From Suburban Girl to Urban Girl

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I’ve lived most of my life in Suburbia, the past 40 years plus a few months.  I even once drove a Suburban loaded with my kids, the dog, the ex and sports equipment.  I was your typical South Orange County Mom.  My weekends were consumed with shuttling  my kids to games…baseball, soccer, football, basketball. I was the Team Mom, the PTA chairperson, the classroom volunteer. Our parks were pristine, our beaches breathtakingly beautiful, our house was a charming beach cottage a quarter-mile from the ocean.

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Now I sit in my urban loft in downtown Phoenix while I write this post, I would’ve never guessed in a thousand years that this is where I’d be when I was 50.  I thought I’d be an empty nester with my husband, enjoying the time together again once the kids were gone.  Funny how life throws a curve ball.

My journey to this spot has been filled with many ups and downs and lots of time finding out who I was and what direction I was going.  I spent many months trying to figure out my next step in life. I’ve always loved the energy of a city. A city has noise and drama and the sidewalks don’t roll up at 9 o’clock like in Orange County.  Cities come alive at night.  That was very attractive to me.  Might be something to do with being an artist and I come alive creatively at night. I used to shut all my blinds in OC, now I leave them open to enjoy the view.

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I’ve spent the last year visiting different cities to see which one fit me the best.  Austin, Portland, Seattle…but I chose Phoenix for a few reasons. One was the weather.  Typically with the exception of Summer it mimics So Cal.  It’s hotter than hell for three months but it’s a dry heat most of the time except for August, monsoon season.  The main reason I chose Phoenix is family.  My Dad and my brother and his family both left So Cal over 20 years ago.  To be close to them again and see them more than twice a year was the gold in the pocket. I was able to spend Father’s Day with my Dad…the first time in over 20 years!

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I’ve been here two months now and traveled back to OC three times. My friends are only a 6 hour drive away which made moving here a lot easier. I already feel like I’m coming home as I head East back to The Grand Canyon state on I-10.  Never say never. I used to say I would never move to Phoenix, ha!

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Flights and Hotel Rooms…an Artist’s Inspiration

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As an artist it’s good to step out of your comfort zone…

I have a good friend who’s always on the move due to the nature of his job. This entails countless flights across the country and endless nights checking in and out of hotels. He started saving his key cards and generously “donated” them to me with the challenge of creating art.  It WAS a challenge because as a mosaic artist I’m accustomed to using plates and tiles for my artwork.

I laid them all out on my table and started to notice a subliminal message.  This was the start of my “No-Tell Motel” piece.  It was part of the LA Chocolate & Art Show and it was fun to watch people come up and read my little story I created.  That night I ended up meeting another artist who really connected to my piece and he left with it that night.
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Here’s my friend and fellow Artist Kim Phillips…Shhhhhh!!!

So…my friend Justin shows up one day and dumps out his backpack with…

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Another challenge and I was again left to ponder what I could create with this mess of sticky tags.  I started cutting them up and organizing my new tesserae. There was a certain thing that caught my eye and made me laugh.

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It conjured up memories of racing through the airport to catch a flight.  It made me think of something that’s happened to most travelers at least once.  The lost piece of luggage.  You know that feeling…you rush down to the baggage claim to retrieve your personal belongings.  You vie for the premium spot closest to the chute where the luggage slides down.  It’s been a long flight and all you want to do is get your bag and get on your way.  You’re waiting and the empty carousel is spinning.  You look around at the other passengers and size them up, try to figure out their story in your head.  You wait…now you’re thinking how fun it would be to ride around in the carousel.

More waiting…you hear something…the luggage is about to come down the slide! Here it comes, mostly black suitcases or navy…they all look alike. Some have colored ribbon tied on for quick identification. Some have stickers. I have a purple suitcase, why bother with that stuff, can’t miss it!

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You watch as the lucky people whose bags have made an appearance haul them off and get to leave.  You wait…you see that one bag that goes around and around and around.  Where is the owner you wonder???  The place is emptying out and only a few people wait.  Then it happens. There’s no more luggage coming down…you look up the chute. You listen for any rustling, any sign of life…dead silence.

You are now the only person standing there watching orphan luggage go around and your bag is MIA. UGH!!!

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So back to my art challenge…with all these high-tech luggage tags with bar codes you would think that luggage would never lose it’s owner.  But I can tell you from experience that it still happens!  I have titled my piece “Lost”. I had so much fun working with all of these lines and airport codes.

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A big THANK YOU Justin for taking the time to save all your traveling mementos for me!

Safe travels my friend 🙂

 

 

 

A Simple Daisy

A simple daisy picked from a field is one of the most romantic gestures to me…it all goes back to my first love.  This photo was sent to me by a friend on my birthday and it made my day.  My love of daisies was remembered and it was so sweet. 11133851_10205487949130415_9208830967574269811_n Just the other day as I was walking near my lake behind a young couple, I watched as the boy stopped and picked a daisy for his girl. I can’t even tell you how that made me feel and brought me back to that day when I was her. I’ve used that memory to create my latest art pendant :)

The Pretender

My damaged heart…full of cracks that have never properly healed.

Heartache and mistakes, and fear of more.

Barricades and barbed wire, I built up walls.

No one gets past.

But somehow you touched my heart.  The sign was up, the guards were on duty but you got in.

I pretended I didn’t feel it.  I should have been a damn actor.

Time and distance protects me from slipping.

Falling…

Melting into your arms…

Nope. Locked up tighter than a penitentiary.

Lockdown. Lost the key.

It’s the greatest robbery in history… the day you stole my heart.

I can pretend I don’t love you…act like I don’t care.

But my act is over.

 

 

 

So Long Summer It Was Fun, But I Got Nothing Done…Or Did I?

 

 

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Summer is one of those unexplainable time vortexes.  The days are longer which bring more hours so you would assume that would equate to getting more accomplished, yet it’s also full of temptatious distractions.  I had so many plans for my summer days but so did the distractions that whispered in my ear.  I was going to clean out my garage, deep clean my house, de-clutter and donate things I no longer need, attack my laundry procrastination like a ninja and come up with a filing system for my insane pile of paperwork and last but not least, slay the beast… my 5,247 unread emails that grow by the day.

Good intentions but as I’d awaken to a hot sunshiny morning I’d hear it…”It’s a beautiful day and too hot to slave away, grab a bikini and relax by the pool.”  I’d ignore it and try to stay focused on my task but it wouldn’t shut the hell up. “What a waste of a day to sit inside. Do you know how lucky you are that you live in the perfect climate and CAN go outside? DON’T TAKE IT FOR GRANTED!”

My inner voice was yelling at me to put the damn bikini on…so I obeyed. I gave myself permission to breathe and enjoy life.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the overscheduled stress-filled lifestyle that we live in. Cram it all in and don’t waste a precious moment on yourself. As I get older I think about how precious time is and what we choose to do with it.  When I die will it really matter how organized I was?  Let’s face it, it’s not going to be a surprise when my family sorts through my things one day.  I’m sure they won’t know what the hell to do with the hundreds of plates but I hope that they’ll have one big dinner party and use them…then celebrate my life by throwing them down and smashing em’ all in true Smashgirl style 🙂

Well I don’t really plan on leaving this world anytime soon I hope, so while I’m here I’m not going to feel the guilt of enjoying my life.

Welcome Fall…leaf piles to stomp in, hot cocoa to drink and snuggly blankets by the fire.  Happiness is my priority 🙂

About A Boy Named Benjamin

You may know him as Marcus from NBC’s About A Boy

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but to me he’s Benjamin. I first met Benjamin Stockham last year at The Teen Choice Awards Gift Lounge in Hollywood.  I was at my first IndiExhibit event and was being trained by CEO Shannon Justice to rep the table for our group of artisians.  I had joined The IndiExhibit to help my career as a struggling Indie artist to gain some exposure and confidence as an artist.  Having a celebrity choose your creations from a table is such a great feeling.  Most artists are very self-critical so this was a great way to see if your things are liked.  My ultimate dream was to have one of my pendants worn by a celebrity to a carpet event.

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Benjamin was at the Teen Choice Event  with his Mom, who’s equally adorable, and he happened to be at our table while Stephen Glickman was there.  We had so much fun watching these two interact and play with our clown mascot Ralph! Benjamin’s Mom showed us his art…which is amazing! When he left we all talked about how sweet and talented he was…literally we were gushing over this little actor.  He was funny, and genuinely nice and down-to-earth…and yes as artists we were very impressed at his skills at such a young age!

I started following Benjamin on Twitter and tweeting after we met and then he showed up at our IndiExhibit table last year at The AMA”s Gift Lounge in LA.  I teased him about having a girlfriend, because seriously he looks like he’s about 10 years old.  That’s when he told me he was 13!  He chose some things from our table and that’s when he picked my pendant. This was the first mosaic pendant I had designed from guitar picks and I had brought it as a sort of trial to see if it got, pardon the pun…picked. I was so excited for him to have it just because I adore him!Image

I thanked him on Twitter and he tweeted back that he would wear it at his next carpet event! It was so exciting for me to hear this but I had no idea the surprises Benjamin had in store for me!

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So here’s the pic Benjamin tweeted to me as he was heading to his carpet event. This wasn’t just some movie premiere or fundraiser, it happened to be THE Press event for NBC’s About A Boy which was getting ready to premiere on primetime TV! The TCA or The Television Critics Association was having their Winter Press Tour and Benjamin was wearing my Smashgirl pendant!

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All of the official photos for the show included not only Benjamin but the cast of About A Boy…and his Mom is played by one of my faves Minni Driver! I freaked out…I cried…I basically screamed out loud, I’m sure my neighbors heard me!!! Benjamin made my day!!!

That was just the start of the surprises he had in store for me.

He went on The Home & Family Show on The Hallmark Channel and wore my pendant AGAIN during his interview with host Cristina Ferrare! I was literally pinching myself as I watched the show! It’s a very surreal feeling to see something that you designed and created on television, and it didn’t stop there…Benjamin surprised me again! 

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Did he just say Katie??? As in Katie Couric??? OMG! I was now getting marks on my arms from all the pinching I was doing…seriously I was again shocked, surprised, thrilled, happy, jumping up and down, screaming…I know my neigbhors must be getting used to it…my pendant was going to be on National TV again thanks to Benjamin! He really is an amazing kid and I’m not the only one who thinks so, besides his mother obviously. She should be so proud to have raised a son who’s very humble and well  grounded.  Every person that meets him thinks the same 🙂

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Benjamin didn’t stop there…my little pendant that I made was going to be worn by someone else.  While wearing it to the set one day it got noticed and Benjamin’s Mom told me that Benjamin’s character Marcus on About A Boy would be wearing it in an episode! OMG again! Freak out, cry, yell and scream…sorry neighbors 🙂 PINCH MYSELF!!!! I barely have words for how I feel.  The episode which happens to be episode 11 ( my fave number) airs tonight! I am so grateful to Benjamin, his Mom, The IndiExhibit and Shannon Justice, and NBC for including my little pendant on tonight’s episode.

 

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Here’s a sneak peek at the scene where Marcus is wearing his Smashgirl pendant, the show airs tonight on NBC at 9pm.  Being a single mom I had to cut some expenses so I don’t have cable TV so thankfully I can watch all the episodes of About A Boy online on NBC! Yay!

I am currently designing and making more of these guitar pick pendants in fun colors and will have them up in my Etsy shop soon. Custom orders are always welcome! Visit http://www.smashgirl.etsy.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Artist

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I’m so excited to be asked back as an Alumni Visual Artist at the upcoming Orange County RAW Artists Showcase! RAW is an amazing thing created by Heidi Luerra that gives little Indie Artists like me a venue to showcase and be seen in the local community. I had my very first showcase night two years ago this month, so I like to think of this one as my RAWniversary so to speak!

RAW has lead me to so many wonderful things and people in my life as an artist.  It’s given me confidence to pursue my passion, support from other local artists and many new friends including my Indie Exhibit group which are like family…and maybe a couple of boyfriends, haha!

RAW understands that most artists are struggling to make any profit so instead they ask that we sell tickets to our friends and family to support us. It’s a great way to spend an evening because not only are you supporting me, you also are supporting many other artists, musicians, fashion designers, performance artists, photographers, and hair and makeup artists.

When you put that many creative souls plus 500-600 guests into one space the energy alone will give you a high!

I hope you can make it out to come see me and my art and jewelry in person and have a few drinks and enjoy the other indies too 🙂

I am selling pre-sale tickets for $15 ($20 at the door) up until tonight and you can purchase them here

http://www.rawartists.org/smashgirl

After Sunday the 6th I may have a few available at the $15 price and can add you to my guest list. Email me at smashgirl84@gmail.com

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Also if you purchase a ticket from me you will automatically be entered into my drawing to win a free custom art pendant that I will design just for you 🙂 (You can purchase a ticket and still be entered even if you don’t attend)

Thanks so much for all your support!

Smashgirl

xoxo