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Choose Positive Change



Change” is the topic on top of many people’s minds these days and it is something many are calling for and looking forward to.  Change brings with it new hopes, new ways of seeing things, new ways of living, new realities and new dreams.  Dealing with change can be thrilling and exciting yet it can be quite stressful too.  How well you handle the prospect of change influences the quality of new opportunities coming to you.

Everybody deals with change in different ways.  For some it comes easy while others have a greater struggle dealing with new situations.  In these days, when change is so widespread, it helps when you take the time to understand and appreciate the new opportunities that change bringsCelebrating and enjoying the things you hold precious in your personal life can also help you feel grounded when everything else around you seems to be in chaos.

Here are a few tips for staying grounded during times of change to ensure you are prepared when opportunities present themselves to you (please feel free to share your tips and ideas):

  • Simplify-Reduce the clutter in your life, both physical and emotional.  Eliminate the things you no longer need and get rid of the things that trip you up and tie you down.  When you release the things that no longer fit who you are now, you make room for the new opportunities that are waiting for you.
  • Organize-A major factor in leading a stress free life is having things organized.  You do not need to be an organizational junkie, but keeping things put away in their places and having paperwork in their files where you can locate them when you need them will take you miles towards your goal of a Zen-like life.
  • Create Your Sanctuary-Turn your home into your special retreat.  Remove your shoes while in your house and leave the dirt and pollution outside.  Surround yourself with only things you love.  Take a look around and see if you need to rethink the layout of your furnishings or the choice of your accessories.  Perhaps you can move things around from room to room in order to turn each space into something special.  Pay extra attention to rooms where you spend a lot of time, your bedroom, office, living room, and kitchen; make them special and supportive for you.
  • Create Your Goals-In this time of change, it really helps to know where you are going.  Write down your goals and spend a few moments each day focusing on them.  Writing affirmations is a very powerful way to bring about powerful change in your life.  And if you find that your goals change or the affirmations do not feel right, change them!  Just as your life evolves, so too can your desires.  What feels like it might your perfect life plan today may change tomorrow.  Stay in touch with your inner self and focus on what is right for you.  It can be very empowering to recognize the door that has been placed right in front of you and to know that all you need to do is turn the knob.
  • Sharpen Your Skills- This is the area of your home and office that is the far left front corner nearest your front door.  The skills and knowledge area is an important area to have working well because unless you are sharp and prepared, you may not recognize the opportunities before you when you see them.  This is a great place for your books or to hang symbols of your desired skills or photos of mentors.  It is also a perfect place for anything that represents wisdom to you.  If it is a private place, why not place your list of goals here and make this the spot where you spend your time reviewing them?
  • Choose Positive Peers-Surround yourself with like-minded friends and family who share your positive feelings and goals.  Change is exciting and while not everyone has to have the exact same ideals, it is important that you feel supported by those around you.  Placing photos of those you love and respect in your home and office will help you feel supported even when they are not physically there with you.  Remember to keep your bedroom private though, this is not the place for photos of friends and other family members.
  • Get Grounded-Literally!-Spend some time out of doors and enjoy a bit of nature.  A breath of fresh air clears your mind and allows you to see things in a more positive light.  Take a walk, let the clouds lift from your head and let your spirit connect with the earth.  Chances are, you are going to come back with a new bit of insight and a better perspective than when you left.
  • Take Action-Now that you have organized and simplified your life and created your own sanctuary, have defined your goals, surrounded yourself with like minded individuals and taken a moment to get grounded and have a breath of fresh air, start taking action toward creating the change that you want to see.  The “doing” part of the plan brings everything together to make those opportunities real.
  • Filter Your Exposure-While it is important to be aware of world events, ensure that you are not overexposing yourself to the news media, television and other negative influences.  There are plenty of sources that like to focus on negativity, but do not make that your main diet.  Feed yourself plenty of healthy ideas, focus on positive changes, take steps to make your goals become your new reality and choose positive change now.

Image by Keithpix

Nickie is the founder of and She is a certified IBE Healthy Home Practitioner, Certified Usui Reiki Practitioner and Feng Shui Consultant. She has lived on both coasts (as well as in the gorgeous Rocky Mountains of Colorado) of the US and currently calls Los Angeles home. You can find her in plenty of spots in the online world and should you happen to catch her at home, she will probably make you something yummy!

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  1. Chris Griffith

    November 15, 2008 at 8:40 am

    I watched evening news for the first time in over a year. What a buzz kill. I’ll never do it again.

    For the most part, I feel I’m a positive person. I follow a lot of your principals and will print this and read it a few times over the coming days as a refresher.

    Thanks for collecting this plan and putting it in print for the neggies.

  2. Christine Rich

    November 15, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Love your words! So on target and a great reminder of the way I focus my energies and work when I am “on my game.” Plus a wonderful reminder that it IS worth decluttering and simplifying in my own house, not just the homes my clients are selling. Thank you!

  3. Steve Simon

    November 16, 2008 at 7:58 am

    A lot of folks look at posts like this as “Corny”… However it is frightening how powerful the basic points are that are containied in it.
    The “Simplify” section is enough to make a world of difference. There is great healing and power in the single line, “When you release the things that no longer fit who you are now, you make room for the new opportunities that are waiting for you.”
    Great line:)

  4. Missy Caulk

    November 16, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Nicki, I have a vision board in my office so I can’t help but see the things I am desiring in my life.

    I only wish…I could get folks to take off their shoes, LOL Plus with 4 dogs and one cat it is hard to keep the dirt and pollution out.

    Great suggestions !

  5. Vicki Moore

    November 16, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Keep those excellent ideas coming. Thank you for reminding me to “live my life.”

  6. Paula Henry

    November 17, 2008 at 11:55 am

    I recently moved and as I have gone through boxes, I realized there was a lot of things I just didn’t want any longer. I am taking your advice to surround myself with things I love.

    Of course you always have wonderful tidbits of information for making life less hectic and more tranquil and I will use a few more ideas from this post. I have it saved in my documents. Thanks!

  7. Affirmations Help

    November 22, 2008 at 12:51 am

    I too am in the process of cleaning house both mentally and literally.

    My old roommates use to watch the news every night to “be informed.” Of what? Negative crap that one needs to know? No thanks.

    I’ve been walking in nature more, eating healthier, and performing daily affirmations. As I continue to heal my life is improving thanks a lot to my positive affirmations about my own healing capability.

    How have affirmations worked for others? What strategies do you use?

  8. Nickie Rothwell

    November 22, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Hi Chris-Thank you! I am so glad you find the list useful!

    Hi Christine-Yes, it is important to remember to take time for ourselves! When your home supports you, you will be able to better meet the needs of your clients.

    Thanks Steve-it is the simplest things in life that are so easy to take for granted aren’t they? And they are quite often the things that can make the biggest difference in how well our life flows.

    Hi Missy, Vision Boards are awesome! I would love to see yours some day. I also have a cute little pup and no, she doesn’t remove her shoes either 😉 but the two-footed folks all do. Everyone just knows that is the custom in our house, so they just follow suit. I do try to keep slippers around in a few different sizes so no one gets cold toes.

    Hi Vicky, Thank you, and my pleasure and joy 🙂

    Hi Paula, Congratulations and I am so happy to hear about the wonderful things happening in your life! All my best wishes to you!

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Green Live & Work

Regenerating architecture: green building product innovations

(Green News) Sustainable design has evolved beyond robotics, and has tapped into the basics, using pre-historic methods: bacteria. Genius!





A Third Grade Teepee

Remembering back to third grade science class, about ten sticks bound together at the top with twine of some sort, and a little beansprout planted at the base of each pole, eventually became the coolest shelter this eight year old had ever seen. Seedlings wound their way up, tendril by tendril until their leaves reached just far enough to clasp and join, and create and fantastic teepee that was actually a food source, too! Talk about the ultimate in sustainability – but that was old school.


Making Something Out of Nothing

Enough about my blast from the past. I was seriously thrown into nostalgia when I thrust onto the path of this fantastic article by Gary Wollenhaupt earlier this week regarding some of the most inspirational green-building products I have heard about in quite sometime. It must have something to do with the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’s Innovation Challenge and building products that seem to become something from nothing! Apparently these folks were up to the task!

So, maybe the little teepee which was representative of the sacred “three sisters” or corn, beans, and squash that the Native Americans utilized as their staple crops symbolized something else to me. The regeneration of soil, the regeneration of the land, and a regeneration of that happy little elementary school structure, covered in beans which became the perfect hiding spot.

Obviously, the teepee wasn’t innovative, but for this little kid, the shelter “appeared out of nowhere” once those leaves filled in. The Forbes article pulled together an arsenal of truly innovative products that are not only environmentally friendly, sustainably-minded products that will certainly turn many green-builders on their heads!

The Home that Regenerates Itself

Innovation comes in many different forms. Lots of great builders looking to build sustainable homes look towards energy efficiency in a hard-core way and building with products that take building to a new level; however, these innovators have gone and created building products that supposedly grow themselves, or are fire-retardant, or are -say what?- regenerating when they are broken? Oh, ok? This sounds like something out of the future, and we don’t even have our hoverboards yet!

Seriously though, it is amazing to think that there is a product made of a bacteria which will regenerate itself. Self-healing materials have been around for a while, but not necessarily for home building. Wollenhaupt noted that the”Bacteria engineered to thrive in dry climates is helping to create a concrete that can repair itself.

The bacteria are mixed into the concrete and release calcium carbonate, similar to limestone, as part of their waste process. The material fills in holes and cracks in the concrete, making it last longer and reducing maintenance costs.” As someone who is incredibly interested in developments like these, I am quite curious as to their durability and what the testing has been like for the products, but can’t wait to see what the future holds for green building products that bring us full circle! Fascinating, isn’t it?

Watch it Grow

It will be fascinating to see what happens when these homes are built out of these biologically and ecologically innovative building products, and if they will indeed withstand the test of time and do as they say they will. Take some time to view the entire roster of impressive applicants to the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, the California based non-profit who put on the event, check out their information, and applaud their achievements in green-building and design!

Now I want to go in the yard and build a little pole-bean teepee, and watch it grow. I don’t think my back yard is at the “coral-like” regenerating concrete bio-product level quite yet.

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Green Live & Work

Superadobe: super sustainable building phenomenon

Taking something that already had the power to be awesome and making it, well, super-powered, that is what one bright-eyed architect did with an age-old building concept. Let’s take a mini-adventure into the world of Superadobe, where a blending of concepts which are thousands of years old with some new ideas has created yet another buzz in the stratosphere of sustainability and green building.





Superadobe, I am Your Father

I believe it was Christopher Nolan who said “Batman and Superman are very different characters but they’re both iconic and elemental.” Either way you cut it, adobe is elemental, and adobe is nothing new; I make the comparison the Batman and Superman because they are both superheros, however different…

Adobe is also something nothing short of super. From the ancient Egyptians to the Anasazi Tribe, many cultures near and far have utilized the brilliant mixture of straw, soil, sand and water tamped together to create a sun-hardened earth house for shelter through the ages. These homes are sturdy, cool on the inside in the heat of the Sun, and warm on the inside during cool nights.

It is quite possibly some of the most amazing architecture that we can find when we look at the history of our progression of architecture, next to the great pyramids and cliff dwellings. Let’s face it, in many parts of the world, because of its magical simplicity, adobe is, after caves, how humans survived the elements.

Superadobe is Born Powerful

In the present, an Iranian born architect, Nader Khalili, has discovered, well- I say present, but it was some twenty plus years ago- how to perfect the concept of adobe and bring it forward into the new age. Through modification of the structural processing of the staging of the adobe, Khalili has managed to create a product and process that he has coined as Superadobe. Khalili has said that “Superadobe is an adobe that is stretched from history into the new century. It is like an umbilical cord connecting the traditional with the future adobe world.” He has an interesting take on adobe and its re-emergence to the “new world” through his superadobe product.

Moon-dust or Sand. Take Your Pick – it is Still Super.

What this really means is that his process of taking long tube-like bags, usually made of sturdy polypropylene or sometimes straight-up burlap, and filling them with sand, or rice or any sort of fill, then creating a trench for the foundation, and forming the frame out of these tubes which are filled with the “fill of choice” and then tamped down, either by hand or with a pneumatic tamper. As the foundation is created, windows can be created by having voids not filled, or cut out after the fact. A huge part of superadobe, beyond the tubular filled bags of soil or the like is the barbed wire which reinforces the shape of the buildings, which are generally a coil of these reinforced tubes which ultimately form a beehive shape. There have been extensive experiments with the concept of superadobe, or the earthbag building concept, which Khalili first came up with after attending a symposium at NASA in 1984 where he was trying to figure out who to build structures on the moon! Imagine, bags full of moondust. That sort of sounds magical, or super! Doesn’t it. Just agree. It does.


From the Moon to Your Backyard it seems that not even Kryptonite will take  this stuff down! Superadobe is one sturdy building concept. It is aerodynamic, just as its predecessor, just regular old adobe is. However; with the beehive and or rounded edges that it tends to take on, it can survive hurricane force gales. A superadobe home or building can be built by unskilled labors in a matter of days by the resources available on site, either of the sandbags, or of the specific tubing and barbed wire. The buildings are sturdy, sustainable, cost effective and can be built in nearly all elements. As a builder, one would look to superadobe from the cost effective standpoint for a client who is thinking about passive solar design; it tends to stay cooler during the day in those hot climates, and warm in the evenings in cold climates. The stuccoed exterior is incredibly low maintenance and provides the client for an exceptional opportunity for reduction in utility bills, or for even being off the grid, if they so desire. New offices looking for an interesting, cost effective and sustainable building concept, could certainly look at superadobe as an option. The unique building structure of the circular and hive-like shapes lend towards something new and different. If you want to stand out from the crowd, be sustainable, and possibly have a quick build, superadobe could be for you.  It From the moon to Costa Rica and everything in between, superadobe is a sustainable building concept that has green building aficionados looking towards the sun. It’s a bird, it’s a plane. No. It’s superadobe.

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Green Live & Work

GreenSpur: sustainable construction, reclaimed materials

GreenSpur Unveils their first OneNest Project home built in Virginia, a sustainable construction project that could be duplicated across the world.



sustainable construction

sustainable construction

One of a kind sustainable construction project

This weekend was full of anticipation and completed, what could be called “full-circle-excitement come to fruition” for those who have been keeping tabs on the GreenSpur construction team. Not so long ago, I brought word to you about the incredible opportunity that Mark Turner and his concept team were working on regarding a fully sustainable, green-built home constructed of Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPS) and reclaimed materials.

This project is the first of its kind and is hopefully going to be one of many that will be replicated internationally as a model of sustainable construction that meets the needs of a true nest.

Flying into the Nest

Minimalism, with a true rustic elegance is what you find peering out at you as you make your way up the steep, curving drive to the Delaplane OneNest home set atop a perfect hill overlooking the foothills of the Shenandoah mountains. It is almost as if someone has called in the gentle fog to hover just at the top of the treeline for intrigue, mystery and sultry ambiance to pull you into the site. Recall those mystical tendrils of smoke that lure… that is what pulls you here…to something new and exciting.

Before you get to the site, strategically placed communal fire pits with site-found logs are hissing, popping and generating that delightful campfire smell and then there is that house. With the elevation of a classic barn marrying a contemporary sanctuary, OneNest sits there among newly planted native river-birch trees, nestled in yet peeking out. The patina of the tin a deliberate match to the brick-red rust of the seamed and painted hardi-plank that covers the SIPS.

The standing seam metal roof line is a delicate yet masculine balance to the reclaimed history that is woven into this home through the use of wood paneling straight from past cabin quarters of the John Marshall property. The facade wouldn’t be complete without the mirror image of floor to ceiling windows flanking a steeple like fireplace that is masoned in stone harvested directly from the site. Usable porches galore. Panoramic views of the fog rolling on and on across the pits and valleys of the foothills while the cows come home. A matching barn is just beyond the main house that has an awning wide enough for a classic riding tractor. Classic is right. This is just the exterior.

Getting Cozy on the inside

Delivering more inside, OneNest’s vaulted ceilings are welcoming and open, leaving one to be baffled by the thought that this space is one-thousand square feet. It could be thousands more; the trompe l’oeil affect of the grande windows to the view beyond pulls the eye out and into the distance. The living room has very functional usable built-ins and is open to the stunning kitchen with a wonderful amount of storage. The fantastic use of counterbalanced Connecticut-style pull down lanterns is just one more ‘trick of the eye’ and fun for the gorgeous space and means to draw the eye up to the loft space above which is the master suite.

Past the kitchen, a full bath, well appointed and glowing is to the left, and storage to the right. Beyond that, windows, again floor to ceiling brighten the space and pull in the outdoors while highlighting the spiral staircases to go up and up into the nest. Before heading up, a nosy poke into the crawl space reveals some more smart design, wine-cellar in the crawl built from galvanized metal buckets and wine-racks; a good use of space in an otherwise unusable crawl!

The second floor is home to the lofted main bedroom, which has a lovely view of the great wide yonder and can be conveniently enclosed with thoughtful curtains; wrapped around the far right of the bedroom is a little nook- great for reading, a dog-friend or maybe some lovely indoor plants for creating a nice indoor air quality. The master spa-bath is impeccable with an egg-shaped soaker tub, walk-in shower complete with rain head and well, it is simple, yet stunning. Plus, there is a fireplace above the bath. Nice… I

n the central stairwell, up once again, the next level houses the guest room with incredibly functional use of space, reclaimed wood and a sumptuous bathroom which is just incredibly well done. This OneNest space is an unbelievable four stories of beautiful, reclaimed, green living space built to help the owner truly nest in, living in what they need.

sustainable construction

sustainable construction

sustainable construction

sustainable construction

sustainable construction

Nesting as a Trend

Why OneNest? Business partner, Arian Lewis, stated “this is something that can be replicated in any country across the world. I’m currently talking with contacts in Malaysia to see about using our concept houses there.”

Lewis is the partner based out of the Oxford England team, who has been working on outreach to developing nations. These homes can be built anywhere. They are sustainable and don’t have to take up a lot of space or resources. Minimal or luxury finishes can be put into them and the product can be built an a relatively small amount of time.

Mark Turner, the brainchild behind GreenSpur and the OneNest project, said when asked what the biggest take away should be for the project, “Well, this was absolutely a labor of love and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I wanted to do something different that other builders weren’t doing and that would change the way things were being built in the construction industry.” He has proved it once before when he built a net-zero house on Capitol Hill, now he has done it again with the OneNest project’s first completed home, built in 100 days in Delaplane, VA.

Turner reminds us all that “OneNest is the context of everything in one world- a natural resting place.” Mark has also been quoted, “When I think about designing and building PLACE, I am inspired by Stegner’s quote, ‘There it was, there it is, the PLACE where during the best of our lives friendship had its home and happiness its headquarters.’ This 1000 SF OneNest Project is our team’s best attempt to capture this spirit. We are using radical approaches in design, materials and building science to capture that simple notion that we all universally yearn for: ‘happiness its headquarters.'” I love this about this team, they are so grounded in their since of duty to balance and harmony with nature, life and the elements.

What is Next for OneNest

Looking at their mission, Delaplane was a lovely place to select for the first part of this project’s journey. Just off of John Marshall Highway in historic wine country, this may be an idealistic “happiness headquarters.” The first OneNest will be open for extended stays as well as events for the next six months to continue to the conversation within the community and beyond about this intriguing and passionate design and building concept.

Where do you think we’ll see more of these beautiful, sustainable creations across the States and internationally? Start the conversation by making the visit.

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