Monthly Archives: September 2011

Two sides of the same coin*

drawing by my friend Michelle's kids, shot with Canon Xsi

They loved the fog that appeared unexpected this morning, a relief, like a miracle, and the boy shouted, “It’s the first snow!”

They loved popsicles and good company.
They loved to splash in a few inches of water.
They loved a funny face, especially the really ugly ones that looked like exotic fish.

She loved the quiet, the morning, before the demands, the whining, the chaos of toys, shoes, socks, diapers, clif bars strewn across the kitchen floor. She loved that moment when she realized, They are asleep...  and the exhaustion finally had permission to kick in.

She loved sleeping diagonally. She loved how cool the sheets felt, how the down pillow was just the right thickness and didn’t prop her head up too much but let it sink in.

She loved when she made a good paper airplane.

She loved when she said the right thing, when she didn’t yell, when she said yes. She loved when she said, please don’t do that, gently and politely and not in a scary way.

She loved when boy number one had just woken up and the sweetness of conversation, about the sky and questions like, “Why does a T-rex have such small arms when it has such a big body?”

She loved his questions, like the one after the blood draw, when he asked, “Where does all your blood go when you die?” and she was shy to answer because a doctor was walking by, but said it anyway, “Maybe it just dries up because you don’t need it anymore.”

She loved the songs he sings in the car, how out of nowhere he would burst into full musical theater about how he loves his bed but hates to sleep in it. “I love it! I hate it! I love it! I hate it!” and the more she laughed, the more animated he got.

She loved a good night’s sleep, a good cry, a good unenlightened venting with a friend about everything that’s wrong. She loved her Awakening Joy class and hearing Julia Butterfly Hill and thinking about her in that tree.

She loved how Julia said, “Our gifts are sourced from our wounds. They are two sides of the same coin.”


good friend*

Been waiting for the words to come and not finding them these days! So I offer a photo today, of my dear friend and writing teacher Laurie Wagner. It’s a been a week of little sleep, overwhelm and spontaneous tears. The kind when if anyone asks you sincerely, “How are you doing, really?” you break down.

And so I landed at Laurie’s doorstep yesterday morning, ready for us to have a workday together and instead cried and drank tea. Thank god for good friends.

Sponsor Spotlights: Kelly Rae Roberts, Do What You Love, When I Grow Up Coach + Lindy Gruger Hanson

So delighted to be re-launching my sponsorship program! A huge, warm welcome to my sponsors- and so impressed with all these creative and talented folks! 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 artful picture frames make me so happy! They were inspired by one of my art journals full of textured + painted collage backgrounds. Each arrives with its very own easel for displaying (also arrives ready to hang). The distressed metal flower + butterfly are gorgeous embellishments! We’ve got several more picture frames in the shop, including the above “hello courage” frame with metal distressed wings. Seriously, friends, these frames – all of them – are awesome + so well made (from wood). I’m thinking I’ll be giving many of these away as awesome gifts for the upcoming holidays. Swoon! Available here.

Kelly Rae Roberts: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter.


This is your last chance this year to set out on your journey towards discovering your true passion, and making it a greater part of your everyday life – in the Do What You Love e-course.

In six weeks you will expand your comfort zone, nurture your playful spirit and use this to feed your creative soul. It has been described by former participants as ‘life-changing’, ‘awe-inspiring’ and ‘transformational’.

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.  This will be like no other class you have ever taken. Can you afford not to join us?

The Do What You Love e-course begins on September 26 and will not run again until next year so register now and get ready for an adventure!

[Image: handmade book by Rachel Hazell]


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.

What I Know


I know the delight of color. Of cherry red and apple green. Of cornflower blue and bright tangerine. I know a lemon tree against a blue fall sky.

I know Nico’s toes, baby toes, filthy with dirt from the park yesterday. I know his hands too, reaching into every hole, excavating pieces of plastic and torn balloons. I know the way his eyelashes look when he cries, like two little wet horns.

I know how to hover.

I know that clench in my belly, the jump in my heart, the shot of adrenaline when Ben falls, for any reason, to this day. How I immediately think he had a seizure, that he’s unconscious, and how he has learned now to say, I’m okay mama. I’m okay, when he sees that look in my eyes.

I know Matt and the joy he will feel when he gets the card Ben and I made him this morning in secret. How we used every marker we could find, swaths of blue, green, orange and yellow, how we covered every inch of that envelope and placed a simple card inside that said: This is the best day ever.

I know the feeling of new love, of meeting someone for the first time, of inching your fingertips closer to theirs.

I know being tipsy at a bar, probably in a foreign country with a friend, that friend who is wilder than you, who will lead you into some kind of adventure.

I know great design.
I know color.
I know, like I know how to spell, when something is beautiful.

I know my great uncle, the one who worked in textiles, who was known to snip off relatives’ ties if they were ugly and bring them a new one.

I know dreams fulfilled.
And those that have yet to come true.
I know the fear of, Is it too late? Have I blown it?
Ships sailed.

I know the surrender of no longer wondering if you made the right choices,
but continuing to move forward anyway.

I know how it feels to hold onto a grudge, and then one day to realize it’s gone, that maybe you forgave.

I know the lightness I felt afterwards.
Like I didn’t know I had been bicycling on two flat tires, and then with some oxygen,
a lift and I could sail forward again.

Waffle: A Love Story

waffle, the first sighting

The first sighting of the waffle. It elicited oooohhhs and aaahhhs and screeches of varying volumes.

oh god please give me that waffle

Nico then resorted to begging. This approach seemed to work fairly well.

See? See how it's done?

After taking his first few steps last week, Nico seemed to have forgotten all about walking. But inspired by his good luck with the waffle, he walked away, straight for the Zbars! his next conquest.

nico headed for Clif bars

When that didn’t work, he resorted to the telephone. An old favorite.

old faithful, the phone. Delicious.

If you’re wondering who dressed him, it was either Ben or Matt. I take no credit for the psychedelic shorts and tie dye onesie combo.

Superhero Photo starts Monday!

Ben drawing at the kitchen table, shot with Canon S95 point and shoot

Invitations went out today

Just a quick note to let you know that the invitations to the Superhero Photo classroom went out this morning! Let me know if you haven’t received it and we’ll get you all squared away. SO thrilled to be running this course again.

There is still room if you have an itch to make more photos, explore your creative side and come out with a great collection of images.

Things you ought to know

Ben is so cute in this photo it makes me crazy, shot with Canon Xsi

Things you ought to know:

1. I was interviewed on Brene Brown’s site yesterday and couldn’t be more honored!

2. There is still room in the final session of Mondo Beyondo for the year! Is it time for you to dream? Something just for you? You’ll be in really good company. It is in the pursuit of your dreams that you become the most alive version of yourself.

3. I’m making peace with social media! and having fun tweeting/facebooking/instagramming… Feel free to follow me.
Twitter: @andreascher
Instagram: andreascher

4. I moved this blog over to WordPress recently. This also changed the RSS feed! To subscribe (or re-subscribe) to the RSS feed on this site, please click the orange icon next to my photo.

5. After answering Brene’s interview questions I actually realized that my least favorite word is eargasm. What’s yours?

6. (Park)ing Day is this Friday. Are you joining in the fun? My husband and his collective masterminded it, so I’m extra proud. After party at Rebar Friday evening.

7. Nico took his first steps! Here is a video of us trying to capture them.

8. This poem by Maya Stein (who teaches online writing courses)  is gorgeous:


Maybe the camera crew is at someone else’s house,
a spotlight haloing over another’s fleshy story.
Maybe the mailman is delivering the good news
to your neighbor, or a different city entirely,
and you come home to a rash of catalogues,
the second notice for a doctor’s bill, a plea
from the do-gooders for whatever you can spare.

Maybe you haven’t cleaned your kitchen floor in weeks,
forgotten to nourish the front garden, spilled too much
coffee in your car, weaving through traffic.

Maybe you are 10 pounds heavier than last year.
Maybe your skin is betraying your age.
Maybe winter is ravaging your heart.
Maybe you are afraid, or lonely, or furious, or wanting out
of every commitment you entered with such vigor and trust.

Maybe you’ve bitten your nails down to the quick,
chosen your meals badly, ignored the advice of those
who know you best. Maybe you are stubborn as a toddler.

Maybe you are clumsy or foolish or hasty or reckless.
Maybe you haven’t read all the books you’re supposed to.
Maybe your handwriting is still illegible after all these years.
Maybe you spent too much on a pair of shoes you didn’t need.
Maybe you left the window open and the rain ruined the cake.
Maybe you’ve destroyed everything you’ve ever wanted to save.


If anything, believe in your own strange loveliness.
How your body, even as it stumbles, angles for light.

The way you hold a dandelion with such yearning and tenderness,
the whole world stops spinning.

The photographer’s heart

mattresses on Fell St., SF, CA

Driving in SF the other day I had to pull my car over to a screeching halt when I saw this abandoned furniture on the side of the road. Something about the way it glowed in the sun made my photographer’s heart palpitate. Just as I wondered if I was crazy, if maybe I had lived in the suburbs of Berkeley for too long and discarded furniture was starting to look exotic, I saw another photographer shooting the same decrepit old chair. I grinned to myself and as I stuck my head out of the window saw that it was one of my favorite photographer pals- cookbook author Heidi Swanson and her husband.

“Heidi!” I shouted and pulled over to say hello, waving my hands wildly.
“I was photographing that too!”
I said this in a very uncool and extremely excited away. Clearly I don’t get out much.

But this is the joy, the thrill of seeing something that delights your eye, your photographer’s heart. And the feeling that other people might share in that joy as well? Priceless.

discarded chair on Fell St. taken with my point and shoot

Treasure Hunts

One of my favorite parts of the Superhero Photo class (next session begins this Monday, September 19th) are the treasure hunts. We download a PDF to print out with fortune cookie sized photo prompts (or treasures) to find. As we go about our days we look for “the mess” or the “riot of color” or the “peeling paint on a wall.” It’s a bit like bird watching, a field guide of sorts.

Discarded furniture? Check.

self portrait in the leaves, taken with my point and shoot

Images are powerful

Do you want to capture more beautiful photos for your blog?
Take better portraits of your kids?
Learn to really use that camera?
Create a new way into joy?

Join me for this fall’s session of Superhero Photo!

Class begins Monday, September 19th.

Sponsor Spotlights: Creative Courage and Shiny Object School

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!


I know there are lots of e-courses out there – but this one is special.

I’d like to invite you to join Creative Courage, an international celebration of color, creativity, light, and honesty about the creative working process. As a bonus, we’ll even take a little trip to Venice, Italy!

I’m Stephanie Levy, an American illustrator living in Europe, and I’ve created a new e-course called Creative Courage which will run from September 26th – November 11,2011. Creative Courage is designed as a practical guide to help you clarify and follow your own unique, creative path.

This e-course will include my personal story of becoming an expat and working creatively abroad, and we will enjoy 12 exclusive guest interviews with talented and thriving artists, designers, photographers, writers, and bloggers from around the world.

Our special guests 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. This amazing group of women will share their secrets on how they have accomplished their dreams of publishing books, creating workshops, and sharing their art, illustration, photography, and words.

As a special treat in Week 4, we will go on a *virtual field trip* to Venice, Italy and peek behind the scenes at the world renowned Venice Biennale international art exhibition. I’ll be sharing my personal photos and artwork from Venice via the e-course website, and I’ll even send you a personal postcard directly from Venice if you’d like!

Creative Courage is designed to refresh and energize your mind, body, and soul and give you the encouragement you need to actively make your goals a reality. You’ll get seven weeks of fun, color, inspiration, tools, and resources to help you develop your creative life in new ways.

The first session of Creative Courage will start on September 26th, 2011. Spaces are limited and the e-course is almost full now, so register quickly to reserve your spot here. Thanks and I hope you will come along on this unique creative adventure!


Do you have great ideas but lose focus when your excitement fades? Do you wander from the fridge to Facebook to your to-do list without getting much done? Do you ever feel like a flake? Shiny Object School can help you with this.

My approach is one part delving deep, one part fairy dust and one part inspired action. I will not bootcamp you into focused submission. Instead, I’ll show you a practical method to get anything done on your own terms. It really works.

Working with me is better than Valium.

I am a non-linear/ADHD-to-the-max life coach who gets things done. Even if you love shiny objects, it is completely possible to get your projects born + into the world AND you can have fun doing it! True story.

Shiny Object [project] School, group love starts October 20. Click here.
Shiny Object [project] School, just you + me starts now. Click here.

Superhero special: Sign up for group love & get a FREE one-on-one project assessment with me. ($99 value)

Sharing the mess*

I found myself driving aimlessly down San Pablo Ave. yesterday, a little sad or lonely or restless. I just couldn’t be alone in the house for one more second, so I put Nico in the car and drove. I watched other parents, better parents clearly, riding with their babies on the back of bicycles or walking their children in sport utility strollers, and I thought, what the heck am I doing in this car on San Pablo? and where am I going? and is this really going to make me feel better?

My friend Rebecca had a great line about parenthood today- something about how motherhood is all about looking bad in public. And we all laughed knowingly when she said it, like yes! We have looked so bad in public! Last weekend, Matt and I were those parents, the ones with the baby on the back of the bicycle and the adorable 4 year old pedaling next to us as we rode to the bagel shop. Except it didn’t look all perfect like those other people! It looked like me realizing Nico hadn’t had a nap and riding home as fast as I possibly could with Nico screaming on the back of my bike. Onlookers were watching me quizzically, actually glaring at me, not understanding why I was still pedaling.

Except that I knew he just needed sleep! and the sooner I got him home the better and stopping would only prolong the process. But then Nico fell asleep behind me and I panicked and thought he maybe passed out or was slumped over and was going to fall, so I reached behind me and shook him awake and that made him start sobbing again. This made me feel better only because I knew he was conscious, but then horrible again so I pedaled home as fast as I possibly could. Total mama disaster.

There’s a metaphor in here somewhere.

And I’m leaving these words and thoughts really messy because I think maybe that’s the point. That parenthood makes you look bad because it’s messy and unpredictable and did I mention messy?

I was with a friend a while ago who just had her first baby. We were on a park bench watching a mom of 3 toddlers try to wrangle them all into strollers. We couldn’t hear exactly what she said, but it was clear she was snapping at her kids and just generally losing it. We watched in silence, both our hearts aching. My friend said, “I can hardly stand watching this. It’s making my stomach hurt. I just want to yell at her.” And all I could say was, “My heart is aching too, but not for the kids. I’m aching for her.”

I think that’s why parenthood is so humbling. It’s messy… and our weaknesses, our flaws, our dark stuff is exposed. It’s all out there for ourselves, our partners, our children, the world to see.

That’s why we need to be sharing our stories with each other. Being alone with this stuff can be dangerous. Do you have a messy story to share? Parenting or otherwise? I’d love to hear it.