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Who Is Your Brain Crush?

I have never been one to be too fond of Valentine’s day so please don’t expect a sappy post. That being said… One of my favorite authors popped in to Westlake HS yesterday and I have to say that I had a case of “brain crush”. And, yes Melissa Johnson**, I am totally “stealing” your phrase and running with it. 

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** Melissa Johnson is my sister-in-law and I adore her art journaling and mixed media. For her birthday, I gave her Austin’s first book and she fell in love with it. So she was a wee bit bummed that she had to live through my brush of literary awesomeness from afar and through a series of texts, tweets, and pics (like the one below). Ah… but I digress. :/

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If you haven’t read Austin Kleon’s books “Steal Like an Artist” or “Show Your Work”, I have to say that there is really a little bit in there for everyone whether you are an artist, blogger, or educator. I have compiled a few of my favorite quotes below and uploaded them to my TechChef Quotables Flickr album.

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And No, Austin did not think it was creepy that I created a Lego figurine in his image… (or at least he was kind enough not to say so to my face 😉 )

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Nothing is Wasted

If there was one thing I can tell you that I really took away from his talk as well as the conversations we had during his signing, it is that “nothing is wasted” (a phrase Carolyn Foote used to describe Austin’s tales). Austin mentioned that he had a stint as a research librarian and that his mom was at one point a HS principal. What I find so interesting about this is that many times the things that we do, the hobbies we have, and the seemingly random jobs we take inadvertently form the person that we are. I would have never have dreamed that my days as a HS journalist, my college course in Advertising, or even the two years I spent as a Regional Manager for Computer Explorers would have been so influential in weaving the path that I am on and to be truthful… the job that I have (both in and out of school). What I find so fascinating is that sometimes when I become stressed (I am Type A so this unfortunately happens more often that not) I relax and listen to music or do something seemingly unrelated to the task at hand and in losing myself… I always tend to find myself. Truly… nothing is wasted when it contributes to the fabric of your personality!

Original Mixed Media Collage by Melissa Johnson

Original Mixed Media Collage by Melissa Johnson

Smitten Your Surroundings

So beyond realizing that our past seeps in to our present in weird, insanely relevant, and empowering ways… I also felt really inspired. I am a total sucker for art… mixed media art to be exact. I love the melding of old and new and the idea of seeing something that wasn’t there before (sorry for the Beauty and the Beast reference). Austin mentioned Tom Phillips and his book “The Humument” which was referred to on Amazon as the “the closest a paperback book has come to being an art object.” I immediately added it to my Amazon cart – I love when art and literature blend in such an unexpected way.

I try to surround myself with things that inspire me. Truly it isn’t always a pin or a twitter feed… sometimes it is a conversation with a friend or art from my two boys. As we dive head first in 2015, don’t forget to surround yourself with those things that bring you joy… many times they bring you insight and inspiration too.

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Who is Your Brain Crush?

I typically don’t leave my blogs with a challenge but this time I feel it is very fitting. I challenge you to do 3 things this weekend (between the chocolates and flowers):

  • Determine your “Brain Crush”: that person that inspires and rejuvenates you with their words and ideas (whether spoken or written). 
  • Shine a Spotlight on Your Not-So-Random Past: consider the jobs and hobbies that you have had – what aspects of each have been integral in making you successful in your current job or realm?
  • Smitten Your Surroundings: I made it a real point this year to redesign my home office… more aptly my cloffice (as pictured above) in to a place that I found to be deeply intriguing and yet strangely calming. Think about the things that inspire and rejuvenate you (whether they be colors, art, books, quotes, mementos…) and bring some of them in to the places you work.

If you are so inclined to share any insight on these 3 challenges – the TechChef would love to hear more from you here…

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