Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cool Creative Chicks - Caiti

Welcome to the second interview in my new monthly series (to be featured on the last Wed of the month) – Cool Creative Chicks. I am fortunate to know so many CCCs & wanted to share these gems with you & foster community. That’s why we’re all online right? So hopefully, you will connect with one another & make new friends or even just take away something from each interview.

Today’s guest is fellow blogger Caiti. I have been following her blog for over a year now & what I love the most about her is that she promotes creativity as an everyday action. Also, she's got a great sense of humor.
Image is property of Caiti
My name is Caiti, and I blog over at Life is a Canvas: Musings on Creativity, Good Food & Mindful Living. I am a designer, a writer, a wife, a dreamer and a healthy food-loving chef. I am committed to the notion that we are the artists for our lives, and I know that I want to create a life full of color, vibrancy, passion, exploration, and authenticity.  I believe in always surrounding yourself with inspiring people and beautiful objects, and in expressing the authentic YOU. Aside from my blog, you can find me hanging out on Twitter @CaitididDesigns, or on Etsy, Flickr and Pinterest.

Your blog focuses on cultivating & celebrating everyday creativity – cooking, careers, daily interactions, shopping with intention, in addition to “artistic” pursuits.  Could you please explain that concept in more detail, as I think that there is a huge misconception that being creative means traditional artistic activities like drawing, painting, sewing, etc.
When people hear the word "creative," I think they automatically think of artistic or crafty activities. Many think of "being creative" as an output-- a crocheted scarf, a scrapbook, a painting. I'm all about bringing creativity back to the root of the word: the verb "create." Creating is something that we are all doing, everyday. Every action, every decision that we make is creating our life. I think it's a really empowering sentiment because it gives us the power to shape our experience through our intentions, actions and openness. 

What kind of life do you want to create?  Asking yourself this question forces you to examine your intentions. It identifies areas that you may need to let go of if they aren't serving your vision, and focus more deeply on what matters.  These thoughts are all summed up in my blog title, "Life is a Canvas." Cheesy as it might be, our own lives are the biggest work of art we will ever create, and I think it's worth putting the time and thought into the "materials" (our careers, our health, our friendships and relationships, our hobbies, etc.) as well as the overall story we want to tell.

How do you keep organized & find balance between working full-time, being a blogger & an entrepreneur? How do you carve out time in your very busy schedule to create both for Caitidid Designs & for pleasure? Also do you have any words of wisdom for inspiring entrepreneurs?
 I don't know that there's such thing as balance, I think that it's just a matter of priorities. You have to ask yourself what's important to you in this moment, and go do those things. Sometimes this has meant days where I spend 12 hours on the computer, or times when I let my blog posting slide because it's important to me to spend more time with my husband and my family. It comes back to intention again and again. On a pretty regular basis, I take the time to think about what's important to me, both in general terms and a few specific ideas for ways I can fulfill those desires. And then I see what I can do to achieve or incorporate these things. There's a constant ebb and flow in every area rather than an even-keel sense of balance. 

My advice for entrepreneurs would be to channel Nike and "Just Do It." At least for me, it's so easy to get stuck in the planning and research phase. This is something that can be (and IS) very useful, but be careful that you aren't using research/planning as a security blanket and a way to procrastinate on your entrepreneurial goals. You learn so much as you go that it's worth it to dive in and work from there. You will always have the time and opportunity to grow and evolve once you put your ideas out into the world. You won't grow nearly as much if your ideas only exist inside your head.

Describe your creative process & how you combat creative ruts/blocks?
My creative process almost always starts with words-- I think this comes from my background in journalism; I love to write! I'm a crazy list-maker/note-taker, so I have a big blank sketchbook where I constantly jot down ideas for blog posts, projects or designs. Later, I do some rough sketches or thumbnails before turning to the computer. More recently, I've turned to visual inspiration much more frequently through Pinterest and Etsy treasuries. I find that it is a great tool to identify themes and color schemes I'm drawn to, but I have to be careful that I don't over-do it with the online inspiration or my work starts to look a little too much like the images I'm viewing, and my brain starts to fry from inspiration-overload. 

My way of combating creative ruts almost always includes a break. I take lots of breaks for tea throughout the day, and I also have multiple projects going on at the same time so that I often just switch to something else for a while when I get stuck. I also embrace my variety of hobbies including yoga, cooking, crocheting and reading because they let my creative brain take a rest for a little while.

What/who inspires you?
I'm inspired by so many women I've been exposed to through this crazy online/social media world who have created their own unique life that works for them-- women like Elsie of A Beautiful Mess, Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, Kyla Roma, Kris Carr, Elise Blaha, Sarah Von of Yes and Yes. I'm inspired by their determination, focus, style and creativity. 

Other inspirations include: browsing through people's Flickr favorites, Pinterest, taking photos, taking e-courses, long walks outside, the sound and smell of nature, people's stories and the art of storytelling, podcasts, college campuses, browsing bookstores, Squam Art Workshops, trying new restaurants.

What are some of your future goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope my husband and I can relocate to another city, preferably Portland or Seattle . I hope that my family will have grown to include a little one. I hope that I will still be blogging. I hope to be living authentically, challenging myself, and growing.

For fun:
Favorite beverage: Water and tea {the only two beverages I drink!}
Fav dessert/snack/food: Mac and cheese or mashed potatoes {carbs are my guilty pleasure!}. My favorite healthy treat is veggie sushi with brown rice
Fav music band *at the moment* (I know it’s hard to pick just one): Florence and the Machine's new album Ceremonials
Fav book: A tie between The Time Traveler's Wife and The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Fav movie: Amelie
Fav celebrity boy crush: Scott Speedman. I'm rewatching "Felicity" on Netflix right now, and I'm reminded of how firmly rooted on Team Ben I was back in the day.
Fav celebrity girl crush: Amy Poehler. Or more accurately, Leslie Knope.

Hope you enjoyed getting to know Caiti. And a big thanks Caiti for taking the time in your busy schedule to do this interview!


abby said...

Great post I feel inspired. I like her quote that life is a canvas :) I feel that way about my life right now.

Btw, I'll be emailing you the post tonight. Again I apologize for the delay of your scarf. I can't believe how busy I got :(

Danielle said...

Abby-So glad you liked the interview. No need for apologies - you've been super busy & getting over a cold.

Caiti said...

Thanks for the feature, Danielle! I enjoyed answering all your questions :)

Linda said...

Love this! Perks is one of my favorite books. They're turning it into a movie next year!

Danielle said...

Caiti- it was my honor & pleasure!

Linda - definitely gonna have to read this. You're like the 3rd3rd person to mention it in a matter of wks.

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