What's been happening in my kitchen/office/headquarters

I'm reporting from the headquarters of Mod Mom which is conveniently located next to a refrigerator with vanilla ice cream sandwiches and a living room with DVR'd episodes of Vampire Diaries.  But that's not all I've been doing lately.   Things at Mod Mom are really busy (in a good way!) with international expansion, new designs, and new partnerships.  Check out some of the stuff that's been happening below....

I had a blast as a panel member for WithIt's (www.withit.org) "Influential Women of Home and Design" in Las Vegas at World Market in January.  Pictured with some amazing leaders in home furnishings: (from left) Lori Dennis (celeb interior designer), WithIt President Julia Rosien, Kelli Ellis (celeb interior designer), and Kassi Smith, WithIt West Coast VP.  (P.S. I'm the one in the subtle green dress. :)
We even made the elevator doors at World Market!!  Surreal to say the least. We're the tiny faces on the left side of the door. :)

Sneak Peek of the new Chase Toy Box!  Coming very very soon!! It's also available in white with birch (see below).  Designs are registered copyright of Mod Mom Design, LLC.

This is the white/birch version.  Pictures to come.  The sample is on it's way to me next week! Designs are registered copyright of Mod Mom Design, LLC.

In addition, I'm tackling something I hate:  7th grade algebra.  Noah (our 13-year-old) is doing online schooling for just this year so I'm technically his "learning coach."  This makes me laugh because he's smarter than I'll ever be so coaching him is easy.  Except for Algebra.  It's good for me, I know it, but it's definitely outside of my comfort zone.  But so much of the last two years has been outside of my comfort zone so I know I'll be better for it.  And when someone out there is in trouble and getting out of their particular jam MacGyver-style requires the know-how of figuring out slope and y-intercept, I'll fly in with my cape on my back!!
thanks deeringmath.com for this photo!


Redesign and Relationships- By Scott Hathcock

I can’t tell you how many times we move furniture and artwork around our house before it settles into a permanent spot.  We like change, and for that reason rely heavily on the rotation of using what we have rather than acquiring new stuff (or moving) to feed our habit.  In our house, “permanent” only means lasting more than 6 months before we get the itch to switch it out.  As the need for change relates to our relationships…well, it works like this. I am happy to move heavy furniture and rehang art AND she is happy to sign-off (or not) on what I’ve done. In other words, Kiersten typically gives the final say and very rarely do I involve her in the physical labor part and here is why.  I like to see my options in how furniture looks in the different spaces and sometimes that means moving furniture around more than once.  I understand how this might drive a spouse or friend crazy if they were to be included in my process, SO I don’t.  For our relationship, we find it works best when I just wait and give her the “big reveal.” We will periodically try her taking a stab at the first run, but typically she loses interest halfway during the process and I take over anyway. 

With ever-changing rooms, no single room is safe with the exception of my son’s.  Ironically, he is not a fan of change or of good design so we avoid his room at any cost.  The rest of the rooms are fair game.  Adding one piece of artwork or furniture to any room has the potential of starting a massive domino effect for total home re-arrangement EXCEPT in Noah’s room.  My process with him is quite different. My wife and I just recently upgraded our children’s beds from twin size to standard platform beds (this was approved by our son Noah).  Who would have thought that move would have affected the way our foyer looks now? Actually, I did because it gave me the creative licensing to make other changes that I had been wanting to.  In the end, he had a total room makeover without really realizing the complete displacement.  He accepted the change believing it was all in the name of good “function” and I got what I wanted from the “form.” The lesson here is to know your audience and plan accordingly.

Now, on to my daughter’s room, Grace, where the opposite is true for her and redesign.  She would like to redecorate her room daily, BUT let’s just say her tastes haven’t fully developed and they tend to follow her Disney Channel viewing habits.  So, with Grace, Kiersten and I tend to make design changes while she is out of the house.  We do take her ideas into consideration though and modify them…greatly.  Then, once we have completely finished making our change, with great “move-that-bus” enthusiasm, we sell her on the changes we’ve made and position them as if they had been her own. 

That’s our formula and it’s had a 100% success rate in this family.  What works for you?          


Creating an Outdoor Feature Wall Using Old Pallets-- A Work in Progress, By Scott Hathcock

I wanted to share a design project I'm working on right now.  This project includes my current fascination for using old pallets.  You'll have to see the finished project in a future blog, so for now here is the tease:

This is the way the current patio wall looks (minus the pallets leaning against the wall).
 And...now, my plans for the future feature wall.


Intuition in Business - Trusting Your Gut

"Trust your gut."

I've heard this my whole life.  But it's only been in the last year I really pay attention and recognize when something is coming from my gut (aka my intuition).  Growing up, I was always known as the sensitive kid.  Sensitive on all levels -- scratchy clothing drives me mad, my ears are super sensitive to loud sounds or specific low tones, I'm sensitive to how people are feeling around me, and am highly sensitive to smells.  From the time I was a kid to now, I've always been intuitive but there were times in my life when I ignored it or let my cognitive mind take over too much.  I've never fully shut it off but I know I've used it more in the last 2 years than I have in probably any other time in my life.

Without risking going off on a New Age deep end, I want to share with you how I know when something is my intuition.  It's helped me in business and in life and I'm hoping it might help you as well.

When something isn't right:  I get a feeling of pressure just below my rib cage - upper stomach area- that feels heavy.  For example, when I was prepping for Shark Tank, I had to present my pitch to producers before I presented to the Sharks and all week long, I had that heavy pit feeling.  The time comes to pitch (what had been my script originally but then was heavily edited by producers), I bombed it.  REALLY BOMBED IT.  I couldn't even remember what I was supposed to say...about my own company?!?!.  Talk about embarrassing! Now coming from background in public speaking and even teaching public speaking, I knew it had nothing to do with being nervous about presenting.  That pit in my stomach was my intuition telling me that I needed to go against producer's directives and say what I knew I wanted to convey to the Sharks in my own way, my own voice.  So I told producers I was re-writing it (which wasn't exactly supported).  Two days later, the doors swung open to cameras, lights, Sharks, and a nervous production team. I pitched my heart out NOT using what we'd worked on for weeks, but what I came up with in the one day between pre-pitching and filming.   I'm confident the only reason I got offered two deals was because I stayed true to what my intuition was telling me.  To be honest, be real, and speak from the heart.  And ya know what?  That pit I had in my stomach was non-existent the day I pitched to the Sharks.  Sure I was nervous, but I was confident.  Big difference.

Since then, I've learned a lot about the body's energy systems (think Eastern medicine) and the very place I felt that heavy, pit in the stomach feeling was a place called the Solar Plexus.  Here's the description for it... 

"The Solar Plexus Chakra, located above the navel and below the sternum, is the home of the ego. Your own inner confidence, your will, your self-esteem, and your voice are all traced from the energy of this bold yellow chakra center. Manipura is the Sanskrit word associated with this chakra, and translated it means “lustrous gem.” It is this shining aspect of your personality that allows you to step forward and say ‘I can do it’ in any situation. The way you view yourself as a capable and praiseworthy person is a reflection of this resilient chakra center. In a way, the energy springing from the Solar Plexus Chakra is like sunshine, lighting your way in the world and empowering you to make yourself heard."

It was clear from the way my body was reacting, I didn't feel confident in what I was being told to say in the first pitch but it's hard to go against authority so I pressed on.  The defining moment when I bombed what should have been a piece of cake was the push I needed to listen to my intuition which was screaming all along.  It's the same place you feel that kick in the gut feeling when you're told really horrible news.  It affects the energy of your body significantly.

Learning to acknowledge what that feeling is when I have it about deals, partnerships, investment opportunities, and people in general has made all the difference in the world.  If something lingers in your mind to where you feel paralyzed to act and/or you feel that heaviness in your solar plexus, take a good hard look at what you're about to do.  Even if it goes against what everyone else is telling you to do, your intuition is telling you what is right for you.

Religion has nothing to do with this.  While I'm the first to admit that I very much believe in the afterlife, spirit energy, and a higher power, this is more about learning how the body reacts in times of stress and uncertainty. And that, I've found, has EVERYTHING to do with making good decisions.  Decisions that are right for you as an individual or a business.


What If I Own One of Those Large Enclosed Television Cabinets? By Scott Hathcock

Remember not too long ago when the depths of our television sets were more than 3 inches? Before the days of plasma TVs hanging on our walls? If you are like my family, you went out and bought a large enclosed entertainment cabinet (maybe even more than one) to hold your television and all the connected media gear.  Today, you might well be wondering what to do with that huge piece of furniture? Trust me, you won’t be able to sell it, so here’s an idea.  Paint it to work with your patio furniture and stick it outside. 

Our cabinet sits on the back patio and holds all of that “stuff” that couldn’t find a place in the house.  Here are a few potential uses for your “new” outdoor entertainment center:
  • gardening station for unused pots, gardening tools, and hoses
  • storing outdoor cushions and table cloths 
  • game and sporting goods station for all the nets, bats, balls, and croquet sets
  • hiding exercise equipment
  • earthquake supplies preparedness station

Wow…in our case and judging by the photo, it’s a combination of all of these, so don’t look for organizational how-to blogs anytime soon.  


There are people you meet in life....

....that are just the best of the best in every way and you know it immediately.  Katie is one of those people.  I'm thrilled to share an in-depth article that ran in the Santa Barbara News Press about her work in the design industry and her consulting business (one of her clients is MMF!)

Katie is as business savvy as she is kind and generous and in my 19 years in business, I've found that particular combination to be rare.

Find her at...