Jan 18

A Great Escape

Today I needed to get away.  I needed an escape, and I needed it BAD!  For the past year I’ve been very busy working on building my business: creating new art, redesigning two websites, starting a blog, and writing and preparing art lessons for my teaching job. Combine that with my regular life “stuff”, most important of which is being a Mom, and it can leave me feeling a little stressed out at times.

SO … this morning I decided to take a much needed break.  Since it was a holiday, and my sons were home from school, and for the first time in months neither of them needed to be at a sports practice, we decided to drive to our favorite beach for the day.   Yes, you heard me right, the beach.  Two weeks ago it snowed here and now we are in the 90’s! Only in Southern California!

Carpinteria is my sanctuary… my place that I go when I need to detox and unwind from life.  Today was a SUPERB day in Carpinteria.  We started our day off with lunch at “The Spot”, the world’s best beach food, and then took a walk along the shore, collecting shells and really cool looking rocks.  We made our way to the tide pools.  We saw so many beautiful things, but the image that stands out the most for me was the sea grass at the pools!   The color was amazing and the light was just right when I took my photo  (I’m seeing a photoshop brush from this picture).

I feel ready to get back to work now.  It’s amazing how a simple day away can be the best cure of all for stress.

Here are some pics  ~    :0)

Jan 15

Favorite Things ~

We all have things around us during the day that bring us comfort and peace.  Many of those things are simple, little, and inconsequential in the big picture, but HUGE in our hearts.  My coffee mugs are that for me.  In my bio I make mention of them, and I’ve had people inquire as to what they look like … so here they are.  I received them for Mother’s Day a few years back and they were made by my boys.  I alternate using them each day and I truly don’t know what I’d do if either of them were to break.  Today is the pink mug’s day and I just poured myself a cup.  Time to get to work!

I wish you a great day, and when you have a spare moment take a look around your house or office and see what special little thing you have that you want to honor today.  :0)

* Stay tuned for more “Favorite Things”

Jan 10

Epiphany -vs- Resolutions

epiphany – 1: January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi to Jesus in Bethlehem; 2: a sudden striking understanding of something

My friend, Antionette, and her family have a wonderful tradition of celebrating the day of Epiphany.   Every Jan. 6 they welcome friends and family into their home to share a meal and to make a wish for the New Year by taking a branch from their Christmas tree and placing it into the fireplace and letting the wish rise up to the Heavens in the smoke.

A number of years ago my family and I were invited to this event for the first time.  I always wondered about the history behind it, but never asked because Antionette’s family is a melting pot of culture and I figured it was a tradition that had its roots in one of the many countries she has affiliations with: her father is Portuguese, her Mother is English, she was born in Hong Kong and grew up in California, her husband is from Italy, and her Mother in Law is English.

This past Thursday was the big day and I finally learned a little bit more about the story behind my friend’s celebration.  First, there is no ‘official’ or ‘cultural’ tradition of burning a branch of your Christmas tree while making a New Years wish. That tradition was started by Antionette’s Grandparents in Hong Kong one Epiphany night many years ago. Not knowing what to do with their  Christmas tree, they burned it and made wishes with their friends for the New Year.  Since then the tradition has evolved into burning branches from their tree.  (Side note – it is a wonderful way to not let a perfectly good tree go to waste in a landfill).  Second, as any good party has – it’s all about the food. Antionette spends hours (and I mean HOURS) creating a traditional English feast of Cornish pasties, bangers, mashed potatoes, etc… This menu is an important part of the whole evening because it honors her English heritage, and my oldest son is especially happy because Antionette makes enough for everyone to take a plate home with them to enjoy again later.  Last, before everyone has their moment to place their branch into the fire, a speech is said commemorating the previous year and acknowledging the hope for the next.  Antionette’s speech this year was a beautiful tribute to the meaning of the night ~ to be both reflective and prospective.

As I watched my boys place their branches into the fire, and as I put my own in, I thought about our lives and my  own ‘Epiphany wish’ for 2011.  I reflected on both the incredible highs and incredible lows of 2010, and I realized the exciting prospects ahead for 2011 – both personally and professionally.  The definition for the word Epiphany  has two parts, the second part being: “a sudden striking understanding of something”.   That something for me is the change and growth I am looking forward to in the New Year for both my family and my business.  Epiphany is not only a day of celebration, but a clarification and realization to what needs to be done in the future.  I am vowing to have a new tradition of making Epiphany wishes on New Years instead of resolutions.  Epiphany is about hope, promise, and clarity, what more could you want for the future?!   What is your Epiphany wish?

Jan 04

Reviving Frosty!

What an amazing way to kick off 2011!  SNOW!  Yes, it really snowed in Los Angeles!  It wasn’t just a little dusting, it was a solid 8 hours of snow!  The kids were out in force and the snowballs were flying.  It was a fantastic day, but what ended up being the very best part for me was the snowman my sons and the neighborhood kids built.  It wasn’t huge, but what it lacked for in height it more than made up for in personality.  Every kid had a part in its construction.  It was great!  We were hoping there would be more snow to wake up to in the morning, but instead we woke up to sunshine and wet/muddy lawns.  Fortunately “Mr. Frosty” survived, and it became the quest of the neighborhood kids to rebuild him, which meant cruising around the streets with a wagon and boot-legging parts from other falling apart snowmen.  While they hunted, Mr. Frosty was shielded by umbrellas.  Surprisingly he didn’t melt and by the time the kids came back to the house with more ‘body parts’ he was still in pretty good shape, sans the eyes that had fallen off.  After his bionic rebuild he looks even better, and far more fashionable with added accessories!  I’m sure he’ll be gone in the morning.  Such is life, but I will forever remember this incredible day!  Happy New Year everyone!

Now I think I need to start working on some new Snowmen designs!  :0)

Dec 24

Peace on Earth

Merry Christmas,

Happy Holidays,

and

“Cheers” to you and yours

for a great 2011!

Dec 21

Have a little fun today!

HAVE SOME FUN TODAY!  There is no denying it, this time of year is wonderful but very stressful! So, the other day I decided that I would have some fun (and be a little silly) while getting a pedicure, and had my toes painted to look like candy canes!  I’m getting a kick out of the fun comments I am receiving.  It also has reminded me that artists are all around us.  The talented and wonderful women at my nail salon do the most fantastic art pieces on the toes and nails of their clients.  From snowmen to snow flakes, and Christmas trees to Menorahs, I am always dumbfounded at how they create such great art in such a small size!  It just goes to show that there are artists all around us, and today I want to celebrate them all!

I hope that you, too, will take the time to have a little fun today.  Life is too short not to!  :0)

Dec 18

Memories

What an amazing year it has been!  I have a lot of wonderful memories to reflect upon, and recently I had the chance to relive a few of them as I placed some ornaments on my Christmas tree that I purchased while on my summer trip to England and Ireland with my sister!

I LOVE our Christmas tree, with all the memories hanging from its branches.  This year I added the ornaments I purchased at the Tower of London, a hand carved wooden Claddagh from Ireland, and a little mini red double-decker bus and a mini taxi from London (definitely one of my most favorite cities in the world).  Sidebar ~ my next car is going to be one of those ultra fun London taxis!   Also new to my tree this year is a cute little “Mele Kalikimaka” ornament  (not pictured – sorry) that I bought while on our family trip to Hawaii.  This summer was definitely a great one for adventure and the ornaments that are now adorning my tree are terrific memories of them all.

To all of you who celebrate Christmas ~ I wish you a moment away from the busyness of this time of year to stand back and marvel at all the love and joy you have accumulated over the years on your own tree.

Merry Christmas!