It’s amazing what a small thing like a caramel apple can do to trigger your somewhat skewed memories of your childhood. Let’s just say that when I look back on my teenage years, I’ve made a conscious effort to block out pretty much the entire ride. I was not the popular kid. I was not the one percent. I was like all the rest; very plain, very unknown, very invisible and insignificant. I was a cliche; awkward and lonely, and in utter disgust with my life, or so I thought. And then recently something amazing happened...
In light of my best friend turning "the big forty”, I rummaged through my closets searching for pictures of our many memories. We have been best friends since childhood, and so we have a long history of beautiful moments together. She is my soul mate in so many ways; a soul sister if you will.
When we were in our early teens her family was set to move away, off to the Pacific Northwest, and I thought I was going to die. Fortunately for me it didn’t work out and after a few weeks apart I was invited to fly out to Seattle and experience their road trip back to Chicago. We made our way from Seattle to Portland, down the coast of California and back up to the midwest. In the station wagon we all went; my second family taking me along on their adventure.
Now this is the important part. As I was looking through these pictures, there was one in particular that stood out to me. I noticed a moment of absolute delight as I was following Kristen out of the caramel apple shop with this pure, truly pure smile on my face. I was so happy! Eating that delicious taffy apple with my stupid overalls on, I was so very happy. Then I began looking closer at more photos and more photos and it hit me. I had some really amazing moments during those years. It made me a bit sad that I blocked them all out as a way of avoiding the negative memories.
Now the caramel apple memory stands strong in my mind as a constant reminder that I was happy; not all of the time and maybe not even most of the time, but I was happy. Glad that’s worked out.
The moral of this story is to embrace all of your caramel apple moments, whatever they may be for you, and let go of those memories that don’t serve you well. Til next time friends! Wishing everyone a very happy Memorial Day weekend.
When I chose to pursue a career as an artist and art teacher, one of my dreams was to take time off to travel as much as possible. This year for spring break, I was lucky enough to see the charming state of Oregon.
As I wandered through the streets of Portland, I found that it was just as quirky, eclectic and unique as I had imagined. The people are awesome, the bike lanes are ginormous, and the vibe is unlike anywhere else.
The famous Powell's City of Books is where I bought a used copy of one of my favorites, Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. A short walk from the hotel, Stumptown Coffee Roasters doesn’t disappoint...the coffee is simply amazing! For an evening of live music I made my way into the underground of the Doug Fir Lounge, listening to the groovy and mellow sounds of unconventional musicians, with originalilty like I’ve never heard before. As an artist I was inspired by the courage that these folks have to put something so new and raw out there for the world to judge. And finally before leaving the city, I enjoyed the Portland Japanese Garden, a whimsical treasure.
However, the Pacific Northwest Coast is among the most stunning of all. It was dark and rainy the day I visited Astoria and Cannon Beach, which added to the beauty. The wind was so strong that it moved sheets of sand around me as I walked down the beach. The famous Haystack seemed majestic, standing strong and fierce through the wind and fog. It was a day I’ll not soon forget.
While working on my painting of Cannon Beach and the Haystack Rock, I wanted to capture the intimate moment of that experience. After a few weeks of layering paint, revising, and adjusting, I think that I finally did it some justice. I hope my next adventure brings as much inspiration.
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As I was sketching this little piece out on Saturday with my morning coffee, I thought about how it must feel to become a mother. As an outsider looking in, I imagine it is one of the most beautiful yet overwhelming moments in a woman’s life.
I believe I get just a small taste of motherhood as a teacher; I have some of the most amazing little moments with these wonderful kids that I teach, and I also experience their overwhelming, continuous need for attention and guidance. I can only imagine what that must be like with one's own child on a daily basis over a lifetime.
Mothers are truly special, sacrificing their freedom and in some ways their very selves to endlessly give, give, and did I mention, give some more.
However, as challenging as I envision motherhood to be, I’ve come to find that children are indeed very special, each in their own way. They teach me things, make me laugh, make me sad, and often bring out the inner child in me. They remind me how important it is to enjoy simple things.
I personally have never been one for a traditional life. I think that if I had to move to the suburbs, have lots of children and be a stay at home mom I might end up like Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road. However, I still think it would be amazing to find a great man who embraces my wonderful weirdness, and have a little nugget of my own; only one though, so that I can give him or her my whole heart.
Perhaps one day I might be fortunate enough to be a mother. But until that day comes, I say cheers to you ladies! I am in awe of you, and YOU ARE AMAZING.
As usual, Chicago skipped out on spring and went right from winter to summer! The sailboats made their way back to the harbor, the dog beach sang with the sounds of dogs' laughter, and the people of Chicago came out of their sheltered, pasty-skinned, layered clothing habits as we saw sun for what seems like to first time in months. And me, I made my way to one of my favorite spots, Montrose Beach.
As I went on my two-hour walk I took in all of the sites; people bathing in the sun, enjoying a drink at The Dock, and picnicking along the shore. It was a perfect, lazy day.
Let’s just say that Montrose Beach and I share a personal connection. It is my peaceful place, where I often go to contemplate life, run, take long walks, and practice yoga. When I created this painting, I wanted to capture that serenity and stillness that we so often need in our lives but never make time for. I hope that when others view this painting, it takes them to that same place.
So please, take that long walk by the beach, whatever your version of that might be. When we do this for ourselves, we develop this sort of clarity that spills over into all other parts of our lives. Those moments that perhaps seemed challenging or impossible to handle get a little bit easier. Those things that once weighed us down are lifted, and we become better, lighter versions of ourselves.
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