Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Smoky Mountains

Maybe because I live in Illinois and everything is flat as can be, once I laid eyes on the beauty of the mountains, I became obsessed. Jason and I had nice cozy cabin way up top Kear Mountain, and if you can believe it, this was our view from our back porch. The drive was a little crazy, but overall the trip was super relaxing. We ate good food, hiked to Cataract Falls in the Appalachians, acted like tourists, and just enjoyed each other while forgetting about any worries back home.

Truly a new year

I am finally writing to wish everyone a very belated MERRY Christmas and Happy New Year! Like most people, I was incredibly busy over the holiday season, but I have lots to share over the next few weeks. I got a blissful 12 days off from work. I called them my personal twelve days of Christmas. For the first time since our honeymoon, which was about three and half years ago, Jason and I went on vacation together. We decided to road trip it to the Smoky Mountains, and oh boy, did I take a lot of pictures. I will share them with you in a separate post because there are just too many. I learned how to make my own body lotion, which I will also share in an upcoming post. And I'm starting the new year on the right foot finally. My resolution is to give up gluten (goodbye bread) and so far so good! And most people don't know this about me, but I was a long time smoker (gasp!) Yes. Since I was about 16 years old, I have been a smoker. But I am happy to say that I have finally quit and its been nearly two months now.  I didn't want to say anything about my quitting as I have tried and failed so many times in the past. This time feels different. I feel like this year I am finally ready to be the person I want to be. And I have a huge creative project in 2014 that I am super excited about, something that's been on my bucket list since 5th grade. Happy New Year indeed.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

an attitude of gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. This year has been a very humbling start to our holiday season... Jason and I headed down to his Dad's house in Washington, Illinois, who's town was devastated by a tornado just a few weeks ago. It's one thing to see it on the news, but to see it in person, to see places that you have been completely obliterated, its just so surreal. Peoples homes, their stories, their memories scattered, they were just lying in piles or up in trees every where you looked. Thankfully everyone in our family was fine, but it really just makes you realize what's important.  All this stuff we have, you can't take it with you and it can be gone in a second.  It's the people and the connections you make in this life that truly matter. Thanksgiving or not, there is so much to be grateful for, I feel very blessed every single day.

We ended up hosting a very small, second Thanksgiving at our house the following weekend for my dad and aunt & uncle. I decided to change up the menu since most of us had just eaten the traditional Thanksgiving fare so I decided to make: root vegetable soup, maple glazed sweet potatoes with bacon, cranberry spinach salad with candied pecans, and a peach mustard glazed ham. Yum, yum. I also made a batch of flourless almond butter cookies that have chunks of dark chocolate and sea salt that I have been obsessed with making lately. It was good food, good wine, good company. It was a really nice evening I must say.

This morning I pulled my Christmas decorations out and it just put a smile on my face. I am embracing the Christmas spirit this year I have decided, full force, head on!

Monday, November 11, 2013


I am back from Charleston! Oh, Charleston...I feel like it should be said with an accent. Think Scarlet O'Hara style. I immediately fell in love with all the old houses with their private piazzas, the Spanish moss dripping from tree to tree, and the ocean close by. There is something about being near the ocean, it heals me in an instant. I totally needed this trip. Just walking the streets, eating amazing food, soaking in all the rich history, I wish we had had more time there. We had such a blast at my cousin, Jennifer's wedding on Seabrook Island too. She is one classy bride, I know that her and Andy are going to be so happy together. It's so weird when you get back from a long trip elsewhere. Sometimes you forget that there's anything else besides the little world you live in... I think it's healthy to step outside that as much as you can. I'd travel more in a heartbeat. But it does feel good to be home, even though Winter is starting to creep in. Jason and I did some much needed yard work, felt like ten tons of leaves needed to be raked, and readying even ourselves for the months to come. Hard to believe I was just in eighty degree weather, breathing in the warm ocean air. Even as I'm typing this, it is starting to snow outside. Sigh. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

beets + beats

A big thank you to everyone who came out to the Beets + Beats pop up gallery show this past weekend, and to Brett & Kate Whitacre for organizing the show. It was sort of surreal being part of something like this happening in my hometown. When I was twelve, we moved from the suburbs out to this rural town, and I remember thinking that I was so far away from everything.  Mind you this was way back when, and there wasn't even a bookstore. But now, its nice to see things like this happening, exposing people in the community to something maybe they would normally never see. I even ran into some people I haven't seen in years and years. Its funny how we all travel down different paths. I just saw an article posted online by an artist friend of mine, a quote from it stated "Maybe success should be measured by how well one fearlessly follows their heart." I like that.

I am super jazzed, I leave for South Carolina in two days! I cannot wait to explore Charleston, breathe in the sea, and celebrate with my family.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Howl at the Moon

 I spoke too soon with my last post.  The chilly gray days of Fall have finally arrived, there's that smell in the air, you know it.  It has a hint of Winter in it, like some wind from upper Canada somehow just made its way down to these parts. Frost is here. There has been a lot going on... It's nice being busy, but sometimes you need to stop and take a breath. Our good friends band, Werewolf, just had a reunion show this past weekend. It was great to see a lot of old faces. I'm still trying to figure out how to use my camera in different types of light, pretty sad to say a lot of my shots ended up on the blurry side. This week, ohhhhh this week...lots going on: its crunch time on the art front, I have ten new paintings to finish, find an outfit for a costume party we're invited to, my sweet nieces might be paying us a visit, get prepped for my trip to Charleston, and...carve a jack-o-lantern of course.  Fingers crossed I manage it all.

If you're in the area this weekend, come see my work with seven other artists for Sycamore's first pop up gallery! The pumpkin festival will also be going on, there's a lot of fun things to see downtown.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fall behind

Sorry for the photo fest. I have to comment that the weather this Fall has been perrrrfect. I love it. Just gorgeous, warm, crisp, and sunny so far. I have had so much going on the past two weeks, there is much to share, I realized I am falling behind. I got to go into the city two days in a row and not work-related, which to this country gal, is awesome... First I got to hang with some dear friends, which one of them is moving away very soon AND it was her birthday. We shopped around, paid a visit to the  chicago conservatory, and the peggy notebaert museum to see the amazing butterfly room. We ended our evening with some delicious tacos from big star. The whole day was a dream.

The following day we met up with a friend that I haven't seen in ages and ages in oak park, where she lives.  We caught up over some charcuterie and wine at marion street cheese market, and then headed over to see a lecture at the unity temple. This was my first time exploring oak park and i must say, its pretty adorable.

We also celebrated my cousin's marriage this past week.  I was super jazzed to get to take photographs of the event and happy couple.  Congrats David and Tessa!

There's so much more too... I get nerdy excited in the fall about pumpkins and halloween for that matter. Fall is so gorgeous at the farm this time of the year, I must share those photos soon. AND I am leaving for charleston, south carolina in a few weeks for my cousin Jennifer's wedding! I've been longing for an out of state adventure...and Charleston is up there with one of the cities I either desperately wanted to visit or secretly live in.  Lots to look forward too.