Golden Hour

Portrait of a Lady

vintage dress by Diane Freis

“If you look back in history of the women who are most memorable and most stylish, they were never the followers of fashion. They were the ones who were unique in their style, breakers of the rules. They were authentic, genuine, original. They were not following trends.” ~ Nina Garcia

With her perfect curls and effortless style Golden has always been able to make sequins and sparkle the must to every outfit. Golden is the owner and creative mind behind Paper Dazzle custom event stationary. If you have an event from wedding to graduation she’s a great source of creative energy to set your invitations apart. (She has done the invitations for my wedding and most recently my goddaughter’s quinceañera). A business owner, wife and mother of two wonderful boys it’s amazing how she does it all.

I wanted to do a photoshoot as a gift for my cousin Golden’s milestone birthday. Prepping for the day I looked for inspiration from photos by a few of my favorite photographers James Van Der Zee, Carl Van Vechten, and Seydou Keita. We found dresses in thrift stores but many options came from her very own stylish closet. She had dresses from the 60’s, African dresses it was almost overwhelming. We finally settled on a vintage lavender dress by Diane Freis and an African dress that was so beautiful against her skin almost capturing the sun.

What is your perfect day? My favorite day would involve rain, masala chai and a reason to wear something pretty/sparklier than the sparkly things I wear daily. I love Fridays because I like the anticipation of the weekend.

What is it that you do? I’m a graphic designer. My specialty is event stationery, particularly weddings, but I’ve been doing more digital corporate work recently. I’m also a mom, so I’m constantly feeding my children and teaching them how to be good humans. 

Why did you choose this profession? It kind of chose me! One of my first memories of college was meeting with someone about my work-study job. I was slightly interested in psychology, but hadn’t even taken a class yet. The counselor asked me what I was interested in doing and I told her, “I’ve never had an office job. I want to try filing and stuff.” and she goes, “You don’t want an office job. You’re gonna have to deal with huge piles of paper like this…” and she points to this huge stack of files on her desk! Then she wrote down this lady’s number and told me to call her. It was for the Student Activities Director. As her office assistant, I did small office tasks, hung flyers around the campus, and fell into designing the monthly campus events calendar. I faked my way through the software and eventually took a class to make sure I was doing it right. After a few more classes, I decided to I major in Graphics and minor in Studio Art. My graphics classes were in the Technology building, but the moment I stepped in the art building, it just felt right. 

What has motherhood taught you? Patience! I’m probably losing it over the years, though! I’m still practicing consistency. Now that I think about it, I realize that it could easily be the foundation of parental success! It applies to discipline, school work, scheduling, building trust. I think kids are most comfortable when you’re consistent. Consistency is what gets your voice nagging in their ears, even when you’re not physically there! 

What do you like about you? I like that I’m such an individual. I never got trendy clothes when I was younger, so I convinced myself that I wasn’t into name brands lol. I’ve loved thrift shopping since middle school, and that means I get all the unique things. All the gems. Sometimes, I shop in the kids’ department (because I’m cheap) and I laugh and show a random kid when we’re wearing the same thing. I’m 40 and I still wear glitter almost every day. At the same time, I know how to use power tools and like the satisfaction of dirty work. I also like that when I explore things that I enjoy (like baking, styling hair and random crafts) they tend to turn out well.

In the current climate how to you find your calm? I don’t immerse myself in it. These are upsetting times, but hanging on every dumb word I hear only fuels my personal fire. And the way my sanity is set up… I don’t have room for that in my life. I know that everything happens for a reason and that God always works things out for the good. Our society is in a transition, and change is hard! 

So growing up I never realized how great of an artistic vision you have, Who inspires you? I didn’t either! From 4th grade on, my classmates often told me that I was creative; I didn’t know what they were talking about! I’m inspired by other artists. Kehinde Wiley amazes me, and I see strength in Frida Kahlo. I’m just as inspired by local artists and random ones I find on Instagram because they are just out here feeding their passion and expressing themselves. Many of us don’t make the time or are brave enough to put our stuff out there. That keeps me in awe of art, in general.

Motherhood is… love

Art is… passion

Happiness is… love

Women are… love lol Second choice: Strength. We’re like the world’s glue

Love is… patient

Marriage is… 100/100, not 50/50

Being a black woman is… empowering

Beauty is… a glow

Coffee to me is… meh. It’s a treat (with a ton of cream and sugar), but I don’t need it.

In five years I plan to be… happy

Fashion to me is… stirring

Images of a weekend

In the MARKET for a party

The summer warmth made it so easy for a quick midnight stroll through Pike Place Market. Seeing Seattle this late at night was a first for my daughter, we decided to make an adventure of it.

Before our late night adventure we made our way downtown to a surprise birthday party for my cousin Golden. Not only was it her birthday weekend but also our cousin Chey was celebrating hers. It has become somewhat of a tradition in celebrating them together as they are a day apart. With my camera in hand I attempted to capture many moments and do an impromptu photoshoot.

E and Jay
beauty of a tattoo against the vintage glam
birthday ladies
customized Jones soda

Friday Calm

Beach Rescued

It’s Friday! Where has the week gone?

Already in the swing of the afternoon time keeps whisking by and I am so behind on posting. Sorry I have missed sharing a few past weekends in images. It has been a goal to be more current and present although who can tell, right? As they say better late than never.

Well, life being so busy time escapes us I am seeing that more than ever. My attempt at being more spontaneous with early morning and even afternoon adventures has come to a brief pause as mi Viejo recovers from surgery (I shall spare you the details at this time). Current entertainment has been a lot of HGTV House Hunters International, movies (many we’ve already seen), board games and photo editing. Our not so little has become an excellent and attentive nurse to her papa making him smoothies and soups. She’s even helped me in keeping an eye out at his attempts being mister “do it himself.” But cabin fever aside we’ve been writing down some places to escape to once he’s feeling better. There are a few local towns I’ve been longing to revisit and a garden I’ve never seen.

Although life is busy I try to take a drive by a lake or a river for the calm it provides. We need that now and then.

Happy Friday!

Diary of a Weekend

and few fascinating links

There aren’t enough days in the weekend. ~ Rod Schmidt

Our weekend started Friday night having a bar-b-que with a few of our neighbors. We brought out our grill, marinated shrimp, andouille sausage, chorizo and our neighbors brought more food from burgers to a few sides. We gathered for a few hours cracking jokes and sharing stores then the three of us headed inside for our Friday film night. After staying up late watching Captain Marvel and Always Be My Maybe we actually woke up naturally at 8 a.m. ready to prepare for our day with friends. By the way if you have not seen either I think they are a must see. I am a huge fan of Ali Wong and Randall Park and the hilarious surprise of Keanu Reeves, it was AMAZING!

Although we woke up perfect that did not last too long. I was several blocks away from our house before I realized I left my cell phone behind. So of course I had to turn around which was frustrating because we ordered two dozen tamales from this amazing spot in White Center and I was worried they would not hold the order if we were late. After trying to refrain from speeding and being too fast and too furious we made it only 15 minutes later that our expected time.

golden afternoon, Alki Beach

It was a beginning of summer party with our friends at their home just two blocks down from Alki beach. I miss living by the beach hearing the rolling water and waves reaching the shore. It was calming listening to the waves and even the smell of the seaside took any stress I felt earlier that day away.

Bremerton Ferry
Alki
Alki Beach Pub

We continued our weekend with friends meeting them at Round1 for bowling celebrating JB’s (son of our friend) 12th birthday. The kids did pretty well leaving the adults in the dust. I had never been to Round1 and did not know what to expect. It had karaoke and arcade games. It was a bit pricey. We bowled for several hours before letting the kids loose in the arcade while us parents hung around to discuss all the things our kids are doing and the people they currently are. Although sometimes we miss those toddler days it’s so wonderful to see them become these beautiful preteens, with attitude. Ha!

Round 1
watching tío strike
arcade
my Cuyana tote

Here are a few links I found interesting this weekend. Enjoy!

How to shoot better interior photography

Advice for composing mountain landscape photographs

The land where the internet ends


Diary of a Weekend

“It’s not that we spend five days looking forward to just two. It’s that most people do what they enjoy most on those two days. Imagine living a life where everyday are your Saturdays and Sundays. Make everyday your weekend. Make everyday a play-day…”⠀James A. Murphy

Saturday I was able to sleep in. By sleep in I mean I woke up at 8 a.m. It is one of my favourite things to be the first one up on the weekend especially when the sun is out. I started my morning with freshly made coffee and two episodes of the Starz original series The Spanish Princess. It is third in a series based on books by Philipa Gregory. Once everyone slowing followed we made our way out the door for some thrift shopping and car show. Our first stop is usually Value Village. At first glance through those magical doors I found a framed poster of the Café DuMonde in New Orleans. It was a must buy for the kitchen. I was excited to find sterling silver flatware. I have been over the years starting to collect silver flatware finding similar pieces to what my great-grandmother had.

At the car show if felt so much like a neighborhood block party. Old school music played, families out enjoying the sun stopping for flavored shaved ice and the many classic car owners taking the time to talk to the many admirers. There were a few that of course caught our eye. One being this 1964 Chevy Impala with etchings on the mirror to the door handles to around the lights. It was jewelry for the car. There were quite a few Impalas, one that still in its pristine original paint. You can tell the amount of care that goes into everyone. The car show sparked enthusiasm in my not so little I fear we may be in trouble. This may have lead to a new hobby for mi Viejo and our daughter.

We are now into our new week with the last few days of school coming up this weekend was I hope a glimpse to what the summer weather will be. Sunday was perfect bar-b-que weather, Father’s Day where the dads (father and son) showed one another how they grill. My not so little and I took a walk around the neighborhood stumbling on an open house that we brought my mother-in-law and grandmother back to. It was a nice five bedroom home with a pretty decent sized yard. Making our way back to the in-law’s to feast everything was grilled to perfection. Shrimp wrapped in maple brown sugar bacon, honey bbq chicken, corn, potatoes and steak. Lastly, copper river salmon that melted in your mouth. I think we’re going to put this feast on repeat. Looking forward to the summer days ahead for they’re anything like this past weekend.

’64 Chevy Impala
’66 Chevy BelAir

New Mexico of Mine

Land Of Enchantment

“When I got to New Mexico that was mine. As soon as I saw it that was my country. I’d never seen anything like it before, but it fitted to me exactly. It’s something that’s in the air–it’s different. The sky is different, the wind is different. I shouldn’t say too much about it because other people may be interested and I don’t want them interested.” ~ Georgia O’Keefe

Wide open spaces capture your attention sinking you into its vastness. One can feel so small but yet so large with life soaking in the fresh air. Not a soul for miles. Just you, the wind whispering the richness of this soil, the fresh hint of rain, gentle kisses from the sun. And in the evening the closeness of stars. I can only agree with her sentiment, New Mexico is different and not like anywhere you’ve seen before and it’s mine.

I fell in love with New Mexico nine years ago when I came with my husband and our daughter to his family’s ranch. Forty miles outside of Taos and a few miles before entering one of the oldest cities in Colorado, a recently paved road leads up toward the mountains to a humbling place called Amalia. His grandparents 14 1/2 acres leading up to a river and expanding toward the mountains is part of a land grant. There is not much to do here as you are forty miles from the nearest stop light and the “corner” store is at least 15 minutes down road. Family and friends stop by on their way to wherever they are going, a short visit turning into lunch then dinner. It is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. A place to recharge. Not a street lamp in sight, only the stars.

Amalia, New Mexico

Although with time comes changes this little area remains slightly untouched. There are still viejitas who live down dirt roads with minimal modern “luxuries” and/ or electricity cooking to perfection empanadas and tortillas on wood burning stoves that melt in your mouth you can’t wait to dip them in red or green chili. If you are looking for the best place to hunt antiques ask no one else. My favorite viejita is one of my husband’s cousin. She is a feisty hip-hop loving viejita in her mid 70s never leaving home without her hita (her 38 special) and she’s never to shy to share her opinion. Each visit we are to never leave empty handed.

Our first stop in Taos was  Michael’s Kitchen for their red chili. My breakfast of choice was a Christmas style Martin’s Breakfast Burrito made with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese, diced green chile and hash browns wrapped in a flour tortilla. The Christmas style comes into play in the way of the burrito being covered (or smothered) in both red and green chili sauce. Let me tell you 1. I had to split the burrito and 2. I made sure to get extra red chili. As a Seattlite we are big on our Starbucks coffee but Michael’s had excellent coffee. You can buy it here at their online shop

Adventures in Thrift Hunting

Thursday Thrift Adventures

There is something about bargain hunting that brings out joy amongst complete strangers. Frequenting my favorite hunting ground Value Village (where I have indeed been mistaken for an employee on numerous occasions by current employees) I almost always walk out with something that I’ve been thinking about. I guess it’s the saying when you put the thought into the universe you will be rewarded. Although they seem to come in small doses I am very thankful for these amazing ‘happenings.’

Rattan Charger

Back to what I was saying. The bargain “hunter gatherer” in us finds other bargain “hunter gatherers” and with a rush of excitement cheering them on their find. That very thing happened to me. I went to my favorite Value Village revisiting the same shelves for a new surprise. I was so thrilled to find the rattan serving tray I had been eyeing for a week was still there. Not only that a few day prior I had passed on a set of wicker charges to then be surprised with a few that I liked much more.

At the check out I shared my excitement about the serving tray to which the cashier shared in my joy. Exiting with my arms full a gentleman stopped to ask “did you find any bargains?” To which I replied’ “well I actually grabbed this tray I’d been eyeing for a week!” He in astonishment walked closer to say “you mean to tell me you’d been here for a week and it’s still been here?” “Yes!” I replied, “can you believe it?” He shared in my joy, gave me a side hug with praise at my finds and told me he was happy for my find.

I had also spotted this bowl and waited nearly two weeks before giving in.

So yes, I indeed walked out with my arms full but my heart was as well. This was not the first time I was met with that bargain enthusiasm and I am sure it will not be my last.

The Rattan Tray



Happy thrifting!

A HIDDEN TREASURE

Kubota Garden Series I: Winter

entrance

Nestled among homes in South Seattle there is a hidden gem. It is a welcomed surprise, a beautiful 20 acre Japanese Garden known to locals as Kubota Garden.

In 1927 Fujitaro Kubota, a self taught gardener, purchased five acres with a mission to show the beauty of the Northwest in the art of the Japanese garden.

In the garden you can find streams leading to waterfalls, rock formations, beautiful trees and many beautiful spots to have a romantic picnic.


The garden has been a favorite of photographers, weddings, picnic goers, and sunrise chasers. On a visit with my family we got glimpses of young lady getting her Quinceanera photos taken. I wish I’d taken photos of her beautiful white dress that was sparingly covered in pink flowers. But I didn’t want to disturb them. We also stumbled upon a first date among trees near this pond sitting on a green plaid blanket sharing hard cider.

My husband and I have visited a few times and for the first time we discovered the waterfall. Neither of us new it was here and was such a pleasant surprise to discover with our daughter leading the trail of followers we collected on our stroll. It is the perfect escape amongst the urban surroundings. I highly recommend a visit.