Auld lang syne.

Happy new year friends! May you make 2013 everything you want it to be!
(graphic by me. Please be sure to link with love!)

Let it snow.

Hello all. I took a bit of an extended and somewhat unanticipated break from blogging. I may be spotty for a week or so here as I'm spending vacation with my family. Christmas was wonderful and snowy and so very New Englandy, which I love. As I write, the scent of real Christmas tree welcomes me back home. I'm so happy to be here and I have lots of thoughts to share, but not before I share them with Adrian. So you will just have to wait.

In grand Christmas tradition, my mum gave us way too many gifts. She has this rather endearing quality where she buys gifts throughout the year, then forgets what she bought and finds them again later. This mostly means that Christmas never ends. Fortunately for my husband and nephews, I've inherited this quality.

Lyd (mum) gave me a gift card to spend as I wanted and so I picked out a couple new fonts for the year. I am so excited to be playing around with them and to be creating again. I'm looking forward to this new year and new opportunities to create. I'll be sharing another graphic I created tonight next week so be looking for that.

In the mean time, I wanted to share a new design I recently did that I am in love with. I am hoping that 2013 will bring new and varied design opportunities. I've found I really love designing. The moments when the concept comes and I can't wait to start working. The learning that comes in making my visions a reality. The back and forth with a blogger until it's just perfect. The final installation and the joy of seeing it live. At the beginning of 2012, I would have never guessed all this was on the horizon and I simply can't wait to see where 2013 will lead me. (For more information on Oh Hello Love Designs, click here.)

This most recent design stretched my abilities a bit. I worked in photoshop and created custom brushes to make the watercolor effect. I am thrilled with how it all turned out and the overall cohesively clean style.  To see this design, simply click on over to jcaro. And of course, be sure to say hi to Caroline. She was absolutely wonderful to work with.

More to come, I promise. Until then, there's this, the laziest, most sleepiest, perfectly cuddly little dog. (Puppy courtesy of my sister, Erin).

Happy end of December, friends. I hope yours is as peacefully perfect as mine has been.

True sympathy.

In light of the recent tragedy here in the States, I don't want to add to the noise of the hows and whys. But I did want to offer a couple of thoughts on the now-whats.

I think we, as an American society, like the easy solutions. We gain a sense of comfort and pride in texting HELP to whatever number to donate whatever amount of money or in raising awareness or in sharing inspirational quotes on Facebook. And I am not discounting these acts because those monetary donations are needed and inspirational quotes raise morale and help us to feel united. But if those responses to tragedy are our only responses, they simply won't be enough. Long after the donations stop coming in and the media has moved on to its next sensational story, our neighbors, friends and family will continue to suffer.

We need long-term solutions. Responses that require setting a goal and working each day, each month, each year to make that goal happen. There is a reason that these tragedies happen again and again in this country and until we begin to work towards solutions that impact beyond a month or two, they will continue to happen. A real solution may involve a shift in cultural attitudes and policies and it will definitely involve a high level of commitment from a large group of people.

So while the immediate outpouring of support is a wonderful and natural response, let's not forget these victims and families in the coming months and years. Let's commit to working together. To having those difficult discussions and debates. To being a very real part of a very long term solution. And let's set a date on the calendar for a couple months or a year from now to check back in with ourselves to see what and how we've done, no?

"Pity may represent little more than the impersonal concern 
which prompts the mailing of a check, 
but true sympathy is the personal concern 
which demands the giving of one's soul."
Martin Luther King, Jr.


Growing weary.

Friends. I have been so distant lately, I know. I haven't been commenting or writing or tweeting or e-mailing. My google reader currently houses 826 posts awaiting my perusal. My inbox has bunches of unreplied messages. And post after post goes unplanned.

My full-time job has been rather consuming and my weekends have been full. I'd be ridiculous to complain about any of that because my full-time job is a job that I love and truly believe in and my weekends have been spent with wonderful friends and family that have been visiting from back east!

Blogging is hard once you've met The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

But part of this little break from blogging has been spent regrouping, rethinking and reimagining. I have grown a teensy bit weary of the blogging culture. Of the giveaways and the sponsors and the pretty and inspiration and the perfection and the must-have trends. And I hope I don't offend anyone in saying that. I'm kind of hoping that some of you are feeling the same way and that you might feel invited into a collective sigh of relief that we're not alone.

Each of us is so much more than the outfits, recipes, perfect parties, etc. The question is not if we're interested in other things, because I'm confident we are. The question is how to begin to feel at ease discussing and sharing all those other passions that have perhaps been under-represented in Blog Land as of late.

Am I alone in this? In this feeling that so many blogs are beginning to seem a bit similar? I want to know what makes you you. What is that collection of likes and dislikes and passions and thoughts and terrible habits that makes you so uniquely you? And I'd love to hear the stories that have shaped you into who you are and who you're becoming.

So while I wait for all your intriguing answers, I'll be working on some of my own. And while you wait for those, might I suggest some absolutely wonderfully authentic writers? If you're looking for stories and thoughts and a bit of real life, these are some of my very favorite genuine bloggers:

(And not just because Erin's my sister! She's probably the most authentic person I know.)
So tell me, is it just me? Or are you growing weary of the blogging same old, same old? And if so, share with me a genuine post, won't you? Add a link in the comments so we can all bask in the genuine glow!

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