music, memories and martinis

Marc Cohn has a new cd out and it’s called Listening Booth. He has taken songs from 1970 (when I was 12) and given them a contemporary spin. I love it.Not only for the songs themselves, but for the soundtrack it provides to this adventure I am currently on.

You see, I just visited my 12 year old at summer camp and this weekend was my 30th high school reunion. Both events can’t help but force me to travel down memory lane. I work hard to live in the moment, but sometimes a quick jaunt can remind you of how far down the lane you have travelled and how appreciative you are of where you are now.

I absolutely adore my 12 year old. She is far wiser, funnier, smarter and easier than I was at that age. I sit on the Board of Smart-Girls (, an organization that gives girls the tools they need to navigate the tumultuous tween/teen years, and still my heart aches for the trials and “girl stuff” girls go through. I do what I can to cheer my daughter on and guide her through it, but listening to Marc’s music reminds me that we all have our journey in this life and soon the details of this time will simply serve her well and become part of her life tapestry. Still, 12 can be hard and I remember how hard it was for me. Somehow tho’, the memories add to my compassion and empathy. And the music reminds me of both.

Following on the heels of visiting day, was a trip to see my dear friend from high school. Knowing I would not be in town for the reunion weekend, we coordinated my visit so that we could at least be together, if not there. I love my friend and laugh endlessly with her about who we were and who we are. I sit at her kitchen table with ease and enjoy her kids, who have their own music to live by. Last night, as we sipped coconut cloud martinis with our reading glasses perched on the tips of our noses, my friend’s daughter played her iPod. So much of what we heard was a re-mix of music from high school. What does this say about how music follows us down the path?

Music, memories and martinis. It the stuff that life is made of. Cheers!

What MINDFULL music would you choose to match when you were 12 or 17? Let us know!

Follow Your Thread

So excited! On Saturday my new stationary arrived.        

I love stationary. There is something about the crisp clean card, the feel of the pen gliding across the paper and the sense of grace as I seal the envelope.

When I was a kid, whenever I received a gift, my parents made me write a thank you note immediately. I hated it. Now, I love it. Moreover, I appreciate it when someone writes to me. So few people use paper these days. It’s an era gone by.

I also learned that in addition to writing personal thank you notes, handwritten professional thank you notes are also treasured. When I was young, I worked at the Illinois Lottery and Desiree Rogers was my boss. Desiree used to write us thank you notes for jobs well done on her personal stationary. I saved mine and learned to do the same as I moved through my own career. I think it is elegant. Maybe that’s why Obama tagged her to be the Social Secretary!

Now I collect stationary and one of my favorite places to buy it is at The Little Monogram Shop

LMS is owned by our friend, Dori Loomis. She is as cute as her store. Creative and light-hearted, Dori’s spirit is only surpassed by her taste in gifts and goodies. Lucky for us, when her girls were in Kindergarten and 2nd grade, she was itching to do something that utilized her creativity. One evening after a glass or two of wine with friends, Dori casually mentioned how perfect some vacant space in town would be for a little monogram shop.

She’d been sewing since she was 7, loved computer graphics and design (which made learning the specialized embroidery software fairly easy), had managed the volunteer non-profit stationery business for The Junior League of Chicago in her 20’s and understood buying and managing inventory. Lastly, she’d handled all the finances for her family’s Funeral Home business.

They loved the idea. So did her husband. So, she set about gathering information about start-up costs and created a business plan.

Dori is a perfect example of when you are thinking about work you’d like to do, “build on what you know.”

Looking back, she found a way for her crazy unrelated jobs to make sense! She’s been around for 8 years, has 5 part-time employees and lots of new ideas still hatching every day. No matter what you may need, LMS is brimming with stationary and gifts that will inspire a thank you.

Check out

Reflect on your own mind full of experiences. What thread weaves through the years?

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

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!


Aggregation Tools: FriendFeed,, Lijit,, 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!

The Catch 24

Barbara and Vikki. They’re Best Friends. They do so many things together and figured, why not work together? After both starting small businesses, these dynamic and sassy women decided to focus on something that they could do… together. They believed, that regardless of  their success financially, they would get to learn and explore whole new realms  together – way more fun to do with a best friend!

Their early morning exercise dates turned into business meetings (and inspite of having young children at home, they found creative ways to make time!). Their first business, designing and selling  rhinestone tees profiting charities, didn’t really fly. Sitting on a pile of unsold tees forced them to get creative and led them to a new business, the Catch 24, an internet-based, timed sale of hugely discounted accessories.

Get it?  Shoppers have 24 hours to catch the deal and then, it’s gone!

Subscribe to their mailing list and get free shipping on your first order!

While the accessories they find and sell are hot and fun, their “can-do” spirit is worn like a colorful cashmere sweater.  It makes you admire where they got it.

Let Barbara and Vikki’s story fill your mind with ways to be creative with your best friend…

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!