We spent some time in California a couple of weeks ago, visiting with Matt's brother and his wife, and our new nephew(!) who live in Ojai. On Easter Sunday, we drove up to Santa Barbara for a few hours. It was sunshiney and breezy and cool, and the salty air never smelled so good. There is something special about that place, and it earned a place on our "to return" list when we will make time to get to know it better. In the meantime, just a few snaps to hold onto.
over the winter, i had the true pleasure of visiting the home studio of siri knutson, a talented local artist and designer. i first encountered siri's art at the foundry, a favorite little shop of mine in minneapolis. her abstract pieces made of faux gold leaf quickly caught my eye, and i was thrilled when she agreed to be a part of my minnesota makers series. she has made a studio space in her home, which is minimalistic and bright, and filled with simple, personal elements. although it appears as though each piece in her space was chosen with intention, the collection comes together with seemingly no effort at all. she keeps an inspiration wall that brims with old photographs and postcards, and her own artwork from various points in her past.
siri also works as an interior designer, and i couldn't help but take a few photos of her home while i was there. her bright, authentic spirit manages to shine through in every corner. (it's amazing how that happens, isn't it?) in this time of pinterest, social media, and general overstimulation, i felt so refreshed after talking with siri and spending time in her space. she has created a home that is a natural respite, and perhaps most importantly, has stayed true to herself while doing so.
you can see more of siri's work on her website.
wind & willow home is a company i was familiar with even before moving to minnesota. when i realized that they were based locally, i knew i would have to add them to my minnesota makers series. i had the loveliest time with araya, (and her daughter avery, who was home from school on a particularly bitter day) chatting about how she got started, and what it means to be a small business owner. araya is a kitchen and bath designer by trade, and a creative at heart. she began a few years ago with her colorful rubber dipped wooden spoons, and quickly saw lots of interest in her products. she expanded to add a full line of wooden bowls, serving boards, and planters. the saturated color is a beautiful contrast to the natural wood, and provides function, too-- the soft rubber on the spoon handles is easy on hands, and the rubber-bottomed bowls provide a slight surface grip. araya works in her beautiful home studio, dipping the items by hand, and sells them in her online shop.
i had the opportunity to shoot the beautiful truce minneapolis, a bright and airy gem of a corner juice bar. the crisp, white space has a bit of a playful vibe, and creates the perfect backdrop for the colorful juices. i'm quickly learning that these long minnesota winters call for finding respite in the everyday through simple luxuries, like hot yoga or fresh pressed, nutrient packed juice. i am inspired by owners blaire and allie for putting their idea into reality in such a beautiful way. i love that they've given snowy minneapolis a bit of west coast flavor.
i am always aiming to improve my technique when it comes to styling... it does not come as naturally for me as i'd like to admit. back in december, i picked up some blooms at a local florist and spent some time styling and shooting on black. i love the way the tones are muted, and the images have a serene, but moody, feel to them.
happy new year! the holiday season came and went in a flurry, as predicted. i did, however, do my best to soak up the moments. an early morning cup of coffee by the twinkling tree, christmas music and lit candles warming the room on numerous cold december afternoons, bustling to and from family gatherings and parties with friends, long afternoons reading by the fireplace as the snow fell and the daylight hours fleeted. 2013 was a year of change and transition for us. matt and i made the big decision to sell our house and move to a new city. in a way, it feels like we've been in minneapolis much longer than we actually have. we've met lots of wonderful people, dined at some fantastic restaurants, spent lots of time by the lakes, and are currently being forced to experience bitter, bitter cold. we gained clarity, both as individuals and as a couple, and embarked on new careers.
i am thrilled about the clean slate that 2014 brings. i have big goals, both personally and for my career in photography. we are also hoping to find a new home downtown. it will most likely look very different from our little 1940s cottage, but the possibility of living in an industrial loft in the city gets us pretty excited. while last year felt like the year of transition and laying groundwork, 2014 holds the promise of lots of growth and development... and that in itself is reason to celebrate. whether you're new here, or have been reading for years, thank you for your support. i think this year is going to be a good one.
(photo from a floral still life study-- more in this series to come).
i hope you all out there are savoring the season. we've been having subzero temps here in minnesota, and right now, i don't mind a bit. any excuse to stay inside by the christmas tree is fine with me. i can almost see the -20° windchill outside, sparkly grains of snow blowing around like dust.
i recently mixed up some "grown up" christmas cookies. i had erin's post from last year filed away, and it proved to be just right. i'd recommend choosing your favorite chocolate cookie recipe (this one has great reviews), omit any add-ins, dip in melted chocolate, and garnish. chocolate cookies are usually too rich for me, but i loved the brightened flavor with sea salt (always my favorite), rosemary, and orange zest. perfectly seasonal.
rest assured, plenty of batches of chocolate chip have been baked, and last night we made chocolate peanut butter. some traditions are just too good to mess with.
wishing you blankets and scarves and many cups of tea. until next time.
i was first introduced to itasca leathergoods at arrow boutique in minneapolis. i was intrigued by the updated classic moccasin, and loved the idea of a soft sole, that, as the shop gals informed me, could be worn outside. a stylish shoe that felt like a slipper? what could be better?!
i recently visited the factory in lake george, minnesota-- which boasts the "smallest post office in the world". for the last leg of my drive, i was the only car for miles.
itasca produces leather footwear, home goods, handbags and accessories, and every piece is designed and hand made right there in northern minnesota. this is just the kind of thing that gets me so excited… businesses that are directly supporting the local community as they grow. i was surprised to learn that minnetonka moccasins are machine sewn in china and the dominican republic, which explains the different price points between the two brands. i feel much better about making an investment in a pair of shoes from a company that values local production and honest craftsmanship. and, you can completely customize your pair of shoes, including sending along a foot tracing to get the perfect fit. this was exciting for me, because i really loved some of the mens styles! a big thank you to paul and the itasca team for so warmly welcoming me. it was a pleasure to spend some time in lake george, and i hope to do some part in spreading the word about this great brand.
adapted from this epicurious recipe. it feels like a special weekend dish, but can be fairly quickly put together for an easy weeknight meal. i omitted the first bit of butter, and subbed shallots and pancetta, sautéing them together with the fat from the pancetta. top with cracked pepper and additional parm.