2012 in Review

2012 in Review

2012. Where should I even begin? It was a huge, wild year for me. I made gigantic strides, huge decisions and even bigger leaps of faith. I began 2012 with this overwhelming desire to make a change. I felt like I was sleep walking through my days and I wanted to wake up. I wanted new. I wanted big. I wanted the chase. I felt void and was desperately seeking to feel that excitement of following my dreams and making a difference in my life. I needed something to change.

That’s how I began 2012 and I am ending it exactly where I set out to be. I made the decision to attend Making Things Happen. That was huge and amazing. Shortly after MTH I reworked my business and started fresh with a new direction that more closely fit my heart. Zero to brand new business in 4 months wasn’t easy and I devoted a lot of my time to making that happen and was happy to do it. I also completed the Making Brands Happen webinars on Branding and the Client Experience. Taking these strides has made my inner drive skyrocket. I have a solid direction that I am excited about and fiercely chasing after in every way possible. Huge ideas are brewing in the studio. One in particular is going to be released in early 2013 and I’m so incredibly pumped about it. It started as a personal project, but I think it will be useful for a lot of people out there like me so I’ve decided to share it with the world. (Blog post coming soon – get excited.)

Part of my success this year can be attributed to finding a few people that have really inspired me, and helped define what I want and how to get there. Marie Forleo, Jessica Hische, Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co.Gary Vaynerchuck, Danielle LaPorte, Gretchen Rubin. And of course, the lovely ladies of Making Things Happen and Making Brands Happen, Lara Casey and Emily Ley. This is not an all inclusive list by any means, but these are some of the major role models for me this past year that I am grateful for.

Speaking of grateful, I’d like to end my 2012 wrap up on this note. One of the biggest things I learned in 2012 was that things can always get worse. This sounds dark and gloomy, but stick with me for just another second and I’ll get to the point. 2012 was a rough year. It was not easy by any means and the challenges presented were tall orders. My 9-5 job was turned upside down as we went from a full team of 7 to a team of 2 in under three months. At every point of this happening I remember thinking to myself, “It can’t get any worse than this.” And you know what, it kept getting worse. And here we are, struggling, but getting by with two people. And what I realize today is that it could still be worse. Thank goodness for the other person that makes up this team of two, without her I would be lost. I’m telling you this not for a pity party, no thank you, but because it has taught me to be grateful for what I have, right now, in this moment, because things can always get worse. There is always something else to lose even when you can’t possibly imagine it. So look around and take note. This year I am thankful for what I have been able to accomplish, for my role models, for my supportive husband, for the support of our incredible customers, for my teammate and for my job – to name a few. This is how I’m ending 2012 and how I will live in 2013. Thankful and excited for what lies ahead.

Cheers to 2012 and to an even happier 2013.


An experiment with art and happiness.

Plastered all over the internet are motivational posters preaching “Do what you love.” We’ve all seen them. Especially those of us on Pinterest, you know what I’m talking about.

Do what you love. I’ve been thinking long and hard about this topic lately in large part due to the fact that I am currently reading (and loving, if I might say so) The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She dedicated an entire year to this project of finding happiness for herself. She wasn’t unhappy to start with, but she felt that her life could be even happier. Reading this book is sparking all sorts of ideas I’ve never fathomed before. I am happy in my life, but I too think I could be happier. One thing in particular that has been bothering me lately is this constant, overwhelming anxiety. I’ve had it my whole life, but it really flares up in times of stress. Well, its been flaring up lately. I keep having this feeling that I don’t have time to do things that I actually want to do. Like I spend all of my time doing grown-up, adult things that I have to do and never have any true fun.

Do what you love. What do I love though.. truly love? It sure sounds like a simple question when you say it, but can you answer it? I struggled. I know what I say I love. I know what I should love. I know what other people love. I contemplated over this question for quite a while before I realized that I had to go back to the basics to find my answer. And now that I have the answer it seems so obvious. I can say that now that I’ve figured it out, of course.

I love art, drawing in particular. I went to art school. I have a BFA. And I think that is precisely what the problem was. In art school I spent 6 hours a day standing in front of an easel, for a grade. It was critiqued and my status on the Dean’s List depended on those drawings. I had to be there. I had to draw set-up compositions of plastic fruit and wrinkly naked people. I don’t like being told what to do or how to do it. This is not a secret. You tell me that I have to sit there for 6 hours and draw fruit and it immediately becomes the very last thing I want to do. Do you see my point here? In school I was forced to draw, forced to create, and while that is all fine and good and what you should be doing in art school, once I graduated, well drawing remained an assignment. It was a chore. It was a task on my to do list that no one was forcing me to do anymore. So I stopped. I forgot that I actually love to draw. Fancy that.

On a late night raid of my office closet I discovered a box of old sketch books. I was amazed by the books and books full of old drawings. I was enamored with what I used to create. Why am I not still drawing? Ding. The light bulbs in my head started blazing brighter than the sun. I pulled the bins of drawing supplies out and it was like I just won the lotto. I couldn’t remember what half of these things are even used for anymore, but that didn’t matter. I was going to use them. I was sure that it would all come back to me as I put my pencil to the paper. And it did.

So as part of my happiness effort, which is what I am currently calling it since it’s not a full blown project yet, I have been setting aside time each day to do what I love. It’s genius. I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this all along.

This is one of my recent sketches. The other side of this experiment, beyond happiness was taking my hand drawn sketch from paper to computer art. I am still working on the perfect process and the coloring isn’t final but I thought I’d share what I have been up to thus far. I have a whole stack of new sketches that I am swooning over.

I am an artist.

Do what you love.

Sneak Peak of 2010

I’ve been working hard on redesigning jaymesloan.com. The mock-ups are done and now I’m getting the html/css ready to go. This is the first web site that I have coded myself, so its definitely a little slower than I’d like. But I’m learning a ton and absolutely loving it.  I’m really excited about the new site and the features its going to have. By the time the new site launches my Etsy store will also be up and running with pre-designed, customizable wedding and event stationery sets, as well as block printed notecards. 2010 is going to be an exciting year!