Making Friends in Oregon

Preparing to live a location independent lifestyle means a LOT of preparation. Sometimes that’s in the form of researching RV’s, selling “stuff” we won’t take with us, focusing on selling our house and planning a timeline. Sometimes it means making new friends.

Last week I headed up to Oregon to the first ever Hello Sessions, a blogging conference for women who want to connect and support each other to help change the world in our own way.

I drove thru Oregon last summer as part of a six week road trip but I never made it to the Portland area so I was super excited to check out another area we might want to spend time in when we hit the road.

Portland did not disappoint, but more than that what surprised me was the unbelievable community of women that had gathered there.

I’ve been to small business, art and networking conferences before but this one was different. It felt like a three-day affair even though the Hello Sessions is a one-day affair. 

We just couldn’t stop hanging out with each other and introducing our new friends to our other new friends. We were connecting people with those that could mentor them, fill a business need they had or just share in their journey because they are on similar paths.

Some stayed on for a few days and on Saturday evening we headed out of Portland to McMinnville, OR for a special gathering and amazing dinner called  Love Where You Live organized by Maggie Batista of Eat Boutique and Chelsey Nichol of Type A Press with out of this world food by Let Um Eat.

It was so much more than I ever expected it might be. We were welcomed into a beautiful community that celebrates their small businesses, their friends and where they live. I will definitely be back to McMinnville!

I didn’t know that part of the preparing for this life changing adventure would mean making friends from all parts of the U.S. that I will definitely meet up with when we are in the area.

I expected to meet people along the way. I didn’t realize that once I started sharing our project of life on the road I would see the same level of enthusiasm back from those listening before we’ve even left.

This has shown me a few things.

It’s shown me that people will help lift each other up and cheer each other on when they feel a connection to you and what you’re putting out in the world. I’ve learned about so many others living this way that my new friends are willing to connect me with to share stories and get advice.

It’s shown me that different is good, and although not everyone will understand the choices we are making those that see the light in our eyes when we talk about it will not only understand but they will support us. Putting yourself out there and telling your story is the best starting point for any journey.

I want to thank Joy and Melissa the founders of the Hello Sessions for putting out a clear message about their conference. It helped them attract like-minded women who want to learn from, share with and support each other.

I look forward to visiting my new friends when we hit the road. I definitely see some collaboration in our future. 

All magical photos in this post courtesy of Linnea Paulina Photography.

The Lure of a Road Trip

What is it that is it about being on the open road, heading out for an adventure that is so sexy?

My husband and I are planning on a road trip for his next two-week hiatus from work. He works on the Jimmy Kimmel show and they always take a lot of time off in the summer. I love to get on outta So Cal in summer because it is way to freaking hot for me;)

I always get so excited for road trips! Last summer I drove all the way from Los Angeles to WI and back over the span of six weeks. It was just Sophie, my springer spaniel, and I the whole way. It was really an amazing trip, and I plan for it not to be the only time I do something like that.

We went through six states I had never seen before by choosing different routes each way. I got to experience the majesty of the Grand Tetons and the unbelievable quirky marvels of Yellowstone for the first time.

Being on the road alone I could sing at the top of my lungs to any music I chose. There was no one else setting the pace. I could stop whenever I wanted for a little break. I didn’t have to listen to any objections if I decided to linger in an area for a morning hike. There was also no guilt about subsisting on beef jerky, potato chips and iced tea all day. Well, maybe a little guilt from Sophie until I gave in and shared my jerky.

The point I’m making is I think being out on the road can throw you back into times gone by, before we all had so many responsibilities and making decisions could be totally based on a whim.

There are no should, there are no judging eyes, and you are free to witness nature in ways most of us don’t on a daily basis. It can give you time to think and wonder “What if?”

Open space and being outdoors has such a soul soothing effect on me I try to seek it out whenever I can. I chose to cook all my dinners while I was on the road, having brought along a tiny camping stove. It really allowed me to be in the moment and appreciate how fucking beautiful our world is, and how important it is to get out of your head and truly see new things for what they are.

The best things about road trips sometimes happen thru camaraderie. If you are lucky enough to have a partner or some great friends that love to explore as much as you treasure that, and take advantage of it. You can create some pretty special moments being on a minute-by-minute road trip with others.

 I am so fortunate to have James, who by nature of being a landscape photographer will jump at the chance to explore any time he can. With he and Soph by my side I’m set. I could never come home.

These are the things life should be about. Telling stories around a fire, hiking off into foreign hills, and sitting together in silence as you take in the grandeur of a breathtaking overlook, these moments are IT. Experiences like these remind us how the Earth was here so long before our blip on the timeline, and how connected we are to all of it if we take the time to see and respect our role.

So get out there, get out of your bubble and go travel my friends. Experience will enrich your lives so much.


Project Simplify: The beginning.

It’s warming up here in Southern California. Summer is officially in full swing. It is actually my least favorite season here. It’s just too damn hot for me. I’m not very effective at getting things done in the summer heat. My body says sit still, drink iced tea constantly and read a book. My brain says – you’ve got shit to do.

I’m working on striking a balance with that this year, because hopefully this will be our last summer living in So Cal. Yes I’m putting it out there – Woo hoo!

James and I have never moved anywhere together. We have been together nearly ten years now, and in the time that we’ve lived together (8 years) we have lived in the house that he owned when we met. I am so excited about choosing our next location and building a home together that fits exactly what we see for our future.

I have been reading a lot this spring and early summer, and there are several books that helping me to pause and think about how I want to prepare for our big move. The book that seems to be landing on everyone’s recommended list this year, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo was the first inspire me in the direction of simplifying now before our move is imminent. If you haven’t read it yet, see if you can borrow it from a friend who has already bought it (I guarantee at least one of your friends has got a copy).

It is not in fact a book about tidying. Well she talks a lot about tidying but what we learn is that tidying by definition is not something you should be aiming to do in your future. The point is to simplify your collection of belongings so much so that everything you possess has its very own home.

Once you wade thru years or decades of stuff that you have acquired because you “needed” it and keep only the things that truly bring you joy today in this moment, you will start to feel a sense of clarity and freedom. This is a super distilled description of the thesis of her book.

She really helps explain why one big paring down of your belongings to things that truly bring you joy can have such a profound impact on your life. Gotta read it!

Within a week of following Mari’s plan to simplify and de-clutter the house James noticed what I was up to and got super inspired to start mapping out our plan for the next nine months. Now I am by no means done working thru the whole house, but I have to say it feels so good to be on the simplifying path that it crops up in my mind to keep plugging away at it daily.

This idea of simplifying our lives in general is something James and I talk about all the time. It’s a big part of changes we will make in choosing where we live (location wise) and how we live in the future.

We are planning on massively downsizing our home size and living on a much smaller budget, and least for a while. We want our lives to focus around being outdoors as much as possible, travelling, crafting a rich home life where friends and family will love to come and unplug.  Our choice of work will also be tailored to our new life, but more about that another day.

I want to make on more book recommendation for wrapping your brain around the path of simplification: Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. This one book is all about the philosophy “Less but Better.” Greg talks about the mind set shift that needs to happen so you can choose where to focus your energies more effectively. Great tips for applying these principles to your life and your business. It’s absolutely one of my favorite reads this year and I can’t wait to dive into a second read of it.

I will share so much more about Project Simplify as we move along, so stay tuned. I hope you use some warm summery days to get outside and enjoy time with family and friends at the beach, or around a campfire (one of my all time favorite things to do).  It’s also a great time to spend a sweltering afternoon with a good book (like those above if they resonate) and a refreshing drink (booze optional;)

Thanks for being here,  and sharing in my life’s journey!

So Much and So Little - The Vision Shifts

These days it feels like there is so much going on in my life and at the same time so very little. Confusing I know, it’s confusing to me as well some days.

I have to pause on the way I have been spending my days for the last few years (working on my jewelry business.) I hit pause and then restart and pause all over again – so the cycle has been going for the last few months.

I keep bumping up against something that is telling me to stop, at least for right now. I have to say that is so scary. It’s scary because my husband and I have been working towards this bigger goal for both of us.

For the past five years I have worked a myriad of part time jobs that fit in and around creating and trying to grow my jewelry business while my husband has been supporting our lifestyle.

We have a vision for our future that includes him quitting his editing job to focus on his photography work, selling our house, and moving out of Los Angeles. The hope was that my business would be up and running enough so that I could at least pull my own weight financially to help facilitate these changes.

We have talked about opening a gallery together, creating an artists’ retreat in our new location out of the city, and a few other ideas a long the way. The time is here.  The time is now. We are starting to meet contractors to get the work done on our house so that we can sell and he can quit his job hopefully within the next nine months.

It feels like I’m throwing a wrench in things, and that also feels scary and might I add selfish. The thing is I know I’m meant to do more than run a jewelry company. I am meant to do so much more. My heart knows it. My gut knows it, and my fucking nerves know it.

When I talk to my fellow creative about this they say, “but that’s so exciting, right?”  Yes it is, but I’m still in the discovery phase and for me like a lot of what the hell am I doing mixed with twinkling moments of excitement and vision.

The vision is out there, it’s hovering just beyond my grasp. Some days I’m able to pull a few nuggets out of the air and plant them into a rough outline of what is to come.

So there is fear of adding to my plate and changing direction, fear of the unknown, fear of failure. I know I’ll be ok along the way, but all these fears crop up. It’s going to take time for this new vision to manifest itself, and as someone who likes to plow ahead and get everything done now, and everything done right this stage is killing me. It feels like three steps forward and two steps back. That step I’m gaining most days is trust. Trust in myself my vision and my strength.

My husband, James, and I are at such a great point with so many explorations and avenues for growth ahead. I am often overwhelmed by the joy I can feel these changes are going to bring us. I will continue to trust in myself and trust in the process each day of our journey thru these BIG changes.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing in this story with me. I look forward to sharing the evolution of my vision with all of you.

The Noise We Create in Our Lives

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the noise we create in our lives. There are so many pulls on our attention these days that it can create this immobilizing overwhelm. There are so many things that we allow eat up on our precious time. Are they really important, or are they really necessary?

Do you ever feel that way? I know I certainly do. Living in Los Angeles comes with it’s own level of constant stimuli. I remember the first time my uncle visited me here, he and his wife were struck by the number of people here, always going somewhere, doing something, and always on the roads. I could relate to what he noticed right away. You can’t miss the long stretches of cars containing often only the driver filling up the roads and always in a hurry.

For a while I had a job that required me to be in my car diving all over the city. I was visiting boutique accounts for another jewelry designer. It’s funny to me that I didn’t find it stressful. I was able to relax and find peace even when it might take me 20 minutes to move half a mile. The reason is that I was getting paid for all that time and I could listen to music, or podcasts that I chose. It felt like a luxury.

I can usually find the grace to move through this society with an open heart and patience. Then there are times when I notice all of the competition and stress and constant pushing forward really gets on top of me.

Sometimes I think all this rushing and frustration I see is because we feel so full of “shoulds”. I have been hearing this a lot lately. Fuck the “shoulds” do the ‘wants’. It’s all about changing your mind set. It is not about ignoring responsibilities and living with disregard for others.

I think focusing on the wants is where I’ve been getting stuck lately. I am beginning to realize that maybe the things I have been “wanting” to create in my life come from deep-rooted expectations that I believe other people have of me. When in fact I’ve been creating these shoulds to follow a path I dreamt up long ago. It’s time to craft the new wants.

We change all the time. Every new experience we have, every book we read, or struggle we go thru all have the power to allow us to change. We can come out the other side with new perspective, new information, or new resolve. Don’t listen if someone says people don’t change. I wholeheartedly believe we do.

I also have to believe that it is possible to start making conscious changes in the way we structure our lives, the choices we make and the dreams we dream that will allow us to cut back on the noise in our lives. It is possible to live with deeper intention and love.

This is the path I’m on, and I hope you’ll join me.  Think about the things you’ve been chasing in life. Do you know why you are on the path you are? Do these reasons still resonate with you? Are you chasing the dream you truly want, or are you checking off everyone else’s shoulds?

I’d love to here what you have to say in the comments, or feel free to shoot me an email.