Happy Birthday Eric and Larissa is Super Cool

Similar to my previous entry "An Ode to Kelly", this is an Ode to Eric and Larissa. Another best thing to happen to me in 2013 is hanging with Larissa and Eric. I’d known them both for several years. Eric and I first met when Matt G, Pat, Matt, Paul and I were making Thesis back in 2008. Eric and his friend Ian came out to a shoot we were holding in my sister’s dorm on Livingston campus. We needed extras to film a party scene and they were helping us out. The partygoers needed to appear to be naturally talking in the background while Matt G was acting out a scene. Eric, Ian and I ended up having a conversation about pizza bagels – a very solid start to any friendship. I met Larissa shortly thereafter when she and Eric had just started dating at Eric’s birthday celebration at Captain Hook’s in Seaside. But this really was a friendship through our mutual friend Matt and it stayed that way for several years... until this summer!
This past June, I was recently and happily single and was looking for any friends who were just down to hang. I was over Matt’s house hanging with Holly, Matt G, Eric, and Jed playing videogames when Eric mentioned that his friends played volleyball every Sunday during the summer. He was throwing the invite out to us and I was psyched. However I wasn’t sure if it was thrown out to me individually or us as a group, still feeling out my new found re-emergence into friend world after the end of my relationship. My ex really didn’t like doing many things with my friends and I was trying to get back into the game... awkwardly I might add and worrying whether people liked me. Ridiculous, I know. Who doesn’t love me?
I should add that I LOVE volleyball. Love, love, love, love volleyball. Nothing better than diving for the ball and getting it over the net. In high school our gym teacher offered us two extra points to your overall grade if you bruised yourself playing volleyball and five extra points if you bloodied yourself. You better believe I got all seven of those points.
Matt and Holly couldn’t go the first week, so I didn’t go. I wanted to but I was feeling uncharacteristically shy and uncertain. The next week I wanted to go so I texted Eric and asked if I could come as my own independent unit. Eric said absolutely. After that I was a weekly regular. Larissa played volleyball too and I remember seeing her and wanting to be friends but feeling out of my element and just hoping she liked me. This volleyball thing was like eighth grade for me I swear. I just wanted the cool kids to like me.
Towards the end of the summer the turn out for Volleyball was lacking and Eric called it off. I was really bummed about this because it was a ton of fun and I didn’t want to stop hanging out with that crew. I guess I had made a good enough impression at that point though and I was invited to a wrestling match at Eric and Larissa’s and then many subsequent football Sundays. Then Larissa received a promotion at her job freeing up her weekends and the friendship started snowballing. I signed up to go on vacation with them the following summer. Larissa helped me make my ice cream cake for my birthday party and then let me drunk cuddle her when she slept over after my party. Eric and I planned a full day Lord of the Rings marathon. Larissa was my date to a holiday party. Eric agreed to read my screenplay and potentially help me make it. We pretty much locked this friendship in.
Now the reason for this Ode to Eric and Larissa: yesterday was Eric’s birthday. We celebrated at Captain Hook’s in Seaside again – bringing this whole thing full circle. Pumped about my new awesome friendships I wanted to do something nice for his birthday and I am poor. So what to do when you are poor? Exploit my talents and paint a sports insignia. Also stop buying so many damn beautiful dresses Julie! The painting cost me nothing but time and enabled me to waste several hours melting my brain in front of the TV. Like I say with most of my paintings because I am ever so modest, this one rules! I finished a week ago and literally all week I have been looking at in my room thinking how flipping great I am at painting. Like seriously, I am amazing. Everyone should be so lucky to win my friendship and get a painting!
Not to forget Larissa in this, I told her I would love to do something for her too. We agreed the Giants logo kind of sucked. She said maybe I could paint her some lemons on 4 by 4 inch canvases. I so graciously told her that I could literally “shit out” those paintings so I would do that anyway and to think of something better.
Larissa, I await your request!
Eric, happy birthday!

So glad we are friends guys!
Heart your friend, Julie


An Ode to Kelly

K.P.K. (Kelly) and Sweet D (Me)One of the best things to happen to me in 2013 was Kelly moved to Red Bank. I kind of already had decided we were going to be best friends and had put some good face time in with her family – I helped her out of a jam on her birthday with her mom and brother and I helped her move into her 3rd floor apartment on a day that was hot as balls in July without any AC with her dad. After that it didn’t take long for her and me to develop a co-dependent heterosexual relationship. We were so enamored with our friendship that we gave ourselves our own celebrity couple name: Jelly (Julie + Kelly). Brangelina got nothing on us!
This year was our first Jelly Christmas together. Naturally I wanted to do something special for her to celebrate the occasion. But what to do? I was going to frame a picture of me and her from my birthday (pictured below). That didn’t seem enough. I wanted to do something a bit more special for my fantastic lady.

One day at work Kelly put a baby picture of herself up at my desk (pictured below). I was looking at it and talking to Renee when it dawned on me. What is something special that I could do for my best friend Kelly? Well, duh! I could paint a celebrity couple painting of us!
So I got to work on it, covertly asking her random questions via text: What is your favorite color? Blue. What is your favorite outfit? Black jeans and a regular v neck shirt. I used knowledge I already had about her – she wears gold jewelry – and I started painting.
When I finally finished it up Sunday night, I was so excited to give it to her but knew I had to wait until our dinner date Thursday. This past Thursday we went to Goldie’s in Asbury and enjoyed a delightful Prix Fixe dinner and exchanged gifts. Kelly, knowing me so well, got me black nail polish and top coat, a jewelry dish for all my new rings (a dish I almost bought myself earlier from Anthropologie. She knows me well!) and a journal. The journal was by far my favorite present. Kelly told me she thought I should start keeping a journal because I have amazing stories. I had to agree with her on that – one day I’m sure my offspring will want to know about the shenanigans their mother got into in her youth.
Then I got to give her my present. I saved the painting for last – first giving her a Markel towel, then vitamin c packs because I don’t like when she is sick,  and then the framed picture of us. I was so excited for the painting. I think I was smiling like a total idiot as I handed it to her. She loved it. She didn’t think it was weird. It was a success!
As with all painting that I do, they require a write up. So this one is an ode to Kelly. I am very lucky to have her in my life and we will be friends forever. Also, she is an excellent wing lady.

Some of the reasons I like Kelly:

-       She’s allergic to Christmas Trees
-       She teaches me helpful life skills – how to season things and how to paint my nails so they don’t chip
-       She likes to dance
-       She knows how to cook
-       She is lactose intolerant so she will go to vegan restaurants with me
-       She encourages me to better myself
-       She is always down to party
-       She likes cuddling on the couch and watch movies
-       We can talk about anything

<------- This picture.


A Shure Wedding

The Parents of the BrideThe Bride and GroomThe Parents of the Groom










Today is a special day. Today my friends Gina and Joe are getting married. I couldn't be happier for them and to be a part of this day. I am the maid of honor - pretty pumped about that. I get to make a speech and I think it's a good one. I get to wear three inch hot pink heels and I think I can walk in them. I also got tapped by the bride and groom to complete three paintings - one of the bride and groom for the sweetheart table, and then one of the parents of the bride and one of the parents of the groom to be given as gifts.

I procrastinated like whoa on these and spent this past week leaving work and immediately going home and painting knowing I had a very specific deadline for their completion. In the end I was able to finish them in time and I think they came out super adorable.

Right now I'm currently sitting in the bridal suite with Gina and the bridesmaid waiting to go get our makeup and hair done. To get in the wedding spirit we are watching Mama. It's going to be an awesome day full of love, laughter, dancing, cute paintings and feral children.

Congratulation Gina and Joe!


Lesson(s) of the Day

Two Junes ago, Megan, Kara and I went to Chicago for a best friend weekend of deep dish pizza, aquariums, and a Cubs game. While we were there, we also went to an art museum.  We wandered in, saw some classic - American Gothic and this diner painting whose name I can't recall.

American GothicDiner PaintingMe and Kara looking cute











Then we stumbled across one of the coolest exhibits I have seen - art by Roy Lichtenstein. I was immediately a fan. Similar to my love of Andy Warhol and Romero Britto - Lichtenstein's art work is colorful and totally unique. Also similar to my love for Warhol and Britto - I can't afford any of his work. But, as with Britto, I can recreate his work.

Drowing Girl by Roy Lichtenstein

Upon seeing Drowing Girl (pictured to the right), I was immediately enchanted. It's Oil and Magna on canvas. I don't know what Magna is, but it sounds cool. Like magma, but art stuff! I don't know exactly why but this painting just speaks to me. Maybe similar to the theme of my last post, I get her. She's beautiful and probably awesome and jerkface Brad has done something to her. Maybe he isn't returning her texts, or is leading her on, or maybe he has decided he no longer wants to do anything with her, and she is drowning, and rather then letting him know she would just drown. The perfect metaphor for dating. Cause dating can be a stupid power game. If someone rejects you, you don't want them to "win" by knowing they upset you. Or you don't want to seem to easy, you have play hard to get. And it's overwhelming and annoying and stupid. We all have moments where it gets like that. And to see a beautiful and just ridiculous piece of art that embodies all that is pretty cool.

So naturally I want this hanging somewhere where I can see it every day and just smile at a little dose of levity. I do think dating is a ton of fun, but you have to be able to laugh at yourself when ridiculous things happen. At my party this past Saturday I was telling some friends about the guy who blew off our date because he "got bit by a tick" and then later tried to flirt with me by using the way he rejected me - singing me the Brad Paisley song "I'd like to check you for ticks". That is dating comedy gold.

So almost 15 months after falling in love with the painting, I have finally sat down tonight to start working on this. I want it to be as perfect as possible so I can hang it in my room next to my Andy Warhol print of the screenprinted guns (its a pink print which makes it girly). So for this one, I sat down this evening and sketched it out to scale on several pieces of paper which I will then cut to use as stencils on the canvas. It's going to be awesome, and I am very excited for this project. I can only hope that I can start dating someone named Brad.

My SketchAnother Sad Lichtenstein GirlClose up













And all this comes to the lesson of the day. While I was working on this, I had another canvas out and started painting something on it. I also have an open wound on my hand from the ice cream cake I made for my birthday. I was finishing it up Friday night with my friend Larissa. We taste testing the Jell-o shots and both had a couple hard ciders. I was a little toasty and decided to scrap the excess ice cream that had melted along the side of the serving platter off with a really sharp knife. I also decided to do this scraping with my right hand in the direction of my left hand. So naturally I cut two of my fingers open. I also ran out of Hello Kitty bandaids today so the wound was just open to the elements as I was painting. I got acrylic paint in my wounds. It was horrible.

LESSON OF THE DAY: Bandage your fingers wounds before painting. Or if you don't have bandaids, just don't get acrylic paint in your cuts.

So that's that. I've grown as a person today and I would also like to share with you that I am in desperate need of a desk (see picture to left). I typed this entire entry while sitting on the floor which reeks of beer because someone spilled a beer on my carpet and I haven't cleaned it up. In fact, that leads me to another lesson for the day.

SECOND LESSON OF THE DAY I JUST REALIZED NOW: Don't be a dirtbag Julie, clean spilled beer up from your carpet.

Yup, productive Monday.



He's Just Not That Into Me

This is going to be a long post. It spans 6 years of my life on how I went from being a crazy girl to be a... uh.... less crazy girl? Anyway, I have a lot to say on this. Bear with me.
As most people know about me, much of my life is motivated by crushes I have on various guys. If there is a cute guy at the gym, I’m working out all the time. There’s a hot guy at a collaborative sporting event? I’ll be there every week. I have been called “boy crazy” many times over the course of my life, and I see nothing wrong with this. I’m motivated to do things that are good for me and there is nothing like the thrill of meeting someone you like and hoping it will go somewhere. It’s exciting and invigorating.
Unfortunately in the past, the operative word here was “crazy”. When the excitement and thrill was over, and I was left dumped, brokenhearted, rejected, and confused, the crazy came on. And crazy is not an attractive characteristic. But when your heart is involved, it can’t always be helped. And I am too much of a feeler to not experience pain when I am rejected by someone I got excited about. Let’s be real here, I only just stopped crying at work a year and half ago after a five year struggle with overcoming my cry-baby ways.
So… if the crazy can’t be helped, what do you do with it?
Here’s what I have learned over the years:

  1. LOCK IT DOWN. You can be as crazy as you want, just do not let the object of your affections see it. This will not work to your benefit, AT ALL. I tried this once. I just let myself go, and I was crazy (I should note it was limited to internet creepin’ and email sending only. I had his house and car keys. I never ever used them. I am sensible). Anyway, it didn’t work. Never got back together with the him, and that was smart of him. I feel no ill will on this one.  And luckily when I look back on my total craziness, I find it total hilarious and take a lesson away. That lesson is LOCK DOWN THAT CRAZY.
  2. Don’t beat yourself up – feel what you are going to feel and never give up. Go into any dating situation openhearted and willing to be totally smashed for the chance to find your person. You will bounce back. To quote Chuck Palahniuk “The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open”. Then, when you are smashed or cut open completely, refer back to #1.
  3. Find a way to channel the crazy. Locking it down is meant only for the object of your affections. Find you channel and pour it all there.

My channel for the crazy is painting. All of my best paintings have come from guys and the total heart smashings and the simple excitements that ended in disappointment that I have experienced. And I can totally pinpoint what painting is who.
So here it goes… He’s Just Not That into Me, the Artistic Interpretation, by me, Julie

The First Love
Scar Tissue (2007)Northern Lights (2007)










It was October 2006 and I was celebrating my birthday with one of my guy friends when I realized I was in head over heels about him. I said nothing, and we continued to be inseparable friends for the next 8 months until I graduated college and the unrequited love along with the overwhelming panic that my life of school and structure I had always know was gone lead me to have a bit of a crazy spell. One day I was feeling particularly angsty and decided to break out this huge canvas I had. Scar Tissue, the coolest painting I had done was borne. This also ended up being the first painting someone asked to buy. I sold it and realized there was money to be made in being a tortured artist.

The First Boyfriend (who I went internet crazy on)








This relationship was quite the roller coaster of emotions relationship that lasted for about 2 years. From the paintings above, it is very clear when things were good, when they were bad, and when they officially ended and I went off the deep end into the heartbroken world of darkness. Great stuff. Actually some of the best. Mother remains possibly one of the best paintings I have ever - and will ever - do. A piece of my soul is in that painting. I tried re-doing it post Second Boyfriend break-up, but I wasn’t really upset so it just failed. The emotion wasn’t there. I remember painting Mother. I was in my parent’s dark basement and was throwing and slapping paint on the canvas with and then slamming the painting on the ground to get red to trickle down. My attempted re-do was pleasantly done in my well-lit bedroom. Not quite the same. No utter desolation.

The First Ex-Boyfriend Rebound









There was no way I was ready to date anyone. I had just been dumped by the only person I would ever love. I was just miserable. I was sad all the time. And the poor, unsuspecting rebound guy had no idea he was essentially poking a crazy emotional heartbroken bear with a stick of potential love. Not a good idea. By some miracle, we are still friends. Probably because I threw up a white flag of peace by admitting I was nuts and then started to date someone else, as if to say “hey look… dating this guys. See, I’m harmless. I promise.”
After that, I dated my second boyfriend for almost two and half years. This ended as my decision. There was no tortured artist and thus no paintings.

The Confusing Summer Intrigue
As of this past June I had been single for about 3 months. I loved it. I had read 7 books in one week, was hanging out with all my friends again, and helping my sister with her wedding. I was focusing on me again. Life was great. I had a new crush - well several, but there was one that was my favorite. I could tell this was going to be a long process and resolved to work on whatever the dating equivalent would be of a long con. It began in June and by August I thought I had some sort of success in the works. I would quickly learn that what I really had was a ton of confusion. That lasted about a month and then I had to remember my friend Ryan’s words of wisdom “Don’t chase, just replace”. And it was over. I was disappointed. I had another big canvas and a new apartment. I sat down in my new living room with no couch, put on a movie and decided to see if this annoying feeling of “I’m going to die alone” would translate into something worthwhile. What resulted is the first painting that I have done in over 3 years that I can look at and see some feeling. And I’ve gotten to a much better place. Rewind back to Mother - all dark and devoid of all hope - and this is much more hopeful.
And I think that is the best painting I could possibly end on. I know I am not going to die alone. Though I may have my moments where I feel this, I don’t believe it. And I will continue to follow my personally coined rules of dating:

1. Know that you are awesome.
2. Don’t give a shit.
And Ryan’s rule that is also important:
3. Don’t chase, just replace.