A Clean Slate: New Year Resolutions

A Clean Slate: New Year Resolutions


I think the New Year can be a real mixed bag. On the one hand, as you near the end of the year you are celebrating and pushing every excess you might dare, knowing that January 1 offers you a clean slate. You feel invincible, and that anything you've done to yourself and others can be erased with a swish of a calendar page. On the other hand, you're coming down from extraordinary high times...time off work, time with loved ones, time alone, party time! Creating a balance, and a way to ease into the New Year is a challenge. I used to spend lots of time setting my "Goals" for each new January. Then I realized that I NEVER GO BACK AND REVIEW THEM. And they sit quietly, patiently waiting for me, in the lovely red journal I bought for myself more than five years ago. What's different this year? I'm limiting myself to this post, and 10 minutes to jot down a few manageables. We don't have time to belabor this, do we? I want to make shit happen.

Make Your Magic

I've broken it down to a few categories that provide plenty of room for multiple resolutions. Three's a crowd? Just pick one or two. Rules? Keep it simple and direct. Active not passive. "Oh, so I'm going to be more healthy."  "I'm packing healthy snacks to bring to work everyday."

1. Micro-Resolution: Pick something tiny! I strongly believe it's the little things that make a difference. My husband made a mid-year resolution to make the bed everyday. He's done it, kept to it, and receives uber satisfaction from the practice. Gretchen Rubin gives this little change A LOT of attention in The Happiness Project, which is essentially a year of resolutions. I consider her an expert on the subject.

2. Health Resolution: Who hasn't picked something health-related as a new year resolve? Go for it! If you have a list of desired changes, try setting and achieving them quarterly instead of tackling them all right out of the gate. Set the goal, establish the habit for three months, then hit up another. Bam!

3. Personal/Professional/Parental Resolution: Sure, you can establish one for each of your personas. OR  just focus on ONE area that needs extra attention: "I'm saying 'yes' to my kids as often as possible." or "I'm only going to swear at work if it's an actual emergency." or "I'm going to increase my sociability and engage with the other soccer moms instead of playing Words With Friends on my iPhone."

4. Maintenance Resolution: Say Yes to Success! What's one thing you have accomplished or felt great success from in 2013? Will you vow to keep it going? Maintaining is almost MORE critical than creating the habit. Plus, it's nice to have a leg up on one of your resolutions. Consider it an easy win.

Extra Credit

New Year's Magic: An article published yesterday in The Atlantic, sparked my curiosity about the parallels of religion and New Year's traditions (excess, celebration, coming clean).

Making New Year's Resolutions: 5 Key Questions to ask Yourself, at The Happiness Project

It's a New Day

I'm always a bit delayed on my New Year's Goals...I give myself until January 26th, my birthday, to set the wheels in motion. Also, from Thanksgiving until about now I've been in a bit of a funk. Today I really felt the energy of the new year and wanted to grab it and run (which I did, 11 miles baby!). Between now and my birthday I'm going to lay out a few simple resolutions (in no particular order), and I'm phrasing them in the most productive, positive way possible.

2013 Resolution

"At the end of this year I'd like to feel like I followed through on the commitments I've made to both people and projects."

First in order? To thank and honor the super cool Liebster Award I was given by Go Mama O!


Facts of the Liebster Award

The Liebster Award’s origins are pretty much a mystery. Bloggers nominate other bloggers that have 200 or less followers. It’s basically a “Hey, that’s a sweet little blog you’ve got there. Here’s an award!” You can’t just accept the award. You have to play by the (ever-changing) rules and pay it forward. Then you can put the award on your blog for all to see.

The Rules:

1. List 5 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 5 questions given to you. (My 5 questions for each of the 5 nominated blogs are near the bottom of this post!)
3. Create 5 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
4. Choose 5 worthy bloggers to nominate. (At the very bottom of this post you will find the links!)
5. Go to each bloggers page and let them know about the award.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog. (see the intro of this post!)
5 Facts about Me:
1. I was a total asthmatic klutz as a kid and now I consider myself athletic.
2. I can sing/rap every lyric to Rob Bass and DJ EZ Rock's It Takes Two.
3. I absolutely loved the era of my life when my sole function was to get up at 5 AM to make coffee and get paid for it.
4. I write ad copy in my head and daydream tweets, t-shirt slogans, and headlines that will never be seen.
5. My friends and colleagues think I'm totally organized but I often feel like a lazy, chaotic procrastinator.
Go Mama O's 5 Questions:
  1. You gain 30 minutes of free time. What do you choose to do? I am a total magazine whore. Instead of trying to clean something, fold laundry or something so productive I would sit down and pour over WIRED, Sunset, Women's Health, Vogue, Elle Decor, Vegetarian Times, you name it.
  2. What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Much of my family heritage is English, and we break out the Christmas crackers at our Christmas Eve feast. My aunt and cousins make them, and each one has silly little trinkets and candy. This year we were all treated to fake gnarly teeth, paper crowns, jingle bell necklaces and a custom "would you rather" question to answer out loud at the table.
  3. Name one person who inspires you. This is so difficult. Okay, Virginia Woolf. Honestly, I think she was such a rock star. Totally independent, bright, curious, brilliant.
  4. What’s your favorite type of cheese? Oh god really? I have to PICK? Shoot. Drunken Goat from Spain. I also love Blue Camembert. And the real deal Parmegiano Reggiano.
  5. What do you like most about social media or writing a blog? I love that you can make meaningful connections with other people across the country, across the globe, that you have never met before.

My Five Questions for You 1. If you could pick a theme song for yourself, what would it be? Imagine the opening credits in the movie of YOU, or when you walk out into the ring for the biggest fight of your life... 2. What one quote/saying inspires you consistently? 3. You've been given $10,000 to donate to any one (non-profit) cause. Where do you invest? 4. If you could own one piece of art from any major museum what would it be? 5. What do you consider to be your most brilliant asset?

My Liebster Nominees – Check these ladies out!

http://breakthelookingglass.wordpress.com/ http://relishthejourney.net/ http://notdifferentbutinteresting.wordpress.com/ http://leoniecumiskey.com/ http://clarecooks.wordpress.com/

Thanks again Mama O!

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

yoshimi-battles-the-pink-robots-la-jolla-playhouse-review-28748 I saw Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots tonight at La Jolla Playhouse after rave reviews from my friends, and of course, because the music is by The Flaming Lips. Despite my interest in seeing a high tech performance featuring some of my fave alt music, I had recently absolved myself of going to the theatre. I had gotten to the point where I was purely going to plays and performances because I thought I should. I thought it was SO me. Arts lovin' culture maven musicphile. What? Boring.

As a kid I went to the Guthrie in Minneapolis, in my 20s I experienced American Player's Theatre in the romantic prairie setting of Spring Green, Wisconsin. I even framed my whole 30th birthday around a trip to NYC to see The Producers. In San Diego I've had my share of The Old Globe and the Playhouse. I've been to the Opera! Whatever. I was OVER IT. It was time for me to Be Sarah, the Sarah who falls asleep mid-act-one and wants to duck out during intermission.

Until now. Yoshimi was lovely and amazing. Fresh and futuristic. Heartbreaking yet joyful. The artistic direction took my breath away, and I didn't even nod off once. I can't say I'm back in the game for good. But I will tell you that it was worth it. And that it really was ME, from the inside out.

Preppy Love

L-R, T-B

Women's Authentic Original Two-Eye Boat Shoe, Whales by Enormous Champion at Heath Ceramics, Lands' End Canvas, Route 63 Canvas Leather Trim Bucket Bag, J. Crew Vintage Bateau, Kate Spade's Letterpress "Hello" Calling Cards via Crane's, Lacoste Polo Shirtdress, Ray-ban Aviators, Modern Monogram Stationery from Etsy, Mikimoto pearl stud earrings.

Ever since my trip to Boston I've been releasing my inner preppy. I grew up in the Midwest but had a strong sense of the prep aesthetic...mainly because I grew up in (Lake) Minnetonka where all things Muffy and Buffy were worshiped. I had monogram sweaters, Sperry Top-Siders (in both navy and brown), "duck" shoes from L.L.Bean, a "powder jacket", and pink and green Izod t-shirts that I proudly wore with the collar UP. This, and I made braided barettes for a little side income. I experimented in junior high (it was ugly...) and went back to my tried and trues in high school. Only then it was J.Crew and Ralph Lauren, and my uniform consisted of a men's oxford in plaid or chamois, and blue jeans.

My style has thankfully evolved past the full Muffy stage. I'm loving my West Coast punch bright colors and Palm Springs happy tunics with a little NorCal bohemian mixed in. Still though, to this day, I cannot walk by a sailor striped T without stopping. I still wear my Mikimoto pearl studs most days of the week, and I really love a good monogram. Admittedly, I nearly bought myself a new pair of boat shoes on the recent east coast trip. They'd look so cute with my dark blue skinny jeans and...almost. I may settle for the super chic and utilitarian bucket bag from the Lands' End Canvas collection--a special treat, in honor of my new job.

Getting Ready for Screenprinting at StudioWorks

I can't believe it's been a year since I was last at my first screenprinting workshop at Visual Asylum. I'm back at it again this Friday night for an open studio. Amy said I could use the 4-color press (AWESOME!) and so I busted out my newest design--inspired by the one and only Tim Gunn. I'm obsessed with school craft supplies and I've sketched the Elmer's glue bottle more than once. Practical, chic, fresh, timeless.

Eat Local, Buy Local, Grow Local

After clearing off my whiteboard and having some fabulous women tour my humble little studio I was reminded of the WPA initiative inspired prints commissioned by ReadyMade. My favorite of this group was by artist Chris Silas Neal, "Eat Local, Buy Local, Grow Local" which  you can download and print via ReadyMade*. I love the colors, the layers, his beautiful typography. More! More! More!

This topic coincides with my current affection for Michael Pollan-- The Ominvore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and his newest publication Food Rules...he writes here on the Huffington Post about eating with common sense.


*download no longer available

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.

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...

Looks for the Nook

I'm working on my kitchen breakfast nook (okay, my dad is), and am now ready to get quotes on custom bench cushions and hopefully a re-do on two Louis XVI chairs to go with it. I am channeling a little bit of Miami with green, orange and pink guiding my way. My other kitchen post features a lot of bright white. This palette will give it a fresh pop that will carry through, and connect with other accents in my house.While I dream of owning an Eero Saarinen table, my budget only allows for an IKEA Docksta table. Sigh. For now, this is a fabulous alternative.

I can't wait to get the cushions and table ordered and move the project along. I'm envisioning a sunny Sunday morning with a hot cup of strong coffee, my favorite design mags, and Greek yogurt with farm fresh strawberries, honey and walnuts. Mmmmmm...

Pinball Publishing

Through the ever talented Kate Bingaman-Burt of Obsessive Consumption I found Pinball Publishing in Portland, Oregon. I have no need for a current print run, and like to do work locally, but they are so flippin' cool it might be worth the long distance to work with them on a future project. They recntly published a series of designer postcards which help promote their own mad printing skills. This one is by artist Lisa DeJohn. I'm obsessed with the rounded corners and it appears that Pinball is more than equipped to execute such details.

From Pinball: Lisa DeJohn is a fine artist, illustrator and surface designer living in the North Shore of Massachusetts. She draws inspiration from plant forms, animals, architectural structures and antique paper goods. Her freelance work includes clients such as Chronicle Books, The Land of Nod, teNeues Publishing, IKEA, Godiva Chocolatier and Urban Outfitters.


Design*Sponge rocks. I just discovered two totally cool concepts that I can actually implement without major $$$ outlay, tools or time.

#1. I'm going to use the myriad jars I've been hoarding to set up a little glass photo ensemble. Many thanks to Design*Sponge for this cool post.

#2. A perfect fit with my need for entryway overhauling and foyer fluff up. This little felt cutie is just right for the last minute miscellanea that always seems to be sitting on the floor in front of the door. Love the wallpaper...

Inspired Entryway

My entryway needs a major overhaul. These pictures (via Domino r.i.p., and Martha Stewart Living) are a little jump start to my process. The thing is, I have an entryway and a FOYER. No complaints, it just means that I have room for beauty AND function AND two rowdy 5-year olds.

I'm way into the wire baskets, and would love to be ambitious enough to take on wall paper. Otherwise, I admire the eclectic and homey nature of these vignettes, the bold use of color, and the personal art/artifacts in the heart of an organized hub.

The Book of Love

Over time I've become more fascinated with the fine art of silkscreening. For one, there is a graphic quality to the final product that thrills my heart. Two, I love the idea of creating works of art en masse (albeit by hand), making the final product available to a larger audience at an affordable price point. And finally three: paper, ink, color. It's as close to traditional print journalism as a word loving artist can get.

This love was intensified when I received an email from Visual Asylum's "Studio Works" introducing upcoming Silkscreen Workshops. I hope to attend the Fine Art Prints Workshop next Saturday. Next step...work up a two color design. Happy V-Day.

Artist: Robert Indiana
Title: The Book of Love 1
Year: 1996
Medium: Serigraph, Signed and numbered in pencil
Edition: 200, PP 3/10
Paper Size: 24 x 20 inches

Valentine Making

Thank you to all the cool ladies that joined creative forces and produced beautiful, quirky, heartfelt valentines. "RUSH me to the {hotel} room" "Will you be my monkey?" and "Tickle Tim the Talking Pickle" were some of the fine sentiments shared. Now I'm working with the boys on valentines for their classroom party. They are supposed to be left without names, no "for" only "from". But Max has one gal in mind...Maeve. He wants her to get the one with "kissy lips" and hot lava. MEOW. I heart young love...

Kitchen Inspiration

I'm in a SLOW process of updating our awesome 80s tract home kitchen. Starting with the creation of a breakfast nook. There is an awkward open space just calling for a cozy corner, and my dad and husband are graciously taking this project on. It's just the tip of the iceberg, though as I can't stand the dated and flaking tile countertops and wood cabinets. The kitchen is the darkest room in the house and has the lowest ceilings. It needs a light injection. I discovered a host of kitchen shots that feature bright white floors, which would solve the dark issue. Uugh. My floors are wood, but a bit over done. A little on the orange side I would say...Do I counteract that with white cabinets or go bold and paint everything dark? Oh, and I HAVE to have that red Brady lovin' phone.

{All images courtesy: Domino and Country Living}