SO it's been one week since I said peace out to my "grown up" job... and? I am more excited than ever about artsocial. I figured my first week of freedom would go down one of two ways - I'd either be overjoyed and full of momentum and new ideas OR I'd be curled up in bed sobbing and wondering why the heck I left the biggest museum between here and the west coast. Thankfully, it's the former...

The thing about have time to devote wholeheartedly to a growing biz? I'm already hyper-sensitive to the RESULTS. How many likes did that get? How many page views did I get today? No one's liked that 'gram?? Maybe it didn't post properly... Guys. That's not a good path to go down.

You know where I found some perspective? Oh The Happiness Project of course... gah Gretchen, you're so good! There was a section in chapter 9 called Forget About Results. This part really made me think:

One thing that makes a passion enjoyable is that you don't have to worry about results. You can strive for triumph, or you can potter around, tinker, explore, without worrying about efficiency or outcomes... An atmosphere of growth brings great happiness, but at the same time, happiness sometimes also comes when you're free from the pressure to see much growth.

This made me wonder - can I strive to grow while at the same time be free from the pressure to grow. Is that possible?? Can I turn my blog, my passion, into an efficient business without worrying and feeling pressured? Hmm I think so... I hope so... I'll keep you posted.

Have something to say about happiness?? Join the linkup, girrrrl.

Image found here | awesome quote by Deepak Chopra


After a crazy work week, where do I turn? The Happiness Project. I need a good dose of Gretchen wisdom this week. In the chapter I read, she talked about keeping a gratitude journal.

I've been keeping a gratitude journal on and off for the past couple years. It's so much fun to go back and see what I was enjoying - a fro-yo break, laughs with Jesse and Anna (hollaaaa to my amazing friends & coworkers), a empty seat on the light rail. Keeping this journal has helped me focus on the good things - even the littlest of gems - throughout my day. Without this exercise, I may not have even realized what a gift that empty seat on the light rail really was... no, I would've. That's a real treat during rush hour.

Anyhoo, these past two weeks have been super stressful at my day job, and those are the times the gratitude journal really helps. It keeps me focused on the big picture stuff, ya know? In honor of Gretchen and November - with Thanksgiving, it's basically gratitude month, right?? - I thought I'd share my gratitude journal entry from yesterday - no edits! Eep.

1. My boss's positive reaction to my notice to leave. Yep. I did it, friends! I'm free in one week! I thought the "I'm quitting" convo might actually kill me, but it didn't! It was completely fine. I am flooded with joy and relief to be leaving a bad work environment. I learned a HUGE lesson in standing up for what's right for me, no more "hanging in there" or "sticking it out." If something's not working, make a change. The universe is on your side, bro.

2. My dad's text congratulating me on quitting, and his funny Happy Halloween ghost emoticon. Only the best dads in the world fully encourage and support their daughter quitting, eh? I know he'll always be in my corner, that's a good feeling... and he always puts super creative emoticons in his texts - the ghost emoticon looked like this :- <>

3. Cucumber sushi from Whole Foods. No explanation needed. I could eat it errday.

4. goodies in the mail! I finally got my brand ambassador goods - woot! Cannot wait to put together a super rad post worthy of and you awesome readers. Psst - I got one of these bad boys.

5. Kevin buying milk, pears, and Halloween candy. There is NOTHING better than coming home from work and someone else has already done your grocery shopping. I am eternally grateful for every trip to the grocery store he makes... I hate the grocery store. I know, it's weird.

What are you grateful for today?? I'd love to hear!

Image found here.


Wowzers, October, where'd you go?? This was my month to focus on social media and growth in my blog happiness project... and, guys, I feel like I've failed a little bit. I think I've fallen short of the goals I had for myself at the beginning of the month. I wanted to be allll over twitter convos and sharing all kinds of crazy awesome stuff on facebook. Ok, I did a little (did you see the ghost dog pic on facebook?? Classic!)... but I wanted to dominate my social media channels! I wanted to be a social media BULL (i.e. a big, strong social media force).

Oh perfectionist, over-achieving self. There's only so much I can do in a day... and if I learned anything this month, it's this: for ANY social media sharing to be effective, it has to be genuine and authentic. Aha moment: it's the same as the blog - just a mini version. I can't make myself post more, because that's how it will come across - forced. Sure, I can have the intention to post more, but if the inspiration doesn't come? Don't post.

Here are some of my favorite bits of social media wisdom I've acquired this month:

- use (reasonable) hashtags. I thank Louise of Laid Off Mom for that one. I whined, "but I like to hashtag things like #cantsayno to hot chocolate 'grams and #superdeepthoughts to my Be Happy Linkup posts." While that's allowed, it's not the most #effective use of a hashtag. Ok, agreed.

- Louise also shared these words of advice: no matter what platform you're using, "there has to be some MEAT to what you put out there in the social media-verse.  Don't just post, just to post." Amen, sista!! Well-said.

- get creative! Start a hashtag trend on twitter or instagram. Invite a blogger to be a guest pinner. Host a Pinterest or moodboard contest. Host a twitter chat. Social media (and your mind) is an infinite field of possibilities.

The funny thing about my exploration into social media - it all comes down to having FUN. If you're having fun, your posts will be fun, and your readers will have fun too. So, really, it comes down to being happy... oh that Gretchen, she's good.

Image found here.


When you're faced with long stretches of  n o t h i n g. Just time. What do you do?

What we do in our spare time is an indication of what our passions really are. In The Happiness Project, Gretchen touched briefly on her career path and her decision to leave her job in law to become a writer. When figuring out her next direction, she asked herself what she did in her spare time... all signs pointed to writaaa.

Spending this week in New Mexico has given me the opportunity to analyze my free time habits. The results? I love me some technology; I like "e-downtime" if you will (the "e" can stand for Erin and/or electronic - high five!). Before I left, I thought this vacation should be a time for me to “unplug,” get away from my computer, turn my phone off, and really reeeelaaax. Cuz that’s what everyone seems to be sayin' these days.  To really be on vacation and unwind – remove technology… and add cocktails.

Well this week, I learned that – much like Gretchen – what’s right for some people isn’t necessarily right for me. This is the biggest thing I’m taking away from her book so far – you decide for yourself what happiness is, what lifts you up, what pulls you down. YOU decide. Listen to yourself to find your happiness.

For some people a vacation very much involves turning off their computers and leaving their phones at home – but for my vacay? I want all that connected goodness. I want to share my travels, finds, and multiple chai lattes with the little online community I’m so lucky to be a part of. I want to take pictures of my journey (from breakfast to 700 year old petroglyphs). I want to take video of my walk through the plaza in Santa Fe and into the sketchy Five and Dime store. Plus turning these mundane vacation moments into an awesome little video is what imovie is for, right??

I love these creative outlets. I don’t see my phone and computer as distractions from my vacation or as hindrances on my plan to unwind, I see them as tools that enable me to create something special. Makers gonna make. This is my way…. whether it’s through a ‘gram, a video, or a blog post (which by the way I’m writing in the car while we drive to our next destination… ha!).

No more denying myself these moments of creation just because I think "unplugging" is how I should decompress. No more technology guilt. I’m that girl taking video of my breakfast... what?

Image found here.


This week was extreme collaboration week. Bedsidesign started us off on Monday, then yesterday Artsy Forager and I announced the Art Association contest (hey gurrl, have you entered yet?), and then today's the Be Happy Linkup (my favsies, link up below!). I'm blown away by the collaboration excitement and support that's occurred over only a few weeks. I'm working with - and will be working with - some of my favorite bloggy friends. SO glad I started my blog happiness project with collaboration. It's all about community, right? Sure, I've wanted to work with other bloggers from the beginning, but dedicating a whole month to that one aspect of blogging was the ticket. It was exactly what I needed. By making it a priority and my sole focus for a whole month, I was able to dedicate the time and energy good collabos deserve. I think placing my attention on working with others has made it easier to receive those opportunities too. It's incredible what focus, intention, and a little soul searching can achieve.

Following that inner push pays off, I tell ya.

As things start to grow and the comments start coming in and my little blogger heart is so happy I could burst into song (probably this song), I'm reminded of what a journey this blogging thang is. Reading Joy Cho's new book, Blog Inc., makes me realize I'm only at the beginning of the blogging road. I'm still a little one in a big blog world. I tend to get overly excited about the things I love and just want to hurry up and get to the good part! But that's not how this works. This time it's about the journey, not the destination. And this time the journey IS the good part.

Of course my gurrl Gretchen touches on this issue of enjoying the now and taking pleasure in the gradual progress made towards a goal:

When I find myself focusing overmuch on the anticipated future happiness of arriving at a certain goal, I remind myself to "Enjoy now." If I can enjoy the present, I don't need to count on the happiness that is (or isn't) waiting for me in the future. The fun part doesn't come later, now is the fun part.

Eff yeah! Now is the fun part... While the future feels very very exciting and I can't wait to be one of the big kids, right now's pretty ridiculously rad too.

The Be Happy Linkup is upon us... I can't wait to read all of your happy words of wisdom. Link up below, friends!

original image (John Baldessari, Body and Soul, 1989) | image two found here


I'm sending prezzies out today for the winners of the first Pay it Forward giveaway...! As I wrapped their presents, I was reminded of The Happiness Project and Gretchen's Second Splendid Truth:

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.

The first part of this truthy statement isn't new to me... of course it feels great to make other people happy. The second part of this statement is the insight, the good stuff. When you're happy yourself, your happiness becomes contagious. If you're in a good mood, you spread those good feelings to everyone around you... even if you don't directly interact with them, you're a positive presence in the world.

In Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert discusses the very simple idea that all the sorrow and trouble in the world is caused by unhappy people. I know when I'm in a bad mood, everyone around me sure knows it... I have a horrible poker face. When I'm unhappy it's usually because I'm hangry (hungry + angry) and simply require a sandwich or a smoothie. But in that hour or so of unhappiness, my mood brings a cloud over those around me, usually Kevin (sorry, you). Even if I don't say anything or pick a fight, he can tell. Our interactions will no longer be carefree and playful, but tense and frustrating.

Making an effort to be happy is, therefore, not only something I want to do for myself but it's something that I want to do for everyone around me... because, as Elizabeth Gilbert concludes, being happy is a generous gift to the world.

Here's to being happy today... and not getting the hangries. Maybe I should put an emergency granola bar in my purse... Oh and for those of you who won the Pay it Forward giveaway, there's a little extra happiness coming your way.

image one | image two taken by artsocial


I've noticed Gretchen mentions feeling legitimate quite a few times in The Happiness Project. It was something that caught my attention, my little ears perked right up (if you read yesterday's 7 Questions post, you know I do in fact have little ears). I think I suffer from the same need-to-feel-legitimate affliction. She says:

"I worry about feeling legitimate," I confessed. "Working in something like law or finance or politics would make me feel legitimate."

Gretchen goes on to conclude that even after achieving highly legitimate things in her career, she still didn't feel legitimate. OH BOY can I relate. Sure I can say I'm very ambitious, a go-getter, but underneath all that is a desire to feel legitimate... and underneath that is a desire to feel worthy, to feel like I'm contributing something important. Lotta layers here. And needless to say, the good grades and the professional job only brought temporary worthiness and good feelings.

Maybe it's time to redefine what a legitimate career path looks like... maybe it's time to change the conversation I'm having with myself about my career. Playing by the rules and striving to please my parents, my teachers, and my colleagues sure hasn't made me happy. While it scares me to embark on a creative career path with all of its no guarantees (or health benefits), I believe in listening to my gut and having a BIGGER vision for my life than what I had visualized in grad school.

I'm starting to understand that YOU define your own legitimacy. Your worth is what you say it is. Can you imagine if Gretchen wouldn't have become a full-time writer because she didn't think it was a legitimate career option?? Whoa.

Got some shtuff to say about happiness? Join the Be Happy linkup! Huzzah!

Image found here.


When I first had the idea for artsocial, I was so excited I couldn't sleep at night. I'd stay up thinking about the future and all of the amazing possibilities. I guess when you have an idea that causes you to lose sleep, you should act on it, huh? I got these same exact butterflies when I decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into this blog happiness project and the Be Happy linkup. And just like before, I can't sleep. I keep waking up waaay too early in the morning, so excited, thinking it's time to start the day. What is with me! But ya know, I think a part of me knew lots of awesomeness was about to take place and just couldn't wait to get started.

So far for Collaboration month, my main strategy has been to ask, put it out there, tell people I want to collaborate. Straight out asking for help and support is extremely effective. Unicorns for Socialism recently wrote a grrrreat post about this very topic. How did I ask for support? Basically, I've used this blog and every single social media channel in my control... the most effective for me? The blog and twitter. Although I've also noticed, by subscribing to some of my favorite sites and blogs by email, I've gotten some pretty great potential collaboration opportunities sent my way. This Alt class being one of those things. And of course, Blog Brunch is always a great place for collabs to start...

But through twitter, in only one week, I found out about a pay it forward giveaway on Bedsidesign (that I already know I'm going to do again next month!), learned sooo much about sponsorship (through #blogbrunch), was introduced to an awesome new blog friend to swap buttons with, and came across an exciting little opportunity with to be a ambassador (light shining/angels singing). When I first saw this crazy awesome chance to work with, one of coolest brands ever, my reaction was waaahhhhhh, I wanna do that! So clearly I had a strong HELL YES reaction, which means go. for. it. I (practically) ran home to fill out the application. I was so nervous, like ridiculous nervous, reading and re-reading the application a gazillion times. I'm being so silly! I thought, if it's the right thing, I'll get it. If not, there are plenty of other opportunities. I anxiously submitted it and pretended it was no biggie...

A few days later I found out I was not chosen to be an ambassador. My little heart sunk. I found myself surprisingly disappointed by it. I tend to be overly romantical about everything and think that opportunities like this come about for a reason (blah, blah) and since I was starting collaboration month on the blog and found out about this opportunity to work with a great brand, clearly that meant it was put on my twitter feed at that exact moment just for my eyes to see... sighh. Welp. No, not the case.

I was so annoyed with myself, but not because I didn't get accepted. I was annoyed because after alllll of the positive, amazing feedback and opportunities that came about within one week (!) I was letting the one disappointment get me down. Am I that insecure?? Gah, ego!

Remember what Gretchen said in The Happiness Project? To enjoy the fun of failure? When I first read that, I must admit I didn't quite know how to receive it. Fun? Failure? No, they don't go together. Having such a strong background in academics mixed with my go-getterness makes this point hard for me to accept. Gretchen explains:

[Failure is] part of being ambitious; it's part of being creative. If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly.

Well that I do agree with. Pushing myself to strive for greater things on the blog isn't always going to pan out how I want it to. Sometimes, it will force me into a very uncomfortable confrontation with... well myself and how I deal with failure. But one thing is for sure. I will never let my discomfort or fear of failing stop me from trying, from asking, or from applying again next month to be a ambassador...!

Wow is this really only week 1 of my official happiness project? Great lessons already. Neato gang! I can't wait to read your happiness posts - link up below!!

<img title="link up. be happy." src="" alt="" width="600" height="200" />

Image one | two | three


First off, I want to say THANK YOU again for all of your amazing comments and tweets and general bloggy love about last week's post and the beginning of the Be Happy linkup. Over the past week, I've had many moments of staring at my computer and smiling like a goof in disbelief of everyone's support, enthusiasm, and incredible wisdom. You guys are truly the BEST.

Before tomorrow's post, I wanted to officially invite all of you to join myself, Lisa of Joycreation, and Rita of TOMORROWtoday in writing about happiness tomorrow (and every Thursday!). It can be about the book The Happiness Project or it can be about happiness in general. Really if it relates to havin' a good feeling (love that Flo Rida/Etta James song), then it belongs with this linkup. Grab the banner (or code) from this page and then look for the easy peasy linkup in tomorrow's post so your link is on my blog and vice versa... we're gonna spread this happiness like wildfire, ya hear!

I also wanted to write my blog happiness project commandments before things kick off tomorrow. Gretchen developed some overarching principles (or commandments) that helped her stay on course during her year of happiness. Words that reminded her of why she was doing what she was doing, sayings that would offer a boost of confidence or reassurance during moments of self-doubt, things of that nature. Well if you follow me on Pinterest, you know how much I looove my text | image board full of inspirational sayings (520 to be exact... whoa-za). And with this incredibly exciting challenge I've created for myself, I think I'm gonna need some of those principle commandment thingies. Twelve seems to be the magic number with commandments, so I guess that's how many I'll do...

B E  H A P P Y  C O M M A N D M E N T S

1. There's more than enough. (perfect reminder when I get those jealous or envious feelings)

2. Pursue excellence, ignore success. (a Deepak Chopra gem)

3. I've already done it. (a state of mind that helps when I'm nervous about doing something. I see it as already accomplished)

4. Keep it real. (honesty and authenticity always)

5. Live with intention. Blog with intention. (damn right)

6. All roads lead to Rome. (wise words from miss Bethenny Frankel. All paths, no matter how cray they get, will lead you to your goal)

7. Let it be good. (dare to be happy, no what ifs)

8. Be bigger than your britches. (truth is, no one really knows how big your britches are. So why not go for it?)

9. Listen. (pay attention to what feels right and only do what's aligned with my brand and what makes my heart happy)

10. Today is the day. (no more waiting for the right moment, do it now)

11. Some things take time. (I can be incredibly impatient, I'll need this one)

12. Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle. (I also tend to be hard on myself, I'll need this one too)

Alright. My first progress report post on my blog happiness project will be up tomorrow! September is collaboration month, there have already been some great opportunities and a little bump in the road too... and it's only September 5th!

Image found here.


Last week I revealed two important things: 1. I'm in love with The Happiness Project and 2. I'm on a happiness quest/career change. Now I've been on this quest for a while... but nothing was official until I read this line from The Happiness Project: To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.

Let's break it down. Feeling good refers to generating more positive emotions, feeling bad refers to removing sources of negative emotions, and growth? Sure! Everyone loves growing. Ok, I gets it. But the feeling right part, that's what really hit home:

"Feeling right" is about living the life that's right for you...

Now that's what I've been missing from my current part time job (and all of my previous jobs), they just didn't feel right. I didn't feel fully myself. What does feel right, then? Welp... this blog. So I'm gonna do it, friends. I'm diving in wholeheartedly and starting my own career-related happiness project all about da bloggin.

My career goal for this next year is to become a legit, professional (kind-of-a-big-deal) blogger, work with brands and artists I love, and slowly but surely (or lightening fast) begin to work for myself. I'm not talking yachts and caviar, but living comfortably doing what I love. Not unreasonable, right? A year is a long time.

So how to achieve this? Gretchen broke her project into 12 mini goals that contributed to the achievement of her overall goal (January was Boost Energy, February was Remember Love, March was Aim Higher, etc). So for me to make progress towards my dream, I'll be exploring the following bloggy areas with the hopes of reaching my goal by September of 2013. And of course I'll be sharing everything with you guys along the way, what works, what doesn't work, what you simply must do too... everything. Eep!

Erin's blog happiness project:

1. September: Collaboration. Find rad ways of engaging with my fellow bloggers and my amaaazing readers. 2. October: Grow. Time to amp up those numbers with more social media funtime. 3. November: Work with artists and other amazing creative folks. Contact several bigger artists about being highlighted and/or interviewed on the blog. 4. December: Blog design + branding. Artsocial's gonna need a professional makeover. I'm waiting until December with the hope of making a new blog design my Christmas present... from everyone. 5. January: Learn from the best. This month I'll be attending the big deal conference Alt Summit SLC. Aww yeeah. 6. February: Work with brands. Contact several brands with some boss collaboration ideas (emphasis on the boss-ness). 7. March: Learn more from the best. Sign up for Blogcademy. Now depending on when the next super awesome Blogcademy is, this might move up on the list... 8. April: Learn even more. Sign up for Designlovefest's Blogshop video class. I've been wanting to take this for a while... no more waiting! Again, this might move depending on dates. 9. May: Guest blogging. Seek out opportunities to write for other, more established blogs. 10. June: Get mentioned on a BIG blog. How I go about achieving this, I'm not sure... but I'll do it. Oh I'll do it. 11. July: Be original. Clearly this is always the goal, but this month I'll be starting the transition to using more of my own photography. 12. August: Time for the next big artsocial project (ie start an online magazine or launch something else equally awesome) This seems big right now :/ but I'll get there.

Holywow. Well it's almost September. Let's do this, collaboration!


This little linkup opportunity came about last weekend, and then I unknowingly made September collaboration month! Crazy how things come together sometimes...

Join me, Lisa of Joycreation, and Rita of TOMORROWtoday for a virtual book club of awesomeness! Ok really we just post every Thursday (more or less) about what we're learning from The Happiness Project, as well as other happiness related goodness. Grab the above banner for your happiness posts and join the fun next week, ya hear. If you're interested, just let me know in the comments and I'll get in touch with you with more details... woot! Link up. Be happy.

Check out Rita's posts here and here... and don't miss the fabulous MJ's post on being mindful over on Parscaeli.

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