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Creativity… Better Done than Done Perfect

I had a student say she had a former photography teacher tell the class that "Every photo should be a work of art." and she asked me if I think that's true. And I said that's complete garbage.  I mean, what a creativity-crushing statement to give a new photographer! I sincerely hope this teacher was joking, or just trying to push for everyone's best, but if they were serious, shame on them. "Better done than done perfect" has always been a favorite life motto for me. It suits me because I gulp life down in pretty big chunks so I don't really have time to devote absolute perfection in any one area. So I really enjoyed reading Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. {affiliate link} She is a huge cheerleader for creative souls to just get their dang work out there and then get back to creating more! If you feel like you have even one creative bone in your body (which really, all of us do!) then I highly recommend this book. As a teacher, and

3 Places I Find Girl-Power Inspiration

In this all-girl household, I am ALL about empowering women. All women… Myself… And these mini-women!     One thing I love about being a girl-Mommy is that I am not allowed to be lazy on personal growth in the girl-power department.  I mean, sure, I'm technically allowed to do whatever the heckity-heck I want. But I don't roll that way. So even on days when I might want to be self-deprecating towards MYSELF, I find those hateful vibes get choked out a little faster because I am very rarely without these two monkeys watching my every move. I am glad that I don't have the luxury to give up. I'm glad that I feel the pressure... that there are two very adorable reasons not to give in to those awful messages. I'm glad that they will think of their Momma as strong as hell, and their biggest cheerleader. They'll probably even roll their eyes about it, because I'll probably overdo it... it's just my way ;-) Anyways when I’m feeling low on the

Yoga Journey | Slow Down and Be Okay

In a lot of ways, I feel like I've taken some serious steps back in my yoga journey. But in the interest of full disclosure, I've taken even more staggering steps back in my personal life. The transition to single parenthood took a lot out of me. Kind of knocked me on my butt for about 18 months to be honest. The end of a marriage is a sad sad thing. I'm no longer depressed and I'm starting to get my sparkle back, but there are still a lot of really hard days.     So it's no wonder my body has suffered as well. I am less bendy than I was three years ago. Less limber. Less strong. WAY less strong. I am tight in ways I used to be flexible. I am tense where I need to breathe. My mind is racing when it needs to meditate. Lessons on the mat, as I have always found in my 5 years practicing yoga, are also essential lessons for my life.     Lately I have had to embrace almost a complete slowing down in my yoga practice. I am

Walking Towards the End of School

I'm really proud of my ladies for how hard they've worked this school year. But I'm happy for them that it's almost time for PLAY! School is almost over y'all! It's crazy.     What's even crazier is that we finally just started walking to school again. It feels like it's been six months.     I guess it has actually been that long. We had the kind of NY winter that lasts until April this year, something I haven't experienced in almost a decade since living abroad. (And yes, I sort of count Mississippi as "abroad", especially where the weather is concerned.) It's not just that it was cold and rainy and sometimes snowing on and off in March and April, it's also that I was just out of habit. I'm still a firm believer in the German phrase "no bad weather only bad clothing." But it does take a little too much effort (for me) to brave certain types of NY winter weather (with kids.) Even on a nice day, we have to get out the door at

My Outdoorsy-Sister, My Nature-Muse

My younger sister is a third of the way done with her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. And I miss her face off.      It's weird... she lives in Rochester so you would think I would see her all the time. But she's a bada$$ ICU/trauma nurse who works night shifts and weekends and I'm a single Mom with school-age kiddos. So I don't hang out with her as much as I would like. But there was something about her leaving for this six month (0r so) adventure of hiking most of the East Coast that feels so much more difficult than her living an hour and a half away. I know I can still text her and I know she's called me pretty regularly for really great chats. And I know I will see her at least once mid-adventure.     I also know she's having the time of her life... I know she's learning a ton about herself through this experience... but the fact that she isn't here is so strange and so hard. And then the empathetic heart of mine is dying

Local Events | Fifth Annual Failure Summit

Last month, I attended the Failure Summit put on by the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes. When I first read the event description I laughed out loud, so I knew it would be a great way to spend an afternoon.  Being a small business owner is a really scary, risky thing. There are many days I think about how much easier it would be if I just got a more traditional job. But then the part of my creative soul that loves this business so hard knows I would not be as happy doing anything else.      It can feel really awful sometimes knowing that I'm not really sure how this wonderful experiment called "small business" is going to work out.  And it feels like I'm going the wrong way most days. I was hoping this Failure Summit would remind me that experiments (and even failures) are some of the only ways we can learn and grow and innovate. And I felt like the five brave souls that got up to speak that day were speaking right

30 Ways to Get You Through the Rest of this Winter | Part 2

  My best friend always laughs at the similarities between her husband and yours truly. Most people get a "blah" sort of feeling when the sun isn't around... but she says she watches some people (raises hand) just seem to droop on dreary days. She calls us "solar-powered people" and I just love that description. SO for those of us who are more solar-powered than others, here are the next ten tips in this quick series on battling the Winter Blues.     11. Plan a trip. Maybe you don't have the time or budget for a big sunny cruise down south, but taking some time on a dreary day to plan a vacation (big or small) gives you a huge mood boost. Some people say that PLANNING a vacay can actually bring just as much if not MORE satisfaction and good vibes than the trip itself. I don't know about that, but hey, I'll buy into just about anything at this point ;-) It's a super good idea to break up your routine... especially at the end of Winter when you're

30 Ways to Get You Through the Rest of this Winter | Part 1

Today I'm going to give you the first ten (of 30) tips and tricks I've learned to battle seasonal depression. You certainly don't have to have actual Seasonal Affective Disorder to experience the Winter Blues. February is that odd month for me... and I know many agree. It's short, it's full of exciting/busy activities, but it also just DRAGS on and on and on because we can see the light of Spring at the end of the tunnel but we just aren't. quite. there. yet. So if you're feeling the winter blues a bit, here are some ideas I've found to help me power through.      1. Spend 15 minutes looking at photos from an event that made you really happy. In her book The Happiness Project {affiliate link here, I highly recommend} Gretchen Rubin writes "Studies show that recalling happy times helps boost happiness in the present. When people reminisce, they focus on positive memories, with the result that recalling the past amplifies the positive and minimizes the

My Earliest Memory

Look guys! I drew you a picture! I wanted to literally illustrate today's story ;-) Let's rewind to Kindergarten with Jess. (circa what? 1992?) I'm approximately 5 and 1/2 years old and I'm about to form my earliest childhood memory... and it's equal parts humiliating and empowering. Ready? So even at a young age, I fancied myself QUITE the artist. We are assigned to the art easel station in groups of four. I can remember how each easel was set up, kind of in a square, so we were all painting together but we couldn't really see each other's work. Teacher says "Paint a Christmas tree!" and I'm all like "oh girl I am going to CRUSH this."  Problem is, I can't remember the shape I need to start with. I know there's a shape. I'm positive it's not a circle. But that's where my confidence ends. Is it a square or a triangle? Definitely a square. Or is it? Hmmmmm... Enter the inner dialog of a little girl who already knows there is a school rule about "no cheating"

Happy St. Martin’s Day

Today in Germany, villages of children will celebrate St. Martin's Day with a parade of lanterns. I got to see the celebration once through the eyes of my daughters. And the memories of the night have always stuck with me... I think of it when the leaves have mostly fallen and the nights get longer. St. Martin's Day chases away the dreariness of long cold nights with thoughts of cheer and warmth and generosity. St. Martin is a famous Christian saint.  He was a bishop known for his charity and good heart.   Every November, the children in the German villages celebrate the day he was buried. The legend is that when St. Martin was a soldier, he was out on a cold winter's night and saw a poor man with no cloak. Martin took his sword and cut his own cloak in two so he could give the freezing man something to wear.  This scene is re-enacted each year (the bigger kids in the kindergarten did a short play) and it is the act that St. Martin is famous for. So in