Wednesday, November 12, 2014

4 Mullins and a Swede: a Travelogue of Italia In October - Part 2


Hi there. How are you?

I'm back this week to fill you in on Week 2 of our trip to Italy. Click here to read about Week 1.

Next stop on our Italia tour was Pompeii, the ancient Roman city near modern-day Naples that was buried by ash in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. 


Pompeii was truly fascinating. It's amazing how well preserved the painting and architecture is. You truly get a feel for ancient Roman life in this massive archeological site. We spent 2 hours exploring and could have easily spent more, but it got a little "burny" out. (It was in the 80's for much of our trip.)  


After a night spent in Sorrento, we drove south all the way to Reggio-Calabria (the very tip of the boot.) After much trouble finding the port and buying a ticket, we took a ferry over to the island. This was quite an expedition! It's a major pain to get to Sicily this way. I wouldn't recommend it! 


Our first night on Sicilia was spent in Taormina, a popular tourist destination on the north-east coast of the island. We celebrated Matt's 40th birthday here with a fabulous dinner featuring seafood and canoli. 


Our next destination with Aragona, the hometown Great Grandpa Carl Cacciatore,  my mother's paternal Grandfather. I'm sure if we would have done some research, we could have dug up some far removed cousins (my great grandfather left Aragona around 1905). We did make a stop in the town square and visited the church that my great-great grandparents were married and came across this World-War 1 monument. If you're from Rockford, you probably know most of the names on this list. So many families from Aragona have emigrated to Rockford in the last century! 


After so much non-stop sight seeing, we needed a little break. Agrigento was perfect for that. Lovely beach, lovely people. We were the only tourists on the beach there. Such a great day! 


Our next stop was Marsala, the hometown of my mother's maternal grandparents. To be honest, there wasn't much to see there, so I didn't take any pics there. We stayed in a lovely resort built out of a former villa.


Our last Sicilian destination was Palermo, the capital of Sicily. It was heartbreaking. The streets are dirty, the air is polluted. The city is literally crumbling. There is just no money to properly take care of things. I hope that something can be done to save the architectural treasures there before it's too late. 

Now, not all of Palermo was bad. We witnessed the most epic Sunday evening "passeggiata" of all time! (Passeggiata is an evening walk.) After spending the afternoon walking around the mostly deserted streets of Palermo, we were amazed at the transformation that took place as the sun started to fade. The people came out in droves! Young and old alike crowded the closed off streets. The outdoor cafes were packed. There was even a pop-up concert!  I'll leave you with a little snip I captured on my i-phone. 

video

Hope you enjoyed my travelogue. Until next time. Ta-ta.

Monday, November 3, 2014

4 Mullins and a Swede: a Travelogue of Italia In October


Hi there. How are you?
This autumn has been a complete whirlwind. I'm not quite sure how it's November already. Maybe the fact that we spent about half of October traveling may have something to do with it! 

I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks in Italy with my brother, parents and husband. (This is where the goofy blog title comes from. My maiden name is Mullin and as my lovely readers know, my husband Matt is a Swede.)  I wanted to share some snaps that I took during our most excellent of travels.


Our trip really began at the Dublin airport, at 5:00 AM on a Thursday. We drank Bulmers ciders in an incredibly rowdy airport bar. There must have been 100 people drinking there. Ireland truly lived up to the stereotypes in that regard! 

Mom, brother Kyle, me and Dad (4 Mullins)






Our first stop in Italia was Rome. We spent 4 days in a great apartment near the Vatican. We did our fair share of site-seeing along with much excellent eating and drinking. 




There's my brother and the Swede (Matt)
This guy was posing for me on the roof of the "Typewriter."

After Rome, we rented a car and headed to Tuscany, my favorite part of Italy! I love the small hill towns and the slower pace of life there. Of yeah, and it's breathtakingly beautiful too! 




We stayed in an agriturismo (working farm with guest rooms) near Volterra. Podere San Lorenzo is an olive farm on the site of an old monastery.  Meals were served in the old chapel. We had some of the best meals of the trip here.  This is the natural pool. Had it been warmer, I would have been in it in heartbeat!




As always, I was on the hunt for good chairs. Italia did not disappoint.

This concludes Week 1 of my Italian travelogue. Stay tuned for Week 2 adventures in Pompeii and Sicilia. Thanks for reading! 

Have you ever traveled to Italia? Tell me about it! 

Ta-ta for now.

PS: If you'd like to read about my 2010 trip to Italy, check out these posts on Venice , Verona and Florence, Tuscany, and Rome.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Things and Stuff

 
 Hi there. How are you? 

After pretty much ignoring my Etsy shop for the better part of this year, I decided to give it some attention. I've added a whole slew of new prints designed to fit perfectly in Ikea Ribba frames.  At just $9.99 with mat and hanger included, these frames give you a lot of bang for your buck and give a small image a lot of visual weight. I am partial to the white version of the Ribba frame, but they also come in black, aluminum, medium brown and black.


I've also got a new set of illustrated bird cards in the shop. I'm really proud of this bunch! Stay tuned for a 2015 bird calendar as well.

Hope you are enjoying your summer. Any fun adventures in the works? Do share.

Ta-Ta!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Keeping a Low Profile

Hi there. How are you?

You may have noticed, that I have been keeping a low profile on the interwebs lately. Until this past week, I've done very little posting on my Facebook fan page, Twitter, or Instagram.  I haven't posted here on my blog for well over a month now. It was time for me to step back from it all for a bit.

I'd like to believe that being active on social media leads to more sales. The truth is, it really doesn't. At least not right now. It just makes me feel good to get those likes, comments, replies and retweets. But those good feelings are not really what I'm after! Besides that, social media can be such a time suck! How many times have have I sat on the couch in front of the TV while mindlessly trolling my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds? Gross!

I find that I can waste the most amount of time on Facebook.......It's the nosy part of me that likes to know what's going on with everyone else. To make it easier to keep myself off Facebook, I deleted the app on my phone. I still do have the "Pages" and "Paper" app, but I do find that my time trolling Facebook has diminished greatly!

Instead of spending time online, I've been:
  • Spending time in my studio, making things and learning about selling wholesale. 
  • Spending more quality time with Matt and Jack. 
  • Enjoying the hell out of this beautiful summer.
  • Exercising every day. (More on that later.)

Now that I've got a little more time on my hands and some new exciting projects to spread the word about, I will be posting more regularly on social media. But I won't let it take over my time anymore!

How do you keep social media from sucking your time? Do tell.

Ta-ta. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It Will Be OK: A Very Special and Very Personal Story


Hi there. How are you?

Today's blog is a very special one.  Jenipher Lyn, an artist friend of mine, has written a fabulous book for teens/young women. As part of Jenipher's book launch,  I was asked to write/doodle on the topic of depression. As you may or may not know, I have some experience on the topic.

I dealt with a bought of depression, that started in the summer of 2005 and lasted a whole year. I had trouble getting out of bed, trouble eating, and lost my desire to do just about anything but sit on the couch and cry. I thought it would pass. I'd get over it. But I didn't. I needed help. I couldn't fix it on my own. But I still didn't want to admit that.

I knew things were bad when my Dad came over unannounced one afternoon. My Dad is not the most talkative or emotional of men I know, so when he sat me down that day, I knew it was important.  My Dad proceeded to tell me about his own battle with depression. I had no idea that he battled the same demons I was.  I had always known that we had a family history of depression, but I had never known that Dad himself had dealt with it. This visit and this talk convinced me that it was time to seek some help.

The next day, I called my doctor, got hooked up with a counselor and started weekly therapy. Therapy helped, but it wasn't enough. I was still imbalanced, chemically imbalanced and all the therapy in the world wasn't going to change that.  I was prescribed an anti-depressant, but didn't fill the prescription right away. I didn't want to have to take a pill everyday to make myself feel better. There's such a social stigma to taking "happy pills."

After some encouragement from my parents I started taking a daily low-dose antidepressant. As time went on, things got better. I still had setbacks, depressed times, but overall I was feeling better. Feeling like myself. 


I caught some flack for taking antidepressants......A friend of mine couldn't believe I would think of taking them. They would change me. Make me crazy. It's quite the opposite my friends. Not being on antidepressants makes me crazy! After taking antidepresants for about a year, I tried to wean myself off (under a doctor's supervision of course.) After the pills had totally left my system, I was right back to where I started, in my black hole. I went right back on the antidepressants and haven't looked back. 

I am a better version of myself on antidepressants. I still have emotions. I still have low points, I still have high points. I'm just a heck of a lot more even and more able to enjoy life. I have been on antidepressants for close to 10 years now and will most likely be on them for life. And there is nothing wrong with that! 

I know that antidepressants don't work for everyone, but they work for me. If you are depressed and need help. REACH OUT! And take the meds if they help! If you are physically sick, you go to the doctor and might go home with a prescription. Why is a chemical imbalance any different?

Its OK to ask for help. Its OK to take medication. 

Thank you to Jenipher for asking me to be a part of this event. Ta-Ta for now!

“How Being Stubborn, Depressed and Unpopular SAVED My Life” offers an honest and encouraging view on topics such as depression and body image. The book explores the many issues that can start in childhood and follow us into adult life. This post is part of the DoodleDream* Blog Party.  Learn more — and join us! – by clicking here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gel Pen Love


Hi there. How are you? 
All I've wanted to do lately is draw with gel pens on dark paper. 
I love the smooth, milky way they flow. 
They lend themselves to these organic, abstracts beautifully. 


All of these pieces measure just 4"x 4" and are mounted onto cradled hardboard. 
Do get in touch if you're interested in purchasing. 
Happy Tuesday. Ta-Ta.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Win!


I entered a giveaway last week on Michele Maule's blog
She's an artist I very much admire. Lady Luck was with me, and I won this sweet print.


It arrived in the mail just the other day. Everything about this screams cute. 
Even the package Michele sent the print in was cute!


Not only did Michele send the print, but also included an adorable owl greeting card, and a personal note. 


If you haven't ever seen Michele's work, do pop over to her etsy shop. I adore basically everything she does, but am particularly taken by her vintage camera illustrations and her little houses.


 And her chairs......Of course I love her chairs!

I haven't made anything new in the studio this week, just lots of prep work for my first show of the year, which is less than a month away. Whoa....How did it get to be the middle of April already?

Ta-ta for now!