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The Surf Photography of Max Wanger

Max Wanger Photography

I have been on the hunt for something new to spice up the walls in my living room, and I’m thinking surf photos. Or maybe even just one really big surf photo. Some of my current favorites are by photographer Max Wanger — come take a peek!

Max Wanger Photography Max Wanger Photography Max Wanger Photography Max Wanger Photography

All of Max’s photos are taken in Los Angeles, which is like manna for this California girl’s soul right now. And some of his prints are available in really large sizes — up to 30×45! Visit the print shop by Max Wanger to see all of his current work.

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Swiss Alps & Traveling With Wee Ones

We just returned from a week in the Swiss Alps, and I still feel like I am floating … or maybe that’s just jet lag? Really though, this trip was one we will all remember forever, and I wanted to record a few of my favorite memories and moments, plus a few helpful tips for those of you who may be traveling abroad with a wee one. Enjoy!

Swiss Alps:: Water troughs adorned with fresh wildflower bouquets

:: The sound of cowbells and bird song.

Swiss Alps

:: Hiking everyday, even if it was just a walk down the (steep!) hill into town.

:: Fresh croissants and breads from the local bakery each morning.

:: Watching Bixby play and explore with his cousins.

Swiss Alps packing light

And a few tips…

  • Pack light. I only brought the single bag you see above, plus an empty canvas tote tucked inside. Ben brought a small wheelie bag with both his and Bixby’s clothes in it. It’s freeing! I did such a good job of packing light I ended up having plenty of room for my big camera, which I was considering leaving at home.

Swiss Alps dandelions

  • Have a mission. We started reading How to Train a Dragon before the trip, and decided there were probably dragons in Switzerland — which led to hours of dragon games and dragon hunting on the trail. Engaging the imagination is a great way to keep kids entertained!
  • Seek the best treats. Switzerland has amazing chocolates; in Italy you may want to sample the gelato from every shop; in Vienna the pastries, and so on. It’s vacation! Go a little crazy on the treats.

Swiss Alps with kids

  • Go in a group. We were so lucky to be traveling with Bixby’s cousins — it made all the difference in the world! Traveling with family or friends takes some of the strangeness out of visiting a new place.
  • Stay in a house. We had a large group, so we split up with most of us in a chalet, and the rest in an apartment. Both had well-stocked kitchens and laundry, so we were able to eat meals, relax, and wash clothes at home. It’s often more affordable than a hotel, and feels so much easier when traveling with little ones.

Swiss Alps wildflower meadow

  • Always bring a rain jacket! A lightweight rain jacket for each person takes up barely any space, can be used as a windbreaker, and is a lifesaver in places with unpredictable weather.
  • Find playgrounds. The Swiss have some of the best playgrounds I have ever seen, and they were tucked in everywhere, from train stations to mountain restaurants. Bixby got to jump on trampolines, slide down giant hillside slides, and swing on swing sets with panoramic views. Some playgrounds had gorgeous natural features, like streams for the children to splash in, and tunnels tucked into the hillside.

Swiss Alps

And a few more moments…

:: Waking to see the sunrise over the Alps.

:: Spending everyday with our family, no work, no school, no distractions.

Swiss Alps

:: Sitting in a cafe, sipping a cappuccino while listening to people speaking German.

:: Watching Bixby experience a new place, a new culture, a new landscape for the first time.

:: Riding Swiss trains and watching the scenery roll by.

:: Finally having a moment to breath, and think about big-picture things instead of being swept up in day-to-day busyness.

:: That feeling that a single week felt longer than the past month, and knowing it was because we were mindful of every moment.

And finally, a few details about where we were…

  • We stayed in Grindelwald at chalet Rivendell and Hotel Bodmi.
  • We took a day trip to the Ballenberg open-air folk museum, which was lovely (and huge!) with lots of hands-on activities for kids, like learning to saw, carve wood, and pump water.
  • The hike to Pfingstegg was a favorite, steep and a little cliff-y, but worth it as you are rewarded with spectacular views and a restaurant, playground, and toboggan run at the top, plus a lift to take you back down to Grindelwald.
  • We also took the lift to First, though at this time of year it was still a bit wintery up there! There is also a really excellent looking playground at the lower lift stop of Bort, with hiking from there as well.
  • This is my bag — I got it for this trip, and it’s my new favorite. Just the right size, super light, and the backpack straps zip away to turn it into a duffel.

The morning after we returned home, Bixby said he wanted to go back to Switzerland. I call that success! I felt like we could have easily traveled for the next month, and I can’t wait to start planning for another trip. xo Laura

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Spring Manifesto :: No. 2

Dandelion Yellow Rain JacketGranola BarsWindow

Number 2 ::

Appreciate the beauty of your daily life: the humble dandelion, faithfully springing up in fields, driveways, and cracks in the sidewalk, determined and surprisingly graceful; the joy that comes from saying YES to jumping in puddles, even if you left the rain boots at home; brewing tea and reading books while granola bars bake in the oven.

{see spring manifesto no. 1 here}

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Slow Decorating: Living Room Update

It’s been an long while since my last slow decorating post, but I guess that’s because slow decorating is … s l o w! It can be so frustrating to have a list of things you want to buy/make/do for your home and very little time or money to do them, but I wanted to show you how things are coming along — in the hopes that perhaps some of you are also slow decorating (by need or by choice) and will find my painfully slow progress helpful/inspiring/reassuring that you are not the only one on the planet with an imperfect home (but an imperfect home that you can also love). Wanna see?

Bird Chair

Since my last slow decorating post a year ago, I’ve started implementing some of the changes, and the plan has definitely evolved. I finally got our old chair reupholstered, using the same Dwell Studio fabric I had my eye on. We were considering doing a DIY upholstery job, but chickened out (definitely for the best!) and had local shop Kreatelier do it instead. I love the way it turned out. On the floor there you see a West Elm jute rug in a deep indigo color — darker than the natural fiber rug I was thinking of before, but I like the richness the deep color on the floor brings to the room. The twisty wood side table we’ve had forever, but I moved it up from the basement and liked the organic feel of it in the living room.

Living Room

Stepping back, this is now the view from the front door. It’s a long, narrow room, and I’ve had the hardest time figuring out how to squeeze an entryway, living room, and dining room into this one space. Part of what makes it work now is the new sofa table, seen in the foreground. I had the hardest time finding a sofa table small enough to fit behind our little sofette, and finally hit upon this one from Ikea, which is the perfect size … and cheap! I have a pair of super-cheap Lack tables as a coffee table, my favorite Moroccan pillow on our old white chair, and the fiddle leaf fig tree moved between the two chairs. I still hope to have a proper light fixture installed over the dining table (we already have one, I just need to call an electrician!!) and get rid of the torchiere in the corner.

Entry Table

Here’s a closer look at the sofa table, unstyled and complete with ugly hiking shoes and a recycling basket that needs to be emptied! Floating the small sofa in the middle of the room with table behind it creates a mini-entryway and gives some structure to the living room area. I still want to get some slim baskets to tuck into that shelf, to keep our mail and whatnot organized (yet hidden) near the front door.

Dining Room

Well, that’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed this mini-tour, and I’d love to hear what you think of our progress so far. Goodness know we still have a long way to go.

hugs, Laura

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Spring Manifesto :: No. 1

Inspired by Amanda’s Winter Manifesto project a few years back, I have decided to start my own Spring Manifesto to celebrate this glorious season. If you feel inspired to join me, feel free to link up to your own spring post in the comments.

Lilacs

SpringBlossom

Number One ::

Seek out the spring blossoms. Listen for bird calls. Soak in the sun.

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