#MyTownProud: The Small Town Artist That Inspired Me the Most

This content is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund’s America’s Farmers Community Outreach programs, but views and thoughts are my own.

What makes you #MyTownProud? Before I moved to New England and found my small town, I got inspiration from where I'm from, and how it has helped my art. #ad

I admit that there was a period of time in my early 20’s in which I thought I wanted to live in NYC.

Now, I can’t believe I ever sought that life because I’m a country girl through and through, and I’ve been that way probably my whole life. It’s true that I lived in San Francisco for a short spell in the mid-2000’s, but that was a chance of a lifetime and an experiment. It didn’t last long, and soon I gave up living in a MIDDLE apartment in Golden Gate Park – sandwiched between, below, and above some loud neighbors – and traded it in for a New England town without its own stoplight.

This is where I find peace, and this is where my words and my art are the most inspired. It’s no surprise to me that I wound up living in a clearing in the woods on four acres, because I get it all from my mom! As a kid, we lived on top of a mountain and surrounded by cornfields. I always thought we had the best of everything. We had the dimension and the beauty of the elevation, but we were also on a place filled with crops and wildlife. My mom’s dream was always to own horses, and once she reached that dream, her dream was to own her own horse FARM, and she fulfilled that dream when I was an adult.

I’ve loved seeing it unfold.

My mom is an artist/art teacher, and her father was an artist too. As a writer and a photographer, I certainly relate to so many parts of her – her humor and quirks, the way she translates her hopes and dreams into visual creations, and the way she is at one with nature. We are both small town women, probably more so than anyone else in our family. I’m proud to be from a small town, and to have been inspired to be an artist – like my mom and my grandfather. Their art is in galleries.

Before I was born, my mom was an art teacher in the public schools. After she gave birth to my sister and then me, she had the foresight and inspiration to start an art school right out of her home. When we moved in with my dad and new siblings after she got re-married, my dad helped her create an even bigger art school in our new house. The business was and still is called Art Magic, and its existence is the only life I’ve ever known. When we moved to Blairstown, NJ about 15 years ago, my parents set down their small town roots and let them spread. They own a horse farm, and my mom is a curator/exhibitor at the town’s local art gallery on Main Street. You can’t go for a walk down Main Street without seeing a familiar face.

I used to joke that it was straight out of a movie, or a western. I’m #MyTownProud to be a part of this life.

My mom makes dioramas/dreamscapes. They involve a lengthy process that begins with her original pen and ink drawings. Then, her drawings are photographically reproduced and reduced in size. She takes the new drawings and dry mounts them to boards. Then she cuts them out and layers on colors with translucent films. The final product is a three-dimensional box – a juxtaposition of cultures, worlds, and images – intended to portray time as the past, present, and future as one event.

What I love is how receptive the town is to her art. She’s found a niche in a wonderful community.

Not long after we moved to Blairstown, the small town had an Arts & Local Business Night. All of the local businesses opened their doors and served food and drinks. It was warm and welcoming, and VERY country. I loved seeing residents ride horses down the street and then “park them” to go out to dinner. That’s when I knew we had found “home.” A forever home.

And THESE are the people you’ll find in small towns – full of love, warmth, inspiration, and complexity. Their stories have layers, and it’s so rewarding to find out how they came to do what they do, and how they came to live where they live.

What makes you #MyTownProud? Before I moved to New England and found my small town, I got inspiration from where I'm from, and how it has helped my art. #ad

I’m so proud to be from a small town, and to live in this rural setting I enjoy every day now. What I love is that The Monsanto Fund celebrates these amazing communities, and helps to make them even more vibrant for future generations through America’s Farmers Community Outreach. These America’s Farmers programs, sponsored by The Monsanto Fund, help put the farmer in the center of the story. In America’s rural communities, farmers not only provide food and fuel, but they are pivotal characters in their communities. They often serve as the backbone of the areas in which they live – like here. Through the Grow Communities, Grow Rural Education and Grow Ag Leaders programs, The Monsanto Fund celebrates the accomplishments throughout communities with grants to help them continue to grow and thrive. A new campaign sponsored by the programs called My Town will continue this celebration of the people, places and stories that make small towns great.

They do this with the help of local farmers.

Why are you #MyTownProud? Share your own why on social media with the #MyTownProud hashtag! Connect with America’s Farmers on their website, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and share your stories in those places!

Are you an artist? Can you think of a particular artist you love in your town?

AMAZING Lighting: Sogni Di Cristallo Vintage Collection


This is a collaborative post with Sogni Di Cristallo.

Be thoroughly impressed by Sogni Di Cristallo's Vintage Collection lighting. Find out more about this glass making #ad #SogniDiCristallo #VintageCollection

Many of you may know this, but Cassidy is a HUGE lighting guy.

I have no doubt that he could do it for a living. He did an incredible job lighting our own wedding! Let that sink in. He lit the wedding tent at our venue. He also bought projectors to shine moose and wolf images on the tent!

This summer/fall, we will be renovating our house. This is pretty BIG news. It’s been a life dream for so long. We have felt lately that we could use some improvements – like more space and more rooms, plus an updated bathroom with a jacuzzi. At first we went to open houses, but even the nicest houses had us saying, “Well, it’s nice but what makes it better than what we already have?” What we have is awesome! We have an A-frame ski lodge of a home and four gorgeous acres. The chicken coop is brand new (as in not even a week lived in) and the fruit and vegetable gardens are popping up like crazy.

Why leave this?

We have now gone through the process of hiring an architect, and then having contractors put out a bid. We are so happy to have found someone. I can’t wait to talk more about it on the blog and provide photos and updates. It should be an interesting process. We’ll be displaced a lot, and then probably happier than ever here. That said, now that we have found something we like, the next process is to pick out all new fixtures and fittings, as well as LIGHTING. Last week I came across Sogni Di Cristallo on an online search, and I can’t stop looking! It made me appreciate all of the attention to detail.

Based in Venice Italy, Sogni Di Cristallo is a leader in the online sales of chandeliers in artistic Murano glass – exclusively handmade according to the ancient technique of master glassmakers. Right now, they have exceeded 10,000 online sales in more than 50 countries, but mainly in the European Union and the US. And we have to talk about the craftsmanship!

The Vintage Collection: a Murano Mid-Century Dream – combines traditional craftsmanship with modern detailing. This new collection of Murano lighting is a repetition of shiny elements made of the finest glass. It’s completely mesmerizing! The Fellini chandelier is a great combination between between elegant and contemporary mood.

One of my favorites, the “Fiordaliso” chandelier is more classic and feminine, with curved glass leaves.


The Mastroianni chandelier is a stand out – taking advantage of a cascade of prisms for a sensational light effect.

The Crono model has a more stylish and plain style, but is still so gorgeous!

All of the chandeliers in this collection are characterized by a modular structure that allows for combining models with different shapes and sizes, according to customer requirements. Each item has a certificate of authenticity – 100% Made in Venice, Italy! All I know is I’d have a hard time choosing just one.

Which chandelier is your favorite?