in New York City — October 1st, 2011!
During her 20-city, 20-week ChangeMyWorldNow bus tour, founder and author of Cassandra’s Angel Gina Otto will be personally carrying a message of self-empowerment to local communities across the country. Her book and musical, Cassandra’s Angel will be in cities throughout the U.S. with performances, appearances and book signings at local schools, community organizations and other venues.
I am so honored to be one of the partners in this exciting venture. I hope children (and their parents) will take advantage of the wealth of information — and fun — that is free for the taking on this amazing, interactive experience!
Gina has asked me and about 15 other people and organizations to contribute on-line content in our specific areas of expertise. We are each will be offering specific activities for children which will focus on areas like sustainability, conflict resolution, and more. My activity will guide children in creating “Their Own Zone” — that place that you can go to after a tough day — and to leave from as you go out and do what you need to do — and that includes changing the world!
Come visit the website… Your children will be talking about this and I have to say, this is the place to be. Pass the word and check out when the ChangeMyWorldNow Tour will roll into your city!!!
I’d like to introduce you to someone very special who is launching something in October: a ground-breaking social network that I am involved in which will provide children with an inspiring online alternative, one that encourages productivity, creativity and achievement.
Gina Otto, the visionary for this endeavor, is creating a global movement to empower children to change their world. This October, her online community ChangeMyWorldNow.com will be launched with a 20-city nationwide bus tour. The aim of this site and the tour is to inspire children to take action, get involved and to make a difference in the world. Gina’s book, Cassandra’s Angel, brings this message to children, yet also has a universal message that resonates with people of all ages. In fall, as the bus tour begins in New York City, her book will be sold in Barnes & Noble stores throughout the country.
Partnering with national and grass roots organizations and corporations, Gina’s vision to help create socially-conscious children by empowering children of the world to change the world they live in. With a focus on education and awareness, she will be traveling throughout the United States directing the attention of children, parents and teachers to examine how “the way we live our lives and the choices that we make” has the power to impact society as a whole.
Not Just for Americans:
Past travels have brought her to Taiwan to address an audience of over 100,000 as well as to Sri Lanka to work with children in the war zone and with victims of the tsunami. In Cambodia, she worked directly with young girls who are victims of the sexual slave trade and earlier this month she spoke at the United Nations International Year of the Youth Culmination Celebration.
The message of this movement is to empower children and adults to find that gift inside each of us and bring it forth for the betterment of the others. Gina reminds all children, even those living even in the most desolate conditions, that we each have a bright light within us —- and when we find that bright light, we can let it shine for the world!
What’s my Role in This?
Gina has asked me to join a few others as guides to provide on-line content in our specific areas of expertise. We will be offering specific activities for children. Activities will focus on areas like sustainability, conflict resolution, and more. My activity will guide children in creating their own “Comfort Zone” — that place that we can go to after a tough day — and to leave from as we go out and do what we need to do — and that includes changing the world!
Find more at www.ginaotto.net. If you want to preregister for this upcoming network at www.ChangeMyWorldNow.com
So, why can’t our homes be as comfortable as our favorite pair of jeans? Why does saying ‘I love you to Dad” need to be expensive? After all, love comes from within and gestures that show you care do too!
1. Fridge Remix:
Clear a path to healthy eating by getting rid of withered produce, leftovers and almost-empty jars of mustard. Then, stock up on favorite fresh fruit and raw veggies (berries, pineapple, grapes??). Back at home, wash and put them in easy-to-access containers so he has easy and healthy snack food, thanks to the fruits of your labor!
2. Flower (singular):
You don’t have to get all chick-ish about it, but even just one flower can send Dad a big message. Pick one from outdoors and give it a home in a water glass, soda bottle or bud vase by the sink where he brushes his teeth in the morning.
3. Man the Grill:
How about giving him a cold beer while you take over the grilling duties? On the menu: surf and turf, corn on the cob and baked potatoes. Eat outdoors picnic style or get him one (or all) of the all time great football movies and kick back and enjoy!
4. Feed His Love of Football:
So he may be mourning the absence of Monday Night Football…. Meanwhile, feed his passion by getting him one, five or all of the top ten football flicks of all time, according to Sports Illustrated: Rudy, North Dallas Forty, Brian’s Song, Horse Feathers, The Longest Yard, Jerry Maguire, Friday Night Lights, Heaven Can Wait, All the Right Moves
5. Lights Out:
When it’s time to turn in at the end of the day, how about putting a note on his pillow that tells him something you appreciate about him or a special memory you have?
So, why can’t our homes be as comfortable as our favorite pair of jeans? Why does saying ‘I love you to Dad” need to be expensive? After all, love comes from within and gestures that show you care do too! 1. Fridge Remix: Clear a path to healthy eating by getting rid of withered produce, leftovers and almost-empty jars of mustard. Then, stock up on favorite fresh fruit and raw veggies (berries, pineapple, grapes??). Back at home, wash and put them in easy-to-access containers so he has easy and healthy snack food, thanks to the fruits of your labor! 2. Flower (singular): You don’t have to get all chick-ish about it, but even just one flower can send Dad a big message. Pick one from outdoors and give it a home in a water glass, soda bottle or bud vase by the sink where he brushes his teeth in the morning. 3. Man the Grill: How about giving him a cold beer while you take over the grilling duties? On the menu: surf and turf, corn on the cob and baked potatoes. Eat outdoors picnic style or get him one (or all) of the all time great football movies and kick back and enjoy! 4. Feed His Love of Football: So he may be mourning the absence of Monday Night Football…. Meanwhile, feed his passion by getting him one, five or all of the top ten football flicks of all time, according to Sports Illustrated: Rudy, North Dallas Forty, Brian’s Song, Horse Feathers, The Longest Yard, Jerry Maguire, Friday Night Lights, Heaven Can Wait, All the Right Moves 5. Lights Out: When it’s time to turn in at the end of the day, how about putting a note on his pillow that tells him something you appreciate about him or a special memory you have?
If you go to comfortlivingbychristine.com take a look at my recent blog, Comfort Living: College Edition, you’ll see that one of my partners in taming the house in Ann Arbor was Pat Lubomski, otherwise known as Pat the Handyman. His rules of doing business are gems and apply to any kind of job and life in general. I love them all, but #16 is a gem.
In a nutshell, it boils down to this, “If you’re looking for a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.”
btw, if you live in Ann Arbor, he’s your guy! (just google him
(For people doing home improvement, check out the Home Improvement Trends 2011 article in the on-line section of the Media Page.) You’ll find a roundup from a experts from all over the country.
Cardinal Rules for Work:
We will do the right thing and look like we are working and act business like ,even when not doing business. Be respectful, charming , clean neat etc .
These are a Robert’s Rules of sorts …I guess you could call them BUBBU’ s Rules or Willie’s Rules
How to Act Like a Worker 101
Never Sit Down , unless the boss says so . If you find your self with NOTHING to do , find something to do . Be Ready Anticipate what needs to be done next . or ask the Boss for more to do . But don’t just stand there or sit there . Is there a truck arriving should we block parking spaces ? Should I sweep up ,carry things to the trash etc .
If the Boss Says Sit , Then Sit ,my dad would say, not in front of the customer
I was recently asked “how do you use color to boost you confidence or project a specific attitude?” It made me think a bit and I thought I’d share my thoughts:
Just as Elle Decor came from Elle magazine and Ralph Lauren Home Furnishings was the offspring of his men’s and women’s fashion, wherever we look, we see the merging of home and fashion. Color is one of the easiest Bridges to make that happen.
Years ago, I thought I hated yellow and green. But then I discovered the beauty of wheat and those wonderful shades of moss, celadon and sage that make me feel SO good.
Years ago, I’d never have thought these colors would sing to me in my home or my closet. Now they do.
As we change, our preferances change, and though the color wizards have a huge say in what we see on the shelves — and are followed diligently by manufacturers, designers and editors all over the world, it is still up to each of us to decide if it rings our personal bell at that particular moment, regardless of what’s on the runway.
Some seasons we hear that “brown is the new black”. In other seasons, it’s grey or even black again:) Fashion is fickle, to be sure — but it’s not haphazard or frivolous. There’s a lot of psychology behind color, because it does affect how we feel and how we live.
So back to that question:
For me, black is what I wear when I want to feel confident in a safe way. I know I can’t go wrong with black — and perhaps it harkens back to my New York roots. But when I want to project who I really am, I go farther afield with silvers and greys, lavenders and those greens, tans and wheats that I now adore — or robins’ egg blue, which is the color of my book cover. (After all, out of all the color options out there, I chose it to reflect the message of Comfort Living.)
But each to his own. The lady up the street may (still) be into harvest gold and avocado green. For someone else, it might be cobalt blue or chalk white. Color has a HUGE impact on how we feel… But the bottom line is that each of us has our say.
We are beyond the stage of “Think Pink”, and now it’s about finding what resonates with each of us as indivuduals. We can become our own style icons if we have the confidence to do it.
Here is an excerpt to an article that I was interviewed for. The link to the full article is below.
“Travel by Design: Revisit Your Vacation Any Time”
If you’ve been daydreaming about your travel experiences, you can find ways to evoke those memories through your home décor. Designer Christine Eisner refers to such design ideas as echoes. “They allow past experiences to have a place in your day-to-day,” said Eisner, who wrote “Comfort Living: A Back-to-Basics Guide to a More Balanced Lifestyle.” Including them in your design “creates a bridge that instantly transports you,” she said. Los Angeles-based interior designer Erinn Valencich agreed. “Vacation generally conjures up ideas of relaxation and comfort. … There are ways to create vignettes or destinations in your rooms to increase your enjoyment and relaxation in your home,” she said. So collect your favorite memories, and get ready to be inspired by travel.
Vacation generally conjures up ideas of relaxation and comfort. … There are ways to create vignettes or destinations in your rooms to increase your enjoyment and relaxation in your home.
This time last year I was getting ready to launch my book. About 9 months later, Comfort Living has earned “critical acclaim,” thanks to the 9 “Top Reviewers” at Amazon who gave 5-star ratings and the folks at ForeWord Reviews, who selected Comfort Living as a finalist for “Book of the Year” for 2009, in the category of Body, Mind & Spirit. It also got an “American Mommy Award for Best 2009 Gift for the Holidays.” Here is a rundown of the comments from the Amazon Reviewers.
Thanks to all of you for your votes of confidence - and also to the people who have helped me in so many ways!
7 Amazon “Top Reviewers” Give Comfort Living 5 Stars
Whether selling your home or keeping it forever, this allows you to open the door to a peaceful and comfortable environment (#1 Top Reviewer)
Title says it all….. (Top 100 Reviewer)
There is a lot packed into this short, but fascinating book, but does it or will it work? YES! (Top 500 Reviewer)
I couldn’t resist peeking past the first “assignment” (Top 500 Reviewer)
Comfort Living Is Comfortable (Top 500 Reviewer)
A lovely gift for friends or yourself (Top 1000 Reviewer)
Back to Basics (Top 1000 Reviewer)
5 Stars for The Comfort Living Journal, Too!
Little journaling notebook as companion to detailed book (Top 1000 Reviewer)
This is a lovely companion notebook to the book “Comfort Living” (Top 500 Reviewer)