I’m having a complete heartichoke that it’s February. I know it’s annoyingly cliché but it’s true.

on finding inspiration I howsweeteats.com

Since I’m a month in on my inspiration board, I figured it was high time I tell you how I manage to find it (“it” being inspiration)… mostly because I want to know how you find it too.

When it comes to goals, I can be a dream self-sabotager. It’s the worst thing ever but as I’ve grown up and am in the process of becoming an old person, I can recognize it more easily and put a stop to it.  Thankfully this issue doesn’t come in to play in gigantic huge life-type things… but but but, I do consider my goals and dreams and all that good stuff to be gigantic huge life-type things. So there’s that.

Making the vision board in January did WONDERS for me. It’s in front of my face daily. It’s a constant reminder of the things I want to achieve but also a constant reminder that I can achieve them if I want to work for it. The thing is though, and you might totally get this if you’ve read this blog for oh, point three seconds… I get bored pretty easily.

Like really easily.

Like I am the terrible product of this internet generation who doesn’t even like to call for pizza. I mean, can’t I just text for pizza? See also: never leave me voicemail ever.

So while seeing the vision board everyday has a partial impact on my brain, I find myself craving some constant diverse visual inspiration daily to live my life. Okay. Not just to live my life. But to do things like work at my highest potential. Write. Love the living space around me. Be a happy person. Be present in the moment. You might remember that a few months ago on my birthday, I wrote about wanting to live up every single day. I don’t care how cheesy it sounds. It’s what I want. I want to end everyday knowing that I worked my ass off to get the things I want and do the things I love. You know you know?

you create your own opportunities I howsweeteats.com

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I’ve mentioned it like ten times already in 2014, but my obvious go-to finding inspiration place has my pinterest board titled… (oh wait for it) inspiration. This is basically my board where I pin all kinds of crap that I love – and I focus on colors, the feeling I get when looking at the photo, the words written or the thought provoked. For the last two years I whined incessantly about how overwhelmed I felt on Pinterest and while I still often feel that way, this board has been a saving grace. I literally only pin things I totally adore. I pin everything that is ME. And it’s not a secret that things that are “me” usually include sprinkles, neon, high heels, ice cream, pastel buildings and pink sunsets. It is what it is.

Other places I find inspiration may seem obvious – websites and blogs. However, it’s so freaking easy to get caught up in the comparison trap. I have learned to let go of this over the years but I am no where near immune to it. I just try to look at is as an opportunity to grow rather than feeling like crap about myself.

I am so inspired by fantastic design and photography that feels untouchable on my own.

I am so inspired by some of the most creative real food ever.

I am so inspired by everyday life that appears extraordinary.

I am so inspired by pretty things that make me want to empty my pockets.

I often ask myself if I would still write this blog if I didn’t communicate with readers – no comments, tweets, emails, etc. After all, people have been “validating” my work (omg I love you and thank you) for the last four plus years. I am 99% sure that I would though, because this is a place where I let my inspiration flow freely.

Something I’ve struggled with in those four plus years is allowing my presence on the internets to totally define me. In a sense, it kind of does – I’m not sure if there is anywhere else in my life where I’m more real. Oddly enough, it is very comfortable for me to write out my exact thoughts and feelings in post without caring what people think. Yet, I’d have moments where someone would tell me that they tried my cookies and they totally sucked and made them want to punch puppies and I’m all omg I’m a horrible person and my existence on this earth doesn’t even count and everyone in my life hates my guts and my life is basically over because my cookie recipe isn’t the best and I may as well go purchase a tombstone now and do you think I could get a pink one?

Because that’s literally the type of shit that would go through my head four years ago.

get out of your own way I howsweeteats.com

Back then, that was the type of thing that would force me to change my inspiration. In food blog world, this is like the whole people-ask-for-healthy-recipes-but-then-they-are-too-healthy-and-you-suck-and-are-boring-so-then-you-make-something-utterly-disgusting-that’s-filled-with-food-coloring-and-stuffed-with-candy-bars-and-unicorn-tears-and-takes-food-porn-to-the-next-level-and-you-don’t-even-like-it-but-omg-pinterest!-but-now-you’re-responsible-for-giving-the-children-of-the-world-diabetes-and-can’t-your-recipes-be-more-easy-to-make-in-the-kitchen-and-not-have-55-ingredients?-so-then-you-make-spaghetti-and-meatballs-but-then-you’re-even-more-boring-than-before-and-can’t-come-up-with-anything-new-and-exciting-and-must-copy-off-of-every-other-person-on-the-internets-and-so-then-you-come-up-with-ground-spinach-faux-meatballs-on-rice-cake-pasta-tossed-in-honey-butter-with-grapefruit-slices-and-chocolate-chunks-with-a-Thai-infused-drizzle-and-a-side-of-Spanish-rice type of thing.

And then you’re like WHAT. What is on my plate.

In real life world, it’s like setting things aside because other people think you can’t do them.

THAT’S why inspiration and being real is so important to me. When it comes to creating recipes? Dude. Make the things you WANT to make. When it comes to living your life off the web and doing things that others think you can’t? DO IT.

Personally, I can’t do these things without constant visual inspiration. Or heck, even audial inspiration. I need to see pictures and see them often. I pour over magazines (total junkie). I also am a huge advocate of WRITING THINGS DOWN. Oh my god. Any friend that has asked me anything in the last year about a goal they want to achieve or after a discussion about something we are struggling with, I’m just like “write it down. Write it down!”

I write down all the things. I write down quotes. Goals. Thoughts. Ideas. Crappy feelings. Two weeks ago I started writing in a journal regularly again (something I haven’t done since, uh, high school) and it blows my freaking mind how much of a relief it is just to get things down on paper. I know that I may be dramatic but I feel like I’ve unloaded twenty pounds when I get my thoughts out there. (if only it was that easy.)

on finding inspiration I howsweeteats.com

I find inspiration in reading – both fiction and non. You know that I love getting lost in a story, whether it’s in a book or a TV series. These things spark my own inspiration.

In order to be properly inspired, I’ve found what works for me. It’s what I need to feel my best. I need some form of cardio exercise, preferably in the morning. It energizes me and makes me feel better overall – physically, mentally, emotionally. I need to stay hydrated: water (and coffee and wine?). I’m best inspired when I’m eating well and feel good about the food that is going into my body, but with enough give so I’m eating things I truly love and getting enough chocolate (=antioxidants.) I need sleep. Like probably eight hours. I’m currently getting around six or seven. Working on it. I need to read other people’s words. I need to write my own words. And I need yoga, preferably in the evening, because it calms my mind and makes me feel like a normal person. (since a normal person randomly writes about her inspiration on the internet.) Seriously though. It’s amazing how much more of an impact photos and words have on me when I’ve got my act together.

Oh hello. I just wrote a 1336 word blog post. I’m going to shut up now. But I really want to know WHAT inspires you. WHO inspires you. WHERE do you find the most inspiration? I want out of the comfort zone.

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131 Responses to “Real Life Wednesday: On Finding Inspiration.”

  1. #
    101
    Debbie Shadid — February 11, 2014 @ 7:35 pm

    Beautifully said, beautiful photos, and a beautiful site.
    Thanks for inspiring me.

    Reply

  2. #
    102
    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — February 17, 2014 @ 10:49 pm

    Thank you for this. I’ve been looking forward to reading this since you first posted it, and I knew it would be awesome. I write a blog that nobody knows about, but I can’t stop because I love it. I’ve been reading your work for over two years now, and you truly inspire me. I know I’ll never be able to do what you do, but it’s too fun to stop. Please keep being so real and making great food. I love it!

    Reply

  3. #
    103
    thenik — February 20, 2014 @ 7:28 pm

    Subtitle: On GIVING inspiration. (Thank you, for all of it.)

    Reply

  4. #
    104
    vicki — February 26, 2014 @ 2:55 pm

    Here is the deal. I have your blog delivered to my in box. I am a vegetarian. You saw right. I cannot stand eating meat. Happen to think it’s not great for my body. I’m practically vegan….keep reading…don’t leave me. The deal is this. I get INSPIRATION from your food. Doesn’t even matter that I don’t want to eat that exact thing that you made. It INSPIRES me to make food that I love to eat. Done and done. I think the reason it is so inspiring is because you DO NOT follow a “blogging protocol” that dictates what you do, you do what you CLEARLY love…what YOU like, what YOU want to eat. That comes screamingly clear through your work. And I like it. And it keeps me coming back. I agree with you, inspiration is EVERYWHERE, but it is how you filter it, manipulate it, and reproduce it through yourself that makes it wonderful and why you are successful. You are not just following some formula because the idea or concept of an amazing blog is appealing to you. When someone is doing the thing that they were meant to do, you know it. When someone is doing something that they think they should do because they saw someone else do it and they want to be successful like that too, but it’s not their thing, you know it. You need to read The Desire Map, it will change you. xoxox- Vicki

    Reply

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