10 on 10 || may

Hello there, team, we are on to May now. It has been raining almost nonstop this week, which means it has largely been overcast and dreary. As a Colorado girl very fond of her 300-plus days of sunshine, these gray skies are certainly not among my favorite things. However, I just finished exercising — endorphins! — and then drank a good-sized bit of coffee — caffeine! — so I think we’ll make it.

More importantly than all of the above, happy mother’s day to all you mothers out there! I hope you’re being perfectly pampered by your children.

I’m going to be sharing some photos from a 14-hour trip to Salt Lake City that Dan and I embarked upon mid-April. But first, please check in with these fine, 10-on-10 folks:

 

So yes, 14 hours. Why, you may ask, would we go on a journey for only 14 hours? It has to do with frequent flier rewards and A-List status, probably some form of algebra and physics, and the fact that Dan is all about rewards programs that will benefit our travels. It seemed a little crazy, but why not.

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After getting in very late on Friday night (flight delays, then cancellations, then rebooking), we rose as early as we could muster to fully utilize our remaining six hours in the state before we had to fly back to Colorado. I spent the formative years of my life driving back and forth between Denver and San Francisco (where dear family members live). As a kid, we would make the drive at least once a year, and our route always took us through Salt Lake City. However, because my family is of the intense, we-can-make-it-in-17-hours-if-we-just-believe variety, we almost never made lengthy stops along the way. So while I knew what SLC looked like as it passed by the window, and had gazed upon the Great Salt Lake itself on a number of occasions, and once spent hours and hours on the cusp of Park City, Utah, when our car broke down — memories! — it had been years and years since I had really explored any of the sights. Dan had never been to the city or surrounding area at all. We started with a very fast jaunt around downtown and the grounds of the Mormon temple.

Then off to breakfast at a funky little diner….

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…and then up to Park City, Utah. We wanted to see where the 2002 Winter Olympics had been staged. And where Sundance Film Festival takes place each year. It was fairly warm and most of the snow had since melted, but we felt we could imagine the scene. Sadly, we happened to be in Park City in the three-four weeks when the place essentially shuts down. In between ski season and their summer activities circuit, the place goes quiet. Business owners either take a nice vacation, or work on those renovations they’ve been putting off, or just give their employees what I imagine is a well-earned break.

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On the drive to Park City. I’m such a sucker for a barn-in-a-field shot. 

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Evidence of fun times gone by. Good ol’ Banksy. There’s a glass pane covering the work to protect it.

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This is the look of disapproval I’m afforded when my subject realizes I just took a rather unflattering photo of him yawning like a lion on the Serengeti. 

After wandering up and down the streets, drinking coffee, visiting an independent bookstore and envisioning returning to feast our eyes upon the extravaganzas of future film festivals, we headed back down the mountain to see the lake for which the city was named.

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As you can imagine, it was salty. I felt like my fingers were brining up quite well when I touched the surface. It was also very beautiful. Calm.

Ideally we would have ventured to the northern part of the lake as well and get some other views. And we certainly would have liked to see more of the downtown area. But that’s how it goes with a 14-hour trip. You embrace the time given you, you venture as far as possible and then promise to return another day.

The end!

10 on 10 || april

April, dear ones. April is the month each year when I finally start to feel settled in the new year. Yes, it takes me four months to get into the swing of things. Yikes. This probably doesn’t bode well for the overall course of life. That’s a lot of time to feel out of sync with a year. I should re-examine everything immediately.

In other news, here we are with another 10-on-10. It took me a little time to decide what I wanted to share with you here. Seeing as I’ve just now gotten involved with the year 2015 (again, wow), it seemed it would be fitting to show you a place that has always lent me a great deal of inspiration: a bookstore.

But first, my comrades.

 

I have always led something of a second life in books. I adore reading. I’m a book nerd through and through. A literature junkie. Words engage my whole being. So what better place to spend an afternoon than in a bookstore. I think if I wasn’t a photographer, I would want to work in such a place. Of course, almost every cent I made there would be spent on more books and I would be quite poor. But I would be rich in many other ways.

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One of the best bookstores you’ll ever visit is a true Denver treasure, the one and only Tattered Cover. This place has all the best qualities of a bookstore. All the books, of course. Coffee. Ample, mismatched chairs for lounging in to sit and read. I have spent hours at a time sitting in such a bookstore, just reading away. And you’re never bothered or asked to move along. Heavenly.

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This particular branch of TC (there are now four in Colorado and a few scattered about our airport terminals), is built into an old theatre. So you get all these beautiful architectural details.

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As a family, we have been visiting Tattered Cover for as long as my memory has been remembering things. And something I have always loved about these particular stores are these iconic author portraits. All the authors who have visited the store for readings and book signings get these beautiful photos taken and they are just everywhere, all over the walls. I’ve studied them since I was a small gal, and I swear on some level these photos are what made me want to be a photographer. To capture fellow artists and brilliant minds, preserve them in these wonderful moments that just seemed to be such a privilege. Even as a youngin’ I was enthralled by the whole process and its potential.

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Annie Leibovitz, I mean really now.

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I’m not really sure, I just liked the red chairs.

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Denver, take us out!

10 on 10 || march

There are two vases of flowers that have been sitting in the cottage house for the past month. Or six weeks. Respectively. I’ve watched them transform from their robust, life-rich selves to droopy but stiff, near-mummified ghosts of their former glory (I am almost 95 percent certain ghosts can’t be mummified, but I’m no expert). I really should learn to discard dead flowers in a timely manner. But as I’ve watched them, day by day on my journeys from the living room to the kitchen, I came to see in them a quiet beauty. A record, preserved in their brittle but surprising sturdiness. So though it was much past the deadline for removing these two vases and their expired buds, I decided to hold onto them a bit longer. After all, I needed my next 10-on-10 project.

But before we go further, say hello to my buds, the fellow 10-on-10ers:

 

Now, for those of you who didn’t immediately exit out after that horrible pun, the coffee is on me. And bless you. And here we go.

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I started with the untouched remnants. They were almost sculptural. Resolute. Fragile, but sure. Then I decided to deconstruct the individual pieces.
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The pedals, though dried out and brittle, retained such a brilliant color. Luminous and vibrant. They looked like they may just be daring enough to never fade at all. I felt a bit like a painter, manipulating around this little palette. Arranging the hues and textures however I please. There was a part of me that always wished I was a painter. But you can just go ahead and ask any one of my siblings and they will tell you that me plus painting equals some sort of affront to art everywhere. Seriously, my college painting 101 teacher was nice enough to never ask me to leave the class, but I bet she wanted to. But that’s another story. For now, I’ll take my photos, and the freedom you have when you decide to create.

once more unto the breach || berlin

It’s becoming ever more clear that I’m not a travel writer. Each time I try to settle down in front of my computer to wax poetical about our travels abroad this past November, I can’t come up with anything even mostly coherent, let alone even a little profound. I want to tie together our brief moments in another land into a vivid narrative. Tales relatable. Intriguing. Fun. Yet it usually just babbles out of me into something just shy of bullet point form. We did this, then this happened, we ate here, saw that, the end. “See Sally run. Run, Sally, run.” My internal dialogue does not pour forth into neat prose. Of course, rarely does it ever on the first go around. For any writer, I’m sure. But it still frustrates me when I can’t seem to get it right even after days of scooting words around the little blog post box. So instead of spending another week, two, more trying to mold this together, we are just going to dive in. Here we go!

Berlin to me is the following: New. Renewed. Complicated. Dynamic. Bright. Unexpected. Forthcoming. Bare. With all the development in the post-war years, there’s almost no wrong answer or impression. Everything is fluctuating and growing, while still remaining honest about the past.

During our second visit to Berlin we had the chance to cash in on our relative familiarity of the place and see more museums, wander more aimlessly, freeze more abundantly. Truly, totally frozen there in late November, it was like preparing for battle each time you walked out of the hotel lobby. Vest yourself of thy wooly garments and head once more unto the breach. Despite the need to enter a near-permanent state of thawing in the weeks following our trip, we felt more at ease and more in love with the city with each passing day we were there.

So here are some photos. You’ll notice a sort of Christmas, holiday theme thrown in with the group, which seems not at all fitting for March. But bear in mind that when we were there it was but weeks until Christmas. So feel free to take a moment to rocket backward in time to Christmas 2014 and crank a holiday tune or two while scrolling through these. The weather here in Colorado is currently quite suitable to such endeavors, so why not. Cocoa all around!

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Above /// The Brandenburg Gate as seen well into the evening when most tourist type crowds have skedaddled along.

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Above /// Magnets speaking to the history of Berlin.  History that can still seem rather recent.

Below /// Dan holds on tight while trying to navigate us through the tunnels of mass transit. He did a great job.

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Above /// A fantastic little cafe called Factory Girl! Exclamation point included by the cafe owners, but a totally warranted bit of punctuation. Delicious.

Below /// Established architecture and cranes building the way to new architecture.

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Above & Below /// Christmas market! You drink hot mulled wine and listen to roving bands play polka (I actually don’t think they played polka, but it sounds fun). Then you eat delicious bratwursts and pick out ornaments.

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Above /// Unter den Linden, one of the main boulevards of Berlin.

Despite the chilled air, I would highly recommend you go visit in the off-season months. First of all: Christmas markets. They are everywhere and spectacular. Secondly, we almost never dealt with big crowds of people jostling all around. Not on the subway, not in the museums, not at restaurants. The only crowd we found was at the Christmas market, but being packed in tight together meant conserving body heat, so it was still a win win.

We are extremely fond of Berlin, so go visit and let me know how much you love it too.

10 on 10 || february

It doesn’t take long getting into a new year for me to start longing for a trip. A vacation. An adventure. A grand sojourn through hill and dale, wild and wonder, over the mountains and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go. Sadly it will be a few more months before I can cash in on this longing, but I stoked the fire a bit when I visited the new and beautiful Union Station here in Denver. I have visited the fresh-of-face train depot a number of times since it reopened last July, and I’ve loved it on every occasion. It’s swoon-worthy, truly. There’s nothing quite like imagining oneself hopping a train to land unknown, old-timey luggage in hand, scarves fluttering, a letter clutched in one’s pocketbook. If you’ve ever wanted to pretend to be a 1940s starlet, don your best ensemble and get yourself down there. In fact, I’ll go with you and we will grab a cocktail and then read great literature while lounging in the classy hall. Gentleman, if you have a fedora you can come too. Everyone grab your calendars and let’s pick a date. I’ll wait.

…and until then, here are some photos of our fair station for this month’s 10-on-10 installment. Visit my pals-in-arms for our monthly collaborative series, then scroll on down for some train depot fun.

 

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