hello, freckles.

In Wisconsin, summer has just come in like a lion. Currently it's 90 degrees and the air feels as thick as pea soup...signaling the beginning of white skin and shoulder baring season.

Which leads me to this: I'm not sure how to live without cardigans. Truly, it's all I've worn for the last seven months. Thoughts of emerging from my comfortably air-conditioned apartment sans arm cover up have me near hyperventilation. The blinding whiteness! The shoulder freckles! The arm jiggle...oh, the arm jiggle!

Am I alone, or do you suffer during this wardrobe transition phase, too?


final project: color found.

Confession: I have a crush on collage. I cannot explain why-something about it is a flirtatious hunt for perfection in color. I think I'd love to live in a vibrant collage world. :)

Given the parameters for my final project in Drawing 2, I wanted to create something to reflect the peace, life and growth I'd found within the classroom. The studio had truly become a place in which I had found color. Even on the most grey, uninspired days.

Pinned on the critique wall, next to the drawings and paintings of my peers, it was minuscule-both in size and ability. Although I'd thrown my heart into it, it appeared I was still in Fingerpainting 101, creating things for my mother's fridge, while my easelmates had created real, true art that fills portfolios. And, as my luck would have it, it was my work that was critiqued first. It was stated that although there were areas of sophistication in my work, where I clearly understood the object, there were also areas of naivety, in which I'd not well reflected light and shadow. Although, I'm quite certain that wasn't a compliment, I couldn't have described myself, or the past year any better. Pieces of naivety, not understanding where a shadow might fall...and how that shadow might touch you more than imagined. But then small patches of understanding, discovering peace or vibrancy in a place where you'd thought there was none.

I remember promising myself in my first drawing class that I'd not be too hard on myself when my work paled in comparison to my peers. And so I framed this. Because...well...I like it. And I'm freakin' proud.

P.S. A peer said my work consistently reminds him of IKEA. I wondered momentarily if that meant my artistry reads as cheap and easily broken...but decided to be flattered instead. :)


lbd illiterate.

One would think that with my affinity for home decor- a colorful frame here, a ruffled throw there- a similar love for accessories would come naturally to me.

But, no girls. Infact it does not. I'm so guilty of owning three pairs of earrings and one set of stackable rings, simply rotating and wearing until they break or are lost.

I talked myself into this simple and sweet black dress, as I had not replaced the one I owned forty-five pounds ago. But, I've found that there are so many accessorizing options, that I'm lost just thinking about it. Statement necklace? Colored or metallic shoe? Skinny belt...flower in the hair...effortless sequin shrug... simple clutch?

Help a girlfriend out. What's the best way to rock a little black dress?


return to college: year one.

(Please note the chiaroscuro on my right arm. Learning that word cost me at least
$700, so pardon my smartie-pants comment. Just trying to get my money's worth!)

As my heels clicked down the 52 stairs of the Applied Arts building, I felt strangely as if I were leaving a bit of my heart behind, an emotion for which I cannot say I was prepared. My finals were complete, summer was seconds away. And yet it was like saying goodbye to someone going on a long term journey; I'd see this place again in time, but it and I were sure to change, and I would never again feel for it as I did in this one moment.

Silly, I know. All that for a building.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, I pushed open the door to the outside and it came in a sudden crashing wave: I had done it. My first year back at college.While to others this might not seem like an achievement--it's something millions of 18 year olds do every year-- I'd entered with so many doubts. Doubts about my creativity, wondering if I was truly a creative individual. Fears that the financial burden of living alone, paying tuition, the cost of daily commutes and supply expenses would become too much. But mostly, worries that my depression would slink back in, robbing me of the energy and creativity I'd felt when I decided to return to school. And it had. There were days in which my depression was present...and every brushstroke, every minuscule creative expenditure seemed like an exhausting uninspired effort. But most days, I forced myself to choose creative growth. Because after all, it is what I want.

Being an insecure girl, I don't naturally believe I can do things. It takes time...and pushing before I finally grasp the concept that I could really, truly do something. And in so many ways, within the walls of that building I had been pushed. Pushed to stick to it, to give more, pushed to dream a little further. And finally, at nearly 24, I'm beginning to believe it: I can do something. Not just an arbitrary something to fill my days, but a "something" with depth and purpose to fill my heart.

In future years, during exhausted or uninspired days, I'll return to this moment, this euphoric sense of achievement over a seemingly small accomplishment. I'll return and imagine how exponentially fulfilling it will be when after days, weeks, semesters of choosing my education over lack of inspiration and depression, after a few more years of believing that I can do something...I will finally hold the degree for which I'll have fought so entirely.

I am still beaming at the thought. :)


under the clouds.

Strangely enough, I noted in my mind that today was an exquisitely drippy day, the type of melancholy weather in which an author would set a character amidst a small loss.

Just minutes after this storybook-indulgent thought, my father lost his job.

Parental vulnerability is frightening. It's a role reversal--a moment in which you, the child, experience a sudden pulse of pure, selfless love so intense that you'd previously only believed a parent could feel for their child. An emotion you'll feel toward a child of your own someday. Instinctively, you're pulled- wanting to drop every swirling responsibility to run and assure endlessly that it will all work out.

But, the truth is, you're 23. And you're far too young to know if everything in life truly does work out.

Often, I pop the screen out of my bedroom window, crawl across the roof and lie there alone, cloud watching as far-fetched dreams fill my silly head. This is what I was doing a few days ago when I snapped this photo. But, today these distant, weighty clouds feel fitting with my heart. The sun will peek out and a beautiful sky will return tomorrow, I'm sure of it. But today...today my heart feels heavy and I simply cannot fake sunshine.


for her.

Here's the greatest thing about my mom: when she smiles, that grin takes over her entire face. Her eyes squint up, her cheeks balloon out, and her entire self is lost in one enormously loving smile. It's the most welcoming thing in the world...and I've been loving it for 23 years. :)

Happy Mother's Day, mothers of the world. You are, each and every one of you, extraordinary.


arm candy.

Unbeknownst to me, I'd been living with a gaping hole in my purse-life: a hole that could only be filled by perfectly scribbled clouds, adorably animated furry creatures and a sweet school schoolhouse theme. All wrapped up in a flawlessly constructed aqua bag. I only realized this gaping hole existed after spotting this cutie at Jenna Lou's Craftstravaganza booth...suddenly it was all clear. I knew we were meant to be!

For sure this will bring me many smiles this summer during my college withdrawl. :)

P.S. Promise this is my last post about Jenna Lou. The poor woman's going to think I'm a total stalker. (Psst. I am.)


all wrapped up.

I dig a good casual scarf, but finding one that drapes just right while also offering the needed length and killer color + pattern can be a bit of a task. Prior to this weekend, I'd yet to find a scarf that was a home run.

Enter this Made By Michelle Brusegaard jersey scarf, which I picked up at Craftstravaganza last weekend. Hellloooo, home run! That night I stood in my PJs, conflictingly pondering if I really, really had to take it off. Could I wear it to bed? Eventually I decided that although I was so so so so in love with it, the fear of strangulation should win out.

But, I will admit to wearing it every day since it came into my life. Sooo uncool, but I hardly care. It's fabulous. :)


simply lovely.

(My little clutch. Sigh. Isn't she lovely?)

Since returning to school last fall, I'm certain I log multiple hours each week switching from one bag to another: purse to backpack, backpack to laptop bag....back to purse. You get the idea. I'm forever returning to my bag of origin to dig for essential items--lip balm, iPod, keys--usually finding them lost in the depths with broken sticks of charcoal and crumbled receipts. How lovely.

No more. While doing a fair share of irresponsible spending this weekend at
Craftstravagnza, I picked up this adorable little clutch by Jenna Lou Designs. Frankly, I just need a second to sing its praises: Large enough to hold all those fussy items, but small enough to seamlessly slip into a larger purse or bag...its light blue polka-dot interior and the sound of a cheery snap closure just makes me smile. (That is not hyperbole...I'm beaming just looking at it!)

My dear
Jenna Lou--I love you. Endless thanks for making my life both organized and beautiful. :)


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