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Have You Tried PaintNite Yet?

paintnite tucson

Sitting around talking to your dogs and binging on Netflix is absolutely dreamy, but the thrill can only last so long. Sooner or later you’ll be itching to get out of the house to protect your sanity. This usually occurs when you’re watching “Women Behind Bars” for the eighth time – or your dogs start talking back.

That’s when you know it’s time to try PaintNite.

What’s PaintNite?

Billed as the “original creative nite out,” PaintNite involves a very casual, full-of-fun group class of sorts where you all work on painting your version of whatever picture is on the canvas up front. Local artists host the event, so you’re apt to meet talented, friendly and really cool people. This counts for the teacher as well as the people in the crowd.

You don’t find too many people in bad moods when they’re eating, laughing and tapping into creativity while playing with paint. The event is held at local venues, which can include restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, bars or other places that don’t mind a bit of paint on the chairs or floor.

What You Do

Round up a few pals, whether they think they have any artistic talent or not, and promise them they’ll LOL if they go to PaintNite with you.

Head online to search for PaintNite options in your location, picking a painting that doesn’t make you vomit. (Yeah, some are pretty cheesy, but others are fabulously cool). Book your desired date, then show up to LOL.

Get there about 30 minutes early so you can order food and drinks if available. This will also help you get a seat that’s not crammed in the back with an unobstructed view of the bathroom.

Why You Need to Try It

The event is just too much fun. I attended one at Mimi’s Café in Tucson with pals Vicky and Lynn (pictured above). We laughed. We cried. We spilled things. In short, we had a rollicking good time.

OK, we didn’t cry, but we could have since we were laughing so hard. And I don’t think anyone spilled anything, either, although I did come close to making a major mess when I nearly dipped an apron string in the paint palette when I was trying to position the apron to save Vicky’s seat.

Part of the fun came from our talented instructor, Tucson artist Kimberly Tipton, whose creativity spans the board from blacksmithing to painting Van Gogh reproductions as a toddler. She set down the one and only rule for our class:

Don’t Hate on Your Painting

Everyone’s painting is going to be different, unique – and good, no matter what you may think. The point is to unleash your creative spirit and have fun, not obsess about making your painting look exactly like the example up front. Spewing negative energy not only hurts the creative flow, but it defeats the entire purpose of the evening. Let go, enjoy and love what you create instead.

 

Additional tips for making the most of PaintNite include:

Get discounted tickets: Groupon is always running PaintNite specials, and you can usually score a discount on the PaintNite website itself if you poke around enough before buying.

Don’t expect to look good in the apron: It’s green. It’s baggy. And it tends to make even athletic types look like a dowdy fat housewife. Don’t sweat it. At least it’s protecting your clothes.

Feel free to add your own creative spin: In PaintNite circles, veering away from the example painting is called “going rogue.” And Kimberly said some of the coolest PaintNite painting’s she’s seen came from those gone rogue. I went semi-rogue to add a layer of meaning to my PaintNite creation.

paintnite tucson painting
PaintNite painting gone semi-rogue.

Rogue elements include collection of yellow-eyed monsters along the terrain and spiritual beings in the sky. Clouds were crafted to pay tribute to those who have died and gone to heaven, including Dad and dog Sawyer (aka The Bubble).

Love what you see? Head to PaintNite to create your own masterpiece.

Or head to rynski’s etsy shop for additional art and inspiration.

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The Four Agreements: What Happens when They Go Wrong (Part 2)

four agreements metal sign

There is no law that makes people follow the four agreements. There doesn’t need to be. The personal anguish we feel when we decide to ignore these dandy guidelines for living is typically penalty enough.

As a refresher, The Four Agreements are outlined in a book by Don Miguel Ruiz. And those agreements are:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Never take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

We already looked at what happens when the first two agreement go wrong in a previous post. Now it’s time to tackle the second set. Ready?

don't make assumptions

Don’t Make Assumptions

Yeah, we know. Making assumptions makes an ASS of U and Me. But some of us do it anyway. And although the pithy little phrase is amusing, the outcome is usually not. An assumption is filling in the blanks, or making up a truth when we’re not sure what the actual truth may be.

Making assumptions is along the same lines as having expectations. When we assume or expect something will go a certain way, and then it doesn’t, we end up annoyed, enraged, or downright devastated. One of my favorite sayings reminds us: Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.

Example of Third Agreement Gone Wrong

An organization asked if I’d like to cover and event to write up a story for their publication. Heck yes, said I, assuming the daylong assignment would give me a hefty day’s pay. The event was, after all, three hours long, involved a three-hour round-trip drive, involved taking tons of notes and spending another three hours writing up an article in all its detailed glory.

Nine hours of work should bring in a pretty good check, thought I, something like $500 with gas money and other travel expenses. Man, I could even cut back on other work for the rest of the week, perhaps take an extra day off or buy a new pair of boots!

I submitted the article with glee. They sent me a check for $100.

The work was done and the pay was non-negotiable. Had I asked about the final rate, instead of assuming it was what I wanted it to be, the story would have had an entirely different outcome. For starters, I wouldn’t have accepted the gig to write it.

fourth agreement do your best

Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best

Although this agreement may look pretty simple at a glance, it can actually be one of the tougher ones. That’s because it’s easy to make excuses to skip it.

We can pretend any of our half-baked efforts are the best we can do at any given time, even when we know in our souls that’s not true. We also tend to rush through things we find menial or annoying just to get them done.

Doing a crummy job on any task is going to leave you feeling crummy yourself. Trust me. Whether you’re performing brain surgery or washing a fork, always doing your best will always be worth it. This reminds me of another spot-on saying: How you do anything is how you do everything.

Example of Fourth Agreement Gone Wrong

Alas, the example of the fourth agreement gone wrong contains yet another work incident. You’d think all I do is sit around and work.

In any event, this situation arose in a past job where I was tasked with putting labels and stamps on Christmas cards to send out to the hundred or so clients.

“What crap,” I thought, “a waste of my skills. A blind monkey could do this.” I then grumbled along, slapping a label here, pasting a stamp there, and dribbling coffee here, there and everywhere in my haste to finish this seemingly crappy task as quickly as possible.

When I was done, the pile of cards looked horrible. The blind monkey who could have done the task could have certainly done it better.

Labels and stamps were all crooked and smudged. Envelope corners were bent and speckled with coffee. This outcome was not my best. It was probably one of my worst. My boss wasn’t happy. I felt rotten, mainly because my haughty attitude and actions ended up disappointing one of the best bosses I ever did have.

Even though the task appeared to be a rather minor one, it needed to be done precisely as it reflected on the entire image of the company sending the cards. Yes, many of the cards needed to be redone, although I truly did my best the second time around.

Following the four agreements cannot only save you time and heartache, but it can likewise help ensure you don’t drive 300 miles for measly pay, disappoint your favorite boss, or end up losing your job to a blind monkey who can do your work better than you do.

Want to keep the four agreements top of mind? Check out Four Agreement art.

four agreements art

 

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The Four Agreements: What Happens when They Go Wrong

inspirational magnets four agreements

More than once I’ve heard people say they wished life came with a manual. Well, it kind of does. That manual is the book entitled “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

My mind was so blown when I picked up this tome that I started making art in its honor even before I turned the final page. Living the four agreements affords a fantastic way of life – but remembering to live them is a different story.

The Four Agreements are:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Never take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

One of the ways I ingrain the four agreements into my mind is to recall times when they went wrong, or the misery I felt before I even knew these agreements existed.

Here come real-life examples of the first two agreements gone wrong, with the other two covered in another blog post. Enjoy!

four agreements first agreement

First Agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word

Words have power. Loads of power. And you can’t take them back once you unleash them into the world. Choose your words carefully. Live up to what you say. And proofread for typos before you publish anything on the front page.

Example of First Agreement Gone Wrong

The front page of the Brooklyn newspaper where I worked ran a mini-feature on a lost subway tunnel tour. The tunnel had been recently unearthed and was now open to the public.

Our front-page story was supposed to have said the tunnel had been “sealed shut” for a number of years. But it instead said it was “sealed shit.”

The lady who gave us the info was convinced we did it on purpose. She was so mad her yelling nearly broke the phone speaker when she called to complain. I still went on the tour, but I didn’t dare tell anyone I was from the newspaper.

four agreements second agreement

Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally

Someone cuts you off in traffic. Another moves your computer to sit at your desk. A third says you remind him of his dog. No, the world is not out to get you. Even the people who are seemingly saying or doing things that are directed at you aren’t out to get you. People’s actions and reactions are a reflection of the state of their own mind and soul, not yours.

Example of Second Agreement Gone Wrong

Another newspaper story comes to mind here, but one that happened much later when online comments first started getting popular. Those things were nasty from the get-go, and they only got nastier as time marched on.

One online story I wrote resulted in a massive attack from all angles, with commenters calling me names, bemoaning my very existence, and telling me how I should be thrown off an overpass and run over by a Mack truck.

My first reaction was to cry and hide. I was, after all, a terrible person who deserved to be killed by an overpass-Mack-truck combo. But then I started looking more closely at all their nasty words. Many of the commenters referred to me as “he” or “him,” while others were attacking things that didn’t even relate to me, like blond hair or having a pet kangaroo named Sam.

Right then and there I realized that, even when you appear to the target of a slight or attack, it’s not about you. It’s about the other person. They’re the ones with the rage, self-righteousness, intolerance or other issues that twist them into a snit.

You’re really not part of the equation at all. You just happened to stir up their snit-making feelings. So it’s too bad on them – not you!

While this agreement is one of the toughest for me to live, it’s also one of the most freeing. Whew and yahoo when I get it right. And although I did once have blond hair, I never had a kangaroo named Sam.

Check out the third and fourth agreements, now available on a blogski near you!

Check out Four Agreement art if you’re digging the message.

four agreements metal sign
Four Agreements Metal Sign
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Art Therapy Project: SATISFACTION

satisfaction cat art therapy

When the topic of SATISFACTION was proposed for our art therapy project, my mind immediately hopped to the Cheshire cat with his infamous grin. So I knew I had to create a cat.

  • Topic: Satisfaction
  • Result: Satisfaction cat made of pen, ink, glitter glue and paint on canvas. Note the illustrations within the cat’s body that depict different things that bring me satisfaction.

Artist comments:

While the Cheshire cat was definitely the primary motivator for creating a cat for the topic of satisfaction, he wasn’t the only one. Cats in general kept coming to mind with this topic. Not only is cat art fun to create, but felines frequently look very satisfied with themselves. Maybe it’s because they:

  • Sleep 18 hours a day
  • Do what they want, when they want
  • Ignore or even shun people yet still get love and attention
  • Can jump extraordinary distances
  • Always manage to land on their feet
  • Are thought to have magical, mystical, supernatural powers
  • Have nine different lives to play around with

Dang good reasons to be satisfied.

The topic also made me think of a cat perched high in the cat bird seat, next to an open bird cage, with the kind of contented grin one can only get from eating the resident bird.

I didn’t want to use the idea of eating small feathered things as the only way to be satisfied, so I let that last thought flutter out of my head altogether.

My final project result was a non-bird-eating Satisfaction Cat, featuring a rosy pink, glittery outlook, a collage of images representing things that bring me satisfaction, and a sensationally satisfied smile.

Enjoy!

satisfaction cat art therapy
Things that bring satisfaction:: Hummingbird, sunshine
satisfaction cat art therapy
Things that bring satisfaction: Planets, pulling out a splinter
satisfaction cat art therapy
Things that bring satisfaction: Flowers, garden, hugs, purple swirls from Biomat energy, headstand on a paddle board
satisfaction cat art therapy
Things that bring satisfaction: Love, dogs, lifting weights, naps, making money, LOL-ing, phone calls with mom, job well done

Dig the satisfaction cat? Check out more fun felines and other animals at rynski’s etsy shop.

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3 Tips to Survive Awkward Parties

awkward party

The idea of a party can sound like fun. But you get there and feel like a sore thumb. Being charming and keen in social situations doesn’t come easily for many folks. Even just being in social situations can fill some with fear. Rather than hiding under the hors d’oeuvres table feeling awkward, use these three tips to sail through the fete.

Be of Service

No, you don’t have to go scrub toilets or dust the chandelier. But you can look around to see if there’s anything you can do to help someone else. Perhaps the host needs help bringing up extra chairs from the basement. Or the party guest with three toddlers needs a hand getting to the table without spilling all her guacamole on the carpet.

Any little thing you do to help someone else not only feels good, but it performs the magical achievement of focusing your attention on something other than your own whirling sore-thumb thoughts.

Find a Kindred Spirit

Scope out the room to find someone who appears to have something in common with you. Then head on over and bond. Choices can include someone who:

  • Has the same bright red hair color
  • Wears funky glasses
  • Is donning a shirt or hat from your favorite sports team
  • Looks even more uncomfortable than you are

The last choice is consistently a sure bet, especially if you kick off the conversation with the simple truth about how awkward or uncomfortable you feel. You may just make a new best friend for life.

Remember the Self-Absorption Rule

One of the reasons you may feel awkward is because you fear you may say or do something stupid that will haunt you for the rest of your adult life. Stop it right there. You can free yourself from the fear by recalling the self-absorption rule.

The self-absorption rule confirms that 87.3 percent of people are generally so self-absorbed and caught in their own spinning thoughts that they wouldn’t even notice if you said or did something stupid – or frankly, anything at all.

The other 12.7 percent? Well, they’re probably drinking and wouldn’t remember any stupid antics either. That leaves you totally clear and free to dance naked with that lampshade on your head!

Seriously, though, these three tips can help immensely when in an awkward social setting, even with your clothes on. I know because I use them myself. And if all else fails or the tips seem too tough, I have one more fallback that works to get through awkward parties every time. Just start playing with the dog, kids or cat.

Wondering how to deal with other situations, like encountering jerks? Get 12 terrific lifesaving tips from rynski’s Little Book of Big Jerks.

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