A Creative CAT

Let me render my heart this morning…

Today I started my day journaling.  For me, this is the only way I can make sense of the million thoughts that circle in my head all day long.  What stood out this morning is:

The creative mind is like herding cats.

I’m a cat in the cat/cat herder philosophy.  Back up:  I should explain the philosophy that came about on a trip to NOLA.  My husband is a cat and was frustrated by attempting to keep a group of cats together.  In total annoyance he yelled, “Y’all I feel like I’m herding cats!”  The cats busted out laughing.  We spent years coming up with truths about this philosophy.  If you are a cat, you can never be a cat herder… you just don’t care that much.  If you are a cat herder, you can never be a true cat… because you just can’t trust the cats to be in charge.

Back to my morning.  I found myself anxious about all the ideas that I have and how to achieve them.  Fear crept in, as it always does.  This creative life is FULL of insecurities. Then it hit me… BAM!  Insecurities don’t have a chance when you have a tribe!

I stopped what I was doing and immediately messaged my two BFFs, Michele Savoldi and Kelly Blanton.  I wanted to thank them for being my cheerleaders and let them know how they keep me inspired.  Thank GOD we met 8 years ago!  The love of family, a great help mate and a tribe is the wonderful foundation that God has blessed me with.

I felt this truth bubbling up and the need to write about it, hoping it might touch one of you… dear kindred spirits.

So… I sat down at my desk to punch it out before the idea had time to fly the coop.

Before I could get my Internet to come up I noticed my trash needed to be taken to the road.  The cat in me was off…

I took the trash to the road.  Let Jack out and checked his food situation.  Meandered into my garden.  Dang, the carrots aren’t ready YET.  Took a few pics.  Realized how good the garden is to my wellness.  Decided to share it in a Ripl (a great app by the way).  It had been updated, so I needed to sync with Instagram again.  Forgot my password.  UUGH.  Finally got it uploaded and posted correctly to all my social media platforms.  Sit back down to type.  I see a color test to take to determine my personality.  I am 40% blue (TRUE) and 40% red (TRUE).  GREAT!  I hate that I am that personality.  Watch a video on Yellows.  I wish I could be more like them.

I’m back to the blog with even more evidence that I am a cat.  MEOW!  Let’s herd me in.

These tendencies of mine can be downright maddening.  I also tend to be a little hard on myself.  I’m learning to like (because love is too strong of a word) who God created me to be.  One of my Mom’s favorite sayings is, “Go with the flow and you’re sure to grow.”

This reminds me of a TEDtalk I watched a long time ago.  (oops just got sucked into FB briefly while searching for this video). Elizabeth Gilbert gave an awesome TEDtalk “Your elusive creative genius.”  She is the one who influenced my decision to sell my car and travel to Costa Rica to spend a month at a language school to find myself.  Didn’t find myself, nor learn Spanish… but that’s another story.  Here’s a GREAT quote around the 2min marker, “What I have been thinking about lately is WHY.  Is it rational, is it logical, that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work they feel that they have been put on this earth to do?  And what is it specifically about creative ventures that seems to make us really nervous about each others mental health in a way that other careers don’t do?”   I want to personally thank Elizabeth Gilbert for giving me permission to speak to my creative thoughts.  For example, “Hey creative idea, I’m a cat… please stay with me until I finally sit down to work on it with my full attention.”  I’m busy going with the flow.

So, I hope this speaks to one of you precious creative souls.  Believe it or not, it’s only 9:52 in the morning.  I have a WHOLE day to be a CAT.  I’ll choose to show up for my job and keep plugging away at my creative ideas.  Despite the fact that I will get sidetracked by paths that lead to unexpected places.  I’m a stubborn CAT! “¡Olé!”

Please let me know I’m not alone… share in the comments or comment on a social platform.  I’d love to hear from YOUR creative stores!  Beyond my two BFFs, I know there is a massive TRIBE of us!

~Tiff

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky.

Exploring The Back Roads

The Local Experience

I love to travel, preferring trips spent exploring back roads and discovering local hot spots.  No matter where I go, I always spend the trip wondering what it would be like to live there.  Several years ago Jeff and I realized a dream trip to Italy.  One of our best decisions was renting an apartment in Naples for a week.  We thoroughly enjoyed walking to the neighborhood markets and bringing food back to prepare in the kitchen.  Every evening we saw the same couples strolling down the street as a part of their daily ritual.  By the end of the week we felt satisfied that we immersed ourselves in the local experience.

Back Road Dreaming

As a dealer who set up in Warrenton at Bar W twice a year, I often wondered what it would be like to to be a local in the Roundtropolis.  I found it was difficult to immerse myself in a local experience.  I was there to work and had so little time to get away from my booth.   After a day selling junque, my friends and I would go to our favorite local restaurants, which were always packed with visitors and dealers.

I woke up early some mornings to spend time exploring before I had to head to my booth.  On those early morning road trips, the back roads seem to be calling this road warrior to the country.  A dream to open my own store in a small community was developing.  I was willing to answer the call, but the dream felt just too far out of reach.  And really, did I want to be “caged?”  Could I live in the country?  What did locals do for fun?

Where The Back Roads End

You know the story… dreams do come true!

After a full year, I can honestly say that living on a back road is more than I could have ever imagined!  Our friend Abbey Road coined the phrase, “Where The Back Roads End.”   Burton IS where the back roads end!  Life travels at a slower pace out here.  It is not uncommon for people to stop by The Coop just to shoot the breeze.  I love the sense of community!

We are supported by the most generous and hard working people.  The business owners of the Roundtropolis understand the need to promote each other, which has been helpful in growing Flown The Coop.  I showcase several local entrepreneurs, a local author and a local artist in The Coop.  The creative community is flourishing on the back roads!

Our social calendar is never boring.  I am so grateful to live in Burton with so many kindred spirits who enjoy life!    Here’s one of my Facebook posts from February 8th:

For those who wonder if country life is boring… We started the weekend Friday at ROYERS ROUND TOP CAFE and then dropped by a friend’s house to sit by the fire for a bit. After another great day at The Coop, Saturday evening we went to Saddlehorn Winery for wine tasting and sang carpool karaoke on the way to a Mardi Gras party at The Stone Cellar. Sunday I worked in my garden (this weather is awesome) and then went to a Super Bowl party at The Cottages on Mill Creek-Round Top Lodging.

Exploring the back roads for yourself

Wether you need to recharge yourself in the quietness of the country or you’re in need for an adventure, exploring our back roads will not disappoint.

When you hit the road, I hope you make your way to Burton.  We are located half way between Houston and Austin on 290.  It’s where the back roads end.  If you want the local experience, stop by The Coop to ask for directions.  I would love to visit with you!  I try to keep up with what is going on, where to eat, nice places to stay and who you need to meet.  I’ll point you in the right direction.

You never know what you’ll discover off the beaten path.

Happy Trails,

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

 

My secret town

Burton, Texas is often overlooked in guides written to navigate Texas Antiques Week.  In fact, Burton has managed to be the best kept secret among the dealers who enjoy getting away from the crowd without the crazy lines.

In 2011 I was invited to join a group of dealers to eat at the Burton Cafe during the fall show.  Ludmil and Linda Marcov of Willow Nest lived in Burton at the time.  After dinner our group walked a block to their homestead for a chance to tour their shop and home.  It was love at first site.  In my wildest dreams I could never imagine that in four years I would call this magical property my home.

I pinch myself everyday!  The best way to get to know a new hometown is to become a tourist in your own town.  Here is what I’ve discovered about this secret town….

This community is alive!  It didn’t take long to get to know people and feel apart of this wonderful community.  A quick look at the Burton Chamber of Commerce calendar for March gives a glimpse of the numerous events and opportunities to interact with our neighbors.  The energy put into events is admirable.  The chamber of commerce and area businesses have been extremely supportive of the Burton Preview Party and the Burton Blogger Party events planned for Texas Antiques Week.

There are three restaurants within walking distance and literally within view of our little white house.  The Brazos Belle Restaurant, with an authentic french fare, was recently featured in Texas Highways magazine.   Burton Cafe is a wonderful german restaurant where we discovered german pancakes and the red rueben.  The Burton Short Stop is a local favorite.  They make the best hamburgers and finger licking fried food.

This sleepy little town rocks during the weekend!  Every Thursday night the locals come out for Karaoke with Denise the Country Chick Karaoke & DJ at The White Horse Tavern.  On Friday and Saturday nights it is fun to watch two stepping couples let their hair down to live music at The White Horse.  I wish I had known about the White Horse when I was a dealer in the field.  It would have been a great way to unwind.  In addition to nightlife, it is not uncommon for motorcyclists and classic car enthusiast flock to Burton for day trips.

The rolling hills of Washington County is known for the numerous wineries.  I was thrilled to learn Saddlehorn Winery was only four miles away!  Another relaxing destination I wished I had known about during Texas Antiques Week.  The winery and tasting room are located in a renovated horse barn with scenic views of their vineyard.  Jeff and I joined their wine club and have enjoyed pick up parties in their fantastic event room.  Saddlehorn just announced construction on their outdoor patios.  I will toast to that!

It’s only natural to mention the parks.  Lake Somerville is a short picturesque drive from downtown Burton.  There are a few campgrounds to launch a boat, camp or have a picnic with the pet like deer.  Behind the Cotton Gin Museum you can explore the Indian Creek Nature Area.  This little nature preserve is a labor of love by local members of the Texas Master Naturalist.

Photo Credit: Heidi Jaster

I love that Burton’s charm has been preserved over the years.   The town is filled with historic homes, the official Texas Cotton Gin Musuem, The Burton Heritage Society located in the historic Burton Railroad Depot and established downtown businesses.  The Nesting Co Flourist is a lovely business.  Heidi Jaster is not only an accomplished florist, but a talented photographer.  The Burton Bridge Ministry Thrift Shoppe, located in a historic corner gas station, is a mission of Burton area churches and another best kept secret.

Photo Credit: Heidi Jaster

In recent years visionary businesses have fallen in love with our secret town.  Old Glory Antiques established their Old Glory Texas pop up shop in the 3000 square foot dance hall in the spring of 2014.  Their bunkhouse adjacent to their shop was featured in the October issue of Country Living.  This spring Texas Antiques Week will usher in two new businesses.  In addition to Flown The Coop, Joel and Shelby Geshay will open Bayberry’s on East Texas St. on March 25th.

The biggest joy of our new hometown is in our backyard!  Jeff and I have really enjoyed country living and so excited to open Flown The Coop in this wonderful community!  We’ll be kicking off our new venture on March 25th during the Burton Preview Party.  This will be a city wide celebration with food trucks and live music.  The party will continue on Friday, March 27th when Burton rolls out the red carpet for the first ever Burton Blogger Party.  Click through the Burton Preview Party and the Burton Blogger Party links to see details on the events.

In 16 days the secret will be out!  We know that as people become more aware of Burton, it will be a favorite Texas Antiques Week destination and a day trip destination all throughout the year.

Hope you stop by and see me!  When you come be sure to tag any posts to Facebook or Instagram with #BringmetoBurton so we can see Burton through your eyes.  I also use #2flownthecoop, #secrettown, #BurtonTX.  Search these hashtags if you want to see what has been posted recently.

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!

Check it out!  Recently published Social Marketing on the Fly, a guide to social marketing on the road.