Category

self

Category

oddballs

Catch-up dinners with close friends are a wonderful thing. Sometimes they are just casual and fun and other times they become some of the most inspiring and motivational conversations you’ll ever have. Last night I had one of the latter kind with a friend who’s known me since the beginning of college. She’s seen me be everything from ridiculous to amazing and seems to always understand the beauty in the things I do. Pretty priceless, huh? We got into a discussion over our current states of restlessness, almost drowning in our desire to make our dreams manifest into reality. She read aloud to me Linda Holmes’ article on NPR, Hey Kid: Thoughts for the Young Oddballs We Need So Badly. I highly suggest you read the entire thing, but here are a few of my favorite parts.

The fact that nobody is doing what you imagine doing is the beginning of your idea, not the end. People want to read things that haven’t been written, see things that haven’t been made, and hear things that don’t yet exist. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t see yourself reflected in what’s being shown to you, let alone what’s being heavily marketed to you.

oddballs | tide & bloom

Everything worthwhile has a strong feeling in it, which means if you’re going to make great stuff, you’re going to have strong feelings. This is part of why people associate artistic types with moody outbursts or temper tantrums or lying around saying, “Oh life!” And it’s sort of true.

Out here, we are already waiting for you. We are already anxious for you. Out here, we want to see your stuff. Don’t get me wrong — some of us will disappoint, reject, confuse, misunderstand, mislead, or even exploit you. (Not the good ones of us on those last couple. But some.) But we want to see your stuff. Keep going.

UGH. That is SO good right? Of course after reading it, I’m thinking “I wish I had written that,” but more importantly I wish I had read that when I was younger. The world is prime for our individuality to shine if we allow it to. If we believe in our original thoughts/ideas/creations and put them out there and exercise them, who knows what will happen. And the beauty is in our possibility, our potential. We – meaning I – need to stop trying to arrange ourselves to be reflections of icons of success or cultural importance and instead place priority on becoming a genuine and unfiltered reflection of the inner creator. 

the diversity of dreams

I’m usually spouting one-liners or quoting inspirational pins about how to chase after and believe in your creativity. While I fully stand behind all of that motivational media, I sometimes forget that creativity permeates everything and dreams do not solely entail artistic pursuits. Thankfully I was reminded when I read this blog post by Lisa Jakub. She cites a Thought Catalog article on “drones” versus “dreamers” and shares her distaste for the negative connotation often given to more traditional 9-to-5ers in the world. The dictionary definition of a dream is a strongly desired goal or purpose. There are no other parameters, no right or wrong, and no mention of any social norms. All that matters is the instinctual feeling of wanting a certain life for yourself.

the diversity of dreams | tide and bloom

I’ve lived most of my life on the fence between my creative self and my intellectual self. The latter was of course always touted as the more likely moneymaker of the two, yet here I am slowly dragging my feet through the mud of being artist. While this is a valid and worthwhile choice, I cannot pretend that I am above or any more enlightened than others who would have chosen the other way. If I had desired to become a doctor or if I had desired to major in technology, I would have done it to the best of my ability and that would have been just as admirable as what I am doing now.

While I’m always gushing over other traditionally “creative” individuals – artisans, choreographers, designers, chefs, etc – today (and hopefully moving forward as well) I would like to congratulate those who pursue the dreams that are not so directly related to my own. To the doctors, lawyers, accountants, scientists, teachers, and everything in-between: I appreciate your dreams more than I can ever say. It is your creativity within your chosen profession that keeps the world functioning, growing, evolving. Your mark, while it might not a visual one done by hand, is a thing of beauty as well.

So if you enjoy what you’re doing, if you are living out your desires… keep doing that, whatever it may be. Have faith in the value of your dreams and allow that to be your guide. (Now it’s time for me to peace out because I’m getting cheeezy).

[ image via tumblr ]

loveyourselflinkup

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and come a part of the Love Yourself Linkup…

creative masters: jeanée ledoux of finely crafted

While I enjoy sharing the struggles and triumphs of my own life, I thought it might do everyone well to start exploring the lives of others who are also striving to manifest their dreams. I’ve decided to entitle this interview series “Creative Masters” because all of these individuals have mastered the art of forging their own paths and are a great inspiration to me (and hopefully you too). They listen to their inner selves and are willing their unique visions of grandeur into reality. I’ve had the extraordinary privilege of coming across so many talented creative professionals in the past few years and I’m so excited to be sharing with you how they came to be the amazing pathfinders they are today.

Atlanta is so pleasantly filled to the brim with extraordinary people who make it their life goal to enhance your visual living experience. Jeanée Ledoux, of Finely Crafted, is exactly one of those people. She and I met through the blogosphere and I was immediately enchanted by all the colorful and charming goods her store has to offer. After finally meeting her in person, I knew I had to do this wonder woman justice by sharing her awesome story on T&B. Jeanee is one of those girls you’d love to have in your friend group because even upon first meeting (an impromptu one at that) she is so lovely and easygoing. Not to mention she obviously could decorate your house at the drop of a hat. Jeanée opened Finely Crafted less than a year ago (seriously) and is already making her mark among the ranks of the awesome. If you don’t have a chance to check out Finely Crafted at Paris On Ponce, do not fret. Finely Crafted is officially going online in September of this year!.. Just in time to make our holiday season that much merrier.

Jeanee Ledoux of Finely Crafted

Describe Finely Crafted in three sentences.

Finely Crafted is a cheerful destination for home decor, gifts, and personal accessories inspired by modernism and mid-century kitsch. My boutique supports independent artists and small companies who pour their hearts into their creations, many of which are handmade. The Finely Crafted blog delivers store updates and artist info, but it’s also a source for DIY projects and a community that celebrates the craft movement and modern design.

Finely Crafted in Paris On Ponce, Atlanta GA

It’s a delightfully curated store for sure! Tell me more about your background and how it led you to this.

I’ve been hot and heavy with the craft movement since 1999, when I took my first job as an editorial assistant at Storey Books in North Adams, Mass. We published DIY books on cooking, gardening, sewing, etc., and I’d spend lunch breaks poring over projects and dreaming of writing my own craft book one day. In 2005, after several years of thrifty decorating projects in a few apartments, I wrote “Abode a la Mode: 44 Projects for Hip Home Decor,” published by Sterling. “ReadyMade” magazine was new, and book publishers seemed to be scrambling to find young makers with a fresh point of view on crafts. That same year, my sister Suzanne and I founded Honeydoux jewelry, which featured vintage buttons and stones. We got into several boutiques and sold directly at craft markets, which gave me some merchandising practice. In 2009 I designed the projects for the DVD “Re-Construct: Eco-Friendly Crafts Made Easy,” co-hosted by Garth Johnson of Extreme Craft and produced by Eyekiss Films. All my crafting seemed to hover around hobby status, financially speaking, so I took a break in 2011. I stayed involved in the handmade community by volunteering at craft shows, like ICE, and supporting makers I admire. I began thinking of myself as a craft cheerleader rather than a crafter, but I knew I wouldn’t be content on the sidelines for long. Last summer I felt drawn toward retail, so I made an “If I had a store” Pinterest page. I made a casual inquiry at Paris on Ponce and showed my page to one of the owners, and I had a signed contract for my own mini-boutique just a few days later!

Finely Crafted in Paris On Ponce, Atlanta GA

Wow. You’ve had quite a journey! What gave you the courage to make the leap to begin Finely Crafted?

I’ve never been afraid of starting businesses — Finely Crafted is my third! Renting booth space at Paris on Ponce is a low-risk way to dip my toe into the retail pond and see whether I like it. I do need to give myself lots of pep talks, though, to feel confident about designing the store. I’m not an artist and have very little merchandising experience, so I can spiral into heart-wrenching “who am I to do this . . . ?” thoughts. Having a space that hundreds of people judge every week makes me feel quite vulnerable! I’ve always been a fast learner and hard worker, though, so in the end I trust that I’ll scrape together enough know-how and style to be successful.

I know how you feel about being vulnerable. But your love for the work of the artists you represent obviously shines through. Who’s your current fave among the Finely Crafted artists and why?

I’m crazy about Leah Duncan! Her wall art and home decor (I carry prints, tea towels, and pillows) are inspired by diverse genres — from impressionism to Scandinavian folk art — but the patterns and colors are always distinctly her. There’s a joyful, dynamic movement to her drawings. For example, the paddle cactus on her tea towel looks like it’s dancing. Her oh-so-50s colors are some of my personal favorites, like sea foam, peachy pink, and goldenrod. Leah and I are collaborating on limited-edition prints that will be sold by Finely Crafted only, beginning this fall. I’m so excited and grateful that an established artist I admire is willing to take a risk on a retail rookie!

Finely Crafted in Paris On Ponce, Atlanta GA

I can’t wait to see them! I doubt anyone could call you a rookie of any kind with the life experience you’ve had and the collaboration sounds perfect. The craft and DIY movement is very hip right now. How do you set yourself apart from others like you, yet still remain relevant? 

starting small

One of the biggest mental setbacks I have is the fear that I’m not as great as the people I admire and aspire to be like (artists, bloggers, entrepreneurs, etc). Those beautiful creative professionals seem like they have everything together so effortlessly and they continue to surprise me with their ability to stay fresh, relevant, and inspirational. Despite knowing that they all had to start somewhere, I always find myself feeling so far behind with so much left to go. Why do I feel like I have to start big and so close to the end?

starting small

I keep forgetting that you don’t begin a success. You become a success.

seeing yourself clearly

Self-image is a weird concept. It suggests that we have an idea of our identity that was/is self-created or self-manifested. What always confounds me about this is how greatly our self-image is actually propagated and influenced by those who surround us. Whether it is loved ones or strangers, it’s often in their eyes that we see our reflections in. Of course as soon as I say that I am also reminded how often I actually don’t see myself the way others do. I almost always see myself lesser than how others see me – uglier, more judgmental, not as talented, and so on.

tumblr_mefa8qhQyo1qb5t88o1_500

So while I stand behind the idea of ignoring what other people think, I find that I personally need to do the opposite and listen to what other people think. As I’m navigating through my quarter-life crisis, I am constantly facing the fact that the only person doubting my abilities and holding me back is myself.

Like with any other personality fault, this is not something I can easily overcome. I’m 100% sure that it is equal parts nature and nurture that bring me to this crucial point in my life.

know thyself

Every few weeks I tend to experience an identity crisis. I have the awful plague of being a creative and ambitious individual which means nothing is ever good enough, including myself. In order to pull myself out of this hopeless hole, I have to do something that will lead me back  to remembering who I really am. Sometimes it’s rambling on to my boyfriend about how I’m too far behind to do anything worthwhile in my life, to which he usually responds with reassuring words about how everyone loves everything I do. Other times it’s chatting with best friends who usually tell me how much they admire my strength and courage.

403_834127384891_1209_n

Today it happens to be that I’m reminded of who I am by my birth date. Everyone loves reading descriptions of themselves and their potential futures, in hopes that their own self-image and desired goals will be confirmed as what destiny had intended for them. While I do believe that we are in control of our own lives, I also think you can’t get anywhere without knowing thyself.

sweet summer style

The idea of a style post scares the hell out of me. While I’ve always loved fashion (wearing and coveting), I’m so much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. Thankfully there’s no shortage of cutie-pies in my life to showcase and posting pictures of my friends will help me feel less awk about posting pictures of myself. First up is Kylie!

Kylie's Summer Style | Crop Top and High-Low Skirt

Kylie is a brave and beautiful girl I know back from my ol’ college dancing days. We used to spend most of our time together figuring out West African dance moves or shakin’ our rumps on stage. She’s already a success at the tender age of 22 because she’s strong, independent, and knows what she wants out of life. Her style reflects exactly this – always poised and pretty, with a little bit of fun flair mixed in. Kylie said her inspiration for this outfit was Carrie Bradshaw (whose isn’t?) and I was basically ready to steal this crop top right off her back.

Christina's Summer Style: Lasercut High-waisted Skirt | tide & bloom

head to toe: sunglasses / necklace / tankskirt / shoes

Though I was cringing editing these photos so graciously taken my patient boyfriend, I know that it’s healthy for me to put these out there.

claim your succulence

My life has been riddled with fear of failure and self-doubt of my talent, despite all the evidence of my success. But thanks to divine luck, I have a best friend slash life coach who has a never-ending arsenal of encouraging words of wisdom. During my visit to see her graduate, she was actually the one giving me source for life inspiration. She handed me three books by Sark and asked me to choose one of them, as a gift to take home with me. I chose The Bodacious Book of Succulence: Daring to Live Your Succulent Wild Life.

Ballyvaughaun Ireland | tide & bloom

For this week’s Love Yourself Linkup, I present to you my favorite excepts from this motivational read paired with pictures from a study abroad trip I took to Ireland about five years ago (I still yearn to go back).

Ballyvaughaun Ireland landscape | tide & bloom

A succulent is a plant that gets its nourishment and water from the inside – it replenishes itself.
I wish for you the ability to self-replenish, to be juicy, ripe, filled to over-flowing.

Ireland-2

We deserve to be the caretakers for our spirits and dreams, and this means truly sensing and listening for our most alive route.

Ireland-4

Step back into the light of your creative purpose even if you’re not sure what it is. 

instamadness

Yes, I finally joined Instagram @tideandbloom #latebloomer. Guess I just can’t resist yet another way to share my experiences! Here’s a little sample of where I’m beginning:

[instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/ZN6dNkn_yW/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/ZdtKEpn_9f/ width=325][instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/ZdspvhH_8o/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/ZdvJN3H_xG/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/Zd05G_H_6M/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/Zdfk_mn_1f/ width=325]

Are you addicted to Instagram? Are there any particularly interesting Instaphotographers I need to follow?

 

the end of the war

This post is part of the Love Yourself Linkup, an ongoing series focusing on self-image to foster an engaged community of writers and readers to connect, share, and love. Anne The Adventurer bravely revealed her struggle to recovery and began this linkup to encourage other writers to share their unique experiences and journeys. You’ve read a little bit about it already, but here is the longer version of how I became who I am today.

35441_10103257129772641_635717703_n

For the greater part of my life, success for me was determined by the grades I received. The number one goal was to be at the top of the class in all subjects and to use any energy I had to get there. Yes, I was the Asian cliché: a timid and quiet overachiever raised in a strict environment who just wanted to make her parents proud. This deep sense of obligation was engrained in me early on and the only way I knew how to exist was to strive for perfection and do what was asked of me. Straight A’s were a standard of normalcy and the only acceptable report to bring home. Anything less resulted in a loss of privileges and along with it, strong words of disappointment, grief, and anger.

 5569_10100169458141341_6603686_n

It was tough adolescence, but please don’t get me wrong. I was given as much love as I was given discipline, but my parents just had a different way of showing it. They were wonderfully generous to me, just not in an emotionally expressive way. You could say my mom was a little bit of a Tiger, but this was her own flavor of motherly love. If she didn’t push me to be better, who would? I’m sure this was the thinking behind it, but unfortunately it took me a lot of time to accept it as a positive force in the grand scheme of things.