I is for Irma

This is a brief post to let you know we're hunkering down here in Orlando, FL preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irma. So far, it's been scattered showers, booming thunder, afternoon sunshine and clear night skies as far as the eye can see. In all honesty, it felt like a regular Florida day. But judging from the news, we're sure to feel traces of Irma sometime this weekend and into early next week.

At least we've done everything we can to hold down the fort, including braving the crowds on 5am supply runs and rearranging the apartment for the safest weather impact. My coastal Floridian family have trekked inland to stay with me till the storm passes. I've even packed my own tentative evacuation bag...you know, just in case.

Hoping to make it through the storm with zero flooding and fully functioning electricity. Keep your fingers crossed for me! And worst case scenario, it'll be a grand forced opportunity to step away from the computer and plunge my nose into the pile of TBR (to be read) books sitting on my desk! What better way to read than by romantic, hurricane-induced candlelight, am I right? (hehe)

On a closing note to my fellow Sunshine state natives: Please, please, please stay safe this weekend! Provided I have power, I'll hopefully be back to work soon!

UPDATE: (09/13/2017) Orlando is now in the midst of recovery after Hurricane Irma blew through our city this past weekend! I'm relieved and happy to say we were lucky! Zero flooding, running water and full electric power (just as hoped for), though wifi blipped out temporarily, hence a delay in any blog updates.

Monday morning, we emerged from our refuges to a soggy Floridian landscape. Huge oak trees lay strewn about, completely uprooted from the ground. Debris littered the streets. Fences were diminished to planks and rubble, and roofing had stripped off in large metallic sheets.

We are feeling extremely fortunate there was no damage to my apartment, let alone working amenities. Family on the coast and most local friends, however, have spent days since the storm with no power or running water, including my dad, whom we couldn't convince to evacuate. Back in Merritt Island, he's been making the most of a humid situation by embracing that #surferlife, cooling off in the ocean and taking advantage of the enhanced swells beachside. In short, we're all doing okay and Florida is on the mend.

Again, thank you for your well wishes! Looks like all that positive energy really worked wonders for us! Love ya lots!


Behind the Scenes of my
"Life is a Circus" collection

For all my repeat patterns, I begin by binging on Pinterest when I should be sleeping, and creating mood boards in my sketchbook for inspiration. I love to be completely immersed in the subject I am going to illustrate, so finding videos, books, music – basically anything that will help me dive into my pattern theme – is extremely important!

While I gathered references for my "Life is a Circus" collection, I became keenly aware of a darker side of circus life (scary clowns, the treatment of animals, creepy curiosities, etc.), but wanted to keep my designs lighthearted and whimsical, playing off the sense of childlike wonder the circus creates.

Below is a concept page from my sketchbook. This is the first step in my process. Here, I'll doodle and brainstorm every possible idea I can think of that pertains to my theme. It's a great chance to be completely free and let my imagination run wild.

Of course, eventually these sketches are whittled down to my final six patterns. But along the way, there are plenty of art redirections, color alterations, and designs that did not make the cut. Here are a few samples of raw, unedited options that were discarded for various reasons.

And, finally...(drumroll please)... I present the finalized art for my circus-themed collection! It was truly a pleasure to be whisked away in a fantastical dream of feathers, sequins, show lights and applause. The creation of these designs reminded me not to take life too seriously and to remember "Life is a Circus" – at times chaotic with the occasional risk, but always adventurous and wonderfully unexpected.


Blossoming into Purpose

I'll be honest, I used to feel vastly intimidated by the thought of "finding purpose." It always led to serious questions like "What am I meant to do with my life?" or "Who am I supposed to be?" It made life heavy, and the fear of choosing a wrong path became a real, almost paralyzing, thing.

But after some confused wrong turns, what I eventually found was that purpose was never meant to be some Boss-level end goal, or a singular, all-encompassing life mission. Instead, purpose is ever changing, growing with us as we fall into who we are. It creates the stepping stones of life, or lights the fire under our butts to launch us further despite whatever holds us back.

For me, purpose is in the small things that drive me forward every day. Sometimes, it's as simple as checking off a daunting task on my daily To-Do list, or the thrill of marking a lunch meeting into my planner. Other days, it's the reward of learning something new, or feeling accomplished that I've helped someone meet their design goals!

It doesn't have to weigh heavily on our minds, or be the same motivation it was yesterday. It only needs to propel us to the next day, hour by hour, project by project so that we are able to embrace all that life has to offer. So today...what is your purpose?