Artist Profile – Erica Williams of Lemonsugarillo

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Have you ever just looked at a piece of art and it resonates with you?  The artwork of Erica Williams of Lemonsugarillo does just that. I’m beyond thrilled to share with you her up and coming illustration company Lemonsugarillo on the blog today.

What is Lemonsugarillo? 

Lemonsugarillo is my ever-evolving creative space for self, growth, and celebration. In this space I explore the divinity within black women and girls in all states of being. I strive to document my process of being myself unapologetically and fully through my work, while holding a space for others to do the same.

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Lemonsugarillo is such and interesting and unique name. How did you come up with it?

I was actually brainstorming different ways to use my name or initials in my business name to no avail. I fell asleep during this process, woke up in a daze and said “Lemonsugar” and then fell back asleep. When I woke up fully later in the day, the name stuck. The name Lemonsugar embodies the duality that is present within myself, as well as the pieces I create. I am the little girl that grew into an adult woman, that little girl is still present within me. The work I create has elements of cuteness, whimsy, and joy. However, there is an adult woman behind the art that has had some sour experiences that along with the sweet influence my perspective. Plus sometimes I cuss, so I didn’t want to give off the wrong idea that my work or the space I was creating and cultivating was going to be all goody gumdrops. Thus, Lemonsugar Illustration was born! A year later I condensed it to Lemonsugarillo. I found with trying to create accounts and space online, the name was very long and for some accounts too long. So, I needed to find a way to condense the name, so I dropped the illustration and used the shorthand illo, and it worked perfectly.

 

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Why did you start Lemonsugarillo? 

Initially, I started Lemonsugarillo simply because I couldn’t get a job as a graphic designer. Because of my aesthetic I didn’t really fit the mold of an agency designer I always did well on interviews and received compliments on my work, but hiring managers didn’t know where to place me. They really rested on the idea that somebody would eventually pick me up, and because everyone shared this sentiment I ended up being unemployed for 2 years. I’ve always pushed representation and diversity in my work and I found that within the arena I was trying to be apart of, this push was policed in many ways disguised as “art direction”. After playing by “their” rules, feeling unfulfilled and tired of creating and providing a visual voice for everyone else but myself. I decided to do it my way, to create what I wanted, when I wanted, and with whom I wanted.

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What’s next for Lemonsugarillo? 

I just launched my website on Black Friday. I’m currently offering prints of my artwork and accessories with my prints on them to the public. On a wider scale I definitely want to get into animation, feature films, and comics. Really just about anything media based, and as always continue to learn and grow as an artist, and share that growth and love with people.

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What do you want people to take away from your work?

Whatever they need or desire to extract from my work. I do my best to not concern myself, over think, or control how others receive my work. Everyone will have their own experience with it and honestly that’s what I desire. Experience it; take what you need, and some extra to share with someone else. I have found focusing more on the craft and the root connection I have to an idea and inspiration of a piece, keeps me in flow of creating from a place of love and authenticity. This focus removes the pressure to “perform” to the perception of others and simply create what I love and what I am connected to.

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 Creator of Lemonsugarillo

Erica Williams

Lemonsugarillo just launched its website recently. I highly suggest checking it out and stocking up on holiday gifts!

https://www.lemonsugarillo.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Hygge Style

relaxitssunday

Last year I was watching a show talk about this new trending word ” hygge.” Some pronounce it hoo-ga well others say it’s hue-guh. Either way you say it, it’s the Danish word for all things cozy! Curious about it I decided to do some research and learned that it’s a whole culture surrounding relaxation rooted in nostalgia, indulgence and comfort. It’s something that’s meant to be felt and have that at home touch often, involving family and friends. Recently with the changing of weather I thought to myself there’s no better time to prepare a hygge atmosphere then now. I love fall scents they remind me of home (spices, pumpkin) so they were the first thing I wanted to incorporate into creating a hygge atmosphere. I’m into healthier natural smelling scents so I decided to make a simmer pot. This was my first time trying this and it turned out better than I could have imagined. I just thought of smells I like that would pair well together and came up with this.

Cranberry Orange Spice Simmer Pot

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Ingredients 

1/3 of a cup of whole cloves ( I really like cloves)

2 oranges

cinnamon sticks (2-3)

cranberries 3/4 cup

a couple of sprigs of rosemary

water

4 quart pot

Prepare oranges. Peel and safe skins. Take 1 and a half oranges and cut each wedge into 3rds. Reserve 1/2 an orange for squeezing juice. Throw everything into a 4 quart pot.Squeeze remaining 1/2 orange over it all and add water at least half way or more. Then turn pot on low and stir. Let it simmer all day or for a couple of hours occasionally stirring and the essence it creates is simply delightful. If the water evaporates just add more. Also, I found that these specific ingredients if refrigerated after cooling last for days. After I made this batch I went away for a couple of days and when I can back I popped it back on the stove with more water and it was as good as new.

 

I’m also using Wax and Wool candles this fall season. These soy candles are made by a local merchant in small hand poured batches. Right now their featured scents for the fall are cinnamon chai, pumpkin spice and brown sugar & fig. These candles come in really cool amber and mason apothecary jars. I highly suggest checking them out!

waxandwool

 

 

Come-on Get Happy

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Recently I’ve been seeing and meeting a lot of people who are truly discouraged and just down in the dumps. In our current world 🌎 there are a lot of tragic, devastating things happening but there is also, a lot of good taking place. For some, the onset of bad news leads to an instant funk that’s hard to shake. I personally have a lot of experience dealing with discouragement living with a chronic illness (Crohn’s). I’ve had many set backs and my share of disappointments and I’ve learned one very important thing – it comes down to making a choice/a mentality change to focus on the positive and believe there is hope and a good future. Over the years I’ve learned to strengthen/encourage myself by thinking this way paired with various actions. I by no means am an expert but here are a couple of my “go to” strategies for dealing with the blues, a funk, depression etc..

1)Realize you’re not alone and it’s ok to be 😭 sad or discouraged it happens to everyone. You’re allowed to feel sad just don’t dwell there. Limited time only!

2) Take care of yourself. Get enough R & R. Drink water, eat well and exercise. The better you feel physically the easier it will be to think positively.

3) Use your hands!Plant something.Paint something.Bake something.The act of creating something positive is healing. It allows you to feel useful by putting something positive back into the universe. As a result, sadness gets replaced by the energy and the joy of creating.

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4) Help someone else! Volunteer.Help someone you encounter on a daily basis. This stops the navel gazing and allows you to focus on someone else’s needs. In the end, this brings things back into perspective.

5) Surround yourself with positive vibes!!!Positive decor sayings.Positive people.Positive music/podcasts. If ain’t positive toss it or shut it off!!!

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I would love to hear how you strengthen/encourage yourself when you feel low. Feel free to write in the comments below.

A Summer of Firsts

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This summer has been very memorable full of a lot of firsts for me. I made it through my first busy season in the real estate business and survived. I worked harder than I’ve ever worked and feel a great sense of accomplishment. As a result, I haven’t been able to post as frequently as I would have liked to. So, I wanted to in a sense catch up and share some highlights of my wonderful summer.

I was blessed enough to purchase my first new, new car! Beep! Beep! I got to see one of my childhood heroes Edgar Martinez receive the highest honor a club can give a baseball player (retirement of his number). It was super cool!

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I got to see one of my favorite artists Bruno Mars perform live. He’s amazing!!I totally recommend seeing him anytime you can.

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I went to Emerald Downs racetrack for the first time and bet on some horses. It was super fun!

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Amongst the hustle and bustle of work and the inviting playful days of summer I’ve become somewhat of a procrastinator! I always feel with the ending of summer and the beginning of fall things just fall back in line! Speaking of fall, it’s my favorite season! I’m super excited especially for this fall. I have lots of changes and new things planned for the blog so stay tuned. I hope you, your family and friends have a blast this Labor Day weekend! Remember to keep those affected by Hurricane Harvey in prayer.

 

Feelin’ It – Summertime

Here in the Northwest the dog days of summer are really heating up! This week we’ll be hitting the 90’s and might even surpass 100 degrees which is, super hot for us! The following are a couple of things I’ve been feelin’ this summer. Try them out and let me know what you think.

Emeril Lagasse – Chocolate Mousse

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Here’s a quick, easy, delicious tasting summer dessert that’s wonderful for the summer because you don’t have to use your oven. Personally I don’t really care for milk or dark chocolate but when I tried this I fell in love. Emeril Lagasse the BAM!!! man himself has a boxed chocolate mousse that is to die for!!!! All you need to whip up this quick and easy mousse is milk! I suggest chilling it in beautiful glasses. An easy, elegant delicious tasting dessert for the win!!!!! They carry it at Fred Meyer in the baking aisle or on Amazon in 6 packs!

Emerila

https://www.amazon.com/Emeril-Chocolate-Mousse-Dessert-Curls/dp/B06Y4CCNSK/ref=sr_1_130_s_it?s=grocery&srs=2591256011&ie=UTF8&qid=1494644687&sr=1-130

Refreshing Summer Beverage

Lavender Lemonade

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I remember very clearly the first time I had this drink it was at local coffee shop and I can recall it being so refreshing and delicious. After that experience I was curious to find out how to make it myself. After inquiring I found out that its super simple to make. It’s simply just two ingredients lemonade and lavender syrup. You can use either frozen concentrate or premade lemonade and Monin brand lavender syrup. Once your lemonade is made/ready just sweeten with a 1/4 cup of lavender syrup or  to taste and stir well. Serve cold. The colder the better. I also suggest using edible lavender sprigs as a garnish or stripping the sprigs and mixing the actual little lavender pieces into the lemonade as a final touch. Enjoy!Bottoms up!

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The lavender syrup can be found online @ the Monin site below or at Cash&Carry stores.

https://www.monin.com/m/catalogsearch/result/?q=lavender&category=15

Book – Journal

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52 Lists for Happiness

On Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Lists-Happiness-Journaling-Inspiration-Positivity/dp/1632170965/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493610857&sr=8-1&keywords=52+lists+for+happiness

I loved the 52 Lists Project and I absolutely love the 52 Lists for Happiness Project just as much. This is  my “go to” gift this year. I gave out the 52 Lists Project last year and this year I’m handing out the 52 Lists for Happiness Project. These books prompt quick short personal journaling sessions that are encouraging and release positive vibes!!!! I’ve really enjoyed soaking up the sun this summer and going through this. Also, Moorea Seal will be releasing a new book this fall called Make Yourself At Home it just went on presale. It looks fabulous! If you’re interested take a look!

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Accessory – Temporary Tattoos from Tattly

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The design I’m wearing is part of the Bloom set by Helen Dealtry.

https://tattly.com/

I can’t say enough about this amazing temporary tattoo company based in Brooklyn, NY. The temporary tattoos Tattly creates are not only made in the U.S.A. they are non-toxic (vegetable based ink) and super cool. Created by professional artists the variety of styles/designs they carry is endless. There literally is something for everyone of every age. Summer weather is perfect for showing a little skin and highlighting the brilliance of these tattoos. Sold online and at selected retailers (Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, Powell’s’ City of Books etc..).

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April’s Mantra – Enjoy the Ride

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It’s true what they say the older you get the faster time goes by. Over Easter weekend when my nephews and niece were hunting for eggs I thought to myself, I’m glad that I’m present and I need to cherish this. I’m a big planner and I don’t really make room to be spontaneous and because of that sometimes I lose out. I have to say that being a planner has a lot of benefits of its own. Then this past weekend I had a medical scare with one of my parents. Everything in the end turned out to be fine but again, I thought to myself I need to savor my relationships by being in the moment and just going with the flow. I don’t want to look back on life and say that I was too busy working or planning this or that. I want to be a person who sees people for who they truly are and is able to embrace/celebrate them in the moment. I’m choosing to focus on this now more than ever so, I’ve decided that this month’s mantra should be “enjoy the ride.” I’m personally practicing not taking everything so seriously! I’m changing my perspective because things could be a lot worse . I’m blessed and my family is here and I’m choosing to enjoy life now, not whenever its most convenient. I’m the driver of my own destiny and I  choose to enjoy the ride. I hope that you will do the same for yourself with the people you cherish.

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Feelin’ It

The Crafted Life – Peace Gun Enamel Pin for Charity

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http://thecraftedlife.com/charity-flair-new-pin-in-the-shop/#more-14092

I follow a wonderful blog called The Crafted Life and the author Rachel Smith is selling these beautiful pins in her Etsy shop to raise money for charity. You can buy these stylish pins for $12.00 each and all the proceeds will go to DAV.org a non-profit that helps homeless and disabled veterans. Buy a crazy cool pin and help contributed to this great cause! They look great with anything jean!

Lauren Conrad’s bird earrings

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https://www.kohls.com/product/prd-2454996/lc-lauren-conrad-bird-stud-earrings.jsp?prdPV=1

https://www.kohls.com/product/prd-2148127/lc-lauren-conrad-bird-stud-earrings.jsp?prdPV=2

One of the many things I associate with spring is the sound of birds chirping. This spring I purchased these super cute bird earrings from Lauren Conrad’s jewelry collection from Kohls. Everyone knows if you’re from the Northwest everything is better when you put a bird on it! They are my favorite earrings at the moment and on sale right now for only $5.99!

Book – Chasing Slowly

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http://designformankind.com/chasingslow/

For about half of the month of March I was sick and during that time I was able to read this delightful book called Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner. She addresses the American cultures obsession with equating success with mass consumerism, accomplishments and money. Erin shares her own personal successes and failures.  It’s insanely relatable and Erin’s transparency is refreshing and encouraging.

Puyallup Farmers Market

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http://www.puyallupmainstreet.com/events/puyallup-farmers-market/

This is one of my favorite local markets which features a wide variety of vendors. You can find everything from art, produce, plants/flowers and honey from local farmers. Located in the beautiful family friendly Pioneer Park. The market will be opening on April 15th and it runs through October 14th on Saturdays from 9am-2pm.

March Mantra -Never Stop Growing

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Spring is approaching and I cannot stop thinking about growth. New things springing up and coming about because of the changing of the season. At this time of year I feel like I’m coming out of hibernation. I start venturing out simply because it’s warmer. The spring season in my mind is like the second chapter to my year and new opportunities and ideas flourish at this time. In light of the new spring season ushering in growth I’ve decided that March’s mantra should be “never stop growing!” I pride myself on being a life-learner. I absolutely positively love to learn and try new things. In fact, this month I enrolled in a tap-dancing class! It’s always been one of my dreams and now I’m doing it. I’m also planning trips to new places and seeking out new experiences. I’m excited about what’s happening in my life and I attribute it solely to the fact that I remain curious about life and continue to grow and challenge myself. If you’re in a funk or are feeling uninspired, I encourage you to go somewhere new, read a book or take a class. I can tell you firsthand that these things will help you grow if you’re open to them.

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Feelin’ It

It’s that time a month again where I reveal what I’m feelin’. Check it out I’m sure you’ll find something to your liking!

 

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Hershey’s Birthday Cake Kisses

I love white chocolate and anything birthday cake flavor!!!I’m currently obsessed with Hershey’s Birthday cake kisses. They’re the best of both worlds. Get your fix on @ Target, Wal-Mart or Amazon!

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Blog

Notre Vie A Paris (Our Life in Paris)

https://notrevieaparis.squarespace.com/

I’ve been reading this new blog about two Americans in Paris. It’s about their experiences, feelings and obstacles of living in a foreign land. Everyday experiences are shared like going to the grocery store and dealing with language barriers to strolling the history rich laden streets of Paris. Not only is the writing great but the pictures and the music are fabulous! They even share their favorite hot spots to visit. If you want to experience a bit of Paris I suggest reading this!

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Whackadoodles & Wanderlust

http://whackadoodles.com/

I went to a Pinsperation market this past weekend and had a great time. I got lots of inspiration and found lots of new vendors that I love! One in particular was Whackadoodles & Wanderlust. They are a stylish Washington state based company that makes beautiful pieces by upcycling antique silver plated or sterling silver flatware. I bought this cool bracelet that was made out of recycled belt material! I think their products are amazing and I appreciate that they are made out upcycled materials. You have to check out their website they have everything from earrings to key chains to wine tags and oh, did I mention they do custom orders!

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Jamie Oliver’s Drink Tube Channel – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/user/JamiesDrinksTube

I love this YouTube channel! On this channel you’ll find many quick, thirst quenching recipes for basically every drink genre and then some. Jamie Oliver (a.k.a. the naked chef) and friends concoct cocktails, smoothies, juices, infused water, coffee and tea to name a few. In addition, there are many different tips and techniques that can be explained in a minute or less. For example, I recently learned how to make coffee using a Moka pot! If you’re looking to expand your beverage making repertoire you’ll definitely want to watch this channel!

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Ten Meter Tower

Video

http://twistedsifter.com/videos/ten-meter-tower-by-maximilien-van-aertryck-axel-danielson/

I came across this video the other day and strangely I can relate to it. When I was about seven I had to jump off the high dive in order to pass my swimming lessons. I was so afraid but was motivated to jump because I didn’t want to fail! Sometimes in life it’s better just to go for it and dive in otherwise you might just miss out because of fear.

 

Live with Passion – February’s Mantra

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January was the start of a lot of new things for me so by the time February rolled around I was in need of a real boost.  Instead of finding it elsewhere I found exactly the self encouragement I needed in a book. The past couple weeks I’ve been reading a great book called In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney. It’s a book that features over 100 women who are makers, artists and entrepreneurs graciously giving inspiration and advice. As I read each story I began to draw from the strength of each woman. It became as if  the women in the book were collectively whispering words of encouragement directly to me. Every page turn brought me closer to hearing their voices say don’t give up and all your hard work will pay off! I have been so moved by these women that they’ve become the inspiration behind  my February mantra “live with passion.” I associate the month of February with love so, I’m sharing my passions whether they be big or small. I hope you’ll join me in this! If you’re looking for an aha moment you’ll definitely find it in this book.