be-happy-year-deux That's right, baby! I'm starting another happiness project and the Be Happy linkup will continue. Can I get an hells yeeeah?

After taking last month off to reflect on my happiness project, the blog, my sanity - I decided that my very favorite posts have ALL been on Thursdays. They've all been for the Be Happy linkup. Those posts made me think, they connected me with amazing people, they made me get shit done. Starting another happiness project became an obvious choice.

So I updated the Be Happy page and planned out the next 6 months with new goals and even bigger dreams. I hope you're ready for another adventure! I couldn't have come this far without you.

Here's what I have planned for my happiness project, year deux!

01 NOVEMBER Clients. Get super clear about who I want to work with. Who is my ideal graphic design client? The clearer I am, the better. For reals.

02 DECEMBER Portfolio. Build up an amazeballs portfolio and create a portfolio page on my blog.

03 JANUARY Learn more skillz. Because I learned graphic design through experience (and on photoshop), I want to take some classes to expand my knowledge of design programs like Illustrator. I love you photoshop, but I gots to keep learnin.

04 FEBRUARY Set some serious and mind-blowing financial goals. Hmm is this late to be focusing on financial goals? Anyhoo, I want to set some goals that will blow me away if – nay when! – I reach them. A plan will be devised and followed, yo.

05 MARCH Take Eat Drink Create to the next level of awesome. This month I’ll be co-hosting our 4th event!! Each EDC has been bigger and better than the last. I have some dream locations & dream sponsors, I think this is the month to call on those dreams!

06 APRIL Expand my services. I always love branching out and going bigger. I’d love to start offering full website design. Or open a shop full of awesome blog graphics + templates! That would be BOSS. This is the month I take things up a notch.

Let's do this! Ya with me?

It’s Thursday and that means a whole gang of rad bloggers are talking about happiness. Join the movement below and on twitter with #BeHappylinkup!


Original image found here.


Collaboration month is almost over?? Well the first month of my "blog happy" project may be coming to an end, but the collaborations have only just begun.

While working with others doesn't always come naturally to me (prolly because I'm a total perfectionist), I fully understand the importance of doing so. I think at the core of happiness is having strong relationships with others. Whether it's the personal + romantical variety or the collaboration-with-a-blog-pal variety, connecting with people and building relationships is what this life's about. That's when you learn and grow the most.

Last year I was in a super transitional phase in my life... and I'm pretty sure I asked for it. I was really unhappy with my job. I often felt frustrated (aka cried... a lot) and felt stuck in my situation. One night I exclaimed to myself I should be doing more, something bigger! Two days later (no joke), I found out that the funding for my position suddenly ran out... hmm coincidence? I was forced to leave, which is exactly what had to happen because I never would have left on my own.

At the time I, of course, didn't see being forced to leave my job as something positive. I cried even more... I had no idea what to do. But, looking back, getting the boot was the BEST thing that could have happened.

I didn't realize it at the time, but the people I met after that job became incredibly important to my journey. One person in particular became a great friend and somewhat of a mentor to me... and if it weren't for her, I would have never started this blog. Can you imagine?? I can't. By something seemingly horrible happening, I was led to something more, something bigger - hmm exactly what I had asked for. Crazy how things work out sometimes, eh?

I'll always be open to working with others... because you neva know what they'll teach you.

Link up, yes?

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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" />

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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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7 Questions

I came across Miss Gentri Lee on my gurrl Punky's blog last week. Like I always do, I added it to my Google Reader. During my 137th Google Reader break at work yesterday I saw that Gentri was doing a link up called 7 Questions and I thought whaaaaa? I wanna join! So I am. Did this post need an explanation? Probably not. Did you get one? Yep. I also thought this was a good blog opportunity (bloggortunity) to showcase some of the photos from the last artsocial photo shoot. Woot!

1. What do you do when you're sick? (Do you act like a baby? Tough it out? Have any weird cravings? Cry?) I suppose I tough it out. Like really tough it out. I take the mind over matter approach. I refuse to let myself think I'm sick (whilst taking mass amounts of vitamin c and zinc). I don't like to admit to myself or to others that I'm feeling bad because then it's real and seems to get worse... I spent an entire anniversary weekend in the mountains drinking emergen-c while my boyfriend drank scotch. No biggie, just sippin' some emergen-c in the hot tub. But ya know, I think it works... that cold lasted exactly 2 days.

2. What do you do to find motivation when you feel you've lost it? Hmm lately the thing that helps the most is listening to some really good bad music. These mixes on 8tracks - I heard you were a wild one and Drunk & Broceanside - are my go-to jams. Wow based on their titles, I'm a little embarrassed to share that. Ha!

3. Do you wish time away or do you savor every moment? Oh I try to savor... I'm a big daydreamer though. I like to think about all the things that I could (or will) be doing in the future.

4. If you could be any mythological creature, what would you be, and why? I asked my boyfriend what mythological creature I'd be and this was his answer: "Well pixie comes to mind due to your size but I think you have the spirit of a griffin. So, a grixie." Well alright.

5. What is your current biggest weakness and are you working on fixing it? Oh man... I'd have to say my perfectionism. I often get in my own way because of it. I'm trying really really hard to let things go, take things less seriously, and take the pressure off. This thing (aka life) is supposed to be FUN right??

6. How do you greet someone when meeting them for the first time? Um... "Hi, nice to meet you." What is everyone else doing? Is there something I don't know??

7. How do you grocery shop? (Do you write up a list? Go in with no idea what you're looking for? Have meal plans? Bring your own shopping bags?) OMG guys. I have an unusual hatred for grocery shopping. Ask anyone I've lived with. I basically wait until I absolutely have to go - like my options are either A. eat a can of peas for dinner or B. go to the store. And I've eaten the peas before. No joke. So when I am forced to go to the store, I have a list so I can get in and get out in 20 minutes.

That was fun! Thanks Gentri for the awesome link up!! (This was my first time joining this suh-weet link up, so if I did it wrong let me know... can you do a link up wrong? I think I was supposed to start with a funny picture, whoops. Gah perfectionism, I'm telling you.)

Photos by the fab Kate Donaldson.