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My Story is Art – On Team

September 20, 2013

Wanted to take some time today to introduce you with the Momental team.  It’s hard to put into words what they mean to me, but for us the word team doesn’t quite cut it.  Recently I gathered everyone for a afternoon retreat to celebrate,  just because.  Our team is a group of dynamic women and men who make me laugh everyday.  I’m proud to have my Dad as the newest member of the group and of course my Hubby Adam who ensures this ship sails like clockwork.

momental_designs524From left, top row: Jess K., Amy, Kelley, Linda (Mom), Erin, Jill, Me, Adam (the Hubby), Jess Z., Dan, Dad  From left, seated: Kristen, Katie, Joy and Steph


We love to have fun but we know how to get good work done.  A perfect combination.

momental_designs529From left, Steph and Joy, Jill

Something magical happens when your co-creatives become friends.  These ladies truly care about each other.  Wouldn’t have it any other way…

momental_designs535From left: Steph, Joy, Katie, Steph again and Jess Z.  Bottom: Amy, Kelley and Jess D.

When a team becomes a force of friends, who invest in each other and the work they do together; anything can happen.

Thanks to With Love and Embers for these images!

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Been thinking a lot about heart lately.  Not the actual beating organ mind you, but the strength and fierceness we seem to equate with the heart.  Somewhere between happiness, fear and folly comes our heart of hearts, our gut and instinct, our spirit – all wrapped up into one simple word we use almost everyday.  Steve Jobs said, and I paraphrase, that if you do something with “heart” you are limitless.  If you connect with someone’s heart you can soar.

Jill Thomas, a wedding photographer who has experienced inexplicable grief in the last year, has found a way to see through the pain straight into the heart of her faith.  My husband, who just messaged me to say “just wanted to say i love you“, in bold, yes indeed has heart.   It is this heart…this intangible idea of strength, perseverance and authenticity all wrapped up in one, that is my movement, my mantra for this life.  Acting, living, painting and loving with heart is what I am here to do.

Fears inhibits heart.  Spite clouds heart.  Inattention mocks heart.

My heart is all wrapped up in this business, my family and yes for me picking up a brush so much it feels like noting other than a finger on my hand.  I like all of you struggle and let the congestion of my days cloud my true purpose.  Living with heart is a daily intention, sometimes an hourly challenge, to stay in the moment and make choices with focus and authentic motives.  It is a life’s work to live with heart and it starts, I think with small movements….

This summer living with heart has meant picking flowers and making pretty on my kitchen table.  Heart at my mom’s dinner table was alive and well.


Celebrating with the Momental team last week was all about heart.  We danced and laughed and I cried of course, in celebration of our journey this year.  Love these woman.

After years of why, what-ifs and maybes,  heart came into our lives in a big way this summer.  Our hearts and souls are finally ready for adoption so we begin our journey to family…

Painting is my respite and reprieve, always.  Painting for myself or for a couple looking to me to tell their story in a mix of whit, paint and personality is where my heart finds it’s home.  So it is here I can always come back to center and connect.


Mr. Jobs’ heart was found in connections.  Jill Thomas’ heart forever resides in her faith.  My husband’s heart is in his ever kind and thoughtful ways.  My heart begins with a brush.  You?



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Summer is in full swing and somehow this year Summer seems that much sweeter.  As many of you know we had an insane Spring working with tons of amazing couples including Sean Parker and Alexandra Lenas.  Not taking many breaks for the better part of this year I’ve just now begun settling into to a bit of a slower pace.  Taking time to paint and breathe a bit more than I had become accustomed to over the last months.

Revisiting an old favorite from college, gouache has made its way back into my palette…gouache is essentially a milky watercolor if you will, so the ethereal quality of watercolor is intensified with gouache.


With a some help we put in a huge Dahlia garden and the blooms are just pouring out daily, so much so I can’t even keep up – giving away armfuls to friends is key…  We have nearly 20 different varieties happening and of course I’m taking every opportunity to capture them with my brush.  Thanks Mom for my pretty harvest basket!

Armed with three palettes currently I am so loving experimenting with combinations of pure pigment, traditional watercolor and gouache.  The mix and mingling of the three are thrilling to say the least – covering all artistic ground between sheer delicate textures and saturated drama.  I’m smitten.

Having some time to breathe these days has led to good things – you take time to think, process and imagine a bit.  Having a minute to breathe breeds inspiration and innovation – breathing led me to dig up my old dried out tubes of college paint – inspired me to lean into an old friend in gouache and see where it took me.


So breathe a bit, see where it takes you….

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It’s so good to be home.  This phrase captures my thoughts today exactly; it’s good to be home, in my studio, picking flowers out of my garden and simply sitting still for a moment.  As you may have noticed, from my radio silence on this blog, the last month has been, quite literally the most overwhelming-in-a-good-way experience of our careers.  In the last month, we’ve all grown a lot, learned the true meaning of team and learned how to function well on less than 5 hours of sleep a night – well let’s admit, the Momental Girls with children already have that trick mastered.  I promise two things – #1 I will be back to blogging regularly and #2 the blogging to come will be so good, as I’ve been stockpiling some amazing projects and news!

First, let me fill you in on what has kept us so preoccupied!

First…we have the project…the big one… the one I can’t really even talk about.  The Momental Team pulled together like I could never have anticipated – long nights, weekends, missed vacations and second shifts galore – they did it and I am still boasting with pride.  Follow the #epicpaintedweddingstationery hashtag on instagram to see more!

Next, I was humbled by an invitation to speak on the media pane at Engage!13  at The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.  Alongside some of the most respected names in wedding publications, I gave insight into managing a successful media presence through styled shoots and product features.   Over 300 Engage! attendees heard from myself,  Anthony Luscia of Martha Stewart Weddings,  Susan Moynihan of Destination Weddings and Honeymoons MagazineJillian Clark of 100 Layer Cake, our panel host, Jill Meister of Meister InnovativeBrooke Thomas of Weddings Unveiled Magazine and Angela Desveaux of Wedluxe Magazine.


 Images from Allan Zepeda, Carla Ten Eyck and Jeremie Barlow

Now of course we took some time to step back in time at the Gatsby Gala held just outside the glorious Biltmore House!! Love this photo of the Hubby and I so much and that’s a feat because I really don’t like having my photo taken!! Thanks to Hayes and Fisk Photography for the amazing image!!


And finally we’re working on a very special project for Magnolia Rouge Magazine!  This Monday we spent a rainy day at the Love ‘n Fresh Flowers farm near Philadelphia, shooting the most incredible scenes.  The rain didn’t stop us!!!  And boy did it rain!  We were lucky enough though, to have two moments during the day where the sky brightened and the mist in the air turned into a magical sparkle.  Really an incredible day.


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I don’t leave the studio very often…and when I do it is usually to hop a plane and travel far, far away.  This morning I hopped in the car, with the Indigo Girls blasting and headed into town to meet Mr. Don Rash, bookbinder extraordinaire, who lives right in my backyard, I recently learned.  Mr. Rash is known nationwide for his book restoration and edition binding skills.  The Momental team is working on a BIG project and we’ve been enlisting the help of local artisans to get the job done.  So this meeting today was all about incorporating some of our artwork into hand crafted books and all bound with a metal spine to boot.

My post today has less to do with our current book project and more to do with community.  I realized as I drove back to the studio today, just how important a creative community is for artists and craftspeople.  We must congregate and mingle together, leaning on eachother and uplifting our collective talents.  Artists without community are just adrift in a sea of “ourselve-ed-nes” and this can lead nowhere fast.

I stepped into this magical little home, unassuming from the road, except for this sweet little wooden sign hanging above the door.


I was greeted by Mr. Rash and metal artist, Jim Lennox, whose metal working skills are coming in handy these days.  Instantly I was at ease in this space after being greeted by two strangers with kind faces and a lot of creative energy ready to spend.


We talked details, measurements, materials and what not for nearly an hour…  Mr. Rash cats spent their time swirling around the drafting table and begging for attention.  I felt right at home.


We wrapped our meeting with small chit chat and excited anticipation for our collaborative creation to come in the near future.  I asked to poke around the studio a bit, unashamed in the moment at my obvious nosiness.  I just had to get a bit closer to all the pages, textures and tools I was unfamiliar with;  all stacks of books that could only mark the lifelong career of a very talented man.  I snapped a few shots on my phone to try and distill the experience.  These images are trigger for me to be mindful of the importance of congregation and the creative meeting of minds.

We must meet, mingle and pause in order to make something good and worth sharing with the world. 

We should do this often; get up, get out and go….

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My Dad recently, very recently in fact retired from a 40 year career at a local jewelry shop in town.  He is now officially our first Momental Guy.  He has already become an integral part of the team in just a few short weeks as I can’t imagine the studio before him, but of course I’m biased because he is…, well, Dad!  Yesterday I gathered a team for a an art shoot at a local favorite, The Cottage at Hillside Farms.  You may remember, we had our 10 year renewal there in 2010?  It was my Dad’s first photoshoot experience and I could see the fascination…well maybe, confusion on his face as the day evolved.  At one point, as the last details of the table installation were complete he asked very candidly, “so why do you do this?”.  I paused for a minute and replied.  “It’s art.  Just like a pull out my brushes and paint, this is just another way for me to express an idea.  It’s Art for Art’s Sake“.

momental_designs1127A few sketches beforehand.

So this phrase is steeped in history and as is the same with most philosophical comments, carries with it a bit of controversy and skepticism.  For me, it is about creating art for the purpose of feeling the experience, regardless of the result.  I add a specific caveat though…it has to take effort, significant effort.  Art for Art’s Sake doesn’t hold the same magic for me if it is quick sketch in a notebook – that is a brief effort, not requiring much investment on the part of the artist.

momental_designs1132 From top left:  Some produce, heavenly Hellebore, Amanda shooting stationery and the lovely models being coiffed.

I create art everyday, but admittedly it is most often with a very specific purpose in mind and usually intended for a very particular person.  Of course, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything but I do crave an outlet, to create exactly what I have rolling around in my brain, for no other reason than I must get it out!  There you have it, the very reason I crave these elaborate projects with like minded creatives.  These photoshoots are a way to just create and make, the exact way we want to create and make….no parameters, no expectations.  We free ourselves of these constraints and open the door to making art in a big way.

momental_designs1137 From top left:  Tanti’s bouquet, Natalie filming, Jess being silly.

So yesterday, I put down my brushes and let this scene become my tool.  An elaborate wedding table and brightly hued gowns became my paint.   These beautiful people I worked with were my partners in creation and together we made something beautiful, just because we could.

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So to begin this new year I want to thank some amazing people who made my 2012 the best one yet.  This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means and I apologize for those not directly included in this.  I still love you!  We began the year with the announcement of Trellis – a collaboration of artistic minds with our friends at Envelopments.  We marked the launch of Trellis with an epic collaboration of artists seen here.    I celebrated 12 years with my Hubby Adam and marvel at how each year with him is better than the last.  My Best Friend and her hubby celebrated one year of marriage, right around the time her wedding shower was published in Bridal Guide Magazine.    My parents celebrated 40 years of marriage and I knocked their socks off with a surprise party!  Some lovely friends in Atlanta welcomed me to their hometown to create art together for Occasions Magazine.  Engage!12 this year held in Las Vegas and Palm Beach this year produced 2 more amazing collaborations with Two Paperdolls.  We worked with our new friends Jill and Ryan McGrath quite a bit in 2012 and it’s been a thrill seeing their amazing talents flourish.  Check out their new website, by the way, just launched this week!  Several trips to Utah gave me wings this year; from shooting amidst redrock with Jill and Ryan McGrath, to scrambling off the beaten path with the Hubby – the crisp air of the desert southwest never ceases to thrill.  Our 10th Wedding Renewal landed on the pages of Destination I DO Magazine which we’re so grateful for.  The story was incredibly heartfelt and working with Jennifer and her team is always an honor.  The Knot has been such an amazing supporter of our work this year and we could not be more grateful.   Jess, our spunky Momental Girl’s Wedding Shower was seen on Green Wedding Shoes along with the artful labors of the incredible team for the day.  Jess then got married while Mom and I made pretty paper and flowers for the entire event – we’re a true family here and I love that!!  A huge thank you to Claire Pettibone for inviting me to create a suite of artwork inspired by here NYC runway show in October.  Everything that comes out of Claire’s creative mind is always sincere and powerful and collaborating with her was a dream come true.

From top left: Green Apple Photography (Southwest Tabletop) , With Love and Embers (gallery, redrock bride and food), Christine Gallagher Photography(stationery suite)

 So now, a look ahead to 2013…

I’ve been hesitant to share for some time but it’s a new year and it’s time. The news isn’t earth shattering, it isn’t glamorous or terribly exciting to most but it is something I’ve been wrestling with and for me just writing the words is cathartic.

This post has been writing itself in my mind for a year.  Countless brainstorming sessions and to-do lists ago I knew what had to be done but it wasn’t until recently that I knew I had to share.  Because sharing as you know,  in such a public way locks you into committal.   Sharing your intentions, no matter how casually, subtly makes promises to all who read.  So here goes.

Lara Casey of Southern Weddings stood up at the 5th Anniversary Launch party of her magazine and talked about these glossy pages of art her team had produced.  She made sure to explain however that the pages were not filled with pretty, just because, but filled with meaning and the core of what she knew weddings should be about – love, life, faith and family.  She talked of getting to the core of things, what really matters and her words seemed to sew up the frayed ends of my thoughts in one night.

Weddings by nature are filled with opportunities to make pretty – we select colors, mull over flowers, infuse personal moments into decor…but sometime we get a bit lost right?  Sometimes the little tasks get really big and run the risk of getting in the way of what matters most – the people.  Weddings by nature are also filled with opportunities to honor people; family, friends…and this for me is where the magic lies…this for me seems to be where all should begin.

The people in your life, who stand alongside you are the beginning, middle and end of your story.  This year I am making some changes with this simple belief at the core of all my decisions.

So what does this all mean?  If you’ve read this far, I’m sure you’re asking…  You may see some changes on the blog in the coming weeks.  I’ve decided to share more of me and more of my life.  Family and home and studio are such a huge part of who I am and reflect into each piece of art I create in a very powerful way.  My story is more than just about the art the team and I create, even though to read my blog over the last year, you may not have realized.  People make this life go around and I want you all to get to know the people better.

The Hubby and I have been married for nearly 13 years.  We married young and have made it this far with more passion and respect for eachother than we could have imagined.  I plan to share more of our story weekly…How we keep it real and what keeps us inspired as a couple.

–  Momental will be celebrating 10 years in business this March.   T E N  Y E A R S.  The words don’t seem real to me but they are.  We started super small and stayed that way for the first 4 years…Momental then exploded and took us on this ride of our lives.  I’ll be sharing a bit more of this story as I navigate the ever present challenges of running a creative business and keeping a large team for a small biz inspired everyday.

I’ll still be sharing the work we create each week but you will learn more about the people behind the work – whose passionate about which projects and why!

Instagram will become my tool of gratefulness (is that a word?) where I’ll share little bits of inspiration through/in honor of those I love and admire the most.  I’m calling this series #Bossa2013.  If you’re confused as to the name, I encourage you to read this post.

So thank you for reading along and thank you for 2012.  Here’ s to a new year full of gratitude and living an artful life in whatever it is you do.  Let’s honor the people and pretty in our lives and live with just a little more Bossa!! XO

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