Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Heart Bursting: Kicking Cancer's Asana

Meet Mary Beth LaRue and Jacki Carr of
It was a battle. The alarm just went off and my body knew that the time it needed to reset was cut short. I opened my eyes, slowly climbed out of bed, and slipped on my favorite pair of yoga pants. My body protested until it figured out that we were driving to the ocean and then the spirits began to lift. As soon as I parked my car and found my way down Main St., stopping in for a chai at the hole-in-the-wall Groundworks, and devouring a dreamy slice of banana nut bread, I felt lighter, freer, and sure that the time I missed under my covers would soon be forgotten.

Some mornings we just need to get up early, fight against out tired eyes, and do some yoga with some inspiring souls. And trust me, these ladies, are INSPIRING to the core. Mary Beth and Jacki are the women of Rock Your Bliss, a movement to put goals into your mind and connect them in your body.

"the moment you set a goal it's already in action in your body and in the universe" (Mary Beth)

This particular gorgeous morning, the sun was shining, the air felt crisp, and I could feel the universe buzzing.

The Rock Your Bliss event was held at the incredible yogitoes rExperience Lab. The space, with it's beautiful hardwood floors and open skylight which poured warm yellow light into the room, instantly felt like home. The event was sponsoring Kick Cancer's Asana, a non-profit that raises awareness for Renal Cell Carcinoma. We were all jazzed to be there for an amazing cause and even more excited about lifting the energy of the room to help send those we love healing yogi vibes. The event started with Jacki "dropping some knowledge" and seriously I LOVE WHEN JACKI DROPS SOME KNOWLEDGE! She talked a lot about living our lives ON PURPOSE (not the same thing as WITH PURPOSE). This subtle semantic choice made me stop in my tracks. Yes, living life on purpose, puts me in the now, it holds me accountable to myself and those around me. It means that every action, choice, and decision that I participate in shapes who I am in this moment. That is profound, and we hadn't even gotten to the yoga yet.
Mary Beth was up next. She calmly set the space and got us mentally prepared to absorb Jacki's intention and bring it into our bodies through our practice on the mat. Her flow was playful, challenging, and fun. The most profound moment of the practice was when she said, "My teacher always says that balance is found being resting and playing", and so is the practice. It's about knowing when to take a leap, jump into the unknown, set sail, and then also aligning with the fact that we need to slow down and find a time to rest our bones every now and then. When we live in this place of balance, we are free. Most practices I struggle to find my breath. It's always there, I just don't always connect to it. As I slowed down my movements and focused on practicing "on purpose", MB said, "create a space and fill it with your breath". I let my body talk to me in a way I hadn't been able to access before. I made space for what I needed in my day, in my body, in the moment, and I sent breath there! Rock Your Bliss's mantra "making shift happen" perfectly sums up the mind and body connection that these two women create.

And these two are up to some seriously cool stuff! Follow them and stay tuned in for more amazing experiences to radically alter the way you show up for life.

I know it's blurry. We're yogis, blurry is fine. 
Rad Raffles from Tiny Time Machines and Lalita Designs. They haven't left my wrist for weeks. 
rExperience Lab

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Stationary Crush: No.18 Paper Co

For a while now I've been thinking about a collaboration for this little blog. As I grow up, I am realizing that my dreams are manifesting themselves in my reality. This means, sometime in the next ten years, I will own a small stationary store (a dream I have had for years and thought could only happen if I was someone else in a different life). It will be overflowing with cards made with love from vendors in Southern California and all over the US, a candle will always be burning, and fresh flowers always blooming. I was even thinking about adding a small old oven next to a cappuccino machine in the back, so I could have homemade deliciousness always baking and filling the shop with that scent that keeps people coming back for more.  I want to begin meeting these designers through my blog. This all new monthly interview series will be with visionary small business owners who are taking risking and breaking boundaries to create small and intimate spaces that connect deeply with their clients and find ways to bring beauty into the world with their unique visions. 

This month....

Q: Where does your small business get its name from?
A: I sketched for days trying to come up with a name for the business.  It was so frustrating because everything I came up with was all 'Olive & Wood', 'Fox & Pearl', etc...  and there's nothing wrong with those names, but they just seemed so impersonal.  I was at my sister's house when I saw her Chanel No. 5 perfume (that's right, I was snooping in the medicine cabinet) and No. 18 Paper Co. just hit me all of a sudden!  My birthday is November 18, so that's where the number came from.  It's so simple and there isn't some weird meaning behind it, and I love that about it.

Q:Why did you start No.18 Paper Co?
A: I've always had a love for pretty cards and paper products.  In fifth grade, I traded sketches of NBA team logos for other kids' lunch money, then in middle school, I was selling calligraphy names to my friends.  In high school and college, I still didn't know what I wanted to do when I grew up, but I was always sewing, drawing or creating something.  My first invitations were actually for my sister's wedding in 2010.  Each invitation was done in hand written calligraphy.  Something I SWORE I would never do again, so I started playing around with photoshop and illustrator and found that paper products can actually be handmade without being made individually by hand.  In fall of 2012, a close friend asked me to create her wedding paper products and encouraged me to start my own company, so I did.

Q: What are your daily inspirations?
A: I try to find inspiration everywhere!  Even just going to the farmer's market, I keep an eye out for patterns and textures to use on my next project.  Also, Instagram.  I screenshot everything.

Q: What do you love the most about creating?
A: All of it!!  haha, but really, it's such a freeing thing to have a blank canvas, it's like I have the world at my fingertips, and it's up to me how it comes to life.

Q: What has been the most rewarding experience since starting your brand?
A: It's tough sometimes, running your own business.  There's so much that goes into and it can get overwhelming at times.  The most rewarding experience has probably been having my friends and family stand behind me and encourage me to keep going!

Q: What is your vision for the future of your small business?
A: Right now, we're raising money to buy a letterpress so we can augment our catalog.  My next big goal is to develop the Everyday Collection (greeting cards, rubber stamps, etc...) and expand to selling with retailers across the U.S., instead of just locally and online.  I would love to eventually have a retail store front with a coffee bar and meeting space for clients, but I think that might be a few years down the road...

Q: What is your client to creator relationship like? Do you find it easy and fluid to combine visions with your clients?
A: I think any creator would agree that it's easiest to work with clients who are super laid back and have no specific direction in mind, because you can usually do whatever they want and they'll love it!  However, I LOVE it when a bride asks for something specific or different from what I usually do.  It pushes me to learn new things, improve at what I already do, and find a balance between my aesthetic and the visions from my clients.

Q: What is your favorite card you've designed so far?
A: My favorite invitations were a papel picado style I did for a fiesta-themed bridal shower, see below for design.  We used kraft envelopes and paired them with vintage cactus stamps.  My favorite greeting cards are the foodie love chalk cards!  (terrible name, I know, but they're so cute!!)  OOh!  Or the engagement timeline for Emily and James.  Or Ricci and Isaac's custom suite.  Probably all of it, I love everything I design.  If I didn't, what's the point?

Q: What has been most exciting about seeing your business grow?
A: The most exciting thing is when people love No. 18 Paper Co. and I have no idea who they are. Every time I get a new order, I am still so thrilled and humbled that people love my work!

Q: What is the one piece of advice you would offer to anyone wanting to lead a creative life?
A: Be realistic, never give up, and don't waste time on silly projects.  In the beginning, like with my sister's invitations, I was making hundreds of hand-lettered thank you cards.  They were cute, but so impractical because it took so much time to make them, and even though I thought they were desirable, no one wanted to pay $10 for a hand drawn card.  After that, I spent a lot of time doing market analysis and comparison, finding new and more realistic ways to produce merchandise and I've edited my pricing down to be more in line with other card makers.  Since then, my sales have doubled.  OH, and take pictures of everything you do!  It's fun to go back and see how much things have changed.

Q: What does your desk look like?
A: Oh my gosh, I'll clean it once a week, but in between, it's just piles of glitter, paint, paper, my planner, etc...  I've convinced myself I think better when it's messy so I don't have to clean it often.

Q: Who is your greatest inspiration?
A: I have been most inspired by Bernadette Pascua.  I so often get caught up in trying to make everything perfect, but her style is so carefree and wild, revisiting her work reminds me that perfection is not perfect.  She never colors inside the lines and I love that.

Please take a moment to contribute to Jessie's IndieGoGo Campaign, help elevate a small business and an amazing woman buy this incredible letterpress machine from the 1920s. This letterpress would help Jessie expand her incredible line of stationary and gifts, but also unleash a new creative freedom in her work and significantly contribute to her passions. Jessie is also offering some RAD gifts for those who contribute!! I got her beautiful watercolor wall calendar, which conveniently becomes watercolor postcards when the month is over.

Check out her Esty store here.

join Jessie's mailing list here
Jessie's gorgeous hand drawn card collection. 
Jessie's wedding creations
Jessie's favorite design
Jessie's creative space 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wise Words

watch this. and then watch it again. 


"You're awake. You're awesome. Live like it." 

 this little man makes me believe in things. 

what inspires you? 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Goal Crushing

This week needs some praise, some high-fives, and lots of juicy hugs.

Can we talk about GOAL CRUSHING?

About two months ago, I decided I wanted to up the ante at lululemon and become part of the leadership team at our store. When I first applied for the position, it was a mixture of fear, of not being ready, and of genuine excitement about the future. For the first time in a long time, I wanted to be apart of my job in a BIG way. I wanted to create a future that otherwise would not have existed. I realized at that interview, with two of the most empowering women I have ever met, that I had the unique resources to create a toolbox to get me from where I was and where I was going. This was HUGE. To know that I could create a vision of leadership and then build a path to get there was SO EMPOWERING.

So with the help of my incredible and life altering team, with sheer determination to be vulnerable and open to change, with the excitement of growing with this amazing group of people, I worked on shaping what leadership means to me. I discovered and illuminated my strengths, and found great compassion for my opportunities for growth. Feedback has also become a word of love, not criticism (I can't even tell you how much that has rocked my world).

This week, I CRUSHED my first goal of 2014. I became a key leader at lululemon.

What goals are you looking forward to crushing this year? What lights you up?

One of my next goals is to post on THIS BLOG more often. I want to give you MORE content, exciting and loving content, so keep coming back to see how this little space in the blogosphere grows this year.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Letting go, and Dropping in

I recently decided that in the next five years I want to spend six months in New York City and study with my teacher Elena Brower. Elena's teaching has inspired me for almost two years now. She is a teacher from afar, someone I only get to practice with in person about three times a year. Her deeply personal practice has not only informed her teaching style, but also her ability to truly connect and create intuitive sequences for her students. After my first class with Elena, I knew she would help shape and inform my path as a teacher and reinvigorate my dedication as a student.

There are several long term developments that I need to shift and incorporate into my life in order to apply for this teacher immersion. One of those is to practice consistently with a set of teachers who inspire me. So tonight, in my quiet room, with the windows open to the cool breeze, nothing but me and my mat laid out on the floor, I let myself quietly be guided into a soothing restorative practice with Elena's easy voice taking me on the journey inward.

Sometimes, I think we underestimate the need to push the pause button, to tune in to conversation with our bodies, to listen with intention, to be truly heard. My body was wrecked with exhaustion and long periods of sitting this week and even the smallest of postures made my body sing. If I tapped into this quiet surrender more often, I think we can find miraculously that we can heal our bodies, our minds, our fears, our anxieties, our self-doubts. All it takes is a few moments to let go and drop in. Chances are all you need to do is listen.

What are you letting go of? How are you dropping in?

via mb art studios

I was just recently at the Renegade Craft Show (SXSW Edition) in Austin, TX and had the sincere pleasure of meeting Mary Burrows of mb art studios and discovered her amazing handmade ceramics. Check out her etsy store, she has some many beautiful pieces and will even create custom orders by request. Her pieces truly inspired me.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Values: A roadmap for life

Close your eyes.

Think about those things you hold most dear in life. 

Take 60 seconds to write down all the words that manifest themselves. 

These words are your truth. Your essence. Your guide. The way in which you choose to show up in the world. 

The other night I had the esteem pleasure of sitting down with goal coach, Jacki Carr, and seven other incredible woman. All of these women showed up with open hearts and minds; choosing vulnerability as a place to begin from. It's amazing to be a witness to others vulnerability. When we choose to let others see us when the guard is down, when we feel lost, when we feel lonely, when we feel uncomfortable; amazing things happen. 

We spent the night opening our physical heart space with a restorative yoga practice, then jumped into some heavy mental lifting of the spirits with Jacki, and then spent some time talking really openly about woman and money with my beautiful friend Anna Marie. This was a truly transformative night ya"ll and it all started with a few little words. 

Words have power and deep meaning, but words also serve a multitude of contexts and each and every one of us sees our truth in different ways. 

Truth for me is family. It's honesty. It's gratitude. It's balance. It's stability. It's community. It's support. It's love. It's connection. It's change. All of these values make up who I am at my most vunerable self. It's takes a lot of courage to live up to your values: to live a life that reflects those values and to choose to honor them everyday. 

But as Jacki so poingiantly reminded us, "When you love yourself enough to give it all, you get it all". Vunerability is where the best stuff begins. 

For a few minutes find somewhere quiet and beautiful and then find those words that guide you, that move you, that rock you, so you can find your roadmap to creating a life set in infinite possibility. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Woman I Live Up To Becoming

This is my mom. My guide. My warrior. My champion. My strength. My inspiration. My courage. My beauty. My challenger. My listener. My partner in crime. My predecessor. My advice column. My teacher. My lifeline. My rock. My shoulder to cry on. My backboard. My best friend. My gardner. My wisdom. My supporter. My biggest fan. My risk taker. My source of creativity. My inspiration. My go-getter. My refusal to give up. My self-sacrificer. My open heart. My smile. My joy. My unconditional love. My role model. My reason for existence. My badass. My curly hair. My scarf wearer. My always doer. My can't sit still. My pusher. My independent woman. My goal maker. My identity. My sense of self. My lunch date. My wondrous dreamer.

To you, my beautiful mom, thank you for all that you are and all that I am becoming.

I am so lucky that you are mine forever and always.