a few pieces of the puzzle: 20 of ‘em

henna blossom 20 facts

Hey kids! If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been…nope, not on safari. Just INSTAGRAM. Yeah, like all-over-the-gram. Miss you guys though and miss this space.

So here’s the deal. You’ve missed a lot. Like this H-A-I-R!

I don’t know why, but I suddenly (well not so suddenly) got a blogging block and Instagram opened me up again. I’ve been sharing my life and myself over there. And I’ve found such an amazing community in the process.

I thought I’d catch the blog up a little bit and RE-POST some of the STUFF  I’ve dumped over there. So bear with me if you’ve already read all this. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with lots of fresh and “original” shares soon, ha.

So without further ado. Let’s get back into the blogging groove with a few FACTS about moi.

 

T W E N T Y  F A C T O I D S

 

1. American girl. Korean, German, and Irish.

2. Met my husband at a bar on a Wednesday night. You never know when or where you’re going to meet someone who will change your life forever. We ended up dancing until almost 2am. In our work clothes.

3. We married at City Hall. Just us. I was wearing jeans.

4. I cannot go to sleep (no matter how tired) without listening to a story. I’m five, I know.

5. I hate driving. I hate parking more. If I could have one luxury it would be a driver. I feel like I’d say “YES” to life more often.

6. My mother was sick a lot of my childhood so I was independent quite young. (In kindergarten I’d get myself up in the morning as well as my four-year-old brother, get us both dressed, make us breakfast, pack a lunch for school and wait for the school bus). Donno what happened. I am not that independent now. I drag my husband everywhere.

7. I had a nice childhood but I was lonely and rather sad and serious. I get younger, lighter, and happier as I age.

8. I love TED talks.

9. I have moved to both Sweden and Spain for love. Hej, hej! Tjena! Hola que tal?!

10. Then there was the time I took a job as a traveling nanny in Madrid. I found it by googling “how to learn Spanish and live abroad without any money.” They needed someone who spoke English with some Swedish & Spanish. Life is random. You never know when your random interests/talents will be needed.

11. I love spicy. When we go to Europe for longer than two weeks I bring my own hot sauce.

12. I’ve NEVER dated an American guy. How is that even possible ?? Born and raised in the US and I like American men just fine. (shrug) Guess they were never quick enough? ;)

13. I get along with about anyone, open and genuine. I especially love people who are passionate. Doesn’t even matter what you’re passionate about. I feed off of passion.

14. I don’t like talking on the phone. Email me or let’s meet in person.

15. I’m missing a huge chunk of American pop culture. My parents were STRICT. Most of the films I saw were in black and white. I had crushes on Errol Flynn and Carey Grant. I didn’t know who Madonna, Michael Jackson, Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts were until I was 13. For real.

16. I don’t second guess myself too often in romance or motherhood. Not that it’s EASY (no way), but I have good instincts for both. Sadly, I am incredibly & cripplingly hard on MYSELF, second guess almost everything I do, and am rarely happy with my work. Not humble, it’s really a very gross character flaw and I’m working on it.

17. I have some serious anxiety issues. I have worked on this part of myself for about 17 years and although it’s prevented me from finishing many many things, it’s become a blessing because I am constantly searching, dreaming, trying, and hoping. I also appreciate how “normal” I am right now (comparitively).

18. When I was 17, I got into concert photography. I dared myself to do something scary. I’d write scrips and then SHAKING in the boots, I’d read my scripts to publicists and somehow I ended up on lists for press passes (literally there were times when it was just the newpaper photogs, the Rolling Stone photog, and ME in the photo pit). Still baffles me a little. It taught me that it’s important to be UNCOMFORTABLE. Also to ask.

19. Being on Instagram and blogging are one of those uncomfortable dares. I’m naturally very private. I am so private and timid sometimes in my life that I NEED to put myself out there. So here I am. HELLO.

20. I still don’t know what I’m going to be “when I grow up.” But I’m getting there.

 .   .   .   .   .

THANK YOU FRIENDS, for supporting me and being so sweet – through the good times, through the fun times, through the low times, and through the awkward times. As ALWAYS feel free to share some of YOUR random facts in the comments. I like me a good random fact!

**And please feel free to find me over on my second home: Instagram. My handle is: hennablossom

guys, i’m awake

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It happened. We let the child out of his “cage.” AKA crib.

Thanksgiving Day, I put Mateo down for a nap in his crib. I told him, “When you wake up, we’re going to go have a Thanksgiving Feast and go see Kyle (his cousin).” I do this a lot. At night I’ll tell him to “let me know when you wake up in the morning.” It just seems to help him feel like he’s choosing to go to sleep. (‘Cause toddler like to fight. they just do).

But…it backfired. Possibly “feast” and “cousin” were just too exciting. About 15 minutes later I heard his little voice and it was decidedly not coming from inside his room. We (my parents, sister, Aki, and brother) all ran upstairs…and there he was. Yes, outside. Of his crib, of his room.

Mateo: “Guys, I’m awake!”

He recreated “the climb” for the audience. Three times in a row.  It was a one-handed operation (because one arm is always cradling his monkey. No monkey left behind). I wish I’d taken a video. Probably not the safest thing to climb out of a crib, one handed while groggy so it was “ciao ciao crib” and “hola toddler bed.” (His crib has a neat little conversion set which opens one side and turns it into a bed).

These photos are from that first night sleeping in his “new” bed. My dad read his bedtime stories (Uncle Christian hung out for a bit too), and it’s pretty novel to be able to have someone else SIT in his bed. :) I have a lot of photos of “Papa” reading to Mateo from the past two years. They’re some of my favorites because my dad read to us every night as kids. I actually still can’t go to sleep to this day without a story (now podcasts).

So yup, now you’re fully updated on Mateo’s sleeping situation. No real big news, but it definitely feels like a milestone. He’s one step closer to being a proper big boy.

Ah, and the best part. When he wakes up, he opens his door and yells one of the following:

“guys!”

“guys I’m awake!”

“Anyone? Anyone?”

“It’s Teo!”

TIME. It sure does fly…

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expecting. beginning.

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I took these photos for a friend, Jacque, who is expecting a baby girl any day now. Mateo & I spent the morning with her, our friend Angela, and Rome (the biggest & most handsome dog ever). I was a little nervous about taking on a “maternity shoot” because I know how meaningful photo documentation is. I really wanted to capture the beauty she is and what a special moment in time this is. There was nothing to be nervous about. Jacque is the most down-to-earth, naturally ethereal mama. It was a relaxed morning. Mateo may have eaten a few too many chocolates and watched a couple extra episodes of Curious George on an ipad. But it was a relaxed morning. :)

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Isn’t Jacque beautiful? And Rome! That dog is something! :) He was taller than Mateo! But really, he was a gentle giant. He’ll be an excellent big brother. ;)

You’ll love this — that little sweater that Jacque is holding up in one of the photos is what she wore home from the hospital as a newborn! I love that. It’s so special that she can wrap her own baby girl in the same cozy, little top!

I love that I can give Jacque these photos. And I’m thankful to my friend Angela who connected me to Jacque and always pushes me to use my talents. I tend to focus on what I lack in talent, but you need to use what you have to move forward. I do know that. I may never be “ready” but sitting on talent is a waste. For everyone. It really did mean a lot to me to be able to document the end of Jacque’s pregnancy for her. That motivates me. And while I did have to experiment a bit and make poor 38-week-pregnant Jacque move around, we figured it out. And I learned so much.  I still don’t think of myself as a “photographer,” but title aside, I’m finding myself more and more drawn to photography. If I could have any wish, I’d probably wish that my eyes could take photos. (And for Mateo’s health and happiness, etcetera, etcetera…sure). :) It wasn’t ever my plan to start taking commissioned photos, but I’m starting to think about branching out and pushing myself in that direction.

I remember (so badly) wanting to be able to capture light-filled images during my pregnancy and just not being able to figure out how. I still have that same camera, but I’ve learned so much more about how to use it. It was through becoming a mom, needing a creative outlet, and wanting to document Mateo — that I started playing around with my camera. This blog in particular has pushed me. I just want to learn more.

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fall into autumn. bring on the bonfire. part three.

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Fall weekend: Part Three! The bonfire was my favorite part of the weekend. (part one and part two if you missed them). The backstory again, is that my parents moved to small-town, Indiana about six years ago. They live in the center of their town, right by “Main Street” which is really quite charming with lots of shops and mom & pop restaurants to walk to. But right outside of town is country. Amish country and farming country.

I’m a city girl and I really haven’t spent enough time in the country. In fact, there was this time I was on a roadtrip with my brothers and we just had to stop the car and get out because the whole sky was filled with twinkling stars. We’d simply never seen anything like it. We actually put our arms around each other and just stood there on the side of the road, looking up. I believe we were in the middle of Iowa. Not proud, but in amazement I exclaimed,  ”WOW, it’s like we’re in the planetarium!” bahaha. (yeah, it’s just like that. like a man-made sky for city folk). Ooooorrrr, we’re outside away from city light pollution.

SO, that’s me.

My parents told us we were all invited to their friends’ farm for a bonfire. A REAL 350-acre farm. I donno, it was just so great. I was just kinda in awe that they have this land and work it, and it’s all so beautiful and full of character. It makes you feel connected to tradition and to living.

Family. That’s my grandpa, Mateo’s “great” that you see greeting him at the horse stable. And I love the photos of Mateo in between my dad, (his Papa) and my grandpa (his Great). The photo of the three men (two wearing red hats) are my dad, grandpa, and Aki. And that’s my sister (Mateo’s dear “auntie”) jumping in the air. :)

I mentioned in my earlier posts that I was really stressed leading up to this weekend. Taking walks, taking family photos, and visiting the pumpkin patch were fun activities…but it was the bonfire that I needed. I mean, there’s something about a fire that is so hypnotizing. The world dims a little and it’s just a simple moment around a dancing fire. And when else do people get together and just sing? :) Growing up, we used to have large camping family reunions. The singing around the campfire was my favorite. Mateo has now been officially introduced! If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen the video I posted that night of us singing around the fire back in October.

Ah, and I almost forgot! They took us (almost 20 of us) on a midnight hayride! :) It wasn’t really midnight, but it was pitch black, and they hooked up one of their tractors and took us on a hayride through some of their fields. Mateo was SO excited about another hayride (his first was on the Pumpkin Patch). But haha, he was O-U-T, fast asleep about two minutes in. I captured this pic of the sleepyhead on my phone. :)

Good times. I could use more country air.

Thank you to the Millers for hosting us on the farm. Your farm is pretty amazing, you are so hospitable, and we had a great time. Thank you, thank you!


ALSO, Want to wish Mateo’s Baka (grandma) in Croatia a very Happy Birthday! (Sretan rođendan!!!!). We love you!

fall into autumn. even later. pumpkins, oh my. part two.

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Hope everyone stateside (or celebrating abroad) had a Happy Thanksgiving! We did. We ate food, saw family, ate more food. Repeat. And not to be all braggy, but for real, our Thanksgiving spread is always a little bit extra awesome because we have Korean noodles and Korean BBQ beef along side the turkey. And baklava along side the pies for dessert. Sigh, wish there were leftovers…

SO I know everyone’s already singing Christmas songs and rushing to get trees up…but before you completely switch over, WAIT, we have more Autumn to share! Here’s Part two of our second annual trip to Indiana for Pumpkins and Fall Photos. And of course visit Noni & Papa (my parents). ;)

Just your usual December Pumpkin Patch Blog Post! ;) Ya know.

A little late, but moving on. This year was fun because Mateo is truly excited by these special outtings (nothing new) and he remembers them (new!). He’s still talking about the “punkin pash” and the “haywide.” :)

As for the Pumpkin Patch, we told Mateo that he could pick any pumpkin he wanted. He picked a miniature squash and he was done. If you look very closely at the top photos (in the corn maze) you’ll see it clutched in his hands. :) He DID however have fun looking for old rotted pumpkins and yelling “EWWW, yucky punkin” or “GARBAGE PUNKIN!” ;)

Last year he was too tiny to cover much ground. This year, he wandered into the corn maze which was cute stuff. We would have checked out the apple orchard as well but oops, we didn’t check their hours and we ran out of time. Next year! Actually we were alone at the end; caught the very last hayride back. We closed out the pumpkin patch! ;) But really, an hour or so looking for yucky punkins is quite a memory in his book.

If you missed part one, here’s a link to that: fall into autumn part one. And stay tuned. There’s ONE more Fall photo post to sneak in from that weekend way back in October. And OH MAN, it’s DECEMBER already!

HAPPY DECEMBER FIRST!

fall into autumn. just a little late. part one.

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These photos are from way back in October. Before Halloween, before the snow (yup, we have snow in Chicago!), and I’m sneaking them in right before Thanksgiving. Now considering I STILL haven’t gone through all of our photos from Europe this summer…they’re not really thaaat late. ;)

We escaped to Indiana for this weekend to visit my parents. My parents left Chicago and moved to a tiny town in Indiana (three hours away), right near Amish country some years ago. It’s a different pace, and really quite a sweet place. We love making little visits, sometimes even just for 24 hours. It’s always worth the drive; Mateo LOVES seeing Noni & Papa and we get a little space from our “to do” lists. We love to see Noni and Papa too of course, and we like having to spend time together, ha. :)  It’s good to get a little space and regroup. We usually set down our cellphones, eat too much, and take long walks.

Last year we took Mateo for some “Fall Photos” and I captured so many sweet images. We also took him to his first Pumpkin Patch and decided to make it a tradition. So this was our “Second Annual.” I tried to repeat the Fall Photoshoot but OH MAN, that boy is way faster and always has his own agenda. I was afraid I didn’t really capture anything. I need to calm down, ha. Love these! But seriously, I think it’s a little impossible NOT to get a few good photos when the world is on fire with color!

I love Autumn, it’s my favorite season. I used to call it “boot season” cause I’m a boots kinda girl. I love the layers, and I love “walking weather.” I donno if it’s just me, but this year autumn has been especially beautiful. I think part of it is that I’ve started paying attention to details. For a few reasons! Mateo is a full-on toddler with reactions to everything, I’m getting more into photography which makes me want to capture all.the.things, and I’m blogging now…so I have this funny internal dialogue taking mental notes all the time (whether you guys ever get to hear it or not).

I wish I would actually scribble my notes because I remember quite clearly that I was feeling suffocated before we left Chicago. Everything felt like pressure and I just felt like I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t able to enjoy anything. Everything felt like work and responsibility and everything reminded me that I was behind. On everything. I remember getting to my parents house, walking outside and finally breathing.

Going through these photos, I love the contrast of bright colors set off by all the dull, dead and dying scenery behind and under it. For some reason I can relate. ;)

More photos on the way! Part two: Pumpkin Patch! Part three: Bon Fire on a FARM. A real farm. I donno, that was kinda exciting for this city girl. A real farm! A real one.


Mateo’s mouse pants are from PRSPR, an adorable locally based Online shop we adore. Since everyone always asks about them, here’s a link: PRSPR mouse pants :)

**To you in the Philippines. I see you checking in. I’ve been thinking about you all the past couple weeks. I hope you and your families are okay. We’re sending our love and we’re thinking about you. xo

henna blossom

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I’m flawed. I’m sensitive and easily overwhelmed. I’m prone to anxiety and living in extremes. I’m hopelessly unorganized and obnoxiously critical of myself and my abilities. I need lots of time alone and abhor feeling trapped. *Yeah, total dream-wife and mother-of-the-year material right there. Sigh.

But I’m also more.

Earlier this week, a blog friend (and inspiration) of mine, Sisilia Piring posted a “Recipe for a Long and Happy Life” by Ruth Bernhard on Instagram. And it hit me in just the right place. I felt an inner “YES.” It immediately brought me back to a promise I made to myself in my early teens, that I would never become jaded. This list is a verbalization of many unspoken vows which have preserved me from being crushed by my flaws.

I hope that you will find this list to be just as powerful, encouraging, sweet and inspiring.

Recipe for a Long and Happy Life by Ruth Bernhard

  1. Never get used to anything
  2. Hold on to the child in you
  3. Keep your curiosity alive
  4. Trust your intuition
  5. Delight in simple things
  6. Say “yes” to life with passion
  7. Fall madly in love with the world
  8. Remember: Today is the Day!

When I started this blog, I was tired and I was frustrated. But I was full of ideas and and I wanted to grow and to make something. It was excruciatingly hard for me to put myself out there in the open. It sounds funny now that I have a personal blog on the internet, but I was the private girl who didn’t even have a “relationship status” on facebook until I was “married.”

But blogging has brought me closer to each of these “ingredients” to a “long and happy life.” I am tired, I am a mess, I loose my cool all the time, and my photography, writing, and  design skills or whathaveyou are all absolutely just a “work in progress.” But I have this project on the side: HENNA BLOSSOM (me!) which makes me look at my life and the world through a different lens. It makes me want to create something from the little moments. To pay attention. To appreciate them, and when I just can’t appreciate them (like 5-7:30 pm every day with a toddler), to learn from them. :)

What’s funny, is that most of the work for this blog, you’ve never seen and maybe you never will. I’ve photographed  style, food, travel, family and home posts. I’ve written essays in my drafts folder and even more in my head which I may or may not ever have time to finish. But it changes me. Having this ongoing “conversation” connects me to my life in a deeper way.

And as these posts pile up, I can see myself learn and grow. I’ve also been able to connect with so many of you fighting the same good fight. There are so many of us trying to live fully, in the middle of “LIFE.” And let’s not miss out on LIFE while we’re trying to live, eh? ;)

SO THESE PHOTOS…

I’m in love with them. And haha, yes, they’re of me so maybe that statement sounds a little bit narcissistic. But ah well, I love them. :) They feel very me, and that’s not something I’m able to do consistently. I like that they came from an idea in my head. I like that they feel editorial, but they’re really of me snapping photos during Mateo’s nap in his playroom. My wardrobe is what I threw together as a spur of the moment “forest maiden” Halloween costume. I set up the camera and a tripod and timer. When I couldn’t get what I wanted, I begged the husband to take a break from work (Aki was working from home that day). I set up the camera for him and I’d just explain what I wanted and then we’d look at them and I’d explain again, ha. Thank you for going through that Aki! And then I edited.

So here is me and here is my blog. This is my life and I’m making it work. I’m a mom without much time or brainspace for creative things. But I thrive on learning and creativity and I am striving for a happy life. Sometimes I just say things and post photos for memory sake, and sometimes I post something that is straight from my heart and fills me with pride.

Thank you for stopping by.


Thank you Sisilia for posting Ruth Bernhard’s “Recipe for a Long and Happy Life.” If you want to check out Sisilia’s instagram feed (she’s kinda a rockstar there), here’s her handle: sisiliapiring. I find her incredibly inspiring. She’s a mom of two young, gorgeous little things and an incredible fashion photographer. I just like to know that people like her exist. That it’s possible. We would have never connected if I hadn’t started this silly blog, and there’s just another reason I’m thankful I put myself out here on the internet eight months ago.

And if you want to check out my Instagram feed. I’m: hennablossom. I’m not as amazing. But you’re here, so you probably like me anyway. :)


WHICH FROM THE LIST SPEAK TO YOU? 1, 2, 3 and 5 jump out for me, but I love them all.

how long does it take a baby elephant to walk three blocks?

How long? 45 minutes! That’s how long. There’s a reason we usually take a stroller when we have to get somewhere. This little boy of mine gets distracted by EVERY little thing. Not so practical when you have a destination in mind, but an enviable way to experience life doncha thing? Everything is fascinating. :)

Here are a few photos from our walk with Papa (my dad) who was visiting. Mateo loves when my parents visit. I’d say he particularly loves bossing Papa around, ha. We picked up Mateo from his little preschool Halloween party. He was in quite a good mood because well, he was in an elephant suit and holding a big bag of treats. :) …except for whenever I tried to move him along. His pouting pics make me laugh most of all.

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just the right amount of time

hello-november

Even before my first sip of coffee on November 1st, I received a text from a dear friend in San Francisco (hi Jess!) wishing me a “Happy November 1st.” Dear friends know that the beginning of a new month is always a hopeful for me. It means a ton to have someone else stand in that possibility and belief of “fresh & new.” Truly.

It’s funny, but our friendship is marked by this ability to share our utter humanness (ugliness & failure flapping in the open), and still listen with complete belief in each others’ hopes and desires. Even if it means stepping over 827 sabotages and “chicken outs” of the past. Cause you know, there’s always a new day. And definitely a new month. I don’t know why it is, that some relationships are completely free of cynicism. I’m so thankful.

And it’s a reminder to be kinder, less judgmental of my talents, and more trusting in myself. Why is that so much harder?

We decided (over text) that two months left in the year is just  the right amount of time to make an impact. It is, doncha think? I want to end 2013 with my head up high. Who doesn’t?

Right now, I feel like I have a lot of good things going on. I’ve been connecting with more creative people, I have some new photography opportunities, I have good people in my life, Ingrid & Oliver is running, we have some home remodels coming up, and Mateo is at my favorite age so far (the talking  and all that silly mischievousness!). BUT I’m really tired, always a little flustered, and overall just feeling stuck in a game of catch-up. And so, what will make a difference in my life is scheduling, organizing, clear goal/task setting and focusing on my health. It’s the boring stuff, but the reality is that I have more projects and goals than I have time or energy for. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed and run in circles instead of forward when that happens.

Taking care of the boring stuff clears out some of my anxiety and leaves more room for needed breakthroughs and the unpredictable magic stuff. ;) And it also leaves a more present  mother to Mateo and wife to Aki.

If I’m going to be completely honest, I’m kinda  grumpy this morning. And I’ve already snapped at both of my boys. But I still mean every word. And I feel better for admitting that. :)

T W O   M O R E   M O N T H S.


Why yes, I did take that photo up there myself with a tripod. :) It’s one of my favorite portraits of myself. ever. Go figure.

we were together

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We were together.

I forget the rest.

—Walt Whitman

 

I feel like I’ve been trying to catch my breath for the past couple weeks. And this weekend, I think I finally did. We slipped away from the city for a day. Just a day. And it was great. Sometimes you don’t have to go far. Just far enough from all those things that stir up anxiety, from all of those things that have been piling up. It’s just too insufferable to always feel like you’re trying to catch up. I can’t. I give up. I’m here. At whatever pace, I’m moving forward. I’m not behind, just here.

There is a lot of good around me right now, just not enough TIME (or energy). I have to let go of the way I want to organize my life and just accept the constraints that I’m working with. Who knew that being a (disorganized) mother of a toddler was so exhausting?! huh. It’s not really Mateo, it’s the desire to execute the thousand creative ideas I have spinning in my head that makes me feel so inept.

What else? You wouldn’t know it from the blog, but if you follow me on facebook, you know that my friend Angela and I launched a vintage baby shop, Ingrid & Oliver. It’s even cuter than it sounds. That definitely deserves its due share. But in the meantime, for those who are curious, click over to our Ingrid & Oliver facebook hangout to see what we’re all about.

I know it’s been quiet around here. Sorry mom! :) If you miss me when it’s quiet on the blog, you can bet I’m on Instagram every day. My handle is:hennablossom. I don’t know about you, but I neeeed some type of creative outlet. Daily. I don’t know why it took me so long to get into Instagram. I wish I’d started a long time ago. Even on those days when I just can’t get a photo shoot together, or any time at a computer to write, edit, or learn…I can take a photo with my iphone. It’s fun to pay attention to the little details, save a memory, or just play around in a tiny visual medium. I’ve also discovered some incredibly creative people. There are so many photographers, stylist, and artists that blow my mind. Sometimes they make me feel boring, untalented, and messy, but usually they give me an extra boost of inspiration. And then there’s my wanderlust. I wish I was out there traveling, but because I’m not, I love seeing the world secondhand. I’m glad someone is out there exploring! And I’ll be exploring my own waters over here.

Oh we DID get out there in “the world” this weekend. Ha, yes we made it all the way to Indiana to visit my parents. And I did manage to take out my camera. I love that capture up there ^^ of Mateo & Aki. :) Teo is so big now, but really, still so tiny. We had so much Fall fun this weekend. And we were together. Not tag teaming, together.

I just love everything about this season. Everything and everyone looks better with an Autumn backdrop. I have a TON of photos for the blog. I’ll probably split them up into a few posts. So watch out for that.

For a bit there, I actually wondered whether I was ever going to blog again. Oh Henna, it really doesn’t have to be ALL or NOTHING. Truly.

I’m back. I missed this. And missed you too.

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