Thursday, September 1, 2016

It's been fun. 92 Days of Summer.

2. Dance
4. Ohio
7. Big Sur
12. airB&B
13. PCH
17. DT100 Chair
20. Cocktail Dress
26. Wedding Planning
29. Bike Rides
30. Volunteer
34. Fireworks
35. Family Photos
36. 8 Years
37. Slover Library
39. Crepes
40. Charlotte
41. Wine Party
44. Murals
48. Falafel
51. Coldbrew
52. Tzatzki
53. Watch a Movie
55. Thrifting
58. Thomas
59. Nathan
61. Living Room Pictures
62. Sparklers
64. Fire Pit
65. Host Guest(s)
69. Postcards
75. Slushy Pops
76. The Hood
78. Brunch
79. Hiking
82. Design Invite (and here, here)
86. Cheers!
88. Freebie: The Troll Hole
89. Freebie: Improv
90. Freebie: Sugaring
91. Freebie: Buti Yoga
92. Freebie: Honey

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Aunt Eileen

I've been lucky enough to have been surrounded by strong women my whole life. I know I have mentioned this through several blogs before, but when I was younger I wasn't sure I really realized it. Probably because those women were protecting me from what exactly they needed to be determined of....

Regardless, my Aunt Eileen was definitely one of those women. She is the only living sister of my grandfather (the only living Great relative I have left) and is a mere 95 years old. After a very unpleasant first marriage my Aunt and her friend packed up a convertible and headed out west. Santa Monica is stopped, renting an apartment and securing a job at Santa Monica High School as an Art Teacher. It was there she met the real love of her life, Tom. They bought a remodeled a house just eight blocks from the Pacific Ocean. They traveled the world together, as apparent through her home's decor - and photography she took that adorns several walls and photo albums (she was a photographer for the US Navy's WAVES).

It wasn't until I was in high school that my relationship with her had started to blossom. When she heard of my interest in journalism and photography, she insisted I come live with her and work for the L.A. Times. Because in her mind I was just that good to land a job working at one of the best newspapers in the country. She would send me sections of the newspapers, or clippings of their photo stories. She would help a little each semester with $50 check to put toward books and cards of inspiration.

I didn't make my first visit to her house until 2009, but I've been incredibly fortunate to experience her spark, her stories, her love of life and generous hospitality several times since. She is remarkable in so many ways. Some days she recognizes who we are, but others we're just a pretty face that she'll constantly remind you of over and over. Either way, she hasn't lost that flair and quick wit that has always made her Aunt Eileen.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Baby Shower Invites

For the mom-to-be of a boy, but who very much loves pink.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Monterey in 36 Hours

Before we had made our way down to Santa Monica, my West Coast True Love, Mike and I had both decided we would prefer to live in Monterey out of all the cities we had visited. For me, it would take a little getting used to the chilly weather, but the location on the water, the quant shops, proximity to all the parks, hiking and beaches AND the cutest of cutest houses I may have ever seen stole my heart.

We stayed at a small hotel in Pacific Grove, called Lover's Point Inn. Spacious rooms and views of The Point made it a great stopping point for a few days. We were in Big Sur within an hour, and (a surprise to Mike) at Pebble Beach Golf Course within 20 minutes. We stumbled upon the 17-mile drive, a gorgeous - and pretty - drive through Del Monte Forest.

For eats we hit up Hula's in Monterey, which I was convinced was too gimmicky for my taste. However, it ended up Happy Hour all night and we scored big with strong drinks and lots of appetizers to share.

Even though it was just by chance I picked this charming sea town to stop at, I will definitely be putting it back on the must-stop places in the future.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

July Self Portrait

There was a birthday card my sister sent me more than a decade ago. On it was a photograph she had taken from one of her excursions out west, with these adorable yet bizarre-looking seals. The message inside said:

Have a wonderful day of your celebration of birth in your 19th year! Leave all your worries behind and eat lots of pie, but do not set any fires! ... Do not fret any longer, fretting only uses up time and produces only doubt. That is unproductive, and you are the most productive person I know. I want you to know that you are the sweetest, most beautiful person in my life. You've kept me going ofr 19 years! Keep confident and stay honest to yourself and you will always be brilliant, I can promise you that.

Obviously, my sister is pretty awesome. And of course the photo and message stuck with me. I immediately added Elephant Seal Rookery and Big Sur to my Bucket List and tucked the card away.

Now, twelve years later, I am checking those boxes and realizing the card couldn't be more true. For starters, we ran into an impressive forest fire that shut down several of the hikes and view points. I was, of course, bummed as the overlooks were covered with a dusty-orange plum of smoke and the entrance path to infamous McWay Waterfall was draped in closed caution tape.

But what could we do? Not fret. We powered through the thick haze and made our way to a gorgeous hike in Lime Kiln where we met several larger-than-life Redwood trees. We took in these eerie, once-in-a-lifetime views of the Pacific Coast Highway sprinkled with firefighters. Mike confidently drove us up, down and around, pausing at every chance to get just one more photo. And yes, we finally met our Elephant Seals, just like the ones on my sister's card.

The whole trip was nothing short of brilliant. We didn't over plan or exhaust ourselves trying to see every site. We embraced every moment, even the ones in a gum-filled alley.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tomato Tart

A delicious summertime side dish.

What you'll need:
1 pizza crust
5 oz goat cheese
1 tbsp seasonings (I used a mixture of thyme, rosemary and Sel Magique salts)
3 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4"
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

What you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix the pizza crust according to the package. Roll flat and place in a pie dish or tart pan and prick the dough with a fork.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crust starts to get a little fluffy.
4. While the crust is baking, slice your tomatoes about 1/4" thick. 
5. In a bowl mix the goat cheese and seasonings. Coat the pie crust with the mixture.

6. Next, layer the tomatoes, alternating colors. Drizzle with the olive oil and top with Parmesan. 
7. Bake for another 20 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Farm Wayfinding

One of many things I enjoy about working at a Zoo is designing exhibit signage. My first task was creating a comprehensive signage package for the Animal Wellness Campus, which included several large-scaled signs, infographics and wayfinding signals. In May, I was tasked with the ZooFarm which just received a major facelift in the Spring. All of the barns were repainted in bright child-friendly colors, several new animals were added and all of signage needed to be replaced. 

I had about two weeks to create the look, research the animals and photos, determine size, placement and get approval! Needless-to-say, it was quite the test. But, don't we really all work best under pressure (and crazy tight deadlines)? The ZooFarm looks brighter and prettier than ever (mainly thanks to our amazing Horticulture Department), so stop in and say hello– and meet our newest arrivals!