I’m a voracious reader … always have been. As long as I can remember, I’ve loved to get lost in a book. As a kid, I was never without a book and that hasn’t changed. The last couple of years — with all my travel — I do the majority of my reading via audiobooks. Books take up a lot of space in a suitcase and since I read so fact, I’d have to pack a zillio.  of books for each trip. Lately, a lot of my business travel is in the car from my house to Tucson to my office in Phoenix, which lends itself to more audiobook time. 

To get my audiobook fix, I joined Audible many years ago and am a huge fan. But the more I traveled, the more I found myself burning through my Audible credits.  I was buying extra credits pretty much every month and it was getting expensive.

Then I found this article and this one, which both pointed me to some awesome public libraries that have huge digital collections and offer library cards to no residents at super reasonable prices. 

I started with getting audiobooks from my own library system (Pima County) and then added a subscription to the Fairfax County Virginia library system. They charge $27 a year for no residents and they have almost 10,000 titles (and are always adding more). So between my local library and the Fairfax libraries I can find just about anything I want. 

I use an app called Overdrive and I can add the different libraries I have cards for. That means library audiobooks are on one bookshelf and I don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops to listen to them. 

I still use Audible, mostly for new books that the libraries might not have a digital copy of yet or the book has a huge waitlist and I want to read it right now. 

This has seriously changed my reading life. And I’m happy to have more ways to read and more books in my life. If you’re a digital reader (e-books or audiobooks), you should totally check this out. 

Note: I’m not a book snob. To me, any way you consume a book is fine by me. I read physical books. I use a Kindle for eBooks. And I listen to audiobooks. Stories are stories and I think people should fill their lives with them any way they can.

Add a Comment + Posted in: Everyday Life, Right now

Cacti Art Totes and Painitngs | Kimberly Kalil Designs

Guess what? I’m doing a little happy dance … I’m going to be the featured artist at the May Saguaro Market! I’ll be showing off my desert/cacti art totes, pillows, and original paintings. You can read all about it here.

Did I mention I’m excited? The last few months I’ve spent a lot (most of) my free time creating art and figuring out my style. In the process, I started creating watercolor and India ink paintings of cacti with machine stitching to add some depth and texture. If you asked me a year ago if I’d be painting watercolor cacti every, single day I would have told you you’re nuts. But here I am. Until I was doing something consistently — creating art every, single day — I really didn’t know what my “thing” was. But this consistent practice of creating has been absolutely crucial to finding my way.

And guess what else? I love it. I look forward to creating something new. I enjoy the challenge of using a medium — watercolor — I know nothing about. I love that the more I create, the more ideas I have. I love all the new things I’m learning about art. It’s been such a fun process and it makes me feel more alive. What could top that?

It’s been such a fun process and it makes me feel more alive. What could top that? I guess being able to show off some of my favorite creations and meet local folks who are interested in art and our maker scene.

So … if you’re local … please pop by Saguaro Market, 657 West St. Mary Rd., May 4th to 7th. And if you’re not local, check out my Instagram feed to see all the Saguaro Market goodness.



1 Comment + Posted in: Art

StoryWorth | Kimberly Kalil Designs

Have you heard of StoryWorth? I hadn’t until my sister suggested we gift subscriptions to our Mom and Dad.

Basically, StoryWorth makes it easy for people to share their stories with loved ones. Each week (for a year) they email your storyteller (in this case, my Mom and Dad) a story prompt and they just hit reply and start writing their story. The questions are ones you might not have thought to ask your loved ones or stories they’ve never shared.  At the end of the year, you get a hardcover book of all these stories. How cool is that? It’s magic, that’s what it is.

I was with my Dad on Christmas when he opened his StoryWorth email. I explained to him what the whole thing was and he seemed a little underwhelmed by it. He said something like, “Okay. I guess I’ll try it. But there are going to be times I just can’t do it.” He seemed super reticent (to say the least).

But … then he got his first email and his response blew me away. Then he got his second one question and that response blew me away too. It’s 12 weeks into the year and he hasn’t missed a week and I look forward to the weekly email that shares his story with me. I have learned things about my Dad and glimpsed a side of him I’ve never seen in my 42 years of life. His words about his mom were so precious, especially since my Grandma passed away not that long ago and I know how much he misses her. This is magic.

At the same time, my mom has been responding to her questions. Her words are beautiful and the tenderness in which she recalls her memories cracks my heart wide open. This week’s story, all about what her more treasured simple pleasures are, brought me to tears. When she wrote about her mother, she painted a picture of my Grandma I’d never seen. This is magic.

At the end of the year, we’ll have a book of stories. We’ll have a peek into my parents’ lives recorded and shared in a way that they’ll always live on. This is probably the most precious gift ever … for him and for us. This is magic.

With each question, my sister and I are asking our Mom and Dad to tell their story. It’s incredibly powerful. In the simple asking, I’m learning so much. People want to be heard. People want to share their story. People want to be remembered.

Ask. Ask someone to tell their story. All their stories. Just ask … I promise it will be magical.

1 Comment + Posted in: Memory Keeping

Interlude | Kimberly Kalil Designs

All work represented by the gallery is juried for appropriateness based upon: quality, subject matter, critical relevance, marketability, professionalism and an artist’s career development with relation to the particular needs of the gallery at any given time. There are very limited numbers of new artists we can accommodate each season out of a large body of submissions we receive. Unfortunately, your work has not been selected for this particular exhibition.

I did a big, brave thing last month, but didn’t get what I wanted from it.

Unfortunately, your work has not been selected for this particular exhibition.

I applied to my very first art show. I spent most of my free time finish up paintings, photographing my work, editing photos, creating a portfolio and writing an artist statement. It was my personal focus for January.

Guess what? They said no. Yep. They didn’t like my art. Or it wasn’t good enough. Or it didn’t work for that show. Whatever it was, they said no. And I was sad. Really, really sad.

Unfortunately, your work has not been selected for this particular exhibition.

It sucks. Like seriously sucks. But, it’s not the end of the world, right? For a little bit, it felt like the end of the world. For a little bit, I didn’t want to ever submit my art to shows again. For a moment, I felt like a total failure. For a moment, I felt like everything I create is terrible and ugly. Thankfully, that moment passed. 

Setting certain expectations inevitably means there is a chance you’ll be disappointed. I definitely had some very specific expectations and they weren’t totally realistic. I’m a new artist (though not young) and there are going to be many shows I apply to that tell me no. 

Even as disappointing as this was, this whole process did teach me a lot. I learned just how much work is involved with submitting to a show: creating the art, photographing the art, creating a portfolio, and writing an artist statement. There was a lot of shit to do and I got it done. The sense of accomplishment alone was worth the process. 

This experience reminded me how important planning is. I had to figure out everything I needed to do before the submission date and then break it down into small, manageable pieces. 

This experience also reminded me brave and bold I can be. Submitting to a major art show for the first time at 42 is kind of big deal, espeally since I’ve only dabbled in art as an “amateur” up until now.  

Unfortunately, your work has not been selected for this particular exhibition.

I’ll try again.

1 Comment + Posted in: Art

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