Entries from December 2013

Hydrate

December 30, 2013

HYDRATE

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Last year I took a different approach to making New Year’s resolutions by picking four words to drive me through 2013. They were illuminate, radiate, liberate, and hydrate. The first three words were a little more conceptual and open to interpretation as I narrowed in on my purpose in my own business and life. The last, hydrate, was a bit more literal. Here were the intentions I set for “hydrate”:

Hydrate // I’m thirsty for knowledge, story, travel and adventure. I also need to drink more water.

But as 2013 comes to an end “hydrate” has become way more meaningful and impactful than I ever imagined it would when I set that intention this time last year. In fact, “hydrate” may sum up what 2013 has meant for me.

OCEANS & ADVENTURE & LIFE 
Most of my travel in 2013 was very beach-centric. In Tulum, Mexico the ocean, under a full moon in Scorpio, reminded me that we’re all connected. In Sayulita, Mexico playing in the ocean was the only thing that could get my mind off a good bout of morning sickness. In Seaside, Florida the ocean became a playground for my growing family. These connected bodies of water gave me a lot to think about when it comes to the concept of hydration as it applies to my life.

DRINK MORE WATER
So literal hydration has been a goal of mine this year. I used to go days and barely have an 8 oz. glass of water. So I bought myself a 16 oz. water bottle and made it a goal to start drinking at least 4 of those a day (64 oz. of water). At first it just felt like such a task to down a bottle of water. But as silly as it sounds, it got easier and I got better at it. I pee all the time but my skin looks great. I’ve experienced very little swelling and bloating throughout my pregnancy – and I give credit to the water. I probably don’t really need to go into detail as to why water is good for you, but I’ll reiterate here – the H2O is kind of magical.

Moving into 2014 I want to up my daily water intake to a gallon (128 oz.) a day. I think I may need a bigger water bottle. In 2014 I want to continue to be a sponge for experience, adventure, and life as it comes my way. I’ll also be brainstorming a few new words to focus on in the new year that I’ll be sharing later this week.

If you had to pick one word to sum up 2013 what would it be? What are some of your words for 2014? 

P.S. The first email for my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Series goes out on January 1 (but you can still sign up any time after the new year too). 4 weeks / 16 emails / $40: Learn more and sign up here!

37 Weeks | The Count Down Begins

December 28, 2013

37WEEKS

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37 weeks means that, according to statistics, I can pretty much birth a thriving baby at any point starting now. So it could happen later today. Or it could be 3 weeks from now. Even as I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable, I’ve also found myself at times feeling surprisingly patient for the arrival. I’m ready / not ready. I’ve found myself with spurts of energy to get the house in order* and parenting books read – only to be coupled with a dose of denial and procrastination (What? I need a hospital bag? And a printed & signed birth plan?).

I also am very aware of each meal possibly being my last before baby. I ask myself “Will this obscene amount of caramel corn I’m eating give me the energy I need to push a baby out?” I’ve been battling the Christmastime sugar demons with eggs & oats in the morning and salmon and veggies in the evening. I also have been cautious about what color to paint my nails – I’m just not sure I want to bring our baby into this world with disco glitter nails. (Or maybe I do!?) Important decisions to be made, my friends.

Field Notes & Other Observations
• The baby has dropped and is in prime position to be born. His head is right where my pubic bone is. My midwife spent a lot of time with me yesterday showing me where all of his body parts were. It’s so cool to know where to pat his little bottom when I can feel him with hiccups.
• The baby is measuring on target – everything is progressing as it should.
• I don’t spend much time talking to the baby at all. I’m constantly thinking about him and rubbing on my belly or responding to his movements but I don’t read to him, talk to him, or put headphones on my belly. (I’m also not one to talk to my cats or to myself when I’m alone).
• I’ve been getting nauseated and super crampy in the evenings. The cramps feel like period cramps that start low in my abdomen and wrap around my back. I’ve been soaking in Epsom salt baths every evening and that seems to alleviate any discomfort.
• So, the more I read (and hear) about breastfeeding the more complicated and confusing it seems. I feel like the attitude towards having birth preferences is to remain flexible to whatever can happen but the attitude toward breastfeeding is that you better keep trying and stick with it no matter what happens or your baby will grow up to be an undernourished sociopath. That said, I’ve decided to hope for the best and remain flexible.
• Right now the baby is still moving around like a champ. Though, his sharp jabs have begun to feel a little more like rolls.
• He still doesn’t have a name. I think people think we’re keeping it a secret, but truly we just have no idea. Again, we have a short list of about 5 names that we’re seriously considering (Spike included). But again, I can’t even decide what color to paint my nails right now, much less name a baby. So we’re going to wait to greet him into this world before we commit to anything.

*Note: Jeremy is actually the one getting the house in order. He’s been amazing at getting stuff done around here.

 Anatomy of an Outfit:
• Vest – Patagonia
• Flannel – JCP
• Tee – BCBG
• Leggings – GAP (Maternity)
• Boots – UGGS

P.S. As of right now I’m more like 38 weeks pregnant. Which is significant when it comes to the count down.

 

Coaching for Creatives | The Pause

December 23, 2013

ThePause

The day after I discovered I was pregnant I downloaded the parenting book and easy-read “Bringing up Bebe” on my Kindle. (I promise this isn’t actually a pregnancy post – hang tight – I have a point.) So this book is all about an American woman raising her babies in France and how they do it different (and as the author suggests, better) from her American counterparts. One of the biggest concepts of the book that I latched onto and can still recall 8 months later is the idea of The Pause. The author notes that French women pause before reacting to their babies. Whether it’s a baby fussing in the middle-of-the-night or a toddler throwing a mid-day tantrum. Pausing can offer perspective and time to let things sort themselves out. Even just a few seconds of pausing can keep us from depleting our own energy from unnecessary reacting.

Now replace “babies” with “clients”, “stressful feedback”, “relationships”, “business opportunities”, “offended readers”, and “decision-making”. Insightful beyond just parenting, right? I recently learned that I’m an ENFP on the Myers-Briggs personality test – and a few of my dominant personality traits are that I like to act fast, make decisions on the fly, and pretty can’t stand anything being unresolved. I have a hard time living in the question – I want answers – even if I have to make them up myself. I’ve never been one to “sleep on it”. These hot spark characteristics usually work to my advantage – especially in business. But sometimes the need for immediate resolution and answers gets me into hot water, on thin ice, and between rocks and hard places (pretty much all the cliches apply).

As I’ve gained experience working with some brilliant consultants, considerate thinkers, and creative business owners, one of the personality traits I’ve really come to admire in others is the ability to pause. Here are a few real-life examples of where I could use some practice with the pause – maybe some of them will resonate with you too:

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Pause before saying yes or no – I can’t get through a single day in my RSS feed without reading an article about saying no. And while I tend to agree with the intent behind saying no (usually having something to do with work / life balance), I don’t think it’s always the best answer. Hitting the pavement and saying yes over and over again has gotten me so much further down my path than I could’ve ever imagined. It has taught me which opportunities, projects, committees, and engagements work – and which ones don’t.

So these days instead of jumping to commit “yes” or “no” on the spot I say “Let me take some time to think about it. Can I let you know by [date]?” Or for example – if it’s a potential client that may not fit my dream customer profile, I’ll say something like “Maybe we could set up a time to Skype and see if we’re a good fit.” So I’m not skirting the responsibility of making a decision but rather adjusting the timeline of my required response. I take time to pause and actually think it over and can come back with an articulate and considered response as to why I’m saying yes or no.

Pause before reacting to criticism – Whether it’s an offended blog reader or an unsatisfied client – I usually want to be right, and make it right ASAP. But lately I’ve learned that pausing before offering a reaction allows me come to a solution from a much more level-headed, rational, and not-so-emotional or defensive space. Sometimes the pause even gives me time to realize that the offense had nothing to do with me, or criticism was much more perceived than an actual reality.

Pause in conversation – I’m a space-filler. Usually because I’m opinionated and never lack something to say in most instances. But lately, especially when I’m coaching, networking, or even in book club with friends, I take time to pause. This gives me an opportunity to actively listen – which is something I’m really just now learning the value of. Also, you appear smart, calm, and professional when you’re not constantly jumping in with half-baked ideas. You know… that whole “thinking before speaking” thing. (That said, I love a good rambling brainstorm and think there’s lots of value to that too – but that’s a whole other post).

Pause before nagging – This is more personal but pausing before nagging makes for a much happier partnership. Need I say more?

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When are times that you practice (or could stand to practice) The Pause?  

P.S. If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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36 Weeks | All The Things

December 21, 2013

36WEEKS

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After finalizing the content and launching my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Subscription, wrapping up the last of my 1:1 creative coaching sessions, followed by a minor meltdown of my own (ah, the weight of being a pregnant and perhaps an overly ambitious business owner) I kind of feel like not talking about my feelings right now.

So let’s talk about The Stuff, shall we? You see, I have these fantasies of a minimalism and simplicity but at my core I love my things. Surrounding myself with beautifully designed things and aesthetically pleasing objects makes me happy. I went on a pretty serious shopping hiatus for a couple years. Sure, I still bought things but not with the same passion, enthusiasm, or frequency that I once was capable of. Until I became pregnant. I bought a king size organic memory foam mattress. I bought a massive platform bed with a quilted headboard that almost reaches the ceiling. I bought a new car. I bought maternity clothes, that a couple months of hindsight makes clear I didn’t really need like I thought I did.

And then as this baby started to become more real-deal I started receiving and buying all the baby things. And this is more complicated than you would think if you’re not trying to fill your house to the brim with all the decidedly not-so-well-designed baby things. Why so tricky? Two things:

1. You don’t really know what you’re going to need.
I’m so grateful to have momma friends and family who fill me in on what’s what. But every baby is different and responds to different things. So while one friend tells me I NEED a vibrating chair another tells me I need to kind that rocks back and forth. Do I get both? How do I know which is the right choice!?

2. Everything is ugly. Okay. Maybe not baby clothes. I pretty much become a pile of sentimental girly mush when it comes to an adorable tiny onesie. But all the other baby things are clearly designed by people who think parents turn into babies themselves when they become pregnant. Or they cost a bajillion dollars and lack the functionality babies desire. For example:

BabyChair

Of course I wanted the one on the right for $200. But we got the one on the left for $38. I tried convincing myself it was stylish because “it’s like lamb fur! … ?”. I’m willing to spend a pretty penny on good design but not something a baby will use (or potentially not use at all) and be over with in the blink of an eye.

Here are All The Things (or at least a few of them) we have purchased or received as gifts (the generosity of our friends + family and even blog readers is humbling):
• Ergo Baby Carrier – this is the first thing we bought
• Sakura Bloom baby wrap – yup, I’m all about wearing that baby
• Car Seat + Stroller – holy hell. This was really complicated (stroller system? rear facing? weights / sizes? etc.). We almost didn’t even get a stroller but our friends & family convinced us we were being crazy people. We ended up with the Eddie Bauer Target stroller + carseat combo.
• Vintage crib – a hand-me-down from my sister.
• Co-sleeper – we imagine the baby will be in the bed with us for a while, if that’s what we all end up preferring. I debated getting a co-sleeper because I feel confident we aren’t going to smother our baby in our sleep. And what if he likes his crib better and we never use the co-sleeper? See… this is pretty much the dilemma I face with every baby thing we buy.
• Cloth Diapers – yeah, you knew we’d go there, didn’t you? We got a variety of diapers to start off with – just to see which ones work best for us and baby. Our friends-in-the-know hooked us up with disposables for the first few weeks (days?) too. We also had to get special laundry detergent and butt paste so the diapers remain absorbent.
• Diaper hamper bags (full size + travel size) – for the soiled cloth diapers
• Changing Pad – We have a flat pad that we can just lay on the bed + a contoured one that fits on top of a dresser in the baby’s room.
• King Size Mattress Protector – if baby is sleeping with us we’ve got to make sure that brand new organic memory foam mattress is well protected.
• Swaddlers – Again, my friends-in-the-know hooked us up with these.
• Vibrating bouncy seat – as seen above
• Bumpo seat – well designed AND affordable!
• Diaper bag c/o Shop Good – (it’s not really a diaper bag.)
• Baby Books – next to baby clothes, baby books are pretty much the fun and adorable part of buying things for baby
• Baby Miscellaneous – baby clothes, blankets, burp cloths, socks, first-aid supplies, crib sheets
• Momma Miscellaneous – breast feeding things (like a milk storage stuff), belly bandit (for getting everything back in place after birth), birthing things (like essential oils, robes, heavy duty maxi pads, etc.)

Even with all that I still sometimes feel like I’m missing something or am not entirely prepared. But other than doing a good load of laundry, and finalizing the nursery, we’re pretty much ready for baby boy to arrive. My doula promises me that all the baby really needs is some love and a booby (and we all know I got a booby or two for him).

Field Notes & Other Observations: 
• I tested positive for Group B Strep (GBS). This is basically a bacteria common in lots of women (like yeast or any other gut bacteria) – but if passed on to the baby during birth it could be harmful or potentially fatal. So what it means is that I’ll have to take antibiotics during labor to help protect my little guy. I’m also looking into natural solutions for trying to get the actual GBS under control before I actually give birth (though, I’m totally comfortable with and will be taking antibiotics too.)
• Braxton-Hicks Contractions + Cramps – So I’ve been having “practice contractions” for months now. But in the past couple of weeks they’ve started feeling more like period cramps.
• Gradual Changes – I met with my doula (whom Jeremy and I both love) this week and she told me that changes from here are going to be very gradual – and that eventually those gradual changes will lead to labor. It’s interesting to think that the process begins way far in advance when movies + shows depict it as a clear line between pregnancy + labor.
• Moon Cycles – Okay, so my doula also told me that the moon phase you were born under, or conceived the baby under, is likely the moon phase you’ll give birth to your baby under. With that, I predict baby boy will get here around Jan. 11. I also charted it out for one of my pregnant mama friends and her predicted due date aligned with her moon phase!
• Working Out – I’m definitely taking more breaks and getting more easily winded when working out. But still going strong on the daily!
• Little Ninja – So the baby is still moving around like a ninja. I can feel him all the way down to my pubic bone, at both of my hips, and then up into my ribs. All at the same time. I think if I miss anything about being pregnant it will be feeling the baby move around. I love it. I also like to comfort him by patting his little back when he gets the hiccups.
• Kick Counts – At this point I’m supposed to be tracking the baby’s movement and make sure he’s kicking at least 10x per hour. I would be a neurotic mess and probably always at the hospital to get a non-stress test (for baby) if I actually did this.
• Sleep – it’s getting more difficult.

Anatomy of an Outfit:
• Shirt & Dress – Blue Seven (not maternity)
• Shoes – c/o Tieks

DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Series

December 19, 2013

DIYCreativeCoachingB

I’ve now been doing branding & consulting for creative entrepreneurs for 2.5 years through my business at Braid Creative. About a year ago I noticed a significant overlap between the personal and the professional. The things going on in one’s personal life was affecting their creative career and vice versa – either for the better or the worse. So last spring I decided to shift my own professional focus by diving into this overlap. Sure, I was still doing branding and consulting – but I also invested in life coach training from Martha Beck. Not to mention, for fun I was reading ALL the self-help-for-creatives books like Daring Greatly, Finding Your Way in A Wild New WorldThe Happy Project, The Art of Stoic Joy, The Power of Now, Fear & Uncertainty … I could go on.

I wasn’t entirely sure how life coaching would fit into my current business model and expertise over at Braid Creative – but I became passionate about it and rolled with it. It became clear after I started one-on-one coaching that I was still attracting the very creative entrepreneurs I serve over at Braid – bloggers, writers, artists, designers, photographers, and even other coaches.

After I received solid training from Martha Beck and her master coaches, I was able to blend what I learned from her with the methodology we use at Braid to really dig deep to create my own Coaching for Creatives approach and style. I started taking on 1:1 coaching clients, and after jamming weekly with dozens (35 to be exact) of individuals some patterns quickly began to rise to the top:

• Every person I coached wanted to be writing more – whether that’s journaling, blogging, or writing a book
• They also desired making things with their hands – from art, to food, to crafts
• Each creative craved a bit more structure and routine in their daily grind – they saw a need for better managing their time
• Each creative I worked with desired peaceful morning rituals and routines – they recognized that a good morning sets the tone for the rest of the day
• I was surprised to find that about 50% of the creatives I coached still had day jobs – which just goes to show that they were driven to live what they love even if it wasn’t a full time creative career OR needed help devising a game plan and the confidence to make the leap
• Everyone desires more time, space, and /or money – but what that time / space / and desired income specifically looks like is pretty unique to each person.
• The most overwhelmed or scattered creatives I coach are the ones who can’t get specific about what they want – so then it’s about asking the right questions to uncover that vision

As a creative coach it is my job to use the tools, exercises, and my own intuition to help these creatives get specific about their vision so they could move forward with designing their life and live what they love. It’s also my job to hold space and a mirror up to these creatives – to show them the roadblocks and vision alike that they’re uncovering for themselves. I love coming together to brainstorm how to jump hurdles and day dream about what could be.

But there are only so many hours in the day. And a lot of creatives I want to help don’t have $800 to spend on one-on-one coaching with me. And I can only go so deep with the Coaching for Creatives blog series I’ve been posting. So with that I’ve developed a DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Subscription series.

DIYCreativeCoaching

DIY COACHING FOR CREATIVES EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION SERIES
The DIY email subsciption is great for self-motivated creatives who need a little guidance in dreaming, scheming, and taking small steps to design the kind of life they want to live – from the daily routines to the big picture. These emails that come straight to your inbox will prompt you to explore the kind of work and life you want to live through daily emails, worksheets, journaling exercises, meditations, and mantras. Sure, it can get a little “woo-woo” but we’ll also be covering very practical approaches to establishing daily routines, goal setting, and time management.

The cost is $40 and here is what you’ll get:
• 4 WEEKS / 16 EMAILS TOTAL
• WORKSHEETS & DAILY EXERCISES
• TIPS FOR GOAL SETTING AND DECISION-MAKING
• HELP IN ESTABLISHING ROUTINE AND TIME MANAGEMENT
• PLUS, WEEKLY MANTRAS AND MEDITATIONS
Learn more and subscribe here. 

Unlike our Braid ECourses which run on a monthly schedule, you can subscribe and receive this subscription anytime.

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P.S. I’ve been getting lots of questions about when I’ll be available for 1:1 coaching again – it won’t be until late spring or early summer 2014. I’ll have extremely limited availability so if you’re interested in securing a spot in advance contact me here.

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