Monthly Archives: August 2018

Don’t yuck my yum.

“Don’t yuck my yum!”

I told him this in the middle of our first Rummikub game. I had found an old set at a garage sale – the original kind from the 70’s like my grandparents used to have. I still love how the tiles feel in my hands, kind of like mah jong tiles but with numbers instead. It’s always been my favorite game.

“It’s stupid. Boring.” One of my children (who happened to not be winning at that point in the game) grumbled.

“Hey,” I said, “this game is meaningful to me. I loved it as a kid. I was excited to share it with you. It actually hurts my feelings when you say you hate it.”

“I like it!” the other one chimes in, trying to make the peace.

Maybe I shouldn’t have taken it so personally. He was tired. He likes to win (who doesn’t?) He’s just a kid after all. But it’s funny how when people yuck our yum it can hit us in an emotional place.

I had some fantasies about parenthood involving my kids painting, cooking and doing crafts with me. But alas, they would prefer to throw a football around, trade Pokemon cards or play video games. Not being a fan of any of these things, I probably yuck their yum too.

We want people to love what we love. Our joy is amplified when we share it. I think that’s why it feels so personal – like a rejection of some intimate part of ourselves.

But here’s the thing: The more we learn about something, the more curious we get about it. The more we know, the more we realize what we don’t know… and that’s where things get interesting.

This happened recently with the concept of Wabi Sabi. I thought I knew what it was – an honoring and celebration of the imperfect. You know, like the crack in the bowl and the gold filling in the cracks. But as I read Beth Kempton’s new book about wabi sabi (and interviewed her for the podcast) I started to understand how layered and complex it is. SO much more interesting and textured than I knew! In fact, it’s so complex (and woven into the fabric of Japanese culture) that even Japanese people have a hard time putting words to this concept.

There is a joy in discovering where our minds have been closed – shut down to things because we think we know… and dismissed out of hand. Football, for example. Honestly, I know very little about the game. I bet if I learned more about it, actually paid attention, (without glazing over) I might get more curious + even more interested.

Today, the invitation is to consider some of the things we’ve closed ourselves off to. Maybe something our partner loves that we scoff at? Karaoke, poker, jogging, that show on Netflix about desserts? It could be anything, really.

How would life be sweeter and more rich if we got curious?

P.S. I have 2 spots left in the project mastermind. (Starting September 7th) If you have a project you want to get done before the end of the year, this intimate coaching group will be great support! Just $350 for six weeks of group coaching.

“Andrea has a secret superpower.  It is the ability to take your tangled, disjointed, messy, rambling ideas and thoughts and give them back to you. Whole, clear, ordered and clean. Delivered in safety, with compassion and warmth.  If you are lucky enough to be a part of a mastermind group with Andrea, please don’t think about it too much, jump in and watch your dream blossom.” -Elizabeth

“I’ve been a fan of Andrea’s work for nearly two decades and have mostly admired her talents from afar. In the mastermind course I discovered yet another gift she possesses: community-building for creativity & productivity, creating a warm, supportive, and fun context to empower folks to set & achieve their goals. In a matter of minutes, we were transformed from mere strangers to advocates invested in helping each other succeed. I can’t wait to participate again.” -Kristin

“This is truly a life-changing experience, a chance for dreams to come to life, to take shape and form, and to come into concrete reality.  I can’t say enough how this Project Mastermind and Andrea’s creative coaching bring life and joy and possibility!” – Chris



CSP # 34: Survivor Cafe with Elizabeth Rosner


Elizabeth Rosner’s newest book Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory, published in 2017, was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. Her third novel Electric City was named among the best books of 2014 by NPR, and her previous novels Blue Nude and The Speed Of Light were both highly acclaimed national bestsellers, translated into multiple languages.

The Speed of Light was shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Femina in 2002. Along with writing poetry and essays, Rosner is a frequent book reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in Berkeley.


CSP #33: Wabi Sabi and Beth Kempton

Beth Kempton describes herself as a wanderer, an adventurer and a seeker of beauty. 

Together with her husband, she runs three different businesses – Do What You Love , Make Art That Sells and Make It In Design all of which offer tools, resources and online courses for living an inspired life. She also co-leads an online membership for soulful women entrepreneurs called Hello Soul Hello Business with Kelly Rae Roberts.

Her first book Freedom Seeker: Live more. Worry less. Do what you love was published in 2017. Her newest book (hot off the press) is Wabi Sabi: Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect life which we will be discussing today!

You can pre-order Wabi Sabi here… (isn’t available in the US until the end of the year) or you can order from this link which offers free shipping.



New dates for San Miguel de Allende!

Hey Friends!

Great news! Laurie and I sold out our January 2019 session in 48 hours! So we decided to add another session!

The dates for this workshop will be March 17th -22nd, 2019.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you already know that San Miguel de Allende, Mexico is one of my favorite places in the entire world! It’s full of beauty and art, warm + friendly people and incredible architecture. It’s my favorite place in the world to collect color…. and is now my favorite place to bring a group! (We had the pleasure of taking a group this year to explore + learn and create… + it was ah-mazing)

The city attracts artists and lovers of art because the light there is magic. It is that painterly sort of light that exists in a handful of places in the world and it always fills me with awe. It’s a place where you want to drink in the terracotta walls, walk for hours on the cobblestone streets and peek into hidden artist studios. It’s a place where you want to create. (And sit in chairs with wings)

My dear friend + Wild Writing teacher Laurie Wagner and I are taking a small group of creative folks back to San Miguel this May 2019. (March 17th-22nd, 2019 to be exact) We will be exploring, writing, storytelling, taking lots of photos and having one of the most creative and delicious adventures we’ve ever had! 

Our days will be a perfect blend of Wild Writing, creative photography exercises, storytelling and exploring this magical city together. We’ll learn from local artisans, take a food tour of the city (total foodie paradise), take photo walks during the magic hour, and wander to the town square where celebration fills the streets at night.

Bring your walking shoes, your favorite camera and a notebook and we’ll take care of the rest! Spaces are limited to 15 – we want this to be an intimate gathering. Our group will be occupying an entire bed and breakfast right in the heart of downtown San Miguel. We’ll have walking access to galleries, restaurants, shops and historic sites. Breakfast will be included each day in addition to a variety of room options.

Here are the details all in one place:

May 7th – 12th, 2019 (5 nights at a gorgeous bed + breakfast)

Your investment:
$2,300 (small, private room)
$2,500 (deluxe, private room)
$2,600 (fancy private room)

$2,200 (shared room)
$2,300 (luxury shared suite)
$2,400 (fancy shared suite)

The price above includes:
-Lodging for 5 nights at Casa De La Noche
-Breakfast each morning
-Wild Writing class each day (sometimes we do this twice a day!)
-Magic hour photo walks + instruction
-Group art class from a local artisan
-Food tour of San Miguel (the most delicious way to get familiar with the city!)
-Shuttle to + from the airport (as long as you are arriving in Leon, Mexico (BJX) or Queretero)

$500 (non-refundable deposit to secure your spot!) 

Space limited to 15 lovely peeps. 
Nab your spot soon. This will sell out! (First session sold out quick!)

You will come away with:

A Wild Writing practice: Something that has sustained me and my creative life for more than 15 years now. It’s how I create every blog post + learned to tell the truth in my writing. It’s one part creative practice, one part healing practice. If you know it, you already love it. If you don’t know it, you’re in for a treat. (Led by Laurie)

A camera (or phone!) full of glorious colors + amazing images: And skills that will take your photography to the next level. (Photography led by Andrea)

15 new friends for adventure + support + connection: We will create a gorgeous little tribe for the week. We trust that just the right constellation of people will show up for a really magical time.

A fun + easy creative adventure where you get to learn + grow + play + explore. We can’t wait to be with you!

Click the button above to pay your $500 non-refundable deposit + secure your spot! 


Sunday delights.

As the summer comes to a close, just wanted to give you a list of things that are bringing me joy. The first as illustrated above – running into my dear friend/mentor (Frentor!) SARK in the grocery store!

1. Books on Audible.
I’m finally getting through books! It’s a miracle. And there are so many great ones that I’ve been devouring lately. Here are a few titles to get you started:
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
and Creative Quest by Questlove.

2. Playing with color.
I couldn’t resist! I busted out the beads and started making a tiny batch of superhero necklaces. Just a handful in stock right now, on sale this week for 20% off. Yay!

3. Seatbelt Psychic
Omg. Binge-watched this show. Incredibly talented medium poses as a regular Uber driver + gives people readings. So good! 

4. Portrait Sessions.
I got a fancy new lens folks + LOVING the images I’m taking in portrait sessions these days. If you are in the bay area + want to get in front of my lens, let me know! $100 off this week if you are on my list!

5. Upcoming podcast episodes:
In September, the podcast will start back up again! So far, I will be interviewing:
Elizabeth Rosner talking about her new book Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory
Kristine Carlson, author of From Heartbreak to Wholeness: The Hero’s Journey to Joy
and Beth Kempton, talking about her brand new book Wabi Sabi: Japanese wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life

Be sure to subscribe on itunes so you don’t miss it!

6. Project mastermind groups. (Small group coaching circle focused on a project)
In case you missed it, I have a new offering starting September 7th, 2018! Small groups of 3-5.

This is not so much a course as a way to get support + accountability and advice around our respective projects – ie. blogs, books, podcasts, e-courses. I want us to have a space to create MOVEMENT and flow around whatever little seed of a dream is stirring in our hearts. To not wait. To be supported in beginning and have a place to keep celebrating the process and encouragement to keep going.

For more details click here.

7. And finally, thank you for all the warmth + support after my latest blog post. Your comments and emails reminded me why it’s good medicine to be brave with our stories. I so appreciate your wisdom and love in receiving mine.

So grateful for you,


I’ve been afraid to share this.

And there was a new voice
Which you slowly
Recognized as your own,
That kept you company
-Mary Oliver, from the poem The Journey

It happened the other day on the phone with Kaiser. We had scheduled some sort of psych evaluation after I had requested therapy – EMDR to be exact.

When we got on the phone, I explained that I had a sort of backlog of trauma that I wanted to address – from childhood sexual abuse, to my son’s seizure disorder, to an incident that happened only a few months ago – a date gone awry, a scary man, fleeing his home in the middle of the night.

“I’m a mom,” I explained. “The show must go on. I haven’t had the time or resources to process this and I know EMDR does wonders. I would love to find someone who does that.”

She asked me the standard questions – Are you thinking of harming yourself or anyone else? Are you eating? Are you sleeping? That sort of thing. After the interview she said, “Well, I’ve determined that you don’t need therapy, but you could come to our resource center and take one of our classes. How’s that sound?”

I was aghast. My jaw might have dropped. And then my voice (the most fierce and self-loving voice I hardly recognized) came through. “Honestly?” I began. “This feels unacceptable. I just told you about a history of abuse and trauma and that just weeks ago I fled from a sexual assault and you don’t think I qualify to have therapy? I’ve been with Kaiser for 7 years. I’ve gone through having small children, a panic disorder and a divorce. Up until now I’ve never called you to book therapy. And today, when I finally ask for help, you tell me that I don’t qualify? That it’s not bad enough?”

By this time, I’m crying on the phone. “I’m a very contained person. I know how to talk about this stuff and sound like I’m okay. But let me just tell you, I’m NOT okay.”

She thanked me.
She told me she was glad I spoke up.
And then she booked me an appointment with someone who does EMDR.

I’m sharing this for a few reasons: One, because this is a victory around voice for me personally. This is the culmination of a lifetime of work around loving myself. This is a symptom of progress! This is also about claiming my power. I haven’t known how to advocate for myself. This was a first.

Perhaps more importantly, this is reflective of a culture that tells women, “It’s not that bad. Why are you being a drama queen? You’re just trying to get attention. At least he didn’t…”

These messages are designed to keep us quiet.

It was a small thing really – advocating for my right to get support, to know that I’m suffering and to get help. But it’s also HUGE. I couldn’t do this as a child. It wasn’t safe. I didn’t know how to speak my truth. I didn’t think anyone would believe me. So I turned all that grief inward. And it became depression, anxiety and despair.

I’m still afraid people won’t believe me. I’m afraid, even as I write this, that you will roll your eyes in a gesture of “well isn’t she dramatic…”

But this is what we have been trained to do. To do to each other… and ultimately to ourselves.

I’m sharing this because our stories matter. And somehow, me finding my voice has everything to do with you finding yours too.

When I was at Spirit Rock meditation center recently, the woman giving the talk had us come up with intentions – things we wanted to focus on and cultivate in ourselves. “What about power?” she began. “I often ask my clients this and they say, no, no power isn’t important to me. But that’s because we think of power as power over others… but that’s not real power. That’s fear. We need good people with power more than ever now. Power and goodness.”

Power has become one of my daily words of intention now. And it’s the fierce, loving kind of power:

The kind of power that protects.
The kind of power that tells the truth.
The kind of power that is clear and strong and brave.

Sometimes power is ruffling feathers – it’s choosing being self-loving and protecting over needing to be perceived as nice.

Goodness and power. Side by side.


Do you have a secret project in you?

We all have secret dreams. Secret little (or big!) projects that no one is waiting for, that we wonder if we are crazy to imagine, that we talk ourselves out of on the regular.

It’s that book that’s been stirring in your heart, that blog you’ve been wanting to be faithful to, the podcast idea, the e-course, the paintings you want to make into greeting cards…

What is your secret project?

Maybe you haven’t even spoken it aloud.
Maybe you initially shared it with the wrong person!
Maybe you need a safe place to get the nurturing, support and love that project needs. Maybe you just have no idea how to begin!

Earlier this year, I started a tiny project mastermind or a group of totally delightful creative women. We all have different projects (myself included!) + we met on video every week to check in, to share, to break through the stuck places, to celebrate. It was the best part of my week.

That group will be continuing! But I’d like to create a new circle + include YOU as well.

Sessions begin Friday, September 7th, 2018 at 10am PST

Fridays for 6 weeks: 9/7, 9/21, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19
Time: 10am -11:15pm PST
Investment: $350-

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not so much a course as a way to get support + accountability and advice around our respective projects – ie. blogs, books, podcasts, e-courses. We will do some writing together + sharing.

I want us to have a space to create MOVEMENT and flow around whatever little seed of a dream is stirring in our hearts. To not wait. To be supported in beginning and have a place to keep celebrating the process and encouragement to keep going. Still sound good?

If so, click the link below:

Big hugs + love to each of you,
P.S. Not sure I mentioned, but these masterminds are tiny… 3-5 women in each pod with me. You will get a lot of coaching + attention + clarity for your project. These spots will likely go fast! So let me know if you have any questions…

This is how it turned out.

It’s tempting to be in fantasy about someday. That fuzzy, happy-ever-after when you get the job, the romantic partner, the family. The bank account is full of dough, the house is just right, you are slim and trim + know how to pick perfect avocados.

You know, when things finally turn out.

Even though my Disney fantasies of partnership and marriage have pretty well broken down, I still have some version of this someday fantasy in me. When I finally feel loved and seen, when I feel safe, when I can stand on solid ground and this ambient anxiety will go away, when my person, my true love arrives.

I still harbor the tiniest bit of hope for that.

And yet.

I do a little thought experiment sometimes and ask myself, “If you knew you were going to die in five years, then what?” Suddenly everything comes into focus – the life I actually have, the house I live in, my gorgeous kids, the relationships and friendships and love around me – THIS is how it turned out. This is that someday. The someday I fantasized about decades ago!

This is it.
It’s not perfect.
It’s ever-changing.
There are highs and lows.
But THIS is how it is.

Lao Tzu says it so beautifully below. (He wrote this poem in the 6th century. Apparently, we haven’t changed much!)

Always we hope
someone else has the answer,
some other place will be better,
some other time,
it will turn out.

This is it.
No one else has the answer,
no other place will be better,
and it has already turned out.

At the center of your being,
you have the answer:
you know who you are and
you know what you want.

There is no need to run outside
for better seeing,
nor to peer from a window.

Rather abide at the center of your being:
for the more you leave it,
the less you learn.

Search your heart and see
the way to do is to be.
Abide at the center of your being.
— Lao Tzu

This is how it turned out: Me, typing in my friend’s living room in Oakland, the sun shining outside, heading to San Francisco for a photo session later. My kids, at their dad’s house, safe, going for a swim at the rec center this afternoon.

If your this-is-how-it-turned-out reality today feels too harsh, here’s another buddhist saying that gets right to the point: Right now, it’s like this.

This one is great to practice with because it is an invitation back into the present moment. It honors the impermanence of things (our ever-changing reality) and also that this too shall pass (the good and the bad).

How do we have our desire for things to be better/different and also honor what is?

That’s the million dollar question. And it takes practice! Lao Tzu instructs us to abide at the center of our being, which is to say, speak and act in alignment with your true self, your heart, your inner wisdom… this is the path that will get you where you need to go.