Oh how I wish I was back in Silver Lake, laughing beneath the pines with these three. As the summer begins to wind down here in Oregon, I’m savoring the last bits of the season via these photos I took of our annual Eastern Sierra vacation in June, when all our time was spent fishing, drinking, laughing and crying as we unabashedly pour our hearts out to each, as we always do when we’re together. As for me, my favorites of the trip were eating breakfast at the lodge cafe, experiencing another beautiful, pink sunset, rummaging through a few Mammoth bookstores with Connie and waking up early and experiencing a serenely still lake out on the boat. I think my absolute favorite though was my time alone on the shore as I looked for pieces of driftwood I could bring back to Oregon. It was a simple moment when I felt free and giddy–giddy over driftwood. Giddy over having a home where I could bring back a piece of nature from a place I cherish. Ah, this trip oozes summer to me. Until next time Silver Lake. More photos of our getaway to come. And a possibly a video too!










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Good Morning



Lately I’ve been thinking about what makes for a good morning. Whether I’m off to work in a couple of hours from the time I open my rested eyes or I have the entire day to do nothing, there are particular parts of my mornings that make me feel so good. Like I-feel-so-relaxed-even-though-I-have-a-million-things-to-do kind of good. That, to me, is an important feeling in the morning because without it I’m kind of mindless and mean to myself all day and that’s no good. So, here are the things that help give me a peaceful confidence to go about the rest of my day:

Wake Up Softly

There’s something a little unsettling in worrying about everything there is to worry about the moment you come out of your sweet slumber. Sweet dreams turn into bitter realities quickly if you don’t give yourself time and love before you roll out of bed. Go slow and be patient with yourself. Take in a couple of deep breaths, gently wiggle the sleep out of your fingers and toes, stretch your arms overhead and have mercy in the fact that you just woke up. You deserve that extra bit of relaxation as you transition from your bed to your day. And the same goes for the time you hit the hay the night before. If you went to bed stressed-out and rushed, you most likely will wake up the same way. Give yourself that quiet time before you go to bed as well. The next tip will help with both your evenings and mornings.


Distancing Distractions

Give yourself at least an hour without looking at your phone, computer, laptop, ipad or any other technological device that has a screen. And the same goes for any sort of documents, bills or to-do lists. Anything that will stress you out, leave it alone and literally put it in the other room or where you can’t see it. It’s amazing how much time you’ll find you have when those things are out of sight and out of mind. A calmness will melt over you like butter on a hot biscuit once you free yourself from those distractions. And you’ll have loads of mental space to think, do and feel what you want at a pace you like. That is the key to this tip, without the distractions, you get to dictate your mood, not your phone. And the more you practice this the more you’ll crave distraction-free time in the mornings and evenings. Oh, it’s so good.


Let the Light In

Opening the blinds or door and seeing the world around you is such a simple thing to do in the morning that serves as the perfect moment to literally and figuratively greet the day. An audible “hello sun” never hurt anybody. It’s a time when you can assess what your day will look like as far as your natural environment goes; it’s a sort of getting familiar with what’s going on in the actual world, not the virtual world of your phone. Peering out your window in the mornings not only allows you to feel connected to the flow of the weather, but ultimately the flow of your day.





Putting thought into preparing your breakfast in the morning is super soul-soothing (say that three times fast). There’s a sense of taking care of yourself when thoughtfully chopping up fruit or nuts to go into a comforting bowl of oatmeal, yogurt or whatever your choice of breakfast may be. Smelling the warming scent of crushed coffee beans or savoring the sound of the kettle water starting to boil are all the little sensory moments that go easily unnoticed in the mornings. But when we are keenly aware of these little snippets of time it fosters a sense of gratitude for the food and pleasures you have in your life. And this gratitude will stick with you for the rest of your day. And when it comes time to eat what you’ve prepared, go slow, thank yourself for the thought that went into it and actually feel what it tastes like to eat your food. You’ll find it tastes more incredible than usual just because you slowed down and savored.


Do What You Like

Exercising, doing a half an hour of yoga, lighting a nice candle, putting your favorite record on, or even curling up on the couch with a blanket and reading a good book are all things that will make you feel great while giving you time to settle into your day. And for those of us still dreaming of owning a record player you can make your own music and sing a happy, little tune as you transition from the awesome morning you had into the start of your awesome day.


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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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