Monthly Archives: March 2011

Bakesale for Japan

I’ll be at the bakesale Saturday! If you are in the Bay Area, please stop by one of the many locations in the area. (There are also several locations throughout the rest of the country)
Gourmet food, artisanal treats for a good cause.

Dimmi tutto

bed, Canon PowerShot S95

Dimmi tutto… This is what my italian friends said to me as we would sit down over coffee when I lived in Italy. I always loved the expression, but it became all the more poignant when I heard it in english. My friend Stefano would sit me down with his thick accent and say, “Andrea! Tell me everything!” It was the best kind of invitation… and I love how it implies that we have all the time in the world, that there is no hurry, that there is nothing more important than you and your story.

Tell me everything.

I’ve been off the map lately. Wrought with anxiety and insomnia for most of last week, I thought I had gone round the bend on some of those days. I’ve never had insomnia like this before and sleeplessness with anxiety (attaching to thoughts and not being able to let go of them, fretting over silly details and decisions) is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I tried several mantras… It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to sleep. There is nothing to do now…. and they would work for a bit before the thoughts would creep back in. Or the song… Something Ben was singing earlier in the day, about an itsy bitsy spider or a preschool Shabbat song playing over and over in my head.

I finally got some sleep last night, and ironically I am feeling tired which I think is a good thing. My life has become so full, so noisy, that when I finally stop and lay my head on the pillow, all of the unprocessed stuff of my psyche wants out. All of the hard stuff of life, all that energy seems to want a place to go. I haven’t been crying enough.

A friend who has been through a fair number of storms this year told me yesterday, “I think I just need to tell someone the story from beginning to end. The whole thing, however long that takes.” And I think I need that too. Someone to offer me the gift of that kind of presence, someone who can simply say, Andrea, tell me everything.

P.S. Don’t worry, I called a therapist for the job today. ;)

thunder hail

Ben at his Purim celebration, Berkeley, CA, Canon PowerShot S95

Writing this from a crazy hail storm, thunder storm with lightning and the works. Thunder hail! It’s exciting (and a little scary) and Ben was especially impressed. We stuck a Mason jar outside and collected little pellets of hail for him to inspect. It feels like a magical night.

It reminds me of a song Matt sometimes sings to Ben:
Would you like to swing on a star?
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a …..
(fill in the name of an animal)

I’m feeling grateful for warmth and shelter right now. Grateful for my spider man tucked away in bed.

busy bees

The medication is making Ben pretty tired, but other than that he is weathering it well. He is still his bright, beautiful and musical self! and still insists on going at breakneck speed even when he’s exhausted. We have been napping him as much as we can and I invested in an awesome Craigslist double stroller so we can chill out more on foot. (LOVE this stroller)

And I am usual busy self… (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) Off to prepare more for our Mondo Beyondo class that started today! There is still room in this nice cozy class if you have always wanted to take it.

INTERVIEW with Jennifer Lee, author of The Right Brain Business Plan

So delighted to bring you an inspiring interview with Jennifer Lee, author of The Right Brain Business Plan. If you’ve ever been intimidated by the words business plan… and believe me I have, this is the book for you. Thank goodness for Jenn Lee! 

How did you come up with the idea for the Right Brain Business Plan?

The idea for the Right-Brain Business Plan came about very organically, which I suppose is totally appropriate! I was participating in Leah Piken Kolidas’ November 2007 Art Every Day Month challenge and at the end of the month I decided to work on my 2008 business plan. Since I had to make art anyway, I thought why not make my business plan in some creative form. So, I collaged my vision on the front side of an accordion book. The next day, I wrote out the details of my plan – my executive summary, products and services, marketing plan, financial goals, and actions on little cards that I tucked into envelopes on the backside of the accordion book. I never would’ve guessed that little personal art project on my kitchen table would’ve turned into all of this! 

What makes the The Right-Brain Business Plan? different than a traditional business planning approach?

When we think of formal business plans we think of reams of paper or a slick slide deck with fancy charts and spreadsheets. That’s fine if you’re going for a loan or getting venture capital funding. But for us solopreneurs and creative types that traditional format can be intimidating or just doesn’t feel relevant for what we’re up to. However, we still need to have a roadmap to helps us track where we want to go and how to get there. So, a Right-Brain Business Plan gives us permission to have our plans look any way we want and to approach the planning process with our creativity, imagination and heart. This makes the whole process more accessible and fun! I’ve seen RBBPs in all sorts of inspiring formats – from a leather cuff bracelet, to a paper plate mobile, to Michelle Ward’s Box o’ Business Brilliance made out of a Cheerios cereal box. 

What are your favorite creative business planning tools and resources?

I swear by sticky notes, Staedtler pens, and Levenger Circa notebooks. Plus, the academic wall calendar from Paper Source has become my command central for all things planning and scheduling. 

What advice do you have people just starting out in their creative business (or for more seasoned entrepreneurs)?

First and foremost trust yourself. You know way more than you think you do. And find a supportive group of people to help nourish your dream – I know the Mondo Beyondo community has been helpful for so many people in that way, so continue to find encouraging and positive souls. That will help you in any phase of your business (and your life, for that matter!). 

What are a couple of your goals for the year?

To take my business to its next level of success so that it rewards me both financially and emotionally in ways I could have never imagined! I have lots of various strategies to support that such as developing new products (including my forthcoming Right-Brain Business Plan Kit), offering high-end coaching programs, and leading a retreat later this year.

To celebrate our 10-year anniversary by going with my hubby on a relaxing week-long vacation to Hawaii this fall. 

Where can we find out more information?

You can find out more about the book at You can also visit to learn about the free Right-Brainers in Business Summit that’s going on through Friday, March 11th. 

What’s your mantra?

Be. Breathe. Believe.

redwood medicine*

Matt, Andrea, Nico, Oakland, CA, Canon PowerShot S95

People have been asking me how I’m doing lately… and strangely enough, I feel strong and mostly okay. There is an efficiency about our worrying. That is to say, if we didn’t have a new baby, a four year old and businesses to run, we’d be worrying a heck of a lot more. But one of the gifts of kids is that they continually pull you back to the moment — to the mundane, to play, to the exasperation and joy that is being a parent.

I actually thought maybe I was handling this whole thing really well, all zenned out and philosophical, until I went to yoga last week. As soon as I hit the mat and took a breath it was all right there — the anxiety, the fear, the trauma every time Ben has a seizure. It was all there waiting patiently to be felt. As i moved, I could feel it all coursing through me, wanting to find a way out, have a voice, or just explode in a mess of tears. I faithfully did my downward dogs and tried my hardest to breathe it all out like exhaust, a black puff of air, everything I no longer need. But then I was afraid I would break down right there, in the middle of mommy/baby yoga — which I suppose is really a pretty great place to break down — but it all caught me by surprise. I stopped, laid down on my back and relaxed for the rest of class. It was progress. Those few tears were the first in a long time.

As I lay there I became obsessed with one thought: I need to be in the redwoods. The redwoods are the right medicine.

And so we did that today. It happened that Ben had a date with a friend for a concert so it was just me, Matt and Nico strolling through Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. It was indeed the right medicine! Pure oxygen. At one point I even handed my bag to Matt and announced, I feel like running! Which by the way, I NEVER feel like doing. I don’t think I’ve run since I was in junior high school. But there I was! running the trails, happy as can be for ten whole minutes. It was glorious and totally worth my sore muscles today. I’ve never understood why people could like running and now I’m starting to get it.

Anyway, I got home last night and googled “redwood medicine” thinking something interesting would come up, showing me what exactly I was looking for yesterday and what it might mean that I was craving this particular remedy. What I came across was a blog post that a yoga instructor posted who was also craving the medicine of the redwoods. I loved this line in particular, “When I sit near them, I can feel the power of the simple act of staying.”

And maybe that’s what it’s about. The redwoods grow fast and they grow strong. They give oxygen and shelter. They are beautiful and wild and no matter what happens they stay put. It’s starting to sound like motherhood to me, at least the kind of motherhood I’m being asked to step into. To stay with the uncertainty, to grow wild and strong, to stay rooted and firm, steadfast.


Matt, Nico, Oakland, CA, Canon PowerShot S95

Matt, Nico, Oakland, CA, Canon PowerShot S95

A video that perfectly encapsulates the magic of being in the redwoods.

The oak tree in the acorn

Had a great conversation with Jen and Rachel yesterday about how our Mondo Beoyondo dreams are quite possibly, intuitive hits on a future that was already meant for us. Our dreams could be the sign posts pointing to some of the many possibilities we could step into. Possibilities we can make manifest when we follow our intuition, strengthen our courage, and remain open and flexible.

Have you heard the story of the oak tree in the acorn? The possibility of the oak tree lives inside the tiniest thing… And so with ourselves, big dreams have lived inside of us all along.

And then we got this note from the universe today…
All the years and all the tears… aren’t they gonna be shocked when they realize that nothing was ever lost – not friendships, not opportunities, not love – nothing?
And that they already had all those things they went searching for?
That never once were we disappointed in them?
That nothing had to be proved, learned, or earned?
That all along they were, in fact, the person they had always dreamed of becoming?

From Notes From the Universe,

We are currently enrolling for our Mondo Beyondo class beginning March 14th! We would love to have you.