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CREATIVITY TAKES COURAGE.
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any time we deviate from the norm, we are taking a risk. whether your personal brand of creativity is personal, professional, or otherwise, it requires some faith and courage to keep putting ourselves out there, day after day.
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i'm back in california for a few days for work, and since i've been out here, i've met up with a few longtime friends who have inspired me with their creative journeys– personally and professionally. it's incredible to watch someone you love step outside the box– leaving jobs they were unhappy in, unhealthy relationships, uninspired lives–  to pursue what they love and are passionate about... and then to watch it work. to sit in homes on hills that are the fruit of their labor. to celebrate new dream jobs with titles you were always working toward. to working with clients whose names we would all recognize. to good, healthy relationships and families and support systems that tried and true. i feel so incredibly much pride for my friends and their successes and i could shout from the rooftops all day long about it.
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wishing you all the courage, hustle and creativity to get you through today... as we build our way to the places we want to be.
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oh, and if you're interested, this print is in the shop. link in profile. :) •
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OH! if you're inspired by your friends' hard work, perseverance, drive and grit... TELL THEM! those words are often the perfect fuel to keep on trucking. 🚛✨

finding pockets of inspiration in the city. #alimakesadventures #aliexplores

i shared some of the story behind #alimakesmail over on the @plywoodpeople page today (i'm doing a takeover! 😏🎉) and realized it's been a while since i've talked about its origin here.
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like many of you, i identify as a

i shared some of the story behind #alimakesmail over on the @plywoodpeople page today (i'm doing a takeover! 😏🎉) and realized it's been a while since i've talked about its origin here. • like many of you, i identify as a "creative" but for most of my life, have pursued other ventures: i've been youth worker at churches and camps, waited tables, studied criminal justice, coached and reffed volleyball and soccer, worked retail at anthropologie, sold shirts at mall kiosks, etc etc etc until i was finally able to do this full time. now i work out of the @plywoodpeople coworking space in cabbagetown, atlanta, georgia. • @plywoodpeople entered my life at a pivotal point in my entrepreneurial story. in 2013, i had stepped out as an artist, taking any job offered me (skill set or not) trying to make ends meet and scrap up enough spare change to pay my rent each month. one month, when my bank account was looking especially grim, i realized i had to get resourceful or call it quits. so i took to my instagram and offered envelopes of the things i was working on for $25. i felt incredibly vulnerable. i've rarely slept worse than that first night i listed my mystery mail... but when i woke the next morning, i had a slew of signups. it was provision in the purest form. march will mark two years since this idea launched; it's definitely not flawless (yet) but it's changed a lot in ways i'm proud of... and i'm still in awe that it's a part of my life and career. i've been working out of plywood for one year now and i credit them with much of its success. it's been the biggest blessing to be surrounded by such a strong, supportive community of startups, small business owners and organizations doing good. i've found mentors and collaborators in ways i never anticipated and i'm so grateful. • thank you to everyone who has supported my work as an artist the last couple of years. i work hard to create as much new content for this feed as i possibly can and to keep showing up, as genuinely as i possibly can.

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i'm posting over on @plywoodpeople today.
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what is it that you need to begin TODAY?

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✨GOOD MORNING from RYAN GOSLING!✨
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this month's #alimakesmail theme is:
••• TRUE || LOVE || YOURSELF •••
so it's perfect if you have a special someone in your life... and equally perfect if you're like me and valentines day will be (once again) spent by going out to dinner with your parents. (i'm totally fine with it.) i typically like to keep the #alimakesmail a mystery, but that face sells itself, amirite?!
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back to love: in all honesty and vulnerability, i've never been more happy or more content being single... which i can definitely attribute to loving myself better, with more grace and more kindness. i've had a pretty rough go of relationships in the past, and in case this time of year makes you sad or envious, just know: being alone is so. much. better. than dating some punk that doesn't adore and appreciate you. or doesn't listen to you. or fights with you. or dates other girls he says he's only dating you. 😑 2 dimensional ryan gosling> that ANYDAY. and if you've been lucky enough to find someone that lights up your life... hold tightly. true true love is one of the most beautiful, selfless, life-giving things i've ever witnessed. what i'm trying to say: regardless of your relational standing. YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE.
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so in the words of my boyfriend, 🎶 oh baby, you should go and love yourself 🎶 and give yourself the gift of ryan gosling and some FUN MAIL this month.
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click the hashtag #alimakesmail to see examples of past months. $25/month gets you 6-8 prints in an A9 envelope. the link in my profile takes you to my site where you can purchas last month's mail (

. ✨GOOD MORNING from RYAN GOSLING!✨ . this month's #alimakesmail theme is: ••• TRUE || LOVE || YOURSELF ••• so it's perfect if you have a special someone in your life... and equally perfect if you're like me and valentines day will be (once again) spent by going out to dinner with your parents. (i'm totally fine with it.) i typically like to keep the #alimakesmail a mystery, but that face sells itself, amirite?! . back to love: in all honesty and vulnerability, i've never been more happy or more content being single... which i can definitely attribute to loving myself better, with more grace and more kindness. i've had a pretty rough go of relationships in the past, and in case this time of year makes you sad or envious, just know: being alone is so. much. better. than dating some punk that doesn't adore and appreciate you. or doesn't listen to you. or fights with you. or dates other girls he says he's only dating you. 😑 2 dimensional ryan gosling> that ANYDAY. and if you've been lucky enough to find someone that lights up your life... hold tightly. true true love is one of the most beautiful, selfless, life-giving things i've ever witnessed. what i'm trying to say: regardless of your relational standing. YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE. . so in the words of my boyfriend, 🎶 oh baby, you should go and love yourself 🎶 and give yourself the gift of ryan gosling and some FUN MAIL this month. . click the hashtag #alimakesmail to see examples of past months. $25/month gets you 6-8 prints in an A9 envelope. the link in my profile takes you to my site where you can purchas last month's mail ("old news") or you can sign up for a recurring month to month subscription or a set 3, 6, or 12 month on. and make sure to sign up by the 15th if you want in on February's theme. . LAST QUESTION: if you could go back in time, what truth could you share with a younger you about love? i know we have some wisdom out there and i want all of it- the good, the bad, and the 'may as well laugh about it.' kind.

in case you haven't had enough of me over here, i'll be doing a takeover of the @plywoodpeople instagram tomorrow!
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who is plywood? simply put, they're a non-profit in atlanta leading a community of start-ups doing good. they aim to creatively support individuals and ideas that have an uncommon ability to see a need and implement a problem-solving solution. they do this in two ways: implementing projects and educating entrepreneurs.
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personally? they've supported my journey as a maker and creative activist. this community has generously given me structure and shared their resources to further my success.
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i'd love it if you'd join us tomorrow. i'll be sharing what inspires me, what i'm currently working on, and my greatest tension of 2016 (yikes! haha 😁) so come on over and contribute to the conversation. besides, it would be really great if i could show them i really do have some friends 🙏😘🙏😂.
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notebook is by @plywoodpeople, dreamy photo pictured is by @moeblake)

sometimes, when i'm staring at my inbox, i imagine staring out into these mountains instead. they are one of my most sacred places. i am a mountain girl through and through.... but why choose? i love my mountains with a side of the sea. how bout you? where are your sacred escapes?
. 📷: @davidmendozaiii

huge congrats to my friend caroline and the @cctextiles team on the launch of their new line balinesia! i'm grateful you let me be a part of your brand in a small way. head over to their site to check out their incredible textile lines and see how i get to work with other brands in awesome ways! her site is sneaky pops of my lettering amidst clean design and beautiful patterns.

yesterday, i got to hang out with @soworthloving and it looked like this: 🎉✨!!!!!

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last weekend, i wanted to make sure i actually still remembered how to sing all 50 states in alphabetical order, so i googled it, sang along, and then had a

i've been snapping recently! the majority of it is just me in my real life, giving you gift of getting to know my ridiculous roommate, some in progress shots of projects, the life/death status of my plants, and the things that catch my eye. it's also a fun way to get to know YOU and see the projects you're working on! come find me! @alimakesthings over there too. :)

fun mail is my love language. ✉️✨

@maydesigns asked me in an artist interview recently

real talk. you know the days where you feel like you just

one of my favorite things about the #weddedwalburgs wedding, was the dichotomy between attention to detail, and the simplicity and ease of it all. when planning a wedding, it can be tempting to fall into the idea that spending a lot of money= nice things/better wedding. don't get me wrong, splurge on the things that are important to YOU, but also know that with a little creativity all these details can be even more

••••••••••••••• have heart ••••••••••••••••

a massive chalkboard and long tables full of foraged fig leaves. simple, loose and casual chalk lettering for the seating chart... there was nothing stuffy about this day. light, airy, a little undone... and PLAYFUL... JOYFUL. the bride honestly couldn't stop giggling and bouncing with joy. not even during the ceremony. 😂😂😂💕.
📷: @jessfairchild + @jameswitty #weddedwalburgs

there's a really beautiful caption about longtime love over on @humansofny today. i'm sure you all follow that account already... but just in case you don't... you should. it's full of incredibly relatable, straightforwardly stunning glimpses of the human spirit, from strangers stopped on the streets of New York.
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i really think you should go see it yourself, but this is what it says:
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. “My wife passed away last January. We’d been married for 62 years. You caught me at a time when I’ve been thinking a lot about love because I’m reading Shakespeare’s sonnets. The definition of love is elusive, which is why we write about it endlessly. Even Shakespeare couldn’t touch it. All the greatest love stories just seem to be about physical attraction. Romeo and Juliet didn’t know ifthey liked the same books or movies. It was just physical. After 62 years, it becomes something different entirely. My wife used to say: ‘We are one.’ And believe me, she was not the type of person to overstate something. Now that she’s gone, I realize how right she was. So much of our lives were linked. We were very physical and affectionate. But we also shared every ritual of our life. I miss her every time I leave a movie and can’t ask for her opinion. Or every time I go to a restaurant and can’t give her a taste of my chicken. I miss her most at night. We got in bed together at the same time every night.”

this beautiful friend's greenhouse wedding got picked up by @thedailywedding recently! i truly couldn't have been more honored to stand by her side that day. there's something exceptionally special about the marriage of two individually dear friends. there was such joy, such redemption and so freaking much love happening... there's nothing like watching your friends be loved the way they deserve to be loved... it still makes me choked up! the the whole wedding was a beautiful effort of the talented, talented wedding party lending their skills to create one of the most insanely beautiful and simple weddings ever. and almost everything was foraged from the property! bougainvillea and eucalyptus, a greenhouse, market lights and a big ol fig tree. and then we danced the night away. vendors tagged! (and i'll post the giant chalkboard seating chart she let me letter soon! i just wanted to post this one first because it gives me the feeeeeels!) also, have you ever seen so many beautiful women in one picture?! lucky to call those ladies my friends. 💕✨ #weddedwalburgs

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being a boss, a mom... a human... is hard. so, some days call for just a little more .......

while i love a good strategy session, i love them even more when i get to take my notes with a paintbrush and my watercolors. // sneaky snap by: @shinabarger // starting monday with a messy bun and a headband. yikes. you ladies know what i mean. 😁 this @patagonia jacket is a new addition to my life and i don't think i've taken it off since i got it two weeks ago. feels like i'm living in a sleeping bag, which is exactly the way i like to do my life. #reallife

i used to re-name certain people in my phone with this when i needed to remember my manners or when i sensed my vulnerable heart might be at risk: choose your words wisely. #lifehacks

hi! my name is ali, in case you have no idea whose feed you're following. 😝.
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here are a few random facts about me, so we feel like real friends.
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1. i can sing-say all 50 states in alphabetical order. if i had been on this season of @bachelorabc and had to present a talent to @higgins.ben, this would undoubtedly be it. and i'd try to find some kind of clothing or cape with sparkles on it. you know, for good measure. this is what happens when both piano and dance lessons are #unsuccessful. #sorrymom.
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2. in middle school, i would mix my own custom nail polish colors and paint my headgear to match my nails. because, obviously, #cool.
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3. i was in plays growing up. once, i was an acrobat/astronaut named yolanda. and another time i was a tree. in little red riding hood. who knew there were trees in that story?!
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3. my mom made me be a Salvation Army bell ringer around the holidays growing up. in eighth grade we had to do 20 hours community service so i convinced all my friends it was the cool way to do community service so i wouldn't have to do it alone.
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4. in high school, i knocked my front teeth out with a tennis racquet. i was showing off, and then i quickly got super-humbled. my mom was a tennis coach at the time, so, horrified, i made her take me to the dentist immediately. she made me show her and apologized through her laughter.
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5. redwoods are my favorite.
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📷:@davidmendozaiii

...true places never are. -melville, 🐋

you've got a warm heart and a beautiful brain....
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 if you need a lesson in COMPLIMENTS 101, this is a ✨really good✨ place to start.
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feel free to screenshot it... and send it to/ tag your 💕crush💕 or BFF 👯 ....you're welcome. 😘😏😘

i didn't need this many renditions of this piece pictured, but it made me think a little bit more about my process. it's always funny to me when people say

i didn't need this many renditions of this piece pictured, but it made me think a little bit more about my process. it's always funny to me when people say "don't overthink it!" or "it's just your handwriting!" or "it'll take you five minutes!" ...because that is so far from how it unfolds in my mind. typically, it looks way more like this mess on the floor. i never know which one will be "the one" until i see it. . i'm an INFP, feeler to the core, artist first, all the rest following. i can't tell you how long a project will take me (sometimes it *actually* is five minutes... but most of the time it's five days. or fifty-thousand versions.) but that's just me and the way i work. i'm not a planner. i like to work out my pieces with a fat stack of paper and a lot of paint rather than a pencil and eraser. maybe you do too. or maybe you don't. and that's okay. . it's taken me a lifetime and a few years of obsessively constant practice to have any idea what i'm doing. it's not that i'm necessarily any more inclined to be good at this than any of you. it's just that once i began lettering i didn't stop. and every day i put pieces up to be reviewed and critiqued by a lot of people. the amazing thing? i never know what'll stick. what'll work or be well received. sometimes it's the five minuters. and sometimes it's the ones i've worked over and over hoping to find a perfect fit. but that's the fun of it. . "generosity: to freely give with nothing in return." // a special project for @shinabarger, who in my year at @plywoodpeople has taught me a lot about generously giving and a lot about being a #boss.

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TEXTS FROM THE ARCHIVE.
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the #textsfromthearchive003 series is a personal project i started over two years ago now, inspired by the words i've actually received from crazy exes, the lovers, the haters, my dearest friends and the randoms alike. these words lend themselves nicely to a wide interpretation, and i hope you'll wonder a little about them. they are written word for word as received. check out the #textsfromthearchive003 hashtag to see the entire series. (and to see how much my lettering has grown over the years 😬).
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my life always seems to be a solid combination of the best and worst luck and truly astronomical odds of the most ridiculous scenarios and situations unfolding. truly too many to count.
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we all have friends like this! tag the friend whose reality show YOU would watch! ✨📺✨

i still have heavy regret about not picking up a pair of these on our new years trip to mexico. i reeeeeallly wanted the white/multicolor ones with the gold/tassels. of course, they didn't have my size and of COURSE i couldn't just get the nude ones after those dream shoes, so i settled for the punched leather grandma-clogs (not pictured) that are only debatably cute/cool. (overhead view: cute! fun!💃✨ side view: meh. dr. scholls 😒👞) beware: i'm still going to wear them, they just look like i'm wearing the coolest orthopedic clogs on the block.🎉

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this is hands-down the best creative advice i've ever heard or read. if you signed up for january's #alimakesmail, it'll be showing up in one of four colors. because it's really important you read and remember this. if you know someone who may need a little creative encouragement, send them this way. it just takes time. and a lot of work.
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. this is hands-down the best creative advice i've ever heard or read. if you signed up for january's #alimakesmail, it'll be showing up in one of four colors. because it's really important you read and remember this. if you know someone who may need a little creative encouragement, send them this way. it just takes time. and a lot of work. . "Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through." -IRA GLASS

few things beat going through film prints. little surprise parties honoring memories that couldve just as easily slipped into the haze... but instead, can now be held in my own two hands. and typically in a tint that feels a little more nostalgic than the way i remember it. this time, every photo came out in shades of bright blue. big sur'll do that to ya, i suppose. the ocean mystifies me. terrifies me. humbles me. absolutely amazes me. if you have the chance, live on an island. read moby dick and in the heart of the sea. see whales. prepare your heart to be forever changed. being by the ocean forces me to recognize this great mystery we play a minuscule part in. and this is why i always wait to get my film developed on a day that i feel like i need a reward. the last few days have been frustrating. filled with errands and monotonous tasks where nothing seemed to work. so today, as i finally crossed a bunch off my list, was a day i needed to be ambushed by time capsule surprise parties. and it didn't disappoint. 🎉✨ #alimakesadventures #aliexplores

sometimes you just know, even before you do Something... that it's going to change your life. that you, and who you are right now, will never be the same after you experience This Thing. i'm going to rwanda with @kulaproject in march, and i already feel this way about it. i'm not sure what to expect, i'm not necessarily giddy over it, but i am walking in with an open heart, and open mind, and i know i'll change: i'm just not sure how. so in that way, it's sort of surreal getting to work with kula project before it's changed me. i know i'll have names and faces and friends to identify along with the title of

it's snowing outside (!!!) and seriously, all of atlanta shut down like the world was ending. i'm not mad about it. i'll totally take a freebie snow day. to prepare, like everyone else, i bought a couple anthro candles and made sure we had wine. oh. and for this month's mail, i finally made a few prints of the Ira Glass

FEAR.
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super excited to be talking a little bit about its role in my life tomorrow morning at #tribecoffeeatl 😁.
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in the meantime, i'd love to hear a little bit about how fear has played a role in YOUR life. personally, creatively, professionally. in what ways has fear propelled you? prohibited you? what does it look like for you? do our fears hold less power if we admit them? what does it look like to actively combat or embrace or dance with fear? is it something you feel you struggle with? what words or practices have comforted or eased your fears?

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because sometimes we all just need a little reminder ............ amirite??

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my dad always warned me to wear

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we live in a wonderland... if we allow it.
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just a little reminder this morning as we go about our day… we are truly bombarded with amazement, but it takes some cultivation and vision to really lean in.
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i used to work at anthropolgie in the area i grew up. i loved when i would work the register so i could play a little game i had

. we live in a wonderland... if we allow it. . just a little reminder this morning as we go about our day… we are truly bombarded with amazement, but it takes some cultivation and vision to really lean in. . i used to work at anthropolgie in the area i grew up. i loved when i would work the register so i could play a little game i had "made up." basically, the idea was to play six degrees of kevin bacon and find a connection or common ground with the person standing in front of me before i had finished ringing them up. i found myself asking how a person's day was going and learning about their kids, high school sports, summer camps, church, coffee shops, work. . i made some really beautiful friendships with strangers who just as easily could've stayed that way. but life is richer for all of us, if only we dig for the treasures around us. . now i play this game when i travel across america. you won't believe how many of us share friends. share the same college or hometown. have lived in the same places or worked the same jobs. i can't tell you how many times i run into people i know while traveling in obscure places. my friends are always amazed how my life seems to all connect in the most absurd of ways... but i really, truly believe it can be that way for all of us, it just takes the vision and effort to see it, cultivate it. we are spider webs of relationships, connections and human experiences and it blows my mind in the best of ways. . so, connect with your world today. do you know what trees are in your yard? do certain songs seem to keep following you lately? certain words? how well do you know your family? have you asked the familiar barista or grocery store checker how they are or where they're from? discover more about a person you work with. each one of these people are fighting their own battles and have more depth and beauty than we could ever know, but it's up to us to discover it. it may make us feel vulnerable to reach out initially, but talking to other humans really is one of the best tools and gifts we have and we will so blessed to remember that. . how do you "forget yourself" and pay attention to the rich world throbbing with treasures?

i rarely catch sunrises... but this felt like a special occasion. spending the early dawn moments so intentionally set the course for the rest of my day. not saying i'm going to make sunrises a practice or anything, but, in the case i'm treehousing again in the future, yeah, sure. because this was prettttty decent. 👌✨.
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 what about you? sunrise or sunset?
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@airbnb #alimakesadventures #aliexplores

have you ever had words show up repeatedly in life? i think there's something to that. it makes me feel like there's some secret to be discovered within those lines. three separate times in the last three days. that's how many times i've seen these words lately. the treehouse I booked in nashville? named the

working for and by yourself can be hard. i'm naturally an overthinker, exhausting every possibility, path or option before making important decisions. and after an extended time of constant warring and advocating for myself within in the same body, i am tired.
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sweet friends of mine have asked me important questions lately...

working for and by yourself can be hard. i'm naturally an overthinker, exhausting every possibility, path or option before making important decisions. and after an extended time of constant warring and advocating for myself within in the same body, i am tired. . sweet friends of mine have asked me important questions lately... "how much of your time do you spend doing creative work vs logistics and operations?" "how are you feeding the resource that is your creativity?" "ali, do you realize you are burnt out?" (to which i snapped my head around, puzzled, to look at the still-lit light in the room 😂😁) it's too easy to get wrapped up in the business, the busyness and forget this simple truth: i am spending my life doing what i love. . so i took myself on a retreat. to get back to the soul of what i do. . just me. and books and music and new pens and paints and fresh notebooks. to a treehouse out of town. i invited a few trusted friends over and asked them to speak into my business. to tell me the truths they see and offer up insight into the ways i may be blinded. these people love me and are chasing what they love as well, so they are some of the "good, but not totally harmless" people in my life. they're not going to simply tell me i'm awesome over a glass of wine, but instead, will help me craft strategy+ structure around the existing instabilities. . i'll be honest, it's always felt tough to "justify" things like this. to believe that a night set apart for restoration and inspiration was worth it. as artists, we get into this work because our hearts are moved. we create as an extension of our souls. and when i look at my creativity as a resource that i need to honor, i realize just how essential these times are for me. i dream about solo time in tiny homes, in cabins in the woods. space+time carved out to let myself breathe+recharge. . and in that same way, let me be that friend asking those questions. standing by you in your pursuit, suggesting that maybe you set aside some time to rediscover your soul and create space for revitalization. . what a gift. and just LOOK at this place. is it not the absolute dreamiest?! #aliexplores #alimakesadventures @airbnb

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whatever it is:
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• tuesday •
• a big meeting •
• a personal project •
• a tough conversation •
• laundry •
• your workout •
• 2016 goals •
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YOU GOT THIS!
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does a friend need to hear this? tag them or send them a screenshot with some encouraging words. :)

i took the

i took the "let yourself rest" advice seriously today. spent my morning walking to coffee w/friends, then gluten-splurging on a locally made cinnamon sugar bagel from the lady selling them on my street. this is becoming a sunday ritual + i love it. i lingered at local book store + scored an old copy of "walden." i went to whole foods. i picked a line where, i swear, the checker was practicing his standup routine. he told the lady in front of me some silly story about his cousin + it ended in a punchline she didn't totally get, instead offering up some advice on chivalry. i snickered, waiting to see if i would be so lucky... and sure enough, as i began paying, i saw him summon up some courage + start in. i was so amusedly inspired by this guy, using where he was, to clearly, practice where he wants to be. with that in mind, i headed over to the art store where i found this notebook. i used to live and die and exist fully in my journals growing up. from sixth grade on, i wanted to be a writer, even interning for our local newspaper... but at some point, post-accident, post-marriage, i just stopped. my words and feelings got too exhausting to examine. and it's been here, actually, that i have slowly rediscovered my love for writing… pushing the envelope on the long caption way before it was generally accepted. getting ugly-honest. i think it's been my way of standing in the check out line practicing my lines on whoever would listen. your responses have challenged me, inspired me; i've laughed + cried at your comments. i'm so grateful for your encouragement; it's wildly unreal to have my words resonating with people all over the world regularly. so i want to honor that. to be faithful to my words + this notebook over the course of the year. the past couple of years, i've realized i largely only documented my adventures on here. isn't it weird we do that? this year, i'll be thirty. i began the year in mexico, (and if all goes as planned) i'll cross off all 50 states (OK/AK) +spend some time in 4 east african countries… by may. it feels like the kind of year i want to hold in my hands + set on the coffee table. hopefully, anyway. ;) #alimakesadventures #aliexplores

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so, it may be sunday evening already...
but there's definitely still time to:
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• make yourself a nice meal •
• take a hot bath •
• read a couple chapters •
• makeout with someone you like/love •
• repaint your nails •
• breathe + stretch at the same time •
• catch up on that show •
• take your vitamins •
• crawl back into bed •
• make some tea •
• justify a self-love purchase •
• call a friend •
• sit in silence •
• escape to the laundry room, turn out the lights, put headphones on and listen to your favorite song and a) have a solo dance party or b) lay down and don't move a muscle for three minutes. •
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why? because (believe it or not, haha) the world CAN and WILL go on without us. and letting ourselves have a little rest is the best thing we can do for ourselves and the world around us.
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HOW HAVE YOU RESTED TODAY?

i was always motivated by deadlines and [not] disappointing people growing up. the night before my junior paper was due, i decided i hated where my paper was going and picked a new topic, got in the car and headed back to the library to find twenty new sources on my new topic. all it took in those days was a disapproving glance from an admired teacher, and it would crush me. turns out, running your own business is kind of like that. the desire to please, to finish projects on a deadline. it can be crazy making to operate this way as a creative first, an entrepreneur second... when i started this thing, it was easy to be motivated and easily create good work. colors and feelings flowed out of me as if they had always been sitting there, just waiting to be asked to play. but at some point, inspiration quits striking. and when that happens, you need a game plan for times like this, because the projects still have deadlines. i've sat staring at my screens for much of this week, hoping to strike creative gold in the middle of the afternoon instead of the middle of the night. but no such luck of course. my dad and his side of the family are big on showing up.

every once in awhile, wouldn't it be awesome to discover directions right smack dab in the middle of our ordinary days? signs that just openly show us the right path? because today, i think i want my life to come with an instruction manual. not every day, but i wouldn't mind it today. how about you? haha!⚠️🚦🚧🔰🚧🚦⚠️

this has been the soundtrack for our shared studio space for several months now. consensus is that we do better work when it feels like a party. and @thisislany definitely makes it a party. ✨🎉✨

the lumineers by way of elie wiesel

i want to be more FEARLESS. i want to be more WHOLEHEARTED. i want to be more ENGAGED with the world right around me. what do YOU want to be MORE of this year?
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last year, i found a pile of fashion sketches all dated from the 80s-90s at a thrift shop. it's possible the artist behind this fierce little lady was over her art-dream... but the work lives on. how could i deny this power pose?!

let me show you a glimpse of one of my

let me show you a glimpse of one of my "failures." i was at home recently and stumbled across these pages in an old sketchbook. for all of the designs that have "worked" there's 17 times as many that didn't. this is an example of an opportunity i didn't want to say no to, even though i knew others were far more qualified for the job. i started feeling inadequate, as if i wasn't legit if i couldn't make it happen. i am a hand letterer. not a calligrapher. i use markers and pens and paint brushes, but i don't play well with nibs. i can't even seem to figure out which way the nib is "supposed to" go. i've actually never learned how. i have the *most* respect for calligraphers... it's incredible. it is a beautiful, precise and timeless craft that i suck at. . that said, there's nothing wrong with saying yes to work that will challenge and grow you... but also, it's totally fine for you to do you and just be good at what you're good at. the things that just naturally happen. seeing these pages made me laugh because i remember how dang stressed i was trying to be something i'm just not. . collective social pressure to "hustle" may tell us otherwise, but we can never be all things to all people. it's exhausting and impossible. this isn't just about calligraphy. it's about life. who we are and what we offer the world is uniquely important and beautiful. and even if we can manage to mimic the aesthetic, we need to know that our own fumbling originals will always be stronger than our attempt to imitate the spirit of something else. creation is a sacred act and there is some kind of purity in searching our souls and splashing them across a page. imitation rings hollow. authenticity isn't a buzzword just "because." it's ATTRACTIVE. . next time, i will leave the calligraphy to a calligrapher + save my "drunk-looking letters" + storms of script for those who love them. it's freeing to know we don't have to be a boss at everything. this made me cringe for a long time, but i love the way this total #letteringfail looks now. it's such a reminder of growth, saying no to the things that aren't a good fit, and making room for those that are.

it was a huge honor to be asked by my former pastor @jarrettstevens from @soulcitychurch in chicago to help create some promo materials for the launch of his new book #foursmallwords! it was also a huge surprise when the best pizza in all of the land- @loumalnatis of course- showed up at @plywoodpeople today!! haha! amazing and super confusing to have this giant surprise package dropped off at my feet. i mean... HAVE YOU HAD LOU'S?! if you have, YOU GET IT.
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i couldn't be more stoked for him and for this book: the culmination of years of hard work... and for the opportunity to throw an impromptu pizza party with my atlanta friends while reminiscing about the good ol chicago days. grateful for that season, the incredible gift it was and for the friendships that have lasted from that time. congrats jarrett! and thank you!! // cc: @amylawlor 🍕💯✨🍕💯✨🍕💯✨

yeah, yeah, now you're just showing off with all those colors, ATL.

whenever i need a kickstart, i pull these paints out. they tell me a thousand stories of past places and pieces with every puddle and wash of color. i read an article recently about color blindness and these new lenses that allow those with that condition to see a full spectrum of vibrant color. i watched the reactions of those whose vision and awareness had suddenly expanded in the most perplexing and mind-blowing of ways... to see that which has been there all along. (😳) and what if LIFE is like that... what if we walk around like we see and know all there is to know... but really, we are existing in a reality that is beyond anything we could ever imagine? this is the closest i can come to understanding faith, or reason, or why some things happen: i cant, and that's okay because i am wholeheartedly in love with the idea that our existence is infinitely more complex and unfathomable than i could ever nail down. and that is pretty freaking awesome.

i could get drunk off all the possibility and potential teeming in a new year. i love the reflection that comes with the closing of one chapter and the gift of a fresh page in the opening of another. i am captivated by this idea of seasons and the way we pass through our existence in this glorious, unfathomable sphere floating in space. i feel like i could live off it. i make big plans and I change my habits. i resolve to do better and be more and expand in all the right ways and minimize in all the healthy ones. i make doctors appointments and finally find the time to take my car in. and then it hits me. it's only the 5th of january and i'm already overwhelmed. obviously, not sustainable. i had to go recalibrate. refocus. remember what is important. if you're like me, waking up today already feeling a little burned out and busted the second week of this fresh new year, this message is for you. (and totally for me) so just know, even if you don't make some huge swooping changes. even if you fail at your new resolutions. even if you just, like, forgot about them. it's okay. slow down. find some steadiness. we don't have to overhaul our lives to find more value or worth. we are already enough. 💕✨

2016, i have a sneaking suspicion you will be the Best Year Yet. i don't mean to be naive, and i didn't say this last year or the year before. im not sure where or how the optimism suddenly appeared... trust me, i'm as startled by it as anyone, but i'm into it.
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this is the year i turn thirty. it just really feels like the culmination of all i've experienced will finally pay off. (whatever that means.) massive failure, crippling heartbreak, unimaginable betrayal and abandonment, incredible luck, unfathomable grace, monsoons of love and stumbling but faithful perseverance and hard work. the last few years have been about grand misadventures, roads winding and rewinding me around the country with whole a lot of hope, and a whole lot of holding on. there's been some treading water, and some making sure i didn't drown, some swinging for the fence and some silence as i have (finally) learned to sit with myself in a still room. i'm settled in. i've been trusting my voice, following my intuition.
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so when something small inside of me prompts me to shift lanes and catch the last exit on the pacific coast, i do it. and when i walk the pier to be present and pay attention to the sea spraying my face, and note the knots in the well-worn wooden planks beneath me, i'm not surprised to look up and catch the most vibrant rainbow. it's the year of engagement. ready. listening. doing.
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i'm listening to

2016, i have a sneaking suspicion you will be the Best Year Yet. i don't mean to be naive, and i didn't say this last year or the year before. im not sure where or how the optimism suddenly appeared... trust me, i'm as startled by it as anyone, but i'm into it. . this is the year i turn thirty. it just really feels like the culmination of all i've experienced will finally pay off. (whatever that means.) massive failure, crippling heartbreak, unimaginable betrayal and abandonment, incredible luck, unfathomable grace, monsoons of love and stumbling but faithful perseverance and hard work. the last few years have been about grand misadventures, roads winding and rewinding me around the country with whole a lot of hope, and a whole lot of holding on. there's been some treading water, and some making sure i didn't drown, some swinging for the fence and some silence as i have (finally) learned to sit with myself in a still room. i'm settled in. i've been trusting my voice, following my intuition. . so when something small inside of me prompts me to shift lanes and catch the last exit on the pacific coast, i do it. and when i walk the pier to be present and pay attention to the sea spraying my face, and note the knots in the well-worn wooden planks beneath me, i'm not surprised to look up and catch the most vibrant rainbow. it's the year of engagement. ready. listening. doing. . i'm listening to "big magic" by @elizabeth_gilbert_writer as i drive today, and it's rocking my world. (go listen) she says "we are meant to engage with inspiration, and inspiration wants to work with us." let us trust that. let us make space for the magic in our lives. let it find us ready and waiting.

those resolutions and goals aren't going to complete themselves! make a step (any step!) toward the place you want to be.

there are few things i love more than ending and beginning my years with people i love. this year's crew: #AdultCampPartDeux, the best and most motley gang of friends around. grateful to find myself amongst them. page two ✅

i'm a dreamer. a strategist. a think big and go bigger kind of person. if you have an idea or a project, i want to talk about it. i live and thrive and get amped on everything about those early days. and that's what a NEW YEAR feels like for me. fresh. full of possibility. we can make it whatever we want! in that same way, i'm the worst person to talk to if you hate your life or need a change. why? because i'll convince you to make some moves. you're not stuck! you! are! awesome! and there are ways to make things happen but they begin with some faith and some action. hate your job? quit! you'll find another! hate your city? move! there's trillions more of those! have some toxic people in your life? let go! start fresh! create a world around you that you love. one that makes you want to get up and get out the door in the mornings. surround yourself with people who choose to love you, support and encourage you! who challenge you, who ask the hard questions with kind eyes and soft voices. say goodbye to the old ends, and open your heart to new beginnings. start today. it's page one.
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ps if you need a place to declare yours, this is a safe place!

the henry miller library in big sur: one of my favorite hidden gem finds of 2015. adding seeing a show here to my bucket list in 2016. and if you know, you know why. has anyone else explored this place?

THANK YOU for supporting my love, my passion and my livelihood this year. every time i feel like i'm in a rut, your words and affirmation inspire me. thank you for allowing me to be a little piece of your lives this year. the most exciting part of this #2015bestnine? i mean, it's not the prettiest of compilations but it's pretty encouraging for me: the majority of these posts are from the last couple of months. it means im still growing. still relevant. in the realest of ways, that's super affirming for me as an artist. it's got me all feeling like

did you order december #alimakesmail? i hope so...... because it was real pretty. and shiny. and my fave @_hibrid was part of it.

if you big sur and don't instagram it... did it even really happen?
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(good glory, this place leaves me speechless, always and forever.) #alimakesadventures #aliexplores

let's say the things we need to hear. keep at it. press on. keep making. keep trying. keep creating. IT'S WORTH IT.
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love these words, a part of a project for @steammbrand,

don't blink. there's only a few days left of 2015. and i'm a firm believer in reflection as a key piece of growth. so here are a few of mine on these last 12 months. i'd love if you'd share some of your reflections with me, i really love learning about you and your life. yes, you. I'M MOST PROUD OF: the way i've leaned in this year. into atlanta. into my business. into my intuition and the person i am. I'VE LET GO: a majority of my guilt about not doing or being

don't blink. there's only a few days left of 2015. and i'm a firm believer in reflection as a key piece of growth. so here are a few of mine on these last 12 months. i'd love if you'd share some of your reflections with me, i really love learning about you and your life. yes, you. I'M MOST PROUD OF: the way i've leaned in this year. into atlanta. into my business. into my intuition and the person i am. I'VE LET GO: a majority of my guilt about not doing or being "enough." and some people along the road who have made unhealthy choices and hurt me. I STILL NEED TO WORK ON: more intentional practices in my life. balance. both figuratively and literally. (go yoga 2016) I FELT SUPER ACCOMPLISHED WHEN: i finished my first half on my 29th birthday! i set a goal and *actually* did it. #praisehands THE SUPPORT OF: my parents, @knjkorver @shinabarger has been really influential this year. A GOAL I HAVE FOR 2016 is: crossing off all 50 states before i turn 30! A BAD HABIT I PICKED UP: having everything delivered to me. 😁 I'M SUPER EXCITED ABOUT: the opportunity to go to rwanda with @kulaproject! i think it's going to shift my soul in ways i can't yet totally understand. I'M GOING TO MAKE TIME FOR: retreat and active restoration. from going on long drives to hiking everyday, yoga memberships and locking myself up in a cabin just to paint... i'm going to be intentional about investing back into myself! NEXT YEAR I WILL: finally clean my car. (just kidding!) HOW ABOUT YOU? answer one, answer all of them... tell me something good! 📷: @davidmendozaiii

spent some time the other morning wide-eyed, in the sacred studio space of the longest-running mentor in my life— my mom's best friend from high school, her bridesmaid, the mother of my first friend. the woman who made me all sorts of treasured things growing up, who held high teas for ten year olds, and encouraged imagination. she's the reason i value handmade creation. she's the creator of the first handwriting i really remember. this woman has become a warrior, is doing the work, lives in wonder and joy, carefully, kindly guiding others. dana ross of @congruity. my soul resonates in your presence.

if you had the chance to go back and prep the YEAR-AGO YOU for the year that lied ahead (2015) ... knowing what you know now... what would you say??
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 i posted something similar last year at this time and it was probably one of my favorite things i've ever posted/done on here. so don't be shy! share with us some of the wisdom you've learned along the way! it will help guide someone else along the trail.
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 if you share this with your community, please use the hashtag #yearendnotetoself so we can join in on the fun and wisdom! (this hashtag shows last year's notes as well if you're wanting more!)

we've had some really beautiful, easy, traditionally picture-perfect years. holiday scenes straight out of a rockwell. but this wasn't one of those. it was weird. a year of letting go of expectations. in some ways sweet, but also, uncomfortable and hard, with tears and frustration beating joy most of it. even in the mess of it, i am grateful. my family is growing, we are changing. i love seeing it and being a part of it. and there's no one else i'd rather be doing the work with. and i'm grateful for grace. that hope showed up small and humble and transformed the place with working hands and an inexplicable love. that's the kind of thing i can believe in and stand strong on, despite the darkest of nights. this was a building year. a stretching year. a growing year. but the coolest thing? we get a chance to start over and do it all again real soon. here's to 2016, our best year yet. // this is my favorite christmas tradition. christmas morning, after a big breakfast, we get all dressed up, anything red or green, sparkly or leopard or otherwise festive is allowed. and then we walk the canyon and take a jumping pic. it's the silliest and best. i love my family. #nelsonfamilycostumesinthecanyon

my sweet friend @evazellmer sent me this pretty little package the other day with the #lyricseriez pieces i ordered! your gift wrapping doesn't have to be super intense... simple is always so pretty! and nothing is simpler than a quick kick flip of bright embroidery floss around the box. add in a simple typewritten note, and BAM. you're holding something totally swoon worthy in your hands.

take twenty minutes today to have some fun with your wrapping! don't feel pressure for it to be perfect. grab whatever's around— the inside of grocery bags, old tissue paper, vintage sewing patterns like this one, shoot, you could even use printer paper or newsprint!- and paint or write a festive message on it. i'm using a super old bottle of acrylic paint i found in my parents attic. don't stress about it if you smear a letter (like that y!), because when you go to wrap your gift, the letters should look like an interesting, abstract pattern!

it was brought to my attention that today is the shortest, darkest day of the year. i mean, sure, i knew that, but the way she said it transformed it for me. if you find meaning in symbolism as i do, this is significant. not to get too depresso, but it kind of makes sense that the holidays align with this season. that we celebrate hope and light showing up in the darkest of times. for many of us, the holidays bring with them a lot of turmoil. the heart wrenching tension of darkness and celebration, expectation and generosity- painful and maddening reminders that our families and lives are not as we've hoped. typically, it's usually some uncomfortable, off-balance equation of both. it can be a siren sounding that our families do not know us as intimately as we wish, that the people we love most are deeply flawed, and that, apparently, we don't have it all together after all. these epiphanies manifest in broken traditions, broken promises, sharp words and hot salty tears. this year has been an

it was brought to my attention that today is the shortest, darkest day of the year. i mean, sure, i knew that, but the way she said it transformed it for me. if you find meaning in symbolism as i do, this is significant. not to get too depresso, but it kind of makes sense that the holidays align with this season. that we celebrate hope and light showing up in the darkest of times. for many of us, the holidays bring with them a lot of turmoil. the heart wrenching tension of darkness and celebration, expectation and generosity- painful and maddening reminders that our families and lives are not as we've hoped. typically, it's usually some uncomfortable, off-balance equation of both. it can be a siren sounding that our families do not know us as intimately as we wish, that the people we love most are deeply flawed, and that, apparently, we don't have it all together after all. these epiphanies manifest in broken traditions, broken promises, sharp words and hot salty tears. this year has been an "in between" for my family. we are working towards wholeheartedness, stability in mental and emotional health, boundaries, our voices. it's a stellar, beautiful thing, but the "getting there" is not pretty. it means lists of "feeling word families" so we can learn to better communicate and counseling sessions where we all leave with red puffy eyes. it means holidays in hotels and new, non-traditional traditions. it means our "big gift to each other this year are grace and forgiveness and inexplicable love. i'm so grateful to see feeds full of festivity and families, warmth and generosity, everything dressed up and all aglow. instagram is a beautiful platform for sharing and showcasing community and art. just make sure to keep in mind that behind every face in your feed is a intricate, fantastically complex system of memories and moments, magic and madness, heart break and hallelujah. we are all in this wonderful life together, and the best gifts we can give to each other are peace, love, and grace amongst the grit. wishing you and yours peace and joy and all the good things going into these next few days. #laketahoe

i wrote this out about five moves ago; it's seen some stories since then. and some coffee splattering, apparently. i typically re-find it again in seasons of change. this round, i feel grateful to have a space that will make coming back so easy. this time of year typically brings a lot of change for me. if you find yourself in that place, i hope you can find peace and gratitude. life is made up of seasons, and we've been lucky to have some good ones. and lucky in a different way for those struggle-city seasons; the ability to learn and grow and move on and move past. let us be grateful for that which makes the missing mean something. and for that which makes the living something special. are chapters closing for you as we finish up 2015? new and exciting seasons unfolding in 2016? share em!

what does this look like in your life? spill your tips and tricks so we can learn from you! a couple of mine? riding my bike. running to music. being in a hammock. hiking. finding an internal place of awe-filled reverence. going to counseling. what are some of yours?

december's #alimakesmail is SO good. and so gold. and so green. and copper! AND a couple of @_hibrid's collab pieces make the PERFECT gift tags. i've already swiped a couple. 😍 hustle if you want in before they're all gone! look for the item called OLD NEWS. (link in profile)

this is one of my favorite bits of wisdom from my dad. he's the most honest, most consistent, hard working man of integrity, love and generosity i've ever known. i don't say that just because he's my dad. he's legitimately remarkable. and awe-strikingly humble. he's ridiculously good at whatever he puts his mind to. farming. flying. family. building homes. balance. we recently ran the turkey trot 5k in dana point, and let me say this: i have approximately zero memories of my father running prior to this moment... and that's why he absolutely killed (😂) me with his refusal to walk more than once. i later called him stubborn and he looked at me and said something along the lines of

a couple years ago someone commented

our grit is oftentimes the exact thing that gifts us our greatest treasure and transcendence.
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you guys know how pearls are made, right? the most valuable ones are called