Fueling Creativity

A few months ago I discovered Behance --a website/company devoted to enhancing the world of creative peeps--and now get regular email updates. I first fell in love with the Action Books, perfect for my way of tracking notes in a meeting. Today I took the time to check out the latest news, which led me to The 99%.com. I've already watched the 19 min. special on designer Michael Bierut: 5 Secrets from 86 Notebooks, and there are more on my list.

Today's article is Don't Be Afraid of the S-Word and it was a sharp little nugget about sales and self-promotion. Perfect for us entrepreneurs. Then I discovered this one, RSS Creativity: Routines, Systems, Spontaneity, by Mark McGuinness.

Covering the elements of the creative process, McGuinness breaks it down into the three categories shown here: Routines, Systems, Spontaneity. The author offers us "takeaways" for each category, beginning with

ROUTINES. Starting with the idea that "routine is a key that unlocks creativity," he suggests you  "Notice what time(s) of day you are most alert and creative. Dedicate that time to focused creative work. Use the same tools, in the same surroundings, even the same background music, so that they become triggers for your 'creative zone'."

For SYSTEMS, he writes, "A rock-solid productivity system performs a dual function for your creativity:

(1) It ensures that all ideas and action steps are captured, so that nothing slips through the cracks, in your own work and within your team, and

(2) When you are confident that everything important has been captured, you are free to focus fully on the task in hand."

For SPONTANEITY we begin to understand that our really, hard, nose-to-the-grindstone work should be rewarded with breaks from said routines and  hard work--as it is often during these breaks that we are  free to experience and generate the much desired "a-ha" moment.

How do you stay organized and motivated?

Mrs. Meyers

I am obsessed with my sample of Caldrea's dishwashing liquid that sports the scent "Ginger Pomelo".  Of course it's by the same company that created my favorite Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products. Although I thought that Mrs. Meyers was already a bit of a "designer" cleaning product that only sometimes will I splurge on, Caldrea is the high end line. Seriously? Yes. And I'm hooked. Not only do these companies have beautifully designed labels, they have sweet smelling scents. Ginger Pomelo is grapefruit, Asian ginger and and sweet basil. I want to wear this smell. It makes me so happy! Former blue chip marketing exec Monica Nassif pays homage to her mom, Thelma Meyer in this fabulous midwest success story. Celebrating the season, Mrs. Meyers is offering an Iowa Pine Holiday Hand Care and Candle Set. You betcha! A female owned business with ties to Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, this entrepreneurial endeavor is a great inspiration.


My head is freakin' spinning. Maybe I have a month's worth of blog posts in my brain. What happened to the last 30 days? What have I been doing for crying out loud?

At work we launched a new member program I've been working on for the past nine months...The Gallery. In conjunction with the launch came a blog (I post once a week or so...) and new collateral materials. Whoo Hoo! We have 30 members to date...

I'm getting my feet wet as the mom of two kindergartners...in separate classrooms. The PTA is knockin', the Foundation is callin', and daily emails are delivered from room moms. I volunteered to be the "Art Odyssey" teacher for Max's class, and a helper for Beck's class.

I was invited to join a group called the Axiology Collective. This dynamic dozen is packed with intelligence and sincerity. It's been less than a month since I was introduced to the group, but I am truly grateful for the invitation and look forward to the monthly gatherings. And yes, there is a blog (find me there, too)! The ladies have done a beautiful job of designing and documenting the past year of topics with related resources, and now our collective commentary.

Oh yes! I finished up the logo and business card design for a fabulous new matchmaking business called Love Happens Here. Yea Kim! Fun project and wonderful connections...On this Truly Fine note, I was thrilled to be a featured designer at the VIP Grand Opening for Green in Hillcrest. My longtime floral friend, Carlos Franco gave Truly Fine Design a prime spot in his hot new shop.

Which reminds me...the Mister surprised me with a gorgeous floral arrangement from Green after we celebrated 9 years (of humor, of hip hop, of love, of friendship...) at Cucina Urbana near Balboa Park. We sat at the community table, met great people and had a fantastic night with lively conversation. The Basil Martini is a MUST, the egg and pancetta pizza was outstanding (with a Super-Tuscan red), and really, yes, the roasted strawberry frangipane is SO worth it.

Which brings me finally to the last big hurrah of the past 30 days. My very dear BFF Cindy (better known as Cynthia) accepted a job in Boston with Reebok. Last weekend we threw her a party at the East Village Tavern & Bowl. This Monday we'll have our last Muffy & Buffy adventure before she heads to beantown. Heavy sigh.

Inspired by Kate Spade

I've always admired Kate Spade. At first, it was really from a business sense. How does someone create something SO simple--a black nylon bag--and charge SO much...just for a name? That's savvy. Then, as her business developed, I grew more and more enamored with her design and sense of style. We share an aesthetic for color and whimsy, modern mixed with vintage. I launched Truly Fine nearly two years ago and later found her line of paper goods. I love her sense of humor and think the partnership she established with Cranes a smart move.

After creating mini "hosting" and "guesting" guides for the holidays I discovered her little book trilogy--Occasions, Manners, & Style. Lovely illustrations and well written. One of those moments where I actually wanted to BE Kate Spade. Finally, she has a fun part of her website called "Behind the Curtain" and the design of it is SO chic! I love the layout, the color, everything. It's a poor screenshot, I admit, but wanted to include just the same...

She is a creative modern woman whom I admire still--an entrepreneur and style icon who continues to inspire me in all that I do.

Keeping it Real

I knew that starting my own business was not going to be easy. I just thought it would be easier to stay fired up about it! But being a perfectionist can really screw you up...for one, I refused to draft a news release about Truly Fine because I thought that I needed to accomplish key milestones before I was viewed as legitimate. And I couldn't sent a release having accomplished nothing! What a silly idea. Launching a business is, in itself, an accomplishment. I can't expect having my product in stores, without making people aware of the product to begin with. So counterintuitive! Second, as great as my marketing skills are, I fell into the age-old trap of undervaluing myself and my product, making it a real challenge to feel confident in "selling" the brand. Finally, I experienced rotten business karma when my flagship retailer, Gizmo Garage, closed shop at the New Children's Museum and ran off without payment or goods return. Grrrr.

I recently received a great shot in the arm from a new found friend, starting her own matchmaking business (more to come on this one!). She loves my designs and offered to help represent the lines. We've decided to trade---I'm designing her logo and she's pimping my goods. To get a feel for where I'm at, she asked me pointed questions that made me really acknowldege my strengths, weaknesses and big picture goals. A simple exercise, but wholly worthwhile.

I'm working hard to overcome the challenges that exist naturally and the ones I've created for myself, to enhance and utilize my strengths, to turn my dreams into reality. Wish me luck...

Tweetjacking the Mompreneur

Tweetjacking? I discovered this word on the front page of Alltop.com, which I read about in Entrepreneur (the actual magazine) which led me to a blog about this book called "The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited" but I still don't totally get it. I don't even know how to Tweet, let alone jack someone's Twitter. This is is likely a huge opportunity, but right now, it's a problem for me and (perhaps) for other mompreneurs as well...How do we keep up with social media?

My website is a necessity, but it's certainly not driving sales and because I refuse to invest in a professional web designer, it's not that dynamic. Enough about websites though, the money shot is in social media, like blogs, Facebook and Twitter. These networking vehicles are quite demanding--not just to keep "up to date" but to be ahead of the curve! bursting with information!! comments, links, photos, references, whatever! (notice my sense of urgency with exclamation points). It's also a bit of a popularity contest, what with fans, friends and followers...What's a girl to do?

To start, I'm going to pick up this book. Next, I'm looking for a local network of working mompreneurs (San Diego). Do YOU have any Truly Fine Advice?

Open for Business

Today I took the day off to be with the boys on a "FREE" day. We had a hike on Black Mountain, and then off to run errands. TORTURE. The trade off for the post office, bank and dry cleaner run, was lunch out. Okay, true confessions. We went to Carls Jr. - MAINLY because it was so completely convenient and the boys have been drooling over their play structure for a year. I'd actually never been before--don't get me wrong, I heart my burgers, it's just that I'm true to Hodad's and In-n-Out. Whatev. LONG story short, we got to talking about burgers, and monsters, and so on. The result: The boys are going to open a food joint called Monster Burger--Beck is going to build it, and Max is going to paint the floors--diamond shapes. Also, Max is going to do his art, and Beck is going to put it on the walls, and people can come and buy it. It will only be open for lunch.

True Confessions: I'm Really Disorganized Right Now

This always happens before the boy's birthday...it's fall, back to school time, and i need to plan and execute a great party (of my own high expectations, of course). This is also the time i realize that i need to catch up on bills, my business!, exercise, filing, piles of shit, other. Basically everything i've ignored all summer. How did that happen? We didn't spend THAT much time at the beach. HOW DO YOU DO IT? I need more time in my day. I need less reality TV. I need to commit to my priorities. UUUgh. Are you feeling this? How DO we do it?