Monday Memoirs

What role does art play in your life? What types of art were you exposed to as a child? How do you fit creativity into your life today?

My dad is an artist, so growing up he was constantly encouraging us to be creative. Anything we made with creativity he reacted to like it was a ground-breaking work of modern art. I have lots of sweet memories of coming home and seeing a drawing I did framed on my wall. And he was genuinely interested in what we had to say as artists, even at the age of 5. He respected our creativity and tried to instill in us the importance of having it in your life.

Our house was covered in his paintings, and I have some of his that I can’t wait to put up in our new place. He does watercolors, acrylics, woodcuts, you name it. Now that he has an iPad, he sends me things like this that he does with an art app:

image_1 image My sister also became an amazing artist. She studied studio art at Cal Poly and had her own portrait business after graduation. Now she has an amazing Etsy shop with all kinds of beautiful original art and prints (Father’s Day gifts anyone?).

My sister can talk animatedly about anything while sketching an amazing portrait of you on a napkin that you will keep forever. Here is an example – she drew Anthony while we all had dinner at a restaurant with paper table cloths and crayons:

image (6) We have it on the bookshelf in our place right now, but I think I’ll frame it and put it up when we move.

Here is one that I did of Anthony for his birthday last year (he kept begging me to draw him, too):

image (7) Our very own Emily is also an artist, by the way. She studied art at San Diego State and can do amazing paintings. She has a ton of charcoals and sketches of nude models from school stored at her parents house, and I want to steal one to hang in my place, too. I will never have to spend a dime on art for my home, haha! I’m pretty lucky to have so many talented people in my life.

I went to art classes growing up in hippie studios in downtown Santa Cruz. It was great, living in a town so enthusiastic and unpretentious about art. It gave me a great outlook on art and helps me now when I talk to Anthony’s musician friends or go to new music shows with him. On a Saturday or Sunday morning my dad and I used to go to his favorite coffee house in downtown Santa Cruz together. He would get espresso and I would get a hot chocolate. We would both take out our sketchbooks – large canvas-bound books with what seemed like an endless amount of blank pages (no lines allowed – the idea was to be able to draw and write with no restrictions). He would take out his mini watercolor set and start drawing the remarkably interesting people that would sit down with their coffees. By the end of the morning he would have a collage of people: a man with a tower of dreadlocks on the top of his head, a woman covered in tattoos – you name it – all with beautiful, subtle watercolor highlights.

Another valuable thing my dad instilled in me is the practice of journaling. You guys have heard a lot about this when I post about my old junior high journals. Well once I became an adolescent I started using those sketchbooks less for drawings of funny looking monsters and pictures of my room with a swimming pool in it and more for my never-ending waterfall of emotions.


I would write a lot – just a narrative that was completely unedited, like I was talking to a friend. My sister kept journals too, but hers were more like prose or something – you couldn’t exactly tell what was going on or who she was talking about sometimes. There were just thoughts and letters that were never meant for anyone to read.

I would also sketch a lot, too. The words would go around pictures of boys I liked, real or imaginary. I used to sketch in class, too, on the margins of my notebooks. I loved to draw people, so having 30 models that were more or less staying still for an hour was perfect. However, once and a while I got caught and the implications were mortifying. Just because I was drawing someone in class didn’t mean I like-LIKED them!!! (If they were in my journal at home, however, I DEFINITELY like-liked them).

DON'T like-like
DON’T like-like
DO like-like
DO like-like

My sketchbooks became these awesome scrapbooks of my teenage world. I didn’t have a lock on them, and I never hid them, even though they contained the most mortifying things about me. My parents and friends were always very respectful of my privacy. I made it clear to any new friends that if they read my journal I would cry. A lot. But I would show them pictures or songs I wrote sometimes, careful to not carelessly flip a page and expose a drawing of a boy I wasn’t ready to advertise as my official crush yet.

I also played guitar in elementary school and junior high. In high school, I stopped playing as much and just journaled constantly. I would fill up one of those fat sketchbooks each school year. In college I kept journaling, but only when I really needed to process something – a break up, a confusing attraction to someone, a fight with a friend. I filled up one sketchbook over an entire four years of undergrad, and I stopped sketching as much. In grad school I played guitar a little more, and journaled the same amount as in college. After graduation I realized I wasn’t journaling hardly at all any more, and it made me sad. I want to know all of my inner thoughts and have memories of this time in my life. But what I realized is that journaling and sketching have a direct correlation with how much angst I am feeling at the moment.

When I am happy and settled, I don’t need to write or sketch or use as much creativity. I only want to journal and be creative to emotionally process something and collect my thoughts or to expel built up energy that accumulates when I am single or lonely.

That is why I am excited to have this blog. I can have a creative outlet that allows me to save memories and written thoughts forever, like a journal. I would so much rather blog than journal – journaling is just for me, so I lose interest if I don’t desperately need to process something. But blogging allows me to show people things and have a conversation – I get feedback and get to talk to Emily about making it better and get inspired together.

I think I mentioned before that when I wrote about my frustration with my perception of my body at the time, it instantly made me feel better about the whole thing. Writing it down helped, like it always does, but I think it helped more by being on the blog than it would if it were in my journal. Writing things down that you know other people will read makes you have to really believe what you’re saying. And that took such a weight off of my shoulders when I actually believed what I was saying – it allowed me to move on from it.

It’s hard to explain, but I am so glad I found another creative outlet after journaling was not as rewarding as it was before. I might pick up the guitar again, but I don’t see myself being interested in sketching again – I’m not sure why, but it kind of sucks. People get really impressed when you can draw something. Haha.

Now I think doing DIY projects and decorating our place will fill that need. And learning to take pretty photos for the blog and showing them to you all.


Remember, if you would like to follow along and write your own Monday Memoirs using our prompts, please include the link to your entry on your blog, Facebook, Tumblr, whatever, in the comments! We would love to hear what you have to say!


What brought you to your current career path?

Get Ready for Monday Memoirs!

Hey guys, I am excited to start a new series that will hopefully help us get to know one another a little better! I was inspired by my sister and her series on Two Happy Lambs called Mama Letters– she gives moms a prompt to write to their children about all sorts of things. How they decided on their name, life experiences they have had and they want to pass on, and more to come. I’m not gonna lie – it was the only time I wish I had a kid, because I wanted to play so badly! The thing is, she’ll give you a prompt to write and keep for yourself, and if you have a blog you can post your responses and include a link in the comments. Then she posts her answers as well.

So if you have kids, definitely visit my sis over there and write with her so you can have amazing memories for you and your kids written down to pass on forever. And all you childless peeps of mine, you can play with me!

As some of you may know, I have been keeping journals since I was 12. I buy a big canvas sketchbook from Barnes and Noble (or when I was living at home, Bookshop Santa Cruz!) with blank pages and just fill that thing up with drawings, taped-in pictures and tickets, and of course, written angst. When I fill it up I buy a new one and start over, labeling them with dates and collecting a big pile of these things. My angst level has gone down as I’ve gotten older so I don’t have to buy one every year like I used to, but I still love having tons of stories of my life in my words. I can’t tell you how valuable it has been for me to be able to go back and read my thoughts at certain times in my life and realize that I remembered things wrong, or confirm a date when something important happened, or just hear my own voice in my scrawling pen across the page.

So if you have ever wanted to have some memories written down about your life, I was hoping to help you get started, or just get inspired. Plus, it’s fun to write if you don’t have an excuse to anymore, now that a lot of us are done with school. And no one else has to ever read it!

On Monday I will post the first prompt, with my response included. You can write as little or as much as you want – it’s all up to you. If you have a blog, please post your response too, with a link in the comments! I would love to read them and get to know everyone a little better!

So grab a piece of paper, your phone, or a pretty journal from Barnes and Noble and get ready to reflect! :)


P.S. Speaking of journals, check out the amazing hand made journal my roommate and friend D brought back for me from Nepal!

photo 2 photo 1 In case you are interested, like I was, here is a note that came with it:

This product is made from the bark of Daphne Cannabina or Papyracea, locally known as ‘Lokta’ which is found at an altitude of 2000 to 3500 meters in the mountain area. The ‘Lotka’  has characteristics of regenerating again after 6 to 8 years of cutting. Bark is collected with environmental awareness – thus it preserves the fragile forest ecology of Nepal.

The indigenous Nepalese paper is renowned for its exceptional durability and special texture. The oldest available manuscripts of Hindu and Buddhist texts, royal edicts and legal documents are centuries old and have always been recorded on this paper.

This paper-making process involves cooking the bark twice, consecutive washing, chopping, and beating with a wooden hammer. The soft pulp is poured over a wooden frame and spread evenly by gently shaking the floating frame in water and then sun dried.

Buying this product will support and improve the socioeconomic conditions of the lower strata of society in both rural and urban areas of Nepal.

Freakin cool.


People mistake me for air

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This is my journal from 7th to 9th grade. After this one I got one of these big canvas covered sketchbooks each year and filled it up with angst. I grew up in the mountains of Santa Cruz in a tiny town called Felton- a mix of hippies and mountain folks with one high school and plenty of witch supply, rock (yes, rock), and health food stores. I thought I would share another glimpse into my 14 year old psyche, simply because it’s hilarious and these books can’t go to waste. Check out the song I wrote in the same journal here.

Today we will go back to 2002. I have changed some names to save myself from further embarrassment. Sorry Mary-Lynn and Kim, you guys will be publicly associated with me. These two wonderful girls were my crew at the time and are still my best friends.

A few notes to prepare you for this…. Please, forgive me for being ignorant and mean at 14. It’s really embarrassing how unkind I could be, but it was worth it to share the real deal with you all. And also I had this thing where I talked to the reader of my journal sometimes, which doesn’t make any sense since these were my deepest darkest thoughts. So in the beginning paragraph I’m talking to you, the reader. For some reason. Anyway, here goes.

February 16, 2002 ~ 10:50 pm ~ Sunday

No, I really know what you’re thinking. Here’s you: “Oh, boo-hoo, I bet you had a horrible Valentine’s Day, huh? Don’t worry, I’ll make everyone cry for you!” And yes, I know I feel sorry for myself, but isn’t that what journals are for? So if ya don’t like it, stop reading! But, if you would like 2 know, I had a great Valentine’s Day! No, no one asked me out, I’m no ML (but no one asked her out, either!). But I just was having fun without a boy. So good 4 me!

Okay, time 4 more whining:

So I don’t know if guys consider me or if they laugh @ the thought of even considering me. But I want a boyfriend. I don’t know if it’s flirting that’s the key (which I don’t know how to do), or if I just don’t talk to any guys or something, or who knows. But I’ve thought of changing my image, my clothes, my friends, but never would consider acting on any of those things, or changing myself to fit a boy’s fantasy. Okay, I don’t think I want to be a boy’s “fantasy”, that’s a little bit 2 far, scratch it. But I want a boy to like me. So what do I do? Just be myself and screw any boy who doesn’t want me. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to talk to boys I consider, and be more outgoing with them, but it does mean that I will stay how I am!!! Praise the Lord!!! Hee hee.

Oh yeah, @ the last dance that was recently held I wore my new Moulin Rouge shirt and I wore my hair really cool (everyone liked it). Example:

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It was cool, despite the example. It was really fun, except Bernard asked me to dance! Ugh. He’s a frog!!! I know, I know. “Well, it’s what you asked 4, someone 2 like ya!?” SHUT UP!!! Uno what I meant. And I’m not trying to be mean or a dumb teenager, but Puh-huh! Geez. No. I didn’t give him ANY signals or anything. Poopiss. But what’s in the past is in the past. I still want a boy.

Hey, uno how I say that Ethel and peeps hate me? Well, I think they really do. I was hanging out with ML and Kim @ lunch, and we were laughin, and all of a sudden I look over and see Ethel and Francis STARING @ me. Like full-on glaring! So I look back @ them, and kinda laugh, and they act like they don’t notice! Okay. So I even wave @ them and they just keep on glaring until Ethel snaps out of it and yells, “Ew, you’re so gross!” @ Francis, and they laugh and walk away. Interesting. Interesting experiences of mine. And yet, she still borrows markers from me. Hmmm. Why would they have any reason to hate me? I never talk to them or bother them. Bitches. Someday I’ll just flat out ask em, “Why don’t you like me, again?” See what they look like, then.

Why do I feel so out of place? I feel so different from everyone, yet so the same that no one notices me. How come one minute I feel like people mistake me for air, the next, everyone hates me? Kim feels sorry for herself, puh-huh. ML feels sorry 4 herself!! Geez! But everyone feels sorry for themselves. They don’t consider people’s lives worse than theirs. Like me. Not that I’m the worse life, I’m the one who feels sorry for herself all the time. But that’s what this paper is for. I don’t go around saying to homeless people, “Whywhywhy why why why don’t I have a boyfriend!!!!!!!?” I let it out with this stupid pen.

I saw Crossroads and I gave it a B-. On the other hand, A Walk 2 Remember was given an A-, and the minus is just 4 the “deer in the headlights look” that Mandy Moore gave the audience every ten seconds. Good Night.

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Okay, so I hope you had the same hilarious inner dialogue that I had as I read that. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who felt super paranoid at that age. Or I hope I wasn’t. How did I live each day being like, “Those girls are looking in my direction. THOSE BITCHES HATE ME AND NO MORE MARKERS FOR YOU”? I mostly just feel sorry for myself (haha still) at that age. I remember being acutely aware of not being able to control how crazy I was. And I remember being desperate to not be so lame and dramatic but I didn’t know how to stop. I really hated high school. It was so hard trying to be a normal, emotionally stable human being when nothing seemed like it was in your control. It helps having these journals to remind myself how hard kids have it. Hopefully it will make me more sympathetic when my niece and nephew get there. Plus it’s fun to read my most personal and secret thoughts when I was that age and compare myself to who I am now.

A final note: THANK GOD I didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, ANY of it. You know it would just be an emo fiasco all over the internet that would never go away.

If you have journals, PLEASE share an awesome quote or two in the comments. This stuff is just gold, it’s my absolute favorite. Also, did you like high school? Do you feel like the person you are now was in there somewhere inside that crazy teenager?

And this dream

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So I brought out the oldest journal of mine I could find the other night, to find some material for a post. I was inspired by Girl’s Gone Child and her posts on Instagram of her journals when she was in high school. They are hilarious, please check them out.

Anyway, what I found was amazing and unexpected.

I had just had a conversation with Anthony the other day about how I wrote a song when I was little (he’s a composer, so I was trying to relate). It was in my I Want to Be Jewel phase, and I had guitar chords to go along with it and everything. It was about resisting the temptation of drugs. Anyway.

I opened this journal and laughed at some funny lines (“Writing is so much easier than typing. I’ve been doing my e-mail a lot”) but then came across maybe the best thing in the entire world. Another song that I wrote.  I can’t even… just read.

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I naturally texted Anthony that picture immediately.

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I seriously can remember the tune of this song like it was in the top 40 in 2001. I wish I could sing it to you guys. But you’ll just have to use your imagination.

Look out for more journal posts from Young Stephanie. She had a lot of things to say.

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