Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer Running

It's been awhile since I've blogged about my running. This summer has been an awesome one for my running. I've been really similar to last summer, and hitting some fantastic average paces, like 7:14s!With our frequent trips up to Cleveland, I've gotten the chance to do a lot more mom-tourages and trail runs with RRB than normal, which was a great change of pace. It's always nice to have someone to talk to and to get outside!

I've also been getting up at 4am on Thursdays for ElliptiThursday (as GymJim and I call it). Getting my ellipticalling in before the sweatbox heats up to its toasty 100 degrees has been awesome. I get my elliptical next to the fan and have my whole day ahead of me when I'm done. Honestly, going in to work at 12 has made me feel like I'm on  vacation on Thursdays, its great! And, getting to watch Good Morning America while I crunch is the best treat ever. I mean, I love me some Katie Couric at my usual crunching time, but GMA is sooooo much better!

I'm gearing up for my fall races that are coming up: the Air Force Half Marathon in September (here's hoping I only do 13.1 this year!!!) and the final race in the Towpath Trilogy, the Towpath Half Marathon in October (just 3 weeks after the Air Force!). And of course, The WDW Half in January...wooooot! I couldn't convince the Turtle to run that one with me this year, so I'll have to amuse myself with my pre-race slap happiness at 3am that day!

Here's some highlights from the summer so far...

Closed road? What closed road?

My post-race happy dance after hitting 7:14 avg pace

Post race giddiness

A well-deserved coconut popsicle

Torturing my Teddy Bear

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Conductor

Saturday we celebrated my brother's birthday and I gave him the present to end all presents...a painting of him conducting his students at Severance Hall!

Back story: My brother's life is music. He lives, sleeps and breathes it...and I think he'd eat it if he could find a way. He's made his love for it a career with teaching music at a local school and with private lessons, as well as directing marching band! He also plays trombone and guitar...and, naturally, could kick your ass at Rock Band.

Getting the opportunity to conduct his orchestra of students at Severance Hall is a huge deal. Severance Hall is the home of the world-reknowned Cleveland Orchestra, so for him to have the honor of conducting on that stage is epic.

It didn't occur to me to try an attempt at painting this moment for him until I saw the photos and thought it might be possible. I don't paint non-cartoon people that often, so I was a little nervous of doing a whole orchestra! But, the idea took shape and after doing my photo-shop magic to the pic, I broke it down into a picture I could actually paint. Here's the results:

1st, here is the original picture:

And here it is after I photo-shopped it:

And here is my work:

And finally.......

"The Conductor"
10" x 14" original acrylic painting on canvas board

I was a little nervous that you wouldn't know what the heck this was a painting of if you didn't know what it was to begin with. But he knew right away, before he'd taken it completely out of the wrapping. Success! Only problem now: I will never, ever be able to top this present for the rest of my life. He better get used to Amazon gift cards from now on!

Happy birthday!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Halo Top Ice Cream Review

*Disclaimer: I am NOT being compensated for this review. I just love ice cream!*

Those who know me, know that I'm just a little obsessed with ice cream (just a smidge ;-) ). I have long gotten over my embarrassment of ordering 'Gotta Have It' sizes, or that my towering mound of fro-yo weighs a good 3x more than the Turtle's when we go to the pay-by-ounce places.

But, I'm also very calorie-conscious about what I eat. Quite the predicament...Until I discovered Halo Top Creamery's amazing low-fat ice cream. And it's been love at first bite ever since! Halo Top's pints ring in at a measly 280 calories a pint (70 calories per 1/2 cup serving, but really, who only has a 1/2 cup of ice cream ever?!). It's very creamy, like ice cream should be (ahem, Arctic Zero, you should be taking notes). Each flavor is very rich, so no need to worry that its just a whiff, like most low-fat ice creams. I prefer to eat my ice cream, not smell it! This stuff gives regular ice cream some stiff competition. In fact, the Lemon Cake flavor is so good, I'd pick it over a full fat ice cream any day!

Speaking of flavors, I'm perfectly happy having the vanilla all on its own, no toppings added. And I am not a plain vanilla girl. They also have chocolate and strawberry.  Hopefully, as the company grows, more tasty flavors will be created!

A very happy couple

Anyway, I take my love of ice cream very seriously, so I decided to share my love of Halo Top by painting their logo and sending it to them! I'm always looking for ways to get my work in front of more people, and why not also perk up the offices of my new favorite dessert makers? So, here's how I spent my Friday afternoon:

And finally.....

"Halo Top" - 10" x 10" original acrylic painting on canvas
Hopefully, they'll like it, and the painting will brighten their day, just as much as their ice cream brightens my evening snack time. So far, I've been able to find it at Earthfare, but you can check their site for a store close to you. I already handed in a product request form to Kroger so I don't have to drive 12 miles to get it! I highly recommend you go find some of this right now!

More paintings coming soon! I'm definitely keeping busy!

Thursday, August 8, 2013


When I was asked to paint a picture for a client's nursery, I was happy and honored. That's a very special little place for a very special little person....the pressure was on!

I was asked to paint a scene from Ponyo, a Japanese fantasy cartoon about a goldfish who befriends a boy and wishes to become a human girl. I'd never heard of it, but it sounds and looks cute. The writer says he was inspired by The Little Mermaid and the movie is distributed by there's 2 ties to the mouse house, so it must be great! :-)

Here's the screen shot from the film I was asked to paint:

And here's my take:


Normally, I don't sketch out every single line and detail, but since this is for a client, I wanted to make sure I got every wave and section right.


I knew this painting was going to take extra time because blues are one of the colors that really need a second coat. This can get frustrating when you mix just the right shade, only to know you didn't mix enough to do another layer...and good luck mixing it exactly again. I was starting to go batty trying to mix the blues just slightly different from the blues next to it. If you look closely at the original, there really are quite a lot of different shades of blue going on. Very subtley different. Arrrrrrg!

But it was all worth it, I think it turned out pretty awesome. I was asked to paint Ponyo and her sister's clothing a deeper shade of red, to match the trim that will be on the walls of the nursery, but otherwise, I think it looks pretty spot on to the original!

18" x 24" original acrylic painting on gallery-wrapped canvas

As always, I'm frustrated with how the picture of the painting really doesn't do the real live thing justice. But, it really is a beautiful painting.

On to the next piece!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Alice in Wonderland

I have a confession to make, I do not like Alice in Wonderland. Just like Winnie the Pooh, Alice and her friends can take Tigger and Pooh back into the Disney vault, never to come out again....Unless someone requests me to do a painting of them. Then, I'll gladly welcome them out with bells and whistles!!!!!

I got a request to paint Alice at the Mad Hatter's tea party for an Alice-themed birthday party. With all the requests I've gotten lately, and my trip coming up, I got to work right away.

Here's the screen shot from the movie that I was asked to paint:

Original screen shot from movie

And here's my version...

I grew to really hate tea cups and kettles doing this! Making very fine lines, whether straight, curvy or intricate designs is very, very difficult to do. I was starting to go as mad as, well,  a hatter doing these!

Now, at this point I should have been finished, as the original shot from the movie was just a plain, black background. But, I thought it was just a little empty. It was missing something and I knew I had to jazz it up. So, I put the dormouse in the corner and added fireworks and stars that are from the scene where the mouse drifts down with an umbrella.

Here's Alice:

"Alice in Wonderland"
18" x 24" original acrylic painting on gallery-wrapped canvas

I must have done a good job, because not only did my client really like it, but the Turtle (who loooooves Alice in Wonderland) keeps saying he doesn't want me to give it to them. So, that's one done, and a bunch more to do. I better get crackin'!