Previous month:
July 2011
Next month:
September 2011

Graduation Smash Pages

Just posting a few pages I did in my smash book from when my parents were here for graduation last week. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to document all of graduation... Layouts or maybe a small photo book? We'll see what I'm in the mood for :-)

Vive le weekend!

Graduation Smash Pages

Graduation Smash Pages

Another peek in my sketchbook

Just popping in with today's sketch. (I know... I'm posting three times today!) The video I watched today was about using objects as inspiration. When I looked around for objects to start with, I immediately saw the perfume bottles (filled with perfume) that I bought in Dubai. I thought they would be great subjects since I love them, they have a story and they would be challenging and interesting to sketch, especially from the perspective I decided on. I have to say, I'm really pleased with the results. I really love getting back into the artsy stuff and can't wait to keep going :-)

This started as a pencil drawing and then I colored with metallic watercolors and gouache and finished with an ultra-fine black Sharpie.

Another peek in my sketchbook

FBE Reunion Time

So last night was our FBE reunion. We met at the Radebaugh's house for a potluck dinner to chat, catch up, play a few games and have a few laughs. I took our family's favorite chocolate cake (which we refer to as "Nicole's Cake".) I'll post a picture and the recipe another time, but it's delicious... moist and dense at the same time with a frosting that's just like fudge. We all sat and talked during dinner and then mingled during dessert. Then we had trip awards - everyone got an award (with a certificate) for something they were particularly known for on the trip, and they were all pretty appropriate and usually funny. I got the "International Food Guru" award; hardly a surprise. lol. Then we watched a longer version of the trip video and that never gets old - it was fun to go back and see it again... it's already been 3 months since we got back! I can hardly believe it. And after that, we played games, reminiscent of some of the games we played on the bus trips.

Like this one: who could balance the biggest stack of DingDongs on his forehead? 

Reunion 2

Dave did a pretty awesome job. His reward? A pile-up.

Reunion 1

And of course, Prof. Radebaugh was in top form last night. First, using a balloon to look pregnant and posing with Matt's wife, Charlene - lamenting that Lori had left so the three of them couldn't post together. lol.

Reunion 3

And then it was my turn to participate in the games. We had to hold tongue depressors in our mouth and stack these plastic blocks on top and hold them without dropping them for 5 seconds and then pass them. It was a relay, but we could use our hands to pass the blocks. 'Cause otherwise, awkward. lol.

Reunion 4

And then Prof. R's turn. He didn't realize it was a race against the other team. lol.

Reunion 5

Then a classic - the moustache app with a tongue depressor cigar. With a trip director like this, is it any wonder we had so much fun on the FBE?

Reunion 6

Finally, some group photos of all of us. A normal one:

Reunion 7

Of course, we wouldn't be us if we didn't also smolder. Because we made it our mission to smolder as much as possible on the trip. We have photographic evidence in abundance.

Reunion 8

After that we talked more, did a little jumping on the trampoline (oh wait - that was just me. lol.) and then it was time to clean up and head out. It was fun to see everyone again - we'll have to make it a habit to get together :)

A little sketching, a little smashing

Just jumping in quickly to post a few more pages from my journals that I didn't get up last time. I haven't had time to do any more, but things are slowing down again so I hope I'll be able to get back into the lessons, document graduation, finish up the yearbook and get to work on my FBE photobook.

The first is just fun recent weekend stuff - playing around and having fun :)

Smash 1

The second has a page about rejoining the gym near my house - I was a member before school, but knew I wouldn't have time to go. But now that I do, I wanted to add some variety into my daily routine. Treadmill and hand weights are fine, but having other cardio and strength options really helps. Also a page about the art classes I signed up for.

Smash 2

The last is another page about my produce addiction. Apparently I have a limited imagination (or very short-term memory) because I use the same or similar titles in several different places. I'll have to work on that. But on the other hand, I can always say that I was thinking in terms of a series, right? Graduation will eventually make its way in here.

Smash 3

And a few more from my sketch book. I'm trying to sketch things from daily life instead of copying, so I sketched a slice of the veggie pizza I made recently. (The drawing on the left is an old one I posted a while ago). I did actually intend for this to be a series of sketches about my love of produce.

Sketch 1

The second was more of an exercise... Alisa did some succulents in one of her videos, but I've seen a lot of photos of them on Pinterest lately and just love them, so I did one too... I didn't actually look at her sketch when I did it, so I think that helped me put my own spin on it. When I looked back I was surprised how different they were.

Sketch 2

The last sketch for now is a little drawing I did of strawberries after getting a beautiful container of them in my Bountiful Basket. Sweet and yummy and so lovely to look at. (And yes, this is a different book - one is a sketchbook and one is watercolor paper and I switch between them depending on what supplies I'm using in the sketch. I also have different sizes that I haven't broken into yet, but it's coming!)

Sketch 3

One of the best and most important parts of doing these classes has been learning to accept my own style. I'm finally getting to the point where I feel like it's okay that my stuff doesn't look like what I see from artists in books and on the web. And I'm not an artist, so why should it? And you can tell by looking that it's a slice of pizza or a bowl of strawberries, so as far as I'm concerned, that's pretty good. But it's ironic that it's taken me this long to embrace my own individuality in a genre where being unique is celebrated. Why do I want to blend in? I have a fairly unique style so I'm trying to run with it and just improve it rather than make it into something that's not real. So anyway. Enough deep thinking... lol. On to the next one!

Heads up - Photobook deal

Just throwing this out there for anyone interested... I've been buying photobook deals on Groupon and an internet deal just came up today - it's good for about 10 more hours (until about 10pm mountain). $25 for a $75 photobook on Picaboo or $35 for a $100 book (or canvas, calendar, etc... you pay regular price for anything above that - so extra pages, etc...). It has to be used by November 18. I've got so many pictures from trips that I need the incentive, so I went for it.


I did a little reserarch and found mostly positive reviews. One of the downsides was the number of options available, but they have the ones I'd use so it worked for me. And for the price, it's worth a shot, right? Hope it helps someone! Here's a link to the deal.

It's official...

... I'm an MBA! Friday was graduation and Mom and Dad flew in on Wednesday morning and then stayed through the weekend. I took off work and we just ran and played the whole time. We saw lots of movies, ate out, shopped, and just chatted and enjoyed seeing each other and celebrating.

Friday we arrived bright and early at the Marriott Center (7am) for my college convocation. They went to their seats and I went down to check in, get my seating assignment and see everyone. We were all down in the tunnel for about 45 minutes before the ceremony just talking and generally being excited. I didn't have a camera with me, but a few people did so there are a few shots on Facebook. Then it was time and we went in. This was really fun because before, I wasn't with people I knew. Our class sat together so it was awesome to be there with people who have become great friends over the last two years. I sat between Karthi and Tom L. in the ceremony which was surprisingly short! Benefit of a small convocation in August. My mom had my camera and got a few shots during the ceremony. Here are a few shots after I walked across the podium as I was shaking hands and picking up my diploma case.



And this is after we all sat down again and Dean Cornia was talking about our college and had us stand up and thank the friends and family in the audience who had helped make it possible for us to be there.


Then one of me after graduation outside of the Marriott Center:


After graduation, we went over to the Tanner Building for a reception that was held for our class. After stopping briefly in the college reception in the lobby, we went up to the 4th floor. For the first part, mom and I waited in line for food and everyone was just walking around talking and taking pictures. Then we got plates and met dad where he had snagged a table and Chad and his family ended up coming and sitting with us.


And then, of course, we couldn't leave the reception without taking pictures with the Peanut Gallery. The Peanuts:


Back, left-to-right: Mike, Brent, Chad, Clayton

Front, left-to-right: Me, Rick, Laura, Mindy and Darren. We were missing Roper who's deployed in Virginia right now. It wasn't the same without him :(

And then, Peanuts being a little crazy (because we're never crazy. lol.)


And of course, the original Peanuts - my first year group:

Leaving a space for Roper (we need to Photoshop him in here):


And just us:


Then more group shots - we just grabbed everyone nearby for this one: IMG_7101

Brent, Me, Laura, Mike (aka Freddie), Chad, Jen, Mary, Melinda, Mike, Todd and child, Mindy, Darren and Scott.

And then Brent decided that he had to have a "Say Anything" pose.


We might have to watch that during an upcoming Peanut movie night. Just sayin'.

And I had to have a picture of my parents, who by this point were more than ready to leave and change clothes. lol.


So after that, we dropped off my cap and gown at the alumni building. That was kind of sad - I only had them for a day, but it really marked that it was all over. I guess that's a good thing, but at the same time it's like saying goodbye to one of the best times in my life. But then I remember that now that we're done, I get to keep my friends and skip out on all the homework! So bonus.

After that we went to La Jolla Groves for a little graduation lunch (the reception had fruit and veggie trays and some cookies - good, but not a meal. lol.) Then we just played all day again.

So that's it! My official graduation portraits have already been ordered and the diploma is in the mail. So now I get to focus on using all the things I've learned. And paying for it. lol.


Art Class

Last week I mentioned that I had signed up for some online art classes. I haven't started the Pan Pastels class yet, but I've been working through the lessons and videos for Sketchbook Delight, and it's been a lot of fun. I've been playing a bit in my sketchbook and took a few pictures. I have a little more since then so I'll get those posted eventually.

First, I just did a little playing and sketching along with the videos to get used to the supplies and to doing any kind of drawing again after so long.


Then I started playing with watercolors, watercolor pencils and my Caran d'Ache watercolor crayons. I love the outlined look too - that's something I've picked up from the class that really suits my personal style.



I've also been playing in my Smash Book - I've done several pages, but I only have a picture of the finished page for this one so far:


I guess I need to take some more pictures and get stuff posted, huh?

Anyway, that's the artsty stuff. Next up, graduation!

Foodie catch-up


So, I'm a little behind again (as usual!) and wanted to post a little foodie love that I promised. First, I had found fresh figs at Costco and almost did a little dance in the aisle - I took them home and made a delicious fig, apple and goat cheese crostata.


To make this, I used the crust from this recipe. Then I quartered the figs, sliced a Granny Smith apple into thin slices and sauteed them with brown sugar and I Can't Believe it's Not Butter spray (about 1 tbsp) until they were caramalized. I added in some goat cheese for tang, wrapped it all up in the crust, added an egg wash (Egg Beaters) and then baked it until golden. It works as a savory side or a dessert - for a dessert, drizzle with honey and serve with whipped cream of vanilla ice cream. Yummy.

The other thing I made recently that was fantastic was a Summer Veggie Pizza - I got the recipe from Cooking Light but adapted it just a bit.


I used pre-made whole wheat pizza dough from the grocery store. Instead of an onion, I added a zucchini. I used an orange bell pepper instead of red for color, sprinkled on some fresh thyme and added a sliced yellow heirloom tomato before covering with cheese and baking. Before serving, I added the fresh basil which really took it to the next level. This was fantastic and I'll definitely make it again!

And looking at this, you can see how totally addicted I am to fresh produce lately. I got my first Bountiful Basket last weekend and was thrilled with all the beautiful produce, fresh herbs and also the granola and zucchini bread I got. I'll definitely keep doing that, but I think I'll need to skip this coming weekend and work through some of what's in my fridge from the last basket, a trip to Costco and a run to a farmers market. See the loot from that trip below:


I got some apricot preserves from Tagee's Famous Fruit that are delicious, especially on the fresh pumpernickel bread I picked up. I also got a jar of their corn salsa, but I haven't tried that yet. And aside from pizza (and a fabulous veggie risotto I made last night), I've been doing a LOT of this:


Which is good... I got a bit off track while my parents were here, but you have to splurge now and then, right? Besides. All of the fresh stuff is just so delicious.

Anyway. That's my food catch-up post. More to come...

I miss school.

I need something to do. I crave it. I'm totally lost without it. I now spend the majority of my free time on evenings and weekends sitting in front of the TV watching the Food Network and reading trash novels (that's what my Aunt Pat calls anything that isn't of significant literary worth. lol. I prefer the term "escape." Semantics.) I realized that my descent into couch-potato-ness was coming hard and fast. Which is weird because I'm dying to get back into my studio and create - my boards on Pinterest are totally filling with great ideas and inspiration. Alas, motivation has been an issue. After getting up at 5:15 every morning to go to the gym, come home and get ready for work, go to work all day, maybe run errands, come home and fix dinner, eat... at that point it's 8pm and I'm exhausted. This is when I make up excuses for not going up to the attic and sitting down with a book and a cooking show or three instead.

So I gave myself an intervention.

Since learning and classes give me the structure and the challenge that I crave, I decided to go back to school! Only not really. lol. I'm not quite that crazy... I should wait at least 6 months ;) But I did sign up for a few online classes. The first is Donna Downey's PanPastel 101 class (I'll probably take the whole series).

Panpastel101 wksp

I've had my eye on this for a while and finally bought some workable fixative last weekend - I have everything else I need. I figured, I have all these supplies and I don't use them - so it's time! I downloaded all the materials and I can't wait to start (and I confess, I also used this as an excuse to order the PanPastel trays instead of the annoying containers they come in where you can't see the colors and you need an engineering degree to screw them back together.)

And the other class is one I'm super excited about. I signed up for Alisa Burke's Sketchbook Delight class.


I used to be fairly good at drawing back when my mom had me in classes when we lived in Colorado. I had a fairly impressive portfolio for a 10-year old. But it's one of those things that you lose when you don't practice and I haven't spent much time drawing in the last 20 years or so. Time to start again! I already have tons ofDrawing supplies, but I did order some watercolors and another book on drawing that's been on my wishlist for a while - Carla Sonheim's Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists.There's another book or two I have my eye on if I really get into this. I'm also planning to take Alisa's watercolor class next. I bookmarked a few other classes that look awesome too. I feel motivation just pumping through my veins right now.

Of course, since I need to stop and return a pair of shoes to Kohl's tonight and there happens to be a Michael's next door, I thought I should see if they have anything on sale that I just *have* to have for these classes. Lo and behold, sketchbooks and watercolor paper are all 40% off, and there's a coupon for 20% off your order including sale items. But I didn't have a coupon printed. But! I remembered that Michael's had a sign about e-coupons the last time I was there so I pulled up their website. Yes, there's an app for that. No more printing coupons! I get the weekly ads and all the coupons in the handy little app on my iPad. I *heart* technology. I had the nerdiest little burst of joy when I scanned my first QR code and downloaded the app. Sigh. And you know what the best thing about drawing is? I can do it WHILE watching the Food Network. It's win/win. lol.

P.S. - speaking of food, I made a summer veggie pizza last night that was AMAZING. I took pictures and I'll post the recipe soon. I said it before, but I'm just adoring fresh produce right now, and I think I'm going to start ordering Bountiful Baskets too. And, the Thanksgiving Point Farmer's Market opens this Friday. Can't get enough! 

I have been reprimanded.

My family has gone way past hinting that my blog is neglected... lol. Of course, they've been telling me to write something... ANYTHING... for weeks now. And I'm just getting around to it. I'm so responsive. So - quick update while I'm on my lunch break.

First, I know I always say this, but I can't believe it's been a MONTH!!! William is a month old. I've been in my new job for over a month. It's been more than 6 weeks since school ended and graduation is NEXT week! And in the last month, what have I done? Well... I'm settling into my new job which has been great. My stress level is way down, the people are fabulous, and the food is done by the same company that owns Communal and Pizzaria 712, so you know it's awesome (did I mention I get 6 free meals a week?). They have great, healthy options so I can stay on track which is really nice. Here's one of just a few pictures I've taken in the last month - munching a burger at my desk.

Work and burger

I normally eat in the cafeteria with everyone else, but this was a special BBQ day where I came back to my desk rather than eat outside.

I've been doing dinners and movies with friends - met up with Rob, saw Pirates... met up with the gang from school, had Thai food and saw Transformers... then there was the Harry Potter 7.2 weekend where some of the people at work made an awesome batch of butter beer.


I loved HP7.2. I saw the 3D Imax version and I want to see it again, but it will have to wait until I see Captain America and Cowboys and Aliens. I think one or both of those are in the plan for this next weekend. We'll see.

What else... I can't forget that Melody came out to stay with me for a few days while she interviewed for jobs and found a place to live - I'm sooooo excited that they're moving back here - less than 5 minutes from my house too! It's going to be play time :)

I've been reading a lot of books... most of them require no brain power whatsoever, which has been a lovely respite from 2 years of textbooks and case studies. I've been working on the yearbook for our class too - I actually have a few things I can share from that. It's pretty basic stuff, but I guess if you want to get technical it's sort of a digital scrapbook, right? Considering I've done NOTHING else for the last month... not even in my Smashbook, at least this is something (can you believe I haven't even touched the 1500 pictures from my trip? Sigh. I did buy a Groupon for a photobook so I can make sure to get it into some kind of book soon.)

Here are a few layouts for the yearbook:

Class dinner

There's a 2nd page to this that refuses to upload. Moving on! This is from our Creativity and Innovation class.

Vasa 1

A few unforgettable classes from 1st year...

1st Year Classes 3

1st Year Classes 4

And a few pictures (mostly from my phone) from our 2nd residency week last August (I just realized the date is wrong on here... gotta fix that! Thank goodness for digital...).

2nd year residency week 1

Argh... page 2 doesn't want to upload. Some of these must just be too big. Oh Well!

There are also standard yearbook pages with everyone's photos, but I've been subbing out the "official" ones where I can with better pictures. I also included contact info and birthdays (hence the reason I'm not posting any of them) as well as who's on Facebook and/or LinkedIn so we can all keep in touch. I'm also doing pages for all of our classes with pictures of professors and some other fun stuff. I'm still finishing up the last of what I've got and I'll include graduation next week and it will be done! So that's been taking a lot of time as well...

Let's see. What else... cooking - I came up with a new fig recipe after I got giddy over finding brown turkey figs at Costco. I have pictures and a recipe and I might even post them at some point! lol. I made a fig / apple crostata that could be sweet or savory and it was yummy. I made Aarti's eggplant rolls last night with rotisserie chicken and steamed green beans and some cherries straight from a roadside produce stand. I'm going to make a veggie pizza from Cooking Light at some point this week - trying to take advantage of the fabulous produce right now.

So that's all I've got for now. I've got to run to finish lunch and get back to work. Hopefully it won't be a month before I post again ;)