I had the opportunity to tour my local Goodwill-Industries in Knoxville, TN. Director of Marketing Erin Rosalina gave me the lay of the land, the building, and the mission driving Goodwill's community impact. If you've ever donated to Goodwill, shopped secondhand, or wondered what they're doing behind those enormous thrift shops, this article explains everything.
Last July, I moved from my hometown of St Petersburg, FL to Oak Ridge, TN. I embarked on this new adventure with excitement, trepidation, and an open mind. While I expected to miss friends and the routine of my previous life, I didn't intend to miss this small but meaningful tradition. Read about one of my favorite gems in Tampa, FL and get a mini-travel guide for your next visit!
Mari Andrew was instantly my friend when I came across her Instagram account. Every day, she publishes an autobiographic - humorous - relatable illustration by her own hand; a practice to which she's maintained dedication for more than two years. To start the year off with a bang, Mari's book Am I There Yet? The Loop-de-loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood published on March 27.
Erin Slocum is not your modern entrepreneur. Yes, she's started one of the most popular cultural platforms in Knoxville, Tennessee and yes, she's a boss-babe commanding a small creative team with an ambitious project schedule. Erin is also employed by Fox 44, a massive media syndicate in the Eastern US. While it may seem like quitting your job is the only option to pursue a creative vision, Erin took a different route: When the idea came up for her media-baby, Knoxville Weekend, she assembled a team from inside her organization, rallied high-level support, carefully implemented her company's resources, and has created a masterpiece. Erin's story is inspiring for any entrepreneur or hopeful-preneur who isn't interested in leaving the nest, but instead wants to learn to work within the system.
Learn more about Erin and Knoxville Weekend in this latest Women Taking Leaps interview!
Lindsey Tramuta's life in Paris has spawned numerous articles, a blog called Lost in Cheeseland that's been around more than half a decade, and a recently-published book titled: The New Paris. What is the New Paris, you ask? Lindsey moved to Paris to attend college and stayed, despite what you may think you know about American's living in Paris. In the decade since, she's become acquainted with the cultural rhythm of the City of Light, cataloguing its modern renaissance through food, craft, tourism, and beyond. Lindsey's hard work helped her build a massive network, connecting her with creative minds, established pillars, and the change-makers bringing modern flair to her adopted hometown. In The New Paris, Lindsey breaks down the different facets of a changing city, evolving to meet the rapidly globalized culture and reforming its identity beyond what we could have ever romanticized.
In the past, I've celebrated International Women's Day with big fundraisers for the women and girls of Nepal and awareness campaigns for women's health and hygiene challenges across the globe. My career path has led me into nonprofits, businesses, and professional environments whose sole existence was to serve women. Every day. This year, I chose to do something personal.
In this podcast recording of our live Instagram interview, Meg and I dig into the process that led her from what she calls "a very dark place" of disordered eating and exercise to present day, where she lives & breaths intuitive eating and consults clients in her health practice Nourishing Minds Nutrition.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
South America hadn't been on my 'list'. That bucket list I write down over and over, things to do, places to go, what to try, who to be. South America just didn't make that list. Scary, dangerous, language barrier, climate, whatever the news was feeding me at the time. It wasn't on my list, but the opportunity arose and I took it.
I'm grateful I did.
This post isn't about the trip. It isn't a travel guide; it certainly isn't about the Olympics, which was happening at the time and which I did attend; it isn't about food or neighborhoods or anything like that. It isn't even about people, truly, though the trip (and Rio by nature) was full of them, touching my life and changing my perspective.
It's about 6 rolls of film that sat on my shelf for a year.
Start with what type of tea to start your day. You can choose caffeine to get started straight away or start lighter with a white, oolong, or herbal to ease in. If none of those are your cup of tea, hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice is the Ayurvedic morning tonic for the ages.
It's no secret that I'm a proponent of getting out of my brain and into some realm of reality: paper, computer, calendar, another person;
anything to get my thoughts one step closer to actualization.
It can get exhausting, the extensive gathering of information about what it is I hope to accomplish, what's already been done, who I might connect with, how much time I have, and so many more considerations. I've found it difficult to keep a planning "routine" as my life lacks structure and I am full of excuses. (Really, just the latter)
We searched for six months, called many craigslist ads and auction houses in multiple states, visited buses, talked to numerous school bus and skoolie owners, and ultimately stumbled upon this beauty by happenstance in our own backyard. Taking as much time as we did allowed us to learn so much about what to look for in a school bus, and to determine what we wanted for ourselves.
Wake up between 6:15 - 7:15 am, depending on what time I went to bed the night before and what commitments I have that day. If the bed is empty, make it. If not, move quietly through the house until my other half stirs. Brush teeth, wash face, and pull my hair back gently will clips or a headband to keep it stable throughout the morning. If necessary, I run a bit of Aveda's Smooth Infusion through my dry curls, extending their shelf life a few hours before the humidity hits.
I'm greeted by all the fur paws, Gallow - Hobo - Princess Tiger Lily - Mini Cooper, all "starving" in their own opinion but content to start their morning outside.
As a prominent food and travel journalist, Lindsey's perspectives on the named neo bistro evolution of dining in Paris and her commentary on subsequent industries: Desserts, Coffee, Cocktails; are without a need of introduction. However, the back third of the book, dedicated to: Shopping, Crafts, and her personal favorites left me hovering dangerously over a one-way ticket on Kayak.
Makers and business owners of all ages, ethnicities, and perspectives of those every in-between color the deep depths of the new Parisian class. These individualists have so much passion, a sense of daring (as opening a business in Paris isn't the easiest of endeavors), and dedication to celebrating their cultural roots down to the brand and packaging of their products and services.
Lindsey is an American with a decade of Parisian living under her belt, with seemingly no intent to turn back. Speaking with her briefly at her signing in New York City last month, she detailed how welcoming and generous the featured individuals were with their stories, and further debunked the widely-believed American rumor that this were an unkind community. On the contrary, The New Paris illustrates a new wave of welcoming, creative, and collaborative people.
I can't remember when I first heard of "slow living", but I'm sure I wasn't interested back then. I was addicted to the "fast life". I was judging my self-worth based on engagement and going out of the my way to create moments for my externally-derived expectations that weren't what I truly wanted for my life. It wasn't until I began to notice my health suffering that I truly took an interest in slow living.
No matter how healthy I ate, how active I was, or how much I accomplished, stress was derailing my potential and too frequently putting me on the bench.
It's not my intent to get rid of my clocks or to quit my social life, but doing a deep dive into slow living has caused a reevaluation of my priorities.
When I learned that Sara Bareilles would be starring Waitress, her broadway musical writing debut, I booked my ticket to NYC. The culmination of being a musical theatre nerd circa my teen-hood, a Sara Bareilles fan as long as iPods have been around, and having never seen a Broadway show before set the stage (ha) for my best trip to New York yet.
In this post, I also share details about my arrival to my friend Mari's lovely home, our journey into NYC, and the slow evening that awaited me at home.