Friday, February 22, 2008

Tuscany 2007

In May of Last year i was lucky enough to go to Tuscany for work. This was the first time I took my Nikon on a trip and I have never been so inspired.
Somewhere between San Gimignano and Lucca we stopped at this road-side restaurant/bar/rest stop and for about $5 i had some of the best hot chili flake pasta I had ever eaten.
This is a view from inside the under ground city of Perugia. We were in this town for only one night but we wandered through hallways and up escalators, through an evening market where local wine and cheese makers were sampling their products. Amazing, but quite smelly. Undergroud Italian cheese can be POTENT! In Perugia I also had the most delicious truffle pate I will ever eat, about $200 of it! If you don't know me personally you may wonder what exactly I do that I am able to travel and get paid for it... I work for Villas of Distinction ( as a Concierge. When we go on these trips, we spend most of our time viewing the private homes that we rent, sounds amazing, and it is, but after the 30th flight of stairs for the day, you start to get tired of it. The above picture is a view from a villa we sell called "The Lakes" in San Gimignano. These are man-made lakes in the middle of what looks like Sonoma County x 10,000, with better food.
This is what I mean...

We didn't get to go into any of the famous churches and museums in Florence or Siena, but we did stop in one small church. Kim, my amazing and huge-hearted co-worker and friend, got us each a candle to light and make a prayer. That is what I love about Kim, I have never met anyone in my life who has made spirituality her own in such a special way. She is an Italian Catholic to the core and the conversations I've had with her about signs, angels, prayers, etc. have been some of my most inspiring. When you look at the town of Siena, it looks like buildings on top of buildings all growing higher from the town center, it is jaw-dropping.
This was in the office of one of our suppliers Italy, there were multiple office kitties and I LOVED it!

Yes, there was LOTS of gelato everywhere in Italy and no, none of it was dairy free. P.S, don't ask a local if something is vegan or not or you'll be treated like you're 100% insane.
The garden below was on the property of one of the villas that we went wine tasting at. These lemon trees are over 100 years old and each pot is numbered. In the winter the sensitive citrus trees have their own house on the property where they live and are tended to until the spring when they are put back out in that exact same spot (hence the number) as the year before and every year before that. These trees will keep on living in this same way for at least another hundred years, or until they stop producing fruit. These guys are the dedicated grounds keepers that keep this process up, the same way their fathers and grandfathers have; every generation living on this property. After 1 or 2 generations, the head grounds keepers are given a home on the property that is theirs to own and therefore, the tradition keeps moving forward.
Below is a man working in one of the many wineries that we visted. Wine making and Olive oil production in Italy is very different than in Sonoma and Napa. The tools they use are sometimes hundreds of years old (see the terracotta pots below used for holding the oil while the particals settle) and the people making the products have been doing this all their lives, the way their fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers have. It is a true honor to see them work.

These terracotta barrels are so large that there is no kiln that can hold them and when (god forbid) one of them breaks, it takes weeks for it to be replaced since it must dry in the sun for quite a while.
Lucca was one of my very favorite places we visited, partially because it is a city FULL of dogs! They were everywhere!
This is also a shot from the gardens of one of the houses we rent, simply gorgeous.

There are so many things about the cities of Lucca, Perugia, Florence and Siena that just transport you into the past...

I can't wait to go back on my own someday!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I have always loved vintage dolls, toys, etc. I recently purchased this gem at an antique fair for $8. It is a 1920's "bed doll," and i love that she's tattered and looks like she was loved by her owner, or possibly many owners over the years.

Her hair must be human or horse, and its still styled!
I purchased the little (totally not P.C.) doll above at the first Antique show I ever went to when I was 10 years old with no clue about what this doll meant to many other people.
I love collecting iconic items, and I found a man that loves this stuff almost more than I do. Our collections take over the house!

We now live in Southern California and spend most of our time looking for the strange and occult, the weird and wonderful parts of this seemingly straight and narrow area, Orange County. Brian came across this amazing doll museum in Buena Park a few months back. It is part of a larger "amusement park" that has the most poorly kept and dangerous rides I've ever seen. But the doll museum was neat.

At this amusement park we also found the remains of what, in the 80's, must have been a Cabbage Patch "adoption center." My friend Amelia had told me about going to one of these as a kid, but I never thought I'd accidentally come across one myself!

Kitties: An Introduction

I'm sure most of the people reading this know me well enough to be aware of my love of cats. I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady. Thankfully, I am not alone...

Last year Brian and I went to a cat show in Santa Rosa not knowing what it would be like, but it was $3, so why not. It was more awesome then we ever could have imagined.

If you see an add for a show like this in your area, I highly recommend it.

Brian got to hold an egyptian hairless, then he was offered to purchase it for $1500. I can't even imagine how much these thing cost throughout their lifetime.

There were some amazingly cute kitties there...

But I was glad to come home to my Kitty; fat, and cute with her face shoved into her favorite blanket.

The Beginning...

I seem to take pictures of the same types of items/people/animals wherever I go; these are things that catch my interest always, but never look the same. These are my Collections.

Being fortunate enough to work for a company that will send me around the world, I try my hardest not to take that for granted. I am also aware that I may not be in this field forever so i am going to enjoy every bit of it while I am.
I take lots of film with me wherever I go and I rarely buy souvenirs. My photographs are my memories but I don't usually photograph what I need to remember, I photograph what I know I may forget...a lovey cat in a amazing meal over looking the ocean...children playing in the sand...broken metal pipes…colorful storefronts...the details.
I also spend quite a bit of time going on photo safaris with my very talented love Brian ( He has been shooting photos for years, and has an amazing eye. He and I use completely different cameras ; I have a 35mm Nikon N90 that my amazingly talented sister-in law Jessamyn ( passed to me a few years ago, and Brian uses mostly a Polaroid Propack or a Holga. Because of this, we look at photographs in completely different ways. He always inspires me.