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Like many of you, I’m enjoying time with family and childhood friends during the holidays.  It’s nice to slow down a little, feel like a kid again from the excitement of the season and having mom cook for me (not the mention the bowl of Christmas Cap’n Crunch I had this morning!).  There have  been moments of “memory lane” and nostalgia about the “way things were”.  I love traditions.  I love the old ones and the new ways we look at them as we grow and I love creating new traditions! 

This week I indulged in one of my favorite childhood Christmas traditions:  The mall! 

Not a frenzied shopping trip for gifts.

No shopping bag overload. 

And, not just ANY mall.  This was the Northpark Mall in Dallas, TX experience.  An adventure of color, decorations, holiday magic and memories.  It was always one of my favorite moments as a kid.  This week I went again as a grown up, with a mix of new and old traditions. 

It started early one morning as my mom and I ventured out to the “Santa Line” for tickets.  This is the new part of the tradition.  My nieces have sat on the “magical” Santa’s lap for 18 years now.  Never missing a year.  All the visits chronicled in colorful, magical photos their father is so proud of.  There is a line, and tickets, and a “come back at…” process because THIS very popular Santa, according to many in Dallas, is the “real Santa”.  I know, because while walking around the mall that day, I heard this phrase time and time again in the conversations of passers-by. 

Northpark Santa's House

Santa’s “house” before he and all the excited children arrived.

 

Northpark Santa

The real Santa???

 

After we got the tickets it was time to indulge MY memories and revisit the decorations that still hang every year in the mall.  The same ones I used to visit as a child.  Here are a few of my favorite “old” things:

Santa in his sleigh.  Santa is made from nuts and candies!  This truly fascinated me as a kid!

  

Santa’s sleigh hangs high above the shoppers below (not as high as it SEEMED as a kid) and is guided by his trusty team of reindeer…all made of nuts.

 

 

I’ve never heard the story behind these sculptures, but they are there every year and tower above with their arms steadily moving.  I love their strong energy among the soft, vibrant colors of the poinsettia.

 

You can’t have Christmas without music!  I loved watching the fingers play over the keys as this young man played a beautiful Christmas carol.

 

Merry Miller entertained young and old with beautiful harp music.  Do I need to tell you how much I LOVE the colorful harp strings?!?!

 

The Lionel trains were back.  I don’t know why trains and Christmas go together…but I’m sure glad they do!

 

Neiman Marcus Ornaments

A holiday visit to Northpark would not be complete without a stop into Neiman’s to see the decorations! 

I was so inspired by the baskets FULL of colorful ornaments.  Oh how I LOVE Christmas tree ornaments!!

 

There were “new” holiday moments also.  New stores.  New window displays.  New colorful visual treats. 

These beautiful knitted stockings hung on the wall at one of my favorite stores, Anthropologie.  There is just something about a knitted stocking that says “tradition”.

 

 

“Frisky” was at the mall looking for a new home and hoping to be a special Christmas gift.  He was full of love (and energy…his name suited him).  I sure hope someone takes him home.  I love the SPCA!  I have two furry creatures at home that were rescued by SPCA volunteers.  A special holiday wish to all my furry friends out there:  Alex, Nelson, Pup, Wilber, Lily, Matteo, Dusty, Princess, Indie, Cara, and “Turq”.

 

Barneys holiday window wished me “A Foodie Holiday” and advises “Give Good Art” (I couldn’t agree MORE!)  The beautiful artwork is done in partnership with Big Thought, a Dallas-based non-profit .  “…we believe that every child and family should be immersed in opportunities to imagine, create and succeed.”  I’m so glad I learned about this amazing organization!  A big thanks to Jackson, the concierge at Barneys, for talking to me about the art and the partnership with Big Thought.  Please check them out here!

  

Of course I found the cupcakes! 

 

And it was a mall, so of course there was fashion involved.  There were colors, and textiles, and textures, and shapes that inspired me and left me wanting more (money in my wallet for one thing…).  Maybe I’ll save those NEW favorite things for tomorrow.  You might have a little extra money or gift cards you aren’t sure how to spend…

 All this color and holiday cheer left me quite hungry.  Let’s see…I am in Texas…Mexican food, BBQ, Chicken Fried Steak?  Nope, cupcakes!  On a whim, I conspired with my best friend to surprise her 11 year old daughter with a knock on the door to whisk her away to Brendal’s Bakery and Cupcake Couture (thank you Google and my iPhone map!).   She was TOTALLY surprised!  We ate TOO many cupcakes!  And, I think I may have a new tradition…

May your old traditions continue and may new ones excite and inspire you! 

Happy {colorful} holidays to all of you!

What are your favorite holiday traditions?  Share them with us in the comments below.

 

Color.

Inspiration.

5 days a week.

I wake up everyday thinking about the next day’s melissaAnne Color and Inspiration email.  Where will I find the inspiration today?  Will it start with color?  Inspiring words?  I never quite know where the idea will come from.  And, maybe more importantly, when.  Will I get it early or will I be up at midnight still seeking the right inspiration for my readers.  Today, while eating breakfast I decided to catch up on the DVR and indulge in some guilty pleasure “design time” with The Nate Berkus Show.  I had a few episodes available (yes, I’m quite behind…), and chose the Ellen Pompeo “Gray” episode. 

Guilty:  I should be working…

Pleasure:  Forget work…OH!  That room!  Those grays!  That PILLOW!!

WAIT! WHAT?  Did he just say what I think he said? 

Rewind…BONUS:  Guilt gone.  I’m working!  Nate just gave me the inspiration for melissaAnne Color and Inspiration No. 81.

“Pink and gray, arguably one of the most beautiful design combinations on earth.”   ~Nate Berkus

  

Pink!  ………………….  Gray!  ………………….  Together! 

 

Approved and endorsed by Nate Berkus

Can this day GET any better?  I’m excited about the prevalence of gray in fashion and home this season.  I love gray, always have.  Not sure why really, but I do and I love it even more with pink.  To me the combination of gray and pink says strong and confident, yet soft and sensitive.   So, when I heard these beautiful words by Nate my mind immediately went to Water Colors Diva, part of the melissaAnne Colors Collection.  I knew immediately that it was the “color” for the next melissaAnne Color and Inspiration email.

Water Colors Diva ©Melissa McClain

 

Every day, try and discover something that informs you, inspires you or makes your life better. You will enrich your life immeasurably if you approach it with a sense of wonder and discovery, and always challenge yourself to try new things.  ~Nate Berkus

Water Colors Diva inspired me to discover something new, and challenge myself to try something different.  When I downloaded and finished editing the original image I was excited by its great texture and colors.  The background was a great textured display of shades of gray.  The whimsical lines in pink gave it a feeling of feminine fun.  I knew the name had to be strong, yet feminine…thus Diva.  My next thought was “…bag.  I want a bag with this print”.  Not just any bag, I had an immediate vision of the bag I would someday carry in Diva.  It looked something like a Louis Vuitton Noé, the iconic  drawstring bag. 

Louis Vuitton Inspiring melissaAnne Colors Diva Handbag

The trim and  strap for my Diva bag would be leather in a complementary gray tone.  The drawstring would be made of  beautiful braided textiles in shades of pink and gray.  The bag would be functional, elegant, and unique. 

Then there was the inside.  If you know me and have ever shopped with me, you’ve heard my famous phrase (probably loudly, in the middle of a store, in an octave higher than my normal voice, that made you want to hide inside one of the racks…) “It has a hidden color palette!”  You know, that special surprise of colors or shapes (or both) on the inside of a bag or a coat.  A little something extra.  A surprise.  An unexpected gift, secretly hiding inside.  The final touch.  Like this amazing coat worn by Hillary Clinton.

Hillary's Hidden Color Palette

 
The inside fabric for my bag would be a beautiful satin in a brilliant pink, gray, and yellow geometric or stripe pattern that makes the inside of the bag as special as the outside (and hopefully creating loud outbursts from customers in retail stores and friends seeking cover). 

The vision led to the question, “Can I do that?”  Fast forward through research on custom textile printing, successful melissaAnne Colors Collection prints on fabric, prototype pillows, and a fabric bag made during  a sewing class last year…Sure, I can do that!  I can do anything I put my mind to. 

Watching Nate this morning, thinking of Diva, and remembering my bag vision brought back the inspiration and passion I get from textiles and designs and finding new and exciting ways to share the melissaAnne Colors Collections images with others. 

I’m putting my mind back to it!  Someday you’ll see me walking down the street with melissaAnne Colors Diva over my shoulder.  Or, maybe I’ll see you…

Thanks for the color…and inspiration, Nate!

Moments of Inspiration

Boats. There is just something about them.  Old ones.  New ones.  In the water.  Out of the water.  They inspire me, all of them.  So, I’m going to a boat show!  What better place to hang out and find inspiration!  If you are going to the Ft Lauderdale Boat show this weekend, stop by Ingham Engineering at booth 406/407 and see Water Colors Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard.  Leave your card and you could win the framed print!  Follow me at the new melissaAnne Colors on Twitter for updates throughout the weekend.  Say hi if you’re at the show!

The Making of a melissaAnne Water Colors Image

When I tell people that my photos are from the bottoms of boats it often results in funny looks and the following:  “THAT’S a bottom…of a BOAT?  How do you do that?”  If you are  part of my network of amazingly supportive friends, you fully understand the looks and the questions because you’ve shared my work and you’ve experienced the same reactions. Let’s face it, it’s weird.  It’s not quite “normal”.  Most people don’t spend their vacations in amazing places like St Maarten or Martha’s Vineyard climbing through weeds in boat yards taking photos.  They don’t drag their friends out to “bond” amid the dirt and cobwebs of boat “graveyards” and graffiti laden walls.  But, if you are among the few who have joined me in one of these adventures…well, you get it.  Sorta….

For the rest of you,  I’m about to give you some insight into those popular questions, “THAT’s a bottom…of a BOAT?”  and “How do you do that?” using one of my favorite melissaAnne Colors Water Colors images.

 December 29, 2008

I was in Texas visiting family for the holidays.  December 29th, my mom’s birthday and how did we celebrate it?  Driving aimlessly around Lake Lewisville searching for boat yards of course (yes, my mom is a saint).  I was still new to the melissaAnne Colors Water Colors process, this only the second time I’d gone on a boat yard mission.  We drove around most of the day, with me crawling around “the yards” looking for just the right boat, colors, angles, textures, patterns.  It’s about ALL of that!  We stopped at one marina with power boats and sailboats and I snapped away and wandered around for a while.  In the back, among the tall grass and weeds I discovered this. 

The bottom of a boat.....

This, in my world, is a goldmine!  I know, weird.  Those questions marks are floating over your head.  “This is a goldmine?” you’re saying.   Just wait…..

From this dirty old boat came this colorful but somewhat dull image.

© Melissa McClain

With a little photo software magic I brightened the colors (most Water Colors images are the original colors, simply enhanced) and got this.

©Melissa McClain

But it wasn’t done.  One of the things I love most about the melissaAnne Colors Collection is the versatility.  There was one more thing to do, rotate.  Before I finalize an image, I rotate it left, right, 180 degrees to find a story that speaks to me.  At 180 degrees, this one was done.  

 
 

© Melissa McClain

I immediately saw a shoe.  A red shoe.  A red HIGH HEEL shoe.  It said “woman”, “power”, “celebration”, and “confidence”.  I pictured an elegant evening of dancing in red high heel shoes. 

That’s where I stopped and it became Water Colors Elegance, a popular print among strong women!

Although, I didn’t truly stop there…see what else that boat gave us.

©Melissa McClain

 Water Colors Red No. 10

©Melissa McClain

  Water Colors Hope

 

THAT’s a bottom…of a BOAT?  Yes. 

 Final Water Colors  images shown above are available for purchase at melissaAnne Colors   

Moments of Inspiration

I attended Apartment Therapy Offline Meetup this week!  The guest speaker was rug and textile designer Madeline Weinrib.  Her designs are unique and beautiful.  I found her story truly inspiring and a reminder that it’s OK to be different, stay true to your vision, and follow your passion and you will realize your dream.  Thank you Madeline and Apartment Therapy!  You can also see Madeline’s designs at one of MY favorite places, ABC Home in NYC.  

 Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon  

 SIGN UP for the weekday melissaAnne Color and Inspiration e-mail.  Daily photos from the melissaAnne Colors Collection and inspiring quotes right in your inbox.  It’s free and it’s fun!

There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart…pursue those. ~Michael Nolan (Featured in melissaAnne Color and Inspiration No. 26 – Catch Your Heart)  

I’m headed out on an exciting trip and am busily getting things together for 3 weeks on the road. I’m spending 2 weeks on Martha’s Vineyard (someone pinch me, this MUST be a dream!) and then I’m headed up to Maine for a week. I’ve always wanted to go to Maine, so I’m quite excited to visit both places and spend some quality time with a new camera.      

Over the past couple months, I’ve had so much fun working on new melissaAnne projects and I am excited about recently completing the first month of the Monday-Friday Color and Inspiration Newsletter.  If you aren’t getting the email, you can sign up here.   Last week I finished design of the first 30-card set of melissaAnne Inspire Cards.  I have a few more things to do to finalize the packaging, but look for them soon on my website.         

I recently had samples created for the melissaAnne pillow collection. I took the finished pillows, created from a selection of Water Colors and Urban Colors images printed on Silk Charmeuse, on my last trip to Martha’s Vineyard to do product shots.  Long before I had the samples, or even knew how I was going to get them made, I had a vision of the first photo shoot for the pillow collection.  I saw the pillows arranged in a variety of outdoor locations:  in  boats, on the beach, in a meadow, and on a farm.       

To me, the vision was a message to keep going.  You’ll get there.       

I got there!  But, things didn’t quite work out as I expected.  The pillow inserts I received were 16×16”, which created a bit of a problem for the 16×20” pillow covers. I’m no math whiz…but even I know this is a problem!  My amazing “style team” pulled together and with a fold, a tuck, and an adjustment here and there…we made things work and got some exciting pictures of the samples.  I was even able to integrate some of the ideas from the vision that kept me moving forward!      

Introducing melissaAnne Home Collection Pillows

melissaAnne Water Colors images on pillows go back “home” and add some color to this boat I found on the beach in Lobsterville.         

© Melissa McClain

 From left:  Water Colors Spring On The Vineyard, Garden of Angels, and Sea Cave        

       

© Melissa McClain

 Shown:   Water Colors Garden Of Angels      

    

One of my favorite places on Martha’s Vineyard is Edgartown and the beautiful view of the harbor and lighthouse from in front of the Harbor View Hotel.  A little flip of the harbor view bench and we have a great location to stage the pillows.        

© Melissa McClain

 From Left:  Urban Colors Stedman, Water Colors Spring On The Vineyard, Urban Colors Saffron, Water Colors Sea Cave, and Urban Colors Shine No. 6      

    

Special thanks to the Harbor View Hotel for letting us take over the rocking chairs on the wrap around porch.        

© Melissa McClain

I’m excited about the pictures above and the process of seeing the vision come to life with my pillows.  However, there was something missing.  Don’t most product shots have a little more of a “home” feel to them?  Maybe a little “home life” in them?  I needed a model to help them come to life, and I got the PURRFECT one!   

© Melissa McClain

 Shown:  Garden of Angels with model Wilber Philber    

 

© Melissa McClain

  Shown:  Urban Colors Stedman       

      

© Melissa McClain

  Shown:  Urban Colors Shine No. 6       

      

© Melissa McClain

 Shown From Left:  Urban Colors Stedman and Saffron       

      

Special THANKS to the following:       

My style team: Jamie Eslinger (marketing maven), Sandra Carlson, and Justin Aiken (stylist and “heavy lifter”).       

My model Wilber Philber, his agent, and his personal photographer.      

       

Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.  ~Harriet Beecher Stowe  (Featured in melissaAnne Color and Inspiration No. 28 – Turn The Tide)      

The journey continues.  One step at a time.  One day at a time.  One opportunity at a time.      

A little closer every day.       

I’ll see you after my fantastic adventure.  Hopefully with lots of fun pictures and updates to share.       

       

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

 Sign Up for Color and Inspiration e-mail for your “morning cup of color” Monday-Friday. 

     

Play has been man’s most useful preoccupation.  ~Frank Caplan

 

It’s 9:00 on Monday night as I’m starting this post.  I’m wondering:  Where did my day go?  Didn’t I just wake up?  Oh, right that was 5 am.  So, what exactly happened since then?  My day just wasted away…

Oh…wait…where is that message coming from?  Do you know what I did most of the day?  I worked on new Urban Colors images from Boston.  I “goofed off and played” is the message I sent myself most of the day.  Funny how that happens, those messages dominate.        

Newsflash to me…”Working on images is not considered play.”      

Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.  ~Abraham Maslow

Thanks, Maslow.  I always did like you.  Must be that colorful pyramid you created.     

So since I spent yesterday at “purposeful play” I should share some of the frivolity with you.  We made it through Monday, after all.  I’m sure we can all use a little frivolity today.      

Come on, let’s COLOR!

These melissaAnne Urban Colors Collection images were captured around Boston a few weekends ago.  I REALLY like Boston and enjoyed walking around Newbury Street and taking in all the colors, architecture, fashion, and people.  I think I’ll visit again soon…   

Urban Colors Hue © Melissa McClain

    Soothe me with some BLUE!   

 
 

 

Urban Colors Opulence © Melissa McClain

 You’ll never guess what this was!  Pretty energetic, huh?  Are you awake now?  Ready to tackle the world?  I thought so!       

 

  

© Melissa McClain

  The sun is shining today…      

  

Urban Colors Meadow © Melissa McClain

 

…on the garden in my mind.  Full of Lavender. 

  

Urban Colors Tapestry No. 4 © Melissa McClain

    Boston’s Edgy Side     

 

Urban Colors Wildflower © Melissa McClain

      Wild Beauty.  I love the BOLD color!  A door, just a random door in Boston.  Beauty is everywhere, you just have to look.  

 

So, I think I’ll “play” some more today.  Maybe I will put a few of these new images up on my website.  Maybe I’ll create a gallery for a new series I’m calling Reflection Colors.  You know, just “goof off”, with purpose of course.

Do you have messages?  Are you listening to them?  Are they holding you back?        

  

Moments of Inspiration

I have a special inspiration update today.  I am launching a daily inspiration newsletter soon with images, quotes, things to think about, and steps to take to reach your dream.  All you need to do is go over to my website, click on the newsletter tab and sign up.  It’s that easy!  Really!!  What are you waiting for?  Go!  Let’s get inspired.  

       

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

        

 Enter your email address above to get my blog delivered straight to  your emails. 

Blog subscribers get the updates first!  Don’t you want to be in the know?

  

      

I’ve been sitting here for over an hour trying to write “something for the blog”.  Putting pressure on myself to say something really inspiring, or meaningful, or moving.  Attempting to craft a message out of the last 3 weeks of my life.  Three weeks full of big change.  

Slow down.  What you’re chasing may be trying to catch you.  ~Noah benShea

I read old emails and reviewed quotes, trying to recreate the weeks.  It didn’t work.  I had no clue what to write.  I was about to give up and walk away, until one of my “angels” appeared with a message.  A reminder.  It seems simple, the basis of the last 3 weeks, but we all know it is sometimes one of the most complicated things in life.  Belief.   

“You add something to the mix called life that only you can add.  Honor that.  Honor you.”  ~Angela Bear

I believed in myself, in that “something” I can add to life.  I honored my gift and I took a stand for me and my passion.  It started three weeks ago on a Sunday night when I somewhat randomly changed my Facebook profile and became a “photographer” instead of an “emerging photographer”.  It ended on Friday when I left my full-time job to focus on my photography and designs.      

I stepped beyond my comfort zone.     

I don’t mind telling you that part of me is really scared.  But, I don’t regret the decision.  Not for a minute.   

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new…for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. ~Alan Cohen

Before I knew it, a new kind of Monday morning arrived.  What should one do when they make a major life change like this?  Hide under the covers?  Crawl into a corner and cry?  Buy lots of lottery tickets?   

No WAY!   

I accepted support from friends who reached out and who believe in me.
I went to a trade show, met new people, and was completely inspired by artists and designers!
I took trips to Boston and Martha’s Vineyard with friends…and my camera.
I went to two Women On Fire Tea Parties and felt the passion, inspiration, and support of amazing women who validated my dream and my decision.
OK…yes…I bought a few lottery tickets…hey, you never know.
And, maybe a FEW times I hid under the covers. But, I didn’t stay long. It’s too hot to stay covered up and there are too many colors and photo ops in the world to hide away for long.   

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth.  Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again & again.  ~A.Maslow

So, what’s next?  Keep working the plan.  Take every opportunity that comes my way.  Learn to say “yes”.  A lot!  Learn to say “help”.  Surround myself with positive, supportive, inspiring people who believe in me and encourage my dreams.  Give others the same support and inspiration I’m receiving and share in the joys of their passions and dreams.  Keep gratitude in my heart.  Keep believing in myself.  Be kind and take care of me (I think these last two are the most important lessons I can learn now).   

I am living life.  I am maintaining focus on my goal and my dream and I am not going it alone.  I am following the path that makes me happy.  I won the most important lottery, I am living into the life I want and discovering who I am.  

Have you made a big change or are you thinking about one?  Do you need support?  I’m here.  I believe in you.   

I was once afraid of people saying “Who does she think she is?” Now I have the courage to stand and say, “This is who I am.” ~Oprah Winfrey

I am a photographer.  My Facebook profile says so, therefore it must be true.  

Maybe I should share a few photos?  That would make sense right?  I am a photographer.  

Here are a few of my favorites from Boston and Martha’s Vineyard.    

Studio Colors - Boston - Sean Boyce Studio ©Melissa McClain

Menemsha Sunset - Martha's Vineyard ©Melissa McClain

Owen Park Sunrise - Martha's Vineyard ©Melissa McClain

“There are angels all around you, and there is great care and love in this world for you.” ~Anonymous

I want to send out special thanks to my “angels”.  All of you have had an impact in validating and supporting my dreams and my passion.  Thank you for believing in me!  I am forever grateful and I hope that I can pay forward the love and care that I have received from you.   

Moments of Inspiration

Color…Color…Color!  I love color!  I was so inspired by my recent trips to Boston and Martha’s Vineyard.  The colors in the city and the colors on the Vineyard energized me.  Special thanks to Sean Boyce for letting me “run free” in his studio and capture the amazing colors and textures of his passion, painting.  I was so excited to visit Alison Shaw’s gallery while on Martha’s Vineyard.  She is an amazing photographer who captures colors and shapes in magical ways.   

I received an amazing gift of inspirational t-shirts from Devotion Clothing Co. I’ve worn them all weekend and can feel the words and inspiration. Check them out and put your inspiration on!   

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

Oh…I almost forgot…In the middle of all THAT, I ordered and received my first melissaAnne silk pillow samples!  That is a WHOLE other post for ANOTHER day.  Hey, I gotta create a little drama here…afterall, there’s not much going on in my life these days…   

Come Color With Me!

 

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I gave the blog some love!  Where has the time gone?  I’m sure everyone has been sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to see what’s coming next.   You are on the edge of your seat, right?  

A few weeks ago I travelled to Chicago to attend the Women On Fire Retreat at the Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Lakefront.  I was so excited to attend the event and to sponsor a gift to all the attendees!  This is by far the best group I have ever belonged to (OK…I don’t belong to a lot of groups, but there’s NO WAY any could be better)!    

Hotel Floors - ©Melissa McClain

My 3-day weekend in Chicago was amazing.  I had a room full of amazing ladies (4 of us sharing a room, just like the old college Spring Break days) and we stayed up late into the night enjoying girl talk, eating deep dish pizza, and bonding like only women can.  

Chicago Deep Dish Delight

 

“When you really have the fire you don’t have to tell anybody”  ~Stedman Graham

During the Retreat I was surrounded by more than 60 inspiring , passionate, and compassionate “Women On Fire”.  Women of all ages who were there to join each other in living full lives, supporting dreams, inspiring each other, and creating bonds.  It was incredible!  The Retreat kicked off with a keynote address from Stedman Graham who will no longer be “Oprah’s man” in my mind.  I now know him as a quiet, yet powerful and energizing force whose words inspire and captivate a room and who wears his heart proudly on his sleeve.  Oh, and I also know him as “The Sted-man”, my new little nickname for him.  I hope he doesn’t mind…  

Surrounded by Debbie Phillips, Founder of Women on Fire and Stedman Graham

 

“I rely on my support system.  If I didn’t have this web of wonderment around me, if I didn’t have support and utilize support, I’d be nowhere.” ~Holly Getty – Style Consultant

 There were so many other guest speakers during the event who touched me and changed the way I think about life, dreams, and passion.  I learned about discovering and following your passion from the beautiful Laurie Forster.  Laurie is The Wine Coach and we were treated to a fabulous wine tasting during the Retreat!  I was touched and inspired by Kacy Cook’s passion for writing and her children’s book Nuts.  I got to know one of my weekend “roomies”, Jamie Eslinger, better and hear her amazing story of strength and survival.   I laughed and cried as Janette Barber closed the event on Saturday with the powerful story of her life and her determination.  Janette is the funniest person I know and her humor this weekend was full of beauty, inspirations, and lessons that I didn’t even realize I needed to learn.  She touched me deeply and I am so grateful for her.  Please visit her Max Mouth website and watch the videos.  You will laugh a little, cry a little, and be touched deeply by her passion to help some amazing kids.   

We were a gathering of softness and strength, all standing together and ready to bloom brightly in this world! Photo ©Melissa McClain

Special thanks to Debbie Phillips, the founder of Women On Fire, for creating such an amazing organization of women with like minds and, more importantly, like hearts.  In the words of Debbie, “I’ve found my peeps.”  Thank you fellow “women on fire” for a wonderful, connecting weekend and the amazing friendships that have begun or grown.  You INSPIRE me!    

Chicago Urban Color ©Melissa McClain

I am energized and my passion is re-ignited.  I am inspired even more to keep moving towards my dream!  Since returning, I’ve been hard at work.  I designed a new product line based on feedback from the melissaAnne Inspire Cards I created as a gift for Retreat attendees and I expect to get samples in a few weeks.   

This week I found a manufacturer to print and sew my first line of pillows!  I think it’s finally happening.  I am beyond excited and can’t wait to see the first melissaAnne Home Collection pillows with images from my Water Colors and Urban Colors photography printed on silk and linen!  I promise to update you in early June after I have pictures taken in a very special place.  Get ready for some COLOR!  

   

Moments of Inspiration 

Yes, there is still MORE inspiration to share. 

 I have a really fun morning routine that makes my morning subway commute a little more inspiring.  Included in that routine is a daily email from Inspire Me Today.  It always gets my day started in a positive and reflective way and it’s amazing how often the message feels like it was meant for me!  Check out the website and if you need a little daily inspiration, sign up for the emails.  

 

Listen to the Color of your Dreams. ~John Lennon

Special thanks to Richie Frieman and welcome to visitors who found my blog from my artist feature in Pens Eye View on Friday and Saturday.  Richie has big dreams and is determined to make them happen for himself and others!  Thanks Richie for supporting and inspiring so many!  

Thank you for being a part of my journey.  Together we can reach our dreams and make the world a better place.       

I believe in us.  I hope you do, too!      

 

Enjoy some COLOR!   

   

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I’ll bring the melissaAnne journey to you!      

 

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