Labor Day Painting Sale & Life Update

Labor Day Sale!-2

This may be the longest it’s ever been since my last update. I’ve been trying to plan better and be more consistent in my business and in life but, as they often do, unforeseen obstacles have gotten in the way.

I guess it’s finally time to admit that our relocation has been more of a nightmare than an adventure. I tried to be optimistic and make the best of it, and I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed certain aspects of life in this area, but “normal moving stress” and obnoxious neighbors gave way to a series of disappointments, specifically a lack of business and personal connections, and finally what I consider betrayal from our friends/Joe’s business partner who we followed here.

This is probably not the place to go into detail, so suffice it to say that they behaved with incredible selfishness and unprofessionalism and, intentionally or not, did a lot of damage to our lives and the gym. And in the end, they weren’t the ones to stick around and deal with it. It’s hard to explain in such vague terms without sounding like I’m being petty, but I’ don’t want to start drama, I just feel the need to share what’s been going on in order to move forward.

It didn’t help that I was, and still am, trying to manage recurring major depression with basically no support system. I think the hardest part was losing faith in myself and other people, because the red flags were all there. We knew better. But whether out of goodwill or desperation, we gave the benefit of the doubt anyway. Either way, it’s shocking to be treated like nothing more than a means to an end by people who said they cared. At least I’ve learned that my instincts are usually right, if I would just listen to them.

As all of this was coming to an end, Joe found out with about a month’s notice that he’d be deploying for the fourth time. We knew this was a possibility and I was honestly never sold on living here, so my backup plan was – surprise! – temporarily moving to Asheville, where I hope the plentiful art, good food, nice people, and beautiful mountains will remind me what it feels like to enjoy life.

You may remember I’ve tried this before, and maybe I’m being stupid, but logistically it’s more realistic this time. We’re just renting and we want to move closer to town anyway, so in between, I’ll put most of our stuff in storage and find a small place for me and the cats.

My online inventory may change a bit as I try to take advantage of local shows, galleries, and other activities, but I plan to keep my shop running and updated. Maybe I’ll even blog and make YouTube videos again! Either way, I’m sure there will be plenty of inspiration for new projects.

So on that note, I’m participating in Etsy’s Labor Day sale with 30% off all paintings in My Shop, including minis, magnets, and ornaments, to try to reduce some of my larger/more damageable stock before I have to pack it. It runs from the August 30th to September 3rd with a preview today.

If you’ve read this far, I want you to know that even though I’ve fallen behind with certain things, it has meant the world to me to have my business and its growing support network to focus on through these struggles. I may have largely gone without friends or opportunities in person, but at least there’s the Internet, right? So thank you guys and I hope you’ll stick with me and see what’s next in the coming months!

My (Solo) Trip to Asheville

So I finally took my trip to Asheville. Moving there for Joe’s whole deployment didn’t work out, but I saved enough for the 10 days I stayed in an extended stay hotel. It was surprisingly difficult to make that reservation and commit to leaving my cat and my responsibilities for even that long, but the latest Hobbit movie (in addition to shattering my heart forever) had me inspired to be adventurous. 

And it really was an adventure. Maybe it wouldn’t have been for most people, but it was for me. The first few days made me wonder if the whole thing was a huge mistake. I got lost on the 5-hour drive there, then arrived to find myself roomed underneath, apparently, a dinosaur who never slept. Then I noticed it was supposed to rain most of the week and kept having to put off my plans. 

But after a day of rest, I went out anyway, and it ended up being pretty amazing. Over the next week and a half I visited the quiet places and breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Botanical Gardens, Arboretum, and Biltmore Estate. I shopped, ate, and browsed art downtown, in the River Arts District, and at the Folk Art Center, and even got tips and encouragement from more experienced artists and crafters. I met friendly travelers who invited me to join their activities, including seeing the stars through telescopes.

I drove and walked all over the city. And once I’d worn myself out each day, I came back to my room to relax (with the help of earplugs, earmuffs, and headphones, lol) and work on some creative projects. 

So at the end of my trip, I was sad to put those mountains in my rear view mirror and trade galleries and studios for barber shops and boot cleaners, but I was ready to return to my own comfortable space – where I found new art supplies from my husband and a cat who was very happy to see me. 

I have a lot to catch up on and plenty of creative inspiration to use before it disappears.

And maybe I can’t be my vacation self forever, who wakes up early (ish) and does activities all day and is open to spontaneity. When you live with depression/anxiety, some days even simple chores or errands can be exhausting. But it’s nice to know that, under the right circumstances, I can be a fun and adventurous person. And maybe some of that will stay with me.

Here are a few of the many photos I took. Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for some new paintings!

Happy Birthday To Me

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Today (well technically yesterday) was my 26th birthday, and I have mixed feelings about it. Because I’m now over the hill of my twenties. And because my husband is away for field training with no contact. And because I wanted to have plans, but plans are stressful, especially when you spent your birthday money taking your cat to the vet because of mean judgy alarmists on the internet.

But I didn’t want to sit at home alone feeling sorry for myself, so I decided to be a normal girl for a day and go shopping with my friend. For clothes, because my husband didn’t think I needed more craft supplies. (Um, when do I not need more craft supplies? But clothes are good too).

I got a new outfit – like actually went into one store and bought an outfit, instead of trekking the whole mall second-guessing all of my decisions – and some sleeveless shirts.

(For some reason, whatever I’m looking for, I always seem to buy more tank tops! But later, I “made” shorts to go with them. Because one advantage of being too tall for all your pants is having lots of options for cutoffs).

When I got home, my other friend brought flowers and ice cream and drawings from her kids! They were so excited to give them to me, and now I have some awesome Sesame Street characters and a Hello Kitty for my fridge. My husband even pulled some strings so we could have a quick phone call.

I may or may not have to return some clothes (or maybe sell some old ones?) but at least I spent the day with friends. So I wouldn’t have to be like Harry Potter in the book and sing happy birthday to myself on a lonely bench (or couch). Thanks guys.