On Creativity: The Ebb + Flow

The Ebb + Flow of creativity can be frustrating. Click through to see the ways I'm finding my way back to the flow!

It’s been a while since I’ve created in my usual way (painting, collaging + writing) and it feels kind of strange to have been away from it for so long.  I miss my quiet time in front of the canvas but these days of diapers and trying to catch up on sleep, I can’t seem to figure out how to get back there.  I used to take a painting class once a week, I painted in my studio at least one day a week and I wrote regular blog posts to spark ideas, too.  I miss it terribly!

I remind myself that I can still follow my artistic whims, I just need to figure out how and when.  I may not have a block of 2 hours to paint, but I can grab 10 minutes to draw something or connect online.  I have to remind myself that I’m creating a new normal now–I need to be more gentle with myself as I figure out exactly what that is.  I really just enjoy exploring the idea of creativity as a whole and can use that as my guide.  

But what happens when life changes and you no longer have the same amount of time to do what you always did to create?

It’s the ebb and flow that happens with any kind of major change (and little changes, too).  I’ve been here before and found my way back, I know I can do it again.  When I resurface, the starting over point is usually to check in with myself and explore just how things have changed.

I’m still an artist, but I’m different.

Even my space to create is different.  My studio is no longer mine and it’s a disaster, so that doesn’t make it quite so easy to bounce back to painting!  I had to pack everything up and shove it in the corner to make room for the bed we had to move out of the new nursery.  Needless to say, it’s not a very inspiring place at the moment:

Disaster studio


But I know it’s not forever.  See those shelves leaning against the table?  That’s my starting point to get back to creating.  Once I put them up, I’ll be able to move my supplies up on them and be able to make room for more organizing!  One step at a time…

Here are a few others ways I’m trying to get back on track:

  • Regularly check in with fellow artists, even if it’s just to see what they’re up to on Facebook.  Inspiration comes at the most surprising moments, doesn’t it?
  • Stand in my defunct studio to see where I can begin to reassemble it (see picture)
  • Make a simple sketch in my sketch book when I have 5 minutes of quiet.
  • Connect with you on my blog again (aha!)
  • Walk through the paint aisle at AC Moore and check out the new products.
  • Write down ideas for future paintings in my phone.  A lot of times this happens in the middle of the night while I’m nursing Marty.
  • Remember to take it one day at a time–the fever to create will come back.

If anything, this time has been amazingly affirmative.  It reminds me why I love to create (to have some type of expression + connect with others) and that it’s not going anywhere, no matter how long the break is.

Love, Steph

P.S. Want to share your own creative journey?  In honor of connecting again, I created a Facebook Group for creatives so that we may encourage each other when the ebb + flow happens.  It’s a very new group, I’d love if you joined conversation.  All you do is put in your details and then request to join the group on Facebook.  I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

On Creativity: The Ebb + Flow2018-03-29T20:23:06-04:00

Fall In Love With Your Life Right Now.

Want to live the life you've always dreamed about? Click through to read how to do just that.

I remember when I was in seventh grade, I thought that 26 sounded so old!  Back then I was all about leg warmers, basketball + what book I was going to read next.  I figured by 26, I’d be married with a kid or two, but it seemed like a lifetime away.  I never gave a lot of thought to the how or whys of my life, I just trusted that eventually things would happen.

Fast forward to today:  I didn’t get married until I was 41 and had my first baby at 42.  It wasn’t the plan I had, but I couldn’t be happier.  How did I get here?

It was when I was single, living in a great rent-controlled apartment in a hipster town, surrounded by some amazing people, that I really made some big personal moves.   Because when I moved there, I decided I was going to love the hell out of my life for whatever was happening in the moment; I took advantage of every new, fun opportunity I could.  My friends were active with different causes + interests and I grew so, so much during this time.

I started painting and exploring the artistic side that I always tampered down.  In the past, I had looked at it like it wasn’t practical–that I wasn’t good enough to be taken seriously as an artist or that it wasn’t going to earn me enough money to be legit.  I threw that way of thinking out the window and started creating with reckless abandon.

I felt a shift happening in my heart.  I decided to love the crap out of my relationships during this time, too–friendships, family members, acquaintances + even strangers.  Everyone had a story to tell and there was a reason they were in my life; I wanted to know why.  I silently sent them a blessing for crossing my path and for bringing me a message, whatever it was.

From being so open and accepting, I realized that I had become the happiest I had been in a while; I was enjoying my life as is.  

I let go of the expectations + pressures that I, or others had set for me.  I took a deep dive off of the who-cares-what-people-think board and swam in the sea of self acceptance.  And my life started to bloom in a way I never experienced before.

fall in love manyI learned so much from this time: that moments are fleeting and I need to drink it all in as much as possible.  I also learned that if I want more of something in particular in my life, I needed to focus on and appreciate what was already working.  Loving my life in any given moment was the best way to create the life I wanted in the future.  Abundance happens in my life when I appreciate what is.

I realized my life had been built one block on top of another, not in one flash of a lightning bolt; becoming who I am takes time.

Some days I reflect on those junior high projections and think, what if that picture at 26 actually happened?  I might have missed the travelling I did after college, maybe I would have handled the death of my mother differently, or stayed in higher education instead of following the true yearnings of my artistic path.  I might not have experienced a lot of those growth moments had I married younger, before I learned to be more myself.

All of the twists and turns that got me to this point were worth it.  I realized that all I had to do to find the life I dreamed about?  Was to fall in love with the one I was living.





Fall In Love With Your Life Right Now.2018-03-29T20:23:11-04:00

Hanging Out With Mad Mimi {My First Artist Interview!}

I’m so excited to share my interview on  “Hanging out with Mad Mimi” with you!  I sat down with Mira (who is a total sweetheart, by the way) to have a conversation about my art journey + how I am figuring it all out along the way.  I loved the theme that kept showing up through the whole conversation: staying open in any new adventure is so important.

I have always dabbled a little in art through my life, but didn’t make it a priority as an adult until a few years ago. It was as simple as googling for art classes in my area, finding an abstract acrylics class + taking the leap to show up.  Being consistent with this class and making my joy for art a priority brought me to where I am today.  Sometimes it’s as simple as ‘sticking with it’ to get where I want to go.

You guys, this was the first time I sat down with someone to talk about my personal art journey and it was so exhilarating!   And after talking to Mira, it was amazing to see how far I’ve come.  Reflection on my journey has made me appreciate my courage + made me excited about what is next.  I try to always remember that My art + I are a work in progress.

We dove into some great topics that I’m sure you can relate to, especially if you’re embarking on something new as an adult:

  • Dealing with failure
  • Finding your joy vehicle
  • Being true to who you are
  • Letting go of the feeling that it’s been done before (because it hasn’t been done by you!)
  • Ways to handle the imposter syndrome
  • Staying open
  • How you can get started on your journey of becoming more yourself

Take a peek below at the full conversation, hope you enjoy it!







Hanging Out With Mad Mimi {My First Artist Interview!}2018-03-29T20:23:12-04:00

On Being Guided + My Word of The Year

As I was reflecting on not making any new year’s resolutions, I decided to pick a word for the year instead.  I feel like picking a personal word  as a theme is a powerful statement;  It’s a way of setting the tone for what I want.  I’m committing to letting this one little word show me what I need to know this year.

Have you ever felt like you’re being ushered along your path in a certain way?  I experience this all of the time.  It’s not only a gut feeling I get about what choices to make, but it’s also the signs that appear all around me like magic.

If you allow yourself Because of that, my word for this year is: Guidance.

And I’m not just talking about the typical best-friend-or-parental-advice-type of guidance, I’m talking about guidance from my own inner compass as well.  I want to be guided by my heart and feel my way through it.  I want to be guided by signs I get from my everyday life, because those moments can often be the most powerful–sometimes the easiest and best path is what is right in front of me.

When I hear a stranger’s kind word, a nostalgic song or see a cardinal in the yard, I know there’s a message for me there; I just need to tune in to the moment and figure out what it is.

And at times, I can feel almost crazy at the uniquely, bizarre guideposts that pop up:

~ Like when I was feeling a little homesick for the US while climbing Mt Fuji and then ran into a college friend halfway down my descent of the mountain (yes, in Japan!)

~ Or when I happened to find a Nepalese surgeon to help me when I was in dire straits in a village halfway around the world.  He was trained for a short time in NYC and his brother lived only 30 minutes from me in NJ (of course he did.)

~Or how geese  fly over my head when I’m outside and having a particularly sad moment of missing my mom.  She loved geese + I know it’s her way of saying hi.

Those experiences showed me I was being seen + helped along the path I was meant to go.

Signs are everywhere.  They are my guidance.

This is going to be a big year for me.  For my art, my relationship + the dreams I’ve had–they’re coming into full bloom.  I’m going to need the support and strength of an open heart + mind through all of this, so I’m really excited about being guided.

I can’t wait to see what the universe has in store for me.

How about you?  Do you have one word that seems to call to you this year?  I’d love to hear what it is.





On Being Guided + My Word of The Year2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00

A New Year Doesn’t Have To Mean A New You.

Are you tired of resolutions? Me too. Don't reinvent a new you this year--learn to love yourself + others deeper for real fulfillment.

Last year, I took a week to unwind and relax during the holidays.  It was an amazing time to recharge and it reminded  me how much I have to be thankful for.  I had a lot of time to reflect on my past year: I got engaged, moved to a new home and started my art business.  It was exciting, to say the least.

During my down time, I loved to see how others reflect on their past and how they’re viewing their future, too.  As I read a lot of blogs and posts on the web, I saw the usual common theme: how to be better for next year.  There’s always the thought about the new year that we need to constantly improve + keep expanding ourselves in order to be good enough.  Create the new you. But for some reason this year, that thought hit me differently.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m really trying to cultivate more compassion for myself and others, or if it was simply a growth moment, but I felt a little sad about making changes for the new year.  I realized I don’t want to change myself so much this coming year; I kind of like who I am right now.  Because it’s all about being comfortable + trusting our choices, right?  And loving who we are in any given moment.

I’m learning to ride the waves of my life + accepting that there are always going to be challenges.   And I’m enjoying learning more about who I am becoming, without beating myself up about it along the way, especially when things don’t go to plan.

So this year I’m going to work on focusing more on the wonderful qualities of who I am, and how they help me get to where I want to go.  I’m going to love myself deeper.  I’m going to zone in on what is working, because I know that what I focus on, will grow.  And that change to be better everyone talks about?  It will happen naturally.

Because I don’t want to live that shame-based existence that come with failed new year’s resolutions.  I want to let go of that ever-looming pressure to always be more, do more + try harder; it ruins a lot of fun along the way. Things don’t always have to change to be good, I can just appreciate how my life is right now.  And  if I don’t ‘get it all done’, I’m not a failure.

Do you want to join me on this self-kindness march?  Tell me what action you’re going to take to be more accepting of yourself here. Can you extend this compassion + kindness to others as well?  That means letting people off the hook and accepting them for how they are.  Because we’re all ok as is, even when we don’t believe it ourselves.





A New Year Doesn’t Have To Mean A New You.2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00

My Day With The Dalai Lama

You guys!  The Dalai Lama came to Princeton a few weeks ago and I got to see him speak.  I like to think of myself as a buddho-christian so this was an exciting opportunity for me–only 4ooo tickets were available for the event and his last speaking engagement was to over 100,000 people.  Whoa.  Luckily, my sister worked a little magic and…voila!  We were in.  I was beyond excited.

Me and liv

I have always been intrigued by Buddhism; something about this religion’s message always resonated in a deep part of me.  I’ve dabbled in meditation + chanting, and I’m a big fan of Pema Chodron, but I was raised Catholic.  And, well,  sometimes I feel conflict about connecting with the ideas and a leader of a different religion, even as an adult.  Almost like I’m cheating on my religion?  Anyway, I’m getting over it; I just can’t ignore the peace + clarity that the Buddhist beliefs bring me.

And it was even more so after visiting India and Nepal seven years ago.  It’s a long story, but I pretty much ended up on my death bed in the middle of a Nepalese village.  It was a medically freak occurrence that brought me to a precarious state, but the kind people I encountered there saved my life.  Their way of life makes so much sense to me–they believe in compassion, forgiveness and tolerance; they value human lives over things.  I’m convinced their practice of these beliefs is how I made it back home in one piece.

dalai lama signSo when I got home from that trip, I started digging around about Buddhism–I wanted to understand it better.  And the more I dug, the more I liked it.

For example: the Dalai Lama believes that despite philosophical differences, all major world religions have the same potential to create good human beings.  That really resonates with me because, isn’t that what it’s all about?  Individual choice to believe our own way of becoming a better version of ourselves?

We all want to be ‘good human beings’.  And the ability to practice religion is such a precious and necessary component of any culture–multiple and different religions offer a range of perspectives–that’s how we learn and grow.  It’s how we become tolerant, how we learn acceptance.

Suppporters of the Dalai Lama

So armed with this information I’ve gathered over the years, I understandably felt a little buzzed on the day of the Dalai Lama talk.  I was going to see THE man.

The amazing energy of all of the kind, compassionate + devoted people that gathered for the day brought a peaceful, but  intense feeling to the campus.  There were groups from communities all over, showing support and respect for their holy leader.  They sang and danced and dressed in their beautiful robes–I literally got choked up a few times watching them!


Even though we were in the upper level for the talk, it still felt like a small gathering–you could literally hear a pin drop.  Everyone was in awe of him; I think it was because we all felt like we were in the presence of a living legend.  Regardless of your religion, it’s hard to dispute the fact that the Dalai Lama has had a major impact on humanity + the world as a whole with his teachings.

View of talk

Throughout the talk, he was happy + childlike, which was an amazing surprise; he giggled a lot and was playful.  He got a Princeton baseball hat as a gift when he was introduced, and  he popped it on + wore it for most of the talk.  Such a cool dude.

DL in baseball cap

There were even peaceful protestors outside before and after the event!  They were able to share their truth, too. (SO important.)


 So here are a few basic ideas I took away from his talk:

  • Affection and kindness are the answer; no amount of money can create true happiness and inner peace.
  • Compassion and kindness expand the human nervous system.  Anger and hatred shrinks the brain in development. (I’m pretty sure he cited some studies of this)
  • We need more education about inner values–how to develop them within ourselves–and create this secular education of whole heartedness in schools.
  • Trust and fear cannot go together.
  • The real meaning of forgiveness is reacting without anger.
  • Read different views of topics that come up in your life and use critical thinking to come to your own conclusions.  Don’t accept things at face value or how they are presented.
  • Our life depends on hope and the belief that it exists; when you don’t have hope, there is no purpose and it’s easy to give up + believe in the bad.
  • We are closest as a society when we feel we are all the same and are connected.

The levity of his talk stayed with me for days and made me feel really, really good. It was a confirmation that even though it’s not the religion I was born into, I can explore other ideologies when they ring true with me (and not be afraid).  Trusting the path of growing and learning new things can be a wonderful, enlightening experience–peace + joy come in many forms.  And I feel like challenging myself occasionally about what I believe + stand for, helps me grow.






My Day With The Dalai Lama2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00
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