music monday: fancy footwork

Some days call for music you can dance to. My Chromeo Pandora playlist is one of my faves when I want some music I can dance to, but can also work to. You may or may not know I’m a huge fan of the Step Up franchise. That movie changed my association with this song, because I’ve now seen those movies more than I’ve seen Chromeo live. Good thing I’m a fan of both! I hope this fave jam of mine puts you in an upbeat mood. XO -renée


music monday: windfall

Today was full of a bad “case of the Mondays” for too many of my friends. Recently this song came on the radio while I was at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar HQ working, and my heart just melted. I could not concentrate on anything other than the song, and remembering what it felt like driving with the windows down jamming out to this in my car when it came out. This song always fills me with love and hope, and a swoony feeling. I hope it does the same for you.


meet my TARDIS

TARDIS front
This is my new car TARDIS. When they first came back I looked at them, but didn’t get one because I was the one always driving my friends around and I needed a car that would be easy for that. This time around I could be more selfish in what I was looking for in a car. My dream car is a car I already owned, which was a VW cabrio. I loved that car. They don’t make them anymore. I was looking for something small, with good gas mileage, bluetooth, and ideally a convertible. This car was close enough with a sunroof. How could I pass up this cute car in almost a TARDIS blue?!? With that in mind, this is what came next….

Wobbly Keys
The keychain was originally a pendant I ordered awhile back, but it was too big for my taste. I now had the perfect use for it! And for the big finally….

(license plate hidden for privacy concerns)

When I did roller derby my derby name was Bad Wolf. I chose that name because it’s a cool storyline from Doctor Who, and the story arc covered more than one Doctor. I’ve also always wanted to be the Doctor. I’m getting closer, no? 😉

cloud view from the sunroof
The view from the sunroof on the way home. I think this car suits me perfectly, and I’m loving the zip-zoom of it.


Daiso in Texas!

daiso in texas
WARNING: This post is photo heavy (loaded with cuteness).

Whenever I go to the West Coast (which is usually at least once a year) a trip to Daiso is always on the itinerary. Finding out one was FINALLY coming to Texas was a dream come true! Especially since I will not be making a trip to L.A. this year. I need to get my cute fix! With August being my birthday month, Josh agreed to drive me to the Dallas area to have a “pretend we’re in L.A. trip”. He drove my new car (post on that coming soon) so I could “play” with my planner on the drive there. When we got there for their grand opening, we found ourselves in quite the line. I was happy that it had such a turnout, but was a little worried we wouldn’t get in!

The line was outside wrapped into a neighboring empty business, then back outside again! Thankfully the line moved fairly quickly. We were in line for around 30 minutes, but it wasn’t so bad, the staff passed out water to everyone, and there was music playing, so everything was upbeat. This was just what was in front of me, the whole line was over double what you see here!
daiso line

Daiso is a Japanese $1.50 value store. Think dollar store, but with loads of cuteness!
daiso end capdaiso end cap 2 copy

lucky cat daiso
cute umbrellas daiso

I tried to convince this employee to give me his Pocky jacket. I did get a Pocky file folder. YAY!
pocky jacket

Here’s a peek at a tiny portion of some of the goodies I picked up there:
bunny plate daiso

pocky daiso haul

After the Daiso trip we went to Sprinkles (another L.A. fave) for some cupcakes.
2015-08-01 19.34.19

I’m so glad we were there for the grand opening, there was so much excitement in the store. I can’t wait to go back next month! Here’s a tip for artist/maker friends that do shows, you can find super cute items here for your booth displays. Lots of mine come from Daiso. :)



motivational monday: break free

Break Free
Long time, no post. It’s been an even longer gap on the “Motivational Monday” posts, too. We’re getting back into the swing of things over here and hoping to resume our normal posting schedule. Baby steps.

This year has been rough for team This Creative Life and team Robo Roku.
I prefer bad news first, so let’s start there.
This year if one of my parents weren’t in the hospital, Josh’s dad was, and then Jen’s mom.
My mom had some seizures, she’s fine now.
My dad broke his neck and was in the hospital for two months, and he’s still recovering. He’s at about 90% now.
Josh’s dad was in the hospital for almost two months and ended up passing away on Memorial Day.
Jen’s mom ended up in the hospital around the same time and passed on last month.

We’ve all been trying to recover from the sadness and catch up on everything we all fell behind on. Life doesn’t stop when you’re going through a hard time, so we all have just been doing the best that we can.

I’m not sure I’ve had a chance to really talk about this, but in April of 2014 I took a part-time job at a print shop working mornings. I had been getting bad cabin fever, and Josh had been complaining about a co-worker that would not show up a lot. At the print shop he worked before this one they had an employee like that, and to get out of my house and mingle a bit I asked to be on call and work when they wouldn’t show up. I asked Josh if he thought I could do that at his new place, and they ended up asking me to work mornings. That was more of a commitment than I wanted, but I did it anyway. That was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my life. I would come home exhausted just because I was dealing with demanding and ignorant jerks on the phone every day. Between working mornings and being tired, I didn’t get as much done as I was used to. Last year was the most unprepared for holiday season I’ve ever been. Licensing deals were working out, but I wasn’t posting on social media and rarely listing new stuff online. I had planned on quitting the print shop before December, but because I was so behind on getting it together for the holidays I stayed on. Holiday sales were down because we didn’t have as many tees as we normally do, so I stayed on at the print shop after the holidays. With all the family members being in the hospital I just didn’t have the creative energy to make and list new things, so I stayed on at the print shop even longer. I finally quit last month.

I cannot tell you how great it feels to have my life back! Today was my first day back to the life I had been living since 2006. I ran errands and started working on holiday show prep. There is one small change to my schedule, and that’s that two days a week I will be going into work at a job I started in March working for Armadillo Christmas Bazaar! It’s so awesome having a job where all my past work/life experiences (social media, merchandising, craft show producing + jury, retail, web design, and artist experience) all come into play. I also like that this job doesn’t interfere with my designer life like the print shop did. I leave the Armadillo offices excited and happy about what I’m doing. Something else new for this year is that I’m the new Chair for Chula League. Chula League is the non-profit that is behind Cherrywood Art Fair and Little Artist BIG Artist. I’ve always wanted to do Little Artist BIG Artist, but I don’t know how to teach people to draw. Being on the board allows me the opportunity to give back to the creative Austin community with my strengths.

This month is all about “breaking free” from things that were holding me back. So many good things have happened since the first of this month, that I feel like the good things were just waiting for me to be ready for them. I’ll have a post for you tomorrow showing you how I kicked off my birthday month. I just wanted to check in and let you know that we’re all surviving, and we’re coming back. I wanted to share my experiences this year in case you’re going through a tough time or stuck in a rut and you need a push to break free from whatever is holding you back. We owe it ourselves, to our friends, family, and to anyone else stuck to get unstuck and find the happy that’s waiting for us.



wednesday wisdom: it is what it is


I happened upon this simple, beautiful typography print from Etsy seller Coco And Dee, and was inspired to share a little bit about a topic on which I’ve been working in my personal life recently: acceptance. Accepting the world around us isn’t always easy, and accepting ourselves is often even harder. “It is what it is,” is a statement I’m known to use often when discussing external situations or problems, but applying that same understanding to myself has been a significant challenge throughout most of my life. I know I’m not alone in this; many people experience the same difficulty and it holds us back from being our best, most satisfied selves. A few moments of digging online will produce an ample selection of resource options, though, so there’s definitely hope for us!

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e. cummings

Accepting oneself does not necessarily mean approval of where one is in life right now. You can still recognize area for improvement, have goals and ideals, and have a plan in place to help you achieve those goals (which, of course, means changing something about where/who/what you are), but you don’t have to beat yourself up along the way. Acceptance simply means no longer struggling against your reality, which will actually make it easier for you to attain results and make lasting changes.

In a Tiny Buddha post on the topic of self-acceptance, author E.K. Bradley explains, “No one can attain happiness if they are hung up on what is lacking; we must transcend the need to compare ourselves to others and let go of our apparent flaws and shortcomings. This frees us from self-imposed judgment and the need to fit into society’s standard of what we should look like, be, act, and do.” (The site has lots more great content on acceptance, by a variety of writers, FYI.)

In acceptance lies empowerment, happiness, and freedom. Be kind to yourself and consider your weaknesses, without making excuses, when beginning a new journey to improvement. Making small, realistic, quantifiable actions toward your chosen goals will help you achieve lasting lifestyle changes — but don’t forget to love who you already are along the way.

You are who you are. And it is what it is.

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