When Andrew met my parents for the first time sixteen years ago, it was nearing the end of football season during winter break from college. I figured they'd ask him the standard get to know you questions and was relatively unalarmed and unworried about the entire situation. Yet, here we were, standing in my parents' dining room, having entered the house only moments before and my father, a Pennsylvania native who raised me as a Steelers fan, immediately asked in a very serious tone, "So, Andy, you're from Cleveland? Does that mean you're a Browns fan?" Andrew admitted that yes, he was a Browns fan even...
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!