IQ DESIGN
INTERIOR DESIGN • WANTAGH, NY
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Design professional who is transitioning from fashion to a career in Interior Design.

So that's the opening sentence and reality of my world! I have been a Children's Wear Designer, in NYC, for the past 23 years. I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology and received a BFA in Fashion Design. It has been rewarding and considering I have worked 4 days a week much of my career, and make a good living, I shouldn't complain. BUT personally it feels like Groundhog Day! I should warn you now I will proof read this but English/ Spelling (thank goodness for spell check) and grammar have never been one of my strong points. 

Going back to my childhood, my mother for the first 12 years of my life was a stay at home super creative mom. She wallpapered, painted, sewed and could make whatever she wanted. My father had an aluminum siding and roofing business. Both my parents came from large families. My mom was the oldest of six children, while my dad was third youngest out of eight. Most of my uncles were in construction from small jobs, to full house remodels and rental properties. As a child I was up on the roof and always around some sort of remodel/ construction job site. If my families houses were being improved my uncles did the work themselves. I loved seeing the mess turn into beautiful spaces.

In High School, I was in the Fashion Design program and we had an annual fashion show, where I made several garments from scratch. I didn't know that Interior Design existed as a career option back then so my creative outlet was fashion. I took classes at F.I.T. on Saturdays and then during the summer for High School students. When I graduated (a year early), I ONLY applied to F.I.T. so THANK GOODNESS I was accepted!! I was married and had a baby from the age of 16 so I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn't been accepted. Luckily "it all worked out" and I graduated F.I.T. in 1996. I was only 5 years into my career when I realized  I wasn't going to want to do this the rest of my life. I owed a house by then and loved decorating and remodeling. I also pretty much only watched HGTV which is when I realized, I wanted to be an Interior Designer when I grow up!!

I attended night classes in Interior Design and in 2004 I received my degree. Around the same time we took on a huge remodeling project of our home. We added an entire second floor and extended the house out 10 feet. With the help of my step father and brother-in-law, I designed the entire remodel, which was given to the architect to draw up for the permits. My uncle was the contractor that did the remodel so I had hands on experience though out the entire process. Every morning at 7am we went over the plan for the day. The house went from a 1975 sq ft ranch to a 3800 sq ft 2 story home (including the basement). With my degree out of the way and the distractions of the house, I faux finished, applied venetian plaster, painted and designed my house. I LOVED every minute of it. Life happened, my son attended college and a career change was just not an option. So I continued on as the not so glamorous "Fashion Designer".

Fast forward to today.... Finally after dabbling here and there over the years in Interior Design projects, I am in a position to make a career change! I am super excited for what the future will bring. I hope you will follow me in my journey as I transition from Fashion Designer to Interior Designer : ))) I hope to aspire everyone to follow their dreams because I truly believe that if you put your mind to something and work hard ANYTHING is possible!!!

xoxo

Nicole de la Cruz

(my alter ego since my husband spells it Dela Cruz but I told him de la Cruz is more glamorous lol a la Oscar de la Renta ; ))

 
 
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Note:  My blog periodically contains affiliate links. Purchases made through them are greatly appreciated.


14 Books to improve your Business and Mindset!

On this journey into entrepreneurship, I have read more books in the past year than I have in my entire school years. I must say I am basically getting a business degree without the diploma at this point. As they say, knowledge is power and we can continue to grow and develop into the person or business we want with hard work. Your talent is only going to get you so far. As that saying goes “Hard Work beats Talent when Talent doesn’t Work Hard”. That was one of the sayings I would put on the cheer bows of that failed business. It wasn’t a failure for lack of customers. It was a failure however because I never stopped to work on the business instead of in it. I didn’t know my profit and loss, had no idea the inventory I had and just kept adding to it, and I never picked a niche. I was too busy trying to be all things to everyone while in the end never setting myself apart from the crowd. You live and you learn right?!

That said here are my top picks that I would recommend anyone starting their own business read first!

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Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine

by Mike Michalowicz  (Author)

Author of cult classics The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur offers a simple, counterintuitive cash management solution that will help small businesses break out of the doom spiral and achieve instant profitability.

Since reading this book I have opened multiple bank account to keep my money separated based on the teachings in the book for both my business and home finances. Great Read!


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Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team

by Simon Sinek 

Start With Why has led millions of readers to rethink everything they do – in their personal lives, their careers and their organizations.
 
Now Find Your Why picks up where Start With Why left off. It shows you how to apply Simon Sinek’s powerful insights so that you can find more inspiration at work -- and in turn inspire 

Sinek teaches you People Don't Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It! Awesome read to help you discover your WHY which is super important in running a successful business.


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One of my role model Interior Designers Vanessa DeLeon put me on to this book and I am so grateful to her for sharing it! I have bought and recommended this book and the money book to so many people I should have an affiliate link from Jen Sincero lol.

 

You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

by Jen Sincero 

YOU ARE A BADASS IS THE SELF-HELP BOOK FOR PEOPLE WHO DESPERATELY WANT TO IMPROVE THEIR LIVES BUT DON'T WANT TO GET BUSTED DOING IT.

In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, bestselling author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bitesized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you to: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, Create a life you totally love. And create it NOW, Make some damn money already. The kind you've never made before.

By the end of You Are a Badass, you'll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can't change, how to change what you don't love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass.


You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth

by Jen Sincero

“A cheerful manifesto on removing obstacles between yourself and the income of your dreams.” —New York Magazine

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of You Are a Badass®, a life-changing guide to making the kind of money you’ve only ever dreamed of.

This book will help you get over and through all those mindset issues you have with money that have been passed down to you from your parents and family. I promise you will LOVE this book. I have read both of Jen Sincero’s books twice!

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The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level

by Gay Hendricks 

With over 100,000 copies sold, New York Times bestselling author Gay Hendricks demonstrates how to go beyond your internal limits, release outdated fears and learn a whole new set of powerful skills and habits to liberate your authentic greatness. Fans of Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, and Gabrielle Bernstein will discover the way to break down the walls to a better life.

This book helps you to stop self-sabotaging yourself and believe that you deserve success and happiness. So many times we put things in our heads that are not even there and they stop us from reaching our fullest potential.


The Psychology of Selling: Increase Your Sales Faster and Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible

by Brian Tracy

Double and triple your sales—in any market.

The purpose of this book is to give you a series of ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques that you can use immediately to make more sales, faster and easier than ever before.

 It’s a promise of prosperity that sales guru Brian Tracy has seen fulfilled again and again. More sales people have become millionaires as a result of listening to and applying his ideas than from any other sales training process ever developed.

Great read to help you understand why people buy and how to tap into their pain points. The best part is at the end of the book so make sure you don’t stop reading before you make it to the end.

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You Can Heal Your Life

by Louise Hay

Louise L. Hay, bestselling author, is an internationally known leader in the self-help field. Her key message is: "If we are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed." The author has a great deal of experience and firsthand information to share about healing, including how she cured herself after being diagnosed with cancer. An excerpt from You Can Heal Your Life: Life Is Really Very Simple. What We Give Out, We Get Back What we think about ourselves becomes the truth for us. I believe that everyone, myself included, is responsible for everything in our lives, the best and the worst. Every thought we think is creating our future. Each one of us creates our experiences by our thoughts and our feelings. The thoughts we think and the words we speak create our experiences.

This book was recommended by Jennifer Lopez need I say more?! But for real so many people have read Louise Hay’s books and benefited from them. This book will truly get you on that path to loving yourself first so you can be the best version of yourself and love others fully. It is only by first healing yourself that you will truly find happiness. Awesome read!


Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business

by Gino Wickman  (Author), Mark C. Winters  (Author)

Visionaries have groundbreaking ideas. Integrators make those ideas a reality. This explosive combination is the key to getting everything you want out of your business. It worked for Disney. It worked for McDonald’s. It worked for Ford. It can work for you.

From the author of the bestselling TractionRocket Fuel details the integral roles of the Visionary and Integrator and explains how an effective relationship between the two can help your business thrive. Offering advice to help Visionary-minded and Integrator-minded individuals find one another, Rocket Fuelalso features assessments so you’re able to determine whether you’re a Visionary or an Integrator.

Without an Integrator, a Visionary is far less likely to succeed long-term ,and realize the company’s ultimate goals—likewise, with no Visionary, an Integrator can’t rise to his or her full potential. When these two people come together to share their natural talents and innate skill sets, it’s like rocket fuel—they have the power to reach new heights for virtually any company or organization.

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I recently finished reading this book and would highly recommend it for businesses looking to grow beyond a 10 person team. This is not me YET but act as if right?! The more prepared I am the better because my thought is when you get to the point of needing to hire an integrator you may be too busy to read this book. Now that I have read it and added my notes I’ll know right where to find the information I need when I’m ready for growth!


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This book was recommended by another role model Interior Designer Blanch Garcia. This is perfect for anyone looking to improve their marketing and Branding strategies.

 

Branding + Interior Design: Visibility and Business Strategy for Interior Designers

by Kim Kuhteubl

The home goods market in the United States is the largest market in the world. Then why do some interior design firms thrive while others barely survive? The answer lies in one powerful little word: brand. More than a pretty logo, it involves telling the story of your distinct point of view―who you want to serve and why you do business, and it's a process that happens from the inside out. This book bridges the gap between designer and design leader and shows pros how to define, value, and communicate their vision; find clients who are a fit; and master the art of being visible. Worksheets give designers the tools to learn these strategies and apply them to their work. It also includes candid conversations with design leaders such as Barbara Barry, Rose Tarlow, Kelly Hoppen, Vicente Wolf, Christiane Lemieux, Clodagh, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, and others.


The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

by Steven Pressfield 

A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul.

What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do?

Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece?

Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.

The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline.

Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself.

Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.

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Another powerful read to get you to move out of your own way! This one recommended by the rock star Marie Forleo. As creatives, it’s super easy to procrastinate or act as if we are so busy. I have learned the powerful need to focus on one task at a time. We think that when we multitask we are getting work done but we actually are not!


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I have both of these books and they are next up to read! The concept is to stand out in your industry and be the only so you don’t have any competition. Think Dry Bar Hair Salons, Uber, AirBNB and the others who have created original business ideas that didn’t previously exist. Be the Unicorn in the field of horses, my friends!

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Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing - Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth

by W. Chan Kim  (Author), Renée Mauborgne  (Author)

BLUE OCEAN SHIFT is the essential follow up to Blue Ocean Strategy, the classic and 3.6 million copy global bestseller by world-renowned professors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. Drawing on more than a decade of new work, Kim and Mauborgne show you how to move beyond competing, inspire your people's confidence, and seize new growth, guiding you step-by-step through how to take your organization from a red ocean crowded with competition to a blue ocean of uncontested market space. By combining the insights of human psychology with practical market-creating tools and real-world guidance, Kim and Mauborgne deliver the definitive guide to shift yourself, your team, or your organization to new heights of confidence, market creation, and growth. They show why nondisruptive creation is as important as disruption in seizing new growth.

BLUE OCEAN SHIFT is packed with all-new research and examples of how leaders in diverse industries and organizations made the shift and created new markets by applying the process and tools outlined in the book. Whether you are a cash-strapped startup or a large, established company, nonprofit or national government, you will learn how to move from red to blue oceans in a way that builds your people's confidence so that they own and drive the process.

With battle-tested lessons learned from successes and failures in the field, BLUE OCEAN SHIFT is critical reading for leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs alike. You'll learn what works, what doesn't, and how to avoid the pitfalls along the way. This book will empower you to succeed as you embark on your own blue ocean journey. BLUE OCEAN SHIFT is indispensable for anyone committed to building a compelling future.


Blue Ocean Strategy

In this perennial bestseller, embraced by organizations and industries worldwide, globally preeminent management thinkers W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne challenge everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success.


The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children

by Dr. Shefali Tsabary

Instead of being merely the receiver of the parents' psychological and spiritual legacy, children function as ushers of the parents' development. Parents unwittingly pass on an inheritance of psychological pain and emotional shallowness. To handle the behavior that results, traditional books on parenting abound with clever techniques for control and quick fixes for dysfunction. In Dr. Shefali Tsabary's conscious approach to parenting, however, children serve as mirrors of their parents' forgotten self. Those willing to look in the mirror have an opportunity to establish a relationship with their own inner state of wholeness. Once they find their way back to their essence, parents enter into communion with their children, shifting away from the traditional parent-to-child "know it all" approach and more towards a mutual parent-with-child relationship. The pillars of the parental ego crumble as the parents awaken to the ability of their children to transport them into a state of presence.

Another great read to help with your MINDSET as well as being the best parent you possibly can!

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If you are a parent or thinking of becoming one please buy this book! Again this will help you break the pattern of raising your children with the limiting beliefs from your parents so they can truly find and be their genuine selves NOT the person you think they should be. I wish I read this sooner but better late than never!


 
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Super positive and inspiring book that I just stared reading. Each morning I read a page or two from this book in my Instagram Live in the hopes to inspire and motivate others to get their day started. If you’d like to listen in I’m usually on between 5 and 6am daily. Maybe I’ll see you in the morning?!

Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life

by Cleo Wade 

A beautifully illustrated book from Cleo Wade—the artist, poet, and speaker who has been called “the Millennial Oprah” by New York Magazine—that offers creative inspiration and life lessons through poetry, mantras, and affirmations, perfect for fans of the bestseller Milk & Honey.

True to her hugely popular Instagram account, Cleo Wade brings her moving life lessons to Heart Talk, an inspiring, accessible, and spiritual book of wisdom for the new generation. Featuring over one hundred and twenty of Cleo’s original poems, mantras, and affirmations, including fan favorites and never before seen ones, this book is a daily pep talk to keep you feeling empowered and motivated.

With relatable, practical, and digestible advice, including “Hearts break. That’s how the magic gets in,” and “Baby, you are the strongest flower that ever grew, remember that when the weather changes,” this is a portable, replenishing pause for your daily life.

Keep Heart Talk by your bedside table or in your bag for an empowering boost of spiritual adrenaline that can help you discover and unlock what is blocking you from thriving emotionally and spiritually.


So these are the books I’ve been reading lately. Please comment and share if there are any you have read that you think are great! #sharingiscaring

As always please continue to follow the journey through my Instagram Stories and Facebook updates where I will continue to share behind the scene videos and findings.

Also if you have a project you are considering working on, know your budget and like cool things then reach out HERE so we can help!

Have an Inspired evening everyone!

xoNicole