Jan 17, 2012

my new obsession

on saturday, the bf and i joined a few of his friends at a great little place called bottle and bottega.  i had actually bought my mom a gift certificate to use here the next time she and my dad make a trip to chicago, so i was very excited to try it out.  the concept of bottle and bottega is to provide a fun, non-threatening atmosphere for people to try out their painting skills.  you can register for a public event (which is what we did), but they also offer private parties.  it's byob, so you bring your bottle and they provide the space, paint, canvasses, etc. as well as an instructor to walk you through the process of recreating whatever work of art has been chosen for that day.  painters of all levels are welcome and it's great for beginners.

so we showed up with our bottles, donned our aprons and settled in for an evening of painting and drinking.  i admit, i was a little nervous at first.  i have never considered myself artistic in the least, so the idea of me recreating a painting done by a real artist seemed on par with hell freezing over.  but, i was willing to give it a shot and figured between the bf and i, we would at least have two lovely paintings resembling what we would see on the walls of the local elementary school.

for three hours, we filled our glasses and painted along with our instructor's direction while we chatted and listened to fun music.  here is how my painting progressed:

the sketch.....

painting the background....

there were a lot more steps between step 2 and this, but here is my finished painting....

i have to admit, i was very pleasantly surprised with how my painting turned out.  having never picked up a paintbrush before - except for maybe paint by number projects when i was a kid - i didn't really expect much so i was pleased with my results.  it was really fun and i left b&b wanting to paint more. 

yesterday i was at michael's looking for a few things and happened to wander down the paint aisle.  you know where this is going.  i came home with a table top easel, a beginner set of acrylics and brushes, 2 canvasses and a painter's pallet.  i'm dying to set up and try my hand at another painting.  i have a ton to learn but i think i may have found a hobby that i'm really going to enjoy, regardless of whether my skill level every improves.  so in keeping with my theme for 2012, i am going to enjoy painting and am looking forward to taking my mom to b&b this spring/summer!

Jan 10, 2012


it's taken me a while but i've decided on my word for 2012 - enjoy.  so often i think to myself, "if i can just get through this week" or "next month will be better", etc.  i feel like i tend to wish away my days, - working to meet a deadline at work, hoping to get through a difficult meeting, looking forward to the next payday - and fail to enjoy each day as it happens, even if nothing major or particularly joyful occurs. 

i remember when i was a kid thinking my parents were crazy when they used to comment about how quickly time goes by.  i just wanted to be older, have more freedom and be an adult.  now that i'm an adult, i'm already looking back and wondering where the last several years have gone and pondering how time will most likely seem to speed up as i get older.  of course, with age comes responsibility and all of the things that make our days slip by unnoticed because we're so busy, stressed and worn out.  i guess i can only speak for myself, but i know i'm guilty of that, anyway.

so 2012 is my year to enjoy.  i want to be sure to enjoy things about each day - snuggling with my kitty, spending time with friends and the bf, pausing to be proud of myself when a project at work goes well, appreciating this great city i live in, etc.  here's to a year of enjoyment!

Jan 2, 2012

one little word - 2011 in review

last year about this time i posted about choosing one word to focus on as my theme for the upcoming year.  the word for 2011 was commit, as in "commit to getting healthy, commit to furthering my career path, commit to trying new things and commit to strengthening important relationships, etc."  so how did my year of committing work out?  let's see....

i do feel that i did better with my overall health (though i can't seem to lose any weight!).  i eat pretty healthy in general and feel i've done a better job over the past 12 months than any other year in working out consistently.  i completed my first 5k last spring and have been working out 3-6 times a week.  the bf ended up getting a membership to the indoor tennis center, so i've been fortunate to have the option to play tennis 1-2 times a week even though the lovely chicago weather doesn't typically allow for outside play after september. 

i think i've also been able to strengthen some of the relationships in my life.  i already had a great group of friends and very close ties with my family, but i think the one relationship that really grew was the one with the bf.  not to get sappy or cheesy, but we're in a great place and i've been really happy with him this past year. 

as for the career path, well....  that's an area that i would still like to focus on for 2012.  i'm sure there are things i could/should be doing to improve my skills and expertise, so i need to put a little more attention toward that this year. 

trying new things.... hmmm....  i did travel to a new country (spain), did the 5k (yes, i mentioned it already but it was new for me!), and have tried to experiment with new foods and healthy recipes.  i got a facial for the first time (what a treat!) and learned how to be a responsible pet owner.  none of the new things are earth shattering, but they were new to me.

all in all, i'd say 2011 was a pretty good year and i'm looking forward to 2012.  i'm still deciding what my word will be, but i'll post it soon!