Monday, June 10, 2013

Your Questions: Answered

Today I'm taking the time to answer some of your questions for me. Go ahead and read through these answers and if you still have questions for me about my everyday life, school journey, future career/plans, please ask in the comments! Thank you so much for the thoughtful questions. You gals really made me think, reflect and grow by answering these.

How did you feel when you had to decide what to study? Did they tell you that you won't get any jobs when you first started? What do you expect from the job market when you graduate soon?
I think I am in the minority, in that I've essentially always known I wanted to be in some sort of design field. In high school I wrote a report on my grandma who is also an interior designer, and that is what really solidified my passion for interior design.  I felt really confident about choosing to study this in college. I know it's not something people normally get a Bachelor's degree in, but I absolutely adore people, the home, design, pretty things, solving problems and improving life for people and families through their home, so I knew this was something I would be happy doing the rest of my life.

 I was never told by my professors that I wouldn't find a job, but friends and strangers will sometimes give me skeptical looks and ask "what will you be doing with your degree once you graduate?" I always laugh at that question, because I just know something will always work out career-wise if I work hard, make good networking connections and continue to grow in my talent.  I'm not saying that it will always be easy to be a designer in a shaky economy-- it won't! But I am so confident that if I'm pursing what I love, God will provide.  One of the things I'm planning on doing when I do eventually launch my own business is offering event design and styling in addition to interiors. This will hopefully provide more business in slow months.

How do you decorate a home in the current trends (ex: lots of whites and bright color/pattern) yet not make it so trendy that you will have to redecorate when the trend changes again?
I just love this question! My advice is to invest in the big, neutral pieces of furniture.  Your sofa, chair, media center, coffee table can be fairly neutral and classic. Bring the trendy pieces in the room by adding curtains, pillows, a cute rug, funky side table, art, etc.  The smaller items tend to be less money, and therefore, won't kill you to spruce things up when trends change.  Paint is always easy to change and is arguably the best way to make a big impact on a budget.  Classic pieces of furniture will never go out of style (ie. a neutral sofa with clean lines, wood coffee table)

And of course, always buy pieces you truly love! Don't buy things because you think they are on trend; that will not fulfill your decorating desire.  Collect things over time, fill your home with pieces of meaning and items that you genuinely feel connected to.

What piece of advice would you give to those still studying in college? How do you handle the ups and downs in life? And what's your number one source of inspiration and motivation, outside of family?
To those still studying in college I would say work hard, make a few close friends, think of your future (but not too much-- still enjoy the present!), and really dig deep to find out what fills your soul with joy. In my short 22 years of life, I've experienced a few ups and downs, some that I've even shared here on my blog. My faith in God, knowing that He has a great plan for my life, and remembering that I'm here to serve other people is what gets me through the hard times. God is always faithful. Always! Jesus is my number one source of inspiration, motivation and joy. Nature, my cute pup, friends, family and photographs are all close seconds :)

I wish you the job you want in the location you want...where and what is that?
There are so many things I want to do! Location is easy. I would hope to stay close to my family and live in the Bay Area, CA, however, if I was called somewhere else, I would consider it.  I would love to work for a designer full time to gain experience and knowledge. I would also be happy working for a shelter magazine in styling, being a freelance stylist, event designer, author of a cute coffee table book, and owner of an adorable home decor boutique. That's me dreaming!

Are you going to open your own amazing biz?
Well, thank you sweet Amanda for this question! I hope to have my very own, full-fledged  design company open for business in two or three years. Between now and then, I have a lot to learn and hope to work for a talented designer in the Bay Area. Thinking of starting my own business gives me the the best way possible.

This summer I will be continuing to work for the adorable home decor boutique, Lulu & Georgia and interning for Rue Magazine. Dream job!

I guess my question for you would be, what do you wish you had accomplished and what were the things you learned the most in your last two years of college? 
Hmm...this is a hard one! I wish I was involved in more groups and/or clubs back at my school in Seattle. I also wish I had joined my church community group way sooner, as it made such a huge impact on my life.  At the time I never really thought I'd be good a going away to study abroad, but looking back, I really wish I had taken the chance to get my bootie over to Europe for some serious design inspiration.

The last two years I've learned a lot about love and loosing love, trusting that God is faithful to meet me where I am. I've learned I am selfish by nature and need to focus on serving other people more, loving better. I've learned the root to joy is thanksgiving, that I can do anything for 10 weeks (this is how I would get through every quarter of school!), Los Angeles is not where I want to live and raise a family, and finally, I learned the importance of family and close friends. Good community is key to doing life well.  

Have you ever done any decorating projects on a volunteer basis, such as for a women and children's shelter or for people transitioning out of homelessness and into independent housing?
When I was a freshman, our class went to repaint and fix up a theatre in Seattle. It was really fun to give back and see how happy the owners of the theatre were. I haven't done any women or children's shelter yet, but this is definitely something on my list of to-do's! I'm hoping to join the Habitat for Humanity team at my church in the Bay Area, and hope to partner with a fellow designer in the Bay Area to bring great design to a children's shelter. This is what life is all about, and I'm excited about doing projects like these in the near future!

What has been the key for blogging success or how did you realized this could grow big. Do you plan your posts, do you have a schedule?
I'm not really sure what exactly has gotten me to this point today and I definitely don't have it figured out! You can read this post on Blogging 101 with many helpful blogging tips.  Yes, my posts are planned a month in advance, because being in school has forced me to stay organized. I write all my posts on the weekends so the week is dedicated to homework. Keeping an editorial calendar of posts helps me make sure I am spreading out my content, staying creative, getting good photos of projects and keeping my school stress under control.

Are there any programs in the States that you recommend or would advise against for interior design? Do you feel that taking a certificate program over a degree would be a waste?
 Whether you get a four year degree in interior design or a certificate from a trade school, I think it's important you just go to school for design. There is so much to learn and you want to offer your clients the most value you can!  You should be a master at your craft. The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising is a good program. I haven't heard many good things about the Art Institutes, though. I loved my bachelor's program at Seattle Pacific University.

How did you manage to acquire all of those things while you were in college and on a budget? I'm working a lot and have to pay rent, bills, etc but I am moving into a new apartment next month and I am so excited to decorate it, but I feel like it will put a dent in my bank account. Help! :)
Luckily for us, my roommate's dad is a builder and stages his houses once they're finished, so we were able to borrow furniture from his storage unit of left over furniture.  Freshman year I was in the dorms, sophomore year I lived in a furnished campus apartment and junior year I lived in a house with two roommates who also brought all our furniture from their family's storage.  I've been really blessed in that way!  When I did have to buy furniture for my bedroom, I went straight to consignment shops, the local Farmer's Market, and Ikea.  For accessories, I looked for sales at West Elm, Anthropologie and even snagged some pieces at Target. There's a big DIY bug inside me, so I also enjoyed repurposing furniture I found at Goodwill or HomeGoods

Also know that it won't come together right away. The design of your apartment might take months, and that's okay. It's fun. Enjoy the decorating process and collect things you adore.

How do you feel about Christians drinking? I've seen you profess faith in Jesus, but I've also seen you drink alcoholic beverages, and it confuses me a little. Do you think it might be confusing for an unbeliever to see you talk about your Christian lifestyle one minute, then see you living a typical "worldly" lifestyle the next?
This is such an interesting question, and one that I feel really strongly about. There are a few different views on this topic. I love Jesus with all my heart and strive to live my life to honor Him. As Christian's we are not banned from alcoholic beverages, but instead God asks us not to be drunk and give up our state of mind.  A tasty drink with close friends in a classy setting is totally acceptable to me. I've never been drunk (nor do I plan to be!) and hopefully others looking in on my life will see that Christianity isn't a list of "no's", it's learning that we are free in Christ. I try to glorify Him through my words and actions, and do not think alcohol is bad. Yes, it can lead to some not-so-good things, so that's why when I do have a drink I really just have one.  Ephesians 5:18 says, "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit."  I rarely, rarely go out, but when I do, I see no problem with having a glass of wine or a fruity cocktail as long as I'm still making good decisions honoring to God.

Did you always see yourself as an interior designer growing up? How did you decide that a degree in interior design was the right step even though a career in design might not always work out?
Yes, I sure did! I guess for me, I'm a glass half-full girl, and haven't really given much thought to design not working out. My mom and dad have always supported my decision to study interiors in school, so I never even thought twice about it. I'm such an advocate for doing what you're truly passionate about (as long as it's a good thing and doesn't hurt others!) When I was searching for colleges to attend, I felt such a peace about SPU even though it was far away and in a particularly rainy part of the country. If I felt a peace about it knowing those things, I knew I was supposed to go and get my degree in interior design! Additionally, I have my Bachelor's degree, so if design were not to work out, hopefully employers would see I was dedicated to something for four years and having a college degree in something will be enough.

The question I love to ask recent grads is, "where do you see yourself 10 years from now?"
This is one of my favorite questions {from Lauren}, because I'm such a dreamer and future-oriented person.  In 10 years I would hope to be married and maybe even have a little babe on the way. My real dream in life is to be a mama! I'm so ready to meet my husband, ha :) In 10 years I also hope to have my own successful design business, be authoring that cute coffee table book I day dream about often, and changing lives through good design and beautiful things. 


Hopefully this gives you some insight into little ole me. Feel free to ask more questions in the comments. Also, tell me-- where do you see YOURSELF in 10 years?! 
*images by Ashley Slater Photography. Come back tomorrow for my senior photos!


  1. Michaela, I am always so amazed that you are only 22!! You are such a beautiful, driven and inspiring woman!!

  2. Love how open and honest you are! You will do great things in the future and I'm excited to see:) Good luck my friend, congrats on the next chapter in your life!


  3. You are so wise friend :) Love your answers! Goodness, so much can change in 10 years - I hope that I am where God wants me to be! Maybe with a husband & family, still designing away :) xo

  4. I loooove Q&As! Really loved reading this, thanks for taking the time :) Hugs from Cali! xx The Golden Girls

  5. What a great post! Congratulations on your graduation!

  6. I love this post! it's so great to get to know you on such a deeper level! I love that you've always been passionate about interior design and that you've gotten to do something you love!


  7. Great answers, friend. :) Love seeing your heart for Jesus!

  8. Great questions and even better answers! I love your answer to the drinking question; I completely agree. In 10 years, I will be 30 and in my dream life I'll be married and maybe a mom to a kid or two, be writing books, and maybe have taken some interior design classes! Who knows :)

  9. Great post! I wish I could plan my post 1 month in advance. I'm lucky if I'm 1 week in advance!

    I agree with the alcohol comment... As a Christian I may have a glass of wine now and again myself, but by no means does that I'm getting drunk. However, we do have to be careful how we represent ourselves. I can see where this can be tricky for believers or unbelievers to see a Christian getting into... It's a toughy.


  10. Loved reading your answers Michaela. Love the goals you have set for yourself, but what I love even more is that you know God has a plan for your life and your are willing to follow it. As I mentioned when I asked you that question, life is full of twists and turns, but as long as you look to God for direction you will end up exactly where you are meant to be and will be doing what he gifted you talents for.

  11. Very classy answer to the drinking question Michaela! You should not be made to feel guilty for enjoying an alcoholic beverage at a legal age, and that does not make you any less of a woman of God. People have very warped ideas about Christianity.

    Anyways, Ioved learning more about you! You are completely right about the networking and motivation getting you to where you want to be. A lot of people think their "degree" will get them far in life and they are in for a wake up call! A lot of it is who you know.

    Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

  12. Wow, so amazing that you took the time to respond to each of those questions! You are such a gem xoxo

  13. Loved reading this and getting to know you more! You're such a clever young lady! :)

  14. I'm just loving this week of posts Michaela and I'm so excited for you and what the future holds. God bless lady!

  15. Thank you for taking the time to answer all of the questions and for the tips!!
    You are truly inspiring!

  16. I just absolutely adore you SO much!! Loved all of this and I can't wait to see you reach your dreams!! Remember me when you're famous! : )

  17. i am literally SO excited for your future! Love you!

  18. Thanks everyone! It was fun to answer these! :)

  19. The information in your blog is very informative. Keep up the good work. WLCI School of Fashion offers various courses and programmes in fashion courses, which are very interactive and prepares students for real fashion world.
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  20. Thanks so much for your kind an honest answer! (mine was question 1 ;) )

    I know, nobody can decide for me what to do with my future, but still your answer really helped. Your blog is very inspiring and it makes me want to fulfill my dreams and open my eyes for how lucky I already am eventhough I haven't found my dream job yet!

    Maybe I will start a blog first. Ever since I first started reading blogs 3 years ago, I wanted to do that, but felt my life was to boring for anyone else to read about it. But I really feel like a place where I can use my creativity would help me to find out what I want and if a creative job is right for me.

    Thanks :)

  21. I love how interesting all these question were and reading through all of your answers!! You are such a sweet soul and I'm so glad I found your inspiring blog :)


    Five Minute Style 

  22. you are as wise and mature as you are beautiful, miss michaela! i really loves reading through these!

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