Creativity Corner: Shinedown Word Art

So. I’m hoping to create more this year (don’t I say that every year??), but so far, so good for the month!

I did doodle a bit in my sketchbook for the first time in ages, but I wanted to do something a bit more substantial, so I decided to do some word art for B. We’ve been talking about painting random song lyrics for the longest time, so I finally said, “screw it!” and asked him for some Shinedown lyrics and then a color theme.

This is the result:

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I only apparently had large canvases around (that I could find at the time, at least). He wanted warm colors, so I did a loose play on a sunset/sunrise. I added a metallic Shinedown logo (sort of visible in the dead center) and then washed over it to make it super subtle. Finally, the lyrics from “How Did You Love” that B texted me.

I still need to get a lot better with painting words/doing word art, but he’s super happy with the end result, so I’ll take it!

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January Date Night

One of the things B and I are trying to do this year is an established monthly date night. Not the, “oh, well, we’re out and about so date day!” type of things we usually do. Actually planned, actually dressed up, not on our phones, etc.

For January, we started off super basic with your classic date – dinner and a movie. Which, amusingly enough, I’ve never actually done. My first boyfriend took me to a movie on our first date (and mini-golfing), but he didn’t feed me. In hind sight, that simple fact makes me wonder why I kept dating him …

In any case, for the movie, we went to see “Hidden Figures”. We had both heard wonderful things about the film (and I’d seen interesting fun facts regarding the women it’s about in Tumblr posts on Pinterest), and as there isn’t much else* out that we would want to go see (“Moana” again not included), it became our choice.

There were a few things in the movie that were a bit predictable, but it was a great, well-told story nonetheless. And shit, I can’t even get close to math like that.

We did the movie first (backward life) solely so we could eat popcorn. Small, early lunch so we were hungry enough for the popcorn to pretty much destroy the bag during the previews. With our dinner reservations an hour after the movie, we were still plenty hungry to eat dinner.

Dinner was at an old, but trusty standby, in Benihana. Always delicious, but a bit too pricey for a random dinner, so it was a perfect choice for dinner. We both had a drink (B a Blue Moon and me a Pinot Noir), split a Shrimp Lovers Roll, and each got the Splash ‘N Meadow (steak and shrimp) dinner.

We’re not yet sure what February’s date night will be yet, but March’s is booked for the end of Denver Restaurant Week.

* Well, except “Patriot’s Day,” but we’re trying to decide if the Boston Marathon bombings are still too raw for us to be able to get through the film. I couldn’t make it through the trailers without crying and I don’t want to sob the whole film. We’ll probably still see it, though, but at the first showing of the day. Maybe.

On Washed Ashore

The Denver Zoo recently had a traveling exhibit called “Washed Ashore – Art to Save the Sea.” I had seen the banners for it while driving and we finally got the chance to go about three days before it ended its residency.

From their website: “Washed Ashore builds and exhibits aesthetically powerful art to educate a global audience about plastic pollution in oceans and waterways and spark positive changes in consumer habits.”

The pieces? Are stunning. I took photos of almost every piece at the zoo (missed one behind glass) and I’ve included my favorites here.

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I adore this marlin.

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The jellyfish in the background is almost all entirely water bottles. Insane.

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Gorgeous parrotfish.

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Close-up. The artistry that went into these is amazing.

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Shark.

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Shark close-up.

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Turtle out of cans.

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Salmon.

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American sea star. In USA colors to bring attention to firework debris.

As I said, the exhibit is no longer in Denver, but they currently also have pieces in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (which might be permanent?). They are also coming soon to the Science Museum of Virginia (Richmond, Va.), Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (Tacoma, Wash.), and Reiman Gardens (Ames, Ia.).

On 2017

Over at my triathlon blog, I’ve listed my main 2017 goal as to learn to enjoy the journey.

While good life advice, in this context, I mean it as enjoy the day-to-day life of training. The swim, bike, run, lift, yoga, snowshoe, skate, hike, whatever, all of the little things that make me a (better) athlete. I’ve met a lot of people who like training, but dislike racing. Me? I love racing, but it’s the in between that gets me. Hopefully not this year.

My plan on combating this is to get into the general routine of working out, make it a part of my daily life … and then hopefully I’ll be in the midst of it and realize that I love it.

As for life in general, I’m still working on becoming my best self. I realize I work best when I have direction to my days and a set plan. So, for this year, I bought two fun new planners (side note: when the heck did planners get so damned expensive???) and have planned out my life.

January’s workouts? All planned. February’s? Sketched out, and will be officially planned soon. I’ll sketch March’s plan out as soon as I finalize the details of February.

I came up with a daily task list (things I need to do daily) as well as separate task lists for every day of the week. The daily list contains things spanning from “make bed” to “check laundry” and “upload photos.” Things that can be obvious, yes, but often get neglected. The days-of-week lists include blogs I need to write (in here, Tuesdays and Thursdays!) and parts of the house that need cleaning (I get so behind on dusting, for example, that it’s terrible).

The tasks can get changed/not done if, say, I’m out of town, but a lot of it is just establishing the routines. I’m over halfway done with this month and I feel like it’s been going really well. I feel much more productive than normal, more organized. Happily, I feel as though my house is even cleaner (and with more square footage, this is a very good thing).

I’m also food planning a good week to two weeks out, to make the “what’s for dinner/lunch” question a lot easier. Want to know what food is? Check the calendar! Hopefully this will help us keep our weight in a bit better check as well as save some money.

I’ve also got some hopes of creating a bit more (as always), but this time I’m actually planning it. I had a create day on Monday, and I broke out one of my old sketchbooks for the first time in about five years. I have a creative muscle that is sorely underused, but I’m hoping if, like my biceps and quads, that if I just exercise it, it’ll come back as well.

2016: Year in Review

Apparently I never did a goals post for 2016, but that’s okay; I don’t need to recap any of those (partially because I can’t find my list of the ones I think I made anyway).

In general, though, 2016 was a good year for my husband and I.

– This year meant travel. Southern California, Boston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Tucson, Atlanta, Minnesota, Phoenix, all around the South.

– I gained a nephew.
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John Xavier, a.k.a. Jax.

– I raced one IRONMAN, and almost finished another.

– I sewed two teeny tiny stuffed animals.

– B got hired by a major airline FINALLY, which means that, if I so choose, the end of my coffee career is in sight.

– I gained weight.

– I attended two weddings; a cousin’s, and my dear friend Norm’s.
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Love this version of a guest book.

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Norm and Emily.

– I saw “Phantom” again, for the first time in almost 20 years.

– I saw my first movie in theaters since “The Dark Knight Rises” – “Moana.” (Which is awesome. You should go see it.)

– This year meant concerts. Shinedown (twice), Apocalyptica, Sonata Arctica, Disturbed.

All in all, that adds up to being a pretty darn good year (except the whole gaining weight thing).

Fourth Quarter Style: 2016

I was good about getting outfits curated in October (kind of) … and then fell off. Hey, story of my life. Also as per usual, three outfits to share. Go figure.

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Worn … somewhere.
Scarf: Target
Blazer: American Eagle Outfitters
Jeans: Seven for All Mankind
Boots: JustFab Online

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Worn, amusingly enough, the day after the previous outfit. What, two cute looks in a row?
Scarf: Target
Sweater: Ann Taylor Loft
Cords: Banana Republic
Boots: JustFab Online

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So, I’m addicted to this blanket scarf …
Scarf: Target
Sweater: Ann Taylor Loft
Jeans: Seven for All Mankind
Boots: JustFab Online

Holidays, 2016

Not including Thanksgiving.

We kicked off our holiday season with a brunch at our house. Everyone does cocktail parties, so why not switch it up and do a brunch, right?

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Desserts.

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Muffins and lunch stuff.

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Bacon and nog toast. Egg nog french toast – only way to consume egg nog. Trust me on this one.

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Drinks. Plus we had coffee.

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Brandon’s corner (that is, the stuff he made).

This kind of ended up being an epic disaster, with people RSVPing and then not showing up and … terrible. We’re never hosting anything again.

In our continued adulting quest, we finally gave in and got a membership to the Denver Botanic Gardens (partially because they have a reciprocity program as well!). With this membership, we got free tickets to both Blossoms of Lights (at the main York location) and to the Trail of Lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms. So, off we went to both.

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Blossoms of Light.

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Blossoms of Light.

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Blossoms of Light.

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Trail of Lights.

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Trail of Lights.

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Trail of Lights.

Brandon had to work, but I was able to make the traditional Christmas Eve dinner with my family.

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Trees and presents.

It went about as well as you’d expect holidays with the family to go. My brother put me down, parents mocked me, I hid, I found time to hang out with my niece and nephew, the usual.

I did fly out to Portland on Christmas Day to hang out with B, though, which was nice. The disaster that was getting back home (woo, non-rev travel …), was not.

But I did get to hang out in B’s “office” before he left for NYC on the 26th (well before the flight I was in theory going to take left).

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Pilot wife life.

Quiet New Year’s in bed, and I am happy the holidays are over.