Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the perfect fall

It's officially beginning to look like fall in New England. There were signs of autumn all along my drive from Vermont to Connecticut last weekend, and just this morning I noticed leaves with bright orange tips in every direction. It still feels like summer given it's 100 degrees here, but I cannot wait to feel that first bit of crispness in the air and hear that first crunch under my footsteps. Fall is absolutely my favorite season...ahhh, just thinking about it elates me. I love everything about it: the colorful landscape, picking apples at the local orchard, the smell of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and brown sugar wafting around my house as I bake comforting baked goods, cozy sweaters and plush scarves hugging my body in the cool, dry air. It's the perfect season, and I wait all year for it to return.

It was no surprise that at the top of my list of things I missed while living in San Francisco was autumn in New England. I never felt quite right the whole time I was there, as if my body was constantly anticipating the changing of the seasons, which never came. It's interesting to me that we are internally programmed by our climate and location on the globe. But, it's no surprise to me because I absolutely crave the very climate that I often complain about; it's strange. I simply can't fathom how anyone living in an area without 4 seasons can feel that circle of completion I feel here in New England. There is a unique landscape, energy, set of emotions, and way of being associated with each season and I just don't feel complete without any of them.

To add to the pleasure of the autumn season this year, I have the privilege of getting married and I cannot wait. I'm so thrilled to experience this meaningful milestone nestled in the mountains of Vermont, vibrant colored trees surrounding us, and that perfect golden autumn light bouncing off our smiling faces. It's going to be perfect! And I'll be sure to write some posts about all the fall touches and artistic flair I'm bringing to the day, but not until after October 16th because I don't want to spoil to surprises for all my guests!

Friday, August 27, 2010

take me away to yaddo

Water Lily at Yaddo

On a recent visit to my sister-in-law's house in Saratoga Springs, NY, I had the overwhelming pleasure of being introduced to Yaddo. Yaddo is a 400 acre retreat (mansion, gardens and far stretching grounds) founded in 1900, where artists of all sorts come to live in a supportive environment and enjoy uninterrupted time and space to create. Some famous past residents of Yaddo include: Milton Avery, James Baldwin, Leonard Bernstein, Truman Capote, Aaron Copland, Langston Hughes, Ted Hughes, Alfred Kazin, Ulysses Kay, Jacob Lawrence, Sylvia Plath, and Virgil Thomson.

The Trask family bequeathed this home to future artists, having lost all four of their heirs. They envisioned the lawns being roamed by artistic talents from all walks of life simply "creating, creating, creating." I have to say this vision is undeniably beautiful and speaks to me in an inexplicable way. For all my life I have wandered the earth collecting places to add to my list of inspiring environments to create in. I am deeply drawn to and intensely feel the creative power and stimulating yet supportive energy that dances around certain coordinates. So I certainly believe what people say when they talk about the land on which Yaddo stands having mystical creative power.

I have gone on many retreats in my life to allow my artistic juices to climax to a truly potent level, whether this has been far away in the Berkshires, down the street sitting by a river in an empty forest, or in the confines of my own home with all the doors locked and electronic devices turned off for an entire weekend. So, naturally, places like Yaddo appeal to me.

I don't anticipate a time when I won't need to turn off the world and tap into my connection to something larger....to create. Magically, I am set to wed a man who is a passionate writer and musician so I feel certain that we will carve out a life that supports our efforts to cultivate these spaces of creation. Hopefully we will move to a place very soon that fills us with the liveliness and inspiration to fully realize our artistic dreams.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

magical waterfalls

I'm not entirely sure why, but happening across a magical waterfall invokes such a feeling of awe and aesthetic pleasure for me, as if those droplets have dropped right down from the heavens. So when I discovered the many waterfalls of New York states's Finger Lakes region...well, I was one blissful little girl. I spent a day hiking in Watkins Glen State Park with my constant companion, Alex and we felt as if we'd been dropped in a rainforest or miraculously walked ourselves onto a different continent. I just couldn't get over the never-ending beauty I found tucked away in New York state. There is so much to discover....and so much to photograph.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

i heart vermont

I just got back from a few days in the lovely state of Vermont. I was there finalizing my wedding plans with my fiance Alex, and I have to say that I fall more in love with the Green Mountain state every time I visit. I've been going there my whole life, but it hasn't been until recently that I developed a strong attachment to it.

There are a few places in the United States that really grab me, pull me in and make me feel like I'm home....and it's no coincidence that these places all have the same basic landscape and offer the same values and opportunities that I look for in the places I like to spend time. So far on my list are Burlington, Vermont; Boulder/Denver, Colorado; the Berkshires and upstate New York (Adirondack country). I am fairly certain that my soul, for whatever reason, is meant to live and flourish in a place of natural beauty. I feel most like myself and most motivated about life when I am surrounded by mountains, coniferous trees as far as the eye can see, lakes, rivers and creeks at my disposal....and friendly, down-to-earth people who enjoy the outdoors as much as I do. There are also a few other things, such as a health conscious and natural living type scene that I'm drawn to, that make or break a place for me.

I guess the pictures I've posted here don't really paint the picture of Vermont I'm talking about, but I was absolutely in love with this farm and it's bright green rolling hills and rustic fences! Simple locations like this fit me so well in an inexplicable kind of way. So, naturally, I decided to have some of my wedding photographs taken on this very hill. Stay tuned for those!

In the meantime, I'm weighing my options quite heavily (with Alex) right now as we plan to move to one of these locations at the beginning of next summer. We've both made many big moves in our lifetime, but this one feels so different now that we're not carefree, wandering youth anymore. But, it's just as exciting as it is scary...where will we go???

Thursday, August 19, 2010

a lovely collection of etsy treasuries

After all the attention I got from the treasury inspired by Pixar's UP, I decided to dedicate a few more entries to some of the other amazing treasuries I've been included in in the past. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner, but better late than never to acknowledge these collections. I will be posting these in several different entries given the number of them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

i write with light

Photography literally means "to write with light." "Photo" means "light" and "graphy" means "write." This is technically what transpires as you open and close your shutter, sucking light into or out of every corner of your image.

In the case of Lola Rain and Cupcake play with sparklers, we were writing with light on both sides of the camera lens. We had originally planned something very simple for this shoot, but once we lit up those sparklers there was just no stopping us (we're talking close to 2 hours). I so love anything in life that causes you to stop everything and just PLAY. I would never want to live without my sacred quality of playfulness.

Monday, August 16, 2010

etsy treasury inspired by pixar's UP

I am honored each and every time my work is included in a treasury on Etsy, but this one particular treasury has gotten so much attention and proved pretty popular. It already has over 10,000 hits after just a few days. Wow! It was inspired by Pixar's movie UP, which I admit I haven't seen, but given the craze over this theme I think I'm going to have to add it to my Netflix.

Thank you to Little Toad for including my VW Van print. You can find more of my work for sale in my Etsy shop at: www.lolarain.etsy.com

This treasury was also featured on Night Owl Crafts Work.

And you can find the other lovely items included in the treasury by visiting the following shops:


Sunday, August 15, 2010

good friends

To somewhat continue my last post about the power of women, I have to say the power of their bonds to one another is intense. I was inspired to write this entry after reading my beautiful friend Hannah's blog about our weekend in NYC celebrating my upcoming nuptials. It was the absolute perfect way to celebrate both the new commitment I share with my soon-to-be husband and the bonds (my girls) that have carried me through the years until I met him.

At any rate, I've been feeling so incredibly lucky and appreciative (more so than usual that is) ever since last weekend. I was overpowered by the love and support, and amazing personalities I'm blessed to have in my life. From my amazing sister-in-law who drove down Friday to help with anything and everything needed to prepare for the parties, stayed up gossiping with me in bed deep into the night and who is always there with an understanding and gentle heart; to my generous friend Natalie who flew to the east coast all the way from San Francisco and baked cupcakes, decorated my apartment in flowers, helped with all the errands and acted as my stylist and hair dresser, not to mention her constant support via email; to my great friend Emily who has been there with me all the way, helping me find the perfect wedding dress, listening to me laugh, cry, vent or jump up and down with excitement throughout my engagement, and making sure my bachelorette party had just the right amount of raunchiness; to my dear childhood friend Hannah who has truly watched my life evolve, knows the struggles I've endured and conquered in order to get to this amazing place I stand today, whose friendship has stood the test of time beautifully healing itself after periods of difficulty....and who left her babies overnight for the first time to celebrate with me (wow!).

I felt like I had to write this down, to acknowledge these women (and I'm leaving out several more I could write about! love you all too!) and remind myself of how lucky I am. I would venture to say the bachelorette party was not your standard bachelorette party. Sure, there were raunchy penis straws and silly feather laden accessories for me to wear in public, but as my friend Hannah put it, it was really a women's retreat. It was so nourishing, intense and FUN to watch my friends get to know each other on a deep level so quickly and to also deepen my bonds with each of them in a way only women could understand. The candor and openness of this group was so unusually high.....and the topics discussed were so outrageous and quite honestly pretty steamy at times.

After this weekend I felt a solid foundation underneath me from this wonderful support system, and am looking forward to my future with my fiance Alex even more. It's amazing how a little break from reality, some perspective and a marathon venting/supporting/dish session with your girlfriends can reset things. I love you all and thank you!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

the power of woman

Men might have brute force on their side, but in my opinion, the power a woman possesses is something to truly marvel at. Sometimes we women don't even realize we have this immense power, but it's still there. That's the thing, even when we feel powerless or shy or far less aggressive than a man....the power is there. I think it's built into our anatomy somehow. We persuade, we influence, we mold and shape our environment, we are absolute creators in every respect. And let's face it....we can be scary as hell. It was no surprise to me that on this day in the park, I asked the lovely Cupcake to conjure up this essence of a woman and though she shyly remarked that she couldn't be that powerful and scary, those qualities seemed to just radiate from her anyway.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

homemade laundry soap

I guess it's no surprise that an artist might enjoy making just about anything herself. The act of creation in general makes me feel more connected to life rather than living on auto pilot. In that regard, I thoroughly enjoy repurposing old or unused items in my house and making things from scratch. Not only does this save big money, but it is an eco good deed and I am quite committed to respecting the earth in every way possible.

One expensive item that can easily be made yourself, and at a huge fraction of the store bought cost, is laundry detergent. You can make both liquid and powdered versions, but I currently enjoy the powdered version as it is a less involved process to make it and it also packs up nicely for storage. You can store it in a small tupperware or jar. I naturally like to keep mine in an old container that most people would've tossed in the recycling bin after using its contents.

So, here is my recipe for laundry detergent:

Use a grater to grate 1 cup of a biodegradable, vegetable based (castille) bar soap (I like Dr. Bronner's or Mrs. Meyers).

Mix 1 cup grated soap with
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax

Use 1 tbsp for light loads; 2 tbsp for heavy loads