The Path to Enlightenment

Tom Henell is guest posting today. Tom is the husband and chief marketing exec of our household. He loves hiking, triathlons, puppies and fortunately me! He teaches Marketing 101 on the platform. If your creative business needs a marketing boost, Tom’s no nonsense approach can help! His course  and all atly classes (including Discover Your Passion) are 25% off today only! Use the coupon code LABORDAY25. The sale ends at midnight EST time!

image Tom Henell


I rarely see a “life quote” that I don’t like.  I know, it’s cliché isn’t it?  Maybe my real calling was writing greeting cards.  I’ve become an idealistic dreamer, quoting Viktor Frankl, Buddha, Jesus, and Helen Keller all in the goal of creating direction for my life.

  • “Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time” – Viktor Frankl
  • “The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows” – Buddha
  • “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” – Jesus
  • “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” – Helen Keller

The challenge is that most people, including myself, have fallen into the acceptance of deferred living.  Deferred living is when we accept what we have to do today in exchange for the false belief that one day we will change.  Retirement is the largest example of deferred living.  We agree to work for 50 years (more often than not at a job that we don’t like), to save money, so when we are 70 years old and our children have grown, and our house is paid off, we can then enjoy the benefits of life.  We conveniently ignore the reality that, assuming we even live to the point of retirement, we will be in a state of decreased health and mind.   

Even if you love your job, we make choices to defer living on a regular basis.  Our calendar itself is based around this.  We start our work week on Monday with the goal of making it to Friday so we can then start enjoying life again.  In reality, Saturday and Sunday are no different than any other day of the week, but we treat them like the Kardashians of the Gregorian Calendar.  One is no different than the others, yet is exalted in the public eye.

It reached a point where I wanted to scream at people in my office, “DON’T YOU KNOW YOU COULD DIE TOMORROW?  WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?”

In reality, I was no more enlightened than anyone else…despite the Kanji symbols for “Enlightenment” tattooed on my back.  As example by the fact that I am a Caucasian male from New England, who has never been to China, or Japan, and has a Kanji tattoo.

I had my life quotes, I had my Kanji tattoo, and I had a pressing urgency that life was short and I needed to do something about it.  I even tried to do things to show that I understood this better than anyone else.  I rode motorcycles, I did adventure races, I climbed mountains, I ran triathlons, and I posted it all on Facebook to prove my enlightenment. 

The truth is I was no more enlightened than anyone else.  I thought I understood the issue, but the difference between going through the motions and reaching a true understanding recently became apparent to me. Read More »


Stacy Altiery from Inkspot Workshop

I met Stacy on a trip to New York City and loved her instantly. She is a bundle of fun energy and go get ‘em attitude. You will enjoy her story,  it is filled with good old fashioned ingenuity. She creates custom stationery and gifts for you and your furry friends at  Inkspot Workshop. Her customized gifts would be perfect for a special back-to-school treat and would make terrific holiday gifts. Tune in and hear about her first forays into computer graphics! Stacy is the perfect example of working her business out.  She didn’t let anything stop her from figuring out what people want and then figuring out how to make her business happen!



Are you sitting on untapped potential?

Here is some Monday Motivation for you today! It is too easy to look at where someone else is and wonder if we will ever become all we desire to become. Even though we may admire people (ok and sometimes down right envy) we are all on the same journey. If you believe you are sitting on a part of you that is unrealized,  I believe it will come to fruition! Understanding if you are in giving or receiving mode can help you stay the course and also prepare your heart to release your potential!

Tune into today’s short video to see what I mean and then tell me what you think in the comments below!



Who and What I am into this Week: Seeing Style Patterns


One of my favorite things to do is to walk away from something visually for a bit and then come back to it and surprise myself. I have several hidden boards on my Pinterest account and I recently clicked over to this one and was almost startled at what I saw. This again confirms that what we see visually has a tremendous impact on us as creatives. This can work in your favor when you understand why you are responding to something that appeals to you.

On this board I had pinned imagery and then pinned some new watercolor work onto the board to see if I was telling the story that I wanted to tell. You can see that I am drawn to classic florals with soft fluttery petals. (check the image below) I had even used them in some photography unconsciously. You can see that I consider black and white quite glamorous. I felt the need to paint the classic florals in black and white.

I adore this image of a woman in the pretty floral skirt reading the newspaper. When I saw it on the board, I could see myself telling that images color story on the shoe painting I did, red, a bit of yellow and green, grounded by black.

I could also see my love affair with classic stripes being continued. And then I even had to laugh at the image of Katherine Hepburn in a fur and distressed boy jeans.  When the boyfriend jean recently showed up on the jeans trend scene, I knew it was for me! I had been wearing Toms old jeans for some time, saggy bottoms all! I am wild about how this was paired with a high end coat, the perfect juxtaposition of casual and glamour especially in the day of no “stylists.”


As  we head into another round of Smart Creative Style, students  get to uncover bits and pieces about themselves that might have been laying dormant. They might be choosing the same palette over and over but not realizing what in their own lives influenced them. For me it was old movie sets and the stories that came along with my being a born in Italy.

Everyone one of you has a story to tell and if you are reading this, you are probably finding yourself telling your story visually and via design choices. I believe today more than ever we have to tell our stories visually. This means we have to edit out the nonessential and make wise but heartfelt choices over and over again. As you grow your brand and business, you will have  to show up  consistently for  your clients and audience over and over again. It is imperative that you recognize your own style patterns. I can help you with that! It is glorious confirmation when someone picks up on something that you may not be seeing!

It is time for you to see YOUR OWN STYLE PATTERN!

Smart Creative Style is an opportunity to hone in on what you want to convey as you take your creative self out into the world. It gives you the opportunity to show up in the marketplace as only you can do because when you realize what appeals to you and why, you have hit the prefect note. And that is what we all want, right? There is a sweetness and joy that comes along to unveiling our very best selves.

The course begins this Monday Aug 25, 2104. You can find out all the details over on the Smart Creative Style site.  You only have a few days left to sign up or to access the discount link inside the Discover Your Passion course on, more info here.

Fun to note: You can even see down in the bottom of this Pinterest board screen shot,  a picture of some bread tied with a big black satin ribbon. That appealed to me so instantly that I knew I had to incorporate black satin ribbons in my own branding. Branding is SO much more than a logo and font choice. It is about every choice from how you monetize to how you communicate. It is well worth the time and effort to make sure you get express yourself  as the beautiful sexy self that you are!

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Merrilee Liddiard from Mer Mag

Everything about Merrilee Liddiard says, playful, imagination and creative! I had so much fun interviewing this artist, author, designer and blogger (and mom!)  You are going to simply love her! She is the popular author of Mer Mag and she makes me want to be a kid again. She throws parties, she is always thinking up kids projects (so you don’t have to.) She has a fun “after school” workshop over on  and she is about to release a new book, Playful.  Don’t have kids? Don’t let that stop you from learning so much in this interview! She is a smart cookie and has developed a sense of style and business smarts that will keep her on your radar screen for years to come! This is a must see and she is a must follow (Yay! Makes me so happy!)

There is a such a fun innocence to what she produces AND she adds her own aesthetic to all her projects! That is why I invited her into Smart Creative Style to talk more about arriving at her style. (It starts Aug 25, 2014!)

Check out her adorable art in her etsy shop, Tuesday Morning and on her brilliant instagram account!  We mention the hash tags #amidsummermingle and #tinytravelertilda

Merrilee’s book Playful comes out Sept 16,  2014!

playful_mermag  You and your kiddos can take Kids Craft Camp at



Where are you on your journey?

I have a question for you today! I want to know where you are in your journey! I came up with a list of popular “mental places” I have found myself in during my creative life.  None of the places are bad places to be at all! It’s is only bad if I am in a particular place for too long! Then I think that counts for being stuck (ugh!) Tune in to this video to see what I mean.

Here is my basic break down

1) Learning

2) Executing

3) Highly productive creativity

4) Unrest

5) Seeking

Did I miss one? Let me know what you think and where you are in your journey right now!


Also some exciting news! Merrilee Liddiard from MerMag is my guest on Wednesday (this is her art above!) She is a new addition to the Smart Creative Style course! She will be in to the course and will share how she formed her art style AND the look for her brand. I cannot wait for you to meet her, she’s fabulous!

Smart Creative Style starts in just one week, Aug 25th! Make sure you don’t miss it!




Ani Alonso from Magia Pura

I have a fun guest for you today! Ani Alonso from Magia Pura! You may have seen her in the recent issue of Where Women Create or you may have seen her collecting fans on Facebook (over 81k and counting!) What you may not know is that this talented artist has quite an illustrious past (including a stint and a fashion model.) She has found her style and is comes across in everything she does in her dressing, her work and her relaxed and warm spirit. I found this interview so interesting as she told me how she is trying to overcome obstacles and government embargoes in her own country to continue to grow her brand. I love how determined she is. I am seriously impressed at how much she has done and  problem solved to keep her art business growing over the years. Keep and eye on her as she is plotting to expand!


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Want to make sure you have a recognizable brand like Ani’s? Smart Creative Style can help you get in touch with your personal creative aesthetic and direction like no other e-course on the market! It is the only course that let’s you explore you style in a manner where you can fully express who you are and your visual style and voice in the market place! You can enroll for the Aug 2014 class here 

Check out these testimonials:

“Taking Monica’s Smart Creative Style class has helped me define what my style is and how that translates into building my brand identity , creating content for my blog and sharing on social media platforms. Her class is specifically designed to help each individual define for THEMSELVES what their stylistic voice is, and how to then take that and engage your audience. I would recommend Monica’s online course to anyone looking to better define their unique style and how to convey that as a brand for their business! And the exercises are fun!” -Melody Cassen

“Smart Creative Style is an unbelievable course! Through interviews, personal testimonials and written posts, Monica has created a curriculum that will allow you to define your unique style and create a plan that will bring that style to life. This is the perfect course for the creative entrepreneur who wants to create a business that stands out from the crowd. In a short amount of time you will learn how to apply your style to product development, branding, marketing and social networking. This course will be a game-changer for your business and I highly recommend it.” -Amber Savage

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