Riding Outside the Lines

Everyone wants to leave their mark on the world, and last week I got my chance.

Last weekend I got the incredible opportunity to leave my mark on Wausau, WI. I was one of 20 artists that were chosen to participate in a four-day mural competition. My proposal was to be created on The Glass Hat, a really cool, artsy bar that is actually pretty historic, being established in the late 1800’s. Little to say I was STOKED. I had so many cool ideas to make a really cool mural that would play on the brick of the building and the love of old 1950’s bikes of the owner, all while looking like the thing had been there for years. And although I felt very confident, I mean I painted in college and placed in the city’s annual Chalkfest just two months earlier (read more here), I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

For starters it’s a mural. That thing is there literally until the building becomes too old and collapses or the owner decides they hate it and paints over it…which leads us to the second major freak out…what happens if the owner of The Hat (what us cool kids call The Glass Hat, that’s right I’m cool) doesn’t like it. Neither of these problems really hit me until one in the morning, the night before the competition, after I sent the owner my third design, to none of which she seemed overly excited for. The fear that I may do all this work to have it painted over the next week was REAL.

From that everything just started to seem like the end of the world: I hadn’t bought my paint yet and the contest was literally starting; I couldn’t take off an extended time off of work; people were probably finishing theirs’ day one and I wouldn’t get a chance to start; I was an idiot and signed up for a 5k in the middle of the contest in a city a half an hour away; I had no ladder to even reach the wall I was painting…you get the picture…there was a lot of panicking.

I was in it though. Maybe not “in it to win it,” but I was not bailing no mater how freaked out I was. Before I knew it, it was Thursday—

DAY 1:

Part of me wasn’t even planning on starting on the first day: I didn’t have a ladder, it was suppose to storm, and I wasn’t getting off of work till 5:00pm. Then on my walk to work, at ten in the morning, I saw people working…some looked to be almost half way through. So I decided to put on my big girl pants, find a ladder and get sometime down. Turns out 5ft plus 4ft is not enough to work on an almost 8’x8′ mural; but I somehow got my corners plotted for the piece.

DAY 2:

Come Day 2, I was just determined to get my frame and backwash in. Luckily another of my wonderful friends lent me a second ladder, this one 6 feet tall. Things got a lot easier and I only kinda felt like I was going to die…however not long after starting, a co-worker appeared, made fun of me for being a klutz, and then reappears with a 14 foot ladder. At the end of the day I stepped back feeling confident in my new ladder and accomplishing what I set out to accomplish…and then I looked around. Seeing the murals already finished or coming together from my fellow artists sent me into yet another panic; but the sun was setting and there was a Friday fish-fry calling my name.

DAY 3:

So remember how I said that I signed up for a 5k in the middle of this contest like a crazy person…well I ran it, rocked it (kinda, I finished), and then sped back to Wausau to start my mural at almost 3:00pm. I was so behind all the other artists. Here I was with my box as this just beautiful portrait sits finished to my right and a friggin galaxy is being created on my left. The panic was back and in full force.

Don’t worry though, I had the help and support of my boyfriend to get me through. And by help, he brought be water, carried the ladder, and then sat out in the sun with his Game Boy Advance playing Pokemon literally the entire time…

By the end of the day, I was completely exhausted. Running 3 miles and then climbing a ladder all day in the hot sun isn’t really a fun thing (killed that Weekend Warrior challenge though). I was, however, feeling better about the wall. With the text and base coat down for my subject matter, an early morning of touch-ups and finalizing the background seemed very accomplish-able.21706006_10156587204579392_548567725_o

DAY 4 — FINAL DAY OF CONTEST:

You know all those times you say you are going to get an early start on something and then just don’t? These were not one of those times. HA. In all honesty, day four was just a cake walk. Something just clicked and the piece just fell together.

Somehow, even being behind the ENTIRE WEEKEND, I was one of the artists that actually finished by the 1:00pm deadline. The next two hours the participants got to walk around, see the other murals, and then vote for our favorites. Finally the time came to announce the top three…and I was not one of them, however both pieces on either side of me were which was really cool because both defiantly deserved the awards. To see all of the murals and read more on the event, check out this photo album and story my super cool reporter friend put together: here.

In the end I didn’t care. Yes, it would have been nice to win; but I made something I was really, really happy with, and that the owner was even more happy with than I. I made something that is going to be there forever (well I hope forever). Just a week later, the weekend has already opened up new doors for me through the new, amazing people I met. It has reminded how much I love to paint, and continues to remind me how much I love this community and the opportunities it has given me to push myself to be a better self.

With that: all the days of planning, 3 ladders, 100 dollars in painting supplies, and 16 hours hanging out in alley next to The Glass Hat…here’s the final piece. 21706407_10156587206769392_746601408_o

 

I would also like to take the time to thank all the wonderful, amazing, and inspirational people that made this weekend possible:
  • First and foremost both Gisy and Downtown Wausau’s River District for creating this awesome experience
  • John from Hallman Lindsay’s “Ask an Expert” and everyone from that store who put up with my multiple stop-ins for paint and supplies
  • Lora, Blake, Penny, and Mike for all lending me their ladders…sorry for the one’s I haven’t returned yet…
  • Joey for carrying said ladders; bringing me food, water, soda, coffee; putting up with all my craziness; and getting sunburned just to cheer me on
  • Everyone who helped out during the event to provide entertainment, make sure we are fed, and offer their buildings to be painted…you all rock.
  • Everyone who came by to say hello and check out the event, especially those who donated (and voted for me…kidding)
  • Finally all the artists who donated their time to such a cool and unforgettable experience
  • Also to all of you that took the time to read my story 🙂

Never stop
RIDING OUTSIDE THE LINES.

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Decorating Your Apartment

 

 

It’s that time of the year again. Leases are coming to an end and hopefully you find that perfect apartment… now what?  If you were like me, then decorating your own can be very intimating.  I went from living in a closet in a house with five guys to owning a five room apartment all by myself. However somehow (thanks to all the advice requested by my friends), I must have pulled it off. Here are some of my tips (I’m so modest guys) that anyone can use when starting their new life away from home in a new apartment.

You find yourself buying things for the first time.  Shower curtains, sofas, microwaves… so many things you didn’t know you needed.  And then there are things that you don’t need, but it makes living three hours away from your family and friends feel more like home.

Let’s start with the things you need.  There are a few things you need to sort out before buying these things; like what will fit in your apartment, how long you will be living in this place, what you already have, and your budget.  Budget.  You are a new adult with a crappy paying job and loans to pay back, (who needs to eat) it’s okay to be cheap!  There are some really great things you can get for almost no money at all! Thrift shops are wonderful!  With that though, there are a few things to know.  NOT ALL THINGS SHOULD BE BOUGHT USED.  Trust me, sometimes it’s just gross.  Sofa with a slight rip in a cushion for $15.00 from Goodwill.  Good!  Buy that!  A microwave for $30.00 that you found on your college’s “Free or Sale” Page… don’t do that.  It is probably smelly and will break three weeks later.  So things to buy used.  Big furniture items: sofas, chairs, cabinets, tables, bookshelves, desks, etc… Things not to buy used. Appliances, microwaves, beds, shower curtains, towels….aka things that are need to be sanitary, or electric, or you eat off of…just spend the extra money on it. In the long run you will be be happier.

Next, how long you will be there.  This one is actually pretty easy.  Chances are, your first place right out of college will not be the place you grow old in.  With that, don’t sweat over getting stuff that will last.  Temporary.  You need decent, temporary items.  On the other hand you are also living in this place for probably a year or two…so it should still feel like home. I have been in my apartment now for almost two years, and that $15 sofa is doing great! Will it make it out of this apartment…nope…it will die on the street when I leave, or will go to some other poor, recent post-grad.

That brings us to the next part of apartment decoration, the actual decorating part of it. This is your space.  Go crazy in it.  That weird Narwhal thing you made in that art class you pretended to take? Um, that’s cool as shit.  Put that on display.  That reading corner you wanted to try on Pinterest…there’s a corner.  Those tins you found at a garage sale?  Cute as hell, and makes it look like you cook with cool things. Win win.

 

There are little things that will help brighten any apartment, and make it feel more like home.  You can start with flowers.  Such a simple thing.  You need three things: a vase, water, and flowers…actually scratch that, you don’t even need a vase. That stein you got from that one beer-fest you don’t remember? Great. Use that. But I digress…flowers. They come in all different kinds, you can get them almost anywhere, you can even grow them yourself.  Actually just do that. Potted plants are wonderful. That little bit of responsibility is very rewarding to see how they grow, and this little guy needs you.  Needs you to care for, water, and talk to when you both get lonely.  In return he gives you oxygen!  Who needs to open windows when you have that? Another really easy quick decorating tool is wall art.  Whether you are a painter or like funny posters, get something on those walls!  It’s a quick fix to dull walls if you can’t paint!  It’s all in the details. Fill your shelves and walls with things that make you happy, things from your past, things you want to become.

 

Put in the extra time to make your apartment something you are proud of. You will start to understand why us 24 year-olds start to spend Friday nights in our pajamas rather than at the bars…

Make your place yours. It will make you feel more at home in this new city you have settled in; which can be a really scary, lonely process. The small things matter. Even that plant.

Like Nike.

So I am not going to poetically dodge around the point of this post: put yourself out there.

Is there something that you have always wanted to do? Do it. This is the best time to pick up a skill, try something new, and just break out of your shell! Gonna keep this really short and sweet…

This past weekend I entered my city’s Chalkfest. I spent almost ten hours in the beating sun, trying to draw on a city sidewalk, getting shown up by kids literally half my age (yes, I am talking about you 12-year-old, lake landscape kid)…and know what? It was awesome.

I had just an amazing time. I had received so much support: from my friends who brought me water throughout the day, the fellow artists that gave me tips to actually make my chalk stick to the pavement, and then the support of just strangers, stopping on their rounds to say a few kind words or take a picture, say hello…it was unreal.

What I’m trying to say, if you are debating anything. Picking up an instrument, joining a sport, entering a chalkfest…get out and do it. You won’t regret it.

This is our time to get out there and show the world what we got! We are awesome.

That is all.

Coping with Literally Everything

You know how you said you were stressed in college?  Like I have a paper, lab report, painting and video project all due on the same day?  Yeah.  It sucks.  Like literally.  Nothing more stressful than that, right?  WRONG.

It will only get worse.  Now it’s launching an new season, juggling a long distance relationship, insanely long nights in the office, and right when you think you are getting a grip on everything, losing a loved-one. Not to mention you aren’t simply letting yourself down if you fail, you may be letting down an entire organization.

Okay that is just me, but we all know that feeling.  It’s finding a job, or keeping your job.  Paying loans, bills and your car that has decided that now is the time to break.  It’s family, friends, work…or not having those things.  It’s hard.

But before you decide that you give up and you’re staying in college forever, hear me out.  It doesn’t always have to be a bad thing; stress can be your friend.

It is proven that stress can act as a burst of energy.  Thus this burst can be a great push to get your gears in motion and motivate you to be productive!  I can say that some of my best work has been done when I am under tight time constraints.  The trick is staying on top of your stress, not letting it over-whelm you, and guess who has some tricks for you…this gal.

Breathe.

It sounds cheesy, but it works.  So don’t knock until you try it.  Feel stressed at work, during an exam, taking care of your kid that won’t stop crying?  Just sit up straight, close your eyes, open up your chest and take three deep breaths.  If you are like me with three different inhalers, maybe you can multi-task.

Take a Break.

If breathing doesn’t work, TAKE A BREAK.  This can be as small as taking a quick lap around the office to planning a weekend away in another city.  Reward yourself for your hard work and turn your brain off for a second.  Watch that extra episode of your favorite Netflix show, treat yourself to a bath, take that extra second getting up in the morning… anything that can keep you relaxed and your stress down.

Exercise.

Yes, yes another cliché and if you are like me that is always the last thing on your mind.  But you ever hear anything called a runner’s high?  Exercising makes you happy!  You don’t have to go on a three mile run.  Gross.  Who wants to do that?  And if you do can you teach me your ways?  Kidding.  Kinda.  But you don’t have to do a serious workout. Go on a walk, dance around like an idiot, go outside and try to catch a squirrel… just get movin’!

Don’t Self-Medicate.

Let me better explain.  Don’t self-medicate with BAD things.  Drugs, alcohol, putting Burt’s Bees on your eyelids…that’s bad, don’t do that.  Commonly the effects of these drugs will actually make you more stressed.  Yes even the Marijuana.  Listen to your D.A.R.E classes, kids.  Instead look into positive alternatives.  Looking to do some deep breathing?  Try yoga, it’s relaxing and is kinda the king of stress-relief.  They even let you nap at the end!  Thirsty?  Make some tea.  It’s good for you and will boost your immune system which stress can take a toll at.  Looking to put something on your eye-lids…really just don’t.  It was a bad time for our world’s youth.  Literally do anything else besides that.

Wake Up Early.

Get up an hour earlier than you do, or even a half an hour.  It opens up so much more time to your day, allowing you to be more productive.  Eat breakfast before you go to work, take the long way on your walk to class, or even just get there early and knock another thing off that list. It’s the morning!  Embrace it!  You are refreshed.  You don’t have a bad day hanging over you preventing you from being motivated.

Reach Out.

Truth is we are all confused, and stressed, and depressed, and feel like we are alone in this world.  But guess what.  We aren’t.  There are a million people that are just like you that would love to help.  Just venting or getting things off your chest can feel so freeing, and will help you relax.  Plus people have advice.  Good advice!  Take it!

Let it go.

Don’t let stress control your life.  It will pass.  But sometimes it won’t.  At that point you may have to realize it just isn’t worth it.  This can come in so many forms.  A bad habit, a destructive relationship, a job that you aren’t happy with… sometimes you are just better off without them.  That’s a lie.  Always you are better off without them.  Take care of yourself and you will feel better.  Also, you have Frozen stuck in your head? I do.

Stress is a part of life.  But by staying on top of it and transforming it into a positive energy, you can to it all.

LateNight Blog Rant #2: New Years Revolutions

Happy New Year Everyone!

We kissed 2016 goodbye and welcomed in this shiny new 2017. With all its promise of change and glory, it’s a nice reason to look at life a little differently. So here is probably the MILLIONTH blog post on New Year’s resolutions/ reflection.

Everyone seems to be complaining about 2016. I mean hey, complain away. I didn’t have a perfect year either. I could go on and list all the just shitty things that happened to me this year (trust me, there has been a lot), but instead let’s raise a hypothetical glass.

Raise a glass to the new friends made in 2016; the new places explored; to the night’s we didn’t go to the gym and watched an entire season of The Office instead. As a pivotal point in our young lives don’t forget to find the good in all of life’s challenges. Take a second to just think back and appreciate all those wonderful moments that I know are hiding in your memories (Remember that first time you finally listened to the  Hamilton soundtrack?). And  finally give yourself a pat on the back for every time you you didn’t stay down.

2017 will bring a lot of change. As we get older we know how hard it is to find time for ourselves, hold on to old friends, and have an alcohol tolerance (SERIOUSLY, when did drinking become so hard?!)…But we aren’t in this alone.

So here’s to you fellow post-grads.  We got this.

No Place Like Home for the Holidays

So as you embark on this new park of your life,it may lead you to areas far from your family and friends. With this, sometimes you can’t always make it home for special occasions; sometimes you live too far, don’t have enough money, or your job just won’t allow it. This can be really hard. And that’s okay.

Let’s be real.  It sucks.  The food isn’t as good, your studio apartment doesn’t smell like cookies, you don’t have all the channels to watch Elf for the THOUSANDTH time… it’s just lonely.  The absolute loneliest.  No matter how many Christmas you hang up and how many bottles of RumChata you chug… it’s just not the same.

It doesn’t have to be the most iconic winter holidays. Nothing hurts more than knowing the fact that your entire extended family of over 50 is tanning on the boat and you are racing wiener dogs.

In the times that you can feel the most down though, the most alone…just remember that we all are going through this or have at one time. Because even if you are lucky enough to make it home for the holiday season, there are still the ones that you love the most that can’t make it home.

With that just know that one day this will be in the past. It may not help hearing that right now; but trust me, it will come. Until then: wine. And lots of it.

I’m kidding.  Get out there and experience all the great things your area has to offer. Ski hills, botanical gardens, and ice rinks: every place has it. Get out there and chase away your holiday blues; because face it…those people that you aren’t able to be with, they are still going to love you, and miss you just as much as you miss them.  Also, it’s two days and then everyone returns back to the office hungover and wayyyyyy fatter…

Also remember: wine.

Happy Holiday Folks!

Lights, Camera, Action

Welcome to adulting!  And my first blog post to be honest.  So bear with me.  This could be super rough.

Things to know about me.  I am new to this.  No not only the blog thing, but this whole adult thing.  All of us are.  So in some ways we may need this blog more than you do… more than you need our advice, or more than when you want to see what we are up to.  Big life changes are hard.  Writing is apparently a good release…or something like that.

So because I can’t think of anything else to write about for my first post, take this as a little prologue, an overture to the rest of my work (you will find out that is a really smart reference… I work for a theater).a dult ing

This is a blog about adulting, or the state of being a post grad when you pretend to know what is going on in your life.  You will read the funny, you will read the sad.  At times you may not know what you are reading.  We, love every other young adult, are figuring it out as we go.

Thank you for joining us today, enjoy the ride.