Hannah Leadley artist based in Chicago, IL, US


You are a full time freelancer, so your weekdays probably get mixed up with weekends. Are Sundays any different for you?

My schedule is all over the place, being a full time artist as well as a part time nanny for our pastors, my Sunday looks different than many other's. I begin nannying stat 6:30am and finish around 3pm. I still value my Sundays as a day of rest and relaxation. A day to regroup, not answer emails, and not have meetings. Thankfully the kids I nanny are also my friends and most Sundays they make me breakfast and we take it slow, sometimes I even walk in to coffee already made for me! In order to keep Sunday sacred my husband and I always have a Sunday dinner. This dinner includes a group of our closest friends here in the city. Some of them work at our church with my husband and others volunteer or just attend. All of us seem to have a pretty long workday on Sunday though. After work we all go home and rest and around 5pm we congregate at one of our homes for dinner. Sweets are REQUIRED. Dinners usually consist of leftovers from our fridge or meals that are the easiest and cheapest that we all contribute to. We all make dinner together, chat, and when the weather is nice we are always outside. We value that during this time we don’t need to be ‘on’ and we can be honest about our energy level or emotional capacity. Every Sunday I find something to celebrate, because I love celebrating every little thing, and there are many wine cheers of celebration. We often use this time to use our friends laundry machines (cause free laundry is life). We don’t clean up our apartments before these friends come over. I’ve learned that the friends you don’t feel stress to clean your bathroom for are the real deal. We all have the rule that the person hosting can say when they are done and ready for people to leave. Sundays are a day to rest even if I have to wake up at 6am and even when I’m tired and don’t know about making it to Sunday dinner by the end I am ALWAYS filled up and filled with energy and hope for the rest of the week. Every Sunday I am reminded of all the way we can celebrate and the value I find in authentic friendships.

Tell us about your most spontaneous and memorable Sunday.

Spontaneity is my love language so when I have the chance to be spontaneous it completely fills me up. During summers in Chicago there are always festivals going on. My most memorable Sunday has included going to a festival that ended up being down the street. It was a Latin American festival and there was a concert going on, my husband and I danced, celebrated, and drank. The people at the festival were so sweet and even taught me how to salsa. Having spontaneous adventures like this reminds me of the beautiful city I get to live in.

Water inspires you to create. Can it be that you'll spend your free moments near lake Michigan or some other water source?

I often travel to California for my art and make a point of spending time by the ocean. I also love getting the chance to go to Lake Michigan during any season, the atmosphere changes so much and is so inspiring. My husband and I also take a trip every March and we make sure it is tropical to get out of the Chicago cold. Every chance I get to be near water is so inspiring and allows me to come back with a clear and creative mind.

Photography: Hannah Leadley @hannah_ellen_