What’s For Dinner?

It’s 5 o’clock and the question that causes me to shallow breathe and pour a small vodka on the rocks, echoes from the family room…”what’s for dinner?” I know how fortunate I am to be able to answer that question with “what are you in the mood for?”, but that doesn’t keep me from standing in front of the refrigerator with the doors wide open and staring at the shelves, tasting dread.

You see, I have made many mistakes as a parent. And the one that is in my face (literally) every day is around food. My 12 year old is a vegetarian (and has been for 4 years), my husband is as skinny as a refugee and I am still battling the chubby 10 year old I see when I look in the mirror.

So wondering what I can make that will be meatless, fill up my husband and keep me from carbo-loading, is a constant challenge.

Elly to the rescue! Elly is my old sidekick from high school who makes all things look effortless. I appreciate knowing that the woman behind the curtain actually has to think about being human. Even she wonders, “What’s for dinner?” As such, she follows the blog of her friend, Amanda Haas. Elly claims that Amanda has “the best cooking blog and marriage saver I’ve ever tried!”  When asked what makes it so great, she says, “No more wondering what’s for dinner and we go to the store once a week.  Reading Amanda’s blog saves me time, energy and  money.”

So friends, check it out. www.onefamilyonemeal.com

What if we tried it together, for a month, starting the week of  September 6th? Its Labor Day weekend – and we could take the “Labor” out of the day.  We could use TMC to post  ideas we find, tips and success. Yum!

In the meantime,  it would be delicious if you could share  your favorite time-saving dinner recipe with our MindFULL Creative readers. I will post mine next week. It’s actually an old recipe that I have changed over the years that Elly used make in high school! And guess what, I have managed to make it into a vegetarian, low-fat and filling one dish meal. Thanks, girls!

What’s your favorite MINDFULL and easy family dinner recipe? Let us know!

A MindFULL Vacation

If you could see the sign hanging off the tip of my brain, it would say “gone fishing…for new ideas”.  We all talk about how important it is to step outside of our lives and slow down, but how often do we give ourselves permission or time to really take the step?

In order to fill our minds with ideas and thoughts we are the better for, we must first empty our minds of the clutter. Easier said than done, but with a change of scene for an hour, day or week, I find that the clutter starts to fall off and my mind is, once again, open to new ideas. Its like taking a long swim in the cool ocean on a hot summer day.

This summer, I was clinging pretty close to the shore. I didn’t feel like wading out into the summer water, so to speak, but I am so glad I did. A little change of scene has helped and once again, I am busy filling my journal.

I had forgotten about my journal – a small book that my friend Tamara taught me to easily make:  simply cut out words and pictures that mean something to you and glue them onto 1/2 of an 8×11 colorful page. Take the the page to Kinkos, where they can laminate  it and bind it to several sheets of plain white paper — and viola’! A journal for collecting ideas, all in one place and easy to refer back to it and use.

Before I head back out to the sand, here are a few ideas in my summer journal,  so far:

Black Mango tea – great iced

Pine Nuts – toast em and then roll ready to bake cookies in them for an extra little pizzaz!

Drizzle grape-seed oil on avocado, orange slices and dill

Collect stones of similar shapes and sizes and paint them — you can find little ones and make them look like green olives and fill a martini glass with them for a fun centerpiece ; you can paint them with designs and get a big piece of wood for a home-made checker board, you can lay them in a pattern by the back door and fill the spaces with cement, thus creating a small area for a table and chair, flower pots or a path in your yard.

Tunics are totally in! Fun colors and lightweight cotton make them ideal for hot days – paired with leggings and or thin white jeans, they are a fun summer uniform. Very “Mad Men”.

How do you empty your mind and refill it with MindFULL ideas? Let us know!

Summer Needs Some Spirit

You’d think as it is summer, that I would be well rested and my creative spirit would soar. Sadly, I am feeling just the opposite and all I want to do is lie on my bed and watch hulu.com. It’s not like me, but I am tired. Really tired. It’s a high class problem – too much to do, too many wonderful people to see, too little time.

So, I have dug deep and pulled out some creative jump-starts. One is cooking, one is finding the perfect gifts for thanking all the people I will have to thank this summer for all the nice things they are about to do for me and one is learning with a fabulous teacher and fun, heartfelt and creative spirit who simply helps me see the world in a whole new way.

First, the food. Everyone has some where to go and has to bring something to the party. I was on for dessert Saturday night at dinner club and I brought home-made s’mores. Crazy – but fun and actually tasty!

I made the graham crackers http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/000126.html, I made the marshmallows http://www.sugarlaws.com/homemade-marshmallows and I bought good old Hershey’s chocolate. Two tips: make sure you roll the cracker batter thinly (mine were more like Graham bricks) and let the marshmallows set for as along as you can. They gel better. But these were fine and fun! A new twist on an old summer staple!

Moving on to gifts, check out Barbara Solway’s work. http://www.solwayart.com

Hand painted wooden bowls and fiber art pieces (bags, wall hangings, etc) all hold Barbara’s unique style and eye. They are truly works of art and will surely delight the recipient. We gave a Solway bowl to my Dad and Pam for their anniversary. They are lovers of wood and glass. I have a small purse to wear across my chest when I travel and another small bag I keep my personals in. Addie has a fiber heart hanging from her bedroom doorknob and the mirror in the picture below, rests in my study. My back faces the doorway and I use the mirror to fix the feng shui. Its complex simplicity stimulates me on a subconscious level every time I look at it.

And then there is Judith Cassel-Mamet at http://www.jcmamet.net. Pick up a glue stick and be prepared to let the hours fly by. Judith teaches all sorts of mixed media art techniques. If you click on my past entry on travel journals, you will find an example of one technique. I will do a whole entry on a fun idea that Judith will help me share with you, but in the meantime, check out her site and blog. There are so many fun ideas and links to other creative spirits. I guarantee you will find SOMETHING that gives you an idea and makes your day a little more saucy.

Just writing this entry has gotten my juice flowing again. Imagine if I logged off the computer and picked up my glue stick, just how energized I could be. Hmmm… think I’ll find out!

How do you MINDfully get over being tired and get your energy flowing? Let us know!

It’s All At the Airport

Every few months I travel for work and one of my favorite parts is actually time spent in an airport. Really. It’s kinda  inevitable, so why fight it? Looking at travel time  as “found time”, I use it to become more MindFULLY Creative.

I always carry a small notebook in my bag to capture ideas that come to me. Then I use the pages as “check lists to create” and gain the added bonus of checking off creative to-dos. Whether it is from a magazine I splurged on, a display in the store window, or an “aha” when I am forced to sit quietly on the plane for two hours, I always find something that I would have never found.

I also carry my handy-dandy travel journal craft kit. It’s a little pouch with my travel journal, a glue stick, a great pen and water color pencils. I plug in my iPod and for two hours, I am in a creative zone. I write about my trip or anything else that comes to mind. Ripping out pics and gluing them in, using the water from my cup to smear the colored pencils across the page and then adding some text, gives me the satisfaction of having done something when there is nothing to do. When we are delayed, it helps me focus on something other than my annoyance.  And when I get home, I am a happier Robin.

I also love to see what other women around the country are wearing and have gotten some great ideas. In Philadelphia, I saw an elegant woman wearing all black and silver. Now my favorite travel wear is to dress in all black and then wrap a colorful pashmina, like turquoise, around my neck. Throw some silver jewelry on and you have a classy and comfortable travel ensemble.  My friend Tracey is repping a line of affordable jewelry that can spiff up travel basics and add a skip to your step! Check out www.sydneyandrews.com/traceyp

Another way I use the time is by catching up on collected magazines and the Sunday NYTs. I don’t always have time during the week to read the whole paper, so I stash the parts I am interested in and pull them out at the gate. If my flight is delayed, I’m still gathering ideas. I also like to buy the paper of the town I’m in. I’m bound to learn something or find some idea that gives me pause.

I hate the phrase, “we have some time to kill”. Why would anyone ever want to kill something so precious?

What have you discovered sitting in the airport that has filled your mind with new ideas and energy? Let us know!

It’s All About Learning

Yes, I know this picture is blurry. However, I am using it anyway. To me, it’s a metaphor for this crazy new world of social media and blogging. It reminds me that it is about the creative process and not having to do it all perfectly.  I could get hung up on having to understand everything before embarking, but I have decided to swim against my natural inclination and plunge into learning along the way.  I hope by checking into The MindFULL Creative every so often, you, too, will learn something new!

Some friends have asked me what the difference is between a blog and a website. In my new favorite resource book, Blogging for Bliss, Tara Frey describes them as:

A blog is a type of website supported by a content management system that provides a collection of features including a home page where the latest content automatically appears on top and earlier posts appear in backwards order. Blogs allow users to do much more than just write and share text. You can include photos, audio, video, and other interactive tools.  Blogs allow for comments and interaction with the reader. Historically, websites were more static.

If you’re not into reading books, but like the old world, person-to-person kind of help, try  Marc Farmer.  Marc came to me through my friend Nancy Sharp (stay tuned for an entry on Nancy’s beautiful blog). Marc owns Internet by Demand. Even tho’ I built my own blog on WordPress and designed my own logo, Marc helped me understand nuance and made my logo easy to use across mediums.  Marc is an invaluable resource for those of you who don’t have the time or the inclination to muddle through and design your own website or blog.  He makes everything so easy and he uncomplicates this complicated world.

You can reach him at mfarmer@internetbydemand.com

As I meander along this path, I also spend a lot of time talking with my friend, Jill, about what it means to be relevant in the social media world. There is so much to know and it is rapidly transforming old paradigms. We learn something and then…It’s on to next! Jill sent me this social media cheat sheet. It’s by no means comprehensive, and I have no idea what half of them are. However, in our effort to learn how to navigate this crazy new world, I put it out to you. Maybe you’ll discover something useful and find a way to add it your everyday life.

Here’s to filling our minds with new understandings and “aha” moments!

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Aggregation Tools: FriendFeed, Lifestream.fm, Lijit, Ping.fm, Socializr, Socialthing!

Blogs: Blogger, Typepad, WordPress*

Bookmarks: Delicious, Digg*, LivejournalMixx, Newsvine, Propeller, Reddit StumbleUpon, Technorati*, Yahoo! Buzz

Post Documents: Google Docs, Scribd

Post PowerPoint Presentations: AuthorSTREAM, Google Docs, Myplick, Slideshare

Post Videos: Vimeo, YouTube

Social Networks: Crowdvine, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo

Twitter Tools: MyTweeple, TweetDeck, TweetLater, Twibes, Twitter


One Girl’s Junk Is Another Girl’s Treasure

Several Friday nights ago, my daughter was at a school social. The social was oddly timed – Friday night, 630-830pm. By the time you dropped them off, you had to turn around and go back to get them. Hmmm… how to spend the time?

The few hours seemed like a great opportunity to get together with school mom/friends I don’t often have a chance to see. Rather than sit around and compare notes on kids and school, I thought it could be fun if we stepped outside of our mom lives and stepped into our girlfriend lives instead!

Now, many of these women have great taste. I appreciate how some of them wear really fun accessories. And when I comment on their style, some say, ““Oh, this old thing?” Well, I personally would love their old things. So, I suggested we clean out our jewelry/accessory drawers, meet for drinks and swap “old things”. This way, we could clean out our drawers (something all of us could easily do) and walk away feeling as if we had something new.

It was a blast! 14 of us gathered at the local pub and set our treasures up on a table (and a few chairs). We drew numbers from a hat and went in order. We agreed that we would choose two items at a time and continue to go around, for as many items and as much time as we had.

I couldn’t believe what some girls brought. Wow! There was so much, that we had the added bonus of donating jewelry, bags and scarves to the local women’s shelter at the end of the evening.  It was heart warming to see how happy everyone was with their finds. I personally walked away with a fabulous pair of earrings to match some bangles I had just bought. A total score!

Capital One asks, “what’s in your wallet?” However, I encourage you to think about, “what’s in your drawer?” How can you mindfully generate opportunities to spend time with friends and re-purpose what you have? The possibilities are endless!  Leave your ideas below and let us know what you create!

Imaginibbles

Now is that a clever word or what? It doesn’t even begin to describe the creative, thoughtful and fun website and its creator.

Imaginibbles  is the brainchild of Tamara Kleinberg. Some of you may recognize Tamara’s name. I thanked her in my first blog entry for encouraging me to step into The MindFULL Creative. Actually, in my minds eye I wear a t-shirt that says , “Thanks Tamara!” This lady really knows how to inspire others.

I had the amazing grace to cross paths with Tamara several years ago when she was a VP in a local marketing agency and hired me to be part of a creative brainstorm session.  She saw and validated a creative spirit that I had been eager to unleash. And scared to death.

Lucky for us, Tamara laughs in the face of fear and holds out her hand to you while you leap.

And she does it with her own experience and  well-researched creative methodologies. She’s turned her experience and knowledge into Imaginibbles:  Little Ideas for Big Imaginations. As you’ll learn on her blog, Imaginibbles provides “ toe tickling ways to ignite the mojo; and state-of-the-imagination exercises, ideas and inspirations”. Whether you personally want to expand your comfort zone (vs stepping outside of it), create a vision and take action or find fun and creative activities to do with your kids, Imaginibbles has something for you.

Wander over and check her out. Experiencing Tamara is like taking a bite out of the juiciest and ripest piece of summer fruit. For just a moment you are transformed to another world. And you’ll be the better for the world of possibility you visit.

http://imaginibbles.com/

A Mind Full of Thoughts

Welcome to my blog, The MindFULL Creative! The idea for this blog came from wanting to share years of accumulated information I have gathered (tips, insights, personal musings and awesome folks doing wonderful work, etc.) and to have a place for you to share with me. We have to share. The news is unsettling. However, finding new ways of living can become a creative challenge.

For example, last Winter I heard Jean Chatsky speak and she helped me re-frame my spending habits. Jean said, “It’s not about feeling deprived, it’s about re-framing how you are saving — save ‘towards‘ what you want.” Now, I pass on buying another pair of black shoes and think of how I am saving towards a beach house. It was so helpful and led me to realize how my mind is so FULL of inspirational stories and creative ideas I have heard through the years, as well as how I try and use what I’ve learned to be more mind-fully creative. It’s a way of navigating a new world and a new way of thinking.

I’m hoping The MindFULL Creative will become a space where we can share what we discover along the way. Perhaps you have a recipe that everyone asks you to bring when you’re on deck for dessert.  Maybe you read a book, found a website or heard a song that shifted the way you saw things – or simply loved. Maybe some of you have ideas on how we can shop our own closets and recycle what we have into new and creative uses (stay tuned for a future entry on my jewelry swapping party!). My  hope is that, together, we’ll find new ways of understanding who we are and have fun finding out what’s going on — and that we will be the better for having been here.

Please send me what you’ve learned. Share your tips and insights. Pass on stories and websites of folks doing something that makes you smile. Together we can circumvent the bad news, and focus on filling our minds with information, tips and ideas that make us the better for being and at the same time, becoming mind-FULLy creative.

Many thanks to my MindFULLY Creative friend, Tamara, who inspired me to create this site. YOU ROCK!