Portland nightscapes from 937 Glisan Street Condos

It’s not everyday that I get to photograph views from the balcony of one of Portland’s most beautifully architected buildings. 937 Glisan Street Condos, the 16-story LEED Platinum Certified highrise between 9th and 10th is more than the apple of my eye on a morning walk to Pearl Bakery. In fact, is, it has been lauded by Portland’s architectural and design God, Brian Libby, as “…one of the best highrise condo designs of its era”[Click for full article]. Whether it’s the fractal design of its cream brick exterior punctuated by sizable windows and vertical stacks of translucent red balconies, or its pioneering eye for residential sustainability, there are many elements of praise to throw at this 2008 design venture.

Until recent years, Portland was a town of largely low and mid-rises. But burgeoning interest in our bushy beards, free range Thanksgiving turkeys, and poly dating scene has shifted that considerably. Due to the explosion of new construction, it’s increasingly rare to witness uninterrupted views.

This particular condo, a 10th floor one-bedroom facing north onto Hoyt Street and beyond, treats balcony-going visitors to a veritable tour of Portland, all while sipping a red on the cleanly presented patio. It boasts 180-degree views showcasing Portland icons.

937 Western Balcony Views

This western facing image captures the evening outline of the forested hills of Northwest Portland, where we flock to walk our furry friends, have a picnic, or just a good ‘ole convening-with-nature hike. In the lower elevations are the historic brick townhomes from the early 1900s on NW 11th Avenue.

937 Northern Balcony Views

From these townhouses up to the half-moon arc of the famous St John’s bridge, this northerly view is by far the best for people watching, with its sea of lit home interiors.

937 Eastern Balcony Views

Perhaps a more “in” image of the Portland nightscape, here we see a touch of the central branch of the United States Postal Service here in town, whose not insignificant patch of land—14 acres!—will eventually be part of a significant revitalization effort. The string of Christmas lights is the Broadway Bridge, probably carrying one of a number of fans to a Trailblazers basketball game at the Moda Center.  And then of course, there’s the pyramidal tower with a flag and memorable “Go By Train” sign marking Portland’s Union Station. An Amtrak train departing below can get you to Seattle in three and a half hours for $35.

Perhaps it’s true of all cities, but to me, the nighttime views in Portland seed a rather unexpected romance, one that might otherwise be lost in our love of functional footwear and natural deodorants. We may not be a city of outstanding architecture or centuries-old history, but this shoot was a welcome reminder of the eclectic distinction that draws newcomers while anchoring residents.

Event Photography

Lever debuts first office building to use mass timber construction

The future of tall

The Architecture Foundation of Oregon partnered with Lever Architecture to celebrate Albina Yard last week. A four-story, 16,000 square foot building, it houses Tanner Goods and The Wayback on the ground floor, with creative office space in the three stories above. Opened roughly a year ago in September 2016, Albina Yard is the first office building in the country to use mass timber construction.

Lever Architecture, the company that designed the building and later relocated to it after founder and principal Thomas Robinson fell in love with its beautiful Mount Hood views, is well known for pioneering the use of Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). Their other high-profile CLT project, Framework, in Portland’s upscale Pearl District, is likely to become the first wood high-rise in the U.S. It will showcase ground floor retail space, five floors of office space and five floors of affordable housing.

Cross-laminated timber ceiling

Cross-Laminated Timber or “CLT” refers to an engineered wood building system designed to complement light and heavy-timber framing designs. This system has many advantages over its steel and concrete competitors, such as strength, structural flexibility, lightness (75% lighter than concrete!), and energy efficiency.

The energy efficiency element of CLT buildings ranges from carbon sequestration—one cubic meter of wood stores one ton of carbon dioxide—to the prevention of air leakages and thermal gaps through its uniform paneling. In the case of Albina Yard, sourcing was yet another element with energy in mind: its timber frame and Douglas Fir CLT panels were all locally manufactured and prefabricated in Riddle, OR, just a few hours drive south of Portland.

An attendee in conversation

This front to end approach to sustainability in the built environment is part of what Robinson refers to as the “forest-to-frame” approach. Akin to the farm-to-table movement of the culinary world, it aims to foster better relations between architects, contractors and timber suppliers.

Studying cross-laminated timber

Speaking of good relations, The Wayback, one of the two businesses housed in the ground floor of Albina Yard, opened its doors to eventgoers looking to enjoy a cocktail and some artfully spun tunes.

The Wayback interior

The Wayback DJ

As with any successful event, the AFO and Lever arranged to have catered nibbles on all floors and complementary wine, provided by L’angolo Estate—another Lever project success.

Platter of olives and meats

Assorted fruit platter

L'angolo Estate wine

Event Photography

Celebrating the Northwest Film Center’s 45th Anniversary

The Northwest Film Center (NWFC) celebrated it’s 45th Anniversary last Thursday, November 10th at the Portland Art Museum’s Kridel Ballroom. This celebration was a three-part affair for the NWFC, starting with the Northwest Filmmakers Summit in the afternoon, a shorts program screening with a guest judge for a brief Q&A session with filmmakers thereafter, and of course, a big ‘ole party, the Watch.Learn.Make Party.

I photographed the shorts program introduction and Q&A, followed by the party, but I can’t help but show off out of order. I had never been in the Kridel Balloom before, and it looked just lovely all gussied up for the party…

The Room

Kridel Ballroom

In addition to your usual tables and chairs, the Watch.Learn.Make Party had two screens set up on either side of their central projection to show segments of filmmakers’ work throughout the evening.

Screen on display

Every table was adorned with a standing paper promo for the Give Guide. The Northwest Film Center is one of less than 150 nonprofits in the Portland area that were chosen to participate in this annual holiday giving affair, focused on generating donations of $10 and up from people aged 35 years and under. It’s an exclusive drive that is much anticipated in the Portland area.

NWFC Give Guide table setting

The Booze

It’s Oregon, so it wouldn’t be a night on the town with out some Pinot Noir. Elk Cove Vineyards provided 2014 Pinot Noir, which was the gold medal winner at the Cascadia Wine Competition in 2016.

Elk Cove Pinot Noir

I had a touch of déjà vu rounding the beer selections from Sierra Nevada, as I noticed Owl’s Brew on display. A friend and colleague gifted me one of these artisanal tea cocktail mixers over two years ago before it was “a thing.” I’m a huge tea lover, and was happy to see their brand making its way up the event ladder.

Owls Brew and Sierra Nevada beer

That brings me to the food…

The Nibbles

I’m a small woman, so finger foods hold a special place in my heart (and I’d wager to say, in the hearts of most artsy folks, judging by the selection I’m about to share!). This platter below boasted a beautiful display of protein skewers, ranging from chicken to shrimp to roast beef. A peanut dipping sauce anchored this wheel in the center.

Chicken and shrimp skewers

For those with the good fortune of lactose tolerance, this lovely cheese wheel with onions and sun dried tomatoes sprinkled on top awaited. A wreath of crackers kept this festive appetizer company.

Cream cheese spread

These fashionably sliced egg rolls were layered around another platter with dipping sauce, providing a crunchy alternative to the protein skewers mentioned earlier.

Egg rolls

Did  I mention that Masala Pop donated a variety of their delicious handmade Indian-spiced popcorn to the event?

Masala Pop popcorn

The jar in the forefront of this image is a Chai Masala with Assam Tea flavor, but the table also sported Saffron Rose with Sea Salt and Savory Masala with Papadums.

The Shorts Q&A

As I mentioned before, part of the 45th anniversary celebration was the screening of award-winning shorts followed by a question and answer session with a guest judge. This overlapped slightly with the party, but I nipped over before and after the screening to snag a few images. Filmmaker Services Manager, Benjamin Popp, introduced the guest judge to get the evening going.

I’ve now seen Benjamin at multiple NWFC events, and I’m delighted to say that he always wears a smile on his face. Popp is every photographer’s dream!

Benjamin Popp on stage

Following the screening of the seven shorts, the guest judge invited all seven filmmakers up to answer a few of his questions, followed by some burning inquiries by audience members.

Q&A with shorts program filmmakers

The Whitsell is always a little aesthetically challenging given its lack of upward facing stage lighting, but I made out well with some images of the filmmakers from either wing of the room.

Third filmmaker comments

Fifth filmmaker speaks

Seventh filmmaker comments

The schpeals

As soon as the shorts program Q&A wrapped, folks headed back to the Kridel Ballroom for some brief words by the leadership of the NWFC and the Portland Art Museum (PAM) before digging in to the festivities.

Bill Foster, PAM Director, started out:

Bill Foster on stage

Audience response to Foster

Bill was followed by NWFC Education Director Ellen Thomas, who made a pitch for supporting film education through the Give Guide. As I mentioned earlier, the Northwest Film Center is one of less than 150 organizations that was selected to participate in this annual holiday donation drive focused on folks ages 35 years and younger.

Ellen Thomas pitches the Give Guide

Audience response to Thomas

It’s no surprise that Thomas’s speech was particularly captivating to the rising filmmakers in the audience. Not only are they the target audience for the Give Guide campaign, but they also form a significant part of NWFC’s educational focus.

The Guests

As the evening progressed, I met some lovely film supporters in attendance, like Ron Craig of the Astoria International Film Festival (AIFF). AIFF screens in the fall of each year in Astoria, Oregon, where none other than childhood favorite The Goonies (1985) was filmed.

Ron Craig and co

It wouldn’t be a party without some dancing, right? These two lassies below enjoyed some pinot noir and pinot gris, courtesy of Elk Hill Vineyard, as they rocked out to the tunes of XRayFM.

Dancing women holding wine

One of the honored guests of the evening was Brooke Jacobson, founder of the Northwest Film Center. Brooke may have had a cane, but her legacy and determination made it seem like more of a prop than a necessity. Go Brooke!

Brooke Jacobson and co

As the evening came to a close, I snapped an image of the Northwest Film Center’s staff—the very folks who worked so hard to make this evening a reality.

NWFC Staff

Event Photography

A quince-idence and winter prep at North Portland’s community orchard

Quince up close

As many of you know, I frequently volunteer my photo services to Portland-based nonprofit, Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP). They may be a small team—three coordinators covering programs and communications, and one executive director—but PFTP manages to host 100+ harvesting events each year at the homes of registered tree owners and at their five community orchards. On top of this, they also organize monthly hands-on educational events at each of these orchards, specializing in the instruction and practice of a variety of topics related to organic fruit tree care: pruning, pollinators, pest prevention, disease management, irrigation, soil health, and more.

All orchards’ educational series wraps in October/November of each calendar year with a final session on winter orchard prep. In the case of Fruits of Diversity Community Orchard (FoD), nestled in the Portsmouth neighborhood of North Portland, this year’s session was unique indeed. To the delight of many, it included the harvest of a hardy late season fruit that thrives in the Northwest: quince!

Introducing quince

The very word may conjure a big fat blank for you—and you’re not alone! That’s why everyone who signed up for this work session gathered ’round for a brief introduction and a few pointers on quince and winter orchard prep by PFTP’s Orchard Programs Coordinator, April Jamison.

Orchard quince harvest and mulching

It was a sunny day, especially for October in the Northwest, so volunteers circled up in the back of the orchard in the shade of the very trees there were destined to harvest. April, featured at center below, gave a great intro to this curious quince fruit, starting with a history, followed by some culinary traditions from around the world, and harvesting tips.

Orchard quince harvest and mulching intro

I studied abroad in Spain, so I was familiar with membrillo, the wine-colored paste that is often paired with a hard Manchego cheese. But what I didn’t know, was that quince formed the base for it. Membrillo basically quince cooked with sugar for a couple hours. Another fun fact from this brief meditation on quince, was its use in savory dishes. Evidently, it’s quite tasty when cooked down with a saltier partner, like pork shoulder.

Mmmmm, pork shoulder…

Harvesting Quince

The quince at Fruits of Diversity Community Orchard takes on a apple-esque shape. It’s a big more squat and more vibrantly yellow than any Golden Delicious I’ve ever set eyes on. Nevertheless, you harvest quince much like you do apples: either by hand or with the use of harvesting poles and ladders.

By Hand

Harvesting quince by hand

Quince trees can vary in height from 10 to 20 feet, depending on the varietal, the environment and its care. For branches in arm’s reach, you can simply lift and twist the fruit to remove it from the tree. Hannah, one of Portland Fruit Tree Project’s vital interns featured above, focuses on the these branches.

With Picking Poles

Harvesting quince with picking poles

More adventurous harvesters can use something called a harvesting pole or picking pole to reach higher fruit. The basket attached to the top of this telescoping pole has unwoven wires at the top that form teeth that effectively grip the fruit at the stem, helping to wiggle them free from the branch. The piece of foam at the base of the basket provides some cushioning so that the fruit doesn’t bruise upon release. This is less of an issue for hard-bodied fruit like quince, but a very important consideration for softer-bodied fruit, like plums.

Fruit picking poles are especially useful because fruit at the top of a tree generally receives the most sun, and is frequently the location of the tree’s best crop (or the most overripe crop, if you harvest late! Hopefully you don’t!).

With hELP (ALWAYS). Plus these nifty aprons…

One of the most enjoyable aspects of a community orchard work session, is that of the the team.  Harvesting fruit is hard work when you have more than one tree, and especially when those trees are loaded with fruit. Nonetheless, with the dozen volunteers at this work session, this group was able to strip 3+ quince trees clean in just an hour. There were even a few late season figs on the opposite end of the orchard that they were able to pick.

Finger wagging over quince

PFTP is a largely volunteer-run organization. They even have volunteers who sew harvesting aprons, like the one you see on the volunteer pictured at left above. These colorful aprons have big pockets in front and zippers on one side that allow harvesters to conveniently store multiple pieces of fruit until they are ready to empty them out into milk crates for weighing and storage. This way, they don’t have to constantly make trips back and forth from the tree to the crate to drop just a few pieces of fruit.

Quince in milk crates

As you can see above, this work session easily yielded more than 100 pounds of quince. In line with PFTP’s tradition, each volunteer was awarded a share of the fruit to take home, and the remaining high-caliber produce was donated to a local food pantry.

Preparing The Orchard For Winter

I spent ten years of my life in California, so when I think of an orchard, I see rows of trees. Followed by more rows of trees. And a few more rows of trees (for good measure).

Winter orchard prep

But the great thing about Portland Fruit Tree Project’s orchards is that they are whole system, whole community spaces, that are meant for both people and plants alike. Part of that philosophy means that they carefully cultivate understory plants. What’s that? Think of it as all the plants growing beneath the trees (the “tree canopy”). When smartly chosen, they can send up valuable minerals from deep in the soil, attract predatory insects that will attack pests, and fix nitrogen—the most important nutrient for healthy, happy plants.

But like the orchard’s fruit trees, the understory and ground floor require regular care. That’s what the second half of this Fruits of Diversity work session was about…


Raking the orchard

Applying mulch to the base of fruit trees in late fall helps protect them from the winter cold. It’s like giving your trees a warm down jacket instead of a lightweight windbreaker. The key to mulching is removing the weeds around the base of the tree before shaping the mulch around it in the shape of a ring. If you’ve ever mulched, then you know how handy a rake can be in moving that organic matter in place. This smiling volunteer made a good choice to save her back with that rake!

Weed Removal

Weeding is always an ever-important task in the orchard and garden alike. When winter sets in, the ground gets harder, making it particularly difficult to remove these organic squatters, so it’s best to give the orchard a good weeding before “putting it to bed” for the winter.

Digging up invasive plants

Ideally you remove a weed roots and all, which an often be tricky by hand. That’s why Wasingolo, pictured above, has decided to enlist the help of a digging shovel. By the looks of his face, I think he got it in the end.

Wheelbarrowing orchard debris

Judging by the amount of debris this strong-armed volunteer is hefting away, Wasingolo wasn’t the only one!

staking Young Trees

Securing trees for the winter

Though it’s frequently unnecessary, some newly planted trees may need a shoulder to lean on during the winters months of the year.  Factors that help determine this are 1) how much wind they will be exposed to, 2) if the tree is already bending quite a bit without support, and 3) if the root system is rather small relative to the tree. If you’re worried about someone making off with your tree, staking it might also be a reasonable deterrent.

Taking Inventory

Interns pose with quinceAs I mentioned above, the community orchard program at Portland Fruit Tree Project is not just about spreading the word of holistic orchard care; it’s about bringing people together in a space that welcomes different interests, abilities, ages and backgrounds.

The orchards bring together emerging leaders in the community, such as the two fall interns pictured at left, as well as partners focused on doing similar work.

One of the pillars of Fruits of Diversity is its partner, Village Gardens. A project of Janus Youth Programs, Village Gardens works to grow economic and leadership development through food. In addition to their support of FoD, they offer 80 garden plots to affordable housing residents in North Portland, support a children’s garden program, sponsor a summer farmers market, and much, much more. The three smiling faces below are from the Village Gardens network.

Village Gardens Team

Though there was one family that had to leave early, I was able to snag an almost complete group photo of 18 of the volunteers, and PFTP staff and interns, who contributed to the day’s work.

Orchard harvest and mulch team

Judging by the tree height behind them, can you fathom that this orchard was planted in April of 2013, not even four year ago?

Event Photography

Planting and Pruning at Green Thumb Community Orchard

April with orchard flags

The saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” But judging by this beautiful morning last Saturday, we may have gotten it backwards!

Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP) had a busy day organizing two related events at Green Thumb Community Orchard last Saturday, April 9th. In honor of of community orchards month, Green Thumb hosted two educational events focused on both fruit tree pruning and plantings.

Tools for orchard care

While pruning involves some smaller-scale tools, the work involved in preparing the soil and planting new growth in the orchard necessitated quite the selection of heavy duty rakes, pitchforks and shovels.

Volunteers sign in

As with any event, Portland Fruit Tree Project asks all volunteers to sign in at the beginning of the event. This lovely lady pictured above was ready for some sun with her wide-brimmed hat. I couldn’t resist honoring her preparedness with a quick snapshot.

Volunteers circle up

The day’s events spanned three hours and two general subjects—pruning and planting—so it was important to corral everyone at the beginning to makes sure folks knew what to do and where to go.

Bob explains pruning techniques

Long-time PFTP Program Manager, Bob Hatton, took a chunk of volunteers to the west side of the orchard, adjacent to the Brentwood-Darlington community orchard, to teach pruning techniques on the rows of espalier trees.

Deciding where to prune

The blossoms were so beautiful, even from afar, that I’d wager to say some volunteers may have had to fight moments of distraction during the pruning demonstration.

Senior volunteer plants understory

One of my favorite parts of educational programming at PFTP, is how intergenerational it can become. Our regulars consist of parents and kids as much as they do parents and grandparents, and grandparents and grandchildren.

Volunteers laughing

There was a slight hitch in the plans for last Saturday’s programming, as a guest speaker was expected to attend, but volunteers just laughed it off. A few hours in the sunshine lightens the hearts of most.

Green Thumb orchard volunteers

I love taking group photos at the end of community orchard events, because unlike PFTP’s harvesting events—which more often than not accommodate just a dozen or so people—the orchard session have virtually no limit on attendance. It’s amazing to see nearly thirty people get together on their Saturday to work together in the dirt.



Here’s what a landing page makeover looks like

This past week, one of my favorite friends and clients, HCA, approached me to freshen up images for the landing page of its new website-to-be.  Each of these images will represent one of the core programs that HCA provides across its whopping portfolio of 70+ apartment communities!

For those of you who may not know, I worked full time with HCA for several years before I turned freelance. Though my responsibilities grew during my tenure, content creation – writing, editing and photography for a myriad of print and online platforms – formed one important part of my role. Needless to say, it’s tough to always find the editing time your inner Virgo desires when image creation is not the only item on your checklist.

…But then, as if in answer to that small creative voice that never quite accepts the 80/20 rule, this opportunity arose for me to return to many of my own photos and make them even better than before. Who could say no to that?

SET 1:

The original image had a really unappealing yellow tinge to it that lent a certain antique feel. The colors of the chalkboard and rug were also not as punchy or primary as the palette that HCA desired for its landing page. Using some crafty selections adjustment layers, I was able to make the back wall a nice bright white and give the chalkboard and rug the lift they needed. I also downplayed the orange hues of the teacher and student’s skin tone from before…Check it out!


ESL program before editing


ESL program after editing

SET 2:

This is not your typical humdrum image (PUN! I love puns…). A great action close-up, this shot needed some love on a few different fronts. For the final edit, I warmed the white balance, bumped up the exposure and punched the colors towards a more primary palette. It’s subtle, but I also burned the drum surface a bit to really bring out the textured surface and that sense of disciplined use.


Drums close-up


Drum beings played

Set 3:

Drums aren’t just for dudes. Karen Carpenter, Cindy Blackman, Sheila Escovedo, Moe Tucker (to name a few ), and now this little lass below, have all touched the beat of our hearts. Like the drum shot above, this image errs a little on the blue side. The subject is also underexposed, as is frequently the case when shots are backlit by daylight. I punched the colors and added a touch ‘o’ sharpening to give us that nice crispy, stock photo feel.I also turned up the temperature and used some selections and levels adjustments to better expose our musician-in-training.

I also want to note here that I always try to do my best to be a socially responsible editor, particularly when it comes to race. Perhaps you remember a while back when a lifestyle magazine was widely criticized for “whitening” their cover celebrity, Beyonce. Bringing up the exposure in this photo did lighten the subject’s skin (as it would for anyone), but I gave my best effort to do so across the board in both the foreground and background, so as to maintain the integrity of her skin and race.


Close-up of drum student


Close-up of drum student

Stay tuned for the new HCA website, where you’ll see my work on their landing page!


Heather gray and spring florals wreath

Fall – or at least as close to fall as we’re gonna get in SoCal –  is well underway, so naturally I’ve been thinking about spring. I recently found a couple skeins of heather gray yarn from an abandoned scarf project and thought I’d put it to good use on this spring bound felt and yarn wreath.Gray felt and yarn wreath 1

Photographing this wreath was just as fun as making it. I love the hearty, composite feeling of felt fabrics. These close-ups really convey those tactile qualities:

Gray felt and yarn wreath

Mums are my favorite flower to imitate in felt; I also find them to be the most forgiving in the assembly stages. Roses on the other hand, are a bit trickier and more limiting, but they look gorgeous in trios like this one:
Gray felt and yarn wreath

Last but not least, this image is my favorite. A wide 16:9 snapshot of the flower arrangement on its own, it’s an elegant summary of this spring-themed wreath.Gray felt and yarn wreath


Another kind of plus one: the Heimlich Family

Mom, Dad and their dog Lucy cuddle around baby Jonah on their bed

This sweet pile of love is the Heimlich Family. Mama and Papa  – Corey and Tamara to me – are dear friends and mentors. Their steadfast support has been so instrumental in my development as a writer and photographer, I was honored they asked me to photograph their first family portrait session with baby, Jonah. (Clearly, Jonah is their second child, as the hairier lass on the right so nosily – and endearingly – implies)

Baby Jonah rests cradled in his mother's arms

This is one of my favorite shots of Jonah above. His eyes have the color of his dad and the kind inquiry of his mum.

Mom, Dad and their dog Lucy cuddle around baby Jonah on the bed

Shooting newborns can be tricky business! But this little stud kept me on my toes. As a preemie, his esophagus wasn’t quite done cookin’, so milk was a’ flyin’ between clicks. That’s why he’s on a towel. And maybe that’s why Corey’s whispering “Aaaaargh” into his ear!

Mom cradles Jonah against a black backdrop and smiles, with head cocked, at the camera

Jonah is looking away in this one (LUNCH!), but Tamara is a vision with her flowing hair, off-the-shoulder blouse and all-out grace as she welcomes her baby into the world.

Black and white portrait of Baby Jonah taking a bath

There’s something so special about babies and bath time. I shot this one in black and white to really emphasize the gentle purity and inherently ephemeral nature of newborns. They grow up so darn fast…


Finding simple: my cheeseless inspiration

Vertical headshot of actress and friend, Tanny, in a mint v-neck shirt against a tree

Headshot of young actress smiling mischievously from the side against a red backdrop in a green lace sweater

While film was what brought Tanny and I together years ago, pizza is one of the many delights that keeps us together. I can always count on Tanny to enjoy my homemade pizza. In fact it was her cheeseless pie request that led to some of the best pizza I’ve made across 15+ years. You see, while pizza lovers may bicker over the subject of toppings, most of them envision it to be a warm union of crust, sauce and cheese. Having been one of those people, I had my reservations about “reducing” the holy trinity to a plain duo. But in the end, focusing my efforts on just these two elements yielded far better crusts and sauces, both independently and in combination with each other, than any of their predecessors. Cheese I realized, with its weightiness and viscosity, would have diminished the overall product by masking the complex tastes underneath.

A long-time friend and mentor, Tanny has brought me “back to basics” in more areas than the kitchen. A seeming contradiction, she brings depth to life and living by peeling back those internal layers of perceived necessity and fortifying the simple values that lie underneath. In the end, as I have come to learn from her, a genuine person does not need the cheese.


Vintage dream and cooking queen

Beautiful vintage clothing business owner poses with hands folded under her chin against a red backdrop Beautiful vintage clothing business owner poses in white dress with hand clasping hair against a red backdropBeautiful vintage clothing business owner poses in white dress with hair swept to left side against a red backdrop

Nena and I met in college and reconnected two fateful summers ago. One of the most talented cooks I know, she can whip up the most delectable of dishes from the sparest of kitchens. Given my unbridled weakness for breakfast and her secret recipe for The Best Pancakes Ever, I consider our friendship a rather heavenly match.

In addition to regular feats of culinary prowess, Nena is also the owner and operator of Jolie Vintage, an online vintage clothing store boasting styles from the ‘20s through the ‘50s. With her classy wardrobe, striking features and camera-comfy nature, I knew she would be the perfect match for my latest backdrop find: a saturated red bolt of fabric originally destined for patio furniture upholstery.