Soul Suga’| Pressure Creates Diamonds

vintage postcard of the main gate


Update: Whew!! So much has happened in a short amount of time. I thought that I was leaving my job in September but that didn’t happen. I started planning my subscription box service and working on some classes. Then within a month, I had a new job. An ART TEACHER position had opened up (God did it) and I was hired. When I initially drafted this post I thought that I was leaving in September and then I changed it to next September but here I am posting it. I’m two weeks into being an art teacher and I feel really good. I don’t miss my old life at all.

Of course, I’ve had to play catch up and I’m now taking three classes instead of two. I’ve also had to postpone the release of my subscription box service for a few months. I need to get the grasp of teaching and get past these classes. All that said I apologize for length of this post. Two weeks ago I ended a 40+ year relationship with the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Everything started for me at Happy Days Preschool (now the CDC) the base preschool. I went on to attend Frank Knox Elementary School (now DOD offices and classrooms) for Kindergarten and 5th grade. I learned to read in that building.

I was taught by my mom who was a teacher there for many years until they closed the school. I roller skated down the hallways and in cafeteria, played Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego in the library, and enjoyed the school carnival, science fairs and school performances in the gym. I made friends at Happy Days and Frank Knox that I still have today. I remember every nook and cranny of that building.  My Kindergarten room is now the pass office and every time I go in there I’m reminded of how my mom’s room was right down the hall, the wood paneling walls, the cardboard dress up people (you know the kind that you stick your face and hands through), and of the little courtyard where we played recess. We had a garden plot over by the laundry that both my aunt and uncle worked at. We shopped at the Commissary (now a grove of remembrance trees) and the Exchange (now an office building), played in the gym, and swam at the base pool. I saw my first rated R movie (Stripes) with my unsuspecting mom and during Christmas we would shop at the huge warehouse they called TOYLAND!

Vintage postcard of Frank Knox Elementary School

As I got older, the gym was the place to go and watch all the boys playing basketball or where I would pretend to get my workout on while watching the boys play basketball. One of my closet friends lived on the base and we shared many a sleep over giggling about New Kids on the Block and talking about boys. We had our proms at the Officer’s Club and Project Graduation at the Drill Hall. We’d go to the beach on the Chesapeake (water you couldn’t pay me to go in now) and there was that one time Crystal and I went canoeing. My boyfriend junior year lived on the base and I remember having dinner on his parents boat at the marina. When I came home from college on visits, we would go to the club on the base. The base club years were the BEST, 18 to get in. I didn’t need to drink, I just needed to dance. Everything was good until my ID expired.

Oh the memories. People, places, events to numerous to name them all. I didn’t come on this base again until I was hired in 2003, as a clothing engineer for Human Systems. Just coming off the best experience of my life (design school), I was ready to use my skills to make a difference. Wow, what a journey it has been. I made good friends and saw many of them move on. My eyes were opened up to a world that I never knew existed just over the fence. You see, my childhood home was just across the road from base property. I had my wedding reception at the Beach House and my son had quite a few birthday parties at the same theater I saw Stripes in. Like his mom and dad, he attended the CDC (Happy Days) until it was time for him to start Kindergarten. I’ve seen this base change a lot but I still have my memories. These past 13 years have shaped me into the woman that I am today but I realize that this base has always been a part of my story from the very beginning and as much as I complained I wouldn’t change a thing.  There was money and then no money, there was good management and bad management and REALLY BAD MICROMANAGEMENT. I’ll tell you what, my prayer life has certainly strengthened. There were times when stress was a meal that I eat from the minute I sat at my desk  until the end of the day. But there were also laughs. I’ll miss some of the people. I know that I’ve been truly blessed. My 13 years there have made me smarter, more confident, more skilled, more accepting, and more knowledgeable and what I’ve learned will only make me better for the next half of my life story.

So now I move on to a new group of people, a new set of challenges, a new mission, I know that I’m equipped to handle anything because I’ve worked in 4.6 and I’ve worked with PMA-202 (look up Jim Jones French Guyana) and I survived with my faith and hope intact. So I say for myself “Fair Winds and Following Seas”.








“We Are” 101|The REAL Love Your Spouse Challenge

The Real LYSC

Sometimes we are HONEST…Pardon the interruption.

Have you all heard about the Love Your Spouse Challenge going around Facebook? Post a loving picture of you and your spouse for seven days and challenge someone else to do the same. When I first saw that I had been challenged to share, my first thoughts were I don’t have any pictures that I even want to post. For a good part of our marriage I’ve been overweight and I haven’t wanted to take pictures.

Any pictures that get taken are usually of our son. Plus, I’m not usually on Facebook. Quite honestly, I really don’t like Facebook. I got my post up the first day but by Day 2 when I couldn’t get the photo to post on Facebook using my phone, I got frustrated so I missed that day. On Day 3, I decided to just post Day 2-7 all at one time. I found pictures from our recent trip out west and pictures from when we first got married. I had a nice little photo montage of captured “loving” moments.

Then my husband pissed me off and I deleted the post. I decided to blog a replacement challenge. The REAL Love Your Spouse Challenge. The real challenge is not in these loving captured moments. The challenge is when your husband promises your child that he can go on a trip that the two of you have not discussed. When you tell your child that he can’t go because you miss hanging out with him and he loses his mind crying. And you look like the bad parent because Dad said he could go and Mom said no. And then your child sends you a text that says “You hurt my feelings very Bad” with 7 crying emoji faces after it. The REAL love is even though you want so badly to choke your husband for making you the bad guy once again when your child already thinks that you’re the harder parent BUT you don’t. Instead you keep your tears to yourself and wait for the anger to pass.

That love is rarely captured on camera because that’s messy and who wants to pull out a camera during those times. Marriage is messy and although you have those sweet moments when you can stick your head up from the trenches and capture that loving glance or heart felt embrace, let’s be real. Most of our pictures should show us giving our spouse the side eye or flicking them off behind their backs or they should have Qbert- like expletive bubbles in them. Because in those moments when you really just don’t want to be bothered with that person or like I said you want to choke them, you still love them. When you chose to stay and fight another day, that’s love. And you don’t capture those moments on film.

My love languages are Gifts and Acts of Service. That’s how I feel loved. My husband’s love languages are Quality Time and Physical Touch and our son is a combination of our love languages, with the exception of the Acts of Service. We have tons of pictures of us embracing our son but the real love is when I hold him in my arms and “sleep” upright so that he can breathe because when he lies down his nose clogs. I’ve got no pictures of those moments. I can think of so many other moments when I knew that my husband loved me because he did something for me that only a nurse would do and vice versa. I only have a snapshot in my mind of the cop at our car window warning my husband that he was going way too fast as we drove our son to the ER because he vomited blood after just having surgery on his tonsils. I guess I could have pulled out a camera but with current situations that might not have gone down well.

So I challenged myself to go through my pictures and find those images of REAL love. Messy love. Hard love. This is our love. Although I appreciate the challenge, haven’t we all been feed the “fairytale” of marriage that’s most often captured in these pictures popping up in the challenge? Don’t we owe it to those couples that haven’t made that commitment to show them what marriage is really like? Marriage is hard and if I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t. But I did and I meant it. I love my husband. My favorite REAL love photo of him is from the day our son was born. You see that huge knot on his forehead? He got that because he walked into the edge of solid metal door that was obscured by a curtain because he was going to get the nurse so that she could do something to make me feel a little more comfortable during labor. He hit hard but he took it like a trooper and that’s love.

The Knot
The Knot

Stay real.





The Suga’|The “Pink” Weekly Roundup

The Weekly Roundup Pink

Around my house, it’s no secret that pink is my FAVORITE color. My husband joked that I would buy pink poo if they had it. Now I’m not that serious but check these out. Cute, right?

Anyhoo (rhymes with poo), this week’s roundup is all about my favorite color! Enjoy!

  1. Ever wonder about the history of the color pink, find out at NPR.
  2. Pale pink and yellow color trends in fashion for Fall 2016 via InStyle.
  3. A graphic history of pink via Colourlovers.
  4. Known for being a color for females, read about reclaiming the color pink via The Guardian.
  5. Pretty up your coffee table with Pink: The Exposed Color in Contemporary Art and Culture via Amazon.
  6. Art that proves pink is tough via
  7. The Smithsonian Institute discusses when girls started wearing pink.
  8. Ever wonder just what the color pink stands for, find out via
  9. Check out some encouraging articles over at Pink Magazine.
  10. Find a beautiful career and a beautiful life via Little Pink Book.

Stay classy!

Katrina signature



“We Are” 101|Inventors

When I was looking for stories to share on National Sewing Machine Day, I came across a post about Stephanie Kwolek. The post called her A Great Woman In Sewing. I’d never heard of her but I certainly know a lot about the product she invented.

inventors 5

I’ve worked with it for the past 13 years as a clothing engineer (designer) for a branch of the services. When I graduated from fashion design school, I’d heard the word Kevlar but really that’s about all. Over the years, I’ve come to know quite a bit about it and its uses, but I never knew that it was invented by a woman. And they say that we have no place or interest in STEM. You see, Kevlar was invented by Stephanie Kwolek.

inventors 4

Her scientific contributions have made a huge impact on our world and it all started with a sewing machine.  Stephanie’s father was a scientist and her mother was a home seamstress. She passed on a love of textiles and fashion to Stephanie. Stephanie thought that she might pursue a career in fashion but she also loved science.

inventors 3

She studied biology in college and that lead to her a career with DuPont. It was there that her two loves eventually combined and she invented a fiber that would influence the world in many ways. Her invention was almost not used but she convinced her fellow scientist and Kevlar was born.

Kevlar, five times as strong as steel and vastly more lightweight, is best known for its use as body armor–which is how I became acquainted with the textile. Kevlar is also used in hundreds of everyday items, from gloves to roads and even tires.

Inventors 1

One of the things that I emphasize with the girls I mentor in fashion is that it’s not all about sewing or designing pretty clothes. If you love something else, that can be combined with fashion. If you love to write be a fashion blogger or work for a magazine. If you love science, you can work for DuPont or WL Gore and invent performance wear. If you love sports, you can work for Nike. Because Kwolek  understood fabric and textiles as well as science it helped her contribute in a greater way. Today Kevlar is used even in fiber optic cables, and so Kwolek’s work makes it possible for me to communicate this very post to you.

Don’t count out women in science and don’t count out sewing and fashion as “froo froo” careers with no real contribution. I’m sure the men and women that use body armor everyday are thankful to Stephanie Kwolek.

inventors 2

Take a look at some other women inventors.

Madam C.J. Walker

Marie Van Brittan Brown

Roxey Ann Caplin

Joy Mangano

Rachel Fuller Brown

We Girls Can Do Anything!

Stay classy!




She Tried It|Conversation Ball

Hey Everybody! Things continue to go well in our household. Our son is doing well with his chores. We’ve only had one official Family Meeting where we discussed the needs and wants for our family. Family Meetings don’t always have to be a “meeting”. You can use that scheduled time to watch a movie, play a game or even go to an amusement park which is what we did for our family meeting.

During our first family meeting at the end we did something really fun. I’d seen this idea applied to classroom teaching and I knew that I wanted to adopt it for art but then I found it on Pinterest when I was looking around for family activities and I knew that it would also be perfect for Family Meeting.

Conversation Ball

Guess what my boys loved it! It’s so simple and cheap to do. All you need is a Sharpie and a inflatable beach ball. With summer right around the corner, you can easily grab one or more at the dollar store. Taking a lead from the pin, I used the marker to write topics and questions on the ball.

Before we ended our meeting, I brought out the ball out and took turns tossing and wherever our hands landed on the ball, we answered the question. What fun sharing! If you’re looking for a way to get your kids to open up to you, give it a try!

DIY Conversation Ball Materials


You can also pick up these fun premade inflatable conversation balls from S & S Worldwide. They have Toss and Talk balls from reminiscing, positive attitude, getting acquainted, movement, the Original Toss and Talk ball with a mix of topics and questions and tons more for you to choose from that suit your needs.

These balls are great for teachers, parents, friends and anyone looking to encourage open conversations and looking to build relationships.

Stay classy and communicate!

Katrina signature





The Creative Call|Stand Out

Click image to download print
Click image to download print

Wow, what a day I had yesterday. Absolutely one of the best day I’ve had in a long time. I started the day at a Women’s Empowerment event and ended the day with a little wine and painting.

The Women’s Empowerment event was moving and spiritually awakening. I didn’t know what to expect. A girlfriend from work sent me the invitation and I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to go, but I did. So glad! I heard lots of moving stories and although not a Christian event, the room was full of women that recognize the power of Christ in transforming their lives. All the speakers were magnificent and all I could think was that I have to find a way to work with these women. This is a great organization. They are helping to empower women and girls in Southern Maryland much like I’m working on as well. Truly a wonderful experience and I cannot wait until next year’s event.

Photo: Southern Maryland Woman
Photo: Southern Maryland Woman

If you live in the area, next year this conference is a MUST! Unfortunately I had to dip out early to go to another event. A fellow Taurus was celebrating her birthday at Wine and Design and I can never pass up an opportunity to flex my creative muscles. Of course, I had to put my little spin on the painting.  What do you think?




Today was a FABULOUS day!


Stay classy!