Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead

Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas

London has been feeling good and showing it's beautiful blue sky lately. We recently had some friends in town and they barely got to see London's gloomy side—not something most people visiting can say especially in the winter months. It's still easy to convince yourself it's okay to stay inside away for the winter chill but on Sunday London had some slightly warmer temps leaving us with no excuses. Rico and I decided it would be fun to hop on the tube for a quick ride up to Hampstead. We love wandering around there. When you are strolling around it's residential streets, you feel removed from the city and in a small village instead of a bustling city. It's easy to get lost for hours exploring all the nooks and crannies. You would also be surprised at how green it stays even in the winter. We're definitely longing for spring to come soon now!

Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas

Hampstead is a go-to favorite for us. Each time we visit, there's something new to discover in the village or as we walk through the heath. We opted to not wander into the heath this time though and just remained focus on finding little gems in the village to get all heart eyes over. Before we left to make our way there, I quickly googled some ideas of places to see in hopes of finding some spots we hadn't yet been to before. Scrolling through Pinterest, I found Bleak House's January guide to Hampstead. While we didn't follow it exactly, it was a perfect backbone and took us to some really interesting spots to then wander from. It's always interesting seeing what other bloggers have to say about areas we love and their take on it.

Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas

The curved hilly roads are what make this area north of the city so charming. There's greens growing everywhere—around fences and up buildings. Everything is a bit quirky and it feels straight out of a fairytale at times. Hampstead's artistic, musical, literary past full of intellects and liberals has the village full of noteworthy houses to see. Bleak House did an excellent job marking some good ones to gawk at. I can't help but imagine what it would be like to live in some of these homes. London has a variety of different architecture styles and vibes throughout but Hampstead has my heart spinning around.

Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas

One of the spots that we never had crossed paths with was St. John-at-Hampstead and its old cemetery. Noted in the walking guide we followed, there's some famous names to look out for and even some links to what inspired JM Barrie to write Peter Pan. The cemetery was a nice break from street wandering and a perfect spot to wander through thinking about our own inspirations in life. From there we made our way back on the street and over to one of my favorite Hampstead spots...

Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas

The Holly Bush such a captivating spot. We stumbled upon in on one of our first times wandering around Hampstead and it has become a must every time we're up in the area. When my parents visited last year, we had a delicious Sunday roast here that is still talked about time and time again. While the food is delicious, the setting is what makes this spot so unique and loved. From the painted lettering on the building to the narrow curved street, it's easy to just stay outside and stare at how perfect it is but I'm sure it will pull you in quickly too.

Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas
Exploring London: Wandering In Hampstead | Sea of Atlas

Days like this are why I love when we have down time in London. From late fall through winter, we get our fair share of weekends to get ourselves out and reminding why London has a permanent spot in our hearts. With the beautiful weather and some free time time to enjoy it, Hampstead gave us a wonderfully refreshing time.

Choose To Spread Love Today

Choose To Spread Love Today | Sea of Atlas

Today my heart is still a little heavy. I'll distract myself with friends and people who believe in embracing differences but I won't forget what this means. While I don't want to get into politics too much on here—it isn't the place—I can't help but take a second to open up a bit for something I feel so strongly towards. I don't believe in shying away from it and hiding it as if it were wrong to speak out about how we feel or what we believe. As we continue to process the changes occurring and ahead, please remember your power as an individual. It is so important to stay kind today and spread love to others. This may be an easy day for some but there's no doubt in my mind that it is an extremely painful day for others. Don't forget that.

Throughout the past few months, I had hoped for a sign that what is ahead might not be so bad but instead, I got reassured that we have a lot of work to continue to do to better our country and world. It is crucial, just as I said back in November, that we take our own actions to educate ourselves and stand behind what we believe—that we transform our sadness, our anger, our anxieties into something that pushes positive change in the world. Keep on top of that fire you feel and don't let that slip away.

Above all and through everything, life should be about kindness. When we are able to open our hearts to have empathy and compassion towards others, we allow ourselves to connect—to understand. We should embrace differences, learn from each other, share love, and exchange stories. I wholeheartedly belive that communities should foster and thrive within that. So today, I will continue to fight for what I believe in, fight alongside those who need me, and remember that love trumps hate. Always.

The Handmade List 08

The Handmade List 08 | Sea of Atlas

For the first Handmade List of the year I've decided to focus on organizing and cleansing the home to go along with the new beginning. Whenever I am looking for new items to bring into our space, one of the number one aspects that draws me in is the texture. For me, texture is way more important than the color. It adds a visual depth and uniqueness. Having different surfaces displayed creates a beautiful contrast and play between items that will make your eyes smile. I could go on and on but I'll leave it now as that I just love it. And as usual, in this list you'll find a lot of soft earth neutrals—I can't help myself. Combe texture with a neutral and you have my heart...or in the case money. Hopefully everyone is off to a good start so far with their new year and if not, maybe this can give you a boost!


Banana Fibre & Sisal Woven Storage Basket
The Basket Room


Ceramic Utensil Holder
One & Many


Marble Makeup Bag
Renna Deluxe


Hanging Planter
Mud To Life


Concrete Soap Holder
IN.SEK


Knitted Tissue Box Cover
A&B Design Studio


Linen Laundry Bag
Not Perfect Linen


Triangle Shelf
Love Life Wood


Monika & Paul's Vintage Floral Wedding Stationery

Monika & Paul's Vintage Floral Wedding Stationery | Britt Fabello | Sea of Atlas

Okay, I admittedly get really excited when I can finally share wedding stationery I have designed here on the blog! For the the couple's privacy for their big day and so they can be the ones to first show of their stationery to their guest, I like to wait awhile before I reveal it myself. Last year I had the joy of working with Monika and Paul to design a custom suite for their September wedding in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. One of my favorite parts of this design is was bringing in the colors inspired by vintage florals and embroidery. The contrast that we were able to create to make those really pop brings to life the vibe of the wedding itself.

Monika & Paul's Vintage Floral Wedding Stationery | Britt Fabello | Sea of Atlas
Monika & Paul's Vintage Floral Wedding Stationery | Britt Fabello | Sea of Atlas
Monika & Paul's Vintage Floral Wedding Stationery | Britt Fabello | Sea of Atlas
Monika & Paul's Vintage Floral Wedding Stationery | Britt Fabello | Sea of Atlas
Monika & Paul's Vintage Floral Wedding Stationery | Britt Fabello | Sea of Atlas

This was also the first time on a wedding stationery suite that I did some playing around with balancing my hand lettering with a digital font. While I love the handmade process and keeping as true to that as possible, it's hard to deny that sometimes it works better to combine it. By doing so, it really made the lettering stand out beautifully. Knowing that, the best route to take to keep hierarchy amongst all the information was to make sure the most important parts for their guest were hand-drawn. 

Monika and Paul also came to me with song lyrics they wanted to incorporate into the suite. It was a really lovely element to be able to made the invitation unique to them and their love. I decided it would be the perfect focal point for the front of the suite to set the tone as guest flipped through the rest of the celebration info.

Monika & Paul's Vintage Floral Wedding Stationery | Britt Fabello | Sea of Atlas
Monika & Paul's Vintage Floral Wedding Stationery | Britt Fabello | Sea of Atlas
Monika & Paul's Vintage Floral Wedding Stationery | Britt Fabello | Sea of Atlas
Monika & Paul's Vintage Floral Wedding Stationery | Britt Fabello | Sea of Atlas

The whole suite was printed on a cream acquerello textured paper to add to the vintage vibe. With the dark colors and the florals, it matched the time of the year as summer was coming to an end and the gorgeous New England fall was on its way. One of the reasons I love working with clients on custom wedding stationery is that they are able to express themselves fully to their guest and give them a glimpse into the unique day they have planned to all celebrate together. A very big thanks for Monika & Paul for letting me be a part of that!


Printable 2017 Floral Calendar

Printable 2017 Floral Calendar | Sea of Atlas

Let me start off by saying that I know we are just about two weeks into January—Eek! So, I know this is coming to you a little late but as I was working on the desktop wallpaper for the year, I decided it would be cool to push it even further with a printable calendar. When I was working as a paper goods artist, one of the pieces I really looked forward to designing every year was my small desk calendars. I poured a lot of love into them and they always ended up being my top sellers each year. 2017 felt like the year to spring back into that but with this free version you can print from the comfort of your own home!

Printable 2017 Floral Calendar | Sea of Atlas
Printable 2017 Floral Calendar | Sea of Atlas

Each month has it's own birth flower. With knowing very little about these, I drove right in to do my research on the US and UK versions of the list in order to make a nice mix of the two from flowers that inspired me. To carry out the illustrations, I decided to get back into some brush drawing for the year's calendars. I haven't done much of it since college when I first fell in love with using bamboo brush with ink (Thank you, George Burk). There's something really soothing and freeing about working with brush illustration. It gives a softens and simplicity to the pieces while working with the contrasting light and dark. I think there will be some more of this in my future...

Printable 2017 Floral Calendar | Sea of Atlas
Printable 2017 Floral Calendar | Sea of Atlas
Printable 2017 Floral Calendar | Sea of Atlas
Printable 2017 Floral Calendar | Sea of Atlas
Printable 2017 Floral Calendar | Sea of Atlas

Through growing as an artist, I realized how much of my past work and exploration will continue to creep back in no matter how far I stray from it. With the blog, I find myself continuously reverting back to my paper goods studio to pull inspiration and offer goods in a new form. And, here with the calendar it came together to morph with my old student work. It's beautiful that parts of our lives can be ever flowing.

I hope you truly enjoy this desk calendar and that it comes in handy many times throughout the year!


TO CREATE

1. Download calendar below.

2. Print calendar.

3. Cut in half each way.

4. Enjoy.

Makers for Makers: Grace Gulley

Makers for Makers: Grace Gulley | Sea of Atlas

Los Angeles based artist, Grace Gulley, and I crossed paths a few months back and I was instantly in love with the work she does not just in the studio but for other creatives as well. As a maker herself and the founder of CYL Collective she is the true definition of what Makers for Makers stands for. Between giving her support to others and spending her time hand-knotting beautiful creations, it's easy to say that she is one heck of a go-getter. It's inspiring to see her conquering the art world with crazy cool hard earned features as she creates her fiber-based wall hangings and installations. The best part of it all is how handmade and true to the natural process her work is. Through sticking to a mix of ancient and modern techniques, Grace brings to life truly captivating pieces that anyone would be lucky to have in their spaces. I am beyond honored to share the story of such a beautiful and empowering person here on the blog today. Enjoy!


Tell us about you and what you do.

Fiber is the name of the game! All my pieces are totally hand made using both ancient and modern techniques to create wall hangings that are minimal, yet extremely textural. Outside of my art, I also run a female creative collective, called CYL, or Craft Your Life Collective. My biggest happiness in life is working with other people and empowering women to follow their own creative happiness.

Makers for Makers: Grace Gulley | Sea of Atlas

What pushed you to turn this dream into reality?

Both ventures started without a plan and evolved out of a need to feel connected and present. CYL began in early 2015 while still living in Portland. I had been feeling a tad lost and uninspired for some time. My intent was to start an online collective to seek out other females and perhaps make a few creative friends. It quickly snowballed into so much more. There was an obvious need for this sort of positive and empowering community.  I was consumed and finally on the right path. I happened upon hand knotting shortly after because of one of the CYL friends I made. It was immediate and real love.

Makers for Makers: Grace Gulley | Sea of Atlas

What is the core mission behind what you do?

With both of my outlets, my primary mission is to empower others to follow their bliss. I want to encourage people to explore creative mediums and use those mediums to better themselves. I find that when you are taking care of yourself and happy, you have much more to give to others. So here’s to the hope that this ripples outward and creates a tidal wave of kindness.

Makers for Makers: Grace Gulley | Sea of Atlas

What was your biggest obstacle starting out?

The biggest obstacle starting out (and quite possibly still!) is time management. Like I said, this initially wasn’t supposed to be a business. It was a passion project. So as both projects grew, the amount of time that was needed to sustain and grow them, also grew exponentially. It was very easy to get lost. Since then, I’ve been working on a real business plan so I have a clear path and can learn to prioritize and manage myself more efficiently.

Makers for Makers: Grace Gulley | Sea of Atlas

Do you have any makers that have inspired you?

Oh, there are tons! One of the first maker friends I made was Ilana of The Small + Savage Wild. That has blossomed into a very close and important relationship. She inspires me to continually support others work and foster those relationships. I also adore Cindy of WKNDLA. Her level of craftsmanship and extreme attention to detail and process is so admirable. Mariana of Easy to Breathe is another dear, dear maker friend. If you can ever truly say someone has a gentle and kind spirit, it is her. She is a real joy to be around. Nina Klein is another beautiful maker. Her feminine, creamy palette and figure illustrations are a dream. I love the way she celebrates women through her art, and she makes me aspire to embrace my own womanhood. And of course, Sally England. Sally’s sculptural fiber pieces have literally reduced me to tears.

Makers for Makers: Grace Gulley | Sea of Atlas

What does your typical day as a Maker look like?

Structure is something I’m trying to get better at. When you are working for yourself it’s easy to fall into the trap of three-hour lunches and Netflix binges. One thing I have gotten down is my morning routine. I wake up, put on my running shoes, plug into a podcast or audio book, take a few gulps of lemon water, and go outside for fresh air and mild exercise. This is before emails, before checking social media, before looking at my to-do list! It sets the tone for my day and allows me to create me space before I turn the day over to everyone else that I need to complete pieces for, send PDFs back to, respond to their emails, etc…

I also find mornings the best time to answer emails. I’m sharp and quick in the morning, and can quickly and efficiently move through emails. I usually follow that with other computer intensive accounts. And a few hours in, I’m tapped. Another walk to recharge, and then it’s creative time. I love using the afternoon to create because I’m in that sleepy-hazy-I-could-take-a-nap-fog and let me tell you, that is the most conducive state for creativity!

Makers for Makers: Grace Gulley | Sea of Atlas

What do you love most about being a Maker?

Connecting to other makers! Seriously. They are the best.

What advice do you have for Makers just starting out?

Be flexible with yourself. You will hear a lot of rules and expectations will be set. Things won’t always pan out how you think, and you need to be able to accept that and move forward. You also may find a medium isn’t working for you a year in, if you lose that passion don’t be so rigid that you feel you must keep doing it or you will be a quitter. Try new mediums. Explore! You never know, you may come back around to your original medium. Or you may find something you love even more. 


Grace Gulley

website   |   instagram

**All images courtesy of Grace Gulley**

Travel Destinations: Our 2017 Schedule

Travel Destinations: Our 2017 Schedule

With a new year comes fresh vacation days and new travel destinations to check off the map. We can not wait to get started! Looking back, it's clear that 2016 was a packed year—there were points where we were having back to back days getting off a plane from one trip and getting on another plane to begin a new one. We learned some limits but at the same time we realized our strengths and how much we love this wild adventurous life of ours. This year—at least for now—our trips are a little more spread out. Currently, our first trip is set for April so we can have some down time in London after last year's craziness. I'm sure we will fill in some day or weekend trips throughout but right now our schedule is looking pretty stress-free which is so nice. We've been missing our time out and about exploring our own backyard. There's a lot in store for us for 2017—in and out of London—and I can't wait to turn these plans into memories!


APRIL

Travel Destinations: Our 2017 Schedule | Budapest, Hungary | Sea of Atlas

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

This year for the four-day weekend over Easter in mid-April we will be kicking off our travel season by finally making our way to Budapest. While staying on Castle Hill, we will take it all that the city has to offer. We are looking forward to the thermal baths, Hungarian food, and the magic of the city at night.

Travel Destinations: Our 2017 Schedule | Prague, Czechia | Sea of Atlas

PRAGUE, CZECHIA

For a three-day weekend in late April / early May we're heading to Prague! A city that has been on my list for awhile. The plan is to make our home base by the castle with the Old Town only a quick walk across the Charles Bridge. We can't wait to explore the beautiful Old Town, appreciate the Jewish heritage, and take strolls along Charles Bridge each evening.


MAY

Travel Destinations: Our 2017 Schedule | Swiss Alps | Sea of Atlas

SWISS ALPS

In late May, our trips will start to get longer with a nine day adventure later in the month and into early June. With three nights in Lucerne and five nights in Mürren way up in the Alps, we can't wait to get ourselves to the stunning mountains and fresh air. What we are looking forward most is Lucerne’s stunning bridges, the Alps in the colorful bloom of spring, and unplugging from life for a few days.


JUNE

Travel Destinations: Our 2017 Schedule | Norway | Sea of Atlas

NORWAY

We are finally making our way to Norway with a four-day weekend in late June. For this trip we will be lucky enough to have my sister meeting us and getting some good quality family time in. It's going to be so much fun wandering the streets of Bergen, hiking in the mountains high above, and exploring the fjords by train, boat, and bus all together.


JULY

Travel Destinations: Our 2017 Schedule | Mostar, Bosnia | Sea of Atlas
Travel Destinations: Our 2017 Schedule | Hvar, Croatia | Sea of Atlas

BOSNIA & CROATIA

Are you ready for our longest trip EVER!? I couldn't be more excited to spend sixteen days in July exploring our way through Bosnia for the first time and heading back to Croatia for the third. We will begin the journey with three nights in Sarajevo then we're off to three nights in Mostar, three nights in Split, and finishing it with six nights in Hvar. It's going to be so interesting to soak in the culture and history in Sarajevo, appreciate the rebuilt old bridge in Mostar, explore Diocletian’s Palace in Split, and enter full summer mode on Hvar.


AUGUST

Travel Destinations: Our 2017 Schedule | Milos, Greece | Sea of Atlas
Travel Destinations: Our 2017 Schedule | Mykonos, Greece | Sea of Atlas

MILOS & MYKONOS, GREECE

Well, we couldn't stay away from the Greek Islands for too long! We will head back for nine days in late August into early September. Last time we went to Santorini and Crete but this time around we will spend five nights on Milos and three nights on Mykonos. We are absolutely stoked for Greek food, the hidden beaches on Milos, and wandering the alleyways of Mykonos Town.


DECEMBER

Travel Destinations: Our 2017 Schedule | Vienna, Austria | Sea of Atlas

VIENNA, AUSTRIA

We enjoyed getting in the Christmas spirit the past two years with trips to different European markets. In 2015 we went to Edinburgh and this past year we found ourselves in Alsace wandering through the beautifully decorated towns. This year we will spend a four-day weekend in December exploring Vienna. Besides hitting all the Christmas markets, we can't wait to soak in the cafe culture and embrace the romanticism of being bundled up and cozy in a cosmopolitan city like Vienna.

Travel Destinations: Our 2017 Schedule | New England | Sea of Atlas

NEW ENGLAND (HOME)

And lastly, the end the year just like we always do, we will make our way home for what is currently scheduled to be our only trip there for 2017. Splitting our time between our go-to New England States of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine we will spend our time enjoying the holidays with our family and friends. And if we are lucky, we hope to get another snow filled week to take some hikes and get outside in the magical coastal setting.


If you have any tips and recommendations for these locations, we would absolutely love to hear them!

Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine

Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine | Sea of Atlas

On December 23 we boarded the plane for our flight to the States to be with family and old friends during the holidays. It is always refreshing to spend time back in New England where we both grew up. No matter how far we stray from that corner of the world, it will always hold the biggest spot in our hearts. There is no where more comforting to me. Since it's in our roots, I can't help but have things I miss about living there. Close to the top of my list is the snow. Now I know there's lots of New Englanders (and I'm sure people from other snowy parts of the world) rolling their eyes at that as they have to continuously dig themselves out storm after storm in the coming months. But it's the truth—I miss the snow.

For the 2015 holidays, when we headed home we were both hoping it would be a white Christmas or we would at least see a snow fall during our time. Unfortunately we missed out BUT I can't complain too much since shortly after we did get to trek through the snow on the stop of the alps in Salzburg. That was our only snow fix for the year, though. It just doesn't really snow in London because it's so mild. I've seen photos of when it has but it is a rare occasion and one we have yet to see (unless you count the 5 seconds last year). So this year as we planned our trip home, we could only hope we would get lucky this time around and see a good storm!

Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine | Sea of Atlas
Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine | Sea of Atlas
Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine | Sea of Atlas
Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine | Sea of Atlas

Not only did we see snow but we got a few different days of it. Christmas was semi-white but the real storm came the following week while we were up in Maine (the State that time and time again wins my heart) spending time with my in-laws. It was so magical to look out the window and see it falling so gracefully down from the sky. I feel like a kid again whenever I see snow. So, I said to Rico—let's go somewhere to really experience it. While the roads weren't great, we knew a spot that was a super short drive to get us in nature soaking it all in. Another great part about being home is knowing a location like the back of your hand. It takes way less brain power to figure out where to go when we know we can hit some of our favorite spots.

Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine | Sea of Atlas
Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine | Sea of Atlas
Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine | Sea of Atlas
Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine | Sea of Atlas

Vaughan Woods State Park is in South Berwick, Maine where Rico's family moved to from Boston when he was younger. We've been to this spot before when we've wanted to get out but never in the winter so our trek through the woods there gave it a whole new memory for us. Close to the boarder of New Hampshire, the park consists of 165 acres along the Salmon Falls River. Within the park is four trails and a great view of the Hamilton House. It is very picturesque and maybe even especially in the winter (though I may be bias now)!

Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine | Sea of Atlas
Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine | Sea of Atlas
Wintery Walk Through Vaughan Woods State Park, Maine | Sea of Atlas

Going home is alway brings a mix of feelings. Some times it feels like we are living two lives—one in London and one back in the States. The two aren't very connected but they make us who we are. Both places bring out different sides of us—here we tend to be city people and are constantly on the go while back in New England, we're in the countryside immersing ourselves in nature. I feel grateful to have both places in my life and heart as they have made me grow in different ways that I wouldn't have been able to experiencing just one. We returned back to London on Monday from this trip even more confident in our choice to eventually settle back down in our beloved New England. Nothing seems to compare and it's special to have these short glimpses of what life will be like again one day—to continue to make memories in our favorite spots even when we're miles and miles away. London is right for us at this point and I'm so excited for the next couple years here but it's comforting to know how right we feel about our future New England plans.


OUTFIT DETAILS:

Beanie from L.L.Bean
Parka from Eddie Bauer
Fleece lined leggings from One 5 One (similar)
Boots from L.L.Bean

2017 Word of The Year: Grit

2017 Word of The Year: Grit | Sea of Atlas

We've entered the new year—hello there 2017! During the last few months of 2016 I was reflecting on my personal growth as well as the studio. My path has taken lots of turns. There have been bumps and tough hikes as well as clear meaningful roads to journey down. While I strongly believe that any time of the year is a good time to reflect, adjust, and remind ourselves how to be our best versions, I also love that bringing in the new year is a huge smack in the face to do so. It is so important that we do whatever feels right for our souls. If having resolutions, words, ideas, lists for the new year aligns with that—then good! If not, that is totally fine too. We all have our own way of building upon ourselves.

While reading my old 2015 reflection, it was clear how much our move from Boston to London had changed me. That one decision has been such a focus during my journey these past few years. It took every part of my life and challenged it as we started a new one practically from scratch. Now we're happily settled in just about two years later and it's still teaching me lessons and giving me tools to grow further. Living in such a large city has pushed me so far outside my comfort zone. I grew up in a town with a population of roughly 11,000—just moving to Boston (~650,000) was scary to me—now I'm in a city of just over 8.6 million. If that isn't a jump and push, I don't know what is.

London has shown me that I am stronger and smarter than I give myself credit for which makes me take that reflection to other parts of my life. This brings me to the word I have settled on to define 2017 for me—grit. Grit is defined as courage and resolve; strength of character. It instantly came to me as I was working on my goals for the new year and now has stuck in my head with a powerful meaning. As I reflected on the past year—on my business, on who I am, my relationships, my art—I realized how much deeper I wanted to dig into each. I want to strengthen and bolden my life and who I am. Surface level has never worked for me and while I am confident I am beyond that in most aspects of my life, I know that there is another level that I haven't yet reached. I've always been someone who wanted to work hard, give meaning to things, and have strong relationships. My soul is craving to push myself even further than that. I want to be fully immersed in life—to truly give it my all.

Grit will mean diving into each aspect of my life and pushing myself to make it deeper, to connect further, and to keep gaining ground past my comfort zone. It means clearing out the parts that hold me back and strengthening the ones that help me grow. I will no longer give my time to any thought, thing, or person who tries to stand in the way of my path. This year is about taking the realization that we are only guaranteed this one life to give our all to and making sure that I do nothing but that. I want to continue to define who I am while also fostering a community of people who believe in one another—who understand that we each have a dream we are after and what it takes to pursue it.

I believe that we all have this inner part of us that if we let out, we can't be stopped. When I started my company, I believe I let mine out but now this year is about pushing it further with every ounce of strength that I have. I can only hope at the end of the year when I look back on 2017, I can say I had grit.

Desktop Wallpaper: January 2017 Calendar

Desktop Wallpaper: January 2016 Calendar | Sea of Atlas

Whoa. 2017 is days away folks! So, I'm just jumping on here to say that I hope everyone has been having a wonderful holiday season and is gearing up to bring in 2017 with nothing but love! This past year was quite the year around the world. We all agree on that, right? I think I'm just as ready as everyone else for it to be over so we can make some bigger and better things happen in the new year. While we have some uncertainties ahead of us and are bound for at least a rocky road, I'm hopeful with how many beautifully strong human spirits there are in this world. Let's show 'em what we are made of :)

In lighter news...I'm carrying through with my illustrated desktop wallpapers! I haven't quite decided if I am sticking with this theme BUT this month's wallpaper highlights snow drops, a January flower. I thought it would be fun to tie the illustration further into the month this time around with the seasonal flowers. Let me know what you think and as always, enjoy the month ahead!

Desktop Wallpaper: January 2017 Calendar | Sea of Atlas

2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Our second year living abroad has brought us many more adventures and filled up our travel journal that much more. It was hard for us to imagine that we could top our first year but we were able to put what we learned from those trips to make the most out of our 2016 travels. When we made the leap across the pond from Boston to London in February 2015, we had grand intentions of fulfilling our dream of living a life of adventure. For this chapter in our lives, it has been our goal to get the most out of Europe for however many years we wish to stay. This is our time to find ourselves caught in the wild whirl of exploring new cultures so that we can better understand the world as a whole and ourselves as individuals.

2016 started (almost) literally on a plane when we found ourselves off to Salzburg on January 1st. It was the perfect way to kick off the year and reiterate just why we moved. We absolutely fell in love with the alps and found ourselves back there in September with trips to places like the Amalfi Coast, Montenegro, and Berlin in between. It has been a heck of a year—one we will never forget—so we're jumping on here to recap the trips that made 2016 so magical. 

Salzburg, Austria | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Salzburg, Austria   •   January 1 - 3, 2016

recap   |   video moments

On January 1st we couldn't help ourselves and we headed straight to Salzburg. The city has become a favorite spot for us—so much so that we returned later in the year. Salzburg's old town has quaint cobblestoned streets, a running river, and beautiful vantage points from above. We enjoyed the nice three day weekend exploring all its nooks and crannies but one of my all time favorite moments was taking the cablecar up to the top of the snow alps to hike around. It doesn't snow much or often in London so it made it extra special when on our final day the snow started falling giving the weekend the perfect ending.

Amsterdam, Netherlands | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Amsterdam, netherlands   •   March 25 - 28, 2016

recap   |   video moments

For Easter weekend, we try to get out of London and take advantage of the vacation days. Last year we went off to Paris for our first trip after our move. This year we decided to head to Amsterdam. We took the train right out of Kings Cross and enjoyed a weekend strolling along the canals, enjoying the quaint shops and eateries, and visiting the Anne Frank house. My favorite part of the city was the architecture of the old buildings, though. I couldn't stop looking up at all the detailed homes and old warehouses. Since the season was just changing, we didn't have the opportunity to see Amsterdam in full bloom so we were sure to make our way back while we were visiting the Netherlands during tulip season just a few weeks later.

Lille, France | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Lille, France   •   April 22, 2016

recap

While my parents were visiting London back in the Spring, we wanted to get them across the channel—even if that meant for just a day. We chose to check out Lille, France because it was an easy short train ride from London and was doable in a day. While the small city is a bit run down, it has some typical French shopping streets and quaint parts to wander through. We enjoyed picking up some chocolate and macarons to enjoy on the ride back too!

The Netherlands | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Tulip seasons in The netherlands   •   April 30 - may 8, 2016

part 01   |   part 02   |   part 03   |   part 04   |   video moments

We made our way back to the Netherlands for a second time for their famous tulip season. For the week, we based ourselves out of Haarlem, driving around the small towns and stopping at every tulip field we had the chance to. While I had seen pictures of the magnificent fields, I was completely blown away seeing them in person. The scale and the vibrant colors took my breath away. It was also really fun getting to see some of the smaller city and towns throughout the Netherlands. We even found a creperie in the middle of the woods!

Isle of Skye, Scotland | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

isle of Skye, Scotland •   May 13 - 15, 2016

recap   |   video moments

In May, my sister and friend were visiting us in London. Together we decided it would be fun to head up to the Isle of Skye to take in some of its beautiful scenery. We stayed in Portree and spent our time hiking and exploring all that we could in the 3 days that we had. This has to be one of the most naturally beautiful locations I have ever been to and we have been aching to return ever since. From sheep roaming around in every which way, to waterfalls and stunning sunsets, there's not much more you could want when looking to escape to nature.

Luxembourg City | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg   •   May 28 - 30, 2016

recap   |   video moments

Sometimes when we can't decide where we want to go when we have a long weekend, we search for the cheapest flights and see what comes up. That's how Luxembourg City made it's way onto our radar. It was the perfect spot to hang out for an easy low key weekend!

Trier, Germany | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Trier, Germany •   May 29, 2016

recap   |   video moments

While we were in Luxembourg City, we took one day to hop on the train and explore Trier, Germany. This was the first time I had stepped foot in Germany and it wasn't my last for the year. Trier's old Roman ruins and German architecture gave us plenty to explore for the day!

Croatia & Montenegro | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Croatia & MOntenegro •   June 4 - 12, 2016

Croatia:   recap   |   video moments
Montenegro:   part 01   |   part 02   |   video moments

For another one of out longer trips, we decided to head back to Croatia—we're just truly in love with that country. This time we decided to pair it up with Montenegro. After spending some time in Dubrovnik at the beach and taking the boat to Cavtat and Lokrum, we headed to the Bay of Kotor. We weren't fully sure what to expect from Montenegro but we can assure you it ended up being beautiful with plenty of small historic towns scattered around to explore. We even took our chances and went paragliding!

Berlin, Germany | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Berlin, Germany •   June 22 - 26, 2016

recap   |   video moments

Every once and awhile Rico has to travel for work. When the opportunity came up, I decided to hop on the plane with him so we could extend the stay and see the city. It also happened to be my birthday weekend so it worked out to be a great way to celebrate! We were surprised how quickly we fell in love with the city while we rowed a boat in the park and then enjoyed learning about the history on a walking tour. The deep history of the city is one of the main reasons why we decided to go to Bratislava later in the summer. After experiencing Berlin, we wanted to take a similar trip to learn more.

Italy's Amalfi Coast | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Italy's Amalfi Coast   •   July 2 - 12, 2016

part 01   |   part 02   |   part 03   |   video moments

For a nice summer escape we made our way to Italy's Amalfi Coast. Going to Italy feels a bit like home for us. Maybe for Rico it's because he's 100% Italy, but for me I think the familiarity and love comes from it being the first place I ever went to in Europe. The Amalfi Coast reaffirmed these feelings for us as we enjoyed many days by the water, eating pizza, strolling through the streets, hopping on ferries, and hiking through the mountains. It was the perfect mix of everything for us and keeps Italy in our hearts forever.

Bratislava, Slovakia | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Bratislava, Slovakia   •   August 27 - 29, 2016

recap   |   video moments

After going to Berlin earlier in the summer, we were on the search for something similar to experience. Bratislava offered us just that with its mix of old historic streets and communist architecture. We took a bike tour here to dig deeper and see the not so pretty parts. Putting the communist style aside, Bratislava's old town is beautiful and low key. It felt a little off the beaten track and not so busy because of that. We also spent our time hiking up to the castle nearby as well as exploring Devin Castle just a short bus ride away. It was a nice easy weekend exploring somewhere that wasn't at the top of our list but now we highly recommend!

Austrian & German Alps | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

AUstrian & German Alps   •   September 3 - 11, 2016

part 01   |   part 02   |   part 03   |   video moments

The alps had been calling our names ever since kicking off the new year in Salzburg. This time we decided to stay longer than just a weekend and really explore. Hoping between Austria and Germany, we walked high up along top of the alps, took boats through the lakes, and wandered through the beautiful towns—including the noteworthy Hallstatt. This was one of the most refreshing trips we had ever been on. Breathing in the fresh mountain air and getting to immerse ourselves in nature was the perfect way to end the summer. I can confidentially say we will return to the alps many more times in our future!

Lisbon, Portugal | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Lisbon, Portugal •   October 18 - 23, 2016

recap   |   video moments

For another work opportunity, Rico needed to make his way to Lisbon and I decided to come along again. Neither of us had ever been to Portugal so it seemed like a no brainer to extend the weekend and check out the rapidly growing city. Lisbon absolutely won our hearts while we were there—maybe it's the pastel de nata still talking. From the beautiful buildings covered in old painted tiles to the rich culture everywhere you turn, you can not go wrong here. Lisbon has climbed its way up to one of our all time favorite spots and one we can't stop talking about to others!

Paris, France | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Paris, France   •   November 12 - 13, 2016

recap   |   video moments

After about a year and a half passing since we first visited Paris, we decided it was time to finally get ourselves back to the romantic city. For just a two day weekend, we hopped on the train from London to explore Saint Germain and Latin Quarter. Through a cold and rainy weekend, we really fell in love with Paris this time around. Without the typical must sees hovering over us (since we covered those last time), we were able to wander a bit more and take in some of the quainter parts of the city. We will definitely be making a habit out of these short weekends to Paris!

Alsace, France | 2016 Sea of Atlas Travel Recap

Alsace, France (& Basel, Switzerland)   •   December 2 - 4, 2016

recap   |   video moments

For our final European trip of the year, it made sense to check out some of the Christmas markets in Alsace to get us in the holiday spirit. With Rico's parents visiting from the States, we met them down there to enjoy strolling through the beautifully decorated towns with their half-timbered homes as the backdrop. While the streets were crowded with like-minded people, it was magical to see these towns come to lift to celebrate such a special time of the year!


It was a wild year—that's for sure—and sometimes life felt like it was spinning as we were setting off planes and then right back on but I wouldn't change a bit about it! Feeling very thankful for this life that we work so hard for to be able to chase these dreams of ours. 2016 was a year of understanding limits and exploring places off our radar. Now, I can't wait to see where 2017 will bring us!

2016 Sea of Atlas Business Recap

2016 Sea of Atlas Business Recap

When I decided to start my own business, I knew I had a lot to learn and I knew that it wasn't going to be perfect right from the start. I was willing to take that chance in order to do something different—something that fit who I was as a person. Taking this path has proven to not be easy but I know from deep within my soul that this is what I am meant to be doing. For me, life is about working passionately for something you believe wholeheartedly in. I believe in the way art can transform the world, open our eyes to different ways of life, and how it teaches us to appreciate our surroundings.

If you have been following along since my beginning, you know I began by selling greeting cards. When I decided that wasn't what was right for me anymore, I made the switch to a custom handmade design studio. Going down the path of creating more freely has opened so many new doors and has deepened my understanding of who I am as an artist. At this point, I have been a custom studio for just about two years. By allowing myself to embrace my natural organic style and way of working, I have been able to really give myself room to breath and grow. I feel more confident than ever than where I am going as an artist.

Over the past year, working in the realm of a design studio has been so rewarding. I had the pleasure of crossing paths with other talented creatives and lovely human beings. Whether it was working on small business branding or wedding invitations, it was always a new adventure and challenge. Getting to help bring someone else's vision to life is something I appreciate and love doing. The trust, understanding, and energy that has to come together for things to work smoothly, is what makes that work so unique.

I love being a design studio and I see some changes coming in the future to take the next step to align with my soul. I am not quite ready to dive into this here just yet but I appreciate your always uplifting support that continues to allow me to grow. I've always chosen to be as open as I can be on this journey so you can all come along for the ride. While the bigger picture still has some kinks to be worked out before we can start flipping through the process, I am excited to announce that the studio and blog website's will have some fresh new looks in the next coming months. Adjustments, changes, and tweaks are being made in order to get everything as cohesive and beautiful as possible. It is important to me that these spaces always feel fresh. I want each of you to have the most pleasant experience whenever you come on by for a visit.

With 2016 coming to a close, I am really thankful for a year that has given me some love as a business owner. I'm proud to say that Sea of Atlas has had it's best year yet and I am hopeful that 2017 will do the same. Working for myself can have its up and downs. It is risky and scary at times but I always remind myself to continue to work as hard as I can and believe in the good fight. Nothing gets anywhere without that and this past year has been full of that energy. I can only hope that it pays off as I align myself into what's next.

So with that, I cheers to 2016! May 2017 be another good year for all small businesses to keep showing the world that what you are passionate about can also be what you do for a living!

Love to you all!