Archive for January, 2010


January 28, 2010

So the assignment yesterday of going through the list and figuring out what was me and what was the universe… I don’t know but I wasn’t really feeling it. I kind of felt like enough of the list already! Can’t it just sit and rest for a minute? And I didn’t feel like dissecting it again. But just like other assignments that didn’t resonate with me immediately I went ahead and went through the process. And of course I was glad I did.

The part of “what can I do today?”- well I was stumped. Let’s see…. I am home with Seven, he’s running around like a crazy man and I’m behind on work projects. Sure, let me stop for a minute and make a dream come true.  So I waited until he took a nap and revisited the list and read it again. Almost immediately it came to me. I looked up classes online at SCAD and Creative Circus to see what they might have to offer. Creative Circus, not so much, but SCAD had all these amazing community classes I could take that were surprisingly affordable. So Feb. 10th I start! I hate the title of it…I swear I am not an ego maniac.  See the description below.

The Art of Self-Promotion
Wednesdays, 6-9 p.m. (four classes)
Are you an entrepreneur interested in promoting and publicizing your own artwork, business or another creative endeavor? Learn how to launch a cutting-edge campaign on the cheap and get results, from sales to media coverage. In this four-part series, participants will identify target markets, create an effective press kit, set up a place in cyberspace, and get insider tips to secure coverage in local and national media outlets.

Kamal Sinclair earned a B.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and an M.B.A. from Georgia State University. Her professional career in a number of national and international performing arts tours includes several years as a cast member with the Off-Broadway hit STOMP, and PBS’s Reading Rainbow.
1. I’m excited just to meet the instructor with her seemingly super interesting background.
2. I can’t wait to be in a classroom again. And at SCAD no less!
3. More of the unknown. But I know this relates to Stories of Gen, Zifty and this newly founded board I am on for indie businesses. How can this not help that?
4. Does this class scratch something specific off my list? No. But my gut tells me that perhaps this will lead to several dreams coming true.
The other thing I “did” which was actually last week was register for the Portland Marathon on 10/10/10. I have done marathons before but only halves since Seven was born.  He’s 2. I wasn’t finding any joy in racing or training. My head swirled with-I’m not as in shape as I was. I am not as fast as I was. I’ll never get to where I am trying to go. I’m fat.Oh there’s 8 more miles.  Literally beating myself up and thinking negative thoughts the ENTIRE time I was out on the road. How insane that I didn’t really realize I was doing that until very recently? Like I am talking I have done a version of this to myself since I was 10 competing in gymnastics. Thank God for this class and my lovely  newish therapist!
So once I got that negativity in check, my runs have been amazing. Like I could go forever kind of thing. Really strange. I decided to look for a marathon that would be in a gorgeous setting, so I could be surrounded by the beauty inside and out. And there it was- Portland. A mere two hours from where my sister lives in Olympia. When I was registering my hands were literally shaking and my heart was racing with total excitement. I can tell you I have done marathons, 1/2 Ironmans, plenty of racing and have NEVER felt that way. I don’t know what all this means but I am okay with that. I am just going to continue on the ride and enjoy the moments of almost giddiness it is giving me now.
There is even some ridiculous icing here too. I emailed my sister and told her about my idea. Her and I could take the 2 hour train ride to Portland, stay at the Ace Hotel for the weekend and hey by the way do you want to do the marathon with me? She said yes!  So exciting that I am going to be with her and there for her on her first marathon. Takes on a whole new meaning.


The List

January 26, 2010

I decided I want to journal the process of opening the list. I swear it feels like I am a kid again on Christmas Eve. That little swell in my chest as I prepare to read it again and go through the exercise. Tyler is at a late meeting, Seven has gone to bed exceptionally early  and I have our gorgeous new cozy house to myself. Music playing, ideas scattered on the dining room table where I sit, altar of sorts in eye shot and a cocktail at my fingertips. It is almost ridiculous.

Anyhow, I am excited to see how I feel. What makes me smile, what makes me question, if anything makes me roll my eyes or want to cross it out.

So I just read my list. And you know what? I love it. It made me feel good. It made my heart race and I am a little short of breath right now. The kind that is on the brink of fantastic anxiety and horrible. Why? Because it feels like a lot. Because I want it all to happen. Well because I am impatient. Nothing really made me roll my eyes. Laugh? Yes. Because I think if someone didn’t know me and read the line about “Experience celebrity” they might get the wrong idea. And even though I am going to share my list in its entirety here; it is mine. I am sharing because I hope others do too and I also believe I will find the exposure very liberating. Not usually my bag to be so open.

The assignment was to take it a step further and decide what ideas made me feel vulnerable, to be more flexible, brave, open and trusting. It is interesting but none of them felt like they weren’t “me”. Don’t get me wrong there is plenty on the list that are not in the realm of my current reality; but I don’t feel like any of it is past possibility. The list makes me feel hopeful. I feel brave for taking the original 20 minutes and not holding back. I feel vulnerable because I am sharing it. I am aware of the flexibility that all of it will need. As these won’t happen just because I wake up one day and say so. I’ve got to trust myself, the people I love and even the unknown. Not easy things for me. But I believe at this point in my life, in my 37th year, I am more open to it then I have ever been.

The List in no particular order:

Publish a book

Live in Europe

Give Seven a really big life

Experience celebrity (think book signing not paparazzi)

Get my six pack back

Be a consultant to start-ups in business development/brain storming

Have Stories of Gen written up in the NY Times

Lots of fashion purchasing power

The money to send my parents on a once in a lifetime trip

Do an ultimate endurance race

Go on lots of trips with my sister

Live debt free

Broaden my retail/designer partnerships with Stories of Gen

Travel, travel, travel

Have another kid

Learn graphic design

Be a choreographer

Create a line of snack trucks

Develop Lady Rogue  board into something bigger

Be able to change someone’s life thru generosity

Create passion through reinvention in our marriage

Run marathons faster

Lots of weekend trips

Bring entire family to non-resort part of Jamaica

Create a line of paper goods

Be on the board of a super indie museum

Fill house with selected pieces of design with a story

Pay dad back for college in one check

Be go to person

Have a super over the top creative office environment

Have a constant supply of amazing packaging

Swim in lots of foreign blue waters


Be a really amazing mother and wife

Stay youthful and current

Have surprises that make me grow

Learn HTML

Create a clothing line

Work from wherever I want

Go to surf camp in Costa Rica

Race a car

Outsource the stuff I hate doing

Open a resort with Gulf Streams done in fun luxury

Meets lots of amazing people & keep up those friendships

Buy Tyler a Scout for his 40th

Live in NYC for a period of time

Send Seven to amazing schools (not necessarily private)

Have a better second pregnancy from an emotional recovery perspective

Realize what I do for other people and take some satisfaction in it

Stop being my own worst enemy

Never be political in my success

Attend an amazing seminar or brainstorm session that intimidates me

Get a mentor

Be a mentor

Have Seven know me as Jen and not just his mom

Make sure my mom knows true happiness

When My Gut Out Talked My Head

January 21, 2010

I had been in a job and an industry for a few years and the novelty had long worn off. I went from being an early twenty something who excelled in sales to someone who was hired away to a bigger market to do a start-up for a smaller company. I jumped at the chance. Bigger city, bigger paycheck, tons of new challenges. I was super excited. And I was super under prepared. Fast forward a few years, I was burnt out, hated the industry, hated my boss, was starting to hate myself. So with the buy in from my live in boyfriend  (he’s my husband now) I cashed out my smallish 401K and quit.

I had no exact plan. I did not know what I was going to do next. I ran a lot. I went out to lunch. It was fantastic. Then it got really, really quiet. Painfully so. And the voice in my head started asking myself “who the hell do you think you are to quit?”, “why do you think you deserve to do that?”. I was 30 and didn’t know and those questions scared me out of sleeping lots of nights. I did know though that I couldn’t stay on the path I was on. So I dreamt up a couple of jobs and even turned them into offers. Starbucks Corporate and Aprillia Scooters on a global scale. But again that voice that said these are not right and with a dwindling bank account I walked away.

The depression  really kicked in then. And I was clearly the only person in my universe who wasn’t at work and being “productive”. Then one day in a funk I was  reading through a free weekly magazine. I decided to glance at the help wanted ads. To paint an accurate picture, most ads were for “massages”. And then I saw an ad for a delivery driver position for a small start-up internet based delivery company. I loved driving my Mini Cooper and knew the city; so I called the guy. $7 an hour plus tips he told me. I have NO IDEA why I went and met him and no idea why after that first meeting I knew something bigger was going to happen. Afterall I left hired as contract delivery driver. So work now involved ridiculous baby doll t-shirts, cargo pants and Pumas. My boyfriend, “You are going to be a delivery driver? Cool.” Most days he meant it.

Anyhow, we were so slow at the beginning I spent a lot of time in the warehouse. Mind you the warehouse was the size of a walk in closet. That being the case it allowed me to have lots of conversations with my 28 year old boss. In between waiting for orders to come in, watching terrible reality television in the break room and me doing the occasional delivery we got to know each other.  Turns out he is a serious techie and I am pretty good at business development and marketing with no budget for it. So a few weeks later, papers were drawn and I was his business partner. That was 7 years ago and we now have 50 employees and a true warehouse/building of our own. Of course there are a whole new set of challenges today; but that is for a different post!

At the end of the day, I clearly had no idea any of that was going to happen when I answered a delivery driver ad; but I am grateful I followed whatever was leading me that day. It was clearly something that was bigger than myself.

Clearing the Air

January 19, 2010

This latest assignment really spoke to me. I love the feeling I get after I collect up unworn clothes, shoes mainly bought on an impulse, purses no longer carried and form a collection for donating. If I haven’t worn it in 6 months, it is gone! I mean there are a few special occasion exceptions there but I really try and stick with that thought. The areas I tend to slack more in are ridiculous mess of the bill “bowl”, the back of my car, even the air with my business partner. I just need to say it and I just need to do it. Whether it is not biting my lip, or saying out loud the compliment I was thinking, losing the guilt over saying no, and feeling free to communicate the churning thoughts in my brain. Whether it is with my husband or my friends or colleagues. Thinking through this, I know that sometimes just the act of communicating honestly and thoughtfully and being in the moment in all of that; provides a cleansing process for me. It makes my heart and head feel light, my shoulders drop a couple of inches and that little line in between my eyebrows a little less deep.

That will be my homework this week. To clear it all out. Have those conversations. Say those things. Clean out the cabinet that stores all of my inspiration for Stories of Gen. I mean if it is locked up in a mess, is it really all that inspiring? (see below) Get the numbers crunched for 2009. Un-shove all of the incredible packaging items that I have picked up along the way. Donate some of Seven’s toys and clear out clothes that no longer fit him.

It will take some time. It might be a little painful. BUT it when it is all said and done, it is going to feel amazing. I can anticipate the lightness from this exercise already. Hopefully I can bookmark the feeling and not let it get so easily forgotten about in the back of the closet.

Posting Notes

January 19, 2010

When I read the assignment it came across to me as something that was a very cool idea but for someone else to do. I just don’t see myself as that cutesy, placing handwritten notes around town for others to find. Not to say I don’t enjoy making people feel good, or being random or planning surprises. I don’t know it just felt a bit on the silly side. But I printed them out, picked a few that spoke to me and headed into my neighborhood with a handful and my iphone.

As I was walking I got to thinking about where would I place them, how would I feel if I came across something like this and I found myself getting excited about it. It was kind of weird actually. But then it went from feeling odd to fun to really gratifying and I am sure if someone saw me walking down the street they would wonder why I had this ridiculous grin on my face.

Surprising strangers and not knowing the true affect on anyone. Mysterious joy. I like it.

Short List of What Gets Me Going on Not So Fab Days…

January 14, 2010

Here’s a quick snap shot what gets me going when I wake up and am not “feeling” it. Basically it boils down to putting something tasty in my body and getting it moving. The “doing” on the list often leads me to being inspired and distracted enough from what was bothering me to move onto something more productive!

Mondo Beyondo

January 12, 2010

This blog is dedicated to the next five weeks to an online class I am participating in. We shall see where it goes next…

The question needing an answer today is who provides me inspiration to take chances on my own dreams.

I am the type of person who pulls things from everywhere. They are often unconnected and I make some kind of random (sometimes very random) connections out of them. It is pretty much how my brain has always operated. With that being said, it is hard for me to think of a single person who pushes me to take chances. In terms of people I don’t know but come across in blogs or interviews or random readings I am inspired by those who are living their life by doing. Traveling to foreign places, hosting pop up secret dinners with weird ingredients, starting an informal non-profit because of something they witnessed firsthand, people who collaborate with others and then walk away and actually follow thru! I like movers and I’d like to have a way to be surrounded by them in one way or another all of the time.

On a people I really know front, there is a person that fits this and it is my sister. She’s 5 years younger than I am, speaks a ton of languages, has lots of tattoos each with a story, ridiculously died baby doll hair, is a librarian, is a feminist, an activist, an avid reader, traveller, thrift store shopping goddess, has a slightly dysfunctional but amazing boyfriend, speaks her mind to a point she can scare people (but she researches the hell out of things). Oh and her singing voice, it is so sweet it would make you cry. I could go on and on. I love her. And I love that she never settles.

Hello world!

January 12, 2010

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