Crystal Madrilejos

Design & Creative

I wrote an slightly different post this morning but in my early morning haze, I realized that I was mixing up my sources and facts. So here is the revised (and corrected) version!

Breast milk is an amazing thing and something we may not ever fully understand because its mysteries are infinite. The properties of its makeup can be dissected and broken apart, but there is an uncountable number of connections and interactions between the properties themselves and things that we cannot see that it would be almost impossible to fully unravel. It’s a whole food that has evolved specifically for the purpose of nourishing a baby.

Just like if you took an apple and broke it apart into only the seemingly beneficial ingredients, it would never have the same nutritional impact as the whole apple itself because there are so many connections that we can’t see.

A great example that I came across that shows that we are still learning about all the benefits of breast milk was in a small section of another article I just read by Michael Pollan. He writes about how for years researchers have tried to unravel the mystery of breast milk. In their breakdown of the makeup of breastmilk, they found it contained a complex carbohydrate that babies were in fact unable to digest. Without any apparent benefit to the baby, these complex carbohydrates weren’t taken into account until recently.

Upon further research, it turns out that there is actually a very good reason for the existence of this particular property and the baby’s inability to digest it. It is a very important aspect of a baby’s development. This component was undigested by the baby so it could be a source of food for a certain type of bacteria that helps to keep the baby healthy and to promote the development of the intestinal lining.

When it comes to Nature – there are reasons for everything!


P.S. And, as always, this post is coming from a point of love and support for those Mamas who are thinking about nursing, are currently breastfeeding, or have in the past and want to encourage others to give it a shot. In no way am I trying to discourage or make anyone feel bad about the decision they made/make. Either way, I SUPPORT YOU.


I intend to accept and work with the fact that a lot of the planning that Andrew and I need to do towards our goal at the moment is research. There are items on our list that are currently not within our control or not plausible for the moment. But what we can do (something that Andrew and I used to always say) is we can get smart. We have to learn everything there is to know about what we want to achieve so that when the time comes, we can hit the ground running. I have a few items that I have on my to-do list that have to get done work-wise, but today I intend to spend at least some time just learning. Also, one if the things that I realized in last week’s intentions/reflections was that I have this tendency to view things that I really want to do as things that are “special treats” and can only devote time to them after I’ve taken care of my “responsibilities.” I love to read and I love to research things that I find valuable and interesting, things that inspire me to move towards my goals. So these things usually fall at the end of my priority list because there are always other things that “need” to be done. But in the grand scheme of things, the work that Andrew and I put towards our ultimate goals in life, are more important than most tasks that seem to take up the majority of our time. So, with that in mind, I intend to try and change my perspective in regards to things that I view as priorities and things that I view as “nice-to-haves.” Because i’m sure most of the time, I confuse the two.


I did spend a lot of time today reading and researching. Not a ton, but more than I have in the recent past. I’ve always been an avid reader, and this is the first year of my life that I didn’t read a bunch of books. I think I managed one, maybe two? I’m currently reading “A Pattern Language” by Christopher Alexander and his colleagues, which I’m finding to be really engaging. And also, “An Introduction to Permaculture” by Bill Mollison, who is considered the father of Permaculture. So in that regards in did have some success in sticking to my intentions today. Something I realized today is that I have a really hard time pulling myself away from work. Especially when I have a problem that needs resolving. I can’t just walk away and come back to it. I work until I feel utterly frustrated or until something else comes up that forces my attention away. Even though there is a rational side of me that knows that taking a break would be good, I just can’t seem to stop. And it was extra frustrating today because I knew that I wanted to spend some time reading and the only thing standing in my way was this one problem that I couldn’t just let be for the time being. Something I need to work on.

Past Posts
Week 2 Mantra: I Have a Plan – Day 2
Week 2 Mantra: I Have a Plan – Day 1
Mantra: Reflections on Week 1
Introduction to Creative/Life Coaching


A little while back I read, “Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind” put out by 99U and have been trying to implement some of the things I learned. Here are few thoughts and ideas that have resonated with me and the ways I’ve tried to adjust:

1. Routines helps us make time to be creative by “setting expectations about availability, aligning our workflow with our energy levels, and getting our minds into a regular rhythm of creating.”

Now that the kids are getting a little bit older and a little more set into their own routines, it’s getting a tiny bit easier to squeeze in my own projects. It’s pretty much guaranteed that they will be asleep by 9:30pm (except last week when we were all a bit under the weather), but I’m still trying to figure out my own routine after they are in bed. The main issue being that by that point my energy levels and brain power are almost non-existent. On good nights, the most I can usually manage is yoga, which I consider a success!

In regards to my energy levels, I’ve realized that blogging at night just doesn’t work for me the majority of the time. Or doing anything that requires brain power for that matter. It takes me twice as long to formulate sentences at that point in the night than if I would just wake up early to do it, which I’m working on trying to do more often.

2. Frequency makes starting easier, keeps ideas fresh and keeps the pressure off.

This is right on the nose. I don’t know how many times I’ve had ideas that withered because I waited too long to get them down. Also, after a long break in writing, I do find it harder to come up with the right words to communicate my thoughts the way I want. This is why I have a million notebooks. I’ve also started getting my ideas into digital form as soon as I can (I’ve been using Evernote) But I still need to try and set a regular time aside to just DO.

3. “Conditions to produce one’s craft are rarely ideal, and waiting for everything to be perfect is almost always an exercise in procrastination.”

They should have just tacked on “especially when you have kids.” Conditions are never ideal when your family and kids are the sole focus of your free time. So, I try to take advantage of any bit of solo time I have. Driving to and from work is good for thinking through problems – though not very good for documenting those thoughts. (Unless you use voice memos!) A lot of projects get made during the late hours of the evening (if they don’t require too much problem solving) or early morning or squeezed in during naps on the weekends. Usually with me just standing at the kitchen counter or sitting with all my stuff sprawled across the dining room table. Gone are the days of the designated craft area and table with all my supplies readily available within reach of a curious and naughty 3-year-old!

4. Perfectionism hinders productivity.

This one was a big one for me. It also relates to the tip mentioned above. Waiting for the “perfect conditions” or avoiding projects for fear of not doing it “perfect” – this is me to a tee. Sometimes you just need to put things out there and worry less about it being “perfect” and take pride in the fact that it got done. I’ve learned to let go and just go with the flow when it comes to a lot of things but I still struggle with this daily.

All the essays in this book have great suggestions and tips – though some of them are just hard truths that most people know but don’t want to admit to themselves. For example, the fact that social media is a time suck and distraction (you don’t say?) when you are trying to create.

So, here’s to new routines and finding balance.

For more inspiration on managing your time and creativity, check out these links:

&Kathleen is co-founder of Braid Creative and specializes in coaching for creatives

Elizabeth Saunders is a entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “Time Coach”

Leo Babauta is a creator and writer who focuses on “finding simplicity in the chaos of our lives

How do you manage your day-to-day and find the balance between work, family and side-projects?