For anyone who runs their own business, stepping outside of your comfort zone is a regular occurrence. Ever since Belinda Love Lee moved to the UK after growing up in Hong Kong, she has not only had to adapt to the cultural shift, but deal with the fears and unknowns that exist being a freelance designer, illustrator and blogger.
Last year, we toured Belinda’s home, but today she’s letting us look deeper into her thoughts and feelings from the comfort of her favorite room, her bedroom. A cozy sanctuary layered in soft, neutral tones, her bedroom is the most meaningful space in her home. It’s the only place where she can completely unwind and find peace, and it continues to bring her comfort and feelings of security, despite life’s ever-changing landscape. As someone who shares her life online, Belinda recognizes that balance is vital, and getting as much joy out of what’s in your heart and head is just as – if not more – important that what’s in your online profile.
Belinda (who just so happens to be celebrating her birthday today) is joining us to chat more about what makes her tick, being house-proud, and letting go of the reigns. –Sabrina
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Belinda Love Lee and I run a design and illustration studio from the comfort of my own home! I was born in Canada, grew up in Hong Kong, and now currently live in Cardiff, UK with my dear husband.
I get my hands dirty by designing, hand lettering, illustrating and working on the computer all day. I first fell into working for myself when I was looking for a graphic design job but none of the doors opened. I knew I was good, but nothing and no one was taking me. It was at that time when I had a couple of freelance gigs going that I thought to myself, “What do I have to lose? Let’s go into the deep end head first” and bam! Here I am now.
Aside from work, a couple of things that make me tick: a good documentary to get you thinking (I’m a sucker for conspiracies), wandering around an unknown city and good design of course!
What does home and this space mean to you? Describe it.
I really take pride in making our house feel like home. I see home as a complete space to reflect who you are from the inside, out, hence the huge emphasis it has on my life and Instagram. I absolutely love and adore our space.
This room specifically featured here is our bedroom, and I’d definitely say it’s my favorite room in the whole house. Other rooms might be more aesthetically pleasing, but I find that in this bedroom I can completely unwind and be at peace.
What makes it so comfortable (physically and personally)?
This room is not only the place where rest, but more importantly it’s the place where I do most of my thinking. I’ll often be found journaling my thoughts in bed, sorting through life’s woes! I love being able to snuggle up to my husband, read a good book, or watch a good movie in bed. I also love starting off my day in this room by pulling out my good old yoga mat.
What makes you uncomfortable? What is your biggest fear?
Change makes me feel uncomfortable. Currently, my husband and I have lots of change happening in our lives. Good change nonetheless, but despite it being good, it still makes me feel uncomfortable! It’s a daily lesson to learn to let go of the reigns and trust and believe that I’ll be taken good care of and that things will work out.
My biggest fear is the fear of failing. I’ve always had a fear that I won’t ‘make it’- whatever that means- and it’s definitely held me back in areas of my life. But nowadays I’m trying to make a conscious effort to conquer that fear.
Have you ever thrown caution to the wind and departed from your comfort zone? What happened as a result?
I think the first time I really stepped out of my comfort zone was when I first started blogging, back in 2008. I remember putting all of my work, thoughts and opinions out there. I was just so scared of it not being a success. The fear of failure held me back for so many years, but once I decided to step out of my comfort zone, and posted that first blog post, I realized, “Heck, that wasn’t too scary.” Since that one act of putting myself out there, my life has forever changed. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be the designer and blogger I am today if I hadn’t taken that first step way back then.
What would you do if you had a day, a week and a month all to yourself?
If I had a day to myself, I’d probably spend it getting into some kind of craft like shibori dyeing or leather making. If I had a week to myself, it’d probably involve going on a crazy thrift shopping find, hoping from shop to shop, buying whatever goods that come my way- without my husband’s “Do we really need that?” holding me back, ha! And if I had a month to myself, I’d definitely spend it traveling. I’ve never backpacked and have always been a fan of it, so I’d definitely give that a go.
What have you learned as an adult that you wish you knew when you were younger?
Growing up, I’ve always been the type to go against the grain, and was often called a rebel. I use to think that it was wrong of me to be different, especially in a more traditional society like Hong Kong, where it’s either status quo or no go. But now as an adult, I wouldn’t trade that off beat side of me for anything.
I’ve never been the type to fit within the 9-5 work mode; it just doesn’t motivate me. And because I’ve capitalized on my difference, I’ve now been able to make a pretty good life for myself. Learn to accept and love yourself for who you are. Being a ‘rebel’ isn’t that bad after all.
How do you unplug, recharge and unwind?
Obviously your usual: watching New Girl, Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is always a good switch off. But lately I’ve been trying to make it more of a habit to unplug and get away from that dreadful screen. I already spend too much of my life working on it. So as a result, I’ve really gotten into reading fiction! I say that with such excitement, because never in my life have I been the type to choose a book over anything. Being a bit dyslexic, it’s not my automatic go to, but since I’ve given books a go, I’ve really been enjoying it. I also love decorating and re-decorating our house a lot. I find that within a month, I change the walls and decor around 2-3 times. I spend days on end trying to make it look fresh!
Have you ever experienced burnout? How do you get back on your feet and stay inspired?
Thankfully, I haven’t experienced a burnout before. I’ve had the privilege of working for myself since being out of school, so I make a very conscious effort to have a good work and life balance. Weekends = no replying to emails. After 5:00pm = no work what so ever. The only work I do on the weekends is keeping up with my Instagram. But even if I feel too much pressure to have to post, I make sure to take a step back and remember that I’d prefer to keep my sanity than to feel overworked.
What do you think the world could use less of, and more of?
Self hate, Self love.
What’s one question you wish you had the answer to?
How much a dollar really cost? -Kendrick Lamar