Archive for the ‘adventure’ Category

Talking About Depression


I tend to keep things mostly superficial on the blog here, but it’s my blog so I do what I want. I want to write a little bit about depression, postpartum depression specifically. It’s not something that I thought would ever affect me, but it has.


For show notes and the podcast episode, click here.

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Briana of The Life Beats Project (if you don’t listen, please do! So many great episodes) asked me if I would talk about my experience with postpartum depression on her podcast. I gladly accepted. As I was prepping for the podcast, I realized that I’ve never really shared my experience in a public forum like this. I tend to keep it quiet for the most part; I’m not afraid to open up to expectant or new moms. I’m not one to push advice onto other parents (plenty of people did that to me as a first-time mom, I became resentful of it), but this is something I’m incredibly passionate about. If my advice helps a mother, I’m happy to pay for the social cost of bringing up something so “taboo”.

I feel like many approach talking about depression like a pre-teen says the word, “sex”: in hushed, embarrassed tones. We need to change that.

I GET DEPRESSED. I’ve had struggles with postpartum depression (and depression beyond the baby). I’M ON DRUGS FOR IT.

There. I said it. It’s out! I’m not afraid to admit I’m on anti-depressants. I’ve been on and off them since I was pregnant with Felix. And it’s been an up and down thing. Some days, my mental health is the equivalent of a couch potato trying to run a marathon without training. I’m a hot mess. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed; but the world keeps spinning, work keeps piling up and the babies still need attention. You’ll hear more about it on the podcast.

So I thought I would write some notes of my own as a companion to the podcast episode. If you or someone you love has or may have depression, I hope you give it a listen.


Follow along my #calligraphyquoteoftheday series here


If you’re in the Utah area, Intermountain Healthcare has a free seminar on understanding mental illness this June 15 at 6pm at Alta View Hospital.

If you’re a person of faith, you may be familiar with encouragement that “praying harder” or “having more faith” is the best way to cure depression. Eye roll, right? This talk given by LDS Apostle, Jeffrey R. Holland is perfection and addresses that issue beautifully. It goes beyond just “Mormonism”. I encourage you to give it a read.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the thought of talking to a doctor. Just recently, I found that my depression was coming back. I started withdrawing on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. I went back to the last professional that I had seen (my nurse midwife from June’s pregnancy) and talked to her. I felt safe because I had seen her before. She was caring and respectful. Now I’m back on track with my emotions and thoughts under control. If it’s been so long since an appointment you still don’t know who to schedule an appointment with, try a primary care physician first for your annual appointment.

Jenny Springer’s interview on The Life Beats Project is fabulous. She talks more about long-term depression and how she self-medicated for years before getting help. I love how she talks about “feeding the right wolf”. Working your way out of depression isn’t just talking to a specialist and taking a pill daily. You have to do the things you need to in order to FEED your happiness. It’s a beautiful episode.

Sometimes you may find it easier to confide in a friend rather than a close family member. It’s totally okay. It’s hard to share those feelings. Starting that conversation can be one of the hardest, most awkward things to do. You can do it. Find someone who you can be accountable to.

I hope that this is helpful to someone. If you have questions, I’m happy to answer them in the comments. Let’s take back the stigma that depression is something to be ashamed about. 



2015 IAMPETH Pangram Exchange


In march, just off the heels of a wonderful meet-up with friends in Vegas, I got this idea that we need to exchange pangrams at the upcoming IAMPETH (the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting) convention. Selfishly I want to collect originals or prints from among the greatest and most passionate penmen and women.

The most common pangram out there is “The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog”. It’s one of the shortest sentences that (a) makes sense and (b) uses all the letters of the alphabet.


Surely I had plenty of time to design something epic with lots of color, fun printing and gold foil, but that didn’t happen. Working in advance never happens. Coming up with my own pangram seemed so daunting a task that I put it off. I had found an awesome pangram in a book I inherited from my great, great grandfather: “Go! Lazy fat vixen, be shrewd! Jump quick!” But for some reason the layout wasn’t jiving with me. I wasn’t connecting with the words. Then I thought of jazz hands.


I busted out the pencil and started writing. I wrote the alphabet down and I started to put words together with the tougher letters to use in a sentence. It just came together. And I think it speaks to who I am as well. I’m not one for clever prose, but I was proud I came up with this by myself.


The design ended up being a bit of a fiasco as well. I wrote it out, scanned it and printed the piece as-is. I used a sepia ink to get some slight variations, but my hairlines were too thin for the digital printer. Wa, Wa. Saying your hairlines are too thin is like a body builder saying that their one-rep max squat wasn’t heavy enough. It’s a blessed problem to have. But I was down to the wire. I had 3 days before I left for Tennessee to get the piece printed. I put on my big girl pants, dusted off my wacom tablet and vectorized the whole thing. It took about 3 hours. I printed it.

THEN after I printed them, I showed up to IAMPETH with the cards and I wasn’t happy with them. So I added more flourishes to each one (you can see above the lines in the corners that aren’t perfectly smooth) and little bits of silver foil from my hot foil pen and called it a day. I’m pretty pleased it didn’t all blow up in my face considering how last-minute it all was.


I was impressed at how amazing and creative the pangrams were. Many were done by hand! Incredible.


So, I’ve got a few extra. If you’d like to do a little pangram trade, fill out the below*.

*While supplies last. Your information will not be shared with anyone.

FREEBIE: Penelope’s Tea Party


At the beginning of the summer, I scored a precious set of cups and dishes perfect for a tea party. I told Penelope she needed to gather her friends for a tea party at some point and use them. She squealed.


It wasn’t until a few days later that she came up to me asking to get everything out for the tea party. After explaining to her that she needed to give her friends some kind of advanced warning if she wanted them to show up, her finger in the air as she enthusiastically said, “I need you to make me invitations!”

Well OKAY, my dear! The cutest little art director hovered over my shoulder to make sure all the details were correct. She needed gold bits on the invitations (see the little foil dots in the above pic?). And she needed them sealed with glitter washi tape to deliver to her friends.


I was thrilled to have a little peace and quiet while she walked the neighborhood, dropping them in the neighbor’s mail boxes. Since it was a Monday and she was inviting her friends to a party on Tuesday, I made sure to text each mom to double-check invitations were received. All but 2 girls showed up. We had a full house of giggly girls with their pinkies high as they sipped “tea”.

I served honey chocolate toasts, mint oreos (at Penelope’s request) and raspberry lemonade. They thought it was the best tea ever.


(taken from an entirely different party, but I love this pic of her)

Penelope was the most gracious host exclaiming, “Welcome!! I’m so glad you could make it!” while I sat there, hands over my mouth, trying not to squeal and giggle at the same time. She is incredibly more socially astute at her age than I was in college. The girl knows how to throw a party.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 8.11.34 AM

Download the freebie by clicking the image above! By downloading you agree to the Terms of Use below. Are you new here? Check out the “printables” tab at the top of the page for more freebies!

*This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

New things in Hawaii


My pals at Silhouette asked if I wanted to go to Hawaii for an upcoming launch. I was more hesitant about booking the flight than Chris was since I would be leaving him alone with 3 kids for the majority of a week. That didn’t scare him! He’s so used to the family schedule (with both of us working from home) that he urged me to go and stay an extra day or two to really enjoy Oahu. It wasn’t a hollow offer. I took him up on it and lived it up Aloha-style!


All of this fun was because of Silhouette Summit. The Silhouette team launched a slew of products last week and we who were in Hawaii, got to see it all in action first. And let me tell you, it’s amazing. 


Image via Silhouette

July 2015, Silhouette will be launching their Curio machine, which will have the capabilities to etch, cut, stipple and most importantly emboss! I’m thinking of all of the calligraphic possibilities there and I’m nerding out just a little.


Image via Silhoutte

Then, September 2015 (which can’t come soon enough, if you ask me) Silhouette will launch Mint. It’s the first desktop DIY stamp maker. OH yes. All calligraphers rejoice! It will use a companion software that will be compatable with fonts, the silhouette library and your own designs. Instead of 2-14 day turnaround for a custom stamp, try two MINUTES! I showed everyone on periscope, but I have no idea how to find the link to that. I’m @melissapher if you want to check out past videos and see how it works.

Through thermal printing, it exposes the “plate” and the exposed portions allow ink to saturate. And once inked, the stamp will last up to 50 impressions! Perfect for return address stamps or stamping your own business cards (which I’ve done in the past more than a few times – here, here, here). More on all this as I get to experiment with the machines themselves. Stay tuned!

But it wasn’t all business all the time. 


Silhouette had a tour bus waiting for us Wednesday so we could explore the island more. Heather, Kierste, Linda, Cindi and I decided to go off the beaten path, rent a jeep and tour the island by hopping from one food stop to another.


And the food in Hawaii was amazing. One of my favorite treats was a pineapple malasada I had the first day. It’s like a doughnut. But better. And filled with pineapple cream. Rolled in cinnamon and sugar.


Image by Sarah Hearts

Then there was the shave shave ice! I got Waiola’s Passion Orange Guava with cream on top. We have shave ice in Utah during the summer months, but I’m not sure we have the ice shaved as finely as you can find at Waiola. It was remarkably refreshing.


This is the water on Lenikai beach. A private-ish beach found on the east side of the island. A ton of beautiful homes are backed up against the beach. There are a few people lingering on the beach, but not crowded like Waikiki.

Funny thing: I’m not a beach person. They’re beautiful, but for heaven’s sakes get the sand off me!! I have insane texture issues. Needless to say, I brought my swimsuit, but I really only got up to my knees in the water. A shame since it’s Hawaii.


This may be completely odd, but the highlight of my trip to Hawaii was teaching a calligraphy workshop at South Shore Paperie. We partied with brush markers, ate some delicious pastries and joked that I sounded like a chain smoker.

I lost my voice through the course of the trip. Something that had been working its way through my system since before I left, perhaps. I felt fine despite my voice sounding terrible, thank goodness.


Image by Bradley & Lily

We spent considerably more than the 2 hours I budgeted for the workshop, but we all couldn’t tear ourselves away from the learning. We also couldn’t help but drool over the gorgeous Bradley & Lily stationery line. They just launched a new feature on their website allowing customers to essentially complete their own invitation design. Sometimes I wish I could get married all over again simply so I could use all of the wonderful resources out there like this one. I digress.

I was incredibly impressed at how well everyone did during the workshop! Great focus, good positioning and neat practice! My favorite part of my job is seeing other people catch the calligraphy bug and run with it. That enthusiasm really pushes me to work harder on my own craft. Follow along here and instagram for a Utah brush lettering workshop coming soon.

This post isn’t sponsored by Silhouette. I just really, REALLY can’t wait for these products to launch! They’re both game-changers. 


Meet Me in Tennessee


I’m excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at INSPIRED 2015 Presented by Amber Housley in April. I’ll be talking about the effectiveness of a landing page (what one really is), and why creative business owners need a good one.


To hear all my knowledge bombs, lessons learned and how Chris and I have grown to a full-time business, grab a ticket! Use code ISLY for $200 off early bird price. Valid through February 28th, 2015 or while tickets last.


After seeing the images of what I’ll be able to enjoy, I’m all “hearts for eyes” about it. That waterfall? Takes me back to Havasupai when I was in high school. Paradise.


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