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I have moved!

December 21, 2012

I moved to

My little blog has moved to a new & improved home – So head on over and find out what I’ve been up to. Don’t forget to subscribe over there if you want to follow along!

photo source here


November 25, 2011

KZ by Kate Zitzer BLACK FRIDAY/CYBER MONDAY SALE! 15% OFF ALL WEEKEND! Enter coupon code KZ15THANKS11 at checkout to receive 15% off your entire order! Offer good through Monday, November 28th.
★ HOLIDAY SHIPPING: Delivery in the U.S. should be mailed no later than the second week of December. International Mail should be mailed as soon as possible. 
Earlier this year I opened an online shop, KZ by Kate Zitzer, to sell my mixed media paintings. This weekend I am offering a very special 15% discount.
My artwork is a combination of colors, words, lines and shapes.  I draw inspiration from the places I’ve been and the city I live in. I love to experiment with different mediums. Currently I’m using acrylic paint, ink, pastel pencils, spray paint and basic latex paint to create my artwork. Take a peek at some of the current paintings in my shop at
I will be listing new items fresh from my studio throughout the next couple of weeks so keep checking back and stay tuned for additional holiday sales! Happy shopping and happy holidays! 
*2011 Black Friday and Cyber Monday COUPON CODE:  To use, enter code KZ15THANKS11 in the coupon code box at checkout (you will see the savings reflected upon checkout and when paying via PayPal).

[sorrento, italy] just passing through

July 15, 2011

We left Ravello late morning on the third day. We passed through several beautiful little towns along Amalfi Drive until we arrived in Sorrento. Lined by an endless variety of shops, eateries and little bars, the streets of Sorrento were bustling. We found our way into Piazza Tasso and joined a mix of locals and other toursists at one of the many sidewalk cafes for a late afternoon lunch. We spent the rest of evening strolling beneath lemon and orange trees and taking in the views over the Mediterranean water to the Isle of Capri and the Bay of Naples. We also happened to catch a boys soccer game at the Stadio Italia before turning in for the night. Our time in Sorrento was short but sweet. Next stop: Florence.        

[fairs and festivals] randolph street market festival

July 11, 2011

On a warm sunny Sunday afternoon not too long ago, our great friends Katie and Chris joined us at the Randolph Street Market Festival. It is a European-style, indoor-outdoor urban market in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago. Home to the Chicago Antique Market and the Indie Designer Market, it features hundreds of unique vintage finds including furnishings and décor, clothing, jewelry, art, collectibles and more.

We decided we would grab lunch at the market and it was a good thing we came with an appetite. The food market included all types of sandwiches, grilled veggies, refreshing drinks, cakes, breads, chocolates, salty snacks, etc. It was delicious!

Below are a few photos from the Antique Market and the Food Market:

Saturday, July 30, 2011 10am to 5pm
Sunday, July 31, 2011 10am to 4pm

1340 W. Washington – Chicago, IL

smile + say hello

July 9, 2011

Elmarie from Say Hello Creatives and  Smile Lifestyle Boutique was kind enough to put together a guest post for me while I was away on my honeymoon. I was so busy that week that I didn’t get around to scheduling it then I completely forgot about it. When I was checking out what’s new on their blog Smile + Say Hello yesterday (she shares it with her twin sister Edmarie), I remembered I had it. I met these wonderfully talented sisters at the Andrew High School craft show in February of this year. Their booth was just a few down from mine. It was great meeting them and getting to know them ever since. El, among other things, is a print designer. Her work is creative and truly beautiful. And it’s all environmentally friendly! Ed is an amazing painter. Her work is very unique [you can find some of Ed’s paintings in her Etsy shop 3AM Gallery Lane]. I admire both of these ladies greatly. Here is El’s post:

iPads are not as powerful as your Macbook Pro, but they do have the capability to get the designer/illustrator-on-the-go feeling quite productive as he/she sits on the train or waits (patiently) for a client in a coffee shop. I recently bought an iPad a few weeks ago and have been experimenting with some apps (and, a website) I found beneficial so far. Here’s a summary on tools every illustrator/designer-on-the-go should have:
WEB: Not really an app, but Pinterest is my go-to source for inspirations. It’s a digital version of an inspiration board that archives anything you like online.
DESIGN APPS: For designers, especially those who do a lot of logos or vector-based illustrations, Inkpad is the app for you. It works very similar to Adobe Illustrator. An app that works the essentials of Photoshop is Sketchbook Pro. Inkpad and Sketchbook files can be exported as jpegs, pdfs or (for Sketchbook Pro, psd) files. Pdfs exported from Inkpad can be opened in Illustrator (and it retains all your vector layers!).
OFFICE APPS: Two other apps I find useful for cataloging my files are Evernote and Sugarsync. Evernote archives anything from snapshots, notes and recordings; Sugarsync synchronizes your files across multiple computers and gives you access to your files directly from your mobile device. These two are essential tools for staying organize, and hey, they’re FREE!
GADGET: Get yourself a stylus pen! What’s great about the iPad is that it allows you to sketch just like you would on a traditional sketchbook. Pogo Sketch ($15) is probably a good pen to start.
There are many more design apps out there and you just need to determine which would work best for you (and, your wallet). Be sure to check out Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK for more ways to be more productive on the iPad.
If you are in or around the Lemont area today stop by their booth at the Artisans on the Canal Indie & Craft Market or check them out at The World According To boutique in downtown Lemont. Good luck ladies!









independence day

July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July! With love, from Chicago


[ravello, italy] seeking out villa cimbrone and exploring it

July 1, 2011

The first reliable mentions of Villa Cimbrone can be found around the 11th century, intermingling with those of Ravello’s golden era. The origins of its name come from the rocky outcrop on which it stands known as “Cimbronium.”

It initially belonged to the aristocratic Acconciajoco family. In the mid 1300s it passed into the hands of the powerful and wealthy Fuscos, a noble family from Ravello. The Fusco family’s bond with Cimbrone was strong and intense, so much so that it owned it for over five and a half centuries. However, on 31 August 1864, due to serious economic problems, the Fusco family had to hand over the entire property to the Amici brothers, traders and pasta makers from Atrani.

At the end of the 19th century, the Villa was visited by an Englishman named Ernest William Beckett, Lord Grimthorpe. He was one of the intellectuals on the “grand tour,” constantly seeking out the roots of Western history and culture on their travels. He fell hopelessly in love with the place and in 1904 he bought part of it from the Amici brothers. Spurred by the great happiness he found in Ravello, Beckett decided to revive the Villa and make it a real treasure: “the most beautiful place in the world.” Among the rich and varied native and exotic plants, in a delightful union between English landscaping and the tradition of Italian gardens, a large number of splendid decorative elements were added: fountains, nymphaea, small temples, pavilions and stone and bronze statues.

Villa Cimbrone had experienced a period of decline around the time of the Second World War. Because the owners were English it was seized by the Italian State during the conflict, and it was totally abandoned for almost a decade.

The successful project to recover, conserve and protect one of the most important cultural heritage sites in Campania sprang from a bold idea by Marco Vuilleumier at the end of the 1960s. Step by step, the Vuilleumiers with the aid of valuable suggestions from internationally renowned expert landscapers and botanists, have restored Villa Cimbrone to its former standing as a prestigious historical site and botanical garden.  

After a delicious and leisurely breakfast on the terrace at Palazzo Sasso, Marc and I decided to seek out this historic gem. Beneath another cloud covered sky, we made our way through the narrow pathways, between the ceramic shops, up and around the winding cliffs until we reached the grand sixteenth century doorway and entrance to the Gardens of Villa Cimbrone. We began our tour of the gardens through a pergola thickly covered in vegetation and down the shady Avenue of Immensity. A variety of exotic flowers and plants, eighteenth century terracotta vases and bronze statues decorated the pathway. The tops of the mountains peaked over the tall trees. At the end of the picturesque Avenue we came upon the Temple of Ceres whose pavilion marks the entrance to the famous and magnificent Terrace of Infinity. The natural balcony of the Terrace is adorned with eighteenth century marble busts. Looking out the sea seems to stretch out infinitely. Far below little multicolored houses clung to the cliffs. It was awe-inspiring. Pure beauty. We proceeded on down a steep lane until we reached the Seat of Mercury and a bronze statue of Hermes at Rest. We stopped here under a shady oak tree  for a brief moment. Further on beneath a thick pergola of vegetation and supported by round terracotta columns was Hortensia Avenue . At the end stands an old cast iron well. Our journey continued along though beautiful rosebeds until we found ourselves a graceful little courtyard. The courtyard is known as the Cloister, and it is designed in Arabian, Sicilian and Norman style. Above the arch, two boar heads recall the family crest of Lord Grimthorpe. We wandered into the Rose Terrace and rested for a bit taking in the sweet scents of the roses and soaking up the beautiful scenery. The Villa Cimbrone was delightful and definitely worth seeking out. After our tour, we headed back into town and found a gelateria where we treated ourselves to scoops of strawberry and lemon gelato. Delicious.

[ravello, italy] palazzo sasso & sasso by the sea

June 30, 2011

The sun was setting just beyond Mount Vesuvius as we headed away from the city and into the mountains. We’d been traveling for close to 24 hours, and despite the incredible panoramic view of the Gulf of Naples, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I dozed in and out of sleep while we passed through lemon orchards and rose colored towns. We climbed high into the mountains around steep and winding roads until we reached Ravello. A narrow pathway led to the entrance of our hotel, the Palazzo Sasso. The mountain air was cool, and a slight breeze blew through the windows of the hotel lobby. I was excited to see what the grounds had in store for us in the daylight. We checked into our guest room, dropped off our luggage then set out in search of our first Italian meal. Clouds covered the night sky as we navigated the narrow cobblestone streets into the piazza. I was thrilled we were finally here. Nothing from the previous 24 hours mattered [not the 8 hour flight delay at O’hare, the turbulence or the lack of sleep]. The hotel recommended we try CumpÀ Cosimo, a popular trattoria in Ravello. We settled on splitting a margherita pizza and ordered individual pasta dishes [penne arrabiata for M and cheese ravioli for me]. It was beyond delicious. We found our way back to the hotel and climbed the stairs to the rooftop. Surrounded by mountain cliffs and the small towns’ twinkling lights, hand in hand we sat silently. The breeze carried along the Italian music from the lobby below. This was just the beginning. It would be but a small memory in comparison to everything else we would encounter in these two weeks, but I cherished it deeply.

I decided to post the photos from Palazzo Sasso [and its seaside villa Sasso by the Sea] because the place was absolutely gorgeous, and quite frankly it was the only place we stayed on this trip that’s worth mentioning. It was a honeymooner’s dream, and I wish we could have stayed longer. Tomorrow you will get a much more in-depth look at Ravello, and it’s awe-inspiring beauty. And over the next few weeks I’ll be posting many more honeymoon photos. We spent ten days traveling around several beautiful cities in Italyand three days in Barcelona. Some days I will share by city, other days I will share by adventure. I am excited to relive the memories. I hope you enjoy!  

[through the lens] Wells Street Art Festival

June 18, 2011

While I finish uploading and editing the photos from our honeymoon [there are hundreds], I thought I would share a few photos from the art festival Marc and I and his parents [my inlaws!] went to last weekend. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t that great, but we saw some really talented artists.

37th Annual Wells Street Art Festival / June 11-12 / Old Town, Chicago

Miss to Mrs.

June 17, 2011

For those of you who don’t know, on May 21st Marc and I tied the knot. It was the happiest day, perfect and surreal. I married a wonderful man. I was so glad all of our friends and family were there to support and celebrate with us. We truly are blessed.

The following day we left for our honeymoon. Our itinerary included stops in Ravello, Florence, Lucca and Barcelona. It was the most amazing two weeks. My mind has been full of wonderful memories that I just can’t wait to share with you.

In other news, I’ve decided that Illustrate Kate needs a makeover. So please be patient with me while I make changes the next few days. Thanks!