I don’t know why but I had that Madonna song stuck in my head the other day so I decided to make it into a Valentine’s card. Now I really want some heart socks.
I’m a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Yes, I’m aware that it’s a “made-up holiday” but I don’t really care. Let’s celebrate all kinds of love you guys!
For the next seven days I’m going to post a hand drawn illustration for you to print, email, or text to your friend, parent, dog, and significant other.
Spread the love.
Over the Christmas break I watched a really interesting documentary about artist Cai Guo-Qiang called Sky Ladder. You can watch the trailer below…
I found Sky Ladder to be super inspiring as a creative AND as a human being. I would recommend this documentary to anyone that needs a little inspiration to persevere (all of us right?). The wide variety of art he makes really resonated with me. I have a lot of interests and I always feel like I need to choose one path but I can never decided. It was reassuring to see a prolific artist that didn’t choose just one path and is still successful. Granted he’s already “made it” which allows him the freedom to do whatever he wants but it’s still aspirational nonetheless.
Check out some of his work below:
Please let me know if you watch it and what you think! See more of his work here.
Happy Lunar New Year! And also it’s my 32nd birthday. I honestly don’t know how I got this old. But since this is my blog and I do what I want around here I thought I would share some random things about myself in my honor. We’re all allowed to be a little narcissistic on our birthday, right?
Here are 32 things you may or may not know about me:
- I wouldn’t be caught dead in the color yellow (unless I’m strangled with caution tape).
- I listen to podcasts every morning while getting ready for work.
- I’m obsessed with true crime. I’m really sad I didn’t come up with the podcast My Favorite Murder.
- My favorite shows as a kid were Rescue 9-1-1 and Unsolved Mysteries (I heard there’s a reboot!).
- I’m an ice cream fanatic from way back.
- I survived an ostrich attack. Ask me about it.
- I can talk endlessly about dogs, names, and dreams.
- My nails are painted 95% of the time.
- I had an imaginary friend named Krisen (Kristen without the T) that lived down a hilly road.
- I waved at Hilary Duff, Kelly Clarkson, and Justin Guarini in a hotel lobby in Los Angeles.
- My grandmother took me to a taping of the Price Is Right for my high school graduation.
- I HATE bananas but love banana bread.
- ENFP though I’m really like an extroverted introvert.
- The Wizard of Oz is my all time favorite movie.
- I would pretend to be a spy (remember, true crime) and my spy name was Mary J. Blige (same initials!).
- R.L. Stine was my childhood hero. (I may have written some fan fiction in 1995.)
- My first airplane ride was to Key West in 6th grade. I cried before we got on the plane.
- My first CD was No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom.
- My first real concert was George Jones.
- I won a class spelling bee on the word “basin.” I then lost the grade bee on “cabbage.”
- In high school, I got a B in typing because I “talked too much.”
- My mother had a conference with my teacher in 5th grade because I “talked too much.”
- I have a weird aversion to the color purple unless it’s nail polish.
- I’m named after my great great grandmother (Molly) and my grandmother (Helen Joy).
- The first celebrity to appear in one of my dreams was Sean “Puffy” Combs. He gave me a car.
- I’m currently trying to quit my sugar addiction – just trying to eat less than usual.
- When people “nick” themselves in razor commercials it turns my stomach.
- I was the star of a play one time. Literally. I played a star named Twinkle.
- I was terrified of the Easter Bunny as a kid.
- I won a pull up contest in 8th grade. I did 20 legit, no kipping pull ups in a row.
- My current favorite snack is homemade popcorn with butter, rosemary, and sea salt (with a glass of red wine).
- I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
In a less vain post, I wrote about my 30th year here for my 31st birthday.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed, disheartened, stressed, challenged, disappointed, restless, anxious, sad, overworked, under appreciated, tired, tried, beat up, and down right depressed… remember that you can do hard things. YOU GOT THIS.
(I should know… I teach middle schoolers all day!)
To remind you, I made an iPhone wallpaper >>> You Got This Wallpaper <<< just give it a click
Part 1 of NYC in 2 Seasons here.
In December I went back to NYC with my friend Whitney to celebrate her birthday. It was her first time and I’m always down for a trip to New York. I was excited because I had never been during Christmas and I knew it was going to be magical.
Well, things didn’t start off so magical. I bought a new iPhone a couple days before specifically at this time so I could use it while we were there. On the first plane ride I discover that it was defected and the CAMERA DID NOT WORK. The front facing camera worked so… I could only take selfies. I tried not to see this as a bad omen but I’m afraid it set the tone. Things got worse.
We landed in Charlotte (at 12:30pm) and had about an hour before our final flight to Newark. Long story short, our flight was delayed. We somehow missed out delayed flight, was on standby for three flights when we finally got on a plane at 10:30pm to… wait for it… PHILADELPHIA. That’s right. The only plane we could get on that would get us anywhere close to NYC was to Philly. We stayed the night at a Microtel which had a heater that sounded like a plane was taking off in her room every five minutes ALL NIGHT LONG.
We finally made it to NYC the next day around 1pm. We had to take an Uber to downtown Philly to get on a train to Trenton, New Jersey to get on the NJ transit to take us to Newark Airport where Whitney’s baggage was (don’t check a bag for a weekend trip!). From there we got another Uber to our Airbnb (which was awesome btw).
Here’s what we did in our limited amount of time: (and here’s the detailed color coded Google Map I made)
Sites: Washington Square Park, 9/11 Memorial, Oculus, The Met, 5th Avenue Window Displays, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Chicago The Musical
Places: Harlem, Upper West Side, Greenwich Village, Lower East Side, Manhattan
We tried to make the most of our time despite snow and super cold temperatures (for two southerners). On the morning we were leaving, I go to check us in on our flights and our connecting flight from Chicago had be CANCELLED. All flights to Birmingham, Atlanta, Nashville, and Huntsville were full. After an hour and a half on the phone we were booked on a flight to Memphis where Greg had to drive 3.5 hours to pick us up. What a trip, am I right?!?
I freakishly remember most of my dreams. It’s been something I’ve noticed about myself since I was a little kid. I once read that if you start to remember your dreams you’re more likely to remember them more often… sounds ridiculous but I think it works. Some people write them down but I like to tell them detail by boring/vague./confusing detail to people. *Pro tip: No one really cares about your dreams anyway…*
With that being said… here’s my dream! JK! Nope, not kidding. Here’s my dream:
The other night I had a dream with a giant white swan in it. The swan made a nest and laid 71 eggs. In the dream I was trying to speculate at how many of the eggs would hatch. Random detail but the eggs were scattered around and were different sizes/shapes.
Usually, I’m not one to place meaning to dreams because I think dreams are (usually) random compilations of your life but in sci-fi mode. But…something about the swan man. So I looked it up.
Swans in dreams symbolize:
- Time of reflection to nurture new ideas and bring them forth
- Wealth and Happiness
- New pleasures and prosperity
- Satisfied with one’s personal life
After I had this swan dream I noticed swans appearing throughout the day. I saw or read something about a swan on the internet/Instagram. They were mentioned in a podcast. I turned on a paused episode of Gilmore Girls and the first sentence they spoke was something about a swan! Coincidences be crazy!
2017 is now the year of the swan!
Have you had any prophetic dreams? I WOULD SERIOUSLY LOVE TO KNOW. EMAIL ME/COMMENT/USE TELEPATHY.
*Billy Madison… remember? #90skid
In July, Greg and I decided we hadn’t traveled enough this summer (ha!) so we loaded up the car and drove 14 hours north to Brooklyn. Luckily, we always have a place to stay with his brother and sister-in-law – thanks Scott and Meredith!
The first two days we were there it was PERFECT weather. I wore jeans and a tank top and never sweated. Things then took a dramatic turn to HEAT and HUMIDITY.
Despite the weather conspiring against us we go out there and suffered I mean… had fun.
Sites: 9/11 Memorial, Washington Square Park, The Whitney, The Met, Chelsea Market, random art galleries, Prospect Park, Strand Bookstore, DUMBO, Transit Museum, Oculus, random pent house open house (G’s SIL had artwork in it)
Those are the exact places I could remember the names. We ate a super authentic ramen place in Chinatown that was a real experience. We went to a whiskey tasting and a chocolate tasting in Red Hook. And in between everything we had a lot of coffee, pizza, and bagels.
Now the pictures:
And if you made it all the way to here, bless you! You get a badge too! Stay tuned for part 2…
Remember in my New Year post and I mentioned using Instagram as a place of inspiration instead of jealousy? Well I went on a following spree of illustrators last year. I found a lot of good ones out there (later posts?). But the one I freaking love the most is Maria-Ines Gul.
I’ve always admired artists that are simple/minimal, clever, and interesting. I think it’s partly because those are my goals as an artist/illustrator/designer but I also know/appreciate how hard it is to do so. Simplicity is hard!
Maria-Ines Gul’s illustrations are perfection. They are perfectly quirky, understated, witty, interesting, and minimalistic. They are feminine but not girly. They are current but not trite. I basically want to be one of her illustrations.
I love the range she has in her work. Some pieces are super minimal while others are worked up a bit more with detail and whimsy.
All of her girls just seem so cool. Like I said… I want to be one of her illustrations (probably the least cool thing to say).
Who’s inspiring you these days?
I enjoy the New Year. It’s kind of a like a refresh button on life. The end of the year is always hectic with Christmas shopping, family obligations, and other weird stuff. Then January 1 hits and it’s like hello, new year who dis?
I’m not into resolutions because I’m bad at them. I can’t commit to doing anything daily except breathing (and often times too shallow). Last year I tried to resolve to not hitting my snooze button but that lasted less than two weeks… whoops. When I say I’m going to do something daily/completely new from my status quo it feels like I’m setting myself up for failure. So what does one hyper self aware realist to do?
Play the long game suckas!
First you have to know thy self. Recognize you’re tendencies and habits. It’s ok, it’s supposed to hurt a little. I’ll use myself (last year) as an example:
Me: I’m terrible AF at committing to doing anything daily. Also, I think about things to do and NEVER do them and then it stress me out!
2016 Long Game: Alright, cool. Don’t commit to doing anything daily even if you want to! Instead, let’s think about how you can grow in 2016 and not end up feeling like a failure. What do you think about doing?
Me: Making stuff.
2016 Long Game: Sounds super fun and specific. How are you going to encourage yourself to make stuff?
2016 Long Game: Geez you’re helpless. How about having art supplies out ready to use? Also, instead of being jealous of everyone on Instagram, why don’t you try using it as inspiration to stop THINKING and start DOING? You don’t get better by just thinking it into reality.
Me: *** mind explosion ***
Here’s the trick… talk to yourself like you’re another person. What would you tell your BFF if they came to you with your problem? Sometimes we need to be our own pep talking cheerleader, you know? Survive AND thrive. I would say it also helps to write it down somewhere. Just knowing your WROTE it down somehow gives it power.
Oh, and how did my 2016 of doing go? Pretty good! I left art supplies out with minimal set up, saved Instagram posts that I thought were inspirational, tried new things, and shared a lot more.
So 2017, upward and onward! Goals over resolutions for the win!
And if you need more inspiration for the year… have a look at this article.