Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wow, it's been so long; this blog doesn't even look like me anymore. Weird.

So someone asked for my website and all I had to give him was this and then I thought about how long it had been since I updated it and how there weren't any pictures of recent work and how the last few posts were super personal and how much my work has changed in the last couple of years and how my goals for my work have changed and how I've been thinking of changing the name of my blog for forever- you know, all those thoughts... And I started to think about how stupid that is and what's my excuse and all those thoughts... And then I stopped myself. And I told myself I would gain nothing by berating myself and my actions- I mean we've proven that over the last couple decades, right? We already know that behavior isn't going to get us any closer to where we'd like to be, so instead of making yourself feel like shit for all the things you HAVEN'T done, why don't you just shut the fuck up and do what you want to do?! Right Now. Stop waiting for this or that to happen, for the perfect photograph or inspirational/ funny/ clever post and just fucking write! This isn't fucking rocket science, people!

And after that little motivating pep talk, I wrote down my new found wisdom in my journal and now I'm sitting here. And with that insight in hand, I've also decided to try to be a bit more authentic. Which means that sometimes I'm gonna swear. Because in real life, I hang around a lot of people that cuss like sailors and drink like fish, so the swear words are just a part of who I am right now. If you're offended, I do truly apologize and I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable so just don't read my blog, or my facebook, or look at my Instagram.  Because this is MY little corner of the internet. Mine. Just mine. I don't have to compromise on the colors because they're too girly or flowery or GREY or they have too many skulls on them. I'm sorry Darling, but I EFFING LOVE THE COLOR GREY! Period. Can't get enough of it. And you know what? I'm done being sorry for who I am and what I like and what I want to do or not do. I'm done feeling guilty for not liking the same things that other people do. I want tattoos on my wrists really bad, and I'm done trying to explain that I'm never gonna get some super straight laced corporate gig that doesn't allow visible tattoos, and if I do, I'll Deal With It! Or that from now on, every time I wear a cocktail dress, I'm gonna look like a trashy slut. Really? Who do you think looks trashier- the girl with a tramp stamp or the girl with a sparrow on her wrist? Yeah, that's what I thought, and by the way I've already got a tramp stamp! Before I had ever heard that term. Awesome.

Oh, and one more thing. When I choose my friends and the people I will fly across the country for or donate a kidney to or never lie to because I love them too damn much, that decision is not based on net worth, annual income, designer ANYTHING or everything, if they're one of the "beautiful people" or are in "the scene". Wtf does that mean anyway? Or if everyone else thinks they're cool or sexy or they've got a bazillion follwers on facebook/ twitter/ tumblr/ whatever. Who effing cares? I've never decided who to spend my time with based on those things and right now I've got a couple friends that I know I could call at 3 in the morning because I'm stranded at a gas station without gas or my wallet and they would answer, get out of bed, get dressed and drive across town, get a speeding ticket on the way and still give me a hug when they saw me as they swiped their card to pay for my being a dumbass. Cuz that's how we roll.

That kind of turned into a rant, but who cares? This is MY blog bitches! (Sorry mom, I know you account for 25% of my readership, but you know this is really me.)

Can't wait to talk to you all again soon. 
xoxo, Iris

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Year, New Me

It will come as no surprise to the people that know me best that my New Year's Post is being published in March as opposed to, oh, I don't know... January? Although to be fair, this really isn't a New Year's Post, it is simply the first post of the new year and I'm not going to post resolutions in the traditional sense, but rather ask a question or two.

Do you ever feel like you just need to shake things up a bit? Or a lot? This is how I feel right now, like my life is racing by and in the end nothing of note will have happened, no great adventures or grand accomplishments. On the one hand, I realize this sounds a bit silly and grandiose. After all, I am just a normal person living a normal life. But on the other, I think about those who have accomplished great things, made a difference in the world and I think, they were also just normal people but somewhere along the way they dreamed bigger dreams, hatched bigger plans, and took bigger risks. Right? And then the inevitable doubts begin to rear their ugly heads and scream out in their terrible voices, "Who do you think you are? You're just Iris from San Antonio who still hasn't walked the stage at UTSA even though you've earned your BA- for no reason other than you just haven't gotten around to it! And you think you can do something of note? Please, you're just trying to make it through each day! You have to take pain medication just to be able to get out of bed in the morning and try to maintain this house, much less do anything else- anything extra, anything that might give a sense of accomplishment or value..." And on and on, my inner critics have a field day at my expense reminding me of past failures, physical limitations, unfinished projects, neglected dreams, current incompetence.

And yet, I find that I am tired of listening to them and deferring to their opinions. So I am making a list. Not a list of all the Awe-Inspiring things I will do, but rather a list of the things I won't do anymore so that I can proceed to do something, anything Awe-Inspiring.

What follows is my Not To Do List:
1. I will not let fear dictate my decisions.
2. I will not let the possibility of failure keep me from attempting something.
3. I will not surround myself with people that do not want the best for me.
4. I will not read every single email.
5. I will not let the desire for perfection override the desire to get it done.
6. I will not continue not asking for help.
7. I will not define myself by my current circumstances.
8. I will not waste what precious time I have left on this earth with regrets.
9. I will not let another day go by without giving thanks for all the many blessings I have been given.
10. I will not spend another minute making excuses or feeling sorry for myself.

There. These ten things I resolve not to do. This list will go on a board in my bedroom so that I can see it first thing every morning. I will also post this next to the television, the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, in my daily notebook, in my car, in my studio and guest bedroom and anywhere else my eyes land on a regular basis. Perhaps I can put it on a t-shirt for Stella to wear. Hmmm... I'll have to think about that one. No matter. I will remind myself daily of these resolutions and as I do them over and over, I think I will set upon a path that leads towards at least one great accomplishment. And if not, well at least I will have ceased driving myself crazy and I'm sure I'll be much better company.
xoxo, Iris

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2011 went by in a flash!

My last post was in February!! Are you kidding? How does time fly by so unbelievably quickly? I don't know. What I do know is that I miss blogging. Even if there really aren't too many people reading what I have to say or share with them, that's okay. I suppose it is because in my heart, I love to write. I always have. And while I do write pretty much daily in my personal journals and books, many times the writing is stream of consciousness with the sole purpose of "just getting it out". There are far too many concerns, ideas, what-if's, to-do's, inspirations, lists, projects, and other bits of random thoughts running through my mind at any given moment. So, I write to clear my head- at times in the morning, but more often at night to empty it all out and hopefully fall asleep easier. It doesn't always ensure a good night's rest; but without a doubt, I feel better afterwards, more... at peace.

Lately I have had a nagging feeling that I should be writing something with a purpose in mind- whether it be to share a great resource, my latest project, documenting important events or requesting feedback on an artistic pursuit or idea. So, that is why I have returned here to my little spot on the internet. To write with some sort of purpose in mind, to share things that I think are fantastic, and to find out if anyone else thinks so. Hopefully I will also feed my desire to be doing something a little bigger with this little life I have been given- in my own little way. But, for now, let's not get carried away with lofty expectations. I will simply give you an update on what has happened over the past year in- what else?- the form of a list.

The Best Things That Have Happened Since Last December
1. I have lost nearly 50 pounds. (Steroids suck and I am glad to be off of them.)
2. I have worked in my books almost everyday using text and image. (Isn't there anyone who will employ me to journal everyday? That would be perfect!)
3. I traveled to Amsterdam and learned A LOT.
4. I found an AMAZING company that I can buy fresh, gluten free, dairy free food from that actually tastes great! (
5. I got to see the Spurs whoop the Lakers in LA at the Staples Center- on our way to Hawaii, which was super beautiful even though I was sick half the time.
6. I got to add some AMAZING pieces to my little art collection- they make me super happy!
7. I also got to attend the Kentucky Derby, and although it was friggin' freezing, it was a fun excuse to wear some outrageous headpieces.
8. A couple of friends got married in our backyard, we welcomed another little blond-haired niece into the world, and we got to visit with great friends here at home and at the Jersey shore.
9. My studio is actually in working order and has been for a while now- such a pleasure to just pop in and do some work. I love it!
10. And I've added more art-making/creative time into my life (well, I've tried anyhow) by going to weekend crops, various local classes and joining the San Antonio Calligrapher's Guild. Trying to surround myself with more people that embrace creativity and art-making has been very rewarding and I highly recommend it!

There's probably a lot more awesome stuff that's happened this year, but it's not right on the top of my head right now; so, that's all for now because I have got to get some chores done! Oh yeah, and I still have an amazing family, a gorgeous pooch, a sweet-when-he-wants-to-be-boyfriend that I still love like crazy and a crackling fire. All in all, life is good.

xoxo, iris

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A weekend to journal

Like I said in my previous post- I'm looking for something this weekend. Some truth, some insight to point me in the right direction.

For the past 24 hours or so I've been holed up in a small conference room at a Courtyard Marriott here in San Antonio. Let me explain. A good friend of mine began scrapbooking a while ago. She is a stay at home mom of two amazing young children. They are beautiful and she loves them with all her heart, but if you are a mother I know you'll understand me when I say that she was about to lose her mind. She needed an outlet. A space to create something other than dinner and a neat pile of folded laundry. She began to attend classes at a local store with her mother, and soon after she had a new hobby that allowed her a format to create and perhaps more importantly, she was granted time away from her children. A break. A very brief hiatus from being the be-all-end-all to two little humans. Fast forward a few months and she is attending scrapbook weekend retreats here in town when she can convince someone to babysit for a few hours. It's a haven for her. She confided to me that at the first one she attended, she barely cropped a photo, instead playing the entire first season of Dexter on her laptop and listening through headphones. No crying babies, no diaper changes or noses to wipe for a few precious hours. Peace.

This weekend, we are at one such retreat. I am not a scrapbooker, per se, but I come along for the chisme and my own version of peace- time to just sit and write and cut and paste and remember what I love to do. Now, I'll admit, I have the luxury of a studio in my home. The room is painted a beautiful light blue-green shade called Vintage Map and when I set it up, I spent a few weekends and most of my then-savings on buying and assembling Elfa shelving and desks from the Container Store. One wall is mostly windows and I can look out upon evergreen shrubs, a live oak tree and the squirrels incessantly digging holes in my lawn. I have ample storage space, desk space, and wall space; in fact, the only space I don't seem to have enough of, is the space in my head. It seems to be perpetually full of never ending to-do lists. And though I love my home and I feel a sense of peace when I enter it, everywhere I look, I see reminders of what I "should" be doing. The laundry, the bills, training the dog, scrubbing the grout between the tiles in the kitchen, replacing the hardware on the cabinetry, and on and on and on. So, when I am trying to create or reflect or design a future, I feel as though it is a selfish act. One that doesn't serve enough people, only me.

I have realized, however, that the time I take to refill my own well pays dividends again and again. And not just for me. The time I spend in solitude creating something- whether it is journal page or a hand bound book, refreshes and re-energizes me so that when the time comes to make dinner, fold the laundry, walk the dog or participate in a campaign raising funds to build wells in Ethiopia- I can do it. And more importantly, I want to do it.

And this is not just a spiritual exercise, but a practical one as well. Because for me, when I am cutting, folding, pasting- that is when I work through all the little problems that have been hanging out atop my shoulders. That is the time when solutions arise, new designs emerge, a crucial contact is remembered. That is the time I am in flow.

That time is this weekend, to an extent. I have 3 days and a 6 foot table to myself. No one will ask me to cook for them, whine to let them go outside to potty, or ask if I can wash and fold the pile of laundry that has begun to take over the closet floor. This time is for me... so that later, I can be there for them.

So, I encourage you to find your own place where you are at peace, where things are easy and time flies. And visit there often. Because just like my creative time makes me a better person, friend, girlfriend, and entrepreneur and my friend's scrapbooking time makes her a better mom and wife, I am sure that your time spent pursuing the thing that brings you peace will make you a better person as well.

xoxo, Iris

Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm looking for something...

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered. The point is to discover them.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Creative Entrepreneur Retreat - No.3

So, here is the third installment of my short series on my experience at the reTREAT with Lisa Sonora Beam at La Hacienda Mosaico, and unfortunately my little posts are not doing it justice, but as I continue to work in my journal I will try to include more details on the process. One night we went downtown to do a little shopping and what not- this little collection of calacas was in one of the shops where I bought a little donkey. No, really, a little colorful donkey to put on my shelf- I'll have to take a picture of my little burro for you guys.
Just a quick pic to give you an idea of the awesome rooms at La Hacienda Mosaico. They're each a little different, but all comfortable, colorful and perfect for escaping from your own day to day.
Here, I was experimenting with using craft paint to put color on a page- quickly. I can't remember where I first learned this technique of spreading paint on the page with a credit card/hotel room key, but Lisa shared it with us as one of her favorite ways to prep or start a page. I love the effect you can get on the page by combining colors- this page reminds me of a robin's egg. And, of course, to the left of my book is Lisa's book, The Creative Entrepreneur.
These are the other lovely ladies taking the workshop- all deep in the process.

It was so awesome to be in the room with so many others who are also trying to forge their own path in the world with creativity, inspiration, and beauty at the forefront. I've learned these ideas are not important to everyone and when you can find people who can really relate, it's priceless.
This is the bell tower of the cathedral downtown, we were able to catch a bit of one of the processions honoring la Virgen de Guadalupe, who I believe is like the patron saint of the city. Unfortunately, most of my shots didn't come out- should have taken the big camera.
And above is a parting shot of the studio. Of course, I was the last to leave- due to either procrastination or rampant insomnia. I don't know.

And above are some of my last views of La Hacienda Mosaico. I really can't say enough about the b & b, the workshop and the other participants. I didn't want the week to end and I can't wait to return! In coming days/weeks/months as I continue to work through my journal and pursue a creative life and the forging of a small business, I will refer back to my time here adding more details on process, links for more information and hopefully someone will be inspired to buy Lisa's book, attend one of her workshops and embark on their own pursuit of creative entrepreneurship. Click on the links sprinkled throughout this post (and previous ones) to take you to Lisa's website, La Hacienda Mosaico and even a direct link to buy the book at Amazon. I will also be adding a button or badge (?) on my blog permanently to take you directly to Lisa. That's how amazing I think she is. Her book and workshops have made such an enormous impact on my life. I am incredibly thankful that I was blessed enough to take a workshop with her in California a few months before everything went to hell in a handbasket (read- I got really, really sick), because using her methods of journaling (writing, collaging, painting, etc) are what kept me sane and optimistic and grateful through a very difficult time. I only wish I had known about her sooner- like before my divorce. :)

So please check out the links if your curious and I look forward to sharing the progress I've made in my journal since then and perhaps connecting with the other amazing women I met through their own blogs and businesses. Thanks for reading!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Creative Entrepreneur Retreat - No.2

note: I started writing this post right after New Years. It only took, what, six or seven weeks to finish and publish. I think we're making progress here.

Hola senoritas! Apologies for the hiatus, but the holidays are pure and utter craziness for me- mostly because of my affinity for over committing and procrastination. What can I say, it is what it is. I seriously doubt my 3 followers are going to be up in arms about the situation.

However, I do still want to share a bit about my amazing retreat experience before I move on to more current events. Although I love to write, at this time I believe the quickest and easiest way to share will be through photos, though I didn't take nearly enough. So, at the top is a photo of the beginnings of my creative mandala. This is an exercise Lisa Sonora Beam leads you through in her book (The Creative Entrepreneur), but of course we got face to face hand holding which is always nice. This process allows you to figure out what you do that really has meaning for you, what you're really good at and whether or not those things have value in the market place among other crucial things. Lisa is much better at explaining all this in her book, so I highly recommend it.
Above is a variation of a page we made each day to record at least 10 things we learned that day, from various journaling techniques to great quotes to true "aha" moments.

One night, we had dinner at a taco stand a few blocks away. It was so ridiculously good. And an amazing value- like 8 dollars or something! I wish I had a taco stand I could walk to here at home. I would literally eat there everyday.
This is the first part of a collage I put together using images to answer the question, "What do I really, really want?" As I was tearing out the pages/images I was hearing words like light, openness, beauty, flowers, freedom, risk, adventure, books, design- you know, things like that.
I love alphabet stamps. And handwriting. Below is the back of the second page, also still in the works. Above is the close up shot. Oh, and I love the macro setting on my camera.
I suppose that was near the end of the day, or perhaps a lunch break. Below are a couple more shots of the Hacienda grounds- the first is on the way back to my room.

I mean, seriously, how amazing is this?! I need to replicate this outdoor living room at my house. Yes, I'll put that on the 2011 To Do List.
Alright, so that's installment number 2. Next- you guessed it- number 3!!