Posts in Business
ALL NEW Inspire Me e-course
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Hey bloggers and small biz boss peeps! I've decided to mix things up with an all-new format for the next e-course to bring us all closer for a deeper connection and to learn in a new way and have a totally fresh experience. For the upcoming online course, I’ve dropped most of the reading and will produce mainly content you can listen to or watch. Screencasts, podcasts and videos from me to you, an end-of-the-week live video chat where you can ask me anything that you'd like and I will answer live. This e-course is called #inspireme and I plan to do a lot of that! It will run for 3 weeks November 4-28 and the cost is so unbelievably low but it's a good way for me to try the new format while also bringing you a major discount as these classes will be much higher in the future. Everything can be downloaded and saved and transcripts will be available too.

This is a giant step for me but I'm really ready for it. This is a rare class taught by only me and I plan to deliver something pretty magical in each lesson so you are guaranteed to walk away with a new understanding of yourself, your business and your blog and social media approach. Content for this class is only for THIS class, nothing has been previously taught or recorded. This class is for everyone needing inspiration to start a blog OR to maintain their blog OR to take it to the next level!

You can expect: 1 screencast, 3 homework assignments (optional), 6 podcasts (30 min or less each), 3 recap/cheat sheets each week on Friday, 3 live stream open chats, and 6 videos from Holly Becker. You will also have full access to our student forum and class site until January 1, 2017. All materials can be downloaded by students.

Once the class fills up, I’m closing enrollment to keep it small. Can't wait to see you, just two weeks away! Time to JUMP START your social media and blog, small business and overall mood. It's time to get inspired!!!

(Photo: , Styling: Holly Becker, Model: )

Highlights From London + Amsterdam
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Hello everyone, how are you? I'm so happy to be back at my desk writing to you today. I am so energized and inspired after my trips to London and Amsterdam, I did so many wonderful things that later, I have to write a post about some of them so you can add to your travel itinerary. But first, how are you? I loved being away again for a  tour. I spent 4 days in London and 3 days in Amsterdam and got to meet so many friends and fans that my head is still spinning from all of the conversations, dinners and meet ups. Here is a photo I took from the stage before my audience at  (#mtbams) - nearly 170 people! I spoke before them for an hour and after so many years of public speaking, this was one of my favorites to date. I really felt relaxed and I was 100% myself. I think as we grow more confident in our profession and learn more about ourselves, fear seems to slip away and we just OWN the moment and go with it. Don't you think so?

I lost my voice shortly after arriving home, it came back on Monday afternoon - ha ha but hey, that's a great reason to lose your voice - connecting live with inspiring and enthusiastic people. I signed lots of books at both London and at Amsterdam. Sometimes I can't believe how starting this blog has impacted my life and career. I nearly didn't become a blogger. To think of that truth is scary a decade later.

I have to thank both Anthropologie Europe and Meet The Blogger for receiving me so kindly and rolling out the red carpet, and to my friend and co-author for joining me in London for the launch party. It was great having Leslie there. I wish she could have joined me in Amsterdam too but she had to go back to Victoria, BC (where she lives) to tend to family business. Yet, she was still with me somehow - Leslie is always near, good friendships are just like that.

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(me, from magazine (our book will be in their November issue, look for it!!!), Suzanne from and Meet The Blogger Founder Liselore of @).

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(Haikje Verberk from at Meet The Blogger after I signed her book)

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Anabella from who flew in from Rome, me, Leslie and wonderful at our book workshop and signing event at Anthropologie on Kings Road in London last Wednesday evening. I was SO HAPPY to see these ladies and everyone else who joined us.

All of these photos in this post are iPhone photos shot in store and conference room lighting, so not the best quality, but I still love having the memories and the chills I get when I see them. Every book still feels like the first time, and now I'm working already on finalizing my concept for the 5th book! Crazy but great!

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(Styling our tabletop to show how to set the table in a creative and fun way for our guests at Anthropologie.)

Anyway, I'm so encouraged by the conversations I had and that I met so many new faces and also saw old friends whom I love dearly. I've set new career goals since returning as a result so being with out with my friends and fans was definitely what I needed. Getting out to connect with people in person really touches my heart but also refuels me. I'm such an extrovert in this way. I require outside energy to move forward so traveling and connecting in person with others is absolutely essential. As I was teaching the crafting component of the workshop, I stood there and thought that I have to teach workshops more frequently because it makes me feel so alive and cheerful. It's also very effortless for me and often, what we do that comes easy we think may not be that important or that what comes harder is the better skill to have, but I've read that you have to really let those effortless jobs be part of your life too because what comes naturally to us is something we should embrace and enjoy.

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(Our book spotted at on Regent Street in London, where I bought both of my dresses that I wore for MTB and the Anthro book launch - links here: )

I can't wait to plan for 2017, I have many ideas I want to launch next year and am excited to bring you on the journey with me. For everyone I've met on the road recently, thank you for your love, support, and for buying our book because supporting authors is how we can keep writing, without that support we really can't make much of a dent. And to those who are leaving feedback on Amazon (you can leave feedback even if you didn't buy the book on , did you know that?), WE REALLY APPRECIATE the left there. It impacts book sales and the success of books, so all the feedback is super essential. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You can also buy the book at . They have some gorgeous photos of Decorate For a Party on their website too. See below.

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I cannot close this post without giving a very special THANK YOU to: JACQUI, LIZ, SAM and KATE  at Jacqui Small Publishing, CHARLOTTE and SOPHIA at Anthropologie London and LISELORE, KIRSTEN and LAURA at Meet The Blogger for ALL of your help with everything! We had a great time launching our book in London and Amsterdam and are so honored to have your support.)

I'll be back to share some of the highlights from my trip which include great shopping and eating tips in London and Amsterdam. But for now, I wanted to simply pop my head in the say hello and give you a big hug and let you know I am back and blogging!

xo,

Holly

Thoughts On Depression

Hello everyone, it's Monday so we are naturally looking at a new week with plans to set into motion, right? Feels good. I normally face Monday with a bit of hesitation at first but now, it has changed because I'm doing lots of positive events around my new book, I'm on the road meeting friends and fans, making new business s, and it's very, very invigorating. I feel alive again. The last time I felt this good was at the beginning of the year when I went to Paris and then London. After those trips, I hit a very low point in my life - I felt really inspired and happy but returned to a reality that I didn't really want to face.

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The thing was, I had to be an "adult" in some things that I'd been putting off. I needed to REALLY fix things in my personal life, with my health, with childcare (lack of), with my career (felt a bit directionless), and with a few friends. Most of all, I had to learn to be more kind to myself, to really put myself first which has always been hard for me.

All of this reality put me in a depression period that I didn't know how to get out of. I kept it hidden from most people and on my blog, but it was really a hard time. Fortunately, my good friends stuck around to help. I confided in them and they've lovingly listened, provided a shoulder to literally cry on, and have acted as strong and willing when it comes to jumping in and just caring for me. I didn't have to beg my good friends to be there through my hard times.

I'm happy to say that the depression period has let up now, the dark shadow passed over. FINALLY. I have new goals and am doing a lot with my life that I don't think a lot of people will believe or even recognize as coming from me in the months ahead but I'm gonna just go for it. I'm gonna jump and just do things with a sense of "screw it" because really, life is too short and precious to live a fake life or a life that you aren't really happy with.

I have childcare now (lots of it). My nutrition and self care are on point. I have plans in place to take care of the bigger stuff in time but for now, I'm not feeling held back or scared anymore. I'm not frozen. The depression period has ended. And I'm out again doing events and scheduling workshops and my calendar is full until the end of this year and I love it. With each event, I am allowed to share and receive positive energy in return and that give and take is so healthy and beneficial.

But wow, that depression period. Shit, man. Yuck.

It was horrible.

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Sure, I had felt the blues before, you know, days where you just can't seem to make progress. Days when you don't want to get out of bed but you do anyway. Everyone has those. But I'd never known sinking depression on that level since I was in my early twenties and experienced a really big break up with someone I thought I had loved.

I'm always very hopeful and optimistic. With that, you almost become responsible to be a light to everyone. You become known as a light. And then you just shine and shine and shine and even when you have nothing left to shine, you find something and shine anyway. And then you get drained after a long enough time. Then you start to fake or pretend that you are fine, because you don't want to let anyone down. And of course, your ego is involved at that point. You are known to be shining and encouraging and motivating, you can't possibly show people that you feel like shit inside and wish you could run away and go live on a secluded island for a year.

For me, it all started in March after my birthday and by end of May, I was hitting bottom. In June, I had a momentary lapse of "I've got this!" and then, boom. I didn't have anything, I was a mess. The dark clouds came in fast and furious. And stayed.

July and August were horrific.

I didn't want to get out of bed for TWO MONTHS. I have a toddler to care for, so he was my motivation to shower and get up and get the day started. But boy, I didn't always want to be responsible. I wanted to go to sleep at 8pm and a lot of the time, I did. I felt guilty giving in to my feelings at first. "I'm strong", I told myself, "why am I giving in to these feelings, I'm a mom for god's sake, how can I be such a wreck, my son needs me?".

But after awhile I stopped pretending to be strong and I started to allow myself to be vulnerable. Through the help of friends, I realized that I needed to drop the act and tell people how I was really feeling because I had built a WALL around me and it was not helping my friendships. I needed to learn what I craved the most in my life - intimacy - wasn't what I myself was giving to others. I wasn't open and working towards intimacy in my relationships yet I expected this from my friends. How about that?

What I realized is that I always thought I was so open - I have a blog, I write a lot of stuff here that I'd consider pretty revealing at times. I share my life on the internet, in the press, in my books... But this isn't really being OPEN. Sure, I'm more open than the average person who would never dare write about their child birth experience online like I did, or they'd never show their home online, etc. But I still am open in a way that I am safe with. In other words, and I think a lot of us do this online, I am open when it comes to showing the good stuff in my life. I'm open with all of the positive things. Not to show off, but because I really want to inspire people to be happier and I think that sharing that I'm in a dark place isn't going to help anyone else. So I stay quiet and I hide.

Yet, one thing I crave more and more, and maybe it's because I've been writing professionally online for over a decade, is greater authenticity. No, I don't mean showing my ugly disorganized closet or me not wearing makeup. What I do mean is being a bit more open to how I feel and expressing it openly. Sharing that yes, while we enjoyed our trip we also had to deal with a screaming toddler and 100 melt downs and I almost missed my flight because I was too busy texting someone. Or yes, our house looks great but before the photo was taken, it was a giant mess of toys and I decided to clean it to a take a nice photo for the internet. You know, just being more natural and more normal and stop fearing judgement because all of that can ultimately suck our life out and make others feel like crap too.

First world problem. I know. But it's causing a lot of people to ultimately experience burn out, depression and a lot of other unnecessary problems because all of the perfect we see. It's nice to hear the stories behind what we see online and to open up about our very human experiences. That is the definition of being open and authentic.

Now that I'm beyond the darkest darks, I'm doing a lot to change my life for the better. When I make my mind up, I really make my mind up. And for many things in my life that I've sat idle on for a long time... Well let's just say I made my mind up to do several things very differently.

How about you, have you ever hit a period of depression? How did you end it? I'm glad my time is over with this but it was NOT FUN. But I learned so much, mostly what I learned is who my real friends really are. That was so revealing... To see who sticks by you when you're not your best self and need help. Also, I learned what wasn't working in my life and what needed to change. I'm taking steps each day to change those things and that movement alone, the new flow of energy the movement is creating, has helped tremendously.

Love you all.

xo Holly

(photography Holly Becker)

Create Your Own Creative Space - But How?
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My husband always says I need to work outside of the house with my own studio OR I need to open a big shop. I can't say he's wrong. I have several rooms in our home where I store props, my work, have fixed spaces for workshops and of course, my office... But it's in our home and so I never feel like there is a disconnect from work, ever. I have another office that I use outside of the house where friends work, it's like a shared space where I pop in whenever I need to but only my laptop stays there... The stuff I need to do the more physical part of my job is all at home. light-lab-lounge4

photo: sarah sherman samuel for light lab

Whenever I work on my books (currently, I'm planning my 5th) and shoot for clients, my husband gets stressed because part of the house has days when it turns into a . Last week, several rooms were used for video work so it was upside down again for a few days. As I'm trying to build my business in new ways, I don't see this changing anytime soon.

I know my fellow creative friends like , , , ,  deal with constantly taking their neat creative studios and homes and turn them on their head for shoots and clients... I often wonder how their families deal with it and their colleagues... But more than that, I wonder how to deal with it in my own life -- how I can perhaps find some peace within all of this creative, exciting madness!? Well let me rephrase that... I have plenty of peace with it, but with a little boy and a husband, something has to change when your man isn't enjoying the chaos as much as you do. My toddler stormed into my studio yesterday with a black magic market and immediately grabbed a brand new book and colored all over the cover in mere seconds. It's impossible to work the same way with a little child around, so I have to get a system in place asap.

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photo: sarah sherman samuel for light lab

I've been looking for a creative space here in for nearly 6 years, actively for 4 years. Still nothing. I see a separate work space as the only solution - so if you know of anything in Hannover, Germany that I can transform into a large studio space where I can also invite others in to share the space from the time-to-time, please let me know. Because I would love to create my own and have had a business plan in my hand for this idea for years. I want it so badly and I have faith that someday I will get it but until this happens, I need to create realistic, workable ways to deal with my work at home.

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photo: sarah sherman samuel for light lab

By the way, you can see more photos of the space shown in this post .

So! Do you have tips and ideas on how to manage working from home - I could use some creative suggestions. Specifically, how do you handle prop storage, and management after you no longer need the props... And how do you handle working at home when you have photo shoots and people coming in and out of the house when you also have a husband and toddler at home? How do you manage it all?

(All photography: Sarah Sherman Samuel)