Love The Life You Live

Before I set out to write my blog posts, I think all week prior about what I want to write.

Notice how it's been a couple of weeks since I posted?  I couldn't think of anything good to write.

I realized I just had to say "no".

When you are an artist and your time is your own, it's hard to rationalize "taking off".  Off from what?  Isn't every day, every week a week when you do whatever you want?

Not when you are trying to brand yourself and start a business.

But I decided that last week was the week I was going to just throw everything up in the air and change my routine.  Monday was the 4th of July and every year we have a huge BBQ.  The fun-ness for me varies from year to year, but I bring that on myself.  For the balance of the week I had planned to recharge my creative juices and every morning I was going to visit a different spot I enjoy taking pictures and spend every afternoon regrouping, recharging and unplug while lounging by the pool.

Tuesday it rained.

Thursday afternoon I had to drive my mother-in-law to the airport.

Friday I had to attend a funeral.

So much for regrouping, recharging and unplugging.

Maybe round two?

Sometimes Life Isn't That Light

When I decided to start blogging on a regular basis, I wanted to keep it light.  Life, but light.

Unfortunately life sometimes isn't that light.

As a mom, all I have ever wanted to do is make my kids happy.  If they were happy, I was happy.  Naturally as child rearing would go, there were some unhappy days.  But, I'm not talking about creating a frenzy because I said "no" to ice cream for dinner.

I'm talking about real world shit.

After spending an enjoyable Father's Day brunch with family, a relaxing afternoon by the pool, a great work-out at the gym, Sunday was sizing up to be just another day in the books.

Until my son came barreling up the stairs with a look of horror and distraught in his eyes.  He had just learned that a friend from school, someone he may have only know for a couple of years, but someone he became fast friends with, frat brothers, only 20 years old, was a victim in a car accident and passed away.

I didn't have words.  I just held my son as he cried and shook from shock in my arms.  I couldn't change it.  I couldn't fix it.  I couldn't make it go away.  I cried too.

As I sat watching him texting his friends, reaching for comfort and trying to process this tragedy, I realized my 20 year old can-you-get-me-a-drink-what's-for-dinner-I-need-more-socks-from-Target son just became a man.  I cried again.

Tell someone you love them today and make sure you tell them why.

Just Two Questions

There are two questions I always dread being asked.  The first, what do you do?  Meaning, where do you work?  The reaction I get to the response I give--I'm a Mom.  I stay home with my kids, is usually met by an Oh, and then the conversation comes to a screeching halt, like some how my intelligence level has dropped to a two and now we can no longer have a meaningful conversation.

Twenty years ago, my husband and I decided it was more important for me to to stay home and be a mom to our children, and therefore make whatever financial sacrifices that were necessary.  However, at the time, if you weren't a corporate power female, then you must be June Clever.  Now apparently, staying home and raising your children is all the rage.

When my kids were still young and basically babies and therefore home all the time, the notion of staying home was easier to wrap your head around.  But, since they have been in school full time and better yet, almost off on their own, the second question that usually follows the what do you do? question is even better--so what do you do all day?

So I thought it would be fun to tell you what I, a stay at home mom, do in a typical day...

After only getting about four hours of sleep the night before due to a sick dog with a parasite induced digestive problem, and a snoring husband, my day started at 3:30 am.  I was woken up by said dog, barking to go out as a result of the parasite induced digestive problem.  However, upon running downstairs as fast as possible to avoid any potty issues, I discovered that two of my three dogs managed to get out of their crates (one quite mysteriously) and was confronted by what I can only describe as a poop massacre (if you have either babies or pets, this visual does not phase you).  I spent a half an hour cleaning up, replacing dog beds and mopping the floor...twice.  

I then crawled back in to bed and wished myself to fall back asleep.  I proved to myself that wishes do not come true and was still awake when my alarm went off at 4:20 am.

I got up.                                                                                                                                    

I got dressed.                                                                                                                                            

I went to the gym.

I came home from the gym to find my husband up (not the norm) and all three dogs already outside.  I changed out of my sweaty gym clothes, wished my son good luck on the first day of his summer internship, grabbed the youngest dog and off we went to the vet clinic by 7:15 am, where he was to be emasculated.  I returned home and decided the floor needed to be mopped again.  I straightened up the kitchen, fed the fish, cleaned the filters in the pond and pool and called the vet to make an appointment for the other dogs parasitic digestive issue.   I then took two dogs for a walk and by the time we returned it was still only 9:30 am.

Perfect!  I had one hour before the vet showed up.

I checked emails, refilled my daughters prescription, looked at her senior portraits and made sure there were no glaring changes needed to this website.  The vet showed up at 10:30 am and by 10:55 am I was on my way to Target and the bank.  The banked proved to be aggravating.   After about 20 minutes of waiting in the drive-up window line, I left.

Since Summer has officially begun, the game has changed a bit for me.  I'm a little obsessive about sitting outside in the sun on a beautiful, warm or even hot sunny day, and today certainly qualified.  Given the weekend was pretty shitty weather wise and I was probably in need of a power nap given the time I woke up, I was not going to pass this day up.  On came the sunblock, and bathing suit and out came me to lounge on the floaty in my pool.  It's actually a great way for me to let my mind go free and really gel all my ideas for what is happening in my life.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and I thought it would be a good idea to clean up before I went to pick up the emasculated puppy.  I left a little early so I could go back to the bank.  The dog needed to be picked up by 3:30 pm and the bank closes at 4:00 pm.  For sure I thought I would pass a bank branch on the way down strip mall alley, but no such luck.  I picked up the dog, listened to the CYS (cover your ass) instructions and gps-ed the closest bank branch.  I made it with 10 minutes to spare.  

When I got home I had a texting argument with my daughter about what was for dinner. This was all while she was playing hooky at the beach with her friends.  When she got home from the beach we argued about dinner in person.  I still made dinner and also picked up wings.  After dinner everyone, and I mean everyone, immediately dispersed and I cleaned up the kitchen by myself.  It's my least favorite thing to do.

And now, it is 8:00 pm.  I am sitting here, writing this blog post outside on my back deck, watching my dogs play and acting as the buffet for mosquitoes.  I'm thinking about my other blog-site (yes, I have another one I am currently ignoring) and maybe revamping it (so I stop ignoring it).  Next I have to go upstairs, finish putting my laundry away and get ready for tomorrow.

What did you do today?

 

5 People To Follow For Creative Inspiration

If you have been following my blog, by now you have realized that I get a lot of my inspiration from walking around outdoors.  On a stunningly gorgeous day, it's the shit.  However, I live in the Northeast, where we experience all 4 seasons, so somewhere around mid-November up until usually about April, outdoors is not fun.

I have to look for inspiration else where.

The following is list of some artists and creative people I find inspiring...

Linda Szabo is a photographer whose work I love.  Her botanicals are gorgeous.  I recently took one of her online workshops and it was worth every minute.  You will probably start to see her inspiration in my work.  Her website is www.lindaszabophotography.virb.com.

Mike Moats is another photographer I follow, admire and have learned from.  He is an amazing macro photographer.  I've taken one of his macro workshops as well.  Visit his website at www.tinylandscapes.com.

I follow Andrew Scrivani on Instagram (@andrewscrivani).  He is an amazing food photographer.  Really creative.

I follow Cherie Bosela on Facebook.  www.facebook.com/CherieBosela.MixedMediaArtist/  She is a fantastic mosaic artist.  She combines photography and other mixed media items in her work.

Another great way to get inspiration is to follow a gallery.  I recently started following a social media gallery (I'm not exactly sure what that is).  Toxic Tins Gallery.  There Facebook is www.facebook.com/toxictinsgallery/  They appear to be local to me and even organize photography meet-ups.  I haven't been to one yet, but hopefully over the summer.

Pinterest is a great place for inspiration.  I have several boards dedicated to art inspiration.  If you want to follow my Pinterest Boards, try one of these..Crafty Things I Want To Try https://www.pinterest.com/jessicakman/crafty-things-i-want-to-try/   Art I Love https://www.pinterest.com/jessicakman/art-i-love/  Things From My Very Creative Friends https://www.pinterest.com/jessicakman/things-from-my-very-creative-friends/ and Cool Art https://www.pinterest.com/jessicamanelis/cool-art/

 

 

 

Boredom Is A Creative Killer

Now you know what my work space looks like.   It's a messy office, probably similar to yours.  How could I possibly be creative in that environment?  

Well, first I thrive in chaos.  Second, I leave the chaos behind.

I love an adventure.  When my kids were young, it was easy to go on adventures.  A ride to the zoo, or to go apple picking at the farm.  Once they got older, their friends (or quite honestly the tv) became more fun than my adventures.  I got bored.  Boredom is a creative killer.  I had to do something.  So, I started going on my own adventures, camera in hand.

Within 45 miles and no more than hour away; It's for me!

I have a list on my phone of interesting botanical gardens, public gardens and nature walks.  I pay to go on photo walks and I have recently found an Instagram meet-up group called South Jersey Adventures.  Meet-ups are great, because although I like going on adventures, I occasionally feel very conspicuous when I am alone.  There IS power in numbers.

For instance I recently went back to a place I have brought my camera before, the Morven Museum in Princeton, NJ.  I have no interest in the museum, however they have an 18th century English garden, that appears to be open without actually paying admission.  I went there about a year ago and took some great shots of the flowers in the garden.  This time around, they were setting up a huge tent for an outdoor party and there were a lot of gardening fellows digging around, so I turned around and left.  I headed to the President's Garden at Princeton University, a spot I found on a photo walk I took through the Digital Photo Academy about 2 years ago.  Still felt a little conspicuous, but there weren't too many people around staring.

Taken at the Morven Museum

Taken at the Morven Museum

Once I am home again, I upload my images to Adobe Lightroom and then the fun begins.  I choose which photos I like and start processing them in Lightroom.  Then I move them in to Adobe Photoshop where I further work with them using a variety of filters and textures and layers.  I play and add layers upon layers until I get the desired masterpiece I am after (well, hardly a masterpiece, but come on it is fun to say).

Then time to share it with the world!

Some places I like to shoot are: Chanticleer Gardens, Jenkins Arboretum, Leaming's Run Garden, Longwood Gardens, Grounds For Sculpture, and Hortulus Farm.   I'm up for suggestions. 

 

Behind The Scenes: The Making Of A Flower

I'm mostly a private person.  I don't like to put myself out there.  I think it's mostly because I am a little embarrassed, lack some self confidence and feel that people are just going to think I am an idiot for thinking I have any talent.

So, this is about as out of my comfort zone as I can get.  A behind the scenes look at part of what makes me, me.

my office space

my office space

I have a little room downstairs in my basement where the magic happens (just kidding, but not really).  To the left is my art table.  It was a really big deal when I bought this.  It was a bit expensive, but I had to have it because I thought it would make me feel more like an artist.   It mostly houses a variety of art supplies I also had to have, but actually never use, because I thought it would make me feel more like an artist.  I do create mosaics.  You can see my completed mosaic mirror/planter sitting on top.  Mosaics are my therapy.  

At the end of the room is my filing cabinet that contains the picture file I started in college.  What's a picture file you ask?  Well boys and girls, back in the olden days, PI (pre-internet), we had to actually cut pictures out of magazines to use as reference photos.  For some reason I can't seem to let go of them.  It must be the hoarder in me.

You can see my computer.  I have an enormous screen and I love it!  It is surrounded by a calendar, a note pad and a bunch a random pieces of paper with lists and ideas, that I will eventually look through to find what I was thinking about last week, but won't find because I probably threw it away.

work in progress

work in progress

I have two printers, a Wacom tablet a fax machine and as you can see on the right several framed photographs from previous gallery exhibitions stacked against the wall.  

They are all for sale.  (plug, plug, plug)

Today I am updating my website, looking for exhibitions to enter, balancing my check book, laundry and writing a press release.

What's on your plate?

How'd I Do?!

If any of you read my blog post from last month (I can't believe it's been a month since I last blogged), then you read about my love of lists and the my challenge to myself to complete 30 tasks in 30 days.  Here's how I did.

1. Go to the beach. Check!  There is nothing like a crisp Fall morning walking down the boardwalk and an adventure to a shore town I think I drove through once with my parents when I was about 12.

2. Visit my grandmothers.  I did see my Grandma for my birthday dinner last month.  I have plans to see my Bubbie next week.

3. Spend time with my son before he goes back to college. Check!  And he's coming home again next week!

4. Improve my blog. Fail!  Other than adding a few new images, I really need to get on that!

5.  Start a foodie blog. Fail!  I can barely keep up with this one!

6. Work on my photography.  Check!  I have been shooting and processing like crazy!

7. Go over my lists. Check!  That's why I make lists.  I am currently working off 3.

8. Clean my office/studio.  I'm working on it.

9. Start my next mosaic piece (a mirror). Started it!

10. Improve my diet. Check!  And I lost 2 pounds.

11. Lose 4 pounds. See above.

12. Take on online workshop.  Check!  I am currently doing a workshop about channeling your creativity with Alsia Burke.

13. Redecorate my dining room. Fail!  Right it is redecorated with today's mail and my latest purchases from BJs Warehouse that I haven't put away yet.

14.  Increase the number of push-ups I can do on my toes. Check!  I can do 10.

15.  Spend more time by my pool. Too chilly!

16. Clean the basement. Check!

17.  Get a pedicure. Check!  And I got a manicure too!

18. Repaint the towel stand for my niece. Check!  Painted and delivered!

19. Think positive. Always looking on the bright side!

20. Get a hair cut. Nope!

21. Sell some of the kids clothes I have piled up.  Check!  I found this great app called Kidizen.  I haven't made a mint yet, but probably a tic tac.

22. Find interesting ways to cook chicken. Check!

23. Clean up my yard. Check!   

24. Come up with a game plan to pay off my credit card. Check!  It's mostly working.

25. Try alcohol inks on yupo paper. Fail!  Maybe when I finish the mosaic mirror.

26. Clean the fish tank. I just bought a new one.  It was easier.

27. Do something I love every day. LOL! What was I thinking?!

28. Go to the movies. Check!  Just saw the new James Bond movie.

29. Go shopping. A little retail therapy is what everyone needs.

30. Be better.  Always

So let's see, 24.5 out of 30 isn't too bad.  

30 in 30

I love lists.  I have the obvious, like grocery lists and daily "to-do" lists.  Then I have a note book next to my computer that has my ideas list.  I have two areas on my phone where I keep lists.  I have a tv shows to watch list, things we need in the house list, and I volunteer in a few different capacities, so I have to-do lists for those things as well.  I make a list every time we go on vacation of the things I should have brought so I remember to bring them next time.  I have a holiday gift list and greeting card inspiration list because at one point I thought of going in to the greeting card business.  I have a landscaping ideas list and a list of websites I want to refer back to.   I have a projects I want to try list, ideas for photographs list, places to take photographs list...it's endless!  Thanks to technology, I can have lists for months, even years on my phone, not to mention the wonderful world of Pinterest!!  I have three separate Pinterest accounts, all filled with tons of "boards", which are essentially, visual lists!!!

So, in the spirit of lists, here is a list of 30 things I want to accomplish in the next 30 days.

1. Go to the beach.

2. Visit my grandmothers.

3. Spend time with my son before he goes back to college.

4. Improve my blog.

5.  Start a foodie blog.

6. Work on my photography.

7. Go over my lists.

8. Clean my office/studio.

9. Start my next mosaic piece (a mirror).

10. Improve my diet.

11. Lose 4 pounds.

12. Take on online workshop.

13. Redecorate my dining room.

14.  Increase the number of push-ups I can do on my toes.

15.  Spend more time by my pool.

16. Clean the basement.

17.  Get a pedicure.

18. Repaint the towel stand for my niece.

19. Think positive.

20. Get a hair cut.

21. Sell some of the kids clothes I have piled up.

22. Find interesting ways to cook chicken.

23. Clean up my yard.

24. Come up with a game plan to pay off my credit card.

25. Try alcohol inks on yupo paper.

26. Clean the fish tank.

27. Do something I love every day.

28. Go to the movies.

29. Go shopping.

30. Be better.

I'll let you know how I do.

In The Mood

For me the creative process is like anything else, I have to be in the mood.  If I'm not, then I am usually just staring in to space or at a generic computer screen and contemplating life, wondering why I ever thought I could do anything with my art.  Either that or I am just sitting playing endless games of candy crush saga.  Then I get disgusted with myself because I just wasted an entire morning.

To get those juices flowing, I usually go for a walk.  By myself.  When I am by myself, I can think.  When I think, I get ideas.  When I get ideas, I start talking to myself about my ideas and then I get more ideas.  I think about where I can go take pictures.  I think about all the other cool projects I saw on Pinterest I want to start.  I even think about the creative ways I am going to pay off my credit card.

Once I tap in to my next photo location, I grab a camera or two and I am off.  I love a good botanical garden.  Longwood, Chanticleer, Grounds For Sculpture and Leaming's Run are a few of my favorites.  I saunter around, camera in hand, looking up, looking down, from the ground, shooting whatever I see that interests me.  Season after season, I head out, because each time you go you find something new.  

I love processing my photos.  

I start by opening all my images in Adobe Bridge.  I go through and select the ones I like.

From there my images go in to Camera Raw, where I tweak them.  I adjust the lighting and exposure, vibrance, saturation and my favorite slide button of all-clarity.

Ultimately, my images end up in Adobe Photoshop where I crop, add filters, change colors, add textures, or try new techniques.  After a week or two I decide if I want to let the world see or think to myself "what were you thinking?"

My hope is season after season, people look at my work, because each time they come they find something new.

Any Given Wednesday

I am always looking for ways to be creative and inspire myself.  I read blogs, spend hours on Pinterest, and check twitter constantly.  Recently, somewhere, I read about taking your day in pictures.  Brilliant!  I take pictures!  I have busy days!  Welcome to Any Given Wednesday.

My day starts early.  I'm up at 4:23 am exactly.  Why 4:23?   Well, based on the fact that every clock in the house and even my car says a slightly different time, I managed to figure out that if I set my alarm for 4:23 I get to where I need to be on time.  That's the gym by the way.

these are actually my husbands sneakers.  he tends to leave his shoes by the front door and then complains about all the shoes by the front door.

these are actually my husbands sneakers.  he tends to leave his shoes by the front door and then complains about all the shoes by the front door.

Wednesday is Pilates Day.  It's great class and I work out with about 5 other people.  It's usually the best part of my day.   We are an eclectic group and there is always huge entertainment value. Sometimes we talk more than we do pilates.  Home by 6:30 am and always a welcome by my baby.

Taking a morning walk down the street.

IMG_1663.JPG

The sign of a successful walk.

Wednesday is mind body day, so back to the gym for yoga.  I hate yoga.  That's not a very yoga-like thing to say.  

On the way home I take a quick stop at the Honor Wagon.  I always prefer to shop local and support my local farmers.  

tomatoes, cucumbers and corn. i know those are watermelons, but i bought the other stuff.

tomatoes, cucumbers and corn. i know those are watermelons, but i bought the other stuff.

Checking emails and writing a blog schedule and coming up with new photo projects is next on the agenda.

yes, i wear glasses

yes, i wear glasses

In the summer I always try to take atlas one dip in the pool everyday.  

A quick shower.

did you really think i was going to include a picture of my shower?  this is a sconce in my bedroom.  i love the way it glows.

did you really think i was going to include a picture of my shower?  this is a sconce in my bedroom.  i love the way it glows.

Baked ziti for dinner.

And the end to a successful day could anything from a meeting at my synagogue, to catching up on some tv, to chilling with my kids.

Deliciousness In Linwood

Linwood, NJ is a little town outside Atlantic City, NJ with no claim to fame.  It's about 4.3 square miles in size with a nice walking path and small botanical garden that you miss if you blink.  So, it was a huge surprise to me to find culinary excellence.  

Being a foodie, I am always looking for a cool, new dining experience, and friends suggested we try Luke Palladino's BYOB on New Road in Central Square.  I had no trouble making a reservation for a Saturday evening even though I called the Monday before.  Occasionally that can be one of those things that makes you go "hmmm", but truly I think it's due to being a hidden gem.

Now, I always scope a menu before I hit up a restaurant, and this one looked very exciting.

When we arrived we were seated right away.  Outdoor dining was available, but unless I am in a major city, I find outdoor seating a little strange.  When you are at a shopping area, you usually feel like your sitting in the parking lot.  The energy in the restaurant was energetic and our waitress was quite friendly and very attentive.

Appetizers were amazing.  I started with the Squash Blossoms.  The zucchini flowers were stuffed with corn, ricotta and mozzarella and then lightly battered with a lemon tempura and fried.  They just melted in your mouth when you took a bite.  The sweetness of the corn was a wonderful compliment to the cheeses. 

squash blossoms

squash blossoms

My next appetizer, yes I had two (well appetizers are my favorite), was Arancini.  I love arancini.  Crispy risotto fritters stuffed with truffled sottocenere cheese & scallions, what's not to love.  You took one bite and the cheese came oozing out of the center.  The risotto was excellently complimented by the savory flavors of the mild sottocenere and scallions.

arancini

arancini

My friend ordered the Tuna Carpaccio, an appetizer special for that evening.

tuna carpaccio

tuna carpaccio

And my husband was all over the Eggplant Tomato & Mozzarella Stack.  The eggplant was perfectly fried.  

eggplant, tomato & mozz

eggplant, tomato & mozz

On to the main course!  The special entrees seemed interesting, but I went for the Chicken alla Piastra with potato croquette, balsamic onions, in a sherry jus.  My chicken was perfectly cooked with robust flavors.  Although I enjoyed it, there were a few too many onions on the top for me and although there was one piece of white meat and one dark, the dark meat tasted a little gamey. 

chicken alla piastra

chicken alla piastra

My husband chose the sea bass special.  He is a huge fish fan.  I am not.

Nothing on the dessert menu really turned the four of us on, so we opted for nothing.

It was a great dining experience, and I look forward to going back.  There was plenty on the menu I want to try.  Or maybe we will hit up his other location on Passyunk Ave. in Philadelphia if I can convince my husband  we will find a place to park.

The Art Of The Adventure

I try to take pictures or be creative in some way everyday.  Thursday, however has become my "photo adventure" day.  Thursday is a good day because my husband works away from the house and during most of the year my kids are in school.  Even though it's summer,  I can still take advantage of my typical free time on a Thursday.  They are teenagers, so realistically they aren't getting up before the crack of noon.  

 I go someplace, weather permitting, walk around and hope to find something interesting.  

So, yesterday, off I went.

I keep a running list of places to go.  I'm lucky to live in an area where the city, the shore and some fabulous botanical gardens are all within an hours drive.  I decided to hit up Princeton.  About a year and a half ago, I attended a workshop with an amazing photographer, Rick Gerrity through the Digital Photo Academy.  Rick led us on a walk around the Princeton University campus.  It was great meeting him, and I got some very interesting shots, but it was mid-March and the snow hadn't quite melted enough.

I added it to my list for the future.

I thought since it was summer it might be relatively quiet on campus and all the flowers in the President's Garden would be in bloom to boot.  I have this thing about shooting with large groups of people or any people around for that matter.  I don't like it.  I like to be alone, or rather by myself.  When I am in a zone I need to get in to my own head.  It helps with my creativity.  I don't want people looking at me or talking to me.  There must have been some sort of group tour going on in Princeton yesterday, because the population of a large Asian villages there, all poised with cameras and cell phones in hand.

Better luck next time.

Betcha Never Knew...

Here are 10 little known facts about me...

1.  I am drawn to water.  Any body; ocean, lake , stream, pond.  There is something comforting about it.  I'm not sure what that means.

2.  I practice yoga.  I hate yoga.  I do it because it is supposed to be good for me.  My favorite pose is triangle pose.

3.  I like dragonflies.  Dragonflies are my favorite.  Dragonflies symbolize change, and change in the perspective of self-realization.  Dragonflies are also associated with water.  Their scurrying flight across the water represents an act of going beyond what is on the surface and looking deeper into the aspects of life.  That might explain #1.

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4.  I believe in ghosts.  I have a couple that watch over me.

5.  I'm superstitious and I believe in signs.  See #4.

6.  I have horrible balance.  See #2.

7.  My favorite food is pizza.  It used to be pasta, but now it is pizza.

8.  I wish I was thinner and naturally so.

9.  I have a major sweet tooth.  That makes #8 difficult and therefore this statement depressing.

10.  I think my best feature is my hair.  And my lips.  I have great hair and nice lips.

How a Fitbit ruined my day

I have never considered myself a competitive person.  As a kid, I was never really involved with sports and I when I think about it, I happened to be quite shy.  

I'm not sure when all that changed.  I still don't consider myself a competitive person.  It's more about validation. After college graduation, I only worked in the quasi-corporate world for a few years.  I've always been great at being reliable.  A "you-can-count-on-me" kind of person.  But then as human nature would have it, I always sought out that validation.

"You saved the day, Jess."

"Couldn't have done it with out you, Jess."

"What would we ever do without you."

Now, when I sit back, I realize I have spent most of my working life as a stay-at-home mom, and let's face it, the suggestions box is usually filled with complaints.  I've never heard...

"Thanks, Mom!  You're the greatest!  I surely would have starved to death had you not dropped off my lunch, not to mention failed history without my paper and broken my ankle without my sneakers for gym.  And, dinner; you always make exactly what I want to eat.  You're the best, Mom."

So, my friend gets me a fitbit flex as a gift.  I try it, I like it.  It's fun and I get to see if I can reach my step goal daily.  I quickly realize that the fitbit is great for those who are otherwise inactive.  It gives them a goal, a reason to move around.  I however, do not fall in to that category.  I'm very active, and most days I exceed my daily step goal.  Of course this varies, and depends on the season.  For instance, it's summer and on a super nice day I am more likely to spend the afternoon rendezvousing with my pool floaty than obsessively walking around in circles to make sure I reach my goal.

I upgrade to fitbit charge HR, because I decide the heart rate monitor is truly what is beneficial to me.  As with anything else these days, fitbit has a social component where you can connect with and compete against "friends".

I'ver recently discovered some acquaintances who have fitbit and they have connected with me. One of these new "friends" presented a weekend long "challenge" to see who among us could walk the most amount of steps from Midnight Saturday morning to  11:59 PM Sunday night.  Suddenly I found myself obsessively competing with several people, half of whom I didn't even know!   I also perceive myself to be older than these people and I want to put these 30-somethings in their place!   I am in great shape!  I workout every morning and I challenge any of these fitbit friends to keep up with me at the gym!  I want to win!  I want to be the best!  I want everyone to cheer me for winning!

I came in fifth.

 

Mental Aloneness

I certainly have my share of alone time, especially now since summer is over and my kids are back at school.  I relish the quiet.  However, physically being alone does not compare to mentally being alone.  For instance I am currently sitting in my office alone, writing this post and I just realized that I never loaded the washing machine with anything and now if I don't, I won't have any workout clothes to wear tomorrow.  Be right back.

Ok, I'm back.  Mental alone time is really important to me.  It's where I process everything that's spinning in my head.  It's when I think.  It's when I get ideas.  It's when I get creative.  I try to commit every Thursday to going on an adventure to capture some mental alone time (I love adventures too).  This past Thursday, I went on an adventure to Longwood Gardens in Kennet Square, PA.  I've just recently started going there and I can't imagine why I haven't been earlier!  It's fabulous!  If you haven't been, I highly recommend it.  The flowers are beautiful and on the day I went the weather was just too perfect there wasn't even a reason to head in to the indoor garden.  None-the-less I did, to get to the water lily display, and the smell inside was amazing!

Mental aloneness; do it!



Coolness Factor

I have been an artist all my life.  Although I believe that you can teach someone to draw or sing or act, there still needs to be some natural ability and passion for your art that you are born with.  I love being an artist.  I like the way I look at the world and I like creating things.  I have as many ideas rolling in my head as I do in a file cabinet next to my desk as well as every cool idea I've "pinned" on pinterest!  It's not an easy career path.  I've submitted work to try to get in to shows and although I have had some mild success, I have been rejected more than I have been accepted.  It's a wonder I still go at it!

I am also a huge Scott Kelby fan.  Scott Kelby is photographer and Photoshop guru.  I've read his books, attended his seminars, watched his online tutorials and I am a facebook fan!  Recently, his facebook page started a FanFriday contest, where if you write your web address in the comments section they randomly choose one and post for ALL the KelbyOne facebook fans to see!  Well your truly was picked first.  Total coolness factor!  Thanks for acceptance Scott Kelby!

 

 

Playing Hooky

So, I spent most of this summer loafing around unmotivated to do anything.  Yes, guilt did visit me on occasion, but I quickly shushed it away.  Could you call it artist's block?  You could.  I welcome unmotivated-ness, because it gives me the opportunity for introspection.  Why am I here?  What am I doing?  Where am I going?

Now that summer is over I am recharged and my creativity is brewing!  Look for new, interesting things from me and some of them may have nothing to do with a camera!