Justina Blakeney

3 Freebies from a Writer, an Artist, and a Creative Entrepreneur.

I recently signed up for Studio Diaries, a monthly online subscription service by Flora Bowley, all about lessons in creative practice. The theme of this month's diary is called Finding Your Style. I love how she breaks down exactly how to glean what we can from photos, writings, and other artist for inspiration. She really drives home the importance of learning to use references and not copying others work and adopting it as our own.

This topic is especially relevant today, given the saturation of social media and the ease at which it is possible to get lost in the chaos of it all. Unless you live under a rock, you know that ripping off others creative contributions is an on-going saga. Thank you Google.

But I digress. This month's diary has me thinking about all the ordinary and extraordinary people we have the potential to glean from every single day. What if we learned one simple thing from every person we met? It's actually overwhelming to think how many gifts we would encounter in a lifetime. The concept is simple really considering we grow up with this innate ability-- from learning to be more patient from Mom to how to be courageous from Dad--we gather naturally.

Gleaning as defined by....well shit..as defined by Google, is extracting information from multiple sources. So in honor of this idea, here are 3 things we can learn from a writer, an artist, and a creative entrepreneur, that are total freebies.

Alexandra Franzen

Photo: Alexandra Franzen

Photo: Alexandra Franzen

Alexandra Franzen has a writing style that is definitely my cup of tea--bold, creative, with a pinch of sarcasm. She has articles galore, writing courses, and a newsletter you actually look forward to reading. The non-sugar coated approach to writing and life is so relatable and she ALWAYS offers her audience more--from tips, advice, music, downloads, links to more--she does it right in the way of sharing. But she also knows her boundaries..

Here's one surprising thing we can all learn from Alexandra:

Freebie #1

PUMP THE BRAKES. You won't find Alexandra on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. She openly admits that social media just isn't her jam right now.

There's nothing like a woman with boundaries--it's refreshing.

Perhaps she uses all that free time to say...idunno..perfect her craft?! Personally, I think Alexandra might tell us all to stop making ourselves do things we aren't passionate about. Things can be exhausting enough even when you love what you do. 

So here's some food for thought: If you follow your curiosity it just might lead you to your passion and then go do those things that make you truly come alive.

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive" ~Howard Thurman


Mati Rose McDonough


Mati Rose is an artist, author, and quite possibly the founder of Mati University. Many of us loyal followers have been taking her e-courses long enough to have earned a degree...or at least a certificate. It's hard to stay away from all her offerings and so fun to watch this jet setter do it all--mentoring, painting, illustrating, retreat having, book writing--what a gem!

Oh, and did I mention her collab with Shopvida? Yes, her gorgeous abstract paintings are now on dresses. 


Here's something we can all learn from Mati Rose:

Freebie #2

BRANCH OUT. Mati's superpower is truly bringing people together but this girl also knows how to diversify. This might be a foreign concept for some of us nine to fivers but creating multiple streams of income is definitely where it's at. You want to be an hairstylist? Great. What products can you create? You want to be an artist? Awesome. Now write a book about it. And don't forget to collaborate along the way. 

"Show the world your magic" ~ Mati Rose

Justina Blakeney

Photo: Justina Blakeney

Photo: Justina Blakeney

Justina is a creative entrepreneur, founder of @The Jungalow, and quite possibly my biggest girl crush EVER. She is also a New York Times bestselling author of The New Bohemians and has partnered with and collaborated with several brands to bring us this, this, and this. Oh man, talk about being on fire. She is kicking serious ass and does it all while still being a NICE PERSON. No seriously, I spent 3 days with her in The Cinque Terre and I felt like I was hanging out with a homie. 

What can we learn from Justina?

Freebie #3

STAY OFF THE HIGH HORSE. Yes, there are a million other things we could learn from Justina, like branding, how to take gorgeous photos, how to be a better blogger, and the list goes on and on. But even the most successful, talented, and beautiful people in the world become even more relatable and obsession worthy when their qualities accompany a healthy dose of humility.  Yes, Justina is an incredible sharer and we can all learn a little bit more from her example of giving to grow our communities and creative businesses. 

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less" ~C.S. Lewis


Pulling back from things I'm not passionate about, creating multiple income streams, and continuing to share in community are all incredible (and free) gifts I've gleaned from some of the women I admire. The great thing about this concept is that we all have the chance to learn from each other every day. So keep your eyes peeled for give and take opportunities in art + in life.