Awesomeness in the World Inside My Head

“We were on a break!”

For anyone alive in the era of NBC’s hit show Friends, you can’t help but remember Ross’ constant insistence that he didn’t cheat on Rachel because they were technically on a break when he hooked up with the copy girl. This is the phrase that keeps running through my guilt-ridden head as I think about this blog as of late. And while I haven’t broken up with you, dear readers, or hooked up with the copy girl, you might have noticed I haven’t been as attentive to our relationship as I should be. And I’m sorry about that.

Many of our contributors have been going through some changes, including me and as excited as I am, I can’t quite share the details…yet. I can just say that I’ve been working on another project that’s been taking up more and more of my time. So rather than continue to unintentionally ignore you, I’m going to put the Creative Community Blog on official hiatus for the month of October. Don’t worry – we’re not going anywhere and we’ll be back before you know it with exciting news to share. In the meantime, be good to yourselves and each other. I look forward to sharing more with you in November.

Awesomeness in the World

Passionate People are Contagious

It’s been a busy week for me with projects, training and introductory meetings. And now that Friday has arrived, I’m feeling the downside of being so productive – I’m pooped. But there’s still a whole day left to go until I can call it a day and begin the weekend (which isn’t shaping up to be less hectic, but that’s another story). As I started my Friday, I had an introductory meeting with a new potential partner for a project. We had been in touch via email, but this was the first we’d spoken on the phone. And despite how tired I am from the craziness of this week, her positive energy was contagious and the thirty minutes we spent on the phone was just the boost I needed. My contact was passionate about her business and couldn’t wait to share it with me. The more she talked and the more we engaged the better I felt.

I’m drawn to the energy of people who are passionate about what they do, whether it’s their profession or in their personal life. I guess that’s where my true extrovert comes out – getting my energy from being around others. There’s just something contagious about that spark in their eyes or the joy in their voice when they’re talking about what makes them tick – you can’t help but be drawn in and get excited yourself. For me, that sharing of passionate energy is better than any caffeine boost, adrenaline rush or runner’s high. It’s a unique energy you can only get from a connection with someone else, and it’s truly special.

What are you passionate about?



Awesomeness in the World Libby


I’m on a mild hiatus from full-time work this summer (I’m still doing some work to help pay the mortgage, but I don’t have to go to the office every day), so I’ve been trying to take advantage of my time and clean the house. Not the standard cleaning (I actually get some help with that), but the deep cleaning – the cleaning of drawers, closets, nooks and crannies.

It’s harder to do than I thought – I really thought that I’d grown less attached to stuff, especially that which I don’t see very often. But not so. I think because I haven’t seen it in a while, when I pull it out, it’s a flood of memories – anything from my grandmother to my childhood to a fun time with friends. And it’s hard to throw out memories.

Recently, there was an episode of Real Housewives of NYC (part of my hiatus, don’t judge) and Sonja was trying to clean out her basement. She had to enlist friends to come help her get rid of stuff because everything she pulled out reminded her of when her children were little and she was married and they were a happy family. I get that, and even if your life is totally different now, getting rid of stuff from back in the day can make it feel like you’re giving away bits of yourself.

Of course, this isn’t true – your memories are in your brain, not your basement. I tell myself that all the time. And, for me, I’m done growing my family – why am I holding on to random baby stuff? Or furniture that literally does not fit in my house? It’s time to move on. But how?

I think books have been written about this, but here are some tactics that work for me:

  1. Reminisce: As you clean, tell the stories that go along with the items. Share how your grandmother used to take you out for fancy tea when you were six and also bought you your own tea set. Go ahead and remember where in the house that table used to be when you were in 7th grade and you spilled paint on it. Send an email to your brother of you wearing that t-shirt he made for your 16th birthday.
  2. Find new homes: Some things are hard to let go of from a sentimental perspective and some are just in good enough shape that you might just still use them. I might start juicing/espresso making/pasta making one day.  If you’re holding on to some girl-baby things and your uterus is closed for business, think about passing them on to a friend, cousin or good friend. You may know yourself well-enough to know you won’t use a Depression Era punch bowl, but by golly, your neighbor down the street is crazy for the stuff. And when you give it to the designated receiver, share your stories with them – it gives the gift more meaning and life.
  3. Need: There are a lot of people in need of lots of things. Even if it can’t go to a hand-picked home, there are still lots of folks who will use and appreciate what you can offer through a donation organization. It’s not a bad way to go.
  4. A picture is worth 1,000 words: I’ve been taking pictures of some stuff before I toss, donate or give it away. This way, I can still have that same feeling of remembering something when I come across the picture instead of the item. It’s also a great way to get back in touch with family and friends – chances are they remember that lamp/glass/shirt/toy with fondness, too.

I’m not claiming victory over marginal hoarding, but I’m making incremental progress. I figure that what I’m really doing is making room for new memories. And then I’ll just give all my stuff to my son when (and if) he moves into his own home…along with a copy of my blog. Good luck with your cleaning and enjoy your memories!

– Libby Bingham

Awesomeness in the World Libby


Here are the top five things I love about summer:

  1. Relaxation: Once school is out, it seems that everyone – kids and adults alike – has shifted into relaxation mode. It’s weird – I see it in parents, co-workers, friends and myself. It’s like a switch has been flipped and suddenly people slow down and are friendlier, not any less busy, really, but with a different laid-back type of attitude. I love it and it’s contagious!
  2. Daylight:  It’s so awesome that it stays lighter out longer – it makes it seem like you actually have time to get things done (maybe that’s why we’re feeling more relaxed!). I’m pretty sleepy in general, but having it still light out at 8/8:30 gives me the extra boost I need to stay up until 9 or so…night owl – hoot, hoot!
  3. Music: Not only do I hear music everywhere – in the downtown common area, out of houses, in cars – but it’s all the catchy stuff. I think they wait until summer to release the catchiest, ear wormiest of pop, and the oldies bring back those summer memories from long ago.
  4. Food: Summer has great food – all that fresh produce, seasonal beers and drinks, grilling…awesome! And when it’s hot, it’s hard to overeat – it’s a lot easier to eat healthier in the summer (which is helpful for getting into that bathing suit).
  5. Family: Whether they’re your blood relatives or friends that feel like family, summertime is always the time when gatherings happen organically, when busy people can come together to relax, eat, and listen to music into the evenings…it’s fun and friendly.

What are you doing this summer?  See you at the pool!

– Libby Bingham

On the Job

The Gift of Communications

I’ve had several conversations lately that have taken me back to my undergrad classroom. One of the most memorable lessons I have from college was from a communications course. Our professor talked about how we envision our own messages – wrapped up in beautiful packages and neatly presented to the other people in our conversation. We imagine they’ll open that box and see our message just as we intended. And more importantly, we imagine they’ll see it just as we see it, since that’s how we packed it and presented it.

But we all view what’s in the box differently. We can experience the same content, but we apply our own lenses of experience to that message. We assign intent and motive, and each message is colored by those that have come before it. Each message is received differently based on who’s opening that box. We may have similar lenses, but no two people will experience anything exactly the same.

It’s a powerful reminder that our words can carry a lot of weight, but the context of what’s around our words matters a great deal. How are you presenting your communication gifts?



On the Job

Sharing Our Experiences

There’s nothing like a little travel to provide a fantastic change in perspective – different cultures, unique landscapes and new daily adventures. And it’s fantastic to experience and even more fun to share – as long as you’re not holding people hostage with a thousand slides of the same Yellowstone buffalo taken at every angle. My husband and I enjoyed sharing our vacation over social media along the way and have hundreds more photos that we’ll have for ourselves to remember our trip to New Zealand and Australia. As we settled back into our daily routines, my husband was asked by someone he works with if he’d share some of his photos at their next all-staff meeting. It seemed like an innocent enough request, but it got us both thinking.

Of course we’re happy to share our trip, and admintidly, New Zealand and Australia are far enough away destinations that they’re not as common as some other adventures. However, my husband and I certainly aren’t the first people to travel and we won’t be the last, but no one else at his organization has ever shared their vacation pics at a staff meeting. We’re sensitive to the fact that we’re lucky we can travel – not everyone has the time or funds for a trip like we just took (and we definitely stretched on both fronts). We also don’t think that travel is the only thing worth sharing. We all do lots of things outside of work that are interesting and don’t want it to seem that some are any one thing is more important that any other.

There isn’t anything wrong with sharing a few vacation pics with your team, but I wonder what else we’re missing. I think it’s great my husband was asked to share his unique experience, and I hope it’s the beginning of much more sharing, of travel and beyond. I love the idea of sharing vacation photos, but also kids’ accomplishments, volunteer experiences, unique skills and hobbies and celebrating personal milestones. We’re the sum of many, many parts, and bringing all those parts to work helps us be better employees and colleagues. How are we as leaders encouraging our teams to share what’s important to them outside of work?


Speaking of sharing, here’s a little Sydney love
Inside My Head

Looking for an Adult

I was at my volunteer shift on a crisis hotline last night and a new listener checked in with me on a call he’d received earlier. He wanted to see if he’d handled it the right way and made the comment, “I just wanted to check in with an adult.” He said it with a sense of humor since we’re very clearly both adults in the sense that we’re able to legally drive a car, vote and have an alcoholic drink. We also both have paid jobs and people who trust us with responsibility in said jobs, as well as in our volunteer hotline jobs. But his choice of words stood out to me – no matter how old we are, we don’t ever stop looking for an adult.

Several years ago, I was in a three car accident. A teen driver rear-ended me at a stoplight with so much force that I was pushed into the car in front of me. As we all got out of the cars, the teen driver was already crying and his friend was visibly shaken. The couple in front of me weren’t that much younger than I was, though they were clearly wondering what the hell had just happened. And in that second, I knew I was the adult in the situation. I was the oldest, least shaken and knew what had happened, so the role fell to me. I made sure no one was seriously injured (thankfully, that the was case) and I told the teen to call a parent while I called the police. And the whole time this was happening, I remember wondering how in the world I was the adult in this situation. When did that happen?
More often that we admit, there are times in our lives when we think surely there must be someone else who should be in charge. How did we end up as adult in the room? Lots of factors can contribute to how adult we feel at any given time – our age, experience, confidence, abilities, health, financial status, support network, and on and on. And while we’d like to think we’ve got it under control most of the time, there are also times we just don’t want to be the adult in the room. We don’t feel like the situation is best handled if we’re in charge and we desperately hope someone else will do it. Or at the very least, someone will tell us it will be okay if we do find ourselves the adult in the room.
So the moral of the story…cut yourself some slack next time you find yourself looking for the adult in the room and you’re well above toddler age. The rest of us are doing the same thing.
Awesomeness in the World




Happy Friday, friends! We’re going to keep it simple today. Enjoy your weekend!

Awesomeness in the World Melissa

Thoughts From a Concerning Curator

“The difference between a community and a network is that you belong to a community, but a network belongs to you. You feel in control. You can add friends if you wish, you can delete them if you wish. You are in control of the important people to whom you relate. People feel a little better as a result, because loneliness, abandonment, is the great fear in our individualist age…But most people use social media not to unite, not to open their horizons wider, but on the contrary, to cut themselves a comfort zone where the only sounds they hear are the echoes of their own voice, where the only things they see are the reflections of their own face.”

 I came across Zygmunt Bauman, a Polish sociologist, and his opinion on social media triggered the question of whether I am authentic on the internet, if my social media presence is a true projection of who I am.

Here, on the Creative Community Blog, I strive to be honest, to exercise getting my thoughts into (hopefully) relatable words, and to take a better look at how I’m currently feeling. But outside of writing here, I’ve realized that I might not be authentic on the internet and I’m not too proud of that. I curate the crap out of my Instagram, and my Twitter feed only exists because I heard in a podcast that if you don’t use Twitter in the tech world you’re nobody (ugh, my brain was all “gotta get on Twitter, you’re turning 25 in a few months and what if you have a quarter-life crisis and decide to be in the tech world. You better have a Twitter handle ready in case that happens!”). I don’t use Facebook because it seems stressful to keep up appearances on four platforms as well as in person.

Being a designer makes this even harder. When someone finds me on Instagram, I want all my pictures to share an aesthetic and show that I care about colors, light, and subject matter. All too often, I take a picture of something I find funny and after applying five different filters and playing with the light levels realize that it doesn’t have a home on my feed. This constant curating makes my online presence feel like a brand. It’s taken on it’s own life, and the real parts of my life that I want to share don’t have a home there. And when I take a step back, I feel a bit vapid about the pale pink backgrounds and black and white pictures of people… that’s not showing who I am, it’s showing who I think I have to be.

So how do I navigate out of these waters? I’m one for quotes (not a surprise at this point) since they sum things up so much more succinctly and poetically than I can, so here’s one that helps me put my social media into perspective:

“Authenticity is not needing external approval to feel good about your actions.”

– Kate Arends

I should post the things that make me happy, not the things that will get me the most likes or more followers. My portfolio can be the place for aesthetics and soft lighting, my Instagram (and Twitter and Snapchat) should showcase the tiny moments that are authentic and not always beautiful.

– Melissa Grant

Inside My Head Karen

Carefree or Careless?

I have a memory. I was a little girl and my mom was going to the grocery store. I asked her if my friend and I could go to the park and play in the wading pool while she went to get groceries. She agreed and dropped us off.

When we arrived, the park attendant told us we couldn’t play in the water with regular clothing. We needed a bathing suit.

My mom had already left so now what are we going to do?

I had a great idea and thought we could walk over to my neighbor’s house and swim in her pool. My plan was to call my mom at the grocery store and ask them to page her and I’d let her know where we were – once we arrived at my neighbor’s.

Off we go, walking. We walked and walked. At last, arrived. I called to leave a message at the grocery store, as planned, but they couldn’t locate my mom. This didn’t faze me. And we continued with our plan to swim.

Yep, that’s my story.

Imagine my mom’s rendition! The panic. The fear. Is her little girl safe? She’s responsible for my friend, too! She doesn’t know where I am. She couldn’t find me. What thoughts were racing through her head?

My perception of who I was as a child is a bit of a footloose kid. I didn’t think through my decisions fully. I would go with the flow. Adjust. Adapt. Roll with the punches. To not be fazed was normal. My lens was full of adventure and wonder. I was the “okay, sure” tag-along. I wasn’t the leader; I was definitely the follower. I would get lost in my imaginary world and create worlds that didn’t exist. I created pretend stories. And ever since I can remember, life was good and I was blessed with a carefree nature. However, I wasn’t passive and docile. I had lots of energy. A tomboy. A handful, sometimes…

Thinking on this memory, was I carefree or careless?

I’ve been thinking about the paradox of these words. And my answer is, “Yes, both.”

I would imagine from my mom’s perspective, I was completely careless. But from my perspective I was carefree.

My mom’s lens might be: “Karen was not thoughtful of how her behavior affected others.”

My lens is: “We’ll figure it out. All will be well.”

My mom’s lens might be: “If Karen would have taken a bit more time to think through her options, we wouldn’t have experienced this gut-wrenching fear.”

There is a price to being carefree. The reality is, it’s a paradox. With my carefree nature, I also have a careless nature.

For example, I’ve had to replace my mobile phone three times in one year. My phone drops from my hand and falls out of my bag because I won’t take the time to care for it properly.  In the last 3 years I’ve broken 7 phones. That’s a 7:1 ratio compared to my friends.

Carelessness vs. Carefreeness. They co-exist in my world.

I don’t want to forfeit my carefree spirit for the sake of over-thinking. But I do want to be carefree with more thoughtfulness.

– Karen Thrall

*also published on