Archive | Inspiration

Podcast Inspiration

Podcast Inspiration - image via Sascha Kohlmann on Flickr |

Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.
Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.
(Ella Fitzgerald)

I mentioned on Twitter that while working from home, I pretend podcast hosts are my mentors and Spotify + Pandora are my coworkers. I was sorta joking, but not really. It gets quiet around here and reality TV is not inspiring background noise.

I have been listening to podcasts for a long time. I remember listening to them while walking across campus in college. When we lived in North Carolina, I listened during my commute. Once I started working from home, I realized that I missed my podcasts dearly. So, now I listen on long walks, during my lunch break, and while cooking dinner.

Podcasts are a free and convenient way to learn, laugh and grow. iTunes and Stitcher have vast libraries, and you can also stream episodes directly from the publisher’s website. If you’re new to the podcast game, the The New & Noteworthy and Top Podcasts lists on iTunes are great places to begin. Once you find a few you enjoy, look for similar shows in the section called, “Listeners also subscribed to…”

From the silly to serious, there is something for everyone. Some podcasts are interview-based and others are one, two, or a few people having a conversation. When I find a podcast I really like, I usually go back through the archives and listen from the first episode on.

Here are five great podcasts + my recent favorite episode from each:

The Joy the Baker Podcast
iTunes | Stitcher

Joy Wilson from Joy the Baker and Tracy Benjamin from Shutterbean are best friends and bloggers who host this hilariously chatty podcast. With a “real talk” approach, these ladies share their thoughts on random, yet relatable, topics including friendships, food, careers, blogging, dating, married life, and self-care.

Recent Fave: Joy & Tracy manage to talk about preparing for houseguests, making adult Jell-O shots, and stalking fitness Instagrammers in episode #120. It was laugh out loud funny and practical at the same time.

The Accidental Creative
iTunes | Stitcher

Todd Henry, author and creativity guru, hosts this helpful podcast about thriving in the create-on-demand world. I have been listening to his podcast for years, but it’s become even more relevant since launching my own business. Each episode offers expert advice on generating and executing brilliant ideas.

Recent Fave: Todd’s interview with Ryan Holiday about Turning Obstacles into Opportunity is genius. This was my first introduction to Ryan Holiday, I just added his book to my Kindle and cannot wait to read it.

Elise Gets Crafty
iTunes | Stitcher

I have been a long time reader of Elise’s blog. Her style, creativity, and open nature make me want to get crafty. When she launched her podcast I knew I had to listen. Elise has a fearless, can-do attitude when it comes to business and blogging. Her interviews (and solo-podcasts) are filled with practical ideas and advice.

Recent Fave: In episode 16, Elise talks with Cortnee Loren Brown about thinking productively about your passions. This really resonated with me because it got me thinking about what my passions are, and how I can be more thoughtful about how I pursue them.

The Lively Show

Jess is another blogger I have followed for awhile. I even contributed to her Design Your Life series almost 5 years ago. The Lively Show features incredible interviews about living with intention. Jess is a fantastic host who asks questions that get to the heart of the matter.

Recent Fave: Jess had a very conversational and honest interview with Austin-based entrepreneur Noah Kagan. Noah shares some unique experiences he’s faced (like getting fired from Facebook) and provides great insight on finding meaning in your career.

The Sarah R. Bagley Podcast

Sarah’s podcast is a more recent discovery of mine, although I have since gone back and listened to all the episodes. Sarah is a mom, blogger, group fitness instructor, and recovering perfectionist. Her interviews with guests focus on overcoming perfectionist tendencies and embracing a B+ life.

Recent Fave: In podcast #18, Sarah interviewed Kyla Roma, a blogger and designer I have followed for awhile. Listening to their conversation felt like being privy to a real, genuine chat between girlfriends. I adore Kyle’s approach to overcoming perfectionism.

Download these for podcast inspiration, or seek out ones that align with your interests. Don’t see your favorite listed above? Take a moment to share other playlist-worthy podcasts in the comments below.

Image via Sascha Kohlmann on Flickr

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click + purchase I will receive a small commission. Thank you for reading & supporting An Extraordinary Adventure!


Smart Specs by Warby Parker

Warby Holiday

You must understand that seeing is believing, but also know that believing is seeing.
(Denis Waitley)

Hello, friends! I hope your week is getting off to a great start. Did you have a nice Thanksgiving last week? Ours was quiet, lovely and full of home-cooked deliciousness.

Awhile back I mentioned my excitement for Warby Parker’s Home Try-On program. It’s a fun and low-risk way to test out new frames. You select any five pairs of glasses, they ship them to you for free, and you get five days to try out the frames. Brilliant!

With every pair purchased, Warby Parker also provides a pair of glasses to someone in need. Who doesn’t love stylish do-gooding?

For my home try-ons, I ordered:

Carlen in Striped Evergreen
Zagg in Striped Chestnut
Nedwin in Revolver Black Crystal
Colton in Whiskey Tortoise
Finn in Amber

Then I created a video just for you. It’s my first-ever and there’s a serious glare, but I thought it would be a fun way to share my specs. What are your favorites?!

They recently announced a collaboration with SUNO, who share WP’s passion for helping others and making a difference. Check out the sunglasses with their sweet prints here. Also, for the upcoming season they’ve created a Holiday Gift Box, so you can give the gift of snazzy eye wear!

Tell me, friends, have you purchased a pair of Warby Parkers recently? Let me know which pair you think I should get & if you have some WPs of your own.

Image Credit: Warby Parker


Sparkle Swapped


If we look at the world with a love of life,
the world will reveal its beauty to us.
(Daisaku Ikeda)

Hello friends, happy Wednesday to you!

I hosted a Sparkle Swap in September, with the hopes of bringing cheer to fellow bloggers. 25 participants signed up to send 4 unique gifts — a bit of sparkle, a treat that soothes, something sweet, and a surprise.

After delays, international shipping issues and general pre-holiday mayhem, I am finally getting around to sharing a recap post. A handful of lovely bloggers wrote about the swap. Take a peek below at the gorgeous and thoughtful packages these ladies sent! Click on the photos to read their posts.

Elisse → Sharni

Elisee - Sharni

Sharni → Katie

Sharni - Katie

Erin → Carrie

Erin - Carrie

Kristin → Kathy

Kristin - Kathy

Sarah → Jamie

Sarah - Jamie

Jamie → Danielle

Jamie - Danielle

Danielle → Monique

Danielle - Monique

Monique  → Ashley

Monique - Ashley

Cassie → Leesh

Cassie - Leesh

Heather →  Micaela

Heather - Micaela

Micaela → Ginna

Micaela - Ginna

There were some people who never received their gifts, and others who ended up sending two because the first was lost in the mail. Some people really enjoyed the experience, and I have a sinking suspicion that a few were disappointed.

The truth about gift swaps is that you never know what will happen.

In America, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. It’s become one of my favorite holidays because of the focus on gratitude and love. I hope the Sparkle Swap brought cheer, gratitude, love and sparkle to those who participated!

Image Credit: Youth via Chris JL


The Truth About Gift Swaps


Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.
(Lao Tzu)

Swaps are popular within the creative blogging community, especially this time of year. I’ve participated in several and hosted a handful, including the Holiday Love Gift Swap, the Good Karma Gift Swap, and most recently the Sparkle Swap. I am by no means an expert in successful swapping, but I have learned a few things along the way.

The Good
A lot of great things can come out of swaps. It’s a fun excuse to shop for little treats and trinkets. Wrapping everything up in pretty packaging is an expression of your artistic side. Sending love to a complete stranger is exciting—and really good juju.

The Bad
Swaps can be a logistical mess. Packages get lost or damaged in the mail. People flake out before sending their parcel, never confirm receipt of their gift, or drop off the map completely. After putting time, effort and money into sending the perfect gift, there’s a chance you could be left empty handed.

The Reality
The truth about gift swaps is that you never know what will happen. You could send the most thoughtful package ever, but receive something that’s better suited for your teenage niece. There’s also a chance you could meet one of your best friends through the experience, I certainly have.

Before signing up for your next swap, make sure:

You understand the details & expectations. Hosts typically provide info on the swap – expected cost, what to include, and potential timeframe. If you have any questions, ask!

You have the time and financial means. Some swaps are open world-wide, others are within specified countries. Keep in mind there will be costs for shipping in addition to what you spent putting together the package.

You are inspired and excited about the theme. If you are allergic to peanuts it might be best to avoid a PB&J swap. If ornaments make you giddy, sign up!

Have you experienced the joys and challenges with gift swaps?

I would love to hear your thoughts on the good, the bad, and the reality of hosting & participating in the comments below.

Want to know what happend with this year’s Sparkle Swap? I’ll be sharing a recap soon!

Image Credit: POST via Jaako


Sparkle Swap

Meet me in outer space

We cannot live for ourselves alone.
Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads,
and along these sympathetic fibers,
our actions run as causes and return to us as results.
(Herman Melville)

Hello my sweet friends. I hope the beginning of September is treating you well. My 2-year blogiversary is around the corner and to help celebrate, I am hosting a Sparkle Swap!

This swap is all about bringing cheer to a fellow blogger. Send a package with 4 unique gifts — a bit of sparkle, a treat that soothes, something sweet, and a surprise. In return, you will receive snail mail love from a new friend.

To participate, sign up by leaving a comment below with one thing you’re looking forward to this season.

Some key details:

  • The swap is comprised of 4 gifts — a bit of sparkle, a treat that soothes, something sweet, and a surprise that your buddy will love.
  • To participate, you must have a blog + need to be willing to ship internationally.
  • Registration ends Saturday 9/10/11 at 5:00 pm EST. Leave a comment to join!
  • Please mail parcels by Tuesday 9/20/11.
  • Open, enjoy and blog about your package when you receive it!

Once registration is closed, I’ll email surveys out to collect addresses, likes, dislikes and anything else you want to share with your swap partner.

By leaving a comment below, you are agreeing to the details outlined above. Let me know if you have questions or special requests.

Are you lovelies ready to start swapping? Let the sparkle, delight & snail mail love begin…

Image Credit: Meet me in outer space by Misserion


Unread Items

It’s not the amount of time you devote,
but what you devote to the time that counts.
(Dan Zadra)

I am an explorer, a collector. I pay attention to the ideas, people, places and things I’m attracted to. I find inspiration in nooks and crannies. Revelations come in surprise packages and obvious encounters.

My habits include collecting dreams the way some gather seashells, coveting too many books, subscribing to countless blogs, and buying more magazines than I care to read. All in the name of inspiration.

I believe in surrounding myself with creative genius. I am awestruck by the way others string words together so eloquently, capture moments so beautifully, and develop products that solve problems so effortlessly.

It is in admiring the gifts of others that I begin to acknowledge my unique brilliance.

Image Credit: Jazz via Daniel Zedda


Jump Back In

Photo - Dive In B&W

Don’t ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
(Howard Thurman)

I came across an email I sent my father a few years ago, back when I was a recent grad embarking on my first real job. I lived alone in San Francisco and had no friends. I worked 70 hour weeks and drove to Napa on the weekends to relax at my grandparent’s home. It was a crazy, beautiful time.

I learned about silence, stillness and intuition. In some ways I was braver then than I am today. I knew less, feared less, and was on a mission to make it big in the City by the Bay.

6 months after moving to San Francisco I sold everything, packed a suitcase and ventured east to North Carolina. Career-wise it was the only choice available. At the time my career was all I had.

Through those early post-graduation years I journaled, meditated and poured my heart into work that was less than nourishing. I got emotional bumps and bruises along the way – the fast paced, cutthroat sales environment of an ‘after startup’ software company forced me to grow up and learn how to play the game.

Back then I believed in the secret, positive self-talk, and the magic of the universe. I was living proof that my thoughts became things. My trust in these forces brought me across the country, landed me an important-sounding title and helped me find a delightfully luxurious apartment.

Like a tarnished piece of silver, I still remember how good it feels to shine bright. My dreams have evolved and my responsibilities have deepened.

It’s easy to get down on yourself when the hits keep coming, but the only choice we have is to jump back in. To take the plunge. To believe in the mystery and brilliance of the world around us. Of what exists within us. Ready, set, dive.

Image Credit: Dive – Laguna de Tiscapa, Managua, Nicaragua via visualpanic


Blogs of Interest

Pink Blog Reading

By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it.
The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
(Nikos Kazantzakis)

I love to search the internet for creative resources. It’s one of the activities that drew me to blogging in the first place. On its best days, the internet is like an enchanted forest filled with magic, fairy dust and tons of inspiration.

Recently, I started following a fresh set of blogs. What began as an afternoon of clicking through blog rolls and subscribing in Google Reader has turned into a fascination with some incredibly talented women. The list below is comprised of business mavens, creative foodies and artfully inspirational types — many of whom fit into all three categories.

Blogs of Interest

If these bloggers are new to you, peruse their sites to see if their brands of sparkle inspire you. If you’ve known about them all along, shame on you for not telling me of their brillance… just kidding! Either way, give them a lil’ love on Twitter by clicking their @names.

Oh So Beautiful Paper ~ @beautifulpaper
Journal Girl ~ @samanthakira
Oh Joy!@ohjoystudio
This & That ~ @sara_

Your Wishcake ~ @yourwishcake
enJOY it ~ @eliseblaha
Kyla Roma ~ @kylaroma
Penelope Trunk ~ @penelopetrunk

With Style & Grace ~ @WithStyleGrace
A Cozy Kitchen ~ @acozykitchen
Eat, Live, Run ~ @EatLiveRun
Simply Breakfast ~ @simplybreakfast


Image Credit: via we♥it


Inspired Lately

Jumping Inspires

Your living is determined
not so much by what life brings to you
as by the attitude you bring to life;
not so much by what happens to you
as by the way your mind looks at what happens.
(Kahlil Gibran)

Taking a blogcation last week provided time to reflect on what has me inspired lately…

Delicious images, motivating mantras & super stylish looks all on Pinterest

Taking ownership of my nutriton via MyFitnessPal

Amazing food blogs full of veggie goodness

New makeup, Truth to Go Wipes + Hope in a Jar

Watching old seasons of Grey’s Anatomy like it’s my job

Healthy living, home decorating & business rocking books lining my shelves

While away, I also realized how much I truly enjoy posting on a regular basis…

I kicked off my 2nd year of blogging with 32 days of sparkle last fall. After posting for 32 days straight, I felt connected, energized and creatively inspired. It was a challenge.

If it were easy to blog daily, work a full time job and manage daily grownup responsibilities, everyone would do it. I managed somehow and the practice of creating each day fueled me.

I’m so grateful to feel this energy & excitement once again — and I’m looking forward to sharing more inspiration in tomorrow’s new, fresh & sparkly creative weekend to-do list!

Have an extraordinary day, my lovelies.

Image: Amizade Expressiva – Fotolog via we♥it


A Few Words


You may have a fresh start any time you choose,
for this thing we call “failure”
is not in the falling down, but in the staying down.
(Mary Pickford)

Take a moment to breathe deep. Smile through a challenging situation. Know that you can overcome your fears. Recognize the remarkable brillance that only you possess. Consider the ideal outcome for today.

What would it take for you to go to bed tonight satisfied, proud and at peace?

image credit: via sheiro


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