You Don’t Have To Quit Your Day Job To Live The Dream Life

By Nicole Tinkham


SO MANY of us do this and I’m totally guilty of it myself. We put our dreams on hold and wait for the “right time” to go after them. It sounds logical but that perfect timing may not ever happen which means you just wasted a whole lot of time doing absolutely nothing. We come up with all sorts of excuses like “when I retire, I’ll do the things that make me happy” or “when I have some more money I’ll start working on my goals”. That’s great that you want to make some big things happen in your life but while you’re daydreaming about them, time is passing you by. Maybe you can’t just leave your full time job tomorrow to focus on your art but you can start focusing on your dreams right now. Here’s how!

1.    Make the most of your free time

I often hear people say they would love to work on their art, go to different events, do some writing, travel and many other things. The one thing that’s holding them back (so they say) is time. I get that most of your days are spent working but there are several more hours in the day that you could be doing something that you absolutely love. Think about the activities you’re doing after work. Are you watching mindless TV or are you exploring your passion?

2.    Do something special for yourself

Do you ever feel selfish just thinking about spoiling yourself? Maybe you feel like you don’t have the extra money or you don’t think you deserve a massage or fancy dinner. To me, these extra little things sounded so luxurious and I always thought “when I’m successful, that’s how I’ll spend my days”. But who says I can’t pamper myself right now? Sure, it may cost a little extra money that you should be saving up for other things but it’s also important to live a little and enjoy yourself.

Note: Your “me” time doesn’t necessarily have to be extravagant and expensive. Quiet time to yourself in nature could be your little escape.

3.    Go on vacation

How many times do you use your vacation days for some work around the house, to visit family, or just stay home and do nothing at all? There is nothing wrong with doing these things but every once in awhile you need to take a real vacation. Get away to somewhere you’ve never been, go on an adventure, explore, and gain some new inspiration. You will return a changed person.

4.    Change up your day job

If you’ve been in your 9-5 job for awhile doing the same thing every single day, you probably feel like you’re in a never-ending cycle. No matter what the job is, it gets boring after awhile! But there are ways you can make it interesting again and get more enjoyment out of it. You can explore different departments within the company or look for new tasks to do in your current position. Even just moving things around in your office (we suggest sitting near a window and bringing in a plant) can go a long way. If you can, see if you’re able to work from home or cut back your hours to part time. All of these changes can improve how you view your full time job and make it more exciting.

5.    Make a difference

There’s no greater feeling than being able to help someone else out. I always said that if I had the time I would volunteer more and if I had the money I would donate more. I think many of us say these things and we don’t follow through as often as we’d like to. Remember that every little bit counts so do what you can! Even chatting with a friend when they’ve had a bad day is helping someone else and it feels so rewarding to be able to do that.

6.    Do things that scare you

When you think about the “dream life” it probably doesn’t include things that scare you but when you get stuck in the day to day grind, there’s nothing more exhilarating than doing something totally insane. Maybe you jump on a plane next weekend and visit New York City for the first time on a whim. Or maybe you sign up for a cooking class when you’ve been using your kitchen as your art studio and haven’t cooked a thing in ages. By doing these crazy things, you will gain so many experiences, meet incredible people and have amazing stories to share.

Don’t let life get boring before you dare to have fun. You only have one life to live so you better start doing all those things you ever hoped and dreamed of right now! You are never too old, too young, too broke, or too busy to enjoy life. You can live the dream life without quitting your day job and you can start right now!

Top Tips For Traveling With Art Supplies

By Nicole Tinkham


It’s that time of year again, time to vacation and travel!! So many artists we talk to love exploring new areas and taking in all the beautiful scenery as inspiration for art. Many will even bring their art supplies with them and get creative while vacationing. Sounds like the dream, doesn’t it? But the one thing holding artists back from doing this is the hassle of lugging all the supplies with them. You can ease your mind though because there are super easy ways to travel with your art supplies. Read on for our killer tips and start preparing for your next trip!

First, let’s talk about why you should create while on vacation. Not only will you be excited and relaxed while away, but the different scenery will spark new creative ideas. We bet the pieces you create while traveling will be like nothing you’ve ever done before. You’re in a different state of mind and a new state (or country). Things will be a bit different. Now that you’re sold on the idea of bringing your art with you, let’s make it happen.

The simplest way to create art while away is to take an art workshop, preferably one with all supplies included. You could even visit an open studio with an artist in the area. Sometimes it’s nice to observe and learn from a different artist.

But say you want to actually get outside and create on your own with your own supplies. You’ll need to know what to bring and how to get it there. We can help…

•    If you’re flying on a plane, you’ll have to be careful with your oil paints as some can be hazardous. Artist grade oil paints are made from vegetable oil and are totally fine to bring on the plane. Make sure you let the security guards know this.

•    You cannot have any sharp tools or knives in your carry on luggage. Pack them in a checked bag instead.

•    Be sure you have all the original labels on your supplies.

•    You will not be able to bring anything flammable onto the plane, checked or carry on. This includes solvents, fixatives, mediums, etc. Instead, purchase these in small quantities when you get there. Look up an art supply store ahead of time and make that your first stop if you need these items. Another idea is to ship these type items where you’re going ahead of time if there aren’t any art supply stores in the area.

•    All manufacturers have a Material Safety Data Sheet that would be a great thing to have on hand while traveling.

When traveling in a car, you have more freedom to bring what you want but that doesn’t mean you can just throw everything in and go. You still need to do a lot of planning and organizing.

•    Anything you can prep ahead of time will save you space and time once you get there. For example, if you have paper that needs to be cut down in size, you can do it before leaving.

•    Plan your projects and only take the supplies you absolutely need. We believe it’s better to be short a tube of paint and have to purchase it when you get there than to have 11 extras that you don’t need at all, just taking up space. Think about the paint colors you have and what you can mix on your own. You probably don’t need every single tube. Also take a look at your brushes. Do you have one in particular that can be used for various techniques?

•    If you don’t need full tubes of paint, buy a really good palette with lid and fill the pan with watercolors before you leave.

•    Having the perfect storage containers goes a long way. You don’t need to throw all your supplies in a bulky cardboard box. Instead, take a look at the various options ArtBin provides. They have very specific containers made just for art supplies. A really good brush bin is essential! We also love the crates on wheels or art backpacks when walking/exploring the area.

•    Think of supplies that you can use for more than one project. For example, Matte Gel medium could be used as glue and for collaging. Ink could be used as watercolors or with a pen. There are so many things like this that can cut down on the number of supplies you bring with you.

•    If you’re used to working in the studio, you’ll have to consider what you’ll be working on when you get there. There are some really nice travel easels available or large boards to lean against depending on the project.

•    Have some projects in mind before you get there. Will you be doing a few drawings and a watercolor painting? Map it out in your head and then group supplies together based on type.

Whether you’re driving or flying, you’ll also have to consider how you’ll transport your finished artwork back home. You may want to consider working on a smaller scale to make transportation easier.

One last important thing you must remember is to expect the unexpected. When traveling, you really never know what will happen. You can have everything planned out (which we encourage) but remember to be flexible if something doesn’t go your way. Do not let some rain or anything else totally ruin your trip.

A huge mistake we all make when going away on vacation is stressing out over packing the right things and becoming upset when things don’t go according to plan. Remember that this is your time to relax, soak in some new scenery and get creative. You can most likely find whatever it is you forgot when you get there or make do with what you have so don’t even worry about leaving your favorite color paint at home. Even if you only bring a sketchbook and pencil, you’ll be well on your way to creating incredible pieces while on vacation.

7 Artsy Things To Do On Your Stay-cation

By Nicole Tinkham

7 Artsy Things To Do On Your Stay-cation(1)

Have you ever planned an exciting vacation to get away and relax only to find that you needed a vacation from your vacation? Traveling can get hectic and when it does, the relaxing part you were looking forward to may not happen the way you’d like. That’s where stay-cations come into play. You may be wondering what exactly a stay-cation is. It’s simply a vacation you take to stay home and get the rest and relaxation that you need. It’s about trying something different in your local area and doing the things you love but rarely have time for. If you’re planning a stay-cation this summer but have no clue what to do with your time, read on for 7 artsy things that will keep you from getting bored.

1.    Spruce up your home with DIY projects

We would say this is the perfect time to do some organizing and cleaning but what fun is that? Instead you can spruce up your home by doing DIY projects. Hang some of your artwork on the wall in fun frames, create custom shelving in your art room, re-paint an old table, or put together fun summery center pieces for your table. There are so many DIY projects out there that you can have a lot of fun with and it’s always nice to add something new and fresh to your home.

2.    Put together a creative playlist

Nothing puts us in a better mood than some uplifting music. If you’re one to listen to your favorite songs while working on your art, try out a new playlist. Mixing up your tunes is a great way to be inspired and with the extra time at home, you can really have some fun with it. You can even have a dance party in your living room (if you wanted to).

3.    Explore your local art scene

If you’re still new to your town, exploring your area is the perfect thing to do on a stay-cation. Even if you think you know your town inside and out, we bet there are places you have yet to discover. Do some research and check out the creative places and events like live music, small art stores, art fairs, and unique cafes and restaurants.  Who knows, you may find a new place to enjoy on the regular!

4.    Read a new book

When’s the last time you were able to sit down and enjoy a good book without any interruptions? Now’s your chance to take some time to yourself somewhere nice and quiet, get comfy, and dive into a new book. Picking a genre that you aren’t used to reading can even spark new creativity for future art projects.

5.    Meet up with new friends

For the social butterflies who rather meet new people than be cooped up inside all day, we suggest meeting up with new friends. Head over to and discover groups in your area that interest you. Then pick an event to attend and chat with some new people. Hopefully you click with some fun artsy people like yourself.

6.    Go for a long hike or walk

Getting out in nature is a great way to clear your mind of all the stress and worry of everyday life. Grab your sketchbook and head to a quiet and peaceful park. Take some time to soak in all the beauty around you and jot down or sketch any creative ideas that pop up. Take your phone with you for safety reasons but turn the volume down so it doesn’t disturb your quiet time!

7.    Start a garden

We aren’t experts in the gardening area but from what we hear, it’s a great way to de-stress. If you already have a garden, consider taking an afternoon to get focused on it or if you don’t already have one, start one. It’s said that gardening totally takes your mind off anything else going on in your life so if you have a lot of worries, this could be just the thing for you!

You may be doing some of the things on this list regularly so if that’s the case, think of some new ideas that you rarely do or have yet to try. When it comes to your stay-cation it’s important to do the things YOU enjoy. For example, many people love gardening but if you’re not one of those people, it could just feel like work and that goes against everything a stay-cation is supposed to be. Use this list of ideas for your inspiration but come up with your own list of activities to do this summer.

Tell us, what are your big summer plans? Will you be staying home or traveling? Drop a COMMENT below and let us know 🙂

3 Simple ways to get back into work mode after a killer vacation

By Nicole Tinkham

3 Simple ways to get back into work mode after a killer vacation.jpg

Have you ever gone away on vacation or even took a long weekend away from the office and had trouble getting back in the swing of things? Trust us, you’re not alone. Most of our year is spent waking up earlier than we ever really should (in our opinion, anyway), taking the same busy route to the office, sitting down in the same cubicle, greeting the same co-workers, drinking out of the same coffee mug, and doing the same or similar busywork every single day. We don’t even realize we’re in this cycle until something disrupts the habit like a nice long vacation. Even just a few extra days tacked onto the weekend can leave you feeling like you forgot how to do your most basic job duties like responding to an email.

Vacation can make us feel one of two ways when returning to the office. There’s a chance you go in feeling refreshed, awake, energized and ready to jump right back in which would be ideal. But more commonly, you’re still in vacation mode and can’t get motivated whatsoever to tackle the emails and other duties that piled up while you were away. If this is you, we have the tips you need to survive your first day back at work after vacation.

1.    Include a buffer day

Ideally, it’s great to spend as much time away on vacation as you possibly can. But, heading to the office immediately after you get back (especially if it’s the night before) can leave you stressed and overwhelmed. Consider arriving home on Saturday instead or take an additional Monday off so you have an extra day to unpack and get settled back into everyday life. Be sure to take it easy and if you can, start sorting through your email to get a head start on your first day back to the office. It doesn’t hurt to wake up and hit the hay early on your extra day either to get back into your normal sleep schedule.

Remember to prepare for your departure too so you have an easier adjustment back to office life. Click here for some things you need to be doing before you leave.

2.    Get focused

There’s no doubt that you have a ton on your plate after some time off. Your inbox is full, there are projects that need to be started, and important meetings that you’ve missed. Instead of scheduling numerous meetings on your first day back to catch up, take a day or two to focus on the important things first. Manage your tasks one at a time and avoid interruptions at all cost! Making a to-do list is great for this. Circle the top 3 things on your list that you absolutely must get done right away and make them the priority until they are complete.

TIP: If you have an out of office email going out to coworkers, feel free to leave it on until you get caught up. They know you’re back in the office and where to reach you if they really need you.

3.    Have some fun

We’re going out on a limb and saying you probably had the time of your life while on vacation. Just because it’s now over doesn’t mean you have to be miserable until the next vacation comes up. There are many things you can do to keep that positivity alive. You can tell stories about your vacation, share food or something special you got while there, start planning your next vacation, go out to lunch, listen to music while you work, or plan something fun to do on the weekends. Strive to have fun all year, not just while away!

We know your vacation probably rocked and to be honest, these three tips aren’t going to make up for the fact that it’s officially over. You may still be a little bummed when returning to the office but these tips will definitely make the transition easier. After the first week, you should be back in your groove and ready to roll!

Let us know your tips! How do you cope with office life after a really amazing vacation? Leave a comment in the box below 🙂