Nick Holmes: Time Spent Falling

by Sarah Stevenson

nick holmes

Poetry has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. As a child my aunt-Sally Morrison would read A. A. Milne out loud to me and my cousin; later in high school I remember reading Beowulf and really falling in love with way the words flowed across the page. This summer, I picked up a copy of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and have I Sing The Body Electric” marked dutifully with a pencil. I had almost forgotten my love of language and then I read Time Spent Falling by my friend Nick Holmes.

nick holmes

Nick is a portrait photographer, actor and an incredibly talented poet. His portrait work spans across Hollywood and beyond and I feel blessed that my own son Ben is included in his portfolio. You may know Nick as a “Gilmore Guy” who is reprising his role as Robert on the upcoming Gilmore Girls – A Year in the Life. But to me, it’s his words and photography that really show his true artistry.

Poetry is not something that you read quickly; instead it is something to be savored to allow the words to truly enter your soul. It is a beautiful form of writing that expresses deep emotions and feeling without being pretentious. Nick captures this perfectly with his prose and keeps you wanting more.

nick holmes

Time Spent Falling renewed something in me that has been laying under the surface for many years. Sometimes in life we can forget parts of our deepest selves only to be reminded by beautiful words on a page. Nicks poetry does just that…gives you a reminder, a nudge if you will, to something deep inside and encourages you in bringing it back to the surface.

In his words:

“My hopeful wish is that any one of these, with luck perhaps a few, will serve you as they served me. A memory recalled, a flavor not forgotten, a lover called to attention, or the simple escape inside yourself.”

nick holmes

I quite often write about the cross over of disciplines in this space and have lately been broadening my reach of creatives to share with you here. As artists, we are often called to many different sources of creativity, whether it be acting, photography, painting, or writing. Nick transforms these many disciplines and shares his mastery of seeing and feeling in both his writing and photography.

nick holmes

Virginia Madsen wrote about the book:

“In many ways, poetry is the music of literature. It often reflects the changing moods and trends in society. But somewhere along the way, we have lost the gift of language. TIME SPENT FALLING is reminiscent of a time when that gift was treasured…”

Thank you Nick for sharing this treasure with the world and thank you for providing all the excerpts, photos and cover art for this piece. You are a pleasure and someone I am happy to call a friend.

You can find Nick at the following:

Website: Nick Holmes

Instagram: @narcissusholmes @narcissushorse and @nickholmeshair

Twitter: @narcissusholmes

Have a great weekend everyone!

NOTE: Please do not use images from this post unless you have permission from the artist. Thank You.





Matt and Mike Czuchry: Brothers on Life

by Andrew Sieracki

brothers on life book cover

As you may know, I am an avid reader. I love finding books that may not be on the mainstream bestseller list but are well written and share something of deep value. These types of books don’t come around often but when they do, they can provide a space of deep reflection for your own life and creative journey. In addition, they are the one’s you can read over and over again and find different nuggets of wisdom each time you look through their pages. They are also the ones that you mark up and write notes in the margins to come back to whenever you need that spark or push to move you forward.

Brothers on Life by Matt and Mike Czuchry is one of those books. For those of you who don’t know Matt, he has played the role of Cary Agos in The Good Wife on CBS for the past 7 seasons and will be reprising his role as Logan Huntzberger on Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life later this year on Netflix. At the printing of this book, his brother Mike was an assistant professor in Psychology at a small liberal arts college in Texas and has his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology.

Written in three acts, the brothers share their stories through what Mike calls GEMS (thoughts about life written on notebook paper)…. These GEMS give a glimpse into certain points of the brothers personal journeys. At the opening of the book each writes their own letter to the reader sharing that we are all universally connected in one way or another but to always remember that our imagination and dreams are what allow us to live in the moment.

“…I had forgotten an essential cornerstone of my childhood; the beauty of life embraced through imagination, dreams and living in the moment.” xii – Matt

“…we both embrace the core perception that life is beautiful, challenging, precious, and an experience that interconnects us all.” xiii – Mike
matt czuchry brothers on life

Throughout the book, the brothers share these moments through prose, photographs and handwritten messages to each other. Each piece shows real individuals sharing their thoughts, troubles, loves, losses and the deep bond that only siblings can know. It’s these moments in our own lives that we need to stop and take stock of because sometimes they can be fleeting or just out of our grasp if we don’t savor them completely.

Having now read and reread this book several times, I have marked the pieces that I could relate back to my own personal experience and counted 24 as I sat down to write this…Pieces on love, family, dreams, faith, fear and death all brought my memories to the surface.

One such piece called Paint on Windows recalls Mikes experience with his daughter in the hospital and how as parents we hold and protect but that we must also allow something greater than ourselves to take over in times of need. My own daughter had life threatening surgery when she was just 6 months old. What got me through that experience was being surrounded by family, loving friends and a deep sense of faith that everything would be OK. At one point during the surgery I walked outside in a garden with my family and a hummingbird flew over head as if to say, don’t worry I am here with you and I like what I see…. I’m not leaving yet. After the surgery the anesthesiologist told me we had a fighter on our hands and that she made it through. Today, that little fighter is 14, strong willed and confident and makes my life so happy each and every day. We still have to visit the doctors once a year and they are continually astonished at what an incredible person she has become.

Matt Czuchry - Jorg Meyer

(photo credit: Jorg Meyer via

In addition to the stories shared in Brothers on Life, I marvel at the crossover of disciplines that many creatives make within their professions. Seeing Matt first as an actor and then as a writer sparked a curiosity that I have had for many years with how, as creatives, we are not bound by just one thing and it seems that we have many loves and passions that drive us. Although we may not share the same creative path, you can take some basic elements from each discipline and be able to find a common thread that connects us all – dreaming, imagination and storytelling. This for me is the basis of creativity. First, DREAM and IMAGINE and then TELL YOUR STORY in whatever way serves you, then perhaps we will grow and develop into something greater than ourselves.

Special thanks to Matt and Mike for writing and sharing their story. You can find Brothers on Life through Matt’s website.

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Elle Luna: The Crossroads of Should and Must

by Sarah

Should_Must_Jacket Image_2D

Last fall I read The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna. After I read the book, I put it down for a few months. For some reason I kept coming back to the beautiful illustrations and the message that it was sharing for me. I’d tried to write a post but the right words wouldn’t come so I tucked the book away and moved on with my fall doing normal life things that Elle calls SHOULD.

“Should is how other people want us to live our lives…. It’s all the expectations that others layer upon us….” p. 29

I also signed up for ALT Summit (a design blogging conference in Salt Lake City) and lo and behold Elle was slated as the closing keynote speaker. I’ve attended ALT four times and this year really was a turning point for me and my business. At the keynote, I sat in the front row and throughout the speech I kept nodding in agreement to everything that Elle was saying.

As a speaker, I know that when you find someone in the audience that connects with your topic you have a tendency to continually look at and focus on that person. Elle was looking at me in the front row and I was nodding!

Alt Winter 2016 Closing Keynote with Elle Luna from ALT Summit on Vimeo.

Here is a link to her speech in its entirety. Its really worth a listen and something to come back to over and over again.

After ALT I came home and again pulled out The Crossroads of Should and Must This time I absorbed the meaning behind it in terms of my own life and career. I’ve been incredibly lucky in choosing MUST…and having such a great network of support all around me has definitely helped along the way.

According to Elle:

“Must is different. Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self.” p.31

I knew I wanted to be an interior designer as a senior in high school and I followed that path. Once I got into the business of interior design I followed my PASSION for 13 years working in Chicago for Fortune 500 clients. Along the way I learned how to project manage, design and made some of the best friends in my life. But ultimately I was missing some piece of my own creativity. I could never quite put my finger on it until I had my first child and then my second. After both their births I had come another crossroads and had chosen a different MUST – raising a family. This has been the most important MUST of my life and one that I have treasured every step of the way. I have shared art, design, photography, creativity and a love for the world with my children and have helped them grow into who they are today! (Thanks to my dear friends Aryn and Lisa for reminding me of this recently)

Now that my kids are older, I am once again coming to those crossroads. Elle’s book reminds us that we come to this over and over again in our lives and this really isn’t a bad thing at all. I’m excited what MUST has in store for me now and have been exploring what it means for me…Photography, painting, writing, books, music, theater, film and travel. With these passions I always thought that they must be my career but I have come to realize that they are now just an extension of who I have become. I am lucky enough to get to share my passions with the world through my business and in this space. But I also get to savor some of the MUSTS just for myself and that’s the best part of all.

For those of you out there who are unsure of where your path is leading, look at where you are and you will find that you are actually right where you need to be on this journey. Enjoy the moment!

Elle says it best at the end of her book:

“We each have a unique potential that was given to us at birth, but whether or not we cultivate it is entirely up to us. In its purest sense, Must is why we are here to begin with, and choosing it is the journey of our lives.”

Special Thanks to Rebecca and Jenny of Workman Publishing for providing photos from the book, ALT Summit for the Keynote Address, Brooke Dennis and Justin Hackworth photography from ALT and Elle Luna for creating such a beautiful book and story about choosing MUST.

You can follow Elle on Instagram: @elleluna

Have a great Wednesday everyone!




On Pursuing and Living Your Dreams

by Sarah

2016-02-22 09.53.42

For the past 6 weeks I have been recouping from a torn plantar fascia. When I first found out I would have to wear a boot on my right foot for 4 months and stay off it as much as possible I sent myself into quite a tail spin. You see last year I had a 2nd major shoulder surgery which took my away from my business for almost 10 months. I wasn’t quite sure what all this meant and I certainly was not happy with the outcome.

I was on track in January to hit the ground running and go all out with new projects and new products. It starting to happen and was gaining momentum when my injury hit. So I did what the doctor ordered, stayed off my foot and binge watched movies and TV for a month. During the course of this time I began to wonder about my dreams and where they were going and exactly what I wanted to accomplish with my business and my life.

Part of this wondering lead me down a path that was surprising. You see I haven’t actually watched much TV since my obsession with Seinfeld back in the 90’s.  Last summer, my daughter Emily introduced me to Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I watched a few episodes with her to make sure it was “appropriate TV” and then tucked it away into my Netflix profile. She would keep coming to me to share funny moments and story lines that she enjoyed and kept telling me that I needed to watch it. So I did. I began halfway through Season 5 and binge watched until the end of the series on Season 7. This fall, she began watching it again so naturally I took another look. It wasn’t until the middle of February that I started from Season 1 and watched all the way through. I had no idea the buzz around the show until I started looking up some of the actors. This lead me down a rabbit hole and to a book: Brothers on Life by Matt and Mike Czuchry. (Matt was on the series for Seasons 5-7 and stars in The Good Wife on CBS)


If you have followed me in this space for a long time you know I used to interview fellow creatives and I shared a lot about books that have had some impact on my creative journey. Reading this book reminded me of my original mission of sharing about creativity and what drives us to follow our passions. So in a weird round about way, the book brought me back and has opened the flood gates to a project I have had on the back burner for the last two years.

Yesterday, I shared a series of books on facebook and instagram that I will be talking about in this space over the next month or so. Brothers on Life is one of them. My plan is to write a synopsis each book and talk about the way each has impacted me, reach out to the authors for a possible interview and fully develop the special project I started so long ago. I hope you will come along on this journey with me and please feel free to share any of your favorite creative books in the comments, I might add them for future posts…

Happy Tuesday everyone!



Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way

by Sarah


Today I am really excited to share a business book by my business coach and mentor, Jennifer Lee. Jenn has been my business coach for about a year now and I can truly say she knows what she is talking about. Before I began in her creative cohort circle, I purchased her first book: The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success. If you are like me, business plans can seem like a daunting project but with a little creativity and some fun projects preparing one became a project that I could wrap my head around.

Jenn’s newest book: Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way: Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur is primarily about creating sustainable success as you move forward with your business. Defining what success is for you, creating your core message, cultivating connections, community and a strong customer base and how to package your gifts are all discussed in the book and fun projects are added along the way to keep your creative juices flowing.


{featured project: page 37 – creating your core message}

Two of my own projects from our sessions together are featured in the book: The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and Creating Your Core Message.

Today I will be sharing a little behind how to create an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. First and foremost, your business needs a BIG vision. It is the strategy behind what you are trying to accomplish. By turning that big vision into something visual it enables you to look at your business in a different light. In the image below, a flower is used as the starting point of the big vision. In order for a flower to grow it needs many things including: sun, water, and soil. The sun refers to where you seek your expert guidance – mentors, business groups etc.; the water is where you receive your support (family, friends, business associates) and the soil is the foundation of your business – what do you have set in place as a solid base for your business?

Within the flower itself you have roots, a stem, leaves, petals and of course your customers (bees); Roots are your core business values; stem: your money goals; leaves are what your business offers; petals what actions you will take to meet your goals and the center of the flower relates back to your core message of your business. You can see Jenn in action over on her site to explain exactly how to put your own Entrepreneurial Ecosystem together.



I am honored to have been featured in the book and you can see my art pieces in the LOOK INSIDE feature on amazon. Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way: Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur. Both of Jenn’s book are a must in any creative entrepreneurs library and are great guides that I refer to again and again as my business grows.

Thanks so much Jenn and Stef it is always a pleasure to work with both of you.

If you would like to see more interviews and other artists featured in the book please feel free to check out Jenn’s site for the blogtour list

Have a great weekend everyone.

the little prince

by Sarah

the little prince

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery is quite possibly my most favorite books from childhood. I have read it in English and French, seen the movie with Gene Wilder and have had a sort of love affair with the princes character for as long as I remember.

Earlier this week, Tiffany Han and Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind challenged the #moreshannigansplease crew to share their favorite childhood story. Of course I went straight for The Little Prince.

little prince in french

{L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux” – what is essential is invisible to the eye.}

This past summer I was on my very first trip to Paris and I got caught red handed in a french bookstore sneaking a photo of a book full of Little Prince sketches. I was so embarrassed but at the same time excited to capture an image of this sweet little man.

little prince sketch

The sketches, the writing and the fact that I was in Paris looking at them were beyond my wildest dreams. In the course of this trip I purchased a commemorative edition in French, with sketches and speeches that have been given about the book and a new moleskine notebook with the quote I mentioned above on the cover. I have held them closely since returning from Paris and every now and then I pull out the book to just look at the pictures.

the little prince 1971

{my very first copy of The Little Prince – circa 1971}

What are some of your favorite childhood books? Take a few moments some time this weekend and step back into your childhood. It could be just what you need to refuel your creative energy.

Happy Thursday, everyone.



Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

by Sarah

There are few books that I own that I would say have had extreme emotional impact on me upon reading them. Two of my favorites: The Secret Life of Bees and Memoirs of a Geisha would definitely be placed with my newest novel: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. When I find such books it becomes difficult for me to put them down and I usually stay up all night reading so I can find out what happened. For me, this makes the story teller truly a master at their craft. With this book however, I did have to put it down, not because I did not want to know what happened next but because it invoked such an emotional response that I would need a break to digest the pages I had just read.

The story of Oskar Schell, a nine year old boy who loses his father in the World Trade Center bombings, weaves through his life and that of his grandmother and grandfather, who came to the US after bombings Dresden, Germany. Oskar finds a key in his fathers belongings that he hopes will lead to some sort information about his father and help him to maintain a connection to him. As the scenes unfold, you learn about love and loss through characters that Oskar meets and also through the family he lives with.

The imagery, photographs and character descriptions help the author to achieve such a height of being one with the characters that it is hard to believe that the story is fiction. One of my favorite pieces in the book is a business card that Oskar created for himself for his travels, it reads:

“Oskar Schell – Inventor, jewelry designer, jewelry fabricator, amateur entomologist, francophile, vegan, origamist, pacifist, percussionist, amateur astronomer, computer consultant, amateur archeoligist, collector of: coins, butterflies that died natural deaths, miniature cacti, Beatles memorabilia, semiprecious stones, and other things…”

If we could only be as sure as ourselves in adulthood as this little boy was at the age of 9…think what the world could achieve?….

Have a great day.

5 Books to Jumpstart Your Creativity

by Sarah

In my quest to find more creativity in my own life, I tend to look towards books. I have a passion for reading all sorts of books – from fiction, to art, to non-fiction – you name it; if it’s good I will take a look.

Today, I am going to share a list of 5 go to books on creativity that are on my desk, next to my bed and on the bookcase in my office.

1. The Creative License by Danny Gregory; if you remember back to the post 10 minutes for creativity, I mentioned this book.

2. Water Paper Paint – Exploring Creativity with Watercolor and Mixed Media by Heather Smith Jones; It has lots of great tips and projects to try and the artwork in the book is really inspiring.

3. Inspiration Sandwich by SARK; This was one of the first books I ever purchased about creativity and I go to it whenever I need a little boost. SARK has written numerous books so if you cannot find this one there are plenty out there that share her unique message.

4. Living Out Loud by Keri Smith; All of the books by Keri Smith are smart, creative and most importantly FUN. This one gives you quick ideas and fold out pages which makes it a dose of creativity in your hands.

5. Art Escapes by Dori Kanter; another book that has been in my library for many years. It has great tutorials and projects. One of my favorites are the 1 minutes sketches.

Take a moment to seek these out if you are visiting a bookstore. You can download many of them on a kindle or nook but I personally like to have the book in my hand so I can touch and feel and see the pages up close. Enjoy exploring and please share any books that you might enjoy in the comments.

Have a great day…

Chronicle Books: Hauli-Days (win $500.00 in books)

by Sarah

Everyone that knows me, knows that I have an eclectic love of books and a love also of Chronicle Books in San Francisco. Today I am joining a special promotion called Hauli-Days where Chronicle Books is giving away $500.00 worth of books to a blog and also to one lucky reader. I am excited to participate in this giveaway and have made a list of my Haul below. Feel free to click on the links as they will take you to some of my favorite design, art and drawing books. Also, please leave a comment and you will then be automatically entered into the Hauli-Days Book Drawing. Winners will be announced on December 13, 2010. So without further ado– “My Haul”–

The Exquisite Book

Art of McSweeneys

Lotta Jansdotter Handmade Living

The Map as Art

Born Modern

The Marvelous Museum

Jack Lenor Larsen’s LongHouse

More Things Like This

MoMA Modern Play House

MoMA Modern Play Family

Art Work


Moleskine City of San Francisco

Little Book of Letterpress

642 Things to Draw

Please note: all book images are from the Chronicle Book website.