New camera and things.

Creative Writing, Monthly Mood, Picture Diaries

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Hey all!

Jumping on here because 1) I’ve been pretty silent and 2) I’ve noticed that I have acquired some followers in the past couple of months!

If, you’re a new follower- Hello and welcome!

Lately, I have been brainstorming a bunch. I’m the type of person that likes to rearrange the furniture about every six months, and well, here I am – trying to figure out how to rearrange my space on the web.

I’ve been feeling quite restricted by this blog’s title and mission “plannercreative” and have been exploring the realms of illustration and photography. I am in the works of revamping my website, which will be under a completely different name. But don’t worry- planner obsessions will still be a part of it. I want to incorporate all my hobbies into a more cohesive site. So stay tuned!

For now, you can follow me on @plannercreative & @poserphotographer on Instagram.

I will be traveling to Paris soon! I’ll definitely be posting this experience on both my handles.

Hope to see you all there.

Cheers!

D.Marie

p.s. I’ve been practicing my film photography for my trip to France! Here’s a few shots from my first couple of rolls.

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Lessons from a Vegan-ish kitchen

Meal Prep

I believe in the power of my every day choice to abstain from eating meat or dairy and how that helps decrease my carbon footprint. Without getting too much into the politics, I realize that eating vegan is a lifestyle not just a diet; and that with any lifestyle, it takes time and practice to continue on any given path. I heard someone explain a “vegan-ish” lifestyle like this, “It’s like being a Christian – if you sin, it doesn’t mean you need to quit being a Christian, you keep aiming for a Christian lifestyle that practices your morals”.  So when you “mess up” and eat meat or a piece of cheese, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a vegan.

Now, I know some vegans who would probably get upset at the above statement, but like I said, I don’t want to get too much into politics and I think there needs to be a more common ground for those interested in making a change- no more of this “you can’t sit with us” attitude towards those lost in the grey area of vegan-ish land. Everyone’s journey towards awakening must start somewhere.

So here! I’ve compiled a “tip” list of things to ponder over if you are considering making a transition into the vegan lifestyle…

Find a buddy

The first time I attempted a vegan diet was after taking an environmental science class my sophomore year of college and feeling alarmed about the reality of my carbon footprint. Long story short, I gave up quickly after I gave in and ate some carne asada tacos. Fast forward to 2015 and I met my Fiance who was practicing a vegan diet. I was a bit intimidated at first and the independent person in me felt  it unthinkable to try a diet just because a guy I liked was doing it, but I had to push my ego aside and find facts that resonated with me and persuaded me in the first place. So as we started dating, I decided to eat vegan when I was with him- which was usually just the weekends. Then I gradually started adding days when I was by myself- for me that was Wednesdays- and from there it got easier. So grab a friend or a coworker, try to find someone you see on a regular basis and make the effort together. It will be a lot easier when you have someone to hold you accountable.

Find your flavor

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 I grew up in Los Angeles with a Filipino mother, so my flavor profile usually leans towards Asian cuisine or tacos. With that in mind, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for a quick vegan meal that incorporates some tricks I learned watching my mother cook. For instance – soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, and lemon. Those four things alone whether used together or not have been the gateway to so many flavorful dishes I have made now in my adult life. One of my all time favorite lazy vegan dinners is a bowl of brown rice, steamed spinach topped with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Sometimes I’ll add ginger if I have it on hand. But from there you can build- add tofu for protein, or use some frozen vegetable gyoza from the freezer section of your market to top it off and bam! you have a palatable meal…oh and don’t forget the Sriracha.

Thai and Indian curries are another one of my favorite dishes to whip up and so I keep the staples for that in my kitchen- curry paste, coconut milk, and other spices – when I need to eat my vegetables before they go bad, this is a great dish to cook because you can basically put everything in a curry.

Learn how to grocery shop and the basics of cooking

Now I know that to some people, this may sound a bit silly. But it took me a while to learn the properties of certain foods and how they were best prepared to maximize their flavors. For instance, did you know that you should soak your potatoes (cut) in some water and dissolved sugar to achieve that soft french-fry like goodness on the inside? Neither did I and boy does it make a difference! Learning how to simmer and when to add certain vegetables makes a difference, like eggplant for instance, you add that towards the end of your stir fry so that it doesn’t get slimy, and you add the carrots and potatoes first so that they can cook all the way through- so on and so forth.

Here is my shopping List with some notes! 

At first I thought meal prepping on Sunday’s was the way to go. But then I quickly found out that I was spending most of my grocery budget on the ingredients for one meal, and I would grow tired of eating the same thing throughout the week, resulting in wasted food. I knew that making scrappy meals on the fly was my strength so I decided to focus on items that I knew I could “paint” with when it came time to get creative in the kitchen. So here is how I tackle grocery shopping:

Grab your proteins! 

  • soy chorizo
    • tacos
    • throw in some hashbrowns and you have a bomb breakfast hash
  • tofu
    • stir fry
    • curry
  • tofurky italian sausages
    • pizza
    • hot gogs
    • pasta
    • vegetable ratatouille
  • meatless ground beef
    • Pasta “Meat Sauce”
    • tacos
    • Pizza
  • Jack Fruit Protein – When I want to treat myself
    • Found at Safeway they have multiple flavors. I enjoy the Teriyaki and BBQ.

Add in your grains

Now if you don’t have grains already, this will be a bit of an investment the first time around, but once you have them, they last a lot longer than your other food groups. So stock up on:

  • rice
  • pasta
  • quinoa
  • nuts ( I prefer to have raw cashews because so many vegan recipes call for cashews- cheese, sour cream…)

Condiments 

  • soy sauce
    • stir fry
    • curry
  • pasta sauce
    • pizza
    • pasta
  • mustard
    • dressing
    • hot dogs
  • ketchup
  • apple cider vinegar
    • works wonders with red cabbage
  • white rice vinegar
    • just a part of being filipino 😉
  • Balsamic glaze
    • great for sauteing vegetables in
    • salad dressing

Other

  • Nutritional yeast!
    • this is a big one because, as I mentioned, a lot of vegan recipes call for this
  • Something fermented – Sauerkraut, pickled veggies.. always an easy way to take a sandwich or hot dog to the next level!
  • Finely ground flaxseed meal
    • this is what I use to replace eggs when I bake! It’s a 3-1 ratio 
      • 3 tablespoons of water to 1 tablespoon of flax meal
  • coconut milk
    • this is another important staple because it’s a great replacer for heavy cream when it comes to baking, and it’s a staple in the curries.
    • I prefer this brand because it isn’t as fatty as the other ones: 

Produce

I am fortunate to have a farmers market a few blocks away from my house every Wednesday and Sunday. It is actually a lot cheaper than the grocery store and the quality a lot better. Now if you’re like me, there is just something about the farmers market that makes you want to buy everything! All the fresh fruit and beautiful flowers are all so inspiring. But the reality is, you must buy what you can eat! So after much learning, I limit myself to spending ONLY $20 or less and have kept this rule of thumb: 

3 hearty vegetables

 3 Herbs for flavor 

1 leafy green (or purple) 

2 different types seasonal fruit to snack on

  • Hearty vegetables: I like some variation of the following, these tend to have a longer shelf life too.
    • zucchini
    • eggplant
    • Potatoes
    • tomatoes
  • Leafy greens (or purples)
    • red cabbage – this stuff goes a long way!
    • kale
  • Herbs- leafy herbs have the shortest shelf life, so don’t get too excited and over buy… just get what you need.. and keep them OUT of the fridge
    • onions- always
    • garlic – always 
      • you can never go wrong starting out each dish with garlic and onions in a pan… never!
    • Basil
    • Mint
  • Misc.
    • lemon or lime- always
    • fresh flowers – if there is room in the budget 😉

 

I hope I was able to synthesize everything in a way that makes grocery shopping and cooking a lot easier. Once you have your condiments (flavor) and grains stocked, everything else can be purchased and added based on your cravings. When you think about grocery shopping based on flavor profile, it will make cooking a lot easier as well, because everything you buy, in theory will go together. I am not a chef, and I’m not claiming to be a vegan blogger, just an efficient human being 😉 – hence PlannerCreative. So as I continue to learn along the way, I’ll keep sharing ways I find to be the most time efficient and budget friendly ways to live a vegan lifestyle. One more thing: Pinterest is your BEST FRIEND! It’s as simple as listing a few ingredients + “vegan” and you will have all sorts of inspiration to choose from.

Thinking about making the switch? What are some concerns you have in terms of time efficiency and budgeting? List them below and let’s get talking 🙂

Peace easy,

D. marie

September Creative: Bibliobicicleta

Monthly Creatives

This segment is dedicated to all my creative muses. Each one of them on the daily hustle, working hard to support what they love the most. Whether it’s music, art, personalities, jewelry, or clothing, I support it all. I hope you take the time to check out their pages, like their socials, and show them some love.


Ladies and gentlemen, I am so excited to introduce to you my colleague and good friend Alicia Tapia, creative behind Bibliobicicleta. I’ve had the privilege of becoming friends with this stand-out soul and what I love most about this girl is that she is truly passionate about the people she surrounds herself with. She never fails to let you know that you’re awesome and that you’re loved. Through this project, she gets to shine her light. For all you teachers out there, if you follow her on twitter, she shares her fun Digital Literacy lesson plans, ones that I wish my teachers taught me while I was in school.

 Ms. Tapia- YOU are legit and I hope you keep spreading the love of learning in your unique ways.

Who and what is Bibliobicicleta?

Bibliobicicleta is a roving bicycle “library” of free books in San Francisco. People take books, read books, and give books, though not always in that order. I’m Alicia Tapia. I’m a school librarian, a filipina mexicana from Hawaii, and I get to ride the Bibliobicicleta around town and meet all kinds of readers.

San Francisco and Bay Area Wedding Photographer

When did you start this project?

Bibliobicicleta started as an idea in late 2013. My co-librarian and friend Danielle Farinacci and I were joking about how cool and useful it would be to give away free books on a bicycle. Not only would we be giving away beautiful stories and information (which we have a lot of) but we’d also get to meet people, and people who wanted to read. Soon it was all I daydreamed about, I started drawing it, and finally got a Kickstarter campaign together. Bibliobicileta was funded by supporters and generous people from all over the world through Kickstarter. Bibliobicicleta represents a collective local and global community that believes in the joy of reading and celebrates literacy.

As a librarian, please explain how this combines all your passions bridging work and play…

I am passionate about the pursuit of information, access to it, and what happens when knowledge blooms into new ideas that move us forward. Knowledge + action liberates us. The bicycle itself is a symbol of creative action and liberation. The Bibliobicicleta is an extension of what I enjoy doing every day. As a school librarian my job is to help students practice closing the gaps in their knowledge and to provide access to books that allow students to experience lives much different from their own. When students read over time you begin to see their sense of empathy, their imagination, and their ability to think critically grow and create knowledge. I see the same thing happen when people of all ages look at the books on the Bibliobicicleta. I see people talking to each other again, information and stories being exchanged, compassion levels rising. I get to see people practice the dialogue we need so badly in our country today. But best of all, I get to see a lots of smiles!

What is BiblioBicicleta’s mission statement, or the inspiration, or motivation you want to give to your city/consumers?

Just keep reading and take time to DIGEST WHAT YOU READ! It doesn’t matter what kind of medium you are reading from, it’s so important to slow down and think about everything you’ve just read. Fast information needs to be pondered, stories are written to be enjoyed…just like bike rides. In a world of fast information, undigested knowledge gets exchanged in a manner too rapid for the joy of our human brain. Slow down, read and breathe!

If you could have anything, buy anything, expand anything with biblio.. what would it be? If not, that’s ok too..

If I could expand anything with Biblio, it would be somehow finding a way to a take a whole year or two off to ride the Bibiliobici to book deserts; places where books or information are banned or hard to obtain. There are whole state departments of education that won’t teach cultural studies or celebrate the cultural knowledge of their own students’ heritage. In this country we really take for granted our freedom to read and learn what we want or should. There are some real people around the world working for this same mission. Shout outs to the library camel in Mongolia, the librarian and elephant in Laos, a very eccentric man in Buenos Aires with his arma de instrucción masiva, Alfa y beto and Luis Soriano in Colombia. They are all my heroes.


Follow Bibliobicicleta:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

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Monthly Mood: July 2017

Monthly Mood
*Feature image by The Sorry Girls

The Monthly Mood has switched from the beginning of the month to the end because well…. how can I really get a pulse on my monthly mood before it even begins?!

If you have been following along, this month I have been prepping for the big move out of the Richmond District and into the Tenderloin with my boyfriend! #goodtimes

Here are some things I have been obsessing over:

Currently Watching: The Sorry Girls 

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Get ready for some major creative inspiration with The Sorry Girls…

Since I have been fantasizing about decorating my new place, I have been watching SO MANY “Studio Makeovers” and “DIY” videos. I’ve subscribed to a handful of channels- Mr. Kate , Home Made ModernLive Your Style, Engineer Your Space, & Ikea Home Makeovers – just to name a few. But my favorite duo would have to be The Sorry Girls. They are straight to the point, resourceful and always make sure they have the cheapest, easiest option. I haven’t tried any of tutorials yet… but I am definitely looking forward to doing one soon! Here’s a little blurb from their About page:

Becky Wright and Kelsey MacDermaid started their creative journey together in 2010 when they met in University and dubbed themselves as The Sorry Girls for their new YouTube channel. They called themselves The Sorry Girls because they knew that a play on the stereotype that Canadian’s say sorry way too often would always be true of themselves and Canada. Kelsey and Becky started their YouTube channel to teach young women just like themselves how to make a cute and unique Halloween costumes on a budget. They didn’t know what their channel would be or where it would go when they started but it has turned into a creative, inspiring, and money saving lifestyle that they are thrilled to be apart of every day. The Sorry Girls look at everything from home décor and fashion to Halloween and Christmas and put their heads together to figure out how to DIY (do it yourself) this season’s trends using materials that are easy to access and instructions that are easy to follow. Since starting their YouTube channel together their following on YouTube has grown to over half a million subscribers and they have inspired many to pick up a hammer, get some paint on their hands and #doitforthediy.

Currently Drinking: The Buzz by David’s Tea

Tea

I started drinking this tea in the afternoons and it really does get you “buzzing”! Since it’s a Yerba Mate blend, it really curbs your appetite – just FYI. But this is a great Pick-Me-Up! Check out the description below:

Lately, everyone seems to be buzzing about this tea. But who can blame them? With so many super-energizing ingredients, it’ll probably get you buzzing, too. It’s got the stimulating kick of guarana, matcha and yerba mate, plus a hint of white ginseng – Chinese medicine’s key to vital energy. Add super-healthy green tea, zesty citrus and a spicy hint of ginger, and you’ve got an energizing blend you can feel great about drinking.

#Urbanliving- Shoes I’m Currently Loving: The Hartford Pump by Franco Sarto

I can wear these all day from work to happy hour, or just on the weekend running errands in a cute summer dress. This is the ultimate “city girl” shoe. Living in San Francisco, you need to be prepared for any type of scenario. Comfort is key and these shoes get a HUGE 5 stars. check them out at DSW. #yourwelcome

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This weekend I move into my new studio!

Thanks for stopping by ❤

An Ode the The Richmond District- San Francisco

Creative Writing
*feature photo by Andrew Nassih

I have been slowly packing up my room of six years in San Francisco. When I think back on the past two times I have moved in my adult life, it’s been an interesting experience to meet this unsettling, unsure, excited, anxious feeling that seems all so familiar but so foreign and complex at the same time. I’ve been here before, but my spectacles held a different shade.

These familiar, yet unfamiliar feelings- They’re like walking through the same dream, same scenario, same lines, but in different themed costumes… Being trapped in a sort of deja vu, that you just can’t get a grasp of. Life is funny in that way; I guess feelings, emotions- they orbit like the planets. Some pulled closer than others, occurring and reoccurring more frequently. Some having more obvious effects on how we live and dissect life.

Now at this stage in my life, I am face to face again with this feeling of uncertainty, and resurrecting insecurities covered with uncontrollable excitement as I try to see what it looks like on the other side of the tunnel.  Then there are the occasional waves of retrospective sadness as you realize your attachments to your nest, your nest that has nourished your soul for so long.


An Ode to the Richmond District, SF

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An Ode to the past six years of my life.

Although I am not moving far away from you, I’ll still feel like I’ll be worlds away.

I write to you now from the comfortable, creaky, IKEA framed bed, nestled in the quiet back corner of my Victorian flat.  I’ll be leaving my three lovely, quirky roommates, who have shared the ebb and flow of all the particles that have made me me.

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You have housed a great chunk of my life and provided a safe haven of park life, coffee shops, and Genki crepes.

You have opened my eyes to a hidden world of Burmese food and Szechuan cuisine; you’ve made this LA girl miss the fog when it’s gone – The fog, whose name is Karl by the way…

Gone will be the ocean breeze awaiting me after a long day across town. Gone will be the foggy haze, Muni delays, and the conditioned inconveniences of carting half my life downtown in my backpack.

I will miss your peaceful laundromats and friendly neighbors who leave great pieces of furniture out on the street.

And to my room, I leave you now like a shell to a cocoon. Your walls may be thin, so thin that at night I can here my neighbor snoring; and the paint on your walls may be a little chipped- but to me there couldn’t have been a more perfect place to grow in San Francisco, than in this back room with the bay window overlooking the smashed gardens.

In this new moon, this resurrected orbit of emotions, confidence shines through in knowing that the time spent here has been tried, TOUGH, and true. I’ve cried, cursed, laughed, and strummed the guitar super loud while singing at the top of my lungs when no one was home. I’ve re-arranged you about a million times, each time bringing me new inspiration. I miss you everyday when I go to work. I’ll miss you even more when I’m gone.

Now take me to the sunny side- The Tenderloin, where the walls will be even thinner, the air less ocean breezy, and the Indian food a-plenty; the views a bit more gritty and the commute (time) a bit less shitty.

Cheers to you Richmond District and to this place I’ve called my home. I’m really, really gonna miss you.

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* The 5 Fulton bus connecting you from Ocean Beach to Downtown, Howard and Main Street.

Monthly Mood: New Moon, New Skin, New Fire.

Monthly Mood

Finally a four day weekend! Can I get an Amen?!? This monthly mood is more of a recap of all the craziness that happened in June and the final culmination of which I am about to drop in 3..2..1..

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I just signed our first lease to a tiny little studio downtown.

I still have to take a moment and let that all settle in when I say it out loud (or type it out loud?). In the six years I’ve lived in San Francisco, I’ve been fortunate enough to live in one house, with people I get along with, and in a wonderful neighborhood – the Richmond District. Now I’m packing up my beautiful spacious bedroom and moving into the Tenderloin! In Defense of the Tenderloin, Here is the view from our new balcony:

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I’m really excited about this move. So many craft projects to try, so much space to organize (I am a Virgo, I just can’t help myself..)  and a whole new chapter to create in this city.  I look forward to sharing some new inspiration with you all.

I’ve been obsessing  over studio layouts, DIY home decor, and balcony gardens on Pinterest. If you’re on there, follow my boards!

This month my good friend Andrew Nassih  was in town from Los Angeles and we did a quick photo shoot rendezvous in my new hood 😉 We didn’t plan it this way, I actually had no idea I would be moving  at the point these pictures were taken; I also had no idea this photo shoot was going to happen! But the timing couldn’t have been better. Check out his work – I love the grit to his style and I’m stoked that I get to be a part of the collection.

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As the last bits of June unfolded, especially after the new moon, I’ve felt a need to purge and recenter my inspiration. Now with this new move, July will be about shedding my old skin, and rebuilding the fire. I look forward to seeing you all on the other side!

Thanks for stopping by, more to come! I  Just wanted to drop a line.

D. Marie

On Burnouts & Inspiration

Creative Writing, Illusions of Productivity

Feature Photo Cred @fitnessxart

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It’s a fact – I have too much on my plate. I have FOMO (fear of missing out) and a desire to learn everything and do everything. I work a full time job at a non-profit and do social media consulting on the side; I’m in two music ensembles; I have a personal blog (hello thanks for stopping by); I workout 4 times a week; I’m in a relationship (shout out to my awesome boyfriend <3); and I try to keep up my professional network and friendships. It’s CRAZY. I know. But I’ve always operated this way, packing my schedule to the brim. I am often finding myself in a position where I feel burned out. Here are some quick fixes to recharge my inspiration when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

First things first – routine is everything & a little inspiration along the way can help.

First of all, routine is the key. In case you couldn’t tell from the theme of my blog, I’m all about planning, down to the last second. I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t stick to my weekday goals and schedule, then I get overwhelmed and frustrated when it comes time to have professional meetings, rehearsals, or even dates! I feel unprepared, stressed out that I have to catch up (which I ain’t got time for!)

I’ve joined a couple entrepreneur and solopreneur group chats on Facebook that have been really inspiring and has helped me realize that I’m not alone in my insanity. One thing my favorite girlboss duo Sarah Elder and Andrea Holland of PRtraction said was that being an entrepreneur means you’re working ALL the hours, contrary to what people assume (you know, that you get to choose your hours).

My other favorite duo are bloggers Linda and David of Kinlake, they travel the world and work remotely as digital nomads. I love their segment ‘Gone Nomadic’ explaining their journey. It’s encouraging to hear how they debunk the myth of the freelance traveler; it’s more than just wandering around aimlessly – it takes a lot of planning, preparation, structure, and discipline in order to have that freedom.

When I start to get lazy, I change it up.

More facts – I change my bedroom layout quarterly (maybe even more), sometimes all I need is a fresh start. When all my clothes have been piled and scrunched at the foot of my bed for days, maybe a week, with shoes and purses and unopened mail dispersed all over my room in disarray – I know it’s time to move my furniture around.  To me, there is nothing more inspiring than a fresh new layout, a fresh new look, and a fresh new environment.

In a study done at the Princeton Neuroscience institute, they found that physical clutter negatively affects your ability to focus and process information. The clutter competes for your attention, wearing you down and resulting in frustration. Scientific proof or not, I’m sure many of you can relate and agree with this point that in order to get things done, you need a clean desk, countertop, canvas, etc. I know decluttering is key, but sometimes I can lose the inspiration, and that’s why rearranging my room resurges my excitement to have an organized clean space. It’s like buying a fresh pair of white sneakers: for the first couple of days, maybe even weeks, you try your best to keep them clean, paying attention to all the scratches and marks, brushing them off at the end of the day. But after a while, you start to let it go, and eventually they become a bit battered and grey and become your go-to pair for a pickup game of soccer in the park. Then it’s back to the shoe store for a fresh pair.

Dressing for success really is a thing.

On a more extreme level – I like to change my look (obvi); my hair has been blonde, pink, blue and now I just chopped it all off. But I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (or bottle of dye). But, in this same vein, a less extreme way would be to clean out your closet, sell your clothes and refresh your wardrobe. It doesn’t have to be a huge money venture, one-thing-in-and-one-thing-out is what I (try) to say. You can sell your clothes and buy some pretty awesome gems secondhand.

Insert: My most recent find at the Goodwill 😉 $6 never looked or felt so good…img_3350


In an interesting article by the Wall Street Journal,  Why Dressing for Success Leads to Success, Ray A. Smith states that in dressing up and dressing the part, people were more productive in a work setting. Outward confidence begat intrinsic confidence. Better dressers even tend to think more abstractly – which is the style of thinking seen in senior executives and other people in power.

I like to think about being a little girl and playing around with my mom’s lipstick and high heels. My mom, as a businesswoman, was always wearing the classic 90s pencil skirt with tights and high heels. To me, this carved out my perception of what being a woman was. My sister and I would play dress up and play out these scenarios of working in an office and such. Likewise, as I got older and I started interviewing for jobs, there was and still is a sense of excitement when I get to put on a pair of pumps and walk the walk. All of a sudden, with every high heel click-clack, I felt a bit more feminine (read: powerful).

So when I start feeling a bit drab or like I’m half-assing my life, I change up my look, buy a new lipstick shade, chop off my hair, and I feel like I’m ready to conquer the world again.

Step outside of yourself. Meet new people. See new things.

I mean really.. duh.. this is a given. Like you didn’t already know this. But sometimes it’s easy to forget to just be still and observe. Sometimes when I forget to bring my laptop home from work to work on my other work or if I left my cello at my boyfriends house, I’m forced to think outside of my list of to-do’s.  At those times, (with my Type A personality let’s be real, god forbid I spend this accidental down time sitting on the couch) I get outside and start walking.

I’m fortunate to live in a city where there’s always something creative going on, always an open mic or poetry slam at a nearby cafe. When I get to be an observer of someone else’s creativity, I feel a sense of reassurance and empowerment. I’m not talking about watching an A-list top 40 musician in concert (of course there’s loads of inspiration and empowerment there) but I’m talking about seeing other hustlers who work day jobs who make it a point to pursue their creativity and share it. I always write my best poetry or have the best rehearsal after I’ve stepped outside myself and watched someone else perform their art.

Everyone is different.

What inspires you? I’d be interested to hear about what you do to recharge. So please share!

Thanks for reading and keep on hustling.

Monthly Mood- May 2017

Monthly Mood, Picture Diaries

It’s warming up in San Francisco, and I feel like time has slipped by so fast. My back burner list keeps growing, and that one thing I thought I’d have more time for next month is now here and the case is still the same – there isn’t enough time in the day.

There are a couple of things I’ve been meaning to do for Planner Creative; I want to change the format of my site, now that I’m finding somewhat of a flow, I’m realizing I need to rearrange some things. I also have a side business with my best friend working with social media and Planner Creative has been a personal way for me to explore using certain platforms to build a brand. For me, this is my passion project, a place for me to post content that I enjoy, content that I create for myself. In doing so, I’ve been learning a lot about WordPress, SEO, analytics, and all things under the social media sun. I learn by doing, and so here we are and I thank you for joining me in my creative space as I learn and grow as a storyteller – I realize this is what I really enjoy.

My day job has been pretty stressful, and this month things are finally letting up and I have some vacations set in place that I’m really looking forward to. This month I will be traveling to New Mexico! Living in the city, it’s funny how you can get a bit of island fever, so I really look forward to expansiveness of the beautiful desert. I’m also eager to try my hand at photography out there so we can look forward to that.


 Currently Listening to: Django Gypsy Jazz 

My boyfriend and I have been studying gypsy jazz together. He plays guitar and I picked up the stand up bass again. As a classically trained musician, it’s been fun playing out of my comfort zone relying on ear and intuition instead of the music sheet.

Django Reinhardt was born in Belgium. He injured two fingers in a fire accident and adapted his technique to accommodate his loss. He is known as one of the most important jazz guitar soloist blending in swing, Roma music tradition and his unique technique that even some four-fingered guitarist can’t match.

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Currently Reading: The Living Universe

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Who are we? Are we no more than a collection of elements that are experiencing a series of chemical and neurological reactions? Is there more to ourselves than our material-biological components? If we are beings whose consciousness can extend beyond our biological bodies into the reaches of the living universe, then our physical bodies comprise only the smallest fraction of the full scope of our being…

This is a re-read. After I quit college soccer, I went through this whole existential crisis. I was no longer a “student athlete” and I was living back at home, wanting to do more than just go to school. I was so annoyed with the fact that I had to waste my time and brain space working up this system we are told we have to do in order to do what we want.

For me this book put into perspective the beauty of my existence in this massive universe.

When we gaze at the enormity of the universe, with its billions of swirling galaxies, it seems natural to conclude that we are very small. When we see a universe that extends trillions upon trillions of kilometers, it is reasonable to think we are insignificant in the cosmic scale of things. However, this commonsense view of ourselves is radically mistaken. We are not small creatures. In overall scale of the universe, we are giants!

This passage really stood out to me the first time I read this book in 2010. So much so that as I looked up at the sky the other day while waiting for the bus, I remembered this paragraph, and then I realized how I never really looked up at the sky anymore. I’ve been grinding hard, walking fast from one place to the next, forgetting about the expansiveness of my existence. So I thought I’d track down this book and find some new existential inspiration; I could really use some profound thought in my life right now to help slow me down.


Favorite workout: The Stability ball by blogger Lushious Lifts 

My goal last month was to start incorporating a morning workout routine, since I was coming up with too many excuses after work. It was also too stressful for me to go to the gym after work with the list of other things I have to squeeze in on the weeknights. Playing soccer my whole life, I often struggled with working out indoors. I would get too frustrated on the cardio machines, and just didn’t have the focus. In April I really made an effort to work past the frustrations and it’s finally paid off. Waking up early has become a lot easier especially now that I’ve built up the habit of prepping my gym bag the night before.  To cure my workout boredom, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest to come up with my workout routine. One blogger I really enjoy is Karen Lushious . If you go to her website, she does each pose as a boomerang so you can see the full motion of the pose, which I think is pretty clever. I’ve been addicted to this workout below.

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Looking ahead: My hopes for this month

With summer right around the corner, I have a lot of things to look forward to, and a lot of things to keep afloat as I prep myself for success. Keeping track of my daily habits as seen in last month’s layouts  has really helped me stay on top of my game. As commitments wrap up, I look forward to having more time on my hands to create and reshape my lifestyle. Thanks for joining me on this month’s mood.

Keep it moving, and happy planning.

D. Marie

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May Creative: Paul Dab founder of Fete Concert Series

Monthly Creatives

headshot beach windyMeet Paul Dab, pianist and co-founder of Fete Concert Series currently living in San Francisco, CA. Like Paul, I share a passion for classical music and admire his work and creative endeavors to bring the beauty of classical music to the social sphere of San Francisco’s night scene.

As an Orch Dork (orchestra dork) in high school, my friends never quite understood (especially at that age) the transportive experience I felt, and still feel, when I intertwine in melodies with a quartet; or ride a wave of sound with a grand orchestra. I found myself trying to hide the fact that I was in the school orchestra. People often think classical music is boring. But there is so much more than watching a symphony in a concert hall (which is still majestic in my book). Classical music can be intimate, funny, conversational, and so much more; if you get behind the story of what composers were saying through those little black dots, lines and squiggly marks, it’s really quite interesting what they conveyed through music. Not to mention, the incredible history of a written piece, how sound travels (and survives) through time, as musicians tackle on the notes through different eras and different perceptions -the musical idea still remains the same.

Paul and his crew really bring this essence to the public, and it’s worth sharing this experience which is why I am excited to feature him as my May Creative. I had a great time talking with him over coffee as we shared our passion for this misunderstood art form in the mainstream. If you’re in the Bay Area, I hope you check out his show and experience their creativity first hand.

In fact, their next show is Saturday (May 6th) !

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How did Fete Concert Series come about? Who is part of it?

Fete Concerts began in 2014 when two of my fellow students at SF Conservatory, Annie Smith and Chelsea Hollow, decided to plan a recital featuring the music of Richard Strauss on his birthday. They asked me to be their collaborative pianist and they commissioned composer Eric Choate to arrange Happy Birthday in the style of Strauss. We included a reception of wine, cheese, and homemade birthday cake. This became the basic format for Fete Concerts and the name came after the second concert. Since the beginning, Chelsea, Annie, and I have been taking care of the programs, venues, receptions, finances, and marketing as a team. Each season has become a bit more organized and fluid.

Photo: Kersh Branz, 2016.

Photo: Kersh Branz, 2016.

How are you personally connected to the mission? Explain a little bit about why this is your passion project…

The mission of Fete Concerts is to display great works of music in a lively environment that encourages socializing and discussion. Each concert is a chance to delve deeply into the work of a specific composer. It is also an opportunity to discover the work of a composer I didn’t know about. As a performer, I get to choose the repertoire that we play and make a program that flows well. There is no one telling us what to play and so we let our love and passion for music guide the process. During each concert we teach the audience about the composers life to give context to the music and introduce each piece with a bit of our personal connection to it. Communicating with the audience about the music I love is a joy for me. It makes me more comfortable in my performance and gives the audience some direction in their listening. We also engage with the audience during intermission and after the concert so they can ask us questions or share their own opinions. This encompasses my dual passions of playing music and discussing music with others.

Photo by Betsy Kershner, 2015.

When did you fall in love with classical music and what made you decide to take it on professionally (going on to graduate school…etc.)

headshot5There is a saying that you don’t choose music, but music chooses me. This has certainly been the case in my life. My grandparents decided to bring me to piano lessons at a young age and I did not stop taking weekly lessons until after graduate school. There was never a question in my mind that I would pursue music throughout my school life and beyond. I chose to attend a high school with a strong performing arts program instead of one with a stronger academic program. This school provided a community of like-minded students and instilled a sense of professionalism in the way I purse my musical life. I played piano, percussion, and violin in different school ensembles but when it came time to think about college, I turned my focus to classical piano and never had a second thought about majoring in piano performance. In college my desire to practice and study piano grew stronger and the more I learned, the more I wanted to keep discovering classical music. There has never been a doubt in my mind that I want to play piano every day of my life and I am working on a career that makes that happen.

What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?

I love bluegrass music. I lived in Nashville for five years and found out that I love listening to string bands, mandolin, and fiddlers. There is a great joy and energy in the music and a sense of community among each ensemble. Bluegrass has a great mix of virtuosity and simplicity which draws me in. The solo lines and the accompaniment are sometimes complicated and sometimes straightforward This genre of music is almost impossible to replicate on the piano and so I experience it as a spectator. One day I may pick up the violin that I haven’t played in over a decade and try learning some fiddle tunes.

Photo: Kersh Branz, 2016.

Photo: Kersh Branz, 2016.

What does your practice look like? Do you ever run out of inspiration? What are some mental obstacles you face as a working musician? Are you working/learning a piece right now?

I try to keep a regular practice routine every morning at the very least. I have technical warm ups and I have music that I am learning for different performances. I structure my practice around specific goals so that I can keep track of my progress. When life is busy, piano practice is the thing I look forward to and the thing that can also get left aside. Lately, my schedule has been busy and I have several exciting projects and so inspiration is easy to come by. That is not always the case and there are times when I don’t feel inspired to practice. If I am able to, I allow myself to take a break. If I need learn music without that inspiration, then I must structure my time and goals so that I can work efficiently. I also have certain pieces that I can practice and play that will always feed me inspiration. A mental obstacle that I often face is the desire for perfection in what I do. Often times I can hear the music in my head exactly as I want it to sound and I must make a plan for how to make my hands create that music. I try to arrive at each performance with confidence in my playing, however there are always things that can be improved. The concept of what is a perfect performance changes and can never be fully achieved.

What is your favorite piece right now?

Chopin Nocturne in Eb Major Op. 55 No. 2

Any last words about your love and appreciation for classical music? Give me your 1 minute pitch!

Classical music contains an incredible range of styles and characters which give us entertainment, joy, and beauty. By appreciating old music we can see how emotions, struggles, and pleasures from the past still exist today. In listening to music, we connect with people across time and place, giving us the strength to move forward.


You can catch Paul’s performances on Fete Concert Series’ socials.

Please check them out and show them some love!

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