Friday Friends: DesignedByMeg

Happy Friday, Friends! On Friday, I like to feature artists and entrepreneurs. It is my way of giving back to the community. I hope you enjoy meeting these lovely people and their wonderful creations, as I do! Today I am delighted to introduce you to my sweet cousin, the talented Meg Norris of Designed By Meg. She is a delightful woman, and her craftsmanship is impeccable. Her work and materials are truly top quality! Welcome, Meg!

1. So can you tell us a bit about your business?

Designed by Meg is handmade business specializing in Wood Enamel Jewelry.

2. Do you have a favorite creation?

The Pine Trees are my favorite! The enameling takes a good amount of finesse and the pine trees were my effort to take it to the next level. I had to “build” it in my head first and then lay it out with the powdered glass. When I pulled them out of the kiln the immense relieve and pride I felt was awesome!

3. How did you get started?

Wood: My parents build custom furniture, so I was raised around wood. When we got the laser engraver, I decided to design and cut out pieces with it.

Enamel: I took a workshop/class at the Tacoma Metal Arts Center. It was supposed to be just a fun day. When I got home that evening I told my husband “Buckle up, Love. This needs to happen in my life!” He gave my first kiln for Christmas that year… and the rest is history.


4. What do you like to do for fun?

All kinds of things:

Hiking

Archery

Movies

Road Trips

Being with my family

5. What is one unusual thing about you?

I was born and raised in Hawaii and have a Hawaiian middle name.

6. What music inspires you?

This is going to be a lame answer, but it really depends on the day.

Right now the album Live From The Woods by NEEDTOBREATHE is my go-to.7. What tv shows/movies are you watching these days?

I really love Baking Challenge shows

Comedy Sit-Coms like Brooklyn 99 and Superstore

As far as movies… I don’t really like anything new that has come out.

So I am revisiting old favorites: Princess Bride, EdTV and Soapdish.

8. Do you have a theme song?

Desert Song, by Hillsong

It’s a song for every season of life… and a good reminder.

9. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

It’s not as bad as it seems.

10. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

I feel extremely lucky to get to do what I do.

Check out Meg’s creations at http://www.designedbymeg.com/

And on Instagram @designedbymeg

Friday Friends: Sarah E. Boucher & The Golden Gown

Happy Friday, Friends!

On Fridays I like to feature authors, creatives, and entrepreneurs here on the blog. The blogging/ reading/ writing community is a wonderful galaxy and this is my way of giving back- shining the spotlight on others. Today I am delighted to feature a returning visitor with her new book: Sarah E. Boucher. Welcome, Sarah!

1. What can you tell us about your new book? 

I’m so excited about Golden Gown! It’s been a blast to twist so many things I love into one fairy tale. First, it’s a retelling of Rumplestilskin where Rumple become the romantic lead. (And a sexy, mischievous Spaniard…) Second, it’s a tribute to my Grammy Elsie, who is the inspiration for my heroine, Elyse. She’s the type of girl everyone wants as a best friend. She’s smart, hardworking, and unfailingly loyal. (Okay, maybe she’s a little naive too, though that trait is more mine than Grammy’s.)

2. How was it different writing this book? 

I took an entirely different approach to writing Golden Gown. It all started when my longtime book boyfriend Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables influenced my Rumplestilskin, Gilberto De La Vega. As soon as that happened, Marilla Cuthbert, Rachel Lynde, Diana Barry, and half of Avonlea crept into the narrative. It was absolutely delightful to fangirl over one of my favorite series, reinvent the characters, and introduce them into a fairy tale world. So. Much. Fun.

3. If you could spend a day with any one of your characters, who would it be? What would you do?

Oh my goodness, is it obvious I’m in love with Gil? I’d definitely make him take me out for a schmancy dinner and some sort of romancing. He still surprises me, so it would definitely be a good night. (Probably ending in a dark corner and a make out session…uh…I mean, a really heartfelt conversation.)

4. Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring authors? 

Keep writing! Don’t fall so in love with your sweet baby manuscript that you a) won’t let anyone help you make it better (because it always becomes better when you involve others in the process), or b) writing something else. 

Because that thing you’re obsessing over is never going to be as good as the thing you write a couple of years down the line.

5. What is your favorite food? 

Chocolate. I mean anything chocolate. Currently it’s peanut butter and chocolate in any configuration. Like Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. Or Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars.

6. Are you still watching superhero tv?

Does is count if I binge watch Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow? Because I do. A lot. They’re like fairy tales with scmancy weapons.

And don’t get me started on the entire Marvel movie franchise…

7. What was one thing you edited out of this book? 

I had an entire relationship I removed from my book. Early on my good friend told me that one of my female characters was too good for the guy she ended up with. It took two more drafts until I agreed with her. But now the dirtbag does not get the girl. (It’s funny because my dad read it last and said, “Why doesn’t he end up with…?” Too late, dad. I burned that relationship to the ground!)

8. What are you working on these days?

My writing group (The Writing Girls) is releasing a Fairy Tale Anthology this fall, so my extra time is spent working on that. I also have a retelling of Rapunzel that’s whispering at the back of my mind, but it will probably only get attention when I retire from kindergartenland for the summer. But it’s a really fun twist that I can’t wait to jump into!

9. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? 

Europe. All over Europe. Especially Spain and Italy.

And England.

And probably Germany.

(Is it obvious I’ve never crossed ‘the pond?’)

10. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

Thanks for hosting me! This journey has been so much fun! Several years ago, I introduced myself as a kindergarten teacher because that’s all I thought I would be. But someone read my very rough draft and said, “you have to submit this.” 

And I said no. 

Then I thought about it for a long time. And I threw my baby manuscript to the wolves. I will forever be grateful for that friend who believed in me. So take it from me, if there’s ever anything you are afraid to try, gather your tribe and go after it. As I tell my five-year-olds, you will never know if you don’t try!

Thanks!

Here’s the book blurb:

Elyse has lost everything; her parents, her family home, and the village where she is loved and respected. Still grieving, she arrives in a new town where she must prove her skills as a seamstress. Overnight, she creates a gown stunning enough to catch the princess’s eye and win the community’s approval. With every eligible maiden clamoring for her designs, Elyse must do everything in her power to appease them. No one can ever know that in the moments when she doubts her abilities, a mysterious stranger with a talent for tailoring and a penchant for damsels in distress comes to her aid. If anyone ever discovers the truth, her reputation will be ruined.

Thank you for stopping by, Sarah! Here’s how you can find Sarah online.

blog/website (SarahEBoucher.com)

Friday Friends: Katie Naughton & LuLaRoe

Happy Friday, Friends! I started interviewing authors, bloggers and creative entrepreneurs on Fridays as I was so inspired when the creative community welcomed me, back when I published my first book. This year we are featuring creative entrepreneurs. I know you will enjoy meeting my friend, Katie Naughton. She’s fun, friendly, and sells fabulous clothes. Katie has a knack for pattern-mixing, too! “What is that?” you ask? Read on, LuLaFriends!

Welcome, Katie!

1. So, can you tell us about your business? 
I own a retail clothing boutique of LuLaRoe brand clothing. I sell the clothing from my home, in-person and online, and have been in the business almost 3 years. LuLaRoe brand is known for its fun patterns, comfy fabrics, and styles that flatter all shapes and sizes. I carry tops, dresses, cardigans and kimonos, skirts, and children’s clothing. I became a customer, got hooked on the cute, comfy clothes, and the rest is history.
2. Do you have a favorite style or pattern?
The two LuLaRoe styles that I first fell in love with were the Madison skirt, a pleated skirt with pockets, and the Perfect tee, a swingy tee with slits on the side. I love the combination of florals with stripes, as well as fun novelty prints, like raccoons. #patternmixing Have fun with your clothes! I am looking forward to LuLaRoe adding jeans to our brand in the coming months.
3. How do you balance work and family?
Since I make my own schedule and work from home I can usually plan my business activities around our family schedule. I do a lot of my work (i.e. photographing inventory, shipping, live sales) while my kids are at school or after they go to bed. Since my inventory is in my home I can have sales whenever our family is home and it’s convenient for us. It means my customers occasionally see my family life in action, but I’m comfortable sharing some of that. 
4. What do you like to do for fun?
I love watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends and family, trying new places to eat, and going on adventures, big and small. I recently joined a book club and have started reading for fun again, after a very long hiatus.
5. What is one unusual thing about you?
I don’t have my ears pierced. I never did it as a kid and once I got older it just didn’t seem that important. I considered having them pierced for my 40th birthday, but that came and went and my ears remain intact.
6. What music inspires you?
Depends on the moment. I’m a wanna-be 90s grunge groupie, raised on Motown and MTV music videos, who married a rock drummer/engineer. Bjork’s greatest hits are currently playing on my Amazon Echo. A few albums that come to mind that I’ve listened to on repeat are the “Singles” movie soundtrack, Muse “Black Holes and Revelations”, Alice in Chains “Jar of Flies”, Perfect Circle “Mer de Noms”, and Toad the Wet Sprocket “Dulcinea”. Whatever is playing, I’m definitely singing along.
7.Which ethnic restaurants have you visited?
Lots, I’ll try anything at least once! Locally I’m a repeat customer at Southern Comfort Kitchen(Cajun), Aroma Cuisine of India, King Kong Chinese Restaurant, Pho Play, and Pokeatery.
8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?
Blue cheese, no doubt about it. Ranch ranks very low on my cravings list.
9. What instrument did you play in marching band?
Clarinet (bassoon in symphonic band and orchestra). High school marching band is where I met my husband.
10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days? 
I just finished binge watching the 2nd season of “Westworld”. I’m currently watching the new seasons of “Barry” and “Documentary Now” and looking forward to the return of “Game of Thrones”. The last movie I saw in the theater was “Captain Marvel”. 
11. Do you have a theme song?
No theme song, but I’ve typically got a soundtrack going in my head.
12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self? 
Take some risks, nothing too outrageous but color outside of the lines a tad. 
13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
Travels! Our family loves traveling, near and far. We will occasionally take off on little day trips or overnights around the Bay Area. We are lucky to live near so many amazing places! But we are also up for an adventure farther from home. My husband and I have visited 33 US states together, including a few Western states with the kids. We also borrowed an idea from friends, to celebrate each 5th anniversary abroad. For our 5th anniversary, pre-kids, we meandered around Munich, Hallstat (Austria), Venice, Florence, Rome, and Paris. For our 10th we took our boys (aged 4 and 2 at the time) to Edinburgh, London, and Dublin. For our 15th our family visited friends in Valencia, Spain, then went to Barcelona, Lyon (FR) and Paris. Our 20th isn’t decided yet….Tokyo? Costa Rica? Macchu Pichu?
Follow me on Facebook for new inventory, special sales, live videos, and more:
Follow me on Instagram:

View select inventory at goshopkatie.com

Thanks for being here, Katie!

Tune in in two weeks for our next community interview with author Sarah Boucher.

Catch our other #FridayFriends interviews with Your Writer Big Sister , MeganReneePlans, Dolce Planner, Tomi & Cleo, Yancy Lael and Jenipher Lyn.

Friday Friends: Katie * Your Writer Big Sister * Masters

Happy Friday, Friends! I started featuring the writing community on Fridays as a thank you to those who helped launch my first book. And I found I just loved it so much, I wanted to keep doing it! I’m delighted to feature Katie Masters today. Read on to meet Katie!

So, what have you written/created?

I mean, if you wanted to go back far into the archives in the life-of-Katie, you’d find sailor moon fanfiction and whole spiral notebooks full of stories written from the age of twelve onward! But since I’m pretty sure you don’t want to read those (and really, you probably shouldn’t), I can thankfully point you to the things I have had published! 

 

The first (literally, my very first!) book I wrote was picked up by Fire & Ice YA, a modern-day Irish mythology book entitled, Brenna Morgan & the Iron Key. It’s kind of my baby and while I do intense research for all of my books, this one is near and dear to my heart as it’s part of my heritage. Most recently my modern-day sci-fi thriller Beacons, got picked up last year by Pandamoon Publishing and is slated to come out this year! I’ve also self-published a novella that’s the first in a series I’m creating entitled The Bone Dancer.

Currently I’m working on my lesbian Victorian romance and hoping to pitch it soon. I’m also probably the worst person in the world to ask what I’ve created or what I’m working on because I’m always creating and my answer today might be different tomorrow! I’m also juggling two different  Middle Grade series, and a lesbian slice of life graphic novel (done in Japanese manga style). 

 I’m also writing full news articles on my Patreon page for my Enchanted Forest News updates that I do on twitter!

…..Yeah. That sounds like a lot even to me. 

I don’t know how I haven’t gone insane either.

Where can we find you on social media?

You can find me practically everywhere but especially on twitter! I also have an Instagram and authortube channel on youtube! I’m pretty sure the links to them all will be down below.

What inspired you to start tweeting as Your Writer Big Sister?

 

Oh man! I think you’re the first person to ask me that! As it happens, I’m in fact, a big sister in real life! But as I went on twitter I realized I was spending a lot of time (worthwhile time!) cheering on a lot of writers on twitter, and giving a lot of advice and doing a lot of beta reading and I realized—all of these wonderful people didn’t have a ‘big sister’. They didn’t have someone to cheer them on in their life, or tell them they weren’t crazy and to not listen to their close minded parents who put padlocks on their dreams.

 

So I took it upon myself to be everyone’s Writer Big Sister. 

I was lucky that as a teen, I had the opportunity to be coached by some writers and I wanted to do the same thing—to be the cheerleader for the writer who doesn’t have someone to do it  forthem in their life.

 

What subjects and causes are near and dear to your heart?

 

SO. MANY. Note the cap locks! But I know I should narrow it down to two. LGBTQ is right on the top of my list—right there with conservation. I’m an ally, always have been, always will be. But I would like the world to remain habitable so that we can all still be alive to read books, explore nature, and love whoever the hell we want. Which is why I so strongly support conservation. I spent half of my childhood in apartment and the other on boats on the ocean and a tipi on a lonely mountain. Nature and keeping it around and leaving it better than it was is huge for me.

 

What’s the first piece of writing that you remember being proud of and why?

The first piece of writing I was ever truly proud of was a fantasy book I was writing in Jr. high. I was very serious about it and it was the reason I learned to type so fast on a computer! I wanted to write it as fast as it was running around in my head! I was proud of it because I wrote a truly great villain and even my mom (who is the hardest person in the world to impress) was impressed with her. 

 

Looking back at it now I can say “oh yeah, I was definitely thirteen” and even pinpoint what author influenced my word choices or plot development. But even now, it’s still something I’m proud of, since I was so young and taking on a huge world building project.

How many books did you read last year?

 

I um….I didn’t keep count exactly but maybe 30? I felt I wasn’t reading enough though and I’m trying to fix that this year!

 

Which of them stood out?


Well, I’m sure not everyone will count it, but The Prince and the Dressmaker, which is a graphic novel by Jen Wang. The art is freaking gorgeous, the story doubly so. It’s just such a wonderful blend of fashion and heart! I just wish it could’ve kept going!

 

How did you get the idea to tweet Enchanted Forest News?

 

I honestly don’t know! It was just sort of something that kind of lighting flashed into my brain one day. I wrote one news flash and it took off like crazy on twitter and people started asking me if I was going to do it daily—so I did! Initially (and to this day) I was using for a fun background/easter egg plot drop to my Enchanted Forest middle grade series I’m working on. It’s meant to take place a few years prior to the start of the first book, andsets the stage for a lot of the plots in the series! 

It’s honestly grown to be so much more than I thought it would be, mainly due to the many people who comment on it and tell me how much the updates mean to them! It’s really kept me going, to be honest!

 

What is your theme song?

Oh that’s so hard! It depends on the day and the mood I’m in! But I would say overall my theme song is “keep your head” by Andy Grammar. Although lately it’s been “high hopes” by Panic! At the Disco. Pretty sure you can see a theme forming at this point right?

What is your all-time favorite movie?

 

Okay firstly, you need to know something about me. I love movies as much as I love books. I’ve grown up watching silent films, old film noire, musicals…you name it, I’ve watched it. Soto pick only one is impossible for me! I don’t think I could even pick one in one genre! But I’ll say one of my favorite movies of all time is the 1990’s version of Pride and Prejudice because they did that book so much justice and to this day it’s the best book-to-film adaptation I’ve ever seen.

Fight me!

 

What songs can you play on the ukulele?

 

I can play all kinds of songs! I love playing Rebecca Sugar songs (I mean, really who doesn’t?!) on it, but I also write my own songs, and I like learning modern day songs too. I think one of my favorite bands to play from is Of Monsters and Men (from the Little Talks album).

 

What plants do you have growing in your garden?

 

Asking that is like asking a booktuber how many books they have on their shelf. You’ve entered dangerous ‘list’ territory my friends! To those who don’t know me, by the way, I garden! I’m like…maybe a little obsessed with gardening. I don’t want your eyes to glaze over, so I’ll give you the shortened version! I have seven different kind of berry bushes, an apple tree, plum tree, 2 kinds of grapes, rhubarb, strawberries, and three raised beds filled with seasonal veggies (and onions and garlic).

Fun bonus fact: all of my berries and trees are in pots because I rent and can’t plant anything permanent in the ground!

 

Ranch or Blue Cheese?

Ranch. Always ranch.

 

Name one faraway place you would like to visit.

 

My life goal since I was twelve years old is to go to Japan. I’ve literally learned to read and write and speak the language since I  was a kid and I still haven’t gotten to go. I’m hoping to fix that someday soon (I say that, by my book sales just laugh at me).

What’s your favorite tea?

My favorite tea is the Private Reserve from the Los Rios Teahouse (they sell their teas online too, bless them!)!

 

Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

Yes There is! This writing business is tough. If you’re writing a book right now, you know that. But I want you to know you’re not alone. The worst things you can do are withdrawal when you’re stuck, and give up. If you’re having a hard time, there’s a community on twitter for your going through the same thing—or have gone through it and lived to tell tale.

You are not alone, and people want you to reach out. I know that can be scary because a lot of you might be introverted or feel you don’t have the right or the ‘standing’ to ask for help or advice.

I’m here to tell you, you are. You are worth the time people invest in you. You are worth the time you invest in yourself. And your books are worth the time you’ve put into them. If you feel stuck or lost or frustrated, reach out. Reach out to me, or to the writing community.

But you are not alone. Please keep writing!

 


Thanks, Katie! I’ve always wanted a big sister!

Here’s where you can find Katie and her books!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Katie_Masters29

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katie_masters/

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/KatieMasters

Brenna Morgan and the Iron Key

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAKV7lMmK10

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2GBnEzY

The Bone Dancer: https://amzn.to/2E7gTnT

Friday Friends: MeganReneePlans

Happy Friday, Friends! On Fridays I like to feature individuals who are creative. Hope you enjoy this week’s spotlight on MeganReneePlans!

I discovered MeganRenee via Etsy as I searched for decorative stickers for my planner. I fell in love with her Beauty and the Beast Kit, which includes inspiring quotes. My daughter and I also use her sports stickers in my planner for notating practice and games. I particularly appreciate these because they were customizable. I chose the hair color as well as team color for the stickers.

Read on to meet MeganRenee!

1. So, what have you created and produced? 
For the past three years now I have been creating planner stickers and inserts for my Etsy shop. 

2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?
Autism Speaks has been my number one cause since college. They are my sorority’s philanthropy and I’ve tried to keep them on my donation list since then. 

3. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
It varies and changes all the time. I usually try to work on at least three or four projects at a time. Sometimes I’m just burned out with all the mom life duties that I rarely design. I try to find artwork that hasn’t been used too much in the planner community and then put my spin on putting it together. 

4. What do you like to do for fun?
Designing sticker kits is actually fun for me. Other than that I love reading, going to the ballet or just out to dinner with my husband. 

5. What is one unusual thing about you?
I hate mustard! With a passion. I don’t know why exactly. But just thinking about it makes me nauseous. 

6. What music inspires you?
I love music! Almost any genre, except country. Lately I’ve been finding more inspiration from contemporary Christian. 

7. How many books did you read last year?
I think I only read 10 or 11 last year. 

8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?
Definitely ranch!

9. What are you working on right now?
I am working on prepping for my shop’s 3rd anniversary sale. Also finalizing details to being foiled stickers to the shop. 

10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days?
I don’t watch much as my sons usually take over the tv. But I make sure to keep up with Arrow and The Flash. 

11. Do you have a theme song?
I don’t think I do. There’s always multiple songs running through my head during the days. 

12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?
That it’s ok to let yourself be who you are. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. 

Website : http://www.meganreneeplans.com
IG : http://www.instagram.com/meganreneeplans

Wednesday Wellness: Journaling

Welcome, Friends! I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesday’s as I noted many of my friends an creative types struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my journey as I explore mental health and self care, stumbling along the way!

Even before I was an author, I was a writer. I vividly remember when I was six years old, I insisted that my dad drive me downtown to buy a diary. I have always written in one form or another: journals, stories, blogs. (If you write a blog post and nobody reads it, is it a journal?) Did you have a pen pal when you were a kid? I had several. Some of those letters were epic, let me tell you! It was a form of journaling.

Currently I am journaling in no less than five journals. And that’s not even all of them! I can think of two more which I have only temporarily abandoned, and one more which I would like to replace. (Then there’s a really fun one I might want to start up again!) Let me explain.

Each journal has its own function and purpose. I can keep five journals simultaneously because each has its own design and intention. First, I’ll start with my daily planner. Sure, I use it to organize my future plans. But I also use it to keep track of what I do from day to day. See my posts on creative, decorative journaling and how it helps me manage my anxiety. #PlanforMagic Journal No. 1.

Journal No.2. This is my work notebook. Similarly, it is my list collection of daily activities, but at work. This is something i reference often something when I have a similar instance, and want to recall how i processed something. Recently, I changed the way I use it. I now refer to it as my Success Log. See my post here on how to keep a success log. Basically I now track what I did, instead of listing what I have to do. I find this mindset helps keep anxiety at bay. Of course, I till need to track my To Do items, so I write them on Post it’s and stick them on the facing page. This practice reminds me of the Word Banks that we used in creative writing in school. Use these words. Do these things. But it’s okay to keep moving them to the next day, accordingly.

Journal. No. 3. At my birthday brunch a couple of months ago, everybody gave me a journal. How delightful! My besties know me so well. Here is one of them. Isn’t it gorgeous? This one reminds me of Lucy’s journal in the TV series Timeless. I am using this one for traditional journaling, by this i mean recording feelings and processing difficult subjects. Like what, you ask. Oh just the basics, you know, inspiration and mortality…

Journal No. 4 is my book journal. This is a entralized place dedicated to my book writing. It is part organization, part freewriting, part collage. I cut and paste in images, doodle, list, the like. I have some larger worksheets that I fold and insert in the back. I may list questions that I have for further research. I may list websites which have been helpful to reference.

Journal No 5. I received this one as a gift. With my success with my work journal and my personal daily planner, I decided to try this one. It is basically an interactive goal-setting workbook. I appreciate how it guides you. This one is designed for career and professional goals, but I think I am using it more for personal goals. It is like having a personal coach in your back pocket. In the past, I have used Leonie Dawson’s guides for this purpose. Here is a link to the Acheivement Journal I am using now. Here is a link to the Life Goals workbook I have used before.

Not pictured: Gratitude Journal. Last year I used a guided gratitude journal that was in almanac style. I realized quickly that my daily planner (journal no 1) was the source and reference for completing my gratitude journal. Although you can use a gratitude journal daily, I found that I would often have Gratitude Sessions, in which I would sit in a cafe and open my daily planner to where I’d left off in my gratitude journal. I’d review the planner, taking one thing per day to write about in my gratitude journal. I found it to be a great way to savor my memories, as well as my coffee or tea! I began to look forward to my practice of self care in this way.

Travel Journal: I always encourage my children to keep a journal when we are on vacation, just as my parents did for me, when I was a kid. Last summer my daughter and I each created our own travel journals: smaller booklets with diary entries, weather tracking, memorabilia and photos. This is a good, first activity if you are overwhelmed by the idea of journalling, because it is contained and limited in scope. Read my post “Dear Diary” about how special it was to read my friend’s travel journal after she died.

Training journals: I keep a notebook for professional trainings I attend. I keep a separate notebook for personal development sessions- coaching, podcasts, or webinars.

Collage Journal: This was a favorite activity I started in 2011. The memorabilia and paraphernalia is what makes the collage journal magic. Here is a sample of my collage journal spread.

Bullet Journal: this is a modern minimalistic journal practice. It is very trendy now. I have seen examples that are simplistic habit trackers and goals/ lists, and others with ornate doodles and drawings. Usually done with a small journal with grids, you make a table of contents and may use a code. Bullet Journaling/ Bujo also has a cult following. This is another good introduction into journaling. This can be an “everything” journal, in which case you may need to replace it every month. Try it for 30 days. See if it works for you!

Do you journal? What kind of journalling do you practice?

Friday Friends: Mo Quintana & tomiandcleo

Happy Friday, Friends! On Fridays I like to feature creatives and entrepreneurs. Allow me to introduce you to a very special friend: Mo Quintana from tomiandcleo ❤️ I met Mo in the eighth grade, can you believe it? She had the best book recommendations. I’m so excited to follow her successes and adventures. Read on to meet Mo~ and at the end you will find a link to her Etsy shop as well as a special discount code for my readers. Thanks, Mo!

  1. So, what have you created and produced? 
I am a designer of things. I was trained as a graphic designer, and in college (and after) got into designing for live theater, specifically lighting, costumes and sets. And a little more than a year ago, left a corporate job to design and make art jewelry.
Currently I make jewelry in small batches from polymer clay and sterling silver.
2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?
I feel strongly about animal welfare. Art and music education are essential to a well rounded human as well. Not to mention continuing education and practice keeping that human sane and engaged.
3. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
My creative process follows two paths. If I’m designing for either a client or a theatre production, it’s mainly about problem solving. For instance, designing a set for a production of “Cabaret” is very collaborative. If designing and building costumes for the same, then there is much collaboration with not only director and producer but also actors, prop designers, musical directors and choreographers. Theatre design begins with research, drawings, mood boards, production meetings, then build and making changes. It’s pretty satisfying to see a production I’ve worked on. It’s also pretty fleeting. Live theatre productions (amateur) only last for maybe 2 months. I will usually work a show making repairs if I did costumes, but otherwise, what is created doesn’t live long.
The second path is creating something by myself. This is interesting for me, since I’ve worked collaboratively for most of my working life. This path usually starts with research. I decide what I’d like to create, make sketches and do research, then plan out the pieces, get supplies, make the pieces, fix the pieces or scrap them if they aren’t turning out well and finish them. Then I either wear, give them away, or sell them.
I found when doing the graphic design for my own jewelry brand that I badly missed having the feedback of other designers. The worst part of design school and indeed working as a designer was the critique. When others tell you that what you’re doing isn’t working, that becomes stressful and causes anxiety. However, to be a good designer, you can’t work without it. So I found some colleagues to give me feedback. Talk about growing up.
4. What do you like to do for fun?
I like to crochet, read fantasy books, and watch special features in my favorite movies, over and over and over. I like to sing and play Sims 4.
5. What is one unusual thing about you?
I’m very organized. Since I’m an artist, most people will think I’m the messy creative type, but everything in my world is alphabetized, color coded, and sorted by size and use. It’s helpful when one has a bajillion beads and too many art supplies. I spent a lot of time in my previous job figuring out how to produce many things in the most efficient way possible, and that has permeated every part of my life. From baking to painting to making lots of post earrings, there’s always a workflow exercise involved.
6. What music inspires you?
Normally I play chill vibe music on Pandora when actually making things. I prefer ambient music without lyrics for creating. If i’m producing things and doing repetitive work, I’ll listen to big band, pop music, funk and R&B, and usually sing along.
7. How many books did you read last year?
Probably, counting audio books, 30+.
8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?
Ranch for most things, blue cheese for buffalo wings.
9. What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a new type of earring set design which is gender neutral. I’m learning how to make post earrings so that they won’t break when adhering sterling silver to polymer clay.
Next up is making some larger statement pieces, necklaces/pendants, and bracelets
10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days?
As for TV, I normally wait for whole seasons to come out. I also rewatch shows multiple times. 
Some of those are:
The Great British Baking Show, Battlestar Galactica, Scandal, Sanctuary, Eureka, Person of Interest, Travelers, Game of Thrones, Marvel’s Agents of Shield, and anything about science and history. And castle building. 
I’m looking forward to the Episode 9 of Star Wars, and to Mortal Engines.
11. Do you have a theme song?
Great question! I probably have several. Looking at my favorite playlist, what jumps out are:
Harder Better Faster Stronger, Daft Punk
Happy, Pharrell Williams
Make Me Feel, Janelle Monae
I Like it Like That, Pete Rodriguez
Jump In The Line, Harry Belafonte
Amado Mio, Pink Martini
Sing, Pentatonix
Uptown Funk, Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars
Everybody Needs A Kiss, Benny Benassi and Sofi Tukker
12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?
Definitely that critique and feedback are painful but necessary.
13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
I think that having a creative outlet is more important than ever. It helps keep you sane and hopeful. It matters not one bit if a person thinks they need to know how to draw or whatever. It’s never too late to start creating things.

Find Mo’s creations at tomiandcleo on Etsy

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