this and that*

fuji instax photos that I finally got around to scanning today..

I've been back from vacation a couple of weeks now and I still feel like I'm in re-entry mode.  When will that stop you think?  Maybe because I'm hustling to round up work and money and wishing I was back on vacation.  That could be it.  I'm realizing more and more what I tell my kids I need to learn myself - AHA! moment.  yes.  Duh?!  I should have mastered these skills already but alas I have not.    Practice what we preach as the saying goes I guess.

I have some ideas in the hopper and really wanting to flush them all out in one full swing and get them out into the world, but I must be patient.  I can't just expect things to happen because I have an idea....but it wouldn't be nice if it could.  Here I go again...trying to live in the fantasy world. 

I had a great afternoon of being at the studio getting ready for our Jesse Reno workshop - wow, is he a nice guy or what?  So totally cool and just a nice dude.  Loved finally meeting him and really excited for all the students taking his workshop this weekend at Teahouse.  He's been supporting himself on his artwork for 9 years now, which I think is totally awesome.  That my friend is an inspiration.

the kids are finally coming in from outside...bath time...wishing you a great weekend!

Design Sponge*

I recently took some photos of my friend Lauren's awesome apartment for Design Sponge ~ it came out when I was on the epic road trip but it's never too late to check out what they posted :)  I always love peeking in other people's homes, getting a taste of who they are, what they like, their style, their colors, their collections.  She's got such great eclectic taste  ~ enjoy!

Miss Tiffany Moore

My studiomate, one of the co-creators of Teahouse, an amazing kick ass life coach ~ my dear friend Tiffany ~ she's a force, truly she is, in the very best way. 

I love when I get the opportunity to capture her true essence during a photoshoot; she's so fun!  She's watched her fair share of project runway so she's a natural in front of the camera!  Be sure to sign up for her newsletter ~ I hear there is some exciting news coming up this month!

 

Interview*

I recently received my daily/weekly email from Jen Louden and there was a little interview there for anyone to take.  Her and Susan Piver are giving away a space in Susan's class.  Check them both out ~ they are fabulous!

Below are my answers ~  I actually love these kinds of questions, they get us to think and they give us topics to talk about that we might not of gotten into.  I'm much better with questions then just opening up and spilling. Feel free to share yours in the comments or on your own blog!

Name:  Stef usually, Stefanie Renee to the online/creative community, Stefanie Lindeen to my home community.  But mostly just Stef to everyone.

Hometown:  I often wonder about this, where my home really is.  I moved from Wisconsin to California 13 years ago and I'm still not sure it's my home.  I currently live in the Bay Area but I sometimes feel my heart is still in the midwest.  But I sure love to travel so my home is where my family and I are presently at.

Profession:  It's funny how all these questions aren't getting straightforward answers!  I am a photographer, a project manager, a map maker, a transcriber and co-creator of Teahouse Studio...oh the list could go on.  A friend recently asked me if I could pick a focus?  Not sure I'm able to yet...

Favorite Dharma Book:  Not sure I have just one...there a couple of books I've been going back to again and again.  They are Momma Zen and Hand Wash Cold by Karen Maizen Miller and Learning to Breathe by Priscilla Warner

Deepest Wish: to feel at peace with where I'm at right now

Mantra: Give me the strength to get through today.  One step at a time.  30 seconds of courage is all it takes.

Superpower:  Listening.  & Seeing the big picture ~ being able to get you from point A to point Z.

Favorite quote: there are so many....need to think about this.

My heart is open when I: take a step back, take a deep breathe and see where I've come from and where I am today. 

*cloud photos from our road trip in middle america - the best clouds ever!

August Break #3 ~ Five Fact Friday

My friends Kim and Xanthe have this great blog - Reflections of You (ROY) and today is 5 Fact FridaY. What a fund thing to do ~ so I'm participating and YoU should too!

Fact #1: I love love love magazines ~ I constantly am looking for new ones that dazzle me with beautiful photos and articles about far off places and grand adventures.  They bring me places instantly.  Now they are coming out with all of these quarterlies and I can't get enough.....they are like books in the way that I don't let them go!

Fact #2: If I could get in the car tomorrow and head out again on a grand road trip I would ~ the familyroadtrip2012 was epic but I LOVED it, like seriously LOVED it.  part of it was because I was visiting friends and family and I miss them all very much, but part of it was just seeing small towns, beautiful scenery and just being on the road.

Fact #3: I love bowling, like really love bowling.  I think I should join a league or something.  I think I'm pretty good too. (the people/bowling pins below are a fun bunch of peeps)

Fact #4: I love fro-yo with peanut butter cup, nuts and strawberries :) Penelope likes m&m's.

Fact #5: I really do love photographing my kids in the golden light, or any light really :)

August break* day 2

More photos from our trip ~ this happened to be in North Platte, NE.  It was over 100 degrees and we'd had enough of the car so we spent the day wandering around and found these trains.  The girls loved it.

I'm starting to really go through ALL the photos I took with my big girl camera + my iphone ~ so so many. Trying to delete what isn't worth keeping and choosing the "great" ones to go into a book I want to make.  One for the family and one for a photography book.  It's nice to relive the trip and see it now that we're back.  It really was a trip to remember......

August Break...

These photos were taken on the Shoshone River outside of Cody, WY ~ beautiful, beautiful place...I could of taken a truck load of these rocks home with me...

I feel like I've been on break all of July ~ I have actually!  But with the August Break that Susannah brings out every August it is such a treat ~since I love just posting photos and when and if the words come I will pipe up. 

So much to tell about our epic road trip back to Wisconsin/Minnesota and then through South Dakota/Wyoming and Idaho...and so much going on in life; it's always a bit overwhelming when there is so much to say...sometimes being quiet is the best way to be.  For me that is..

I am hoping to share photos all month of our trip and the words will come.  Being away from "reality" for 24 days has it's perks but it also has the kick in the butt when you get back so I'm trying to get back on the horse here and really dig in ...to my business, my future and start checking things off the LIST

 

Turning 39*

So yes, today is my Birthday and I'm venturing out on an EPIC Road Trip with my family ~ heading back to the midwest to visit friends and family.  I LOVE road trips ~ and I'm hoping my children love them as much as I do ...or at least don't start asking "are we there yet?" by hour 2! 

Today marks my 39th year here so it's pretty special ~ the last year of my 30's!  I still remember how awesome my 30th Birthday was, surrounded by beautiful friends in a place that was so special to me. Some days I still lean back into that year where I turned 30 and really felt on top of the world.  I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about the BIG 40, so I'm making a list of 39 things I'd like to cross off the list before next year's big day. (and I really love lists)

I'll try to come back to it every now and then to give you an update....here we go!

  1. Tackle my financial situation like an adult ~ get help
  2. Drive a VW bus
  3. Rollerskate
  4. Learn how to swim (ya, no I don't know how to swim.)
  5. Create a new photography book and feel proud of it
  6. Take 100 polaroids
  7. Take dance classes
  8. Go on an EPIC Road Trip (leaving on my 39th birthday for 3 weeks!)
  9. Start a business I'm 100% behind and make money doing what I love ~ whatever that is
  10. Go to the top of Coit Tower
  11. Take photos of all the hidden stairs in San Francisco
  12. Go to Angel Island
  13. Photowalk through Chinatown
  14. Go to Canada
  15. Collaborate on a project with someone
  16. Teach something
  17. Learn to sew and actually finish something, preferably a dress
  18. Try to knit
  19. Cry in front of someone
  20. Run in a race
  21. Go to New York and stay at the Ace Hotel
  22. Come up with 5 new meals my family will eat
  23. Attend a silent retreat
  24. Commit to a cleanse
  25. Try whiskey
  26. Skinny dip (hopefully after I learn how to swim)
  27. Learn Photoshop really well
  28. Go to a psychic/get cards read
  29. Ride in a hot air balloon
  30. Tell a story in front of others
  31. Find an amazing therapist and finally deal with my shit
  32. Sing on stage
  33. Take a drawing class, get better at drawing faces...find my niche
  34. Learn how to communicate effectively
  35. Inch myself into public speaking
  36. Learn spanish
  37. Create a spiritual practice
  38. Create a physical/exercise practice that works for me
  39. Laugh A LOT with my children!

This is my list....I'm going to print it out and remind myself of it often.  Some of these have been on my 'list' for a LONG time and it's about time I tackled them.  Happy Day to me :)

acceptance::

 

i remember a time when i would work at my desk job all day just to come home to get on the computer for my own self and blog, taking my photos that I had taken from the weekend before or from a lunch time jaunt. that was way back in 2004.  wow, that was a long time ago ~ so much has changed and thank god. 

i am one that craves change, always but also likes the routine of life too.  it's all ying and yang, wabi sabi..not sure where to go with the thoughts i have tonight but i'm feeling really imperfect in a good way. realizing what i do isn't perfect, far from it really and looking at others like they are perfect is dead wrong. they aren't, they have their own issues and we all know it. whether they tell them or not. we know no one is perfect and if it looks like they are, well then they are FAR from it.

so what i come here tonight with is a little bit of self love, accepting where i have come from, all the roads that led me here, to right here in this bed. it's all a journey right?  it's all what it's supposed to be and sometimes i can't figure out exaclty where it is i am and why, it usually shows up soon after.

so many people/friends doing amazing and wonderful things and i need to accept that i'm doing the same. raising two amazing young girls is my wonderful job, the place i need to be, the place i chose to be then.. and now.  however hard it is, however unpatient i can be, however awful i think i am it...it's where i need to be, they need me and if i was really honest, i need them.

i've been "looking at the big picture" with some close friends as of late and its about time i took a step back and did the same for myself. 

choosing::

I'm choosing to see this day through a different lens. Choosing to not keep the current habits I've seemed to take on. I'm choosing to see the beauty of today - the little bit of shopping I did at Target first thing this morning where I purchased these fun shoes. Choosing to love the quiet moments in the studio before everyone arriving for Wild Writing. Choosing to love each and every woman that shows up every week to spill their stories. The courage they show and help me show is undeniable.  Choosing to take a much needed walk all by myself to capture all the amazing colors blooming right now. Choosing to not go down a slippery slope of made up conversations in my head. Choosing to show up just as I am with an old friend. Choosing to share what I hadn't intended. Choosing to take care of myself first. Choosing to drink more water than usual. Choosing to pick out the expensive salted dark chocolates. Choosing to head home at a decent time. Choosing to not engage in arguments with a 7 year old. Choosing to look into the mirror and say I love you because I really needed to hear it today from myself. Choosing to be gentle, to be kind, to show love and compassion. Choosing a different story today...

21 Things You Don't Know About Me. (updated...25 things...)

21

25 Things You Don't Know About Me.

1. I want to be a great mother but feel so much shame around how I really am.

2. I avoid looking at my bare thighs in the mirror.

3. I have a problem with shopping.

4. I spend too much money, that I really don't have.

5. We owe so much money in taxes it's scary.

6. All I really want to do is sit around a table and talk about real topics and stories with other women.

7. I feel like the universe has big plans for me but it scares the hell out of me to find out what those are.

8. I often make myself small and unseen.

9. I would much rather be a photographer at a party working the room and you not know I'm there, than front and center.

10. Teahouse is wonderful but a hell of a lot of work and I'm not really sure what will happen.

11. I look at flights to anywhere every single day.

12. If I could get on a plane right now I would.

13. My kids had McDonalds 2 times last week. No, really 3 actually.

14. I am addicted to Friday Night Lights.

15. I'm not sure what the future holds for my marriage.

16. That scares the hell out of me.

17. I can write a story better than I can tell it by talking.

18. If we sat down together I would come off rather shy, but put a little time into me and I will tell you anything.

19. I am transcribing interviews for someone else who wants to write a book.

20. If I could make money by traveling, talking with other women, documenting their stories and telling you about it, I would in a second. 

21. Figuring out how to leverage this and make it happen.

22. I'm scared as shit to tell my truth ...sometimes...

23. Taking self portraits heals me in more ways than I ever could of imagined.

24. I secretly pray that my daughters won't get my big nose.

25. I'm working on tapping into my intuition, because I feel that is where my true self really lives.

Thank you to the brave and beautiful Tiffany Moore, she inspired this post today.

choose a title

comes in a print or as a laptop skin

this could be about so many things, like managing big disappointment and how that feels and looks like and asking how you do it or how i am venturing into something new once again and trying to decide on names, looks and and and or how i love sitting around a living room with other women and sharing our stories, learning new ways, creating new stories and could i make a living doing that?  and how? or how i'm excited about a new photography adventure this weekend or how i'm so utterly overwhelmed in a part of my life that i've been ignoring it, sweeping it under the rug and of course it keeps creeping back out..and what to do with all that.

so yes, there is a lot on my mind and i coud venture down any of these roads but it's hard to choose just one and not go down a rabbit hole with all of them

so i think i'll just stop but wanted to come here anyway, to be, just me ...in my little home away from home

write like no one is reading...

I actually don't even know what I'd write if I knew no one was reading...well i do...but I've gotten in the habit of knowing someone is going to read it or i'm going to read it outloud

taking Laurie's wild writing class got me over a bit of this - you see we free write for 15 min and then we read it and on some occassion i admit i think about it, i think about what i'm writing and that i'm going to actually be saying it outloud.  i think saying it out loud knowing no one is going to say anything back is a release like no other - it's just out in space and gone. it's actually strange when someone from class comes up afterwards and says something about what i wrote.  because sometimes i actually do release it, it's gone. other times not so much, i wish it was gone, but it's not.

so when i come to this space i wonder if i'll write exactly what i want to write or if i'll edit for consumption by others?  would i swear more if i didn't know anyone would read it?  probably not, but i do swear a lot in real life.  i might write more about the shame i feel i think.  i never really knew what shame was until i got introduced to Brene' Brown and then it was loud and clear what my shame was.  being a mother - that's my shame, in how i mother, and the not good enoughs and the things that come flying out my mouth and the way i snap more than i'm willing to admit.  yup, that's it.  i really don't feel it too much other places.  but mothering, that's the hiccup ...  my girls are beautiful and young and i don't think i've broken them yet, but we can never really know what stays in the psyche can we?  we can't really know what will stay with them until that fateful day when one of them tells me ...remember when you said this mom?  and my heart will break, i just know it.  but all i can do is wake up everyday knowing i love them and i am trying to do right and trying to do the best i can with what i have...  and i feel like i'm repeating words my mom told to me and it didn't help, but it's the truth. we are all doing the best we can in the moment....

 

asking ourselves the hard questions

Ok, so I was really UP earlier this week and now well, I'm not down per say but man the roller coaster I tend to ride gets to be a bit much.  I remember writing when I first quit my full time job and being over the moon, because I was. I was excited to jump and spread my wings like I didn't feel I could with a full time office job.  I never thought it was going to be easy, I knew better.  But the juggling ~ family, myself, work, dreams, teahouse...all of it takes it's toll and I'm still trying to figure it all out.  I'm not complaining, really I'm not.  I made these choices and now I'm just trying to figure it all out - even after 2 years. 

I'm learning to ask myself the hard questions, the questions that make me look really hard at my priorities and to ask myself what I really want to be doing.  not what others think I should be doing, not what others think will make me money, but me...myself. what do i think.  what do i know.

sometimes it takes a while to quiet the monkey mind and all the other voices coming into my head at any given moment. to walk away from the computer, to go outside, be with myself, my kids.  be present.  even then it's hard to get there - to get to the place where you can really make a decision thats not based on fear or pure not wanting to do the work place.

so that's where i am right now - asking myself the hard questions, making sure i put the energy i have into the project that feels the best to me.  i know some people may not understand the choices i make, that i should be doing what's best for my family in terms of making money but i know myself, and if i'm not making the right choice for myself, i'm not making the right choice for my family.  i know that to be true.

 

getting an idea off the ground and out of your head

 

so have you been thinking of this "great" idea for a long time and you just want to DO it already? is there a project you've been sitting on and you know what you have to do but the first step is always the hardest? did you just get that book deal you've been asking for and now you're thinking "now what?"

well ..i totally get it. i've been there and still am in some ways.  we all have ideas and the difference between some people is that there are people who have the idea and just keep going with it and there are others who have the idea, mull it over, think about it some more and then maybe just maybe get to it and then the others have the ideas and never do them.

i've had some ideas - some i acted on and some i didn't.  like the I am awesome. t-shirts. those were an idea and i pretty much ran with it, not sure how that one got done so much quicker than others but it did and i'm so happy that i made them and that people are emailing me telling me that they really do feel that they ARE indeed awesome!  YES!  i had the idea to quick my job after 10 years and pursue a more creative life, well that took about 3 years to actually do but i did it. whether or not i was fully prepared or not, i did it.  i had the idea to create a space where we could bring in teachers and lead amazing workshops and well - we did that.  again, with a lot of questions and not a whole lot of knowledge we did it.  so, see .. we can make these things happen.

Look at my friend Maya - she had an idea and man, did she ever make it happen. in fact, she's going to be making it happen very very soon!  so many people got behind her and helped her make it happen. it takes more than just one. 

we need to ask for help, yes, that word - help. they were right (whoever "they" were) but it does take a village and the days of me sitting in my own little corner trying to figure out how to get it all done is over. i'm asking for help and i'm getting it. people are more than willing and excited to help put my dream out into the world. it's so much more fun when we engage our friends in on the secrets of our hearts. isn't it?  i heard that from Jen Lee - and we all know she's been getting her ideas out there.

So I'm embarking on a few new ideas, new ways to bring myself out into the world. I hope you will join me on the journey ~ I'm hoping to document my way through all the ups and downs so you too can see how it's done and please, if you have ideas, advice, words of wisdom please do share - I'm open.

xx

the importance of awesome women*

so I used to meet with some pretty amazing women on Monday mornings - we were from all sorts ~ painters, illustrators, writers, crafters, photographers... we would meet on monday mornings to regroup on what each of us were doing and to be held accountable for projects we wanted to happen.  I participated for over a year and it was the best thing ever. 

now i meet with a group of "awesome" women once a month over wine, cheese, chocolate and sometimes healthy food!  we're a coach, crafters, jewelry maker, artist, photographer, entrepreuners.  I have to say we totally rock. 

There is something to be said about support, acknowledgment, accountability and just plain love between women.  We can move mountains and we have.  We can be there with champagne when one of us gets engaged, we can be there with kleenex when one of us is having a very hard time, we can be there with pom poms when one of us is really kicking ass and we can be there for so much more.

It's been such a gift and a life saver to have these women in my life and I have to say not much would get done without them.  Yesterday I spent the day making lists, brainstorming, researching and checking things off because of this meeting - because I knew I wanted to show up with something to offer. for myself and for them.  we all help one another. we all matter. we all count.

community, connection...it's what it's all about.

xx

Blog Hop Party ~ Plant a Kiss*

So as I mentioned in my earlier post yesterday was Plant a Kiss day ~ In the spirit of Amy Krouse Rosenthal's work, 16 inspiring and creative bloggers (including me!) set out to "Plant a Kiss" in the world on Sunday, April 29. We each did something we thought would spread a little extra joy, color, connection, poetry, or magic in the world. Then we watched to see what would happen!

I first have to say that I woke up with a terrible head cold but having promised the girls we would head the city to participate in a Bubble Flash Mob to spread the love of Plant a Kiss day ~ I knew I couldn't NOT go!  So I popped a bunch of meds and we set out to the city and wow, was it a beautiful day! 

The Bubble Flash Mob was to start at 11:11 in Delores Park, SF ~ they recently renovated the whole playground so we were excited to get there to see!  Once we go there - the park was hopping, we found Sherry and friends and were all abuzz as to what was going to happen once 11:11 came around.   People started seeing all the bubble parphanalia they quickly circled in and wanted in on the action.  The word had gotten out to the news stations and more and more people had heard about it through various networks.  It was so great!

I was really surprised by the amount of people that had shown up and once 11:11 hit everyone started in on the bubble magic and the machine was going non - stop.  The kids were having a blast, the adults were too!  No one can help but smile when there are bubbles around ~ such pure joy was had. Amy would of been proud.  Sherry and her neice and friends should be proud too ~ they created this abundance of joy!  I was so happy that we went and even though I was blowing my nose instead of blowing bubbles I wouldn't of had it any other way!

More photos from the day can be found here

So now...check out what the rest of the bloggers did to celebrate Plant a Kiss day ~

Today each of us is posting about that experience. Click here to visit the main Plant a Kiss page, where you can easily link to all participating bloggers. For every blog that you visit and comment on, your name will be tossed into a hat for a chance to win one of many amazing prizes such as online writing, photography, or dream-building classes; coaching sessions; artwork, or jewelry.  I'm giving away either a print or t-shirt from my shop!  Good Luck!!

xx

the beautiful bits...

i won't go on and tell you where i've been or what's been going on

i won't tell you the ugly bits that go on inside my head and behind closed doors

i won't tell you the dirty secrets that we all have and the shame wrapped around them

i will tell you about the giggles that i heard from Penelope made my heart almost explode

i will tell you that seeing my girls in a pool made me smile big, big enough to even get me into the pool

i will tell you that those 2 days spent in Santa Cruz on our spring break - staycation healed my heart in small bits

i will tell you that a day at the beach creating structures out of drift wood are good for the soul and everything in between

i will tell you that turning off computers and phones do a mind and body good

i will tell you that a weekend spent with jen lee and friends will have you dropping to your knees with gratitude and love

i will tell you that sitting around tables sharing stories with other women feels like saving the world or if it's just saving me, well that's enough

i will tell you that if i could create my days around sitting around a table or cozied up in chairs sharing our stories i would do it in a heartbeat ~ we heal each other with our words

i will tell you that my polaroid is my newest bff

i will tell you that planning an artist party for my 7 year old Kadison was hard work but it was every bit worth it ~ seeing those canvases done by all the kids made my heart blow up ~ they don't even know ..and that is why.

i will tell you that some days are so hard i don't know what end is up or down but then a light is given to me by a good friend and then i breath again

i will tell you that i have been given so many gifts over the past 2 weeks that i'm not sure what to do with but just knowing they are gifts is enough for now

i will tell that you a 3 week road trip back home to the midwest is in the works and that is the light at the end of the tunnel right now....

 

what can you tell me?

Spring Cleaning time*

Hi Friends, are you feeling the bug?  the spring cleaning bug?  I sure am.  I've been gradually cleaning out cupboards, drawers, closets and getting rid of the old.  Time to make room for the new ...ideas and abundance.  I have to say it's been a hard couple of months and I'm getting through it ...slowly and carefully. I'm also very aware that my finances aren't good and I've been dwelling in that and we all know that doesn't help anything!  So I'm slowly trying to change my tune ...trying to bring in more abundance and good thoughts. Trying ....to make better choices and being realistic ...it's a process that's for sure.

So with that said I'm having a SALE in my Etsy Shop and here on my site for the I AM AWESOME T-shirts! 25% off everything!  I want it all to go and be with the world!  Use the discount code SPRING during check out to get the discount.

Really feeling like I need the space to grow and to also see more clearly what is in front of me. So if can help, I really appreciate it.  Thank you for always being here and holding this space for me.  with love, xx

 

ps. pass it on if you feel so inclined... :)