swimming in style

I received a chain email from my aunt and almost died when I saw this picture in it. I'm pretty sure, no positive, I had this exact bathing suit as a child. This image sure brought back memories (and with me memories are sometimes hard to come by). What style!


sketching: road trip 1

cactus sketch on the 87 headed north

forest sketch done on the 260 headed east

pine sketch on the back porch of the dinky castle in alpine

daisies sketch done at our cabin while in alpine

salt river canyon sketch on the 60 headed south


dinky castle

The Mead's dinky castle! Here is the corn planter located on the side of the road as a marker for where to turn to reach Carla & Mark's neighborhood. How quaint!

You drive down the dirt road with breathtaking views of pine trees and mountains ahead and wildflowers bloom on either side.

Mark and Carla are wonderful jewelry artists. They chose to leave the phoenix area and move north to Alpine, Arizona about 2 years ago and they live in a beautiful cabin style home they built (aka the dinky castle). Please visit their website www.blackmountainjewelry.com to admire and purchase some amazing hand crafted fine jewelry.

Here's me & Carla in front of her home.

Bert & Mark in position on the couch. Picture taken from the bedroom loft.

Carla cooking some yummy dinner. She made dinner for us all weekend and it was superb! She is an amazing cook and everything was delicious plus, we had leftovers to take back to our cabin each night. What a hostess!

Well, I can't post about the lovely dinky castle without paying homage to all the wonderful woodland friends in the backyard. Carla is well stocked on peanuts for the blue jays and squirrels and sugar water for the hummingbirds (and boy there were a lot of humming birds) See Carla feeding the blue jays above!

Here are some stellar blue jays. See the baby up top chirping to her mama!

Here's me feeding a peanut to the abert's squirrel begging below the back porch.

The hummingbirds were the toughest to photograph. It is amazing how quick they are and how many there were! No joke at dusk there were sometimes 20+ hummingbirds feeding on the back porch. They aren't shy and fly right up to and all around you. I picked up some mini hummingbird feeders today via www.freecycle.org a recycling network. The Freecycle Network™ is made up of members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Pretty sweet.

Just before we left, Bert, Carla & I enjoyed a road trip satisfying lunch at the Bear wallow Cafe. Thank you to Carla & Mark for a lovely weekend. We loved the R&R and are looking forward to returning with the kids! Love you.


cabin fever

Here stand Bert & I on our cabin porch at Deer Dancer Cabins in Alpine, AZ. This place was fabulous! Rustic and simple with all the amenities (or non amenities) you need for a nice relaxing weekend. The cabins were secluded with pine tree views from every window!

Above stands Bert inside our cabin next to the wood spiral staircase with faux branding symbols (nice touch) that leads to the bedroom loft. And the second photo is the view looking down to our living room from the bedroom. Instead of tv, Bert made a fire a few times a day for us to enjoy.

Look at all these wonderful goodies our hostess Carla left for us in the cabin! It was such a sweet treat. We arrived on Friday, August 15 which was my 30th birthday. She left me a gift bag with a beautiful soy candle and natural soap from the Paisley House, this adorable vase and fresh picked flowers. She also left us 2 cup cakes and korbel in the fridge, peanuts to feed the birds & squirrels and advil in case we experienced an "altitude" headache. I also later found out she went around and straitened all the curtains and left a couple windows open for fresh air. Thank you, Carla for making our little cabin in the woods feel so welcoming!


ahh ... alpine

At an elevation of 8,050 feet Alpine, situated at the eastern end of Arizona's popular White Mountains, is surrounded by the beauty of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. Mountain lakes and swift running streams dot the countryside where Ponderosa Pine, aspen and fir dominate the landscape. ~ Alpine Chamber of Commerce

The photo is the road to Carla and Mark Mead's Dinky Castle!

This is the first of many Alpine posts I'm sure. I have tons of pictures, sketches and things to say about our trip. Bert & I had a fabulous weekend in the "Alps of Arizona". We visited our good friends Carla and Mark, made some new forest friends and enjoyed view after view of beautiful wilderness all with a heavy dose of peace and quiet. ahhh ... Alpine.


30 is the new black

Thirty is choosing your own path, opening up to new possibilities, never settling for less ... Thirty is giving of yourself, taking risks, aiming for success ... Thirty is the new black!

Happy birthday to me! I'm turning 30 tomorrow! Although I have been celebrating since July ;) My fantastic husband, Bert, threw me a surprise bday bash while we were visiting our family in NY on July 4th. What a great time, I was super surprised and saw some family & friends I hadn't seen in years, and Bert had to plan the party with my family (hehehe). It was truly awesome. Thanks, babe.

Bert & I will be headed north tomorrow to the middle of nowhere (Alpine, Arizona) to visit our friends Carla & Mark. We will have no computer, no tv, no kids, no phone (possibly) - ahhh bliss! I am soooo excited to hit the cool weather and just relax. Strange that I have been on this earth for 30 years when some days i feel like i'm seeing the world for the first time. No birthday blues here - I am truly happy with where i am, how my life has evolved and am looking forward to the next decade of my existence. I desire to be happy in the present and so i will be!

I received a super sweet card from my friend Dan that states: Some people radiate love and leave happiness wherever their smiles have been. You're loving heart makes the world a more beautiful place. Gosh that's sweet. I can only wish that those words hold true throughout my life. Nothing would make me happier then to leave happiness wherever my smiles have been.



12-30-95 marks the beloved day Bert & I met in a parking garage outside Madison Square Garden after a Phish show. A good friend introduced us. Here is the ticket stub from that fantastic night. Who knew at the moment I met my soul mate, my best friend, my true love, ahhh ... Phish, alright meeting Bert is pretty spectacular too! Seriously though it was the first time we laid eyes one another. We ran into one another a time or two after that at a few other shows. However, it wasn't until Summer of 1997 (11 years ago!) that we really got a chance to know each other camping out at the Great Went held on Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine. Here are some other ticket stubs we have held onto over the years:


sketching: college book

I was cleaning out our utility room a.k.a where I store all sorts of random things tonight and I came across my college sketchbook. It was a lot of fun to look through it. I really enjoyed seeing such random images, thoughts, drawings and a bit of nonsense ;) Here are some of my favorite snippets!

Technical drawing of a horse in armor

A butterfly with travelers wings
(nyc subway map used to create the wings)

It is always fun to get mystical ~ dragons and castle

Left is a self portrait
I used art to vent my rage often those days

Here I was playing with color as a selective element

The next 2 sketches are removed from my usual sketching style. They are much more rigid and controlled. It's nice to do things differently from time to time for experimentation & growth.


childhood nature

I'm feeling a little creatively under the weather. I have a desire to work on some paintings but the arizona heat is creating havoc on my plans. My "studio" of sorts is setup in our garage and it is crazy hot out there right now. I usually to wait until the evening to paint when the kids are asleep and the garage is a bit kinder temperature wise but, in the midst of summer even the evening doesn't offer a break from the heat. I have one painting left mid-way that I need to finish and a few ideas that I can't wait to get started on.

For my birthday I received the very thoughtful gift of a michaels gift card. What better way to celebrate then with new art supplies! I purchased 3 large canvas' to create a series for myself. This weekend was first friday's art walk in downtown phoenix and I went with a few friends. It is always a joy to see and feel what artist's have to say. I took that inspiration along with some insight from a book I'm reading and came up with what I think is a great idea for my series: the nature of my childhood. I have yet to decide what elements of memories I will use as my muse but, I compiled the word montage above to get myself thinking. I will for sure incorporate my grandparents weeping willow tree. I had wonderfully magical feelings arise when that tree was recalled in my memory this weekend. I can't wait to be able to express those feelings!


kids art: gallery

While reading the new book The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections by Amanda Blake Soule I got from the library, I decided to try another suggestion. I was reading the chapter on art storage. I have always kept a clothesline type display in the kid's playroom of the things they create and a storage box of mementos for each child for later in life. But, the art gallery idea she suggests was a great new way to celebrate Ethan & Hudson's artwork. I located (4) 8x10 frames I had in the garage, looked through some pieces the boys had created and chose 2 from each of them to hang up. I hung the artwork at a low level that was accessible for Ethan & Hudson to see (but not too low that they could knock them down) in the hallway between the boys bedrooms as you see here! I think this will be an inspiring new way to display their prized pieces and allow them as well as everyone who visits our home to admire them. I hope that by creating the kids gallery it shows the boys that there art is, and always should be, valued.