For years now I've been putting together a little refelctive "year in review" infographic. They have been so fun to look back and reflect on! Here are a couple from past years. Thank you to all of you who were a part of this exceptional and memorable year!
With Co. Cocktails is a subscription based cocktail mixer company that's changing the cocktail game. They believe in using cocktails to build community. Using only fresh, real ingredients and no preservatives, they bottle cocktail mixers and ship them straight to your doorstep. Forget buying ingredients and googling intricate recipes - they do all of the prep work so you can focus on spending time with your company.
The Hike is a weekend experience (think sweaty adventures and unforgettable connections) hosted by lululemon in Chattanooga Tennessee involving 30 creative athletes from around the Southeast. All who have jumped the tracks and made a life of their own by fostering the skills they've been given.
Woah. This all began because I wanted to highlight a couple fun and unique Nashville spots. Mikaela Hamilton and I jotted down a couple places to highlight and headed out - right as it began to rain. So we embraced it and created a little Nashville Guide for a Rainy Day. We decided to save the "sunny day" activities for a later date.
And then I found myself here - attempting to create words for a unique guide to opting outside in middle Tennessee. Here I sit, utterly speechless - because I can't put into words how incredible this life is. That this could be just a "day in the life" - and how lucky I am to have it magically captured by Mikaela who brings joy and depth to every adventure (and, of course, absurd talent).
Welcome to the day of my dreams.
1. Salt and Vine
Salt and Vine is a new spot over on the West Side that's recently been the main culprit in the draining of my bank account. It's walking distance from my place in Sylvan Park and I've "accidentally" found myself there at any given hour of the day. It's a gourmet market, wine bar and restaurant all in one. On this particular day we stopped in to stock up on a fancy picnic for our hike.
4001 Charlotte Ave Nashville, TN 37209
2. Hike in Bells Bend
Let me preface this day by saying that these Middle Tennessee activities are not nearby each other. Doing all of this in one day is aggressive. I've done this hike for sunrise to start the day because it's a steep incline but relatively short to the best vantage point. Once the sun is up you can venture on to longer hikes from the same starting point. But the view here is beyond worth it, and a great place to post up with a picnic - cue Salt & Vine goodies. I have this amazing hiking backpack from lululemon that I've taken all across the country from Jackson Hole to Asheville. It's the perfect day-pack.
Here is the address to this specific trailhead.
Anything on, near, or around the water is my hearts cry. This is another early morning weekly activity for me - and was a MUST for this dream outdoor guide. There are a ton of access points to SUP board in Nashville. We're lucky enough to have the Cumberland River and Percy Priest Lake. I own a board and have found a location that works for me, but you can rent boards and hop on the water here. Occasionally (and when the weather is nice) you can find full moon SUP nights and SUP yoga.
4. Country Back Roads to Leipers Fork for Sunset, Southern food and Stargazing
If being on the water is my hearts cry, drives on back country roads are my love language. We blasted Kevin Garrett and Mikaela snapped away with her head out the window as I drove us out to Leipers Fork on my favorite back roads. I (wouldn't, but) could do it with my eyes closed. There's a spot along the way where you can hop out and play on a rope swing or fish.
We stopped at the original Pucketts Grocery for a little meat-and-three (google that if that's a new concept). My heart and soul seem to be fueled each time I venture just miles outside of town to Leipers Fork. Maybe it's the kind and welcoming locals smoking meat outside or strumming on guitar strings, maybe it's the fresh air, or maybe there's something truly magical that exists out here. We ventured just down the road and pulled off to watch the sunset and were so overcome by awe, that we ended up staying for hours. This is a primo spot for stargazing. We talked about Jesus, splendor and brokenness. And drove home, windows down, feeling more gladness and peace than I can put to words.
Above all, love each other deeply.
The Deeply Co is an entity that exists to celebrate beauty.
Through intimate gatherings of music + art, online retail space, and blog - the heart of Deeply quickens at every opportunity to revel in loveliness. You can find them on the road partnering with creatives of all kinds, hosting one of a kind evenings to celebrate one of a kind people. Their shop collection is an extension of our mission - encapsulated in effortless, simple, chic pieces designed by brands we are proud to stand alongside.
They value the art of a beautiful life, and believe that it's luster shines not with career titles, roles, or life chapters - but rather that it softly glows within the unending choice to extend love, ever and always, deeply.
The Deeply Co. is multi-faceted. In the past, it's been a collection of evenings with music with Jillian Edwards as she's partnered with creative companies and inviting spaces. This week, the ladies are launching a shop, new website and brand!
Gin and Tonics are my go to.
I asked my friend Gemaal to come up with the best elevated G+T ever. And he boy did he deliver.
Since the last two Fri-yay cocktails have been gin based, I wanted to play a game of favorites in case it's your libation of choice as well!
1. The Revivalist Botanical Gin
3. Venus Gin Organic Botanical Blend No. 1
This fancy G+T and playlist should give your happy hour a major boost.
3/4oz St. Germain
3/4oz white grapefruit juice
1oz violet liquor
All shaken topped with tonic water + rosemary garnish.
Note: Though my hand looks fabulous decked in diamonds and cocktails, I am not engaged - this day merely overlapped with modeling engagement rings for Consider the WLDFLWRS.
In last week’s post, I talked about the direct link between positive attitude and work performance. This week, I want to share four specific ways I’ve combatted negative thoughts, created more positive habits, and thus, bettered my creative work.
Here are 4 ways to boost positivity in your life:
1. Flip the script.
If you’re a risk taker, entrepreneur, or a business owner, you likely experience some measure of failure on a daily basis. While challenges and failures are both essential to growth, training your brain to be positive in the face of these circumstances is the ultimate key to success.
It is not uncommon to experience self-doubt in the face of failure, but we were not created to stay in it. Often times, we let fear take over and we become our own worst enemies.
In these moments, it’s important that you start telling yourself a different story. Trade in your self-doubt for story with a positive future. The best way to do this is with positive affirmations (short and powerful statements about your character and strengths). You’ll be amazed at how quickly positive affirmations start to shape your reality. The more you focus on positivity, the more you become aware of your negative thoughts and begin to proactively combat them.
“Focusing on the good isn’t just about overcoming our inner grump to see the glass half full. It’s about opening our minds to the ideas and opportunities that will help us be more productive, effective, and successful at work and in life.” ― Shawn Achor
2. Let go of deadweight.
Let go of the things that are not adding goodness to your life. This applies to relationships, activities, projects, and especially what you do for a living. What lights your fire? What’s adding joy to your life? And what’s only adding guilt, anger, sadness, or shame?
If what we do gives us joy, we become distributors of joy, and our world needs more distributors of joy.
3. Learn to accept the things you cannot change.
Positivity meets us in self-affirmation and letting go, but it probably roots deepest in our minds once we begin to accept the things we cannot change. We’ve all experienced how devoting attention to our frustrations and confusion is toxic and exhausting. We expend emotional and mental energy that would be much better utilized elsewhere.
Accepting that there are certain things we cannot change does not make us complacent. Instead, it constitutes a leap of faith and an ability to trust that frees us up to focus on the things we can change.
4. Build a routine around the good.
What are the rituals or activities in your life that energize you? Creating a powerful morning routine can fill you up with positive energy and leave you clear and focused entering the day ahead.
This is what a morning routine looks like for me:
Yoga comes first. After that, I drink a warm glass of water with lemon. I journal, have quiet time, and make sure to write down at least three things I am grateful for. I write down one big goal and an intention for the day ahead. Then I take a few minutes to focus on positive affirmations. I eat a nourishing breakfast—all before I dare check social media or email.
This is the routine that works for me. Yours might look totally different—maybe it's just 10 minutes of light reading or making coffee or listening to music and stretching. The only thing that matters about your routine is that it fills you with positive energy. So ask yourself: What gives me energy in the morning? What drags me down? And start tomorrow with a new routine.
It's the freaking weekend! SALUTE!
We're starting a new tradition over here and want to let you in on it the fun.
Are you having people over this weekend?
Don't know what to serve?
Don't have a playlist to vibe out to?
We've got you covered.
Introducing "happy hour" a series that pairs incredible cocktails with a matching playlist - AND we're doing all the research so you sound like you know what you're talking about when you serve "grown up" cocktails to your friends. Up first, a grapefruit bitters, aperol, blackberry negroni - or as we've named it; Blame it on the Aperol.
Like most Italians, I’ve yet to meet a Negroni I don't like.
Legend has it that this Italian classic was created in Florence in the early 1900's. Equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth - it's hard to screw up a classic Negroni, which may be why it's become such a trendy staple. All Negronis taste good, seriously. It's a little bit of an acquired taste that's boozy and bitter but fantastic. But you gin and tonic drinkers out there - listen up, this may be your new go-to.
We put a funky summer spin on a Negroni. Here's how to make it.
1oz carpano antica
3 dashes grapefruit bitters
2 muddled blackberries
Served stirred with king cube with lemon peel and enjoy.
Common Table is a bimonthly gathering founded on darn good food and community. Sweet friends and Nashvillians Cadence Turpin and Simoni Kigweba created this exceptional concept. Their story resonates in the dinner experience - busy creatives who know the need and value of taking intentional time to slow down and share company over a meal. The gatherings exist as a place to bring neighbors together to do just that. Every two months they set the table for ten, serving a gourmet multiple course meal with paired cocktails & inviting our guests to share a page in each other’s stories.
As chef, Simoni Kigweba, says, “all food tells a story.” Whether it’s where the ingredients came from, what the creative vision for the meal is, or the memories created around it, they believe food fosters narrative. People have been coming together in common places to share food and enjoy one another’s company for centuries, making the table a long-time historical symbol of community. When we host a gathering, they see it as an opportunity to cultivate these notions and create a memorable experience.
To celebrate the newly updated Common Table branding, we asked 12th Table to set the stage with their beautiful rental items and I invited 10 friends to share the experience. We laughed loudly, relished new flavors, and clinked glasses under the twinkle lights in my backyard. My heart was bursting through my chest throughout this night that felt like a dream. Thankfully Mikaela Hamilton captured it so we can relive it over and over.
I understand that visually branding your business can be a seemingly daunting investment - but it should also be incredibly enjoyable and highly rewarding. To help you gain insight into the stages of the branding process, I’m running down what it looks like. And of course, I am here for you when you are ready to take that leap and give new life to a deserving brand. After all, your brand is your most important asset.
My job is to understand the core of who you are and to help you understand how to tell your story visually, verbally and in all of the fine details of your brand. On this journey I am your advocate. I’m here to help you become your own branding expert.
The studio’s approach to design is much more than creating a logo. It’s about developing a brand that is unique to you by digging deep into the message you want to share with your ideal clients! When I opened this design studio, I knew I wanted to do things differently. My mission as a designer is to make clients feel heard, known, understood and as though they have an advocate in whatever brave adventure they have embarked on.
1. Get to know you.
I've developed a Brand Workshop to get to the bottom of who you are, what you do, what ignites you, and why your story matters. We always start with here. Before dreaming up colors and concepts it’s necessary for both of us to narrow in on the foundational elements. This is a deep digging workshop designed to give us the utmost clarity before moving forward. It’s a “grab a glass of wine and settle in” kind of workshop, but is undoubtedly the most beneficial part of the process. We typically book out 4 months in advance, so there’s plenty of time to work though the questions before we begin designing.
My design ethos attracts businesses that are ready to invest in quality brand design, and are eager to be involved in the process. They recognize that strategy is crucial, and spend ample time completing the Brand Workshop. They don’t want a logo only, they are looking for a holistic brand experience that enhances their core values.
Do you have a Pinterest? If so, great! If not it’s super easy to start one. I make sure to see some inspiration before beginning and a Pinterest board usually does the trick. I request to see this right away upon inquiry, to help know whether this branding relationship is going to be the perfect fit!
After we’ve decided to work together, I send over a “welcome package” which includes the invoice for the project deposit, the contract, and the Brand Workshop. During this time, I also do research into the state of the current website and social media voice and content. This helps me get a better idea of where they’ve been and where they want to go.
2. Let it simmer.
Once the workshop is complete, I hunt for repeated words and concepts to give an idea for noteworthy patterns. I relate the first research and “dissection” phase to deconstructing a recipe for soup. I can note all of the ingredients and sort out each element involved. The next step is about putting all of those acknowledged components into a pot and letting them simmer, smells wafting and inspiring creativity. I try to let the design stew in my brain for about a week - sketching and brainstorming.
I recognize that brand identity design is likely a sizable investment for entrepreneurs. I take it seriously, and want to make sure we create something that will be lasting, so I take the time to let it be in the forefront of my brain. This is also is the time period where we set up a proposed production schedule for presentation and feedback.
Rather than diving straight to the computer for design concepts, I prioritize sketching and strategy above all else. This helps inform the design and provide a strong concept. This process also ensures that I don’t fall victim to design trends, and instead that the final visual identity best suits the brand’s needs.
Brand development is my favorite part of the process. Synthesizing the mood boards into three different and unique design solutions, I develop three separate mood boards, color palettes, primary logo and sub logo brand avenues.
The client then selects the concepts that they might want to see further refined. We’ve done a lot of internal research on the best way to communicate creative feedback. For each concept the client is asked to respond with + “I like…” (things they’re into), “I wish…” (things that they’d like to be tweaked) and “What if…” (additional ideas they'd like to put on the table). If the client has found a logo that they absolutely love and would like to move forward with, we move straight into implementation.
Making any final refinements to the visual brand, I send over the Brand Personality workshop to help promote conversation about voice and implementation strategy.
Implementation of the design into print, business cards, website and other collateral is unique to each client but at this stage, we are both experts and have immeasurable clarity into what the brand goals are. This clarity flows straight into implementation and print.
On our team we have writers for copy to verbally tell your brand story, videographers, photographers for visual brand content, and web designers to create a flawless platform.
At the end of our time together you’ll receive a design arsenal with all of the design files as well as a custom Brand Guide that includes a summary of what we uncovered in the Brand Workshop - image styles, a moodboard, a description of your ideal client, a color palette, all of your brand words, typography, design guidelines and more.
By digging deep and laying a solid foundation for your brand now, you won’t have to redesign your content for years to come. My goal is that you become your own brand expert!
Nashville has my gosh-darn heart. That's a given.
But HOW in the world do you jam pack all of a city's splendor and charm into a weekend? Recently some of my best gal-pals flew in from Seattle for a long weekend to visit. Mind you, these West Coast babes haven't "done" the South before, so I felt an enormous amount of pressure to make them fall in love with my chosen dot on the map. After all, Nashville IS more than honky-tonks and country music. If you've been to Nashville and never left downtown, I'm sorry. Because beyond Broadway, you’ll experience a soulful and unique city that's bursting with foodies, culture and socially conscious entrepreneurs.
All that to say, their trip inspired me to put together a couple mini Nashville guides. My sweet friend Mikaela Hamilton and I bopped around Nashville in a total downpour - and enjoyed every single soaking wet second of it.
Cheers to a rainy day in Music City...
1. Steadfast Coffee
Being from Seattle, I'm well-rehearsed in the art of fueling myself for a gloomy day. The first stop is always coffee - and my go to Nashville fuel station is Steadfast Coffee in Germantown. Their matchless coffee soda is always my go-to. If you've never had one, coffee soda is "a flash-chilled coffee base, with demerara and citric acid added to stabilize and preserve the aromatics. The beverage is then carbonated and served with a fresh orange peel, which combine to give your senses a burst of effervescence and brightness." But no matter what your mood, Steadfast will provide. You can see more of their menu and offerings here.
603 Taylor St. Nashville, TN 37208
2. The Groove
The next stop on our tour is over in East Nashville (but we will head right back over the river in a bit). East Nashville has grown like wildfire in the last couple years, but my favorite Eastside gem is one that's been there for years. The Groove is far and away the best record shop in town. This time I left with more Joe Simon, Earl Bostic, Sil Austin, and Erroll Garner records (plus Dr. Dre "The Chronic" on vinyl to stay well rounded). Walk in and let these guys know what tunes you're into, and they'll always guide you in the right direction. I could get lost in The Groove for hours, especially on a rainy day.
1103 Calvin Ave Nashville, TN 37206
4. Earthen Studios
Our next stop is back across the river in North Nashville off of Buchanan Street. Initiated by one of my favorite brands, Nisolo (which moved its showroom to Buchanan Street in 2015), soon other small businesses recognized the potential of the area and quickly followed suit. In the past year alone, several more designers and makers have moved to the area. The collection of shops are perfect for perusing on a rainy day and truly embody everything I love about this city.
On this particular day we spent most of our time in Earthen Studios. It's a collective of artists and artisans including Camellia Fiber Co., Sonadora, and Golden Apothecary. It's one of the most beautifully curated stores I've been to. File under: Shops that make you swoon.
Some of the other gems in the area are Emil Erwin luxury leather goods, Kidd Epps furniture, lighting, and art, Annie Williams leather goods, Salemtown Board Co., and Otis James handmade cap and necktie designer.
1807 9th Avenue North
5. Rolf and Daughters
Let me preface this next one by saying, I'm as bullheaded as they come AND I will jump off of a train the minute something gets trendy. The Nashville foodie scene exploded in the last couple years and culinary explorers have deemed this city suitable as a top destination. Don't get me wrong - my heart beats a little bit faster every time something new and exciting opens. BUT, no matter what, Rolf and Daughters will always be at the top of my list. On a rainy day (or, let's be honest, any day) there's no where else I'd rather do a slow dinner over a drink or two. Some of my favorite meals in Nashville have been experienced within the walls of RAD.
Arguably my favorite cocktail in town, the 1.21 Gigawatts packs a punch with Ford's Gin, Cardamaro, Cocchi Rosa, and Orange Cream Citrate Bitters. Mikaela and I split the Stratcciatella with Squash, Arugula + Toast (which is a must) and the Beet + Sunflower + Blackberry + Rose Geranium. You truly cannot go wrong at Rolf and Daughters - it's where foodie dreams come true.
700 Taylor St, Nashville, TN 37208
Stay tuned next week for a guide to Nashville when you WANT to be outside.
A wise man named Pharell once said
"Collaborate with people you can learn from."
For the last 3 years, I've partnered with BMI to help brand Sync THIS! - an exclusive two-day event connecting the top music supervisors from the worlds of film, television and advertising with the best artists of Music City. “Sync” licenses are agreements for the use of music in tv and movies.
This invitation-only event provides a unique setting for emerging artists, restaurant owners, and tastemakers from the Nashville community to foster relationships with the top music supervisors in the world. The two-day forum features exclusive performances, thought-provoking panel discussions and private dinners at two of Nashville’s chef-owned restaurants.
My friend Penny at BMI is the brain child behind this incredible event. I got to work with her to develop the Sync This! Brand for the last couple years in Nashville and LA.
This year we kicked it off with a private dinner at East Nashville's POP! with chef Daniel Herget and Sarah Gavigan to the serenading sounds of The Roosevelts. After dinner Tony Joe White, The Muddy Magnolias, DeRobert and the Half Truths and Keith Gattis rocked our faces off. Night two consisted of the most incredible private dinner at Chauhan Ale House with celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan. We closed out the event with NF, Lees of Memory and Future Unlimited.
The event was last August, but last night I heard a song on a commercial - not just any song - but a song reaching millions because of the event. It made me think about how our relationships can spark a forrest fire.
I've always wanted to run a design studio that was doing things in a different way. By the time you reach out to a designer for help branding your new adventure - you've already taken the brave leap. We've built a studio around honoring that courage.
But there's more. Acknowledgement of courage and great design only goes so far.
I had an A-HA moment when I heard that song synced on the commercial the other night. I've never heard of a design firm that connects it's clients who are all in the same boat, that gives people an opportunity to connect and rally around each other! Good leaders know they can’t do it all themselves, and that even the strongest person needs support. Why not create a forum for lots of e-high fives and resources, all while sparking positive conversations with 3 other small business owners from different industries from all over the country?
So, pick up that late night glass of wine (you small business owner, you) and e-cheers to building relationships that could change everything.
You are uniquely gifted, spirited, and capable.
But do you speak to yourself as if those things are true? In a culture where social media is constantly inundating our brains, self doubt rears its ugly head in almost every area of our lives. Because we’re now more likely than ever to compare ourselves with one another, we’re far less gracious to our individual selves. We’re more likely to speak to ourselves in a harsh, condemning manner—a manner in which we would feel awful speaking to our friends.
This is a big problem.
One of my favorite books, one I revisit my notes in often, is called “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance.” You can get the cliff notes by listening to the author Shawn Achor’s Ted Talk.
In the book, Achor writes, “Happiness implies a positive mood in the present and a positive outlook for the future.” The book is a comprehensive scientific study about how positive emotions affect our brain functions and change our behavior. He believes a positive attitude is essential for happiness, which is essential for success.
The encouraging news is choosing a positive outlook isn’t dependent on our circumstances. Achor tell us that, “Once we realize how much of our reality depends on how we view it, it comes as less of a surprise that our external circumstances predict only about 10% of our total happiness.”
It’s all about the lenses we wear.
Louis Armstrong has a song called “La Vie en Rose”, which translates as “to see life through rose colored glasses.” The idea is to view life with a blanket of optimism, or to perceive life in a positive light, often thinking of it as better than it actually is. I loved this song long before I understood the content, and it’s stayed with me most my life. I’m grateful, as I’ve needed the steady reminder the longer life’s thrown its punches at me.
And the truth is, we all need the steady reminder.
We are constantly in charge of making the choice to pick positivity or the negative voices in our head.
Put on your rose-colored glasses. Know and feel empowered that you can choose to extend your perception beyond your circumstances. I dare you to choose joy at every turn today, despite what weighs on you. Pay attention to the negative thoughts that enter your mind and kindly ask them to leave. You may find yourself feeling not only happier, but more present, and thus more productive.
It's certainly no secret that Jackson Hole is my favorite little pocket on this earth. Last month I got to gawk at the Tetons again, a view I will never ever get tired of. Thus, I wanted my favorite "neck of the woods" to be the first adventure feature.
I overpacked. Big time. But to be fair, we were spending time in Denver (prior to Wyoming + Montana) where it was 95 degrees. Only to venture on to Jackson where it was in the 30's at night. I didn't know exactly how much hiking we'd be doing and didn't know if we'd have access to laundry so I went a little crazy packing the lululemon gear.
Needless to say, if I could do it again - Here's what I'd bring.
Boyfriend Jeans // Classic Denim from Imogene + Willie // lululemon Hiking Pants // Bandana // You can get your very own Jackson Hole vintage turquoise jewelry from a shop right off the square called Rain Dance Indian Arts // Classic White Tee from Organic by John Patrick // Chambray Courier Shirt // Vintage Tee // &Go Fleece // Cashmere Sweater // Comfy Sweater for around the bonfire // Military Jacket // Poncho // Kick Around Sneakers // Hiking Boots // Nisolo Ankle Booties for a night out on the square // Herschel Weekender // Krochet Kids Beanie // Water Resistant Backpack
I recommend staying in Wilson at the Fireside Resort. It's a grouping of individual tiny homes about 10 minutes outside of Jackson. Staying on the square can get touristy and a little overwhelming during the busy seasons. Wilson has everything you could need including a wonderful little market called Aspens, multiple places to eat, and lots of moose.
Persephone Bakery is by far my favorite little spot for coffee + breakfast. It also doubles as a little market with coffee, Falcon stoneware, linens, Farmhouse pottery, and more!
Cafe Genevieve inspired by home cooked classics, it's a comfortable setting for an amazing dinner.
Bin 22 is a small wine shop, grocer and tapas bar inspired by time spent in Tuscany. You can swoop a bottle of wine from the shop and mosy over to the restaurant's community tables.
The Kitchen is great for dinner. It has an awesome menu and an incredible modern interior.
Mormon Row is an absolute must for sunset in my book. We went out there the first night with a bottle of wine and played with horses in a field for the MOST incredible view of the Tetons.
Jackson Lake Lodge is North toward Yellowstone in Teton National Park, about 30+ minutes from downtown Jackson. If you walk up the main stairs and out the back of the hotel you'll see amazing views of the Tetons and Jackson Lake. Drive nearby to Signal Mountain for amazing views and lots of bear sightings.
Hike Phelps Lake + Death Canyon, Hidden Falls + Inspiration Point (Jenny Lake), Taggart Lake Loop + Bradley Lake Trail and TONS more.
There are also tons of places to white water raft or take a day trip to fly fish.
If you're in town on a Tuesday - stop by The Wort's Silver Dollar Salloon for bluegrass and dancing with the band One Ton Pig.
And the Cowboy Bar is an absolute MUST. No questions asked.
Last week, I posted a blog about living the dream. In it, I challenged anyone reading to envision and write down what they wanted their life to look like 10 years from now. Terrifying, I know… but the process taught me a lot about myself. The biggest being that in my busy-ness, I’d gotten far away from the life I desired to create.
This meditative exercise woke me out of a reactive, chaotic work life and set me on a healthy path toward living my dream. Along the way, I have learned and instilled several steps that have made this possible.
Today I’m sharing five of them with you. I hope these practical steps help move you out of a place of busy-ness and burnout and into a place of balance and inspiration.
1. If it doesn't light you up, give it up.
This applies to relationships, physical activities, commitments, and especially what you do for a living. Despite what you may think, if you don’t love what you’re doing, it isn’t constructive—for yourself or your client.
We give our best to the things that light us up. So, what lights your fire? What ignites energy and joy in you? When you do what brings you joy, you become a distributor of joy. The world doesn’t need more obligated workers, it needs more joyful workers.
So give up the stuff that makes you feel bad. Surrender to your shortcomings, and you’ll find freedom. You can’t be what everyone needs and you shouldn’t try.
2. Listen to your body.
My girl crush, Danielle Laporte, wrote a little blurb about this idea in her book Fire Starter Sessions, and it stuck with me:
“I’ve heard of a Japanese mogul who let’s his meal choices guide his business decisions. While he’s eating dinner he thinks about or discusses the business proposition of the day. If he digests it well, he takes positive action. If the meal doesn't go down well, then the deal doesn't go down either."
As much as this story may be perceivably comical, I do think there is some value in it. How many of us are living with knots in our shoulders and back, feeling the weight of the stress we’re carrying? And how many of us are losing sleep at night for the same reasons? When we’re strained emotionally and mentally, our bodies come along for the ride.
Pay attention to physical pain or discomfort, and ask yourself what needs to change. Make a point to schedule rest periods, yoga sessions, and healthier eating habits into your daily routine.
3. Be gentle with yourself.
Often times as creative types, we are our own toughest critics. Instead of listening to all the voices in your head that make you fear or assume the worst about your work, why not practice canceling them out with positive thinking and truth? I’ll write more on this next week, but for now, make a short list of things you’re good at and keep it on your desk. When you’re feeling anxious or negative, glance at it and take a deep breath. You deserve to be treated with the same gentleness you’d offer a friend.
4. When you’re clear on how you want to feel, life gets easier.
Anything that doesn’t make you feel the way that you desire to feel most, no longer deserves a place in your life. If you desire to feel more connected and available, stop working late nights. If you desire to feel more at peace, stop spending as much time with friends who feed you drama. This is hard at first, but the result makes life easier.
I’ll leave you with Danielle Laporte’s perspective, which I’ve found to be true:
“Be done with feeling guilty for wanting to feel the way you feel. Follow your desired emotion. Don’t analyze it too deeply. Just roll and rumble a bit. It may be there to humble you, expand you, or reinvent you.”
5. Share your dreams.
If you have an intern, partners, or coworkers, make sure you’re sharing and encouraging each other’s dreams. When Jordan, my project manager, life saver, and director of client happiness, came on board, she was the catalyst for doing some of these goal setting workshops. I wanted to honor Jordan’s expertise and foster open communication in our working relationship. And since we were interacting on a day-to-day basis, I wanted to know what she wanted out of life. Learning each other’s values and goals helped create accountability. Do you have anyone in your life that is holding you accountable for the way that you want to feel?
I hope you find these five steps helpful as you start to change the way you live and work. In the coming weeks, we’ll dive deeper into these steps with related tips and exercises. Stay tuned!
Last year, I attended a goal-setting workshop. At one point, we were prompted to write down our answers to big questions such as: What do I want more of in my life?
They poured us glasses of wine, and with newfound liquid encouragement, we put our pens to paper.
My “I want" list was free flowing. I wrote that I wanted more Jesus, wonderment, thankfulness, discernment, simplicity, confidence to follow gut feelings, balance, rest, truth, growth, and grace for myself and others (lots of grace). I also wrote down more tangible desires, such as local food, culture, yoga, cooking, unplugged retreats, safe spaces, safe people, exploration, and to invest in healthy relationships.
We moved on to prompts about values, goals, bucket lists, where we find importance, what matters most to us, and then... the doozy hit. After answering all the other prompts with relative ease, I froze at the sight of what felt like an overwhelming and terrifying question:
What does your life look and feel like in 10 years?
I briefly considered excusing myself to the bathroom to never return. Instead, I stayed and poured another glass of wine.
Likely sensing my nerves, the coach moved us into a meditative state, asking us to close our eyes and picture what our life looked like on that morning, ten years in the future. She asked us to imagine ourselves waking up. What wakes you up? Does someone wake you up? Is it light coming through a window? Or is it the smell of coffee brewing? She continued, You stretch, crawl out of bed, and walk to the bathroom to brush your teeth. Who is looking back at you in the mirror? Do you look tired? Do you look energized? Do you look in the mirror and believe there’s someone beautiful staring back at you?
This helped. From there, I was able to use her visualizing technique to vividly write down my dream day, ten years in the future. I wrote down how I felt, how I spent my time, who was around me and how intentional I was with each aspect of my day.
When we finished, we each shared our dream day.
And just like that, I went from feeling free and focused to completely discouraged.
Here's why: my last year of business was exhausting and quite the opposite of my future fantasy. So much of my future dream day was spent savoring moments and doing life with intention. Reveling in quiet time. Creating with gladness. Choosing local food deliberately and then preparing it slowly for a whole slew of messy people. Keeping my doors open. Unconditional love for anyone who needed a welcoming place. I welcomed the evening at a big outdoor table with wine and laughter and dirty dishes.
I was present in my dream life 10 years from now, and I was absent and drowning in the business I’d created in real life.
You know that quote “create a life you don't need a vacation from?” Before this exercise, I really thought I’d done that. But I had been living under other people's expectations instead. I was suddenly made aware of the stark juxtaposition between my reality and what I truly desired.
Remember that “want” list?
Well, the things on my “don’t want” list would have summed up my self-employed reality a little better. When I looked at my present life, I saw regret, selfishness, burnout, fear, and exhaustion, just to name a few.
Many of the destructive feelings and behaviors in my life were actually the result of saying yes to seemingly good things. But in the process of saying yes, I denied my own self-care. I had taken on way too much, and I didn't know how or when to stop. I was resentful of the busy-ness and simultaneously consumed by it. I told myself it was probably this way for everyone and I should just be grateful. Because after all, I had my dream job, right?
Wrong. It didn't have to be this way.
So, here’s the question...
How do you own a business, carry the weight of its various responsibilities, be creative, make a decent living and live the life you dream of? Is it even possible?
Absolutely. And over the next several months, I'm going to share what I've learned and help you get there. We're going to dive deeper into what it looks like to maintain your sanity as a creative business owner, but this first step of dreaming about how you want to feel in 10 years is a great place to start.
Sometime this month, find a pen, a piece of paper or a blinking cursor, a glass of wine, and write down what you envision your life to look like 10 years from now. Close your eyes, and really envision it. Maybe even start a collection of images that encompass your dream life (some of mine are vulnerably below). Then hold tight to what you write down. I'll be walking you through some practical steps to help you move toward that dream of yours. You can trust me when I tell you it's closer than you think.
Alright, people. I think it's time to have a coming-to-Jesus about social media.
Instagram is not your brand. Instagram is a wonderful tool to tell the world your brand’s story. As a tool, it allows you to interact with clients and onlookers in a unique way, to build campaigns, and to reach new people… but it is not the crux of your brand's success—old timeline or new timeline—I promise.
Stay with me here.
I have two important (and telling) questions for you:
1. Do you remember who was on your Myspace top 8?
At the time, it was a huge deal. But now? 10 years later? It doesn't matter. At all. And it sure as heck doesn't define you.
2. Is your brand believable without the tool?
Say you're on an elevator with no phone service. No portfolio. No proof of how many Instagrammers love your feed. How do you talk about your business? How do you sell whatever it is you do? Is it believable? Can you spark intrigue with the stranger in the elevator without a curated collection of thoughts and images?
I ask these questions to remind you that social media is fleeting, and to urge you to focus on the elements that are your brand. That way, you can use tools like Instagram as a means to better tell your story, and not panic when platforms change their algorithms. You must believe in what you do, and evolve with the resources you're given. Change will come, and I promise you—no strong brand has withered away in the hands of an app update.
Not what, but who is your brand.
“Inside every organization is a driving force, a sense of purpose. This force is your brand. It is what you stand for. It is what sets you apart. It’s not a slogan or an ad campaign. It’s a living thing - the net result of behavior.”
So remember: you living, breathing thing, you—you are a brand. You’re out there pursuing a life based on your unique set of gifts and passions. Your brand visuals, the way you talk about your brand, the way people feel when they interact with your brand collateral, all draw you closer to your dream clients.
With every public action you take, you plant a seed of thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, and experiences in the minds of customers that becomes linked to your personal brand. That's where Instagram serves as a wonderful tool—but nonetheless it is a tool, not the centerpiece of your story.
So, let's maybe shift the focus today.
Focus on who you are as a brand. Work on your kick-ass elevator pitch.
Start by writing down a list of words that excite you or represent your brand. They should be descriptors that speak to how your dream clients want to feel. Break out the thesaurus to spice things up. Then, narrow down your list of words to the most impactful few. Try to choose 3 or 4 words that will be centric to how you describe your brand.
It’s important to know what to say and to understand why what you say is relevant. The power of a brand lies in its unique story. How that story is told verbally and visually should be impactful on its own, even without the tools.
So today, breathe easy and choose to care more about being accurately, precisely who you are than worrying about the things you cannot change.
adventure. vitamin d. chaturanga. good vibes.
This summer, lululemon is taking a road trip across the US to connect with yogis, musicians, athletes and entrepreneurs and to meet some new friends! Traversing 3,657 miles in their big RV, the Summer of Yoga tour is taking place in ten intimate settings across the US.
I was lucky enough to design the men's limited edition shirts, help brand the event and deck out the RV. So when the RV came through Nashville, I couldn't wait to see it. The RV stopped at the Juice Bar and a number of yoga studios around town, drawing a crowd for the pop up shop and various events! That night, over clinking glasses, we gathered at The Old School Farm to celebrate community, music and, of course, yogis!
Images taken by Daniel C White
Ranger Station Supply Co. is one of our favorite brands. They make incredible man candles in whiskey glasses. Recently, we worked together to update and streamline the look. We wanted the design to be a nod towards classic whiskey labels that would attract any old fashioned connoisseur. We also updated the candle label, making it easier for removal when the candle is gone it's time to cheers!
The incredible Mikaela Hamilton, master of photography, took these incredible images!