Saturday, December 28, 2013

What Would a Supermodel Do?

A Pick-Me-Up

Hey, friends. Happy Saturday! I'm having a rough go of it today. Just one of those everything-feels-lame kinda days. Nothing super serious. Just sitting here on my comfy futon with Enya on Pandora browsing the blogs I follow for a little creative soul boost. 

That's when I ran into supermodel Sarah DeAnna's kick-butt post on her SuperModel You blog.
Her entire premise is something I'm very interested in - taking the principals a model needs to be successful and applying them to all areas of life. From the bit of modelling I've done, I resonate with her tips on taking the power of self-awareness and using it to thrive as a supermodel, executive, mother, friend, writer....anything. The principals of success are the same. 

Rather then try to summarize, here's DeAnna's post below. Read and implement. 

Hello Daily ‘Supermodel’ Lovers,
How are you? No, really, how are you? Let’s check in:
How are you feeling right now in this moment?
Do feel good? Tired? Happy? Bored? Anxious? Peaceful? Just kind of blah?
How’s your posture? Don’t tell me you’ve already forgotten your SuperModel Posture from our first blog?
Are you leaning to one side more than the other?
Are you squinting or straining your eyes while you read this or sitting way to close to the monitor?
How do your clothes feel? Do they fit properly or are they too tight or too big or just plain uncomfortable?
What is your face doing? Are you scrunching your eyebrows together? Are you frowning? Smiling?
What’s running in the back of your mind while you read this? What to have for dinner? A conversation you just had with someone else? Are you scrolling through your to-do list? Or are you really 100% here with me?
Why does all this matter anyway?

Every one of these questions matters because Self-Awareness is the first key to making any change in your life.

Without Self-Awareness, you will never have the ability to understand why you are where you are or what you need to do to get somewhere else. By developing a keen sense of Self-Awareness, you will be able to Self-Actualize all your desires. Otherwise, forget it. You’re just going to be swept along by fate, with no say in where you end up.

Although you might not have guessed this, models actually have a high level of Self-Awareness. We have to be Self-Aware because it’s part of our job to know how we look, how we photograph, how we stand, how we walk (on runways and when meeting clients), how we hold our faces, and how clothes look on us. We constantly have to be aware of our posture and the messages we are sending with our body language. This is an important aspect of being a good model.

Let me give you an example of how important this is.
One of the first jobs I did with Versace was for an event at their boutique on Rodeo Drive. They hired three models, and our job was to be mannequins, standing on top of pillars, decked out head to toe in Versace. Stacie, the VP of Marketing and Events at Versace, informed us that we had to stay as still as possible, just like real mannequins, moving only to change our position if we absolutely needed to. We were not allowed to talk to the guests, smile, or respond in any way. She also warned us to be careful because a girl in New York had actually passed out and fell off the pillar doing a job just like this one. Who knew modeling was so dangerous? (Actually, I could tell you stories–falling off a horse while shooting in Cannes, hanging out of the back of moving U-haul truck for a shoot, climbing a barbed wire fence in Paris, leaches in the water—but I’ll save those for later.)

You have no idea how incredibly hard this is! I dare you to put on the most ridiculously high and uncomfortable heels you can find, strike a mannequin-like pose, and hold it for even five minutes. The two other girls and I had to do this for much longer!

This is what happens when you have to stay still in extreme positions for an extended period of time: Your leg starts to fall asleep, or your arm, or multiple limbs at once. You start to shake, your hip starts to give, you get crazy itches you can’t scratch. On top of the physical challenge, you’ve got all these people staring at you and poking you and wondering if you’re real or freaking out when they realize you are. Or they’re trying to get you to break face.

This was the most challenging job I’ve probably ever done as a model, and I’m telling you about it because it was an amazing exercise in self-awareness. I had to gain total control over my body and mind. It was a total body workout and a meditation all in one. I felt like I consciously experienced every muscle in my body and became keenly aware of my breath, my heartbeat, and what every part of me was doing, from scalp to fingers to the bottoms of my feet.

And I was good at it! People thought I was a real mannequin. The other models had a harder time. One girl had to get down before we were finished, and the other girl kept moving or laughing when people would try to break her. Not me. Once they realized I was real, people at the event kept trying to get me to laugh. Eventually, they succeeded when an NBA player offered me a drink of his champagne, and then put his glass to my lips and started to pour his drink into my mouth. I couldn’t help laughing, but I credit my ability to do the job so well (at least up to that point) to Self-Awareness.

That lesson stayed with me. I started to notice things in my everyday life, like the fact that I tend to rest more weight on my right hip when I’m standing or washing the dishes or brushing my teeth. I also noticed that I didn’t always distribute my weight properly while walking or standing, which tired me out faster. When you distribute your body weight properly, your core will almost always be activated. Your energy will flow better, you’ll feel better, and you’ll look better, too. Most people don’t notice how they distribute their weight, how long their strides are, how well they stay balanced. When you learn to notice and then to control your weight distribution and carry yourself with awareness, you’re a lot less likely to fall, because you’re balanced. You burn more calories from having your core activated. And all that leads to greater sensitivity and Self-Awareness about what’s going on in your brain, from the thoughts that run through your head all day to the words you choose to say (helpful? hurtful?), to the decisions you make about what to eat, what to focus on, what to LOVE.

So think about this as you go through your week. Notice your body. Notice your breath. Notice your thoughts. When you are tuned in to exactly what you are doing, how you are feeling, and what you are thinking, then the decisions you make about how to take care of yourself will be informed by Self-Awareness rather than habit. And that’s exactly where you want to be.
Good, no? Thought you dig it! :) Share your comment on an experience when you used self-awareness to be successful.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Butterfly Wings Surprise Me

Butterfly Wings!

These are so PERFECT! Why didn't I think of it before???? 

As I've been flitting around Portland, gathering the small beads, shells, a fiber needed to build out the sexy, jewelry-inspired sandals I've been constructing, incorporating real butterfly wings never crossed my mind as a serious option. 

Previously, I was searching for some kind of pearlescent, translucent, purple-blue-green, radiant stone or shell to use as the centerpiece to rest on the top of the foot. Nothing was really "clicking" for me, until I happened upon these BEAUTIES in Fossil Cartel in Pioneer Place. 

Get a load: they are actual Argentinian butterfly wings that the locals harvest and trade. They are set in sterling silver and mounted with protective clear fronts to prevent damage. Totally the perfect shape, size, and luster. Not to mention ridiculously distracting colors! 

Teal, yellow, green, and black wings
Ruby, orange, green, and black wings


Fiery purple and indigo blue. Periwinkle!

Yes, Yes, YES! These are perfect. Blue morpho butterfly wings.

They are called Shimmerwings for a reason.....I know these pictures don't do them justice (like at ALL!), so I'll shoot you guys a little QVC style video of me holding them so you can see the magic!

This week, I'll be wrapping macrame around the two blue morpho wings I bought and lacing them into the upper foot strap. Exciting times!

What's in Your Treasure Box?

Did you ever keep one as a kid? An old shoe box. A bottom drawer. A cool vintage lunch tin? For as long as I can remember, I've had a "treasure box" for my found, sentimental, inspiring, fascinating, beautiful, or just plain odd mementos. 

Some were given - like the NHL hockey card my dad gave me featuring Joe Sakic. Some were collected - like the small pebble I picked up from within the Colosseum on my senior trip to Italy with my grandma. Others were inherited - like an old stainedglass-colored butterfly broach from a great-grandma. (I should really post of pic of this one! And wear it more...)

There's just something about us as people - we love to gather things to us that personally matter to us. Nothing in my treasure box is there by accident. It's my own personally, curated mini-museum. That's kind of what I hope this blog to revolve around - an online gathering of meaningful things that create joy and intrigue. "A modern anthology of beauty."

So, since we are all chatty about nifty boxes to stash stuff in, I'm curious to hear what other people use? Here's one of my treasure boxes. This one is for my shells, fossils, and rocks! All very inspirational to me in design work.

Felt bottom, simple wood sides, hinged lid, and some handglued shells. :)

 Grandma gave me the shells for the top of the box as a birthday present long ago. Grandpa presented the box. As a kid, what started out as a cool craft, turned into an awesome keepsake latent with memories.

I see seaglass!

These tactile, earth treasures were also in the box, but I think they are showier on the vintage mirrored vanity tray. Look closely and you can see a sea urchin spine, a trilobite, hematite, rose quartz, a sanddollar, seahorse, a geode, coral, and many other natural treasures! 

Each piece is so perfect in color, shape, texture. 
So what do you collect in your treasure box? 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Timberline Trip

Rockin' a Monday at Timberline

Ok - when I become independently wealthy, I will own season passes to about three or four mountains. Probably a couple chalets as well. No joke. I LOVE to snowboard. Hands down my favorite outdoor activity. What's yours?

I boarded Whistler/Blackcomb earlier this month (AWESOME). The resort is only 7 or so hours from Portland.  Monday I hit Timberline on Hood for the first time in several years! Nothing beats a gorgeous warm day with friends, a sweet 2011 Burton Lipstick, and the iconic lodge from "The Shining." 

Could have done with a few more inches of snow and a few less rocks, but NO complaints! Any day on the snow is a good day, right? :)

Someone doesn't have to go to work today!

Trying to pick my next mountain of the season - Bachelor maybe? 

Hood in the Sun!


Remember the handmade sandals I designed? I'm getting REAL with my mockups! After getting some natural hemp fiber, semi-precious beads, agonizing over a macrame pattern, and finally growing some balls, I made my first foray into macrameing the upper strap to go over the wedges! Can I get a what-WHAT?! :)

As foolish as it sounds, my mind kept creating excuses why I would never be able to recreate the sandals I see in my head. Crafting these just freaked the heck out of me. To get over this hump and take some dang action, I had to focus in on "what would I do, if I KNEW I couldn't fail?" By golly, I'd approach my sandals with fearless enthusiasm and embrace mistakes since they will only help me get to my end goal sooner!

Here's a pick of me with my stuff out and ready to rumble:

Raw materials - this is what awesome is made of!

Right now, I'm trialing different gauge/color/texture fiber. The hemp is too coarse and thick - I'm going to shoot for something softer and sleeker. This pattern isn't terrible, but it's too "chunky" and not as tight and smooth. Thankfully, I've got a 70's book full of patterns and I've already selected the next one to try!

This is about half of the top strap. The center stone will rest in the middle of the foot.

Now for the beads. Love the subtle colors....but they just don't glitter the way I imagined. Thinking of going with a.) darker colors or b.) larger beads. Most importantly of all, I'm still digging around for my centerpiece! Currently, druzy, chrysophrase, abalone, mother-of-pearl or some other purplish-blue-irridescent flat stone is on my list. Does anyone have a good source for semi-precious beads and stones? The quest is on!

Small purple and clear beads - thinking I need darker material to POP off the fiber.

Overall - this was a great first trial. I've learned a lot about what I love and hate about these shoes and am stoked to do some more handiwork this weekend! Who's with me? :)

Stay sassy and enjoy the holidays!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

If You Don't Like the Channel.....CHANGE IT!

Take Happiness

How happy are you right NOW? Not earlier today, not later, but as you read these words, rate how happy you are.

If you aren't stoked, why not?

As I type this, I'm asking myself why I'm not over-the-moon all the time. That's the goal, right??? A friend asked me this week, "What do you want out of this winter season?" Without hesitation, I replied, "I want to flatline at awesome!" As humans, we all seek joy and fulfillment - if we don't we are usually dead. ;)

As I keep searching for what will make me happy all the time, I'm challenging my beliefs on what happiness is.

From the following, pick your view of what happiness is:

a.) A magical alignment of the stars that comes and goes unpredictably.
b.) The result of precise actions or circumstances that can be recreated.
c.) A phenomenal feeling when you are with the right person.
d.) Simple choice.

I would have checked "yes" to all of the above, until recently. As I take more time to stop and analyze why I am or am not happy on a given day, I'm beginning to see that happiness isn't something found in the physical world. I believe it's forged in your mind. Not to get all esoteric on you or anything.

Think about it, circumstances, people, or things, don't make us happy or unhappy - our opinion of them is what makes us delighted or pissed off.

This week, I'm committing to challenging my explanations for why I'm unhappy -

"I'm tired."
"My favorite iPod playlist has been deleted."
"Dinner tastes terrible."
"My parents are being weird."
"I will never find my romantic match."

That's such crap reasoning. I think the REAL reason why I'm unhappy is because my mind is dwelling on the things I don't like instead of blasting past those sad thoughts and replacing them with pleasant memories, goals, and gratitude for other things in my present.

Today, I own my thought patterns. I pick what thoughts I stick with and which I abandon. Don't be a victim of unhappiness. Use the incredible power of freewill and select the mental movie you want playing in your head.

Honestly, this is probably going to be hard. Really hard. To break old thought patterns that I let cycle through my head. But, a life stuck on the Sad Channel will probably suck WORSE, right?! :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Get Your Self-Image Off Default!

Self-Image Refresh

As I enjoy a week long Thanksgiving vacation, I've dived I to an incredible book called Psycho Cybernetics. Long name, right? It's actually delightfully simple... and deep. Written by an old-school plastic surgeon who spent years analyzing his patients' psyches and self images, it lists out some awesome ways to set goals, evaluate your inner chatter, refresh your view of yourself, and live an overall happy  and self aware LIFE!

I'm all about that!

One of the first activities listed in the book is to write out some "truths" about the TYPE of person you want to be. By focusing on identifiying and accepting the type of person you wish to become, you end up achieving the benefits of actually BEING more outgoing, a better golfer, a confident employee, or WHATEVER you wish to be!

Here's my preliminary sketch of who I am. Read it and go write your own! The only limits on who you can be are ALWAYS placed there by YOU!

What Type of Person am I?

1. Full of life and energy. I always say "yes" when presented with new challenges and opportunities. My base assumption is that things will always be FUN.

2. I'm calm in moments of turmoil. I don't feel the need to crowd out the pain inside with distracting actions or statements.

3. I live without fear of my weight and without sharing/obsessing about it because I know that thin thighs is my birth right and by staring at what I don't want, I will never look up to see what I do want. I'm the type of person who lives in a 129lb (or less) body. I am the girl who finds the combo of foods to help me thrive!

4. Every moment I choose happiness. No matter how crummy I think things are, my inner light is controlled by my decision to be happy and beautiful.

5. I'm the type of person that refuses to worry or hang onto guilt because these things trap me and prevent me from enjoying my treasures.

6. I'm the type of person that calmly CRUSHES it at work. Every DAY. I refuse to get down in the moment because speed bumps threaten the path. I relax knowing I have the power within and it is my mind that attempts to throw me off the path because the way is new and unfamiliar.

7. I am the unconsciously competent person whose mind is so engulfed in what I'm doing that I lose track of how I look to others and focus on the moment.

8. I am the type of person who fearlessly pursues creating sandals and ignores harmful self-talk bent on stopping me from creating beautiful things. I am the girl who sets out an organized plan and doesn't let a large project overwhelm me.

9. I am the girl who is easily aroused and not dismayed by emotional duress because I deserve sexual freedom and pleasure. 

10. I am the girl who assumes the best in people rather then jumping to negative conclusions that may not even be there. I am the girl who loves and blesses those better off than I because I am comfortable with myself and my path and I know those who succeed before me are there to light my way.

11. I am a generous, loving, and self-less girl who has fun by giving others joy.

12. I am the outgoing, confident, friendly girl who loves talking to people and learning about THEM because true souls care for each other. I will no doubt get back more then I receive. My circle of cool friends is large and I think of positive, true things to encourage and inspire them with.

13. I relish my present without destroying it with lofty goals for the future. My "now" is as potent as my "when."

14. I constantly adapt and change to new scenarios with great mental and emotional fortitude. My psyche is robust and isn't easily daunted. Whether moving, starting a business, working things out with my lover or family, I rejoice in every opportunity to LIVE.

15. My smile is constant and my body is relaxed and open to accept love from others and myself. My breathing is deep, calm, and regular giving me hope and courage.

16. I seldom over-complicate things. I learn quickly and don't need things repeated twice to grasp them and recall them. Names and faces are a cinch to remember. Good habits come naturally to me. Mental challenges quickly unravel in my adroit brain. I no longer stall on making tough choices because of the confidence and courage I know resides deep within my strong person.

17. I routinely and gracefully take breaks every day to recharge and fan the light within to ensure my spirit is full and whole.

This took about 20 minutes to bang out. I feel awesome about it. The next 30 days are going to be insane for me as I set about to correct negative assumptions I've let myself believe about myself for years and consciously replace them with a new, healthy TRUTH! Join along!

It's hard NOT to be happy in a hat with a bow!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

7 Tricky Forms of Self Harm That Appear When You Are Stressed

Risky Business...

How do you respond to pressure? Not just the momentary pressure of public speaking or passing a big exam, but the big picture stress that comes when you have to perform or your life and the lives of those around you will never be the same. Been there?

Sadly, I can't share all the details with you, but for the past two months I've been under incredible pressure and have noticed some potentially dangerous behaviors cropping up as the walls of my life compress me. This is my personal list. Some might seem pretty stupid....but for me they are a natural response when I am not mindful of the needs of my body and soul. Take a look and make a list of your own!

1. Starving myself or overeating:

This one is so nasty. When my heart is gripped with cold fear, food loses all appeal and I survive on an apple and some nuts. When my courage returns and the angsty, irritation and depression arrives, I snack to try to ease the pain. 

2. Holding my breath:

DAFUQ is up with this??? I will literally clench my throat and chest as if not moving or breathing and holding very still will protect me from some hidden danger. The first time I recall noticing this bad behavior, I was learning to drive with my dad and he asked, "Will holding your breath make you drive better?!" No. Obviously. Deep breath........

3. Desire to shop recklessly:

Ok, I may be guilty of this when I'm not feeling especially crushed, but retail therapy is an outlet I RACE too when I'm scared, unhappy, dissatisfied, or let down in myself or my situation. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb idea. And expensive too. 

4. Sexually promiscuous urges:

I'm sure we all agree that throwing myself onto the world as a wild and crazy Girl Gone Wild won't release my tension the way I imagine it will. Everyone wants and deserves sexual satisfaction, but I'm pretty sure joining a bisexual gang bang in pursuit of inner peace may be harmful if I'm not participating from a place of confidence and pure sexual arousal. Don't let stress drive you to new depths. Repel mindfully down this crevasse.....don't throw yourself over the precipice.

5. Scratching at my face:

This is excruciatingly embarrassing and I'm so shy to share it with you. I scratch at the small bumps and pores on my face to the point where I bleed and potentially scar myself. Not your traditional form of cutting, but I believe there is something to the need for pain and the site of your own blood that is brought about by fear and stress. 

6. Driving fast....or erratically:

Texting + driving = lunacy. At some point when I'm freaking out, I switch to a form of careless I-don't-give-an-F driving style that is basically asking for a terrible accident. Speed. Fast turns. Irregular lane changes. Anything outside of normal, safe driving crops up when I feel unwell. Don't do this. Ever.

7. Craving smoke, drunkenness, and regulated substances:

Under normal circumstances, I am straight and narrow - no smoke, drugs, or rowdy rounds of shots. It just isn't my style. So when my subconscious kicks in and starts nudging me to do things outside of my normal realm of preferences, I have to check myself and ask if it's Tara that wants to try new things or scared and stressed Tara trying to find relief from her life. 

Stress's Achilles' Heel

Living with a 3-6 month "mission" where this one big THING has been the most dominant factor of my life - deciding everything from whether I need sunscreen to what time I eat - has me looking at other people in a new light.

If my temporary raison d'etre has me curled up in a ball on the floor at night, how badly must some other folks I meet be hurting and how are THEY coping??? I judge softly now when I see some self-harm choices others make. Pain and stress can make you go crazy.

My hope is that you find your stress signals. Don't act on them. Act in spite of them. Tell a friend. Take the time to love yourself. You are the only one who can. <3

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Do a Little.... A Lot

The Space Between Work

I don't have two kids. No husband. No full term of school and a night job. But yes, I'm freaking swamped right now. The day starts at 4:30am Mon-Fri/Sat and runs until I go crazy and need dinner. Or I find my way to the gym for a meek 30min workout before slowly driving home in the cold darkness to a shower and my bed. What's YOUR version of this circle???

As my new gig has ramped up, I've realized that I may not have a FULL day of doing whatever I want for a long, long time. I refuse to let this stop me - the days of my life are not limitless, and instead of throwing a pity party (and some of my parties are LEGENDARY), I'm purposing to fill whatever space my day leaves me after work to produce some work on what I'm passionate about. 

 What I am coming to see, is that the best "livers" fill their lives with their passion activities inbetween whatever constraints they are currently living under. That sounds SO much better then waiting for "tomorrow" or exhausting myself further with whiny self-talk! :)

What do YOU wish you were doing that you aren't? Encourage me with your project or dream that you are dedicating small nooks and crannies of time to rather then waiting for "the perfect moment." Life seldom leaves you gobs of time. At least not until you are dead.

How to Deconstruct Shoes from Goodwill

Lol - typing that heading feels so funny! As if you are all dying to shred shoes too! ;) Gonna share anyway!

This is (one) of my "passion projects." Designing the sandals I see clear and glowing visions of when I close my eyes.

Basically, I'm too impatient to wait for the leather shoe prototype shop here in Portland to finish their current orders, I've started out on my own. A visit to Goodwill at the end of summer actually yielded some decent sandals with great bases similar to the basic shape of my shoes.

I set the hand-me-down shoes out near my kitchen to constantly bug me with their silent, judging presence until I had the guts to start pulling them apart. After a few weeks, I sat down with several razor blades, scissors, pliers, a hairdryer, and some muscle and courageously began ripping the cloth uppers off of the shoes. Personally, I dislike hand work involving troubleshooting and technical skill with tools (other then sketching pencils or a drafting table). What I accomplished makes me glow with pride.....

I started with an enclosed peep-toe wedge and finished with this:

Note the unglued sole over the wedges

Really love the tapered, sexy shape of these soles. Feminine.

Later, I will reglue the soles after I've added my NEW uppers!

Pretty nifty, huh? I cut off all of the fabric I could while still leaving enough material to pull on to get the sole to separate from the wedge. Some hardcore glue held some of the uppers in place so I softened it with a hair drier, although the best way to get them apart was controlled yanking. :) I know, really technical. Up around the toes, I just trimmed the fabric (which was softer) close to the sole and very neatly, so you don't notice the leftovers. 

Voila! Now I am ready to cobble together the macrame uppers with the beads and gems. Can't WAIT to actually get some of my new work onto these! Baby steps.....just going to keep plugging away every day until I've got some rockin' new kicks. 

This is fall in my hometown.

View on my Sunday afternoon run. Hilly - calves still sore on Tuesday! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

How to Experience Fall in Portland

My First Bowl of Salsa

Gotta admit, the fall version of my local farmer's market is INSANE. Warm leaves, fun folk tunes, juicy apples, handmade pasta, gourds of all colors. No two weeks are the same - the seasons bring fresh stuff for me to discover every Saturday morning!

This week, I grabbed a cool "salsa bag" full of all ingredients (except chips) to make some farm fresh salsa. Sold!!!! The next day, I eagerly diced and sliced the produce up according to the following enclosed recipe:

     5-7 tomatoes
     1/2 sweet white onion
     1 clove of garlic
     a bunch of cilantro
     1 squeezed lime
     7 assorted spicy peppers 
     1 bell pepper

The flavor was refreshing, the texture was somewhat course, and the heat was almost too hot. Just hot enough to be racy and exciting without terrifying my taste buds. The longer I leave it in the fridge, the more garlic seeps out. I'm throwing it on gluten free chips and in rice bowls like a BOSS. 

Now that I know how easy it is to mix up salsa, I plan to grab my own ingredients next time. Experience is sure empowering, isn't it? :)

Try this combo out and let me know YOUR favorite salsa recipe! Heck....that could be a blog all it's own.

The Solitude of a Cemetery 

Who hear frequents grave yards? Any tombstone buffs out there? Perhaps you could better explain the macabre allure of gazing at weathered stone with the names of the long-dead deceased consumed with moss. Perhaps it's the artistry - so seldom do we carve anything into stone. The link to the past is another thought....somehow history still lives within these relics. Could it be our morbid fascination with the edge of our existence? We hope, dream, fear, anticipate the afterlife and these stone sentinels are the last link to those who've crossed over before.

I went for the leaves. 
And fell for the spell of the grave stones. 

Sleepy Hollow is in the air.
Perhaps Nathaniel Hawthorn's haunting tale calls to the reader every October. Who knows! A little spooky does the soul good. 

Granite and fading leaves
Who does this belong to?
Field of Souls.  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Missing the Moment

Breakfast provides me a few precious moments to allow my mind and spirit to fully wake up. After that, life strikes. So I've gotten religious: I eat a little hot rice cereal and flip through a The Buddha Walks Into a Bar at the kitchen table. I read only a few pages each day, but the content is rich.

On Chapter 19....

Here's the latest lesson I'm working on absorbing...not missing...

 "The Moment"

I'm so good at this. EXPERT level! Chapter 19 spoke to me - "Bringing a Spacious Mind to Subtle Acts."
An example the author brings is about "going out" on a Friday or Saturday night to a bar.

When you keep an open mind instead of trying to zero in on having a perfect night, you often end up having a fun experience. Not because you manipulated it in any way, or planned it to be so, but because you relaxed and went with whatever opportunities came up. In fact, when you try to manufacture fun, your evening will never live up to your expectations. It is only through truly relaxing with what comes your way that you will be able to enjoy yourself. 

 I'll set myself up allll week for an incredible date or night out. I'll have picked out the mood, environment, circumstances, and company. My mental table is SET. Then the real situation appears and I'm so busy looking for my "Barbie doll date" that I completely blow the good time that was waiting there for me. If only I'd gone into the scenario expecting nothing other then simply an amazing experience.

Don't try to have a great time, just let yourself have a great time....We don't have to plan every minute of the day. we can go with the flow of our life, and relax into freedom.

Visioning and planning are crucial. But don't let your anticipation of reality prevent you from loving Your Moment.:):):)

Commit to relaxing with me? :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

How to Feel Like a Fox in Under 5 Minutes

Supermodel hair. Million dollar smile. Radiant skin. Effortless confidence. Queen of cool.

Feeling fantastic is the BEST!!!

That constant state of chilled, sexy appeal, and animal magnetism is as heady as it is elusive. At least for me. Only about 5-7 days out of every month, do I feel like God's gift to man - a living, breathing, white buffalo.


Spoiler alert!......We can.

This week, I want to share a SEDUCTIVE and ego-altering trick I've just learned to instantly go from feeling schleppy and crummy to outrageously hot, sexy, and awesome.

This uncanny technique is often referred to as 'anchoring.' I think of it as a "dynamo trigger" because it is a repeatable activity that let's you tap into your powerhouse.

Now let's get you feeling like a fox in under five minutes!

Dynamo Trigger Technique

 First off - I'm writing this on the assumption that you have at some point (hopefully frequently!) enjoyed that holistic sense of feeling in tune, in touch, and in sync with yourself.

1. First, think back to the things you were doing surrounding that great feeling. For me it's things like going for a morning run, affirming self-talk, using a high-end skin care product as part of my daily luxury routine, or just filling my lungs with pure oxygen and relaxing my throat and neck. Outside circumstances have an impact too - did I just get a wonderful email from my boss praising me for satisfying a surprising customer request? Did a hot guy just smile at me? Did a funny SNL skit just make me chuckle? Did my lover just kiss my neck? The key here is to identify what your personal dynamo triggers!

2. Now that you've identified the usual times when you are experiencing this wild, carnal, fierce, beautiful feeling, its time to create a personal "dynamo trigger." I love this part. Examples of a dynamo trigger are singing a line from your favorite song, tapping your foot five times, jumping as high as you can - ANYTHING physical that you can do easily. Just pick something. Mine is rubbing the base of my neck below my hairline.

3. Finally, persistently perform this specific action every time you feel crazy great. In about 3-10 days, this newl quirk will have become connected to your being.

4. The Result - NOW, you can start using this personal dynamo trigger every time you feel dumpy!  Because the good feeling is associated on a deep level with this physical action, you have the POWER to recall your best emotions WHENEVER YOU WANT.

The results of this practice blew me away. Wholly MACKEREL!!! In seconds of whipping out my dynamo trigger, my whole mind, body, and being transforms into a Victoria's Secret model strutting the runway!!! After only a few days, I was able to consistently draw on my dynamo trigger to recreate superhuman, foxiness even in the middle of a crappy, crappy day.  This basically is Pavlov's dogs principle applied to yourself. :) Did someone say....ingenious???!!!

I want you to rock the HOUSE! Give it a try even if you think this is phooey.:);):);)

Comment below with a description of your dynamo trigger!

Go forth and be foxy!:)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Power of 30 Minutes

Productivity Hack

Setting a timer for 30 minutes has become one of my super-secret strengths. Sounds simple enough, but it's changed my work day from a reactionary snarl of endless to-do's into a series of powerful and focused chunks of time with a purpose. A start and stop. A way to measure success or failure. Interested?

Here's the scoop:

Determine what task you hope to accomplish - type a sale's email, finish a recipe, research a vacation home, whatever - this can be something you've been avoiding or just something that required intent attention that you simply haven't been able to wrap up. Sit yourself down and start your timer. You now cannot go anywhere or do anything other than your task at hand until that timer rings.

This is what I found once I started my timer:

- This works as insurance that no rabbit trail I accidentally embark on, will take over my entire day because my alarm reminds me what I'm supposed to be doing.

- It also tricks my mind into not getting overwhelmed with an entire day of activities because I "only have to focus for another 30min." Keeps things potent, focused, and powerful.

- This keeps me fresher for longer by reminding me to stretch, get water, give my eyes a break, etc...since I have a tendency to run myself into the dirt when working on a project.

- This rewards me with a feeling of accomplishment and pride when I'm able to totally get "in the zone" and I forget that I even set and alarm until it goes off.

- This forces me to think in chunks of time and attempt to break projects into bytes that require progress and decision immediately.

Originally, I was persuaded to try this 30min timer system after listening to an audio recording by Eugene Schwartz - old school, badass copywriter who deserves a blog dedicated solely to his life and techniques.

Comment below and I will send you the file if you want to learn more! Your next 30min could create something AMAZING!!!! Don't underestimate the power of your timer.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Pick Yourself Up on Monday

Beautiful Meltdown

You know exactly what I mean by that phrase don't you? Nothing is wrong with you. Everything you're feeling is valid and justified. Each ache and pain is legitimate and raw. The world has invited you to a stacked talent show and upstaged every hard-won magic trick you've got in your tattered little book. 

You're down. You're freaking OUT. None of your usual coping techniques seem to have any effect on your MACK truck of emotions that's freakishly accelerating toward unquestionable disaster. You can't seem to apply the breaks because there ARE NONE.

This is a Red Alert Freak Out. You could be hyperventilating, holding your breath, starving or overeating, yelling, shaking, sweating....

Sh*t just got bad. You could easily cross the line into permanent damage - to yourself and those around you.

Oh, you've taken that manic joy ride too?! Ok, here's my question:

What the BLEEP do you DO?!

This weekend, I had the rare delight of wanting to shave the skin off my palms just to chanel some of my internal torment OUTSIDE my body. I'll also confess strong desires to wield a bat on several occasions. ;) I also had a compelling urge to splash crimson paint over the interior walls of my house. (Don't ask why...)

Here's some of the emergency advice I've heard: 

"Go for a run - that always eases my stress." 
" Eat a spinach salad." (Because THAT's what I'm craving under pressure!)
"Soak in the tub."
"Read a good book." 
"Just acknowledge that you're exacerbating a frustrating reality."

All good, solid advice - pure to the core and very effective. But what about the times when you need MORE?! Like a super high dose of Anti-CRAZY?! I ended up just doing a ton of these type of things on this list - one right after the other. Normally any one activity or practice would alleviate the pain, but this beautiful meltdown took all the antidotes I have in my medicine belt. 

I don't know that my solution was the best response to King-Kong crisis, especially because it's not always physically possible to go for a run or soak in a tub when your psyche most needs them. 

I want to hear what you strong, beautiful people do. Please comment! Anyone out there conquered their meltdowns? :) I pray so!


Whew! That last section was pretty heavy, so here's a fun, stimulating new app I found this weekend! Couldn't put the darn thing DOWN!
I searched for "puzzles" in the iTunes store and rambled into this Myst-style, room-by-room challenge that hides keys, combo locks, and other contraptions for you to solve or assemble to escape oto the next room! 

Gorgeous graphics. Gradually increasing challenge (but never TOO hard!). ADDICTING! :) Play it on your tablet for best effect.
Here it is: Can You Escape

Try it out and let me know what level you get to! If you're stuck, I may be able to send you a hint, but shhhh don't tell! ;) 

Superhero UP!

A dear FB friend of mine Amy Kauffman (here she is with her blog "Amplifying Specs of Life"), posted this absolutely, show STOPPING motivational, Monday morning wakeup rally written by Daniella LaPorte! My spirit was giving Daniella a standing ovation after only the first couple paragraphs. Read! And then go forth and kick-butt, my friends! :) 

"I’m all for mental health days. And gentleness. And I think the world should take the month of December off. And, for the love of all things holy, a four-day workweek would revolutionize the collective human spirit and, thus, health care.

But this pep talk isn’t about taking it easy. This is about another form of self-care: doing whatever it takes.

Just got dumped? Lace up your runners and move your body.
Under the weather? Go to work anyway, wearing your favorite sweater.
Up to your earrings in deadlines? Go cheer on your friend. Show up at the bake sale. Call your mother.
Crying before show time? Put some tea bags on your eyes. Say a prayer. Enter stage left.

Push. Turn up the volume. Go hard. Go harder.
Re-prioritize your aches and pains.
Infuse your sensitivities with courage.
Tell fear to Eff off.
Devote to Done.

There are soul-justified reasons to cancel. There are times to just stop. This isn’t one of them. Keep going. Show up. Full on. Full tilt. Full out.

Decide to be one of those people who pull it off.

Do what you say you’re going to do.
Don’t let us down.

Decide to rise.

Why decide to rise? Not for the reasons you might think. In fact, these are the reasons that will make you sick and tired:

Do not rise out of obligation. Do not rise because of feared consequences. Do not rise because you think being tough makes you smarter (it doesn’t).

Decide to rise because you want to expand your being, your life, your possibilities.

Decide to rise because super powers are meant to be activated and applied in everyday life.

Decide to rise to explore your place in the universe.

On the other side of deciding to rise is illumination, ecstasy, insight. And the angel of your strength is there waiting, smiling, and applauding with a goblet of endorphins for you. Drink up.

When you transcend circumstances, you get special privileges. You get evidence that you are indeed amazing and irrefutable proof that what your heart and mind choose is what matters. And you get the deep knowing that life wants you to win.

Decide to rise.

Lean in. Listen up. Closely.
It’s your soul speaking, and she says,
Get UP! I need you. I want you. I am you. Choose me.
Lean in. Listen up. Closely.

Decide to rise."

-Danielle LaPorte, "The Grand Pep Talk," on Positively Positive

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Monologue Madness


I made a total fool of myself. But it was all for a good cause! This week in Act Now Studio's comedy acting class, I delivered my very first.....


I sucked. It's not that I didn't bust my lady balls practicing and prepping.... it's just that I've had ZERO prior coaching on  monologues specifically and am a beginner (gosh, that word chaps my hide!).

The class and instructor were very kind to me, but gave precise and decisive feedback confirming what I knew - imma total newbie!

So here's why I'm sharing this with you: I could see this "failure" coming from a long way away. All week, even after making serious progress understanding the reversals, antitheticals, point of view, and voice, I KNEW in my core that my best effort would still fall drastically short of my usual expectation of elegant, timeless....


No pressure, right?! Standing in front of an inevitable outcome of "insufficient" and allowing my ego and mind to stay malleable to the learning process is taxing. Everything in me wanted to run away from the growth-producing stress and back toward the calm, soothing water's of Tara's Comfort Zone. But I didn't.

Nothing too earth shattering came of it acting-wise - that will take years of dedicated practice before I even scratch the surface of acting competency! - but I took HUGE risks and strengthened my humility muscle. Along with actively accepting life outside of the normal, the comfortable, the competent.

Pertinent pic shared by Shara and Nancy from the outstanding Queen of Your Own Life

So, how have you stretched yourself and done something that FREAKED you? Please comment below and share with us what's worked for you! :) Keep being awesome and I'll talk to ya soon!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What I Found at Hunt and Gather + Lizard Lounge

Enchanted Garden

After a long week of commercial landscape design (which pays the bills and buys the espresso), one of my favorite, FAVORITE cheap and magical pastimes is to go nursery exploring! From my previous review of Pistils, you can probably tell that I FREAK on the whole green design thing - nature, design, mood, environment, botany, travel, decor.

Cistus on Sauvie Island was the destination of choice. Steering clear of the island's nude beach (at least for today! ;D ), we nearly missed the thickly vegetated driveway down to the curated garden center that is the retreat of Sean Hogan - a veritable horticultural Indian Jones who frequents New Zealand in search of crazy cool varieties that will transition well to our NW climate.

Having some retail garden center experience myself, I'm also so attune to presentation, signage, plant staging, and foot traffic flow. It may be because I was hot and a bit punchy, but the nursery wasn't laid out as crisply and "shoppable" as I like to shop when I go hunting for specific varieties - it has more of a vintage rummage sale feel. Perfect for the ruminating plant collector to browse and breathe in the steamy goodness of plants transpiring. None-the-less, I LOVED the selection. 

No boring laurel.
No lackluster rhododendrons.
No daylilies!

All have their place.....but this collection is such a treat for the experienced plant nut!

One of two, patio arrangements showcasing Sean's design services.  Sweet sedum chandelier!

Chocolate Tasting

So....what's one of the WORST things to befall a girl? 

Discovering she has a mild but irritating allergic reaction to CHOCOLATE!

For several years starting at puberty, I had to completely swear off chocolate or end up with uncomfortable red bumps on my skin - ouchy! (Not to mention unsightly). However, a few months ago, my genius nutritionist suggested that perhaps it wasn't the chocolate but the soy and soy lecithin that is frequently included in chocolate bars that was the nasty culprit. 

After tentatively sampling several raw chocolate bars with various flavors like cherry, orange, and salty nut, I've found some soy-free kinds in health food sections and Chocolate is now permanently BACK ON THE MENU! :):):):) 


To celebrate my new found liberty, I headed down to Cacao to expand my options further.
Cacao is a DELIGHT. 

Imagine a shop themed after an old East India Trading Co British import office - decadent, exotic, rare. The experience is phenomenal. Select four boutique bars of chocolate and the staff will provide you with a little sampling tray with recommendations on which bar to sample first, second, and so on. Luscious.....

Didn't get a chance to try their drinking chocolate, but holy MOTHER it looked like creamy, brown silk in the little shot glasses held luxuriously by the other patrons I saw clustered casually at intimate bistro tables.

Oh Cacao, I'll be back to experience you again soon!

Interior of Cacoa

Sandal Update!

So I really DID get some design work done this weekend! :) I purposefully went down to Lizard Lounge and hunt & Gather for inspiration for my new sandals and to get ideas of the type of products my target demographic is into. Here's what I FOUND - a wired chalcedony bracelet and some soft leather sandals.

Pretty fun, am-I-right?! I'm going to remake these sandals with more natural stone detailing. Trinkets and treasures BELONG on artisan footwear, don't you think? 

Time for show and tell! Do you have a family treasure, cool pebble, lucky coin, or just some favorite beads? Wouldn't they be better displayed or worn than shoved in a drawer???? Comment below with what your little "talisman" is and if you'd show it off if you knew the right wear to wear it, pin it, or fashion it into your daily apparel. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Shakespeare's Sonnet 54

"The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem 
For that sweet odour which doth in it live." 

Soft, baby pink roses are completely covering this pole.
Here's a lovely treat for you -
some gorgeous flowers from Portland's Rose Garden!

August is obviously an AWESOME time to visit as almost every variety was cloaked in blooms. I was completely overwhelmed with the experience!

After tucking my nose into dozens of roses, I can now say with confidence that roses have decidedly different "odours," as the Bard refers to their scent. A two-toned red and pink variety called "Rock and Roll" smelled sweet, punchy, and spicy while a full-formed soft mauve rose gave off a light, but consistent aroma that smelled like Parisian memories.

What a lush and unexpected experience!
What fun place will you go explore?

I want a HUGE bouquet in my office! <3

This one reminds me of Starburst fruit chews!

Can you spy Portland ? :)

This is only one of the main alleys

Playing Alice in Wonderland. Keep an eye out for the angry Queen of Hearts!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mood, Mindset, and a Movie

What the HECK is a MoodPanda?!

Ever notice how you feel like a BILLION bucks at some point in the day, only to have a few hours pass and your practically ready to slit your wrists???? If you're like me, this pattern gets EXHAUSTING.

Here's my latest plan (along with healthy eating, proper sleep, exercise...): track my moods throughout the day at 5 key times for a month and analyze the data to see if I can outsmart myself and circumvent some (underscore "some") of the crazy! :)

Found this cool app called "MoodPanda" in the app store. It uses a sliding scale from 0-10 to help you rate your mood along with a space for a few lines of text describing what's up. Although it's very social-media-y and I see plenty of whining worldwide, I'm using it as a private tracker. Love the graphs and little diary that allows you to look back over your thoughts. Pretty sweet.

I had to set a reminder in my iPhone for 9:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm, 6:30pm, and 9:30pm so I always take note at the same time daily.

Here's the scale I'm using to keep the number ratings consistent:

10. I'm invincible and fully realized! There are no limits

9. Just one more thing...and everything's perfect!

8. Pretty good:) 

7. Optimistic and cheery

6. Positive contentment. I'm on the right path.

5. Neutral

4. Slight anxiety

3. I'm in a funk

2. K, now I'm angry/mad/grumpy

1. I feel totally worthless. I add no value to this world. F this.

0. I'm dead.

This research project will definitely be intriguing. Hope I can learn some new, personal cheat codes! :)

Mindset and Movie

Movies that change you are the successful ones. Just watched one that inspired some SERIOUS action-taking! :)

 After watching Erin Brockovich with Julia Roberts, I immediately opened my laptop and tackled some copywriting that I had been avoiding for WEEKS. Seeing Erin scrape by with her babies and hours and HOURS of hot, sweaty, thankless work before she finally accomplished a seeminly impossible task was a fabulous reminder to fight and pursue the things that are important to you. Thinking big picture and long term is tough....but reflecting on her pigheaded determination and how it was the only thing that brought some relief to hundreds of people, gave me some extra juice to sucker-punch my duties.

If you feel like an underdog (and are tired of watching Rocky!;)   ), flip on E.B. You won't regret it.

Sandal Update!

Tiny update for the sandal project! 

1. I've finished the colored pencil sketches (after finally tracking down my Prismacolors! Phew!). 
2. The graphic artists are going to create the computer renderings this week!
3. Still looking for a local prototyper. Everyone wants to work in bulk or just doesn't get these kind of requests. :/ Okay, no biggie...I'll keep searching. There's got to be a PDX cobbler or leather worker interested! 
4. Messaging a few folks on Etsy to see if they could remotely create my samples off of the sketches.

Here's this week's action items: 

1. Identify some similar blogs, FB pages were I can find some ladies (or guys!) who would be interested in pre-ordering!
2. Settling on a name! Yikes - so many to choose from.
3. Popping up my website. 

Enjoy the pics below and bounce me a message or comment sharing the status of YOUR latest project! :)
Can't wait to see what you amazing people are up to! 

Scattered art....soon to be REALITY!

Wedgie! :)