Tag Archives: homespace

GET READY FOR A NEW CHAPTER

Embracing change inside and out

Over the last year I have been doing a lot of soul searching to clear a lot of personal blocks in my headspace, and to get ready for the next chapter in my life. TheHoustonEffect blog has really helped me to realize many of those breakthroughs and to be able to share them with people who have connected with them.  I just finished an incredible two day, intensive discovery session with an amazing marketing guy, Michael Drew. I’m now in the process of getting everything set up for my new business which will centre on my HEADSPACE and HOMESPACE philosophy.

I want to thank all of you for reading these posts. I appreciate all the feedback and gratitude that you have sent me. I hope that some of what I have put out there has connected with you and maybe helped you in your own life. After all, we are in this together. Anything that can help inspire and support another person is what it’s all about.

Please make sure you have subscribed to this blog so I can send you a new post in 2014 when I will begin posting again via my new site.

I look forward to connecting with you again. Happy Holidays and I wish you every success and good fortune in the coming months.

Warmest regards

James Houston

REFLECT AND CONNECT

Take a moment to print some great memories 

When was the last time you actually printed some photos? Now that digital photography is so easy and convenient it’s becoming less common to physically print photos and create photo albums. We are taking photos at such a fast pace and, with no limits on how many frames we can take, we tend to end up with large collections of photos that are often lost in the sheer quantity or deleted.

When my Mum passed away, almost four years ago now, I decided to create a family picture wall dedicated to her memory. The last memories I had of my Mum were of her in hospital looking so frail and sick while battling liver cancer. In life however she was incredibly athletic, healthy and a vibrant woman, and I wanted to have those images around me so I could celebrate her memory and her beautiful energy. It doesn’t have to cost the earth to create a photo wall. But it allows you to connect with fond memories and images of people you love in your life. This technique also adds so much interest to any wall.

I would suggest creating what’s called a ‘Paris hang’ – a technique where you hang all different sized and shaped frames in a group. As you can see in the photo above, I decided to use mostly black frames to give the series a more modern feel. I would recommend using painter’s tape to create a top line to guide you and which you work down from. Use a measuring tape to get the right height and use your own judgement to decide how much of the wall area you cover. This technique is actually very easy to master so don’t be scared to give it a go. You will be amazed how great it looks and so glad that you took the time to print out some great memories to have around you.

THE GORROW EFFECT

I’ve just come back from a visit home to Sydney and was lucky enough to spend time with friends and family who I wished lived closer to me in New York.

One of those people is Gary Gorrow. I’ve known him for over 15 years now and I have watched him grow into such an inspirational force. I spent an afternoon catching up with Gary while I was home and what I love most about great friends like him is that it feels like time has never passed. Whether you see them every two days or two years, you pick up right where you left off.

Gary is living an inspired dream with his incredible family and I’m proud to call him a close friend. Read his profile below and be sure to check out his websites: www.garygorrow.com and www.consciousclub.com

LOCATION //
Avalon Beach, Australia.

WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE AND PASSION? //
“My passion is to help people grow and evolve. I’ve discovered that part of my gift is teaching people to live from the level of their Being. That idea can seem rather abstract, but it essentially means living from that place above and beyond their minds. It’s founded on the timeless wisdom that there’s something more profound to life than our minds, that is of course our very consciousness. My personal purpose is to live from that level myself. When I do this life takes care of itself, everything unfolds as if in accord with a higher order.”

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW? //
“Lots of different things actually. I’m organising a Conscious Club festival and events. I’m working on setting up Conscious Club in LA, London, Canada, San Francisco. In concert with this I’m also regularly training people in the art of Vedic Meditation; organising retreats around the country; and I’ve just started an intensive training for a group of my finest students who are on the path to become teachers.

HOW DO YOU EFFECT CHANGE IN YOUR OWN LIFE? //
“We’re all familiar with the expression ‘actions speak louder than words’, and there is a great truth to this statement. But I have also come to appreciate that consciousness rules the day; our words and our actions are shaped by our level of consciousness.

In my line of work I’ve found that I’m only really effective at effecting positive change when I am operating from a higher place. So first and foremost I do what I can to cultivate inner balance and connectedness with my inner being. When I operate from this level I feel myself becoming more transparent to the needs of the world around me. Great ideas dawn inside me. My ego is kept out of the way and I become an excellent servant for change. The key is for people to get the inner right because we are truly magnetic to what ever is happening within us.”

HOW DO YOU EFFECT CHANGE IN YOUR COMMUNITY? //
The Conscious Club was created for that exact reason. My buddy Tim Brown and I realised that society is changing and people have become increasingly tired of going to the same old pubs and clubs, yelling at each other for a number of hours, before coming home with nothing to show for it except a hoarse voice, empty wallets and a hangover! So we thought lets create a club where people can have a fun night out and get enlightened at the same time.

The Club is all about creating conscious community through the medium of what we refer to as ‘enlighter-tainment’. Each Conscious Club event intelligently weaves together a message with enlightening entertainment of all genres including uplifting live music, films that provide insight into the human condition, knowledge presentations from some of the world’s thought leaders, the rare opportunity to to be in the presence of hundreds of meditating minds, the sharing of a delicious vegetarian feast and a vibrant social exchange.

We now found ourselves with a rapidly growing community here in Australia and there are calls for it across the globe which we are working on to make a reality. I describe the Conscious Club as TED, MTV unplugged, a meditation ashram, hip bar (albeit a non-alcoholic one) all rolled into one. We’re like the Dalai Lama meets The Rolling Stones –  that’s the Conscious Club.”

DESCRIBE YOUR HEADSPACE? //
“Well I’ve been meditating for so long now that I find my headspace is generally clear and balanced. I used to have big ambitions and big visions. But what I realise now more than ever is the importance of simply being present. How insulting it is to ignore creation for the idea that the future is supreme to the now. More and more that’s where my headspace is directed to these days – attuning with the sacredness of each waking moment. I find the creative pursuits and ideas come in and around that silence organically. I’ve taken a back seat to ambition and allow Nature to organise me rather than allow my ego to mobilise me. I find more and more that I am developing this quality of being able to sit in witnessing awareness, to observe myself, my actions, my mind and to live from my being. It’s a nice headspace to be in.”

DESCRIBE YOUR HOMESPACE? //
“My wife is French and I’m a minimalist. Our home tends to reflect an integration of those two elements. There’s a lot of natural timber and white finishes. I love white and we’ve done all we could with our home to create an open plan living. The living room flows out to the beautiful sunny garden. We have a veggie patch and lots of fruit trees – although they’ve yet to mature. It’s five minutes to walk to the beach so that is the secret from me. I could live in a tent as long as I’m by the ocean. Surfing is my mecca. We also have two small kids so it’s almost impossible to keep the house tidy for longer than five minutes. Besides the wrecking ball factor they bring to the home, our kids create an air of love and play. I love that energy in our home. It’s so precious.”

WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU? //
“Many things! The natural world, when you look closely at the way and structure of things you see it is the work of such a supreme artist. Kindness and generosity inspires me. People who are passionate. People who believe in something. People who spend their energy developing a craft or a talent and become masters of it. People who devote their life energy to a purpose beyond themselves. When I get around people like that I find myself aflame with spirit. It makes me want to do more with my life. To become the best possible example of myself I can be.”

 

 

 

MY FAVORITE NEW YORK ESCAPE

Whenever I need some interior inspiration this is the place I go.

There are a few places I love to go in New York to get ideas – and to get lost in. One is ABC Furniture, and the other is Andrianna Shamaris.

Andrianna has been a friend of mine for several years now. I first met her when I was furnishing Ananda and I purchased several amazing pieces from her store. Andrianna imports from Indonesia but actually designs most of the pieces by incorporating modern elements and shapes into the Indonesian classics. 

If you get a chance, drop in to her store in New York and say hello. Or even just check out her website for more inspiring pieces. It’s definitely one of my New York favorites! 

LIFE FISHING

Turn your journey into a sport you enjoy.

We all have dreams, goals and missions in life. Sometimes, we set our sights on a goal and work relentlessly towards it. Now, think back to a time when a goal was achieved easily, and then think back to when a goal was tough to manifest. What made one easier than the other?

Taking stock of your process, and how you go about your quest, may help you to understand how to make achieving it an easier and more enjoyable experience. It’s a lot like the sport of fishing. Like in life, you set out with the intention to catch a fish. You set yourself up with the right equipment, maybe even wait for the right time of day, before you set off on your mission. You position yourself where you feel it’s a good place to set your line. You buy the right bait, bait your hook and then cast your line into the water. Then you wait for something to bite. If you have ever been fishing you know that you don’t always get a bite. Sometimes you decide to move on and sometimes just wait it out in the hope that a fish will come along.

Patience plays such a big part in this journey and, ultimately, the same goes for life. Sometimes the fish just aren’t biting for you. Does that mean you pull your line in straight away, declaring it’s too hard and just give up. Or do you settle in with a book or a beer and enjoy the fact that you are doing something you enjoy. If the fish don’t bite today, maybe they will bite tomorrow; or maybe next time you may try a different approach, change the bait or your location.

Catching whatever the ‘fish’ is in your life should become part of an enjoyable life process; start to go with the flow rather than fight against the current. Sometimes you can try as hard as you can but things don’t seem to be going your way. Sometimes walking away and coming back tomorrow is a good thing as is distracting yourself with something else that is more enjoyable. Staying positive is the answer to allowing all the great things to come into your life. Whether they are fish, a relationship, a great job or a financial breakthrough.

I always say balance is the key to happiness, so your eggs aren’t all in one basket. Fishing is a patient man’s sport. Keep casting your life rod and allow the fish to come to you. They will when the time is right.

THE KIYA EFFECT

I met Kiya at one of her fitness classes in Tulum that I attended on a recent trip. Demi Moore was attending the class as well! Kiya’s energy and passion for what she does is incredible. One of my favorite things in life is meeting passionate people and Kiya is most certainly a fitness force.  I was so inspired by her I approached her after the class.

LOCATION //
Phoenix and New York

WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE AND PASSION? //
My purpose in life is to inspire and motivate powerful women to step fully into their truth and own their “bad ass-ness” with courage, grace and humility.

I am passionate about standing up for the little guy and those who need a strong spokeswomen to represent their causes. That’s why my lifestyle brand WEightless starts with a big WE.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW? //
Right now I am working on my passion project WEightless Escape – The Ultimate Fitness Adventure series of workout dvds and downloads, and a choose-your-own-adventure fitness book to accompany them. As a human movement scientist I strive to make living fit and lean a fun and inspiring ride.

HOW DO YOU EFFECT CHANGE IN YOUR OWN LIFE? //
Music has a huge effect on me. I use music to express the things I can’t put into words. Part of my WEightless Escape project is creating music tracks that inspire movement with subtle auditory suggestion to inspire powerful and personal transformation.

HOW DO YOU EFFECT CHANGE IN YOUR COMMUNITY? //
It’s hard to stand alone in a crowd. Especially when you are the new kid on the block. If I know I am going to a family dinner where veal is being served, I show up ready to juice some fresh cocktails and grill one beauty of a veggie plate. It’s my subtle way of saying I believe animals have feelings too.

I look forward to volunteering again with the Christown YMCA in Phoenix, AZ this spring. I love teaching dance to children. They are so willing to discover their bodies through movement. This sets a foundation for a lifetime of fitness, health and fun.

DESCRIBE YOUR HEADSPACE? //
Hahahaha! Trying to talk less and listen more. I move my body a lot every day, eat from the earth, love people – especially the women I am friends with and work with – who have a desire to be amazing.  I love to write. I’m sure I am a little or a lot narcissistic because I fucking love facebook and watching myself on video.

My dog Nube (cloud) is my second best friend and my husband James is my first. They remind me that the Beatles were right, “All You Need Is Love” and everything else falls away.

I love designing websites and am on my fourth. GO SQUARESPACE! So far it’s the best ever. My website project includes photography, videography, editing and retouching. It gives me a reason to flex my creative visual muscles. It scratches an itch. www.kiyaknight.com

DESCRIBE YOUR HOMESPACE? //
Quiet, natural and comfortable. Except when I am bumping tunes and designing WEightless Fitness classes in my living room. Our juicer is our health insurance policy so it has a coveted shelf. We juice first thing in the morning everyday so we keep our kitchen stocked with fruit, veg, herbs, ginger and spices. It’s fun mixing and matching flavors. I always feel like a mad scientist in the kitchen.

WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU? //
I am inspired by anyone who has the brass balls to stand in their truth and not waiver. I just had the pleasure of instructing fitness classes for the amazing Demi Moore. As I watched her move in class my mind flashed to GI Jane, and her shaved head, and then the magazine cover she did naked and pregnant. I thought of Striptease and her funny, happy, graceful POWER. Having the honour to instruct movement for a strong, sexy hero like Demi was an unbelievable career high for me.

EASY ENTERTAINING WITH PLAYLISTS

Set the mood one track at a time.

I love easy entertaining. Besides setting the mood in your home with the correct lighting and scents, I find it really helpful to have a number of playlists on my iPod which are ready to go on any occasion.

I tend to create my playlists when I’m on vacation, or during a long weekend, when I have the time to sit down and listen to new music. What I look for in a playlist is a consistent mood and a sound that will be a complimentary background to whatever it is that I am doing. Ok, so you may be wondering, “What do I need beyond a ‘party’ mix?” So here’s a list of some of my playlist titles, and a description of what they are, which I hope will inspire you to make your own:

Atmosphere: chillout, ambient music for a slow morning start
Morning Magic: a progression from slow songs to R&B
Funky Start: a consistent, groovy R&B mix
Cardio Combo: music to exercise to
Martini Magic: my pre-dinner cocktail mix, upbeat and cool
Dinner: Dean Martin and the classics
Party Mix: great vocal, dance and rock hits
LOVE: music to get you in the mood
Bath: time for you to relax and breathe

I am not a fan of movie soundtracks played out as albums as the songs tend to be all over the place and can disrupt the flow of the mood. The other thing that does my head in is when people play DJ at your house and end up jumping about from one song to the next. It also kills the mood. Take the stress out of the evening and put your playlist on ‘shuffle’ or ‘genre’ for an unexpected order.

If you don’t have a great ear for music, and think this is all way too hard, then ask a friend who loves music to help you out. Obviously its important that you actually like the kind of music they play. Buy an iPod and ask them  to upload several of their favorite playlists on it. I have 4 iPods that have been gifted to me and I play them more than I play my own. Music makes all the difference!

DON’T WAIT ‘TILL CHRISTMAS TO CELEBRATE

Get more out of your Christmas cheer this year and start decorating your HOMESPACE now!

Being the oldest of five kids, I remember Christmas as a time filled with lots of laughs and household madness. My Mum would cook an incredible roast turkey and my Grandmother would make an unbelievable pudding that was served with coins hidden inside each serving. My Dad would video the family being together every year and it became his favorite tradition.

In a way, it’s strange to celebrate Christmas in a hot climate such as Australia. Particularly when Santa is pictured wearing warm clothes and fake trees are covered in fake snow. It’s not until I celebrated my first Christmas in New York that I really ‘got’ the whole white Christmas fantasy. Now, every year, I love to walk down 5th Avenue, see the shop windows and really feel like I’m in a movie set. If you have never celebrated Christmas in New York it’s something I would definitely recommend.

Over time, I have really embraced decorating and celebrating the season. I particularly love the tradition of getting the tree and covering it with lights. As you see in the images below I use clumps of red berry bush to keep it more rustic. I also wrap empty boxes in shiny gold, red and green paper to go under the tree. It doesn’t take a lot to create a stunning table setting either, or to fill the house with small details that really add to the magic. I have attached a number of images that I hope will give you some inspiration and ideas to create your own Christmas magic.  And don’t leave it ’till the last minute to start enjoying it!

MAGICAL THINKING

Ananda was recently featured in LUXE (Interiors + Design) magazine. A big thank you to Karen Kurlander for the great article and Grey Crawford for the photography. Check out the article.

INTERIOR ENERGY

The energy of a space is more important than the interior design.

When it comes to interior design, one of the most important things to consider is the energy that you are creating for yourself and your guests to experience when they enter your home.

A lot of people rely on interior designers to create their home interior for them. I think this can help someone who has money, but not a lot of ideas, as long as the home owner is working with the designer to ensure the energy aligns with what they want to experience.

We have all gone to someone’s home, a hotel or a restaurant and felt the energy was too cold or not welcoming. Energy is not something you can buy on a shelf. Nor is it something that one piece of furniture will magically create. It’s a combination of several elements that work together to create an experience or effect for anyone entering the space. As I’ve blogged about in the past ‘Flow and Balance’ is crucial in a space; as is creating an interior journey through lighting, scents and the placement of furniture and objects so that the flow of the space is considered and utilized.

One of the challenges today is the whole modern, minimalist movement. Try to keep it warm and comfortable by using throws, colors and soft textured rugs to help soften hard lines. So much modern furniture simply isn’t comfortable and doesn’t invite guests to relax and feel at home.

I must also say at this point ‘each to their own’. I’m not here to tell you that an incredibly uncomfortable, very cool looking chaise lounge that you love isn’t working. I’m just asking you to consider the comfort level of the space you live in.

It’s also great to occasionally smudge your space! Simply light a small smudge stick – a bundle of herbs you can buy one at your local crystal store – and walk around the space letting the smoke filter through the rooms. Smudging clears any negative energy in the space and ensures the energy is clear and positive. Keep one on hand in case you need it. Another big part of the energy in your home is of course, YOU. When you are in a good place, and connect to positive thoughts, the energy around you is clear and inviting. People will pick up on this and enjoy being in your presence.