Monthly Archives: April 2012

72 hours – the $100 Startup Sale

Jen and I speaking at last year’s World Domination Summit

We all adore Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau has been referred to as “the gentleman of the internet” and I wholeheartedly agree. Chris is not only incredibly talented and inspiring (You’ve heard of The Art of Nonconformity and The World Domination Summit, right?) but he is kind and generous. I’m so delighted to recommend his brand new book The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future.

His basic message is this:
“The money you have is all you need. The skills you already have can be put to use helping others and earning a good income for yourself. Don’t take it from me, take it from all the unconventional entrepreneurs in the study.” Chris Guillebeau

I am savoring each inspiring story of people who have made it happen (creating a successful business from doing what they love most) and it’s generating brand new ideas for my own business-  how to have more ease and prosperity in my work and in my life. Hallelujah.

Are you ready to do more of what you love?

For the next 72 hours, you will be able to get Chris Guillebeau’s new book (shipping included) plus a HUGE grab bag of other incredible resources for just 100 dollars.

Check it out peeps!
Corbett Barr – Creating, Marketing, and Designing A Blog That Matters
Susannah Conway’s Blogging From The Heart (eBook version)
Jonathan Mead — Identifying Your Passion Module + Workbook
Scott Dinsmore — Live Off Your Passion (eBook version)
Johnny B. Truant — Tao of Awesome
Marianne Elliot — 30 Days of Courage (w/ Yoga Module)
Pam Slim — Ethical Selling That Works
David Risley — Double Your Ad Income
Josh Kaufman — The Personal MBA Guide to Small Business Infrastructure
Free The Apps — How to Make iPhone Apps
Brett Kelly — Evernote Essentials
Ashley Ambirge — You Don’t Need A Job, You Need Guts
Men With Pens — Freelancer Package: Write for Web, Guest Posting Guide, Beyond Brick & Mortar
Alyson Stanfield — Turning Your Hobby into a Career (download & audio program)
Chris Guillebeau — Unconventional Guide to Publishing

Sale ends in 72 hours! It’s a good one. Excited to share it with you!

Sponsor Spotlight: Do What You Love e-course

And to round out the month of April, here’s a little help in discovering (and following) your passion from one of our fabulous sponsors. If you’d like to become a sponsor, we’d love to have you! Just send a quick email to Amber at: [email protected] to get all of the details. 


Do What You Love eCourse

“Life-changing” “Awe-inspiring” “Revolutionary”

The Do What You Love e-course is a groundbreaking online adventure which will take you step-by-step on a path to discovering your true passion, and finding a way to make it a greater part of your everyday life.

In six weeks you will expand your comfort zone, nurture your playful spirit and use this to feed your creative soul. You will travel this path with a community of like-minded people from across the world, sharing your stories, forging new connections, and inspiring each other.

A rich combination of exercises, thought-provoking posts, inspiring interviews and real life stories will ensure you emerge more confident, more curious and much more likely to end up doing what you love.

This will be like no other class you have ever taken. And it might just change your life. Class begins on May 14th. Register now!

Superhero Workshop in Berkeley, coming May 12th!

Ben and Nico, all boy, both of em'

There are still some spots available in my Superhero Workshop coming up May 12th!

Here are all of the details:

It will be a mix of photography lessons and creative fun, while also exploring how our creativity is an access point for personal growth and how our values and our strengths make their way into our creative work. All levels are welcome and you don’t need a fancy camera!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here: [email protected]

What do you project into the silence?

The email that goes unanswered for several days. The phone call that doesn’t get returned. What do you project into the silence? They don’t love me. They hate me. They’re mad at me. They think my idea is stupid. I’m bugging them. Maybe they didn’t get it? No, they got it, they just don’t like my idea. I asked too much.

Does any of this sound familiar?

It is so tempting to project our own story into the silence. Isn’t it interesting that we often project the most painful scenario? The one that hurts us and diminishes us the most?

I recently had an awkward conversation with a friend and became convinced later that day that she was mad at me. I texted her an apology, a general one since I wasn’t quite sure what to apologize for, and then felt really vulnerable. I checked my phone obsessively for the next hour. Nothing. The silence became incredibly agitating. I decided to call her and got her voicemail. Crap. Then I left another message on her voicemail, telling her I was worried that she was upset with me.

Nothing. No call back.

I spent the rest of the day distracted, not able to work, sobbing intermittently. I was convinced, not only that she hated me, but that I was a horrible person. That whatever I did or however I was being was totally unacceptable to other humans. I wondered if anyone would ever love me considering I was such a horrible and unlovable person. I was in a total shame spiral!

But this time I did something new. I called a really wise friend, right in the white hot heat of that fire. I sobbed like a crazy person, intermittently choking things out like, “I think she’s mad at me but I don’t know what I did. I’m afraid everyone is going to go away…” She listened and then asked me something with so much compassion. “Can you simply be with the possibility that she is upset with you? Just sit with it?”

I considered it for a moment, and then responded through more tears, “No… I don’t think I can! Not even for five minutes. I think it’s one of the hardest possible things for me to be with.”

Then she said, “So that’s your work then! You’re being with it now though. You’re doing it. It’s painful but you’re being with it in this moment. You’re growing your capacity…”

The friend called the next day and it turns out she wasn’t mad at me at all. She had been having a rough and busy day and just wasn’t able to call back. It wasn’t personal and I hadn’t done anything wrong. I had worked myself up into a froth for nothing!

Do you ever do this?

Our woundedness can creep up at unlikely moments. For me, something as minor as someone being irritated with me can send me into a really dark place, and fast. I am so grateful I was able to reach out this time, right in the thick of it, and get support.

This is what wisdom is- Creating even the smallest bit of consciousness around our responses so that we have some room to breathe, to choose, to see things for what they are. And if we can’t do it ourselves, the most loving choice is to reach out to a friend. Someone who can nod their head and say, “Oh honey, I’ve been right where you are… It’s so painful.”

Is there anywhere in your life you are projecting into the silence? Are you making up a story about the person who hasn’t called? the friend who hasn’t emailed back? Did you go out on a limb and got left hanging? What story are you telling yourself?

Sponsor Spotlight: The Creative Explorer’s Club + Ruby Loves Jewelry

Here are a few delights for your eyes and imagination courtesy of two of our sponsors. If you’d like to become a sponsor, we’d love to have you! Just send a quick email to Amber at: [email protected] to get all of the details. 



The Creative Explorer’s Club is a playground of creative inspiration!

Take an interactive journey of self-discovery and artful self-expression
where you can explore your creative process through the healing power of art
using symbols, words and images
and learn how to develop a regular and sustainable creative practice
by developing systems and rituals to manage your time and activities.
Oh – and of course you’ll have lots of fun along the way also.

For full details please visit The Creative Explorer’s Club.


Mother’s Day is coming! Place your order before May 1 to
receive 15% off with coupon code: RUBYLOVESMOMS
Visit Ruby Loves Jewelry at

Creative joy

Ben in his crazy pants, shot with Canon Xsi

You guys are awesome. Thank you for all of your thoughtful responses to my posts lately. They are nourishing me in the best ways and I am grateful every day to have you here.

Below is a tiny little interview I did to celebrate the Creative Joy retreat ladies.

Q: What is creative joy for you?

Creative joy for me is being in the flow. It is being inside a project, a creative task, even going to the art supply store for the right tools. Creative joy for me is being in the aliveness of the thing, as opposed to standing on the outside looking in.

Often, this simply means beginning. It means, stop thinking about it sister! and get into action. It means, stop trying to make it perfect and just do it. It means, let it be messy, unformed and full of energy.

Q: What did it look like this week?

This week my creative joy looked like getting back in balance. It looked like filling out tax forms, registering my son for kindergarten and de-cluttering my house. It looked like making space for my creativity to show up. It was about creating the best conditions for creativity to naturally come through.

Q: What gets in the way for you?

Wanting to do it perfectly, obsessive email checking.

Q: What feeds it?

Quiet time, long showers, travel to somewhere new, color, moving my body.

Q: What’s your learning edge with creative joy these days?

These days I am learning to turn on the faucet. To just let the words come without so much worry about getting it right.



It’s not too late to join in the fun!

Matt and Nico, the family band is already blooming, shot with iphone 4S

I’ve gotten a lot of emails asking if there is still room in the current session of Superhero Photo! The answer is an emphatic yes! and I would love to have you.

Catchup will be easy peasy. Just register and I will get you all sorted out.

It has been a wonderfully energetic group and I encourage you to dive in if you are feeling curious about taking your photography/creativity new places.

This will probably be the last session of the Basics until Fall. Yes, you!

Wanting to stay connected*

Ben in his new pimped out clubhouse

We decided to cut down on the TV watching in Ben’s life. For the last year or more, I have been letting Ben watch videos around dinnertime. This helps me juggle two boys more efficiently, make dinner, run a tub, tuck the baby into bed, without completely losing my cool at every turn. It was totally my way to cope and Ben was completely on board. Endless episodes of the Backyardigans and Sponge Bob, Scooby Doo and the Wonder Pets are his crack cocaine.

And like any addict, he was devastated when I broke the news. “Hey Ben,” I said a little tentatively, “We’re not going to watch any videos today and we’re going to stop for a while.” He was outraged. He sobbed in the back seat of the car and told me he was going to pack some snacks and leave. He said he was going to move to another house, with another family. He told me that he’s sorry, he knows I’ll be sad, but I can visit him if I want.

I tried not to take this too personally. And considered locking the doors when we got home, just in case.

But the beauty of being 5 is that he forgot by the time we got home and when I suggested a bath with his brother he cheered a joyous, yes! and we all had a sweet time. There were more tears, for several days after school while we were breaking the habit, but it was much easier than I had thought.

My word of the year

I should back up and add one more thing to the background of all this. My word of the year- connected. I chose this word for many reasons, but one of the people I most want to feel connected to is Ben. As often happens when a new baby is born, my cozy relationship with my eldest was disrupted. I noticed it immediately in those first weeks back from the hospital. I literally had a baby in my arms or at my breast all the time and as much as I tried to stay connected with Ben, something shifted. There was literally another human standing between us! We have evolved since then of course, but the fact remains — our relationship is different now. We are navigating our way through the dynamics of a family of four. The shift was natural, but I feel a loss.

I have been wanting to spend more one on one time with Ben, have special dates with him, be sure that our connection stays alive and strong. I’m amazed how one little hot chocolate date at the cafe up the street, or a ride on a bus together to the kite festival can loom so large in his mind. “Remember when we went to the kite festival together mama? Just you and me?” he asked me the other day.

I had an intuition that this TV thing was one of our barriers, so in the spirit of connection, I bit the bullet. Unexpectedly, the first thing I noticed was how tired Ben was at the end of the day. Suddenly, without the option of a video, he started begging me to put him down at 5 or 6pm. His seizure medication has the unfortunate side effect of fatigue and we had to increase his dose recently. The 5pm videos were keeping him stimulated enough to stay up and neither of us actually noticed how tired his little body was. I was so glad to be more connected to how he was actually feeling and to know that he was connecting in to that too.

He still asks and protests this new policy regularly, but it has fostered what I had hoped- a connection that I thought I might have lost when Nico was born. And Ben has been outside more. Building his treehouse empire, practicing his ninja moves and taking more baths at night to chill out.

I would be lying if I said I don’t miss those videos! It was an easy way for me to get some much needed quiet time, get some work done in a pinch or tidy up the house without it being ransacked. ;) But I’m clear I have gained something I wanted much more than a clean house or tidy inbox- the chance to connect, play and engage with one of the more adorable five year olds in the world.

I’m curious

What is your policy about TV in your house? or video games and other media? What have you noticed about it? Just for the record, I am not against TV, but very curious about how we use it and what my limits should be around it (both for myself and for my kids)

What have you noticed about your connection to your kids and screen time?

Sponsor Spotlight

Thanks to all of our April sponsors! 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.


Soul*Full Photography Retreat with Catherine Just


Oregon Coast Photography Retreat June 6th-10th, 2012
with award-winning photographer Catherine Just

What happens when you allow yourself the time to dive deep into your creativity?

What if you mix it with:

  • a charming beach house on the Oregon coastline
  • a group of fabulous like-minded women
  • tea and meditation
  • journaling and discussion
  • mindful photography

Grab your camera and let’s find out! All levels of photography are welcome.

You can view a video of past Oregon retreats HERE.

Only 5 spaces left!
Register now!

Click HERE for more information and to sign up.
See you at the beach house!


Chris Guillebeau – Unconventional Guides

Unconventional Guides – Practical Resources for World Domination

Unconventional Guides is a very small business designed to help people achieve their big goals and do more of what they love. The goal is to empower our customers to take control of their careers and passions away from gatekeepers and put it into their own hands.

Whether you want to share your book with the world, break out of the 9-5, build an empire or simply become your own frequent flyer master, the online store is stocked with resources for artists, entrepreneurs, travelers, and aspiring rockstars of all kinds. Everything in the store is backed by a 100%, rock-your-world guarantee for a full year, and more resources are on the way.

Viva la revolution!


Cypress Sun Jewelry

It’s time for the big Spring Sale at Cypress Sun Jewelry!

This once a year sale will run through May 7, and here are the sweet details:

Use code springsun at checkout for 30% off before noon on April 25, 2012. After noon on April 25 through May 7, save 20% with code springsun. (All times are CST.)

It’s a great deal either way, but get your order in early for not only the best deal, but to get your Mother’s Day shopping done – and done well!

Check out the brand new lariat necklaces and earrings, and keep in mind that all lariats can be ordered in just the right size for you or the lucky recipient. They’ll also arrive beautifully wrapped & ready to give. Hurry over to the shop now!


Vivienne McMaster – Re-Writing the Story

Re-Writing the Story is a brand new e-course by photographer Vivienne McMaster. It invites you to explore the way that self-portraits can allow us to see ourselves in a new way, to re-write a new story of how we see ourselves.

This powerful class involves writing exercises, supportive self-portrait activities and an incredibly strong community energy that Vivienne’s classes are known for. There are limited spots in this course and the class is already half full so come join us for a powerful and transformative class!

You can find out more about this class and other e-course offerings at Vivienne’s new site!

On surrender and resignation: One is a true letting go

clover in Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA

“I’m noticing the difference between surrender and resignation. One is a true letting go, the other is believing I am powerless.”

I tweeted this last week, not knowing why those words came to me. I liked them when I saw them written out like that. They felt right, but I wasn’t sure why they arrived at that particular moment.

Then I went to therapy. I hadn’t been in months, but I needed to talk about something very deep and vulnerable  happening in my life. Without going into the gory details, it is of the familial variety, the kind that goes to the core of your deepest, oldest stuff. The wounds reserved for your family of origin that (god bless em’) you struggle your whole life to move past. The kind that we hope we will ultimately find a place of peace with.

My therapist does EMDR with me. I have purposely not researched this too much because I like not knowing exactly what she is doing. I trust it and it works, and that is what is most important. Sometimes for me, understanding it intellectually gets in the way of its magic.

She wagged her first two fingers back and forth in front of my eyes. “Like scenery passing on a train,” she told me. “Watch it go by.” And my eyes volleyed back and forth following her fingers. After a few minutes of this, she asked, “So what did you get?”

I’m always surprised by the insights that show up during this process. And equally surprised when what came to me was that line again, the one about surrender and resignation. But this time I understood it completely- One is a true letting go, the other is believing I am powerless.

In the particular relationship we were exploring, I have always brought resignation. I have always brought my judgment (that shows up as heartache) my silence (no one listens to me anyway, I think) and a heart that is heavy knowing that things will never change, will never be how I want them, will never be the way I have always hoped for them to be. There is nothing to do because I have no impact.

I believe I am powerless.

And in a way, I am. People are simply living their lives. Doing what they do. There is a way that it is not personal.

But this distinction. This possibility of true surrender. It excites me. Quite possibly, for the first time in my life, I have just experienced a real kind of surrender. There is nothing to do, not because I am powerless, but because there is nothing to do. There is only being with what is. Being with things as they are. No agenda. I hear the voice again: Can you just be with them? without judgment, without running for air? without wanting it to be different?

The absurdity of it, or rather the simplicity of it made me laugh out loud. I got it, I said to my therapist. I might lose it any moment, but in this moment, I’ve got it.

This insight transformed this relationship. It has allowed me to simply be with this person, as they are, without all the other stuff layered on.

Your Turn

I know I am speaking abstractly here. Must protect the innocent! But I am curious if this idea resonates for any of you out there. Can you think of a complicated relationship in your life? Have you been striving for surrender? but now seeing that you actually were bringing resignation?

Would love to hear your stories. Your insights. Your questions.