Jen Riday: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 107.
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
Jen Riday: Hey, welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women. I'm so glad you're here; that you're
investing a little time today in yourself, in feeling vibrant and happy and alive and excited to shine. Thanks for being here. On our last episode, I spoke with Tererai Trent, all about awakening your sacred dreams. Have ever considered that your dreams are sacred? Well, they are because each of us is born on this planet with something to contribute; gifts and talents that were here with to make a difference. So if you haven't listened to that episode, go back and do so because Tererai is amazing and she was Oprah Winfrey's all-time favorite guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show. So you will love that episode, and that's at jenriday.com/106. Today, I'll be talking with Courtney Donnelly, all about having a more vibrant home. There are things you can do to make your home feel more alive and happy and just radiant. You know, when you get a brand new pillow that's pretty and fluffy? Well, there are other tips Courtney's going to share with us today, along with ideas of just living a more vibrant life in general. This is a great topic today because it happens to match up with what we're talking about in the Vibrant Happy Women Academy, which is soon to be renamed as the Vibrant Happy Women Club. Stay tuned for more details about that. If you've always wished that you could have a little book club that talks about podcasts rather than books, then you'll want to be a part of what we're going to be doing in the Vibrant Happy Women Club. Alright, well, let's go ahead and dive in and hear what Courtney Donnelly is going to teach us about having a more vibrant and happy home.
My guest today is Courtney Donnelly, one of my good friends who I met on the Vibrant Happy Women retreat. And she's mostly a stay-at-home mom to Grear, age 4, and Wilhemina, age 3, and she and her husband live outside Philadelphia in Horse Country in an old 1730 stone farmhouse; that is so cool, Courtney. She was originally a Midwest girl from Ohio who moved to New York City at 18 to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology and majored in Fashion Design. She had her own fashion company with her cousin after school and eventually, she also taught private art lessons to kids before professionally organizing and styling homes for some of New York's elite. Welcome to the show, Courtney.
Courtney Donnelly: Thanks, Jen, I'm so excited.
Jen Riday: I'm super excited too. Courtney and I are actually friends so I think this is going to be a really authentic, fun interview.
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah, I think so. Jen, you totally saved me. Finding your podcast this time last year, totally turned my life around, and that is why I'm here today talking to you.
Jen Riday: Oh, wow! I feel happy when you say that.
Jen Riday: I like kind of had chills when you said that actually; thank you. Well, Courtney, I know you have a quote, actually 2 quotes, right? So let's hear what you've got for us.
Courtney Donnelly: Okay. So particularly in my journey this past year, it's been all about coming from love. And so this quote I love; I truly love this quote. It says, “From now on, let every action, every reaction, every thought, and every emotion, be based on love. Increase yourself love until the entire dream of your life is transformed from fear and drama to love and joy.”
Jen Riday: Hmm!
Courtney Donnelly: And that's by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Jen Riday: Oh, that's good.
Courtney Donnelly: Yes. So I love that quote because, particularly what I've learned on this journey and through Vibrant Happy Women is that, loving yourself and coming from love is the only thing you can control; it's the only thing you can do. So my practical application for this, especially when, you know, you're having any marital issues or even with your kids, this is by Benjamin Franklin; I love this quote. It says, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” And, for me, that means, you know, if you're coming from love, if you're coming from a place of love, you will keep this in mind and you won't be doing that. And so it's been a good practical application for coming from love.
Jen Riday: Okay, so we've got to dive right into this; the nitty-gritty of it. How on earth do you do this? Really, how do you come from the place of love? What does that look like for you? One aside really quick, my husband's grandparents are from Philadelphia and they aren't around anymore, but they always quit at Benjamin Franklin; that must be a Philly thing.
Courtney Donnelly: Well, I mean, yeah, he’s everywhere.
Courtney Donnelly: He’s awesome; he’s everywhere.
Jen Riday: Anyway, yes, so tell us how do we do this coming from a place of love because we all want to; how is it actually done?
Courtney Donnelly: I feel like it's a really, you know, kind of slower process; it can be. For me, it's been taking a step back whenever you're in a moment and really trying to look at the other person's perspective, and really trying to find your ownership and whatever the situation is. And really trying to figure out how you can grow, how you can release fear and release judgment, and really try to forgive and really own who you are and, you know, let go of the control of everyone else. And, for me, that's been huge; constantly getting out of my head of walking around and thinking about all the issues that I have with everyone else, instead, focus on how I can change me. I mean, that was really helped me come from a place of love.
Jen Riday: Do you have any books that have particularly helped you to do that process of just letting go of that need to control or owning your own feelings really?
Courtney Donnelly: You know, really, I love those little pocket guide books, those little like 3 inch by 3 inch books you can get. Louise Hay does a bunch. She has one called ‘Everyday Positive Thinking’, and I absolutely love to like flip through them, close my eyes, and ask the universe, ask my angels to give me a sign, and I'll stop flipping. And it is amazing that the quote that is on that page applies to the situation. And it really helps me take a break and take a step back and reflect on what is going on. That really helps me kind of look inward and come from love.
Jen Riday: Yeah, and I’ll add a tip with that. This is maybe TMI, but those little books are great for the bathroom, and since that's often the only time I can be alone, it's perfect.
Courtney Donnelly: No, it is perfect. I actually have Marianne Williamson’s ‘A Year Of Miracles’. It's one page a day and I love it. It's a great, great book and you can keep that in your bathroom and you just read one little tiny page a day.
Jen Riday: Oh, yeah.
Courtney Donnelly: That, I truly love. There's also a great book called ‘Breathe, Mama, Breathe’ my friend gave it to me, and it's 5 minute mantras for the busy mom. And it's just really simple to read it in 5 minutes and kind of practically apply it to your life that day.
Jen Riday: Awesome. I will have links to all of those 3 books you mentioned. And I'm sure you have another one for later, but that'll be on the show notes page at jenriday.com/107. Okay, Courtney, I know your story but let's tell our listeners your story, your low point and what you've learned recently that has led you to do what you're doing.
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah, absolutely. I would really say that my low point began over the course of a couple years ago, but it led up to this past year being my lowest point. I moved with my husband down to outside Philadelphia, he took a job in Princeton. And we had originally been living a couple minutes from his parents, his aunts and uncles and cousins, and he was working for a family business. And we moved down an hour and a half away and we had no family around; we had no friends. We… you know, he was working a job that had crazy hours and we both kind of got lost. I think it's something that a lot of people go through when they're in their 30s with young kids. You're trying to figure out your roles; your roles as a parent, as partners, as friends, and as yourself. And I totally lost my individual identity. And I'm down here in in Newtown, Pennsylvania with 2 little kids under 2 and no support system. And it was really, really difficult and it put a lot of stress on our marriage. And we kind of both had our little point at the same time. It was, you know, up and down throughout the couple years. And then last January, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, and that's an autoimmune disorder that's really exasperated by stress.
And so the stress of losing yourself and, you know, your partner kind of losing himself and trying to figure out what to do, you know, not having friends and family around, it just kept adding and adding to me getting sicker and sicker. And by, you know, the end of spring, I had been in the ER a couple of times. And I was super healthy before this. I had never been to the ER. I'd had 2 home births like, you know, I never had anything that required medication; nothing. And this was very difficult to just function and it was very depressing. And so when I finally started to get better and I started to work with actually Carol Eagan, a nutritionist that I heard on your show and I was, you know, really getting better and coming out of it, I hadn't even realized how pressed I was and how unhappy I was until I started to become happier. And looking back, I could see, “Wow! You really lost yourself.” And I felt, for the first time, that I was getting myself back.
And how I mentioned before, a huge thing for me was finding the Vibrant Happy Women podcast; I found you. I never listened to podcasts before, ever. And I just happened to hear you on another podcast. I loved your voice, I loved your message, and I checked you out and I was hooked. And I was driving around my kids everywhere, listening to your podcast. And then I signed up for Time Mastery. And then this summer, I did the meet-up coaches training and I formed my women's group. And that really, really just was like the icing on the cake. I formed this group of 8 women that are fabulous and they were my tribe; they become my tribe in my village. And, you know, I think you're meant to be home with your children and raising them, but you're not meant to do it alone. You're not meant to be in a house with your little kids all by yourself, you're meant to be in your village with all the other women, doing the same thing and all the kids running around with the other kids; that's how it’s supposed to be.
Jen Riday: Yeah. Oh, that sounds amazing. Village, that's a good way to put it.
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah. So it's harder to make that village and, you know, we have all these ways that we can do that now with Facebook and Instagram and all these things. But I wanted the real-life village and I wanted it to be based on friendships that were because of who I was, not just because I was a mom. And these women are great because they inspire me, you know, spiritually, they are all about manifesting and alignment and reaching your best self. So when you go to them with your problems, they are going to make you look at your part, your ownership of it, and really try to help you come from love and grow from it.
Jen Riday: Hmm.
Courtney Donnelly: And it saved me. So that is… you know, all of this led to, kind of came full circle as I got better, and I had this idea to start Vibrant Home and combine all of my passions under one thing.
Jen Riday: That sounds amazing. And one of the things I hear most from women is that, they just can't find like-minded in-person friends. So that's a big reason people love the podcast because they found kind of an ideology, I guess; ideology that matches theirs. But how did you find these people that are like-minded in person? What's the trick to that? Because I'm sure everyone's on pins and needles to know.
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah, sure. I mean, you know, when I moved down here, finding friends was like dating; like I would say 90% of the effort fell on me. And I think that's because most people are busy and they're shy or they're just already have their friends; whatever it is. So I was always the one to break the ice and ask like, “How old are your kids?” or, “What do you do? Where do you live? Do you live around here?” I was always the one to ask that. And if I felt any connection, even if it was 5 minutes, I would say, “You know, I should get your number.” And then I would text them and follow up with them and it kind of weeds itself out. And I have found that the more aligned I am and the happier I am, these women, they start to… you attract to one another.
Jen Riday: Hmm!
Courtney Donnelly: And all of a suddenly, you start just meeting them everywhere and you're like, “Oh my gosh! You're like a long-lost best friend.” The more open and open you get, the more you bring these like-minded people into your world; it's, like attracts like. And, you know, I was really lucky my son goes to this fabulous Quaker preschool down the street. And so a lot of those women are… who go there, they're not Quaker, but we all have a very similar foundation of beliefs. Quakerism, for people who don't know, is very much like Buddhism for the West. Everybody has the light within them and it's just this great, I don't want to say religion, but basically that. And so I found a lot of women there. But the funny part is we all were tied into manifesting and love and alignment and we somehow just magically connected; and quickly. So I would definitely say, you know, making the effort, you have to make the effort. You have to be the one to text and get the number and set up plans. And then be open and just be who you want to attract.
Jen Riday: Yes! Be who you want to attract; right there. And what… that's so cool is because it takes that victim thinking and it shoves it in the corner or throws it out the window. “Be who you want to attract,” I love that. Well, so you did that and you attracted these amazing people. Tell us more about your manifesting and alignment philosophy.
Courtney Donnelly: Well, I manifested this actually when I was listening to you, like so many women I've heard. When I was listening to you, this time last year actually is when I found you. I remember driving around and I was definitely in my sickest days and depressed. And I remember thinking, “I want to be on her podcast someday.”
Jen Riday: That’s awesome!
Courtney Donnelly: I did not think it would be like a year later; I never thought that. And my friend… I have a really great friend who's great at manifesting. She says, “I am the best manifester,” and she's right. But the only way that you can really manifest is when you're doing it without any fear attached to it. So there's a lot of things they try to manifest but I'm forcing it, and there is like some kind of fear deep down or attached to it; it doesn't work. The things that I really want to manifest that I totally just say, “I want to do this,” and I let it go and I let it go to the universe, those are the things that become a reality. You know, for me, I love journaling; getting out all your fears, your anxieties, your depression. I do something called a ‘write and rip’; write it all down and then I rip it up and I throw it outside to the wind. I did that back a few weeks ago when we had that big blue full moon. And I'm outside freezing, throwing, you know, big pieces of paper. They're flying onto my yard but they're not blowing away. But still…
Jen Riday: (Laughs) That’s great.
Courtney Donnelly: They're laying my yard and they're… you know, I'm just looking at them and I'm thinking, “I hope these blow away at some point because there's a lot of stuff on there that I don't want others to read.” But I didn't censor myself and you just get it all out; you get all that out. And then I wrote down my gratitude; being grateful for everything that you can think of. And then I wrote down my list of what the universe will handle and what I’ll handle. Like, I can handle the grocery shopping and the kids and the bills, but the universe is going to handle my big dreams and all of these things that I want to have happen. And so I make those 2 lists and I also, sometimes I tear that up and throw it out there. So actually, funny story, we came back, I did this right before he left for the retreat. And when I came back like a week later, I'm walking to my car, and in the front yard, there's giant pieces of my paper laying in like my bushes like on my front lawn.
Jen Riday: (Laughs).
Courtney Donnelly: I just laughed and I thought, “You know what? It's all the stuff, it's out of me and it's fine.
Jen Riday: Yeah. Oh, that's so hilarious; I love that. So you’ve kind of come to terms with what you want, you journal out the depression and the fear and anything else negative, you do you write and rip then you just trust it to the universe and… and see it come. So here we are; we're on the podcast. How does this feel a year later?
Courtney Donnelly: Oh my gosh, it feels awesome! I'm so excited. I was just so excited! Like, it just feels great and it feels like the universe validating, you know, moving in the right direction. And I'm really big into getting signs from my angels in the universe and I just feel like this is a big sign that I'm moving in the right direction. And I don't have to know exactly what direction that is, it's just knowing that like I feel great and taking the opportunities that feel great to me. I mean, a lot of this was because I took a lot of opportunities that felt great to me like, you know, signing up for your time mastery and signing up for the meet up they, starting my women's group. Because that's another way to help me manifest is being with these women that are going to raise my vibe when it's low. When I say, “I'm having a hard day,” they're going to raise me up. I mean, we have that with the women from the retreat now and it's fabulous. I'm so lucky I have a lot of these kinds of women in my life to really say, “It's okay,” and lead me down this path of positivity. I love it.
Jen Riday: So these women in your meet-up group, what do you call your group? I forget.
Courtney Donnelly: The Vibrant Happy Women meet-up group. (Laughs)
Jen Riday: Oh, you do. Oh, I thought you had given it a different name. Well, so you meet up how often and what's the flow look like? Because a lot of people have asked me about forming groups like this and maybe we can inspire them on how it's done.
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I found a great friend to do this with me. So the 2 of us kind of started it together and we tried to meet every like, 2 to 3 weeks; we really do. I mean, there's periods around the holiday where we didn't get together a lot. But when we first started, we actually did the podcast questions and it was… it was 6 hours.
Jen Riday: No way! That is so great! And you had your kids there with you the whole time?
Courtney Donnelly: No, no.
Jen Riday: Oh, oh, okay.
Courtney Donnelly: That was my husband's day, he took them out. No, we all have babysitters.
Jen Riday: Okay.
Courtney Donnelly: And it's just our time and we all meet at my house and we sat around and we all answered these podcast questions and talked about our low point, and it just bonded us because everyone was so different, but yet we were all the same; it could relate to every single one of us. So we did that and the time flew. We did a vision book party; that was really fun. We just recently did a meeting about coming from love. We had a spirit medium come for one of them because we are very into our angels and our signs from the universe and spirit guides; so we did that. You know, all different things. We went and saw Esther Hicks speak live in Philadelphia.
Jen Riday: Mm-hmm.
Courtney Donnelly: So there's all different things. It doesn't have to be something super formal like with worksheets and all this stuff, it's just getting together. It's like a book club but you're not… maybe you don't have the book. We do read books but we put timeframes on them, we say, “Oh, for the next 3 months, let's all try to read this book and we can talk about it freely wherever we're at with it.” You know, we didn't want to give ourselves more pressure and more homework. You know, we’re already so busy, so we didn't want to do that; we just wanted to kind of flow organically. And we have a great text group that we're constantly sending each other, you know, positive sayings and, “Oh, we just read this great book,” you know, “We just did this.” And so it's really fun. We're all just sharing tons of things. I think our next objective is going to be that… we're all into like different things; one person's into chakras, ones into crystals. So we're going to kind of take the opportunity each leading to teach the group about that because, I don't know about you, but I feel like there's 20 million things I want to learn about. And I have 15 books next to my… my bed and I can't read them all. So it's kind of like, “You go read that and you teach me so then I don't have to like read that right now.”
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Courtney Donnelly: “And I'll teach you about this.” So we’re kind of like dividing.
Jen Riday: Ah, that sounds amazing. Well, so you guys get together for your formal meetings, but then you get together just with the kids to play as well?
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah, we get together with the kids. You know, we help each other out; they're my village, they truly are. Like, if you are running late to school, I'm… I will pick up your child and I will drop them off.
Jen Riday: Oh my gosh!
Courtney Donnelly: You know, it's really… if you want to have a tribe, you want to have a village, you really have to act like that. And so, you know, it's last minute, “Oh my gosh, I'm running late. Can you pick up my kid? Can you drop them off?” or, “Oh, I'll take your child for, you know, the evening,” just because. Or…
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Courtney Donnelly: “Let's go out and do something fun together.”
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Courtney Donnelly: “Let's just go out and have fun.” Or we just did a movie one time called ‘Emotion’; this movie called ‘Emotion’. And we all got together and watched that. It's… you know, it's all these little things that make you, bond you as a true tribe in village. It's… it's never very formal actually.
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Courtney Donnelly: But we did one where we just raised the vibe; that was one of my favorites. We did a ‘raise the vibe meeting’ and we played some silly game. They asked these silly questions and you wrote down what your answer was, and you had to guess who said it.
Jen Riday: Oh! That's fun!
Courtney Donnelly: So it was like a fun way to bond and laugh.
Jen Riday: Well, what's crazy is you said, just a year ago pretty much, you were lonely and wanting to meet people, right? And you've done all this in here. That's a testament to how well you're manifesting works. Wow!
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah, pretty much. I mean, I was also super sick, thought I was… you know, the doctor had said, on a scale of 1 to 10, my ulcerative colitis was a 9. So it went from being really mild last January to, by May, being a 9. And, you know, just…. I remember laying on my bed, crying hysterically. My babysitter, I was lucky enough to have babysitter, thank God, had my kids and she had taken them out as like a Saturday; my husband had to work. And I remember calling him, crying, I was in so much pain. I was… so much pain and I felt so sad and I felt so helpless and alone laying there, wondering if I should call an ambulance, not wanting to be dramatic, but feeling like I was in labor almost.
Jen Riday: Uh, wow!
Courtney Donnelly: And it's one of these things that, it isn't going to kill you, but the symptoms and the way it feels, sure feels like that. Like you would think you were dying with the symptoms that come with it and stuff, but actually you’re not. So it was definitely a really hard time. And the fact that I'm here like less than a year later, more vibrant, like I weigh the same as they did when I got married; I thought that was never going to happen again, ever.
Jen Riday: Yeah, yeah.
Courtney Donnelly: You know, I feel like I look great. I care about how I look for myself; not for others, for myself. Like, I finally him back to like wanting to dress cute and do my hair and do my makeup and not just be like, “I don't care how I look,” and walk out the door with, you know, ‘God knows what’ on my face and my hair looking crazy. Because, it wasn't because I didn't care what people thought, it was because I didn't care. And so I've come back to caring for me and wanting to put the best-self forward for myself.
Jen Riday: Yeah. So some of that was physical health. You worked with Carol Eagan, you said.
Courtney Donnelly: Mm-hmm.
Jen Riday: And I'll link to that episode in our show notes page. And then, manifesting and positivity, and your great books that you can read in the bathroom. (Laughs)
Courtney Donnelly: Mm-hmm, yeah.
Jen Riday: And then, the podcast. Well, what else?
Courtney Donnelly: Working on my marriage, for sure; working on my marriage. And by working on my marriage, I mean, I really took control of setting the tone for my marriage of really doing the research and really weeding through the books and the different things, you know, like the 5 love languages I loved, and that really helped us. There's something called Marriage Fitness that I absolutely love because it's… it's not about therapy, it's about leaving your problems at the door and choosing to move forward together. Stop rehashing all your… you know, the past.
Jen Riday: Yes! Ooh, that’s good.
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah, stop pressing rewind and move forward, move forward. And then, you know, the coming from love and the self-love. That was the number one way I changed the energy of my home, for sure; was changing me, changing my response to my environment and the people around me.
Courtney Donnelly: Well, so we're going to talk next about how you've made your home feel more vibrant; I love this topic. But first, let's jump in and have a quick word from our sponsor and then we'll be right back to talk about that.
Jen Riday: Okay, Courtney, as promised, we are going to dive in and hear how we can make our homes feel more vibrant. So you said, the number one way that you changed your response and changed into a happier place was to develop that self-love and change that response to your environment. So how do we do this in our homes in a way that, not just influences ourselves but our entire families?
Courtney Donnelly: Oh my gosh, there's so many ways. I could talk about this forever; that's why I am doing this now. I started Vibrant Home and I love interior design and I think your home should be beautiful. It definitely plays into the energy of your home, but that's not the only thing. It isn't about just having a Pinterest looking home or Instagram-worthy home, it is really about the energy that runs through it. Everything in your home is energy; all the people, all the things you have, it's all energy, it all adds to the frequency of your home. And so it's really, really important to also focus on that and to build this oasis, this place where you can feel like you're recharging. You begin and you end your day in your home. It should be this place you can come and you feel protected from the outside world and that you're being filled back up so you can go out the next day and do what you need to do. And, you know, one of the biggest things for me is, not just changing the décor, but changing all the ways you can change the energy through all the senses. It's through, you know, smell like essential oils or a beautiful healthy candle; that's the number-one connector to memory. Even the food in your pantry, it has a frequency. If you want to have this healthy, beautiful, vibrant life and look that way, you better make sure the food that's in your refrigerator, in your pantry, is also representing that.
You know, there's so many different ways you can make your home more vibrant. I definitely would say working on the relationship with yourself, with your spouse, and with your kids. For me, that has really been what changes the energy of my home. I mean, I can have this beautiful home, but if you have this tumultuous marriage, the energy running through it isn't going to be beautiful and your home isn't going to be beautiful. If you're having a struggle with your kids, like my 4 year old can send me spiraling, and I don't feel vibrant and my home doesn't feel vibrant. But having these tools, I can take a step back and say, “Okay, I'm going to do some different things now to make it more vibrant and beautiful and create these great memories.” It's all about having harmony in your home.
Jen Riday: Do you feel like that energy starts right there in your own heart?
Courtney Donnelly: Oh, absolutely. That's the number one; number one way. I mean, if I didn't come from a place of love and choose to react to situation from love, my home would not be vibrant. I think we don't give ourselves enough credit as women and mothers that we are really the heart of the home. We control the emotions running through the home by how we react.
Jen Riday: You know, I 100% agree. And in this day of, you know, feminism and equality, I just don't really care. I believe women have massive emotional and energetic capacity, well beyond most men and…
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah.
Jen Riday: I spent a lot of years feeling like a victim in my home, like thinking, “Uh! If only my husband would do this,” and, “Gosh! My kids are hard.” But really, I agree with you. It started with self-love and taking care of me in morning routines and refueling my spirit, and then everything shifted. I could see the good in my spouse and kids. And how does that work for you? Tell us more of your story with that part of it.
Courtney Donnelly: Absolutely. I also think like, not walking around and blaming other people for how you're feeling or for what you're doing. I looked at my friend last year and I said, “You know, we can complain about a lot of things, feeling isolated, and that come along with being a stay-at-home mom.” But I said, “Look, we're standing here at 1 o'clock, our kids are playing and we get to be talking to each other. Yes, they're running around like maniacs and we're interrupted every 5 seconds and, you know, yes still total mom-mode. But still, I get to…” You know, so looking at your situation differently, looking at the fact that like, “You know what? I might stay up later than my husband and my kids to get stuff done, but I had a lull during the day when they were in school and… or when my babysitter took…” you know, so it's… it's just a trade-off. It's looking at your situation differently. For me, you know, really it's all trial and error too. I mean, honestly, it's all trial and error and seeing what works and talking to other moms and being very vulnerable. Like, being vulnerable and talking to each other because we're all going through the same thing. I haven't met any woman or couple or family who isn't really going through very similar situations.
Jen Riday: Yeah, yeah.
Courtney Donnelly: And when you talk about it, it really helps you normalize it and feel like, “Okay, I'm not like a horrible mom. Like, this actually does happen everyone else or most people.”
Jen Riday: Yeah, yeah. So try, and then what else I hear from you it's just this ownership that, you are responsible for the energy in your life and how you feel about your life. And that is the number 1 realization, I kind of feel like.
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah.
Jen Riday: “You can control how you feel,” wow, powerful!
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah, yeah. And you can control how you react to every situation.
Jen Riday: Exactly. So I'm sure most of our listeners would love to have just a better energy in their home, better energy all around in all those relationships. So home really is that heaven that you talked about. So to get everyone started, what would be some quick and easy tips you could share that anyone could do?
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, besides the obvious, which maybe it's not so obvious to everyone, but like organizing and really just taking pride in how your home looks, these 5 tips I love because I think you might not necessarily think of them. My first one is, pulling in crystals. I mean, chandelier crystals actually. So I went on eBay or Amazon and I got like a pack of 12 for 5 bucks. And they come in all different shapes and sizes and you get some fishing wire and some thumbtacks. And go around and hang them up in your windows, especially where the sun comes in and the sun sets. So I did this in my kitchen and when the sun is setting, from like 3 o'clock on, it is filled with rainbows.
Jen Riday: Aww!
Courtney Donnelly: There are rainbows dancing all over my walls. When I wake up in the morning, the sun comes in our bedrooms and there's rainbows everywhere. For me, it just pulls me to the present. It reminds me of all the magic and love that there is in the universe and it just makes me… I mean, how can you not feel joy when you're looking at rainbows all over your walls?
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Courtney Donnelly: And the kids love it, you know?
Jen Riday: Yeah. Ooh, I'm doing that!
Courtney Donnelly: I love doing that.
Jen Riday: And you said Amazon, pack of 12? Do you just Google ‘crystals’?
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah, Amazon. Yeah, Google ‘chandelier crystals’ and you'll see there's a bunch of options. You could hang one and it's really subtle you don't see it or you could hang, you know, a whole strand of like 10 in a row. Whatever you want to do, there's all shapes and sizes, but it's just so magical to see these rainbows everywhere.
Jen Riday: Ooh, I'm doing that for sure, cool. And what else do you have for us?
Courtney Donnelly: Oh, coming up with a manifestation altar. So I'm a big believer in doing vision books, you know, choosing your top 5 pillars of your life. And I do… I don't just do a board, I do like a scrapbook size piece of paper for, you know, each aspect of my life that's important to me. So it might be 1 page, it might be 3. And then actually just recently, I decided, “You know what? I need a meditation manifestation altar.” But my kids will get into everything. Like, I can't leave my crystals out, I can't; they're into it. So I decided, in my closet, the doors open outward. I hung up all my vision book pages in there, and then I cleared like 2 shelves that I have built in, 2 little shelves that I had like jewelry just thrown in, I cleared that and I put in all my crystals, my singing bowl, my sage, pictures of my husband and I and my kids, our great cards that he gave me. I put my, you know, Angel card deck in there, my Louise Hay positive… you know, ‘Positive Vibe’ little book in there, my ‘Breathe, Mama, Breathe’ book. And so I go in there and I can do it for like 1 minute while I'm getting dressed and just look at it all and take it all in or, right before meditation, maybe I want to spend like 10 minutes looking at everything and reading some passages before I meditate.
Jen Riday: That's neat.
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah. So that's a really great way to help you with the manifestation and getting aligned. My favorite thing is incorporating pieces in your home that are vintage, that have meaning and a story behind them. So my home is filled with things from my mom, from my childhood growing up, from my grandparents, my grandmother's, from whoever gave me stuff and I loved it, I took it in. And it really creates a story in your home. I love looking around; it reminds me of my past while pushing me forward into the present into my future. It doesn't hold me back, it just inspires me. When you decorate with pieces that are vintage, that have meaning and character, it's not about sticking to just 1 style, it's about taking what you love and letting it evolve into your own unique style and story. And that's probably my number 1 way that I love to decorate. If you love it, you know, then use it. Now at the same time, if somebody gives you something you don't love it, even though it's from your grandma who's passed away, you don't need to keep it and you shouldn't because you're going to have constant feelings of guilt, kind of, that it's tucked away behind, you know, this or that.
Jen Riday: (Laughs). I'm laughing because my mom gave me a gift; it was the most crazy marbled blue glass modern piece of artwork.
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah. I mean, you want your home to be filled with the things you love…
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Courtney Donnelly: … and that inspire you and you can work them so that they… you know, I have all these things for my grandmother's house in here and they're displayed totally differently than her, but they're all… you know, it's all the same stuff. But I do want to say that, when you bring in pieces, whether they're new or they're old, get some sage. You can sage the pieces because everything holds energy. So let's say like it was sitting in a warehouse and it just had bad energy there or the guy that was handling it that day had horrible energy, like everything holds on to energy, it's kind of like a snake that sheds its skin; that's what energy is like. So sage those pieces, sage your home, you know, sage them to get rid of the energy and have it start fresh. Now, some things that I got from my grandparents, I don't want to say it to their energy out of it.
Jen Riday: No, yeah.
Courtney Donnelly: I don't… you know, I want it to still have their energy so I don't. But, you know, if you're picking up something from a yard sale, which we do all the time or even off the street, go ahead and do that. I think it's just… even if you don't believe that things hold energy, it's a great way to set intentions and really be mindful of what you have in your home.
Jen Riday: Yeah, that's cool.
Courtney Donnelly: And so I have 2 more. One of my favorite, favorite things to do, and this helps with my house but just with myself as well, is I created a ‘raise the vibe’ playlist. I joined Apple Music, which has been awesome. I got like 100 songs at 10 bucks a month, and I have this massive playlist of all songs that the beat is happy, the words are happy, it helps me manifest the life I envision. It's not necessarily just a song I love, it's a song that actually has a positive meaning to me. And I love putting that on and pressing shuffle and asking like the universe to pick the song for me. And it'll pick this most appropriate song sometimes, and we'll just put it on and have a dance party. And we'll dance around and it changes the energy of the house. It changes my energy so much.
Jen Riday: Yes.
Courtney Donnelly: Which, as I said, is the number one way to change the energy of your home. So having a ‘raise the vibe’ playlist music running through your home like that and having these dance parties as if no one's watching and you're on this music video, that adds so much vibrancy to our house.
Jen Riday: Dancing, yes, I love that.
Courtney Donnelly: Yeah, I love it. And then the last one I have is, pull nature in. There are so many ways to pull nature and that I think people don't even realize. Like, besides the obvious of having plants, like a money tree or an orchid, succulents, pulling in wood, natural wood pieces, driftwood, you can also pull in salt lamp. A salt lamp is a great way to clear the energy of any space. Mineral stone crystals, not chandelier crystals a sign but actual crystals, I love decorating with them. There is a science to crystals and I just happen to think they're beautiful and they set your intentions for the day. Like, right now, I'm holding a certain crystal that I wanted to pick up the energy from for this interview. And my new favorite way to bring nature in is, we have… we were just doing it this weekend and I… I realized how great it was for us. We have this clear bird feeder that goes on your window. It just suction cups your window so it's clear; you know, you don't really notice it. And we have it in our living room and the birds just fly over and they're just sitting right in your window, like right there, eating out of this bird feeder. So we'll be watching TV and then, all of a sudden, this beautiful Cardinal is sitting there. And it pulls us to the present moment. It stops us from whatever we're doing and makes us come together as this little family and see this bird and we talk about it. My kids love nature and we have this little bird guide book sitting right next to the couch that we can look up, you know, what bird it is and, you know, it's just a great way to pull nature in and really be present and inspire curiosity. And that's all great ways to add to the vibrancy of your home.
Jen Riday: That is such a good tip. And we have a bird feeder outside of our windows, same thing, we love it, and a bird book. So… well, Courtney, I know that you help people with design. And, well, do you have something?
Courtney Donnelly: I have a freebie. I would like everyone who is on Instagram to go ahead and follow me @vibranthome , like any picture, and then just comment below that you heard me on the Vibrant Happy Women podcast. And I'm going to do a random drawing for 5 people to do a ‘30-minute revitalize your room, mini makeover’. So we can pick up the phone and Skype or you can send me a video and pictures. And I can go ahead and get on there with you and say, “Move this piece around. Pull this carpet in. Let's change the color.” We can take it as far as you want to take it; you know, something quick and easy changes or a whole new room for you.
Jen Riday: So that's the ‘30 minute revitalize your room, mini makeover’ and how do they enter again?
Courtney Donnelly: So you just go follow me on instagram, @vibranthome is my name.
Jen Riday: @vibranthome.
Courtney Donnelly: Like any picture I've posted, like any picture, and then in the comments under the pictures, you can just comment that you heard me on the Vibrant Happy Women podcast. And if you don't have Instagram, you can go on my Facebook page which is ‘Vibrant Home with Courtney Donnelly’ or you can go to my website, vibranthome.net, and you can send me an email through there. And I will do a random selection of 5 people to help you make over 1 room for this spring.
Jen Riday: Ooh, yeah, that's good! Okay, so we will have instructions for that on our show notes page at jenriday.com/107; numbers 107. Okay, Courtney, yeah, let's talk about your favorite books. We've talked about a lot of rather favorite things so let's go right into your favorite book or books.
Courtney Donnelly: Well, I have so many books waiting to be read; I honestly only get through a couple pages every night before I'm passing out. So I go very slowly and there's always like a new book that I want to read. I wish I could just touch them and take it all in.
Jen Riday: Yeah.
Courtney Donnelly: But my current favorite book is called ‘There Is More To Life Than This’, and it is by none other than Theresa Caputo, the Long Island medium. I love this book because it is all about life after life and connecting with your angels and God in the universe and your spirit guides. And being open to sign from loved ones out of passed and signs from your angels. And this past 6 months, I've really been open to signs from the universe and from my angels, and I've been getting them like crazy. And it's one of the best ways for me to know that I'm on the right path. And this book is really light hearted, she's totally normal, she's not shoving anything down your throat, and it's really easy to take in and understand. And it kind of makes you look at things differently; you know, look at life here totally differently.
Jen Riday: So how do you know if something is a sign? How do you decide what's a sign, what's not a sign?
Courtney Donnelly: Well, it's so funny there's just this feeling you get. I don't know if you ever see like a beautiful Cardinal fly up and you think, “Oh my gosh! That reminds me of my mom.” Or I remember the first sign I really got, my grandmother just passed away and my… I was changing my little boy on the changing table, and this is in the middle of like January. And, all of a sudden, on the windowsill is a little ladybug crawling along. And I look at it and I go, out loud, “Hi, Gigi.” And I was taken aback like, “Why did I just say that? This is a ladybug. Why did I just say that?” And I just knew it was her; I just knew it was a sign from her. And so in the past like 6 months, my… Gabby Bernstein talks about, you know, “What's your sign from the universe? What do you feel like you connect with?” My one friend, it's hearts that shine light. My other friend, it's rainbows. My other friend, it's ladybugs. I started noticing hearts everywhere. And, at first, I thought it was like a sign for my other friend who has that same symbol. And then I realized one day, somehow, “No, this is for me.” And so I started getting all these heart… like seeing hearts and things; not looking for it, just all the sudden, you're talking to the universe in my mind, and I look up and there's a heart there in the strangest way.
I mean, one of my favorite stories is my son kept playing with this Christmas ornament this year and it was just a glass ball. And there was nothing special about this ornament and he kept playing with it and playing it. And I put it back on the tree like 5 times that day. And I go walking around and I pass his bed and he’s laying on his bed. And I had been in my head all day and I was having some issues like thinking about life and asking all these questions to the universe about what I should do. And I walk over and I pick up this morning, and I pick it up in such a way that my thumb is on the bottom, and I feel that it's broken. And of course I'm annoyed and I'm like, “Oh my gosh! How did you break this?” And I move my thumb and it's broken in a perfect heart. The only piece out of this glass ornament is a perfect heart broken right out of the bottom of it. And I just knew; there was chills. You just know in your soul like, “Oh my gosh! that was a sign.”
Jen Riday: Hmm! That's so cool. Well, what does it mean for you, Courtney, to be a vibrant and happy woman?
Courtney Donnelly: There are so many things. This is a hard one for me. I would definitely say love because that encompasses, you know, love for everyone and yourself. I would definitely say having your tribe, like your family, your tribe your friend tribe; having your tribe, your village. And spirituality; knowing that there's this higher power and story and there are these angels with me that guide me every step of the way. And all I have to do is be open and let them be the wind at my back to push me in the right direction.
Jen Riday: Nice. That's great. Let's have a challenge from you to our listeners and then you can remind us again where we can find you, and we'll say goodbye.
Courtney Donnelly: Sure. I mean, my challenge would be, try to implement one of these five quick and easy tips that I shared with you. Or at the very least, conquer one thing that's been sitting around really bothering you about your house. I mean, I think a lot of people think you have to take a whole day. Just start. Even if it's just one cabinet a day, go through and get rid of things that don't serve you anymore or, you know, bring in some nice flowers; whatever that is. You know, do one thing to change your home environment this week.
Jen Riday: Oh, that's so good. And we'll have a link to those five tips on our show notes page at jenriday.com/107. And, everyone, go there, look at the instructions on how to enter for one of those 5 ‘30-minute revitalize your room, mini makeovers’ that Courtney is giving away.
Courtney Donnelly: Yes, absolutely. Oh my gosh, yeah, I would love that. If they're open for it, totally, because I think it will inspire all these other women out there to just make some quick changes.
Jen Riday: Okay, this has been fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Courtney, and thanks for being here.
Courtney Donnelly: Thank you, Jen, thank you so much.
Jen Riday: Awesome, right? So don't forget to go to jenriday.com/107 to enter to win one of those ‘30-minute revitalized your room, mini makeovers’. The instructions will be there on our show notes page; jenriday.com/107. Also, I wanted to talk a little bit more about the tribe and village that Courtney mentioned. Doesn't her group of friends sound amazing? They talk about spiritual things, they have a lot in common, they take care of each other when they need to carpool; such an amazing group. And one of the things I hear most from women listening to my show is that they're lonely; that they just can't find a group of like-minded women. Well, you're in luck, because at the end of April, we're going to be opening the brand-new Vibrant Happy Women Club. This is the place to be if you want to be with other women who are also interested and having a more vibrant happy life; women who listen to the podcast, women who like self-development and who want to just feel more vibrant and happy. I know so many of you have written in and said, “Hey, you know, Jen, we need to form book clubs, but instead of talking about a book, we want to talk about the podcast.” Well, that's what this is all about. This is your chance to form a small group with like-minded women and to support each other on your journeys of living a more vibrant and happy life. I'm so excited about it. So stay tuned for more details in the weeks ahead. I will be back later this week talking about what vibrance means for me, what it looks like in my life. And until then, make it a phenomenal week. Take care.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast www.jenriday.com.