Monday, July 21, 2014

Twenty Seven

Yesterday marked my twenty seventh year on this planet. Twenty. Seven. That seems serious, big, grown-up. A number that takes some reflection and some deep gratitude.

Yesterday, I woke up next to my boyfriend of almost four years, and like I do every morning, I soaked in his sleeping face and felt at home, a deep sense of trust and unparalleled vulnerability. It amazes me that after all of these days and nights,  he still finds new ways to gaze into my eyes and make me feel as if I am the only person in the world that has ever mattered this much.

This year marked the first since moving to Los Angeles that I had a tribe to celebrate beside. A group of beautiful human beings that inspire, motivate, champion, root for, challenge, ground, and uplift me; each and every day. As the night wound down and the glasses filled with dark red wine, we fell into a easy laughter; a small group that was open and willing to get to know the neighbor next to them with ease and openness. I am so grateful for this family. This home away from home. Without them I would be lost here, in this confusing and often heart breaking city. But with these people in my life, I find that I am able to stand a bit straighter, feel a bit softer, and love a bit bigger that I thought imaginable.

This is for you. Those of you that let me know that I have a place in your life  and that it is meaningful and deep. To all of you, you warm my heart and make it easier and easier to build a life in this strange and beautiful city. To you I am so very grateful.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Getting REAL by being vulnerable

"What we focus on EXPANDS." -Danielle LaPorte 

Think about that. Re-read that sentence. Now read it out loud. Those four little words can change your life.

Tonight, I chose to dive deep. I opened an emotional canyon earlier today and I didn't realize how much I was carrying in my body; my fears, my worries, my anxieties, my uncertainty. I feel heavy and caged just typing those words. I realized that my body has been trying to tell me, for days, that my mind was weighted down, burdened to the brim. My body was yelling at the top of it's lungs for me to step back, get quiet, and listen to the steady voice that I often try desperately to ignore. But tonight, I opened a book I've been wanting to start for months, The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte and I realized that I needed to get grounded, rooted, seated, quiet, introspective, to go deep, to get real.

I always find that when I make time to shift, I am able to connect sincerely, truly, honestly, and radically. I move from hiding, covering up, being fearful, escaping, to BEING TRULY INTENTIONAL with how I want to show up in the world.

Take some time to get RADICALLY REAL. To focus on what fills you up and EXPAND from that place. Magic happens there.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Roots

"Look up. Zoom out from the daily tasks and see the holy weaving of your time and love and action." -Danielle LaPorte 

My mom: She takes on the world; FULLY with lots and lots of questions, no fears (outwardly), no limits, no rules, no apologies. She knows her worth and will fight honorably to defend her strengths and passions. I aspire to be a small fraction of who my mother is every day. 

My granny: Never have I met someone with such soft edges, such grace, such groundedness in her choices, such strength. She constantly amazes me with her depths of compassion, insight, and wisdom. I have and continue to learn so much from listening to her stories, her views and to be a witness to her magic as my grandmother. 

My sister: For her courageous and unbounded life. Kelly moves through the world from a place of joy and wonderment. She takes on every day and finds every ounce of magic in its edges and then fully engages from that place. She is stronger than anyone I know and has such a capacity for warmth, wisdom and kindness. I am so grateful for her wild side, for her magic. 

Take a moment, think about your lineage, the place you started from, the people that gave you roots; Honor them by being YOU. 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

These small things

"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in ones own sunshine" 
Ralph Waldo Emerson 

These things light me up: bright, blazing, warm, comfortable, home. 

I am constantly humbled by the life I've been given, the careful crafting that goes into all the small and finite moments that we share and build with others. I looked at this view and thought; this is where joy is found, where peace is found, where breath is found. 

These small things make up every moment of who we are, we just need remembering. 

I hope that you find a moment today to pause, surrender, and truly FEEL. Remember why you love, laugh, dance, sing, create, build, design, surrender. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Unease and New Beginnings

Recently, my boyfriend and I moved into a new place to call home. It has that first date feeling: I was super enthusiastic about looking for that space that I had been craving for the past few years, open to change, open to new experiences, open to the possibly of a new place to rest of head, but so far it feels awkward, strange, and really vunerable. It's such a strange way to feel after we had been thinking and dreaming of building a new space together. Trust me, I love my partner in crime, I have been waiting a long time for him to agree that our own space was also right for him. And although the space came easily, we literally found a place and were moved in the next week, I feel like a part of me is lost here. Something shifted in my body and in my mind and I haven't been able to settle into my comfort zone. It's been full of challenges, of lessons, of learning, and last night I realized how lucky I am to be so "in it" with someone. I am not alone, walking in the dark, with my eyes closed. I get to wake up, kiss that man beside me, and feel grateful. EVERYDAY. I've shared countless firsts with this man of mine, life has been teaching us the meaning of change and challenge, but we are always in cahoots, really in in together. So bring on the discomfort, find a way to let your light shine, and know that life is just asking you to show up fully to who you are, nothing more and nothing less. It's harder than it sounds, but I love the way that feels. 

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