Hello, friends! We have a lot of fresh faces around here, so I thought it’d only be fitting to introduce myself and share some fun facts about moi!
Besides the current hobbies I’ve listed in the About section on my website, such as gardening, biking, and hanging with my cats, I’d like to share some other interesting facts you may or may not know about me.
1. Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to be an artist (with my own brand)
Ebony pencil – Grade 10, Age 15
But, of course, I had absolutely no idea what “my brand” would be. If I recall, I think it had something to do with fashion, as many teenagers seem to enjoy exploring their sense of style once they’re able to dress themselves. Lol!
But I always loved creating (and still do!) You’ll never find me watching TV – I literally can’t pull myself away from the computer. Instead, you’ll find me making digital art or creative content for my art biz or painting designs for my next product line. I’m addicted to creativity. I need to be creating something every day! I guess that’s a good addiction, right?
2. I bake a killer cheesecake (at least, my family tells me so)
No holiday can fly by without someone in my family asking for my famous Irish Cream Cheesecake. That’s Bailey’s Irish Cream, mind you.
Now, I can’t fully take credit for the recipe because–it’s not mine. I took a cheesecake class back in 1998 at a local bake shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana. But yes, that creamy, velvety cake is a total killer. I don’t skimp out on the drizzled chocolate top layer, either. However, be careful not to overdo it; that chocolate layer can turn into a hardened platter that you might need a saw to cut through!
3. I’ve traveled to over 50 countries
My husband is a travel fanatic and can’t stop researching countries, towns, rivers – you name it! I always joke that time can’t move fast enough for him to plan the next trip. But the best part is that Bret (my hubby) has turned his passion for traveling into a side hustle. He loves nothing more than carving out a unique experience for that adventurous traveler!
Bret started a travel planning business called Any Direction Travel, where he enjoys researching tours and exclusive trips that are off-the-beaten-path. Bret took that travel passion to a whole new level when he planned a “one year off” trip with the kids and I in 2008. We sold our house and everything in it to travel Europe for an entire year! Our retro blog can be found here.
Coming from smaller midwest towns, Bret and I love to set foot in different zip codes to expand our horizons, experience new cultures, and get inspired for all that’s to come – yes, creatively speaking! Join us on Instagram at @anydirectiontravel as we make our way around the world!
4. I carved out my own path to create a career in art licensing
It wasn’t an easy feat, and it took over 20 years of learning the ropes, but I landed my products in stores like Barnes & Noble, Target, Anthropologie, and Nordstrom, to name a few.
So, I’ve finally achieved my childhood dream of “creating my own brand.” Honestly, I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather be doing except (drumroll, please!) teaching YOU everything I wish I knew back then! I’m beyond thrilled to be working on an online art licensing course dedicated to helping you bring forth that creative voice within. So you can gain the confidence to launch your own brand in the stores you love!
5. I’m a dual citizen as of 2021
My kids and I receiving Italian citizenship at the Italian Consulate of Chicago
Long story short, my brother researched an old Italian law of jure sanguinis, or “right of blood,” which means that the child of an Italian citizen is automatically an Italian citizen from birth. This is true without regard to where the child is born, where the parent was born, whether the parent ever lived in Italy, whether the parent is registered as a citizen in Italy, or if the child’s birth is registered in Italy. If you want to learn more about this law, you can read about it here.
Our great-grandfather traveled from Sicily and settled in Boston in 1905 when he was 17. He married and had children before he ever became naturalized. Therefore, all of his descendants qualify for Italian citizenship. I’m happy to share that my three kids and I have our Italian citizenship! However, my husband would have to pass a proficiency test in the language to qualify. Not sure that’s going to happen, haha!
6. I was told I’d never make it as an artist
Yeah, those words are pretty harsh, but not uncommon for anyone who wants to pursue a career in the arts, am I right? My dad used to tell me, or rather convince me, to think of another major in college besides Art.
I always wanted to be an artist, but let’s face it–anyone pursuing a career in art has a steeper hill to climb than, say, an accountant or an engineer. Moreover, an art career seems too vague and not a path where you can earn a lot of income.
Let’s just say that all that negative energy motivated me to prove everyone wrong! I’ve made a great living in art licensing and can’t wait to share that path with you in my online course (coming early next year). Stay tuned!
7. I’ve written and illustrated two books
Writing a book is no easy feat. And for anyone who’s written a book, let alone a big book, I am over-the-moon impressed! I’ve written two small books – How to Pet a Cat and Happy Houseplants and I never realized how much work goes into proposing, outlining, writing, editing, AND illustrating a book!
I’m thrilled to have accomplished the goal of writing a book (make that two)! Publishing a book has always been another dream of mine, and I couldn’t be more excited than to partner with Chronicle Books to bring that dream to life.
Let me know if you ever want to learn how to pitch and turn your dream book into reality. I’d love to share more of that process with you.
So now we’re a little more acquainted; I look forward to hearing more about YOU! Feel free to join the conversation on my Instagram and let me know where you’re at and what you’re dreaming about doing.