On a Personal Note: My L(attitudes)

Once you’ve lived in paradise, why would you consider living anywhere else? While I have traveled to awesome places in this world, I have only lived in Florida. I’ve considered a few places for the adventure and there are beautiful landscapes of all kinds, so it is still a possibility, but my heart is still in that sweet spot on the aqua waters where the dolphins play between mangrove tidal islands, where the white sands are between my toes and the pelicans look at me recognizing my soul as one of their own.

Aerial view of the road bridge between Captiva Island and Sanibel Island in Lee County, Florida, United States

My Connection to Ft. Myers, Sanibel, and Captiva

Born in Jacksonville, it was all I knew until the day I learned we would be moving for a boat sales job for my stepfather. Moves are always scary for young kids but when we drove over the big bridge for the first time and saw the crystal blue waters, all my worries melted away. And when we went on our first boat ride to the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, I thought I might be in heaven. Despite the occasional turmoil at home, the place and people made for a great childhood.

But eventually we would move back to Jacksonville. While Jacksonville has many things going for it, it felt like a concrete jungle in comparison and the culture I was surrounded by was far from the Midwesterners of Ft. Myers that I shared values with. But my extended family is in Jacksonville, so that made up for it.

In 2011, a road trip back to Lee County reawakened my connection to its tropical flora. In previous trips to the tropical paradise my focus was on the aqua water, dolphins, pelicans, tidal islands, and landmarks from my youth. However, this time the seagrape leaves ignited and inspired a painting that turned into a green series full of big tropical leaves. Yes, it took about ten years to complete four paintings, that was because I was also working on my masterpiece…my son. He is now a Senior in High School and as a sweet friend once said, “I’m less of the CEO now and more of the advisory board.”

The paintings of lush tropical flora became a spiritual journey, teaching me and showing me the way to a higher connection preceding and preparing me for difficult loss of loved ones. My second painting in the series is called “Mickler’s Welcome” because the subject was located at the entrance to Mickler’s Landing (beach access). Now I wish I had called it ‘Receptivity’, because during the act of painting its victory stance of leaves reaching towards the sun, I made it my intention to also open to a higher source of learning and spiritual growth.

Pivoting Dreams: Hurricane Ian

I put my business sense hat on while I was wrapping-up the final painting in the series, and thought, “when I’m done, I’ll try to have a showing at my community culture center.” The pandemic would enter, shut down the center as if to say, “nope!”

I love where I live in Nocatee, with a vibrant town center and easy access to the beach. It’s close to Jacksonville. Still, I’ve also always wanted to spend my golden years in my childhood town. Just like the aging Midwesterners that made up most of the area’s population. I loved the idea of the thriving art community, beautiful views and laid-back lifestyle. I even told my husband a week before the hurricane that I wanted to move to Sanibel. But again, the Universe, had other plans. Enter, Hurricane Ian. Ian destroyed all the places I loved.

Do we look at these events as signs to change coarse or push through on the same path? Usually, I change course. I don’t see it fitting for me to force my way through things. I know I could do anything I set my mind to. In this instance I chose the third option, to turn it into a giving opportunity to help the environment that gave so much to me.

Art for a Cause

When there was an oil spill in The Gulf of Mexico a few years back, I could barely believe it. How could we be so careless? I was beyond consolable and so upset.

Today, seeing the increase in catastrophic events and hurricanes that are more powerful and doing more damage than ever before it is confirming global warming. Feel free to correct me with facts and evidence, I want to believe I have it wrong. I want to believe that noticing the change in wave strength in the Atlantic Ocean and The Gulf of Mexico is all in my head. Maybe I only want to remember the awesome calm days at the beach of my childhood. Maybe windy wavy days don’t make for good memories. Maybe the millions of dollars tax payers are paying on reconstructing and conserving the beaches along our coast are how it was always done. Maybe the houses falling into the ocean simply don’t have the same political/financial pull as the millionaires up near my beach that can afford the endless construction. But sadly, I think things are changing.

In times where I start to feel hopeless, I must remember I can do something even if it is small in comparison to the need. It only seems fitting that I can take the paintings that were inspired by the natural world and give back to the natural world. I don’t know if my tropical paradise of Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva will ever recover. Most of those homes were at the bottom of The Gulf for a while. That has never happened before when hurricanes passed through the area. But I will find a cause for the environment in that area and donate a portion of the proceeds of my painting sales to that cause. I’m considering these: https://www.givinggreen.earth/recommendations but looking for Hurricane Ian specific causes. If you have a recommendation, please reach out to me.

If you or an art collector you know is interested in learning more about my art,

Tea Readings Tag #2

Tea Leaf Reading #2: 12 Spring Must Haves

When Spring approaches it feels like it brings with it new beginnings, which is just what we need after a year of navigating through a pandemic and scary politics. As I write this, the sun is shining bright and we still have a bit of chill in the air. The bulbs I planted are showing that Spring has nearly sprung. It is both a pleasant time of year, and also leaves me with a sense of being unprepared. It can be disappointing when I step out into Spring still wearing winter colors, like I’m missing out on something spectacular. Not this year!

The first day of spring is March 20th and I’ve learned to have Spring rituals to celebrate it! First, I need to:

  • Switch out my closet with bright spring colors and warmer weather clothes. I like to buy a few items to freshen up my wardrobe.
  • Get a professional facial (although this year might still require an at-home facial and that is ok because I’ve discovered Curology. I skip the dermatologist appointments and have the MD mail me exactly what I need. No affiliate program just a great mail subscription.)
  • Detox from the holidays and get bikini bathing suit ready :P,
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  • Splurge on a deluxe pedicure package! During the pandemic my friend introduced me to ColorStreet – they launch their Spring collection today! Now weeks after my mani or pedi I can freshen up the color and add fun patterns! (You can buy yours at the link above),
  • And, buy all the things that make for a great Spring!

    As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

March brings St. Patrick’s day and my son’s birthday, so I want to be prepared. This year skip the “kiss me I’m Irish” t-shirt and keeping with something more subtle (most of us are still not vaccinated so it’s best to not tempt a pinch. Wear your green, it’s socially responsible.)

This is one of my favorite tops. It’s cotton, loose, lightweight and comes in beautiful colors and patterns for St. Patty’s day (or Spring), from $19.99. (Click the photo for purchasing details through Amazon.)

This past Christmas I bought my son a kayak and we were planning to buy my husband and I a two seater so that we can go with him, but the logistics aren’t working for carrying two on my car, however, I think I’ve found a solution. Two-seater inflatable kayak, from $139. (Click the photo for purchasing details through Amazon.)

Or do we switch it up get something to offer us options, like an inflatable SUP, from $229.95. (Click the photo for purchasing details through Amazon.)

April showers remind me I’ve always wanted but never found rain boots that would work for me. They are typically heavy and hot (not great in humid/hot Florida). But I hate the feeling of soggy shoes. I think I’ve found the solution with this new modern rain shoe. These are quick drying water shoes which would come in handy during a rainy day, kayaking or many other watersports.

DLGJPA Women’s Quick Drying Water Shoes for Beach or Water Sports Lightweight Slip On Walking Shoes, from $32.99. (Click the photo for purchasing details through Amazon.)

Speaking of hot and humid, nothing bothers me more than the heat these days. A friend of mine just recommending peppermint essential oil as the solution. She said, “you put a dab behind your neck and on the bottom of your feet and you will be a degree cooler. And I’ll take every degree cooler I can get during the warmer months in Florida! She said, “you can also add a drop in your water and feel like you are breathing in Alpine air.”

Cliganic USDA Organic Peppermint Essential Oil, 100% Pure Natural Undiluted, for Aromatherapy | Non-GMO Verified, from $7.99. (Click the photo for purchasing details through Amazon.)

And, we can’t forget that April 1st is April Fool’s day. I made the mistake of really getting into gags for my son when he was in elementary school and for the year following he got back at me every chance he had. Now a days, I do something that is less “got’cha” and more silly. Sitting around reading this series of books with your kids is a hoot! Nothing is better than hearing your child laugh! Enjoy!

Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids, from $4.24. (Click the photo for purchasing details through Amazon.)

May flowers might have you tip-toeing through the tulips but why tip-toe when you can walk in with these orthopedic support flip-flops. I became a fan of Vionics after training for my last run. They correct your feet to align your whole body relieving aches throughout your whole body, or at least they do for me.

Vionic, Orthopedic Support Flip-Flops from, $35.99 (Click the photo for purchasing details through Amazon.)

Remember my list of to dos for Spring? I just found one of my old favorite products for cleaning and reducing pores at an amazing price. That solves this year’s dilemma of sitting face-to-face with a Esthetician.

Neutrogena Microdermabrasion Starter Kit – At home microdermabrasion machine – Skin Exfoliator with Glycerin – Skin Firming, Pore Minimizer, Age Spot Remover, from $16.98! WOW! (Click the photo for purchasing details through Amazon.)

And after you clean your skin, you’ll want to protect it out in the sun. My favorite SPF is a tinted moisturizer.
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Radiant Tinted Facial Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Vitamins A, C, & E, Lightweight, Sheer, & Oil-Free Coverage, from $10.45. (Click the photo for purchasing details through Amazon.)

Everyone needs a motivating book to read each Spring/Summer and this book will be out right in time. Pre-orders are available now and it is release in May (I pre-ordered 4 because her sales pitches are just THAT GOOD! I plan to keep one and start a giveaway for clients). After learning about Rachel Rogers on the Drew Barrymore Show, I have been obsessed. She is an amazing leader for women and isn’t afraid to throw out the stats and follow it up with how we can change them to achieve what, as of now, has been unachievable. She is definitely someone to watch if you want to achieve big things!

We Should All Be Millionaires, by Rachel Rodgers, from $24.64. (Click the photo for purchasing details through Amazon.)

And if you don’t want to think business poolside, I picked this book because it combines my love 70s/80s music with my love of a non-fiction book or biography. I can’t wait to hear more about how Rickie Lee Jones lives her life full of artistry, creation and passion.

Last Chance Texaco: Chronicles of an American Toubadou, by Rickie Lee Jones, from $24.99. (Click the photo for purchasing details through Amazon.)

This tea reading tag is one I love and so perfect for Spring. It says, “The creation of a thousand forests is in the acorn.” It reminds me of a conversation I had years ago with my husband about seeds and all of the energy that must be in a tiny seed to have it spring forth and produce so much. Randomly soon after that I watched a video on YouTube about a man that was against our “seedless” genetically modified versions of fruit. “You lose all of the vital natural goodness that the fruit has to offer.” From those words and on, I cherished seeds – what they have within them and what can become because of them. Similar to the ripple or butterfly effect. There is great power in the smallest elements of nature, one small act of kindness or one action of self care.

Tea Leaf Reading #1: Unapologetically Self-Full

A Blog Series by J. Lacey Taylor

In an attempt to connect us, while going through this pandemic together, I am starting something new. I miss networking with local businesses -in person, so I am making this interactive and opening up for comments below the post. My hopes are that long term it will help with connecting with all of you, not only locally but internationally as well.

My idea is to let tea tags inspire tea leaf reading blogs. This is where business meets serenity. Where lady bosses are reminded to pause and redefine their definition of what success is to them. This is were we will find balance together, or at least that is my goal and intention.

Tea Leaf Readings aka Tasseography is a divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves. However, I feel a tea bag with a motivational tag is a sweet modern extension to those earlier gypsy readings.

Before we begin, grab a cup of tea. And if you don’t have a great selection of tea, I have a few recommendations:

For tea tag sayings, try Yogi Tea. Winter flavors? YUM! For the best medicinal tea: Nettle is great for sinuses! Or the best medicinal tea in a bag: Best benefits for your $! And, for the best flavor: Remember fireballs? Try H.C.S.!

Let’s begin…

The first tag reads,

The Universe has Your Back

“Empty yourself
and let the universe fill you.”

Tea Tag

Let’s break it down…

  1. Empty yourself:

    One would have to be “full of themselves” if they were asked to empty themselves. The wise tea isn’t saying we have big egos but rather we are filled with our problems, our worries, our self sabotage, etc. And the tea wants us to …get rid of it, toss it out, and let it go. The tea has something better for us…

    Wait a minute. That’s oddly familiar. Remember the nursery rhyme? I’m a little tea pot short and stout. Here is my handle, here is my spout. When I get all steamed up, hear me shout. Tip me over and pour me out. Woah! All these years I thought the rhyme was an instruction manual not ancient wisdom and advice! We are all a little “steamed up” this year wouldn’t you say?
  2. Let the universe fill you

    When I read the second portion of the tea tag the first thing that came to mind was my new found connection to the universe and how much it has served me. Where casual knowledge and awareness lived, a stronger bond and relationship now exists all because of the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401946550/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1401946550&linkCode=as2&tag=jlaceytaylo00-20&linkId=0428bfd4af8148b28ead32c3e3165161">The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to FaithThe Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabby Bernstein. We have all been through so much recently with the pandemic. Isn’t it soothing to think that the thing bigger than life has our back?

    Tea Leaves say, distinguish between being selfish vs self-full. When we fill ourselves with all the beauty and mysteries that the universe has to offer we are whole/full. The wise tea is telling us when we let go of ego and focus on just how small we are in this vast universe, our troubles can melt away as we marvel.

Predicting 2021

It’s fitting to start tea leaf reading, which use to be a form of fortune telling during a time when our lives have the most uncertainty. Don’t you think?

This T.L.R. advice – to give up worry, frees our minds to think clearer to move on actionable progress in our lives. Filling ourselves with the Universe also means collaborate with it. We may not know what is around the corner but with a teammate like the Universe (that has our back) we can move forward with confidence. I’ve created a Grow and Launch your Business guide that you get when you subscribe, and here are business preparations we can make for 2021…

Action Steps to close out 2020:

  • Ask, what will our target market need from our business during and after the pandemic? In the freebie guide I mentioned above, I offer suggestions on how you can get your unique solution to your market
  • Hone-in on your vision!
    If you have more time for your business, your vision for it may have changed since the last time you checked in with it. Get real specific about what you want for your business. Have you seen anyone do what it is you would like to do? Study them.
    Vision board it! Pinterest is a free virtual space for vision boarding. Simply create a board (your goal), then use Pinterest’s search to find images or information specific to what you are trying to achieve and pin it on your board!
  • Can your brand live up to your new vision?
    Often we start a business with the bare necessities and low level design work. Contact me for a free review of your brand and logo to find out how you can elevate your brand and get you closer to your vision.
  • Update your website to handle an influx of new business.
    Is your website experiencing glitches? My last website job was simple, change an address. However, the business owner hadn’t made the necessary updates over the years (if it wasn’t broke, he wasn’t going to fix it), the website wasn’t secured and it was running on an old version of the platform. Needless to say that simple change turned into 4 hours of updating and troubleshooting. Keep your website fully functioning by having a professional check on it routinely.
  • Engage!
    Just like the tea leaves mention, our customers are a part of our universe. While our goal is to work on OUR dreams, by removing our ego from what we do and making our work about serving others and help them achieve their dreams, we in fact do exactly what we set out to do.

While there are some outlandish predictions (I know, I’ve scoured the internet.) I feel the tea tag that I wrote about above says it all. We can not go wrong, if we take this pandemic and the state of our world as a message to find our spirituality and connect to something bigger than ourselves.

Connect with readers of this month’s tea leaf reading in the comment section below. Don’t forget the book I mentioned, it can be purchased at the link above. Sign-up for a free consultation, if you are in need of J. Lacey Taylor’s digital design and marketing services. And, subscribe to get your free Steps to Launch and Grow your Business pdf!

Tapping into your Creative Flow

Types of Creative Blocks

We’ve heard of writer’s block, when an author of a book can’t come up with the next thing that they want to write.

We’ve heard of actors that have to take several takes in a scene when they just can’t get the moment captured correctly. We’ve even heard of musicians that take sabbaticals from music because the music just isn’t happening.

For me and art, I blame my lapses in creation on the many roles I must fill and the lack of time that leaves. I can see how those that don’t have my roles struggle to understand why I’m not painting all the time – some chalk it up to lack of motivation, fear of failure or something else. All I know is people understand it through what they have experienced themselves and not necessarily what I’m going through and that’s OK.

The truth of my reality is that my creative juices are flowing! I feel like a slingshot that has been pulled back for years and I’m nearing the release. What does this mean you ask? It means that some of my current roles are relaxing and more space and time is opening up for my art work.

Lack of HIGHER Connection

It’s easy to see that our society in ‘Merica is tapped into politics and so much anger associated with it. We are easily out of alignment from our natural state of being. If we don’t step back from it and see the bigger picture – we might all drown in our current negative fear and angry constipated state.

A painter knows how to do this naturally. We work up close in the details on canvas and then step back to make sure it all works together for the painting as a whole. Likewise for any artist that isn’t inspired, at least from my perspective, they can pause and find their connection to a higher source to flow through them.

Back to those actors that can’t perform. Have you seen the trailer for the Helen Mirren Masterclass? I always wondered what makes a great actor and I find her to be an amazing one. She simply says, “never act in front of the mirror, you are doing the exact opposite of what acting is about. Acting is all about what’s happening within you. It doesn’t matter what’s happening on your face.” What this statement did for me, was tell me I need to stop worrying about how I’m perceived (let go of ego) and instead create inside what I want to develop in myself and the world around me (spirituality, flow and connection).

“Never act in front of the mirror, you are doing the exact opposite of what acting is about. Acting is all about what’s happening within you. It doesn’t matter what’s happening on your face.” Helen Mirren

From Loss to Spiritual Gain

In 2019, we lost 4 very special members of our family. The first was one of my favorite people in the world, my grandmother who had just turned 98. And the last in December, was my aunt. My aunt hit me hardest as she was still young. She had spent 2019 reconnecting with me through my business for her business. She was a fine abstract artist and needed a logo, help with her website, business cards and envelopes. We met regularly. This was not typical for my clients but she was my lovely aunt and I loved any chance to spend time with her.

One would think loss would stagnate a person. (I’ve had great loss before when my dad died and depression took hold of me for many, many years until I learned I actually had a chronic health issue that was making it hard to recover from that loss. Once I learned to manage my health condition, I was able to learn from the loss and create tools for faster recovery.) The latest loss of my aunt did stop me in my tracks for a month or two, but in dealing with my grief I found myself more connected to her and a higher source.

My aunt was the epitome of someone aligned with the universe. No matter the challenges in her life, she always exuded that she was on top of the world! And, she was in so many ways. She loved to be known for her fluidity. Her abstract paintings even showed her flow. She and I would have brief conversations about “flow” and I held onto it – better yet, I let it flow through me as a life long lesson from her that she wanted me to have. I notice when I take time to sit and be still – when I’m grateful for what is and I tap into the flow of the universe – creativity flows through me like wildfire!

Side note: the day I wrote the paragraphs above about my beautiful aunt, and using a word “wildfire” that I paused to use because I never use it, I had a very serendipitous moment. I had to venture out to the grocery store which is about a block away, I normally walk but I had just showered and it’s getting hot so I took my car. After getting what I needed, I got in my car and drove home. The radio started a song I hadn’t heard in years:

She comes down from Yellow Mountain
On a dark, flat land she rides
On a pony she named Wildfire
With a whirlwind by her side
On a cold Nebraska night

Oh, they say she died one winter
When there came a killing frost
And the pony she named Wildfire

In the short drive, I felt it was a connection to my aunt. And by the time the chorus came I was singing it and bawling like a baby, “She ran calling WILDFIRE.”

Hilarious now when I think of it.

Did I mention she had horses?

How to tap into your Creative Flow:

  • Meditatively Connect with Nature: Sit and be still or do a walking meditation each day, let go of any previous issues and realize the power of now, listen to what the universe is telling you (what patterns is it showing you) and set your intention for the day.
  • Marvel at the Universe, the world, the moment: take the time each day to feel in awe of a piece of creation. Or, likewise, find the serendipity and marvel at how things magically aligned for you. Appreciation for the mystery of life and the universe builds the connection.
  • Turn OFF to Tune IN: We could easily entertain ourselves all day with screens. But a large percentage of it doesn’t make us feel good. With TV most of the news makes us feel sick to our stomachs. With social media, connection is the aim but often “friends” don’t have the same agenda and it can leave you with negativity. Create a small window in your day for unwinding with the positive parts of screen time and leave the rest of your day for all of your other interests.
  • Create Space: Both the time in your schedule and the actual space that you designate as your creative space. (Space enhancers include: all of your tools for creation, candles or aromatherapy misters and music.) Purging your home is a great way to open up mind space. Clutter in the home equals block to creativity in the mind.
  • Collect Inspiration: I created a folder called Artspiration and it is where I put items that inspire me and speak to my specific style.
  • Have FUN!: Dance, tell your friend a joke, play a game, and find in your day what will make you laugh and say it or do it! Do what brings you the joy!
  • Make Someone’s Day: If I ask you to think of one person that made your day, someone will quickly come to mind – even if it was years ago. It’s something we don’t forget, and it’s something we didn’t know we needed. When you see the opportunity, participate in a random act of kindness for someone else. We do this, not because the Universe will reward us (and it will) – we do this because this might be the sole purpose of our lives.
  • Listen to your body: Get enough sleep, get so connected “to the source” that you only eat when you are truly hungry, rest when you need to rest, and push yourself when you need the challenge.
  • Don’t punish yourself: You’re tapping into a high power and it knows more than you, so the goals you may set for yourself might not be inline with the bigger plans – if things keep popping up interfering with your plans go with it – go with the flow – be fluid. Know that something better is awaiting you around the corner.
  • Surprise Yourself: Do something out of the norm. Try something new. Getting stuck in a rut is not in the flow – it means you aren’t tapped in.
  • Have faith: know that the Universe has your back.

From Blockages to Flow

Whether ego, politics, lack, grief or traumas are the culprits to your creative blocks, the solution is letting go. By dropping negativity and connecting to something bigger and smarter than you, you tap into unlimited possibilities and potential. Similar to riding on a horse like wildfire, you learn to throw all caution to the wind with total faith that the universe is your friend in doing all the good creative, beautiful things that life has to offer you.

Final Note

As I write this, I notice nothing flows through me faster than when I tap into saying what is good and right for humanity, mother nature and even what is good for my own soul.

Do you have blockages? How are you connecting to the source? What good things are you going to do? What creative endeavors do you want to explore? Let me know in the comments…

My work with charity Clara White Mission

It was a Christmas miracle when my friend offered a client of hers to me. My business was 5 months old, and I appreciated any new business. I’m thrilled she thought enough and was confident in my ability to recommended me. She had previously worked with a different web developer before we met and, the designer had developed a new website but left all basic functions unfinished. And, this client was a CHARITY! Clara White Mission was left without a way for sponsors to donate and no place for volunteers to register! AND, the hungry had no way of contacting them for a meal! Who would do that to a Charity? To do that during donation season seemed so heartless!

In my first call with the charity, they told me what was going on and I was truly flabbergasted as to why this happened. I offered to donate an hour of my time to investigate the issue and report back to them if I felt I could handle the project. There were too many unknowns and I didn’t want to waste their time or money if I didn’t know how to fix the problem. In that hour, I figured out the issue and reported back what needed to be done. My friend tells me they were very pleased that I knew what I was talking about and described it in a way that they could understand.

In the following conversations, we worked out our partnership. And, I went to work a week after because the previous website designer housed the website on his server and had to move the site to a new server with my recommendation.

Within my first hour of work, the functionality was working. Indeed, another Christmas miracle. Donors can donate, the staff get notification emails, PayPal accepts donations, and donors get a confirmation and receipt email. Their calendar of events accepts volunteer sign-ups, contact forms can accept information and send it to staff. Everything is working as it should!

If you know me, then you know that working for causes have changed my life. This project gave more to me than I gave to them. When I think of how this Clara White Mission works in our community to help the homeless and that my work somehow helped them do the work they need to do, I know I’m on the right path for my career and life.

If you are looking to be someone’s Christmas Miracle this holiday season, donate at www.clarawhitemission.org. website development jacksonville