Monday, February 18, 2013

Take Your Life to Eleven

I know you are like me.
I know you want to squeeze as much out of this crazy ol' life as you can.
And so this post is for you, but also for me.
Because I wanted to write this whole design thing for you this week but I just couldn't get it together so I'm confessing and telling you straight out that things are kind of a little bit insane right now.
It's busy out there.
And I know I'm not the only one.
Aren't you busy?
Hasn't 2013 been really busy so far?

So what do you do to tackle your challenges besides getting decent sleep, eating what's good for you, and trying to take life one day, one hour, one minute at a time?

Here's what you do.

You tell yourself that you will never regret giving it your all, but you might regret giving it your some. 

You tell yourself why stop at ten when you can go one louder?

You tell yourself why be an echo when you can be a voice? 

Why wait for validation when you can fill the meter yourself?

Why waste time trying to be perfect when your flaws are what make you interesting?

Why wait for your life to get better by chance when you can make it better by change?

Why listen to your head when you can listen to your guts?

Why let other people define for you what powerful is?

Why be afraid to fail if that's the quickest way to improve?

Why compare your beginning to someone else's middle?

Why put your key to happiness in someone else's pocket?

Why wait one more minute when you can start right now?

I think I feel better.
Do you?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Momfilter Interview

A big thank you to Momfilter, the "lifestyle playbook for families," for their interview with me this week.  Momfilter is the side project of Yolanda Edwards and Pilar Guzmán, editors of Martha Stewart Living Magazine. It's the best kind of parenting blog -- no preaching or ranting, just dense little nuggets of wisdom to make life easier and more interesting.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Mash-ups

Monday mornings are a chaotic free-for-all at my house. We grab some of this, some of that and try not to let the front door hit us on the way out. Below, six brilliant mash-ups to get you through the rest of the week.

1. Best new Tumblr blog for raising your guy's sartorial IQ: 

Menswear Dog.

2. Best new "hi-tech meets hand sewn" accessory: 

Kauffman Mercantile's Roberu iPhone 5 case. (Shown in rust brown.)

3. Best throw pillows EVAH:

ReplaceFace celebrity portraits from



4. Best new Old World/New World interview:

Lee Radziwill chats with Deborah Needleman and Sofia Coppola. Three cool chicks just sittin' around talkin' about Truman Capote, Andy Warhol, Grey Gardens and more.

 (If video doesn't work, click HERE.)

5. Best cartoon-meets-couture (cou-toon? car-toure?) blog:

Hey, Wear This to That.

6. Best "Prog Rock meets Nico" song:

 "Sing Sing" by Ultra Orange and Emmanuelle. (Hint: She's married to Roman Polanski.)

Click HERE for the video.

Monday, February 4, 2013

How Effective Writers (err, People) Behave

I found this old yellowed article last week when I was trying to clean up my disaster of a home office. I'm pretty sure my mother must have sent it -- she does good stuff like that. Guess what? It's really supportive and inspiring, especially for anyone who is under the deluded impression that writing -- or painting or composing or exercising or working or studying or anything else that requires a routine -- is easy. 

I'm retyping it here for anyone who's ever thought they were the only one.

ONE. "Effective writers do not count on inspiration."

True. At this stage in my design book (the last chapters are in sight, but the path leading up to them is steep), I count on coffee and chocolate.

"They write whether they feel like it or not, they write regularly and usually they write on a schedule. Most of them write a specific number of hours every day or they write until they have produced a specific amount of material."

Umm...kind of. I am a procrastinator so my writing sessions tend to benefit from a sense of urgency. This stems from my days in advertising in NYC when my art director and I would be asked to come up with an entire TV, print and radio campaign by the following morning. I don't recommend this approach, but I'm hardwired to it.

TWO. "Most effective writers observe certain physical rituals when they write. They try to write in the same place every day, and they habitually use the same tools. The details of writing are important to them: the kind of paper, the specific writing implement, the clothes they wear, the details in the room, etc."

Familiar workspace. Check.

Kilt skirt. Check.

Lumbar pillow. Check.

Clean the glass table before I start to write. Check.

THREE. "Most effective writers do not write unless they are facing a deadline."

Checkity check check.

"However, they make commitments that force them to write."

Me: Look what you get to watch when you finish.

FOUR. "Effective writers may procrastinate about their writing, using avoidance mechanisms like cleaning the house or doing other busy chores..."

Oops. Missed a spot.

...but they also recognize these digressions for what they are and have ways to overcome them."


FIVE. "Effective writers expect to have writing blocks and have devices for overcoming them, such as writing in a journal, skipping certain sections and copying previously written material."

The last two.

SIX. "Effective writers usually work slowly. Some write first drafts quickly, then rewrite it several times. Others may only write two drafts, but they write them slowly, making changes as they go."

Emphasis on the first sentence.

SEVEN. "Effective writers make some kind of plans before they write, but the plans are flexible."


EIGHT. "Effective writers recognize that writing is generative; they expect to get new ideas and additional insights as they write. They know that writing is an act of discovery."

True. When I have a writing assignment, I brainstorm ideas until my eyes go blurry. There is absolutely no judgment at this stage of the process. All comers are roundly welcomed with a hearty handshake and a slap on the back. I can't count the number of times a "crappy" idea has led me directly to a great idea.

NINE. "Effective writers recognize that writing is recursive; they continually go back to re-read what they have written for stimulation to continue, for the sense that they are on the right track."

True. Here are my notes for the latest chapter of my design book I'm working on. As soon as I finish writing this blog post, I'll be knee-deep in them once again.

TEN. "Effective writers work in stages; they seldom plan to finish a piece of writing in one session."

 True. Sometimes an assignment requires many tea breaks. 

"Most effective writers have trouble starting to write. Almost uniformly they say that writing is difficult and exhausting, but that they get satisfaction from having written."

Does this resonate with you as much as it does with me?

* * * * * * * *
Editor's Note: The article "How Effective Writers Behave" was written by Maxine Hairston. 


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