The World Is Your Canvas

It’s like a dream, inside a dream, inside a dream.

2020 was a challenging year on many accounts.

We returned from Jade Retreat in Nosara, Costa Rica on March 15th, 2020 in Newark, NJ, and were welcomed into customs by the CDC, an awakening of our new reality. Toilet paper was now a commodity.

On the beach in Costa Rica - The World Is Your Canvas - A Trip to Jade Retreat in Costa Rica

– My mother turned 90. She still plays pickleball and is an inspiration to all — we are blessed.
– My two boys have managed to navigate and adapt to us all living under one roof — we do argue over wifi speed and Xbox.

– I got engaged to the most incredible man in St. Barths on Bastille Day. The fireworks in the night sky confirmed that timing is everything.

2020 was spent taking daily walks in the Brandywine Valley, playing a lot of tennis, and cooking and eating a lot of healthy food. We had a small but beautiful Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family and Rhys, my mother’s first great-grandson. It was a time of pure joy and love.

The day after Christmas we were fortunate enough to return to Jade Retreat with another family: 5 teens and 3 adults. Jade is located in a blue zone, a destination where the energy feels pure: the perfect place to reset.

I have never been great at meditating. As anyone that knows me will tell you — I have a hard time sitting still. But I have learned this year that meditation can actually make you happier. According to a fascinating article about mindful eating via The Well, research has shown that daily meditation can shift brain activity toward positive emotional states…that make us more likely to engage with the world rather than to withdraw from it.


Watching the kids unwind at sunset the first night was all I needed to know the week was going to be the perfect medicine for all of us. We woke up to tennis, surf lessons, zip lines, quad tours, fresh coconuts, and daily walks in the jungle and on the beach. There are no words to describe how great it felt to watch them all unwind and start to relax.

My dear friend Cindy Pettinaro wanted to give back to the community. She took all the kids to the local grocery store and handed out chicken, rice and beans to 10 families. Seeing the smiles and feeling the love was priceless.

Watching everyone reset from the past year was like a dream, inside of a dream.  The first Jade ping pong tournament, laughing, learning how to open a coconut with a machete, seeing monkeys, practicing Spanish, and learning how to make beans and rice with Mau. It reminded us all to appreciate the simple things and to be mindful.

Just breathe. I am grateful for my family and friends.

x, Carroll


The Social Scoop

Welcome to The Social Scoop, a series that shares what’s happening in the marketing world each month. Here’s the latest social media marketing news…

Politics and Instagram
You may have noticed that Instagram is taking a stand on misinformation. They temporarily disabled the ‘Recent’ tab from hashtag listings to help stop the possible spread of false information leading up to the 2020 election on Tuesday November 3.

Finetune Your Job Search
LinkedIn adds Career Explorer to “uncover potential career paths and see how your skills match to real job titles.” This will help unemployed people become more accurately paired with the job and employer that will best suit them.

TikTok Back and Forth
TikTok won an injunction against the White House and will get to stay in the US. For now, at least. There could be more to come after the election results come in.

Barcode Scanner, Upgraded
Snapchat now offers scanning features that extend to wine and food labels and can help you identify dog breeds, types of plants, Shazam songs, and more! Quick, what kind of dog is that?

Facebook Has Been Busy
Not only are they merging Messenger with Instagram Messages, Facebook is also assisting Black- and Latinx-owned small businesses in finding the resources they need, via Facebook’s updated Elevate page.


Julia Johnson Designs

Tangerine flower sculpture

“I’ve been into art since I could grip a pen…or a piece of sidewalk chalk,” says artist Julia Johnson. Illustration was her first love, introduced to her by her mother, who is an artist herself! Julia’s childhood was peppered with artistic influences, such as children’s books showcasing famous paintings, and she experimented with several different artistic mediums, including photography, stenciling, painting, knitting/crochet, and more. But she always circled back to black and white illustration. Sculpture is now a large part of her work, as well, and what drew her to it was the way she learned to cast shadow to create “lines.”

Artistic Growth
Much of Julia’s most recent work consists of line illustrations and flower sculptures. The sculptures came about as a byproduct of her 2011 senior thesis, which was an interactive calendar product design. A professor recommended the same waterproof, tear-proof synthetic paper for this project that she still uses today, called Yupo.

She started experimenting with abstract floral forms in 2012. “The forms and folds used in my current sculptural work are rooted in the experience of designing that thesis product,” she tells us, “so you could say every floral sculpture has been a riff on that. The heat and coloring applications I currently use were developed in the following years.”

Julia finds much of her inspiration in viewing other artists’ pieces of work. “The most inspiring experience for me is to attend a fine art show,” she says. At art events, she describes the concentration of energy as artists’ work meets enthusiastic patrons as “electric.” Art shows only come around once or twice a year, so she turns to natural history museums for another great place to foster inspiration. “Organic formations such as fossils, bones, plants, and (of course) flowers always catch my eye,” she explains.

More artists she admires include Patricia Urquiola, recommended by her mom, and Dale Chihuly. “I have viewed [Urquiola’s] Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition at least five times! Lately I’ve been looking at Dale Chihuly for sculptural inspiration, particularly his large sculptures,” Julia says of her artistic influences.

As inspiration hits, the medium Julia uses depends on what she’d like to create. For something expressive and abstract, she turns to sculpture. “I tend to sketch first, but sometimes you just have to ‘make the thing’ before the feeling evaporates. If I’m inspired to work in color, which is much less frequent, it’s usually a quick, energetic application,” she says about her process.

Exhibits and Current Projects
Julia’s latest project s a stunning floral sculpture and designed for placement on a large brick wall in the lobby of a hospital. The display consists of two “sister” pieces, each measuring 4.5 x 7.5 feet. (One piece is shown below.)

White and gray floral sculpture

“The client was looking for an assembly of floral forms that echoed the hospital’s brand with gray accenting. On a technical level, we were working within depth parameters, so I used these gray accents to enhance that. It was important that the pieces had a soft, peaceful feel and my goal in creating them was to bring some tranquility to the space. The compositions are purposefully asymmetrical, not at all visually challenging but rather free-flowing. I truly hope that future viewers of the pieces can find a brief moment of calm in front of them,” Julia shares.

Since 2016, Julia has exhibited in 13 shows and events in Delaware, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania and looks forward to the next opportunity to display her unique and gorgeous work alongside other talented artists.

To view more of Julia’s artwork visit her website, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook. To purchase her prints and sculptures, click here, or contact her for a commissioned piece!


5 Ways To Mark Juneteenth

On this day 155 years ago, enslaved Black Americans in Texas were finally informed that they were free — two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation — when Union Army soldiers arrived in Galveston, TX, to announce the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. Back then, Texas was the last of the Confederate states where enslavement continued.

Attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still, another is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which or none of these versions could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question. Whatever the reasons, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory. [Source:]

Now recognized annually on June 19, Juneteenth commemorates Black freedom in America, and it serves as a time for reflection, celebration, and education.

Here are five ways you can commemorate this important day in American history:

Educate yourself and those around you on antiracism and systemic prejudice. There are so many books, shows and films out there. (When ordering new books, make sure your dollars are going to Black-owned independent bookstores.) Also be sure to check out free content like 1619, a podcast from The New York Times, as well as resources from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture.

Donate to organizations working to dismantle systemic racism and fighting for justice for the Black community, such as Black Lives Matter, The Bail Project, ACLU, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Also, consider these 137 ways to donate in support of Black lives and communities of color.

Call on elected officials to defund the police. Contact your state representatives and city council members and demand that they reduce police resources and reallocate those funds to education and social services. And sign the national Black Lives Matter petition.

Support Black-owned businesses in your community. Use tools like Black Nation, EatOkra, WeBuyBlack, and Support Black-Owned to discover ones near you.

Vote in November for candidates who will address racial injustice, police brutality, and criminal justice reform. Make sure all your friends are registered to vote. If you haven’t done so already, set up your mail-in ballot with your state’s elections office to make participating in the political process even easier.