Where My List Obsession Began

It's pretty obvious judging by my books 52 Lists Project and 52 Lists for Happiness that lists are not only fun for me but really ground me and make me feel more balanced, focused and fulfilled in who I am. When my depression and anxiety feel really strong, I turn to lists to feel more centered. And during the summer, my depression and anxiety usually are the worst because I get kind of overwhelmed by the activities of summer, the desire to get outside while I still have so much work to indoors, and I miss the ease and freedom of summers as a kid a lot. I miss the time I had to just daydream and come up with... you guessed it, lists. I was a massively shy child and spent a lot of time alone, for better or for worse. I was super spacey (still am) thanks to ADD and just being a creative spirit and because school was a challenge for me, I was grounded pretty much every weekend of high school for not finishing all my work. I'm an introvert through and through and I can get lost exploring my own mind for hours. I was diagnosed with ADD around age 6, then again in middle school and again in high school. It's a daily challenge to battle ADD with depression and anxiety. But because I've dealt with all of them so long, I've had time to practice and discover what works best for me in managing all of those difficult aspects of self. List making is my major tool not just for daily task management but even more importantly, my self management, self discovery, exploration, and self investment.

At the end of high school, I started this little book documenting all of the lists that I wanted to invest in and discover as a way to better get to know who I was and what I loved, what connected with my heart and truest self. I don't think I've ever shared this on my blog, but it's one of my most special possessions. And please humor me in how serious I was about discovering what was cool to me as a teen. I wish I could insert a gif of me cringing here, haha. I just made these lists as a way to research and discover what felt like a reflection of who I am and what I love. To note: I don't like all of the musicians, books, movies, etc on these lists but I DID discover some that have become life long favorites through these lists. The exploration of this little book of lists, going through each list over a summer spent mostly in my bedroom at age 18 was so fulfilling for me. And I'd give a bajillion bucks to get to have a full summer like that again, before social media came about, before my cell phone had color or video on it, and the pressure to be a certain way, look a certain way, and act a certain way became so pervasive online.

This is the notebook. It's tiny and the pages are super ratty and messy. But it's like a little time capsule of me as a teen trying to discover who I was and what defined me. If someone ever steals this from my house I will hunt them down and whatever happens to them, it will not be pretty. JK, Im not serious... or am I?

I spent the entire summer of my 18th year pretty much in my bedroom reading, watching movies that I'd researched, listening to music and searching my local libraries for all of the above. The other part of the time I spent working at a local coffeeshop making garbage coffee drinks (I don't drink coffee and my skills were not the best, ha!!) and making out with my high school boyfriend, hehe. Ahhh introverted youth. Here are some of the books from my list that I have opinions on today:

  • Thanks to this notebook of lists I totally fell in love with Haruki Murakami's books and realized that magical realism was my favorite genre. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was the first book by Murakami that I read and I think it's still my favorite, or maybe Kafka on the Shore.
  • Cathedral by Raymond Carter was another book that I fell in love with thanks to my list of book research. I love short stories, especially ones that have some surrealism like ALL of Franz Kafka's work. All of iiiiiit.
  • Siddhartha is an all time favorite along with some other books by Herman Hesse like Steppenwolf. My dad gave me a copy of Steppenwolf around this time when he saw all the types of books that I was pounding like they were candy. Get ready for a somewhat dark, philosophical and contemplative journey if you are going down the Herman Hesse path. The end of Steppenwolf also is one of the trippiest things I've ever read, fair warning. Herman Hesse's work was some of the first work that I read at a young age that was very deep and dark, containing poetic storytelling that explored the search for the authentic self and self knowledge. I think it deeply influenced the person that I am today, why I focus on self knowledge above all else, and why I love writing. 
  • Choke, and all of Chuck Palahniuk's work. Oh man, I loved it all when I was 17 and 18. It felt so daring and dark. But now that I'm older and a little more comfortable with how boring I am, I just don't find any of his books entertaining anymore. It's a little too much for my sensitive spirit.
  • I remember trying to read Dave Eggers A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius but I couldn't stand it. I guess because I had experienced a lot of trauma in my childhood too, I just couldn't relate to the way he became self destructive and shitty towards women. Not like I am a saint and handled my own trauma well, I just went the polar opposite direction and self imploded with self hate and isolation. Oh I could go deep into that, but to keep this a little lighter, I don't dig his writing but I do love and respect his program 826 which does incredible things for kids in the most charming ways. The Seattle location of 826 changed to a new name The Bureau Of Fearless Ideas. See, look at all this stuff you can learn just from writing a list! I learned about his book, and then more about his as an author and activist and philanthropist, and then his amazing organization, and then how the Seattle location has changed and grown, and how he and I relate in some traumas but channeled it different ways... All of that from writing a list and being open to still learning about an author even though I didn't like one book I read. Lists are rad.
  • After reading The Grapes of Wrath in high school, I just couldn't do East of Eden though I know a lot of people who adore the book. I can't do John Steinbeck. Sorry!

It's really fun for me reflecting on the lists that fill up this goofy little notebook. So I think I might post more lists from inside it's pages. What do you think?


Epic Adventures

My hotel room in Las Vegas

I have been traveling a lot for work this summer and I’ll be traveling even more this fall! I was just in Las Vegas, then was in NYC for a week and soon I’ll be coming back to NYC and then on to LA. It’s a busy season for work, but I’m fitting in a little fun in my travels too ;) I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to travel wisely, especially when it comes to finances. And seriously perfect timing, the amazing team at #Amex invited me become an #AmexAmbassador to share how I use my Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express to bring a little more epic adventure into my life, especially through my travels and fun events around my hometown of Seattle. 

Nighttime swims in Las Vegas

Here are a few reasons by I really dig this card – first, you earn $150 back after you spend $500 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Ding! That’s a win. Plus you can earn 5% back on $4,000 in eligible travel purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200, which means more cocktails under the moon for me ;) Cash back is given through a statement credit that I use to pay for everything from my flights to hotels, which is super helpful. There are also great benefits for travelers like car rental loss and damage insurance, travel accident insurance, and a global assist hotline. All this on top of the 3% cash back you get grocery shopping, 2% cash back at U.S. department stores and other great daily benefits.
So, what have I been using my Blue Cash Everyday Card for so far in prepping for my travels and during my adventures across the U.S.? A lot of practical things and plenty of fun too! I booked my flights with the card, hotels, and any of the necessities I needed for my trip were purchased with it to get the most out of my rewards. And everything else I used it for was fun fun fun :) While my team and I were in Las Vegas, we ate out at some delicious restaurants. And after really long work days at the Project Trade show where we presented our debut jewelry line and home goods lines, we hung out by the pool and grabbed cocktails under the stars. That was magical.

Setting up our booth at NYNOW!

In New York, we were also showing our lines at NYNOW trade show (which I’ll share more about in another post. We had so much fun!) I used my card to see two Broadway shows which I was super excited about as I have never seen any shows on Broadway before! I got to see Mathilda which was my favorite book and movie growing up. And then I saw Les Miserables on the last night of my trip which was so special to me as I was obsessed with the musical in high school. 

Excited to see Mathilda on Broadway!

I also used the card for little things around the city like my subway card which got me over to Brooklyn to see my sweet friend Julie at Etsy headquarters which was SO rad. And I used it to buy my other long time blogging buddy Kara a drink at my hotel. We stayed at the Hudson Hotel and it seriously felt like Harry Potter during the daytime with it’s magical decor. I really got some good use out of my card on the first two trips of my epic Summer/Fall travels and I’m already planning out the best ways to take advantage of the benefits of my Blue Cash Everyday Card in prep for my next big business trips to NYC again in less than a month and trips to LA and Nashville!

I got my first credit card just a year ago at age 29. I really believe in spending money thoughtfully and cautiously which is why I waited until I was almost 30 to get a credit card. I decided to add the Blue Cash Everyday card to my wallet based on my own belief that when you spend your money, you should spend it with intention, and make it work for you. Now that I travel quite a bit for business, I really want to be able to get rewarded whenever I can with use of my credit cards, especially if I can get rewards with purchases I make for travel. Getting cash back on everyday purchases also makes spending money a win and a thoughtful shopping experience for me. My partnership with Amex is sponsored, but all opinions are truthfully my own. I’m excited to share with you more as summer transitions into fall about how I travel thoughtfully and get the most out of my credit card to benefit me in future travels. And I cannot wait to share something truly epic I get to do later this week thanks to Amex! Eek!


What I Wore: My First Cropped Top!

Since we just started carrying clothing on my retail site mooreaseal.com, I figure it's about time I get back into sharing what I actually wear in real life! Do you want to see my very first outfit post ever? What a dork, that was 7 years ago when I was 23 and deep in a super vintage/Zooey Deschanel phase. Ah youth.
These days, my outfits are usually a bit more casual, bohemian and rustic with a touch of 70s or 60s vintage inspiration. On a trip to LA recently, my buying team convinced me to get some bell bottoms which I haven't worn in YEARS, but they were right. These have become a go to in my wardrobe ever since I bought them. I've always been too scared to wear a cropped top but paired with high wasted pants, I think I can do it and be a little less afraid.

This top is called the Front Tie Striped Top and seriously everyone on my staff is obsessed with it, especially our sales team. Our sales associate Marissa (who is also an AMAZING photographer) just bought this top too and I can't wait to see how she styles it. What makes this top so great is that is suits tons of different body types. I'm 5'9" and very busty. I wear a 30H bra size. So finding tops that fit both my waist and boobs is a nightmare. I usually need to wear a size medium top to fit my boobs and this top is a size Small (At places like Forever 21 I'm usually a large, Nordstrom I'm usually a medium. Oh the world of brands and their sizing, so confusing.) It's meant to be kind of loose and then you tie the tie to whatever looseness you want, so I could actually get away with wearing a Medium too if I wanted an overall slightly looser look. Its nice that this top suits a ton of different body shapes. I like the tie pretty tight to show my waist, and being that I'm pretty tall, this hits me right just above my high wasted jeans for the perfect crop. Marissa is around 5'2" and it looks sooo cute on her and hits her right at her waist. She wears an X-Small.

I also paired it with my favorite wide brimmed hat with a soft shell top called the Gambier Hat by Herschel. I usually go for a more structured wide brimmed hat like our Morley Hat (I own it in 4 different colors. HA!) But I like the softness of this hat with this top. And of course, my favorite Punched Pouch by Pine + Boon. I've known Jess, the owner and founder of Pine + Boon, for going on ten years now! We went to college together, were both Art majors, my store was the first to stock her line and she even worked with us as a sales associate for a season. She's amazing.

Anyway, what do you think guys? Should I get back into the Outfit Post game on my blog? I really do miss it and I haven't done on one my blog in 3 YEARS! Geeze. Time to get back in ;)


The Big Anniversary

I can't believe it has already been 2 years since we opened the doors to my storefront here in Seattle, WA. It's so cliché to say, but in some ways it feels like its only been a few weeks since we launched this venture for my brand and in other ways, WOAH, it really feels like we have been working immensely hard at this for years and years. At the end of the day, it's thanks to you guys, my friends, followers, and customers who keep my business going. Even with all of the countless hours we work overtime to grow this company, it wouldn't be alive and sustaining itself without your support.

Truthfully, honestly, it really really means so much to me personally every single time I see an online order come through or an in store purchase. Even though my store front is just 2 years old, I've actually be working at all of this for over 7 years. And even beyond that, I've dreamt of being my own boss since I was a little girl. I just had no idea how much sacrifice and hard work and sweat and tears would be needed to make all this happen and I had no idea that finding your own marker points of success is an inner decision, not one the world can dictate to you. I've gotten to at least where I am at now because of those sacrifices, because of that hard work, and because of your kindness and belief in me. And even 7 years in, I'm learning how to believe in myself, take pride in what I've done, and be at peace in all the successes and failures. I'm very lucky that so many people tell me these days that they are amazed at my success. But at the end of the day, only you can determine what success means in your own life. And even after 7 years of building my own business, I still am critical of myself, I'm still self conscious, I'm still nervous and allow self doubt to creep in, I still compare myself to others and think, "oh you're not doing good enough." I still battle imposter syndrome. I fight back anxiety and depression every single day. And so even with the kindest compliments, I still have a hard time seeing the full truth of my accomplishments, owning my what I've achieved so far, and believing in my own success. I'm not saying that to appear humble. I'm saying it because it's the honest truth.

At this 2 year point of my store front marks so many more important landmarks for my career. It's been almost 3 years since we launched mooreaseal.com which feels like a lifetime ago. It's been 3 years of my staff believing in my vision and investing so much of themselves into making this all reality. I owe so much to my team of co-workers and friends and it's an honor to work beside them daily. The pressure to be my best for my team is wild and heavy at times, but it's because I love them so so so dearly, I am so grateful for each of them and their own sacrifices and hard work, and I want to truly do all I can so that I can contribute to their own personal successes and accomplishments. Though my name is on the business, this isn't a one woman show. It's the people on my staff that make our website and store front magic happen. And like a devoted mama, I want to be all and do all that I can to support, love and give to this team of people I appreciate and admire so much.

It's been 3 years since I start The 52 Lists Project as a series on my blog, and now it's a book. It has been 4 years since my own jewelry line was stocked in over 40 stores across the world and since my following on Pinterest motivated me to expand my business. It's been 4 years since I left my jobs nannying for two families full time, running my Etsy shop, blogging almost daily, doing freelance graphic design and illustration, and taking on any side gig I could find. It's been 5 years since I started taking my jewelry business seriously, believing I could start some sort of creative career because of it.  It's been 5 years since I performed music with my old band and my solo project. It's been 6 years since I established so many incredible friendships in the blogging community, voices and friends who helped me believe my voice matters, friends who I still call friends and fellow entrepreneurs and inspirations today. It's been 7 years since I graduated college in a season where creative career opportunities seemed impossible to find or create. It's been 7 years since I decided to embark on an unknown, unmarked path towards where I am now.

I'm a forward thinker and my own biggest critic. As soon as I have reached one accomplishment, I am already setting expectations for myself for the next big thing. But this Anniversary, this year I want to slow down, if just for a second to remind myself that I deserve to be proud of myself, I deserve peace and healthy pride amidst the whirlwind that is my life and my career. In loving and wanting to provide for my team so much, I must remember to love and provide for myself equally as well. Self love, healthy pride, confidence and courage can happen at the same time as being extremely grateful for all that others have done for you and alongside you. Self love is the foundation for loving others well, and even as the author of a best selling book about self love, I myself must remember to practice that every single day, in my moments of celebration and moments or hardship. These last 7 years and most specifically the last 2 years of my store front sure as hell haven't been easy! Haha. But they have been beyond fulfilling, incredibly challenging in the greatest ways, inspiring, encouraging, and forever memorable in the story of my personal life, my brand's growth, and every life of each member of my team. I want to keep growing, I want to keep being challenged in my work and in who I am and what I stand for. I want my business to thrive, and with it, see the lives of all 100+ handmade designers in my store thrive, all of the non-profits that we give to thrive, and all the members of my staff thrive. I want YOU to feel like your best self when you shop in my stores. Positivity is the key, and love and compassion are my greatest goals.

Thank you to each of you who have shopped in my store front and online site. Thank you for giving me reason to feel challenged, for giving me opportunity to grow and make big decisions. Thank you for giving me the chance to discover who I want to be in my career, what inspires me the most, what I am willing to make sacrifices for. Thank you for giving me the chance to become a better version of myself with each day that I invest in my work. Thank you for providing jobs for each member of my staff. Thank you for supporting each handmade designer who is featured in our stores who is working hard to keep their career dreams alive as well. Thank you for shopping and giving us the chance to give back to charity with every dollar you spend.

As my favorite quote of all time says, "Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen." - Conan. And in partnership, one of my other favorite quotes, "If you can't love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else? Can I get an Amen?" - Ru Paul.
Business is HARD! Self love is HARD! But if you believe in the journey, if it is truthfully what you want and need, you can make it happen. And I know I'm making it all happen, one step at a time.

So! With all that emotional stuff out of the way, let's get to the fun part, shall we? :)

The Moorea Seal Store Anniversary Party! 
7-9pm June 3rd 
2523 3rd Ave, Seattle WA

Come join us at our second annual anniversary party! Not only do our first 100 guests get a free Anniversary tote, but we're also giving away tons of products from all of our favorite designers. With every purchase, you'll get a chance to spin our giveaway wheel. What will you win? Will it be a new backpack from Herschel Supply Co, some soothing bath and body products from Herbivore Botanicals, or maybe even some gorgeous jewelry by Everli! We have over 100 of our favorite products just waiting for you to win!

Mix and mingle with me and the whole Moorea Seal crew. You're welcome to bring your 52 Lists Project book for me to sign, and we will have plenty of copies on hand too. We can't wait to see you there! We recommend getting there a little early before we open for the big party. Last year we had a line going down the block to grab those first free 100 Anniversary totes, and this year's design is our best yet, you wont want to miss out!

One spin of the giveaway wheel per person.