Thursday, 16 February 2012

Inspiration 365: Days 44–47

Let’s forget days 44, 45 and 46. They were dark days. Yesterday particularly, as I spent most of it in bed with what I tend to call “gut rot”–in medical terms, diarrhea. A slight stomach bug, I’m sure, but uncomfortable to say the least.

Those days are gone. Let’s focus on today. For today… was awesome.

I decided early last week to book this week off at the Centre to focus on my plan to breathe new life into my design career. Design truly is what I do best, and is currently the most profitable way for me to single-handedly support my family.

The plan for the week was to continue work on a few modest design projects already on-hand, and spend as much time as possible reconnecting with former clients, and connecting with potential new ones. Due to delays in progress, and the—ahem—gut rot, my week’s plan has been somewhat kyboshed (sp?). Today made up for it.

Today I enjoyed an inspiring lunch date with fellow creative, Justin van Leeuwen. Justin is a local commercial photographer, whom I have been following on Twitter for months now, maybe even a year. I stopped him on the sidewalk one day last Summer to introduce myself, as we had exchanged tweets online a few times, but had not yet met IRL (in real life). In my efforts to expand my local creative network, I thought of Justin right away. Knowing his favourite lunch spot, I asked if I could join him there to talk shop. “Hell yes!” was his response. I knew right away this was going to be good.

I imagine Justin has no idea how influential our lunch conversation was. Here are but a few of the key points I took away from our time together:
  • You can’t expect to find inspiration and creativity stuck in the same routine, within the same four walls, day after day. You need to explore, watch movies, surf the web, take workshops, travel, meet new people… Get out there.
  • Up your rates. Prospective clients take you much more seriously, and value your work more, when there is a larger investment. Don’t be shy. Charge what you are worth.
  • Network, network, network. Just keep talking.
  • Do what you love. Your enthusiasm, passion and drive will bring the work to you. Once people know you are out there, doing it full-time, you will be flooded with work.

Thank you, Justin. I anticipate many future chats with you. You are über cool and I appreciate your time today so very much.

After such an uplifting lunch, I was all fired up. When I am fired up, I explore and strut my stuff. On the way home, I decided to pop in to one of my favourite neighbourhood exploration spots: St. Vincent de Paul—a second-hand shop, not unlike a Salvation Army Thrift Shop. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but figured I would be drawn to the housewares. I love picking though vintage table- and service-ware. I did find three little gems: a wide-mouthed Mason jar for 69¢, a sweet painted red tin bucket for 59¢ (perfect to house my collection of pens, markers and paintbrushes) and a turquoise and green glazed pottery bowl vase for 99¢ (just waiting for this Spring’s harvest of my Grandmother’s Peonies). I was excited by these three bits on their own, but continued to browse the rest of the store. Books, racks of clothes sorted by colour {clever!}, furniture… and hmmm, I wonder if they have any boots here.

Side note: I have been looking for boots for, oh… about three years now! The perfect boots at the perfect price have been very difficult to find.

Until now.

A rack of shoes and boots appeared as I turned the corner out of the furniture section. It shone as though illuminated by Heaven. There they were. A pair of patent leather, er, vinyl, deep plum knee-high, 2-inch heel boots. Glorious. Oh! What’s this? Just my size? To quote the lovely Justin van Leeuwen, “Hell yes!” They slid on my feet and over my {rather husky} calves like butter. The price? A mere 800.

800 cents, that is. Yes folks, these most delightful boots were $7.99. I don’t know who St. Vincent de Paul was, but today he most certainly is the saint of all good things at amazing prices. SOLD.

But wait, there’s more. There was another pair. This time black, with a longer, slightly squared off toe. A higher heel this time, more Stilleto than chunky. Like butter again {no way!}. This pair only $6.99.

I grinned from ear to ear when the teller rang up two pairs of boots, a tin bucket, wide-mouthed Mason jar and pottery bowl for a grand total of $17.35.

What brilliant day. The evening was topped of by Marshall exclaiming that he had the night off. “What does your tummy want for supper?” PASTA. I needed something starchy to absorb the acids that had been wreaking havoc on my gut the last 48 hours. I suggested we pick up To Go meals at Parma Ravioli, just at the end of our street. In the 18 months since we moved here, we had not yet set foot in the doors of this establishment. Pasta is not a regular item on our meal schedule. The shop was gorgeous. Stunning take home meals for under $15. Fresh pasta and homemade sauces to prepare at your leisure. Shelves of gorgeously packaged olive oils, tomatoes, dried pastas. Everything an Italian grocery should be. I chose grilled chicken breast on egg noodles with a mushroom cream sauce and grilled peppers. Marshall chose grilled pork tenderloin on a tricolour Fettucine in rosé sauce. Both meals amazing.

I love days like this. Doing my own thing. Being productive, engaged… inspired.

{ Psst… I love to receive feedback on my posts. Please leave your comments whenever you feel inspired to do so! }

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