Wednesday, November 19, 2008

'Grown Up Girl' Renee Coates, Hana Artist and creator of 52 Pieces!

Call me crass, but I love stereotypes. I do. Denis Leary was just talking today on 'The View' (I haven't watched the show in years, I promise) about how we should just embrace stereotypes because, well, they exist. Plus, they're fun. Sometimes.

Take the 'starving artist' for example. Every body knows one. I know one, or five. In fact, I thought artists only came in two categories: the ones that make it big and those who starve. Picassos and waiters. You know the drill.

However, that was until I met the fabulous miss Renee Coates! (Thank you TwentySomethingBloggers!) Renee has done what so many artists dream of. She sustains a living based on her artwork and creatively delivers her art to the masses.

And she does not merely fling paint at a canvas from a five foot distance and call it art. I mean, she's amazing: vibrant colors and incredible skill celebrate even the simplest and most humble of subjects and invite each viewer to see the world around them in technicolor. My personal favorite is her 'Hana Ranch'.

But how does an artist--even a talented one at that--convert a hobby into a business? Well, Renee has made art a part of everyday life since her early days growing up in Hana-Maui.

But after graduating from high school, she took her passion to next level and got a degree in Textile and Surface Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. That's right. Maui to Manhattan. Renee now splits her time between the peaceful hills of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Hawaii, the source of her inspiration.

However, to really take her career to the next level, Renee saw beyond her canvas. Instead of reserving her work for only the elite customers of art galleries, Renee created ways for everyone to enjoy her creations. She knew she was worth the high prices her big clients were willing to pay for her work, but she wanted to share it with everyone.

With that, she embarked on a new endeavor of photographing and printing her paintings. Her images adorned note cards, post cards, prints, and other merchandise that were then sold in hotels and giftshops. It was an investment that paid off in the end.

Renee also wanted individuals outside the uber-rich circles to have the opportunity to own originals, not just post card copies. So she created 52 Pieces.

Every week, Renee creates an original piece that is then sold on her blog, 52 Pieces. Each piece is sold at an affordable price and everyone can have a Renee Coates original hanging in their home...if they act quickly! In fact, go to her blog now and subscribe for a chance to win a calendar featuring past images from 52 Pieces. Here's how it works:

1. 52 Pieces has a free "subscription" service where people can get each week's painting delivered to their email inbox. Subscribers are the first to see the paintings when they are posted, and never miss out on the latest artwork!

2. On November 27th at 11:52 p.m. (EST), 52 Pieces will hold a drawing from a list of new subscribers and send 25 people a free calendar.

3. Here it is!

Don't buy the same old black and white Paris calendar this year. Spring for something a little more unique. Didn't snag the original but still want one of Renee's awesome 52 Pieces? Renee's devoted followers will soon be able to order limited edition prints of her Pieces at which launches December 1st!

The moral of the story? No, you don't have to make it as a world famous artist before you can make a living doing what you love. A little investment, creativity and determination, artists can live well and devote themselves to their work. If that's what being a grown up really is, that sounds like fun to me.

(You can also get Renee's coloring book, 'The Road to Hana', at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Feature!: Grown Up Girls

As you well know, I am in full support of self-employment. I tend to discuss it ad nauseum. Ever since I became self's been somewhat of an obsession of mine. It's been about four months now and I'm even more in love with it now than I was when I started. Being the boss totally rocks.

Why? Well, you get to do what you want. Work when you want. And make as much money as you want (sort of). And it's among the ultimate grown up steps in my book. Right up there with buying a house and getting a 401k.

It's also the ultimate fabulous lifestyle, basically. My typical day usually looks about like this:

-wake up
-drink a few cups of coffee, er, tea
-linger over a book/news/nothing for about an hour
-work out
-take shower
-COOK lunch
-get to work

Yeah, it's the best life a girl could ask for. Yet, so few people actually get to enjoy a life that's this bangin' awesome! I know, it's a drag.

See, it's a little tough to break out of the little assembly line. It definitely takes a bit 0' determination and creativity. And to do something that you actually like is a whole different story.

That's why I'm pretty much tickled pink everytime I meet a fellow 'boss', particularly of the female variety. Nothing against the male version, I just have an affinity for the lady boss. I'm sure you can imagine why.

That being said, I've decided to celebrate these ultra-grown up girls in a new feature here at All Growns Up that I'm calling...'Grown-Up Girls'. Try not to become breathless over my creativity. Check in every now and again for the latest git 'er dun story from a gal that decided that she'd sign her OWN checks, thank you very much.

Tune in tomorrow for the first installment! And I'm happy to say that we're kicking off this new series with oh-so-fabulous, oh-so-talented, and my friend over at 52 Pieces, Hana artist Renee Coates. She's fab, y'all! Check it out.

Oh and it's been a week since I've had a drop of coffee. I'm as stunned as you are.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Farewell, My Love

Something is horribly and scarily wrong with me. My husband thinks so too. I don't know what brought it on, but you ever have those moments of frightening clarity after which you slap your forehead and say, "That's IT! I'm done!"

I had one of those. Except it was about a dear, dear old friend. In fact, I'm getting a little teary right now while I'm writing this.

After many, many, many years of waking up to a fresh cup of hot coffee, and then maybe another or five, I've decided to give it up.

I know. Shocking.

Here's what happened: I got started thinking about all the ways my coffee drinking affects my life. No, not the copious amounts of cream and sugar, or the probably life threatening effects of caffeine. I'm talking about the logistical stuff.

Literally, I can't do ANYTHING until coffee has met my lips. Nothing. Nada. Which sort of prevents the whole go-to-the-gym-first-thing-in-the-morning fantasy that I've had going for a couple of years now.
No kidding, a few months ago, we went camping in Yosemite National Park with some friends of ours. Amazing. Gorgeous. But you know what entered my mind almost the moment after I agreed to the trip? "What am I going to do about COFFEE???"

It's pathetic. Not to mention, I have an $80 Dr. Schultz liver cleanse that I have not been able to bring myself to do because it means giving up coffee--and food really--for a good five days. Which translates to a slow and painful death. Why would anyone want to do a liver cleanse with or without coffee you might ask? Eh, general health and longevity, that kind of stuff... (Dr. Schultz has all kinds of healthy goodies, check it out.)

Now, I've talked before about how coffee is so much more than a beverage. I know there will be days when I'll miss my mommy and the only thing that will make it better is a cup of Joe. This is precisely the reason why I'm not giving up coffee forever. In fact, I'm sure I'll drink plenty over Christmas vacation. That and whisky-spiked eggnog--with my mother.

But from now on, coffee is going to be the exception, rather than the rule. Can I get an Amen on that one?

Will let you know how it goes. Number of days without coffee? Two.

(Photo courtesy of Tosti Studios, a cup of the legendary Monument Cafe coffee.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Print, Fax, and Scan, Oh My!

Um, okay, so I think we should dub October (and the first part of November) the month-of-inconsistent-blogging. The record of posts is absolutely pathetic. My excuse? A snowstorm of projects, a trip to Texas, a wedding, a death in the family (poor Yeti-dog), a presidential election (congratulations Barack), and, of course, True Blood. Yes, it would accurate to say that it's been ONE HELL OF A 30 DAYS. But I'm glad to say that I'm back.

I took the whole weekend off this weekend. I watched t.v. Had breakfast with the hubster. Threw the ball with the Quinn-dog. Almost didn't check my email. It was great. Hadn't had a weekend off in....weeks.

However, I had time to think about things like: the fact that my house is a mess, and I need to buy my Christmas cards, and I need to start going to the gym beFORE new year's resolution season.

With that, I had today all planned out. Up, gym, home, breakfast, shower, and work, work, work. Take the dog for a walk, cook dinner, more laundry, you know the drill. Domestic diva type shenanigans.

Instead I slept until 7:45. And then watched Good Morning America until 10am, then decided to rearrange my office until noon. I am officially the queen of procrastination.

Truthfully, the only thing that makes my office an 'office' is the fact that I sometimes work in there and it houses my laptop. Sometimes. It doesn't have a fax machine, or a phone, or a printer, or any of that officey stuff. Of which I am CONSTANTLY reminded because clients are always wanting me to scan, fax, and creatively transmit various documents. Ugh.

I am in total resistant to this crap. And I don't know why. It's perfectly logical for them to assume that I--a professional--would have a fully equipped office. Alas, I do not.

I say that I don't have a printer for 'environmental reasons,' which is almost true. Printers almost always lead to obsessive and unnecessary printing. But the truth is that I'm too cheap and lazy to get all this stuff.

Like today, the account at one of my client's office sends me this fancy schmancy W-9 form. It was like a living thing...which is why I couldn't operate it. I wrote her to tell her as much and I could hear the irritation in her response: 'You're going to have to print it and sign, and then fax, scan and email, or mail it.'

Ugh. This will take up my whole Tuesday.

Am I alone in my unwillingness to print, fax, and scan? Am I just being a baby? I think I already know the answer. Just thought I'd check anyway.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times

I know, I know. I've quasi-abandoned this here blog. The level of business has been at a record high and I've been forced to make some radical cuts to my daily tasks. However, the end to the madness is in sight and I will return to my normal routine. Yessss...

However, even in the midst of this hectic schedule of mine, a day like today seemed like the day of all days for a little bit of blogging.

You know, for the last few months, I've been remembering stories too often told by one of my favorite English professors in college, one Dr. David Gaines. He taught the lone course on Bob Dylan and looked not unlike the Mad Scientist from Back to the Future. Uh-huh, he was quite a sight.

Dr. Gaines, God bless him, has been an undergraduate student at Stanford during the tumultuous 60s and would give us accounts of anti-war protests and Black Panther rallies on campus. "They were strange times," he'd say. "Strange times."

I'll confess, I often felt a twinge of jealousy that he'd lived during such a historic, colorful, and 'strange' time. I wished I could have experienced it myself.

I got my wish.

These certainly are strange times, and I'm sure somewhere (specifically Georgetown, TX), Dr. Gaines is saying those same words to a Contemporary American Literature class. And I find that I am painfully aware of it. Be careful what you wish for.

This time in American history will be written about in history books and discussed in classrooms. Wars are being fought. There are planets and economies to save. Worst of all, our country is divided. Obamians versus McCainians. Republicans versus Democrats. Conservatives versus liberals. In the last year, I've been pitted against my family, my friends, my co-workers. Needless to say, it's been hard on us all. You might say that our nation is wounded.

Today as I walked into the voting booth, I'll be honest, I really did not know who I was going to vote for. Uh-huh, I was one of those dreaded 'undecideds'. There is so much at stake and so many unknowns that I was mentally and emotionally paralyzed. I'd studied the policies and positions. I'd done my research. In the end, it came down to a gut decision. Scary, I know.

The candidate I chose did not win tonight. But even if he had, I know I would be asking myself the very same questions, "Is he the man that he professes to be? Will he be true to his word? Will he maintain the pillars of this country that we love?"

That remains to be seen. We can only hope. In the meantime, I will continue to hold a picture of a better America. One of unity, tolerance, and faith.

Photo courtesy of