Tiny dreams

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I always thought that being pregnant would be a 24/7 surreal voyage; that I would be constantly aware of what condition I was in and that would become my whole life. I’m actually relieved to find that’s not really the case at all. I mean, I know I’m pregnant, but I also still have a job, and hobbies, and the last semblance of a social life to maintain. My life’s not over yet.

I heard Simon Pegg describe his rising star as being lowered into a hot bath. If you let yourself in gently, slowly, you gradually become acclimated. That’s kind of like pregnancy too. If suddenly one day you woke up and you were 9 months pregnant that would be jarring. This feels like an especially slow time. In my adult life, where I’m constantly seeing the weeks flip past at a neck break speed, NOW, things can’t come quick enough. It’s like being a kid again. The first trimester felt glacial. For the few weeks in there I had round-the-clock nausea and I just thought “this is my life forever now.”

That there is a baby inside me is still totally abstract. Not even just a baby, but like, a person. A little person that will have a life and thoughts and a personality. Sometimes I get a little too ahead of myself and think “What if they have a hard time getting a job after college?” We don’t even know the sex yet. If it’s a girl, is she going to be super girly and want princesses on everything? Or will she be like I was/am, and be a sports-playing tomboy? If it’s a boy, are he going to be into cars or maybe he’ll be super into playing Magic with his dad.

Some stray hopes I have for this baby.

They get to live a happy and healthy life. Alan and I are so unbelievably lucky to already have much of our shit sorted out. We have a house that we are easily able to make the payments on. We get to go on trips, and can treat ourselves to nice things. As far as I can imagine, our kids will have so many opportunities available to them. I hope that they live fully and have good health and most of all I want them to be happy. As someone who has struggled with lifelong depression, this is my deepest hope.

They get along with the cat. Please. Please.

They love nature. This is important especially. Far too many people exist in this world.. Without really realizing what’s in it, and that it needs to be taken care of. The physical world that my child grows up in will look different than the one I grew up in, and we’ll be not even 30 years apart in age. The winters won’t be as snowy. The arrival of spring won’t be as sweet (especially with how erratic it has been this spring). As long as fall keeps remaining warmer and warmer into November, that won’t be the same. I want my kids to admire and respect nature, because, sorry little dudes, but we sort of messed this up for you, and now we need your help to make it right. Little climate scientists.

They don’t totally hate all the music I play for them. So crucial.

Already this little bub has changed me for the better, insomuch that I can actually get out of bed now as soon as I wake up, and I can make my coffee, and talk to Alan before he goes to work. I can be productive and focused, which is what I’ve always wanted. And I reflected this morning that at least for the next 10 years, this is probably my life now. Time to be the mom.

Golden Lights

MORNING0421-4Because of the strange, wonderful world of pregnancy I find myself in, my sleep schedule is very different than it once was. I crash by 10pm and nowadays I’m up by 7. But I actually love it. My whole entire life I’ve wanted to be a morning person. Wanted to get up and take my time, take in the quiet morning sounds. Make a pot of coffee and actually have time to drink all of it. Putter around, do some photo editing, do some blogging (like right now!).

It’s not even 8AM and I’ve already had kind of a productive day. Alan accidentally woke up a whole hour earlier than me meant to, so I sort of woke up around 6. He also used the last of the milk, so I had to busy myself while I waited for the co op to open to do a store run. A nice advantage of getting up early is being able to see the sunrise. It was coming in all beautiful and golden this morning so I took the camera out around the yard. Spring really is the best. MORNING0421-2MORNING0421-6MORNING0421-7MORNING0421-3The Hydrangeas are still dead from last season. Soon they’ll come in all full and whiteMORNING0421-1MORNING0421-11After photos I went to the co op for provisions, after having tidied the kitchen, and realized that I am exactly a yuppie mom now. MORNING0421-5MORNING0421-9 I’m glad I got to see a little sunshine this morning, as it has since all turned to gray. I don’t mind it so much, gloomy-but-warm spring weather is some of my favorite stuff, and we could really use more rain. Wanna see my creeks nice and full!

Backcountry Bookshelf: Cabin Porn

CABINPORN-2Welcome back to Backcountry Bookshelf, where we look at beautiful books that would be welcome in any outdoor lover’s home, rustic cabin, lakeside bungalow, or wherever! This week features the eponymous first book from aptly-named blog Cabin PornCABINPORN-4I don’t even remember how I first found Cabin Porn, it was so long ago. But it was relevant to my interests: pretty pictures of remote cabins, sometimes very “rustic”, sometimes very glamorous. When they announced that a Cabin Porn book would be arriving in September 2015, I submitted my preorder 6 months in advance. The tome features more than 200 cabins, some with rich stories behind them. There are also features peripheral to cabin-dwelling, like making your own maple syrup. CABINPORN-5CABINPORN-6This is clearly a most lovingly crafted book. It’s also well designed, with the right balance between photo and text. A great book to curl up with on a gloomy day under some blankets, or sitting on a deck with a morning lake breeze. “Inspiration For Your Quiet Somewhere.” CABINPORN-8

Cabin Porn Book, $27



Dear Reader, I’m so excited to share with you that Alan and I are expecting a little baby!  I am 14 weeks along, or just into my second trimester, so our little baby bear will arrive in Mid-October.

This is what it was all for. The summer bender, the subsequent changes in diet and lifestyle, the exercise, the haste to get tattooed a bunch… Because I knew ‘the end’ was coming, and I’m so ready for a new beginning. We’re crazy excited.

It’s been SO HARD not to say anything about this publicly since we found out we were expecting (at 5 weeks). I can’t wait for the eventuality of this becoming 100% a baby blog (it won’t, I promise). But I have lots of thoughts and plans I hope to share with you all. Because, being pregnant is fundamentally strange, and the idea of suddenly having a tiny life to keep alive is surreal. I’ve also had a nursery mood board open on my laptop for literally 8 weeks that I need people to see.

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace I’m going thru

Marimekko for Target

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 10.04.43This Sunday (and probably only this Sunday, if Missoni was any indication) the Finnish fashion brand Marimekko, known for their poppy, abstract nordic patterns, is coming to Target! In a fun twist, all the items for sale are 100% geared towards summer, but with no shortage of their signature designs. I’ve been a big fan of Marimekko for a long time, but usually their stuff is *up there* in terms of price. I like when higher end fashion brands come jam with the average consumer. It’s a very egalitarian approach, and it doesn’t make them seem snooty. I went and picked out a few choice items. MARIMEKKO1 Kiss Kiss Bikini   2 Kubb in Appelsiini   3 Indoor/Outdoor Pillow in Appelsiini   4 Hurricane Lantern
5 Terry Cloth Cover up in Ministeri   6 Beach Towel in Koppelo 

If you’re unlike me and prefer a little more color, they have tons of it. All with a very 70s vibe, much like its Target-Partner predecessor Missoni. Makes me want to listen to ABBA.

The full lookbook is here. Best thing about this campaign, though, honestly? The plus-size models! Way to go, everybody.

Backpacking Ambitions: John Muir Trail

Happy Thursday! Somehow this week I went down the Thru-Hiking rabbit hole, and now all I can think about is taking a long backpacking trip. I’ve been sort of peripherally interested in long-distance backpacking trips since I read Simon Cook‘s ongoing blog recap of thru-hiking the Continental Divide Trail in 2009 (which, sadly, seems to be a now defunct blog). It seems like difficult goings, but ultimately super rewarding (if you  know what you’re doing). I don’t know if I’ll ever have six months to hike from Mexico to Canada, but Outside has done some features on shorter thru-hikes that don’t take half a year, and I’ve heard great things about the John Muir Trail. In Minnesota we have the Superior Hiking Trail which is also very good, but I’ve been on the North Shore plenty of times (and besides, I probably will hike it too). I want to go get into those Sierras. So I’ve officially added “Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail” to my Life List. Enjoy some photos from the sublime instagram feed of Simone Anne from her time on the JMT: cameras-simone-anne-john-muir-trailwhile-hiking-simone-anne-john-muir-trailmost-liked-photo-simone-anne-john-muir-trail

In the Trenches

TRENCHES2A couple years ago we had insane rainfall all spring and summer (including my wedding day, hey!). I didn’t have a rain jacket for ANY of it. When I did have one, I got one for cheap from Columbia, in bright white of all colors.. I had it with me one cold, early spring evening when I was hanging out on the patio at Grumpy’s NE… I never felt so uncool. So, I gave away that jacket in a clothes swap, but I can’t deny that living in Minnesota sort of necessitates needing rain gear, or at the very least, a good spring jacket; the ubiquitous Trench Coat. I’ve been on the hunt for a cool army green one, possibly to wear with stripes and sneakers. Here’s a few options for a few budgets.TRENCHES

Top: Lou & Grey Form Anorak. Lou & Grey is one of my favorite discoveries from the last year. They have such great basic wardrobe staples, and this jacket is no exception. Plus, it’s on sale right now!
ASOS TALL Pac a Trench. For the price, this seems like an extremely good buy. A very dressed down version of the classic army trench. Would probably look good with Docs.

Bottom: Woods You Be Mine? Jacket from ModCloth. This very much looks like something Liam Gallagher would’ve worn in the Oasis heyday, and probably still today.
Women’s Arcadia Casual Jacket from Columbia.  I will probably end up getting this. It has sensible weather protection but it doesn’t look like it’s made by an outdoor brand. When you can get form + function in a nifty package, I’m all about it.
Finally, H&M has a ton of great jackets but I particularly love this avocado green Rain Jacket. I like the androgynous boxy shape.

As a bonus, here are some cool boots for Spring/Wet Seasons:
Matte Chelsea Rain Boots (Seriously, these are SO STYLIN), Classic Hunter Wellingtons, and my personal choice for always, Doc Marten 1460s (just don’t forget the Wonder Balsam).

Walk in the Woods

CREEK-11The weather is still trying to decide if it’s spring yet. Lately I’ve been taking walks along Minnehaha Creek, which is not far from my house, and quite close to my parents’ house, so it’s always been there. I’ve begun to prefer creek walks, as opposed to lake walks. It’s a little more secluded and wild, especially when it’s blustery and freezing cold, like it has been these many weekends. I especially enjoy throwing on my beloved Skyrim soundtrack and feeling the cold wind on my face as I walk in near isolation. I love these cold walks but I definitely am ready for it to be spring. It’ll be in the 70s by the end of the week, which you’d think would do the trick, but it’s too abrupt. Where are my 55 degree days with mild balminess? The springtime of my childhood is now a myth. As is the Summer, Fall and Winter of my childhood.

Anyway, friends, I took a new buddy out for the first time on Saturday, the Canon 24-70 2.8. I’m pretty pleased with the quality, as this is a lens I’ve been wanting for some time, even before I got my fancy camera. CREEK-1CREEK-5CREEK-4CREEK-6CREEK-2CREEK-7CREEK-12CREEK-9This series is a little more restrained than when I went walkin’ last spring (now that was a fantastic spring evening). Funny story: when I got the Sigma 18-35 1.8, it hadn’t really occurred to me that just because the 1.8 stop was really cool, it didn’t mean I had to use it for everything. Especially landscapes. You really shoot yourself in the foot with that – case in point: my photos from the Appalachians. Luckily, I learned my lesson and I’m now an f-stop master.

Do You Guys Like TV?

rob-delaney-catastropheThe second season of the British-Irish-American(?) comedy Catastrophe FINALLY comes to Amazon today. I discovered this show last year while browsing Prime one lazy Saturday and I loved it so much I watched all 6 episodes in a sitting. It does such a terrific job of showing a not-quite-functional-but-grown-up-dynamic between two people in a relationship. It’s just a shame it’s so short a series. I’m going to try not to watch it all in one sitting again.

Other than that, I try to keep up with a bunch of shows and I think I generally do OK until I realize how many shows I’m not watching:

Vikings. It started so great and I love the 2nd season so much, but since then it’s slowly declined (I blame the introduction of the French Court; any court set seems to dramatically decrease the production value, but the moody, stark Nordic landscapes are so well done!). Alan and I agree right now this show does a bad job with keeping its main character interesting, and spending too much time on dumb bullshit. Hopefully it turns around. Thursdays, History

Game of Thrones. To be totally honest, I’ll probably keep watching this, but I’ve lost total interest in it, since they’ve veered so far away from the books. I don’t mean to be a book snob. I’m fine with the tv show taking liberties, but to me, certain characters have been ruined for good, and I don’t see how it can redeem itself. And I’m not talking about Jon Snow (if he’s REALLY dead though, that will fuck up lots of speculative canon, no?).Returning April 24, Sundays, HBO

Veep. From the brilliant mind of British Satirist Armando Iannucci (who has a longstanding business relationship with my favorite comedian of all time, Stewart Lee), this show is comedy ensemble acting at its finest, with Matt Walsh as the true gem.Returning April 24, Sundays, HBO

Silicon Valley. This and Veep are a one-two punch on Sunday. A good way to cleanse myself of Game of Chairs. I think the second season was not as strong as the first, but I have high hopes for season 3. Returning April 24, Sundays, HBO

Better Call Saul. Truly the gem of prime cable television right now. I love the slow, deliberate pacing. It luxuriates in letting the story of how Jimmy McGill becomes Saul Goodman so nicely. And Bob Odenkirk is a-maz-ing. Mondays, AMCtumblr_nm25zx77Rt1qbd52ro2_r2_500

Archer. This is one of the smartest and funniest comedies on TV, period. Thursdays, FXX

The Walking Dead. I’ve never had such a complicated relationship with a TV show. Seasons 4 & 5 were weak in my mind. In spite of that, I watched the show while simultaneously resenting it for how much power it had over me (you can’t skip a week with shows like this – or Game of Thrones – not when the threat of spoilers is so heavy). This last season I finally felt like I loved it! Probably seems unpopular to say I’m still a fan of this show, especially after that finale. Unlike Game of Thrones, which is based on slightly more sophisticated source material, I stay invested in this show, and I honestly couldn’t say exactly why. The costumes, practical effects and production design are all better. I tend to like the characters more, at least on a human level (on paper [literally], GOT characters are a nuanced, complex bunch). Probably the real reason I keep coming back is the showrunners’ super manipulative – but effective – storytelling. Maybe it’s not even storytelling per se. Every episode tends to open with a hook, meanders for about 40 minutes, and ends with a cliffhanger. Once I write it out, that does sound pretty shitty. Ultimately it is good, chilling drama. The finale was pretty universally panned, but Alan have discussed it at length and both agreed that it was insanely tense and distressing, and despite the ambiguity of the ending, it was an awesome, dramatic way to end the season. To each their own I guess. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Returning October, Sundays, AMC

There are still so many shows I want to watch (The Americans, being one), but there’s so little time, especially when I just keep watching Arrested Development on Netflix… ✚

Creative Motivation

GI-221_1500x300-608x608Dear Reader, on this chilly Thursday, I’d love to know: What, if anything, inspires creativity in you? Because creating is my job, I need to constantly be inspired. Many days, I’m completely on auto-pilot. I’ll throw something on Netflix while I make banner ads at work. Other days, I’ll try and fail to read a complete news article several times. Some days I’m just stuck.

But there are lucky days when I oooooze creative energy. I’ll know just the music to get me in the zone, or I’ll have spent my morning looking at my fav photographer’s work. Sometimes I like to hop onto some different subreddits or twitter to see what other creatives are doing. Getting in touch with a community like that makes you feel a part of something. It’s a lot less isolating? So I’m curious, what kind of stuff gets you in the mood to get those creative juices flowing? For me, a few are:

TychoTycho-Spectre-SC-Visual-TrackSince Tycho is a graphic designer himself, I feel maybe doubly connected to his music. It’s very vibe-y, hazy and not so jarring that I can’t zone out to it. I’ve said before on this blog, but I think extra design goes into Tycho’s sounds. I really feel like he knows how to create atmosphere and mood and evoke lust and longing in a person. I dig his whole brand.

Circa1983 DSC_6169_oCirca1983 is Owen Perry, a British Columbia-based developer/designer who, like me, taught himself how to become a photographer, and has a unique style of processing. His work very much got me more interested in learning about acquiring good gear and go with my gut when editing photos.

SKYRIMDZX6UbEYES, OF COURSE I’M SERIOUS. I would say Skyrim doesn’t just inspire me to create, but it inspires me to be the best version of myself. I listen to the soundtrack, on average, 12 times a month. It’s good for all times of day and all manner of weather. It’s great for taking walks in the woods, along creeks, around lakes, etc. It makes me want to be brave, tough, adventurous and curious. To explore new places and be humble in grand, epic environments. My love for Skyrim is deadly serious.

For other times when I’m searching for a visual jolt to get me going, I have no shortage of inspiration on my Pinterest page. Boards like Design, Outside, and Cabin keep me energized. ✚