Blog

Category
  • The Prodigal (piano) Player


    When I first decided to take piano lessons, I had no idea that participating in the semi-annual recital was part of the deal. I would have never signed up if I had known.  I figured, as an adult student, I'd be slipped under the rug until ready to be unveiled as the second coming of Beethoven.  But one day, my daughter was in her lesson and I was making work calls in the hallway, and when I re-entered the studio for my turn, she and our teacher informed me of the grand plan they had concocted.  A Christmas carol duet at the December holiday performance.  

    What?  

    A duet?

     What?  

    A recital?  

    WHAT??!!!  

    &*@#%^&*!!!!  

    I was then handed the piece with a complicated two-handed accompaniment with chords, slurs, varying dynamics, half notes, eighth notes, sharps and flats.  That would be my part of the deal. Catherine got the one-handed melody with zero hand change positions. Of course she did. I made a mental note to self to never, again, leave the lesson room in advance of recital time.

    "You'll be fine", Paul assured me.  "Yeah Mommy, you'll be great", 10-year old Catherine chimed in.

    Oh right.  I'll be fine if the audience is partially deaf or under the age of 4.  But I've been to this "piano party" before as a proud parent.  I've seen the 12-year old prodigies who could put George Winston to shame.  Yes, no thank you.  I'll plunk away at something simple like Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater in private please.

    The irony of playing with my 10-year old when the last time I was in a recital myself was when I was 10 years old is not lost on me.  You see, I am the prodigal piano player.  Last March, I returned to the keys after a 32-year hiatus. And let's just say that 32 years is enough time to completely freak oneself out about doing it again.  

    My childhood piano teacher, Maureen Silverman, had the patience of a saint.  She sat straight-faced with my sister and me as we blatantly lied about how much we had practiced.  I feigned a lost assignment notebook weekly and recreated my homework list omitting all classical pieces and trying to convince her that she had only assigned me to diligently work on the theme song to St. Elmo's Fire, or Ice Castles, the only songs that mattered in my young mind.

    One day, my mother quizzed us after her work day, as to where we returned our books after our fictitious practice session. My sister proudly proclaimed, "we put the books back in the piano bench, Mommy.". Our mom then marched through the living room, theatrically opened the lid to the bench and revealed to us what she had already known for a week that not only had the bottom fallen out of the bench (and all music books had been relocated to a nearby dresser drawer) but that she knew we had been fibbing about how much we were practicing every day.  

    Caught in our web of musical note laden lies, I quit piano shortly thereafter.  I made a brief reprise in high school, promising to practice, take it seriously, "Yes Yes I really want to take piano lessons again", only to quickly dread the weekly assignments and quit, yet again.  I tried guitar in college with a way too lenient teacher and a way too robust social life.  I learned some Eric Clapton. Concerts consisted of alcohol infused sing-alongs in a dorm room with my besties who were too inebriated to notice that I just knew 3 chords.  

    The assignment for the piano party with my daughter was God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  I didn't bother asking why we couldn't just do an easy ditty like Jingle Bells.  I figured my lesson karma was coming back to bite me and it was time to actually rise to the challenge of consistent dedicated practice. 

    I spent the better part of two months obsessing about this performance, worrying that I'll disappoint Catherine, embarrass myself in front of my community and, worst of all, worried that all of this worry would make me quit something that I was finally loving every week.  I learned the piece measure by measure.  I took it slowly.  I recorded Paul playing my part.  I recorded Paul playing Catherine's part. I played along with both recordings.  I recorded Catherine playing Catherine's part. I adjusted my own rhythm to match hers.  

    Catherine was excited all along to perform alongside me.  She didn't worry one iota about whether or not she would disappoint me.  She practiced on her own, she practiced with me.  She was completely un self-conscious. She latched her sweet little arm with mine (which was a tad challenging as she only needed one hand to play her part while I needed two).  She smiled, wiggled, and bumped butts with me as we navigated sharing a way too small piano bench.  She hit the ptsd inducing metronome button on our keyboard and just kept going if she made a mistake. I became a real diva insisted that I needed warm up exercises, my own chair, a little space and a quieter metronome.  

    Finally, we'd nail the piece at home.  She and I would high five, hug and go about our business.  Each Wednesday we'd show up at the lesson and I would go into a panic.  I'd stare at the keys and forget EVERYTHING that I knew.  My timing was off, I forgot notes, one tiny mis-step from Catherine meant a downward spiral for me as I could not get my act together.  I tried mindfulness, deep breaths, pulled out my best yogic tools and still faltered at just the audience of ONE.  It was disastrous.  The teacher half-jokingly suggested quaaludes, a pre-concert glass (or four) of wine or a visit to the local dispensary.  I was getting in my own way he gently stated.  Yes, I was yet any kind of mind-altering intervention would only cause further humiliation, I have many years of evidence to back that assertion up.

    On the big day, I went skiing.  At Paul's suggestion, I did not practice.  I did not obsess.  I distracted myself with fluffy snowflakes and schussing steep mountain sides.  I did insist that we show up to the recital early. I wanted to make sure I had played on the concert piano one time before the big moment.  I forced the family to wait outside in the cold until the doors were unlocked, we were in our recital best, not our ski gear.  When finally permitted entry, Catherine and I sped played the song as the music teachers set up the cider and cookies in the next room.  Then we quickly climbed into the audience in time for the rest of the students and their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents to fill in the seats.

    When it was almost our turn, I felt my palms begin to sweat.  Are you kidding me? It's hard enough to play with dry hands let alone sopping wet and slippery ones.  I felt panic begin to creep in, and couldn't quiet it down.  I snuggled up next to Catherine, kissed her on the cheek, received her adorable smile and realized, in that moment, that for her, this duet was always about connection. Connection with me. Connection with music.  Time well spent together, mother and child.  A challenge that we had overcome together.  Learning together.  Persevering.  Shimmying day after day onto that tiny practice bench together.  Latched arms. Big smiles. Big laughs.  I had forgotten that we were doing this for FUN.

    The point of being here was not for me to be plucked out of middle-age obscurity and sent to Julliard.  

    This was deliberately called a piano PARTY for crying out loud, so that no one got too nervous or panicky about participating.  I had to remind myself that it was the Methodist church of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, not Carnegie Hall.  

    We climbed onto the stage, I stared out at the parents that I knew, neighbors, colleagues, friends. It's a small town.  I pretty much know everybody.  Catherine announced our song, we sat down, took a deep breath (or 5!), exchanged loving smiles and began to play.  We hit all the notes, we paid attention to our dynamics, we matched each other's tempo and we finished with a bang and a big sigh of relief.  Two minutes of anticipated torture turned into 37 seconds of playful transcendence.  Our playing was not something divined in the heavens, Sony records was not waiting in the wings, but in that moment of sweaty palmed panic in the front row, I realized that if the outcome I was going for was connection, then there was actually no way to eff that up.  Or better stated, the best way I could eff that up was for me to keep thinking that this was a singular experience about me needing to impress others. That thought was a very effective way to lose all connection with Catherine, with the music, with myself.  

    Here's the thing, this concert was not just about connection for me.  This is where I previously got all muddled up in my egoic state.  When I committed to taking piano lessons, I committed to getting in the game.  I had been on the sidelines of my own life for way too long, completing the grunt work of the grind rather than diving head first into what sounded like fun.  I was tired of carting my kids around to fantastic sounding activities that were made for kids only, I was tired of waiting in the lobby, watching through the glass, pining away for an existence for myself that didn't feel decidedly responsible or adult.  Printmaking classes, hip hop, bookmaking, ice skating, snowboarding, skate boarding, archery, you name it, my kids do it ALL.  And I support them through each and every step.  But lately, I've realized that my own soul had been dying a slow death for quite a few years.  I put myself on the bench long ago, living more vicariously and less directly most days.  And that kind of stage-mom trajectory isn't good for anybody.

    Spontanaeity for a lot of us looks more like binge watching a new show on netflix or boozing too much on the weekends at dinner parties.  I've been guilty of both, yet don't want either of those anymore (except maybe Empire.  OMG I looove watching Empire!).  What I do know is that I want music back in my life AND I want an adulthood do-over; one where I can just laugh at my silly self consciousness, flail around and just do it all anyway. 

    When I'm old and grey (or lightly dyed brown), no one is going to beg to sit next to me at dinner and hear my wild escapades where I watched Orange is the New Black for 6 hours straight.  No one will want to hear me regale them with stories of how I had grand plans and big ideas to make a dent in the universe; yet mostly just made a dent in the couch cushions.  

    So this recital was more than just the sport of humiliating myself in my small community,  It was about connecting with my actual 10-year old while forgiving my inner 10-year old. All the while letting my 42-year old get out and play for a change.  And that was my best piano "lesson" ever.

    xo
    Lizzie

    PS What about you?  How are you resolving to be more playful in 2016?  Share with me in the comments, share with others IRL and let's all flail around and have some fun next year! 






  • My Muse is Mad at Me

    "Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story" --Homer, The Odyssey

    My brain is clogged today.  I sat down to write a blog post today.  It was a half assed attempt to make good on a renewed vow to commit to my own personal creativity on a d̶a̶i̶l̶y̶ ̶ weekly basis.  

    And my muse has decided not to show.  

    I begged, I pleaded, I tried to show her I've changed.  I'm different now.  My promises are no longer empty.  I'll make time for you.  I swear.  Just.be.here.NOW.  

    I won't ever take you for granted, again.  PLEAAAASEE.

    I think she reacted like an insolent child and a scorned spouse all wrapped up into one...  I could almost taste the venom in the sarcasm soaked response ... 

    Oh goody goody.  It's my time now?  Oh yay!  Let me see if I can pull some pullitzer prize winning prose out of my ass.  

    (dramatic pause - my muse is quite theatrical, apparently) ...

    I was ready a month ago at the Write Yourself into Motion Workshop.  I was ready to pour it all out in PDX yet you felt the need to not stay an extra day to rest and digest.  You high tailed it back home to tackle closet clutter, bill paying, CSS coding, lawyer meetings, bank refinancings and other oh so thrilling life experiences.    I was ready in Florida, in San Luis Obispo and in every other not so far flung locale you've taken me to.  I am ready at home too.  Waiting.  Yet you kept putting me off  with flimsy excuses--I'm too busy. I'll create later.  I'll do this someday.  

    But I was primed and pumped and ready to put pen to paper.    


    But guess what.  I can't create on command.  I need artistic foreplay.  Wine me and dine me, sit with me in silence.  Hold my hand.  

    And Stop feeding me with cyber junk food and useless facebook posts. 

    This is it.  I meant it.

    I'm becoming withered up, dried out and pissed off.

    With Love and lots of eye rolling, 
    Lizzie's Muse

    Of course my muse is full of snark and spark and ready to rip my head off.  I have done all of the above and then some.  I've done no nurturing of our relationship, I've taken her out on zero artist dates. I have only shown up rather sporadically at the page now for m̶o̶n̶t̶h̶s̶ years.  I've made empty promises, committed to shitty first drafts, then abandoned it all for an h̶a̶l̶f̶ ̶h̶o̶u̶r̶ hour and a half of mindless and shallow social media postings.  It's the ultimate irony of someone who writes a lot for others...

    I learned in therapy, years ago, that there's a basic formula for trust.   Trust = consistent behavaior/time.   So my muse trusts that I'll cheat on her for busy work any day of the week, because that's what I've done oh so consistently in the last year.  And as my 7th grade math teacher used to say, it won't make a "hill of beans" difference in our relationship if I just keep giving her lip service.  

    So it's time to make my actions louder than my words and get back to a consistent creative practice. One that doesn't play second fiddle to facebook or online bill paying or organizing closets.  

    Care to join me in making up with my muse?   I'd be honored if you followed along here and maybe you need some inspiration to make up with your muse too?  


    PS If you've been on my mailing list for EVAH and have barely heard boo from me, thank you for still being here.  And, of course, feel free to unsubscribe if what I'm up to no longer resonates with what you're up to.  I'm still creating web sites, pretty graphics, writing copy and making out-of-the-box marketing campaigns for my amazing LaRock Star clients.  And I'm squeezing in some me time too.

    PPS Actual classes coming this fall ...  marketing AND creativity (together and separate), keep an eye out here or shoot me an email with what would be your dream class design. 


    Thank you, again, for sharing this creative space with me.  Here's to beating resistance. one blog at a time. xo


  • My LaRock Stars of 2013

    Hello LaRock Stars, future LaRock Stars and LaRock Star Groupies!  2013 was another fun year for marketing projects.  And I'd love to share a smattering of our LaRock Star clients and what they're up to...

    First up is Dream Baby Coaching.  Oh how I wish this business existed when my twins were babies!  Justine is a baby whisperer who works via Skype (yes one can whisper on Skype :-)).  She helps new moms navigate the oh-so-challenging world of getting your baby to sleep, sleep schedules, travel/jet lag and anything else related to dream time.  Here here to creating a world of well rested mamas and babies.  I had the pleasure of creating Justine's website to take this venture onto international screens and not just relegate Justine's services to those in the greater Chicago area. 


    Next up was my most energetic client of the year - a sheer pleasure to work with - Martine LaBreche!  Martine is from Montreal and I adored listening to her French accent.  This project was especially amazing because I had the opportunity to create her website in both English and French.  And, although my Francais is a tad rusty, I was able to assist with some of the translating which was tres interessant!  Martine is now a TV star in Montreal - having been on a Canadian reality TV show teaching the concepts of money coaching.  We worked on the world's tightest deadline to get her sites live and ready for her TV show debut.

    The Divas is a project that began in December and continues on through 2014.  Kristen came to me to create sales copy for the community she was creating in the Houston area.  We did some business branding deep dives to change the name from Kristen Baker's: Personal Development Community to what's known now as, The Divas.  I created persuasive copy for joining this young, vibrant group with a flair for fun and connection.  We focused very specifically on writing that was geared towards millennials (umm, an age bracket I am a tad older than, currently).  Kristen was thrilled with how spot on the words were for conveying the exact experience she wants potential Divas to have when landing on her site.  For the full sales page copy, click here: http://kristenbakercoach.com/divas/

    Simply Steamboat is a fantastic local client for whom I am privileged to write weekly blog posts.  I cannot think of a better job than getting paid to write about all of the fun things to do in my hometown of Steamboat, Colorado.  This is one helluva gig and I love it.  For a link to my full portfolio of travel writing/hospitality posts, head to this curated pinterest board (I shot most of the photos too)

    I also was hired by Tall Poppies Design to collaborate on an e-book for Simply Steamboat newsletter subscribers.  This book focused on all of the yummy eats in Steamboat.  Yes, I might have drooled a bit on the keyboard writing this one.  Katy did the design and I created the copy and together we created a fun, creative and very useful summer dining piece for Simply Steamboat. 

    I also had the pleasure of launching a brand new business in the parenting world founded by my friend and long time client, Annmarie Chereso.  Annmarie and her business partner, Michelle Thompson, created this company called Positively Mindful Parenting with the intention of leading some in person workshops in Chicago, Illinois.  With my help, we created a fun brand that would translate into not only local workshops, but online courses as well.  We created a weekly parenting meditation podcast - for calming we crazy/overscheduled/overtired moms down a bit - as well as an engaging pinterest/facebook/email marketing campaign.  Positively Mindful Parenting has some big plans for 2014, so no doubt, they'll be LaRock Stars for the 2014 post too!

    And this was a little bit of the pro bono work I did in 2013 - a topic that's close to my heart - making our classrooms function for the 21st century.  Anything that celebrates creativity and innovation is awesome in my world and when it benefits my children too - well we definitely have a win/win.  I assisted in the first year creation of the Challenge Fund - getting it off the ground with awareness marketing.  I created the marketing materials, shot photos at events, and helped with social media. 


    Other Challenge FUNd events:

    It's a good thing that I was there for my photography and people skills rather than my ping pong skills.  Can't say that I impressed anyone with my double's team last place banner.  But we sure did have a blast!  Here's a snapshot of the 2013 Paddle Battle event hosted by Vertical Arts for benefit of The Challenge Fund.  And here is the Photo album 2012 Paddle Battle.  Yes, Summer and I successfully defended our last place position two years in a row ...  And I imagine we'll get a 3rd one in 2014!  We don't give up - it's too much fun. 


    One of the highlights of my year was having the opportunity to shoot photos for my dear friend and colleague, Katy Martin of Tall Poppies Design.  Katy was debuting her absolutely gorgeous website for her website design business and I was hired to shoot portrait photos of her.  Despite her adorable mug, she is quite camera shy, so I enjoyed putting her at ease and then capturing her most vibrant self.  This was the photo she chose for her website.  It was, of course, the unplanned locale that I asked if we could try after two hours of shooting.  I precariously dangled myself from her staircase railing and got this gorgeous grin amidst her wall of K's...

    Photo Shoot of Katy Martin: Tall Poppies Design

    I was lucky enough to create the first Lori Kleiman website and when her business was getting an upgrade, she chose me to do the re-design.  Lori is one of my favorite coaches on earth - a huge delight to work with and don't you want to hit the cruiser trail with her some day?  I can't believe she and I have never actually met in person.  Someday...

    It was a huge honor to work on Allison Giles' website.  She's an amazing woman who lost her son to leukemia not too long ago, after a 5 year battle.  She wanted a place to house her cathartic writing, as well as a serene space to launch her new coaching business.  I created Allie's site and get to claim credit for her choice of using my ocean photo for the home page.  We launched this site just a few days before Christmas.  It was a lovely gift to us both and a great reminder of gratitude for ending the year. 

    And here she is ... the reason why 2014's LaRock Stars will be way more plentiful and why I got really really busy in the fall of 2013.  My BEST rock star of 2013, Ms Melissa Baker.  She is the proud new owner of Old Town Pub & Restaurant.  The place where my husband and I called home for the past almost 14 years as owners.  Melissa bought the Old Town Pub in October 2013 and is carrying on the 30-year legacy that is the Steamboat landmark, Old Town Pub.  She remodeled the interior, created a new menu and is carrying on Steamboat's best local tradition.  We still own this 111-year old building and we couldn't ask for a more incredible tenant.  Thank you, Melissa for being the BIGGEST LaRock Star of 2013 and many years to come. 

    If you want to be a 2014 LaRock Star, please just send me an email at Lizzie@larockstarcreative.com.  Listed in this post are all of the BIG projects I worked on in 2013, I also do mini branding sessions, business brainstorms, creativity coaching and much much more.  I'd love to hear what you're up to and see if I can help.  Cheers to your beautiful business in 2014!

  • My LaROCK Stars of 2012

    It started with Shauna and her vision, Sacred Punk.  She's a saint.  Right here on earth.  And she tasked me with designing her brand and her site.  A grunge inspired love fest peppered with purple shoes and paintings. 

    And then came my masterpiece.  Bikram Yoga Lake Helen.  A way to change your life and bend your body.  From interior inspirational posters to the full fledged identity for signage and t-shirts, I got to do it all.  The logo, the look, the online version of this brand new Central Florida yoga mecca. 

    And I got to work with Terri Fedonczak of A Life in Balance AGAIN.  She is so awesome, I could talk to her daily.  I created this slideshow book club and campaign for the launch of Finding Your Way in a Wild New World book club.  I fell so in love with our promotion of this class, that I even signed myself up (plus all proceeds went to an awesome charity).  We bent spoons, called dolphins and wooed out over countless phone conversations. 

    The Steamboat Group was my summertime surprise.  I had a blast shooting photos and writing blog posts for their award winning web site.  It was fairly easy to brag about the town I know and love best, Steamboat, Colorado.  And it was such a blast having a creative and cool platform from which to sing Steamboat's praises.  Jon Wade and his team are incredible.  If I can talk any (or all) of my readers into moving to our amazing little piece of heaven here, well, you know who to go to for the inside real estate scoop. 

    Lila Kates PHD was a sheer pleasure to work with.  For my Martha Beck community, Lila is not only a veteran in the therapy world, she is also known as, Jackie Gartman's mother.  We took Lila's 25 year career as a marriage and family therapist and translated it into web copy and a site/logo that could communicate clearly and compassionately with her potential clients.  Who could've known that writing copy about challenging marriages, difficult divorces and affairs could actually be so enjoyable.  Lila was a wealth of therapeutic knowledge and I loved bringing her clinical life to the online world. 

    Steamboat Springs Arts Council's Young at Art Program...  This was another 2012 favorite.  Who could resist creating a new identity for what used to be the Kaleidoscope art program for kids.  We changed the name to Young at Art, created a whole new look, developed online registration (instead of the 'ole paper form that they had been using for years) and launched this new program into the Steamboat stratosphere.  Camps were at capacity, creativity oozed out of every window at the depot and I even got to do photo shoots at each of the week long sessions.  I adore young artists.  This was a fantastic project.  Thank you to Susan at the depot for bringing me on board for this. 

    Jen Murphy & Solutions Counseling Services was yet another amazing experience.  Jen Murphy is one of the nation's top adolescent therapists and translating her brand into the online world was also hugely rewarding.  Jen helps teens transitioning home after treatment and I never stopped being in awe of the work that she's doing around the world.  We created a site that would be informational to fellow clinicians referring her services as well as comforting to parents who were finding her on their own.  We also wanted the site to feel young and appeal to the many teens who are her actual clients.  Part two for Jen in 2013 includes Gutsy Girl Talk ... a community for teens wanting support in the challenges that young adulthood presents them with.  I can't wait.

    These were the biggies, but I had the esteemed pleasure of working with so many other amazing coaches and entrepreneurs as well. I designed an e-book template for Audrey Wilson, created gorgeous branded stationary for past client Donna Kramer, idea stormed with Ro Coury, and created online relationship classes with Annmarie Chereso.  I pre-launched with Tame Your Thought Monster's, Katie McClain, I consulted on product creation with The Worst Mother's Lin Eleoff and I got to review Coaching Practice in a Box for Sarah Yost.  My 12 month calendar was jam packed with badass business owners making MAJOR breakthroughs.

    I had some amazing mentors as well for my own business.  I owe billboard sized thank yous to the sizzling fire starting Danielle LaPorte who rocked my world in a one-on-one private session.

    I got to not only have dinner with, but also had many many mindblowing marketing and writing sessions with the fantastic Pamela Slim. I horsed around in person with the renowned horse whisperer/equus coach Koelle Simpson. I UNRAVELLED with photographer and writer Susannah Conway. I got right with money with Nona Jordan. And I got my marketing groove on at Marie Forleo's B-School.

    And after all of that, I was lucky enough to train in an extremely elite group of Money Coaches with my all time favorite coach (and close friend), Meadow Devor. Yes, I am now officially certified (and certifiable) as a Meadow Devor Money Coach (another tool for the ole' business toolbelt)!

    I got to interview my creativity idol, Hugh Macleod. I wowed Dollar Shave Club Founder Michael Dubin with the hairy lengths I would go to to get him to talk to our Ignite Group.

    And I got up close and personal on the big Skype screen for Ignite with Ash Ambirge and Hey Amber Rae.

    I taught a Creative Caffeine class to the phenomenal Martha Beck International Coaching Community. I shot photos of my Rowdies in San Luis Obispo. I walked a labyrinth. I remodeled my restaurant (in 36 hours!).

    I listened. I learned. I laughed. 

    I came in last place in TWO ping pong tournaments.

    I coached friends and family.

    I bussed tables on burger night.

    I befriended my own crazy mind.

    I had breakdowns and breakthroughs.

    And then ta da ... I sewed a poodle skirt. 


    Thank you to 2012. I really truly brought you my best.  And I am incredibly grateful for this past crazy year.  Here's to another amazing trip around the sun.

    With love--

    Lizzie Larock
    LaRock Star Creative

    PS If you want to be a 2013 LaRock Star or you just want to find out how I coerced everyone I knew into helping with project poodle skirt (since I am an atrocious seamstress), send me an email.  I'd LOVE to hear from you. And better yet, I'd love to help you, your life and your business rock out this year.  Let's do this.  And if after reading the world's longest blog post, you want to delve into the LaRock Stars of 2011, head right this way...

  • Sliding into 2013

    I didn't watch the ball drop last night, I didn't wax poetic about my 2012 accomplishments, I didn't list out pages of resolutions and I definitely didn't clink champagne glasses with my beloved in the 11th hour.  I actually climbed in bed at 9pm, squeezed my eyes shut and happily said sianara to a year that started with migraines and ended with a possible lawsuit.

    I woke up this morning hoping that a good night's rest would remedy my "dear God what's ahead of me panic" of last night.  8 hours of shut eye usually has that healing affect on me.  But the dread over upcoming legal proceedings seemed to have a death grip over my usual new year's optimism.

    I couldn't blame this overwhelming desire to pull the covers over my head on any kind of late night libations as I had had none.  Just a homemade hangover courtesy of a cocktail of crappy thoughts.  Thoughts that robbed me of my usual high spirited self.

    So what's a woman to do when she's been through 3 years of coach training, practices mindfulness for stress reduction and generally knows better?

    She throws everything she's learned out the window, accepts the shit sandwich that needs to be dealt with tomorrow and hurls herself down the driveway in a brand spanking new, super slick sled with two twinnies in tow.

    And that's exactly what I did.  I dragged myself out of bed, put on my big girl snow pants and slid my way into celebrating 2013.  I breathed in single digit air, swallowed a few gulps of snow, flew sideways, backwards and crashed into snowbanks. I tumbled, I laughed and I threw that damn caution to the wind.  Then I dusted myself off, hiked back up the hill and flew back down again.

    There's something to be said for forward momentum.  A nice parallel for perhaps what's in store for me this coming year.  When I think about today, I remember that there's the sweet speed that gravity provides after I've climbed that mountain.

    So tomorrow I have a big hill to climb.  And although I know I might be in for another wild ride in 2013, I'm also gearing up for some seriously smooth (and soul soothing) sledding.

  • What a Wonderful World (as seen through a piano bench reflection)

    I bumbled through the library bleary eyed.  Too much time on my computer. Crazy red streaked eyes.  Computer eye strain is a big cause of headaches in my world.  Debilitating never ending Dizzy Lizzie kind of headaches.  So I take strict precautions these days.  And when I felt the familiar socket sinking exhaustion, I took myself on a walk-about in the library.  

    My intention was to scoot out to the river for a little Vitamin D infused sunlight, but as I crossed through the lobby's double doors, into the airlock entry way, the notes were already in motion.  

    "And I think to myself, What a Wonderful World" ... I took two steps at a time rushing to hear the music oozing out of the great hall.  A private moment (upon which I was eavesdropping) between a man and a piano.  A sacred daily practice.  

    I panicked realizing I hadn't brought my iphone on this impromptu tour of the library.  I had followed the strict signage of respecting the silence and didn't want to be tempted by more squinty screen time.  But I craved recording this little moment.  My witnessing of audible beauty.  And the technology wasn't there.  But I was there.  And I was present. For a moment.  Listening, humming, swaying.  "I see trees of green, red roses too ... da da da da da da what a wonderful world".  

    I rushed back to my side of the stacks.  Searching through crumpled receipts, stray pens, and an overstuffed wallet for my beloved recording device ready to bootleg this little piece of library loveliness.  And as I quietly strode the stone stairs, careful to walk only on the balls of my shoes, I realized I had missed the rest of the repertoire.  

    The door sprung open.  A shy smiling gentleman with doggy eared music sheets clutched in his hands burst through the double doors.  He gave me a smile and a hello and was gone. Down the stairs, out into the parking lot.  I stood there craving just one more song.  I looked like a lost bookworm, perhaps searching for the protected last copy of the Oxford English dictionary.  I did not give my spying self away.  I did not thank him for making my day lyrical and lovely.  I did not concur that it is indeed a wonderful world.  Especially a world in which one gets an impromptu piano concert while taking a break from the clickety clack of computer keyboards.

    I stole this one photo when the room was empty.  The piano keys were protected under an ironic lock and "key" mechanism. Keys under key. I craved capturing some part of this musical miracle in my day.  And was about to leave the library a little lightened and a dash deflated.  And then I caught a glimpse of what I see best.  Reflections from the stalks of grass perfectly in view through the shiny black bench.  My wonderful world as seen through the seat.  

  • TriumphANT

    Who can resist an Easy Rider?  I mean, seriously, a man on a motorcycle is just pretty darn adorable.  Except when it's the father of your children.  Your partner in crime, your confidante & best friend.  And you find out that accidents are guaranteed on a bad ass bike.  Then it becomes not so cute.  Because you're 39 not 19 and you think about life insurance and surgeries and and and and and.  But your husband turns 40 and happily trades his thirties in for a gorgeous retro bike from England - and begins to resemble Steve McQueen in blue jeans and boots.  So you agree.  And cheer him on.  And make sure that the helmet is on his head - not hanging in the garage. 

    And then in the midst of taking photos of the gorgeous logo - you realize - this is more than a bike and a two wheeled wonder.  This is HIS triumph.  Through 4 surgeries in 4 years, plus injuries both mental and physical that he's worked hard to blast through.  Roadblocks he's overcome.  Detours to health. "What a long strange trip it's been" (G Dead). And This is his victory lap.  This is his triumph.  And man, he does look pretty handsome on that thing...

  • If I knew I couldn't fail, I would ...

    I wrote this postcard to myself 5 months ago.  It was sent to me from me on my birthday, August 6.  I was rooting around my P.O. Box looking for birthday presents (ha truth be told, I was looking for birthday moolah) and what I found was my own handwriting and my message from a different head space

    glaring.
    right.
    at.
    me. 

    It was disarming, and lovely.  A mini bit of magic on the celebration of my 39th year.  And I needed to read this kick in the ass on this particular 6th day of August 2012. 

    Here's what it says:

    Dear Lizzie,

    You actually can't fail -- it's just your mind playing its sad sorry song.  So write. Be Big. Be wonderful. Kick ass.  Get the memoir published.  Start the movement of storytelling.  Complete the photography book.  And sing on stage again. 

    It's a body of work.  A rich well lived life.  And even failure is just material for your next story.

    Love,

    Lizzie

    PS Thank you dear Martha Beck angels for forcing me to write this letter - oh yeah - I resisted it big time.  Thank you for giving me the head clarity to get this 4 x 6 oracle back to myself.  And thank you for mailing it to me after I had completely and utterly forgotten about it. (crazy mind story et al).  And thank you for making it the most memorable birthday present I have ever received (including the bright yellow Jeep I got when I was 16 and apparently, color blind).  A love note to my self that I've read now at least 39 times.  I think I just might write one every year.

  • Eye Phone

    I love my iphone.  Seriously.  And in November 2010, my dear friend and mentor, Karen Schulman of Focus Adventures introduced me to the art of iphoneography.  I was only using it to check email, text, post to facebook, make dinner reservations, video my kids, take a quick pic here and there (when I was without my "good" camera), but never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how having an iphone would impact me as a photographic artist.  

    I have been a photographer since I was 16.  I've shot 35 mm, medium format, DSLR, polaroids, handmade negatives, pinhole cameras, lomography, multiple exposures, you name it.  If it's bizarre, out of the box and requires a lot of head banging, I've tried it.  I've always been intrigued by the weird and the wild.  I'm not the person you call for a straight on landscape.  I'm way more interested in the little details, the odd angles, the serendipitous moments.  

    And the iphone has changed the way I shoot.  As Chase Jarvis so eloquently illustrated in his book, the best camera is the one that's always with you.  I don't usually plan on seeing something amazing and I sure as shit can't carry around my big rig all the time (especially with 6 year old twins). But you bet your bottom dollar that I always have my iphone with me, so I'm able to take shots whereever I am and capture all those cool moments without hesitation.  

    The photo in this blog post was one of my very first iphoneography shots.  I was skiing in the trees with my hubby, enjoying the amazing powder when, next thing I knew, I was head first in a pile of snow.  After I dusted myself off, got my goggles wiped down and my skier self sorted out, I looked up and saw the gorgeous Aspens covered in snow towering above me.  I quickly grabbed my iphone, used the hipstamatic app, did a little roll the dice number and ended up on the first take with this little bit of fabulousness.  Then I clicked back into my bindings, finished the rest of the run and reassured my husband that I hadn't gotten stuck in a tree well.  

    Tonight I am in an EYE PHONEOGRAPHY show with my photog friends and our teacher, Karen Schulman.  We're part of the First Friday Artwalk and are showing our eclectic array of funky photos at Off The Beaten Path in downtown Steamboat.  Our photos are full res, blown up and printed by the amazing Joel Schulman (Karen's husband) and owner of the high end digitial photographic print shop PhotographicArts.  Yes he can print AND ship, so email him your high res photos and he'll get them off of the camera and onto the walls (where they should be) on watercolor paper that is so gorgeous you'll nearly cry everytime you pass your photo by...

    If you're in Steamboat, please stop by and chat with me tonight about all things eyephone (or all things photography) or heck whatever you want to chat with me about.  I'm in the company of some seriously talented artists from the Steamboat Photography Group.  I'm sure we'll even share a few trade secrets about our favorite apps (there are a bazillion of them) if you ask nicely and bribe with baked goods or a glass of wine from Off the Beaten Path.  Thank you to, Kim Keith (another seriously amazing photographer) for inviting us into this cozy space so each of us can

    play a bit bigger in the world
    share our work
    and connect with other EYE PHONE lovers.  

    And if you're a long distance friend, wait for my next blog post and I'll share a little virtual tour of the EYE phone inspiration.  Oh and last parting words (also known as the requisite "moral of the story":

    when you fall on your head in life, be sure to look up, because the view and change of perspective might just make it the best fall you've ever taken.  

    And I've got the photo to prove it....

    PS This is not one of the photos I'm showing tonight, for that reveal, you'll have to come and see me.  5pm-7pm First Friday Artwalk, Friday, March 2, 2012, Off the Beaten Path, Downtown Steamboat.  


    About the photo
    Look Up, by Lizzie Larock
    Hipstamatic App - iphone
    December 2010 

  • Dizzy Lizzie

    WARNING: The next series of blogs posts are excerpts from my journey this past month from excruciating, mind blowing head pain to finding my way back to a less inflamed state of mind.  I know I usually blog about business, marketing, social media and the sort, but this month little ole' Larock Star Creative blog is taking a different trajectory.  And I thank you for being here with me through growing pains and migraines.  Sante!

    February 15, 2012

    I guess decluttering starts with cleaning out my mind.  A thorough spring inspired purge of dusty thoughts, musty memories & bacteria infested worries.  It starts with the acknowledgement that absolutely nothing more can be added into my life right now without emptying a few drawers of my prefrontal cortex.  The monkey mind thoughts need a broom & a swiffer to keep themselves occupied while I atttend to the higher priority of some much needed sleep and relaxation.  But the sleep and relaxation won't be able to work their powers without me dumping out the junk drawers in the far reaching recesses of my head.  

    Perhaps that's why my neck hurts so much.  

    A never ending stiffness.  

    A bodily metaphor for the total disconnection between my heart and my mind.  

    A road block so tight that my vertebrae are twisted inside their casing.  

    A permanent kink almost solidified into a cement like stress load.

    And my blood vessels were forced to go on strike.  Expanding to the size of sequoian tree trunks.  Filled with hot pulsating blood that longed to explode right through my forehead.  

    Did I mention I've been suffering from migraines?

    I've really never experienced anything quite so debilitating.  Even my ectopic rupture seemed like a wee temporary tummy ache in comparison (and during that lovely experience I was in the ICU for 4 days).  

    Alas, I triggered in myself the mother lode of all head aches and it really spun me upside down.  Vertigo was an interesting side effect, the room was constantly spinning and the experience gave whole new meaning to the nickname DIZZY LIZZIE.

    So that sums up the end of January and the first half of February.  And, now, here I am in my first day in Florida.  Attemtping to relax into a long overdue vacation, one sun drenched day at a time.  

    The crew left at 8am for Disney World.  When I finally scooted them out and endured one last parting lecture from the hosts, I returned to bed and slept for 3 more hours.  I woke up in a panic.  It was 10:45am.  I yelled to Matt, "we're supposed to be at the beach at 10:30am! We're supposed to be at the beach RIGHT NOW!" He left his eyes closed, barely acknowledging such a ridiculous stressful way to wake up your parnter and said, "no, Lizzie, we're supposed to be right here."  Confused (as usual), I questioned this logic.  I assumed he must have called to change our reservation, to allow us some much needed down time.  When I asked if he had followed the beach club protocol and that's why we're supposed to be "right here right now" , he flatly replied no.  He did not call.  He's been asleep for 3 hours.  Then he gently pursuaded me to chill out with a little thought work inspired dose of reality.  "Lizzie, we are obviously supposed to be right here, right now, because that's where we are."  Boom.  That was it.  He kept his eyes shut and slipped back into slumber. Ignoring my hyper overachieving, must get to the beach on time ridunculousness.  My bon vivant hubby turned zen master  was so right.  

    Who on earth stresses about getting to the beach on time for a day of RELAXATION?  

    Only someone with their synapses tied as tight as mine were.  

    The extra sleep felt a million times better than a harried attempt to adhere to my MIL's planning from afar.  I relaxed into Matt's defiant, yet restful, scrapping of the plan.  I booked a spa appointment instead and then dug my fork poolside into some delicious blackened grouper.  And then, when good and God damned ready, we moseyed on over to the beach club.

    4 hours late, but right on time.  


    Photo: REFLECTIONS Iphoneography by Lizzie Loud Larock: Reflecting pool in the Academic Quadrangle at Cranbrook KIngswood School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  July 2011.   

  • My LaROCK Stars of 2011

    In honor of my rock star clients, I present one of my favorite rockstars, Sheryl Crow.  My clients made me so happy in 2011, this seemed like a pretty fitting video from my front row vantage point last summer. Hit play and hum along (or sing at the top of your lungs as you scroll down this post)...

    So today seems like as good of a day as any to reflect on what an incredible 2011 it's been for Larock Star Creative.  One year ago tomorrow was the official first day of my *new* marketing biz.  I joke about the *new* part a bit, because, I had actually been a marketing consultant for years. 

    I'd given speeches on giving your business a facelift, How to Stalk People on Twitter, I'd helped realtors, wedding planners, coffee shop owners, coaches, beef jerky makers (not kidding) put together blogs, launch social media campaigns, brainstorm.  But I never had put it all into action as a business.  But with the help of my amazing coach, mentor & rowdy ass friend, Meadow Devor, I decided that January 1, 2011 was my big business coming out party. 

    I had the most amazing set of clients a newbie business owner could ever ask for.  These brave souls are launching their own big bad selves into the entrepreneurial universe. And I was fortunate enough to be their first point of marketing contact. 

    So I'd love to give a huge shout out, thank you, danke schoen, muchas gracias, je vous en prie, ginormous gratitude virtual hug-a-thon to these amazing brag worthy clients. 

    Keep an eye on these supah stars, visit their brick and mortar spots, have them make you a delish cup of cappucino, call on them for incredible service, join their virtual classes and marvel at how they're jumping in feet first (thank you Colleen Troy) into 2012.


    Interiors with Boatie

    (what I did: photo shoot, copy writing, web design)

    Boatie Ward got my business off to a big start with the launch of her new interior design business.  She had worked in the design business for over 20 years - but never as her own entity.  In January 2011, she launched her design business and Interiors with Boatie was born.  Boatie and I crammed our bodies into bizarre positions trying to get the perfect photo in a powder room, teetered on ladders to get up close and personal with chandeliers, and placated cute doggies who wanted to be in every portfolio shot.  We scanned her sketch book, jazzed up her bio and then came up with a face to face thank you gift campaign to get her digits in the hands of contractors, home owner association leaders, boutique owners and other connectors in the business. And it worked beautifully.  Boatie hand delivered gorgeous giant paperclip sculptures (hand made in Haiti) and stuck an oversize business card in everyone.  It's a beautiful piece to hold letters/files on any desk--mine still has her gorgeous card in it--making her top of mind all the time. If you live in Steamboat, I highly recommend Boatie's tasteful eye, addiction to Ann Sachs tiles and gentle appproach to bringing your dream home ideas to fruition.

    And start your own annual gift campaign to stay top of mind with your clients ...  what cool stick around piece can you come up with?


    Hello Forty

    (what I did: web design/graphic design)

    Hello Laura!  Laura approached me with this idea about a month before her 39th birthday.  She is an up and coming coach who wanted to make her 39th year one to remember.  She is ushering in 40 with a bucket list filled with everything from mechanical bull riding to sending a message in a bottle out to sea.  She has the best smile, warmest voice and a pretty audacious 9 months under her belt.  She turns 40 in March and I think she's about half way through her list.  If you're looking for a way to celebrate yourself - definitely check out Laura's site. 

    And what a brilliant way to inspire her future coaching clients while keeping them engaged with her and entertained.  Hats off to Laura for the birthday bucket list.  It's a GEM!


    A Life in Balance

    (what I did: web design/graphic design/social media/teleclass launches)

    Terri Fedonczak gave me the opportunity to get in touch with my inner wild teenager and cut loose on her site.  Polka dots, squiggles, bright colors and photoshop fun...  Terri had me laughing all the way through the process with her Imelda Marcos inspired shoe collection, whether to post or not to post controversial teen topics and her un parallelled wit & wisdom.  We had so much fun on the site, that she's come back for rounds two and three for launching awesome teleclasses.  Check out the book club that's coming up: Martha Beck's A Wild New World.  With Terri as the host - this virtual book club will be a girls gone wild chapter by chapter breakdown of Martha's coolest new tome all about the "Technologies of Magic".  Sounding a bit too woo woo for you?  Terri brings it down with her crazy ass sense of humor - I seriously can't recommend this highly enough (and it's only $49 bucks for 4 weeks!).

    Terri's now using her huge gifts to get her speaking career up and running.  She is so damn funny, smart and tenacious that I have no doubt she'll have sell out events sooner than she can say, "I love margaritas".  I love Terri's fearless approach to business - after a bout of breast cancer - she really gives it her all and just GOES FOR IT!


    Steaming Bean Coffee Shop

    (what I did: web design/graphic design/photo shoot)

    Clark & Caitlin bought this already established coffee shop in Steamboat - but it needed a hip new vibe and a little bit of TLC.  I had the honor of getting to shoot photos of this caffeinated power house with my friend and colleague, Drew, of Creative Werd.  Drew and I got all jacked up on coffee and then nibbled on yummies while I bossed him around and he captured some fab photos of the Steaming Bean offerings. 

    I'm psyched to say that Steaming Bean is the meeting place of one of my favorite Steamboat entrepreneurial fire starters, Ignite Steamboat.  Colorado start ups and coffee shops are like the new Hemingways hanging out in cafes in Paris.  And this group is so amazing.  Check out videos of the spark talks here. 

    Take a page out of Steaming Bean's book and provide a place for awesome communities to form, inspire and IGNITE.  Whether your business is virtual or bricks and mortar (ie it has a front door), you can bring people together, make them comfy cozy and then watch the amazingness that happens.

    Who knew drinking coffee could be good for starting a business (ahem, well I guess Howard Schultz kinda figured that one out)...  but I digress.


    Soul Voyager Life Coaching

    (what I did: web design/graphic design/business cards, business goal re-vamp)

    Oh Donna. Oh Donna. Donna.  I can't help it.  The Ritchie Valens song pops into my head everytime I work with the animal whispering, big Bernese rescuing, Donna Kramer.  We did a business revamp for her - emphasizing her huge gifts in the animal world - scrapping a niche she thought would be "better" for business.  Donna was totally willing to be open minded and deeply personal in her business.  Now her business is all her - through and through.  And her people are coming.  Possibly in a stampede. 

    Donna's big into writing thank you cards to her clients and acquaintances.  It's such a simple, yet gorgeous way to connect and stay in touch.  Let me clarify, these are ACTUAL letters, not emails or FB posts.  The power of the pen connects Donna to her people.  And now, we're making some stationary for her to keep in touch AND keep her animals front and center for her lucky recipients to post proudly in a sacred spot. 




    Lori Kleiman Life and Yoga

    (what I did: web design/graphic design/logo design/copy writing)

    Lori was a blast to work with.  She and I talked for hours upon hours while making her site happen.  She's the first client I had worked with whom I had never met - but her video love notes to me kept me laughing and feeling connected.  I found myself hanging on her every word.  I was supposed to be writing copy for her and instead was enthralled by her philosophies on living simply and consciously.  A yogi on and off the mat.  She inspired me to declutter, get my financial house in order, meditate and PRACTICE yoga!  Ok seriously folks, if she's this good over the phone, then you need to meet her in person.  Especially if you live in or near Los Angeles (and give her a squeeze from me).  She offers life coaching as well as yoga classes.  She's the calmest person who lives in her zip code - I'm quite sure of it.

    Lori doesn't love blogging, and was up front about it with me.  But she is adorable on video and her voice is incredibly soothing.  So she's letting go of the "I should write a blog" banter and coming up with meditations for clients to download and relax with her over and over again.  I'm a big believer in using technology to leverage your own personal gifts.  There are no shoulds in Larock Star marketing.  We find the fit that's right for your business and we lean into it. 




    Steamboat Springs Arts Council

    (what I did: web design/party planning/brainstorm)

    Park and Clark (yes same Clark from Steaming Bean) are double trouble and doubly fun.  I adore these two art afficianados.  Park hired Clark last summer to really uplevel our arts council here in Steamboat and Park has done a job that has exceeded all expectations. 

    Speaking of expectations .... I had the huge pleasure of getting to help plan and launch the legendary Great Expectations party of 2011 to benefit the arts council.  On a committee of 3, I definitely got my share of input and then photographed the festivities for the post party social media blitz.  Apparently this good deed got some notice from Park and Clark as I was quickly snatched up to re-design their web site (sadly out of date - using - gasp - comic sans font!!!). 

    Park was approaching some edgy artists and we worked together to create a clean, sophisticated site that would show off the new line up.  We are constantly updating and tweaking, so, seriously, check back often.  And the show at the end of January SNOW/CRYSTAL: INTRICACY, IMPERMANENCE, AND INFLUENCE will be like nothing that's ever been seen before in little ole' Steamboat.

    Park is incredible to work with.  He has a clear vision of what he wants, but he's not at all afraid to bring in the resources to make it all happen.  He sees the super nova strength of what several people can pull off rather than trying to do it all on his own.  We are really incredibly lucky to have him here in Steamboat - for however long he decides to stay...


    Kira DeRito Coaching (aka The Thinker Fixer)

    Ok anyone who hires me to work for them whose tagline is No Bullshit, Just Magic has my vote.  PLUS, Kira is an amazing person whom I've had the pleasure to get to know over the last 12 months and I got to have a pretty rowdy weekend with her in Lake Tahoe last July.  She is an incredible writer, coach and fish monger.  Yes, she owns a fab little fish shop in the Pacific Northwest + she's a kick ass thinker fixer.  She primarily offers her life coaching via email and is quite ninja magnificent in areas of weight coaching and money coaching.  Her writing will crack you up while cracking you open.  Seriously.  No bullshit. Just Magic. 




    Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association

    (what I did: copywriting, photo shooting, video editing, social media campaign, e-newsletter writing)

    Wow - I can definitely say that this is the hardest working, most incredibly fun set of people I have ever worked with.  The chamber chicks (+ honorary chicks: Matt & Tom) are awesome and I was so grateful to land this gig.  I got to re-vamp the e-newsletter campaign - add some serious spice to a sort of vanilla weekly email blost.  I commandeered the blog (we're talking Charles Barkley singing opera, hot bikers in spandex - ahem, yes, these things are relevant to summertime in Steamboat), I shot photos at the summer events and tweeted, facebooked and youtubed my little fanny off.  Oh and then I got to get my jingle on and shoot their Christmas card.  Love this photo ... love this crew!  As Vice President of the marketing board, I get to have my hand in creating 2012's campaign. 

    This group has taught me so much about having fun at work.  They work hard and play hard (oh and they laugh really really hard).  If it's not a fun task such as covering giant fields with tarps so people won't get muddy feet during a hot air ballooon launch, they still make it fun.  Why gripe and groan when you can smile and just enjoy the challenge.  Love their attitude.  Seriously. It rocks.

    Shameless plug here, Steamboat really is the greatest summer on earth, so book your plane ticket for next summer!  Check my video out here of just one weekend in Steamboat.  The Sheryl Crow song is probably over by now anyway...



    Yes 2 Air

    Oh wow.  This project was huge for me for 2011.  I was hired by a very forward thinking amazing group of biz whizzes here in Steamboat.  It's a complicated subject for non-resort living people, but suffice it to say that our resort town depends on air service into our teeny little airport and (as everyone can relate to) airlines have become increasingly difficult to work with. 

    This forward thinking group realized that we needed to get some permanent funding for our air service into Steamboat and because of the recession - getting a new tax passed was going to be quite the uphill battle.  So they called me in to make the campaign engaging and approachable to the residents of Steamboat. They really just wanted me to send out sound bytes via social media of why air service is good for Steamboat, but they opened their minds to my crazy ideas (and then their jaws drapped a little bit) and after we mopped up the drool, they let me get going.  I put several hundred people in pilot hats and shot photos and videos of them all over town. Had bands sing leaving on a jetplane to us. It was a social media campaign that put the FACE back in facebook.  We were on the streets - guerilla marketing at its finest and it was a blast.  Yes, I did make my husband dress up like a pilot for Halloween while I was a Pan Am stewardess.  Oh and we WON - by a huge margin - after really really crummy initial projections. 

    I told the journalist who wrote about the campaign 2.0 tactics I used, that I was either going to look like a crazy person or a genius.  Hopefully the win helped sway the vote a little less on the crazy side and more to the genius side :-).  Although, I do love me some crazy. See picture above of me in Pan Am get up.  Yes. I do go ALL OUT for my clients.  And they go all out for me.  Love that!

    And even when everyone around you says it's not going to pass, you can work your tail off, give it your all and win by a mile.  Seriously.  That's what we did.  Naysayers begone.  Yes to air rocks on!


    SF Surf Mama

    San Francisco Surf Mama is the completely genius brainchild of Leslie Santos.  It's a community of women in the Bay Area who connect via surfing, while giving reciprocal childcare on the beach as well as encouraging each other to, "Leave Expectations on the Sand".  In a male dominated sport, this community is making big waves and I'm so excited for this launch.  Leslie's project put me in touch with an amazing graphic designer: Jody Wody Design and my dear friend, Drew (mentioned below), and I got to put this baby together.  It took a village for this one, but the result is extraordinary.  Membership is free - so if you're a soul surfer or a true blue big ocean surfer - check out Leslie's community and join. 

    Fabulous stationary, schwag bags, adorable tank tops and stickers are available for members to purchase and remind themselves what it is to be a surf mama. 

    Thank you, Leslie, for the gift of this project. We launched the site December 19, 2011 and it was by far my best Christmas present.  This is mine (and Leslie's favorite page).  Hover and click on all the boxes for the full SF Surf Mama experience.  I think Leslie's undisclosed mantra is go big or go home.  She is creating this community in such a thoughtful and creative way.  Seriously, I'm still marveling at this one. 


    Mini Projects

    Ok those were the biggies of 2011. I put huge amounts of love, time and attention into my biggie projects that I can really only accept a limited number per year.  If you want to get on my roster for 2012, I highly recommend emailing me soon. 

    I do save time in my schedule to work with some mini moving and shaking projects in between the big stuff.  People who already have web sites, but would love social media help or marketing ideas, or copywriting or a mini makeover.  I actually LOVE doing these mini projects.  Especially when my clients are big time implementors. 

    Here is a sampling of the rest of the kick ass people I got to work with in 2011.  I either tutored them in social media, brainstormed with them for crazy new ideas, streamlined some class offerings, created a quickie banner, launched a few teleclasses, shot photos for promotional videos or just talked their ears off about all of my wild ideas for their business. 

    This is just a sampling as this has already become the world's longest blog post.  If you're still with me (bless you my child), feel free to check out a few other projects and people I had the pleasure of working with in 2011. Paid/Trade/Pro Bono.  It was an awesome year thanks to all of these geniuses!



    Colleen Troy Coaching (warning: she's wildly adventurous, so buckle up!).  She'll take you kayaking in the Pacific and coach you through it and she wants to know what your biggest, scariest, hairiest goal is so that you stop living a life that's prescribed for you by anybody else.




    Brooke Castillo and Meadow DeVor (photos of the amazingly awesome Rowdy Retreat for their rowdy vid)
    Field & Stream, Brooke and Meadow.  These two are a blast.  The retreat was a game changer for me and shooting pictures of my lovely rowdy cohorts in compromising positions on the ropes course was so.much.fun. Plus, they've kind of sort of had a huge impact on my life.  So this was a seriously small gift (in comparison) that I could give to them for all the big hearted bitch slapping they've given to me. xo



    Annmarie Chereso: Perfectly Imperfect Life Coaching  (she's perfectly imperfect and a dear dear friend).  She finds her way on Dr. Laura Berman's radio show as a sought after expert in the field of divorce and parenting and is currently building a Success Summit of Oprah proportions.  Watch out, World.  Annmarie is AWESOME!



    Louise Orders: Woah, people follow Louise's Orders and they love her.  And she gets their butts into shape.  And they're lucky to have her. And I got to add a little fun to her site for her Circle Time blog (shown above)




    Katie McClain: If there are monsters under your bed or in your brain, call Katie.  She's got your back.  She has had mine many times over.  And my daughter's picture has a starring role in her latest teleclass video.  Love Yourself. Lose the Weight.  And I got to help name her company, in French: Ma Vie Magique. Just kind of rolls of the tongue, doesn't it?  Oui Oui! Bien Sur!




    Max Daniels: As she said to me and I say right back at her - Max, I love the stuffing out of you!  Her blog: Stuff my Zen Teacher Says wows me with every post.  She's bright, brilliant and so soothing.  She taught me that I don't have to eat Greek yogurt for breakfast if I can barely swallow it down.  And she makes me schedule one hour for my business a week - with myself - which I find extraordinarily hard to do, but wonderful once accomplished. 

    I gave her the idea to come up with a business card worth keeping and she sent me this little lovebug in the mail with which she has papered the city of Boston.  Keep Calm and Don't Diet.  Yes, ma'am. Love this card, Max.  Marketing and motivational brilliance!




    Cape and Vine Design:  Are you kidding me?  An hour of me critiquing her old web site had Susan so fired up that she went out and created her own seriously amazing site - self taught, keen design eye and one of the loveliest non coaching coaches I've ever not met.  If you need interior design work in the Cincinnati area or want to see what she's curated on her global blog (inspired by her Cape Town, South Africa upbringing) - go find Susan. Stat.


    Partied: one of my besties, Drew, is starting this incredible social media app for the nightlife scene in 2012.  If you're over the age of 30, you probably will never hear of this, but it will be the go to guide for the 20 somethings - I promise.   I give him my ideas and years of owning a bar expertise, as often as I can.  He helps me with every bit of html that stumps me and keeps me laughing through the process.  I'm so excited for his project to launch.  And when I earn my first olive on the site ... I get a boat ride.

    Drew's app is a huge lesson in niche marketing.  He doesn't have to re-invent facebook to make it big (though he wants to), he is focusing on a niche of young people who love to party and creating something for them based on all the goods from facebook, twitter, flickr & google places.  He's not re-inventing the wheel, he's like one of those super cool DJ's who takes everything awesome and mixes it into something even BETTER.

    Anyone else can duplicate this bit of brilliance.  Just think about it.


    I think that's everyone.  But honestly, there may be more.  I've had an incredible 2011 and I can't wait to reveal all of my rockstars of 2012 (yes there are several projects that started in 2011, but won't be launching until this month.  Stay tuned ....)

    Love--
    Lizzie
    Chief Creativity Chick
    Larock Star Creative

    (this is me trying to be a rockstar for a bunch of 5 & 6 year olds in November.  Bieber Fever. Baby Baby Baby OHHHH!  Not sure they were too impressed, but I had a blast.)

    PS: I bet you thought this blog post would never end. 

    But here it is

    THE END ...

    or perhaps

    THE BEGINNING of YOUR rockin' 2012...

    If you want to be one of my 2012 LaRock stars email me your project or just jump on my mailing list.  I've been in major creation mode and I've got some crazy inspiring ideas for you and your business in 2012.  Jump on my mailing list here - I don't spam, would never give your name away and seriously, you'll love me.  If you don't, you can unsubscribe at anytime.







  • Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Blog

    Yes today is the first day of the rest of my blog.  For those Sherlock Holmes types, yes you will see that I made one post on July 8 that clearly predates this one, so how can this be deemed as number 1?  I think a 5 month spread between posts does not a really fabulous blog make, so today is my do over. 

    I shouldn't make it sound like I've never blogged before.  I've been blogging for years.  When people like my mother would ask, what's a blog?  Wait, I think she still asks me that. Bad example. 

    In any case, I've blogged for my restaurant, where I've channeled my inner burger eating, late night music loving, spread head.  I've blogged for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association - where I had the love at first type pleasure of writing about all of the amazing summer events in Steamboat.  I even made a video blog that made my boss cry (in a good way). And I've blogged about all of the lovely things to do and buy in my darling little ski town.  I've forced (I mean, ENCOURAGED) clients to write  blogs, I've given speeches on blogging benefits for business (and other "b" words) and I am totally and completely addicted to reading blogs. 

    My faves include Meadow Devor's money blogPhotojojo, Zen Habits, The Worst Mother (LOOOOOVVVVEEEE HER!)  The bestest blog roll is long for me and perhaps if I spent a little less time on other people's blogs, I'd get my own blog blogging, but, hey, that's a little too self involved for me. right now.  I heart blogs. And I have no intention of stopping my blog reading addiction just yet.

    But this is the first blog that will really truly be from my brain to yours.  You might see how there are a lot of cob webs and dust bunnies that need to be cleared out and by early 2012, you might begin to notice that my mental clean sweep has commenced, morning page stage is over and every word uttered just comes out with the sound of a pullitzer prize winner and the soul of a 6 year old making purple play dough.

    So I guess the crazy, stuckness to starting this blog is that it's me.  My voice, my words, my photos and my crazy pants thoughts.  Yes, a client just called me "crazy pants Larock" and I took it as the highest compliment I've received since Lizzie "the Lizard" Loud (from a cute boy) circa 1988.

    So thank you for reading, for subscribing, for forwarding, for sharing, for commenting and (ESPECIALLY) for creating right along side me. 

    Let's just be ourselves and get writing.  Shitty first drafts are waiting.  Bloody briliant 3rd drafts can't emerge until that first and shittiest draft is penned out. 

    You first.

    Ok no, me first.

    Side by side. 

    Write me in the comments pretty please with extra salt (I'm not a sugar fan) if you're beginning your own big bad ass adventure.  I'm here to rock your project just as much as I'm here to rock my own. 

    Let's do this thang. together.

    --Lizzie Larock

    About the photo: This photo is taken from our local mini golf course.  It marks the first of 18 holes that always kick my butt.  I suck at mini golf, but I'm a pretty fabulous photographer.  So my children get annoyed and other serious mini golf 4-somes must play through my flashes of creative capturing.  Oh well.