The First Week

This summer I’ll be spending my time in both Philly and Brooklyn. My plan is to commute back and forth almost every other week. I have paintings at both locations to be finished (one space larger than the other for the big babies), rent money that I refuse to waste, friends that I must see in both cities and one incredible fiancé I will be with every second I can. Unfortunately all is split between a city that feels like home and the other that certainly IS (now evaluating the last week) my home base.

Tonight ends my first week of being back at said home base (South Philly). It has been an incredible week that I didn’t expect to have immediately upon my arrival.

New York is incredible. I feel constantly inspired there.. Surrounded by more art than I could’ve imagined. I have met some truly beautiful, encouraging, honest, and talented people these last few months. I have treasured every moment I’ve spent within the spaces of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Im taking away friendships that I hope will last forever, knowledge that could’ve only come out of the New York Academy of Art, pure inspiration and a genuine desire to create for the rest of my life. I am grateful beyond words.
The last couple of weeks ending the semester however were emotionally and physically tiresome. A break was so needed and I got more of one than I thought possible so quickly.

I started this first week free with a family day. There isn’t a way to describe how much I love and adore my family. I spent time with my nieces and nephews, sister, incredible parents and two of the worlds best cousins. I even got to meet the newest member of the clan, Little Max.. with his full head of beautiful hair and sweet boyish nature. The restoring of self at that point had begun.
That night i got home and began cleaning a bit of the Philly house. I cleared bookshelves and began to proudly display the art that both my fiancé and I make. Paintings sit next to albums recorded and momentos of our time spent abroad are now displayed for every one to see. Reflecting on time spent the last six years was encouraging. Neither one of us are “making it big” or even making it at all.. But what we’ve been able to do with our respective crafts over the last half of a decade is something that you cannot be anything but proud of. Realizing you’ve made a different kind of dream happen, with integrity and honest hard work is a feeling unlike most. We’ve seen more than we thought we ever would and are beyond eager to use our talents to continue seeing more. I have found a true partner in Brian- something I already knew but find reminders of while reminiscing.

Days after, I spent my afternoons with the wonderful Ashley Lewis. We crafted props for a planned mid-week party and I wound up crashing her figure drawing class at Fleisher on Tuesday (an interesting evening to say the least). A plethora of coffee and catching up could’ve been everything I needed but Wednesday night brought me back to earth and more in love with those I adore than ever before. -Ashley and I set her house up as a “holy crap I survived my first year at grad school” and a “screw you restaurant world-I’m retiring,” photo booth party. Philly’s best showed up and we had a blast. The faces I haven’t seen since last summer put smiles on my face bigger than I’ve had in months. The warmth and ‘welcome home’s were in abundance. Around this group of people, I’m myself. Whether its years of knowing them or just because I love them so incredibly much.. No face was put on. “how are you?” wasn’t replied with a “fine, I’m surviving” but instead genuine answers of happiness mixed with how disgruntled my final few months have been. Understanding words of encouragement we’re passed on, conversing on how life has been and more fun than a camera and tableside of props can bring. I felt reconnected, finding myself proud of their accomplisments made and the directions they’re bringing their lives into. I felt surrounded by talent, hard work and the beautiful nature of truly GOOD people. -Did I mention the high life and whiskey? – Thank you to EVERYONE that came. You have filled me with more joy than I could possibly describe.

The days between that one and now were consumed with home cooked meals (with friends as well as just Brian and I), completely changing a giant painted portrait of one of my favorite people, homemade ice cream and piña coladas, backyard sketching in the sun and relaxing history/discovery channel tv watching with the one I love the most. I spent an evening of bourbon, beers and my favorite burger with my brother and even caught up with two of my 2005 Roma loves, eating gelato like we were just in campo di fiori yesterday. I met Roo (new doggy addition), a longtime boyfriend, viewed a new engagement ring in person and found out some very awesome news on the belly front. :) Throw in a few other new and old friends and it would’ve been the definition of perfection within 7 days. I’ll tell you though, it came damn close.

I’m back to Brooklyn tomorrow (by the time i post this ill already be back) and am actually sad to leave. I have a plethora of work to do (both painting and photography) but its breaking my heart to go. I thought Philly had nothing left for me. I thought I had lost touch with what I thought was my “home base” but its clear it just went under the radar for a bit. I am so beyond grateful and emotionally touched for what the last few days have done for me. I’ve said it before and I will say it till I can no longer speak.. I know and am honored to call the worlds best people my friends. So much so that the word “friend” is just a synonym for family now, no matter where in the world we all may be.

Thank you. You know who you are and I love you.