I am feeling honored and a bit nervous sharing this interview of yours truly featured on the remarkably thoughtful Time Sensitive Podcast, a labor of love by Spencer Bailey and Andrew Zuckerman. (I originally met Andrew because he has been reading my blog for years.) They are two deeply thoughtful and smart humans nurturing deep conversations. Grateful to have been invited and been allowed to share where my heart and I are at in this moment in time in 2022. You can listen to and also read the interview here.
In case you’re not familiar with CreativeMornings: It’s the world’s largest face-to-face creative community. You can attend events in 225 cities every month or tune into our free digital FieldTrips (aka workshops) online.
Yesterday I posted ideas on how to meet a romantic partner, outside of soul-sucking dating apps. Here is my post on Instagram. 2,830 likes and 261 comments later it’s clear this hit a nerve. Reposting it here with some resources my readers shared:
Can we talk about dating apps? Yeah, let’s not.
I can’t help but think there has to be a less soul-sucking way to meet someone!?
– what if we all tried to level up as friends and played matchmaker once a month?
– what if the dogpark had an unofficial singles section?
– what if there was a piece of clothing/accessory that indicates someone is single and open to meeting someone?
– what if friend groups pull together and create a database with their most awesome single friends and write a pitch about them?
– what if the first train on any subway train is only for singles?
– what if in giant high-rise buildings certain elevators are reserved for singles
– what if we organized events where everyone who is invited is single but nobody knows they are attending an undercover singles event. (And the group is recommended by friends aka vetted.) @hugc, @lessthanamazing and I organized such an event a few years back. Should I bring it back?)
– what if there was an event where people made presentations on their single friends. “PYF” (Pitch Your Friend)
– coffee shops have differently colored coffee cup lids for singles
– once a month singles dress monochromatically, all red for the day. (Gaaaah sooo fun!)
(Granted some of these ideas could possibly be very awkward. But ideas beget ideas!)
Do you have ideas to add or have you met your partner in an unexpected, fun way? Please share!
In the comments I learned that:
Apparently in Norway when you go hiking in the mountains, green buffs or hats mean you are single, and red mean you are in a relationship. SO GOOD!
In Bavaria, Germany, it all comes down to how you tie your bow on your Dirndl that indicates if you’re married, taken, single or even widowed.
Dating services, events some of my readers shared:
Have an interesting story on how you met your partner? Have additional ideas to add to the above list? Comment below!
11 years ago I launched Tattly as a fun side project.
The goal? Create high-quality temporary tattoos, designed by professional artists.
Little did I know this lighthearted idea would grow into a healthy business, shipping millions of tattoos around the world.
Since July of 2011, Tattly has catapulted joy and good art into the world, paid our artists over $1.5M in artist royalties, employed over 45+ fine humans, moved three times, attended countless trade shows, appeared on national TV, got featured in the NYTimes, handed out tattoos at the White House Easter Egg Roll under president Obama, collaborated with brands such as NPR, VOGUE, National Gallery, Sesame Street and Starbucks, ran a ‘temporary temporary tattoo parlor’, and licensed art from over 120 artists.
It’s been an eventful ride.
Tattly taught me about margins, the world of wholesale, what it means to ship products globally, how to source manufacturers… but most of all: Tattly taught me that it can be advantageous to fall into an industry you know nothing about. I showed up with zero limiting beliefs, just a whole lot of enthusiasm and willingness to learn.
And then 2020 happened.
Like for so many other bootstrapped, wholesale focused businesses, the pandemic has been brutal. During the NYC lockdown, in an attempt to save the business, I had to personally learn how to ship our orders. For months I would go into our deserted office, pack up the orders and carry them to the post office. It was a lot.
I admit I was on the brink of giving up. More than once.
Carolyn Andrews, our fearless CEO, was one of the people who would consistently remind me of what this mighty little brand brings to the world: We celebrate art, financially support artists, spread joy, champion inclusivity and allow the world to self-express and pretend. Pretending is fun. And boy does this world need more fun.
Over the past two years, I gained clarity: I want Tattly to grow, support more artists and bring smiles and lightness to more corners of the world.
Today I am proud to announce that Tattly has been adopted by the BIC family and is entering its next, expansive brand chapter.
BIC is a family-controlled company started in 1945 by Marcel Bich. Its founding product, the iconic BIC Cristal® pen, kickstarted a revolution that democratized handwriting and provided the world with an accessible medium for artistic self-expression.
Today, BIC is a leading global provider of many essential items. The company’s vision to bring simplicity and joy to everyday life is realized daily through the sale of more than 30 million products in 160 countries. This ability to touch the lives of billions of people in such a meaningful way, to me, is extraordinary.
Am I nervous about putting Tattly in the hands of such a giant company? Yes! Of course!
Am I ‘anxcited’ about the months ahead? Yes, of course!
Am I excited for the expertise, manufacturing and financial resources BIC will be able to provide to strengthen the mission and scale of Tattly? Absolutely!
There is so much possibility ahead!
And, a lot will stay the same:
Tattly remains women-led, Brooklyn based and will always champion artists. Tattly’s brand ethos will be untouched. Our artist community will continue to flourish, as BIC shares our deep respect for creatives. While my role becomes more advisory, I’ll still be involved with the overall creative vision.
I don’t make a decision like this lightly. My close friends know it’s been a tremendously long journey for me to feel ready to set Tattly free. I am proud of how far my team and I have been able to take this gem of a company. Tattly is a true labor of love, bootstrapped, infused with a tremendous amount of care and enthusiasm by 45+ team members over the course of 11 years. Each one of them left a mark.
I trust BIC will honor our past 11 years and honor the essence of Tattly.
I trust BIC will teach her new things, I wasn’t able to.
I can’t wait to see what she’ll grow into.
I love you, Tattly.
Last week was unusually ‘full’. I had no brain space to post here. I can’t remember the last time that happened other than after my kids were born.
And then, as I was swinging from one to-do-item-vine to the next, running from lots of Zoom meetings filled with men wearing blue shirts and khaki pants, my giant glass patio door shattered.
It was a startling moment.
It was mesmerizing to hear the glass crackle for a good 10-15minutes before it eventually settled in its broken beauty.
What’s the lesson of this all?
– Check for rocks in your lawn before mowing the lawn, fellow homeowners!
– There is beauty in the breakdown.
– ….. what else?
I didn’t enjoy brushing my dog with a regular dog brush. I started digging around on the internet hoping someone invented something better: HandsOn Animal Gloves. My dog LOVES when I brush her with these! (Yes, they look hideous.)
17 years ago today I started publishing on here with this post. Somehow I am still standing. 18,679 posts in. Still enjoying it. Thank you for visiting my little garden on the internet. I appreciate you stopping by.
Happy my blog birthday to you!
New year and another trip around the sun. Hey 2022, here’s to:
– more parties in the heart
– more listening. Less talking
– being ok with being misunderstood
– spending time with expansive humans
– staying open
– more dancing
– long walks
– petting dogs
– BELIEVE (Ted Lasso style)
– less sugar
– remembering that fear is the absence of love
– remembering to interpret mixed signals as a no
– continue to gently recognize my limiting beliefs
– trusting that inner whisper
– sprinkle fun and good vibes
– be intentional about rituals / traditions (create new ones)
– notice when the universe is cheering me on
– no more overwatering plants
– notice and celebrate what’s working
– recognize when I am swimming upstream and swiflty turning around
– write my book (at least start)
– being open to love
Whispers: Thank you for visiting my garden on the internet. I appreciate you stopping by.
In summer of 2020 I was unexpectedly offered to buy my dream home in the Hudson Valley. November 12th marked the one year anniversary of me owning this house, I would like to share this magical story:
In fall of 2015 I found the listing for Maitopia on Airbnb. I gasped and within minutes booked a stay that was a good 6 months out, the first weekend I could get my hands on. I’ll never forget the moment when we entered the driveway, in spring of 2016. There she was, this modern, tiny beauty. I could barely breathe of excitement. As we got out of the car my daughter noticed the Swiss cross flag on the shed and jokingly said: “This house was waiting for you, mommy!”
We kept coming back to Maitopia, 1-3 times a year, for long weekends and I became Instagram-DM friends with the owners. Every time I stayed, I would post about the house, gushing about how perfect it was and thanking the internet for the sharing economy. What a magical world we live in!
Then, on June 17, 2020 the owners messaged me saying “We are thinking about selling the house!”
I remember jumping from my chair, screaming “OMG!” My daughter thought something bad happened and looked at me with a look of horror. “What’s wrong, mommy?” I said “Heath and Sarah-Mai want to sell Maitopia!” I typed back, in all caps: I WISH I COULD BUY IT!
Their response blew me away: “Well, we were hoping you’d say that, as we can only sell the house to someone who loves it as much as we do and we think that person is you. We won’t put in on the market!”
I felt so many feelings.
I was in no place of buying a house. Or so I thought. With the pandemic raging in NYC, I was terrified of losing everything I had built over the past 15 year. The last thing on my mind was buying a house. I was sure I couldn’t afford it.
Yet I knew in my heart of hearts that this property found me. So I examined my limiting beliefs, tried to find solutions on how it could work, and things started falling into place.
About a week later, I asked the owners, whom I had never met, if they’d meet me on the sidewalk outside their Upper West Side home. I shared with them that I didn’t take it lightly that they offered the house to me. After all, it was their labor of love. They designed it. They built it. It was an extension of them.
I handed them a plant and my offer (love) letter, which was wrapped in drawings of the house that my kids made.
It was a powerfully loving moment. On both ends. Some tears were shed.
(This process taught me so much, as it made me think that if I ever were to sell one of my companies or anything else I have built, this is how I would want this transaction to go down. Loving. Heart-centered. Thoughtful.)
A few days later they let us know they accepted our offer. My kids and I were estatic, dancing through our Brooklyn apartment!
The mortgage journey that followed after was not the most pleasant but we got there eventually. Lots of lawyer-y non-heart-centered stuff followed too. Part of the process, I guess. Deep breaths.
And here we are, a year later.
I have been a homeowner for 365 days. I admit, I have dealt with more broken things than I want to acknowledge, but I am starting to really understand the house. My friend Sue once said that the house is teaching me how to take care of it. I feel that.
This also means I have been an Airbnb host for 365 days straight. And let me tell you, I have grown as a host. (I have so much to share on this front, but that’s for another time.)
Today, I just want to revel in the fact that this house found me. It is my happy place. My heart swells up every time I enter the driveway.
Thank you for choosing me, Maitopia.
PS: Yes, I do rent the house, you can see the listing here. Please note I am slow about opening up the calendar, I do it a few months at a time. If you want to see more photos, you can check the Instagram account here and a walk through of the house is here. Sarah-Mai and Heath who built the house have since created a new magical home in the Northfork and are soon going to be renting that one out too. You can see it here.
It’s been a bit quiet here and you might be wondering why? Well, this family is growing. We are picking up our rescue today and have been busy preparing for the new family member. (Shelter adoptions are no joke in NYC. Three rounds of interviews, a home visit and then meeting the pup!)
We are ANXCITED! This is our first dog and we realize we have a lot to learn. When we went to see Beau I asked the foster mom what she needs most. She pondered for a moment and then said: LOVE, a whole lot of love. I exhaled and said: “I got plenty of that. We’re good!”
Also, I think I have watched every Cesar Milan video out there by now. If you have adopted a rescue or own a dog and have tips, please be so kind and drop them in a comment below.
Onward to our new chapter! WOOF!
Update: Sharing some first impressions with her on Instagram, look for the Pup Emoji story highlight. (circle at underneath my bio)
“Dogs are our link to paradise.”
– Milan Kundera
Thank you Jon Levy for generously writing an entire chapter about us in your book You’re Invited.
You can read the article here.
I will now go and cry and dance in my living room and send oodles of gratitude to our global volunteer community for making this happen.
On Monday morning, right before I dropped off my son at school, I got a text from my sister saying my dad wasn’t well.
A few hours later I found myself on a plane to Switzerland and arrived at the nursing home just in time to say good-bye. My sister, her husband and I were gifted the experience to witness the sacred moment of my dad’s passing.
All his life, my dad believed in and studied reincarnation and in particular the moment the soul leaves the body. Here he was, living it.
My sister and I have learned so much from him just by overhearing him talk about death. (He had an entire library on this topic and I remember reading books by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross at 16!) Yet, as much as I knew about the process of dying, nothing prepares you for being in the presence of death.
That sacred moment of that last breath, when that deep quiet hits. And you find yourself crying in ways you never have.
It felt as if his soul pulled mine out to give it a squeeze and then let it bounce back into my body.
My dad was a force. A man of many interests and talents. A successful (and ruthless) entrepreneur, yet a soul that got gentler as he got older. I often described him as a ball of love in these past few years.
As he aged he became blind and eventually needed to leave his beloved house to live in a nursing home. Even though in younger years he would moan and complain about a bad cold, in this stage of his life he, with so much of his body giving out, he never complained. New nursing staff, not familiar with his name yet, would refer to him as “the kind one”.
My dad has shown me what it means to dream big, to live a courageous creative life. And in the end, he taught me the lesson that life is one big journey of finding back to your truest self, being and living love. He found it. He lived it. (Maybe not in the early years, but definitely at the end!)
What a blessing to witness his passing.
I miss you, dad.
Ps: Please call your parents, if you still can.
This photo was taken a mere 5 weeks ago, when my kids and I traveled to the Swiss Alps.
I recently shared over on my Instagram that so much of my energy these days is spent on catching the moment my thoughts start getting anxious.
When I catch myself starting to fear-worry-spiral, I take deep breaths and remind myself of all the blessings and of what is going right.
I had one of these moments last week while food shopping and the simple act of taking a selfie with my kids snapped me right out of it.
Michael Singer of ‘The Untethered Soul’ once said “whatever you do, don’t close” and it has become my daily mantra. (You can hear him talk on this in the above video!)
How do you all stay in your hearts these days?
In 2010 I accidentally, for funsies, created a simple to-do app with my studiomate Cameron Koczon. We jokingly called it TeuxDeux. This trusty companion has kept us organized ever since!
A few weeks after building it, and just Cameron and I using it, friends kept asking to get in on it. We decided to make it available to the public and has since attracted an incredibly loyal and committed fan base of humans who love to cross things off.
The concept is simple: Make an app that feels as close to a paper list as possible, but that is with you at every step of the way: On the go on your phone but also ready to keep you organized when you work on your computer. (The secret is to set your browser landing page to teuxdeux.com so you’re being reminded what you need to do every time you open a browser window!)
If you’re familiar with TeuxDeux you’ll notice the new and improved user interface on the app and the much faster and reliable syncing thanks to a complete rebuild of the back-end.
I am currently on day 54 of trying to experience myself and my life sans alcohol. (My goal is 90 days!) What an interesting journey this is, experiencing myself without ever escaping with a drink. I feel a bit like an onion, slowly peeling layers off, discovering new feelings and sides of me I didn’t know existed.
If you have been on a similar journey, what are your go to non-alcoholic drinks when socializing with friends?
This is the first time I am sharing the talk I gave in November of 2019 at the House of Beautiful Business in Lisbon. (Whispers: It was the first time one of my talks garnered a standing ovation. It must have hit a nerve!)
In my talk, I tell the story of how CreativeMornings came to be and I am appealing to all creative manifesters to step up, give a damn and go beyond the low-vibration game of success.
I believe we are in a time of awakening and more business leaders are shifting from a purely analytical approach to running their business to a more heart-centered approach. I am here for it!
But most of all, my message to everyone was simple: Whatever you do, make sure you’re inspired by your own story.
(A big thank you to the team of House of Beautiful Business for letting me post the audio of the talk. And no, there is no video recording.)
21 years ago I moved to NYC not knowing it would become my forever home.
Two months ago, I became a US citizen, during a pandemic nonetheless.
Today I voted for the first time, after two decades of paying taxes, building businesses and and raising my children in the USA.
It feels good to citizen.
I have been holding my breath since March. While trying to keep my companies alive and making sure my kids feel emotionally safe.
I am done holding my breath.
“At any point in our lives, we can choose to be happy, no matter the circumstances,” my wise friend @suefan once said.
Think about it.
At any time you can choose love over fear.
I refuse to let 2020 go down as an unlived year.
I hereby exhale and surrender to what is.
I am going to breathe deeply and actively look for and celebrate anything that brings me joy:
Be it this imperfectly perfect heart-shaped tomato.
Rollerskaters dancing. (Check my Instagram story highlight titled HAPPY)
Tending to my plants.
Sitting with my neighbors on my stoop.. …
Given that 2020 is one big dumpster fire, I am trying to think of joy-producing ideas that up the ante.
Here’s one that made me giggle: What if we muster up all of our courage and confess to our secret crushes?
“Hi [insert name],
2020 sucks. But I figured it would make you happy to know that I have been secretly crushing on you.”
Can you imagine how that would make your day?
There are 124 days left in 2020. Let’s live a little. Let’s be warriors of joy.
PS: Please, exhale.
(originally posted over on my Instagram account)
My blog is turning 15 today. Maintaining this little corner on the internet has been one of the most rewarding projects ever. I wish more people would go back to owning their content, maintaining their own, well curated corner of the internet. Some of the folks that are doing that and I consistently go back to are:
What personal blogs do you go back to regularly?
Let’s bring blogrolls back!
Happy my 15th blog-iversary to you! Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.