It’s funny that I often forget about reading, considering it’s such an essential part of being a writer. I’ll go through spells where I’ll collect a bunch of books and read them one after the other, then I’ll go weeks if not months without reading. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of blogs and magazines and online articles. I read daily doing research for clients or simply staying up to date in my industry, but I mean reading (a book).
Reading a book seems pretty self-explanatory, right? But there are a few ways you can make a habit of reading books in a more creative way. I’ll give you a pass if you absolutely adore your Kindle or the like – they do make things quite convenient, particularly for those who travel often or commute on public transportation and need a one-handed approach. However, I encourage you to read a physical book whenever possible. We look at screens all day, and many of us are conditioned to certain habits when reading on a screen. You may associate reading on screens with work as opposed to pleasure, and you may tend to skim to get through the material more quickly. When you read a book, it should be a ritual – you should slowly slip away from the world around you and into the pages. I believe physical books help facilitate this practice – they help to ensure reading is a leisure activity, and they help you to slow down and really take in each and every word.
What you read also impacts the creative habit of reading. I had such an “ah ha!” moment when I heard Cyndie Spiegel, a business strategy coach for creative entrepreneurs, talk about the benefit of reading fiction versus non-fiction. In one of Cyndie’s newsletters she discussed “turning down the noise” and reminded us that constantly reading non-fiction books on your industry or interests or stage of life can influence your connection to yourself. When you’re disconnected from yourself and more vulnerable to outside influences, your creativity is impacted. You may be more judgmental or less inspired. So, I love Cyndie’s suggestion to read more fiction. Escape into another universe, dive into the life of a character, and allow yourself to fantasize.
The holiday season and end of the year is an incredibly hectic and stressful time for almost everyone. Now more than ever, we need a creative outlet, particularly one that can easily be carried in a pocket or purse. Pick up a book this holiday season. When you need a break from the bustle or family, drift away into a story without even leaving the room.
If you’re just joining the creative habit series, be sure to look back at the challenges for the past four months for more creative inspiration and learn about the book that sparked the series, Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit. Finally, don’t forget to share your experience making a habit of reading (a book) using the hashtag #AOCBlogCreativeHabit.
Each holiday, nearly every blogger and business crafts a curated guide of their top gifts for the season. In the past, I too have composed my fair share of gift guides. I’ve even written a post addressing whether these lists, infographics, and collages are actually helpful or hindering. Last year, I felt truly passionate about my shop small gift guide, which focused on supporting local businesses during the season of giving, but this year, I couldn’t bring myself to create another. Yes, most of us have to give a gift or two (or three or a dozen) during the holidays, but I think we could all use a reminder that the most valuable gift we can give is our time.
I’m sure your grandparents will make good use of the newfangled Keurig coffee maker you got them, but wouldn’t they love if you sat with them for an hour and worked on a puzzle? Every mom adores a new piece of jewelry for the holidays, but wouldn’t she love for you to join her in the kitchen and bake a batch of cookies from scratch? Your brother may desperately need a new wallet after he accidently washed his in the laundry, but wouldn’t he love to go out back and build a snowman like you used to as kids?
So, this holiday season, I don’t have another gift guide filled with fabulous suggestions for all the friends and family on your list. This year, I’m challenging you to think about how you can give your time to the ones you love. Take a post-Christmas dinner walk with your boyfriend, gather your cousins for a card game, or get together with your girlfriends and have a gift wrapping party. This holiday season, make a memory that will live on for holiday seasons to come.
2015 is fast approaching. While it’s always a good time to reinvent yourself, the New Year is a particularly poignant occasion to do so. Perhaps you’re planning to look for a new job or pursue a new career in 2015. Maybe you’re hoping for a promotion at your current company in the New Year. Is 2015 the year you monetize your hobby into a serious side project? Have you been considering launching a blog? There are numerous reasons to think about renewal as a New Year draws near.
A portrait session is the perfect way to jump-start a new you for the New Year.
There was a time when portraits were primarily reserved for special occasions – think yearbook photos or family Christmas cards. No more! Anyone with some disposable income (or, hey, some Christmas cash) can afford a professional portrait and present a more polished image.
We live in a time when social media has given almost everyone a public persona, and sometimes it’s tough to say where personal ends and where professional begins. A social media photo is often the first impression you make, and more and more it seems an iPhone and an outstretched arm won’t suffice. Don’t you want an image that makes people stop and say, “maybe I want to look a bit closer,”?
If you’re ready to kick off the New Year with a new you, join Angie Webb of Angie Webb Creative for a Headshot Mini Sessions Event from 10:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday, January 10. Each session lasts 20 minutes, and you’ll get the opportunity to shoot with up to two different backdrops. Afterward, you’ll be able to view your proofs online and select two images to be fully retouched by Angie. This exclusive event is limited to eight slots, and space is filling up fast – register now!
BONUS – Complimentary Styling Consultation from Yours Truly
As a bonus, I’m offering complimentary styling consultations for those participating in the event. Once you register with Angie, connect with me to arrange an in-person or online styling consultation free of charge!
Who needs a headshot?
Anyone and everyone! Business professionals, small business owners, entrepreneurs, event planners, photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, models, actors, students, fellow bloggers – people from all walks of life can benefit from a high-quality headshot.
Where can I use my headshot?
Again, the possibilities are endless – personal or professional social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and so on), personal or professional websites (digital portfolios, personal blogs, your company’s website, etc.), job applications… believe me, you’ll get good use out of your headshot! I know I have!
Why would I need styling assistance for my headshot?
When you look good, you feel good – dressing well boosts your confidence. Many people feel they can’t afford to be stylish, but you can show your personal style without overspending (or spending at all). Sometimes all it takes is looking at your wardrobe with a fresh perspective – it can be as simple as accessorizing.
About Angie Webb Creative
Angie Webb is a brand designer and consultant who assists businesses and individuals in creating a visual look and feel for their brand. Angie’s services go beyond that of a typical designer with her holistic branding approach. First, Angie walks each and every one of her clients through an in-depth process of discovery to find out who they really are and how they want to portray themselves to the world. From there, Angie helps them create a visual identity and other supporting elements, including but not limited to photography, website design, and print materials. Her work doesn’t stop there! Angie then assists her clients in implementing their new identity and moving forward with their renovated brand. Through a clear and thorough process, comprehensive strategy, and coaching, Angie helps businesses and individuals succeed and thrive for the long term.
So far in my 2014 Holiday Gift Guide advocating shopping small, I’ve showcased three amazing small businesses from around the country:
1. Native Bear in Atlanta, GA
2. Woodbury Lane in Milwaukee, WI
3. Must Love Sparkle in Chicago, IL
4. Jordan Grace Owens in Durham, North Carolina
I discovered Jordan Grace Owens back in college at an artist market in Athens, GA and instantly fell in love with her designs. Jordan Grace has the ability to capture the unique personality and essence of a person while keeping her signature illustration style. She has a number of items that are ready-to-buy in her Etsy shop, but she is most well known for her custom work, specifically her personalized paper dolls. Yes, I said paper dolls, but before you shrug off the possibility of purchasing something that sounds old-fashioned, take a look at Jordan Grace Owens’ designs and think again. Jordan Grace started making her illustrations into paper dolls in “an effort to make art that people would want to touch and interact with,” then they took off (Need Supply Co interview)! If you’re looking for a unique way to capture your family or friends, send Jordan Grace your photos and she’ll draw and assemble their likeness for a one-of-a-kind portrait.
J O R D A N G R A C E O W E N S
A girl can never have too many totes. This hand-screenprinted Leggy Canvas Tote is ultra feminine, fun, and functional. It’s sizable (15″ x 10.5″) enough to serve as a pseudo-purse, grocery sack, in-flight carry on, gym satchel, weekender bag – the applications are endless!
Out with the old-school concert tees and in with the cute graphic tees. This super-soft fitted tee has a lovely sentiment and sweet illustration. It’s perfect for any lady on your Christmas list, young or old!
Partners, pets, parents… spouses, siblings, even friends… the possibilities are endless when it comes to Jordan Grace Owens’ custom-made, personalized paper dolls. Unfortunately, JGO’s paper dolls are so popular there is a 3-4 month wait list. So, the best course of action for the holidays is to purchase a gift certificate.
About the Business:
Jordan Grace Owens is an artist, illustrator, and maker based in Durham, North Carolina. Her intimate and stylized designs have caught the attention of numerous publications such as Design Sponge, Need Supply Co., and Real Simple magazine. Jordan Grace’s work is also featured in the book 1000 Portrait Illustration: Contemporary Illustration from Pencil to Digital. With a fine arts background, two years working in graphic design, and plenty of artistic encouragement growing up, Jordan Grace has built a flourishing business on Etsy and made a career making drawings.
The holidays are a time to come together with the special people in our lives who we don’t see often enough throughout the year. This season, ditch the typical holiday happy hour, break tradition, and think outside the box. Spice up your seasonal get together with some festive fare and a healthy dose of holiday spirits. Wine tastings at Osteria Mattone are a stylish way to gather your closest friends, family, or co-workers this holiday season.
Nestled in the heart of Osteria Mattone is an intimate wine room stocked wall to wall with dozens of bottles, each of which have been hand-selected by in-house sommelier, Dan Pernice. To develop the wine collection at Osteria Mattone, Dan coupled his knowledge from the James Beard Award-winning wine program at The Modern in New York City with his time spent in Italy, all while following a simple, guiding principle: the wine has to match the cuisine. This is the same fundamental idea behind Osteria Mattone’s wine tastings.
Bundle up (the wine room is kept at a chilly 62° !) and cozy up to a group of your friends, family, or co-workers for a night of eating, drinking, and being merry. Osteria Mattone currently offers three Wine Tasting Packages, each of which include carefully curated wine and food pairings.
1. Tour of Italy Tasting
$50/person*, limit 8 people
Package includes: 1 White Wine, 2 Red Wines, and Chef’s selection of Salumi and Formaggi
2. Advanced Italian Tasting
$75/person*, limit 8 people
Package includes: 1 Sparkling Wine, 1 White Wine, 2 Red Wines, and Chef’s selection of Salumi, Formaggi, and Antipasti
3. Custom Tasting
Price dependent on wine and menu selections*, limit 8 people
Package includes: Working directly with the in-house sommelier to curate a list of wines that are exciting for their innovative styles, off-the-beaten-path regions, or unique personalities.
*For each package, there is a flat fee of $100 to reserve the private, temperature-controlled wine room.
To purchase and book a wine tasting or to discuss further details of a custom tasting, email Osteria Mattone to start the process!
Please note Osteria Mattone’s holiday hours:
Tue-Thu, Sun: 5:00pm – 9:30pm
Fri-Sat: 5:00pm – 10:30pm
Lunch, Tue-Sun: 11:30am – 2:30pm
Christmas Eve: 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Christmas Day: Closed
New Year’s Eve: Closed
New Year’s Day: 5:00pm – 9:30pm