Blessed Mabon! Some Reflections & Gratitude.

Happy Mabon!

The circle is open but never broken.
Merry meet, merry meet, and merry meet again. 🍄

Happy Mabon my friends and blessed be. Today (last night) marks the beginning of my favorite time of the year: Fall! It is the Autumn Equinox and as the Crone begins her transformation, I can’t help but feel this is my own transformation, for better or worse. Today the wheel turns towards a longer night and shorter day, giving our minds more time to reflect on balance, healing, and letting go of the things behind us.

Today is a very personal day of celebration and contemplation. I sat at my alter and meditated for awhile on what it all means to me. This time last year I was just now discovering how sick I was getting and realizing that this drastic change to my life was only beginning. September marks 1 year of unemployment, 9 months of being dependent on my wheelchair, and what feels like a lifetime of questions that my doctors are still struggling to find answers for. It’s been a frustrating year of disappointments and scary uncertainties. But through it all, I have found light and stability in my friends and family. Today I turn my mind to celebrating the people who have been there through my heartaches and body aches, who have kept me company while dizzy from medications, who have held me in their arms while I cry at the unfair changes my body has made. From cuddly Xena marathons, braiding my hair, sending me cheer up songs, playing board games or DnD, and a thousand other things, my friends have wrapped me up in their love and have made sure I never feel alone. Today I celebrate them and reflect in the gratitude I feel for the balance they bring my life. I love you all so much. Thank you for your kindness and unwavering support and understanding.

Mabon AlterMabon Alter

My alter is ready for Autumn and so am I. I continue to take my life one day at a time and I put my faith in my friends and my Gods and myself. Today I will work to find balance and acceptance as this old Crone moves forward with renewed vigor.

Blessed be. 🍎🍂✨

Love wins!
For the last few months, my feelings about marriage were conflicting. Wait, let me say that better. My feelings about my sudden newfound ability to get married were conflicting. I had only been in relationships with women for about nine years before Jake came along (and yes, I realize I haven’t updated in almost a year – A LOT HAS CHANGED). I always thought that if I were to get married, it would be to a woman I love. Therefore, marriage wasn’t something we could have without a fight. When Jake asked me to marry him back in April, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I wanted to, but it came with a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I slowly began to recognize as guilt. All of a sudden, I had a right that I hadn’t had for a long time, simply because I was with a man. I hated how easy it had suddenly all become. There was (and still is) a lot of identity struggles over my now seemingly hetero-looking relationship, but this is what brought me the most guilt. But just because I now found myself with the law on my side didn’t mean I would stop trying to change that law. And when Jake and I started planning our wedding, we immediately started incorporating LGBT-support into it – we found equal rights stickers to put on tables, rainbow ribbons for guests to wear, and we were going to put out tip jars to nonprofits working to improve the rights of queer couples. We are still planning on doing as much as we can, but there’s a huge difference now.

Love won. Love won and now every couple can walk through those doors and marry the partner of their choosing, regardless of gender. I woke up to texts and emails and just lay in bed sobbing because I didn’t believe this would happen. I’d grown cynical over the years and didn’t actually think it would happen. But it did. Nothing will change in regard to the support we will show at our wedding, but the knowledge that love has won this day will make our day that much more special. I may not be in a same-sex relationship anymore and maybe some think this should no longer matter to me like it did before, but it does. In a way, it matters to me even more now because in no way was my last relationship of six years with my girlfriend (and domestic partner) less legit than my relationship with my fiancé now. I remember being with my girlfriend and crying over how unfair it was. And when Jake and I started planning out our wedding, it hurt over how easy everything was – how unjust that we could just do this because we LOOKED like a straight couple. I love him with all my heart but it wasn’t fair that suddenly I could have this just because he’s a man. It made me angry – angrier than I had ever been about marriage before. It wasn’t fair. I’m still as queer as I was before I met him and I vowed to never give up on this fight.

And now we won. The battle has been won. The fight is far from over, but today, love won out. And this right to get married and be recognized is shared by all couples. My heart is so full this morning. I don’t think I can adequately explain all the feelings I have inside but today I feel whole. I should not have doubted. I am so glad that the Supreme Court proved me wrong and that there is more good in the world and in our justice system than I gave them credit for. It is a good reminder.

Love Wins!

Today love won. Love is genderless and fluid and beautiful and now it is recognized. I think today I am going to spend some time working on our wedding site in celebration. Rainbows and glitter and unicorns for everyone!!

There is a tag going around and I’ve seen it both here on Facebook and on Twitter in different variations but its ultimate goal is the same. Too many people do not understand depression. Too many people feel that they have not been exposed to depression and therefore it does not affect them. The problem is simple – depression isn’t something we talk about. It is the very nature of this disease to keep silent, to hide, to keep to ourselves, to close the curtains and withdraw into the dark and lose ourselves to the black comfort of sleep. Talking about depression brings on doubt, ridicule, disbelief. A shake of the head, a laugh, as people don’t take you seriously, don’t understand you – they don’t know what it’s like to look into that bleak, welcoming, hole that is depression and to fall into it and stop caring. To stop living. They don’t know. And they don’t care to know. So we keep silent.

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society

But the death of Robin Williams – something I have yet been able to get myself to talk about or acknowledge – has sparked a sudden social media storm of people suddenly willing to fight to be seen and heard. In his last act of making us better people, Robin Williams has given us the ability to speak. To raise our voices and to say that he is not alone. That we are not alone. People have taken to Facebook and Twitter with the hashtags #depression, #depressionlies, #thisiswhatdepressionlookslike, #depressionkills, #depressionawareness all with the intent to bring light to this disease. To show those people who believe they are unaffected by depression that at some point in their life – they have been. They have friends, family, lovers, who are quietly suffering – loved ones who have never spoken up. Until now.

Yesterday I said, quietly, “It’s always the happiest ones who hide the darkest feelings.” A friend laughed and jokingly said, “Does that mean we have to worry about you?”

It made me realize that there are a lot of people who have no idea how much I’ve fought against it. How much I still fight, despite my ability to find amusement in anything. Yes, I am quick to laugh. Yes, I love to make people smile and I love being the picture of ridiculous silliness. And while that IS me, there’s also more than what you see. So I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone and sharing with you a little story. The picture below was taken of me in 2008. I look pretty happy right? Well I was. At least at that moment.

nikki-depressed

The moment captured in this photo is a hard one for me to talk about. In fact it’s been really hard to write this through tears as I remember this day and the ones surrounding it. It was the first day I was allowed to leave the behavioral unit at the hospital. In fact, it was the first day I had left the hospital entirely after trying to kill myself. I had locked my dorm room and taken an entire bottle of prescription pills and waited to die. I very nearly succeeded and while I don’t remember anything leading up to the ambulance ride to the hospital, I do remember being in the hospital and the pain and sickness that came with recovering. I remember being angry because I had failed. I remember being devastated that now I had to see the faces of the people who knew what I had tried to do. Most of all I remember the regret that I was still alive.

Even after I recovered from the physical pains, they kept me in the rehab unit in a separate building for awhile while I tried to get over the emotional pains. I kept a journal while I was there and it’s really hard for me to even look at it now, though I’ve kept it with me through the years as a reminder. After the hospital and rehab center, came the local behavioral house where I also started therapy before moving back on campus and seeing a counselor, a therapist, and a psychiatrist all at once. I withdrew from that semester at college and holed myself up into my own little world, trying desperately to claw my way out of the pit I had dug for myself.

That picture was the first time I got to go home. I was allowed only an hour off site from the hospital unit I was confined to. The first thing I did was visit my dog. That’s Spunky greeting me in that picture. I AM happy. I am happy because I honestly thought I had said my final good-bye to him and I was surprised by how relieved I felt to see him again. How glad I was to feel his tongue on my face because he was so happy to see me he couldn’t contain himself. And it felt good to be loved so much. This picture shows the first time I felt regret for what I tried to do, and the relief that I was still alive.

It was a really long road to recovery. And to be honest. I’m still not recovered. In fact, a little over two years later, I tried to kill myself again and landed once again in the hospital. Depression isn’t something that can be fixed with a few pills and a bunch of happy memes (though they can help). It’s a constant battle. It’s a fight to live. It’s a fight to wake up in the morning and breathe and it’s a fight to find happiness in the world when so many things seem so bad. When you’re in that mindset, in that downward spiral of feeling worthless, useless, dead – it’s hard to get out and remind yourself that depression does lie. It LIES. It is a battle. But, and this might sound cheesy and cliche, it DOES get better. The more you fight, the more you start really living and stepping outside your routine of just going through the motions, the more you open your eyes, the more good days you will actually have. The more light there will be on the other side of that dark tunnel.

happydoor

Maybe I’m a hypocrite – I still fight every day. I try to do small things to keep me going. I call the door to my bedroom my “Happy Door” – every time I’m sad, I doodle a picture on a post-it note of something that makes me happy and I put it on that door. It’s now covered in small, colorful pieces of paper and it makes me happy every time I look at it. I made a playlist with nothing but happy songs that I make myself listen to when I feel down. When I’m dangerously close to horrible thoughts, I make plans with my friends so I’m not alone. I play the ukulele. I beat up villains in video games. I draw. I go to the dog park even though I no longer have a dog. I try to put myself into happy situations as much as I can because I know that I can’t do this alone. I can’t fight it when I’m by myself, with the covers over my head.

Taking that first step is the hardest part. Taking action is against everything your depression tells you to do. But depression lies. When it says you can’t do something, tell yourself YOU CAN. When it says you aren’t good enough, tell yourself YOU ARE. When it tells you that you will never be happy again, tell yourself YOU WILL BE. I am fighting too. I am with you. You are not alone. I am not alone. WE are not alone. THAT is why it is so important to speak up. To use this time when the world seems to be suddenly sitting up and listening to act and to say that this disease, this horrible horrible disease that kills so many people, needs to be acknowledged and that EVERYONE has in some way or form been touched by it. Don’t ignore it. Don’t sweep it under the rug. Don’t roll your eyes when someone tells you they’re depressed and need help. Reach out your hand and take theirs and tell them you will do everything you can to help them. Even if you don’t understand it. Just tell them you’re there for them. Because sometimes, that’s all we want. To not feel alone.

We are living, breathing beings made of stardust and particles of forgotten galaxies. We are here for a purpose and in this short blink of a lifespan, we are given the opportunity to change the world. We are given the ability to make others smile and laugh and cry and live and we owe it to ourselves to sing and dance and LIVE. I am telling you this as much as I am telling myself. Because I am still fighting this every single day. But it’s worth it. Because you matter. I matter. This life we are living matters, to every single person around us.

“All things by immortal power,
Near or far,
Hiddenly
To each other linked are,
That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling of a star…” – Francis Thompson

Nobody is untouched by depression. We are all connected. So this is my story and I’m sharing it with you all in order to bring awareness to those who think they are untouchable. And to hopefully help those too afraid to share their stories – who are too afraid to believe that they are not alone. You’re not. I’m here. We are here. We are in this together.

Please keep fighting. You can do it. I believe in you.

don’t grow older. grow bolder.

be bold

I woke up at seven this morning and couldn’t get back to bed. I had this weird urge to get out of the house so I took Rose on a walk around the block. I love how quiet my neighborhood is in the morning and also how friendly. There were two older women working in a garden by the sidewalk, chatting as they dug into the ground. They greeted us warmly and went back to the conversation. As we were passing I heard one of them say, “Don’t grow older. Grow bolder.” I stopped in my tracks, turned around, and told her that was the best thing I’d ever heard. I think she could see on my face that it really had made an impact because she stood up, came over to me, and gave me a big hug. “It took me 70 years to learn that. Start now while you’re still young and you’re gonna change the world.” I thanked her and hugged her again (and tried not to lose it). Walking back home, I felt like my whole body was filled with electricity.

Every single thing in this universe happens for a reason. Today is going to be an amazing day.

Positivity Challenge! Day 04: Movies and Turtles!

For the month of March, I’m taking part in the awesome Positivity Challenge over at the Personal Excellence blog and thought I would share my thoughts here. Please go and join and do this as well. The more who take part, the more positive energy is put into the world. And the world could always use more positive people.


OH MY GOSH ME AND KEVIN EASTMAN!

Day 04 Question

What Is Your Favorite Movie? And Why?

SO MANY ANSWERS! Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin, so here’s a list. In no particular order.

The Last Unicorn because it’s beautiful and epic and an amazing adaptation of the book.
Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy because of the same reasons as above.
The Dark Crystal because Brian Froud and Jim Henson are gods and the most amazing storytellers.
Anything by Miyazaki. ANYTHING. Look him up if you don’t know who he is. The man is a genius.
The Little Prince because again, amazing adaptation of the book and Gene Wilder is the perfect fox.
All Don Bluth movies. Nothing says “childhood” like Don Bluth.

And oh so many more than I’m going to kick myself for later for not remembering.

One Positive Thing from Today

A few weeks ago, I won weekend passes to STAPLE!, a indie comic convention here in Austin. I’ve been before so I was excited to go again. This time, for one main reason: KEVIN EASTMAN. That’s right. You heard me. Kevin Eastman, creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, was going to be there. And he was! And he did not disappoint! I dragged Ash to his Q&A which was awesome, and then made her stand in line with me afterward so I could get my TMNT issue signed. Not only did he sign it, but he also sketched a turtle on it, AND was gracious enough to take a picture with me. After I announced to him that when I was eight years old I dressed as Mikey for Halloween.

I didn’t tell him that I had turtle sheets when I was younger. That might have been embarrassing. In any case, I got to meet and hug Kevin Eastman today. I’m going to be hard-pressed to find anything more positive and awesome the rest of this month.

Be well!

For the month of March, I’m taking part in the awesome Positivity Challenge over at the Personal Excellence blog and thought I would share my thoughts here. Please go and join and do this as well. The more who take part, the more positive energy is put into the world. And the world could always use more positive people.


My new Vibram FiveFingers!

Day 03 Question

What is One Thing That Has Been Frustrating You Lately? How Can You Overcome It?

I’m going to make this short. I’m currently frustrated by several things. One being the state of our house. We moved into this current house last May (almost a year ago), and we’re still not completely unpacked. This is partly my fault since I hate unpacking and I generally don’t get home until it’s time for dinner and freelance work anyway so I procrastinate on it. But it needs to get done and it’s one of my resolutions. Which leads into another resolution. ORGANIZATION! I mentioned a few entries back that my co-worker is helping me get organized. I’m hoping to take what I learn from her and turn it around on my house and try to get it organized as well. It’ll get there. Slowly but surely. One step at a time.

Another thing I’m frustrated with is my inability to pick up a pencil and draw. I get all excited to and then as soon as I open a blank page in my sketchbook, WHAM. Nothing. It’s frustrating. Anyone have any tips on how to get past artist’s block? So far, I’m failing miserably. I’d love some input.

One Positive Thing from Today

The whole day today was kind of wasted because I had a run-in with some shrimp in the early afternoon as we wandered around Sam’s Club trying samples. This wouldn’t be a problem if I was allergic. Which I am. While this absolutely sucks and made me want to shoot myself in the head because of the pain and the whole I-Can’t-Breath issues I was having, it did lead to several positive things.

1) We remembered to pick up Benadryl at the store. We’ve been out for awhile.
2) Because I’m sensitive to Benadryl and its sleepy side effects, I took a 17 hour nap. I think I’m FINALLY caught up on my sleep.
…and…
3) It reminded me how absolutely wonderful my girlfriend is. As soon as she realized what was happening, she grabbed my hand, got a big bottle of Benadryl, had it open and made me take some before we even got out of the store. As soon as we got home, I was already mostly out of it, so she put me to bed and took care of all the chores for the day and fed all the animals by herself (which is a huge feat by itself considering all the mouths we feed every night). She is just amazing, that girl.

So while I was pretty much out of it, good things came out of the whole ordeal. That’s positivity.

Oh, and before all that happened, I got to go to REI and pick up my brand new Vibram FiveFingers. Hell yes. So happy to start running again.

Be well!

Positivity Challenge! Day 02: Friends & Paper Birds

For the month of March, I’m taking part in the awesome Positivity Challenge over at the Personal Excellence blog and thought I would share my thoughts here. Please go and join and do this as well. The more who take part, the more positive energy is put into the world. And the world could always use more positive people.


Someone just got married.

Day 02 Question

Who is One Friend You Appreciate Having? And Why?

So I have two answers for this question and I don’t think either of them will be considered cheating. My girlfriend is not only the love of my life, but she’s my best friend. And Ash isn’t just my best friend, she’s my motivation, my inspiration, and the one who, no matter what, stands besides me. She is a mentor to me, a resource of knowledge, and more often than not, makes sure my sanity stays in tact as I attempt to push myself to my limits. I appreciate her more than she knows – I have a horrible habit of not talking about how I’m feeling and so I think she sometimes feels a little invisible and under appreciated. I don’t know what I would do without her though. She makes life whole. She keeps the house in check, the furry kids in check, and me and my work in check. She watches out for me and saves me from myself more often than I can count. She is my other half.

My second answer is Emily, my middle sister. She’s 18 now (we’re 7 years apart), and we are now in that incredible timeframe of being not just sisters, but good friends. I talk to her as much as I can and her opinions and thoughts mean more to me than anyone else’s. She’s got my back and I have hers. And she makes me laugh more than anyone else. When I’m feeling down, I know I can call her up or video chat with her and my whole world is brighter because of it. She’s an incredible person too and has this wonderful talent of lighting up a room when she enters and make everyone feel happier just for talking with her. She has a gift for making others smile.

My task for today is to let both of these amazing people in my life know what they mean to me. So Ash and Emi, this post is for you. I love you both so much. <3

One Positive Thing from Today

My boss’ birthday is tomorrow. Our team went out to lunch today to celebrate him and had pizza at this really awesome little pizza and deli I had never been to. It was great and I love out-of-office bonding moments like that. When we got back, I made him a little origami crane because it’s my traditional gift to give friends for their birthdays. His sincere delight in the little paper bird made me, in turn, delighted.

I also spent part of my afternoon “decorating” my friend (and Ash’s cousin) David’s cube (we work together). He got married last Friday and spent the week on his honeymoon. As a coming-home-yay-you’re-married type of surprise, I made a “Just Married” sign and tied some cans to his chair (see image above). I’m excited to see his response come Monday.

Be well!

Positivity Challenge! Day 01: Happiness & Skirts

For the month of March, I’m taking part in the awesome Positivity Challenge over at the Personal Excellence blog and thought I would share my thoughts here. Please go and join and do this as well. The more who take part, the more positive energy is put into the world. And the world could always use more positive people.


Pretty pattern on my new skirt!

Day 01 Question

On a Scale of 1-10, How Happy Are You? And Why?

This question is harder to answer than I would think. I shy from giving an actual score because my happiness is on a sliding scale – every day is different. It’s hard to even pinpoint an average, though I do see myself as more of a glass-half full type of person. I am usually happy, but am I happy with where I am in life or am I just happy because that’s the type of person I am? The answer is different for both.

I’m actually more excited to look at this question at the end of the month. Right now, I hesitantly give myself a 6 or 7 on the happy scale. Higher up because of my family and friends and the beautiful moments of life that I experience. But lower than I’d wish because of things like my house, my organizational struggles, money, etc. At the end of the month, I hope to see this number higher and myself not so hesitant to exuberantly shout “10!”

One Positive Thing from Today

My friend and co-worker took the time out of her busy schedule to sit down with me today and help me begin to organize all my to-do lists and daily schedules. I’m excited because I already feel relieved and not as overwhelmed as I did yesterday. Definitely a good thing. Also, I bought an awesome new skirt that I can’t wait to wear tomorrow. Happy day!

Be well!

I’m just going to say it. I want to go to SXSW Interactive this year. No. I really really REALLY want to go to SXSW Interactive this year. I was fortunate enough that last year I was able to attend through my day job, and I met so many amazing people and learned SO MUCH. So much that I’m pretty positive that I learned more in 5 days at SXSWi than I did in my 4.5 years of college. I thought for sure I would be going again this year, but it looks like if that’s going to happen, I’ll need your help. So I’ve come up with a deal for all of my awesome readers, family, and friends.

The SXSWi Snailbird Proposal

If you help to send me to SXSWi, I promise you I will bring to you all the latest, greatest news and education from the most awesome conference ever hosted in Austin, Texas. I will create a separate SXSWi page where I will write up all my notes, post all my pictures, and share all the downloads, tweets (both on designcoyote and rescueanimals), and resources I find. I’m even going to create a special #hashtag for Twitter usage so all you have to do is follow it to see my SXSWi tweets.

Some of the sessions I hope to go to (which is also all the things you get to learn about as well!) include: Storytelling Beyond Words: New Forms of Journalism, Security and Privacy in Social Networks, Taking Your Brand Back from Your Customers, Voices Carry: Why Authentic Brand Voices Matter, Social Media Boundaries: Personal/Personnel Policy, The State of Social Marketing, The Promise and Pitfalls of Real-Time Marketing, Social Media in the Underground World of B2B, Epic Battle: Creativity vs. Discipline in Social, Sparking Real World Action with Social Media, How Comics Journalism is Saving Your Media, Can Gaming Make the World Better?, How to Raise Awareness Through Blogger Outreach, Tech Superwomen: Mentors and Mentees FTW, and oh so much more that are on my list but I don’t have room to post.

OH! And don’t forget I would totally take pictures and share notes from speakers like Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon. Because hell yes, you know you want to hear from the two of them.

We all love learning. And you already know that I love sharing knowledge – on here, on @designcoyote, on I Love Rescue Animals, and on @rescueanimals – so you know that I’m only going to be bring you the best quality and create a stellar resource for those of you who can’t make it to SXSWi yourself. This is your chance to be a part of SXSWi for just a small donation (and some fantastic incentives). I will be sharing a ton of resources for social media, sharing positive causes, utilizing the internet and social media to raise donations, and how to market yourselves online, as well as design tips I learn, the newest technology for artsy folks, and other great education resources.

There’s even an entire session devoted to social apps and charitable giving using social media and how philanthropy utilizing Twitter and Facebook is on the rise. There’s just so much good going on at SXSWi this year that I don’t want to miss it. And there’s so much that I can bring back and teach others. I feel that animal folks in particular would get a lot out of the sessions I want to go to because we work so hard to raise money online and social media has changed the way we’re able to share messages – whether it’s about finding a forever home for a stray dog or it’s asking for donations for a sick cat. This is all knowledge that needs to be shared to our community – it can help so much and I don’t think many animal folks know how invaluable SXSWi is to our cause.

How Much Will This Be?

I didn’t find out until today that I would have to come up with creative ways to get myself there, so the total amount of money I’m trying to raise is $950 – which is JUST the price of one SXSWi ticket. Since I live in Austin, all the lodging expenses are taken care of, and I’ll pay for my own food and goodies. I just need help getting the ticket.

What You Get For Helping!

Don’t worry. You won’t be walking away empty-handed either. Besides the shared knowledge of all I learn, you will also get an awesome incentive depending on what level you donate to. These are as follows:

$1-$15: Join the list of other donors on my SXSW page.*
$16-$29: The above and an individual shout-out on the designcoyote twitter (1,700+ followers).
$30-$49: The above and a pencil sketch of your pet/favorite animal (in The Family Menagerie style).
$50-$74: The above and the pencil sketch gets inked and colored with marker.
$75-$99: The above plus a 100×100 pixels digitally colored avatar of your choice (in TFM style), as well as a shout-out on the rescueanimals twitter (17,800+ followers).
$100-$199: Be included on the donors page, receive a twitter shout-out (on both), a sketch of a pet/favorite animal, and a 100×100 pixel digitally colored avatar, and 1 month of advertising on the blog*.
$200-$349: Mention on donors page and twitter accounts, marker-colored image of pet/favorite animal, 100×100 avatar, 2 months of advertising on the blog*.
$350-$474: The above AND a full-colored digital illustration of your choice.

$475: SPONSORSHIP LEVEL 1! You will have a large prominent THANK YOU at the top of the SXSWi resource page, thanks on both Twitter and Facebook (for both Snailbird and I Love Rescue Animals), PLUS 6 months of advertising on the blog and a full blog post thanking you on Snailbird*.
$950: SPONSORSHIP LEVEL 2! You will have a large prominent THANK YOU at the top of the SXSWi resource page, thanks on both Twitter and Facebook (for both Snailbird and I Love Rescue Animals), PLUS 12 months of advertising on the blog and a full blog post thanking you on Snailbird AND I Love Rescue Animals (and if you or your company has a blog, I will also write up a guest post about everything I learned because of your generosity that you can use on your website)*.

Interested in donating but looking for some other prize/incentive? Feel free to comment or email me and we can talk! I’m open to hearing your ideas.

*Being included on the donors page, as well as getting posted on Snailbird and I Love Rescue Animals websites, means getting your name and link seen by artsy folks, nature-lovers, and lots of animal advocates, pet bloggers, and other activists. Snailbrd gets on average 5,000 unique visitors a month with 80-90k hits a month. I Love Rescue Animals receives an average of 6,000 unique visitors a month and 100-150k hits a month.

ChipIn to the Send-Nikki-to-SXSWi Fund!

So you can all help keep track of where I am in donations, I’ve set up this nifty ChipIn that’s connected to my PayPal account. Once you donate, you will receive an email from me confirming the amount and the prizes you will receive. Just click on the ChipIn widget below to donate or go straight to the ChipIn page.

What If The Goal Isn’t Reached?

Good question. If I don’t receive the goal of $950** by March 9th, all of the donations will be fully refunded. That’s right, you’ll get all of your money back and I’ll just have to wait to go to SXSWi next year. If however, it IS funded, as soon as SXSWi is over (March 13th is the last day), I will begin work on all of your prizes. It’s a win-win situation (the very best kind)!

**Note the ChipIn has been lowered to $900 because I received $50 in donations outside the ChipIn. – Updated 3.5.12.

The Final Plea

I want to go to SXSWi so much. It was an incredible experience last year and I don’t want to miss out again. I learned so much, and I feel that this year will be even better. So for just one donation, you can help send me to this awesome conference full of great opportunities and in return you get to learn all that I learn and some (you know those incentives are pretty awesome). Pretty great deal, yeah?

So please please help, and share with your family and friends! I will be forever grateful to you and so very honored. Thank you! You guys rock!

Some Resolutions and a Chickadee

Chickadee-dee-dee-dee.

Happy New Year! Resolutions? Sure. Why not. 1. More Art. 2. Less candy (crap, failing this already). 3. Be more fit (got kicked out of bootcamp on the first day because of a hurt disc but I’m joining a yoga/stretching class so we’re doing good on this one). 4. Bring back The Family Menagerie. 5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (agh). 6. DANCE MORE.

I don’t think any of those need elaborate explanations. Mainly, my focus this year will be on health and personal growth. I want to be healthier both in mind and body and so I’m turning to things that make me happy. Drawing of course is good for the soul, as is dancing (and singing – which I’m quietly going to try to do more of – Ash got me a ukelele for Christmas so I’m teaching myself to play), and making mistakes is important for growing (I’m horrible at allowing myself mistakes). I have a horrible reputation for not taking care of myself physically so I’m making that a priority this year. Get healthy. Eat more veggies. Treat my body with respect. Be Good. And all of that jazz. Excitement!

I’m slightly less excited about the whole “less candy” thing.

My favorite part of the resolution is drawing more. Keep an eye on this space as it’ll be updated again in the very near future with more sketches. For now though, since really this post is about my favorite things and being happy, you should all check out my tumblr since that’s my virtual happy place. It’s full of shiny, happy things.

FYI

Oh! And before I forget. My other resolution is to join my co-editor Rondal in bringing you all awesome new content on Fuel Your Illustration. We’ve already done a great job for January and it’s only the start. Do you have ideas for content or want to contribute? Contact me or Rondal – we’d love to include you and your work! Also follow us on twitter for more artsy-fartsy updates.

And that, ladies and gents, concludes this first “life” post of the year. How have you been? Have any resolutions you can’t wait to kick into gear?