The Art & Zen of the Doodle

Creativity / Inspiration / Self-Improvement
The art of the doodle - The Anonymous Blonde

There’s a sweet spot…

It’s where the head meets the hand. Where the details meet the big picture. Where the mind plays and the hand glides in ballet moves across the page.

You can spend an hour or two or three in this sweet spot, utterly oblivious to social media, email and the 24 hour news cycle. You’re focused, relaxed, content.

How do you find this sweet, sweet spot?

You doodle.

That’s right, we’re talking about doodling.

Remember everyone is creative. And everyone can doodle. Even if we can’t draw, we can doodle. Even Type A left-brainers like yours truly.

Doodling doesn’t require artistic ability. Don’t worry if you can’t draw faces, people, landscapes and animals. If you can draw lines and basic shapes, you can doodle. Doodling is simply repeating lines, shapes and patterns. The beauty is in the simplicity.

If you’ve never doodled, give it a try.

photo 2-29

Start simple. Just a black pen and some paper. Pick one to two lines or shapes and repeat them.

Black &  White Doodle

 Then start incorporating a few more lines, shapes and patterns. Repeat some more.

Multi-colored Doodle

And, if you’re feeling frisky, experiment with some color. A little or a lot – there’s no right or wrong.

The more you play around, the better it gets.

Before you know it, the world is a nicer place. Tension and stress disappear, replaced with a laser-like focus and concentration. Unconsciously, you’re meditating while you’re creating.

The evidence of your creativity is right there, on the page, before your eyes.

And, you start to hear that wee little voice. And that wee little voice is whispering “create more.”

So how about it? Do you doodle?

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Light Your Creative Fire, a 31 Day series on Creativity on The Anonymous Blonde

Want more on everyday creativity? You can find more from the “Light Your Creative Fire” series here.

Call Yourself Creative…I Dare You

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Creativity / Inspiration
Being creative is a way of life

Can I ask you a personal question?

Do you think of yourself as “creative”?

Or do you shy away from the “creative” self-label, thinking I’m just Stacey the Lawyer, or Brad the High School History Teacher or Jennie the Stay-at-Home Mom.

It’s tempting to reserve the “creative” moniker for the “professionals”. You know, the “real artists” paying their bills with the sale of their art. The people with MFAs. The people with “published” work. The people with “exhibitions” of their work. The kind of people who work in “creative” professions like graphic design.

But, you know what, we’re all creative. Everyone last one of us.

“As a culture, we tend to define creativity too narrowly and to think of it in elitist terms, as something belonging to a small chosen tribe of “real artists”. But in reality, everything we do requires making creative choices, although we seldom recognize that fact.”

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way”

Being creative doesn’t require any particular accomplishments, accolades or education. Being creative is an approach to life. It’s curiousity, continual learning, and openness to new ideas and possibilities. It’s the willingness to experiment, to take a different road, to try something new on for size. It’s the simple act of creating something…anything…regardless of how “artistic” it is or how many eyes see it.

Don’t discount what you create in your everyday life.

  • the doodles on stray scraps of paper
  • the digital scrapbooks that tell the story of your life and your travels
  • all those photos and videos that you capture, edit & share on social media
  • the lovingly designed collage holiday cards you send
  • that journal you write in everyday
  • the school, church, or club newsletter you produce
  • the fab party you planned & pulled off
  • the halloween costume you conceived & sewed
  • the yard sale armoire you restored
  • the delicious dish you whip up with the “secret ingredients”

See that’s you…being creative.

So, go ahead, call yourself creative. I dare you.

Light Your Creative Fire, a 31 Day series on Creativity on The Anonymous Blonde

Want more on everyday creativity? This is part of the Light Your Creative Fire series. You can find the rest of the series here.

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Everyone is Creative

Creativity / Inspiration / Self-Improvement
The "I want my crayons back" rant

“The desire to create is one of the most deepest yearnings of the human soul.”

– Dieter F. Uchtdorf

That big juicy creative life we’re talking about, its ours if we want it.

Why? How can I be certain the big juicy creative life is within our reach?

Because we’re all naturally creative. Everyone. Me. You. All of us.

But for most of us, our creativity is buried deep inside. Stuffed so deep it’s barely recognizable. Maybe it’s mistaken for an ache and self-medicated, or an itch we occasionally scratch. Some of us feel a void, or a nagging sense of something missing in our life. However it manifests, it’s voice is soft, seeking permission to be heard.

Listen for that wee little voice.

“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in Kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take all the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the “creative bug” is just a wee voice telling you “I’d like my crayons back, please.”

– Hugh McLeod, “Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity”

So let’s start getting our crayons back. And then we can move on to some acrylic paint, a few canvases, and some gesso and brushes. Make that an entire art supply store.

Because we have a lot of time to make up. All that time we didn’t see ourselves as “creative” or as “that kind of creative.” All that time we focused on striving….striving for grades, for jobs, for spouses, for houses, for promotions. All that time we lost to the minutia of responsible adulthood – the laundry, the commute, the to-do list.

I can’t speak for you, but I can speak for me. And….

I want my crayons back.

Do you want your crayons back, too?

Light Your Creative Fire, a 31 Day series on Creativity on The Anonymous Blonde

If you do, check out the Light Your Creative Fire series. You can find the rest of the series here.

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Go Ahead, Light Your Creative Fire

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Creativity / Inspiration / Self-Improvement
Light Your Creative Fire - a 31 Days series on Creativity

“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written….or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life…It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

– Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing & Life

The Big Juicy Creative Life

Do you want that life?

You know the one… Where you see beauty and depth and meaning in the ordinary. Where you pour your heart out on the page or on the canvas or on hardwood floors in dance shoes. Where you make beautiful things, or not so beautiful things that absolutely need to exist. The kind of life where a little bit of your soul is on display – in the stories you tell, in the songs you sing, in the flowers in your garden, or on the walls of your home. Or maybe it’s in the art that’s written on your skin or worn on your own body.

I want that life…the big juicy creative life.

Maybe you want that life, too.

If you do…if you want to light that creative fire…here’s some more inspiration.

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What would a big, juicy creative life look like for you?

Autumn Loving & Learning

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Every leaf speaks bliss to me....Emily Brontë


To celebrate fall’s arrival, here’s a bit of what I’m loving and learning in the cooler temps….


Pumpkin EVERYTHING is back!!!  Candles, muffins, donuts, cheesecake, Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I can’t get enough.

Note: Do NOT google what’s in Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes. No…you already did? Ugh,me, too. And now my dream, that one where I sip a PSL while walking on the beach, that dream is shattered.


31 Days – Ahhh, it’s that time of year again.

Deep breaths….Light Your Creative Fire - a 31 Days series on Creativity

Last year I dared myself to join in The Nester’s 31 days challenge. Writing on the same topic for 31 straight days sounds easy…until you attempt to do it.  You can see my 2013 series here.

This year, a 31 day topic has simmered and brewed in my head for the past month. Still, 31 Days…I’ll need a Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramel Mocha Latte, or 45, to fuel this endeavor and get what’s in my head onto the blog.

Come October 1st, its lights, camera, action for my 31 Days 2014 topic: “Light Your Creative Fire”.  And, I’m on fire I”m so excited to roll it out, so please come back in October.


Silicon Valley – the HBO series

Do you know what a hacker hostel is? If you watch Silicon Valley, you’ll learn that and a quite a few other things. Like how little estrogen there is in the Valley. Seriously, there is almost no estrogen in Silicon Valley. Sad, but true.


Oh, what you can create with the Diana Photo App

With the Diana photo app, you can create pics like this one…

Have you discovered the Diana App? Who knew transposing one picture over another could be so engrossing and addictive? I revamped my Twitter and Facebook headers using Diana.


I’m chowing down on the aforementioned pumpkin delights, of course. And with the cooler temps, I’m in the mood for enchiladas. Specifically, the best enchiladas ever, from Shauna Niequest’s Bread & Wine.


We’re heading to Cali soon….hitting up San Francisco, Monterey & Big Sur. What should we do and see? Suggestions?

Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the SeaReading

After a summer of fiction, I’m back on non-fiction.

Why did I wait so long to read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea? Short and beautiful, it’s as timely today as in 1955 when first published. Every woman should read this book; it’s the prototype of the feminist books which would come later. I finished off a moleskin notebook writing pages and pages of notes from this one.

Most everyone knows of Charles Lindbergh, the Spirit of St. Louis, and the kidnapping & murder of Charles & Anne’s first child. Only after coming across this book did I discover that Charles Lindbergh’s wife was also an aviator and an accomplished author. Interestingly, in the 1990s, DNA tests proved that Charles Lindbergh had fathered seven children with three different mistresses in Germany. Now I want to read everything by and about the Lindberghs…


This summer I discovered and a whole new world opened up to me. Just supply 8tracks with a few adjectives (ex. happy, pop, french) and, voilà, it suggest  playlists for you. Now my ears are jonesing for more Carla Bruni and Vanessa Paradis. And to think, I previously thought of them as only models and respectively, the former First Lady of France and Johnny Depp’s Ex.

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(I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into and Emily Freeman’s Chatting at the Sky.)

What are you loving and learning now? And will you be participating in #31days this year? If so, leave a comment below so I can follow you.



Fiction is a Necessity

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Book Reviews / Reading

Literature is a luxury; Fiction is a necessity.

This summer I escaped…

Thank God for books.

Literary passport in hand, I jetted to NYC, the Hamptons, Paris, Edinburgh and Amsterdam.  In real life, I only made it to Florida.

Are you ready for some superlatives from my summer reading list?



It’s “Chick Lit”, right? After all, it has a pink cover with an engagement ring on it.  I prefer Vanity Fair’s description of Griffin as a modern day Jane Austen. She’s good, whatever you call her. So good, this book inspired this post. I already have another Griffin book lined up for in-flight reading for a vacation next month.


ATTACHMENTS – Rainbow Rowell

The witty repartee of female friendship makes this story – not the unlikely romance. If only Rowell had filled in the main character’s back story. Just a couple of the questions I had: Who is Lincoln’s father? Why did he have no relationship with his father? Why did his mother never work?




PD James is the “greatest living writer of British crime fiction”.  She is NOT Jane Austen, let’s get that straight. Qualms aside, I’m glad I read this. James’ sequel picks up six years after Pride & Prejudice ends. Darcy, of course, is every bit the loving & dutiful husband and, rather predictably, trouble lurks in the arrival of Lydia and Wickham. James’ version of Elizabeth feels a bit “off” to me, but then our Elizabeth is now the mistress of a great house and the mother of two.

Bottomline: Get the popcorn ready for when this hits PBS Masterpiece Theatre on 10/26/14.


THE DINNER – Herman Koch

Veering from interesting to disturbing, Koch poses uncomfortable questions about modern parenting, morality and personal responsibility. It’s a toss-up as to who is the most despicable player in this drama.



FLIGHT BEHAVIOR – Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible is one of my favorite books of all time and I believe in global warming. That said, this novel reads like a 600 page lecture on climate science. Not a page turner for me…



THE SUNDAY PHILOSOPHY CLUB series – Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie is an independently wealthy middle-aged Scottish woman. She’s also a “philosopher” with a nosy streak. As a non-wealthy woman with real problems, I didn’t expect to find her so appealing. But just like that, I’d finished the first book and dived into the 2nd one, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate.  Maybe this sounds trite, but, if McCall Smith wants to hold my interest for all nine books in the series, Isabel needs a legitimate love interest of her very own.



Teenagers are cruel. But 21st century technology lends itself to even more cruelty. Other possible superlatives for this one: Most Likely to Make You Relieved You Don’t Have a Teenage Daughter or Most Likely to Make You Fear for Your Teeenage Daughter.


And the most dubious superlative:



As the story of the first of Ernest Hemingway’s four wives, reading this is the literary equivalent of watching a train wreck in slow motion. We all know how Hemingway’s story ends. What’s most fascinating here: the hedonistic details of the “Lost Generation” in Paris. James Joyce, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein are all players in this book. Fortunately Hemingway’s starter wife has a happier outcome than “Papa”. And now, I want to read “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.”

Aren’t book superlatives fun? Click here for more superlatives.

(I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for her monthly twitterature series. Click here for more good books.)

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Now,  let’s hear some of your superlatives!


Art Journal: The End of Summer

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Art Journaling Summer

As summer ends, my new found love of art journaling is just beginning….