A Day in The Life: Lizzy Russinko
by Elizabeth Russinko
“Mama, Conrad is calling you. Let’s go downstairs, I want breakfast.” My four-year-old daughter Ellie snuggles her sweet face against mine, letting me know sternly that her two-year-old brother is awake and she is hungry. I roll over out of bed, and without really opening my eyes, make my way down the hall. I didn’t sleep enough (again); I was up way too late working on custom orders, retreat details, social media posts, and course content. We all climb back into mama and daddy’s bed together and cuddle for a few minutes; this is mostly for my benefit, so I can enjoy some footie pajama cuddles as I transition myself into the day ahead.
Before I go any further, I should probably introduce myself. I am Lizzy, the artist, activist, and entrepreneur behind This (Un)Scripted Life and Retreat Roadmap. I am kind of a misfit (which ends up being pretty awesome most of the time because, since I don’t actually fit in anywhere, I can rock out everywhere)! I home brew Kombucha and fire cider, love handwritten words (I’ve been journaling for 35 years), and believe that (for me) becoming a stay at home mama is a radically feminist act. The last time I woke up to an actual alarm clock (on the regular) was over 4 years ago when I still got dressed up every day and took the train into the city for 8+ hour workdays at Temple University. Some things are still the same; I still have a massive “to do” list spread throughout my old school paper planner (#paperandinkforever). But the actual work I do and how it all gets done is very, very, (very) different.
This (Un)Scripted Life is a revolution on paper and in practice; the place where hand lettering and conscious living collide. It is a hand lettering studio obsessed with living a bold, authentic life and being brave enough to start conversations that matter, within ourselves and with others. I share my hand lettering through my Etsy Print Shop, Red Bubble, and social media (like most of you, Instagram is my strawberry-rhubarb jam). I also partner with fellow soulful creative and wellness entrepreneurs to offer (Un)Scripted Retreats: local one day wellness retreats for women who are craving connection, support, and transformation (you can read more about that here). I believe that women need spaces to get deep with themselves and others, and to be given the opportunity to develop authentic support systems with other women; spaces where they are honored, heard, and feel comfortable being who they are. I think that soulful, heart-centered entrepreneurs are the leaders who will create these entry points for women, so after being contacted by handfuls of bosses looking for advice about how to plan their own retreats, I created Retreat Roadmap, a course and community dedicated to empowering and encouraging life changers to create deeply engaged community through their own retreats. Whew, that was a mouthful! (I like to think that what I lack in brevity, I make up for in persistence.)
Back to my day. As any parent knows, our life is broken into a few segments that almost all have to do with eating: breakfast, second breakfast, post-breakfast snack, snack, pre-lunch snack, lunch, post-lunch snack, pre-nap snack, post-nap snack, etc. until we hit the dinner-time-is-too-close halt on snacking (which usually involves what we call h-angry tears). It is possible I spend about 50% of my day at our kitchen island preparing, serving, and cleaning up meals. I suspect even those without kiddos spend a significant portion of their day in the kitchen (is “work at home snacking” a real thing? Or is it just me?) I spend another 30% hugging, kissing booboos, affixing band-aids, playing outside, making crafts, cleaning up messes, changing diapers, reading books, food shopping, managing laundry, and trying to maintain a healthy nap/bedtime schedule.
The other 20% of my day is dedicated to working on my businesses and loving on my husband (who is a total rock star). Daytime work often looks like me sitting at my kid’s playroom table to do some lettering in a notebook, brainstorming ideas for content, posting on Instagram, or responding to emails on my iPhone. Two mornings/week the kids are at a local preschool so I have 90 minutes of alone time, which is when I typically schedule any phone calls or Skype dates with collaborators or colleagues. We have a subscription to this amazing resource called Sparkle Stories, a library of original audio stories for children, which makes being media-free-except-for-family-movie-nights somewhat manageable. Pre-kids I was addicted to the gym, but these days my exercise is a Erin Stutland mantra workout in the basement or evening yoga with my husband. I have an art table set up for the kids in my studio, so that while I am packing up orders or responding to emails, they are busy making things. The freedom of their creative process both fascinates and fuels me; I love working beside them, and often incorporate what they have created into my social media posts or even my work itself. Our day unfolds in a flurry of food and creative play.
The evening is our transition time; Daddy comes home from work and we sit down for a family meal, typically followed by a dance party (Sean Paul and Joe Bonamassa are current favorites), bath time, books, kids to bed, and some time alone with my husband. As darkness falls, I head down to my studio with a full glass of red wine, open my planner on my worktable, and settle into much needed time with myself. My planner aims to keep me focused on my “priorities”, though I am always pulled by stacks of words that need to be written, things that need to be said, conversations I am aching to begin within myself or with others.
Tonight I am pulled to my community on Instagram. I post a prompt about gratitude and wait for the responses to pour in, creating a real-time #communityledlettering piece using their words to weave a tapestry of letters, a reminder that we are all connected. I don’t get to check anything off my to do list, but I feel inspired and grateful to be doing this work, and that feels way better than checking something off my list.
I head upstairs, climb into bed, big spoon my husband, and rest until I feel my four-year-old’s sweet face snuggled up against mine, ready to start a new day.