Venice, Italy

Onto part two of our Italian adventure…

Cury and I both walked away from Venice with mixed feelings, but before I get to all of that, let me first talk about our travel from Florence to Venice. That has always been the most intimidating thought about European travel before I went myself. First, It’s not nearly as confusing as you would think. All of the train station’s and airport’s signs had an English version of instructions on them- just like the multiple languages you see on our signs here in the States. So, you WILL be able to figure out how to get where you’re going. The train station in Florence was called, “Trenitalia” we paid €66/ticket and we arrived in Venice in 2.5 hours. 

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casey + ryan // in home session

These lovely humans invited me into their home (their first home together) and I am so grateful for the opportunity. They are currently in the process of completely gutting the house and remodeling it. I am filled with admiration for these two.  I loved the idea of shooting their session in their uncompleted house. It gave me the opportunity to be creative in using surrounding elements that I’m not used to. Plus, how cool for their (someday) kiddos to be able to look at these images of their parents at the beginning of their journey together, chasing their dreams, and being completely in love. Thank you, Casey & Ryan! 

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f l o r e n c e

If I could sum up our trip to florence in one word, it would have to be the Italian word, saporito! It translates in English to, “flavorful”. Which is exactly what Florence was to me in more ways than one. There is of course the given  – the food. spaghetti, pizza, burrata cheese, gelato, wine, fresh veggies, and decadent cappuccinos. ugh, I could go on and on. . . but then there was the history. There was so much history to see all around us. There are buildings older than our country! The sculptures told us stories of another time, the city walls made us feel like we were in a movie from the medieval times, and even the streets themselves are still made up of cobblestones. Then of course the art. We didn’t get to go to one museum while we were in Italy (the only disappointment) but the art was everywhere, and that was probably my favorite flavor.

I kept a journal as we explored Italy. I wanted to remember EVERYTHING. And since I wrote down everything, I will probably overshare 😉

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twenty six

This is a delayed post, but I turned twenty-six on the 25th of February. It was a birthday celebration week. I told Cury a long time ago that birthdays for us will always be a week long celebration because… why not? I love birthdays. Not getting older, but I have always loved that it’s a day that is completely your own and everyone around you is celebrating  your life. It’s a special thing, and I love it. My parents have always done well in celebrating our birthdays, so that’s probably where my love for birthdays came from.

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valentines day | gift guide for her

 

It’s been impossibly difficult to keep up with the blog side of this website. Mostly due to it being the slower season, but also because I have been taking full advantage of the time off. It’s been nice to be lazy for once! But, in my laziness, I have been doing a lot of online browsing/shopping. And I’ve come across a lot of great products. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought I’d share a few unique gift ideas for a special lady in your life. I’ve also attached a playlist to get you in that love-y Valentines mood. Enjoy and happy shopping!

xo

+ this Frida Kahlo print.

+ how beautifully feminine and artsy is this set?!

+ i’ll take 50 of these cuties!

+ i’ve never tries this look, but i may have to now…

+ Cury and I are headed for Italy in April (have I mentioned that here yet?)

+ i love these. i have three of them, but i want one in every color.

+ i know i’m a little behind in not having one of these, but it’s on my list, “things to buy before Italy trip”

+ and just because i love this woman’s voice so much.

+ cute, cute, cute!

J A C I

Jaci’s senior session was fun and beautiful and actually quite exciting as it was my first time using a smoke grenade as a prop. This poor girl had to watch me go back and forth over using the smoke grenade or not using it. It was so intimidating to me. There are a ton of warning labels on it.. “WARNIG: do not tip over.” “In case of fire…” “Keep away from heat to avoid explosion” yeah, explosives are not my cup of tea. But, when Jaci headed to the car for a wardrobe change, I pulled out my phone and looked up a YouTube video on how to properly release a smoke grenade, and I just went for it. I’m so glad we did too, because, just look at it. It’s dramatic, it’s unique, and it’s a ton of fun.

So, thanks, lady for being patient with me. I wish you the very best for your finale year of high school! Cheers! xo

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friday links + playlist

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I haven’t done weekend links in way too long, but I’m feeling really on top of shit, so let’s give it a go! Have a fantastic weekend -xx

+ WANT!

+ Did you check out yesterday’s post? #cranes4roger

+ I’m way too excited to experiment with smoke grenades soon… pictures to follow, of course 😉

+ Did you guys catch the new Fall show, This is Us? omg, watch it!

+ I am by no means trying to rush through Fall, but I did hear that She & Him has a new Christmas album coming out October 28th.

+ I need a new good book to read. recommendations are wanted & appreciated! I read, The Girl on the Train last year, and loved it. The movie will be in theaters Oct. 7th!

+ A few new regular restaurants we go to here, here, and here.

+ This is so simple and so pretty.

Here’s a playlist for your Friday. There’s no rhyme or reason with the genres…

#cranes4roger

11025843_10204846763023834_9186446056851100054_oI would like to introduce you to Jessica. She is my sweet sister-in-law’s sister. Jessica and Ashley, and their brothers, Jake and Josh have been faced with tragedy over the past three months. Their dad, Roger, was in a terrible motorcycle accident at the beginning of the Summer. I’ll let you hear from Jessica on the entire situation as she so graciously tells her dad’s story below. I told Jessica that I wanted to help her spread Roger’s spirit as far as we possibly can, because Roger’s spirit is worth sharing. To me, Roger has always been a man that spoke with his demeanor, spirit, and eyes much more than his words. I have aways loved Roger, in fact, everyone I know that knows Roger loves Roger. It’s impossible not to. When I first met him, I had the same feeling with him as I had when Ash and I first met, and then Jessica. There’s just something about them that’s warm and sincere without a word being said. I think that’s something that’s still happening through Roger. He isn’t able to speak, but he’s still spreading his spirit through his children. They have been an inspiration. They are so strong, so wise, and so full of love. Please “like” “share” and help spread #cranes4roger.

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What Happened:

My Dad was involved in a motorcycle accident in June resulting in a Traumatic Brain Injury.  He suffered damage to the right temporal lobe, underwent 4 major brain surgeries (so far) and was in a coma for just a couple days shy of 4 weeks.  Since then he has been in what they consider a minimally conscious state.  He is currently residing in a Rehabilitation Facility that specializes in brain injury rehab called Special Tree close to Detroit.  He is working hard every day with a team of specialists to reclaim a quality of life.” 

My Relationship with my Dad:

“As most daughters would say, I am a Daddy’s girl.  My Dad has always been my hero and is truly a remarkable man.  He taught me to love deeply, dream fearlessly and through that love, gave me a wonderful sense of self.  Far before any of this, I always felt like my Dad’s light should be shown to the world.  He is incredibly talented in so many ways. I was always in awe of those talents.  He carved wood, made the best school project displays, he was a seamstress (believe it or not), cooked, baked, was a craftsman, a mechanic, an ornament maker, a provider, you name it my Dad could do it.  Best yet he did all of those things masterfully.  I really looked up to the way he would learn something new and then master the skill.  I never saw any failed attempts; perhaps he hid those from us but to me it was like magic.  He made everything look easy.”

My Feelings about the Accident:

  “This accident shook me awake in ways I didn’t even know I was blinded to.  It stole so much from me and gave me so much in return as well.  I could never put into words how truly devastating it is to be on this journey.  I miss the sound of my Dad’s voice, I miss his warm embrace, I miss everything about him.   My heart aches not just from the loss of those things but it aches for him and what he is enduring.  I want to fix it, I want the Doctors to tell me it will be okay, I want definitive answers but there are none.  I lie awake wondering if he hears us next to him, if he feels me holding his hand , if he knows how loved he is.  I wonder what it might be like to be trapped in a mind that can’t express what is going on within it.  I wonder if the latter is true perhaps he doesn’t know, maybe he has no idea we are there, maybe he can’t connect touch as a feeling to a brain that registers it, maybe he doesn’t feel trapped.  And in those wonderments I ask myself what is worse? What is better?  On the other hand I know all any of us can do is have faith, and take it one day at a time.  I find myself experiencing grace on a much larger scale, I find myself become less quickly to anger.  I have found that I look at disability and people with disability differently than I did before.  I have found new pieces that have always resided in my heart come to the forefront, I have more compassion, empathy and spirituality than I did the day before this accident occurred and I am not ungrateful to any of that.”

The Art:

” I find dwelling on the hurt is no place to stay.  I can’t ignore the feelings of anger, sadness and frustration but I also can’t live there.  I embrace those moments and then try to turn them around.  I turned to art as a way of expressing all of that.  On canvas I get to be all of those things, it is healing.  It gives me time for myself, a quiet space to clear those emotions.  When I started painting and they turned into Origami Cranes I didn’t think much of it other than that it felt right.  When I think of birds I think of wind and fresh air, freedom and the warmth of the sun, a symbol of strength. Origami is able to transform and morph not unlike what is happening in our lives and for my Dad physically as well.  The human brain is powerful and has the ability to heal and can in some ways/sometimes take on new form.  Not long after beginning to paint these cranes a good friend of mine told me they reminded her of the Tale of 1,000 cranes.  Unfamiliar myself I looked into it.  After reading the story I was amazed at how interconnected the story was to my own.  In Japan, the Origami crane is a symbol of longevity and health.  It is said that if you fold 1,000 cranes you will be granted your own wish of health.  Often 1,000 cranes are given to someone who is ill or for a married couple on their wedding day.

waiting

“The story really touched me; it got me thinking what can I do to make the best of this?  I decided I would paint 1,000 cranes.  Looking at the paintings I had already done and how few were on each canvas that seemed like quite the challenge but it was minimal to the challenge my Dad was already facing.  Then I thought, well what will I do with all of these paintings?  I always find it to be a shame for art to sit and not be shared.  How can I use them to help others I thought?  If I were to sell them I could use that money to help out other people in this situation.  My Dad had his own expenses being taken care of but a lot of people are not that fortunate.  Through researching my Dad’s injury I learned that there are 2.5 million ER visits due to Brain Injury in the US each year.  Many of these people with TBI do not reach their full quality of life because they can’t afford the therapy needed.  The benefits run out well before the healing process is over.  My heart goes out to those families and so creating cranes4roger was born.”

protectors

Cranes4Roger

  “My goal is to have 12-15 paintings totaling 1,000 painted cranes.  I am hosting an art show in Denver CO at Skye Salon on December 11th.  We are going to do it brunch style with breakfast snacks and mimosas from 11-2pm.  I am going to auction off my paintings through a silent auction.  In addition I am getting everyone I know to fold 1,000 paper cranes as well.  My goal is to sell each one of these for $5 this allows those who cannot afford a painting to donate and be a part of this cause.  Each donor will write their name on the paper crane that they purchase and after the event I will string together all 1,000 cranes. (Kind of like the Shamrocks you buy at the Gas Station)  All profits made will be donated in my Dad’s name to Craig Hospital in Denver, CO and I am gifting the string of 1,000 Cranes so they have this piece of Artwork to commemorate the event.”

rewired

Why Craig Hospital?

 “Craig Hospital is a non-profit brain injury rehabilitation and research center.  Since it is just blocks from where I live and it is non-profit I couldn’t think of a better place for this donation.  I am hoping that this donation will really help a family like ours and make it a little easier for them to deal with journey they are on.  I know that this road would be much more difficult if I was worried about finding ways to pay for my Dad’s care.  Helping someway else helps me heal in a way I cannot describe.  I am really excited about being able to facilitate this.

    “For me one of the hardest parts of this situation is that at the hospital during the first phase of injury and recovery the Doctors were very dismal about my Dad’s future.  Based on statistics he wouldn’t make it.  In fact we were given an outlook of around 2%.  I can’t tell you how many times we were told to think about arrangements in case of his death.  That’s a hard pill to swallow when you are trying to stay optimistic.  No one wants to hear those words about a loved one even more so about their Dad.  It seemed like every time we were feeling really good a Doctor would meet with us to bring us back down to earth so to say. I don’t blame them; it is their job to tell us these things.  I can’t say I would be better at it, in fact they really did try to tell us the worst in the most compassionate way they could.  I understand that giving us false hope isn’t helpful either but when my Dad was moved to Rehab and changed environment the world of possibility opened to us.  Rather than statistics they gave us actual cases.  They reminded us kindly that he may not come out of this but also encouraged us with stories of many who did.  They allowed us to have optimistic energy and encouraged us to be involved in the process.  They assured us that statistics were not always right and that we hadn’t reached the point of no hope yet, we weren’t even close.  The Medical staff at the Hospital said “It’s ALREADY been 30 days.” The Rehabilitation staff said “It’s has ONLY been 30 days.” Upon our arrival.  I can’t tell you what a difference that made to me and my family.

     “This is the driving force behind wanting to help in any way I can.  If more TBI sufferers can gain proper treatment, those statistics will change.  More families will have hope from the beginning.  If more research is done than they can understand why one case recovers and the other does not.  Families will have the answers they need and deserve, it won’t make things easy but it will help make things easier.”

What can you do?

You can learn more and follow my journey through my blog cranes4roger.com on this blog I share different aspects from a loved ones perspective as well as the creation and follow through of my fundraising campaign.

I can be found on Facebook www.facebook.com/OliveJuiceArt here I post updates and progression of the art as well as share my blog posts.

    I am still looking for Origami Crane folders.  Preferably 8-9 inch paper size (so names can be written on them).  I need these by the end of November.  Folded cranes can be mailed to:

 Cranes4Roger

4650 E Yale Ave

Denver CO 80222

      The Auction will be available online as well as in person so everyone can participate.  Stay up to date via my blog and facebook page for details as December approaches.

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