Being a Tourist in Denver | Top Spots on My Birthday

I am a birthday girl and try to squeeze every last bit out of it on that day. When people say they don’t really care about their bday’s I do not relate to those people. At all. One day all about me and what I want to do and everyone smiles the whole day while they do my things? Perfection. If I am being completely honest I believe it is more like birthWEEK. If I am really lucky I start my birthdayWEEK on May 5th and just ride it through Mother’s Day.  Genius.

We live about 30 minutes outside of Denver and if I am asked what I want to do on a free day or a special day I will usually choose hiking, making art or heading into the city. For my birthday this year, we went around to some new and other favorite spots around town. It was such a fun day that I wanted to share it with you.

This is the order in which we celebrated my birthday.  We like to do up birthdays custom to each person. This way the person being celebrated feels very seen but it becomes a fun day for everyone else too.

Our first stop was Sonder. My friend Kara Rosenberry had been raving about it and today was the perfect day to try it out. It did not disappoint. The food, London Fog, croissants, and ambiance were spot on. We will be back for sure the next time we are heading to Denver.

The next stop was one of my very favorite shops in the world, Old Glory Antiques. If you see something in our home or shop that you think is unbelievable…we probably got it here.

This shop was a total accident in our day and the BEST surprise! We were headed to another shop a friend had suggested and found this instead. If you are in the area you have to stop at Relevant Goods. Amazing artisans from the area, incredible styling, art, found objects and the owner is warm and welcoming. My new favorite store.

Yes, it was time to eat again. We started with fun cocktails and then tried a ton of different apps and entrees at Devil’s Food.  The winner was probably the chicken and waffles that Kelly got. Insanely good. I don’t think I could eat a whole plate without being rolled out of there was the few bites I had were incredible.

My favorite museum in Denver is the Clyfford Still Museum. His work is changed out regularly and the architecture of this museum is the most beautiful compliment to his work.  If you are lucky you may end up enjoying an outdoor concert in the garden or a smaller ensemble in one of the galleries.

We made a quick stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art to peek at the Basquiat exhibit. We ended our time here with some apps and cocktails on the rooftop cafe.

It was stunning out this day and we enjoyed some time outside Union Station just soaking up the sun, people watching and talking. We then went inside because Union Station is one of my favorite places. So many good restaurants, gorgeous surroundings, fun vibe and when possible I love to pick up some fresh flowers here.

I know you are thinking we can’t eat again but I promise you we could and did. The Kitchen was our final stop. From the moment we arrived, they took my flowers and found a vase, made us some amazing cocktails, let us sit outside for hours and allowed our family to just be. It felt like France. This was the most perfect ending to such a beautiful day.

Thanks for coming along and I would love to hear if you have a favorite Denver spot.

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An Artist In France | Art and Words from the Living Studio Along the Seine Artists


The Living Studio workshops were created because there was a void in the art workshop world. The Living Studio would be about exploring a new place and creating art everywhere we went.  When we had scheduled classes they would be shorter to give you the techniques to get back to the museums, the cafes, the gardens and to have your sketchbook with you the whole time. I knew this style of workshop would not be for everyone but for those that would love it I was pretty sure it would change their hearts about their day to day art and even where they live.

This is how The Living Studio was born…

My heart behind The Living Studio is that we will all learn to explore and create wherever we live.

I hope to inspire people to step out of the comfort of their studios and out into the world and boldly create based upon the beauty all around them.

The Living Studio combines my love of travel, creating and connecting with other creatives.

I don’t know how many times over the years I had walked past a person sketching in an art museum, painting in the gardens, practicing their watercolors in the mountains or writing at a cafe and I have stopped a moment to envy them.

They were doing it!

They HAD to be creative.

It is a practice and a preparedness that motivates you to create your studio wherever you go.

With practice and always having your tools with you…you live your creativity and the world becomes your studio.



Here is a glimpse into some the art and words behind the artists that traveled to France with me for The Living Studio Along the Seine.


| Sketch and watercolor by Emily Shook |

Jeanne could not have been a more gracious and generous teacher/mentor/inspiration.  To create in such a loving environment with incredible women was exactly what I needed to help me discern what I want to do in life.  It was a jumpstart to begin dreaming and planning a creative existence. One of the most unique art retreats/experiences I have ever done! I plan to do another as soon as I am able! -L.B.

| Lino Cut by Lorraine Bell |

If you want to do it “someday”, give yourself permission to do it today!  This is life changing.  No matter what your age or abilities are you will “fit” in with this group of artists that are amazing people.  Jeanne Oliver attracts the nicest people to travel with.  I am honored to have met and created MY ART with The Living Studio. -T.H.

| Sketch and watercolor by Kelly Hoernig |

I wouldn’t hesitate to heartily recommend a “Living Studio” adventure with Jeanne Oliver and her creative team.  She blends the right amounts of inspiration with practical instruction, without having an overbearing agenda.  She really allows each artist to experience places and spaces on their terms, not hers. -S.A.

| Sketches, paintings and lino cut by Stacy Stultz |

Making the intention to be an Artist in France instead of a Tourist impacted how I saw and experienced everything. I noticed the smell, sounds, sights and was very in tune with the surroundings because I was there as an observer, a curious artist in search of artistic treasures to fill my heart and soul. Jeanne’s classes are always enjoyable and the techniques she shares put you in the moment of where you are and how to get the most out of the Living Studio. This is my second Living Studio and each time it has made me an artist discovering incredible details in a city I didn’t have much knowledge of.  -K.H.

| Painting by Sheila Atchley |

I learned so much! I would say my biggest take away is that there is no bad art, and that everyone must practice to get better! It has encouraged me to make art a part of my life on a regular basis, seeing how little I truly need to make art is encouraging! -A.P.

| Group collaboration sketch |

| My Maddy sketching |

| It was the sweetest joy to turn around and see this again and again |

| Back on the ship and sketching in the lounge |

| Back in my room late at night and creating on my bed |

| Some of my sketches |

| The sun was out so the ship’s deck and making art was the perfect way to spend some time |

Thank you to each person that traveled and explored with me along the Seine! It is always an honor and joy to live this creative life.

If you would like to join me for the next Living Studio art workshop I would love to have you read about Amsterdam and Beyond! You can email us with any questions at

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France | Where Beauty Is The Function


Jet lag is still my sidekick as I try to settle back into day-to-day life after France. These extra days of adjusting are also good for my heart and mind as I process once again the beautiful opportunity of travel. As I download photos, unpack my suitcase, wash too many loads of laundry, unwrap French treasures, and put away art supplies I am given the gift of remembering, honoring and reflecting on this time away.




I am a lover of learning so being a student is natural for me. I love to immerse myself into places, people and history. As much as I am most comfortable alone, with my family, making art and immersed in my books and learning… life has offered me the honor of also leading and teaching. This combination of teacher and student is the most wonderful worlds to combine.



Each person that I ever travel with teaches me more about myself, others, love, bravery, passion, second chances, fear, doing hard things and so much more. This trip to France for our Living Studio art workshop was no different. I watched beautiful marriages, watched families creating memories, watched women move on bravely, watched intentional acts of creating, watched friendships formed, watched so much joy and laughter, watched so many making art after a long hiatus, watched woman encourage one another, watched my daughter grow up before my eyes, watched people making the whole world their studio!



France taught me once again and this time it surprised me and encouraged me all in the same breath. France lavishes me and gives me a glimpse into ways I can make our day to day life more lovely just for the sake of being lovely. Maybe this is why I love France so much. I feel like the moment I land I dive into a color palette I love, live in and paint in. Each street holds a glimpse into something beautiful whether it be a doorknob or architecture. The parks announce to the world that this is a place that gathers and honors resting. The cafes bulging on every street corner beg you to stop and slow down. When you gather at a French restaurant they will never rush you so the next group of people can sit down. This table is yours for the night if you want it and if you want your bill…good luck. You may have to track down your waiter to actually get it. The art…oh, the art. It is spilling out everywhere and it may be painted along a wall in an alley, the sound of a quartet on the corner, sculptures throughout a garden or maybe the most beautiful and yummy croissant you have ever tasted.


After the workshop I had another five days in France with just our Madolyn. We would sleep in, walk all over Paris in the day, find good food along the way and watch movies each night. It was the most wonderful gift I have ever given each of us. This precious time of being alone and helping me see her separate from the boys will always be deeply woven in my heart.





On Easter Sunday I had ordered a picnic lunch to be picked up that morning and then we were going to take it to the green in front of the Eiffel Tower. As we unpacked our beautiful lunch, spread the blanket that was included on the ground and as I opened the wine I felt loved by this artisan that put our beautiful lunch together. They honored what they did and in their authentic way they were making the world more beautiful. I turned to Maddy and said, “This must be how women feel like when they come to our workshops.” It hit me hard. So, France also taught me that what I do is important. I am not just talking about the big things we do and the online courses but the day to day making things beautiful for myself, my family and those that gather on our land is of importance. It may not be to everyone but it is to me and I am proud of it. I also believe that when woman have gathered on our land to create art part of my gift to them is to make their time here beautiful and to put attention into the details. To help them experience beauty, rest and art if possible. France made me see that it is not just something I do but something I need to do because I love it, appreciate it and honor it. The world will be better when we each use our authentic gifts to make it just a bit more beautiful for beauties sake. Not such a bad way to function.


***Next week I will share more photos from the workshop and the art made***

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Come With Me To Italy in 2017! {get away, connect with your gifts, go on an adventure}

Cobblestone walkways, candlelight dinners with pasta that melts in your mouth, hikes to castle ruins with Lake Como and the prealps as your backdrop, dips in the pool, rides around Lake Como in a vintage motor boat, the smell of Jasmine as you walk throughout the village, the best espresso of your life as you take a break in the afternoon and watch the locals, late afternoon showers that cool the village down and the breeze blows through your apartment window and evenings of good food, laughter and wine glasses raised high.  Did I mention we make art too! Bellagio, Italy is truly one of my favorite places on earth because it is slow and inviting, the village embraces you like no place I have ever been, the beauty is hard to even wrap your head and heart around and your whole pace comes to a halt as you just enjoy the simplest and most beautiful parts of life.  To come to Bellagio, Italy and to explore and create is one of the greatest gifts I have ever given myself.  I know that if you give yourself the gift of Italy that you will feel the same way…

It is my honor to have been invited back by Laura McCollough to teach again (this will be my fourth time) at her truly luxury Art & Faith Creative Retreat.  This year my good friend Stephanie Ackerman and I will be back together to teach art when we are not off exploring Bellagio and the surrounding villages.

Come and hear some of the details…


Price for the 7 Nights Art & Faith Creative Retreat – $3,499**

Here is a preview of what the Creative Retreat will include:

– 7 nights Accommodations at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni’s Apartments or La Limonera’s Apartments

– Opening Reception overlooking gorgeous Lake Como

– Tour of Bellagio with a local tour guide who has a passion for her lake

– 5 Classes in the beautiful event room at the GHVS

– Exploring Lake Como on a private boat with a lakeside lunch included

– Tours of the most famous Villa on the lake where many movies have been filmed

– Day trip on the lake (this day trip changes each time but could be a beautiful monastery, castle or villa)

– Cooking Class w/ hands on instruction& a beautiful meal YOU made (or outdoor activity for those who don’t want to cook)

– 5 Lunches in different locations around the lake are included

– 5 Dinners in beautiful settings

– Grand Finale evening full of surprises

– Transfer to and from MXP airport is included on a luxury private bus

– Taxi’s and/or Ferry’s to and from dinners and excursions

– Hotel and room taxes included

– Classes and art time in the beautiful event room with a view of Lake Como

– Wonderful products from our SPONSORS

– Free Make-n-Take

– Amazing SURPRISES I can’t reveal yet…but they are AWESOME!

– Plus time to relax by the pool, or stroll the cobblestone streets

– Live music in the music room each night

– And…an unforgettable experience in Italy you will treasure forever!!

PLEASE NOTE:  I can only take 20 ladies on this Creative Retreat so the spots will fill up fast!


**Tuition does not include airfare.

*The $600 Deposit is Non-refundable and needs to be paid for each person attending the week long event.  After you pay the deposit, you will receive an email with the contract to look over, sign and send back.  This contract will need to be signed and returned for each person attending the retreat.  Then we can set up a payment plan that works best for you, either monthly, quarterly or full payment.

For those asking about the price to bring a spouse or friend who would not be taking any classes, here is the information: The weeklong retreat is a balance between excursions around the lake, enjoying beautiful meals together in different locations, some fun surprises and time in the classroom.  Therefore, the price for the weeklong event includes all the above for everyone joining us and the discount would only be for the classes they are not attending.  That discount will be $400 and will be deducted from the payment plan.

ACCOMMODATIONS:  If you are bringing a family member or going with a friend, please email me their names so I know who is coming together.  The apartments (and pricing) are based on 2 people per apartment. For those interested in private accommodations or would like an upgrade to a lake view room, please email me for those options.  If you would like to share 3 or 4 to an apartment there are a few large apartments that I can reserve, so please let me know that as soon as possible.  (There is a slight discount for this option as well).

To read more or to register click HERE.

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The Big Picture Free Video | Honoring your gifts, finding balance and living a creative life that you love

Being a wife, mom, friend, business owner, household manager, school juggler and creative are some of the hats I wear. I know you are the same and probably more.

I also know that if I am not intentional with my marriage, children, schooling, business, creative time etc. than I miss out on opportunities of being present in each of these areas.

I am not saying it is easy but it is very much worth it.

Being intentional and seeing the “Big Picture” has helped my life become beautifully full of the people, activities and beliefs I hold most dear.

I am a work in progress and I have areas I struggle with and areas I definitely need to grow and change but that is part of life and learning how to live and do better.

This is just a glimpse of where I am right now.

We are truly all in this together and we can all learn from each other!

I hope you will also share how YOU see the Big Picture.


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If Adventure, Creating and Travel Speak To You {I have something for you}

Sometimes we get to be wild explorers and travel far away, other times we can connect with other creatives not far from home and at other times we have the joy of hunkering down right where we live and creating among our day to day life.  Each one of these are life giving and creative building travels.

I love that my travels have allowed me to build beautiful new friendships, sketch among stained glass windows and old wooden pews, sip espresso as I watch the locals pass me by and learn to get out of my comfort zone and create wherever I go.

I also love that it has taught me to find the beauty in the ordinary and familiar.

Whether you are looking for adventure and creating near or far I wanted to share with you what I have coming up. I would sure love to have you join me!

June 2016

We have ONE spot that has just opened up for our sold out workshop at our new studio.

To register or read more click HERE.


August 2016

I am a speaker at HAVEN and I will be talking all about Product Launching.

To read more or to register click HERE.


August 2016

Danielle Donaldson is our first guest artist in our new studio.

There are a few spots left.

To register or read more click HERE.


October 2016

We have ONE spot that has just opened for our sold out The Living Studio Along the Danube.  The whole ship is sold out and this is the very last spot on the river cruise.

If you would like to read more or register click HERE.

Payment would be due in full shortly after registering and this is for a upper lever level room. You have an awesome roommate and room waiting for you!


February 2017

Join me at Donna Downey’s studio in North Carolina! What an awesome way to kick off the new year.


April 2017

I know it sounds crazy to be planning for 2017 but we only have a few spots left for The Living Studio Along the Seine!

To read more or to register click HERE.

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A Sold Out Workshop on a Sold Out Ship {one spot just opened}

******ONE spot just opened for this sold out art workshop on this sold out ship******

Ever since I have been a little girl I have been a lover of history, architecture, art and I have ALWAYS known…I would travel.

I am greatly driven by my desire to learn, explore and to discover more of this world.

My family makes choices all of the time that will make it possible for us to travel more and to have less of other things.

We want to collect adventures and memories and not just things.

For all of you lovers of adventure, history, art and travel…this is for you!

Join me in October 2016 for The Living Studio Along The Danube!

Imagine exploring and creating in Prague, Regensburg, Vilshofen, Passau, Linz, Weisskirchen, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest!

Just imagine…

Explore different cities and villages and never have to repack your bags!

Enjoy gourmet food, cooking classes, lectures!

We will have structured art classes on the ship and then creative prompts that will encourage you to create in the cities and villages.

THIS is the heart of The Living Studio! It is my desire that you make the whole world your studio.

This is not just for painters and sketchers…this is for all of us!

If you love history, art, architecture, live music, wine tasting, cooking classes, lectures, bike tours…this is for you!

The best part is that you get to choose each day what you do or don’t do. You can participate in the classes or you can lounge by the pool…or both!

The details…

How about grabbing a bike from the ship and exploring an ancient village?

Here is a more detailed itinerary if you choose to include Prague into your trip.

I hope you choose to explore and create with me!

To read more or to sign up click HERE.

If you have any questions at all please leave your comment below or email me at

Take a peek into life on the ship…

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