Life Design

Here’s Where I’m At

November 20, 2015


I’m not sure why I feel so shy about being here right now. I mean… I made this big declaration that I’m back (both as a way to prove it to myself – and get some sort of accountability in this space) and now I’m all “Well, shit. I guess I need to say something.”

It’s kind of like when you’re married for a while and you go a couple weeks without having sex and then you’re all shy (as if this person hasn’t seen you practically turn your body inside out while giving birth to the baby you made together) and then you consider that maybe you forgot how to do it altogether (but of course you didn’t)… Or maybe it’s like when you break up with someone and decide to get back together after a few months apart, and you try to establish self-respecting boundaries by going on a real date but it’s just super awkward until you bang it out and eat some cereal afterwards.

I’m going to cut it with the bad sex metaphors (who knew that the process of writing and sex were so similar?) and maybe begin by just telling you where I’m at.

Right now, literally, I’m at a table in my breakfast nook (which doubles as my home office even though I have an entire other room dedicated to being an office) in my split-level mid-century modern house in the tightest neighborhood I’ve ever lived in. I’ll have to tell you all about my neighbors one day because they’ve become my favorite people. I’m eating a bowl of oatmeal for lunch. I had oatmeal for breakfast too. I really love oatmeal. It’s sunny but cool and windy outside – the leaves on the tree that is in my direct view out of the kitchen window are red and ox blood on one side and chartreuse and green on the other. A new life goal of mine, that I just made as I’m typing this, is to be able to identify what this tree I’m looking at is. When I’m old it is important to me that I’m able to talk about how the sun shifts in the sky depending on the season of the year and be able to name off plants and trees like it’s no big deal.

My first two knuckles on my right hand are bruised and swollen from all the boxing I’ve been doing. I suck at it but still hit the boxing gym pretty much every day – there’s something liberating in not being very good at something but showing up anyway.

If you’re wondering where Fox is, you’re not alone. A lot of people ask me this and it makes me wonder how often my husband gets asked where our baby is. He’s at daycare. Right at this moment he’s probably taking a nap on his cot and I hope he is dreaming about the UPS truck which might be his favorite thing in the whole world. When I think about Fox, which I confess, I don’t really don’t do that often during the work day, I can explicitly imagine what his breath smells like, what his hair feels like, and the squeal he makes when he throws his little arms around my neck. When I think about him he might as well be right here with me. I love being his mom – and while what I just typed there typically feels cliche it’s a huge victory for me, which I may or may not talk about one day.

Before I go (because there is work to be done) I want to tell you all just a little bit about what I’m into lately:
• Makeup: I’ve been having a lot of fun trying new looks, which was sparked by cutting all my hair off. But the funny thing is – the more makeup I wear the more confident I feel on the days when I go with a completely naked face. My newest guilty pleasure is watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. This guy is maybe my favorite.
The Leftovers: I’m only on season 1 but this show has me hooked. You should watch it.
• I’m reading all sorts of books on spirituality. From Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber to Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham.
Being Boss: This is my podcast that I co-host with Emily Thompson. It started as a passion project and has turned into almost a full-time job. We recently interviewed Brené Brown and David Heinemeier Hansson – if you’ve ever heard me make a book recommendation it’s probably been Daring Greatly and ReWork which are written by … Brené Brown and David Heinemeier Hansson. I’m still pinching myself that this has become my job.
• Tiny Tattoos: I don’t know. I just like them.
• Fall: This is my favorite time of year. I just want to cozy down with my feet under Jeremy’s butt – with a bar of dark chocolate and a glass of wine in the other.
• The journey: I’m rolling my eyes at myself telling you this but my biggest goal right now is to take my eye off the prize and just enjoy the game of life. So I suppose that’s what I’m really going to use this space for for a while. Before it was all about “I want this. Let’s see how I can make that happen.” and now it’s probably going to be more like “This is what I’m up to. Let’s see what happens next.”

The Effort

February 26, 2015


About four weeks ago, and a year into being a new mom, my baby still wasn’t sleeping more than 2 hours at a time. I was feeling both sad and sleep-deprived, so I made an escape plan to meet up with some girlfriends just three hours south in Dallas, Texas over the weekend.

By the time the trip rolled around I had caught up on sleep and no longer wanted to run away from my family. I almost thought about canceling last minute so I could keep my typical and easy weekend. The effort of breaking my routine for a quick road trip made me feel a little anxious. You see, I’m tethered by a short rope to my little family – the very thing that makes me want to stay is the very reason why I need to go. To be the kind of mom, boss, and person I want to be I need to be able to let go – even for just one night.

The drive alone was pretty amazing. Just me in my MINI – alone – it gave me some time to examine my thoughts. I listened to some podcasts and began to generate new ideas. And it goes without saying that hanging out with my creative pack – Chelsea, Becky, and Jane – was totally worth the short drive down I-35. I don’t take it for granted how lucky I am to have them in my tribe.

So the big takeaway of my weekend is that doing fun stuff – the stuff that builds relationships and strengthens bonds, the stuff memories are made of – it takes effort.

P.S. Jane has chickens in her backyard. It’s been a long fantasy of mine but now I feel inspired to actually make it happen.

Why I Work Out

January 18, 2015


Towards the end of my pregnancy last year I became obsessed with the idea of becoming a bodybuilder. I started following bodybuilders on Instagram (total guilty pleasure) and reading everything I could about weightlifting and nutrition to support a killer physique. It wasn’t just the fact that I felt huge and very pregnant that had me dreaming about six-pack abs but the pregnancy itself made me curious about transformation and the stuff our bodies are capable of doing.

So these bodybuilders I follow on Instagram are constantly pairing their #gymselfies and photos chicken and oats in tupperware with motivational captions like “I have goals. Nothing will get in my way. You have to know WHY you want what you want and then you have to go for it full force.” (Trite, yes – but I’m a total sucker for them.)

These captions always have me feeling like I don’t know really know my why. That said, these women with boulder shoulders and glutes that won’t quit never really seem to articulate their WHY either. So I started thinking about my own personal reasons why I want to be in killer shape. I came up with two:
1. so I can kill zombies and look like The Walking Dead‘s Michonne doing it
2. so I can look like a zombie-killing badass in a bikini this summer

I think I’m disciplined enough to go to the gym and kick my own ass and track my macros down to the gram so I can look and feel like Linda Hamilton doing hundreds of pushups and pull-ups in Terminator or Ellen Ripley kicking some Alien ass or Michonne slaying zombies … but is it a sustainable why? Is looking like a post-apocalyptic badass the kind of why that will get my ass in gear when I’m tired and want to eat All The Sugar?

So I started digging deeper about my “why”. Why do I work out?

After lots of driving and thinking, showering and thinking, working out and thinking, walking and thinking, and brushing my teeth and thinking I came to the conclusion that my WHY boils down to two values: 1. transformation and 2. discipline.

Transformation. I love a good reinvention. I remember as a kid I was always excited for Madonna to unveil her newest look – I even admired how bold and unapologetic she was about stuff like her fake English accent. Into my late teens and early 20s America’s Next Top Model was my favorite – and the episode I never wanted to miss was the big makeover where they chop Rapunzel’s locks into a Rosemary’s Baby pixie. I couldn’t get enough.

And then there is Discipline. I love the idea of spontaneity and just living life, man… but when it comes down to it I thrive on discipline and routine. Trusting a process that will get me from Point A to Point B – it gives me the certainty I crave. But I’ve noticed over the past year that when I lose faith in myself, I stop trusting how over time little steps will add up to great distances. When I’m low I can’t even see past my own hand. Getting from Point A to Point B seems pointless when I don’t even know what Point B looks like. So discipline – it’s about focusing on the process. It’s about establishing habits that pull me, step-by-step, out of the valleys, even when I can’t see what’s ahead.

So back to my why. Why do I work out? Because I believe if I can sculpt my body into a zombie-killing machine then I will prove to myself that transformation + discipline can accomplish any vision I set my sites on. And right now, I have some pretty big vision.

So now I have my why. I like it. But I still want to look like a zombie-slaying badass in a bikini.

I Choose 2015

January 1, 2015


New Years has always felt a little magical to me. New beginnings, new resolutions, new promises. But in 2014 I lived my whole life one day at a time – and today proved to be just another day when Fox woke up alert and ready for the day at 5:15AM – an hour earlier than usual. I tried to convince him that it was still “night night” and reminisced on a time when 5:15AM really was smack dab in the middle of my night.

Giving birth to Fox at home, on my bed, was a big way to begin 2014. Every day since then has been a bit of a sleep-deprived hormonal haze but some other cool things happened in 2014.

We snuck away to Asheville, NC to officiate and celebrate the marriage of Liz and Micah. On the way home we spent the night in the airport. Fox’s first real adventure.
• We went on our annual family beach trip and played lots of croquet and shuffleboard.
• We moved out of the 1920s house we got married in and birthed our baby in and into a mid-century modern 1950s home across the street from my sister.
• I gave a talk about overcoming fear as a creative entrepreneur at The Circles Conference – and it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my career thus far.
• We went to Palm Springs to hang out with a bunch of badass designers. We saw Salvation Mountain and it was so neat.
• Fox had a three-way with Thumper and his lady bunny at Disney World and it was the best moment of his life so far.

Then there were the moments, for better and for worse, that don’t quite fit into bullet form that filled my year. The big belly laughs, soft milk breath… hot fevers and teary meltdowns.

I started this post yesterday, on New Year’s Eve, and as I swept up all the fragments of my one-day-at-a-time year I couldn’t quite piece together the big picture. But today it’s clear that it doesn’t really matter because the day-to-day is what really matters – how you do anything is how you do everything. Everyday is every day. So at 5:15AM this morning I chose to be responsible for my day. I chose love. That looked like dragging my ass out of bed, putting on my robe, and reading a stiff book with beautiful photos and few words to my sweet baby.

I’ve got some pretty big goals and plans for 2015 – we’re growing our team at BraidI’m starting a podcast, and I am going to get in the best shape of my life – just to name a few. But I’ve learned that the big scary goals are easy – the stuff like hiking to Mount Everest base camp, completing a Whole30, building a successful business, having an unmedicated home birth… it’s not that hard. I find that the little victories that are far more challenging. Finding enthusiasm in spite of the emotional turmoil that sleep-deprivation ushers in… that’s hard. Making magic when you’d rather just go through the motions … that’s hard. Choosing love when you feel afraid … that’s hard.

So, 2015 for me is about choice. I choose magic. I choose energy. I choose love and light. I choose adventure and style and art and expression. Every single day. It’s my choice.

Coaching for Creatives | Tools for Designing Your Life

February 3, 2014


As a creative you already have the most important tool for designing your dream life: an imagination. In fact, it’s probably your job on the daily to see something in your mind and make it a reality. So if you can do that with a website, a well-designed room, an outfit, or a logo then why can’t you do it for your life? The number one culprit I’ve seen is not making the vision real. My own life coach says “If you can see it, it’s yours.” So today I’m going to share some really practical tools for you to use so you can really see the life you want to live – then make it yours.

1. Blogging
Obviously, I’m a huge fan of blogging. It’s not for everyone but I think it’s one of the single most effective tools for shaping, sharing, and holding yourself accountable to living the life you want. It gives us a place to tell our stories – and everyone wants to hear a good story. So for example, while I don’t do things just to blog about them, I probably wouldn’t be as motivated to get off my couch if I didn’t have a space to document my adventures.

2. Instagram
If blogging is a place to share the whole story I think Instagram is a great place to share the smaller slices of life. I’d love to challenge myself to Instagram one interesting thing that captures my eye a day. Or perhaps use it to experiment and explore different themes in my life (ie. things I’m grateful for, cooking, nature, touring my own city, etc.). I love how R. Wood is using Instagram to capture her adventure in high pointing – which is visiting the highest point in all 50 states. (She’s actually inspired me to do the same with our baby – I’m hoping to end with Denali when he’s 18!)

3. Pinterest
Pinterest is the modern-day mood board. You might prefer the old-fashioned collage technique of vision boarding where you cut and paste images and words you like from a magazine onto a poster board but I’m far too lazy for that. So Pinterest is a place to get dreamy and really put visuals to some vague notions of what you want your life to look like.

4. Journaling 
If Pinterest is the modern day mood board than you’d think Blogging would replace your diary. But not so fast. There is something magical that happens when you put pen-to-paper. I think it’s a mind/body connection at play when you get dreamy on paper. A journal that no one else sees is a safe place to make lists, draw mind maps, write morning pages, set intentions, and explore your own deepest life desires. So go out and get yourself a Moleskine today (though, I prefer the cheap wide-ruled 99¢ composition notebooks – it’s less intimidating to mark up).

5. Conversations 
Paulo Coelho says “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize that dream.” I believe that the more you can get other people on board with your dreams and your vision the faster it will manifest. So set a coffee date with someone who inspires you and exchange dreams. I promise you’ll connect new dots and set plans in motion to make your vision actually come true. Plus, it’s one more person to hold you accountable to living the dream.

6. Calendar
If you want something to happen you’ve gotta make time for it. Go into your calendar and set some dates with yourself. This could be anything from clearing your schedule for a day to paint, de-clutter your house, go for a hike and a picnic, or setting a reminder to talk to your spouse about booking an adventure. The idea is to actually commit time for action, otherwise you may get bit by the procrastination-and-excuses bug.

What tools are your favorite for visioning and designing the kind of life you want to live? 

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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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