Pleasant Photographs

Nothing shocking or thought provoking, just some good ol' fashioned photographs of the beach today. Who doesn't enjoy photos of the beach?


I'm not a huge Thanksgiving person. To be honest, I'm not a huge holiday person in general. I love my family though and I enjoy when we are all able to get together, because with the exception of major holidays and one annual family-sponsored golf tournament, it doesn't often happen. And that's just my family in Iowa. I don't get to see my Dad very often as he's way out west in California and I see my extended family--cousins and all, even less often than that.

This year, instead of spending the holiday close to home, I decided to fly out to California for a week.

And I'm so glad I did. I got to experience a whole new set of traditions that I had never been let in on before. The holiday started with my extended step-family and ended at my cousin's home.

Somehow at our first location, I ended up stuffed though I only ate a kale & pomegranate wild rice dish I made up and a slice (or two...and a half) of vegan pumpkin pie.

But my wonderful cousin, Mary, made vegan green bean casserole, fried brussel sprouts, and bought the mascot of vegan Thanksgiving mockery, a Tofurkey, for me to munch on.

If you have never seen a Tofurkey, be warned: they are not appetizing creatures. This was in fact, my first, though I couldn't tell you how many years it's been since I had actual turkey. My opinion of Tofurkey? It looks like a piece of sporting equipment and tastes like how I remember hot dogs tasting. Not that it's a bad thing, just not a convincing center piece when you've already eaten so much delicious food.

I didn't eat for two days after.

All-American Monday

Just a week ago, my Dad and I hopped into his project car, a 54 Chevy, and cruised along PCH before making our usual breakfast stop: Harbor House Cafe (well, usual for him as in he goes weekly, usual for me as in I go whenever I'm in town). I used to love Harbor House, it was seriously the culinary highlight of my trips out west. I'm not sure why, it's just an old diner that serves typical American fare but I always loved it. It might be their inclusion of avocado in almost everything on the menu.

But for this trip, I stuck with green tea (and a few stolen tomato slices and french fries from my Dad's plate).

This was our All-American Monday. With the exception of baseball, I'm not sure if there is anything more American than getting in a vintage car to drive along one of the greatest highways in the country for a breakfast at a beach-side diner in the great state of California...

...unless Tom Petty is simultaneously playing on the radio.

Which he was.


Good morning! Or afternoon, depending on where you are. I'm spending the holiday in California with family so it's still morning here. There won't be any new shots today to gander but come back in a few days and I'll have posted new images from my trip out west. In the meantime, I wanted to share these lovely blogs that have featured work by me.

Creative Artists Blog has featured this shot, which is one of my all time favorites:

and Butterfly in the Attic featured another downtown shot:

That is all, for today.


Last weekend, one of my closest and oldest friends, Brittaney, and I had a good ol' fashioned touristy afternoon. Several months ago, we bought Groupons for the Architecture Tour that is so often recommended by fellow Chicagoans and tourists alike and in lieu of their approaching expiration date, we decided to head downtown and board the boat.

It was a great little afternoon. We picked up lunch at Fox & Obel (is it possible to be in love I mean, how have I never been here before?) and afterward, heading toward the departing location of our boat.

Sure, it was freezing and I was, as usual, dressed inappropriately for the weather but our tour guide was a funny fellow and the cruise was quite nice. I'll be honest in saying that I didn't learn a great deal of new information about the city (due to the abnormal amount of time I spent learning Chicago's history prior to moving to the city three years ago), but did get a good amount of architecture terms thrown at me that I'll never be able to use in properly to describe anything ever again.

"Oh, that building? Looks like perhaps it's a member of the neoclassical revival in the Chicago school."

I have no idea if that's something.

After the cruise, we did a bit of Michigan Avenue Christmas shopping and thrifting up in Boystown. If that was not enough, we hit up the North Halsted Whole Foods for a salad bar dinner and were entertained by a symphony playing Lady Gaga in the adjacent Center on Halsted.

If your afternoon includes the Navy Pier, the Chicago River, and Michigan Avenue, well, then I'd call you a tourist. I might have to go watch a Bears game in a dive bar and eat a Chicago dog to make it up to the city.

Finally, I leave you with an image that's quickly becoming the cliche Chicago shot of the year:

But I don't care cause I like it anyway.

Scenes From My Childhood [Home]

The earliest portion of my life was spent divided between California, Texas, and the town of Waterloo, Iowa before my family settled into the house my mother still currently occupies (and incidentally, this is the same house that she was raised in as well) in what is essentially the middle-of-nowhere, Iowa. I seldom saw friends growing up though I don't remember ever being bothered by this until I neared my teenage years; after all, I had the freedom to explore the land around us to no end. My brother and I spent the majority of our time outdoors, running around, exploring, creating fables of the Indians we imagined once occupied the land we stood upon.

I always felt a great need to take care of the land we were on (I'd like to think it was inherent but it's more likely that my 6AM Saturday ritual viewings of Captain Planet and Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures played a large role in creating the feeling of responsibility for Mother Earth) and even now, when I go back to visit, I feel immense gratitude for the privilege of having the childhood I did. Iowa is not my "forever" place, but it is extremely beautiful.

This recent trip was short and very laid-back; I spent most of the time hanging around the family home and stealing my mother's car in the early morning hours to drive on gravel roads. It seems strange to me now that something I once avoided at all costs has become such a luxury.

For now, it's back to public transit. But I'll be home for Christmas.

Oh, another update: my website is in the midst of a makeover. Once it's up, the fruits of a project I began in Iowa and am continuing work on will be up.

Show Us Your Moves

[and we promise to only laugh at you]