Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 in a Nutshell

Where to BEGIN with 2017... When I started this I thought I was just going to write about all of the racist, sexist, tragic, and idiotic things that happened (because each year seems to get worse than the last, right?)... but instead, I wound up realizing how lucky I was this year.  I helped start a new non-profit, my Etsy shop did prettyyyy pretty good, I finished some BIG art projects, I traveled, and I got to spend another year working with my beloved sea turtles <3 <3 <3

Coastal Connections, Inc.

After volunteering for several non-profit groups over the years, I'm finally on the creative board of a brand new organization set out to protect our coastal habitats, called Coastal Connections, Inc.!  We spent this year gettin' all the logistics done, but next year we have some sweet things planned, including "Turtle Digs" where you'll get to see us do our sea turtle work first-hand on the beach, our tasty Lionfish Cook-off Festival, and conservation activities out in our Indian River Lagoon.  One of my long-term goals is to create a bunch of wildlife murals across Sebastian and Vero (please lord!), so wish us luck on our first official year!! :)
logo I created for Coastal Connections, Inc.
My chalk art design for our 3rd annual "Let's Chalk About It" contest on Earth Day
T-shirt logo I designed for our 1st annual Sebastian Lionfish Festival this year

Sweet Dea Drawings

I nearly lost my MIND with how much work I did for my shop this year (a good and bad thing?)!  I had my first 2 pop up shops, made lots of new charm designs, got some fun/weird custom orders, made a million puppy and kitty charms for Christmas, and my most exciting accomplishment, made my first enamel pin design!!  Y'all know I love enamel pins, and I've already got a couple new ideas in the works for 2018 ;)

(from top left to bottom right: My Favorite Murder, Harmon Quest, Oh Hello, and Portlandia)
so many custom pet charms this year!
my babi<3 leatherback enamel pin


I've wanted to do the Inktober challenge for a while now, and I finally committed to it this year!  The challenge is hosted on Instagram every October, where each day of the month has a different prompt you use to create a new ink drawing.  It was super fun forcing myself to get back into ink (which is my favorite medium) and just let my mind run wild.  I'm still working on scanning these and maybe making prints and shirts of them, so keep an eye out :)  And I'm def doing it again in 2018.

9 of the 29 sketches I did for the 2017 Inktober challenge

Receipt Doodles

As always, I made some doodles while I was suppose to be working.

Political Postcards

I tried not to bring up bad things in this post, but ya know, it's impossible when a man who looks like the inside of a dog's ear is our president.  I won't delve into it too much, but after the election I made these Political Postcard designs, partially as a way to release my anger/not become a raging alcoholic, and partially to do my part in fighting for what I believe.  2017 seemed like one long downward spiral back into the dark ages for our country, but the bright side is that people are still fighting.  That's all I will say, and I will leave you with the most recent tweet by our Commander-in-Chief...  lord, beer me strength.

"In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year's Eve on record.  Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to spend TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against.  Bundle up!" ~ Donald Trump, 12.28.17.

Also here are my two fave protest signs from this year<3


And, my final artsy-accomplishment from 2017, my gigantic mural for the Pelican Island Audubon Society!!  I have yet to post about it on here, probably because it consumed my whole life for the past year-and-a-half, but it's better late than never.  I rarely finish large pieces, so I am still reveling in pride that I completed this 48'x12' mural, showcasing 3 habitats and 70 species of plants/animals that exist within the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area.  It still feels surreal that I actually painted this... and that it might be the biggest project I'll ever do in my life.  But I'm filled with joy every time I hear of a new visitor staring at it in awe, or a kid trying to ID all the animals they can find in it.  This mural continues to remind me of the power of art, and why it's my mission to meld art with science.  It connects us to our surroundings regardless of education, status, or beliefs, and as long as we have a president who doesn't believe in climate change, Imma still be painting!

If you're in Vero Beach and would like to see it, it's located at 195 Oslo Rd, Vero Beach, 32962 :)


I usually don't post about things other than art on here, but I feel like the highlight of my 2017 was my ability to travel!  And I honestly didn't realize how many places I went to until just now.  In the midst of having flexible work hours, and no rent to pay this year, I decided to take advantage of it as much as possible.  I traveled abroad solo for the first time ever, visiting France, Italy, and Amsterdam.  I had a much needed Girls Trip (which I'd say was pretty similar to the movie) in Nawlins, baby!  I got to bask in the glory of Florida's springs.  And finally, I spent time with long-lost family across the country in Arizona and experienced for myself how much Oklahoma sucks! :)

. Europe .

(from top to bottom) Monaco, La Spezia, and Parma
(from top to bottom) Milan, Como, and Aosta
(top) Amsterdam in snow!, (bottom) Lyon<3
Bruce babi!
An octopus hiding at the Monaco Museum of Oceanography
Battistero di Parma
(right) Basilique notre-dame de Fourviere, (left) artwork at the Galleria Nazionale di Parma
original Leonardo da Vinci drawing<3
The Night Watch by Rembrandt<3

. New Orleans .

. Florida Springs .

. Arizona .

downtown Tuscon
(right) Tanque Verde (left) Mount Lemmon

. Oklahoma .

Witchita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Witchita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Gloss Mountain State Park
a frightened Ella

Sea Turtles

FINALLY, you know I gotta talk about my turtles.  I thank the turtle gods every year I have another chance to work with these incredible creatures, and this year was a DOOZY!  We had a record number of nests this season, especially with green turtles (of which I am the worst at finding their eggs), I made new buddies at work, and the aftermath of hurricane Irma left some really interesting finds on the beach.  This job is still the most fulfilling thing I've ever done, and I hope I can do it as long as possible<3

loggerhead mama tracks with approaching storm in the distance
green sea turtle nest (left) and huge leatherback tracks (right)
Two green turtles mating off shore!  This pic was captured by a girl I met on the beach with her drone :)
A loggerhead mama covering up her nest
A green mama covering up her nest
Leatherback hatchling<3
These poor green babies got turned upside down when hurricane Irma eroded the sand away from their nest!  Don't worry, they made it.
Two ghost crabs doin' it
Flock of Black Skimmers
A big ol' horseshoe crab
My tribute to my love, a sea turtle tatt!

The Futureee

I've struggled a lot with trying to find balance in my life ever since I graduated, and this year I feel like I finally made some progress.  The quarter-life crisis is a very, very real thing, and although I've had the fortune of experiencing some amazing things, I've been left feeling ashamed and unsatisfied with my life many times.  Do I deserve to travel when I don't even have a place of my own?  Shouldn't I just give up on my passions and get a full-time job now?  Is there something wrong with me?  But this year I finally told myself that my lack of independence does not mean I'm a terrible person.  I'm working hard, and it's okay if I'm moving at a different pace than others.  It's okay that I have amazing parents who allow me to live at home while I develop my career.  And it's okay if I take this opportunity to travel a little and grow as a person.  My life ain't perfect, but I wouldn't exchange the experiences I've had for anything.  So to all the millenials out there working their asses off living at home or just barely making ends meet, I say take every chance you get to enjoy life and experience the world.  Because duh, life is just too short!

Here's to more hard work, more traveling, and more growing in 2018 *insert champagne emoji*

(Anybody wanna go to Austria, Utah, or Baja California with me??? lol)

Past year's "In a Nutshell" Posts