Let it fly in the breeze / And get caught in the trees

HAIR2Hair, amirite? I’ve had a pixie-ish haircut since July 2009. Before that, I had bland boring long-ish hair. Many of my most formative experiences I’ve had this hairstyle, more or less. And it’s worked well for me. Many people associate this hairstyle with me (which is a great compliment). I’ve worn it well I think. But back in May (May 31, to be exact. My anniversary), I realized that I hadn’t gotten a haircut in a long time (or if I had, it had only been a trim). I’d been thinking about growing it out. This hairstyle does have a lot of pitfalls for someone with extremely thin hair such as myself. It needs to be washed, like everyday, otherwise it’s stringy and has little kinks in it from sleeping. I hate this. I am not someone who loves to shower every day. My greatest wish is that I can wake up and immediately dress, and put my hair in a bun if it needs it. With my current hair that is not quite the case. In fact, with it growing out, it doesn’t have that problem as much these days. The longer hair makes it seem less greasy. Cool!HAIRI’m lucky that I have so much stupid fun with the camera on my computer, otherwise I wouldn’t have any other way to document the progress of my hair. In July I got a tiny trim on those little hairs in the back, and now they’ve grown out again. The weirdest part about this collage is how it shows how much gray I wear….

The thing that always kept me from growing out my hair though, besides it being a huge time commitment, is that in-between phase, which I’m experiencing right now. I’m trying to find different inspiration. HAIR-3The most ultimate inspiration though I’m taking lately is from Justine. Justine always. JUSTINEI can rock the “don’t care” long side bangs super well these days. It’s almost enough to keep the current length and go with that for a while. But I have high ambitions for the distant future:HAIR-4I shall be Norse beauty someday…. Someday….

If you have a short cut, and want it to be long: It gets better. The in-between phases are agony, but it grows out! Hair always grows out!

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INTERSTATE-34 INTERSTATE-6Alan and I joined some pals on Sunday afternoon for a hike at Interstate State Park. It’s called that because there is a Minnesota side AND a Wisconsin side and the St. Croix river flows between them. We visited the MN side. It was a temperate, overcast day. Read More

Fall Musik

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Hey, how was your weekend? Alan and I did some chill hangs with some friends, as well as some hiking. The weather has been pretty cool and gray since we got back from the cabin, which is perfect. As soon as we’re done with the cabin, I am done with summer. The transition has been going swimmingly. On the one hand, I feel weird talking about fall so soon, because it is August. But, kids are going back to school today, so I’m merely following the trends.

Anyway. I’ve been listening to a lot of the same kind of music lately, and it’s inspired in me a great vinyl buying spree. As I’ve talked about on here, I don’t have a lot of records, which I prefer, because I so rarely use the record player that it seems like a waste. Some albums though, I would like the option to play on wax. Many of them would be my go-to music for fall. Music that is a little sad, ethereal, somewhat folksy, and warm. Last fall I fell deeply in love with The War on Drugs’ album Lost in the Dream. I would listen to it mostly while taking late lunch breaks and walking through downtown Minneapolis while the sun started its descent. Those days were starkly lit and chilled. Same with Sharon Van Etten’s album Are We There. Two Autumns ago, I listened to Daughter’s If You Leave a lot, because I really wanted to love it. It must be an incredibly slow burner, because I picked it back up after a long time and have decided that it’s perfect music for these days. For brighter, sunnier fall days, Angel Olsen’s Burn Your Fire for No Witness hits the spotA few other albums I have played frequently in the fall months are The Horrors’ Skying, Rubber Soul (by the Beatles, did that need to be said?), Louder Than Bombs by the Smiths, and anything from The Cure’s early catalog (namely: Boys Don’t Cry, Faith, and Seventeen Seconds).

What’s your go-to music in the fall?

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*Full Disclaimer: I originally wanted to title this blog “The Vinyl Solution,” which I realize is sort of horrific and offensive, albeit totes clever (and kinda fitting for this post!). But… I figured I’d rather deliver an honest blog post about a very innocent topic and not have that resting on a Holocaust pun. Sorry.RECORDS-12

I’ve had this blank wall here in the living room, well, as long as we’ve had the house. Way, way back in early Spring, I purchased the Bon Iver Holocene 12″, because I’m super into that dreamy watercolor look. And I thought, wouldn’t that be a cool thing to frame? It’s like, Hipster Cottage Art. And I also found nice wooden record frames from Urban Outfitters – 2 for $20! (looks like they don’t sell them anymore). I hadn’t decided what the second album to frame would be until earlier this summer, when I was listening to a lot of Mac DeMarco. And I also dug the lo-fi, kind of summery analog look of Salad Days as well. RECORDS-13And I figured this was such a simple project that needed doing. So, I rolled up my sleeves, and asked Alan to mount these babies on the wall. I was in part motivated by the need to organize the overflow of records that I’d resorted to leaning against the credenza. It was kinda cool and casual at first, but I also just ordered like, 4 LPs recently and they’re comin’, and I need a place for them. Luckily, I was strolling through Target yesterday, and they had these milk crates for 15% off. Score!RECORDS-14RECORDS-15Now the majority of records are in the basket, and out of sight. My Bon Iver LP sitting pretty in the front. So quaint, so cozy. RECORDS-16Just a few little solutions to make this area feel a little more put together and deliberate.

Lights Will Guide You Home (New Zealand Part III)

Parts 1 & 2
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADon’t like the Coldplay reference? Tough. Ten years ago when I ventured to New Zealand for a 7 week “study” abroad program through AFS, I had my first iPod with me, loaded up with relatively few albums (compared to what I might be packing these days, though I pretty much exclusively stream… Anyway). I was listening to a lot of Keane, The Killers, the Garden State soundtrack, and Coldplay. 25 Coldplay tracks to be exact. A Rush of Blood to the Head and X&Y, which had just come out (and “Don’t Panic”, from the Garden State ST). I was young and had a romantic view on life, I was simply gushing with sentimentality, and treasured each little song from that album.  If I remember correctly, the album was not received too well by critics, and in hindsight, it’s a fairly bloated album (you can read about my history with Coldplay here), but it was the soundtrack to that trip. Despite it being sort of superficial, I took every song and every lyric completely to heart.

On August 19, 2005, I boarded a plane home from Auckland. I’d been reunited with all my friends from the Outdoor Pursuits Centre; we’d all just been doing homestays for 3 weeks and were incredibly excited to tell each other what we’d done. These weeks weren’t as action-packed, and were sort of lonely, but I stayed with a pretty well-off family, so my opportunities were plenty. I got to see a lot of New Zealand’s North Island, as well as do service hours at a primary school. I was an adult and a kid at the same time; the best kind of person to be! Let’s go. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirstly, the family I stayed with – The Oakleys – had a fairly huge plot of land with a really nice house. Heated floors, private outdoor pool, a hot tub, a trampoline (which I jumped on for a solid hour one afternoon, by myself, while listening to Coldplay’s “Speed of Sound” on repeat), a tennis court and a cow. I don’t know what the cow was for. They lived in the city of Hamilton, which is a really pleasantly small big city. Like a micro version of Minneapolis. It had culture, a city centre, shopping, but also was sprawled out and offered plenty of green spaces. Every house in our neighborhood was situated on farm-like land. Read More

Eyes to the Wind

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Part one is here 

Ah, lake country. Where in every small town, the liquor stores outnumber the grocery stores 3-1. Things I did besides take pictures last week at the cabin was play some volleyball, do a lot of floating, and take a couple bike rides with Alan. That’s kinda “our thing” at the cabin. It was difficult though because there was an unprecedented amount of humidity up north this year. What? Humidity in Minnesota? It happened! Typically the mornings are breezy and refreshing and the evenings have a slight nip in the air. But there was a ton of rain this year and so for a few days, we just had sweaty air. Notably, there was a giant storm on Wednesday night. This came after a full day of beautiful sunshine, warm air and wind all day. It was nice, it made the water choppy, volleyball a challenge, and pushed all clouds away. Then the wind stopped, allowing some really nice looking storm clouds to settle in as we were sitting down to dinner. CWC2015-89Instantly there was no visibility across the water anymore. It was just gray, and those trees were swaying pretty violently. CWC2015-90Then the resort’s power went out, and the rain stopped. We heard talk of trees down around the place, so we went to take a look. Read More

Cooking Up Something Good

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Oh, hi. I thought that instead of another cabin post, I would mix it up! I haven’t talked about house stuff in a long time. Generally things are trucking along in the ol’ Royce-Henderson household. One thing I’ve been restless about lately is the kitchen. It’s the one place in the house that isn’t totally how it should be. Whoever the previous owners were who dropped in that countertop and backsplash (and the fake stone linoleum tiles, not pictured), they did a really bad job. The cabinets are clearly original to the house, but they’re old and falling apart. I have brought up to Alan time and time again “When can we remodel the kitchen?” and the answer is usually “never.” But look how dark it is! Of course, the counter space is not something I would give up, but I can think of so many things I’d like to do to this room. KITCHEN-31KITCHEN-1I didn’t realize this until like, last night, but the half-assed solution with the tea towel covering the backsplash sure is cheap and tacky. Alan agreed that it was very dorm room. But replacing a backsplash is surely a ton of work, and expensive, and would put the kitchen out of commission for a while. I can’t have that. I love to cook. The kitchen is my domain (because I’m a woman HA HA HA). But conveniently Anna over at Door Sixteen had this post about Smart Tiles, which are temporary, easy to install, and fairly inexpensive. And they have them at Home Depot, so I’m pretty tempted to run out and get a panel and try it out. The thing is, we don’t know how long we’ll be in this house. If our plan for kids pans out, we’ll need to upgrade in the future. Within the next ten years is likely. So, do we put a lot of work and money into a kitchen we won’t be able to enjoy for many years to come? I suppose not. But, maybe there are subtle improvements (or, budget ones!) that can be done to make our time in this home more enjoyable (because, as I said, I love to cook, and I spend a LOT of time in the kitchen). KITCHEN-2Very sad. So dated. Wow. 76871dff33a98a9d82f76581eb57bfefHere is a very beautiful kitchen that I would like to take inspiration from. See also this clean and bright beauty, and another one (with exposed shelves!) Then of course there’s also Anna’s and Alison’s (who both did big, complete overhauls of their exisiting kitchens). And anything is possible with IKEA:20153_cosk27a_01_PH124154I gone and made a mood board to get all these thoughts out of my head. Fake kitchen planning is seriously stressful. ESPECIALLY when it’s fake, because so many of these good ideas will go to waste. KITCHENThe theme here is pretty evident: Scandinavian whites; warm, natural wood tones; stainless steel; cutesie details. I mean, not only is white a good clean color, but it allows for more light to bounce around. Let’s go through them (clockwise from top left)!

Wall Cabinets – I’m really into this new IKEA line, and Mårsta White seems very cool and modern, while also a little retro. I could see it in a Swedish kitchen in the late 60s-early 70s, and in any modern kitchen today (especially mine). I would redo all the cabinets in the kitchen in this style. And a high cabinet would come in handy as a little pantry and storage area for pots and pans.

Subway Tile – Because obviously!

Wooden Countertops – I quite like the look of these, thought I think they’re much more vulnerable than say, marble or granite (duh). I think little blemishes over time would give great character – you know, a kitchen that has been used well. The main worry would be meat product seeping into the counter, but I don’t put raw meat directly on the counter currently, so perhaps that doesn’t matter.

A Cute Sponge – Because it can’t all be so serious.

A Bear Tea Towel – Because BEARS

Utensil Carousel from JosephJoseph – Look, I’ll be straight with you. I already have too many utensils. I have a bunch I don’t use, sitting in a very lovely ceramic crock by the stove, plus a few bamboo utensils (that I actually do use), AND a little contraption – also by JosephJoseph – where the utensils stack up. It’s very clever, but oftentimes, annoying. It was a gift from my Mother-in-law, so I would feel guilty about replacing it, but this little carousel by JJ was in the MOMA store, sooooooo……..

Minimalist Wall Clock – For style.

Salt & Pepper Grinders – So very cool. I can check this one off, because I went and bought them last night. To be fair, our old pepper grinder broke and it would fall down all the time. These are just ever so lovely.

Ceramic Cooktop – Jury is still out on what kind of cookware I can use on this (I have a few Dansk enamel pots), but we have coils right now on our electric stove, and they’re fucking terrible. Just, so awful. I love the look of this super minimal and futuristic cooktop from IKEA. Like if Apple made stoves.

Kettle – Love that cork. We have a little green kettle right now that is fine, but I want something super sleek now. This is the problem with thinking you know how you want your house to look when you’re still in a phase where colorful = good.

And, the big one, a fridge – The fridge we have now is OK, but I would really really dig one with the freezer on the bottom, they just seem to have more storage and it’s easier too. Plus, Alan and I are both quite tall, and having everything in the fridge at eye level makes sense.

If you made it this far, congratulations! While there are still plenty of other things in our house that can be done (I haven’t even shown you guys the basement!), I will hold on to this kitchen dream, ever so gently. Also, if I price it out and it’s decent, there’s a chance I can convince Alan this is a worthwhile project. Woohoo!

Lake Seasons

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Well, cabin week has come and gone, which means that summer is almost over. Every other year, I’d be like, cool, let’s get AUTUMN up in here, like right now. But this summer has been uncharacteristically jam packed with awesome shit. Festivals, campings, cabins, jetset weekends. Neck breaking. Now comes the ease back into routine — which is nice. I’ll miss warm Fridays getting off work and jamming down the highway to some Mac DeMarco.

But, anyway: Cabin week. I’m going to be 100% straight with you. It’s hard to come to the cabin as an adult, when all your happiest memories as a child are wrapped up in the place. Everything else I did when I was young is firmly in the past, with no thought to try and recreate it. With the cabin, every year has a little cloud hanging over it. We *must* play volleyball, we *must* do saunas every night. If we don’t leave the cabin before noon, it’s a wasted day. Too much pressure to make this vacation count, even though every year when we come back, it’s like we never left. I sort of touched on this this last year too. But this is probably not all on the cabin. It’s in the changing environment probably; our cabin gets more full every year. It’s probably also linked to my inability to live in the moment. I seem to almost exclusively live in a fantastical future, or parallel, or the past. Because memories are so wonderful. I try to be better at this. When there is a Moment Happening, and I can recognize it, I stop everything and try to live fully in that moment. It might only last 15 seconds, but it’s like taking a mental snapshot. Now I have it with me.

Cabin roundup post is off to a great start. Let me switch gears here: I really tried to reduce the number of photos this year. I also wasn’t sure how I should approach the blogging. Because last year it was like 6 posts*. I could do it like I did 2 years ago, with a very (smartly) brief rundown with little glimpses and tastes, each photo telling its story succinctly, instead of piling 4 of the same kind-of photo. It’s hard when, every year, you become more and more skilled. This year I definitely don’t think I took as many photos, but I can say with certainly that I took more good photos. And with my awesome new gear, and Lightroom and VSCO set ups, I’m unstoppable. {One downside to my new camera set up is that I now have 4 lenses to switch between whereas before I was using one lens that covered almost the exact same range. That gets annoying when you don’t to carry around your bag with you the whole time. Nearly whole days went undocumented}.

Anyway. I’m going to try my best to keep it to 2 blog posts. I think it can be done. And I will keep the commentary to a minimum. Read More

#tbt New Zealand part ii


Part I is here
I’ve become lazy with blog post titles lately. Also, really lazy about these Throwback Thursday posts about New Zealand! I will do one today and then one at would be the end of the journey, in about 3 weeks. So, not every week, but that would be excessive anyway.

I was sitting in a restaurant last Friday night in New York, eating a really spicy, really expensive burger that I myself created, and this song came on. Which.. Even thinking about this song gives me goosebumps! At the Outdoor Pursuit Centre, we were this group of 18 teenagers, and on any given night (as long as we weren’t wiped out from the day’s activities) we’d have these dance parties in a little carpeted room, and Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger became our anthem. We played it our last night at OPC (July 22) and the next day we said goodbye to each other and it was one of the saddest days ever. Anyway. I’ve heard that song a few times here and there, but hearing it out of the blue, so very close to the actual 10 year anniversary I left OPC, I got chills. I texted a friend from those days, Leslie, who lives in New York, and I said we should get together. So we did! I saw him the next day, and he’s the first person I’ve seen from that group in 10 years, and neither of us could believe it! I guess what I’m trying to say, is that this is a trip that was utterly life changing, and is still affecting me in crazy ways today.

But, anyway. The photo up there I think was taken on a two-day backpacking trip we took from I dunno, somewhere (they drove us in a van) up to the tippy top of Mt. Ruapehu! Backpacking is hella hard, especially on volcanic ash for miles and miles. Plus at this point everybody had all but chosen the clique they were in. Teenagers. I recall we walked through a forest at one point, and it was completely this lush green color. Everything was colored in it. My camera was in my backpack and I couldn’t be bothered. I can’t imagine myself on a similar trip today. I’d need at least 3 lenses for this trip, and some sort of complicated rig that makes me look like a tool It was winter in New Zealand at the time, but it rarely snowed anywhere where I was. Once we got high enough I guess, that’s where it started. We had trekked to a little hut (they have these all over New Zealand, for hikers and stuff), had a fire, had food, played card games. Then a brave few of us decided we were really going to rough it that night. The coolest thing about that night, is that when we left the hut to go down to the tent, I looked up and was nearly knocked back because the sky was jam packed with stars. It was, and still is, the starriest night I’ve ever seen, and it was snowing! It was amazing. It was fucking cold ass camping though. Read More

NY, NY

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Oh hi! I took a little break from blogging this last week (mostly unintentional) so I could fly out to New York to visit my friend Anna who *just* got her Master’s Degree in “visual narrative” (I think that kind of speaks for itself?). She did a really really cool project (that I got to help a little on!). It’s been a while since I’d been to NY. It’s not Alan’s jam so this was a true first experience for me: A solo, self-funded trip. Which is NUTS considering I am 27 years old. But I didn’t have a lot of money before. I stayed with my friend Holly, who used to be my Art Director at vita.mn, in Queens (lots of traveling between there and Manhattan, but very cost-efficient). I arrived last Wednesday afternoon after a canceled flight from Chicago to NY got cancelled and I got rerouted through Charlotte, and heavily considered taking a long nap until night time, but opportunity and adventure pulled me out (I kinda wish I had slept!). But the plane rides first:NEWYORK-1I hoped to be in NY at around 11:30 AM so I left Minneapolis BALLS early. I saw the sunrise. It was beautiful. I also upgraded my seat to First Class for 50 bucks, because that’s what you do when you’re traveling by yourself and have a little money to burn. Vacation! Read More