Wicked Tulips

It’s been a busy spring, but one thing that took priority on my calendar was a trip to Wicked Tulips. I asked my favorite fellow photographer Forrest Elliott to join me, and we headed out at around 6pm to catch sunset on the farm. I had visited earlier in the week with my boys, but…

It’s been a busy spring, but one thing that took priority on my calendar was a trip to Wicked Tulips. I asked my favorite fellow photographer Forrest Elliott to join me, and we headed out at around 6pm to catch sunset on the farm. I had visited earlier in the week with my boys, but the sun was high in the sky and it wasn’t the right time for pictures. I am SO SO glad I went back at sunset. It was a truly magical experience. If you live in New England put this on your calendar for next spring because Wicked Tulips is absolutely worth a visit (and order your tickets early; they sell out, especially on the weekends). As for the pictures where I’m in them…those are from Forrest, and I love them (and that is saying a lot because I’m super awkward in front of the camera!). I always love adventures that inspire my love of photography and leave me wanting to take a thousand photos. I hope I captured just a bit of the beauty here to share with you…

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Spring has sprung. For real this time! There were a few false starts and warm days that quickly turned cold, but the blossoms are out and the sun is showing itself more and more with each passing day. Every single year I forget how incredibly gorgeous Rhode Island is in the spring. This year, local…

Wicked Tulip Farm4Spring has sprung. For real this time! There were a few false starts and warm days that quickly turned cold, but the blossoms are out and the sun is showing itself more and more with each passing day. Every single year I forget how incredibly gorgeous Rhode Island is in the spring. This year, local flower nerds were abuzz with the gossip that a pick-your-own tulip farm was opening in Johnston, Rhode Island. Anyone who knows me well knows that I penciled in a flower date the very minute I heard the news! Wicked Tulip Farm2 Wicked Tulip Farm9 Wicked Tulip Farm1If you are local- or even within an hour drive- I would highly suggest a trip to Wicked Tulips Flower Farm. The tulips are so gorgeous, and there are so many varieties and colors. If you plan to go on the weekend, it might be smart to buy your tickets ahead of time. It was packed on a Thursday morning, so I can only imagine that the weekends will certainly be crowded. Wicked Tulip Farm7Wicked Tulip Farm Wicked Tulip Farm13 Wicked Tulip Farm6 Wicked Tulip Farm5 I let the boys pick our tulips and I was so surprised at the colors they chose. Our bouquet was stunning- in fact several people stopped to comment on it! Of course with Vijay wearing his SpiderMan costume and a random dinosaur mask, I suppose we were rather hard to miss! Wicked Tulip Farm11 Wicked Tulip Farm12 Wicked Tulip Farm14

Home Again

In past years I have gone through a mourning period upon returning home from Michigan.  This year it felt good to be home, and that, my friends, is HUGE.  I have struggled for years to accept Providence as my home.  I have always enjoyed this city, but it always felt like a semi-permanent residence, despite…

_MG_3772In past years I have gone through a mourning period upon returning home from Michigan.  This year it felt good to be home, and that, my friends, is HUGE.  I have struggled for years to accept Providence as my home.  I have always enjoyed this city, but it always felt like a semi-permanent residence, despite the fact that we own and love our home and have found a great community.  But this was the year where it all fell into place, and I worked really hard on adjusting my thinking to view my city in a positive light, despite its issues.  Because let’s face it…there is no such thing as a perfect place.

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_MG_7410Upon returning home the first thing we did was pay a visit to our farmers market.  Oh how I’ve missed our market.  We are in the middle of some major kitchen work (more on that later) and so I was limited in what I could buy since we are without a place to cook for the next two weeks.  So basically we just bought a ton of fruit and ate it all day long!  The following day the boys and I drove to the Cape to help my friend Sarah celebrate her daughter Emily’s birthday.  It was the loveliest party and I was once again blown away by Sarah’s creativity.  Would you look at those cupcakes and cookies?  She made it all, even down to the starfish hair clip (embellished with french knots) in Emily’s hair.  Although we are already midway through August, summer still feels delicious and although we ache for the lake, and miss my parents terribly, it sure is good to be home.

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Providence Design*Sponge City Guide

For years now, whenever someone emails me with questions about Providence- where to shop, eat and explore- I direct them to the guide that I wrote for Design*Sponge.  In my mind it was still current, but a few months ago I realized that it had been five years!  Needless to say, it was time for…

The Shop1For years now, whenever someone emails me with questions about Providence- where to shop, eat and explore- I direct them to the guide that I wrote for Design*Sponge.  In my mind it was still current, but a few months ago I realized that it had been five years!  Needless to say, it was time for an update.  As with any relationship, the one I have with my city is full of ups and downs.  I love the vibrant food scene, the fact that we can afford a lovely house yet are in walking distance of everything.  I love my community garden and farmer’s market, and the coffee shop where they know just how I like my iced latte.  I love our neighbors and the fact the kids run back and forth between yards to play with each other.  But the public schools are not great, we deal with high crime rates, and occasionally I yearn for more space and the beauty of nature out my back window.  I’m learning as I get older that nothing is perfect- there is no perfect place to call home.  That being said, I’m pretty darn happy with Providence (for the moment!).  I’d love for you to pop over to Design*Sponge and see the guide that I put together.  It is chock full of all my favorite spots around the city.  We’re lucky to call this vibrant, creative, design-savvy, food-obsessed city home.

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Providence, around town

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Summer Meltdown

This past week I’ve been in mourning.  We came back “home” to Providence and I was hit with the realization that I didn’t want to be here.  I left my heart in Michigan, so to speak, and the transition back here has been difficult.  The first night home was filled with the loudness of city…

_MG_3170This past week I’ve been in mourning.  We came back “home” to Providence and I was hit with the realization that I didn’t want to be here.  I left my heart in Michigan, so to speak, and the transition back here has been difficult.  The first night home was filled with the loudness of city life- neighbors yelling, cars revving, sirens blaring- and I didn’t sleep a wink, missing that country darkness and quiet.  Slowly, slowly I am finding my feet again, readjusting to life here in Providence.  Luckily, the kids are so happy-go-lucky that the transition hasn’t been hard on the at all- they loved our time in Michigan for all that it was, and they were happy to be back home to their pool and their friends.  Oh to be a kid again- it was all so simple!

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_MG_3231As always, my garden and farmers market bring me joy, especially now that they have reached their summer peak.  The garden is bursting with 10-foot-tall sunflowers, in every variety imaginable.  I planted some in my plot this year, and I absolutely love the pop of color among the greens and tomatoes.  The boys come along to help, still wearing their wet bathing suits from the pool.  We have to peel the suits off every night, managing only because we promise they can put them back on first thing in the morning.  What are we going to do when the pool closes?  There will surely be tears!

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_MG_3223Last night, as we walked to the garden, sitting in front of the school (where my community garden is) there was a large group of men, sitting around drinking and smoking pot, the ground around them strewn with litter and broken bottles.  This is my garden.  This is the public school where our kids would attend if we stay here.  I went into the garden, chaining the lock behind us, feeling worried as I turned my back to water and weed.  This is Providence…and we’re back.  At this moment, there is not much more to say.

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Squam in the City

Six years ago, as a brand new, struggling writer, I attended my first Squam.  I was there to cover the weekend for UPPERCASE magazine, and I brought along my mom for moral support.  When the classes and festivities were over, I met Elizabeth at her house on the hill and interviewed her for my story. …

Six years ago, as a brand new, struggling writer, I attended my first Squam.  I was there to cover the weekend for UPPERCASE magazine, and I brought along my mom for moral support.  When the classes and festivities were over, I met Elizabeth at her house on the hill and interviewed her for my story.  A connection was made that has only grown deeper with time.  When she was looking for a new place to call home after leaving New Hampshire, I invited her to spend some time with me in Providence never dreaming that this would be the city where she would choose to move.  Lo and behold, months later, with Vijay, then only a tiny babe, strapped to my chest I waded through knee deep snow to check out apartments for Elizabeth.  Wouldn’t you know the apartment that she ended up choosing (or rather I chose it for her- “we’ll take it” I blurted to the agent, before even asking Elizabeth!), and where she still resides today, can be seen out my front window.

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2732023334_4fac2c8847_oElizabeth has fallen hard for this city, as I have since we moved here almost seven years ago.  I am so excited to share that Squam is now coming to Providence, offering an amazing roster of teachers.  Photography walks to capture both the gritty urban side along with the historic, cobblestone streets, perfume making with a local shop owner, mixed media, and historic walks through the neighborhoods of the city.  That doesn’t even touch on the great stuff that will be happening outside of class.  Providence has a world class restaurant scene- the local food movement here is off the hook.

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c9445-img_0359In fact, check out what the press has had to say about our little city this year:

WHY PROVIDENCE IS THE COUNTRY’S BEST SMALL CITY: Amazing architecture, great food, wall-to-wall culture — Rhode Island’s capital has it in spades.” – ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST 

“PROVIDENCE is a new destination for food-obsessed travelers as it is “home to one of the nation’s top cooking schools and a thriving restaurant scene.”- New York Magazine

ONE of AMERICA’S BEST CITIES FOR FOODIES  TRAVEL + LEISURE 

PROVIDENCE, unsurprisingly, has exceptional food, compelling art and architecture, a thriving gay scene and an inordinate number of very smart people. Yet the city remains unpretentious and affordable.” – New York Times

Whatever you’re into, I’d love for you to join us here in Providence.  I’ll be popping in and out all weekend long, and I just know it is going to be a good time.  You can find out more (and register) HERE!

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Musings on Spring

Isn’t spring glorious?  We arrived home to a city in full bloom.  Elegant old trees bursting forth on every street corner.  I asked my mother if spring in Michigan was this colorful because I don’t remember it being so, and there is still a certain novelty I feel toward spring in New England.  I nearly…

_MG_9204Isn’t spring glorious?  We arrived home to a city in full bloom.  Elegant old trees bursting forth on every street corner.  I asked my mother if spring in Michigan was this colorful because I don’t remember it being so, and there is still a certain novelty I feel toward spring in New England.  I nearly drive off the road every time I see an abundance of blossoms.

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_MG_9196And yet this spring feels different than last.  For one, the blossoms have arrived at a later date and things are moving along rather slowly in my garden.  At this time last year I was already nearing my first harvest of radishes, spinach and lettuce.  This year, the shoots have barely broken the surface.  I’ve also noticed that many of the trees seem to be holding out, still waiting for warmer days.  All of the magnolia are in bloom, as well as the apple blossoms, but many of the most magnificent cherry trees are still budding.  I guess we’re moving rather slowly into spring this year.  One warm day forward, two cold days back.

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_MG_9179Oh to return to a city draped in pink.  Aren’t we lucky?  Despite missing grandma and papa something terrible, the boys are just thrilled to continue playing outside.  That’s the problem with going away during the winter months- you come home to snow.  But when you go away in early spring, you return to warm weather and afternoons spent in the backyard.  And thank goodness for that…it certainly helped lessen the blow of reentry into real life.

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Providence’s Garden Scene

It’s been a while since I’ve sung the praises of my adopted hometown, but this past weekend I was once again reminded of the fact that I live in a totally bad ass city.  Perhaps it’s the back to school energy that infuses this college town of ours (seeing all of the wide-eyed freshman finding…

_MG_0493It’s been a while since I’ve sung the praises of my adopted hometown, but this past weekend I was once again reminded of the fact that I live in a totally bad ass city.  Perhaps it’s the back to school energy that infuses this college town of ours (seeing all of the wide-eyed freshman finding their way around Brown’s campus always makes for humorous people watching).  Whatever it is, I’m feeling a contagious energy to get out and explore.  Of course most of the students will never leave the comfort of the East Side, but let me tell you, they are missing out…there are so many interesting pockets of the city.

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_MG_0458Tucked away on a residential street on the South Side of Providence lies City Farm, a wildly abundant urban farm.  I was in the neighborhood working on an Edible Rhody piece, and decided to swing by and snap a few pictures.

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_MG_0477Growing up in a suburb of Michigan, my exposure to community gardens was limited.  Every house had enough of yard to garden, so the idea of tending a plot of land away from home was foreign.  In Providence, you can hardly throw a stone without hitting a community garden.  I belong to one, and I LOVE it.  I cannot stress enough what a learning experience it can be if you find a welcoming, and knowledgeable gardening network.  I didn’t know what I was doing this year, but my plot mates all helped me out.  We look after each others plots while people are on vacation, we trade tomato secrets and pest control advice.  We collectively work to weed and spread compost, wood chips and mulch.  We all seem to take immense pride in the space, and it shows.  However, an urban farm is quite different than a community garden.  This land is being WORKED (annually they produce 2 tons of food in a 3/4 acre space)…and the staff really know what they’re doing, which makes for a great learning experience as a visitor.

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_MG_0512Every available inch of soil is being farmed, and it was inspiring to see how much could be produced on a single city lot.  Each week, City Farm sells their produce at the farmers market.  Think about that- a single city lot can produce enough produce to sustain a large booth at the market (again- 2 tons of food!!).  Imagine the possibilities in your own city- abandoned lots, unused green spaces, all that lawn….makes you think!

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_MG_0497As a beginner gardener, it was inspiring to see how they were growing- the particular way they stake their tomatoes (I’m so growing those deep purple ones next year), which plants they grow together (companion planting- I need to learn so much more), how flowers can add to the beauty of a vegetable garden (this is something I am determined to do next year in my small plot- grow flowers!).  Anywhooo- I promise not to bore you with too many more garden posts; I can’t resist, that’s all I want to photograph these days.  I know the growing season is winding down, and I can’t help but want to soak in the last green moments before colder weather comes a knocking.  But with Squam and a family trip to Montreal coming up this month I promise some travel and adventure to break up the monotony.  Oh and we’re celebrating our six-year anniversary by attending Outstanding in the Field tonight (please stop raining!).  I’m beyond excited, and can’t wait to share.  So there’s that to look forward to…but of course it’s held at a farm, so we’re right back where we started…more gardening stuff.  Thanks for sticking it out with me!

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Seeing the Light

This past week, I treated myself to a photography lesson with the amazing Heidi of White Studio Loft.  I have worked with Heidi on a few shoots now, and I am always amazed at the lightness she captures in her images.  After spending some time reviewing the basic principals of photography (you know, all the…

This past week, I treated myself to a photography lesson with the amazing Heidi of White Studio Loft.  I have worked with Heidi on a few shoots now, and I am always amazed at the lightness she captures in her images.  After spending some time reviewing the basic principals of photography (you know, all the fun stuff, f-stop, shutter speed, iso, etc.), we headed to Jephry Florist, a gorgeous, light filled flower shop on the West Side of Providence.

The goal was to work on capturing natural light- I am often frustrated when I cannot capture that airy, bright light that I so often come across out in the world.  It was a bit scary setting my camera to Manual (I usually shoot in Aperture Priority), but once I got the hang of it, I was thrilled to have such control.

Heidi was such a patient teacher, and she instilled in me such confidence to put into practice what I learned.  Although my photography time is so limited these days, I am excited to get out there and start shooting in manual.  It can be hard to make “me time” a priority these days, but every time I spend a day doing what I love, and learning new skills to further my passion, I realize how important it is to build time for myself into our busy family schedule.

I can’t wait to share the shoot that we staged in the afternoon (hint: it has to do with cocktails!).  I’ll leave you with my favorite images from the morning, a vase filled with gorgeous Hellebore blooms, a sure sign that spring is around the corner.

Phoebe Wahl: A Studio Tour

Yesterday morning, the amazingly gifted Phoebe Wahl welcomed me into her home studio to capture a few snapshots of her work.  I am in absolute awe of her talent, and after seeing her work in Taproot, and commissioning her to make a family portrait, I was left wanting more.  Actually, I would very much like…

Yesterday morning, the amazingly gifted Phoebe Wahl welcomed me into her home studio to capture a few snapshots of her work.  I am in absolute awe of her talent, and after seeing her work in Taproot, and commissioning her to make a family portrait, I was left wanting more.  Actually, I would very much like to live in the world Phoebe creates, where mothers are rosy cheeked, wearing patterned aprons while feeding chickens, babies slung on their back, and fathers have scruffy beards and rough hands from tending the fields and working in their woodshops.  Yes, this is my kind of world.

Phoebe has sketchbook upon sketchbook filled with what she calls “scribbles” (and I call “blow your mind art”)!  If I had a fraction of her talent, I could pretty much die happy.

I especially love that her work celebrates women, child rearing, family, hearth and home.  This is a girl who has her priorities straight (says the mother of two who has been nursing or pregnant for the past 3 years!).

As Phoebe and I chatted, I found myself intrigued by her upbringing- it was clear that her parents placed a high priority on creativity and individuality.  One particular line stuck with me- “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing.”  It is clear that art runs strong through her veins.  We shared our favorite children’s books, and illustrators, a few we had in common, such as Tasha Tudor and Cicely Mary Barker.  Mark my words- Phoebe will one day join their ranks.  And that is her greatest wish- to create children’s books.  We both agreed that no other art form was as formative to us as books- no museum, or great piece of art can compare to the stories we cherished as children.

After studying for several years at RISD, Phoebe traveled abroad for a semester to Scotland, where she studied sustainability, and lived on a tiny island as part of an eco-community.  Her stories were fascinating, as were her sketches influenced by that time in her life.

And please don’t even get me started on her figurines.  I have always had a thing for miniatures, and tiny little beings.  Phoebe’s seem alive, with their rosy cheeks and colorful clothing.  The women with the baby in her arms- love.  Shhh- don’t tell Phoebe but I slipped that one in my pocket 😉

My only regret was that I didn’t capture a picture of Phoebe smiling- she is utterly charming, and really lights up the room.  Anyhow- here she is, in full concentration mode.  And her artful apartment- you can feel, from the moment you step through the door, that this is the home of a true artist.  Thank you, Phoebe, for inviting me into your world.