In an age where I, as a multi-passioned women, feel pressured to settle down or specialize, it's refreshing to think of all she did in her life. After being the victim of so many things, this woman went on to be a dancer, a writer, an activist, a doctor, and so much more, all in one lifetime. She experienced it all. Felt it all.
Sending a huge thank you to the universe for placing me in the path of such a profound woman, that her words and lessons might touch my life. RIP Maya Angelou.
Earlier this month, I took my first-ever-trip-to-the-west-coast. My friend Sarah moved to Napa Valley a couple of years ago to work at Ad Hoc (a Thomas Keller restaurant), and I was long overdue to go see her. It's always nice when somewhere you've been wanting to go also happens to have friends or family there to show you around. You really cut down on costs and hassle, and get a more authentic experience. Which is why I've made it an intention this year to travel places where I have friends and family that deserve a visit.
I traveled with my friend Rachel, who lives in Chicago. We kept an eye on airfare for a couple of months and got a pretty great price of $280 roundtrip, flying ORD to SFO. I live a few hours west of Chicago and wanted to save myself the $150 parking at the airport, so I parked at a friends house in the suburbs and took the Metra into downtown. (In case you're wondering, this friend made sure to sing 'If You're Going to San Francisco' to me out the car window for all to hear as she dropped me off at the train).
We stayed the night with Rachel's friend Youna, who has a cool little apartment in SoMa. This was a long day of travel, and Youna was very understanding, making us soup and letting us get some much needed sleep. But the next day she had us up early to make sure we were taking in as much of San Francisco as possible before heading out to Napa Valley.
The Embarcadero + The Ferry Building
It was a really neat indoor market with a lot of other options that I would've loved to try as well... it's probably a good idea I don't live there or I would be tempted to eat breakfast there every day! In fact, many of the people there looked like they were grabbing breakfast on their way to work. But, most of them were also on bikes, so I suppose they can burn it off (while simultaneously looking incredibly west-coast-cool).
Pier 39 + Fisherman's Wharf
Golden Gate Bridge + Sausalito
All travel posts here.
The cherry tomato, red pepper, and green pepper are seeds left over from last year (purchased at Menards). They were successful, so I figured I would try them again. The rest are new packets I picked up (Farm n Fleet). I'm probably most excited for the Brandywine Pink tomatoes, since my 'regular size' tomatoes didn't work out last year, and for the rainbow bell peppers. Really crossing my fingers for some purple and orange ones! I try to buy organic seeds, but if something I want isn't available in organic, I've decided it isn't the end of the world. I'm still going to grow it organically, which is what really counts.
- Humidity Dome: On (vents closed)
- Light: 15 hours
- Sprouted Seeds (Day 2): 0
- Choosing what to fill the cells with was tough. People use all different mediums, but ultimately we decided on Metro Mix because A. we had enough on hand and B. it's what Matt says professionals swear by and he knows what he's talking about.
- Last year I only placed one seed in each cell and filled about 36 cells with seeds. This year I did 2 seeds in each cell and 63 cells, hoping to give myself a better shot at getting enough plants. If both seeds sprout, I will just remove the weaker looking one. Any extra seedlings I end up with can be traded or given away.
PS. If you're documenting your gardening somewhere online, feel free to link it in a comment below! I'm also open to any friendly advice you may have for me :)
This green smoothie recipe comes from my friend Natasha, who does an amazing job of eating well (as in yummy) AND eating healthy. It is not ground-breaking by any means, but it is all of the things I'm looking for in a green smoothie on a Sunday morning (or really any morning). I now keep these ingredients on hand and will, hopefully, even be growing a few of them in my garden this summer.
I promise this smoothie is so delicious and it has all kinds of benefits like balancing blood sugar, boosting the immune system, and providing natural energy.
GREEN BANANA-BERRY SMOOTHIE
Makes (1) 16 oz. smoothie or (2) 8 oz. smoothies
- 1.5 cups kale or spinach (just de-stem it and tear into strips)
- 1 banana, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup or more frozen berries
- 1 Tbsp flax seeds
- 1-2 Tbsp honey (local if you have it, as it fights your allergies to local plants!)
- A couple dashes of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup almond milk
Let the food processor run until everything, including the frozen fruit, is blended. This will make one pretty large smoothie than can be split into two if desired.
Currently in my freezer are some baggies of different berry mixes already portioned out and ready to go. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Approximate Nutrition Info: 450 Calories, 8g Fat, 9g Protein, 87g Carbs, 246mg Sodium, 57g Sugar
2.5 Servings Fruit/Vegetables
I'm leaving tomorrow for my first trip ever to California! I'll be visiting with two of my favorite people, my college dance friends (and post-college travel buddies) Rachel and Sarah. Sarah previously lived in Las Vegas, which made for an amazing bachelorette weekend there when I was getting married. And she now works in Napa Valley for the world-renowned chef Thomas Keller, so clearly she is winning at living in visit-worthy places.
I will be meeting Rachel in Chicago to fly to San Francisco. We will spend the night and next day exploring, then it's off to Napa Valley for a weekend of food and wine heaven.
The first thing I'm learning about California: bring layers. Expected highs in the 80's, lows in the 40's, and chances of rain are really not helping me suck less at packing. But I DO think I've finally got a handle on my travel attire.
My day tomorrow will consists of driving to the suburbs where I can park my car, taking the Metra into downtown Chicago, switching to the Blue Line to O'Hare (yep, the one that crashed into O'Hare last week…), and flying to SFO. 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles'…. literally. The most important thing for me will be to feel clean and comfortable throughout it all.
I took some advice from Lauren Conrad on travel style, keeping it 'smart and simple'. I tend to get hot in the car, but cold on flights, so this relaxed knit blazer and pashmina can be slipped on and off as necessary. Wearing boots means wearing socks, so I will not have to walk barefoot on the airport floor through the security checks. And I will be pairing all of this with black leggings and my favorite Phish tank. I think I will feel put together (which helps with feeling 'clean') and it's definitely going to be comfortable.
Now, I just have to pack for the rest of the weekend. At least I have this playlist to listen to on repeat:
I've received tons of great travel tips for exploring San Francisco and Napa, but I'll gladly take more. Feel free to leave yours in the comments below!
2012 went by without a camera…..and 2013, too. I was always saying 'they're just so expensive! I don't have the money." This year I put it on my first-ever 'Intentions List' and BOOM! first quarter of the year down, I've already got one. I really think it's a testament to the idea that when we change how we speak about things, and put our goals in writing (where we can track and prioritize them), things actually happen.
I've been having a lot of fun expressing myself through what I'm creating in Photoshop and putting here on the blog. And I think photography is the next step, that will give me more freedom to create.
If you didn't create a list for the year in January, now (the start of the 2nd quarter) would still be a great time. I'd love to hear what you're wishing for this year!
There's illi outerwear, which produces outdoor sports gear, and just got products onto the shelves of a popular shop in Breckenridge. Beets + Beats Farm, the CSA run by a sweet, little family in the Chicago suburbs. Leafgirl, an organic salon in the Quad Cities, and many more. All young. All running their businesses with socially and environmentally sound business practices. People with companies that the world needs, and they kindly let me be a part of that.
Websites are the foundation of how I help these emerging entrepreneurs launch their businesses into the interwebz, and I'll soon be launching e-courses on blogging and social media so they can grow their circle, make a great impact, and find more financial success. (They deserve it!)
So, what does that have to do with my hoopdancing/burlesque alter ego, Eva La Vida??
I danced all through high school and college. When I left school, there were few dance/performance opportunities available to scratch my creative movement itch. Until I stumbled upon hoop dancing (just like it sounds, dancing with a hula hoop) and burlesque. Being new to burlesque, I needed a lot of encouragement and nerve-calming. They advised me to think of my stage presence like an alter ego. They said to 'imagine a character bigger than yourself, that's everything you'd normally be afraid to be." Thus, the stage persona Eva La Vida was born, and a whole new life for my performance art was opening up.
Around the same time, I also left my 'corporate job' to work for a small brewery. One bonus was that I no longer had to hide my hobbies like music festivals, craft beer, and all things organic for fear of judgment from co-workers and 'higher ups'. Between the new job and new hobbies, I was meeting a lot of people that I could be 100% myself with. Many of these people had small businesses in the works, and they were finding in me a resource for technology and marketing where they had only had stuffy/expensive/out-of-touch options before. WIN-WIN.
When I started erasing the lines between who I am and what I do for a living, opportunities started to appear.
Are you living with a 'second self'? What lines do you need to erase to get closer to the people who need you and the opportunities that you are perfect for? Let me know in the comments. And, if you are interested in launching your website, or know someone else who might be, check out more info and contact me here.
For me, it's the idea of a physical location for my business, which I've been trying to establish for the last year. First, I had the retail shop, and then I moved into a studio space instead. But, like my friend with her blog, it's something that just never aligned with my life and my lack of desire to work on it (ie. force it) made me feel overwhelmed and guilty. Which is no way for intelligent, creative, capable people to feel! As soon as I made the decision not to renew my lease after this month, it was like abundance just poured in. Overdue checks from clients arrived, new leads came in, and I felt a huge surge of focus.
My fear was that letting go of something so visible to others would make me feel like a failure. Instead it gave me the chance to re-evaluate my purpose and my goals, and I actually feel MORE successful and MORE aligned than I have in months. I think it comes back to this very powerful philosophy:
"Release that which no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy."
Which also makes a wonderful mantra for this time of spring cleaning. You have to get rid of that which does not serve you, grow you, or make you happy to make room for the stuff that will. Spring cleaning, commence!
Whether it's something mental or physical, what do you intend to let go of during 'spring cleaning' ? Let me know in the comments. As for me, I'll be working on clearing out a lot of 'stuff' from our house. Clothes that don't feel like me, books I don't love, and anything that would be great in a future home, but doesn't fit or get used in this one, will be donated/sold/stored.
The simple, handscrawled logo, warm visuals, and clean/minimal design are exactly what I'm all about. I'm excited to finally be sharing the details of my Website Design Services, and look forward to blending more of who I am into what I do as I grow the site. I'm confident that this is going to be the best incarnation of my business and branding yet!
In January, I posted my goals for 2014, and re-launching my website is a direct product of my goal to 'share my knowledge through digital products and courses'. I didn't start designing websites through the traditional avenues of graphic design and coding, so I sometimes felt like a fraud calling myself a website designer. Marketer, creative entrepreneur, teacher, sure. But, designer? Well…as Steve Jobs said:
"Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works."
If you've ever wondered what all is involved in launching a website, I hope you'll check out this page. You might be surprised at how easy it is to understand when I break it down into 3 main steps.
Up next: adding more stuff about me, my portfolio, and my process! Stay tuned. And I would LOVE to hear from you: what are your questions about web design/website ownership?
When I moved in with Matt in January 2009, he had most of the home pretty much how he wanted it. Since the extra bedroom was the one room he hadn't given lot of thought to, it became a place where we smooshed everything 'extra' in. And which I avoided as much as possible. But, a growing obsession with workspaces had me eyeing it as a legit home office. Job after job I was either denied my own space altogether (one boss accused me of 'just wanting a place to put cat photos'), or had one of those terrible drop ceiling, fluorescent light, paper-and-wires-everywhere offices. I was so horrified by these that I would take pictures and send them to friends. I was getting pretty tired of trying to do great work without having a great environment.
So, without telling Matt, I moved everything out of the extra bedroom and bought navy blue paint. Having never really seen my style in action, he was sufficiently terrified. Fortunately, he was not able to convince me to stop, and we now have an awesome home office!
- Move everything out to the garage
- Tape, and then tape some more
- Paint ceiling bright white and repair a water damaged area
- Paint walls navy and cry while edging because I want it to be perfect
- Paint trim (Deciding to paint the floor trim navy instead of white seemed like a HUGE decision at the time. I'm glad I did, it's very streamlined).
- Remove carpet installed by previous owner (and get freaked out when the underside says Jones)
- Lay laminate flooring, and hang mirror and art
- Purchase matching desks, new lamp, papasan chair, and area rug.
- Do tons of organizing/trashing and move everything back in
Of course, there were LOTS of trips to the store in there as well. The whole renovation only cost somewhere between $500-$750! It's been almost 2 years and the excitement still hasn't worn off.
When I started, I didn't have anyone to reassure me that I was making the right choices. Not to mention our 1939 home is full of quirks (like concrete walls throughout and metal floor trim). I had to follow my instincts and be flexible. Have you ever re-styled a room in your home? What were your challenges?