Lake Odessa


It’d been two years since we vacationed with our besties in Chicago. Even though it’s tough to find a time that works for everybody, we were determined to get together this year! I found an affordable Vrbo that would accommodate our group of 12 about 1/2 way between Chicago and Detroit in a little town called Lake Odessa. The rental property sat on the lake and for an extra fee we were able to rent their boat. Although the lake itself wasn’t the cleanest, we didn’t care. We had a great time just driving around, listening to music and being out on the water. It was so freeing and relaxing!

The kids enjoyed sitting together and playing old-fashioned board games and in the evening we all played Cards Against Humanity and had a blast. I must admit I love playing board games and it reminded me of childhood before the time of iPads and iPhones. Our “resident chef” 👨‍🍳 even made homemade pizzas one night that were to die for!

It was so nice to enjoy the long, relaxing weekend with my best friends and our families. We committed to doing something together every summer. Life is too short and we must enjoy it while we can!


Life, Photography, Travel

Every summer, we try to do a nice vacation. And since COVID had begun we hadn’t gone anywhere out-of-state for a couple years. So this year, once things were safer and we were all vaccined-up, we chose to spend 10 days in California! I was able to find us a nice cute condo to rent in Beverly Hills complete with an adorable balcony and a small private pool for swimming.

Traveling for me has gotten progressively more difficult. Even with all my joint replacements, I still have a lot of pain. I think people forget that. I have limited stamina and can only walk for short distances before I’m done for the day. My idea of a perfect vacation would be lounging by the pool/ocean by day with cocktails in hand. A short nap, luxurious bath, followed by a delicious dinner and dancing under the stars into the wee hours with a bit of sight-seeing/engaging in the local culture thrown in. (Universe, if you’re reading this…hint…hint…)

We had worked out prior that sometimes I would just hang back at the hotel or spend my time locally while my boys did their “boy” things. At other times, we would explore Cali all together. While the guys were out at exploring Rodeo Drive or the high-end car market, I lay by the pool or explored what was right around us. I discovered the famous Kitson was only a couple blocks away. I fell in love!! From their website, “Proclaimed as a celebrity hot spot, Kitson LA is the go-to fashion and lifestyle boutique dedicated to pop-culture and created for fashion enthusiasts around the world.” Some of my favorite things were the F@CK merchandise. Sorry Mom, but you know it is my favorite word. ;0

Together we drove up to Mulholland Drive and went to the lookout. For Bharat’s birthday we ate at the world-famous Spago. I’ll be honest, the food wasn’t that great and was waaaay overpriced. One day we drove up the coast to Malibu and spent some time there. And of course we visited the Hollywood tourist spots. All-in-all it was a nice vacation; but I’m still dreaming of that luxurious Ocean get-away~~~

Maude’s Garage

JenArt, Life, Oil, Transportation, Travel

A couple of years ago our family went on a Michigan vacation to the West side of the state, Ludington to be exact. It’s a great little coastal town on Lake Michigan with neat little shops and restaurants and a wonderful beach. And if you take scenic route M22 up the coast you reach the famous Sleeping Bear Dunes. We packed a ton into that trip and had a wonderful get away.

Maude’s Garage

One of the places that has stood out in my memory is a great store called Maude’s Garage in downtown Ludington. The store is actually in an old garage that’s been converted and inside you find hand-made fine art pieces, up-cycled and reclaimed furniture, vintage jewelry, unique and wacky gifts, etc.; just the kind of place I can get lost in for days. And you can’t miss it: just look for the old vintage red truck out front covered in antiques and flowers.

I took this photo and it has to be one of all-time favorites! I knew one day i would paint it. Well, the day (or days/ weeks/ months I should say) finally came. This has been my latest project, between everything else going on, it’s taken a while, but I finally completed it last week and couldn’t be more happy.

It certainly presented a challenge because at the time I took the photograph I wasn’t thinking about a future painting project and so some views were missing – namely the front of the truck! A couple of months ago, when I began the project, I didn’t know the name of the store. It was only today when I was doing my research for the blog write up that I stumbled upon the name and some great photos of the entire truck that I was missing. Talk about learning a lesson!

Maude’s Garage

Drawing_Graphite Pencil on Canvas Paper

Without my own photos I headed to the internet to find the missing piece of the puzzle. I researched 1930’s Ford pick-up trucks until I found one that looked exactly like Maud’s. I learned that it is a 1934 Ford Model V8 1 1/2-Ton Stake Truck. You can check out a brand new replica Stake Truck here (and it can be yours for only $93,6000!). I combined my photos along with what I found to create the initial drawing.

Maude’s Garage

Putting in Darks w Oil

The next step was to paint in the darks. Then, I layered in the intermediate colors and began detailing the truck.

I continued by adding in the light hues, the flowers, and details. I must admit I really struggled with getting the front end of the truck and tire just right and repainted it several times until I was happy. It will be perfect in our home and will always remind me of that wonderful little vacation in Ludington!

Maude’s Garage

Finished Painting