Friday, April 10, 2015

Finally, where the hell have I been? Living it up y'all, living it way, way up.

Wow, time flies when you having fun is a very true statement. Well, fun is very important to me. So is resting, taking good care of my self & spending time with my awesome friends and family.

So, let's get you all updated. What has happened since I last posted? OMG, so much. We bought a house in West Asheville, in October, 2013. We love the house so much. It's a very cutie pie 1927 bungalow. We have the best neighbors ever, and jam on the east west Asheville community so much. 

So far, we have renovated the small bath, the kitchen, added a 500+ sq ft photo studio for Meg. (more about this later).

We have visited with friends, planted a garden, pruned trees, saved heirloom bulbs (about 600+ Virginia bluebells), fixed the driveway, made new pathways and garden beds, we had an art party, found big huge quartz rocks, planted fruit trees, did a zombie float & visited with friends on the front porch some more. I think I look better blue, what do you all think? 

We found out last July that Mambo has lung cancer. He has been doing mostly pretty dang well and we are more than grateful to still have him with us. We spoil him rotten all the time and he takes great care of us. 

I have been very, very sick for the last few months. It looks like I might have chrone's disease. I honestly would be happy to know what I have so I can treat it. I gotta lotta great gardens to build, art to make and people to LOVE, so I gotta get well! Like pronto. We are working on it!

Meg has been photographing like crazy. Her work is better than ever. She is really focused on her career and of course, she made each and every house project around here happen, start and finish. She is a mad woman and can get any task accomplished. All while taking great care of me. She is amazing & I love her more every day.

Images are better than words could ever be, so see the last year or so for yourself. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Man, I am a bad, bad blogger girl!

Wow, it's been a while folks. What can I say? My life is so full, amazing and awesome, I have been too busy living to write on my blog!

I have been up to a lot since I last posted. I have designed 7 or 8 new logos. I have worked on a number of new websites and bunch of other awesome graphic design projects. One of my favorites is this new logo for All Souls Pizza. They will be opening soon in the River Arts District. It's very exciting times down there.

I am also working on a new website for Lola Salon & Gallery.  I am designing the new logo for King Daddy's Chicken & Waffle. The folks at Early Girl Eatery will be opening King Daddy's later this year.

I worked on a cool label for a product called sweet potato jerkery. Here it is. It turned out mighty cute!

Meg and I are doing great. We are about to travel back to Denver to sell our house there. We have loved our little rental in Montford. We are moving into a temporary rental in West Asheville (very near the Asheville School) when we return from Denver. It's a big space, 1000+ sq ft, so we will have most of our stuff boxed up and only unpack the super important stuff. That way we will be ready to pounce on a new house when we find her. We both know she will be ready when we are!

We are both so stoked to be home owners in Asheville again. 

We have been enjoying daily walks in Montford, weekly trips to the farmers market. I am loving rainbow (aka pink and purple) radishes, fresh lettuce, and scallions on just about everything lately. 

This is my little favorite buddy, Finny playing the wi, and ready for any darkness that might come his way!

Classic Mambo napping pose, face plant.

This is the view from our front porch in the Montford rental house. We will miss you sweet little house. You have been SO good to us.
This is my favorite nephew's band poster, as seen by me in town on a walk with Meg. All other nieces and nephews, if you want to be my favorite, move to Asheville. I will warn you, Jay really, really likes to be number 1. It will be a tough battle. 

We have been seeing our friends a lot. Our BBF and her family stayed with us for a few days recently. We had so much fun with her, her hubs and two kiddies! My buddy Remi turned 9! What fun we had at her pool party! We have been playing a lot of yathzee on the porch, and spending lots of time relaxing. Meg and I went to see our nephew Jay's band at the grey eagle. What a killer show. We even stayed out past 9 pm! It's a miracle. (that's how much we like Jay!!) 

Meg and I both have enjoying the prettiest June I can remember every living though here in A-ville. It's so dang green here. Come and visit if you don't live here. It's the most perfect month there is.

Until next time, which hopefully won't be months from now, but no promises. We gotta new home to find! Lots and lots of love from Asheville!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Balance is where it's at!

Sometimes, when I go back and read my posts on here, I realize it sounds like all I do is work (lately anyway). This is not true. Matter of fact, that couldn't be further from the truth. I do get  a lot done in the work realm. 

I love my work, but really the main squeezes of my life are two very important M's. Meg and Mambo. Each day, I spend time with Meg and Mambo. I have been walking about three miles a day. I spend time talking with friends. I write letters to my brother. I relax and watch tv. I am currently obsessed with Chicago Fire. I tuned in at first to see Lady Gaga's boyfriend, Taylor Kinney. I have straight girlfriends, who refer to it as Chicago Yum. Turn in, you will see why. Now I am totally hooked. 

I watch Project Runway Allstars. I will watch the regular season in January. I wish my Denver buddy, Jenny Taylor could watch with us! I watch my lady tigers (LSU baby) anytime they have a home game (via an online service that shows live/HD games, thank you technology). We will likely get down to Baton Rouge sometime in the spring to see a few games, live, in person and decked out in purple and gold. 

Meg and I go exploring. We talk about what we want our next house will be like. The plan is to buy a fixer upper. We would love to keep our Denver house if we can & buy a fixer upper in Asheville. We will see. We are in a lease on the rental house (location of photo below) until August 1st of 2013. We have been happy to be free of house projects for a while. I am starting to miss them. (Yes, I am CRAZY, I know).

Meg and I celebrated our 10th anniversary about six weeks ago. We spent a few days in Charleston together. It's was so much fun. We are closer than ever, happy than ever, and we can't wait for the next ten years together.
What I have learned about success is that it's great, but only if you have someone special to share it with. My Meg and Mambo are the reason I do everything I do, every day. I am so lucky, it's ridiculous. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

very, very bad blogger girl!

As you can see by the date of the last blog entry things have been beyond busy since we got back. I have been busier in the last three months than I have in my entire career. I would say I am blowing up! It's amazing! 
I unpacked us in 2 days so I could launch the new Dunleith website less than a week after arriving. The new site is a big hit. Check it out. The site is wonderful and the photography amazing. Meg and I spent 3 days making these photos last May. It was worth the work for sure. You can book online now, you can see the beautiful rooms, and you can read all about Dunleith and her historic past.
I have created a number of new logos since being back in Asheville. I am in love the new Mother Earth Produce logo. So are the clients. They are SO happy about the new look. That is my number one, main goal, happy clients!

I redesigned the website for Mother Earth Produce. The Mother Earth Produce website. I just finished up the new van graphics for Mother Earth Produce and man the van looks great!  Meg photographed the van a couple of days ago for me. I will post photos of the new look here very soon.
I am working on a logo for Lobo Builders. I had a blast working on this one. I had so many ideas. The client is still trying to decide which one is the one. Stay tuned!
I taught my first of many "How to use Facebook for business" classes in late October. The class went very well. I have a whole series of classes planned for next year, mostly the classes will be about how to use social media. The social media world is changing faster than you can say tweet! 
I am launching my "How the hell to be a foodie and be Gluten -free" blog in Feb or March of 2013. I am working on recipes, photos, and other cool content right now. 
I made over the small measure blog for my friend ashley adams english. I love the design of this blog & Ashley. She is so very awesome and an incredible friend. Ashley Adams English and her amazing blog, small measure
So as you can see 2012 was a very successful year for me, personally and for my work. 2013 is going to be a super year as it's my ten year anniversary of running my own business.  I am so lucky to be on the verge of 10 years of doing what I like everyday. I could not have done it without a lot of love and support from my wonderful clients, my amazing friends and the ultimate partner, Meg Reilley. Happy Holidays to all! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Life is sort of back to normal.

Well, normal is a pretty big stretch, seeing as I have blue hair right now,  I work in my pj's as a graphic designer everyday, and I  am a woman with a wife. That's my normal and I adore it.

Life is pretty good lately, although I have been struggling with re-entry to my long time home of Asheville. I don't find struggle to be a bad thing, more like an opportunity for growth and enlightenment. Well, most of the time I see things that way. Change does not happen without a lot of struggling for me. I don't necessary love change, but I do like it as each time I go though a big change, I am lighter, and more balanced on the other side.

Since moving back to Asheville, I am slowing down, working a little less, playing a lot more. I feel like I am getting back to my life before I left Asheville, but I am complete different.

Losing Antonio has changed me forever. Lots of people have said, I don't know what happened. It's a complex story, but let me say this. WE DID NOT GIVE UP ON ANTONIO. Antonio gave up on himself. I have learned you can't force someone to make the right choices, believe me I tried and it did not work. You have to WANT to change, even if you are 15. Antonio is 16 years old now and almost a man. I haven't spoken to him since he left. I still miss him daily. If you want to read about what happened. See this post.

If you want to know more about how we are feeling about Antonio now, check out this post.

Meg and I are both SO happy to be home in Asheville. We are so grateful to be near our friends again. We are so happy to be back to a balanced life where spending time with each other, our friends and our sweet Mambo kitty are the most important things in our life. ta - ta for now!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

home sweet home. Oh Yeah!

well, well, well, I know I promised to talk about the big news forever ago, back in July and here it is, nearly the end of August.

The big news is, Meg & I moved back to Asheville August 1st! Hooray. We are beyond happy about being home.

Don't get me wrong. Denver is a super city, but a large part of why we moved there was for Antonio to go to High School. Since that didn't work out we decided earlier this year, that we were going to rent our house in Denver out for a year and move home. We are looking forward to a year with no house projects!

We landed for the first week in Asheville in a beautiful cabin, 25 minutes north of Asheville in Fork's of Ivy. It was a magical place to re-enter our beautiful home state. It rained a ton while we were out there, and every evening was misty and beautiful. It was beyond amazing as you can clearly see in the photos. We plan to go back out soon and take photos of the inside of the cabin. The cabin got Meg and I both fired up about building what we have coined as our ultimate house.

Everyone including Mambo the cat loved the cabin. It was a quite, comfortable and relaxing place to land after packing up our life for the 2nd time in a little over a year and driving cross country. We ended up driving from Denver to Baton Rouge and back four times and back and forth to Asheville from Denver twice. Needless to say we are getting our money's worth out of the Kia Soul we bought back in early 2011.

The long term plan is to either renovate an existing house, or build a house from scratch once we sell the Denver house. Either way, the ultimate house will have loads of victorian influences, reclaimed wood/materials and other old, cool stuff included.

We are in a rental house that is a little cutie bungalow in Montford. We have been in the new house for two weeks today. We are loving it. The house sits near a bunch of quite woods and it feels like you on the side of a remote mountain but really you are about 2 minutes from downtown. It's perfect for us!

We were welcomed back by our friends with such enthusiasm. We are very happy to be so loved. Our peeps really missed us and we missed them too!

We are spending loads of time with those awesome friends of ours & settling in to the new house in addition to working of course. I am still swamped with work which is awesome and amazing. I am so very grateful for my wonderful clients.

I am curious who can guess which photos I took (with photo booth on my macbook pro) and which photos Meg took. Clearly, she is the professional.

Alright peeps. I am back to being settled and back to blogging way more often. Have an awesome evening!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What I am diggin' on this week. Gratitude...

I am very inspired lately. The sky seems bluer, the trees greener and life brighter than it has looked in a long time. Things are very good for me. I have a great wife, Meg. She amazes me every day with her constant effort to grow stronger, braver, and more awesome. I still have sweet Mambo the cat, after 15 years of snuggle time! I love my work and I have some super duper clients right now. My work has never been better. It's amazing to think about the difference a year can make.

 In a couple of weeks, Antonio will have been gone for a year. It's hard to believe I saw him so often before that. I miss talking to him a lot. There are so many things I wish I had said. I haven't spoken to him since he left, other than a couple of short facebook messages. He stopped responding to me about 6 months ago. I am not surprised. I vowed never to support him making (what I consider) bad choices & I am sticking to my guns. I likely will never make such bold NEVER statements again. I am 38 and still learning these things.

Losing him was so difficult, but necessary. One of Meg's sisters described trying to help him as fighting gravity. Wow, that was right on the money, that statement. Thank you Babs! We needed someone to give words to how it felt to work so hard and still lose him. Meg and I had to evaluate everything we deemed important in our lives after he left. I enjoyed being Antonio's mom. I don't want to be anybody else's mom.

We both believe that service work is the key to having a full spiritual life. It has been tough being without that for the last year. I am still not ready to take on any other service work right now.

The skinny about what happened is Antonio doesn't understand the value of telling the truth. Basically, after he arrived in Denver, all of his stories fell apart. It was heartbreaking. It still stings a year later.  I am still hurt that he was SO dishonest with me so often. I had a false sense of what I had control over and what I didn't.

I miss this little guy. I miss the guy I thought he was. I miss being his mom, but I am happier now than I have ever been. It's just different than what I thought it was going to be like.

The five years I worked with Antonio taught me so much, but the best and most impactful thing was not to speak on an issue unless you personally have experienced said issue. I thought I knew what growing up in poverty in asheville was like. I didn't until I worked with Antonio. I thought I had great ideas about how to impact young black men before I worked with Antonio. My ideas to help him could not over come his background. I thought I had ideas about welfare and what purpose it served. My ideas about poverty and welfare have changed completely. I don't have any big answers, but I do have a clear image of the problems. The problems that exist in Antonio's world are vast.

I guess thats how life goes sometimes.  You live, you learn. 

I pray Antonio makes it to adulthood, relatively safe and sound. I pray that someday there won't be a hole in my heart where our relationship used to be. Time will tell. In the meantime I plan on focusing on every wonderful & amazing thing I have to be grateful for.... like all my great friends, my amazing family, my wonderful partner Meg, my most awesome of all cats, Mambo, and my wonderful life. I will let the universe work out everything else in it's own time.