I'm Obsessed: Crazy Awesome Cakes, or Why I'm Moving to Australia.

If I love anything, it's CAKE.  Seriously, so much cake....

I have an entire pinboard devoted to JUST cake. 

They're just so beautiful and have so much potential for cool artsyness....and they're delicious!

....and now all of a sudden all these outrageous cakes are showing up in my life and I need every single one of them!  

I follow these marvelous bakeries on the INSTA (all links are listed below) and I seriously ogle all the creations that come out of these magical places.  They're like the Disneylands of cake design! They're like if a unicorn and cake had a baby!  For some reason (that remains unknown to me and I can only hypothesize that Australia is just way more awesome), practically ALL the bakeries are in the Land of Oz!  Which stinks, because that means they're difficult for me to visit!  Come on, America! Get your act together! 

In the meantime, while I wait for the U.S. to catch up and provide me with some equally amazing cake-porn, I'll continue hungrily following these gems and daydreaming about all the parties and soirées and birthdays I would pair these cakes with!

Heaven must look a lot like those bakeries.....!   :D


Speaking of crazy awesome...

This week I learned that there's a word that roughly equates to "reveling in another's joy".  It's called Mudita

14 of the U.S.'s most spectacular libraries

A scientific look into the creative gifts of ADHD . More sciencey/creative stuff.

A shark that loves being petted?! 

Hey, It's National Letter-Writing Month!

Oy! It's almost halfway through April and I totally forgot, it's National Letter-Writing Month! :D

Even though I'm a little behind, I'm jumpin' on the bandwagon and setting myself a goal to write letters for the rest of the month!  I challenge you to take time this month to promote joy, creativity, expression, and connection through hand-written correspondence.  Give it a try!  You can write to family, friends, your favorite celebrities (cough, Jonathan Taylor Thomas), businesses you love… anyone you so desire.  If writing 30 letters seems intimidating, just write as many as you can (because let's get real, you're only human)!

*Here are some reasons to write. I'd love to hear what else you come up with!

Bonus! Since it's a special month, all cards and stationery goods are 10% off over on my etsy shop!  Just enter code APRIL10 and send those cards to your heart's content!  BOOM. 

Worth A Thousand Words

Jesse Pollock, founder of Unpiano Books, was merely scraping the surface of Arthur Pollock's oeuvre when he decided to publish a collection of his father's pictures in 2011. Arthur spent many years traveling around New England and the Midwest as a news photographer, and currently works as a photo editor at the Boston Herald. The book features 200 images from an archive of more than 10,000, taken over Arthur's 30+ year career. 

I stared at this particular picture for a loooooong time.  Then I scrolled through the rest of the collection.  Then I came back to this one.  There is just so much in this image that I simply adore.  I adore the men's expressions.  I adore the peaceful coexistence of these two humans sharing a moment over coffee.  I love that this could have been caught during a lull in a conversation, during small talk over the weather, or even just interrupting a quiet moment.  I love the subway tile in the old donut shop and the retro diner feel.... I found the whole scene reminiscent of the images of segregated eateries, but delightfully friendly and peaceful for a change!  

Abe’s Donut Shop - Syracuse, 1975.

Abe’s Donut Shop - Syracuse, 1975.

(All photos:  © Arthur Pollock)

Of course, there is a chance I'm totally misreading it, but isn't art meant for personal interpretation?! 

Are there any pictures that you can't get enough of?  What stirs your inner feels?? 

101 Things I Love

Since it's the Tuesday back after a long weekend away, I've been trying to continue to embrace that happy 'long weekend' feeling by doing some personal reflection.

I recently happened upon a video by Kyle Cease called, "Why People's Opinions of You Are Not Real."

One particular quote stood out to me: "You are what you love and not what loves you."


So today, I sat down to reflect on what I love...

I realized that I've never really considered the impact of this "Culture of Validation" on my own self-worth.  In our virtual world of "liking", "heart-ing", and "retweeting", it is really easy to get swept up in caring too much about how people respond to us - to who "likes" us.

But you are what you love, not who loves you.  It's great to be loved, but it's not what makes you truly unique.  So I decided that I'd write a list of some of the things I love.  Some of them make me unique and amazing.  Some make me the ultimate basic you-know-what.  But altogether they make me who I am.

And it was easy.  I just let things flow.  I didn't try to make it "meaningful" or cool.  I just wrote.

Right now, in this moment, you love SO MUCH.  Really. Just think about it.  Make a list like I did. Admire how beautiful your world is.  Then admire how kickass and awesome you are for loving this random collection of things -- the things that make you, YOU. These things that inspire you, light you up with passion and make you feel all warm and cozy or excited and exhilarated.

These loves are unique to you. Like a soul fingerprint.

You are what you love. And not what loves you.

101 Things I Love (in no particular order!)

1. My sister.
2. My cats.
3. Seannakin.
4. My friends and family, near and far.
5. Rainy days.
6. Skiing.
7. Fresh sheets.
8. Bistro lights.
9. Weekend brunch.  
10. Fresh fruit. Figs. Watermelon.
11. Lille's little pink toes.
12. Belting out show tunes and Disney songs on long car rides.
13. Getting lost in a book.
14. Getting lost in a bookSTORE.
15. The movie Cool Runnings.
16. Tea.

17. Peonies.
18. Colorado. Bloomington. Kyoto. Skudeneshavn. Maui. Puerto Vallarta. Suzhou.
19. Walks in the woods or among wildflowers.
20. Contagious laughs.
21. Latte art.
22. Watching Oscar play in the plants.
23. The flavor of food fresh from the garden. Tomatoes still warm from the sun.
24. Honey Sticks.
25. Animals. Every single one of 'em.
26. Travel.
27. A good pair of jeans.
28. Boy Meets World.
29. Art museums. Bonus if it's with my mom.
30. The county fair.  Funnel Cakes.  Lemon shake-ups.  Corn dogs. 
31. Watching loved ones open gifts.
32. Disneyland. Disney World. Epcot. Anything Disney. Happy people. DOLE Whip. The Castle.
33. Trying new foods and new restaurants.
34. When my friends or readers leave me sweet comments on my blog. Or other places online.
35. Oslo at midsommar.

36. Farmer's Markets!
37. Apple picking.
38. Spiced cider. Cider donuts. Hot cocoa with marshmallows. 
39. Nubby sweaters.
40. Adding weight at the gym and feeling stronger.
41. Long weekends.
42. Nights that are warm enough to have the windows open but cool enough to need an extra blanket.
43. Falling asleep wedged between all three of my furry family members: Sean on one side, Oscar against my other side, and Lille at my head.
44. Mountains.
45. Hiking. Fresh air. Moving my muscles outdoors.
46. Coffee shops. Bakeries.
47. Days where I have time to sit down with my paint and really get into a good state of flow, being able to just work for hours in my own weird artsy zone.
48. When Sean gets home after a long work day and we sit on the balcony with a glass of wine and talk and enjoy each other's company.
49. Any movie with Tom Hanks.  Or Eddie Redmayne.  Or Seth Rogen.  Or Will Farrell. 
50. Really dumb humor.
51. The sound of cicadas humming. Fireflies. Warm summer nights and after-dinner bonfires.
52. Camping. Waking up after others are up and hearing them walking around the crunchy campsite.  Camp breakfasts. 
53. Chris Pratt as Andy in Parks and Rec. 
54. When someone I don't know buys my art!
55. Comfort food. Grilled Cheese with tomato soup. Shrimp n' Grits. Pie. Hot Dogs at a baseball game. Frozen Yogurt.
56. A cloudless sky.
57. Sunflowers.
58. Grey walls.
59. Gorgeous or unique doors.

60. Tropical drinks with tiny paper umbrellas. Mojitos. Caipirinhas. 
61. When someone is kind enough to make me my own onion-free version of whatever every one else is eating.  SUPER BONUS LOVE.
62. Being far enough away from any roads to hear absolutely. No. Traffic. 
63. Anything that reminds me of pop culture from the 90's. JTT. LISA FRANK BEEOTCH.
64. Christmas. Christmas cookies.  Christmas movies.
65. Fondling soft yarn and fabrics.
66. Rose gold. 
67. Cake.
68. Orchids.
69. S'mores.
70. Gooseberry jam on toasted bread.
71. Pierogis. Sauerkraut. Beets in sweet vinegar.
72. My bed. A fluffy comforter and pillows. Soft buttery sheets. Being able to make it all into a cozy little nest.
73. When Anthony and I were jet-lagged in Hawaii and wandered around the streets and the beach in the middle of the night and felt like we had Waikiki all to ourselves. 
74. Making lists.
75. Bubble baths with salt and essential oils in a tub that I don't have to clean beforehand.
76. A fireplace.  A wrap-around porch.
77. Fixer Upper. HGTV.
78. NPR.  NOVA.
79. Cephalopods.
80. Graham's in Geneva. 
81. When Lille has a stuffed mouse in her mouth and wanders the house with it making her weird, haunting "I killed a mouse" sound. 
82. Cinematic analyses. 
83. Admiring travel and nature photography on Insta
84.  Free art supplies.
85. The Chicago Lit Fest.
86.  Rogue taxidermy....okay maybe not LOVE. but appreciate.
87. Artsy tattoos.
88. Margaritas.
89.  Swedish and Norwegian Hip Hop and Rock. 
90. Lawson's convenience stores in Japan.

91. Setting a spider or bug free rather than smashing it.
92. Knowing I have friends who "get" me. And I get them. And we are support systems for each other no matter what.
93. Home decorating.  Trips to Target.
94. Pretty old farms.
95. Getting packages in the mail. 
96.  Old fashioned candy.
97.  A cat on my lap.
98.  Sweet kisses from my bunny. 
99. Someone bringing me breakfast or coffee :)
100. Donuts.
101. Lounging in or by a pool.

Okay I guess technically that's more than 101....but too stinkin' bad!

Please share YOUR amazing "loves" in the comments. Even one or two of them. The first things that pop into your head! I would love to see them, no pun intended. ;)

Head in the Clouds

How joyful is this installment?! 

Take a peek inside London’s Covent Garden where French artist and photographer Charles Pétillion has recently unveiled a cumulus cloud composed of 100,000 white balloons.  Illuminated from within and titled ‘Heartbeat,’ the installation was created as part of the upcoming London Design Festival.  The cloud is massive --it stretches the length of the South Hall ceiling of the Market Building!  Pétillion is known for his use of white balloons to fill unusual spaces, a photographic series he refers to as Invasions (personally, I feel the name invokes aggression, which seems to juxtapose the sweet airiness of the balloons themselves!). This is by far his largest installation to date and his first official public art piece.  

What do you think about 'Heartbeat' and 'Invasions'? 

You can read more about Charles Pétillion's art over at DesignBoom (where I swiped all these images from!).