Women who Celebrate: Laura Simms

July 08, 2013

Welcome to the Women who Celebrate series. Women who Celebrate seeks to unleash the sheer beauty of the celebratory spirit. In conceiving of the project, I wanted to share the simple truths of how celebration can shift the trajectory of your life, allowing in more permission, more joy, and more ease.

women who celebrate

In thinking about how to amplify some gorgeous energy around this idea, I thought it would be fabulous to interview some women that that exude a celebratory vibe about how they incorporate the act of celebrations into their daily life, what these types of rituals and ceremonies look like, and (most importantly) the positive impact of women celebrating together.

And – I’m talking equally about huge, sparkly affairs with champagne and the simple everyday act of cooking ourselves a special breakfast. The extraordinary and the ordinary.

What is really notable here for me is how it can be so difficult to invite others into our celebrations or ask other so celebrate with us, and that sharing this aspect of our lives will be both inspiring and hugely permissive for everyone involved.

laurasimmsBTCOur special guest today is the wonderful Laura Simms! Laura Simms helps purpose-driving people find careers that feel like home.  Her online home, Create as Folk, is led by the philosophy that making a living and making a life should go together.

Laura’s celebrations include inviting others, presents, and dressing up for the occasion. Join Laura’s purpose-driven revolution on Facebook, twitter, or swing by Create as Folk


Click here for the audio.


Mara:  Hello everybody, and welcome to the Women Who Celebrate interview series.  I am here today with the lovely Laura Simms, and I’m just so excited.  She has a fantastic site, Create As Folk, which was one of my very first sort of online favorite spots to go, so it’s really fantastic to have her here with me today.  Laura, will you introduce yourself a little bit?

Laura:  Yeah, thanks for the intro, Mara.  My name is Laura Simms, and I’m a career coach.  I work mostly with women who don’t know what they really want to do with their careers, but they know it’s not what they’re doing right now.  If you want to find some way to blend contribution and self-expression.  So that’s over at createasfolk.com.

Mara:  Excellent!  So we are here today to talk about celebration, and so, I’m really curious, just to get started, what does celebration mean to you?  How does it show up in your life most often?  Where have you found it?

Laura:  I think to me celebration is – I think of it in two ways.  One is just kind of little everyday things that could almost also be categorized as self-care, really, but are our little ways to just honor being around, you know?  And enhancing day-to-day life.  And then of course I think of more events, so there’s perhaps, you could think of it as a holiday, or there’s some kind of accomplishment that needs to be honored or wants to be honored in a really fun, intentional way.

Mara:  I love that.  It makes me wonder, if you have any sort of holidays that are outside the parameters of the traditionally-celebrated holidays, anything you just love to celebrate year after year in your own life?

Laura:  Yeah, so, a couple years ago my sister and I invented a holiday for ourselves – we just, we’re very close, and we just love each other so much that we thought, there should be a Sister Day.  So we invented Sister Day, it’s August 15th, and mostly we just send each other a gushy card and a little gift, but for us it’s really nice to – I mean, I guess we kinda celebrate sisterhood all year long, but to give it a day and give it a name and just act on that impulse that there’s something really special here that we wanna acknowledge.

Mara:  Yeah, oh my gosh, I absolutely love that.  I’m really close to my sisters as well, and I think that would be an excellent addition to our lives!  That’s such a great, great, great idea.  And I love hearing about how people kind of create these holidays for themselves, to honor things that are important to them in their own lives.  I think that’s so fantastic that you do that.  So, when you’re getting into the celebratory spirit, what is a necessity for you?  What makes you feel like having fun, like you’re getting celebratory?

Laura:  Well, other people, obviously!  I think you can definitely celebrate alone, but I think that the energy really gets going when you’ve got some conspirators to either help plan, or are excited and look forward to an event or some kind of celebration.  And I think for me, a lot of it is kind of setting things up to feel – not, like, it doesn’t have to be fancy, but a little out of the everyday.

So for example, my husband’s birthday was last weekend on Friday night, and we threw a cookout for his birthday.  And we could’ve just easily done that without any fancy affair, just had people over, but you know, we had balloons, and we had streamers, and we had printed napkins, and you know, it would’ve been just as easy to roll out the paper towels and hand those out.  But I think – just little touches that make it feel playful or special, just a little bit outside of the everyday.

Mara:  Absolutely.  Do you have a favorite celebratory outfit, or anything that you tend to wear when you’re going to anything that’s like, a celebration, big or small?

Laura:  I don’t think so.  I mean, I guess I tend to pay more attention to what I’ll wear, and try to put together an involvedness that I might not go to the trouble day in and day out, but I don’t think I have a go-to party dress or sparkly shoes or anything.  [laughs]

Mara:  Excellent!  So, over the course of your life, what – I feel like the *top* celebration is a little bit, there’s a lot of pressure there to choose just one, but what are the top couple of celebrations that you can remember?

Laura:  Okay, I got a couple.  One, I had been working for another career coach, and I only worked there for about six months, but it was just a really great work environment, all us coworkers would like go eat ice cream together and go get drinks together and just a really fun place.  And when I was leaving, I knew they were gonna throw me some kind of going-away bash.  What I didn’t know was that, we worked until noon that day, and then they had told me “We’ll be working til noon, and then we’re gonna go do something, so you’ll be getting home kinda late.”  Stuff like that.  My boss took us all down to the ocean, and she took us all parasailing!  As a surprise.

It was just this big expression of thanks and celebration and playfulness, and the surprise element too was one thing that made that so exciting.  But we got to go, two by two, and go parasail, and to me that was just such a – it made me feel very loved and appreciated, but it was not gushy, you know, it was just very fun, and this woman kind of likes to do things a little bit over the top, so this was her way of saying “Thank you, here’s your send-off.”  So that’s always been one of my favorite celebrations.

Mara:  Wow, that’s fantastic, absolutely.  Parasailing!  I think that the element of surprise can be, for some people, such an absolutely important part of celebration, and for other people a little bit overwhelming.  But I happen to like surprises myself.

Laura:  I like them, too.  They had asked me if there was anything I would like to do, and I thought, well, maybe we could go down to the Santa Monica pier and we could ride the little Ferris wheel and kinda do some of the games, and the parasailing, where they took us actually went *over* the Ferris wheel!  And my boss was like, “There!  We topped your Ferris wheel!”  So that was fun.

Mara:  I love that!  So I’m curious, now – you work for yourself full-time now, right?

Laura:  Yes.

Mara:  So within your business and within your everyday life, because I know that when you’re working for yourself you’re often in this sort of solitary environment where you’re maybe having these solo celebrations.  How do you celebrate milestones or things that you’re really excited about or things that you’ve accomplished within your business?

Laura:  Yeah, um, some of it, I think, is using social media to just kind of share the news.  If there’s something that I’m really proud of, or if there’s a new book or something coming out.  Yeah, there’s an edge to it that’s like “Marketing!  Getting the word out!”  But there’s something else, too, that just feels like telling my people, the people in my community, this great thing that’s going on.  And it’s nice to just get little messages and feedback from other people about, you know, congratulations, this is cool, and things like that.  But because I live in this tiny, isolated town in Texas now, I’m not physically able to go visit a lot of my clients or things like that, so a lot of celebrations I’ll do are just, I’ll say to my husband, “This happened today, let’s go out and have a drink.”  Or, “Dinner’s on me tonight because this went really well.”  Or something like that.

I’m actually looking for ways to do more things in-person with people in my community.  So like, at World Domination Summit this year, I’m hoping to meet up at a book swap.  And that’s not like a big celebration, but for me it’s a way to connect with people I normally wouldn’t be able to connect with.  So that feels kinda celebratory, because it’s something that I don’t get to do a lot.

Mara:  Mm-hmm, absolutely.  And that’s such a perfect lead-in to the next question, which is around what do you think is really important about women celebrating together, or even just people celebrating together?  Having that added bonus of sharing in somebody else’s excitement?

Laura:  I think it’s a really necessary ingredient to good health, actually.  We can talk about tumors and balloons, but I think there’s something really kind of primal and instinctual about coming together, telling the story of what just happened, being able to enjoy each other’s company, enjoy each other’s success, I think we crave it.  And I lived in Los Angeles for several years, and the weather out there is gorgeous, but it doesn’t change a lot, and I wasn’t in school and there were no schoolchildren in my life, so a lot of the events that I think come when you’re attached to an educational system, or seasons, just didn’t happen for a couple of years.  We’d go home and celebrate Christmas with our families, and then the rest of the year just kind of all blended together.

To me, I think that that’s a kind of living in deprivation.  I think we want to, not just to mark time, but I think we want to punctuate our year and our lives with these celebratory occasions, and some of them happen year after year, like a holiday, and other things are more, you know, if I create a great book or great program, or hit some other milestone in my life, I think that deserves some kind of marker.  So I think it’s actually quite significant for us.

Mara:  Absolutely, and I know that a lot of the women that I work with around celebration have a hard time asking someone else to celebrate with them, with knowing that something is worth celebrating.  So I’m wondering if that has ever come up for you, or if you have any thoughts about how to make yourself vulnerable in certain ways, to say “I did this really great thing, I’m proud of it, and would you come celebrate with me?”

Laura:  Yeah, I actually, a couple years ago in L.A., I hadn’t really done a birthday party or anything for years, and I was just feeling very self-possessed that year, and I threw myself a birthday party and I sent out little e-vites, and I said on the e-vite, “I know I’m too old for this, and I know it’s tacky, but I would like a birthday present, so please get me a birthday present!” [laughs]  And people did!  And I think because there was an almost childlike quality to my request, people were, they seemed very happy to oblige me and bring me a birthday present.

And we had cake, and I opened presents at the party, and I sent people home with favor bags, and we had a little photo booth, and it was really – it was a fun event for everybody.  And I think sometimes we think that if we ask for something, we’re taking away from other people.  And what that birthday party taught me was, when I asked for presents, it really gave something to other people.  They were excited to go look for something for me, or they saw something in the store and thought, “[gasps] That’s such a Laura thing, I’m gonna get that for her!”  And it was really kind of a neat little community-building thing, only because I asked for it.

Mara:  Well, celebration is contagious, right?  I mean, I think that we, it sort of catches like wildfire, and if somebody sends you an invitation or asks you to celebrate with them in a way that is full-hearted and excited, then you can kind of not help but join in on the fun.

Laura:  Yeah, I think so.  Absolutely.

Mara:  So fantastic.  So I – this has just been so wonderful!  Is there anything, any last parting celebratory words you’d like to leave with people, either around how, what your hopes are for future celebrations, or something that you think is really important for people to keep in mind as they are learning how to implement celebration in their own life?

Laura:  Yeah, I think just – don’t wait for somebody to throw you a party, or celebrate on your behalf.  That’s one of the things I’ve learned with the birthday party, I threw myself another party before that, just because I felt like I wanted to start my year over, and I didn’t want to wait until the New Year, so in October a couple years ago I threw myself a personal New Year party.  [laughs]  And again, people showed up and were really excited to celebrate with me.  So I guess I would say to folks, just don’t sit around and wait for someone else to do it!  Plan it.  Make it fun.  Invite people on board, and I think it’s really rewarding for everybody.

Mara:  Fantastic.  Thank you so much, Laura – it has been great talking to you about celebration!

Laura:  Thank you!

Mara:  And for everybody who’s listening to this call, all of Laura’s information is gonna be below, so you can find out all the ways that you can join in on her fun.  And I promise, being in her orbit is a quite lovely place!  So I encourage you all to check her out.  Bye everyone!

Laura:  Bye, thank you! 

Share Laura’s wisdom with the women in your world

Celebration can be found in the little everyday things that enhance our day-to-day lives. {tweet this}

Celebratory energy really gets going when you’ve got some conspirators to either help + get excited. {tweet this}

There’s something primal + instinctual about telling our stories + coming together to enjoy our successes. {tweet this}