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Summer Sale: 100 Days of Discussion Digital Bundles are 30% Off!

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Summer Sale: 100 Days of Discussion Digital Bundles are 30% Off!

Summertime Sale: 100 Days of Discussion Digital Bundles

If you've been following along for a while you likely know that the 100 Days of Discussion project began in 2015, but the idea actually came from a road trip my husband and I took in 2014. We were trying to pass the time on a long haul from Montana to California and we decided to ask each other random questions to help spark discussion.

Not only did we pass the time, but a tiny nugget of an idea was born. Fast forward a few years and 100 Days of Discussion has been lovingly crafted into a print book, and ebook, and an audiobook.

In the spirit of the good old fashioned summer road trip, I've decided to offer 30% off the digital bundle of 100 Days of Discussion through the end of June! Whether you've got road trips planned over the next few months or you simply prefer digital over print, now is the time to snag some conversation starters.

In the bundle, you'll get both the ebook version (pdf) and audio version (mp3) as soon as you complete your purchase. Just enter SUMMER17 at checkout for 30% off! Offer good June 6 - 30, 2017.

100DaysOfDiscussionBook_Cover.jpg

100 DAYS OF DISCUSSION
(DIGITAL BUNDLE)

INTRODUCTORY PRICE: $22

Enter SUMMER17 at checkout for 30% off! Offer good June 6 - 30, 2017.

Remember 5% of proceeds go directly to the CYOP Artist Residency Program.

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Adventures in Self-Care: Float Tanks

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Adventures in Self-Care: Float Tanks

Photo: Laura Thatcher via  Twenty20

Photo: Laura Thatcher via Twenty20


On May 9th I strained my lower back. Well, to be honest, I originally strained my back in high school and the injury tends to make itself known at least once a year. 

When I originally started sharing about my most recent strain, people asked things like, "Oh no! Did you hurt yourself?" and "What on earth did you do?"

The answer to those questions is complicated because this particular back issue tends to creep up on me. I'll start to notice a slight twinge and ignore it (which is not smart) and I'll keep treating ergonomics like a suggestion, ramping up my workouts as planned (even though I know I should maintain instead of level-up), and working long days in front of a screen (when I know that craning my neck to work at said screens is part of the problem).

I've tried icing it, I've tried heating pads, I've tried painkillers, I've tried massage, I've tried stretches, but the best remedy is rest—as in, lying flat on my back for hours at a time.

I don't know if you know this, but it's really hard to write for magazines, do podcast interviews, create products, and have a life while lying flat on your back for the majority of the 24 hours we have each day.

Well, that's what's been happening since May 9th. For most of the month, I've been cramming all of my work into a handful of hours each day and then going home to rest. Luckily, my back is slowly starting to feel better. I've been able to attend events, catch up on work, and (thankfully) hit deadlines.

And honestly the turning point was the day after I experienced floating for the first time. When I posted this photo on Instagram about my back issues, the kind folks at Capitol Floats here in Sacramento asked if I wanted to see if an hour in one of their float tanks might help alleviate some of the pain. I had never tried float tanks before, but I was ready to try anything and quickly agreed to schedule my appointment for the following Monday.

Float tanks at Capitol Floats in Sacramento, California.

One thing you need to know about me is that I get claustrophobic very easily. I've even had experiences where a crowded plane makes me sort of freak out. I don't ever like the feeling of being locked into a small or crowded space so I knew I didn't really want to try a float tank that was pod-like. Luckily, Capitol Floats has walk-in tanks. You can leave the door open, there are lights and music in the tanks (that can be turned on and off), and you can always step out into your private float room if you need a break.

Another thing I know to be true about myself is that I get vertigo. Sea sickness is something I've dealt with for years and I'm incredibly dizzy each time I get off a rollercoaster. When you float your body is experiencing virtual weightlessness thanks to the Epsom salt they add and it may take some getting used to if you also tend to get a little woozy like me. 

So what did I think of my first experience?

The Awesome Parts:

  • I didn't feel claustrophobic at all, which felt like a huge win.
  • I can't remember the last time I was quiet and free from outside stimulation (read: distractions) for more than a few minutes and the silence was very welcome.
  • Also in the headspace realm, my thoughts slowed to a crawl. All I was focused on was how my body was feeling. Quieting my Type A brain is something I've never really been able to do so this was a major feat!
  • My body felt like the heaviest blob of jello ever—in a good way. Muscles relaxed and I was able to move my back like I hadn't been able to for a week.
  • My pain was measurably improved the following day—another big win!
  • They have a really awesome quiet/relaxation room so you can get your head straight before you leave (which is neccessary, trust me!). 

The Parts That Will Take Practice:

  • My body felt like the heaviest blob of jello ever—in a "how am I going to pull myself up out of this ten inches of water??" sort of way. My back was still sore and climbing out of the water when everything felt like jello wasn't an easy task. There is a bar on the door to hang onto, but I left the door open a crack and I definitely had to be very careful not to slip as I climbed out of the tank.
  • I did get nauseous about 3/4 of the way through my 60-minute float and I decided to get out. I'm attributing that to my penchant for sea sickness and I truly believe it will just take practice. My body isn't used to feeling weightless and I'm determined to see if I can get beyond that woozy feeling in future floats.
Capitol Floats // Sacramento, California

Yes! I said future floats. While the team at Capitol Floats comped my first float, I signed up for their starter 3-float package to see if I can use my time in these tanks as the positive tool it's meant to be. The benefits far outweighed the potential for feelings of vertigo and, like I said, I'm hoping I can float my way out of that reaction.

Now, if you're in Sacramento and want to try these float tanks, I've got a deal for you!!! If you're a new customer of Capitol Floats, you can enter the code hv-483426 in the Promotional Code box on their online booking page to get $10 off either the 60-Minute Float or the 3 (60-Minute) Float Intro Package! Pretty cool right?

Overall, I'm calling this adventure in self-care a success!


Note: Capitol Floats did comp my first float as a courtesy, but they did not ask me to share my experience. I'm simply sharing because enough people have asked me about it and I want to help those of you who might be in the same boat with pain and/or a very noisy brain!


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Photo Essay: What We Loved in Ghent, Belgium

Ghent, Belgium

When life gets overwhelming, I tend to look for the good stuff—happy stories, good people, and fun memories. So, it's no surprise that I recently found myself rummaging through my photo archives from our spring trip to Europe.

Today, I'm excited to share what I found in the "Ghent, Belgium" file on my computer. We had a lovely visit that came complete with a stunning Airbnb (the photos on the site don't do it justice—trust me), slow evening walks (perfect for stumbling upon beautiful architecture), and plenty of time to sample as much beer and chocolate as possible. 

As I mentioned, the flat we rented was incredible. I did a terrible job or taking photos of the rental, but I did manage to capture our favorite spots: the living space and the deck.  

Ghent, Belgium // Airbnb
Ghent, Belgium // Airbnb
Ghent, Belgium // Airbnb
Ghent, Belgium // Airbnb

As far as sightseeing goes, we sort of broke our trip into history lessons that also afforded us great views of the city from up above and exploring the city at the street level. We, of course, started with a castle that happens to be located right in the middle of the city.

The Gravensteen // Ghent, Belgium
The Gravensteen // Ghent, Belgium
The Gravensteen // Ghent, Belgium
The Gravensteen // Ghent, Belgium
The Gravensteen // Ghent, Belgium
The Gravensteen // Ghent, Belgium
The Gravensteen // Ghent, Belgium
The Gravensteen // Ghent, Belgium
The Gravensteen // Ghent, Belgium
The Gravensteen // Ghent, Belgium
The Gravensteen // Ghent, Belgium
The Gravensteen // Ghent, Belgium

Our next stop was the beautiful Belfry of Ghent, which is located just down the road from the castle. You can actually see it in many of the photos above!

Belfry of Ghent // Ghent, Belgium
Belfry of Ghent // Ghent, Belgium
Belfry of Ghent // Ghent, Belgium

The tour of the belfry is full of really fascinating information about how the bells are made and how the mechanisms controlling the chimes actually work. Then, when you make it to the top, you're rewarded with more amazing views of the city.

Belfry of Ghent // Ghent, Belgium
Belfry of Ghent // Ghent, Belgium
Belfry of Ghent // Ghent, Belgium
Belfry of Ghent // Ghent, Belgium

At the street level, Ghent is just as charming as you might imagine. We loved walking around, winding our way through side streets, and ducking into shops and the occasional restaurant or bar. 

Ghent, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium
Ghent, Belgium

We were also really intrigued to find a few key spots that were perfect for hanging out for a bit. The first was the Stadshal, which is a modern event structure built right in the middle of the historic center of the city. I shared more about it here, if you'd like to get the backstory, but we were definitely excited to see a food and drink festival taking place at the Stadshal while we were in town!

The Stadshal // Ghent, Belgium
The Stadshal // Ghent, Belgium
The Stadshal // Ghent, Belgium

The next spot we decided to spend a little time was something my husband came across in his pre-vacation research: an entire street dedicated to graffiti art! I loved it.

Graffitistraatje // Graffiti Street // Ghent, Belgium
Graffitistraatje // Graffiti Street // Ghent, Belgium
Graffitistraatje // Graffiti Street // Ghent, Belgium
Graffitistraatje // Graffiti Street // Ghent, Belgium
Graffitistraatje // Graffiti Street // Ghent, Belgium
Graffitistraatje // Graffiti Street // Ghent, Belgium

One of the things we noticed on this trip was just how much we missed being out in nature. Most of our vacations revolve around hiking, camping, and other outdoor adventures. Truth be told, this trip didn't offer us the peace and quiet we're accustomed to. So, we found this pretty park and spent some time exploring away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  

Citadelpark // Ghent, Belgium
Citadelpark // Ghent, Belgium
Citadelpark // Ghent, Belgium
Citadelpark // Ghent, Belgium

Overall, it was a lovely stop during our European getaway. We'd definitely go back to this charming college town.

Now tell me, friends: have you ever been to Ghent? What was your favorite spot?



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27 Lessons Learned Since Announcing the Big CYOP Road Trip

27 Lessons Learned Since Announcing the Big CYOP Road Trip // creatingyourownpath.com

A year ago this week, I was officially committing to driving across the country for my longest CYOP road trip to date. What an amazing, terrifying, exhilarating, difficult, wondrous, magical, fulfilling 52 weeks it's been, my friends.

Since deciding to make that road trip dream a reality, I've said yes to things that scare the daylights out of me. I've found peace in my own company. I've done my best to show up for those who needed me to show up. I've cried and cried and cried. I've smiled and smiled and smiled. I've met dozens of incredible artists, makers, writers, builders, creators, designers and collaborators who have altered the way I look at the world.

I know. It sounds dramatic, but taking big steps toward the unknown taught me things. Big things. Little things. Things I cannot (will not, should not) unlearn.

In no particular order:

  1. I've learned that it's okay to put work first and that it's equally okay to put work second (or third or fourth).
  2. I've learned that things will not always be as they are right now and that's something to be celebrated.
  3. I've learned that if you genuinely approach people with curiosity and mutual interest, they will almost always be willing to lend a hand. 
  4. I've (re)learned that we all come from different backgrounds and that, even though we might see things differently, we're all working with the same handful of emotions and we often strive for many of the same things in life.
  5. I've (re)learned how to be gracious and forgiving and kind.
  6. I've learned that not everyone is going to give me the same level of graciousness, forgiveness and kindness, but that's their path to walk — not mine.
  7. I've learned that science cannot cure all things (I'm looking at you, cancer), but that love can be given without restraint. It may not heal all things, but it's worth giving nonetheless.
  8. I've learned that mindset is EVERYTHING and that doing hard, scary, big things in life requires a level of fortitude I didn't even realize I possessed.
  9. I've learned that it's okay to push through resistance.
  10. I've also learned that it's okay to press pause, take a break and reassess.
  11. I've learned that it's okay to ask for help.
  12. I've (re)learned that life can change in an instant and that anything worth doing is worth doing now, if possible.
  13. I've learned that we tend to put people on pedestals in this world and that those people are just like you and me. They're no better, no worse — just human.
  14. I've learned to share some things publicly and deal with other things privately.
  15. I've learned that some people will pass judgement when they don't understand or have access to the full story — and that sometimes the full story is none of their business, anyway.
  16. I've (re)learned that everyone is fighting a battle I may not fully understand and I need to be better at reserving my own judgement.
  17. I've learned that if I tell jokes while speaking in front of a crowd it calms my nerves a bit.
  18. I've also learned that I will never NOT be nervous when speaking in front of a crowd.
  19. I've learned that I'm pretty okay with my social awkwardness. Turns out, some people will find it charming (who knew?) while others will be embarrassed on my behalf. As long as I'm cool with it, all is well. 
  20. I've learned that it feels awesome to be the connector in a situation, rather than always being the person doing the thing. We don't always have to be the person doing the thing.
  21. I've learned that, while I live in a great big country, nothing is all that far away if I've got the time and means to get to where I'm going.
  22. I've learned that prioritizing my time and my means is the best way to pursue my dreams.
  23. I've learned that others will question those priorities because they don't understand why my priorities are different from their priorities. I've also learned that those discussions are less about offering justification for my choices and more about offering a different point of view.
  24. I've learned that those who I've met along the way are some of the most resilient and wise people I know.
  25. I've learned that I have preferences in how I work, but that, if I must, I can accomplish big things from anywhere in the world. 
  26. I've learned how much doing the big scary thing can change a person and that it's what I do with all of that new self-knowledge that really matters.
  27. I've learned that I am (and, by extension, you are) not alone.

I've learned a lot over the last year and I have that beast of a road trip to thank for most of it. Obviously, I think it's important to reflect on what we've learned, but I also think it's important to stop thinking and start doing. It's in the doing of the thing where all of the difficult, wondrous, terrifying, amazing magic happens. We just get to hang on, enjoy the wild ride and keep learning the lessons over and over again.

Onward, my friends. I hope you're pondering, doing, thinking and then jumping in and doing some more. When's the last time you did something that felt HUGE and learned something from it? Tell me what you're up to in the comment section! 


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Photo Essay: Amsterdam in the Springtime

Amsterdam in spring

I'm not sure there's really a bad time to visit Amsterdam, but we were sure glad to be there in the spring! The flowers, the patio-sitting, the sometimes-sunny-sometimes-rainy weather, the not-so-terrible museum lines, the flowers — we couldn't have asked for a better place to start our recent European adventure.

Amsterdam in spring
Amsterdam in spring
Amsterdam in spring
Amsterdam in spring
Amsterdam in spring
Amsterdam in spring
Amsterdam in spring
Amsterdam in spring
Amsterdam in spring

Tulips and Amsterdam go together like, well, you know. We loved seeing them in gardens and planter boxes around the city. Our favorite tulips, however, were found outside of the busy capital city. You can scope out our tulip field adventure here!

Amsterdam in spring
Amsterdam in spring
Amsterdam in spring

So tell me friends: Have you ever been to Amsterdam? What time of year did you visit? 



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