Me and my oldest circa 1990 at the Ocean City NJ Boardwalk
You might remember in my last blog post I mentioned something about dreaming big and taking journeys. In honor of my oldest’s birthday and the incredible journey he is currently on, this blog post is about him. He has always been one of my biggest champions and my most honest critic. Twenty seven years ago I embarked on the hardest most remarkable journey I could take, I became a mother. I would reaffirm that choice three more additional times after that. All of my children are now out on there own, taking life by the horns (literally, for one you will soon see) and becoming their own unique beings. An empty nest is a big adjustment after so many years of raising four children, but I now get to sit back and marvel at the people those little poppets (as a south african friend used to call them) have become. Boy is this mama proud of the constant pursuit of their dreams and the beauty they have on the inside and out.
Dylan is my oldest and right now the most risk taking of all my children. He has been sports minded and competitive, dare I say, right from the moment of his birth. He was always on the go and very early on had an interest in sports, be it basketball, soccer, football, rugby, golf, racing or anything else in between. Even field day at elementary school became a championship event. One birthday was spent with his me camping in Cooperstown attending the baseball hall of fame and a AMA motocross race.
Dylan at one of his early soccer games.
So it was no surprise that when he went off to college he would pursue a degree in sport management. He attended Florida State University on a partial scholarship as a manager for the football team. As with everything Dylan does, he does it 110%. What started out as a way to throw off another team by signaling in defensive plays by a manager from the sidelines, became a permanent task for him throughout the rest of the time that he worked with the team. Being so far from home the highlight for us was when FSU’s football games were broadcast on national TV. We would all gather around the TV screen to check in on him as the cameras caught him in action on the sidelines.
(1) Dylan, on the right at his very first rugby game. (2) On the way to scoring at try at Florida State University. (3) Playing down under with the Warringah Rugby Club. (4) Getting ready to kick an extra point for the 2015 State Champions, the Orlando Griffins.
He also had a chance to play his first love of rugby at a Division 1 level. Going on to set records, playing on many select teams and be named MVP two years in a row. As in all things Dylan does he tackled his time with the team with full gusto, throughout his time at FSU wearing hats of player, team manager, captain and at times as a certified referee. When he went back to FSU to get his masters degree he even wore the hat as a coach, beside his best friend. To this day he still helps the by helping to run the alumni association. In the summer of his senior year Dylan went to Boulder Colorado and did his required internship working with USA Rugby, the governing body of all things rugby in the United States. One thing I have learned, is that rugby is a special club to be part of, no matter where you go you will always have a family to support you. Dylan has experienced this everywhere he has traveled or lived.
Dylan exploring the mountains of New Zealand from a motocross trail.
In between his under grad and graduate school year, Dylan decided to take a chance at seeing more of the world and pursuing his love of rugby by traveling down under. While there he made ends meet by bar-tending part time (as much as we Americans love an Aussie accent they appreciate an American one down there), he also worked with the Australian Rugby Union. He even had a chance to play authentic Australian rugby as a member of the Warringah Rugby Club. Embracing what the world of sports had to offer during his time there he took a trip to New Zealand to see the Rugby World Cup Championships be played out. While in New Zealand he wanted to explore the country and see it from the adventure’s eye. Renting a motocross bike he headed to the mountains and hit the trails. He even headed to the famous bridge in Queenstown NZ, where bungee jumping was birthed, strapped on his harness and took a leap of faith.
Dylan holding the actual Rugby World Championship Cup, as he worked a USA Rugby event.
This past year he has been working with the MLS’s newest soccer franchise, Orlando City Soccer Club, as they launched their inaugural season. After he sold the last season ticket the club laid off the sales team. As you can guess I wasn’t very surprised when he decided to again head off on another adventure to find his next position in the world of sports. I’ve tried to teach my children to dream big and to take chances on those dreams, so why not head to Europe for a few months, look for new employment at the same time seeking another sporting adventure, culminating in London for this year’s Rugby World Cup Championships. My only requirement to have my blessing was that he write a blog on his experiences, even if I was the only one to ever read it.
A throwback to basketball in the backyard and under the Eieffel Tower this past July 4th.
With much research and planning he packed a bag and left for Europe. He will meet up with friends at different locations, beginning with Cam in Paris. Their plans so far are to run with the bulls in Pamplona, watch a few stages the Tour de’France, catch a Moto GP race in Italy, play rugby with a former teammate from Orlando in Scotland and finish with the World Cup in England.
In the arena safe and sound with his friend Cam, after their run with the bulls.
They are budgeting tight, traveling by train and staying in hostels, trying to see Europe on a dime (or should I say euro). The budget is where the brotherly love comes in. Dylan’s youngest brother Sawyer recently had a chance to speak with him while he is traveling. They spoke of the things he could do while seeking out employment. With the budget so tight Sawyer was worried that he wouldn’t eat enough or be too concerned about funding that he might not get to experience this trip of a lifetime to the fullest. His big brother has been there for Sawyer through the good and recent hard times, so he wanted to do something to give back. His idea was to set up a GoFundMe page, to help offset some of the expenses. Sawyer is so excited to somehow be part of Dylan’s trip by helping him out in any small way that he can. To learn more about the funding page please check out this link- http://www.gofundme.com/Dylansadventure
(1) Brotherly love, Dylan and Sawyer at the beginning. (2) A surprise night on the sidelines helping his big brother out during a FSU/Maryland game (3) On a trip to Orlando for a R&R visit.
You can see by the stories of my oldest offspring, that the last 27 years have been of a life filled with set goals, BIG dreams, many accomplishments and maybe a few grey hairs. I am sure this unique way of job hunting, coupled with a sporting adventure twist ,will also be a success. It will be chalked full of enough great memories to last him a lifetime. To follow along on Dylan’s travels and to add one more (besides his Mom) to his blog readership go to http://www.wonderlustwalkabout.com. You will get a different perspective of Europe and I guarantee you a bit of a chuckle. I’m not only proud of Dylan’s courage and risk taking but also to be called Dylan’s mom. Let me wish Dylan a happy birthday and till next time go out and have an adventure today.
One of the pieces available in my Surtex Collections
I’m a little late writing about this recent experience, but as they say “better late, then never.” A few weeks ago I had the honor of checking something off my dream bucket list, a chance to show as an exhibiting artist at Surtex. Something I have been dreaming about since my “what did I really want to be when I grew up moment” a few years ago.
As many of your know when the economy downsized about six years ago and real estate did its “every ten year adjustment”, I took a step back to evaluated my life and my 20+ year real estate career. As much as I had success in my real estate business and loved my career, something was missing. For as long as I could remember creativity was vital. Out of high school I attended college studying fine arts and receiving my associates degree from Bucks County Community College. Then I worked in the print industry for a few years before starting a family and life going in a different direction.
But the creativity always found a way to bubble up to the surface, finding ways to escape. Be it late nights painting on the dinning room table, creating my annual holiday card, rehabbing houses or even with the marketing involved in real estate. So it was no surprise that when faced with life changes, that the creativity won out. My soul wanted to sing again. So I headed back to college at Moore College of Art as the oldest kid in the class and completed my BFA in graphic design and illustration.
We were all pleasantly surprised when we found out the Collective was represented on the back of the official directory.
Fast forward to the end of May and my journey to New York City to attend Surtex. This show is the largest art licensing show held annually at the Jacob Javitz center. It is a place where artists, agents, art directors, manufacturers and industry insiders meet to network, buy art and find new talent. It is a kaleidoscope of creativity as Surtex, the National Stationary Show and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair all inhabit the same space for the week.
Our magical booth, that’s my work on the left ,as well as my fun pillows on the chairs.
A year after graduating and working on freelance work, all the while squeezing in time for my own personal pieces, I was ready to descend on to the next chapter of my career. Armed with a portfolio filled with over 50 new collections I was ready for my debut in the Collective Art Agency booth. I had already walked the show floor the prior two years getting the lay of the land and networking with industry insiders, so I had hoped I was ready.
This year though I was not only being represented at the show, but I also had the opportunity to share this wonderful experience and art world with my daughter. Kayla has just finished her first year as a fashion design student at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in NYC. So not only was I able to spend the evenings with her and her room mates, exploring the city, but I now had a place to lay my head at night. Although not too much rest for the weary as the week of Surtex also collided with her finals week and a move into a new apartment. Did I say it was a 5th floor walk-up? So the pillow at night was a welcomed respite.
Patterns and beauty abound to the artist’s eye in the city, this was on my way to the subway station.
Upon arrival the first morning of the show, I have to admit I got a bit emotional when I eyed the Collective’s booth decked out in all the fantastic art of my fellow collectives and spied my name and artwork up on the panels. The next few days were filled with walking the great grounds of Jacob Javitz Center exploring all the fabulous creativity in all three shows. Networking with new friends and old ones, attending workshops from industry leaders, learning of the upcoming trends and filling up my creative cup till it honestly was running over.
Pattern and inspiration could be found everywhere you looked.
I came away with great feedback to my art and a few interested companies looking to work with me and my collections in the future. Also with a validation that those dreams long ago shelved were right to wake up my soul and push to the future. But honestly I think the biggest thing I came away with was such a profound admiration for my young daughter who came late to the creative party, but has found her passion and as excelled in her first year in design school. I watched as she mingled with the other artists, asking questions and engaging in conversations.
Having almost no sewing experience and very little actual art education, she was accepted to not only FIT but also to Parsons and my alma mater, Moore College of Art. Her hard work has excelled her talents so much. With many late night 3am phone calls in tears to her mama that she wasn’t sure she could do it, she persevered, learned a ton and has created some beautiful pieces, one of which was chosen by the school to be displayed for the fall semester.
My proud mama moment, Kayla’s coat to be displayed this fall at FIT.
I’ve tried to teach my children from the time they were wee ones, that “if you do what you love you’ll never work a day and your life.” I’m slowly taking my own advice. I’ve also tried to teach them to DREAM BIG, you’ll soon see in my next blog post that my oldest son, Dylan is taking that advice too. Overall I can say that this experience has been a success. It has been validation that it’s ok to reinvent myself and important to listen when my soul speaks up, she knows whats she’s talking about. So until next time, take a little time to dream, you’ll never know which of those dreams will come true next. Pam 🙂