Write your words, whatever they are. Today, maybe they are about ham.

Sometimes, I start my day at 10:30 a.m. with a European-style baguette at the artisan shop four blocks from my home. Today’s crisp shell holds between its yielding inner lips French ham, brie, butter and jalapeño jam.

The words “gluten” and “dairy” do not have their meaning here, as they do when I say things like, “I avoid gluten and dairy.”

This morning, I am not avoiding. I am savoring.

I am swelling with memories of having this at least once every day in Spain, where they will put anything between two slices of a baguette and give it to you for 2€: tortilla española, squid, and often just a single razor-thin slice of jamón ibérico. Nothing else.

Think about it. It’s so beautifully un-American. A slice of jamón and bread. No cheese, no squishy sauce to coax your mouth into accepting it. You have to trust you’ll be ok at the other end—the cotton-dryness of the bread may put your mouth into a start of alarm, but only until it finds the jamón, its fat sweating into the inner cushion of bread, and there it is—there’s the softness, the oils, the impossibly rich peppery barnyard flavor, and then it’s gone. It vanishes just as quickly as you put it in your mouth. And you want more.

The Spanish could put more slices of jamón ibérico in the sandwich, of course, and charge more for it. But they don’t. You’d have to buy five baguettes, toss all the bread, and put the jamón on one sandwich before they’d do it for you themselves.

Because jamón ibérico is meant to be savored in its juxtaposition: how can this much flavor be packed into such a featherweight thing? The power of ibérico is in the marvel.

Nov/Dec Challenge: 30 Days of Making!

Taking a cue from Investigative Designer David Seah, I’ve decided to start a challenge of bringing one new creation into the world for 30 days.

Editor’s Note: I initially planned to do this every single day of November (including weekends), but due in part to the fact that I have 20-hour yoga teacher training weekends, I’m much better suited to do 30 weekdays. And so, I shift to welcome what feels right for me.

My intentional parameters:
  1. It must be or represent a tangible thing that can be reused, shared or enjoyed by myself and others. 
  2. It should unfurl from my authentic creative expression. (This could mean making a productivity sheet, or this could mean making a hula hoop.)
  3. It must offer value to others, help me create more value (by automating a process, etc.) or help me sell something of value I’ve already created.

30daysofmaking

Often I will share photos of my creations (likely on FacebookInstagram or Twitter tagged with #30daysofmaking). Let the creativity games begin!

Check out David’s original post and let me know if you want to be my accountabilibuddy!

My 30 Creations:

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Craving a Reboot This Fall? Tamara Star Can Help—And She’s the Real Deal

Let me be clear: Tamara Star is a total wonderwoman wrapped up into a gorgeous, tall, sometimes shy, fiercely feminine package. She is also my friend; I believe in her deeply, and she’s created a truly special 40-Day Personal Reboot program just in time for the swift-moving, productive energy waves of Fall. She’s put her heart and soul into it, and I wanted to share it with you through an exclusive interview with her.

tamara blue dress

Every day, Tamara shares her insights, personal stories and tips over at her Facebook page, Daily Transformations. She started it out of a genuine desire to share and help, not intending to turn it into a business—it now has 279,715 fans. In addition to her writing there, she now writes at her website and for The Huffington Post, elephant journal, The Good Men Project, MindBodyGreen, and many more.

Amy: Tamara, for those who don’t know you, what’s your meeting-someone-on-a-plane description of what you do and why you do it?

Tamara: I tell people that I’m a start-over strategist. I’ve been intuitive since birth and I spent 23 years in corporate America, so I act as a bridge between those two worlds. I help people see the blind spots that prevent them from living a life they love.

Tell me a little bit about how and why you created the 40-Day Personal Reboot.

Well, the 40-Day Reboot was developed in my own journal 7 years ago when my life blew up. I was at a point where it was either: completely give up or come up with a game plan. So this reboot is very near and dear to my heart.

It’s for people who want a fresh start, have gone through a major life change like a breakup, or who are really tired of doing the same thing day after day and getting the same results.

I believe that the way we do anything is the way we do everything. If we fall down in one area, the others suffer as well.

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Holistic Productivity: How to Design Your Day to Nourish You (Or: Get Shit Done and Still Go to Yoga)

Being that I travel only slightly less often than a pilot, I’ve needed to find ways to be productive when I have little-to-no daily routine to count on.

I’ve tried plenty of online and offline tools for self-management. Sometimes they work for a while; sometimes they don’t get past the starting line. If trust is lost early (i.e., an app doesn’t cross-platform sync during the first five minutes of use), it’s dead to me.

What I found I wanted most was to trust myself: to not give over my power to one system, but to learn how to trust my internal compass to direct me to how I was meant to move, shift and create in the world each day.

In an effort to create space for this, I’ve been crafting my own personal day design system all year. They are experiments in finding joy and freedom in discipline.

My method involves a yin, feminine approach to productivity, giving the user a new way to look at a single day—as an expansive opportunity and palate for creation.

I wrote an in-depth article on how I created my main pieces for Productivityist.

And, you can also pick them up in a neat packet for $14.

Now, I’d love to give you a quick tour of some of these experiments.

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Movement as Meditation: An Homage to My Yoga Practice (and An Announcement)

amy_yoga

I attended a Zen Buddhism class once in which the instructor said that yoga was “not a great form of meditation.” We were in a yoga studio.

But for me, yoga is embodied meditation.

Author and Conscious Lover Kathlyn Hendricks once told me:

We start by whatever door we come in.

For me, movement is not a distraction. It’s a vehicle for me to move in more deeply.

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Today, I Am an Athlete. (Wait, Am I?)

I’d been working on embracing my Athlete Archetype for a few months now. An archetype represents some aspect of what you are or identify with. In Jungian terms, archetypes are models of people’s behaviors or personality traits.

For example: Today I was at lunch reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, in which there are such amazing lines as this:

“Running seemed to be the fitness version of drunk driving: you could get away with it for a while, you might even have some fun, but catastrophe was waiting right around the corner.”

The server saw me reading it and asked excitedly if I was a runner.

“Well, I run,” I replied. “I don’t know that I’d call myself a runner.”

I’m a writer. I’m a traveler. I’m a dancer. I’m an editor. These are things I know and can say with confidence.

But one of the things I’ve most wanted to say lately (especially after witnessing the world’s largest Ironman race in Boulder last week, cuz damn) is: I am an athlete.

woman running

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Four Important Questions to Ask Your Entrepreneurial Self (from the Experts at WDS)

pay attention puzzle piece wds

I’ve been reading some fabulous World Domination Summit 2014-afterglow blog posts (such as this by Jedd Chang, this from Erin Harding, and this by Derek Murphy). In synthesizing and processing what WDS meant to me, I decided to bring something different to the table based on the overarching theme I kept hearing at WDS, which is:

Always be asking questions.

Here are four questions I’m asking myself, inspired by the conference. Answering these is helping me to start making shifts in my business and life—maybe they’ll be of help to you, too.

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Turn On Your Explorer Mind

portlandplane

This week, I’m headed to World Domination Summit in Portland, where I’ll meet 2,999 like-minded people—but, I’m flying sola, which is a thing I don’t do very often. My partner in crime is long distance (or what we like to call “medium distance,” since we’re blessed to see each other so often), and the reasons we have for 95% of our travel are intertwined with seeing each other.

This week, it’s just me. Especially today, before the conference starts, as I write this in a beautiful café in SE Portland—it’s really just me.

A different part of our brain is activated when we’re in a new place wandering around, finding our way by ourselves. It isn’t turned on so easily at home unless we’re highly intentional about it. So often when we’re home, we operate on autopilot.

Even though I appreciate my favorite roasters and restaurants, my watery routine flows purely in the trench etched by repetition—and it requires some swishing around to shift the current.

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