Today I’m kicking off a monthly series, the Creative Habit, inspired by Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit (which I highly recommend reading). The focus of the book and this new monthly series is best summarized in a passage from Tharp’s practical guide:
“The routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more. And this routine is available to everyone. Creativity is not just for artists. It’s for businesspeople looking for new ways to close a sale; it’s for engineers trying to solve a problem; it’s for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way… Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That’s it in a nutshell.”
Since leaving college and the cushion of being surrounded by countless peers, professors, and mentors all of whom were writers or dancers or artists, I’ve struggled to maintain my creative self. In my experience, the older you get, the more you lose that youthful abandonment and in turn, begin to lose your creativity. In addition to outside forces impacting our creative selves, we’re at greater risk of inhibiting our own creativity as adults. We allow the left brain to kick in with logic, analysis, and judgement, and we become quick to extinguish or abandon our natural creative impulses. Slowly but surely, over the past five years, I’ve fought to maintain my creative self. It’s challenging, and that’s why I believe in forming a creative habit.
For this Creative Habit series, I’ll present you with a creative assignment toward the end of each month. Then, for the thirty days that follow, I challenge you to incorporate the creative habit into your routine. The tasks will start out very basic so that you can discover what creative habit works best for your lifestyle and your creative self. September’s challenge is to simply embrace the last several weeks of summer weather and go outside every day. I don’t just mean walk from your car to your office or step in the backyard to let out your dog – really go outside! When was the last time you sprawled out in the grass and gazed at the sky? Do you ever go on a walk or run without your headphones and let your surroundings speak to you?
So many of us are confined indoors for 80-90% of the day. As a freelance writer who typically works from a home office, there have been periods where I didn’t leave my apartment for three to four days at a time! This is an extremely unhealthy work practice, and I can definitely say my creativity was at an all-time low during these stints. Now, living in New York City without a car, I’m forced to spend time outside almost anytime I need to go somewhere, but that doesn’t always mean I’m engaged with my surroundings. Most people who are going from Point A to Point B on the streets of NYC are in their own worlds – talking on the phone, listening to their headphones, or even reading a book or newspaper. Remove the extraneous technology, noise, and distractions! Don’t just go outside, be present in the outdoors and appreciate your natural surroundings.
Over the next month please share your experience making a habit of going outside with the hashtag #AOCBlogCreativeHabit
I normally try not to spread negativity, but today was just one of those incredibly frustrating days on the grind. Midday, I felt so lethargic and dejected I had to just step away from my work and take a me moment. It was then I complied the images for this inspiration board, which I’ve titled Keep Blogging Weird.
In these instances, I typically find myself looking for creative inspiration. Whether it be in my work as a freelancer, in my hobbies, or right here on this blog, creativity is what drives me and motivates me to press onward. I discovered this about myself after learning to tune into my mind and body and truly listen.
I’ve talked about the cyclical relationship between feeling good and looking good in previous posts. Most of the time this blog is devoted to discussing looking good, but today brought back to the importance of feeling good. To make a bold, blanket statement: life is hard! It’s very easy to not feel good. This is why it is imperative for us to listen to ourselves, be mindful, and check in to our bodies. They’re telling us something! And today, mine was telling me to take a moment to help myself feel good. After my short me moment and some lunch, I had a positive meeting with a client and a productive phone date with my bff bride to be for whom I’m maid of honor. All it took was listening to myself and doing what my body needed to turn my day around. When was the last time you tuned in to your mind and body and listened?
Here’s a FEEL GOOD, LOOK GOOD challenge: stop and take a moment each day to practice listening to yourself. For an even bigger challenge, act upon what you crave in that instant – maybe all you need is a me moment. Once you feel better, you’ll look better too!
By now you probably know I’m big on fashion collaborations, and the industry seems to be overflowing with them right now. Most recently, Kate Hudson’s capsule collection of LBD’s debuted at Ann Taylor and Zooey Deschanel’s capsule collection with Tommy Hilfiger hit stores. From what I can tell these stylish partnerships are on the rise, and I’m here to keep you up to date. So without further ado, here are 5 current fashion collaborations!
J.Crew + Sophia Webster
Shoe addicts, brace yourselves. The fun and quirky British shoe designer Sophia Webster has collaborated with J.Crew on a spring shoe collection. The line consists of 13 ultra feminine and fabulous shoes that might just break the bank with prices from $320 to $695 (however, it’s worth noting these shoes are a mere fraction of the price of Webster’s own collection). If you’re a true Carrie Bradshaw, you’ll skip the Starbucks, pass on happy hour, and pay rent late this month just to snag a pair of these snazzy shoes. The line launched yesterday and is available to shop in store.
H&M + Alexander Wang
A little over a week ago Alexander Wang shook up the world of Instagram with his video announcement of an upcoming collaboration with H&M. Over the years, the retail giant has teamed up with a number of designers – Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld, Lanvin, Versace, and Isabel Marant just to name a few – but Alexander Wang is the first American designer and the youngest, at the age of thirty. Needless to say, we can expect the line to be contemporary and youthful. The partnership is a particular honor for Wang because it marks the tenth anniversary of collaborations for the brand. Start the countdown. The collection is set to debut online and at 250 H&M stores worldwide Thursday, November 6, 2014.
Urban Outfitters + Stone Cold Fox
You may have heard the recent buzz about Urban Outfitters new shopping haven in Williamsburg, New York. The concept store, Space Ninety 8, mimic’s the brand’s retail experience Space 15 Twenty located in Los Angeles. Space Ninety 8 is a marketplace in a four story warehouse in the heart of Willamsburg. The lower level of the space is home to rotating pop-up shops, one of which is Stone Cold Fox. Stone Cold Fox is a brand established by childhood friends Cydney and Dallas, both of whom share a passion for vintage wares. The pair gather inspiration from vintage clothing and aim to make it fresh again with each of their collections, including the one designed exclusively for UO. You can shop the collection on the UO site now, or if you’re an NYCer, head on over and check out the awesome pop-up shop in Williamsburg!
Banana Republic + Roland Mouret
In typical Banana Republic fashion, the brand has tapped a key designer of women’s fashion for its next collaborative collection. French fashion designer Roland Mouret has partnered with the retail powerhouse to design a luxurious and affordable capsule collection. Mouret is best known for his high end dresses with impeccable design and fit. In this line, the designer aims to create clothing that is both flattering and attainable. The collection consists of 25 sophisticated and structured pieces ranging from $50 to $165, which is a fraction of the designer’s label. Mark your calendars. This line is set to launch in store and online in August of this year.
Topshop + Kate Moss
You’ve got just about a mere week left before the highly anticipated Kate Moss for Topshop collection launches on Wednesday, April 30. The multi-talented English model drew inspiration from four distinct styles when creating the collection: a beachy/island vibe, “pajama dressing,” cocktail hour, and suiting/menswear. The diverse line will be available online and in-store at Topshop, Nordstrom, ShopBAZAAR and Net-a-Porter. With such diverse designs and prices ranging from $70 to $1200, there is truly something for everyone in this collaboration.
Baby, it’s cold outside! So, I decided to warm up with Spring inspiration. If you’re like me, you spend these brutally cold winter days bundled up in layers of black and gray. Today, I needed to dream of more colorful days, bikini bodies, and brightly polished nails. After a long day of weathering the fierce winds and falling snow, sit back, relax, and enjoy this Spring-inspired style collage! Stay warm, ladies!
15 Best Online Stores
Fashion blogger Emma Werner of Fashion Hotbox names her “most affordable, trendy, unique, and overall BEST” desintations for shopping online. What are your go-to sites for online shopping? Some of my faves fell on her list, such as Nasty Gal, Shopbop, ASOS, and Urban Outfitters. See which e-tailers made the cut, and who knows, you might learn about a new online store or two! Read her post here.
Stacy London’s Picks
Stacy London has teamed up with Baublebar to create the ultimate holiday gift guide. When in doubt, gift a girl some jewels! London weighs in with her picks for best statement pieces, layered looks, and timeless classics. If you’re looking for a gift for your mom, your sister, or your girls this holiday season, this guide has got a look to please every uniquely styled lady in your life! I’m personally coveting the layered looks – so versatile!
P.S. Check out Baublebar’s blog, The Post, for the brand’s tribute to What Not to Wear, What NOT to Gift!
The 90’s Trend that Actually SHOULD Come Back
Many ladies would argue that I’m not a true fashionista for the following reason: I’m 5’2″ and refuse to wear a heel over 4 inches. I know you tall ladies are fuming at me for not taking advantage of the ability to wear 6-inch pumps and only be 5’8.” After years and years on pointe shoes back in my ballet days, I refuse to torture my feet any longer! So, it’s no wonder I’m rejoicing at this 90’s comeback: the court pump. And the heel height is (drum roll please…), 3.5 inches or less!
P.S. My philosophy is: you can have it all and never pay full price. See how much (or rather little) I snagged these pumps for from Rue La La. The deal is over now, but Cole Haan is a brand that recurs on many members only deal sites like Rue La La, so stay on the lookout!
A collection of early Dior photographs from former photographer of the stars Mark Shaw was recently revealed. Shaw is best known for his photography for Life magazine in the 1950’s and 1960’s. These intimate images are up for auction at 1st Dibs. These are a must-see!
Tis the season for remarkable holiday and resort campaigns that make our wishlists runneth over. Popsugar has highlighted seven campaigns they find particularly swoon-worthy. Of their picks my personal fave is probably the Nicole Kidman for Jimmy Choo Resort 2014 collection I featured on the blog a few weeks ago. However, I’m also loving the Banana Republic ad. If this doesn’t say classic holiday campaign, I don’t know what does! Check out the complete list here.