I like writing about all kinds of things, but it seems like I’m most drawn to blogging about interior design…

and INTERIOR design…

Today I feel drawn to the latter, but I never really know what I’m going to feel like writing about on any given day. That’s kind of what I love most about blogging- the excitement that comes with sharing by the seat of your skirt, and not knowing what you’re going to discover or reveal about yourself from one day to the next. It’s exhilarating, and I enjoy the process so, so much.

And speaking of the joys of blogging, I had so much fun (link) partying with y’all yesterday! Your words of the year were truly like sunshine on my screen!

It’s incredibly inspiring to see so much LIGHT floating around out there, and I really appreciate you taking the time to share your words with us yesterday.

Which brings me to my next thought.

There’s this gal I follow on Twitter. Her twitter name is @BethRago and her tweets are always fun to wake up to.

(Surprise, Elizabeth! And thank you for giving new meaning to the phrase, “BRIGHT and early”. Your tweets are delightful, and informative, and appreciated!)

Well, after a couple of tweets back and forth with her the other day, she took sweetness one step further and sent me a really, really fantastic PDF via email. The article she sent is called “10 Rules For Brilliant Women“, and it was written by Tara Sophia Mohr. It’s about embracing your inner bright-and-shiny, and I wanted to share the first four rules here on our blog today, in the hope that you’d be inspired to read the rest of them over at Tara’s site.

1. Make a pact. No one else is going to build the life you want for you. No one else will even be able to completely understand it. The most amazing souls will show up to cheer you on along the way, but this is your game. Make a pact to be in it with yourself for the long haul, as your own supportive friend at every step along the way.

2. Imagine it. What does a knock-the-ball-out-of-the-park life look like for you? What is the career that seems so incredible you think it’s almost criminal to have it? What is the dream you don’t allow yourself to even consider because it seems too unrealistic, frivolous, or insane? Start envisioning it. That’s the beginning of having it.

3. Gasp. Start doing things that make you gasp and get the adrenalin flowing. Ask yourself, “What’s the gasp-level action here?” Your fears and a tough inner critic will chatter in your head. That’s normal, and just fine. When you hear that repetitive, irrational, mean inner critic, name it for what it is, and remember, it’s just a fearful liar, trying to protect you from any real or seeming risks. Go for the gasps and learn how false your inner critic’s narrative really is, and how conquerable your fears.

4. Get a thick skin. If you take risks, sometimes you’ll get a standing ovation, and sometimes, people will throw tomatoes. Can you think of any leader or innovator whom you admire who doesn’t have enthusiastic fans and harsh critics? Get used to wins and losses, praise and pans, getting a call back and being ignored. Work on letting go of needing to be liked and needing to be universally known as “a nice person.”

Pretty motivating, huh? You can find the rest of Tara’s rules at!

I love what she said about looking for the gasp-factor, and doing things that get your adrenaline flowing. Adrenline-pumping activities are definitely something this scaredy cat tends to shy away from, but I love the idea of it, and think I should be more intentional about “going for the gasp” this year.

I also love her suggestion to think about what a “knock-the-ball-out-of-the-park” life would look like. It’s fairly easy for me to “carpe diem”, but maybe it’s time to start concentrating on “carpe d’life”-ing!

Her 4th rule is definitely one of my biggest INTERIOR design dilemmas. It seems that my heart is stitched securely to my sleeve, and sometimes it feels like there’s not a seam ripper in the world strong enough to remove it.

How about you? Are you a skinny-skinned person, too? Should we try to start unraveling some of those stubborn stitches together this year?

(Insert YOU, nodding your head up and down right HERE.)

To be honest, I’m not sure what the first step towards thicker skin is, but Tara’s rule #10 might have something to do with it…

10. Let other women know they are brilliant. Let them know what kind of brilliance you see, and why it’s so special. Call them into greater leadership and action. Let them know that they are ready.  – Tara Mohr

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  1. Jody says

    I LOVE this post! I’m heading over to Tara’s to check out the rest of the list right now. Thank you!

    • Layla says

      Thank YOU, Leigh!

      I like the quote, “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.” by Anthony J. D’Angelo

      I hope you have a extra sunshine-y day today! Don’t forget- you are brilliant, and you are ready!!! :-)

    • Layla says

      Thank you for leaving me a kind comment, Jessica! :-D
      I hope you have an awesome day, and that you catch the virtual high five I’m sending you riiiiiight…NOW! :-D

  2. Kendra says

    I found your blog by accident, it has been one of the best happy accidents in my life. Seeing you tackle projects and take a leap of faith has encouraged me to make a few baby steps of my own. You are a “beacon of go right ahead and try it” for me. Things I want to do in my house but were to scared to try, That changes this year, starting this weekend, If it does not work for me and I am sick of working around it, it needs to change, period. I am still looking for my word for the year, my word for you is THANKS :)

  3. says

    Layla, YOU are brilliant and soft and kind and full of inspiration. To me, you seem to be able to take charge and clearly articulate your thoughts in a way that makes those around you grasp on to your vision with excitement. You certainly had me fooled that you were a skinny skinned person! You’re BRILLIANT I tell ya :-D

    • says

      I am welling up with tears after reading just these four, I guess five points. I am going to go to the website and read the rest. Whoever wrote this has taken the desires out of my head of what I want my life to be like. You don’t know how helpful reading this was this morning. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for posting this.

      • Layla says

        Oh, Kathleen… I totally know what you mean! I felt the same way after reading her rules. I hope that you have a very blessed day, and please don’t hesitate to stop by here and chat with all of us if you need a friend. :-)

    • Layla says

      Well, you know I adore you too, Miss Myra. :-)
      We really must get together and do some more shopping soon, you know. (But this time I better leave my wallet at home- LOL!)

  4. Martha says

    Thanks Layla!!! You are such an inspiration to me. I looove your work and wonderful humor.
    Because of you and Kevin and several friends and family members, I have started taking photos again. I entered a photo contest last fall with my first set of photos and three of my pics were chosen for a calendar!!! I am still over the moon. : ) Now I am trying to enter more photos in contests, having them published and actually make a few dollars. It was a scary step to put myself out there but I am enjoying the ride so far.

    Thanks again. You guys are the best!!!!

    • Layla says

      Martha! That is FANTASTIC!!! :-D
      I am so happy for you, and encourage you to keep on putting yourself, and your talents, out there.
      Grab those reins and ride, sister!!!

  5. says

    And layla it is this kind of post that inspires me to keep reading you. It’s your heart, my friend!

    I shall have to get on that adding my word for the year to the linky – the time difference here in the UK meant it wasn’t up yet when i first came to look for it.

    ps: ‘flying by the seat of your skirt’ is pretty much my new favourite phrase!

  6. says

    what a happy post this morning- thanks so much for sharing the first tips, I’m off to read the rest. Why not dream all our big dreams, right? And then make them happen! Have a great day Layla- thanks again.

  7. says

    while i try my hardest to respect other people, i just don’t care what they think of me, this is MY life. (and really, if they are talking about me they are leaving someone else alone so i am ok with it.) whether it is the clothing i wear or the vehicle i drive or the size of my jeans or the number of times i use the f word, i am happy with me and so long as others are not hurting me or those i love, i just don’t care what they think about how i choose to live my life. honestly, life is simply too short to stress over things that don’t matter. guess i am trying to say i don’t think of it as thick skin, more like judgmental people are not important, nor are they worthy of high blood pressure.

    i am blessed with incredible folks in my life and do my best daily to let them know how phenomenal i believe they are. love that others find this quality important!

  8. Susan Bush says

    Hi, Layla…Haven’t talked in a while ,hope every things well with you and your family….Just wanted to say that I loved this post…Makes you sit back and look at life a little differently,thanks once again for sharing…So start out with getting out and enjoy the beautiful day God has granted today….Enjoy…..

  9. says

    Thin skin is definitely something I struggle a bit with. I’m getting better, though, and I’m really making myself work on it with my “word of the year”, Brave.

  10. says

    Love this post Layla! I’m not sure what it is, but I have been taking more time this year to really reflect on my hopes and dreams for the coming year. I love the idea of living a knocking it outta the park life. Thanks for sharing all your brilliance and introducing us to Tara.

  11. says

    As my mom always says, “It’s a great day when you wake up and see the sun”…

    I am firm believer in making sure that tell someone how special they are. I am starting a “Queen for a Day” event, to honor that special person. I actually did a post on that subject on my blog.

    Great inspirational post!..Loved it!

  12. Sylvia says

    Love your blog and your heart. You are never afraid to put it all out there. I really don’t have a thin skin in my profession life. I did when I was younger but teaching junior high for more years than I care to admit, thickened it. The kids aren’t mean spirited but if they think it, they say it. The impulse control center of the brain is in sleep mode. Now, in my personal life, my skin is a little thinner. This post was just what I needed today. Thank you!

  13. says


    You are brilliant. If I had to describe you in one word I would say shiny because you sparkle and spread so much light through your window on the internet.


  14. says

    Great resource Layla! I loved rule 6: Question the voice that says “I’m not ready yet.” 2012 is the year that I am following the Nike motto “Just Do It’ and this rule applies brilliantly!

  15. says

    I definitely have problems with #4 too! Love this post today, really made me think about life, making some changes and how to plan for the future. Thank you for that pep talk today :)

  16. says

    What a beautiful post. I love those rules, they are killer! Cant wait to read the rest. I think blogging is so competitive because theres always someone doing something bigger and better and they have skills you might not possess. Its easy to feel bad when you are not doing as well, but someone elses success takes nothing away from your own. And we share ourselves, and our homes. Its hard not to take it personally if someone doesnt like it, or like you. We are so vulnerable. You are a beautiful person Layla, I hope you know that.

  17. says

    you.. are so fun!
    been following your blog for a few years, and we finally have our DREAM project…
    we are thrilled to be at the dream, and have been SO encouraged by you and Kevin…
    much love on all your new adventures
    a sister in Christ

  18. says

    aren’t we all skinny-skinned people? i think negativity affects everone–even if only for 3 seconds, before we toss it aside. but i don’t think there is a soul out there who can truly say it doesn’t bother them.
    if we could all just be friendly. that would be nice.
    loved this list.

  19. brenda says

    Thanks so much for this post layla! Tara’s 10 were exactly what I needed to hear. I so enjoy your blog!

  20. says

    Just wanted you to know that I think YOU’RE brillant!! I just started this whole blogging thing and I have you on my favorites
    bar. Thank you sooo much for all your inspiration. You have certainly shined your light on me!!!

  21. Pammy says

    Layla! – it doesn’t matter what other people think of your design and decorating skills, because I think your one of the BEST!!! And because I said so, you ARE one of the best! ;)
    Honestly, I follow your blog more then HGTV’s site (and that IS saying A lot!). Just don’t hold back on us in fear of something not being liked. I love your style as well as everyone else here – that’s why we’re HERE. LOVED the post – motivational messages have been coming at me a lot this month – must be trying to tell me something . . .
    ♥ Pammy

    • Layla says

      Well, thank you Pammy! You’re very sweet. :-) Unfortunately, my skinny skin seems to stretch way beyond decorating critiques. It’s the personal critiques that sting the most, ya know what I mean? Here’s to not letting those bother us as much from here on out! :-D

  22. says

    Thanks for all you do Layla! Everytime I read your posts I feels like a good friend has stopped by for a visit…you have such a great way of connecting with others!

  23. says

    I really need #4 too. I am trying to put together a different career for myself that pays but lets me have the flexibility to be available to my son and possible home school him next year. This means I will need to take risks and face failure and criticism in order to figure out what will work. Thanks for the encouragement by writing this post today!

    • Layla says

      Hi Christy!
      You are so brave for chasing your dreams, and even though it may be a bumpy ride, I have no doubt you can do anything you set your mind to!
      Please keep us posted on how things are going. :-)

    • Layla says

      Hi Kelly!
      I’m so glad you stopped by today, and hope that you have a much brighter day tomorrow!
      You know where to find me if you need a friend to e-talk to! :-)

  24. says

    Thanks Layla! I love all of these rules. It’s time to take a chance and move forward. I guess I just won’t know if it will work until I do. Very incouraging words to start the year off right.

  25. says

    Wow, Layla!! I’m so honored by this, and I’m so glad the 10 Rules spoke to you. They really did come from deep within my heart….after years of seeing so many brilliant women around me struggle to really own their brilliance – and it turns out that they seem to resonate with so many women around the globe. Thank you for sharing them here, and allowing me to find out about you and about this lovely community of women!

  26. Jami says

    Such inspiring words! I love your blog – when I found it I knew I had found “my style” and stopped reading pretty much everything else on interior design. It’s so nice to know that you value INTERIOR design even more. You are brilliant!

  27. Jennifer M. says

    This is by far one of your best posts ever! I’ll be sending this and making copies for all of my girlfriends
    Thank you!!

  28. says

    Layla, I think you are fabulously wonderful. This post literally brought me to tears. I haven’t blogged for months because I get intimidated by the countless number of extremely talented bloggers like yourself. Thank yor for reminding me to trust in myself, get off the lazy selfpity wagon…take what I have inside and love it!

  29. says

    This is good to read. I am a sensitive person. I take things to heart and sometimes read criticism into words when it wasn’t intended. I’m working on that!

  30. cathi says

    Thanks for posting this layla. I really identified with the ‘wanting everyone to like me and being thought of as a nice person’ part. I have spent way to many years trying to be someone I’m not because I thought that was who I was suppose to be. Guess what~ God made me and therefore, I need to be ME! This theme keeps propping up in my life so, I must need it! Thanks, again! And, my word for the year is “DO”~ so, I’m off to
    start “doing!”

  31. says

    We have so many arrogant idiots in here, I’d better to become one to keep up with them:) Love the rules. Will read more of her posts!

  32. says

    Thank you so much for the lovely compliments! I am so happy you loved Tara’s piece as much as I did and absolutely LOVED reading the comments for this post! I am so inspired when I hear other people feeling moved by the encouragement of others. (I hope that made sense..) The support of a community is great for your heart and soul and I really feel your site embodies a positive space where people can gather and share their thoughts and ideas. Keep up the great work! And thanks again. I am truly touched. :)

  33. Geri says

    Hi my fav blogger friend.
    Not sure what personal critics could be about you that would
    ever be negative or hurtful.
    You are the most honest, creative, and centered person in my opinion. You have a beautiful life that you took chances to attain. You have a soul that God is so proud of. You have a spirit that soars and sings each day.
    I am much like you though so I get. Now that i am older it seems I never have those doubts or hurts. My friend once had the best advice ever for me when I was about your age. She told me”consider the source”. Light bulb moment. Since that day I am not effected by most negative comments. Only fam I guess, which they never do, could make me feel sad about myself.

  34. says

    I love this. I am very thin skinned and often find myself getting my feelings hurt about all things in life. I have been working really hard on telling myself not to get offended or hurt by certain things that happens. I seriously sit there and tell myself to breath, calm down, and let this one roll off. It helps :)

    We should all be encouraging each other. There is so much room for all creative outlets!

    Thanks for posting this. What a great way to start the day!

  35. says

    Layla: So true, I know I’m much older than you and have had years of experience to toughen my skin, but honestly it’s a daily choice for me. I can get ‘crushed’ with the best of them. I love that song by Casting Crowns “Voice of Truth” it says: “…To step out of my comfort zone
    To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
    And He’s holding out his hand

    But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
    Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
    The waves they keep on telling me
    Time and time again. ‘Boy, you’ll never win!’
    “You’ll never win”

    But the voice of truth tells me a different story
    And the voice of truth says “Do not be afraid!”
    And the voice of truth says “This is for My glory”
    Out of all the voices calling out to me
    I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth”…

    It’s so true, I have to choose to listen to the truth and not be afraid. Little Bit from

  36. says

    I agree Little Bit! I love that Casting Crowns song. Its not always easy but listening to the Voice Of Truth…. always brings me more joy , because its said without murky motives, just LOVE.
    layla i love your take on Interior Design, the internal type. I enjoy this blog……inspiring in so many ways. Thx!

  37. says

    What a wonderful post. I thought you were going to talk more interior design – and then it turned into the real “interior design” of your soul. I will go and read her other “brilliant women” rules…but the ones you posted brought me new insight. I always write on other blogs when I think the authors have really done something truly brag worthy. I want to let them know how special they are. And when I get a comment or an email from another blogger about something I’ve done – I am on a high note all day (so I do love to return the favor).

    I love the one about “what it will feel like to knock one out of the park.” I am going to keep that in my mind for today…and beyond.

    All creative people wear their hearts on their sleeves – so it is hard to grow a thicker skin. You are creating with all of your heart and soul – so when someone says something negative – it really hurts. It’s not like accounting or some other professional where you can separate yourself from your output. I am growing a bit of a thicker skin – but I think this is coming on because of age. When I was 20, 30 or even in my 40s…I would break in two from someone’s criticism. If someone doesn’t like something I do now – I really care a lot less. One good thing about growing older!

    Thanks for your posts – and I adore your illustrations. Wish I had your talent for that!


  38. says

    What a great post! I just want to say how inspiring it is to see a blogger so passionate about what they do. You give some great insight and tips! When blogging, some people find it hard to open up, and others have a very easy time with it. Glad to see you express so much passion in what you do!

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