Category Archives: Uncategorized

Opening the creative channel in San Miguel de Allende

Hey creative friends,

Great news! Laurie and I sold out our 2019 workshops in a hurry! So we decided to offer two different session dates for 2020!

The dates for this workshop will be: January 5th – 10th, 2020 and March 15th-20th, 2020

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!

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. 

My dear friend + Wild Writing teacher Laurie Wagner and I are taking a small group of creative folks back to San Miguel in January and March 2020. (January 5th-10th, 2020 and March 15th-20th, 2020) 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 5th-10th, 2020
March 15th-20th, 2020
(5 nights at a gorgeous bed + breakfast)

Your investment:
$2,500 (small, gorgeous private room)
$2,700 (deluxe, private room)

$2,200 (fancy shared room)
$2,400 (luxury shared suite)

(Limited availability on private rooms so be sure to nab your spot if you want one!)

The price above includes:
-Lodging for 5 nights at Casa De La Noche
-Breakfast each morning
-Wild Writing classes each day
-Magic hour photo walks + instruction
-Group art class
-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. 
Nab your spot soon. This will sell out! (First session sold out quick!)

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! (We will get back to you immediately about which session + what your lodging preferences are!)

 

 

It is solved by walking.

I was talking with friends the other day about how certain activities change your body chemistry, how you can jump in water, or simply walk along the ocean and breathe in that air and your body alters with every step. You feel different. Your head clears, your skin glows. You are quite literally a different person than when you started. Putting on the right tunes, getting in your car and screaming (as one of my friends likes to do) or going on a walk can all turn you into a different you.

On the one hand, this is all very basic and intuitive. On the other, we tend to swirl ourselves into a messy head so easily and forget that we have our bodies as our allies and collaborators in climbing out of our heady tangles.

For years I had anxiety attacks that ranged from inconvenient to totally debilitating. I wouldn’t be able to catch a full breath, and of course the harder I tried to breathe, the worse it got. I went to the doctor thinking I had asthma or some other respiratory problem. (He sent me home with no advice.) It took me years (and a xanax one day) to realize that it was anxiety.

When I moved to San Francisco I decided to try yoga and a mere two weeks into my practice the attacks went away for years. I was able to keep the anxiety at bay for a long time this way (until I became a mom, ha!) and I didn’t see it so much as exercise, but a rearranging of my cells. Like water and food and love, my body seems to need a regular dose of this too.

My friend Sasha said this beautifully, “Often we tie ourselves in knots in our minds. Though frustration comes from the head, often the best way out of it is through the body.”

I have a tendency to try and figure everything out, to try to control my life by processing it all and intellectualizing it. And sometimes that’s appropriate… but I am starting to wonder if a hot shower or a walk around the block or a hit of ocean air could help even more.

Maybe you need to playfully tackle your dog or sing loudly in your car with the windows rolled up or lay flat on your back on the floor and shout, “I surrender!”

Maybe you just need to dance it off.

Or run until your shorts are all sweaty.

Or sing into your hairbrush for a spell.

There is a quote from St. Augustine that I love: “Solvitur ambulando” which is latin for “It is solved by walking.”

Summer Mastermind + other good things.

Sweet friends,

Several of the Superhero School students wanted to keep our magic circle going… yay! And I have room for a few more to join. I would love to invite YOU to be part of a creative mastermind for the next few months!

Each of us will have some kind of goal in mind for the summer – something achievable, measurable, life-giving and delicious – that the group would support us in. (This could be anything from opening an Etsy store to dancing every day to going on 15 dates!)

It’s going to be a powerful way to be connected – in community and accountable. Live calls 3 Fridays a month where we will be in a group coaching circle. I love teaching this way. We learn SO MUCH from listening to each others’ stories, stuck places, dreams + visions. I will also do a private coaching session with you each month!

Here are the details:

When: 3 months long – June, July and August 2019
Fridays at 10am -11:15 am PST on Zoom
What: Summer Mastermind – 8 people maximum
How: Private 30 minute coaching call with Andrea 1x  a month
Live group coaching calls 3x month (recorded if you have to miss any!)
Investment: 595-
Why: Because there is so much love in this virtual room + it’s a blessing to be connected this way. This is a place where we can drop in and be fully ourselves + continue to amplify the parts of us that want to be seen.

If this sounds like a delicious yes for you, hit the button above! (Just a few spots available, maximum of 8 people) Or if you have any questions (or would prefer a payment plan) let me know.

Big hugs to each of you!

Andrea

Booking for Summer Portrait Sessions

The shots of Judi and Bob above are very precious to me! Bob was my beloved music teacher when I was in grade school. He came to school for a few months and sang in class, wrote songs with us + just generally rocked our world. I think everyone loved him, but I might have loved him the most. 😉 He woke up the artist in me with his talent and creativity and kindness.

When he recorded a kids album, he asked several of us kids to join him at the studio (I even got to sing a few solos!) This became my first “real” creative project… and I was deeply proud and unreasonably excited.

This is a reminder that teachers make such a huge (life-changing) impact on our kids with their generosity, presence and kindness. A huge shout-out to all of you teachers out there!

Judi and Bob are now an incredible duo and I look forward to the next time I can see them perform! But for now, I’ll settle for capturing their contagious joy and love. Full circle of goodness.

Do you have any teachers that made a huge difference in your life?

With love, Andrea

We are all a pain in the ass. ❤️

This might sound like an unlikely love note, but hear me out. I’ve been in a new, blossoming love relationship. It’s rainbows + hearts and all the delicious things! And, as is inevitable, we’ve also recently stumbled into a patch of real. That crunchy place where two people come together to do their soul work. That moment when you realize, oh right, there is some healing we can do together here. Crap. I mean yay!

That moment when attachment styles get triggered – one pulls away, the other gets scared and reactive. Preferences don’t align. Wounds collide and call us forth to be higher versions of ourselves. It can be painful.

My own work is a lot about using my voice and speaking my truth, even when I wish my truth was different. I want to be easy. I don’t want to be too much for someone else, or god forbid, NEEDY. For me, having needs is soooooo vulnerable… to be perceived as weak or a pain in the ass is totally mortifying. Plus, I am afraid that once someone sees what an anxious pain in the butt I am, they will run for the hills. Can you relate?

As I shared this with a friend this morning, she said, “But wait, is HE easy?” I thought for a moment. “No!” I said with glee. “He’s not!” And you still love him, right?” she pressed. Now I was getting it. “Everyone’s kind of a pain in the ass!” I exclaimed.

We are all complex creatures – messy and beautiful and wounded and powerful and brilliant. All at the same time. We are not easy and that’s okay. We don’t have to be easy to be loved. We don’t have to pretend we’re strong when we’re not. Having needs and being needy are not the same thing. We can allow our real selves to be seen. #the100dayproject

 

 

Oops! + a way to make your photos look more magical. (Sneak preview of my new course!)

Maybe it’s spring, but holy moly, I have been in a creative frenzy lately! Have you been feeling it too?

For me, it started with a week of intense anxiety that I was having trouble managing… nothing was working! All my usual self-care tricks like walking, talking with friends, meditating couldn’t even touch it. I started to wonder if my trusty anxiety medication wasn’t working anymore! And then… I listened to that quiet voice in me that kept whispering, Paint. Paint.

Within 45 minutes of swirling colors around with my brush, the anxiety had lifted. I was fully present again, in my flow and my joy. I was a bit shocked. And I remembered that this is precisely how I survived my 20’s and 30’s. Before I started Zoloft, I painted. Nearly every day. It has always been (since childhood) the way to calm my nervous system.

And now I’m a painting machine! I can’t stop.

Mother’s Day Oops!

A client just let me know that it said sold out for the Superhero Bullseye pendants! But there are still more available + they are up in the shop now! Last call for Mother’s Day orders! (+ free shipping included)

Here’s a sneak preview of Intuitive Photography! A little post-processing tutorial to get you inspired. If you’re ready for more, click here for more details about my upcoming Intuitive Photography course!

Have you been following me on Instagram? I’m doing a #100dayproject!

I had this one all wrong as a kid. I had collapsed lovability with performance, perfection, getting it right. There was little room for error. In this world, any criticism is a threat to your survival- and all you can do is defend or be crushed. 

What I know now is that we’re all just messy, beautiful humans trying to survive and get love and not get left behind.
I think today is supposed to be day 28 of the #the100dayproject but I am on Day 21. I decided not to worry, just let myself skip days as necessary, because I know that if I think I’ve blown it, I’ll quit. Zero sum game. Old paradigm. And so I’m letting it not be perfect in order to keep going. #the100dayproject

 

What your mama really wants for Mother’s Day.

I went to a birthday party several years ago for my dear friend Laurie. Since she had been going through some major transitions, we wanted to gift her something really special and from the heart. Sherry Richert Belul suggested we all make her a Love List!

A Love List is pretty simple.

1. Write down 10 things you love about this person.
2. Tell them what you admire about them, what you appreciate, why they inspire you. (The more specific, the better)
3. Read it to them in person, over the phone, or put a stamp on it and send it off with love.

As I wrote my love list for Laurie, I was filled with gratitude. There was so much to love about her! and I felt so lucky to be counted as one of her dear ones.

She didn’t know we wrote these lists. We surprised her by reading them out loud, one by one after dinner, and watched the tears fall from her cheeks. She received each gift so beautifully… and we were all a puddle by the end. It was a gift to all of us.

If you are a Bay Area person, you can join me at Sherry’s book party on Saturday, May 11th from 1-4pm in Alameda! We will be celebrating her brand new book – Say it Now + Sherry will lead us in a Mini Love List Workshop as well. Such a sweet way to spend the afternoon!

Superhero bullseye pendants are also a great way to tell the mama in your life she is amazing! Just $79 and FREE SHIPPING for Mother’s Day. Order now for shipping by Mother’s Day!

Did you know I have a brand new class for you?

Low Tech, High Vibe

Yep, you read that right. Low on the technical mumbo jumbo, high on the magic. This is the photography class I always wanted to take! My eyes have always glazed over during lessons about F-stops and shutter speeds… (you too?) It seemed like something I was supposed to master, but honestly, I just didn’t want to put my attention there. So after decades of being a professional photographer, I finally figured out what I’ve been doing all these years – intuitive photography. 

Intuitive photography gives us permission to let go of taking a technically perfect photo in favor of moving toward the things that matter even more to us – moving with aliveness, curiosity and joy. Connecting with delight and what feels resonant in us when we are shooting. Seeing the world through creative eyes. It’s presence, it’s embodiment, intuition and connection.

This means that we will (mostly!) let go of shutter speeds and F-stops in favor of putting our attention on other things – making photography a practice that honors our intuition + results in vibrant photos.

More details here… 

Class starts May 13th, 2019 | You can get the early-bird discount now!

P.S. EARLY BIRD COUPON code for being on this list! Enter the code: WONDERSEEKER to get the course discounted from $179 to $149!

P.S.S. What if there’s nothing to fix about you? 

Intuitive Photography! + other things I am very excited about.

Low Tech, High Vibe

Yep, you read that right. Low on the technical mumbo jumbo, high on the magic. This is the photography class I always wanted to take! My eyes have always glazed over during lessons about F-stops and shutter speeds… (you too?) It seemed like something I was supposed to master, but honestly, I just didn’t want to put my attention there. So after decades of being a professional photographer, I finally figured out what I’ve been doing all these years – intuitive photography. 

Intuitive photography gives us permission to let go of taking a technically perfect photo in favor of moving toward the things that matter even more to us – moving with aliveness, curiosity and joy. Connecting with delight and what feels resonant in us when we are shooting. Seeing the world through creative eyes. It’s presence, it’s embodiment, intuition and connection.

This means that we will (mostly!) let go of shutter speeds and F-stops in favor of putting our attention on other things – making photography a practice that honors our intuition + results in vibrant photos.

Some of the “rules” of Intuitive Photography:

This is a come as you are party. You get to come with all that you know + don’t know about photography. you get to come with your crappy camera or your awesome phone. Guess what? Whatever camera you carry with you is the very best camera!

There are no mistakes here. We trade our fear for curiosity. We try new things. We wonder aloud, what if I did it this way?

We follow our delight. This is how we find our voice friends. We follow the aliveness. The resonance. I will show you how.

We cultivate our intuition. What draws you in? Is it a particular juxtaposition of color? Is it the inside of a flower? Is it old toys at the antique shop? What makes your heart leap a little? What makes your breath catch?

The very best camera is the one that’s with you! (So yes, you can use your phone!)

Here’s what you’ll discover, inside:

  • Fresh themes, every week.
    Portraits, selfies, hidden treasures, composition, color, and more.
  • No-sweat technical lessons.
    Intuitive Photography is focused on play & self-expression, but you’ll learn the fundamentals of composition, lighting, post-processing + more.
  • Creative photo prompts.
    Each day there will be creative photo prompts to inspire you to stretch beyond the ordinary.
  • Community cheerleading.
    A warm & encouraging community space to share & admire our work.

What is intuitive photography?

It’s an approach to photography that’s not about taking a technically perfect photo, but capturing something vibrant and alive, something that lights you up.

It’s about presence. Landing in the moment more fully and noticing what’s around us.

It’s embodiment. It’s noticing what makes your body light up in aliveness.

It’s about curiosity. It’s about trading your fear for curiosity. It’s about seeing the world through curious + creative eyes.

It’s about play. You can’t do this wrong. It’s all a big experiment and the stakes are low. There’s not even film to buy! Let this be the place you are willing to make mistakes, do it badly, have it not turn out how you want. Practice being messy and curious and alive in a creative process.

Class starts May 13th, 2019 | You can get the early-bird discount now!

P.S. EARLY BIRD COUPON code for being on this list! Enter the code: WONDERSEEKER to get the course discounted from $179 to $149!

P.S.S. Let the mama in your life know she’s a superhero! I’ve ordered a new batch of superhero pendants for the superheroes in your life – which of course is YOU TOTALLY ARE. Free shipping for Mother’s day.

P.S.S.S. I’m ROCKING this #100 day project! Which mostly means that I have been loving it and keeping it up. I’m also planning to turn it into a deck! Follow me on Instagram to check it out + help me come up with a title for the deck. All ideas welcome. 🙂

 

You don’t have to get it perfect, to get it just right.

Hey creative friends,

I’ve always wanted to do a #100dayproject and yesterday (very spontaneously) I decided to dive in! Going to be writing 100 notes to myself over the coming months and posting them on Instagram. Anyone else want to take on a #the100dayproject with me? ❤️ Or you can simply follow along with me.

Here is today’s:

I had a hard parenting day recently and felt wracked with guilt, or maybe shame, for not getting it right. For being reactive. For not knowing how to navigate my way. When I asked myself what my heart needed to hear, it was this. It’s okay I didn’t say all the right things. It’s okay I didn’t do it perfectly. And what would the perfect thing have been anyway? This one’s for those of us who could use a little self-compassion today. ❤️ #the100dayproject

 

 

Bullseye pendants are back! + communicating with power + compassion.

Back by popular demand! Superhero bullseye pendants are back! Perfect for graduation gifts, birthdays or just your favorite super-friends. Made of sterling silver with a bulls eye on the front and the word “superhero” engraved on the back.

Free shipping this week!

Matte finish. Pendants come with a choice of a 16″ or 18″ chain.

CSP #43: Communicating with power + compassion with Alejandra Siroka

Brand new episode! and one of my favorites.

Alejandra Siroka M.A. has devoted her life to the study of language and communication. She is a truth seeker who is dedicated to discovering and sharing methods which allow people to live with integrity. Inspired by her belief that developing conscious communication skills is essential in the path of transformation. She founded Language Alchemy – a transformative process which allows individuals and groups to develop thriving relationships and fulfilling lives by speaking their truth with power and compassion.

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” This was one of our writing prompts this week in Mexico – a line from a poem by Jack Gilbert. I’ve always loved that line. So much permission in it – and really, it’s the only way that anything creative ever gets accomplished. That willingness is required – the willingness to make a mess, to not have it turn out as planned (or at all) the willingness to be a beginner, to be in a process, to not do it as well as the experts (or whoever else we’re comparing ourselves to)

We made paper flowers in San Miguel. Laurie and I thought it would be fun to bring an artisan in to teach us, do something with our hands, play with color. I sent a photo of the flowers I had photographed and fallen in love with on our last trip. “Can you teach us to make these?” I asked naively. How did I know how difficult they would be to make? They looked so effortless in the store.

We ooohhed and ahhhhed at the colored crepe paper and tried to follow along as our darling teacher showed us how to pinch and fold the edges of the brightly colored strips. Oh, and the lesson was in spanish. “Dammit, I can’t do this. Mine isn’t working. Wait, what’s going on? I can’t see. Will you help me? I suck at this. I had it, now I keep losing it. Why is this so hard?”

We were all frustrated. I felt a mini-rage inside me, my inner 5 year old was mad. “I CAN”T DO THIS!!” she wanted to shout. I breathed deeply, didn’t scream and marveled at how seriously I was taking all of it. April wrapped a hot pink swath of crepe paper around her neck. “Soy flor,” she smiled. And suddenly I laughed out loud. I got it. The silliness of it, the ridiculousness of the tantrum I was keeping at bay. I doubled over in laughter.

“This is so fucking hard!!” Laurie shouted.

Our flowers were all different. They were misshapen and wonky, Seussian and off-kilter. Puffy in all the wrong places. A flower only a mother could love! someone said. “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly!” We all said in tandem.

The last night of the retreat we had a slideshow, a time for all of our participants to share a few images they were proud of and tell a few stories in front of the group. We bought a projector off of Amazon and we were excited to try it out. But guess what? Yep. The slideshow was a disaster too!

We couldn’t get the images to load quickly enough, or even show up in their entirety. The resolution was terrible, the saturation of the color (so important for photos in San Miguel) was abysmal. People weren’t particularly frustrated until it was their turn and they realized the setup didn’t do their images justice. “It’s better on my phone!” each person cried.

And then that feeling came over me again, how funny this whole scene was, how we tried something, some new technology, and the wifi was too weak, the resolution was terrible, and we had to futz with the projector over and over again. “Oh my god,” I giggled to the crowd, “this is the worst slideshow in the history of slideshows!”

And you know what? If the flowers had gone all Martha Stewart and the slideshow had gone off without a hitch, I wouldn’t be telling you any of this. It wouldn’t even be a story. I wouldn’t remember it.

We are flying home now to SFO and each time Laurie lifts her carry-on, I see the flower she made peeking out of her bag. It’s gigantic and pink, gloriously misshapen. And it fills me with a very particular joy – something about trying new things, of knowing life is messy, of appreciating the calamity of it all. So much more beautiful somehow for it’s imperfection.

This is Brave Blogging my loves. Sometimes we do it well, and other times not so much! We will practice together. 6 weeks of creative prompts and lessons on how to get your blog (and your authentic voice) out in the world.

More details here!

Class begins Monday, March 25th (tomorrow!) LAST DAY to get the special price.

P.S. To get the early bird price, register today! Just enter the coupon code – BRAVEBLOGGER19
The regular course price is $147, but you will get it for $99