To-Do in 2014

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Okay, so I talked about how I want to feel in 2014 (like a warrior) but there are plenty of things I’d like to DO in 2014 too. In fact, 2013 has been a year of reflection and writing – this year I’m hoping to get out of my head a little and get down to more doing. So here’s just a snippet of my to-do list for the next year:

• Bravely birth my baby into this world
• Fall madly in love with said baby (though, I think that one is already covered)
• Cook + eat really good food / experiment more in the kitchen
• More camping + hiking
• Get into the best shape of my life / build muscle
• Climb a 5.11
• Edit + overhaul + invest in my dream wardrobe
• Keep said wardrobe off the floor
• Give my husband loving he can’t deny
• Enthusiastically celebrate every holiday
• Collaborate more with artists + bloggers I admire
Drink more water
• Take more photos
• Soak up the Oklahoma pink skies (pink sunsets / sunrises are my happy place)
• Begin an adventure in high-pointing (more on this later)
• Create + write meaningful products (digital product + coaching is where my biz passion is these days)
• Keep my toenails nice / get pedicures often
• Read more books / a blend of fiction + non-fiction
• Read to my baby + take him on walks daily
• Experiment with fiber art
• Landscape the back yard
• Stick to a meditation habit

Yeah, it’s ambitious. But I’m fueled up and ready to make 2014 the best year yet.

Finally, I wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all of you for joining along in this adventure with me. Sharing my life here has truly allowed me to create my own story – to become the person I want to be. So thank you for your support – whether that’s with sweet comments, supporting my business, or simply enjoying what I write and sending good vibes. I appreciate you!

Now I want to hear from you! What are some things you want to do to make 2014 an adventure? 

P.S. The images above are collaged from my Instagram (the bottom right is from Claire’s Instagram). I plan on doing lots more real life sharing there in 2014 too. 

The Warrior

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I’ve been thinking a lot about my core desired feelings for 2014 and while I was hoping to have an arsenal of creative words to drive my goals moving into the new year it really comes back to just one word:

WARRIOR / brave + strong + spirit

The warrior I want to be is brave, strong, experienced, fierce, graceful, spiritual and sexy. She has little time to feel sorry for herself and can’t be bothered by worry or fear. She’s not afraid of dying. When she’s not out on an adventure she’s at home giving herself fully to her family. This warrior momma is connected deeply to her spirit – and that gives her divine confidence. She has scars and flaws and a few wrinkles around her eyes but that’s a part of her story – it’s what makes her real. And real hot.

The warrior I want to be will motivate my actions in 2014. This looks like creating a safe and cozy nest for my family – filled with good food, warm music, and exotic spices flavoring the air. This looks like lifting heavy weights and climbing tall walls. This looks like a lot of reading, meditation, and intentional introspection. This also looks like a post-apocalyptic wardrobe and crystals. But it also looks like gracefully navigating the daily grind.

P.S. I’m so lucky to have had Misty at Revel Photo capture an image of exactly who I want to be – these photos will be a good reminder to have when I need to channel my “warrior” self. You can see more pictures from my post-apocalyptic inspired warrior momma photo shoot here. You can read about the creative direction and see more photos over at Misty’s blog here and here.

 

Can’t Stop / Won’t Stop

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Living a creative life by your own design is pretty badass – but it’s not always easy. Even when things are consistently good, just sustaining a certain level of non-stop go, go, go! can be exhausting and overwhelming. Show up. Be seen. Do the work. Create and launch. Learn and lean in. Over and over and over again.

If you’re not ready to go home
Can I get a “Hell, no!”? 
‘Cause we’re gonna go all night
‘Til we see the sunlight, alright

Then there’s The Fear. After consulting and coaching hundreds of creative entrepreneurs I can promise you that every single one of us is on the verge of peeing-our-pants, puking, or crying-int0-pillows. Because being your own boss demands courage – and courage is born from fear. The idea of going down the wrong path and seeing no return on investment is probably the biggest fear. Then there is the overwhelming fear of being unhappy and imbalanced. Then there is the fear of being unimportant and overlooked. But get this: these fears are nothing more than a wish for what you don’t want to happen.

And everyone in line in the bathroom
Trying to get a line in the bathroom
We all so turned up here
Getting turned up, yeah, yeah

Recently my sister, who fights a chronic battle with procrastination, shared with me that her new mantra is “Don’t pause.” For her it’s about downloading notes right after a meeting. Or delegating direction sooner. Or choosing not to make the bed and bust out the laptop instead. It’s about not getting bogged down in weighing decisions that lead to fatigue. I’ve decided to adopt this mantra as my own – but for me it’s more of a command to keep going in the grand scheme of things. It’s about refusing to hang out with The Fear. “Don’t pause” doesn’t mean I can’t slow my roll every once in a while – but it reminds me to stay on the bus. To show up. Be seen. Do the work. Create. Launch. Learn. Over and over and over again.

And we can’t stop
And we won’t stop
We run things, things don’t run we
Don’t take nothing from nobody
Yeah, yeah

And then of course, there are the wise words of the scandalous child-star-turned-twerker Miley Cyrus that penetrate my heart. Sure, she’s talking less about being a creative entrepreneur with purpose and rather is sharing the good word of self-indulgent booty shakin’ – but the message rings true. Do what you want. Make your own rules. Live life and have a good time. It’s a nice reminder, right?

 

P.S. I spotted these “Can’t Stop / Won’t Stop” designs on Design Love Fest and immediately purchased these 20″ x 28″ posters to hang in my home as a daily reminder to keep living what I love. And I’m not going to lie – I’ve been totally rocking out to Miley in the MINI this summer.

Designer Vaca

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I had the best time kicking it with 50 other designers this weekend in Palm Springs for Designer Vaca. It’s a powerful thing when you can get so many like-minded badass lady designers together for a weekend of honest transparent sharing paired with inappropriate discussions over breakfast ending in belly laughs. Megan and I recreated our poolside bikini shot from last year and Star insisted on capturing a genius belly shot against the Kathleen-shaped wall mural at the ACE. I had so much fun talking to the other mommas-to-be about their career plans and whether or not they were going to eat their placenta. And I really enjoyed getting to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

Over dinner one evening a small group of us were discussing the big risk we need to take over the next year and one big accompanying fear. I couldn’t seem to come up with a risk/fear. I really don’t think of myself as some sort of brave badass but while big dreaming, launching, and publishing can sometimes feel overwhelming it is what drives me. The risk-taking that comes with growth is exciting – and honestly, somewhat addicting. That’s when someone at my table asked if maybe the risk is in slowing down. Sure enough, taking time to have a baby and grow a family could be the biggest risk yet. Of course, on the flight home I outlined a new project that will hopefully pay for my maternity leave at the beginning of the new year. The best ideas always seem to happen at 30,000 feet.

So what did I learn at Designer Vaca? I learned that at the heart of what we do is an attitude and desire to create. Which is an attitude of wholeheartedness, resilience, and vulnerability. I also learned that we all go about creating in very different ways. None are right or wrong – and oftentimes we all feel like we’re totally faking it. I learned that the act of creating conquers fear – the anxiety creeps in when you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be. I learned that design isn’t just about the stuff we make but about the way we live our lives. Finally, I learned that lounging by the pool with a bunch of brilliant and talented ladies does wonders for the soul. I can’t wait to go back next year.

Here are more recaps and posts from the other designers here – this list will grow as more posts go up:
• Designer Vaca Resources by Becky Murphy at Chipper Things
• “What’s the worst that could happen?” A recap by Vanessa Gonzales at Noirve
• “I came home feeling overwhelmed – in a good way.” A recap by SRSLY Liz
• A Personal Journey in Careers and Confidence by Shauna Haider aka Nubby Twiglet
• Fake it by Alicia Carvalho
• Designer Vaca – The Best Kind of Vaca by Megan Gilger on The Fresh Exchange
• When to Slow Down – by Erin Jane (Jane is my creative momma role model)
• A recap by Jenna Day
• A recap by Jen Serafini

I’m not crazy busy

CrazyBusy

Why is it any time anyone asks me “How are you!? How’s life?”
I respond “Good! Crazy busy. But good!”

Yes, I run a tight ship and I get shit done.
Sure, my calendar is full with deadlines, coffee dates, and client meetings.
Yeah, sometimes I email after-hours and think about “what’s next” for my business, even on the weekend.
And sometimes I feel completely wiped out by all of it.
But I’m not crazy. I’m prolific, organized, and always determined to move forward.
Plus, my long mornings and open evenings are proof that I’m really not so busy-busy.

So this is my vow to eliminate “crazy busy” from my vocabulary.
A promise to trade in a sense of urgency for a practice in patience.
A commitment to recognize the difference between doing it all and having it all.

And when you ask me how’s life, instead of the “crazy busy” fall back, I’ll respond:
Wildly productive and living the dream. 

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Here are some posts I’ve written at Braid Creative lately that you might be interested in:
• Being an Expert Means Getting Daringly Narrow
• Making the Most of Your Multiple Personalities: The Many Roles & Personas of the Creative Entrepreneur
• And I’m sending out exclusive content once a week (or so) via our Letters for Creatives – straight to your inbox and nowhere else