On Creativity & Finding Your “Thing”

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Wow, it’s been a really long time since I officially blogged. I’m laying in bed recovering from surgery and I have so many thoughts, yet my movement is hindered so I thought writing might help.

I’ve been wanting to share my most recent thoughts about creativity…I have so many different blog posts hiding in my brain, but I thought I’d start with what feels most powerful to me right now. I believe strongly in what I’m about to share because I know first hand how creativity changes lives for the better.

First of all, we are all creative. When some people learn that I’m an artist, a response I get sometimes is, “Oh, I’m not creative.” It’s important to know that creativity isn’t only about making art. It’s a way of showing up in the world. There are seasons that I’m not able to paint often, and in those times I remind myself that there are plenty of other ways that I’m being creative. I might try a new recipe, decorate the house for a holiday, take a photo walk in nature, or help my daughter choose her outfit for the day. Creativity is a force that flows through us all. It is a way of seeing the world through the eyes of possibility and wonder, sparking the imagination, and following the call of inspiration.

Now, it is also true that being creative means “the act of creating something,” and I have a very important distinction to share about this. I have made MANY different things over the years on my creative journey, from sewing to jewelry making, to crafting soap and bath products, all while trying to find my “thing.” Some of those things were fun, and some were downright frustrating. But for me, painting is something entirely different. I fell in love with the process. It calls to me, and I become completely immersed in it. Time stops, and it feels like a dance. I don’t ever want to stop, until I must be pulled away. And when I’m finished, there is a palpable relief. I am left soothed and healed. That, I believe, is what we’re all searching for on a creative (and spiritual) journey. Regardless of the art form, whether it’s cooking or gardening, embroidery or drawing, you must ask yourself, “What is the thing that heals you in the process?”

To discover this, I encourage you to bring awareness to how you feel in the process of creating something, and and tune into what brings you healing. I would say to find the thing that brings you joy, but it’s so much deeper than that. Are there moments of elation? Sure. But my painting journey hasn’t been all roses and sunshine. It’s also been full of self-doubt at times, and there have been many times I’ve wanted to quit. Especially during those really uncertain times when a painting wasn’t going anywhere, and I was trying way too hard. But I’ve learned that’s when I step away, let it breathe, and give myself compassion. I never actually quit because I love it so much, and it calls me again and again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s challenging as hell. But the process is what carries me through, teaches me about life and myself , and gives me a special kind of therapy that’s all my own. Something I can go to when life gets overwhelming and there are no words. Somewhere to release all I am holding emotionally, for myself and others. A place to celebrate in color when I’m feeling joyful. And a place to create slow meaningful drips when I’m feeling melancholy. It’s all there, in the paint. (Or the words, or the garden, or the soup.)

My plea to you is to find your thing, make it your thing, and let it heal you. You’ll be so glad you did. And still, let the seasons come and go while life ebbs and flows. Remember that you are creative, and there are many ways to express that when you can’t get to your thing. Because your thing is sacred, and must never become a should.

When I was in the hospital, my nurse asked me what I did for a living. I told her I’m a mommy and a painter. She replied that me she’s not creative, but that she loves to do calligraphy. I asked her more about it and she told me how soothing it is for her. I told her, “That’s it, that’s your thing. That’s the feeling you’re after.” She also shared that she likes to watch home decor shows, and likes to renovate rooms. I said “Yes, there are so many ways to be creative!”

This made me realize even more that we all need that one thing that heals us AND the freedom to explore other forms of creativity as the seasons change. Both will bring a rich beauty to our lives, and a feeling that again and again I can only describe as healing.

So, I’d love to hear from you….what’s your thing, and what else are you dabbling in? And if you don’t know yet, that’s ok too ♥️

Playroom/Studio Tour

I began a playroom/studio re-do at the beginning of the summer and it finally feels finished. Progress is slow with an almost 2 year old AND my 8 year old was home for the summer. Now back to school has come & gone and I’m excited to get back to regular painting. This playroom has been ever evolving since we moved to this house two summers ago. At first, it was Olivia’s playroom only and my art studio was upstairs in the sunroom, off of the master bedroom. The sunroom had a lovely view, however it was just too hot in there to paint. So, after Isabelle was born, we relocated it downstairs. I began painting wearing Isabelle in the wrap, and eventually she played along side of me in her bouncer or jump-a-roo.

When she got big enough to crawl around, we made a little fenced in play area for her right next to my easel. She played with toys in there until she was ready to come out, usually before I was finished painting. Now, we decided she needed even more space since she’s almost 2, so the plan was to split the area roughly in 3, creating a space for each of us. My studio would be in the middle, and the girls would each have their own areas off to the side. This was also a good opportunity to clear out the clutter that accumulates every few months or so. So now that it’s finished I wanted to share how it came out, and I’m really looking forward to having more time to paint. (Now, if only it would cool off….it’s pretty hot out there.)

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This first pic is looking out from the window in the kitchen. This is where I stand and do the dishes, and often reflect on what my painting needs the next time I get a chance to paint. I’m glad to have this perspective, because I often have to walk away from my painting quickly and it gives me time to soak in the progress in between sessions.

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This is my painting area in the middle. I was able to fit all of my paint (I think I have a hoarding problem), brushes, extra surfaces, and other random art materials between the table, small shelf, and right half of the standing bookshelves. I have plenty of space for my easel and drop cloth and I’m slowly getting used to standing in a different location.

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The table in the left corner is for Olivia. I wanted her to have her own painting (and other messy crafts) table. She has her own mini easel, and lots of art supplies of her own that I stored on the left side of the bookshelves. It’s also a good place to put small toys that she’s playing with out of her little sister’s reach.

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This corner is for Olivia’s Barbie dream house and Woodzeez, which are little critters that wear clothes and live in MY dream house in the woods. I wanted her to have a space to play on the rug, and for her sister to be able to join her.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetThe space is on the opposite wall from my painting area is where I put Olivia’s books, puzzles, games, special memory items, and little toys that Isabelle can’t play with. When I open the gate, it handily swings open and blocks off this area.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetThis area is for Isabelle’s (baby friendly) toys. Her main play area is in the living room, so I mostly kept this area in the playroom for her baby dolls, play food, play-dough and crayons.

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I just got the little table and chairs on Amazon and I think it works perfectly for the space. Right now she mostly uses it for play-dough and for climbing up and down and learning to sit on the chairs.

So that’s everything! I’m really happy with how it came out. It’s definitely a win/win/win. Although, to be honest it really hasn’t bought me all THAT much more time painting, haha. But I am looking forward to getting back to a more consistent painting schedule with school back in session. Below is my work in progress so far. I hope you’re enjoying the summer and staying cool. P.S. Is it fall yet?

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When in Doubt, Write…

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I’ve been in such a deeply reflective state lately which seems in contrast to the outwardly active energy of the summer. Although summers of the past do remind me of that long and leisurely time of childhood, so somehow it seems appropriate.

The truth is I’m feeling burned out in lots of ways. Luckily that feeling only hits me every so often and I’m still able to carry on each day and do all the summer mom things. Trips to the beach, Sea World, swimming and what not.

I put a LOT of energy into my last series. I worked on it for 2 months and created 12 new paintings, all with a common theme. This was a big deal for me, since I often don’t get far on something before wanting to start something new. Once they were finished and I released them, only one sold. I was so grateful for the one that sold, it was one of my favorites (and went to a friend in a circle I’m a part of which was lovely.)

The other 11 still hang on my walls, along with many other paintings from last year when I began daily painting. It’s bringing up all kinds of feelings for me. I don’t do it for the sales, but I would love to make this a sustainable business. I only have so much time in a day to work on things outside of being mommy and I do need to earn money.

But also…I just felt this huge drop off of energy about a week after they were released. Like, I don’t want to keep promoting them. I just feel done. I think I processed a lot from the past while making those and I feel complete. There are a few paintings I truly love that are still available in my shop, and the ones I don’t will probably be painted over. My art is evolving right along with me.

I’m dabbling in other interests (thrifting, sewing) and spending time with the kids and really trying not to wonder about what’s next. I really wish I could just be in the moment and enjoy life, but today I’m feeling a bit weepy and I miss painting. It heals me. It’s why I do it.

And so tomorrow it’s my intention to finish the playroom/studio re-do and get back to painting this week. Maybe not every day right now, but as needed. I’m realizing the void I’m feeling right now is deep in my soul and that’s where the work is. My style needs to keep evolving, I need to keep learning, and eventually my paintings will really start to look and feel more like me.

“When do you give up on something?” I asked myself today. The answer I came up with is when it’s no longer feeding you, and it’s not going anywhere. Results are still out on whether painting will go anywhere as an “official business,” but for now it feeds me, so I will continue to explore myself through art.

Other things I’m considering on the horizon…a pop-up shop of thrifted clothes with lace trims sewn on and what not, and offering spirit courses. I’m feeling so in need of my own “Women’s Spirit Revival” course that I may do it along with a group of women. That would feel amazing.

Today I’m hoping for a bath alone. A quick restoration to my mom spirit. And that feels like enough.

Sending love ♥️

 

 

The Story Behind my Series

I began working on “The Many Faces of Love” series at the beginning of April, and I’m very excited to share that it’s finally finished! This is the largest series I’ve ever done, and I’m super proud of myself for completing it.

This series initially began inspired by color, with the image below that caught my eye on Pinterest. My first piece “Elation” is inspired by this palette.

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Next, I thought about the types of marks I wanted to make and the feelings I wanted to evoke. I knew I wanted this series to feel more raw and a little “undone.” Something about that speaks to my soul. To achieve this, I did a lot of scribbling and inky drips and let them fall where they wanted. I have a tendency to want to “tidy things up,” so it felt freeing to just let them be.

Then, I wanted to draw inspiration from within myself and create from a place of a lot of emotion. I made a playlist that I titled “songs that make me feel something,” and played it while I worked. Memories, conversations, thoughts and feelings swirled as I got lost in the music and the painting. I thought about the wide array of feelings that love evokes, the highs and lows, and the depth of feeling. And that’s what I channeled into these works of art.

Finally, I wanted these paintings to feel feminine, delicate, and ethereal. For that, I brought in a lot of soft white in the final layers leaving traces of the under layers peeking through. All in all, this series feels like a piece of me. An expression of where I’ve been and where I’m going. I hope it resonates with you, and stirs up some feelings within you.

I would love to hear what you think about the series! It is live in my shop now. I’m offering a special 10% off this week with the code LOVE10. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me ❤️

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“Elation” 24 x 30 inches, acrylic on canvas

Space from the Striving

6F4E3C93-300B-4CCA-B448-B889872DC248.jpgI’m feeling a shift inside of me. Where I was once vocal, I feel quiet. Where I was once active, I feel withdrawn. I feel myself going more within instead of looking out. I’m sitting with how I feel, asking myself what I think and the answers are coming.

I’m done with the striving, and the overexertion of my nervous system. I can’t keep up with everything and everybody if I’m going to do me. It feels somewhat isolating, yet right. I get random urges to reach out, to take more things on, to say yes when I mean no, and then I pause, catch myself and wait for the right time….or never.

I feel a deepening from within, a solidification of  values, a longing for more simple and true. There’s a shifting of feelings, and values I once held, and a calling towards calm, presence, joy, and trust. And so much surrender. A call to follow the magic of what I already know.

I’m so grateful for the clarity that I am a painter, that I don’t need to chase a million dreams at once. That I have learned focus. And yet, other parts of me call out. Not in the frantic way they used to that made my head spin, but quietly.

This is what I know: I love painting, but don’t enjoy the feeling of constant striving outside of myself in order to have an art business. The trying and thinking and obsessing that never shuts off. The desperate need to sell paintings. The fear of it not working out. The energy taken away from my kids. That part is not for me.

What is for me: Quiet expansion. Sharing who I am, what I love, and building community. Supporting other’s dreams and allowing myself to be supported. Offering value while doing what I love. Being with my children. Getting out in nature and off of my phone. Letting go.  Trusting. Surrender.

……..

And a long held vision is coming soon ❤️

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“The Many Faces of Love” series releases soon!! Originals will be available in my shop. Sign up for my newsletter to see it first ❤️

 

 

 

I Want to Read for Pleasure and Watch all the Movies

 

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Some thoughts with Summer on the horizon:

I want to read for pleasure and watch all the movies. I want to actually nap when the baby naps. I want to go swimming, take walks on the pier, and smell the ocean. I want to laugh. I want to play with my kids and hear them laugh. I want to go on a date with my man. I want to eat really delicious food. I want to embrace simple pleasures. I want to catch up with my girlfriends over drinks, and laugh some more. I want to feel truly nourished from the inside out. I want to LIVE SLOW.

…..

Life has felt really fast for a long time. When I was pregnant with Isabelle, time went really slow. I mean, torturously slow. (I’m not someone who feels great while pregnant.) And then she was born and all was well, but at some point my relationship to time shifted.

Part of it was the feeling like my time at home with her was running out, day by day, week by week. It felt like an hourglass of sand, going faster and faster. Part of it was needing to do everything quickly before she started crying again. Part of it was desperately trying to figure out a way to earn money from home, so I wouldn’t have to leave her. Part of it was all the other things I needed to do.

Thankfully, there is resolution on some of the above, yet I still find myself frantically rushing around. Yes, I often have a lot to do in short windows, but plain & simple my energy needs to change. Sometimes I’m stressed and anxious and rushing around, other times I’m excited because there’s so many things I want to do. What I need though, is calm.

…..

I just completed a six month journey with Hannah Marcotti’s Magic Making Business Circle and I am deeply changed. I have the long awaited clarity that I am a painter, and a mama, and I don’t need to take on anything else. I feel called to paint, I love it, and I believe I will be supported by it. And so, as I continue to paint daily, and work on my latest series, “The Many Faces of Love,” I will begin to exhale, surrender, and slow down.

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I plan to release my series in May (or June). I will always paint, and be mama, and for what comes next, see the first paragraph ❤

I want to read for pleasure and watch all the movies…

With Love,

Jessica

**To get early access to my series, and special discounts, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter. As always, you can follow my painting journey on Instagram.**

Winter Reflections

IMG_3132.PNGIt’s been a little while since I’ve written anything, my last post was on New Year’s Eve mentioning how instead of making resolutions, I was headed into a season of “Deep Inner Rest.” Instead of springing into action for the new year, I was craving restoration on many levels following the busyness of the holidays, and processing a move to Oregon that we didn’t make. Now, of course with young children I’m not able to take many long winter’s naps, but I have taken a lot of time to reflect on what I want to let go of and bring in this coming year. I made this little insightful list when I was really feeling the end of the year burnout.

Things I’m letting go of:

Stressing
Rushing around
Being controlling
Taking on others energy
“As soon as” mentality
Work I don’t love
Wasting time “trying to figure stuff out”

What to bring in:

Let myself off the hook
Do the best I can
Relax
Do what I love and be confident about it
Stop doubting everything
Pray, trust, surrender
Live in constant gratitude
Get really ok with me
Take care of my body
Slow down
Minimal wardrobe
More nature wild freedom barefoot
Less internet more love

I have to say, I am feeling much calmer. I have moments of stress of course, but overall I’m feeling more accepting of me. I’m feeling very grounded by my daily rituals and routines in this phase of life, and very settled into being a mama & an artist. I’m loving on my babies, making sure they have what they need, and remembering to take care of me throughout each day. I’m painting most days, and being filled with gratitude for this practice, along with excitement of what’s to come. I will share more about that in a coming post, but I have been circling with some fantastic women, pushing my edges, and getting really clear on how I want my art & business to feel. In the meantime, here are a couple of large paintings I finished this season, available in my shop. Sending love as we head into Spring ❤

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Why I’m Not Choosing a Word of the Year

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I’ve given a little thought to what my word of the year or guiding phrase will be for 2018. I considered keeping it very simple with something like peace, joy, faith, or magic. And then it hit me. What do I really need right now? And there it was. “Deep Inner Rest.”

I thought about January and how it’s the Monday of the year, and how it’s the time everyone really “needs to get their shit together.” January is typically really high energy, goal-oriented, and intense….none of which resonate with me. I considered it further, and thought about how it didn’t seem right to me. Winter is supposed to be slow, nourishing, & introspective.

The holidays are so draining in certain respects, with so much activity, kids off of school, all the shopping, wrapping, decorating, and preparing. All the clean up afterwards. I am just coming off all of this extra activity, and yes, stress, and I’m supposed to jump in to full blown self-improvement mode?! I don’t think so. What I need is, “Deep Inner Rest.”

So I’ve decided not to have a word of the year, but to consider what I need month by month, and to set an intention. I will ask myself as the month begins, intuitively feel what I need, and move in that direction. This won’t be a strict process, and it will be gentle because that’s what I need.

Here are some ways I thought I could achieve some deep inner rest even with a seven & one year old. (It will have to come in small doses, but better than not at all.)

1. Limiting internet activity to only what feeds me

2. Watching movies I’ve wanted to see since Isabelle was born

3. Drinking lots of water

4. Reading for pleasure, hopefully one book all the way through

5. Using special bath blends when I take a bath

6. More tea

7. Cooking some really delicious, wholesome meals for the family

8. Baking

9. Lighting candles

10. Listening to more music

11. Releasing the “need to know” regarding my business

12. More nature & laughter

13. Creating a capsule wardrobe to simplify my days

14. Stop taking on other’s energy

15. Breathe, pray, trust, surrender….repeat

Those are just some ideas, but I don’t intend to make deep inner resting a to do list. More of a shift I want to feel. What are some ways you rest & revive your spirit? I would love for you to share with me on Instagram & join me if you feel called. #deepinnerrest ❤

Smells like Fall

If you know me at all, then you know how much I love fall. This season is inspiring me so much! I decided to try out a fall baking recipe from Pinterest,  so I picked these Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies from midgetmomma.com: I took Isabelle out shopping earlier in the week while Olivia was at school, and picked up all of the ingredients. I was determined not to forget anything, since I usually get home and realize something’s missing. I felt accomplished already once I got everything home. I haven’t been able to bake much since she was born, especially from scratch, but these fall vibes and the fact that she’s almost one, are making me feel much more confident.

I decided to bake on an afternoon when we were having an easy dinner (tamales that Shawn brought home!) so after lunchtime, I put Isabelle in her high chair and gave her some frozen blueberries in her feeder, aka her “popsicle.” I also gave her a little of the canned pumpkin, which she didn’t seem to enjoy.

Then I gathered all the ingredients on the counter and took it step by step. Seriously, I was still proud of myself for not forgetting anything. I’ve been quite forgetful since having Isabelle, and getting through this recipe successfully was going to take some determination. Ok, at this point, I began talking myself through the steps (out loud) and began by combining the sugar and butter and then mixed it with the egg beater (is that what it’s called?)

Success! Everything did not fly out of the bowl & baby is still happy. Next, I added the egg, vanilla, molasses, and pumpkin.

I was feeling pretty good about myself at this point. The mixture looked pretty legit, and the right color anyway. Then, I combined all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and forgot to take a picture of it. When I was finished, I combined the wet and dry ingredients and mixed everything up. Now it was time to roll the cookies into balls and place them on the greased cookie sheet. Oh, I also pre-heated the oven to 350.

At this point, I got nervous because the dough stuck to my hands instead of rolling into neat balls. I think my butter was too cold and not “room temperature” enough. I decided to glob it into little heaps and throw it on the cookie sheet anyway and top with sugar.

The recipe said to bake for 14-16 minutes, but I remembered to stay close because I always burn cookies these days, even the pre-made cookie dough which isn’t as much of a tragedy, but it’s still kind of a let down. I wanted them to be soft, so I took them out when they started smelling good, at about 13 minutes.

I let them cool a bit, and then started a new batch. I made them big because it faster that way, and made about 15 large cookies. By now, the whole house was smelling like fall. I arranged them on a fall looking leaf platter that I didn’t know I owned, and put them on my fall tablescape. Ta-da! At this point, I’m downright glowing.

And that’s it! I enjoyed them with my feet up & an iced chai while Isabelle played with her toys. I highly recommend this recipe if you like this sort of thing. I have enough pumpkin left to make another batch, so I might just to do that. Might. Don’t hold me to it ❤

When You Don’t Fit

IMG_7482.JPGI do not fit into the “traditional” idea of a brand. My Instagram pictures are not carefully staged against a white background. My children do not wear matching outfits, and aren’t posed just so. My home is not decorated to fit the latest modern trend, it is classic and rustic just like me.

I would rather share blurry pictures that capture moments, and laughter, and my baby doing something for the first time. I would rather create what my soul longs to create than worry if it fits a certain aesthetic, brand, or solid mission statement.

The truth is I’m a person, continuously evolving and growing. I have a lot of ideas. I need to let go of fitting all that I am into a box that makes sense to package to the world.

I am a mother.

I am a painter. I don’t always paint in the same style because I love so many different things.

I love to create, from jewelry to bath products to sewing + more.

I love thrifting and vintage because it reminds me of childhood and makes me come alive.

I love styling photo shoots around a concept, and taking & editing photos.

I basically love to create & as much as I try, it will not fit into a box.

I am both spiritual and funny, serious and silly. I’ve been through a lot in my life, and I have a lot to share. I’ve been holding back in this area because I don’t want to get branded as someone who is “ultra spiritual” or thinks they know what’s right for someone else. I just have these tools that have helped me, and maybe they can help you too.

And so I decide to just create. Make the things I’m inspired to make. Share the lessons that hold wisdom. Help the communities that need support. And be the me that’s true.

Its all I can do, really.

 

 

 

The Pause

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I’m feeling a pause right now. Early last week I announced that I would be releasing my recent paintings for purchase on my website, as both originals and prints. I set a self-imposed deadline to hold me accountable. The administrative side of running a business can be fulfilling at times, but right now it feels like a lot of decisions and a lot of torquing away on the computer getting everything right. It weighs on my perfectionist side, until it gets overwhelming and I think, “I just want something simple.”

I want a simple website where I can simply offer the things I make without stress. I want my creative space to feel free, and not fit into a box. And so I pause.

I didn’t make my deadline. Partially for these reasons, and partially because of some unexpected family issues. As the baby wouldn’t nap and I was stressing about not making my deadline, I paused and told myself, “This is your own deadline. You can choose to extend it if you want to.” And so I let it go.

Instead of jumping right back into it when I had more time, I have allowed myself to continue with the pause. Instead I’m asking myself some questions. Why do I make art? Do I just want to paint, or do I actually want to sell art? How do I want my business to feel? How can I create a sustainable business when my daily life with children can be unpredictable? How can I be of service to others without compromising myself?

This is what I know so far:

  1. I need to allow time for inspiration prior to beginning new work.
  2. My offerings must nourish myself as well as others.
  3. I need to have the space to put things on hold when my family needs me.
  4. I absolutely love painting.

And so I pause again. The message here is we don’t need to rush to know, produce, or create if even if we feel like we do. There are seasons, there is breathing room, and there is space. 

If you are craving space in an area of your life, I encourage you to allow yourself that pause. Where it’s for a moment, a day, or a season. You can always get back to the business of doing. In the meantime, the pause allows space for the wisdom to filter in ❤

 

(Image via Pinterest)

On Spiritual Surrender

IMG_6603I have been tossing something around and around in my mind for months trying to get clarity. You see, it is my dream to have a business from home, doing something that I love, that allows me to share my gifts and be a blessing to others, while providing the space I need to nurture my children. This has been my dream for many years, but has been my solid prayer since last summer, which I prayed for nightly in the months leading up to Isabelle’s birth. I didn’t know exactly what this business would be, where my passion would combine with my purpose, but I know enough to surrender and let God handle the details.

Despite my prayers, and my attempts at surrender (usually after much frustration, confusion, and overwhelm), I still don’t know. I’ve had many ideas, and have taken action on things I’m passionate about, but in the end, I still feel stuck.

This week, I started to have some tiny breakthroughs that I wanted to share. The first is that my mind is not going to reveal the answers. Our minds are helpful in many ways, but what I am seeking is a peaceful mind and a revelation in my spirit. The mind is fickle, and it is no wonder that when I rely upon it, I end up confused and change my mind repeatedly. Rather than be in my head, I’ve tuned into my spiritual guidance more this week by limiting my intake of information, resting my mind, practicing deep breathing, praying, connecting to God in my spirit (not just in my mind), getting outside, exercising, having true quiet time during Isabelle’s naps, and simply listening.

All of the above are great first steps. So is an acceptance that the answers will come in divine timing, not in my own. I also watched a video this morning that was extremely helpful: Gabrielle Bernstein’s talk at Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions. In it, she shares a personal story that led her to create 5 steps for spiritual surrender. I encourage you to watch it here, and I will share her steps below:

Pray for the highest good for all.

Focus on what is thriving.

Obstacles are detours in the right direction.

Ask for a sign.

When you think you’ve surrendered, surrender some more. 

And so I will pray this trusting prayer, focus on what IS working in this area of my life (painting), know that when things get complicated it’s time to stop, ask for signs, and keep on surrendering. I am grateful that I received this message today, a reminder of what I already know, but with a deeper understanding as it applies to my current situation. I hope this post was helpful, and I would love to hear what you are surrendering on the path to your dreams ❤

 

Self Care During Early Mommyhood

484D12DE-6BA9-4BE1-B04F-8ED05979E56A.jpgIt’s pretty hard to write blog posts nowadays because I rarely have a quiet moment with both of my hands free. Our baby girl Isabelle is 8 months now, and I mostly hold her while she’s sleeping. She’ll sleep without me holding her (for about 15 minutes or so), but when I’m holding her, she’ll sleep 2-3 hours. So basically, that’s where we’re at and I’m okay with it. I enjoy holding her, but I do miss writing and certain other things, so I thought I would write in small doses when I get a chance, just like I do with painting. Both painting and writing have always been really good outlets for me.

I’ve been wanting to share how I’m managing my self care since having a new baby, since I know how important it is to make sure that I’m OK so that I can take care of her. Isabelle is my 3rd baby, so I have done this before, but it has been challenging nonetheless. She was my first baby born by C section, my first colicky baby, and my first baby to dislike riding in her car seat and stroller. She’s quite sensitive, this little one. Luckily we are past most of the above by now, but all the crying is not forgotten. I am quite sensitive too, and it did have an impact on my nervous system despite my attempts to stay positive. I wanted so much to comfort her, and was at a loss at times on how to calm her. With my other babies, a boob in the mouth was all it would take, and this time it didn’t work that way. She didn’t liked to be rocked either. So often we would hand her back and forth, walking her up and down the hallway, playing nursery rhyme songs, giving her gas drops, putting warm washcloths on her tummy, ….basically just trial and error until she was calm enough to fall asleep.

When we did try and go somewhere, she would scream and cry and make this coughing noise until I would stop the car and hold her. She cried when I took her for walks in the stroller, so we would hurry back home. She seemed to enjoy when I would baby-wear her, so I often wore my wrap around the house, as I painted, which was something I could do with her while standing. Luckily, Shawn took care of Olivia and everything else in those early months because all I could do was take care of the baby and myself. This brings me to what I wanted to share, how I’ve managed to make sure I’m OK while taking care of Isabelle. In case there’s any other mamas out there who might find it helpful.

First of all, it’s all about priorities. I used to find it hard to prioritize my own self care, but I’ve learned the hard way over the years that its vital for me to nurture myself so that I have energy for who and what matters most. Being proactive in this area is so important for my well being because I can easily give to the point of having nothing left, feel overwhelmed, and find myself resentful and exhausted. When I’ve neglected myself, I’ve suffered with health problems, unhealthy relationships, anxiety, and depression. So when Isabelle was born, I put certain practices in place that would help me be consistently mindful of my well being. (Side note: despite proactive self care, mental health issues can arise. If you are feeling anxious or depressed, I encourage you to reach out and seek help.) I’ve found the following to be helpful while navigating new mommyhood (again):

I took a shower everyday. For the first 2 weeks, Shawn helped me with this because it’s difficult to walk around post C section. When he went back to work, I would put Isabelle in her bouncer in the bathroom with me, and peek out of the shower curtain often. This was rarely seamless. I would have to rush, and most of the time was unable to get dressed because she would be crying so much. I was quickly back in my robe, but at least I was clean. Over time, I was able to put on her nursery rhyme songs to get a few more minutes, and now I bathe with the shower curtain open while she plays with toys. Looking back, I remember how stressful it was trying to make it through something so basic, but I did it everyday regardless because it made me feel normal. It was one of the small ways I took care of myself in those early days in order to still feel like my own person.

I ate regular meals, including snacks, took postnatal vitamins, and stayed hydrated. Skipping meals for me is not an option. I need to eat, and find breastfeeding hunger to be super immediate. When Isabelle was first born, we did a lot of pizza ordering. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a lot of time to cook or shop. But, I eat 3 meals a day, plus snacks. I drink lots of water. I limit caffeine and alcohol, and I take vitamins everyday. These little rituals bring a structure of self care to my everyday, and bring me a sense of peace to know I am at least meeting my basic needs.

This post is getting super long, but those were the essentials early on. After a few months, I was able to include stretching, painting, and monthly massages, but it’s still a balancing act. I need to be very careful to not take too much on, and to consistently nurture myself as I nurture Isabelle. I also say lots of prayers and remind myself that the baby season doesn’t last long and I am so blessed to experience it once again. And so I will enjoy the snuggles, all of the firsts, and give all of the love to my little family and remember to take good care of me along the way.

Anthro Love

My inspiration field trips to Anthropologie are starting to become a regular thing. I just adore roaming through Anthropologie, soaking up inspiration through colors, patterns, and textures. Their style fits my aesthetic so well, that you just might hear me letting out audible shrieks as I discover one treasure after another.

This is what I found this time around….img_2204img_2201Jeans with appliqués/embroidery. This takes me back to the 90’s style of used Levi’s with holes and patches. Makes me want to add floral fabric swatches and corduroy to denim.

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Lace & velvet. My two favorite fabrics. I could wear the lace shirt with the velvet pants, and just float off on a cloud. I’ve been buying a lot of velvet and lace trim at the craft store lately, and I’m planning to adorn some clothing with it very soon.

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The color of this sweater. And this skirt…chenille with fringe. Like wearing a blanket. Again, I could wear them together and be perfectly happy. With boots.

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This outfit. I almost fell down when I saw it in all its celestial glory. I’m a huge fan of the moon and stars. Plus sequins.

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These textured items. I want to make that pillow. And scarves that are half one color & material and half another. Love the mashed up goodness.

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Florals. Which I’m sure I mention in nearly all inspiration posts. Coloring book, ceramics, with wood, or on tin. I obviously gasped when I laid eyes on this shelf in all its rustic beauty.

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This color combination (hello, mustard + indigo) and these aprons. I have always wanted one. Makes me want to bake a pie.

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More denim. This time soft, upcycled jeans turned into a zippered pouch. With denim patches and embroidery. Love this style. I may need to head to the thrift store for some old jeans to make my own version of these.

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And that’s all I have for now, so I will leave you with a picture of my new baby girl Isabelle who is 7 weeks old now. She slept peacefully as we walked around Anthropologie. Hoping for some more peaceful sleeping as I attempt to create some things with my new sewing machine. I plan to have my new shop open as soon as time & mommyhood permits ❤

10 Ways to Cope with an Unhealthy Relationship

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I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile. While I think it’s important to move on from the past, and refrain from revisiting old wounds, I do believe it’s beneficial to share what I’ve learned with others, in a way that can be useful. My life is so different from how it used to be, and it is my hope for others who are struggling in an unhealthy relationship to be able to make the changes they need to in order to create a healthy and happy life. I know that when I was in a dark place at various times in my life, a post like this would’ve been extremely helpful. During those times, I was desperate for answers, and latched on to anything I could to help me make sense of my situation, in an attempt to move forward in a positive direction. (Regardless of how many times I went one step forward, and two steps back). Change CAN happen, believe me, and here are 10 ways you can begin helping yourself if you are in an unhealthy relationship. (Disclaimer: If you are in an UNSAFE relationship, I would advise you to act as soon as possible in order to protect yourself from harm. This article pertains to a relationship that is unhealthy, though not immediately dangerous.)

  1. Detachment. When you find yourself enmeshed in an unhealthy relationship, however you want to define it (verbally abusive, addictive, codependent, toxic), the first step is to begin to detach emotionally. Find a way to create some distance between yourself and the relationship, and limit any controlling, hurtful, or obsessive behavior. Find something else to focus on, even if it is merely a distraction. Sadly, this can be easier to do when you are emotionally bankrupt, and just plain tired of the unhealthy cycle. Now, of course, it can be difficult to not react when you are being triggered, but you need to start creating some form of distance between yourself and the unhealthy way you’ve been relating. This can look like creating an awareness of your role in the relationship, and making an attempt to not react to every single thing. Find a hobby, do something, anything different. Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect at this. It won’t be easy, so just do your best.
  2. Extreme Self Care. This one works very well with detachment. If I could only choose two things to do immediately, it would be these first two. When you are being continually depleted by the stress caused by an unhealthy relationship, you must be proactive to replenish yourself. Even if you are caught in an unhealthy obsession, or controlling behavior caused by someone you are in a relationship with, you absolutely must pause, and begin to see yourself separate from this situation. Look into your own eyes, and begin to give yourself what you need, even in small doses at first. You may have to force yourself to start taking care of yourself, if you’ve been neglecting your own needs for awhile. It may even be difficult to know what you need at first, so start small. Pick up a green smoothie on your way home from work. Be gentle with yourself. Take a nap without guilt. Take a bath with essential oils. Make a long overdue doctor’s appointment. What you actually do to take care of yourself will vary, but the important thing is for you to put yourself on the list. Pretend you are a small child, and think about what you really need. Make a list of things you can do for your mind, body, and spirit and begin to take action.
  3. List of Action Items. The decision to leave an unhealthy relationship must be your own, however while you are still in the relationship, a good place to start is to make a list of everything that you would need to do to remove yourself from it when the time comes. This can help with the feeling of overwhelm. You may end up working on the relationship, and may never need the list at all, but it helps to create a plan of action. Chances are, if you end up leaving, it will be a chaotic time and you will be glad you made this list. The list can consist of things like, open a separate bank account, ask a family member to borrow money, cancel joint bills, etc… I guarantee that getting the items down on paper will make them a lot less intimidating, and much more doable if and when the time comes.
  4. Gathering Information. This step is very individualized. You will know what information you need. You may need to find a list of support groups in your area. You may need to research rent prices on apartments in your town. Putting together a folder of helpful information can help you feel more prepared before you are willing to act, and will be valuable when/if the time comes to use it.
  5. Facing Reality. This can be especially hard if you’ve been fighting very hard to stay in an unhealthy relationship and turn things around. A good way to begin facing reality is to start telling your story to impartial people. Attending therapy or support group meetings are good places to start. You may also want to start recording things that happen in a private journal. Speaking the truth about your situation in facts, rather than how you wished things were, will begin to peel back the layers and become something that you will eventually be able to see objectively, even if it’s still painful or unwanted.
  6. Gaining Support. This one is similar to #5, in the way you begin to share your truth, however this time with a trusted friend or family member. I would advise you to choose these people carefully, and only share what you feel comfortable with. People don’t need to know every detail of your story in order to help you. In most cases, your friends and family already have an idea of what is going on. You should be very clear about what type of support you are asking for. For example, you may need to ask your mom to allow you to stay in her home for one month until you find your own place. Or, you may need to be able to call your best friend day or night for emotional support during this transition. You may decide to share that you are not ready to act just yet, but are in the process of gathering support. Being very clear and honest will allow people to know exactly what you will need from them when the time comes.
  7. Trust Yourself. This one is simple, but epic. You may have heard the expression, when something feels off, it is. You must absolutely trust yourself that you know what is right and what isn’t. Over time, you may have disconnected from the knowing inside you, but it is still there waiting for you to listen to it. Follow the whispers, the tiny inklings, the voice inside you that says that there is another way. Trust yourself, and hold onto that knowing in your heart, even through the confusion and doubt. It will lead you where you want to go. I promise.
  8. Is the Other Person Working Just as Hard? Another simple, but powerful one. If you ask yourself this question, and answer it honestly, it will help you in your decision to stay or go. If there are major problems in your relationship that are very unhealthy, and the other person isn’t as committed as you to turning things around, you have your answer.
  9. What do you Really Want? Begin to think about your ideal relationship even if you don’t yet believe it’s possible. What kind of relationship would you like to be in? How would you two spend your time? What qualities would this person have? Reserve your judgement on whether it will actually happen. Just begin to dream. Reach beyond what you’ve experienced, and begin to think in terms of “wouldn’t it be great if…?” This will help broaden your horizons to other possibilities. Combine this one with trust yourself, and you will be much more likely to find it one day. (I should add that working on yourself to make sure you don’t fall into old patterns is also crucial to moving forward when the time comes).
  10. Surrender. I have a rock that my therapist gave me when I was working on healing my own relationship patterns, and focusing on creating a healthier, happier life. At one of our sessions, she took out a flat, gray rock and wrote the word “surrender” on it with a black Sharpie. From there, I learned the meaning of this word again and again. There was only so much I could do, and then it was time to pray, let go, and surrender. This is the pause, the breath, and the trust in a power greater than me. And this is when the magic happens ❤

7 Things I’m loving right now…

I have posted a few times about my love of Pinterest and the satisfaction I get pinning things in an aesthetic way. I create a visual diary of what I love, what I want to bring into my life, and what inspires me. I use it for cooking inspiration, decorating, personal style, as well as moments I want to create and an overall feeling I aspire to in my life. (I was actually posting pictures of babies before finding out I was having one). We moved recently, and I used it as my guide in creating a neutral color palette for our home. I found many lovely decorative items at thrift stores, and have been enjoying the process of being creative in this way. Now that my art studio is set up, I’m looking for painting inspiration, and small projects I can do between now and when the baby is born in early October. This morning I was thinking about texture, and how much I love it, and ways to incorporate it into some items I want to make, as well as future paintings. So all of this inspiration has led me to a new list of what I’m loving right now. (All images from Pinterest).

1. Home decor in varying shades of neutral:

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In the past, I’ve loved bright colors, but my soul has been craving a soft, minimalist style lately. I love the relaxing vibe of neutrals as a base with thoughtful items added in for interest. When I go to the thrift store, I pick things up and only bring them home if I 1. love them and 2. they are a shade of neutral. I thought it might be boring at first, but I’ve learned there are many colors that fit that description. Greys, whites, creams, beiges, browns, blacks, metals, etc… can all be arranged in a way that is very soothing. Now that I’ve got our basic items: furniture, rugs, picture frames, blankets, decorative items etc… I’m thinking of adding in a few items for a pop of color, such as a throw pillow or a vase. I haven’t decided on that just yet, because I really am loving the gentleness of these soft colors that all match each other in an offhand way.

2. Indigo (insert heart emoticon for emphasis!!!)

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Ahhhh, the richness of indigo fabrics. Reminds me of denim, old world, and luxurious dye. I want to wrap myself in them, make stuff with them, and paint with these colors. Love the depth….reminds me of the night’s sky.

3. Baskets

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I can’t believe how many baskets I purchased at the thrift store while setting up our new house, and my art studio, but how ever many it was, it wasn’t enough. I remember there were a lot of baskets in my house when I was growing up….they were even nailed to wall in collages. At the time, I didn’t appreciate them, but I have since become a crazy basket lady. Must have to do with my love of texture, and natural, rustic materials.

4. Drinks with roses in them:

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I love food and drinks with luxurious details. I recently had a rose latte made with rosewater and garnished with rose petals. I am going back for a lavender mocha. The exotic touches delight me to no end, making an ordinary beverage (and day) unforgettable.

5. Mermaids:

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I adore mythical creatures, and there is something so free about a mermaid. Mermaids are so feminine, mysterious, and connected to the sea and moon in a way I long to be. I dream about floating in the cool ocean, swimming effortless to the bottom, and basking in the moonlight on a rock. Definitely want to bring a mermaid into a painting very soon. Perhaps in some indigo waters.

6. Lace:

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I. love. lace. I want to embellish things with it. I plan to get married in it. I love it the way I love velvet. Purely & completely.

7. Pictures of babies & baby items:

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And of course, babies. With only 9 weeks to go…. (can’t believe I said only) I am dreaming about cuddling our new baby. Can’t wait to take photos of her snuggled up to all of us. Pictures of my big girl holding hands with my little girl. Dreaming of fall, the holidays, and all things cozy as I think of the magical time ahead with our new baby daughter.

Aaaaand that’s about all I have for now. More inspiration to come ❤

On Letting Go & Embracing the Unexpected

imageI need to write. There is so much swirling about in my head, but each time I sit down to write, I have only one thought: “I’m so tired.” To which I usually agree with, and think, “Yep….I am tired, maybe I’ll write another time.” Well, those other times aren’t coming and I’m still tired, and still feel the need to write, so I guess I’ll just write tired. The majority of my tiredness, I’m sure, comes from having a baby on the way. We are expecting a baby girl, due in October. I am 20 weeks along at this point, and have been taking Unisom and vitamin B-6 to combat nausea, which makes me even more tired than I already am. Since I only feel up to taking care of the bare minimum these days, while doing a lot of resting (and eating), I haven’t felt up to taking on any new projects. I have felt the need, however, to assign some sort of focus to this time period, as a way to continue down the path to my dreams.

You see, I gave up part of my dream in February. I was going to open a shop in the mountains of Julian. It was going to be an art gallery & gift shop. It would include my own paintings and homemade crafts, as well as those from artist and crafters from around the world. In January, we acquired the shop space and began renovations. My man worked diligently on weekends to makeover the interior of the shop, building rustic wood walls, and installing beautiful cherry wood flooring. In the meantime, I set up my website, ordered products, and created more products of my own. I made contact with artists I have only followed online, and it was a very exciting time. This shop would fulfill 2 of my 3 passions, art and handmade products, with the hopes that my 3rd passion, spiritual growth, would somehow be integrated down the road. This was the first time I actually saw something coming to fruition for me, after so many years of dabbling, wishing, hoping, and praying. It felt like all I had done led me to this point, that there was a reason for all that I had learned, and that a dream was finally coming true.

Shortly after acquiring the shop space, I found out we were going to have a baby, which was a total surprise. Soon after, I became very, very sick with all day sickness, and could no longer withstand the curvy drive up to the mountains. Everything was put on hold. I had a decision to make about my shop. Do I wait and see if I feel better in a few months time, and then get back to working on setting up the shop? Even though a few months after the shop would open, the baby would be born? This was a hard decision, and one I had to make on my own. It was a difficult one. In the end, I chose not to continue with opening the shop. It was heartbreaking. Not the shop per se, as I knew that there would be other opportunities in the future, but the feelings behind it. I wrote in my previous post “On Self Care and Motherhood,” about how the feeling of always needing to put aside my needs and wants has been difficult at times. How I often have this overwhelming feeling to create something, but struggle to find the time and space for it. I of course understand that putting aside my needs is a huge part of parenting, and I have always done it, but in the past few years, I have longed for something just for me. And just I was getting close to that, life changed in an unexpected way once again.

The time period following the decision to let my shop go was a difficult one, even though I knew I made the right choice in putting mommyhood first. I was so very miserably sick in my first trimester. In my previous pregnancies, I went through 9 months of morning sickness with my son. With my daughter, I was horribly sick (called hyperemesis gravardium) for about 5 months, to the point of needing to get IVs at the hospital. All the way around, this 3rd pregnancy has been a lot better comparatively speaking, but still challenging nonetheless.

As of now, I’m in my second trimester, aka the holy grail of pregnancy. I still don’t feel that fantastic, but I don’t really expect to, as pregnancy isn’t usually that easy for me. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful in any way, so let me just put that out there. I love my children, and can’t wait to meet this new baby. I am simply working through my feelings of still longing for my own thing, an expression of my soul’s signature. For now, I will continue to dabble in painting and writing, and hope to find the missing piece that will allow me to have a soul filled business that will incorporate my children. Something I can create alongside my kiddos as they grow. Something that will flow naturally as a part of our lives, allowing me to be mommy, while following my passions, and sharing my gifts. I may have let go of one dream, but I must surrender and allow for what’s developing on the horizon. And I have a hunch it’s better than what I let go of ❤

How Change Really Happens

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Happy New Year! I am still allowing the dust to settle surrounding the end of 2015/beginning of 2016 before I come up with my word or phrase for the year. I’ve entertained the idea of *bliss* and *focus* or *focused bliss* but none of those feels right just yet. It will be hard to compete with last year’s phrase, Pure Divine Magic. That phrase lit my whole body up when I finally settled on it, so there’s no rush…I’ll know when the right words fall into place.

Something that has been on my heart lately, when I think of New Year’s Resolutions, is the idea of change. I haven’t embraced the concept of resolutions for quite some time, since resolving to do better than the year before doesn’t quite fit for me. “When you know better, you do better,” as Maya Angelou so gracefully stated. I think intentions are important, and the idea of what you want to release/bring in can be helpful. For example, I would like to release the habit of pushing myself through my tasks and bring in more rest and ease. Or, I’m going to release the need for perfection, and bring in more joy and play in my family life. Creating intentions such as these shows where the goals lie, without the harsh, all or nothing rules that often accompany resolutions.

I used to be very all or nothing. I would clean the entire house top to bottom like a crazy person one weekend, and then let things pile up again for two weeks. I would go on a health cleanse for a week, and then eat out the entire next week. When I look back on old journal entries, I see how harsh I used to be with myself. It looked a lot like: I need to STOP doing a, b, and c, and ONLY do x, y, and z from now on, IF I want to be happy. Wow, talk about setting myself up for failure, a cycle of frustration, and continued unhappiness.

At this point in my life, I can feel myself on the other side of changes I wished to make for so long. Things are far from perfect, and some things I never gave up or brought in at all. What changed was my approach to “personal evolution” which became what I think of today as self care. For me, self-care goes beyond massages, baths, and smoothies (all of which I enjoy) and becomes a comprehensive way I take care of myself in all areas of my life. One concept that has helped me immensely when it comes to change is Self-Compassion. This began when I was in a really unhealthy place in my life a few years ago. I began a very focused spiritual path, soaking up anything I could in the way of inspiration towards positive change. I slowly became more in touch with my feelings during this process, and made decisions from a place of “does this feel good, or does this feel bad?” What felt bad needed to be released and more of what felt good needed to be brought in, if I was to heal. This happened very slowly, and wasn’t easy, but over time, a healthier life emerged.

Shortly after beginning that journey, I faced a health crisis, and after trying to manage my condition for about a year, I surrendered to having two surgeries. (You can read more about that in Lessons from Surgery, part 1 and part 2.) I could no longer be hard on myself the way I once was because there were things I simply could not do, and my healing was at stake. It was then that I realized I tried to “beat myself” into changing for years, which does not work. It finally made so much sense to me. It was then that I learned to go easy on myself. I let go of perfection, and embraced moderation. I stopped making unattainable goals, and created a lot of space around the things I wanted to accomplish. I realized that nothing was worth me feeling bad over. That I could still have intentions, but I had to give myself compassion first.

Now, my life is much more manageable. I feel pretty good most of the time. I can straighten up the bedroom, and leave the vacuuming for the weekend. I can choose the two most important tasks for the day and leave the rest for next time. I follow what I need most that day, and balance that with what needs to be done. If my shoulders are stressed, I will schedule a massage, not push forward for another week until I am in pain. I listen to myself, and realize that nothing on a to do list is worth my well-being. Of course, I have my partner and children’s needs to consider as well, but I look at it the same way. What is needed most right now? Does my daughter need help cleaning her room top to bottom or extra snuggles? When you tune in with yourself, the answers are there. And somehow it all gets done as it needs to ❤

Anthro Inspiration

Anthropologie is one of my favorite places to find inspiration, so I decided to take a field trip there on a rainy evening this week. Although I’ve always loved the store’s aesthetic, I particularly fell in love with it after geeking out on all the episodes of Man Shops Globe. That show is my absolute fave, as it details the travels of Keith Johnson, buyer for Anthropolgie. He travels the world seeking glorious finds, meeting with artists & craftspeople, visiting their studios and homes, along with open air markets, craft fairs, antique shops and the like. He finds large scale decorative items for the stores, commissions artists, and finds old things that can be given a new twist, and redesigned by Anthroplogie. The show, and store, basically illustrate all I love about design…..vintage, old world, rustic, quirky, artsy, crafty…..with lots of delicious texture. And so this is what I found on this trip to inspire me…..


This tablecloth! Heavy….almost like a blanket. I love the colors, the texture, and the design elements. Makes me want to paint.


Obsessed with this book….I must own it. It fuels my dream of living in a cabin in the woods, and can transport me vicariously in the meantime.


The feeling of this piece of old furniture. The history. The tassels are dangling from old hotel keys. In my mind this constitutes a simpler, more romantic time, perhaps in Paris.


Love these frames and the possibility of what to fill them with. Pressed flowers maybe? Love the tarnished brass & copper.


The juxtaposition of these colors. The peeling paint on wood, the cavas…love, love, love.


Must own teeny star lights. Must.


Jars with brass lids. For bath product crafting. Yes, please.


My favorite find. Large scale rustic wood panel with feeling paint. Plus flowers. Planning to make something from this idea. Wood + flowers speaks to my soul.



These colors. Brilliant turquoise + copper = swoon.


This combo. Tarnished brass frame plus a painting of flowers that looks like fabric. So gentle. My love and I in the reflection.


And the most interesting award goes to….large scale hanging rug made of dyed tea bags. The colors….soft blue, navy, beige, brown….amazing. Especially for this tea person.

And there you have it, a lovely collection of inspiring finds. I can always count on Anthrolpologie to bring me home to my aesthetic. Can’t wait to get down to creating. How about you, where are your favorite spots for inspiration? ❤

On Motherhood & Creativity

10978715_10153075669584882_833498796913794133_nI became a mom at 19 years old. Though I had a lot of help when my son was young, and got to have more freedom than some, there were a lot of things I never experienced. I didn’t spend my twenties freely exploring who I was, and I didn’t get a chance to travel. All of my decisions needed to be filtered through the mom lens. Many dreams in my twenties needed to take a backseat due to the financial constraints, time restrictions, and physical limits of raising a child on my own. I couldn’t be an exchange student in Europe, I couldn’t volunteer at the Sundance Film Festival, and I couldn’t take a job that ended late at night. Much of what I did needed to take place between 6am and 6pm, when child care was open. Luckily, I found other opportunities to explore…through books, films, spiritual growth, and making art on weekends when family would watch him, but there has always been a longing for the freedom and time to bring forth other desires in my heart.

Just as my son was reaching the age of 13, an age where that kind of freedom could open up a bit, my daughter was born. I stayed home with her the first two years. I knew I had a calling to create something, and I tried to use some of that time to explore what it was. I had dreams, and visions, but didn’t really have the time and space to implement them. This doesn’t mean I didn’t love being a mom. I wouldn’t change it for anything. I am very bonded to my children, and always had a hard time leaving them, especially when they were very young. I nursed them, we co-slept, and I got very good at suppressing my desires. Until I could no longer ignore that there were things I still wanted to do. And so, things would need to change…I would need to change.

I realized that balancing my need for independence with my role as a mother is challenging for me, but it was something I simply needed to do. And so I thought about ways to create this space, and began taking small steps, the first of which was my daughter sleeping in her own bed. We got her the bunk beds she so desperately wanted, and for a couple of months, they sat in her room unused. Eventually, I reached my limit. I needed space, and she needed to learn to comfort herself and go to sleep like a big girl. I hit my breaking point after she had been sick for a week with a virus, and I was about 3 days in with the illness myself. I needed to take care of me. She was getting better, and I set up a bed on the floor next to me. She slept there for the next two weeks. This felt like a major victory considering she has always slept with her head on my arm. I of course felt guilty, but I came to realize this was a necessary step for both of us. She now goes to bed in her OWN room every night. I say goodnight, and she asks for extra hugs, but in the end, she goes to sleep. This change gave me the space I needed to have a little quiet time before bed, something unheard of since she was born.

This desire for more independence illuminated other ways I could meet my needs. On weekends for example, I would often alternate between entertaining my daughter, and cleaning the house. All the while pushing down what I wanted to do. This made me quite resentful, and tired. I would spend an occasional day out with friends when I had a sitter, but the painting, reading, writing, and exploring my calling was always on the back burner. It was really eating me up inside, knowing that there is something I was supposed to create, but felt unable to do.

I’ve realized that I am a person too, with wants and needs, and there’s no reason why I should be burned out at the end of the weekend, with that feeling still gnawing away at me. So I committed to more harmony in this area. I set up an art space for my daughter, and then I begin painting. I put on a movie for her, and sit down to write. It is easier now that she’s older, but it is still challenging. I am still learning what that balance is for us, but it feels really good that I took back control of my life and no longer let guilt take over. I am valuable and my needs are valuable, and I am a better mother for modeling this for her.

I used to think self-care was an occasional massage, nap, or dinner out with friends. A random treat from time to time, when I was desperately needing a break. Now, I know that taking care of myself is creating the space within to ask myself what I need as I go throughout my days. Self-care is true self compassion, and a checking in to ask “how am I doing,” the way I would with anyone else I was taking care of. It might mean coming up with creative ways to meet my needs, but that is much better than denying them, or putting them off for “one day.” I look forward to continue growing in this area, to deeper self-care, more dreams realized, and will keep enforcing loving boundaries with my children in order to make sure we are all taken care of.

When the Dream Arrives

WS10People always talk about wanting something….the longing, the hoping, the wishing, the praying. The “how” it’s all going to happen, the “when,” the pure anticipation, and the wonder. There is talk of manifestation, of surrender, of asking, believing, and receiving. Then of course there’s the doubt, the forcing, and the collapse when it doesn’t come to fruition.

But what about when it actually does happen? I must admit, this was something I wasn’t too prepared for. I knew if and when this dream finally came my way, I would embrace it at all costs. (You see, I sabotaged this dream once or twice in the past when I wasn’t ready, and lived with those consequences.) So I told myself, that no matter what, if this dream comes my way, I will not screw it up again. And I haven’t. I said yes to it wholeheartedly. I’ve wanted it long enough, I thought about it long enough, and I was ready and waiting for it to happen.

What I did not consider is the adjustment in perception that must take place once something long desired actually shows up. I mean, I was so used to it not happening. I had to blink my eyes once or twice to see if I was imagining things. I had to wake up in the morning, and remember slowly upon waking that it actually came to be. I had to learn to receive it bit by bit, with little bursts of “all at once” in order to take in all the love and beauty.

I am still working on opening my heart even more to feeling all the feelings, and learning to express them. To really feel, process, and share is the next phase on my journey. Openheartedness & vulnerability are what I am yearning for now. For so long, I was stuck, recycling the same problems, and on some level took comfort in that struggle. And now, I am reaching new horizons, and finding there are new lessons for me here, which is also somehow comforting. I’m looking forward to the ways that opening my heart to a greater capacity will inspire my art and writing. I look forward to the lessons I will learn, and what I will be able to share. But for now I am grateful….and slowly believing that this dream is actually real ❤

(Read earlier post about my dream here).

On Self-Acceptance

123456456As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve spent a lot of time in my life trying to “figure it out.” I’m always trying to crack the code on lasting happiness, how to achieve my dreams, and come up with a sort of structure for life that I can operate in. The trouble with that is, is that life really depends on your perspective. You can try to be positive, but what happens when you just aren’t feeling it that day? Are you a failure? Will you never get what you want? I say no. What I’ve realized through experience lately is actually adding to my happiness in a profound way, and that is self-acceptance. I’ve realized that I am human, I am a woman, and I am changeable from one day to the next. I’m not talking about extreme mood swings, but I do realize that I am going to feel differently about certain things from one day to the next. And that I’m really just doing the best that I can. And that I can exist in a space of not knowing for a little while and be ok. Desperate attempts (or even a long term commitment) to figuring things out just doesn’t work. I know that I won’t give up on my dreams or my quest to evolve, but I can move towards what feels good with ease instead of hunting for answers. Besides, a certain framework for happiness might work for one person and not for me. I just need to stay in touch with the part of me that is connected to God, who I really am, and live from that truth. The more I continue to avoid what is toxic in my life, and steer towards what I know fills me up in a good way….the happier I will be on the road to my dreams. It really is as simple as that. Plus, when I am connected to who I really am, and not coming from a place of fear or lack, I feel so much closer to my dreams. It takes away needing to rush things because I already feel good.

This week I would encourage you to stop trying to box yourself in if that’s something you find yourself doing. If you think things like, “as soon as I…” or “once I have…” or “maybe x is the answer…” I would suggest giving yourself a break. Accept who you are, and where you are at now. Be gentle with yourself. Get in the flow of what feels good in an easy way. Let go of others’ ideas and judgments about how you should be. Start trusting yourself enough to know what’s right for you on a deep level. Being compassionate with yourself will eventually lead to self-acceptance. We don’t all feel great all of the time, and we aren’t always our “best selves.” But as we accept ourselves as is, and lean into better feeling thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, we actually begin to change without berating ourselves. I have found that bringing in more of the good is so much more effective than deprivation. Cultivate pleasure, and immerse yourself in what you love. I promise, you will begin to feel better, no matter where you are at right now. This is my wish for you and my continued wish for myself ❤

Creating a Vision

I absolutely adore Pinterest, and find it to be a wonderful source of inspiration. I take my pinning very seriously (wink), and only pin things that fit into my overall aesthetic. Those things that don’t match my collage of pins go under “likes.” For a creative, visual person, Pinterest is a haven for collecting beautiful images and delighting the senses. You can check out my pins here. I thought it would be fun to start sharing things that inspire me, and things that I love. It’s such a dreamy practice that I love to get lost in….creating a sort of vision board for my life. Here’s what’s lighting me up right now:

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Black liquid eyeliner. It feels so sultry and feminine to me. Mysterious.

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Old book covers. Fantastic weathered illustrations, and clever titles that make me smile.

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In a word: texture. Old, peeling wallpaper, chipped paint, embroidery, cracked tile….all of it, good.

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Women with nature. Lying in a field of flowers, leaves in her hair, toes in a stream….opens up my spirit.

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Open road, open trail…..yes, please.

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Words that speak to who I am in the purest sense.

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Coffee with journal, coffee with paints, coffee with books. All waiting.

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And finally, flowers. Always flowers.

Overcoming Obstacles

123What is that they say? That when you think you’ve learned a lesson, you will continue to be tested until you pass? I think that is what I just went through. I haven’t blogged in awhile. I’ve been “going through it.” Waiting for it all to land, like Dorothy spinning in the house in the Wizard of Oz. As I’m starting to feel better and see clearer, I am getting the lesson in it and I’d like to share it with you. I was just reading my post “New Year Magic” and I realized that was right before life took me down. I allowed a situation outside of myself to cause me to lose balance. As a result of my reaction, I became controlling, obsessive, and the complete opposite of what I’m trying to be. When we are triggered by something, it can be deep rooted, from childhood even, and it comes up so that it can be healed. It is an opportunity to recognize the trigger for what it is, release the emotional hold it has, create a new belief, and move forward with grace. Is that what I did? No, I learn the hard way.

When I was triggered, I resisted it. I fought, I schemed, I manipulated and did my best to stop life’s natural evolution. I suppose I needed to enmesh myself once more so that I could see what was on the inside. What I found was, the new me, the authentic me couldn’t exist in this unhealthy environment. I had two choices. I could compromise who I am entirely, in order to avoid the fear and discomfort of dealing with this once and for all, or I could choose to move on and deal with what comes up. I chose to move on. Each day since releasing it, I have felt clearer and felt my connection to life and joy returning. I was listening to a podcast recently where Pixie Campbell mentioned that when making a decision she will ask herself what the most powerful thing she can do is. And that anytime she has made a decision out of fear, it was the wrong one. I keep reminding myself of that when self doubt and fear creep in. This can apply to friendships, relationships, jobs, or any ways of relating that no longer support us.

I’ve also been reflecting on the wisdom of my recovery from surgery. I look back now, and think about what a wonderful time it was. I had 2 months off of work, and my daughter was in school all day, so I had nothing but time. Uninterrupted time is the air I breathe, and I don’t get nearly enough of it. I drank it in. It wasn’t about being productive, it was about being. I couldn’t do much at all, so I had to go easy on myself. I said no to invitations without guilt. I dreamed and visioned. I “wasted” time. I re-watched old Friends episodes and didn’t feel like time was running out.

And so, I must heal again from what I just went through. By breathing, praying for guidance, being gentle with myself, having good boundaries, increasing my self care, saying no, releasing guilt, being in the moment, and dreaming once again. I miss feeling good, but I know it’s right around the corner. Replenish….that’s what I need to do for now. And get back to creating art ❤

Signs from the Universe

WW_1214_GabrielleBernstein-e1421034880716I was inspired by a video from Gabrielle Bernstein the other day. I’ve followed her now for a couple of years, and have her books Spirit Junkie and May Cause Miracles. She was one of the first teachers I came across when I became refocused on my spiritual path. I believe I found her on Super Soul Sunday, and from there subscribed to her YouTube channels to watch her weekly videos. She is also an excellent speaker, and I love putting on one of her lectures to listen to while I drive. Her message helps me detach from all that is swirling around in my head, surrender, and connect back to my spirit. After listening to her, I am able to see the deeper meaning behind everything once again.

On this week’s episode, she talks about how to receive signs from the God, the Universe, or however you refer to our all-knowing guiding presence. I decided to play along and said a prayer on my home from work about a situation that I needed guidance on. I said very specifically, if this is right, show me a butterfly. I tried my best to put it out of my mind. When I was almost home, I was having trouble getting over into a lane and had to slow way down. The car I inched behind had a butterfly painted on the back of it. I felt blessed by the answer. Of course, the mind tries to rationalize it…a butterfly isn’t that uncommon. When I got home later, I noticed my daughter’s cup in the bathtub is covered in butterflies and I smiled again. I’ve seen it many times, but felt it on a different level. Then later, right before bed, my daughter ran in to show me the ring she put on….it was a light pink butterfly.

I definitely want to try it again. It was a good exercise in opening up to what’s possible and feeling like I’m communicating with God. It also felt like God is blessing the dream in my heart, and that I just need to get in a state of believing it too. It felt like stepping into another dimension that I need to reside in more often. I invite you to try it, and let me know how it works for you ❤