photography

THE MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM

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last weekend, i went to the museum of ice cream – i have the sprinkles in my pants to prove it. upon our arrival, we were greeted with a bubble gum pink exterior and some bubble gum pink staff (ice cream “experts” as they described online). before we entered, the staff explained a little bit about the art and food inside and what exactly we were getting ourselves into. it felt more like a warning, as if they wanted to tell us what they had seen on the battlefield of ice cream but they couldn’t. they left us with a “HAVE A GOOD TIME!” and then we were off!

ICE CREAM 1ICE CREAM 8ICE CREAM 7do you have any idea how hard it was for me to not sing “hollaback girl” by gwen stefani?ICE CREAM 5this mochi changed my life. yes, i’m being overly dramatic but mint chocolate chip mochi is life changing. the staff gave each of us our mochi and explained how the mint was being grown from a cacao soil which meant that it was essentially being grown from chocolate (straight out of willy wonka or a whole foods store). i don’t think anyone cared that much about the mint process except for me… in that moment. i regret not asking for seconds but we’ve all seen oliver twist.

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ICE CREAM 29black cookie dough. it’s a thing and it’s amazing and the dude giving it out was hilarious. he made sure none of us had black in our teeth before heading to the next room. he’s a true friend.

like i said… i’m still finding sprinkles in my clothes.ICE CREAM 33

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DESERT X

desert x 3after our failed attempt at camping in the desert this past weekend (who knew the desert got so hot? -that’s sarcasm) we decided to make some lemonade with our sour lemons so we stopped by the desert x exhibition on our way home to see mirage by doug aitken.desert 2

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SXSW: AUSTIN, I LOVE YOU

SXSW 72finally getting around to posting some photos from sxsw and this is just the first batch! my brother-in-law was playing a showcase this year and i invited myself to join him and the boys in austin as their roadie/photographer/”we have 10 minutes to leave” alarm clock. i couldn’t wait to get back to austin. my first time visiting was with my brother back in october when we were in town for acl. it felt like we were visiting the face of the sun rather than texas (maybe texas is the sun?) but not even the heat could keep me from getting that tingly “i think i’m in love with you” feeling inside. i had never felt so at home in a place i’d never been before and when i returned “home” i think everyone realized just how close they were to losing me

leo and i were the first of the sxsw crew to get to austin, so we hit the ground running and did some exploring, then our reality of a 4:00am wake up call from this morning started to set in so we went back to the hotel, took a 5 hour nap (we crashed hard) and then ordered room service… #yolo. come morning, we were refreshed and ready to avenge our lost time and show that nap just how rock ’n roll we really are!!…but first, coffee (skinny vanilla late please) and then things got really hard core…we went to the apple music showcase and met up with a friend of ours who works for beats 1 radio and was so nice as to share in the open bar and good music with us. thanks olivia xxoo.SXSW 59SXSW 61and so, my transformation of becoming a southern belle has begun- we drank, we mingled and we listened to good music (midland– above- stole all of our hearts, even the brit who doesn’t listen to country music). things started winding down and we were ready to head to the next show. midlands had just finished, we were all filing out and like a moth drawn to a flame (metallica) we experienced our very first pedicab ride in austin. i mean it was hard to say no, all signs pointed to “get in the friggin pedicab you’ll never make it on foot” so we got in. bless our pedicab driver (cyclist?) how he managed to lug us all the way downtown and keep up a conversation i will never know, but one thing i do know is he had great calves and i do remember staring at them for an uncomfortably long amount of time (uncomfortable on his end) and then being caught by him staring at his calves (uncomfortable on my end). SXSW 58SXSW 74

we spent a lot of time at the british music embassy showcase because well…leo’s british… aaaannddd they had a really good line up.  as the night went on, the crowd kept getting bigger and bigger and at this point i was holding my camera, my new sxsw hoodie and my beer. i had no free hands to take pictures and too much crap to try and weasel my way to the front. the fact that i didn’t bring a purse or backpack was making me look weak and unprepared to the other sxsw attendees… i could hear all the whispers… “amateur” “how could she not bring a bag?” “wow, she is sooo unprepared”. but what all those naysayers didn’t know is that i was not alone. and that’s why i would like to go on record here and thank leo for holding my sweatshirt all night because it was expensive and i didn’t want to lose it and i wouldn’t tie it around my waist because it didn’t match my outfit. it’s because of you, i have these pictures to post, you are the real hero. you also gained major brother-in-law points and i promise that if you ever need to store anything in my purse, you can… just make sure you tell me ahead of time so i can coordinate how big of a purse i need to bring. k thanks! BBCSXSW 48SXSW 42SXSW 41SXSW 52SXSW 53SXSW 50we danced so much this night… 1. leo and the boys had just finished an amazing show so we were all ready to celebrate 2. these guys know how to boogie, i’m just a little upset that i didn’t know about the matching metallic jackets and shoes… i was ready to throw down.SPORTS

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featured above- midlandthe japanese house, the vryll society, sports

 

 

LULA’S GARDEN

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a sweet friend gifted me this adorable succulent box for my birthday and i’m obsessed. i had two thoughts when opening my box- 1.”how friggin cute!” 2.”why have i never heard of this before?!”- so i went online to find out the skinny on all things lula’s garden. founder, liraz birnbaum says this all began when she was looking for a unique gift idea. inspired by the growing popularity of succulents, due to the rise of drought awareness in california, lulu’s garden was born.

“I wanted to create a gift that would last and be an ongoing reminder, a gift of life … ”  

lula’s garden supports local farmers by using locally grown succulents from southern california while offering a variety of succulent boxes to choose from. inside each box you find a curated succulent garden with instructions and tools on how to pretty much keep your garden alive. lucky for me, it needs minimal effort and is very hard to kill. (bonus points) take a look at my “unboxing” below and check out lula’s garden for more succulent gift ideas.

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SXSW: LEO JAMES CONROY

ljc-4 very excited to be joining these boys at sxsw this year. leo james conroy made his solo debut at sxsw in 2016 but returns to the stage this year with some help from his friends. i’ll be down there shooting some fun content for them so stay tuned for all things sxsw! below are some photos from the live session we recorded last month.

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THE PEOPLE. EMILY NG LITTLE

85930014emily ng little is a freelance artist living in los angeles with her husband nicholas, their pup cooter and their cute baby girl lucy. after graduating from college in texas, emily made the move to california and started her career as a production designer, stylist and art director. we met about two years ago working for the same production company. we spent a lot of time together on set and quickly our relationship blossomed into such a sweet friendship. not too long ago emily and her little fam started making these adorable stop motion videos that she shared with her friends and family. i asked emily if i could come by to take some  photos and see where the “magic” happens. i got to spend a full day with the littles and it was such a treat! you can find all the fun babe&bunn creations here.

theblog: it’s sweet that these videos are like a family affair. how does everyone contribute to the task?

emily: “if we had titles mine would probably be the creative director and nicholas would be the technical director. once we decide on what video we want to do, i’ll usually come up with the general idea and story. after we come up with a cohesive idea, i’ll storyboard it and break it down into a props list and start sourcing materials and making everything. when we’re ready to shoot we set up everything in our living room. the camera is actually just my iphone attached to a light fixture in the ceiling- we’re super low budget. {laughs] animating with the baby can be a huge challenge because she doesn’t take direction very well. when we’re done shooting i’ll do most of the editing in photoshop and aftereffects. then we add the music, which is just me playing a really simple tune on the ukulele. when it’s finally all put together, we’ll watch it a couple times then high five and drink a beer and that’s pretty much our entire process.

theblog: what made you want to start doing these stop motion videos?

emily: “well as you know, you actually have an indirect role in the conception of what we’re calling the babe&bunn videos. after moving to la a few years ago i decided to take a step back from contemporary art and began working in the art department for film. after doing a gig at a stop motion studio i realized that’s what i really wanted to start doing, but at the time i was really beginning to flourish as a production designer and stylist. after i got pregnant and had to stop working for a while i decided to use it as an opportunity to make a career shift. it was hard to get back into any sort of studio practice and working on my own stuff, especially trying to find time with a newborn, but then your sister’s wedding video came along. you asked all of us to make a video of ourselves toasting the new couple. the criteria was that we had to be in it, we had to be holding a drink and we had to say “cheers to the conroys”. i suppose it was one of those things where limitations breed creativity. it was so much fun to make and came together so quickly and organically that we wanted to ride the adrenaline and make another. it felt good to work on something again, creatively and in the general sense. it’s all kind of silly, really, but really fun too. we have a youtube channel and everything!”

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theblog: did you grow up in a creative/artistic household?

emily: “you know i didn’t. not really. i would say that i grew up watching my parents work with their hands a lot and through that may have acquired traits like dexterity from my mom and meticulousness and high standards from my dad, but creativity was sort of this innate thing in me. my parents said i was very curious as a kid – i couldn’t sit still and had to be fiddling with stuff, figuring objects out. it was the same in school. i pretty much went overboard on any sort of creative project and would spend way too much time and energy -i would even get teased for being such a nerd about it. i was always interested in art and creative writing but i never considered it any sort of career until college. although i knew i wanted to work in the creative field, i was undecided for a while and thought about going into fashion or advertising or interior design. ultimately, i found out that the art school required the least amount of academic courses and at the time, i was really over the traditional structured idea of school, so i decided to apply and got in. it was a bit impulsive, but discovering the contemporary art world was really new and different than my previous academic life- it felt very freeing and full of possibility, like i was finally good at something.”85930012theblog: how’s life as a new mama?

emily:“it’s wonderful. i still find myself completely overwhelmed with the idea that there is now this tiny human being living in our house. everything she does is basically the most impressive thing my husband and i have ever seen. seeing her discover the world and how she takes everything in is really kind of this constantly miraculous thing. time, priorities-everything is different, more urgent. but at the same time there is this casualness to it all, this naturalness to motherhood. i guess i would say that being a new mom is a life full of dualities. it is without a doubt the most challenging and rewarding experience i’ve ever had in my life. i can tell you all the things that makes having a baby difficult-never getting enough sleep, never having personal time to do anything, testing your patience to the limit-but i can’t quite articulate what makes being a parent so particularly amazing. there’s just something about having this little thing who relies on you and loves you so much, who is full of potential, who you made and is made of you. it’s indescribable.”

“i really want her to grow up knowing my creative spirit.”

theblog: do you find creating more fun with a baby?

emily: “ha! well, i will say that it is difficult to do much of anything with a new baby. but my creative self has definitely felt a sense of renewal and the mindset that i’m in now is much more productive and spontaneous. life is less dramatized and nowadays, whenever i have a tiny window of time i’m using it to it’s fullest potential because that time is so rare. lucy has definitely been a great source of inspiration-not just for the videos but as a reason for making. i really want her to grow up knowing my creative spirit. i think all parents must find themselves being more creative. you spend a lot of time just playing. she’s still a bit small, but i’m looking forward to the really fun stuff like making castles out of cardboard boxes and putting some sort of band together with the dog.”85930008

theblog: do you think you’ll keep doing these videos when lucy gets older? 

emily: “you know, i’m really not sure. right now we’re having a lot of fun with them and are planning to continue making them but i feel like they may evolve. once she’s older we’ll have to consider how she’ll want to be involved and if she wants to be involved at all. but i’m also interested in exploring other avenues within this format. i’m just really looking forward to seeing where this all goes.”85930015

CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD

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for the past month i haven’t really spent a weekend at home- between traveling for the holidays and spending time in orange county, my poor bed started to wonder if i’d ever come back. this weekend i decided to stay in la to clean and reorganize my apartment because “new year, new me” is in full flux… yesterday morning, i did laundry, put new sheets on my bed, dusted my shelves and had a dance party because what else do you do when you clean?? and then-i got hungry. not really wanting to brave the sunday brunch hour, i decided to make something at home. so i pulled a cookbook off the bookshelf and made some chocolate chip banana bread. *warning* this banana bread is like crack, please bake responsibly-only if you are a strong and independent woman…i mean only if you are strong willed… yeah, will power.

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ingredients: 1 1/3 cups light brown sugar-2 eggs-1 cup mashed banana-2 1/4 cups flour-1 teaspoon baking powder-1 teaspoon baking soda-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon-1 teaspoon ground ginger-1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted-semi sweet chocolate chips-

ccbb-5ccbb-8ccbb-6preheat oven to 325ºf. put the sugar and eggs in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until well incorporated. beat in the mashed banana.

add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger to the sugar mixture. mix it thoroughly until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the egg mixture. pour in the melted butter and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed.

pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth over with a palette knife. bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. let the cake cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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THE PEOPLE. Hannah Efron

55490007hannah is one of my dearest friends so when i told her about this idea, i was so glad that she agreed to be a part of it. hannah and i first met through a mutual friend in high school but it wasn’t until after we graduated that we became close friends. hannah is an artist living with her fiancé in cortona, itlay. she graduated with a bfa in painting from biola university. when i went to see her work i fell in love, so much so that i bought one of her paintings. i found her life and artwork exciting and inspiring. i loved hearing her talk about it which is what led me to explore the idea of writing about it. i wanted to create a space to document honest portraits of people telling their stories; what they do, what inspires them, why they create. by starting this piece on the blog, i’ll be photographing and interviewing other creatives and posting under THE PEOPLE. whether you’re an artist, wood maker, cook, designer…whatever you may be, we want to hear your story. so without further ado, here is the first installment of THE PEOPLE. featuring the beautiful and talented hannah efron.

theblog: what has it been like adjusting to life in cortona?

hannah: “it has been tough but really beautiful. when i moved here last year i had a really hard time adjusting to everything. i missed my friends and family and the familiarity of my life in california…i still do, but i’ve adapted and i’m happy to call this place my home. i’m still here a year and a half later and i love it. i speak the language now and have integrated myself into the community. i have friends who i love dearly here and i have a boyfriend (now fiancé) who is the most interesting and loving person in the world. i’m convinced of it. bless his patient soul.”

“when i came back from the states after studying here i felt like california wasn’t the same to me as it had been before.”

theblog: what brought you to cortona and what made you want to stay?

hannah: “i studied art here about two years ago. it was a study abroad program with the university of georgia. it was the best. i fell in love with the culture and the language and the food, obviously. i also stumbled across a young chap who i fell in love with. when i came back to the states after studying here i felt like california wasn’t the same to me as it had been before. maybe because after you live on the other side of the world for a few months nothing feels the same. my life in california was lovely but it began to feel smaller and smaller in the sense that i knew the world was bigger. my relationship with my boyfriend continued long distance and one day i decided that i would move to itlay after i graduated and i did. and that was that.”

55490003theblog: everyone knows each other in that town, do you miss los angeles and how big it is?

hannah: “you know, it’s funny- when i first moved here i didn’t know anyone. i had a deep longing to build friendships and see familiar faces everyday. i wanted to be a part of the group of ladies that gossiped outside the grocery store every morning. i used to feel annoyed that everyone knew me only as the american. they would all speak to me in broken english and i would speak to them in broken italian, i guess we both wanted practice. over time it became a playful game and i feel like people were genuinely excited to see me so they could practice their english. in LA i always wanted to slide under the radar. i wanted to quickly grab my whiskey at the bar and sit down with people i knew and people i could have familiar conversation with. because cortona is such a small town, after a little over a year the people here feel familiar to me. i like that. all that to say i do enjoy leaving my house and saying hello to everyone i pass.”

55490001theblog: where is your favorite place to go in cortona-your happy place?

hannah:”this gelato place called snoopy’s. that’s where i feel most happy. all jokes aside…kind of… my favorite place to go is to the top of the town where you can look over the entire valley. i don’t know why i like it, i just do. it makes me feel good.”

theblog: when did painting start for you?

hannah: “i don’t recall a specific time when painting started for me. when i was a kid it was my favorite thing to do. i am and always have been introverted and it was something i could do by myself. i liked making stuff and i’ve always liked the feeling of pushing paint around.”

“painting has always meant discovery to me. it’s always been very natural. it’s my quiet place.”

theblog: what inspires you?

hannah: “people say i’m often distracted but i’m usually just overly intrigued by something around me, so yeah i guess that is distraction but average things inspire me. it’s a puzzle translating things i see and hear into abstractions and i like that. puzzles are fun”

theblog: are you inspired differently in italy than you are in california?

hannah: i am but i’m not. colors and shapes in my paintings have become more subtle but they always seem to be as they’re supposed to. i’ve always seen my paintings as recordings in my life. it’s pretty simple actually. if i see something i like, i paint it. different seasons in my life are very obvious to me when i look at my work.”

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THE WORLD: ITALY

55480021after my stop in stockholm, i was on my way to italy to see my dear friend hannah. i took a bus, plane and train to get to cortona and after a full day of traveling, it felt so good to see a familiar face and such a cute one at that! i met hannah’s boyfriend luca, their new pup milo (mee-lo) and i finally got to see the place that hannah’s been calling home for the past year and a half. after i arrived we met up with luca’s friends and went out for drinks and dinner. luca told me how they all grew up together, knowing each other’s families and playing on the same futbol team… he was explaining to me how where they’re from you’re born and raised there and you don’t really leave- his reasoning “why would you want to leave?” after my time there … even i didn’t want to leave!

in the mornings, hannah and i would walk down to the piazza with milo to get breakfast before she went to work. milo and i would wave goodbye as she left for the train, then make our way back home for some good old fashioned puppy cuddles. 55400003luca is an amazing cook and he really knows his stuff. i felt so spoiled having these two cook for me. coming from someone who is pretty terrible in the kitchen, eating delicious homemade meals was a highlight of my trip. for lunch they made homemade fish tacos… i still have dreams about it and hannah’s habanero peach jam!55480011

5548001655480019most of the time milo and i would keep each other company while we waited for our food to be ready. 55480012on sunday we went to luca’s parent’s house. his parents had a fig tree and we picked some right from the branch, they were so sweet! all the food here is so fresh, luca picked basil from the garden and made pesto from scratch for our pasta. like i said… he knows his stuff!55460018

we took a trip to florence so hannah could take me to eat the most delicious sandwich on the planet…i stand by my last statement.55450012florence55450004

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