These are some of the many things that made me smile, think, or grow in 2018. I hope you find some good resources (and recipes) here.
Please leave your favorite things from the year in a comment.
Art Trips & Clients
Wow! I got to hang out with a group of phenomenal plein-air painters in Port Clyde, Maine in September. For a week I watched them rise early and paint until dark. Then we cooked and ate dinner together every night. So grateful to Mary Erickson for the invitation and the artists of Nanatuck.
After hearing about it for many years, I finally visited the MARBLE/Marble Symposium in Marble, Colorado. For two summer months, sculptors camp and carve marble under majestic trees. It's another world! If you go, expect to leave with a sprinkling of marble dust on you.
There is not enough space here for me to brag on all of my students and clients, so please forgive that I chose just one story for this space. During that same trip to Marble, I visited Carmen Mariscal during her annual sojourn to Colorado's Anderson Ranch.
A former Inner Circle member and now private client, Carmen was taking a well-deserved respite from the craziness surrounding major exhibitions this year, including a solo show at the Musée de l’Amérique Latine in Paris. She has worked so hard to make this happen and it’s been a pleasure to watch her go after her goals.
If you're ready to go after your goals with gusto (like Carmen), come to one of our Mastermind Workshops, held in various parts of the country.
All nonfiction. That’s my thang.
Old In Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over by Nell Painter
Here’s what I learned: It ain’t easy being a senior woman of color in art school. And Nell Painter is a badass. I want to be her when I grow up.
This book is for everyone who has assumed the life of an artist after the end of another career. You will be totally inspired and ready to thumb your nose at any naysayers who cross your path.
Nell Painter is a Ph.D. historian who went back to art school at age 64 and eventually on to grad school. She found the “old” part of her story the hardest for people to accept. It was tough to witness, if even via words on paper, the prejudice she faces as an older student and woman of color.
The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle
Here’s what I learned: To create a vibrant group culture, establish purpose and build safety and cooperation.
While I felt the book lacked a feminine perspective, I still picked up some excellent pointers for leading (and being part of) groups.
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker
Here’s what I’m learning: We gather (in meetings, workshops, seminars, parties) without putting enough thought into it. Our gatherings can have a much bigger impact when we focus more on people and less on logistics.
I’m not quite done with this one, but I had to add it to my list. The Art of Gathering includes a feminine perspective that was missing from Coyle’s book. As someone who brings artists together throughout the year—online and off—you can bet I’ll be thinking more deeply about our purpose as we gather.
Parker’s book will have you reconsidering (in a good way) what you thought was a simple dinner, party, or workshop.
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink
Here’s what I learned: There really is a science behind good timing.
I geek out on social science and love the stories in this book. My favorite section is toward the end when Pink discusses the impeccable timing of the 5,000 dabbawalas in Mumbai, who pick up and deliver more than 200,000 homemade meals each day.
This was the year that I (again) learned to embrace my curls. Life is too short to spend so much time frying my hair with the hair dryer or curling iron—especially in the heat of summer.
I was well aware of the Curly Girl Method, which I followed for a number of years in the early 00s. It has evolved! I developed a girl crush on Curly Susie on YouTube and obsessively watched her videos. The one she did on the Laura Method was the game changer for me.
Linda Melone of Ageless After 50 helped me create an exercise routine and start getting back into shape in 2018. I loved working with her weekly (and remotely) for 3 months. I feel like I have a renewed commitment to taking care of these old bones.
Linda is an entertaining writer, which makes it fun to read her fitness tips. She takes excellent care of her members in the Ageless Army, a group whose fee is only $19.95 a month.
Food & Cocktails
Let’s get it out of the way: Bert’s Eggnog!
This family recipe has made many a doubter into an eggnog convert. I’ve tried others that professed to be The Best, but they’ve never come close. I defy you to make only a single batch of it.
Just the other day I received an urgent SOS on Facebook from Bert’s Eggnog devotee Ruth Armitage.
It so happens that I’m going easy on the indulgences during these holidays, but if I weren’t, I might be sipping on Kirkland Añejo Tequila. Or eggnog, but we’ve already covered that.
Yep, Kirkland as in Costco. As in $20 good tequila. I’m pretty picky about tequila, but I’d just as soon drink this as one of the pricier añejos.
Thai Broccoli Soup
As I type this, we are preparing another batch of Thai Broccoli Soup from Ashley’s My Heart Beets blog. This is my crack. Really. It’s phenomenal.
Here are a few changes we make. First, we substitute ground turkey for the beef and add it to the soup later so we can make extra broth to freeze. While the turkey is frying up, I put some of the broccoli in the broth to cook and then use the immersion blender so the broth is smoother and has the broccoli flavor. The broth—with its bit of heat—is a perfect to sip on when you are cold or have a cold.
Finally, I microwave small broccoli florets and add along with the ground turkey near the end.
I started using Planoly to curate my Instagram feed because, being visual and all, I like that I can see my feed as I plan the next posts.
My Web development team turned me on to One-Time Secret, which allows you to share sensitive information online via an expiring link.
Oh, Pentel EnerGel RTX Retractable Liquid Gel Pen, how did I ever do without you? That some poor soul lost you and I found you on my desk is my good fortune. It was fate. And love at first write.
I know I’ve dabbled in affairs with pens before, but I’m cuckoo crazy about you! And I promise never to leave you for your “permanent” cousin. I briefly strayed only to discover that he’s a poser. You’re the real deal.
I love the format of this podcast: humor, warmth, and business. You’ll be completely inspired by Miller’s interview with Bob Goff.
This was the year that I finally got a tattoo! I say finally as if I have been thinking about it forever. I have not. However, my mother and I did talk about doing it together at one point. I think I’d like to do that, I recall her saying.
On July 10, I picked up Mom from the airport (don’t get any ideas! I rarely pick people up from the airport) and informed her we were going to the tattoo parlor so she had a little time to think about it.
Her: No! No we’re not.
Me: Yes we are.
Her: No we’re not.
Me: Yes we are.
Me: Because I told everyone we were going to. What are you going to get?
Her: Probably a monarch.
Just like that. It was my gift to her for her upcoming birthday.
She selected a monarch because she raises monarchs and sends milkweed seed to anyone who asks.
I got a ladybug.
When I was little, we lived in Germany and I had this fuzzy ladybug toy/seat on wheels that I pulled around. Mom started calling me Ladybug.
And now, she calls other little girls ladybug out of habit.
My tattoo is on my left forearm so I can easily see it and think of her.
What were some of your favorite things in 2018?