Saturday, December 31, 2011

hello 2012, nice to meet ya!

Wow, 2011 was quite a year. We decided to leave my home of 15 years, Asheville. I spoke in front of over 300 people. I helped organize a my first fundraiser with a lot of help from Meg & Leslie! Good work ladies!  We put our Asheville house on the market and it sold in TWO DAYS!! We sold the only place I ever felt totally safe, our Broad Street house.  We bought a new house in West Washington Park in Denver, CO. I drove a 28 foot truck from Asheville, NC to Denver, CO.  We moved to Denver less than six weeks after we put our house on the market in Asheville. I gained a son, Antonio, then we lost him. Heartbroken is the only word I can think to describe what this was like. We are still healing from this.

Things have been up and down since Antonio left. We miss him. He misses us. He could use any prayers or good thoughts if you have any to spare, so could we. Even with the tough times, there have been some really good times.

Meg & I love our house and neighborhood. Everything you could want to do is close by. We live just minutes from downtown Denver. We hit up the local goodwill pretty often. We found a new mexican place, called El Diablo, a couple of weeks ago. Amazing tacos! We saw our first Denver Nuggets game a few nights ago. AMAZING!! The Nuggets are really looking good this year. We had such a great time.

We are starting to make friends. We attended a Christmas party that was mostly southerns! We had a blast. We both miss the south, because let's face it, there it no place like home.

I gained an amazing friend & room mate. I don't know how we scored Justin, but if you have ever heard my talk about him, I know we are super lucky to have him. He is a handy man, figureouter of all stuff, & a major rescuer extraordinaire.

Mambo the cat is still in love with Denver. I attribute his happiness to two things. One he is having a bromance with Justin. They are such good buddies. It's so cute. Also, the cat to human ratio is perfect for Mambo. 3:1, cat perfection!

To start off 2012, we are doing some house renovating. By we, I mean Justin, of course! We are re-doing the hard woods we found under world's ugliest, cheap tile. (thanks to Brittany & Tate for checking to see if they were there, we had no idea!) We are getting a new renovated bathroom in January... complete with a claw foot tub, nice octagon white tile, bead board with a chair rail and a few other awesome vintage surprises. I will do a nice before (ugly shell sink and other ugly stuff) and after shot! We are pumped up to rid ourselves of the 80's shell sink that is there right now.

We have a number of road trips planned for 2012.

The first one is in late January. We plan to drive cross country back to Asheville, with stops in St. Louis, & Nashville. Then's is off to Charleston, SC to see the cutest kids in the world, Finn and Addie & spend time with world's best friend ever, Hilary!!! Then we will hit the road again to Baton Rouge. Then back to Denver. We will have little stops along the way and we will photograph our travels as usual. I love to blog when we travel, so I can remember what the hell we did and what fun we had!!

My plan to blog about what inspires me this past year was really fun. Overall, I was the most inspired by simple things. Hope, change, peace, love. I plan on continuing the inspiration blog posts, along with travels posts and whatever else I feel like talking about.
I learned a lot this year and I am sure that 2012 has big plans for me, just like I have for 2012.

Happy New Year Folks. Let's make the most of it!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bad Blogger Girl!

I have been a bad blogger girl. I am hopeful that Santa does not read my blog. If he does, I am in big trouble. I always look forward to Christmas. I have a number of vintage christmas decorations, I look forward to pulling out of the boxes each year. See the nice view from my desk below.

Christmas is one of the few breaks I take each year. Taking a break to spend time with family and friends is very inspiring to me. I had an old friend lose his life partner in a tragic accident last weekend. Life is short! Work will always be there to be done, but someone you love may not.

As you all have surely noticed I have been neglecting my blog lately. I am super busy with graphic design projects. I have been working on two custom greetings cards, that I produce each year... in addition to my already full work load. I am in the midst of four logos, three websites, a catalog and a few other odds and ends.

Lately, (for the last year or so) I have been obsessing over Victorian everything. Advertising architecture, fashion, industrial design, even christmas ornaments. You name it, if it's Victorian, I am into it. I am working on a logo right now for a historic inn (see above), that was built in 1856. I have been doing research and working on the logo for over two weeks and I still have so many ideas!!

I wanted to show you guys a few of the images I found (mostly out of a couple of library books) that inspire me design wise. I am loving banners and how in victorian times, no type was on a straight line. Everything that was type had a curve it somewhere. Also, everything was designed to KEEP, not throw away. Interesting how times have changed, isn't it? I am more on the designed to keep side of that story.

The photo is of some vintage match book labels. I am amazed at how cool these are.

Alright, back to work. Hopefully, this post (along with a couple more before the holidays) will put me back in good graces with the big man at the North Pole!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

purple & gold inspires me, like a lot.

Because I am an LSU super fan. Because purple and gold are awesome colors and happen to be my favorite colors all space in time. I know, I know, I am from North Carolina. Don't get me wrong, I adore my tarheels and carolina blue is a beautiful site for sure. I got into LSU women's basketball about 7 years ago, when Meg took me to my first game. I have been hooked ever since. We were at the first game of the new season last night in Baton Rouge.

Of course we always dress up for every game and this one was no different. The girls looked amazing. We LOVE the new coach, Nikki Caldwell. She does not mess around.
I could tell they everyone has been working super hard. The lady tigers beat Xavier 102-42. I like that score a lot, a whole hell of a lot. It's going to be a great season! We plan on getting to as many games as we can even living so far away. Southwest direct from Denver to New Orleans rules!

You can pretty much get anything you can imagine in purple and gold LSU versions, even tater chips. You can get who dat ones too. Someone would sell purple and gold air if that were an option. I would buy it if they did!

There is sort of an important game going on this Saturday, so the peeps down here are pretty fired up. (#1 LSU plays, #2 ranked Alabama, in football, if you live under a rock or if you just hate sports) We will be at a wedding Saturday evening, but I am sure we will find a way to see some of the game.... and we will be watching the whole game on Sunday!! GEAUX TIGERS!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

fall winter wonder land (or for fun you can say Finter Wonderland!)

Snow days inspire me, possible more than anything else. I have loved snow since forever. Snow makes even the ugliest of things beautiful. What else can you think of that has that sort of power?

We got about 6 inches of snow today in Denver. Fall was just getting rolling here, so snow with fall leaves under it is pretty cool. I think it made for one of the prettiest snow days ever.

Well, the photos say way more than I ever could. I am super stoked I moved to Denver today. Bring on more snow!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

homegrown inspiration.

I have always been into my house, our home. I have worked out of my house for the past eight years. Originally, when we moved to Denver, I thought I would be working a full time job, but things have changed. See earlier posts, for an explanation, I am talked out about the situation & the Antonio subject still makes me sad. I am back to running my own freelance graphic design company from home & business is great!

I have always been inspired by my living space, it has to feel like home!

So, since I am around the house all day, we have started a few more projects around here. I have always had a pioneering spirit. I have always been able to make a lot out of what ever I have laying around. It started as a kid. I would build entire towns for my matchbox cars out of spare car parts, wood scraps (one of my grandfathers was a mechanic, the other a carpenter, so go figure, their scraps made for great stuff to make things out of), trash, moss, sticks, rocks and whatever else I could find. I used a piece of asbostos sliding as a scraper to build roads for my matchbox towns. I am sure that was super safe and really great for my long term health. It was was super for my creative health anyway, and that is what is important to this blog post.

I built many things at our old house on Broad Street out of free, found stuff. Our fence was made out of hotel doors. Literally, hotel doors from the Princess Anne Hotel around the corner. I built a wall out of a bunch of wild cherry tree logs that were the result of said wild cherry tree having to be cut down. I used bricks I found in an abandoned lot across the street to make a flower bed border. Our broad street house looked pretty sweet after 8 years of hard work and love!

So, of course when we bought our new house in Denver, I was taking stock of anything laying around that I might use for potential projects. We looked at many different houses, on two different housing buying trips to Denver. Each time we pulled up, I was wondering, is there anything laying around I could use to sweeten up the new pad? The Pearl Street house won on many different levels as the one, but a lot of it for me was the potential. She is basically a blank slate, other than the two amazing pine trees, a fenced in huge back yard, a sweet front porch, and a killer deck, that we hang out on all the time. The Pearl Street house has many left-overs from previous renters/owners. There are piles of rocks, tons of wood (shoved in the open rafters of the garage), loads of flagstone patches around the deck. I had been eyeing the rocks since day one for a project. The front yard was almost completely weeds. I should have done a before photo, but I never can bring myself to look at the ugly version of projects! Our sweet handy man Justin (see photos for G. I. Joe look alike) laid down landscaping fabric and dug around the edges of said weed patch, then carried all the many miscellaneous rocks into the front yard, and proceeded to help me arrange them for another 2 hours, after he had been working on the yard for the past 6 hours. He is pretty awesome. We mention quite often, we don't know what we did to deserve such a handy fellow around all the time, but we are incredibly grateful daily for him.

We had mulch delivered a few days later and wow, what a difference a little mulch & lots of GI Joe man power can make around a place! I know, finally, photos of the house, on the blog. Miracles really do happen!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Back to my inspiration blogs.

I am excited to say things are going really well for us. The Denver do over could not be going better. I am grateful everyday I wake up in Denver. I know it's the right place for us.

So, back to life, back to what is important to me. Inspiration. As a creative person, I am always searching for new music, new curtains, new colors, new typefaces, new anything that I think is pretty or gives me that happy feeling.

Lately, I am inspired by simple things.... today it was homemade ceasar salad with a gluten free pizza. We used tomatoes and basil grown here in Colorado, near or in the city! I was surprised to see tomatoes still looking great and in season. I picked them up at the South Pearl Street Farmers Market on Sunday. Hello, can you say new Sunday tradition. Loved it!

I am inspired by cool, crisp Colorado evenings. We took a bike ride this evening, and I was actually cold! It was awesome.

I am inspired by the new Burton Catalog I got in the mail. I want everything in there!

I am inspired by regular days, that are spent working, making lunch, petting the cat, and spending time with my awesome partner in crime, Meg.

Last but not least, today I am inspired by change. The last year of my life has been all about change. Making changes is not easy, but hey, anything that is awesome enough to be worth doing is not easy.

So here's to a new house, in a new city, with new friends.... Denver you are starting to feel like home and I know we are going get along just fine.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Four Day Weekend!

Four day weekends are my favorite kind of weekends. Meg & I have our first out of town guest in Denver this weekend, our awesome niece Lalu! With everything we have had going on the past few weeks at first we weren't sure about having company... as Lalu is the first of many guests this fall. But after thinking it over, having a guest is a nice break from everyday life & hey we could use a staycation!

The weekend started with a trip out to Red Rocks Amphitheatre to see Alison Krauss & Union Station. The weather was cool & cloudy. We arrived early (after walking up about 7000 steps) & really enjoy the view before the big crowd arrived. There were thunder storms in the distance most of the evening and a huge rainbow. I took that as a sign for a very good weekend ahead. Boy, was I right about a good weekend!! The show was amazing & so was the four day weekend.

Saturday, we got all dressed up in LSU gear and rode our bikes down the cherry creek parkway to REI to do a little shopping, then we had a little Mellow Mushroom lunch. Then it was back to our house to watch the LSU vs. Oregon game. There is a bar in town that is the official LSU club bar, but for such an important game, I wanted to be home where I could focus on the game. I do plan on joining the club for a less important game in the very near future.

Sunday started off perfectly, with breakfast at Snooze!! The wait can be over an hour at times. If you are in Denver, ever, you must have breakfast at Snooze. YUM!!! Then we took off and drove over to the Indian Peaks Wilderness outside of Boulder, CO. The drive goes through tiny Ward, CO. It's only about an 1 1/2 from the heart of Denver, so if you are ever around there, this is the place to go in nature, period without a doubt. We hiked for a couple of miles on the Lake Michigan trail. It was beyond amazing. There is still some snow up there if you can believe that. There is a glacier you can hike too but it's a 7 hour (round trip) hike & that was a little out of our range at the moment. When I say out of our range, I mean me and Meg, not Lauren. She could handle a 7 hour hike no problem!! I waded around in the little lake and almost froze my feet off. I only lasted about 90 seconds and I don't even mind cold water, but this was serious. We drove back into Boulder, had a fancy coffee drink & drove around Boulder a little so Lauren could check it out.

With a nice coffee in hand, it was back to Denver, for a dinner of grilled BBQ (Carolina style) chicken, roasted brussel sprouts and taters! Then we rode downtown and stumbled upon the taste of Colorado. It's was sort of like bele chere but bigger & with a gourmet food section. I think Bele Chere needs a gourmet food section, don't y'all?? We finished up the night at sweet action ice cream near our house. Again, YUM!

Monday was a chill day, Lauren went on a bike ride in Washington Park & we took a little walk before we had to drop her off at the airport.

Overall, it was a great weekend. We loved having Lauren around and we enjoyed getting to know our fine city.

I am off to pack for a trip to Asheville. We will be there this weekend to photograph a wedding and see the many friends we did not have time to say a proper good bye to in June. We are both still having good days and rough days, but we know that we are where we are supposed to be and trust that everything happens like it is supposed to, when it is supposed to. Keep those positive thoughts rolling our way. thanks for all the love and support!

Until next time folks!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Denver do over!

Each day is getting a little easier for both me and for Meg. We are so blessed to have so many friends and family who are there for us during such a difficult period for us.

It is amazing that when I am down, what a dang difference it makes for me to clean & rearrange the house. We have been in the new house since June, but it's almost like I have only been here for the last week. I cleaned everything, moped the floor and rearranged a bunch of furniture.

Meg & I put up some new curtains in our living room over the weekend. I am officially in love with window treatments. It amazes what a difference nice curtains can make.

We are trying to get out in nature as much as possible. We hiked along clear creek in Golden, CO this weekend. The hike was an easy one, but along a killer little, fast moving, freezing creek. Loads of people were tubing down it and it was quite entertaining to watch. I love how people holler out when they go over a rough patch, like Woooooo! It's a universal reaction that I never get sick of hearing. Tubing is a very unrated activity. We also happened upon a USA Pro Cycling Challenge pre party festival. There was a pizza food truck with a gluten free option. Have I mentioned that living in Colorado makes it much easier to eat gluten free? Well, it does and it's rocking my world to have so many options everywhere we go. There was even a gluten free stand at the Colorado Rockies game that even included gluten free beer. Sweet!!

We were in awesome Boulder yesterday. We already have our favorite Boulder tradition. We hit up the Village Coffee Shop for breakfast anytime of day. Breakfast is my favorite meal. I had a veggie omelet, hashbrowns, bacon and gluten free toast, YUM. Meg had monstrous stack of gluten free blueberry pancakes. Then I had a lovely business meeting, then it was off to Chautauqua Park in west boulder where we walked along the Mesa trail. What a beautiful place.

This morning when I got up it was 60 degrees. The last couple of days have been slightly cooler. I am very excited for it to be fall. This summer has been hot, super hot & our new house does not have central air. We will get be installing central air before next summer I promise. Until then bring on cool, crispy fall please!

Alright, I am off to make breakfast and get ready for a hike to O'Fallon Park with my favorite Meggie.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hard Times.

I have tried to pull a post together three times in the last week and each time I trash the draft. I haven't known what to say. Antonio decided to go back to Asheville two weeks ago. Out of respect for his privacy, I won't go into the details, but things were not going well for him in Denver. The time he spent here had a few moments of peace but mostly things were chaotic and difficult for everyone. Meg & I had hoped things would improve, but they continued to decline from day one. I never saw the boy I signed up to help in Denver. It's like someone else came to Denver in his place.

Meg and I have mentored Antonio for the last four and a half years. That is over half of our relationship together. It is really painful to know he will not be part of our daily lives. We are not in contact with him right now, as that is what is best for us. We are able to check up on him through the grapevine. The information we are getting confirms that it was for the best for him to move back to Asheville.

We spent the last two weeks with friends and family trying to recover and reclaim our lives without Antonio. It's tough as we both we just getting used to having him around all the time. We are making daily progress but it is slow going. Our family mantra right now is Easy Does It.

For all your supporters out there, we appreciate all the support you have given us over the past four and a half years. Antonio will appreciate when he is old enough to understand how many people cared about him. I know being 15 is hard enough age when you come from a loving family who cares about you. His background was too much for him to over come at 15. He has been taught a lot of bad habits and a lot of things that are not helpful to being a successful person. As anyone out there knows it's very hard to break bad habits. He is really struggling right now. We know we did everything we could to try and undo a lot of these habits, but the pull of poverty is bigger than us.

I wanted to specifically address all the wonderful folks donated to help out with Antonio. We were able to give a number of things we had purchased for Antonio to a friend Antonio made while in Denver. Antonio met Elisha when he was attending the work study program this summer at Arrupe Jesuit . Elisha is attending Arrupe this fall and he plans on being the first person in his family to graduate from high school. He comes from a very rough background. He has a very supportive mother and he is very determined to be successful. His mom dropped out of high school and really wants Elisha to get his high school degree and go to college. She does not want him to have to struggle like she does. It's beautiful to see someone really showing up even though things are really hard for her and for her family. Elisha is showing up big time. He is willing to do whatever it takes to be successful. They don't have much in the way of material stuff, yet they seem to find a lot of happiness. It's really beautiful to see. We wish Antonio had this kind of support from his mom.

For now, Meg and I are in Denver, and we are going to try it for three months and see how things go. I am working on re-building my graphic design business here and Meg is doing the same with her photography business. We are planning a lot of day trips from Denver into nature to recharge and recover.

Neither of us know what the future holds for us or for Antonio but we know we did all we could and now we have to be patient and witness what unfolds. If you pray, pray, if you chant, chant, if you send good vibes, send them please. We could all use the positive energy and prayers right now.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A few reasons I love living in Denver.

1. We live very close to the light rail station on Alameda Ave. Antonio has taken the light rail/bus to school a few times already. He has also jumped on the light rail & headed over to the skate park. We could go downtown to a NBA/NFL/MLB game via the light rail. It's amazing!

2. We live near a ton of restaurants & fun stuff to do.
+ Lark Burger is my number one favorite place to eat right now. Yes, it's because of the vanilla shakes and french fries, not the burgers.
+ Washington Park is my favorite place to ride bikes and people watch.
+ Whole Foods is just a few blocks away. I gotta get my gluten free fix somewhere!

3. I get to live with the best two people and furry man in the world. Meg, Antonio & Mambo are all loving Colorado. Mambo loves his big yard and his man cave (the basement). Meg loves the new house. She spends a lot of time sweeping the front sidewalk and working on shaping up the yard. Antonio loves his room and his basketball court. He spends a lot of time at the skate park.

4. Our new house is so cute and so us. I know loyal blog followers, you want photos. E-mail Meg ok? she is my official photographer & she is on a contact making mission... when she is not sweeping the yard. She is rebuilding her business from the ground up, so she is burning up the lines and hitting the pavement introducing the Denver/Boulder market to her heirloom photography business. Bug her please. I want to show off this place!

5. We have an amazing handy man. His name is Justin. He helped us with a million projects the first couple of weeks we were here. He is amazing & he is nice & funny. We are very lucky to have him.

6. I really like being a mom, when Antonio is smiling. I mean, who wouldn't want be his mama? Look at that face. The above photo is from his first day at the work study training program at Arrupe Jesuit High School. This is where he is going. No more trying to figure that out. He is very excited & so are we.

All this wonderful change is SO inspiring. Until next time! Happy Almost Friday!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wow, Denver is awesome.

This is what Antonio says when you ask him about Denver. I tend to agree with him. We are really settling in to the new house since Antonio got here a couple of weeks ago. So far we have painted our bathroom, the kitchen, Antonio's room, his bathroom, the deck, and half of our office room. I know, I know... when are you going post photos? Soon people soon. It's gotta look good, I am a designer remember?

I have been so busy with house projects, looking for a full time job, learning html & dreamweaver and being a full time Mom, that I haven't had time to blog. I do have a lot to blog about so let's get to it!

We spent last Friday night with our friends, Eddie & Tatum Perez. Tatum graciously invited us to an after hours viewing at the Museum of Outdoor Art, exhibit called Light Supply. Man, did we have fun. The most entertaining part of the evening was dancing on the harp that plays when you break the plane of the laser with any old body part. See the photos above. It's the big metal thing, with the dots on the floor. The blue room photo is where Grammy award winner, Mickey Houlihan of Wind over the Earth created an original soundscape for the different colors of the room. The room would fade from one color to the next. It was a very pink floyd experience, which reminded me of my college days.

Read all about it here :
Museum of Outdoor Art

The weekend before last we dropped by a denver art thing, that turned out to be super great. I loved the graphic they created and I saw it on facebook and decided to go. Meg and I both left the event feeling very inspired. check out the artists & get the scoop on the event.

Antonio is really turning out to be quite the skateboarder. He wants to go to the park everyday. While, he doesn't get to go everyday, he has been going a lot.

Last night after I made homemade vietnamese spring rolls for dinner, we headed over to Aurora, CO for some serious firework action. Check out the craziness on utube. This guy uploaded the last 4 something minutes of the show on youtube to a rocking guitar version of the national anthem. Forward to the 3 something to see the grand finale. It was brain numbingly loud, and it sort of seemed like the sky was exploding. I have to say the show was pretty dang spectacular, especially if you happen to be 14 going on 30.

Aurora Fireworks on youtube

Today I am inspired by new friends, a new city, and a new family. This year is all about doing things differently, so far we are right on track! Signing off from Denver!

The awesome photos from the museum by Nikki Leven Breaux.

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's been a big week around here!

It's another beautiful day in Denver, CO. We have been living here a little under a month and man has a lot happened.

Our friends Amy & Nikki moved here from Rockford, IL late last week. It is so wonderful having them around. They have two awesome kids, Halle and Spencer (AKA smoothie). The kids all get along great & have a lot of fun hanging out together. We used to visit Amy & Nikki once a year, when they lived outside of New York City. We have always wanted to live in the same city as them and finally we got our wish!

Antonio has been here since Tuesday and he is doing great. He had a surprise waiting for him, his own personal basketball court! So far he has spent a lot of time playing basketball, skating with his friend, Smoothie, hanging out with Halle, and doing anything we ask him to do around here. He is such a wonderful guy. I set up a blog for him earlier in the week. Check it out. He is very funny!

We got the paint for repainting the entire house. We got some great colors. I know we need to take some photos! We are going to get back to painting over the weekend. The colors are a nice warm gray, a beautiful greenish light blue, a killer charteuse green and a lovely pink of our room. If you have seen my work, you have seen these colors. Lately, I have been pushing some new combos (in my work!), but these colors are some of my all time favorites.

Meg still hasn't found her nikon d300 charger yet, hence the lack of photos. We are such opposites! I know where everything is and she doesn't know where anything is! This is why are are such a good match peeps. Our nine year anniversary is in October. I am so lucky to have such a great partner.

I am still looking for a full time job in Denver. There are a lot of options, so I know it's going to happen soon. In the meantime, I am finishing up some freelance projects for my Asheville clients.

Tomorrow we are off to check out the Boulder Farmers Market. I can't wait. I have been dying to get over to Boulder anyway. It is supposed to be the best market around.

I promise to post more photos of the house this weekend. Happy Friday Peeps!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Back to Work in Denver Baby!

It's a lovely day here in Denver. I set my office up over the weekend. I cranked out some changes for the Austin Grill website this morning. I am very close to finishing up that project. I have another website that is being programmed for a farm located in Asheville, NC. I have a couple of logo projects I am set to start working on tomorrow.

Meg just put the finishing touches on Antonio's carolina blue room this morning. I spoke to Antonio today and he is so fired up about getting out here. He will be here in one week! It's unbelievable we are so close to being together daily as a family. It's very exciting and a little overwhelming to think of being full time parents. We are doing a lot of talking about the everyday workings of our household. We have a pretty good plan for how things are gong to work around here.

Mambo the cat ventured outside for the first time yesterday. He did a lot of smelling everything. Then when I bought him back inside he did not want to stay in! This morning he wanted to go out first thing. He is loving it here in Denver. We couldn't be happier about how well he is doing. In the past, he has not done very well with moving, so it was a lovely surprise, during a pretty stressful time.

We are mostly settled in. We are still finishing up a few house projects. There is a tree guy that will be taking down a tree tomorrow. It's a wild cherry tree and they break easily. It's also interfering with our ability to get high def satellite. That is not working for us at all!! We had to watch the NBA finals in standard def. Wow, can you say super fuzzy? Watching basketball in high def is the only way to go.

We are having the back door replaced. It's glass and it's ugly so that won't do! Our new handy man is here now, measuring and getting together a materials list. The new door goes up tomorrow.

I am still loving the new kitchen. I am cooking daily and loving all the room I have to spread out and make a mess like a true chef! We shopped at Sun Flower Market for the first time today and it was a great experience. They have loads of gluten free food options.

I am following up on some job leads this afternoon. There are a lot of great job options here, so I know there is a perfect job out there for me. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Denver livin'!

We have been in the new house for 6 1/2 days and there has been a lot going on!

We have unpacked quite a bit. We are in the midst of having a number of things done. There is a new roof going on the new garage. We had a gas line installed yesterday for the new gas dryer. The washer and dryer got installed today. We are having built ins built put into the office. We have a tree that needs to be cut down. We need to prune the main tree of the yard, right over the deck. We had direct TV hooked up. The internet folks stopped by today and got the internets rolling, Thank god! We can't live without the internet around here, especially, with all the many things we need to figure out.

We are currently painting our bathroom an amazing martha stewart 1950's pink with chartreuse accents. Meg got THE UNC tarheel carolina blue paint for Antonio's room today. That is the color he wanted so we are hooking up our sweet boy. We will knock out his room's makeover this weekend.

Our new couch arrived today! It's awesome. It's a light grey corduroy that is super soft, it's comfy & a good looking couch. We are currently enjoying it's plushness right now!

The kitchen is the most organized so far. This is not a surprise to anyone around here. The new kitchen has 7 1/2 times the amount of counter space and about 3 times the cabinet space as the board street house in Asheville. Don't get me wrong. the kitchen worked just fine, but the new kitchen digs are amazing. We have a GE profile fridge and a gas range, and a killer mod stainless hood (leslie huntley style).

For some reason we didn't have any plates, bowls, glasses or coffee cups. I have no idea what happened to the mismatched things we have been using forever, but we were ready for an upgrade there any way. Can you say Target? We got the cutest green mod plastic plates, some new white glass coffee cups, new sliver ware and a nice set of real glasses.

Everyone is doing pretty well considering the chaos that we are all living in. Mambo the cat is doing the best for sure. He just sleeps all day, eats dinner and looks out the window each evening. He did tap on the window a little bit last night, as he is starting to be interested in going outside. The yard is totally fenced in and only has a couple gaps in the fence that I need to work on before he can go out.

We are so looking forward to getting Antonio here and going to do some serious exploring in our new city!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 3 & 4! We are in Denver Baby!

Thursday, we drove from Hayes, KS into Denver. We arrived in our 26 foot moving truck that was hauling our car at around 12:30. We drove right over to the new house! It was crazy driving the truck in the city. It was a tight squeeze but we just drove slow and made our way.

Somehow, we scored a parking spot for said moving truck right in front of the house. We got some help from some construction workers across the street parking the big truck and moving the car dolly into the garage so no one would steal it, before we could return it on Friday afternoon. We met about 5 different neighbors that first day. Everyone was super nice and happy to see someone moving into our house. She had been empty for a while.

When we walked up to the front door we had a homemade sign that said "welcome home y'all" with loads of purple and gold ribbons on it. Thanks Jules & Babs. What sweet family we have!

We did the walk through with the realtor and met her at the title company to sign some legal docs. By 3:00 the new house was all ours!!!!

We celebrated being in a new city, in a new house, with some amazing thai food, from one of my favorite Denver eats, Swing Thai. Then we all had a 4 hour nap. Then we had left over thai food and went back to sleep.

The drive took about 23 hours total, which was not bad considering the size of the truck (26 ft diesel plus a car dolly with our kia soul on the back)! It was not a bad gig actually driving the truck. It was even fun a lot of the time. Getting off the interstate and parking the truck was pretty tricky. You can't really back up in a truck with that sort of trailer. It can be quite problematic (see Asheville to St. Louis post) but we figured out how to manage parking & getting gas and keep moving as best we could, without really stopping. I think Mambo the cat had the best deal for the ride out. He slept almost two of the three days of the drive. He did really well. We ate out of a cooler for three days, so you can imagine how amazing the hot thai food dish was Thursday afternoon.

The movers arrived at about 8:30 am on Friday to unpack the big truck. The moving guys were great. They had everything unloaded by 11:30 and drove the monster truck to get gas and back to the moving company for us, as I had had enough of driving the truck in the city on Thursday.

So far the people here are very nice and extremely responsible. We had our Satellite T.V. hooked up yesterday but we have to take a tree down to get HD. It's a signal issue. The tree is in bad shape so we would likely take it down anyway.

We are still internet less which has been pretty tough but we need a phone jack to make it work and I can't seem to find one anywhere, especially in the current state of the house. I am betting my brother in law Moe can walk me through this.

Everyone is settling in to the new house really well. We unpacked enough yesterday to set up the kitchen (somewhat), our bed (hooray) and the tv with a couple of comfy spots for some tv watching after a long day of packing. It seems like it will take a week or two to unpack. Mambo is doing great. Sleeping, eating and overall mostly his normal self which is quite usual for him in past moves. His mamas are very happy about this. Meg is missing the internet and wants to do everything right now, and she is powering it out, but I make her rest a lot too. I am just so dang happy to be on this side of things!

Antonio is still back in Asheville with one of his best friends. He has school for a few more days, then he is going camping with his buddy Trevor. He flies to Denver on June 20th. Needless to say we can't wait to get him here, but have plenty to do in the meantime to prepare for his arrival.

Denver is Awseome!! Loving it. We can't wait to settle in to the house, so we can go exploring!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day #2 St. Louis to Hayes, KS.

Today was a great day on the road. We made great time, it was a beautiful drive from St. Louis to Hayes, KS. We are camped out at a Best Western, resting and having a rare, hot meal. Smoked Gouda cheese nachos, with guacamole. It was delicious and gluten free. Tomorrow we drive to Denver, CO. We are headed right to my favorite Denver eats, green curry from swing thai. Then we do our final walk though of the new house, and get the keys! Woot! We will be taking loads of photos over the weekend. (If we can ever find Meg's camera battery charger!) Antonio is flying to Denver on June 20th. We can't wait to be together as a family! Stay tuned!

Day #1 Asheville to St. Louis!

We are on the road to Denver. We are currently in the hotel, right outside of St. Louis. Day #1 was eventful to say the least. We left Asheville at around 1 yesterday and the drive was bumpy and a tad loud, but we laughed, talked and overall enjoyed just sitting there, relaxing and driving our stuff. We arrived at the hotel on the far side of St. Louis at around 12 o'clock central standard time.

We checked in and then I tried to park the big truck. I tried to turn around in a big parking lot, but did not make the turn. We ultimately had to call a tow service to bail us out. A nice fellow from Triple A helped us get turned around without hurting our beloved 2011 KIA SOUL, zippy louise!

After going to bed at around three we are up, making a plan for the day. I will write again this evening with an update of our location.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's Go Time!

I have been talking about moving to Denver so long, it's almost like it was never going to happen. Well, it is really happening, like soon, like real soon. We are leaving Asheville May 31st, right after we hand over our house keys to the new owner of 88 Broad Street.

We are in the final stages of buying a new house in Denver. It's been an on going process, but I have been too stressed to talk about it very much.

Meg & I are headed out with Mambo the cat to get the nest all settled on the 31st, then Mr. Antonio is going to fly to Denver in a couple of weeks. He is finishing up school in North Carolina, then he is going to spend a little last minute time with friends.

We are hitting the road in a big moving truck, to drive the 22 hours to our new home in Denver, CO. We close on our new home in Denver on June 2nd. Our new house is at 264 S. Pearl Street. We are in love with her. It's an amazing 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1905 craftsmen bungalow. There is a huge fenced in yard, a 2 car garage, a big deck, an killer kitchen, and a nice big front porch. There is plenty of room for our boys. Antonio has his own suite. It's a big room with lots of windows and his own bathroom. We have a lovely bedroom. To say that this kitchen is the nicest I will have ever had is a serious understatement. There is an extra bedroom where Meg is going to have her new office. The kitchen, dining room and living room are one big room. It's going to be great to hang out as a family in our new space.

We are so grateful to the help we have had from friends and family to make this move possible. It's unbelievable the amount of love and support we have from our friends and family right now. WE COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!!

I am in the process of designing a new website for Antonio so you can hear more about his new life directly from the young man himself. He is so very excited about moving. It is amazing to watch him grow and change in these crazy times. He amazes me daily.

We are all very excited to be in the new house in Devner and be together as a family. It's going to be a wonderful day when we are all finally together. It's been four years in the making. I could not have dreamed up a more perfect family. Stay tuned for photos of the new pad!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bitter Sweet Memories!

So, I have been so dang busy since my last post, I haven't had time to be inspired! I have been to Denver since the last time I wrote and loads of things are shaping up to get finished up before we need to scoot out of town in mid June.

Our sweet little home in Asheville is under contact. The lady who is buying our Broad Street house is very sweet and extremely fair. She is also very excited about living in Asheville. She moved here from Washington, D.C. We are happy our home is going to some one who will love her the way we did.

We have narrowed Antonio's school choices down to two GREAT options. The schools are both great. One is Arrupe Jesuit High School, the other is J.K. Mullen High School.

We found a couple of house options we really like. The most recent pick is in Park Hill neighborhood. We are still looking other house options in case there is something better out there. We do have to decide rather quickly, as we need to get there, and fast. We are just waiting for Antonio to finish up the 8th grade and our house sale in Asheville to be finalized. If things go as planned we are homeless as of May 31st, so that's not a lot of time to find a new pad in Denver.

Meg's mama made a good point the other day, "well everything else is working out, so why won't the right house in Denver and a good job for Alisa work out?" I like the way Barb thinks. She is a smart lady so I am going to listen to her.

My job search is really starting to shape up. I met up with a few graphic design contacts last week in Denver. The response to my work was great and everyone was certain I would find a good job once I make the move to Denver. There are so many options for work for me there. I am very excited to up my graphic design game.

I have started to get a little sad, every time I go into our back yard, or take a good look around our sweet home. We have really loved it here. This house has really been a home for us. We got married in the back yard. We have done countless hours of math homework with Antonio here. We have had numerous wonderful chats with amazing friends here. We have had all sorts of house guests here.

Some of my favorite visits were : Babs & Jules (Meg's sister & niece) came to Asheville in the midst of a lovely summer. We ate out a bunch, rented scooters & rode all around dowtown, and in general hung out and enjoyed being together!

April & Jay (Meg's nephew & sweet girlfriend) slept on our floor while they searched for a house when they first moved to Asheville a few years ago. We loved having them here. We bonded in those couple of week and have all been close ever since.

Our good friends, Amy and Nikki visited one summer. They drove down from New York with two small kids and we all piled into our tiny house for a week. We tubed, we walked to the 4th of July fireworks downtown, and again, just hung out and enjoyed Asheville. It's easy to do. Asheville is an awesome place to live. I have never lived anywhere where the community really cares about you like Asheville does. We have had so much incredible support for our family here.

It's going to be bittersweet to leave little Asheville, but alas Denver holds many adventures and opportunities for me, Meg and Antonio. We are flying to Denver tomorrow on a moments notice to check out a house we are interested in. Wish us luck!

These are crazy days, crazy days, filled with excitement, sadness, and happiness rolled into the space of about five seconds. Stay tuned!

alisa carswell : lucky design 7
owner : designer : brains
full service print and web design

reduce :: reuse :: rethink :: recycle

828.777.4932 :
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>It's Your Lucky Day!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The times are a'changing some more, a lot more!

Today I am inspired by change. We are moving to Denver, CO! Antonio is moving with us. He will be going to high school in Denver!

Our amazing house is up for sale. That's why I haven't written in over a month. We have been busy packing up stuff to go into storage and cleaning and arranging everything around here.

Once we sell our house we are off to Denver! If the house doesn't sell really fast, we will rent it out and rent a place in Denver. We are very hopeful our little house will sale as it's really something. We have been working on the house since before Christmas, painting, fixing, and loving her into a perfect state of house bliss. We both never imagined we would ever want to leave Asheville or our little home, but hey, the times they are a'changing!

We are changing cities. We are changing houses. We are going from not being full time parents to having a son. Last week we got the official paper work, that we have joint custody of Antonio! All three of us are super excited about the new adventure.

We are off to Denver later this week, to check out schools for Antonio, neighborhoods for us to live in and I have a few folks I am meeting with to discuss job options. It's going to be a great trip. We are staying with some good friends, so we all can get a real feeling of what it is like to live in a neighborhood. We are staying in LoHi.

We are going to miss so much about Asheville. We are going to miss our friends. We are going to miss our house. We are excited to make new friends, and to get a new house. I am excited about getting a new job. Antonio is excited about going to a new school & kicking ass in the grade & sport departments. Meg is excited to be Antonio's taxi driver & queen bee of all house stuff! Mambo (the cat) is excited to wear girly burton snowboard googles every where he goes and furry boots. Wait, that's what I am going to wear. I guess we'll match. We all can't wait to get there!

I am inspired by the home, community, and support we have built in Asheville. I am inspired by the faith we all have in creating a home, and a supportive community for our family in Denver.

Are we crazy? sometimes. Are we brave? Yes. Are we risk takers, who want the best life that our family can have? you betcha!

I plan on writing a blog specifically about Antonio. I will probably be too dang busy to set it up before we leave, but I will pass it on to all his faithful followers. He has so many. He is lucky & so are we. I could not have dreamed up a more perfect son or more perfect life to live. He called Meg Mom today. I can't think of anything that makes me happier than that.

Oh yeah, tomorrow's my birthday. I have a lot I would like to wish for, but I think I will just be happy with what I already have. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Inspired by the swamp!

I am past due on my inspiration blog. Weekly blogs are a great goal. But hey, I am blogging pretty regularly so I think that is success. Progress not perfection is my motto this year! Today I am inspired by seeing new things. I am inspired by places I have been before, but not on this day. Last week, I was swamped (hehe!) with work, but I was down in Baton Rouge, visiting family and working with my partner Meg. Her mom was having a birthday (I am not allowed to say which one, as said Mother reads this blog!) Ms. Barbara loves bird watching and I thought hey, why don't we head to lake martin early one morning while we are here and see if we can see some birds.

We got up at 6 and headed out around 6:30 for the hour long drive from Baton Rouge, to Lake Martin, LA. We had a cooler full of sandwiches and other yummy Gluten Free snacks.

We arrived at Lake Martin around 7:30. Wow, we were in for a treat. It's nesting time for all sorts of birds on lake martin. We saw white egrets, blue herons, and the amazing Roseate Spoonbill birds sitting all over the trees. There were hundreds of birds nesting in the rookery. White birds, black birds and pink birds. Yes, PINK. We happened upon a couple of very knowledgeable bird photographers who told us which birds were which. It was Awesome I say, just awesome.

Then we mentioned to the photogs that we wanted to go on a boat tour and they told us right where to go. We drove down to dock and we saw the swamp tour truck but no boat and nobody. Meg's mom spotted a number on the truck and said do you think we should call? I said hey I doubt the phone is going to work in the swamp, but I tried anyway. The guy picked up in his amazing Cajun accent and said he wouldn't mind at all to swing back and pick us up. They had only being going for about 10 minutes.

The swamp tour was amazing, but not as amazing as the tour guide's cajun accent. If you have never met a real cajun, I advise you head down to South Louisana, and get to the swamp & meet yourself a cajun or two. They are the most resourceful people on the planet and they might just be the nicest and the most welcoming. It doesn't matter if you are from Mars. They take you right in and offer you a beer and some crawfish.

I can't describe how pretty it is in the swamp with words. Just check out the photos and see for yourself.

Friday, March 18, 2011

This week I am inspired HATCH SHOW PRINT!

I got some great news last week. I am currently giving the Austin Grill brand, menu & website a makeover!! The company is based out of DC but has franchises all over the country.

I am always inspired by a new project. I love that my job is working with all sorts of different companies and personalities.

This project got extra cool points as the design direction was (& I quote) "very hatch show print, Lucinda Williams, vintage western inspired!" Can you say perfect fit for a client and designer? Check out what the site looks like now. Austin Grill Website

The photo in this post are my ideas for the new direction. I am pretty freaking stoked about the awesomeness going on here. I spent my week looking at vintage silk screened posters along with the amazing work over at Hatch Show Print

This week I am working on a brand new menu design. Then it's website redo time!

Once again, I gotta say, my job rocks and I am a lucky girl with a good life. Happy Friday!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Generosity & Graditude are two birds of a feather.

This morning, I am feeling incredibly inspired & exceptionally grateful for all the love and support we have in Asheville. I am also inspired daily by Mentorship
. Mentoring Antonio has been the single most rewarding thing I have ever done with my life. It's also the most difficult, but it's so rewarding when he is successful!

We have been mentoring Antonio since 2007. He is in the 8th grade and is planning to go away to boarding school next year. We believe one on one mentoring with a focus on higher level eduction can break the cycle of poverty.

If you live in Asheville, please consider dropping by this event on Thursday evening. If you can't make it, go by Lola Salon and get some raffle tickets. You don't have to be present to win.

For the full story of how we became Antonio's mentors, visit the link below.


Help Antonio go away to boarding school for a better tomorrow!
Your chance to make a huge difference in the life of an amazing local child.

March, 3rd, 2011 5-9 pm
An evening with hor d'oeuvres + wine tasting + great art to buy + tons of
raffle offerings + proceeds go help Antonio go to boarding school!

71 Starnes Ave, Downtown Asheville (28801)

If you can't make it buy some raffle tickets anyway!
RAFFLE TICKETS FOR SALE NOW @ Lola Salon, 60 Biltmore Ave.
You do not have to be present to win. $1000+ worth of prizes!

VISIT THE FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE TO RSVP!/event.php?eid=177870388918686

Participating Artists:
+ Simone Wilson :
+ Meg Reilley :
+ Molly Sieburg Courcelle :
+ Genie Maples :
+ Cheri Brackett :
+Nicole McConville
+ Allie Good
+Jess Kit portrait session
+ Mimi Strang

RAFFLE TICKETS FOR SALE NOW @ Lola Salon, 60 Biltmore Ave.
You do not have to be present to win. $1000+ worth of prizes!
$5 raffle tickets gets you a chance at these offerings :
+ haircut by Rebecca Biggers at Lola Salon (6 stylists, 6 haircuts!)
+ Limones gift certificate
+ Early Girl Eatery gift certificate
+ Homegrown gift certificate
+ art scarf kit by Stacey Budge Kaimson
+ Spotted Dog Farm beeswax latern
+ Kate the rolfer session
+Haircuts by Frankie Bolt (4 Haircuts!)
+ Neck warmer by Lupe Perez
+ Angelique Tassistro of Fly Coop Studios
a scalloped flower dip platter set
+ Katie and Mike at LADY LUCK FARM
$50 bouquet delivery
delivered floral arrangement worth $75
Aria Floral
& the list is growing daily!

We hope to see you there!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

typography may have peaked in 1897!

This week I am inspired by the 1890's. When I designed the R.O. Frank's Aviation Company logo in 2008, I researched the time period. The 1890's are when hot air balloons were invented. At the time, flying machines were all the rage. The hot air balloon is the only flying machine that is still around today. That tells me, it must have been pretty good design, if it's still in use over 100 years later.

I have actually flown in a hot air balloon. It's one of the most amazing things I ever did in my life. I recommend you get up there and try it! It's so wonderful quiet, (except for the whoosh of fire, every once and a while to keep you floating) and a perspective I have yet to experience before or since.

I am also interested in Wet Plate Collidion Photography. This is the photography process that was invented in the 1850's & peaked in the 1890's. My partner Meg and I took a wet plate collidion class in D.C. back in the fall… and man the camera and lenses we used were incredible examples of good design. We photographed with a big studio camera, called a century camera. I will post some of those images another day.

The way type was handled during the end of the 19th century is my favorite historical use of typography to date. It's like everything that was type set was made to last and the design was well thought out. Not like today, where everything is thrown together by anybody who has photoshop. Not that people who are not trained as graphic designers can't be awesome. Sometimes they are awesome, but becoming a great graphic designer is about practice, practice and more practice.

I read something once, that if you do anything for 10,000 hours or more, you are likely an expert at that 10,000 hour mark. I am definitely past 10,000 hours of graphic design but whether I am an expert is debatable. I still love it, so that must count for something.

I am including the original logo ideas I showed to the client and the gift certificate I designed for R.O. Frank's so you can see the historical reference at work.

image of century camera book cover from :
image of the clown ad :

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Year of Inspiration Blogs 2011!

*Photo from

I have been thinking about my blog a lot in the last couple of weeks. (thinking about it, but not actually blogging!) I have decided to blog for one year about my inspirations.

I am feeling very inspired about 2011. There are a lot of big changes in the hopper… Change inspires me, new places inspires me, trying new things inspire me.

So, this will be the first of many posts about inspiration.

Today, I am inspired by literature. I have loved to read since I learned how in the second grade. I have a mild case of dyslexia, so I was slow to read at first, but man… the summer between 2nd and 3rd, I was tearing up the pages. Back then it was mostly books like Ramona the Pest (Beverly Cleary) and Super Fudge (Judy Blume).

These days, my favorite reads are non-fiction books about African American United States poverty, social class, racism and plain old social injustice in the United States. I just finished reading "The girl who fell from the Sky" by Heidi W. Durrow. This was an amazing book about race, class and social injustice. I got the book for Christmas and just recently made time to read it. I don't need much time. I read the entire book in one day. I have to say the cover design is why I got the book. This is the UK cover, but it the most nicely designed (in my humble opinion)!

Other books I have read in the last year that might be of interest if you are curious about the subject matter of poverty in the US.

1. Random Family : Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

2. There are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the other America, by Alex Kotlowitz
Alex has a new film that premired at Sundance and is an official Sundance selection!! The film is about the violence in the poverty world. I say Alex, like I know him as he actually wrote back to me when I wrote to ask how the boys in his book are doing now. He is a really amazing author and man. Can't wait to see the film. Check out the trailer here.

A must read is "Understanding the Framework of Poverty "by Ruby Payne.

I love to read up on the subject of poverty so I know what Antonio is up against. I would love to hear what books inspire my readers. Please write to me. You can visit my web page at to get my address.