More than a few years ago, when there were actually 4 members to the King clan instead of 5, also known as the time period BF (before Finn), we took the boys to see their first They Might Be Giants concert. (Actually I’m lying. We took them to see TMBG when Seamus was 6 months and Liam was 3, but since they scarcely remember that concert, this concert is recorded as their first TMBG event they can remember.) Not wanting to miss a moment, I documented every delicious second. We came home, the photos got uploaded to my computer, I sighed and said “I’m going to make a book of that one day” and soon after, the photos were buried. A few months ago, I was sifting through my hard drive and came upon these photos and became determined to do something about them. I had heard such beautiful things about Artifact Uprising’s photo books so I decided to give it a shot and make a short book about our adventure. And oh, how happy it has made us!! Since the book arrived last week, my older boys have adored pouring over the pages and marveling at how they looked ‘when they were little.’ Finn, on the other hand, wants to manhandle the pages and stare at all the confetti. He also seems to believe that the two Johns are part of our family, as are all the other children in the audience. We gladly accept this theory. Take a look at our beautiful extended family album. A few of my favorite pages. After having gone through the process and actually having a book in my hands, I am very excited to sift through some old photo files and bring them to life. I love digital photography and the creativity it affords me but creating a book with words that paints a story that my boys can physically look through is just magic. I highly recommend a quick perusal of your hard drive. Inspiration may just strike you.
Finn: Looking at all that snow. It’s pretty much an every day event. We’re all tired of it, except for Finn.
Liam: Sometimes with all this snow you have to improve and by improve I mean, a flashlight in a dark room. I really like the eerie glow.
Seamus: A rare smile.
This week I decided to play with the concept of profiles. Sometimes the kids cooperate, sometimes they don’t. I love the challenge of capturing them in their element. Really grateful to be taking part in Jodi’s beautiful project.
“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”
Liam: Finn was trying to make Liam laugh by tickling his toes. He succeeded.
Seamus: Games are always so much cooler when they’re on mama’s phone.
Finn: If I am practicing yoga and Finn is awake, I usually have a small partner. This is his best anjali mudra in siddhasana. I wonder what he’s thinking about.
This week I decided to go with stark images this week, playing with light and dark. Such fun taking part in Jodi’s beautiful project.
Liam: Always intrepid.
Seamus: Sometimes quiet.
Finn: Never stationary.
Thank you for stopping by and checking in with my project. This week has been challenging because of all the snow we’ve been getting lately. It’s pushed me to think creatively and I’m so very glad to be involved in the project.
I love Valentine’s Day. It is a wonderful combination of paper products, candy, and love. It’s dreamy. Since Liam is a bit too old for the whole Valentine card exchange thing and Seamus & Finn are homeschooled this leaves me with the distinct pleasure of mailing Valentine’s to our friends and family. And since we all know that Valentine’s Day is really a made up holiday, you, my friends, are not bound by the confines of any person’s rules. Do you LOVE your mailperson? Give them a valentine!! Just ADORE your yoga teacher? Give her a valentine!! Really I see Valentine’s Day as a way to spread a little more cheer throughout the land.
This Valentine’s Day I am so ultra excited to partner with Pear Tree Greetings to bring you a fun and creative way to spread your Valentine’s love. They have a literal ton of different classroom cards to choose from, so it was pretty hard to decide. In the end, I let Finn do the picking. He is in love with all things dinosaur, so we chose their “You Rock!” card and a fun and messy project that every kid would love to get to accompany it. Here is a step by step guide on how to make your very own dinosaur rocks, complete with one tiny and very lovable dino pet.This DIY starts with a bag of miniature dinosaurs toys and 4 basic ingredients. 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of used coffee grounds, 1/2 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of coffee. Mix them together. This is the messy fun part. Once it’s thoroughly mixed up, take a small clump and flatten it. Then take a mini dino and bury it into the dough. Use your fingers to make a dino burrito, if you will, and completely envelop him until he is nestled into his own dino rock. Once this is done place them on a piece of foil or parchment. If you have ample time, like a week, you can leave it out on your countertop and let it air dry. If you are pressed for time (which I’ve been known to do. No judging here.) throw those bad boys into the oven on the lowest setting you have and let it bake for a couple of hours. You know it’s done when the outside feels hardened. An artistic aside here: Once our rocks were dried, they had lightened to a grey color which I did not like. I rubbed a paper towel soaked in coffee over the top until I got the desired patina. The best part of this whole project is the absolute joy on the kids faces when you tell them they can break open their rocks to find a real dinosaur inside. DISCLAIMER: This can get messy. If you don’t want to be ostracized by ALL the moms of the 3rd grade, write a small note suggesting they break open their rocks on a tabletop or on some newsprint. (Below are just a few pics of Finn rescuing his dino from the rock. He really loved this part.)I bought little plastic cupcake boxes and baker’s twine from Amazon, but you can find these at Michael’s or AC Moore’s, rather inexpensively. These dinosaur rocks, along with the perfect card, will be an absolute hit. We can’t wait to mail ours out!
“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”
Liam: Taking proper mid-terms for the first time ever this week. Turns out when you study, things aren’t so bad. Go figure.
Seamus: Closing your eyes counts as hiding.
Finn: The joy of playing in the snow etched on his face.
As you know, Tanya, but your readers might not, I went to school for Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design. I have always loved magazines. Ever since I can remember I was carrying one around. I used to beg my mother in the grocery store aisle to buy me “just one more!” I am a dreamer and magazines were my escape, my window into another world. My first-ever “real” job out of college was an internship as an art assistant at Working Woman Magazine in 1994. Honestly, I had no idea what I wanted to do after I received my BFA, I just knew that I LOVED magazines. So without any help and very little knowledge about the industry, I went to the book store (no internet back then) and grabbed a stack of any and every magazine that looked interesting… and off the resumes went. I didn’t know it yet, but I was quite lucky. A chance meeting with a freelance graphic designer at that internship would end up landing me a job as Art Assistant at YM magazine. This job brought me to the next two at Cosmo and Glamour where I worked on extremely successful redesigns with a group of creative and talented designers and editors. Two amazing mentors for me were (and still are) Art Director, Henry Connell and Creative Director, Donald Robertson @donalddrawbertson. They really helped to shape my eye, the way I see design and visual content; and how that merges with telling stories through words, images, and pop culture.Merging all my worlds together has been challenging; my children who are always my top priority, my art, my job, projects, and of course yoga & meditation. I find myself squeezing things in when and where I can. Mediating on the bus, creating visual images while putting the kids to bed, and yoga on the weekends or early in the morning when everyone including the dog is still fast asleep. It’s definitely a juggling act! Nevertheless, I am happy to be working again and getting to interact with all these amazing and talented people at Conde Nast.
Thank you SO much. I love creating original content for my Instagram feed. In many ways it is a meditation of sorts. It cleans out my brain! I am constantly being inspired by the culture around me from vintage fashion, movies, and music to nature, trees, and the sky. I like combining this and my intrigue of spirituality and mysticism together. Each inform the other in some way. Even the way I found yoga happened because of my love of the 60s and 70s. Believe it or not…I had an obsession with the movie LOVE STORY back in the early 90s(mostly for the fashion!) At the time, Ali McGraw had a yoga video out and I purchased it. I have always been an active person and someone who likes to delve into things that are on the edge. In the early 90s not many people were doing yoga and it seemed mysterious and intriguing to me. Unfortunately, Ali’s video did not sell me on yoga, but it made me even more curious. It was not until I came across a a set of Power Yoga videos by Bryan Kest that I was completely hooked. Shortly after this time, I moved to NYC and was working hardcore. I started voraciously taking yoga classes all over; Jivamukti and Laughing Lotus Yoga being my favorites. It was during this time that I discovered Ashtanga Yoga and started working with a private teacher, Kathleen Kierny Barney on the Primary Series. My own practice and teaching is what I consider a playful and creative vinyasa flow, which has been cultivated by my strong love for Ashtanga, my passion and love for creativity and music. I have completed workshops with Kathryn Budig (one of my faves), David Swenson, Bryan Kest, Seane Corn, Travis Eliot, and Kelly Morris. I also play the Harmonium (an indian musical instrument one chants along with) and last year I finished a course on Vedic Meditation with Charlie Knowles. I really love saturating myself in all areas of yoga, mysticism, and spirituality; the more I learn the better. For the past year on my Instagram feed each Monday, I post a quote with an image I create or curate, from one of my favorite gurus, a Buddhist Monk, Pema Chodron. I keep thinking I am going to change it up, but then I read another quote or passage by this amazing being and I just have to post it. The feedback I get from people makes it worth it each week!
Hmmm…this is an interesting question. I think motherhood opened a window for me. Before my kids I don’t believe I had the capacity to think the way I do now or to love the way I love, which really has affected how I look at the world. Being a mother, a single mother especially, has taught me an immense amount about patience and compassion. Work stress just does not sit the same as it used to. It rolls off more easily. Maybe it was getting through two natural births (one being a waterbirth) and feeling like I accomplished something so incredible that it makes any other hurdle or heaviness seem like a hop, skip, or a featherweight. Perhaps it was learning how to stand on my own two feet again these past few years, while becoming a single mother. Or possibly, it is just because I am older and wiser and have ten more years experience of yoga and meditation under my belt that helps melt away the stress. It is probably a combination of all three, and while the past few years have been extremely hard, I have learned how to handle things I thought I could not, I have learned to sit with pain, heartbreak, and worry. Sit with it and feel it and not be afraid of it; not try to run from it. Pema Chodron’s words have helped a lot. I highly recommend her book “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. It is great for everyone and anyone…even if you have it all together. *wink*
Currently, I am just getting settled in to my new position at Allure Magazine. Super stoked, as I am often inspired by beauty and fashion. This past August, I created visuals for a beauty line called Kjaer Weis. It is a visionary and forward thinking cosmetics line created by Danish born, New York based makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis. A brand like this inspires me because it is recoginzes health and beauty equally. Along the same lines is a site called A Green Beauty (agreenbeauty.com), natural organic lifestyle magazine founded and edited by Mara Schiavetti, promoting sustainable living, holistic health and beauty. I just completed visual designs for their second issue. I am also a contributing designer for Pan and the Dream, a surrealist site about fashion, creative talent, and the rush of the new by a very talented husband and wife team stylist Natalie Agussol and photographer Paul Westlake. (panandthedream.tumblr.com/) I really look forward to working with them again in 2014! And of course last but certainly not least, the work I did with the founder and creator Diana Oberlander of Nomad-Chic (nomad-chic.com)
I have received a lot of inquiries about prints of my work so that is also something I plan on getting to soon. But until then…you can find a daily dose of my Warrior Heart bohemian modern blend on my Instagram and tumblr, as well as, all of my daily curated images on Pinterest. <3
One of my favorite snacks in the world is a good avocado. Sprinkle the tiniest bit of salt on it and I can be no happier. So delicious! So really when you consider a good guacamole recipe you understand that it’s just a vessel for getting me some avocado plus fixings. Guacamole is so incredibly easy to make and the most wonderful part is that you can customize it to your tastes pretty effortlessly. Don’t like onions? Don’t put them in! Don’t like tomato lumps? You’re not obliged to them either! You could probably get away with not putting in cilantro if you truly hate it, but if you don’t have strong opinions about it, cilantro should make its way in. After we made the recipe in our house a few times we tweaked it and tweaked it, and now it is juuust right for our family. I’ve heard of people adding tons of cheeses and things to their guacs but we like ours simple. Just 6 ingredients that can be mashed in 1 bowl and produce the most delicious foodstuffs. We love this simple recipe and I hope you do too. (Well, you can like it but not as much as Finn does. If you don’t keep an eye on him he’s been known to quadruple dip. He loves guacamole a lot.)
3 ripe avocados
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1/4 c chopped onion
Garlic cloves to taste
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp salt
Seriously that’s it! I like a lot of lime and so we add juice from 2 limes but you get the point. Seamus loves to smash it all up for us, it’s a lovely 1 bowl delicious light snack.
I was very ill this week with flareup but of course, I wasn’t going to abandon my project this early in the game. Perseverance!! So I made the boys come to me.
Finn: Upside down on his slide is literally like the X-Games for him. Bold adventures!
Liam: As each week goes by I’m reminded how old he’s getting. So incredibly handsome.
Seamus: Always reluctant to be photographed, this week he hid behind some curtains. The next 50 weeks are going to be very interesting.
“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”
I am so very excited to join Jodi’s photo project this year. I feel like time passes by so quickly and I so badly want to savor every moment with my children. This project will do that. The quiet every day moments, the loud and exciting moments, and every thing in between. Thank you for stopping in and honoring that space with me.
Finn: Admist a daydream while in his cozy blanket cocoon
Liam: His look of seriousness when in a gaming tournament
Seamus: Reluctant to be photographed, powered by Redstone.
Each morning when it is still dark and soft sleeping breath fills my little house, I creep out of my bed, quietly make my way to my living room, and roll out my yoga mat. I usually am a little tired and often times, am a bit cranky when I begin but each morning I set and do my sun salutations. I slowly go through the poses, focusing on my breath and form through each transition. Consisting of 8 simple poses done in a sequence of 12 moves, I’ve heard people say how much they dislike sun salutation, calling it boring or repetitive. To me, the simplicity is the beauty of it all. I’ve been consistently practicing yoga now for a year and I never feel like sun salutation is boring. Each time I move through the sequence, I do not think about the day ahead or the tasks that await me at work. Rather I clear my mind and think of what my body can do and how it is amazing. Here’s the thing, I know any type of exercise is going to work my muscles, flood my body with really awesome endorphins, and make me feel great as I start my day. But for some reason yoga, so quiet and peaceful, brings my mind into focus for the day. It’s low pressure. I don’t have to join a gym or need any fancy equipment, just my own body and a mat. It gives me time to reflect and energy to tackle my day with enthusiasm. As I move through all the poses I fix my intention for the day on gratitude and how I can move mountains if I set my mind to it. I consider sun salutations like my little pep talk for the day. So consider this my Public Service Announcement, if you haven’t yet tried yoga, give it a shot. You’ll be astounded at how 8 simple poses could bring your mind such clarity.
Ps If you are more of a night person, there are moon salutations too. Or if you’re feeling like you’re uncertain about it, watch this kid and then think about it again.