say yes

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It’s so easy to say no to things, or even worse “maybe later…” A few dear friends of mine have been dying to go on a romantic trip just the two of them — something they haven’t really done ever — but there was also a million obligations and reasons to keep pushing it off for another year. And while I certainly admire their strong sense of responsibility, I couldn’t have been more thrilled and proud when they called me from Hawaii this week completely out of the blue. It was probably their action that encouraged me to immediately say yes when a friend from Holland called hours before arriving in San Francisco for one day only asking to visit. This is the definition of taking a personal day, and there’s nothing wrong with it — these are the moments you’ll remember and hang on to; not one more day in the office or working.

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So that’s the first part of the puzzle — surrounding yourself with people who challenge you, present you with these possibilities, and encourage your dreams. The second part is trickier yet — be the one who creates these opportunities for yourself, and says yes to them. It’s not easy, but one way to get the ball rolling is to shake yourself up, and get out of your routine, whether it’s a trip on a plane or just a walk to a new part of town. Get yourself out of your comfort zone and see what happens.

With that in mind I’m packing my bags as we speak and driving to a town in California I’ve never been to before. Thank you for reading and see you in September! In the meantime, leave me a comment and let’s stay in touch – find me on pinteresttwitterinstagram, and facebook.

local at large: alese osborn

I’m so excited to have a  new feature in the (occasional) series I do on super cool humans discovered around the world. Today meet bay area native Alese Osborn…

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Every woman needs a best friend, a therapist, or a tarot card reader. These people are crime scene investigators of the psyche — using details of your life to speak about your past, present or future. I stumbled upon Alese in Mission boutique the Painted Bird offering tarot readings, and was both immediately intrigued and put at ease by her warmth, articulation, and serene ginger confidence. Alese, like all detectives, is — at heart — intent on piecing together a story. She uses her intuition to bring clarity to the present moment — and she’s very good at it. Listening to her refreshingly open and honest talk made me realize her skills were not as intimidating as the concept of a physic or therapist can often be. There’s no destiny being handed down that you’re then stuck with – Alese’s main goal is to help people connect with their present. “The more clarity you have in your moment, and the more you stay in your moment, the more you can navigate forward with precision.”

In a society that is obsessed with the future – where you’re going to live, who you’re going to partner with, when you’re going to retire – the ability to live in the present and see what’s actually happening to you can easily be clouded by the noise of the everyday. The prospect of a going to a therapist, a tarot reader, or even having an honest heart to heart with your best friend is frightening. It’s letting your guard down; inviting someone else in to analyze your life and offer their observations, but the goal is to come out of the experience with a clearer sense of being, a surer way to chose your path, and a grounding of your present self.

IMG_2629 “If your goal is to be in a loving relationship, and you’re finding a blockage achieving that yourself, I’m not going to give you a reading about how a tall, dark, handsome stranger is going to enter your life. Instead, I’m going to help you find the willingness to accept that there are systems that aren’t working for you, and to find what those are. You may not be able to change how you see things in life, but you can change how you process them, and learn to re-focus your perspective and energies; to untie the knots that are keeping you from achieving your goals.”

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Alese began her craft by reading the contents of friend’s purses or favorite objects to solve mysteries. When she found the tarot deck it just clicked. “Tarot creates a platform where I can meet physicality and intuition halfway — my rational mind is active, while my intuition is equally active.” She loves the holistic nature of the exchange, seeing it as a method of scanning through the systems in place in your life, finding and fixing the kinks, and emerging healthier and more complete on the other end. Her advice for how to get the most out of a reading is completely applicable to life on a daily basis — “You can come to a reading guarded, trying to test me and see how accurate is she; much does she actually know but the more detailed and honest you are with me and yourself about your intentions and goals, the more I can offer you and the more you can benefit; by learning how to reinstall your focus (how you look at things), and manage your energies, because that changes how you’re processing what’s coming to you. There are things that are beneficial to you that you don’t even see because you have blinders on.”

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Alese just launched a card deck she created designed around story telling and creativity. Instructions are simple: “Draw two or three cards, and just start typing away.” The deck is an exercise in getting in touch with your creative side and learning confidence in your own intuition in a safe, private environment, and will be on sale at the Painted Bird — the location of the above shoot, and where until recently Alese has been conducting readings. Today, her readings are currently private only — email her at aleseosborn@gmail.com to set one up!

Alese and I talked for so long — it was impossible to fit everything into one article! Talk to her yourself via her
email
or her personal site.

Thank you — as always — for reading! Feel free to leave me a comment and let’s stay in touch – find me on pinterest, twitter, instagram, and facebook.

accomplished women: seattle

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‘Then,’ observed Elizabeth, ‘you must comprehend a great deal in your idea of an accomplished woman.’

It struck me the other day how amazed and fortunate I feel to have so many accomplished women in my life. For Mr. Bingley it was enough to paint tables, cover skreens, and net purses, but today I hardly meet anyone that isn’t a crafter, maker, writer, photographer, videographer, designer, cook, stylist, business owner, home owner, expert and/or blogger. I’ve been in a on-going conversation with friends recently about the lack of strong female role models in cinema and media growing up — which is an entirely other discussion I won’t delve into here — but today (thanks in part to a growing blogosphere) all I need to do is look around me to see incredible women that would make Jane Austen proud. Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to attend a photo workshop in Seattle with food stylist, photographer and blogger Aran Goyoaga; a talented and warm individual that I am so grateful to have had the chance to meet and study with. Together with other curious and adventurous souls we spent a first day watching and working with her in her beautiful north-facing Seattle studio; styling, shooting, eating and socializing (in no particular order). There were chefs, nutritionalists, bloggers, foodies, photographers, yoga instructors, designers and business owners; some were picking up a camera for the first time and others had skills that completely blew my mind (I learned more tips for lightroom processing and iphone apps in one weekend than in the past several years). The entire workshop was impeccably orchestrated by Ritche Ace Camps, the lessons learned immeasurably helpful, and the chance to add so many accomplished women to my address book worth its weight in marble and rustic wood photo backdrops.

Cheers to Aran, Angela, Allison, Jenn, Claire, Debra, Nathalie,  Su T, Melissa, Janice, Ilona, Rena, Sarah & Sarah!

Here’s some of my favorite images from our studio time –

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Thank you for reading! There’s more images of food, Seattle, traveling, San Francisco, and style to come in the next few weeks, but until then please feel free to leave me a comment and let’s stay in touch – find me on pinterest, twitter, instagram, and facebook.

aperol spritz

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A friend and I were chatting about how food and drinks can hold memories – like the way I remember those giant gin and tonics in Barcelona, mulled wine in any European Christmas market, or that perfect frothy cappuccino, sprinkled with chocolate, from any Italian city. when she spoke about drinking Campari spritzes in Milan I immediately became obsessed with the concept. Not being a big fan of Campari, I did some quick research and took a note from Venice instead – you are not going to believe how easy and refreshing this afternoon aperitivo is.

What You’ll Need:

Aperol

Prosecco (or tonic or sparkling water, or both)

Lemon

That’s it! And you don’t even need a lemon, but it makes for a nice garnish. This has been my go to drink lately and believe me the simplicity is greatly appreciated. After all, it’s August, it’s hot, And it seems like everyone I know is burnt out right now from one thing or another. All the more reason to make things a little easier for yourself and indulge in simple pleasures.

What to Do:

Add ice to a wine glass or tumbler

Add 1 oz Aperol

Add about 4 oz Prosecco, or play around with mixing Prosecco and sparkling water or tonic — depending on how August has been treating you so far

Garnish with a slice of lemon

Enjoy!

If you’re worried about investing in strange aperitivos, you’ll be pleased to know that a bottle of Aperol should only put you back about $20, and there’s all kinds of things you can do with it. That is, if you don’t polish the bottle off converting everyone you know to love this drink as much as you do (which is basically how I spent yesterday afternoon…).

Cheers, salut, and chin chin! Happy Monday — and thanks for reading! I love hearing from you, so please leave me a comment and stay in touch with me — pinterest, twitter, instagram, and facebook.

discovery

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Day after day of weather in the 90s and brutal sun were abruptly broken by thunder, lightning and rain last week in Seattle. The rain slowed down — although the clouds were still threatening — and so we ran down towards the beach. Our goal was to get to the lighthouse at the end of Discovery Park, but somewhere along the way we took a wrong turn

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Sweater: Free People (similar here)/Trousers: Free People (available here)/Wedges: Eric Michael (available here)/Hat: Ducks in a Row (seen here)

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We never ended up making it to the Lighthouse, but sometimes the best adventures are the ones where you don’t end up where you’re going. I was too captivated by these gorgeous old military homes to move on, so until the rains came again I picked wildflowers and dreamed about the people who used to live here. Going back through these images I’ve been trying to put my finger on why this is one of my favorite style shoots we’ve ever done — and I think it’s because I’m just so comfortable in these clothes. This outfit is so classically me — the military sweater I purchased years ago that has half the buttons missing; a broad brimmed floppy hat to keep off the sun or the rain; while nude wedges and a white blouse let my latest and favorite set of crazy pants take center stage. This is so perfect for end of summer — and so perfect for travel; everything can be rolled up and stuffed in a bag, or worn comfortably on a plane or train.There’s so much more energy and time for exploration and adventure when you’re feeling confident and comfortable. I deeply admire the women who can achieve that while also not caring about their appearance — a confidence I strive for — in the meantime it’s good to have an outfit — while traveling or at home but especially when already out of your comfort zone —  that you can always call on to help boost the self esteem.

Thank you for reading! I love hearing from you, so please leave me a comment if you feel so inclined, and you can also stay in touch with me through all the usual ways — pinterest, twitter, instagram, and facebook.

Photography by MB Maher

the painted bird

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I’ve got such a backlog of images to process from my time in Seattle, but first I have to share this recent foray into The Painted Bird with you. Union Square may have every design house and fast fashion chain imaginable, but shopping in SF isn’t complete without stopping into a couple great vintage and thrift boutiques. Avoid the Haight (so touristy, overpriced, and — right now — cold) and trek down to the bottom of  Valencia and 24th instead. There’s so many treasures to be found from a variety of decades in this quirky little shop at the base of an old Victorian home. Maybe it’s the repeating skull motifs throughout (and actual skulls), the variety of leather and fur pieces, or the babe in the front nook reading tarot cards — the Painted Bird has an edgy vibe that really speaks to me. The Bird is also in a great location to make a day of vintage and thrift shopping, with Buffalo Exchange and the Salvation Army a block in either direction. You might have to spend hours digging through Salvation Army and Buffalo to find a gem, so I recommend browsing those stops first, after which walking into the Painted Bird will be a sight for sore eyes. Well curated, fantastic prices, and beautifully arranged — these kids have really got it figured out.

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Speaking of that tarot card reading babe, I was so thrilled to have a chance to interview and shoot with the one and only Alese Osborn before leaving the shop this day. I’ll be sharing her story and the skinny on her funky style in a feature later this month, so make sure you drop back in!

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What’s your favorite shop for vintage or thrift in the Bay Area? Leave me a comment, and you can also stay in touch with all the usual ways — chose your poison: pinterest, twitter, and facebook.

weekend reading

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Some weekend mornings are for staying in bed — hopefully with some coffee and a good book or magazine (Or  a pile of them. Or just a scruffy tabby cat). Others are for waking up at 6am to set off on an adventure; with new humans to meet, vistas to explore, and skills to learn. It’s the latter for me right now, and let me tell you — it’s been a long time before this body has been vertical between the hours of 2 and 8am. I couldn’t ask for better motivation though — studying with the unstoppable Aran Goyagoa alongside some seriously kick-ass women. I’ll be sharing all the photos and stories with you soon, but until then check out my instagram for up to the moment shots, and if you’re in category A from above follow the jump for some leisurely weekend reading material.

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august daze

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It’s August and the days are long. From the East side of the city I watch the sun set behind Twin Peaks each day into a featherbed of fog. Late in the day I walk through the streets and all that old Victorian glass gleams silver and the moldings and decorations — lions, scrolls or fans — glow gold; for that final hour my humble streets feel transformed. It’s the time of year the farmers markets are bursting, with melons, apricots, strawberries, exotic pluots and purple bell peppers, shrunken and green shosito peppers, bushels of squash, and the truest tomatoes you’ll ever taste. It’s when the fog billows up over Twin Peaks to such unbelievable heights that when you walk in the sun below along Guerrero or Valencia street and look upwards you feel as though you’re standing in wet sand at the base of a giant tidal wave that is just moments away from breaking and rushing down over you, sweeping you and all these homes back into the Bay. The fog is everywhere. You get out of a building in Russian Hill or Haight Ashbury and feel dew on your face. You walk down the hill, into Duboce Park, or maybe the Embarcadero and watch the fog thin into bits and pieces that waft by; a bit further, you’re in SoMa or Hayes Valley, and the sun warms your face as you look up towards the sky. But only for a final few moments, before the fog engulfs the sun, and the chill of the Ocean reaches from one end of our 7 miles squared to the other.

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Jacket & Coach Bag: Vintage/Sweater: Modcloth/Harem Pants: Under Skies (last seen here)/Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell (seen here)

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Leaving home one afternoon the hallway was filled with such beautiful light — diffused through the fog as it was — I couldn’t resist pulling over and snapping a few shots. Can I just say that I strongly approve of this decision we’ve collectively made to move away from skinny jeans, especially the way these styles, colors and patterns are emerging on looser trousers and harem pants. I initially picked up these pants to use as loungewear around the house; there hasn’t been a week at a time over this entire summer that guests and travelers haven’t been living in my home, and I was getting tired of pulling on jeans first thing in the morning to make my coffee in. This outfit started off as work-from-home-wear, and quickly became a walk-through-the-fog-to-happy-hour ensemble with the help of a man’s vintage jacket. One of my favorite go-to’s for classing things up.

And on a another note — thanks so much to everyone who came out to the Free People event last night! It was such a blast to meet so many stylish babes and the FP girls in Corte Madera were so sweet and fun to chill and browse with. Fall is coming right up and I could not be happier.

As always thank you for reading! Heading from you makes my day – send me a comment, & if you like what you see here follow me on pinterest, twitter, facebook, and instagram!

XO