world's best art

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world's best art

My super talented nephew, Ethan, made this for me recently! It's the Incredible Hulk standing in front of some seriously big buildings. Notice the one on the far right says, "World's Best Art." Love!

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sonoma california

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sonoma california

Mountains, somewhere over Utah or Colorado, perhaps. Dreamy and big.

California. So, so beautiful. I was there last week for another work related event. There wasn't much time for dilly dallying or site seeing on this trip, and what I did see was enough to keep me wanting more. Another trip there, one day, for sure. 

One of my favorite parts of being in California was walking through courtyards. Sometimes I felt like I was back in San Juan. More than once, I caught myself closing my eyes...imagining walking her streets again. Flowers and other beautiful plants, everywhere. Gorgeous tile and other architectural details...Spanish Colonial homes.  

The photo below was taken at The Fairmont in Sonoma, a super swanky spa/resort where a majority of the event we were working was held. Lots of fountains, trees, flowers. 

One thing that surprised me was the amount of green in that part of California. I guess I expected less with the drought that's been going on there. So this is what Napa Valley looks like. Huge rolling hills lined with rows of grape vines and green, green grass. I feel like I've been to a lot of different cities/places and I can honestly never seen anything like it before. We drove Sonoma for a second part of the event - the gala/awards session. It was held at the Artesa Winery, which was a super modern take on the typical, classic winery. There were sculptures and infinity pools. 

These photos were taken inside Artesa. When we first got there, the space allotted for the remainder of the event was nothing more than an empty room in the basement with a bunch of barrels all around. Everyone was running around...tech people setting up their gear, winery and hotel staff setting tables and hanging lights. I couldn't help but think of an ant farm as everyone was scurrying around. After the whole crew finished, it looked like this! It amazes me how everything comes together to create something like this. 

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On our last night in Sonoma, I hit up a local dive bar where I shared a few drinks, laughs and (weird?) experiences with my coworkers. A fight broke out between 2 random drunk guys. One of us was offered recreational drugs in the bathroom. Another was thought to be/look like Anthony Bourdain. All of this stuff felt like something out of a movie. Insane. 

But to conclude, being a part of these events/shows really feels like something special. There's something cool about being down in the trenches with your team and then coming out on top...pulling through and delivering a unique experience for the client and for their guests. All in all, it was a great show for a great client, and I decided to celebrate with a Pear Cider. :) An awesome end to an awesome show in an awesome part of the country. Cheers, California. I'll be seeing you again here soon. 

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199C

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199C

I'm participating in BLDG's 199C annual exhibition this year! 199C is an art show that celebrates the baseball, Cincinnati and Opening Day - featuring works from many talented designers and artists in the area. Here's a sneak peek of my piece. Come to the exhibition if you want to see the whole thing. :) Click here for more info.

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farewell friend

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farewell friend

One of the most talented illustrators I've had the pleasure of working with is retiring from my workplace at the end of this month. His name is Gary Kramig, and he will surely be missed by all. As a send-off gift for his retirement party, a co-worker had the brilliant idea of putting together a booklet that contains drawings and blurbs from all of us. This was is my contribution...a really awkward digital collage. I think it fits him, though. Ha!

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mugs

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mugs

Messin' around at the house with a friend. The drawings were inspired by microorganisms.

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new work

Check out some of my latest design work! These pieces were designed for a local company called Zephyr Blowout Salon. It's located in Hyde Park (Cincinnati), just 1 town over from where I live! If you don't know what a blowout salon is (like I didn't), it's where you can go to get your hair washed and styled. 

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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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reflection sketch: the miniaturist

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reflection sketch: the miniaturist

I finished another book about a week ago, titled The Miniaturist! It was a great historical fiction story that took place in Amsterdam in the 1600's. I'm terrible at describing the books I read, so you can read the synopsis here.

This book left me thinking of the beautiful historical architecture and buildings, shops and homes that my Husband, Fred, and I saw on our honeymoon trip to Amsterdam almost 3 years ago. I remember thinking I had never seen buildings and detail like that before. Amazing.

I've just started reading All the Light We Cannot See for a book club that I recently joined. I'm interested to see what kind of sketch comes out of me for that one... 

Cheers!

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how to find fulfilling work

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how to find fulfilling work

I just saw this pop up on Lifehacker and Brain Pickings. Everyone else is sharing it so why don't I?!

Are you having trouble figuring out what your career should be? I know I struggled for a time before landing on design and illustration. It's hard to decide on your whole life's work when you're 18..21..even 40. I really dug this illustrated video about how to go about making the right choice for finding fulfilling work. 

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