Sunday, July 29, 2018

jamaican me [crazy]

last jamaica themed post this summer...i swear...maybe

upon coming back from our honeymoon, my wife and i were on an island high, not due to any chemicals or substances but rather because of the wonderful experience we had during our trip.  the weeks following the trip found us creating spotify playlists of music we remembered hearing on our trip, testing out frozen jerked chicken from trader joes, more trips to the maine beaches and me buying a case of red stripe imported beer which i'm sure left the cashier wondering if i had accidentally picked out the wrong case instead of the many craft beer options in this city.

our jamaican high did lead us to venture out and try an event we had been wanting to check out for a while, reggae sunday on peaks island!  every sunday, a bar on the island hosts a sunday afternoon of reggae music, so one sunny morning my wife and i took the ferry over to the island to check it out.  what we found was a huge party on a patio complete with a reggae band, rum drinks and of course red stripe!  after ordering my first bottle of the jamaican lager i was a fan.

it didn't "recreate" our honeymoon exactly, but the fact we were enjoying the sunshine and music with drinks in our hand with lots of other people doing the same, it was close enough.  the fact that the drinks were not part of an all inclusive package and we did in fact have to pay for them kept us grounded in reality.  even with that small dose of american commercialism, we had a wonderful afternoon, one that not only made us appreciate our home a little more, but it also seemed to extend that honeymoon feeling just a little more.

one love.

Monday, July 16, 2018

the [jamaica] sketches

as i mentioned in my previous post, the best part of the honeymoon was being able to spend 10 days with my wife.  however, another wonderful benefit of taking time off to do...well...nothing... was having time to sketch.

now, i'm not a great sketcher, but i LOVE to practice. you may remember my sketchbook experiment i blogged about here and here.  a true vacation to me is when you have time to drink two full cups of coffee in the morning with no one bothering you and also having time to sketch what's around you. with very few decisions to make every day and being in a new environment, full of interesting scenes to sketch, i was thrilled.  the two full cups of coffee also helped this.

before we got to jamaica i made a vow to sketch everyday of the trip.  sometimes i would take my sketchbook with me and sketch on-site, while other times i took a photo of the scene so i could sketch later that evening. what started out as an exercise to simply sketch more while on vacation, turned into a sort of visual diary.  when you sketch a scene, your eyes trace over the objects in great detail in a way that seems to ingrain it deeper into your memory.  looking over the drawings, each sketch takes me back to the day i drew it and i can picture myself with my sketchbook in my lap and my feet buried in the warm sand. the faint smell of rum from the strawberry daiquiris that spilled on the pages also helps.

anyway, i was very happy with the way the sketches turned out so i thought i would share them with you on here.  i hope you enjoy them as well.

day 1 - arriving in the afternoon, we had little time to explore our first day, so i sketched the first thing i saw; the view from our hotel room.

day 2 - our first full day at the resort was spent almost completely at the beach, allowing me to sketch this without leaving the lounge chair.

day3 - the resort had a large pool with a swim up bar which is where we spent most of this day.  there WERE more people there than this sketch shows, but you get the point.

day 4 - part of the beach was reserved for sailing and paddle boards.  walking past these sailboats, perfectly lined up that day i knew i had found my sketch.

day 5 - on one part of the beach, locals would dock their small boats and ask you every time you walked by if you wanted to buy souvenirs or go fishing with them.  although we didn't partake in their offerings, watching one of the boats head out to sea provided a gorgeous scene.

day 6 - the day we hiked dunn's river falls.  what i discovered, hiking and sketching waterfalls are harder than i planned.  even though i feel liked i changed how i sketched the water halfway through this drawing it turned out to be one of my favorites and reminds me that we actually did complete the hike.

day 7 - we spent most of the day by the waters edge again and watched the staff set up a canopy on the beach for a wedding that was going to be held their that evening. a sweet little reminder of our own wedding 10 months earlier.

day 8 - we walked the same path to the beach everyday, so i wanted to capture that well. it also gave me a chance to draw lots of palm trees...which are fun to sketch.

day 9 - i couldn't leave our honeymoon without sketching my beautiful wife.  here she is on the balcony of our hotel room standing exactly where i told her to stand so she was perfectly framed by the palms.

day 10 - i was a little worried about what my last sketch would be.  i walked all over the resort trying to find the perfect final sketch, when stumbled across this scene.  it was near the end of the day, the light was perfect and i loved how the trees seemed to perfectly frame the beach.  there actually was a man sitting in the chair, but in a lot of ways i felt like i drew myself into the sketch; looking out to the horizon and thinking back on the past ten days.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

honeymoon in [jamacia]

ten months after our wedding, my wife and i finally took our honeymoon.

although a honeymoon is often the final piece of the whole wedding celebration, this trip felt like the capstone to the last two and a half years.  in early 2016, we both moved to new state, started new jobs, moved in together, planned a wedding and got married!  it seems, just a few months ago, we finally had a chance to take a break, so we started planning our trip.  as crazy as our life had been the last two years, we wanted to go someplace where we didn’t have to think or plan anything, hence why we chose an all-inclusive resort.

we had ten full days where are the biggest decision we had to make was whether we should sit by the ocean or the pool. days were filled with fabulous food, cold drinks and island adventures. not only did we make friends with some other wonderful couples honeymooning there, but we made friends with several staff members as well.  we tried out several of the activities the resort offered, including sailing, paddle boarding and viewing the reef in a glass bottom boat.  we also signed up for an off resort adventure to climb dunns river falls, which was a tad more intense than we planned, but worth it.

the sand, the sun and the sea were all wonderful, but the best part of the honeymoon was actually spending 10 days with my wife. with our schedules being what they are we only usually see each other awake for two hours of the day. it's very reassuring to hang out with someone all day, everyday for 10 days, and think “i really enjoy hanging out with this person!”   

if that’s the point of the honeymoon, then ours was a total success.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

[copying] originality

like most people, i’ve been a fan of flag design ever since roman mars did a podcast introducing the world of vexillology to millions of 99% invisible fans. coupled with the fact that i’m proud to be from wichita; a city in a renaissance of flag appreciation due to the fact its own flag was voted one of the best city flags in the country, and it's easy to understand why i might be hyper-aware of flag design.

since moving to maine, i found myself searching for a way to embrace and support my new state in ways other than rooting for the patriots.  a few months ago the local paper did a story about a company in portland making and selling the original maine flag, a design that is arguably better than the states current flag which is your very average an unoriginal, seal on a blue background. upon seeing the design of the original maine flag i fell in love with it's simplicity and immediately went to the companies website.  not only were they making flags, but i saw they also sold patches. this spurred an idea. i thought, what better way to embrace my new home state and promote better flag design then to buy a couple of these patches and put them on hats, so that’s exactly what i did. i bought some patches, a couple of hats, and found someone to sew them on for me!

proud of my new accessory, i immediately posted my new hats on instagram,. since then, i’ve been proudly wearing them around town, with several people asking where i bought them.  it’s no surprise to anyone that knows me, i was thrilled to have a completely original hat and more than happy to tell people who asked, i had in fact made it.

it should also be no surprise to you to understand the absolute shock i felt when i saw someone wearing my EXACT SAME hat just a few weeks later.  same color, style and everything! i couldn't fathom it!  my wife was trying to hold conversation with me but i i kept looking at this guy in my hat! my mind was racing.  is there some company already making this hat? has this been around a while? was i not as original as i thought I was!!! I was all flustered. it got so bad my wife eventually told me to go over and ask him where he got.  

so i did. 

i approach a strange man in a bar and asked him where he got his hat, to which he said,  he made it.

(whoa buddy, that's my line) i thought to myself

i said,  “i really like it, i recently made myself a hat just like that a month ago!”

to which he said, “are you the guy that posted it on instagram?” 

“yeah, that was me.” I stated

to which he said “i own the company that makes the patches, and our next product idea is to make hats like the ones you posted.”

needless to say i want from frustrated to flattered really quick.  we discussed colors, styles and how best to sew the patches on.  at he end of the conversation i told him how excited I was to see how the hats turn out.

walking back to the table that night i did have to ask myself one question though; was i at the forefront of some great underground fashion movement eventually leading to the changing of the maine state flag...


had my flag obsession simply reached some nerdy milestone.

only time will tell.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

the [hunt] is on

after two years of renting a house, my wife and i are currently in the process of looking to buy.  if you take what we want in the house, factor in what we can afford and cross that with what's actually on the market, there's basically nothing out there.  every house forces us to look at our priorties and really dig into what we want out of a house....which is fun to do a couple of times, but after every single house, it can be a tad exhausting. 

please don't get me wrong, i'm very grateful that my wife and i have jobs and are even in the position to look for a house.  i'm just saying that like other moments in life,  this has been a frustrating process.  so as we check out house after house, weekend after weekend, i've come up with things i’d much rather go through other than house hunting in portland maine:


facebook’s terms of service

moving into my freshman year dorm

a root canal

the perfume department at any mall

the directors cut with commentary of “gigli”

paying for a seminar on toenail fungus

my taxes

yanni’s entire catalog

a new england winter


a plate of gas station sushi

drivers ed

my “frosted tips” phase

my “sweater vest” phase

any season of “the nanny”