Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PLPT GEMS: Meet Carmen Cardoza

Our GEMS feature today, Carmen Cardoza, is responsible for the redesigns of Peace, Love and Pretty Things and The Write Curl Diary.  We are thrilled to feature her and share her beautiful spirit with all of you.

PLPT GEMS presents
Carmen Cardoza
Mama. Yogini. Marketing Strategist.Web Designer.

1. Share with us a defining moment in your life that has shaped the woman you are today.

I would have to say that I am continuously being shaped by every moment in this life of mine. I am so malleable, which at times is frustrating for me because I get restless, but most of the time it is what I enjoy about my mind and spirit. With that said, there have been moments in my life that I can say made a significant impact on me. For example, when I was pregnant I was astounded by the nurture and courage that evolved within me.

I’ve always loved children, but I did not intend to have any myself, so I was blown away by how in love I fell with my pregnant self and how hard I fell for my child. I was sure that my small frame would not survive childbirth so I was very afraid. I bought books to understand what was going to happen to my body. I took a class. And, typical me, because I was so afraid, I challenged myself to give birth without medication in a birthing center. I felt miraculous and developed such a respect for women, as I witnessed my body do it’s thing for my child. From the widening of my hips to the sound of my crying baby triggering my body to release milk, I was just in awe of woman and nature and me.

2. What do you do for a living?

I’m a freelance marketing strategist, web and graphic designer, and I provide outsourcing services to boost the day-to-day business efficiency of small businesses and non-profit organizations.

3. What are the most fulfilling and most challenging aspects of being self-employed?

The most fulfilling aspects of being self-employed and working from home are being there for my daughter after school, not having to take part in countless anti-productive staff meetings, training as much as I want, the ability to “choose” my clients, and being able to experiment with my ideas.

Some sillier aspects of working from home include being able to let my hair air dry, taking a longer shower in the mornings if I want to, working in my pajamas (for whatever reason working in my pajamas helps keep me creative), and having Law & Order playing in the background while working. But seriously, I love that I can work on a copywriting project or code a website – which I do enjoy - while having a CO2 gel mask on my face – which I also enjoy. I love that I can have dinner ready by the time I have to pick up my daughter from school, all while having done conference calls and the like. I feel like I’m living more now. Although I sometimes spend endless hours working, I am also taking care of my home, my family and myself, and having fun while at it. Right now, I am working on these interview questions while at my daughter’s Twae Kwon Do class. That is just splendid to me.

The most challenging aspects of being self-employed include having an unpredictable income, being a one-force team, thereby having to market myself and work on my assignments simultaneously, or not so simultaneously - hence the challenge. Another challenge I have is not having a marketing budget, so I have to be really creative (which sometimes ends up being fulfilling).

4. How would you describe a day in the life of Carmen Cardoza?

My days are a melting pot of my career work, my housework, my play, and mommyhood. It changes from one day to the next depending on the projects on my plate, the activities in my child’s life, trips, my latest obsession, etc. There are certain things that I am working towards incorporating into my daily routine. Although I don’t like to be restricted I do have respect for discipline.

So here’s a typical day of the week for me: 6am yoga and exercises - 7am get daughter ready for school - 8am breakfast, emails & voicemails, to-do list - 9am work and laundry - 2pm pick up daughter - 3pm daughter’s Twae Kwon Do - 4:30p snack, homework, piano, dinner prep - 6:30pm dinner - 7:30pm bath - 8pm read with daughter - 8:30pm bedtime - 9pm rest - 9:30pm work - 11pm bedtime

I found that doing yoga first thing in the morning has been mentally therapeutic for me, and a creative catalyst. By the time I’ve finished my yoga session and it’s time to wake up the rest of the house to start the day, I am in such a great mood. Yoga also prepares my body for the long hours of sitting I’m going to do.

5. How do you stay motivated and overcome doubt, fear and negative thinking?

I meditate in order to fight negativity. I stare at pictures of my daughter to stay motivated. I cry to release my doubts and fears. When I feel myself nearing panic because I don’t know where my next project is coming from, I just dive into activity. Activity begets activity so I just do something. It may include volunteering, more tutorials, more blog posts, illustration, updating my portfolio and calling potential clients (which I should be doing every day anyway, right?). Mood boosters like yoga, arts & crafts with my daughter, a tutorial, which always gets me going, and reading which makes me happy, are necessary.

I’m honest with myself. When things aren’t going well, I look to myself to make them better. Talking to like-minded people who are going through the same challenges and people who have successfully overcome them is great too. It gets the juices flowing, ideas emerge, you get excited, build momentum, etc.

6. What advice would you offer to others who are searching for their purpose or are afraid to take the first step towards their dreams?

Take the time to identify your strengths and weaknesses in order to plan accordingly for a successful venture. Know what you want to do and who you want to be. Know why you want it. Have realistic expectations and take it a step at a time so you don’t set yourself up for disappointment and failure. Write it down. Write down what you want to do. Then write down how you are going to get there. Even write down when you want to get there. Then do a little something every day to get you to that first step. Even if it doesn’t happen according to plan, you are putting it out there.

7. Name someone who has inspired you and why.

This is so tough because I am inspired by a hodgepodge of people for arbitrary reasons. I cannot pinpoint what inspires me about these people. Their spirits uplift me and when in doubt or when in search of a little charge, these are the people that come to mind. They include my daughter for her jubilant and magnetic personality, my mother for her sweetness, strength and laughter, my cuddlier-half for his kindness, patience and mentorship, an unbeknown mentor/client who has shared some energizing stories with me, Mother Theresa for just knowing what she wanted to do and just doing it, Toni Morrison for some deep and beautifully raw prose. I really cannot name ONE.

8. How can people connect with you?



It's surreal to read your own writing on someone else's pages - if you know what I mean.

PLPT: Thank you so much for this opportunity. These were great questions, which really helped me not be so hard on myself from certain perspectives (because I've come a long way) and light a fire under myself in other perspectives (because I can do better).

Love & Hugs,


Peace Love and Pretty Things said...

Thanks Carmen! We're so lucky to have "met" you, chica! xoxoxo

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