Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What do I do on my lunch break now?

My move to Texas has left me with my prized possessions split evenly between my old home and my new (favored) one. I have learned valuable lessons in simplifying my life, and de-cluttering. 2 items that were left 'back home' are simply impossible for me to live without: my make-up case and my art cases. Very similar items when you consider they both contain forms of paint and the ability to creatively express yourself. I recently got these items back in my hands and was thrilled to be reunited! However, the first weekday after getting my art cases back, I was faced with a conundrum: what do I do with my lunch break now? The closest art supplier is about 15 minutes from my office so I would dash there almost every day, using coupons to slowly build up a new set of paints, here in Texas. I love art stores! They are so much fun and I am literally like a kid in a candy store! So now I need a new lunch-hour diversion....what's a girl to do?


The studio...which is also the library and the counseling office depending on situational needs....my dream is to one day have an entire room devoted to JUST painting....

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Sunny Side of Life...

I have long been accused of being a pessimist. I posses an often caustic & sarcastic sense of humor. In the effort of self-improvement I have begun looking for the bight-side, or the silver lining of various situations and life-occurances. I am not very good at it…below is a list of the various ‘stressors’ and “Boo you!”s I have encountered in the past few weeks and the consequent optimism I have employed….again, I am not very good at it…

1)Rainy Day: Softens the blow of losing my favorite sunglasses

2)Being a student (STILL) : This is an unwaveringly reliable explanation for why I am not as fabulously rich as my fellow 20-somethings without having to explain the Dooney handbags, Nixon watch or why the nail salon manager not only knows my name but has also begun to call me just ‘Pretty Lady’ every time I come in. Being a student allows forgiveness for poverty and irresponsible spending-you’re still learning!

3) The NFL lockout: While my profession prohibits me from official comment (check out ESPN for the latest), as a red-blooded woman I have dug deep and figured out the following: the off-season is a time of rest and training; a time when my Boys work-out. As the lock-out equates to a longer off-season, I expect my Boys to come back in even better shape, which let’s face it, can never be a bad thing.

4)Periods: That extra 3 LBS? It really IS just water weight and you were NOT lying to yourself!

5) Being Single: See blog post-http://emilyelizabethnicoll.blogspot.com/2011/02/heres-to-finding-good-man.html

6) Going to Work: Work=money=spending more time with my friend who calls me ‘Pretty Lady’, see #2. If this silver-lining doesn’t cut it, I just check out the unemployment rates in America and that takes care of that.

7) Living MILES away from my closest friends: All communication has a higher value. When was the last time you really got down to the nitty-gritty with a friend? I mean the deep stuff…pouring your heart out and being brutally honest. When you can’t depend on sushi nights, shopping sprees, and movie dates to keep your friendships going you end up relying on the real stuff. While I would love to actually see my girls face-to-face, I wouldn’t trade what we have for a potentially shallow-er version. Friendships are like designer bags, no knock-offs please.

8) Schizophrenic Spring Weather: It may be bi-polar, not schizophrenic, I’d have to check the DSM, which I don’t keep in my back pocket, but the point is, every day you get about three different climatic changes….which also means that we are currently in the one season a year which allows you to wear absolutely ANYTHING in your closet without looking insane

9) The soda machine is broken at work –again.: This had led me to the budget friendly discovery of liter bottles at my desk. I cannot tell you how much money I have saved, or how thoroughly entertaining early morning trips to the local convenience store truly are. People are weird. In general.

10) Not being able to find Skinnygirl Margaritas ANYWHERE close to my home: No silver-lining….I’ll keep trying, but I’m pretty sure that I won’t be happy about this issue until I get what I want

Sweet Charity

Take a minute to check out one of the best non-profits I am aware of. Two of my favorite people work here and I can honestly tell you this organization is all heart and hard work. I know TONS of you are Arkansas born and/or bred,  so this better hit close to home! Just one minute to read a bit...please!
Arkansas Rice Depot

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The stars at night, are big and bright...

I have mentioned my love for the great state of Texas before, and I have, on numerous occasions been asked why it holds such a dear place in my heart. So I have compiled a list (ah, my lovely peace-inducing lists) of the various aspects of Texas that make me oh-so-very-happy:

-Here in Texas it is not sufficient to merely support our favorite Texas collegiate sports program, we also disparage the other schools, as evidenced by 'Saw 'Em Off' car decals...

-The wild Texas flora & fauna! Bluebonnets and tulips actually grow on the side of the road. If you drive south from Dallas to Houston (Hey Aunt Sheryl and Uncle Steve!) you will see literally thousands of sunflowers growing wild. And in the fall, oh in the fall, you will see tumbleweeds. Real tumbleweeds. Out of a John Wayne-western-movie-style tumbleweeds. For real.

-Shiner Bock and St. Arnold's. St. Arnold's is a micro-brew that comes out of Houston. If you ever get a chance, check out the brewery tour...not only do you get to sample the yummy fermented grains, but you can observe the eclectic artists that plop down at pic-nick tables and um, create 'masterpieces'. Shiner Bock is a Texas institution and I have actually met a very nice doggie named Shiner, who is adorned with a bottle-cap style dog tag. It was originally made in Shiner, TX and in the prohibition the original brewer made 'near-beer'...hmmm interesting. As a side note, Shiner is best enjoyed while eating at Hard 8.

-Hard 8 BBQ....massive mesquite pits....vast quantities of every meat imaginable...homemade jalapeno corn...food is weighed by the pound. You point to everything you want and they just pile it on the scale. It's a tradition to go there, when my friends the Robinson's are in town, even to point that a picture of the place is what pops up on my cell when Mrs. Robinson calls me. http://www.hardeightbbq.com/

-Texans loves their sports. There is no off-season here. You simply roll over from football (Go Cowboys) to basketball (Get 'em Mavericks), on into baseball (2010 American League Champs!). Wear some pretty blue and you can support all three teams year-round!

 -Texan pride is unrivaled. We are Texans and damn proud of it! I give you two prime examples:

A) When born in Texas, not only is the actual state illustrated in the background of your birth certificate, but for an extra fee, you can have a gigantic Texas star imprinted on it as well. And yes, before you ask, I DO have the star...However, giving a picture of my actual birth certificate is just stupid, so here is a different example:

B) Texas native and country cutie, Miranda Lambert sings one of my favorite songs, 'Texas as Hell'

I'm Texas as hell
Mean 'n ornery
I don't need no loud mouth
Comin' on to me
My temper gets hotter than red white and blue blazes
You know dog-gone well everybody can tell I'm Texas as hell

Well I know I haven't been around a long time
But I've heard my share of
Those worn out love lines
If you ain't redneck
Dont waste your time
Because right now I'm in a lone star state of mind

And I'm Texas as hell
Mean 'n ornery
I don't need no loud mouth
Comin on to me
My temper gets hotter than red white and blue blazes
You know dog-gone well everybody can tell
I'm Texas as hell

Well I guess you think that I'll be persuaded
But how many times do I have to say this
don't mess with me boy
For heaven's sake
Didnt anybody tell you messin with Texas was a big mistake

-The Mexican culinary influences are EVERYWHERE here! Now I grew up in South Florida, so I know there is a respectful difference between the different Latin-American backgrounds and cultures, and I HATE it when anyone Hispanic is labeled 'Mexican' in a derogatory manner. But I am talking about legitimate Mexican cuisine. I promise you that the minute you cross the Texas state line, or step into our airports off of a plane, within 5 minutes you could find amazing salsa and margaritas to make you eyes water.
-Keeping in the culinary theme, I present to you argument # 8 of why Texas is my favorite state: WG. WG is translated as white gravy and is served on chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, traditionally, however, many native and naturalized Texans find excuses to put it on just about anything. It is bad for you. It is unsophisticated. It is amazing. It's butter, flour, milk and salt and pepper, but the extra kick my granddaddy, uncles, and mama use is bacon grease. yes, bacon grease. Trust me on this. Please.

-Everything sparkles in Texas. I mean that literally. For women, anyway. Jeans, belts, handbags, shoes, boots, nails, headbands, car decals, glasses, tank tops, bikinis, book bags, dog collars, wine bottles, candle holders, laptops, cell phones, notebooks....everything! I have even seen a be-dazzled shot-gun. I don't really know why Texas women feel the need to add sparkle to everything they own but it is very evident and very present here in Dallas, and has been observed directly in Houston and San Antonio as well.

-Everyone is welcome in Texas. You don't have to be born here to call yourself a Texan. Natives make the distinction, but we welcome you with open arms!

I'm for sale and the price is right!

Hello my lovelies! I just opened my very own online gallery and shop at Etsy.com! Very exciting! Success with Etsy is totally dependant on word-of-mouth and getting publicity, so please check it out and share with others! I love you all and am totally blessed by your support!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

In defense of shopaholics everywhere...

My mother spent all of last week in good 'ol Alabama at our house on the lake. While there, she began rumaging around, cleaning out various nooks and crannies. She gave me a call one night and asked if I could think of anything that I wanted brought back. All at once I imagined my old room, my room with four walk-in closets, closets that still housed some of my favorite pieces or raiment. When I moved to Dallas I didn't know exactly where I would end up living, or how long I would be there, so I only brought about 1/3 of my wardrobe with me.  Well, as spring jumps into high gear and I am still here in fabulous Dallas, I decided it was time to bring all of my clothes to their new home. At my request, my mother replied, “ALL of your clothes?” Of course all of them! I laughed and just went on with my day. Last night as the third industrial size garbage bag of clothes was dragged into my room by my brother, I was NOT laughing. ***

At first blush, I was embarrassed at the load of clothing that completely took over my living space. How in the world could I be SO materialistic?! I am a girly-girl, no doubt, and obviously love to shop, but I really thought I had developed more depth than this! But as I began to go through all of the items, different emotions overtook me. I came across the pair of old basketball shorts that had been mine from my 5th grade team. I found my senior jersey from Westminster. There was the black dress I wore to my Granddaddy’s funeral and the ratty old t-shirt from the first pub I went to in London. The top I wore when I first met my precious godson was laying right next to the dress I wore as I stood with my best friend on her wedding day. I realized that a majority of the things I hold onto were still in my possession only because I didn’t want to let go of the memories that were associated with them.

Now I know that I would have memories of all these events without the various material reminders, but I love how vivid the memories become when those reminders trigger something in my brain. I love remembering exactly how hot it was at Peg’s wedding, and how I cried when I first met baby Will. Seeing my senior jersey brought back a flash image of me and about 5 of my girlfriends standing side by side, posing for a picture, so proud we had finally made it to our last year of high school. I don’t ever want to ever forget anything about my grandfather, including memories of his funeral. As I looked at the black dress I wore the morning he was buried, I remembered every detail of the way my younger brother offered me his elbow to escort me from the limousine to the funeral services.

"A woman's life can really be a succession of lives, each revolving around some emotionally compelling situation or challenge, and each marked off by some intense experience."
Wallis Simpson

These special articles of clothing all represent experiences in my life that I wouldn’t trade for anything. These experiences have made me who I am, and I am sure will influence who I will become. I will not apologize for hanging on to these pretty little mementos of my life. I will however, be spending my entire weekend driving back and forth between The Container Store to purchase under bed storage bins and my local Goodwill drop-off location…all while pondering how to philosophically justify my shoe collection.

 ***As a side note, I do NOT make a habit of transporting my clothing, or any of my other goods in garbage bags, nor does my family, but we did not own enough suitcases to handle the load.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A little something different...

Colored paper bits on 3 inch thick wooden panel

My Granddaddy and I exchanged letters ever since I learned how to write. I still have most of them. I used envelopes from these letters and my trusty paints to create a little daily reminder of one of the most important people in my life.

While getting ready to make my most recent move, I came across the junk box that I have been carrying around for years. It was filled with all sorts of random tid-bits that I had collected over the years. I turned these objects into a fun mixed-media piece. The background is made from the street map I used on my first trip to London. There is a button from a visit to Graceland (I love Elvis) and from a camping trip with Westminster to Maine, and also one that was given to me at the hospital when my brother was born. A picture of the dock where I had my first kiss (awww) is in one corner and a matchbox from one of my absolute favorite South Beach cafes hangs from the gold frame. The silver mask is from one of my best childhood Halloween costumes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


In the 7th grade one of my best friends began complaining about how her eye hurt. She rubbed it over and over and it began to twitch. So I made fun of her. Then she went to the doctor and found out she had a scratched cornea. She didn't come to school for three days because she had to wear an eye patch. So I made more fun of her. It was all good-natured, she laughed along with all of the pirate jokes, and twitchy eye faces I made at her for years afterward, so don't go thinking that I went all MG on her...
HOWEVER...last night as I was laying in bed thinking about the fact that today is her 25th birthday and how great a person she is, my eye began to hurt. At 4:30 this afternoon I found out why: I have a scratched cornea.

6 weeks ago my brother won his school's science fair. He was invited to the district convention. He told my parents he did not want to go, it was not his 'cup of tea'. They made him. They giggled over the fact that he hated science and his science fair project, over the irony of him winning and having to go through with the convention. Then he came home with the notice that parental attendance was mandatory. Two weeks ago my family (minus me) got to the old state fair grounds at 8:00 a.m. and didn't leave until 6:30 p.m., after they had experienced over 150 middle school science fair presentations.

There is a really mean and nasty dog in my apartment complex. He/she/it growls and snarls at other people and my poor pup all the time. He/she/it stands at the window and goes bezerk anytime you walk past. He/she/it happens to live right by the mail boxes, so Pup and I encounter he/she/it frequently. I have never approached the owner about their fearsome (absolutely obnoxiously annoying) pet. Last week Pup slowly walked up to the creature, head bowed, little tail tucked and popped a squat right outside he/she/it's window.

These are super-silly, trivial examples of what I have been taught recently (except for my eye, it hurts like something you cannot imagine, unless you have given birth, and then maybe you know a little more about pain).I don't know all of the legitimate boundaries and principles of karma. I DO know my own faith. I am a Christian. A word to the wise: don't make fun of others (if you can help it). Another little nugget of wisdom? Don't worry about those who find joy in your pain...God does that for you.

"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" --- KJV

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Utterly Untitled...

I made these for one of my good,good friends...she loves purple, blue, green and gold...she is an absolutely fabulous woman, full of life, and very spunky. If I tried to label her it would be impossible, hence, her pieces are titled....
"Utterly Untitled"

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Love My Boys..."1960"

I had a request for a Dallas Cowboys themed piece....and I love my Boys, regardless of the lockout or their playing record, so I happily obliged!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meet Henry....

I am a bit childish at times. There is something about the joy of being a kid that I truly miss! When was the last time you were honestly care-free? Well, I can tell you it has been a very long time for me, but every now and then I get small little flashes of it. Penguins are one of those flashes for me!I love penguins...I think they are just so cute, they way they waddle around and flutter their puney little wings....I love that they mate for life and scoot their lil' babies around on their feet...all the kiddie movies, and going to aquariums, I just love 'em! Call me crazy, you wouldn't be the first....

Meet Henry, #3 in my collection, imported late last night from the New England Aquarium...
If you think this post is bad, wait until...Painting Your Own Garden Gnome, coming later this weekend...oh yeah.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Check please!

I love lists. There is something about making a list that makes everything feel a little more controlled which makes me feel a little less anxious. I have studied many different psychological disorders and theories, so I know all about how this statement makes me sound and I am a-okay with it. I hate change and I hate chaos. I love order and control, which is odd for an artist, but I relish my status as an enigma. My mother made lists all the time while I was growing up and still does. Making a list is great…organizing thoughts and seeing what all needs to be accomplished. Even better? Checking off items on said lists! I will actually add things to my lists that I have already done, just to be able to check something else off! The sense of accomplishment is priceless! Any feeling of order in this crazy world is so scarce, that I will take it anywhere I can get it. List-making is a way of figuring out what you want and getting it….

I grew up with list-makers. They may not all know it, but it was unavoidable in the environment in which we were raised. At a certain point we began to formulate our lists, most likely without even recognizing it…or for some, their lists were formulated for them; we were to graduate high school, go to college immediately, graduate, get a job, find a significant other, get a better job, get married, get a house, have kids…I have watched many follow this path, as if they are checking things off one by one. I have beat myself up many times over the fact that I have not followed the same list and checked off the same items, one by one. That’s what I was ‘supposed’ to do! There’s just a couple of problems with all of this list-mania…I don’t want a husband right now. And I am not ready for kids. And I don’t like the idea of caring for an entire house. And I am still in school because I have FINALLY figured out what I want to do with my life. Not one thing has been checked off of the life list I made when I was in the middle of high scool, busy being a know-it-all, other than graduating high school and going to college. But would I really want a life I didn’t desire, simply to be able to say that I had followed a check-list that supposedly led to contentment and happiness? Everyone has heard it before, but we all seem to forget it: there is no ‘normal’. There is no magic, universal equation that leads to success in life.

I just came off a really rough week…emotions running amok, school taking a necessary but unfortunate backseat, and various other factors adding to an interesting hormonal tornado. Sunday evening I broke out the trusty ol’ journal…and of course I made a list. I called it the ’26 List’. It contains various achievements I would like to accomplish before my next birthday. I ended up with a pretty long list. Now I am not one to set myself up for disaster or disappointment, so I have decided that I must accomplish only one of the many items on this list by December 25, 2011 and simply strive for crossing off as many as I can, after that first one. A list like this could take a long while to work through, and I was prepared for that.

The next morning, via a message in my in-box, I was able to check off one of the goals on my list. Just like that. God is good.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lonely Hearts Club Series - II - 'It's Tricky'

This series is pretty self-explainatory; all hues of pink and blue, revolving around hearts. I'm perplexed by love and fascinated by relationships. Boys and girls are so different...but I don't have to tell anybody that! Hearts get broken, but they also grow stronger; they find new joys. These pieces reflect those truths.

Here Comes the Sun II

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.

Pablo Picasso