For the artist in all of us.

560332cc485ea3e88edea5c771d13bdb I may be a good cook, a lousy housekeeper, a strong artist. I am messy, disorganized except as it pertains to designing, a demon for creative detail, and not real interested in details like polished shoes and floors.

My life is my art, and when it gets dull, so does my work. As an artist, I may poke into what other people think of as dead ends: a 60s psych rock band that I mysteriously fall for, a piece of classical piano that hooks my inner ear, a giant sequined pineapple pin I just like and add to a nice outfit, thereby "ruining it."

As an artist, I may frizz my hair or wear weird clothes. I may spend too much money on a vintage dress that I'll never wear because the pattern lets me paint about Paris in the sixties.

As an artist, I design whether I think it's any good or not. I paint things that other people may hate. I film vignettes just to say, "I was here in this moment. I was happy. It was a Tuesday and it was perfect."

As an artist, my self-respect comes from the work. One design at a time, one sketch at a time, one painting at a time. Two and a half years to finish a painting. Twelve drafts of one design. Four years and counting and still not finished with that sketch. Throughout it all, daily, I show up at the morning pages and I write about my ugly couch, my rotten outfit, my delight in the way the light hit the trees on my evening run.

As an artist, I do not need to be rich but I do need to be richly supported. I cannot allow my emotional and intellectual life to stagnate or the work will show it. My life will show it. My temperament will show it. If I don't create, I get crabby.

As an artist, I can literally die from boredom. I kill myself when I fail to nurture my artist child because I'm acting like somebody else's idea of an adult. The more I nurture my artist child, the more adult I am able to appear. Spoiling my artist means it will let me type a business plan. Ignoring my artist means a grinding depression.

There is a connection between self-nurturing and self-respect. If I allow myself to be bullied and cowed by other people's urges for me to be more normal or more accommodating, I sell myself out. They may like me better, feel more comfortable with my more conventional appearance or behavior, but I will hate what I've become. Hating myself, I may lash out at myself or others. When we are not creating, artists are not always very normal or nice -- to ourselves or to others.

Creativity is oxygen for our souls. Cutting off our creativity makes us savage. We react like we are being choked, we will react as if fighting for our lives --- we are.

To be an artist is to recognize the particular. To appreciate the peculiar. To allow a sense of play in your relationship to accepted standards. To ask the question, "Why?" To be an artist is to risk admitting that much of what is money, property, and prestige strikes you as just a little silly.

To be an artist is to acknowledge the astonishing. It is to allow the wrong piece in a room if we like it. It is to hang on to a weird coat that makes us happy. It is to not keep trying to be something we aren't.

If you are happier writing than not writing, painting than not painting, singing than not singing, acting than not acting, directing than not directing, for God's sake (and I mean that literally) let yourself do it.

To kill your dreams because they are irresponsible is to be irresponsible to yourself. Credibility lies with you and God -- not with a vote of your friends and family.

The Creator made us creative. Our creativity is our gift from God. Our use of it is our gift to God. Accepting this bargain is the beginning of true acceptance.

(excerpt from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, adapted and edited to fit my life and perspective)

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#SundayRoutine

sunday-1 I love The New York Times series #SundayRoutine! There is something beautiful and intimate in knowing what a person chooses to do with their day of rest. I have a special place in my heart for a Sunday. Since I am maniacally forward-driven every minute of a day, I have to require myself to slow down, rest and rejuvenate for one day of the week.  I have to literally force myself to slow down. It's so incredibly easy for me to keep moving forward, thinking about the next goal and living every minute in the future. It's also incredibly unhealthy if I let it get out of hand. Yes, it's very valuable to plan, grow and develop yourself toward where you want to be, but it's also very dangerous. By living, breathing and focusing so much on the next, you completely miss out on the present. And being aware of the present. And with awareness of the present and consciously paying attention, comes true gratefulness and content. The auto-pilot mode that is now our society's default mode is frighteningly easy to let take over your life. It can drastically affect your ability to retain memories and information and jeopardize our ability to go deeper within ourselves, each other and our communities. Thus, I've learned that my Sunday is ever so important to take seriously. Here's how I choose to spend it most of the time:

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The Start: How you begin your day is how the tone of the day is set. Since the goal for me is to strip my autopilot habits and forward-thinking, it's quite the arduous task to break that mold after six days. So, it's down to the fundamentals. BREATH. Yes, being consciously aware of breath will slow your mind and body to start to achieve mindfulness. I choose to start through a 5 min meditation, a yoga class or sequence, or just opening my eyes just after I wake and mindfully being aware of my first 5 deep, deep breaths. This is followed by a quick reflection of gratitude and a self-check on what I want to improve within myself.

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The Walk: The walk is my most favorite part of Sundays. This is were the breakdown of truly being aware and present starts to blossom. To instill routine in my Sundays, I look forward to walking to my local church for a Sunday morning service. When you walk, you inevitably take your surroundings in at slower pace and your ability to notice the innate details of life increases significantly than if you were to just drive by as a usual routine. Julia Cameron, one of my favorite authors, writes this from one her most cherished books, The Artist's Way: "The truth is that a creative life involves great swathes of attention. Attention is a way to connect and survive...survival lies in sanity and sanity lies in paying attention." I wrote more about the importance of paying attention here. It's truly the one thing that I can come back to when things are overwhelming or seemingly out of my control. You know that you are always all right when you stop to pay attention in that exact moment you are in. And in that you can find peace. You can see beauty. You can find contentment in the present, no matter what has been or what is to come. To begin, bring along a friend or better yet, slough off the initial apprehension with your favorite playlist or podcast.

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The Treat:  You can't go wrong with a little delight. For me, I take great pleasure at stopping at my favorite neighborhood coffee shop, Pablo's, on my way to church to grab a cup of their amazing tea and a homemade scone (my favorite being lemon currant).

Reflection & Community: When life becomes so jam packed with events and goals and movements and thoughts, I can easily get lost in myself and forget community. And it's especially easy for me to want to avoid community when I just need a break from it all. But, I really believe that it's important for me to be forced outside of my inner world and learn about new perspectives, an exercise in empathy and a notion of self-growth. I find all of these things and more at church. Giving myself the time to escape from the madness and loudness of the world so that I can actually hear the soft whispers with which God communicates is ever so important. This quiet and earnest listening deserves more than just a Sunday morning in my life.

Wandering: After church, I love to exist without a plan. It's so rare for me not to plan every minute of life, but in those unplanned moments is where the most inspiration occurs. From here, I aimlessly wander through different neighborhoods and can easily find myself at the library, a new shop, a beautiful park or at no particular destination at all. And that's the exact point.

Create: After a healthy dose of wandering, I most always find myself full of inspiration. From here, the most important step for me is action. The past couple of years have brought to light a very troubling side affect of the world we live in. I absolutely love how technology has crumbled barriers to being exposed to art and creativity of all kinds. However, if all your time is spent intaking this inspiration and never physically creating as a result, your creativity will greatly suffer. William Barclay said it best, "The oftener we feel and fail to act, the less likely it is we ever will." Constantly intaking inspiration without every creating yourself puts us at a great danger to never create at all. Action is important and the first step is always the hardest. For example, this post I wrote today! I was inspired after reading Tim Gunn's #SundayRoutine in The New York Times. Now, I could've easily just keep reading and moving to the next story, but instead I put it down and started writing my own #SundayRoutine. Don't get caught up in what to start, just start! Picking up a pen to write or sketch is often how I begin. I also keep a "What the hell, I might as well" list of any and every urge I've ever had to explore from making a playlist to taking a photo and mailing it to a random friend to picking a recipe from my Pinterest board and creating it. I often refer to something on there and just begin!

Nourish: After I feel creatively filled, I usually find myself on another walk, this time to the market. If it's in the summer I usually walk to the farmer's market in the morning to peruse inspiration for the evening's meal. This is my day to really take time to thoughtfully prepare an evening meal and I always want it to be not only comforting by fresh and unique. I love picking a new vegetable or fruit that I'm unfamiliar with and figuring out what the heck to do with it!

Prepare: From here, I will go home and make sure my spaces are clean and ready for another week of adventure. It's an extra step towards being stress free when I can take time to make sure I have a clean foundation in my home to live from!

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Relax with loved ones: My goal for every Sunday is to end it with a Sunday Supper. The perfect method to savour the last bits of the weekend and welcome a new week is among friends over a delicious meal. Whether it's just Mark and I or if it's a lovely gathering of a handful of beautiful friends, Sunday Suppers are the perfect cap to the weekend where you relax over wine, share a creatively-made meal and hum to a few records on the player.

I hope you enjoy whatever day your Sunday is and may it bring you rejuvenation, love and content!

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Best of Denver: Wonderbound

Because I live in the best up and coming creative city (read: Denver), I feel the need to share my favorite jaunts and havens where I devote my time. When I want a true cultural art fix, one that pushes the creative imagination and inspires wonder, I head to Wonderbound. It's edgy, it's modern, it's ballet. What more could you want? My favorite performances to date have been A Gothic Folktale and 2014's Love. But don't even worry about that. Every performance is awe-inspiring. My admiration comes from their collaboration across all creative mediums in Colorado. Featuring live music in every production, you'll find everything from a traditional Baroque Chamber Orchestra to indie folk band Chimney Choir. The costuming is a delight, the multidimensional mix of media art is divine and the choreography, oh the choreography. Where else can you mix modern ballet with indie music, magicians, videography, audience interaction and straight up wonder? Garrett Ammon and his wife Dawn Fay are responsible for this company of wonderment in the heart of Denver.

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Wonderbound, 2014

Last weekend, I got to experience the delight their latest production, Marie, the valentine's interpretation of the famed Marie Antoinette. The lobby was enticing with a special gallery of Marie-inspired art by Michael Dowling, curated by Eric Dallimore and Eric Nord of Leon Gallery - another great gem in Denver. It was just as inspiring as the performance and the perfect complement to delight more of your creative senses!

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wonderbound

Wonderbound, 2014 + Whim + Fancy Photos of Gallery Show

One of the best kept secrets of Denver, Wonderbound is modern ballet that will win over people that never even thought they would be excited by the ballet. It's about $25-50 a ticket and never a terrible seat in the house. Or, become a season subscriber and get reserved seats and a seriously great deal for each show!

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Boomtown-feature

Photo by Mark Sink, Kristen Hatgi Sink, Garrett Ammon, and Wonderbound, 2014

Next up for them? Boomtown with Chimney Choir April 17th - 25th. You in?  Chimney Choir is possibly Denver’s most adventurous folk/rock band, creating genre-bending music and medium-defying performances – a perfect fit for a Wonderbound collaborator. Adventure into the realms of personal myth and the power of place in a land where the mountains meet the plains and humanity endeavors to leave a mark worthy of the earth beneath its feet.

See you at the ballet!