Whale of a Time

Kia Ora from beautiful Kaikoura in the South Island of New Zealand! It’s just unreal here. The little apartment we’re staying in looks out over the Kaikoura mountain range and the South Pacific Ocean. Today we saw the sunrise and then went on a whale watching excursion where we saw three (3) sperm whales, some sea kitties (seals) and a whole mess of dolphins. Our sleep schedule is a bit wonky; we count ourselves lucky if we make it to 9 o’ clock. But at least we’re not snoozing through the mornings. Right now Alan is bugging me about walking into town to get some lunch, so I’ll be off. Enjoy a few photos from our trip so far (taken with my canon, edited with my phone, where I’m writing this). 

New Zealand Bound

NZBOUNDWe’re going on a trip, so the blog will be -even more- quiet for a couple weeks. Since our lives are about to change dramatically, this is a big last hurrah, plus it coincides with our anniversary. We’re planning on seeing much of both islands (DRIVING on the other side of the road), eating lots of fish and seeing some mountains. Hell yeah.

It’s the tail end of autumn in New Zealand right now, and especially the further south we go, the rainier and colder it’ll be. Didn’t think super hard about that while planning it, but we’ll take it in stride. Arya and our house will be in the care of my sister in the meantime.

We’ll bring you all back some wool, and a 1000+ photo posts afterwards.

Cool Botanicals

botanicals_titleI have certainly been very lazy with blogging lately! I have good reasons though: I have a full time job, PLUS I am doing an immense freelance project on the side, PLUS I am gearing up for an epic two week international adventure taking place at the end of this month. PLUS I’m just tired from being pregnant and I don’t know what to write about. Stuff gets in the way, you know? Luckily, I had this post in the wings and because I can’t stand the thought of going two blog-less weeks, I thought I’d finally share it with you all today.

I find myself helplessly drawn to everything green these days. Maybe it’s the arrival of spring, which has been rainy here in Minneapolis. Everything is so lush and verdant!  Though it has been chilly since Monday. No bueno for May, the best month of the year, IMO. The weather should be perfect IMO. Anyway. I love botanical prints. They always seem to have a vintage feel while being at the same time fresh and warm. With summer just over that horizon, let us look at some beautiful ways to embrace the green:


CW from Top Left: Swimsuit / Vintage Poster / Phone Case / Tattoo / Watch

Tiny dreams

afterlight (1)

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).