This week 12/15 and year recap


Pretty quiet for me on the internet this week, but I do want to tell you about this fundraiser my friend Jen Myers is running to buy Chromebooks for her Code & Cupcakes workshop. This is a mother-daughter website code basics class and right now attendees are required to bring their own laptops which not everyone has. Providing computers means anyone can participate!

Also if you’re seeing old friends during this holiday season, maybe this hilarious post on the types of friendships really gets it.

As for recapping the year here’s some facts:

Travel was big for me in 2014. I went to LA, where I got my first tattoo, and spent a weekend in the desert with some incredible feminist women. I went to the White House to help fight sexual assault. In August I traveled to Cleveland for Weapons of Mass Creation which was a grand time as well. In September I was in NYC to film my newest Skillshare class and more recently was the trip to Guatemala which I’ve written about as well.

Other stats:

Designed and/or built 10 websites. 

Designed 11 logos

Designed one book and had work work in two gallery shows

Here’s the books I read this year:

The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers and the Self-Employed by Joseph D’Agnese  and Denise Kiernan

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsk

Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing New Domesticity by Emily Matchar

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Game of Thrones (finished, started in 2013. Oof.)

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay

Margaret Atwood’s the Handmaid’s Tale

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers 

I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

Yes Please! by Amy Poehler

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

I Work from Home by my former teacher Michelle Grabner

Annnnd! That’s it for me from the rest of the year. Have the best holiday with your nearest and dearest! Wishing you all the best and more in 2015!

*Image of delightful colorfield painting by Maximillian Rödel. Via Ernests.

Things from this week: 12/8 + The Artist's Way


+ Isn’t this staircase the stuff of dreams? It’s in Beirut! Though it reminds me of Guatemala, like a lot. Source. Also see these amaaaazing quilt and textile designs. The grid systems here makes my little designer heart swell.

On friendship break-up. Talking about the complexities of female friendship isn’t something we do enough.

+  Why there is no “fold” anymore on websites

Where small retailers love to sell. I was surprised by a few of these! Might be some additional shopping options for the small businesses without tons of added fees/overhead.

Thoughts on design criticism. Applies to criticism in general.

+  Vulture’s best TV of 2014.

+ BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS: NPR’s  favorite books of 2014. My, there are some excellent cover designs here.   And Bustle’s best books of 2014. Interesting comparing the overlaps. For the little ones, Every Body Be Grateful, with lovely illustrations and words to teach kids about gratitude and body positivity. I don’t think it’s ever too early to start talking about this, especially with little girls.

+  Your friend said something racist on social media. Now what? Here’s a solid, 4-step plan for addressing it.

And now, to change the subject entirely, a plan for the first part of 2015:

One of the best, and maybe scariest, ideas to come out of my trip to Guatemala is the bestselling Artist’s Way series but Julia Cameron. It’s a 12 week program that’s helped thousands of people reclaim their work. At it’s core are three components: write three pages of anything every day, a weekly theme with discussion topics, and once a week you take yourself out on some kind of creative adventure independently. The point of all of this is to process the snags that plague our work, and uncover new directions, ideas, projects, plans for where else to go. Seems an easy enough premise, but I know this will be no small task. Here’s the basic themes:

Week 1: safety
Week 2: identity
Week 3: power
Week 4: integrity
Week 5: possibility
Week 6: abundance
Week 7: connection & perfectionism
Week 8: strength
Week 9: compassion
Week 10: self-protection & balance
Week 11: autonomy
Week 12: faith

I plan to start this program on Sunday January 4th with completion the week of March 22nd. I will be blogging about my progress but I’m sending this as an open invitation to any of you out there who might be feeling stuck and needing some new juice in your work, or more ways to work through overwhelm. I’ve set up a Slack chat room for us to help with accountability and as discussion place for whatever comes up along the way.

All you have to do to join is email me here. I also recommend you buy the book, or if you’d prefer there’s an online version of the program with weekly videos available for purchase here. I’ll be reading and writing the old fashion way because for me this’ll be about limiting screen time. I also plan to mix illustration in with the morning pages, as I want to work on creating a design and illustration style that’s only for me. I advise getting the book or the videos now so that you have time to read/prepare and are ready to go after NYE. (Nothing I like more than curling up with a book over the holidays!)

And, if you aren’t able to participate, any moral support is much appreciated for sure. You can also follow here and on twitter with: #theartistsway.

Making new years resolutions BEFORE the holidays is a first for me, but this year it feels right. It’s gonna be great Cheers to planning ahead sometimes too!

Until next week friends! Enjoy the weekend.

Reading list for this week 12/1

Going to Guatemala was in some ways one of the best things I’ve done for myself. I left with new yogic configurations, an appreciation for meditation that I never knew I had, 19 more impressively smart friends, and fresh feeling of ease in my heart. It’s still just as hard as it ever was to write and my words still falter and sound foreign, but still I go. Writing parallels any other art-making practice, it feels itchy and hard at the beginning but only through persistent output will this feeling improve. My task is to carry on this practice in as many ways I can think of. The task of doing some writing or non-computer, non-client art every day seems monumental some days, but I’m not judging myself if I can’t make it happen every day. I’ve been getting up early, doing 10-20 minutes of meditation (shout out Headspace app!) and here I am re-capping the week like usual.


To be in a remote place entirely removed from American culture, with limited internet, and even still the news of Mike Brown and the absent indictment punctured through. It was the night we held a Mayan fire ceremony at dusk, an event with thousands of years of history behind it. With a modern day shaman’s incantations, spices and tinctures in the fire surrounded by crystals and talismans, we opened a portal to the ancestors and I whispered Ferguson into the flames. After the coals have been snuffed out, flowers are taken and thrown into the lake, to seal the intentions and offerings, a final plea that the ancestors might hear. I think of this every time I see another story about our country’s injustices, which has been often this week. It seems we are at the base of this mountain still, but I have to believe we are ascending. Listening, sharing, supporting to hasten the process.


Imani Amos is a Chicago-based photographer and model, and her project 50 Shots, Humanizing America’s most hunted needs donations. It’s a photo essay showcasing 50 black men in Chicago and what they bring to our community, visual way to show that black men matter. It costs $20 per print and there’s only been enough money raised for 16 prints so far. Please share and donate.

+ My friend Mairead Case, who is a writer and teacher of all peoples, including teacher of poetry at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility has penned words about Ferguson that have left me speechless. This is the only race related piece written by a white person that I have read to completion. Mairead, you are among giants and I’m proud to know you.

+ The secret life of grieving.

+ Hilarious and detailed birth story. I don’t exactly understand why I like to read these, but I do. This one is extra good.

+ So many guys out there (looking at you Aziz Ansari) often get being a feminist ally wrong, like head-pats for their efforts or making it about them and not the cause. Worse, they call themselves a feminist while acting out some other decidedly anti-ally, defensive, or dismissive behavior. It’s so nice to see a Terry Crews, who on the outset follows a typical masculine identity, but contributes to feminism and does it well. See his words here. More of this please!

+ More about talking to teenage daughters about sex. I will add to this a mention of how important it is to ask beforehand if it’s okay to hug, tickle, or pick up young kids, especially little girls. This teaches them autonomy over their bodies and that *they* have the power of consent, from the earliest days. And if they aren’t in the mood for a snuggle, or decline any touch for whatever reason, comply happily because they need to know that’s okay and supported too.

+ Researchers have found the difference between men and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math, aka fields that aren’t traditional roles for women) was larger among white students than black students. As a whole, white women are much more likely to associate these professions with white men than anyone else. Which means that black women are less likely to internalize male stereotypes about STEM careers. So interesting! There’s a bunch more information and some hypothesis on why this might be in the full article.

Aaaaaand that’s all for now folks! More updates next week coming at ya!

Things I read (and did) this week 11/17

+ HOLEEEEY MOLY so far 951 people have signed up for my new Skillshare class. This is still small, at least by online class standards, but I seriously thought like 30 people (aka friends and family) would be the only ones to sign-up. So you can imagine my overwhelm and gratitude when something different happened! I’m now crossing my fingers that it’ll still grow to 1k, because, I like even round numbers. Massive thank yous to all who shared and reached out because of this, it will alway make my day to hear your feedback. 😀

+ Also very proud of this paleo soup cookbook I designed for my client, Ali Rakowski. Here’s a sneak peek and pre-order for the book over at Ali’s new business Intersection Coaching (also designed & built by yours truly). Be sure to order in time for Xmas!

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 11.49.37 PM

“To understand is to stand under / which is a good way to understand”

– From yesterday’s Sister Corita Kent Google doodle. I don’t really pay attention to these on the regular, but every so often one comes along and really knocks me between the eyes. I could, and probably should, write a whole essay on this lady and why her work is so important to me. But until I do, here’s one story that explains her influence nicely.

+ Calvin, of Calvin & Hobbes, is a real sage genius of a seven-year-old. Here are 16 things he says better than almost anyone.

+ I read this essay earlier in the week that I haven’t been able to get out of my brain. It’s equal parts one line zingers and real talk about the pressures on girls and women to look stylish and appropriate at all times, even from very young ages. And how even an extra 15 minutes of grooming per day can really eat into time spent learning/doing other things. Or how all the time and money it takes to keep up with these constantly changing standards, and since we’re still getting paid less than men, we are that much poorer for it. This dovetails nicely with this other article explaining the sorts of chastisements women receive if they are too feminine or too rumpled in our appearance in professional settings. However, while women spend more time on our personal care habits, we also live longer in general, and that can’t be entirely coincidence. If there was a way to meet in the middle, with less judgement on women and girls, and a little more effort from the gentlemen, I imagine we’d all be happier, richer, and living longer together.

+ Starting a business or new venture? Feeling like you’ll never catch up? Well, you are not late.

I think that’s enough for now! Next week you won’t be hearing much from me, I’ll be doing lots of yoga and writing at a retreat center on lake Atitlan in the mountains of Guatemala. I imagine it looks kind of like this:


I’m not 100% sure what location is in this photo, but it’s a free stock photo from this awesome site, Unsplash that posts 10 free high res photos every 10 days. Anyway, I’m sure you won’t miss me through your turkey coma, or Black Friday mania. Whatever it is, I hope you get to do you!

Smiles for miles, friends. Until next time!

New projects & things I read this week: 11/10


I’m all-caps-extra-exclamation-mark excited to tell you about my new Skillshare class!

An Online Skillshare Class by Margot Harrington

In it we talk about how to DO THE MONEY when it comes irregularly in fits and starts, goal-setting, working with clients, how the heck anyone who freelances ever stays sane and on schedule. While it’s targeted first to the new-new business people, but also I think there’s plenty of info for more seasoned pros. Especially if you’re like me and you started your business without much planning or a bigger picture in mind. It’s a little nerve-wracking putting this out there, but I’m sending all the good vibes I have into the universe in hopes the folks who need this class the most will heed the call. As of this point almost 40% of the American workforce is not on a full-time pre-taxed salary with benefits and 401k, and this number is only projected to increase. So you are out there, my people, let’s all help each other!

Anyway! If you’re only here for the reading material, I shan’t disappoint. Here we go!

“He told me politely that he didn’t have any photos of himself and would very much appreciate me taking one. He wrote down an e-mail address and requested that I friend him on Facebook. I asked him what he did while I checked the focus. He thought about it for a minute.

“What I can,” he replied. “I do what’s moral. I try to help people.”

“That’s great,” I said and we made some other small talk.

“By the way,” he added as I was turning to leave. “What are you? You’re thick as hell.”

The Men that I Met: a look back at the men looking at me. A female photographer in Chicago catalogues the men who approach her, asking for a picture. It’s an excellent twist on the complexities of catcalling. I want to give this Hillary a hug.

+ Have you been listening to This American Life’s new spin-off podcast, Serial?! HOLY CRUD. Or as comedian Mike Birbiglia calls it, “Blues Clues for adults”. I’ve been wondering if the racial complexities would surface around this case, and yep, Jay Caspian King pretty much nails it in this essay.

+ And speaking of race, the Washington Post has done an impeccable interactive campaign discussing the use of the n-word. Please spend a few minutes looking at these videos.

+ My friend Mercedes has just launched a woman-focused zine subscription service! This is gonna be gold. Sign-up here!

+ It’s now officially confirmed by a new study: women with kids are literally more productive than everyone yet still experience bias in the workplace. Bosses, take note. Next time you miss a deadline because your little munchkin has a fever, remember that you’ve already been making up for this and then some. One less thing to feel guilt over!

+ Impressively diverse picture of Chicago’s tech scene. I hope you’re listening, Chicago Tech Week! Let’s hope this marks the end of “X people you should know in tech” lists that are 80% or more of white guys.

+ I finished Amy Poehler’s new book, Yes Please! in about 5 days. It’s a delight, full of excellent, gracious advice and behind-the-scenes stories. Amy (and Tina Fey) are the world’s best friends!