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

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

Click here to go to tomiandcleo on Etsy

Here is the special coupon code for my readers: DEEREADERS25

Wednesday Wellness: Information at your Service

Happy Wellness Wednesday! I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays as I noted so many of my friends and creatives struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my journey towards Wellness, along the yellow brick road, acknowledging all things shiny along the way.

One of my first jobs was working at the bookstore at the mall. I loved to work the Information Desk. It was a really neat way to be helpful and also learn things along the way. Many times somebody would ask me a question and I didn’t even know that I knew the answer until they asked. This continued as I moved on to the bigger flagship bookstore. I would put books on hold for myself, but after a few days return them to the shelves, as it seemed just thinking about them helped me realize what I needed to about them. Information was everywhere. So many books, so much information. It was my job to help people, but they were helping me, too. They were helping me develop my intuition.

I’m only just realizing that my current job (of twenty years!) is kind of like that, too. People come to me for assistance, and I assist them. They might ask me for information. I might know the answer, or I might know whom to ask to get the answer. I am providing information, as well as learning information. Sometimes still, I am able to provide the answer, not even realizing that I had already known the answer until that very moment. A little glimmer of a whisper in the back of my mind comes forth. And I am humbled.

The Doctor is IN

I am NOT a doctor. But I can help you find a book.

My dear friend Noel was a kindred spirit, and we both used to improvise playing piano.  When people said they liked her piano playing, she’d say “Isn’t it great? It’s the Holy Spirit!” She had a way of playing a song that is commonly known as “faking it.” There are Fake Books published, and this means the basic notes of the melody are noted and lyrics, but no other music is provided, only the Guitar Chords. It is an outline for the recipe of the song, if you will. There are many ways of making chocolate chip cookies, but in the end, they are all chocolate chip cookies. I love to improvise as I play piano, in fact, I even ignore the written accompaniment, now. If you listen hard enough, you can play the tune. You can play notes, or you can play music. You can follow a recipe, or you can make a cookie.  Are you with me?

So often something reminds me of something else.  Many times, I find myself looking for something, when, in fact, I find something else which I had been looking for before. Whomp, there it is.

Call it The Secret, the Law of Attraction, remote preparation, seek and ye shall find.

I truly believe that having an open mind allows one to perceive truths one might not otherwise recognize.

Everything in your life thus far has prepared you for the next moment. It’s synchronicity.

This afternoon as I drove around during my lunch break, the 80s station played that song “Pure Energy” by a group called Information Society.  Upon entering a place of business, I heard their radio station playing “Meant to Be” by Bebe Rexha.

What I know for sure, is that I am not yet aware of all that I already know.

What do you know?

Wellness Wednesday: Organized Chaos and Magic Words

My friends, I started writing about Wellness on Wednesdays, as I noticed so many creative souls struggle with balance, as do I.  Join me on my journey to wellness as I follow the yellow brick road, marching to the beat of my own drum, stumbling along the way.

I reached a milestone this year, and something has happened.  People are asking me what I think and I realized I have something to say.  Truth is, glimmers of whispers have been brewing, like quiet storms in the back of my mind- for some time.  And that’s part of what I want to share with you today.

I haven’t always been a planner. In fact, as an Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiver (INFP on the Myer-s Briggs Type Indicator), I often eschewed organization, preferring spontaneity and the freedom I perceived.  But in college, grad school, and then being a working mom, I began to see the benefits of planning.  I developed my own way of planning- that is Plan, to Have Fun.  Research and mapping activities sure helped get things done! When we go on a family trip, I know exactly what we need and when we hope to do things. There’s a lot of planning in advance, as well as some down time and flexibility. So, I’ve come to recognize planning as an important step. Otherwise, you are wandering a theme park not getting on any rides like the Heck family on the tv show The Middle. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Holiday Collage

Planning for Chaos (Tis the Season)

It was only a couple of years ago that I finally discovered the magic of using a personal planner.  I have to say, finding the right one that works for you is everything.  I had used a Bloom planner, then the Shining Year (before it was discontinued) and now I use the Erin Condren Life Planner (vertical).  Michael’s Recollections line is very similar, and Happy Planner is another planners’ favorite.  There is also Passion Planner. All of these planners can be used quite creatively, you’ll see.

The magic is in writing it down.

I started using the spaces in a vertical planner for timed activities, but then I had these long lists that didn’t fit at the bottom.   So I learned to use the boxes for checklists and inspiring quotes. I use the lines for weekly focus, daily water tracking, goals and interests.  The thing about writing it down is that it makes it more concrete.  Our lives are so digital these days, we’ve literally lost touch.  But once we dare to write things down, we can see that more things are possible.  It’s visual. It’s real. Even long term goals and dreams become less intimidating once we break them down into steps. Successful athletes are known for practicing visualization to better their sports performance. Commedienne Ellen DeGeneres visualized her first Tonight Show monologue to the detail of crossing the stage to shake Johnny Carson’s hand. Envisioning success helps achieve success.

The trick is to find the words that motivate or inspire you.  Which word means more to you:  Motivation or Inspiration?  I am an inspiration girl working in a “motivation” world.  When I start to hear too many buzzwords, jargon, and “productivity-ness”, part of me shuts down and I actually get de-motivated.  You know the sounds that the teachers make in Peanuts?  Wah wah, wah wah, wah.

NOTIFICATION

NOTIFICATION

The kinds of words that means so much more to me (personally) are words like personal growth, inspiration, creativity.

Carriehqdefault

“Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth.” – Carrie Fisher, When Harry Met Sally, 1989.

Writers and speakers know the importance of the adage Know Your Audience. Well, my friends, YOU are your audience. Plan accordingly. Use the right words for you: motivational or inspirational. And use your tools. Maybe all you need is black pen and the occasional highlighter.

Or MAYBE you are like me and you like COLOR! and STICKERS! and WASHI TAPE!

coffee

Focus on the Good Coffee (weekly spread)


I cannot tell you the joy I have found in discovering the creative planning community. I buy hand-drawn embellishment stickers and kits via Etsy. And I decorate, that is, pre-plan my week. My young daughter is doing this with me now, too. We are looking forward to using our planners. We fill them in and make check marks with pride. If I had forgotten to list something that we did, I will go back and add it. Then, my planner becomes a memory keeper, as well, which I reference when I complete my separate Gratitude Journal. I also write down funny/significant things my family and friends say. #quoteofthemonth

My life has changed since I started planning creatively. Sure there are things I haven’t quite got control of, yet. But I keep listing my tasks and dreams. Since I started planning creatively, I have written and self- published a book, earned a promotion at work, saved money by reducing bills and trading books/cds, made investments, and attended webinar trainings for work and personal growth. I’ve achieved a kind of work-life balance as I’ve learned to prioritize some things over others, at certain times, and then maybe getting back to them or just letting them go! If you haven’t watched 19 episodes of that show on the DVR, then maybe you are not really watching that show, are you? Time to let it go. Overall, I am much happier, and way less anxious.

Finally, I wanted to share the importance of remembering what’s in your wheelhouse. I keep a lot of what some people may call clutter, but I know these ideas and things will have usefulness. You never know when something you did long ago or kept will become needed. This has happened to me so many times, personally. I had saved a vinyl tablecloth, which I used again as a picnic blanket. My sister’s wedding singer cancelled last minute, thank God I studied church music and could literally just step up and SING the whole Mass including Schubert’s Ave Maria (with no rehearsal). (I’m still waiting for that opportunity where someone says, Denise, I will pay you a thousand dollars to sing a Karen Carpenter song! Alas, that has not happened yet.)

Having access to your own personal toolkit invites serendipitous synchronicity, which is when you are uniquely qualified and prepared for something, like when I got to sing for my sister’s wedding. Or when I used my experience training volunteer choirs to sing diphthongs to help teach my young child to correctly say the letter Y.

Or writing this post.

How do you plan? Are you organized? Do you like inspirational or motivational words? Let us know below.

 

 

Friday Friends: Reba Linker and The Little Book of Manifesting Big

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Happy Friday, Friends!  Today I am delighted to feature Reba Linker, master teacher and author of The Little Book of Manifesting Big!  Thank you, Reba, for taking the time to answer my questions. 

1. What is your greatest challenge when writing, and how do you get past it?
I love writing – it helps me get really clear on what I want to say. My greatest challenge stems from that very thing: it takes me a while to hone my message and to boil it down to exactly what I want my message to be. Besides, I’m a Gemini, so when I’m first putting ideas to paper I usually see about 10 different threads of which way the discussion might lead, which makes my head spin, of course!
The only way past this is to write many drafts. I get it out on paper and then, if I have the time, I put it away for a while, and then look at it again with fresh eyes. Even though this ‘organic’ approach is a bit labor intensive, it’s such an interesting and rewarding process, and it really helps me hone and even sometimes discover my message.
2. What inspires you?
I am very inspired by understanding what makes us tick as human beings. I have an enormous curiosity about that and I was lucky enough to study with a truly great spiritual teacher for many years. A lot of the material in The Little Book of Manifesting Big I learned from her.
Understanding who and why we are is also important to me, personally. You might say I’ve been on a healing quest my entire adult life. It is so rewarding to be able to share what I’ve learned on my journey and see it benefit others as well in my work as a life coach, and as an author.
On the surface, The Little Book of Manifesting Big is a simple book on manifesting cool stuff. It is that, for sure, but on a deeper level it is also about how to access and feel at home with our own power and our own creative gifts. So, no matter what I write about, it’s always about who and what we are as human beings!
3. What is in store for you in the coming year?
I have a feeling that this coming year is going to be a big one! I just signed on to create a new video show with Video Content Network, I have a new book on happiness coming out in the spring, as well as two new courses through The Daily OM, one on self-love (based on my Kindle Bestseller, Imagine Self-Love) and one on manifesting, based on The Little Book of Manifesting Big.

All this is simply a foundation to reach the people who are meant to hear my message. I have a women’s group and I see private clients and my greatest thrill is simply helping people bust through their barriers and obstacles and create a happier, more fulfilled life. That rocks my world!
4. Tell us about your experience with detours and u-turns!
My entire life is a detour! I thought I was headed from Point A to Points B, C and D, when all the time, that was just a way to get me to Point Z. My life as a coach and author is completely unexpected, yet it all makes so much sense in retrospect. In a bigger sense, I see us as all on a detour, from the joy and abundance we felt as newborns, to a long detour learning how to fit in to the world in which we found ourselves, and now, on the journey back to our authentic selves.

Happy Holidays! I want to share a gift for you all. The Little Book of Manifesting Big makes the ultimate holiday gift, and I’d love for you to buy a copy for everyone on your list. If you would like to ‘flip through’ the book before you make your purchase, you can download a FREE PDF preview version here: http://rebalinker.com/little-book-manifesting-big-offer

Inspiration

I had an electronic keyboard in my dorm room.  On the desk where one would normally do homework, that is where I had by workstation.  I practiced and composed a lot of music back in the day.   I became inspired to write a musical, Mass parts, instrumental pieces, pop songs, and liturgical songs.  One of my compositions from that era, Be Still, was later published by GIA Music.

Many things led led me to that particular piece.  I was taking a course in Religious Studies called Christian Love, and one of the books we read cited  Psalm 46 verse 10.  I’d just finished writing a piece for flute and piano, and I liked a little turn of the flute melody, which later became the piano accompaniment into the verses of this piece.  At the time I thought writing lyrics inspired from others scripture verses -and relating them to music- was clever.  Though in actuality, too many scriptural references may have made it hard to find liturgical publication (it didn’t fit too easily in any one part of the Catholic Mass).  The first verse is inspired by a story in the Old Testament,  the second is inspired by the Emmaus story in the Gospels, the third by one of the Psalms. I thought the fourth verse, without an obvious scripture reference, was divine inspiration.

Leave behind your fears and worries

Soon you will rejoice,

You will rejoice and know/

You have no need to worry.

Imagine my surprise YEARS LATER as I drove down the freeway listening to KKIS 98.1 FM. I was groovin’ along to Chic’s “Good Times” when I heard

These are the Good Times!

Leave your fears behind.

MO-DED!  I had to admit, maybe I had been inspired by this Disco song.  Or maybe others.  My verse was kind of a hybrid of this song and Heatwave’s

Leave your worries behind,

‘Cause rain, shine don’t mind

We’re riding on the groove line tonight.

(Sing with me, now: Ooh-ah!  ooh-ah!)

You know I love you if you heard that in your head and/or sang it out loud!

So I’m writing about this now because you never know.  You never know where inspiration may come from.  Sometimes -lots of times- it is not where you expect it.  Disco lyrics swimming around your mind two decades past the era.

But it’s all related, it comes full circle.  It is your journey.

A Maze in Grace is now available in Kindle on amazon.com.  Print version coming soon.