Hiking in the Hills.

The writing will come, but for now enjoy some photos. We have been hiking lots lately. I find it helps keep me grounded and prevents anxiety from taking over. We’re lucky in that both the Berkeley and Oakland hills provide some pretty stunning hiking options just minutes from our house. We have big plans to continue this way of life when we return to Ireland but something tells me it will be harder to convince myself to hike when the skies are grey, the wind is whistling and the rain is falling.

Here’s to making the most of this beautiful state while we’re in it! 

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(I’m totally channelling my inner Cheryl Strayed in that photo above. Wild is my top book this year. Have you read it yet?) 

Make Portraits: Growing East

A couple of weekends ago I met up with Lindsay to shoot some portraits for her blog, Growing East. It was a super hot day (by my Irish standards…she was wearing jeans which felt incomprehensible at the time) and we arranged to meet at Lake Merritt.

[Note to future Clío and Lindsay: Do not arrange to meet at Lake Merritt.]

After walking around the giant lake for a while and sending about a hundred text messages back and forth we figured where we each were and managed to meet up. Lunch, chats and some time later I got down to business and shot a beautiful roll of Portra 160 of this pretty lady. She claims to be camera-shy but I think the photos purport to quite the opposite. Check out her lovely blog to see some more shots from the afternoon. 

If you’re in the Bay Area and are in need of some super fine film photography—look me up! I’d be only delighted to hang out. 

Photobooth Favourites.

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I love a classic photo-booth. I made Richard promise that if we ever have our own business we need to purchase one of these guys. I don’t know what use a photo-booth will be in a brew-pub slash vintage clothing store slash design house (haha) but I’ll make it work. 

Classic photo-booths take, hands down, the most beautiful and flattering photographs. I don’t understand how something capable of producing such perfect and clear and stunning photographs has, over time, transformed into something that produces little more than pixelated crap. The passport photos from one of these would be a hundred times better than the girl in the chemist with the camera who isn’t sure whether or not you have to show your ears (true story—she literally said ‘I don’t know what to do!’). The sign on the outside of this booth professes to even capture the most wriggly of children, which was of course a novelty at the time of its production. 

This photo-booth is situated in the Musee Mecanique at Fisherman’s Wharf and it is—in my opinion anyway—the only good reason to go to Fisherman’s Wharf. Skip the bread bowls and tourist souvenirs and head straight for a strip of these beauties. It will cost you $3 which you’ll need in single dollar bills. And if you’re anything like me you will want at least two. 

We bought some cheapo party hats and horns and had a mini celebration in the photo-booth for Emily’s birthday (we sent the photos stuck to the present and when she pulled them off she said ‘look, it’s Clio and Richard! It’s from Clio and Richard!’ which of course made me melt). My lovely friend Joanna is coming to stay with us for Easter and I can’t wait to squeeze into the photo-booth with her for some silly posing.

I intend on coming home with a stack of these black and white memories. 

That last one of the right cracks me up…I forgot that there was another photo to come and was about to get up and walk out, aka resting bitch face in all its glory!!!

 

Monthly Challenge #3

I’m going to have to begin this post with a disclaimer. I did not take any photographs of the food. I know, what is the point of getting the best brunch in San Francisco, taking photos and writing it all up here if I can’t actually share any evidence of said best brunch? I don’t really know. But I know that I like having this to look back on so I’ll forge ahead regardless. 

Mama’s was nominated ‘best breakfast’ in San Francisco by Time Magazine (for very good reason) though Aoife didn’t know this when she set the challenge. According to Time you should expect to wait ‘half an hour on weekends’, according to reality the wait is more like 90 minutes any damn day of the week.

By the time we got to the head of the queue (which exists both outside and inside the restaurant), made our order and grabbed a sea every single person in the place just looked like a piece of french toast to me. We didn’t speak, as I have learned (the hard way—is there any other way to learn things?!) that it’s better if I refrain from communicating until I’ve been fed, but listened in on the couples either side of us and eyed up their plates of food like starved animals.

Thankfully our food arrived quickly with a smile and a joke from our sweet waiter. We learned from the owner who greeted us at the door that Mama’s is a family business and everyone who works there is related in some way…whatever they’re doing they do it right as we learned that two new restaurants are in the works. 

Richard ordered the vegetarian eggs Benedict for us to share (and a side of bacon for himself) and I ordered the french toast tasting plate (also to share) which came with orange-cranberry, blueberry, cinnamon-chocolate, and brioche french toast varieties as well as fruit, maple syrup and a recommendation to try the jam on top. It was insanely delicious.  

It took a long time and a lot of walking until we felt like we were no longer going to burst. We will definitely be back with our visitors. Thanks again Aoife & Gary, challenge accepted, completed and thoroughly enjoyed.

Living with Animals.

I miss my dog. I don’t think of her often because it makes my heart feel heavy in a very real and physical way. Living with animals is something that feels right to me. Not only does dog ownership instil a sense of responsibility in a person and provide excellent companionship (a dog is rarely not happy to see you) but I really think that living with, or close to, animals makes one a better human. Personally, it makes me feel closer to the earth somehow, more connected to nature and as a result more considerate of others, more in tune with other beings on this planet—humans or otherwise. Anything that makes one think less about themselves and more about the feelings and wellbeing of others can’t be bad, right? Having animals around makes a house feel really like a home. While we didn’t get Lily until we were teenagers I hope that I can have animals around when my children are small, what a wonderful thing it would be to grow up with animals. 

All of this is to say that despite the fact we miss Lily an awful lot we are enjoying living with some other creatures here in Berkeley: Chickens! 

Our temporary landlords were back in Ireland for a few weeks in January and we were tasked with looking after these funny little creatures. Admittedly the majority of the responsibly fell on Richard, as I was working, but he loved it. After a couple of days two of the chickens were bowing down to him to be petted and running up to greet him at the gate in the evening. Plus, think of the eggs! Three of the hens are currently laying and three eggs a day adds up mighty quickly. Free eggs! Free free range, organic, delicious eggs! [Side note: I only started eating eggs very recently. I used to hate them but have begun to come around to scrambled, frittata-d or poached eggs. Yum.]

Look at this guy. Was he not made to be an urban farmer? I definitely see some hens in our future!