Thanksgiving Vibes

Howdy friends. Happy almost Thanksiving, which is the holiday that grows on me more and more every year! This time around, I'm going to order vegan Thanksgiving dinner, because although I love cooking, I'm feeling like letting the holiday work for ME, instead of work for the holiday. Thank you Kelly for the idea What about you? Do you have major family plans? Major napping plans?

I started off this month with an education in our United States voting process. As a poll worker, I got to see the whole shindig come together. My favorite part was seeing neighbors recognize each other, and kids go ga ga over "I voted" stickers. They're like gold to them.

Then a sweet and talented friend sent along a gorgeous print to me last week. I love her style and I love spooky things, so this was extra delicious. Thank you Zhen!!


My desk is a bit all over the place as I try to stay grounded with personal projects (still working on the picture book ideas with agent!) and my client work. To help me remember, I purchased some goodies like oat flower essence for recognizing my "calling", and a journal with motivational quotes about being our gosh darn SELVES. They have added a lot to my morning. Just having a ritual in place to work on very specific things that need my attention makes all the difference.


I'm so grateful for the support of my friends, family, and clients, as well as for the opportunity to make art for a living and for pleasure. This life truly is precious, and I hope you go forward through this holiday season recognizing how special our time is with loved ones- heck! even with strangers. All we have are moments, pieces of time. Opportunities to appreciate being alive. Here's to mounds of this. Happy Thanksgiving and lots of love,


Painting, oh how I missed you!

I work digitally most of the time. It makes sense.

  1. Revisions are easier.
  2. Revisions are easier.
  3. Revisions are easier...and I don't have to scan any traditional artwork.

But yesterday I lugged out the paints so I could work on a new dummy book and prepare for the SCBWI conference in Los Angeles. As I mix colors and sketch in the composition, my heart thuds and I want to run and hide in the pantry amongst the cookies.

But as soon as paint hits the gesso, I'm home. I love painting and I miss it so much. It's why I got into art, actually. Painting and drawing feels like a safe place to me, a place where anything can happen, and that "anything" will be magic.

Digital tools be damned! I know it'll get easier. I know I love Kyle Webster's brushes and how easy it is to play with textures and colors in Photoshop, but there's nothing like paint.

Here's the finished piece for a new dummy called, "Moon and Bug":


In other news, my tummy has been off, so I'm takeing time to find the culprit. Sadly, I have hunch it's wheat, and I will cry for at least a few days if it is.

But not much else feels good, when you accidentally ate something that inflames and irritates you. Not even art, not even friends. So I'd rather enjoy friends & art and ditch the allergen.

Hope all is well with you guys! Peace and rock 'n roll,


Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.

Sitting Disease

I was in a lecture a few Tuesdays ago, and the teacher mentioned sitting disease.

"Of course, we all have it. And we have to be very careful to move the body more," He said. "Now the next thing we can do to detox the body is...."

I sat there (not helping!) and thought about this as he lectured further. My hips were always tight these days. My metabolism had tanked since I stopped riding my bike to work a couple years ago and began freelancing, thus making it hard to loose weight. I don't have my standing desk any more, too. GOSH. I AM SITTING ALL THE TIME. No wonder things are going haywire.

Just this last week and a half, I took I took time off from work. Today is my very last of this "staycation". I didn't sit down much the last 10 days, instead, I walked along the beach, the pier, around museums, in and around parks. Although I didn't do a ton of vigerous exercise, I moved my body for the majority of the day, and felt amazing.

When I walked up the stairs in my house this morning, I felt a lightness that hadn't been there. My knees and hips didn't hurt! Whaaaatttt???


Since October of last year, I've had some weird issues with knee pain and weak behind muscles. I couldn't figure out why, with all the yoga and sometimes runnind, why my legs were breaking.

This brilliant infographic from might shed light on why, if you sit for work all day, you feel crappy like I do. I'm commited to try and sit only 3-4 hours a day, rather than the average 7. My desk is taller as of one day ago (suitable for standing), my chair is a stand/sit combo chair (aka stool) which allows me to use it for support but not for sinking into, and I will march while I watch new episodes of Big Mouth if I must!

I love my hips and knees, and I'm so thankful to feel them loosen up after a crunchy 9 months. I must protect them!

Do you have a walking pracice? Use a standing desk? Take an evening walk every day?

Let me know!


Been working on a pattern for a podcast I recently joined about Disneyland attractions, called The Back Side of Water. In a past life I was a jungle cruise skipper and a mountaineer on Big Thunder Mountain with the other cohost, Alex Stewart. We're making some swag for the listeners. I love painting treats as they are so brightly colored and beautiful, and make my mouth water. Total sugar seduction.

Swag will be available June 15th!

"Sugar Rush" print of treats found at Disneyland.

"Sugar Rush" print of treats found at Disneyland.

Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.

Fire Magic

I'm a super geek for life's metaphores. I want to draw them, talk about them, and write and write and write about them! So that's what you get today ;)

My dad up and all around Napa Valley and he mentioned to me that on his most recent trek up Mt. George in Napa, there was a fire poppy.

"They only surface after a fire. It's been 52 years since the last ones bloomed."

"Wow," I gawked at the photos of this lovely apple red flower.

Napa took a beating with the fires last Fall. 60 + homes were detroyed, and every month I find out more and more people, I know personally, lost theirs. So many folks have been trying to scramble and find places to live in the valley, so rent prices are high (higher than the normal high) and even more limited options than before. The community has been so supportive, however, and what could have been so traumatic of a situation, showed all of Napa how loving, strong, and ready natives are to take care of each other. I was amazed, and grateful I could be in Napa and witness this.

Now, after all that destruction, a beautiful, rare wildflower has sprung up, reminding us of our strength in the face of fire, and also the beauty and opportunities on the other side.

"Fire Poppy" in Napa Valley, 2018

"Fire Poppy" in Napa Valley, 2018

Recently, I've been in a weird, up-and-down place. When I saw this fire poppy I felt my heart soften, and I realized that I'd been through my own little fire: a breakup from New York, a break up from a man I loved, and just before I left, a break up from old friends and coworkers at a company I'd invested all of myself into. Lots of fire, lots of destruction, lots of change. But see I have a hard time letting go. I hold everthing in my body. I resisted allowing the fires to burn and clear proper space for new opportunities, for new wildflowers. I resisted the fact that things hurt, and I needed time to heal.

No wonder I've been in this up-and-down place!

But when I saw that fire poppy...

They say the first step to healing a habit is awareness. So thank you, Dad, for sharing your pictures and interests with me. Thank you Mom for reminding me what I need is important, and helping me let go in your own way.

And for all the flowers in my life; my family, friends, and new projects.

One of these was a mural in Napa that came up the last couple months as I made my way back to California, and the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, both of which were such great learning experiences, and well enjoyed breaks from the computer.


Letting go takes time and work. It's the kind of work you do on the yoga mat, or in the confidence of a friend. It's beautiful time spent and never has an agenda.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Meary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom. Let it be. -The Beatles

And let it be I shall. I'm excited for the new things coming into my life, grateful for the past and its lessons and experiences, and ready for whatever life throws at me next. Who knows? Maybe it'll be a rare opportunity that can only come after loads and loads of frustration and heartache? Cool. I'm good with that. :)

Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.

When pleasure is work, but work isn't pleasure.

"In a world of start-ups and side-hustles, have the blurred lines of work-life balance changed the meaning of leisure time? As WeWork offices replace Midtown New York's historic Lord & Taylor department store, The New York Times examines how work has replaced personal pleasure in the pursuit of escapism: "With the rise of the internet, shopping came to look like work, and work, in many instances, came to look like leisure..." - From The


When reading this yesterday on, I was struck with a deep sense of sadness. Yes- this is what I've been feeling- the discomfort and disappointment of making your passion a career, and loosing the places where you used to escape and find refuge. For so many years of my life, artmaking was where I did found comfort. I'd sit and draw in my sketchbook at the beach or at the park. I giggled at the characters that appeared on the page: new friends.

But that changed when I got a full time job as an illustrator.

I started going to yoga class a few years into it because it was the only place I could walk into where I didn't have to do anything except "be". I was a full time illustrator , working for a startup in the Sillycon Valley, stressed out of my mind. I felt myself wanting to scream some days, quit other days, but it was a great opportunity.

Since freelancing in 2017, I've eased off on my yoga practice and focused the majority of my energy and finances on building a business around my immense love of art and illustration. But this has made it worse. Now there's no stability in a paycheck. The urge to run away is REAL.

I can relate all to0 well with Rebecca Green's post about burnout
I asked some friends on Twitter about burnout. What do you do to remedy this thing? They responded with suggestions like, extra self care, Netflix, and not doing the thing that burned you out.

One might find self care difficult when you start mixing pleasure and work, and it because this confusing ball of who-knows-what. I'm taking that ball and making it sacred again. But it takes some serious separation and time management.

How have you taken steps to gain back our lust for life? I'd love to know, and I'm sure the more we share, the more we can tap into what will heal us forward.

Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.