bale climbing.

(photos by chloe)

It's just something we do on the way home from the city. As much as we love these outings, they get overwhelming and we usually end up holding hands at some point (forever small-town girls). Our to-do lists go a little something like this: this store, that store, coffee shop, hay bales. We drive back with scratches on our hands and straw in our shorts and it almost feels just like home.



ghosts from the past

Everything often doesn't turn out the way you expect it to. Everyone knows this in theory, but things still manage to always catch us by surprise. A few weeks ago, my mom found an old film camera that she got when she graduated from high school. It had a roll of film with about ten pictures taken. We had no idea how old they were, so I used up the rest of the film and then went to get it developed. Only a few of the pictures turned out, unfortunately, but it was kind of like seeing ghosts. There's my sister, back when she had bangs, and there's my old neighbor, who's probably as tall as me now. These must be a good four or five years old. It's so strange to see them turn up like that, and yet so interesting too. I love how photography can bring back memories like that.


adventures in solitude.

35mm film from Colorado + Arizona.


summer fresh

There's something about summertime produce. It manages to taste better than any other food at any other time of year--it's sweeter and fresher and just better. Nectarines and salads from the shop in the village, and the first selection of apples, and a freshly-harvested jug of sour blackcurrants from the garden. 
Nothing tastes as good as succulent peaches, with juice that runs down your arms, and frozen grapes, with a sherbet tingle, and fresh peas, picked straight off the vine.
Sometimes, the surplus of all this goodness can be cooked up into sauces and pies and stews. Tiny pieces of summer are frozen, waiting to be reheated in the midst of a bleak winter. Those dishes just about manage to bring sunshine and warmth back into cold and raining days. Perhaps a beaker of lemonade stashed in the freezer for a grey day, or a bag full of frozen berries to be defrosted and savoured, or sticky jams cooked up with an excess of apricots.
I for one plan to have a plethora of summer-y goodness, both photos of my favourite foods and summer treats kept in the freezer, for the coming winter.
What are your favourite summer foods?



a home in the valley.

Some dear people took me hiking on what was probably the foggiest day of summer. I've decided that,

1) This needs to happen more often.
2) Nothing beats that view.
3) My future home will have an outdoor pizza oven.


Portobello Road

Christina sent us this story, "written about her day in Portobello Road but from a narrator's persepctive." Your sweet sorta-kinda love stories are some of my favourite guest pieces here, and this is no exception. It's the loveliest thing. You can read Christina's blog here.  

On a quiet Monday afternoon, stubborn rain drops kept the puddles on Portobello Road full. Colorful houses and vintage boutiques lined the unusually quiet street, but two foreigners walked past at a brisk pace. The only thing on their minds was portraits. Of strangers. Daunting? Yes. Impossible? No. She was an American, he a Canadian. Both lovers of photography, olive green Toms, and music. At this point, they had been acquaintances for 48 hours, friends for 47. Both students, both on assignment, and both pushed so far beyond their comfort zone. The similarities were endless, but this is not a fairytale. 
A happy, nervous chatter ensued as the pair made their way to the heart of Portobello. Neither of the two knew how to ask a stranger for a portrait, but they had to come back with at least two tries. It could be an adventure or a failure. He walked fast, her wide eyes kept her trailing. You waited, she said as she caught up to him, paused on the cobblestone street.Let’s walk together, he said. Her heart felt full, and the day was just beginning.
The first attempts failed. His fascination with watches led them into a vintage clock shop. The owners thanked him for his compliments, but wouldn’t allow pictures in their shop. She led them into a clothing store whose windows were lined with sewing machines. A small boy innocently spun their knobs and levers, but his mother spoke no English. They both took many deep breaths. Frustration kept them quiet and glossy-eyed. Against a whitewashed wall, they took portraits of each other. He admired her green eyes and his half smile made her smile. But this is not a fairytale.
Let’s ask him, he said, nodding at a friendly-eyed man outside his store.  His accent was thick, but his face told a story. The man took us into his store, the lighting fine for shopping, but not photographs. The pair snapped away, still frustrated, now about the lighting. The man moved under a seemingly heaven-sent light, and that was it. That portrait was the money shot. The girl smiled and took his email address. Thank you so much, she spoke quietly in her American accent. I’ll send you the best ones, she promised, and the pair was off again.  Their confidence was building and the rain had let up. She made fun of his accent and he laughed his breathy laugh. The next girl the photographed was an aspiring DJ originally from Sweden. She wore a rock as an earring and alligator print shoes. She secretly enjoyed everything about having her portrait taken. A success. The day went on, the rain came and went, and the pair took photos of everything. Bad weather made for good photos as they walked up and down the now busier street. He needed one more portrait, and stopped at a fruit stand, complete with eccentric owner. The lighting was bad, but the try was success enough. The rain had been beginning to pick up, but as soon as he finished with the fruit seller, the skies sobbed fat tears. Neither he nor she panicked, despite the camera equipment and already damp clothes. Let’s get coffee, he suggested, although this is not a fairytale.

The coffeeshop was quiet and they settled into leather armchairs. For a Canadian, he knew a lot about U.S. History. She discussed her favorite president at his prompting and how dying in office isn’t valiant. She was content, and he seemed so too. Looking back on it, she fell a little bit in that coffeeshop as the rain came down. She fell for the brown haired foreign boy with the half smile. Despite the distance that would separate them once they arrived home, she fell for the boy with the contagious half smile. For twelve days, they were adventurers together. I couldn’t have asked strangers for their portrait if you hadn’t been there,he admitted that same night over Thai food. He was a gentleman, and so she fell. For twelve days in a row, they joked, smiled, laughed, and complimented. And then, because this is not a fairytale, they went their separate ways. The pictures bring her straight back to Portobello Road in the rain.


on favorite places

The other day, the question was posed: What is your favorite place in the world? And while other people seem to have no problem replying with things like "Chicago" or "my grandmother's cottage" or "a certain bookstore", I was left wondering, scraping all my memories and thoughts for an answer.

I've been to a fair amount of places and I've found something to like about them all. But ask me to pick my favorite? Whoa, boy. Should my favorite place be somewhere beautiful (like Hawai'i) or somewhere exciting and full of things to do (Washington D.C.) or somewhere comfortable I've been going all my life (relatives' houses, my house)? Some people say your favorite place is where you feel most "you" and if that's the case, well, I'm still trying to figure that out.

Or maybe I haven't been to my favorite place yet. Maybe I never will -- maybe my favorite place is somewhere imaginary I can only escape into through my thoughts.

For now, I think I'll just say my favorite place is everywhere -- it's scattered all across the globe in every city I've been to and some I haven't yet. My favorite place is a childhood of summers in California, it's a weekend in Boston, it's all the hours spent in the library a bike ride away from home. It's the tiny streets of Barcelona, it's my friend's neighborhood, it's eating an ice cream cone on the beach in Mexico. And it's in the future: at the top of the Eiffel Tower, hiding from the rain in Portland, gazing at the Grand Canyon. I think Planet Earth is my favorite place.

So, now, I ask you: What is your favorite place in the world?



summer's last hurrah

"Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. For those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. You can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. summer just opens the door and lets you out." 
Deb Caletti

Summer is slipping through our fingertips like fine grains of sand--soon autumn will unfurl in her glory, leaving dewdrops on jeweled leaves like gentle kisses. But for now, let us enjoy summer and all she still has to offer. Make the biggest splash cannonballing into the pool; have one last carefree picnic under the shadiest tree you can find; spend the day soaking up the sun; treat yourself to something extra special; live in sunbleached hair and shorts while you can. These days aren't going to last forever.



the littles.

We've been hanging out with them a lot lately. It's a good time.


the flower market

On my last day in L.A. (all those many months ago) we went to the flower market. It wasn't quite what I was expecting but it was still beautiful with all the colors and sweet smells of the flowers. After much deliberation we got a bouquet to bring to my grandparents.