Finding My Flow

Well I just don’t write in this blog like I used to. When I started out I aimed for two posts a week. Now I’m lucky to get in a post every two months. But you know what? It feels fine. And I think that’s because right now I don’t feel like I’m still jumping. And while I haven’t exactly landed solidly somewhere, right now it feels more like I’m swimming, or rafting maybe. I feel like I’m finding my flow, and working with it. Like I’ve landed in a big river and now I need to really pay attention and steer myself in the right direction. How’s that for a life metaphor?

So what’s really going on? Well, I guess to put it simply, I’m busy. Working. In a good way.

Last weekend my family went skiing without me on both Saturday and Sunday. I couldn’t go because I was launching a new website. Skiing with my family is my most favorite winter activity, especially since my kids have become such competent skiers, (I think they’re passing Todd and me up!) but I was happy to be left at home, because I was so excited to be launching a new website; one that I’ve been working on for months, and I really needed to be distraction-free.

The site is ARC Dance, and it’s my biggest freelance project to date. ARC Dance is a dance company and ballet school in my neighborhood, and the director needed to replace their existing site with one that was easy to navigate, easy to maintain, responsive to all types of devices and screen sizes, and included well organized information about their camps, classes, schedules, performances, and calendar. She also needed e-commerce built for on-line registration, ticket sales and donations. Looking back on it all, I think, Wow, the two of us built this whole site together!

I got this job because a friend of mine, an artist who I traded building a new website for art camp for my kids, recommended me. (See, that free work really does pay off!) Initially I was hired to add ticket sales to their existing site, which resulted in a great working relationship, and led me to be chosen to build the new site. At first it didn’t seem like a huge job, but as we got plugging away at things, it became a lot more complex than originally anticipated. But working with a very smart and very engaged business owner made all the difference in the world.

When I think about it, it all boiled down to trust. And understanding. Like any good relationship. I think that’s one of the things that I love most about creating websites for small businesses. There’s just a small team of people dedicated to building something important and valuable. Conversely, that was what was often missing when I worked “for the man.” During the twenty or so years that I worked for large companies, there were only a handful of times that I felt like I was working on something truly important and valued. Too many times a project I was working on got scrapped because of budget reasons or leadership changes. Small businesses just can’t afford to work like that.

Besides the ARC Dance site, I’ve also been working on a few other sites, including a new web application for Nordstrom (not a small business but still a great job), a website for a company that provides commercial cleaning services, and a site for an Architect/Contractor. It’s been just the right amount of work, at just the right time, and I just hope I can keep up this steady flow.

But what about Suzanne Harrison Home and the pillows?

Well, that needs to be incorporated into the flow somehow. Because that work is really important to me too, and it’s the perfect balance to working on a screen for so long. It’s something that I love doing, something that comes 100% from me, and something I think about a lot. But I also need to make some money. And right now the money is showing itself through web development.

My dream is to find the perfect flow. Although I don’t believe such a thing exists. Life is too unpredictable. The current may flow really strong in some places, and barely at all in others. And there can be big unsuspecting rocks just below the surface, or an eddy that puts you in a swirling motion, or God forbid an unexpected waterfall, or worst of all, a dam! Best case scenario though, is that the river, which started from just a trickle of a spring, keeps moving and growing, getting fed and strengthened by tributaries, traveling many many miles through all types of landscapes, carrying along nutrients and sediment, providing food, energy, and recreation along the way, as it heads towards where it’s mean to go, towards something bigger, eventually depositing its nutrients in the river delta, and becoming part of the ocean.

Wow, I really took that metaphor to the limit, didn’t I? Instead of just saying, “You’ve got go with the flow!” Which is also so true! I totally need to go with the flow. But going with the flow still takes work. So, I’ll keep working on all of my projects, keep making adjustments, keep meeting new people and learning new things, and keep trying to keep it fun and interesting. Mostly, I need to keep the faith that the flow is taking me where I’m meant to go.

Suzanne Rafting

The Women’s March

I know, the Women’s March may seem like old news, especially with all of the other crazy news in the past week, but I still wanted to write about it, because it was so great. Because it was so inspiring and hopeful. And because it seems like it was just the beginning.

The day before the march I swung by JoAnn fabrics and bough a yard of bright pink fleece fabric. Then a friend of mine came over, and together we made eight square fleece hats. They were really quick and easy to make, and according to the internet, if you make a square hat, when you put it on your head you automatically get little cat ears. And it worked! I also decided to sew on some whiskers for extra kitty style, and they came out great.

The next morning my family and some friends, all wearing pink hats, jumped in the van and headed down town to partake in the Women’s March. Along the way lots of people honked and cheered at us, and we were excited to see so many other pink hats out there.

I was lucky enough to score a parking spot near Seattle Center – the end point of the march – so we parked the van and started walking along the parade route towards the start, met up with more friends, and found a place to jump in with the other marchers. I wasn’t sure what to expect – a week earlier I had contemplated not going in case things got crazy, but we decided we all needed to go as a family, and I didn’t want to regret missing it.

I dressed for rain, which is always a sure way to get sun, and it worked like a charm. It was a beautiful day. In so many ways. There were SO many people, but it was a “silent” march, which started off really quiet, but as the day progressed, it got louder. People didn’t really start chanting or shouting, but once in a while a wave of cheering would make it’s way from the end of the parade to the front, and vice versa. So cool.

The energy was the best – happy, hopeful, funny, peaceful. And it seems like the same can be said of the other women’s marches that took place around the world. In Seattle they expected around 50,000 people and instead they think there were 130,000. Despite the crowd size, it never felt too crowded or crazy. Nope. Just inspiring and hopeful. It made me proud.

Here are a few photos.

Women's March Seattle

Women's March Seattle

Okay 2017, Here We Go!

Even though there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of 2017, or even worried as hell, I am starting off the new year full of hope. Even though an orange narcissistic child full of false bravado is about to take office, I am hopeful that we will not, as a country, move backwards. I am hopeful that there will be a powerful reaction to the calamity of the 2016 election, and as a result, communities will grow stronger, news will become more factual, elections will become more fair, art will be more prolific, and people will become braver, kinder, and more empathetic. If you read any political comments on social media you are probably saying to yourself, “She’s crazy!” Well, you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…

Winter Solstice

My friend Sonya of KB Design created this image for her Winter Solstice celebration invite. I love it so much. So perfect for these times…

For 2017 I am also full of hope for my family and myself, that we will continue to move forward in the right direction, and that we will have a year of health, prosperity, love, and creativity. In fact, as I thought about my New Year’s resolutions, I decided to put them into those four categories, which I then put into a little table, like so:

Intentions for 2017:
LESS MORE
HEALTH Alchohol and Sugar Exercise and Fresh Air
PROSPERITY Worry Marketing
LOVE Interrupting Listening
CREATIVITY Procrastination Productivity

Originally I had a much longer resolution list, but I decided to ditch it and simplify, because SIMPLIFY is my word for 2017. Because, if I might quote John Lennon again, All you need is love, right? So my intention is to focus on the things I love, and let go of the other things that get in the way. What if we all focused more on what we love and desire the most, and not so much on the things we hate or fear? That’s a pretty tall order right now, I know, but let’s give it a try shall we?

Yes, there will always be those things I hate to do that I have to do, like paying bills, doing taxes, and picking up dog poop, but I sure would like to live with a lot less of the clutter and noise that just get in the way of focusing on what I really want.

I often tell my kids, “Don’t tell me what you don’t want, tell me what you want!” Why is it so much easier sometimes to know what you don’t want? Almost five years ago I jumped out of an unsatisfying career, and I’ve been on what seems like a long slow journey of defining the new one I want, based on the things I love, and it’s a constant challenge to feel confident about my choices, and to figure out how to succeed with them. But it’s what I want, so I’m just going to keep going for it.

There’s nothing like a new year to evaluate and adjust! This year I’m keeping it simple. Because with simplification comes focus, organization, integration, and letting go. That, in a nutshell, is my plan for 2017. 

Wishing everyone health, prosperity, love, and creativity in 2017!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Happy New Year

 

50 Really Is Nifty! (And The Past Two Months)

Wow, it’s hard to believe that two months have gone by since my last post. Well, I guess it’s not really that hard to believe, because the last two months have been crazy. Not just because of the election, but for so many reasons on top of that, or should I say in conjunction with that. But what a crazy election. YOWZA! But first let’s back up a couple of months…

OCTOBER

October was a lovely autumn month. Except for the incessant “news” about the upcoming election, and the record rainfall in Seattle. Of course I was outside more than ever – running, running, running. And I loved it! And my dog loved it (most of the time.) But sometimes I was out there running in the rain (the pouring rain, not the Seattle misty rain) and the rain would come down so hard that it felt like there was a faucet attached to my face, as I watched the water pour off my nose while I ran. But I just kept running. Because I had to.

My running partner is not very excited about running in the pouring rain.

Besides running, I also did some web work at Nordstrom, worked on another web site for a dance company, and best of all, got started on my own Suzanne Harrison Home website/e-commerce site, that I am so excited about.

I also went to an incredibly inspiring talk hosted by Grace Bonney of Design Sponge, in support of her incredibly inspiring new book In the Company of Women. There was a panel of 4 women that she interviewed – all local entrepreneurs – and what they had to say not only made me feel so good about jumping out on my own, but made me so happy that these creative, smart, talented, and generous ladies were running successful businesses that only make our community better. I read a little bit of the book every night, and it warms my heart. I highly recommend it to anyone starting out on their own.

And then of course there was Halloween – on a Monday night, to my kids’ dismay – yet somehow they were still able to score over 9 pounds of candy, each, much to my dismay.

NOVEMBER

Then November came and I packed my bags and headed to South Carolina to stay with my parents and run that 1/2 marathon. My sister Nicki joined me there, and on Friday we met up with our friends Barb and Susie and headed to Savannah where (after Nicki ran over a raccoon and then got pulled over for speeding) we got our numbers for the run, checked into our hotel, walked around, shopped, ate dinner with more friends, and enjoyed the balmy weather and charming beauty of Savannah. I wasn’t nervous at all for the run, but still, for some reason I barely slept a wink that night.

Up at 5 a.m. we had breakfast and made our way to the starting line. The race started just as the sun was rising, and off we went running. And talking. Barb and I ran together (Susie and Nicki did a run/walk combo) and I’m not sure we stopped talking for the entire run. We ran through the historic district, then through “the hood”, through suburbia, and back into the city, past the many amazing bands (it was a Rock N’ Roll marathon) and past all of the people watching, cheering, handing out water, holding funny signs up (“You think your legs hurt, my arms are killing me!”), and high-fiving us along the way. The energy was the best! And before I knew it – some 2 hours and 19 minutes later – we were done. No problem! Wow, I guess it paid to stick to that training plan! I felt great.

That night, after a much needed nap, my mom, dad, sister and I headed over to Barb and Susie’s mom’s house for dinner. When we got there the house was filled with birthday decorations that said Happy 50th! Oh dear. This was for me. I was about to turn 50 and this was the beginning…

Barb and Susie’s family and mine go way way back, and so to be able to celebrate with them – my first 1/2 marathon and this milestone birthday – without our husbands or kids, just us, like in the old days, was about the best present I could have asked for. We drank wine, ate lasagne and cake, opened presents, and laughed and laughed. I’m sure I acquired several new laugh lines from that night. But what do I care? I’m 50!

All you need in the world is love and laughter. That’s all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.

- August Wilson

I got to spend an entire week in South Carolina, with my parents, sister, and friends, which turned out to be an unintentional yet perfect birthday gift to myself. I flew back home on November 8th, full of feelings of gratitude and love and excitement. I couldn’t wait to see my family back in Seattle. I took an Uber home and had the nicest driver ever. He was from Ethiopia, just had a baby girl, and he was so excited and confident that we’d soon have our first female president. He was just so sweet. My kids were home when I got home, and I couldn’t stop hugging them. I missed them so much!

THE ELECTION

That night I was exhausted, and my ‘good to be home’ happiness was soon replaced with a sick feeling in my stomach, as election results were coming in and more and more states were going red. I passed out in bed early that night, and when I woke up the results were in. Now I was really really sad. I couldn’t believe it. And I couldn’t believe an election actually made me cry. A lot.

I took this photo at the Vera Project of a silk-screened poster that mimics the Tinder dating app.

What a weird day that was. I have never experienced a day like that, where an entire city seemed lost in fog of sadness. Kids were sad. People at the dog park were sad. People at the bus stops were sad. Grocery checkers where sad. Sad sad sad. And I was turning 50 soon, and had a big party planned for Saturday night, and I really needed to get out of this funk. So here’s what I did…

I thought about all of the amazing people I had just been interacting with in South Carolina and Georgia – two very red states. I never once thought about how these people voted – it never crossed my mind – but there they were, supporting us, cheering on the runners, handing out drinks. Then there’s the people I know and love that didn’t vote the way I did – and I still love them – we’re all just good people who want good lives. I thought about how good my life is, how much love and laughter there is in it, how lucky I am to be healthy and able to run 13+ miles. I know in my heart that my happiness and success is up to me much more than it is any politician.

And it’s okay for me to be sad. Because I am sad. I am so sad that a good man – a role model of a man – is leaving office, to be replaced by a man who is an example to my children of how not to behave. Who has taught them what the words ‘bigotry’ and ‘misogyny’ mean. But I refuse to give up hope, because I believe that there are too many good people in this country who care about creating a good future for us all, and that maybe this needed to happen, to make truly visible the work that needs to be done. I just hope that we’re all willing and brave enough to try to make things better, in whatever ways we can. Like I tell my kids: Always try to make things better, not worse.

You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.

-  Michelle Obama

So after I began to cheer up, I decided I did not have to cancel my party, and I could enjoy my birthday after all. And did I ever…

MY BIRTHDAY

On my actual birthday I had a fairly normal day, then went out to dinner with my fairly normal family and had the best time with my very most favorite people on the planet. Then the next day, two of my friends kidnapped me, which I thought would be just for a lunch date, but turned out to be for an afternoon of ferry rides, lunch, wine, labyrinth, museum, beer, pizza, kite flying, and getting in trouble for kite flying on the ferry. Again – so much laughter, and love for these amazing women in my life.

The next day was the day of my party, and in typical Todd and Suzanne fashion, we scrambled all day to get ready for it. We were expecting around 65 people, which seemed ridiculous considering the size of our house, but our thinking was, if anyone thinks it’s too crowded they can leave. So I made two huge batches of chili, cleared the furniture out of the back room, barked orders at the kids to help me vacuum and dust and decorate, while Todd cleaned up the deck, shopped, and got a fire pit set up. Our amazing DJ showed up at 5pm, and guests started showing up promptly at 5:30, so I threw on my party dress and some makeup, and we got that party started.

I have to say, it was a magical evening. The windy and rainy day turned into a perfectly beautiful night full of stars, with not just a full moon, but a SUPER MOON! Who gets a super moon on their 50th birthday? I do!! Between the DJ’s perfect music, and the lights flickering in the back yard, and the raging fire in the fire pit, and the kids running around with glow sticks, and the dog acting mellow and happy, and all of my amazing friends, not to mention the perfect party dress – I was in heaven. Literally. I danced the night away and felt so incredibly blessed for the life I have. My life at 50 is truly a gift, and I know how lucky I am for everything I have, and for the life I’ve led, and for the life ahead of me.

GIFTS

Speaking of gifts, I received so many thoughtful gifts, and I was so touched by people’s thoughtfulness and generosity. But one gift in particular really blew me away. A pillow that my sister Nicki made for me. A pillow you ask? Don’t you make tons of pillows Suzanne? Well, yes, I do, but not for myself, and not like this. Check it out:

Nicki emailed a bunch of my friends and asked them to send words that reminded them of me, then she somehow figured out how to get all of those words transferred onto a pillow with my name embroidered in the center. Isn’t it incredible? It makes me smile every day, and is a constant reminder of not only what great friends I have, but what a truly incredible sister I have. (Thanks Nicki, I love you with all my heart.)

And speaking of sisters, I need to mention one more gift from my friend Kathy, who was the best friend at work anyone could hope for. Oh my god, we have been through so much together over the years. She made me this:

Not only is this a beautiful tribute to my sister Maureen, who I miss so much, but is a firm reminder of what’s important every single day. Ironically (or not) I had no shoes to match my dress on the night of my party, and so I flitted and danced around in my bare feet – in the house, on the dance floor, and on the cold wet grass outside, and it felt fantastic. I couldn’t have loved where my feet were any more than on that night – at home, surrounded by friends and family, under the perfect full moon, dancing into my 50s.

Who is the luckiest 50 year old in the world? I am!

Thanks Todd for supporting me 150% in all of my birthday escapades! xoxo

Okay, well, that just about covers it! I think I’ve more than made up for the two months of blog silence. That was like five blog posts in one! Whew! If you’ve read this far, thank you, I know it was a lot of words, but I didn’t want to leave anything out. Like this card that the kids made for me:

Ok, this really is the end of the post. xo

Fear & Training for a Half Marathon

So, I’m training for a 1/2 marathon. Seriously.

My sister Nicki and I, and two of our friends who are like our sisters, all signed up for the Rock N’ Roll marathon in Savannah on November 5th. Why? I can’t remember exactly. I guess after my sister Maureen passed away, the four of us appreciated, more than ever, the amazing bond we’ve had since we were kids, and we wanted to come together to do something fun and challenging to support that bond.

I signed up for the run months ago. That was the easy part. Then in August I had to actually start training. Now I’m about 1/2 way through my training, and I have to say, it is HARD. For me. A non-runner. (I’m an exerciser but NOT a runner.) The funny thing is, it’s not the running part that’s hard. It’s getting myself to run that’s hard. And if it weren’t for this 1/2 marathon, there’s no way in hell I’d be running this much or this far.

I have to add though, it’s also awesome. Because it’s hard. Because I’m not a runner. Because I’m actually doing it. Because we’re having beautiful fall weather and I live in a beautiful place. But mostly because it’s so inspiring. It’s good for my brain, and makes me think so much about my life and aspirations.

How so? Well, forgive me if you are a runner and have already been through the revelation of how running is a metaphor for your life. But it’s new to me, and it’s inspiring the heck out of me.

Here’s what I’ve discovered about running:

  • Signing up and committing to a 1/2 marathon, especially with other people, makes me accountable and driven.
  • Training takes up a lot of time, and finding time can be hard, but I always make the time because I have to. Because I’m committed.
  • Running is mental. I’m going to run as far as I decide to run. Which ends up being as far as my training plan tells me.
  • My plan starts with a distance that is doable, then incrementally increases my distance.
  • The hardest part is starting. The second hardest part is the first mile. The third hardest is going up those hills, and in my case, the stairs.
  • The best part is when I hit my stride. Actually, the best part is when I’m done. The second best part is hitting my stride.
  • When I’m done running I am sweaty and tired, but happy. A beer tastes really really good. And I sleep well.
  • Now that I’m up to 6 miles, the 3 miles I started with seems easy.

There’s a saying I love, that is: Have faith in the timing of you life, and I think it’s pretty interesting that I’ve signed up for this half marathon at this time in my life – at the same time that I’ve decided to launch Suzanne Harrison Home – an endeavor, I’m realizing, that is actually very scary for me. Wouldn’t it be easier if I stuck to web development? But I really want to do it. It makes me happy and it’s important to me. But it’s scary.

So I’m going to take the 1/2 marathon approach:

  • I’m committing to a big goal of creating pillows and stuff I’m proud of, a great Etsy site, a great e-commerce site and blog, and selling wholesale.
  • I’m making time to do the work. I’m committed.
  • Even though it’s daunting, I just need to get started! Up until now, it’s like I’ve just been exercising, but now I need to step it up and really run with it.
  • I’m creating a plan with incremental steps for achieving my goal, starting with what’s doable.
  • I know it’s going to be hard. Especially at the beginning. But eventually I’ll hit my stride. Sure there’ll be some hills and stairs, but I’ll make it in the end. I hope.
  • If I work hard and stick to the plan, eventually I’ll reach my goal, and when I look back at where I started I’ll think That was the easy part!

Sorry if that was super corny! It’s just that I haven’t been very good at allowing myself the time to work on Suzanne Harrison Home. What I’ve been good at is psyching myself out of it – convincing myself that there’s no way I could ever make money doing this, spending my time working on other “more important” things, contemplating full time employment and steady paychecks.

But in my head, and every time I go running, I think about Suzanne Harrison Home, the stuff I want to make, how I want to my web-site to look, and how I’ll set up a studio for myself some day. Ugh, I keep wavering between thinking it’s just a dream and thinking it’s totally achievable!

But maybe it’ll be like my six mile run the other day. I intended to go first thing in the morning, and finally got my butt running at around 2pm. I ran for a couple of miles, then a black cat ran in front of me, I tripped, fell into the road and got a bloody cut on my hand and knee, got back up, and kept running. I ran through my neighborhood, through town, past the marina, along the beach, through the woods, up many many flights or stairs, and then finally back home. And it felt great. It made me feel like Suzanne Harrison Home was really possible.

This weekend I have to run seven miles, and I’m dreading it. I think I’ll probably take a similar run and figure out how to add another mile through my neighborhood. I’m sure I’ll procrastinate and wait until the last minute on Sunday to do it. But I will do it. Because I have to. Because it’s the next step. Because I want to achieve my goal, and I know it will feel great in the end.

Here are some photos from my training…

My training buddies:

Running past the Marina: 

Stairs, a lovely trail, stairs, and more stairs:

I’m still not completely convinced I can do this, but there are a heck of a lot of people on this planet who have run much much further, so the odds are good. But something I don’t understand is why most runners don’t say “hi” to each other when they cross paths. Walkers almost always do. Hmmm. Curious…

Summer Should Get a Speeding Ticket!

Have you heard that one yet? Nadine posted it on Instagram and I thought it was pretty funny. Now I’m seeing it everywhere, so I thought I’d join the band wagon.

The funny thing is, late Monday night, as we were zipping home in our van from our Labor Day weekend camping trip, I got pulled over for speeding. I didn’t slow down soon enough when we drove into one of those small towns where the speed limit goes from like 60 to 25 in a matter of yards. Fortunately the cop didn’t give me a speeding ticket, just a good talking too, then he pet the dog, and chatted with the kids a bit.

As I pulled back onto the road, I realized that I had no headlights and was driving in the pitch dark, so I pulled over again. Fortunately that super nice cop was behind me, and when I explained the problem, he had me follow him to a nearby parking lot and helped us figure out what was wrong.

Apparently the headlight switch blew, and needed to be replaced. (Thank you internet and Vanagon forums!) Sadly, we figured we’d have to spend the night in the van, and drive home at the crack of dawn. Ugh! But then just after Nadine said, “Dad, you need to think positively, and everything will be fine,” Todd discovered that our brights still worked, to which I exclaimed “Alrighty then, let’s go home!” So we decided to be assholes and drive the remaining two hours home with our brights on. Fortunately it was late, and there weren’t too many cars on the road, but we definitely got the flicker signal from a few of the cars coming in the other direction.

We finally rolled into the alley behind our house at around 1am, unloaded the car in the rain, then hit the sack. Bed never felt so good!

The next morning I got started on laundry, then made breakfast. When I opened the pantry (or should I say “large cabinet”) bugs flew out. Yikes. Then I looked in the flour container and it was full of black bugs. Gross! So I started throwing stuff out, emptied the cabinet, scrubbed it down with vinegar and ammonia, and put the remaining few things back in. Then I went grocery shopping and back to school shopping.

When I got home and started putting away groceries, I noticed some little black things by the toaster. Pepper corns? Did the bugs get in there too? No! This was mouse poop. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? I have a cat and a dog, why would they choose my house?? Time for more cleaning and to set some traps…

Then that night, more than ready for bed again, I went into our bathroom and the floor had movement. After focusing my eyes better I could see that there were hundreds of ants coming out from under the toilet, going crazy, running around aimlessly. Darn it!  I thought we’d gotten rid of those jerky pests months ago!  So I started murdering them with a wet washcloth, and put diatomaceous earth around the toilet base, which they apparently hate.

Yowza! What a way to end the summer!

But I guess summer is officially over, and as it cools down, everyone is making their way inside. Our days of perpetually open windows and doors is coming to a close, and pretty soon I’ll be making soups and roasted veggies instead of barbecue and salads.

What a day I had yesterday, cleaning, purging, shopping and organizing, but I’m glad I got it all done. It’s a firm reminder that change is the air, and it’s back to business time. We had yet another fantastic summer. And even though it seemed to fly by, I am so ready to get back to a scheduled lifestyle and feeling more productive.

Goodbye summer! You were very very good to us! And welcome Fall. You have so much to offer.

Here are a few of photos from the summer:

 

Branding for Suzanne Harrison Home

They say it pays to have friends in high places, but I would argue that it is even more important to have friends who are smart and talented, who know you well, and care about you deeply. It doesn’t have quite as catchy of a ring to it, so maybe that’s why people don’t go around saying it much. Or maybe it means the same thing?

Right now I am very grateful to have such a smart and talented friend, Sonya of KB Design, who just made me the most beautiful logo for Suzanne Harrison Home.

Check it out. This is the version that is on my business cards:

Isn’t it beautiful? I love it so much! I can’t wait to start applying it to everything: my website, Etsy, Instagram, packaging, labels, etc.

I knew when it was time to get serious about branding that I wanted to work with Sonya. She did Todd’s logo when he started Blackbird Iron, and nailed it. And when I shared her studio space with her for over a year, I got to see her in action. The thing about Sonya is that she really connects with her clients, and she integrates who they are, and the essence of what they are trying to achieve, into her amazing designs.

The added bonus for me working with Sonya is that she has known me for years, and has been there throughout my journey of quitting my job and trying to find a new niche for myself. She understands me, and the idea behind Suzanne Harrison Home; she knows my style, and she knows my personality. Sometimes working with friends isn’t always the best idea, but in this case it was. Because I also know her so well, and trust her completely, and love her work. Okay, I think I’m done gushing…

So what exactly is the branding message behind Suzanne Harrison Home? Well, in a nutshell, I want to inspire people to love and embrace their homes, and in turn their lives. I want people to love where they live, and love how they live. I want to offer products that embrace the idea of home as a feeling (more than a place) that supports the happiest of lifestyles. Because I believe that if you love your home – your house, your community, your world – and make it just right for you – then you have the foundation for a happy life.

So what’s next? Sooooo much! I have started a notebook to organize to-do’s and ideas. I’ve been working on some new products. I’m working on a business plan and a website. Most importantly, I’m striving to be well organized and intentional.

This summer has filled me with inspiration, and my hope is that I can kick off the fall with a six month plan for officially launching “Suzanne Harrison Home.” I am so excited. And so overwhelmed. And so nervous. And so excited! Yikes! 

Escape from Reality

We just got back from our annual beach vacation, and once again it was the perfect escape from reality. For one whole week I got to hang out with my extended family and my oldest and dearest friends, and do nothing but read books, swim, catch up, reminisce, eat, drink, stare at the stars, and sleep in. I write about it every year, and this year I debated on whether to write about it again, but today I decided I would. Because today I thought to myself is this really an escape from reality, or a microcosm of reality? Of my most fortunate reality? Because when I look at my life with my beach eyes on, I see so clearly the thing that matters most: spending time with people I love. And I see how lucky I am to have such amazing parents – really fun, funny, smart and confident nieces, nephews, and kids – friends who are truly family – a husband I love to be with – and a life that affords me this vacation. I don’t mean to be boastful, I just think that this is what summer vacation is all about, and I hope everyone, in their own way, is having a similar reality this summer.

The Beach

The Camper Van Harrisons

For the past year or so, Todd and I have been debating about what kind of car to get. One of our two Subarus was overheating regularly and we knew the end was near. We finally decided to find a nice used Toyota Sienna mini-van with all-wheel-drive, but those are pretty hard to come by, and our search was fruitless. Then recently I ran into our neighbor in the alley and he said, “I’m planning on selling my van. Do you think Todd might still be interested in buying it?” So Todd and I took it for a test drive and a few days later we were the proud owners of a 1987 VW Vanagon. I was skeptical, but the price was right, and I loved the idea of it – lots of space (seats seven), a table that pops up, and then seats that fold into a bed. Dreamy…

Todd worked his butt off getting the van into ship shape, and the day after the kids got out of school we loaded it up with camping gear, cooler, kids, Grandma, and the dog, and headed out for a ten day road-trip adventure through Montana and Canada. Even though it doesn’t go much more than 40 mph up a steep mountain pass, it is the perfect road trip machine. I love our “new” van! And I love camping with my family. We had the best trip.

And every night by the campfire, Nadine and I got out our notebooks and documented our vacation. For me, writing, drawing, and coloring was such a nice way to relax and reflect on my day. I draw like a ten year old, I don’t color very well inside the lines, nothing is ever to scale, and my handwriting can be hard to read, but I thought I’d post it anyway. So here it is. (Click on the image if you want to see a larger version.)

Road Trip Day 1 - Washington to Montana

Road Trip Day 2 - Montana

Road Trip - driving the model T in Montana

Road Trip - Boulder to Glacier

Road Trip - Red Rocks Canyon

Road Trip - Waterton canoeing and kayaking

Road Trip - Waterton - hike to Crypt Lake

Road Trip - Hwy 3 through Canada

Road Trip - Hwy 3 through Canada - from inside the Van

Road Trip - Harrison Hot Springs

Road Trip - There is No Place Like Home

HAPPY SUMMER!!!

 

Happy Fathers Day!

I intended to write about my dad today, but I didn’t plan my time well. On Friday I had a sudden urge to purge my laundry room, and I’m still recovering from having pulled out every last thing, trying to figure out what to keep and what to toss, and then putting it all back in there in an organized way. Crazy. (Sorry Dad!)

But I still wanted to write a quick post to say Happy Father’s Day!!! to my amazing father. I am so so lucky to have such an incredible role model for a dad – a tireless, generous, charming, funny, triple-kissing, organizational master. I love you dad!

My Dad