The Things We Make Ourselves Believe…(And Some Fun Videos ;))

Curious fact about me: during my first 4 years in University, (between travels and also an almost full time job, it took me more than the usual 4 years to get my BFA…but that’s another story) I was not only studying fine art but also classical guitar (I haven’t played for about 12 years….except for a few weeks I attempted to re take it last year -but that’s also another story-).

I got to a point when I would practice guitar 4-6 hours every day, Monday through Sunday; there was a lot of repetition involved when working on the assigned pieces for the semester and sometimes it would happen that I would loose concentration during my practice, and I would rush through a certain passage, making mistakes, and repeating the same mistake over and over, instead of slowing down and trying to get it right from the beginning. The problem with this, my teacher would say, is that it takes you “x”amount more of times to un-learn the mistake, than it took you to learn it (I don’t remember the amount of times now, maybe twice as much? maybe three times?). If you repeated a mistake 3 times, it will take you 6 or 9 times of doing it correctly to “erase” that mistake from your head and from your muscle memory. Crazy huh?  I remember it being very true, it took indeed, a lot of concentration and correct repetition to stop making a mistake I’ve made a few times. At least for me it did.

Last week we got A LOT of snow, at least for the Outer Banks. It was so much fun, everybody was so excited, snowboarding in the dunes, making snow men, all kinds of fun stuff. The third day after it had snowed, with a group of friends, we went sledding in this little hill, early in the morning, before everything started melting.

We didn’t have a sled, just half a surfboard, ha! The owner of the half board is my friend Jodi, who is a surfer, like  many people around here, so after a couple of sitting down rides down the small hill, the next challenge was, of course, standing up and “surf” the hill. She successfully completed a run in her second attempt, so did the other 3 people that were with us, but I never got a complete run,even after many attempts. I had sooo much fun that day, but later at home, it bothered me a little to think of the reasons why I thought I couldn’t complete a run; every time I was going down the hill I would loose focus and doubt that I could make it all the way and I would sabotage “me”, even if I was not really loosing balance I would get scared of what I was doing and jump out. When I was little I was definitely not athletic, my family is also not athletic at all. I remember hearing a lot of “don’t run, you’re going to fall”, “don’t climb that tree, you’re going to hurt yourself!’ ,”don’t run, you’re going to get asthma”, etc, etc, etc; don’t get me wrong, I was still a kid and I sure did run, and climbed trees and played and played and played, but I think I did end up loosing trust in my ability to do certain physical activities. I still sometimes struggle a little bit trying to “deprogram” myself to start believing again, I was reminded of this the other day at that hill with the snow.

In an attempt to “reprogram” myself, I started taking swimming lessons at age 20 (yes, I could be in the ocean and float, but at age of 20, I did not know how to properly swim!), and started signing up for basketball, volleyball and every sport class I could sign up for in college, and actually enjoyed it a lot! After about 15 years of actively trying to reshape my self image regarding my physical abilities for sport, I would say I have almost come to terms with what my athletic “limitations” are, after all, I’m more of a yoga kind of girl (which also requires me to truly believe that I can do certain things -hello hand stands!-, at least the “going at your own pace” philosophy is encouraged), but the “hill surfing” episode really reminded me of how important it is to positively program our brains with the “YES I CAN!”.  If you tell yourself too often that you CAN’T do something, watch out, you might need to tell yourself the opposite, times 2 or 3, to believe that YOU, in fact, CAN!

For your amusement, let me share my 2 seconds when I said: “YES I CAN!” only to be followed by: “Oh shoot, no I don’t! (ha!)

Yesterday, enjoying the last bit of snow on the beach :) #obxsnowfun #beachsnow #lovesnow

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“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Chose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson

And just for the fun of sharing, this was me, early last year, trying to return to my guitar studies, starting again from the basics. Sadly I stopped practicing not too long after I filmed this, but there’s always hope that I will start again.

And I guess I want to close this post by saying: YES YOU CAN! Yeeww! ;)

2013: What a Wonderful Year! (In Images)

I was trying to write this post…it had been 3 days, and I was not even close to finishing, so I decided, I’ll let the images do the talking, and I’ll show you, with images -and a tiny bit of text-, why 2013 was a wonderful year!

I know we are 1 month into the new year, but I guess it is never too late to recap and be thankful for everything 2013 was, so, here it goes (you can click on the images to see them bigger):

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In 2013 we got to travel to Holland, Canary Islands and Morocco, getting to do all this traveling with my husband is a dream come true :). In Holland we got to stay with my dutch “sister”, Noemi and my nephew Móan, and they got to meet my husband Brian. I love her, I love the Netherlands and we loved staying with them (she’s got the most comfortable guest bed ever!! I love european comforters too…it’s like sleeping in a cloud, I swear! -that’s what it feels like to me anyway-)

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This year that past I participated in a total of 20 art festivals, including 2 in Costa Rica, I got to experiment which ones are a better fit for my art and I’m so happy that I got to test them and figure that out. There’s always going to be some “fine tuning” needed every year, but I definitely got to get a feel for different kinds of festivals.

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I became and aunt in 2013!! :D I got to meet my nephew in May 2013, when he was only 2 months old, and got to see him again, and play and cuddle him so much in December. He’s so much fun now at 10 months old, so playful and smart. I’m in love.

SoldArt

These are some of the original pieces I sold in 2013, some were quite small, but there were a few of the big ones too ;). Selling original art is not necessarily easy, so I’m really grateful for last year’s outcome.

All Assignements

I went back to school! (online school that is) and signed up for some amazing classes, including “Make Art that Sells” taught by Lilla Rogers and the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, taught by surface designer Rachel Taylor (now Davis). Both classes included Facebook groups for the participants, and both the classes and the interaction with my virtual classmates have been life changing for me as an artist. These images are the designs I produced for Lilla Rogers class.

 

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I’ve been in the Outer Banks for 2.5 years now and I feel lucky for the friends I’ve made here. I also feel lucky that I get to have nice times with my new friends here in the Outer Banks and that I get to go and spend the holidays with my family in Costa Rica and see my friends over there as well. This was the case in 2013. Is the best of two worlds.

I could go on, because there’s definitely more…but I think you get an idea. 2013 was a great, great year!

 

Two Years Ago

Last week, on August 21st, my husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. We had our wedding just 3 weeks after we got engaged.

If this is the first post you read in my blog, I’m originally from Costa Rica.  I was visiting my then “boyfriend” Brian here in the Outer Banks of NC for the summer, and he proposed just a couple of weeks before I was supposed to fly back to Costa Rica.  Since we did not want to be apart while going through the immigration process that was ahead of us, in order for me to legally reside in the U.S, the easiest thing to do was to get married here and get the paperwork started right away.

We had already done the back and forth thing for about 10 months while dating (plus 4 moths of daily emails, chats, phone calls and video chats, before we met in person the first time. Yes, we met on the internet! :) ); Brian had come to visit me twice, the second time for a whole 3 months, and this was my first time coming to visit, for 3 months. When the time for me to go back home came close, I could have not been more sure that I just wanted to be with him forever. …and so was he! And so, on August 21st, 2011, after mere 3 weeks of planning, we had put together what is still, in my eyes (I’m biassed of course), the most beautiful wedding…ever! (again, I’m biassed!) and on a super budget, which I am, to this day, super proud of as well. We wanted it to be a budget wedding because we wanted to have another wedding in Costa Rica for my family -three weeks was just very short notice for them to arrange a trip to the U.S- My dad and grandparents got to see the wedding through Skype though!

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We did a sand ceremony, my husband collects sand, so he had sand from CR from one of the trips when he came to visit and we mixed it with Outer Banks’ sand: “The two separate bottles of sand symbolize your separate
lives, separate families and separate sets of friends. They represent all that you are and all that you’ll ever be as an
individual. They also represent your lives before today. As these two containers of sand are poured into the third
container, the individual containers of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one. Just as these grains
of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will your marriage be.”

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We had the ceremony on the beach, a few streets from our house.  I modified a super simple beach dress and made it into my wedding dress and made some flower crowns for my hair and our “ring girls”. I bought different things from the dollar store and turned them into our center pieces. The cake? a bunch of brownies on a cake tower. The cake tower? I made it, dollar store stuff and super glue. The cake figurines? I made them: a photo of each of our faces, a sketch book, photoshop and some humor did the trick. Guest book? A 16 x 20 collage of some of our photos, printed on thick glossy paper, mounted on board, placed on my painting easel and a sharpie for people to sign it. DJ? No such thing, just my husband’s iPod, placed on speakers and a few hours of music from a playlist that I had carefully put together over several days (I think that was one of the things that took me longer to prepare!). Decoration? Christmas lights, Chinese lamps and the center pieces that I mentioned above on our backyard. We rented tables, chairs, and a small pedestal for the ceremony. Hair? my sister in law :) make up? Moi. No hair test, no wedding rehearsal. The food for the reception was from some delicious local place.

Brian setting up the Christmas lights a few days before the wedding.

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Our cake figurines :). I have a painting palette in my hand and Brian has a surfboard in his.

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The cake tower made with dollar store plates and glasses (and super glue!)

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The guestbook.

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The day of the wedding I got up early to hang the Chinese lamps and get the tables ready and decorated. I had it all done in about 2 hours, went in the house to work on some details and then I heard the rain pouring. It was sunny and beautiful just a few minutes before and I did not take the 30% chance of rain forecast seriously. Well, it poured for about 5 minutes. We rescued the table cloths and center pieces but the lamps were soaked, they were already hanged, I could not really take them down easily. The sun started shinning again soon after and everything got dried pretty easy. I guess the only “damage” was that the rain washed a little bit of the lamps color off. I don’t think anybody noticed.

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The rain got us again by the end of the night, but we continued dancing under the food tent. It was a fantastic wedding. The wedding of my dreams I would say :) and the start of what has been a pretty “idyllic” life…I guess when you really want something, do ask the “universe” , cause it does seem to listen :)

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Dancing in the tent after the rain got us.

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And I said yes!…(again)

Two nights ago, my husband Brian and I had an “engagement day” celebration. It’s not an “official” anniversary, but it marks the day that we got engaged so we had a little celebration. Two years ago, on July 27th, 2011, he popped the question and I think is was one of the moments of most intense joy I have felt in my life.

As I described it to a friend the day after, I felt like Elinor Dashwood (Emma Thomson) in Sense and Sensibility, yes, I’ll say it and I’ll own it, and I don’t care if it is the cheesiest thing in the world, that’s how I felt and it felt wonderful! I remember watching the movie so many times in the past (it is one of those movies, along with Pride and Prejudice -oh yes, Jane Austin, gotta love that girl- that I have watched so many times and can watch another million times, if it’s on) and just crying and secretly dreaming that something like that would happen to me.

You see, I don’t think that I admitted, until I was about 30, that I really wanted to get married and that I wanted the whole cheesy-make-me-cry-of-happines kind of proposal, along with an emotionally charged wedding (a fancy, expensive wedding was never in my mind, in my eyes, my husband and I had the most amazing weddings -yes, we had two weddings -stay tuned for that story next month!- and they were possibly the most budget weddings you could imagine.  After googling: “how much does the average wedding cost?” I can tell you that both of our weddings cost about a sixth of what the average wedding cost….and I’ll say it again, they were wonderful! -once again, stay tuned to see pictures of the wonderful weddings next month ;) )

Many of my friends are artists, musicians, writers, the “bohemian” type if you want to “label” it (and I love them all!), and so, the whole getting married thing was considered quite old fashioned I guess, unnecessary. Several of those friends have been in relationships for a while now, several of them have been living with their partners for a while too, some of them have kids, and yet, no marriages. I thought I saw getting married that way as well, specially when for the longest time I found it very, very difficult to find a partner. Then I realized I just felt like I “had” to see marriage “that way”, but being completely honest with myself, I wanted the whole “thang”, proposal, wedding, to say my vows, to say I do. …and oh boy, have I loved every minute after saying that “yes”.

I’m so, so glad that I dared to listen to “my heart”, and to accept what I really wanted in my life, despite of what I thought people “like me” (artist, bohemian, a tad rebellious ,independent, a little bit of a “hippie”?) are “supposed” to go for. I guess, after all, that’s my rebellious side showing.

So, two nights ago, before we went for dinner, my husband actually proposed again…after rambling for about 5 minutes about what had been great about this past 2 years , he said: “and I would do it again”, and I said: “huh”? ,and he pulled a ring out of his pants pockets, and he said: ” I would ask you to marry me again”… my eyes watered and couldn’t help but thinking that that was the sweetest thing he could have done that night. The ring was absolutely beautiful, but it was not that, it was him, telling me, once again, that I was the one.

And I said yes…again!

Two years ago, right after Brian's proposal.

Two years ago, right after Brian’s proposal.

Two nights ago, after the second "proposal" ;)

Two nights ago, after the second “proposal” ;)

Two nights ago, after the second "proposal" ;)

Two nights ago, after the second “proposal” ;)

It can’t be all about work.

This last week I made a “summer resolution”.  We live in a touristic place, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a beautiful peninsula and islands filled with beaches, dunes and lighthouses. I love it. You can imagine the amount of visitors we get every high season and the amount of work there is here during the summer. We work like crazy, most of us 7 days a week.

Most people still find time to play, go to the beach, surf when there’s a tiny bit of waves (pretty scarce during this time of the year, thankfully! otherwise work wouldn’t get done!) but my husband and I realized that we were not really finding that much time for just “hanging out”, specially just the two of us. I came to the realization that even though he works his “derriere” off, I was the one so immerse in my art, that I wouldn’t want to stop what I was doing until it was time for bed, often times, until it was past bed time. Here’s the thing, I LOVE what I do and this year specially, I have been learning some new things, taking a lot of online classes and building up my art skills “repertoire”; it’s really hard to try to measure out how much “work” I do in a day, I really just want to keep going and going.

As much as I love what I do, there’s definitely something I love more, yes, my husband. I don’t think I could be doing what I’m doing, with the intensity that I’m doing it, without his support.

So, this summer’s resolution is: making time to “hang out”.  There will be days before a show when I will probably be working right up until bed time, but I have decided that on “regular” days, I will stop what I’m doing at a certain time and in a “guilt free” mode, enjoy the late afternoon/evening just winding down and hanging out with my husband or friends. So far it’s been pretty good. If I tell myself at the beginning of the day that I’m finishing at a certain time, it’s like I’m programming my brain to find a “conclusion” to whatever task I’m doing at around that time (meaning: I might not be done with the painting, or the pattern, or the online class exercise, but I’m done for that day, I can always continue where I left it the following day) and I don’t feel like I’m stopping “in the middle of”.  I usually take several days to complete a painting, so, even if I am in a “don’t-stop-til-you’re-falling-a-sleep” mode, I will often go to bed without finishing a piece, so, it is not that tragic if I stop before I “can’t keep going”, I’ve actually found that it is rather relaxing.

Brian and I make some time for "hanging out" at Surfin' Spoon Frozen Yogurt Bar after a hard working day! :)

Brian and I make some time for “hanging out” at Surfin’ Spoon Frozen Yogurt Bar after a hard working day! :)

I forgot to mention: we work like crazy during the summer (spring and fall as well, pretty much), we travel in the winter. The tourists are gone, the town “dies”, half the place closes down and a large percentage of the people goes traveling to warmer places and/ or places with waves. But even if we are lucky to be able to take that time off, the intensity of work right now can be quite overwhelming.  It can’t be all about work; some “us” time is always “oh” so needed and “oh” so necessary.

...and even if we still find it hard to "hang out" during the summer, there's always a winter of traveling coming up :) .Some pictures from last winter's trips.

…and even if we still find it hard to “hang out” during the summer, there’s always a winter of traveling coming up :) .Some pictures from last winter’s trips.

For those of you that work at home: do you find it hard to “clock out”? I would love to hear!

Remembering Mom.

Last June 30th, three years ago, my mom passed away. She had been sick for a long time, had undergone 4 major surgeries to remove all kinds of tumors growing inside her body and had gone through 2 chemotherapy treatments. She was a champion. She was always happy. I swear she did not look sick until the week she died. Her wake was so full of people, it was insane, from 5 pm to 2 in the morning people just kept coming and coming. The day she passed was so surreal for me. She literally died in my arms. We were at home, no nurses, no machines, this is how amazing she was. She was dying that day, and yet there she was, having an Ensure stick “ice cream” that my dad had made for her, in her bed and just wanting me to help her up to wash her face and teeth to “get it together” -according to her words- . As I was helping her up she started passing. This was quite traumatic for a while, I kept having all these questions, “was she conscious?”, “was she in pain?”, “could she see me crying, calling the ambulance?”, “was it my fault?” I seriously thought for the first hours after she was gone, that the fact that I tried to help her stand up when she was so weak, had been the cause of her death. The ambulance people tried to reassure me, then the palliative care people (yes, I had to call them, I had to ask them several questions to try to understand what had happened), then the pathologist. I finally understood it had not been my fault, when he told us, after the autopsy, that all her organs had basically “collapsed”. It was time for her to go. She was dying for who knows how long and she looked so great that she just had us all fooled. She was a champion and I miss her so deeply. She didn’t get to be at my wedding and oh boy, did she dream about seeing that. When I used to tell her “mom, I just don’t know if I’m meant to get married”, she would say: “don’t worry, I got it!” and she would point up, meaning, she was praying for my husband. I’m not a religious person, but I’m definitely spiritual. To this day I like to think that my husband is the answer to my mom’s prayers. I had met him roughly ten days before she passed. I had not told her about him yet, even thought I could already feel there was something really special about “this guy”. I would usually confide in her everything right away but this time, feeling that “this guy” was something else, I wanted to wait and tell her when I was completely sure that it was “for real”. She would have loved him so much. I can just picture her hugging him and spoiling him with food (that was her way of saying I love you…making sure you were never hungry! :) ) So many things happen all the time when I just feel that urge to grab the phone and tell her about it. So many times I just think “oh, mom would love to see this!” and then just feel that thing in my heart because I can’t call her anymore… I miss her so. I miss her more every day that goes by (if you have lost someone really close to you, you understand what I’m talking about, you learn to “tolerate” their absence, but everyday that passes, is one more accumulated day without seeing them!! it’s so exasperating and painful!). I used to dream about her often and in my dreams, I always felt like if I had been given another chance to be with her one more time, but I always had the realization, while dreaming, that she was not alive anymore, and that she was just going to be gone again any second. One time I think I even got mad at her during a dream. I think I told her that I loved to see her very much, but knowing that she was not “really” there, was just too painful. I think I actually told her “I don’t want to dream about you anymore”. Ouch. I’m so glad she didn’t listen to me. She was in my dreams again, a couple of nights ago. I just wish I could get that annoying realization off my head and just enjoy the times I still have with her in my dreams.

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Intention: The Universe is a People Pleaser

This blog post is in support of a new book by Michelle Ward and Jessica Swift called The Declaration of You. The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more — and join us! — by clicking here.

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Thinking about the word “intention”, I guess I realized that I had unknowingly set intentions for my life since I was about 9 years old. How crazy it is that we naturally have this ability of following steps that could lead us to fulfill our wildest dreams and yet we constantly doubt ourselves and/or forget that we are capable of this.

I learned a few years ago that to set an intention, I must really be ready for something to happen. I remember wanting something (very specifically, a partner in life, a husband :) ), but being so comfortable with my single life, in my pretty little apartment, I never really asked for it, meaning, I never said or wrote, specifically: “This is what I want”.  One day I wrote down in a little notebook what I wanted. For the first time I wrote down exactly what I desired and I wrote 5 characteristics that were a “must” in that partner in life of mine that I was reaching out to “the universe” for. I thought about it real well, I felt an “I’m ready for this ‘fo’ rizzle‘ ” in my guts and closed my notebook and really did forget about it. A few months later I met this “guy” who a little bit over a year later became my aaawesome husband. Yeyy. Sometime before we married, I found my notebook that had been forgotten in a drawer and I read what I had written more than a year before. I read the list of “characteristics” I wanted in this future husband of mine and I was pretty impressed to discover that “the universe” was quite a people pleaser, what I asked for in that list, I got.  I guess that’s when I remembered that we have this “natural ability” and that’s when I thought “man dang” this thing works. By “thing” I mean, setting and intention, or you can call it whatever you want, “asking the universe” (if you’re a little “hippie” like me), just being ready for that change/goal/ trip /career that you want to happen and just having the “availability” for it to happen.  I don’t know how, but it seems that when you “do it” (again, set an intention, ask the universe, etc) it’s like you wire your brain into that state of mind and you end up doing the right moves, searching for the right things, being in the right places that lead you to that thing you set yourself to accomplish. I don’t know. It’s like magic. Ha ;), it really is…

Has it ever happen to you, that you think about or maybe dream about someone that you haven’t seen in a long time, maybe someone you went to school with but you haven’t seen since then, and then 1 or 2 days after you thought about them, you run into them? in a random place? that has happened to me many times and I always get that feeling that somehow I thought or dreamed about them because I knew I was going to run into them. I know this happens to everybody. If we can be so intuitive with random things like this, imagine with the natural tools that we have, what our brain, what our soul is capable of doing if we set our mind to it, if we set an “intention”, if we ask for it, if we make ourselves “available” for those things that we want. Just imagine…

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And we said “I Do”…!
My husband Brian and me on our wedding day.

There will be a little party on Facebook this Friday to discuss and celebrate “Intention”, click on the picture and come join us! they’re fun!