• Single on Valentine’s Day

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    There’s a lot of hype over Valentine’s Day. My inbox has been flooded with ads for all the things I can buy for my Valentine or he can buy for me. From dozens of roses to boxes of chocolate, diamonds and heart pendants galore! Then there are all the online dating sites trying to capitalize on all the single people out there still looking for love – a free weekend of online dating, and then just $35 a month to make sure that next Valentine’s Day you are not alone. And let’s not forget the singles parties…

    It’s Saturday night and I am going to an anti-Valentine Day party. What exactly is an anti-Valentine’s Day party? Well, I’ll let you know at the end of this post when I return to finish it. What I think it will be is a way for single people to possibly connect, have a drink or two and still go home single, but maybe with a business card or two.

    Ocean Valentine Bouquet

    Feather duster worms make a beautiful underwater Valentine's Day bouquet

    I’m about to save this draft and head off for the party but hold on – I just got another Valentine’s Day email. However this one is different from the rest. It is a Valentine’s Day request for me to show my love for the ocean by donating money to the Project AWARE Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving underwater environments through education, advocacy and action. I like this idea. It’s a way for me to give a Valentine to something that I love, the ocean. The ocean gives me gifts every time I visit it, whether scuba diving beneath its’ surface or looking out over its’ waves. It is one of the many things that makes me smile and adds balance to my life. Some of you might know that I recently launched a new line of inspirational sport and hobby-themed T-shirts, called Life is Balance®. Lately I have been thinking about donating some percentage of sales from my shop to an ocean conservation organization (when I start actually making money, that is). I haven’t decided which one yet – Sea Shepherd is another worthy possibility under consideration.

    What a nice change it would be if instead of only thinking of Valentine’s Day as an over commercialized day for couples, it became a day to show your love for anything that you are passionate about, whether it be the sea or some other worthy cause. It doesn’t have to be a monetary donation. The gift of your time is ever so valuable as well. Well, enough procrastination, it’s time to go and search for my anti-Valentine…

    …12:30am
    I just got home from the party, remember that? I promised you an update. I did something that I don’t usually do. I went to this party by myself where I didn’t know anyone. Out of my comfort zone to say the least. It didn’t start out all that promising when waiting on line to get in the bouncer asked both the girls in front of and behind me for proof but didn’t ask me. Should I be insulted? Inside, the line to check coats was another 15 minute wait. This was not looking promising. However, in the end I met three nice guys who each asked for my card. I still came home single but hey, you never know…

    Monday is Valentine’s Day and I’m not going to sit around wondering whether either of the three guys will call. I’m going to see Placido Domingo with one of my best friends and I’m going to think about how I can help save the oceans. Not a bad day to look forward to. Nothing anti about this Valentine’s Day.

  • Clothing, T-Shirts

    Posted on February 2nd, 2011

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    We all win if we pay it forward. My day at the NYIGF…

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    NYIGF at Javitz center

    It’s a good thing that I decided to go to the NYIGF (that’s the New York International Gift Fair) on Monday rather than yesterday or today. If I hadn’t, I might be writing this as a popsicle right now. Looking outside of my window, all I see is snow covered with ice, tree branches covered with ice and my poor rhododendron, covered in ice! Today is a good day to stay inside and write a blog post.

    I went to the fair at the Javitz center on Monday in search of a sales rep for me  Life is Balance® line of t-shirts and to gain some inspiration. Walking through the miles (and I mean miles) of exhibit booths I was inspired by all the small businesses out there moving forward with their dreams. I want to be one of them. Soon. There was so much to look at that I needed to focus on what I came there for or I’d never make it out alive. I was specifically looking at booths that sold t-shirts. I met a few independent designers who, after I told them that I was looking to break into the business, readily offered advice. I assured them that I was not out to steal their designs. A designer myself, I would never stoop to knowingly knocking off someone else’s work. That is just low. One can get inspiration from other artists work (it’s been done for centuries) but what makes art unique is the way an individual designer expresses his or her vision. One designer, part of a mother-daughter team selling beautiful tees at  Star Luna, pulled her business card away from me when I told her I was a fellow designer. She assumed that I was looking for designs to knock-off. It was only after I showed her a sample of my trademarked line (nothing like what she does) and assured her that copying another designers’ work was equally offensive to me, did she give me back her card. I am after all, a t-shirt junkie and I might want to buy one of her shirts! It is sad that there are people out there who would steal another designer’s concept rather than come up with something original on their own.

    Anyway, my point here is that rather than refusing to talk to me, I found some very candid, helpful, and yes talented t-shirt designers willing to help me out with information and advice. One of them was Suzanne from Peace Love Mom. Her t-shirts represent a celebration of motherhood. The designs are sophisticated and the shirts are beautiful! Another designer who I spoke to was Supermaggie. Maggie and her husband design and print their shirts at their home in Austin, Texas. I’m going back to her booth on Thursday morning and buying one of her shirt designs!
    Another t-shirt designer, Andreea Ayers (Tees For Change) has been very helpful to me as well. She was not at the Gift Fair but, I contacted her online after finding her ebook on starting a t-shirt business. Very willing to answer questions and share resources with me, she told me that is happy to help others achieve the success that she has found because she believes in paying it forward. Pay it Forward

    I left the Javitz Center exhausted but energized at the same time. I want to thank everyone who has been paying it forward by speaking to me. I intend to pay it forward as well. Go visit their shops and buy a shirt. While you’re at it, buy one of mine too. It’s just good karma. And that’s what balance is all about! Who knows maybe my rhododendron will survive the ice storm.

  • No pain, no gain? Trying to keep balance skiing.

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    Yardsale at Mt. Snow

    A Yard Sale at Mt. Snow.

    I went to Mt. Snow, Vermont this weekend to ski, chill out (and considering the frigid temperatures, I believe that I succeded). I’ve been working non-stop on my new t-shirt business so a weekend away, in the fresh air and snow was just the right balance that I needed in my life. Saturday started out as a beautiful, sunny day. It was cold, but without any wind, it was a perfect ski day. Now I am a pretty good skier, although I haven’t skied since the beginning of December and haven’t worked out much in the past month due to a nasty cold. I started my day skiing with friends on intermediate trails on the front of the mountain, terrain I know so well I can almost ski it blindfolded. No sooner did I make my first few turns when I noticed something off about my skiing. I could barely control my skis. Turning on hard pack felt like ice and I could not get an edge at all. Was I so out of shape that my skiing could have gotten this bad? Every turn was an effort and I kept having to stop to rest. This couldn’t be me!

    Coming down Ridge Run, I felt my skis cross in front of me and I found my self heading head first down into the snow, hard! My friend Bill stoping behind me couldn’t believe how hard that I fell. Nothing but my ego bruised (so I thought) I got up and continued skiing. My next fall proved to be more of a yard sale. Again my skis tips crossed and I found myself separated from my skis, once again sitting in the snow. So unusual was this for me, that my friend Susan, felt the need to capture this with her camera.

    At the end of the day I decided to take my skis into the ski shop and see if it was really me or the ski. When the ski tech took a look at the bottom of the skis after I explained to him what had been happening all day, he told me that it was no wonder that I was falling. It seems that my skis were sharpened too many times and in doing so, the edges were higher than the base, so I was actually skiing on two boards with no edge at all. The skis had been throwing me off balance! Well that certainly made me feel better. I left them overnight for stone grinding, where they grind down the base to match up with the edges, and headed to the bar for a much needed glass of wine!

    Inspirational ski and snowboard t-shirt

    Life is Balance "Keep Your Edge" Ski and Snowboard t-shirt

    The following day, setting out on my newly tuned skis, I discovered that I wasn’t in as bad a shape as I had thought. It was like night and day. I was skiing just like I used to ski – effortlessly! Hallelujah!

    It was only when I got home and woke up the next morning, unable to move that I realized just why I don’t like to fall in the first place! Oh well, nothing is broken and the spasms in my back will eventually go away (soon I hope) and I am looking forward to the next time. What I learned from this experience is that while the activities like skiing may balance our lives, it takes well-maintained equipment to stay balanced!

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