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nola

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nola

I'm back from New Orleans. What a crazy, great city that place is. Seriously. Although I was only there for 2 full days, I managed to see some pretty cool things. There are definitely a few places I'll have to hit up the next time around.

Since Mardi Gras is next week (Tuesday), I was in town at just the right time to see some super sweet parades. Let me preface this experience by saying that I've been to a few parades before and let me tell you, they don't compare to the ones you'll see down there in NOLA. Oh my gosh - pure craziness! Tons of people crowd around the streets, screaming for beads and other trinkets that people on the floats are throwing into the crowds. I didn't know what was going on at first but after all of the hype, I started screaming too! In fact, I did enough screaming and waving to land myself at least 20 strands of beads, some tokens, a stuffed animal and a little bouncy ball. It was awesome. I will never, however, wear flip flops to another parade like that again. That was super stupid. 

New Orleans Museum of Art

While there, I also went to NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art). There was an exhibit on display with works from Joseph Cornell. I learned about him years ago but had never seen his art in person, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Park City

Before hitting up NOMA, I stopped off at Park City and ate my grocery store lunch. It was gorgeous and the weather was absolutely perfect that day. Not a cloud in the sky and it felt like it was about 80 degrees in the sun. I sat there in the grass for nearly 2 hours...eating, drawing, and soaking up the sun. It was amazing. We are in the dead of winter right now in Cincinnati and so the experience, I think, was that much sweeter. Here is a sketch of a Dueling Oak tree; they're everywhere in Park City. I think they're also called Live Oaks, too. 

Dueling Oak tree / Live Oak tree watercolor sketch

And of course, the French Quarter. You can't go to New Orleans without spending at least 1 day there, right?! It was there that I saw the original Cafe Du Monde! This place is famously known for it's beignets and chicory infused coffee. Yum! I didn't get a photo of the original one but here is a picture I took of another location in Metairie, a town just outside of New Orleans. 

While in the French Quarter, I also went to the Audubon museum. Saw lots of bugs and weird insects. The different types of beatles on display were especially pretty. 

Here are some photos I took of some buildings and other sites in the French Quarter on my last day there!  

Street performer (in the green hat).

The St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square

I actually forgot to go check out the inside of the St. Louis Cathedral...so I only got a few captures of the outside! Woops! It sure was pretty from the outside, though. There were lots of people there at Jackson Square, just lounging around and hanging out. Street performers, musicians, other tourists and pick pocketers too, I'm sure! I made sure to use my favorite Victorinox Swiss Army day pack. It has a special pocket on the strap that lays across the front of my body and that's where I store my moneys. I never go on a trip without it!

After doing some site seeing in New Orleans, I flew over to Dallas for an extra long layover that was spent visiting with my in-laws and nieces and nephews. I was only there for a day but was happy to see everyone. I got to go to some estate sales with my Mother-in-law and afterwards, we ate some delicious Lebanese food (first time ever)! After that, I watched my first sports game in over 10 years. It was a full day!

Today, I'm happy to be back in Cincinnati despite the freezing weather! It was a fun but exhausting trip...they always are. Ha!

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone. 

Dallas, aerial view. 

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year in review

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year in review

Well, the Kuhlmann family has had quite an interesting year this time around! We thought we'd share it with our close family and friends by sending out a goofy holiday card that doubled as a year in review (info?)graphic - letting everyone know what we've been up to as of late. I think we got some pretty good laughs out of it. You can see more detailed photos of the card here!

Here's the Kuhlmann family, up close and personal. But not that crazy squirrel. How'd he get here?

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cards on a whim

I was rushing around a few days back for a holiday party and had to make a few Christmas cards on the whim. This was my favorite! 

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on creative downtime

I've had some downtime lately and I've really been trying to spend it smartly. After reading Assignments for Yourself on Design Observer this morning, I was inspired to try something new: A self assigned digital collage! Rules: None. Deadline: None. Client: None. 

With my spare time at work, I'd normally watch mind numbing software video tutorials. Which is of course good, for sure. Sometimes, though, a creative needs to just screw off and put something together that has no real purpose or that makes no sense. I feel like so much of what I do relies on purpose and/or functionality, but boy is it fun to create without it. 

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firsts

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firsts

Last weekend, Lulu and I went for our first bike-ride together. She was a little nervous but was trustful enough to let me to ride her around Norwood. We went to the local grocery store for our weekend movie night essentials: a Redbox movie (Her, btw it was awesome) and a bottle of wine. Although I do like to ride my bike solo, it's much more fun when you have a tiny dog with you. 

Oh, and last weekend, I went to my first Backstreet Boys concert. AWESOME. The girls I went with and I all had matching air-brushed shirts on. Good times! Picture on bottom left courtesy of Bethany Rainbolt

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playing around

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playing around

You may have seen in a couple recent posts of mine that I've been trying my hand at (real, not digital) watercolors here lately. I even tried to illustrate my pup, Lulu. Didn't really look like her but eh, whatevs. :) 

Here are a few more I've added to the ole sketchbook...just playing around and practicing. Maybe one day when I get good enough, I'll do a really (purposefully) nice piece. The sketch above is of a drawing I did of a building downtown a couple months ago. I just recently added the color, though. I think it's an apartment building about 1.5 blocks away from my office. The one below is supposed to be the Carew tower, also downtown. The very last one is sketched after a photo I found on the internets. I love dated motel signs. So fun. 

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best feelings

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best feelings

If you've glanced at my blog before or follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, then you probably already know that I like to draw. Buildings, people, patterns, dogs...whatever. Every once in a while, when the cosmos align just right, I get the chance to simultaneously draw and get paid. When that happens, it's really pretty much one of the best feelings in the world. It's special...like building a house with your bare hands and whole heart and then someone saying, "That's a really pretty house. Can I live there too?" That made more sense in my head, actually, but I'm not sure how else to explain it. 

So recently, one of these types of opportunities came across my path and I was, and still am, pretty psyched about it. I was asked to do a full cover illustration of Writer's Digest magazine to go along with some illustrations I had previously done for the interior feature package of the July/August issue! You can see the cover above along with some close-ups and interior shots from the feature package below. 

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oh, cincinnati

Starting work downtown has been a huge change of scenery, and change of pace for me. Busy busy & loud, hussle bussle. At first, it was a bit overwhelming but I'm getting more and more used to it. I've been snapping a few photos here and there while wondering around on my lunch breaks. There is definitely no shortage of interesting things to look at. 

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tough mug

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tough mug

I tried to paint my tiny chihuahua/rat terrier, Lulu, the other day. She's got a tough mug to capture. 

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water and trains

I've been giving (real) watercolors a go here lately. In the past, I've done some digital watercolor illustrations before but never the real deal. If you have never tried using real watercolors to paint before, let me tell you that THEY ARE REALLY FRICKEN HARD (to get the hang of). I think the trick is in the layering. I tend to want to apply too much pigment at once instead of taking the time to layer on the colors to get more dimension. I guess I can't be too surprised by that, though. I'm a graphic designer so normally when I do something, it's just done. Watercolor...not so much.

Below is attempt #1. As you can see, I got a bit impatient here and there but overall, I don't think it's too bad for a first time. I worked from a photo I found on Pinterest. I can't remember where the location was, though, and I didn't pin the picture (doh!). All I know is that it's a place where gorgeous tree covered rocks shoot out of green blue water...and I want to go there.  

This is attempt #3. [#2 was so bad that I couldn't bring myself to show it.] When I was a little girl growing up, I remember being able to hear the trains from my bedroom window. In the summer, I would sleep with my head at the foot of the bed to be closer to the window. That way, I could hear them better. Now, as an adult in a new home, I can still hear the trains from my bedroom window, and I'm so very glad. Recently, I spent a good portion of a rainy day in bed reading and relaxed while listening to the trains. It was such a good feeling. That's when I decided I needed to paint a train! I worked from an image also found on Pinterest. Original found here

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