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The magical world of Lisa Frank

Today my sister sent me a link to a YouTube video about the world of Lisa Frank. Remember her – the creator of all those stickers, folders, and stationery loved by girls all over Canada and the US in the 1980s?

Lisa Frank logo

She’s all about rainbows, unicorns, and stars (so basically, a woman after my own heart), and after getting a glimpse of what goes on inside her head office in Tucson, Arizona, I’m feeling super inspired!

There’s something heart-palpitating about witnessing someone’s lifelong dedication to joy, beauty, and plain old FUN.

Press play on the video below to see exactly what I mean:


Tupac and Lisa FrankHow amazing to be the head of a brand like that… a brand that’s about nothing more than putting smiles on the faces of little girls?

I remember being ridiculously obsessed with her stuff when I was young. Coming face to face with a Lisa Frank display in a store was like encountering a cornucopia of everything I adored and believed in. And that was even before I knew Tupac loved Lisa Frank, too.

Do you have any Lisa Frank memories from when you were young? Leave a comment below and let me know!
~ Amanda


The importance of “home”

Today has been an odd day. Despite the wonderful activities I’ve enjoyed (including spending a few hours plotting out my next biz project on a stunning beach and ordering the Banana Chocolate at an ice cream shop that has over 100 flavours of soft-serve), I’m feeling a little “off”.

When it comes right down to it, I think I’m missing the feeling of permanence that comes with having a place to go back to that’s all your own. I’m missing puttering, and making my favourite zucchini soup, and doing laundry and deciding to just let it sit there in a pile for a few days – as opposed to knowing that later tonight, I’ll just be stuffing it all into my backpack for the umpteenth time.

Did I mention we’re only 3 weeks into our 6-month trip? Yeah. Clearly I need to get over this.

Luckily, I don’t miss OUR home, specifically. That is, the apartment we left behind in Montreal, where this photo was taken, just a few days before our departure:

With dear friends Stef and Evan in our “kitchen area”. And yes, I’m aware that there are a LOT of booze bottles in this picture.

I miss our friends, and my sister, and the comfortable feeling that goes along with having your own personal refuge – but I don’t miss that apartment on Atwater Avenue – with its constant parade of ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars going by outside, and the lack of a closed bedroom, and the little boy upstairs who likes to run relay races with himself.

So that’s good, at least!

But I’m starting to question the importance of “home”. Does a girl really need one? Or is this sad, lost feeling just a temporary longing – something I’ll get over?

And perhaps most importantly, what will “home” mean in the future?

At this point, I have no idea.

In many ways, this trip is about trying on possibilities when it comes to the life we’ll choose to build when we get “home” from our journey.

I’m loving that we’re meeting people who approach work, and routine, and leisure so differently than we do, because it’s making me see that there are other options. I always knew there were in theory, of course, but to see them in action, up close and personal, is nothing short of titillating.

So maybe it’s all OK, for now. Maybe I just need to relax, and enjoy, and know that someday, based on all we’ve seen on this voyage, “home” will just fall into place – wherever in the world it may be, and whatever it may look like.


12/12/12. Whoa.

Last night was heavy…or should I say – light?

After falling asleep at around 10 and waking up again at 1 or 1:30, I lay awake for HOURS with realization after realization crashing over me, and creative ideas pulsing through my brain like a bright, sparkly river.

First, I realized that I really am at a point where I believe that total abundance and big-time wealth is my birthright. As in, I believe it with all of my being – which is pretty awesome! (And in case you didn’t know, it’s your birthright, too!).

See, my two companies (The Girl’s Guide to Web Design and Better Than Chocolate Web & Branding) are doing well. I cracked the six-figure mark in 2011, and that was extremely exciting. But I’ve always had this deep inner knowing that I’m destined to help more people, and experience more richness (in every sense of the word).

So as I lay there in bed, I asked to know what is holding me back from experiencing total abundance with what I’m creating in the world. Surprisingly enough, it came to me immediately: it’s all about Thesis – the WordPress framework that I teach to women in my online course.

Thesis has been the factor that’s holding me back, because DIYThemes is not an energetic match with my greater life purpose! (And yes, you have one of those too!).

How funny that after preaching about “square peg, round hole” so much, I now see that I have a glaring example of it at the very core of my own business. Gotta love how that works. :P

Side note: It seems that when I am in the alpha state, I have access to answers quite readily now. It’s pretty cool!

So anyway…back to my story. As soon as it dawned on me that it’s Thesis that’s the problem, I knew exactly what I had to do. One of my business contacts, whom I respect greatly and whom I consider an all-around great guy, recently suggested to me that I create my own premium theme/framework for the students of The Girl’s Guide to Web Design.

It’s an idea that I’d toyed with before, but you know…life got in the way.

Now, however, it seems like the most totally obvious and wonderful plan in the world.

“Now is the time,” I realized.

And I launched into a series of reveries about what this theme/framework would be all about, and about my life with Justin, supported by the very important work of helping even more women get their ideas out into the world, become more of themselves, and express themselves creatively.

And now it’s happening. It must happen. It will. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

So, watch this space for news on what I’m creating. It’s going to be paradigm-busting, and empowering, and totally magnificent. And I sincerely hope it will be the answer to all your prayers when it comes to making all your dearest dreams and aspirations a reality online. :)

But wait – there’s more 12/12/12 adventure to share!

Shortly after my business epiphany, I also had a CRAZY experience involving suddenly feeling these vibrations in my ears building – like a frequency getting higher and higher. I began to feel very light in my body – as thought my physical self was reduced to a shell, and I was only partially inside it.

I started to see very beautiful, meticulously shaped visions of tone-on-tone patterns with my eyes closed. The patterns were kind of like damask…flowers and swirls, kaleidoscope-esque. They were radiating a feeling of pure, unconditional love.

I felt myself becoming one with them and leaving my body, and I tried not to be afraid, but I was flushed and cold at the same time, and I felt a pull to the patterns and away from my “self”, so it was definitely a little scary. Eventually I opened my eyes, because it was so intense, and it went away.

It happened again maybe half an hour later, and I kind of called myself back into my body again to stop it.

I guess I eventually fell asleep.

I don’t pretend to understand everything that happened to me last night, but I am so, so grateful for the insights and awareness that came to me as a result of 12/12/12.

Now, it’s time to act!


Stuff that happened today.

Today was one of those days when you are reminded of how magical life is.
Today I:
Rode in a helicopter.
Saw a MASSIVE manta ray (we’re talking a 20-foot wingspan!).
Visited (and fell in love with) Makawao, Maui – an authentic Old West-style town.
Hugged the sweetest golden lab.
Wandered in a secret, sacred garden.
Was invited to ride on the back of some guy’s motorcycle, and instead of being creeped out, I threw my head back, laughed, and thanked him kindly.

Yes…today was a good day. :)

More pictures on my Facebook page!

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Your Higher Self Is Always Right

Image from http://awakento1.blogspot.com/

I am continually amazed at how there is a part of myself that always knows what’s up.

I may be tossing a problem or question around in my brain for weeks or even months, but once that problem is solved or the issue fixes itself, I can always look back and see that my Higher Self knew EXACTLY what She was doing.

For me personally, this most often manifests itself as Divine Timing disguised as procrastination.

What do I mean by this? Well, sometimes I feel like I’m endlessly delaying a task or project, and I beat myself up about it every step of the way. But in retrospect, it’s crystal clear that my Higher Self had my back all along – and that there was a very good reason for why I hadn’t yet moved forward with the thing I felt I was “being lazy” about.

Take the launch of this site, for example. I experienced two occurrences of Higher Self Wisdom while I was busy preparing to unleash it to the world.

First, I was really struggling with the branding of the site. I spent HOURS working on a header image that looked very different from what you see up there right now – but no matter what I did, it didn’t look right to me.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a wine bar (ha) in the Vancouver airport with Justin, asking his opinion on the image to see if I could figure out what was bugging me so much about it. He gave me great feedback, and I solemnly vowed to myself that I would finish working on it during our flight to Hawaii. But I didn’t. Instead, I did everything I could to avoid my laptop during our six-hour flight (although incidentally, I watched a great movie about a writer who actually “writes one of his characters to life” – called Ruby Sparks).

It wasn’t until we had landed on the Big Island and I was sitting on a bench, wearing my huge backpack and perspiring lightly, that it hit me: the reason I was having so much trouble designing the header for amandaaitken.com was that I already HAD the brand I was supposed to be using for the new site!

I wasn’t meant to create a new one. I was meant to use the brand that I had developed six months ago, for another project that I was incredibly excited about, but that ended up changing course.

(That happens a lot to me, too, by the way. I’ll think an idea is for one thing, only to realize that it’s really the right fit for something else entirely. More Higher Self wisdom coming in to play!).

As soon as I understood that this “magical outer space” brand was the perfect fit for amandaaitken.com, things instantly started to flow – and I was free to keep designing the site, with a big fat smile on my face.

The bottom line? My Higher Self knew all along that the header image that I’d been working wasn’t right for amandaaitken.com. And She patiently waited for Regular Amanda to figure that out.

My Higher Self had another sneaky agenda, too.

See, November 26th was the day that Mercurent “went direct” after being retrograde since November 6th. During periods of Mercury Retrograde, it’s recommended that you not launch anything new in your business, as the stars aren’t aligned to support fresh endeavours (you’ll be too busy managing unpleasant encounters with people from your past, travel delays, and technological breakdowns). :P

And while I had consciously thought to myself a few weeks ago that maybe I should wait until after this Mercury Retrograde period to launch amandaaitken.com, the impatient part of me briskly dismissed that idea as silly…and attempted to forge ahead.

But some things (especially creative things, healing-related things, and business-y things) can’t be rushed. You can push and push, but they need to come to fruition in their own due time.

And so, I find myself here, launching my site just a few days after Mercury Retrograde is over, in spite of my “best intentions” to do it faster.

Funny how that works, no? :P

The lesson here? Next time you’re annoyed with yourself for not taking action on a project or issue, relax a little, if you can. If it’s “just not working”, or if it feels really bizarrely hard, there’s a darn good reason for it. Your Higher Self ALWAYS has a master plan – even if you can’t see it yet. :)


My clairaudience is returning…

This morning I woke up at about 4:30 AM with bad cramps. I got up to take some Aleve (the only thing that seems to work these days), and crawled back into bed to try to sleep a bit more.

As I was lying there willing my Aleve to work, I heard a noise that sounded like someone clearing his throat – twice. It kind of sounded cartoony, though – if that makes sense. Not as though there was a scary man standing in the bedroom, but as though it was a kind creature wanting me to pay attention to something. I immediately felt like it was one of the Arcturians – not sure why!

I turned in the direction of the noise, but there was nothing there. So I rolled over and continued trying to sleep.

A few minutes later, something even weirder happened. Suddenly, out of the blue in the silent hotel room, there was a voice in my left ear (the one that was pressed in to the pillow). It was the voice of a boy, maybe 8 or 10 year old, and he was whining about something.

The sound was perfectly loud, but the identity of the words were muffled as though I was listening through a wall, so that I couldn’t make out what he was saying. It was oddly clear-yet-unclear, kind of like the way I used to hear the voices when I was a kid. But this voice had the very distinct timbre of a kid whining or complaining.

I was startled, but not terrified. I lay there for about 7 seconds listening, and then it stopped as quickly as it had begun. I immediately picked my head up off the pillow to try to get a sense for where it had come from. The noise definitely didn’t come from Justin, and it didn’t come from the next room or the hallway. It was absolutely inside my head, or from somewhere very near to my head, localized in space.

Seems like the Arcturians were right – my clairaudience is returning!

As for where the sounds came from, my instinct is that they were sounds that my multidimensional self was currently experiencing in other realities. I didn’t feel like they were associated with any kind of astral presence in the room with me, necessarily (which is probably why I wasn’t totally terrified). But it sure was cool.


The Tao of Packing

This is how I feel right now.

It’s 7:30 AM, and I’m lying in a king-size bed in a budget hotel in downtown Montreal.

We haven’t even left on our tip yet, and I’m already having separation anxiety for (about?) my clothes.

I never would have guessed that packing would cause me so much stress, but I keep breaking into a cold sweat every time I think about the pile of tops, pants, dresses and shorts that I left sitting in the guest bedroom at my in-laws’ place. The pile that I’ll need to deal with sometime over the next two days.

Before we started getting ready for this trip in earnest, I had visions of transcending my usual over-the-top packing habits (14 bikinis for a 7-day trip, anyone?) with a refreshingly minimalist approach.

I saw myself happily traipsing around Vancouver, Hawaii and New Zealand wearing the same items over and over again, caring not about the colour of my tank top, because I’m so darn enraptured by the gorgeous scenery that surrounds me.

I hope I’ll get there. But right now (especially with this wicked head cold I’ve developed), it feels like that rosy reality is not to be.
Instead, I have gotten seriously befuddled at the thought of needing to pack for so many different climates – and I fear there’s no longer any rhyme or reason to the stack of “travel clothes” that’s waiting for me when I get back to my in-laws’ this afternoon.

I swear I’m also audibly hearing the siren call of my second pair of go-to jeans…the ones that are in the storage unit, about a 5-minute drive from where I am right now.

“Come get me!”, they’re screaming. “How could you leave us here?!”

The very thought makes me want to weep!

Can I really go on this trip with only one pair of jeans?

Will I successfully fit everything I need into my four-foot-tall backpack?

Could it be that we make it to the airport with Amanda’s sanity intact?

Stay tuned to find out!