Category Archives: photographs

My Trip Back Home Away from Home

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Last Tuesday I embarked on the long eleven and a half hour drive home to grieve Capistrano’s passing, and to regroup, return to some familiarity, comfort and support. It had been nearly five months since I moved out of my parents house, living on my own in Portland. Many life changes. Many good life changes.

Santa Cruz is what it is. It hasn’t changed much. Pretty much exactly as I expected it. It’s so crazy to be able to just jump in my car and have the freedom to change into a completely different city.  700 miles later, and I am back to my home away from home. It was a long drive, I won’t lie, but once it’s over you think “well, that wasn’t so bad”. It was full of rain, wind, buffalo, rainbows, tumbleweeds, crazy California drivers, traffic, and cruise control. Coming home was exactly the thing I needed and I am so glad I listened to my gut and my heart and what I needed most to help heal.

My stepmom has since redecorated and renovated my bedroom with lovely wall decor and a comfy couch. It was my room, but nearly unrecognizable. The orange and grey walls are no more. Now it’s Edison bulbs, antlers, and Turner prints.

In a way, it was a mechanism of avoidance, just up and leaving my apartment. There was too much space, not enough energy that I’m used to with the little one being around. Every time I walked into my apartment, I was so used to his greeting, him sitting on the couch or hiding under my covers till my return. Walking back in Monday evening, it felt so dead. So cold. So different. The power of space, a space, is not to be underestimated. It can be quite overwhelming, similar to the way that your sense of smell can bring back childhood memories.

I revisited my faithful running trail near the backwoods of our neighborhood, went to my family’s favorite breakfast joint, visited all four of my grandparents, brought home some of my grandma’s homegrown apples from her farm, had home cooked meals shared at the dining room table, cuddled with my Lily, had the honor of participating in my stepmom’s girlfriends “old hen” brunch extravaganza full of boozy french toast, bacon and swedish tea, met up with a former lovely dental hygiene instructor to discuss my current job hunting frustrations and to catch up in general, spent several hours surprising lovely people from hygiene school and assisting my “little buddy” during clinic, had a wonderful dinner with two lovely people dear to my heart, had a great sushi lunch and catching-up time with this beautiful, crafty lady and wonderful mother, tried out a new Italian restaurant with my family that was surprisingly scrumptious, attended a Harvest party (with pumpkin macarons in tow, of course) and reconnected with a bunch of great Santa Cruzans and Shopper’s peeps dear to my heart, met up with my Ayurvedic guru owl friend for another delicious meal and great catch-up time talk, and made a trip to Costco with mom, scoring some apple pie moonshine and my favorite apple pie. Yep, I brought my man home a $10 delicious Costco pie instead of making one. Tis okay though, I’m making a homemade bourbon pumpkin one to make up for it. Oh yes, and how could I forget a meal at my favorite restaurant, Malabar.

So yeah, good times. I felt so much better about coming home, re-energized and inspired to take another go at this. To keep going at this. To not give up or lose hope. To remind myself of all of the lovely people I have in my life, that I have a home base to fall back on, that that place is there. It isn’t going anywhere. And I can come home anytime.

The comfort in knowing that alone is worth the 24 hours and 1,400 miles of travel time.

Tomorrow it’s just me and my man, cooking up our own Thanksgiving feast of feasts. The day after that, we are unplugging. Friday is a “no-electronics, additional consumption or outside communications” day. We’re taking a day off to just be, to be together. Face time. Much needed time. What’s on your menu for your turkey (or Tofurkey) filled weekend?

The Side Yard: Portland, OR

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This last Sunday morning I had the great pleasure of being able to photograph and take part in (aka. devour) the beautifully crafted autumnal brunch dishes of Stacey Givens, owner of the Side Yard farm. Stacey began her organic urban farm in 2009, and ever since has been a supplier for local restaurants (Ned Ludd, Veritable Quandary), and regularly holds brunch supper clubs featuring her homegrown seasonal produce. In addition, she provides cooking classes and workshops on occasion. See previous and upcoming events here!

It was a beautiful fall rainy day and we were protected by a white sheet tent in the side yard (yep) of her farm, accompanied by warm and bubbly beverages and lovely company. I met some really wonderful people. I was spoiled with fantastic food. Everything was awesome. A great time was had by all.

The three course meal was absolutely spectacular. I was in foodie photography heaven.Let me lay it out for you.

1. Sweets

Pumpkin hot cakes. Pomegranate. Poached pear. Bacon fat cream cheese. Spice maple syrup.

2. Fall Hash

Hard cider braised pork. Yukons. Celeriac. Collard greens. Horseradish mustard seed creme. Farm fried egg.

3. Farm Benedict

House made crumpet. Charred brussels. Chanterelles. Braised escarole. Hollandaise. Poached farm egg.

*Not to forget the mimosas and the best coffee I’ve ever had by Ristretto Roasters (and I never drink caffeine)!

You guys, it was to die for. I’m telling you. I had such a blast taking these pictures! If you live in PDX, you must go. Please support her awesomeness and all of the awesomeness she does.

Here’s a sneak peak of the upcoming brunch next weekend!

fall crepes.
mike’s figs. chevre. local walnuts & honey

farm hash.
sweet potatoes. braised short ribs. roasted quince. shrooms. sorrel. jus

breaky sando.
buttermilk cheddar biscuit. dad’s fried chicken. farm egg. green tomato jam. spicy greens

 And it looks like I’ll be the “official” farm photographer! Will take pictures for food!

Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread

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Some things can be kind of bananas.

Like standing out in the 103 degree sun (the hottest day of the year thus far in PDX) last Saturday for 7 hours while checking IDs and making sure people were containing their beer within a small area while I nearly had a heat stroke.

Like a big group of fiddling, banjo’ing drunks blasting their music in the middle of a campground waking everyone up around them at 3am two mornings in a row, strumming until the sun rose, and not being able to tell them to STFU.

Like arriving sick on the first of a three day festival, one that you’ve been looking forward to for the last 363 days, and feeling miserable the entire time especially with those annoying drunks waking you up in the middle of the night.

(The last three examples I am referring to attending this years Pickathon festival, where 80% of the time it felt like a complete drag to be there… which is unfortunate because otherwise it could be pretty cool. It wasn’t all that bad, though, don’t get me wrong… I saw Neko Case perform live TWICE and it almost almost made up for it. I’ll show you some pictures so it at least looks like it wasn’t all that terrible… let’s just say we won’t be volunteering again anytime soon.)

Flickr Faves

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I’ve been baking a lot. Recipes soon to come. Hopefully tomorrow.
Happy Owl-oween!

We Fall Into Our Winter Den Below

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A few recent Flickr favorites that make me smile.
This rain is really nice, and so is coconut rice.
(Alongside a parsnip carrot curry.)
Also, new favorite blog alert!

Recent Flickr Favorites

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For good inspiration…