Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! I have been in a real creative funk lately. Definitely being more motivated to engage myself in books and tv, so my usual enthusiasm for halloween costumes (and zest for paired twin costumes) has fallen short this year. But yesterday we went to the thrift-store and sorted it all out. My original plan was for M+L to be Mario and Luigi and though we did find and get two M+L costumes (get it M+L? mario and luigi / milo and luca), I think we will be saving them for next year because they were just a bit too big. This year we are going for scary clown and zombie bunny. 

These photos are from our recent field trip to the pumpkin patch. It was so rainy and truth be told with all that rain I was kind of dreading it. But the rain stopped the moment we exited the car and started up again with a vengeance the moment we got back in it. It was perfect. I am sure it would have been perfect had the rain not stopped as well. The kids were so excited and it was fun for me to get to talk to and get to know some of the new school friends I have been hearing about day and night for the last several weeks. Hope you all have a safe and happy halloween. 

Feast Market

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A couple weeks ago I headed to the gorge to help a friend of mine taking some shots around her market in White Salmon for a new website they are setting up. I should first disclose that this isn't a specialty of mine in the slightest. Product shots often feel like my arch-nemesis and, already having disclosed I am not a big fan of cooking, I don't spend much time styling or taking photos of food. And if this were anyone but a really close friend who I would be sad to disappoint, but not in the least bit embarrassed to 'fail' in front of, I think it would have been really intimidating for me. But it turned out to be so much fun. 

For starters I have know my friend, Jen, since we were wily teenagers and really being in the space of her business I felt this overwhelming sense of pride. I kept think "she did this. she did all of this!" I found myself impressed with the most mundane details I'd normally overlook, like programming a cash machine with all of their merchandise in it. Or how nice her gift cards were. Or how she has sourced so many amazing local products. I was in awe. And everywhere I turned I kept saying "you did that? you did that!" Secondly it was fun to create a story with different materials than I usually use (my own) and play with different colors and textures in a completely different environment. Not to mention it was really enjoyable to do this kind of work with another person. And lastly, but certainly not least (okay, maybe the best part of all) was eating my way through the photo shoot.

If you are in the Hood River / White Salmon area - which you should definitely be at some point if you live here or come to visit - be sure to visit Feast. There is a huge selection of local wines and cheeses and meats and seasonal produce. And by local I mean within-miles-of-the-market local. All the food is prepared in-house such as daily soups, sandwiches, packed lunches and homemade cakes and cookies (gluten-free options galore as well). For contact info visit here.

Perception Collection III Round Up

Monday, October 27, 2014

 Muted: dawnpearcey | Blur: _fauzita_| Alone: whateverislovelier | Water: bedsidesign
 Exposed: orangesparrow | Pattern: sandrat212 | Flash:avivavisionphotography | Transcendent: julie.kerry.37

Gathering: jackiecuervo | Symmetry: bavardise | Fill The Frame: hellohive 
Emotion: lacroixmaisondesign | High Key: delyndaw | Horizon: surob59

I haven't been this excited for a Monday in awhile, but this week is a very short school week: two days long in fact. Just today and tomorrow. Woo hoo. Does it make me sound superbly lazy to share with you how giddy I am over the fact that I don't have to make and pack 10 lunches (twins x two everything), or look for shoes while already running late, or brave the cold, dark, and rainy mornings to drive 10 blocks to school (because, yeah, i totally drive those 10 blocks every. day. even on bike or walk to school week). Well it's true I am very excited to bask in some lazy morning rituals and Wednesday morning can't get here fast enough - though when it does the next 4 days have my permission to slow way down. 

So, it's here, my perception_collection round-up. It's a little late and a little on the skinnier-side than normal. But if you've been reading my blog, or read it last week I should say, you will know the last couple weeks were rough. Lauren, of Still+Life, my perception_collection partner in crime, has had a lot on her plate too, so we decided to just share one photo from each day for this go around. This was necessary but hard to do! There were so many amazing photos this time and only choosing one felt nearly impossible. With that I just chose the ones that immediately stood out to me while scrolling through. This was a great challenge. It's equally fun seeing new and familiar faces. We are thinking we might do another, shorter challenge in December, so if you missed this one, or two weeks is too long there should be another here in the works soon. Thanks to everyone who participated. I know, for me personally, this challenge was cathartic. Seeing other perspectives and lives and kindness and sense of community, sharing images that made me laugh and think and ooh and ah was just the perfect thing at just the right time.

Drinks For Fall

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fig and almond butter smoothie

Today we are headed to the pumpkin patch for a class field trip! Which I'd be a tiny bit more excited about if it hadn't been raining for the last 48 hours straight. Last night I sat down and deleted pictures on my phone because I had no more space - I am such a picture hoarder. I need to get better about this. But hopefully I will have enough space to take a couple to share on instagram. I mean kindergarten + pumpkin patch - pretty big deal.

I am still trying to get into the swing of all this alone time while my kids are at school. The mornings are the most difficult. Mornings I still find myself wandering around my house not quite sure where to invest my time. And I think my coffee consumption has somehow doubled (or tripled) which seems completely counter-intuitive. Before the whole school routine I'd wake up leisurely, have a cup of coffee, read blogs and laze a bit until my kids got up. Then I'd slowly get them ready for the day, set about for a walk, or to the park, or store. But with school starting I wake up even earlier so I can try to continue my solo coffee consumption and then it's a mad dash to get everyone up and out the door. When I come home it's still only 8 am and that's a lot of hours where a person who doesn't quite know what to do with themselves can still drink coffee. I wonder if part of my problem of not being able to get focused has anything to do with being over-caffeinated?

With that said, I thought I'd look up some yummy fall-inspired drinks, something a little more special with caffeine and go for quality over quantity. Or just go caffeine-free with a fancy hot chocolate or smoothie. I also added a couple spiked drinks to my list too because, don't get me wrong when I say this, but I really think I need to "drink" a little more. In fact I never drink. I have become a complete teetotaler. I love red wine (pinot noir to be exact) but I just don't feel like drinking every night so I usually end up waisting half full bottles. But, you know, I think a little nightcap can actually be good for you. And I truly think sitting down with a drink a couple times a week would do me well, especially with such delicious and pretty cocktails. So I might make a pit stop at the liquor store later today too. 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I am not quite sure how to open this post, but I suppose saying so is one way to open it. My absence here (and elsewhere) over the last week is because I have been in a bubble of sadness. One I just had to allow myself to step into fully for a bit. I found out a little over a week ago now that someone I loved very, very dearly passed away from an overdose. Unfortunately, I have had to say goodbye to many people I loved deeply in recent years. Some of them have been really difficult for me because it seemed they went before their time. Other's were easier because I knew they lived such a long and full life, or one could reason that death released them from pain. This one has been one of the most difficult. 

Posts of this nature are always a bit awkward for me. There is an abrupt change in direction, tone, and subject. But that is also true to life. Sometimes there isn't a bridge or a smooth transition from one thing to the next. There is also always the question of what to share and what not to share on a blog. Stories that don't feel entirely like mine to share I generally try to omit or keep to a minimum. But I also feel like this blog is a true reflection of me - of who I am today and who I am today is compiled of all of my days and experiences. And, well, these things are apart of our lives too - the not so pretty things. Realities. Like death and drug addiction and sadness and grief and heartache and struggles that come in various forms for various reasons. And beyond all of that it simply feels wrong to move on to posting about houses, or products, or pictures of falling leaves and pumpkins without pausing for a moment to honor someone I loved so much. Without making a space here as well, where I invest so much time and energy, where I have built friendships and a community I hold dear, to take a moment to say - this person was apart of me too and the world around me has felt a bit more dim knowing she is no longer in it. 

My cousin, who was much more like a niece to me, passed away on her 23rd birthday. She is the only baby I have seen come into the world. Even with my own babies my eyes were always squeezed tight in that final moment. I was only 15 years old, with no idea of what I was getting into by seeing a birth, and truly there were moments where I was thinking maybe I should wait in the hall. But the moment she was born was the first time I feel in love. It was on a crisp October morning, the world seemed to hush and stand still for her arrival. She was pink and perfect - she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. For years from that moment on she and I were joined at the hip. I loved that girl beyond measure. She had huge deep brown eyes, she tucked her chin into her neck when she laughed and, that laugh, it came straight from her belly. It wasn't just a sound, but a feeling of warmth and joy and it made the air around you feel more alive. She had soft brown skin and chestnut hair, she was quick with a hug and an 'i love you.' She was kind and funny and snuggly. Beautiful inside and out. It's difficult lose someone you love. And this was true for her as well after losing her mother at 15 years old. It has been so difficult knowing I was there on the day she came into this world and somehow she escaped as quietly as she came into it on the very same day. And so far before her time. Or so it seems. 

It is at these times that I think of the saying without darkness one cannot know light. Living through loss and grief, or any struggles at all, if nothing else can be a wonderful reminder of what is important in life. And through the sharpness of grief the beauty of the world also emerges in a sharper focus as well to find gratitude for what we have - the moments of wonder, all the simple joys, the love we feel for and by others, and all the beauty that fill our worlds. 

Photo Diary | Mt. St. Helens 1 |

Monday, October 13, 2014

The three day weekend was so lovely and needed around here. Friday we set off for Mt. Saint Helen's as I was hoping to and it was completely spellbinding. I don't even have words for it. It is simply awe inspiring. If you look one direction it looks like the northwest - trees and green and foliage everywhere, as far as the eye can see. But the path of volcano eruption looks like it belongs in an entirely different place. Maybe Africa or Arizona or the Badlands. 

I am old enough to remember when Mt. Saint Helen's erupted, though I was pretty little and in Idaho at the time, I still recall it well. I was so excited to see it snowing outside in the middle of a warm May day. But when my mom firmly pulled me back inside and pointed her finger for me to sit on the couch and not move while everyone geared up to go investigate by putting nylons on their face I kind of figured maybe it wasn't snow. This trip we went to the North side of the mountain where you can view the crater. I haven't been there since I was a kid but I remember how mesmerized I was by it and I thought my kids would like this area as well (also the north side is a great place to visit for everyone - it's easy for little ones and the main paths are paved so those who aren't able to hike can still get the full experience.). I was hoping to visit a few other spots that I went to the last time I was there, but I learned that from Portland you can really only visit one side of the mountain if you are making day trips. So now I have a reason to go back to see all the other places I missed this trip. 

I am feeling much, much better than last week but that cold really kicked my ass, and I have been crazy exhausted all weekend. I even slept in twice and took a nap and never do either of these things. I somewhere along the way adopted the "i'll sleep when i am dead" mentality which I am sure if you would have told teenage me would have happened I would have folded my arms and said 'never. i don't believe that.' So I gave in and listened to my body and spent most of the weekend laying on my couch. With that said I am going to have do at least one more post to share some more photos because I haven't gone through them all, and truthfully, I could spend all day looking at this mountain. How was your weekend? 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday! And a three day weekend for us. Happy happy. Joy joy. I haven't been this excited to sleep in a teeny tiny bit in years. Yesterday I woke up in a bit of a rage. And I honestly don't get very rage-y. Irritable sure (my inner voice generally tends to sound a lot like a mix between george carlin and melissa mccarthy's character in the heat), but angry not so much. However yesterday I felt some primal out-for-blood instincts running through my boiling veins. I am thinking getting out from these four walls and some fresh air will do me good and, with that, I think we are going to try to head up to St. Mt. Helen's today (if nothing else a volcano should dial me back a few notches). I am hoping I can spunk up enough for the trip. I was looking at some of my old photos recently and I realized it's been 12 years since I have been there. And as soon as I left that day 12 years ago I remember saying to myself "I can't believe I never come up here. I am totally going to come up here more often!" Obviously I used the terms "totally" and "more often" very loosely. But now that I know exactly how many years it's been and the fact that we are still enjoying beautiful weather (which is going to take a rainy turn here very soon) I feel determined to make the trip. If well enough, the rest of the weekend will probably be spent catching up and cleaning up to get next week started off right. Do you have any weekend plans? 

+ New in the shop! I love cacti and am always trying to buy cacti for both inside and outside. I wish I could have a whole desert wonderland, but unfortunately the climate in the northwest isn't quite right and my indoor plant skills are still subpar. With that I decided to create some cacti that even I can't kill - cushions. You can find them here and here

+ If there was ever a story about why you should never give up on your dreams it's this one right here

+ I love this photography series Forty Portraits in Forty Years.

+ I am pretty sure this video steered me off my war path yesterday. I am pretty sure it's impossible to watch this and feel anything but pure happiness and joy. 

+ #perception_collection is back and starting today! For more info on our 14-day photo-a-day instagram challenge go here

Wild Child

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Well I am still fighting this cold. But I *think* I may be at the end. Luckily I had gotten quite a bit done while my children were all sick so I have been able to, for the most part, idle my time away in relaxing and restful ways like watching movies and pretend shopping online. I have a real soft spot for animal clothing wear for kids and we seem to have a lot around here. But really I don't think you can have too much. We are all about wearing as much as possible, layering it and mixing and matching it (and by we, of course, I mean M+L). A couple weeks ago Ruth tweeted me a link to that panda sweatshirt (love) and then the other day I came across those tiger leggings (my heart is aching to get those tiger leggings for my Tiger), so I thought I would turn it all into a round-up of some of my favorite (gender neutral) animal wear picks for kids. I want to buy it all! (plus the deer version of the bunny pullover, and maybe the fox and sheep ones too). 

Perception Collection III

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

And we are back with round three of our 14-day instagram challenge #perception_collection! We will be starting this coming Friday the 10th. To join in just follow us: @plumedpdx and @laurenkeim, mention the prompt with the image and use the hashtag #perception_collection for each image you post for this challenge. Other than that, as ever, there are no hard and fast rules. If you want to join in as prompts speak to you, or challenge yourself to the full two weeks, we will love to see you join in anyway that works for you. It's also up to you to interpret the prompts however you wish - though we do like to throw in a few to challenge our photography skills and try techniques we may otherwise not use. For example, I never use my flash. Ever. So that's on the list. A couple others are: high key and fill the frame (click the links if you need more info on these). And be sure to check out what others are posting each day by clicking on the #perception_collection hashtag - there you can see all of the images from the challenge and hopefully find great new accounts to follow. So far we have had a really great community of engaged and supportive folks joining and we'd love to see you there too!

For more info you can visit lauren at still+life. For past challenge round-ups you can see here; here; here.

Photo Diary | Rooster Rock |

Monday, October 6, 2014

After being cooped up with my sick kids for the last week and half, and despite finally crossing the line of flu symptoms myself, Saturday morning I got us all into the car and headed down i-84 to Rooster rock. It's a place I drive by a lot but haven't stopped in years. It's where tourists stop for the sweeping views of the gorge, kids go on field trips and, for natives, if you've been here once you've been here 20 times, literally. But it is only about a 20 minute drive from my house and in my condition of breaking out in cold sweats and desperately shielding my eyes from the light it was about as far as I was willing to venture. So before things took a turn for the worse and I found myself cooped up for another week I just needed to get into some open air and take advantage of this this last burst of summer weather we are having here. 

I think one of the reasons people love (and move to) Portland is because of how easy and quick it is to get out of the city and into nature. And, of course, that makes it a place for the outdoor enthusiast. I never consider myself an "outdoor" person because if I am comparing myself to most people around here my lack of bicycle ownership alone immediately excludes me from that club. But I do love to be outside and I am so grateful that I can hop in my car and within minutes be surrounded by the beauty of nature. And, truly, you don't have to be sporty to enjoy nature in Portland at all. There are so many places to take an easy hike, or walk along the river, or find a beautiful lookout or park to sit on a bench with a cup of coffee and read a book. I've been thinking about taking a few mornings a month to set aside some solo time for such things while the kids are in school. It's so good for the soul. And while they also love the outdoors and I love being with them in the outdoors, I think it sounds so lovely to start making a habit of spending some time alone in the beautiful landscapes that are all around me - walking at a brisk pace or a meandering pace, taking photos, and where the only little voices I may hear will be the ones in my own head.  Do you have any routines where you take some time to just be with yourself?

In The Details

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I am not one who loves to spend a great deal of time in the kitchen, and while I'd like to have a bit of a larger and more accommodating kitchen space than I currently have, an amazing kitchen is not often what fills my daydreams. Though there is one fantasy kitchen I have had in my mind for years and years. One where I might find myself draped in a linen apron with a sifter in one hand and rolling pin in the other - that would be beautiful rustic french inspired kitchen. And this gorgeously remodeled kitchen belonging to Beth Kirby of Local Milk is so spot on, I have indeed been daydreaming about kitchens (this kitchen in particular) since I saw the feature over at Remodelista the other day. My favorite part of this kitchen is in all of the beautiful details. I love the rustic elements, from the reclaimed wood work, the marble counters, to the beautiful vintage utensils. I also love the cooper accents and that all of the upper shelving is open with everything beautifully displayed. You can see more photos (and also see the before photo and her awe inspiring stove) by visiting here

Photos: Beth Kirby
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