Summer Download


Summertime and the livin’ is easy…

You know what is NOT easy during summer? Working. Especially when you are your own boss and you make your own schedule. I am at constant odds with my boss. She says I need to work to pay the bills. I say I need to take the kids swimming because it’s hotter than dogs breath and their brains are rotting from Minecraft. We spend a lot of time at the pool but my boss keeps me up all night with fun games of anxiety. It’s two am, have you thought about your debt lately?

I swear I am getting nothing done the weeks I have kids.


But I get tons done when they are gone! Sort of. Well, mostly.

The last two weeks I have been into spray-painting backdrops for parties. It’s my new thing. I think mostly because I am so tired of trying to find a blank wall in my house to shoot photos against. I’ve created my own walls! It’s amazing what kind of creative break throughs you can have just walking down the aisles of your local hardware store.

For example, paint drop cloths are CHEAP! Ten bucks for a huge canvas. Twenty for a cloth one. A roll of brown paper is nine. You don’t have to use them to protect your floor while you paint. You can paint on them!


I made this orange Wonder Woman background out of a paper drop cloth. I’m not super excited about the fold lines but it covers a big space and it only cost me ten bucks. Instant wall. Just blur the background a bit and focus on your subjects.


The following week we had a Pampered Chef party and I decided to make my own fake Mexican restaurant. I’ve always wanted to do that. Restaurant designer is on my list of coveted careers, right next to set designer and cake decorator. I love designing businesses. Running them not so much.


Of course we had Brendaritas at my restaurant, in pink plastic glasses no less. It’s funny the things that inspire you sometimes. Now we have a zillion pink plastic glasses leftover. Maybe I’ll let the kids have a sassy pink lemonade stand with them. Wouldn’t that be cute?


Speaking of kids, we are on a mermaid kick lately. Unicorns are so early 2017. We’ve moved onto mermaids.


Have you guys seen these bubbles at the fair? They are so cool.


What is especially cool about these bubbles is that they saved my day. I was having such a bad day the day we went to the fair. It was the end of a bad week. I’d gotten no work done and every day it seemed like all I did was shuttle kids between camp and swimming. I was out of sorts. Payam almost turned the car around to take me home. But I rallied.

Mostly I was just sad that we were getting to the fair so late. Same song, different day. All I really care about is taking pictures. I thought it would be stupid with blaring music and blinky lights, gross fried food, kids begging for money for dumb games that you can’t win and if you do you end up winning you get a 99-cent stuffed toy that cost you twenty bucks. I sulked like a spoiled brat.

But then we got there and the sun was setting right behind these bubbles. We were the only ones there and the kids got to go free because it was kid free Thursday or something crazy. The light was golden and the kids were having so much fun splashing around pretending to be hamsters. My bad mood dissolved with every picture I took. Click, click, click. I was so happy! It’s funny the things that cheer me up.


And then the rest of the “stupid blinky lights” and blaring music, smelly fried food and cheap toys seemed so much cooler. I may have even eaten a bacon wrapped hot dog and let Bug go home with a stuffed donut that ripped at it’s seam before we even left the fair.

So yeah. Happy Summer. Good luck with working!

The Great Broad Adventure


We hit up the The Broad (rhymes with road) for my birthday this last Thursday. As everyone knows I’m a huge fan of making your birthday (or any day really) a great day by deciding exactly what you want to do and then doing it instead of waiting around for others to magically read your mind and help make your day wonderful for you. Because they don’t have a clue! That’s really how it is.

How many times have you walked into an Anthropology store (or whatever store is your favorite. Maybe it’s Cabellas or even Target…) and thought, I wish my friends and relatives would buy me presents from here because I like every single thing in this store!! but then wandered the displays for an hour and found yourself not able to pick one thing for a friend (who is probably just like you and likes every single thing in the store) because you just don’t know if that’s what they’d really like? I mean, what if they already have thirty-seven floral aprons and they don’t really want a grapefruit-lily scented candle? How well do you really know your friends?!! Of course there are some things that stand out and shout someone’s name and that is awesome but it doesn’t always happen.

So that’s my point: People don’t know that you would just like to have a quiet day at home reading books all day with your big ol’ mug of tea OR have a giant surprise party in Las Vegas with strippers jumping out of a cake wearing fishnet stockings. People have no idea! You have to tell them! Or better yet, plan it yourself and then invite them to come with. You’ll have the best time ever. I promise.


So yeah, The Broad. That’s my idea of a good time. I’m a heavy instagram user (insert eye roll from my family) and I’ve been staring at photos of The Broad for ages wondering about this crazy museum and wishing I could go stand in a black room filled with rain, which turns out isn’t a room full of rain but actually an infinity mirrored room.  Sadly, we didn’t get tickets for that room so I didn’t get to see it but at least now I have an idea how the whole thing works and next time I will make sure I make a reservation!


Not everyone shared my excitement over contemporary art but I think they enjoyed the adventure anyway and now their brains are expanded a little.


I don’t think anyone really gets contemporary art. That’s the point, right? It’s not supposed to make sense. It’s supposed to make you stand there and puzzle. Like it says in  Steal Like an Artist  “Modern art = I could do that + yeah, but you didn’t.” (Which I stole from here because I haven’t even read “Steal Like an Artist” but I should!)


There are so many ways to enjoy art. One is to read the little plaques about each artist and imagine how and why they created each piece. Another way is to walk around completely open-minded and just soak in your own feelings. Don’t even try to learn about the artist. Make it personal experience. And a third really super way to enjoy it is to watch how others interact. I think that might be my favorite thing: watching other people look at art.


Which pieces make them smile? Which ones make them screw up their eyes in confusion…


People are even more interesting than the art I think.

Some people stare and contemplate. Maybe they are on their lunch break and just soaking up some peace and quiet… Most people take pictures and selfies.   They bunch up their families against their favorite installations throwing in a peace sign here and there. Some people make funny poses and completely forget about their pride, only worrying about their followers on the other side of their phone.

Is it really that bad to be that person taking a million photos and posting them to Instagram (or on a blog like this one)? I could argue both sides and I do. Of course everyone is moaning that all anyone cares about is taking pictures these days and they don’t truly enjoy the moment anymore but is that true? I think I enjoy it more when I’m trying to capture something. I love the thrill of the hunt and taking pictures is FREE! the best kind of hunt of all!  I would have never even found The Broad if it wasn’t for so many instagrammers posting about it. So maybe I’m a lemming or maybe I’m onto something joyful.


Payam and I argued over this piece for really long time. He was adamant that the artist used photoshop to create all these shelves at Amazon being so close together. I was sure it was just compression of a fancy camera lens. Turns out I was wrong!


We all loved the giant table and chairs. Of course I had to go and pretend to be a cat rubbing up against a chair leg (because how could you not?!) and then I got scolded by a museum guard which made me feel terrible. It turns out the guards are not as mean as they seem to be. I got scolded again later for standing too close to a piece and when I apologized the guard engaged me in a really interesting conversation and told me not to feel bad. So there’s that! I totally get it and I want to protect this art too but it’s hard when it’s so interesting and screaming out to be interacted with.


Like these lumps of grass in front of the building. It turns out they are fancy gardens tended by expert gardeners and sitting on them is NOT ALLOWED. Our bad.


All in all it was a great adventure. Everyone had a different take. We bonded over our differences and it gave us tons to talk about which is what what I really wanted for my birthday. My love language is time after all. Time with my peeps.


It was my day and I felt really special. Payam kept telling me that every little stroke of luck he planned especially for me on my birthday. He’s a comedian like that. We had just enough time to get coffee before we queued up for our reservation line, that was part of his plan. Then the fact that the line was just long enough for us to have enough time to sip our coffee (as it cooled) and finish it right before we had to throw away our empty cups (that were not allowed in the museum)—all part of a magically orchestrated plan! And then this piece that was for me, obviously.


Happy sigh.