Monday, April 30, 2012

An Intro to Vision Boards

Vision boards are wonderful tools for so many reasons.  My vision board collages have found themselves on both small and large poster boards as well as file and school folders.  Here are some of the ways in which I use them:
Dream attainment tools:  A vision board displays my quarterly goals visually, so, I display these where I’ll see them daily.  That way, I am more likely to be reminded of the things I wish to manifest.  This makes me more motivated to take action in attaining them! The one pictured below I created in 2010 at a women's retreat lead by author, Jennifer Louden. I've since incorporated it into my art journal.

I do have to confess…  Ever since my art journaling efforts have increased, I rarely use vision boards to help me achieve my quarterly goals.  I view my art journal daily—which serves the same purpose since my goals are listed and collaged there.  I do, however, use vision boards for large-scale idea mapping and as style boards.

Idea boards:  In developing a concept for my second book, I have crafted a vision board.  Right now, it is strategically displayed in my home office.  It serves as a place where I continue to visualize ideas.  I add to it frequently and view it daily.  It is my starting point for this sizable endeavor.  Although it’s not a technique I’ve tried, some folks even use bulletin boards in this same manner.  

Style boards:  Too many times in the past, I’ve admired an outfit displayed in a magazine or catalog, and thought, “I could get that same look using pieces in my own closet!”  Unfortunately, I would then proceed in totally forgetting about it.  Now, I take time, seasonally, to collage fashion images onto a vision board.  It enables me to creatively stretch my wardrobe so much further, and consistently reminds me of the style I strive to convey.  The one pictured below was created last fall.

Please let me and other readers know if you use vision boards, and if so, how.  T.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bitten by Reality

This Saturday, I’m attending Downtown BG’s Fine Arts, Food and Fashion Luncheon with a dear friend.  And, needless to say, I’m somewhat excited about it! 

For some reason, though, I’ve been practically obsessed about what to wear.  Originally, I’d envisioned it being a bright, sunny, somewhat-warm spring afternoon; meaning the ideas for spring ensembles were poppin' in this head of mine (smile).  Imagine my dread when I saw the possibility of showers, coupled with nasty cooler temps forecasted for that day (with the likelihood of snow on Saturday night—that is my idea of far too cold!!). 

Here I was, last Monday a.m., all caught up in the “tragedy” of this situation; when, reality literally bit me—and good.  In the midst of my angst, an email message surfaced on my iPhone, and it immediately grabbed my attention.  The note was from my youngest sister and it had no subject line in it (enough to make me open it with a sense of concern).  My heart sank the moment I began reading that she had not been feeling well as of late.  What’s important to know is that my darling little sister marked five years of living cancer free last fall.  As I read on, it seems the recent scare (although very much a valid concern since she had exhibited the same systems six years ago (just prior to her cancer diagnosis)) turned out to be linked to another health issue, which, although can be serious if left untreated, is less of a concern and very much treatable (a vitamin B-12 deficiency). 

Having finished her message, my feelings quickly shifted to those of sheer relief, joy, and gratitude.  My mind’s new focus was on the realization of what truly matters, and how easy that is to forget!  Cooler temps, thunder showers, bad hair day—whatever—bring it on!  I’ve connected myself (at least this week—it is so easy to get off track!) to what actually matters in life.  And, I am vowing to use this precious gift the next time I get caught up in what’s truly menial stuff. 

Reality’s bite was the jolt I needed to reassess what matters most.  Having a better grasp on what truly makes a difference, I’m feeling happy, this weekend, no matter what.  T.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Tips for Journal Writing


My journal provides me with a special place where I plan, vent, dream, laugh, cry, sort out confusion, get grounded, achieve a sense of calmness and so much more (This post from last month provides added detail.).  Last summer, I conducted a volunteer presentation for local girls.  A portion of that workshop focused on journal writing.  Listed below, are the tips I developed from that presentation.  I hope you enjoy!

  • Let it speak to you! Choose a journal that is special to you (e.g. its cover is in your favorite color or contains a design that attracts you). Your journal need not be expensive. Even a simple, spiral-bound pad of paper can become meaningful when you decorate its cover!

  • It’s a date. At the top of the page, write the day, date and time for each new entry. You can even record the place where you wrote when it’s somewhere unusual or noteworthy. It’s fun to look back and see when certain things were written. Journals are wonderful to reference—even years later!

  • Answer the call. Write when the inspiration to do so hits you—rather than waiting to do it later.

  • Comfort is queen. Find a comfy, cozy place to write in your journal. Have your favorite beverage nearby. When it’s cold outside, keep a blanket or wrap handy.

  • Pack it! Bring your journal along with you when you travel.

  • Create fun times. From time to time, schedule special journal writing sessions in interesting places (e.g. a coffee shop, the park, under a tree in your backyard, etc.). Doing so can create fond memories for you!

  • Never worry about writer’s block. Use prompts to help you get started (e.g. “Today, I feel…” )  Need more inspiration?  See my recent blog post here.

  • No rules allowed… When it comes to journal writing, there truly are no rights or wrongs.  Use your journal to set goals, puzzle out problems, reflect upon your feelings, write poetry, draw, etc.  Your journal is your special place! 

What added tips can you share on this forum?  I (and other readers) would love to hear them!  T.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Join the Tickled Pink Fun on Facebook!

I've launched a Tickled Pink Woman page on Facebook.  Hope you'll join me there--as well as here, of course!  Joy & peace, T.

Honoring My Inspirations

A few weeks back, I began reading Gail McMeekin’s “The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women Journal" while simultaneously participating in her affiliated online Facebook course.  It’s been a wonderful experience that has led to a number of revelations (aha’s) as a result.  One of them, I had to share…

McMeekin encourages women to continuously honor their creative inspirations—and to do so at the moment these juicy tidbits reveal themselves to us.  She relayed a story about a friend who, while driving, had a terrific idea for a new book.  Unfortunately, by the time her friend reached her destination, she couldn’t remember it.  McMeekin advises that when an idea of merit appears in our consciousness, we should stop what we are doing and, at a bare minimum, record the thought for future consideration.  Hmmm...this means if a fab inspiration comes to me while I’m driving, I should safely pull over and write it down!

Lately, I’ve been making a conscious effort to record any valued ideas my Wise Self whispers to me.  With my cell phone always in tow, there’s no excuse of being without pen and paper!  

Some of these yummy inklings, I am happy to say, I’ve acted upon immediately. For example, last Sunday, I was all set to do a few tasks around the house.  But, I felt an inner nudge to stop and paint in my art journal.  So, I did.  This only took a brief time out of my routine; which means I still was able to accomplish what I’d originally set out to do as well.  What ultimately resulted from my actions was a piece of art that made me smile.  

Later that same afternoon, I went out onto the patio and wrote on my journal's artwork.  And, what did I write about?  I gave myself the “Atta girl” for listening to my Wise Self and honoring my creative inspirations, of course! 

I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on the importance of honoring our creative ideas.  Please share!  T.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pardon My French!

 One of my art journal entries post reading Debra Ollivier's "Entre Nous"

My mother has always prized her French heritage.  For years now, she's taken every imaginable opportunity available to inform others, “Well, I’m French, you know…”  You see, her grandmother emigrated from France. Although I didn’t realize it as a child, Mom has always been a Francophile.  

As a little girl, I found my French connection to be quite fascinating (Of course, who wouldn't when told time and time again what a special thing it was?). As a typical run-of-the-mill teenager, sometimes at odds with her mother, it was not so much, though.

Fast forward a few years… This chick left the nest, began to mature and developed a love of history (including my own).  Many wonderful new friends entered my life.  Some of them, coincidentally, turned out to be Francophiles, too.  Bit by bit, I began revealing to them, “Well, I’m French, you know…”  I enjoyed the new-found admiration this revelation generally seemed to bring me (smile).

These days, I totally own it.  I wear it on my sleeve along with my pinkness!  Yes, I, too, am a Francophile!  I am fascinated by the culture, what seems to be an innate Parisian knack for being fashionable, the language itself (although I can’t speak it!) and just about everything else to do with France and being French.

Perhaps, with maturity, comes a deeper value for one’s past.  Maybe it’s simply due to the fact that, as I've begun to reclaim my own authenticity, I’ve recaptured my childhood fascination for all things French. 

One thing I can say is, “C'est la vie!” After all, I’m French, you know?  T. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Art Journaling: Getting Your Feet Wet

As promised, I've put together a second video on art journaling.  This one is dedicated to "getting your feet wet."  Looking for great prompts to inspire you?  Check out an earlier blog post by clicking here.

Enjoy!!  T.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Celebrating Tea!

An art journal entry dedicated to my love of tea!

It’s no secret that I enjoy relaxing with a hot cup of tea.  Many of my beloved artist’s dates include stopping and sipping tea somewhere fun.  My mid-morning tea break is an honored ritual I carry out each day while working the 9 to 5 (I consider it a mini respite of sorts.).  Even when I’m housecleaning or tackling a large, difficult project at home, I’ll infuse mini tea “parties” into my schedule.  And after a long, challenging day, there’s nothing that soothes me more than a hot cup of tea! For me, tea sipping makes any experience more fun, calming and nurturing.

One might say I’ve become somewhat of a tea snob in these past few years…  For this girl’s palate, only herbal and green teas are allowed!  And, sure it’s fine if I’m sipping from a Starbucks to go cup, but nothing matches tea tasted from a lovely china teacup.  A girl’s just gotta have a luxury or two, right?

This month, it seems I’ve literally paid homage to tea’s important place in my life: 
  • I’m reading Alexandra Stoddard’s “Tea Celebrations.”  I adore this book!  Actually, I love anything this fave author writes, but what a treat to read her take on an activity that is also near and dear to my own heart.   
  • Mark and I visited the sweetest little tea parlor while exploring a quaint little town in Michigan last week.  Mark drank soda while there (No, thanks!), but I savored two yummy pots of tea (along with scads of conversation with my husband).   Yes, two pots…
  • While at the tea parlor, I purchased two varieties of loose leaf tea that I’d never purchased before: white peony and hibiscus.  All I can say is, “Yum!”
  • I’m attending a tea event this weekend: An Afternoon Tea and Spring Bling.  It’s sponsored by the local Women’s Club and it benefits their women’s scholarship program.  My invite indicates this lux event features “accessorizing with scarves, delicious delicacies and special teas!”  Plus, they advised attendees to be sure and wear their bling and scarves.  I pretty much think I’m ready to go:  Bling—check! Scarf—check! Plus, I’m wearing the perfect get-up (a lovely tea-length dress with a matching lace jacket)!  It’s this girly-girl’s idea of a dreamy afternoon—no doubt!

A scene from last week's tea parlor adventure!
What activity brings more fun, calm, and nurturing into your life?  I would relish hearing about it.  In the meantime, cheers! Or, dare I say, “Cheerio!”?  T.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Fashion Trends I Adore!

The Return of the Maxi Dress
Yes! Yes! Yes! It is classic, stylish, and oh so feminine.  This one happens to be vintage.  I bought it on Etsy recently, and plan on wearing it to a women's luncheon later this month.  And, in case it’s not evident, this femme simply cannot wait to do so!

Beige/Nude Heels
Adam Glassman, who writes a fashion column for O Magazine, has deemed beige heels as a "classy item you can never go wrong with."  And, I wholeheartedly agree.  I especially cherish this pair because I found them on clearance for $12, last summer, when specifically shopping for a pair of neutral-colored heels.  Hooray for things that work out better than even imagined!

Polka Dots
I have always had a crush on these things!  Not that they’ve ever gone out of style, but polka dots are most certainly chic-to-the-max this spring.  The dress pictured above, is one I’ve held onto and worn for 10 years now.  It was a Mother’s Day gift from Mark.  Yes, it has sentimental value, but, regardless of that, I never seem to tire of it.  I’ll pair it with a jean jacket and boots, or a cardigan, or a plain white T.  Or, when it’s really warm, simply belt it at the waist and sport it solo.  Oh, and, BTW, it’s long enough to be considered a maxi dress.  Yay!

Breton Stripes
This Francophile loves Breton stripes!  And, right now they are all the rage.   I have a couple of Breton-striped shirts, but I also own a pencil skirt in this pattern.  I will definitely be wearing these Parisian-inspired pieces lots this spring!

Vintage (Anything!!!)
It's probably clear from past posts (here and here), that I heart vintage apparel.  Pictured above is a leopard-print (also hot right now) vintage tunic I recently purchased from Etsy.  I pair it with a pair of black slacks or a jacket + leggings + tall boots and I’m good to go!

I saw an article in a magazine recently that read, "Lace Any Place!"  As of late, this seems to echo my own personal philosophy, too.  The lovely piece displayed above is vintage, yet another Etsy purchase...and I adore it!  The detail might not be clear enough to tell it, but the black maxi dress shown in the first photo above has darling lace sleeves.  Yes, I'm wearin' lace any place these days!

What are you excited to sport this spring?  I would love hearing from you!  T.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yoga, This Girl Needs Ya!

Yoga=balance, and oh so much more!

My breathing is strong and assured, mind clear, and body relaxed; despite the fact that I’ve challenged myself tremendously.  As class draws to a close, I wonder, “What is it about yoga that draws me time and time again back to my mat?”  A brief response is something I find difficult to put into words.  Of course, I can easily tout the well-known benefits of added flexibility, calmness, improved posture, mindfulness, etc., etc., etc.   But, there’s definitely more…  In the nearly three years this yogini has begun practicing regularly, there has been a shift.  It’s been incremental; yet, when viewed in whole, it is monumental. 

The change I’m talking about is my life; how I live and experience it.  Like my yoga practice, I feel stronger, more self-assured, clear-headed, and relaxed in all aspects of living.  And, the challenges…well, I continuously seem to push the edges far more than I ever did before yoga became a part of my life.  Plus, I now make needed modifications when encountering “limitations” in attaining my desires.  This means that I am not only seeking more; I am achieving more, too.

Do I have any proof my yoga practice has changed my life?  Maybe not; but, that’s okay, because I somehow know it has.  Oh yes, that’s improved, too, since yoga—my ability to recognize, listen to and act upon that wise little voice inside.  My fellow yogis know what I’m talking about.

For those who don’t currently practice, access to information about yoga and its instruction opportunities has never been greater!  I’d recommend doing research first to see what type of yoga appeals to you most.  There are various types of yoga.  My favorites are Hatha, Yin and Vinyasa.  Don’t get discouraged if, at first, you do not find that perfect fit.  It is out there; so, don’t give up on finding it!  The first yoga tradition I encountered 13 years ago did not resonate with me, so I stopped attending classes shortly after I began.  Unfortunately, it took me 10 more years to listen to my wise self and explore other offerings.  The silver lining to this cloud is that I eventually did! 

Wishing you all the pinkness, joy and peace the yoga lifestyle can bring!  Namaste, T.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Finding the Perfect Journal

 My latest Journal!

My beloved writing journal is 90 percent full.  This has resulted in a recent shopping expedition for a new one.  I hope you'll enjoy this video about my quest to find the perfect journal.  As one might imagine, it's an ongoing journey!  I'd enjoy hearing from fellow journal writers about what defines their ideal journal.  Your ideas will certainly inspire me on future journal shopping trips!  T.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Flower Power!

This little lovely sits in a vase on my desk!

I’ve learned to never underestimate the power of a flower…

This week, a lovely red rose sits on my desk in a simple bud vase.  You see, I celebrated my wedding anniversary a few days ago; which means Mark bestowed upon me a dozen red roses (how heavenly!).  Eleven of these lovelies are nestled inside a vintage vase in my kitchen.  And, the twelfth one… well, she’s the one I brought along with me to the office.  Flowers always bring me joy—even when I buy them for myself!  Fresh flowers in my workspace revitalize me, make me smile, force me to literally stop and smell the roses (or whatever sweet-smelling variety I might have displayed).  

Even though some of my garden’s perennials are in bloom (namely, the tulips and daffodils), it’s still a bit early (given northwest Ohio’s chill temps) to get myself immersed in full-on flower gardening (despite my cravings for it!).  I do, however, hope to plant two large pots of pansies for the front porch next weekend.  This simple task is a nice way to get my gardening fix in the interim (smile).  Knowing I will see those beautiful pansies every time I leave or arrive back home already makes me feel happy. 

I’m even drinking scads of flowers these days (for both health and happiness)!  I discovered jasmine tea a few years ago.  It’s now a staple of my tea diet; along with a longtime favorite, chamomile.  Recently, while out and about, I purchased a couple of other great floral teas:  white peony and hibiscus (this variety includes rose petals, rose hips and lavender).  Yum!  It’s hard for me not to imagine lush flower gardens as a sip these great teas.  The delight is not only on my palette; its’ in my mind…and, this is undoubtedly a pleasant experience.

A rose is a rose.  A daisy is a daisy.  A mum is a mum.  What I know is that I heart them all for the many powerfully-wonderful effects they bring me.  Wishing you bouquet upon bouquet of flower power on this lovely Monday! T.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Downloadable Sketch for Living Tickled Pink!

My Sketch for Living "Tickled Pink" is now available for download and printing!  I've already placed one in my art journal where I can refer to it often.  The sketch can be found on the sidebar located on the right of the blog page.  It's about a third of the way down the page.  To access it, simply click on the web address located below this prompt: Link to Print Tickled Pink Sketch.  You'll be taken to Scribd, a social network for writers.  You can login via your Facebook account or create your own account.  Hope you enjoy your Sketch!  T.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fab Journal & Art Journal Prompts

If you watched the video I recently featured on this blog, you know I have a passion for journaling around themed lists (Didn’t see it?  Feel free to click here!). 

Generally, I don’t build lists in final form within my writing journal.  Rather, the key components I’ll include within these lists will, many times, start off in my writing journal (where I assess, “toy” with them).  They will then end up in final form in my art journal.  This is not a rigid process, though.  It’s one meant to be modified for each person’s best use.  With that being said, these lists could certainly be built in their entirety within a writing journal and/or art journal.

Looking for inspirational prompts for your writing journal and/or art journal?  Listed below are a few that I have enjoyed using:
  • Create a “things I’m wild about” list and/or collage (mine is pictured above);
  • Build a quasi self-portrait composed of the things that ooze your specific style.  Mine was a collage featuring images of things I’m drawn to.  To view it, click here.
  • Write a list of the 108 reasons you love yourself.  This fab inspiration came from Christine Arylo, an author who addresses women’s self-esteem issues;
  • List your absolute “yes’s” and “no’s.”  More specifically, what do you strive to always say, “Yes” to (e.g. use my journal to process issues) versus, “No” (e.g. negative self talk). This highly insightful idea was inspired by author Cheryl Richardson;
  • Collage or list the things you can do to make the coming week (day, month or year) more memorable, Zen and cheerful;
  • Write out and/or collage your monthly, quarterly and/or annual goals (I used to think that annual goal setting had to begin on January 1.  Fortunately, it doesn’t!);
  • After attending a workshop or retreat, participating in a teleclass or e-course, or completing an inspiring read, note your “take-away’s” (the concepts you learned or the things that spoke to you most clearly).  This allows you to refer to them again and again! The idea for this little gem came from one of my favorite authors, Kimberly Wilson
  • Break down a goal you want to achieve into a step-by-step action plan.  As noted above, my goals often are “played with” in my gal pal writing journal and end up in final form in my treasured art journal.  But, as noted above, this could totally take place in either or both locales! 

Got great ideas for list prompts?  I’d love for you to share it here with me and other like-minded lovelies who drop by!   T.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

In Gardening; So, Too, in Life

A few weeks ago, Northwest Ohio experienced a series of days marked by unseasonably warm temperatures.  Saturday afternoon of that week, I engaged in a project never before undertaken in the month of March; spending the better half of the afternoon working in my flower gardens.  Once completed, I stood back and smiled, deeming it a worthy endeavor to have removed the dead grasses, trimmed back overgrowth and readied the ground for added growth. 

Earlier this week, I luxuriated outdoors, admiring the tulips and daffodils in my beloved garden beds, which are now in full bloom.  This time, I was truly awestruck by how very lovely everything appeared.  The flowers and shrubs were absolutely thriving.  Wow…  What a difference one afternoon’s work had made to my flower garden!

I believe that our lives and gardens are quite similar.  Like in gardening, dedicated moments of care also produce wonderful results in life.   This month’s personal dreams (goals) I’ve established for myself were meant to do just that; along with an assortment of daily self-care items to include drinking scads of filtered water, affirming myself, writing in my journal, creating art, practicing yoga, enjoying meditation, exercising, making healthy food choices, etc., etc., etc.

Akin to preparing the soil, planting the seeds and ensuring your garden is well-nourished, what efforts can you take in your life right now that will enable you to grow, thrive and, ultimately, bloom in the months ahead?  BTW, have I mentioned I’m a huge proponent of writing down one’s intentions (hint, hint)? ;) T.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Intuitively Restful

Sometimes, I just know…  I know when it’s time to give myself needed rest and relaxation; like last Sunday afternoon, after returning from a local botanical garden where I spent time with Mark luxuriating amongst the lovely tulips.  I came home, so very excited and inspired by all the beauty I saw there.  Yet, I was exhausted.  In retrospect, there were plenty of good explanations for it.  The week before had been action packed.  I don’t think my calendar had one blank spot on it (and, that included evenings, too!).  Plus, I’d spent my Saturday traveling to and from Columbus; which was awesome—albeit one long day.  So, without hesitation, Tabitha (my tabby cat) and I settled in on the sofa for an afternoon nap.  I just knew it’s what I needed to do!

Sometimes, however, a nap is not enough.  I need a day, morning or afternoon to myself to do nothing; aside from being still, nurturing myself, feeding my soul.  I know this when the little things people say (and don’t say) bother me.  I know this when I’m fixated over a scuff on my bootie.  I know this when my morning tea break doesn’t seem like an exciting respite.  I could go on…

Today, I had originally planned to take a vacation day.  But, more recently I’d pretty much talked myself into only taking a half a day for various reasons (“I’ll save my leave time for later,” “There are a few things I need to do in the office Wednesday morning,” etc.).  After stopping to listen to the small, yet wise voice residing deep within, I’ve reassessed this, though; simply because, I know better.  And, as a result, I’ve given myself a much-needed day off!

May your Wednesday be relaxing, restorative and laden with intuitive restfulness!  T.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Pedi as a Cure

 Tabitha (the diva tabby cat) admiring a recent pedicure

Despite the fact that it's an ordinary mid-week day, excitement hangs in the air as I write from my den early this morning.  That's because, this evening, I am treating myself to a pedicure on my way home from the 9 to 5.  Sure, my feet will look and feel great, afterwards; making them sandal and open-toed shoes ready for this lovely spring that has graced us with her presence.  But, the real “cure” in pedicure extends far deeper for me…

You see, I’ll emerge from the salon this evening also feeling personally relaxed, empowered (for taking time solely for me!), pampered and, yes, pretty.  And, that’s a luxurious way to feel!  With that said, a pedicure is decidedly an indulgence I grant myself no less than monthly…without a second thought. 

Below is a sampling of other extravagances I love to engage in (both on a regular and occasional basis).  Many of these lovelies cost me very little or nothing--aside from my time.  All, however, are absolutely delicious, and, like my beloved pedi’s, make me feel fabulous afterward:
  • Spend a morning or afternoon in bed while reading or journaling (with candles lit, jazz tunes playing and Tabitha (my cat) by my side);
  • Play dress-up (read more about this decadent practice here);
  • Say, “No” to an event I have no interest in attending in lieu of spending an evening on the patio watching the sun set with Mark (husband);
  • Get a haircut, trim, highlights or deep conditioning treatment (and treat it like a spa experience versus “mandatory maintenance");
  • Take extra steps to ensure I feel pretty (apply lipstick, wear a sparkly vintage brooch, belt a cardigan with a silk scarf, sport my leopard-print stilettos);
  • Practice mindfulness when speaking with others;
  • Affirm myself;
  • Savor a mani, massage or facial;
  • Send hand-written notes or letters to family and friends;
  • Write from an outdoor café with a latte or tea at hand.

What little indulgences can you gift yourself today?  Please share!  T.

Monday, April 9, 2012

On Taking an Artist's Date

The last Saturday of March, this artist set out on a solo date in an attempt to feed her creative soul.  I drove to the local college campus, and enjoyed a lovely walk there (all the trees, shrubs and springtime flowers were in full bloom!).  I even stopped and took a few photos of the sights I saw. I then immersed myself in a visit to an onsite art museum, which was displaying Master’s Thesis exhibits from select students (many of them having received awards for their work!).  Afterwards, I set out on a jaunt to the student union (where I dropped in for tea at the Starbuck’s).  While sipping my tea, I pulled out a book/journal I’m reading.  I read and explored my own creativity by journaling to the prompts provided within the text. 

March’s artist’s date was truly what I needed to refuel my spirit!  I returned home creatively refreshed, energized, inspired and brimming with a sense of true accomplishment. 

Artist’s dates are an essential part of my overall self-care strategy.  I strive to take myself on no less than one artist’s date a month in an effort to replenish myself creatively.  I first learned about artist’s dates when reading Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” about 10 years ago.  Cameron defines an artist’s date as “a festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you.”

Even though I discovered artist’s dates some time ago, I have only engaged in them sporadically until about three years ago.  It was at that time that I vowed to take no less than one full artist’s date (two to four hours) a month and no less than one mini artist’s date a week (mini artist’s dates could easily be taken over a 30-minute lunch break).  Cameron encourages taking no less than one full artist’s date a week.  Although I’m not there yet, it’s certainly something I hope to achieve…someday

Do you partake in artist’s dates?  If so, I’d love to hear about one you’ve recently experienced.  If not, I would highly recommend you schedule one soon.  And, if you do, I would relish hearing about your plans for your very first excursion!  Looking for ideas?  I discovered this blog post, a few months back, containing 101 ideas for artist’s dates!  To view it, click here.  This resource has provided me with scads of fabulous thoughts for my own future adventures.  Joy + peace, T.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Let Inspiration Reign

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.  
Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”  
--Ella Fitzgerald

Little sprinkles of inspiration…I heart them!!!  And, the quote above, it truly speaks to me; most especially right now.  When I live life in the tickled pink mode, my inspiration radar is constantly roving—searching for more of these enticing tidbits to assist me in moving onward & upward. 

What I’m learning is that inspiration can be found anywhere it is sought.  Be it viewing a vase of fresh-cut flowers, being totally in the moment when my forehead touches a yoga mat or listening to an uplifting podcast, if is my intention to find inspiration (to create art, complete a project, pull together the perfect outfit for an afternoon tea party or live my life with far fewer regrets), it will somehow materialize. 

Pictured above, are my April dreams; incorporated into my dear, sweet art journal.  Every time I view them, I am inspired to gift them to myself (aka accomplish them). 

Speaking of inspiration… If you are looking for an inspiring artist’s date, here’s one I’d highly recommend:  Establish some quiet time with your journal (curled up in your favorite chair at home—under a tree you adore—at a café while savoring a latte—wherever you wish!).  Then, create a list of things that have recently inspired you; noting why and how.  Tie a bow around this experience by crafting an inspiration plan for living your best year yet.  As noted above, crafting my monthly dreams into my art journal and viewing them frequently further inspires me to live my very yummiest.  

Amidst the April showers, let inspiration reign! T.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why I Heart Art Journaling

In a post published a few weeks ago, I touched upon the basics of art journaling (To view, click here.).

As promised, I’ve pulled together a short video for my readers, which can be accessed below.  This little vignette provides a glimpse into my own art journal, and reveals the many reasons why I keep returning to this insightful practice.  My goal is to provide at least one more video on the blog this month; dedicating it to the basic how to’s of art journaling.

Spoiler alert:  Tabitha, my beloved, adopted tabby cat makes her world debut on this clip. And, it will be clearly evident why she's lovingly referred to as "the diva tabby." 

I so hope you will enjoy this!  T.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Get Over It…Hump Day, That Is!

Why is it that festive moods are so often reserved solely for Fridays?  Wednesday’s (or any days for that matter) don’t have to be ho hum, do they???  I say, “Get over it!”  Hump day, that is; with a plan to infuse your day with numerous soul massages and mini celebrations. 

Soul massages can easily be worked into any day—making it more fun, meaningful, serene + memorable. Something as simple as spending five-minutes enjoying meditation when I wake in the morning, relaxing into a yoga pose mid-day, savoring a tea break at my desk or spending time while driving to create a mental list of the things I am grateful for, soothe, revitalize and elate me.  When I’ve got a tough day ahead of me (with seemingly nothing special to look forward to), I’ll pull out my journal the evening before and craft a plan to sprinkle these little gems throughout the coming day (You see…when I write my wishes down, I’m more likely to follow through with them!). 

The practice of celebrating all steps taken throughout my day (even the small ones) also picks me up and moves me forward in a very pleasing way.  For example, when I first decided to open my Etsy shop, pulling out my calendar and scheduling time to explore this further was a necessary starting point.  When I did, it warranted this girl giving herself a well-deserved pat on the back for doing so!  Yay!!! As an added reward, I took a break from the 9 to 5 and gave myself a few minutes of fresh air outdoors (that was another soul massage, right?)!!! ;)

What soul massages will you work into your day, today?  And, how will you celebrate all steps taken?  T.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Recapturing Childhood’s Creative Pursuits

This past week, I began reading + using two books that I’m enjoying thoroughly: Lynne Franks' “BLOOM Journal: A Woman's Journal for Inspired Living and Gail McMeekin's “The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women Journal”  (No, I haven’t discarded my beloved, careworn journal! I still write her many times throughout the week.). These books’ purpose is to grant me added oomph in cultivating my own creativity.  In addition to providing great information and activities to undertake, they also include a series of thoughtful journal writing prompts (and much-needed, copious writing space) designed to help me get there. Yay!

One subject matter that has come up in both books is that of getting back in touch with creative pursuits I enjoyed as a child and teenager—both identifying and understanding them.  For example:  What hobbies was I drawn to?  What games or make-believe activities did I most take pleasure in? 

For several reasons, it’s amazing I have happened upon this theme at this point in my life.  As a little girl, I used to write stories all the time.  Recently, I launched this blog after taking over a year’s hiatus from my cherished practice of writing (beyond that which has gone in my journal, Twitter or the technical stuff I do on the 9 to 5, of course!).  Interestingly enough, one of my first blog posts was about my newly-reclaimed enthusiasm for playing dress up (to see this post, click here).  To make this even more relevant, I began taking watercolor classes on Thursday evenings a few weeks ago (Yes, the two prints, above, are a sampling of my recent art class renderings!).  As a little girl, oil painting was a passion of mine.  I’ve always wanted to learn how to use watercolors, though.  After ignoring this call for quite some time, I recently answered it, and I am so very glad I did!  I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun in these classes; reconnecting with a past artistic love.  Plus, I have stretched myself, creatively, in a way that makes me feel truly awesome! 

What endeavors did you enjoy in your younger years?  Was there a favorite make believe persona you embraced when playing (e.g. actress, teacher, dentist)?  What I have learned is that getting in touch with these questions through journal writing is truly a great place to start.  I would adore hearing your thoughts on this! T.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hello, April!

  Hello, April!  Hello, Spring!  Hello to every wonderful 
experience I will know with you!

April has arrived; along with my many dreams for it.  In keeping with my strategy to live tickled pink, I’ve sketched this month’s personal goals for myself.  It's my hope that these little luxuries will enable me to grow, shine and better ensure I’ve lived my life more fully (and with far fewer regrets). 

My April Dreams:

What’s your sketch for living life tickled pink this April?  Please share!  T.