How to Find Inspiration & Overcome an Off Week

Inspiration on the coastThen you set out to make
Something great
But nothing comes out

It’s been one of those weeks during which I started a million things, but can’t seem to finish even one. Call it a post-election rut.

In a post last week, I stated that I think everyone strives for greatness, no matter what that means to each individual. But sometimes, it doesn’t always work out as planned. Roadblocks happen; we all have these draining periods. In times like these, how do you rekindle inspiration to move forward and continue on the path of success? Where do you turn?

I’ve read about a million different ways to find inspiration throughout the years, trying many. I enlisted the help of some friends, as well, asking how they lift themselves out of that sinking black hole feeling. Here’s a list of the things that have worked to help me and a few friends find inspiration, boost our moods, and get back to accomplishing our goals.


Friday I’m In Love

House in FallThis week, I saw my first Target Christmas commercial, peppermint stick ice cream was for sale in the freezer aisle, and I read that Amazon already has Black Friday deals. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Christmas, but when did we start skipping November? RIP, Thanksgiving.

Before even thinking about all that mumbo jumbo, we have to make it through this upcoming week. It sure is going to be an interesting one over here in the good old US of A. No matter what happens, I hope that the collective we can get over ourselves, accept the election results, and move forward as a united front. If we can’t do that, we’re in trouble. Please remember we’re all in this together. Can’t we all just get along?

Remember my friend Michelle, who I featured in my series Run the World? Here is a fantastic breakdown of all the fact checking that she and her colleagues at the Post have been up to this election season.

Speaking of the election, I don’t know anything about this contest, but it cracked me up.

Loving this November desktop wallpaper feature one of my favorites, pie. Now that’s what I’m talking about – a little love for ya, turkey day!

If you haven’t heard yet, you’ll soon be able to shop on Instagram! Sorta.

I’m totally feeling these Rustic Modern living room designs. My living room is made for this.

My living room is also made for built-ins. What a dream. They’re at the top of my list for the house, but definitely aren’t a weekend project.

Grace Bonney does it again! Business is hard. Real, relatable talk makes it just a little bit easier. I love her.

Have a great weekend, everybody! And please remember to be kind to one another.

Run the World: Shannon, the Design Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Shannon Oakes of MINI-malistI’m thrilled for you to meet another inspiring Run the World lady boss, design entrepreneur Shannon Oakes. Shannon is the founder of MINI-malist, a Los Angeles-based gender neutral children’s clothing line and simplistic home goods shop.

I first met Shannon about eight or so years ago while visiting a friend at Ohio State. Through our mutual friend, we’ve crossed paths several times since. Every time I’ve been around her, I remember thinking how incredibly kind and sweet she is. When I learned about Shannon’s venture, MINI-malist, I couldn’t wait to talk to her more about her work.


Friday I’m In Love: Halloween Edition

Halloween haunted house

Spooky doorway to a Halloween-season attraction in Fort Worth, Texas

Haunted houses, costume parties, ghost walks, horror movie marathons, pumpkin carving contests, you name it. Halloween weekend is here! What’s your favorite way to celebrate?

Halloween seemed to really sneak up this year, didn’t it? If you’re like me, and waited until today to sort out a plan and a costume, don’t panic. It’s not too late! Here are lots of last-minute ideas.

Buffalonians, here’s Step Out Buffalo’s list of the best Halloween events around town. (And, the best Halloween parties, too.)

If you’re throwing your own party this weekend:

• To set the mood, a Halloween playlist.

• Some festive Halloween dinner ideas.

• Delicious Halloween cocktails for the adults!

• Followed by chocolate bark Halloween brownies for dessert!

• A list of horror movies to play for your guests.

Studio DIY’s life-saving roundup of DIY costume ideas. See ya at the craft store!

Advanced pumpkin carving templates for those who can’t draw, like me. (Let’s be real, I doubt my carving skills are advanced enough to do this despite the template. But I’ll give it a real effort!)

I hate haunted houses (way too chicken), so this one is definitely too scary for me. Would you do it?

Whether you have kids with allergies, or leave your light on for trick-or-treaters, here are some great tips for keeping Halloween allergy-friendly.

Ok, this is a Christmas thing technically, but Stranger Things sorta fits into the Halloween theme, right? This Peanuts version of Stranger Things is so good.

Whatever your plans, I hope you have a safe, fun, and perfectly spooky weekend!

{Image: The Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.}

Friday I’m In Love (& Marriage)

first dance

Katie and Eric’s first dance

I’m happy to report that I followed my own set of rules from last Friday’s post. I was able to set everything aside to fully immerse myself in my sister’s wedding. And boy, was it worth it. The day couldn’t have been more perfect.

Katie and the dresses (see below for more info about those!)

Katie and the dresses (keep reading for more info!)

One of my favorite details was the collection of family dresses shown above. On the far left is our grandma’s wedding dress, second from left is our mom’s, the third dress is Eric’s mom’s, and the hot pink number is our great grandma’s. Each one had a tag to let guests know who the dress belonged to and the date on which they married their sweetheart. How cool and sweet is that?! When I first saw all the dresses together, especially with Katie standing in front of them like that, my eyes welled right up.

With the wedding also came the opportunity to see family from all over the country, a rare treat.


My cousin, Andrew, and me


Me and my cousin, Amy

Overall, we had a wonderful celebration! I’m ecstatic that my sister found the man of her dreams, and that I gained my very first brother. A great one at that!

Ok, moving on from wedding stuff… here are some things that have been happening while I’ve been preoccupied.

I love this feature by Yeah! Buffalo about Rise Collaborative. I can’t wait to read No Boundaries, out today!

If you’re a Buffalo-area blogger, please consider joining us in the newly-formed Buffalo Blogging Network. October meetup TBA. Contact me, or use the contact form on the BBN site, to learn more!

Upstate Social Sessions is happening tomorrow in Rochester. Unfortunately, I can’t make it, but if you’re able to go, please let me know how it was!

Have a casual 4.5 mil? Me neither. Maybe we can put our lunch money together because the Mrs. Doubtfire house is for sale.

I cannot. wait. to see the pieces in this collab between Dwell and Target.

I was a little late to the Stranger Things party, but I love this article about the typeface used in the title design.

Women in tech, yeahhh!

Halloween costumes through the years. What was popular when you were a kid?

Ok, guys. This one is serious. Italy might be having a pizza crisis.

Between wedding prep, visiting with family, and catching up at work, the reality of my life as of late has been that I haven’t had much time to dedicate to tracing paper. So, thank you for sticking with me because I love it here. Please stay tuned. 

Have a lovely weekend!

{Photo of the dresses by my mom, all others by Julie Everett}

Awesome Buffalo

Awesome Buffalo
Hi, friends! I hope you’re having an awesome Tuesday. I know most of you tracing paper readers aren’t Buffalonians, but I wanted to share a little bit about a project I’m working on anyway.

As said in my About page, I was really hesitant when I first made the move to Buffalo. I mistakenly took negative rumblings and opinions about this city as truth. Over the last four and a half years that I’ve called Buffalo home, I’ve realized that I couldn’t have been more wrong.  This city is full of hard-working, artistic, and kind people. There is beautiful, old architecture to be seen, and new shops and restaurants are popping up everywhere you look.

Recently, I was introduced to a phenomenal organization called The Awesome Foundation. The Awesome Foundation is a global community advancing the interest of awesome in the universe, $1000 at a time. With the help of some new friends, we’re bringing a chapter to Buffalo! Our city is the perfect Awesome fit as we experience a renaissance of sorts.

We will function as a fully autonomous chapter, supporting awesome projects through micro-grants, given out a few times per year at pitch events. These micro-grants come out of pockets of the chapter’s “trustees” and are awarded on a no-strings-attached basis to people working on awesome projects.

Here at Awesome Buffalo, we’re currently looking for chapter trustees, who participate fully in the grant selection process. If this intrigues you, please fill out our interest form and join us in making Buffalo even more awesome:

I’m sorry in advance for using the word awesome so much. More to come!

Friday I’m In Love

mayerbros_tracingpaperAHHHH, it’s officially my favorite season! I spent yesterday, the glorious first day of autumn, on an airplane and then in the 98-degree heat of Fort Worth, Texas. In saving grace, last weekend I ventured to Mayer Brothers Cider Mill for apple cider and cider donuts. Now that’s the way to kick off the Fall season. 

I’m dancing in my bed here at the hotel in Forth Worth, excited to get home to cooler temps and a weekend full of pumpkins, cider, hayrides, and bonfires.

Here’s a roundup of all things Fall to get the party started!

FALL CLOTHES, one of my favorite parts of the season!

My house was meant for Fall colors and this entire Dot & Bo roundup.

What are your favorite fall things? Here are DC Minutes’!

As it gets colder outside and I get cuddlier on the couch inside, all I want to do is curl up and read. Might add a few of these to the reading list!

Who else never thinks about a Halloween costume until the day before? Not this year!

What will you do to achieve your goals this Fall?

How will you celebrate the first weekend of the new (and best) season?

Twelve Instagram Accounts to Follow

Photo by Sarah Porter @floralmuckboots


Whew, what a busy couple of weeks it’s been! I’ve been dreaming of spending more time here, working on all things tracing paper, but life has simply taken over lately.

After such long and busy days, I enjoy kicking back on the couch, lounging and relaxing with a beer or glass of wine. This time of relaxation often includes swiping through some of my favorite social media apps, starting with Instagram.


Fifteen Years Later


3,000 flags at the Healing Field, a 9/11 Memorial in Buffalo

7th grade pre-algebra class. A panic-stricken teacher ran in, interrupting our integers lesson, and whispered to Mrs. Potashnik. Taken aback, but quickly pulling herself together as the other teacher left the room, Mrs. P. told us that two planes had hit the World Trade Center. She followed up with something like, “But there’s nothing we can do about it now, so let’s get back to math.”


Friday I’m In Love

friday-love090216Labor Day weekend is always a little bittersweet. Even without a summer break, it still feels like an end of sorts. I’m too sentimental. But, Fall is by far my favorite season. While mourning the loss of sunshine, flowers, and swimming pools, I’m celebrating the resurrection of bonfires, cozy sweaters, and fresh apple cider.

Let’s enjoy the rest of summer while it lasts. Here are some things to get you through the end of the day. The long weekend is almost here!

This is called the Trace Vase, so obviously I need it, right?

Love me some ceviche. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

But this recipe. Now this is the best thing I’ve ever seen.

This post from a few years ago by my friend Bethany really got me this week. There’s that sentimental thing again. I feel so many feels for that girl in the pink polka dot dress. People are so mean. I think we’ve all unfortunately experienced moments like this.

I had no idea when we were buying two of them last weekend, that the POÄNG chair was about to celebrate its 40th birthday. Crazy!

You read about Michelle this week in my series, Run the World. As someone who has questioned whether or not I want to vote in this election, I love this piece she wrote about not taking our voting rights for granted.

And finally, if you don’t have any plans yet, some ideas to celebrate the end of summer this Labor Day weekend in Buffalo and beyond.

What’re you up to over this unofficial last weekend of summer? Whatever your plans, I hope you have a safe, enjoyable weekend! Happy Labor Day!