Alignment, close to the heart.

Drawings, Writing
my one word for 2016, #suedle style.

my one word for 2016, #suedle style.


This past year was full of moments of joy, both the planned and the unexpected. When I look back on this year, I realize I had lots of big dreams. Dreaming is my way of finding joy.

When I reflected on my year of joy in search for a new word for 2016, I thought I would do something similar to other reflective posts – link back to a bunch of joyful moments of 2015. I have to admit I hesitated to do this & ultimately decided against it. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important to share the ‘happy times.’ I very much do, particularly lately when it seems our world isn’t so joyful.

It’s just that…Well, more than I want to share these moments, I want to hold onto them. I want to keep them in a private space, somewhere close to my heart, near my soul. I want to be selfish.  I want them to be mine. Some moments are not meant to be shared with my whatever-something followers. I’d rather call the few people I would share it with if we were all standing in the same room. Somehow, its more meaningful that way.


This may sound weird. I guess it is a little weird, considering I’m sharing this on a blog. But, 2015 really taught me a ton about private moments of joy and how I am in so in love with them. I want more of that.

I think I realized this in April when Dan asked me to marry him. (See? If you just followed me here, you probably had no idea this even happened! Don’t worry, I had no idea it was happening either.) At first, it was pure torture for the both of us not to hop online, update ALL the statuses and tell the world that we would be going on foodventures together for the rest of our lives. However, something pretty cool happened by not sharing right away – I recognized I LOVED not posting about it. Those few days where nothing was online about our newfound relationship status were total bliss. It was like our (and our families & close friends) little secret. I held it close to my heart, just like I wanted.

There were a few other moments over 2015 where I had moments like this. And that brings us to today. My ‘one words’ over the past few years have focused on action & experience. Finish. Do. Joy. During those years, I had listed out some pretty specific goals to go along with each one. I think somewhere in my mind I thought, Oh easy, I’ll pick a word, I’ll do these few things and I’ll feel great! Piece of cake.

But I’ve discovered, for me, that doesn’t really work. (I cannot believe it took me three years to realize that.) My ‘one word’ has to be more like a theme for it to be effective. A mantra, of sorts. ‘Joy’ was great for that – in obvious moments of joy, but also in moments that were complete shit too. It brought me back around, shifted my focus to turn and look at the good.

Les Brown quote

This year, I want to purposefully find the things that are close to my heart. I want to align myself with ‘those’ people. I want to be a bit more selfish. Development, whether personal or professional, has always been something I value. I want to find & invest in things that make me better, in people that strengthen me. This year, I’m working to align the things I want to do with who I am and who I want to be. I have a few ideas of what this might look like (more reading, more drawing, more walking and a suedle rebrand!) and what it might not look like. I definitely know that for now, I’ll be taking a step away from some social media platforms to have time to do other things.

I think the best part about ‘align’ is that those things could change. I think one of my favorite podcasters, Jess Lively, puts it best. She consistently says, ‘this thing might not serve me in this space I am right now. But, it could serve me if things change in the future.’ I dig the flexible, self aware nature of that statement. It aligns with what I’m trying to do.

So, for now, bye bye Twitter & Facebook. And hello to new drawings on Instagram and pictures of my cat on Snapchat. If you want to say hello, you can comment here, find me there or my personal favorite – we can chat offline! Preferably over a caffeinated beverage.

Or you can head over here to hear more about suedles and the update taking place soon. 

Thanks for hearing me out and I hope to see a few of you along the journey.



The Committed eSeries 2015


Welcome to the 2015 Committed series!

Committed is an e-series started by Kristen Abell and I in 2014 to highlight mental illness in student affairs. We know that a number of our colleagues are affected by mental illness – their own or a loved one’s – and we want to make the field aware of this and find ways to end the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Last year, many of us shared our stories of how we’re affected by mental illness in blog posts illustrated by yours truly and shared on the Student Affairs Collective blog.


We’re looking to go even bigger and better than last year’s series, and we’ve included some of our committed tweeters and pinners in helping us do that. Here is this year’s Committed committee (say that five times fast):

  • Kristen Abell
  • Carly Masiroff
  • Jessica Fantini
  • Annie Greaney
  • Me! (And my markers)

You may be receiving correspondence from one or all of us, so we wanted to introduce ourselves.


This year, we are using the theme “This is What Mental Illness Looks Like” to share more about the importance of stomping out stigma. In this theme, we are looking for visual contributions in addition to written ones – this can include, but is not limited to, photographs, illustrations, videos, vlogs, and written blogs. We’ll be highlighting four sub-themes throughout the month:

  • Throughout the lifespan
  • Loved ones
  • At work
  • Myself

Each week will feature one of these sub-themes, and we will be doing our best to show folks what mental illness looks like in regards to each of these areas. We truly believe that one of the best ways to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illness is to help those who are not affected by it to better understand it.


Interested in helping us out? Fill out this form and let us know a little about your story.

Looking forward to committing to ending the stigma around mental illness with you.



The Committed Committee


#suedles at #ACPA15!


Once a while, opportunities come along that simply blow my mind. I’m excited to announce that #suedles will once again appear at the annual ACPA Convention in two ways! 

Picture this: You’re walking out of a session, chock full of new ideas and questions. You turn the corner and on a table you see a brightly colored card. “What’s that?,” you wonder. You wander over and see a familiar color scheme and the words, “Consider this.” So, you do just that. 

I’m incredibly excited to be the designer behind ACPA’s Engagement Cards, which you can find scattered throughout the convention. (Special thanks to Joe Ginese for coming up with this idea and ACPA’s leadership for allowing me to be a part of it!)

I also am incredibly thrilled that once again I will create graphic recordings of the ACPA opening and closing speakers. The finished products will be signed by the speakers and then auctioned off at the ACPA Marketplace, with the proceeds going to scholarships. Come visit the Marketplace on Friday to see the finished #suedles from the opening ceremony! 

I’m incredibly grateful and thrilled to share visual language with the student affairs community. I look forward to connecting with you during sessions, Pecha Kucha Talks and on the #ACPA15 backchannel! 

The Joy of Presence.


A few weeks ago, one of my favorite podcasts, Invisible Office Hours, returned for it’s second season. IOH is hosted by two creative entrepreneurs, Paul Jarvis and Jason Zook. Though I first ‘met’ this dynamic duo after reading their blogs and books, I have a greater appreciation for Paul and Jason after fangirling over their podcast.

On Tuesday, I set an appointment on my calendar so I wouldn’t miss their opening segment. Not only was I excited for the second season, but I wondered what the first episode would be about. I was somewhat surprised when the conversation started about social media.

Paul and Jason went onto to talk for a little over an hour about social media usage and how it could be addicting. As I pondered this, I (ironically) took to Twitter with my thoughts:

I would not put my social media addiction on the same level as my caffeine or Sharpie addiction…but I would say it’s pretty damn close. Mostly, my addiction has be beneficial. I’ve reaped the benefits of new relationships, some professional development opportunities and business opportunities. I’ve looked at it as another medium to express myself, to share topics I care about and start discussions.

But lately, I have been straying from my usual usage. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why until Paul and Jason talked about a “social media sabbatical.” Sounds kind of funny, doesn’t it? But the more my earbuds filled with stories of theirs, the more I kind of yearned for one myself. It seems it’s not enough to have notifications disabled on my devices.

I need a hard reset. I need a creative shove to feel the joy in being present again.

When I told my coworker I was doing this, he said “you won’t be able to make it.” Maybe he’s right, but I feel like it’s certainly worth a try.


After my #NACA15 presentation, you won’t hear (or read?) anything from me for the next few days/week. I am planning on doing a lot of reading, lots of suedling and a whole lotta being.

So long for now!



(Shameless plug: If you read, write or breathe, you will probably love Invisible Office Hours. Check out some of their episodes here.)

Choosing Joy. (Sharing my #oneword2015)


2014 was the year of ‘do’ for me.


Take on the responsibility.

Start the book.

Create the eSeries.

Open the Etsy shop.

Go to the conference.

Make the appointment.

Go to the interview.

Act on a conference committee.

Commit to the year after.

Submit the proposal.

Go to the yoga class.


Read the book(s).

Pick up the phone.

Say goodbye.






I am a woman who hesitates. Sometimes, I like to think things through. Sometimes, it just doesn’t feel right. Sometimes, I just can’t find the time. And sometimes, I need a nap.


I learned a few things, both good and bad, by focusing on doing this year. My biggest takeaway? I can’t do it all. Sometimes when I do it all, I am a real cranky individual. I am not my best, I don’t produce great work, and I am a real bitch to the people I love the most.

But when I am careful about what I do choose to do? I freaking ROCK that shit. I go all in, all Sue, all the time. When I focus, I create and complete projects in all areas of my life. (Major testament to this: holiday sales on my Etsy shop! I was focused and pulled it off. I laid out a timeline for myself and didn’t over promise or extend. Win!)


This year, I’m switching it up with my #oneword2015. I’ve focused on finishing and doing in the past two years.


This year, it’s joy.


Being a woman who hesitates, I also tend to over think things. I can let my emotions get in the way of being in the moment, recognizing the good times and being grateful for them. I burrow, not giving myself the opportunities to feel joy.


This year, I’d like to focus on the joyful moments that we can overlook everyday. To help, I’m increasing my suedle-ing to at least one sketch a day, using my 365 Sketchbook. I’m also making a Joy Jar to capture joyful moments throughout the year. Last but not least, I’m going to use a daily practice I developed as a Healer’s Art faculty member this year – a mental journal. At the end of each day, I will quietly ask myself, “What brought you joy today?” This could be fulfilling a long term goal, dreaming up a new one or finishing a good book. Recognizing joy, in all shapes and sizes, is a skill I hope to hone in the new year.

Cheers to a joyful 2015!

I’s and Orientation: A Survival Guide


To help Amma celebrate the six month anniversary of The I’s Have It, I asked if I could write a guest post about my recent experiences with orientation week. You can check out the original post here.


Oh, Orientation Week. You are one of my favorite times of the year and yet…well, I feel ashamed admitting this. But, I dread you sometimes. It’s not like I would ever want to break up with you – we’ve had so many great years together! It’s just that you EXHAUST me. You drain my energy like no other. You’re countless hours, necessary high spirited, ongoing energy, endless group activities…

You drain me. But each year, I prevail.

In my seven straight years of orientation, this one has been the most successful for myself as an introvert. I’m not sure if it’s from being a bit more self aware, or because this topic has been one that’s stuck in the forefront of my mind for the last year or two. Either way, I’d like to share a few ways that my ‘I’ was protected during medical school orientation this year.

Orientation prep #selfie!

Orientation prep #selfie!

Embrace the prep.

This is one of the few times where I did VERY little the weekend before orientation. By very I mean, I worked on some #suedles, saw some friends and family, and embraced equal parts of lounges and naps. When I started to feel guilty about saying no to a few things, I stopped myself. This was my time to build up some reserves before a long week. I knew I would rely on these for the next few days. Taking the time to reserve energy insured I was starting off on the right foot.


Your I is showing.

It’s no secret in my office that I’m an introvert. I have been known to hug my door. The framed cover of “The I’s Have It” is proudly displayed on my desk. This openness has allowed for some conversation with co-workers about introverted preferences. Alongside this, it also offers a venue for a discussion about some fears. While risky in some environments, I enjoy explaining to colleagues why I’m fearing a few 14 hour workdays in a row and what that can mean for my temperament. Not only does it hold me accountable to be better at preserving, it invites others to check in with me too.


Use your strengths.

Sessions of hundreds of students. Small talk during meals. Rounds at receptions. These are all common occurrences during an orientation week. It’s an exciting time of the year! We need to be exciting! Woo!…zzZZzz. Yes, all of these are important. But, you may have other strengths as an introverted staff member that are NOT be utilized during orientation.

Offer to run a small group session. Those maps of your school/campus? Hand them out and highlight some “recharge” areas. Then go hang out in one. Your poised introduction to the new group? Tell them you’re an introvert and like to write/read in your spare time. Offer to head up the week’s hashtag and monitor the backchannel. Volunteer to touch base with students who are missing items and use the opportunity to get to know them one-on-one. All of these items are suggestions that I made sure to include in our program this year.

Embracing the office mess.

Embracing the office mess.


Be creative about recharging.

During orientation week, there are few opportunities (if any) to close my door. Formal breaks are not an option most days. Staff members are expected to be around for an ungodly amount of hours. We signed up for this, but not necessarily something that we are comfortable with.

I began examining our orientation schedule early this year, being very cognizant of the timing of the days. As we planned, I encouraged shorter scheduled days, where we had the luxury to offer them.  I volunteered to be a part of the scavenger hunt in another building. This put me away from “home base” and gave me the opportunity to interact with the new class in smaller groups. I came in early enough to be able to have some quiet working time in my office in the morning. I offered to run errands when needed to recharge in my car. And I was open with my employer about how assigning me to these tasks would ultimately help our team succeed.


Sometimes, there’s no I in orientation.

This last tip is a play off of the old saying; sometimes you can’t find time to recharge. You don’t have the luxury of changing a schedule. You have a small staff and can’t take time away. There is no room to introvert. And that’s okay. You can still prep for the week by making sure you get plenty of rest beforehand and have healthy snacks on hand. You can plan, run and have a successful orientation. Sometimes, we just have to power through the discomfort and learn from it. More often than not, this can teach us something AND make us appreciate that end-of-the-week pedicure just a little bit more. 🙂




Want to read more about orientation and introverts? You can check out Amma’s post about icebreakers here

Celebrating an Etsy-versary.


Time is a really funny thing. At times it drips as slow as molasses and other times it’s a tornado. Yesterday, I experienced the latter after opening an email from Etsy.

Subject: Renew your listings.

Message: Eight of your listings are expiring soon. Renew them now to keep them in your shop.

I’m celebrating my four month Etsy-versary!

Being a shop owner has taught me a few things about running a small business over the past few months. Here’s my top four lessons over the last four months:

Taking action definitely pays off.

Opening the Etsy shop was an idea that I toyed around with for a few weeks. I was terrified when I pressed that ‘open shop’ button. The little wave of doubt still rears it’s head when I list new items. But when it comes down to it, I’m glad I battled hesitation and won. This year has been the year of doing in so many ways. Opening this shop has taught me to climb out of my own head and just go for it already!

Small businesses are anything but small.

Refunds, shipping profiles, custom requests, oh my! I will forever have a new appreciation for the inner workings of entrepreneurial enterprises, large or small. Being a shop owner has not only given me a greater appreciation for the finer details, but it has taught me that giving them attention can really pay off.

Don’t sell yourself short…literally.

It’s no secret that I struggle with putting a price on my work. I found it awkwardly frustrating to actually ask for compensation when #suedles are a part of who I am. This shop in conjunction with some supportive peers helped me realize that is a reason in itself! There is no shame in providing a product and putting a price on it. And when you have a personal connection to the product? Even better.

Take the criticism and then take the credit.

As in all new adventures, there were many “teachable moments” during this whole process. Luckily, many of my first customers were folks that gave me feedback on how the shop could improve. The amateur and the artist in me will forever appreciate this. Understanding the criticisms and continually working through them made is easier for me to take the credit when it’s available.

I hope to share more with you as the shop hits it’s next milestone. But for now? Some celebrations!

If you haven’t check out the shop lately, head on over – there’s new items up for sale! 

To thank you for your support (and reading this far), here’s a coupon code for 15% off any purchase over $5 from now through Sunday! Just visit my shop and use the code “etsyversary” at checkout. 

If you want #suedles to brighten your day on a regular basis, you can now follow them on Instagram. Regular shop updates, pictures of their production and sneak peaks at future discounts will be available by following the account.


And last but not least, thank you – for your support, your feedback, your purchases and just all around making this a great experience. Lookin’ forward to the future! 

Committed: A ‘Final’ Thought



Part of the suedle comic strip from my Committed post.

Part of the suedle comic strip from my Committed post.

Last night, Kristen Abell and I got together to talk future plans for the Committed Series.

It’s been a month full of hard work, difficult conversations and lots of reflective time. We are pretty psyched to share our plans for the future and to continue the conversation.

Please continue to share your stories, resources and reactions on the #SAcommits tag. 

Committed: the conversation.

Drawings, Multimedia
Suedled during the podcast - it's Kristen's Empathy Cap!

Suedled during the podcast – it’s Kristen’s Empathy Cap!

i am not quite sure how this happened, but May is more than halfway over. (?!)

we are also more than halfway through the Committed Series. the series has sparked conversation, comments and all sorts of thoughts. Kristen Abell and i have been looking for a way to discuss some of these thoughts and we figured, why not sit down and talk about the series? that’s how this whole thing started anyway!


So for your listening pleasure – Our conversation on the Committed Series.

Feel free to comment or connect with us to discuss more.  Thanks for the support!







well, it happened. i finally found a tweet that lit a fire in me… and more than twenty others.  it’s resulted in something pretty amazing.


i have to thank Stacy for said tweet that stuck with me for too long:


cue a brain dump session with Kristen Abell, a conversation with the folks at The Student Affairs Collective (thanks Tom and Sabina!) and of course, some suedle-ing and here we have it…



"Committed" to Mental Health Month with #SAcommits

“Committed” to Mental Health Month with #SAcommits


“Committed” is the result of too much silence, too much hesitation and too much stigma surrounding mental health in student affairs. we work as caretakers, members of the front line and members of the administration that fight for student health & wellness. why aren’t we doing the same for ourselves?

well, some of us are but no one knows about it. it’s time we preserve a space for this conversation. it’s time to make this a constant.

help support members of our community, online and off, by using this series as a jumping off point. join me in committing to this conversation by following the series throughout the month of May.


learn more here and join in the conversation using the #SAcommits tag.


special thanks to everyone who has submitted a story that will be featured in the series. your courage is the reason this exists!