Why Colorful, Chaotic Home Decor Might Actually Bring You Peace

I have a memory from when I was young—five or six—and I asked my mom what her favorite color was. “Green,” she said. “Because I like trees and being outside.” It hadn’t occurred to my baby brain that there had to be any specific reason for something to be your favorite. I suppose it’s not so different when you’re an adult—you learn that there is almost always a why, even if you can’t quite make sense of it in the moment. Why do we gravitate to some bright rooms more than others? Why does that bright pillow make you feel some kind of way?

The “color-in-context theory,” conceived by psychologists Andrew Elliot and Markus Maier in 2012, muses that “the physical and psychological context in which color is perceived is thought to influence its meaning and, accordingly, responses to it.” How we understand color, they argue, is not so much about aesthetics but about the associations we hold—certain colors mean certain things to us, relying on our previous experiences and interpretations to inform how we feel about them in the future. I would argue that this is how design operates as a whole. Good design is all about context.

Bright colors and kooky silhouettes have always sparked design joy for me—and as far as Instagram is concerned, I’m not alone. Brands like Aelfie, Abigail Bell Vintage, Dusen Dusen Home, and Coming Soon are just a few purveyors of the uniquely chaotic feel-good design I’m talking about. Almost the opposite of the “Tyranny of Terrazzo” or millennial minimalism—this wave of furniture that’s somehow graphically retro and bizarrely futuristic, pattern-clashing that would make your grandmother gasp, color combos that force you to wince before you eventually think they’re edgy. It’s as if the inspiring, soul-soothing parts of the internet were a tangible room you could hang out in.

Despite how chaotic it may be to have a rug that clashes with the coffee table that clashes with the art on the walls, decor that is full of life somehow brings me peace. As Color of the Year becomes Colors of the Year, and color-blocked rooms begin popping up in stylish spaces around the world, it is a helpful reminder to choose what moves you. “My color philosophy is extremely personal,” Justina Blakeney told Clever editor Nora Taylor in a recent episode of AD Visits. “For me, it really is about your own connection to that color and your own color associations.” Color helps to create a reality that thrills you and helps remind you who you are at your core, even on the days when it’s hard to remember.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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Finding Joy And Peace In The Kitchen With Emily Hutchinson

“Cookies are my life.”

That quote could be attributed to any one of us, but this week, those words were uttered by none other than the cookie queen herself, Emily Hutchinson. 

On today’s episode of the L.A. Weekly Podcast, host and Publisher Brian Calle, along with Food Editor Michele Steuven, chats with Emily about all things baking. 

Emily has built a brand around her expertise in creating and decorating cookies, as both a bestselling author of Creative Cookie Decorating and a regular on Hallmark’s Home and Family, including a seat as a judge on Hallmark Drama’s Christmas Cookie Matchup. Her YouTube channel has over 3 million views, and her Instagram – cleverly titled “@the_hutch_oven” – has a loyal following of 113K. 

Most of us, even cake-hating Brian, like cookies. But how does someone turn a beloved dessert into a career?

“It started when I was little – way back when I was five – my grandma taught me how to bake in the kitchen,” reminisces Emily. “It was just so special and so fun and I caught on so fast. Being in the kitchen was like my place, we baked for everything – all sorts of desserts, breads, pies, she was the most incredible baker ever. She actually passed away when I was about 12 and so baking was really hard for me after she passed away and I put it on the back burner.”

Emily grew into adulthood, fell in love, and married her husband Mike. Soon after they welcome their daughter Reese and son Nick, who were elated to become big siblings to little Jennifer Louise, lovingly nicknamed Jenny Lou. Tragically, Jenny Lou passed away from SIDS before three months of age.

“It was beyond imaginable,” shares Emily, in a heartfelt interview with our hosts. “Every parent’s worst nightmare, beyond imaginable. It was devastatingly painful. I was really broken for a really really long time. Some friends noticed how bad my husband and I were struggling and invited my husband and I to church. And our lives started to change.”

In an effort to find peace and healing, Emily found herself back in the warm embrace of the kitchen once again. 

“I started to bake again, I felt so much joy,” she remembers. “I started making buttercream frosted cookie tutorials and people received them like a beautiful gift and started to learn from my videos, and that was so special to me.”

As Emily continued to post, her views shot up and her popularity grew. With a natural knack for teaching, she compiled all her lessons into a book that would become an instant hit: Creative Cookie Decorating.

If her grandma hadn’t had that love and patience with her while teaching, she wouldn’t be the baker she is today. She passes that down to her kids, her followers, and anyone who needs to find the joy and peace she once lost herself. 

Her biggest advice for trying things out in the kitchen?

“Always do it

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Sound Kitchen: John Hume, architect of peace for Northern Ireland

This week on The Sound Kitchen, you’ll hear the answer to the question about John Hume. There’s “On This Day’, listener news, Ollia’s Happy Moment, great music, and of course, the new quiz question. Just click on the “Audio” arrow above and enjoy!

Hello everyone! Welcome to The Sound Kitchen weekly podcast, published every Saturday – here on our website, or wherever you get your podcasts. You’ll hear the winners’ names announced and the week’s quiz question, along with all the other ingredients you’ve grown accustomed to: your letters and essays, “On This Day”, quirky facts and news, interviews, and great music … so be sure and listen every week.

For the time being, Paris Live, our afternoon news broadcast, is still off-the-air. We will let you know as soon as we can safely bring it back to you. Thank you all for your patience, and for your support of the English service during this difficult time.

Send me your music requests! I’ll make programs of your favourite music when I can’t be in the kitchen to cook up something new for you … write to me at [email protected]

To listen to our features from your PC, go to our website and click on the three horizontal bars on the top right, choose Listen to RFI / Podcasts, and you’ve got ‘em ! You can either listen directly or subscribe and receive them directly on your mobile phone.

To listen to our features from your mobile phone, the three horizontal bars are on the top left. Click and choose “Podcasts”.

Teachers, take note! I save postcards and stamps from all over the world to send to you for your students. If you would like stamps and postcards for your students, just write and let me know. The address is [email protected]

RFI Clubs: Be sure to always include Audrey Iattoni ([email protected]) from our Listener Relations department on all your RFI Club correspondence. Remember to copy me ([email protected]) when you write them so that I know what is going on, too. N.B. You do not need to send her your quiz answers! Email overload!

And don’t forget, there is a Facebook page just for you, the RFI English Clubs. It is a closed group, so when you apply to join, be sure you include the name of your RFI Club and your membership number. Everyone can look at it, but only members of the group can post on it. If you haven’t yet asked to join the group, and you are a member of an independent, officially recognised RFI English Club, go to the Facebook link above and fill out the questionnaire!!!!! (if you do not answer the questions, I click “decline”).

There’s a new Facebook page for members of the general RFI Listeners Club. Just click on the link and fill out the questionnaire, and you can connect with your fellow Club members around the world. Be sure you include your RFI Listeners Club membership number

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One garden, two party billboards: How a Dunedin couple keep the political peace

Dunedin couple Peter Ashton and Adrien Dever have one rule to keep the peace in their home and marriage: don’t talk about politics.

They let the billboards on their front lawn speak for themselves.

If you take a drive down Macandrew Rd, in the suburb of Forbury, you will come across the unusual sight of Labour Party and National Party billboards sharing the Ashton/Dever garden.

Ashton is a passionate National supporter, while Dever backs Labour.

The Labour sign came first.

A neighbour who works for the Labour Party asked Ashton, while he and Dever were speaking with a friend who was visiting and also worked for the Labour Party, whether they would put a Labour billboard on their lawn.

“I’ve got all these people around me … I thought what hope in hell have I got of doing anything other than saying yes?” Ashton said.

The couple let the billboards on their front lawn speak for themselves. Photos / ODT
The couple let the billboards on their front lawn speak for themselves. Photos / ODT

Ashton was at an Otago Hockey dinner and was speaking to Mike Kernaghan, the father of the National candidate for Taieri, Liam Kernaghan.

“I made some comment about billboards … I said I’ve got some room at my place.

His wife had no grounds to challenge because the Labour one was already there, he said.

The next morning, the National sign was up, facing Macandrew Rd.

“The funny thing is … the Labour one is at about 45 degrees right at the corner [of Nelson St and Macandrew Rd], so when you come from Forbury Rd towards the harbour, you really can’t see the sign,” he said.

There was nearly another election sign in the mix. An opportunity to put an Act New Zealand billboard in the middle of the Labour and National signs presented itself, he said.

“But my wife said it would look like Steptoe and Son.”

Ashton said when the time of the election results came, there would be no “I told you so” or recrimination because “we don’t really discuss politics between us at all”.

Their political beliefs were not an issue when they first met and had not been since.

“You have your own political ideology and you grow up with it,” Ashton said.

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She Finds Peace and THE SECRET GARDEN

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Marc Munden, STX Films and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the struggle for beauty until they find THE SECRET GARDEN.

Mary (Dixie Egerickx) is living in India during their revolutions. After losing her parents, she is found alone in her home and sent to Uncle Archibald Craven (Colin Firth) in England. Arriving, she is met by Mrs. Medlock (Julie Walters) and told that the life she once knew is not going to be the same. Given instructions about where she can and cannot go in the house, Mary is left alone in a very depressing room.

The next day she meets Martha (Isis Davis) and learns she has a younger brother Dickon (Amir Wilson) who roams the moors. Staying out of the way of everyone in the house, Mary finds solace in walking through the woods, especially when she meets Jemima – a stray who befriends the young girl. Meeting her uncle, Mary sees a very sad and angry man who hasn’t gotten over the death of his beloved wife.

Following Jemima one day, Mary discovers a wall and behind it is a wonderful garden. She takes Dickon there and it becomes their special place. Roaming the house, Mary also discovers Cousin Colin (Edan Hayhurt) who is bedridden and believes he is ill. The one thing she has in common with her cousin is feeling unloved by their parents.

But Mary wants to help her cousin by taking him to the garden introducing him to the beauty and the history between their mothers. Mrs. Medlock is not happy about what Mary has been doing and sets it up to anger Mr. Craven enough to send Mary away to boarding school. It all turns into chaos when a fire changes everything.

But not the secret garden!

Egerickx as Mary goes through a traumatic experience with the passing of her parents. Building up her own personal wall, she is not moved by her new home and its curious rules. Egerickx gives us the curiosity with her exploring the grounds as we all would at that age. When she finds the garden, it becomes her refuge from all the trauma and gives this character a chance to bloom like the plants around her. It’s a beautiful portrayal.

Firth as Craven is a man living with the painful memories all around him yet he shuts them up in rooms and drowns them in drink. Not wanting contact with those under his own roof, he takes isolation to the extreme. Firth is amazing at portraying this sadness as with many of the roles he has done especially with period pieces such as this film.

Walters as Mrs. Medlock is straight forward and a stickler for the rules. Clearly, she isn’t happy with having Mary around and makes every attempt to find a reason to send her away. Walters is just a wonderful actress who I have been following ever since seeing her in the 1983 film EDUCATING

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After a month of bad news, White House officials hype Trump’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination

“This is a big deal and it’s well-deserved,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday. “You cannot deny what has happened on President Trump’s watch.”

White House economic advisers Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro even used the news to sidestep questions on other issues.

“One of the things I’d like to do before we get started though, is I’d really like to congratulate President Trump on being nominated for the peace price, the Nobel Peace Prize,” Navarro said Sunday after briefly discussing the Trump administration’s coronavirus response.

That White House officials touted the nomination is not surprising, especially given that much of Trump’s campaign rhetoric has failed to resonate with voters. But the context of the nomination is equally significant.

Trump was nominated by the same far-right Norwegian politician who nominated him in 2018, and the Nobel Committee accepts all nominations from politicians serving at a national level. In years past, this has meant former presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson have been nominated for (and won) the prize, but has also led to peace prize nominations for Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

On Sunday, Trump referenced his nomination:

“They nominated your president twice last week on two different subjects for a Nobel Prize, but the fake news media didn’t cover it,” Trump told rallygoers in Nevada.

This was the same Trump who more than six years before asked the Nobel Committee to retract the peace prize awarded to his predecessor, Barack Obama.

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Proposed memorial garden would honor Roanoke homicide victims and provide a place of peace for families | Local News

Ryan Reilly described it as like ripples unfurling across water. The edges expand, flow, stretching outward on and on.

Grief is like that, he said. It shifts over time, changes, affecting more than you ever imagined.

“As it gets further and further out, it seemingly impacts people in all kinds of different ways,” he said.

“Unless you’ve been through something like it, I don’t know that anyone can really, truly understand what victims’ families go through,” he said. “But I do think that ripple effect and how it touches different people and how they can deal with it has a long-lasting effect, on a community as a whole.”

Reilly and his family found themselves plunged into grief in March when his cousin, Cassie Pizzi, 33, was killed in what would be the city’s fourth homicide case of the year.

Her death remains under investigation. Reilly, born in Roanoke but now living in Tennessee, described her loss as painfully tragic for those she left behind.

“It’s unfathomable,” he said in an interview. “Homicide takes a piece of people away when they lose that loved one.”

Reilly’s path through grief led him to a new idea, one that’s still taking shape but which he hopes can be a source of healing for families and the Star City itself.

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Omaha officer finds peace in huge prairie garden

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — When Kim Pecha can’t immediately find her husband, she knows exactly where to look.

Michael Pecha will be outside in his prairie garden, bent over to study a caterpillar or butterfly.

“Behind 3- or 4-foot tall flowers, she will see my head pop up,” Pecha told the Omaha World-Herald.

Pecha has plenty of tall plants to hide behind. After lots of thought, this spring he expanded his two garden beds to cover 3,000 square feet of his front yard.


Little did the veteran Omaha police officer know it would be a saving grace in a tumultuous summer.

“It has brought me joy and stress relief and has had a bigger impact than I ever expected,” he said.

Pecha has planted about 90 species of native grasses and flowers on his Elkhorn property. He meticulously records everything he grows on a spreadsheet, including where it’s planted, if it’s native and where it originated.



Purple coneflower, butterfly milkweed, anise hyssop, snow-on-the-mountain, blazing star, cardinal flower, Illinois bundleflower and sideoats grama are his favorites.

“I’ve gone a little overboard with 3,000 square feet of my lawn converted to prairie,” he said, “but anyone can set aside a little section of their landscaping and plant native plants and play a role in protecting and benefiting the planet.”


Pecha’s show-stopping display is all because of a tree that fell in his front yard several years ago, leaving behind a huge pile of sawdust and wood chips. Pecha couldn’t decide what to do with the area, so he purchased seed and scattered it. He even used the Save the Bees packets from Cheerios cereal boxes.


He collected seeds from those plants at summer’s end, and the next year, he tossed them in a second plot. Last spring, he decided to dive in completely. He switched to planting plugs and brought in more native species with seeds from Stock Seed Farm in Murdock, Nebraska, and Prairie Moon Nursery in Minnesota.

“It became more than being outside,” he said. “I wanted to do something for nature. The bees and butterflies and birds.”

Pecha always has been an outdoor enthusiast. But with the arrival of two children, exciting mountain hikes turned into easier trips to Glacier Creek Preserve in Bennington and nearby state parks.


He started to develop a deeper connection to and love for the prairie and its plants and what people consider flyover country.

He connected with “A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold, “A New Garden Ethic” by Benjamin Vogt and writings by native plant guru and author Doug Tallamy. Pecha also was inspired by the photographs of Michael Forsberg and Chris Helzer of the Nature Conservancy.

“I just kind of decided I felt like being part of the solution,” Pecha said.

Now his mini-prairie is flourishing — and a home for local wildlife. It brings joy not just to him, but to his family and people in his walker-friendly neighborhood, who often stop to take pictures.

“My daughter, Ruby, and her

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Omaha officer finds peace in huge prairie garden | Nebraska news

“I’ve gone a little overboard with 3,000 square feet of my lawn converted to prairie,” he said, “but anyone can set aside a little section of their landscaping and plant native plants and play a role in protecting and benefiting the planet.”

Pecha’s show-stopping display is all because of a tree that fell in his front yard several years ago, leaving behind a huge pile of sawdust and wood chips. Pecha couldn’t decide what to do with the area, so he purchased seed and scattered it. He even used the Save the Bees packets from Cheerios cereal boxes.

He collected seeds from those plants at summer’s end, and the next year, he tossed them in a second plot. Last spring, he decided to dive in completely. He switched to planting plugs and brought in more native species with seeds from Stock Seed Farm in Murdock, Nebraska, and Prairie Moon Nursery in Minnesota.

“It became more than being outside,” he said. “I wanted to do something for nature. The bees and butterflies and birds.”

Pecha always has been an outdoor enthusiast. But with the arrival of two children, exciting mountain hikes turned into easier trips to Glacier Creek Preserve in Bennington and nearby state parks.

He started to develop a deeper connection to and love for the prairie and its plants and what people consider flyover country.

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US, Kosovo, Serbia Nobel Peace nominees for White House deal

Updated


TIRANA, Albania (AP) — A Swedish lawmaker said Friday that he has nominated the governments of the United States., Kosovo and Serbia for the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to secure a peace agreement between the two former Balkan war foes.

Swedish parliament member Magnus Jacobsson tweeted that he nominated the three governments “for their joint work for peace and economic development, through the cooperation agreement signed in the White House. Trade and communications are important building blocks for peace.”


Serbian President Aleksander Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti signed an economic normalization deal at the White House last week that also calls for Belgrade to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and for mutual recognition by Israel and Kosovo.



Kosovo, a former Serbian province, and Serbia have been negotiating under European Union mediation since 2011 on normalizing their ties. Serbia fought a brutal 1998-1999 war with separatist fighters in Kosovo. The war ended after NATO conducted a 78-day airstrike campaign against Serbia,

Kosovo was run by the United Nations for nine years before it declared independence in 2008. Most western nations recognize Kosovo’s statehood, but not Serbia.


Richard Grenell, U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia talks, retweeted Jacobsson saying that Trump was “nominated for a second Nobel Peace Prize for historic Kosovo-Serbia agreement.”

A Norwegian lawmaker, Christian Tybring-Gjedde, on Wednesday nominated Trump for the 2021 peace prize for the president’s work “for a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel

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