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#056: Creating a home that serves you in every phase of life + tips from a fashion legend with Design Icon Norma Kamali

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On the show today, I have a design icon. I am sitting down with Norma Kamali who is most well known as a fashion designer but is so much more.  You might know her from her designing pieces such as the Sleeping Bag Coat worn by Lady Gaga and Rihanna or the iconic red swimsuit worn by Farrah Fawcett. Not only can we learn so much from such an iconic designer when it comes to how to design our spaces, but there are also some really cool specifics we get to dive into like her book, I Am Invincible.  Her book is a life handbook for how to navigate each decade of your life with purpose and power.  

We talk so much on this show about how life is in phases and our homes reflect that. With each season of our life, our home is going to look very different based on what we need. With all her vast experience, Norma has such a beautiful and unique perspective for how to design your life well, how your home reflects that and how to move through each phase of your life. This is such a beautiful conversation about what empowerment and our spaces can look like through each phase of our lives.  I think this conversation is going to be above and beyond what we normally get on the show in terms of life advice as well as some home design strategies mixed in. 

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in this episode:

[05:16] Norma’s Book: I Am Invincible

[07:56] Different decades of our journey: Our 20’s

[10:16] Our 30’s 

[11:51] Our 40’s

[13:33] Our 50’s

[20:09] Finding your personal style 

[21:00] Importance of our homes

[23:09] Different spaces in the home

[28:46] Take the time to think about your partner 

[34:02] Norma’s home decor and pillow line

[38:22] Restyling & freshen spaces in your home

[38:22] Creating spaces you love

[44:30] What Cara’s obsessed with this week

[05:16] Norma’s Book: I Am Invincible

I chose the title, I Am Invincible, not because I’m invincible every day, but we have invincible days. On those days, we really have all of the things that come together at that wonderful moment in time, where we do feel invincible. It’s the day we reach our potential for that day. We really, really have this incredible power to get everything we want to get done. The book is a handbook for women. In this book, I offer lots of tips, ideas, formulas, solutions, and everything to finding the path and to understanding the transitions, we go through through the decades. The book also includes the tools we need to get through them with the best results and the idea that we’re all not alone in the process. This is really a more universal experience than women really realize.

[07:56] Different decades of our journey: Our 20’s

The decades are really fascinating because what happens is that each decade has an experience that is sort of like an initiation to get to the next decade. So when you’re in your 20’s you’re learning every day. When you’re in your 20’s you’re learning how to be an adult and you’re learning about yourself. It’s the first time you really understand yourself in relationships and friendships. Physically, in sexual relationships, you understand what you’re good at and what you feel challenged by. In a work setting, you understand what your potential is by the success you’re having in new work that you’ve never done before. 

[10:16] Our 30’s 

By the time you are 30 women are in their first Saturn return, which is the first time that you have a real-life challenge that can really give you a run for your money. There’s a lot of tears, uncertainty, insecurity, and sometimes rushing to marry someone we don’t really love 100%. There’s that deadline that we have to do something by a certain time. If you’re in your 30’s and are still single, you should realize that you’re still evolving and growing, and you will meet the person you deserve. You’re becoming the better version of you and the more evolved version of you and that takes time. So the 30’s are really built for developing who you are personally, and possibly with your career, or other areas of your life. 

[11:51] Our 40’s

By the time you’re in your 40’s, you now have a real sense of self, and you can monetize your brand. This is the time where everything you’ve learned, everything that you’ve achieved, your status, and the respect you’ve gained, all come to play where you can monetize your success. Perimenopause is coming along. There are new challenges, you may get aged out of your marriage, and you can get aged out of your job. Simply because you may be too expensive. You may be too high on the scale of salaries but that’s not the end of it. If you are aged out of your marriage, you may want to thank your lucky stars because the person that ages you out of the marriage may not be good enough for you. You need a quality person who loves you and wouldn’t want to do anything but share a life with you. So then it’s time to think about your next phase. Where do you want to take this in your life?

[13:33] Our 50’s

By 50, you’re reinventing yourself. You may have gone through menopause. You no longer have emotional highs and lows with hormones and the freedom you feel as a woman being over it is so exhilarating that you can’t believe that it is actually happening. If you’re eating properly, sleeping, taking care of yourself, and working out every day, you will feel very good about your body.  You will also feel very good about your mind and your spirit at 50. Reinventing yourself is like shedding your skin and making full big changes in your life.

[20:09] Finding your personal style 

Everybody has a personal style with fashion and home. A lot of women are afraid to have confidence in their personal style so they’re careful to adopt somebody else’s personal style. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to just wear what you love and surround yourself with things you love because then the real creativity will take place.

[21:00] Importance of our homes

Find somebody that inspires you or that you feel like aligns with your style or passion. I put projects out on Pinterest, Instagram, and all the social media channels to spark inspiration.  A good starting point is to recreate or paint something whether it’s repainting furniture, painting a wall, painting a design, or painting a canvas.  That’s a great place to start just to kind of open up the doors of creativity. With paint, it opens people up and it gives them that practice. When you do so many of these practice projects, you then spark your own creativity and before you know what, you’re creating your own projects and your own variations.  It’s like training wheels. Especially if you pushed that down for so long, you have to pick it up in some way.

[27:44] Being on the cover of HGTV

I think one of the things that COVID was extremely helpful in doing is giving us the opportunity to realize how important our homes are. COVID really made us understand that our home must function for us. It has to serve us, it has to relax us, we have to have a great environment to sleep in, we should have a ritual for sleep, our bed should always be made, the bedroom should be a temperature conducive to sleep, and the scent in the bedroom should be a certain way. The ritual and the environment for sleep are really important. So that’s a room that needs lots of attention. 

[23:09] Different spaces in the home

The places where we eat and where we celebrate conversation is a social space and that space is another environment. All of these spaces need to be considered, first of all for comfort and efficiency and to maximize the opportunity of what’s going on there. Then look at what colors, textures, and fabrics you love. Make a mood board or a mood table of things that make you feel good and that look good to you. Then it’s moving them around and putting them together to see how it all looks together. 

Then think about, How would you create those spaces that first and foremost serve a purpose, and then how would you design them to maximize that purpose in those spaces? Anybody can be a designer. First of all, you have to have confidence in what you like and then enjoy the process. 

[28:46] Take the time to think about your partner

It really is important to take time to think about your partner and what they like. Make a real effort to think about how he is going to feel on this sofa. How is he going to feel in this space? How is he going to enjoy eating a meal at this table? Having a relationship takes work and this is a very, very big thing. If they don’t feel that they were a part of it, comfortable and enjoying it,  it really takes a toll on the relationship. It’s a subliminal toll because they feel that they are left out. And we have to include them. We really need to consider how they’re going to live with the environment that we create.

[34:02] Norma’s home decor and pillow line

I’m starting the line with my favorite pillow. It’s a 28 by 28 pillow. You can hug it like you feel like you’re hugging someone. Sometimes we just need a hug especially during COVID we wanted to hug everybody and we couldn’t. The whole shape of it is fantastic. Besides hugging the pillow, it has several uses. You can use it during yoga and meditation. We have fantastic fabrics that are great for indoor and outdoor and great prints. The pillow is the first rollout of several products coming out. As I said, they are good for indoor and outdoor, they feel good, they’re comfortable and they are a lot of fun to add to your apartment or house. 

[38:22] Restyling & freshen spaces in your home

Think just like with your wardrobe, every time you buy something new, your entire closet has the opportunity of being restyled. You can take that piece of clothing, style it, and find new outfits that you never thought about when you were buying that piece. It’s the same with your home. If you buy a pillow or two pillows, you can totally restyle your home by moving things around or the way you add the pillow. So when you come home, it excites you, and it makes you happy in your home. 

Whenever you add something to your home, it’s the idea of reconfiguring what you have with that new piece and just not looking at it as an addition but really taking it into the context of everything you have in your home. Sometimes you may end up putting that pillow or whatever it is in a room you never thought of or in a way you never thought of.  Keep in mind it doesn’t have to stay there forever. Maybe every six weeks you take your things and move them around. The constant creative energy that you put in the space gives you a feeling of joy every time you come home. 

There’s nothing more valuable than your home and it should make you feel good. It could be the simplest thing and it could be something that costs virtually nothing but it’s the process of how you style it and how you build that joy through the way you put it together that really makes your home yours.

[49:11] What’s Cara’s obsessed with this week

This week I am obsessed with an exercise that I want to walk you guys through that I think is going to really help you move in your space and design it better. This would be a great exercise to do in your journal. These are four questions that I want to walk you through to help you really think through kind of what we do talk about with the phase of life and how your home should support your different phases of life.

Questions: 

What is driving the phase of life I’m in right now? 

How can my space support me in this phase? 

What changes do I need to make to align my space to this purpose? 

What’s getting in the way of happiness in my space? 

Now that we’ve identified these, you can make a practical plan because you know what you need to tackle. So let’s change up our spaces to support the phase of life we’re in and let’s be okay with the fact that it’s not forever. It’s just for now.  Let’s create what is perfect for now to serve our lives. There is no after, there is only what we’re doing right now and what we’re loving right now. I know this is really intense inner work and very thought-provoking questions, but I promise you, they’re going to be amazingly helpful in getting you just one step closer to the space of your dreams.

connect with norma kamali:

instagram: @normakamali // website: normakamali.com

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