Why I Suck at Life, and You Probably Do Too

I admit it, I’m not great at breathing in life. And I bet, if you say you feel anxious, or suffer from an anxiety disorder, you probably have this problem too. I also bet that if you have a dysfunctional autonomic system, you suck at breathing too. And this isn’t said to chastise or alienate anyone! I think it’s freeing to admit I suck at life. I said it- I suck! One of the prerequisites to LIVING is BREATHING, so if I suck at breathing… I suck at living!

And again- this is not said to shame you! I say this to free you of your shame, and me of mine. Once we accept our “failures” “mistakes” “downfalls” “flaws” (or however you like to word it) and then see it as a starting point for development and learning- then we automatically start to win at life.

I’m a beginner in life. You are too. Each day, minute, second is a chance to “begin” again at something new or something you wish for improvement in. (Wow, I sound so coachy, don’t I?) But for realzies yo, If there was one easy, quick thing you could change to live a more productive, fulfilling life…

it would be to BREATH, and to focus on what your breathing is doing, and learning how to best breath for the feeling you want most in life (ex- breathing for energy vs. breathing for calming your mind).

In this video, I open up about what led me to my path of wanting to suck less at life, and learn how to be a better breather. You’ll hear about the chronic illness I dance with daily (I say dance, because why use such criminal words like- “suffer”, “deal with”, or”put up with”?)

Hellz nah, I dance. I two step. I conga line!

If It’s Not Broke (and it never is)- it’s Abundant!

Keep holding on! Life is full of many twists and turns

Recently, I’ve gotten away from diving in and writing a blog post. I got sucked into my old habits of overthinking and analyzing my choice of words, so much so that my initial, beautiful message came across inauthentic– at least to me. I’m breaking down that barrier, and here’s what inspired me!

There has been wonderful news on the job front. Last I spoke, I believe I had been laid off (boo- hiss!) and due to complications running my own business, I was not eligible for unemployment benefits. Depression annoyingly booped me on the head as I realized I was now unemployed and BROKE.

And see that’s the thing. I felt broke…broken.

It took some digging out of that hole over the next few months to reconnect with my spirit and realize, “Girlllll, you ain’t broke!”

I was actually pretty abundant. All that time I spent wallowing in my little hole of despair, I could have spent recognizing this free space as just that… free. I was in the land of the free! When the fear of losing everything and not being able to pay bills clouded my judgement, I became insufferable, especially to myself. The stress was so much that my boyfriend and I took a break to recalibrate.

Financially, it appeared I was in ruin. Spiritually I was drained. I lost sight of myself, what brought me joy, and my old peppy nature vanished into… well, I have no idea where it went…

But what once was lost, was soon found.

Having been through trials and tribulations before, I took this as a hint from the universe to figure out my shizz.

(Recalibrate!! Recalibrate!!)

What did I want in life? What did I actually, truly, reeeeeeally need?

Being “broke” taught me the lost art of simplification. I didn’t need to only eat organic food from the most expensive store. I didn’t need to stop for breakfast every morning before work.

What I needed was my family, friends and a reason to get up in the morning- and my reason was: I needed to serve others.

And so began the job hunt! Tirelessly, I sent endless cover-letters and resumes out to the internet. I reconnected with a past retail job I had loved, so I could be surrounded by beautiful friends and beautiful clothing/jewelry I actually enjoyed selling. It isn’t a ton of money- but it’s more than nothing, and working customer service keeps me sharp.

I also reconnected with my high performance coach, who always believed in my capabilities, and became her executive assistant as she helped me on my own path.

Along with the lost art of simplification, I remembered the lost art of appreciation. And with it came new opportunities.

“Them that’s got shall get…”

I was getting. And it wasn’t my overflowing bank account (hah.) that was proof, it was my new perspective, light and happy, that now allowed new opportunities for further abundance to pop up.

Once Upon a slip of paper…

While working my last job, stuck behind a sad cubicle, migraines on the daily, I decided to try the whole “manifestation” concept again. It had worked before. I set a goal, asked the universe, oh so politely for my desires, and diligently continued on with my life as if I hadn’t done so. Then POOF, it appeared. So I gave it another shot. I wrote on a piece of paper what my dream job would look like:

  • surrounded by supportive employees and bosses
  • trusted to go out and about to meet clients
  • not stuck behind a desk the whole day
  • better lighting- more light!
  • doing what I love to do and getting paid to do it
  • valued.

Hah.

So many hahs. Why? Because POOF it appeared.

Once upon a Gallery Night…

While walking from one gallery to another, in celebration of Erie’s community-wide Gallery Night, I happened across a local marketing business I had heard about before, but never looked into. As my gaze turned toward their front window, a little internal “Ding!” noise went off in my head, as if someone was letting me know “take note!”

The next day– and I do mean the very next day– a new job listing was posted for this same marketing company. (Ding, ding, ding!!) I applied immediately. And instead of spending hours overanalyzing my cover-letter and berating myself for it’s minuscule imperfections- I said SCREW IT and sent it as fast as I could; perfection had left the building.

And now I work there.

The job I got hired into surpasses my expectations every day. Initially hired to do graphic design, I am now also recognized as a valuable copy writer, photographer, and videographer. Hot damn- I seem to be doing everything I love? And getting paid for it? Um, whaaaatt? And the people I work for are encouraging, supportive, and trust me to get work done. And don’t get me started on the amount of natural light pouring into the office. It takes little to no effort to get out of bed and off to work, and so I am feel very grateful.

In the end, it took recognizing I was already abundant to allow abundance back into my life. Seems so simple, but it can be easy to forget. I created daily Tune-Up routine to help connect myself back with that “rich” mentality. Next week I share part of this tune-up routine in a video so you can learn to bring in more abundance yourself. Stay tuned for a new Sunday Session with Sooz on, you guessed it, Sunday!

Marvel the Unknown

When I was 15,

52I snuck out of the house with my older sister one night to enjoy a full moon.

I believe it was Summer, and I had never done that before.

We were both good girls, obeyed our parents, didn’t do drugs, drink, and other shenangins. I didn’t even swear! But one night, my older sister came up with a fun idea for us, and I couldn’t say no. It seemed like innocent fun. We lived in a good neighborhood, surrounded by farms. We often left the door unlocked. The skies there were amazing, though I didn’t know to appreciate the view as much as I do now.

Now, I live in a city where the night sky is polluted by street lights and commercial signs. You can squint to try and make out a dot or two, but you rarely see the cascading array of individual stars that make up the milkyway like you can in the country.

God, I miss the country.

I appreciate the manmade lights for what they are, for who created them, but it’s all known. I know a person made lightbulbs. I know a person designed the shape of the sign. I might even know the cousin of whoever put the darned thing up!

But as much as I try, as much as I assume, preach, I don’t KNOW how the stars, the sky, the balls of gas, the infitinte galaxies out there popped into existence.

Aliens? God? Yamaha – er wait, Yaweh? Allah? Gaia? The Force?

Call it many things, it is all the same thing: Unknown.

Usually I hate the unknown. HATE. IT.

HATE! UGH! It’s terrifying!

Usually…

But when I look at the night sky, I can’t hate it. I can only marvel.

This photo was taken with a sucky camera, on a night with very little light, but it doesn’t matter. It still captures that relationship, that moment of human marveling the unknown.

Share Your Spark: Sarah Bennett, the Multi-Passionate Soul

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You could say Sarah Bennett, of Bennett Trails blog, is my tutee (hah! Funny word, right?) Months ago, she asked me to tutor her in graphic design and photography. She has big dreams to start her own Etsy shop and loves the process of learning as much as possible. Honestly though, Sarah has become one of my closest friends here in Erie and I learn so much from her. We’ve taken sewing classes together, gone on photo-adventures, and scoured Salvation Army’s and Goodwills for vintage finds. Meeting with her weekly has been a breath of fresh air. Not only do our mutual interests stop at artistic pursuits- but she’s my soul sister! We encourage each other to follow our hearts, have guts, and to NEVER forget to love! So, in this edition of Share Your Spark, I introduce:

Sarah Bennett, age 31: Multi-Passionate Soul currently living in Erie, PA.

Myself, left, with Sarah Bennett, on right

I was born in California,

grew up in Salem, Oregon

went to college in Spokane, Washington

moved back to Oregon for a few years

then moved out to Vermont for a few years

and have been living in Erie, PA for the past four years now.

I think living so many places has shaped me to be a more flexible/adaptable individual and stronger in knowing who I am and what I value in life. I feel fortunate to have lived (in my opinion) in the prettiest regions in our country. I love New England and I also love the Northwest; both areas feel like home to me. I am drawn to green, 4 seasons, and living an active, creative life. I believe the areas I have lived in made me realize these things mean a lot to me. 

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What activities do you enjoy doing in your free time?

 I enjoy going on hikes or runs with my husband and our dog Odin. I love going on country drives and exploring back roads with some good tunes playing. I really enjoy singing/playing music with my husband, taking it easy in the morning with a cup of coffee, snuggling, and practicing yoga. Above all, I mostly just love getting deep into my creative work with no restrictions or interruptions.

 In what ways are you involved in the community?                                                                            

My situation is a bit different. We are preparing for a big move back to Oregon in the beginning of June so quite honestly I haven’t felt completely invested in the community lately! I did get pretty involved with the Erie Art Museum last year; I took quite a few classes and volunteered to take photos for an event. It was nice getting involved there– I definitely felt like I was around my people, which is good to know for the next place we are moving to! I also feel like I have been involved at Asbury Woods during my time here, just by being such a frequent visitor there. That place is a gem in this community; it has been my go-to for recharging and reconnecting over the past four years. I’m extremely grateful for Asbury Woods!

 Where do you go to find peace in the world?

I go to nature to find peace. I always feel revived and renewed after taking time to get lost in the woods or even just taking a short walk to get fresh air, away from the rat race. Also, a hot bath with a candle lights is my other place to find peace.

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 What inspires you the most?

That’s a hard question… so many things really inspire me, it’s hard to say what most inspires. Music, traveling, interactions, colors, seasons, experiences, reflection… I guess just life in general inspires me most. There is always something that pops up in one way or another that will spark an “Aha!” moment.

Creative women taking risks, following their heart, and doing things their own way are my role models; Women who are wildly successful in their specific path and living their truth, inspire me.

 What challenges have you faced in life?

I have struggled with self-confidence and pretty bad anxiety. I have also struggled with finding my place in this world. It can be hard being a multi-passionate soul because you can see yourself doing many different things and you have lots of ideas and passions. It has been hard to dig deep on that front and get clear. But also, coming to terms with being a multi-passionate and being okay with that has been a struggle. Honestly, when I heard the term “multi-passionate creative” it felt like a diagnosis! When I started hearing that other people like me were out there, I felt a little more at ease with who I am naturally. We all are here for a reason. I like the visual of seeing us all as individual puzzle pieces that are needed to complete the big puzzle-picture. It’s taken a long time for me to see what gifts I have to offer, where my place is, and where I feel most connected and understood­– But man I have come a loooong way.

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 What advice would you give others who are going through similar experiences?

I would say dig deep and be kind to yourself in the process. Find yourself a counselor you connect with and do the work to ask yourself the important questions:

Who am I?

What lights me up?

What are the things that make me nervous?

What can I do to dampen my anxiousness?

Above all, I must stress just be kind to yourself, listen to what YOU need. We’re all uniquely different and we each have our own path. Take the time to get quiet, feel all your feelings and let the healing begin.

 What current obstacles would you like to overcome?

I still struggle with some fear and self-doubt. I think it’s important to have a healthy dose of fear but I’m working on making sure fear only comes up when extremely necessary. I’ve come a long way in overcoming self-doubt and I am still continuing to work on that in life! I’m proud of where I am today and see that all my struggles are actually my biggest successes.

 How do you think you can overcome them?

I think by just continuing to be present, practicing positive self-talk and staying committed to my meditation practice I can overcome future obstacles. My spiritual practice has gone through ups and downs but it is the one thing that keeps me grounded. I devoted a year to a yoga teacher training in Vermont in 2010 and that year was the beginning of my personal spiritual path. I’m so extremely grateful for that program and the time I gave myself to devote to a yoga practice; it was my gateway.

Also, I know this isn’t for everyone– but therapy has proven to be very helpful to me. It’s just nice to have someone who listens to you, who is neutral. Therapy is my time to talk fully about me without feeling like I’m over-stepping any boundaries in the relationship.

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What is the one thing you want people to know about you when they first meet you?

I may come off quiet and reserved at first, but really I’m just taking in my surroundings and listening. I take a while to get to know. My personality has always been: if I open up to you and let you in, you must be pretty special to me. I tend to be more private and more introverted than extroverted. I have always had a few close friends I know would always be there for me rather than a ton of friends that are at a surface level. I take my relationships to heart. I care a lot and put great energy into important connections.

 How do you wish people saw you?

I wish people saw me as a woman who is driven to live a life from her creative heart. I wish people saw me as loving, devoted, and a caring person who just wants to live a light-filled life and exudes light and love!

 What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of the life I have built with my husband. We started dating rather young, at age 21, but marrying him at age 26 was hands down the easiest decision for me. I love living our life together. He has been such a support in my journey; we both support each other’s dreams and are committed to living our dreams together. We truly enjoy each other and it’s been a joy to see us grow both individually and together.

I also am really proud of all my struggles I have gone through personally: The anxiety, the feeling lost, all the jobs I’ve held that left me feeling empty inside. These struggles have made me stronger and made me do the important work I am here to do: to ask myself the big questions and grow in my personhood. I am proud of these struggles because it’s brought me to the woman I am today. I know myself and love myself more and more because of these struggles.

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 Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

We’ll be living in Oregon, my husband will be finishing up residency. I see myself as a Mom to either one or two babies within the next five years. I see myself living my dream; getting paid to do creative work I love­– specifically running an online shop and doing freelance design and photography work– and growing in my creative profession. I see myself working from home in a light-filled office space and enjoying a flexible schedule, loving every moment of this precious life with the people I love.

 What is a quote you wish to live by that motivates you? Why does it impact you so much?

 Ohh geez this is hard! I am a quote fanatic. Quotes are the majority of my pins on Pinterest currently! Here are three of my current favorites that inspire and motivate me. All three motivate and speak to me in a different ways. Mostly, they each motivate me to just be ME, have faith and be grateful. A grateful heart brings abundance; I have experienced this time and time again.

 “The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling.” –Fabienne Fredrickson

 

 “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”– John Lennon

 

 “No matter what the situation is…close your eyes and think of all the things you could be grateful for in your life right now.” -Deepak Chopra

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 How can people connect with you?

I am very active on Instagram, @sariehere. That platform is devoted to my passions for home décor and photography. I also run a blog at bennetttrails.com.!!!

Stay tuned to recent blog posts to come here on Her Art is HEART! Sarah and I took many photos at our last shoot have many exciting images to share!

Why I Fear the Morning Alarm

 

Every morning, my alarm goes off.

Actually, every morning, my alarm goes off a few times: 5am, 6am, 7am. It gives me a choice, a decision to make right off the bat. Before my cognition has even received the memo that “Hey! You’re awake!” I am thrown into this terrifying, pressure-cooker of a situation to determine: “Yep, THIS alarm I will rise to.”

That’s a lot of pressure, first thing in the morning. And each alarm says so much about a person:

  1. 5am alarm: Are you going to be the productive billionaire you dream of becoming? Yeah? WELL THEN GET ON IT GRRRLLLLL
  2. 6am alarm: Ah, I see, you gave yourself an extra hour of shut-eye. You’re self-soothing. You realize that you need the extra sleep to be in the best mindset to be productive and become a millionaire. No need to be hasty. I get you girl, you da’ zen type!
  3. 7am alarm: Ok, that’s just lazy. Here’s $5. You suck.

So which is it, door #1, 2, 3?

Continue reading

Don’t Make It a Thing

Photo taken by fellow photographer and graphic designer, Sarah Bennett. See her blog at www.bennetttrails.com !

Photo taken by fellow photographer and graphic designer, Sarah Bennett. See her blog at www.bennetttrails.com !

So I wasn’t always this way.

I wasn’t always easy to laugh, easy to forgive, nurturing and patient. I didn’t always have the ability to laugh at myself for the mistakes I make, or even to allow myself a Big Ole’ FAT ugly cry when I was upset. In essence, I used to be young. I used to be 21.

Maybe you’d assume I was a victim of the drink’, being the age at which I can consume alcohol. But no, actually everything got rough when I was 18. By age 21 though, I realized I needed to change something up: I realized I needed to start loving myself. That first step I took? I wrote myself a letter.

Dec 12, 2009. Not any kind of remarkable day with a remarkable story, just a day I chose to sit down and talk to myself. The catch was this letter I wrote? I couldn’t just look at it willy-nilly as I liked. I made myself wait until Dec 12th, 2015 to reveal it’s original contents. I guess even then I realized my overwhelming sense of urgency and noticed I lacked the patience I desired. So I made myself wait. I guess I was also trying to give myself something to look forward to, something personal: A secret- just for me, to myself. I guess that made it pretty special… I needed that.

Yeah… well… about that letter: I had forgotten about it! Dec 12th came and went, and I had the letter openly sitting out, ready for the BIG DAY. But it wasn’t until a good week and a half after the date when I happened to remember,

“That friggin’ letter!”

I wasn’t doing anything remarkable at the time.

You know how sometimes making a space, making something a “thing”, a ritual or tradition, giving it this air of significance makes a moment more momentous?

It wasn’t.

It was an off hand realization. I was running around my room, as usual, cleaning, hanging up clothes, and I remembered…

“The friggin’ letter!”

I believe my exercise playlist on iTunes was playing, bumping out some high-octane fuel. I didn’t switch it to low key, emotional music. I didn’t try to set the stage, center my emotions.

I didn’t make it a thing.

I opened the letter, and read it.

 

Self Portrait taken in 2009

Self Portrait taken during the dark years! 2009.

Now, back in 2009, my life was pretty damn different! I was a lonely, severely depressed, highly anxious college student with no free time because I overbooked myself with classes. I was stressed and decided I was to blame for that stress. I treated my body like it was public enemy #1 because I was the determined bounty hunter. Not an ideal person to be attached to! Every chance I got, I attacked myself, blamed myself, and tore myself apart with the guilt: Guilt on top of guilt, on top of guilt. I had so much anger but was so depressed and lost that I didn’t know where it was coming from. I blamed others and was a very, very difficult person to be around sometimes… especially if you were someone I loved and truly cared about. They took the hardest and most hits. Some stayed with me, some got the hell outta there. I never blamed them, although outwardly it would seem I did. Inwardly, I knew it was all me- but I was the queen of denial, queen of unhappiness, and queen of “I’m a freakin’ loser, woe is meeeEEEE!!!!”

But despite the terror that was I, I always had a spark. I knew what happiness had felt like. I knew I wanted to learn how to love myself better, and to treat everyone with love and respect.

Sadness? Dance it out!

So yeah, I knew vaguely what to expect from this letter. My past has been pretty well recorded. I’ve kept a personal blog since I was 14 and during 2009 in particular I wrote in it up to 9 times a day to relieve my mind of the destructive, obsessive thoughts that were morphing my mind into an all encompassing black hole of BLAH and AHH! And although throughout the blog I would curse myself, blame myself, tear myself apart- I knew it was because deep down, somewhere in the great abyss, I KNEW I had it within me to be better and find the light again. I just had no idea whether I was supposed to go right, left, – wait, did I pass go? I had never been lost before. And I had yet to find a working compass.

Alright, so I didn’t allow myself to think about all this the morning I remembered,

“That friggin’ letter!”

I just did it. I jumped in and didn’t have time to be a judgey-McJudgerson to my past and myself. “I’m sorry Mam’am, the baggage claim is on the wayyy other side of the building.” I was leaving my suitcase behind. All I needed was my ID and wallet: aka identity and abundance!

And so I read:

Dear Susie,

You know how you can be. You’re unbelievably talented and ambitious. I know you’re probably killing yourself right now to make things “perfect” or “just right” in your life. Just think like Eckhart Tolle- and think in the NOW- not the future.

You’re so smart and beautiful. You have so much going for you- so why create extra stress? I hope you’re still writing in your online journal- that’s good therapy. I hope you are where you didn’t expect to be in life- but in a good way. I’m only 21, young, naïve- you’re an uber adult now! What’s that about? Haha

I feel like I’m writing a letter to my older sister- because I just want things to work out for you/me. I hope you can make it happen- and you DID make it happen.

I think that’s all I’m going to say…

I’ll keep it short because I know it’s hard to read my own handwriting.

Toodles Susie!

I hope everything worked out

Love,

your younger self.

 

As soon as I read it, I wanted to write about my reaction, get my thoughts on it out. But life had other plans. Life reminded me that we’re constantly moving forward and not to focus on the past too much. As my mom always told me (especially back in 2009!) Rumination leads to Ruination.

Rumination Ruination

So, I moved on. I didn’t make it a thing.

This morning I wrote a new letter. I won’t say what’s in it- that would spoil the fun for Dec 2020! But I wanted to keep the tradition going: I wanted to have a reminder in the future of what it was like, and what I was thinking here in 2016.

It’s fun thinking how different I was in 2009, how much I’ve grown within that time: What I’ve learned, what I’ve experienced, who I cared for. And I no longer harbor resentment for the pain I caused. I have learned from my mistakes, forgiven myself and I believe that is why I went through this ordeal: to strengthen myself.

And yeah, everything did work out. It’s still working out. I have much to be grateful for. When I was 21, I didn’t know these words: Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Abundance… I didn’t even know

Love.

Now I’m pretty confident I know what love is. I see it all around me, am able to connect with it, I feel it within me. Before, I would feel “love” but couldn’t communicate it, wanted to understand it and analyze it, ultimately stripping it of it’s magic. Now I just let it happen, I go with it. I can cherish others and especially myself.

I no longer need a letter to give myself something to look forward to. I look forward to everyday- but there’s something powerful about getting a glimpse of the past and recognizing the growth you have undergone, subtle or bold. It’s pretty remarkable.

So I’m making it a thing.

 

Photos taken by the lovely Sarah Bennett of www.bennetttrails.com

I May Not be a Unicorn, but I Most Definitely am a Business Owner!

Creation made in celebration of the most productive year I will ever have

Creation made in celebration of the most productive year I will ever have

You know, I did not envision this life for myself, but boy am I a fan!

If you had asked me a few years ago where I saw myself this year, you’d probably have gotten a response similar to “Gee, idk, maybe living in Pittsburgh? Maybe i’ll have a dog? Maybe working for some advertising company that might suck my soul dry?” But I decided to take the time to see where each day led me:

After graduating in 2012 from Edinboro University with my BFA in Applied Media Arts, Concentration in Graphic Design, I moved to Erie, PA and got a Social Design internship at the Erie Art Museum. My intent was to pursue a MASD (Masters of Arts in Social Design) at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art). MICA’s campus was beautiful, the professors (including the famous graphic designer and author Ellen Lupton ) were inspiring, but after speaking to them they encouraged me to take some time and get real-life, hands-on, nitty-gritty experience under my belt. Undergraduate (seen here) was a fairy-tale land compared to the grind of “Real Life.”

So I got down and dirty. Photography had always been a passion of mine and I wanted to see if perhaps that’s where my future was to be. After my internship at the art museum, I found another internship with Jennifer Dworek Photography. Jenn taught me the ins and outs of photography as well as the business side of things. I realized a lot more goes into running a studio than just knowing how to point and shoot and determine whether, Gee– this looks great! I discovered that my natural organizational and decluttering skills were very useful in the workplace. My flare for problem solving, organizing overwhelming data and tasks, and creating a peaceful environment shone during my time there.

During my internships, I realized I had to face the facts and get a legit, money-making job. I worked at The Gap and when that closed was transferred over to Old Navy. I picked up a second part-time job working at Charming Charlie’s, a woman’s accessory store, where I currently still work (and love!) These retail jobs taught me important skills about working with others and customer service. I had always loved fashion, and getting to use my eye for detail and art degree to help put together flattering outfits for customers was my favorite part of the job. I learned the importance of making other people feel like “Shiny things” (as so eloquently described by the great, the hilarious, Jenna Marbles.)

I continued to do freelance graphic design and photography jobs, including a website design for a local Vintage Clothing Boutique. While working with her as a client, the shop’s owner saw my potential and love for vintage clothes and hired me to manage her shop 3 days a week. I worked there for 8 months and loved the independence I had; Opening and closing a business, being in charge of the cleaning, organizing, and creation of artful displays, posting 4 times a day on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc! I learned a ridiculous amount about business and marketing on social media. Every customer who entered the shop became an opportunity for me to learn more about my community and whatever subjects that happened to interest them! Each customer had a story to tell, had an event they were going to that revealed a bit about their lives. All these shoppers loved vintage clothes for their unique details and history. I was excited to show them new additions to the shop! “Have you seen this dress we just got in from the 1920’s?”, “Check out this disco jumpsuit!” I loved asking them how they heard about the shop. Many told me they saw the website I designed and I was always eager to hear what they thought of it.

While at the shop, the owner gave me the opportunity to do a Fashion Photoshoot using the vintage clothes and accessories sold there. I developed the concept for the shoot and directed four models, putting them at ease in front of the camera. The models had their hair styled by Sorriso Hair Salon and makeup professionally done by Megan Reinbold, the office manager and makeup artist at JDP (and a good friend of mine!). This collaboration was a great success and I enjoyed working creatively with other business women!

One of the photos taken during the Spring 2015 Vintage Photoshoot

One of the photos taken during the Spring 2015 Vintage Photoshoot

Unfortunately, the vintage shop was not making enough money and the owner could no longer pay me to work there. It was sad no longer working with such interesting, one-of-a-kind fashion, but I took being let go as a sign to truly follow my calling. The Spring Fashion shoot really secured the idea that- YES– I needed to be doing photography! I contacted my mentor, Jenn at JDP.  Her studio, which I used to drive 30 minutes to get to, had changed location and she was now right up the road from my apartment! Fate? I stopped in just to catch up with Jenn and was instantly thrown back into the old days, helping her set up the studio for a shoot! It felt so invigorating to be back in the saddle. Jenn is a wealth of information and very eager to share that wealth with others. I had to be surrounded by that environment again, furthering my education and experience with someone I get along with so well. I found that my organizational skills came back into play! No longer an intern, and now with the confidence I had gained from my experience in sales and management, I am able to add more to this (already awesome) team! I help organize and delegate tasks to Jenn’s interns, helping the studio run more smoothly and allowing Jenn more time to focus on her clients and work.

The experiences and opportunities I had leading up to this point have been invaluable. I knew it was time to establish my own business, because I had finally realized my full potential. Jenn helped teach me the process, and I spread my wings and flew!

Welcome to the official Susie Hosterman Design and Photography!

Now, I’m not done yet of course! There’s only one way to go from here, and that’s up! I was recently introduced to Carla Fleming, a Certified High Performance Coach who has studied under famous productivity guru, Brendon Burchard. She saw my organizational skills while I worked with Jenn and realized she was also in the need of a second pair of hands to help her with her business. I’m happy to announce that I am that second pair of hands! I find that I absolutely love helping other business women succeed. Sharing our experiences, collaborating, and encouraging each other in our own pursuits is a highly necessary facet to achieveing the Most Productive Year Ever! I signed up for Carla’s Summer Intensive Mastermind class to help me on my endeavor. I highly encourage others to get involved as well! Carla is very inspiring, uplifting, and her demeanor patient and kind. I am blessed, as a proud new owner of my own business, to work alongside other strong businesswomen such as Carla and Jenn!

This “Real Life“, though not This as I thought it might be, is definitely, actually, certainly THIS!

I have never been more pumped in my life!

Yee-haw!

– Susie