Women Taking Leaps - Interview with Freya Dowson

Women Taking Leaps - Interview with Freya Dowson

This week, I caught up with Freya Dowson, a freelance international humanitarian storyteller. She may be new to freelancing but her career in the not-for-profit sector, creating stunning media to compel support for a variety of initiative spans nearly a decade. In this latest Women Taking Leaps interview, we discuss how self-doubt holds us back, how she copes with a career that takes her to unpredictable places, and the wisdom Freya has cultivated that's carried her to international artist renown. 

Don't miss this text excerpt of my interview with Freya Dowson for Women Taking Leaps! 

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Women Taking Leaps - Live Interview with Morgan Hamel

Women Taking Leaps - Live Interview with Morgan Hamel

In this podcast recording from our live Instagram interview, Morgan Hamel of The Garment and I discuss the leap she's taken in creating her ethical fashion-focused business. We touch on her life before The Garment, working as an ethicist for an oil & gas firm for over a decade. We dive into what inspired her to create The Garment and how the model has evolved over time.

Listen to the full interview on DSound. 

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Welcome to Women Taking Leaps 2018

Welcome to Women Taking Leaps 2018

I am proud to announce the voices generously sharing their stories of leaps, bounds, setbacks, and growth with me through the 2018 series of Women Taking Leaps. Please take the opportunity to get to know each of them, see their work, and mark your calendars for how you can experience each of these inspiring stories.

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Winter 10 x 10 Capsule Wardrobe Challenge

Winter 10 x 10 Capsule Wardrobe Challenge

Created by Lee Vosburgh and co-hosted by Caroline Joy, both of respective insta-fame for their curated wardrobes and crisp photos, this ‘challenge’ invites participants to curate an experimental capsule for just ten days. This season’s challenge start’s January 19, 2018 - I simply started early so I could choose my pieces and photograph them for the project. I implore you to give this a try if you’ve ever been curious about capsule wardrobes! 

Read on for my reflections on this season's 10 x 10 capsule challenge. 

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Accepting Mistakes with Grace

Accepting Mistakes with Grace

Words don't always come out the way I intend and this has consequences. In this post, I share my experience of dealing with these consequences in a situation I never expected to encounter. Sometimes, we make mistakes. We make messes we can't clean up. And, we have to move on with grace. 

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Grace: A Visual Moodboard for Inspiration

Grace: A Visual Moodboard for Inspiration

As I begin this exploration of grace, I made two collections of my current understanding and perspective of grace. Words first, then images. I invite you to create one or both of these collections in relationship to your own year’s theme. Visit them often, seek opportunities to exemplify them in your daily life. Get to know your theme and form a relationship with it, make it your own. Make it yourself. Read on to see and experience the origin of my journey with grace. 

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A Short Guide for Being Kind

A Short Guide for Being Kind

As a part of my 100 Days of Grace project, I am researching the qualities that tend to accompany true grace. Generosity. Lightness. Ease. Kindness.

To let an off-hand comment roll off your back. To let someone in as a lane is ending on the highway, when you know they may have rushed up just to cut the line. To not take it personally if someone doesn’t hold the door or greet you when you walk into a business.

Read on for inspiration, circumstances, and optional responses for imparting small kindnesses in your everyday life. 

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What's Up in 2018: Goals, intentions, and transparency

It’s tempting to let my goals live quietly in the solitude of my journal, with only my eyes to see and judge them. This holiday/planning season has been by far my most productive. I churned out blog posts ahead of time, got most of my Christmas presents bought and wrapped more than a week before the holiday (but not all of them), and outlined a variety of planning activities from my experience than anyone can implement for a killer new year.

Read on for my full 2018 goals list + a little remix of what a yearlong goal really means.

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100 Days of Grace

100 Days of Grace

For the first 100 days of 2018, I will pursue grace in all forms, explore its origins and exemplifications, and learn to embody it in my daily life. I have chosen the first seven of fourteen ways in which I will do this, and as I discover more about grace itself, the next seven will emerge. 

Read on for details on the 100 Days of... project, how to participate, and what I'll be doing for the first 100 days of 2018.

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With Your Theme as Your Guide, Prepare for 2018

A peek into my "set it and forget it" lifestyle.

This may be the first time I admit this but here we go: I'm a sporadic creative. If I don't set myself up for success, I will inevitably fail. Some mornings I wake up completely unable to make decisions, comprehensively organize projects, or manage communications. On these mornings I make mistakes. I miss deadlines. Calls that were supposed to take place get missed and apology emails go out after I've already let someone down. 

Read on for activities you can implement in your own life to "set and forget" the actions to take to bring make your 2018 priorities your reality! 

 
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2018 Holiday Bucket List

2018 Holiday Bucket List

In the clarity of the present, I’ve created a 2018 Holiday Bucket List so when September and October of the upcoming year start sliding rapidly by, I have a bold reminder of my commitment to making the most of the holiday season. 

Read on for my list of 12 Holiday Bucket List traditions I'd like to bring with me into the new year. 

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A Year in Review: 2017

A Year in Review: 2017

Life tends to pass by in a blur, dotted with formative moments, the occasional surprise that moves you, and can only be remembered with the fleeting space we have in our minds. This year I made a point to document as much as I could - to take photos, write in journals, create plans and lists and save them for later. Packing everything I owned into a bus mid-year had me regretting my memory hoarding, but looking back this week, it was entirely worth it. 

Read on for the whole year in review! 

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The Complete New Year's Checklist

The Complete New Year's Checklist

Planning frenzy! Last minute Christmas shopping! Keeping it all together, oh my! 

With enough people telling you how to set goals, what accessories you will need in 2018 (queue eye roll), and the overwhelming quickness of the holiday season, I've put together a concise and comprehensive checklist that even only half completed will set you up for a killer 2018. 

Read on for a series of checkboxes to start your year on point! 

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How I Plan for a New Year

How I Plan for a New Year

It's no secret that I believe in planning as a tool for any endeavor: Project management, grocery shopping, a lifelong bucket list, getting Christmas shopping completed on-time. That's why December has seen more of me face down in my notebook more than any other month. 

Read on for a suite of activities to guide your 2018 planning. 

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Coming Into My Own as a Writer

Coming Into My Own as a Writer

If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up at six years old, I would have told you straight: a writer. I'd already written plenty of short stories, including an illustrated children's book about my cat that was published in spiralbound and distributed to local children's libraries. At twelve, I established my pen-name: A. G. Stephens, who would someday author a slew of Young Adult fantasy and dystopian novels akin to Harry Potter and Scott Westerfield's Uglies series. 

Read on to learn about my journey to becoming a writer and what's up next. 

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The Girls of the Atomic City & My Obsession with Oak Ridge

The Girls of the Atomic City & My Obsession with Oak Ridge

Have you heard of Oak Ridge? 

If you haven't, here's the short version: During WWII, the US Government needed a place to establish a secure production colony for enriched uranium that would go into what would become the Atomic Bomb. Oak Ridge was created and its purpose was a secret to almost every single soul (of the many, many thousands) that lived there until the first bomb was announced and dropped. Oak Ridge is known as "The Secret City". 

Read on for my complete review of Girls of the Atomic City by Denise Kiernan and to learn more about the mysterious establishment of Oak Ridge. 

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Creating Space for Nourishment at Wild Lavender Spa

Creating Space for Nourishment at Wild Lavender Spa

Tucked away from the busy Market Square on the side street Union Ave is Wild Lavender Spa.

You'll often find the shop open but the overhead lights off, a calm mood settling in the space. Sage green walls with original floor tile exposed, wood furniture and a concise color palette envelope you in that sense of calmness. The first time I walked by, it was evening and the shop was closed. I could see through the large picture window that this place was special - it wasn't kitsch, contrived, or adhering to a generic trend. Standing outside, I could tell this place was different.

Read more from my experience at Wild Lavender Spa, including my first facial (ever) and sitting down to chat with the young founder, Hannah Easterly. 

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Asheville, NC: The Curated City

Asheville, NC: The Curated City

A trip to Asheville this time last year completely changed my life. The mountain air, the yoga retreat, the city itself; I came home and jumped into the unknown that brought me all the way to where I am today. Since that time, I've been drawn back to explore with an urgency that brings it up in conversation more often than I care to admit. On Friday, I tagged along with my friend Sophia's already-planned Asheville. In the seven hours we had, this is where we went. 

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Experiments in Time (and Self) Management

Experiments in Time (and Self) Management

In my own perceived self-importance, I thought, "How superficial can you be, to just get high checking things off and never be done with anything?" I never claimed this was a nice thought! 

Since I started using my Ink + Volt to-do list daily, I've seen a change in that. Without a "job" with a set schedule of clock in-clock out, how many hours I spend working each day is essentially up to me - which can be a positive or detrimental fact. I found that laying out what I needed to (and expected myself to) do each day was helpful creating my days and sharing expectations with others. These line items were typically informed by project plans (bus, business, education), commitments (chores, appointments, self-care), and begrudgingly: stuff that just popped up and seemed urgent. 

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What the Woods Have Given Me

What the Woods Have Given Me
"Doing nothing out here is better than doing anything in the city."

I can't believe I was the person to say that. While the city has always pulled me, with its seemingly endless opportunities, a constant exposure to newness, and the buzz of fellow humans living their lives, the quietness of the woods has stolen my heart. Even up to the day we left for a weekend in the Obed with friends visiting from St Pete, I was reluctant to enjoy myself out in nature, climbing and hiking. Danger, uncertainty, weather, gear, accessibility, so many thoughts were trying to keep me from enjoying the pure beauty of this planet. I am not nearly as strong as nature; she knocked me down and set me straight. 

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