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creative experiences

Quote of the Day: Respond


Quote of the Day: Respond

IMG_0001 A little over a year ago, I started this blog. It was a great outlet for me while I was mostly working from home, contracting event and marketing work.... basically "finding myself" (for about the 18th time in my 30 years on earth, having just celebrated that landmark birthday).

My spirit was responding to a lot of calls - personal ventures, life lessons, growth "opportunities", work. Albeit haphazard at times (and honestly half-assed as well on some accounts), answering all those calls, each and every one, that my spirit was whispering to my heart (or slapping across my face), was exactly what I needed.

I've said it a hundred times. Let me say it once more right here - live your life in the moment the best you can. It will be hard. You will not understand it sometimes. You will fall. But the reward is great. The destination is where you are supposed to be. You will meet people and share moments and have experiences that will make you feel like your cup runneth over.

But you have to follow your heart. You have to listen to the whisper. You have to find that joy that sets a spark that has the potential to light a big, bright, satisfying, life-changing, passion-driven fire.

"Respond to every call that excites your spirit."  - rumi



Quote of the Day & a Word About Courage


Courage. This is a word I've thought about often in my 30 years on this earth. Many times I have heard, or spoken of, the courage of people in the military or civil service who dedicated themselves to protecting my freedoms,  serving my country, and allowing me to go about my daily life. But really, courage was something I learned about as a young kid moving schools and just dealing with growing up. It's not easy being the new kid and I have very specific memories of moments where I chose to be brave so that I would fit in or so that I wouldn't find myself alone.

This is the courage I've been reflecting on today. The courage to be oneself. I often say that I am happy for all the things my life has dealt me because I love who I am and where I am today. Of course, this doesn't mean that I don't still find myself encountering instances where I need quite a bit of courage.  And the more I reflected on this, the more I realized that more than ever, despite my generally feeling comfortable in my own skin and knowing "who I am", I look to find courage within myself to get through the day.

(Just in case you needed a little clarification - Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines "courage" as : mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty)

Here are just a few instances in which I found myself needing to muster up a bit of courage (all from yesterday, by the way):

  • I went to a coffee shop where  1. I had never been before and 2. at which there was no menu (annoying even though I usually just drink black coffee - what size do I order? do they have multiple kinds of black coffee? etc).... | New situations are always intimidating and require courage to say to yourself "I am not the only person who has ever done this for the first time" and "There are no dumb questions when something is new to me or anyone else for that matter."
  • Seeing my ex's engagement photos... | I've been, for the most part, single since this particular ex and I broke up several years ago (partly by choice and then the other part not by choice- ha!). Anyone who's been in the situation where someone they love moves on and finds what you thought you had with that person, with someone else, has experienced the need to muster up some courage to affirm that things really do happen for a reason. AND, of course you remember that amazing trip you took and they way you used to laugh together, but, oh, uh... remember that time he made you feel disrespected or the fact that he couldn't show up on time to anything and it drove you nuts? It takes courage to acknowledge that the other person has found something that they feel is the right fit for their life AND to acknowledge that they WEREN'T the right fit for yours.
  • Apologizing and trying to "fix" a situation in which I sent too many text messages to someone while under the influence of bourbon. and vodka. and a crush... | I tend to talk quite a bit. I am recognizing, over the last couple months, that I talk even more when I'm subconsciously nervous - especially when trying to make a romantic connection with someone. It takes courage to make these observations and acknowledge that sometimes you can be a little bit ridiculous ... (all with the best of intentions)! Finding the courage to recognize places in your life where you can make improvements or grow can be really difficult, but also the most rewarding!

The final thing I'll say about personal courage is this: each day we make the choice to be honest with those around us. Honest in being our true selves instead of someone we think someone else wants us to be, honest in that we are human and make mistakes, honest in not making excuses when we do make mistakes or don't give a situation our best self, and honest in acknowledging that each day we all deal with a lot of situations that may not be easy for us but that we find the courage to face because we are being our true selves, with all our downfalls and all our strengths.

Where did you find yourself needing a little extra courage today?


DC Art Scene: Hierarchy DC Opens in Adams Morgan


DC Art Scene: Hierarchy DC Opens in Adams Morgan


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The Washington City paper ran an article recently about the number of DC's art galleries that have closed over the last year. In the midst of this, No Kings Collective, an artist collective known for their pop-up exhibitions and social networking events, in partnership with the Popal family, owners of Napoleon Bistro & Lounge (who I love from my time at Food and Friends having worked with them for Dining Out For Life), Cafe Bonaparte and Malmaison (an inspiring place for coffee btw), have just opened Hierarchy DC.

Hierarchy DC is situated next door to Napoleon on Columbia Road in the always bustling Adams Morgan and, at least while I was there, was also accessible, in addition to their own front door, through Napoleon's basement (turn left for the downstairs bar at Napoleon, turn right for Hierarchy). Hierarchy's concept isn't run-of-the-mill and neither is the space. It's not an "art gallery" and it's not a "bar". It's a transformational space where artists will be able to have pop-up style shows, but in a permanent setting. Shows will typically run a month long, allowing patrons to enjoy a new setting almost every time they visit.

The space can accommodate (just a guess from experience, not facts) about 250 people. They have a dramatic long black bar running the length of the basement space. On Saturday they were serving $3 Natty Boh's (uh, no. I had vodka, thanks for asking... but I know that appeals to some!) and $6 Brewer's Art Beer along with $10 spirits including local favs Sloop Betty Vodka and Green Hat Gin. There's a great space for a DJ in the front of the room where DJ Fleg was spinning some solid sounds for a large crowd of drinkers and dancers.


The exhibition space in "gallery" format will be open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to five pm, with special events (ie: openings such as the one I attended Saturday night) advertised as they happen. They are also planning to have weekly "cultural programming"- but no word yet on their website on when that will start.

The dual installations of DECOY's "North West" and Cory Oberndorfer’s “Pop Sucker” were fun and graphic exhibits for the venues first show. Both shows made colorful references to childhood, DECOY through images of hip-hop cultured children from DC's northwest quadrant, and Oberndorfer through the nostalgia of our sweet childhoods, shattered over time.  DECOY had a booth setup, selling as cute as hip can be goods such as socks, totes, shirts, bows and bags. Oberndorer, also not wanting you to leave empty handed, offered lollipops. (Learn more about the exhibits on Hierarchy's website by clicking the links below).

DECOY: North West

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Cory Oberndorfer: Pop Sucker

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The venue has yet to announce future shows, but promised to make announcements in a  couple weeks. I have an inside scoop and trust me, you're going to want to stay tuned!!

PS. I was excited about the opening but was caught up doing some work projects so headed out fairly late. I sent out a quick tweet of my upcoming adventure and was pleasantly surprised at a quick response from Hierarchy! (Have I mentioned my love of social media yet?)


What Will Inspire You Today?


What Will Inspire You Today?


20140204-095849.jpg As a person who has spent her life in & out and around & about all different types of creative experiences and ventures, I'm always interested in what inspires people. This goes much further than just artists, designers and musicians and spans to politicians (though I didn't care as much about this until moving to DC!), humanitarians, and people in all different walks of life.

What drives you? What are you passionate about? What, ultimately, makes you the best version of yourself? How do you do it everyday?

Life becomes distracting, redirecting the energy we wish we were spending on our passions to activities that we prioritize to simply live life (i.e.: pay rent & stay healthy). For those moments, I suggest you find a very simple and quick way to inspire yourself and keep your head in the inspiration game!

Here are a few things that I do to keep an inspired mind and heart:

  • Inspirational words : I have several books lying around my house in key places that I can pick up, open to a random page and read something that inspires me. (The books pictured above are a few of those... see below for info!)
  • Pictures & Ideas : Pinterest is used by a lot of people for various reasons. My wedding planner colleagues and I use it to create storyboards for our couples, my mom uses it to find ideas on how to help her occupational therapy clients, one friend used it to find ideas on remodeling his house and another friend uses it to fulfill a constant need for new shoes. It's a great resource for those of us who are more visual, that can lead us to answers and ideas.
  • Local community : Surrounding myself with people who are living an inspired, creative life always pushes me to think about my next creative adventure. Finding those people in your own community, especially in DC, is absolutely wonderful! I often will go to one of the many local markets in DC (ex: DC MEET Market, Eastern Market, FRESHFarm Markets). I also try to keep up-to-date on local shows (Have you ever been to a free show at the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage? Did you know that Shakespeare Theatre offers $18 tickets to the under 35 crowd? Not to mention the huge array of music venues available ranging from the iconic 9:30 Club, The Fillmore & the Birchmere, to the IOTA ClubBlack Cat and newer venues such as U Street Music Hall & Gypsy Sally's and TreeHouse Lounge). I also just go for a walk! DC's monuments and memorials never cease to fill me with a sense of awe or you can just pop in to any museum you want, whether you have five minutes or five hours!

What will inspire you today? Share your comments & favorite ways you stay inspired below!

xo, Sarah

Books pictured above are:

  1. "Feeling good: 100 ways to feel better every day", picked up at an old military conference from Military OneSource
  2. "Theories of Everything" by Brian Andreas, one of my favorite writers and artists. Find more on his website:
  3. "happy: secrets of happiness from the cultures of the world"  from Lonely Planet 
  4. "Inspiration" by Leonard Roy Frank, given to me as a gift years and years ago