“It’s Always Wonderful at Central Park”

I’m so happy to share that my children’s picture book “It’s Always Wonderful at Central Park” it’s now part of this world and available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Walmart and many independents bookstores in the US, Canada, UK & Europe, Australia & New Zealand.

Even though, I’ve done some children’s picture book illustrations in the past, this is the first time ever that I wrote and illustrated one AND I also made the Modern Calligraphy that’s included in some words of each page! You can think as an early introduction to a cursive fun style!

It all started as a piece of a single rhyme in my head one day while I was rocking the stroller waiting for baby Luca to fall asleep.

Then another day, while I was literally trapped under my napping baby (yes, there was a time when we moved to NYC that Luca hated napping in his new space and the only thing that helped him was sleeping on top of me) that day, another sentence came to my mind. But this time, since I couldn’t go literally no where else, I grabbed my phone and started writing these sentences in a note on my iPhone.

Later that day, I showed it to my #1 fan, Victor, and he said to me that there was something interesting in it. That I should continue and make it a project, create my own illustrations for it and all. What a fan!

So that path I took. I started taking the kids to visit and explore all these places in and around Central Park that were listed in my story, took many pictures and came back to draw bit by bit, only during times my baby was asleep. (So it took quite a while, you can see).

Once I had all the pictures done, baby had to go thru a small surgery and the book project went on a break until he was fully recover by November 2019. After that, Victor helped me with the design of the book and we printed a first draft!

Marco was the first to read it at home and he loved it. Then, I showed it to Marco’s teachers at his school in NYC, they shared with me some great feedback, I worked again on it and then I got to read it aloud at Marco’s classroom and my book was also read aloud in another class. I was so proud!

The faces and expressions of these tiny New Yorkers while they were seeing many familiar places of their Park in the pictures and their excitement was such a joy to see!

An illustration of the Oak Bridge at the Oak Bridge in Central Park, NYC Jan 2020

After that first test, I went back to work and re-do some illustrations. Then we moved to California again, February 2020 and the pandemic started a few weeks later and everyone lives’ changed with it.

First there was no inspiration to continue working and I was overwhelmed with all that was happening in the world and adjusting to my new roles, saying goodbye for now to classes and events and between all that I had to change editors because of Covid too.

All in all, time passed, we continued working bit by bit in the little time that I had and in early December 2020 I had my new draft printed. Just one more change on the design layout that Victor quickly solved and we were ready to publish it!

I’m very happy with my first book. It kind of sparkled for me this part of creating stories and also dig deeper in the quest of finding my style in drawing.

So, with that quest in my creative heart, I’m working on another children’s book that I hope to bring it to life soon.

It’s a project that started while I was procrastinating this first book, and that with time, it kind of took its own wings. It’s a new world of inspiration and creation, this one of telling and drawing stories.

Stay safe, friends, stay weird and continue looking for something that brings you peace and joy 💫

#ColorTheBayArea

In times of distress, art helps me.

Andrea Casals

Some good days with extra energy, I like to draw just outlining with black marker or a pencil in my sketchbook so whenever I have a bad day that blocks my creativity, I still have something creative to do: coloring, it helps me tons to carry on through a difficult day.

With that same idea, I want to share today 3 free illustrations for you to print at home and just color on them.

DOWNLOAD PDF FILES HERE.

DOWNLOAD JPEG FILESHERE.

These are two illustrations of some Bay Area signs that I love and one of the shop window from one of my favorite Bay Area shops: A Work Of Heart Art Studio.

Talking about AWOH, I wanted to let you know that even though they had to close right now, you can still shop art supplies from them and they’d deliver for free to your home in the Bay Area (15 miles distance).

So if you need any art supplies, contact them at aworkofheart@gmail.com -It’s a good way to help a local small biz through these difficult times.

Don’t forget to share your colored pages! Use the hashtag #ColorTheBayArea so we can all see it!

Last. Are you a Bay Area Artist that would like to join this #ColorTheBayArea movement? Get in touch! Send me a message with your links to share so we can all see them and start coloring the Bay.

Art heals, art helps.

Stay safe, friends! ❤️

Look at this amazing coloring kit that they’ve created!

PS: What do you think of doing a live online coloring session?

Life update 💫 Goodbye NYC – Free Printable

Moving with kids in school age is not an easy task, it’s in fact a big change in their life, and even though kids are very resilient and they adapt better than a lot of grown ups I know (ehem, hello 👋 that is for me, I know!) I think it’s always a huge and fabulous help to guide them in that process.

We’ve done a lot of work helping our oldest to feel he’s part of the team making this decision for our family, thinking what we’d win, making list of “pros” (we try to focus more on the things he’d gain, on the positive side of things and let him to come with the “cons” so it’s more about this feelings and not putting ours on that list). I think it really helps to know what to expect and more.

Part of that process is watching videos, pictures, movies. Like when we were moving to NYC, we watched many movies that showed the city and we also watch “NYC tour guides” for kids (we found some on Prime videos). We also showed him other kids living in the city (so many mom bloggers post this kind of content).

This time that we are moving to a place where we already lived, we looked back on our iPhones for all the videos of our ordinary life there. That made easy to bring back lovely memories of friends, things and places we no longer had in NYC. And brought a warm idea of moving as an exciting new adventure.

After telling the teachers and them sharing that our kid was moving we organized a little farewell treat for everyone with our family email address so they could give it to their parents and keep in touch.

I also created this illustration that, unfortunately, I couldn’t have it printed in time for the last day. But it was an idea of a brownstone (a very NYC thing) illustration where each kid could leave a stamp with their fingerprint as a balloon. The phrase is from the beautiful movie UP from Pixar.

So I wanted to share this printable for free with you in case you want to use it.

Here’s the FREE PRINTABLE to download.

SEE YOU SOON FRIENDS!

Here’s the FREE BLANK PRINTABLE to download.

Life Update! 💫

LIFE UPDATE! 💫


I enjoyed New York City practically every day of these 14 months here. 
Now, we’ve received an invitation to change our lives once again and after we did what we do every time we are confronted with a situation like this (lots of thinking, spreadsheets, lists of pros and cons and of course, a bit of listening to our hearts) we decided to accept this new change and…
WE ARE MOVING TO THE BAY AREA (again)!!! 🎉🎉🎉

As a family, we leave New York very happy with our time here: we made new friends, found great doctors when we needed, we did many activities in the city, visited lots of inspiring places and ate too many delicious meals (more details in my NYC Instagram highlights stories).

In my particular case, I leave NYC with an *almost* ready Children’s Picture Book! 📚

This city inspired me to create a rhyming story that came to my mind while trapped underneath my baby napping during one of many complicated nap times.


Once the dust settles after this move, I need to re-do one paragraph and send it again to my editor (hence the blank area on this pic) and after his review then… it will be ready for publishing? Yes, please! 🙏 

In the meantime, here’s a little sneak peek of one if its pages and YES, it has some Modern Calligraphy in it! 😉 I hope to finish it soon! 


And to my Cali friends: CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU! ❤️ 📸 Pic of me at the Oak Bridge in Central Park with an illustration of the Oak Bridge 🤪 for my upcoming Children’s Book.
Thanks @tanrenzu for the pic! It was so windy and cold last weekend 🥶

New year, New York!

We did lists with pros and cons, we did spreadsheets to check all our numbers and our budget, we compared everything, what we’d win, what we’d lose and we even went on a road trip to explore if other places like Portland, OR; Seattle, WA or Vancouver, Canada were possible options. But nothing beat it. We had NYC in our hearts and our minds.

We missed the city lifestyle, we craved the cultural debauchery that NY offered. The possibility of living in a city that feels like you’re living in every country of the world at the same time and place. We even missed the public transportation and not needing a car to go everywhere! 

So we decided to embark on this adventure. To prepare our kids for it, we talked a lot about it, we watched many NY movies, we saw pics from our previous life in NYC and played games (ticket to ride NY!). 

Luckily, it helped that everyone in our family was not completely satisfied with our life in the Bay Area so that also helped made this decision easier in some way. 

After a lot of preparation and paperwork (changing schools, doctors, car, house, apartment) in little time (less than 2 months!) we were taking our flight and arriving in our beloved NYC although this time we were not living in Brooklyn but the Upper West Side. 

Now. We’re very happy that we’re here and we’re working hard to make things happen for us in the city! 

For me that meant taking the leap of faith and being totally in charge of my workshops! That’s right. Now I am teaching my classes at a venue that I rent, I organize the ticket sales and registration. It’s more work of course but it’s a big step for my brand as well. It’s not going to be easy but after these years of practice with more than 200 students I feel confident that I have learned all that’s necessary for this step. Anyway, send some good energy my way you know I appreciate the good vibes friends! 

That’s the news for now! ‘Til next post!

Love,

Andrea

———

New Modern Calligraphy Classes in Upper West Side, NYC 

Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Workshop 

Saturday, March 2nd at 10am 

Registration required. 

Get your ticket here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/introduction-to-modern-calligraphy-tickets-56216380708?aff=efbeventtix

Back to my Calligraphy Workshops in San Jose!

Aaaand, I’m back!

Last Sunday I hosted my Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Workshop at A Work Of Heart in San Jose again after a short break for my maternity leave.

We had a few last minute additions plus I messed up with the alarm at the shop when I got there so my whole morning before the workshop got a little chaotic! Yes, as crazy as it sounds I made the alarm went on and even some neighbors came to see what was happening but everything was ok! Thank Goodness Andrea -owner of the studio- arrived just then and solved the crazy situation! I was imagining myself trying to explain everything to the cops, that would have been some even crazier anecdote to share!

Anyway, I had to set up and organized everything faster than expected so I run out of time and I couldn’t do live videos or take more pictures of the behind the scenes.

But I tell you a little bit about it now and you’ll just have to believe me and imagine some things because… not many pictures!

Since it’s almost July, I thought about doing a “summery” theme and what says more summer than the sea, right? So I got some turquoise pen holders, I wrote the name of the students on shells and I brought a decor fishing net and even more shells to decorate the table. F or snacks, this time I brought some pastries as usual plus watermelon… THE fruit for the summer, right? And even though I never recommend to drink caffeinated beverages before doing calligraphy, I went against my own advice and brought some cold frapuccinos for my students. Guys, it was like a great addition for this “summer Sunday morning” theme.

I also gave them some map paper, which is also in the summer/travel theme and I found these little glass bottles with cork stoppers for the ink that was like a “message in a bottle” kind of thing. Super cute!

Next workshop date? July 22nd at 10am

Where? A Work Of Heart Studio in San Jose, CA.

How can I register? Click here!

Hope to see you on the next one!

Artists Moms Meet Up in San Jose – Update!

Hi friends!

This week we had the first Artists Moms Meet Up in San Jose, CA and I wanted to share with you a little bit about it.

We were three moms with babies less than a year old and each one of us, somehow, got to create a little something! I had a great time, enjoying a conversation with fellow moms plus being able to do some lettering for this post.

I’ve received a few messages of moms in WA state and another mom in Canada asking me if I knew of a group like this in their cities. So you can see, there’s an interest out there! I’d love to know if there’s an artist/creative mom’s group in your city and how are their meetings!

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, there’s another meeting coming soon and you can register for it here.

‘Til next week folks!

Baby wipes and a matcha latte, bare necessities for this mom 😛

 

About life lately and another favorite project for beginners

Folks, I can’t believe Summer is here already!

This school year went by so fast for me that everything kind of took me for surprise, like, last day of school!

I waited too long to get a present for the teachers and then I had to magically arrange something kind of last minute gift… the day before!

So I thought, what would I want to do if I were a teacher and classes are ending? RELAX I guess! So I decided to get them some bath salts and a body cream all with chamomile (relaxing effect) and luckily I found some chamomile flowers at my local Whole Foods so I added this as a little detail.

I did a little lettering on vellum paper and used it to wrap the flowers. Since I was in a rush, I used one of my [amazon_textlink asin=’B01M71S9DU’ text=’Tombow’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’andreacasalsa-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’76901fd8-6fe9-11e8-8260-8b5ab428d9bf’] markers and not an actual pointed pen and nib, but after doing this I thought how cool of a project to make this when you’re just starting doing calligraphy! You could also re-use practice paper but it makes it more special writing the name of the person that will receive this gift and maybe even a message, in this case I wrote “Thank you Mrs Laura” all over.

For all the wrapping I added a little beauty to plain IKEA rolling paper with some lettering using also a Tombow marker.

I thought of sharing these since they can be fun projects where you can use your calligraphy skills. I hope you like these ideas and let me know if you try it!

Introducing: FREE SHIPPING!

In the times of Amazon, paying for shipping has become a “problem”.

Specially on Etsy, customers would have to do all the math if they want either priority or first class, and besides, what is all of that? Why do we need to know all of that as customers? I just want to buy something and I want to have it deliver asap but not paying an extraordinary amount for it, right? It’s kind of simple.

Well, I took the decision of offering FREE SHIPPING on my Etsy store and avoid you all the hustle, the decision taking of what option choose, the math of how much you’ll end up paying, etc.

So whenever you’re buying one of my products on my shop, you’ll have free shipping. Simple.

Bar Area creative moms meet-up

Hi everyone! 

You can imagine that having a brand new little one makes time for ourselves practically non-existant. 

Some days, just being able of completing daily grooming habits and eat an actual meal (not just leftovers or snacks) for unless once a day feels like winning the first place in a marathon. 

On the other hand, I love to connect with others, specially with fellow creatives at heart. 

So I thought. I want to meet other artists moms! There should be some around the Bay Area, right? 😜

So I reached out to Andrea from my favorite studio in San Jose -A Work Of Heart- and told her my idea: I want to host a meet up for creative moms with babies in your studio. Is this doable? 

And the answer was… yes! 

So, this is a calling for all those moms in the Bay Area with their babies (0-12months). A calling for all those Moms who love painting, drawing, crafting… moms who find joy in a creative life (even if that means coloring books!). 

We’re going to meet -bring your baby,  they are included in this plan- and spend an hour together, enjoying a nice conversation while attempting to create something. 

And the best part is, we just pay the studio hour and we can use also the materials available there! That means we don’t need to bring art supplies, and thank goodness because to be honest, the ones we have are already occupied carrying a baby, diaper bag, car seat, stroller, etc etc. Ah! And cellphones of course!

So fellow creative moms, let’s meet at A Work Of Heart with our babies on Tuesday June 19th at 10 am. Remember: We are moms who share a creative interest. We won’t freak out if a baby cries or if you, like me, have a messy bun and the last t-shirt you had in the closet. Life with a baby is hard and we know it!

Are you coming? I want to meet you and your little one!

***Registration is required. Register here:  https://www.aworkofheart.com/studio/component/registrationpro/event/1384/Mom-s-Open-Studio-Time?Itemid=

***Parking in front of the store is a bike lane now so you want to use the parking lot in the back of the store. Otherwise, parking is ok  on the streets Yosemite, Mariposa st, etc

Calligraphy classes in the Bay Area are back!

Hi folks!

So it’s set. I’m coming back to teach my Introduction to Modern Calligraphy at A Work Of Heart in San Jose in June 24th.

I’m super happy about this. I’ve been thinking, I’d even say “day-dreaming”, for the theme and colors for the next one and now I’m starting to buy all the supplies. It’s going to be so beautiful!

You know, I want to make every class a special moment for you, not only to learn to create thin and thick lines with a pointed pen, but also to have an enjoyable moment to remember.

That’s why I put so much energy and love to prepare each workshop. Folks, I love doing this. What can I say?!

So, are you ready to give Modern Calligraphy a try? This is the real-thing, it’s learning to write with a straight pen-holder, using professional calligraphy ink. But nothing to worry, because I’ll guide you through this adventure and you know what else? Your Beginner’s Calligraphy Kit is included and it’s yours to keep. Cool, right? Now, don’t miss it and grab your spot here.

If you cannot make it in June, there’s another opportunity in July. Read more about it and register for here.

Picture by By Lorena Photography

Have a happy long weekend!

Luca is here!

Hello folks! Luca Francisco is here! He was born on a rainy spring night, on April 7th at 1:32am. Weight: 8.15 lbs Height: 20.5 inches || 4.055kg / 52 cm.

It was a the night of the “Pineapple Express” -a storm coming from Hawaii- and after 3hs of labor at home, we arrived at Labor and Delivery at 1:10am.
Our own little Pineapple Express arrived just 22 minutes and about 6 pushes later! (I even had to be admitted at the hospital after given birth since everything went so fast we couldn’t do it before!).
We were surrounded by so much love and care and we’re so thankful that such special, kind, lovely people like my mother in law and Katie Heredia my doula were there with us during this extraordinary moment of our lives.

My baby and I are doing great and this now family of 4 is happy, healthy and thankful to God for all the joys and blessings that He has given us.

As you may all know, I’m still on my maternity leave but I wanted to pop here and say hi and share a little pic of my newest addition.
Here’s Luca 1 day old on a blanket that I created specially for him.

This project started with a pointed pen, paper an ink and after digitizing it on Photoshop, I printed it on a soft blanket made in the USA.

marco 5 days old – pic by quianna marie photography

Isn’t it amazing how many things we can create from words on a paper? I’m still fascinated by this beautiful art folks, I cannot lie!

See you soon!

 

Sheets available on Roostery

You might remember the sheets that I created for Luca some weeks ago.

Well, after receiving some requests, I created a fabric pattern with just the “Buenos días/Buenas Noches” (that’s good morning/good night -without the Luca name part). That fabric is available on my shop at Spoonflower. I have to be honest, I don’t love Spoonflower. Yes, the quality of the fabric is great; the shipping and customer service is very good too and those are the reasons why I keep my fabric design shop there. But it only pays 10% to us artists… But if it is the way that I can offer my designs to the world, I’ll take it for now.

There were two people that asked me for sheets already sewn. That’s how I got to create a shop on Roostery.

So this week I wanted to share with you that you can get sheets with the hand-lettered “Buenos Días Buenas Noches” at Roostery. Just follow this link.

I think Roostery is still kind of expensive (especially if you compare what they charge to the customer and what they pay the artist; again sorry for the rant!) but for now is the only option I have to offer this product.

Anyway. I love the pattern

Waiting for Luca

Hi folks!
So here we’re, still waiting for Luca but patiently. I think the fact that this will be my last pregnancy makes it a less anxious waiting. Also it helps a lot that I’ve been feeling very good -specially considering that I’m over 40 weeks pregnant now!- so that has been a huge relief.

In the meantime, since I’m mostly at home waiting and handling all my home-related tasks, I took some time to play on Procreate with the few “bump pics” that I took during this pregnancy.

I did some lettering using different styles and brushes and thought of sharing these with you this week.

What do you think? I hope you like them!

picture by Quianna Marie Photography

From week 4 that I found out that I was pregnant until week 22, my pregnancy was a super tough ride, as you might already know. I lost a lot of weight and couldn’t do anything besides laying on the couch or running to the toilet. So… I wasn’t in the mood for any pictures. This one is the first one I have and it was on week 18!

Slowly starting to feel a little better. This is one day working in my studio at 19 weeks.

By week 26 I was feeling much much better! And you can notice on my smile 😀

Getting bigger 🙂

And here’s the last one from last weekend!

My due date was April 1st… We’ll see when this little one decides to come to this world! Will I have news next week?

Remember you can follow my most updated posts on Instagram and Facebook.

See you soon!

Marco’s 5th birthday party

This week I decided to blog about Marco’s 5th birthday so I can finally be up to date with his celebrations and all the DIY that I created for his parties.

This time was all about Legos. Well, kinda. Because like 4 days before he started saying that he wanted an “army theme” for his birthday. And I was like “There’s no way we’re changing your birthday party theme”. But this is how I resolved that: with a one dollar “lego” tank that I found on the dollar tree store and I used on top of his mini cake (the one that we have at home).

The celebration at home was very simple this time. I just added some balloons, the mini cake and some party hats. It was a weekday and he had to be at school by 7:30am so… Not a lot of time!

But we celebrated with a little party with his friends the day after, and it was so much fun!

First, let me share with you the invitations that I created using some Modern Calligraphy with actual pen and ink and then digitized with Photoshop and some single line lego bricks illustrations.

Now let’s talk about the most important part of any birthday celebration. The cake. Of course 😛

I used this recipe again but this time I filled my cake using an Argentinean dulce de leche. Simple but oh oh oh, out of this world.

If you’re using Dulce de Leche to fill to a cake, be sure to get a “repostero” one which is thicker and won’t melt in your cake. It’s a special Dulce de Leche for patisserie.

I covered it with this chocolate ganache and some chocolate sprinkles that I got at a Brazilian place where I bought everything to do brigadeiros… But that’s another story.

Since it was all lego themed, I played with some old duplos that we didn’t use and built some stuff for decor.

Then of course, my little kid has an Argentiniean mom so… Chipas and Empanadas were part of the menu! Get my chipa recipe here.

Some fast, almost last-minute signs for the food with brush lettering.

I used the same colors all the time, red, green and blue.

I found some lego figurines on Amazon that I added for his party favors and used a free template of a lego background, then used the same digitized calligraphy on top and that was the “card” for the party favors on paper bags.

Finally, I created a chalkboard sign (the night before!) for his cake table.

It was such a special moment for all of us! He had a great time with his buddies and I was as happy as I could be watching my kid grow to be 5 years old and enjoying so much his special day!

That’s it for this week folks! See you next week with no more birthday reviews for a while! Haha! Have fun!

a long time ago, marco turned 4 years old

Hi there!

For those of you who have been following the different facets of this blog, you know that I’ve posted in the past a lot of my cooking recipes and some of my motherhood experiences and all the things I create for my kid’s birthdays besides all my calligraphy adventures.

So today, I decided to do a #TBT to Marco’s 4th bday party which I hadn’t shared here.

First. let’s talk about the theme. My kid wants to be a Race Car Driver and he’s a totally fan of anything with a motor and wheels. So, there we went. A Hot Wheels celebration! 

I made him two cakes, one mini cake for home and one bigger to bring to his preschool. This time I tried an amazing chocolate cake that I found here. What I like the most  about this one is that it doesn’t have any coffee on it and -truth to be told- I think it’s a little bit easier than the most amazing chocolate cake I did the year before that.

It’s a very thin batter but no worries, it comes out so moist and soft… delicious! I filled the bigger cake with slices of organic strawberries and organic heavy whipping cream that I previously mixed with some organic powdered sugar (kind of a Chantilly cream) and a green food colorant.

For the decoration, I covered it with the same heavy whipping cream and I used a piece of black fondant to create kind of a route and the rocks where made out of chocolate! I got these here.

The smaller cake, I filled it with organic raspberries and this chocolate ganache. Out of this world. Love this combination!

I covered it with the black fondant, added some of the chocolate rocks and a Grave Digger Monster Truck (this is a Hot wheels party, remember, cars and monster trucks are allowed!)

I got some hot wheels cups and plates for the school party so we used three of those in our intimate celebration. I found this piece of black “chalkboard paper” at Target and it was a great addition to the decor! I used it as a route on our table.

I got to play with a simple hand-lettering using a chalk-board marker on the paper (this was June 2016, amazing how much my lettering has improved!).

I also did some small tags for the goody bags for his school. For these, I did use a straight pen-holder and nib.

Here’s how everything looked in the morning!

Black and white paper straws and the race flags picks were cute ideas to add and of course… balloons! I did the tassel garland with black crepe paper for a big white balloon that doesn’t appear in the pic!

Someone was super happy when he woke up to see this surprise!

Well, that’s it for this week. Next week, I’ll be sharing more about his 5th birthday! Stay tuned!

PS: You can also check when he turned 3 years for another kind of cars and trucks celebration and the 2 years bday party, when everything was about trains.

Baby announcement!

After a long time wishing for this baby to come, he/she will be finally coming to our lives April 1st, 2018!

We’re so happy and tremendously thankful for this blessing!

Or course, being a lettering nerd I wanted to incorporate something of my art to make his announcement and since it is Fall, the best way to do for me was lettering on pumpkins!

For this project I bought real pumpkins at my local grocery store, wipe them clean with a wet cloth and then I dried them with a paper towel.

I tried lettering first with my favorite Molotow marker but the texture didn’t make it very opaque. Same thing happened with the Sharpies Acrylic Water based.. They just didn’t stick plus they created like a rough coat in some patches (you can still see those in the “bebé” littlest pumpkin).

So at the end, the best marker for this project for me was the Chalk Ink Chalk Marker. It sticked, it was opaque and it didn’t create layers of ink leaving a rough look. So, Chalk Ink Marker… Approved!

Also, little detail but the chisel tip is always great to create the thin and thick lines and give it more of a faux calligraphy look.

Enjoy the fall season friends!

I love you more than milkshakes

Today I want to share something a lot more personal 🙂

For those of you who have followed me for the last 10 years or more on my blog (I’ve started blogging in 2005!) you might already know how deeply my life has changed since I became a mom.

Not only because of the obvious… Became a mom, but also, I quit my job, moved countries and 2 years later also moved coasts (from NY to SF) and in the middle of that whirlpool, I had to learn and apply a lot of strategies during the first months and I didn’t have a lot of help considering we had no family around or many friends and besides all of that I went through postpartum depression.

Oh boy, it wasn’t easy but I had an amazing support from my husband which helped infinitely. And I’ll continue to go on because in my present life, there are much more wonderful moments that fill my life with purpose and happiness than there are times of sadness.

This June, Marco turned 5 years old and I feel like he’s, of course, a big boy now. And before he starts Kindergarten this year and suddenly goes to college a few moments later (the days are long but the years go fast you know haha) so before all of that happens… I want to have something to remember this time in my life forever.

I always have in my mind this quote from Mary Poppins “a piece of beauty is a joy forever” and that’s how I thought that having some great photos would be an amazing way to capture these memories.

So I reached out to my favorite South Bay Photographer Quianna Marie Photography and I told her this idea that I wanted to have this photo shoot in an old fashioned diner that I’ve seen in Los Gatos, CA. 

For those who know me, the fact that I LOVE diners AND also milkshakes is not a surprise 😀

So today I want to share some of those pictures with you, my friends who have been always coming back to my blog to read some of my ideas; with those of you who have also shared with me the last 6 years of this crazy ride!

We were so lucky we found an old pick up truck just a block from the Diner! A great detail for this photo shoot!

Marco, My piece of beauty, my joy forever

<3

about last year and this week

Hi folks, weekly post here and today with more good news!

Last year I had the amazing opportunity to create some beautiful calligraphy pieces for the Styled Pop Up Series Workshop; by the way, if you’re a beginner lifestyle photographer or are curious about lifestyle photography, you need to check it out!

Welcome sign that I created for the workshop

 

Now this week, I have the joy to tell you that the Styled Pop Up Series has been PUBLISHED by Borrowed & Blue!

What an amazing opportunity that was!

modern calligraphy wedding invitation suite

 

I’m so happy that this Romantic Winery Styled Shoot’s wedding will be featured front and center on their San Francisco home page!

In love with this beautiful state that I call now home: California

 

Click in the image below to see all the pictures from this Styled Series Pop Up with an amazing winery theme wedding inspiration!

See you next week, friends!

– – – – – –

List of Vendors:
Photography: www.quiannamarie.com
Wedding Planner: www.theblubookevents.com

I’m back! are you still there?

Hi friends!

It’s been a while, I know. So many things happened since I’ve last wrote on this blog.

And everyday that goes by makes it a little bit more difficult to write again because… it feels that it’s been decades since I last posted something on the blog!

Anyway, in order to put an end to this “never-ending blog neurosis”,  I decided to just start by saying:

Hey, I’m back! Are you still there?

If so, I’m so happy that you’re reading this!

Also, since Valentine’s it’s just around the corner, I have a little something for you <3

A free Happy Galentine’s printable card.

Download it here and send it to your bestie! Because we all need those girl-friends that make our life much better!

Have a lovely week everyone!

 

¡mi primer ebook!

¡Hola a todos!

Hoy estoy muy feliz  de compartir con ustedes ¡mi primer e-book!

Se trata de una Guía Rápida para Expatriados en Estados Unidos completamente en español.

Esta guía nació de las preguntas que me han hecho tantas veces amigos y conocidos que estaban en proceso de mudanza a Estados Unidos y la idea de Victor -¡gracias Apitoú por todo el incentivo y hasta la ayuda con el diseño!- que me impulsó a crearla como un libro electrónico y así ayudar a mucha más gente en el proceso de mudanza a un nuevo país.

En la misma van a encontrar temas desde cómo saber en qué vecindario vivir hasta cómo hacer amigos en la nueva ciudad a la que te mudes. Contiene todos los enlaces (links) necesarios para conocer en profundidad cada tema.

Espero pueda ayudar a muchos más con esta guía completa y sencilla, como dice mi querida Aldana a quien también agradezco mucho por toda la ayuda con la edición y el prólogo tan bonito que escribió.

Amigos, por este mes celebrando y agradeciendo por este lindo proyecto, podrán descargar gratuitamente la guía aquí:

Guia Rapida Para Expatriados - Andrea Casa - Andrea Casals

 

Guía Rápida Para Expatriados – Andrea Casals

 

Enjoy it!

cute animals: baby fox

Today, I want to share some images of a little fox that I drew for a dear friend who is expecting a new baby.

baby fox final artprint copy

I used the illustration as an art-print but also on a onesie.

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Since I also enjoy sewing and creating things with my hands, I chose to use the same baby fox illustration as an embroidery.

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I drew this little fox thinking in this new baby that’s coming to a dear family of friends of mine and all that love made it an extra special and enjoyable project!

<3

marco’s 3rd birthday party: cars & trucks || fiesta de cumpleaños de marco: autos y camiones

LÉELO EN ESPAÑOL

So my “baby” is 3 years old now!

Wow! I still feel that the 1st year went super slowly, from that moment to the 2nd birthday it went a little bit faster but let me tell you… From his 2nd to this 3rd birthday time flew!

We are still new to San Jose, CA so we didn’t throw a party this year but still we decorated the house and prepare a special cake for him.

The theme for this celebration was: Cars and Trucks.

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I prepared everything the night before so he could wake up and find the surprise (that’s why the picture has no natural light!).

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I designed some silly signs for the juices and the cars.

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In case you like this idea, I’m giving away the free downloadable the Interstate 3 Sign file and also the Yellow Sign (this last one is in spanish).

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The wooden name-train from his 2nd birthday party was still useful for the table but I didn’t display the main engine.

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This little guy was so surprised in the morning when he found his “birthday table”…! The picture is terrible but that’s the best I could do at 6am!

The trucks candles from Wilton were great addition to the most amazing buttermilk “tire cake”.

Happy birthday my sweet boy! <3


ESPAÑOL

¡Mi “bebé” tiene 3 años!

Yo aún siento que su primer año de vida fue súper despacio; luego entre el primer año y los dos años fue un poquito más rápido pero entre los dos y los tres… ¡Guau! ¡El tiempo pasó volando!

Todavía somos nuevitos en San Jose, California como para hacer una fiesta de cumpleaños con invitados, así que decidimos celebrarlo entre nosotros solamente, decorar la casa y preparar una torta especial.

El tema de su cumpleaños fue: Autos y Camiones.

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Preparé toda la decoración la noche anterior para que Marco despertara con una linda sorpresa de su “mesa de cumpleaños”.

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Diseñé estos cartelitos graciosos para pegarlos a los jugos y a los autos.

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Si les gustó la idea, se los doy gratis para descargarlos e imprimirlos directamente. Los carteles amarillos en español lo descargan en este link Yellow Sign y los carteles de la Interestatal 3 genéricos que creé lo descargan en este link Interstate 3 Sign.

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El trencito de madera con su nombre de su fiesta de 2do cumpleaños me sirvió también para la mesa pero le quité la locomotora y el vagón trasero.

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Mi pequeñito estaba super feliz con su sorpresa! El camión de cartón y los autos porta-cupcakes son de la colección Construction Party de Meri-Meri.

Las velitas de camiones de Wilton fueron perfectas para la torta-cubierta ¡más deliciosa que jamás he hecho!

¡Feliz cumpleaños mi dulce y hermoso Totó!

why routines are good for my whole family • por qué las rutinas son buenas para toda mi familia

LÉELO EN ESPAÑOL

If you’ve been reading my blog, you might already know how creating a routine helped me with Marco. Today I want to share a little more about this.

When I used to work as a Children’s Psychologist at a Psychiatric Hospital in Buenos Aires, I had patients with very severe pathologies. During that experience, I really learned the extreme importance of creating and keeping a routine and how this helped kids -families and professionals- to go through their days the best they could.

But then, in the private practice with adults patients (not severe pathologies as in the hospital), I also noticed that, at the end, we all benefit when we have a routine (even-though there were some important differences like the rigidity and exact repetition).

Since this blog is not about my Psychologist’s experience but my parenting’s, I’m not going to expand on the explanation, but just think about how routine affects us, i.e. how many times we say something like “I don’t start my day until I have my coffee” or things like that?!

“If you spend your entire work day mastering new tasks, you appreciate your regular coffee breaks” (Dr. Karp)

The issue is that when we have a new baby at home, the routine that we used to have… is gone and we try to do all the tasks that we have to do whenever we can do them, even without a schedule.

But friends, routine can be our ally!

In my experience, routine was useful for:

  • having less meltdowns during the day
  • less drama when changing from one activity to another (specially on that 1-2yr stage)
  • bedtime got easier
  • soothing him when an unexpected situation was present (specially when moving, this is our 4th new place!)

Now, let’s be honest. We don’t have the same activities during the day, neither the same time and that’s fine. Let’s embrace our differences 🙂

Each family has its own rhythm but, we all can create routines according to our own rhythm! We can all organize our day so it’s easier to navigate thru and not ending the day stressful, tired.. exhausted. You might see it now, not having a routine affects everyone in the family 🙂

That’s why, for me and in my experience, it’s important to create a routine, a schedule that fits our own time. Because at the end… Happy parents help to have happy kids 🙂

*There’re tons of books about the importance of routines, but my favorites are still Dr. Karp’s books (“The Happiest Baby on the Block” and “The Happiest Toddler on the Block”)


ESPAÑOL

Si siguen mi blog, ya sabrán cómo el establecer una rutina en el día me ayudó en la crianza de Marco. Ahora quiero contarles un poquito más acerca de las rutinas.

Cuando trabajaba como Psicóloga con Niños con patologías severas en un Hospital de Buenos Aires, aprendí la extrema importancia que tenía la rutina en la vida de esos pacientes (incluso para sus familias y para los profesionales). Pero después, trabajando con adultos en la práctica privada, me daba cuenta que a pesar de algunas diferencias -principalmente en la rigidez y repetición exacta- al final es a todos que nos hace bien tener una rutina.

No voy a explayarme aquí acerca del tema porque esto no es mi blog como psicóloga sino de mi etapa de mamá, pero si quieren piensen en todas aquellas cosas que hacemos que ya están casi “naturalizadas” y que nos hacen emprender nuestras actividades. Piensa en las frases como “hasta que no tome mi café/mate no arranco la mañana” por ejemplo.

El tema es que cuando nace un bebé, la rutina que teníamos… desaparece y empezamos a tratar de hacer las actividades que tenemos que hacer cuando podemos hacerlas, ya sin llevar un orden o ritmo a veces… “tapando agujeros“.

¡Pero la rutina puede ser una gran aliada! En mi caso y experienca, encontré que el hecho de tener una rutina nos ayudó a que:

  • hayan muchas menos rabietas/berrinches
  • la hora de ir a dormir sea más fácil
  • pasar de una actividad a otra sea algo más llevadero, con mayor fluidez y menos stress (sobretodo en la etapa entre 1 y 2 años)
  • pueda estar tranquilo durante una situación inesperada (por ejemplo en nuestro caso, mudanzas… éste es nuestro 4to hogar)

Ahora, es bueno que nos sinceremos. No todos tenemos las mismas actividades ni horarios y eso está bien porque cada familia tiene su propio ritmo. Pero todas las familias tienen un ritmo con el que puede ordenarse… Sea que en mi casa se cene a las 6pm o en la tuya a las 9pm, todos podemos organizar nuestro día para que sea todo más fácil de llevar y no terminemos exhaustos, cansados, agotados al final de la jornada. Tal vez puedas ver ahora cómo no tener una rutina afecta a todos  en la familia 🙂

Por eso, para mí y en mi experiencia, es importante crear una rutina, la que sea más acorde a los tiempos de nuestra familia. Porque al final de cuentas, padres felices… ayudan a que haya niños felices 🙂

*Hay muchísima bibliografía acerca de la importancia de las rutinas en el desarrollo de los niños, pero mis libros preferidos siguen siendo “The Happiest Baby on the Block (El bebé más feliz del barrio)” y “What To Expect: The Toddler Years

introducing: summer deliciousness

In the last weeks, I’ve been studying a little bit about creating patterns and today I want to share with you a new product that I have for sale: scarves! (a *must* for our Northern California weather!)

The illustration is a simple line drawing inspired in the summer deliciousness: cherries & strawberries.

It’s available for sale here.

Soon, it will also be available as a fabric, wall or gift paper here.

*I’d love to have your feedback on this! Feel free to leave your comment below!

We have a winner!

Congratulations

Thank you everyone for participating in this special giveaway! I deeply appreciate your support, it means a lot to me 🙂

Congratulations to @diegosubovsky who won this cute art-print from a list of 201 participants! I’ll send you a PM to send you your prize.

Thanks everyone! Have a great week and a very happy Mother’s Day!

andreacomenta

 

more about soothing a baby • más acerca de calmar a un bebé

LÉELO EN ESPAÑOL

I learnt how to swaddle my newborn baby at the Brooklyn Hospital and I have to say that it was a very useful technique during Marco’s first months.

This technique helps them to soothe, not to be disturbed or interrup their sleep because of their reflex movements and even gets them the cozy and warm feeling that they used to have when they were in the womb.

There are a lot of videos and guides on how to do it properly.

I often recommend to my friends the book The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp -there are some videos available online– where you can learn a little bit about his amazing technique on how to soothe a fussy baby using swaddling, shh (white noise), side/stomach position, swinging and sucking.

I used to swaddle Marco until he was about 2 months but the truth is I should done it for more time!

Did you read Dr. Karp’s book or used his technique? I’d love to know your experience!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Holding my newborn Marco @ The Brooklyn Hospital, NY


ESPAÑOL

Algo que me enseñaron en el Hospital de Brooklyn y me fue muy útil durante las primeras semanas de vida de Marco, es la técnica para envolver a un bebé: swaddling.

El envolverlos de ese modo con una manta ligera los ayuda a calmarse, a no despertar por sus propios movimientos reflejos e incluso les da una sensación de seguridad similar a la que tenían cuando estaban en el útero.

Hay videos y guías de cómo hacerlo correctamente paso a paso.

Si aún no lo conocen, les recomiendo leer el libro El Bebé Más Feliz del Dr. Harvey Karp -hay algunos videos online pero con subtítulos en portugués- donde pueden aprender de su técnica que es casi mágica para calmar a un bebé: el cual incluye envolver al bebé, el ruido blanco, la posición en la que ponerlo, el movimiento y, obviamente, la succión.

Yo solía envolver a Marco hasta que tuvo como 2 meses pero la verdad es que ¡debí haberla recordado y usado mucho más!

¿Has leído alguno de los libros del Dr. Karp? 

DIY gift wrapping paper

For this DIY gift-wrapping paper, you just need some markers -I use microns from Sakura and a calligraphy pen- and plain paper.

I had to prepare two very special gifts so for the first one, I chose a Beatles song lyric.

I started writing a phrase in the center of the paper and after that, I completed the empty spaces using different hand-styles and sizes of the lettering.

IMG_4270_2“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

Then, I just used it as a regular gift-wrapping paper.

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Another option that I like to create a special paper from a plain white paper is to draw botanicals on it.

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Finally, I added the name of the person who was going to receive the gift using a calligraphy pen.

IMG_4281_2Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers.

Calligraphy pens and markers are always a good idea. They add a special touch to your everyday lettering even when you don’t know much about calligraphy. I encourage you to try it!

Here’s another DIY gift wrapping paper idea. 

best advice on routines and kids • el mejor consejo acerca de las rutinas y los niños

Hello fellow moms! Today I want to share with you the best advice that our doctor in New York gave us about routines and kids.

“The routine can be broken by you, not by your kid”

The advice was great for us. Let me give you an example. Each time that we have family visiting us (most of them live abroad or in other cities around the US), we -as parents- decide that we can break the routine.

IMG_6429My mom and Marco around Brooklyn, NY

This means that Marco doesn’t go to sleep at 7pm as usual, naps are on “on the go” and sometimes he even doesn’t attend preschool. But… In those days, he gains an amazing time with his extended family, his life becomes richer with new experiences and lots of love and fun.

IMG_1693Marco wearing pajamas and playing at Goofy’s House in Disneyland at 8.30pm. No routine while at Disneyland!

So, how do we manage those days when Marco decides he doesn’t want to go to sleep at 7pm?  We continue to take him to his bed, with love and patience, how many times as needed, because mommy says… It’s time to sleep.

See you on the next post!

ESPAÑOL

¡Hola amigas y mamás de la web! Hoy quiero compartir el mejor consejo que me dio una vez una doctora en Nueva York acerca de las rutinas.

“Sólo tú puedes romper las rutinas, tu niño no”

Ese consejo fue muy bueno para nosotros. Les cuento un ejemplo. Cada vez que tenemos familiares de visita -nuestra familia vive en otras ciudades de USA, Argentina y Venezuela- nosotros como padres decidimos que podemos romper la rutina.

Eso significa que Marco no se va a dormir a las 7pm como es habitual, las siestas son “donde sean y como sean” (cochecito, en el auto andando, etc.) e incluso hay veces que no va a su escuelita. Pero, en esos días él gana un tiempo increíble compartido con familia; su vida se enriquece con nuevas experiencias llenas de amor y diversión.

Yo como mamá, puedo romper la rutina y el hecho de que sólo nosotros los padres podamos hacerlo también hace más fácil el volver a adaptarnos cuando las visitas se van y tenemos que volver a la vida cotidiana.

IMG_1801¡Las vacaciones en Disneyland merecen romper la rutina y disfrutar todo lo que se pueda!

Entonces ¿cómo hacemos cuando Marco en un día cualquiera decide que no quiere dormir a las 7pm aunque hayamos hecho toda la rutina para ir a dormir?

Lo seguimos llevando a su cama, con amor y paciencia, las veces que sea necesario, porque mami dice… Es hora de dormir.

¡Hasta la próxima!