Entries from June 2013

Weekend Reading

June 29, 2013

WeekendReading
Here’s what’s capturing my eye this weekend:

We all have a huge design crush on Jessica Hische, right? After you drool all over your keyboard checking out her work be sure to take some time to read her thoughts too.

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I’ve always been a fan of working in 90-minute cycles. I never knew it was “a thing” though! Author Tony Schwartz also works in 90-minute cycles with 20 minute rests – he explains why here. 

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Neil deGrasse Tyson on Your Ego and The Cosmic Perspective is just what I needed to read. About a month ago I fell into a super funk. One evening I couldn’t stop crying – no matter how much wine and chocolate Jeremy brought me the tears wouldn’t stop. When Jeremy asked me what was wrong all I could come up with is this: “The world just feels. so. big. It’s too much.” Okay. So we can probably chalk that one up to hormones BUT I felt validated in my momentary depression but also totally schooled after reading this article by Neil deGrasse Tyson (I love my dad, but does anyone else wish Tyson was their dad too?)

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I’ve been doing some serious nesting around the house lately. But I’m also trying to remain eco-conscious and somewhat frugal as I dive into redecorating my home. Erin Loechner’s post, Rethink the Way You Live, is just what I needed to read (I need to check out the book too).

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What are you all reading (online and off) lately? Feel free to post links in the comments!

Belly Dancing

June 28, 2013

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I’ve been in a bit of a creative rut lately. My work days are filled with meetings and coaching sessions – and while those are wonderful, I’ve been missing the actual making part of what I do. Plus, I reserve lots of my energy for work and there’s just not a lot left to give on the evenings and weekends. I like to recharge by doing yoga, working out, going climbing, or cooking a new meal – but those things have become the norm. Lately I’ve been craving some sort of new hobby.

About a month ago, just before leaving for Mexico, I was craving some Indian buffet for dinner. As I was loading my plate with saag paneer and dahl I noticed a woman decked out in belly dancing gear loading up a to-go container with rice and tikka masala. I asked “Are you a belly dancer!?” She responded “Lord, I should hope so dressed like this.” I asked her where she practices and she gave me a card for a dance studio she works at. She told me intro classes were on Wednesdays at 6:30. I knew I was about to be out of the state for a month of travel but I promised to pop in for a class once I returned.

So I’m back – and this last Wednesday I finally made my way to the belly dancing studio with my friend Claire. We were greeted by the same dancer I met at the Indian buffet restaurant, sign in, and head to a mirrored room full of newbie belly dancers. The teacher is a proper English woman in her late fifites or early sixties. She’s decked out in a cream full body leotard layered with a black high cut leotard covering her torso – and of course she’s wearing leg warmers. She’s taking the students through a gentle warm-up and I think “this is legit.” She instructed us to tie a scarf around our waists and jump in. We spend the next hour shimmying our tight hips and learning a few basic belly dancing moves. And it was so. much. fun.

As we were leaving class Claire and I perused the elaborate costumes and jingly scarves available for sale in the lobby. I almost purchased a scarf but remembered that my mom has one that surely I can borrow. So here’s where I reveal that I grew up performing in the Medieval Fair with my mom and brother (you can read all about it on my sister’s blog here). It used to be my embarrassing secret but now I think it’s cool that I got to have such a fun childhood – and it’s what helped launched my brother’s career in the circus sideshow. Anyway, at some point my mom must have been some sort of gypsy belly dancing character because I’m positive she’s got some jingly scarves and finger chimes stored away. So this weekend I’ll be raiding my mom’s costume bin, watching YouTube videos of belly dancers (and Shakira, of course), and anxiously waiting to return to the studio next Wednesday.

Have you ever tried belly dancing? 

Family Vacation

June 24, 2013

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I’m not sure how much I’ve shared here but it’s no secret that toward the end of our Sayulita, Mexico trip Jeremy and I started getting homesick. Sure, we had each other and we love a good adventure – but we were ready to be home. We had even considered the possibility of changing our flight to get back a day early. But Sayulita was only the middle of a string of summer travel. I only had a day to unpack my bags before heading back down to Houston, TX to work with Brené – which was right on the heels of a family vacation to Seaside, Florida.

I was thinking I might not even blog about this particular family vacation. In part, because I didn’t do a great job documenting the affair. In fact, I spent most of the vacation feeling pukey and catching up on sleep. I also considered what it might be like to have a normal vacation without blogging about it. But two weeks later I’m starting to feel a bit nostalgic – this family vacation is one I never want to forget. It’s rare that the whole gang I call family convenes in one place together. Me, Jeremy, my sister, her husband and their two kids (ages 9 and 5), my mom and dad (still married after 40+ years), and my circus sideshow brother and his beautiful burlesque dancing girlfriend – all together for a week of beaching, hole-digging, eating, swimming, Settlers-of-Cataning and seriously lazy lounging. It was uneventful but reliable – peppered with inside-jokes, hearty laughs, cold beers, and a few sideways glares – just like a perfect family vacation should be. Sure, I still craved my own bed and my own food – but I didn’t feel very far away from home.

Typographie

June 20, 2013

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The other day my 9-year-old nephew broke into tears when he was sketching in Sharpie and felt like his drawing was less than perfect. I told him this was a good thing! That the way he feels is the way all true artists feel – and that his tears meant that he was a true artist. (Then I questioned whether I was perpetuating the starving / suffering artist story to a child.)

It got me thinking about my own path as an artist. All the tears I shed while in art school and during my time as a junior designer at the ad agency I worked at. Tears because I couldn’t figure out what “grid” my teacher was referring to. Or because my logo sucked. Or because the printer kept jamming. Or because the gap between the stuff I loved looking at and the stuff I was actually designing was just so. damn. big. I used to study the spreads of Emil Ruder’s Typographie, pictured above, for hours on end. It felt  magical and heartbreaking all at the same time. It just felt so out of reach – it was a language I understood but couldn’t speak.

A decade and 10,000 hours later I don’t cry about graphic design. I speak it fluently. But now I have to decide what it is that I really want to say.

P.S. Check out our blog post over at Braid Creative on what Creatives Who Attract Dream Clients Do. (Hint: it’s not just about inspiring or becoming BFFs with your customer.) 

Anatomy of an Outfit | The Daily Grind

June 19, 2013

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It’s easy to imagine that the bloggers and other creative entrepreneurs are constantly living fabulous lives 100% of the time. There is no daily grind. Only fantasy and glamour.

For example, it’s easy to imagine that Liz is always kneading dough for homemade pasta and making bitters from scratch with herbs from her garden. I imagine her boyfriend only takes breaks from making out with her to grill up some grass-fed steak for the two of them. It’s hard to imagine her running errands in congested traffic to buy toilet paper that she accidentally ran out of in the middle of the day.

Or, it’s easy to imagine Kelli making rad illustrations all day with a happy toddler playing with wooden toys by her side. It’s hard to imagine her staring at a wall, or doing dishes that have been sitting in the sink just a little too long, or mindlessly watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

And me? You might imagine that I live my life against a chalkboard backdrop and on top of curated textiles. It might be hard to imagine that my desk is a total pit, cluttered in paper and batteries and half full glasses of water (which it is).

I love that as bloggers we can pick the best stuff to share – I truly believe it makes our lives a little more memorable and a little more interesting. But at the same time I’m fascinated by schedules, rough sketches, to-do lists, and the contents of other people’s refrigerators. I love indulging in the fantasy but I’m just as curious about the reality. I want to know what the daily grind looks like.

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So I thought I might share the details of my own daily grind – here’s what yesterday looked like for me:

6:38AM – Our quiet alarm goes off. It’s already light outside and Jeremy gets up to go pee – Mister Boots follows him into the bathroom. I lay in bed and wonder if it’s possible that it is actually Saturday instead of Tuesday.
6:51AM – I crawl out of bed and throw on my robe. I make my way to the kitchen but not without slamming my thigh into the dining room table for the 5th time this week.
6:54AM – Jeremy has the tea kettle going and my morning chants on Spotify playing. I make sweet potato hash browns with fried eggs.
7:10AM – We eat breakfast and each browse our own laptops. I alternate between my RSS feed and Pinterest.
7:55AM – Jeremy leaves for work. I put on some Lululemon and go for a morning walk.
8:45AM – I get home from my walk, drink a glass of water, and check my email at the breakfast nook table.
9:00AM – Tara and Kristin show up for work. I’m still in my walking outfit. I go to the bathroom and quickly put on some makeup and straighten my bangs – which always feels a little silly considering I have a head full of dreads.
9:30AM – Tara and I have a meeting with a local Braid Method client (an established and respected expert who drives a Mercedes) in her cozy home. It’s good to get a sense of who this client really is in her own space. Towards the end of the meeting I become distracted by how badly I have to pee. I try to decide whether I should hold it or not. I ultimately decide on holding it.
11:32AM – Tara drops me off at my house before running to pick up our quarterly tax receipts to mail in. I run inside to pee. I make a quick lunch consisting of greek yogurt, almond butter, a dash of honey, sliced banana and strawberries. I check my email and send out reminders to my coaching clients for our upcoming sessions.
12:00PM – I spend the next 1.5 hours teleconferencing in on my Martha Beck life coach training. I start out in the breakfast nook but end up on the couch with all my notes and laptop surrounding me.
1:42PM – The Martha Beck call is running long. I hang up just before it wraps up. I go make myself another bowl of greek yogurt and strawberries (I’m addicted). I check my email and respond to a few requests for quotes.
2:00PM – I have a Life Coaching for Creatives session with a crazy-talented and sweet gal in New York. I was tired going into the call but towards the end felt energized by it all.
2:55PM – I check my email and write a quick Braid ECourse procedures and policies email to Emily Thompson, who is now managing all of our ESales. I touch base with Tara who is working from her house for the afternoon regarding the Braid blog post on dream customer catching today. Then I write my tax checks – one to the IRS and one to the State of Oklahoma. I feel very grown up.
3:32PM – I take a few Anatomy of an Outfit photos and edit images for this blog post today.
4:00PM – I have a another coaching session via Skype with a creative in Dallas. I definitely blurted out something along the lines of “We’re all going to die. You should launch that website.” I tried not to get caught up in how embarrassed I was that I said that out loud and recognized that I have a lot to learn when it comes to coaching.
4:55PM – I get off that session and check my Twitter and Instagram. I’m surprised that Jeremy isn’t home yet and remember that he had a haircut after work. I text him to say hello and that I’ll be going to the gym and that we’ll have leftovers for dinner.
5:05PM – I change back into my Lululemon gear and head out to the YMCA for a BodyPump class. I wish it had a different name than BodyPump.
6:30PM – I’m starving on my way home. I start thinking about eating leftovers (tilapia, veggies, eggs, avocado, and more greek yogurt). But I come home and see a package on the breakfast nook table. It’s a machete I ordered for Claire.
6:40PM – I wrap the machete in tissue paper and twine and deliver it to Claire (she lives just around the corner). We take silly photos with the machete and play with her new kitty, Chai.
7:30PM – We make our way back home. I heat up dinner on the stove and we eat it while watching an old Daily Show with John Oliver hosting. I get distracted thinking about how much cat hair has collected on my couch. I think about a Martha Stewart interview I read on a plane about how she has 8 dogs but is sure to never let dog hair find its way on her furniture or guests.
7:50PM – We grab some dark chocolate and watch the first episode of the new season of True Blood. It’s a total circus. I consider giving up on this show.
8:50PM – After True Blood I play a few games of Bejeweled Blitz on my phone. And by a few games I mean 30 minutes. I’m addicted. I get up to wash my face and brush my teeth. As I’m flossing I notice some significant pain in my back molars but I can’t tell if it’s my gums or my teeth. I take a shower – Jeremy joins. But it’s not super sexy like – instead I make him examine my molars. I dry off, crawl in bed, and Google “gum pain vs. tooth pain” on my phone. Everything I’m finding is telling me that no matter what I’m going to need a root canal. I play more Bejeweled Blitz next to Jeremy who is now also playing Bejeweled Blitz on his phone. I decide we need some more quality time together.
10:20PM – Lights out for a night of dreaming about RVs and teenage gorillas with dreads hitting on me.

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So that was my day – and it’s pretty typical of what most of my days look like. It’s not 100% super fabulous or art directed. But there were some pretty great moments in there – moments I could distill and bottle up and even blog about if I wanted to.

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