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November 16, 2014

Goodbye Fear

If you've been here for a while, you know I've dealt with my fair share of fear over the past year

The fear of becoming who I deeply am. 

The fear of expressing my true self and sharing it with the world of online.

Uncovering the true shape of my soul has been spiritually satisfying and scary at the same time. Does this make any sense at all?

I've wanted this blog to be the catalyst for my creative journey, and I've shared various creative pursuits and personal stories here. 

Why do I share them, you may ask?

Because you never know what possibilities might open up when you give and share. 

I believe that everyone has a story to tell and we're meant share our story. As ordinary as it may seem, there might be someone out there who needs our story. 

This has been the place for me to share my story. I'm so grateful you've taken the time to visit here. Thank you.

After almost a year of creating, writing, sharing, and finally realizing what makes me come alive, I've reached another milestone recently and I'm excited about it: 

My constant creative companion, fear, has finally let go of my hand. 

My fear and I've had a life-long companionship.

As long as I could remember, I was always creating something, whether it was drawing, painting, or carving wood. It didn't matter what it was as long as I was using my imagination. I would come home from school, eat a quick snack, and spend the rest of the afternoon turning my vision into reality.

But there was something that frustrated me even as a child. Something I knew was holding me back creatively. I felt as if I couldn't come out of this invisible shell - the shell that forced me to draw a small picture on a big piece of paper, all neatly contained. I hated it. I wanted to break free from it and go wild, but I couldn't.

I'm finally breaking free from the shell of fear.

Face the fear and do it anyway. This has been my mantra over the past year. Dreaming and planning how to turn my dream into reality has been fun and absolutely necessary. But I've learned that taking action is where the true magic happens. (And taking this course has pushed me to take the actions I was afraid to take otherwise.)

I am finally free and it feels great.

Now, I'm ready to create.

November 8, 2014

What Do You Think?

Hello everyone! 

Did you notice some of the changes I've made on the blog lately? This blog is currently undergoing a major overhaul.  

Okay, it's probably not that major, but it sure feels that way. 

I now have a menu bar under the banner, although they are not linked to any pages yet. On the right sidebar, you can find social media buttons where you can connect with me outside of this blog. My husband, Steve, has been working on making those changes, and I can't be grateful enough. He's my hero!

I just created my Instagram account and facebook page a couple of days ago, so they are still in their infancy. But I'm looking forward to growing them and growing with them, and I hope you'll be part of this exciting journey. 

I'm going to make a few more changes on the blog over the weekend as part of Blogging Your Way course I've been taking. It's been a little overwhelming to do this much in such a short amount of time. But then, I have to remind myself that change is good.

I just have to remember to pace myself a little, slow down and take a deep breath.

* * *
Today, I have something I wanted to ask you. 

If you've noticed, there is a link on the menu bar that says "shop." I've been thinking about selling my artwork, both originals and some prints on Etsy. 

The truth is, holding onto the finished artwork is keeping me from becoming a better artist. Instead of cherishing and marveling what I've already done, I want to push myself and try something new.

I'll be honest. It probably won't be easy for me to let many of them go, but I don't want to stay where I am today. I want to be the best artist that I can be. And I believe that my best is yet to come. 

I'm also interested in creating more pieces that I can turn into prints, like this one.

I think it will be a fun way to practice illustrations for my children's book project

So, what do you think? Is selling my artwork online a good idea or not so good? Any thoughts or encouragement? I'm curious. 

In the meantime, let's hang out here:
Pinterest - @yukojones
Like my Facebook page?
Instagram (I only have a few photos, haha!) - @studioyukojones

Have a wonderful weekend!

October 31, 2014

What I Learned in October

Happy Halloween!

What are your plans for today? Are you going trick-or-treating, going to a Halloween party, or perhaps staying at home watching a scary movie?

I have a full day ahead of me today, and I am ready (hopefully) to rock and roll! 

Anyway, today is the last day of October. That means I'm going to share what I learned this month. Are you ready?
 * * *
1. I have the best blog friends and readers.
Thank you so much for the comments you've left on my mood boards

Getting your feedback helped me see the messages I'm sending you over the screen. After reading your comments here, I realized that my blog friends feel the same way with my friends and family I know in person. I think that's a good sign. Perhaps I'm getting close to finding my authentic writing voice. So exciting! 

no. 3 got the highest vote

2. I guess I'm a "peachy" person. 
Growing up, I wasn't much of a pink girl. My mom preferred red/navy/yellow over pink, so I don't remember wearing many pink clothes when I was little. When I was working on the mood boards, I was surprised that I was drawn to warm pink. As it turned out, some of you associate me with this color, too. Life is full of surprises, in the best possible way, of course.

3. When you're learning something new, taking a class is a great idea. 
If you are new to something and you want to be good at it, why not take a class and learn from the the best? That's exactly how I felt when I decided to take the blog course

I knew it was going to be a great class, but it's been a mind blowing experience to say the least. Look at the mood board above. I would've never come up with anything like that unless I took the plunge and enrolled in a class. I'm also happy that now I know how to use Photoshop.

4. Sometimes it takes something scary to make you realize what really matters.

5. My 3-year-old always wants to be the same thing as his big bother for Halloween. 
Two years ago, they were the "lawn mowing guys," and a year ago, clowns. This year, they're going to be superheros. My 5-year-old is going to be Spider Man and the 3-year-old decided to be Batman. But after much contemplation, the little Batman regretted not choosing "Cider man." (That's how he says Spider man.) 

You can be "Cider Man" next year, honey :)

I have to get going now, but I hope you have a fantastic weekend no matter what your plans are!

* * *
Today I'm sharing with Emily at chatting at the sky. 

October 28, 2014

My First Mood Boards Ever!

Happy Tuesday! 

I tried something new over the weekend and I'm so excited that I couldn't wait to share it with you: 
I made my very first mood boards - three of them - using Photoshop for the first time (!) 

Learning the very basics of Photoshop impromptu was a little tricky, but my husband (ex-IT guy) gave me a quick lesson and that really helped. 

This was part of the blog course I'm taking right now, and I was supposed to identify my seasonal personality and create a board that reflects the aesthetics I want for my blog. 

And these are the three boards I came up with. I'm hoping you can help me decide which one suits me the best :)

no. 1
This is the first board I created. I really like the overall tones, but I wasn't sure about the pale yellow.

no. 2
I eliminated the pale yellow from the above board and added teal and more golden mustard to give it a little more Autumn feel.

no. 3
And I had to make the third one just of course. I really like this palette too.

I want this blog to feel Creative + Imaginative + Inspirational + a little Nostalgic when you come to visit here.

I've been working on honing my writing voice for almost a year now (and still in progress - it's a lot of work!). But this is the first time I'm actually paying attention to the visual aspect of this place. I'm hoping to connect the visual aesthetics with my writing voice, and have them carry the messages in a cohesive way.

So, what do you think? Which board carries those messages the best? Which one do you prefer?

I'd love to know what you think. 

* * *
no.1: From top left clockwise: Feather + flowers {La Dolce Vita} , Tablescape {LJ Designs}, Mustard {Design Seeds}, Spread love quote, Coffee sign {Clement Coffee}, Succulent {Source Unknown}, Color Palette {The Perfect Palette}, Green lemonade (hello naomi}, Dream quote, Eggs {Martha Stewart}, Flowers {Reverie Design}.

no.2: Tablescape {Lauren Brooks}, Scarf {Nothernly},Teal succulents {Abby Powel},
Color Palette {The Perfect Palette}.

no.3: From top left clockwise: Succulents + flowers {Source Unknown}, Feathers {A well traveled woman}, Tangerine {Design Seeds}, Eucalyptus (Source Unknown}, Flowers in wood box {100 Layer Cake}, Color Palette {Source Unknown}, Sage Table Setting {rip + tan}, Shoes {Mod Cloth}, Purse {The Perfect Palette}, Bonjour {Montana Rose Painter}. 

October 25, 2014

I Believe

Hello everyone!

While I was working on my blog profile, I came up with a list of things that I believe.

Writing about myself has been a lot harder than I expected, and as you know, I've procrastinated almost a year to work on this part of my blog. 

Making this list gave me a better picture of who I am today, at this season of my life. It's fascinating to see how my priorities have changed over the past several years. I definitely didn't feel that using our fine china for everyday meals would be a good idea when I got married 7 years ago! 

It's a bit random thing to post but I thought it might be fun to share it with you. So here we go!

* * * 
I believe that floppy wildflowers are more beautiful than a store bought bouquet of flowers, especially when your little one picked them just for you.

I believe in using our good china everyday.
I believe in celebrating small achievements and milestones in life. 

I believe when you have a partner in crime, taking a risk is a little less scary.

Found this Halloween picture from 10 years ago!

I believe that you don't fail until you give up or unless you don't learn from mistakes.

I believe that being unique and a bit weird is a sign of being truly yourself.  

I believe that belly giggles can mend a broken heart.

photo credit: Linda Jones

I believe there is always time for a hug or a cuddle with your loved ones.

I believe in the power of homemade meals.  

I believe that kids learning how to build a fort is as important as learning ABCs and 123s. 

I believe all of us are created with a unique set of gifts, and we are meant to share our gifts with the world.

I believe that everyone has a story to tell. And we are meant to share our story with others, because as ordinary as it may seem, there is someone out there who needs your story

I believe that you are the happiest when you follow your heart and pursue your dream, no matter what anyone else thinks.

"Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure."
- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

* * *
I feel happy when I go through my list, and I think it's a good sign. It probably means that I am on the right track on my journey. Listening to your heart and following your dream is a process, and it's not always easy. But it doesn't mean that we can't make it fun. Don't you agree? 

I wonder what your list would look like and also make you feel like when you read it. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

October 22, 2014

What I've been up to lately

It's been a while since I last posted, but I'm still here!

Since I publicly announced my dreams and where my heart is right now in the previous post (am I the only person who does this?), I thought this might be a good time to reflect on my goals and restructure my life in general, including this blog. 

I've been a stay-at-home mom over the past six years and I am now transitioning into a new phase: work-at-home mom! I still want to be a full time mom when the boys are around, so most of my creative work needs to be done while they are at school and before they wake up in the morning. 

I'm so excited about this transition and I wanted to make this experience the best possible. So I decided to take a blog course that will help me embark on a new phase of life, and it's been an amazing experience to say the least.

I want to blog with purpose and I want this place to be the catalyst for my creative endeavor. I couldn't ask for a better teacher than Holly Becker of decor8 to help me achieve my goals.
decor8 e-courses

This blog course has truly been a blessing to me because I'm learning literally everything I needed to know from Holly and her fellow instructor, Fiona Humberstone. They are entrepreneurs in their own creative fields and they're generous about sharing their expertise and wisdom with us students. I love that their main focus is how to build a creative business based on your passion, instead of how to build your blog audience. Building an audience is well, of course important, but that shouldn't be the drive. 

I write this blog because I want to share what I'm passionate about with other people. And turning my passion into a career may not be easy, but I'm going to give it a shot.

So far, I've learned how to write a knock-out bio (which is coming soon on the blog!), how to brand a creative business using the color psychology and more. Later, they'll talk about storytelling for bloggers, and as you probably know I'm all about storytelling! I can't wait for the next lesson. 

I really needed to restructure the foundation before moving forward on this journey, so I'm feeling great about this extra step I'm taking right now. It's also so much fun to learn something new.

Have you taken any classes to learn something new lately? 

October 11, 2014

One in a Million

I've had this pain on the left side of my chest for quite some time. The pain used to come and go, but it has become persistent over the past few days, spreading all over my left shoulder and arm. 

I found myself sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office yesterday morning, feeling small and nervous, while waiting for my name to be called. 

I wasn't scared, but it would be a lie if I say I wasn't worried. What if I had something serious? What if something happens to me and I would leave my boys motherless. These thoughts kept circling in my head. 

Then a phrase floated into my mind out of nowhere, "It's not my time yet."

My gynecologist didn't find any lumps in my chest. But the phrase continued to echo in my mind, louder than before: "it's not my time yet." 

If it's not my time yet, what's left for me to do? What are the things that still need to be done while I'm here on earth? I started to have this quiet conversation with myself on the way back home from the doctor's office.

I discussed with my husband, too, about the things I wanted to pursue and who I wanted to become. During the conversation, Steve blurted out, "but that's one in a million. It's impossible to make a living like that." That stirred something up inside of me and I cried.  

I want to be that one in a million. 

I want to be a children's book author. I want to create stories that makes a difference in the lives of others. I want to run a creative business and financially support my family.

I want to be that one in a million. 

I want to move towards my dreams even when they appear to be out of reach. I want to believe in myself and believe in the gifts God has planted inside of me.

I want to be that on in a million. 

I want to live each day with purpose. I want to wake up in the morning excited to face the day's adventure instead of dragging the tired body out of bed so that I can cross off the never ending to-do list. I want to be the person I deeply am and live up to my fullest potential.  

When I decided to come to America to study psychology, some people tried to convince me not to do it. Some said I was being unrealistic, and one professor even refused to write a letter of recommendation for me. He didn't believe in me. He didn't think I could do it.

But if I gave into the fear and voices of others around me, I wouldn't have attained my degrees in psychology and human development. I wouldn't have had a chance to work in the field of early childhood research and found out that the path was not meant for me. I wouldn't have become as invested into empowering children and helping them unlock their potential as I am today.

Just because it's not easy to pursue and there's no set path laid in front of me, it doesn't mean that it's impossible. So I politely decline all the "be realistic" advice that comes my way. Then I turn to my dream and start taking baby steps toward my goals.

I know I can reach the stars, even from this humble and small beginning of where I am today. I'm not sure if writing children's books will be part of my career, as I know life can take a different path from your original plans. But I can't keep running from it and letting the fear hold me back anymore. I need to give it a try and see where it takes me.

Sometimes it takes a pain in the chest to make you realize what really matters. Those unexpected, not-so-lovely things can be blessings in disguise.

I believe I can be that one in a million, who lives life to its fullest.
I believe you can be that one in a million, too. 

What are your dreams?

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