Dear Da, where do you find inspiration?

posted on: Friday, March 18, 2011

I loved answering your questions this week. Sorry I didn't get to answer everyone's questions. I mainly just answered some old questions huh? I probably didn't even get to your question. We'll do this again soon, don't worry.

There were so many technical questions about building readership, choosing a platform for your blog, choosing to advertise or not, among other practical blogging questions.

But today I choose this question,
maybe not very practical but so fun to answer ...

Dear Da, where do you find inspiration for your blog? 
- Sarah M.

Dear Sarah, I fluctuate from wanting to be hyper organized by drafting an editorial calendar for the month, to not knowing where the blessed piece of paper with the calendar went and deciding instead to throw baby Maria a party for her half birthday. 

Baby Maria inspires me. Calendars do not. Christian inspires me, he's the loveliest person I know.
Enzo inspires me, he's the most forgiving person I know. Clean kitchens inspires me, they inspire me to get in there and create some more.

My brother-in-law was visiting last week. He was great at helping us clean the kitchen. At 10:00pm one night we were both in the kitchen putting the rest of the dishes away. When it was all done I started taking out some bowls, flour, sugar, and apples.

"What are you doing?" he asked confused.
"Making a Tarte Tatin of course" I replied.

Of course! Who doesn't love baking at night when the house is quiet and the kitchen is clean? So we had Tarte Tatin as a midnight snack and talked about his job search and our move to Brazil.

Yesterday was Baby Maria's half birthday. After the kitchen had been cleaned up from lunch Enzo and I made her a rainbow cake while she took a nap.

In college I would occupy my time with studying and activism. I used to go to protests all the time and cook with Food Not Bombs. One time I drove from Massachusetts to Florida so that I could cook and hand out food to the people in the protest against the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas).  That particular protest was highly militarized and unfortunately the folks who comprise the black bloc were the first ones to get arrested. Not surprisingly black bloc folks are the most helpful in makeshift protest kitchens, they jump right in and never complain about the food. That was a hard protest to cook for, there was little help and a lot of people, a lot of people who had been tear gased.

The next year I drove from Massachusetts to Kentucky to cook for the Coalition of Immokolee Workers, tomato pickers from Florida who had been boycotting Taco Bell for 4 years in the hopes of getting a raise of 1 penny per pound of tomatoes they picked. Surprisingly Taco Bell agreed to the worker's demands. That was an easy protest to cook for, food tastes better when people who are cooking haven't been tear gased.

Right now, my main form of activism is trying hard to raise radical little human beings who feel loved and celebrated, respected and important, every day of their lives. Because, believe you me, one day they will go out into the world and they will find issues they are passionate about and I want them to do great things. More importantly though, I want them to know that if their great things fail they can always come home for a slice of rainbow cake.

It took an identity crisis for me to figure out that being a mom is just as important as being a radical activist, if not more so and that really you can be both, only now we do it as a family. Most days though, my activism is trying to keep everyone safe, clean, and well fed. If I can do that it's been a good day.

So Sarah, to answer your question, I find inspiration in my tiny little family of 4. Because right now Baby Maria is a whole year and a half old, and she is rockin' awesome -- she can say Ma Ma, Pa Pa, tickle-tickle, and sticker-sticker, she knows what's up. And next week Enzo will be 5 years old. That's a whole handfull of fingers to show when someone asks his age. He's only a LITTLE excited for his birthday.

But where do you find recipes like the rainbow cake recipe to make for Baby Maria's half-birthday?

Oh right. That kind of inspiration .... Got it!
Well, there are a couple places really.

Right now I've been obsessed with Pinterest. Last week I told my friend in a comment that Twitter was the happiest place on earth, but really the happiest place on earth is Pinterest. Need inspiration for food, clothes, home decor, books to read, art, anything, anything, anything? Then check out Pinterest.

I have a button on my navigation bar that allows me to "Pin It" which means that anything I find inspiring and want to save for a future date I Pin to one of my boards. For example, recently Jun Belen from Jun-Blog posted a recipe for condensed milk pound cake with condensed milk chantilly which might be the awesomest thing I have ever heard in my life. So I  Pinned It to my food board. My food board is called Feed Me: Food I wish someone would deliver at my doorstep, but really no one brings me anything so instead I use my board as a way to archive food I want to eat and eventually will make myself. I also like looking at other people's boards it gives me inspiration for my design blog, The Tasty Design.

And of couse my main source of inspiration is my google reader,
where I subscribe to my favorite blogs like,
Design Mom
Live and Enliven
Bright Wishes
Making Things Happen
Jane Reaction
The Design Files
Bloesem Kids

to name a few. The truth is I subscribe to over 150 blogs and they're all my favorite, but sometimes reading that many blogs can be the opposite of inspiring. Overwhelming and draining is never inspiring. So I've developed a system to use my google reader as a source of inspiration. Basically, I divide up the blogs in to separate days of the week. Every weekday I go through the blog posts for that day and if something stands out I'll read it. If I don't get to my google reader that day then I'll leave those blog posts for the following week. Sometimes I feel guilty if I don't get to my google reader that day. It's the side of me that wants to be "productive" and "efficient" and treat blogging like quantitative work instead of qualitative play.

If I don't get to my google reader or to blogging it's only because I'm busy baking rainbow cakes.

Speaking of blogging and cakes and all that good stuff next week I won't be blogging. Please excuse my silence we'll be busy spring breaking, baking, and cooking, and dancing, and tickling and playing -- it's Enzo's birthday! I'll come back with more cake pictures to show for it.

But before I leave I want to ask you a question.
I hope you don't mind,
but do tell me,
where do you find inspiration for the things you create?


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