Airstream Thanksgiving


We did something different for Thanksgiving this year. As in I-don’t-have-to-cook-let’s-get-the-heck-out-of-Dodge different.

I loved it…really loved it.

There’s something about hiding away in a small space out in the elements with all of the daily distractions left at home. In this case the Navy base at Cliffside on Whidbey Island  was the haven, and The Twinkie was our dwelling space.















Two growing kids, a very tall spouse, an itchy Beagle and a cranky Chihuahua fit amazingly well as we climbed over each other for four days. It also helped that my in-laws were parked in Twinkie #2 next door and the kids retreated over there on several occasions…mainly when there was promise of sweet edible treats and board game fun.


PH and I have been talking about how much this Black Friday mess has stolen from the Thanksgiving holiday. The day should be sacred time to decompress and relish connecting with family and friends. The thought of someone unpacking cheap TV’s at the local Kmart instead of enjoying family time makes me feel sad…albeit, he or she is making time and a half, but the whole skewed consumerist concept of the holidays has gotten so out of hand.

We just wanted to escape.

The beach at Cliffside was the perfect place to walk and play…just being with my kids away from the mayhem that is connected to teenage life was enough to sustain me for a little while. There were card game tournaments, movies to watch and beach combing sessions each day and the meal itself was on the Navy base in the dining hall with the soldiers. Just. Really. Fantastic.

I love Airstream living. I like having everything I could possibly need within reach of the kitchen sink. Airstreams are really high on cubby storage space and we jammed them full this time round. I realize this kind of living is a different can of worms when you know you’ve got a bigger space waiting for you at home. I would like to believe that if our lifestyle permitted, we could survive a cross-country family adventure (even for several months). I’m sure my girls would be in danger of maiming each other (as well as their mother), but I can’t help but think it would be such a wonderful experience for our family. We do not have a life that permits this during the school year, but perhaps somewhere down the road we can hit the road in the summer months.

Something is happening to me lately.

I am riding a huge wave of desire for less. Less crammed into the schedule….less chaos during the holidays…fewer wardrobe choices when I’m getting ready in the morning…fewer pieces of furniture and décor in Chez MPG-ville….a simpler meal repertoire that I can keep up with on a weekly basis….less digital connection via devices that lurk about our house. I can feel this pull in every part of me towards a simpler existence, yet I know that the years ahead are going to be full. Full with activities and events and to-do lists (many of which will be exciting and good)…but I also wish for a fullness when it comes to downtime with my family and solitude between the craziness. I do believe this can be achieved, but it requires a consciousness to be present in every moment…it requires a decision that must be protected without worry about what the outside world thinks. To me, that’s the hardest part—a fear of disappointment from others. Gathering family time and solitude can sometimes be construed as holing up or hiding out…but I don’t think the opinions of others are enough to stop a process that could be very, very good for us as a family.

I’m also feeling a shift here on the blog. Stay tuned for some changes. I figured it would happen as my life has really done a 180 in this job change (for the better, I believe). I went on a long run on our Whidbey trip and I came up with a plan. Clarity always comes on long runs (and in the shower!) Go figure.

Are any of you feeling this pull to release the expectations the world (or your community) have on you? Like me, are you trying to find a slower pace and simpler existence? I’d love to hear your thoughts…especially as I make changes to the blog. What kinds of things do you want to read about?


Posted in Digital fine art, Fabulous family time, iPhoneography, MPG stirrings, MPG travelista, Pare down/Power Up - steps toward simplifying, Prairie Girl Dreams, Quest for Less: rational minimalism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tranquility du Jour #299

I’m featured on Kimberly Wilson’s Tranquility du Jour podcast! Very exciting :)

Loved photographing her and Sir Louis last summer.















Happy Thanksgiving week, Lovelies! I’m thankful for you.


Posted in Fab MPG women, Happiness, Lara's photography classes, My dog obsession, My photography world | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fab Finds of the season

Hello, Lovelies! I hope your fall is beautiful wherever you are. ‘Thought I would share some of my loves as of late.

First, some inspiring books:

* I found this little gem via a post here.












I love Allison’s honest style of writing and her message is a good one:

Life is short. Be BRAVE.

I believe This guy is in Allison’s writing community.











I’ve posted about his work before. His latest is good and I recommend it.

*Loving this site because I think I’m ready to tackle my achy belly once and for all. I’ve cut dairy for 20 years now and red meat & pork for five…ready to feel better. I’m asking for this cookbook for Christmas.








I made a connection with a sweet blog reader this week who has embraced the SCD diet due to her IBS. It struck a chord with me and I will look forward to watching her progress as I venture into my own experiment.

For the body:

* My new favorite face foundation.








I don’t usually wear any, but this is light and covers so nicely. My hair stylist recommended it and her skin always looks so lovely.

* Loving the boots and skinny jeans look…especially with yummy, mushy sweaters.













I’ve been wearing out my own black riding boots and it’s hard not to wear them every day!

* I’m intrigued by vegetables masquerading as starches. I think I might be game to give these a try.


For the soul:

*It’s all things Airstream around here lately…I will explain more later, but there’s news about ours. This is such a lovely scene, isn’t it? Oh…and those BEDS! Be still my heart.


















via image 

How cute is this blog about a couple on the move?

* Speaking of Riveted Living...I’m obsessed with Airstream art as well.


This painter is such a talent…love the colors! Leah Giberson…a name I shall be watching.

* Loving this podcast on my weekend runs.



They are just the sweetest people with such a great message. I’ve learned a lot and they make me laugh.



For the family:

*Watching Wonder Woman episodes via Netflix.


















Okay…okay…so they’re REALLY bad..but oh, so good! Ha! I feel like a kid spinning around making firecracker noises all over again. My kids are obsessed with it. How in the world did she keep that strapless number up when she ran? And we’re not even talking about the control top hose she’s rockin’ while she’s putting away bad guys. Yikes…in a good way.

* Four words…Pandora Michael Jackson station.


It is the best cleaning music ever…especially when you watch your kids doing the dance moves they think were in your generation (Helloooo?! The running man wasn’t until the 90′s) My youngest was the initiator on this one and it surprised me. She says “Black and White” is the ultimate running song. I have to agree.

I showed her the video (pretty cutting-edge for the 80′s, don’t you think?) and she was impressed…especially the morphing thing at the end. You owe it to yourself to step back in time and just watch that part ;)

* * *

Well…those are some things I’m loving on this season. We’re actually doing some serious Netflix-watching today as my youngest is home sick. I’d so rather take my kids’ places when they’re ill. Seeing them listless and red-faced isn’t fun at all. I did, however, get a little couch time with her today…and that doesn’t happen very often. I’m just hoping my class didn’t eat my sub alive. First one of the year! Praying for a good report.

Happy week, Lovelies!




Posted in Artist crushes, Fabulous family time, Good Books, Good Design, MPG good eats, MPG music, MPG Style and apparel, Pare down / Power up, Pare down/Power Up - steps toward simplifying, Prairie Beauty goods, Quest for Less: rational minimalism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Struggle can be good

We’re having an unbelievably gorgeous month in the Northwest. It’s bright, crisp days full of color. With autumn weather like this, I’m usually all over the place, Big Kahuna in tow, capturing every inch of the season.

Big Kahuna (my Nikon, not a large Polynesian fellow) has been resting peacefully in my studio closet for many weeks now. Of course, the iPhone does a great job of stealing my Nikon’s thunder with its apps. Yet, I haven’t been snapping away with the camera phone either like the shutterbug I’ve been known to be. I haven’t had that fire in my insides to run toward the dappled light in the woods with a reluctant teen (mine) and a colorful costume of sorts flailing behind me.  In the past I would have never let days like yesterday go without some sort of photo session, even if it was just my dogs wrapped up in leaves, resting in the sunlight.

What’s going on? Have I lost my creative mojo?

Yet…I can tell you that the creative dial has been cranked up in my classroom. I’m using every artsy trick known to man to communicate the importance of using capital letters and learning multiplication facts. There have been a ton of songs memorized to facilitate the best kind of learning. It has created an extremely colorful and fun environment and I can honestly say it has made me very happy….an I’m-doing-meaningful-work-I’m-in-love-with-these-kids kind of joy. Is it possible that a medium that was so ingrained in my routine (and at times felt like a love affair with a new boy) has been exchanged for a completely new way of expressing my creativity?

How can I possibly close the door on this thing I loved so much so easily?

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that many years ago I took an art form I loved and worked very, very hard to make it a successful business. It’s not that I don’t think an artist can have a creative outlet and financial reward simultaneously. People do it all the time. For me the two had a hard time living on the same planet and it was making me resentful…an emotion I’d prefer to let go of completely.

It’s so bizarre. I haven’t slept this well in years. I actually have mornings where I wake up with only the memory of taking off my slippers and turning out the light. Then there’s the deep, dream-ridden sleep where I’m swirling with kids and the world of teaching (even though it might be underwater…or on a ship…or they’re all adults from my high school in my room. Weird) and it’s always a haze of positivity after I wake. I feel different. Transitions can do that, I guess…especially when they’re swift and unexpected.

I’ve finally learned that really good things can come when you struggle.

Trying to mask struggle and frustration or just make it go away has not been the answer for me at all. Deciding to leave photography and embrace my old life in the classroom was such a surprising thing for me (and the people who know me). Why in the world would I choose to do this right after my book came out…after I’d worked so hard to be the it girl in this niche market…after I’d invested in so much equipment?

The fact is I couldn’t not do it.

I faced the struggle that was going on inside me and I journaled myself to death. I talked about it with girlfriends (and a husband) I trust. And every time the answer that surfaced didn’t make any sense at all. I had that “people will think I’ve lost it” feeling. I soon came to realize that it didn’t really matter. The heart wants what the heart wants, right? And for me it came in the form of being surrounded by energetic & eager kids and immersed in a career that has the potential to do some major good in the world every day. I chose what felt the most peaceful and meaningful…even if it meant letting go of working really hard for something I’d always wanted.

The truth is sometimes we really don’t know what we want until the struggle comes.

Luckily, mine was intense enough that I recognized the path I was on wasn’t making me happy, even though everyone around me was saying that it should.

I will admit that sometimes I get a tug on my heart (ego too) when I read my photography magazines (note to self..cancel subscriptions for awhile) or talk to my cohorts around the country (relationships can morph into friendships without shop talk). I had a client come to have me sign a bunch of books for her dog-loving friends. It made me feel so great, but it was also weird to tell her about my career change. Her response was so lovely—something to the effect of “You’ll always be a photographer, Lara. It will never leave your life just because you’re doing something else for a living.”  ‘Made me feel good.

* * * * * * *

I’m interested…what struggles speak to you in your life? When you feel the tension in a decision, do you brush it aside or do you dig deep to examine its message?

I hope the fall is beautiful and bright wherever you are, Lovelies.




Posted in Digital fine art, iPhoneography, MPG stirrings | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments