'wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. we're all wanderers in life.' -spanish poet, antonio machado

Saturday, April 30, 2011

zmena transformations...

(...i know, this statement is redundant)

I am in a bit of a transition with this blog and I've been checking out tumblr too. I think what I'll end up doing is playing on tumblr and referring to this blog for any longer posts (you all know how I can get a bit long-winded). I've considered leaving this blog behind, as I started it upon leaving for my big crazy life adventure...but quickly realized my big crazy life adventure continues with each new day. So, here I am...attempting to make updates to this space in order to make it more apt to me in my current state of adventure. That said, I've updated the header image for now and will be applying more updates as time passes. I'm actually very, very excited to unveil this header image, as it hails from the beautiful Ashley Barlow of Ashley Barlow Art.

The story of how I met Ashley is - in and of itself - one of those special stories of the power of our networks. While I was in Prague I was blessed with the opportunity to work with amateur artists - young and old alike. My great friend Lo mentioned on several occasions a woman named Ashley who did mixed media artwork back in Minneapolis and that I should meet her. So when I moved back to Minneapolis last summer, I finally met Ashley and instantly liked her and was drawn to her style and her art. I am a big fan of mixed media artwork, particularly as a result of the incredible textures created. So when I started thinking about documenting the less-than-conventional story of how Tom and I met, I knew where to go. I created a creative brief of sorts and let Ashley interpret it how she saw best. I rounded up all of the love letters Tom and I had written throughout our journey, as well as the engagement love letters and our vows, per Ashley's request. The end product was just perfect. When I saw it tears came to my eyes...this is the depiction of lovers who connected by chance and strengthened their connection from thousands of miles away through love letters and adventures galore. So without further ado, I'll unveil our very first piece of commissioned artwork as a couple. The artwork is done on four pieces of pine and can be hung as one piece, but also was designed such that each of the four pieces could live alone just as well.

our story

The first piece depicts the distance between us as I pursued my dream living and working overseas in Prague, and incorporates actual pieces of love letters we wrote back and forth to each other before and during my experience. She also incorporates vintage magazine clippings -Tom is on the bottom left of the piece writing to me and I am on the bottom-middle right of the piece reading this love letters.

This piece portrays our chance meeting at a mutual friends birthday party...Tom is on the top left in a blue suit looking at me, on the top right with the red dress. What is special about this one is that amidst all of the party chaos, Tom and I are the only ones truly looking at each other. Of course we know this isn't actually what happened, but I adore this depiction and the thought Ashley put into this piece.

This piece portrays the first few weeks of our 'relationship' as we got to know each other through messages written back and forth, sharing our dreams and passions for important life pleasures including - but certainly not limited to - red bull (light blue can for me, dark blue for him), coloured socks, pico ballas and more). The detail on this piece is outstanding, as Ashley actually wrote some of these things on the 'Note' I am holding in my hand. Lovely! The basketball hoop depicts our first date, when we actually formally met each other for the first time, playing basketball at Tom's gym and then eating tator tots at Bulldog NE.

The final of the four pieces is probably my favourite and the most special for its bright, bold hues, reflection of our wedding (superhero) theme, our wedding invite, some more love letters, including the wonderwoman love letter Tom sent me while in Prague (my favourite one, which may look vaguely familiar to you as it was formerly featured on a special blog post a while back), some of the 'love letters' Tom used to engage to me (bottom right) and our vows, which are located under the vintage magazine clipping Tom and Megan characters to the right of the piece. Wow. So incredibly special.

All of this said, a gigantic THANK YOU to Ashley Barlow...and of course to my dear friend Lo for introducing us, which has also lead to another friendship with a beautiful artist named Erin Kate who owns the most beautiful little boutique called the ekate designs & the Orchard Art House in Excelsior (which I found out about from Ashley, as her artwork is sold here). Erin's little shop is a gorgeous shop is the result of a gorgeous vision for local art, in which she doesn't charge a commission for items sold. I love this. You can also find her on etsy.

Thank the Lord for great connections and for beautiful artwork! Such a blessing!



P.S. Enjoy the new look and keep an eye out for updates in the future. In the meantime, check me out on tumblr.

Friday, March 18, 2011

someone like you...

...this song has been in my head since the moment I listened to it this morning. Simply gorgeous. No words can explain. Really. Phenomenal voice, Adele. Even better lyrics.

Thankful for what I have and all of the special people my life has brought me thus far...someone like you.



Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I found this entry on my friend Cat's tumblr and something about it resonated with me. It struck me to the core, and made me stop and think a little bit. Maybe because I've been there before. I understand it. In any case, I felt compelled to post it. I'd also encourage you to check out Cat's site as she travels around China and documents her journey through her lens. Her photography is moving.



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

oh happy (women's) day!

Let's hear it for the ladies! Just a quick note to wish you all (yes, women AND men...because where would men be without us?! :)) a very happy International Women's Day! I have been so blessed in my life to know some very incredible women - a couple of them - without a doubt - include my mother and my mother-in-law. So today I took some time to reflect on these blessings and so many more in my life. Will you?

WE can do it!



Monday, March 7, 2011

when in prague...

(spending time with the lennon wall | praha, cz | 2009)

...do as the locals do. Go ahead, embrace your leather fanny pack, mullet and stone-wash jeans, love nature, drink massive amounts of pivo and slivovice. Just kidding. Really. Please, do anything you can to dispel these rumours and look beyond the mullets (because that's really not a rumour, trust me...nor is the loving nature and pivo and slivovice intake, but that's a good thing).

Since I lived in Prague, people have asked me time and again, 'So-and-so is going to Prague and they're wondering what to see/do' or 'We're thinking about going to Prague...tell me more about it.' Let's just say Prague is not a difficult sell. Its unparalleled beauty, mysticism and European charm have propelled Prague to one of today's top travel hot-spots. Seeing as though I receive this question so frequently, I thought it best to assemble a mini Prague travel guide...with recommendations from yours truly on the best places to snooze, grub and take a gander.*

Snooze: First of all, stay at Mosaic House (if not Mosaic House, then Czech Inn, Miss Sophie's or Sir Toby's). They are all independent hostel/hotel fusion properties - located centrally, and super-nice and high quality for a really affordable price. Don't think traditional hostel...they are above and beyond, offering a mix of private rooms and shared rooms - think cool, communal social vibe and privacy - the best of both worlds (especially Mosaic House, Miss Sophie's and Czech Inn). I can gab and gab about these places, but I will let them speak for themselves...only after you read this post. :)
Gander: Go on the Free tour (free, but don't forget to tip) - New Europe Tours...all of our properties recommend it, as it gives a ton of good info about Prague's rich history. Also, the castle, Lennon Wall, Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, Vysehrad, Terezin (concentration camp - day trip), Jewish quarter, beer gardens (Reigrovy Sady and Letna are the best...Vysehrad is good too). You can find more information for things to do/see on the Mosaic House website.
Grub: La Bodeguita del Medio - right my staromestka namesti metro stop and close to the Charles Bridge, river (and the Rudolfinum). Very good...and awesome fishbowl mojitos that 5+ people can share. Best Mojito in Prague! Their sister restaurant, La Casa Argentina is also very good.

All of the restaurants in the
Kampa Group are some of the best and most super-swank restaurants in Prague. Check it out. Also, the Ambiente Group is INCREDIBLE...great great brazilian steakhouse (Ambiente Brasiliero) in old town. One Brazilian gal I talked to said it was the best steak she's had. And she's from Brazil. Go figure!

Louvre, near the National Theatre and not too far from either Mosaic House or Miss Sophie's, is a great and historical cafe.

I have heard great things about this new restaurant,

For a Czech experience, head up to Strahov
Monastery (Klášterní pivovar Strahov) by the castle...the monks brew beer and it is incredible. Trad'l Czech food too. I definitely recommend this place. Or, you could try Pivovarský Dům, near Karlovo namesti and a hop, skip and a jump away from Miss Sophie's. Beer is good, but service is crap...which you'll find at most places, since customer service is not such a focus in Prague. Don't worry, you get used to it. :)

U Fleků is an famous restaurant, dating back to the 1400's - it's pretty touristy, but it's worth it for the ambiance...there are people from all over the world there (Germans, Austrians, French, South Americans, Americans, etc) and they play trad'l music, brew their own beer and slivovice (very strong liqueur)...but beware, they bring beer and shots to your table and if you don't want it you have to tell them...sometimes unassuming tourists end up with a hefty bill once they start drinking if they are not mindful of the fact that they are actually being charged for these.
Modry Zub - my fav thai restaurant in Prague. So yummy.

There is an Indian/Lebanese/Pakistani restaurant near the river right by the Manes gallery with a green facade called Karavanseraj (also known as Kulb cestovatelů - thanks Talitha!). It is so yummy...and was a fav hangout for dinner dates with great friends Talitha and Lauren. Amazing, flavourful dishes and a great spot for shisha-smoking.

For amazing tea and shisha (seriously AMAZING), head to Dobra Cajovna. There is one near Narodni Trida. And another (though shisha-less) in Wenceslas Square.

My absolute FAVOURITE bar is
Groove Bar (and Bar Nota - more Czech than Groove Bar if you're looking for an interesting local hangout with some kooky live music). My friends Jakub and Martin own it and it is family-run and great, lounge-y ambience with good music (esp while Jakub is tending bar) If you go, tell them I sent you.
Belushi's Bar and Restaurant @ Mosaic House...this is one of the properties I work for...new design hotel/hostel - super hip and trendy...has live music most nights, young crowd. Check it out. It's my baby and I loved working for them. You can find more info on live music on Facebook @Mosaic House. Restaurant is burgers and etc...but the best burger in Prague. Super-cool design and architecture. The building was also retrofitted to work as a green property...greywater recycling, solar panels, the whole sha-bang. Stop by and see my friends who work at reception and in the restaurant! Tell them I sent you! Ask for David, Daniel, Kristyna or Twig! :)

Glug (Glug, Glug): Kava (coffee). Mmm. So many great coffee hang-outs in Prague. I basically lived in them on nights and weekends. My coffee watering holes of choice include Cafe Ebel (my fav!), Mama Coffee Cafe, Globe Bookstore (although shady service and a lot of ignorant American college students hanging out - my friend Lo can attest to that!). There are many more, but these are my absolute fav. Give them a try.

As far as shops go, there aren't a ton of great places...it's either designer shops that are super-expensive, or some cool boutiques, but they're still more spendy than places here. In any case, you can check them out on
Prague Stay's website.

Have so much fun and don't forget to drink the pivo (beer)!

Enjoy my city! Send some love for me, I truly, truly miss and love it. Look at what I've done now...I've convinced myself to go back.

Stay tuned for a future post about a place I hold very near and dear to my heart - Cesky Krumlov. It's my second home and it's a special place full of love (it's where Tom proposed to me), good food and even better shisha.

Ahoj (informal word for both hello and goodbye in Czech...pronounced 'ahoy!') and Na zdravi ('cheers' in Czech, pronounced nazdravee),


*If I have missed anything on this list you'd like to add, let me know!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

can art change the world?

The other day I came across this TED talk. And, needless to say...I fell in love. Not with the Frenchman (or his ridiculously cute French accent), but with the notion. Of art changing the world. Not only did it speak truth and inspiration to my weary, wandering soul, but it also reminded me of the simple fact that any one person (or combination of individuals with a strong passion for a common interest) has the ability to make an impact on this world. Positively.

While you're at it, help out J.R. and his friends by checking out the Inside Out Project and getting involved.

How will you change the world?

Make your mark,


Saturday, February 26, 2011

the future of 'zmena'?

(custom meg + tom illustration by nan lawson)

Ahhh, yes - the good ol' blog. What to do, what to do. We shared some precious moments...told tales of faraway places...spent time reminiscing about wandering through foreign lands without a compass (or a working mobile)...and so on. It was fun and scary and lovely and perfect for me. But now I am experiencing a new journey with my new hubby (red bulls in hand), and with new journeys come new stories, challenges, smiles, travels, trials and precious moments.

That said, I have a feeling it is either 1) time for a zmena blog revamp or 2) time for zmena to sunset and a new blog to emerge. So, as I work this out, please be patient and keep an eye out for what's next. If you have thoughts or ideas, please feel free to share away. I'm all ears. As always.

Smiles and sunshine on this snowy winter night,