Life Cycle of a Dream

Pull up a chair, have I got a story to tell you!

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Today I am  finally to pulling back the curtain on a BIG project that I have been working on. This is a big step of faith that I needed to do today when I realized how much I needed YOU!

Months ago,  I gave myself permission to pursue a DREAM. It was an idea that I had mentioned casually on and off, you know, the “pipe dream” kind of dream?

This is how it has played out in my brain:

1. Wouldn’t is be cool if I could… (dreaming)

2. What I really want to do is… (hopeful)

3. Maybe I could do this… (optimistic)

4. I’ll just to test the waters… (scared)

5. I am going to commit to this… (resolved)

6. Am I really going to commit to this? (er, not so resolved)

7. This is waaaay harder than I thought it would be. (where’s my EASY button?!)

8. Can I do this? (poop, doubt cycle starts all over again)

9. I am going to commit to this and am even going to tell people about it. (brave, scared, nervous, excited. leave town right after I share it.)

10. Growing is a good thing and I need my peeps (you all) with me to help me grow. (relief and gratitude)

I am still mid-lifecycle as you can tell.  Taking action steps towards your dreams, turns out is a roller coaster of emotions and takes a large amount of perseverance (especially when it is a BIG JUICY dream)

Tune in (and find out what it is) and then tell me if you have struggled with throwing down your own roadblocks towards your dreams!

I am going on DREAM trip to Paris this week (big-late-birthday-insert-confetti-trip)  This will be the view from my apt below! Come with me!! You can follow me to Paris on Instagram or Facebook 

While I am gone be sure and WATCH any videos you want to see, when I come back I will be working on “listen” mode focusing on podcasts and the video availability  will come down.

While you are at it, follow The Armchair Parisian, who has a fabulous new website. She is my personal tour guide on my big trip! All pics courtesy of BJ Lantz, who I didn’t even KNOW was The ArmChair Parisian at first!! She has designed silk scarves in the spirit of  romance that she has with this great city!

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Nidhi Chanani from Everyday Love Art

Oh! This is a don’t miss! Calcutta born artist Nidhi Chanani runs Everyday Love Art and you are going to love her! She started her art career with no role models insight yet she marches to the beat of her own drummer quite successfully. Don’t believe highly illustrative art goes on walls? Don’t tell Nidhi, because she is selling her wall art like gangbusters! This cute print below just landed on the set of Modern Family. Nidhi has quite the resume going on,  including a trip to the White House for her art! This chick rocks, breaks stereotypes and is here to encourage you with her story! She has so much to offer as she shares the why behind selling her art.  You’ll get a kick out of all her advice including, “Don’t pay  attention to analytics and likes!” I promise if you tune in to this entire interview, you will walk away with nuggets of wisdom!
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You can pre-order her children’s book here.

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She talks about the popularity of this image “You said you didn’t want any!” Oh my! That sounds so familiar!

This art was showcased when she showed at the Disney Wonderground Gallery. She has accomplished quite a bit in the last couple of years and I don’t see her stopping anytime soon. Motivating!

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Truths and Myths about Accomplishments

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I am mixing it up with a podcast only message today! Tune in to see what’s up with that! This podcast comes from a  place of love as I talk about what I see missing discussing within the creative community.

My podcast today will help you understand the truth behind the myth that someone is juggling their life more deftly than you are. What has happened in the fast paced age of magazines and blog features is that no one is discussing the compromises and choices that are made during different seasons in our lives or the fact that there are different seasons. Different parts of your journey will produce different results, tune in as I talk about what I gave up to start Smart Creative Women. Lean in, lean out-let’s talk about it all candidly!

Today I want to you understand why you need to know what it looks like when the curtain is pulled back. Why women need to share with each other so we are not left alone standing in the dark,  judging ourselves or comparing  our accomplishments. You may feel like the sprint you are running is making you weary, so today I am talking about what to do instead.  Tune in for a bit of wisdom and some encouragement in this special episode of Smart Creative Women.  Join the discussion in the comments!

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Photo by Etsy artist Elle Moss

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Caroline Macaron fits your stylish feet!

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Ladies!! I have found bliss! I am interviewing a shoe maker today!! How exciting is that! Mother and daughter team, Caroline and Catherine are the brain power behind Caroline Macaron a stylish and elegant show that fit your needy tired feet! The original idea came about when Catherine did not want to give up wearing stylish shoes when she developed bunions. (I love  French sensibility!)  Her daughter, Caroline set out on making the perfect show for feet with “needs.” (Hello! Don’t all our feet have needs?) I learned so much in this interview, even why I used to be able to keep my pumps on my feet and why with new shoes I can’t (hint: it’s all in the back heel height) Tune in to this episode and learn what they did right and wrong with their start up and why they have such LOYAL customers! AND if you or a friend have a hard time finding elegant wearable shoes, you might find the Cinderella fit you need with Caroline Macaron!

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Meg Biram designs a creative career

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Does it look like hanging out with Meg Biram would be fun? Well, it is! She is fun (and gorgeous!)  very smart and super down to earth! Meg is a social media and branding  strategist, life style blogger and artist! I was surprised to learn that she got her start at Hallmark. She says she learned a lot working for a large creative company and it shows. Meg knows how to get things done, work with big brands and how to expertly adapt to the changing world of blogging and social media.

You can keep an eye on her as she starts up the Creative Collective in D.C.  grows the B-Bar and as she has fun and paints on instagram! Smart cookie for sure! Meg is one to watch!

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You can follow Meg on instagram here  

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Passion, Skill and Talent

By guest contributor Tom Henell (Today’ topic is a hot one in our home  and I would love your thoughts xoxo Monica)

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Have you ever watched American Idol, or a similar reality TV show?  You know the early season where they show the excruciating auditions, because they think it is entertaining?  There is inevitably at least one contestant who is terrible, but genuinely doesn’t seem to know it.  The judges, either gently or harshly depending on which show you are watching, will tell them singing (dancing, juggling, comedy, etc.) is not for them and they should pursue another passion.  The contestant storms out and tells the cameraman, “those judges don’t know talent when they see it, I’m going to be famous.”  We cringe and wonder, who ever told them they have talent?  Then we realize it was us!

Our generation has embraced the “you can do anything” mindset.  We tell our children, and ourselves, to pursue our passions, don’t listen to the criticism of others, and persistence will triumph over talent.  But, what if this is not true?  What if we have been telling lies, and have created a shroud of delusion over reality?

I don’t mean to be a cynic.  I believe in pursuing our passions more than the average person.  However, I believe we have confused the differences between passion, skill, and talent. 

Passion is the easiest.  It is the enthusiasm or excitement we have for something, or the act of doing something.  It is our primary instinct that we love something, and although it can be fueled by others, it has to arise out of our inner desires.

Skill is something you earn.  Skill is the physical execution or performance of a task.  Skills can come more naturally to some than others, but is only developed and refined through repetition (practice).  Skill is best exemplified by the “10,000 hour rule”; made famous by Malcom Gladwell in his book, Outliers, and based on a study by Anders Ericsson.  The premise is that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in any particular field or study.

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Talent is the hardest because it is cannot be earned or faked.  Talent is what we are born with.  It may be a higher lung capacity to run or the delicate coordination required to draw and paint.  It is the natural capability we have to do something better than others.

Now that we understand these three elements, there are certain formulas that can assist us in finding our best paths in life.

Passion does not equate to skill or talent.  The simple fact that we are passionate about something does not mean we can succeed at it.

Skill is required regardless of passion.  It does not matter how much we love something, there are no shortcuts.  It is always required to put our time in and earn the skills for whatever endeavor we are pursuing.  I’ve heard it said, “There is no glory in practice, but without practice there is no glory”.

Finally, success is usually when our passion, skill, and talent align.  We need to understand that sometimes we have talents in areas where we do not have passion.  Simply because we have the talent does not mean that we should pursue something.  Furthermore, often talents go undiscovered as we have not explored those particular areas.

The key is to keep trying. 

Explore different things until you find that you have both the passion and a potential talent.  Then work hard to develop your skill.  It is when these three areas come together that success happens.

My thoughts-The words Passions, Skills and Talents are words we are so closely married to as creatives and it was an interesting when Tom handed me this post. I have a funny (and often uncomfortable) relationship with the word “talent” since it has been assigned to me by my family since I was young. I had always believed that you were not “born” with it but it was something you nurtured which by Tom’s definition might be considered skill. When I read Tom’s definitions below, I immediately thought of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps with his long arms and body made for swimming. What if he had never jumped into a pool? Is there something you have not tired yet? When I have a tough time defining things, I apply it to areas outside of my own genre so I can look at it objectively. Tell me what you think in the comments below! You can read more of Tom posts here.

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Who and What I am into this Week: The New Sweatsuit

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I love it when a good old friend returns to the fashion scene. This season I have seen more choices in our snuggly, washable favorite, the sweatshirt. Just as the air is beginning to chill, to warm for wool but too breezy for tank tops, I have seen variations of sweatshirts that are cut perfectly for a girl who is doesn’t want to be squeezed into her clothing all the time. This is not about buying a new sweatshirt next to a tub of pretzels at a warehouse store (just say no to the old Champions and the pretzels) To make sure it feels up to date, keep an eye on cut, color and fun details.

I am DYING for these “jeans” that are really sweatpants above! Yup, those are sweatpants! Brilliant. I would be happy to sport those around town AND sit in them all day at my desk! Genius from the women who invented the velour tracksuit at Juicy Couture. Now Pam and Gela have developed a new line in it’s 3rd season, yum. These women truly understand what someone wants to live in!

Zara (Love the side zip details and the pleated hem!)

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If you are at all familiar with the concept of cost per wear then you will be all over this because you know you will gravitate towards these yummy sweats everyday. It’s all in the styling, ladies. Dress them up and go to dinner or tuck in and read a good book!

JCrew (I just bought the bottoms and am pretty sure I need that shell pink top!)

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