Happy Neuve de Mayo!

country lanterns

This past Sunday was a favorite holiday of mine…and not just because it involved copious amounts of tequila and tortilla chips.  Though, let’s face it, those are certainly a big part of it.  But I also adore the fashion, the music, the flavor, the decor, and most of all, I adored the Cinco de Mayo Pocket Brunch at Caswell Farm in Gray, Maine.

Pocket Brunch is this amazing series that food and cocktail lovers alike are rejoicing over.  You know those fun pop-up vintage tents and fashion shows?  Well, one Sunday a month these super talented ladies and dudes pop up a uniquely themed brunch somewhere in the vicinity of Portland.  The events generally involve a beautiful menu, handcrafted cocktails, festive dress by the staff, local goods, and a fun-loving (and adventurous!) crowd.

So amigos, here are my photos.  My adorable friend Meg is the star of most of them as is Senor Frog (not the terrible Spring Break bar…an actual frog that was hip-hopping along the farm).

pocket brunch cocktails

cinco de mayo bull

country window

cantina sign

country barn

country barn

country barn

sombraro

pocket brunch

pocket brunch ingredients

pocket brunch cocktails

country lanterns

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drink tub country

country lanterns

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pocket brunch

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My cobalt blue and white vintage Mexican dress was sourced from Material Objects in Portland, Maine and Meg’s belt was worn by her mother at the one and only Woodstock.

Besos.

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!”

Memento Mori: beauty in death

memento mori post-mortem photography

I know this is going to come off horrendously morbid and terribly bizarre, but isn’t there something just so beautiful in the moments captured after death?  Granted, it’s morose and strange, but displays of such raw emotion; an unwillingness to let go; are so surreally captivating.  And in the Victorian times, they had quite the odd fascination with capturing the dead forever in their finest clothing and stiffest poses.  Memento mori, translated in Latin to ‘remember your mortality’, can describe a variety of macabre art movements, but to me it will always symbolize the post-mortem photography so prevalent in the mid-1800s.

The invention of the daguerreotype allowed even common people to create keepsakes of their loved ones – prior to its invention, capturing family members’ likenesses involved the costly and time-consuming process of commissioning a painted portrait!  This meant that, unfortunately, when common folks died, their survivors were often left with only fading memories to hold on to.

So it was in this very specific time period, where non-wealthy folk had not previously had the opportunity to photograph the family due to, well, photography just being invented and all, that their only option to retain a lasting, tangible keepsake of their loved one, was to take their photograph after death.

Corpses were often propped in lifelike poses, wide eyes were painted on closed eyelids, and even family members sometimes posed with the deceased, particularly if they were children.

Long considered sensational and vulgar, memento mori is just now receiving the fascination and historical recognition it deserves.

If you haven’t already become a fan of the bizarre, take a look below and tell me you don’t find a strange beauty in it all.

memento mori post-mortem photography

(thanatos.net)

*most images courtesy of listverse.com

Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.

- George Eliot

Stepping through NYC to Narnia

Portlan Maine boatyard

You know how you have this perfect vision of something in your head? And it swirls and envelops and takes you to a place reminiscent of Narnia; complete with Turkish Delights, a helpful, well-dressed fawn, and a blanket of snow that makes everything dreamlike? I suppose it’s what fairy tales refer to as a Wonderland. And rarely does it exist in reality. Well, somehow I’ve managed to step through the wardrobe door of New York City (where I was previously living) and find my own magical land in a small city called Portland, Maine.

I’ve got the perfect, most mind-bending job and snow at the ocean. What more could a girl ask for? Other than for the evil witch to stay way up in her stone castle, naturally. I can’t promise I won’t go searching for her, though.

Okay, now that this metaphor has likely taken too many turns to be considered comprehensible, here are my Instagram exploits in a brilliantly overcast winter wonderland.

Portland Maine boatyard

polka dot wellies

Portland Maine Street

Hermione Hair

Portland Maine buoys

Portland Maine Wharf Street

Harbor Fish Market Salmon Fillet

Portland Maine colorful rowhomes

Thai Blue Point Cat

Portland Maine Flatiron

Portland Maine Polar Express

This town has my heart.

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.

Change is in the air

Change Is in the Air Paris

My life is traveling in directions I never imagined.  Today as I paid for my perfectly washed butter lettuce, pale speckled peaches, and Chardonnay flavored Two-Buck Chuck at the grocery store, the cashier asked in a non-assuming way what brought me to LA.  I answered honestly with a wandering “I don’t really know,” and when he asked me where I was going next I said, “Well, New York City for 6 months and then Maine.”  He stopped bagging for a second and cocked his head and looked at me curiously and said, “Then what?”  And I responded with a shrug and smile and muttered something about France or Newfoundland.

He was from Virginia and hated driving in the snow.  It does take forever to get where you’re going in that beautiful mess.

I wrote this a long time ago, when I was feeling rather caged as I often do when I stay anywhere for too long.  It still applies.  I took the photo from Montmartre in Paris just after the rain had started giving way to the sun.

Change Is in the Air Paris

Bisous. Besos. поцелуи.

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.

11 Years Later: Remembering the Red Cross on 9/11

Clara Barton

It’s often during times of excitement and disaster that we forget those who worked behind the scenes.  Commemoration of the tragic attacks of 9/11 justly salutes the NYPD, NYFD, and the fallen civilians who bravely weathered the terrible storm.  But today, on the 11 year anniversary of 9/11, I’d like to take a moment to remember the heroic efforts of 25,000 medical volunteers who aided the wounded as part of the American Red Cross.

 

In 1869, young Clara Barton, a teacher and advocate for soldiers, was taking a much-needed respite in Europe during the Franco-Prussian War.  Her kind heart and helping hands were, of course, unable to ignore the casualties of the war and the great humanitarian relief efforts of the International Red Cross.   So, with red crosses in her eyes, she swiftly sailed the sea and brought home the concept, officially launching the American Red Cross in 1881.

Clara Barton

Clara Barton, Founder of the American Red Cross (growingbolder.com)

 

Although bureaucracies have plagued the American Red Cross, they have been instrumental in our recovery from many wars and disasters, the first of which was the Great Fire of 1881 in Michigan.

 

And then just 8 short years later, Clara led the effort during the Johnstown Flood in 1889 in Pennsylvania, which remains one of the most devastating disasters in the history of the United States.

 

WW1 saw American Red Cross nurses filling hospitals and dispensaries all over Europe as they tended to wounded soldiers and the morale of the men.

WW1 Nurse and soldier

WW1 nurse and soldier on Christmas Day from McMahan Photo (mcmahanphoto.com)

 

During WW2, many American Red Cross units were detached and sent overseas to aid sailors and soldiers.  And of course, were there for those returning from battle to fertile United States soil.

Nurse and Sailor Kiss

NYC nurse and sailor on V-J Day (wikipedia.com)

 

As one of the five deadliest hurricanes in all of United States history, Katrina relied heavily upon the efforts of the American Red Cross, along with the Coast Guard (hooray!) and FEMA.  They provided housing, food, hygiene, and the first ever online family member locator: Safe and Well.

 

I’ve left so many great efforts off of the list (the Spanish-American War, the Titanic, Dustbowl drought, Oklahoma City bombing…) and I wish I could fit them all in.  Instead, I’ll end with a quote from Clara Barton, the woman who started it all.

“Although its growth may seem to have been slow, it is to be remembered that it is not a shrub, or plant, to shoot up in the summer and wither in the frosts. The Red Cross is a part of us–it has come to stay–and like the sturdy oak, its spreading branches shall yet encompass and shelter the relief of the nation.”  -Clara Barton

 

For a slideshow of the American Red Cross of Greater New York’s response during 9/11, head over to their website here

Salute.

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.

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