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Athens, Ohio

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Athens, Ohio

So, Athens! Took a trip there recently to do a little hiking resting, exploring and resting.

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breathe

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breathe

Sometimes, there is a lot going on in life. I feel stressed. Overwhelmed. Scared.

Friday, I met a stranger in the park who was kind and who was warm. I spoke. She smiled, and I realized the world is much bigger than me. I am not my own universe. Everyone struggles. Everyone is struggling with something.

I've been looking down, but I need to look up. 

And breathe. 

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san juan 2013

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san juan 2013

I can never quite get enough of travel. I've never thought about why, I've just instinctively known that I loved it, and that was the only reason I've ever needed. As I've gotten older, that's not a good enough answer for me anymore. I feel like I owe it to myself to understand why I like the things I do, so I can make sure that positive mojo keeps coming my way.

Last week, I found out (part of) that answer. Fred and I were on a public transit bus in Puerto Rico. We were traveling from new San Juan to site see in Old San Juan. I sat there and stared at the people riding in the same metal can that I was. In that moment, in some way, I felt a sort of connection with those strangers. I thought about the lady sitting next to me. We were breathing the same air, which at the time seemed pretty amazing to me because we live over 1,5000 miles from each other. I was looking at the same exact streets as the young Puerto Rican father who fed his baby while he waited patiently for his stop. He made me think of how I used to bottle feed my brothers when they were little. I shared a smile with the older lady in front of me who reminded me so very much of my Mamaw Lois, a very special woman my family lost only 3 short months ago. I saw these people and I felt like I understood a part of each of them. Everyone of us on that bus had troubles, laughs, worries, and who knows what else waiting for us at our next destination. In one way or another, all of us are traveling...we all have stops and we're all in this life, together. If you sit down and think about it, that's pretty special. 

The Streets of Old San Juan: Kick-ass molding. Gorgeous tile. Unique architecture. Typography. Alleys. Cobble stone streets. Bright colors. Potted plants. Wrought iron gates and rails. Tall doorways and ceilings. These are the things I loved the most whilst traveling the streets ofOld San Juan.

Touristy shops. Creepers who followed us. Those are the things I liked the least. 

 

Fort San Felipe del Morro.

Nature life in Puerto Rico

Nature, in general, in Puerto Rico was pretty crazy.  For one thing, there were lizards everywhere. EVERYWHERE. 

One thing I really really loved about Puerto Rico was that there were plotted plants all around.  They were around houses, on sidewalks, in front of office buildings, in alley ways, etc. The locals there really find it important to incorporate nature and plant life into their daily lives. It was really, very refreshing. 

 

They were adorable, but they had some freak feet, so I decided not to touch them. 

During our time in Puerto Rico, we were lucky enough to be able to rent a car to travel an hour away to see El Yunque National Forest. It was there that we saw 2 waterfalls, and we actually even swam in one of them. 

This is my tiny husband in red, Fred, standing in front of La Coca Falls! 

We journeyed a half an hour hike to and from La Mina Falls! It was miserable and hot, but it was so worth the trek. This is what the path looked like. 

La Mina Falls.

The plants and trees in the rainforest were also pretty amazing!  

Beach life in Puerto Rico

Ok, so, doing a post about Puerto Rico is almost impossible without mentioning the gorgeous beaches there. 

This was the beach at Ocean Park, which was 2 blocks from our apartment. 

Another shot of the beach at Ocean Park.

This is a shot taken from a boat of Icaco Island. It was there that we did some snorkeling!

Sketchbook goodies

So, for the past 5 or so weeks, I've been doing a drawing for every day that passes by. I started this for several reasons, really, which I will explain in a later post where I gather all of my drawings and display them together. Anyway, I continued this new tradition while in Puerto Rico and I'm so glad that I did! I'm going to keep this going for every trip I take from here on out. It was really cool to be able to get away from the SLR and iPhone camera and record things by hand. 

All in all, we had a pretty awesome time in San Juan. There were infinite things to do and see there, and everyone we met was so very nice. Oh, and these photos don't even scratch the surface of the amount that I took while I was there, so keep your eye out for more down the road! Happy travels, and happy weekend everyone! 

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everyday

Everyday, I'm amazed by the beauty that surrounds me-everywhere. These are some iPhone nature captures I've taken recently.

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sketchbook

I forgot about this little Ontonagon, Michigan nugget! If you read my last post titled Farewell, you know that I was recently in Michigan for 4 days. Well, the drive home was all of 12 hours, and so I found plenty of time to draw. These are some things that stuck out most in my mind as I thought about the little town of Ontonagon.

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farewell

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farewell

Ontonagon, Michigan beach and an interesting piece of driftwood. 

Ontonagon, Michigan. That's where I was for a majority of last week, and what a truly beautiful place it is to visit. Unfortunately, I was there for grievous reasons. My Grandmother passed away unexpectedly while visiting her family there, and the service was held right there in her home town of Ontonagon. Despite being there under very sad circumstances, my family and I managed to have a decent amount of fun. Following in my Grandma's footsteps, we all took full advantage of what this little town had to offer, and drank in as much of it as we could.

We tried Pasty's for the first time. They are very popular in that area. If you've never heard of a pasty, let me tell you that it is one of the most delicious things you will ever eat. As my mother described it, "It's basically like a pot pie only without the gravy." I'm not huge on gravy, so that's probably why I enjoyed it so much. I'm sure there are plenty of different recipes, but the pasty I ate had beef and potatoes inside. Back in the day, the copper miners up there used to pack them for lunch often. 

We (my husband and I) took a lighthouse tour. Having never been inside or even close to one before, we were pretty excited about it! We geared up and went to the local town museum and payed our $5 for the tickets. A bus then arrived shortly thereafter to take us to the Ontonagon Lighthouse. The guide was amazing, informative, and so very courteous. The tour was well worth the money and we got to learn a bit about local history. 

Ontonagon Lighthouse 

While in town, we also visited a few local shops where Fred and I spent monies on postcards and bring back gifts for our nieces and nephews. Our favorite shop was called Gitche Gumee but the Nonesuch Gallery had the best signage. Check out that hand drawn, hand painted type. Daaaaaamn.  

 

Hand painted sign right outside the Nonesuch shop. Nice work!

We had a bonfire on the beach right behind the little caboose-turned-vacation-home that we were staying in. We made s'mores and waited for the sun to go down so we could see all the stars. I didn't realize this, but this time of year-it doesn't get fully dark until 12 or 12:30 in the morning in that part of the country! Needless to say, it was a late night for us. The wait was worth it, though. I saw more stars in the sky than I had ever imagined even existed. 

Brothers, husband, and brother's girlfriend gathering beach wood for the fire to be had.  

The wildflowers in Ontonagon were gorgeous. I think these are called Indian Paintbrushes.  

My family and I went on a boat ride on our very last night in Ontonagon. My 2nd cousin Scott took us out. This was probably my favorite outing as a family. We drank. We made fun of each other...and we laughed. It was good to get away from dry land for a while to free all our minds, even just for a little bit. My 2 brothers, (hopefully one day) sister-in-law, and husband all stripped down to their suits and decided to go for a swim in Lake Superior. It was so freezing cold, I could barely stick my feet in. I heard that the ice just fully melted only a month ago! 

 

My view from the butt of the boat. Not too bad, I say.

And last but not least, we visited the Porcupine Mountains while in Michigan, too. Specifically, Lake of the Clouds. The view there was so increadibly beautiful. So much green and blue. 

Lake of the Clouds.  

So, this concludes our trip to gorgeous Ontonagon, Michigan. Although the passing of a special lady brought us to the tiny town, there was precious time spent reconnecting with intermediate and extended family. Farewell, Michigan and farewell to you too, Grandma. I'll remember our travels together and I'll always still think of your face when I eat Caramel Nips. 

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park day

We decided to go to Ault Park today. Well, we actually decided to go to the Otto Lederman dog park in cincinnati but it was flooded again. So-we just drove a couple towns over to Ault Park. There were tons of other dogs and people out, too. The weather today was close to perfect for it. 

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invitation suite

As you may already know, I'm gettin' hitched here in a couple of months. I figured why not get a little creative with the print goods that come along with a traditional wedding?

Although this was a personal project for my myself (and my fiance), I tried to treat it as I would a normal design project for a client. This is something my closest friends and family would/will see; I wanted it to accurately reflect myself, my fiance and the event itself.

Normally I would begin the design process by doing research but this was work for me, and so I had the advantage of cutting out that chunk of time; I already know everything there is to know about the event. When beginning this process, I did make special note of certain things:

  • Wedding & ceremony will take place in a rustic barn
  • Near the barn is a small petting farm
  • Fred has a love for nature & I enjoy antique aesthetic
  • The wedding and ceremony will be laid back and somewhat casual
  • A porkopolis dinner will be served at the reception

With these thoughts freshly floating around my brain, I started to map out the different, specific pieces I wanted. I needed an invitation, a wedding reference guide (that housed the directions, parking info, etc.), and the RSVP card. After that, it was on to type lock-ups for each piece. When I had some rough type layouts for each piece, I started to draw little illustrations and marks that made me see or think of nature or something old fashioned. Things like flowers, shrubs, trees, grass, hearts, loopy accent marks, etc. I didn't know exactly how those little illustrations would play a part, but I knew they would come in handy further down the design process when I wanted to add little touches here and there.

After drawing for a bit, I started to look for farm illustrations for reference. From the get go, I knew that I wanted to incorporate farm animals in some way and I wanted the illustrations to look aged. I think over the years, I have developed a certain illustration style (insert 5 year old boy drawing here), and so I knew that what I could do myself would limit the outcome and overall experience of the invitation suite. I needed a style of illustration that was not my own. I found exactly what I was looking for on this wonderful site (which I am sure I have mentioned before) called The Graphics Fairy. It was there that I found adorable farm animal etchings that were perfect and free for personal use! Double win!

After that, things came together pretty nicely. I wanted the pieces to have a handmade feel, so I decided to hand draw all of the type...which I will admit, I was regretting this after a while. A cramped hand can be pretty painful. But looking back now, I'm glad I went the extra mile(s) because I think it really gives the suite an extra charm and makes it feel more personal...like it was made specifically for each person who received one of these invitations.

So-after all of the type was drawn and the animals were found, I began to piece everything together. As I predicted, those little illustrations came in handy and I was able to add them for extra little hints of country or vintage.

Even though I complained a lot (mainly to my fiance) about this project, it was pretty fun and cool to see it come together. It definitely helped me to learn a few things about myself; I was forced to compromise with myself, I was able to realize what my limits were, and I had to learn to pinpoint what was realistic when trying to achieve an idea I hold so dearly. The suite morphed into something corky and fun...and I liked that.

So...with that said, I hope you like it too and thanks for stopping by!

P.S. Fiance hated the pig...and still hates the pig, but I love that chubby little guy!

FredBeccaWeddingInvitationSuite.jpg
FredBeccaWeddingInvitationRefGuide.jpg
FredBeccaWeddingInvitationRSVPFront.jpg
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FredBeccaWeddingInvitation.jpg

Imagery by Rebecca Wilson.

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parents to be photos

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to shoot some photos of my soon to be sister and brother-in-law. They are newly pregnant, expecting their first baby! To remember such an exciting time in their lives, they decided to have some photos taken; enter Becca.

They decided to shoot in Ault Park, which is absolutely gorgeous and a perfect place to have photos taken. I can certainly understand why so many weddings are held there. The day itself proved to be a wee bit sunny for my liking and so we tried to stay in the shade as to avoid blowouts. If you are new to the world of Photoshop and photography, let me tell you something I learned the hard way. It is much better to shoot when it is a bit shady than when the sun is beating down directly onto your subject because you can always lighten a photo if it is too dark. If you take a photograph that is too light/white (in other words, blown out), you can't darken it without it looking bad. That information is already lost and there is no rebuilding it.

All in all, some good shots were gotten. I think these are the best.  

If you like the style treatment of the following photo, check out this Photoshop tutorial to recreate the leaky light affects for your own photos! 

Imagery by Rebecca Wilson.

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