I feel my best when…

I put together a little list of when I feel my best. Sometimes I feel out of balance, like I’m doing too much of one thing and not enough of the things that center me and make me feel peaceful. I try to build a life of all these things I love, but sometimes I have to step back and re-focus.

Here’s my list:

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Maybe you will make your own?

xo, Michelle

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summer time endings.

While the weather is still fluctuating in extremes and most days I change from pants to shorts and back to pants several times, I’m surrounded by the feeling of the end of summer, a summer that passed so quickly I hardly remember it. It didn’t feel the way summer usually feels this year, for some reason. That makes me feel some sadness and regret and nostalgia. I think I was just extremely focused on the business side that I’m having to learn to keep my art shop selling.

But I’ll try to focus on the things that were summer-y…..

I took a really beautiful and fun roadtrip up the CA coast with my younger sister. We’d never traveled just the two of us, and it was right before her first full time job began. It was one of those rite of passage trips I’ll never forget. And the scenery was like a dream.

Big Sur area.

Big Sur area.

Big Sur

Big Sur

Big Sur

Big Sur

Carmel

Carmel

The 4th of July was actually fun this year, and we did some small home fireworks & sparklers for the first time!

infinite.

infinite.

dueling like Harry Potter & Voldemort.

dueling like Harry Potter & Voldemort.

sparkler happy.

sparkler happy.

We had a Tea Party to celebrate the Royal birth haha. I ate all gluten-free versions of things, but so yummy. I absolutely love having High Tea.

Spirited Anglophiles.

Spirited Anglophiles.

So much delicious sugar.

So much delicious sugar.

As a group of girls, we went to Lake Arrowhead for a weekend. I love being in the mountains, even though it wasn’t quite June Lake.

Gluten free smores & hot chocolate! (and vegan marshmallows)

Gluten free smores & hot chocolate! (and vegan marshmallows)

re-enacting Dirty Dancing on this log haha.

re-enacting Dirty Dancing on this log haha.

5/7 of the group.

5/7 of the group.

Summer is the season for concerts! Went to about one each weekend in August. So many musicians that I love!

Backstreet Boys!

Backstreet Boys!

Adorable Hunter Hayes

Adorable Hunter Hayes

Yeah, we went to the Jonas Brothers and it was awesome.

Yeah, we went to the Jonas Brothers and it was awesome.

Taylor Swift (my all-time favorite) and Ed Sheeran.

Taylor Swift (my all-time favorite) and Ed Sheeran.

Sara Bareilles!

Sara Bareilles!

OneRepublic

OneRepublic

The OC Fair is crazy crowded, but it always feels like summer.

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My older sister & I started this labor day weekend pool party every year that we call Poolfest. This year we had a ton of people there and we played with a waterproof camera!

Poolfest oh-13!

Poolfest oh-13!

Some other highlights:

summertime flowers

summertime flowers

late-summer sunsets

late-summer sunsets

babysitting these sweet sweet boys once a week.

babysitting these sweet sweet boys once a week.

the twins, aka "the nuggests"

the twins, aka “the nuggests”

Hope you all had a nice summer :) I’m so excited for sweater weather; I crave it year-round!

xo, Michelle

My first art show: recap!

I had my first official art show on Saturday! It went so so well. I’m amazed by it. To be honest, I’m still exhausted!

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The Santa Ana Art Walk is an event that takes place the first Saturday of every month in Downtown Santa Ana, and all kinds of artists come to show their work. Orange County Creatives owns two galleries and they fill them with about 25 artists from 6-10 pm. It’s great exposure for your work.

I spent about 3 weeks doing nothing but preparing my inventory and display for my table at the Santa Ana Art Walk. I ran around searching for and buying props for my table that would be cohesive with my aesthetic and vibe that I put into my art. I wanted my display to be a reflection of my shop. (This was incredibly fun. I never realized just how much I love to decorate and put together themes. I knew I liked it, but this was a whole new level of falling in love)! I spent so many late nights trimming prints, stamping and labeling them, matting them, packaging them, painting canvases, preparing a hard copy of my portfolio, and figuring out all the finance and logistics behind how it would all work.

Here’s what my table looked like (ignore the fan, it was like 90 degrees):

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But it all paid off! So many of my friends and family friends showed up to support me; I was overwhelmed by the kindness of them all! Most of them bought some of my prints, and they were all so excited for this creative pursuit! It felt amazing to be able to show, in person, everything that I’ve been creating and building for the past 1.5 years. It felt like all of my imagining had manifested in front of my eyes. It was pretty surreal. I felt totally in my element though. I kind of wasn’t even nervous because it felt so natural to me.

I still have a long way to go with the growth of my business, but this first art show was a huge step forward. It renewed a lot of my confidence that I can do this. I doubt myself a lot because I’m so new to this, and this was really reassuring because I pulled it all together, by myself. I created all this. I still can’t believe that. I’m just so happy with all of it. Now I’m off to dream up my next steps and new art pieces. I feel like the possibilities are endless.

A huge thank you to Maggie of Orange County Creatives for finding me on Etsy and inviting me to participate in the Santa Ana Art Walk in the first place. Thank you to my family for helping me set up and carry all my stuff to & from the show and inviting literally everyone they knew to come support me. Thank you to all the people who came: Chris, Liz & Alex, Hayley & her parents, Nicole & Tyler, Jared, Alexis & Victor, Lara & Zack & Lara’s parents, Victoria & Brian, Jim & his wife, Deb & her brother, LaVie, Runora, Susan & Lucy, and Sally/Brent/Andrew & Lauren.

Here are some photos from the night:

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Setting up

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business cards & postcards

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the rest of the gallery

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the rest of the gallery

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more setting up

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my dad browsing my portfolio even though he’s seen all of it haha

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my parents & my older sister (younger sister was out celebrating her birthday!)

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an old childhood friend, Hayley!

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a ready-to-pop-in-2-weeks Nicole & Tyler

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Sally & Lauren (one of my long time babysitting families) browsing my prints

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look who surprised me!!! my little Lauren. I’ve been babysitting her since she was born.

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this guy came to the gallery with 3 birds… I really don’t know why.

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me fanning a sweltering Alexis haha

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friends who bought prints! Chris, Alexis, & Lara.

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sister & her co-worker support!

Thanks for a great night :)

xo, Michelle

“33 Ways to Stay Creative”

I’m in the midst of preparing for my first art show (in 4 days!!!), so I thought I’d share something short and sweet this week.

I found this list years ago on tumblr, and I loved it so much that I have it pinned on my little cork board above my desk. I re-read it often and it helps me figure out what’s out of balance or what I can do if I feel stuck.

staycreative

Hope to see some of you at my art show Saturday! Next week I’ll share photos from it and write about how it went!

xo, Michelle