Yeah I still feel bad about this one.
(Consolation: Alice saw this post on instagram and read it over and over and laughed and laughed and laughed. I’m glad I haven’t scarred her for life.)
Yeah I still feel bad about this one.
(Consolation: Alice saw this post on instagram and read it over and over and laughed and laughed and laughed. I’m glad I haven’t scarred her for life.)
One of the things I love about The Handsome (of many many many) is that we can work on projects together. Here’s one that I drew and he cut together in AfterEffects.
We’re definitely going to make more of these 😍😍
I’ve been a little slow on the blog posts. To make up for it, I’m doing a GIVEAWAY of a recent illustration! WOOOO!!!
Recognize some familiar faces? ;)
OK you know the drill! Comment “WANT!” in the comments section and you are IN to win this 12×18″ print. It will come in a cardboard tube, which can also double as a telescope BONUS.
Drawing is open to anyone! Entry deadline is end of day on Tuesday, May 14th. I hope you win!
I used The Handsome’s brush the other day.
How did he know??
Confession: I used his brush because I lost mine somewhere in that giant pile of hair at the corner of our bathroom.
Things here have been pretty awesome. We’ve nearly been married a year (!!!!) (Next week!!!!!) (!!!!!!) and it’s been the best. I love The Handsome so much.
So far, no baby :( We really want one. Or five. Or six. We’ve been on the roof, like, every night… but no stork.
I kind of wonder if we’re missing something…
Anyway about a year ago today, The Handsome confessed one of his dearest desires to me.
He is ME but a boy!!!!
Along that line of “Weird Wallwork” reasoning, we’ve been talking about all the stuff we want in our dream house.
WHAT is a carillon, you ask?
It’s one of those bell towers you see at universities & in old cities. A carillonneur (actual title) enters and pounds batons with his fist to play a tune.
You can see it in action here:
Of course I thought this idea was AMAZING (!!!!) and we’re already planning what it’ll look like on our house. I’ve decided a giant clock in the carillon tower would be pretty cool too…and an organ…and maybe a foosball table too for the look of it.
Our future kids’ drawings are gonna be awesome.
ANYWAY. Since we’ve been diligently planning our dream house, I’ve been doing a lot of research and Pinteresting.
Black walls and circle windows are DEFINITELY going to be a thing.
I had this idea about the laundry room. We all use laundry rooms as tiny little closets in our house and we take our laundry out of our rooms and wash it and then when we’re done we have to find a place to fold the laundry and then we (sigh) have to take the laundry all the way back to the room closets and
It’s a pain!
But I had this MIND BLOWING IDEA.
Why not make the laundry room the CLOTHES room?
(This idea is kind of a big deal, so hear me out)
Why not, instead of doing the traditional thing of having clothes & closets in our rooms, we have one GIANT room in our house with a washer and dryer, ironing, sewing, a big table for folding laundry,
and dressing rooms (!!!) with drawers and hangers for each member of the family.
All the clothes will be in one place…no more carrying huge baskets of laundry everywhere. No more piles of clothes in the bedrooms. Everything is just right there! It’s BRILLIANT!!
It’s so brilliant, in fact, that there is no way I’m the first person who’s thought of this. I’ve been combing my brain to find out what’s wrong with this idea. Maybe there’s a little less privacy than in your bedroom…but everyone has their own dressing room so that doesn’t seem like much of a problem…
What am I missing????
(You can tell me in the comments section.)
(But I’m still going to build it.)
(Yes that is one of our future children in that picture above. They will be triplets and have red hair and dimples
Have you ever had a dream that you’re sure meant something?
Not like, the normal kind of dream you have. (For example, this past week I dreamt I was fleeing from a Mexican drug cartel, run by the bad guy in “No Country For Old Men” (a movie I’ve never even seen.) I had to paddle through a pond in a tiny canoe. Sadly, they caught up to me. I woke up right before they killed me.)
You know, normal dreams like that.
Have you ever had a real, legit dream that you can’t quite explain?
There was once, not long after I met my husband, I had a dream like that. In fact it was about this time last year. (Has it really been that long? Time flies.)
I dreamt I was at a train station, and with my ex-fiance. He was mad at me (as he was) and making me feel crummy (as he did). (Side note: I still wonder why I even stayed in that relationship lol. Its funny but even ages after that relationship, that dream brought back all those familiar horrible feelings.)
Anyway. While he was treating me this way, I caught a glimpse of The Handsome, who had appeared on the platform in the distance, and was walking towards me.
He walked past my ex (who…just moved out of the picture, faded away) and to me.
Then hr pulled me into his strong arms and gave me the biggest, tightest hug.
It was the best feeling in the world. I woke up with that feeling, and I can still feel it now.
I think that dream meant something for sure.
This blog isn’t about that dream. This blog is about a dream that I can’t think about without tearing up. Not long ago, and the subject of dreams came up at work. Us coworkers talked about the zany dreams we’ve had, and the scary ones, but my one coworker, Eric, shared one that I won’t ever forget.
Eric had a great family with a sweet wife and kids.
But Eric’s wife, Karen, (I’m changing her name, of course) had gotten an injury an as a result, ended up addicted to pain medication.
She’d been in rehab once and it had kicked the habit for a few months, but unfortunately, she had relapsed.
It was a really hard time for their family.
She needed to go back to rehab. But Karen hated that idea; it was Christmas season, and rehab was a really, really lonely and tough place, and she would be away from her family for the holidays. She refused to go.
To make matters worse, Karen’s mom had died just before Thanksgiving.
It was a really tough time.
One night, Eric had a dream.
He dreamt he was at a big holiday gathering with all his family. You know, where everyone wears Christmas sweaters and they decorate the walls with tinsel and bring those tins full of shortbread cookies.
There was a buffet table, and Eric was surprised to see his mother-in-law–the one who had just passed away–getting food at the table. They began to chat it up.
Out of the blue, his mother-in-law said:
And Eric was like:
And his mother-in-law said:
Immediately, Eric woke up.
He felt a little shaken about how vivid the dream was, and how he remembered everything about it. He contemplated waking his wife up and telling her about it, but decided to let her sleep.
It wasn’t long before he’d fallen asleep again
And had that exact same dream.
The family gathering. Talking to his mother-in-law at the buffet.
Their exact same conversation, word-for-word.
And Eric woke up again.
He went back to sleep
And had that exact same dream a third time.
When Eric woke up this time, he decided to tell his wife about it.
But to his surprise, his wife was already awake.
She turned to him and said:
She went back to rehab. It was tough on everyone to have her gone.
But this time, she kicked the addiction for good.
Maybe second time’s the charm?
Maybe she just needed the second round to convince her she never wanted to go back.
Or maybe…maybe it was because she actually wasn’t alone there. Maybe the extra help was really what she had needed.
It’s nice to know that there are people on the other side who are watching out for us.
Merry Christmas, everyone :)
This is The Handsome.
He works as an engineer. Because of that, he owns a TON of button-up plaid shirts.
Our closet looks like this
I’m working on expanding his wardrobe, like maybe having wider plaid with purples or something but we’ll see.
Anyway the other day we were having our regular dinner of cold cereal and telling each other how much we love each other (as we do)
when I noticed something.
The Handsome was taking this much better than I was. For me, the missing button was driving me crazy.
This was a problem.
That was a work shirt!! He’d wear it to work!! What would his coworkers think of me??
‘ ‘ ‘
The Handsome said I shouldn’t worry about it.
I was unconvinced.
Buttons are weird because yes, you can sew on a new button, but you have to spend about an hour searching the house for it first. When you don’t find it, that’s another hour going to the store (sigh) to find a match, then when you don’t find one, that’s another hour at another store* (siiiiiigh) where you don’t find the button but you find something like the button and if you squint no one will notice the difference, then when you get home you realize the button thread isn’t white but pale chartreuse #127 which hasn’t been manufactured since the fifties (aaargh) and then…well, you get the idea.
*probably JoAnn’s, which will say they have a 50% off of anything sale except sale items, then they’ll put everything in the store on a 5% off sale. They do this all the time because they’re jerks.
Anyway. When it came to the shirt, there was only one thing left to do.
The Handsome is kind of sensitive about me throwing stuff away. I’m a thrower-awayer.
When we were engaged, I was doing his dishes and there was a big plastic straw in the sink. The kind you’d get for free at like Cafe Rio or Fiiz. Those don’t wash super well, so I threw it away. (You would too!)
Several hours later, The Handsome noticed it was missing.
Realizing that I had thrown it away, he dug through the trash until he found it.
Next week the exact same thing happened. With that exact same straw.
He didn’t intercept early enough, and this time he had to dig through the big trash can for it.‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
Side note: The Handsome has a very interesting relationship with garbage. Early into our marriage*, he confided to me that he had a special skill.
*not before, oddly.
He told me the story of how, one time, he was thinking he really needed a cooler. He wanted to make a little shelter for the stray cats outside his home, and thought a cooler would be nice and insulating in the cold weather.
LO AND BEHOLD, that VERY next day, he found a cooler in the work dumpster!
He said this kind of thing happens all the time.
As though to prove it, right after this discussion we went to PETCO and he found a bunch of empty boxes we could use for packing stuff.
He really does have a super power!
PS If digging through the dumpster is illegal, please don’t tell him. It would break his heart.
Anyway, back to the button.
There I sat, trying to figure out what to do…
But The Handsome was one step ahead of me.
‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
The man is a genius. Omgsh I love him soooooo much ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
In other news:
CONGRATULATIONS to Angie Rennie! She is the winner of “The Enchanted Sonata” giveaway. A big thank you to everyone who entered! I feel I really do know the best people ♥
One of my favorite things about writing a book is creating the book trailer.
A book trailer is like a movie teaser, but for a book. It’s supposed to get people jazzed about buying your book. I’m not sure if they actually work, but I sure do love creating them.
The book trailer for “The Enchanted Sonata” has been kicking around in my head for a few years now. This past summer I cut the animatic together.
It required a few shadowboxes and paper cutouts.
And my niece, Anna. She made a perfect Clara!
(^^ hahaha I love that she’s copying The Handsome in this picture.)
Anyway, after the first round of filming on greenscreen came the comping and then filming the projections.
An in-process look at the filming:
Then it was more comping, and filming the live action pieces.
And then more comping together. And editing. And color correcting. And a lot of help from The Handsome <3
We just finished the trailer last week. You can watch it right now!
I’m really happy with how it turned out.
All the filming and comping and keying was a humbling process. As a kid, I never could’ve dreamed making something like this. That was before the internet and digital film making, After Effects and Photoshop. To create anything like this, it meant living in the LA area, plus huge amounts of time and money. Editing, keying, animating, distributing, all were a massive process.
Now, anyone can do this stuff at home and distribute it on the internet with the snap of their fingers. So much has changed in the past 20 years. We really do live in an amazing time. I’ll always be grateful that I’m a part of it.
Enough gushing :) It’s time for a GIVEAWAY!!!
I want to give away a copy of “The Enchanted Sonata” and YOU have the chance to not only win the book but also
this sweet li’l original 5×7 watercolor I created just for this! Wooo!
(Minus the sheet music, the frame, and the piano.)
Want to know how to win?? Just comment below with “WANT!” and you’re in! I will draw the winner end of this week, Saturday 11/24…so you’ll get it in plenty of time for Christmas ^_^
And, last of all, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. I really do feel like I know the best people.
The Handsome has been taking this self-defense class called Krav Maga. It’s an Israeli street fighting technique. We were nearly jumped in Puerto Rico on our honeymoon (a great story, I will share it sometime) so he is doing his husbandly duty and making sure he can punch a hole in anyone who looks at us funny <3 <3 <3 hahaha I love him <3 <3 <3
So I’ve kind of ghosted on this blog (which I miss updating!) but am happy to announce what’s been taking up a lot of my time.
BEHOLD A NEW BOOK!
So y’all know that in the past I’ve written a couple of books for HarperCollins (“Entwined” being the best known). WELP these past few years I’ve been working on a new one…and now it’s finally ready to be released into the wild!
“The Enchanted Sonata” is a retelling of The Nutcracker with a musical twist. Here’s the summary:
Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!), and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker.
Whisked away to his world–an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince–Clara must face a magician who uses music as magic…and the future she thought she wanted.
“The Enchanted Sonata,” a retelling of The Nutcracker Ballet with a dash of The Pied Piper, will captivate readers of all ages.
This book was a freaking blast to write. I loved writing Prince Nikolai (the Nutcracker) and Clara and their blossoming romance, and I loved writing all the music into the story, and I loved the bad guy and the all the humor I got to put in there. I hope it’s worth the wait everyone’s had to do <3
It will be out NEXT WEEK! AAAAAAH!! You can find it on Amazon (I will put the link in the sidebar). I chose to go indie with this book because I wanted desperately to design my own cover…and it was worth it, I love how the cover turned out.
ANYWAY stay tuned! I’ll be doing a GIANT giveaway next week where you can enter to win it! Hang tight!
July was the 2 year anniversary of when my sister Katie passed away. Rough month.
But people were right–the second year was better than the first.
I still sometimes cry though :'(
My brother-in-law and their kids are doing really great. Christopher (the oldest) is on a mission right now, and their oldest girl is going to be a senior in high school and the youngest will be in 2nd grade and they’re all enjoying summer and looking forward to school too. They’re good students.
During the summer while their dad works, my mom and my sister (who both live in the neighborhood) watch out for the kids every day and tag team it. They are pretty amazing so you can bet all those kids will be amazing too.
July 6th would have been Katie’s 42nd birthday. To celebrate, her husband took the day off and their whole family did 42 acts of kindness. (Nice, right?)
They gave my mom flowers
They left quarters on vending machines
They drove into construction zones and gave the workers Gatorade
The workers were grateful :)
They also had a bunch of smiley-face balloons that they gave to sick people and little kids.
With their last balloon, they decided it would be nice to give it to a sick kid in the hospital. So my brother-in-law & 7-year-old niece asked the nurse at the station if it would cheer up anyone.
It was not a kid voice.
It was not a kid.
The guy said he would have watched his language if he knew haha.
(The nurse must’ve thought he needed cheering up lol)
Last Sunday in my 6-7 year-old church class, our lesson was on sharing. All the kids told stories about how they shared and how it made them happy and then I told them about my sister’s bone marrow fundraiser and how so many people came to run the race and donated gift baskets and organized games and made cookies and muffins to sell and I was BAWLING
I’m sure the kids thought Sister Wallwork was un poco loco.
It was three years ago (has it really been that long?) but I still am so grateful and touched at how generous and giving everyone was. The world is full of wonderful people.
AT LAST! I’m updating the blog!
I promised myself I wouldn’t update until all the wedding thank-you notes were sent off. They are all pretty much mailed now (not all–but most!) and I’m so happy to be up and running again ^_^
A lot of people have asked me how I’m liking married life.
Seriously, being married is the best. I recommend it to everyone. When you find the right person, don’t waste any time. Just get married that same day. It is srsly so great.
Every morning The Handsome and I, we wake up all in love
And we eat breakfast (still in love)
We rush to catch the 6:54 train
(we live and die by two minutes every morning)
And then all day at work, we think mushy thoughts about each other.
When we come home that night we eat and tell each other how much we missed each other and how lonely we were without each other mush mush mush mush
And then we fall asleep in each others’ arms.
D’aaaaaw ❤ ❤ ❤
Marriage is not without it’s surprises, though.
For example, I was walking into my closet one morning, when–
THERE WAS A MAN IN MY CLOSET!!!!
That has never happened to me before.
I’ve also discovered that I talk in my sleep. The other night I was dozing off and started talking:
Haha. Other gems I’ve said:
“Finally they put those kids in a corner.”
“Let’s fill up a bucket of water just in case.”
“I’m really glad Bernie Sanders didn’t eat the other half of that blueberry pie.” (This one is deep on so many levels.)
I’ve also discovered I’m a terrible cook.
When I was single, I lived on Cafe Rio taco soup and protein shakes. Now I need to cook *every day* and man. I am bad. I am so, so bad.
I blame Pinterest for this. They have all these amazing pictures of this incredible food and my eyes get big.
So I pin the recipe and get the stuff together for it
And throw it together kinda like what the recipe says online
And do what I can to make it fit in my schedule
30 minutes at 1600 degrees should work like a charm.
And even after ALL THAT WORK IT TURNS OUT AWFUL!!
I don’t understand it. You’d think Pinterest would at least try to vet their pins before people wasted all that time and money.
We still eat the food.
Or I should say, The Handsome still eats it. I don’t. He’s like, “Honey, don’t be upset, it’s really good!”
I love that man.
Anyway I put the plea out on Facebook and everyone sent me their easy favorite recipes and I got SO MANY!! Thank you!!!
I also got dinner, breads, and cakes left at my door.
Hahaha best family and neighbors ever ❤ ❤ ❤
Dun dun duuuuuuun
I took a few weeks’ break to enjoy the married life, that dweam wifin a dweam.
Being married is AWESOME. I totally recommend it. Definitely worth taking a break for. But it does mean I’ve got a lot of catching up to do! There’s all these great stories about married life, the honeymoon (a Caribbean cruise…it was fabulous), moving houses, everything…things have been crazy. In fact, I shouldn’t be blogging at all. I should be cleaning or writing thank-you notes. (Er…what is the etiquette for those, anyway? I hope it’s not like within a month after the wedding or I am in big trouble. They are coming, I swear!)
This post today is about THE WEDDING.
There is SO MUCH to say about the wedding. This is going to be a BIG blog post. Brace yourselves.
We didn’t have much time to plan the wedding. It was a 2-month engagement. We are old and don’t mess around. Thankfully, I had The World’s Most Beautiful Wedding Dress™ already hanging in my closet, so I didn’t need to worry about that!*
I also put together style guides for all the vendors and bridesmaids and everyone involved. A style guide is basically a library of pictures and direction for what the project will look like. (Being an animation director teaches you things).
(The decorators looked at me like I was crazy when I handed this to them haha.)
The colors were white, ivory, and rose gold. I wanted to channel a very classy, vintage feel (with a touch of Mary Poppins.) I ended up loving these colors even more than I expected. They are just glamorous.
My cousin Melisa, a pastry chef, worked the cake, and Jen’s Bowdacious Bows worked on the floral and Waffle Love got reserved for catering and gosh everything just came together like a dream!
There were a few hiccups.
Like, I had no idea how much food to order. Mormon weddings are more of an open house, so you’re not quite sure how many people will show up. I stressed a bit over that.
300 less than what I ordered, it turns out.
The decorators were really frustrating to work with. (They were pretty unorganized.) I tried hard to not be a bridezilla…
But I was.
I ended up making the centerpieces.
Actually my friend Susan Arnita put the centerpieces together.
Look at how beautiful they turned out!
But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
We got bridals/groomals done a couple of weeks before the wedding, on March 9th. This turned out to be a really good idea, because the weather was beautiful. Here are a few of my favorites:
(That DRESS, AMIRIGHT??)
^^Check out that leap. The Handsome used to be a BYU folk dancer and he has some grasshopper in his blood, I think.
Love the movement in that one
It was cloudy, but the sun came out at just the right time.
^^The picture is my favorite of them all.
GUH he’s SO dreamy <3 <3 <3
^^LOVE that bouquet. I wanted something that was glittery and pearly but soft and loose, not tight and ball-y like a lot of brooch bouquets and by golly, Jen delivered. She even made black leaves for it, it turned out sooo pretty. I have it in a vase on my kitchen table now.
I also let some of my goofy side show.
The Handsome thought it was HILARIOUS. Our photographer, Patti Deru, was like: “I don’t understand it, but I like it!”
…but my poor mom was horrified. She didn’t want me to share these on social media.
The Handsome let some of his goofy side show, too.
Those were the bridals. (BTW, is bridals/groomals just a Utah thing? I had a couple of people asking if that was normal here. I’m actually not sure…I thought everyone did bridals, but I kind of live under a rock. Maybe someone can tell me in the comments.)
The wedding day came fast and not fast enough. A week before, the forecast looked like this:
Which was comforting.
I woke up around 5:30 AM and went to my hair person, Cindy Peterson, and she did my hair gorgeous.
I don’t have a close up pic of that but it was beautiful.
Then I headless chickened while getting ready, making sure I had my temple recommend, clothes, makeup, shoes, everything, before we headed to Salt Lake to get married here:
Didn’t take pictures inside (of course), but it was a really nice ceremony. I loved going into the sealing room and seeing the smiling faces of all my family. It made me all teary-eyed.
I nearly said “Yes” at the wrong time, and I was blushing crimson for the rest of the ceremony.
But it was still amazing.
We were released into the wild :)
The kids were so excited to see us. They welcomed Uncle Brent into the family.
Haha I have like a million nieces and nephews.
I inherited a new niece and nephew, too!
Ava, who’s 5, gave me a big hug.
I met Ava over Christmas, and she is so sweet. When she found out that I lived all alone in my townhouse, she was heartbroken.
And I was like:
And Ava was like
Hey, yeah! I could marry a homeless guy! Hahaha!
(Brent didn’t like that idea.)
Lololol. Kids are the best.
Magically, the weather held up. No rain or snow, but a storm blew up and made the pictures more interesting.
Me with my bridesmaids (and maid & matron of honor.) They were my sisters :) :)
I’m pretty sure Katie was there, too.
I had Jr. Bridesmaids too (my nieces.) They were fantastic!
It was so great to have all the family there.
After lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory, it was RECEPTION TIME.
The church was really dolled up.
The cake, & waffles
I loved seeing all our friends and neighbors come through <3
Hahaha a big group of “Entwined” fans even came!
My sis Emily played the piano.
She played all the best songs, everything from Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Slipper and the Rose, it was a Sherman Brothers Spectacle. She knows just what I love #^_^#
The sign on the piano, it says: “All the Single Ladies – Please Take a Rose in Lieu of a Bouquet Throw.”
I didn’t want a bouquet throw at my wedding. I’ve never liked them–it’s just so sad that only one person gets the bouquet. I wanted everyone to have one. So, all the single ladies got roses.
They loved it :)
The cake cutting
Mmmm lemon raspberry.
(No face-smashing. My hands were shaking so bad it’s lucky I even got it into his mouth, lol.)
The Handsome surprised me with “Some Enchanted Evening.”
It was lovely and romantic. What a voice! (I’ll upload this recording to my youtube channel.)
And then, it was time for The Dance.
A few weeks before the wedding, I told The Handsome how much I wanted to dance the Cinderella Waltz at my wedding.
He was ON IT. (Seriously, what a dream boy!)
We spent a lot of hours getting it down.
I was sooo nervous…but it turned out great :)
A big thanks to all the people who sent me their recordings so I could cut it together.
End of the night. We made an exit.
That was magical too :)
AAAAH and the bridesmaids had decorated the car like a BOSS.
It was exactly the way a car ought to be decorated. It was gorgeous.
It had been a magical day.
Here’s to a lifetime of many more <3 <3 <3
(I really hope they’re less expensive, though.)
Thank you so much to everyone who came! I really loved seeing you all. There’s nothing better than to have the best people celebrate with you on the best day.
(Side note: some of the gifts didn’t have cards or we lost them. I’d love to send a thank you! Can you contact me if any of the gifts below are from you? (They really are lovely!))
And now…time to write those thank you notes.