Copyright © 2016
|Nikki Riley Designs||
Much to appreciate and much to look forward to in this coming year. My goal is to make more posts, or at least post the exciting happenings in my work.
0. Nicole Rebecca Berman-born 1-2-1974Santa Cruz, CA
1.Parents: Ralph & Lisa, Brother: Robert
2.Loved playing in the water-all the time!
3.Loved visiting Big Sur every summer
4.Started playing soccer-favorite sport
5. Kindergarten-loved school but wasn't a great listener....
6.Held hands with boy...beginning of my deep affection for the opposite sex...
7.First conscious thoughts of my liberalism
8.Performed at Shakespeare Santa Cruz-Merry Wives of Windsor
9.Started Junior Guards-loved it!
10.Performed in Peace Child
11.Loved 5th grade! Rocked super short hair
12.Played the Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz-Brook Knoll Elementary
13.Had my Bat Mitzvah-one of the toughest things I've ever done
14.Attended Branciforte Junior High-voted biggest flirt!!!
15.End of the innocence...
16.Listened to a lot of Prince
17.Became Senior Class President & Performed in "You Can't Take it With You" & "Bye Bye Birdie"
18.Traveled East for college & dropped out after 2 months
19.Traveled to Europe with a boyfriend
20.Started at Cal & met Brendan
21. Suffered major depression. Not a high point of my life....
22.Modeled w/ Brendan for Glamour Magazine!!! Whaaat????
23.Lived in Venice, Italy; Possibly the best year of my life!
24.Graduated from UC Berkeley & moved to Truckee
25.Started designSense w/ Brendan-models & design co.
26.Traveled around the world, got hit by a bus in Brisbane, Australia & shaved my head
27.Married my best friend, Brendan Riley, at Glen Alpine Springs
28.Ran for Town Council, lost but became a Truckee Planning Commissioner
29.Started NeDesigns w/ Ed Lupyak
30. Loved turning 30-felt more comfortable about myself; much more excited about 30s than 20s
31.Gave birth to Dylan Jasper Riley-hands down the most painful & difficult thing I have ever done!
32.Worked at home and struggled through my first year of motherhood.
33.Worked at my first non-profit & learned a ton, both good & bad; made lifelong friends
34.Gave birth to Harlan Shane Riley-thank goodness for epidurals!
35.Introduced to the world of blacksmithing.... instant love
36.Visited Kauai-deep affection for Hanalei & North Shore
37.Quit my job and started my own business, Nikki Riley Designs
38.Celebrated my 20 year high school reunion-a most wonderful time!
39.Started Colorburst Mirrors & designed my first house, start to finish. Can't wait to see it built!
40.The world is my oyster...it's all up to me!
It's kinda cool that my birthday coincides with the start of a new year. (thanks for reminding me, Sarah)
Aside from the fact that most people, including myself, are tired and/or hungover on the 1st and back to work on the 2nd, it's an opportunity to reflect on the past and set goals for the future. I'm big on lists and making plans. Most of the time I am successful at seeing my plans through to fruition, other times those items remain on my to-do list, never getting completed. I'm at the point in my life where I am not so troubled by those things that I don't complete. (not entirely true...)
Either it's not that important for me to finish, or it will get done at the right time. Don't get me wrong, I will get that shit done, I promise. At least the stuff I really care about. (the burden of being a highly productive individual)
This past year has brought great opportunity for growth and development, both personally and professionally. I designed my first house (thank you, Karen)
and continue to work for myself (thank you, Brendan)
in order to eliminate that uncomfortable dynamic between employer/employee. I represent myself. I do work that inspires me and my clients. None of the messy, unnecessary interpersonal crap that can occur in an office. I'm a communicator. I believe in sharing thoughts, ideas and have no problem with critical analysis of my work.
On a personal note, I have the benefit of being able to work at home, allowing me to play a more active role in my children's lives. There were times in the past when I worked full-time and utilized a lot of childcare. This served a important purpose, but made it difficult for me to spend quality time with my kids during the week and balance the work/mom/spouse/homemaker/me role.
From the world of the non-profit, I love being President of the Board for Mountain Area Preservation and while it doesn't provide a source of income, it does fill my desire to make this world a better place. Our staff is awesome (thank you, Alexis and welcome Haley!)
and I am honored to be a part of taking this organization to a place of greater recognition and success.
This year brought an end to my time as the Truckee Representative for the Nevada County First Five Commission. I learned so much about a field that I knew so little. (children ages 0-5 and their caregivers/educators)
I met incredible people who work daily to change the lives of those who need extra support, whether financially or emotionally.
On a physical level, I started Crossfit in October and feel as strong as I did in my 20s. Yes, I drank the KoolAid and it has changed my life. The results are incredible. I started out hanging from the chin-up bar wondering if I would ever be able to do a pull-up. After a few months I can do 6. Soon I hope to do 10. If a person is going to be addicted to anything, it may as well be strength building exercise.
My professional goal for 2014 is to invest more time in my design business and find places to sell my mirrors. I'm ready for Colorburst Mirrors to take off and be a sustaining source of income.
I'm hopeful from a personal perspective that this next phase of my life brings more self-assurance, resilience and time laughing with my family and friends.
Tomorrow I will share some little bits o' honey from the last 40 years.....adieu
Today starts a new journey. A journey towards the beginning of a new era. The day I turn 40 years old. Some years ago I told myself that turning 40 wouldn't be a big deal. It's all in your head, I told myself. Age is a state of mind and the way you age is up to you. Well...as I approach that oh so talked about number I no longer feel that it's all in your head. I have experienced some serious changes both physically and emotionally as I get closer to 40. And while I am the first to say that I am not going to let a number get me down, I do acknowledge that things are changing and there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I'm going to spend the next 40 days sharing tales of myself as I embrace this next era of my being.
This was the view from our tent on the day we packed out. And no, that's not my hammock or Brendan's.
We recently returned from a backpacking trip in Mammoth, cut short for a couple of reasons. After a full day of hiking to a remote lake in the mountains, we headed back to our camp at Skelton Lake. Upon arrival we noticed that there was a group of young twentysomethings hanging out quite close to our camp. Further assessment uncovered numerous fishing rods curiously close to our tent and some ropes wrapped around surrounding trees. We weren't camped in an area easily reached by passersby, rather, we had put our camp on the periphery of a rocky outcrop above the lake. The twentysomethings didn't seem to care or feel the need to relocate after we arrived back at our campsite. In fact, as I sat no more than 6 feet away, some dude started hanging up his hammock. I let him know that there were plenty of other places in the area to set up camp and he replied that he wasn't going to camp, just hang out for awhile. Ok....reason number one for cutting our trip short.
Reason number two....the smoke from the Rim Fire started to head south from Yosemite and invade Mammoth. The air got hazier and hazier as the day went on and our beautiful blue skies were no more. Reason enough to head out and back to Truckee.
I am appreciative of the two days and two nights we spent in the wilderness enjoying the outdoors and sharing our love of nature and the things that mean the most to me. Nothing seems to fuel my spirit as much as mountains, lakes and flower-lined streams. Oh and the Cheetos don't hurt either!
This past month I had the fabulous opportunity to work with Elisa DiNallo, a local interior designer, on this modern, elegant and beautiful mirror. Although the outward design was simple and straightforward, there was a great deal of work "behind the scenes." The frame was built with two, vertical bars of 3/8' x 4" hot-rolled steel. Heavy! In order to support the mirror glass and provide a shim to level it with the face of the frame I installed two vertical bars of 1/8" x 3/4" steel. There is a structural support system behind all this made from 1/2" x 1" steel channel across the back in three places as well as some additional support pieces that create triangles for extra rigidity. While the frame is quite rigid and didn't flex, as I was worried it would do, it was extremely heavy. I was thinking maybe I should rename my company to be called, "Really Heavy Mirrors!" I hammered the edges of the steel and treated it with a variety of finishes, including metal oil and black wax. The color is deep and rich and is an incredible addition to the bathroom. The mirror was installed last week and Elisa sent over some pictures of the finished product. It looks beautiful.
I love my job!
A close up of the journal artwork
Well, I did it. I completed the first assignment for the Lilla Rogers Design Competition. As usual I waited until the 11th hour to get my work done, wrapping things up around 11:30 last night in order to avoid a morning scramble trying to submit my design online by 9am while I made breakfast, lunches and got the kids to camp. Needless to say it isn't my best work but I feel good about getting the job done. While I had written the instructions down and reviewed the project requirements a number of times I neglected to remember some key points which in turn had me revising the layout more than once. In hindsight there are a few things I would have done differently. I didn't need to put my artwork on an actual piece of paper, that I had to cut to the correct size, duh. I could have scanned the artwork and placed it on a background in one of my design programs. Late night stupidity. Second blunder, I had thought for some reason that using the word "journal" was an option that didn't have to be put on the cover of the artwork. Wrong. Upon a reread, I saw no indication that it was an option. So in all my brilliance I hand wrote the word on the front of the artwork. Tired and bleary-eyed do not make for a nice, clean execution of my best handwriting. Ok. Enough bitching. Overall I am happy with the artwork, the colors and the composition. It brought back many memories of years of colored paper artwork and how much joy it gives me to create different scenes. So there you have it. I may not get shortlisted to the 50 top artists for this round, but I'm happy I participated.
Back to life...back to reality...back to the here and now....
Reentry is never easy after days in the backcountry. What a change of pace! I think the world would be a different place if everyone were forced to spend a few nights in the woods with just what they need carried in on their backs before they become adults. While we by no means are roughing it when we go backpacking, it certainly makes you pare down to the basics. Food, shelter, clothing. There are definitely those who take this to the extreme and shun the sleeping pad, tent and camp stove but not us. We keep things simple but still enjoy our comforts. This was Harlan and Dylan's third backpacking trip and we covered over 13 miles in a few days. Not much by hardcore standards, but for an almost 5 year old (or by his account 4 1/2 & 3/4) and an 8 year old, it's pretty awesome. We got lots of acknowledgement by other hikers on the trail who were impressed with our boys' endurance. Harlan grumbled a bit about the hiking but overall he seemed pretty happy to be in the woods. Dylan was a trooper. So much so that he had to serve as sweeper for the better part of the trip due to his propensity for hiking so far ahead of all of us. Spending time in the High Sierra is a perfect way to acknowledge the important things in life. Clean air, clean water, lush meadows, fish in the lakes, beautiful wildflowers, wild animals. Hard to imagine why more people aren't committed to the protection and preservation of these magical places.
It certainly puts things into perspective to flee the world of technology and the constant barrage of information. No email, calls, news, computers. Only the sounds of the birds singing, the creeks gurgling and the occasional hiker. It's a kind of re-fueling to depart for awhile, go to sleep when the sun sets, wake up when the sun rises and the toughest decision of the day is which pass you're going to hike up to.
We learned some cool history on this trip. In our camp there was an old, rusty jeep frame and along the trail we saw another old-school, steel vehicle frame. The ranger informed us that this was a main road that led to a tungsten mine on the other side of Morgan Pass. The mine was in full production since 1916 and closed in 2000 but the area we were camped in had stopped using it as access many many years ago. The tungsten mine had been a major contributor during the various wars due to its durability and resistance to corrosion.
This trip was a reminder of how much we miss our beautiful dog, Lulu. She was such an incredible backpacking dog. She loved to run through the flowering meadows and she made sure no critters bothered us in camp. I think we will be welcoming a new, four-legged friend in our lives pretty soon. Big paws to fill, but we are ready.
Made the requisite trip to Mono Cone not one but two times. On the way down to Rock Creek and on the way back home. I got questioned about my avoidance of fast food and why I would eat there and not Mc Donalds, I tried to explain why this is somehow different but it fell on deaf ears. Oh well....we all have our hypocrisies.
And so it goes.....back to the grind. Which really isn't much of a grind when you live in a beautiful place like Truckee. Much appreciation all around for a great time in the woods. Until our next adventure......
Lilla Rogers Studio & Do What You Love