I am writing today from my heart. Over the course of the last few days, we have seen political leaders in our nation change from an administration full of empathy, kindness, and caring for our fellow citizens to one that pushes hate and seeks to strip away our basic human rights.
As I reflected on the events of the past few days, I thought about how I could make an impact through my art. I started designing greeting cards as a way for people to connect with each other-- something that is intrinsically human. We seek other people in times of happiness and in times of despair, and when written word makes it to our mailboxes, we connect with that in a way that is different than any text message, Facebook post, or email.
Right now, we need that written word more than ever as we reach out to those who are governing to make choices that support each and every one of us rather than build walls, whether figuratively or literally. As I thought about how important it is that we contact our Senators and Representatives and let our voices be heard, I realized that I could share my art in that way. #PostcardsForAction is an initiative to let our Senators and Representatives know that our rights as humans will not be oppressed and is a call to action to stand up for these basic rights.
Here's how you can join me in taking action:
1. Make a small donation and receive either 3 or 6 #PostcardsForAction. For a $5 donation, you will receive two Senator and one Representative postcards. For a $10 donation, you will receive four Senator and two Representative postcards so both you and a friend can write together. 100% of net proceeds from your donation will go directly to the ACLU.
2. Write to your Senators and Representative. I will ship your #PostcardsForAction shortly after I receive your donation. You will receive a notification when they are on their way. When they arrive, write! You can find addresses for the Senators and Representatives at the respective links.
3. Spread the word! Share your postcards on social media using #PostcardsForAction to help get the word out to others. Send this blog post to friends and family or share it on social media. The more people that hear about #PostcardsForAction, the better-- it increases the written demand to our Senators and Representatives for action as well as the donation made to the ACLU.
The time for action is now. I hope you will join me in these steps as we fight for our human rights and make our voices heard.
With hope and love,
My favorite time of the year has officially arrived-- Valentine season! And with it I have brand new cards that I hope you all relate to as much as I do. There are four cards in total, and one is a little bit interactive as you can fill it in as you wish. Here's a look at the brand new line!
And, thanks to each of you for continuing to support me each and every year! <3
Happy New Year! I'm still allowed to say that nine days in, right? It's no secret that I've neglected this space for several months. Looking back, my last consistent post was sometime in April. Yes, April. I'm not here to make any big plans or to make a comeback, and I'm ok with that.
Here's the thing-- when 2016 came to start, I made my list of goals like I usually do each year, some of them incredibly lofty. One of those things was to blog every week day. I was pretty good with keeping up, and then life happened. Considering how many people have reacted to 2017 finally making its appearance, I know that I'm not alone in thinking that 2016 was one of the worst years in recent history.
While I don't want to get into details here, 2016 was a year full of too much adulting for me and Andrew. Our luck wasn't so great and just when we would think things were getting better, another roadblock would appear-- mostly of the house related variety-- leaving us wondering when the boomerang of karma would come back and turn things around.
Somehow, despite the incredibly tough hand we were dealt in 2016, we still came out victorious. We're still alive and well, our house is still standing, and we have a few more life lessons under our belt. We tried our best to laugh at it all and say to each other, "It could be worse!" (Which sometimes it did get worse, but I digress.) And when we had had enough mentally, we were able to escape it all through travel-- Santa Fe, Boston, and Puerto Rico were all checked off our travel list in 2016. And those things were the light throughout it, making 2016 not such a bad year after all.
Last week, as I sat reflecting on the year that had passed, I thought about what would have made things easier when things did go wrong. A lot of that came back to self-care. Often, we can let stress get in the way of living our lives. We dealt with that stress by taking a literal time out, leaving Baltimore, and traveling somewhere new. However, on the day to day, there were no time outs.
In 2017, instead of making specific and measurable goals, I'm focusing on the smaller day to day things-- finding the quiet, the calm, the beauty among the stress and chaos. I want to enjoy life every day, even when things get tough. I want to have fewer expectations for myself and consciously make time to decompress. I want to continue to travel as an escape (and we're already planning trips to France and New Orleans this spring!), but also find a way to escape in my own city. I want to turn stress into productive energy instead of dwelling on things I can't change. I want to feel quietude.
I don't need a specific formula or list of things to do to be happier and healthier in 2017. Instead, if I can find ways to take care of myself, those things will fall into place.
Did you set goals this year, or you taking a more relaxed approach like I am in 2017?
Hello friends! I hope you all devoured one piece of pumpkin pie too many, shared a good laugh with friends and family, and enjoyed time to reflect on the past year this Thanksgiving! It's been quite some time since you've found me on this blog. For various life reasons, I just haven't been able to spend as much time here as I'd like, but I wanted to pop in to talk to you about something that is so important to me.
Last year, I started a new yearly tradition in the spirit of giving and helping those around us. Triggered by my reflections of last year's Baltimore riots, I decided to forego a Black Friday sale and give back to my city instead. While I didn't know how you all would react, in the end I was overwhelmed by your support. And so, this year, I've chosen to continue this tradition.
In the spirit of giving, in lieu of a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale, I will be donating 20% of my sales from Friday through Monday to two organizations that are really important to me and for Baltimore-- Banner Neighborhoods and Access Art. Below, you'll find more information about each organization in order to understand their value to our city.
Access Art is an after school arts and media center that empowers youth to use their artistic ability and their unique understanding of their environment as catalysts for social change in their communities.
Banner Neighborhoods is a community based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting residents in their efforts to enhance the quality of life throughout 10 southeast Baltimore communities. They offer a wide variety of programs designed to strengthen the community, ranging from youth activities, to senior home maintenance, to beautification projects.
From Friday, November 25 through Monday, November 28, I'll be donating 20% of all revenue towards these amazing programs. Please join me in giving back to Baltimore! Even if you don't plan to make a purchase, please consider donating to these programs in the coming days. For those of you that do make a purchase, I'll be sending a special thank you your way. Additionally, if you make a purchase of $50 or more and mention this blog post when you place your order, I'll be sending an extra surprise your way.
And, for those of you in Baltimore, I'll be participating in the Benefit Baltimore Market at Peabody Heights Brewery on Giving Tuesday from 5-10pm. This is a new event this year, which will feature beer (of course!), 22 amazing Baltimore-based arts and crafts vendors, and food trucks. All vendors will be donating 20% of revenue to local nonprofits and the brewery will be donating 15% of their revenue. It's a perfect opportunity to do some holiday shopping while supporting Baltimore and having fun.
And lastly, if I haven't already said it a thousand times, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all that you do! I am incredibly grateful for each and every one of you. You enable me to do what I love doing each and every day.
I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season!
Baseball season has officially arrived! We are huge baseball fans and take advantage of having a baseball team in our own city. Once the season begins, we find ourselves at Oriole Park quite a bit. However, going to baseball games can get expensive when you factor in tickets, food, transportation, and memorabilia. We wouldn't be able to go as often as we do if it weren't for a few tricks up our sleeves. So, I thought I'd throw together a quick guide for you locals (or those planning a visit!) on how to visit Oriole Park at Camden Yards without breaking the bank.
1 // Take advantage of season ticket discounts. I know this option isn't for everyone, so I'm going to put it on the table first before talking about other money saving options for tickets. However, if you go to a lot of games, it's worth looking into a season ticket package. We knew it was time to switch to season tickets when we realized we'd gone to 14 games in one season. This will be the fourth year that we have our season tickets. We have a 13 game package and didn't choose fancy seats. Because of the season ticket plan, we save between $3-15 per ticket depending on who the Orioles are playing that day. While we still save and budget for this package each year it's a huge savings per ticket. An additional perk to having season tickets is that you can also get the same discount on single game tickets, so if you want to invite friends you can share the love. Don't want to commit to 13 games? Split a package with friends or family to enjoy a discount.
2 // Avoid Prime and Elite games. Prime and Elite games are the highly sought after match-ups. Rivalry games such as the Red Sox or Yankees will be more expensive, sometimes even double, in ticket price. If you don't care who the O's are playing, choose a Value or Classic game. You'll save quite a bit of money in doing so.
3 // Take advantage of ticket offers or snag your tickets on Stub Hub. For every home Friday game, you can get a $7 left field reserve ticket with a student ID. Student IDs for all ages are included, so while it's probably not what you're supposed to do, I'm not going to tell anyone if you pretend to be in grad school and use your old college ID. ;) For those of you that are younger, are still in college, or have kids you should definitely take advantage of this. Checking Stub Hub the day of is also a great way to snag cheap tickets. There are always season ticket holders that are trying to unload tickets they can't use, and you can often snag them at a fraction of the cost.
4 // Pack a delicious picnic dinner and bring it with you. Stadium food isn't cheap. Luckily, Oriole Park is one of the few major league stadiums to allow fans to bring food into the stadium. A few good guidelines to follow to make stadium entry go more smoothly is to pack your food in clear, plastic containers or bags. You can also bring in non-alcoholic beverages as long as they're in a plastic bottle that is still sealed. While you can bring in food, leave the coolers at home or they won't let you in. Just to give you some ideas about how creative you can be, in the past, we've taken chips and guacamole, cake, pasta salad, and a plethora of other delicious summer eats with us to games. And we always remember to take a couple large bottles of water for those super hot and steamy Baltimore summer nights.
5 // Go to a game that offers a freebie. If you're hoping to grab a new O's shirt or hat, pick a game that offers one for free. Just a simple Orioles t-shirt from the team shop usually starts around $25. The last couple of years, the Orioles have stepped up their promotions game. On t-shirt giveaway nights, they offer both medium AND extra large sizes, so it's a little bit more true to the statement "one size fits all" than it used to be. Additionally, they do a jersey night and a sweatshirt night this year. Similar giveaways happened last season and the quality of the items were just as good as something you'd purchase in the team shop, and they weren't plastered with sponsor logos. Some of our favorite giveaways have included a super cozy, high quality stocking hat and Orioles reusable shopping bags (perfect to use to bring our picnic with us to games).
6 // Ride your bike, take public transportation, or walk to save on parking. This is more easily said than done if you don't live in the city, but there are still plenty of options. We often ride our bikes to the stadium because there are plenty of bike racks to park and lock our bikes. The bike path along the Inner Harbor makes it a pretty easy ride for the most part. If we don't want to bike, we'll park near Little Italy where parking isn't metered or limited and then take a nice stroll along the harbor to the ballpark. This could be a feasible option for those of you that need to make the drive in.
There's a garage on Gay St between Lombard and Baltimore that usually has parking under $10 since it's just far enough away from the stadium. There's also the Charm City Circulator as a free transportation option if you don't want to pay the steep parking prices. If you have a larger group with which you can split the cost, it's probably much more reasonable to take a Taxi or Uber. Finally, don't forget about the Light Rail! While I've never used it because it's not convenient to us, many people do. It can be much cheaper and easier to park at a suburb station and take the Light Rail, which drops you off right at the stadium. Essentially, there is little reason why you should have to pay a ton of money for parking unless you simply want the convenience. If you're on a budget, suck it up and use a different alternative than driving.
7 // Download and check in with the MLB.com Ballpark App. If you're looking for special offers or deals, this app might for you. I've not ever used this app, but my husband used it to check in to every game we went to last season. Each time he checked in, he got a special offer or promo that he could use. It ranged from a percentage off at the team shop, discounts at certain food stands, and promos for seat upgrades. While it's not a surefire way of saving money, it could be of benefit if you're planning on purchasing food or merchandise.
8 // Don't go to a game, but visit anyway. Yeah, ok, I realize that this isn't the popular option, but for some people, they just really want to check out Oriole Park at Camden Yards because it is known to be one of the most beautiful ballparks in the league. When the Orioles aren't playing, Eutaw Street, which runs between Oriole Park and Camden Yards, is open to the public. Spending some time on Eutaw Street can be a lot of fun. You can still sneak peeks at the field, find your favorite player's home run plaque, or bring a camera and pose with the sculptures in the Legends Sculpture Garden.
And that wraps up my guide to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on a budget. Are you a baseball fan? What are you secrets to going to baseball games on the cheap? Have you ever been to Oriole Park at Camden Yards?