I’ve been dancing for a month to this remix of the Limousines “Internet Killed the Video Star”.
Maddie is one of those people I knew about because we have a bunch of close friends in common – for one, she’s the managing editor of A Practical Wedding (and a damn good photographer) – but I never got to sink my teeth into her properly until I went to California and Elizabeth and I drove down to see her. She and her husband rent a house on a horse ranch that has a huge field in the back.
I asked to take her photo for my Faces project, and then she wanted to take MY photo, too. Then we started doing our hair, and then she said, “do you want something more fun than a tee shirt to wear?” so I raided her closet and came out with a fantastic dress, and then we played with makeup before heading to the field behind her house. This is what happens when you put two photographers together in a California sunset.
A “production note”: Patrice was over while I was packing for this trip, and I held up my 50 mm lens before putting it in my suitcase. “I’m only bringing this and ONE camera!” I announced, and she laughed and said, “Wow, you’re REALLY going on vacation, huh?!” I usually want to pack two or three cameras and a few lenses when I go somewhere. It was a fun limitation to impose on myself, and all of my vacation shots are either with this lens or my iPhone.
First, fun news: I have an intern! She’s Alex, and has an enthusiasm for photography – and life in general – that rocks my world. I need to get a better photo of her face, but for now, enjoy her cool-girl photo stance and rockin’ blond hair patch.
On Friday, 3 May, I finally did what I’ve been hoping to do for about 18 months: I convinced an eloping couple that getting into the row boats of Central Park in their wedding clothes was an excellent idea. Since I had Alex to
boss around help, she rowed, and I was able photograph them around the 22 acre pond from the stern of my very own row boat. Then I tried rowing, and she snapped some shots of me. It was so cool, like a scene out of Stuart Little.
It’s a career highlight, a Life List item I got to check off, and I’m pretty sure that I won a bet with Katie Jane over who can get newlyweds in a row boat first.
If you do this, I recommend going on a week day and slathering on a good sunscreen.
Love this one!
If you follow me anywhere on social media besides here, you’ve probably seen this goofy photo of me making the “OMG” face with straight hair; the photo on the left was taken in unrelated circumstances less than a week earlier, to show how perfectly round my hair was that day, and there it is on the right wavy, smooth and totes glam. (You will also notice I upgraded to an iPhone 5 after an unfortunate Water Bottle Incident in my handbag with the 4).
There’s a new, amazing salon in Oakland called Spruce. Elizabeth was invited to their grand opening and I was able to tag along to the party that included a sign up sheet for free spa services. I put myself down for a massage, and while sipping champagne and admiring their new space, Hillary, the owner, approached me.
“You only signed up for ONE free service! Not ok. What else can we do for you?”
I shrugged, because let’s be real. “Free massage” is just about the best thing you can say to this big-boobed migraine sufferer. But she insisted, and when I didn’t know what else to do, she figured she had just enough time to give me a blow out.
“Ok, but I don’t think it’ll work. My hair is too curly!” I said.
As a late teen I chemically relaxed my hair for a while, until it felt like a burden. It was the late 90′s, and hair care companies had started to make products specifically for bi-racial women like me, making it that much easier to give in to my natural hair texture. It’s been curly since, and I didn’t think anything would work without a bunch of chemicals in my hair.
But Oh. It worked. When she finished, I felt like a curvier, freckled Olivia Pope, and got kind of teary eyed at how pretty I felt. It was amazing. While I’m all about accepting who you are and rocking what you have, this was an amazing, sexy change, and one I plan on employing again when I need a jaw-dropping look for a special occasion.
Elizabeth opted for a massage and a makeup application, and then we were literally all dressed up (and wonderfully relaxed) with no where to go. We considered going to dinner or to a bar, but ultimately opted to go back to her house, sit on the patio, and open a bottle of champagne. We gave her new outdoor party lights a test run, and I snapped a these photos of her in the soft glow.
I have pretty friends.
At Elizabeth’s housewarming party in Oakland, Bridget and I did that thing where you meet someone and skip all the small talk because you just “click”; we talked about God and the minefield that is dating at our age – the real stuff. In the dusk, I pulled her out to the front lawn because I wanted to take her photo for my Faces project.
Ladies of the Bay area, she is single, rad, and clearly beautiful. You should date her. Look for the gal doing “the Elaine” in her OKCupid profile photos.
After sixty years of living in the same house, my grandmother moved. It is my house technically; in 2008 when she was selling it, I bought it to keep for “someday”, and she opted to live there in the mean time, but now “someday” is here and I live in New York, and that’s not going to change any time soon. So she had to move, and she’s excited for a change, and I’m excited to be unburned by a house I don’t live in – won’t live in – but it’s still been super hard.
There’s a lifetime of memories in that house for me.
I dial my grandmother’s number for the… what? Three thousandth time in my life? Four thousandth? Ten thousandth? Maybe. It is the first phone number I learned to dial; it has been the same since years before I was born, when the phone companies started using seven digits instead of five. A disembodied robot voice tells me the number is invalid. Invalid?
I double check to see if I’ve mistyped it, which would be weird because I never have in all the years I’ve pounded it into various phones. And I haven’t; my iPhone says that I’m calling “Gram”, but I am not. I’m reaching nothing.
I dial my aunt, who says, “Oh, yes, she has a new number now because she moved.”
She gives me a series of numbers to reach my Grandma that I don’t know by heart, that I haven’t dialed at least once a week since I was old enough to make a pointer finger and lisp a “Hello?” to whichever grandparent picked up the phone.
2, 6, 8, 4; a perfect diamond of a phone number I’ve been doing for so long that I usually opt to dial her phone number manually rather than look it up in my contact list, because it’s faster. It is one of less than ten numbers still committed to memory. It is – and I’ve never told anyone this – what I’m pecking out over and over when you see me nervously tapping on bar counter top; on the table right before the interview for my first job, on the desk in high school before midterms, on the bus seat in front of me en route to first grade.
“What happened to your phone number?!” I bellow into the phone, and then check myself and soften my tone. “You could have kept it.”
“Oh, it was an extra money to keep it, and I didn’t care.” she says, ever practical.
“But what about me?” I sigh, ever sentimental. “I care.”
She laughs. I laugh, too, because I know I’m being ridiculous, and we talk about her new house, which she loves, and I am excited for her. But then we hang up, and I dial the old number again, for the last time (bar stools excepted), just to check. It still doesn’t work, of course, and I wrinkle my brow at my phone. It’s all wrong.
But she’s still here, which is the important part, of course, and I’m glad.
Anything can happen.
You know, like, sometimes dear friends can elope in your back yard?
There’s so much to share about my trip to the Bay Area, but first I wanted to talk about something I realized there. I’ve been saving up for a while for a much larger, glamorous trip solo. The destination was always TBD, but I was leaning towards southeast Asia. Every time I research far-flung places to go to explore on my own, though, I got nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I think it’s time to accept that going somewhere alone is just not my cup of tea. At least, not now.
Do you have stuff like that, stuff you think you “should” do because that’s the type of person you want to be, only you don’t actually want to do them? This is a first for me. I want to be the girl that packs her bags and goes to Thailand to stomp around without a travel buddy, but I got lost on the BART, which is almost universally agreed upon as the easiest public transportation system to navigate in the United States. Thailand might be a little beyond me.
I’ve also always had a mentality that I wanted to travel and explore interesting places more than I wanted to buy nice furniture, and it’s a sentiment I believe in… just not for me. I spend a LOT of time at home, and buying a good pull-out couch to host overnight guests makes more sense than traveling right now.
Have you struggled with any of your priorities? I’d love to hear how you handled it.
This is to summer 2013 what “Pumped Up Kicks” was to summer 2011. If you’re hearing it here first, you are welcome.
I planned to let Gavin pick this week’s Monday Music since we had brunch together this weekend in San Francisco and he’s introduced me to tons of cool music, but had this tune in mind in case he couldn’t think of anything. He immediately answered, “That new one by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell.”
This is why he’s one of my best friends.