Thursday, November 22, 2012


This Thanksgiving is an unusual one for me, because I'm literally between jobs.

After nearly four years at a full-service marketing and advertising agency, I turned in my key last Friday said goodbye to many friends. As I made that final commute home, I felt nothing but excitement about my next venture.

Because of that, this week is a true stay-cation: While taking time off at work is always great, this is one week off where I don't have to feel like I'm missing anything or getting behind. My brain is getting a chance to relax and shift gears before I start my new job in downtown Indianapolis next week.

So this year, I'm thankful for change. New opportunities. New adventures. New challenges. New environments. New things to learn. New friends to meet.

Oh, and new foods to try, like this persimmon that has been sitting, lonely, on my countertop for five days while I try to figure out what to do with a single persimmon. (Besides photograph it.)

I'm thankful for free days of few obligations and the chance to let my brain and my body de-stress. I'm thankful for excitement. I'm thankful for optimism.

I'm thankful for little pleasures, like hearing fresh cranberries *pop* while cooking my annual cranberry sauce for our family gathering tomorrow.

I'm thankful for a family who is safe, healthy, and will spend this holiday together. I'm thankful for the health and presence of my four-legged family members, too. Life would be incomplete without them.

I'm thankful for a growing extended family that will include a baby in 2013, making me an aunt in spirit (though not on paper).

I'm thankful I've had the chance to spend yet another year being thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to you! And thank you for being here.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Behind the scenes with lampwork artist Samma Parcels

At work over the last six months or so, we've been going through a testing/profiling process based on the book Strengths Finder. It's a similar idea to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and there are dozens of other tests that companies use when they're hiring people and evaluating teams.

With Strengths Finder, you learn what your top five "talents" are, then you can better structure your day and life around building upon those talents. My top two talents describe how I'm interested in many things, like to collect information, and love to learn. It makes total sense: from the time I was a kid watching PBS television, I always loved the behind-the-scenes videos that showed how everyday products like crayons and balloons were made. So when I got the chance to profile a local glass artist for the HCCVB blog and watch her work at her studio, it was right up my alley.

I sat and watched her, completely riveted, while she melted two pieces of glass together to create two gorgeous glass pendants in under 45 minutes.

The first was a heart-shaped pendant, and the second utilized a technique in which it looks like a flower has been encased in the glass. For that one, she worked from the front of the piece toward the back, creating the stamens first, followed by the outside edges of the petals, then slowly melting the petals inward toward the center.

I asked her a ton of questions, and I could tell she's a great teacher, because she patiently answered every one I asked—while continuing to work without missing a beat.

For the first time, I shot video in addition to still photos. I'm still amazed by the capabilities of an iPhone. I love that I don't have to have any other special equipment to be able to do an informal video.

You can read my full profile of this incredible artist on the HCCVB blog.

Hendricks County glass artist: Samma Parcels

Looking for a one-of-a-kind holiday gift for someone on your list? Consider something handmade by a local artist. Not only can you find many great shops around Hendricks County, but dozens of incredible artisans call this area home.

I chatted with glass artist Samma Parcels about her work, and she even shared some of her favorite places to visit in Hendricks County. Read more...