Clinton Kelly - Freakin' Fabulous, As Always

Clinton Kelly is one of the coolest, kindest people and I thought he would be perfect person to interview during this crazy time. You may know Clinton from his former days on TLC's What Not to Wear or ABC's The Chew. He styles, he write, he cooks, he crafts - he's a jack of all trades.

1. First of all, how are you doing amidst all of this craziness and uncertainty? 

I’m fine, thanks for asking. Nothing too interesting to report on my end. Anxiety levels are manageable right now, thanks to the people who are keeping society up and running. I have some much respect and gratitude for health workers, first responders, grocery store workers. 

2. What are some ideas for work from home clothing so we don't stay in our sweatpants all day but still feel comfortable?

To be honest, during a pandemic you shouldn’t be worrying too much about your appearance. But if you’re working from home and having regular Zoom conferences with your coworkers, you should maintain an air of professionalism. We may be practicing social distancing, but a glimpse into someone’s home life is intensely personal. When this is all over and things return to normal, your boss will have a much greater insight into who you are at your core. Make sure she’s seeing exactly what you want her to see at all times. Also, wear what makes you feel the most productive. For some people, that’s sweatpants. For some people it’s a actual clothes with buttons and zippers. 

3. Your home is beautiful. How has having a well-designed home made this quarantine situation a little better for you?

Thank you. I’m at my best when things around me appear peaceful and intentional. Some people thrive in chaos. I am not one of them. I’m very distracted by clutter and randomness. It might sound crazy but it’s soothing for me to look at a lamp on an end table and think, “That’s just where it should be, because I’ve considered putting it in several other places, and that’s the best.” It makes me happy knowing that it’s found its place in the world. 

4. What is your fave drink recipe that we must try while stuck at home?

I’m not being very experimental with cocktails right now. I’ve found my favorite gin ever: Empress 1908. And I have one G&T at 5:00. It has to be made with Fever Tree tonic. No lime. 

5. What is a favorite small business that you think we should support right now?

We should all be supporting any small businesses we can think of right now. If they can provide you a service or offer you a product from a safe distance, buy it. People are terrified of not being able to provide food for their families. 

6. Favorite way to relieve anxiety?

Three things: Getting outside, doing cardio and meditating. I met my sister for a walk in the woods last week, it was immensely helpful. Fresh air and trees, man. They work. Also, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have a Peloton in the house. A 45-minute ride changes everything. And I like an app called Meditation Oasis. I’ve been using it for years. 

7. Advice for someone who is having a hard time nailing down a meditation practice?

Write “meditate” on your daily schedule! And start by using an app or a virtual meditation instructor. Once they walk you through the basic principles, it might be easier for you to meditate on your own. But there is NO SHAME in using an app or instructor every time. It’s like working out. Some people are self-motivated. Other people need classes or personal trainers. The point is you do it.

8. What is keeping you sane amidst all of this craziness?

What’s keeping me sane is the belief that life will eventually return to normal. Until then, I will do what I have to do. People have lived through a lot worse. 

9. #1 tip for staying positive? Tell us about your "thought menu" mentality.

You stay positive by choosing positive thoughts over negative thoughts. People think that just because they’re having a negative thought they have to listen to it. NOPE. Your brain offers you thoughts, like a thought menu. There are positive ones and negative ones. You get to choose what you’re going to order off that menu. The tricky thing is, the more you order the negative ones, the more your brain restaurant keeps serving them up. It’s like if you were the only customer at the diner down the block. If you kept ordering only chicken soup, they might take the tomato soup off the menu eventually. You can coax your brain into offering you more positive thoughts but it takes WORK. Some people need a therapist or life coach with that, and I’m all for it. 

Originally posted on Instagram here:

WARNING: Long post about thoughts, feelings and behaviors. I’m sharing this because it might help just one of you feel less anxious about current events. DISCLAIMER: Though I am married to a licensed psychologist, I am not one. If you feel like you need the help of a mental health professional, I strongly urge you to seek it.

Obviously, we’re living in interesting (to say the least) times, with anxiety levels off the charts, thanks to new viruses, financial instability and divisive politics. Plus, we all have our own crap to deal with, whether it’s conflict with a loved one, a flat tire, an abusive boss, a sick pet, etc. Maybe you’re even managing multiple stressful situations. Whatever it is, you’re not alone. Everyone has something, especially today.

I had a really wonderful moment of clarity during a meditation this morning regarding my THOUGHTS and my decision whether or not to believe them. 

First, some very basic psychology: We have THOUGHTS. Our thoughts affect our FEELINGS. Our feelings affect our BEHAVIOR. 

A very simple example might be, “I like that person’s shoes.” That’s a thought, one of countless other thoughts you might have during the course of a day. “If I had shoes like that, I would feel more fashionable (or sexy) (or comfortable) (or powerful).” That’s a feeling. Feelings are more personal. I like to think of it as “thought” + “impact on my life” = “feeling.” Then, the behavior might be to buy new shoes. 

Let’s imagine how one simple thought could result in different feelings and behaviors based on one’s personal circumstances. One person might think, “I like those shoes”; then feel like she deserves those shoes even though she can’t afford them; then shoplift those shoes from a department store. A different person might think, “I like those shoes”; then feel she doesn’t have the confidence to wear those shoes; then feel really bad about herself all day. Another person might think, “I like those shoes”; then feel like designing shoes is the perfect career; then enroll in fashion school. Same thought, different people, different feelings, different behaviors. 

This is why I think it’s important to examine our THOUGHTS on a regular basis—because they’re the beginnings—the seeds—of wonderful life experiences OR really icky situations. 

Your brain has thoughts. That’s what it does. Your heart pumps blood. Your liver filters toxins. Your brain thinks. But just because your brain is THINKING SOMETHING DOES NOT MEAN IT IS TRUE and it DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT WILL COME TRUE IN THE FUTURE. Your brain might think you’re going to win the lottery. You probably won’t. Your brain might think you’ll get struck by lightning. You probably won’t. Your brain might think everyone else is thinking about you all the time. I guarantee you they are not. 

So, that’s all background. What I realized this morning is that maybe it’s your brain’s job to offer you thoughts, just like a restaurant offers you a menu. “Well, hello there, these are the options we can offer you today. Just let me know what you’d like to enjoy.”

And just as you might take a hard pass on the turkey meatloaf, you can take a hard pass on the “We’re all gonna die!” thought that popped into your head. Linguine with clams? Sure, that sounds delightful. You know what else sounds enjoyable? Choosing to think that you’re going to live through today’s crisis, just like you’ve lived through the ones before it.  

Plus, the beautiful thing about your brain’s thought menu is that if you don’t see what you want on it, you can ADD IT. Yep. You can actually tell your brain, “I don’t like any of these options you’ve presented to me because they make me feel like a freakin’ anxious mess, so how about we come up with something that makes me feel less anxious or—get this—calm.”

Maybe you’ll find that helpful. I don’t know. Just putting it out there for general consumption. Let’s all stay calm and rational, OK?

Feel free to leave comments if you choose. But also keep in mind that if I have the THOUGHT that you’re being a jerk, I will have the FEELING that you’re not helping the wonderful community of people who follow my posts. Then, I will engage in the BEHAVIOR of deleting and blocking your ass.

I simply love Clinton. Enough said. Check out his show Spring Baking Championship on Food Network, Monday nights at 9pm ET for some #quarantine relief and pretty desserts.



Hi, I'm Courtney, and I'm the founder of Courtney Schrank Design Studio. I help high-powered female executives maintain their identity and well-being while working for someone else. Read more about my services here!

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