My Story

A Comforting and Enlightening World of Words.

My world revolves around words and images. From a very early age, books and art were my constant companions and continue to be the center of my universe.

My love for reading, storytelling and visual arts began when I was just four years old. My family had moved from Spain to Texas, and  I found myself in a completely foreign world where I was unable to speak or understand the language of my new country.  I was also a grade ahead of my peers, most still in kindergarten, but I was placed in first grade due to my tenacious mother who thought that I was up for the challenge.  Isolated by the language barrier and not really being able to relate to the older kids in my class, I felt so lost and so very alone.

Fortunately for me, I had an angel as my first grade teacher.  She introduced me to the magic within books – a powerful magic that transforms lives. With her help, and my natural curiosity and desire to learn, I read every book she provided me. Within a few months, my English was as good or better than that of my classmates. And thus began a life-long passion for reading and learning.

The truth is that I love to write, because I love to read. For me, the two are inextricably linked. Both are pivotal elements in the art of communication and a testament to how we live our lives.  Nearly, everything I do and am can be traced back to the printed word (or in today’s terms, digital as well).  Whether it’s books on history, travel, art, films,  languages, gardening, politics, biographies or software coding (“20 Things About Carmen” below explains this interesting portion of my library!) you are pretty much guaranteed to find those and many more in our home library.  Like a great sculptor, who chisels and carves a piece of stone into a magnificent piece of art, so too did those hundreds of tomes I’ve read over the years – so full of knowledge and ideas – sculpt who I am and how I think.

When I write about interior design and home decor you will find references to a world that exists beyond those decorating topics – a world of references and details that shine a new and interesting light on design.

art fashion books writer study carmen natschke writer blogger about

Beyond the Words

When not immersed in writing for my publishing enterprise, The Decorating Diva, or working freelance assignments for a variety of brands in the design world, you can find me deeply engrossed in several of my favorite activities including traveling, visiting museums, antiquing, sailing, gardening, learning to make preserves (yes, seriously!), reading and hanging out with my cats, husband and amazing family.

Want to Know More?

Travel by Design

A Few of the Fabulous Places Writing has Taken Me.

 20 Things about Carmen

  1. I’m an Inquisitive Introvert. I’m actually quite shy and Myers-Briggs informs me that I’m an INTP, though many wouldn’t label me as introverted. Since an early age I’ve been a bit of a social butterfly which makes people think I’m extroverted, but really I’m not. I just happen to be good at parties and small talk when I have to be. And I’m also incredibly inquisitive. I want to know everything about everything and everyone and that basically forces me to don the Extrovert hat and climb out of my shy bubble.

  2. In my previous career incarnation I was a glamorous geek (totally made up that title – but it’s so fitting and software engineer sounds so boring). Aside from being one of a handful of female engineers in a very male dominated field, I was one of the very few to dress up in fabulous fashion and killer shoes – thereby doing my part to destroy the nerdy, bespeckled stereotype so oft associated with engineering. “Coding can be pretty,” was my motto! While fabulously attired, and looking like I had just received a Sephora makeover, I developed internet technologies for Fortune 500 companies. I was also sort of a rocket engineer. Specifically, I was a software engineer developing user interfaces for NASA’s Space Shuttle program. While working on the shuttle program, I had the fantastic opportunity to meet President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton among other dignitaries and celebrities who were at the Kennedy Space Center for the historic return to space of astronaut John Glenn. After my exciting stint at the Kennedy Space Center, I went on to perform research and development for a defense contractor working on, what was at the time, a super-secret project that involved unmanned aerial vehicles – better known today as drones.

  3. Since I mentioned meeting one President and First Lady, I would be remiss not to mention (and keeping it fair & balanced) that I also had the distinct pleasure and privilege of meeting George W. Bush and Laura Bush.

  4. I hate pickles.

  5. I love taking care of animals and saving strays.

  6. I love learning languages. To date, my language skills include: Spanish (native), English, Italian, French and Portuguese. I’m currently learning a bit of Polish, and in the past made an attempt at Japanese to be ready for a trip to Tokyo. Sadly, Japanese wasn’t one of the languages that came easily for me – so will be revisiting and giving it another try in the future.

  7. Clowns scare the heck out of me. I blame Steven King’s “It” for this comical fear.

  8. I learned to drive on the German autobahns. It’s a miracle I wasn’t banned for life by the Germans, and even more of a miracle is that my father entrusted his precious Mercedes to me before the plastic laminate on my driver’s permit had time to cool and harden.

  9. I have absolutely no sense of direction. I was ecstatic when GPS hit the scene, I thought for sure it would help me. No. I still get lost even with the best technology the world has to offer. I’m starting to believe getting lost is an innate trait.

  10. I won a national award for my Visual Merchandising design acumen.

  11. I really, really like winning, but who doesn’t?

  12. Travel captivates me and my goal is to visit all seven continents. I have three left to explore: South America, Antarctica, and Australia.

  13. I’m not into astrology and horoscope predictions, but for some reason so many seem to want to know. So here it is – I was born under the sign of Scorpio.

  14. My favorite authors are Kahlil Gibran, Paulo Coelho, Edith Wharton, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Voltaire, Toni Morrison, Mitch Albom and Tom Clancy.

  15. I read 30 to 50 books a year. Did I mention that I love to read?

  16. I collect vintage fashion.

  17. Adore anything and everything related to Coco Chanel – her life and rise to fame and fortunate fascinates me.

  18. Outside of business/financial,documentary or news shows, I rarely watch television shows. Most of the fictional television shows just doesn’t appeal to me – I’d rather be reading. The few shows that I do carve time out of my schedule for are Blacklist, Intruders and Backstrom -the writing, acting and production are fantastic on those shows.

  19. I can’t watch scary movies, especially if those movies have clowns of any sort. See list point #7. Frankly, I don’t understand why anyone would pay to be scared. I prefer well-written comedies, and I adore anything with Melissa McCarthy in it.

  20. I like to laugh a lot, I live to love, care and support others on their journey to fulfill their dreams, and I live my life by the sage words of the late, great Mary Kay Ash, “Each of us in helping another person to grow, will become a bit taller ourselves.”

Come join me on my design and travel adventures!