08 September 2010

family reunion

This last weekend Ryan and I went home to San Antonio to celebrate my father's 60th birthday. It was my brother's first time home since Christmas and so it was a joyous occasion all around! We did nothing but hang out, laugh, dance, and eat...

Ryan & I

Kale & Oma

Sally & Ken
I did, however, convince the fam to go to the zoo on Sunday afternoon under the guise that it was a family reunion! Grin. I used to work at the San Antonio Zoo and have wanted to see all their improvements since I was last there in 1998. The exhibits were impressive, but I have to admit I did not feel the same as I did over a decade ago. I received a new camera for my birthday in May and in photographing the animals I noted a hint of sadness. Call it anthropomorphic projection. Call it a decent zoom lens. Call it whatever you want. All I know is that even though these guys have more room now, it's still not the uninhibited wild...






Look how sad this guy is! I think it hit me to the core, even with the lighthearted familial references. Anyway, Happy 60th, Dad! It's a zoo out there!

farm & market



In June, a group of us trekked out to Blanco, Texas for their annual Lavender Festival in the heart of their quaint little town. I had always wanted to go and it was every bit as fabulous as I imagined! On the way out of town we stopped at one of the lavender farms. Not only did they have all things lavender: both sweet and savory food, cookbooks, bath products, you name it, but they had the best little market with fresh organic produce, cold soda pop out of a glass bottle, and homemade ice cream. Finally scrolling through my photos, I forgot how much fun that day was...
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25 August 2010

farmhouse chic

I finally decided to decorate my kitchen after 3 years of staring at blank windows. My kitchen was remodeled with a French Country concept in mind before we bought the house, so expanding on that idea was not only easy, but exactly my style...Farmhouse Chic. I don't know if that's phrase designers use or not, but it's essentially a fabulous mix of old and new. Old World botanical prints and glamorous chandeliers. Rustic antiques and stainless steel. Toile and tailored stripes. Dried wheat and mirrors. Here's a nice representation of what I call Farmhouse Chic...
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These last few are straight up French Country/Farmhouse, but they could easily work in a few modern pieces and be absolutely fabulous! Sigh...





So with the help of my fabulous interior decorator, Lindsey Naslenas, we will be transforming the kitchen this week. Stay tuned!

19 August 2010

used car dreams

I bought a new car! Well, it's actually not new and not really a car...so I bought an old SUV! A 1997 4Runner to be exact. Sounds weird, but if I was going to purchase a used vehicle it might as well be something that I've always wanted. I remember back in high school there was this boy who had just gotten a 4Runner for his 17th birthday. I had such a crush on him. Well, to be honest, I really had a HUGE crush on his car! So when the time came for us to purchase another vehicle I decided that my used car dreams needed to be realized. Don't get me wrong. If I had the choice of a new car it would not be a 4Runner. No where close. But for what it is, 1997-Kensley is high-fiving 2010-Kensley...
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Mine's black

And by the way, I know old SUVs are not fuel efficient. But it is recycled. ;D

28 July 2010

thoughts on a lizard

Such a blissful lizard life to never encounter man.
Unaware of human truths and imprints on the land.
Dreaming only lizard dreams. Thinking only lizard thoughts.
Running only lizard trails, never getting caught.
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Well, this lizard encountered me; was fate that he be caught...
His lizard head faced me and he cocked his head to stare.
His lizard arms embraced me as if he just became aware.
His lizard eyes traced me and they squinted to a glare.
I stared right back, then let him go to think his lizard thoughts...
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19 April 2010

wood ocean

A fibrous current pulls grainy tides back to shore.

17 April 2010

book love: prodigal summer

I am immersed in Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer for the sixth year in a row. It's one of my favorite traditions that I look forward to every year during spring's first bloom. The book speaks of the complexities of human interaction, ecological hierarchies, and organic farming, of love and loss, passion and grief, of "extravagant procreation" and rural simplicity.

Prodigal Summer
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Kingsolver's flowing poetry cascades in and out of three delicately interconnected storylines. In Predators, an aging wildlife biologist becomes distracted with a torrid affair while studying the recovery of an ecosystem by a pioneering coyote family. In Moth Love, a widowed farmer's wife comes to terms with the inheritance of a dilapidated, tobacco-destined farm and a family consumed with misunderstandings. And in Old Chestnuts, a proud retired teacher attempts to single-handedly revive the extinct American chestnut while battling his old-fashioned views with an unruly petite neighbor and her organic philosophies.

I've never written about a book before and its hard to make something you love so much not sound cheesy or contrived. You want others to experience it too, to take in the amazing ebb and flow of the novel that moves you to multi-year reflection. But when I read what I just wrote above, I realize my interpretation somehow turned Kingsolver's masterpiece into cheap romance novel dust jacket! Hence, the reason why my day job is not being a writer and I will keep my musings on this topic short.
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Bottom line: I love this book not only for the pure enjoyment of it, but for its beautiful character development and teachings of ecological principles, for righting the wrongs made by ignorance and miscommunication, and celebrating the subtle complexities of life, be it human, coyote, luna moth, American chestnut, or any other extraordinary species, both here and gone.
Luna Moth

15 April 2010

field collection

I couldn't help but take just a few shots of some incredible central Texas landscapes this last week. This is what the hill country looks like from a wildlife biologist's point of view...

flora


Up close and personal...

flora


In admiration of the rejuvenated Pedernales River...

flora

Some other flowering beauties...

Pink Mimosa

flora

Spanish Dagger

flora

Field of Sunflowers

flora

And last but not least, weathered wood. Half my jewelry is reflective of twigs and branches, of all things wood. I wish I could do field work every day!

flora

p.s. If you can't tell, I finally figured out how to make my pictures HUGE! From now on, better fabulous photos! Speaking of, these pix were taken from an iPhone. Can you believe it?

12 April 2010

feast for the eyes

My obsession with spring flowers has come to its peak this year. Everything is so unbelievably vivid right now! Emerald grasses. Chartreuse oaks. A roadside Monet of wildflowers. I haven't seen this many bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, Mexican hats, and sunflowers going full-out bonkers like this since I don't know when. It's almost as if my eyes are starving and those fields are the creme brulee. Take my spoon and crack that crust!


And I'm not one for gloating, but even my modest yard is in full bloom! My favorite columbines are like these little yellow comets, like little shooting stars coming home. Scarlet roses. Indigo salvias. Fuchsia bougainvilleas. Even baby cacti!

Every day I watch my cannas progess into their glory. They slowly leaf out and I can't help but appreciate each day for what it brings anew. I inhale the sweet intoxicating aroma of the Texas mountain laurel tree, my favorite little tree in Texas, the one I named my jewelry company after (with a twist of my middle name), and I am transformed. Renewed. Ready to take on the world.


Yet somehow, in the back of my mind, I can't stop myself from thinking that each day is another day closer to the burning resolution of summer, one less day to have these little treasures around.

So what can you do? I guess the only thing that can be done. Take it in and enjoy every fleeting moment.

11 February 2010

new etsy postings

I've updated my Etsy website with a few more pieces, so check them out here! I hope you enjoy browsing!

Blackbird

Snowcapped

Twiglet

03 January 2010

let 2010 begin

So it's been since, what, November? I know, I know. But 2009 really took a toll on me with being out of town so much for work and being exhausted the few weeks I was in town. So thankfully 2009 is banished from existence and 2010 is finally here! 10 is of course my favorite (and lucky) number, so only good things can come from this beautifully symmetrical year ;D
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However, I don't know if I started off 2010 in a way quite what I had in mind...I somehow found myself getting a tattoo. Now hold on. It is actually something that I've been wanting for about 8 years now and because I'm 30 and it's now 2010 and I'm holding this year to a higher standard, it seemed like the timing was just...right. Especially because of the meaning behind my chambered nautilus tattoo.
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So why a chambered nautilus? Because it's the symbol of what I strive to be for two reasons. First, many moons ago I read Oliver Wendell Holmes' poem on the species and it blew me away. You can digest the entire poem here, but below are the two stanzas that hold my attention just a little bit longer...
The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Stanza 3

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Stanza 5
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!

So it may seem weird that so much of my life has been defined by the writings of a man who was born over 200 years ago, but I can't help but find such lovely meaning in Holmes' simple analogies: Live life in the present, always looking ahead. Make each passing year better than the last. And let the past balance you, but never hold you back.
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The second reason why I love the chambered nautilus is because it represents the quintessential Fibonacci sequence. I briefly discussed this in a March posting, but I really didn't do it justice. The sequence is a series of numbers that builds upon the sum of the preceding two units, which, as it turns out, makes a spiral. Spirals are found everywhere, in flowers, trees, galaxies, shells, tornadoes, even our inner ear. Everything has the same rudimentary design, and hence, everything is connected. My favorite quote is by John Muir who once said, "when you tug at a single thing in nature and you find it attached to the rest of the world." And so a chambered nautilus, the perfect representation of this connectivity, is what I chose. I'll post pix when the tat heals and looks more like a nautilus, not a naughtiness.
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So where does this leave us? Me and a tattoo at the beginning of a symmetrical year. Hmmm...that doesn't sound as promising as when I first started writing...
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...UPDATE (1/25/2010)...
Here's the tattoo, healed and permanent!