Everybody scream, BABY COWS!

cow farm vintage

As it turns out, there’s more to this beauty of a state than just charming ole Portland.  About 45 minutes north (on a bus, until I get my truck in two months), is a little mill town set on roaring rapids and nostalgia.  Gardiner, Maine is a-goddamn-dorable.  Water Street, which heads up to the ultra-hip frenemy town of Hallowell has a collection of cute shops, local bars (The Depot), a delicious burrito place (Lisa’s), and the world’s most authentic diner car (A-1 Diner).  Not to mention my Maine besties and their cute-as-pie little miss live there.  There are farms, abandoned mills, beautiful broken-down gothic victorian homes, and a small-town charm that rivals even Capeside from Dawson’s Creek.

Did I just say that out loud?  Moving on!

Bonfires, cows and dogs… I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but if you are as in love with revitalizing vintage towns as I am, my friend Meg is the coordinator for Gardiner’s Heart & Soul project – getting the people involved in the shaping and future of the community – and you should definitely spy what they’re up to.  A good cause for a small town that’s ripe for a renaissance!

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In the words of this most adorable tiny miss whose dad delivers baby cows on the farm nearby,

“Everybody scream, BABY COWS!”

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From LA to NYC: Solo Cross Country Drive in 5 days

Solo Cross Country Drive

Solo Cross Country Drive

Well, I finally made it.  After what seemed like a blinding, delirious, and otherworldly traverse across the country, I am currently sitting smack in the middle of Manhattan, contemplating a run in Central Park followed by a stop at the farmer’s market situated somewhere below my window.  Although I barely had time to take photos with 11+ hours of solo driving every day, wrangling unhappy cats in a tiny over-packed car, drowning in fall-flavored coffee, and rocking out to 80′s rock and pop punk from my Jersey scene days, I did mentally list important roadside tidbits to share.  From LA to Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Hendersonville TN, Staunton VA, and finally New York, here are the thoughts that kept me company.

1) Pat Benatar is the single greatest female vocalist of ALL time.  No contest.

2) I left CA on a Thursday, arrived in NYC on a Monday, and didn’t hit a single drop of traffic along I-40 and I-81.  It was pure magic.  Though I didn’t get to stop and smell the roses (or see the Grand Canyon), this was a fast, straight shot with minimal hill action.

3) Arizona, the second half of New Mexico, and Texas are the most boring stretches of beige nothingness…you will rejoice at the sight of the rolling plains of Oklahoma, even though Oklahoma City is pretty much one building.

4) When the sign says “speed enforced by aircraft,” there really are low-flying planes monitoring your speed.  I found this out after the roadtrip.  Luckily, I kept it at 5 mph within the speed limit.

5) Once you get out of New Mexico, truckers become your worst nightmare.  At this point, they are bored and tired which leads to them playing games, speeding, cutting people off, and being creeps. (*I am generalizing, of course.  I’m sure most truckers are very nice, considerate amazing people).  I learned to avoid them, pass by them quickly, or just get over and let them pass.

6) Never, ever stop at a gas station that has a garage.  I did this in Arizona and the guy sauntered up to my car, tried to help me pump my self-serve gas, punched a nail in my tire while I was in the restroom, and then almost convinced me to buy three new tires.  I made it all the way to NYC on those tires that “weren’t going to make it to New Mexico.”

7) Albuquerque is a weirdly awesome mix of old Mexico and a gold rush town set at the foot of the Sandia Mountains.  Over a hundred miles of beige nothing sets you apart from Gallup and when you finally enter Albuquerque through LED totem poles into the magical lights of the small, dusty city, it’s like you are entering a painting.  Or maybe I was just delirious after a 12.5 hour driving day.  Either way, it was a dusty, smoky dream.

8)  Along this route, Virginia boasts the greatest display of brilliant autumn; the likes of which are usually only seen in Thomas Kinkade puzzles.  Vibrantly colored leaves, winding mountain passes, and the lingering smell of burning fireplaces left me with more than just nostalgic Shenandoah hiking memories.

9) Arkansas is also quite beautiful, but man are there rednecks there.  I thought the state smelled like cookies until I realized I was standing next to a Waffle House.

10)  Speaking of beauties, don’t ever let anyone tell you that Oklahoma is “flat.”  It is miles and miles of rolling green and wildflowers, wind farms, cow pastures, and the entire state smells like freshly cut grass.  It was the truest, most movie-like version of Middle America that I have ever seen.

11) Sheepskin car seat covers are alive and well in Pennsylvania Dutch country.  And Amish girls roll up in Jettas along the freeway.

12) Be prepared to spend $1000 on the drive.  With low-budget hotel stays (3 out of 4 nights), coffee, minimal food (I packed a cooler), and 37 mpg, I spent just under a grand getting across this vast country.

13) Nashville and Hendersonville are kind of awesome, and not only because my dad and his lady live there.  Cash country is filled with beautiful remnants of Johnny and June and fall-flavored trees.  It makes me want to go back 10 years, find my own Johnny Cash, and start a musical comedic duo.

14) I will probably never do this again.  It was literally a test in determination and perseverance; the likes of which I hadn’t come across since attending boot camp in 2001.  I have to give props to long-distance truckers for making it a viable lifestyle.

Ludlow Cafe

Ludlow Cafe, CA

Peach Pie

Peach Pie from Ludlow Cafe, CA

Route 66

Route 66, CA

Route 66

Route 66, CA

Route 66

Route 66, NM

Sunset Oklahoma

Sunset in Oklahoma

Cat driving

Feline co-pilot

Leaves

Fall in Arkansas

Cash Country Burnt House

Johnny Cash’s burnt down house in Hendersonville, TN

Johnny and June graves

Johnny & June Gravesite

Mother Maybelle Grave

Mother Maybelle Wildwood Flower

New York City Skyline

Home at last. My view of NYC.

 

Happy fall from NYC, ya’ll.

I Heart IR: Whimsical Infrared Photography

Infrared Photography Horses

Even the science of infrared photography is beautiful.  A filter placed on the lens, appearing opaque to the eye, blocks most incoming light but near-infrared.  Reflections of infrared cause skin to look milky and leaves to be bright white.  And in the depths of the scene where the infrared wavelengths are absorbed, it is black.

The resultant scenes are as if you stepped through the wardrobe door into a technologically built Narnia.  The air is icy and the colors pale and wispy and the aqua colored water looks like unbreakable glass.  There is snow everywhere, but it’s untouched.  Pristine.  There are horses, but they’re frozen in time; statues or perhaps relics, ice crystals on their lashes.

Welcome to photographic Narnia.  Now where could those Turkish Delights be hiding?

Infrared Portrait

by Manir Mrittik (behance.net)

Infrared Photography Railroad

(Infrared Photography – a new world from lisisoft)

 

Infrared Portrait

(lazypalace.com)

Infared Photography

The Fisherman by Roie Galitz (smashingmagazine.com)

 

For all of us seeking to find the fawn but lacking the technological resources or capabilities, there is always grand ole Photoshop.  Click here for a simple tutorial on transforming your everyday photos into stunning infrared dreamworlds.

Toujours.

ps: if you’ve ever seen Lovely Bones, I have a feeling Peter Jackson based the limbo dreamscape off of infrared photography.

Lately

Pin Up Hair Medium Blonde

This post is just a quick update on what’s been going on in my life, as opposed to my daydreams.  It won’t be nearly as exciting as sailing through Andromeda on a spiral staircase made of ostrich feathers (which sounds like a beautiful adventure to me), but rather more subdued and decidedly tangible.

Least importantly, I got my hair cut!  Well, I cut it myself for thrifty purposes.  And I learned a new method of mermaid waves from somewhere in the reaches of Pinterest.  Simply roll a small section of hair into a pin curl (don’t actually pin it) and then clamp the flat iron down on the pin curl for 10 seconds or so and voila!  Let it tumble down into a perfect beachy wave.

Pin Up Hair Medium Blonde

Apparently, I am very surprised. Or there’s an oncoming car in my house? I don’t know.

Girl Tattoos Travel Paris

Old tattoos. Sometimes regrettable.

Beachy Waves How To

I used bigger sections for my hair for more glam-style waves. (pinterest)

 

Of medium importance, I’ve been working on upcycling lingerie into feminine and flirty vintage-style dresses.  Here’s a quick peek, though I’m not quite finished as I am in desperate need of lace trim.  All of the pieces are hand-dyed with lovely organic dyes from Dharma Trading.

Vintage Slips

Vintage Slips

Vintage Slip Dress Upcycling

Also of medium importance, I’ve begun working on my fiction novel again after losing a quarter of it in the great hard drive crash of 2012.  It is a slow struggle, but I will get there with bottles of wine and glasses of honeyed whiskey.  What is it that Hemingway said, “write drunk, edit sober”?

Vintage Typewriter Smith Corona

My vintage Smith Corona typewriter and my favorite mug

Second to most important is that my cats are still being ridiculously cute.  I also found out recently that they are both Korats, with the boy being a Thai Blue Point (the one that looks Siamese).

Thai Blue Point Cat

Powder

 

Korat Cat Female

Lady Grey

And most importantly…

I’M MOVING!  Yeah!  Finally!  I’m still debating between many gorgeous cities in this diverse and beautiful country, so help me out?  My requirements are:

- On the coast.  No rivers or lakes, just miles and miles of crashing waves.  I am okay with bays, harbors, and sounds.

- Must get snow and lots of it.  Love the cold and how it makes everything so magical.

- Which goes with: no eternal sunshine.  I currently live in LA and the sun depresses me.   Also, I like being pale.

- Not a big city, but not completely rural either.  Ideal TV towns: Capeside (Dawson’s Creek), Cicely (Northern Exposure), Rosewood and Mystic Falls if they were coastal (Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries, respectively).

- Friendly people who are genuine, like cocktail parties or get-togethers, DIY and crafty projects, literature and art, and are in-tune with what’s going on, but not obsessed with the scene.  Seattle scares me for that reason.

- Excellent nearby hiking.

- Historic architecture and sites

With all of this in mind, here’s what I’ve been considering: Portland Maine, Salem Mass, Portsmouth NH, and possibly somewhere on Long Island.  So please, if you have any suggestions or advice, I’d love to hear it!  I’m from PA/NJ, so I’ve visited all the places I’ve mentioned, but I welcome local insight for sure.  I would love to hear about any other towns or cities you think might suit me.  I have until October 1 to make my official decision.

Portland Maine Old Port

Old Port in Portland, Maine (librarything.com)

Portsmouth NH Waterfront

Portsmouth, NH (travelguideofamerica.com)

 

Hope you’re having a lovely Wednesday.

toujours. xo.

The Siren Call of Seattle

My adorable friend Katie's adorable studio

I promise, after this one teensy tiny little photo post, I’ll have more interesting things to say.  It’s just that Seattle is still in my heart and if you’ve been following me for some time, you’ll know that I tend to have a hard time letting go of things until, well, I don’t.

French Revolution battle tactics, the Newfie accent, the Titanic passenger manifest, bias cut patterns, Maine’s coastal dreamland, Beach House and Beirut and Crystal Castles, feedsacks from the 1940s, the color lilac…this week, it just so happens to be the wildly untamed Pacific Northwest.  But, I am just starting a miniseries on Netflix that takes place during the Civil War, so…well, to be honest I feel scared for you.  But at least we’ll move on from Seattle?

Are there any topics, places, historical revolutions that siren call your name?

Here are some photos from around and about Portland, OR and Seattle.

Portland Food Trucks

Portland food trucks

My adorable friend Katie’s adorable studio

Dreamy curtains

Dreamy curtains

Other dreamy curtain

At Pike Place Market

At Pike Place Market

At Pike Place Market

Flowers at Pike Place Market

Sunflower bee

Anastacia on a sunflower at Pike Place Market

At Le Pichet

At Le Pichet

Le Pichet

At Le Pichet

Le Pichet’s romantic toilette

At Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Fish

Time traveling fish at Pike Place Market

Pastries

Pastries, oh pastries

Pastry coma

Gin Bathtub Company receipt

Found: Gin Bathtub Company receipt

Bisous.

When Brit met Nina

Brit & Nina Wedding

There is now a special place in my heart for the misty, sea-sprayed city of Seattle.  Two beautiful girls who I have come to know and love over the past few years exchanged heartfelt vows in an art gallery ceremony last weekend that was entirely worthy of 3,000 miles of automobile travel up and down the coast.

We sipped Moscow Mules, ate delectable bites from my favorite Seattle gastropub, Quinn’s, ogled art at Steve Jensen Studios, danced, photoboothed, and poured love on the starry couple.

You’ve never seen a love quite like theirs; complete with adoring looks and unspoken understanding.

Brit & Nina Wedding

photographer: Catherine Abegg of CALIMA

 

Brit & Nina Wedding

© Misin Images 2012

 

Backyard Garden Wedding Party

Slide show of their love projected above the garden

Backyard Garden Wedding Party

Backyard garden meet & greet party

 

Brit & Nina Wedding

photographer: Catherine Abegg of CALIMA

 

Brit & Nina Wedding

photographer: Catherine Abegg of CALIMA

Brit & Nina Wedding

photographer: Catherine Abegg of CALIMA

 

Brit & Nina Wedding

photographer: Catherine Abegg of CALIMA

 

Naturally, we took advantage of the photobooth!  Especially as the night wore on and moscow mules were ridden.  I made both the dip-dyed feather flapper headbands and my 1930′s inspired gown, both of which I’ll share with you in later posts.

Brit & Nina Wedding Photoboth

photobooth by 321foto

 

Seattle love saga to be continued!

Bisous.

Volunteer Park Flowers

Volunteer Park Flowers

My new favorite place in Seattle (besides the ferry and the wharf, obviously).  Volunteer Park is just so lovely.  From tiny pine cones to the weird doughnut that frames a perfect view of the Space Needle, to the greenhouse tucked away in the shadowed recesses, I’m in love.

And the flowers, oh the flowers.

I’ll let you see for yourself, but I do have to say that I’m going to marry Angel’s Trumpet in a grand ceremony attended by the carnivorous plants and day lilies, waving vibrant pink dahlias in the background.

Seattle Space Needle from Volunteer park

Volunteer Park Flowers

Volunteer Park Flowers

Volunteer Park Flowers

Volunteer Park Flowers

Volunteer Park Flowers

Volunteer Park Flowers

Volunteer Park Flowers

Volunteer Park Flowers

Volunteer Park Flowers

Volunteer Park Flowers

Volunteer Park Flowers

If you know any of the names of these wondrous plants, shout them out!  In the beauty of the moment, I completely forgot to take note of them…so many floral one night stands, so little time.

Bisous.

On the Road

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…not in a Jack Kerouac vagabond kind of way, but in a driving from LA to Seattle for an incredibly dreamy art gallery wedding kind of way.

Through the grapevine to the fruit basket, winding my way around logging country with a pit stop in Portland for some tasty farm-fresh food and hoppy beer, and finally climbing past Mount St. Helens and the glassy green waterways, I’m currently less than 30 miles from Seattle and I can practically taste the oysters.

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More soon from the Emerald City. Bisous.

Viva la Classic Cuba

Cuba Car

There is something instantly nostalgic and mysterious about a country that remains just as it was over fifty years ago.  Pre-revolution and Fidel’s communist takeover, Cuba was a hotspot for American tourists; Hemingway and Sinatra, to name just a couple.  They gambled in the casinos, danced the Havana nightclubs, tanned on the white sand beaches, and drank mojitos and daiquiris until the sun came up.

Then came the U.S. trade embargo and a complete halt in time.

Imagine a cinemagraph of Cuba taken in the 1950s where the cityscape stands still and only the people move forward.  That is Cuba in 2012.  Taxis are Thunderbirds and Studebakers, retro hotel signs still advertise cool air conditioning and color television, and only the name of the defunct Woolworth’s building has changed.

Here is a glimpse at old and new Cuba through wistful eyes:

Cuba Car

(traveladventures.org)

Pre-communism Cuba

(cnbc.com)

Cuba Beach 1950s

1950′s. (by Gordon Parks for Life magazine: Life Archives)

Cuba Car Park 1950s

(cnbc.com)

Cuba Woolworth's

Old Woolworth’s in Cuba (cnbc.com)

Vintage Cuba Pool

1946. (Life Archives)

Vintage Cuba

(mountainpassiknow.blogspot.com)

Hemingway and Castro

Ernest Hemingway and Fidel Castro (luxist.com)

Hemingway Cuba

Hemingway celebrating his Nobel Prize (luxist.com)

Cuban Beach

(Andrii Kizilov from Fotolia.com)

Now that Fidel Castro’s son and predecessor is loosening regulations and “Viva La Revolución” could soon be, well, Revolución de los Muertos, the question remains; will you be able to plan a trip before modernization and open trade routes steal all nostalgia?  Sigh, I just thank my lucky stars I checked off the canals of Venice or I’d be 0 for 2 in sites/sights that may disappear altogether.

Anyone here want to brave a Mexican hop to Cuba with a wad of cash and a bikini?  Email me! (I’m serious)

Besos.

“Our revolution is endangering all American possessions in Latin America. We are telling these countries to make their own revolution.”

— Che Guevara, October 1962

Pierrot-Zebra shoot outtakes

Pierrot model zebra

Of course you already know of my ecstatic love and admiration for Sabrina Cichy, fairytale photographer and whimsical wunderkind, and Lotte Groeneweg, stunning avant garde model and stylist extraordinaire…

But now I am hopelessly head-over-heels!

Awhile back, Sabrina and Lotte chatted with me about collaborating on a Pierrot inspired shoot they were designing and, naturally, I was beyond excited.  Not to mention that a zebra named Zorro would be Lotte’s shooting partner!  Talk about fairytale.  So this past week, the girls got together and made magic in the meadows near Brussels.  Check out some behind-the-scenes footage from my design process and Sabrina and Lotte’s (and Zorro’s) shoot!

Pierrot sketch

Pierrot shoot sketch by Anjou

Pierrot inspiration board

My Pierrot inspiration board (by Anjou)

Pierrot costume

Pierrot wardrobe in progress… (Anjou)

Pierrot bustle costume

Pierrot bustle in progress…(Anjou)

Pierrot makeup mood board

Lotte’s Pierrot makeup mood board

Pierrot Shoot

Lotte (model) and Saima (makeup artist) prepping for the shoot (by Sabrina Cichy)

Pierrot shoot zebra

Lotte (model) and Zorro (zebra model) by Sabrina Cichy

Pierrot shoot

Lotte and Sabrina! <3

Pierrot tulle skirt balloons

Lotte Groeneweg (model), Sabrina Cichy (photographer), Tulle skirt by Anjou

Pierrot model zebra

Lotte Groeneweg: model, Zorro: zebra model, Sabrina Cichy: photographer, Wardrobe: Anjou

Stay tuned for the completed photosets from this and the urban location shoot!

For my post on Pierrot’s history and the story behind the inspiration, head here.

Sources/to contact everyone:

Sabrina Cichy, photographer: here (facebook) or here (deviant art) or here (blog)

Lotte Groeneweg, model: here (facebook) or here (website)

Saima Rashid Bargfrede, makeup artist: here (facebook)

Anjou, wardrobe: here (etsy) or here (facebook)

Magical bisous!

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