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New Arrivals

Heidi Shenk "cards" "shop"

It's been a long process, but they're finally here-- a brand new set of cards has arrived! I'm especially excited about this group because most of them have gone into new territory, which is both terrifying and satisfying at the same time. You may have noticed that I've been going for bigger and bolder designs, filling the card with an image or design as much as possible. Many of these new cards take that to the next level with designs that push white backgrounds to the side and have a full on color explosion.

I like these cards, and I feel comfortable in the designs as if I've finally found my groove. I feel as though I'm getting somewhere with my work, so you'll likely see similar cards to come in the future. They're a departure from what I've designed in the past, and that's the terrifying part. It's scary to change things up so drastically because you never know how people will react. However, so far, through the little glimpses I've shared of this new release, the feedback has been positive.

Part of the shift comes with other aspects of change within my business. This year, I finally found a local printer that was a good fit for my business (after a two year search!), so I started outsourcing many of my print jobs. This has freed up so much time for me to get back to the creative aspects of my business. In addition, it has provided more flexibility in design leaving me with new possibilities and opportunities that I didn't have before. These cards are a direct result.

To celebrate the launch, I'll soon be having an exclusive sale. You can sign up for my newsletter to get in on the details which will be going out on Wednesday. What do you think about the new line? Which are your favorites?

 

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On Being Opinionated

Heidi Shenk daily life

I am opinionated. If you know me, you already know this quite well. It's a personality trait that I have carried since as long as I can remember. I let those opinions fly and stubbornly stuck to them as a child. In high school, I wrote about them in editorials in our school newspaper, causing uproar among some who would approach me in class about how my opinion was wrong. And as an adult, I still find myself blurting out my thoughts and feelings on occasion.

I tend to stick to my arguments, but also like to hear different points of view as it can help me grasp a better frame of mind. But sometimes, I have a hard time understanding the other point of view. And sometimes, I realize that the reason for the uproar is because my opinion sheds light on a truth in some way. Am I always right? No. Opinions are not always based upon factual knowledge, and so by virtue I can't be right. They are rather a belief that has been formed based on your personal views.

However, thinking back on some of the situations that got me in the hottest of water were editorials or statements that were based on truths-- things that were true, but others didn't want to admit to because they knew it was wrong and that they were contributing to it. In high school, it was an editorial about how having to pay to be in a school spirit club created divisiveness between students at school athletic events. Only those who paid could sit in a certain section, and I and many others couldn't afford to pay, so we felt pushed aside. Or, it was the editorial I let one of my writers run about how segregated our cafeteria was-- complete with a diagram labeling the jock, stoner, Latino, nerd, and prep tables. These were truths. And the outrage and backlash came about because people knew they were true and they didn't want to admit to the ugliness of it all.

In my adult life, I still see these sorts of inequalities, and I certainly haven't learned to keep my mouth shut. I wrote about the divisive nature of the arts here in Baltimore. I sometimes find myself spouting off about how unequal and inaccessible some programs are in our neighborhood. I point out how parents create a divisive line through taking on an air of superiority or one-upping any and every story presented when speaking to non-parents, even if unknowingly doing so. I run my mouth about all sorts of things that go beyond what I've just mentioned. These are just a few of the topics that I can think of offhand that I've discussed in the past month.

Recently, as I reflected on a conversation that involved one of my strong opinions, I tried to evaluate why I sometimes can't back down on my beliefs. I realized that almost all of my opinions come back to the same thing-- treating people fairly and equally. One artist should not be treated differently than another simply because they aren't part of a popular group of people. Events and programs in our neighborhood should be priced in a way that makes them accessible for all, not just for an elite group. Parents and non-parents should be treated equally as human beings, not given preference or special accolades simply because one decided to have children and the other did not. Things should be fair and equal.

And I know that in life, nothing is fair and nothing is equal. And it probably never will be. On a grander scale, divisiveness will continue to exist. But I'm just not sure I can let that go. Because if I let go of being ok with inequalities on a smaller scale then doesn't that prime us to be ok with them on a larger scale as well?

As an adult, I've heard it time and again that we must not share our opinions because some people will take it the wrong way or become offended. But what are we to do when our opinions need to be heard? Sometimes hard truths and real talk creates dialogue that would have never existed if we kept quiet. I speak what is on my mind not to alienate, but rather to create dialogue. If no one ever talks about the stuff that hurts or upsets them, then we'll never make progress toward understanding each other as different people. 

Yes, of course, this is my opinion, just like so many other opinions I've developed throughout my lifetime, but as always I put it out there as a way to seek understanding. Are you opinionated like me? How do you approach the tough subjects that hurt or upset you? Do you keep quiet or do you try to create dialogue through sharing your opinion?

 

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Happy Monday!

Heidi Shenk daily life

This morning I woke up feeling groggy and disoriented. My body is still struggling to get on schedule with Sunday's time change. Even though the clock said 7, my body was telling me that it was 6. I managed to get through a shower despite feeling dizzy and lightheaded-- something I've always felt when I get up too early --and made my way downstairs for breakfast.

En route to the kitchen, I was greeting by Lilah, the happiest chocolate lab you'll ever meet. I had no other choice than to sit down in a chair and spend the next five minutes giving her a few good ear rubs and back scratches. Then it was onward to coffee.

In the moment that I poured my coffee, I set my intentions for the day. On this dreary and rainy Monday morning, I could either choose to be disgruntled about a new work week beginning, or I could look at it as a new opportunity for something exciting. My calendar for the entire day is already full of things that I either love to do or am looking forward to taking on, so I chose the later. And I choose to take on that Monday outlook most weeks.

So many times when Monday rolls around, I hear the inevitable grumbling. Everyone seems to be sad that the weekend is over. Instead of looking forward to the new opportunities that may present themselves in a new week, many look longingly at the days that just passed, unwilling to take on a positive attitude. I'm not sure why this is. Perhaps a large majority of people do work that they don't enjoy? Or maybe they struggle with finding the exciting and positive aspects of a typical work week?

This morning, when I opened my email inbox, I was greeted by an email from a client quickly thanking me for a service. She closed her email with "Happy Monday!" And yes, happy Monday, indeed! It's a time for a fresh start and new beginnings. An opportunity to forget about anything that didn't quite go right the week before. A day on which to enjoy the work that you do and feel lucky to be on this earth. To set your intentions for another seven days of living and being. It's a happy day, indeed.

 

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Happy List // 2

Heidi Shenk daily life

I've been missing from this blog quite a bit this week, but I'm ok with that. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, and quite frankly, sitting inside on a computer was less than appealing. And if I'm being honest, I've quickly worked through my list of things to write that I had stored up in a notebook. It'll be back to the drawing board to brainstorm for a bit.
In lieu of it all, I thought I'd write another happy list, since there has been plenty to be happy about these days.

1 // I spent almost the entire day outside yesterday. I worked briefly in the morning, preparing orders, packed up my tote bag with a sketchbook, pens, my planner, hiking boots, a lunch, my water bottle, camera, and a book and headed off to the outdoors. I went hiking at Oregon Ridge and then drove back into the city to have a late picnic lunch and more time outdoors at the Cylburn Arboretum.

2 // Having the windows open all day. I love being able to air out the house and breath fresh air. It makes me feel less stuck in my tiny studio.

3 // My David Bowie mug. It makes me happy every morning. My second cousin is an amazing potter who uses decals in a lot of his work. He happened to make a few David Bowie mugs after Bowie died, and obviously I needed one. Morning coffee with Mr. Bowie is a great start to the day.

4 // My California travel book arrived yesterday! I love travel books. They make me get serious about planning travel. I'm excited about Joshua Tree, Sequoia, and Yosemite National Parks.

5 // Antonio Brown is going to be on Dancing With the Stars. As many of you know, I don't really watch tv, but I am counting down to March 21st. My Steelers fandom trumps all, and Antonio Brown is already an entertaining guy. Call me a total nerd or dork or whatever, but I'll be watching him (just liked I religiously watched when Hines Ward was on).

6 // My proofs for my new line of cards is supposed to arrive today. I decided to send all of these to the printer because they're heavy in color and mostly all full bleed. They'll do a better job printing them than me, and it's killing me to have to wait for the proofs. I'm way too excited!

7 // I've been working on a custom job, printing and trimming a wedding suite for someone I met through book club here in Baltimore. It's a lot of fun, and it makes me happy to know that I'm playing a small part in her big day.

8 // I've been doing a new weight training regimen, and I'm quickly gaining strength. This probably sounds ridiculous, but in high school I was in the best shape of my life. I blame two a day practices plus a weight training program for basketball. Basketball is serious stuff in Indiana, and we would practice and work out year round, every chance that was given. Regardless, because of that regimen, once I got to college, it felt like freedom to not have to constantly train and work out, so I lost a lot of strength and endurance. Yesterday, I was ten pounds away from what I used to squat back in the day, and I benched five pounds more. Whaaaaaat. Beast mode.

9 // Two words. Tax refunds. We decided that spend it on vacation and house projects. Andrew is checking in with the flooring rep at his office because we can get some super awesome trade discounts (bonus!). We're going to replace the floor in the basement and the tiles in our master bathroom.

10 // I got new tires put on my car on Monday. Normally, car stuff is not happy because it costs a lot. However, my car is 9 years old and it still had the original tires. We never replaced them because my car is also just shy of 25,000 miles (#citylife). They needed to be replaced not because the tread was bare, but because they were dry rotting from being on the car for so long. Regardless, the new tires made my car drive as if it were brand new. Who knew what a difference tires would make!

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14 Things to do in Baltimore this Spring

Heidi Shenk "Baltimore"

Things to do in Baltimore

It seems like spring is here (or at least almost here), and I am so insanely excited about that! Here in Baltimore, weather tends to be so temperate that we get beautifully long spring and fall seasons. And by beautifully long, I mean that 7 or 8 months out of the year are full of gorgeous, sunny, 75 degree weather.

Along with the beautiful weather comes a plethora of awesome things to look forward to in Baltimore during this season. Here's a look at just a few of those things to look forward to.

1 // Eat and drink outside, preferably along the water. We're a bit partial to The Boathouse these days for afternoon drinks because it will be guaranteed to make you feel like you're on vacation even if you aren't. And bonus points because they let you bring along your furry friends to sit with you on their patio. A mojito outside on the waterfront patio at Little Havanna is always a win. And it'd be hard to pass up brunch and the tasty cocktails at Waterfront Kitchen, especially with one of the best harbor views you'll find in the city.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

2 // Orioles baseball is back! Opening Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards is Monday, April 4th. That's less than a month away! While we won't be going to Opening Day, we'll be there a couple days later for our first game of the season. As always, we opted to renew our season tickets and can't wait for yet another baseball season spent at Oriole Park.

Sherwood Gardens

3 // Enjoy a picnic among Sherwood Garden's blooming tulips. Sherwood Garden is a beautiful spot tucked away in the Guilford neighborhood. Each year, about 80,000 tulips bloom at the end of April or early May, depending on the year's weather. It is also home to many flowering trees and other beauties. It's sort of a magical spot, especially when in bloom, and it's the perfect spot to take a blanket, have a picnic, and enjoy the beautiful weather on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

4 // Listen to some tunes at Charm City Bluegrass Festival. We're lucky to have a day full of amazing music during the Charm City Bluegrass Festival that takes place on April 30th in Druid Hill Park. While I grew up listening to bluegrass, this is a definite yes on my spring list. However, for those who aren't as familiar with bluegrass, it should still be on your list. It's hard to go wrong with spending time outside in the company of friends while listening to music and enjoying delicious food and drink.

5 // Take a walk at Cylburn Arboretum. This is another lesser known spot in Baltimore that is truly a gem. The Cylburn Arboretum is a perfect spot to visit during spring because of all of the flowering plants that you'll see. Take a walk on one of the many short trails, bring a camera to snap a few photos, or take a book and enjoy some relaxation in a serene and quiet space.

6 // Take in the installations of Baltimore's inaugural Light City festival. Installations of light, art, and music will be set up along a 1.5 mile art walk along the Inner Harbor during Light City Baltimore. The festival runs from March 28-April 3, and the installations will be free to enjoy each night. While this is the festival's first year and I have no clue what to expect, I'm incredibly intrigued and will definitely be making this a part of my spring experience in Baltimore this year.

Baltimore Farmers Market

7 // Go shopping at the Baltimore Farmers' Market. The bustling market that takes place every Sunday morning under the JFX is back in business for the season starting on April 17th. Grab a cup of Zeke's coffee, stock up on fresh, local produce for the week, or browse arts and crafts made by local artists. It's a low key way to start your Sunday morning.

8 // Take a trip to DC to enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival. Ok, you're right. This isn't a Baltimore event, but it's still one of those yearly things I like to check off my list. DC is only a quick 45 minute drive away, so it's silly not to spend a day along Tidal Basin soaking in the beauty of the annual spring blossoms. The white blooms make you feel as though you're in the midst of winter snow, yet the sunshine, the sweet smells, and the soft touch of the petals will clearly tell you otherwise. Simply magical! This year's peak bloom prediction is March 31-April 3, but that can change as the date nears. Keep an eye out on the Bloom Watch page to plan your visit accordingly.

Kinetic Sculpture Race

9 // Hedge bets on which sculptures will float the best or make it through a pile of mud the quickest during AVAM's Kinetic Sculpture Race. If you've never watched the Kinetic Sculpture Race, it is a definite must do. Essentially, a bunch of sculptures powered by bicycle parts and humans, race around the harbor through an obstacle course including a quick dip in the water at Canton Waterfront Park and a mud pit in Patterson Park. That's the best way to describe the wackiness. It's much easier to just go a see for yourself. It takes place on May 7th this year. Go!

10 // Head to Woodberry and enjoy some craft beer. The good old standby Union Craft Brewing has now been joined by Waverly Brewing Company just across the light rail tracks. Both offer outdoor seating and often have food trucks hanging out on a Saturday afternoon. Baltimore's craft beer scene has been steadily growing over the last five years, and I certainly won't complain about that.

11 // Take in the city view during a walk around the reservoir in Druid Hill Park. Once the weather gets nice, we often find ourselves enjoying as much of our free time as possible outside. On any given evening, we'll load the pup into the car and take her for a walk in Druid Hill Park. One of the best views of the city happens to be from the loop around the old reservoir. And when you're done taking in the view, enjoy another trail in the park. You'll probably even see some deer!

12 // Enjoy a free concert at Canton Waterfront Park during First Thursday. One of our awesome local radio stations, WTMD, puts on a free concert series called First Thursday. While the first concert of the year hasn't been announced yet, the series starts on the first Thursday in May. Take some chairs, a blanket, a picnic, and meet up with friends for what is always guaranteed to be good music along the water.

13 // Load your bikes on the car and pedal along one of the many bike trails in the area. While this usually requires a short drive out of the city, it's nice to get outside and enjoy some green scenery. The Baltimore area has so many fantastic bike paths, so it would be silly not to take advantage of them. One of our favorites for a leisurely ride is the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail.

Hiking in Rocks State Park

14 // Go hiking in one of the various state parks. Once again, it's a quick drive out of the city, but it's easy to find some good hiking all over the Baltimore area. We find ourselves hitting the trails most weekends as soon as the weather is nice. For a quick drive, head to Patapsco Valley State Park or pull over at one of the many roadside trail heads of Gunpowder Falls State Park. If you're up for a beautiful afternoon drive and a gorgeous hike, head up to Rocks State Park.

If you're a local, what are your favorite things to do in Baltimore during the spring season? What do you look forward to every spring?


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