Category Archives: love

summer wine

July was wild. It’s my favorite month because we make our annual trip to Hilton Head, the days are rife with summer storms, the gardens are overflowing, and there are many celebrations. This July was particularly full, as we enjoyed the beach, drove into Savannah, toasted a friend’s engagement, and then I flew off to Philadelphia and New York for the DNC and to see two of my best friends. Now that I have a month off from the 2nd of my 4(!) jobs, I will have some time to catch up and actually write! While I get everything in order, here’s a sneak peek through photos of what is to come.

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sunsets at Hilton Head

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sunday morning tea blending

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trespassing through a nearly demolished recording studio in Savannah

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vegan blueberry banana bread

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twilight hour engagement parties

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the shakespeare garden in central park

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celebrating the success of nominating HRC as the first female candidate of a major party

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thrift store finds & birthday surprises

Fingers crossed I can get on a regular schedule here! ūüėČ

 

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Sweetheart Day, pt. 2

I’m very lucky to have a partner who humors me when I say that we should go to the Korean spa and get naked with a bunch of strangers. Being a nude model, I don’t mind shedding my clothes around people, and this is a far more relaxing (and warmer!) way to do it. Naturally,¬†Jeju¬†has segregated locker and bath areas, so we were only able to go to the large saunas and restaurant together. Even then, I like to be as warm as possible, so while I spent much of my time in the Rock & Salt sauna & the steam rooms, he prefers cooler temperatures and enjoyed the frigid meat locker known as the Ice Room. Off our separate ways we went!

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restoration in the Jewel Sauna

Once most people pulled out their mats to go to bed, we headed back to the hotel. At only $25 for 24 hours, I’d have no qualms about staying overnight! But, it was nice to fall into that big king-sized bed, replete with fluffy pillows and hotel amenities. The hotel in which we stayed was a childhood favorite, full of gardens inside and out – including a little Japanese one! We overslept, but still had plenty of time to get in all of our planned excursions before heading home. We hit up¬†The High¬†first, where we were pleasantly surprised to find free admission due to a big family festival they were having that day. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the museum that crowded! It’s nice to be able to go there and the¬†Columbia Museum of Art¬†and experience all the different events both museums have to offer.

I’m a big fan of the American and Folk Art wings, and had to take the opportunity to snap photos of work by some of my favorite artists – Bill Traylor, Joseph Stella, and Howard Finster, just to name a few. I’ve got my eye on a Bill Traylor anthology, as well as a Walker Evans one they have for sale in the museum shop. They may have to come home with me on our trip to see the¬†Basquiat exhibit!

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“The Lion and the Bear”

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close-up of “Purissima,” Joseph Stella

After the museum, we grabbed a quick lunch from the food carts positioned outside of the Woodruff Arts Center (a veggie burger & plaintains for me, pasta and spicy meatballs for him!) and skipped down the road to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The Tropical Rotunda is just full of the most perfect plant species, especially all of the varietals of Philodendrons.

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I’ve never been one who favors photographing flora, but I have to admit that I do enjoy taking portraits of strange plants and curious leaves.

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a close-up from the High Elevation House

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your cliche “hand on plant/#liveauthentic” photo

During our visit, we delighted in the Nepenthes, or Asian Pitcher Plant, exhibit. I love love love carnivorous plants, and these were a sight to see!

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next painting subject?

I’m working on a couple of photo series’ right now, as well as some smaller watercolors for another project, and trying to decide which one I want to go with for an upcoming show in the Fall. Plant portraits are weighing heavily on my mind, and I certainly have more than enough photos from which to choose now!

Speaking of photography, my boyfriend is also a talented photo-maker, and he surprised me with an image of a really special moment. We went to a Clinton rally a couple of weeks ago, where we got to hear former President Bill Clinton speak, and I even managed to take a selfie with him! While taking said selfie, my sweet beau jumped on the risers and snapped a photo of us, and gifted me a print of it for the holiday. I ran around the station with it, proudly sharing it with everyone and anyone, and now have it hanging up behind my desk. It was such an honor to meet him, and to have that second captured in time truly is a treasure. #endgushing!

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You’re due for a Rosie post, so look for one soon highlighting the her souvenir from Philadelphia and her Valentine’s present. She’s also highly in need of a bath, so I may give you a glimpse into what a spa day looks like for her!

 

Sweetheart Day, pt. 1

This Valentine’s Day, we decided to get away from it all and headed to Atlanta for a quick, but relaxing, overnight trip. About a month ago, I had booked an appointment with¬†Radiant Human¬†at¬†Young Blood Boutique¬†to have my aura photographed, and couldn’t decide if I should just drive up for the day solo and then have a quiet Valentine’s Day at home or if the boy and I should go together and explore. We like a challenge, so we decided to go for it and pack in as much as we could in those 24 hours!

Our first stop was at Argosy so I could get my cards read by my friend, Katie, of Psychic Joy. She was eerily accurate in December, and I was curious as to what she and the cards had to say a couple of months later. She was right on the money again! You should definitely check her out during one of the Argosy Swaps, and take a look at her goods at Psychic Joy Shop.

Surprisingly, I had overlooked Young Blood each time I was in the Highlands, always spending the afternoon in¬†Highland Row Antiques¬†digging for records, jade dishware, & vintage adornments. Nutmeg Vintage is without a doubt my favorite booth, so give her some love next time you’re there!¬†As for Young Blood, they carry almost all of¬†my favorite brands –¬†Mudpuppy Ceramics,¬†Native Bear,¬†Portland favorites¬†Betsy and Iya¬†&¬†Imaginary Authors, &¬†Group Partner, just to name a few. I managed to get away without causing too much damage, with a long-coveted tee from¬†Otherwild, some chocolate from¬†Compartes, and the most adorable plum-flavored lolly from¬†A Secret Forest.

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also shown: a lovely labradorite I picked up for some extra good energy

I’ve been dying for one of Michael’s All-Seeing Eye Hand Amulets, and now I’m obsessed with his decal adorned skulls, particularly the boob one! Seems like it would be pretty perfect for my desk at work, no?

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Getting my aura photographed was all that I hoped it would be. Christina is so kind, and she took the time to explain what the colors of each person’s aura meant. The purple/violet color at the top represents my consciousness – being a visionary who is¬†¬†unconventional, non-judgmental, playful, loves to be inspired and delight others. The red right represents the exterior, the energy pushing out, or how the world sees me – strong with great will power, someone who looks to new beginnings, leadership, action, and practicality. It is¬†encouraged to get plenty of exercise and get into nature to achieve balance. As for the lower left-hand, that represents how I see the energy coming in, or the lens in which I view the world – a blue color stands for depth of feeling, trust, devotion, loyalty, nurture, personal relationships, supportive, intuitive, and sensitive, and it is recommended to pursue creative endeavors. I’d say that’s me in a nutshell!

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Christina is based out of Portland, but is constantly on tour photographing auras. I urge you to check her dates and see if she will be in a city near you so you can do this, too! It is an experience I will always treasure – and definitely not a bad start to a lovely Valentine’s Day weekend! Next up, Jeju, the High, and the Botanical Gardens!

Self Care

A lover of natural, herbal, & holistic remedies, I stumbled upon PDX apothecary,¬†Duck Feather Herbs, a couple of months ago, and have had my eye on their Lavender lip balm, Sleeping Beauty tea, and an array of herbal tinctures ever since. Just after the new year, they hosted a giveaway with fellow herbalists, Tumbleweed Apothecary¬†&¬†Monarch Apothecary, offering a dreamy assortment of health and beauty goods. With a package full of soaking salts, perfume, incense, facial products and more, how could I resist entering?! I was fortunate enough to be chosen as their winner and I couldn’t be more enamored with all of their products. Even their packaging was perfect in its rustic simplicity!

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The¬†Love Manifest¬†perfume from¬†Monarch Apothecary¬†is altogether divine – a consummate marriage of various rose petal essences,¬†rose geranium, bergamot, and ginger lily essential oils, & topped with their own farm harvested roses, it’s a delightfully feminine and romantic bouquet. After a hot bath with their Turmeric & Calendula Soaking Salts, enhanced by the air of Lavender & Sage incense cones, roll on some love-filled perfume and be prepared for an amorous evening!

Keeping my face dewy and lips soft is super easy thanks to¬†Tumbleweed Apothecary’s¬†oil-based facial serum,¬†Stunner. With thirteen different oils, including rose hips, argan, frankincense, & jojoba (“you’ll love it – it has jojoba.” s/o to my theatre “sister,” Lauren!), I apply it after cleansing my face and before adding their ‘Spellbound’ Face Cream. Topping my lips with some Lavender & Mint ‘Peck’ lip balm, my skin is supple & kissable.

I stay busy between my full-time job at a local tv station, part time job at an art gallery, helping run a volunteer-based community art gallery, traveling, & my own artistic endeavors – painting, writing, baking, acting, & photography – so I’m always looking for new ways to relax and unwind. Sleep has never come easier with a cup of¬†Good Belly Tea¬†combined with some Have a Good Rest Tincture, care of Duck Feather Herbs.¬†Adding a couple of drops of this chamomile, catnip, lavender, & bergamot mint tincture to an already quieting cup of mint & lemon balm herbal tea is a foolproof way to end a satiated day.

I’ve added some Elderberry Syrup to my wish list from Duck Feather Herbs, as well as some tinted lip balm called ‘Smooch’ and the ‘Siren’ facial steam from Tumbleweed Apothecary, and a tin of Cacao, Rose, & Rooibos (decaf!) Chai & Herkimer diamond gemstone essence from Monarch Apothecary. My ever-growing Etsy cart is taunting my bank account!

While I’ve linked to each apothecary’s individual shops, they’ve all got Instagram accounts that are equally as tantalizing as their products. Take a peek for yourself at¬†@DuckFeatherHerbs,¬†@tumbleweed_apothecary, &¬†@monarchapothecary!

 

 

Fetch!

Each time I travel, I make sure to pick up a little something to bring back for Rosie. Our holiday trip to Detroit & Toronto was no exception! Having worked in a dog treat bakery for 7 years, I love to find similar shops in every city I visit. I found Cass Corridog on one of my previous Michigan trips, and since it’s by one of my favorite shops, Nora, I always make a stop there to pick out a little treat. This trip, I got a couple “truffles,” for Rosie’s friends, Lucille & Kumba, too. They are Boston Terriers who live in Washington state, and have become good friends of ours, thanks to the power of Instagram!

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We also have some dog friends in Toronto, who shared with us the names of some cute dog boutiques in the city. One in particular, Arrow, is a “party” dog- equal parts Pug, Frenchie, & Boston- and one of the cutest girls ever! Her mom recommended we stop in at Timmie, a sweet little shop on Queen St. West. It was closed the first day I went by, but I made a special trip the next day so I could get a peek inside. It had started snowing pretty hard that afternoon, but all the pups on the street would be well prepared for the winter weather thanks to the bountiful supply of sweaters, jackets, and dog boots in the shop. They had adorable hoodies with logos on them for all of the different areas of the city that I absolutely loved! Those definitely made me wish we lived up north! We live in a warmer climate, though, so there was no need for me to stock up on winter gear for Ro. Instead, I picked out a little stuffed penguin for her and a pin for me, to add to my ever-growing pin collection. Toronto is so dog-friendly, and I wished I could have had her there with me! Next time, perhaps?

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Happy girl, mid bark, with her cookies, penguin, and a blanket I swiped from Delta. (Those are free, right? Ha!)

An Old-Fashioned Christmas

I hope everyone’s holiday break was as wonderful as ours! After a quiet holiday with my parents, I flew out to Michigan to spend the remaining part of the year with Matt and his family. Rosie and I were separated for a long ten days, and while I missed my little meatball, I had a blast in Detroit and Toronto. I’ll be playing catch up this weekend and telling you all about the places we visited, where we ate, and, off course, where we shopped!

The beginning of the season starts, for me, when I break out my favorite holiday albums. I usually have this gem on repeat at home and in my car! KC, forever!

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This year, I opted for a jewel colored theme for wrapping presents. As with stationary and other paper ephemera, I collect unique wrapping paper for various occasions throughout the year. This one is a two sided kind I picked up at IKEA several years ago.

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With some rainbow colored popcorn from a new gourmet popcorn shop in town, these gifts added an unexpected pop of color under the tree! I picked up my dad an original cast recording of Porgy and Bess on a 78, and ordered my mom a Lentil ornament and sticker. My favorite part of the gift giving is filling everyone’s stockings with their favorite candies and little trinkets. Dark chocolate oranges, petit fours, marzipan, and a fresh orange each, these stockings hold traditions that nothing can replace. I usually try to get some chocolate coal for my dad’s stocking, but I couldn’t find any during my last minute venture out into the crazed retail world. Next year, pops!

My parents put sweet little surprises in my stocking as well! I have so many little collections, lovely smelling soaps being one of them. The French Macaron and Rose & Green Tea bar soaps my mother found are not only pretty in perfect pink, but smell sooo heavenly! The best surprise was the Leo Zodiac candle I’ve been dreaming about for months. I plan on finally lighting it on the 23rd this month, my half birthday, and making some special wishes!

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Rosie will be with me everywhere I go with this Boston Terrier keychain- how cute is she? Rosie herself picked up several presents this Christmas, too, from family to friends all the way in Washington state. She’ll be sharing her holiday fun over the weekend!

While we enjoyed some delicious treats, I still owe my mom a Yule log! My favorite flavor in the past has been to make a white chocolate one with fresh raspberry filling and marzipan mushrooms, but she has requested a dark chocolate one. I can’t wait to show you the finished product! They are so fun to make!

So, did all of your holiday wishes come true? What was your favorite item to give or receive?

The Beauty of the Canine

Our holiday weekend took a turn on Sunday when one of the family dogs suddenly and unexpectedly took ill. Sweet Dolly awoke with severe intestinal issues from an unknown cancer, and crossed the Rainbow Bridge later that night. With the help of my Vet Tech “sister-from-another-mister,” my mom was able to keep her comfortable throughout the day. Dolly was a half Basset/half English Shepherd mix, whose father, our giant, red-headed Basset, Hubert, had a gone to the Bridge as a result of bloat (very common in the breed), a year and a half prior. Her mama, fluffy blonde Zooey, and her many brothers and sisters, cleaned and loved on her during the day, and said their goodbyes when it was time.

The emotional capacities of dogs are widely discussed and debated, but I think that anyone who has any kind of pet, knows that they all have the ability to feel something. We all know that they can tell the difference between happy and sad, and Rosie knows how to get some “happy” attention from me just by smiling, but do they feel emotions such as grief and loss? Zooey, Dolly’s mother, instinctively ran after us, a look of anger across her face, as we took Dolly outside that night. We can easily question whether it was because of propriety feelings toward her flesh and blood, or was it love for her child who was being taken away? The following day, dirt and grass put back into place, my dad found my Great Pyrenees, Astrid, sitting beside Dolly’s grave, in an area she never sits, gazing off into the distance. The next day she would do the same.

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Dogs have an innate sense of smell, so why shouldn’t they have an innate sense of feeling? While we can track brain activity and test them all day long, I think our pets possess an ability to understand, to emote, to just know, in a way that cannot be measured or qualified by evaluations or trials. It stems simply from their hearts, in a knowledge of unconditional love and understanding that we as humans only wish we had.