UCLA 2014



The most important part of going back to Orange County in June was to make sure I got to see my little sister graduate. And despite a few complications, I made it happen. She was radiant the whole day. The energy inside Pauley Pavilion was overwhelmingly alive; the combination of thousands of anxious soon-to-be graduates and their families (and the students freaking out realizing Kareem Abdul Jabbar was their keynote speaker). Ceremonies, despite how boring and long they can be, are essential for big milestones like this, at least that’s the way I feel. Kris arrived to the campus with us as an almost-graduate and after the traditional formalities commenced she came running back into our arms ceremoniously a new person–a college graduate. I got to see the pride in my parents’ eyes as they hugged their cap and gown’d daughter and the way Kris smiled and did the silly things she does, letting us know that she was happy and quite impressed with what she had accomplished. It was a perfect cherry-on-top kind of day for not only Kris but for everyone that was there who adores her.
















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New Life



Meet Karina Mae and her teeny tiny foot! When I was back in Orange County I finally got to meet this precious little being for the first time and it was a joy. Her mother, my dearest friend Ayano, is such an excellent mother to her. I just loved spending time with those two. On beautiful sunny days we picnicked on a blanket with delicious salads and sandwiches, just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company under the shade.  To watch her grow and learn in front of my eyes was amazing–over the course of two days I watched her smile get bigger and bigger. I later got to tag along to one of Karina’s doctor appointments where she got several shots. Although it was really difficult to watch her be in so much pain (I’m sure even more difficult for Aya) she handled them like a champ! Babies are so tough considering how new they are to the world, aren’t they?! It was blissful and invigorating to be around such new life and a new mother–being with them was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.










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Blue In Bloom



Every dreary-eyed morning when I wake up, I shuffle to our front window and pull up the blinds to see what kind of day Portland has to offer. And since we’ve come home from our trip to see our families in Orange County, once those blinds are up, my eyes are met with new, cloud-like blooms of blue hydrangeas. From all the way across the street they add so much color and life to my mornings. I thought it was the perfect chance for me to throw on my favorite dress and have a bit of fun in front of the camera with these blue beauties that I’ve grown so fond of, while they’re still in bloom and full of life.








Photographs by Sam Sasso

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Meet the lovely Anna Fickle. This lady is a powerhouse! She’s a mother to two gorgeous girls, is the sole proprietress of Branch Birdie, which has become one of Portland’s most sought-after shopping destinations for chic moms and their kiddos, and she does all of this with the utmost style and poise. Tons of inspiration, this one! And, not to mention, she’s my boss. But Anna has quickly become a dear friend of mine and I’m thrilled to feature her and her shop as part of my Portraits of Portland series–she definitely represents the creative energy that I adore this city for–along with a little Q&A below about her beginnings in owning a brick & mortar, her main sources of creativity and what she loves most about Portland.



How did you get started in owning a shop? Have you always had an interest in fashion, home decor or kid’s/baby stuff?
I’ve loved fashion for as long as I can remember- dressing up my pets, photographing my friends dressed up and “making” clothes were frequent activities as a child. Home decor has always been a passion as well, I enjoy a highly curated yet busy and eclectic living space, color and pictures on the walls. I say the more the merrier! I bought my first sewing machine when I was pregnant with my second munchkin and started making baby clothes, cushions, curtains etc..one thing led to another and soon I opened an Etsy shop, from there I saved my pennies and three years later Branch Birdie, the brick and mortar version, was born.


Where are you from and what brought you to Portland, OR?
I grew up in Cave Junction, Oregon, a tiny hippie town about thirty minutes above the California border. Growing up in a small town gave me the urge to get out and explore, so I moved to New York when I was 18 for a few years, I later tried out Los Angeles and San Diego before returning to my roots and setting up shop in Oregon again.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Oh man, so many things…veterinarian, art therapist and midwife were high on my list. Followed by shop owner, textile designer and interior designer.




Things you do to stay inspired/creative:
I love to travel, it’s pure inspiration. I love to visit museums and flip through design magazines. I’m inspired to be creative by thrift store shopping, going through my fabric and gem stone collections and being in nature.

List of things that make you happy:
Flowers. My two beautiful children. Coffee. Vintage Books. A warm sunny day. Spending unstructured time with the people I love.





Who are your biggest role models?
Women, in general- is that strange to say? I have so much admiration for the way they sacrifice, love unconditionally, protect, create and keep the world in motion.

Words that you live by:
‘It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing their dreams.’ ~Gabriel Garcia Marquez


A place you’re dreaming of visiting:
Greece!!! with my sister, Morocco and India

What would your dinner party guest list look like if you could invite anyone (dead or alive)?
Frida Kahlo, Grace Coddington, Audrey Hepburn, Van Morrison and Chelsea Handler.




Brunch or Happy Hour?
Brunch!  Eggs & Mimosas Forever!

Homebody or Busy Bee?
Can’t I be both? I love to be home organizing, cleaning, planning, working.




What do you love about Portland?
I love the camaraderie, people are so friendly and it almost feels like you’re on a special ‘Yay we live in PDX’ team together. I love the support small business enthusiasm, I love the access to fresh fabulous food!

What does Portland need that it doesn’t have now?
More sunshine’s really all I can think of!

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swirly leaves 2

Below is a little “taking stock” form that I was inspired to write after reading this post. Let me know what you’ve been listening, reading, sporting, loving, etc. lately. I’d love to hear!

Listening: to Alabama Shakes! This song makes me super happy. This song makes me want to dance.

Following: the story of Carlos and his battle with pancreatic cancer on the beautiful lifestyle blog called A House in the Hills. There is immense sadness but profound beauty in the way Sarah documents the last days of her father-in-law’s life at their home in Palm Springs. This photo via Sarah’s instagram is especially touching.

Reading: Bekah Stewart’s beautiful interview about her simple life at home with her two adorable little boys on mothermag.com.

Thinking: about the importance of making space and time for myself and doing more things that make me happy.

DrinkingThe Tao of Tea South African Rooibos with a splash of milk and a little bit of agave nectar–yum!

Making: new friends and spending time with old friends is so good for my soul.

Cooking: scrambled eggs in ghee, steamed asparagus, black beans, little bit of lemon, salt and pepper for lunch–the best!!

Enjoying: the sweet sound of orange-bellied robins chirping outside our bedroom when I wake up.

Sharing: more of myself with others.

Realizing: spending time with friends, new and old, is so so good for my soul.

Wondering: when I will finally get my ass to Paris. My travel itch at the moment is bad, guys.

Loving: how playful the man I live with is. He’s always making me laugh and reminding me to smile and play. Something I didn’t really even do as a child, which is a shame, so there’s no time like the present to play, smile, repeat.

Sporting: my two new Ace & Jig tops!

Needing: to let go of the amount of doubt and worry in my life and replace it with positive thoughts and inspiration. It’s drastic how different my days are when I’m focused on the good things in life.

Focusing: on my photography and learning new Photoshop skills. I’m super pumped about it!

Hoping: Sam’s parents move to Portland soon. Not having them near us is difficult. The four of us are kindred spirits.

Giggling: over how much I love this city.

Quoting: Henri Cartier-Bresson “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”

Feeling: excited, inspired, scared, driven, confused, positive, but overall HAPPY.

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