Archives for category: Memories

Wish You Were Here

My old-fashioned ways of writing letters and sending thank you notes have led me to a pretty awesome collection of stationary and postcards.

In this electronic age, it is safe to say that some may never pick up an ink pen again.  But I don’t care how in love you are with your cell phones and laptops.  A handwritten card will forever produce a thrill.  (That is, until some idiot succeeds in nixing snail mail.)

For those of you who still write letters, you might appreciate my latest batch of outgoing mail – thank you notes to all the people I saw on my recent visit back home.  My favorite element of this primitive art?  Choosing the right card for the right person.

Baja Birds

My first trip outside…..

Baja Cactus

To Dad, who likes the desert.

Bob Marley

Bob – to my favorite hair dresser.

Boston Massacre

Sent the Boston Massacre postcard to the sister with whom I may never stop fighting.


I see you down there Jim and Joni!


Newport Beach has mermaids.

Simpleton Pass, Reading The Bridge of SighsBedouins

John Singer Sargent, a favorite artist.  Jim took me to his exhibit in Boston.

Todos Santos

Todos Santos, home of the original Hotel California.  Still have to make it there.


Convinced a bookstore owner to sell this off the wall of his hippie section.  Thanks, bud.


We’ve just returned to the brownstone apartment on Beacon Hill, my home away from home.  Dinner in the South End left us full and content – duck prosciutto, Margherita pizza, pasta Bolognese, and sparkling Rosé – with dessert still to come!

Boston Skyline from Jim & Joni's
Rooftop Sunset in Boston Beacon Hill Brownstone

I’m feeling inspired, as always, after a good meal in Boston.  I begin fussing around with pencils and notebooks while Jim pulls Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Ben and Jerry’s from the freezer to thaw and banters on with Kiersten and Nick about tonight’s movie choice.

Dinner at Coppa - South End Boston

“Let’s watch El Dorado!” I chime in, because I’ve had ‘El Canción del Mariachi’ stuck in my head all day (and since I’m not pitching Moulin Rouge, I actually have a chance).

I win.  “But only because it’s a thrilling action film,” Jim jokes exclaims seriously, “not because of Antonio Banderas.”  He says not to press play yet.  Joni wants us to go outside on the deck first because she has been waiting for the perfect moment for something and this is exactly it.

I step up and through the little screen door onto my favorite rooftop, a patio the size of the whole apartment.  Waiting in the late summer night is Joni sparking a candle-lighter over the small glass table, its flicker glimmering back onto her still wine glass.  She stands back up and shows a pleased grin.  The colorful votive holders I painted for them for Christmas are glowing for the first time in a triangle before me.



  • Glass Candle Holders
  • Cheap Paint
  • Brushes
  • Candles

Making a Mess

Mix water and paint with a medium brush and slosh in around the inside of glass candle holders.  Focus on your color choices.  Create dimension and texture by dribbling the paint down the outsides.  There’s hardly the chance to make mistakes, even if the color turns brown.  Just make them look good.

You will be satisfied by the colorful flicker and the simplicity of this project.  These make thoughtful gifts for many people.

Sloshy Paint Painted VotivesTea LightsPainted Light

I found the idea for painted votive holders from the blog, Once Wed.

FùtbolNiño de El Salvador El Salvador Fans

After finishing grade school, I would rarely remember Señora Ruiz or those Spanish lessons that were forced upon our class.  In high school I would give up Spanish for French because I was obsessed with Vogue, fashion, and romanic visions of traveling abroad..and my name is Chloe.  French has not yet stuck.  There was nothing “French” about my community to reinforce the language…and my French teacher hated me.  (But Paris is still in my future!)

Goalie Fooling Around Amigas

Eight years later, I’ve returned to Español.  Picking it back up was easy, thanks to my adolescent brain and my newfound commitment.  I am devoting honest attention to learning a new language and I am expanding my ability to communicate with the world.  It’s incredible!

Immersion is key, truly.  In eleven months  I’ve made serious progress in this quest.  I’ve fallen in love with the language and the culture without ever having left America.

Parking Lot BBQ Las Vendedoras FireCrowd

I am a server in a busy Washington, D.C. restaurant where much of the kitchen staff, true to restaurant stereotype, are Latin.  I started teaching myself by being quite annoying, actually.  Every few minutes, I ask one of my new friends, “¿Como se dice blah?  ¿Como se dice blah blah?”  They reply and I use the newly-learned phrase over and over again until everyone but me is sick of it.

My methods are broadening.  When guests from Spain or South America are seated at my tables, I ditch English as best I can.  My palette has expanded from the Mexican food on which California has raised me to Latin dishes from across Central America.  (Estoy enamorada de pupusas y horchata.)  At every pupuseria, Subway Restaurant, or carwash where the attendant is a native Spanish speaker, I practice.  I listen to Spanish radio and Mariachi Pandora.  I lust over the Salsa-dancing women with flowers in their hair at Latin-inspired nightclubs.  I now take a Conversational Spanish class — Level 3!!

And as if all that weren’t enough, I’ve even gotten myself a Salvadoran boyfriend (and personal Spanish dictionary in one).

Mi hermoso Mi guapo... William, mi novio William Chloe Chloe on the Water

Lo emocionado que estoy para hablar Español.

These photographs are from a New York/New Jersey road trip we took in July.  For his birthday, I surprised my boyfriend with tickets to a double header in the Gold Cup Soccer (ahem…Fútbol) Tournament. We watched his country take on Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras beat down Haiti.  Fue un fin de semana muy latino.  Qué emocionada!  ♥

Clove & Orange Arrangement

My family was never one to have Christmas traditions…or so I thought.  I suppose it is not until one leaves the nest that she realizes the meaning in all those memories.  It’s been years since the family’s been together under one roof, but four things I can always count on:

1.  Mom telling us in October, “I plan to get my shopping done really early this year.”

2.  Laughing every Christmas Eve when Mom is still scrambling for last-minute gifts

3.  Watching National Lampoon’s Christmas VacationA Christmas Storyand Elf at least once every December

4.  The sweet aroma of cloves & oranges in the living room

Christmas Craft Supplies Spice Islands Whole Cloves

You’ll need:

  • bunch of oranges
  • jar of whole cloves
  • something sharp and pointy
  • assortment of dishes
  • maybe some Christmas tree trimmings for added visual and olfactory pleasure
  • imagination

Christmas Traditions Something Sharp to Poke

Get the family together for this one.  It’ll take ten minutes tops.  First, visualize a pattern.  Be creative: initials, zigzags, ocean waves, circles, snowflakes, suns, daisies…  Then get poking.  Pierce the orange peels with a sharp knife or point to prevent the clove from crumbling in your fingertips…they aren’t exactly cheap.  Once a set is complete, choose a dish and create an arrangement as you would with flowers.  Lay the oranges on a bed of Christmas tree fronds to add color and seasonal scent.  Place a few on the coffee table in a decorative bowl.  Set a single orange in a teacup on an end table or nightstand.  Stick a dessert plate in the bathroom on the toilet.  A strong, sweet aroma lasts for a good few days.

Be aware: Oranges will turn green before Christmas if you start too early.  Be double aware: Eyes burn when orange juice squirts, so keep your face back while poking.  Maybe have protective goggles on hand.

Poking Cloves Patterns and Designs Imaginaaaaation Scent of Christmas Coffee Table Bouquet

I know I’m posting this a little late in December, but the smell lasts even after Christmas is over.  Cheers to remembering old traditions and starting new ones.  Thanks for this one, mama.


This tree found me.  It waits for me outside those doors.

Golden TreeAppreciate the LoveIt holds...Life clings to it

I could sit with it, appreciate it until sunset.  Brilliant, blazing, in a sea of bare branches, it stands golden.  Life clings to it like the vines on the trunk, enough love to stay alive through winter.

Alive in WinterBranching Out

This tree found me.  It waits for me outside those doors.