activities, travel, vacation

Every Year – Explore Somewhere New

 

Neuschwanstein Castle aka Cinderella Castle aka the swan lake castle

Neuschwanstein Castle aka Cinderella Castle aka the swan lake castle

121694713Grüss Gott (southern German for hello!!!)  I am back from Deutschland!! Its been a while, its hard coming back to the real world and life. This trip was our (husb + me) third world travel together and there are many more to come. This is what our focus is: seeing the world and growing in love and saving cash for the next trip. Its a slightly transient existence for now but so worth it when we leave on each trip. Germany was incredible, beautiful we traveled the romantic strasse and saw real medieval cities and the original Cinderella swan castle and Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich. I visited with some family and it didn’t even rain much! We met incredible people and made some lifelong friends on out travel tour. I plan on writing an extensive experience review someday, for now I need to do some laundry, groceries shopping and begrudgingly get back in to planet earth’s rotation. Its hard though, I really seriously could travel forever, its nice to be home and relax but I miss being on the road and eating incredible meat and potatoes German food. I gained 5 proud pounds hahaha we gorged, I had several pastries and Eis (gelato) everyday. I bought a good amount of candy/provisions to bring home, its declining rapidly. I miss it! Next trip Spain! And I wont be planning it until a few months in from now. I have to get back to the career and the Etsy shop now, it will be Fall and cozy soon and I have beautiful art I want to share with the world.

dont fence me in

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bloggers, creative entrepreneur, design industry

Favorite Blogs Part 1

 

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Face/Fashion Inspired by Hey Natalie Jean in this sketch

There are a good amount of things I am obsessed with.But this blog that I read almost everyday feeds my soul. It all started when I read Stephanie Nielson’s book Heaven is Here I read about her in Oprah then saw the book in the library. This happened about 4 years ago, I was at a point in my life where I was extremely vulnerable to influences and people seeming to live happy lives. I loved her book and started to read her blog. Something about it all was so strange and otherworldly to me. I have never been in contact with young woman my age who were very religious and interested in traditional roles (housewife and mothers) for women. If anything I got mixed message, not that its bad, not even that I must be feminist just that those times are very much over. To be honest most couples I know are still unmarried and barely anyone has children. I’m 27 now so maybe that means we are all heading there? But truthfully marriage, children, staying at home its something older generations seemed to abhor because they felt they deserved the choice to decide between work and home and choosing home was a loss of power to the man, and the man doesn’t pay you equally at work anyway, an oppressive world (we still don’t get paid equally now anyway). So today every family has two working parents. And these families barely get by.. basically the man and wife are earning what the man of the house earned for his whole family in the olden days (I’m referring to the baby boomers and the generation before, I am part of Generation Y because I was born after 1980) So anyway I don’t mean to be a downer but being equal is obviously difficult to maintain. One person is always a little bit lazier in one way or another. I don’t think we really value marriage and children as much as we used to, probably from everyones parents divorcing? Its ok, I mean I think the world has changed in some ways better in some ways worse… I just mean those “golden” days where the women were submissive but sassy and the men were cheerful, strong and hard working..those times exist on these Mormon mommy blogs and I really really enjoy reading them. Its not stepford wife exactly, I mean these are hip kids doing artsy city-centric organic cool stuff just with babies, marriage and Mormonism and no alcohol oh or coffee (in my sketch shes drinking herbal tea lol. Its fascinating,

These blogs opened my heart and let sunshine in. I can dip into these happy happy worlds for a few seconds online and imagine what it would be like like to have your greatest worries be just about the home, the husband and babies.Here are my go-tos:


 

Hey Natalie Jean


The Daybook

girl1


 

NieNie Dialogues

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Love Taza

Love Taza Valentine


 

So I typed in Mormon mommy blogs to see if I could find some more and I saw the salon article and got hooked on several more lives. Most of these girls have degrees from accredited colleges, there smart, artistic, fashion savvy and originals with extreme know how on creating an empire of family lil ol me blog fun that evolved into media exclusive, book deals, millions of dollars. I think some people would read these blogs and think they are anti feminist and archaic maybe, definitely when you look at GOMI (which I do all the time!very funny sometimes) you get the impression that this constant navel gazing is annoying and these women are bored and need something else to “fill up their time.” But i will say now I see through all those impressions. I truthfully just feel JEALOUS! Hahahahah imagine your so bored and have every monetary need met by the breadwinner, you have pretty children that you enjoy taking care of and you honestly want and plan to have more and you have a little spare time to write insightful, poignant and sometimes silly fun blog posts everyday and instagram and tweet the lighthearted family filled life you lead? Seems amazing seems perfect. That what these blogs do extra well, you sometimes really believe it could be yours. And if your extra vulnerable you may even convert lol, I know I was creepily obsessed with at least going to Provo and having a Sweet Tooth Fairy cupcake. But I guess I know converting won’t give me this rosy colored glasses life. I would still be me, dark and mysterious inside and very distrustful of anything organized hhahaha plus I’m married to another not so religious type. Oh, and I still have never met a mormon person! I plan to write in depth about these favorite blogs of mine someday soon. If your feeling low click one of these links!

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activities, NYC

A Perfect Brooklyn Day

 

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Last week my lil sis, mom and Tante Ursula had a full day in NYC. I am an excellent, experienced tour guide when people come to visit Husb. and I have a serious system of showing off our tristate area to perfection and we love it! So when Tante said she wanted to go to NYC I began to chart the usual plan: the MET, the MOMA, Laduree macaroons on the upper east side, central park, and for dinner Lederhosen (excellent german food) on the lower east side. Ursula nixed all that, she saw a documentary about Brooklyn and the green movement there, the hipsters, the art, the gentrification, the organic vegan eateries…she was intrigued. Shes hip to the cool stuff. I lived in willburg for a year a loong time ago and my sis goes to pratt so we know a few funs things to do in BK. So the party got started! If your into taking a good clean fun tour of BK (actually this involves  a beer garden lol) then follow my directive below but first more photos!!!

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Perfect way to tour Brooklyn:

  • Go to city hall in Manhattan walk through park.
  • Go to Brklyn bridge and walk across. Exit at the left of the fork DO NOT WALK TO END very long walk other wise. Go to the right under the bride and you will see Grimaldis the best pizza in BK (ok actually other than Robertas in Bushwick) the Grimaldis in Manhattan is a weird imitation of the one in BK, so if you going to pizza in Manhattan than go to Lombardis!
  • Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory right on the water
  • Hop on the east river ferry marked “uptown” in the front. It comes every half hour it is $4
  • Get off the North Williamsburg stop and explore it! Willburg is truly the nicest area of BK.
  • Stop off for a delicious beer cocktail at the Radegast Biergarten…Germany was playing Brazil they won omg 7-1 a good time at a german biergarten for worldcup!
  • shop ( I love catbird!!) and look at the art, hipsters, trustafarians and then get on the L train to Manhattan and get out at the union square stop and walk up Bway passing by ABC carpet and home and see some gorgeous visual merchandising displays
  • End up at Eataly for gelato (they have a lot of other Italian delicacies and food and espresso drinks and vegan and gluten free options, so you don’t have to get gelato hahaha) and check out the flatiron bldg.

So what do you do when you explore Brooklyn? I should add the Botanic Gardens and the Brooklyn Art Museum (next to each other) are incredible places to visit so hit them up if your in the ‘hood. Oh, also Black Forest Brooklyn is excellent atmosphere and dinner too, if you go to the garden and museam I would head there for dinner its in ft green BK! I guess now you know i’m interested in German food, ice cream, Italian pastries and beer mixed with soda (called a Radler) what does this mean about me?

 

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activities, flowers, new jersey

Duke Farms New Jersey

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DSC_2578Have you ever heard of Duke Farms? Its here in central NJ it is one of the largest private wilderness sanctuaries in the world. Donated by Doris Duke to the state of NJ as a gift to preserve the gardens and wildlife. You can rent bikes for $5 and travel all over these pretty “ruins” forests, greenhouses with a million wild fragrant orchids and beautiful lakes and statues. Oh and its free and there are baby bald eagles, red tail hawks and wild flower medows. I went here a few times most recently with my Tante Ursula (Tante = Aunt in german) and Papa. Check it out! It is a lovely activity for a summer day!

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On a side note I won a blog award for being a Versatile Blogger from Lana on her blog Once Upon a Spice !! The rules of the award dictate that I say 7 things about myself and nominate 15 people for the award and tell them too.

versatile-blogger-award

Here are 7 facts about me:

  1. I am German, Irish and Italian
  2. I earned my BFA in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology
  3. I married a Peruvian Heart-Throb in 2012
  4. We have been together for ten years
  5. I have four younger siblings
  6. My priorities right now are husband, traveling, family time and art career
  7. I love love love the color pink

Here are my 15 nominees:

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activities, artists, etsy, interviews

Artist Interview

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CAM01746My friend Danielle had an epic party last weekend where I saw her incredible studio and artwork and crafts and I also suffered a badminton injury to the head. I love seeing artist spaces and she is killing it in the craft fair world, and Etsy as well as getting freelance illustration work. I have known her and her husband for about tens years she and I went to FIT together same time for illustration and she’s one of those pure illustrators that draw and paint and use the computer at the end by scanning the work to upload, needless to say her skill is sharp and neat and I’m envious of her discipline.

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She’s also a very generous and beautiful person who wears glasses (that’s a huge plus to me) and throws incredible get-to-gethers at her uniquely decorated home she shares with her artist/teacher/designer husband. Oh and their wedding invites were insanely well done, I love the style these two do. So she let me take pictures and showed Anna and I some of her technique and I asked a few questions on how her artwork sausage gets made:

 

WM: What is your process and favorite Materials/Techniques?

DLG: My process consists of sketches first, then final drawing, then I get started on transferring the final drawing to watercolor paper of my choice, then painting in layers and finally inking at the end. Lately I have been liking Artistico Fabriano papers. I use a variety of watercolors such as Winsor newton and Turner paints. The entire process takes a couple weeks at best, and years other times. I might leave a sketch or drawing for months months and months and then go back to it when I have inspiration.

WM: What inspires you?
DLG: Animals are the main source of my inspiration. I watch a lot of nature documentaries and I am a cat enthusiast. My two cats Gus and Bruce are constant sources of cuteness and inspiration to me.

WM: How did you begin your climb to success on Etsy?
DLG: I began selling prints on Etsy at first to see if I could even sell one. Eventually  my sales gradually progressed,so I began to venture into new avenues. I started with postcards, then greeting cards and now I make and sell earrings and brooches of my watercolor paintings. Every now and then I collaborate with my husband Josh Green to make custom wedding invitations.

WM:What do you like about Etsy as a whole for artists/designers?

DLG: I enjoy Etsy it’s a great place to find a market that otherwise might have been impossible to reach. It’s a great place to start, I hope to continue growing moving into wholesale and boutiques. There is nothing more flattering than someone wanting something you made with your hands hung on their walls or sent to their loved ones or worn on their bodies.

WM: Any advice to the aspiring artists out there?

DLG: Never give up …yay!

Check out her Etsy, Tumblr, and Website!!

Then we joined the party and had food and fun and stayed up late on the Sunday night before work. This is Cris (my husb) wearing his Germany jersey!! GO Deutschland and two people in the pool, Anna and I being the skeleton art…

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activities, Eating, new jersey, pennsylvania, travel, weekend

New Hope on a Summer Day

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Husb and I went to New Hope this weekend. Its a beautiful town in PA. The summer breeze was soft and fragrant on the Delaware river. New Hope is directly across from an equally pretty town called lambertville in NJ. Took a bunch of photos with our cameras, didnt bring the DSLRs, when I take pictures of C he is so cute to me he makes my stomach hurt (bridesmaids). The sun was super bright we had a delicious meal at Triumph Brewery, lamb meatball sandwich and the beer sampler. Then ice cream cones at moo hope dairy. There are turtles than sunbathe on the bridge and lots of specialty artisan shops. I got a beautiful bday present (lol not supposed to remember, my bday will be in a few weeks)  at an incredible boutique called Celt-Iberia Traders (they specialize in celtic and spanish products) and we had one of those convos with the owners that we kept referring back to all day. We are really looking forward to our Spain trip in 2015 now! Gotta see the Dali museum and the black virgin chapel in the serrated mountains. Its so lovely to be married and young(ish) – free to move about the world and make plans for our future that involve seeing more art, more beauty. Then we stopped at the fudge shoppe in Flemington NJ and got a whole bunch of treats. That place is like willy wonka candyman! We always passed this place and always say we want to go there, so C surprised me by just going right to it.

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activities, beach, inspiration, summer, travel, weekend

At the Jersey Shore – Ocean Grove

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I grew up on a local on the Jersey Shore. Both my parents are teachers so summer was for family and friends meeting up everyday at the beach. Every single day of summer was spent sunrise to sunset on the sand in the sun by the salty ocean. Sometimes family and friends all day reading in the sunshine and other times I would be alone in the water and I would float in that blue green staring at the sky as I dreamed about the future. My worries were small compared to now – my fears downright inconsequential. And I truly imagined a royal rose colored life for myself. There would be tuna sandwiches for lunch and warm ice tea and hard pretzels. Last weekend my bfffl and I went to Ocean Grove, NJ. The water was arctic but I went in anyway as Christina watched because she gets chilly easily (she was cold in Miami!). I found a little sparkle of my childhood in the sunlight sparkling salt smell ocean. Like a grain of sand that didn’t get brushed away, vacuumed up like a shred of hope for my dreams to come true. They already have, a whole bunch of them – fall in love, get married, begin traveling around the world, make art everyday as my job. But there is always that yearning keening wish for more. But it was enough last Saturday, vivid blue skies and best friends at the beach talking talking talking and then dinner at her moms house with home made mint chocolate chip ice cream. Hopefully we go to the beach more often this summer, and hopefully I get to make more beach graphics at work too and one day have a home of my own on the shore!

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