Friday Favorites - 3.24.17

 “I’d never seen anything like it before, but it fitted to me exactly. It’s something that’s in the air – it’s different. The sky is different, the wind is different. I shouldn’t say too much about it because other people may be interested and I don’t want them interested.” - Georgia O'Keeffe on New Mexico

I haven't been so great about blogging lately. Mostly because the days are longer and I'm spending every moment possible outside. duh. But here are some things I've loved this week:

This Place

I went to Taos this past weekend and stayed in an earthship! It was so perfect and beautiful and relaxing. I was completely off the grid in the middle of nowhere outside of town - I really can't recommend it enough. You can read more about earthships and Taos here.  And/or watch my instagram story below:

This Data

I am currently reading 4 different books. And although I am not tracking a specific reading goal this year - I still project somewhere around 50 books read. While that sounds like a lot (and it is) think about all the books that exist! I want to read them all! But can I?

Emily Temple at Literary Hub decided to find out. She used data from the Social Security Life Expectancy Calculator and the average number of books read by different groups per year to find how many books you can still read in your lifetime. I've got around 2,800 left! I better choose wisely :) Look at the data here

This Recipe

I am restricting myself from meat for March (and into April for Lent), so I have been trying lots of vegetarian recipes (but mostly eating a lot of bread, french fries, veggie pizza, and macaroni and cheese haha). Anyways, I've found a winner! Buffalo Tofu!

Tofu?! It might sound scary if you've never worked with it, but this recipe is super easy and tastes so amazing I made it two days in a row. Head over to Killing Thyme for the recipe here (and thank me later) :)

This Timeline

The Atlantic recently went live with their "Life Timeline" You enter in your birthday and they give you a personalized timeline of world events from your birth into the future. Each event links to an article for more info. Some of it was meh but most of mine was pretty interesting. Try it for yourself here. 

This Soundtrack (and show)

Have you been watching Big Little Lies?? If you haven't, block out some time and get someones HBO password ASAP. The show is pretty addictive, but the best part is the soundtrack. While there is no official soundtrack, much has been written about the music on the show and you can find all the songs cataloged in many places. Find the songs from Episode 5 here. And this spotify playlist for more:

Happy Friday! I'm headed to California next week - follow along @emhart11 :)

Friday Favorites - 3.3.17

“I thrive in structure. I drown in chaos.” 
― Anna Kendrick

I am, generally, a structured person. I started this Friday series in order to add some structure and deadlines into this blogging experiment. I have found through the experiment that while I really do enjoy the structure of a set post and the openness of the "five things I am interested in" outline - I want to try to add in more variability. 

I have found myself super busy recently and I don't want this to be a chore - it's supposed to be fun! Lately these posts have amounted to over five pages per week (single spaced!) of writing so I'm not going to shoot for five long researched interesting things each week - just things I'm thinking about - leave the longform for their own posts when I have the time and desire. And of course, this could change - maybe next Friday :) That's  the cool thing about this experiment - it is mine. It is literally my name and I can make it whatever I want it to be. So here are some of the things I really love this week. 

This Place

I was going through some old files this week and stumbled upon a brochure I picked up at Ghost Ranch a couple of years ago. Since then, I have basically been thinking non stop about it. Ghost Ranch was one of Georgia O'Keeffe's homes in New Mexico, and is now a retreat center where you can visit overnight or just on a day trip. 

It's no secret I love Georgia (read below for more evidence) and the desert. I could live in this picture. The smells, the sounds, the color, heck - even the dirt - I love it all. 

Ghost Ranch (and New Mexico in general) is a magical place that I highly recommend visiting. Find more info here

And read more about my adventures in New Mexico here, herehere, here, here, here, and here

This Article

The Brooklyn Museum just opened an exhibit on Georgia O'Keeffe - but not just her paintings, an exhibit featuring her style. Her persona. Anyone who is an O'Keeffe fan has no doubt been inspired by her sartorial choices, her words, and her attitude. The exhibit has paintings, as well as some of her clothing, and a retrospective of the many photographs taken of her. She is an icon in all three areas - and now I have a great reason to get back to Brooklyn to check it out. It runs from today through July 23.

More information on the exhibit here.

More information on O'Keeffe's here and here


This Quote

I love a good inspirational quote and I've been coming back to this one a lot this week:

"We don't see things as they are - we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

Life is so much easier (i.e. less annoying) when I remember this. So often (like, um, always) we assign judgement to others and their actions based on our own values. While I don't think it's realistic to refrain from any judgement, it's important to remember that it's all subjective. 

This seems super obvious, but the older I get the more I realize that the "obvious" things in life seem to be the easiest to forget. I have to constantly remind myself of these seemingly simple things. And it's not for others - sure, it's better for them if I don't judge them based on my own values - but remembering this is for me. My life is infinitely better when I stop assigning value judgments. Or, when I do, realizing that I have and remembering this quote. 

What are some of your favorite "obvious" quotes/sentiments?

This Thought

I always say that rather than thinking, creating, being etc.. "outside the box" that I just want a bigger box. I've been thinking about this a lot - I even wrote about it here. Structure is so important. Even if that structure is super limited. I need an expectation or a goal in order to succeed. I think many of us do.  Creativity testing has actually found that people are more creative when they encounter more obstacles, not when they are given total freedom. 

I really like a lot in this article. Here are some excerpts:

"The box itself has always represented limits, but why are those limits bad? And why can’t you simply expand those limits rather than ignoring them? Having limits provides an anchor or catalyst for your thinking, not a constraint. It’s actually how you go about thinking through the solutions that can be the real limit."

"Starting with the box, however, the sides give you concrete limits and useful details you can anchor your thinking around. But they don’t have to be the fixed limits everyone thinks they are. By examining those supposed limits, which are represented by the sides of the box, you can actually expand them to make your box bigger. And your “box” doesn’t have to be square. Add sides if needed to represent your specific situation."

What do you think? Do you work best inside a box? Outside? Within a bigger box?

This Media

Y'all! Are you listening to this podcast?? It is so good. If you don't know the background, Richard Simmons hasn't been seen in public for over three years now. The podcast features interviews and narrations by his friends in order to come to some sort of conclusion of what the heck happened. Of course, the premise itself is a bit icky, but it doesn't feel toooo exploitative or gross due to the hosts - who is a friend of Richards - genuine concern. 

Anyways, only three 30-minute podcasts have been released so far, but it's already been called "like Serial but better" - the highest possible podcast praise. I am hooked and I'm sure you will be too - listen here

And read more about Simmons and his public disappearance here and here

Happy Friday :)

taos - new mexico

"My needle is slow to settle, varies a few degrees, and does not always point due southwest, it is true, and it has good authority for this variation, but it always settles between west and south-southwest. The future lies that way to me, and the earth seems more unexhausted and richer on that side." - Henry David Thoreau

There are a few places I've been where I feel most like myself - more alive and understood without saying anything. Taos New Mexico is one of those places.

I have been going for long weekends as often as I can since I've moved back to Colorado and it's the place I get asked about most frequently. It's a 5ish hour drive from Denver so it's a great long weekend destination. Not convinced? Look at these pictures and maybe read my absolutely biased opinions on one of my favorite small towns. 

Taos was incorporated in 1934, and has a population of only 5,731 people. There is a small downtown plaza with neighborhoods of adobe houses surrounding it on mostly dirt and gravel roads. Taos has a distinctly "dirtier" vibe than nearby Santa Fe - part of why I like it. It has over 80 art galleries (seriously), is 81% democratic (seriously), has several ski areas nearby, 3 art museums, is/has been home to Aldous Huxley, Gary Johnson, D.H. Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Donald Rumsfeld and allegedly the "Taos Hum" - a reported widespread low frequency hum in the area that was referenced on Unsolved Mysteries and the X-Files. It is an eclectic place to say the least.

Bordering Taos on the North side is the Taos Pueblo that has been around since somewhere between 1000-1450 AD and is one of the oldest continually inhabited communities in the United States. You can visit the Pueblo (and you should) for a small fee and either catch a tour or roam around yourself. While there are 1,900 Taos indians living in the area there are only about 150 that live in the Pueblo year round. I had some fascinating conversations just wandering around with the people who live and work in the Pueblo. 

One of the best things about Taos is that you can spend a weekend there and never even go into the city. The town is spread out with many interesting abodes. One of the places I come back to often is a geodesic earth dome (below). I've stayed several times and it's the perfect peaceful retreat. I only met the property manager once - briefly - who explained that this area is known as "introvert heaven" and I understand why. I've spent entire weekends here cooking, reading, painting, taking long baths, laying in the grass outside, and not speaking to another person the entire time. Heaven indeed. 

I've also stayed in a couple of tiny homes/airstreams/vintage trailers - this one is in the same area as the dome and was also the perfect place to spend a weekend alone. I read three books, drank wine, watched the sunsets, and then woke up with the sunrise for three days and it was magical. There is something about the sky in New Mexico - I could sit and stare for hours. 

But what if you're not like me and want to leave your weird tiny lodgings? You're in luck - there's so much to do! Hot springs are all over New Mexico but to get the authentic experience you have to go to the free and natural springs on the river. Manby Hot Springs/Stagecoach hot springs are a collection of hot spring pools on the bank of the Rio Grande. It was a location in the movie "Easy Rider" and is popular with locals. The hike down is not too long or difficult but it's a hike so be prepared. The pools are at the bottom and are clothing optional so, again, be prepared :) 

I've found several different (wrong) directions online so here are my hopefully sorta kinda accurate (as much as you can be in this town) directions:

Take highway 64 west from town towards the Rio Grande Gorge bridge and turn right on Tune Rd. Take the road about 4 miles (all dirt) and stay left at the Y. There is an upper parking lot if you don't have a high clearance vehicle and a lot right at the trailhead if you do. The trailhead is a short walk to the left. If I missed a step just go towards the gorge :) 

Not into naked hippies or hiking? Head to Taos Mesa Brewing which is just a short drive from the springs. The original "mothership" is actually in El Prado - an unincorporated Taos suburb - but there is now also a smaller downtown tap room location. It was built in the same sustainable building style of the Earthships down the road (and down this blog post) with salvaged materials and within 5 years it should be totally off the grid. The beer is good, the food is good, they have live music, an awesome outdoor space, and tons of cool people. Also - the best view of the majestic Sangre de Cristos. 

Another 6 miles down the road in El Prado is Earthship Biotecture World Headquarters. An Earthship is a type of passive solar home that is made from recycled, salvaged, and up-cycled materials (tires, bottles, cans etc). You can visit the model home and learn about Earthships as well as rent one for the night - next on my list. The community was started in Taos by architect Michael Reynolds but Earthships can now be found all over the world. It's a fascinating topic and the homes are super artistic and livable. Definitely worth a visit. 

If you're not convinced yet - check out the festival schedule, some of the art galleries, the nearby high and low roads from Taos to Santa Fe, the ski valley, watch this episode of the X-Files, or just listen to this little ditty:


inspiration: georgia o'keeffe

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for." - Georgia O'Keeffe
georgia o keeffe

As an artist (and a person) I'm always looking for inspiration. To say that Georgia O'Keeffe is an inspiration would be an understatement. There is a reason she is the most famous female artist and one of the most photographed and written about women of the last century. 

So rather than add to the vast writing about O'Keeffe I'll try to (briefly) explain why I personally am drawn to not just her work, but her life and her spirit. 

"To create one's world in any of the arts takes courage.” - Georgia O'Keeffe

I've only been seriously painting for the last year or so and all that time I have fought a bit of an inner battle over sharing my work. While my constant social media stream may say otherwise, it is difficult to put your work out for judgement. Making anything is an act of courage and O'Keeffe is a great example of living courageously.

O'Keeffe made art her way when female artists weren't as respected as they are now. She was the first woman to have a retrospective show at the MoMA and as her obituary in the New York Times noted, she "raised the awareness of the American public to the fact that a woman could be the equal of any man in her chosen field…she left her mark on the history of American art and made it possible for other women to explore a new gamut of symbolic and ambiguous imagery.”

ghost ranch
ghost ranch

Chimney Rock trail at ghost ranch, Abiquiu NM

"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not. ” - Georgia O'Keeffe

I am inspired by O'Keeffe to take time to look at things deeply. To take all the beauty that surrounds me and create without excuses or reservations. 

The New York Times noted that she "would wrap herself in a blanket and wait, shivering, in the cold dark for a sunrise to paint; would climb a ladder to see the stars from a roof, and hop around in her stockings on an enormous canvas to add final touches before all the paint dried."  

That is how I want to live my life. 

Photos: Left  Right

"I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” - Georgia O'Keeffe

I think about this quote a lot - especially on planes (ha) But seriously, I've made a great effort the last few years to acknowledge fear and keep going. I would never have some of the amazing experiences that I have if I allowed fear to rule. And because of that, one of the greatest compliments I can receive is that I am brave. 

Georgia was brave - brave in her art and her life. She lived the way she wanted to and did the things she wanted to. She made the backseat of her Ford Model A into a painting studio, she took a rafting trip down the Colorado river at 74 and painted until she became blind - (but then she started sculpting!) She was always evolving and paving the way for so many women and artists to come after her. 

There are so many things that are inspirational to me about O'Keeffe I could ramble on and on but her work and photographs are (of course) the main inspiration. So here are a few of my favorites, some paintings I'm working on, pictures from a few visits to the Georgia O'Keeffe museum in Santa Fe and Ghost Ranch (one of her homes) in Abiquiu, and a short video if you're as much of a fan girl as I am! Enjoy and be inspired :)

Photos: Left   Right

ghost ranch

Photos: Left Right

Photos: Left Right

ghost ranch

She once famously said of Cerro Pedernal (pictured):

"It’s my private mountain. It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it." - Georgia O'Keeffe

If you've made it this far check out this video from the O'Keeffe museum (that I have watched in its entirety all three times I've visited) :) 

to the moon and back

Day four in New Mexico. I woke up early to hit the road to Alamogordo. The drive from Roswell was about 2 hours through beautiful country. 

The only thing I had planned was a visit to White Sands National Monument, leaving time for some roadside attractions. 

Luckily I saw a sign for the New Mexico Museum of Space History! Obviously I had to stop. 

You start on the fourth floor and work your way down the museum chronicling the history of space in New Mexico. You also get to practice landing the space shuttle (see above - I crashed only once or twice) There is also a cool Space Hall of Fame with filmmakers as this years inductees. 

At the end of the exhibits you can dress up as an astronaut for pictures. I was flying solo so I chose not to put on the full spacesuit but.. next time. Also, in a once in a lifetime moment (like being on the moon) specify what you want when asking strangers to take your picture. This scene was way cooler in real life. ahhhh #solotravelproblems

Then it was time for the main event - White Sands! I stopped at the Visitor Center on the way in but passed on renting a sled (mistake). My National Parks Pass got me in without admission and I started driving towards the most surreal landscape I'd ever seen (and remember, I was on the moon just minutes before) 

The road quickly goes from paved to completely sand covered and you really feel like you are in a different world. It was super windy so I didn't stay as long as I wanted. BUT ... you can camp in the backcountry on the dunes so I see a longer trip in my future.. and sunset pictures!

But until then - daylight pictures are alright too. Although they don't do any justice to the place. You have to see it for yourself! 

Still mastering the camera timer - and maybe got in a fight here?

After I left I headed back up North for my next adventure. Until next time White Sands..