Monthly Archives: November 2011

Brand new Superhero Photo classes + discount for you!

spools of thread, shot with Canon Xsi

The Basics

This is the original Superhero Photo course and is all about joy! In this course you will TRANSFORM the way you take photos and shift the way you see your world.

We will hone our technical skills while opening our eyes to the beauty all around us.
We will find ourselves in that sweet spot where creativity, play and aliveness intersect.
We will have more access to joy.

Anyone with a camera (point and shoots are totally welcome) is invited to participate.

The Basics January Session begins Monday, January 9th.

Elevate the ordinary

For those of you who have already taken The Basics (this summer or fall) please join me for Elevate the Ordinary! A brand new course where we will continue our exploration of making magic out of our ordinary days.

Brand new lessons, interviews, treasure hunts and creative assignments. We will have lots of fun learning to see and capture the beauty around us.

Do you know someone with a creative heart?

Gift certificates are now available! and are the perfect gift for someone you know who has a creative heart and wants to explore it more. Maybe this person is you? Just send your loved one to this page for hint, hint…

Register THIS WEEK with the coupon code SUPER11 and you will get a $20 discount!

How you know you need a good cry*

self-portrait with fall leaves, Canon S95

  • When you wake up, a little too composed, and wonder why you’re holding it together so well.
  • When you make your coffee, three times this morning, and wonder why it still doesn’t taste right.
  • When you find yourself shouting, full of rage, at the top of your lungs to your kids, Everyone needs to stop whining or I am gonna (insert expletive) lose it!!!
  • When songs with words, any words at all, are too much for your heart to take.
  • When kindness, any small kindness, feels huge and poignant and goes straight to your heart.
  • When you’re afraid someone is going to ask you, while looking you in the eyes, how you’re doing.

Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that our thanksgiving holiday was more eventful than I had hoped. We spent much of it in the hospital with a family member and just generally holding the weight of the world on our shoulders.

Maybe this is you.

If it is, please know that we are in this together.
That we are connected, that you are not alone.
That the very best thing you can possibly do is cry. That crying is softening and cleansing.

Maybe you will cry reading this, or maybe a good friend will ask you how you are.
Let them comfort you.
Let that song bring you to tears.

Remember that whatever our circumstances are, however different, we are all in the same soup.
We are all connected in our grief and in our joy. Somehow this comforts me.


Sponsor Spotlights: Kelly Rae Roberts and Stephanie Levy

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 reserve now!


Kelly Rae Roberts

We are loving this gorgeous boxy art! Created to resemble an original painting (psst: it’s a reproduction, but you’d never know!). It’s been sealed with a varnish that showcases actual paint brush marks (love!). It’s a sturdy, thick piece of art meant to stand alone on a surface or hung on a wall (arrives ready to hang). We think these boxy pieces look especially charming when paired together. If you’re looking for that unique gift for a friend or loved one; you just found it!  Available Now!

Kelly Rae Roberts: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter


Stephanie Levy

** Special Holiday Weekend Bonus! Get your choice of a FREE print when you sign up for my Creative Courage e-course this weekend!**

I’d like to invite you to join Creative Courage, an international e-course about finding, following, and realizing your creative dreams. Creative Courage is a practical guide to help you clarify your own unique path and give you the tools you need to start making your goals real.

I’m Stephanie Levy, an American illustrator living in Europe, and the next session of Creative Courage will run from January 9th – February 24th, 2012.

As a special bonus in Week 4, we will travel on a virtual field trip to Barcelona, Spain to enjoy European art, architecture, culture, and design. I’ll even send you a personal postcard featuring my collage artwork directly from Barcelona!

I’ve invited 12 expert guests to join us for exclusive Creative Courage interviews.  Our special interview guests this session include: Andrea Scher, Kelly Lynn Jones, Mati Rose McDonough, Heather Smith Jones, Belinda Kemp, Jennifer Louden, Janine Vangool, Amy Ng, Amelia Critchlow, Kate Swoboda, Michelle Ward, and Jill Bliss.

This amazing group of women from around the world will share their secrets on how they have accomplished their dreams of publishing books, building online businesses, creating workshops and e-courses, and earning a living as successful, thriving creative artists, illustrators, authors, coaches, and instructors.

Creative Courage will refresh and energize your mind, body, and soul. You’ll get 7 weeks of fun, color, inspiration, tools, and resources to revitalize your creative life.

Enjoy your holiday weekend, and if this sounds like an interesting e-course for you, now is the perfect time to register and get a free print too. I hope to meet you soon!

Magical nights and stealth blessings*

long exposure at night, full moon, Hana, Maui

The secret restaurant

“Want to go to a secret restaurant this weekend?” asked my friend Leokane when I arrived in Hana. My eyes lit up immediately. Yes! and when I noticed that the date was for 11/11/11 I was all the more thrilled. I had wanted to ritualize this day somehow, to do something special on such an auspicious night, but wasn’t sure how. This was the perfect thing.

Seems there are variations on this theme in every city, pop-up restaurants and other supper clubs that appear monthly and serve delicious food. Usually, you find your way onto their email list, promise to keep it on the down low and then make your reservation when they announce the next event. Some of my all-time favorite dates with Matt have been to these dinners. I love that the social barriers break down, that you are all in on the magic of something, that it’s like being at the most awesome wedding… like a true celebration.

I was delighted that this idea had made its way to Hana! and was held in the living room of a beautiful, historic home. “The collection of people that attend is always ecelctic and unexpected…” my friend assured me. Of course he had me at secret restaurant.

We walked into the living room where the dinner was held and in true Hana fashion, first removed our shoes. Then we walked around to every table as each guest got up and introduced themselves. It was so lovely! Can you imagine if every time you walked into a restaurant everyone said hello to you? We sat their for hours, drinking wine and eating course after course of tuna sashimi, avocado salad, mono, and on and on…

Our ritual

At about 10:30pm one of the guests at another table tinked his wine glass with a spoon and announced that we were approaching 11:11:11 on 11/11/11… After more than our share of wine, we decided that this was the moment for our ritual! We began by going around our own four-top and thinking about one person at a time. We silently sent them a blessing, the thing we thought they needed most for the year ahead. When we were finished, we rotated to bless the next person at the table.

Maybe it’s because we were a little tipsy, maybe because the night felt so magical, but we were so energized by this that we decided to do the same for every person in the room. One by one, even for the kitchen people we couldn’t see, we let a word come up for them- something we felt they needed to be blessed with, an antidote to whatever challenged them or was hard in their life.

What was extraordinary is that we’d do this silently and then share our words out loud with each other. The words we chose were different, but always had the same flavor. It’s as if each person’s energy was so powerful, all we really needed to do was tune in. We did this for all 15 people in the room.

Stealth Blessings

There is a lesson in the current Dream Lab class on Stealth Blessings. I first came across this idea when I was traveling in Thailand chatting with a Buddhist monk. He told me, “Meditation is about training the mind to be skilled in thought. When you are on the bus staring at the back of someone’s head, you can use that time to worry about money or all of the things you need to do, or you can use that time to bless the people around you. This is skilled thought. Thought that serves others.”

I was so inspired by this that I began to practice it at odd moments when I found myself in the line at the grocery store or the bank, those idle moments when you catch yourself going unconscious, getting impatient, and stressing out about everything and nothing. I noticed that this practice of blessing others had a powerful effect- it got me out of my head long enough to get present again and it cultivated a fullness in me, a compassion for others and also a connection to how much I actually have to give. Like I say in Dream Lab, “You don’t feel compassionate, so you bless. You bless, so that you are filled with compassion.”

As Thanksgiving approaches and I consider what it means to me to be grateful, I keep coming back to this simple idea— that the more we are in a space of giving the more we can touch into the fullness of our hearts. This is where a true gratitude emerges, not one that is manufactured, or one that we try to muster up for the gratitude list.

For me, it can begin with one simple thought that serves another.

Sponsor Spotlight: Cypress Sun Jewelry, SoulFull E-Course, Ruby Loves Jewelry and Shiny Object School

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 reserve now!


Cypress Sun Jewelry

Welcome to Cypress Sun Jewelry
Come in and discover your go-to jewel for holiday sparkle & everyday elegance.
Enjoy 15% off your purchase (and free shipping) with your superhero code (SHJ15) at checkout.
Cypress Sun Jewelry: website   facebook

Soul*Full eCourse

Are you looking to:

Expand your awareness?
Let go of limiting beliefs?
Create more meaningful photographs?
Embrace and live from your highest potential?
Transform your life?

If so, join photographer Catherine Just in this Soul*FulleCourse designed just for women. Therewill be inspiring video and audio interviews with Catherine’s favorite life leaders: Miguel Ruiz, Douglas Beasley, Andrea Scher, Beth Nicholls, Sheri Rosenthal, Mee Tracey, Aline Smithson and Susannah Conway. We will dive into photography to help you re-learn how to “see” and writing exercises to move more toward gratitude. There will be opportunities to expand your spiritual experience through fun rituals that can help you learn to let go and trust. Mix all that with some healthy recipes, pampering, rest and rejuvenation and you’ve got the ingredients for a more Soul*Filled Life! Join us!

The October session is sold out
Don’t miss your chance this New Year starting January 16th.

Register Now!

Ruby Loves Handmade Jewelry

Sweet. Modern. Simple.
Take 20% off all orders placed by Thanksgiving 2011!
Use coupon code: RubyLovesHeros


Shiny Object School

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.

Superhero special: Sign up for Shiny Object School with daily email support and get a free Shiny Object coaching session. We’ll hone in on the best project for you, get you some super sonic clarity and give you a foundation for swift and easy action.



Feelin’ lucky at 40*

We found a four leaf clover patch, Hana, Maui, shot with Canon Xsi

People have asked me how I feel about turning 40, if I have any anxieties about it, if I feel old... and the truth is, I feel weirdly excited about it. It feels like a badge of honor, a rite of passage, a doorway to even better things. I have the sense that this time is about choosing to live in that sweet spot where you have the wisdom of age and still a lot of spring in your step. Old enough to ground yourself in what really matters and still train for that marathon. (Something I will probably not being doing by the way, but dammit, I totally could) A time to care less about what people think and listen more to your own heart.

My trip to Hawaii was like nesting dolls of blessings, just when I thought one thing was the gift, there would be another tucked inside of that, and then another, and another.

Some highlights:

– Arriving at the airport and being adorned with a plumeria lei.
-Getting in the car, only to be warned there was a centipede somewhere inside and then finally finding it and escorting it out of the car. The road to Hana was so much more pleasant after that!
-My exquisite birthday lei.

My exquisite birthday lei, self-portrait

-Eating the most wonderful bananas, small and yellow and unlike anything I have ever tasted.
-Being in the clouds.

Me, taken by Laura with her iphone

-My surprise birthday picnic out on the bluffs overlooking the ocean. Complete with prosecco and fruit, incredible food and magic hour light, flowers and friends. All before the squall.

birthday picnic on the bluffs, shot with Canon S95

-Our magical 11/11/11 night at the secret restaurant.
-Hearing my friend Leokane sing at the Hana Maui hotel.
-Swimming in the water at the red sand beach.

Red sand beach, Hana

-Showering outside each day.
-The sound of the rain each night, the blustery warm wind, the sound of geckos.
-The smell of guava.
-The hike through the bamboo forest.
-The glorious banyan tree.

Banyan tree, on hike to bamboo forest, Hana, Maui

-The smell of plumeria and hibiscus, picking starfruit right from the trees, seeing avocados, papayas, pomegranate all from my bedroom window.
-The purple sky at dusk with the full moon.

Purple sky at dusk, full moon….

-Playing cards late into the night and giggling about everything and nothing.

Laura, Chris and me

taken with iphone

Laura, Chris, me

Leokane, me

I could gush more. And as I process my photos, I likely will. Let’s just say, for those of you who haven’t yet turned 40, there is nothing to fear! In fact, the sweetest days may be yet to come. (I’m hoping 50 and 60 and 70 and on are full of just as much magic) I also recommend gathering the folks who make you laugh the hardest and spending as much time with them as possible. Ideally, somewhere tropical. ;)

Chelsea + off to Hawaii!

My latest portrait session was with Chelsea… isn’t she beautiful? We had SO much fun and transformed a small park into an enormous wonderland with the magic of the camera. I love how she wanted professional shots (and we got those) but we also had a chance to capture so many other aspects of her personality. We made magic together!

I’m headed to Hawaii tomorrow for my 40th birthday trip! and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Matt and my friends and family conspired to send me… I’m feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. Thank you Matt and thank you friends!!

Happy Birthday my sweet boy!

Nico walking, Live Oak Park

Nico and his hair wings

Nico is my superhero

Nico’s irresistible, full body smile

10 things I love about Nico:

1. His smile that is SO big, anyone within 100 feet can feel the full impact. (see above photo in stroller) It is more contagious and wonderful than any possible thing in the world.

2. The way he throws the entire weight of his body onto Ben when he hugs him.

3. His inflatable feet.

4. His easy laughter.

5. His excitement when we play “get you” and chase each other around the house.

6. The way his entire body shakes, his hands ball into fists, his forehead gets red and he grunts exceptionally loud when he gets angry. We always wait for him to turn green and bust through his onesie, Incredible Hulk style in these moments.

7. How he likes to hug and put his arm around other kids at the park.

8. That his first words are “yeah…” and “look! look!” giving us a little window into his personality.

9. That he is my best customer at the dinner table.

10. That my heart bursts at the sight of him. That he has expanded the love in our home exponentially. That he has opened up something in all of us that is beyond sacred and extraordinary.

The gratitude gremlin*

Nico's edible appendanges, something I am totally grateful for

I’ll confess. I have a gratitude gremlin.

As soon as i hear the words “gratitude journal” or attitude of gratitude” I wince. Maybe it’s the result of being in the world of personal growth for too long, maybe it’s my own cynicism, maybe I’m just crabby.

But something about this stuff kicks up the critical voices in me. “You’re not grateful enough. If only you were more grateful. Quit your complaining. You have so much to be grateful for…”

Feel free to psychoanalyze me. I know some of these voices are of the old, scolding, parental variety. They have become so much a part of me I can hardly escape them and I usually forget they aren’t true.

They are simply another way I have invented to beat myself up. Can I get an amen?

For those of you who don’t know me, let me be clear: I think practicing gratitude is one of the most powerful things we can do. It gives us power and joy. It gives us a feeling of abundance. It is a practice that can turn your life around. For most people the gratitude journal works like a charm! But me? I need another way in. The traditional lists of what I am grateful for don’t work for me. The gratitude journal feels strange, like I am trying to look on the bright side and discount the way I am really feeling. It can feel inauthentic.

My Birthday Ritual

I am turning 40 next week. To celebrate this huge milestone, I decided to do a personal ritual, something powerful for the 40 days leading up to my birthday. Inspired by the book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, I settled on giving something away every day for 40 days. It could be a material gift, a thank you note, a genuine smile… the only rule is that it has to be a conscious give. And then I recorded what happened at the end of each day.

I wrote thank you notes.
I gave big tips.
I consciously let people ahead of me in traffic.
I bought two loaves of olive bread and kept my eyes peeled for the lucky recipient of the second loaf.
I took friends out to lunch.
I mailed a friend a skirt I knew she’d love.
I made brownies for all the neighbors.
I mailed a friend of photo of herself laughing that I had taken years ago.

This practice has been transforming.

What it gave me

It has reminded me of my kind heart, my generous spirit, and the abundance of my life. It has reminded me that I have SO much to give every day and that there is no greater joy than delighting others. It has trained me to look for opportunities to give and it has opened me up to receiving with even more joy and openness.

The other day as I walked up to our local produce market, a man had two bouquets of marigolds in this cart. The bright orangey yellow made me gasp in delight and I complimented him on his choice. In my mind’s eye, I saw him handing me one of the bouquets and saying, “You should have this. This one is for you…” swept up in the moment. He didn’t. Wouldn’t that have been perfect if he did?

But I walked away smiling at the thought, knowing that this would be my next give and loving the innocent way I expected him to give to me. That is what gratitude does. This is how giving opens our heart.


*This piece is part of the awesome Holiday Joy Up series. You can read more about it here. Just pay what you like and receive ten days of inspiration during this holiday season!