I left my… 

Cellphone. In San Francisco. Not really, almost though. I left it in a bathroom of that god awful airport and got all the way to ticketing before I realized what I had done. Thank the stars it was a deserted bathroom in a buried corner somewhere in between terminal 2 and the clusterfuck that is the international terminal. Ran all the way back, duffel over one shoulder and two-handing my egregiously heavy and broken tote (thanks MacBook), and burst into the bathroom to find my iPhone exactly where I left it, sitting on top of the TP dispenser. Gross, I know, but had I left it in my back pocket it would have fallen on the even grosser floor and I also didn’t want it to get lost in the vortex of my defunct tote. 

Anyhow, San Francisco is beautiful, and it’s charming (sometimes), yet overall pretty  fucking weird.  And I’m from Portland, so you’d think I’d have seen it all by now. Nope. Even I couldn’t prevent myself from gawking judgingly at the (badly) synchronized roller skating in golden gate park, complimented by the dirty tweakers swaying unsteadily near the kindergarten outing. What.

I told my friend that San Francisco’s cumulative fashion sense was like the party child of Nirvana and a Forever21 mannequin hastily dressed by a hungover freshman who doesn’t give a shit. I’ve never experienced a city so reluctant to give up its combat boots.

But, I digress. I was unfortunately not there long enough to really see or do much of anything. The downside of business travel. But what I did end up seeing was either fascinating, or lovely, and sometimes both. 

First up, coastline and the ubiquitous Golden Gate Bridge (at a distance). Driving around led us to this lovely and lonely little beach underneath a residential area. Those houses were not the cheap seats, let me tell you.


Next up, omg the flora! This city is succulent paradise, with me plantgasming all over the place. As you can see, here I am, clearly having a great time: 


I get shit for this constantly. I am the resting bitch face poster child. Sigh. It is what it is. 🙄

Here’s more flower and pretty architecture photos:



San Francisco will also be remembered as the place where I learned an important lesson about getting older and mixing food (or more accurately, lack thereof), wine, and new medication. Yikes. And here is me, summing up the experience in possibly the most authentic way: 


You do you, SanFran. 

It’s not obsessing, it’s planning.

18 days until Europe.

I’M GOING TO EUROPE IN 18 DAYS.

ack!

I’m not the type of person that gets super excited before a trip, because I am always too focused on obsessing planning to really soak in the anticipation of it all. And, goddamn, have I planned. More on this later.

But, after deciding on a whim to extend our trip for a few more days, and then figuring out what we could DO with said days, I then allowed myself (or, maybe it was just impossible to keep down), a few moments of hyper giddy, arm-flapping, squealing, face-contorting moments of pure excitement. It was glorious. This was basically me:

giphy

And now it’s gone. It was followed up with a fresh round of anxiety and stress, and at least another 10 hours of research, and finally now everything is pretty much all planned and now I only have to think about what to brincg. Which is a whole new post in itself. Anyhow.

What got me so excited? Um, only the MATTERHORN. You know, nbd. Insert yeti!!

We are going to overnight in Zermatt, Switzerland and do the five lakes hike! As much as I am so looking forward to soaking up the cities and experiencing the history- the Matterhorn is on another level. When I think about it, why it gets me going besides all of the obvious reasons (beauty, nature, etc), well,  I think it brings me back to a place of literal childhood wonder. I have a memory of being at Disneyland, and my dad excitedly talking about the Matterhorn rollercoaster. He almost had a sense of reverence about the mountain’s significance, or fame, and it’s always stuck with me.

I never thought I’d see this in my life. I guess I always thought it was unreachable, figuratively and literally.

We will also be taking the famed Bernina express, and staying in Bergamo, Italy for two lovely nights.

But. The Matterhorn.

This is going to be one hell of a trip.

Two dogs in a blanket

My sketching teacher has been AWOL for working on two weeks now, but it gives us impetus to come up with our own things. I felt guilty for not sketching for like five days, and I was SO TIRED of watching boring television, that I decided just to draw what I saw.

Didn’t even finish my wine.

I’m not unhappy with this. It’s rough, it’s juvenile, and I still can’t figure out perspective and shading (especially when color is involved) but I feel like I’m starting to develop a style. I didn’t obsess (too much) over details and the need to be super realistic, and I tried to keep the lines simple. I want to eventually have this illustrative, simple & somewhat loose style. I want people to recognize the subject without compromising the “art” and individuality of it. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not a photograph for a reason.

The 90’s called…

They want their logo back. 

I think I was channeling my inner 9th grader when I made this… I think it’s safe to say that typography isn’t my thing. That being said, this would make a totally rad tank-top and/or wetsuit for waterskiing. Literally, let go of the handle!! 😂

*This design for commercial use for No Fear or Bad Boys inc. only*

Eclairs & Expletives

To elaborate, this week has been a gem. Ugh. BUT LOOK AT THAT TASCHEN BOOK! ermahgerd, it’s just as lovely as it seems. Taschen, take all my money.

It was training week at work, which means because our entire team is remote, we secured a conference room in a downtown hotel to host our newest franchisees. After being initially skeptical (you’d think they’d get something a little further from Chinatown!), I think we were all pleasantly surprised with how well it worked out. Also, food. Goddamn, the embassy suites serves a mean lunch spread. (And snacks. And coffee. With real cream!)

We had one attendee who is just a darn special raindrop of a person, and by raindrop I actually mean she’s a tsunami, or a typhoon, or a sharknado. In addition to dealing with all of the crazy, my former kitty (now belonging to a coworker) was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, my boyfriend had a strenuous week, famous people died, I’ve hardly sketched, and we haven’t hit the gym once. It’s just one of those weeks where you’ve had so much to do and been so busy, yet so little felt accomplished.

Ah, well.

Only 32 days until Europe!! I’ve been keeping busy planning and researching until my eyes bleed. As much as I wanted (in theory) this trip to be spontaneous… yeah, no. With 4 people going via train, on a budget, from Brussels to Prague (via Amsterdam, Cologne, & Berlin) – there’s not a lot of room for error here. Spontaneity is for rich people. I’ve got 75% of accommodations and transportation already figured out and I’m waiting (impatiently) for another to take over and book the last three nights in Prague & Bratislava. From there, my boyfriend and I go solo to Budapest for a night, then take the Railjet (!!!) to Zurich where we fly home the following morning. I’ve been obsessing over what to bring and how to bring it all, scouring all the “what to wear in Europe in June” articles I can find. I cringe saying this, but I bought a pair of Crocs brand flats in the hope that they will eventually prove as comfortable as all the old ladies say they are. They are actually pretty cute little canvas shoes with a lot of support, and much better-looking than Toms, if I say so myself. I do have to stretch out the part around the ball of my foot though because they are suuuper tight, but apparently you can do this with either freezing or a hair-dryer? Huh. We’ll find out, I guess.

One major milestone accomplished last week was committing to a property management company to manage my house when we are in Mexico. He’s letting me advertise and show the house myself, which saves me about $700 and a hell of a lot of inconvenience. I’ve also been told we can list it partially furnished and see what happens. God knows I don’t want to get a storage unit, but Everything Must Go. I’m still waiting for my contact in Todos Santos to confirm our rental arrangement, but hopefully I’ll hear back from her in the next few. If this doesn’t work out, I’m still a little torn between the Cortez side of Baja, or going inland to Guanajuato where I wanted to go in the first place. Either way, I feel good about it all. I’m positive about 95% of people think I’ve lost my mind. Maybe I have. But it’s worth the journey to find out.

 

Throwing some shade 

Today we had to sketch a portrait, simply, (hah) from a small & not-very-detailed photo. I think the point was to focus on shapes and orientation without obsessing over detail.

  
God I suck at pencils. 

This started out terribly, especially when I started shading. I thought I ruined it. To my surprise, it started to come together with more lead layered on. I still had a lot of trouble with the shading, and I think that was enhanced by this super strong directional light combined with her dark skin. I really didn’t know what to do. 

But, here’s the eyeball progression. From dead eyes to rheumy eyes, to something not so bad. 

I’m going to keep sketching people because I really want to get to the point where I can bust out something simple, proportional, and quick. I’m also super cognizant of figuring out my style, whatever that ends up being. I don’t hate this though; not cartoony, but not too obsessive realism either. I want a happy, fast medium. 

Europe x 8 < San Fran +3


Man, the hours I’ve spent on planning this! But, thus far I have 8 full nights booked with 4 more to go, at under $500 (lodging only). I feel pretty good about it thus far! Especially considering 3 nights in the Bay Area for just myself cost me more than 7 days in Western Europe. Boom.

Office view 

Lesson 9 in my 30 day class, and it’s “free doodle day.” Well, I’m not imaginative enough to create something, so I plopped down on the futon and drew the awfully messy office bookshelf. Naturally, my dog moved right as I got to her.

This is only the outline, because I plan to ink it tomorrow. However, I’m afraid I’m going to ruin it, so this is the evidence it’s not awful at least now.

I’m thankful work has been slow this week, as it’s been pretty heavy emotionally, as well as having just a million things on my mind to prepare for Europe and the big Mexico adventure. More on that later.

Also, I miss having a cat. :/

Little gnome facts

This is my first watercolor with ink, and I’m stoked!! It could definitely be worse. I feel like I might be slowly loosening up on my obsession with perfection in favor of developing my own style. Maybe. This is only my first one. 

My pellet stove (UGH, do not get one over a new heater, thanks previous homeowners), and the planet glass collection set. #nerdout 

   

Total sketch.

So, I’ve taken up sketching. And/or painting. There’s something really relieving about it, while also being challenging (obviously!). I’ve never been much of an artist; I’ve not had the knack for doodling and I’m honestly not very imaginative or creative. I can see good compositions, which makes me a good photographer, but that skill doesn’t lend itself to spontaneous imagination. Eh. You can’t be too awesome, I suppose.

What I really want to be able to accomplish is definitively depict a scene with my own artistic style. Which has yet to be figured out, clearly. Meanwhile, I’m decisively scribbling and obsessively erasing while dragging my hand all the way through the graphite and torally getting it on my face. My online art instructor has said that you don’t need innate sparkly art talent in order to be a good sketch artist- you just need practice. That I can do. Here’s to practice makes artist!

image