La Dolce Vita: Roman Holiday at SDMA

Nothing epitomizes Summer like a movie night under the stars. And when that movie is Roman Holiday and it's being shown in the sculpture garden at The San Diego Museum of Art, life is good. The show starts at 8:00pm on Monday, August 11. And from what I can tell, it will be one of the last of the season. So pack a picnic (suggestions here), get out there and celebrate Summer 2014 before it's too late.



Breaking news: We have cucumbers.

This is revolutionary. I planted something and it actually grew. Exclamation point. Exclamation point.

Sadly, we lost a few along the way, but I'm happy to report that some of the things I planted this Spring have survived. And this is no small feat, my friends, because I have a very black thumb. It stems from my aversion to doing the appropriate amount of research before I start a project (like a garden). And also from neglect. I have the tendency to forget to water and to properly tend to my plants.

Last year things did not go this well. Tree rats ate the lettuce. Seeds never sprouted. We left for two weeks and the tomato plants shriveled and died.

In other words, I used to be a bad mother.

Case in point:

But! I'm making progress. Fingers crossed that our little raised bed will continue to flourish because it is totally awesome to look out the window and see green things growing. Hopefully they'll be some pickle making in my future...

Speaking of gardens, Summer is great time to visit a local garden. The San Diego Botanic Garden offers free admission the first Tuesday of every month (August 5) and it stays open late on Thursday evenings until 8:00pm through Labor Day. And given this drought, now might be a very good time to stop by The Water Conservation Garden and learn a thing or two. Every Saturday morning, there is a free guided tour at 10:30am. And for the very brave, the Garden is hosting a cheese making workshop next month. (Fromage!) Or how about a trip to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park? They have koi! You could go and then make these and use up all those toilet paper rolls you've been hoarding.

P.S. I'm on the look out for a local gardening class. Remedial courses, preferred. Holler if you have a suggestion.



Two weeks in and summer is in full swing 'round here. There are so many fun things happening in San Diego this summer, including this week's event, Movie Night on the Midway.

Here's the deal: This Thursday, July 3, you are invited to spread out your picnic blankets and folding chairs on the deck of the USS Midway Museum and be treated to a showing of Disney's The Lone Ranger. Doors will open at 7:00pm and the show will start at 8:00pm. It's all part of the Summer Movies in the Park series. For those folks who are new to the area (myself included), all summer long different parks throughout the county will take turns showing family-friendly movies. (More information here.) Thursday's event is the first of two movie nights on the Midway. (Planes will be shown on Friday, August 22.) But! From what I hear, the movie nights on the Midway are particularly pop-u-lar, so show up early and be prepared to hang out in line for a while. (Consider yourself warned.) And feel free to bring snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. (Just, please, no alcohol or glass bottles.)

Movie Night on the Midway is the best of what summer has to offer here in San Diego. And I can't think of a single place I'd rather be.



When was the last time you made something? When was the last time you drew something or built something or painted something? 

Besides "making" place cards for my sister's wedding using skills from this class, I honestly can't remember the last time I made something.

But! I'm hoping we all can remedy this situation on Saturday. Because this Saturday, June 28, The New Children's Museum will host its Second Annual Mass Creativity Day, a free, community celebration of all things creative and fun. And this year's event is food-themed. There will be ice cream sculpting, fabric pizza making, and painting and planting activities galore.

Sounds awesome, right?

Even if you can't make it to the Museum on Saturday, I hope you'll still participate (virtually). Where ever you are, I hope you'll commit to making something. (Anything!) And post your work somewhere (Instagram! Your refrigerator!) or share it with someone. 

Let's be massively creative this weekend.

Who's with me?



This Saturday marks the first official day of Summer. Wahoooo! To celebrate, Mingei International Museum will debut is latest exhibit, Surf Craft - Design and the Culture of Board Riding, this weekend. And with it, the Museum has developed Summer Surf Series, a whole season of fun, surf-related activities. From lectures about the art of board sculpting to a shopping extravaganza featuring Aloha Sunday Supply Co., my summer will be filled with weekly trips to Mingei. 

Won't you join me?

For more information on Surf Craft and the Summer Surf Series, head here.

Photo by Micah Cerelli and Chris Mastrandrea. Thanks guys!


MCASD's 'Brain Trash' and Other Sources of Inspiration

Next month, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will open a new exhibit featuring the work of James Drake. According to MCASD, the exhibit will include over 1,200 of Drake's drawings, which he created after embarking on a challenge back in 2012 to draw every day.

I love this idea of getting to see inside an artist's process and I can't wait to go check out James Drake: Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash) at MCASD's Downtown campus this summer. It sounds incredible.

As a kid, I loved to draw. I loved to sketch and create cartoon characters. I probably drew every day. As an adult, however, I hardly ever drew. So back in September, I was inspired by Elizabeth and MJ to start a drawing challenge. I "challenged" myself to draw every day for a month. And I convinced two friends to join me.

30-day challenges are all the rage these days. It seems like there is a challenge for everything. You can challenge yourself to journal every day or to write a thank you note or to avoid processed foods. The majority of these challenges are not for me, but I understand where the interest in them stems from. As Matt Cutts suggested in his TED Talk, these types of challenges offer folks a chance to climb out of a rut or try something they have always wanted to do. My challenge motivated me to get back into something I used to love to do -- draw. And it forced me to make time for it. Even if it was only for a few minutes a day.

Fast forward nine months, I have about 100 drawings. If you do the math, it's clear that I didn't kept up with the drawing-on-a-daily-basis-thing. But I have drawn more lately than I had in the last, say, 15 years. This makes the challenge experience a success in my book. (To be honest, the likes and comments about my drawings from friends also helped motivate me.)

I've posted most of my drawings on Instagram. (My personal account is private. If you'd like to follow along, just ask.) Some of the drawings are of family members. Some are of friends. Some are random people from magazines that I've been hoarding for years. (I knew they would be good for something!) A lot of the drawings are bad. Some of them are decent. Here are a few of my favorites:

Speaking of habits, have you read Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit? As nonfiction books go, it was an easy read. Now, I'm just trying to figure out how I'm going to apply it to my life.

P.S. My very talented friend Micah started drawing with me back in September. Now her challenge has evolved into a very cool new project. After Day 100, Micah decided to start turning her daily sketches into short children's books, which she posts each week here. I love love love what she is doing and I hope you will go check out her work right now.



Just when you thought winter was over, A Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats makes its final stop and descends upon one of the the least snowy spots in the country, Los Angeles. After a national tour, this exhibit will now be on view at the Skirball Cultural Center through early September 2014. Despite the title, there is nothing cold about this exhibit. It is as warm and cozy as the family room pictured above.

I went to see the exhibit in April just after it opened. I thought it was wonderful. There was a basket full of cheerful yellow glasses at the entrance to the exhibit, inspired by one of Keats' books, Peter's Goggles. Guests were invited to don a pair as they walked through the space. I loved seeing parents and grandparents rocking them. 

The exhibit is designed to make guests feel like they are inside one of Keats' books. It features original copies of his work, notes, photos, final paintings and collages. As an early childhood educator, I'm a big fan of A Snowy Day and of Keats. But the book doesn't really do his work justice. His paintings and collages, flattened in books, come to life in this exhibit. And I noticed the depth in his collages for the first time. There are screens peppered throughout the exhibit running animated versions of Keats' books and sharing biographical information. There is information about his artistic process and how his work was inspired by his life - the obstacles he faced, his environment, and his experiences. After the exhibit, guests were invited to step into a reading room/interactive space to play and create and read. The space is a special touch. (Kuddos to the curator!) It represents the best of what museums have to offer -- an opportunity to engage and reflect. I would highly recommend it.

Several years ago, I taught in a combined K-1 classroom. I was inspired by The Snowy Day to create the snowy scene in sunny California pictured above. Now, I realize that for many of you winter is a still dirty word. I don't blame you. It feels like it just ended. So I know you can't bear to think about anything winter-related. Fortunately it will be many, many months before you can use this project, but thought I would share it anyway. If you'd like, you can file it away under "fun projects to do with preschool through first or second grade students in, like, January."

Here's what we did: First, we sat down and read the book. This led to a discussion about our favorite (and least favorite) bits about winter. Prior to this, I made several copies of a snow suit template* using a lightweight cardboard. After our discussion, the students retreated to their desks and traced the template onto red construction paper with a pencil. Then they cut out the snow suit. Next, the students traced a second circular template onto white construction paper. They used this circle to create a self-portrait with crayons. Then they cut out the circle and pasted it onto the snow suit. Finally, the children wrote about their favorite parts about winter. When it was all said and done, I took a bit of artistic liberty and stapled scraps of red yarn to the top of each snow suit. This is an optional step, of course. In the book, Peter's suit doesn't have a tassel. 

Here are two of my favorite "Peters":

*If you'd like a copy of the snow suit template, just email me. I'd be happy to send you one.

This weekend, June 7 and 8, is a B of A Museums on Us weekend. If you have a B of A card, you can use it to receive free admission to the Skirball Cultural Center to see The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats. For more information on this nationwide promotion and a list of participating museums, head here.