PlanetJoy Massage Client Feedback 



Allison Sprouse, 45

I trust Joy because she does great work and truly cares about her clients’ health.

PlanetJoy is a total body relaxation experience. It’s quiet and soothing. Pressure is always perfect and if there are trouble areas, Joy focuses on them. 
Bonus: My migraines are gone!


A monthly massage gives me something to look forward to and it helps me stay on top of health concerns before they happen. 


Joy can tell when something is wrong with my body that I wasn’t aware of! True story. She discovered I needed adjusting when I never knew anything was wrong. I went to my chiro and she was spot-on!



Jacob Graham, 35

Highlights of a PlanetJoy massage: the attention she pays to my issues, the care she takes, the tenderness and responsiveness to my body. She reads it well.

I’ve had relatively extensive massage experience, but this is my favorite. Joy is not in any way overbearing. She is considerate, quiet, and I get the sense that it’s a deep practice for her.

What has pleasantly surprised me? Just how relaxed I feel when I leave.



Deb Kirtland, 52

Joy relieved some tension/knots/pain that my chiropractor could not – and the relief was quick and fairly permanent.  I say “fairly permanent” because it’s my life style that makes me have flare-ups. 

What concerns or worries have been taken care of?  Neck pain, shoulder and upper back tension is less overall.  Also, being able to sign up for packages and pay in installments creates less stress about affordablility.

What has pleasantly surprised me?  How relaxed I am on the table.  I thought I would be uncomfortable with having someone massage me, but I don’t because of PlanetJoy’s environment and JOY!



Bevin Yowell, proudly almost 40!

Did you have any objections or skepticism about signing up for massage package? At first, yes. I was concerned about $ & Time. 

What are some highlights of the experience? Pricing options are awesome and Joy’s massage skills are the best that I’ve experienced. 

What concerns or worries have been taken care of? $ and time actually worked out well! 

What has pleasantly surprised me? I find it easy to make the time. 

What is most satisfying about the experience? I feel amazing and I’m more in tune with my body and how my body holds stress. 

 

Asechiah, age 42

Joy was recommended to me by several people. The experience has been great, and I absolutely trust her skills and knowledge.

It’s a very soothing experience. Joy is very easy to communicate with, taking in account the unique set of health issues I’ve had.

Joy has helped me make serious strides in the past year, I’m very thankful. Pain has been much more manageable. See the light at the end of the tunnel.

What has pleasantly surprised me? Sense of energy has been returning, overall body balance is much improved 
What is most satisfying about the experience? It’s good to have someone you can see eye to eye with regarding your health and the necessary steps it takes to get there. Joy is very encouraging.



PlanetJoy: Feedback

Here’s a round up of testimonials I’ve received over the years: 

PlanetJoy Massages: 

2013

2014

2015

-Linda Tabor, healthy hippie badass 

-Suzanne Leahy, hospice care counselor

 

-Alison Jones Sprouse, teacher 

-Bevin Yowell, therapist

-Alyssa Grabinski, art therapy student 

-LeeAnn Monroe, elementary school principal


PlanetJoy Pregnancy Massage:

Savanna’s Experience


PlanetJoy Catalyst Collage Parties:
2014
2015

13 Ways to Maintain Healthy Boundaries When You Are an Empath and People You Love Are Suffering


As an Empath and someone who is an energy body worker I need to have healthy emotional and mental boundaries. It can be difficult when my codependent family members are having trouble. Obviously I care very much about my family and I don’t want them to suffer. But I also realize that I need to stay separate to stay healthy and thriving! 

I reached out to my wonderful network of wisdom this morning and asked them:

“How do I show my love while still protecting my energy? How do I help when I want to hide?”

Their answers were phenomenal

1*Ask  yourself  “what I CAN do?” (instead of fixating on not knowing what to do)
2*Asking yourself  what you would want someone to do for you
3*Put on your oxygen mask and do some self care– I’ve totally been slacking! 
4*Reach out (send letters) 
5*Ask them to tell you specifically what they need (general pleas for help can feel really overwhelming; specificity feels manageable)
6*Realize you might look rude but understand that youdon’t need to feel ashamed about your boundaries (give space to allow even better help to come in)
7*Help from afar with gift cards and helpful services within your budget– support those who are able to support in person
8*If you do visit, set a specific amount of time (like 30 min)and leave as soon as you start feeling drained 
9*Take them out for lunch 
10*Focus on your reaction to the situation because that’s one thing you can control. 
11*Recognize your strengths (like researching and reaching out to other people for help)
12*Focus on your priorities
13*And ask yourself what a good example of your role would look like so you won’t feel like you’re failing

I am so honored to have such a powerful network of wise women in my life! 

If you have any awesome advice to add let me know in the comments :)

Real Wonder Women, Real Talk: Anxiety and Depression. How do you deal when you feel miserable?

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I am honored to know a whole bunch of inspiring, amazing women and I realized the other day that I would love to ask these ladies for their perspective on some important issues:

Health, self-care, anxiety, depression

I feel like it’s important for women to know that even when they feel alone in their experiences, other women have been there, too.

In this third part, I simply asked:

What do you do when you feel miserable?

(I’ve kept the names anonymous at the request of a lot of the women for when we get into headier topics.)

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How do I take care of myself when I feel horrible?
If I’m physically sick, that’s easy.  I have a visual reason others can see for laying around, sleeping, watching TV, etc. 
It’s a different story though, if I’m not feeling good emotionally.  That’s tough.  There is so much pressure to ‘do’ and ‘go’ and ‘be’…it’s hard for me to validate just laying around, sleeping, taking it easy, etc.  I don’t know if that’s because I fear others will think I’m being lazy or if I’m too hard on myself.
After this past winter, I’ve decided that I suffer from S.A.D. to a mild extent.  There’s relief in that, but there’s also that stigma again.  I’m not quite sure how to deal with it or if there is a way to prevent it…guess it will be one of those things I’ll learn.  ☺

-D.K.
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Miserable: cry. I get wrapped in my head and ruminate, making it worse. I pretty much think of everything bad that has every happened and may possibly happen and somehow embrace every wretched feeling.

I haven’t actually been diagnosed as having depression, but the more I look at my daily bouts of crying and frustration, it may be the case.

As a background: I have always been unstoppable, I power through everything like a fucking champ. However, it’s caught up to me, hundreds of fucked up traumas have caught up and crushed me and I have collapsed but have faith I can somehow move forward and hopefully soon.

-Y.R.
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When I feel miserable, it’s generally a sign I need to rest. Sometimes I will sit on the couch, watch TV, and force myself to ignore any of the other “to-do”s. Sometimes I take a bath. Sometimes I go to bed, even if it’s 6:30. If I’m emotionally miserable, I usually write and try to figure out what is triggering it.

-B.V.
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I isolate. I isolate and revert to negative thinking always turned internally. I’m starting to recognize it now. I’ll call someone, I’ll go to the beach, I’ll quick jump in the car and drive to my parents’ house. But if I don’t catch it right from the start, I let that miserable feeling worm its way through my entire life and my eating disorder takes over again

-Daryn

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Honestly, in my darkest moments, as much as it hurts, I find that the best is just to surrender to the tears, the rage and find a safe way to let it all out.  Either by myself or to someone that I won’t hurt in that moment.  I am not scared of the darkness – I know if I allow myself to feel the pain, that eventually it will begin to subside.  We tend to hold onto it as long as we need it for some reason.  When that reason starts to disappear, our grip starts to loosen. 
That is what I have in this moment.  Hope that helps.  Would love to hear what others have to share.  ♥

-Lili
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When I feel miserable, I eat poorly and watch too much TV.
Or shop online.
I haven’t been officially diagnosed with anxiety or depression but I obviously don’t deal with it well since I have stomach issues and headaches.
I’d say I’ve been mildly depressed on and off since having my daughter- the lifestyle change is something I struggle with. I like to be good at everything I do, so I struggle with balance and sometimes feeling like I do nothing well and everything mediocre, which I hate. I have also always required my very own time and space – lots of it – which since having children I don’t have.

-L.M.
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It’s been so eye-opening reading the responses and seeing how so many women are struggling with the same stuff!!
Depression and anxiety can feel so lonely.
Crying can feel so defeating, sometimes like failure.
Our society sees any emotional or mental difficulties as being weakness when actually I think that it might just be part of being HUMAN!!!!

It’s been interesting to see some people list crying as a form of self-care!!

I think it’s so important to let women know they are not alone and that it’s okay to feel sad….

It’s important to remove stigmas so we can transition to a place of helping each other. Giving women permission to connect even in their darkest places could prevent us all from going too deep into that pit where we feel shame and loneliness and disconnect….
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If you’d like to add your story, please feel free. You never know how much it could help someone else.

So much love!

Year in Review: 2015

January:
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New Years Findells at Baja with Alyssa and Anne
Started breakfasts with Dawn
Saturn Return began
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Allison started coming to my church
We ate bugs in Anne’s class
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I completely organized my closet
Collage goal setting parties

February:
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Project Warm Heart #pwh with Anne and TJ
One of the first people to be told about Savanna’s pregnancy
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Took pregnancy massage class so I could work on Savanna her whole pregnancy
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Craig Snodgrass made Valentine’s for Laura and I
Figured out my signature style & wardrobe into-mind.com
Cooked salmon for the first time
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Spent a snowy day at Molly’s with Caitlin
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March:
Played Quelf with Brigitte, Henry, Savanna, & Chad
TJ’s niece, Elise was born 03.04.15
Sent Brigitte off to Florida
Got my first pedicure with Caitlin
Found out I was allergic to MSG
Went to BANFF with Caitlin in Charlottesville
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Made a birthday key lime pie for Laura on pie day 3.14.15
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Had brunch at the Boars Head with mom and grandma
Started writing with Aubrey

April:
Started using the Bible app

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PWH Easter egg hunt with Anne Buzzelli

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Lymphatic drainage class
LeeAnn came to visit
Spent a lot of time with Molly binge-watching Downton Abbey

May:

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Mowed the lawn for the first time
Pablo stuff

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Glenn’s graduation
Molly moved to South Dakota

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Had a memorial day picnic

June:

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Celebrated the life and work of my friend, Mary Echols

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Got my hair cut

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Met Erika
Went to Jack’s funeral
Molly came to visit

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Started going for walks just for fun
Became gluten intolerant

July:
My 29th birthday!

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Dinner with Molly and church girls

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Spent time with my Melissa

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Waffle breakfast with friends at The Store
Did elimination diet
Read The Art of Asking
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Brigitte came home from Florida for a massage & we all went out to dinner and played Cards Against Humanity at Byers Street

Went to a beautiful Hour Economy outdoor dinner
Met Kelly

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Savanna’s baby shower
TJ&I took a break
Started getting acupuncture

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July 28th GOT OUT OF DEBT
Savanna’s baby, Scarlett was born 07.30.15

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Watched Marx Brothers movies outside at By&By
Confirmed gluten intolerance

August:

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Caitlin moved to Alaska

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Hiked humpback 2x

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Started going to farmers market with Kat and Kirsten
Dinner and yoga at Erika’s
Shopped at Aldi
Collage party

September:

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Gave Scarlett a massage (full circle!)
Saw The Importance of Being Earnest@ the Blackfriars
Forgave Pablo
Depressed

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Dyed hair RED
Started going to Lisa Shelton

October:
Addicted to sugar

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Road trip to VT (survived near fatal incident)
Became good friends with Kat
Scary movies with Kat and Kirsten (Babadook!!)

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Scary movies and pumpkin carving with TJ
Clothing swap
SVAC art opening with art from Beverly Street, talked to Buddy
Became community group leader
Planted bulbs
Cheese allergy
Bev depressed
Went to vineyard with Erika
Started spending money, again (after 2.5 years of not shopping)
Mary’s 90th birthday
Ros got engaged
Said goodbye to Kelley

November:
Memorized psalm 19:7-11 and recited in front of church
Helped mom konmari her clothes
Mom cleaned downstairs
Kat and I watched “”Feces of An Angel”” (actually called Faces of an Angel….but it was soooo terrible) and bonded
Konmaried all my papers
Started studying hormones
Started getting a different kind of bodywork almost every week
TJ went on a cruise
Mom let me borrow her car and I went on a shopping spree
James Bond at Visulite with Kat and co.

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Terri came to visit
Read Wuthering Heights
Kat and mom and I went to see The Suffragette in Harrisonburg
Sparkles and Sweets
Compiled all my electronic gear and konmaried all my photos on my laptop

December:
Gift shopping

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Beth came to visit from England!
Sad news with Molly
Got everyone to take MBTI.
Spaghetti night with Kat
Raindrop session
Mom raised my rent
TJ and I had cocoa and movie night at my house
“Crafternoon” Cocktail party
Frank died

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Designed my new logo
Breakfast with Suzanne (she decided to start a breakfast club)

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Mom and I had a little Christmas by ourselves

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Had Christmas with TJ and his family and his little niece, Elise.

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Chose my word for the year: EXPAND

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Spent a very introverted New Years walking around downtown

Letters&Brunch–January

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Saturday was the first meeting of Letters and Brunch.

Where: It was held at Nu Beginnings (AKA The Store) in Staunton.
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Who: My mom and my friends Melissa, Willow, and Kelly.

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We ate delicious food. Mom had oatmeal, I ate gluten free scones!!, Willow ate a waffle, and Melissa had the colonial breakfast. Yummmm.
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I wrote 3 letters! Willow and Kelly taught us how to make envelopes from calendar pages.
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I am so happy we did it!

Thank you to Alexandra Franzen for the idea :)
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Do you like the idea of actually keeping in touch with your friends instead of beating yourself up for not following through? Do you also like food?

Feel free to drop by!! 10-1 the first Saturday of the month :)

Wonder Woman Wednesday: Brigitte Via

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This month’s Wonder Woman is my friend “‘Brigitte”‘. She is my favorite person to stay up late with playing games like Cards Against Humanity and Quelf. She makes me laugh and Im so happy that she always comes to get a massage every couple months even though she now lives in Florida!!
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Name: ‘”Brigitte'”

Birthday: 11/16/89

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered:
Hmm… Is it weird to say that I just want to live the kind of life that makes people miss me when I’m gone?
I’d like to be remembered as someone who brighten’s people’s days and a protector/defender of those who need it.

Favorite book?: I don’t have a favorite book, but my favorite author is Jodi Picoult

Favorite quote:

“She dreamed she could, so she did”

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What motivates you?
Me. I’m always competing with myself! I want to do the best I can at whatever I’m given. Also: popcorn

How do you best take care of yourself? What is your favorite way to be healthy?
TRICK QUESTION! A relaxing massage from Joy! The Joy who is expanding her business into Tampa this year (oh, you didn’t know that?) Hahaha

What is your greatest strength?
My popcorn making skills are pretty top-notch, but I don’t want to brag
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Who inspires you? What have they taught you?
Oma! She’s taught me to be independent and feisty (when needed).

What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received?
I heard recently that “good work is rewarded with more work”, and I like that. I also like, “Don’t give up what you really want for what you want right now”.
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What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down? Popcorn. Oh, wait. Massages.

What are you proudest of?
Nearly everything I’ve accomplished. I bought my first house at 19, started a career out of high school, am a landlord at 25, and just checked off my biggest goal (moving to Tampa)… And I’m going to graduate next year!

What is your biggest goal for 2015?
It was move to Tampa, but I guess now I have to think of another one…
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Thank you, “‘Brigitte'”, for answering my questions! You’re such a Wonder Woman!!

Wonder Woman Wednesday: Terri Farneti

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This month’s Wonder Woman is my very own Aunt Terri. Her birthday is in September so I thought she would make the perfect September Wonder Woman. She is a super strong, intelligent, charismatic woman. She’s involved with the league of women voters and she loves giraffes. She helped make me the person I am today.
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Name: Terri

Birthday: 9/20/57

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered:  I’d like to leave a legacy of making a difference in people’s lives.

Favorite book?:  I guess I would have to say “The English Patient” because of the way it was written (more as prose)
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Favorite quote:

“Life is not about the breaths you take, its the moments that take your breath away”

What motivates you?
 A sunny day!

How do you best take care of yourself?  I take my supplements, take care of my skin and stay active.

What is your favorite way to be healthy?  Play tennis – or hike

What is your greatest strength? openness to people

Who inspires you? Katherine Hepburn inspired me – she was a class act

What have they taught you?  being quietly powerful is a good thing
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What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received?  “Get into food – people always have to eat”

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down? popcorn

What are you proudest of?  I’m very proud of my career 

What is your biggest goal for 2015?  continuously strive to be a better leader
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Thank you for answering my questions. I love you, Auntie T!!
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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Meghan Williamson

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—————————————- Today’s Wonder Woman Wednesday I’m featuring on of the most incredible women I’ve ever had the chance to meet: Meghan Williamson. The things this woman has done at her young age are mind-blowing. It’s been an honor getting to have her in my life and I’m so excited she agreed to let me interview her.
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Name:   
Meghan Williamson

Business Name and Location:      
Pine Knot Projects    
Harrisonburg, VA

How did you get started doing what you’re doing? 
Growing up, I only wanted to be an environmental policy advocate. 
I went to college and then Washington DC pursuing that path, and ultimately became frustrated with the national policy making process, and the lack of real conversations and alternative paradigms.
I came back to Western Virginia trying to answer questions like how do we build sustainable economies? 
What would honest and effective environmental policy even look like? Ever since then, I’ve been playing in jobs that try to help me answer those questions.
Every year, my answers get a little more radical and a little less mainstream. I seem to have to reinvent fairly regularly.

What is your mission statement?
I work on projects that build alternative systems that address issues of sustainability, equality, and community. Early on, that was about building more local economies in which business are locally-owned and engaged in local foods, alternative energy or similar environmental focused activities.  These days, I’m more comfortable talking explicitly about which systems we also need to exit: 
How can we move investments away from Wall Street and into local communities? 
How can we become less reliant on the formal monetary system, and more inter-reliant on each other? 
What laws and power structures keep us from building fairer, place-based, regenerative communities?

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Who do you usually work with? 
Almost anyone who wants to work with me.

What parts of your job do you find most challenging? 
Too much computer time.  And recently, I’ve also felt too geographically scattered, doing work in Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Waynesboro.  Sometimes, when you’re trying to be place-based, you have to actually narrow down and BE place-based. I haven’t always been good at that.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 
The days when I remember we have more options, more beautiful ways of being in the world, than our dominant culture and media tells us we do.

What accomplishments are you the most proud of? 
Quitting.  I’ve had a number of jobs that were well regarded, in which my accomplishments were recognized and appreciated.
It’s sometimes seductive to want to stay in those comfortable places.  My decisions to leave haven’t always made sense to my family, or even myself…and they aren’t always easy. But I do find that when I’m willing to start-over, to pursue new edges even when there’s no clear new path forward, that’s when I grow the most.

What’s your favorite testimonial you’ve ever received?
A client once walked into my office and said

“Someone told me, if you have a crazy idea, come here.”

 
I’ve always felt deeply honored when people trust me enough to share their dreams or their hopes. I try to honor that, to respect their bravery. I think we all want to build a more beautiful world. & so few people tell us that we can.  

What’s the most effective way you’ve found to promote your business?
I try to live well in place, and to support other people’s desire to do the same. Projects, and the resources to pursue them, have grown out of that.

What motivates you? 
We’re actively ruining the world.
A global species extension in underway. There’s more plastic in the ocean than plankton right now.
Our climate is destabilizing, we have no real memory of what intact ecosystems even look like, industrial expansion strips the land and resources away from indigenous cultures that were thriving long before us, and our food makes us sick.
We traded all that for what? Big houses, long car commutes, and a lifetime of staring at screens under florescent lights?  
I’m over it.  Let’s do better – for both ourselves and for all of those (both human and nonhuman) who are dying for our livelihoods.

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down? 
Finding time to be silent and alone, preferably in less civilized places. There’s so much noise and energy in the world that’s actively destructive. Just finding space apart from it helps me hear my own thoughts.

How do you best take care of yourself?
When I’m at my best, I have time to put my hands in the dirt, to cook my own food, to set my own pace. I find that my least-scheduled days are also my fullest.

What is your favorite way to be healthy? 
Cut the sugar, ditch the car, eat food that lives here, and love somebody.

What is your greatest strength? 

I’m stubborn.

Who inspires you?
So many people. I think we’re all walking around with tiny grains of truth in our pockets, and I love how often someone totally unexpected shares one with me.

What have they taught you? 
Again, so many things. If I had to pick one for today, I would say that my partner, Kurt, is teaching me to be kind. Or maybe we’re teaching each other.  

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What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received? 
Plenty of people told me growing up that life is short, but I never knew what they meant until I watched someone I loved have his life, cut short.  I don’t think it does much good to say it, but maybe we can try to remember it: Life is short. These are the only days we get. How would we behave differently if we remembered that?

What’s your best productivity tip? 
Do the things that make you happy. Do the thing the 10-year-old version of yourself thought you should do with your life. Live the life that you imagine. Remember that every single moment we are producing something. We don’t have to “be” productive any more than we have to “be” human. We just have to choose how to spend our moments, and for whom.

Favorite book?: 
I have no idea how to answer this question. Books are like friends – I need them all, for totally different reasons. I read The Culture of Make Believe this year.  It’s hard, tragic, long, shattering, and I think everyone should read it.

What is your biggest goal for 2015? 

Say more true things
 

{Please send a photo or two of yourself at your happiest! And tell me a little bit about the photo(s)}  

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— The photo with the braids is on a bicycle tour with Kurt in Idaho, after we’d spent about 2 months peddling together, camping out every night, and visiting strangers and friends working on sustainability projects around the Pacific Northwest.

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— The other photo is me being content with simple things and good friends. 
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Thank you SO MUCH, Meghan, for letting me get to know you better. You are someone I definitely look up to and what I love most is how deep your passion goes and how much joy you bring to others along the way.

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Savanna’s Testimonial: Pregnancy Massage on PlanetJoy

Savanna has been coming to me for a couple of years now and she’s due July 31st. Before she got crazy busy with her new baby, I wanted to ask her some questions about her experience with pregnancy massage.

As soon as Savanna told me she’d found out that she was pregnant, back in February, I decided to take a prenatal and postpartum massage course. The class was a wonderful experience (I got to work on a woman the day before she was induced!)

Together, Savanna and I have had a lot of fun practicing and perfecting the most amazing pregnancy massage experience.

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Name: Savanna

Age: 27

Did you have any objections or skepticism about pregnancy massage?

I actually was a little bit skeptical.

While I am a big fan of massage, I was skeptical about whether or not I could still enjoy it if I couldn’t lay on my back or stomach.

I wasn’t sure exactly how it would work or if I would just have to lay on my side the whole time.

Mainly I think I just didn’t know exactly what to expect so I was skeptical about whether or not it would be as comfortable or relaxing as a regular massage.

What were some of your concerns or worries?

I was mainly worried or concerned at the beginning about whether or not it was completely safe for the baby.

I had read some mixed reviews online about the safety especially for the first trimester.

I had also read that sometimes massage made morning sickness worse.

(*Special note: the reason massage can have a bad rep for first trimester is that the first trimester is a very sensitive time and many women do not end up carrying to term. When something happens and the pregnancy is terminated, the massage is not a direct cause, but all the pain from losing the baby can often lead women to search for a cause. Because of this it’s important to work lightly and check in a LOT with the woman to make sure she feels comfortable, healthy, and safe.

Also, in the case of losing a baby, massage is excellent for mental health and emotional healing.)

What were you hoping would happen?

I was hoping that my skepticism and/or worries would be for no reason and that I would enjoy pregnancy massage as much if not more than regular massage.

Why did you choose to come to me (instead of someone else)? What made you trust me?

I had already had good experiences with your massages so that helped.

Also I know that you are always reading and researching so I knew that you would be well versed in what was safe and unsafe for both me and the baby.

Plus knowing that you went to the effort to take the pre-natal class was reassuring as well.

But even without the prenatal class I was confident that you would do your homework and look into what was and wasn’t safe for pregnancy so that was reassuring.

What can other people expect? Juicy details, please! What were some highlights of the experience?

Pregnancy massage is obviously somewhat different than a regular massage, but it is also the same in many ways.

With the physical changes that pregnancy brings come a lot of aches and pains, and you need a relaxing massage more than ever.

Despite what I originally had thought, the massages can be just as relaxing as a regular massage, they are just a little different.

The “cloud” was also very nice. (*A special combination concoction of pillows to prop you up so you can have your head, neck, arms, and feet worked on. Feels like floating on a cloud….) 

Because I was propped up on pillows I rarely felt nauseous or lightheaded.

When I did I always was able to be adjusted in a way that alleviated that feeling.

It was also helpful that you were very open minded and always willing to make little adjustments as we went to make sure that I was always comfortable.

What concerns or worries were taken care of?

I was reassured after talking to one of our midwives who actually said not only is it safe but that they recommend massage and/or chiropractic care.

I was also reassured that you took the prenatal massage class so I was very confident that you would know what was and was not recommended during pregnancy.

I also appreciated that you were open to trying different things and I always felt comfortable letting you know if we needed to adjust my position, if I needed another pillow, etc.

What was different about this experience compared to regular massages?

The most obvious is that you can’t lay on your stomach or your back.  Other than that the experience as surprisingly similar.

The added stretches and the tummy massage is an extra perk.

What pleasantly surprised you?

I was surprised that despite having a different position for the massage it was really just as relaxing as a regular massage.

What was most satisfying about the experience?

Massages were great in helping relieve the aches and pains of pregnancy, as well as relieving the tension from stress and anxiety that comes with pregnancy.

It was nice to take an hour a month (or sometimes a couple of hours a month) to relax.

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(*Savanna, it’s been an honor working on you throughout your pregnancy. Because I’ve worked on you every month it’s been so cool to watch your baby grow.
Thank you for being patient while I figured everything out. I know you said it felt good even the first few times when I was a little unsteady with all the techniques.
I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you better. AND it was SO COOL to be one of the very FIRST people to hear about your pregnancy!! (Even before your parents, wow.)
I can’t wait to meet your little baby and get to know her :) 

Wonder Woman Wednesday: Vanessa Dieterly

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Welcome to Wonder Woman Wednesday. Todays Wonder Woman is Vanessa Dieterly, my childhood best friend and a woman I have always looked up to (both figuratively and literally–I’m so much shorter than her.)

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Name:  Vanessa Elke Dieterly

Birthday:  7/12/1987

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered: I don’t know if how I want to be remembered and how I am are necessarily the same thing, haha. I’d like to be remembered as a giving person and as someone who loves her family.

Favorite book? (Or blog or podcast):  There are so many books that I love, but I’ve been going through a phase (for several years now) in which I am obsessed with autobiographical books written by women comedians. Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Jane Lynch’s Happy Accidents, Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please, etc.

And even though it’s not a book or blog or podcast, I’ve watched the video of Ellen DeGeneres giving the 2009 commencement speech at the University of Tulane more times than I can count. I think anyone who is feeling a little lost should watch it. Everyone else should, too.

Favorite quote:

“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” Tina Fey

What motivates you?
Having a kid really changed my perspective on what I want out of life. I have a much different view of success now. My goals revolve around having a happy home and a happy life, and having a child is what has motivated me to live this kind of life.

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How do you best take care of yourself? What is your favorite way to be healthy?
My favorite way to be healthy is to walk to places I need to go instead of driving.

What is your greatest strength? Knowing the difference between they’re, their and there. Also, knowing the difference between your and you’re. Maybe these aren’t my greatest strengths, but I think these are important! ;)

Who inspires you? What have they taught you?
I never heard my mom complain about being a single mom. She always just did whatever needed to be done. She appreciates the little things in life in a way that few people do. I’d like to be more like that.

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What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received?
When I was pregnant with my son, my uncle said to me that everyone will want to give you parenting advice, but you kind of just have to figure out what works best for you and ignore the rest. Everything about this has been very true. Strangers in the supermarket, friends who don’t have kids, grandmas who had eight kids- they all have suggestions for how you should do things. Just smile, nod and keep doing what works for you. Also, see the Tina Fey quote above.

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down?
My mom and my sister, Melissa, always send me funny texts- pictures or random things they see, or just funny little thoughts that I have. They always cheer me up.

What are you proudest of?
I had a good job as a property manager that I decided to quit so I could stay home with my son. It would have been easier for me to continue working, so it was a tough decision for me, but I’m glad I finally decided to do it.

What is your biggest goal for 2015?
To stop eating so much processed food!

{Please send a photo or two of you at your happiest. (And tell a little bit about why you chose the photo(s))}

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That’s a picture of me with my sisters at the Children’s Museum of Richmond in 2010.

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And here’s a picture of me with my family.
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Thank you, Vanessa! You’ve always been a Wonder Woman in my eyes, ever since we were little. Now you are so grown up. Where does the time go? It was wonderful to read what you had to say about your life and what inspires you.

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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Sophia Wiedeman

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Happy Wonder Woman Wednesday!
Todays Wonder Woman is entrepreneur, Sophia Wiedeman. She writes and illustrates the coolest comics and I had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year.
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Name and Job Title
Sophia Wiedeman, Comic Artist, Illustrator and Educator

Business Name and Location
My name is my business!
I draw comics, formerly in NYC now in Charlottesville, VA.
I also teach art and design at James Madison University and Piedmont Virginia Community College.

How did you get started doing what you’re doing? 
I fell in love with comics at twelve.
There was literal moment when it struck me deep in my little heart while reading an X-Men comic, that this this is it, this is what I want to do with my life.
So from then on I kept drawing, fantasized heavily, wondered how to actually start, refused to start, then made terrible terrible comics before going to an Illustration program at School of Visual Arts in New York City where I finally figured it out enough to make my first real working comic in 2008.
Since then have been married in my heart to the thankless, tedious, and all-consuming process of writing, drawing and publishing book after book, hoping I am getting to closer to better.
It’s fun.

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What is your mission statement?
I suppose it could be

“To make people feel something through well-drawn stories.”

Maybe I’ll put that on a business card.

Who do you usually work with? 
I work alone. Very alone.
Sometimes I share work in progress with my husband or my sister and the odd trusted fellow cartoonist. That’s the extent of it.
When illustrating though I have to work with an art director or a client, so then my work becomes a service where I have to bounce my art back and forth for their approval, which can be rewarding.
But writing comics is entirely isolating and independent.

What tools do you use?
Paper and Ink. I use a nib pen and rapidograph pens alternately.
I’m trying to make more comics in straight up pencil.  But I love the feel and the ceremony of dipping a nib into a pot of ink.
I color in water color, but also oils, anything that works.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
When it comes to cartooning it is that weird bliss I only ever experience when I manage to achieve total absorption with the task at hand.
Short answer: Drawing.
When teaching it is the absolute opposite, it is the turning myself outward and actually connecting with people which, as an extrovert, I thrive on.

What accomplishments are you the most proud of?
Making books while working full time. I’m an expert at talking myself out of things that intimidate me so anytime I have pushed through that and done what I actually want instead of just what I am comfortable with, I consider it a major coup.

What’s your favorite testimonial you’ve ever received?
I have been lucky enough to receive some thoughtful praise from some very good writers and reviewers of comics, but I’m supremely touched when readers tell me, “it made me cry” or “I recognize myself this.”

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What’s the most effective way you’ve found to promote your business?
An actual website is important to have, but I am not sure how much attention it gets me, it is more somewhere for people to go once they realize you exist.
I really love Instagram and Tumblr actually because of the visual nature of my work, but mostly going to small press/independent comic book festivals is my most powerful form of promotion.
Meeting people face to face, becoming a real person to people who love comics as much as I do, who understand why I feel this way: that’s vital stuff. Also, always have a little tangible something to hand to someone.
People like stuff, they like holding something. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a real something, it could be a button or a card.
It helps facilitate and bookmark the interaction between two individuals.

What motivates you? What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down?
That my prime as a cartoonist is ahead of me, that it is a slow burn, that I love this more than anything, and that this sustains me.
Ultimately I write to connect with people, and success is defined in many ways by finding an audience, but I also believe I have a duty to make books that please myself first and foremost.
Can you imagine a more cheering and freeing concept?

How do you best take care of yourself? What is your favorite way to be healthy?
Stretching, stretching, stretching. Yoga, yoga, yoga.

What is your greatest strength?
My ability to absolutely fixate on a goal.

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(Frames from Sophia’s Heart Monster: A Tangent)

Who inspires you? What have they taught you?
My sister, Julia, is a constant source of strength and inspiration.
I can’t really stress enough that I have a particularly talented and inspiring support system in my family, my parents, my brothers, and my friends, many of whom make ridiculously good art at a pace I can only marvel at.
My husband is particularly good at keeping me focused on what matters and what I want too, but my sister and I both have ambitious creative goals which seem, at times, impossible.
We lived together for 6 of the toughest years in our lives and her dedication, her bravery, and her hutzpah was the best thing to witness as I began to attack my own version of “impossible.”
 
What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received? 
My advisor, David Heatley, is a very wise and patient person. He said a lot of things that I run in loop in my brain, but two have proved particularly resonant:

“Give yourself ten years”

And

“You learn about things when you need to know them.”

Both I guess speak to being patient with yourself. To both not expecting too much of the world while not beating yourself up about not being a savvy expert before you need/can be.

What’s your best productivity tip? 
Don’t get up until you get something down.

Favorite book?:  
This is such an impossible question but “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White is a good start.

What is your biggest goal for 2015? 
Finish all the books I have in the works. I have only ever made a book a year and it’s just not enough. But if I keep up the pace I am at I could finish three. Born, Not Raised is a collection of short comics which I finished last month, and Semi-Solid is forthcoming in a matter of weeks!

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{Please send a photo or two of yourself at your happiest! And tell me a little bit about the photo(s)}

It was so hard to chose! I spent way too long sifting through pics, but here are a couple. I really am at my happiest either drawing or dancing/laughing with people I love.

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The first photo is of me tearing paper to begin inking, so I am excited.

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The other was taken a couple years ago on a perfect day with friends. It was sunny and windy, there were drinks, I was wearing a hat, and I couldn’t stop laughing.
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You can find Sophia here:
Website

Tumblr

Twitter
@sophiawiedeman

And you can purchase her amazing comics here:
Storenvy
Etsy

Thank you so much, Sophia! It was wonderful getting to know you better. You are the coolest comic girl, ever!! I love your sense of humor and I completely connect with your comics–I find them deeply profound, like someone understands the way I think and the things I’ve experienced.

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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Nada Di Guida

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This month’s Wonder Woman is my friend Nada from Naples, Italy.
I met Nada in 2012 in Florence when she hosted me at her house through airbnb.

We spent the summer of 2013 roadtripping through California and she is just SUCH a positive person– it was such an incredible adventure.
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Name: Nada Di Guida

Birthday: 17th september

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered
As a happy and honest person, for some will be in a good way for some in a bad…but always honest and reliable :)

Favorite book?
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Back
Lord of the flies by William Goldings
The Poet by Michael Connelly

Favorite quote

Don’t do to others what you won’t like others to do to you.

What motivates you?
Happiness

How do you best take care of yourself?
I mostly take care of my soul, trying to love myself and being around good people.

What is your favorite way to be healthy?
Doing lots of sports and eating good food and good alcohol

What is your greatest strength? 
My strength…that is difficult…I’m still not sure, but I think being honest. I am a good friend.
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Who inspires you? What have they taught you? 
My parents are my inspiration, they taught me to follow what I want to do and to work hard so that you can play hard and they’re always by my side even if they may not agree with my decisions sometimes.

What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received? 
When you are ready for something, life will give you the right tools to do it.
(One of my best girlfriends, Roberta, told me that)

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down? 
My friends, my brother, also my sister in law. If none of them are available, taking care of my body and sipping a glass of wine.

What are you proudest of? 
Achieving good results with airbnb. Being capable of connecting with people and holding good relations also with friends that live far away.

What is your biggest goal for 2015? 
Have an australian visa (skilled) and work harder to do my own business.

{Please send a photo or two of yourself at your happiest! And tell me a little bit about the photo(s)}

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This was one of the last nights in Florence before leaving to travel in Australia, so had my best friends around, was having a good night and was starting to get excited about the trip :)

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I finally managed to have all my best friends in Florence together (both from Naples, from Bassano del Grappa) and my brother too with his wife…pregnant at that time. We were ten and sleeping all together at my place and it was an absolutely fantastic weekend.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, Nada!! You’re so awesome. Definitely the coolest Italian Wonder Woman I’ve ever met :)
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Wonder Woman Wednesday: LeeAnn Monroe

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Let me introduce you to my VERY favorite Wonder Woman: LeeAnn.

It always takes a lot of courage for me to say someone is my best friend because it means I have to make myself vulnerable….but I would happily be honored to call LeeAnn my best friend.

LeeAnn is the funniest story-teller, she’s so completely AMAZING and I miss her every day since she moved to Vermont.
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Name: Lee Ann Monroe

Birthday: Halloween!

Describe yourself as you are or as you want to be remembered
Hmm…I’d like to be remembered as fun, honest, smart, and tolerant. Mostly though as someone who always helped other people remember why they are special and that they can do anything.

Favorite book? (Or blog or podcast)
Favorite book…this is hard. I only finish books I fall in love with. They are all my favorite at the time. I guess if I have to pick, Hope for the Flowers. It’s one of those books with a message I want to spread around.

That or The Other Boleyn Girl. Its full of scandal, adventure, and intrigue!

Favorite quote

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear”

What motivates you?
Other people motivate me.

How do you best take care of yourself? What is your favorite way to be healthy?
MASSAGE is my favorite way to be healthy – you can imagine how I’m faring now…

What is your greatest strength? 
I’m pretty good at communicating. Talking so people will want to listen.

Who inspires you? What have they taught you? 
My dad inspires me. He’s taught me that most things are not worth fighting about.

My kids inspire me. They teach me everyday that EVERYTHING has the potential to be wicked fun.

My husband inspires me. He’s taught me that his love really is unconditional.

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What’s the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received? 
There’s a difference between NEED and REALLY REALLY WANT.

What cheers you up or encourages you when you’re down? 
Fresh air cheers me up. I always feel better after being outside. And wine (but I kind of think that’s cheating.) Being creative and making something new from something old encourages me.

What are you proudest of? 
I am proudest of my friends. I have some really great ones. They’re so diverse and talented and continually push me to be a totally different me.

What is your biggest goal for 2015? 
My biggest goal is to be more giving of myself. I get caught up in books/social media/tv and spend too little time focusing on the people in my life. Close by and far away

{Please share a photo or two of yourself at your happiest! And tell a little bit about the photo(s)}
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I love this first one because it’s at the top of Mt. Snow, right after we moved here.

In looking for pictures of being happy, I realized that when I’m happy, I take pictures of what’s making me happy.

So the first picture Brian took, of me, taking a picture of Amelia and Arie, who were making me happy.
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The middle picture is at Bonnaroo – what more could you ask for, a free donut, an iced coffee in 100 degree weather, a vacation with just my husband, and waiting to see Vance Joy.
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The last picture is an obvious one – legit JOY is both captured on my face and sitting next to me. Despite it being a little blurry, it’s a rare picture.
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Ahhhhhhhh! I’m so honored to be one of LeeAnn’s happy moments!!!! :)

Thank you so much, LeeAnn, for taking the time to answer my questions. You ARE a Wonderful Wonder Woman. I miss you.

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So, what’s so great about Collage Parties?

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I found it was easy to construct a collage. It was almost effortless and something meaningful happened!
-Anne Buzzeli

Great reasons to check out collage parties: 

⊙You are curious about the process

⊙You want to be creative in a social setting

Theres no pressure to be “artistic”– you just need to be able to use scissors and a glue stick!

⊙You love to create but have just needed to find some time to put your ideas together

⊙You want to focus. Collage is a perfect way to do inner work– it’s a form of art therapy.

⊙You are looking for a great way to explore your goals more deeply.

Collage is a way of slipping past the censor and accessing the unconscious.

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What do people love most about the experience?

⊙peaceful creativity

⊙the adventure of being with other women and enjoying the experience together

I enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow seekers, and the stories we all told even though we were relative strangers. By being her lovely self, Joy created safety and a sense of fun, play, and exploration which was super helpful for me; I was able to relax and get the most out of the collage process.

And of course, I enjoyed seeing the collage take shape, finishing it, and then working through the reflection process. It was a surprising result.
-Lisa O’Shea

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I liked being creative and socializing. Plus, I enjoyed seeing how well planned out it was.
-Rachel Golden

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What is the best thing you get out of coming to a collage party?

⊙A chance to really hone in on your goals.

⊙The excitement of seeing seemingly random pictures lay out a theme

“There’s a change comin’. 

……

It involves Brussels sprouts.”

-Susanne Leahy, analyzing her collage

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The collage itself!

I’ve hung it up in my work room next to where I do a lot of writing, and it inspires me and intrigues me every day.
-Lisa O’Shea

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A finished product that reminds me that I “can do” and that my hopes have not yet been snuffed out!
-Lynne Boardman

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It will surprise you how easy the collage making process is!

I was surprised how many decisions I made so effortlessly. I usually belabor and second guess small and large decisions!
-Lynne Boardman

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When it came time to glue the clippings into a collage, my hands flew around, and I made decisions that I wasn’t expecting. When it was done, I stood back and marveled. The picture I’d created spoke to me in the poetry of images and contrasts I hadn’t anticipated.
-Lisa O’Shea

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I hold collage parties often (almost every month) The goal setting parties I hold quarterly so you can come and boost your goals, meet new people, and feel accountable to yourself.

Collage is great because you can do them all the time and each one will be totally different. You’re thinking of something different, looking at different magazines, and putting your images together in different ways.

A regular habit of creating fulfills a need to express what’s beautiful and “right.”
-Lynne Boardman

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I post the events on my facebook page so make sure to follow me if you’re interested in coming to one.

You can also email me at joyboardman@gmail.com and let me know you’re interested in attending one.
I even hold one-on-one parties which are like mini (and fun) therapy sessions so email me if you would like to schedule one! 
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I loved meeting new people and laughing so much. It helped me focus on the positive aspects of my life, and I really like that my goals are literally in my face (on my fridge) every day as a reminder.
-Allison Sprouse