New Orleans

One of the best things about working with my best friend Cheryl (aside from seeing her smiley face every day) is getting to go on business trips together! About a month ago we attended the PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans.  It was the first time either of us had visited the Big Easy, so we were pretty much freaking out the week beforehand!

The first night there we were so zonked from traveling all day that we just checked into our hotel room and grabbed some pizza for dinner. Our room was pretty deluxe with a kitchen and french doors that opened to the pool.


We were rested and ready to take on Saturday, which is when all the fun really happened…

After walking the trade show floor and visiting with a couple of clients during the day, we were able to sneak off and have some fun. We knew we first wanted to check out Bourbon Street, so we set off to walk through the town and find a place for dinner. If you haven’t been to New Orleans, you might share the same assumption that Cheryl and I made, that Bourbon Street would be this lovely place filled with shops and fancy bourbon tasting rooms.  Wrong. We were so incredibly wrong… as we made our way down the never ending street of filth and a bouquet of bodily function aromas, I realized I could die happy if I never had to set foot on Bourbon Street again.  Literally and figuratively, it was the dirtiest place I have ever been.  The entire street was lined with strip clubs and bars that only serve a rainbow variety of frozen drinks and cheap beer in mugs that are literally the size of my head.  I took one picture of Bourbon Street and I think it sums it up pretty nicely.  It’s safe to assume that the liquid along the street there is urine, since it certainly smelled like it.photoWe finallllly made it to the end of Bourbon Street to a much more fun, artsy neighborhood and the evening from there on out was a total blast.  One of those nights and my bestie and I will re-live over and over again! For anyone planning to travel to New Orleans, Frenchman Street is the place to be. It’s where the locals go, and it’s the street is lined with jazz bars, restaurants, antique and art shops, and a little alleyway where they host art fairs almost every night of the week!  photo(7)photo(11)We found a place to meet for cocktails and listen to jazz music, and while we were walking there we passed by a tattoo parlor.  I’m not sure what came over me… maybe it was the name of the parlor, “Electric Ladyland Tattoo”, or maybe it was all of the live music and art that intoxicated me, made me feel adventurous, and made me suddenly decide to get my very first tattoo! Here is pretty much how it went:

Me: “Let’s go in – I should get a tattoo”

Cheryl: “Haha… no.”

Me: “Seriously – let’s go in… I’m gonna do it!”

Cheryl: “Don’t play with my emotions!”

Me: “I’m dead serious… and I’m getting a tattoo.”

Thank goodness Cheryl was there – she was perfect to balance out my impulsivity and make sure the lettering style and placement was perfect.  She wasn’t afraid to tell the tattoo artist “No” and “try again”, lol.


IMG_9996 In the end, I really LOVE my little tattoo and it was such a fun experience! It will forever be a reminder to me to leap… in small moments like this one that make for fun stories to share, and it big moments when life needs a little shaking up.

After the excitement of that Saturday night, Cheryl and I enjoyed the rest of our time in New Orleans by walking around the city…IMG_9723 IMG_9717 IMG_9720 IMG_9706 IMG_9715photo(10)IMG_9725I loved how the street corners are marked by these old tiles laid into the cement…photo[3]We made the obligatory trip to Cafe du Monde for a beignet and cafe au lait breakfast followed by a good ol’ sugar coma nap back at the also had a steamboat tour of the Mississippi River!photo[2] photo[1] IMG_9866

I’ll finish up our trip with the details of visiting Lafayette Cemetery #1 and the Garden District… there are just too many pretty pictures to tack onto this post!



Seester’s Wedding

October 11th marked a momentous day – my sister got married! :)  Lots of preparation and little projects kept me busy for a couple of months leading up to the event, but it was so worth it!  My sister’s big day was perfect – so beautiful, so fabulous, and SO much fun. I can see why people like to throw large weddings! It was a very special day to have our whole family together in one place to celebrate the happy couple.IMG_9352My sister’s bridesmaids were all so nice and I had so much fun getting to know them all…IMG_9313Every event the entire weekend was so beautifully planned and executed… starting with the rehearsal dinner at a house that overlooked the ocean and all of Santa Barbara.IMG_9373 IMG_9385We had fun getting ready on the big day, and my Seester looked absolutely beautiful!IMG_9398 IMG_9428 IMG_9416It was also fun to see the details I worked on come to life… this monogram lit up on the wall was my favorite!photo(8)I think my favorite part of the weekend was dancing all night with Brent…photo(4)…and hanging out with my family.photoI’m sure there will be a million more photos to come from my sister’s photographer, but for now my favorite picture from the wedding is this one of the married couple.  Here they are after the wedding went off without a hitch, they snuck over to the photowall at the very end of the night… you can just see their happy, post-matrimony glow in this picture!KandR


As much fun as this blog has been for the last couple of years, I want to share that I will soon be retiring it. I’ve obviously struggled this year to keep up with a personal blog, and much of the reason why is because it just doesn’t quite fit anymore. It is not the right setting for many of the things I want to share, so photos and ideas have all been piling up on my computer waiting for the proper place and time to be posted.

Long story short, I have decided to launch a full website. It will be in part for Heather by Hand, my calligraphy and hand lettering business, but it will also include a new blog. I will still share some of my personal life, but so much of my life now includes this new passion that I really want to make the right home for it all.  I will continue to post things here until the site is ready and launched, but for now, here is a preview of!HeatherbyHand

Long time, no see…

Well, I’m really sneaking in under the wire to get a post up in October.  It has been a wonderfully crazy month between my sister getting married in Santa Barbara and a work trip to New Orleans.  Both events I will share in more detail, but for now I just wanted to say hi. In between the events, we have had some nice times at home together, too.

Watched a few sunsets on the beach…photophotoExplored a little in the Henry Cowell redwoods…photoWorked on some calligraphy projects…  photo[2]And, of course, hung out with the furry family.photophoto[1]Now October is coming to a close and I don’t plan on doing anything for Halloween since Brent is in Arizona, but Rudy-sauras and I will watch Practical Magic, and I’m sure the work party we are planning for the office will be fun!photoI’ll follow up with a few more posts on the events of October, even though it will be November… I can’t wait to tell the story of my new (and first) tattoo!IMG_9996

Life Lately

Apologies for lagging in my posts. I would like to say it’s because I have been so busy, but I think it’s a deeper reason – not wanting or knowing how to follow Brent’s guest post! His writing is just too much. It makes me happy to know he’s considering starting his own blog… I look forward to reading it.

Excuses aside – things have been busy, but definitely not hectic. Much has happened in the last month but I have also had plenty of time to myself for rest, relaxation, and enjoying the last few weeks of summer.  It seems appropriate that I finally felt the urge to come back here on this drippy morning, at the first sign of Autumn’s arrival.

August was fairly eventful – Brent’s friend Jimbo came into town for a visit…photo-34…and it got off to a pretty rough start on the way up to didn’t get to do any wine tasting after all that, but still managed to enjoy Petaluma with Cheryl, who was a fabulous friend to come pick us up to bring us home the next day.  We stayed in a cute, albeit extremely LOUD hotel (thanks to the crowd in Petaluma to see Courtney Love) for the night…photo-33…and made sure to get Cheryl a nice big bowl of pasta at a delicious historic Italian restaurant in town to say “thank you” for the boys ended up having a fine time for the rest of Jim’s visit, and Rudy and I took some time to rest and recover after being rocked around in the back seat of that accident! I’m just glad everyone was okay… especially my little Rudybega.  I have since purchased him a doggy seat belt, which he is (no surprise) afraid have been keeping to myself on the weekends to work on projects, one of which was a fun “love story” chalkboard – my first official commissioned job for a happy, recently engaged couple! photo-30I enjoyed seeing Taming of the Shrew, one of the last Shakespeare Santa Cruz plays in the redwood glen on UCSC campus with Cheryl, my boss Kathy and her hubby Ken, and two new friends we met through work.  What a pleasurable way to spend a summer afternoon – sitting under a canopy of redwood trees, watching a fabulously produced show of talented actors, sipping white wine, and snacking on charcuterie.  Shakespeare Santa Cruz was one of my favorite clients to work with, and although it was great to see all of the finished pieces we worked on together, it was also sad because they announced they were closing after this season. I’m so glad I was able to enjoy the unique experience, but I will surely miss the incredibly fun and creative work we got to do together!photo-31We also took a quick trip up to San Francisco to enjoy a day at Outsidelands with Jon and Leslie and some friends from Arizona. I definitely have to go for the whole weekend next year – one day there was great, but not enough of the music and food!IMG_3364 copyFor the most part, Brent and I have just been getting settled into daily life in the cottage together.  DinnerinthecottageThe awkward adjustment phase seems to have passed, and now I am just happy to enjoy time together and thankful for the pleasure of getting to see him every day, in all his insane glory.