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Welcome to A Jewel Home Decor & More

ajewel Thank you for stopping here.‭ ‬A Jewel is dedicated to inspiring you,‭ ‬sparking your inner creativity and becoming your own personal designer.‭ ‬Browse our website at your leisure‭ & ‬communicate with us.‭ ‬We love sharing decorating ideas.‭

A Jewel is all about family.‭ ‬Our mission is to get families back around the dinner table and make your house the home of your dreams.‭ ‬We all need that safe haven,‭ ‬a relaxing,‭ ‬comfortable,‭ ‬stylish environment the whole family wants to come home to.‭ ‬Let’s start now and together,‭ ‬accomplish it affordably‭!

A Jewel Home Décor and so much more‭!

Maureen O’Hare
Owner,‭ ‬Home Stylist

Wednesday, 17 August 2016 09:24

Home Business Tips

Do you work from home or out of your car? More and more people are becoming self-employed. Whether it's full-time or part-time, self-employment is on the rise. I've been self-employed for more than thirty years in some aspect. While working full-time for corporations, I always maintained part-time employment with direct selling companies or my own creative start up businesses on the side. I'm sharing some of my tips from my thirty years of hits & misses. 

1) Love What You Do: If you're heart isn't in it, don't do it. If you are selling a product, believe in the product and use the product. Learn everything there is to know about the product. Years ago, in 1990 to be exact, a new cologne was introduced with Avon. It was called Undeniable by Billy Dee Williams. I'd sold Avon perfume for years, but didn't own any myself. I hadn't found a favorite. At a sales meeting, I obtained a sample of Undeniable and I fell in love with it. I loved it so much, I immediately committed to a case of it before it was even printed in the brochure. I was convinced I would sell every bottle and I did. I believed in the product so much, it practically sold itself. I always had a bottle on hand to sell and samples wherever I went. When you believe in the product, others feel your passion. You're not really selling anything, you're sharing. I shared my passion and success followed.

2) Be Organized: Nowadays, home offices seem to be in our car. Everything is portable. Our phones and tablets do it all. I'm still somewhat old school. I was taught with a Franklin Covey planner and to this day, I carry a planner. Oh, don't get me wrong, I still love the convenience and portability of my tablet, square reader and cell phone. Embark on new things that will make your life easier and more profitable. With that being said, I think one day a week needs to be set aside for organization. Maximize your potential and reduce stress by setting aside time to organize yourself. My one day a week is set aside to do paperwork. Sometimes, I don't need the whole day, just a morning or a few hours. Filing invoices, making necessary phone calls, sending mailers, research, accounting or whatever you have a tendency to put off or is pressing. This is your day to do it. You know that one thing you dislike doing? My advice is to do that first!

3) Be Disciplined: If you work from home, work from home. My home office is steps down the hallway. One thing I make myself do is to dress for work. It would be easy to walk into my home office in my pajamas. Somehow, I don't think I would be as productive. I maintain a strict work ethic for myself. When I'm in my home office, I'm there to work. I'm not watching TV in my workout clothes, texting or stopping for multiple snack breaks. This requires discipline! This is why so many people fail at working from home. They become too lax. Working from home is not permission to relax. It's a priviledge to work harder and you're the scheduler. Before I enter my home office, I dress as if I am meeting a client. Success isn't easy, it requires discipline and hard work. Family and friends will want to interrupt you and assume you have plenty of time. If you've designated a work schedule for home, then by all means, stick to your schedule. The priviledge of working from home is that you are in charge of the flexibility of that schedule.  You may reschedule accordingly, but you MUST still have a schedule. What I've discovered is that leaders have discipline, followers don't.

4) Create a Work Space: Your work space should have everything you need. Eliminate what you don't need. I've mentored with two very successful women who do not have offices. They are high energy, result driven women who have each hired someone to manage their paperwork. They are hands-on in their businesses and eliminated their need for an office. I learned a thing or two from both of them. In the end, I found that at this point, I need an office. As my business grows, their powerful insight may alter my own path. Discover what works best for you. My home office is comfortable and work friendly. I have everything I need to stay organized.

5) Network:  Even though you work from home, you must socialize in your community. My only competition is myself. That took me years to grasp. I've discovered there's enough room in this world for thousands of successful businesses. Believe in yourself. Present yourself with confidence. Your direct selling business is just as important as the largest corporaton in your community. Carry yourself as such. As a start up business, I would network with similar small businesses and direct selling entrepreneurs.  As I've evolved, I now network with entrepreneurs who at one time seemed out of my league. I found that most successful businessmen and women are eager to share their success strategies. I'm empowered by wonderful mentors. Always learn from others. Listen more and talk less. Observe everyone and everything. Never assume you know it all. Don't believe you will be a success on your own.  Self-employment doesn't mean you're a one person business. It means you are a one person income earner. You need a small army to be successful.

6) Evaluation:  Working in a corporation for many years, I had annual job performance evaluations. When you're self-employed, it's important to evaluate your own job performance. I implemented this recently. In one aspect, whether you're business is successful or not is a key indicator of your job performance. What if you could improve your business or job performance quicker? My strategy is to evaluate my job performance quarterly. Maybe you want to ask your clients for feedback. I created a form that I refer to that keeps me in balance with my mission statement. Are you on track to reach your goal? What are your weaknesses? What could you improve on?

7) Vacation/Off Days:  We all need downtime to regroup. Decide before you take a day off or a vacation if this is a combination work/personal time off or if this is solely time to escape. I admit that most of my vacation/work days, I'm still working. I am still in work mode wherever I go. I'm concentrating on implementing some escape days. The myth is that most self-employed people live a life of leisure. In truth, since our income depends on us working, most of us take less time for ourselves than we should. Find a balance that suits your lifestyle. I'm still learning that when I'm with someone on vacation, I need to be all there. It's important to rejuvenate ourselves. If you suffer a burnout, your business will too. 

If you're considering starting your own small business, do your homework and have a business plan. Maybe start it as a side job, before you leave your full-time job with benefits. Know your market, establish targets, be a strong decision maker and don't fear failure. Failure is a stepping stone to mastery. If you think success is not failing, it's not your time to leap. Success in entrepreneurship is the determination to go for your dream with all that you have.

Be the best you!

-Maureen

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 30 July 2016 06:57

Live Luxuriously

What's your perception of luxury? Do you view luxury as something that only the "rich" experience? Merriam Webster defines luxury as the state of great comfort or extravagant living or an indulgence, if you will. I've always been drawn to luxurious things. It began as a child as early as second grade. I have fond memories of sitting on the edge of my mother's bed as she would be getting ready to have date night with my dad and coaching her on what accessory pieces to wear. I was drawn to pearls and high heels. Pearls, to me, were luxury. It fascinated me at how you could match a basic black turtleneck from JC Penney and layer multiple strands of expensive pearls and look like a million bucks. My love for investing in quality pieces was born and my mother was my model. She would change clothes, shoes, scarves and necklaces to appease me until I felt we had the right look. We shared a lot of laughter and my poor dad waited for his date, ever so patiently.

When I was nine years old, while most kids wanted toys for Christmas, I had my eye on my first leather purse that I'd seen at a high end department store. That was all I wanted. I knew it was expensive, but I rationalized it to everyone who tried to get more ideas out of me instead of the purse, by explaining this one investment will last me years. My dad would tell me I would make a great lawyer some day because I had a rebuttal for everything. He explained to people that I was the daughter (there were four of us) with champagne taste on a beer budget. To my delight, I received that navy blue leather purse for my birthday, which was a month before Christmas. I carried that purse for years. I have to admit, I have never been one to follow the crowd. While all my friends were carrying jean hobo bags, I had my first leather purse. I have always had my own ideas of what I like and to this day, I've never been one to follow the crowd. I'm very careful about following a trend. My philosophy is trends come and go, but quality lasts forever.  

It's no surprise that years later, my love for elegance would transition into decorating homes. Just like you, sometimes I fall in love with a room design or an accessory piece for my home, but it just won't match what I already have. That's when I love to get creative! I always find budget friendly ways to bring items that I love into my home without breaking the bank. I don't believe creating luxury has to be expensive. Luxury may look expensive, but the cost is what it means to you. For example; fools gold. When I was a child, I collected rocks. My dad would take me rock collecting at Niagara Falls. One time, he found a piece of fools gold. It was a brilliant lesson for me. He told me, "Moe, this looks like a real piece of gold, but it isn't worth anything." I was in love with that rock. I knew then that just because it looks like luxury, doesn't mean it has to be expensive. Yet, that rock was priceless to me. It was worth millions, because I was with my dad and he picked it out specifically for me!

That's how I decorate. Make it worth a million bucks to you. That's your luxury! Have you ever been to a five star hotel and you felt comfort from all of the white linens, including the big fluffy towels and feather pillows? Because you were told the hotel was luxurious, you now have an image in your mind that luxurious means all white marble, white fluffy towels & linens and feather pillows. When you get home, you then look at your thread barren towels and mismatched linens and flat pillows. That feeling of luxury is missing. You have created in your mind what luxury means to you. In truth, how simple would it be to start incorporating all white linens in your masterbath to make you feel like you live in luxury? Or to invest in two feather pillows?

One of my simplest decorating concepts is to create vignettes. You can incorporate something very elegant with something very simple and create your own luxury. Display your favorite item with glass. It's that easy. Use a unique glass bowl or cloche. Do you want even more drama? Add lighting with a strand of battery operated lights. You know the saying, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"? I also believe luxury is in the eye of the beholder. A piece of barnwood could be luxurious to one person and not another. Adorn your home with things you love! While some would argue things won't bring you happiness, memories will, that would be true. Creating memories by surrounding yourself with things and people that you love, I call that living!

We indulge in many things, whether we admit to it or not. We indulge in lattes, spa days, hobbies and vacations. So, whatever your idea of luxury is in decorating, whether it's a piece of barnwood or a crystal chandelier, let's give ourselves permission to indulge.     

Live luxuriously!

~Maureen

 

Photo courtesy of Houzz 

Friday, 22 July 2016 10:34

Comfort, Style or Both?

Decorating is more than just style. Have you ever seen an elegant room and you were afraid to sit on the furniture or touch anything? When my daughter was little, I had a living room like that. It was the first home I had purchased and I was obsessed with designing a formal living room. It even had white carpet. It actually became the most "unused" room in the house. Because I insisted on it being formal, I refused to have a television in there. The best part about it was that is was the first visual impression of the house upon entering the front door. Since no one wanted to go in the room, it was always tidy.  The downside was I was the only one who enjoyed the room and for a young family, it was very impractical. This was probably one of my first awakenings in decorating 101.

I always fall in love with unusual elements in a room and furniture is no exception. I'm drawn to items that are unique. From those early days of decorating my own elegant room, I've learned a lot. Furniture needs to be comfortable! Even if you are buying a chair at a vintage store, flea market or garage sale, try it out first. The most important question to ask yourself, no matter what the price is: "Will I actually use it?" I have two chairs in my living room that I gravitate to. Maybe you have a favorite recliner, so you know what I mean. These are my "go to" chairs. One day, they will need to be replaced and I will mourn their departure all the way out to the curb. For me, those are part of what makes a house, a home.  When I'm really tired, I'm drawn to my big oversized chair & ottoman. This chair could fit me & the grandkids in it. It's my movie & popcorn chair. My other favorite is a brown leather chair that is probably ten years old. It has masculine undertones, but there is something about it that has me hooked. It's one of those pieces that when you sit down, you don't want to get up. Those two pieces themselves in my living room say a lot about me. Both are earth tones. The one says cushie comfort, sit down, put your feet up and rest awhile. It's my chair built for two or a pile of kids! The other chair screams elegance, yet comfortable. More importantly, the tailoring of the chair makes me feel safe. I'm not sure why, but it's my safety net.

Decorating isn't just about whether something matches or looks good in your home. It's about how it fits into your lifestyle. It's about what makes you smile and what brings you comfort. That is how I like to decorate for myself and others. I really feel that if you love a piece of art, a statute or a furniture piece, there's a place for it. Deciding the perfect spot is what I do best. I've even found that the great part about getting older is you really see what people's tastes are. Through the stages of our life, we have to decorate our home for our current lifestyle. As we become empty nesters, retirees, etc., our taste evolves. We downsize and rid our lives of unneccessary items. Through this phase, we begin to see what we really enjoy. Pieces that are precious to us now take center stage. Furniture pieces and art that we've always loved but were too expensive to purchase or unsuited for a family home, now become more appealing.

I believe you should always incorporate into your home, who you are. We see it a lot in kids bedrooms, but seldom for adults. Collections aren't neccessarily who you are. It's something to think about as you explore decorating your own space. What do you gravitate to? Don't think you have to give up your style to please your spouse. Believe it or not, there is a way to incorporate his & hers for a happy home. It's much easier than you think. When you focus on why something is important to someone, you open up a whole range of decorating options.

Let's take for example...hunting. I was a firm believer that a mounted deer head was not going to be displayed in my living room. A great compromise is finding out why hunting is so important to your mate. Fond memories of him as a kid hunting with dad who taught him everything he knows or whatever the story is. Now, you have something to work with. Find items that bring loving memories of dad, son and hunting together into the room. The possibilites are endless. You see, the object to good design is recapturing a feeling or memory. It may not be the object itself, but the feeling you get when you look at it. Recalling a memory that comforts you and capturing that in design is a treasure!

Pictures are the usual "go to" for capturing a memory. How you display the picture is design. We all have simple framed photos. What if you could display a picture in Grandma's antique frame? A tidbit about me, I'm a hopeless romantic. When the man I love gives me flowers for the first time, I save one & dry it. When I married my husband, alongside our wedding photo was the dried rose from our first date. Maybe you have a movie ticket stub, whatever it may, add it. When we would look at the picture, we didn't just see the day we married (although that is very special), we saw when it all began & the journey. We captured a feeling.  

Design is a journey for me. Every home has a story. When I walk into a home, I don't see dust or dishes piled in the sink, I see your life. I notice crayon drawings on the fridge, homemade popsicle stick objects on a bookshelf, graduation pictures, throw pillows tossed everywhere saying the house is lived in. I see your life. Because of what I do for a living, people tend to say "excuse the mess or disarray" when I walk inside. The truth is I know none of us live in showroom model homes. Where my eye tends to go is the hunting display, the jar of sand from your honeymoon, the extraordinary artwork and that comfy chair.

We all want our homes to look good. In the process, may I suggest my design rules? (1) Comfort- your home should say "welcome". (2) Function - your home should serve your current lifestyle.   (3) Your Story - your home should reflect in your design who you are. Make your home your sanctuary. Explore with design. Capture moments and allow your home to tell your story.  

Happy decorating!

-Maureen

 

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