Create & Cultivate NYC 2017 Recap

Yesterday I went to the Create & Cultivate NYC Conference. Last year, when I saw a high school friend of mine, Faison Anne, AND my favorite bloggers, Lauryn Evarts, Ashley Rose, and Julia Engel at Create & Cultivate Dallas, I got some pretty severe FOMO. I decided then that if/when the conference came to NYC, I was there. I immediately bought my ticket when they announced the date.

What’s Create & Cultivate?

From their website:What is create and cultivate NYC?

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A cross-country move, a year + later

Last night, as Mark and I lain next to each other, he asked,

“Do you wish you still lived in Houston? You seem like you had so much fun there.”

After yesterday’s poem to my hometown, you may be wondering the same. Quite simply, the answer is no.

Do I miss it?

Boy, do I. But given the opportunity to move back today, I wouldn’t. Continue reading

Create like you’re eight

Remember when I wrote about how to raise an artist? Not too long ago, my son started taking his art very seriously. He was shutting himself in his room all of the time. On weekends, when he’s able to use his computer, he was watching YouTube video after YouTube video underneath his loft bed, littering his floor with crumpled printer paper with half-done drawings, and aside from the occasional whir from his automatic pencil sharpener, there was hardly a trace of him.

On school nights, after homework, the sight was similar, but minus the screens. Door shut and increased interest on his art. This even showed up.

please knock

I respected his newfound assertion of privacy, but at the same time, I was a bit worried.

Eventually, we decided that if he was going to spend that much time watching YouTubers, he should contribute. After some encouragement from my sister, we made his first YouTube video to share the art he had been working on.

He got such a great response, and he’s kept up making the videos week after week.

I’m new to video, it’s something I’ve never experimented with before. I already have a subscription to the Adobe products on the creative cloud to edit photos, but these videos have been the first things I’ve ever used Premier Pro to create.

It’s funny, because with writing, drawing, painting, designing/decorating a room, or anything else creative, I’m so slow to finish. It can be a brief blog post, but it gets drawn out to days or weeks of labor. It can take me six months to buy the materials for a project I’ve been dreaming of making.

But with these videos, it’s different.

I’m okay with not knowing what I’m doing and with being kind of bad at editing the videos, for a change. He’s eight and I’m twenty-eight, but as creators, we’re so both so intolerant of imperfections. We have these creative ideas and want everything to look like it was when we first imagined it. He has his floor littered with drawings that missed the mark. My abandoned ideas are more hidden: half written essays, twenty-two unfinished posts in my drafts folder on wordpress, a collection of supplies from craft mishaps.

During the first video, if he was worried about mistakes, I’d just keep reminding him: “You’re eight! No one expects you to be perfect!” And as I edit them, he has to remind me the same.

If only I could take that stance for the other things I do, if I could take the pressure off and recognize that I’m not expected to do anything just right, right away. The pressure is self-imposed, but it’s been hardwired after years of good taste but not-quite-there-yet levels of skill. It’s so challenging to be a beginner and an amateur that few ever get to be where they want without giving up.

My hope, for my son, for me, and for you, if you’re afraid to start or afraid to share your work, is that you’ll do it anyway. And that when you see people proudly share their work, you’ll remember the bravery that it takes to do so. That you’ll always keep in mind that to share something created is exposing the most vulnerable parts and that it’s scary as all get out to do.

Take it from one of the greatest:

finish it

How’s he doing now?

Now that I found a way to get more involved by sharing of what he makes, he’s more open to sharing during the process. He’s not hiding in his room the same way. As you can see above, we’ve been doing weekly videos for six weeks now, without fail. It’s something we can do together, and I’m showing him how to work the programs as I’m learning.

It’s hard, because bullies from school go to his channel and ridicule him. One even insulted his artwork. While my heart is breaking, he is still confident: “Well, where’s his videos? Where’s his art?” The bravery that he exudes in the face of adversity is admirable.

Create like you’re eight

  1. Create because it’s fun. Not to be the best.
  2. Allow yourself be a beginner.
  3. Share fearlessly, so that others know it’s okay to be a beginner. Your progress will show over time.
  4. Be consistent.
  5. Notice who throws insults, and don’t take it personally.
  6. Never stop having fun!

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Where am I?

It’s been a little over four months since I deactivated my personal Facebook page and stopped posting on Instagram. Once active on the sites, it can seem strange to my friends and family. My grandmother asked if it had anything to do with what I considered minor family drama. My mother, who liked to show her coworkers the posts of mine shared by brands, couldn’t understand why I stopped sharing my photography so suddenly.

In truth, it wasn’t suddenly at all. Stepping away from those spaces is something I considered doing for years, but always had a different excuse. First, I worked in social media. I couldn’t deactivate my Facebook page or I wouldn’t be able to post for the businesses I represented. Second, how would I share my blog to a bigger audience? How would I encourage readership? Is that even possible without social media? Third, how would I stay connected to people whom this was my only method? Continue reading

One Room Challenge?! No Way!

one room challenge guest participant

In October, a local designer I befriended here in Fairfield, CT, Kate Smith, took part in Calling it Home’s One Room Challenge. It seemed like so much fun! I’m not quite a designer, but working on my house is by far one of my favorite ways to spend my time. I took note that the six week challenge happens twice a year, and decided I’d give it a go during the next time around.

Here’s the jist: it’s a six-week challenge to complete a room makeover from start to finish. Each week, you post about progress and link back. Simple enough, right?

I hope so. Hopefully I’m doing it right. Turns out, it started YESTERDAY. So, I’m late to the party. Regardless, I find that I get things done far more efficiently if I’ve got a deadline, or, as I often call it–a fire lit under me.

First thing’s first: the before!IMG_4610

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My Creative Journey & Some Reflections

I went to Boston over the weekend. I didn’t Snapchat or take a single picture while I was there. It was my third time visiting the city, so  I didn’t do any touristy things and I won’t be making a guide to Boston. I went to visit a friend of mine and it was the kind of trip where two people are bonding with one another, with no need for rushing from one activity to the next. It was blissful.

The following post is a bit allovertheplace. It’s a scattering of the helpful things I’ve been doing, the media I’ve been consuming, and some decisions I’ve come to on my creative journey over the past year or so. It’s half-organized into the trip I took over the weekend. The metaphors are there and intentional. Maybe you’ll catch them all. Maybe not. Bear with me. I’m working on a New Year’s Resolution, after all. Continue reading

2017 Resolutions

Tomorrow is day three of 2017, but with the boy returning to school, the man returning to work, and I beginning to freelance, it seems like day one. So much excitement, I can’t seem to sleep. I’ll keep this short and sweet.

In 2017, I will…

  1. Pursue my version of minimalism.
  2. Continue to improve with maintaining the budget.
  3. Spend more time creating, less time looking for inspiration.
  4. Social media: who needs it? I’ll take some time away from my online presence outside of blogging. It isn’t serving me.
  5. Hit “Publish” more often. Let go of perfectionism. Post those old drafts.
  6. Become an Ironman.

& I’ll be okay with having six resolutions and not seven. Yes, seven is a better number than six. Refer to resolution 5. 😉