LATELY : 02

What I've been up to lately - A Beautiful Retreat What I've been up to lately - house styling

What I've been up to lately - tests

ONE Last weekend was magical. 12 creative ladies, including myself, escaped to the woods of southern Tennessee for a weekend surrounded by nature, wilderness and beauty filled with intention and connection. We slept in beautiful rustic yet modern cabins, went for hikes in lush trails with bridges and bluffs, we shared stories about paving our own path, we laughed, we broke bread, we danced under the stars, we celebrated our ambition and accomplishments and we simply breathed. Words can't describe how amazing and life-giving last weekend was, only images tied with poems and quotes have done it justice. See more on our Instagram and #ABeautifulRetreat. More pictures and reflections coming soon.

TWO The past few months Nick and I have been working diligently to reorganize our home, clean it spotless, decorate and style perfectly in order to receive the best appraisal we could in order to purchase it. You see, the house we live in we rented first. We moved to Nashville about a year ago into this beautiful home, then just a few months ago we realized we wanted to purchase it. The process of purchasing a home unfolded, including paper work, on top of paper work, on top of cleaning, appraisal appointments, inspections appointments, realtor appointments and endless things to gather and sign. This process has been extremely draining and much more work than I could have imagined. Gratefully, we officially purchased our home almost 2 weeks ago and got through all of the legalities and paperwork! Now into repairing the home...

THREE Since enduring my second miscarriage in July, a host of tests to understand why my pregnancies have not been viable have ensued. Almost monthly I have my blood drawn to test for one thing or another. Then a few weeks ago, amidst purchasing our home, I had a more intense test called a Hysterosalpingogram. This is where they inject dye into my uterus to show whether my fallopian tubes are open or blocked, whether a blockage is at the junction of the tube and uterus or if there is any normalities whatsoever. I'm happy to say everything was normal, but not so happy to admit that this test was very discomforting and unpleasant. Yesterday I had another blood test which should conclude the blood tests for now. In a few weeks I see an acupuncturist specializing in fertility and my OB to go over all of my test results. There are is so much to learn about miscarriage and having a successful pregnancy that I find myself taking notes, google searching random thoughts about it online and bookmarking articles. It's difficult to put everything together on something that still has so many mysteries. But my desire, determination and hope will keep me moving forward to find answers and a plan.

 

Center photo by Ruby & Peach

LATELY : 01

Painting in the Studio Full Moon Bonfire

Shelby Bottoms Hiking Trails

Most times when I blog, I schedule 2-3 hours to fully execute the post. And lately, with all of the exciting projects I've been working on, the painting I've been pouring myself into, workshops I've been teaching and gatherings I've been hosting, blogging has sunk to the bottom of my list.

This is not what I want but sometimes that's just the way it goes. So I've given a lot of thought to how I can continue to share what I've been up to without it taking such a large chunk of my time each week.

I came across these two blog features here and hereThey're both simple, easy and an update on their latest happenings. I started to think about how I could do something of the same. Create a blog series that essentially shares what I've been up to lately that's easy and efficient.

So here we are, with my new series Lately. Inspired by the other blog features, I'll list off 3 things I've been up to lately.

ONE Almost every week I've stuck with my #FridayPaintday project. Through this self-initiated challenge I've rediscovered my deep love for painting, my strong desire to exhibit again, the need to express myself through art. I've missed painting. About 5 years ago I used to paint almost daily, prepping for my latest exhibits and shows. I stopped painting when I discovered avenues of income in calligraphy and custom work, allowing me to finally quit my day job and pursue creative endeavors full-time. Fast forward several years to just a few months ago when I found myself writing about how much I missed creating for myself, especially painting. I was at a breaking point and had to stop dreaming about it and make it happen. I had to start painting again. That's when #FridayPaintday was born. I share a lot of my discoveries, artwork and reflections about this project on instagram.

TWO When we moved to Nashville I had no idea what to expect when it came to the community of creatives, but what I did know was that when we moved here I was very interested and motivated to connect and build a community of creatives and like-minded individuals. A few months back my friend and in-house photographer Allison invited me to an Instagram meetup. I was a meet-up virgin eager to connect and make new friends. Inspired by all of the connections I made and my desire to build community, I hosted a Harvest Moon Bonfire at my home a month later. I invited a bunch of ladies I knew from workshops, from the meet-up and other ladies I knew through instagram. It was a magical night of 20+ woman meeting, connecting, laughing and letting go. Since then I've hosted another gathering and this weekend I have my first ever all-ladies retreat. I never thought about the results of what building a community would be. After just a few evenings of opening my heart and doors to new and old friends, I'm grateful for all of the friends, connections and community that's building. It's changing me in the most beautiful way. I feel so loved, connected and supported. The next all ladies gathering is in a few weeks, but this time we're hosting it at a friends. If you're a lady creative in Nashville and want to attend, send me a Facebook message.

THREE Something my husband and I love is to carve out time on the weekends to spend time with each other.  Sometimes we watch movies and eat pizza, other times we go for a hike, a walk, a movie and/or dinner. We're both self-made artists and entrepreneurs, so conversations about dreams, goals and our latest big idea are always on the tip of our tongue. Recently we discovered the beautiful Shelby Bottoms Hiking Trails in East Nashville and we're smitten with the beauty and nature that we get to indulge in so close to music city.

NEW FRIENDS

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Leaving friends behind when we moved to Nashville was hard. But we were hopeful and looked forward to what Nashville had in store for us.

When we first moved here we were surprised at how friendly and welcoming everyone was. We felt lucky and wondered if any of these friendships would last.

This weekend we met a whole new group of friends at a beautiful little gathering my friend Allison hosted. Allison moved down to Nashville just a few months after we did. Allison's been much more successful at making friendships than I. Maybe it's those adorable freckles she has, or maybe it's that she puts herself out there. Allison has such a warm and welcoming heart, a sweet Fiance and a daughter that reminds you to live slowly and savor every moment.

I marvel at Allison's bravery. She's made so many lovely friendships from reaching out to Instagram friends. This weekend she shared her friendships, new and old, with us and others.

She had us gather a Arrington Vineyards, a beautiful winery that welcomes anyone to bring your own food and friends to enjoy the scenery and celebrate. She decorated picnic tables, laid fresh food and flowers out for everyone to enjoy and watched the connections unfold.

There were moments I got the talking with someone and asked how they knew Allison and they said they hadn't met her yet. It was exciting to know that I wasn't the only one that wanted to connect. That other people just like me were looking for friendships.

Naturally, I think we all want to connect. We all want to feel like were part of a community and part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to contribute, support and grow together. Make a difference and be remembered. Live and love more fully. Cry, laugh, fall and get back up again, together.

And on Sunday we did.

CHOCOLATE CAKE & BASIL LEMONADE

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It's been over 6 months since I started teaching and let me tell you guys, I love to teach.

I love that I get to share with others what I know and to see how much it helps them grow. I love to build community and see each student interact with each other. I love the relationships that lasts after the class - I've made so many friends and clients from teaching!

One of my favorite things lately, that I love about teaching, it how the small little things like fresh home-made basil lemonade, chocolate cake and flowers from my garden can welcome and celebrate the students and the class. It celebrates their commitment to learning and growing. Making it feel more like a gathering, an event, a celebration.

If you're thinking about teaching your own class, check out these 10 easy steps.

The cake I made was simple and so delicious - it was also gluten, dairy and sugar-free. The basil lemonade was so fresh and summery.

Sugar-Free Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cup of almond meal
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 ts of baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cup of pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tb of coconut oil
  • 2 ts of vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (almond meal, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Place the dates and water in a food processor or strong blender and blend until it forms a smooth paste.
  4. Mix the date paste with the wet ingredients (eggs, coconut oil, vanilla), and mix until smooth.
  5. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
  6. Grease an 8" round cake pan and pour in batter.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving so that it has time to set.

Strawberries & Chocolate Glaze

  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
  • 4 Tb of coconut oil, melted
  • 4 Tb of maple syrup
  • 4-5 strawberries
  1. Slice strawberries thin and cover the entire top of the cake.
  2. Mix the first 3 ingredients well in blender.
  3. Drizzle over cake. Let cool in fridge for more a hardened chocolate glaze.

 

Basil Lemonade

  • 6-8 lemons
  • 8-10 cups of filtered, cold water
  • agave or maple syrup
  • hand full (8-10 sprigs) of fresh basil leaves
  1. Roll each lemon to release the juice.
  2. Cut lemons in half and squeeze into pitcher.
  3. Fill pitcher with water till it tastes slightly tangy. You can always add more water afterwords.
  4. Add sweetener to taste. I usually add 1/4-1/2 cup of agave sweetener.
  5. Chop basil and mix in.
  6. Slice a few lemons, coin style, to garnish.
  7. Serve over ice and keep chilled.

WHAT IS A CREATIVE COACH?

what-is-creative-coaching When people ask me what I do and I respond with I'm an artist, designer and creative coach. Without fail, the followup question is what is a creative coach? I'm happy to answer a creative coach is an expert/teacher/mentor that helps guide creatives, artists and musicians to achieve their goals. 

Think back to all of the teachers that have taught you something. In my experience, there are two types of teachers; one that guides you through each step, and the one that does the work for you.

Back when I was a teenager attending cosmetology school, there were two classrooms (each with their own teacher) that us students were divided into. One teacher that was rumored to be sweet, nice and easy and the other teacher was rumored to be a hard ass. I had the latter and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Because although at the time it seemed harder to be with this particular teacher and way scary to mess up a haircut, my teacher never leaned in and finished my work just to make things easier. She would stand next to me, guide me through the task, remind me of my knowledge, give me confidence to complete it. Eventually her style of teaching allowed me to feel confident enough to teach a few cosmetology classes while I was still a student. As for the students in the other classroom, lets just say most of them never went on to cut hair professionally.

So when I say I am a creative coach, I mean I am your rock standing next to you, supporting your ideas, reminding you of your courage, helping you over hurdles, empowering you with confidence and equipping you with the tools to successfully accomplish your goals.

Whether you need a single session to get over a creative hurdle, or a 6 week session to prepare you for your big business launch or brand overhaul, I am here for you. Email me today  meredithcbullock@gmail.com to find out how we can work together to accomplish your goals and start 2014 on the right foot!

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