Monthly Archives

June 2015

Art & Creativity Body & Mind

Creativity for Emotional Wellbeing

June 29, 2015

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I haven’t been making time for art. Instead of picking up my brush at night I’ve been escaping to Instagram or Netflix or simply cleaning up my house. The guitar hasn’t sounded sweet enough in my hands, cooking has become a chore, and my concepts on my canvases feel insufficient. My temper’s been short and I haven’t sat with Amelie to collage or draw. To be honest, life has felt very dull these past several days; there’s a low vibration in my body.

When was the last time you were here? Waiting to “feel it”? Creative slumps are such a catch 22; you feel too low to create, but you’re low because you’re not creating. The difficult thing to remember is that art doesn’t need you to do anything except show up, and then it simply flows out. And the slump is a distant memory.

Even though I’m in this sort of depression, I’m familiar with the escape-route.  I was fortunate enough to have found my center at a young age: to be familiar with the grounding effects of art-making. My parents “unschooled” me by simply working alongside me, running their businesses, making their art, and answering any questions I had along the way. My mom is an artist and my dad is a jack-of-all-trades, so something was always being made. By being unschooled I basically learned how make art and then sell it. Yet, the most valuable tools I came away with from my unique upbringing were certainly not tools for economic success. They were tools for maintaining emotional wellbeing.

By remembering the lessons clarified below, I’m reminded of the closeness of high-vibrational living via art-making. Contentment is literally at our fingertips.

Creativity for Happiness

Art Shows the Soul

Art makes possible the visualization of the things that previously had no form. The things we feel but have no words for, the dreams we’ve had, subconscious memories. Therapists have children draw to reveal things that can’t be said, because making art allows them to reveal their poetic depths.

Even when a work of art is a totally realistic representation of the world, there is a life-long journey that must be carried out before the idea is sparked within one’s mind.  Making art is one of the easiest ways to get to know yourself.

When you’re busy being your own authentic self it’s more difficult to find the time to compare yourself to others. Contentment and acceptance of others begins to replace the comparison and judgement.

Creating Feels Good

The act of creation, be it through art, music, cooking, sewing, photography, or knitting,  actually releases dopamine, just like sex, sleeping, and heroin.

I am personally significantly happier when I have several artistic projects going. Luckily for me, my day-job requires me to be creative, so I usually don’t go through withdrawals.

Detachment

When I first began working in clay I quickly learned that kilns have a way of taking a large chunk of the creative process out of your hands. Sometimes things blow up. Sometimes a glaze comes out thin, or a very different color than anticipated, or it makes your pot fuze to the bottom of the kiln. With more experience you gain control over the outcome of the process, but you still must learn to accept unanticipated outcomes and enjoy the experience of uncertainty. The journey becomes the joy as you detach from the end result.

Detachment doesn’t mean that you don’t give a crap about anything. It means that you can see past the grief of loss and appreciate the greater experience. It also allows you to take more risks and not live in fear of loss or inadequacy. Less fear = more love = happiness!

Infinite Perceptions

Each work of art is the direct regurgitation of someone’s reality at that moment in time. Everyone has very specific associations related to their 5 senses that is never replicated, so a resulting work of art is a true snapshot of the soul.

When critiquing someone else’s art it is easy to see its surface-value… yet, to remember that the finished product is the product of someone’s unique experience is very humbling.  When a landscape is painted from observation, a photo, or the imagination, no one will ever replicate it.

Respecting that we are all having different experiences allows us to acknowledge the value of our selves.   This not only encourages compassion for ourselves, but for those around us. It’s harder to take things personally, and it’s easier to let go of the things we don’t understand.

Personal Responsibility & Taking Control

A mistake within a work of art can be “fixed” 99% of the time. Sometimes “fixing” the “mistake” involves completely changing the direction in which the work was initially headed, but art never has one answer.

When this mentality seeps into daily life we are inspired to take action and change the things that no longer serve us. Many people feel that they are a victim of bad luck and circumstance, but the creative knows that there are infinite possibilities to try and experiment with to manipulate time & space in order to manifest a reality worth living.

Centeredness & Meditation

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi dedicates his life to studying what makes people happy.  In his his Ted Talk below he explains that activities that bring out a state of “flow” not only provide momentary pleasure, but lasting satisfaction.

“When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life. You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.” – Csikszentmihalyi

Flow, or the act of creation, produces effects within the body that are similar to Meditation. Science has shown that meditation can, among other things, reduce stress and fight/flight responses.

Meditation is a practice that reminds your body, mind and spirit what it feels like to come back to the middle. If you remember what the center feels like, it’s easier to return there when you are confronted with stressful or obnoxious situations.

Create this July

In an effort to experience the positive effects of art-making as a community, this month we challenge you to take creation into your daily life with us. Each day, try to spend at least a few minutes on something creative.

Here’s a list of 30 non-committal projects to inspire, in no particular order:

  1. Doodle your family members as animals
  2. Start an art journal
  3. Crochet x-mas presents
  4. Paint your emotions
  5. Make a puzzle & send it to someone small
  6. Instagram artistically
  7. Make outdoor art
  8. Make co okies without a recipe
  9. Write a poem to your bestie
  10. Color in a coloring book
  11. Make Shrinky Dink earrings for all your ladies
  12. Learn how to do nail art
  13. Build a rock wall
  14. Learn to play the harmonica
  15. Take a photo per day of yourself or your kids
  16. Draw your bedroom
  17. Arrange a bouquet of flowers
  18. Write new kid song lyrics to a pop song
  19. Learn to embroider
  20. Choreograph a dance to Spice Up Your Life with your niece
  21. Find an ecstatic dance venue and go
  22. Make prayer flags
  23. Dress up for the 4th of July
  24. Carve potatoes into stamps: design your own textiles
  25. Sit down with your favorite little and scribble as fast as you can, with as many different colored pens as you can, covering as much white of the paper as you can within 3 minutes
  26. Make your own memory card game
  27. Paint rocks. Or sticks. Or both.
  28. Collect like-objects, style them on the floor, and take a picture.
  29. Get some Model Magic and go wild
  30. Make a flower garland

An Instagram Challenge

If you would like to join us on Instagram (and/or Facebook), we are moving into July with a daily-inspiration list that is so vague that you can make each day work for you within your means. Take a photo (or lots) of what you’ve been working on and tag #SCcreatejuly to share with us! It doesn’t have to be related to our list, we just want to see what you’ve made.

Instagram Art Challenge

Style

Clean & Chic with A Bold Accent

June 27, 2015

Sometimes I go through my closet and feel like I have nothing to wear, so there’s a fun little game I play to create new outfits.  I choose an accessory and base the rest of the outfit around it in a clean and simple way so the chosen accessory pops!  Here are a few of my favorite accessories and how I dress them down so they are the main focus of my ensemble.

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  • Blouse by Zara
  • Hi-lo Skirt by H&M
  • Vintage black slip
  • Gifted jersey braided belt from a friend
  • Antique heirloom gold leaf and tiger eye necklace from my great grandma
  • Antique gold tone bangles
  • Gold tone cuff by Darrell Roach

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  • Crop top by Free People
  • Vintage high waisted black velvet shorts
  • Vintage chartreuse scarf

 

 

Body & Mind Little Souls

Teaching Gratitude

June 24, 2015

Teaching Gratitude

When you practice gratitude, you open yourself up to that bursting feeling of happiness, which may otherwise get stifled or just go unrecognized. Being more conscious of the things you are thankful for makes it easier to recognize how much happiness the little things give you throughout the day, and reminds us of human interconnectedness. Studies show that giving thanks makes for more happy, resilient, healthy, and less-stressed-out individuals, but being thankful takes practice, and training. We can give our children a beautiful, lifelong gift by teaching the importance of gratitude.

When I was little I used to consciously refuse to say “thank you”, and I wonder how great of an impact it had on my perception and happiness while growing up. Now that I hang out with tiny people often, I see that the ones who are happiest seem to have no problem letting you know that they appreciate you and the things that surround them. Although my daughter says “thank you” and gives gratitude kisses more than I could have hoped for, I still want to do everything I can to encourage thankfulness throughout her lifetime. After much brainstorming, I came up with this little list of ways to set a good example and encourage lifelong gratitude. Some are things we currently practice at home, and some are things we could really work on…

Thank the people around you.

Show your appreciation when people help you (even when doing required work or chores), when they surprise you, and even when they quite simply make you feel happier with their presence. This reinforces the fact that the role they play in your life is a miracle in itself.  Learn to take compliments graciously too—  as it completes that cycle of positive intention.  Demonstrating this respect to positive interactions by way of words is the easiest way to be a grateful role model.

Send snail mail.

Show your loved ones that you are thinking of them by sending relatives pictures, and postcards to friends.  This reminds our children that simple acts can easily brighten peoples’ days and helps encourage empathy when they remember how grateful they feel when getting snail mail themselves.

Give and share with friends and neighbors.

Donate old toys or clothes, share meals with friends, and give presents when it’s not a holiday.  Giving is the easiest way to build up the ego, and feeling confident and happy with ourselves only gives us more reasons to be grateful.  Sharing nourishes from the inside out, and helps remind us what we value in our old friends, encouraging a natural reciprocity of love and affection.  Taking the time to pick out a gift forces us to step in to the individual personalities of our loved ones, in order to find that special symbol of appreciation for their own unique qualities.

Say “Goodnight Moon.”

Say goodnight to your house, and all the simple things that went overlooked for the day but still served you well. Personifying inanimate objects helps to appreciate them as important energies that make our lives more comfortable.

Bless your food.

Even the littlest blessing helps solidify thankfulness for not going hungry.  In our house we all just hover both hands over our food and say “yummmm” in harmony.  Everyone looks at everyone else, smiling (it’s inevitable), happy to be sharing the meal together, and we’re sending “the yum” into the food.  Simple and beautiful.

Recount your favorite parts of the day.

Lay together and pick out the day’s highlights, which encourages more conscious gratitude in the days to follow. Also recognize the tough parts— acknowledge the challenges and be grateful for them, as they teach you so much, and allow you to grow. Appreciating the challenges alongside the highlights makes it difficult to be hard on yourself for your “shortcomings”, and reminds us that the rainbow comes after the storm. Fostering this thought process at an early age is an invaluable gift.

Beauty

Tutorial: DIY Half-Moon Nails

June 23, 2015

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The Half-Moon Manicure has been around since the 1920s.  From the 1920s through the 1930s both the top tip and the bottom moon were bare or left a lighter shade. In the late 1930s it then became popular to leave just the bottom half moon bare.

This manicure was a symbol of glamour, but it was ultimately for practical purposes: when you had your nails done in those days the varnish took a long time to apply and dry, so women tried to keep their manicures going for as long as possible, and leaving the half moons meant that regrowth didn’t appear so obvious as the weeks went by.

The half-moon manicure has become popular yet again thanks to Dita Von Teese. I too am a fan of the traditional ’30s-’40s half-moon manicure so this is my little DIY on that traditional ’40s pinup manicure.

What you’ll need

  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • Reinforcement labels (found in the office area, typically used to reinforce punched holes, but make a great half moon shape!)
  • Nail care sticks
  • Nail file
  • Nail clippers
  • Q-tips
  • Top coat nail polish

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Steps

  1. I Like to clip and file my nails to a round point in a traditional ’40s style.
  2. The reinforcement stickers stick directly on to the nail to create that half moon shape.
  3. Paint your nails right over the sticker.
  4. Remove the sticker.
  5. You may have some boo-boos here or there. Just clean them up by using the nail sticks, Q-tips and some nail polish remover.
  6. Then top off with some top coat.
  7. Repeat on the other side.
  8. Fin!

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Style

What to Wear When You’re Feeding a Baby Mammal

June 19, 2015

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Although I’ve become a lot less modest now that I’m breast-feeding my second mammal child, I still don’t like revealing my ethnic ta-tas to all the white people. Constant double-takes. “Why are your areolas so dark?!

You may have different excuses for wanting to cover up. I’m going to share my stylin’ breast-feeding tips for all you mommas with any kind of excuse to not use a giant nursing bib while fattening up your babe.

Tank & T

The t-shirts don’t need to stay packed away until Baby is weened.  Tried & true, the simplest solution to hacking the high-teckline-tops-while-breast-feeding dilemma is to put a tank top under it.  Then you can pull up the top layer to free your boob, and cover baby’s sweaty head with it.

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Crop Tops

The trendy new crop tops are my saviors when it comes to still wearing high-waist skirts: unzipping to re-tuck your shirt into your skirt in public after nursing isn’t too classy. I always put a tank top under mine and then zip up a high-waist skirt over it.

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Scarfs & Rebozos

Scarfs are the most versatile solution in my experience, and much more aesthetically appealing than the giant nursing bib.  You can wear a low-neck top and pull your boob out, but then hide that sucker with a stylish, flowy scarf that always matches your outfit.  You can carry it around your neck when not in use to hide leaking-nipple/bra stains, wrap it around your shoulders on the airplane, use it as a baby blanket, wipe up milk that’s dribbling down your baby’s chin, and/or bunch it up for a pillow under baby’s head on the changing table.  Adrienne usually has her rebozo on her, which is a little more material to lug around, but a good option if you’d like something less sheer.

Boleros & Shrugs

Boleros don’t really cover as much as the above options, but sometimes tank tops and scarfs just wont jive with the more formal events. Boleros & shrugs can still cover up ugly nursing-bra straps and act as a curtain/screen to sort of block people’s view of your breast.  Plus, when they tie at your waist like the photo below, they help give the impression that you don’t have a bunch of back/tummy fat clenched into the waist of the skirt that fit you in junior high.

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boleros

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Body & Mind Inspiration

The Dawning of the Introvert: Expressing Your Inner Goddess

June 16, 2015

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I have been absorbed with social media like crazy; as a millennial I’m hooked on juggling my Facebook and Instagram accounts. Social media outlets are notorious for moving our tangible daily interaction into cyber communication, but this virtual environment creates a comforting space for the introvert to inspire and be inspired. It’s a place where creatives can find their own venue and share their ideas and gifts. Social media is not just for networking.

Introverted Inspiration

This all came to me when following a lovely lady on Instagram, Happy Sleep Folks, who shares beautiful, illuminating posts daily with the world. She’s a young new mom named Kristen who is an amazing writer, meditation teacher, and doula. She labels herself as an introvert, yet she has 13,000 followers that are inspired by her daily.  How can you be introverted when you are so socially active through social media and have a huge following of friends that are not only motivated by you, but have become your supportive network? When more amazing ideas are being shared, the fact that introverts can have a extroverted realm by way of the internet is such a beautiful thing.

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A Place To Share Your Inspired Creation

I am an “ambivert”, according to this quiz, meaning that I fall in between introverted and extroverted.  This is probably because I can be extremely outgoing on the dance floor, but when it comes to small talk with strangers, I just don’t know what to do and I get extremely awkward.  It’s not that I don’t have much to say, it’s just that I’m not very interested in small talk.  Blogging is one of the ways I can express myself.  Through blogging and Instagram I have become a better writer, more outgoing, and I am inspired more and more everyday to share my inner creativity and authenticity.

No matter what negative aspects we find in social media, the internet has allowed all of us to provoke, support, promote, and exploit compulsive, inspired creation. The age of introverts has come!