Work in Progress



It is Sunday and thanks to my creative business coach, I spent the start of my morning with a fresh notebook writing out some daily pages. I have to admit that it has helped me to coagulate the thoughts in my heads in regards to my re-design of this website. For those who don’t know, I am working with Jill Anderson of Jill Lynn Design in creating a fresh and more functional site. Hence not as much postings here lately.

I thought I would take the time to share some of my vision of what the new site will hold and if you have any thoughts that you feel would be beneficial to add please do share.

1. Resources: this is where I hope to provide listings in the following categories

  • Creative Professional Listings – this is about you, providing categories of skills and contact information
  • Podcasts – I have been interviewing peeps over the years and would like to offer snippets of the discussions as audio files, I find myself I prefer the audio so I can keep on working while not being distracted by video.
  • Business Services – looking to offer an evolving list of online software, stock sites and business services and hopefully some references and suggestions on what  the best options are.
  • Inspiration – there are so many sites and blogs out there with great content – and offering a one stop listing is my goal.

2. Events: along with intel about the creatives’ lunches I offer and hope to offer other workshops and the dream is a Creatives’ Cupboard CAMP one day – there are so many other brilliant events so having a resource list of that as well would love awesome.

3. Shopping: the challenge is creating a sound space to sell the custom myProduct line which will include the myDay, and the volumes of Creatives’ Cupboard in the myNote format. I have visions of creating other options as well that help with journalling and project management.

4. About/Back Story: the unique challenge I have with the myNote publication is the uniqueness of it. I am working on my copy so it clearly explains it. It is one of those pieces that once you have it in your hands, you “get it”, but for those who don’t how do you create the pitch?

Ecstatic.. But…


So here is the “thing”. I adore what I do. But, at the same time, the elements of the job have this ability to make me miserable. So that moment when you are feeling both at the same time… is simply “odd”. Regardless, I wouldn’t trade my circumstances for anything. Life is about chasing the dream and taking on the challenges as they come. No one ever promised that it would be all sunbeams and roses.

Every day that I get to create a design and layout for whatever project I am working on is to me, a bonus day. If you are feeling like that about the work you do, then the only way that is going to change is by taking ownership of your choices and not letting the job and/or clients make those for you.

I was sharing a coffee with a friend from grade school the other day and I had to admit while we chatted, even though I was insane with stress of the workload (I have created for myself), I could honestly say that I am “living my dream”. Life is brilliant.

Just wanted to share this little “Friday thought” and fill you in, as someone who has worked their way up from doing what others decide, to doing what I choose to do, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, you just need to start taking the lead.


On that note, I had the pleasure of sharing workspace today at the UPPERCASE studio. Met up with Janine for breakfast at a brilliant coffee/eaterie, Vendome, then on to her  studio. Janine has been busy working on her typewriter book that she self-kickstarted a year ago. So the table above was filled with piles of typewriter paraphernalia – an impressive collection that is going to make quite the reference of an iconic machinery. We co-worked in a comfortable silence while taking the chance to chat and share creative insights.

I am stoked about this month’s Creatives’ Lunch that will be hosted by UPPERCASE at the studio. If you are in town, this is a get together you will not want to miss. Not only will be we dining on tasty food, but also have the chance to bring your work with you and share the space for the rest of the afternoon. Extending the Creatives’ Lunch experience into an afternoon of accomplishment!

Sneak Peak

I am currently working with Jill Anderson to create a newly designed Creatives’ Cupboard website that hopes to become a creative community resource. More about that as the weeks come. Being able to have Janine’s ear on the design is priceless. I am surprised and honoured when someone as accomplished as Janine actually inquires with me about my views on a few things. It all goes to show that we all start from the same place, that we never really leave.

The Power of Silence


I have had the opportunity to be solo for the past week. My husband has taken our two girls to visit his family, while I opted to change my plans because of work deadlines.

I had tried the work remote “on vacation” last year and the fact is, I felt like a killjoy and guilty when I would be at my computer while the family was socializing. So in reflection, I suggested to my husband that I would prefer to stay and take advantage of the the time to enjoy our home alone. Not only because of the work, but also because it was something I felt I needed and the added benefit of my husband getting the chance to spend quality times with our girls. This opportunity to focus on myself 24/7 is a rare occurrence for any parent, and a mother especially.

So I have been making a choices of my own will – less determined by others. The most significant experience out of it all has been the silence.

Silence is something that one cannot really appreciate until they never have it.

I am nearing the end of the full week and I am only just getting to appreciate it. Normally, the odd 2-3 days a week I get about 6 hours in the house alone – the time is packed with work, and any time I do set aside for myself I choose escapism with television. It is like the idea of sitting in the quiet for too long scares me. My creative brain just never seems to turn off – so I choose something to distract me from the insane chatter. What is it about our thoughts that unnerve us? Perhaps it could be the truths that we work so hard to deny.

So in the spirit, I have just gotten home from choosing a “treat” for myself. A movie night out. I opted for the recent flick, “LUCY”. I liked the premise of a woman having maximum potential of her brain, and well I am a scifi lover! I have to admit that after my husband shared with me that it didn’t have great reviews, I was a little sceptical, found the story line and how it ended seemed a little anticlimactic. Though, in my opinion, movies are best perceived as stories that encourage us to think outside of our boxed lives we create for ourselves. So needless to say, the story here has done it for me.

Lucy connection

Moment during the movie where Lucy has the ability to connect with the random radio/cellular waves.

I reflected on the way home how elements of the story about connections and potential related to my life. Here I have been, alone for a whole week (outside of some social get togethers), but I didn’t find it giving me a sense of accomplishment. I can’t imagine if I didn’t have the odd social engagement, how stir crazy and feelings of melancholy would pervade my senses. I really do thrive on connecting and collaborating with people.

In reflection to the movie’s theme – where the use of our brain power is ultimately improved by increasing of billions of connections. The only way the brain thrives is by connecting more with itself. How amazing is that? When I think of our own civilization… the more we connect, the more we evolve. Ultimately where we are and how we have evolved is how we choose to connect with each other – positive or negative, there is always growth and movement.

I think what I am working out in my head and heart in the moment is how to take this insight and see how it can benefit my busy life that arrives home tomorrow. I need to find the ideal mixture of engaging with my family, friends and colleagues to make my life worth it’s living breath and  solitude, for focus and introspection.

In appreciating silence in it’s simplicity that with lack of thought, true awareness of our connections to this world is achieved.

Summer Lunch on the Patio


River Cafe

With the weather here in Calgary looking to finally see summer arriving. I am really excited to meet up with my local creatives at River Cafe, on our own local Island here in town. For those not in Calgary – I really encourage you to take advantage of your flexibility to make your own hours and set up your own local Creatives’ Lunch. I would be happy to set up your own date and registration here at as a landing page.

I have found the following benefits to setting time aside to connect with creatives’ over a casual meal:

  1. Getting out of the office. Yes, this is obvious, but when you are working from your own office as a solo professional, it is way too easy to just work through lunch and wonder where the day went. Yes, these events turn into a minimum of a two-hour commitment, but the payoff works in mysterious ways.
  2. Expanding your creative business offering. When you meet up with other creative professionals, you have an opportunity to get to know potential collaborators. We all know we can’t be everything to our clients, and being able to contract out the work has benefits for you and most importantly your client. I believe more heads are better than one, pretty hard to collaborate solo.
  3. Better than google. I have found that by creating a local creative community, I have within my reach an extensive resource that even google can’t beat. Learning from each other is one of my favourite things about this group. You get to learn from other’s experience, the good and bad, and from there take that information and make decisions that work best for you.
  4. Tasty food. When it comes down to it, being able to try out new restaurants and eateries is always a good thing. Not only personally, but professionally as well. Find that great location to dine with clients and prospects and overall, support your own local economy.

You can bookmark the “Let’s Lunch” page or follow Creatives’ Cupboard on Facebook and Twitter to learn about details for upcoming events.

If you would like to be in the loop ongoing, please sign up for the newsletter.

No. 1 Sneak Peak | UPPERCASE Backstory




Layers of Success

One of the inspirations for this project was by watching Janine Vangool make her mark in the publishing industry all on her own! She has been my role model throughout this process and it only seemed right that she be featured in the first issue of Creatives’ Cupboard Issue No. 1.

The feature illustration was created by Kristin deNeeve from California. Kristin volunteered and provided profile illustrations for the 2013 CFC HOWLive issue. I felt it was only right to hire her for this very important article. The concept marries my love of cooking with how we utilize what is in our creative cupboard for inspiration and motivation. I originally had the idea to have Janine wearing a chef hat and juggling a variety of cooking/design tools which I passed the idea by Janine and her team at UPPERCASE. They returned with this direction of showcasing her 21 issues of magazines as layers in a cake. I love it when collaboration works to grow an idea. If you don’t know about UPPERCASE, well get on it!

This self-funded publication can only succeed with the support of readers. The first 100 copies are limited editions with unique content that will not be published in the next 200 issues. There are 22 copies left – order yours today!

Creatives’ Cupboard myNote No. 1 is HERE!


Creatives' Cupboard No. 1

After so much “talk” about getting my first self-funded issue of Creatives’ Cupboard using the myNote product line (from my Crystal Ink Creative business) is now printed and in hand. The first print run is 100 books, 50 of which will be sold at PICA in Edmonton this next week (May 7 -10, 2014). For those in Edmonton this is your chance to grab one of the first issues! Who knows, maybe they will be considered collectors items one day!

For everyone who registers for my upcoming workshop hosting Ilise Benun, Marketing Mentor, this week – they will receive one of these coveted issues along with the myDay planner. If your schedule opens up this Thursday, I promise you it will be money and most importantly TIME worth spent. Do your business a favour and invest in it, in you.

Register NOW:

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the myNote – you can purchase online at:

This first issue is stuffed full of content about solo creative business professionals. The highlight is about Janine Vangool and her UPPERCASE Magazine journey. She has inspired me to follow my dreams, I know she will inspire you to get off your ass and make your future happen.

As well there are insights from as far as the Panama. Giancarlo Bianco, Creative Director at the Panama Canal, is a creative who has a love of brand and you have the opportunity to learn his story and appreciate that no matter where you are in the world, you can make an impact. From the USA, we have Lidia Varesco-Racoma from Chicago. Lidia is a self-employed graphic designer turned product creator and retail sales of custom children apparel, typebaby. Here this entrepreneur mother who has found inspiration from her own child and turned it into a viable business. And not least, RaShelle Roberts,, she is the “sous chef” for designers. She has provided a little insight into her “Creative Business Manifesto™” and given you a worksheet to find out your why for your business.


I have so many people to thank for being part of my vision over the last few years. Now the real work begins. This issue is completely self-funded, no sponsorship or advertising revenue. All sales support the making of the myNote for you. For anyone who had the opportunity to receive one of these books over the last two years at the HOWLive Conference, you know the value of what kind of unique publication this is. Spread the word and be part of the beginning. There will only be a total of 300 books of  Issue No. 1 – so don’t miss out.

Expanding a vision with help from the design community.


Creatives' Cupboard:

Early bird deadline is tomorrow!

Originally posted on Creatives Cupboard:

Ilise BenunSince have the unique opportunity and pleasure to meet and collaborate with Ilise Benun of the past few years. I am really excited to amp up the direction of Creatives’ Cupboards towards my future dream of hosting my own “Creatives’ Cupboard Camp”. I was approached by Ilise back in June at the HOWLive Conference in San Francisco about her future travel plans in my neck of the woods to speak at the  PICA 2014 design conference. I saw this as an opportunity to introduce her to amazing collective of creative professionals I have been lucky enough to meet, collaborate with and simply lunch with while sharing our own stories of our hopes, fears, accomplishments and failures.

Ilise’s influence in the creative community has grown over her 25+ years in the industry. Based out of New York, her influence is felt around the world. It shocks me at times…

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