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Lifestyle

It’s Okay Not to Have Your Career Figured Out Right Away

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The best part of adulthood is the small talk, hands down. Meeting new people, sharing that perfectly firm and definitely-never-clammy-on-either-end handshake, exchanging pleasantries on all the most exhilarating of topics. Never gets old!!

Within the wide realm of questions brought up most frequently in these generally uncomfortable little back-and-forths, the favorite seems to be the following: “What do you do?” Ingrained in this one tiny question are, of course, a million other inquiries: “Do you like your job?” “How much money do you make?” “Where do you rank on the wholly subjective career hierarchy I have in my head?” and (no pressure or anything!!) “Is what you do your passion?”

Ah yes, that last one, the biggest kicker of them all—is what you do your passion? I, millennial that I am, cannot say whether previous generations felt this so strongly, the pressure to do what you love. But it seems that, given the across the board delay of other milestones that once signaled success among twenty and thirtysomethings—home ownership, marriage, having children—the generation in which I’m firmly planted has saddled itself with new definitions of success: the places you’ve traveled, your selfie-taking proficiency, and your career success, to name a few.

Maybe I’m projecting. Maybe I’m flinging my own ingrained insecurities and self-doubt onto you. If it feels like I am, you are more than entitled to yell, in my general direction, “Woah, Jackie! Settle down! Have you considered that not everyone feels the way you do??” And in that case, thank you for calling me out! No, really, thank you. If you are one of those people who has always known what you wanted to do, since you were a youth; who mapped out a path and followed it and are genuinely happy with where you’re at in your career. Well. Hot damn. I am genuinely happy for you. Keep on killing it, okay?

The words I’m writing today, however, are for the other folks. These are for the people who had one million different interests in high school, who had a bunch more in college, who were never quite able to distill all of those singular activities into their *one true path*. They’re for the people who did find out what they wanted to do, but feel like they found it too late, and without a linear career trajectory plus 18 perfectly aligned internships under their belt, they feel like they can’t quite catch up. They’re for the people who sometimes feel like they’re merely drifting along through their careers, directionless, discontented or stuck.

Maybe that’s you. Maybe you feel behind. Maybe you’re in your twenties or your thirties or your forties or your fifties and maybe you feel lost. Maybe you dread being at a party and meeting new people and being asked that one seemingly innocuous question: “What do you do?” Allow me to say, firstly, THAT IS OKAY. I am saying it in all-caps because I mean it!! It is okay to feel behind. It is okay to feel lost. It is okay to dread small talk at parties. It is all okay.

Allow me to say, secondly, that I am right there with you, friend. At the ripe old age of 28, I am still figuring it out as I go. I am still a work in progress. I am still learning what interests me and, as I do, I am learning not to be so damn afraid to pursue those interests.

My personal career trajectory has been windy and disjointed, a road weaved together out of both passion and obligation. I entered college as an interior design major, and pursued that path for the impressive length of an entire few days, before switching my major to architecture. I loved a lot about the program, but toward the end of my four years, I decided that pursuing architecture as a career wasn’t for me. My heart wasn’t in it, and I think another part of me didn’t believe I was good enough at it (a fun, reoccurring theme in my life!).

I left college with a degree, yes, but also with hardly an ounce of direction. I didn’t have a job lined up. I didn’t have a clear career path to dive into. Yet, with the naiveté and occasionally blinding optimism that seems synonymous with being in your early twenties, I went after the opportunities that felt right to me then. I applied for countless jobs; sent countless cold emails to people I admired; pursued a graphic design internship with a website I loved. I took an internship at a nonprofit, a field I’d always considered entering, if only for a long-held, deeply ingrained desire to help people. At the end of the summer, I was offered a full-time job with that same nonprofit and, simultaneously, after 3 months of persistence, I landed the graphic design internship, too.

That was my life for a good, long while: I worked full-time during the day and spent many late nights and weekends working on the ol’ side hustle. The graphic design internship turned into a graphic designer role, which then turned into an editorial role. I loved what I did, in many ways, but a lot of my time was also spent exhausted—both physically and mentally—and, after two and a half years, I decided to let that side hustle go. A few years later, I still work at the same nonprofit, and while it’s an amazing organization, there is an ever-growing part of me that knows I have other interests to pursue.

Most of my twenties have been spent in a deep, dark cave of ennui—never knowing, assuredly, which path to take. I’m learning, ever so slowly, not to fight so hard against the unknown. I’m learning it’s okay not to have everything figured out. I’m learning that we’re all making it up as we go.

I promise that if you feel lost, I believe in you to find your way. You don’t have to figure it out right now. You don’t have to figure it out tomorrow. You don’t even have to figure it out next week. Unless you’re a person of the clairvoyant variety, you can’t know ahead of time which of your decisions will be fruitful, or which precise course of action will propel you toward your ideal career. All you can do is take one step at a time; all you can do is keep moving in a direction that feels right.

Maybe open up a word doc or a fresh, crisp notebook, and write down one thing (tiny or otherwise) you’re doing each day to move your career in a different direction. Maybe make a commitment to connect with one person each week who works in a field that piques your interest, whether it be face-to-face or via e-mail or through social media. Maybe take that course you’ve been meaning to take. Maybe apply for that job you’d so hastily convinced yourself you weren’t qualified for. Whatever it is you do, just don’t stop trying. Don’t get lost on the well-worn path of believing you’re not good enough. Don’t give up on yourself, okay?

I recognize that I am not an expert in, I don’t know, ANY area of life?? But I know what being lost feels like. I know what being behind feels like. I know other people feel this way sometimes, too. And I know it can be nice to have a reminder that you’re not wading through the occasionally murky waters of life alone.

So if we ever see each other at a party (I just go to SO MANY PARTIES, you know??), please come say hello. I promise I’ll ask you what your hobbies are, what you like to do for fun, and if you have any pets. I promise I’ll do my best to find that one conversation topic that lights you up. I promise I won’t start by asking what you do.

Images via: 1 / 2


Jackie Saffert is a human person who lives in Minneapolis. In her spare time, you can find her running along the river road, loitering in the vicinity of the nearest puppy at a local brewery, or recharging her soul (?!) in her tiny sanctuary of an apartment. She likes to write; she thinks you are very kind for reading the words above.

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Lifestyle

Surviving Addiction—and Coming Through Stronger

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By the time Dan Maurer hit rock bottom, he was pastoring his third different congregation as an ordained Lutheran minister, he’d already done two stints in treatment, and he was pretty sure he had things under control. That was before he was arrested for breaking into homes in the rural North Dakota countryside he called home.

“I was totally dysfunctional at that point,” says Dan. “I don’t remember a lot of it. I had lost all sense of ethics or morality. I was just doing things to survive. I couldn’t see my life without drugs and alcohol.”

IT HADN’T ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY, OF COURSE.

As a teen growing up in Anoka, Minnesota, he had what many would consider some normal encounters with alcohol—sneaking a few drinks from his parents’ liquor supply, doing some binge drinking in college. (“Not much though,” says Dan.) His home life was good. There were no obvious signs that addiction would derail his life.

Things took off though when he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. After a painful attack, his wife Carol drove him to the emergency room in Dubuque, Iowa, where he was a grad student in seminary. The year was 1996.

“I don’t know if the doctor on duty made a mistake or actually thought I needed that much pain control,” says Dan, “but I’ll never forget: He prescribed three refills of 30 Demarol. I maybe needed it for that one day (if at all). But there’s no way I needed it for three months. I think I went through that entire prescription in about three weeks. I was like, ‘This stuff is great!’”

He has likened the sensation to the comforting feeling of being a little boy watching Sesame Street, as his mother tucked a freshly laundered blanket around him.

“I was totally dysfunctional at that point. I don’t remember a lot of it. I had lost all sense of ethics or morality. I was just doing things to survive. I couldn’t see my life without drugs and alcohol.”

AFTER THAT, THINGS CHANGED.

Although alcohol hadn’t interested Dan much before, it now became a steady crutch. “Painkillers were my drug of choice,” says Dan, “but I couldn’t get them all the time—and I wasn’t going on the street or anything—so I started drinking more and more.”

He hid bottles in the basement ceiling. He drank in the morning before sermon prep, or in the afternoon before his wife came home from work. He found ways to hide the smell of alcohol on his breath. (“I’d eat pickles,” Dan laughs.)

One day Dan wondered how many bottles he’d stashed above the ceiling tiles. He shined a flashlight around. Holy sh**, he thought. I’m an alcoholic. His next thought was, Oh, well. I can handle this. Everybody else is a loser who lets this mess up their life. I will make it work.

AND, FOR A WHILE, HE DID.

Dan was a master at hiding things, as most addicts are. Carol had no idea. Dan is articulate. He was a great preacher. He’s friendly and likable. He could carry on without too many things falling through the cracks. And he’s smart—so smart that he could research new ways to get high and self-diagnose the side effects. Those side effects included, at one point, having seven tonic-clonic “grand mal” seizures that he mostly hid from everyone.

Meanwhile, Carol and he were raising two young boys and Dan was pastoring congregations throughout central North Dakota.

Not everything was bad. “Even though our life was a lot of crazy,” says Carol, “there were times that were still functional. Decent. It wasn’t 100% insanity. I sometimes think back to that. What if I would have known how much he was boozing and drugging and not doing what was expected of him?”

“The ironic thing,” says Dan, “is I still cared about being a husband, about being a father—but I didn’t see the disconnect that you can’t really have all these things with addiction because addiction is always on top.”

FROM BAD TO WORSE

As Dan’s addiction progressed, so did his desperation for a high, and his willingness to do anything to get it.

By 2008, a physician prescribed Benzodiazepines for his worsening anxiety. When combined with alcohol, these “benzos” caused blackouts—the kind of blackouts where Dan would be talking and functioning, with no awareness or recollection of it. Dan spent an entire family vacation in Florida, blacked out for most of it.

“I just thought he was really, super, super depressed,” says Carol, who suspected Dan might just be longing for a career change. “I knew something was wrong but I didn’t really know what it was.”

It was during this period, Dan says, that he started getting crazy ideas. “One of the ideas I had is that it would be a good idea to walk into other people’s homes to see if they had painkillers.” So he did. Several times.

Eventually, the sheriff’s department caught on.

When Carol was told that her husband was being arrested for a felony trespass, she was confused. “I said, ‘Oh! Well, I think he’s trying to connect with those people for church.’”, believing what Dan had told her. “In hindsight,” she laughs, “that was so not true. But there’s probably a part of you that wants to believe it.”

ROCK BOTTOM

“At that point, I had lost all hope,” says Dan.

He checked into Hazelden (now the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation). This time, after he completed the 30-day program, the staff recommended he stay for their long-term in-patient program. He did. After 60 days in that program, they recommended he move to a sober house. He did. “I was willing to do whatever it took to save my marriage,” he says. “To save my life.”

And so, after twelve years of addiction and his third stint in treatment, Dan got sober. It was 2011, and he has been sober since.


FINDING HOPE

One thing you notice right away when you hear Dan and Carol tell their story is how cheerful and lighthearted they are. They laugh with each other about the ridiculousness of Dan’s lies and the extent of Carol’s obliviousness. They banter over the details. (“Wait, we had ceiling tiles in that house?” says Carol.) They talk passionately about the recovery process that has kept them together.

It’s clear that there has been so much healing that this story no longer evokes pain. Instead, it is a testament to hope. They both say their relationship is stronger than it’s ever been (although not perfect), and there are a few key things they say helped their marriage survive the destruction of addiction.

“Any difficult spot that you’re in now… You don’t wish it on anyone but it can only make you a stronger person for that.”

Everyone’s story is different. Here is theirs:

1. They both got help.

Carol is a big piece of why they’re still together. She didn’t leave Dan during the worst of it. (“My dad really wanted me to,” she says.) But she also didn’t leave all the recovery work in Dan’s court. If she had, Carol is the first to say she’s not sure they would be together.

“I think one of the main reasons our marriage survived,” says Carol, “is because we both got into some kind of recovery program. If Dan would have done recovery and I just would have sort of kept being my bullsh*t self, I don’t know… Maybe we’d still be together but we wouldn’t be healthy. I mean I can’t imagine what it would look like.”

She didn’t always feel that way.

Carol initially recoiled at the suggestion she might need help. “The first time I went to Al-Anon and found out we were working on the Twelve Steps, I was like, f*ck this. I’m not doing this sh*t. I am not the one with the problem,” says Carol. But, at the urging of others in the group, she gave it a chance. After six sessions, she was hooked.

Carol, herself the adult child of a now-recovered alcoholic, says “I realized how much crap I had brought with from my own childhood. As a child of an alcoholic, you just don’t know how to deal with life. I came to realize how much my father’s addiction had shaped a lot of my attitudes, how I responded to things, the expectations I had about myself, about my life…”

On top of that, says Carol, “There’s no way you can draw a line and say this is the addict’s problem and it hasn’t affected me.” Eventually, Carol says she found serenity for herself—regardless of what Dan was going to end up doing.

“That’s the epitome of what recovery is,” Dan says. “You have to start with yourself—that’s all that you have control of. You have your own behaviors and your own actions to look at. And, as you become healthier with yourself, the bonus is that you’re healthier with the other person. So if it’s working on both sides, you’re going to end up healthier together.”

2. They persisted.

For Dan, treatment required more than one round. Although this can be (and was) discouraging, it’s common. Many professionals compare addiction relapse rates to those of other chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, all of which involve both physical and behavioral aspects. The good news is – relapse does not mean failure. It just means more—or different—treatment is needed.

Returning to treatment can be humbling, but, for Dan, his persistence paid off.

Carol, too, needed to find the right support. For her, it ended up being Al-Anon, a Twelve Step program—but even that took some trial and error. One of her early Twelve Step experiences was handled very differently from others she had seen before, or since. That particular experience was “very shaming,” she says. Fortunately, she knew something was off, and she looked for better options.

Now she says, “I’m so thankful I’ve discovered and worked through Twelve Step recovery because I think it’s just good living. It’s good for anybody. It doesn’t matter if it’s related to addiction or not. We all have things in our life that that kind of rigor helps us work through.”

Still, recovery wasn’t a quick fix for either one of them.

“One thing people don’t always understand,” says Carol, “is how long working on yourself takes. It takes a really long time…to get to a place where you feel changed. It takes a long time.”

“I’m so thankful I’ve discovered and worked through Twelve Step recovery because I think it’s just good living. It’s good for anybody. It doesn’t matter if it’s related to addiction or not. We all have things in our life that that kind of rigor helps us work through.”

4. They got honest.

One of the things that’s changed in Dan and Carol’s relationship is they understand each other better. Both understand that Dan’s brain is wired in a certain way and that, for him, recovery means rewiring the pathways addiction created. Both understand that he’s still an addict—an addict in recovery.

“To this day I still have pill-seeking dreams,” says Dan. “Why do I have those? The only thing I can think of—and the language I use—is an ‘induced mental illness’. It’s an illness of the brain, which is a particular organ in the human body, and if you have a genetic component and the capacity to run in this path, when you add chemicals to it, it induces you into this insane state.”

Dan knows he’s still wired to sometimes make poor choices. “I’m still impulsive,” he says. “I still struggle with these things. I still need to work on them in myself.”

“I’m still crazy,” he adds, “that’s part of my problem.”

Carol counters, “I think we’re honest about our craziness now. We used to have a lot of untruths.“ Carol admits she used to sometimes tear people down to help herself feel more confident. Especially her husband. “I was just looking for any dumb little thing to nitpick about. Even if I had that same issue myself I was just… I could just be really mean.”

“I try not to be mean anymore,” she says, smiling, “I try to say what I want rather than be catty or hinty about it—I try to just be direct.”

Dan says, “I think the marriage has changed now because I’m healthier, because she’s healthier, and because we have a commitment to say what’s going on.”

4. They found purpose.

So where has all of that addictive energy gone these days? Dan says, “The most important thing, if you’re trying to get sober, is you need to find purpose and meaning in your life. For me, I have to create. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing or if I’m on a website studying CSS code or if I’m writing a play or any of that. I have to create and I have to continue doing that. I found that for me, it drives me. It’s enough.”

Today, as a four-time published author and freelance writer, Dan is a sought-after speaker and the brainchild behind several businesses, including two that provide creative resources to churches (rclworshipresources.com and funchurchplays.com).

“Life is pretty good,” he says. “I love doing what I’m doing. I’m pretty good at it. And it’s germane to Carol and I being together.”

These days, Carol and Dan take long walks with their dog every day. They cook, they eat out, they parent their boys (now 17 and 13), they visit open houses for inspiration. “We love our walks, we love our talks,” says Dan. “I mean, she really is my best friend.”

Carol adds, “He’s my best friend too—but we’re our own individuals as well.” She turns to Dan. “My life isn’t dependent on your life, and your life isn’t dependent on mine either. We’re able to function individually while at the same time just enjoying each other.”

5. They’re grateful.

Dan knows he’s been lucky. “The number of times I could have died!” he says, with a mix of amazement, horror, and humor.

Dan knows many addicts don’t have access to the kind of insurance that paid for his in-patient treatment three times. He knows many addicts arrested for felony trespass would never get the opportunity to eventually move on with life. He knows many addicts need more than three trips to treatment. And he knows not everyone who loves an addict can (or should) stay in the relationship as long as Carol did.

His gratefulness is palpable.

“The irony,” says Dan, “is that where we are now is because of all the difficult times we went through. I think that’s a word of hope. Any difficult spot that you’re in now… You don’t wish it on anyone but it can only make you a stronger person for that.”

“But only if you do the work,” adds Carol, with a smile.

Dan and Carol Maurer on a recent trip to Alaska

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Author’s note: Interviewing this exceptional couple left me with a range of emotions and insights. I suspect it may do the same for others. I have known and loved more than one addict. At some points early on, it would have been incredibly helpful for me to know there were others struggling with similar issues, to know where to begin finding help, and—especially—to know recovery was possible, for myself and also for the addict.

I hope this article offers a glimpse of that hope to you. To learn more about Dan Maurer and his journey, visit Transformation is Real. To learn more about addiction, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, and Twelve Step resources, follow the links.

 

Image sources: 1/ 2


Julie Rybarczyk is a freelance writer, fair-weather blogger, and well-intentioned mom who has almost never remembered to send lunch money to school. She’s perpetually the chilliest person living in Minneapolis—so most of the year you’ll find her under layers of wool, behind steaming cups of tea. Or at shortsandlongs.net.

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Lifestyle

Five Ways to Turn Your Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day into a Better One

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When was the last time you woke up in a mood and was impossible to shake? Today? Yesterday? Last week? Yeeeeeeeeep. We’ve all been there and it certainly doesn’t help to have someone else point it out. (Sorry!)

 The other day I was driving to work and found myself behind a woman who possessed all the qualities I cannot STAND about a driver. She took her sweet time turning corners and stopped in the middle of the road to let someone cross the street (even though it was not a crosswalk). So when I saw her turn her blinker on to get in line at Starbucks on Marshall and Selling (my desintation— shout out STP), I knew things between me and this lady were going to get heated. To give some context, I live near the most poorly planned drive-thru I have ever seen in my life. Every day there is a police officer on site directing traffic because it is so bad. But I need a venti Americano with an extra shot in order to live, so I endure it daily. I could tell by the amount of time it took her to turn her car into the line and her confusion about where to put her car that she was going to piss a line of very tired people off. At one point I was waving my arms, pointing to where she was supposed to line up so other drivers could exit; telling her to pull forward so other cars could pass by and park. She ignored my waving and huffing and puffing. 15 Minutes later and the longest Starbucks order later (naturally), I place my obnoxious order and drive up to the window only to have the barista tell me…the woman I was verbally shooing and gasping about had bought my coffee. As I looked up to see her lock eyes with me. I waved politely and she gave me a genuine smile.

And MAN, did I feel like a DICK. As I should have. I was flaming mad about nothing of importance. I was mad about nothing I could control. Worse— I was trying to control things (AND PEOPLE!) I had no business controlling. I was in a rush and just mad about living that day and it felt like I had been given a free pass to be an asshole to a stranger. And she seemed to know it.

Her kindness evaporated my bad attitude in a second and I promptly paid for the person behind me, exiting with a proverbial tail between my legs.

To this day I think about this incident a lot when I wake up with little patience for temper tantrums and the day-to-day slog of it all. Sometimes it feels like my inbox is shouting at me that the world is LITERALLY on fire. It’s not fun but part of riding that emotional wave of being human.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but as a hot-headed impatient person, I thought I’d share a couple tips for being a little more bearable when you’re just having a DAY.

1. Do something nice for a stranger. It is so easy to do and if all of us emulated what this lady did for me, I bet you there would be far fewer scowling faces in line at the ‘Bucks.

2. Give a co-worker a compliment, and really mean it. When you’re feeling bad about yourself it is easy to let that energy simmer throughout the day. Have a pleasant exchange with someone you are working with is a great way to stop obsessing over your own problems by treating someone the way you wish were treating yourself.

3. Clear your schedule and make room for what you need. The other day I left the office at 2 pm on a Thursday, booked a hotel in a neighboring small town, had a cheeseburger and beer all to myself and a night alone in bed. I gave myself some time to just ride that emotional wave instead of suppressing it as its intensity was getting stronger.

4. Talk it out on tape. I’ve started utilizing voice memos when I need to work through a problem. This was something I did when I was in therapy and hearing myself talk through my fears made them seem a lot smaller than how it sounded in my head.

5. Cuddle a puppy. Seriously. Works every time. And if you can’t find a willing fur baby or are allergic to animals, spend an hour watching whatever makes you laugh online. Just set a time and make a deal with yourself that you won’t spend the whole day avoiding the world.

6. Surprise! If none of these things work and you still hate everything— spend all day looking at stupid videos online and try again tomorrow.

Any tips to share with us? Embarrassing stories of being called out for being “that person”? Or are you that poor woman I was trying to rush in line at Starbucks? If so, I FORGIVE and thank you for putting things in perspective with your kindness.

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Lifestyle

The Best Places to Find Affordable Art these Days

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Much to the dismay of my partner, I’m always moving things around in my house and finding new nooks and crannies to redecorate. Perhaps it’s because I’m craving a new project or that I’m just getting a little restless! I’ve been thinking a lot about picking up and moving to the country, which gets my mind going in a million directions. I’ve been pondering – should we buy or should we build? How many new pieces of furniture will we need for our larger space? What types of art will we need to purchase for our cascading blank walls? What STYLE do I want to bring into this new space? All of these questions led me back to the core of why I love interiors: they are a reflection of who we’ve been and who we are becoming. Nothing speaks more truth to this than the art we bring into our homes. Since we are forever on a budget, I put together an eclectic list of inspiring artists that are creating and selling affordable art online right now. If you’re looking for that special piece or hoping to complete your gallery wall, look no further we have you covered! I always love hearing what new artists are catching people’s eye, let us know who you’re loving on in comments below. We will add them to our list for future features!

Prince by Kate Worum on Etsy

Kate Worum – is a local, Minneapolis illustrator that is known for her fun and funky designs and colorful-caricature-like illustrations, you can see more of her work on Etsy.

Natural Habitat by Abbey Lossing on Society 6

Abbey Lossing – is an NYC based illustrator (and Junior Art Director at BuzzFeed!!) who created colorful and powerful illustrations that often celebrate women and diversity. She sells on Society 6, which is a great place to go for a wide variety of art at a really affordable price!

A Porch by Actual Footage of Me on actualfootageofme.com

The work by Actual Footage of Me is effortlessly simple, graphic-like, and seems to always tell a story. Niki also is a certified giffy artist so you can sprinkle her designs on your Instagram Story!

Oh Island in the sun by Alarah Gee on Tappan Collective

Tappan Collective has a unique online collection of contemporary art – often minimalist and earthy-toned with refreshing pops of color. There is something for everyone.

She Began VIII by Caroline Walls on carolinewalls.com

Caroline Walls‘ collection She Began is a beautiful screen-printed celebration of the human form.

No Matter What Print by CDR (Christopher David Ryan) on hellocdr.com

CDR makes art straight from his imagination; the whimsical and playful essence of his characters jump off the page. His art is perfect for a kid’s room!

Color Streak by Kiersten Garner on minted.com

Minted.com is a curated collection of artists showing their best, from photography to abstract color stories.

Black Women + Good Grain. photo book by Deun Ivory on deunivory.me

Art in the form of a book for your coffee table! Deun Ivory is an immensely talented visual storyteller who’s work is an effortless celebration of black womanhood.

Let’s Go For a Swim by Emily Quandahl on emilyquandahl.com or @emilyquandahlart

Emily Quandahl is a fellow Minnesotan and master of color. Her abstract paintings are a perfect marriage of unhinged color explosions and carefully considered editing and composition.

Mushroom Print by Shop With & Delight on shopwitanddelight.com

This is one of my personal prints that came straight out of my sketchbook. You can shop all my prints on shopwitanddelight.com. I’m currently in the process of creating quite a few more, so stay tuned.

Welcome to the City of Champions by Play Type on The Poster Club

Play Type is a Danish online type foundry created by design agency, e-Types. They started the first ever typography store in Copenhagen, selling products celebrating type like this poster. The Poster Club is a super affordable collection of modern posters – and they sell frames too!

24 Sisters Print by Jen Collins on shop.jen-collins.com

Jen Collins has a delightful and unique illustration style. You can find anything from pins to totes on her site!

Dusky Floral Art Print by Dylan M on Society 6

Bold, retro, and fun! Dylan M sells her work via Society 6 but she is also available for art licensing and design services!

Bedroom Corner by Mary Finlayson on paintedmary.com

Printed Mary is a collection of colorful still life’s set to brighten up any room. She sells prints, rugs, and paintings on her site.

Silk Tree of Life on St. Frank

We love the repurposed vintage textiles sold on St. Frank. They also sell a variety of art objects, decor and beautiful patterns.

Worksheet #19 by Scott Sueme on Uprise Art

Uprise Art is a place for the next generation of art collectors – they have pieces in all price ranges from all different kinds of emerging artists.

U.S Cities Print on Variety Show

The Variety Show is a small design studio and online shop run by a husband and wife duo, Amber and Mike Asay. Their collection is perfect touch to add a little more wanderlust to any room.

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Lifestyle

Seven Things I’ve Learned as a Beautiful Woman Who is Not Beautiful

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Reconciling ownership of my body has always been a funny thing for me. I grew up knit into the context of chronic illness and failing organs, a landscape of scar tissue and ‘not quite right’. Over the years, it has afforded me the opportunity of observing myself from a near-clinical perspective. For quite some time now, any conclusions I’ve made when standing in front of a mirror have been relatively emotionless, no different from the data delivered at the end of a physical examination. Through it all, I have developed an opinion that is simultaneously strict and appreciative, a viewpoint that remains completely detached from the psychology of Things I Should Feel Uncomfortable About. Holding tight to this awareness of myself, I have come to several realizations. Here is a list of seven things I’ve learned as a beautiful woman who is not beautiful.

I Cannot Alter This Skin

It’s the bottom line I always return to: I am what I am what I am. And at the end of the day, when all attempts of correction are stripped away, I need to have peace with what’s left. In the moments when I am fully present within myself, I am determined to maintain gratitude for this broken body that I walk in. Each imperfection is here to stay. And it feels worthwhile to find redemption in that.

Internal Confidence Carries

I do not look much different now than I did in college. In fact, I can pretty much still pass for the sixteen-year-old girl smiling back at me from my first driver’s license. With that said, my loved ones would attest that I am indeed quite different from the woman I was even just one year ago. Where my eyes used to turn downwards, slowly, I am meeting the eye of my neighbor. I am growing more certain of myself, more certain of my work. I am loud and brave in ways that were completely foreign to me just last week. Every day, I am coming into this existence. And with each unexpected smile, as my arms fall from their permanent cross against my chest, I am shifting. I still look the same. But I’m growing into a new version of myself, a version that’s not quite so busy negotiating with her doubts and insecurities. And trust me, it’s noticeable. I’m carrying a new weight with me every time I enter a room, one that people are choosing to pay attention to. And I can promise that it has nothing to do with my external appearance.

We Need to Re-Frame ‘Beautiful’

The moment I dance around the idea that I do indeed fall short of society’s unreachable standards, people are so quick to jump to my defense.

It comes out like a reflex – Oh stop, you’re beautiful!! No, I mean it!!

It begs the question: why is it so horrible for a woman to stand as something different from the ideal? Is that such an uncomfortable concept that people need to trip over themselves in an effort to argue otherwise? Of course, I understand that this response is never coming from a malicious mindset. Still, I think it’s important to flesh out this impulse (which I am also prone to, by the way). Perhaps the root of the problem is not people claiming that of course I’m beautiful, it’s the intention they hold the word to. Most often, their version of beautiful is not an attribute I’m willing to welcome. Not until beautiful sounds less like ‘beautiful’ and more like ‘human’. I do not look like the everyday models of my generation. I am far from them. And that is a perfectly acceptable thing to be. It comes down to knowing the difference between ‘beautiful’ and beautiful (which is not to say that a person cannot be both). So before you attempt to convince me that I am the former, consider the idea that I am not; that I do not need to be. And even without it, I am whole.

At the end of the day, our bodies are just bodies

We are living in a movement of self-love for all of womankind. And it is liberating and necessary and wonderful. But with body-positivity comes a strange pressure. In some sense, it has become a game of who feels the most confident in themselves. It has often left me tired as I try to psyche myself up to believe that whoops, turns out I do feel super hot after all! That’s never really been my goal, so why do I feel forced into it? Why do I feel this need to reroute my brain into false affirmations? If I’m going to love my body, I want it to be my body I’m loving. Not me, within the often oppressive walls of social media. Not me, under the pressure that I should be more confident in myself. But me. Me, in the shower late at night when I feel much quieter, much less. That is when it feels most vital for me to offer affection towards the weight of my own insignificant self, the rare gift of cracking joints and scar tissue, and the unkempt flesh that holds it all together.

I want to love my body as a body, not as an image or an aesthetic or a hype game. Just me in all of my me-ness. Just me, and this body that is trying its best. I don’t know, it’s possible that I’m the only woman who has ever struggled with this. But I think the point I’m trying to make is that, eventually, you need to put in effort to understand the form of self-love that best sustains you. For once, without looking at the women beside you, take the time to define your own sense of reverence for this miracle, this body, that will continue to carry you through all that remains.

I’d Rather Be Busy Elsewhere

Don’t we all have better things to be worrying about than that one tiny imperfection? The one that no one else is going notice? It sometimes floors me how much time I have invested into self-study. While at times therapeutic and worthwhile, it is also, for the most part, a distraction. A way to pull me far from true value, true vulnerability. Our flesh is so temporary, quite literally changing from day to day. Which is not just true for ourselves, but for everyone around us. Why are we so deeply intrenched in our own corner of self-scrutiny? I would rather be busy elsewhere. I would rather be investing in something that will survive us all.

Look Outward Look Outward Look Outward

Here are some activities where I feel intuitively beautiful and feminine – Walking through the Minneapolis Institute of Art alone. Writing and creating in an afternoon coffee shop. Talking with my girlfriends late at night, long after the persuasion of sleep has crept in. I feel most beautiful when interacting with this life that surrounds us. So I’m trying to do more of that. Because the image I keep hoping to see in the mirror? She’s never going to show up. But still, without fail, I greet her within me every single day – she is the way I respond to art and humanity. She is the rare and precious awareness that comes only when studying something that is distinctly outside of myself. I want to learn more of her. And it’s not going to happen while looking into the empty reflection of my bathroom mirror. So why would I bother to look there at all?

You Can Do Beautiful Things Without Being Beautiful

It sounds overstated in this day and age, but I cannot end this without saying it – your appearance is the least interesting thing about you. Go out into the world. Be something more. You can do beautiful things without being beautiful. You can be beautiful without being told so. True beauty is you, refusing to bend to the contradictions.

Don’t let yourself pause. Don’t give them time to let it matter. Just go. I can promise this – the beauty will follow.

 

Illustration by Anna Jeter via @anna.lisbeth


Anna Jeter is a poet, artist, and full-time observer living in Excelsior, MN. You can follow her on Instagram @anna.lisabeth, rambling passionately about flowers, death, and the wonder found in-between. She’s really just happy to be here.

 

 

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Lifestyle

Objects In Motion Stay In Motion

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Newton’s first law of motion – sometimes referred to as the law of inertia states that an object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. This, of course, applies to actual physical things and phenomenons like throwing a ball, riding a bike, gravity, etc. but it also very much so applies to our mind state and how we move through life. In my last post, I talked about taking care of your sh*t, or essentially developing habits that will allow you to better tune in to your highest most powerful self. Just like how gravity affects the trajectory of a baseball flying through the air, our thoughts, actions, reactions, choices, etc. affect our trajectory in life. We’re in a constant state of learning, adapting and growing – it’s a pretty beautiful thing.

The difference between our relationship with the law of motion vs. nature’s? We can’t really choose to not be in motion, but we can choose what that motion looks like. As far as nature goes, things sort of just are the way they are (to a certain extent). Gravity doesn’t give you a choice – aside from creating the illusion there is no gravity (e.g., gravitron aka the best ride at any fair) or if you just so happen to be in space (#goals). Take into consideration nature’s most basic example of how Newton’s Law works – picture someone holding a ball out in front of them and letting go – the ball will most certainly fall to the ground; the unbalanced force (aka the ground) has stopped the ball from moving forward. Now, let’s take a second and envision yourself as this ball – you can’t really choose to not be in motion, aside from death, we are always moving forward – time is always moving forward. As a conscious being, you can choose what this movement looks like – you can break through the metaphorical ground (i.e., any given obstacle in your life) or course-correct and head in another direction. You can choose to be in a constant state of learning, growth and change.  

Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to just be (or at least to try and just be)that can be a very beautiful thing – but don’t forget about the ‘unbalanced force’ I mentioned above. In the case of the ball, the unbalanced force is the ground – in our case? It could be anything – a breakup, loss, gain, good change or bad. Again, these things don’t stop you (though sometimes we feel stuck), time is always moving on; we are always almost forced to be in motion, metaphorically bumping into things, learning, picking up the pieces and moving forward. Unlike the baseball, this is not a linear path we are on, but rather one with many twists and turns. Life can get messy, especially considering the world we live in – things are moving so fast, it’s hard to keep up. 

You might feel helpless sometimes, like time is just moving on without you, but recognize that you have the ultimate say in what happens in your life. You have the capability to do anything you want, and you should; take the dance class you’ve been wanting to try, apply for the job that seems like a bit of a stretch, start your own business, move to a new city, enroll in a class about something you’re interested in. Don’t be afraid to live the life you’ve imagined. It’s not only about what happens to you, it’s about the force that you are as an individual and your affect on the world around you. We can’t really choose to not be in motion, but we can choose what that motion looks like – your journey begins and ends with you. Stay in a continuous state of learning and appreciating where you’ve been, where you’re going and everything in-between. Know that this moment right now is just another opportunity for you to make a positive impact on the world around you.

You are the decision maker, the mover and the creator. The world is yours – reach out and take it.


Katie Weed is an anthropologist and philosopher at heart. A freelance writer, brand manager, and social media strategist by day. She’s usually one of three places: outside (most likely with her 9-month-old puppy, Finn), taking photos of said puppy, or at the gym. She resides in South Minneapolis.

 

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Lifestyle

The Benefits of CBD Hemp Oil for Dogs

The Benefits of CBD Hemp Oil for Dogs

Just like any dog owner, you want only the best for your furry little kid. CBD hemp oil is beneficial not just for people, but for dogs as well. Dogs can benefit in many of the same ways as humans when given CBD. Keep reading to learn some general information about CBD hemp oil and some of the benefits it can offer to your dog. 

What is CBD hemp oil?  

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil comes from cannabis plants. Before you close this window, know that it will not make your dog high. This is because CBD hemp oil does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance in marijuana that makes the user high. On the other hand, CBD has a completely different effect on the body. CBD is widely used to treat pain caused by multiple sclerosis. It is also used to treat rare forms of epilepsy, even in children.  

CBD oil is often sourced from the hemp plant, rather than the marijuana plant. While these two plants are closely related and belong to the same genus, they are very different in many ways. Hemp contains high levels of CBD and miniscule levels of THC, while marijuana contains much more THC. For this reason, CBD hemp oil contains little to no THC, and therefore causes no psychoactive effects. CBD oil sourced from hemp is shown to possess the same beneficial effects as CBD oil sourced from marijuana, as the active ingredient is the same. 

How can CBD help your dog? 

Dog owners have claimed to notice a remarkable difference in their beloved pets after giving them CBD oil. The only down side to giving dogs CBD is that it may make them sleepy. It can also increase in the dog’s appetite, though this can be positive or negative depending on the dog’s needs. CBD hemp oil contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are essential to maintain healthy skin in humans and shiny coats in dogs. These two nutrients regulate many vital functions in your dog. They also play a significant role in the building of muscles and soft tissue. In other words, they are essential for your dog’s health, especially if they have recently undergone surgery.

The endocannabinoid system

The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is an internal system found in both humans and dogs composed of endocannabinoids, which are compounds that regulate many biological processes such as pain-sensation, pregnancy, fertility, mood, and memory. Just like most mammals, dogs can naturally produce endocannabinoids by consuming foods such as fish that contain fatty acids. However, they are unlikely to produce enough on their own. This is why supplements are beneficial for both humans and dogs. 

Overall Health  

A recent survey was conducted to study dog owners’ perception about the use of CBD oil. 632 dog parents were chosen for this study. 77.6% of the participants said that they would confidently use this product if prescribed by their veterinarian. A whopping 90% believed that it is safe to use.  

Although seasoned veterinarians sparingly recommend the use of CBD, some are willing to prescribe it to their patients, especially if the dog suffers from inflamed joints. Some veterinarians recommend CBD oil because it contains vitamin E, an essential nutrient for building muscles and healing injuries. Vitamin E also improves the health of your dog’s skin and coat, making their fur shiny and relieving dry skin. CBD can strengthen your dog’s immune system and improve their energy levels. CBD hemp oil should only be used as a supplement, as dogs are natural carnivores and must eat meat.  

The use of CBD as a supplement for dogs is still in its early stages. However, several dog lovers have already experienced the positive effect CBD oil can have on their dogs. CBD hemp oil contains Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids as well as Vitamin E – essential nutrients for maintaining a healthy coat, teeth, nails, and brain. CBD can also help your dog recover from wounds and improve their appetite. As mentioned earlier, your dog may become sleepier when taking CBD, however many people report no obvious negative effects in their dogs.  

Talk to your veterinarian before starting your dog on any CBD supplement. 

For more information on CBD and its uses, check out New Labs CBD’s blog. 

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Lifestyle

Every Woman’s Guide to the Perfect Swimsuit

Every Woman’s Guide to the Perfect Swimsuit

Finding the perfect plus size bikini swimsuit can be a challenging and daunting task. There are so many styles to choose from, where do you even begin? The summer season is coming up and it’s time to start shopping for your ideal summer attire. There are a few tips that can help you find the perfect swimsuit for every body type whether you are curvy or tall and boyish. 

Recognize your body shape 

First you need to identify your body shape. No two women have the same exact shape and you should take pride in your body. a properly fit swimsuit can give you confidence to show off your body. Most of us will not look like a swimsuit model from a magazine and that’s ok. This is an important step because there are certain bikinis that look best on certain body types. For example, a bikini with ruffles can add some more volume for women with smaller bust lines. A tiny, string bikini can accentuate large or wide hips. 

Find the right fit

Stores will often allow you to try on your bathing suit in the store. Trying it on before you buy is ensures that your suit will fit. Stay away from a suit that is too tight because it will make you look bigger and a swimsuit that is too lose can fall off or make your body look saggy. It is also important that you are comfortable in your plus size bikini. 

Bring a friend along

Bathing suit shopping can be painful, especially if you haven’t quite hit the gym as much as you had planned around New Year’s. Sometimes it is a good idea to bring a friend or two along for some extra opinions. Your friends may give you some useful suggestions and you may be pleasantly surprised. We are often our own harshest critic.

Find the proper support 

Make sure you are properly supported when you put on your bikini. For example, a larger bust may be more suited for a V-neck halter top compared to a string bikini top because it gives better support. This will allow you to be comfortable to move around the beach or the pool without worrying about exposing too much. Bikinis come in a variety of styles and shapes. Some offer more coverage while others can be quite revealing. A perfect swimsuit will create a symmetrical and proportionate figure. 

Get your swimsuit based on what looks best on your body type 

1. Hour-Glass- FigureThanksto your body shape, you can look great in just about everything! Try to pick one that accentuates your natural curves – a two-piece is an ideal choice! Avoid ones that are too tight or too small, as they have the tendency to flatten your shape and look unflattering. 

2. TriangleShape- Since you have narrow shoulders, you focus on accentuating your upper torso. Light color printed bikini tops with a deep neck work well. Contrast that with a dark bottom to bring some balance to the body.  

3. InvertedTriangle- Match a halter neck top with a full-size bikini bottom. A bottom that has the right frills will add some weight to your lower half. Remember, your focus is to balance out the upper and lower torso. 

4. Apple Shape- With a beautiful rounded figure like yours, shop for a one-piecesuit that shows off your best features while flattening your tummy. You’ve been endowed with a big bust, so ensure that your swimsuit has underwire. 

5. Athletic Shape- Aim for all kinds of frills and extra fabric that will develop the illusion of a curvier body. Show off the shoulder and opt for low-cut necks. This will add some volume to your top and bottom and that’s exactly what you should be going for.

6. Rectangular Shape- A one-piece swimsuit is perfect for flaunting the rectangular body structure. A little detailing, a cutout or belt can be the fun add-on in your plus size swimsuit. A strapless top and plunging neckline will make the bust look fuller.

No matter what shape you are, swimwear can perfectly flatter your body when you are strolling around on the beach. If you know what body type you have, you will be able to flaunt it with confidence. When you are going to buy plus size swimsuit from a shop, you can get suggestions from the shop attendants and the experts. 

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Lifestyle

The Importance And Benefits of Swimming for Youth

The Importance and Benefits of Swimming for Youth

Youth and swimming 

Swimming is an important skill for your child to have because it may one day save their life. It is important to introduce children to water early to ensure they develop a comfortable relationship with being in the water. Becoming comfortable with swimming opens up a multitude of opportunities for your child in the realm of water-based sports such as surfing, competitive swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and rowing. 

The ability to swim at least 25 meters confidently is part of the UK National Curriculum concerned with water safety and swimming competence. This program also includes every child learning to save themselves from several common water-based dangers before finishing primary school. This is a fantastic program with high aims, but due to budgetary concerns, their goals are frequently unable to be made reality, resulting in increasing numbers of British children being unable to swim. According to Swim Group, as of 2017 about 31 percent of Year 6 pupils finish the term unable to swim or lacking basic knowledge about water safety. Additionally, roughly two-thirds of parents believe that their child would be unable to get themselves out of water-related danger. 

Before starting lessons in order to create the best possible experience for your child with swimming, it is important to get your child used to water before signing them up for lessons. The simplest way to do this is to acquaint your child with water by helping them get used to touching the water- just wet their face in a bath or small pool once they are able to support themselves sitting up. 

Next, encourage your child to copy your own comfort with water by lowering your face into the water and coming up smiling. Then start blowing bubbles in the water to express further enjoyment and to provoke curiosity. You will also need to teach your child to prevent inhaling water by closing their mouth and humming. To help toddlers advance both their confidence and competence in water while preparing them for formal lessons you should allow them to float in the water while providing support and introduce them to the pool where they will engage in lessons to promote comfort with the environment. Once your child has become comfortable with the pool, they will have more confidence in learning to swim from an instructor. 

Starting formal lessons 

A child can learn to swim from any age but will benefit most from beginning lessons around age four. Seek out local instructors or inquire among friends, or on social media forums to find a good instructor that will meet both your needs and your child’s needs. England’s Learn to Swim Framework details stages of learning to swim which will help you become acquainted with the skills necessary for safe water enjoyment. Some of these skills are flotation and balance, orientation and rotation, and aquatic breathing. Benefits of having a personal pool. 

If you have a pool at your home you have given your child a huge head start on being comfortable with water and learning to swim. This will also allow you to hire a swim instructor to come to your home to give your child lessons. This type of one-on-one attention will boost your child’s abilities far ahead of their peers. Having a pool is also fantastic for hosting parties and keeping children occupied with fun during the summer. Having a pool at home will also promote fitness since even just playing in the water is an excellent exercise. Swim Safe summer program for children 7 to 14. 

This programmer provides free swimming and safety lessons sponsored by Swim England. The lessons are taught by qualified instructors and trained volunteers. To participate in the program children must be from 7 to 14 years of age, and able to swim at least 25 meters. It is also required that a parent or guardian remain present for the entirety of each session. Sessions are 60 minutes each and take place at a variety of locations such as beaches, lakes, and pools. Maintaining an interest in swimming with older children. 

Frequently, once children enter secondary school they begin to lose interest in swimming and watersports, often describing water activities as a bit pointless.’ To maintain older children’s interest in watersports, try visiting outdoor water parks with obstacle courses. These are better suited to the skill level and confidence older children will possess and will challenge them to continue to progress.

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Lifestyle

Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency with Stylish Window Treatments

Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency with Stylish Window Treatments

Functionality and aesthetics don’t usually blend well, but there are occasions where they do. If you are planning to spruce up your home while increasing its comfort, space, lighting and energy efficiency then you may want to visit a few window treatment stores.

Although window treatment is usually associated with aesthetic renovations, they also have a few functional features, such as reducing heat during summer and helping to drive down heat loss during winter. Moreover, window treatment can also be used to improve the durability of your home’s windows while improving their ability to deflect or amplify sunlight.

However, to take advantage of such features you will need the services of professional window treatment professionals. Not only can they provide you with the window treatment products you need, they can also advice you on how to keep your expenses to a minimum.

Best Flooring is one of the leading window treatment stores in the industry. We offer a wide variety of products and services to optimize any home’s windows. Here are three examples of window treatments that our company can offer you.

Organic and Dual Shade Blinds

Window shades are some of the most basic types of window treatments around, right up there with ordinary curtains. Not only are they easy to use and install, they can also control the amount of heat that enter or leave most types of rooms.

When mounted close to the glass, window shades create a sealed air space, and in the case of dual shades, they have the added feature of having highly reflected surfaces on one side and heat absorbing materials on the other, both of which are tremendously important in managing natural light. For families who live in either cold or warm climes, such features can be tremendously beneficial.

For those of you who prefer environmentally friendly options, however, organic shades are a good option. These shades are made from organic materials, like bamboo, wood and various light materials, to help control light and heat without the use of metallic or plastic materials.

Drapes

Drapes are the window treatment of choice for those who prefer subtle elegance over anything else. However, just because they are designed primarily for aesthetics doesn’t mean that they don’t have any functionality.

Different drapes are made from different types of fabrics, such as velvet, damask, suede, leather and silks. Although each of these materials are generally well-regarded, they have different properties when it comes to insulating heat. The same is also true for more affordable drapes made from less expensive materials. Ask a few window treatment stores if you require more information on the matter.

Of course, if you want drapes for purely aesthetic purposes then the color, patterns and designs are the only things you’ll need to think about. Cool colors, such as teal or soft green are not only ideal for bright rooms, they can also insulate the heat coming from outside. For rooms with dark shades of color, gold and orange are good colors to consider, and they also look good during warm summer afternoons, which can be quite useful for darker rooms.

Automated Shutters

Finally, if you’re more technologically inclined then automated shutters are a good choice for you. Not only do they have a minimalist look, they also have plain and simple designs that work well on most types of windows, and of course, they are automated.

Ordinary shutters have a handful of advantages over other types of window treatments. They offer protection against harsh weather, thermal shock and perhaps most important of all, they don’t take up a lot of space. They can also be used to secure windows against burglars, which is an added benefit.

Automated shutters take these features and makes them easier to operate through remote switches or even mobile apps. The only downside is that these types of shutters are only useful for smaller windows, and they cost more too. However, if you’re prepared to spend a little money they can be quite useful.

Finding the Best Window Treatments

These are three good examples of very popular window treatments. If you are interested in installing a few of them on your own windows, or even if you just want more information, then you should contact Best Flooring today or visit us at bestflooring.com.

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