Friday, June 29, 2012

{Happy Friday}

This week, while quite productive, was a bit of torture because I was suffering from insomnia for a few days straight. I'd wake up feeling so sick and zombified, nap attempts were accompanied by crazy dreams, and it felt like the back of my head weighed a ton. Has that ever happened to you?

In trying to come up with possible reasons for my sleeplessness (hard mattress, tossing and turning, my body becoming more used to my boyfriend's bed, heat, hunger, stress, not powering down before bedtime), I realized how lightening fast I usually fall asleep when I'm at A.'s house. It might sound like a good thing, but falling asleep within five minutes of lying down (like I do when I'm visiting him) is a sign of sleep deprivation. Even when I'm hyped and say "I'm not sleepy! I'm not sleepy! I'm not Zzzzzzzz..." I'm out as soon as my head hits the pillow! I just wish I felt refreshed when I got up in the morning.

I don't know what the underlying issues are, but I finally got a better night's rest last night after taking some NyQuil and a warm shower. Fingers crossed that the next few days continue to be a restful one because we're heading out on our road trip in just one week!Do you have any fun plans coming up?

Hope you monkeybutts have an awesome weekend and enjoy some link love:

Twelve modern beds I could probably sleep way better in.
A list of road trip apps that Dellah sent along to me. (Thanks, lady!)
I found the New York Times 36 Hours travel book for half off at Barnes and Noble!
The perfect cheese platter.
Nora Ephron's lists of what she'll miss and what she won't.
Tom and Katie to divorce while Adele expects her first child.
Ten good and cheap eats in New York City.
Need new calling cards?
Free design tutorials from Nicole's Classes.
A call for recipe + story submissions for an Oh My! Handmade kitchen party.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

10 Things from the Renegade Craft Fair 2012

This past weekend I not only got to visit the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn, but also swung by the Brooklyn Flea and the Artists & Flea for a quick bit. Below, 10 things I loved from this year's fair and a few other goods you can still check out in Williamsburg.

1. Handmade ceramic mugs, cups, and vases from Danmade.
2. Dirtsa Studio science-themed pillows caught my eye again at this year's fair.
3. Painted vintage skeleton keys and art prints from Yellow Heart Art.
4. The miniature worlds inside Lisa Swerling’s Glass Cathedrals. (My favorite.)
5. "I'll Cut You" screenprinted tote bags from Earth Cadets. How sweet.
6. Cute and Timid Monsters, each with a personality all their own.
7. Little Hip Squeaks baby onesies, hats, and blankets.
8. I only bought one paper product at the fair: this card from Enormous Champion.
9. More adorable ceramics with painted critters by Abby Berkson.
10. Jessica and Susan Portain not only hand-sculpt intricate food jewelry from polymer clay, but their Polymer Clay Cookbook teaches you how to make many of their creations yourself.

11. Because the venue changed to the blazing hot paths along the East River State Park this year, my friend and I took a break midway to check out the Artists & Fleas a couple blocks away. The indoor market (with air conditioning!) was a welcomed respite from the heat and we ended up having a nice chat and a hand washing by the lovely ladies of Treat Me Bath and Body.

The Renegade Craft Fair might be over (in NYC anyway), but head to Williamsburg for art and vintage goods at the weekly Artists & Fleas as well as the nearby Brooklyn Flea. After a hot afternoon browsing through crafts, I also visited the latter across the street for a tiny blueberry lemon cupcake from Kumquat Cupcakery and a cranberry limeade to wash it down.

Also, our Renegade photobooth pics and 15 other crafty events to note in your calendar.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Do You Have to Suffer to Appreciate Happiness?

Yesterday morning I was on the phone with Dad complaining about a few career-related things when he gave me his favorite quote (as of late anyway).

"It's not about doing what you love, but loving what you do," he said.

Now Dad grew up in a poor village in the Dominican Republic so when he immigrated to the U.S. he never had much luxury when it came to chasing dreams and full-fledged careers. His primary goal has always been to provide for his family and make sure there was a roof over our heads and food on the table. Still, I disagreed and said I'd much rather spend my precious time only doing the things I enjoyed rather than waste a single moment doing the not-so-fun stuff. That then I'd be happy all the time and why shouldn't anyone be happy all the time?

"Because then you won't appreciate the good times," he replied. "You need to experience the low moments to then enjoy the happy ones."

Well let me tell you, I think at this point I can enjoy some 50 years of constant happiness and appreciate them just fine. I would like to think that my happiness' baseline is fairly constant no matter what's come before or what follows it and I'd like to walk on or beyond that line as much as possible. Perhaps the previous suffering makes it sweeter, yes, because we'd been yearning for the light, but would I actually grow displeased with my constant joy and eventually find something else to complain about? Would having something incredible happen to me permanently increase my happiness or would it just come back down over time?

A study late last year showed that while lottery winners might experience a surge in happiness and paralyzed accident victims suffer a dip in theirs, eventually lottery winners returned to a happiness level not that much higher than the victims, who weren't anywhere near as unhappy as assumed. This is due to the contrast effect, which means that instead of single events becoming permanent thunderclouds or sunshine in our lives, they're compared to other events that happen to us. We also adapt to whatever comes our way regardless of whether it's good or bad and eventually learn to live on. So long term happiness isn't necessarily affected by the things that happen to you, but rather your attitude and perspective.

So maybe Dad was right in learning to enjoy the life you're experiencing now (it could be worse, right?), but it's sure hard not to compare a current situation with something else you've imagined. And perhaps I'm spoiled or stubborn, but I'm still reluctant to see value in accepting suffering as your current fate and needing a dose of it to truly appreciate life.


Monday, June 25, 2012

{Monday Inspiration} Steal Like an Artist

When Broome Community College in upstate New York asked writer-artist Austin Kleon to give a speech at their convocation, he wrote down a list of 10 things he wish he'd heard when he was starting out as a college student. The speech, which became a blog post and his second book Steal Like an Artist, was a manifesto for modern-day creativity that explains how creativity is not just for the fortunate few or the geniuses, but for everyone. That it's a cultivated mindset and that in order to create such a life, you need to be kind and curious, be willing to look stupid, and be selective about what you let into your world. As he illustrates in the book, "garbage in, garbage out."

"We can pick our teachers and we can pick our friends and we can pick the books we read and the music we listen to and the movies we see, etcetera. You are a mashup of what you let into your life," he says.

The title is derived from a quote often mistakenly attributed to Pablo Picasso: Bad artists copy, great artists steal. Meaning if you want to be good, surround yourself by good influences that stimulate you intellectually and creatively and learn from them. Then build upon what you've found, make it better or different by remixing it and adding a piece of yourself into it.

"Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use — do the work you want to see done," he says.

The handwritten list he created for his Broome speech is now available on 20x200 for those who need a constant reminder above their desk.

Image: (via

Friday, June 22, 2012

{Happy Friday}

Happy weekend everyone! The skies opened up today and the thunderstorms have finally brought in a breeze around here. In fact, another downpour is about to begin any minute now...

Stay cool, savor the first weekend of the summer, and enjoy these finds from around the web.

Make stirrers for your summer cocktails.
Three fun ice cube ideas.
A Bakers Stock giveaway. (Love those cupcake liners!)
Make an ombre painted picnic blanket.
DIY Fourth of July tea towels.
Rue's June issue is all about travel and adventure.
DIY rotating goal list. (via Oh, Hello Friend)
Pinwheel inspiration. When was the last time you made one?
An impressive bucket list + "Before I die I want to..."
Dancing Matt is back! Remember his awesome 2008 video? I wish I had his life...

Oh! And there comes the rain! Don't you just love the smell of a summer storm?

Noisette Academy Guest Post: New York City//For Creatives: Craft Fairs & Markets

I absolutely love going to crafts fairs and supporting the handmade community by buying a bunch of stuff I don't really need. It's just so hard to resist all that cuteness! This weekend, I'll be checking out the annual Renegade Craft Fair in Williamsburg, Brooklyn again and intend to scoop up a few more goodies to add to my collection of cards, notebooks, and other stuff to pretty up the home. Only this time I promise not to keep it all to myself.

To learn more about the Renegade Craft Fair, check out my guest post at Noisette Academy for my second New York City//For Creatives piece on craft fairs, street festivals, and markets you can check out this weekend and at other times of the year.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hello, Summer

Holy jeebus has it been HOT up in this city. Today it almost felt like 100˚ F and I had the total misfortune of having to walk around more that I cared for. A.'s been wanting to sunbathe in Central Park and play catch and Frisbee in this wretched heat while my black behind has wanted to do nothing but sit in the shade and eat frozen yogurt by the sidewalk. A favorite, 16 Handles, has self-serve selections and yummy toppings that I could very well eat alone. I was hoping Strawberry Lemonade was still on the menu when I swung by on Monday, but had to settle for Raspberry Pomegranate with mango bits, lychee, cherries, and gummy bears instead. #FirstWorldProblems

How have you guys been keeping cool this week? Honestly, it's taken everything in me not to strip and hog a playground sprinkler these days.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Road Trippin'

One experience that often pops up on bucket lists is an epic road trip with friends and in July a small group of us will be doing just that! We're renting an RV and driving around the country for 17 days, passing through 21 states, to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, and back. It's going to be one amazing adventure filled with campouts, breathtaking views, kitschy discoveries, ruckus, and a whole lot of bonding.

We're still nailing down our route, but so far we hope to check out:

- Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water in Pennsylvania
- Chicago, Illinois
- Sioux Falls, Mount Rushmore, and perhaps the Badlands in South Dakota
- Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
- Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty in Utah
- Salt Lake Temple, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park in Utah
- Grand Canyon in Arizona
- Four Corners (Where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet)
- San Juan National Forest in Colorado
- Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee

And in between all that, we're driving through Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, and West Virginia exploring roadside attractions, local foods (BBQ and fried weirdness!) and drinks (Kentucky bourbon!), and the diverse natural scenery on full display in the middle states of America. I have to admit that I never paid much attention to that chunk of the U.S.A. (its vastness is incredible, by the way), but in the last week alone we've been amazed at all that Utah alone has to offer. I mean really, Utah?! Chalk it up to the New Yorker in me. Now I can't wait to leave the east coast behind and finally see what that part of the country is all about.

Have you ever taken a road trip through the U.S.? I'd love to hear your tips, suggestions, or any awesome things to see/do/eat in these states. We're also looking to add two more people to our crew of five so let me know if you'd like to try out for a spot in our RV and drive around the U.S. with us.

Things to Do Before I Die

After discovering the Tumblr blog Your Bucket List, I realized I've never made a list of my own list of things I want to accomplish in my life. Sure, I've written about some wishes here and there and created an ambitious set of goals for a year (that I only halfway completed). I've even been blessed to get to do things that others would only dream of doing such as playing with white tiger cubs, riding dolphins, calling NYC home, ziplining above the forests of Costa Rica, and backpacking through Europe, but I've never actually given a lot of thought about what would be in my bucket list if I were to have one. So here are some other things I need to experience before I die:

1. Go camping.
2. Float in the Dead Sea.
3. Live in Europe.
4. Write a book.
5. Visit all the states in the U.S.
6. Go backpacking through Central or South America.
7. Become a creative business owner.
8. See the aurora borealis.
9. Marry Mr. Right at a wedding in a park.
10. Become a mom.
11. See a tornado.
12. Experience an earthquake.
13. Get my weight up to 90 pounds.
14. Get over my fear of the spotlight and perform in a play.
15. Own a home with a garden, orange trees, a swing, and trellis.
16. Make my own marshmallows.
17. Learn to swim.
18. Ride an elephant and camel (since I've already ridden dolphins).
19. Interview Adele.
20. Run a 5K.
21. Photograph a stunning sunrise.
22. Own a vacation home in France.
23. Go whitewater rafting.
24. Scream from a mountaintop.
25. Entertain a handful of children. (I used to want to be a teacher.)
26. Create a wall of inspiration.
27. Meet Paulo Coelho.
28. Own a fun little car like a Mini Cooper or a Beetle.
29. Spend a summer in the country. Preferably an Italian one.
30. Visit every continent.
31. Ride a hot air balloon.
32. Create my own cupcake/dessert recipes.
33. Take a helicopter ride over New York City.
34. Go on an Internetless vacation for a month.
35. Cruise around the world.
36. Go skinny dipping.
37. Learn to play a song on a piano or guitar.
38. Go on an epic road trip.
39. Take a time-lapse photo of the stars.
40. Participate in a craft fair.

I'll stop there because I originally thought it would be hard to come up with 10 and now they won't stop coming! Do you have a bucket list? What interesting things have you included in it?

Monday, June 18, 2012

{Monday Inspiration} What Successful People Do in the Morning

While I'm usually up by 8 a.m. (if I've had a good night's rest) every day, I find that I waste a lot of precious time before I get to doing anything substantial. I wake up, hobble over to the computer or turn over and grab the phone from the night stand and start checking emails, blogs, Facebook, random Internet clicking, writing a few posts, and before I know it, it's nearly noon and I feel no more productive than I did three hours earlier.

Well turns out that making the best use of the morning is one trait that most successful people share. They get up early, work on projects, and take care of their own needs first while they still have a fresh batch of willpower. You know, before the boss, the kids, the commute, stress, and exhaustion beat it out of them by the time the evening arrives.

In her ebook, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, Laura Vanderkam surveyed executives, creative types, and people who've learned to optimize their mornings to figure out how we could do the same. Along with research on willpower, she outlines a five-step process to start waking up earlier and squeezing in more productive hours into your day.

1. Track your time and make detailed note of how you spend your hours. This way you'll know where and how you're wasting time and start figuring out how to stop the leakage.

2. Picture how your perfect morning would go. Would you take some time to center yourself, meditate, or work on hobbies and side projects? Last week, I started going out for a quick jog and making time for a hearty breakfast before sitting down to do work. It shakes the sleep off quicker and gets my blood and mind churning.

3. Once you have your perfect morning in mind, think about what it'd take to make it happen. How many hours of sleep do you need in order to still wake up feeling rested? How much time will your new morning activities require?

4. Work towards slowly building this habit and shifting your schedule.

5. Make changes as necessary.

What would your perfect morning look like? Me, if I could wake up by 6 or 7 a.m. each day, I'd love to go out for a run, outline my day and freelance life, set up my blog posts, work on creative projects, and then worry about making money for somebody else.


Friday, June 15, 2012

{Happy Friday} and Happy Father's Day!

Oh to be a parent...

So after spending the day with Dad and then hopping on a gypsy cab back home last night, the man freaked me out when he just showed up at my apartment around midnight. Apparently he got really worried when I didn't call to say I got home okay and when roughly 10 calls from him and my sister went unanswered he drove over to make sure I was fine. See, I had left my cell phone in the living room and went straight to sleep until the doorbell woke me up. Then when I refused to open the door because I wasn't expecting anyone at that time, I heard the door opening and thought someone was breaking in!

After making sure there wasn't a family emergency since he's never pulled such a move before, I felt so bad that he came all this way just to make sure I'd made it in safely and super touched that he'd go through all that effort. "I wouldn't have been able to sleep if I didn't go and check," he told me this morning. "And your mind just goes to worst-case scenarios when you have no information." Well at least now I know my body won't be rotting for too long if I die in here alone because at least one person will be that worried if he doesn't hear from me.

Happy Father's Day to all the pops out there and I hope you guys have a beautiful weekend.

Five letters of advice from some famous dads.
Tiny envelopes cards.
Father's Day gift guide.
printable card + tie all in one! (And other printables.)

Dip-dyed marshmallows.
Rainbow popsicles.
Hand-painted linen towels.
A rundown farmhouse turned life-size dollhouse.

A cute little guide on how to flirt.
A live lip-dub marriage proposal.
Ten fun bar bets.
Sell goodies straight from your blog.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sitting with these Feelings

I don't do too well with sitting with my feelings. When they're bad and uncomfortable I want things to be fixed right away. Impatient as I am, I smother the problem and want it to be resolved so I don't have to stay with the residuals for much longer. And if it's out of my control then I seek out ways to dull the pain, anything to make me forget how sucky it feels. I run towards others, I seek mindless chores or sleep, anything so I don't have to face what's swirling inside me.

"What would happen if you were to just explore those feelings for a while?" my therapist asks.

"I'd just feel worse and spiral downward," I tell her.

When things are going well, I actually enjoy being alone. It's blissful even. But when my mind is occupied with gloomy thoughts, the idea of sitting alone with them scares me and I'll go through annoying lengths to keep me from being with no one but me. She's vicious that little one. She'll analyze, pick apart, and recount past failures others and I have committed. Why would I want to put myself through that when I don't know how to turn the moment into a constructive one?

Maybe that's why I keep feeling the same so often, I never confront them or stay with them long enough to hear them out. I merely drown them out, replace them if I can, or put a bandage over it. "There! All better!" I lie until they inevitably surface time and time again.

Emotions are so exhausting sometimes, aren't they? More so when you're incredibly sensitive to the slightest changes around you. An electrical failure on the train yesterday led me to take a crowded bus for almost an hour. Cue the traffic! The school children! Crying babies and screaming old grumps! And did I mention an appointment that I was now running late for? I nearly experienced a panic attack and it all stemmed from this small inconvenience out of anyone's control. I still don't condone it, but I see what could drive a person to smoke a pack a day; it dulls the anxiety.

I recognize when I reach out to others just to avoid facing how I feel, but I do it anyway because it provides immediate gratification. I know eventually I'll have to come back to an empty apartment and crawl under the covers where nothing but my inner thoughts are there to keep me company, but until then I'd like to pretend that moment doesn't even exist. Though who knows? Perhaps if I just stood still long enough to face it, one day I might realize that I'm finally met with an answer.


Christoph Niemann on Visual Communication and Designers' Neuroses

I've gushed about Christoph Niemann's work and his New York Times blog-turned-book, Abstract City, several times in the past so I was happy to stumble upon a short video of Niemann on Brain Pickings yesterday. Gestalten, a publisher and website that focuses on visual culture, sat down with the illustrator to talk about design, visual communication, and the minor neuroses that run through the creative world. Two quotes that I loved from his chat:

"Every designer who spends a good deal of the day thinking about 10 percent magenta or five percent cyan and line thicknesses, you have to become neurotic eventually. It's more or less inevitable," he says. "I often think about all I'm doing is just virtual. I don't fix the problem, I just sit there, think about ideas and whether someone who's 5,000 miles away would understand this. And this is a scary proposition and I think my greatest accomplishment professionally is that I haven't gone insane doing what I do all day."

Now I'm no graphic designer, but I understand how that attention to detail can consume a creative person and can either be a driving force to greatness or present itself as a giant brick wall if you let it.

"When I left NY last year, one of the big reasons professionally for me was I wanted to try new things," Neimann says about his family's move back to Berlin, Germany. "And also try new things that included the chance of failure, of just doing something where I had no idea what the outcome was."

Fear of failure is another threat to success, but what if instead of using failure as an excuse to not do something we accept that possibility and move forward anyway. Seeking out new opportunities despite the chance that you might stumble on the way there sounds scary, but liberating at the same time. Better to work with it than let it fight against you.

P.S. If you want more, check out Niemann's Creative Mornings lecture from last year.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How to Travel with Your Boyfriend

For the June/July issue of Latina, I wrote a piece about how to travel with your boyfriend for the first time and during my research for it, I got to chat with Aracely Santos Castellani of travel website She and her husband, Jason, have traveled around various parts of the world including a year-long trip through Central and South America. Unfortunately, her tips were cut from the final copy, but she had so many good suggestions that I wanted to share them for you to keep in mind - no matter if it's your first or your 100th time heading out with your boo.

1. Discuss Expectations Before Booking

If you’re dreaming of sipping mai tais and having couples massages by the beach while he sees the two of you zipping through the jungle and running with the bulls, you’ll want to get on the same page stat. "It’s really important when someone goes traveling with a partner to be able to agree on the type of travel that you want to do," Aracely says. "Adventure travel is not for everybody so it's important that the two people agree on the types of activities they're going to be doing while traveling."

2. Be Honest About Budget

Are you splitting costs evenly or contributing to a couple’s pot that will pay for travel expenses? Discussing these details will prevent surprises during the trip and arguing over bills once you're back home. "Some people prefer to have a fancy dinner and somebody else might prefer to spend their money on a cool tour," she points out. "Understand each other and have that conversation on how you want to spend your money and what’s important to you.”

3. Handle What You Do Best

Apart from taking care of yourselves with proper rest, food, and comfortable clothes, you can also cut back on the stress by just letting each person handle what he or she does best. Perhaps you're great at handling money while he can work a map (and ask for directions) like a pro. I usually let A. handle schedules while I figure out how to get info if locals only speak Spanish, French, or Italian.

4. Be Aware of Each Other's Pet Peeves

While you should work out any major relationship issues before you even book a flight (and please don't use a vacation as a band-aid for your relationship), things could still irk you during the trip. You're spending 24/7 with someone and when you're missing meals, walking under a blazing sun, or running late, emotions can escalate. Lord knows there have been times when I wanted to book a ticket straight home than a walk another block with the boyfriend. If you do get into a fight, swallow your pride, apologize, and try to fix the problem. “Remind yourselves that you’re in a situation together," Aracely says. "You’re there to help each other, to keep each other safe, to work as a team, and to have a good experience.”

5. Take Time for Yourself

While Santos Castellani and her husband rarely take time apart during their trips, they have met couples that have explored on their own and taken a small breather from each other. Going for a walk in the morning or going off to check the sights he doesn't care to see could be good for the both of you and you'll have something to talk about when you reconvene later in the day. During our trip to Thailand, A. spent the afternoon rock climbing while I set off on a hike with our friend to take in the island from a different view point.

6. Focus on the Relationship

With all the rushing around to see the sights, it's important to remember that you’re traveling with your significant other. Take advantage of that while you're away from your every day routines. Even if you’re going budget most of the way, treat yourselves to a fancy meal or a sweet walk along the beach. “Even though you’re together all the time, every time isn’t necessarily romantic,” Aracely says. “We were on the road for my birthday, his birthday, for Valentine’s Day and we would make it different that day, different and special. We’d make it something that doesn’t just blend into the everyday so it’s more of a special memory.” Jason made their time in South America unforgettable when he popped the question after a harrowing car ride through Chile.

7. Savor the Post-Vacation Bliss

Make the transition back into the real world easier by continuing to do the things that make you happy, Aracely suggests. “Continue to stay around and be around things that you enjoy. Just realize that vacations are to get away and hopefully when you come back you’re refreshed to go back to work. Make sure that when you’re home your daily routine doesn’t necessarily consume you.” Share your stories and photos with loved ones, visit a restaurant that serves the same cuisine you tried during your travels, and then start thinking about your next great adventure.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Nearly a year after I first heard about Emma Donoghue's novel Room I've finally read the book. (Because ever since A. bought me a Kindle last month I've been reading nonstop. It's great!) The book's premise centers around the narrator, 5-year-old Jack, and his Ma who was kidnapped by Old Nick and held captive in a small room seven years ago. To Jack, Room is his entire world, it's all he knows and in an effort to protect him and keep Jack from wanting the things they cannot have, his mother has led him to believe that only the things in their makeshift home is real; everything else - other boys and girls, trees, stores, airplanes, pets, etc. - is imaginary, only appearing on TV.

In Room, Jack eats, sleeps, plays, learns, and asks question after question and his mom is realizing that the older he gets, the smaller Room will become. Jack is perfectly happy for Room is his home, but to his mother, the 11x11-ft. cell is just a reminder of the life she's missing and how much she yearns to be free.

It took me a little while to get used to the language as it's written entirely from Jack's point of view, but once you get into it it's hard to put down. When I tried explaining the premise to A. all he could say was how depressing and disturbing the storyline sounded, and it is considering the fact that there are sick people who do kidnap, rape, and hold women hostage for years, but hearing the story from Jack almost makes you forget how sad their situation is. Instead, the story leaves Old Nick in the shadows and focuses on the bond between mother and child. His mom is being raped by Old Nick and yet all you know about that act are the number of times the bed creaks as Jack counts them off while safely tucked in for the night in Wardrobe. He knows Old Nick is a scary character and understands that he can hurt his mother, but the rape only registers as a game to Jack much like counting sheep to fall asleep.

Some parts of the story call for a suspension of belief - especially Jack's sheer intelligence and vocabulary at only five years old - but if you go along with it, you'll actually find humor and fall in love with the curious way a child experiences the world around him. You'll see the power a mother's love has over her child, how he will want to do anything to make his mom safe and happy, and the lengths she will go through to give her child everything.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Noisette Academy Guest Post: New York City//For Creatives: Workshops & Groups

Isa Maria Seminega of Noisette Academy has a new column on her blog The Academy called Your City//For Creatives and I'm covering New York City! Check out my first post about workshops and groups you can join to get ideas flowing, learn something entirely new, or just connect with fellow creatives in the city. It can be a bit daunting to sift through web searches to find something good and working from home can get a bit lonely so I thought I'd share a nice list of 16 spots for you. Let me know if I've missed any and feel free to submit your own city.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Glorious Disconnect

I think I've finally reached it, that point where you throw your hands up, shut the laptop, leave the cell phone behind, and just enjoy your vacation guilt-free. During our time at Virginia Beach, the girls and I strolled through a strawberry festival, picked fresh fruits, watched our friend's 3-year-old experience her first carnival rides, and toasted s'mores in the backyard. There was beach and boardwalk, sushi and shopping. (By the way, anybody else loving the romper trend?) And don't get me started on the hot and sunny weather.

But I still did work, read emails, and made mental notes of who I needed to reply to once I got home. Only I returned to New York City and flew right back out to Los Angeles the next day to visit A.'s peeps and at that point I just said fudge it! When there are babies and family I hadn't seen in more than a year, some things just need to take a backseat. It was wonderful to leave the phone behind to go play catch with A. at the park (using one of the three balls he caught at the Dodgers game the night before, don't you know). We drooled over classic cars at Santa Paula Cruise Night and on Saturday night, A. and I stole away to Universal Studios CityWalk to munch on peanut butter and chocolate popcorn and invent the silliest moves we could come up with on Jillian's dance floor. This city girl even wrangled cattle on horseback! *blows and buffs nails*

So maybe I have a few people wondering if I ever even got their message and perhaps I'm a wee bit behind on the to-do list I set aside before I set off, but that's just the price I'm willing to pay to not go flippin' insane. And I was going to make sure I made the most of the much-too-few days I had to laugh, eat, and run around with those fools. After all, when I'm back in front of the laptop, like now, I'm going to wish I was still out there chatting with the girls, celebrating birthdays, and taking in that new baby smell.

Image: courtesy of Mikie Ericson