Monthly Archives: August 2011

How real do we want to be?

Matt and Nico, Big Basin CA State Park, Santa Cruz, CA, Canon Digital Rebel XSi

In telling a story, especially for public consumption, I am always aware I have a choice. Do I tell you the gory details? or stick to what I loved most about it? Do I talk about how crabby I was? how the kids wouldn’t stop whining? how Matt and I were ready to wring each others’ necks? or how majestic the redwoods were?

All these stories are true. And it’s a question I ask myself often. What story wants to be told? Am I telling you a story about visiting the redwoods and why you should go too? or is this story about something else?

I have a tendency to get triggered by certain blogs. My I’m-not-enough meter goes haywire when I see their beautifully decorated homes, their immaculate children, their seemingly storybook marriages- what I perceive as their perfect life. I want to be inspired (and sometimes I am) but I usually end up wondering why my life doesn’t look like that, or more specifically, what’s wrong with me that my life doesn’t look like that. Have any of you had that experience? OMG, please tell me you have.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for celebrating our lives, highlighting the good, and giving thanks for what’s working. These people are doing nothing wrong in their lovely blogs! but when I find myself in that moment when I get to choose what version of the story I want to tell you, I am tempted to provide the public service of making all of us feel normal and better about what our lives actually look like.

Me and Ben, Big Basin CA State Park, Santa Cruz, CA, Canon Digital Rebel XSi
It feels like a risk even as I write it. Keep up the mythology! a voice in my head shouts. Just show the pretty pictures and be done with it! The shiny version is more inspiring! But is it? It’s the blog equivalent of something Matt watched me do at a party last year. I had just had Nico a few months before and some girlfriends were complimenting me on how I looked. “Oh thanks you guys, but really it’s just these pants,” I said conspiratorially. By this time I had lifted up my shirt and shown them the extra flesh on my belly. “See?” In the car later, Matt and I agreed I should have just said thank you.
Ah, well. That’s me.

Ben, Big Basin CA State Park, Santa Cruz, CA, Canon Digital Rebel XSi

What I really want to say is that I could have written a neat little post about visiting the redwoods, about watching Ben’s delight as we entered the park, about his unbridled glee as we came upon ginormous tree after tree, so big you could literally step inside the room at the base. I could tell you about Nico, and how his legs kicked wildly in the Bjorn every time Ben got excited, aware that something extraordinary was happening but not entirely sure what it was. But somehow that wouldn’t be the whole story.

Years ago, I heard Ira Glass (from This American Life) speak about storytelling at a local theater. I remember him saying that to be interesting, a story has to be universal. It has to touch on something that connects us all. The story itself is specific, but points to something bigger. I don’t always succeed, but this is what I am listening for every time. What’s the nugget of truth hidden inside? What’s the tiny revelation? What’s the real story living just below the surface?

Big Basin CA State Park, Santa Cruz, CA, Canon Digital Rebel XSi

In the case of the redwoods, the story is more of a question, or something I wonder about. In blogging, there is a fine line between airing our dirty laundry/complaining and telling the real story. One is uncomfortable (like oversharing) the other connects us in our humanity. Telling the bright side of the story rides the thin line of either super-inspiring or coming off as pollyanna and without depth.

Ben, Matt, Nico, Big Basin CA State Park, Santa Cruz, CA, Canon Digital Rebel XSi

By the time we arrived at the redwoods, the kids had been in the car way past their expiration date. They had been alternately crying and whining for HOURS and Ben had literally been asking, “Are we there yet?” so many times he fashioned it into a song. Landing ourselves in a hundred year old redwood grove with 300 foot trees towering over us, is possibly the ONLY thing that could have made that drive feel okay.
I felt bad for Matt in regard to his birthday this year. We ended up spending it in the car, in massive traffic, with two crying children (wait, this sounds familiar!) while all of our friends waited to celebrate him back in Berkeley at a park. The next day I told him that I was sorry his birthday turned out that way… He smiled and said, “It was just really real. A little too real.”

Sponsor Spotlights: Kelly Rae Roberts, The Business Goddess Course, Tea House Studio, and Denise Andrade

So delighted to be re-launching my sponsorship program! A huge, warm welcome to my newest sponsors who are all awesome. So proud to have them! 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 Dani at: [email protected] to get all the details.
*Holiday sponsor spots will go quickly, so feel free to reserve now!


These intention candles were inspired by the idea that when we take a moment to light a candle, we can take a moment to reflect, celebrate, let go….whatever it is your heart may need in the moment. There are six different candles, each posing a question (What is calling you? What can you let go? What can you invite in? What are you celebrating?) to reflect on upon lighting – likely one of my favorite products ever.
Since their arrival, I have a personal practice of lighting one a day. The vanilla scent plus the moment of reflection has been a great way to begin and end my busy days. Bonus info: Each candle arrives inside an artful box, ready to gift! Also, once candle burns down, you can reuse the artful glass cup for another candle, or a pencil holder or maybe even as a planter – options are endless. Come find the candle that will meet you exactly where you are in your life!
Kelly Rae Roberts: Website, Blog, facebook, twitter.

The Become a Business Goddess e-course!
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Best selling author of “The Women’s Comfort Book

 Are you a dreamer who is seeking a safe space to play, get messy and learn aboutart? Do you dream of finding a community of your own, full of support fromother people who also long to find their wings?

Born outof the dreams of Mati Rose, Stefanie Renee, and Tiffany Moore, Teahouse Studio IS that safespace you’ve been seeking. With our lineup of classes, you’ll find something toawaken you to your true creative spirit.

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InstantMagic: Polaroids with Hula and Photo Meditations with Susannah.

Workshopsat Teahouse offer more that just a class: they are your chance to truly connectwith a teacher in an intimate setting. They represent safety: to be who youtruly want to be, to believe that it’s possible to live that life you’ve beendreaming up for yourself, and to find your authenticvoice.

Won’t you join us in thefun? (10% off to Superhero readers, usediscount code ILOVETEA at checkout)


Grab a warm cup of tea and join photographer, writer, and soulful mama Denise Andrade for cozy conversation, lush photographs, gentle community, and other delicious tidbits of her new life in the Pacific Northwest over at her blog Boho Girl!

Summer adventure: Visit the dahlia garden in Golden Gate Park

This has been on my list for almost five years. Five years! When I lived in San Francisco, I would visit the dahlia garden at the end of every summer, just to photograph them. One year I motivated myself to get up at the crack of dawn and when I arrived at 7AM I was surprised to find at least six other photographers there, complete with tripods and fancy cameras! Apparently I’m not alone in my obsession.

Here are my favorites from the day… I also included some shots of me shooting that my friend Micki took. If you are coming to SF in the summertime, don’t miss the dahlias! They are something miraculous.

SARK and Andrea and The Tail of the Yak

SARK and Andrea, at Tail of the Yak, shot with my Canon S95 point and shoot

Tail of the Yak, Berkeley, CA, shot with my Canon S95 point and shoot

twine, shot with my Canon S95 point and shoot

glitter at Tail of the Yak, Berkeley, CA, shot with my Canon S95 point and shoot

I love it when I feel transported by a place, when I feel out of time and like I am traveling the world on a great adventure. I felt like that yesterday strolling through this amazing store in Berkeley called Tail of the Yak.

SARK and I were walking, going no place in particular, when she pointed to the store. What’s that place? she asked. I immediately grabbed her hand and shuttled her across the street. OH my god, I have to show you this place! They buzz you in. I always feel so lucky when they unlock the door.
I have been to this place dozens of times but I am amazed every time- the color, the curios, the exquisite papers, the red butcher’s twine, the rare birds (real life ones) and whimsical fabric puffs sitting in bowls. They have beautiful perfumes, satin ribbons and fancy glitter. They have letterpress stationery, gold leaf garlands, sealing wax and weird vintage stuffed animals. At first glance the store seems fussy until you look a bit further and you realize it is deeply artful, curious and full of magical things. God, I love this store.

And I love SARK! It’s true that anything you do with her is a little adventure. In true SARK form, we passed by a boy with a clipboard raising money: “I’m trying to raise money for my school basketball team… ” he droned, and I found SARK correcting him, “No! You ARE raising money for your team. You’re not trying, you ARE raising money.” He smiled shyly and repeated, “I AM raising money for my team.”

Yesterday was a doozy of a day. Those few hours on the town were like oxygen. It reminded me that good friends, beautiful things, gorgeous places in nature… it can be just the gift we need to pull us out of the hard places. I felt rearranged.

Today was Ben’s turn to have a hard day. I laid down next to him as he was falling asleep tonight and he sobbed and told me that his friend has been calling him a “chitter chatter box” every day. This was like the saddest possible thing you have ever heard. I felt so bad for him. After Matt and I coached him about what he could say next time it happened, I kissed him and told him that I know one thing for sure: That we are going to wake up tomorrow and feel so much better, that it’s going to be a brand new day. I’m going to make sure of it.

Be My Thrill

Be My Thrill – Live by The Weepies from andrea scher on Vimeo.

My talented friends, The Weepies rocked the freaking house last night at the Fillmore. I love this version of Be My Thrill… In another life, I’m going to have a voice like that!

Beginning and Endings: Celebrating them both today

yellow heart of a flower, Canon compact macro lens, Canon Digital Rebel XSi
Things I am celebrating:
1. The end of the inaugural session of Superhero Photo! I am SO proud of that class… of everything we learned, the fun we had, the joy we found together! It transformed my summer. Total dream come true. I want to thank each and every one of you who participated from the bottom of my heart.
For those of you who missed it, I will be running the class again beginning September 19th. You can sign up now! It’s going to be great fun once again.

2. Going to see The Weepies tonight at the Fillmore with my man!

Who me? Nico, 9 months, Canon Digital Rebel XSi
3. Weaning Nico from breastfeeding. Hello brain! So good to have you back! But seriously, I feel like I have a whole new lease on life. I’m part of the small population of people that felt extreme anxiety while breastfeeding and I’ve noticed that since I’ve weaned Nico my spirits have been brighter. We had a good run, baby!

Ben at his graduation, Canon Digital Rebel XSi
4. Ben had his graduation ceremony from his preschool class today. He has one more year of preschool and then off to kindergarten! It was so sweet… They each made an astronaut helmet so they could launch to their new destination! Ben, not one for following the crowd, insisted that his was a jet pack and wore it on his back. ;)
Beginnings and endings are bittersweet… It’s good to acknowledge the sweetness and also grieve the loss. You can’t have one without the other. Learning to hold them both, one in each hand, is the trick. As I launch lots of new things in my life right now I am also saying goodbye to the old. It doesn’t sting so much anymore, I don’t feel so afraid, it just feels a little tender and achy. This is how I know my heart is still soft and open.
Wishing you a heart wide open with whatever beginnings and endings are happening in your life right now.

This week’s delights: 10 things that are making me happy lately

Kelly Rae’s boots, Manzanita, OR, Canon Digital Rebel XSi

photos of twirling girls, Manzanita, OR, Canon Digital Rebel XSi

my little cutie Nico, 9 months and my fave dress, Canon Digital Rebel XSi
1. Okay. So if you are my friend in real life, you will have seen this dress already (pictured above) like five hundred times. I can’t stop wearing it! So I ordered a new one this week.
2. My brand new Macro lens. It’s the Canon 50mm compact macro. Great for getting unreasonably close to flowers and humans alike. This lens is so much fun!
3. Candy Chang’s projects, especially this one. I’m a new/huge fan.
4. I’m usually not into parenting books or the like, but The Daily Groove newsletter really touches me.
5. Chew Beads! Cute accessory for mama, chewy deliciousness for Nico.
6. O Magazine. I know, I know. Who doesn’t like it? But I have to say that one magazine has never done it for me every time like this one.
7. Wearing dresses over pants. Namely, this one by Kavu which is way better looking in real life. I also love this dress by Texture clothing. It’s all hemp! but doesn’t look hippy-licious. I’m longing for one of their comfy skirts.
8. Chocolate cosmos. Not the drink, the flower. They smell like chocolate. For reals! Ben and I are so excited about finding these in the neighborhood that we have vowed to grow some. We also have a date to go to the plant store and ask, “How on the heck do you get those flowers to smell like chocolate?” Ben likes the expression, How on the heck…
9. Nico standing up for moments at a time. Actually, I have mixed feelings about this. It’s bittersweet… and all happening too fast this time around. Nico, slow down! Crawling at 6 months? standing at 9? How on the heck?
10. These photos above of Kelly Rae… who by the way is running her e-course Flying Lessons one more time! You can find out more about it here. Registration closes soon!

BRAND NEW: Sponsor Spotlights! – Do What You Love Ecourse, Creative Courage Ecourse, When I Grow Up Coach and Lindy Gruger Hanson

So delighted to be re-launching my sponsorship program! A huge, warm welcome to my newest sponsors who are all awesome. So proud to have them! 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 Dani at: [email protected] to get all the details.
*Holiday sponsor spots will go quickly, so feel free to reserve now!


“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.
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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 September 26.
Register now!
Could you use an extra dose of courage and self-confidence to move forward in the direction of your creative dreams?
Artist/illustrator Stephanie Levy is starting a new e-course this fall called Creative Courage which will run from September 26th – November 11,2011. The course is designed as a practical guide to help you clarify and follow your own unique, creative path.
It includes exclusive interviews with 12 talented and thriving artists, illustrators, designers, photographers, writers, coaches, and bloggers from around the world! Our guests this session will include Susannah Conway, Jessica Swift, Aimee Dolich, Pixie Campbell, Shannon Kinney-Duh, Sarah Ahearn, Jan Halvarson, Penelope Dullaghan, Maryam Montague, Alessandra Cave, Tara Gentile, and Jennifer Lee.
There will be colorful, fun activities to do at your own pace, plus Stephanie’s personal resources and links for your encouragement and inspiration.
As a special bonus in Week Four, participants will travel with Stephanie on a *virtual field trip* to Venice, Italy and peek behind the scenes at the world renowned Venice Biennale international art exhibition. She’ll be sharing exclusive photos and impressions directly from Venice.
The Creative Courage e-course is designed as a global meeting point for everyone who wants to realize their creative goals. If you are interested in finding out more about this unique e-course, click here.

The When I Grow Up Coach had an idea!
“Let’s put all my career change exercises into a workbook,” she thought.
“There’s nothing to fear!”
So she set about this task and quickly came to the conclusion,
That a Dr.Seuss-like career change workbook would be the perfect solution!
53 pages with amazeballs illustrations –
the perfect foundation
to give up your career frustrations
and trade ’em in for a standing ovation!
So now she’s pleased to announce Operation: Creative Career Cheer!:
A Rhyming Workbook to Make Your Dream Career Appear!

Hi, my name is Lindy Gruger Hanson and I live in the high desert of Central Oregon. I love to create colorful, whimsical paintings and prints! Vivid color is always one of the most important elements in my work; this is followed by the liberal use of flowing, swirling line-work, lots of pattern, and odd shapes and symbols. My aim is to create paintings with the belief that art can inspire people, make a house a home, and bring joy and positive energy into the world. I hope you’ll stop by my Etsy shop to purchase colorful prints and visit to see my original acrylic paintings. For all Superhero Journal followers, use coupon code Superhero2011 to receive 10% off any purchase in my Etsy Shop.

We can’t escape our essence*

Me and my favorite red boots, photo by Tracey Clark, Canon Digital Rebel XSi

I had a revelation while watching Project Runway recently.

Project Runway is the show Heidi Klum hosts where a group of designers go through a series of design challenges- like using only party supplies or newspapers and make (mostly) outrageously beautiful and interesting garments. It’s thoroughly inspiring, and in a world where nearly every show is full of violence and other nonsense, I love that this show is totally inspirational and creative nonsense.

You should know that there was a moment in my early 20′s when I considered fashion design school. I come from a long line of clothing and shoe retailers, passionate shoppers, and even a textile designer thrown in there somewhere. So the fashion thing is kinda in my bones.

While watching Project Runway the other day though, I had this moment (when the contestants were behaving badly) that I thought, Oh thank god I didn’t go to fashion design school. Those so wouldn’t have been my people! And then, a beat later, I realized something even more true: I would be exactly who I am right now if I had gone down that path. Sure, I’d be better dressed, probably with a cuter haircut and better makeup skills. I might have an online clothing boutique instead of a list of e-courses, but fundamentally I would be the same person offering the same service to the world.

Ultimately, I can’t escape who I am.

I played the fantasy out even further. I imagined a blog, similar to this one, where I talked about creativity, fashion, working for myself, what inspires me, etc. It might be more of a fashion/design blog, but it’s spirit would still be the same. Can you picture it?

I believe that the way we are meant to serve the world, ultimately what’s underneath everything we do, is immovable. Whether I was online or not, into fashion or food, photography or swinging on a trapeze, my message would be the same. The way I live my life would be the same. The way I am moved to serve is the same regardless of the form it takes.

Is this true for you too? Is there something that you have always brought to every job you’ve ever had? Play? Compassion? Creativity? Generosity?

Even while I was working in a clothing boutique in San Francisco all those years ago, I was often playing Mondo Beyondo style games with the other women who worked there. When we were bored during a lull with no customers, I always suggested a game. I’d pull out a pad of paper and ask everyone in the store what totally outrageous and wonderful thing they’d like to have happen in their lives. Then we would write them down on tiny slips of paper and hide them underneath the cash register. Every few months or so we would pull them out and see if they came true yet.

We can’t escape who we are.
We can’t escape our essence.
Nothing is wasted because we brought ourselves along for the ride every time.
Don’t despair. There are no mistakes. No matter what path you are on, you are on your path. And every day, every moment, is an opportunity to bring your best self to it.

Nico of the most irresistible smile

Nico of the most delicious smile from andrea scher on Vimeo.

There is a moment in this video where Nico’s smile is so big he might explode with joy. Or maybe that’s just how I feel looking at him.
Just had to share the smile that keeps me going these days. It’s might be the best thing EVER.