Thursday, November 1, 2012

Life in October via instagram

Today is November 1st, marking a new month as well as confirming the fact that I blogged none during the month of October. To be honest I needed the last few weeks to do some major re-couping, both physically and mentally. Not that I rested a whole lot but I'm getting back into a more normal routine, still as busy as ever.

Before I play catch-up on all the entries that need to be posted. Here's a little look back at the last month as seen through the lens of my iPhone.

ArtPrize ending with a bang.
Mini Sunday road trips.
Long overdue trips back Downriver, and a lot of time spent with this little guy.
Pumpkin season.
Nerding out graphic designer style.
Sorting through prints with help from the cat.
Fall cards all the way from Boston, leaves included.
Autumn is such a beautiful (and my personal favorite) season and this October was no exception. On to November.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Goodbye Summer.

Tomorrow is October 1st. Now I do realize that Autumn has already officially begun however, for me, it suddenly felt real today. Today I bought apples. I made acorn squash for the first time. I painted my nails orange and threw away the sandals I've been wearing for the last two spring and summers. I sat on the couch in my dining room with the sun shining in and the Fall colors peeking through this morning and realized Summer was gone.

Ben Howard- Old Pine

I wanted to say thank you Summer, for allowing me to chase the sky on more than one occasion. For giving me this song as an anthem, for camping trips and long car rides. These last few months I got sunburnt way more than was probably healthy. I cut off all my hair. I was promoted. I fell in love. I was inspired, daily. I started a project that has changed the way I think about a lot of things; myself, my work, this city.

Summer is a season that leaves you feeling raw and exposed. There is no covering up, no hiding away, curled up under a blanket. Summer is hot and sticky, a season known for the extremes and this one was no exception. I watched a few great people make a commitment forever to the people that they love. I read some new books and accomplished a few small goals. I cried a lot. I talked to God more than ever.

And now Summer is leaving. No more sundresses with bare legs, soon to be replaced with sweaters and tights. I do realize that plenty of the last few months will be with me forever. Memories and lessons learned will stay like the ice cream stains on one of my favorite dresses. I'll always have the necklace he gave me, the photos of days at the lake and nights out with the girls, the music playlists on my iPod.

And with all that remains much, unfortunately, will not. The tan skin will fade and I'll lose the sun highlights in my hair. I'll put away the purple blanket I carry in my car for impromptu picnics or beach trips. I'll close my windows and embrace the change in seasons. Some things, like Summer, you can't hold on to forever. Sometimes, you just have to force yourself to say goodbye.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Oh photo-booths...

They're the best. Truly. How much fun do people always have in photo-booths!?

Well two of my dear friends got married this past weekend and it was like one big college family reunion; from the minute people got into town Friday night all the way until Sunday playing Apples to Apples while drinking $3 Bloody Marys. All weekend it felt like a part of home had returned to Grand Rapids. I have not smiled that much just being surrounded by people I love in a long time.

That being said, here are a few of my favorite's from last Saturday.

Congrats again Zack and Danielle Kendra, love you both to pieces.


I just wrote an entry about how life sucks sometimes and it's ok to not pretend to be happy all the time. I rambled on about how there are times when you're sad and scared and hurt and sick and tired, sometimes all at the same time.

And then I re-read it and realized I didn't like what I was reading. I didn't like hearing that negativity coming out of my words, and I deleted it. Yes, there are times to be all those things, it's inevitable. This is real life, and sometimes, it's really hard. You wish for things you can't have and cry over those that are out of your control. And after you're finished giving in to all those negative emotions you're left with wondering what comes next. The real truth is, things are not bad forever.

I've had a lot of people tell me lately that no matter what is going on, just remember to breathe. Sometimes it is truly the only advice that works.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pine River

Camping and canoeing on the Pine River, Labor Day weekend.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Thoughts on marriage

Don't freak out Mom.

Just kidding, she'd probably be semi-excited, but it's not quite like that.
I'm getting to that age in my life where people are starting to get hitched. Two of my great friends from college are getting married in less than a month. My high school best friend is living with her boyfriend and they have a you can see, things are getting pretty serious around here. This morning my friend Mike and I were chatting on and off while working (oh Gmail chat, you're dangerous) and got on the subject of getting married. I looked around the bakery I had posted up in and watched the older couples stroll in and out and my mind started to wander.

After he said "I think it's just time for us to have those thoughts" my tangent went as follows...

I go back and forth a lot. I think, if I'm being totally honest, I've got a bit more living to do before it's time to settle down. I guess though, I've never thought of marriage as this death sentence people seem to joke about. I always thought if I ever got married it wouldn't immediately be followed with the purchase of a house and a dog and a white picket fence. It just meant you found someone to adventure with. You didn't have to do things alone anymore, you had a partner in crime. I don't think you need to lose your friends or stop doing things you love. You just have someone who will always be your cheerleader, who will support you no matter what. Someone who will pack up the car and drive to Maine for a month because you've just always wanted to do that and money's not quite so tight right now. And maybe you put your other dreams on hold and have a ton of babies because you just want nothing more than to see them as a Dad. And maybe you don't because you decided to hike Australia for a few years instead. I think sharing the same beliefs and being in the "right" place in life matter some but I don't always think it's everything. I think it's the understanding that you don't ever want to live without them. You wish they were there even if they're just sitting in the other room while you're reading your book. It won't always be easy and it won't always be fun but that's the nature of life. Anyway, that's what I think, right now, at 23 years old. I can only hope someday someone will decide they want to do all those things with me too.

Mike then proceeded to tell me to stop being so mature. Maybe I should go shotgun a beer or buy a ridiculously expensive pair of impractical shoes.
Don't judge me future husband.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Happy Anniversary #1E

It's officially my one-year anniversary in apartment #1E

After work I took a few hours, made a cake, dark chocolate with salted buttercream, and reminisced about the last year of my life. When I moved into this apartment downtown I was just a few months out of school, ready for my first year in the "real world". I bought a new bed, a couch not on Craigslist, and learned to take care of a cat on my own. I started collecting quarters for laundry again, dealing with major construction on my block for half the year, and suddenly paying more bills than I ever thought I'd have. I learned to love the hot water heating system and the old windows, even the bat in the house became a funny story to tell. The walls finally have artwork on them, both ours and purchased or gifted treasures. We've cooked countless meals and had sleepovers with friends, all of us laying in the living room watching Harry Potter marathons on Sunday mornings after a long night out. The apartment saw pumpkin carvings and trick-or-treaters, my Grandma's Christmas tree, and a New Years Eve party. I was picked up on first dates here and shared tearful goodbyes right outside the back door. The nice thing is, I don't have to say goodbye to #1E as we intend to stay here a bit longer. Maybe we'll be celebrating our two-year anniversary in 12 months from now, maybe we'll be long gone, either way I'm excited for the many more memories to come.

Love, your happy tenants.

PS. We ate the cake with fresh strawberries. It was delicious.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fun things lately.

I haven't been posting much due to a busy schedule (no excuses there I know) However, here's a few fun things that have made me happy lately.

 Girls only brunch, complete with build your own mimosas!

At home work days with my favorite studio-mate.

Polka dots on dreary days.

Visits from lovely friends.

Cooler weather which makes sleeping so much more comfy again.

Old movies on Netflix (I've watched Sabrina twice in the last month)

Big freelance projects finally going to print.

New glasses!

Gotta love the little things that get you through the busy weeks. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Personal touches.

I have a tendency to still consider myself a bit of a nomad. The thought of signing a year lease for an apartment gives me mad anxiety. That being said, I've currently been in my apartment for close to a year and it's been great, nothing to have been so afraid of haha. Pictures have been hung, umpteen dinners have been cooked, and I don't have any for certain plans to leave in the near future. So with that, some days when I have a little free time it's nice to clean up the place and add a few personal treasures to my little home. Sometimes it's hard when you're always renting or living with roommates to make the spaces you occupy your own. But, it is nice sometimes when you can sit on your couch and look around and really feel at home :)

Here's a few little things that have made me smile lately.

Gnome salt and pepper shakers, finally unwrapped and in the kitchen.

Cards from friends who know me oh so well posted up on my desk.

A few prints I've needed to hang since my birthday, finally got up this weekend. 
My bedroom walls finally have some personality!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Some days

Some days you're just tired. No matter how much coffee you drink or how early you got to bed the night before. Some days you just stare into the abyss, you're thinking, processing, letting the super fast-moving world zoom by around you as you evaluate things in minute proportions. Some days you just need to call your Grandma. She'll scold you for still not getting an air conditioning unit and ask if you're eating enough. She'll tell you whatever you're doing at work is good and if it's not then maybe it's time for something new. Some days your cat just knows things are different. She'll purr and meow more than normal and you'll give her a little milk than usual as a treat because cats probably have weird days too. Some days you'll want to cry and people will wain on your patience and you'll forget that everyone has felt how you feel time and time before. You'll lie in bed cursing the 95 degree weather and hope that one 20-minute nap will negate the sleep in your eyes. You'll talk to old friends and feel better. You'll get some green tea at your favorite coffee shop and you'll feel better. Some days just require new nail polish, thai food, and exhausted tears. You'll lie on your back and stare at the ceiling and draw in your sketchbook and get overwhelmed thinking about the bills you haven't paid and the emails you haven't sent.

And then those "some days" turn into new days. And a thunderstorm finally rolls through, the weather doesn't feel so stifling. The new days bring more alertness, better moods, and leave you wondering why some days you felt so weird at all. And you forget those days that weren't the best because they're over, catalogued into the bank of the hundreds of good, bad, medium, weird-ish days in your lifetime. Some days you feel so much more human and real than others, you're reminded of pain and happiness all in one jumbled mix. And those days? Well they're good to have in that lifetime bank. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wedding bells

My little gift to the two of them!

I had the great pleasure this past weekend to attend the wedding of a friend of mine, Chelsea. Let me just say something about this girl, I'm pretty sure I have never met anyone else with a more positive and upbeat attitude about almost everything. She's caring, and happy, and in addition, so in love with her now husband. I'm talking fairytale the point where you can't help but smile when she talks about him. That is how her entire wedding day was, completely chock full of smiles and love.

Between the super awesome photographer duo we met, our friends we sat with, and Chelsea's whole family getting down on the dance floor I think I barely stopped watching people having a great time. It was such a lovely day and the entire time I couldn't help but catch myself staring at all the people in love. Watching Chelsea and Matt dancing and holding hands now that they were finally together as one, watching our other girlfriends and their dates stare at each other as if no one else in the room existed, watching their grandparents dance after announcing they'd been together for over 50 years. I couldn't help but think, "man... isn't that amazing" and honestly, I can't wait until someone feels that way about me. Perhaps that is one of the cheesiest things I've posted on this blog but also, perhaps one of the most honest. It was unreal the way he looked at her and Chelsea my dear, you deserve every second of that happiness. Thank you for letting me be a part of your oh so special oh so beautiful day.

Wishing you both all the best in the world! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Ho Hey"

Sometimes music just hits you in a particular way. Sometimes it strikes up memories that make you laugh or cry or miss people who aren't around anymore. Sometimes it just makes you want to dance. Sometimes it makes you wish it was winter so you could curl up in blankets with hot chocolate.

The other night I had this particular song stuck in my head from a band that I recently discovered, The Lumineers. All of their stuff is excellent in my opinion, highly recommended. And as I lied there in my sweltering bedroom I thought about summers, last one in particular. I thought about running around late at night after drinking beer and grilling out with friends. There always seemed to be music to go listen to, bands to watch. Things are a little different now, not better or worse, just different and sometimes late at night I find myself yearning for the past. Wishing I didn't need to be up at 6 am or that I had too many meetings to attend that afternoon. And yet, I know those days don't last forever, that's what makes them so nostalgic and perfect in the state that they were.

You just have to remember it's never too late to stomp and dance to music filled with clapping and awesome guitar with people you love.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Letterpress reminders.

"If you don't stop trying so damn hard to be "something". 
You will forget to be anything at all."

A lot of time I make things in the studio and no one ever sees them. They're usually personal projects and experiments, prints that almost never get photographed. However, my roommate and I were there the other day printing price tags for a craft fair he had coming up and we snapped a few shots of some prints I had lying around.

This was a little something I wrote in a notebook almost a year ago. Sometimes we all need a little reminding now and again.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July and the hot, hot, heat.

I love the Fourth of July, a day that consists of grilling out, beers, fireworks, and a little country music! Usually for me the holiday is spent with my friend Megan and her family in Bear Lake, MI, not far from Traverse City. We counted this year and realized I've been going up there with them for over 10 years, which seems crazy to think about. This year I was only able to get away for two days but considering Megan now lives in Boston and I almost never see her this was more than I could ask for! It's ridiculous how excited and grateful I was to spend two gorgeous days on the lake with my best friend. We didn't take many photos this year but we somehow managed to squeeze in multiple ski trips, tubing for what felt like hours, wakeboarding, water games with two cute kids, and two of our traditional dinners. We even got a few hands of euchre in one night. Needless to say, it felt a little like no time had passed at all.

Gorgeous weather and our boarding skills.

The girls!

Unfortunately I had to head back to Grand Rapids early July 4th for work but on the bright side this meant I got to spend the night in the city, which was a first for me. We've been breaking records here all week with this ridiculous heat so a lot of the night was spent with water balloon fights and standing in the sprinkler. We shot off fireworks, played with sparklers, and even had (what could have been slightly dangerous..) roman candle duels in the street. It was a great night and as I stared at the fireworks over the Grand River I thought about a lot, about my family and friends. As we lit the sparklers I brought with me I got that nostalgic feeling you get during Christmas or New Years, when you realize it's been a year since you last did this, watched these explosions of color in the sky. I wished  could be surrounded by everyone I loved, especially those who are far away. I'm so grateful we live in a country that has all the privileges we as Americans do. I can gripe as much as the next person but I truly don't think we stop to thank as much as we should. So as I blog about Independence Day I want to say thanks. Thanks to everyone who has helped create a world where I am allowed to live this beautiful life, to those who keep our country safe, and to those who have sacrificed for the lives of others. My thanks will never be enough but perhaps it's a start.

The actual weather according to my's brutal.

Cheers to a great Fourth of July week everyone!

Windy City

Last week I was lucky enough to take a little two day trip across Lake Michigan to Chicago for a very special event as well as the chance to spend a little quality time with my sister! A few months ago I finished up the invitation for the Grand Opening of the World's Largest Ronald McDonald House, opening up next to Lurie Childrens Hospital. If you are unfamiliar with this organization please go check out everything they're doing to help out sick children and their ever-deserving families. Seriously, such an inspiration. I felt so lucky to be a very small part of such an awesome cause and even more that I got the chance to attend the opening as well.

Not only that, but I was able to come up a day early and spend the day with my sister who has lived in Chicago for a few years now and recently went back to school at DePaul full time. It was awesome to see her apartment, meet the great girls she works with, and hang with two adorable cats for a few days. I really hope I get the chance to visit much more often.

We had gorgeous weather Monday so we rented bikes and rode along the water to Navy Pier where the rest of the day consisted of hanging out on the boardwalk, perfecting our "in the air" photography, drinking Coronas, and a search for frozen yogurt. We even finished our day with a quick ride through the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Ah, was it lovely.

Gorgeous ride. 

Did I mention she's a professional dancer?

Tuesday was the Grand Opening so after we got ready we hopped in a cab and headed downtown. It felt really exciting pulling up to the new building and seeing everyone who had come out for the ribbon cutting. What was an even better feeling was getting to show Mia all the invitations which were strewn up the staircases to the rooftop of the building across the street, that I had designed. They couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day and all of the speakers did wonderfully (I cried about three times throughout the entire thing). I was so glad I got to see, and meet some for the first time, the people I had worked with on the project. They should all be very proud of all the work they did to help make this a reality.

Rooftop ceremony.

The two of us at the reception after-party.

We had almost the whole day ahead of us after the reception ended and Mia took me on an awesome architectural boat tour of Chicago. We sipped mimosas on the river and took in the sights, it was great and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area. After a late lunch we headed back to her apartment and said our goodbyes. It was such an awesome two days, thanks Chicago, let's do it again sometime!

View from our architecture river tour.

What I haven't mentioned yet is that not only did I get to see Mia but one of my best friends who's been in this blog more than anyone probably just moved to Chicago as well! Mike left New York for a new job and loves it there, not to mention he's now so much closer to home. I got to check out his apartment and have dinner and drinks with him both nights I was visiting which was great. Tuesday was actually the two-year anniversary of our adventure to Ireland so naturally we found a place that served Guinness and spent a good amount of time reminiscing. It's amazing to think that trip was two years ago already and even more to see what we have done since then. I'm definitely so proud of him and I can't wait to see us in another year's time. 


Check out my thoughts on the subject one year ago, and this photo of us two years ago in Dublin!