There are many things that had to be left behind in the move from Berlin to Minneapolis. I assumed one would be the World Cup—but instead the US embrace the fun this year including watching the game outside, which is hands down one of the best things about the whole spectacle.
I was pleasantly surprised to find my fellow Americans putting on a “public viewing” as the Germans hilariously call it (they actually use the English words) in a fashion that any German would find completely respectable. And it was really fun to see the American spin on it—something to do with the atmosphere, just so warm and friendly.
Sadly, what Americans don’t know about (yet) is the amazingness of the grilled Wurst. Instead, all we got were these lame boiled dogs. BUT one thing you don’t get at the Biergarten? Tacos. It is a decidedly worthy tradeoff.
These photos were taken at the US/Germany game. Of course we were sad to see America’s eventual exit, but super excited about Germany and are just about to leave to watch the final. Go Deutschland!!!
Photos by Anthony Georgis for the Field Office
Most pie crust recipes are as simple as their list of ingredients. But in their simplicity, they leave out the important parts like keeping everything cold and/or assume that everyone has a food processor. I’ve tried to make pie crust a number of times and never gotten it right. Once a chef friend even gave me a private lesson, which definitely cleared up a lot of confusion about what it should look and feel like, but I still couldn’t replicate it on my own.
Then I saw this video on Slate, which goes through the process step-by-step. It gave me some confidence and inspired me to take this on as a summer challenge.
My first attempt was strawberry-rhubarb using the small but delicious rhubarb plant I got from my grandparents years ago. The second was strawberry-blueberry-raspberry and the third remains to be seen but I’m hoping to make one for tomorrow’s BBQ.
I really wanted to learn how to make the lattice top, which turned out to be crazy easy. YouTube really is the best.
And for the first time ever, I made a crust that had delicate, flaky layers. It’s still not perfect, but I think now I can get this thing down.
Another side project (but one that is much much less challenging) is making more ice cream in the machine we got for Christmas. I made a batch of vanilla to go with the pie. So good.
Happy Fourth to those of you celebrating!
We have some exciting news: we bought a Scamp!
A lot of Scamp stories start with mildew, rotting floor boards or some kind of hideous decor decisions that must be righted. Ours is not in bad shape—it’s actually pretty bland, so it’s a great blank slate project for adding some character and functionality.
First orders of business were a bath, removing the decals, and banishing that god-awful satellite dish holder on the back. We are hoping to take it on a lot of little exploratory trips this summer and some longer journeys in the near future so…more to come.
I’m glad Anthony doesn’t have any fear of entering independent fast food chains mobbed with the lunchtime crowd because I never would have braved that place myself. While I held down the fort in the parking lot, he got the burgers and brought them back for a van picnic.
After lunch, we headed north of Santa Barbara with the hope of finding a good spot on the beach. This landscape—the soft hills and fields that meet the ocean—it is my favorite.
Our first campground pick was unexpectedly closed because of a storm the day before, so we ended up at one of those state parks where they charge a ton of money for the tiniest spot right next to somebody else’s tiniest spot. We did find these folks there and they didn’t look like they were going anywhere anytime soon because they had the best seat in the house. And a killer set up.
Cooking in the van with the top popped and the ocean breeze blowing in—it’s so good.
Took a walk at sunset on the point just down the beach. Little paths, tall grass and passenger trains going by. Hundreds of people at the campground but we had the place to ourselves, which was amazing but fine by us.
Camping on the beach in California is an activity that involves a lot of other people. In addition to the sound of the waves, there are rv generators running, country music blasting, the distant sound of the freeway, etc. So we were excited to head into Los Padres National Forest for a night of complete quiet.
The road out of Ojai winds up and around, then levels off into these wonderful tiny lanes that we had all to ourselves.
Our destination was the Rose Valley Campround, which was gloriously empty. We got what I’m imagining might be the deluxe spot in wetter weather—our site was elevated a bit and had a magnificent view of the rock wall where the 300-foot Rose Valley Falls would normally be. In the photo above, the “V” directly above the van.
One of the hardest things about these trips is seeing how hard it is for me to be off the grid. All of the beaches we stayed at had minimal to no reception for us—and of course there was nothing in these parts. But that’s ok because we started playing Food Stylist in the afternoon light, which provided a good amount of non-internet based entertainment. In the end, I liked the after photo better.
So great to watch the light fade all around us and be surrounded by such quiet.
We were up at sunrise thanks to a little bird pecking away at the shiny hubcap of the van. So much racket.
We upped our toast game post-Ojai with olive oil I grabbed at the farmer’s market from the Ojai Olive Oil Company.
After breakfast, we took a quick hike up to the base of the lower falls, which is 100-feet high. We couldn’t really figure out how to go any further. Reading about it later, I discovered that would be because it’s not easy. Crossing that stream above is the limit of my hiking abilities.
So we headed back to the van, packed it up, and headed back to the beach.
I’m super excited to be featured in Uppercase magazine for the upcoming, color-themed summer issue. There will be photos of my studio, work, and palette and I’ll talk a little bit about working with paint and different kinds of light.
If you aren’t familiar with Uppercase, it is a gorgeous, ad-free magazine for the creative and curious. And they are giving our readers a coupon for $15 off a subscription!
To subscribe, visit Uppercase at:
Coupon code: roygbiv Offer ends June 30.
Thank you Uppercase!
The Ojai Rancho Inn was the second location for our shoot and also our second night of accommodations. An old motel that’s been rehabbed in just the right way, it was very photogenic and super fun with a great pool, fire pit, and grounds.
It was a long day on set and a short morning of coffee and conversation with the crew who had stayed overnight. We decided to head back into the Los Padres National Forest, but first to do laundry.
Laudromats aren’t usually that much fun, especially when you have to go once a week. But the one we found was pretty cute and right next to the Full of Beans coffee shop so it worked out all right.
Supplementary drying happened after we got to our campsite later in the day.
Anthony saw this sign coming up and maneuvered to the side of the road without a word because he knew I’d want to photograph it. <3
During the shoot in Ojai, we had two different nights of accommodations set up by the producer. So when we arrived at Euterpe Farms, we had no idea what awaited us. What we found was a very special place—a native plant farm with fields and paths, lots of little hidden spots to discover, and a recording studio. The farm’s owner, musician Smitty West, greeted us warmly when we arrived and showed us to the private guest house and patio with views of Los Padres National Forest—and the swimming pool.
Temperatures the previous days had hovered around 100. We’d been driving and scouting locations in a 1979 van with no air conditioning, so glimpsing that pool through the trees was the best surprise we could have had.
Within half an hour, we followed a path through the flowers and plants that took us to the pool and jumped in. The quiet and the cool water were a crazy juxtaposition to our two previous nights of sleeping in the van.
Anthony went to a meeting in town and I stuck around by the pool. It was a lovely afternoon made extra charming by live music courtesy of Smitty and his friends, who were practicing in his studio.
After a late dinner, we returned for a soak in the jacuzzi. No pool or yard lights on—just complete darkness with the palm tree silhouetted by a sky full of stars.
A restored windmill from the 1920s provides all of the water to the property.
The view from our private balcony of Los Padres National Forest.
We stayed less that 24 hours, which was far too little time to enjoy this place. Definitely want to go back and take Smitty up on his offer to tour the farm and just spend a little more time here.
If you want to visit, too, you can find the listing here:
We’ve been in California the past week shooting a job. But we also decided to use the time as an opportunity to have a little vacation. Recent attempts to mix pleasure with the work haven’t been huge successes, but this time things came together and we had so much fun.
Highlight: we reunited with the van!
Everything—the landscape, the work, the place, the van—it was a combination that felt so good and right. I haven’t had that feeling for a long and it put some things in perspective for us in terms of moving forward.
I started a small Moleskine watercolor book for the trip and tried to make time to draw every day. But sort of like blogging on the road (which I didn’t manage to do at all), I find it hard to sketch while traveling. I want to change both of these things in the future because they are such nice ways to document and reflect on the moment. Part of it is taking the time, which is hard on a trip that was so much about work. With blogging, it is definitely a time issue as well as workflow issues, internet access in remote locations, and trying to blog on the iPad—does anybody out there have good practices for all of that? Because I still haven’t come up with a system that works for me.
Prepare for a California debriefing.
Photos by Rebecca Silus and Anthony Georgis for the Field Office.
One of my favorite Minneapolis blogs, Thomas Lowry’s Ghost, is curated by Andy Gifford. Pulling images from various historical archives, he creates a curious portrait of the city that feels somewhere between history and fiction.
Photos courtesy of:
Stephanie Levy has been on my radar for years, starting with her fantastic interview series about artists who blog. She has always been ahead of the game in terms of using the internet to showcase creatives and as an integral part of her own practice and business. At a time when so many of my own colleagues are frustrated by the lack of teaching opportunities (which many rely on to fund their artistic work), it is inspiring to see Stephanie out there making it happen on her own terms with e-courses as well as workshops in Berlin. I totally admire her entrepreneurship as well as her forward-thinking attitude towards making new opportunities and platforms.
I finally got to introduce myself when I saw her at a Berlin Creative Mornings talk just before we left town and I was delighted when she asked me to take part in an interview series on her blog that asks artists about work, life, and travel.
You can read my interview here: 5 on Friday Interview!
Thank you, Stephanie!