summer art inspiration

anthro inspiration

It’s summertime. Real summertime. Weekends are long and relaxing. Weekdays are delightfully packed with time for productivity in all the areas I wish I could focus on when life gets crazy. Dinners can be long and lazy and eaten on the porch.

This summer has possibly been one of my best so far. I’m excited to go back to work, and the short time I have left before that happens leaves me inspired to make the most of each day.

Jeremy and I are working on all sorts of projects this summer. My favorites: finally getting to the kitchen and the bedroom. We did a lot of decorating and home-improvementish projects the first few months we spent here. Most of our creative efforts went toward the living room. We didn’t totally neglect making the kitchen and bedroom feel like home, but now we’re working on really giving them their own looks.

We spent some time at the Americana in Glendale this afternoon where we visited my all time favorite store: Anthropologie. Pretty much every time I leave that store, my mind doesn’t for at least a few hours. I’m no artist, but anthropologie leaves me feeling inspired and ready to make my home (and myself, for that matter) a sweet looking place to be. I like the creative juices this store squeezes out of me. I enjoy the kick in the pants it gives me everytime I walk in.

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Sure, a part of me would like to just buy everything anthropologie sells and rearrange it in my own home. That’d be expensive, but easy–and our apartment would look really awesome. But the very nature of the stuff this place sells challenges me to use my own inner artist and inginuity to re-create the kind of feeling the store’s designs evoke in me, regardless of whether I could afford to simply buy it all. It says to me, “Find an old piece of furniture and fix it up a bit, Erin.” “Learn to sew, Erin. Make your own home-made-looking oven mit.”

This is the kind of store we should hope our culture keeps creating. And we should hope the people that shop there are challenged in the same way. Let’s not lazily admire other people’s work and abandon our own efforts to inspire others. Let’s see well-designed houseware and wonder how we can create our own great kitchen. Here’s to becoming all kinds of artists in any realms of our lives we can.

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what the what

Yesterday started off like any normal summer Friday. Jeremy and I had ourselves a nice breakfast and spent most of the day cleaning out our closets and sending old clothes to the Goodwill. I never could have guessed what I’d find on my voicemail that afternoon.

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“Hey Erin Mann, this is Brenda. I’m the new unit director for 7ICU. One of the new grads that had previously been coming for August has not passed boards and we’d like to extend that position to you.” Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. WHOA. What?! As I listened to the rest of the message I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. The start date: AUGUST 10. Two weeks and two days away.

I ran into the kitchen jumping up and down nearly shouting, “OH my goodness. OH MY GOODNESS.” at Jeremy over and over as I listened. I replayed the message for him and called this woman back as quick as my hands could dial. I heard a voice on the other end of the line: “Erin?” “Yes?” “Do you want a job?” I couldn’t get the words “yes! Absolutely! I would love to start in August!” out of my mouth fast enough. I talked a bit more with Brenda–who seemed awesome, by the way–and hung up the phone in happy disbelief.

Jeremy and I sat down at the kitchen table. The only words we could come up with were along the lines of “WOW.” “Oh my goodness.” “Can you believe this?” “What in the world?” We popped open some champagne courtesy of the MacDonalds and called our parents.

For a couple months now I’ve been making other plans and talking to people about how maybe this could be a neat opportunity to do some other things before full time work starts. However, I’ve also been honest about that fact that if I were the one choosing how the next six months would go, I’d start my new job in August. Well here I am. Starting my nursing job in the ICU in two weeks. Talk about blowing my mind.

I’m still in a bit of a state of shock. I still lose it every once in a while and let out a ridiculous squeal. I’m eager to sign my papers. I feel totally unaware of what the next couple months will be like. Incredibly thankful and excited. I feel like God has taught me a great deal through the past couple months, yet he is graciously gifting me with this opportunity I SO desired when I first applied for the job in March. All I can say is what the what and Dang, Gina.

So our life’s course has yet again been changed with a mere phone call. No doubt I’ve felt this before: here goes nothing.

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missing manns

Here’s me with seven of my favorite people in the world. We all share a last name. As for first names, it goes like this: Jason, Natalie, Josh, Becca, Erin, Jeremy, Rick, and Cheri.

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Well. One of the best weeks of my summer has come to an end. July 4th has come and gone, and so has my time with the Manns. For those of you who don’t know, Jeremy and I got to spend one week–Sunday to Sunday–in Stinson Beach with the Manns for a Mann family vaca and the marrying off of the last Mann bro. We stayed in an octagonal beach house on Stinson Beach Bay.

We slept in, drank coffee in the mornings, explored the bay by various forms of seacraft, spent time in San Fransisco, met new friends, saw new places, hung out with extended fam, and partied down at a BOMB wedding. The views were beautiful, the food was good, the weather was nice, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium was worth writing home about. But by far the worst thing about driving away was leaving the Manns.

Here’s the thing. I love my in-laws. Who loves their in-laws? Ok ok, I think there are probably lots of other people in the world who love their in-laws. At least I hope so. But do they enjoy them so much that they really want to hang out with them for greatly extended periods of time? Because let me tell you, when I left Stinson Beach, I had not had enough Mann time.

I guess since we don’t get to see each other terribly often, these short vacations make for compacted times of quality connection. It’s like we have one week to live out six months we don’t normally get to be together. The time we have is precious and short, so little of it is wasted. Every moment feels to me like a unique opportunity to dive into each others’ lives, get to know one another, and soak up all the QT we can. It’s great. But it always leaves me wishing we didn’t all live in such different universes so far from one another.

It didn’t quite hit me until the last day how neat it was to be a real completed Mann clan. The bride and groom called us just in time for lunch before we headed out of town on Sunday, so we got to hang out one last time: Rick and Cheri with the boys and their wives. We were it. This was the fam I’d have on this side for the rest of my life. And what a fam it is.