The weather has been crazy. One day it will be 14 degrees and snow, and the next, it will be almost 50 degrees out. And now as I type this, it’s snowing really hard again, though it is expected to all melt away again tomorrow.. Michigan.
We ventured out for a warm weather walk the other day. It was so warm and sunny. We knew it was going to be wet and muddy but we didn’t care – at first. After a while it became pretty tedious walking into the street to avoid giant flooded sidewalks, and then back again, but the dogs had so much fun. It has been such a bitter winter – the coldest I ever remember experiencing – with many days being too cold for even Kila to be out in for long periods. And on these days, Charlie would sometimes step only his two front paws out the doorway into the snow, pee, and then back up right into the house again.
But that day, we had a break. A gorgeous, sunny day that even the deepest puddles couldn’t spoil.
^^ The aftermath of a muddy walk. Kila was relatively untouched with her long legs. Charlie ran through most of the puddles. He even attempted to swim through a particularly deep, flooded crosswalk.
^^ Straight into the tub.
I decided to color my new short hair. At first, I was really unsure of it. Probably because it’s been super dark my whole life. The hairstylist I went to did an excellent job of giving me a warm brownish copper and chocolate low lights. I was worried because my eyebrows and so dark and pretty thick but my roots are still dark so I think the whole thing blends together. I’ve grown to really like it! Here’s to change.
^^ Sean’s never seen me with anything other than long, straight, black hair. Surprisingly, he loves it!
I don’t know what came over me today. I got up and showered and decided I was going to cut my hair.
I think it was a combination of a. being tired of not enjoying my hair recently and b. being so overjoyed I could finally breathe through my nose again, that made me want to grab life by the horns. I’ve been toying with the idea of cutting or coloring my hair for a few years now, but whenever I’d go to the salon I’d be peer pressured into keeping it long. Don’t get me wrong, I love my long hair; I’ve had long hair since I was 10 and my mom finally let me grow it out. And its my security blanket. I know I’m not invisible, but there’s something very anonymous about hiding behind a curtain of long hair when you run into someone you don’t really want to see. Am I right?
I just wanted a slight change.
^^ Amazing headband, right? It goes perfectly with the bangs!
^^ Sean didn’t want me showing this photo. He said, “That doesn’t even look like your hair. There’s something funny going on there.” I blow dried it. But any layering had grown out and it was just pretty unruly.
^^ I sent Sean this photo while he was at the gym.
^^ This was his response.
^^ I like it! Sean says he does too. He’s never seen me with “short” hair!
Sean and I used to see Valentine’s Day as a money-making holiday. In high school and college, when we had abundant time and not nearly as many bills, any day could be Valentine’s Day. As we’ve gotten older though, and our schedules gotten busier, we’ve realized it is a nice day to honor that person you care most about. One day to try go out of your way for that person. To not rush out the door in the morning forgetting to say ‘I love you.’ A lot of people argue that it’s sad that we need a day like this, like, shouldn’t everyday essentially be Valentine’s Day if you love someone? But the truth is, we are all busy, and we are all human, and we all forget to stop, or choose not to stop, and honor that person in every moment of every day. I think it’s the idea that this day helps remind us not to forget what its all about. To take a break from the daily grind and literally, stop and smell the roses. And to remind us to keep trying to treasure what we do have. This year I was sick. I had the worst cold and the worst day of that cold happened to be yesterday. We didn’t go out to dinner or do anything fancy, because, let’s face it, I would have been a lousy date in my sweatpants and glasses with a bright red nose. Instead, Sean quietly made me tea and chicken soup, and gave me cough syrup, and presented me with the most beautiful little Gardenia tree. We had a larger one that Sean bought for our 2 year anniversary. And sadly, it died over the summer. So we’re trying again. Because that’s what you do. Keep trying. This Valentine’s Day didn’t look much like the Hallmark version, but it was perfect.
I’ve been sick this entire week. What started on Sunday evening as accidental smoke inhalation via burning oil in our wok, is now a really bad cold. Kila and Charlie have been with me all week, on the couch, in my office, in bed; never barking or whining for a treat or to go outside. They say dogs can sense when you’re not well. I believe that entirely. These magical little beings seem to know, and then transform into whatever I need them to be. This week, my little sick day sidekicks.
Sean’s most recent work was featured on Street Anatomy, a favorite blog of his that documents the intersection of medical and art. It might not seem like there’d be too much of an intersection there but the two go hand in hand. Medical illustration is a huge field, and now, along with those classic hand-drawn illustrations and diagrams in medical textbooks, you also see 3-D models, anatomy in graphic design, art photography, and popular culture.
Sean told me about the disturbing phenomenon that would often happen in his gross anatomy lab in his first year of med school. A sudden hunger that was brought on by Formaldehyde. WHAT?? Imagine the most unappetizing thing you could probably ever do, and then imagine getting the munchies? Sean’s work got the attention of several other medical students and professionals who also remembered this from their own gross anatomy days. I will never look at sushi the same.
Sean had 2 residency interviews in Chicago so we decided to make it a long weekend so we could spend some time with family and friends and explore the city a little. We stayed with Sean’s cousin, Renee, and her family. They are amazing. Renee is easily one of the coolest women I’ve met. Someone you’d totally want in your corner. And her husband, Dave, is hilarious! They also have 2 sweet, really bright kids, and the cutest pup. We had such a great time with them! I didn’t bring the camera because it was such a cold, bitter weekend and I didn’t want to expose it to all that and have to keep it in a ziplock while we walked all around. Here are a few iphone photos from the trip.
^^ I finally got to visit one of my very best friends, Becca! She’s come home to MI a number of times but I hadn’t visited her in Chicago. Sad being that it’s only 4 hours away.. Better late than never!
We had an awesome brunch in Andersonville and then walked around the little shops.
^^ I totally almost bought these cat leggings. Aren’t they amazing?
^^ We browsed an artist market and I loved this funny cat photo and little watercolor painting of the city.
^^ After shopping we headed to Becca’s apartment so I could see her place and finally meet her boyfriend. I came across this little gem in her front hallway. What an amazing portrait of Sean and I, right? I begged her to take it down. I can only imagine what people must think when they see it.
^^ That afternoon we met up with Sean’s stepsister, Anna, who recently moved to Chicago. We shopped downtown and had a lot of fun with faux fur. It was such a cold day, I think I’m wearing 4 layers under my jacket!
^^ We also had brunch at the Pump Room at the Public Hotel with Anna and her fiance’, Bryan. They are such a fun couple. I’m so excited they live so close! It would be great to live in the same city!
^^We found a photobooth at the Pump Room. Obviously we had to get a group photo!
^^ Renee dug out some old photos of Sean’s dad for us. How great are these? Doesn’t Sean look just like him? Sean has a hard time growing facial hair though, so I don’t know what he’d look like with a mustache. Probably something like this photo though.
On the way home from Chicago we stopped at Journeyman Distillery to see my sister, Bill, and Islay. We don’t get out here often enough. Their distillery is beautiful and there’s always something new when we go.
^^ Islay’s a great photographer! So funny how babies are so attracted to iphones!
We had somewhat of a treacherous drive home. What would have been 3 hours turned out to be a 6.5-hour drive home in the worst snow and poorest visibility. Thank goodness for that lone semi in front of us, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to see the road at all. Sean drove the whole way while I struggled to stay awake to show moral support. I was pretty in and out. Thanks for being so manly and protective, Sean. Or maybe he doesn’t trust my driving skills as much as his..?
Such a fun city. It’s fun to think about ending up here for residency. Til next time, Chicago!
Sean accepted an interview offer in Northern California and we decided to make it into a mini vacation. He sent me this clip.. He was a little excited about the program.
We stayed with our amazing friend, Jenn, and got a private tour around the bay and San Francisco! Jenn and I hadn’t seen one another in over a year – it was an awesome reunion!
^^ Finally eating after a full travel day. Burgers and chicken at Val’s in the bay.
Dinner at Jang Su Jang – an awesome Korean bbq place – with Dan and his girlfriend Jessie!
^^ I hadn’t seen Dan since undergrad. We spent the better part of 4 years together and it was so much fun reconnecting with him and meeting his sweet other half.
Day 2 : San Francisco
Jenn works in San Fran and knows the city really well. Since Sean only had 1 full day in town before he had to leave for more interviews around the country, we wanted to get the most out of his visit. We smashed together the “Best of” the city – tourist style – as well as some local favorites sprinkled in, for the best day trip to San Francisco!
Then a bus ride north to the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s really beautiful as far as man-made marvels of engineering go.
Then a quick hike down to the bottom of the bridge. Pretty amazing.
My mom texted me saying we had to go to the Japanese Tea Gardens inside Golden Gate State Park. What a beautiful place!
^^ We loved theses little guys!
Sean and I had so much fun riding the bus around San Fran, and exploring Golden Gate State Park.
Jenn met up with us after work and took us to beautiful Lombard Street and then to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 to see the barking sea lions.
^^We spend most of the time picking out the ones that looked the most like Charlie.
^^ That one.
^^ And that one!
^^ The Painted Ladies!
^^ Cupcakes are a big part of Jenn and my friendship and a get together wouldn’t be complete without some red velvet.
Today, I picked Sean up from his interview and took him to the airport. He left for a week-long interview trip back in the Midwest and I stayed in the Bay for a few more days with Jenn.
^^ I met Jenn’s awesome stepsister, Chrissy, and her sweet family.
^^ The new addition to the family!
Day 4: Girls Day in the city
I spent the morning with Jenn at her office and then we spent all day gallivanting around the city! I loved the farmer’s market right in the middle of all the action.
^^ mmmm, yummy fresh mango smoothie!
Union Square Trolleys
Back to Pier 39
^^ I love these handmade bread animals! Jenn bought a sourdough turtle.
^^ Warming myself under the hand dryer – SF is cold!
^^ As it got dark we drove towards Sausalito and stopped at the lookout point on the other side of the Golden Gate.
We walked around Sausalito for a bit but most everything was closed and it was dark But this little town has a pretty unbeatable view of the the bridge, the city, and the beautiful bay!
We drove back into the city afterwards to see Christmas in Union Square, and because…
.. Jenn planned for us to take a Christmas Cable Car tour around the city!
Day 5: Monterey
Jenn and I have a thing for sea life. We drove down the coast to Monterey for the day to the aquarium, and it is amazing.
^^ The giant octopus and his red toy!
The Monterey Aquarium has this really cool exibit called the Jellies Experience. It’s all 60′s music, day glow lighting, and the jellyfish aquariums all kinda resemble lava lamps. It. Is. Awesome.
This one made me uncomfortable…
My favorite: Moon jellies!
Day 6: Departure
Before flying home, we met up with some friends at Burma Superstar in Oakland for some really good Burmese food. The tea leaf salad is incredible and the garlic noodles and tofu, Yummmm! Jenn’s friends, Gerardo and Valerie joined us, Dan came, and another former Michigan friend, Cindy, came for my send off.
I had such an amazing visit with one of my best friends. I also reunited with some old friends, and made some new. Jenn planned a week full of the most fun sights, and amazing food. Thanks, Jenn panda, for an awesome time. We love you!
California, you are spectacular. We will be back soon.
For the last 5 years, Sean has been trying to make it out to Rob & Aviva’s beautiful farm to help with sheep vaccinations. Twice a year the sheep are vaccinated and the males are tagged – this year there were about 80 sheep – though the flock has previously numbered in the 200′s.
I just photographed the Gilda’s Club Detroit Annual 5K Walk & Run at Royal Oak High School. It was a beautiful day to raise money for an amazing cause. Gilda’s Club is an organization that offers free cancer support programs and resources for people battling cancer, cancer survivors, and their family and friends. Here are a few photos from the day.
Brittany and I recently photographed Leah and Tyler’s wedding. Warm, sunny weather, a small ceremony at the groom’s parent’s lakefront home, and an incredibly photogenic bride, all made for a perfect day.
Sean and I finally decided this was the summer we’d redo the backyard. We like to grill out, eat outside with friends, and we spend a lot of time in the yard with Kila and Charlie. Our landscaping really didn’t even qualify as landscaping though. Green weeds and ground cover + an overgrown puff of wild grass and one mutant, hot pink rose bush that blooms year round really were the only features of the space. A few years ago we had to take a tree down: A female ginko that dropped the grossest-smelling fruit all over the yard and driveway (think vomit) that the dogs LOVED to roll in, and track inside in their paws (and, you know, neck fur). Plus, the fruit it dropped also happens to be toxic to dogs. After a lot of research we discovered that male ginkos are especially popular in urban areas as they are really hardy, have beautiful leaves, and really clean the air around them. We also found out that ginkos are able to change sex over time.. So if you have a ginko, beware. The tree was beautiful and did provide the only shade in the yard so it was such a sad, sad realization that we needed to do something about it. So anyway, this was the year to do something about the now shadeless and neglected yard.
We started by visiting a nursery in Romeo. We got so excited about shrubs and plants and tiny trees that we forgot we had limited space and a whole bunch of shrubs and plants and tiny trees to schlep back home..
Happy first day of Fall! I absolutely love Fall. I think living in Michigan really makes you appreciate all the seasons. And while I don’t particularly love 4+ months of Winter, I’ll glady take it because I love Fall in the Midwest, (and, okay, I’m a sucker for a white Christmas). Summer can be so hot and humid that Fall is a welcome change with its crisp, beautiful leaves, puffy grey clouds, and, of course, cider mills. Brittany and I celebrated Fall’s commencement with a trip to a local nature preserve. It was a gorgeous day and perfect for this week’s shoot!