Moving on.

Hi there! Thank you for following essayem.wordpress.com. After several years on the WordPress platform, I’ve decided to move to… another wordpress platform.

As of tomorrow, I’ll be posting from local-satori.com.

It will essentially be the same blog –  posts on video production, writing and producing as well as more of the travel, life and style posts I have been increasingly drawn to in the past several months. I’ll be moving some of the most read posts, but eventually, I’ll shut this space down in favor a clean slate.

I hope you’ll join me there.

Again, thank you for reading!

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This is not my bliss station.

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I was sifting through my inbox this morning desperately searching for Matt Cheuvront’s excel-based goals doc that I just knew came from his blog, and that I always reference around this time of year for future-ish planning and came up absolutely empty. (Yes, I realize if I always referenced it, I should be able to find it BUT part of the reason is that it actually came from Chris Guillebeau’s blog, but the point is that I want to always reference it).

While I was sifting, I came across a link to a post from Austin Kleon’s blog from last year called The Bliss Station. In it, Kleon leads with this quote from Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth:

You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

The image you see above is not my bliss station. But it will be.

If you’re not a goal-maker or an inconsistent one (like me), this may be about the time of year your workspace starts feeling cluttered. Maybe it’s my cluttered inbox or my sad excuse for a bliss station but I want this picture to serve as the beginning. The before.

And here’s the doc, btw.

CAPSULE WARDROBE: WINTER EDIT

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I’ve got to say, I love winter.

Above that, I love winter clothes. Hygge was meant for me. And, after several months of reading up on the concept of capsule wardrobes (here, here, and here, for just a little inspiration), and two rough 10x10s, I’m jumping right into a full seasonal edit. January 1 to March 20.

I’m technically a few weeks late on Winter (12/20) – but maybe this counts as a New Year’s resolution?

The idea of capsule wardrobe, as I’m taking it, is to trim your wardrobe to 33 pieces for 3 months. This does not include active-wear, loungewear/pjs, or underwear not does it include accessories. 33 is the non-official standard, Project 333, popularized by Be More With Less. Depending on what you’re reading, that number will change but ultimately, you do what works for you. I’m a beginner, so I’m going full-speed easy.

GOALS

My goals in creating a capsule wardrobe are multi-fold. First, I want to dress well, but I don’t want to stress about having the perfect thing for every day. I’m an occasional wear-it-three-days-in-a-row kind of girl and that’s not likely to change. Second, I don’t want to feel the associated guilt of buying products from major corporations that utilize sweatshops; that guilt later compounded by seeing those brands in your discarded or donation pile. Third, I want to simplify. My closet should not be overflowing or have pieces I haven’t worn in years. I want it to be a truer reflection of my personal style.

That said, my goal with this capsule is to reflect a style that is modern, relaxed and understated.

Looking for words to describe your style? Look no further.

PROCESS

Since this is my first seasonal capsule, there was no set budget. I purchased a few things throughout the holiday season that I’d been looking at from brands like Cuyana and Everlane, that are both US-based ethical clothiers. You pay a little more, but make up for it in quality conditions for workers and quality clothing that won’t fall apart after a few wears. This will be a trial by fire closet experiment.

Before I jump too far in, part of my process is research. Most of the blogs I’ve visited have worksheets and suggestions and Instagram is a fount of hashtags. I looked at several capsules of winters past, and here they are for inspo:

My next biggest resource is the Cladwell App. I adopted it fairly early on and was less than impressed with it’s options – just a year or so later and it’s a huge resource, well worth it’s price (I pay $7ish/mo) while you’re getting more familiar with your closet. With this app, you essentially catalog all of your clothes — OR, just a single capsule. If you give it enough options, it will provide you with multiple options for outfits every day. On top of that, a recent update allows users to upload photos of their exact pieces (versus pieces that look like your clothes) and keeps track not only of how often you’ve worn the piece but how many different outfits combinations it can work with.

Here’s an example from my non-capsule closet. You’ll see a red dot beside the blazer I haven’t worn in several months.

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I’m still narrowing down what will be in the winter edit. So far, it’s a fair amount of layers. Since it’s below freezing temps right now, my style is leaning toward more blankets and less blankets, so I’m working on balancing it out so I’ll still have great options when the temperatures are higher.

Fingers crossed, I’ll make this first round work!

Happy weekend!

TEN THINGS ON TUESDAY

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Tuesdays in the summer are slow. In the south, we’re on the cusp of a heat wave which means that though the temperature at noon is a balmy 90°, it only feels like 97° with our low 51% humidity. That will all change in the next few days when all of those numbers will increase. As much as I’ve always considered myself an outdoor person, summers like these compel me indoors – lots of time to work on editing and art, all of which have already taken a decent step forward this year.

I can’t wait to see The Big Sick in theaters. It was written and stars Kumail Nanjiani, one of my favorite comedians (co-writer Emily V. Gordon also happens to be his wife) and is based on their true story, wherein Emily fell seriously ill just months into dating. It’s been getting a fair amount of hype and since my last trip to the movies was kind of a bust (Baby Driver), I’ve got high hopes. Last Thursday, I got to see Roxane Gay in conversation with Ann Patchett in Nashville. Both are two of my favorite writers, and the former was in town to talk about her memoir: Hunger: A Memoir of My Body. Gay is such a prolific and important author, in that she writes plainly and smartly about the way we live, and the conversation was the kind of dreams. It’s a powerful book and a solid must-read.

A few years ago, I got a Sprocket Rocket camera as a gift and since I was moving at the time, it got packed away and forgotten. My boyfriend and I recently found it and have been playing around with the “world’s first panoramic wide-angle 35mm camera dedicated to sprockets” – sprockets are the holes at the edge of the negatives. Usually, cameras cut off to avoid the sprockets but this one includes them in the print – it also has a reverse gear, so you can go back and play with the textures in each photo.

So that was an example of us finding something we had but didn’t know we had – which I hate. In the past few years, I’ve tried to slow down on collecting material things. When I moved into a 500 square foot apartment, that became a little easier because I had no room. That said, you’d be surprised. When I moved in with my boyfriend after living in that apartment for two years, I was sad to see how much I managed to collect even in the small space. You make space, people. That said, the desire to cut down on those things didn’t go away and I’ve been fascinated by living a more minimalistic lifestyle. The best place for me to start was my closest – I became a quick follower of capsule wardrobes via blogs Un-Fancy, Style Bee, and the book, Anuschka Rees’ The Curated Closet.It’s not an easy transition, but I’ve been doing my first 10×10 Wardrobe challenge this week and it’s a revelation.

ART: Laci Fowler Art. Just beautiful. I’m saving up for a piece to live in my office.
SHOES: Loving Nisolo lately. These Camila Slides and Emma D’Orsay Oxfords are not only beautiful, but they’re ethically made, which is a huge plus in my ever-evolving book.
MUSIC: Loving the new albums from Haim, Kendrick Lamar and Michelle Branch.

3 Habits of Great Creative Teams

An oldie-but-goodie talk I came across today, thanks to Swiss-Miss.

I’ve been reading Gillian Tett’s The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers as my work-focused read this month – in a maybe un-ending curiosity into how teams, specifically creative teams, work efficiently and effectively without losing the spark that makes them great creative teams.

For the past two decades, Keith Yamashita has worked alongside CEOs and their leadership teams to define — and then attain — greatness for their institutions. He has worked with leaders at Apple, IBM, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, eBay, Nike, and Gap, among others.

Keith founded SYPartners — a firm steeped in the belief that transformation of individuals, teams, and institutions requires equal parts empathy, aspiration, and a bravery to act. The firm fuses systems thinking and creativity to help organizations in times of seismic change: the formulation of a new business strategy, a merger or acquisition, the rise of a new CEO, the return-to-greatness journeys after an industry shock.

0:30 – Greatness and creativity go hand in hand
0:50 – Virtually all acts of greatness are the acts of an ensemble
1:50 – About SYPartners
3:18 – Diversity is important to any great ensemble
4:22 – The SYPartners division that is sharing the firm’s secrets
5:27 – The quote at the entrance of SYPartners
5:53 – “You have to create an environment where people can be their best selves”
6:27 – A soloist’s guide to getting unstuck
8:06 – You have to develop you own unique method of getting unstuck
8:42 – Great teams work hard to cultivate specific habits
9:47 – Great teams know each member’s “superpower”
10:40 – Understand the forces that may prevent you from finding your purpose
12:50 – The 3 Habits of effective teams
13:30 – The ability to see, not look, is important. What lens do you use in a new situation?
14:56 – Finding your superpower
17:23 – Don’t settle for a job that doesn’t make use of your superpower
18:20 – About SYPartners’ superpowers and how they make the firm tick
19:25 – If your superpower is grit, take care of yourself
21:00 – About duos, the smallest atomic unit of trust
22:00 – Respond with love, not fear. That’s where greatness lies
22:57 – Greatness is about being yourself, fully

After Effects and Meh

When I took the Strengths Finder analysis a few years ago, it confirmed a not-so hidden truth: I like to learn things.

I spent some time earlier this year taking an online course for Adobe’s After Effects CS6, a motion graphics and visual effects program used heavily within the post-production world. I didn’t know much about the production of motion graphics and if I’m honest, terms like “keyframes”* and “rotoscoping” make my eye twitch. The course is 9 hours long and comes with a zip file of exercise files, but isn’t exhaustive. It would’ve felt like I was back in school if I hadn’t been interrupted with real-life work projects and you know, lunch breaks.

This is me, complaining:

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*A sample definition from the course: “Keyframes are just recordings of the settings of one specific parameter at a specific point in time.” I appreciate that the narrator used “just” – like: Hey! Keyframes are nbd.

Needless to say, several months later – I’m still at about the same spot and it’s likely that’s due to my not having a specific reason to use After Effects. Also, I know so many people who are amazing at it and the entire Adobe Suite that it’s nice to focus on the stuff you want to focus on — writing, editing — and let the pros help you out.