My husband surprised me with a trip to Chicago for our wedding anniversary. This is not the norm in our relationship. It was such a surprise that I couldn’t even be excited right away. I had to digest the fact that I, myself, didn’t have a say in this expense. I am that person who has all her pennies counted and planned for. I look at my bank accounts every day, and still carry a check register around. I am openly made fun of about my anal retentiveness when it comes to finances. This is mainly the reason, why my husband can never surprise me. Even though I know what we can or cannot afford, I just need a moment to look at the numbers to commit to a plan. This uncertainty must’ve been all over my face, because “We are going to Chicago, just you and I,” was immediately followed by “I looked at finances and we can afford it and you will see the charges for the hotel room soon.”

This happened in August. The trip wasn’t until October. So, I pushed it out of my brain. As the trip neared, I started to get super excited. I have been to Chicago many times, but it’s always been for an event, or a purpose, never just to be a tourist with no real plans. The trip also marked the end of the peak of my super busy photography season. I had every intention to take my camera, but at the last minute, I decided not to take it (best decision ever). I tried to edit some pictures during the 7-hour drive, but everything I did looked shitty. So, I put the computer away.

I enjoyed and took in Chi-Town to the max. I didn’t expect my creative juices to be awaked there. It was like an artist date for myself that I didn’t plan but needed. An artist date is a concept that’s been written and talked about for decades. It’s when you carve out some time to input creativity in you by being around creative energy. It’s ‘me time’ for your creative side. It is an intentional, planned activity where you fill your creativity jar and caffeinate your creative brain cells. Us creatives, we output creatively day in and day out. We need to take in inspiration so we can produce again.

Though I was with my husband (artist dates are supposed to be done by yourself), it rejuvenated me because my brain was open to take in the creativity around me for myself. I was tuned in to the architecture, the history and the different environment. I was observing the city, it’s people, it’s ways. I often have mini artistic dates with myself by watching movies or going shopping or even listening to a podcast during my commute. And usually, those activities feed me. But living in the moment in a different environment for four days, was like a creative orgasm. I didn’t feel it’s full effect until weeks later when I evaluated what I produced during the weeks after returning from Chicago.

On our drive back home, I finished up editing an entire wedding. I went through my second wedding and made my first selections. The days after, I edited 20 Fall mini sessions and the 2nd wedding in record speed. I finalized design projects that I was stuck on. I usually sit of my pictures and design for few days, and go back to them and tweak a bit and finalize. When I went back to these… they didn’t need tweaking.

No, I am not going to a new city every month. I wish I could. But what fed me is allowing art and creativity around me play with me. As the Creative Coach Taylor would say, “Clear eyes, open brain (and hearts too), can’t lose.”

If you are a creative individual, and never tried this, try it! See what happens! If you go to mini artists dates, try a longer one. If you take long ones, fit in some short ones during the week. It doesn’t have to be high art, it can be just you, walking through JoAnn Fabric or Target, or cooking something new, sketching or listening to a podcast (more ideas HERE). It takes practice, but it’s so great! Don’t react to the creativity, but just take it in. See what it does within you.


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