Dream Chasing and Interior Design with Michelle Harper

Tips to live a good life and create a joyful space

Sometimes we wander aimlessly in our life and do not listen to the whispers of our hearts. When you can tune into the calling upon your life and take action on that calling, that is where your unmuted life begins. As for Michelle Harper, she listened to her call and boldly stepped away from a lucrative 15-year corporate career to courageously chase down her dreams.

Michelle Harper and Stacey Jata recording The Unmuted Life


  “Why am I in a miserable sales job when my passion is design and helping people love their homes?”

Michelle Harper asked herself that simple question that ultimately changed her course forever. Having followed the corporate path for 15 years, she finally took a chance on chasing down her own dreams of building an interior design business. With her homey mission and desire to create warmth, love, and joy inside of people’s homes, Right Next Door Designs was formed. While the transition was challenging and change takes courage, she hit the ground running and has never looked back.

She was motivated for change so that she could spend more time with her children instead of on the road selling for others. Through prayer, introspection, and timely inspiration from a church service, she knew that, “God does have a purpose for all of us. We all have a calling.” While she faces obstacles and new challenges regularly, she says, “I never gave it a thought in terms of success or failure or anything like that, I was just going to do what God called me to do.”

Her jump start was a Facebook post that resulted in her initial clientele. Now, only three years later, she has built an interior design client base and a retail space all while keeping the main thing the main thing: keeping her children a priority. When asked how she balances her business with her family as a single mom, she reveals that she handles it in stride. She always tries to be home for the kids but gives herself grace if she cannot do it that day. Michelle is also very passionate about setting a good example of her work ethic so that she can teach them the core values of making a good life happen.

Michelle knows that it takes much energy, drive, and focus to live a good life and as much as she works on the interior design of people’s homes, she also believes on working on the interior self.  Her personal mission is to remember that, “I am a proud, joyful, and loving mom, grandmother, sister, daughter, and friend who strives to be a role model to all who I encounter. I want to help others achieve all that God meant them to be.”

Michelle’s 3 keys for living an unmuted life are simple:

  • Accept yourself.
  • Try new things and do more of what makes you happy.
  • “What you think about you bring about.” Work on keeping the people, thoughts, and spoken words towards yourself and others positive.

Michelle takes her core values into the work she does inside people’s homes. For her, design is based on joyful living and a happy home.

Michelle’s top 7 tips for joyful living:

  • Live in the space before you make decisions.
  • If you find something you love, buy it. We will find a space for it.
  • If you need help, use an expert. Interior designers serve a variety of purposes that can help you with our project. Just ask!
  • Be sure to include the husband and children on the project vision. They matter too.
  • Do not feel as though you must use the space as it was originally intended.
  • Do not worry about the trend, instead focus on what makes you happy. Add the trends in small inexpensive items.
  • Design around something you already own that brings you joy.

When you meet Michelle, you will get a warm welcome and more than most likely leave with a hug. You can find her at her retail shop, Right Next Door Designs, in The Woodlands, shows, lacrosse games with her kids, and working on client home transformations. She has a big vision for the future and what is next for her business. The best is yet to come!

To find out more about what is on Michelle Harper’s mind, listen to her on The Unmuted Life Podcast.

Connect with Michelle Harper of Right Next Door Designs





Taking A Leap of Faith with Kathryn Vernon

Kathryn and I at the Conroe Noon Lions Club Luncheon.
Kathryn and I at the Conroe Noon Lions Club luncheon

Red, wind-blown curls and a bright smile greeted me as I heard a “tap, tap, tap,” on my car window. I rolled down the window to an electric personality and vibrancy that is nearly impossible to resist. “I need to know you,” she said, “can we meet for coffee?” And that is how I met Kathryn Vernon.

Kathryn is a native Texan.  She speaks her mind, tells the truth, and follows her heart. She is determined, friendly, and has the gift of gab. She possesses a special gift of magnetism, and it shines through immediately.

Kathryn is part of the millennial generation who are known for appreciating authenticity and bringing fresh energy into life and work.  What makes Kathryn stand out is that already in her life she has achieved levels of greatness by simply living out her authenticity and listening to the calls of the spirit.

Her path to graduation from Texas A&M with a degree in Sociology was the scenic route. While her course was not conventionally direct, the wisdom and experience she gained through her journey are priceless. Since high school, she had the initiative to begin several businesses and devoted her spare time to volunteering at an equine therapy center. As of late, with her strong communication skills, fearless attitude, and warm approach, she has embarked on a career in marketing and business development.

4 year-old Kathryn playing with one of the children her family hosted from the African Children’s Choir.

She and I have visited with each other a few times: coffee, a Lions Club meeting, phone calls, and 2 podcast interviews (long story). We are never short on anything to talk about and each time I learn about her, I know that she is onto something big. In my world, I call it the “it” factor. She certainly has IT. During our first coffee (in which we were so chatty that we visited well past our appointment time) we embarked on a conversation of faith. This is where Kathryn’s story becomes especially radiant as she shared a story about her leap of faith at age 21 to embark on a mission trip to South Africa. For 3 months she poured into the people of South Africa. The experience and lessons she learned during her time there made an imprint on her heart that she carries into her daily living.  She loved the beauty and the food of the place, but mostly she fell in love with the people.

She cared for and loved on children who were orphaned, HIV positive, and other varieties of challenges. She visited the elderly and aided the people in anyway that she could. Kathryn wholeheartedly lived in her moment and with joy, she served.

She knows that The Lord put it on her heart to go to South Africa, and while she knows that not everyone is called to go on a mission trip she does lend some advice that can be applied to any calling that you  feel may be on your life. These are just a quick excerpt of the conversation we shared on The Unmuted Life Podcast. It is well worth the listen:

  1. If you have desire, you are called to go.
  2. Pray for the right opportunity and fast if you feel hesitant.
  3. Immerse yourself into the culture.
  4. Journal.
  5. Be obedient.

Kathryn is an example of living an unmuted life! She strives to live in her light, use her gifting and talents, and follow the missions presented to her. When asked what is next, she is not sure. She knows another mission is in her future as is sharing her faith and journey through her new blog:

Kathryn Vernon’s Blog

She will be one to follow as more of her story unfolds. Check out her interview on The Unmuted Life Podcast to find out what her top 3 suggestions are to lead an unmuted life!

The Kondo Craze

Have you jumped on the Marie Kondo Bandwagon? I have, well, I am a little bit of a de-clutterer anyway. Clutter is not good for my state of mind. It creates stress and reduces my creativity. Trust me, I am in no way perfect at the clutter crisis in my home. In fact, with 2 teenagers, two fur babies, a husband on the go and a modern lifestyle, we collect just as much stuff as anybody else! Oftentimes, it finds itself pile up next to the refrigerator, stacked in a “pending” bin in my office, or waiting in some inconvenient location in my house for me to “deal” with it. If you are ever a guest in my home, there are a few scary closets and drawers that I would advise you not to open!

With all of that being said, I am also a big advocate of getting rid of things. Quite frankly, we do not need it all. It clutters our mind, spirit, and well-being. Clutter can attribute to debt, weight, and other types of hoarding or excess tendencies. Master Organizer, Peter Walsh, is a good resource on that type of clutter and has several books on the topic. Marie Kondo is another organizer on the scene that has ignited the sparking joy approach. She has taken Netflix and the world by storm with her “Tidying Up” program inspiring many to toss the junk and tidy up! Both of these organizing gurus are inspiration for me to live an unmuted and uncluttered life!

I talk more about tossing the clutter and the Kondo Craze on my latest podcast. You can listen here:

Have you started your own decluttering journey?

Pearls of Wisdom with Carolyn Gray

Carolyn Gray and I were destined to be friends. She wore pearls and a feather boa and talked of business and etiquette, while I sported wild curly hair with a 4-year-old in tow speaking on communication and marketing. We met through a local business association geared toward the success of women in business (MCABW). Our energies connected instantly! At every exchange, we had a synergistic escalation of ideas and thoughts wrapped in a whole bunch of laughter. Yes, we were certainly going to be good friends.

In those days, we were both promoting our books. I had just finished, “My Mom Has Eyes in the Back of her Head,” and she was promoting her manners and etiquette book for children, “All About Me* for Teens and Tweens (*Manners & Etiquette),” as well as hosting workshops at the local children’s museum. We would do small shows together to market our books, supporting and encouraging each other along the way. Even in those early days, we knew we would be doing something BIG together in the future!

April 24, 2012 at the MCABW meeting.

While I have known Carolyn in the capacity of author, coach, speaker and workshop facilitator, she additionally has nearly 30 years experience in Human Resources and leadership. Now, she brings that wealth of knowledge, love for people, and desire to make the world a better place into her practice, Zircon Consulting. Her initial push into manners and etiquette came when leaving a church service where she became angry and appalled at the disruptive behavior of some of the youth. She told me that she thought, “Someone needs to do something with all these half -raised kids!” Then, she heard the small, still voice (you know the one) and received quite the answer, “Well, what are you doing about it?” That was her push into teaching manners to the youth. Over the years, she has expanded that concept to executive manners and social etiquette. She wrote a book entitled, “Network Etiquette: Frazzle Don’t Dazzle,” that explores those concepts.

She has written 6 books over the years. Each one touching on a topic that enhances daily life. Her personal favorite is, “365 Days of Gratitude.” She tells the story of how that book resulted after her mother’s passing as a way of healing for Carolyn’s sorrow. Click the podcast link below to hear the full story from Carolyn. You can see all of her other titles here.

Meet Carolyn Gray on The Unmuted Life Podcast

Carolyn Gray
Zircon Consulting

Over the years we have many meet-ups, lunches, and breakfasts together, pondering business, brainstorming about marketing, sharing our upcoming events, and gleaning into the strengths and experience of the other. And each time we departed we were more convinced that we would connect our energy in a bigger way. We have explored many ideas, but the timing was not quite right.

Now, nearly 10 years in the making, everything has come together. With a merging of minds and talent, we are combining our strengths and strategy to share with others. Since the beginning, we have continued to grow and sharpen our skills so that we would be ready to be ready when the opportunity arose

Carolyn is known for her vision board workshops. She has a unique way of helping people create a vision and be bold in their display. She helps them understand the power of a vision board and what role it can play in their life and goal achievement.

Her vision board session coupled with the creative, written, life design that I share will empower our guests to be courageous in their lives, intentional with their direction, and open to their potential. It is important to have the opportunity to achieve this type and level of clarity so that energy is activated into action.

We are excited to come together and offer a unique and energetic workshop to help others build a map to navigate a great year! Our hope is that we will inspire and equip our guests with tools that will not just assist them in 2019, but in the years to come as well. With our pearls and sparkles, Carolyn and I are ready to empower others for a great year!

January 29, 2019
9am – 2pm
The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce
Click here for information.

How are 2019 and Fanny Packs related?

Well, I got brave and took off my chicken hat and formally kicked off my Podcast! If you are one of the brave listeners, thank you. We are all a work in progress and each of us has dreams to embrace and fears to kick to the curb! This podcast, my friends, is BOTH for me!!

If you are in the mood to listen to me gab- you will get to hear me discuss fanny packs, haters, one-word selection, and living a life unmuted!

Thank you for your support! (And kindness!)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Realign Your Compass Mini-Retreat

39161560_2037346349643825_3594712916072333312_nWhile it is difficult to get away for a full weekend, it is still important and desirable to decompress and come back to center. On occasion, it is necessary to refill our spiritual self so that we can continue to pour out into our daily obligations and loves.

As women, we possess the “feminine genius.” We are uniquely designed to have many files open at once and take care of the complexities of life. We are blessed with emotional endurance and sacrifice greatly in all areas of life and love. We embrace, empower, organize, rush, balance, and attempt to do it all with grace. Each of those areas provides an added hole in our bucket, which can drain quickly if we are not mindful.

To replenish ourselves, it is important that we seek to refuel and recenter. By putting ourselves first, even for a few hours, our spirit buckets are filled and we are ready to gracefully step back into our lives with a clearer vision of our self and greater love for those that we encounter.

In the spirit of putting ourselves into an intentional time out, I invite you to the Realign Your Compass Mini-Retreat.

At the relaxing Salt Remedy, Nature’s Therapy location on 1488, we will partake in a little “wine down,” breathe in the healing and relaxing salt air and visit the topics of mission and purpose.

Please come join me for this 2-hour retreat. The space is very limited, you will want to reserve your space early.


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