Marvin Gaye

We continue to arrive, with gross repetition, to this place of cultural disbelief. Another young man taken from us. An explosive outcry against oppression, violence and killing. Brothers and sisters march through the streets, and eye one another with suspicion. We are like wary foxes in open fields, ears lain flat against delicate skulls as the concuss of heavy footsteps - racial inequality, hate, social injustice - vibrate up our legs.

In the 400 years since the origins of slavery in America, there are wounds that have remained oozily open by the perpetuation of false truths and inherited fears. This insidious pathogen of hate has been carried in the bloodstream of the most outrageous of the Klan, and by the most submissive timidity of a nervous housewife. But as we stand at this place of economic wealth, intellectual acceleration and societal recognition; no longer can we lay blame on our past. The past is PAST. There is far to much damage long done, with scar tissue far to thick to allow for new beginnings. 

I am a white woman raised in an abundant household. I never went hungry, or kept awake by the danger of my situation. I have never been forced to choose between saving my life or bowing down to someone more powerful. The acute awareness of my fortuity can feel like shame. The lack of conviction and justice for the systemic, calculated killing of those who have not been allowed to move through life as I have been allowed is inconceivable. But it is our reality.

What must we do to heal? Whom do we look toward for leadership? How to break these patterns, and these chains that tether us to an existence that simmers with quiet rage?

The answer is not bloodletting, nor the hunting out of a created nightmare. We can no longer lay the blame on our past, or wait anxiously for others to simply hand over our future. It is time to create our present. Happiness, safety, health and peace. Believing in the deservedness of Loving Kindness for all our Brothers and Sisters. We must clearly see the struggle borne of economic destitution and the suppression of an entire people. It's not just the lifting up of a class - it's the recreation of an entire class system. Speaking up for social justice, carrying the flame for those who have been lost, taking on the burden of change. Do not rely solely on our civic leaders. The system is too broken, and the cataclysmic shift exists only in us.

Start small and be a warrior, in your own life, for love. Extend your hand towards others. Speak to your children and your contemporaries about acceptance, about equality, about race. About the ways we may seem different, but - at our core, are the same. BREAK THE PATTERN. This is no longer our story! Though we may stumble through this red, heated haze, on the other side is the opportunity for the truest change our world can know. Do not sit down and wait. Stand up, make the choice to speak out, listen hard and bear witness.

Misun

Hey! Hi! Damn - sorry about that. I want to pick-up where we left off with a long weekend that deployed the reset button.  

In quasi tradition, Jacob and I sprint out of the city for a backpacking trip after the Valentine's vortex subsides. 2015 was overnight kayaking on Tomales Bay, 2016 was a 20-mile hike-in to Ventana hot springs; with a few tangents.

We got a motherf*ckin van, y'all! Thank you thank you thank you for everyone who ever supported the Big Dreams campaign; you made our down payment dreams come true. Jacob found the bus in Portland and flew up to buy it sight un-seen. This is like a trust fall excercise with my business credit card. After a hostel slumber party, and an involvement at a drag show, (this is not my story to tell, unsurprisingly involves admiration for his hair), the bus carried him back to Oakland. We got another tank of gas, threw the futon in the back and headed to Big Sur.

For years, in our time spent up and down the 1, Jacob has pounded the steering wheel of the compact car with, "If we just had van, we could pull over and camp wherever we'd want!" Well, check that off the bucket list. After watching the sun fizzle out with a bottle of wine and a bag of chips from the most ideal cliffside money could never buy, we wanted to sleep for a few hours before a Night Soak at Esalen. A full moon coming up from the behind the cliffs, we passed a joint and settled in. 

This isn't true, Jacob settled in. I got it into my head that I wanted to honor the moon and this awesome journey, cranking the tiny camp speaker and dancing wildly by the highway until I was a sweaty mess, throwing myself to hide behind the van when a car came. Fairly certain I sprained my ankle on the first 8-count, and convincing myself that it would heal in the baths later on.

At 12:30pm we stumbled a half-mile to Esalen and I had one of the trippiest experiences of my ENTIRE LIFE, which had a lot to do with being naked with 23 strangers. This, paired with the miasmic heat of the spring-fed pools, the Pacific crashing underneath and hemetic light of the moon turning every surface to metal. Hard to articulate, and when we woke up we weren't entirely convinced we didn't dream the whole thing. 

We loaded two-days of bourgie existence into our packs, and headed into the forest.


Aquilegia formosa, Western red columbine. Reminiscent of eagle talons and tiny spacecraft.

Aquilegia formosa, Western red columbine. Reminiscent of eagle talons and tiny spacecraft.

Clematis ligusticifolia, Western White Clematis. The peppery leaves and stems were chewed by Native Americans to soothe sore throats and colds.

Clematis ligusticifolia, Western White Clematis. The peppery leaves and stems were chewed by Native Americans to soothe sore throats and colds.

Trillium ovatum, Pacific wake-robin. Woodland perennials are a new obsession, and remind me of my parent's property which hosts an incredible population of Moccasin Flower (Cypripedium acaule).

Trillium ovatum, Pacific wake-robin. Woodland perennials are a new obsession, and remind me of my parent's property which hosts an incredible population of Moccasin Flower (Cypripedium acaule).


We walked through damp, shadowed redwoods, up shambling cliffs, through arid, sun-baked passes and through icy-cold creekbeds. We talked about our family, spooked at poison oak, crammed raw seeds into our mouths. Our minds shut-up, and there was a creeping wish we were staying out here longer than we'd planned. As we walked in, dozens of people were packing out. Every person we made room for to pass, we'd hiss and chant to each other "get em out, leave leave, all to ourselves!"

At the end, we were one of 4 other sites - each far enough from the other to feel alone. Of the three pools, we stayed in one that positioned us nearly in the treetops, melting into the sulphuric 100degree water until the sun had long dissolved to moonlight again.

We met a woman from Sacramento who had hiked in with her Standard Poodle - a deer-like white q-tip that folded her legs resignedly beside the pool we inhabited. For a short while we were joined by a boy my age who was on hour 63 of quitting a 25 yr old smoking habit. He had hiked out to leave that old identity behind, and had no qualms saying he was trying to not look back, but knowing he would probably fail. I don't know either of their names.

When we clambored down, we forged a stream 40degrees colder than what we'd left. Dressed in every layer we packed, we ate ramen cups and slept by the stream - turning over every hour in the small tent. At 6am, we got back in the pools. No sound besides the push of the water and small animals breaking their fasts. 

The Peach Kings

If you watched the vid below and was like, "And you're involved..how..?" it's well-merited. I dashed this up then was on the run, on the SPRINT, for the entirety of March. This is the very first day I've sat down to try to expense a receipt, or stare blindly at salestaxforeignlanguage in weeks. As the word "demure" frequently comes to mind when I'm honestly assessing my productivity traits, I'm avoiding the expense reports and writing about this Babe Club instead. And may the record show I'm fourth in on the left.

Christy, founder of LOHO, and I met last January on a styled shoot for Geraldine Magazine. I'm going to really go deep on what this chick means to me on a later posts that features a lot of flowers and a lot of ridiculously attractive party-goers. Dangling that carrot now so you check back later.

The premise for this shoot was to capture LOHO's cannon of designers in a simple studio setting, looks modeled by C's dear friend and the owner of the best cheekbones in the Bay Area, Lindsay Van Cantfort. Beautiful, yep. Badass, authentic, and totally real, yep. Can't hate her if you tried.

You will be unsurprised to learn that LVC is just one of C's group of spectacular women she's close with. Textile designers, entrepreneurs, ballerinas, stylists, on and on. And they all hang out together ALL THE TIME, spinning vortexes of inspiration and femme'y power. It's like the Cool Girl clique in high school, only they actually say hi to you and let you sit at their cafeteria table at lunch - only lunch is champagne and Hot Chip is playing over the loudspeaker. You get the idea.

So, at the end of an easy day on-set - the Babe Club gathers and starts to play dress-up. C had picked out a dress for each, including me (!), and wanted us around her like planets on orbit to show who LOHO's "girl" is. A hour's haze of white silk, taffeta, lace and tulle and we assemble in front of the camera. The result; Gold&Gumption's rocking video, loads of photos captured by Anna-Alexia and an evening where I counted myself amongst the Swans.