Pretty Little Piña

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 7.47.41 PMScreen Shot 2014-05-30 at 7.46.45 PMWhen I visited Charleston last fall I fell in love with the trendiest fruit of all: PINEAPPLES! Growing up on the Mason Dixon line, I had always wondered why Pineapples were everywhere. Brass door knockers, wallpaper borders, realtor’s logos, South Carolina bumper stickers, welcome mats, the list goes on. I mean, I knew that we weren’t growing pineapples and they certainly weren’t  indigenous to the mainland, so it just didn’t add up!

And then whilst on a tour of Boone Hall in Charleston, I heard the tradition of the pineapple for the first time and I fell head over heels with the fruit.

The History Of The Pineapple:

Christopher Columbus brought the succulent prickly fruit back to Europe in 1493 after his second voyage of discovery in Guadeloupe. Its similar shape and rough, spiky surface caused the Spaniards to name it piña, after the pine cone. The English noted the same resemblance, hence our word “pineapple”. To the Caribs (Natives of Guadalupe), the pineapple symbolized hospitality, and the Spaniards soon learned they were welcome if a pineapple was placed by the entrance to a village. This symbolism spread to Europe, then to Colonial North America, where it became the custom to carve the shape of a pineapple into the columns at the entrance of a plantation.

As tradition would have it, a pineapple was served or placed in an arrangement at every meal when a guest was visiting your home or plantation. Pineapples were very rare and hard to attain in colonial and early plantation life, hence it was a sign that you were truly welcome and your presence was celebrated. Traveling was a great feat in the days before gas powered engines, the journey to and from could take weeks on end (major childhood road-trip NIGHTMARE). Therefore guests would stay for extended visits, and once the pineapple was removed from the serving table they would know it was time to leave.

Once I learned the history behind the tradition of the pineapple it all made sense! I love to entertain, and was raised in a home where my momma taught me to be warm and welcoming, even if your ex-boyfriend shows up at your  family’s Thanksgiving dinner (true story). Although on that very particular Thanksgiving, if there were any pineapples on the table she would have probably have quickly chucked them in the garbage as soon as he entered the room.

As you can see, I am all about the Pineapple craze. As soon as I returned from the Carolinas I thrifted an adorable little brass pineapple that sits on my entry console to greet guests at the front door. I haven’t had to remove it yet, but if you notice me hiding my brass pineapple behind a pillow when you knock on my front door, you best make the visit brief 🙂

How ’bout them pineapples?

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5 Things Creative People Should Stop Doing Right Now

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Sometimes, actually most of the time, it’s hard to be a creative individual. You can’t hold a steady day job, your mind is reeling at a million ideas per second (or you feel you have no ideas at all), you’re constantly wondering “Am I good enough”, or  “Am I crazy”, or my personal favorite “AM I THE ONLY ONE!?!”

Your family is confused by your ‘Job Title’, everyone thinks you’re flighty because you’re constantly ‘working on a new project’ and you wonder if you will ever be able to afford to pay your bills on time (let alone be able to take ‘paid vacations’ or afford an insurance plan). Even though you work full time for the man and plug away at your own personal creative endeavors on in to the wee hours of the night and through the weekends, you’re still getting nowhere. You’re exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Most of your friends don’t get you, and the ones who do have no advice to offer because they themselves are rapidly approaching a breakdown.

And then there’s the dark hole of social media. It reels you in like an episode of Real Housewives, and 6 hours after landing on an episode while channel surfing you are still glued to the TV just begging for one more glimpse in to the the lifestyle’s of the rich and socially famous. You’re pouring over instagram posts of macaroons, Louie Vuitton’s, margaritas on the beach and marbled kitchen renos; all while eating your easy mac lunch at your particle board cubicle desk and wondering “How the heck can they afford this?”

You are green with envy yet full of passion and admiration. You’re full of dreams, yet stuck making someone else’s dream come true 4o hours a week, 52 weeks a year.

If that’s you, please join me in raising that microwavable easy mac in the air and proudly boasting “I AM NOT ALONE!”

If you want to make YOUR dreams come true, here are 5 Things to STOP doing right now!

(P.S. This is exactly what I’m stopping RIGHT NOW in my own life)

#1- Stop eating easy mac, nourish yourself. Take your health and your well being seriously. Make your personal health and wellness a priority. Pursue a healthy lifestyle in every aspect and form of your health: emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual.

#2- Stop working for the man. Don’t quit your daydream. Believe and invest in your intellectual and creative property and stop working 40 hours a week to build someone else’s dream of a company. Hustle every day, just don’t let anyone pimp you out. Do your own thang’, GET IT GIRL!

#3- Stop trying to explain yourself. If you have to go in to a long explanation as to ‘why you do what you do’ every time you share your ambitions and ideas with a certain person, stop talking to them about your creative aspirations or business pursuits. Whether they are your mother, sister, best friend or husband; if they aren’t offering support, silence their voice in that particular aspect of your life. This is by far the hardest thing for me to do, I over-share about 90% of the time. I’m constantly looking for other’s support, approval, and opinions. Many times this has proven to be detrimental to my dreams. Instead surround yourself with people who ‘get you’. These are people who believe in you, encourage you, and understand that you’re not a nine to fiver. Don’t let anyone make you feel that you have to push yourself to to be a square peg in a round hole. If you haven’t found a place that you fit professionally or creatively, maybe that’s because YOU must create that place. Break the mold and be who you are, you’ll find that you are not alone in your uniqueness.

#4- Stop Giving 100% all the time. Give 100%, 50% of the time. As creatives, we often try to give 100% ALL OF THE TIME. The truth is, unfortunately we are human and we CAN NOT (and should not) require ourselves to work 24/7 365 and expect to produce great results. We’ll be left feeling drained of all energy and creative inspiration. Instead, find ways to work smarter, not harder. For instance, I tend to think I can do it all. Recently I agreed to take on a project that required me to work 40 hours a week. I knew in my heart of hearts that this wasn’t right for me but I thought “Hey it’s a great team, I’ll gain great experience and it’ll be great to have the extra money”. Fast forward a few months later and I was commuting 8+ hours every week, working over 80 hours a week including the time spent working on my own business and all the while taking no days off and working through the weekend. I was trying to give 100%, a hundred percent of the time and I had absolutely nothing left to give. I crashed and burned because I didn’t allow myself to rest and rejuvenate.

#5- Stop trying to please ANYONE. What? That’s selfish! No, you know what IS selfish? Trying to be everyone’s problem solver. Stop feeding off the high that comes from fulfilling another’s needs and desires and find out what YOU need. You will never find fulfillment in the least if you are pursuing other’s approval. Granted, this is all relative. If your own needs and desires are born of a selfish or destructive place you should go back to #1, put down that unhealthy lifestyle  and pursue a lifestyle that feeds your soul and builds upon a healthy mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual foundation. I am naturally a people pleaser, sometimes it comes as easily to me as breathing. I am a “yes” man. I so desperately want to please others that I have come to believe what pleases them pleases me, and that is not the case. Before saying “yes” I must first ask myself, “Is this going to fulfill me mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually?” If the answer to that question is “no“, then your answer to their request is “No!” (Granted, please use tact and decline gracefully. Don’t just scream “NO!”, a healthy lonely person is probably still not very fulfilled. Don’t forget that you must invest in your relationships, but you must FIRST invest in yourself. Otherwise will have nothing to offer.)

If you desire to be a successful entrepreneur, freelancer, artist, or creative professional please join me and stop living a life that is not fulfilling your dreams and desires. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are so many other people out there who struggle with breaking the same mold. We are all striving to make a way for ourselves, and find the “I’m Possible” in the impossible. No, we don’t all live in Los Angeles, Nashville, or New York. We’re sprinkled throughout the midwest, from the Podunk towns with one caution light to the big city corporate offices and all across the globe. It’s time to stop feeling like we are square pegs in a round hole, rather we need to stop trying to fit in to a mold that we were never made for. If you can’t find your place, join others like me and create it!