Oscar Picks


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The Academy Awards are this Sunday and we don’t know about you guys, but we’ll be glued to our TVs for the full awards coverage. We love the Oscars and can’t wait to see who will be taking home the statues.

In the meantime, we’ve listed our choices for whom we hope takes home the prize in some of our favorite categories.


Best Picture
I love, love, LOVED La La Land so much. It made me happier than any movie has in a very long time. I love the story, the acting, the music, the dancing and the inspiration it gave me to always follow my dreams, no matter how insurmountable they may seem.

Best Animated Feature Film
Oh man, this is such a hard one between Moana and Zootopia – I loved both of them! I have a feeling Zootopia may snag the Oscar, but between the two, my heart was more with Moana. Such a great story of family and finding your independence and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s music was amazing.

Best Documentary Feature
This has certainly turned out to be quite a year for O.J. Simpson. Between the incredible scripted series Ryan Murphy did for FX to O.J. Made in America nominated for an Oscar – it’s one of the most riveting documentaries I’ve seen in a very long time. Kudos to the production crew who put together all that research – it was mind-blowing and took me right back to the trial in 1995.


Best Picture
Lion. I’ve only seen 5 of the films nominated but of those I would choose Lion. It’s a beautiful film about love, family and hope.

Best Actor
Casey Affleck. He delivers an amazing performance in Manchester by the Sea. Beautifully sad and well crafted.

Best Actress
Emma Stone. My pick would have been Amy Adams for Arrival if she had been nominated. But Emma Stone gets my vote of the ladies on the list. Loved La La Land and she was great in it.


Best Picture
Hidden Figures. I just loved this film. The story was so interesting and the acting was very good. It’s just an incredible story about believing in yourself and what you can accomplish.

Best Actress
Emma Stone. Even though La La Land wasn’t my favorite movie of the year, I’m still a big Emma Stone fan and thought she was great in this movie. It would be fun to see her win the award and continue to be an inspiration for so many young actors out there.

Best Song
This is really a toss up. I really enjoyed “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana and would love to see Lin-Manuel Miranda win an Oscar. But I think my vote goes to “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land. I think this will clinch the Oscar for Emma Stone and it really is a very inspirational song.

Who are you rooting for this Sunday? 

And the Award Goes To…



Photo: Imdb

I have to say, unfortunately, I didn’t see as many movies in 2016 as I would’ve liked. And I LOVE going to the movies. There were some really great films we missed and some really bad ones we, unfortunately, ended up seeing. I’m definitely planning on going to the movies more in 2017.

In honor of the Academy Awards on Sunday, here are a list of winners (and some losers) for the movies we did manage to see last year.

Movie that everyone else loved and I thought was…eh: La La Land I will start off by saying that I am a HUGE musical-lover—in the theatre and on film. But this one jus didn’t grab me the way I had hoped. Maybe the hype was too big that it could never measure up? It was okay for me. But I am rooting for it on Sunday simply because of the passion, drive and belief in what the filmmakers were trying to accomplish when no one really believed they could do it.

Fun adventure movie: The Legend of Tarzan Far-fetched? Perhaps. Storyline weak at times? Maybe. Did I go along for the ride? Absolutely. I knew what I was going into and I was hooked from the beginning. I just really enjoyed it. The action sequences were fun. The romantic storyline was sweet. The bond Tarzan had with the animals was heartwarming. And to top it off, you have Christoph Waltz as a bad guy? I’m sold!

Movie that Inspired Me: Hidden Figures This is probably one of my favorite movies of 2016. I loved everything about it. But more than anything, I was in awe of what these women had accomplished. I admire anyone who stands up for what they truly believe, especially when the odds are against them. To know of the courage and strength of all of those who broke down barriers and changed “the norm,” whether they meant to or not. Just because something hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it can’t.

Movie that made me laugh more than I expected: Ghostbusters I will make this very clear: I. Don’t. Like. Scary. Movies. (Jennifer, are you listening?) And yes, to me, this qualified as a scary movie. The first fifteen minutes of it, I was covering my eyes. But then, as the team came together, I relaxed and ended up having some really great laughs. Leslie Jones stole the show for me. “Why is everyone like that?!” So funny!

Movie I’m daring myself to see: The Shallows Scary, but on a different level. Woman trapped in the dark ocean with a shark? Yeah, I’ll try seeing it. I’ll have to see it in the day, but for some reason I can’t explain, I want to watch this one. Wish me luck!

Movie I missed in the theaters but still want to see: Loving Another great movie about standing up for what you believe in and know to be true, right and good. I’ve heard amazing things about this film and I know I’ve got to see it.

Movie I could’ve done without: Keeping up with the Joneses We were expecting a light and fluffy comedy. After seeing it, I’ll use the word “comedy” lightly. It just didn’t do it for us. Not even stupid funny. And while we’re at it, I’ll add Florence Foster Jenkins to the list. I wanted to like it but it was just boring and I couldn’t get into it. I’m a big Meryl Streep fan, but this one definitely fell short for me.

Movie where the book was better: Me Before You I crammed to finish the book before I saw the movie. In fact, I finished it the morning I was going to go see it. So the book was very fresh in my mind. I thought the film was cute but it definitely rushed through lots of key moments for me. I just found myself more invested in the book than the movie.

Movie I Fell Asleep Watching: Money Monster it takes a lot for me to fall asleep in the movie theater. I either have to be really tired or really bored. And man, oh, man, as much as I love George Clooney and Julia Roberts, this one was a snoozefest for me. I just didn’t buy it. And, sadly, I’d add My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 as a runner up. I LOVED the first movie and I could see this one trying. I was rooting for it. But it just didn’t quite get there and grab me. But I did have a lovely nap!

Favorite Animated Movie: This was a tough one. There were a few animated films that surprised me with how much I enjoyed them: Zootopia, Sing and Finding Dory. But I have to say, Moana won out for me. I loved the beautiful landscapes and a lot of the songs were fun. But I really enjoyed the story of a young lady carving her place in the world, following her heart and going against the grain.

Favorite Movie of 2016: Eddie the Eagle Hands down, beginning to end, this was my all time favorite movie of the year! From the first frame of the movie I was in it. I literally laughed, cried and cheered my way through the film. I loved it so much I saw it twice in one week! The story of this sweet young man who wanted something so much and believed he could accomplish it that his heart and determination finally got him there. Just such a sweet and inspirational film that I absolutely loved!

Any favorite movie categories you have for 2016? Let us know in the comments below.

Jennifer’s Fave Fright Flicks of All Time



Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I loooove scary movies. Thrillers, horror flicks, suspense – you name it, I’m there (peeing my pants under the bed, but there). It’s actually really hard to do a scary movie well. I’ve found the best ones feature pure terror that haunts you for days, or do terror with a wink and some wit.

Here are my all-time faves:

Best Horror Film With Subtitles:
High Tension

Best Horror Villain of All Time:
Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs

Best Scare with Wit:

Best Freaky Family:
The family in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Norman Rockwell, they are not)

Best Babysitter Slasher:
Halloween (my all-time fave fright flick by the way)

Best Roadtrip Nightmare:
Joy Ride (for some reason, I always end up watching this one around Christmas time every year – happy holidays!)

Best Reason Cousins Should Never Date:
Wrong Turn (a little trivia – this film also stars our neighbor down the hall)

Best Reason to Never Move Into a Creepy NYC Apartment Building:
Rosemary’s Baby

Best Zombie Fright Fest:
28 Days Later

Best Reason to Winter Vacay in Maui Instead of the Mountains:
The Shining

Best Required Watching Every Time It Comes on TV:
I Know What You Did Last Summer

Best Thriller Dance Scene:
Ex Machina

Best Reason to Stay Faithful:
Fatal Attraction

Best Hitchcock Thrill:
Rear Window

Best Scare With Blind Folks:
Wait Until Dark

Best Reason to Wait and Find a Holiday Inn

What are some of your favorite fright flicks? Let us know in the comments below!






What’s Old is New Again


the-three-amigos-movie-poster-1986-1020189670Movies are our life. It’s all that we really know. My husband and I studied film in college and have degrees in screenwriting. My husband is a filmmaker and a walking IMDB catalog of movies, filmmakers, and movie history. It’s our favorite source of entertainment.

Having kids, we wanted to share our passion about movies with them. Now that the kids are older we get to show them some of our favorites and get to experience what made them so special through their eyes. Our middle son is the most involved in this hobby. He is a writer as well and enjoys film and storytelling as much as we do.

Here’s what we’ve shared with them:

Star Wars – My husband could’t wait to share these movies with our kids. They are a classic and stand the test of time. And now we have 3 more fans in the world. I think our job as parents is done.

E.T. – They may have been too young to really appreciate this film when we first showed it to them. It was scary and emotional, and that’s what I remember about the movie when I first saw it.

Sixth Sense – One of the most awesome moments from last year was watching this movie with the kids and seeing their reaction when the twist was revealed. They were surprised and impressed. My son kept saying “what? what?” I watched his reaction the entire time, it was awesome!

Saving Private Ryan – My husband is a history buff and now it turns out my son is too. So this was a must see as soon as they were old enough. I was working at DreamWorks when this movie was released so there is an emotional connection to it. And of course they loved it.

Braveheart – Another epic movie that we knew our son would enjoy. It was great to see this one through his eyes and be inspired and in awe of his story all over again. It’s a great film.

Forest Gump – I showed this to my son recently and he loved it. History, comedy, and a love story all mixed with wonderful storytelling, phenomenal acting and a score you cannot forget. This was another sentimental film we couldn’t wait to share with him.

The Matrix – I’m not a huge fan of this film (sorry) but my husband needed to show them this movie in order to be able to speak the same language. They reference it all the time and are constantly looking for signs of the Matrix in the real world.

Princess Bride – Who doesn’t love the Princess Bride? Another one that we quote and laugh about all the time in our house. Now there are five of us that appreciate it.

Three Amigos – This was on the top of my list of movies to show the kids. “My Little Buttercup”, plethora, and El guapo are loved, referenced and appreciated by so many people in my family and now by all who live in this house.

A Christmas Story – My husband couldn’t wait to share it with the kids and they… didn’t get it. They didn’t think it was as funny as he did. It was disappointing but we think they will appreciate it in the long run.

Back to the Future – Not only was it fun to watch this movie with them and experience all that is Marty McFly, but it was so cool to be able to take them to the lot where my husband works and show them the square where it was filmed. Awww, the magic of movies.

Here’s what we have yet to see:

Slumdog Millionaire – We must see this soon. It’s not a light comedy but it’s a film that will make an impression. I’m excited for them to see the technique he used to tell the story.

Schindler’s List – Another film that is intense and dark but wonderfully crafted. It will be hard to watch with them but it’s an important piece that I know they will appreciate.

Die Hard – This was playing at our local theater recently but we missed it. Another fun must see movie.

We have lots more in our library to show them and we get to experience the new movies as they come out now that they can go with us. It’s something we will continue to share as a family – a love of movies.

Movie Magic

Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood.

–  Walt Disney –


a story or event recorded by a camera as a set of moving images and shown in a theater or on television; a motion picture. 

With the Oscars coming up this Sunday, us Sense & Serendipity girls have movie fever. Actually, we have movie fever all year long. We are all big film buffs and take every chance we get to hide away in a dark movie theater and get lost in a film. Whether it’s the newest blockbuster, old classics, the indie film everyone is raving about or just a fun movie we don’t want to miss, movies have always played a big part in each of our lives–ever since we were little kids.

Today we share some of the first movies we remember seeing in a movie theater.



Photo: Imdb

One of the first movies I remember seeing was Grease. My family went to the drive-in for a double-feature. I loved the music and thought the story was fun. I bought the record and played it over and over, learned all the songs and became fans of Olivia Newton-John. I’ve seen the movie more times than I can count and still get nostalgic when I hear any of the songs. Still one of my favorite movies of all time.



Photo: Imdb

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

A young Jedi named Jennifer saw her very first movie in the theater – it was Star Wars. (After that dramatic intro, it would have been awesome if I’d just said, “It was Smokey and the Bandit.”) Anywho, Star Wars – blew…my…mind! I desperately wanted to be Princess Leia (and I also kinda wanted to be Darth Vader – he was just so freaking cool.) I collected all the Star Wars action figures, the space station, had the bed sheets and posters. You might say I was I was obsessed. To this day, when we see any of the new Star Wars films or see John Williams play the Hollywood Bowl, I feel like a kid all over again the minute that famous theme music begins to play.



Photo: Imdb

Movies have always had a huge impact on my life. We’d go to the movies together as a family, watch them at home when we were little kids, and still try to go as often as we can. My parents always treated us to seeing movies whenever we could and one of the first movies I remember watching as a little girl was Ice Castles. Man, I wanted to be an ice skater so bad! I was completely captivated by the movie. I was cheering, crying, excited and so hopeful that everything would work out. I never realized movies could bring out so many emotions. I was completely won over by films and couldn’t wait to go back for more.

Any childhood movie favorites from when you were growing up? Let us know in the comments below. 

Momes of Apreesh


It’s been a busy week, but a good one for all of us here at S&S! As we head into the weekend, we’re sharing a few little moments over the last 7 days that made us smile. Have a fabulous weekend and see you back here on Monday!


This has been a pretty hectic week at work as we’re in full tax season mode at the tax firm. But it’s also had some pretty great highs. The most special moment was when we had our family over to celebrate Jessie’s birthday. Nothing makes us happier than having our home filled with loved ones.


I went to Jack’s very last Valentine’s Day party at his preschool on Tuesday. As I watched he and his sweet buddies laughing hysterically while playing Ring Around the Rosie, I realized just how much we’re going to miss this school that’s been like family to us the last three years. The amazing friends Jack’s made, the dear friends we’ve made with both the incredibly fun parents and teachers, it’s going to be extremely hard for us to say good-bye this summer. 


This was a great but busy week. It was such a nice surprise to get flowers delivered to my office on Valentine’s Day. There is never an expectation for any gift giving between my husband and I on this holiday. We don’t go to dinner or to the movies. We like to celebrate as a family. So this was something special. I think I loved it because it didn’t have red roses. The yellow made me smile and the thoughtfulness made me happy. I’m a lucky girl.

5 Artists Jennifer Loves Right Now


More than furniture, knick-knacks or appliances, the thing I love most to buy for our house is really unique artwork. There’s nothing I love more than discovering new artists at art shows, through friends, on Instagram, or sites like Society 6 and Etsy. I always gravitate to art that uses bright colors, makes me laugh, think differently and just generally brightens my soul. Because we’re stuck living in temporary quarters right now while we look for a new house, I often find myself missing our artwork most of all. I’m so looking forward to having a new abode where we can hang the existing pieces we already treasure and invest in new ones for a fresh start. Here are just a few of the artists I’m totally crushing on right now:

photo: Hayley Mitchell

Hayley Mitchell
I am obsessed with Hayley Mitchell’s work! I first learned about this talented Austin-based artist through a friend of mine and have lusted after her incredible bright and beautiful pieces ever since. The colors she uses are so vibrant and just bring a smile to my face. When we move into a new house, this one of the first investments I’m hoping to make.

photo: “Dorothy in the Hood” by Nelson De La Nuez

Nelson De La Nuez
Casey and I first came across LA artist, Nelson De La Nuez’s, work at the Beverly Hills Art Show years ago. It was so original and hilarious, we instantly fell in love and own two of his humor prints already – “Dorothy in the Hood” and “Sunday in the Park with Exhibitionist.” When we have friends over, they are instant conversation starters every single time.

photo: “Hot Mess” by Donald Robertson

Donald Robertson
I adore Donald Robertson’s bold sense of color and saucy wit in all his pieces. You can feel Robertson’s background in beauty and fashion oozing through every eye-popping piece. There’s a couple I’ve already tagged for future purchase.

photo: “Love Wall” by Curtis Kulig

Curtis Kulig

I love, love, LOVE tracking down really cool street art – in fact, it’s one of my favorite mediums. In LA, there’s no shortage of uber talented street artists trying to make their mark all over town – literally. One of my faves is Curtis Kulig. His easy graffiti style art with the word “love” is so simple, but so cool. In fact, I shot photos of Jack in front of one of Kulig’s famous walls near Smashbox Studios in Culver City last year.

photo: “French Kiss” by Unfortunate Portrait

Unfortunate Portrait
Who says art has to hang on walls?! I love these hilarious illustration tees by Unfortunate Portrait. Each one is so clever and makes me giggle and God knows, we could all use a good laugh right now! There are so many great pieces to choose from, but my fave (and one I may invest in for spring) is French Kiss.

Who are some of your favorite artists right now? Share a link to their site, Instagram or Facebook page in the comments section below and we’ll be sure to check them out!

Art Journaling


img_7403Paint, paint brushes and a blank piece of paper or canvas. The potential of what can be is exciting. It’s one of my favorite creative outlets. When I have time to pull out my supplies and just have fun. Painting is pure happiness for me.

I think I fell in love with it when I was young, visiting my uncle who was a painter and going to his studio above his home. I remember walking around and being in awe. He always had a canvas by the window that he was working on. There were paint brushes in dirty water and messy drop clothes all around. He was making something beautiful with his hands from snapshots he had stored in his memory and they were amazing! To this day the smell of oil paint and pastels brings me back to that time.

img_7399I am by no means an artist but I love to create. I get into these moods where I would rather create something visual or colorful to express myself than write things down. It helps me release emotion that can sometimes not be put into words. It feels playful and fun. I enjoy the process more than I enjoy the end result.

img_7401Art journaling has been a way for me to practice and experiment, then turn the page and start again. I am inspired by song lyrics, quotes, or phrases that I want to create a page around. I usually start with that inspiration and then find a technique I want to try.  The hardest part for me is letting go and not worrying about what it’s supposed to look like. I have a few books filled with trial and error and I love looking at all of them.

I’ve used different journals in the past from a traveler’s notebooks, moleskine, and a mixed media notebook. Currently I am using this notebook. I prefer the mixed media pages because I can use them for watercoloring, acrylic and ink.

I have this watercolor set from Michael’s. It’s cheap and I can use it to experiment and try different techniques without feeling like I am spending a lot of money on supplies.  I got this set for christmas a few years ago and I recently added this set so I can take it along with me. I grabbed a few inks last year to add some intensity to my pages. I love the look that these create. They are messy but fun.  I have also a set of gelatos that are fun to use and have tubes of acrylic paint, gauche and craft paint that I’ve picked up here and there.

I’m not picky about my brushes. I bought this set and use all the brushes that it came with. I’ve slowly started adding some better brushes one by one. I use stencils to and masks for fun. And I have gesso, texture paste and gel medium to add texture and dimension. Going to the art store is a thrill for me.

I admire and am inspired by a lot of artists on the web. Mostly coming from the scrapbooking world.  Here are some of my favorite art journalists.

  • Get Messy Journal  – they have a membership program that gives your prompts, tutorials and inspiration for creating your own messy journal.
  • A girl with a journal – her instagram account is to die for. I love the mix of art and words on her pages; a true art journal.
  • Designed by Anne – Her watercoloring makes it look so easy. I need to spend some time watching her videos and practicing her techniques.
  • Wilna Furstenberg – I love her mix of acrylics, ink, stamps and paper to create layers in her art.
  • sdionbakerdesign – These journal pages are just fun to look at. I haven’t tried journaling this way but it would be fun to document and highlight your day this way.
  • Liz Steel – art journaling all about coffee and travel = my dream!

I started this last night and will fill it with words.

I would encourage anyone to grab some paint, a brush and some paper and have a go. Take an art class. Paint with your kids. Do a paint night with friends.  Enjoy the journey and have some fun. You might create something beautiful in the process.

The Magic of Theatre



Theatre changed my life.

Growing up, I dreamt of being on stage. When we were little, my sister and I would put on shows for family at home and we loved every minute of it. In high school, I used to look up to everyone in the theatre department, wishing I could join them on stage. But the thing was, I was so shy! Like, barely-said-a-word shy.

But things changed when I joined a local community theatre group when I was in my early twenties. What gave me the courage to go to that first rehearsal, I’ll never know. But as soon as I walked in and was surrounded by fellow theatre-lovers, I knew I’d found a home. The group was composed of people who worked regular day jobs, including lawyers, teachers, literal rocket scientists, writers, stay-at-home moms,  but who also loved to perform. The first show I did was South Pacific as part of the chorus, and I was hooked! And the first time I heard the orchestra warming up as I was backstage, I teared up. I had dreamt of being a part of a theatre group for so long that I just wanted to soak up every minute.

The incredible part was that with each show that I did, I become more and more settled and confident in myself–especially outside of the theatre group. I was talking more, telling more stories and sharing more parts of myself than I ever had. I came out of my shell, sure, but I felt like I was able to be my true self more and more, and it felt great. I will always credit that community theatre experience with that. And I will forever be grateful for it.


But the biggest impact theatre has had on my life was when I did a production of Guys & Dolls at a local community college. As I walked into the audition, a very sweet guy, named Jessie, opened the door for me. Jessie went on to play Nicely-Nicely in the show and I had a role in the chorus. And our lives were forever changed. Little did I know that I had just met my future husband…and in a theatre!

Jessie and I have been so lucky to have done a few shows together now. Our most memorable experience was doing You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown with Jessie and Charlie and me as Lucy. It is an incredibly special memory that we both hold dear to our hearts.

That love of theatre has stayed with us. Our inner actors miss the stage and some of the moments I love the most is when we sing songs from musicals in the car, or totally play off each other as we randomly act out scenes from different shows. Theatre is a bond that brought us together and is an incredibly special part of our relationship.


We’ve really made an effort to support theatre as much as we can. In the past few years, we’ve gone to more live theatre in Los Angeles than ever before, and we will continue to go as much as we can. There is something so special about walking into a theatre for us and being a part of live theatre, as an audience member and as an actor.

We just saw the 20th anniversary of Rent, which was just as good as I had remembered. And we have a few more musicals planned to see. First off is Finding Neverland, which I have heard is truly special. Followed by An American Paris, which people have said is beautifully staged, and the choreography and scenery is spectacular. We hope to catch Hamilton in the summer, as well.

We’re so happy that Los Angeles has become a strong force in live theatre. The impact it has on theatre-goers is truly amazing. We feel so lucky to live in a place that has so much live theatre really taking off and we will always do our best to support it as much as we can. And I encourage everyone to do so. Go on theatre dates. Expose your children to live theatre. Support your local community theatre. It truly is a life-changing experience. Believe me, I know!



Make Art. Just Start.



the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power

Now more than ever, the arts are important. It’s what we use to express ourselves, connect with one another, communicate across boundaries and make our voices heard. We Sense & Serendipity gals are big art lovers – whether is painting, photography, theater, dance, music and the list goes on. There are a few different areas of the arts where we’re each currently trying to improve our skills. We hope it inspires you to get out there and create too!


Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved to draw. I’d often lose myself for hours and hours with nothing but some blank paper and pencil in hand – creating funny characters going on wacky oddball adventures. One of my goals this year is to get back into drawing cartoons on a regular basis. I have a wonderful modern cartooning book and great animation book by Pixar to get me going. Not only is drawing a fabulous stress reliever for me and so much fun, but I’m hoping to work on developing a kid’s animated film this year, as well as write a kid’s book so I hope it will help me with this process as well. Win-win! If you’re looking for a couple great books to try cartooning yourself – check out Modern Cartooning: Essential techniques for Drawing Today’s Popular Cartoons and Learn to Draw Your Favorite Pixar Characters.


I’ve always enjoyed dabbling in some form of art, even though I don’t do it as often as I really should. This year, I would love to improve my photography skills. I remember taking a photography class in high school and learning about composition, aperture and even working in the dark room developing film. It was so exciting watching the photos slowly come to life. I recently got a new camera with the goal that I could practice more and not rely so much on my phone for pictures. I’d like to think more about how I want the picture to look instead of just rushing to take the photo. Here’s to more thoughtful (and skilled) snaps this year!


I’ve recently gotten the bug to work on my calligraphy again. I love hand lettering and I’m inspired by what I see on Instagram. One thing I’ve learned is that it takes lots of practice. My sister and I took a calligraphy class a few years ago but I haven’t spent much time working on the craft. I love modern calligraphy and want to perfect my technique and find my own style.  I need to grab my graph notebook and a pen and practice a little everyday.  I want to step away from modern technology and put pen to paper and write, write, write.

What art passions are you pursuing? Share them with us in the comments section below!