Catching the California Light {our recent trip to the sand and waves}


We just returned from two weeks in southern California and we are still adjusting to missing our friends and the ocean.

Our trip was magical in so many ways and the friends we stayed with lavished us with open arms, good food, laughter and incredible adventures.

After our time with friends we stayed a few days with Kelly’s family and then made our way to Santa Ana and Studio Cresendoh.

I had two of the best days ever teaching and creating with the students at this sold out class all about papers and portraits (I am really excited to tell you that I will be back next year).

Here is just a glimpse into our time away…

Our trip began with an incredible Mexican feast, a swimming pool with a diving board :-), music in the park with dinner and s’mores on the beach.

Not too shabby!

Our next day with friends began with a beautiful breakfast and cars loaded up for the beach!

This day was packed full of surf lessons, kayaking in the ocean and paddle boarding in the lagoon.

We felt very loved this day:-)

{Benjamin getting some surfing lessons}

Our night ended with what my friend does best…loving on you with good food and conversation.

Maddy even helped with the California rolls:-)

Our third day started with the coolest breakfast at Claire’s On Cedros and gluten free pancakes.

I had loved my hike at Torrey Pines on my last visit and they were kind enough to take us again.

This view would never get old!

After three days with friends we packed up and headed towards San Clemente to see my husband’s brother and family.

On the way we were told by friend Lissa to do whatever is necessary to eat at The Ramos House Cafe in San Juan Capistrano.

We are soooo glad we obeyed:-)

THE best meal! So good!  Get their gluten free hush puppies if you go.  We are still talking about them!

The next two nights were spent with Kelly’s family enjoying their pool and the beach.

After a few days with family we were off to Disneyland!  We took Jack and Maddy to Disneyworld when they were little and decided we needed to blow the cash on Ben too.

We stayed almost until close (to get our money’s worth of course) and pretty much fell into bed exhausted.

The next morning we made our way to Coronado Island and enjoyed San Diego over the next four days.

The first day we just rested in the hotel and enjoyed the downtime. We had been running for days and really needed the break.

The next day we took the train to meet my friend Alexis and her boys again to play at Legoland.

Ben was in heaven and loved every minute.

I think this day we spent about five hours at the pool. I made art and the kids swam.

{photo by Jenny Doh}

{photo by Jenny Doh}

{photo by Jenny Doh}

It was then time to make our way to Santa Ana and set up for my two day workshop at the Cresendoh Studio with Jenny Doh.

After we set up we were able to meet some of my aunts, uncles and cousins for dinner and I think we closed the place down.

The next two days I was surrounded by beautiful women that truly showed up with their art.

It is always the biggest joy to see women take techniques and make a piece their own.

{photo by Jenny Doh}

{photo by Jenny Doh}

{photo by Jenny Doh}

California was good to us.

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Join Me In California {a few spots left}


I just got back from teaching in Italy and I can’t wait to tell you all about it and share some photos with you too!

Being able to bring The Living Studio to life in Italy was a dream come true and I can’t wait to offer this experience in other parts of the country and world.

I am hoping to get an Italy post up by Wednesday.

I wanted to let you know that I will be in California teaching in a little over one month!

The whole family is coming with me this time and we are so excited to play, spend time with friends and family and have the opportunity to teach at the Cresendoh Studio!

There are a few spots left and I would love, love, love to create with you!


I know that many can not take the time or money (or both) to attend a retreat that is why I am so, so excited to share with you a two day workshop I am doing in California.

I am so honored to be teaching a two day workshop in Jenny Doh’s Cresendoh Studio!

Here are the details!

We will have two days of exploring charcoal, ink, pastels, vintage papers, mark making and acrylics.

Storytelling Through Papers and Portraits
with Jeanne Oliver

2-Day Workshop, August 9-10, 2014
in Studio CRESCENDOh
207 N. Broadway St., Suite L
Santa Ana, CA 92701

There are times when your creativity begs to be a scavenger, collector and a storyteller. The scavenger in you finds beauty in strips of old wallpaper, the smell of vintage books and the patina in a collection of lost love letters. You take your findings and bind them with string waiting for the moment to bring them out again. The collector in you finds inspiration from music, poetry, paintings, conversations and the tiny beautiful moments of the day-to-day. You take your collection of beauty and tuck it away … but not forever. The storyteller in you takes your treasures and your collections, rearranges them, sorts them and creates them into something new and all your own.

Join me for two days of bringing your stories to life through vintage papers, sketching, charcoal, ink, acrylic paints and words. Day one we will create multiple pieces of art through creative exercises using ink, watercolors, charcoal, mark making and paint. Day two will be about bringing your treasures, collections and words together to create a completed painting. Bring your favorite items from your own scavenger hunts, words from your collections and we will start a story together.


  • Arrive & Settle: 9:00 :: Time for students to arrive, settle in, and grab a cup of coffee.
  • Class Segment A: 9:30-12:00 :: Class time with Jeanne who will demonstrate and guide the 1st part of class.
  • Lunch & Stroll: 12:00 PM :: You can choose to brown bag it or take a stroll to one of the many hip and artsy eateries in the historic Artist’s Village in Santa Ana, like The Gypsy Den, or Lola Gaspar.
  • Class Segment B: 1:30-4:30 PM :: Class time with Jeanne who will guide the 2nd part of class.
  • Show & Tell, Clean-Up & Depart: 4:30-5:00 PM

For more details and/or to register click HERE.

If you are coming from out of town please contact Jenny or myself and we will help you find a good hotel.

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My Cup Runneth Over {the perfect break at the perfect time}


My Grandma Jeanne would look around the room at her large family, raise her glass, smile and then say, “My cup runneth over”.

That is all she needed to say.

We knew exactly what she meant and we felt the same thing.

It was an abundance of heart and love.

It was that overflowing abundance that is often very hard to put into words.

I find myself saying my grandma’s sweet words more and more.

We have been working so hard on the new Creatively Made Home e-course.

Our mornings are slow and relaxing with the kids and doing school.

When other kids start coming home from school that is when I start to work.

During a course our evenings and weekends are full of editing and pulling everything together.

Soooo……to have a trip scheduled to see my friends in the middle of a course AND to leave for a weekend and leave my sweet husband to edit all weekend by himself (with children) …..

Let’s just say it was hard to get all of my responsibilities done to leave and ready for Kelly to take over.

It is really hard for me to leave my family sometimes but the best way for me to really relax and not work is to leave the house.

My husband knows this and that is why he wanted me to go.

My husband travels all of the time and he is better about taking bike rides with his friends etc.

Me…I have to be pushed out of the house.

I don’t even realize how much I needed the time with my good friends until I am on the plane heading home and my heart is full of abundant love.

I feel refreshed and ready to love on my family better, more creative, more focused.

This past weekend was the perfect break at the perfect time.

When I got home at 9pm I had to stay up way past midnight to get the course up for the next day but it was worth it.

Even today I am going over all of the sweet moments, good talks, laughter, incredible food, cocktails and the blessing that I have in dear girlfriends.

My cup runneth over.

If you are the kind of person that has to be pushed out of the house I hope your spouse knows this.

Tell them…it is much easier to leave when they are the ones kicking you out into the world to play:-)



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Fashion 411 {you guys really like to send emails}


First of all THANK YOU so much for all of the sweet comments and emails about my leg.

It is has really come a long ways these past 10 days!

Crazy, crazy accident but so thankful that the Dr was able to get the infection under control.

I also think the Lord had a little bit to do with it too:-)

Week three of our e-course is underway and I am packing up to head to California.

I am getting all the kits ready for the art event I am teaching at.

Don’t worry…I will keep my leg elevated and comfy as much as possible.

(I am actually under Dr’s orders on that one)

I also turn 40 this weekend.

I have been so busy and bloated from antibiotics that I have barely given it a thought.

I received quite a few emails this week about my outfit from the last post.

I thought I would just answer everyone all at once right here.

Here are the details.

Boots are from Anthropologie

Dress is from J Crew

Cuff is from the Alameda Flea Market

Sweater is from Target

Necklace is from Noonday


You guys are really nice with all your comments because I didn’t shower, my boots were hiding the horror that was my leg (and cankles) and I was in soooo much pain!

If you want to follow my photos when I am in California you can follow me on Twitter or my Facebook page.

Maybe you will just see me sitting….a lot.

Hope not.

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