Support Orange Graphix and Get a Painting!

If you’ve been following the blog, you already know that my husband and I are taking the plunge. We are opening a screen print and graphic design shop here in Orange, MA. We are so excited to be embarking on this journey together!

Side note: The question I get most is “Will you still paint?” Yes. Yes, I absolutely will.  Bring on the commissions. 🙂 

Support Orange Graphix

As we transition into this new phase, we are faced with lots of challenges that come up with opening a new business. And a good chunk of that is financial. Crowdfunding doesn’t feel like a good fit for us, but I have decided to hold a “Support Orange Graphix and Get a Painting” sale. This is a great way to support a local business AND get some cool art created during the 100 Paintings in 100 Days project. (FYI: That project will be hard to top. It was so intense! But I may try another soon…)

Day 96

Paintings, like the one above, are ready and waiting. Pick one price or two, it’s totally up to you. No matter what you choose, you have my deepest gratitude. By buying yourself (or someone you love!) a painting, you’ll not only get some art and you’ll be part of this bigger project that’s happening right now.

Search “100 Paintings” in the shop section to pick your favorites and support a local business. 

With love and so much gratitude,
Amber

PS: If custom apparel or graphic design appeals to you, your business or club/sport/facility,

The Final Crescendo.

Last year, I wasn’t prepared for it. Now that I have some experience, I should have been prepared for it.

But I wasn’t. 

IMG_0294 (1)

 

It’s the end of another dance season and I’m surprised how sentimental it makes me. To see the hard work for months on end wrapped up into a neat little bow is not really a gift you can prepare for. And I’m not even sure it can be explained.

But I’ll try. 

IMG_0547

For months, I’ve been packing dance (and snack!) bags, tying shoes, doing hair, and working my business matters around various schedules. The dance schedule being one of them. For months, my daughter has been learning new moves, practicing “just because I want to,” and growing as a dancer. She may have even cast me in a show or two as a mermaid. Our kitchen shows are quite spectacular.

IMG_0480

 

IMG_0397

 

IMG_0621

But it’s not just us.

Countless hours have been spent orchestrating a fantastic show (in this case FOUR shows). Everything needs to be mapped out; lights, choreography, costume changes, music, times, dates, locations, photos… and that’s not including the patience required when dealing with wee ones that might not feel like dancing that day…or are just feeling cuddly or silly.

 

Finally, it’s showtime. The backstage and dressing areas are complete madness. Costumes are tossed, hair is whipped up into perfect little buns, and it’s likely you’ll slip on a pile of broken crackers if you’re not careful. Echoes fill the stairwell and doors are shut silently. Backstage with its special lighting and the voices are hushed as the crowd applauds the previous performance.

Then, the music starts. 

Fear, fatigue, and all that chaos falls away. Another beautiful performance flows in and out. Seamless. Then a silent rush downstairs for another costume change. The audience unaware of the circus that lay just a floor below.

They are also unaware of something else. 

It’s not something that can be measured or dressed up. There are no lights or glitter to illuminate the displays of kindness or human interaction that aren’t always found in day-to-day life. In fact, they might be so simple – and so small – they might go unnoticed altogether.

You’ll find it in the sharing of bows when one goes missing. It’s in the lending of bobby pins. It’s the stage moms volunteering their time to keep the flow of traffic moving and putting in the extra effort to make sure your kiddo looks their best. It’s as simple as the mom that stands ready to intercept your child for a quick costume change in case you can’t make it back to the dressing room fast enough. Or the one who doesn’t wait to be asked and comes over and says, “what do you need me to do?”

These are moments you don’t see everyday. 

And before you know it, it’s over. The memory is made. And that’s when this unexplainable feeling comes in. If I had to pick only one word?

Gratitude. I have so much gratitude for everyone that puts their whole heart, sweat, and tears into productions like this. I’m so thankful to have strong women around my daughter. They are helping to shape the person she’ll become and I couldn’t be happier to have such dedicated and caring people in her life.

It’s hard to see it all end. But I know next season is approaching fast. And then we’ll begin this circus all over again.

The crowds always part, but I’m so grateful to be with my girl and witness this final crescendo every year. 

Guest Post: Remembering the Importance of Self

This guest post is written by Tracy Bradley, massage therapist on sabbatical, in Arkansas.

Find more guest posts here. Enjoy! 


photo-1447619297994-b829cc1ab44a

Self-care, The Plan:

  • Journal everyday
  • 5 minute meditation daily
  • Start sun salutations
  • Read for pleasure daily
  • Go outside with the kids
  • Long baths
  • Special treats

Self-care, What Really Happened:

I joined the group when Amber started the 100 Days of Self-Care Challenge. I’ve been so focused on my family that I let my needs go. What a great opportunity to turn inward and slowly start a habit or two soley for my well-being! I’ve always “written” so journaling seemed like the easy start. Yoga is enjoyable, therefore Sun Salutations seemed the comfortable start. I LOVE to read great books but busy-ness and social media have edged books to the side. A challenge seemed the perfect nudge to change a few things.

My journal received three dreadful, melancholy entries. I still haven’t done a single SS. Reading is a success, although sometimes it’s only for 5 minutes a day. No baths. No meditation. No treats. I literally could not do the things that should have been so easy.

I didn’t realize I was one level above rock bottom. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety had taken over my person. Taking 5 minutes to jot down a few words felt like a knife ripping through my head. The only thoughts I could think to write were terrible. So I skipped it. Yoga would have felt amazing if only I could have moved to the floor. Crippling anxiety prevented me from leaving the house most days. Isolation was comfortable until it began to hurt.

Self-Care, The New Plan

I reached out to my healthcare provider who is also a close relative. I unloaded my thoughts and symptoms into her small exam room. She was understanding. She listened. She asked questions. She answered about a million questions from me. We discussed options and decided to try a medication. I was ready for it. (I know medication isn’t for everyone, but this is my personal story.) I left relieved, optimistic, and terrified of horrible side effects. I realized how low I’d gotten. My family was suffering, but more importantly, I was suffering.

My new self-care habit is taking one pill per day. At the conclusion of the trial period I am overjoyed to say I feel human again! In addition to taking my meds, I do other self-care things. I leave the house for fun now. I haven’t been writing, but I’ve been contacting friends and family. We meet for fun things now and I don’t have paralyzing anxiety about it. There are almost no words to express my relief.

Self-care is important, but it can look different for different people. While some may balk at the idea of an hour with a book, that scenario excites me. Running for any reason other than escape is torture for me! However, there are thousands of people who pound their stress into the pavement. Our unique ways to care for ourselves are good. We just need to remember how important “self” is and take action and take care.

 

If you are struggling with PPD, anxiety or depression, please do not hesitate to seek help. Reach out to your healthcare provider or call Postpartum Support International at 800-944-4773.