Leslie and Ryan got married this summer at the Homestead in Oak Glen, a rad venue owned and operated by a couple who bought the property two years ago and has beautifully executed their vision for it. Leslie and Ryan’s wedding was such a perfect reflection of their personalities–seriously, the chillest bride and groom ever. Two weeks after their wedding, Leslie and Ryan moved across the country for their next adventure—Ryan is starting a new Teach for America position in the midwest. Their wedding was especially meaningful as it was both a means of making their commitment official and a last hurrah with their favorite people before moving away.
You might recognize these two from their Pasadena engagement shoot.
I got to see my favorite small person and her parents last weekend. I made a quick trip (less than 72 hours) to the East coast to spend some time with my parents. I hadn’t seen my dad in a shameful amount of time. While I was growing up he was in the military and would have to go away for long periods of time. It struck me recently that now, as I’m an adult, I’m crazy to continue to put vast amounts of time between our visits. It was so good to see them.
I had a layover in DC that turned into a cancelled flight (Thanks, United!) but the snafu enabled me to stop by the DC farmers market where my sister, her husband and daughter were hanging out. Emerson is two now, says my name very clearly and is too shy to hug me. :( I guess changing someone’s diapers for 2 months doesn’t earn you hugs for life. I’ll have to keep working on her. I’ll see them again at Christmas. By then there will be another little human among us. This time, a baby boy. :)
The fine folks at the Pasadena Museum of California Art invited me to attend and photograph last month’s opening of the current and fabulous Sam Francis exhibit. Sam Francis was an abstract painter, printmaker and California-native whose works spanned over five decades. His work is full of color and texture, and his approach to his work inspiring. Christian accompanied me to the opening looking as dapper as always. Also dapper? The fancy man in the pink linen blazer… :)
Previously unknown to me, I found Sam Francis to be a fascinating character. His pieces were arranged by decade. As you move through the museum, you can see the passing of time in his work. One of my favorite quotes posted on the wall reveals Francis’ understanding of the development of his work:
“Francis’ paintings changed over time, but he did not feel one painting was more complete than another or that one was created through the development of another. ‘All mistakes are left in the painting. I will add something but never alter or remove it…If I have a blue I don’t like, I don’t work at it and change it to another blue. I will add another color to it, like green. But the original blue will still be there.'”
I find it hard not to be haunted by my own past work (I’m sure I’m not alone in this). The image I was once proud of is now only an embarrassing reminder of how little I knew then, omygod why did I think that was good?, etc. etc. But it seems Francis painted with less of an emphasis on himself as the painter and more on the piece he was painting, allowing it to evolve and be what it would be. I suppose if you approach your work like that, it leaves less space to feel the pressure of perfection. I like that.
The exhibit runs until January 5 and I highly recommend it. Insider tip: the PMCA is free the first Friday of every month (12–5pm) and the third Thursday of every month (5–8pm). Alternatively, PMCA memberships are extremely affordable and come with lots of perks, including a discount at their gift shop. And not to sound like the type of museum-goer that Banksy hates but their gift shop is really rad, the perfect place for picking up creative, colorful gifts for friends and family. They sell an awesome assortment of prints.
Pasadena Museum of California Art
490 E Union St.
Pasadena, CA 91101
Christian and I spent the Fourth of July weekend in Ojai, CA. During our stay I think I managed to take just this one DSLR photo. I guess that means it was a good getaway? My instagrams of the trip can be found here.
Ojai is a strange mix of quaintness and grunge, like if Venice Beach had a municipality baby with Sierra Madre–the small mountain town just east of Pasadena. Charming and weird.
We stayed at the Ojai Rancho inn. We spent our few days swimming, wine tasting at the Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room and riding the inn’s bikes around town (Linus bikes, at that!). We also watched a lot of Twin Peaks.
The hotel has great proximity to everything (“everything” being a relative term since it’s Ojai). There is a lovely walking/bicycling trail (pictured above) with quick access from the back of the Ojai Rancho Inn’s property that takes you right into “downtown” Ojai, which is really just a small strip of local shops and eateries. We were told there’s a 12 mile bike ride to the ocean, but we never got around to that adventure. Next time!
We ate at Knead Bakery for breakfast (twice!) and once at The Farmer and the Cook, which specializes in local, all organic food. It was truthfully a less than stellar food experience though we loved the deep fried spelt and beer battered (organic) jalepeño poppers! The rest of the food was just a bit too….earthy for us.
We also hit up every thrift store in Ojai and then thrifted our way back to Pasadena, like the normal, non-vintage hoarding people we are.
Overall it was a fantastic weekend trip and we definitely recommend the Ojai Rancho Inn. We got to chat with one of the owners during our stay and really admire the vision and work the husband and wife duo have put into the place. It’s awesome and encouraging to see people actualizing their dreams. (There’s no way to make that statement sound not corny).
I “had” to go to San Luis Obispo to shoot a wedding last month (best job ever). Christian came with me and we made a weekend of it. We stayed in a cottage in Morro Bay that we found through Airbnb and managed to fit a lot in to a small amount of time. Three days away is so, so nice. Christian showed me his college haunts including taking me to dinner at the famed Noi’s Little Thai Takeout and lunch at Taco Temple. Both were incredibly delicious. We also did an evening walk in the Elfin Forest and a short morning stroll by “the rock” in Morro Bay.
If you ever find yourself on the Central Coast, in the San Luis Obispo area, and are looking for things to do, here are some recommendations:
-Noi’s Little Thai Takeout in Los Osos. Christian gave me the official Noi’s tour of the Pad Thai (with cabbage instead of bean sprouts!), Pad Prik King and Pad Kra Proo. All are highly recommended. There is no “inside” seating, other than a little detached dining hut and tables outside. You can bring your own beer or wine so we walked across the street to the corner store for a pint to share.
-Taco Temple in Morro Bay. I inadvertently ordered the $20 scallop tacos thinking they were $12. Though they definitely tasted like $20 scallop tacos. Christian had the fish taco. Unlimited chips and salsa bar with chopped jalapenos to add to the salsa for those who like heat (we do!). The place has absolutely no ambiance but the food more than makes up for it.
-A sunset walk on the wooden path through the Elfin Forest in Los Osos.
-Breakfast at Frankie and Lola’s in Morro Bay. Nothing too spectacular but our food was tasty (diner coffee, heuvos rancheros). We followed breakfast here with a walk to “the rock”, which was a nice way to start a 9 hour wedding day.
As for the mutt, I boarded Camille at a new place during our trip—Pasadena Pet. It’s mostly outdoor boarding (they sleep inside at night). It’s likely to become my new go-to boarding place. You can read my full Yelp review here, if you’re interested.
Our next adventure is to Ojai for the Fourth of July weekend. The dog will be at dog-camp (that’s the nice way of referring to boarding) and we will be in Ojai wine tasting, bike riding and pool lounging. We’re staying at the Ojai Rancho Inn. Wednesday can’t come soon enough.
It’s springtime in Southern California (if you ignore the two 100+ degrees days we had this week), and I’ve been enjoying it immensely with:
-A $1 Milan Kundera book at our local bookstore
-citrus picked right from backyard trees
-container gardening on my balcony—tiny strawberries are already being harvested and the tomato plants are getting enormous
-fresh salmon baked with lemon, garlic and white wine
-Mexican cokes (they’re still made with real cane sugar and come in glass bottles, the old fashioned way)
-And, of course, thrifting
My weekend will be apartment spring cleaning and curtain hanging, a long bike ride and two slow mornings. Enjoy yours!
Vintage task lamps have curious little personalities. I found this little guy at a yard sale last weekend. His top folds down and he becomes a little cone night light. Just precious!
I thrifted the coolest books the other day. The first is a 1959 edition of the National Geographic Society’s book on the National Parks. It’s got rad old-school images of mid century American family leisure, including the iconic image of the Yellowstone begging bear. I debated keeping it but I’d rather someone else enjoy it. Apparently, it’s a rare find. You can check it out on my Etsy, if you’re interested.
Th other is an oversized book of aerial photographs of Los Angeles taken in the 1970s, with awesome images of the coast, the Watts Towers and sky-views of west-side neighborhoods like Beverly Hills. It’s for sale, too.
When Christian and I can get our -ish together on a Saturday morning, we go garage sale hunting. We map out our route the night before (his idea) and get Starbucks in the morning (my idea). This past Saturday we hit up a few in the Pasadena area. He scored a Heywood Wakefield coffee table, a practically untouched specimen found at an estate sale for a retired Occidental professor (estate sales are so weird). I found a Danish rocking chair(!), a tiny vintage task lamp that folds into itself, kind of like it’s giving itself a hug, or crawling into the fetal position–but in a cute way! I also found this fantastic acrylic light fixture for my kitchen to replace the terrible, awful, stupid light fixture that my rental came with, which, Fun Fact!, is the same fixture inside Walter White’s dining room:
(I picked the most intense scene to show you that.)
The left is my kitchen when I moved in, as captured by my iPhone. I thought it only right to capture the after photo with my iPhone too, so as not to rig the comparison. :)
I picked up the vintage acrylic light fixture for $3! Three bucks! Christian suggested I buy an 8″ frosted globe to help diffuse the light (about $7) and then he helpfully changed out the fixtures for me. I love it! And him!
Let this post serve as encouragement to all you renting tenants out there: with just a bit of money and the ability to do some things (or the ability to snag a man who can), your apartment can look like you want it to. And don’t worry–I kept the old (stupid) light fixture. Impermanent tenant improvement is where it’s at!
We’re currently brainstorming what to do about the lame, nipple-shaped light fixture on the far side of the kitchen. Maybe one of Daniel Kanter’s DIY hanging lights!
Never mind the misplaced ceramic lamp in the foreground of the after picture. Apparently lamps are my new rugs—I can’t stop buying them and I’m running out of places to put them. A lamp on my bar-cart means it’s really gotten out of hand. Where’s the whisky supposed to go?? Also, that box contains my new garbage disposal, which is going in tonight!!!!!!!
More Tenant Improvements: painting my kitchen black.
Two images from a recent weekend afternoon at Christian’s place. One dark corner and one very light one. Been feeling lots of dualities lately. Simultaneous feelings of ability and inability, difficulty and ease. The trick is to keep moving forward.