I Got Hacked, And Now I’m Getting Back!!

Melody PicOver the last few months I’ve been super quiet. I’ve been spending time in reflection, working hard to avoid depression, and once again remembering that when life deals you lemons… make lemonade:)

Back in October, my sense of identity really got screwed up.

First, I found out I was getting permanent hair loss due to some kind of menopausal thing, and now have to apply steroids daily to stop it.

Dreams of going bald and wearing a wig followed.  

Then, on Halloween evening, a woman emailed that she was trying to register for my upcoming event, but my website was gone. I immediately went to my site, and it was truly, unbelievably GONE.  But it had been there all day!

I Had Been Hacked…

And they took it all. Even the backups on the server.  

Ten years of my business life, gone.

How can this happen?  Why did this happen?  

Since October I have been going through the stages:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression (but only one pity party), and acceptance.

Am I Thankful I Got Hacked?  

There’s been a real upside to all of this. It’s a clean slate, a fresh start, I’ve had to hit the reset button, etc. It has forced me to look at what I was doing and where I wanted to go.

 I realized I had a brand confusion problem.  

Since starting Urban Campfire, people were constantly asking: Do you still have CRAVE?  A clean slate – not just tweaking, tweaking, tweaking – was what the doctor ordered.  I needed a chance to get my message and branding refocused for today, instead of trying to make 10 years of CRAVE history still relevant.

What’s next?  

Today I reflect on the epic conversations started, and the stories heard from women all over the world.  I remember what got me out of my 2012 depression… how I found myself again.

Making every day count, not taking anything for granted… my husband and I speak of this often.  

I want more urgency and accountability.

So, I’ve committed to living my iCRAVElist 100% of the time.

If my fitbit keeps me on track with my step count,  why can’t I have accountability for my iCRAVES list?  

I’ve gathered a talent team, and now we’re busy creating new programs and events.  We’re on a mission! We want to help everyone to get obsessively specific about what they want, and then DOING what they love.  

Stay tuned!

This time of reflection and patience has been a huge challenge for my “startup junkie” personality.  I’m learning that not knowing what’s next is ok.  That just sitting with things is valuable.  That the right things come in their own time.  

And that I make great lemonade…

SUBSCRIBE to our newsletter to stay-up-to-date on everything we have everything coming up. 
We’ll also help you to Identify, Specify, and Satisfy your top 5 CRAVINGS in our new free 3-part course: CRAVE CLARITY.

Welcome to the next evolution of the CRAVE Company.

XOXO Melody

Violet Cameron on Self Love, Trusting Your Gut, and Happiness

“It was the first time that I really took control of my life, and I said no. Against people of importance in the medical field, I said no, this isn’t for me.”

Violet Cameron HeadshotIn January 2011, Violet Cameron was diagnosed with Lymphoma – a blood cancer that attacks your lymphatic system. The chemo appeared to be working, and the following January Violet went into remission… for eight months. And then the cancer came back. She started back on chemo treatments, but it quickly became apparent that the chemo was killing her. They told her there was a 70% chance it wouldn’t work at all, an if it did she would become permanently deaf and develop severe osteoporosis – with the possibility of being wheelchair bound.

Four years later Violet is on her way to a 100% health, but it wasn’t thanks to chemo. In fact, she stopped the chemo treatments and went an alternate route. She raised the money to attend the Gerson Clinic in Mexico, and started a strict regime based around using food as medicine. 

Violet writes about her journey toward health on her blog, Organic Gladiator

“When I started I was told that I could expect to be three years on the therapy. That’s three years of preparing and drinking 13 juices a day combined with over 40 supplements, and a strict vegan whole foods plant based diet.” Everything that Violet eats is living. “If you think about that, it’s very overwhelming,” she says.

The Interview

1. How do you keep yourself motivated?

Documentaries are huge. When I was growing up, I was never taught what food did. Educating yourself is the biggest thing. Because if you know why a behaviour produces an outcome – and you want that outcome – you’ll do that behaviour.

By eating a vegan whole foods plant-based diet, I know exactly what’s going into my body. I know exactly what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. Doing anything else is not really an option. This is my life. My life depends on it, so I can’t take a day off and I can’t relax.

You also have to take it one day at a time, and you have to stay positive. I have a goal board where I’ve put up specific pictures of the car that I want, the house that I want, people that I want to act with. Having a visual aid helps to remind me of why I’m doing what I’m doing when I need that extra motivation.

2. What did it feel like to stand up for yourself? Against the doctors, your family, etc.

When my partner and I researched alternatives, our doctor told us “alternative therapy doesn’t work” “it’s a money grab” “it’s not scientifically proven.” We thought ‘okay…’ When you hear that from a doctor, it sticks with you. My mother was in tears at the doctor’s office because they told us that if I went the alternative route, I would die. They told me I’d be committing suicide, but I knew in my gut this was the right decision.

I said, if this was going to work – if chemicals were going to work – I wouldn’t be back in this situation. And for me to get cancer again, I felt like I was missing something.

It was the first time that I really took control of my life, and I said no. Against people of importance in the medical field, I said no, this isn’t for me.

3. What have you learned from being sick?

So many people are waiting for tomorrow to be happy, or for until they reach a certain point. But you will always be chasing that point. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned from being sick, is that happiness is everything.

When I was so sick I couldn’t function – nine months straight of being confined to my bed and my partner having to carry me from the washroom to the living room – I made myself a promise. I promised myself that I would not go through one more day being unhappy if I was physically capable of doing that. If I woke up in a kind of mood, I’d play music, take my dogs for a walk. I’d do anything to change that mood around as quickly as possible. It’s absolutely made my life 100% better.

4. Do you think there’s a problem with calling what happened to you a miracle? Do you think that’s a damaging word?

What I’m doing makes sense. When you feed your body what it needs, it will do it’s job. I’m cutting out everything that’s harmful to my body – anything that harms my immune system – and it’s working. My body is getting stronger. I don’t know it I would call it a miracle, but this therapy has definitely changed my life.

I remember asking about chemotherapy, and I didn’t know what the heck they were saying. I’d ask them about certain drugs. Well, this is what it does. But why? Why does it do that? It just does it, you need it.

5. Can you talk about your experience with support?

Support is everything. Absolutely everything. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the people who have supported me – whether that was reading to me, feeding me, just sitting in the same room, or telling me a joke. It’s things that you wouldn’t expect.

My partner never left me alone for 2 years straight. He’d stay in the hospital night and day. He’d sleep upside down on the bed so his head were my feet were, and his feet were where my head were. He would drive 2 hours to feed the dogs everyday and take them for walks and then come back. He never left me alone. There were times where I’d have to sleep on the bathroom floor because I was throwing up constantly, and he would sleep on the bathroom floor with me. Never feeling alone was huge.

The first time I was diagnosed, I hid. The second time I was diagnosed, I said I wasn’t going to hide. I wasn’t going to hide in the house and I wasn’t going to stay quiet because I felt that it was so important for people to see what it was like to go through something like this.

6. You’re doing a mind over mountain adventure race on September 26th. What inspired you to do that?

The mind over mountain race – MOMAR – is on Vancouver Island, and they have it every year. It’s 30k of trail running, kayaking, and mountain biking.

And you’ve never kayaked or mountain biked before?

Nope, it’s kind of a small part of it. And I’m not a runner either. I don’t think I’ve ever run for over a half hour before. Even when I was in my prime. So this is a real big challenge for me.

Through my research into nutrition, I came across a lady called Ruth Heidrich. I saw her in the documentary ‘Forks Over Knives’. She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and decided not to do standard treatment. She went to see Dr John McDougall, and he educated her on the power of nutrition. Now she’s in her seventies, and she runs, she does marathons. This woman is unstoppable.

When I saw her on this documentary, he story really jumped out at me. I thought, if she can do it, why can’t I do it? She was a real inspiration to me, and since then we’ve become friends. She’s helping me with my journey, which is absolutely amazing… but I’m going to do it for me.

I just want to cross the finish line. No matter how long it takes that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to cross the finish line. I’ve always wanted to do a race, and I thought why wait? Why wait until they give me the certificate that says “you’re cancer free?” I feel good. I’m looking after myself, and this is something I really want to do… so I’m doing it. I’m determined. I’m going to go out today and go out for a bike ride. It’s just every day. It’s exciting. I’m learning something new.

Let’s Talk About Self-Love and Self-Compassion

7. What do you do when you’re experiencing doubt?

I think that doubt is a consequence of fear. You can’t let either run your life or control you. You need to surround yourself with positive messages and people that will reinforce why you’re doing something. That’s how I try to live, and it’s working so far.

And it’s not something that you just deal with once. It’s something that you have to work on daily.

8. In what environments do you feel least comfortable in your own skin, and how do you deal with that?

Situations that make me the most uncomfortable in my own skin, are situations that are very important, but that I don’t know a lot about. I felt like this at a lot doctor’s appointments. Especially the first time that I was diagnosed, because I was bombarded with all this information that I didn’t understand. I was just trying to digest that I was being diagnosed with cancer, and what that meant for the plan I’d had for my life. I couldn’t deal with everything they were throwing at me.

How can you make wise decisions when you don’t even know what they’re talking about? What about options? I mean, options were never really presented to me. It was more: this is what we’re going to do, and we’re starting on this date. I had to face a lot of those situations, and I learned from trial and error. I’ve learned as I go how to regain my power and comfort in those types of situations.

9. Where do you feel the most comfortable?

In my home – in my personal space – and definitely outside. And by outside I mean on trails, hiking… there’s something very calming and very soothing about nature. And sometimes when life gets a bit chaotic, I need to take away the music and take away the TV and just be by myself; connect with myself and see how I feel.

I think we all need to give ourselves that time to reload.

Especially with stress. From my own personal experience, when I was stressed out I would just go fast. The wheels would start turning and it’s like: if I keep going fast enough, even if I don’t have time to breathe, everything is going to be okay.

I have had to relearn and reprogram this belief. Now, when things get chaotic and I feel overwhelmed, I put on my shoes, grab my two dogs, and I go on a hiking trail. I leave the phone at home. I leave the ipod at home. And I walk. I just keep walking. And when I get back, I always feel better, and I always know what to do.

That works for me, but I know that it doesn’t work for everybody.

10. What do your morning and night rituals look like?

My days have been pretty much the same for over 500 days (March 15th was Violet’s 500th day on the Gerson Therapy). I get up at 7:00am and I start juicing. My last juice is at 7:00pm, and I’m done my therapy by 8, and then by 9:00 I’m hopefully done everything and then I can just read, go to bed… and then start the same routine in the morning.

Yeah, so when I wake up, my main thought is “How much food can I eat in a day?” and that’s kind of my thing. I stop eating at 7:00pm because your system needs time to shut down. And I try to put away the computer then as well, because otherwise I’m thinking of what I left to do. So I’ve really had to work on shutting down and slowing down so that when it is time to go to bed, I can just hit the pillow and fall asleep. It’s so important to sleep. Your body needs that rest. If you wake up in the morning and you’re sluggish, that’s your bodies way of telling you that you’re not completely recharged yet. You have to find your own balance and what works for you.

How many days do you have left on your therapy?

I started the therapy on October 31st. When I arrived at the clinic they said I’d be on it for three years, but I’ve been doing so well that now they’re saying note even 2 years. But from a personal standpoint, I see the benefits of this type of regime and I don’t think I will ever go off of it. I will always eat organic. I’ll always juice. And I do always want to prepare my meals – but it will just be more functionable in my daily life so that I can go out and do things. My life won’t be so centred around my therapy.

But you know I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. When I first started I thought ‘oh, I can’t have a pizza and I can’t ride down to the pub and have a beer and wings with my friends.’ I think I associated food with being social… so I thought I’d be missing out on social aspect of it. But there was no benefit for my health. I’ve just kind of had to change the way I did things. I love this new way, so it doesn’t make sense to go back.
11. How do you practice self-love?

I think it’s an everyday thing. You have good days and you have bad days. And that’s the wonderful thing about being human: you can’t actually reach perfection. I think that through the mistakes that you make, you really learn a lot about yourself. The key to loving yourself is realizing that those mistakes and imperfections aren’t a bad thing, and that you wouldn’t be where you are today if you didn’t have them.

I guess self love is surrendering to what happens and going with the flow. Don’t look at yourself as a disappointment. Unfortunately we don’t know what life is going to throw at us, and maybe we won’t get to our destination… but I think it’s important to enjoy the journey. That way there won’t ever be any regrets.

12. Can you share 10 things that you Crave?

  1. I CRAVE good food
  2. I CRAVE love – self love, love from my friends and family, and the unconditional love of when my dog looks up at me like I’m his entire world. That’s really special.
  3. I CRAVE friendship. My friends are very important to me.
  4. I CRAVE meaningful interaction with people.
  5. I CRAVE hikes and going outside.
  6. I CRAVE knowledge – I am continuously searching for more.
  7. I CRAVE bettering myself everyday. Everyday I think ‘how can I do things better?’ Not to put pressure on myself, but in a way where I’m always striving to be a better version of myself.
  8. I CRAVE sales on food. I’m always looking for a new farmer’s market or organic store.
  9. I CRAVE travel. That is something I used to do, but since I’ve gotten sick I haven’t been able to travel for five years. When everything is good, that’s the first thing that my partner and I are going to do.
  10. I CRAVE happiness. I work very hard to find everyday happiness. It’s really important to me that when I wake up, if I’m not in a good mood, I do whatever I can to change that mood. Happiness is contagious. There’s an energy to it, and you positively impact others when you’re happy.

Connect with Violet Cameron

Follow Violet on:

Website: www.violetcameron.com

Violet will be appearing as a speaker at our Vancouver CRAVE fuel event on March 25th, 2015.


Mercedes Baines on Self Love, Intuition, and Beauty

“I intentionally appreciate the beauty in the world and take it in — whether it’s the rain on my face, the sound of laughter, rustle of leaves, etc etc. I also, strive to really SEE people when I encounter them.”

2alt0018lgMercedes is a theatre artist and a psychotherapist in private practice. Her areas of focus in her counselling practice include: body image & grief & loss. Mercedes believes that the embodied experience is central to deepening self-awareness, healing and insight. She views our mind/body/spirits as an interconnected whole and encourages fully embodied living.

With 25 years’ experience in the performing arts , Mercedes has found that her training and  in drama, voice, movement, scriptwriting, mask, physical theatre and dance and her professional work as a writer, director, producer, teacher, actor and performance poet has strongly influenced her approach to counselling and her understanding of the healing process. In her work with clients, creative expression is as a forum for self-expression, personal exploration, healing, and strengthening connection. In addition to her one to one counselling work, Mercedes develops and leads experiential groups.

Her work with groups incorporates elements of theatre practice with her clinical training. Through the use of breath work, body awareness, movement, voice, writing and drama exercises, she encourages participants to deepen their understanding of their life experiences and use creativity to envision change and elicit insight.

Her upcoming workshop on Breath, Emotion, and Creative Flow is by donation on April 1st and 15th in Vancouver, BC. Learn more by clicking here.

The Interview

1. In your bio you mentioned that you had 25 years experience working in the performing arts. Of all the roles you’ve played – director, producer, teacher, actor and performance poet – which was your favourite and why?

Hmm.. hard to choose… I enjoyed being a director. In that role I was able to work with all of the details of a project and collaborate with all of the wonderfully creative people in the production….AND I also loved performing my poetry/stories …it was a direct connection with the audience and I loved the simplicity of it.

Just me, my text and a microphone.

2. Why do you encourage creative expression in the work that you do with your clients?

First I want to say that I do not view being creative as being outside of day to day experience.

Engaging in a creative act is part of the human experience. I think that one can confuse “being creative” with “making art.” Intentionally engaging in a creative process — whether it is through the use of metaphor, image, visualizing, role playing, singing, moving or whatever — can help us imagine other possibilities; help us see, hear, understand and digest our situation in a different way that can assist in creating psychological movement or insight.

Sometimes creative expression just helps get it ( whatever IT is) out of your system, and it is there on the page or in 3 dimensional space instead of feeling stuck in your head whirring around.

3. Do you believe that anyone has the ability to be creative?

Absolutely, they already are!

4. What are the benefits of working with someone in a group as opposed to one-on-one? – as in your upcoming workshop.

Well, when you do healing work in a group setting you bear witness to each other’s journey which can be a very powerful experience. One can feel less alone… also, in a group one can be part of the group’s courage and possibly take more risks. Also, the group energy can be very engaging & invigorating…a micro community gets created.

5. What are your feelings around the concept of intuition? What does intuition look and feel like to you?

Intuition is similar to “gut feelings” though it may not be so visceral. Or it can be experienced as that inner voice or inner knowing…

For me, when I connect with my intuition, I feel I am tuning into the experience and attending to what is emerging: thoughts, images, physical sensations etc. The sticky bit is knowing what your intuition means.

And then what is the best course of action based on one’s intuition? Sometimes you don’t have time to take the time to ponder meaning, you act… but I think that if you are afforded the gift of some time, it is wise to consider the context of the situation alongside your intuitive sense of things…

Let’s Talk About Self-Love and Self-Compassion

6. What do you do when you’re experiencing doubt?

Sometimes I lay in a big X on my bed!!! Sometimes I worry for a while and then I try to find out what I need to know or do or feel in order to shift the doubt. Talk to someone. Talk to my self!! And depending on what it is, I allow myself to experience doubt, I will just be in the feeling.

Life is uncertain and the only certainty in life is change…so doubt is an understandable experience at times…

7. In what environments do you feel least comfortable in your own skin, and how do you deal with that?

At a party where I do not know most of the people. I really don’t enjoy a lot of surface chit chat…I want to talk about the deep stuff…what matters to us…

8. Where do you feel the most comfortable?

When I am working with people and we are engaged in a process, and in particular when I am given the privilege of guiding that process.

9. What does your morning and night rituals look like?

I have never had a morning or evening ritual beyond the usual hygiene grooming and sustenance routines. I often think I should have one but one has not stuck as of yet…though I know it works wonders for many!

Something I do regularly though is attend to the beauty in the world. I intentionally appreciate it and take it in, whether it’s the rain on my face, the sound of laughter, rustle of leaves, etc etc.

I also strive to really SEE people when I encounter them.

10. How do you practice self-love? How do you practice radical self-love, and what’s the difference?

Self-love, to me, is more about acts of kindness such as walks on the beach, taking the time to listen to birdsong, baths, calling a friend, making a yummy meal, stretching, wearing clothes that make me feel good.

Radical self love is harder work…it is accepting myself as I am in this moment. It is accepting my experience in this moment as it IS not as I think it should be…I may not like, in a particular moment, how I have shown up in the world. I may not want or like the experience I am having; however, until I can find my way to be present with my experience I won’t be able to fully comprehend what IS if I am resisting it by projecting into the past or the future.

When I can be present, I am more able to see the full picture and envision what may be possible to shift, change or transform a situation…. OR I can accept what cannot be different and then re-direct my focus. Radical is going deep and to the root of the matter.

11. Can you tell us 10 things that you CRAVE?

  1. Harmony
  2. Connection
  3. Vastness
  4. Humour
  5. Acceptance
  6. Awe
  7. Fluidity
  8. Generosity
  9. Playfulness
  10. Love
  11. Affordable voluptuous size lingerie
  12. Dessert delivery service

Connect with Mercedes Baines

Follow Mercedes on:

Website: mindinbody.ca

Learn more about Mercedes upcoming workshop ‘Breath, Emotion, and Creative Flow’ on April 1st and 15th in Vancouver, BC.

Mercedes will be appearing as a speaker at our Vancouver CRAVE fuel event on March 25th, 2015.


Patricia Raskin on Self Love, Design, and Making Lists

“I wanted to introduce to the world something that I thought was uniquely luxurious, uniquely beautiful and just completely different from what I saw on the market at the time.”

Patricia RaskinFrom an early age, Patricia was encouraged to see design and style in the world and to experience the joy of creating beautiful things.

While continuing her art, Patricia earned a college degree in Chinese. After working for 2 years in Taipei, Taiwan, she followed her grandfather Silvan’s footsteps to law school. Patricia worked as a corporate lawyer for over 15 years before she decided to give full play to her creative passions. That’s when Anne Sylvain was born.




The Interview

1. In your bio, you mentioned that you were “encouraged to see design and style in the world and to experience the joy of creating beautiful things.” How were you encouraged?

From as early as I can remember, we always had paints and drawing materials, wood blocks, paper mache (lots of materials for creating) around the house. My grandmother was a prolific artist. Her name was Anne Raskin – she’s the partial namesake for Anne Sylvain – I remember, from a really early age, sitting on the floor with my grandmother (and also my father who’s very artistic) making things; all kinds of things.

2. What was the artistic medium that you were originally drawn to as a kid?

That would put me back to being about 3 years old. We always had paints and colored pens, crayons, etc around the house. So I would have to say paint and paper.

But apart from artistic medium, I can remember being taught a sense of art being everywhere and in the way you look at the world. Not just in a painting or other think you are creating, but also in nature, in forms of the everyday, in the colors of the sky.

My grandmother Anne, who grew up in NYC in the early 20th century, was also very stylish and I was drawn creatively to her style.

3. You worked as a Lawyer for fifteen years. Did you know right from the beginning that this career path wasn’t right for you, or did this realization sort of evolve over time?

It definitely evolved over time. I think in life, you pursue a path for many different reasons. You could be encouraged by other people, concerned about making a living. You could be influenced by the people you meet, your teachers, your friends and family.

I always wanted to be an artist, but I was encouraged to get a university education, not an art education. In addition to law I studied Chinese. After university, I lived in Asia for two years and worked in public relations and marketing. So it wasn’t just law, I’ve done a bunch of things for different reasons.

But at a certain point I became committed to the reality that I wasn’t being true to myself. I asked myself ‘is this the life I want to have?’ So to answer your question, I always knew I wanted to be an artist but it took me a long time to accept that fully and make it happen. The transition happened slowly.

4. How did that missing creative outlet manifest in your life, prior to becoming to an artist?

I would say it manifested as a constant longing. And over time I became more able to recognize and accept that I wasn’t happy and needed to make a change.

5. How did you ultimately make the change?

First I took time out of every day to meditate on what I wanted the change to be. I then took a long trip – went to Paris for a month by myself. I love Paris and I get a lot of inspiration there. I rented an apartment, walked the streets by myself every single day, experienced the art of the city (which is pretty incredible). It was during that trip that I came up with the idea that I was going to design a line of hand bags.

But I knew nothing – absolutely nothing – about creating handbags. I’ve always drawn and designed, but I didn’t know where to find leather, or how to sell, or so many other things involved in creating a bag. So there is a much longer story about making the change!

6. Once you decided on handbags, how did you come up with your niche?

I decided I wanted to create my own definition of luxury in Anne Sylvain. I love luxury, and think I have a different perspective of what it means – it never meant logos and flash to me, which was what all the popular bags reflected back then. I wanted to introduce to the world something that I thought was uniquely luxurious, uniquely beautiful and just completely different from what I saw on the market at the time.

Let’s Talk About Self-Love and Self-Compassion

7. What do you do when you’re experiencing doubt?

My mantra is to live a life that I create. I’m the captain of my destiny. I have to tell myself that a lot.

In practice, I use lists. I wake up in the morning and despite doubts about the path to take, I make a list and execute. It’s almost a sort of meditation. And then at the end of two months or two years you realize you’ve made a heck of a lot of progress, even when you doubted yourself.

8. Do you have certain personal strategies that you think help you make progress?

There’s the list making I mentioned before. Also, I try to give myself a certain amount of time every day – I call it giving myself space – it could be as little as 15 minutes – where I walk around the block and look at the flowers or whatever. This is the time when I touch base with my heart and with myself. This is especially important when I doubt myself.

I find if I don’t give myself a little space, life just takes over. We’re all really busy. We’ve all got a million things that we’ve got to get done so it’s not always easy to step back and see if our life is going in the right direction. I think space is really important.

9. In what environments do you feel least comfortable in your own skin, and how do you deal with that?

I feel least comfortable when I don’t know what to do. And when you start a business, that’s almost all the time, as you rarely know exactly what to do!

With Anne Sylvain, I’m very happy with what I’ve achieved. But it hasn’t always been that way and I constantly doubt myself.

For example, the first bag I created … when I got it back from the manufacturer it was awful. I looked at it and I thought ‘I’m throwing this away’ – my husband made me keep it.

In the beginning, I didn’t know where to get the right leather. I wanted to have them created in the United States to support craftsmanship here, and I ended up having to go through four different manufacturers before I found the one I’m with now. I had one manufacturer who stole leather from me, and another that would yell at me: ‘you may be a lawyer, but you know nothing about handbags.”

It was very uncomfortable, but you just have to make your list and forge ahead!

10. Where do you feel the most comfortable?

With Anne Sylvain, I would say I am most comfortable – or happy – when I see my finished product. I go through the whole design process on my own, and then bring in my workshop and leather suppliers. When I eventually get the final product, oh my god! I love it! That’s an amazing feeling.

Another thing that feels really great is the feedback I get from my clients – they love what I’m doing and tell me how well their Anne Sylvain bags fit with their lives and wardrobes.

I also feel really great and happy about sticking with ethical sourcing and manufacturing, which I’ve pursued from the beginning. Although I’m working with leather for example, the leathers that I use are colored with minimal chemicals. I only work with leather suppliers who have long reputations of ethical treatment of animals, the environment and the people who work with them. And I know the people who sew the bags-they are not produced by people locked up in sweatshops in some less developed company – they are created right here in the US, in a good working environment and for good wages.

11. What does your morning and night rituals look like, if you have them.

I very much believe in rituals so yes, I have them. In the morning I typically work out. I either do Pilates or I run. I love to be outside, which is one reason I like to jog. I find that being outside and being in touch with nature is very grounding for me – regardless of the season.

In the evening – if I don’t have an event – my routine is to make dinner and spend more time with my husband.

12. How do you balance life and work as an entrepreneur?

That’s tough. For me balance comes from discipline. For example, I won’t schedule an event every night of the week. I need to have my time at home and time for myself. I have to look at my calendar and have the discipline to say I’m going to be home on this night.

Taking time off work is also important for balance. It’s hard to take time off when you’re running a startup. This past week I took time off in a place without my computer and with limited cell phone access. It was hard to break away, but as a result I came home refreshed and more ready to go then I was when I left.

13. How do you practice self-love?

Creating Anne Sylvain was an act of self love for me. And this is something I do every day.

More generally, to me, self-love is permitting myself to take a step back and decide what I want in my life. This can be hard to do in our over connected/24×7 world.

I try at least a little every day to think about when I feel uplifted and when I don’t. Things like jogging in the early morning quiet, spending time with people who have great energy, taking time to read a great novel – that’s all self-love to me.

14. Can you share 10 things you crave?

  1. I CRAVE spending time with the people that I love
  2. I CRAVE being fit and working out
  3. I CRAVE creating beautiful things – and that can be anything from a photograph, to my handbags.
  4. I CRAVE really good dark chocolate and champagne – had to get 2 in there!
  5. I CRAVE coming up with a fantastic menu (with ingredients I found that day) and having friends over to enjoy a meal with.
  6. I CRAVE my design time. And that’s separate from generally just running my business.
  7. I CRAVE seeing a bag I created, after it has been worn for a year or so, and seeing that it has become more beautiful with time.
  8.  I CRAVE that kind of intimacy, acceptance and support that goes both ways. This is true with my husband, family and friends.
  9.  I CRAVE art museums and sculpture gardens.
  10.  I CRAVE walking the back streets of Paris.

Connect with Patricia Raskin

Follow Patricia on:

Website: www.annesylvain.com

Carla will be appearing as a speaker at our Seattle CRAVE fuel event on March 24th, 2015.


Carla Moreno on Self Love, Singing, and Creativity

“I ADAMANTLY REFUSE to let life pass me by because I feel uncomfortable. It’s just not an option. I am who I am, take it or leave it.”

Carla Moreno – Arts Educator, Writer, Vocalist – Seattle

Cultivating a framework for dialogue by sharing the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things and using her professional and creative skills towards supporting others in realizing their dreams, is Carla’s life endeavor. She has witnessed, first hand, the way that music transforms and empowers youth in their personal, academic and civic lives.

Currently, Carla serves as contributing blogger for the Huffington Post, board member for Seattle Storytellers Guild, vocal coach for the EMP Museum, and tour guide for Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour and Savor Seattle Food Tours. You can learn more about her by visiting her website: www.carla-moreno.com



The Interview

1. What are some of the biggest blocks that you’ve observed in new students, and how do you help them break through?

The biggest block I encounter with students is confidence. They come with the idea that they can’t reach that high note or perform in public. I find that the reason they feel this way is because they’re afraid to make mistakes. The breakthrough comes in embracing mistakes because they will happen. They have to learn that self-compassion extends into our artistry. I help them focus on jumping right back into the song and playing off the mistake rather than dwelling on it. Singing is trickery. The audience doesn’t know you’ve made a mistake unless you show it. They are in control of turning that mistake into something magical.

2. You said in your bio that music transforms and empowers youth in their personal, academic and civic lives. Could you elaborate?

In 2009, I was part of pilot program set out by President Obama and Congress called, Music National Service. Twenty musicians in four major cities were selected to participate in this program. I worked in a low income housing community with homeless families and refugee immigrants from Africa. It was here where I witnessed the power of music manifest itself in the lives of these kids. It was a rough beginning and a lot of fine tuning regarding expectations, but in time these kids began using music as a means to reach out to the elderly in the community and bridge some major gaps between their peers. Word got out of their work and about a song they’d written about their community called, “Oasis of Love”. At the end of the year, Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) invited us to his personal studio to record the song!

3. Do you think that embracing and challenging our creative sides is one of the ways that we practice self-love? 

Writing has been my creative outlet and  method of practicing self-love even during the hard times in my life. It helps me view things from a different perspective and embrace truths as they are.

Let’s Talk About Self-Love and Self-Compassion

4. What do you do when you’re experiencing doubt?

Prayer is an important part of my life. When I feel doubt, I pray to my Creator to get me through the feelings of doubt and redirect my thoughts and actions towards a positive outcome/outlook.

5. In what environments do you feel least comfortable in your own skin, and how do you deal with that?

As a performer and tour guide I’ve pretty much had to get over feeling uncomfortable — there’s nowhere to hide or escape. That’s not to say discomfort doesn’t creep up because it does from time to time. In social settings, I find that people are more uncomfortable with seeing a single person doing anything alone (e.g., the elderly gentleman who offered to buy my dinner because he “felt bad” I was eating alone). I gratefully declined.

Here’s the way I see it: I ADAMANTLY REFUSE to let life pass me by because I feel uncomfortable. It’s just not an option. I am who I am, take it or leave it.

6. Where do you feel the most comfortable?

On a mountain, on the water, or in another country.

7. Was there a breakthrough moment in your life when things changed for you in a big way? Could you tell us about it?

I believe we have many ‘breakthrough’ moments in life. Not too long ago, I was in dire need of releasing deep, deep anger and resentment from past hurts. Certain things would trigger memories and I would find myself spiraling into a whirlwind of crazy frustration and negativity. It was eating away at my insides. I asked a friend and Life-Cycle Celebrant to facilitate a Cleansing Ceremony for me to help me reconcile these things and let them go once and for all. My breakthrough moment was realizing that although I lost some things, I gained many beautiful things from those very same circumstances. Life is exactly as it should be and I have to trust that things will unveil themselves in due time.

8. You called yourself an “adventurer.” What has been your favorite adventure so far in your life?

My recent favorite adventure was backpacking to the summit of Mount Defiance – 5,584ft. It was a steep incline from the start and with a 30 pound backpack and trekking through snow, the pain was agonizing. I wanted to push my physical strength and I got what I asked for. This was one of those times I doubted I could make it. Then I started thinking about how close I was to the top and how awesome the view would be when I got there. It was too glorious and magnificent to give up. I decided to climb slower and take more short breaks on the way up — just long enough to re-energize my legs. It took more time, but it was well worth it.

9. How do you practice self-love?

I pray and I do things for myself. If I want a bouquet of flowers, I buy them. If I want a massage, I go to a spa, etc. But the most important and most recent practice of self-love is learning to stop my need to feel validated by someone else — whether family, friends, or lovers. This has been the biggest and most fruitful personal journey in self-love and a joyous work in progress.

10. Can you share 10 things you crave?

1. I crave more adventures
2. I crave more curiosity
3. I crave always learning and redefining myself
4. I crave chocolate cake
5. I crave more mindfulness
6. I crave more passion
7. I crave to always be a person of integrity
8. I crave being among awesome and creative people
9. I crave being a better listener
10. I crave being more compassionate towards myself and others

Connect with Carla Moreno

Follow Carla on:

Website: www.carla-moreno.com

Carla will be appearing as a speaker at our Seattle CRAVE fuel event on March 24th, 2015.