back from the holidays

Hello! I hope you had a wonderful holiday break! 

I took advantage of the long + lazy days off from school & tried to capture a bit of the ones I love. 

Classic Cy & Wally  

Classic Cy & Wally  

first family portrait in a year!  

first family portrait in a year!  

Jessie and the hand of her beloved  

Jessie and the hand of her beloved  

Jessie the rescue (eye-less) dog  

Jessie the rescue (eye-less) dog  

"Fishpa" (named that because he is a die-hard fisherman) 

"Fishpa" (named that because he is a die-hard fisherman) 

old Marley the Springer  

old Marley the Springer  

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Fall Festival - Sever's in Shakopee, MN

Last weekend Grandma and Grandpa (my parents) came to town to visit and we had a great time showing them around.  I took them around town to see my art. They got to see it in the show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. They also saw my work hanging in the gallery at the Edina Art Center. And we also went to the MSP Magazine ASID Showcase home to see my art there!

The next day was Saturday and we all piled into one car and headed down south to the fall festival at Sever's Corn Maze. It is an annual tradition and usually makes for some funny photos! 

 

 

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A Trip to the North Shore

Last weekend we headed back up to the North Shore where the boys were all about collecting rocks again! Oh I just loved our little adventure. We packed so much in! Hikes, pie for breakfast, rock collections, the alpine slide... Everyone is still buzzing today from all the fun over the weekend.

Truthfully I was a little mad that school was starting again and cutting into our adventure time... but now I remember how good it feels to have a little structure and scheduling. It feels healthy! And the weekends are pure bliss. 

 

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A Historical Morning with Brazilians (can't say that too often!)

Hi, if you read my recent article in Citinerary then you already know that a huge Bob Dylan mural is being painted in downtown Minneapolis by the famous Brazilian muralist Eduardo Kobra. You also may know that I am bursting with pride at the fact that my friend Erin Sayer was asked to help paint!

 

Kobra traveled here with three artists from Brazil. Once here, they enlisted two local artists to help: my friend Erin, who is a talented Minneapolis muralist, and Yuya Negishi who is also a very well known Minneapolis artist.

media frenzy

media frenzy

Today was officially their last day. The mural was completed a day ago with the exception of the signature. The artists returned this morning to take a few photos and to watch Kobra sign it. Somehow I was lucky enough to be asked to sneak down and be a part of the small media group that watched.

on their way up to sign - Kobra is on the right in the yellow shirt.

on their way up to sign - Kobra is on the right in the yellow shirt.

finding the right spot for his signature

finding the right spot for his signature

Cobra spraying on his signature

Cobra spraying on his signature

Officially done! 

Officially done! 

 

There were all sorts of very kind media people with fancy cameras, tripods, video equipment, etc. And here I was, a mom in her minivan with no press credentials and mostly shooting with an iPhone! 

the 6 artists posing for the media. 

the 6 artists posing for the media. 

I asked them to climb up onto their huge orange lift. I had been envisioning a photo similar to the famous one of the construction workers sitting on a high beam in New York City. 

first they just stood on the lift's orange body

first they just stood on the lift's orange body

then they ventured out onto the arm! My dream had become a reality!

then they ventured out onto the arm! My dream had become a reality!

YES!!

YES!!

The 4 guys who added so much color to our Mpls world!

The 4 guys who added so much color to our Mpls world!

the Brazilians

the Brazilians

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All 6 artists! The 4 Brazilians on the left, then Yuya and finally my girl Erin on the right

All 6 artists! The 4 Brazilians on the left, then Yuya and finally my girl Erin on the right

great work

great work

After the boys posed for a few shots, they were on their way to the airport! I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I had just witnessed a historical event for my city. 

The worst photo (possibly ever) from the State Fair

Hi! On Wednesday I spent the day at the fair working for WCCO TV. They wanted me to spend the day 'gramming live from the fair. Truly one of my most favorite days of the year! I decided that it would be fun to spend the day taking people's suggestions and interacting with the viewers through Instagram. 

Following the viewers' direction, I took photos of a cute couple with the rainbow umbrella, a silly scene at the 4H and a baby.

A few people requested I shoot some props... So I headed over to the midway and talked them in to giving me a unicorn. (That's why this is one of my favorite days. It is the perfect combination of high-spirited people willing to do fun things AND media credentials to giving me a reason to ask!)

I decided I would take the unicorn to meet one of the real prize horses at the fair so we headed over to the expo area... Unfortunately no one was there.

So there, under way too bright fluorescent lights, I walked out (yup, in sandals, through groomed cow sh*t) and gave Uni a chance to be a real horse - just for a minute. I even walked backwards to make only one set of footprints. It may be one of the worst shots I took that day - but it is also the one the makes me laugh the most!

 

 

Blue Prize R ibbon "Worst Photo of the Fair" 

Blue Prize Ribbon "Worst Photo of the Fair" 

Head over to https://instagram.com/wccotv/ to see some much more tasteful shots of the fair! 

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Cabin

 

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Cabin

If you have read my past blog posts, then you already know that a few weeks ago I decided to take my boys on a spur-of-the-moment road trip. We went up to the North Shore of Minnesota, then down along the southern side of Lake Superior and through Upper Michigan and into Wisconsin until we reached the family cabin on the northeast side of Wisconsin. 

We visited places such as Gooseberry Falls State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Park Point Rec Area in Duluth, Amnicon Falls State Park, Brule River State Forest and the Porcupine Mountain area.

It was a wonderful trip. The sort of trip you hope will give your kids memories for years to come. Skipping rocks, collecting rocks, hiking near waterfalls, singing silly songs, seeing all sorts of wildlife, rainy nights in hotel pools and all three of us accidentally falling asleep in the same bed nearly every night.

While we were traveling, I made a point to take us through the towns of Ironwood, MI and Hurley, WI. I remembered how beautiful the area was from countless ski trips up to that area growing up. I had seen the area many times in the winter, but never in the summer. 

While we were driving through Ironwood, MI, my son Arlo pointed out the window at a statue of a giant hat and said "Grandma Lynn!" Sure enough, it was a statue of a hat my mom wears all the time! A Stormy Kromer! How funny to pass right by that giant hat. I have always had a love for the brand: my dad is an avid outdoorsman of all types - hunting, fishing, skiing, etc. In fact, he grew up in a small town not too far from Ironwood, MI. He is a very practical outdoorsman who would never consider spending more than $30 on a pair of jeans (he has bought his jeans from Fleet Farm for as long as I can remember) and he has always had a Stormy on his head. I have heard him say many times that it is the best hat possible for ice fishing. Warm. Keeps the sun out. Easy to grab on and off. And most importantly, it allows you to cover your ears on an as-needed basis!

Anyways - my dad converted all of my family into Stormy lovers. My mom (and dad) volunteer at a humane society and spend 20-30 hours a week walking dogs. No matter what the weather is -  they walk for hours! My mom has at least 4 Stormy Kromers.

So, of course I pulled in and we bought our first and only souvenirs (besides rocks of course) of the trip! A round of new hats for all!

That night I stalked Stormy Kromer out on social media and found out they were looking for Brand Ambassadors! It seemed a bit fateful that I happened to pass through their hometown at just the right time. So I threw my name into the hat and a little while later I found out I was accepted as a Brand Ambassador!

I have turned down many offers from other companies to act as their rep. To be honest, I am not a big fan of advertising in social media. I try to use Instagram for art, not marketing. This was certainly the first time I asked a company to be their rep!  However, I am already taking photos of everyone in my family with these hats on so it seems logical - and exciting. 

It feels like a wonderful fit already. They don't have a big PR team asking for certain actions or making requirements. In fact, they haven't asked me to do a thing! The only thing they've done so far is offer me free clothes (SO EXCITED - their line is totally my style! I am ordering this poncho right after I write this!) and they sent me the most charming video from the CEO. He made a video specifically to talk to us reps - to tell us he is already proud to have us on the team. He seems so genuine. I am already feeling like I have just become part of a new little family.

I am truly bursting with excitement!  

I have visions of getting the company involved with my community organization, Minnstameets... We can do give-aways and photo-challenges! Who knows what else!? It seems like the possibilities are endless.

 I am also excited to challenge myself in my photography to try take the best possible creative photos for them! I am hoping they like my photos so much they use them for more than just their social media! I am excited to showcase the life of a midwesterner!

And, I have been looking for a few good bags for a long time -so I am hoping to pass on a few ideas on products as well! I have been envisioning the perfect photographer expedition day pack!

So here's to seeing what the next three months as a Stormy Brand Representative bring! Cheers!

xo,

Jill

PS:  All of the photos in this blog post were taken BEFORE I agreed to be a rep! Talk about a natural fit!

 

To read their post on the Ambassador program, click here!

End of summer kidnapping

About mid-August I started to get that crazy nostalgic feeling that summer was going by too fast. I have a son starting first grade and one in preschool...

Emily & I gave the North Shore some love

Emily & I gave the North Shore some love

I had just returned from a 4 day excursion to the North Shore with my friend Emily who was traveling as a part of an Explore Minnesota campaign. That was a wonderful trip and it inspired me to "kidnap" my boys.

So, two days after returning, I surprised my two sons and we set out on a final summer hurrah. Just me and the boys. Dad stayed home to work but met us for the weekend about halfway through our adventure. We ended up being gone for about 14 days. We are a family on a budget so I planned our adventure with that in mind. We ate picnic lunches each day and stayed at friends' homes and camped when we could. Most of the second week was spent at the family cabin.

It was great fun because we didn't have any concrete plans. I knew I wanted to show them Minnesota's North Shore and then end up at the family cabin over in northeastern Wisconsin..

I can't possibly share everything in one post so here are some shots from the day we visited the Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls. The boys love to collect rocks so it was a rock-themed day. We even stopped at a rock shop! We also splurged on huge slices of pie at Betty's Pies. Yum!

Thanks for taking a look!