April 2, 2014 § 1 Comment
Today I bring you a taste of the California Coast. After vacationing along the Coast for decades, my grandmother asked me to paint her this scene from one of her favorite spots. Ah…looking forward to the warm weather in the coming months. Summer please come soon!
August 28, 2013 § 2 Comments
Welcome to my new home…SEATTLE!
This has been quite the summer of travel. Since graduation in June, I haven’t stayed put in once place for more than a week all summer.
It looked something like this….
graduation >> istanbul >> kayseri >> cappadocia >> lake tahoe >> home >> socal roadtrip + slo >> home >> lake tahoe >> seattle >> home >>SEATTLE.
I have spent the last few days as a tourist in my home snapping photos every glimpse I get of the Space Needle and telling myself its acceptable to splurge on Starbucks coffee (I am an independent coffee company snob) because I am in the city where it all began. A few more days of this and then into the real world. Tuesday I start my first day of work!
Thanks for checking in. Maybe someday soon I will get around to sharing the rest of my trip to Cappadocia, Turkey. But for now, enjoy Seattle and look forward to more watercolors!
January 2, 2013 § 1 Comment
Thanks to the holiday break I finally had time to paint my cousin her wedding gift. Lindsay and Erin tied the knot in August, but better late than never, right?
The newlyweds got engaged over a year ago in San Francisco overlooking the Golden Gate. To remember their special day I painted them this memoir looking at the city by the Bay.
Happy 2013! Wishing you a blessed New Year!
October 3, 2012 § 4 Comments
As I transition back to my final year of school in the States, the stress has already begun, yet I still find the time to pull out my paint brushes and start splattering.
Thank God for therapeutic painting!
Today I share a special project with you. This past summer my childhood best friend’s mother, Leslie, opened Back to the Table, a cooking school and production kitchen in my hometown. After enjoying Leslie’s delicious cooking throughout the years of my childhood the opportunity to learn from her is a dream come true! With a focus on bringing families ‘back to the table’ the school is an exciting addition to Lafayette’s downtown.
To celebrate the shop’s new opening, I painted this piece celebrating the shop’s quirky outside and blooming flowers.
Take a whiz around Back to the Table’s website and get your aprons ready!
August 22, 2012 § 1 Comment
Oh hey! Its Wednesday now isn’t it?
Its that time of year…
No, not Christmas. Wedding Season!
This weekend I had the joy of attending not one but TWO wonderful weddings. My cousin tied the knot Thursday followed by two of my dear friends, Alexander and Jessica joining in marriage Sunday. Whew! I am tired!
Jessica and I lived two doors down from one another in the dorms freshman year of college and quickly became great friends. We were part of the same bible study and later discipled together. She is truly a sister! It was such an honor to witness such a beautiful wedding and be part of this pretty girl’s bridal party!
And continuing with my proposal- themed wedding gifts. I painted these two fabulous friends a memory from their epic engagement.
The engagement- Over Valentine’s Day weekend the couple took a photo- adventure through the snow dusted woods of Upstate New York. Alexander planned to pop the question sometime during their adventure and was waiting for the opportune moment. While exploring the two stumbled upon a lone bench in the woods with the following quote from Les Miserable
“Take my hand and lead me to salvation,
Take my love for love is everlasting.
And remember the truth that was once spoken:
To love another person is to see the face of God.”
— Les Miserable
What more romantic of a moment can a guy get?!? Just then Alexander bent to one knee and popped the question.
The rest was history.
I got a bit creative with their story and decided to turn the quote INTO the bench.
The wedding was absolutely breath-taking (but not as breath-taking as the stunning bride!) Enjoy the photos!
The Grace Maralyn in Atascadero.
Us bridesmaids all got to pick our own dresses- it turned out great!
Much love to all the newlyweds!
August 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
Greetings from Dollar Point, Lake Tahoe!
Sorry for the lack of postings…the Olympics have been a bit of distraction to my painting hobby. After having the opportunity to travel so much of the world, the Olympics are so fun to cheer for all those countries I visited in the last year. Ahh I can’t wait another 4 years for the next Summer Games!
So back to Dollar Point. My sisters and I took a break from the TV and took a sunset walk down to the Lake. The closer we got the beach, the brighter and more intense the sunset got. The water looked on fire!
Dollar Point is a large residential area outside Tahoe City along the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. Many mansions sprinkle the Lake’s coast all with majestic views of the 22 mile long Lake. The Point was originally part of the Washoe Native American’s territory. Similar to much of the Golden State, settlers took over and the land was sold many times throughout the 19th century. In 1927 Mrs. Laura Moore Knight of St. Louis sold the land to San Franciscan Stanley Dollar Sr (hence the name Dollar Point) in order purchase a portion of land and the island at the southwest end of Emerald Bay where she built the famous Scandinavian-inspired mansion, “Vikingsholm.”
May 21, 2012 § 5 Comments
Oh the joys of traveling.
After living and traveling so much in Europe throughout the year (especially in Italy), few travel hiccups can phase me.
Traveling in such extremes has taught me that with patience and a good attitude things usually turn out just fine. And if I think of traveling as an adventure rather than a chore, it makes it all the more fun.
I have arrived safely back in home to the Golden State and in my opinion, everything went well. But looking back, the trip was a bit hectic. Thank goodness for patience + a good attitude (yes, I am totally that peppy girl that is incredibly annoying when all else are in a bad mood) I survived the 20-hour journey!
I started my journey at 3am Copenhagen-time as my plethora of luggage and I took a taxi to the airport. Of course I was willing to try my luck at the night bus-metro-airport route, however after my father insisted I take a cab (and he agreed to pay for it) so I gave in.
Even at such an early hour, the Nordic sun was already illuminating the clouds bringing light to the night and allowing me to say goodbye to Copenhagen. From Østerbro, to Central Copenhagen and out through Amager, I gave the city one last wave goodbye while holding back tears.
I arrived at the airport way ahead of schedule to find the airport almost empty and my flight to Frankfurt already delayed three hours. I had to wait an hour for the airport service desk to open and figure out my fate. After a long line and long process of flight-shuffling, I was placed on a new flight and my extra bag was complimentary thanks to the confusion!
Because of the flight cancellation, I arrived in Frankfurt an hour later than planned. With only 50 minutes before my plane to SFO was to take off and I had an obstacle course of customs, passport control and security to jump through before boarding that plane, timing was tight. And naturally, there hundreds of people and an hour-plus line to get through before.
With my calm demeanor and sweet face, I made friends with a pushy professor from Stanford on the same flight to SFO as me. She was hysterical that we would miss the flight and be stuck in Frankfurt forever (just a little dramatic). Despite our differences, I became friends with her and tailgated her as she demanded her way through the security lines. We arrived at the gate just in time as last passengers were boarding. As I scanned my ticket I let out a sigh of relief and looked forward to a long nap on the 11-hour flight.
I boarded the world’s largest commercial plane, the Airbus A380, and admired its size, two-seating decks and seating for 525 people. After long line of waiting to find my seat, I found my number 60C empty and waiting for me.
I then looked to the right of my seat to see three smiling individuals sharing the row with me– mom, dad, and one-year old baby. I then notice the three-year old sitting behind me, already chatting up a storm and kicking my seat. And in the aisle across from me, a wide-eyed toddler that does not look like he is going to sleep anytime soon.
Great, I thought, I am in the kids section!
I began calculating how powerful my noise-cancelling headphones are and exactly how loud I could play music to drown out these children’s’ screams.
I loaded my oversized backpack full of the 10+ sketchbooks and journals I did not want to check in the overhead compartment and organize the rest of my belongs underneath my seat. I decided to make the most of the situation and begin chatting with the father of the one-year-old to my right. I learned the family had already been traveling for 10+ hours from India and the baby slept that entire flight…leaving little hope that she will sleep throughout this leg of the journey.
However, I quickly made friends with the family and find this big-brown-eyed little girl absolutely adorable. We made a game of high-fives and waving to each other and were suddenly allies. To my surprise, she slept almost half the flight and other than a few whimpers, was silent and content the rest of the journey. The chatty three-year-old behind me stopped her chatting and I did not hear a peep from her for the rest of flight (was she drugged?!). And although the wide-eyed toddler did not sleep, he barely made a sound and enjoyed taking his mom on many teetering laps around the plane (got to love active German children).
I was able to sleep most of flight (I was drugged…thank you over-the-counter sleeping pills!) and when I woke up again I found us circling see the familiar Golden Gate bridge below and starting our descent into SFO. As the buildings become larger and runway into view, I countdown…five…four…three…two…touchdown! I was again on American soil again after nine months away.
Once landed, it took me almost an hour to go through the US passport-customs-baggage obstacle course. While waiting by the baggage carousel for my bags, I was caught by the security dog.
Oops! Forgot to throw out my eaten apple cores from the flight. The officer laughs at my mistake, takes my apple cores and writes a note on my customs sheet that he confiscated my ‘apple cores.’
This mistakes put me through another line and I had to have my bags scanned again. The security woman checked my customs sheet, chuckled and asks if I am harboring any more ‘apple cores.’
Once I am all clear, it was through the final security gates and I was greeted by the smiling faces of my family and waving a homemade “Welcome Home Kirsten” sign. I gave my mom a hug and she busted into tears (aww, I feel so loved), hugged the rest of my family members and my dad took my luggage cart from me. We exited the airport and the dry California heat immediately hit me.
I spent the rest of the day resting, unpacking and enjoying a delicious steak dinner with the family. Apart from my room being a different color (my mom got sick of the Tiffany-blue and decided to painting it a more mature olive green) I find everything the same.
Same family, same house, same car, same dog, same California.
But one thing is not the same…me!
Its just the beginning of the acclimation process however I am already having to remind myself that yes, the last nine months did happen and no, its not all a dream.
I am so overwhelmed with the blessings of this life. Life in Denmark was such an incredible, life-altering and amazing experience. And I have come home to such blessings as well– a wonderful family, faithful friends and a loving home. And I have faith that all these blessings are a gift from one thing, the Father.
For I know that
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” James 1:17
The current state of my room. I have some work to do…
Realizations since coming home…
Wow, everything is huge! I could fit four of my Copenhagen apartment bedrooms in my one bedroom at home.
Wow, I have lot of stuff! Its true, America is a consumer society. After living out of just two suitcases of belongings for nine months, I forgot I owned anything else. As I opened my closet back at home the amount of stuff exploding from my closet practically devoured me..to the Goodwill I go this week!
Wow, its hot here! I was greeted by SF blue skies and 80+ °F (27°C) weather. I don’t have to wear a scarf and sweater?!? Where am I?!?
Wow, I am so pale! The scarce Scandinavian sun has not given me much color in the last nine months. When I put a dress on, my mom suggested I switch to pants. She said the white-ness of my legs were blinding her.
Wow, I understand all the conversations around me! I have become so accustomed to being surrounded by languages that I do not understand. Must learn how to eavesdrop again…
Wow, my allergies are horrible! Thanks to jet-lag, I awoke at an absurd hour this morning, decided to get some fresh air and went for an early morning jog. I forgot how badly I the Bay Area Pollen-Bowl effects me…I am now paying for it with itchy-eyes, a scratchy throat, swollen fingers and sneezing every 5 seconds. Good thing I am off to the allergist tomorrow!
I still have not…
I still have not purchased anything since my arrival. After nine months of using the Danish Kroner currency, I do not remember how to use US cash (nor do I remember the prices!).
I still have not driven a car. If I could get away with it, I never want to drive again. But wait…I live in the United States of Automobiles. My dad says driving a car is like learning to ride a bike again…so why can’t I just ride my bike?
I still have not gotten a cell phone. I have enjoyed using my 10-digit archaic-brick Picell international phone for the last year. Just calling and texting…who needs a touch screen?