How to Create Color Schemes & Get Inspiration from Magazine Covers

Last week,  I went to a cabin in Whistler BC this last week to work and play! One of my amazing design students, Cindy, let me stay in her cabin!  (Ahem, Brag Alert:  it was more like a: A 3 story mansion with hot tub!!!) to write and work on updating the Launch Your Brand Program (to be released this week)  Keep your eyes peeled for tons of fun goodies coming your way this week!

Can I get a high five!?  Nothing like getting biz done, in style!

I seriously have the best relationships with my students... we really do become branding besties! Thank you again, Cindy!!!! 

How to Find Color Inspiration to Use in Your Brand

I found an issue of Cosmo UK Edition and fell in love with the color scheme.  So I bought the magazine to see what I could grab from it, decided to throw together a quick tutorial for you!

I thought it would be a PERFECT opportunity to show you how to get inspired by colors (and headlines for blog entries or lead magnets) you see in the world and then use them for your business!

First I take you through the steps of finding inspiration, then you photograph the inspiration with your phone, or with a scanner and you pull this into Adobe Color to pull a color scheme.  It's quite awesome to start to find color schemes in the world and be able to use them.

Now, you want to be careful here not to create brand confusion, I am definitely not recommending stealing the brand colors of a competitor, creating a brand or website that looks like theirs and confusing the crap out of everyone.  That would be wrong.  

But you can find the color scheme of a beautiful photograph you find, a magazine cover, a photo you take, stock images or illustrations you find, etc.  Just make sure they aren't brand color combinations.  This cover of Cosmo did not use their brand colors.  

Remember color + fonts + image style do make up the feel of a brand, so it also is related to a combination of those things for it to really create confusion.  If you don't use the exact combination and make things VERY contrasted (very different), then you'll be fine!

In the book, "Stealing like an artist" By Austin Kleon (which is a really great book by the way) mentions in the book about "remixing" and the idea here is to take an idea already out in the world and make it better.  

You want your own unique perspective, and you want to mix 2 + things to make something new, instead of stealing ALL of the things from one source.  

Stealing from one source is plagiarism, stealing from multiple is research! - Wilson Mizner 

Take Action!

Create a unique color scheme from something you find on Pinterest, or out in the world, and use Adobe Color to create a color scheme following the video tutorial from above.  Then post a screen shot of this color scheme and explain what you'd be using it for in the Free Facebook Community!

Hugs & High Fives,




"How to Get What You Want From a Designer"

A few days ago, we covered the beginning of the story of how I launched Gabrielle Carsala's brand "Badass Bliss," this last month, who was a super amaze-balls dream client that I worked with over the past few months.   If you missed it, part one is here.

How to get what you want from a designer...

Design clients usually fall into 3 categories: the ones that know EXACTLY what they want (the "smarty-pants"), the ones that have NO FLIPPING IDEA, and the dream client (which Gabrielle falls into, and we'll get into that in a minute).

The "smarty-pants" and the "no-flipping-idea" category of clients can create major problems for the designer. The first kind will show up with the fun stuff done, colors and fonts picked out, look at someone else's website and say I WANT THAT...before they even meet with a designer or have a proper brand strategy.  

These clients come to a designer almost as an art director with a "do this, do that" approach... without any real knowledge of why certain fonts and colors, style might not work...or why copycatting someone else's design style might not be the best idea.  Their inflexibility generally gets them what they want, but is that really going to be the best thing?

This approach is sort of putting the cart before the horse, and not always the best way to get a best brand identity, nor one that feels like you (especially if they are copycatting someone else.)   

What the "smarty-pants" client needs is someone to get to know them, understand their vision, their industry, and create a vision WITH them, and talk them out of all their bad ideas.

Then there is the second group of design clients, who don't know what they want at all, and they expect the designer to be a mindreader. They can't find anything they like because they just don't know.  They say things like "I don't know-- just make it pop!" 

A good designer, will take them through a guided process to help them figure out what they want, and justify to them why certain decisions should be made regarding things on trend, industry, and communication of adjectives that their ideal clients will resonate with.

A dream client, like Gabrielle, (falls into neither of these categories and the has best attributes of both) had an idea of how she wanted her brand to "feel", but flowed through the process with me to figure out what was going to work, with my lead.

A good way to not fall into the previous two traps, is to have a clear idea of how you want your brand to "feel" let your designer guide you through a process with mood boards so that you both can get on the same page.  Mood boards become a necessary (and fun) part of the process!  This is because it's a way to communicate with your designer visually, and your designer visually with you.


The problem with communicating verbally versus visually with a designer, is that for example, the definition or idea of luxury to a designer might be different than your idea of luxury (which might be traditional, classic, and the designers might be modern.) Hence why mood boards are SO important, so that you are communicating to each other with visual examples instead of verbal ones.

Before getting any photography done, designing a logo, or picking out colors, there is a very systematic process you should follow...

Before you do any design, these must be decided:

  1. Concept - What is the message you are communicating for this parent brand (this many times turns into the name of a biz or a tagline)
  2. Theme - What possible visual themes could support that message (designer will generally come up with some, and you should too with designer guidance)
  3. Mood Boards - They refine your ideas in a visual way.  Seeing this can help you eliminate ideas before you invest in a designer, or any time designing anything.

To have a super strong brand you NEED to have a strong concept (message) and a variety of visual options via mood boards (visual theme) to decide the best route to go.  

Concept (The Message) : Badass Bliss

Theme Ideas:  Badass Dorothy (The Wizard of Oz), Badass Lifestyle, Badass Luxury, Badass Vintage Neon Dorothy


Mood Board #1: Badass Dorothy from Wizard of Oz

Notice Dorothy with the machine guns, spikes, etc.  The badass part is being communicated with those items.  The bliss part is the end of the yellow brick road.  Every single image either says Dorothy or Badass.

Mood Board #2: Badass Vintage Neon Dorothy

Same philosophy as above, but this one integrates vintage and neon elements for a different spin on the badass element!


Mood Board #3: Badass Lifestyle: (THE CHOSEN ONE)

This one was the chosen concept because it was most closely aligned with the realistic vision that Gabrielle had for her clients, which was to live their best lives through having fun, being confident, adventurous, stylish, care-free, and being able to get over shit and get things done!  So girlfriends, sparkles, cotton candy, private jets, all became the inspiration for the photography shoot.

Now what do we do with these mood boards to use for the brand photography.....  Whelp, that's in the next part of this series coming next week!

In the comments below, share which of the three client categories you fall into, and what your biggest take-away from this blog entry was!


Extra HELPFUL CRITERIA FOR FINDING A DESIGNER:  When trying to find a designer-- find one that has a distinct branding process, go through that process with them, and be as flexible as possible. It's a team effort, you need to be guided out of your bad ideas and into the best version of your vision.  Also keep in mind, a designer will NEVER hit it right the first time, and sometimes it takes quite a few times before you are speaking the same language, so be patient. I call this "Failing Fast!" -- gotta get to the bad ideas first before the good ones emerge.  Same thing for those who are DIY'ing their brand.

...or you can skip hiring a designer, just take my course on DIY Branding here Launch Your Brand Academy Enroll Here!


Live Your Brand. Live to Break Records! - Part 5

Lesson 9 - "The World Will Be Saved By the Western Woman" - Dali Lama

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4 of the series, click on the links to catch up!

After roadtripping with some of the strongest, most independent, fabulous entrepreneurial women, it has become apparent to me that we are in a serious transition happening in the world.  Women entrepreneurs are stepping into their power, living the lives they want, and not apologizing for it.

We are truly becoming the leaders in our communities, and in our families we are becoming more of the bread winners.  We are in a time where women have more possibilities and opportunities than ever before.  We still have a ways to go, but the message to get here is if you want anything in this life you can have it, (not even if you are a woman, but ESPECIALLY because you are a woman.)

I feel so blessed to have met Nicole Marietta (one of my most brilliant LYB students) on this road trip, because her positivity and talent in writing and design, is so inspiring to me.  I feel so excited that I inspired her to start designing, and she has inspired me to keep teaching women like her on how to live their "bliss" through doing things that thrill them.

I feel so thankful for people like Angelica, for introducing me to her amazing family and reminding me to let loose a little bit (like any 21 year old should!), and she taught me that you can get upgraded to the Presidential Suite of any hotel if you just are willing to ask firmly for something you deserve.

The camaraderie of your tribe / followers, the people who love and support you help make you your best self!  I am so thankful!.

One of our amazing breakfasts at Sweedeedee.  These girls are seriously "Golden Sauce"  hahahaha!

One of our amazing breakfasts at Sweedeedee.  These girls are seriously "Golden Sauce"  hahahaha!

Lesson 10 - Let's Break a World Record at The World Domination Summit

Not even one day after my sweet new lady friends went back home, one of my favorite people in the world Gary Ware, who was a close friend from San Diego, came for a visit to Portland for five days for The World Domination Summit, put on by the famous writer / blogger Chris Guillebeau.

Gary is such a sweet, kind-hearted, and thoughtful person... He is mid-process of launching his own info product called Breakthrough Cocktail, for youth who are just graduating from college and who need soft skills to get a great job, utilizing their degree. He builds confidence, and guides them to achieving greatness first through preparation versus learning by failing first.

Because I was allowing him to stay with me the entire trip, he booked a bunch of fun things for us to do during his stay. one of them being breaking a world record of the world's largest yoga chain.

Gary and I, getting ready to get our YOGA on!

Gary and I, getting ready to get our YOGA on!

The World Domination Summit was unbelievable, the speakers were fabulous.  If you have ever thought about going, the best way to describe it is like a perfect mashup of This American Life podcast with a Ted Talk.  We heard some of the most inspirational speakers in the world share their stories of struggle and triumph.  Every part of it was fascinating and incredibly inspiring.

Back to San Diego to Close Out My SD Life....

So after five glorious days of breaking records with one of my besties, eating my way through Portland and playing hostess with the mostestess, I had to fly back down to San Diego and pack up all my things to ship them.

Picasso's Birthday Picture.  He's so embarrassed he's even covering his puppy bits.

Picasso's Birthday Picture.  He's so embarrassed he's even covering his puppy bits.

I did a five day juice cleanse, and got SUPER clear about what I want out of this little thing called "Life."  I got myself some Pinup bangs,  I had a birthday party for Picasso, (he just turned 1) and prepared myself.

I then flew back to Portland to start my new life and start writing this blog series.  And you'll never guess what the first full day as a Portland resident was...

Amelia Earhart's Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The End. (Well actually it's the beginning...but you know!)


Don't be a stranger!  Big things are coming this way....

We are at the end of this five part series... but of course just the beginning of our journey together.  Whether it's related to me helping you learn graphic design and branding through my Launch Your Brand Program... or following my dating adventures through the soon to be released (you can sign up for notifications if you click on this link)

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to follow, support, learn, laugh and love with me.  I feel your energy and it keeps me so excited to keep going and building bigger and better things. I also hope it inspires you to do the same!

Launch Your Brand in 30 Days or Less Starts Aug. 4 -- Prices are going up after this session!  Registration is cut off as of Sunday Aug 3, 4pm PST.  Space is limited and has sold out twice before.  I have a few spots open!

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I'm taking less students for this Aug 4 session, (so space is super limited) because I am also working on a beta program called Launch Your Design Biz.  This is because 15% of the people who have taken LYB Program, put their businesses aside and have started freelance design careers.  I HAD NO IDEA THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN!!!  SO EXCITING!

I'm then taking those aspiring designers and have started giving them leads the come through my company.  This is soon to be released and it's called The Student Design Agency.

Sometimes I get to art direct with them, and it's amazing because I am giving my students business, and also generating revenues doing more of what I love which is working with aspiring designers to develop amazing brands.

It's amazing seeing people who have never touched Photoshop or Illustrator before, end up leaving my program and getting clients.  Nothing thrills me more than this!  When I created the program to help entrepreneurs DIY their brand and design, I had no idea this was going to happen and it's thrilling to see them start to surpass even my own abilities. (albeit a bit humbling too!) 

Here is one student's Before and After shots!


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Post the class, here is what she did on her own!  EMPOWERMENT!

Live Your Brand. Live Your Boy Craziness! Part 4

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 of the series, click on the links to catch up!

Lesson 7. When You Figure Out What You Want in Life, You Want Your Life to Start as Soon as Possible

We picked up Nicole Marietta in San Francisco, and jetted off on 10 hour drive we did in one shot on Sunday afternoon.  We made it into Portland about 1am.  We spent this very long car ride telling stories and listening to This American Life podcast, and Radio Lab. (If you have never heard of either of them, check them out at once!!)

The next day, was Angelica and Nicole's first true Portland brunch experience and we went to Slappy Cakes for breakfast.  Slappy cakes is yet another brilliant concept for a business.

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The graphic design / branding / interior design of this chain of "Make your own pancakes" place is quite amazing.  It has the fun factor for people with kids, but it has fancy cocktails, a super cute retro modern 70's vibe for the adults.  In the Portland location, the staff is very hip.  

The host at the restaurant kept smiling and giving me oogly eyes, and I was SHOCKED.  It had occurred to me, that I hadn't had a guy inadvertently check me out randomly, in the entire 2 years I lived in San Diego.   

Then we sat down with Portland's weekly free magazine, and I looked at the listings for concert after concert of some of the best indie bands you could think of, fun art shows, street fairs, and while San Diego has some of these things, there was this whole vibe that was focused for the 25-45 year old creative that was really speaking to me.  I had lived in Portland for almost a decade before my two year stint in San Diego, but I had this whole new appreciation as Angelica and Nicole were saying --- WOAH Portland is amazing!!!

And I thought to myself, yes, this place is incredibly cool, why am I denying myself to come back here and start my life?!  The design work here is incredible.  You have Wieden + Kennedy one of the most creative ad agencies in the world.  Nike and Adidas headquarters are here.  The competition might be fierce for graphic design, but I've never had problems finding work here.

My biggest revelation is how can I collaborate with some amazing graphic designers and illustrators to improve my Launch Your Brand Program (Starts Aug 4.) because there are so many that live here!  Look at the cover of the weekly magazine for crying out loud, good design is EVERYWHERE here, and is so important for finding examples to blog about!

 It was becoming PAINFULLY obvious to me that I needed to move here.  To make things even more amazing, we went to some free concerts that night, and a very cute hilarious guy bought me a drink.  Also something that never happened in the entire 2 years in San Diego.

 I was sold.  Portland wants me back!

I called my mom, the next day "I'm moving back to Portland" -- She was like "WHAT?!?! NOOOOO!!!!!"  And I proceeded to break her heart. I think she thought I was going to live with her forever, or at least secretly hoped, and here I was having to put her through empty nest syndrome all over again.

That's when I realized the only reason why I was staying in San Diego was to be closer to her.  This really isn't the right reason to live somewhere, when you end up sacrificing your own inspiration and dating life just to make your mom happy.  (I just love her so much!)

We had a wonderful 8 months of living together, it was time for me to go, so I literally got an apartment in the Mississippi Ave neighborhood the very next day.  I could afford the fanciest apartment, in the hippest neighborhood because Portland prices were so much cheaper than SD.

I moved in 5 days later, had the entire apartment furnished in 48 hours.  Shit was happening fast and I couldn't have been more excited.  The place that I moved into was like a fancy dorm for 35 year old entrepreneurs with exceptionally cute dogs.  I thought that I had died and gone to heaven.  

I am still in heaven. I am home.

Lesson 8. Putting Together Ikea Furniture on First Dates is a Great Way to See If Your Compatible

After living in San Diego for two years, and one of those years being single was probably the worst year I've had in my life, regarding love and dating.  Just to give you an idea of the type of men Portland vs. San Diego, I did a quick snapshot so you can see the difference.

San Diego Men


Portland Men

This is literally a random sample.  This doesn't mean that there aren't great men in San Diego, this just means the style of men that live in San Diego aren't the kind of men that I'm generally attracted to, nor are they attracted to me.  There are more conservative points of view, I'm fiercely liberal.  There are more military men, or guys who have normal jobs, I want to date an entrepreneur.

Let's face it, I've got more curves than a circle, and a great majority of these men they want a blonde marathon runner.  And I want an artistic, entrepreneurial nerd, who thinks my body is fantastic. Potato....POTATOE.

So I moved into my amazing apartment on July 5th.  I furnished in 48 hours, and started to get asked on dates.  So what did I do?  I bribed men to put together Ikea furniture for me, by cooking them steak dinners for a first date.  It's the single best social experiment, I've ever done to find out compatibility.

If you have enjoyed this series so far, and want more fun stories.....( really isn't the place to talk about this dating stuff)

I'm launching a new site called to talk about dating, traveling, food, and social experiments. It hasn't been released yet, but enter your email below if you want to find out about what happened with the Ikea experiments! The site is set to launch in the next few weeks!! 

One of the upcoming experiments is to fly to San Francisco to hire a "ManServant" for the day.  This has got to be one of the best business ideas I've ever seen!!!!  I will have him feed me grapes, sing to me with a guitar while I take a bath, and dote on me all day. Cannot wait for this fantasy (it's not a gigolo service, but instead a G-Rated pool boy / errand boy/ sort of experience and I cannot wait!)


Have you ever discovered that where you were living was affecting your inspiration for work?  Did you find the men to not be fitting?  Share your story in the comments below!

Or visit Part 5, The Series Finale "LIve Your Brand. Live to Break Records"

Live Your Brand. Live Your Beauty! Part 3

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 of the series, click on the links to catch up!

Today is the best day of my life.  Okay, maybe that is a tiny bit of an exaggeration, but I am so happy I could cry. MY POLE HAS ARRIVED!!!! Fast forward into the story a bit here, I am now living in Portland, in a bad ass apartment, and my pole has been delivered.  Here is a video of me sharing my pole joy!  

This is my form of stress relief and rejuvenation on my crazy work days.  I do power hours of work, and then replenish doing something that I love.  This is the only way I can have a well-balanced work and life, and how I can create awesome things like my Launch Your Brand Program (which starts Aug. 4)

By the way, I am sharing this with you because it's such a huge part of who I am, and very much living my brand by showing you this piece of my life.  It's not overtly sexual, but it is sexy,  what I would like to think one of the greatest forms of self expression, beauty, female empowerment, and self love for my body, and stress relief for my life.  I hope that this inspires you to find whatever is your pole dancing to keep moving through life (and not be chained to a desk all the time!)

Pardon for the late posting, I have been dancing all day.  Now let's get more deeply into this journey of self discovery, now shall we!??

On Our Way to San Francisco.

Before we get into my big move to Portland.. we are at the part of the story where Angelica and I were on our way to San Francisco.   Our plan was to drive up Highway 1, but it was wayyyy too foggy, which was a huge disappointment for us.   But we kept our spirits high, by meeting up with another b-schooler, the lovely rodeo tech queen Lisa Burger for lunch and  then making it to San Fran around 8pm.

One of the craziest revelations that I had on this drive up to San Francisco, was that it was literally exactly one year ago to the day, that I had broken up with my ex, and  I had driven up to San Francisco to house site for a friend of a friend, and here the same week, one later, and I was going up to San Francisco to house sit for a friend of a friend. WHAT A KAWINKY DINK!!!!!

How is it, that I was doing exactly the same thing, exactly one year before without planning things that way.  Synchronicity.  There was a tiny little whisper that was telling me I was on the right path, and that the reason why I had been so miserable, was that I had gone off that path.  Now, I don't regret anything, and lessons are learned for a reason.  But there was something about this that told me, this is where you were going before and where you are going now is exactly how things should be.

After I had broken things off with my fiance ( a year ago) , I wanted to go to San Francisco to see if I would enjoy it more than San Diego.  I realized in the first five minutes of being there, there was no way I would ever want to live there.   It's a bit too much for me, too much crime, too much dirt, too many hills, too expensive.  I want to live some place that is easy.  San Francisco is the opposite of easy, it is however filled with culture and fun things to do.  This time I was coming not to shop for a living space in SF, but really just to enjoy everything the beautiful city has to offer.  Starting off with the Pride Festival!

Lesson 5. To Be Happy, You Must Be Free to Be Yourself -- Gay Pride Festival = Happy People Being Themselves

Angelica introduced me to her long lost cousin who lives in San Fran, he was one of the most amazing men I've ever met.  Experienced a kidney transplant, had a near death experience, went from never being able to walk again, to being able to not only walk but do ANYTHING.  This man is a force to be reckoned with... and was just one of the most joyful people ever.  

At the Gay Pride festival, everyone was so free to express themselves.  People walked around naked, or in tutus, and everyone danced and had a great time.   

Picasso was a huge hit!  Everyone wanted to pet him and snuggle with him. I had to carry him a lot of the time, but I balanced him often on my Picasso handbag.  Look at the little Boston's on my purse!!  

Somehow when I had gone to SF the previous year, I had missed the gay pride festival and this year I am SO happy that I went because it was truly enlightening to see so many people really living their truth and finding happiness while doing it!

Lesson 6. When you LOOK GOOD, you FEEL GOOD.  

This is the best concept and theme I've ever seen for a business, and it's constantly sold out, so take NOTE.....


"Dry Bar" -- It's a salon that does NOTHING but blowouts.  Now I am not talking about Brazilian Blowouts, I'm talking about just styling hair.  No cuts. No color.  Just styling.  For $40 you can have salon ready hair.  They wash your hair, they massage your head, and then they either blow it out and straighten it, or they curl it up with a curling iron.

Above you can see you can order your "hair-tini" in the form of a clever named after a beverage hair style.  This is a PERFECT example of a memorable, catchy, concept and theme for your brand.   The concept being "Dry Bar -- A salon/bar for blowouts" The theme being "Modern Hair Cocktails" --- it's so catchy, it's no wonder that they sell out every day.  They will even come to your house and do your hair!

Want to learn more about how to come up with incredible concept / theme for your business!  Come check out my Launch Your Brand Program!  (Starts Aug 4)

Getting my hair did.

Getting my hair did.

So I went from frumpy in glasses as you saw, when I was at Pride, to this:

Hello Barbarella!

Hello Barbarella!

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When you look good, you feel good, and just taking the time and effort to get my hair done made me feel like a new woman.  Self care is so important to feeling good so that you can love your life!

Angelica and her cousin invited me to go to dinner and go dancing with them.  This sort of opening up their lives to spend time with me, and have fun with me while in SF was a really nice treat!

I fell in love with San Francisco, and realized, I may not want to live there, but it's one of my favorite places to go and be free...and eat, drink, dance and be merry!!  

Angelica and her cousin were wonderful and we had a blast!


Next Up, We head to Portland with Miss Nicole Marietta, and the adventure REALLY gets exciting!  In the comments below, tell me about an adventure you went on where you discovered things about yourself?!

Also if you haven't check it out yet, make sure to take a lookie look at the program that I have that is starting next Monday Aug 4.  My students said it's more than just a branding and design course, it changes the way you think.  Pretty powerful stuff!  Launch Your Brand Program (which starts Aug. 4)


Live Your Brand. Live your BOOM! - Part 2

If you have just tuned in, make sure to read Part 1 of this series here.

Yesterday in the story, we left off at the point where I had all this great success, figured out I was miserable, and that I wanted to find my bliss, via living my brand.  

A road trip was scheduled with two strangers, one was my student from my Launch Your Brand Program (Starts Aug 4)  and another a follower via my blog.  Here we jump back into it....

Since yesterday, I've decided that the term "Living My Bliss" just makes my teeth hurt, and my fingers numb, and I get this incessant urge to poke out my eyeballs when I hear it.  The woo-woo-ness of it makes me WOO-WOO-ZY!  

In fact, I might not be "on brand" by using the term bliss.   Yet I have felt compelled to use it because, I just feel so amazingly happy and inspired right now, and I mean it's sort of an onomatopoeia don't you think?  But the adverse side to this is just makes me feel a little cliché, and quite honestly, that is one of the worst feelings in the world!! 

So my new reaction to the word bliss is:

A little graphic design humor for you.  Don't ever use Papyrus, or we can't be friends.

A little graphic design humor for you.  Don't ever use Papyrus, or we can't be friends.

Let's come up with something better shall we?

Someone pointed out yesterday in the comments of my blog that Amelia Earhart probably wouldn't have used the term "Bliss" cause it is too woo-woo....(and she CERTAINLY would never be as cliché to use Papyrus as a font.

Perhaps the term "Boom!" or something... "Living Your Boom!"  ---  The tagline for my design studio Create Thunder is "Brands that Boom!" so this fits... (Sidenote: I also have a student named Amy, who is developing an amazing financial program with the term BOOM...) perhaps this is trending... So for today, we will be talking about Living Your Boom! 

Lesson 3. Splurge on a fancy hotel room because you deserve it, but don't act like a pig.

I drove myself straight up to Santa Barbara, after I had strategically jammed my car full of stuff. I noshed on dried fruit and bubble water, and hopes for the summer.  The excitement of being alone on the road with so much possibility, and so much great music on Spotify.  I was feeling really good.  I was choreographing pole dancing songs in my head and Picasso was TOO SCARED to look out the window.   

He is such a baby, sometimes.

So this was the first vacation I had, had in several months...and I rarely ever splurge for the sake of splurging.  I don't splurge often because there is a part of me, like so many people out there, that feels like I don't deserve to.  

Now this doesn't mean you need to go off splurging on everything all the time.  That would be unwise financial planning.  But this does mean on occasion you should just go all out -- fancy hotel, fancy dinner, get a massage (hell----get a massage with a happy ending if you want-----you are splurging..... HAHA JUST KIDDING, that's gross.  Well unless your massage therapist just so happens to be a Ryan Gosling, and then I say SPLURGE AWAY, GIRL!!!!!)

The point is, splurging is amazing.  We only live once, and sometimes having a good nights rest on 10,000 thread count sheets, celebrating your success with a butler to bring you a wine opener at 2am and share your pizza with, is just what you need to feel alive.  

(Just don't eat too much pizza and wine! More about that in a sec...)

Say Hello to Hotel Indigo... The most quaint and beautiful little boutique hotel, I've ever had the pleasure of staying at.  They even gave Picasso a gift bag with poop bags and milk bones.

 He looked at me and said "Hey Mom, this place isn't so ruff!"  

(Sorry that is a terrible joke)

The rooms here end up being about $375 a night with taxes and dog fees.  SHEESH.  I deserve it. I deserve it. I had to keep telling myself this.

Hotel Indiogo

Hotel Indiogo

My room (or at least a stock picture of it -- it had a veranda and a huge shower, the bed was to die for!)

My room (or at least a stock picture of it -- it had a veranda and a huge shower, the bed was to die for!)

After we checked in we were starved.  So we took a jaunt around the neighborhood until I found a wine bar to have an appetizer and a flight of wines.  Picasso and I had our first lady and the tramp moment.   This is perfect, because he has a super feminine energy, and I'm such a tramp!!  (I'm totally kidding...mmm hmm... kidding.)

Our Date.  Everyone loved him.

Our Date.  Everyone loved him.

We went from place to place.  I ate too much.  I drank too much.  I got a pizza and shared it with the front desk guy, and he warmed it up in the microwave and delivered it on a platter with a wine key.....The food was delicious, the wine even more so, and I had fun... and I felt alive at the time, but then things took a turn for the worst.

Apparently I overindulged, and I woke up feeling like I wanted to die.

The revised lesson learned in this is:  OVER indulging does not mean more fun.  I wasn't hungry, I had already had a big appetizer and wine out...but I was OVER-CELEBRATING, because I had been feeling so miserable before.  Apparently, work and no play, makes Jenna a very hungry girl.  I am very ashamed to say, this is not the first time something like this has happened.... but it's at this point that I'm really starting to make note of it.

Over-indulging means that you aren't really enjoying the moment you are in, you are making up for something that is lacking.  I wasn't present, I wasn't savoring things, I was hiding behind food and alcohol as a "Reward" for all my hard work.  

Soooooooo.....I got sick... call it food poisoning, call it over-indulging, in any case I was not in great shape the next day, and THEN Picasso had chased a bird from the patio into our room at 5am.  So there was a bird swooping down and trying to escape as I wanted to crawl in a hole and die.

Nope, this not really a vacation yet, I decided.  This is sort of like a very expensive punishment.  I had ruined, what could have been a lovely experience....The hotel room was lovely, my decisions to celebrate not so much.

I pulled myself together, and Miss Angelica was on her way to meet me.   She showed up at the hotel around 10am, and we packed up her stuff in the car.   And something really embarrassing happened as I was packing my suitcase, into the car.  All I will say is there was a noise, a noise coming from my suitcase.  A noise I needed to make stop, and I couldn't tell Angelica what the noise was without getting really embarrassed.  So I sent her to the front desk to return my key card, as I was mortified.

(Just like the embarrassing stories in Seventeen Magazine, that always end with AND I WAS MORTIFIED)

That is all I am going to say about that.


Lesson 4. When trying to have a beer with Emilio Estavez call ahead and make sure he's bartending!

We had plans to stop at a bar in Los Alamos to see the famous Emilio Estavez, whose wife owns a beer tasting room called Babi's Beer Emporium.  Emilio apparently bartend's there sometime, and I found proof of this on his Facebook page.   

He wasn't working that day, but I really wanted to experience this idea of having a drink with a once A-List celebrity, who played the jock in The Breakfast Club, was in Young Guns, and The Mighty Ducks.  To see him in action at a bar..... YES please.  

But since he wasn't working, here we were in spirit with him:


Want to learn how to make terrible superimposed pictures of your friends with celebrities? Want to avoid using terribly cliché fonts like Papyrus, and words like "bliss"? you will get the skills to learn this and more through my Launch Your Brand Program (Starts Aug 4)

When was the last time you over-celebrated or stalked an 80's A-List Celebrity?  Leave your story in the comments below! 


Live Your Brand. Live Your Bliss.

Part 1 -- It's summertime. You'll never guess what I've been up to....

Trying to find my bliss while living my brand! 

Dammit..."Finding my bliss" ....That sounds so flipping woo woo!!!!  But I literally cannot find better words to describe what is happening right now.

OH WELL! Here we go.....

So way back during my first launch of my Launch Your Brand Program (next course starts Aug 4)  I ended up having success that I had never experienced before.  I sold out two programs, and I had more money in my bank account than I have ever had before.

I had been working for THREE years to achieve this and finally I had launched. My dream appeared to have come true, but then I looked around and realized. "NOW WHAT?!"  I had achieved my financial and professional goals, but my personal life was sort of in shambles....

  • I was still living with my mom (we were both recovering from breakups)
  • I was living in a city that wasn't inspiring me the way I wanted to be inspired
  • My dating life sucked big time
  • I wasn't achieving my health goals.
  • I wasn't seeing friends very often

So in one way I was feeling happy and grateful for my successes, in another way I was feeling completely miserable and incomplete.

So being the adventurer that I am, I thought to myself,  well I just need to travel more.  If I would travel more that would make me happy.  So I started planning trips.  My first big trip of the summer was to do a one month sublet in Portland, Oregon, which is basically my other home.  I lived there for a decade, two years ago, and go back often because all of my college friends and friends from my 20's live there.

Fast forward to now, in the last month, all the above issues have been addressed and figured out, and I'm feeling like I'm on the path to some serious bliss making!

I finally feel some sort of content satisfaction.  I feel inspired.  I feel my best work is about ready to be born.

And I did this by making a commitment to myself to start "living my brand."  I would think... "What would pinup Jenna do?"  or better yet "What would Amelia Earhart do?" all of my problems started instantly solving themselves.  

I will show you how I did this.

What Would Amelia Do?!

WWAD!? Amelia Earhart.  That vivacious, strong independent, thought leader.... That fantastical superwoman!!!!

She was the inspiration for my brand, an adventurer like myself.  She was the groundbreaking first woman pilot to fly across the Atlantic by herself. She was a professor and a woman's right activist.  (Both things that I am too!)

She was even an associate editor at Cosmopolitan magazine.  (Amazeballs!)

This girl was living her bliss and breaking ground doing so.  She fell in love with something she was passionate about, and it lead to her getting paid a lot of money to do it.  She even saved up $1,000 to learn how to fly (which was an insane amount of money at the time.)  

She had the passion, and she had the drive. She wanted to influence people and be a good influence for women.  This is why I love Amelia.  

Her first attempt at the 1937 world flight was on my birthday.  That bad-ass bitch is my hero!!!

People followed Amelia because she went into the unknown, she embraced adventure, she lived a life that wasn't common.

If we could learn anything from Amelia, It could be that the more interesting, inspiring, passionate and real you are, the more likely it would be for people to want to follow you.  A lot of people followed her then, and people are still fascinated with her today.  We could say she has a pretty successful brand for being a dead lady, don't ya think!?

When you think about your brand, Do you want to just be known for selling shit on etsy, or doing something you only sort of care about....  


do you want to be.....legend.....(wait for it).... dary???

Don't just be outside the box, be out of this world!

Over the next five days, you will be learning 10 Lessons, how to "live your brand" and "find your bliss" by following the lessons I learned on a crazy road trip I took this summer and my attempt to be a little bit more "on brand."  The process is simple, it requires some introspection, some adventure, and it requires to to be okay with thinking differently than the status quo.

From my personal philosophy, living your personal brand is living your dream, creating the life that you want with your passions and interests, to in turn, inspire others to do the same for themselves.  

When you live your life by example for your ideal client -- you become more interesting. When people remember you, they feel like they know you, and therefore want to do business with you. 

My Aha-- You need to live your bliss to become infectious!

I thought to myself --- How can I inspire and invigorate others others, by becoming my sexiest pinup, most well-balanced, most interesting, most adventurous, hysterical, bliss-living version of myself?

But even more importantly, how can I do this for myself....? for my happiness...? and to quench my insatiable curiosity?

How do I become legend.....(wait for it)....dary.....?

Lesson #1 -  Travel with Almost Complete Strangers to Make Things More Interesting 

So the adventure begins........My summer road trip started with plans to leave sunny San Diego for the summer and drive up the coast on an adventure with some "Perfect Strangers" I had met on the internet.  

Yes this was SORT of like an episode of the 80's tv show "Perfect Strangers."  We did meet some long lost cousins along the way, and we were getting to know each other while living together for a week.... (As a side note, I do wish Balki Bartakumus would have come on the trip, he would have been so fun! I totally would have done the dance of joy with him!)

Who would be crazy enough to travel for 18 hours with, not one, count them two strangers?!  

One of my travel companions was a b-school mate, and the other a student of my Launch Your Brand program. Yep, I totally become friends with my students!!! If you don't know about my Launch Your Brand Program <---check it out here it starts Aug 4...)

Now traveling with strangers is not something I can recommend for just anyone, you must be game for the unknown.  You must be ready to get to know a WHOLE lot about people in a very short period of time.

It's sort of like a marathon reading of someone's diary, you see the raw parts of someone's existence when you've shared crazy stories. You live and breathe with these people as though they are family, or friends you've known forever, and in reality, you are on what is like a very long weird date. (You eat together, sometimes snooze in the same space together, share family and friends together, and you don't know each other...) It's a TRIP!  

Pun totally intended.

What comes out of the end of it is hopefully, some great friendships, some great memories, and some blog worthy moments!  All of these things achieved. But let's start at the beginning.

The fabulous Miss Nicole Marietta

The fabulous Miss Nicole Marietta

First Mate

Nicole Marietta (Launch Your Brand Graduate / Fellow B-Schooler), lives in San Francisco...  We had never met before but she was my online student, and a killer one at that. She's a copywriter and newly developed her passions and skills for becoming a professional designer through my program....Her websites are Write Brave and Nicole Marietta both are which she developed and became a professional designer from doing my LYB Program.  Her design site to be released soon. (FYI If you like her sites, she's accepting new clients!)

Miss Angelica Terrazas

Miss Angelica Terrazas

Second Mate

Miss Angelica Terrazas, (Fellow B-Schooler and LYB Blog Reader) who is a 21 year old entrepreneurial prodigy. Lives in Ventura.  She had her first brick and mortar cupcake shop at the tender age of 18, and then become a area marketing director for Domino's.  

She's since saved up to develop her own marketing program that emphasizes branding and public relations campaigns after having huge success with Dominos.  Her company to be launched later is "The Branding Stylist - Where Iconic Brands are Built."

We met after she read my "How I launched my brand" blog series and she was so inspired that she booked my amazing photographer Scott Saw of Vixen Photography.  I knew nothing of her, except that she loved my photographer and now he's her photographer too!

The Trip Itinerary

The goal was to hit up the scenic route on Highway 1,  hit Santa Barbara,  San Francisco, and make it up to Portland, Oregon where I had a sublet to spend the month of July.  Angelica gets picked up in Santa Barbara.  Nicole gets picked up in SF...and the adventure really begins.

Lesson 2. Get a bigger rental car to fit your stripper pole.

It was the first day of the trip, I got a economy rental car that was entirely too small to fit a month worth of my things, and two other people with their things.  But the worst part about this situation was terribly frustrated that my stripper pole did not fit in the trunk.

In case you didn't know,  (I'm not a traveling stripper) I am however an avid pole dancer for exercise and cannot get enough of it!  Having my stripper pole was really important to me, because I need to dance.  It's my form of self expression, exercise and stress relief.  I almost didn't pack clothes and decided to just buy clothes as I traveled, I wanted to bring that pole so badly!

The suitcase I had packed was too big.  I had to dump the whole thing out and start over again.... I literally had to shove everything into a small suitcase.  Even Picasso (my boston terrier puppy) was TOO big for his carrier. 

Trying to put him in his carrier was like trying to get a cat into a sink full of water!  

I had my huge Imac desktop computer, my laptop, my Canon 7d, and was ready to get the heck out of town.  I was VERY sad to not get to bring my pole, I had all these plans to set it up in random places and dance all over the West Coast, while listening to Lana Del Rey's song called West Coast...

The lesson learned here is Amelia Earhart would have rented a bigger car, cause nothing would have gotten in the way of her dancing dreams.  In any case, I through my pouty face out the window. I got on the road and the adventure began!!!!!

Click this Link To Go to "Live Your Brand. Live Your Bliss." - Part 2"