Everyone experiences loss and deals with grief in their own way but it’s important that through it all, we keep focused on a fresh start in a new light.  The road to a new beginning after losing someone so important is not an easy one and is something I have experienced personally in my life.

In 2009 my environment changed from comfort and confidence to one of loss and insecurities.  In the beginning, as I began to process my grief, I experienced moments of defeat and began to realize that the loss was permanent.

I looked to different methods to move forward by making small changes and a few large ones to add distraction to each day, however the emotional pain could not be disguised.  Although each passing day was difficult in those early years of loss, each passing year did bring a new hope. As I reflected on my journey I began to see that I wasn’t moving forward.  I was stuck in a place waiting for something to change, unable to move forward.

Trying new things felt like a step in the right direction. I became a yoga instructor, took a deep look at my relationships, and changed my career path.  But I was still waiting.

It wasn’t until I read the book “Second Firsts” by Christina Rasmussen, that I began to strengthen my resolve and firmly commit to becoming a different person.  She states in her book “You decide to put one foot in front of the other, make one choice at a time, and slowly… re-enter the world. Re-emerge into your own life. Not as the same person you were before. As a different person. Stronger. More compassionate. More resilient that you ever dreamed possible.” 

Until now, I was not ready.  I had struggled to find answers during my journey after loss but today things were different.  This was a concept I could grasp and it was also the right time emotionally for me to really move forward and begin anew.  It has been an 11 year journey thus far and I have emerged and truly know who I am.  My experience with loss and the transition to living again brought me to where I am today, New Beginnings, Helping People Move Forward.

Each person has their own journey to new life and it may be a long one. Grief is an essential part of the process and while extremely difficult, you can get through it.  Take it one moment at a time and look for support from friends, family, and formal groups. Make changes that move you toward your new, true self.

Please reach out to me if you need help moving forward.



by Paddy Rasmussen, Organizational & Re-Creation Specialist,
Interior Designer, Allied ASID

Re-energize your space and look to the future.

Bring a surge of energy to your life by detaching from the clutter, identifying a place for everything, and implementing minor changes that have a big impact.

Begin by decluttering your space which not only creates a level of order in your home but also in your life.  Organizing your “stuff” has a positive effect on mental health and anxiety levels that improve overall wellbeing and boost the immune system.

Revitalize your space with a change in lighting and color.  These two elements are a reflection of you and help to create an inviting, happy place.

  • LIGHT: Light can make a powerful statement or bring a calm warm glow to your space. Choosing LED bulbs will reduce electricity usage and provide clearer, crisper illusions.  Consider the color rendering index (CRI) when choosing your lighting. This index measures the ability of a light source to reveal the colors of various objects. It is based on a scale from zero to one hundred; the higher the number the purer the light.
  • COLOR: Fresh paint is an inexpensive way to achieve color in your space along with accessories and art. Choose colors that reflect your personal style and taste and that bring about feelings of joy and peace.  Art objects that reveal something about your personality are sure to energize you and your space.

Work/Life Balance

Define Your Space.  Your home office should be a designated room or space.  Fit a desk behind a sofa, in a passageway, or a nook.  Turn a closet into an office or use shelving as a work spot. Having a clearly defined area that you can come to and work then “leave” is helpful for staying productive and having balance.

Gearing up. Ensuring that you live each day to its fullest begins by creating a routine and setting boundaries for yourself.  A most valuable way to start the day is to spend some quiet time in nature, just being.  Imagine your day and what you want to accomplish.  Visualize and feel your success. Plan a physical activity to release stress and tension.

Taking On the Day. Every day brings unplanned activities that interrupt our routines. While working, it is recommended to plan time into your day to rejuvenate and refocus. Work for fifty minutes then take a ten-minute break to stretch and walk around. Be outcome oriented as you end your day, turning off electronic devices so you can decompress, relax, and unwind for the rest of the evening.  Enjoy your family and friends, even if it’s virtual and prepare for a good night’s sleep.


If you need professional help The Arizona North chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers offers the Interior Design for Hire program with one- or two-hour consultations at a reduced rate. Homeowners are matched with local ASID designers in the greater Phoenix area and northern Arizona. All funds raised go toward student scholarships and educational programs including the redesign plan for our annual charity. Go to



How do you want to color?

Color has an extraordinary affect on everything in our lives from the beauty in nature to the clothing we wear or the car we drive. Color reflects our soul and is a symbol of our emotions. It is a fundamental element in our world and carries with it specific thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Color is the mind, body and soul of visual perception; however, color is more than a visual experience. It is also a psychological influence that can radically affect mood and emotion. It is a classic form of communication that projects your personality and sets the tone in each room of your home.

Reactions to color can be subjective, but generally, colors can produce particular responses. Warm colors like red, yellow, and orange can produce feelings of warmth or aggressiveness, while cool colors like green and blue can be calming or depressing.

Applying, adapting, incorporating

While color makes a big impact on your surroundings, it is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to bring continuity to your furnishings and décor. Introducing a new color might be the perfect pop to add a fresh perspective to your room.

Incorporating color into your space can be challenging but these tips will help you get started.
1. Pick your most expensive or larger items in the room such as your furniture and rugs.
2. Review the color palette of those items and select from that or choose a complementary color.
3. Ensure these colors reflect your style and express the feeling you wish to convey.

There are many ways to adapt color to your space and selecting those perfect shades is something I specialize in with my clients. As an Interior Designer, I frequently start by understanding my clients’ color preferences. A good place to start is in the closet? Not only do I grasp their color likes and dislikes, but it also leads to understanding what colors and shades are flattering on them.

“There is a synergy between fashion and Interior Design. Style is a lot like love: even when you try, you just can’t stop it.” -Kim Shui-

Another vantage point of color is to utilize it to express your passions, lifestyle, and hobbies. Life experiences can be expressed through strategic use of hues ranging from bold to barely there.

“Tying color into everyday happiness is exciting,” says Michael Plank, Sherwin-Williams director of color for wholesale markets.

Each year, Interior Designer’s anticipate the release of the ‘Annual colors of the year”. This has become a popular tradition of paint companies as well as the Pantone Color. Founded in 1963, Pantone is an industry leader in color and according to its website, “more than 10 million designers and producers” rely on its products and services for color inspiration and guidance. Pantone’s first-ever color of the year was in 1999 and each December since then, the creative world has eagerly awaited its annual prediction.

How do you want to color? Trends are trends and most are short lived. It is fun to see them unfold but the truth is this is your home, a sanctuary to transition, to de-compress and relax. It is a very personal environment. I focus less on trends and more on building your home with intention and lasting ways.

How do you want to feel? What mood do you want to set? I’m ready to help you create your personal spot that enhances your mood. I am client focused because I want you to be happy and comfortable in your refuge.

“Good design is timeless and less is more.” – Paddy Rasmussen



by Paddy Rasmussen, Organizational & Re-Creation Specialist,
Interior Designer, Allied ASID

Beginnings is dedicated to helping people make their “Plan B” a reality.  Getting to that point takes focus and moving mentally beyond a simple task list of to-do’s to visualizing and believing in the outcome you want to achieve.

Tasks may be the building blocks, but an outcome is a goal that tells a story – to ourselves and others – about achieving our hopes and dreams. It is the key motivating factor in driving us ever closer to living those dreams.  Visualizing the outcome of any situation encourages us to see that end state and to feel the impact of making it a reality. Applying this visualization technique provides an understanding of what could be in our personal lives, relationships, profession, capabilities, and general attitudes and behaviors.

At my company, New Beginnings, “Helping People Move Forward”, we combine Transition Coordination with Interior Design to devise a plan that alleviates clutter, organizes spaces, and embraces a new and positive outcome. Our team takes time to understand what you hope to achieve and helps you implement it in your new space from the moment you walk through the door.

It may sound simple to focus on the outcome, but it is fundamentally a different way of working and thinking about how to get things done. Rather than checking off tasks as you do them to feel productive, we must clearly visualize the outcomes we want and design everything around that end result. 

The key difference in outcome thinking vs task driven living, is that visualizing outcomes gives you a truer sense of achievement.

Pursuing Outcomes

  • Write outcomes not a list of “to-dos”.
  • Be Accountable and have the courage to take action
  • Set a Deadline to achieve your visualized outcome 

In the end, changing our mindset from one driven by completing to-dos to one aligned by the outcomes we want to achieve is about more than a strategy for productivity. It can elevate even the most mundane things we do each day by instilling them with meaning, intention, and narrative power.

Try it. Start your morning imagining what you want to have accomplished by the end of the day, visualize where you’ll be, what that will feel like. Write it down. Now you’re ready to design your day around achieving a sense of productivity and completion far more gratifying than crossing to-dos off a list.

Here’s an example of the Outcome Process for Plan B:

  • Discover – Peace, love and comfort in your new life
  • Boundaries- Set boundaries, letting go of people & things that no longer serve you
  • Believe- Strength of your own spirit, Just Be, Trust your intuition
  • Solitude – an essential experience for mind to organize its processes, a quiet reflection, be in nature, find clarity, just breath


Flowers are utilized throughout every facet of life, from love and loss, to celebration and comfort. All our senses are touched when we receive a floral arrangement or stroll through a garden. Texture, aroma, and color help us connect with this beautiful piece of nature and it evokes great emotion. Flowers and other elements of nature are inspirational in art and design and create a harmonious connection with our surroundings. 


According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, “Our response to color is intensely emotional and flowers can be catalyst for feelings that stimulate more than just our senses of sight and smell.”


There have been many studies on the effects flowers have on our psyche. In one such study, flowers were placed in a room where everyone could see them. The participants experienced a heightened sense of happiness.  According to the Rutgers researchers, the presence of flowers has an immediate impact on happiness and flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods.  Other results show that people who live with flowers have fewer episodes of anxiety and depressed feelings. 

Flowers stimulate social trust in many ways. They communicate the intention to invest effort in a relationship. And they convey a respect for fragility. We feel the impermanence of flowers, and it reminds us that care is necessary to sustain life. Relationships can be as fragile as flowers and the care we give to plants helps us remember the care that our relationships need.