52 Lists for Happiness to Star the Year off Right

It's always an exciting day when Oprah features your books on her website! If you're a new visitor here, hello! I'm Moorea Seal, the author of 52 Lists for Happiness, The 52 Lists Project, Make Yourself at Home, and founder of mooreaseal.com. I believe in pursuing self care and loving yourself well. And I write books that help you discover your own inner happiness and contentment.

What I've learned about being a list lover is that, whenever I make a list of goals, I always tell myself, "...once I finish this or that, THEN I can be happy." And as soon as I have finished the task I set forth to accomplish, I end up giving myself a million new things I need to do and prove to myself before I allow myself to relax, feel content, or actually be happy. 52 Lists for Happiness is all about making happiness a practice in your life, unlocking your own tools to help you grasp that ever illusive happiness that is actually already inside of you, waiting to be set free. I hope that if you take this journey with me and the hundreds of thousands of other list makers, that you too discover new light, new hope, and new joy within the lists you create. You have everything you need for happiness living inside of you. And I'm here to help.


Uh oh!

Oh dear! Excuse the giant mess that's happening on my blog guys. Many many years ago I used photobucket to host a lot of the elements of my blog design. Well, something crazy is going on with photobucket and I'm trying to figure out this mess.

In the meantime, go visit my store mooreaseal.com, come find me on Instagram or Pinterest. And I'll get this space all cleaned up asap :) Thanks for your patience!


Jennifer Ament + Thoughts on Artistry

I stumbled across Jennifer Ament's artwork today because Facebook suggested her as a friend. Every so often, I find myself curious about who Facebook's algorithms decide are likely friends of mine. After clicking through and seeing her artwork, well, I didn't know her personally, but I did find her artwork so engaging. And it looks like she is a fellow Seattlite. 

Seeing her beautiful work made me miss printmaking in college and really all of the art making that is essentially your job as an art student. After working as an artist's assistant and seeing the type of struggles that are expected of you as an artist, the sacrifices and the hardships, I became way too scared of instability to become a full time artist. Instead, I became a clueless entrepreneur with a totally unstable income and schedule and life, an artist in a business woman's clothing. I think because the industry of fashion appears to be so much more financially stable and thriving as opposed to the abstract world of artists, I gravitated towards creating a business within fashion a few years ago. Ah, but the funny thing is that, as time went on, the more I've needed to structure my business like a traditional business within the fashion realm, the more I have come to understand that I am more artist that business woman. And the world of fashion is just as mind boggling and constantly changing and unstable as the world of art. 

The trickiest thing about being an artist is that to survive, most often you must garner business skills. My inner self wants to flow freely, to have time to think and think and think, be in stillness and quiet, feel deeply, and just live in the moment. But ever since I was a little kid, I've had anxiety and depression, and worry is an annoying presence that often stops me from living in and enjoying what is present. I'm a dreamer and an abstract far forward thinking planner at times, and it is often the fear of instability and the wonder and worry of the future that diverts me down different tracks or stops me from living moment to moment and instead stressing about the future and it's mysteries. In many ways, fear is often what stops us from doing what is best for us, and other times fear is what drives us TO choose something powerful for ourselves. And I feel that both ways in being at the point that I am in my career of many things. That's a confusing sentence, but it's the best way that I can explain it. 

In many ways, I've built my careers of being a retail owner, a jewelry designer, a product designer and an author AS an artist within the realm of business. But actually feeling like an artist within the process of building and sustaining a store, an online retail site, a jewelry line, desktop products, and books is a very tricky experience. I think many artists would agree, the time you actually get to spend on the art itself often feels like far less time that you wish you had. There are always other things you have to do outside of the art making to sustain yourself. And whether I were purely a painter or illustrator like I trained for in college, or whether I was still exactly the person I am now with the jobs that I have, I think I would always feel this strain of never having enough time or space or quiet to just BE an artist, to BE a maker and a creative.

I think that yearning is a good sign. It means that as an artist, you have something to say and to express. It's just that ever present hardship of figuring out HOW to express it and when and why and all that frustrating, maddening but passion fueling crap. UGH. As an artist, as a human, there is so much that I want to express. And I think when I first started my many careers, I thought, THIS is how I will do it, this is how I will express myself fully to the world. And then as each micro business was built, I realized that no one thing will help me express all of myself. And even all of them combined is not enough. Oh, and on top of that, I am a human and I'm always going to find new interests, new passions and questions that need to be pursued and explored and expressed. So of course no one career path is going to fulfill all of me. I'm also going to be morphing. There's also the constant question of what elements of self do I express where? It's my nature to want to release strong feelings that are fully true to myself within all realms of self expression. But being that my name is on my business, there are times when self expression does not make sense with Business, with a capital B.

As I have said a million times over in the last 3 years, I want to feel safe to express myself here on my blog. I want to channel the artist within me to feel free to write and express and release within the space, free from fear and worry. I think many people see me as a feeler and think less of me or don't take me very seriously become of it, but just because I feel deeply it does not mean that I do not think just as deeply. I research, I read, I am always looking to seek and learn and unlock truths. And I want to share that here again. I don't want to prove anything. I just want to share. I want to take inspiration from artists and writers and voices that are empowered and unafraid yet thoughtful with what they release out into the world. As with anything, as I review all I have attempted to do over my last 30 years, I just want to be heard. And annoyingly for me, to experience feeling truly heard it means a shit ton of self expression and release through writing and painting and music making and crafting and whatever other tactile way I can find to express my thoughts. Ah, to be satisfied just talking to people. I think that would make me an extrovert. I love talking to people but I need to express so much more of me in a million other ways. And I need to be alone to make that happen. Not all the time, just some :)

I'll do it somehow. And right now it starts with blogging again. No set commitment, just trying.

Be sure to check out more of Jennifer Ament's work here. Simply magical, it definitely lead me on a late night thought train on what art means to me.


Wanderlust Woman and Western Ruminations + A Gift Guide

Tis the season for some gift guides :) I honestly get a little bored with traditional gift guides, "gifts for her" "gifts for him" though I know a lot of people dig that. It's just not how I personally shop. If you like broader categories of gift guides, I've created a ton in my store, mooreaseal.com if you want to check them out! But if you're more of a gift giver based on feelings and styles, here's the first of a series I am working on for my blog! And I'm starting off with my personal favorite, the Wanderlust Western Inspired Woman. Right now I'm diggin' all things western inspired. Cactus have been trendy for quite some time now but I still love them. Since early this year, I've been really excited to see that a lot of trends from the 70s have been coming back. I'm pro-bell bottoms, high waisted pants, warm toned colors, and that mixed with Western inspired everything has been catching my fancy. I was already vibing on bolo ties and turquoise stones this Fall, and then I went to Nashville for the first time in November and ooooh boy, my love for all things Western inspired went a little nuts.

As much as I love Western inspired stuff right now, I've always had a hard time connecting to country music. I grew up in England and country music wasn't a thing there. And then I moved to a small town in the woods in Northern California and music was a major distinguisher of different people groups. My artistic and mostly very liberal friends liked underground indie music, my friends who liked hunting and dirt biking and were for the most part pretty conservative liked country and rap. I was a music snob in thinking that country and rap were somehow not for me, which is pretty close minded and snobby I'm ashamed of that now. In trying to define myself as a teenager, as we all were grasping to do at that age, I associated being liberal and progressive with what felt "different." And in my small town, different meant the opposite of Country. I still love so much of all that indie music still, so much nostalgia for late nights watching Subterranean on MTV2. But now I understand that not all country music is specifically projecting a conservative message. And in addition to that, conservative is not wrong, it's just different than me.

Music that you listen to can definitely fulfill an important part of your spirit, it can connect you to greater messages, universal truths and meanings. Music is storytelling, and what I love most is a great story. And you know what has some seriously great storytelling? Some damn good country music. I cannot stand Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, etc, pop-country. In current country music, I do love Kacey Musgraves. Love love. And that's because I love some great storytelling. lately, I've been jamming on some 70s honky tonk, Americana, Roots Rock, Outlaw Country, and some other country off shoots plus some soul, blues and hip hop. A lot of Stevie Wonder. Ahhh, he's an incredible story teller.

Music is definitely a huge influence on style in all artistic fields, from painting and drawing to fashion and home decor. Right now I am listening to a lot of The Band, Dolly Parton, Neil Young, Stevie Wonder, and A Tribe Called Quest. Maybe a weird mash up, but country draws a lot from blues and Appalachian folk music, and soul and hip hop have flowed from the blues quite clearly. I've loved folk music for my whole life, from traditional Celtic music to Joni Mitchell to Devendra Banhart, not so much top 40 radio pop-folk stuff (I cannot stand The Lumineers...it just feels lacking in heart.) So in many ways, I feel the same roots come through in many storytelling musicians from folk to country to hip hop and soul. Traditional folk, traditional country, soul and hip hop not only often have so much heart but a protest spirit which I connect deeply with. Not like I'm a music aficionado in any of these styles of music, but those are just the vibes I get in general.

I could go on and on, on how music so deeply connects to our emotional states, not only influencing our beliefs and daily choices, but even influencing how we style ourselves and our homes. So after aaaaall that ruminating, I hope you dig my Wanderlust, western inspired gift guide above! You can find all these treasures in my store mooreaseal.com.