Creative Inspiration

What’s Better For Creativity: Alcohol vs. Coffee

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I read somewhere that creativity is our ability to think of something original from connections made between pre-existing ideas in our brain. These connections are controlled by chemicals called neurotransmitters.

One of these neurotransmitters is adenosine, which alerts your brain when you’re running out of energy. When this happens, it reacts by slowing down the connections made between neurons.

Adenosine is kind of like your brain’s battery status monitor. Once your energy levels get low, adenosine starts to slow your brain functioning down. This is why after a few hours of intense work you begin to feel tired.

The only way to recharge it is to take a break. Unless of course you’ve got a secret weapon handy…..

Your brain on coffee

Every coffee drinker is familiar with the euphoric feelings after drinking a fresh cup of java. I know after I’ve had a coffee, I feel more focused. When you’re focused, you create effortlessly + your inspiration is on hyper-drive.

This happens because caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, preventing adenosine from slowing down your brain functioning. Coffee tricks your brain into thinking you have lots of energy, and this all happens within just 5 minutes of drinking it!

When adenosine receptors are blocked, chemicals that increase the performance of your neural activity like glucose, dopamine + glutamate, are allowed to work overtime. So while you may feel that coffee is giving you more energy, it’s simply telling your body that your energy reserves are good to go even when they’re long gone.

The peak effect of caffeine on your body happens between 15 minutes and 2 hours after you consume it. When caffeine from your coffee enters your bloodstream, you become more alert from an increase in the production of the hormones adrenaline + cortisol.

Problem? What Problem?

The problem is, if this over-stimulation of adrenaline + cortisol occurs too regularly, your adrenal glands (which absorb adrenaline to help make you feel energized) gradually begin to require more adrenaline to give you the same ‘pick-me-up’ feeling as before.

When researchers at Johns Hopkins University looked at low to moderate coffee drinkers (as little as one mug per day), they found that even this little amount of coffee can cause your body to develop a tolerance to caffeine + require more of it to get the same stimulation. Because of this, the good feelings associated with coffee are short-lived. Pretty soon you need another hit to feel good again.

Why there are lots of famous drunk artists, but no famous drunk accountants

While caffeine pulls a number on your brain to make you feel like you have more energy, alcohol has it’s own way of influencing your creativity.

After you’ve had a couple of drinks, drinking makes you less focused because it decreases your working memory. You begin to care less about what’s happening around you. But as researchers at the University of Chicago discovered, this can be a good thing for creativity’s sake.

The research showed that a blood alcohol level of 0.07 (about 2 drinks) makes people better at creative problem-solving tasks but not necessarily working memory tasks where they have to pay attention to things happening in their surroundings (like driving a car). By reducing your ability to pay attention to the world around you, alcohol frees up your brain to think more creatively.

It looks like author Ernest Hemingway was on to something when he said:

When you work hard all day with your head and know you must work again the next day what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whisky?

Alcohol produces better ideas

In an interesting study on the topic of alcohol + its effects on creativity, author Dave Birss brought together a group of 18 advertising creative directors + split them into two teams based on their amount of career experience. One team was allowed to drink as much alcohol as they wanted while the other team had to stay sober.

The groups were given a brief + had to come up with as many ideas as they could in three hours. These ideas were then graded by a collection of top creative directors. The result? The team of drinkers not only produced the most ideas but also came up with four of the top five best ideas.

While alcohol may not be the drink of choice when you need to be alert or focused on what’s going on around you, it seems that a couple of drinks can be helpful when you need to come up with new ideas.

Beer for the idea

The best time to have a beer (or two) would be when you’re searching for an initial idea. Because alcohol helps decrease your working memory (making you feel relaxed + less worried about what’s going on around you), you’ll have more brain power dedicated to making deeper connections.

Neuroscientists have studied the “eureka moment”. They’ve found that in order to produce moments of insight, you need to feel relaxed so front brain thinking (obvious connections) can move to the back of the brain (where unique, lateral connections are made) + activate the anterior superior temporal gyrus. This is a small spot above your right ear responsible for moments of insight.

Researchers found that about 5 seconds before you have a ‘eureka moment’, there’s a large increase in alpha waves that activate the anterior superior temporal gyrus. These alpha waves are associated with relaxation which explains why you often get ideas while you’re going for a walk, in the shower, or on the toilet.

Alcohol is a substance that relaxes you so it produces a similar effect on alpha waves and helping us reach creative insights.

Coffee, meanwhile, doesn’t necessarily help you access more creative parts of your brain like a couple pints of beer.

Coffee for the execution

If you’ve already got an idea or an outline of where you want to go with your project, a cup of coffee would do wonders compared to having a beer to execute on your idea.

The general consensus across caffeine studies is that it can increase quality + performance if the task you’re doing seems easy to you + doesn’t require too much abstract thinking.

In other words, after you have an initial idea or a plan laid out, a cup of coffee can help you execute and follow through on your concept faster without compromising quality.

Quick tip: If you drink coffee, do so before noon so it doesn’t effect your sleep. On average, it will take between 5-10 hours for the caffeine from a cup of coffee to be removed from your system. Messing up your sleep cycle can have a negative impact on your creative output for days to come.

Always in moderation

If you decide to drink coffee or beer while you’re working, you should stick to no more than 2 cups of coffee or a couple of beers per sitting. And you should only try to do this once or twice per week. Coffee + beer shouldn’t be thought of as magic bullets for creativity. They are ways to create chemical changes that occur naturally in your brain with a healthy lifestyle. Quality sleep patterns and allowing yourself to take breaks by splitting your day into sprints will do the same trick.

But if you do have to choose between coffee or beer, think about what type of task you are about to do + make sure you don’t over-drink!

Too much of either and you’ll lose the benefits of both.


Mixing & Matching Fonts for Design

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Here are some great font pairing ideas for your next project. These are nice ideas for anything needing some sassy fonts which work well together for creative stuff like party invites, posters and blog or website design. It’s nice to have ideas for how to pair fonts from the design experts. Sometimes we don’t know what looks nice together. Just Google the font you like and download it from a site like I sourced these combos from Pinterest. I never thought I’d be interested in Graphic Design, but as I blogger I’ve had to be! I’m not too hectic, but I do love some inspiration for my simple projects. Follow my Graphic Design board here.

Fonts Design Blogs

font pairing

font pairing

Cover Photo: Death To The Stock Photo

Ambassador, Modelling

Art Meets Fashion – Joburg


MyArts International will be hosting the Art Meets Fashion Joburg this Friday the 13th and Saturday the 14th of June 2014 at the Constitution Hill (Basement). The event aims at creating a platform for collaboration in the creative industry and giving an opportunity to local visual artists, crafters , models and designers to  showcase their talents in fashion, modelling, film, visual and performing arts.

Tamika Doubell

The Art Meets Fashion Joburg  will give entrepreneurs in the creative sector an opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs from different fields, trade  and discuss about various opportunities and challenges in their field of work while sharing some drinks. The event will incorporate an arts exhibition, craft market, fashion showcase, modelling workshops and creative business expo. The mission of this program is to create a local and global partnership for development in order to foster job creation and to support the growth of new and existing businesses by providing capacity building information, tools and resources. Our focus is to develop and empower businesses within the arts fraternity and business sector in order to strengthen their business capability and survivability.

Modelling Workshop

A modelling workshop will be held on both days from 12:00 to 14:00. The aim is to give young men and women who are interested in modelling and fashion free information on the industry. The workshop will focus on photography, catwalk and tips about the modelling industry. Interested models must meet at the Constitution Hill at 11:00 to 11:30 for registration. The workshop is free as we believe that the door of culture and education shall be opened to all.

Fashion Activities

Designers from Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the North-West Province will showcase their garments during the various shows and fashion installations. Our relationship with the Brooklyn Style Foundation gives the participating designers an opportunity to showcase on the 4th of October 2014 at the Fashion Week Brooklyn in New York where the BK Style in partnership with MyArts will be hosting a South African show dedicated to the 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy.

Arts Promotion

The event will also include some promotional activities and Arts Development Forums where artists will be informally talking and networking while sharing drink and meals. MyArts International wants this event to serve as a platform to seek out and nurture young, disadvantaged artists and allowing them to reach their potential and enhance the world around them by setting an example of giving, hope and achievement. According the MyArts’ Chief Director, Mr. Denis Ackulay, artists will be celebrating the 20 years of Freedom and Democracy this weekend during the Art Meets Fashion Joburg. “It’s not just a platform for collaboration but also a weekend of celebration as SA celebrates youth months and 20 years.” Active citizenship is very important within the Art Fraternity. It is this generation’s task to reignite the true engine of  the Millennium Development Goal #8, which is Global Partnerships for Development established under the United Nations 2015 Program. “We should think of restoring  the ideal of people working together and collaborating and exchanging ideas,” he added. The event will also feature an Anti-Rhino Poaching Campaign with an auction where funds will be channels to Anti-Rhino Poaching Organisations.


Friday 13 June 2014

12:00 – 14:00  Modelling Workshop (For all young people who want to learn about Modelling)

14:00 – 19:00  Exhibition (Business Expo and Arts and Fashion Market)

16:00 – 19:00  Fashion Installations and Arts Promotion activities

Saturday 14 June 2014

12:00 – 14:00  Modelling Workshop (For all young people who want to learn about Modelling)

14:00 – 19:00  Exhibition (Business expo and Arts and Fashion Market)

16:00 – 20:00  Fashion Shows and Arts Promotion activities

14:00 – 19:00  Exhibition (Business Expo and Arts and Fashion Market)

16:00 – 19:00  Fashion Installations and Arts Promotion activities

Tamika Doubell

Creative Inspiration

5 Ideas for a Great Themed Party

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1 I went to a “Dirt Sexy Money” / Great Gatsby party last week & it was amazing! I thought that I’d gather some great ideas for you if you’re thinking about having a themed party this festive season. Whether you’re looking to get together for an evening filled with glitz & glam, or a relaxed cocktail hour in honour of a special occasion….. Here are some awesome ideas to give your party that creative boost! All you need is a stocked bar, a few fun themes and a little inspiration for a bash where the drinks are second to the scenery.

Great Gatbsy

With the film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby, the Swinging Twenties are making a comeback in everything from fashion to design to event planning. Get into the spirit by throwing an unforgettable party the way only Jay Gatsby would have, with lively music, decadent food and more champagne than your guests know what to do with! Celebrate like they did in the Swinging Twenties with these fabulous ideas.

The Inspiration

Great Gatsby Party Invite
“The Great Gatsby” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire & Carey Mulligan brought in $348.8 million at the Box Office


The Invite

Great Gatsby Party Invite

The Table

The Treats


Greet your guests with a refreshing mint julep, a classic drink from the ‘20s.

4 fresh mint sprigs
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 tsp powdered sugar
2 tsp water

Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a collins glass. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.



If you’re opting for a beautiful dessert table or just some munchies during cocktail hour, layer your table with different heights for the biggest impact. This tiered tray not only has a vintage vibe, but it’s the perfect platter to display your petit fours or finger sandwiches.CAKE STANDS GREAT GATSBY PARTY

The Decor


Using mason jars as candleholders was all the rage for garden parties in the 1920s. Line your dining table or hang them from the trees if you’re throwing a stylish outdoor party. Mason Jar Candles Great Gatsby Themed Parties


Keep guests entertained during a cocktail hour with a games table set up. From checkers to cards to dominoes, these timeless games will create a lighthearted atmosphere that’s a staple of any Great Gatsby party. Great Gatsby Themed Party Chess Set

seven deadly sins

Take it up a notch with this sexy theme which lends itself to creative food, music, costumes & decor. “The Seven Deadly Sins” are a classification of objectionable vices that have been used since early Christian times.

    • Lust an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body
    • Gluttony the over-indulgence of anything to the point of waste
    • Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work
    • Envy the desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, or situation
    • Wrath strong vengeful anger or indignation
    • Pride excessive belief in one’s own abilities. Often interpreted as Vanity.
    • Greed an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth

The Inspiration

Seven Deadly Sins Party

Seven Deadly Sins Party

The Invite

Seven Deadly Sins Themes

The Dress

The Food

Theme your food & cocktails using colours to represent the sins.

Red – Lust

One drink I can think of is Sangria (I had a lot of it when I was in Spain!)


  • 4 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 apple, unpeeled, core removed, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 750ml bottle red wine (see note)
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 750ml bottle soft drink (lemonade, soda water or ginger ale
  1. Thinly slice 1 orange and 1 lemon. Cut each slice into small wedges and place in a large bowl. Add apple, cinnamon and brandy. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Juice remaining oranges and lemon. Combine 1 1/2 cups wine, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 1/2 cups soft drink, 1/4 cup orange juice and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice in a jug. Add half the apple mixture. Stir to combine. Repeat with remaining ingredients in another jug.
  3. Spoon crushed ice into 8 tall glasses. Pour over sangria. Serve.

SKYYSangria Seven Deadly Sins Party

Purple – Vanity

Green – Envy

Blue – Sloth

Yellow – Greed

Pink – Gluttony

Orange – Wrath

indiana jones party

Get out your adventure instincts with this Indiana Jones Party. Transform your party space into an adventure zone inspired by 4×4 trucks, khaki wear, ropes, maps, treasure & more Indi-inspired decor!

The Inspiration

Indiana Jones PartyIndiana Jones Party IdeasIndiana Jones PartyIndiana Jones Party

The Decor

Indiana Jones Party Ideas Indiana Jones Party Ideas

The Invite

The Food

mardis gras

If you can’t make it down to New Orleans, host a Mardi Gras themed party. Mardis Gras 2014  is happening on Sunday, March 2nd – Wednesday, March 5th. The official colors are purple, green and gold. Purple represents justice, green stands for faith, and gold signifies power. Give your home a wild, jaw-dropping transformation with a bold, eclectic collection of Mardi Gras decorations to recreate the mood of the South. Drape purple, gold, and green gossamer throughout your party area.

The Inspiration

Mardi Gras in New Orleans A float is seen in the parade down St. Charles Avenue on Mardi Gras Day in New OrleansMardi Gras Party Ideas Mardi Gras Party Ideas

The Food

The Invite

The Decor

alice in wonderland

Who could forget the famous novel by Lewis Carroll? Take your guests down the rabbit hole with this creative & original idea for a party. Alternatively, name it the “Madhatter’s Tea Party” and create a world for your guests to explore & get carried away in!

The Inspiration

Alice in Wonderland Themed PartiesAlice in Wonderland Theme PartyAlice in Wonderland Themed PartiesAlice in Wonderland Themed Parties

The Decor

Alice in Wonderland Themed Parties

The Food

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

― Lewis Carroll