Am I Creative

Am I Cre­ative? Reflect­ing on my own cre­ativ­ity, I have always thought myself a cre­ative per­son. Start­ing at a young age I learned to play the flute and was very suc­cess­ful through­out my high school career cul­mi­nat­ing in a solo per­for­mance with a local sym­phony and many music schol­ar­ships for col­lege. I wanted to take art classes in high school but my aca­d­e­mic sched­ule was filled with required classes and music. Unfor­tu­nately, and my one true regret in lifeI did not pur­sue a col­lege edu­ca­tion in music (flute) per­for­mance, with the ulti­mate goal of becom­ing an orches­tral flutist. Instead, I wan­dered off to col­lege major­ing in biol­ogy feel­ing a great loss of pas­sion for the one thing that made me happy.

“endroits” — acrylic with mul­ti­ple com­pounds on can­vas, 2012

endroits” — acrylic with mul­ti­ple com­pounds on can­vas, 2012

Mihaly Czik­szent­mi­ha­lyi, author of Cre­ativ­ity: Flow and the Psy­chol­ogy of Dis­cov­ery and Inven­tion,would not denote my deep inter­est and tal­ent in play­ing flute as cre­ative, but rather as sim­ply hav­ing talent…as “tal­ent dif­fers from cre­ativ­ity in that it focuses on an innate abil­ity to do some­thing very well”. Okay, I can live with that def­i­n­i­tion though I much pre­fer, iron­i­cally, the state­ment by Gary Davis, author of Cre­ativ­ity is For­ever, refer­ring to Csikszentmihalyi’s book Flow. Accord­ing to Davis, ““Flow” is involv­ing one­self with an activ­ity to such an extent that noth­ing else seems to mat­ter – the expe­ri­ence itself is intensely enjoy­able”. And that is how I felt play­ing and per­form­ing the flute – com­plete and utter flow, that until read­ing Davis, did not know or under­stand what it meant – the feel­ing of com­plete and absolute free­dom from think­ing, from wor­ry­ing – hav­ing the abil­ity to be in the moment and enjoy the cre­ative out­put.

“fall floor” — acrylic with mul­ti­ple com­pounds on can­vas, 2012

fall floor” — acrylic with mul­ti­ple com­pounds on can­vas, 2012

Just over three years ago I picked up a paint brush for the first time. I thought about paint­ing for many years and dab­bled in water­color, mak­ing jew­elry, and paper crafts, but always had an inter­nal urge to paint. So I sim­ply reg­is­tered for a com­mu­nity edu­ca­tion class in acrylic paint­ing and was for­tu­nate to have a very knowl­edgable and edu­cated instruc­tor. I ended up tak­ing the class six times before she booted me out (nicely) stat­ing there was noth­ing else I could learn from her. Fast for­ward three years from that first night and now I am a mem­ber of an artist’s coöper­a­tive with my own stu­dio, have an exten­sive port­fo­lio of paint­ings, have exhib­ited over 8 times, have my own art web­site and blog and have com­pleted com­mis­sioned pieces of art. Am I going to quit my job to paint? No. Do I think I’m cre­ative? Yes. Am I a suc­cess­ful cre­ative per­son? That depends. Accord­ing to Csik­szent­mi­ha­lyi, “about five hun­dred thou­sand peo­ple in this coun­try state on their cen­sus forms that they are artists…how many of these will end up in muse­ums or in text­books on art?”. I haven’t…yet.

“the reef” — acrylic with mul­ti­ple com­pounds on can­vas, 2011

the reef” — acrylic with mul­ti­ple com­pounds on can­vas, 2011

I may not be truly cre­ative accord­ing to Csik­szent­mi­ha­lyi but I much pre­fer Davis’ state­ment relat­ing to self-actualization when he states that “you need not pos­sess excep­tional artis­tic, lit­er­ary, sci­en­tific, or entre­pre­neur­ial tal­ent to con­sider your­self a cre­ative per­son and live a cre­ative life”. After com­plet­ing the self-actualization test in Davis’ book I was happy, and not sur­prised, to find that I scored in the “high self-actualization” cat­e­gory. I do con­sider myself cre­ative but it is a work in progress. I am cre­ative in cer­tain areas of my life and need to become more cre­ative in oth­ers. Only time will tell if I truly do live a cre­ative life.

Writ­ten by Ms. Renee Vevea, a cre­ative in progress.

All That's Beautiful

Like many, I lead a busy, some­what hec­tic life. I’m com­pletely aware of this and take total respon­si­bil­ity for over-scheduling, not mak­ing time to “stop and smell the roses”, miss­ing birth­days (I’m known for send­ing a card a month AFTER) and mak­ing time for friends and fam­ily. But my life is going to slow down a bit after mid-December for a few months and I’m look­ing for­ward to spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends but also, with me.

I took time today to reflect on those things I find beauty in, as when I reflect on all the beauty that sur­rounds me, a calm sur­rounds me and I know I will get.thru.this.day. For me, all that’s beautiful.…

the coo’s, smiles, and lit­tle laughs of a baby.…

the scent of rain as it falls from the sky and trav­els thru pine trees bounc­ing off the earth…

the hugs from my girl­friends — always with love and affection…

the first cup of tea in the morn­ing as I slowly awake to a new day.…

the ran­dom smile from a stranger as they pass by…

the patience, sup­port and under­stand­ing of my friends as I travel this glo­ri­ous jour­ney in life…

What and where do you find beauty in your life? I hope you know you ARE sur­rounded by beauty — just look around.

Writ­ten by Ms. Renee Vevea, thank­ful for all the beauty in her life.

Lipstick Addict

Okay, I admit to being full-on girl. I like to wear make-up, jew­elry, nice clothes, have my nails done, my hair col­ored and change purses (usu­ally weekly). My biggest obses­sion? Make-up, specif­i­cally lip­stick.

Can a girl really ever have too much make-up? Per­haps. My first foray into cos­met­ics was at the age of 11. My mother, finally, after much plead­ing, or per­haps exhaus­tion from con­stant nag­ging, allowed me to pur­chase eye­shadow and lip gloss. I was so excited. I took some hard earned babysit­ting money, went to the neigh­bor­hood drug store and quickly bought cream eye­shadow in a green that looked like for­est moss and lip gloss resem­bling (and tast­ing) a bit like straw­berry jelly. I was in heaven. When I put my fin­ger in the small pots the first time I felt like I was a painter, ner­vously and care­fully plac­ing my index fin­ger with the green goop on my eye­lid, mak­ing sure to ‘stay within the lines’ and not make too much of a mess. Today, with an ever steady hand and many more steps in the process, I apply make-up with almost per­fect pre­ci­sion and can put on a ‘full face’ in less than 5 minutes.

I love every­thing there is about cos­met­ics — the wide range of col­ors, espe­cially for lips, eyes and nails (who knew GREEN would ever touch a fin­ger­nail?), the shim­mer effects of pur­ple eye­shadow, the new high-definition foun­da­tion (just pur­chased). Last count, I own approx­i­mately 50 tubes of lipstick/glossMy brand favorites are from Chanel, Bite and MAC. Thevary­ing hues of red are my favorite though the color range is broad from the faintest nude (usu­ally worn on the week­ends when I wear the least make-up) to an almost black red, when I’m feel­ing a bit more dra­matic. Sephora and Ulta are like candy stores to me, the Chanel and MAC coun­ters at Macy’s on Michi­gan Avenue in Chicago have me on their mail­ing list, and I receive weekly emails from Estee Lauder. My bath­room draw­ers and linen closet are filled with a wide range of brands and prod­ucts…girl­friends who visit me know exactly where to go for their ‘touch-up’ and help them­selves to my own per­sonal make-up counter. And it’s well orga­nized with lip­sticks in their own hold­ers orga­nized by brand, eye shad­ows and lin­ers in a plas­tic file drawer, per­fumes occupy two plas­tic lazy susans and cleans­ing prod­ucts in one drawer.

I don’t even want to think of the amount of money I’ve spent on cos­met­ics over the past 30+ years — prob­a­bly enough to pur­chase a very nice new auto­mo­bile — not a Mer­cedes, but per­haps a Ford Focus. Oh well, the money could have gone to far worse habits.…like smok­ing or gambling.

My mother never wore much make-up, she didn’t need to. Mom had a beau­ti­ful com­plex­ion, and great features…but she always wore lip­stickI’ve aptly fol­lowed suit and never leave home with­out lip­stick on, often reap­ply­ing over the length of the day.

I have to admit I’m a bit envi­ous of women who wear lit­tle, if any, make-up and look fresh and fab­u­lous. Some­times I wish I didn’t have to wear foun­da­tion to cover my acne scars and sun dam­age (too much of a sun bunny in my teens), or put mas­cara on to make me look a bit more awake. But there is one thing I won’t give up…that’s right, lip­stick.

Writ­ten by Ms. Renee Vevea, self-professed cos­metic junkie and lip­stick addict.  

Our Favorite Quotes From Pinteres

veve­li­cious has many delight­ful and deli­cious boards on Pin­ter­est and one of our favorite, and most pop­u­lar, is our “deli­cious cul­ture” board. This board con­tains a lot of quotes and say­ings we find amus­ing, inspir­ing and thought­ful. Here are a few of our favorite quotes from Pin­ter­estEnjoy and share!

And finally, our favorite…

 Yes, YOU ARE.

 

Favorite quotes and say­ings pinned by Ms. Renee Vevea, always look­ing for the right thing to say.


On The Topic of Romance

Yes, I know. Romance. A topic often writ­ten about, com­plained about, won­dered about. And it seems its women who are the ones writ­ing, com­plain­ing and wondering…wondering why they per­haps don’t have enough romance in their lives, why their part­ners don’t ‘get it’, why the only time their part­ners are roman­tic are dur­ing Hallmark-induced hol­i­days, birth­days, Valentine’s and Christ­mas. Gee, if your birth­day falls out­side these hol­i­days, you might be lucky and have a bit of romance on a quar­terly schedule.

Have you heard the joke that a man vac­u­um­ing the house is fore­play? If vac­u­um­ing is fore­play, clean­ing the toi­let must almost be like sex.

Per­haps the prob­lem with think­ing that you don’t get enough romance in your life or that your part­ner isn’t roman­tic isn’t with the mere lack of romance but per­haps with our expec­ta­tion of romance. Always expect­ing some­thing can lead to dis­ap­point­ment. Expect­ing your part­ner to always tell you that you look sexy and beau­ti­ful, sched­ule roman­tic din­ners every Sat­ur­day night, or give you small gifts or cards for no rea­son is…unreasonable?

What is more roman­tic than your part­ner rolling over in bed on a Sun­day morn­ing after a late-night party on Sat­ur­day night and say­ing “you are the most beau­ti­ful woman” while your face looks like a mas­cara wand ran rail­road tracks in all direc­tions? Or when your part­ner says “I love you” out of the blue? It’s the unex­pected expres­sions of romance that make a rela­tion­ship romantic — espe­cially if it’s not on Sweet­est Day. Lucky for me, I haven’t pushed a vac­uum in in a few years.…I get lots of foreplay.

Writ­ten by Ms. Renee Vevea, who loves watch­ing a man vac­uum.

Mathematics of Love

I recently had lunch with a friend of mine — a 20-something, hand­some, col­lege edu­cated male whose smile can bring sun­shine on a dreary day, his some­what dry sense of humor can lift your spir­its and whose over­all kind­ness and gen­eros­ity I find rare nowa­days. He’s look­ing for love — a love that lasts a life­time, binds your heart and soul and makes an unbreak­able con­nec­tion with some­one. And he wants to be in love — that glo­ri­ous state of nir­vana when your heart skips a beat at the sound of your partner’s name, when the phone rings, an unex­pected text or email arrives and when you see them your soul feels like it’s melt­ing. The feel­ing of bliss and light­ness, a nat­ural high that seem­ingly puts a smile on your face even while you’re alone.

My dear friend admits to never being “in love” and think­ing that when he meets that spe­cial some­one he should have the almost imme­di­ate feel­ing of being in love. What a con­ver­sa­tion we had…for love takes time. How much time do you ask? Well, that depends. It depends on what I like to refer to as the math­e­mat­ics of love. A sim­ple for­mula, built over your own per­sonal timeline.

Are you in love? 

How long did it take you to go from lust to love? 

Do you believe in lust?

We’d love to hear your experience(s) — does love > lust? I think it does. I think my friend is begin­ning to under­stand this as well. Here’s to him find­ing the love of his life — over time — with all the math­e­mat­ics of love.

Writ­ten by Ms. Renee Vevea, glad to put her minor in math to good use and a believer in love over lust.

The Labels We Use

This semes­ter I’m tak­ing two classes, advanced research meth­ods and advanced research writ­ing (keep read­ing, this will be more inter­est­ing, I promise). In the writ­ing class we’re work­ing on our lit­er­a­ture reviews, the final project for the class. We’ve dis­cussed and worked on var­i­ous aspects of our lit­er­a­ture reviews — anno­tated bib­li­ogra­phies, abstract, APA style, head­ings, etc. The main topic of dis­cus­sion this past week was on LABELS.

One of the aspects I most appre­ci­ate about our writ­ing pro­fes­sor is that we do group activ­i­ties and dis­cus­sions and she pro­motes much inter­ac­tion between our small class. When it came to the dis­cus­sion of labels, she gave us a few min­utes to list 1) a label about our­selves that we DO like, and, 2) a label about our­selves that we DON’T like. Though this may seem like an easy or fast exer­cise, it caused me pause to think about the labels me and oth­ers use to describe our­selves. And more impor­tantly, what labels we use to describe oth­ers. For exam­ple, labels given to small chil­dren (“at risk”, “poor”, “sin­gle par­ent house­hold”) often­times stay with them through­out their child­hood and into adulthood.

Labels can be descrip­tive (“intel­li­gent”, “pretty”), pos­i­tive (“great per­son­al­ity”, “easy to get along with”), neg­a­tive (“pes­simist”, “mean-spirited”), along with being based on one’s eth­nic­ity, reli­gion, sex­u­al­ity, gen­der and/or age.

When I listed my “labels” I had much more I didn’t like then liked. The labels that I appre­ci­ate and like are: mom, sin­gle, female. The ones I don’t like are: white, divorced, mid­dle class, over-educated, plus size, daugh­ter of an alco­holic. As the group shared their per­sonal labels, we each got to know one another on a more inti­mate and per­sonal level. Labels (both liked and dis­liked) ranged from fem­i­nist, at risk, mid­dle class, African, Native Amer­i­can, work­ing mother, Black, imper­sonal, to Jew­ish. In lis­ten­ing to my fel­low class­mates and pro­fes­sor, I reflected on how we so eas­ily label oth­ers and per­haps how unfair it’s to do so.

Is clas­si­fy­ing and plac­ing peo­ple in silos and label­ing them on their phys­i­cal appear­ance, reli­gious back­ground, color of skin, eth­nic­ity, level of edu­ca­tion, polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tion, mar­i­tal sta­tus, age, eco­nomic state or sex­ual pref­er­ence fair?

Is label­ing valid in per­form­ing reli­able and eth­i­cal research? Does label­ing cause more harm than good?

The U.S. Cen­sus Depart­ment com­pleted the 2010 cen­sus, and in doing so labels the U.S. pop­u­la­tion for a vari­ety of socioe­co­nomic demo­graphic sta­tis­tics that will affect gov­ern­ment fund­ing, at all lev­els, for years to come. Not only does the gov­ern­ment (at all lev­els) uti­lize cen­sus infor­ma­tion, but busi­nesses do as well for tar­geted mar­ket­ing cam­paigns to seg­ments of the pop­u­la­tion, such as the grow­ing His­panic pop­u­la­tion in the United States.

This past week I thought often about LABELS and reflected on the use of them in my own com­mu­ni­ca­tion meth­ods and thought processes. Per­haps it’s time for us to not label peo­ple (or our­selves) as fast as soci­ety would like us to. We’re not a coun­try of silos, described only by our beliefs, color of skin, mar­i­tal sta­tus, age or how much money we make, but rather a coun­try, and world, full of fas­ci­nat­ing, inter­est­ing, remark­able men, women and chil­dren who, instead of being labeled, should be treated with respect and fair­ness. Isn’t that how you want to be treated?

Let’s vote for a label-free world.

“Once you label me, you negate me.” ~  Soren Kierkegaard

Writ­ten By Ms. Renee Vevea, anti-labeler.

Change is a Constant

Is there such a thing as a “nor­mal” life? I’m busy…work, school, paint­ing, fam­ily, friends. Some of my friends and fam­ily think I’m “too busy”. I sup­pose one can be too busy but I wouldn’t clas­sify my life as hec­tic or out of con­trol. I have good time man­age­ment, am orga­nized, don’t miss appoint­ments (though I have declined on social events due to the enor­mity of home­work I some­times have…those darn papers!), and find time for myself to paint, watch tele­vi­sion and movies, read and even take a nap (love Saturdays!).

Always remem­ber that the future comes one day at a time. ~ Dean Acheson.

Change - to alter, mod­ify, redo, rework, revise, revamp — hap­pens every­day. Our bod­ies change. Our rela­tion­ships change. Our moods change. Our dreams change. Change is every­where and in every­thing. It sur­rounds us and is con­stant. Some­times we don’t acknowl­edge change because with change can come fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure.

Courage is resis­tance to fear, mas­tery of fear, not absence of fear. ~ Mark Twain

The times they are a changin’ - and chang­ing fast. Jobs some peo­ple have today were never con­ceived of a few years ago. Tech­nol­ogy has infil­trated every aspect of our lives — cell phones can do almostevery­thing from take pho­tos and videos, update the weather, pro­vide dri­ving direc­tions, send and receive email, update our Face­book and Twit­ter accounts and deposit money into our bank account. We can record our favorite tele­vi­sion shows and watch when we want and skip all the com­mer­cials. We don’t need to mail birth­day cards or party invi­ta­tions, we sim­ply email. The only items I receive in the mail are cat­a­logs and bills. My heart skips a beat if I receive a per­sonal piece of mail, like a birth­day or hol­i­day card.

Future shock is the shat­ter­ing stress and dis­ori­en­ta­tion that we induce in indi­vid­u­als by sub­ject­ing them to too much change in too short a time. ~ Alvin Tofler

These things I know:

  • Change is constant
  • One needs courage to embrace change
  • Tech­nol­ogy is a part of the change we’re all experiencing
  • Stress can be caused by too much change

Proposed Solution:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Take another deep breath
  • Relax your body
  • Live ONE DAY AT A TIME; or, one MOMENT at a time
  • Acknowl­edge and accept change
  • Every­thing will work out as it should — it always does

Writ­ten by Ms. Renee Vevea, liv­ing one HOUR at a time and accept­ing change as it comes.

On Love

Love…the emo­tion, the feel­ing, the word, the action that brings us together, bonds peo­ple for eter­nity, expresses the deep­est of feelings.

Have you ever been in love? Truly in love? The kind of love that con­sumes your being, your life, your mind and thoughts, a love that has no bound­aries, no begin­ning, no end. To love is to risk and to accept love is to be vulnerable.

 

I Knew I Loved You
Maybe it’s intu­ition
But some things you just don’t ques­tion
Like in your eyes
I see my future in an instant
and there it goes
I think I’ve found my best friend
I know that it might sound more than
a lit­tle crazy but I believe
I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been wait­ing all my life
There’s just no rhyme or rea­son
only this sense of com­ple­tion
and in your eyes
I see the miss­ing pieces
I’m search­ing for
I think I found my way home
I know that it might sound more than
a lit­tle crazy but I believe
A thou­sand angels dance around you
I am com­plete now that I found you
(lyrics by Sav­age Garden)

I’ve been in love, out of love, bro­ken from love but never afraid of love or want­ing to give up on love. One sim­ply has to open their heart, put their fears away, be not afraid and open your soul to receive the great­est gift one can give another…their love.
We all need and deserve to have love, to have some­one to love and be loved. Love is the strongest emo­tion two peo­ple can express to each other. Along with love comes com­mit­ment, com­mit­ment to grow, share and continue on a tremen­dous jour­ney together.

With love comes ado­ra­tion and ado­ra­tion is respect, trust, hon­esty, inti­macy, affec­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, sup­port, and com­mit­ment. Be not afraid to love; for it is love that holds us all together.

Writ­ten by Ms. Renee Vevea, been in and out of love. Likes being in love the best.

What I Learned This Summer

1. A job change in the sum­mer is okay. Yes, I changed jobs in July and joined a great com­pany and am part of a very small entrepreneurial-thinking team. Though the first few weeks were, well, bor­ing (seems that’s the norm for all new jobs), after a cou­ple of months we’ve really ramped up and I’m hap­pily busy (note: not stressed) and glad I made the move.

2. You CAN find a rela­tion­ship online. Over the years I’ve been to many dif­fer­ent online dat­ing sites (always one at a time) and had my fair share of ‘first dates’. In late April, a nice man mes­saged me and the rest is his­tory.  Yes, he lives 125 miles away in a dif­fer­ent state, but we make it work. Don’t give up!

3. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion IS key to all rela­tion­ships. This not only goes for ‘love’ rela­tion­ships (per #2 above) but also friend­ships and fam­ily. Due to #1 and #2, I haven’t had all the time to see friends and fam­ily but always made the effort to call when I could. My friends under­stand, espe­cially since they’re happy #2 hap­pened (“finally” they stated!). Hugs and love to my friends — you know who you are.

5. New pur­chases don’t stay new for long. So after start­ing my new job, I leased a new car and went on vaca­tion with my new boyfriend to visit my fam­ily (yes, he was “offi­cially intro­duced” — still rolling my eyes at my brother-in-law’s comment.…“I think this is the first REAL man you’ve dated”.…what!@!@!). The day we get back from our vaca­tion — we’re rear-ended, badly, on the inter­state by a 19-year old who didn’t know the dif­fer­ence between the brake pedal and the gas pedal. My boyfriend was taken to the emer­gency room (neck/back strain; he’s fine) but my new car has spent over three weeks in the shop. Wish it got totaled, but it didn’t. I’m look­ing for the Febreze spray for “new car scent’. The car has been in the body shop longer than I drove it.

6. Short trips are good for the soul. For­tu­nately, I was able to take many small trips this sum­mer — north­ern Min­nesota (my annual “solo” trip), the Black Hills of South Dakota, Texas and east to Wis­con­sin (ref­er­ence #2 for the rea­son!). #BestPartOfSummer

7. You can get a tat­too at ANY age. Yep, I did it.

8. It is true — God only gives us what we can han­dle. This is my mantra in times of stress — or as I rather put it — when shit rains down.

9. And lastly, to the awe­some, fab­u­lous veve­li­cious team. A big thanks to Cas­san­dra, Kelli, Cassie, Sia and Lee for hang­ing in there while I started a new job, got sick and went on a few trips. They are a ter­rific bunch of gals who really helped me and the blog. I appre­ci­ate you all!

Yes, I learned a lot this sum­mer — the biggest learn­ing of all — take every day ONE DAY AT A TIME. Some­times, I have to take an hour at a time.

Now I have get ready for, what the Farmer’s Ala­manac is call­ing, “another bru­tal win­ter’. Oh goody, good thing my win­ter mit­tens never were put away.

Writ­ten by Ms. Renee Vevea, hop­ing things set­tle down for a bit but learn­ing every day.