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.

Processed with VSCOcam with a1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with a8 preset

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with b2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with a1 preset

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with b2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with a1 preset

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with a1 preset

Annie Leibovitz, I mean really now.

Processed with VSCOcam with a8 presetLocal first. Amen.

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset

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

Processed with VSCOcam with a1 preset

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.

march 1010-5827
march 1010-5830
march 1010-5831
march 1010-5836
march 1010-5822
I started with the untouched remnants. They were almost sculptural. Resolute. Fragile, but sure. Then I decided to deconstruct the individual pieces.
march 1010-5833
march 1010-5847
march 1010-5840
march 1010-5843
march 1010-5849
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!

Processed with VSCOcam with b2 preset

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

berlin vsco-7536

berlin vsco-7677

berlin vsco-7676

berlin vsco-7656

berlin vsco-7657

berlin vsco-7651

berlin vsco-7646

berlin vsco-7643

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.

berlin vsco-7534

Processed with VSCOcam with a1 preset

berlin vsco-7640

berlin vsco-7639

berlin vsco-7636

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.

berlin vsco-7647

berlin vsco-

berlin vsco-7678

berlin vsco-7680

berlin vsco-7673

berlin vsco-7684

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.

berlin vsco-7685

berlin vsco-7687

Processed with VSCOcam with a7 preset

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.

 

february 1010-4881
february 1010-4855
february 1010-4851
february 1010-4862
february 1010-4872february 1010-4874
february 1010-4848
february 1010-4878
february 1010-4864
february 1010-4871

a medieval city || prague

You know that question, “If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?” For years my answer was prompt and final: Prague. I suppose this unfailing need to see golden Prague — zlata Praha, or so I read somewhere — started when I was watching the Travel Channel many moons ago. In this particular show, Samantha Brown visits a restaurant in Prague called, Cafe Imperial. According to Zdeněk Jirotka, a Czech writer and humorist, there are three kinds of people in the world, easily classified by how they behave when confronted by a plate stacked high with day-old doughnuts. The first kind of person will simply stare at the doughnuts, the second will see the stale pastries and secretly imagine how it would feel to throw them about, and the third will be the sort “for whom the idea of a doughnut whistling through the air is such an enticement that they get up and actually make it happen.” Don’t we all sort of wish we had that sort of gall? Well, Cafe Imperial used to make such dreams come true, and in this episode, Samantha Brown was there to investigate. At the time it was possible for one to buy a stack of stale doughnuts and throw them around the restaurant at one’s fellow patrons with nary a consequence. And when I witnessed this act of culinary cheekiness, I remember thinking that if such a magical place existed in the world, I had to see it.

In November we had the opportunity to travel across the grand old pond to Europe. (Hey, if the Atlantic gets to the be “the pond,” what does the Pacific get as a nifty nickname? The puddle. The pool. The lagoon? Someone get on this please.) We spent a week traveling through the wilds of Berlin and Prague. Dan flew out to Germany before I did for a workshop, so I made the jump myself a week later. We technically spent that first night in Berlin, but we got up on the early side, lifted a copy of the International New York Times, ate some fancy breakfast buffet items and hopped a train to Prague. Which is where this tale shall truly begin.

prague vsco-1327

prague vsco-1323

IMG_7561

Above /// on the train from Berlin to Prague

Below /// a tram in Prague that will run you over, so pay attention

Processed with VSCOcam with e1 preset

prague vsco-7631

prague vsco-7619

prague vsco-7589

prague vsco-7613

prague vsco-7618

Above /// the John Lennon wall

Below /// my travel companion looking impish; Prague Castle looming in the distance

prague vsco-7608

prague vsco-1339

prague vsco-1341

prague vsco-1336

prague vsco-1334

prague vsco-7612

prague vsco-7572

prague vsco-7576

Above /// scenes from the Charles Bridge; tradition says that if you touch the plaque and make a wish, you will be granted good luck and guarantee your one-day return to Prague

Processed with VSCOcam with e1 preset

prague vsco-7621

Processed with VSCOcam with e1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with x2 preset

prague vsco-7564

Processed with VSCOcam with x2 preset

prague vsco-7635

prague vsco-7591

Above /// an astronomical clock dating to the 1400s

prague vsco-1328

prague vsco-7634

Processed with VSCOcam with a1 preset

In the end, we never did throw stale doughnuts at anyone. The Cafe Imperial eventually did away with the option altogether. I imagine locals and tourists alike were not terribly thrilled with airborne pastries flying about haphazardly (as if there’s any other way for a doughnut to fly). But magic still existed within this golden, medieval city that I had so frequently imagined. It felt untouched, preserved. Escaping utter destruction during World War II, it’s a city that carries its centuries between every brick and red-roofed tile. In visiting this place, you feel that it isn’t so much a part of your story, but rather that you are but a footnote to its own.

You’re beautiful, Prague. Never change.