Category Archives: Good things

Do you have a secret project in you?

We all have secret dreams. Secret little (or big!) projects that no one is waiting for, that we wonder if we are crazy to imagine, that we talk ourselves out of on the regular.

It’s that book that’s been stirring in your heart, that blog you’ve been wanting to be faithful to, the podcast idea, the e-course, the paintings you want to make into greeting cards…

What is your secret project?

Maybe you haven’t even spoken it aloud.
Maybe you initially shared it with the wrong person!
Maybe you need a safe place to get the nurturing, support and love that project needs. Maybe you just have no idea how to begin!

Earlier this year, I started a tiny project mastermind or a group of totally delightful creative women. We all have different projects (myself included!) + we met on video every week to check in, to share, to break through the stuck places, to celebrate. It was the best part of my week.

That group will be continuing! But I’d like to create a new circle + include YOU as well.

Sessions begin Friday, September 7th, 2018 at 10am PST

Every Friday for 6 weeks: 9/14, 9/21, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12
Time: 10am -11:15pm PST
Investment: $350-

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not so much a course as a way to get support + accountability and advice around our respective projects – ie. blogs, books, podcasts, e-courses. We will do some writing together + sharing.

I want us to have a space to create MOVEMENT and flow around whatever little seed of a dream is stirring in our hearts. To not wait. To be supported in beginning and have a place to keep celebrating the process and encouragement to keep going. Still sound good?

If so, click the link below:

Big hugs + love to each of you,
A
P.S. Not sure I mentioned, but these masterminds are tiny… 3-5 women in each pod with me. You will get a lot of coaching + attention + clarity for your project. These spots will likely go fast! So let me know if you have any questions…

Wabi-Sabi + a sneak peek into joy-seeking class. It starts today!

Day #3:
Wabi-Sabi

The imperfect bowl. The chipped blue nail polish on her fingers. The withering zinnias making a perfect dusty rose. Have you noticed that things that are imperfect are so much more interesting?

I love the following definition found on Japanology:

Wabi-sabi might be the Buddhist view of the facts of existence: Both life and art are beautiful not because they are perfect and eternal, but because they are imperfect and fleeting.

Whereas classical Western aesthetic ideals were of beauty and perfection, of symmetry and a fine finish, wabi-sabi is hard-nosed and realistic: Nothing lasts, nothing is perfect. Accepting these hard facts opens the door to the realistic appreciation of a deeper beauty.

I try to remember this when I am humbled by my own imperfections. When I am caught in the storm of my own inner critics telling me that I’m flawed, not good enough.

Seeing the beauty in the imperfect is a great practice. One that helps me bring more compassion to my fragile ego and tender heart.

 

Above is a sneak peek into the Joy-Seeker’s Treasure Hunt course! 30 Days of creative photo prompts to fill your inbox with inspiration, photo tips and bursts of joy. Just $49.

Class begins today!

P.S. If you are already registered, look out for your invitation arriving this afternoon! If you don’t receive it by tonight, hit reply and message me!

Tooting our own horn + the concept of mudita*

One of my favorite words in the world is mudita… It is a Sanskrit word that means sympathetic joy or vicarious joy.

It’s the genuine pleasure we get from celebrating others.
It’s the deep joy we experience when someone we love is happy.
It’s the vicarious joy that arises when someone shares about something great in their life.

As an example, imagine a big fluffy dog that just arrives at the beach. Can you imagine the glee with which they run toward the water and all over the sand? Did the mere thought just bring a smile to your face? This is mudita. Isn’t it wonderful?

Recently, a friend prefaced her share with, “Not to toot my own horn but…” and then went on to talk about something totally wonderful that happened to her! We have grown up thinking that it’s impolite to share about our successes and victories. Women especially. We feel that we need to dim down, not get too big for our britches, not brag... or people won’t like us.

This might keep us safe, but it also keeps us small.

This is one of my biggest core wounds. You know how it goes. My two best friends turning against me in grade school very suddenly in a one-day-you’re-in-the-next-day-you’re-out kind of abruptness. Without any explanation, I was left to come up with my own – Don’t shine too bright or people will hate you. They will turn against you. Stay small.

Ugh. It’s hard to write these words. My inner critic is having a field day – Are we not over this yet???!! That happened in the 5th grade! Are we still talking about this??

Apparently we are. Ha!

But back to mudita. Cultivating mudita is a buddhist practice… it grows our compassion, it opens our hearts, it leads to wisdom.

I actually love it when people toot their own horn. They/you should do it more often. I want everyone to toot away! I want you to toot right now. Let’s create a culture of mudita where we delight in each other’s happiness. Where we celebrate each other’s success. Where your joy is my joy and your success is mine too. Let’s inspire each other + lift each other up, shall we?

Tell me, what small or large thing are you celebrating right now? What are you proud of?

I’ll start. One of my photographs was in a fancy pants magazine this month!! Lapham’s Quarterly!

I’m also very proud of my most recent work in black + white. I’ve been breaking some new ground with my portrait sessions and feeling excited and inspired! Toot! 🙂

What are you proud of friends? Could be anything – personal or professional. It all counts.

[Video] What is it to be a joy-seeker?

Hey friends!

I just recorded a welcome video for my upcoming course – The Joy-Seeker’s Treasure Hunt – and thought it was a great way to introduce you to the class itself. If you are thinking about joining in, this will give you a sense of where I’m coming from!

I hope to have you! The class begins this Monday, July 30th, 2018.

The Joy-Seeker’s Treasure Hunt!

Art has always been my native tongue. It helps me elevate my sense of wonder, attune my eyes for delight and connect with my heart. It is also the surest way for me to buoy myself and get out of whatever funk, despair or loss of perspective I might have. Walking with my camera has always been my medicine. Maybe it works wonders for you too?

After watching that Ted Talk about joy I mentioned in my last post (Where Joy Hides and How to Find it) I had a light bulb moment – this is what I do! I am a joy-seeker. I find little sparks of delight and joy through my camera! And this is what I always hope to bring to you as well – an accessible way to pivot toward joy, to put our attention on beauty and color and things that remind of the goodness in the world.

What I want is to open up. I want to know what’s inside me. I want everybody to open up. I’m like an imbecile with a can-opener in his hand, wondering where to begin – to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it.

I know it because I feel so marvelous myself most of the time. And when I feel that way everybody seems marvelous… everybody and everything… even pebbles and pieces of cardboard… a match stick lying in the gutter… anything… a goat’s beard, if you like. That’s what I want to write about… and then we’re all going to see clearly, see what a staggering, wonderful, beautiful world it is.” -Henry Miller

If it feels like this is good medicine for you too, let’s do the Joy-Seeker’s Treasure Hunt together! 30 days of photo prompts that will train our eyes toward what’s good in the world.

The fun begins Monday, July 30th. Just $49 to get your joy on!

My natural deodorant odyssey!

I’ve been trying to get off of crappy aluminum deodorant for years + I have finally succeeded! So thrilled that there are so many delicious options now that actually work.

My favorites:

Schmidt’s has the most incredible flavors. The bergamot + lime ended up being my favorite. My only issues with this brand is that with the pot of deodorant it was cumbersome to apply (I think they have discontinued the pot in favor of the stick. Yay!) but the sticks are problematic as well. The rose had a sort of a sandpapery feel to it and the bergamot lime could only really be successfully applied when my armpits were moist and warm from the shower. If you’re cool with that, this one smells delish and works really well! (It’s also possible they have reformulated to solve this issue)

My other favorite is American Provenance! The names of the flavors got me initially – Pinups + Paramours, Firepits + Flannels, Daggers + Diamonds… and the scents are incredible combinations of essential oils. Things like wintergreen, fir + cedar or rose, bergamot and jasmine… yum, right?

This deodorant instantly solved my problem of the stick feeling too hard on my skin. These go on easy… in fact, they are so soft I have to be careful not to put the stick up too high! (I accidentally squished the deodorant by putting on the cap too abruptly)

I thought I would prefer the combo deodorants (haven’t tried all of em) but the Lavender won my heart in the end. It smells like the actual lavender plant. Incredible. The real deal. (Not like a yucky fake lavender candle)

So there you have it! Excited to try more flavors + to finally be off of toxic deodorant.

What have you tried? Anything you love?

 

What I’ve been reading.

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture compiled by Roxane Gay.

Intense. Beautiful writing. Revelatory. Brutal. It helped me understand my own experiences as a woman in this culture. I saw myself in so many of the stories – the way we blame ourselves, the way we tell ourselves it wasn’t that bad, the way we minimize our experiences and take on other people’s shame.

If you’re a woman, my guess is that you have a story like this too.

I have many. Starting very young. (Like five years old young) And I marvel at how that little person kept it all secret, thought there was something wrong with her, thought that she was broken and dirty and wrong. There is still some part of me (embedded deep inside) that still believes that, even though I know (rationally) it’s not true.

This book is tough to read/listen to but I found it revelatory. And like I said, helped me understand my own range of experiences. It might be medicine for you too.

You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

I love this book. And I adore Phoebe Robinson. She is hilarious + offers so much wisdom and insight about race, feminism and popular culture. Amazing collection of essays!

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan

Still getting through this one, but it’s pretty fascinating. Certainly an interesting read for anyone curious about this topic. Wishing it was more personal and less journalistic, but maybe the more personal pieces will come later!

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams

Hands down, one of the best books I have ever read. (I read it every few years or so) It’s a simple and beautiful guide to living well, to manifesting success + joy, while experiencing ease and flow and connection. It’s an oldie but such a goodie.

 

 

Where joy hides + how to find it.

This Ted Talk made me want to shout YES! to my little screen. Ingrid Fetell Lee deconstructs joy and helps us understand what the elements are + how we can create more of it. Mostly, she confirmed what I already know intuitively – that color and wonder and beauty can amplify and grow these experiences. Don’t miss this one.

And if you want to instantly up your joy meter this summer, take the Collecting Color course! (instant access, self-guided) $49

More details here. 

Or Capture Life, my iphone class will get you inspired + taking amazing photos this summer as well. $49

Mostly, I just want you to get out there + find the beauty that’s hiding in your world. Life can be overwhelming, social media can throw you into fits of despair.

Grab your camera. Take a walk outside. All with the intention of training your eyes toward what’s interesting and beautiful. The way the lemons juxtapose against the blue of the sky. The tiny dandelion seeds floating by. The way you feel so small in that grove of redwoods.

Wishing you beauty + color-collecting joy… amplified by sharing it.
Andrea

We’re going to back to San Miguel de Allende!

Dear Superheroes,

If you’ve been following me for a while, you already know that San Miguel de Allende, Mexico is one of my favorite places in the entire world! It’s full of beauty and art, warm + friendly people and incredible architecture. It’s my favorite place in the world to collect color…. and is now my favorite place to bring a group! (We had the pleasure of taking a group this year to explore + learn and create… + it was ah-mazing)

The city attracts artists and lovers of art because the light there is magic. It is that painterly sort of light that exists in a handful of places in the world and it always fills me with awe. It’s a place where you want to drink in the terracotta walls, walk for hours on the cobblestone streets and peek into hidden artist studios. It’s a place where you want to create. (And sit in chairs with wings)

My dear friend + Wild Writing teacher Laurie Wagner and I are taking a small group of creative folks back to San Miguel this January 2019. (January 6th-11th, 2019 to be exact) We will be exploring, writing, storytelling, taking lots of photos and having one of the most creative and delicious adventures we’ve ever had! 

Our days will be a perfect blend of Wild Writing, creative photography exercises, storytelling and exploring this magical city together. We’ll learn from local artisans, take a food tour of the city (total foodie paradise), take photo walks during the magic hour, and wander to the town square where celebration fills the streets at night.

Bring your walking shoes, your favorite camera and a notebook and we’ll take care of the rest! Spaces are limited to 15 – we want this to be an intimate gathering. Our group will be occupying an entire bed and breakfast right in the heart of downtown San Miguel. We’ll have walking access to galleries, restaurants, shops and historic sites. Breakfast will be included each day in addition to a variety of room options.

Here are the details all in one place:

Dates:
January 6th – 11th, 2019 (5 nights at a gorgeous bed + breakfast)

Your investment:
$2,200 (small, private room)
$2,300 (shared room, shared suite)
$2,400 (deluxe, private room)
$2,500 (supah fancy shared suite)

The price above includes:
-Lodging for 5 nights at Casa De La Noche
-Breakfast each morning
-Wild Writing class each day (sometimes we do this twice a day!)
-Magic hour photo walks + instruction
-Group art class from a local artisan
-Food tour of San Miguel (the most delicious way to get familiar with the city!)
-Shuttle to + from the airport (as long as you are arriving in Leon, Mexico (BJX) or Queretero)

Deposit:
$500 (non-refundable deposit to secure your spot!) 

Space limited to 15 lovely peeps. All sold out! Email us if you want to get on the waiting list.
Nab your spot soon. This will sell out!

You will come away with:

A Wild Writing practice: Something that has sustained me and my creative life for more than 15 years now. It’s how I create every blog post + learned to tell the truth in my writing. It’s one part creative practice, one part healing practice. If you know it, you already love it. If you don’t know it, you’re in for a treat. (Led by Laurie)

A camera (or phone!) full of glorious colors + amazing images: And skills that will take your photography to the next level. (Photography led by Andrea)

15 new friends for adventure + support + connection: We will create a gorgeous little tribe for the week. We trust that just the right constellation of people will show up for a really magical time.

A fun + easy creative adventure where you get to learn + grow + play + explore. We can’t wait to be with you!

 

Click the button above to pay your $500 non-refundable deposit + secure your spot! 

 

Catching hail in a jar + seeing the world through creative eyes.

I was in Colorado all weekend for my nephew Caleb’s bar mitzvah. (That’s Caleb and I in the photo above) The day started off full of sunshine – complete with sundresses and bare feet – but by the afternoon there were tiny balls of ice pouring from the sky! What the what?

So we did what any curious Californians would do – we ran outside with a mason jar! Nico grabbed a handful of ice and put it in his mouth, Ben stuck his hand inside the jar until it was numb and I giggled and felt more alive than usual for having run outside in a hail storm. I love how kids understand this intuitively… that to experience wonder fully, all the senses are necessary.

Another highlight of my trip was spending time with my sister’s niece Hannah. She is an incredible artist and poet who just graduated from college + is a total kindred spirit. She leads a poetry camp for girls each summer in Bolinas, CA (hit reply if you want more deets on this) and as she was telling me about it – tea parties, poetry walks, fairy houses – I realized that I do something similar for grownups!

We are reminding ourselves and each other to see the world through creative eyes.

We are connecting in deep ways to our spirits and nourishing ourselves with color and play and the joy of being with others. Simple things. But things that get lost in the busy busy.

I wish we could all be in the same room for a tea party. We would eat pastries + drink earl grey + tell each other stories. We would walk through the streets capturing the beauty we find. We would write love notes and paste them on mirrors in public restrooms. We would remind each other that it’s okay to be imperfect, to not have it all together… and that we don’t have to pretend for each other.

The good news is that we have a great little internet classroom where we can gather! And I am so excited to be with you.(Thrilled by how many of you have already signed up!) If you haven’t enrolled in my newest creation (Summer School: Calling in ease, beauty and magic) you can find out more here!

It will be an easy peasy class – a place to remember wonder, magic + your creative spirit.

xo Andrea

 

The adventure begins Monday, June 4th, 2018

$99 You can still get the early bird price for $49!
Just enter the coupon code: EARLYBIRDLOVE at checkout.