Sarah and Alexander have the sweetest love story. They met in English class in college and now they're both writers! It's amazing how pieces of life's journey start with a moment of connection. Now they're expecting a little baby boy any day now and I'm happy to share some images from our day together. If you know San Francisco you know that Golden Gate Park is often...gloomy. It is often socked in with clouds giving it a certain mood quality. On my recent visit it had been raining for days and my plan was we'll stick to the Conservatory of Flowers (indoors) but luckily the weather gods blessed us and the clouds parted for a few short hours the morning of our session.
Whether you're celebrating galentines, taking a moment for self-care, a night with your sweetie, or raging because this holiday is made up and you're over deciphering code to understand a text...I've got a little mix for your mood. February is a challenging month. Many of us are still knee-deep in snow and there's no spring in sight but what's actually kind of cool about Valentine's Day is that you can twist it around to mean anything you want (plus, there's so much good candy). Sure, it's for lovebirds, but it can also be a wonderful time for a little acknowledgment of your own awesome. Maybe it's a day to just love yourself for who you are, or a day to say, hey friend or family member - you're the best and I appreciate you. It can even be a day to just snuggle with your pet a little more than usual and maybe give them a special treat just for bringing you so much joy in your life. No matter how you spend the day, I hope you give yourself a little hug and that these tunes give you a soundtrack to feel whatever you need.
Be My Valentine
- Vivrant Thing - Q-Tip
- Crazy in Love - Beyoncé
- Finesse (remix) - Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B
- Want to Want Me - Jason Derulo
- You Want This - Janet Jackson
- Some Kinda Wonderful - Betty Who
- Into You - Ariana Grande
- On My Mind - Ellie Goulding
- Hang With Me - Robyn
- My Type - Saint Motel
- Let Me Take You Out - Class Actress
- Feels - Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Big Sean
- Get it Together - Drake, Black Coffee, Jorja Smith
- I Feel it Coming - The Weeknd, Daft Punk
- Company - Justin Bieber
- Girl Like You - Toro y Moi
- P.D.A (We Just Don't Care) - John Legend
- Let's Take a Walk - Raphael Saadiq
Me, Myself, & I
- Me, Myself, & I - G-Eazy, Bebe Rexha
- Me & The Rhythm - Selena Gomez
- Magic (feat. Rivers Cuomo) - B.o.B
- My House - Flo Rida
- The Greatest - Sia, Kendrick Lamar
- Tightrope (feat. Big Boi) - Janelle Monae
- Rollin' With My Homies - Coolio
- Me, Myself, & I - De La Soul
- Do My Thing (feat. Janelle Monae) - Estelle
- Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple
- Roar - Katy Perry
- Pumpin Blood - NONONO
- Parking Lot - Nelly Furtado
- Groove is in the Heart - Deee-Lite
- Me, Myself, and I - Beyoncé
- Promises, Promises - Naked Eyes
- I Can Change - LCD Soundsystem
- Issues - Julia Michaels
- You Oughta Know - Alanis Morissette
- Rumour Has It - Adele
- Breakin' Dishes - Rihanna
- Get Him Back - Fiona Apple
- Always Alright - Alabama Shakes
- Trouble - Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Hudson
- Night Drive - Ari Lennox
- Toxic - Melanie Martinez
- Same Old Love - Selena Gomez
- Send My Love (To Your New Lover) - Adele
- Precious - Kevin Garrett
- Almost is Never Enough - Ariana Grande, Nathan Sykes
- One More Try - George Michael
- Don't Speak - No Doubt
- Don't Dream It's Over - LOLO
There's really nothing like a foggy stroll through a Seattle park in winter. It's one of the most invigorating sensory experiences. The air is just buzzing with freshness. On the morning of my shoot with the Weitmann family there was actually a little too much fog and you couldn't see a few steps in front of you so we had to wait it out until there was just enough clearing for our photos. It was worth it. Between Penelope (aka Penny) and her dog-brother Duke battling for their parents attention and the overall majesty of the park it was one entertaining and special session. For me, everything melted away when Penny not once, but TWICE reached for me to hold her. What? I've never had that happen before. It was absolutely the sweetest and of course, I obliged. Penny (now a full fledged walker) was just getting her sea legs when we had this session and was eager to show off as much as possible, including one epic trailblazing run down the big hill at the park with her dad. As we parted, Penny took the reins to proudly walk Duke and gave an impressive "thank you" on her way. So much love and sweetness in this family. It was a pleasure to spend some time with them.
Ok friends, let's talk about a few of my favorite things: wine, spaces, and people gathering together. How lucky was I that the awesome folks over at Rotie Cellars called me up when they found out they were going to be featured in the January issue of Decanter Magazine? So damn lucky. Not only was I able to spend some time photographing their gorgeous tasting room in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood but I was also able to shoot their beautiful bottles (and taste a few of them), and then capture some candids from their fall release party. All in all it was a total delight. Rotie makes Rhone-blends with Washington grapes and seriously, they are delicious. Hoping to spend more time at the tasting room and make my way down to Walla Walla to the winery later this year!
Well, happy 2018 everyone! I love kicking off this new year with some inspo from my dear friend Lelia. We met about a decade ago working on a TV show. In the months that passed we became fast friends bonding over color coordinated files and a love of coffee breaks. In the years that would follow we found that we had much more in common, a love of spaces, food, travel, and of course wine. Lelia launched her new interior design business last year, Ulivo Design and it has been really incredible to watch her tackle the challenges of entrepreneurship. We recently met up at Lady Yum over in Kirkland to do some new photos for her business and we were treated to a perfect afternoon of macarons and champagne. I thought it might be nice to pick Lelia's brain about what inspires her, how she approaches spaces, and what keeps her energized creatively.
1. How did you know you needed to branch out on your own and begin an interior design business?
After nearly 15 years as a TV/video/content producer and working my tail off day in and day out, I got tired of feeling unvalued and unfulfilled in my work. I was yearning for change... to do something more meaningful, to make a difference or at least bring joy/positivity into someone's life. I really took to heart that life is too short to not do what you love. But what was that for me?? I had no idea... I felt so lost. After about two years of soul searching + trying to figure out what to do next with my life, a first-ever home renovation project ignited my new passion for home interior decorating. My husband had come across a newly listed townhome that was hard to pass up. I agreed to buy it on the condition that we renovate + update it to make it our own. Figuring out the finishes, the paint colors, the flooring, etc and working with a contractor (for the very first time) - all of it was challenging but I was hooked! (Looking back though, I guess I've always had a knack for prettying up spaces whether it was putting up artwork to camouflage my concrete college dorm room or wallpapering dingy walls of a tiny storage closet-turned-office.) Inspired by my home renovation project, my obsession with the hit show Fixer Upper + encouragement from an architect friend, I took a leap of faith + decided to start my own home interior styling business. I haven't looked back since.
2. Why do you think places and spaces matter so much to us as humans?
We all have places + spaces that we call home... that inspire us... that we dream about... that we cherish or yearn to visit. Practically every part of our daily lives is intertwined with our surroundings, whether it be our home, our workplace, a neighborhood restaurant, or even a quaint shop we pass by everyday. Oftentimes, places become part of our fondest (and sometimes our toughest) personal memories... they tell our story. For example, Italy holds a special place in my heart because it's where I traveled alone for the first time, it's where I got married, it's where my husband and I call home a few months out of the year. The different towns and regions I've come to know + love in Italy are a part of my personal story.
3. You and your husband have somewhat recently made a second home in Italy. Can you describe the town you've settled in, and why you love it?
It's been our dream to have a house in Italy one day... well that one day ended up arriving two years ago -- way sooner than we ever anticipated thanks to good timing + a good opportunity that presented itself. After scouting nearly 60 properties all over Italy in 15 days, we ended up choosing a lovely 19th century townhome in a medieval village called Ficulle which is located in the Italian region of Umbria (a lesser known but just as beautiful of a region as Tuscany). It is the perfect midway point between Rome + Florence. We fell in love with Ficulle for its quaint, medieval charm and the local, small town feel. It was important for us to be in a (non-touristy) town where we could assimilate with the locals and experience the authentic Italian culture. Because Ficulle is located at higher elevation on a hillside, the views overlooking the green valleys are breathtaking. I love waking up in the early mornings and opening up the windows + shutters to the sight of the sun rising over the hills and the sounds of birds, roosters and old men gossiping outside a nearby bar. We can't walk out our front door without someone saying "ciao" (hi) and "come stai?" (how are you?)... I love that! In the beginning it took awhile for the locals to warm up to us but after getting to know us and seeing our efforts in wanting to be a part of the community, many have embraced us and become dear friends. We feel at home every time we come back. BTW, did I mention a fabulous family-owned winery is only 5 minutes down the road from our house?! Let's just say our home is always fully stocked with delicious wine. :)
4. We spend a lot of time talking about our shared love of spaces and food and how they can take something to the next level in terms of experience. What are some of your favorite Seattle spots (yes, the east side counts!)?
Oh boy, since I'm more of a homebody these days, I feel so out of the loop with all the great restaurants + shops that have popped up in Seattle. But when I do go out, my go-to spots are: Mamma Melina - a modern chic Italian restaurant with a fantastic happy hour that's hard to beat Le Caviste - a beautiful French-style wine bar that reminds me of the ones in Paris; their selections of French wine + charcuterie board offerings are delish Black Bottle - a modern industrial gastrotavern that offers an eclectic menu of great dishes to be enjoyed in a communal setting Little Brother - I love the rustic modern, airy vibe of this new neighborhood restaurant on the Eastside; it's a place where you can hang out for a cappuccino + pastries or enjoy a nice lunch/dinner with friends
5. If someone were starting to think about how they could re-think a room, what tips would you tell them to get started? At what point should they consider an interior designer to help them bring their vision to life?
If you're thinking about re-decorating or changing a room but don't know where to start, I would first suggest listing out what you like about the room and what you don't like about the room. Also ask yourself how you want to use the room - what is your intended purpose for the room. Knowing this will help provide a roadmap for your room re-design. Then go on Pinterest and/or Houzz and pin images of spaces that you are drawn to. You can also cut out pictures from home decor magazines that inspire you. The collection of these pins + pictures will serve as your inspiration/mood board and help jumpstart ideas for room layout, color palette, furniture, etc. If you're still feeling stuck or overwhelmed with a mish-mash of ideas, this is where an interior designer or stylist can come in with his/her expertise + curate those ideas into a cohesive room design that reflects you. If you're looking to renovate or remodel your space but don't have the time or desire to do it on your own, an interior designer or stylist can come in + take care of all the details -- managing the project from start to finish.
This year has been so full of incredible new opportunities for me including this amazing afternoon spent in one of my favorite spaces in all of Seattle, Bar Melusine. I was contacted by the folks at The I.D.E.A Brand to lead a flat lay styling & photography session with local social influencers and shoot their pop up event for the bag company Pacsafe. I'm going to do a whole post about flat lay photography to kick off the new year but in the meantime, here's a peek at this event. Earlier this year Pacsafe launched a new line The Citysafe Collection so the entire afternoon was spent learning about these very functional and stylish bags and I was lucky enough to take one home with me (and promptly took with me to NYC and DC for a little adventure). It was such a great way to spend the afternoon, appetizers, a specialty cocktail, and loads of photo ops. It was a real 2017 highlight for me to share my passion for storytelling through photography with other creatives.