Hi, friends! Just popping in to talk about pop ups and inspiration. I'm in party planning mode for my next pop up dinner, which means if you're friends with me it's sort of all you've been hearing about (and will continue to hear about for the next three weeks). I truly love the process--taking a spark of an idea, mixing it in with good food and booze and hard work, and creating an experience that comes straight out of my daydreams.
Someone asked me this week, "Where do you find inspiration?" and I actually found it to be a tough question at first. Everywhere? Thin air? I had to sit down and actually retrace my steps to how some of my ideas were born. My next party, for example, is a pop up dinner with handmade soda pairings. I thought back to seeing some gorgeous beet sumac sodas at Madcapra in Grand Central Market and to my favorite soda shop in Highland Park. That's where the idea is born, and then all of the other event details come from letting that one idea bounce around in my brain. I think identifying where you find inspiration and how you continue to be fed by that is really important for continuing creative work. Here are a few things that help me stay inspired:
Keeping notebooks. I seriously write everything down, often more than once. Sometimes ideas just need to simmer for a little while to reach their full potential, ya know? I keep my day to day lists and ideas in evernote on my iPhone and always travel with a paper notebook in my bag. Writing everything down is a great way for me to balance organization while letting my brain run wild. Just the other day I was flipping through an old notebook and found a quote from an old coworker: "You've got chutzpah!" I fell in love with the quote all over again and started dreaming up paintings and parties using those words.
Having a routine...and breaking out of it. Keeping a routine opens up some of my headspace for ideas. For example, I love my daily breakfast routine of coffee and a green smoothie bowl (almost) every day. It allows me to wake up and let the creative juices start flowing, rather than start It also allows me to open my eyes a little wider to detail when I break out of my routine. I pick up on the nuances of breakfast at a cafe or the taste of coffee at a cabin, and allow those differences to be sources of inspiration.
Travel. My friends know I've taken lots of little weekend trips this year--I've been to San Francisco (twice), Denver (also twice), the Midwest, and Santa Cruz. This one sort of goes back to breaking routines and really noticing the different senses that wake up in a new place. I can remember being flooded with ideas while drinking wine and eating meatballs alone at a cafe in San Francisco--weird, but amazing. Trips are great for recharging my mind and resetting my perspective.
Taking breaks and moving my body. I take a walk every day on my lunch break to get a change of scenery and get my blood moving a little bit. I think it's so important to really stop and get my brain out of office mode, even if it's just thirty minutes. Also, as much as I drag my feet getting out the door for a run, the runner's high is so real.
Collaboration. I couldn't host any of my events without some help and input from other creatives. I've been so lucky to work with chefs whose dishes make the entire pop up come alive--you can taste their vision. It takes a team of supporters, from the event space owners to the dishwashers to the coffee roasters to the ice sculptors, to make an event come alive. Input and suggestions help add that extra sparkle--they often offer ideas that you would never have thought of on your own. Welcome it! Idea party! I love parties!