Tag Archives: holiday

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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West or Bust

Where to begin! I got really lucky in February and found an amazing price on tickets into LA, on which I just couldn’t pass. Double that luck when my parents’ best friends said I could stay with them during my visit! They live right around the corner from Mt. Baldy, which is a simply stunning mountain. Passion fruit smoothie in hand (assimilated quickly to the West Coast!), I headed up the mountain with Jim my first morning to take in some views. It’s pretty amazing to go from 70 degree weather to snow in just a matter of minutes. Aside from the natural amenities, the village of Mt. Baldy¬†actually has a lot to offer, including a Zen lodge, a museum, and restaurant. It’s such a great escape that’s a mere 5 minutes away from the rest of civilization. I wouldn’t mind having that in my backyard!

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view from Mt. Baldy

I spent the rest of the afternoon in Sherman Oaks with my friend, Shannon, looking at pups up for adoption at the local animal shelter, and driving into LA. Shannon and I have been friends since our art department days in college, and it was so nice to get to catch up with her and hear about her plans for the future.

I was eager to find a cute little store I follow on Instagram called¬†Pygmy Hippo Shoppe. It really is the most darling, tiniest shop ever! I picked up a few goodies for my pen pals, a Heinz pickle pin for my pickle-hating boyfriend, and found a pink vintage AKC rosette for my Rosie. This is the perfect shop for finding a unique, one-of-a-kind gift, and fortunately, they are online, too! I’m still eyeing their heart printed rain bonnets…

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just look at those adorable bonnets!

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souvenirs from Pygmy Hippo Shoppe

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mural by Chris Uphues

We drove through Beverly Hills and Laurel Canyon on the way back to Sherman Oaks, ¬†hitting up Melrose, Sunset, and Mulholland Drive, among other notable streets. It had rained a bit that afternoon, and California drivers canNOT deal, haha. It’s like when we southerners get snow flurries and the city shuts down. Bree made the joke that instead of locals running to the store for bread and milk like they do here, they rush out for bread and soymilk. Ha! I will say, however, that California drivers are so great. As long as your blinker is on, they will let you over, and move out of the way to help. While rush hour traffic does suck, they just deal with it and are straight up¬†nice¬†about it.

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Shannon and I getting caught in the rain ‚̧

I closed out the day with dinner at¬†Loving Hut¬†with Beth, Bree, and the kids. Vegan cheeze sticks, steamed dumplings, & chocolate chip “cheese”cake! Yum! I always knew I’d be able to eat in California!

The next day there was to be a meet-up at the dog beach in Newport. Though it sounds like something I would do, I actually did NOT plan my trip around seeing a dozen Boston Terriers, hahaha. I just got lucky that the first meet-up of the year coincided with the weekend of my vacation, and I was absolutely going to take advantage of it to meet some of Rosie’s friends! Plus, I wasn’t going to turn down the chance to go to the beach and stick my toes in the Pacific Ocean! Get ready for an overload of BT photos….

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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sweet nectar

 

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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!

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I hope everyone’s holidays were wonderful! It was a VERY busy month in the lands of television and the arts – numerous gallery openings, luncheons, parties, & parades – I was definitely ready for a much needed break!

I ended up taking the afternoon off of work the Monday following Christmas in order to go to Jeju, the Korean bathhouse, and to get my hair done by my friend & stylist extraordinaire, Rami, of Ludlow Blunt in NYC.

Jeju was, for lack of a better word, amazing. While savoring a bowl of deliciously spicy ramen, I texted my boyfriend that we were just going to have to have a long-distance relationship; I was never leaving the spa.

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spicy ramen & kimchi!

Upon entering the bathhouse, one goes into the segregated locker rooms and undresses, either staying nude to go to the wet area or putting on the traditional Korean spa clothes in order to sit in the communal saunas. Attached to the locker rooms are the steam & cedar saunas, the massage, body shampoo, and hip bath areas, and the cold, medium, and hot tubs. I considered being brave and stepped into the cold bath first – quickly regretted that and went off to find much warmer temperatures. Few things are as liberating as being completely naked with a bunch of other strangers. Having posed nude for painting classes, I was already accustomed to it, but this was much more enjoyable (sorry, Tom!). Within the wet area, the steam jade sauna was by far my favorite part. A little hard to breathe at first, but once the steam started relaxing my ever-stiff and aching joints (hello, neuropathic pain & Gaucher disease), I was able to really inhale the aromatics and sweat it out. After realizing I was probably going to faint if I didn’t eat something, I threw on the regulations shirt and shorts and headed off for the common area.

As mentioned above, the ramen was straight up epic, and the side of kimchi didn’t hurt, either! And not only that, it was dirt cheap -$6! One of the best parts about the common area and restaurant was that the floor is heated. I am always, always freezing, so this was literally a warm welcome. After satiating my appetite, it was off to check out each sauna. The jade, charcoal, and baked clay saunas were slightly smaller and not quite as hot, though they each came with their own benefits – helping to increase¬†metabolism & circulation, relieve arthritis pain, eliminate toxins and build up resistance to disease, and flush out impurities & release dead skin cells.

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charcoal sauna

I then moved on to the larger, more intense kiln saunas: Rock & Salt, Gold & Silver, & Jewels. The Rock and Salt room, full of pure crystal rock salt, is  utilized to relieve stress and tension, the Gold and Silver room is supposed to help with nerve stability, and the Jewel room emits calmness and healing powers. I definitely felt some release in the Rock & Salt room, and the Jewel room helped me cleanse both my mind and body.  They were all so relaxing that it was hard to decide in which one to spend the most time!

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Rock & Salt room

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sweating out the toxins in the Gold & Silver room

Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought a bathing suit in order to take advantage of the heated, saltwater Jade swimming pool, but that didn’t stop me from dipping in a toe. I’ll be hitting it up next time, for sure! I also peeked into the Ice room -had to try it all, you know? That was definitely NOT for me. After a brief appearance there, I ducked back into the Jewel room to warm up again!

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how beautiful is that pool?!

Being on a deadline to meet Rami, I couldn’t spend as much time as I would have liked there, though those few hours were definitely magical. Next visit, I plan to stay overnight (it’s $25 for 24 hours -WHAT!), nap in the sleeping rooms, add on some extras, and really just let go. One of my best friends is flying into Atlanta next week and will be visiting Jeju while there – I am Jade green with envy!

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stone starburst

 

Detoxing and purifying at Jeju helped wash out the last bits of 2015 (I even washed out my hair color by having Rami dye it blonde!) and prepare me mentally, emotionally, and physically for 2016. So far, it’s been looking pretty damn good (even with Mercury Retrograde!) Happy New Year, friends! xo!

Bostonland

So many Boston Terriers! While visiting Nicole in Olympia, I got to meet her two Boston babies,¬†Lucille Marie¬†and Kumba, Rosie’s BFF and boyfriend, respectively. LM is kind of a celebrity, having been on the cover of magazines and the winner of many photo contests, so it was a pretty big deal! She’s a feisty little fireball, and bosses her much bigger son, Kumba, around all day!

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Sweet Kumba!

Kums wears the most adorable bow ties-both pups are always in their Sunday best, and that day was no exception. Lucille even got a package of new dresses while I was there!

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Lucille & her mama, Nicole

Nicole and I made sure to dress appropriately, as well: Boston-themed clothing so everyone would know we were crazy dog owners when we went exploring!Surprisingly, only one person asked about our clothes – she inquired as to whether or not something was going on with our dogs that day. We replied that there is ALWAYS something going with them!¬†On our way into the city, we stopped at her neighbor’s house and found ourselves a Wee. Willie, aka “Wee,” is another Boston who lives down the street from her and who often spends time at her house. He is soooo cute – I’m going to go back and steal him!

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WEE!

During our trip to the¬†Farmer’s Market, we stumbled upon a craftsman¬†who forms displays out of metal. Not only was there a Boston, but a Basset Hound one, too! I would have gladly bought both, had I had enough room in my carry-on to take home.

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Needed this for my garden!

When we got back to the house, we were pleasantly surprised by the appearance of yet ANOTHER Boston. Moose, another of Lucille’s children, had come to visit! Moose decided he was going to hide in the laundry room, as he was a little nervous. The only pup missing that day was Lulu, Lucille’s daughter, who was at home with her family. Four snuggly Bostons in one day, though! It was almost too much to handle!

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Moose, a little Nervous Nellie

Naturally, we had to exchange Boston presents. Nicole gifted Rosie a super cute dress and shirt, and some socks for me! Boston Terrier owners will buy ANYTHING with a BT print on it. ANYTHING. And we will stop at nothing to get it all!

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presents for my well-loved rescue pup

When Nicole came down into Portland that following Monday, we got to stop in the best dog shop,¬†Lexi Dog, and got our babies a few items. If you are looking for the perfect outfit for your pup, they really have the best collection. I picked up a little t-shirt that I felt adequately described Rosie’s sentiments toward me on leaving her for several days.

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bad-ass Rosie

Now that the holiday season has arrived, we’re starting to collect little trinkets for our Boston friends. More importantly, we will be giving back to the shelter pups (and kitties!) who won’t get to enjoy the luxuries of presents, special treats, and warm houses. One cause that is near and dear to our hearts is that of our Instagram friend,¬†Booger Dawg. They’ve fallen on hard times and desperately need our help while stuck in the frosty Colorado snow. Please donate or send any items you can! Their GoFundMe account can be found¬†here. It’s imperative to remember that this could happen to any of us at any time, and we should always help when we have the resources to do so. Rosie and I hope you will join us!

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?