Monthly Archives: February 2012

A poem that seems true

dragon fruit

I Confess by Alison Luterman

I stalked her
in the grocery store: her crown
of snowy braids held in place by a great silver clip,
her erect bearing, radiating tenderness,
the way she placed yogurt and avocadoes in her basket,
beaming peach like the North Star.
I wanted to ask “What aisle did you find
your serenity in, do you know
how to be married for fifty years, or how to live alone,
excuse me for interrupting, but you seem to possess
some knowledge that makes the earth burn and turn on its axis—”
but we don’t request such things from strangers
nowadays. So I said, “I love your hair.”

At the cafe this morning, I was reminded of the above poem (from writing class this week) when the couple, THAT couple walked in. They are in their fifties and are always smiling. I see them at cafes all around Berkeley and they are usually holding hands, smiling knowingly at each other and just generally blissed out. They are starting to look like brother and sister, melded into one another by some invisible thread.

They are not exactly annoying, just fascinating. I am curious about them. The first several times I wondered if it was a first date? but now, years later, that story doesn’t hold up. Now I wonder other things, like if they possess some secret about how to stay joyous and connected and in apparent consistent gratitude for the blessings in life? Does staying caffeinated have anything to do with it? Do they have jobs other than traveling from cafe to cafe loving each other? I hold these questions in my heart as I watch her take a bite of his sour batard smothered with herb butter. If I find out, I’ll let you know.

Sponsor Spotlight: Stephanie Levy

Our sponsors are super! If you’d like to become a sponsor (includes your ad in the sidebar + ongoing sponsor spotlights), we’d love to have you! Just send a quick email to Amber at: [email protected]
to get all of the details.


Stephanie Levy

Looking for an extra boost of creativity and courage this spring?

I’m Stephanie Levy, an American illustrator living in Europe, and I’d like to invite you to join Creative Courage, an international e-course about finding, following, and realizing your creative dreams.

During our Spring Session (April 9th – May 25th, 2012), twelve incredible creative women — Flora BowleyCamilla EngmanLisa SolomonTara Sophia MohrTracy ClarkAngela RitchieTif Fussell, Jennifer Judd-McGee, Victoria MoranBeth NicollsLucie Summers, and Marianne Elliott — will share their secrets on publishing books, building online businesses, creating workshops and e-courses, and thriving as creative artists, instructors, and authors.

As a unique bonus, we’ll take a *virtual field trip* to Paris, France in April. I’ll even send you a personal postcard featuring my collage artwork directly from Paris!

** Through Sunday, February 26th, I’m offering an Early Bird Registration DiscountSign up now for the special price of $79. **

I hope you’ll come celebrate 7 weeks of fun, color, and inspiration with us, and begin your fresh, creative, courageous life in Spring 2012! Find out more about Creative Courage here.

2 ways we can connect in person this spring!

Rainbow buddhas, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Superhero Life Workshop

I will be offering a Superhero Life workshop at Teahouse Studio in Berkeley, CA on Saturday, May 12th. In this daylong workshop, we will connect, have photo adventures and do some life coaching exercises that will get us in touch with (and celebrate) our unique superpowers.

There is more info on this page. But think fun, play, connecting with other creative superheroes and an awesome day of photography.

There are only 20 spots available, so get your ticket today if you know you are in!

Delicious event with me and Kelly Rae Roberts

Sunday, May 13th (the very next day) join me and Kelly Rae Roberts for an afternoon of connection, beautiful food and inspiring conversation! We will come together at the Teahouse in Berkeley for a magical afternoon, a round table of sorts (except the tables will be rectangular) of delicious souls and gorgeous food.

More details are on this page. Only 20 spots available for this special event as well, so swoop em up people!

Note: This event happens to fall on Mother’s Day weekend. If you are a mama in need of a break (what mama isn’t?) this is a great way for your family to celebrate you! Send them this link with a “hint-hint” message. ;)

P.S. Register for either (or both) of these events through Teahouse. Click here for the Superhero Life workshop & here for the Kelly Rae/Andrea Scher event.

Sponsor Spotlight: Ruby Loves Jewelry

Our sponsors are amazing! If you’d like to be a sponsor (includes your ad in the sidebar + ongoing sponsor spotlights), we’d love to have you! Just send a quick email to Amber at: [email protected] to get all the details.


Ruby Loves Jewelry

Ruby Loves Jewelry

Sweet, modern and simple, Ruby Loves Jewelry is easy to wear and hard to take off.
Visit Ruby Loves artisan jewelry now at or Click Here!

My interview is up!

The M.A.P.P. (Motherhood, Ambition, Passion and Purpose) Gathering, a series of intimate conversations featuring nationally recognized authors, speakers, artists and experts explores the issues around of keeping a strong sense of yourself and your passions alive within the context of motherhood.

They are FREE! You can learn more and sign up yourself here.

I’m one of the featured guests and am in the company of other amazing women like Brene Brown, Jennifer Louden, Renee Trudeau, Dr. Sara Gottfried, Pamela Slim, Jill Savage and Tsh Oxenreider.

*My interview is up today!

Quick note for Elevate students*

blossoms in the neighborhood, processed with SX-70 action

Hey guys!

Just a quick note to let you know that there was a technical glitch this morning and an incomplete version of one of your Elevate lessons went out to the list by accident. You are actually not supposed to receive anything until next week. Oops! Then I sent a message out to everyone and I think only four people actually received it. Is mercury in retrograde or something?

Anyway, please ignore it and know that we will begin together next Tuesday, February 21st.

There is still room for anyone who would like to join us!


Sponsor Spotlight: Kelly Rae Roberts

We love our sponsors! If you’d like to be a sponsor (includes your ad in the sidebar + ongoing sponsor spotlights), we’d love to have you! Just send a quick email to Amber at: [email protected] to get all the details.


Kelly Rae Roberts

Everyday, I receive emails from creative souls asking for my advice. They want to know how, in a span of just a couple of years, I taught myself how to paint, built an online presence and successful online shop, wrote a best selling book, got published in several magazines, and launched successful gift collections (via licensing deals) that are sold in stores nationwide. They ask advice on how to build an effective online presence, how to create and package prints and originals, how to create a website and community. They ask about licensing, money, publishing, press, and social networking. They ask me how on earth I manage my time, how I face my fears, how I stay organized.

Because I deeply believe in sharing my resources, my how-to’s, and everything else I’ve learned along the way, I’ve created  a series of e-books meant to help you take flight into your own creative and business possibilities. Click here to learn more!

Elevate the Ordinary starts soon!

clothespins on a line, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Hey guys!

I’ve been cooking up a brand new course just for you! If you have taken Superhero Photo and would like to continue your creative adventures with me, I would love to have you. Didn’t we have SO much fun leaping across our beds in that class? (Also, if you haven’t taken Superhero Photo and feel called to do this course, you are also welcome! This second class is not more advanced, just different)

In Elevate the Ordinary, we will explore what it takes to make extraordinary images out of our ordinary days. We will fill our eyes with more beauty, explore our unique creative voices, and take our photos to the next level.

And just like in The Basics course, no fancy photography experience or equipment necessary.

What I Believe

  • I believe that there is an opportunity to create extraordinary images right outside your door.
  • I believe that you don’t need fancy equipment or advanced technical skills to create gorgeous work.
  • I believe that creativity is an access point to personal growth and that by exploring our creativity we become more brave, more intuitive and more alive.
  • I believe that when we do it together, it’s way more fun.

Sasha in the gingko leaves, SF

Please join me for this brand new photography class!

We’ll begin Tuesday, February 21st

P.S. Thank you for the incredibly kind and supportive comments in my last post. I am continually blown away by the collective wisdom and generosity in this community. I think we all need to have a big pow wow soon.

Oh lordy, not again.

If you haven’t experienced the sheer terror of your child having a seizure, consider yourself lucky. It ranks high on my list of personal tortures and I was hoping to escape this with Nico. After everything we’ve gone through with Ben we were hoping for a free pass on number two. But alas, Matt and I heard a strange sound coming from Nico’s room last night and we found him having a seizure in his crib. Enter heart-stopping, soul crushing terror with simultaneous massive amounts of adrenaline pumping through the veins of two shockingly calm parents firmly barking orders at each other.

Take off his sleep sack. Lay him on the ground. He’s going to be okay. He’s going to be okay. Should we call 911? I think we should call 911, just to be safe. How long has this been going on? Fuck. He’s really hot. Take off his pants. What’s his temp? 103? Okay, I think he’s coming back. Okay, he’s back. He’s crying. Where the hell are the paramedics?

Let me say right out of the gate that Nico’s is okay. He is sick but a-okay.

And of course Nico is totally over it, doesn’t even remember, but his mama? I’m still trying to stay in the moment over here. I worry that because Ben has epilepsy, Nico might have it too. I worry that there will be more of these, every time he has a fever. (I remember every single seizure Ben has ever had and they were all traumatizing) I worry that he might have to go on medication one day. I worry that he will start falling like Ben did. I worry that we’re in for another saga, one that, like in Ben’s case, has no pretty little bow to tie up. (Ben still has seizure activity when he is sick and no proper diagnosis. It turns out he was misdiagnosed last year)

I know that none of this worrying helps. Just let it be simple, right? Just stay in the moment, with what is. This is me giving myself a pep talk. This is me knowing that all I can do is be present and respond to what actually unfolds.

I have been reading a book by Nicole Krauss (she wrote one of my favorite books, The History of Love) and there is a short story inside this novel about a shark that absorbs everybody’s bad dreams. He is hooked up with wires to all of the dreaming people and he absorbs their nightmares, the things that are too difficult to bear. The sleeping people sleep soundly.

I think that’s what we want to do as mothers, as parents. We want to hold our kids and somehow be like that shark- absorbing all of that electricity, all that’s too difficult to bear, neutralize it so that they don’t have to suffer. Most of the time I feel strong enough to do that. To hold all of it.

This is the journey of parenthood isn’t it? I can see you old-timers nodding your heads. You out there with the teenagers and college age kids. This is what it is to be a parent isn’t it? They get bigger and the problems change, but we are not that shark. We just do our best. Give me your words of wisdom people!

My new mantra: Let it be Simple

Nico's toes. Just toes.

I’m overwhelmed.

Right now. Last week. Last year. I will likely be overwhelmed later tonight, tomorrow and the next day. It’s just kind of how I roll.

I try to relax as much as possible, keep things fun and easy, but the truth is it’s (insert expletive) hard to juggle all the things we juggle in our lives. It’s hard to make a living in this crazy world, raise kids, cook a meal or two and maybe even scrub the tub every once in a while. I don’t know anyone who isn’t overwhelmed.

Are you overwhelmed?

I also just discovered that I am “highly sensitive.” A friend of mine has been telling me this for years but I was never clear what she meant. So I took a quiz! And it turns out that one of the reasons why I can barely surf the internet, listen to the radio in the car, or just generally take in too much stimulus (without shorting out) is because I am highly sensitive. Go figure. Anyway, in this full on life with social media and the like, I know I’m not the only one who feels overwhelmed a lot of the time.

Cures for overwhelm

There are things I do to keep myself calm.

I take a bath every night.
I eat lots of good food.
I go to the occasional yoga class.
I say no a lot. I try to only say yes to things I really want to do.
I don’t work at night and prefer to watch Project Runway, Parks and Rec, Modern Family and other brilliant nonsense with my husband on Hulu.

Good enough

Most importantly, I practice a policy of “Good enough.” If you lean toward perfectionism (I certainly do) you probably run the risk of never completing certain tasks. Things just aren’t quite right yet with that new website, just need to edit that piece a bit more, just need to learn a few more tricks before I hire myself out…

Sometimes we perfectionists never actually finish anything! 

But here’s the thing:  Good enough is usually really effing great. Sometimes it’s actually excellent. Often, months after I published something I considered “good enough”, I realize it was just right, perfect even.

Strive for good enough! You will be amazed at how much more gets done and how much more free you will feel with making choices and exercising your creativity.

And finally, my new mantra. 

Just let it be simple.

I have been writing a new class for the last several months. I have been working hard on it, tearing my hair out at moments, wondering if I would ever pull it off and if it would be as inspired as the first class I wrote. I considered quitting.

And then. I heard a very comforting inner voice: You can let it be simple.

This was my breakthrough moment. I got unstuck. I started writing what meant the most to me. The most simple version. When I stopped trying to dazzle… I could stop hustling and just share.

Stop striving for genius. Don’t try to be brilliant. (Nothing gets more in the way of brilliance than trying to be brilliant)

Let it be simple. Let it be lovely. Let go of the bells and whistles. Let the simplest form be just right.