Tahini & Hemp Seed Trail Bars

I call these "trail bars" because I plan on packing them in with me a lot this summer, but really they are an anytime kind of bar. These days I tend to reach for one around 3:30 pm when a hunger attack strikes, but I've also been known to nibble on them after dinner for a tasty treat. The dates, coconut flakes, and chunks of dark chocolate provide the sweetness and the tahini gives it a delicately roasted sesame flavor to balance it out. All of the ingredients combined create an irresistibly chewy square of goodness. They're also egg free, dairy free and gluten free - great for anyone who deals with allergies or chooses to omit certain food groups. 


  • 1 cup quick oats 
  • 1 cup hemp seeds 
  • 1 cup packed, pitted fresh Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 TB flax seed
  • 1 TSP cinnamon 
  • 1/2 of a dark chocolate bar


  1. Place the oats in a food processor or high-powered blender and pulse.
  2. Add all of the ingredients and mix until it forms into a dough. 
  3. Prepare a square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray or parchment paper.
  4. Press the dough evenly into the baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and let them cool completely before handling.

Makes approximately 12. 


Self Care Practices for Spring

March 20th marked the first day of Spring, but depending on where you live, winter might be lingering. For those of us in the Northwest, we've experienced everything from a week straight of rain and fresh snowfall on the mountains to glorious days that reach 75 degrees.  I suppose spring is known for this fickle weather, but every time a nice day rolls but the signs of the new season are undeniable. 

Cherry blossoms, daffodils and tulips are in full bloom. Daylight (or at least, day length) is up to 11 hours. People are combatting allergies and neighbors are planting their gardens. All the changes make me giddy. 

Here are a few self care practices for the new season that focus on the traditional "spring cleaning", getting out into nature and holistically feeding your mind, body and spirit. 

Self-Care for the Mind

  1. Fill Your Space With Fresh Blooms: Fight those grey or lingering winter days with vibrant flowers. I find it practically impossible to walk by flowers and not smile. The energetic colors help boost my mood and studies have shown that rooms with plants/flowers increase brain performance and encourage creativity. Bring on the blossoms! 
 Fresh tulips from Pike Place Market

Fresh tulips from Pike Place Market

2. Clear Out Space (physically and mentally): Have you ever noticed that a cluttered physical space translates to a chaotic mental state? I will be the first to admit that even though I don't enjoying shopping, I own a lot of stuff. My basement is full of gear and books I haven't looked at in years and my closet has pieces I cling to even though they don't get much use. Having too much, or trying to navigate through clutter can produce excess stimuli and stress and who needs that? Take a morning to go through a room or a junk drawer and start getting rid of the excess s#&t.  

 3. Learn Something New: As we get older and comfortable in our routines, it's easy to live on auto-pilot. Studies show that about 40 percent of people's daily activities are performed each day in almost the same situations. We rely a LOT on habit. Learning a new skill stimulates neurons in the brain, fights boredom, increases learning speed and literally changes your brain chemistry. 

Self-Care for the Body

1. Go On a Hike or Nature Walk - device free: Deprive yourself of a modern luxury (the smart phone) for a few hours and find yourself fully present in nature. Sunlight, time outside, and moving your body helps release stress, fuel inspiration and just feels damn good. Fresh air might not be the cure for every ailment, but it's a good place to start. 


2. Rinse Your Sinuses: If you suffer from allergies, rinsing your sinuses is a natural way to wash out mucus and allergens. I purchased the Sinugator (what a name, right?)  last season when I was sick and I couldn't believe how much could be stored in my nasal cavity. The saline solution that is used for rinsing restores moisture and eases inflammation of the mucous membranes which makes it easier to breathe. Neti-pots are a popular product for nasal irrigation and can be found at most drugstores for less than $20. 

3. Create a spring-inspired meal: Get into a relationship with a local farmer and sign up for a CSA. You get to help a small farm stay viable and receive a box of freshly picked produce and products throughout the growing season. Win Win right?  I'm personally inspired by the company "Imperfect Produce". They take fruits and veggies that would otherwise be wasted (because they aren't cosmetically beautiful enough for grocery stores), and deliver it to customers’ doors for 30-50% less than grocery store prices. You can customize your box and you help fight food waste! 

Spring Recipe Ideas: 

 Citrus Soba Noodle - Recipe & image by Faring Well 

Citrus Soba Noodle - Recipe & image by Faring Well 

Self-Care for the Soul

Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

1.) Create a Joy Ritual: What I love the most about joy rituals is that they can be super small and easy to integrate into the day. Try it out! Grab a piece of paper and jot down everything you can think of that brings you happiness. Circle the top 5 that you feel drawn to and try to include one or more of them in your day. My current joy rituals include;

  • walking around my neighborhood at sunset
  • checking out books from the library (my favorite read so far is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi)
  • lighting fragrant candles in the morning
  • covering my face with Seaberry moisturizing oil before bed 
 I can't get out of the library without 3-4 new books. 

I can't get out of the library without 3-4 new books. 

2.) Plant a Garden: You don't need to be a green thumb, or have much space to create your own garden. Go small with an herb box or go big a few of your favorite vegetables. Having contact with the earth and getting your hands dirty is a grounding ritual. Lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, and broccoli all rank high on the list of easiest veggies to grow. Though a little research will go a long way in helping you figure out what grows best in your area. 

3.) Limit E-mail and Social Media Time: According to a study published by Business Insider, we touch our phones approximately 2,617 times a day! Technology addiction is real and we're just beginning to see the mental health risks that are associated with too much screen time. A majority of my work is digital, but even after work is done I feel myself reaching for my devices to check social media or look something up on Google. I've found the best way to rid the urge, is to just turn off my phone completely. 

Your turn! What self-care practices are you engaging in? Or, what's holding you back from self-care. Leave your questions or comments below. 

4 Podcasts for Creatives & Aspiring Entrepreneurs

There was a time I had NO idea what to do with the podcast app on my iPhone. Fast forward five years, and my phone ran out of space at one point because I hit subscribe to too many. (I've since learned how to manage my downloads better and only subscribe to the few that I listen to faithfully.)  

I like to tune in when I'm getting ready for work, cooking, and sometimes even when I'm out running. It's easier to go further when you're enthralled in a story. The content I listen to varies but as a freelance creative, I'm attracted to shows that tackle self-development, creativity, and business. Podcasts have become a huge part of my free education, so today I'm passing along four that are always in my lineup. 

What's one podcast you always tune into?  Tell me which and why you love it in the comments below!

1. The Marie Forleo Podcast:

Synopsis: Marie is my go-to gal. I LOVE her spunky personality, refreshing honesty and genuine desire to help others in their business. She interviews the best authors, entrepreneurs, creatives, and change-makers that tackle everything from business and marketing to philanthropy, failure, and fear. Each interview ends with actionable strategies for greater happiness, motivation, confidence creativity, and fulfillment. In short, she's a badass and I promise you'll love her witty and inspiring content. 


Favorite Episodes:


2. How I Built This with Guy Raz

Synopsis:  Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world's most successful companies and the idealists who built them. Each innovator has a completely different journey on their road to building their company, but one thing they all share is setbacks. Every story is an inspiring tale of trials and tribulations, and what can happen if you hang on and keep going. 


Favorite Episodes:



3. Pursuit with Purpose with Melyssa Griffith 

Synopsis: Melyssa Griffin teaches online entrepreneurs and bloggers how to turn their passions intro profitable businesses.  Through online courses, free webinars, a Facebook community, and more, she's helped over 100,000 creative hustlers stand out online.This podcast is about her journey to finding happiness through work and creating a positive impact on the world. 


Favorite Episodes:

  • Being Boss: How to Create a Life & Business On Your Own Terms with Emily Thompson
  • Everything is Figureoutable with Marie Forleo 
  • Body Image, Slef Love, Marriage and Business with Jenna Kutcher

4. The Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher 

Synopsis: Jenna Kutcher is a marketing entrepreneur, photographer, and one of the most refreshingly honest voices in social media. Her live-workshop style business podcast is meant to help people redefine success, chase dreams, and teach how to make a living, doing what you love.  Her podcast episodes focus on marketing, social media, creative entrepreneurship, small business strategy and branding.

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Brita Ulf | OuterlinesShop | San Francisco, CA

One of my favorites aspects of creativity is being able to collaborate with other artists. On a recent trip to San Francisco, I met up with two talented ladies (Anita & Brita) for an impromptu photo shoot. The only concrete detail we planned was the location, and we let the rest of the details fill in throughout the afternoon.

We convened in the Sunset district (probably my favorite neighborhood in SF since it's right by the beach!) and got to snapping.  Brita evokes a true California-girl (er, woman) spirit, and we had a blast photographing her skateboarding skills and natural die creations. Below are a few of my favorite images from the shoot.

If you're a business owner looking for lifestyle images or a snazzy new portrait, drop me a line at leslie.schipper@gmail.com. 

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Model: Brita Ulf , Owner of OuterlineShop

Lessons Learned From my First Year as a Freelancer

 Photo by  Chad Cassidy

Photo by Chad Cassidy

One year ago, I emptied my desk and said a surprisingly tearful goodbye to colleagues and three years of work at a digital marketing agency. In between announcing my departure and my last day, I had become accustomed to the constant question "what's next?" I concocted a default answer, one that I felt good voicing.  In short, I would travel. That was the immediate future. Two months in Europe to shake off a few nightmare projects, a monotonous Monday-Friday schedule and burn through some money that I really should have been saving. (Oops)

In reality, post-Europe me wasn't exactly sure how I would fill my time, but I knew it included exploring both geographically and creatively. After I got home, it would be time to test options; production work, modeling, photography, writing, social media..... I had a mental list of all the things I enjoyed doing in my spare time. Quitting gave me the open schedule to give them all a fair try.

I laugh now, a year later, knowing that I stepped away from my job and into the unknown with a fair amount of naivety. Then again, had I known too much, it's possible I wouldn't have even tried. Most of my learned lessons have come from the latter half of the year after I determined more of a direction, gained some momentum and stopped letting perfection get in my way. (*Still working on that.) 

So what are the biggest takeaways from one year of working for myself? 

1. Be Your Biggest Cheerleader AND keep supportive friends by your side.

Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.
— Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

For me, freelancing is a lot about continually facing fears. My fears are the voices that tell me I'm not experienced enough, not good enough, not (insert any adjective here) enough. Those types of thoughts are dangerously debilitating and crushing to confidence. But at the end of the day, I know nobody is going to believe in me if I don't first believe in myself. Confidence is something I have to actively work on, and when it's failing me, I turn to my friends. They shine the best of myself back to me and remind me of my talent and purpose. In the midst of an emotional day, I know I can call or meet up with them for moral support and empowerment.  

Recommended Reads to Amplify Courage & Confidence

  • You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  • The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron
 Backpacking trip with my supportive gal pals - photo by  Miriam Subbiah  

Backpacking trip with my supportive gal pals - photo by Miriam Subbiah 

2. Voice Your Purpose and Goals Loud and Often. 

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
— Paulo Coelho

Setting specific goals and getting them in writing is important to me. It helps keep me aligned and accountable. I think it's equally important to share these goals with your trusted people, both for additional accountability and support, but also because I've noticed people want to help. This has come in the form of someone recommending me for a job, providing a stellar testimonial, meeting me for coffee to answer questions, showing me their editing process, letting me borrow a lens, or telling me about a free online class on creativity and entrepreneurship.  Once I've shared my intentions, I look for little signs and opportunities from the Universe, and trust that it's engaged in supporting my work. 

Mantra to Practice: "I let go of all resistance to prosperity and it comes to me naturally."

3. Community is Everything. 

Freelancing can be a lonely endeavor. I split my time working from home and a wonderful co-working space. If my task for the day is writing, I know home is my better option because I can work in silence.  But too much time at home can make me feel isolated,  and distractions are easy to succumb to. A change of scenery and the ability to ask questions/ bounce ideas off of other creatives is invaluable. My community came about organically, because so many of my friends are already freelancers/business owners. I found other ways to connect with creatives, specifically female creatives through social media, my work with She Explores and finding meet ups in my city for lady bosses. The resources are out there, you just have to look for them and find the right fit. 

 Community > Post Outdoor Retailer trip in Bonneville Flats, Utah  - Photo by  William Woodward

Community > Post Outdoor Retailer trip in Bonneville Flats, Utah  - Photo by William Woodward

4. Learn When to Say Yes and When to Say No.

This is still one of my biggest challenges. I identify as a 'go-getter', a self-starter who is hungry for work and purpose. I said yes a lot whether I really wanted the job or not, and whether it paid me enough or not.

In my conversations with other freelancers, that seems to be most people's experience, especially in the beginning. I think there's an assumption that freelancers get to leisurely pick and choose their jobs, and that all the grind work got left behind at the office job. I call BS. While all freelancer's situations vary, sometimes you can't turn down a job because you need a paycheck. Sometimes you work for trade (or free) because there's experience to gain. Some freelancers hold a side job in the service industry so they can work on their business during the day and still have a steady income. 

The cool part about working for yourself is that you get to set your terms and figure out what you believe your time is worth. The challenging thing about working for yourself is, you get to set your terms, and figure out what you believe your time is worth! 

5. Practice Persistance, Persistance and more Persistance. 

If it's not a NO, the possibility still exists. Even if a company or client did say no, that doesn't mean it can't be a yes in the future. Running my own business has meant becoming intimate with rejection. For me the best way to handle rejection is to not take it personally. There are a number of reasons I may not have been right for the job.  It may not have anything to do with me at all.  But I can't spin my wheels and waste my energy on dwelling on it. The best remedy is to keep moving forward and trust that something more fitting will come my way. 

To all of my freelancing comrades, what have been the most important lessons you've learned while running your business?