Aug 15, 2016
Back in mid-June, we had some of our good friends [Angela and Trace] come stay with us for the weekend. We thoroughly enjoyed their visit, and the pack of abs that had formed on my body because of all our laughs together. Forget going to a gym, I just need to go to my favorite people's homes!
We made a quick day trip to Cannon Beach
Hydrangeas are literally as big as your head there. If you loves flowers and well manicured foliage, charming homes, moody weather and homemade taffy...then you'll love the Oregon Coast.
We did a casual hike another one of the days, this was along the salmon river.
There were some cheese-ball filled moments... Jesse, who is a closeted cheeser has now been outed! :-[) lol Sorry babe. Love you, but it's about time people get to know the real Jesse... ;-p
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Then fast forward to July and flying solo out to Vermont for my college buddy's wedding!
While in Vermont, I stayed at Janet's charming Air B&B... on the left, me and Janet at the company hdq's Mamava, who she works for. It's a company that provides "peaceful quiet pods" for moms to breastfeed or pump in high traffic areas such as airports, stadiums, convention centers etc. This mural I am standing in front of is in the stairwell of the office building where Mamava is located... I asked Janet to take my picture in front of it so I wouldn't forget that I want to paint something like this with my designs in our new home. :) Side note: Janet was the best host ever. I had arrived in Vermont 2 days early before the wedding so I had time to kill. So glad I did, because much of it was spent having long talks with Janet about many things... and she even took the time out of her weekend to walk with me to the farmers market and show me around...what kind of host does this??!! She is a kindred spirit with a heart of gold, and SO SPUNKY!! I already miss her. :]
Things I enjoyed seeing while visiting Burlington:
The April Cornell store, which is also their headquarters... Majority of the items aren't really my style, BUT the store itself was decorated in such a beautiful and charming way, that it's hard not to appreciate every single item for sale. I tried on a few items...and regret not getting this dress... it had a stunning 1940's silhouette...but I wasn't totally comfortable in where the waist hit me...
The homes in Vermont are something else. Why more neighborhoods and towns don't emulate this or create a charming inspiring style of their own is beyond me. I guess because many people don't want their tax dollars going to beautifying where they live? I dunno... It's so bizarre. That was one of the reasons why Jesse and had to leave Brightwood [Mt. Hood Territory] because it just feels like there are more people who could care less about how things look than who do care, and that puts such a pit in my stomach. I'll touch more on this at the end of this post.
Lots of Hostas and Lilly of the Valley everywhere!
One thing that really left a lasting impression on me was Burlington's Library, the children's section.
I spent about 5 hours reading in there trying to soak up all the inspiration.
These 4 books were among my favorites that I had never read. Beautiful stories and pictures... "Time of Wonder" was a book of McCloskey's that I was so excited to come upon... the artwork is enchanting and leaves you staying on each page longer than you would expect.
Then I flew back to Portland, and waved when we passed Mt. Hood :) I remember thinking, "in a few weeks we will be living somewhere else...I CAN'T WAIT!" Okay, I realize from the arrow it looks like our house was sitting right on Mt. Hood... no, it was about 20 min drive from the top...so just imagine it was under those clouds and a little farther back. ;]
Then it was my birthday: July 4th,
I was surprised with a homemade chocolate cake...that freaking blew my mind! And a new ipad with Adobe sketch & draw! This was an unexpected surprise which I really enjoyed...especially since the older I get, receiving gifts is not as big of a deal for me...I would rather have dinner with friends or go to a movie or spa ...basically create memories together than collect tangible things...HOWEVER, the Adobe sketch is AMAZZZZING!!!! I am still a little rusty using it, but practice makes better and better... so I just keep practicing.
Last month I did a ton of painting and drawing on the side of work:
This little painting for a friend's birthday present.
I painted this message on my sweatshirt just incase I got lost. :'p I've worn it a couple times
to Lowes [here in Bend] and so many elderly people have gotten a kick out of it! lol Which took me by surprise because I forget about the statement when i'm wearing it, and am a little confused when they have laughed at me and said "Is that Jesse Barrus next to you?" ;-[)
I also painted an instagram friend's baby helmet for her son... actually no, I drew on it with a sharpie and then spray painted it 3 times with clear paint. I very much enjoyed this project!
Got to have the privilege of having this little cutie over for a fun crafternoon. I taught her how
to use a light box and paint her design [which i'm holding] onto a totebag that we made together. I miss working with kids and watching them create magic!
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Then I spent a good week or so packing up our entire house while Jesse was working... I would be leaving for L.A. to visit my good friend and attend the SCBWI summer conference. While I was gone, Jesse would be loading all of our belongings into a moving truck and heading to our new home in Bend, OR. I was definitely worried about not being able to help jesse move our things into the truck, so the least I could do to help was pack everything up. He did a great job of coordinating everything and luckily nothing got broke or lost on the 2 hr. drive down south.
When I drove myself to the airport, it was the last time I would see our little house [as ours] and it was more emotional than I had anticipated. I wasn't even a mile from our home and already the waterworks had started. So many good memories were made in our Brightwood home, and of course we weren't without some major lows...but overall, it was a really great experience for Jesse and I.
Then I flew to L.A. on the 27th of July, and got to spend the first two days with my good friend Jenny and her boyfriend Jason. Our first day together, we made a day trip to Ojai....
Went to this amazing outdoor bookshop:
And on day two, Jenny took me to her studio where she runs her business cutxpaste.com
I've known Jenny since 2003, when she started cutxpaste...actually I think she started it in 2002... She was living in Brooklyn and I was living in Manhattan. Her site hosted many independent artist's wares and I was fortunate enough to sell my items in her shop... so basically, you could say that Jenny is the first one who gave me the first leg up in my journey to becoming a designer. [Forever grateful to you Jenny Kwok...love you dear friend!] We quickly became friends and have remained close ever since. Her studio space in L.A. is inspiring and soo Jenny: fresh delicate vintage pieces, with a timelessness and history that you're not going to find in most clothes today.
If you're looking for a one of a kind vintage dress, this shop should be your first stop!
then after the studio visit, we made our way to Wi Spa in downtown L.A.
This was the craziest spa experience i've ever had...i'm not going to go into details about why, but if you're ever in L.A. you should make this a destination. Disclaimer: not for the shy ;-)
This is just one of the many relaxation rooms... after we had our 2 hour massage we came in here and layed on that heated marble floor you see in the background. Everyone should have a heated marble floor in their home! I'm already gearing up for my next spa visit with Jenny, hopefully this fall! :-[)
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Day 3 of my L.A. trip, I checked myself into my hotelroom, luckily I was able to find a hotel right across from the Biltmore [all their rooms were booked out for the conference] and so began the beginning of my journey of the childrens book world.
Documentation of a nervous/excited face, pre conference registration
The SCBWI had soo many great key note speakers! Jon Klassen was a favorite. He didn't take himself too seriously which is what makes his illustrations/writing brilliant.
This was my favorite panel discussion. Six agents telling us what they expect when you send them material. There were 3 women that I felt like I would relate to and get along with really well, the other 3...mmm pretty abrasive personalities which put a bad taste in my mouth.
The Biltmore Hotel is across the street from Pershing Square where there is this beautiful furry sparkly plastic installation showing right now. This was so inspiring I found myself continuing to go back to it every single day [3 days] and trying to figure out how I can make a mini version of this for the backyard. Watching the movement of this thing is like watching the ocean move back and forth.
And that concludes my trip to L.A. - I got to visit an old friend and make some new friends... it was a great trip and time/money well spent. I learned a lot at the conference and will do a separate blog post on that so I can share some notes/portfolio etc. for anyone interested in getting in the industry.
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Finally, our move to Bend Oregon.
We've been here 2 weeks now and Jesse and I both agree it has gone above and beyond our expectations. There are so many activities going on, it feels like New York City in the summertime and all the free events they have. I love having options. I LOVE being able to walk downtown I LOVE being able to ride my bike again...oh my gosh I have missed that so much. I love all the bakeries and amazing food everywhere. There is a grocery store called Market of Choice that my friend took me to, and when we walked in I sang at the top of my lungs HALLELULAH...in my head of course! But really, this little city seems to be the perfect fit for Jesse and I. It's almost as if we experienced a modern day Goldilocks and the 3 Bears scenario: This is too big [SLC/Davis County] this is too small [Brightwood/Sandy] this is juuust right, Bend. So much so...that I can see us being here forever. Of the neighbors we've met so far, they are super friendly [just like our neighbors were in Brightwood] there are a lot of young families, lots of kids here...and lots of dogs! Harley has had a hard time adjusting...but everyday he gets more and more use to it. Yesterday I had him come walk with me to downtown [a 3.5 mile walk] and he was in heaven...so more of those are a must. :)