Entries from January 2013

Show Up and Be Seen

January 9, 2013

ShowUpBeSeenA

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Wow. It’s been a long time since my last Anatomy of an Outfit post. The truth is – I’ve narrowed my wardrobe down to about 40 pieces total – including footwear. And of those 40 pieces I basically wear the outfit you see above every single day.

I really want to talk about this idea of narrowing down, buying quality pieces, and wearing the same thing every day… but I’m even more excited to chat about this idea of showing up and being seen. The internal dialogue started with me trying to decide whether or not to go to Alt Summit again this year. I wasn’t invited back to speak (despite the big crowd and positive response I received at my round table last year) and to be honest, my feelings were a bit bruised. I also got bogged down with a bit of comparison-trap anxiety last year. But I put my big girl panties on and realized that I have tons of friends (and friends-to-be) attending and speaking – I want to be there to hang out with and support them. And the truth is, if you can put your own ego and insecurities in check, Alt Summit is one of the most uplifting tight-knit conferences out there. You don’t leave without some radical growth and a big roaring fire under your ass to make things happen.

I also came to realize that showing up and being seen is pretty much my job description when it comes to being a part-owner of Braid Creative. While my business partner and sister, Tara, is all about logistics, methodology, organization and holding down the fort – I’m all about getting us out there, making impressions, taking risks, moving forward, and forging authentic connections and relationships with other dream-seekers. We call this hot spark and slow burn (which are you? you can read more about that here).

Then there is the work / life balance that tells us to say no (there’s lots of online chatter about protecting your time and resources) but I’m all about saying yes. When you say yes, show up, and be seen you open yourself up to really making some shit happen. You don’t have to work much harder than simply being there to open doors and move mountains.

I recently received this comment / question in one of the Braid ECourses in which I tell the students to practice saying yes for a while:

I’m curious to hear from people who have anxiety around saying yes to all social engagements/putting themselves out there online. Kathleen, do you or others have tips on how to fake it ’til you make it in person? Online interaction makes me a little nervous, too, but I’m definitely way more comfortable with that. So, I always feel a little disingenuous because I’m not nearly as outgoing in real life as I’d like to be or as I’d like to project.

Here is my response – and some of my own advice I took when deciding whether or not to go to Alt Summit again:

It’s funny because as I was writing the “say yes” section of this ECourse I was going through a time in my life where I really needed to start pulling back and saying “no” a little more. You’re not alone in your social anxiety. I have it EVERY time I go to a conference, have a speaking gig or even hit “publish”. I had it the day before this ECourse went live!

So let me share a few questions I ask myself before saying “yes” or “no” to an event (and by event I mean party, conference, coffee meeting, potential client meeting, blog post, etc.) – maybe it will help you with your anxiety:

• Will this event connect me to people who can lift me up?

• Will I be able to uplift others with my gifts of knowledge and expertise at this event?

• What is one thing I want to come out of this event having learned?
• Will attending this event deepen my own understandings and expertise?

My main point is that if you go into an event with a very specific goal it makes it a little less intimidating. Also, just depending on your mood or anxiety flip your worries around by asking what you have to offer or what the event has to offer you. It could be a good barometer for saying yes or no.

This also applies to the online world. Are you reading blogs that uplift you? What kinds of things do you want to bring to the table online? What do you want people to know, do and feel? I hope that helps a little. 

So with that I’m going to Alt Summit. I’m looking forward to connecting with people who have rad ideas on how to be creative entrepreneurs, bloggers, and live-what-they-lovers. I’m looking forward to hopefully uplifting others with my own radical way of living out loud. I can’t wait to capture, shape, and share everything I learn when I return. If you’re going to Alt Summit be sure to say hello! I promise to give you a big hug. 

If you’re not going to Alt Summit I encourage you to sign up for a conference, retreat, workshop or something in 2013 that will allow you to show up and be seen. 

P.S. Tomorrow is your last day to sign up for our Braid ECourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How To Buy You. It’s for creatives who feel scattered and overwhelmed with ideas online and off. Oftentimes, it’s those very ideas that leave you feeling a bit paralyzed and stuck. We designed this course to help get you unstuck. The course is $75 and is in-session from Jan. 11-20 (that gives you two weekends to complete it). Register here.

Day 16: Missing in Action

January 7, 2013

Day16

Tyskie

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Let’s see. We last left off with climbing Mt. Rysy, the highest mountain in Poland, only to leave me with shattered knees and pride alike.

The next morning we woke up and I knew from the get-go that I would not be hiking that day. We ate breakfast together and I watched as the rest of the team laced up their boots and got their packs together. I noticed another member of our trekking group, Damien, still had his sneakers on – he quietly opted to stay behind. He was battling blisters and busted knees too. I sent Jeremy off with the nice camera and looked forward to a day of laying low.

I took a shower and washed my hair. I sat out in the sun under clear skies, ate my packed lunch and read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. I became restless as I watched hikers come and go – so I decided to lace up my boots, grab the trekking poles I had borrowed and made my way up the trail from the cabin to a paved path that would lead me to the largest lake in Poland – Morski Oko. As I was taking the short walk a man with his family asked me a question in Polish. I didn’t assume he was speaking to me until he kind of rolled his eyes, as if I was being rude by not answer. I felt proud of myself when I responded in Polish “I don’t understand. Do you speak English?” He responded with an apologetic laugh, said no, and went along his way. At the end of the trail it would be an easy (and flat) 1.5 hour walk to the lake. I watched crowds and crowds of people making the light trek. It seemed as if every family in Poland was on a pilgrimage to that lake. My anxiety and knees told me to turn around. And so I did.

I returned to the cabin and found Damien sitting out at one of the picnic tables – checking his phone and eating his lunch. Around noon we decided it was an appropriate time to order some beers. We drank our Tyskies (kind of like Budweiser, I suppose – nothing fancy) and chatted about life. We were expecting the rest of our group to come rolling back in around 4:30PM and we became a bit like puppies waiting for our masters to come home. We kept our eyes on the trail as the clouds started rolling in. Around 5:30 it started pouring rain. It wasn’t until 7:00PM we saw the first of our group start to make it back in.

Damien and I quickly ordered a bottle of vodka and had shots lined up for everyone in our group who had been trekking in the cold, pouring rain for over an hour. I was so happy to see Jeremy’s face. He was pretty miserable – lacking any proper rain gear. He showered, dried off and changed. We all met up for dinner (fried cheese on top of cheesy macaroni) and shared beers, more vodka and conversation.

Jeremy showed me his adventure on the camera:
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He saw waterfalls and the Valley of the Five Polish Tams. He made a steep ascent up Kozi Wierch, the highest peak lying entirely in Poland. He captured some amazing views of the Tatras and on the way back they stopped at Morskie Oko – the largest lake in Poland. He said on the way back they got caught in the storm and found themselves in a miserable, soaked hike home. It proved to be a challenging day – maybe even more so than the hike up Rysy. He was glad to be greeted at the cabin with a shot of vodka.

VodkaPoland

It’s easy to see now that all the cheese, bread, and vodka wasn’t helping us up any mountains and certainly wasn’t helping me heal my wounds. But damn… it was a really nice way to end the day.

Next up: one last day of trekking, then to Krakow. 

On Wearing The Same Jeans for 6 Months

January 4, 2013

B7-CS-2-Kathleen

The truth is… I really didn’t know what I was in for.

I love a good experiment, so when Blue Seven challenged me to wear the same pair of raw denim jeans for 6 months they didn’t have to twist my arm to do it. I enthusiastically volunteered. And just to be clear … I’m not being paid to do this. I suppose I just really liked the idea of streamlining my wardrobe. I’ve been toying with the idea of having a uniform in order to make less (mundane) choices so I can save my brain power for more life-changing-world-rocking decisions.

Two days into the challenge I noticed that the front pockets on my denim kept coming up out of the pocket hole. It wasn’t until 6 weeks later I had my mom sew them down – something I should have done much sooner. Those little annoyances can really add up. And four weeks in I unexpectedly started my period wearing these jeans – I’ve never dashed for a bathroom faster. A blood stain in a pair of jeans you can’t wash for 6 months is not cool. Over Christmas break I was playing Cards Against Humanity with my family and laughed so hard I almost peed myself. Again. You don’t want to have any bodily liquid accidents in raw denim you’ve committed to wearing everyday and not washing for 6 months.

I just never thought it all the way through. But I’m glad I’m doing it. There’s nothing cooler than making new friends at the coffee shop when you see someone else sporting the Clean Start leather badge on their jeans (not pictured – but we got this leather belt loop with the clean start logo on it). There’s solidarity and community in it. I also love the simplicity of not thinking about what I’m going to wear every single day. It makes me want to trim my wardrobe even further. We can do so much more with less.

I’ve now been rocking these jeans for 3 months. Half-way there. I’m surprised at how well the jeans are holding their shape. In some ways I wish I was getting more signs of wear and tear – but I still have 3 more months to go.

Here are some other looks from the 2 month shoot that I’m digging:
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Sara, Matt, and Stella are the cutest little family. They own a little grocery store & deli downtown that is dedicated to locally-sourced produce and they have the most amazing spice bar ever. I’m there so often, I should probably apply for a part-time job. We even did a creative entrepreneur feature on them as the modern day mom and pop business over at Braid. Check that out here.

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I don’t know Matt but I love how he’s rocking the paint. I can’t wait to see how his raw denim evolves over the next few months. He inspires me to live a little more in my own jeans.

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For not really knowing him that well, Ben is one of my favorite people. He works in the denim department at Blue Seven and just knows his stuff. He tweets to me when a new pair of jeans comes in that he thinks I’ll like. And when I do go in he remembers my size (but not in a creepy way). He’s super friendly and has a great eye for style.  He also keeps Jeremy company when I’m trying on my 30th pair of jeans.

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You might recognize Jacob as the boy model from the photo shoot we modeled in together for Shop Good. He is notoriously good at breaking in raw denim. I like to imagine him rolling down grassy hills on the daily in order to get them beat up like that.

For more shots from the Blue Seven Clean Start Project check out the rest of the photos here.

Braid Holiday Happening

January 2, 2013

Last week we celebrated that time of year between Christmas and the New Year with an open house at Braid Creative. I felt like a legit blogger and party thrower when we had a full on photo booth complete with props and all. I also felt like a legit business owner – and was delighted to welcome a ton of dream clients and Braid cheerleaders who have hired and supported us over the past year – and those were only the locals. We’ll be posting the rest of our photo booth snaps to our Facebook page later today (be sure to like us over there!).

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I’m typically grateful (every. single. day) for Tara, Kristin, and Liz when it comes to keeping Braid the well-oiled, good-looking, and super-smart machine that it is (for example, this photo booth wouldn’t have happened without them). But these photos with Jeremy remind me that I couldn’t have done any of it without him. He continues to be my biggest cheerleader and pillar of support as I navigate through the uncertain waters creative entrepreneurship brings.

And that last photo… he pretty much makes me laugh that hard every single day.

Farewell, 2012.

January 1, 2013

Farewell2012

I wrote my resolutions and intentions for 2013 before I had a proper chance to celebrate and say farewell to 2012. While I love some good memories I’ve never given too much weight to the past – I don’t  I don’t live there anymore. But I think 2012 is worth revisiting one last time – and it will help give me some much-needed reflection and closure on a year that flew by at the speed of light.

2012: BRAID CREATIVE 
Braid Creative had amazing financial success, we hired two full time employees, and as our expertise deepened our dream clients continued finding their way to us. We went from hanging our hats on branding to discovering that we’re also really good at business visioning. Through our method, that we relied on for uncovering authentic brands, we found that we were digging deep and helping creatives hone in on their core genius and build a business.

But there were times when I felt stretched thin or simply consumed by Braid. At times my preoccupation with it left me feeling kind of one-dimensional. But toward the end of 2012 I felt a bit of a shift. It was as if I had seen Braid through its infancy and she was finally sleeping through the night.

I’m so excited about what 2013 has to bring for us. We’re continuing to work on our Braid ECourses and are in the beginning stages of developing a workshop (!!!). I can’t wait to share with you who we’ve recruited to help us execute them. I also want to write a couple EBooks and continue to find new ways to reach and help as many creative entrepreneurs who just want to live what they love.

2012: JEREMY GOES TO GRAD SCHOOL
Jeremy was accepted into grad school and started working on his Masters in Electrical Engineering full time. It was fun having him home so much – between insanely complicated homework he would bring us Braid gals tea or pick up lunch. Jeremy has two more semesters of school left and will begin working on his thesis this Spring.

2012: EASTERN EUROPE
I’m still recapping our first experience in Europe. I learned so much on this trip – the biggest lesson being that I no longer crave being completely “unplugged”. In retrospect, I wish I had been capturing, shaping, and sharing the experience as it was happening. I just have too many demands on my time and am too excited about sharing what’s happening right now to dedicate a chunk of time to retelling a story that’s already happened.

2012: YOGA & PALEO
I turned 30 this year and with that stepped it up as far as my health is concerned. I continued to work out daily but ditched long cardio sessions for lifting heavy weights combined with short high intensity interval training workouts. Then toward the latter part of the year I ditched all of that for yoga and rock climbing – which leaves me feeling much more aligned. I’m looking forward to deepening my yoga practice in 2013.

Another big thing we did for our health this year was the Whole30. For a month (after returning from Europe) we ditched alcohol, sugar, grains, legumes and diary for a whole month. We lived on fish, veggies, avocados and coconut oil – and it was amazing. We adopted a mostly Paleo lifestyle and are starting our second Whole30 today.

ALSO IN 2012: 
I facilitated a round table discussion at Alt Summit and loved being roomies with Danielle
Jeremy and Tara surprised me with a big Braid office makeover
• Jeremy and I bought two new rental / investment properties (also see Landlord Matters)
I got on a boat with a stranger in Long Beach.
I burned some sage.
• I tried to find a little balance and alignment. It’s still a daily intention.
I celebrated my 30th birthday in Brooklyn with Jeremy and my brother.
I decided to become an urban cowgirl. 
Then I dreaded my hair. 
I blogged about my vagina.
• I hung out with friends in Chicago and admired the architecture.
I embraced my Leo rising.
I ran away from Auschwitz in a storm.
I climbed the tallest mountain in Poland.
I was invited to Mighty Summit and had an amazing time.
I hung out in Palm Springs with 20 amazing women. 
I prepped for the end of the world. 

Thank you 2012, for all the lessons you taught me. There is more than I can list. Looking forward to all that 2013 brings.

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