Our first anniversary was on June 2nd! Can you believe that Drew and I have already been married for over a year!? Ahh, so crazy! I was planning to do an anniversary post over here that day, but I was off to Puerto Rico with my family (more on that later). I still haven’t finished up my series of wedding posts I started last summer, but I’ll finish those eventually. Today, I’m excited to announce that our wedding is being featured on the wedding blog, Paper Moon Weddings.
Hop on over there to check it out! :)
During the past school year, my time was pretty much 100% devoted to schoolwork. I literally came home every day from school to simply sit on my couch and read books or write papers for school. If I wasn’t doing that, then I was in the painting studio trying to finish paintings for my art exhibition. It was tiring and exhausting. My house was constantly a mess, I rarely had time to cook dinner anymore, I didn’t do my hair or wear make-up to school a single day the entire year. It was definitely a year with a lack of any sort of “me” time. I think life should have a healthier balance than that. I didn’t have a choice however, so over the past year, whenever Drew and his friends would go play Frisbee at the park or I saw others making time for movies and other fun events, I would jot down in a notebook things that I wanted to make a priority in my life once my college years were behind me, when I had a “real life.”
Thank goodness that day has come. I’m a listy person and I loved the challenge of my 20 before 20 list I did a couple years ago, so I thought it would be fun to do something similar again. This list however is much more general and doesn’t have any particular end date the things have to be accomplished by. It is a list of self improvement, things I want to make a bigger priority in life, things I want to do for “me” time, things that need to get done around the house, things I haven’t had time to do in the last year, etc. Let’s get started, shall we? Introducing the now-that-I-have-a-real-life list:
Listed in no particular order:
1. Try to read at least one book a month (of MY choosing!)
2. Make time to actually read the magazines I subscribe to.
3. Make time for more DIY/home projects. (fabric roman shades for the kitchen, refinish Drew’s dresser, paint/stain Drew’s desk, makeover our coffee table, makeover white cabinet in foyer, style office built-ins, hang art in the rest of the hallway, etc.)
4. Re-arrange and organize my home office/studio. (Set up a spot for painting, work on storage solutions, fabric storage, etc.)
5. Make a list of goals for what I want to accomplish next in life. (Keep the school momentum going!)
6. Plan a vacation that doesn’t fall on a typical school break.
7. Make an entryway area in our foyer. (mirror on wall, bench seat, baskets for shoes, coat hooks, etc.)
8. Update resume, figure out how to write a cover letter, start looking for jobs. (already started!)
9. Research potential grad school programs?
10. Spend time reading through the cookbooks I have and try more recipes outside my typical taste.
11. Have a picnic in the park, play frisbee, relax.
12. Develop a better exercise routine in addition to my Pilates classes. Take a yoga class, evening bike rides, morning jogs, more time at the gym.
14. Journal/write/blog more. (Poetry image notebook)
15. Visit more flea markets and estate sales! Can’t beat great vintage finds!
16. Plan weekend trips to explore Louisiana and the surrounding areas. (Monroe, Shreveport, etc.)
17. Plan a trip to Texas! (Other than a layover on a flight to Cali, I’ve never been to Texas and it is super close to Louisiana!)
18. Work on keeping our marriage healthy. (more date nights, time for each other away from the computer!, etc.)
19. Frame and hang more of my own artwork.
20. Add more interest and pattern to our bedroom decor. (It is still a little “blah” right now! Bring in some pattern/color/texture! Hang art, find nightstands, get new lamps.)
21. Make nightly Bible studies more in depth and find a home church in New Orleans.
22. Sign Drew and I up for a ceramics workshop class!
23. Work with gazelle-like intensity on our budget/debt pay off! (Dave Ramsey plan)
24. Learn Adobe Illustrator to the max! (I know how to do a lot in it, but I’m mostly self-taught and there is much more I want to know how to do!)
25. Start on surface pattern design self-education! (Illustrator, Start sketching patterns, finding inspiration, designing repeatable patterns, coming up with color schemes, working with my Wacom tablet, etc.)
26. Make a quilt!
27. Plan a trip back to Europe (hopefully sometime in the next few years). I want to visit Kristine in Denmark and Jacky in Germany/Switzerland, would also love to go to Italy, Greece, Ireland/Scotland (where my Wallace ancestors came from forever ago), and a million other places. Drew wants to check out the craft beer selections in Belgium.
28. Spend more time watercolor painting, series of sketches, finished works, etc. (It was my first love!)
29. Redesign Icing on the Cake blog (already started on this too!)
30. Work on putting together P.S. Designs Portfolio (graphic design, logo/branding work, print products)
31. Take classes in calligraphy and letterpress.
32. Open an Etsy shop?
33. Get better at gluten-free baking.
34. Design stationary for myself.
35. Continue to paint, exploring more fabric paintings.
36. Watch Downton Abbey. (and other shows I haven’t had time for in the last few years!)
37. Read my Papaw’s book. (I’ve read most of the stories in it, and went around with him reading them at book signings when the book first came out, but I’ve never taken the time to sit down and read it cover to cover, plus its been a while since it was published, so I should read them all again anyway!)
38. Next 5 years– hopefully buy and start remodeling a house!
I’m sure these will continually be updated and added to, but it is a start for now!
Much of my time over the last few months of this past semester were spent here:
This was my studio space in the Advanced Painting room at Tulane. I shared this room with several other pretty cool people (and pretty awesome artists). Our end goal was to produce a body of work for our end-of-the-year, Bachelor of Arts Exhibition. Our exhibition was up in the Carroll Gallery at Tulane from May 9th-May 17th.
It was a really awesome experience to have my work shown in a gallery. Here is my final exhibition, a quilt series of twenty-four (I actually did more, these were just the ones I ended up showing) abstract landscape paintings, painted on cotton quilting fabric, some fabrics sewn together, and some including machine and hand embroidery.
My artist statement:
I grew up in rural Southern Illinois on land that has been passed down through my family for generations. Before I started school, I spent every day with my grandmother, who encouraged my love of watercolor painting and being creative and who established the foundation for my personality and moral beliefs. My grandpa wrote stories, fished everyday, and grew a huge garden that I helped him harvest. I loved snapping off the ripe asparagus, helping my grandma cook, and laying in the hammock in their backyard. Just down the road was my own house, where I climbed trees and ran through the creek with my sisters and brother, helped my dad work in the yard and feed our chickens, and helped my mom plant flowers and herbs, cook and bake. Throughout my childhood, my mom imparted to me her creative knowledge – sewing, hand embroidery, cross-stitch, smocking, machine embroidery, knitting, crocheting, and basket weaving.
After moving to New Orleans for college, I started thinking more about my own childhood and the different backgrounds of those around me. I began to really question the idea around our sense of place—how people live, where they live, why they live there—the spaces people create for themselves. How do these places impact our personalities and our interests? During this time, I also developed a love for interior design—a way to carve out a space for myself that felt comfortable and familiar, a place where I could mix my former and current worlds in a way that was also beautiful and intriguing.
My art aims to capture a sense of personal history, exploring both the past and the present, questioning the differences in the city and the country, and highlighting domestic pursuits and interior spaces and exploring their connection with the natural world. I’m interested in the juxtaposition of interior and exterior spaces—nature and domesticity, home and homestead, city and country—but also interested in how they work together and are innately connected. Because of my upbringing, I’m very interested in the use of sewing, embroidery, quilting, fabric and pattern and how those elements can intertwine with paint to create images. I’m also interested in the elements that make up interiors—paint, fabric and textiles, wood textures, natural elements, metal finishes—and how many of those elements find their roots in the natural—cotton, linen, wood, and minerals. One of my aesthetic and conceptual goals is to somehow marry interior and natural elements into a single image, developing a quilt of sorts, that evokes a feeling of comfort, sentiment, and history that an interior of a home or a familiar natural setting provides.
If you want to check out more of my artwork, you can visit my portfolio website, here.
To check out work from the other artists showing with me, visit our exhibition website, here.
Haven’t seen much of me on here this last semester, huh? Well that should be changing soon.
Last weekend, this happened:
My freshman roommate and first friend at Tulane, Sarah.
The graduation was held downtown at the Superdome.
My little sister, Kelsey, graduated from High School on the same day as me, so our family split up for the graduation ceremonies. My brother-in-law, Bob, niece, Georgiana, and mom came to mine.
Drew’s mom and dad, Susie and Bob, also came down for graduation.
I graduated cum laude from Tulane University with a B.A. in English and Studio Art (concentration in painting). After four tough years, I’m so happy to have those college days behind me. This past semester in particular was just so insanely hectic that I feel like I haven’t had a real life in forever. I’m happy to be getting back to the real world. The world of friends, cooking, sewing, gardening, house projects, travel, job searching, and not thinking about French classes or studying until late into the night. I’m excited to get back to blogging! I’ve got lots of things to share with you!
P.S. The Dalai Lama spoke at my graduation ceremony. How awesome is that? :)
It’s been a while, huh? I’ve missed blogging this semester. I have so many things I want to share, but this semester just leaves no extra time to do so. Just over one more month until school is over and I graduate! I can’t wait!
This week is my spring break, and although it is just as busy as any other week with schoolwork, I thought I would at least drop by for a minute and share a quick tip that I did last week:
I haven’t been wearing make-up very often lately. I used to wear it everyday, but with the late nights and early mornings of college, I’m just not getting enough sleep. Even if putting on make-up only takes five minutes, right now I have a million other better things to spend those five minutes on (like sleep!). My weekends this semester have mostly been spent on my couch reading school books and writing papers, so even on the weekends I haven’t been getting very dressed up for anything.
Anyway, I wore make-up almost every day over Christmas break with all the family get-togethers and pictures being taken. At that same time, with the winter weather making my skin really dry, I had a strange reaction to the face cream my dermatologist had put me on and one of my eyelids got really red and itchy.
Fast forward a month or so when Drew and I were going to a Superbowl promotion concert here in New Orleans. I got out my make-up bag and put my make-up on without even thinking anything of it. The next day I woke up to my eyelids all red and swollen. At first I thought I might be developing an allergy to my make-up. I’ve worn Bare Minerals make-up since I very first started wearing make-up in middle school and I really like it and didn’t want to have to switch to anything else. Then I remembered my red, itchy eyes at Christmastime! I thought it might not be the make-up, but maybe just the brushes holding in nasty germs! So I started by replacing my mascara with a brand new tube and then did some research online for a good DIY make-up brush cleaner. This is what I did:
DIY Make-up Brush Cleaner
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1. Mix all ingredients in a cup or bowl.
2. Wash each brush thoroughly in the mixture. Mine were really dirty, so I made a fresh batch of this for each brush. If you do this regularly, you might not need to make multiple batches.
3. Rinse each brush clean with warm water.
4. Squeeze the excess water out of each brush with a towel.
5. Shape the bristles into the correct shape.
6. Lay flat on a towel to dry.
This is how dirty the water was after slightly washing just ONE brush! How gross! There is no telling how many dead skin cells and who knows what else was all up in those.
I can’t believe that I had never thought to wash my brushes out before! I had been using these same brushes for the last 8-10 YEARS without cleaning them at all! I will now be doing this regularly!
Since I wanted to make sure that my make-up was clear of any leftover germs from my eye issues, I also took a slightly damp towel and cleaned out the lids of each of my make-up containers as well.
Drew and I drove home this past weekend to see my little sister, Jillian, in her high school musical and I wore make-up the whole weekend without any red, itchy, or swollen eyes! I’m so happy to have easily fixed the problem and I don’t have to invest in all new make-up. Plus, the brushes are so much softer now too!
I hope you all enjoyed your holiday season! Mine was great! However, just like the rest of 2012, it was so hectic and went by so fast! Drew and I visited our families in our hometown over the holidays and it was so nice to see them. We also got over 16 inches of snow while we were there! It was so fun and so pretty! I really miss that about winter when I’m in New Orleans!
Check out my Instagram to see more photos of our holiday vacation, including the snow, the scarves I crocheted, and our quick getaway trip to Saint Louis while we were home as well.
I know it is after Christmas now and I should have posted this sooner, but I wanted to share with you our first ever Rowland family Christmas card!
It was extra special this year being our first Christmas as a married couple! Drew’s birthday is also on Christmas, so it is always a special holiday around here.
I’m naturally a really self-reflective person, always re-evaluating my goals and how I’m meeting them, but I love how the holiday season gets everyone in a reflective mood — focusing on family and what is important, thinking over the past year and then making goals they want to meet in the upcoming one.
2012 was a really crazy year for me/us. A whole lot of wedding planning, Drew graduating from college, Drew starting work in a salary position, expanding our business, getting married, going on our honeymoon (to Boston, New Hampshire and Maine — I still need to blog about that!), working on making our apartment our home, and me getting closer and closer to graduating as well. It was a great year, but a really busy/crazy/hectic one, and I’m happy it is now over. School has gotten more and more intense as I’m getting closer to graduating and this past semester really seemed to take over my life. I was at school from early in the morning to really late at night (some of my classes didn’t get out until 9:30 at night!) and didn’t have time for a whole lot else (including blogging — that’s why I’ve been so MIA). I’ve really been stretched thin lately, and I don’t see it getting too much better (actually probably much worse) until this upcoming semester is over and I graduate.
However, even though 2013 will probably be a hectic year as well, I’ve got a lot to look forward to! I graduate this year! I could not be more excited for that day to come! I’m so over the whole college lifestyle and everything that comes with it. I’m also excited to see what job opportunities lie ahead and what I end up doing once I get out of school. So many exciting things to pursue!
I also have a lot of big changes in my life for 2013. As of the new year, Drew and I are now on Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. This is such an important change for me this year. As a single woman, I had a older, used car paid for by my parents when I turned 16 and a scholarship that covered pretty much all my college expenses. I knew people lived in debt, but never really knew what that felt like. When I got married, I inherited from my husband a car that has monthly payments, a lot of money in student loans, and a small amount of credit card debt. Debt sucks, y’all. A couple months of that stress and I decided that is all I could take. Dave Ramsey’s book really is life-changing. It makes you think about money, spending and debt in a whole new way. We have re-evaluated our budget and are doing all we can to diminish our debts as quickly as possible. Our goal for 2013 is to pay off all credit card debt and Drew’s car by the end of the year. Hopefully in the two years following that we can get all of Drew’s student loans paid off. Those payments are not something I want to live with for any longer than humanly possible. Even if that means sacrificing a lot of other things along the way (like eating out, spending money on things for our house we don’t need, extra television stations, extras on phone plans and bigger things like waiting to buy a house or start a family). So hopefully we can get that over with and get on with our lives! Really, I know we are just starting this, but if you have any debt or need tips on managing your money, saving for retirement, saving for college for your kids, or just want to live in financial peace, read Dave’s books. I really think everyone needs to read them. Your life will be changed. I’m warning you.
If that wasn’t a big enough goal to start out 2013 with, I also have big lifestyle changes in the health department. Over this past summer I found out that I have hypothyroidism. That basically means that my thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone and in turn causes a whole slew of other problems — exhaustion/tiredness, lack of concentration, impaired memory, depression, headaches, acne, digestive problems, problems being able to stand cold temperatures, problems with metabolism, weakness, muscle aches, etc. I’ve been experiencing different levels of these problems for the past several years and didn’t know what was wrong with me. Being in college and therefore working late nights, being stressed out and not getting enough sleep also tended to exaggerate these problems. I was so thankful to finally figure out what was causing the symptoms though. Hypothyroidism can be treated — but that means I have to take thyroid hormone supplements every day and likely will have to for the rest of my life. After I started taking the thyroid supplements and got my levels in the right place, I was feeling much better, but still not perfect. So I didn’t stop there.
After the endocrinologist didn’t say much different, I headed to my dad’s nutritionist to see what was the cause of the hypothyroidism and how to better combat it. I never believe that medication is the only right and final answer to anything! I want to get to the source of these problems and treat that. So I met with this nutritionist and although we are still working through my hair analysis to figure out what nutrient deficiencies I have and what vitamin supplements I need to take, I’m as of 2013 on a much stricter diet to maintain optimal health. I found out that I have sensitivities to wheat and milk (I had suspected this before), so although I’m not necessary “allergic” and I’m not going to break out in hives when I eat/drink them, I can’t digest them as well as I should be able to and they are therefore not helping me or adding any needed nutrients to my diet. I also have sensitivities to soy as well, so I’m staying away from that. Soy has a lot of hormones, and my levels of estrogen are already really high, so soy isn’t good for me because of that. In addition, my diet suggests I cut out corn products, they are so genetically modified these days that there isn’t much good left in them and white rice as well (starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods aren’t really so great for anyone). So this year (and for likely the rest of my life), I will be doing my best to not eat wheat, white rice, corn, soy or milk. Yikes! I also need to up my meat intake and my vegetable intake. I can still have other less-genetically modified and more nutrient rich carbs like red and white potatoes, beans, peas, lentils, quinoa, oats, sprouted grains, wild rice and limited amounts of brown rice. I also need to limit my sugar intake (as does everyone) to practically zero, so I’m trying to use only honey, agave nectar, and very limited amounts of turbinado sugar as a sweetener and limiting my fruit intake (again most fruits today have been so genetically modified that they contain so much sugar and not as many nutrients anymore — but I can still have it all, just a limit on my daily intake). I also am limiting my salt intake and only using Celtic sea salt (pure salt, no additives). The diet only lets you drink water as well (along with herbal teas), but I already only drink water, so that really isn’t a change. There are some other rules as well about what to eat with what (eat meat and veggies together and then eat starches like potatoes, peas, beans, lentils with vegetables, but don’t eat meat with potatoes/beans/lentils, etc. One is acidic, one is alkaline, so eating them together limits nutrient absorption) and the doctor also told me a lot of really great health information, but I’ll leave it at that. I would recommend everyone see a good nutritionist and start eating right for themselves!
I’ve been at it for the last week or so, and really so far, it isn’t that hard. You just have to change your mindset from eating for comfort to eating for health. There are also a lot of really great recipes out there that are gluten/rice/corn/soy free. I really didn’t eat that much corn or soy before anyway, and not enough white rice to make it that hard to cut out (plus it is easy enough to sub for brown rice or wild rice). Wheat is the big one (pasta, bread, baked goods, etc.) but there are lots of gluten-free options and lots of other flours to bake with (almond flour, coconut flour, quinoa flour, oat flour, etc.), so it really isn’t that difficult either. I haven’t missed milk yet, but I can always sub that with almond milk or small amounts of raw milk if it becomes a problem. I’m excited to start feeling better and being healthier!
So here’s to a healthier year this 2013 in many ways!
Do you have any goals for the new year?