Home/Tag: flow

Link Love + Inks

Last night in class, I had an experiment with inks.  I’ve always wanted to try them on their own and someone happened to leave a bunch behind in the classroom, so I ‘borrowed’ them for the night.  Thank you art fairies!

The colors were intense on the palette, but their consistency was very fluid and watery compared to the tube acrylics.  Inks are applied with a dropper, so it’s best to mix them up on the palette first and then go from there.  I did go a little rogue and try to apply them straight to the canvas and…weeeee!  It produced a very satisfying, vibrant spot of color.

It was fun to play with them and see how they moved when they were watered down or when mixed with other colors…

pink montage

Here’s the first piece I worked on.  I loved the colors that came together, but I want to apply something a little more opaque for the next round and add a little collage.  It has a pretty wash look to it,  but up close it looks more like watercolors than acrylics.


And here’s another one I started last night.  It was easy to make a lot of progress with the two pieces because of how free the paints felt and moved off of the brush; I even added a stamp in the mix.  It was a great change from my usual heavy handed-application and it showed me how to create a lighter, gentler background to start with.


Link Love

Some of my favorite links around the web this week:

I loved this post by Austen Kleon–10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered.

Have you always wanted to write a book?  Here’s some inspiration for you on how to get published.

Check out what this little girl and mommy team do with just paper and tape.  The dresses are amazing!

Routines work in small percentages that compound over time.  How to be more successful by changing your common routines.

In the age of selfies, this is a great reflection on who we really are in the digital world.





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Link Love + Inks2018-03-29T20:23:18-04:00

Don’t Be Seduced By The Struggle. {Follow The Ease.}

Don’t Be Seduced By The Struggle. {Follow The Ease.} Move beyond the belief that you have to struggle in order to thrive! (I included some options to get you out of the struggle mode faster.) Click through for easy tips on how to follow a life of ease.

One of the most seductive lies we’re told is: you have to struggle to get what you want.

We are taught at a young age that we must fight for what we want–as if life is a battle and we are waging our own personal war.  This defensive and fearful attitude sets us up for pain and suffering, no?  It teaches us we must always be prepared to engage in combat in order to be happy.  Coming from this perspective, we forget that things can happen easily and effortlessly in life.

If we are constantly reinforcing thoughts about struggle and hardship, how can anything else show up?

I know in my own life when I am trying too hard to make something happen or if I’m white-knuckling it, the object of my desire usually eludes me.  It’s doubly frustrating because I see what I’m doing, but I just can’t get out of my own way.

During these times, if I take a step back and relax a little, things often fall into place.  It’s only when I evaluate what the struggle really means to me does it become clear why I’m pushing through it so hard to begin with.  Am I coming from a place of lack or insecurity?  Struggles are often rooted in fear–taking a deeper look helps me stop making choices out of fear.  When I remember this, I can step back and see where I can choose ease instead.

No matter how you slice it, challenges are a part of life; they build character and confidence.  And when kept in check, these growth experiences can bring us to the next level.  The key is knowing the difference between challenges and true struggle; only you can determine that.   One is helpful while the other instills fear and can ultimately hold you back.

Here are some ways to flow effortlessly through struggles:

1) Live in the moment. Getting what you want out of life comes from living in the moment and enjoying the pleasures that it brings.  Accepting what’s happening NOW and not living in the past or future allows us to enjoy the ease of living for today.   

2) Find pleasure in simple things.  “The best things in life are free” was a popular song for a reason.  When you enjoy the simple pleasures of life, it fills you with ease.  Life becomes fun again.

3) Be helpful to others.  When you come from a mindset of giving, the universe delivers it back to you ten-fold; Karma is what makes the world go around.  Helpful people always see solutions rather than problems + often receive help as much as they give it.

4) Be open to different alternatives.  If you get stuck thinking that only one way will do, it sure limits your options!  People that live with ease are open to doing one thing many ways; they are open to the idea that their way may not be best + are open to try new things.

I know a lot of times when I’m out of my own flow and buying into the struggle, it’s because of pressure from external factors: society telling me where I’m supposed to be by a certain time of life, what kind of work I should be doing, what environment I should be in etc.  It’s in these murky waters that my own dreams and wishes can get lost.

Struggle depletes the inner joy we naturally possess because it is not our instinctive default; happiness is.  

Happiness is the antidote to struggle.  Happiness cultivates moments of ease, especially when we follow our gut because it helps us move forward. With a happiness mindset, things happen effortlessly.  We are meant to be happy.

When I’m happy, I pick the ease-ier way.  I follow my gut, I trust the flow of life.  I don’t get caught up in the keeping-up-with-anyone and I just focus on what my heart is saying.  The struggles seem to disappear.  Choosing happiness brings me back to focusing on who I am and who I am becoming.  And that’s the best place to be.





Don’t Be Seduced By The Struggle. {Follow The Ease.}2018-03-29T20:23:19-04:00

5 Ways I Handle The Holidays Like A Boss. {And You Can Too.}

It’s that time of year when emotions are high and patience runs very low.  Gifts to buy!  Food to cook!  Pounds to avoid!  Relatives to manage!  How do you survive the pressure of it all?  Here are 5 tips on how I get through the holidays without an emotional or physical hangover.

1) Put the fork down. Whenever I think of the holidays, all I think about is the food.  Am I the only one that thinks this way?  I have so many memories of sitting around the table enjoying a feast, but these marathon family sessions lead to eating with total abandon.  At every meal.  I literally have to remind myself that I’ll most likely eat another meal in the next 3-4 hours, so I shouldn’t eat like it’s my last one.  Eating recklessly only makes me regret it the next day so I try to put the fork down sooner and chug water whenever I can.

2) Stick to a workout routine.  I normally go to the gym 5-6 days a week; it keeps me sane and helps me avoid the dreaded muffin top.  When the holidays approach, I start saying things like,”I deserve a few days off” or “working out is overrated”; I know it’s my own slippery slope.  For example, I recently took a couple of days off in a row from the gym and I actually had thoughts like, “Maybe I don’t even need to workout anymore.  I can just wing it.”  That’s laziness at it’s best!  I know that working out in some shape or form is not only good for my health, it’s good for others’ health as well because I will be more pleasant to be around.

root of joy3) Create a tension release valve.  Holidays are an interesting mix of happiness mixed with starter fluid: you never know when tempers will flare up.  The slightest comment from a relative can set off the calmest of folks (even me).  I try to give myself an out for times when I feel I’m reaching my boiling point.

Do you know that song, “Happy Holidays” by Bing Crosby?  It’s a silent rule around the holidays in my family that before you blow up from a stressful situation, you have to sing the chorus to that song really loud.  It’s a funny warning signal to others in the vicinity and it’s so ridiculous that everyone starts laughing; it always breaks the tension.  For moments of stress that are greater than the song– step into a different room, take a few deep breaths and remind myself it’s just a moment and that moment is passing.

4) Check-in.  I tend to get caught up in getting the perfect gift or making sure the food is just right, so I often forget to enjoy the moment.  I’m so embarrassed when I catch myself obsessing over something like the perfect holiday shoes to match my dress. (But you know what? I give myself a pass because dresses are fun and I like fun.)  As a rule,  I try to check in with myself periodically about how I’m feeling, what my needs are and how I can be more helpful to others.  This awareness helps me stay in the moment and enjoy myself.

5) Go with the flow.  There will be glitches in the plan. Like an oven on the fritz Christmas Day (yup, that’ happened to me).  Or a relative that gets drunk and won’t shut up about why I’m not married (again, a stellar moment).  But you know what?  This is life, things happen out of our control.  Sometimes you just have to let go and let it roll.

The holidays can be nerve-wracking but I try to remember to loosen the grip and enjoy the ride– broken ovens and drunk relatives included.

Happy Holidays!






5 Ways I Handle The Holidays Like A Boss. {And You Can Too.}2018-03-29T20:23:20-04:00

What is calling you? Listen to the whispers.

Everyone has a 'thing', do you know yours? When you're not sure what is calling you, it can be frustrating and overwhelming. Click through to read 5 simple ways to recognize what is calling you (and how to listen to it!)

Everyone has a 'thing', do you know yours? When you're not sure what is calling you, it can be frustrating and overwhelming. Click through to read 5 simple ways to recognize what is calling you (and how to listen to it!)

I remember feeling tortured when I had to pick a college major–I was so unprepared to decide my future at 17 years old.  I was a high school senior and was more interested in playing basketball than I was in determining my fate for the next 4 years, possibly longer.  My parents were pushing hard for business school (“Everything is a business, Stephanie!”) and I wasn’t feeling particularly excited about it.

Deep down we all yearn to find our purpose or ‘our thing’;  before we find it (and even after) it’s a confusing journey that takes us through many moments of starts and stops.  I always knew part of my call was creation of some kind–painting, collage, photography, writing–I just never knew how to incorporate it into my everyday life.  All I knew was if I was expressing myself in a creative way, my heart was singing; but it always seemed like a background noise more than a blaring fog horn.  Weren’t calls supposed to be really obvious?   I realized some people’s path are more clear than others.

We all have a calling–whether it’s to be a chef, an ice sculptor or a really great dog groomer–we all have something that beckons to our deepest desire.  If you haven’t found your calling yet, don’t fear.  Here are a few things that may help you recognize it:

1) “What you seek is seeking you” -Rumi.  That man was a genius way before his time!  He’s basically saying that the yearning you have?  It’s something that is looking for you–even if you don’t know what it is yet.  That pull towards something is a sign that your heart is being summoned.  Explore, experiment and keep searching.

2) Notice the pockets of pleasure.  By nature we seek pleasure; in that pleasure is the key to finding your path.  If you struggle with math, that’s probably not your calling.  If you feel blissful when you’re cooking, that’s probably closer to what you’re looking for. (But you new that already, didn’t you?)

3) Don’t overthink it.  People throw around words like “destiny” and “fate” and get all preachy about what they’re supposed to be doing.  Don’t go cuckoo trying to figure things out, just follow your gut and give something a try.  When you act from your heart rather than your brain, you can’t go wrong (and it usually feels pretty right!)  You may find when you open your mind to different options, the universe starts laying them at your feet.

4) Forget what everybody thinks and be the boss of you.  Everybody, and I mean everybody has an opinion on what you should be doing.  But guess what?  They’re not living your life.  When you start to follow what you think your calling may be, people may think you’re weird, crazy or impractical; never mind them.  Follow your gut–let them make their own life choices and you make yours.

5) Give in to it.  It sounds simple, but a lot of times we feel the pull and ignore it because we think it’s impractical or it can’t be done.  That line dancing you like to do?  It’s part of your path–and guess what?  The fact that you love to do it means it’s not going anywhere.  So you can choose to work with it and find a way to incorporate it into your life (yes! cowboy boots!) or you can mentally battle it forever.  Your choice.

Finding your calling is not as difficult as it sounds, but it may come to you in different forms; be on the lookout.

I think it’s natural to feel unsure or tentative at first; the key is to follow the path and see where it leads.  Life is like that–you just have to trust your gut, listen to the whispers and say yes.





Don’t stop there…

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What is calling you? Listen to the whispers.2018-03-29T20:23:23-04:00
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