Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Style File: Week Four

Happy Saturday!

This is Week Four of Saturday Style File. I'm finding that I really look forward to sitting down and doing these little sketches on the weekend. It's a great way to keep the creative juices flowing, without stressing too much about how "perfect" the final product is. I limit myself to an hour with my sketchbook, so it's a fun little challenge. By the end of the exercise, I have so many ideas for other projects! This is an hour well-spent each weekend, for sure.

Back to the outfit; I wore this yesterday for a casual Friday in the office and a dinner date with the boy that evening. You probably see a pattern forming with my clothing choices for the lower half of my body. If I choose to wear pants, they are ALWAYS cuffed and paired with a pair of tall boots. This is the only really practical choice with several feet of snow outside, and lots of slush. I hate to wear clunky boots, making it necessary to pack an extra pair of shoes and change when I arrive at the office. So, I find cuffed pants with cute boots is a really practical option during the winter months.

Favorite outfit this week:
- The black turtle neck is from H&M. It's a cold weather staple, for sure. Perfect for layering.
- The little jacket is part of a suit by Willi Smith. Suits don't really excite me, but I liked this short sleeve style. I purchased only the top from TJ Maxx.
- The jeans are from Gap.
- The scarf was thrifted, and a gift from my mother. I have received so many compliments on this piece! I thought the brightness of the scarf would liven up the neutral colors of the outfit.
- The suede zip boots are old, and extremely comfortable. Unfortunately, I don't remember where I got them.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This week A's brother contacted us to ask if I would like to donate a few of my prints for a silent auction being held at his law school. The event is to raise funds to support law students who need a little extra financial help. 

As a former graduate student myself, I know how tough it can be to make ends meet while going to school full time. I'm a big supporter of higher education, so I am excited to help in my own small way! 

I was so flattered he thought of me and my artwork. The event will be a great way to reach a new audience, while at the same time supporting a great cause.

These are the five prints I decided to contribute for the event. Let's hope the attendees enjoy handmade! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Clean Lines and Simple Design: Gretel

I'm really loving the clean lines and simple design of the home goods from Gretel. I think their pieces have a truly modern sensibility, without feeling cold in the way some modern design does to me. The desk lamp and clock would be perfect in a craft room or studio. Each piece makes a statement, without competing against the bright, varied colors and the eclectic mix of pattern and texture so characteristic of creative spaces. 

My work tends to be bright, and the art supplies I have really reflect my aesthetic. I think these simple pieces would work perfectly mixed among the vibrant chaos that is my work space. Perhaps a small splurge is in my future :)

{lamp originally found via Oh Joy}

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dreams Past and Present

As a child, one of my favorite games to play was "boutique". I would carefully display all the toys and knickknacks in my bedroom, as if it were a retail space. My parents bought me a sweet little adding machine, complete with the receipt tape, so that I could to ring up the goods my "customers" purchased. I could play this game for hours; it never seemed to get old.

As an adult, I'm still really excited by the thought of owning my own boutique. It's a romantic idea to me, so full of creativity and possibility. I hope that someday this childhood dream of mine will take shape, in one manner or another. In the meantime, it's fun to fantasize about!

This latest little painting of mine is directly inspired by my hope to one day own a retail space. On Saturdays, after yoga my boy and I sometimes share breakfast at a cafe in the downtown area near where we live. Across the street is a beautiful, yet neglected, old building with sweet little awnings on all of the windows. The space is currently vacant. I can see so much potential in that little building. This is the vision I have for the space, as seen through my mind's eye..

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Style File: Week Three

Happy Saturday!

I was lucky enough to have an extra day off this weekend, because yet another blizzard rolled through the Northeast on Friday. Since I didn't get out of my pajamas yesterday, I had one less day to choose my outfit from this week :) 

I wore this somewhat casual, monochromatic outfit to work on Wednesday. It was lucky I was comfortable, because the work day itself was dreadfully stressful! 

Favorite outfit this week:
- The blue bird print blouse is from H&M. I am completely in love with the sweet print, and it makes a great layering piece over turtlenecks. 
- The blue turtleneck is also from H&M.
- Blue skinny jeans are from Gap.
- Black boots are by BareTraps.

What are you up to this weekend? The boy and I are planning to get Chinese food at our favorite local spot, browse the bookstore and catch a film (most likely The Fighter). 

Enjoy the rest of the weekend :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Movie Eye Candy: Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger Than Fiction is one of those movies I just want to escape into. I certainly wouldn't mind having Maggie Gyllenhaal's character's life in the film; she owns her own bakery, has the cutest little home, fun style and a fabulous tattoo :)

The movie has such a whimsical quality to it. I find so much inspiration in the bright, cheerful colors and eclectic, vintage-inspired set design. 

I can't get enough of these yummy images! I just want to make all kinds of candy colored paintings full of pretty florals and cupcakes :)

Have you seen the film? 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Deep Breaths

This is where you could find me after work this afternoon. Today was a flurry of activity; the perfect storm of chaos and stress that left me absolutely drained by the time I walked through the door.

Sometimes a little rest is so helpful, no? That little moment, when I keep still and allow my mind to relax, helps me to put things into perspective. The work day is done, and the evening is for family and creative time - the stuff that, to me, a truly happy life is made of.

How do you handle a tough day? Is there something in particular that never fails to lift your spirits? I know that my bright cat socks helped me out a bit today :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Style File: Week Two

I hope you are enjoying your (long) weekend so far :)

This week's featured outfit is actually what I wore to work on Monday. Dresses with turtle necks, opaque tights and tall boots have sort of become my unofficial uniform this season. It's a really great way to get more use out of warmer-weather dresses that would otherwise sit in my closet during the winter months.

I felt really put-together and professional, yet still fresh and fun; that's my ultimate goal when I dress for work :)

Favorite outfit this week:
- The gray jersey dress is from TJ Maxx. I always have great luck finding deals on simple dresses there. 
- The turtle neck is a plain dark gray style from Target. It's a favorite of mine for winter layering.
- The stretchy belt I found at Kohl's. It's perfect for giving shape to flowy dresses. I used it to cinch this dress for a wedding, and I LOVED the look.
- The locket is from Verabel. This fun piece dressed up the monochromatic outfit.
- Tall black boots are by BareTraps.  

This look was a warm, cozy and comfortable outfit to start the week!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Working in My "Studio"

These are a few quick snapshots of the scene on my coffee table tonight. Living in a small space (a one bedroom apartment), I don't have the luxury of a true workspace. All of my supplies are stored on a single bookshelf, and when the creative bug strikes, I work wherever is most convenient. Tonight, that spot was the on the coffee table..

I've become so used to working in random places (hunched on the floor, on the couch), I'm not sure I would know what to do with an actual studio, complete with a desk, decent lighting and proper storage! Then again, I'm sure I could adjust :) 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another Snow Day and New Gift Tags

Happy Wednesday, Friends :)

I was really excited to get out of work at one this afternoon due to the big snow storm hitting the Northeast. I took the afternoon to relax with the boy, and to make these gift tags for the shop using a print I did some time ago. They measure 3x3 inches, with a cream colored string tie. I'm really pleased with how they turned out..

I will be listing sets of six tags in the shop very soon!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Little Spinach Quiche

This is a quick shot I took of tonight's dinner. Lately I've been trying to incorporate more meatless meals into our weekly routine, so I'm constantly on the lookout for filling, vegetarian options.

I found the mini spinach quiche recipe on Rachel's lovely blog over the weekend, and decided to pick up the ingredients on my weekly shop. I followed her advice exactly, making a mini version of this recipe.

Not only are these little quiches adorable, they are filling and extremely tasty. I love how convenient the little size is; I'm just going to grab a few from the fridge for my lunch tomorrow - so simple!

Feeling Appreciated

A wonderful little thing happened today. This morning, I received an email from a co-worker expressing her sincere thanks for my help on a project she was working on. She asked if it would be OK to send a letter to my supervisor, describing the positive experience she had working with me. WOW, what a thoughtful gesture! It's amazing the impact a little appreciation can have on your mood and feeling of self-worth. I had a little reminder today that the work I am doing is important and meaningful. I'm feeling really good on this Tuesday morning :)

The next time you feel gratitude or appreciation for something another has done, let them know. You could have a bigger impact than you think. I know I will be paying it forward the first chance I get!

This beautiful painting is from Jenny Meilihove. Check out her Etsy shop for more of her wonderful work.

Monday, January 10, 2011

On Improvising

I'm a bit of a planner. I feel uneasy when things aren't mapped out clearly before me. By things I mean everything from the very small (the course of my day, what's for dinner), to the more significant (where I will be five years from now).

2011, for me, is going to be a test in letting go. I think every person, at some point in their life, reaches a really big crossroad. I'm talking about "ten-roads-converging-during-rush-hour" big. Major decisions must be made, the outcomes of which are entirely uncertain. Well, I am standing at that crossroad this year, scratching my head and wondering which path to take.

I could choose to analyze each choice, plan each step, all the while struggling to picture the future life it will lead me to. The planner in me says "Yes, this is logical!", but it's impossible to really know what is to come. At some point, don't you need to just let go and see how events unfold? Sometimes, isn't it best just to "wing it" and trust that everything will fall into place? No big decisions can be made without a leap of faith, on some level, because we just don't know what reality awaits us after the fact.

As I read this, I have to laugh at how mysterious I sound! Perhaps I'm being overly dramatic? I mean, we all go through periods of transition in our lives; We relocate, start new careers, meet new friends, find new hobbies, start families, travel to new places.

I see some of these changes in my future this year, and I think the excitement and possibility is getting the better of me :)

What major life changes have you experienced recently? Do you approach major decisions with your head, heart, or a combination of both? I would love to hear your thoughts!

P.S. This lovely print is part of a postcard set I purchased from Jen Collins of hellojenuine. Love it!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Little Thing I'm Trying..

The beginning of the new year has a lot of the creative community talking about ways to incorporate more right-brained goodness into our everyday lives. The Storque article is just one of many places I have seen this conversation going on. 

Although I try to do something creative each day, I know that I could be doing a better job of it. I find myself making excuses; "I had a long day at work, I'm just too tired", or "I don't want to make a mess of the living room with all of my supplies". The fact of the matter is, though, that when I find the time to "make" something I'm a lot happier for it. Once I take that first step, grabbing a pencil and paper, pulling out my paints, I feel calmer and happier almost immediately.

In the spirit of living more creatively each day, I thought I would try a new little feature here on A Random Walk. Each Saturday I am going to share a little sketch of a favorite outfit of mine from the week. My hope is that through sharing a weekly "fashion" self portrait with you, I will sketch more consistently and be more adventurous with the clothes that are already in my closet. I can't have repeat outfits, after all!

So, I'm going to call this little feature "Saturday Style File". If you want to play along, or already have a similar feature on your blog, I would love to see!

Favorite outfit this week:
- Blue turtleneck by H&M
- Cream cardigan by H&M
- Jeans from Gap
- Suede zip boots are old. I'm not sure where I got them
- Chunky bauble ring from Pier 1
- Large pink felt broach was a gift from my mother

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Pretty Find, and Happy Friday

I have been obsessing over this sweet mirror from uncommon all afternoon. I am so smitten by it! I wouldn't mind doing a quick hair check in this cheery mirror before heading out the door. In my opinion, everything looks better with scalloped edges, including my own reflection :)

What are you up to this weekend? The boy and I have a fun date night planned for Saturday. Really, it's an excuse to dress up, go out and flirt a bit :) I'm also hoping to make some progress on a project I have in the works. I'm looking forward to sharing it soon!

Have a cozy, wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Get Your Paint On? Oh Yes, Please

Painting is a very new medium for me, and I have been having a lot of fun experimenting with it. I will admit, though, that I have plenty to learn! I was really excited to discover that the very talented Lisa Congdon and Mati McDonough are teaching a five week, online painting course for beginners and advanced artists alike. The class is called Get Your Paint On; I say, "Yes, please"! 

Lisa and Mati will cover materials selection, color, style and composition. You are able to work at your own pace, completing five pieces by the end of the course. A structured course like this just might be what I need to more regularly pull out my paints and play. The course also provides a peek into the creative processes of two artists I really admire, which I love!

This year I hope to really challenge myself creatively. What a great start this course will be!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Finding Joy

Today was a lovely day. Not because work was remarkable (it wasn't), the weather was beautiful (it was bitter outside), or because I was feeling great (I'm still dealing with some lingering cold symptoms).

I'm smiling today because of the little moments. The short, quiet ride to work this morning. A warm cup of berry tea this afternoon. Catching up with the boy while making a pie crust this evening. Sharing a simple dinner at the table after a long day.

Where did you find joy today?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Seeing Floral and Taking Chances

Hello Friends :)

I hope the new year finds you happy, healthy, recharged and inspired! I had a wonderful weekend in Boston with family, and a relaxing week-long break from my day job (despite being ill for a few days). I have to say, though, that it is a bit of a relief for things to return to normal after all the holiday bustle; I love it, but I do find some comfort in routine.

After the holidays are over, in my mind Spring can't come soon enough! I'm ready for sunshine, mild temperatures and green grass. My current obsession with floral prints and all things "Spring-like" is evidence enough of my craving for the new season.

The adorable bird print blouse and pink floral scarf (with pom-poms, which I adore) in the photo are both from a weekend shopping trip to H&M. It was my first time shopping there (seriously!), and I'm in love. It's so sad you can't shop their store online in the United States! The beautiful white floral scarf was a Christmas gift from my mother. I'm excited to wear it with a navy top, matching skinnies and yellow flats (not that I thought about it much..).

Even though it's still the dead of winter, I just might have to wear the bird blouse to work tomorrow. It may be cold outside, but I can still pretend it's Spring in the office, right?

How are your New Year's Resolutions coming along? One of my goals for 2011 is to more aggressively pursue my career goals. I stepped out of my comfort zone today, putting myself and my work out there, and it felt great! So far, so good :)
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