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Lately Around Here: All About Marty

Lately Around here

What can I say other than hi, friend.  Remember me? It’s been a while.

There’s so much to say, where should I begin? First of all, I had a baby! Wow, even writing that feels so wild. It’s been a dream of mine forever to have a family and now that it’s here, it feels surreal.  And exhausting.  You know all of those things people say about sleep deprivation when you have a baby?  They’re all true.

To be honest, it was a bit of a rough start for me, though. Being a little older getting started on the family thing, the whole experience was a bit of a rude awakening.  Add in the fact that Marty was a colic-y baby and well, it wasn’t pretty.

In about the third month post partum I started having some really down days.  Really down.  All of a sudden, I was crying for no reason, feeling super anxious and had a general feeling of not wanting to do anything.  It wasn’t until Marty’s doctor literally said: “You are off the charts for post partum depression and need to talk to someone about it” that I got a good therapist and started digging myself out of the hole.  Did you know that post partum anxiety (not just depression) is a real thing?  Me either.  But that stuff is intense and will throw you for a loop believing things that aren’t really true.  It was pretty disarming.

Because I never thought PPD would happen to me, I ignored the signs and soldiered on.  But wow, it all kind of snuck up on me and showed me that you just never know. Looking back, I realize I should have known something was up when I wasn’t even slightly interested in getting back to my normal happy-making activities (painting, working on my blog + reading good books.)  I know that’s normal as a new mom with a newborn, but this was another level of disinterest.  It was a humbling experience and made me so much more aware and compassionate for those other mommas in the early days of motherhood.  It’s challenging to say the least (especially if you’re breast feeding.)

Anyway,  I’m happy to say I’m starting to come out of the fog.   It was easy for me to lose myself, especially in those early months.  Feed Marty, change diaper, put down for nap.  Repeat.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  The days blurred together and I teetered back and forth between misery and baby bliss. I’m getting back to doing things for me too, rather than all for Marty which is all I could do in the beginning.  I still feel somewhat lost, but just talking about it is helpful and shines a light on what needs to shift.  It’s an ongoing process and I’m starting to enjoy being a mom.

SO let me tell you about the fun stuff!  Martel Christopher was born in the early morning of November 23rd and was 8 pounds 11 oz., 20 1/4 inches long.  “Marty” as we call him, is an amazingly alert and sweet baby.  He’s 4 months old now and is as strong as an ox–he has ‘happy feet’ that constantly kick.  He smiles and coos and grunts all day long as he plays on his mat.  He shows us a little more each day who he is and I’m so happy he’s mine.

Since this was my first baby, I had no idea what to expect.  I’m happy to say that this ignorance and keeping a fairly open mind helped me have a pretty easy, uneventful birth.  This picture is me about 5 minutes after delivering, I was on a total natural high.  All I could think of was: I did it!

Marty Birth

This is one of my favorite pictures of him, still to this day.  He’s chilling in the hospital bed with me, so chunky and gorgeous.  I was so proud of what my body did to create this amazing human being.

 

20151123_161227

 

MartyMarty

So there you have it! I have a zillion more pictures, but I’ll spare you 🙂

There’s so much to be thankful for, I’m trying to keep my eye on that as I muddle through the sleep deprivation and trying to find my way back to myself.  It’s been amazing to watch him grow this short time, I’m looking forward to a lifetime of sweet moments with him.

Love, Steph

 

Lately Around Here: All About Marty2019-04-07T11:41:05-04:00

Lately Around Here: Winter + Art

Lately Around here

We’re in a deep freeze here lately in the northeast–It’s been cold, cold, cold here for weeks.  I’m a pretty up beat person, but this crazy weather can wear anyone down!    We did have a tease on Sunday though–40 degrees and it felt like a Spring day, but now we’re back to the frigid teens.  Boo hoo.

In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. -Albert Camus

Well played, Albert.  This too, shall pass and the warmth of summer will be back.

Winter

With the cold winter comes some beautiful views too.  I mean, really?  Sometimes I feel like Snow White in my own enchanted forest when I look out the back window and see this:

Deer

This isn’t a great picture, but I feel like this duo-selfie captured the moment perfectly–me and my Valentine went out for a romantic dinner together on the 14th.  We had such a great time checking out the Biergarten for a pre-dinner drink and then heading to Moonstruck for an amazing feast.  Swoon.

My Valentine

On the art front, this is another girl coming to life.  I love watching the process progress through pictures, it gives me a different perspective on the whole thing.

Beginnings
Beginnings progress

And here’s a peek inside my tweaking process with the color of the prints.  Since I have my own fine art printer, I needed to figure out the process so I can create a print I’m proud of.  I also wanted to make sure I was consistent, too, because there are so many different ways to create a print.

Along my journey, I’ve realized I just have to figure out the combination that I like best.  Have the printer control the color?  Have Photoshop control color?  There are a lot of combinations that can change how the print looks and it took me awhile to figure out which to use.  And even though the whole color management process can make me ca-razy with all of the adjustments, I’ve learned a ton along the way and I’m happy for my pages + pages of mistakes.

Tweaking colors

Here’s the final result of my tweaking.  I gave this sweet girl away for my Valentine’s giveaway.  Congratulations Felicia!

Valentine's Giveaway

And, oh yeah–I’m also in the middle of planning my wedding.  Holy moley, it feels like it’s taking over my life right now!  And it is, but that’s ok.  I dodged a major invitation debacle this weekend (the time was printed wrong!)  so I feel like I got my one bad thing out of the way.  Smooth sailing from now on…

Invitation graveyard

Signature

 

 

 

PS: Don’t ask for permission to take care of yourself

Lately Around Here: Winter + Art2018-03-29T20:23:12-04:00

Lately Around Here: Beginner’s Blues + What I’m Working On.

Lately Around here

Now I know why there are sooooo many blogs about creative art businesses and how-to posts.  There’s so much  to know in order to get things rolling when you’re starting an art business.  For example:  coordinating the languages that your scanner, printer + monitor all speak (because they’re all different).  It’s a never ending process of adjustments that I’m currently trying to figure out, I hope I can get it all set up correctly soon.

It was yet another reminder of how it feels to come up against that edge of the learning curve.  Sometimes I feel like it’s harder to learn something new as you get older because there are so many things that get in the way: previous knowledge holding me back from learning more, embarrassment of being wrong + the ever present ego that never wants to concede.  It’s been humbling lately around here.

As I go through this new landscape of building my art business, I try to remind myself that it’s ok to be a beginner, it’s ok to make mistakes and ask for help.  How else do I learn + grow?  I would love to think I’m so evolved that being a beginner comes easily, afterall I only started seriously painting about 3 years ago, but part of my natural reaction is to internally stomp my feet.  Can’t this beginner part just be done already?

I remind myself: It’s all a part of the process.  I will never stop learning.

And then I stumbled on this post about changing careers + passion + keeping it real.  It was so motivating and affirming–there’s so much talk about lightning-bolt type passion out there.  That if you don’t know what you’re passionate about, you’re not trying hard enough.  If you’re not consumed at ALL TIMES with what you’re purpose is, you just haven’t found it yet.   But I’m not an outer limits kind of person–I like my middle ground, thank you very much.  So this all-out approach doesn’t bode well for me.

The article explores the opposite of this: what about the day -to-day build of creating a life?  What about slow and steady?  This article puts wildly into perspective what I had hoped all along: that I just might be on the right path to reaching my dreams by working on it each and every day.  No lightning bolts.  No symphonies, just time and patience.  I don’t have to be a psycho consumed with art, I can plug along a little each day.  I’m running a marathon, not a sprint.

A sigh of relief.

So here is a view of what I’m surrounding myself with lately on my journey:

This is a work in progress–here is the first layer, more to come.

Rainbow

I love the close up on this one–those colors are so juicy and get my heart racing.  I recently started experimenting with the caran d’ache crayons and they’re a lot of fun (they’re the yellow and pink colors in the flower below).  Kind of like watercolors but they dry like acrylics + they’re very flexible but give a little more vibrancy.

Flower Snippet

This is a work in progress that has been evolving for some time now.  You know when you feel something is not quite right?  This canvas has been that for me–I must have done at least 4 layers of do-overs.  It’s starting to come around now–maybe it just needed a girl to give it life.

Flower Girl

Here’s a snapshot of my studio and some pieces I’ve been working on.  The stack to the right all need tweaking–it’s nice to have a surplus of things to keep working on.  It’s a good reminder to keep going to my class each week so the surplus keeps comin’.

studio mess

This was one of my first girl pieces that I really loved.  I recently revisited it and I still need to add some accents to their hair + maybe a little more background, but those two ladies make me very happy!

Heart Sisters

Yesterday, Chris and I took a drive to the twin lights and celebrated being together for 2 years.  It was an amazing day of slowing down and appreciating each other.  Those lazy days really recharge my spirit (he does too) and I’m so grateful for what we have.

Selfie
Lighthouse
Signature

Lately Around Here: Beginner’s Blues + What I’m Working On.2018-03-29T20:23:14-04:00

Life Changes + Link Love

Lately Around here

This week was full of a lot of growth moments for me.  I’m making a lot of adjustments in my life, trusting the timing and letting things happen the way they should.  Sounds easy, but man it can be hard at times.

Patience is a tough pill to swallow when I want what I want, when I want it–but the truth is that we must trust the process.  I’m seeing that all of the moving, unpacking + getting used to living with someone, brings my fears and anxieties blooming to the surface; these little vulnerabilities are the ones that impact me the most–not big enough to cause major issues, but small enough to be annoying, like sand in the shoe.  Hello life lessons!  

But I am always reminded to have faith in myself + the world around me, and know that I am moving in the right direction (even if it’s not always a straight line).  I’m learning these lessons over + over lately and I’m being gently reminded that everything works out in the end.

I saw the gentleness of the world as Chris and I walked on the boardwalk this weekend.  There was a whole group of lovely people practicing yoga on the beach.  It was only about 8 am and it looked like a marvelous way to start the day: stretching your mind and body with the ocean as a backdrop.

Beach yoga

This weekend was also the Jersey Shore Triathlon and WOW were these people inspiring!  Men + women of all shapes, sizes and ages, came in droves to compete.  The sheer will to finish was breathtaking and I felt like I was witnessing some other people’s personal milestones.  This guy below was playing his trumpet to inspire the runners as they came into the home stretch–he got some laughs with his song choices.

Trumpet Dude

On Saturday, Lauren and I gave a workshop on how to heal your thyroid naturally.  It was such a lovely group of women that came to be healed–something we were stressing in the workshop is that when you care for yourself, you’re already on the path to healing.  Self-care is the vital to health and happiness in life, no matter what you’re working towards.

Workshop

Sunday I finally dove into setting up my studio.  I have missed painting so much these last couple of weeks but I know I’m almost back in the groove.  Granted the set up is pretty basic–a folding table from Target and a dropcloth on the floor–but I find once I start moving things in the right direction, it’s easy for me to keep the momentum going.  My next micro-movement is to find a chair to use so I can just sit and paint and stop thinking about making it perfect.

studio space

This sign at Whole Foods reminded me to keep on keepin’ on.

Do small things

 

Link Love

Some of my favorite links around the web this week:

I love these minimalist tips–I really want to put #7 into practice.

Our whole lives are relationships, love accordingly.

How to find your creative passion–and don’t worry, it changes as you grow.

Faced with a big decision?  Use the 10-10-10 rule.

Looking for love?  Prepare yourself first.

Signature

 

 

 

Life Changes + Link Love2018-03-29T20:23:15-04:00
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