Yosemite Part 1: Pizza, Wine, and Sleep Deprivation

Festie B has been traveling again, and it feels oh so good!

As my dearest Festie M knows well, I am most myself when I am outside participating in my favorite forms of moving meditation. Namely: hiking, climbing, running, yoga etc. etc. Basically, I like it best when I can engage in wholly exhausting physical activity, eat (lots of) delicious foods, sleep till full, rise early, and do it all over again. (it’s #thesimplelife I prefer, not to be confused with that one terrible show Ace often talks about)

The best example of this might be the trip to Tuolumne I took last month. Aggressive schedule packed into just a few days? Check. Super cool climbs with new friends? Check. Ridiculous amounts of burritos? Check. Sleep…ehhh, we might have muffed that one up, but the early rising was definitely in the mix!


Before you hit the jump, please note that I was very bad with my camera on this first trip and took almost no photos with my Canon. This seems to be happening more and more these days…thankfully, that magical iphone of mine does a pretty good job taking up the slack…


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What is good

It’s now been over three weeks since I left my job in that “real world” (RW) I reference sometimes. And I thought I would feel lost – that I would miss it horribly and at some point realize that I had made a huge mistake. That I would never fall back into the habit of drawing and dreaming that I claimed to have missed the entire time I was out in that RW.


I’ve been too busy waking up early to enjoy the dewy cool air before the last of summer burns it away, climbing rocks with strangers because I can, driving between little cities in New England in search of adventure (and free camping), and sleeping under the stars with only the chorus of the forest to lull me to sleep. I’ve been too busy filling my sketchbooks with words and drawings, slowly letting three years worth of ideas flow out through the end of my pen. These new lines of graphite and ink remind me of who I’ve always been.


This is where I’ve chosen to come. This is where I’m meant to be.

This is what is good.


B, from somewhere-in-Maine


/ˈmelənˌkälē/ a feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause.

Middle English: from Old French melancolie, via late Latin from Greek melankholia, frommelas, melan- ‘black’ + kholē ‘bile,’ an excess of which was formerly believed to cause depression.

Melancholy is one of my favorite words.

It makes me think of cauliflower and cantaloupe, and it’s kind of fun to say. It also conjures up memories of a time when CE and I affectionately called each other Collie (which originated from the nickname Colin… and continued to warp into other similar sounding names like Zollin, Zoll, Dolin, etc.)..

And in my brain I can imagine a version of myself that lives in a different universe.

Her name is Melan Collie.

Despite the name, she leads a happy life. Her hair is always multi-colored and never fades. All she eats is fruit, it’s all she needs. The grass is soft and spongy, so no one really wears shoes. Melan travels and roams freely.. I imagine her thoughts are fairly basic, but mostly happy. Pretty much just shapes and confetti rolling around in her head. I think she probably has a dog, or whatever animal/thing is the equivalent in their universe. Maybe it’s just a rock with a smiley face drawn on it.

Unlike Melan Collie, I, in this universe, feel pangs of melancholy quite often.

I like to imagine myself as a bright, bubble, sunny person. I try to project that every day. But sometimes, I can see that maybe Melancholy is my natural state. Maybe the real me is melancholy. It’s kind of a big, giant loop.. I start to feel melancholy.. A pensive state of sadness, typically with no obvious cause. Pensive is the key word. It’s dangerous when you start to think about sadness and discover there is no reason behind it. No ‘thing‘ that made it so. If there is no reason, can there be a solution? How do you solve a problem… When there is no… Problem?

Is this a riddle? Perhaps.

But I guess, the thing about feelings of melancholy is that, often, as quickly as they set in, they vanish. The black bile simply evaporates, to return – another moment, another day.


My Oregon Trail (Spoiler Alert: no one dies of dysentery)

I’ve got The Bends*, but it’s not in the way you think!

I’m dreaming of frosty trails, mountain vistas and the smell of spruce. I’m remembering starry nights, crispy air and endless bucket holds on my climbs. I’m wanting Ocean Rolls, kombucha and MOAR CURRY (of the campstove variety, or the restaurant variety, either will do). In short, I’m head-over-heels, totally and completely in love with Bend, Oregon. Warning: this post is so long it has footnotes. So jump with caution.



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Photo-failure: #storyofmylife #newseries #rliadventures

This post and upcoming promise has been a long time coming. Two, three years, maybe more. Likely more. I will be the first to admit that I’m really, really bad at sharing my photos. It hasn’t always been this way! I used to snap & share with a vengeance, posting images of the most mundane moments before the night was over. Look through my facebook, flickr or myspace (oh yea, that used to be a thing), and you’ll find photos from casual coffee dates, simple playground shenanigans and 2AM Perkins stops. Riveting stuff, right?

I’m not sure when the photo-hoarding started – maybe in my very early 20s, or when I started shooting weddings and editing took over my ‘fun photos’ life – but over the years it’s certainly gotten worse. The addition of fancy iPhones, the VSCO app and instagram has just encouraged it. Instead of needing to edit the photos from my Canon to share, I just end up taking photos twice so that I can post something to social media without actually needing to edit ‘real’ pictures in a timely manner. [[That link is totally worth clicking, by the way]] #Photographerfail, all the way.

Sidenote: on the plus side, hashtags have really emerged as the best way to sort my life and communicate my thoughts, and now make their way into my texts on an hourly basis. #excessive

I feel guilty, but life really does catch up with you. It’s not that I don’t want to share my memories, I swear! I just…always want to make more memories and have more adventures, leaving very little time for sorting through pictures, editing and posting/writing.  I am constantly snapping because I love the idea of catching moments to share with the world. So whatever happened to that sharing part? Surely part of the fun involved in adventure-having/making is the sharing and remembering that happens afterwards?

So consider this my effort to make things right. Here is my promise: From now on, once or twice a month, whichever is more appropriate, I will post about one of my adventures. This will have multiple purposes:

  1. I will actually sort, edit and SHARE all those photos I’m constantly taking, silencing the noise coming from co-adventurers about, “when will I see those photos you took when we x, y z’d?”
  2. I will re-live wonderful memories with wonderful people! And maybe remind myself of the things I’ve learned along the way.
  3. I will (hopefully) stop worrying my mother, who never knows where I am and treats every trip I take as though it was my first. Maybe if there was any evidence of my past she would stop stressing about my future. Mama, I swear I’m not going to die on 97% of the trips I take (#Iamthe36%). There’s always a chance, but I’m seriously not that big of a risk taker (#itsallrelative). I love you too much to die.

So there you have it! My photo-failing story of a life is to be no more. I will start a new series, titled “Rliadventures” to share photos, stories and, you guessed it, adventures of the past. They will happen out of order and with mild consistency. If I miss one, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

Now I’m tired from looking through photos on that social media thing. I will adventure-post some other day… (PROMISE)



Photofailing in Rome

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Back to Basics: Making

As you all probably know and can empathize with, especially you Festie, life just goes and goes and goes. And sometimes we find ourselves in a place that is completely unfamiliar. I mean, not completely unfamiliar..  Our jobs may be familiar (perhaps TOO familiar) and our friends and family are familiar (most days) and our cars are familiar and our clothes and our diet. But where is the magic? Where are the things we LOVE to do. The things that make our blood flow faster and our brains think harder and our hands build better. Where have our passions gone? And how do we get them back?

In my natural habitat.

In my natural habitat.

As a pledge to myself, to my inner soul and my creative being, I have decided to do MORE. I’m starting with small DIY projects, but hey, it’s a start.

One of my friends has requested a nightstand. It’s long over due, but better late than never – I’m going to refinish a double-decker side table for her.

I also picked up a cute little side table at Target on clearance for $6. BOO YAH! It’s got a great metal base and a round top. It is currently white and hot pink.. So if you know me at all, you know that ain’t gonna fly, so I’m going to give it a little color update. This is the table. My plan is less red and white and more teal/plum/grey/grellow/black. I’m a bit undecided at this point.

I also have a few frames (for one of my dearest gilfriends) that need some custom art work… I’m thinking floral inspired semi-graphic whatever whatever… :D

As you can see, I have some projects lined up and I am ready to turn off my phone, shut down my computer, and dive into some creative projects. It is time to unlock a level of happiness that’s been shut away for too many moons.

Changes – Surface Level

It’s been a weird year so far. As it turns out, this blog is going to do what it was supposed to from the beginning: keep the festies close even when they’re not glued at the hip. That’s right, a few weeks ago the festies moved out of their tiny flat by the zoo and into their new (sadly separate) homes. Plural. HomeSSS.

Like I said, it’s been weird. But that’s a story for another day. The story of best-f*cking-friend (sorry for my sailor-month, mom) withdrawal is not a light or surface-level one, so I won’t dig into the dirty details here. Let’s just say that my dark and twisty side is at its worst when I don’t get my festie fix.

In other news, I’ve now got a couch.

Things that make this couch grown up: 1) it’s grey and tufted (and therefore inherently amazing), 2) I didn’t pick it up off the curb or buy it for 25 big ones from the people that lived in my house before me, and most importantly, 3) it lives in my new grown-up condo!

Please put your hands together and welcome Isabel*!


She is the newest member of my furniture family and I couldn’t be happier. The purchase was advised by my hero and former professor, Mars bars, and my heart.


*Yes, I name things. For those that know me, this is not surprising. What is surprising is that Isabel is a female (!). What can I say? She’s so well styled and inviting, I just couldn’t imagine her as anything else. Plus, everything else I own is a boy; it was inevitable that one day I would bring a lady into my life. #everyoneknowsit #justkiddingmomdontpanic

Daddio, Papa Joe

Saturday was a very special day. A couple of moons ago, a boy was born. This boy turned into a man.

Short Shorts

And then he turned into my Dad. And wow. Words cannot explain how lucky I am.


In the last few days, weeks, months, maybe even years.. Really since I moved to Madison and went to college, my relationship with my parents has evolved, it has changed. It is a weird/beautiful/crazy thing when your parents stop being “parents” – the people who run your life, they’re your heros, invincible – and instead become… Your friends? Your mentors? Your equal? Totally rad people that happen to be 20 or 30 years older than you that you talk to about the things you have in common and enjoy talking about?

I think that last bit is one of the things I have enjoyed the most about my ‘grown-up’ relationship with my dad. Now that I’ve become almost a real human an independent person with developed interests and hobbies, I’ve discover how much we have in common. Somethings I knew about earlier, like our love for meat and potatoes and our passion for the great outdoors. But I always used to think I was more like my mom. I thought I looked more like my mom and I was always the arty kid, just like my mom. BUT GUESS WHAT! I think it might be an even split!

Getting ready to make some mashed potatoes... I love that the drill is basically a scepter.

Getting ready to make some mashed potatoes… I love that the drill is basically a scepter.

Yeah, that’s right. I’ve got my daddy’s blue eyes (and the bad vision that comes with it ;) ), his nose, and his crazy-curly-you-might-be-homeless-but-it’s-okay-because-you’re-cute hair.

But even more than looks, my insides are so much the same as his. We are builders. We make things, and we can appreciate other things that people have taken the time to create. To design. My father has passed on to me, and taught me over the years, about logical thinking, about process. About taking a moment to figure out how you REALLY want to do things so that you can do it well and right. And he has taught me that not everything comes out well. Or right. And that is 100% okay too. Because at the end of it all, if you learned something (even if it’s how not to do something) it was probably worth it.

Not sure why this photo is so terrible or why it seemed like a good idea to take in like this.... We are weird.

Not sure why this photo is so terrible or why it seemed like a good idea to take in like this…. We are weird.

I love that I get to talk shop with my dad. That when he is building something new for the house or the campground, he calls and tells me about it, or includes me in the building process. I love that he has a unique view of the world, of life, of projects. Because I know that I can always ask his opinion on how to do something whether it is building cubbies, putting the soft-top on my jeep, or applying for a new job. And you know what, it’s a cliche for a reason, because my daddio is almost always right. ALWAYS! It’s magic or something.

But really, he is excellent at giving advice. I think he gets it from his father, I can see that now as I take a step back. But he uses the perfect combination of logic and love when he gives advice. And you know, not a lot of people can do that. But my dad, he can. And he can build a porch or a treehouse or anything you want, probably, with his bare hands. He can build a fire in minutes, he can cook four perfect turkeys in just a few hours, and he can climb a mountain in days.


Best. Face. Ever.

He is my dad. He is my friend. He is just a really rad dude that’s 30 years older than me. But he is still my hero too. ♥

festieLYFE: How do you make a living?

As noted in my last post, It’s been a while since I’ve added anything to the blog.. Which I am so sorry about. And I’m going to make it up to you (and let’s be real, to my future self and festie since I’m pretty sure we are the only ones who actually read this blog) by posting ONCE A WEEK!!! Yes, you heard me. one day out of every seven you will be blessed with a special blog from yours truly. AREN’T YOU EXCITED??? Great. Me too.

Since this blog is a place to share whats a happening in the festie lyves so we can stay connected and up to date (and so you can too), I’m going to do just that and SPILL what is on my mind as of late.


JOBS. CAREERS. BIDNIZZ. I’ve been a college graduate for almost 6 months. And quite honestly, some days I wake up feeling like I have nothing to show for it. I’m a 23 year old with a bachelor of science (a BS!) in art, and absolutely no idea “what I want to do when I grow up“. Though, that isn’t entirely true… I would really love to own my own business. If there is one thing that I have learned from the few jobs I’ve had, it is that I would rather just work for myself. But at this point in my life, I’m not quite sure how to make that happen. Any pointers?

In the mean time, when I sit down with my cup of tea to spend another morning job searching, I become instantly exhausted. I’m not sure if this is because I don’t really know what I would like to do for a job, or if it is because it is kind of a lot of work interviewing and getting trained for a new position… Or if it’s just because job hunting is just one of those things that is never really enjoyable. Like going to the grocery store or the post office. Just.. No.

Zen before the storm

Soooo… For now, I am slinging shoes&making the best $$$ I can/ casually job searching/secretly researching how to own a business/making as much art&being as creative as I possibly can.

Crafts and Arts

Do you have a salaried job? Do you prefer to work for a smaller/local business? Are you constantly stopping at Home Depot like I am to see if they have any Money Trees left?


Savannah, A Picture Experience.

So, I know this post is long overdue.. Like.. That book is so overdue that you are now banned from the library. All libraries in Wisconsin… So, I’ll keep it simple: here are some photos from my trip to Savannah. I had an amazing time, met some amazing people, did some amazing things, ate some amazing food.. AH MAY ZINGGGG, YA DIG???? If you have any other questions or want me to give more deets, just comment below and I’ll dish it, yo. But really, it was fan spanking tastic, so a big thank you to Samantha and everyone else who hosted/entertained me :) I am eternally grateful. Hopefully I’ll be back soon!!! The trees, They are so Magical. And terrifying.

The trees, They are so Magical. And terrifying. Foggy Morning Panicky//Zombie Mars Horror film? ALL YOU CAN EAT CRAB! NOMS! Chillin at the beautiful Forsyth Park 2013-01-20 16.14.41 Home away from home :) Best Friends//Attached by the Hair After my jaunt in the ocean holding my Spoils The architecture is to die for. Pirates on the Savannah River Beautiful, never ending east coast. Oh you know, just dancing in the ocean! Glamorous entrance onto River Street Sundae at Lulu's; Our bartender was feeling festive! Orange Dream Martini at Lulu's Church Lion at one of the monuments on one of the squares Storefronts on River Street On the top of the Lighthouse! Oh the bricks! Lighthouse on Tybee Street Grate Pattern Bricks//Feet Bricks//Feet Night out on River Street The bricks, I went nuts for the bricks! The restaurant where we are all the crab we count manage...


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