Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Making it Through.

I have been crazed for the the last couple of weeks. The ugly truth of it, is that I was unprepared and unorganized. I've been making my rings and it's not a full blown business yet, so I was unprepared for the busyness of it all. The rush kicked my butt a bit. That in conjunction with my darling husband turning 40, and trying to throw him a surprise party on Christmas night nonetheless, also helped with the butt kicking.

The holiday boutiques, the scheduling, the production time... was and is all new to me. All proceeds went to both Christmas and the party, and not knowing what the proceeds would actually be...added to my craziness. I was a ring making machine, all consumed. Next year, I will be entering the holiday season with with a definite plan of attack, and earlier than I thought I needed to this year. Once I got through the last of the boutiques, I went into full blown birthday mode! I ran around picking up the cake, decorations, beverages, food, etc. While spinning tales and misleading my husband all the way. The good news is that the party went off without a hitch (a few hiccups, of course!). And we survived Christmas. The next morning we headed to Vegas to celebrate a dear friend's 40th birthday. Tired yes. Exhausted yes. Happy Yes. Fun Yes. Happy it's over?...Yes.

Through it all, the one thing that I have been feeling a bit melancholy about, is not keeping up with the Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 Blog Challenge . I have the tendancy to create hurdles for myself. I create expectations for myself. I let the gremlins creep in and whisper mean things. And I was starting down the road. You know the one?... Or do you? That long and winding road. It takes me to a place at the bottom of a steep hill, the place from which if I allow myself to, I can look up and think about what I should have done. What I could have done. And how far of a climb it will be to get back to where I was. Though this time...I thwarted those pesky gremlins! I felt it for a few moments, and then decided that it's all been worth it. If I could go back and do it all again...sure I would be more organized, more prepared. I would blog every single day. I would have allowed for some more breathing time for myself. But in the end the outcome is all that really matters. And I did it. I made it through. I enjoyed myself most of the time. I threw a kick ass surprise party. I got to spend quality time with friends and family. And I asked for help when I needed it - that is huge.

So in this moment. I am happy with where I'm at. Will I finish out the rest of the #best09 challenge? I plan to. But if I don't make it, will I be any less? No.  Hot damn...does that feel good! I am liking the way 2010 is looking already.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Best Project of 2009. Me.

December 21. Project. What did you start this year that you're proud of?

Things have been strange this year. I was contracting myself to another designer throughout '08, and for the first several months of this year. Things had slowed down so much for her business that we all took a hiatus for a few weeks. And that few weeks has turned into months. Normally I would have panicked, but this time I made a conscious decision to enjoy the moment. Embrace the time. Do something new. Spend time with friends.

I started with a sewing class. I discovered that I am not bad at it! In fact I actually enjoy it, and really enjoy sewing zippers in. Why that is, I'm not sure...but I love me some zippers! I also started making rings this year. I opened an etsy shop . I went with things a little more than usual. I struggled with the details of starting a business. I tried to jump in and not worry about all of the minute details. I challenged myself to step out of the shadows, to interact with people more. I practiced being present. I trusted that what I needed would be provided, even if I wasn't sure exactly how. I got back to exercising. I ate healthier (that is until the holidays snuck up on me). I forgave others. I'm starting to forgive myself. I took time to breathe. I enjoyed the beauty of  nature. I started a blog. I started to step into my authenticity - into "me".

I guess the project that I started this year, the thing that I am most proud of, is a little project called "me". I think that 2010 is going to be a continuation of what was begun in '09. And I'm looking forward to diving in head first, with complete abandon!

* this post is part of Gwen Bell's - The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best Car Ride of 2009.

December 19.  Car ride of 2009. What did you see? How did it smell? Did you eat anything as you drove there? Who were you with? This prompt is part of  Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. A look back at my personal "bests" of 2009.

This feels like cheating...but it really was my best car ride of 2009! 

The only thing that I think will hold a candle to it, will happen after today (actually after Christmas). We will be road tripping it to Vegas with our friends...how can that not be fun? Right? Two couples on a road trip = double the fun. At least that's how I am envisioning it! And since I haven't lived it yet....the other car ride is definitely it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

beach walk peace

December 8 Moment of peace. An hour or a day or a week of solitude. What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?

My beach walk has brought me both the most and best moments of peace this year. It's easy to take for granted the things in our life that are plentiful. This last year I have made it a point to be present as much as I can, when I can. One of the ways I've accomplished this is to spend more time at the ocean. I don't live far less than 5 miles, in fact. I feel centered there. I feel connected there. I feel joyful there. I feel peaceful there. I feel there.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Best Blog Discoveries of 2009.

December 7 Blog find of the year. That gem of a blog you can't believe you didn't know about until this year.

Being a designer I've had an unending list of design inspired blogs that I regularly read; however this was a year of personal growth and admiration for women who are open, courageous, and authentic. Because of that, there are so many new blogs that I discovered this year {in fact, this is a gentle reminder to get a full list of my faves up on olive & hope}. One of the coolest things ever is discovering a new blog! I have a long list of those I religiously read, but of course...the question is best of 2009. So here we go. A few of the blogs I found this year, and sometimes wonder, what was life like before I found them??

lisa field-elliot of doorways traveler  amazing, raw, inspired, beautiful

Brene Brown of Ordinary Courage how did I live without reading your blog??

Melissa of  Operation Nice  The do-gooder in me loves you.

amanda oaks and jenn gibson of kind over matter always full of kind minded good stuff.

Valentina Ramos of feeling inspired  Your artwork makes me smile, and so does your spirit.

Gwen Bell of gwenbell.com - Big Love in a Small World You inspire me to take on the world. Perhaps while wearing a sassy dress and drinking a good beer.

These are just a few of the blogs that I fell in love with this year. My heart is full of admiration for all of the talented, brave, open, perfectly imperfect and exceptionally fabulous women I have discovered this year.  I am looking forward to another year with all of my current blog loves (both old and new), and to a new year of blog finds.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Best of Books 2009.

December 4 Book. What book - fiction or non - touched you?

This book was recently loaned to me by a new friend. It's amazing how the universe brings amazing people and situations into your life, just at the right time. The book is amazing, and resonates with me on so many levels. The concept is simple, but oh so powerful. I am struggling with how to describe the book and do it justice. In a nutshell, it's about the power of raising our vibrational level, being able to step out of seeing ourselves as victims, seeing all of the people in our lives as partners in healing, healing from severe illnesses through forgiveness - which causes a shift in energy and allows great things to happen, the release of stuck energy caused by both forgiving and being forgiven, and seeing the perfection in seemingly imperfect situations and relationships, etc.

I can definitely apply this book in my personal life, in situations big and small; but to think of the concept being applied throughout the world blows my mind. Talk about the possibilty of world peace...I can start with me, and if you did it as well, think of the change that could happen....Like the shampoo commercial (the brand is escaping me - was it even shampoo?), and she told two friends.... and so on, and so on.....I don't know if I did a great job of conveying the message, but pick it up if you haven't read it, it's worth the read.

On a slightly less deep note, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Twilight Saga. I read the books, I'll admit it...I'm not ashamed! It was a blissful 5 or 6 days of pure escapism. I devoured the books. I read, and read, and read. My husband came home 2 days in a row with the next book in the series for me. Now that's a great husband! I have since put my books into circulation, and my friends are enjoying them as much as I did. Those are a few of my best reads of 2009.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Best Restaurant Moment 2009.

December 2. Restaurant moment. Share the best restaurant experience you had this year.

My moment has nothing to do with how great the food was, or how fancy the restaurant was. It has more to do with the company that I was in. I had three nights with my Grandparents and it was fabulous! I don't get to spend as much time with them as I would like, and this was several days of visiting F-U-N. We kicked around at the harbor, went to the pier, and walked along a beautiful beach path or two. And while the entire visit was great, the night at the restaurant stands out. Maybe it's because Grandma joined us for a margarita? That was a nice surprise... and I love surprises! {Hope Grandma doesn't mind a good surprise, like seeing her picture on my blog}.

Grandma enjoying a margarita that's as big as her!

Time spent with friends and family is one of the things that I cherish most. I'm just as easily wowed by a meal at home with them, as I am out at a restaurant {besides, my husband is a great cook!}. One of the most beautiful things about 2009 for me, was the time spent with those I love. Getting back to what really matters. That it's not about going out and spending money. It's about laughter, good times, getting creative, good food, a great circle of trust, and love. Don't get me wrong...we love a good night out at a great restaurant, this has just been a year filled with lots of reflection. And I am thankful for it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Best Trip of 2009.

So today I am rolling out the Best of 2009 Blog Challenge inspired by Gwen Bell . A question of the day (every day) for the month of December, to prompt a look back at my personal bests for 2009. Do you want to play along?.... Please do. Either via your own blog, or feel free to play by leaving your own bests in my comments section.

December 1. Trip. What was your best trip in 2009?

traffic jam coming in to Santa Cruz

My husband had to take a business trip to Northern California, and uh oh...he snuck and took me along! We were supposed to go all the way up to San Fran, we didn't make it which was a disappointment, but we didn't let it put a damper on our trip. Part of the fun of the whole thing, was the fact that I was a stowaway. It was a secret mission of sorts (well... I guess I was the secret).

It was a true road trip in every sense, and we had a blast! We listened to satellite radio, we laughed, we ate snacks in the car, we played games, we ate at a couple of drive-thrus, we bickered, we sang, I took notes during his business calls, and we talked. I smile just thinking about it.

We had one night in a dowtown area that was absolutely scary. The hotel actually told us it would be better for us to stay in, since it was dark. Our hotel was like an island, and we were happily stranded.

On our way in to Santa Cruz, we had a traffic jam of epic proportions. But it was the most beautiful place to be stopped. It was so woodsy and beautiful, that I spent most of the time waiting just soaking in the scenery. I wish I had brought my camera along, because my cell phone camera does not do it's beauty any justice in the photo above.

On the next day there were a few tense moments. While driving around the streets of Monterey looking for Italian food, I thought we might actually strangle each other. The street signs are very hard to see in Monterey; they are so light in color that they just sort of blend in (especially at dusk). We did many laps around town. We had fits. We fought with the GPS. And eventually ended up grabbing a bottle of wine, and a pizza and taking it back to our room. We went from visions of a nice Italian dinner in town to dining in room, but I have to say that it was absolutely perfect!

The whole thing was not the best planned trip by any means, in fact most of the time we were flying by the seat of our pants. But there was a lesson in that trip. One about not always having to know all of the answers. About diving in with complete abandon. Giving yourself over to what may be. Letting go and just being in the moment. And take a look at the outcome....My best trip of 2009!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Zoe Ring.

Zoe Ring by olive & hope

Meet my latest and most popular ring at the moment...*drumroll please*  Zoe! I haven't sold any in my shop yet, but I am selling them in person - fast fast fast. Each ring is completely one of a kind, and they each feel like a little piece of art :)  The shells are beautiful little things, peach tones, green tones, a little creme, and touches of chocolate brown.  Colors so natural and neutral that you can wear it with almost anything.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Crocheted Goodness on Etsy.

Photo courtesy of beautifulpurpose  on etsy

I was happily searching away on etsy a day or two ago, and I found a great shop! I love the name by the way.... BeautifulPurpose :)  The shop owner, and creator of beautifully crocheted things is, Leslie Young. I found a few things I'd like to add to my Christmas list...and I'm sure that you will too.

These crocheted boots make me happy, and I love her recession rings too. The shop is chock full of of crocheted goodness, and she happily accepts custom orders. If you'd like to have a scood or boots for the holidays...Leslie is asking you to order by the 8th of November (yikes! sorry for the short notice). We have only had a brief exchange, but Leslie was very sweet, and I always want to support those who are open and gracious :) Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's a Work in Progress.

Rings from olive & hope

Starting a business is a challenge for me. My creative brain goes a little haywire. I will go to it, one step at a time -  I started with my etsy shop . It's still a tiny little thing, but I will do just as I said.....grow it one step at a time. SARK calls them MicroMOVEments ,of course my brain instantly says...you can't spread your tasks out over that much time....but I guess that's why I'm a work in progress ;)  I've added a few more rings to the shop, and over the next several days I will add some more....that's where I'm at right now.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blogging is Causing Me "Humps".

I have what I like to call "humps". That tension spot at the top of your shoulders, and base of your neck. The only thing that I can attribute it to, is the fact that I am putting myself out there more lately. I'm partcipating in NaBloPoMo , I've been tweeting , and I have been actively participating (commenting) on some of the blogs that I've lurked around for about 2 years now. And apparently it makes me tense.

I am working through it. So today's blog post may not be earth shatteringly good (are they ever?), or even remotely interesting to some...but it's where I'm at, and I am going to stick with it. The fear of rejection, or judgement, or worse... is what causes these "humps". I have had the desire to blog for a couple of years now, and I can find any number of reasons to talk myself out of it on any given day. I let myself swirl around in the unknowns - do I really have something of interest to say?. Get too caught up in details - how do I legally post pictures of products or things I'd like to talk about?. Feel like I need to have all of the answers, before I can begin - absolutely every question about posting, linking, tagging, commenting, seo, how do I balance personal and professional?. Let the worries about rejection creep in - will people like me?.

I'm open to change, and in fact, have been actively pursuing it in my life for quite a while now. I want to be more open, to fully embrace myself, and to be able to stand firmly in my truth. I don't know if these insecurities come from being a creative person, or if it's upbringing? Or a combination of things....I do notice that a lot of creatives have the same self doubt coursing through their veins. It always amazes me to hear an amazingly talented person, who still doubts their right to have good things happen, or who doesn't clearly see their worth. But I continue to hear it from others. And I continue to do it to myself.

Today I am going to embrace the beauty of it all (including the "humps"). I can acknowledge the tension as a sign of change, and keep moving forward. Maybe I will even celebrate the change, with a much needed neck massage! :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Finally Watched Marley & Me.

This is how I watched Marley and Me. Curled up on the sofa with my 100lb. chocolate lab sleeping snugly next to me. I waited soooo long to watch it...and then did it like this? What was I thinking? For the first hour and half I was loving him and all of his Marleyesque-ness, and then the blubbering ensued. Of course just as the end came, my boy had scooted himself all the way into my lap, making the whole thing even more intense! I was trying to explain it to my husband this morning (who refuses to watch the movie by the way), and the best I could do was say that I was "wailing". You know the unattractive, messy kind of cry. The kind that you can't get control of. Even the poor dog kept tilting his head backward to check on me.

You see, my husband came on the scene when our wonder dog (as I like to call him) was about 1 year old (he is now 7 1/2). Before then he was mine all mine. The first time they met, my boy lifted his leg on a suitcase that was laying out in my new boyfriend's home. And got so oversimulated that he sort of frothed at the mouth...getting slobber everywhere. I wasn't sure if I would ever get a call from him again. But it turned out to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, and today they are the very best of friends. In fact he is our only child, as of yet....

The movie had so many parts that reminded me of our messy but happy family. Messy not in terms of sloppiness, but rather our imperfect but happy little world. We are the 3 Muskateers, and have had so many adventures together. Adventures that are sometimes all fun, and ones that we've walked away from, ready to never speak to the wonder dog again. But his overflowing cup of love runneth over always, and we are at the end of the day, so lucky to have him. The lessons that we've learned from him are immeasureable. He's taught us about unconditional love, about sacrifice, about loving someone just the way they are, that it's ok to be messy and imperfect, and he's given us the gift of the closest thing to parenting we've achieved so far. We are a family....and no matter what life brings us, we always have that.

It's unfair to expect people to be perfect, because no one is. Loving someone means embracing it all, the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly. Seeing the true spirit in someone, is one of the greatest gifts we can give. Recognizing the human-ness in people, even in strangers, would make the world a much better place. Today I will go out into the world, I will embrace my own imperfections, and I will look at others with a softer focus too. You never know where you will learn a lesson...or who you will learn it from.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Touches of Halloween.

Every year we try to decide how much to decorate for Halloween. We don't have any wee ones yet, but we are pretty enthusiastic about (all) holiday decorating nonetheless! There is a point where decorations go overboard, and I will admit it....I have been an offender once or twice, (especially when we were first together) it was a holiday decor explosion. Our two worlds collided and a holiday sonic boom ensued! We have since tamed it down and brought it back to a respectable level, one that this "self respecting designer" can live with. My honey and I are both silly and easily entertained, and this is one of our outlets.

I thought I would share my favorite little guy this Halloween before it's too late.

I just love him.

I love his vintage quality first, the striped arms and legs, and the jack o lantern bucket he's carrying. He pretty much just makes me smile. We are gearing up for tomorrow night....holding out hope that we will get more than one or two trick-or-treaters (like we do every year). We'll be enjoying our Halloween Eve by carving pumpkins, looking for something spooky to watch, and preparing our wonder pup for the possibility of lots of knocks on the door tomorrow night.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Blogging Paralysis

I haven't been blogging as much as I hoped to. I get stuck in a place sometimes, and can't seem to get out of it...one of those places has to do with the use of photos, rules of creative commons, etc. I am feeling gripped by "analysis paralysis" too much thinking... focusing on details, and not making any progress. But I have vowed to push through...that's become my mantra the last few days. It seems to be working so far...here I am writing a little post - without pictures even.

I really love the idea of blogging. Now I just have to do it. Even if it's just text for now. That's where I'm at. Maybe I will even reach out to one of the lovelies that I am a loyal reader of, and ask for help.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Twitter - To Tweet or Not to Tweet

I've had a twitter account set up for a few months, but just haven't been sure what to say...I got on today and posted my first tweet...and I'm still  not convinced. I read so much about social media and the power of it all, and I really want to get on board, but it's a struggle to find my voice in the "world wide web". It feels so vast to me! However, this is a challenge I want to take. Tweet - one at a time, until I find my voice amongst the other tweeters. See where it goes without having all of the answers up front. I am extending the hand of friendship to you twitter, let's see where this thing goes!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Walk on the Beach Made Me Think

I do this walk a couple of times a week, a portion of it's trail, and the rest of it is sand. I was walking this morning, the tide was high, there was little room for walking, and I caught myself focusing on each and every step I took. My thoughts and awareness, were not on the beauty that I was surrounded with...they were on my steps, and making sure that I was steady on the loosely packed sand.

It made me think, how many of us are so focused on the path that we are on... each and every step, calculating and worrying about every move?? What if we were to stop thinking so much, and took the time to be grateful for the small things? To appreciate the beauty around us? A smile from a stranger. The clothes on our back. The color of the sky. The beauty of the ocean. The sound of our families. The smell of our food. Our own uniqueness.....

If we all got down to basics, would it ease the struggles? Times are hard for many people right now, and there's always someone who is struggling more than you or me. Maybe it wouldn't take away your worries about paying the mortgage or rent. Maybe it wouldn't ease the exhaustion you're feeling from working two jobs. Maybe it wouldn't ease the pain or the loneliness that some are feeling. But maybe, if in those moments, we are able to see the beauty in the small things....we will open ourselves up to something more. An appreciation for the basics. Maybe we'll become the one who starts smiling at strangers, even if we're not feeling particularly overjoyed. Maybe that stranger appreciates that single smile, in that one moment...and passes it on.....and so on.

Calculated moves, worry, and meticulous planning, don't always bring the results we hope for. Maybe a few moments of appreciation, and awareness is all it takes to open the door to a new opportunity, or a new outlook on what the day will bring. One moment of awareness is all it could take to make a difference in one life or many.....wow. I got all that from a walk on the beach?....  :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

No More Empty Etsy Shop.

My etsy shop is no longer an empty shell! I'm so excited that I finally have something in it...Olive&Hope is not a full shop by any means (one ring at the moment), but it will fill up in the next few days and weeks. I'm looking forward to adding listings - I have so many ring styles to add! My plan is to start with the rings, and then I'll move on to my other items i.e. tote bags, zippered pouches, pillow covers, one of a kind home decor items, etc.

I vow to not blog only about Olive & Hope's products, really... *raising my hand - I do solemnly swear. As I work through getting the shop set up, I'm sure there will be more than a few... I will keep them short and informative ;)  I promise. You can check out the shop at oliveandhope.etsy.com  Check back often to see the progress, and that way you'll be sure not to miss out on a limited quantity item. Or something you just can't live another day without!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rings {Today's Project}

Happy Fall! - the Autumnal Equinox is officially here, and I have my air conditioning on....but hey, a girl can still be in the mood right? Today I'm trying to get some rings made for a few upcoming shows. Since I've been feeling so inspired by Fall lately, I went bead shopping and am now working away on some new baubles. Just thought I would post a picture of a couple of my newest additions.

I still haven't listed anything in my {currently empty} Etsy shop, and I'm hoping that I will get my act together... and add some items before the weekend! Oh Happy Day!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ready for Fall - Inspired by Nature

I am ready for Fall! What about you?... In some parts of the country, I'm sure that some of you lucky people are experiencing the beginnings of Fall, but here in Southern California we are getting ready for a heat wave! ugh. *disclaimer- I love and feel blessed to live here, this happens to me every year...It just doesn't arrive fast enough! Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year, and I can't wait to "free" my new Fall clothes that have been locked up in the closet. I love to layer, wear sweaters, boots, and oh how I miss being able to wear jeans without getting overheated....

Not only do I love the weather in Fall, but I also love the colors - different hues of oranges, teals, ochre, greens, purples, and orangey reds. All so beautiful and earthy - completely nature inspired. I have been really trying to be present when I am outside and appreciate my surroundings, it's amazing how you can clear your mind of any junk, just by taking a second to breathe, look around and appreciate the world we live in.

You can find a lot of inspiration outside - look around for colors that soothe you and try to bring those into your home or wardrobe. Think about picking up some pillows to toss on your sofa in one of Fall's wonderful colors to get a quick and easy update. You can also simply add a "Fall feel" to your wardrobe, just by adding in a key accessory or two. I will be posting some of my inspiration photos in the upcoming weeks....

Monday, August 24, 2009

olive & hope {a little introduction}

olive & hope is a new project for an Interior Designer with too much time on her hands. After 12 years as a designer, and with a gentle push from the current economy… I have decided to get back to my creative roots – thus creating olive & hope. I love and am passionate about my chosen career, but have been feeling a pull from some other areas of interest for the last few years. I can’t think of a better time to get started than now!

I have a lifelong interest in fashion, art, furniture, music, photography, flowers, writing, and beautifully thrown parties & celebrations. I guess this comes from my deep rooted appreciation of anything that is beautifully composed. I’m starting this blog to explore any and all of these things that make me so wonderfully happy.

This is the beginning of a new adventure – blogging, and I am fighting the urge to be “all perfect and everything”. I’m going to do my best to jump in and figure things out as I go. Whew! That’s a bit of a toughy for me…