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

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

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.