Monthly Archives: December 2004


bamboo, Golden Gate Park, Canon Digital Rebel

Wishing you all the happiest of New Years! Matt and I are traveling to see my family in Florida for the week and because most of the people there are quite a bit older than us, we figure it will be a mellow sort of New Year. In lieu of a big city bash, we decided to create our own sort of New Year’s ritual. We plan to write down our wishes on pieces of paper, tuck them into an old bottle and throw it into the ocean at midnight. If it washes up in your neck of the woods, you’ll know its ours!

I have also done rituals for the new year that are more about letting go. If you feel drawn to it, here is a simple ritual that I found extremely powerful. It works best in a group of people but can also be done alone.

1. Gather a few dear friends and have everyone make a list of what they want to let go of for the new year.

2. One by one, go around and read your list, then drop it into the fire. Watching it burn is very exciting and satisfying. The fire can be a fireplace or a bonfire or whatever is available to you.

3. Roast some marshmallows and drink some whiskey!

Big blessings to all of you. I am so grateful for you and this amazing community we’ve created together. Thank you for all of your stories, your dreams, and your support and love. I really feel it every day and it is such a gift. What a blessed little refuge of a place this is. Happy New Year superheroes!


tuk tuk, Thailand, Olympus Epic

I am overwhelmed by emotion seeing the photos and reading the stories about the tsunami. I am sending prayers.

Below is a list of just a few of the many groups providing humanitarian aid to tsunami victims. These are places where we can contribute:

The Network for Good
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC Crisis Fund)

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres

U.S. Red Cross

International Red Cross

Mercy Corps

to paint is the thing

Andrea, photo by Matt Passmore, Golden Gate Park, Canon Digital Rebel

This is me, Christmas Day, after a few too many chocolates.

Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday and THANK YOU for posting your Mondo Beyondo lists. They are so inspiring and because of you, my own lists are growing and changing. If you haven’t read the lists that are up there, I highly recommend it.

“People often ask, “If you had your life to live all over again would you do this or that?” Meaning- would you repeat the same mistakes? As for les amours I cannot answer, but as for les aquarelles, oui! One of the important things I learned in making watercolors was not to worry, not to care too much. I think it was Picasso who said, “Not every picture has to be a masterpiece.” Precisely. To paint is the thing. To paint each day.”
– Henry Miller, Sextet

There is Nothing Wrong in This Whole Wide World

Chris Cobb’s piece at Adobe Books, Canon Digital Rebel

Chris Cobb, a local San Francisco artist did something amazing to a bookshop called Adobe Books- he arranged every single one of the 20,000 books by color. {Can you see this would be my fantasy?} The project is called “There is Nothing Wrong in This Whole Wide World” and is based on a simple idea:

“Even though there is so much to be unhappy about in this world, we should try to create something amazing and beautiful and interesting despite all of the problems.”
– Chris Cobb

Chris and a team of 16 volunteers stayed up all night (ten hours, several pizzas and 30 bottles of water later) and arranged all of the books by hand. Inside every book there is a tag saying where it belongs. If you live in the Bay Area, visit Adobe Books. And while you’re there, buy a book and support this wonderful independent bookstore {and the incredible owner who allowed his entire bookstore to be re-arranged!}


Because this piece has received so much attention {literally hundreds of people have visited the book store, including entire classes from the local Waldorf School} they have agreed to extend it until January 15th, 2005.

ADOBE Bookshop
3166 16th Street
San francisco, CA 94110

McSweeneys did an interview with Chris Cobb if you’d like to read more about it.

Mondo Beyondo

my handsome husband, Canon Digital Rebel

Let me start by saying that I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. They don’t work! I find that they are short-lived, totally uninspiring and make you feel really bad about yourself. Resolutions are a setup for failure!

I believe it’s because we are not inspired by deprivation… “I will stop drinking coffee this year! I will stop yelling at my kids, stop smoking, lose weight, and work harder” All those things sound like a big drag and imply that there is something WRONG with you.

I propose a different way. Instead, create lists of intentions that get you truly inspired {remember that the word “inspire” is about giving breath, giving life} “I am committed to exploring the most delicious varieties of organic black and green teas from around the world” or “I intend to create a peaceful, nourishing home life for my kids.”

Simply reframing your intentions make them so much more inviting and fun to pursue. They are also much more likely to get you moving. 

These are some lists I often make at the end of each year:

– Things I learned in 2004
– 10 things I am grateful for
– 10 things I intend to create in my life in 2005
– And finally, the whopper – the Mondo Beyondo list. My friend Adrienne introduced me to the Mondo Beyondo list several years ago. This is the list of things that are outrageous, wild, and may not even happen for 5 or 10 years from now. This is the list of things that are SO JUICY and unlikely to happen that you are afraid to even write them down. This might be the most important list of all!

{This is where the trip to Tibet goes, the gallery show for your paintings, meeting your favorite movie star, owning a home in Switzerland, or whatever makes you grin and feel jazzy just thinking about} If this list isn’t really fun to make, you’re not using your imagination. Think big! This is your mondo beyondo.

I have always been amazed at the power of writing things down. Anything I have ever manifested in my life began as a thought, then made its way into a list in one of my journals. I posted this photo of my husband Matt because he started out as just a gleam in a mondo beyondo list. There was a time when the idea of finding a life partner, getting married and creating a family seemed really outrageous to me. {I remember I was even scared to write it down because deep in my heart I knew I wanted it so badly.}

The great thing about these lists is that you don’t need to believe they will happen as you write them. Simply the act of writing is a show of faith… even if you’re thinking “yeah, right” as you jot them down. You will be amazed by your ability to manifest. You will astound yourself with what you can create by putting pen to paper. Post your list somewhere you can see it and read it every few days. Maybe put it in your wallet in that little window where the photos go? or in your medicine cabinet.

You can even post a few of your intentions for the year here on this site.

I dare you.

all apologies

purple_yellow_orchid.jpgpurple yellow orchid, Canon Digital Rebel

Recently, a friend and I were discussing how often we apologize. She challenged herself to stop apologizing for one week and encouraged me to do the same.

I was amazed to notice how many times a day I say I’m sorry! Apologies seem to live in my everyday language. A person bumps into me in the grocery store and I say, “I’m sorry!” I don’t respond to a friend’s email for a few days and I say, “I’m so sorry for not getting back to you sooner…” If I don’t post for several days, I want to apologize to YOU.

It sounds like a subtle detail, but I think it does something to us psychically. The language of apology is disempowering when used for things we don’t need to be sorry for! and I think as women, we apologize a lot more than men {generally speaking, of course}

Try out this experiment for a week. When you type out, “I’m so sorry I didn’t…”, just delete. It feels good! and you will begin to notice where in your life you can empower yourself and build more confidence.

robin’s egg blue

Deb Talan, Canon Digital Rebel

A story I heard from SARK that has stuck with me forever…

A woman at one of SARKs’ book signings stood up and told this story: When she was little, she found a robin’s egg in a tree. She was SO excited about it that she went to check on it every day to see if it had hatched. Every day it looked the same, simply a beautiful little blue treasure sitting in a nest. And every day she grew more impatient. One day she couldn’t help herself and took the egg out of the nest and picked at it until it opened up. She found a chick inside, far too small to survive. If she had only left it to grow a big longer, it would have cracked open, big and healthy on its own.

I think of this story today as I wait {mostly impatiently} for the beauties and joys in my life to be born. I draw upon this story when I think that sometimes it looks like nothing is happening, when really there is something growing every day even if we can’t see it.

I know there are obvious parallels to pregnancy here, but I offer up this image today to remind you that whatever seeds you have been planting {creative ideas, a new business, a new relationship} are working their magic even when you can’t see them.


My trunk show list for the season. Also, the new candy cane jewels.

The Weepies

Steve Tannen & Deb Talan, Canon Digital Rebel

Amidst the buzz buzz of holiday jewel-ing and t-shirt mailing, I had a chance to photograph The Weepies when they passed through town on their tour. Matt and I had the pleasure of having them in our home for a few days which was a treat beyond the rarest treat. I realized I hadn’t played in a while. I’ve been all business and working hard and elfing away in my workshop to This American Life while taking intermittent trips to UPS. I hadn’t stopped to get inspired again.

If you haven’t heard their music , you will be sufficiently blown away when you do. Listen to some clips on their site and then know that the sweetest hearts imaginable are behind those gorgeous songs.


Jeff Gates Patented Seven Step Gift-Giving System is brilliant and funny.

Photo Friday: Reflections

Sasha, Canon Digital Rebel

Photo Friday’s theme this week is “Reflections.”

Holiday stories on Fray:
– Ladies Luncheon by Beth Lisick. {I heard this hilarious story performed live and have never forgotten it}
– The Tree by Derek Powazek who is the brilliant artist and writer who started Fray.
– My Superpower by the wonderful Caterina Fake.

2nd Annual Holiday Gift Guide

apple reindeer, Canon Digital Rebel

Superhero Holiday Gift Guide 


Succulent Wild Woman by SARK. Although you should own every SARK book on the shelf, this one might always be my favorite. Every woman you know should own a copy of this book!

Spilling Open – inspiring artwork and words for young creative souls.

Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. The perfect book when you need a little faith.

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott. Hilarious and poignant. A perfect gift for a mom to be.

The Dot by Peter Reynolds. My husband gave me this last year and I cried right there under the tree as I read it. The perfect children’s book.

Jane Wattenberg’s Mrs. Mustard’s Baby Faces and Beastly Babies are for baby-preschool age kids, but I think I might be even more entertained by them. Another great gift for the youngins.

Harem by Dora Levy Mossanen.. Sensual, sexy story! woo woo!

My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen: One of my favorite books of all time. Wear your waterproof mascara for this one folks.

Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory. How much do we love Danny Gregory? I love everything about this book.

Living Out Loud by Keri Smith. Another amazing book by a friend and artist I admire to bits. A great book for your friends who are feeling shy to explore their creative parts.

Scarred For Life by Keith Hamm. For lovers of skateboarding or anyone who is skate-curious. Written by my dear childhood friend who is a brilliant journalist and has been skateboarding his entire life.

How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer. Dark, beautiful little stories about adolescence that had me completely transfixed. This book seeped in and took me somewhere far away in my psyche. 

Photo treats

Canon Digital Rebel: the best give I ever gave myself.

50mm portrait lens: yummy lens for the digital rebel.

the best flash in the history of flashes.

Lomo: creates mysteriously beautiful hypersaturated images.

85mm great portrait lens for a 35mm film camera

Action Sampler: shoots 4 images in one second! this one is a blast to use.

Polaroid Holga: haven’t used it but I am very intrigued.

Holga: the ultimate toy camera. Light as popcorn, looks like a fake camera (not intimidating to point at people) and creates unexpected and antique looking results. It’s also cheap!

Crafty Chicks

Superhero jewelry

Superhero tees: Short-sleeved tees are now in black and brown with capped sleeves. Very girly and cute!


Good Together


Booty Boutique

Sugar Paper letterpress cards

Omondieu flower rings 

Other delights

Cucina ginger soap

Buy a URL for a friend or loved one and set them up with a simple website or blog

Timbuktu yoga bag

Mighty Goods! a shopping blog by Mighty Girl

Moleskin journals

Creativity Explored art

Cabinet Magazine:a beautiful art and culture magazine out of Brooklyn. My husband Matt Passmore built an art installation in the desert of New Mexico last summer that will be featured in the upcoming issue of the magazine. Go Matt!


And because we loved them so much last year, I am reprinting the DIY gift-giving ideas again. Maybe you can add to the list? 

DIY Gift Giving

Sometimes the most generous expressions of the heart are in the form of gifts that don’t cost a cent. Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing: 

1. Thirty things I love about you

For my 30th birthday, my friend Jeff gave me a list of the 30 things he loves most about me. I swear, this one melted me instantly. 

2. Stone poetry

When this gift arrived in the mail from my friend Jen, I literally gasped. Imagine a heavy round box with a woman painted on the top. Inside are hundreds of smooth, irregular shaped rocks with gorgeous words written on each one-hope, radiate, simplicity… I had a friend close her eyes and choose a few rocks the other day. She chose “home, electric, home” This gift is full of magic. 

3. Love letters

The first birthday gift my husband ever gave me was a poem he had written on beautiful paper, scrolled and placed inside a genie bottle. We weren’t dating yet, and it was his way of letting me know that he thought I was the bees’ knees. Even though it took me a year to come around, he got me in the end! 

4. Performance art

My other favorite gift from my husband was performed for me at the San Francisco airport. I was leaving for Mexico, and as a going away gift, Matt wanted to give me a strip of photobooth pictures. As it turned out, the machine broke and the pictures never emerged, so he performed each cell of the photo booth strip for me. {One of the more hilarious and endearing moments of my life}. 

5. Postal art

During the first few months that Matt and I were dating, I painted a large painting on heavy card stock. When I was finished, I cut it into approximately 30 postcard size rectangles. One by one, I decorated the back of these with a message or drawing or just Matt?s name, and mailed them to him one by one. Each day he received a piece of the puzzle. 

6. Wish containers

I love putting wishes, lists, worries, and things I’d like to manifest in a cigar box. Some call it a “God box.” I call it the pneumatic tube (like the old fashioned bank deposit containers) Sasha made me a portable tube in the form of a hand bound book. She painted on several pages, and glued tiny envelopes inside to place wishes. This book is my portable wish container for the most tender things. 

7. Tribute books

The best gift I have ever given was a book that I made for my mom for mother’s day. I asked each of our family members and several of her old friends to answer three important questions: 1. How did you meet my mom? 2. Choose one word to describe her. 3. What do you love most about her?

What I got back were incredible stories (things I had never known about my mom), gorgeous old photographs, and poignant declarations of love from family and friends. It was truly one of those presents that was a gift not only to her, but to everyone who contributed to it. 

8. Gratitude Journal

After my post about Gratitude last week, Jennifer Higgins wrote to me about a “gratitude journal” she received as a gift. She started slow, writing a few things each day that she was grateful for (some as simple as someone smiling on the elevator.) She says, “When I look back through the pages, I am instantly overwhelmed at the blessings in my life. It’s helped me recognize the wonderful things all around me.” 

9. Tributes to your friends

Are you a blogger? Write a tribute to your friend/sister/parents on your web site. They will flush with pride and joy. Someone did this for me once and I will never forget it.