Today is an Opportunity, Not an Obligation

Have you ever watched those motivational videos on YouTube? Photos and clips of athletes running, climbing mountains, surfing huge waves, practicing on a basketball court overlaid with a deep voice hammering home the point that in order to achieve what you want, get to your dreams, accomplish amazing results, and live the life you want, you've got to change your mindset? 

I love those videos.

And I realized recently that they're usually focused on physical achievement. The visual part anyway - typically they highlight men and women accomplishing astronomical physical feats - or even ordinary ones that most people still wouldn't strive to achieve. But what of the men and women who's dreams and goals are to own their own business, make their living through art, build their own house, travel the world, write a book, master the art of French cooking? The action shots of those people might not be as visually stirring (the artist in her studio, meticulously detailing an illustration, the writer at his laptop, searching for the right adjective, the aspiring chef in her kitchen, tasting a Bolognese sauce and making notes), but that doesn't mean they're any less inspiring. 

What does it mean to really go after goals? If we can begin to consider that our minds are actually built like a circuit, and the missing link between where we are and where we want to be is in rewiring our thoughts, then it seems achievable, doable, maybe even a relief, easy. But here's the real deal: that takes practice. Constant honing, developing, nurturing. The mind is not so easily swayed, and will, just like a boomerang, come back to its comfortable and natural habitat time and time again - until the natural habitat is positivity, optimisim, knowing that you are great, the best, that you will achieve what you want. 

As a freelancer and self-employed person, the one who goes out there and determines my own destiny, I practice this every day. And it just dawned on me that the motivational video of my own life, my success today and in the future, might not look like so many of the ones that already exist. The shots might be of me in my office, typing this very blog post, drawing words, brainstorming creative projects, having coffee with other like-minded creative and entrepreneurial men and women, taking yoga, calling potential clients, making lunch in the middle of the day, etc. etc. etc. And at the end of the day, when I sometimes want to only focus on what I didn't get done, what I haven't achieved, and all the 'what if's that come along with that, I practice filling my head instead with belief. That this, today, this moment, right now, is another opportunity. Not an obligation. This is an opportunity for me to live my dream, share my passion, touch someone else's life, offer freedom, time, attract adventure, wealth, and stories.

So I challenge you, dear readers, to try this out this week. Every morning when you wake up, say to yourself, 'I've got this amazing opportunity to live, to be, to create, today.' Train your mind to be your biggest and most unconditional fan. 

If you liked this post, share your thoughts in the comments below. And click here for a free PDF download of the inspirational motivational quote I created just for you. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, Instagram, reblog, repost to your favorite followers, and add the @jillyink so I can be a part of the conversation!

 

Cheers to you and this amazing Monday.

Free Friday Artwork: Cut Through the Bull

It's so gorgeous here in Oakland, it's almost impossible to stay inside and do work! I hope wherever you are that the weather is beautiful, or if it isn't, then you're able to make it a beautiful day regardless. This week has been all about getting to the intention behind everything. Everything from relationships and communication, to work and career, can be strengthened through a clear intention and objective behind it. And it may take some time, practice, some trials and triumphs, but when you really, fully, listen to your gut, cut through all the bull (that we tell ourselves, and we listen to from other people), every action you take will be aligned towards your goals.

So for your free Friday printable, here's a little minty reminder to get straight to the point. Click here to download a PDF, and then print it out, put it on your desktop, share it with your friends, and then go LIVE it!

 

If you liked this post, tell me all about it in the comments! Add the @jillyink if you share it with your friends, and then go have an amazing weekend.

 

Cheers!

International Women's Day

Happy Monday everyone!

I started off my week (last night) looking at and reading a lot of posts/pictures/stories relating to International Women's Day. The major thing I took away from all of it was the fact that, for this one day, the overwhelming attitude by women, for women, about women, was positive. I'd like to think that this is the case every day, but the truth is, we still have a long way to go in consistently and compassionately lifting each other up. 

 

I try as often as I can to highlight and put a spotlight on other women that are doing amazing things, contributing their talents, their love, service, skill, time, and effort to others. Women who fiercely drive towards their passion, and along the way inspire, encourage, motivate, and even mentor other women trying to do the same thing. We don't have to live in a world where the only way to the top is to step on the shoulders of everyone we see as competition. We can be ferocious in our intention to get there, and generous with others along the way. Who's to say we can't all stand at the top together.. and take a really awesome group photo?

 

International Women's Day was yesterday, March 8, 2015 - but I wanted to extend the spirit of female power to the beginning of your work week. Click here for a free PDF download of this print, and if you like this post, comment below! Share the message with the other awesome ladies in your life, and be sure to tag @jillyink on any social media conversations, so I can jump in and see your thoughts!

Cheers to an amazing and inspiring and memorable Monday.

Source: international women's day quote

Motivation Monday - Oscar Inspiration from Common

Good morning beautiful world! After watching the recap of the Oscars last night, I'm incredibly inspired by all the moments and quotes and outwardly focused speeches that took place. It seems like everyone has a cause that they're bringing awareness towards, whether it was calling your mum or dad, wage equality for women, ALS  and Alzheimer's awareness, and calling attention to how much farther our country still has to go with respect to race equality. 

So for this week's motivation Monday quote, I'm sharing the words from Common last night as he and John Legend accepted their Oscar for Best Original Song, Glory. I think it's beautiful, poignant, and speaks to so many other issues, even when taken out of context. 

Click here to download the PDF, save it to your desktop or print it out for your inspiration board!

If you like this post, please feel free to download the print, like it, share your comments, share with your friends, and remember to add the @jillyink when posting on social media! Until Wednesday, have an amazing start to your week!

happy birthday! cards!

IMG_4256 there are a handful of very very special people who have birthdays in march, and this year i decided to make some custom hand lettered birthday cards to send their way. orange and white, with some very cool gold metallic gel ink on the envelopes. these aren't up in the shop, but if you're looking for something to help say, 'hey! you! i'm so glad you were welcomed onto this planet when you were!' - well, i'd love to help make that happen.

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sf crushing: wedding planners

sf crushing- planners I can't tell you how excited I am to be in the Bay Area. Seriously. Not only do I get to wake up in the gorgeous Lake Merritt neighborhood, just minutes from nature, culture, urban atmosphere, and farm fresh produce, but I also get to work alongside some pretty talented individuals in the wedding and event industry. So, to highlight my love for this area, I've decided to start a new series: 'sf crushing'. First up, some ladies from the wedding planning side of the industry. From my experience, working with some awesome wedding planners in Chicago (you, you, and you!), these ladies have to be multi-faceted. They have to be organizers, time-table enthusiasts, visionaries, designers, stylists. They have to be able to keep everyone on schedule, in line, and most of all, happy. And that's just their relationships with other vendors. To the clients, the happy bride and groom, they have to be a mentor, friend, sometimes therapist. I take off my bike helmet to the people in this industry that love every single part of it. So many people think that a profession in wedding planning is just fun. These professionals prove that it takes a lot of work, but when done well, and with love, it IS fun.

stacy mccainStacy McCain Event Planning - www.stacymccain.com - San Francisco, CA

- Stacy and her team create timeless landscapes. The whole wedding, from start to finish, is styled with perfection, with the whole event in mind. It's apparent that she takes the time to get to know what is most important to her clients, without compromising on the other pieces. As a designer, I appreciate how clearly she seems to communicate the vision of her clients. As a person, I appreciated even more how lovely she is in person. She is absolutely someone I would trust to handle the specifics of such a momentous day.

lovely little details

Lovely Little Details - www.lovelylittledetails.com - napa, atlanta, new england

Jacin definitely seems like the kind of woman who knows what's important. She limits the number of weddings she plans to 5 per year, serving couples in the Napa Valley, Atlanta, and my home region New England. I appreciate how much attention to detail she puts into each of the weddings she plans, and adding floral design to the mix just makes me love her more. Plus she seems genuinely enthusiastic about her love for elements both big and small, and having such an exclusive client roster, it's refreshing to know that she's willing to go knee-deep into building each and every event.

esla events

Esla Events - www.eslaevents.com - San Francisco, CA

I first fell in love with Laurel of Esla when scouring design and newly popped up wedding blogs from my cubicle at Random House. She has a dreamy sensibility, and anything romantic with a bit of an edge captures my attention instantly. I also have an interesting soft spot for anyone who's lived in New York for a period of time - something to do with surviving and thriving there, and then taking that same work ethic wherever you go - and the fact that she's lived and gleaned inspiration from the various places she's resided. Whether her events are indoors or outdoors, there always seems to be an element that's a little unexpected. In my book, that's the mark of someone I'd definitely want to work with.

 

Have fun spending the rest of the afternoon pouring over the websites and galleries of these three. And to celebrate my favorite thing about being somewhere warm and sunny (and the faint scent of honeysuckle in the air), the next spotlight in the series will be on florists and floral designers.

 

And as a reminder! To all west coast couples - I'm offering a 10% discount on all wedding lettering services if you book with me by the end of the month. For more information, send me a note at jilly.ink@gmail.com. Cheers!

 

 

 

new coasts

compassion  

there's this thing that happens when you move 2/3 of the way across the country. or, technically, all the way across the country - albeit with a 3 1/2 year 'layover' in chicago. there's almost an undoing of yourself, of everything you've known, grown accustom to, comfortable with. you're forced to shed layers of learning that no longer make sense, memories that have become unclear, hazy, that seem to belong to someone else - as if you'd read about them in a book instead of experienced them first hand. you look out the window at mountains in the distance and they feel so far away, until suddenly you realize you're driving through them. the white caps spilling snow down the front of your rental suv, the back weighed down with your belongings.

moving first to chicago was an undertaking of ownership, of exploration and adventure. i moved there for graduate school in creative writing, and ended up earning an education in who i am, what makes me happy, who i want to surround myself with. i accomplished some devastating setbacks, and survived. i tossed through sleepless nights, and woke to new suns. i rode my bike through rain and sleet and snow and ice, through sun and humidity and perfect fall days. i fell in love with new family, and made the most magical of friendships. i fell and rose up in a love that i can only describe through the endless embraces we've shared through moments of trial and utter happiness. i started writing letters for a living, and it's never felt like work. moving to chicago was the best possible thing i could have done almost four years ago.  leaving chicago was the best possible thing i could have done last week.

 

moving here, to oakland, the bay area, san francisco, california, the west coast - this is, very recognizably, an act of utter and total craziness. this is true ownership. independence. freedom. this is an embrace of everything i've built to this point. an unraveling of the things that didn't work, an unfolding presentation of the things that will take root here.

 

i'm excited to share with you this new adventure, and invite you all to share with me your journeys and success and challenges. thanks so much for reading; west coast, hello!!

the coolest baby shower ever

IMG_4051 my wonderful friend, molly, is about to welcome a new little boy into the world any day now. a few weeks ago, her talented coworker tiffany munster, of soiree weddings and events, threw her the most well-styled, deliciously catered, fun and hipster-inspired baby shower at the beautiful headquarters of stem line creative. in attendance were some of the coolest people in the chicago wedding industry - including naomi from tipsy cake, who brought over a blue velvet sugar-dinosaur topped cake for the mum-to-be.

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i wish i had some photos from the actual night; here are the menu signs and place cards i put together for the shower. i can't wait to meet molly's little boy, and if he's anything like his mum, he'll have excellent taste - in friends and design.

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morning calligraphy: rumi style

rumi love valentines day is around the corner, and to lead up, i'm doing a series of love poetry calligraphy. starting with rumi's 'i swear'.

rumi close up

I swear, since seeing Your face,

the whole world is fraud and fantasy

The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf

or blossom. The distracted birds

can't distinguish the birdseed from the snare.

A house of love with no limits,

a presence more beautiful than venus or the moon,

a beauty whose image fills the mirror of the heart.

rumi letter

A little beauty for your January morning. I hope you enjoy!

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antlers antlers wedding inspiration shoot

woodland_menus top over the holidays i had the great fortune to work with some amazing new clients, chicago-based wedding and event planners, and some very creative individuals. one of my favorite (favorite!) shoots took place at the historic keith house in chicago's prairie district. it's located in a pocket of chicago that's home to some old mansions, a quaint little park, one of my best friends, and a path that takes you straight to the lakefront.

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splendid occasion shoot

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tiffany siladke (a splendid occasion), a talented chicago-based wedding planner and event stylist, had such a gorgeous vision for this inspiration shoot. she wanted to air on the darker side of things - it being winter and all - and decided to incorporate some animal-inspired elements. complete with antlers, cages, fur, darker, lush florals from natural beauties florals, antique pieces from rent vintage chicago and aged vintage rentals, amazing pies from bang bang pie shop, the whole shoot had an amazing woodland wonderland/big bad wolf feel to it. not to mention the models were stunning, with hair and makeup from nika vaughan.

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i was asked to create some hand-lettered menus for the table design, a sign for the place card table, and individual place cards that fit into gold-painted animal figurines. tiffany hand-charred the edges of the paper, which gave everything even more of a forest-feel.

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in truth, i loved putting together the paper elements for this shoot. and i love the photos even more. i can't quite share the professional (and might i say breathtaking) photos that karissa kreager took, but here are a few self-shots of the menus and place cards for you. i promise to share the full photo set once it's been published!

 

 

other vendors that worked on the shoot:

treat bags- fox and hound paperie, http://www.etsy.com/shop/FoxandHoundPaperie?ref=search_shop_redirect

invitation- tweedle press, www.tweedlepress.com

dress – nearly newlywed, www.nearlynewlywed.com

hairpiece –  danani handmade adornments, www.dananionline.com

men’s attire – bonobos, www.bonobos.com

video - amelia st. studios, www.ameliastreetstudios.com

models - nick zmuda & bri kreager

photo journalism subject

photojournalism2a few weeks ago, a lovely young woman named megan approached me about being the subject of her photojournalism class final project at northwestern university. she was to follow and document someone with a 'visually interesting' career, and after having worked as an intern at illumine magazine this past summer (remember this back cover and sanskrit work I contributed?), she thought my work warranted such documentation. photojournalism3

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it was quite an adventure, especially over the last few weeks, which were filled with incredible inspiration shoots, custom calligraphy prints, and artwork for two different venues. she spent some time photographing my workspace, how i go about my day, and the other gigs i have going on - teaching yoga and consulting for arbonne. she's lovely, she's got her own website, writes for her own blog, and is the editor of the northwestern publication, spoon.

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stay tuned for more recent work to come! and and! i'm currently taking new wedding clients for 2014, so if you, or someone you know is getting married in the next year, loves beautiful hand-lettered type, and working with someone who loves love, send on over a message.

 

(photo credits: megan suckut, 2013)

a thankful holiday season

    thanksgiving table setting

thanksgiving name cards

 

tis the season for wonder and splendor and beautiful tables and warm meals and blues and greens and reds and silver and gold all around. here's wishing you and yours a beautiful start to a love-filled holiday season. cheers!

thank you message

 

holiday! holiday! gifts! gifts!

IMG_4021 i'm thinking about holiday season much differently this year. yes, for the past few seasons, i've tried hard as i could to buy local, handmade, artist-created wares, goods, artwork. i've even tried making things for loved ones. this year, i'm going to focus on simple. very simple. well-chosen words, photographs, pictures, drawings, paper. ordinary things made more beautiful by a new, vibrant approach. maybe an intriguing postcard acutely placed in a gorgeous frame. or a set of vintage silverware with the handles dipped in paint.

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along these same lines, in the etsy shop, i'm currently offering simple, hand-lettered quotes on 8x10 paper. whatever quote, saying, words you can think of will be transposed in my calligraphy and sent to you, ready to be gifted, (or framed, and then gifted. or wrapped around something else, and then gifted. or kept for yourself). i figured this was a lovely, cost-effective way to gift my love of lettering to holiday celebrants everywhere.

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it's early, yes, but think how much more you'll be able to enjoy your egg nog and ugly sweater parties knowing your holiday shopping is all done (and looking pretty beautiful, if i say so)? cheers!

 

- find the listing for custom hand lettered quotes here!

the september issue

sept second fridays it may not involve 900 pages of glossy advertisements, and annie leibovitz-esque couture photographs of kiera knightly or cate blanchett, but the september issue (read: show) of artwork at both sides gallery in pilsen, chicago is, in my opinion, pretty spectacular. working in the same space as artist meg frazier has been nothing short of a dream. there are days when we both get nothing done, and spend the day talking about the situation of the artist, how to monitor our finances, what we'd like to be when we grow up, how we pretty much are what we'd like to be when we grow up... and then there are days when the music's playing (or not, if we forgot to turn it on, and we're in the zone) and she's painting and i'm drawing and we're laying down finished pieces like they're cookies coming out of the oven. and so, after all that baking.. err, making.. here's what we recently framed and put up on the walls of both sides gallery, just in time for the september edition of the chicago arts district's second fridays art walk.

 

tighter

 

{'tighter' | '10”x12” | $150 w frame }

 

stronger

{'stronger' | 8”x10” | $100 w frame }

softer

{'softer' | 18.5”x8” | $150 w frame }

smaller

{'smaller' | 3.5”x4.5” | $25 w frame}

sharper

{'sharper' | 5”x 6.25” | $50 w frame}

clearer

{'clearer' | 5.5”x16.5” | $125 w frame}

deeper

{'deeper' | 19.5”x17” | $200 w frame}

longer

 

{'longer' | 10.5”x16” | $150 w frame}

these lovely pieces are on display at both sides gallery - 1840 s halsted st. chicago, il 60608 - and will also be available for purchase in my shop next week, so send me an inquiry at jilly.ink@gmail.com if you want a stab at them first!

a whole bunch of bones

2nd fridays wallribcage illustration{'bigger is better' 11x14 original illustraion - $175 w/frame}

Phew! August is already more than halfway over, and it seems crazy to me that so much has happened in the first 19 days of this summery month. Renovating and revamping a gallery space in Pilsen, frantically making work for the Chicago Arts District 2nd Fridays Art Walk, hanging the show, frantically making more work for the Pilsen Unisono Festival, designing a mini jilly ink booth, teaching painting classes, planning for the next three months at the gallery, putting together some exciting editorial work for magazines, commercial work for clients, and plugging away at the upcoming designs from the jilly ink wedding stationery line - this has been one crazy month, to say the least.

pelvis illustration{'so tight' 8x10 original illustration - $120 w/frame SOLD}

finger illustration{'long and hard' 8x10 original illustration - $120 w/frame SOLD}

cheekbone illustration{'nice cheeks' 8x10 original illustration - $120 w/frame}

 

The thing is, though, I'm realizing I wouldn't have it any other way. Ok, maybe with a little less pressure, but honestly, the deadlines, the excitement, the collaboration, planning, productive daydreaming, painting - living fully in everything I'm passionate about is so incredibly exhilarating. I'm so pleased to share with you the work that made it into the gallery for the month of August.

 

rockin curves{'rockin' curves' 11x14 original illustration - $175 w/frame}

 

 

And! Look for some pretty/strange/pretty strange skull prints to be popping up in the jilly ink Etsy shop this week as well!

 

unisono fest table{skulls & script 11x14 prints - $15 each - coming soon to the jilly ink shop}

 

 

(* if you're interested in purchasing any of the original art work from the 2nd Fridays Art Show, please feel free to email me at jilly.ink@gmail.com or call Both Sides Gallery at 419-543-2248)

nine months and a new show

bigger is better insta nine months ago, i was invited to show work at the gorgeous both sides gallery space in pilsen, chicago. it was a magical experience, full of meeting new people (one of which just so happens to be pouring me a cup of coffee right now), putting my art work out there, gathering feedback, and becoming exposed to one of the most vibrant art communities in this fair city.

tonight, nine months (to the day, and date - how about that?) later, i'll be showing another series. you may remember when i drew a few bones back in the fall.. well, i've decided to expand on that idea and move a little deeper..ehem.. into the body, and context. the theme of this month's show is 'inner beauty', so my take on that was to use suggestive phrases typically geared towards certain parts of the female and male bodies, and juxtapose them alongside illustrations of bones about which they'd be construed as positive attributes. i'll have much more photos to post next week about the opening tonight (i might have a few pieces that need finishing this afternoon... ever the procrastinating artist), but here's a sneak preview of two of the pieces i'll be framing and hanging on the walls.

rockin curves insta

if you happen to find yourself in chicago tonight, stop by both sides gallery from 6-10pm, on the corner of 19th and halsted. or stop by anytime this month to take a gander at the show!