you are allowed

You are allowed.

I’ve been talking about the process of allowing with too many friends lately not to share it on my blog. If you needed a reminder, here you go. Enjoy.

If you think that because you just earned your PhD, you can’t be a makeup artist, well, you can. You are allowed.

If you listen to a collective voice and want to walk to the beat of your drum, go for it.  You are allowed.

If people tell you you’re a great painter, but you really love photography, take more pictures. You are allowed.

If you want to make money, possibly lots of it, doing what you love, go right ahead. You are allowed.

If you want to get rid of everything you own and travel the world, amazing! You are allowed.

If you want to stay home and watch tv, that’s great, too. You are allowed.

If you want to eat meat or wheat or cheese, enjoy! You are allowed.

If you want to quit your job and open a bakery, yummy! You are allowed.

If you want to turn down a job to follow your own path, enjoy the adventure. You are allowed.

If you don’t feel like staying up late, go to bed early. You are allowed.

If you need to turn off all the noise around you so you can truly hear again, by all means, do so. You are allowed.

If you need to look inward so that you can look forward, it’s amazing, do it. You are allowed.

If you want to go slower, slow down. You are allowed.

If you want to go bigger, reach for the stars. You are allowed.

If you want to unsubscribe or unfollow, it’s just fine. You are allowed.

If you want to wake up smiling, how wonderful! You are allowed.

If you need to be honest, do it with kindness. You are allowed.

If you just gotta give it a try, go for it. You are allowed.

If you want to learn something new, weird and crazy, how awesome. You are allowed.

If you want to be you, that’s perfect. You are allowed.

Posted on July 9, 2012 in deep thoughts, life 15

what’s on your action station?

During the winter of 2010-2011, after a very big creative project, I hunkered down and watched all five seasons of Battlestar Galactica. It took some time, but believe me, it was totally worth it. This isn’t a post about Battlestar Galactica though (I’m sure you’re disappointed). It’s a post about … Action Stations! If you watched the show, and if you watched it in rapid succession, you became familiar with the alarm sounding the pilots to get to their jets for battle.

Its sounds a little like this: [click to listen]. Hear that enough and it starts to play in your head at random times of the day!

Years later, it has stuck with me, but I’ve adopted a new meaning for it. To me, an Action Station is your work area — where all of your creative goodness comes to life. It’s where you take action! My Action Station has an assortment of the following: an orange mug of colored felt tip pens & highlighters, a zippered pouch for when I take my favorite pens & markers on the road, a stapler, a pad of graph paper, post-it notes, a glass of water, a box of tissues, a manila folder or two, a binder with whatever the latest creativity worksheets I am experimenting with, at least one book, headphones, speakers, whiteboard markers & a whiteboard (complete with sketches and / or words of intention).

action station!

What’s on your Action Station! Tell me in the comments and please link to a picture if you can!

Posted on June 27, 2012 in action station 1

sara, tara, sarah, tara. a tale of 4 amazing women.

I’ve been soaking up so much goodness from the interwebs and life in general recently, particularly from entrepreneurial women in my sphere.  In particular, I am very inspired by women who are creating their own path. Here is a brief intro to four fascinating ladies who are blazing new trails:

Sara Selepouchin / Girls Can Tell

I befriended Sara almost five years ago when I stumbled upon her photos on Flickr. I didn’t even know what a crafty maven she was at the time. I could just tell she owned a house in a neighborhood in which I was looking to buy and I wanted to know all about it. Something clicked and we became fast friends, running buddies, and hell-to-the yeah fellow lady-motivators. I’ve been in awe of Sara’s personal development and business growth since I first met her. She’s really leveled up her business by taking big risks and aiming for big wins – and nailing it. Through it all, Sara never detaches from reality and at the end of the day, her work supports her life: which includes lots of love and good times with her fiance and friends.

My takeaway: Work hard & live awesome!

Check her out: Girls Can Tell + @girlscantell

Tara Hunt / Buyosphere

I met Tara several years ago at the opening party for IndyHall. Her life has done huge 180s since then: a big breakup, a big move, a big career pivot. I’m a big believer that you’ve got to get down to get up, and to see Tara survive and thrive in life and business has been awesome! While Tara is quite geeky, she has always been a fashionista and has created a new startup called Buyosphere. She’s creating a community (Tara rules at building communities) of fashion-inspired folks to help find and satisfy their fashion dreams. Fashion is a way of expressing your personality in your own way, and Tara has always done this in all aspects of her life. I’ll admit that at times I have been intimidated by her, but her perpetual creativity, hardworking ethic and never-gonna-quit-until-I-make-it attitude continues to win me over.

My takeaway: Keep on keepin’ on and go ALL the way.

Get hip to Tara: tarahunt.com + Buyosphere + @missrogue

Sarah J. Bray / A Small Nation

Sarah is the only one of these women that I have never met in person (yet!), but her steady flow of soul-baring creative thoughts makes me feel like I have. Sarah has been modifying and adjusting her creative business big time over the last year and has been sharing the process quite candidly with her audience via her blog and newsletter. I told Sarah recently that reading her emails always makes me feel a little less crazy. I admire her for being able to pull back the curtain, and invite others to ask questions and comment. What it’s done for me is rethink my own creative process and build an incredible anticipation about how she is going to approach her next incarnation of A Small Nation. Seriously, I can’t wait.

My takeaway: The creative process is a crazy & delightful adventure!

Learn more: sarahjbray.com + Tour de BlissA Small Nation + @sarahjbray

Tara Gentile / The You Economy

Lucky for me Tara loves Mexican food, so I had the pleasure of grabbing lunch with her at the Cantina a few weeks back. I stumbled across Tara about a year ago and have been hooked on her enthusiastic championing of the Tara-dubbed You Economy ever since. Yep, we’re living in it right now and it’s about time more people embraced it. Tara has been knocking inspiration out of the park lately, with all kinds of high value content like the Insight Intensives and just released TODAY: Marketing ReWired.

My takeaway: Know your value and earn with purpose.

Find Tara: taragentile.com + @taragentile

This is just a sample of women I admire, and let’s face it, their names all sounds so nice together. There’s plenty more where this came from. If you like this sort of post, let me know. If you’ve got someone that you admire, let me know that too!

Posted on June 22, 2012 in work & biz 0

10 things I’m more or less addicted to

One morning, when feeling super inspired, I quickly scribbled out a list of things that are part of my almost every day life that I adore, rely on, love and am possibly addicted to. Since I’ve been going on and on about getting rid of stuff lately, I wanted to take a moment to appreciate the fact that there are actually things / objects / stuff that bring me joy in my everyday life. So here goes…

1) Endangered Species 88% Dark Chocolate Squares

I pop one (or 2 or 3) of these bad boys pretty much every day after lunch. It’s like espresso for the soul. It’s a true jolt of happiness, energy and creativity. They really pack a wollop! Once you go 88%, you won’t go back. Try a bite today!

2) Soy Chai Lattes from Ultimo Coffee

I confess. I am addicted to soy chai lattes, and have been for a very long time. Even though I’ve only been (mostly) vegan for a year+ now, I’ve been getting soy milk in all my fancy caffeinated beverages since the 90s. What can I say, milk freaks me out! Ultimo Coffee has the best coffee in Philadelphia, but I give them mad props for serving up a delicious and not-too-sickeningly-sweet cuppa chai.

3) Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Soap

You gotta get clean, right? Nothing brightens your day like a minty fresh and super bubbly scrubdown with Dr. Bronner’s. Hey, did I just say that on my blog? Yes, I did! This stuff is so ridiculously awesome and refreshing and really wakes you up. I love when guests visit. The reaction is always the same… “Umm, that’s some soap you got there.” They usually immediately go buy a bottle and become addicts just like me. Go ahead, get some, and have fun reading that crazy label!

4) Bumble & bumble Styling Creme

I try to give it up. It’s a lost cause. Without it, I’m just a sad, flat-haired mophead. With it, my hair has body, life, effervescence! You heard it here, I am indeed addicted to a hair product.

5) Things That Are Purple.

If you know me at all, you know that this should be #1. But this list is in no particular order and 5 is my favorite number. So basically, here’s what’s purple: my laptop case, my iphone case, my purse, my shoes, my bike helmet, my sunglasses, my everything. Purple, I’m into you.

6) My Kindle

I love, love, love to read. Love it, I do. I’m reading lots and lots of nonfiction right now. Stuff to keep me inspired and on my toes, or at least dreaming of a day when I am on my toes. My favorite part about the Kindle is downloading book samples. I love trying new things and this completely satisfies that urge. Not to mention, Kindle books do not take up space on my bookshelf!

7) Shiitake Mushrooms

Love ’em. Buy a big old bag of ’em at Whole Foods every week. They’re super yummy and soooo super good for you.  They get all up in your immune system and make it feel more awesome. I can get down with that.

8) Vega Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer

I drink one of these yum-tastic smoothies (with unsweetened almond milk and frozen raspberries) after every workout. It’s like getting all your vitamins and nutrients in one power-packed punch. It’s sugar / dairy / gluten free and has lots of protein from hemp & peas. It’s good for ya!

9) The GymBox

In a perfect world, I’d be slightly more addicted to this, but I’m hoping that putting it on my list will actually inspire me to you know, be a little bit more “everyday” about it. I really do love working out and the variety and selection of workouts on The GymBox is seriously awesome.

10) Paper Mate Flair Pens

I’m addicted to these pens! I’ve been rocking Pilot G2 gel pens for quite some time, but I got my hands on one of these by accident and decided to buy the whole rainbow. They look especially nice on graph paper which is great when you are dreaming up your big ideas.

Your turn! What 10 things are you addicted to?

Posted on June 19, 2012 in deep thoughts, life 5

like a giant bowl of noodles

Noodle Bowl for two

(photo courtesy of worththewhisk.com via flickr)

Remember that post about stuff, you know, on consuming things and stuff? It’s been my life since I wrote it. Working on a massive purge of stuff from my home. Making many visits to Goodwill, passing some things along to friends (seems like I’m not alone in not wanting stuff these days), bracing for big change.

I noticed that even though I keep getting rid of all this stuff, I still have so much stuff! Wow. I mean, it’s been hitting me in ways it’s never hit me before. As I go through box after box and hesitantly sever sentimental ties to objects, I reflect on what it took to get to this point. Now, let me set the record straight, I am not a hoarder. I’m not even all that sentimental. I formerly had a policy in place to never throw out a postcard. I’ve cancelled that policy, effective immediately. I have just acquired stuff. I’m getting older, it happens!

As I sift, filter, donate and (regrettably) trash things, I look around and think to myself, “I still have so much stuff!” It makes me feel like I’m eating a giant bowl of noodles that just never seems to end. You eat and eat and eat and the bowl is still full. Has that ever happened to you? It’s delicious of course, but eventually you just feel full, and possibly even terrible. (A lot like a hungry ghost! Check out this wonderful book Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master’s Lessons in Living a Life That Matters to learn more…)

This has all been an amazing life lesson and has completely informed my desire to consume stuff. I’d love to hear from you:

What makes something special to you?

How do you manage your own stuff?

What kind of things do you accumulate the most?

What do you wish you consumed less of?

For the record, I probably accumulate books the most  (it used to be shoes)! I also like markers, pens & notebooks. And I tend to like to buy a new dress for a special occasion (weddings, etc). And clothes, but soooo much less than I used to. So much less.

I consume LOTS of healthy and nutritious food and have absolutely no regrets about it!

One last thing, I can’t get enough of the cold sesame noodles at Han Dynasty! You should try them sometime, but don’t eat too much 😉

Posted on June 8, 2012 in deep thoughts, life 7