29 September 2011

Inspired: Thread Paintings by Cayce Zavaglia



I'm blown away by the photorealistic embroidery of Cayce Zavaglia. I'm a big fan of Chuck Close, and her bold portraits have a similar presence, though mixed with the softness of thread in a way that makes them unforgettable.

26 September 2011

Naturally Alpacas with Christine & Steve


When I spoke to Sam about the next leg of our trip, he said, "but I never want to leave!"  We've both been enjoying our time on the alpaca farm very much.  Sam and I discovered we love building fences on the grassy green hills of New Zealand, surrounded by loud mouth steers, wild pukeko and curious alpacas. 

20 September 2011

Last days in Mangere

Sleepy friends
Sam cuddling with Karmin

Sam and I have had a wonderful time with our first HelpX hosts, and I'm looking forward to meeting our next few hosts, too. Tomorrow we'll be heading north to an alpaca farm outside of Kerikeri for a week or so before going to work for a lovely couple in Pahi who own a holiday park in Whangerei.  Those of you who know me know how much I love camelids, so the alpaca farm has me very excited! I haven't been up close to one since we hosted "Alpaca Day" when I worked at the RISD Nature Lab.

Llama friend
A llama I befriended in Texas on the drive to Austin.

Tonight we're attending an event called Pacific Night, where the Prime Minister, a few Members of Parliament and a whole lot of Polynesians will be congregating to eat, socialize, and watch rugby. I need to go paint my nails!

10 September 2011

Auckland Botanic Gardens


The weather was perfect this Saturday, so Sam and I hit up the Botanic Gardens.  The orchid show on site was a happy surprise and led to me taking more flower pictures than I should have.  I can't help but be inspired by their alien shapes, succulent texture and vivid colors!  Below is a small sampling of the photos I took, with more on my flickr page here.

A chaotic night out

This Friday night we decided to brave the crowds in downtown Auckland to check out the festivities surrounding the opening game of the Rugby World Cup, New Zealand vs. Tonga.  Parts of it were fun, but I'm still not sure it was worth the hassle.  Our original plan was to meet up with our CouchSurfing friends, Jess & Fletch, but the main venue filled within 20 minutes of opening, when we hadn't even left Mangere.


Mangere with Olive & Graeme

We have settled nicely into our temporary home in Mangere East, a suburban area not too far from the airport in Auckland.  It's also known as "cedar lodge," because the long driveway is crowded with skyscraping cedar trees, and as "Faulty Towers," by Graeme.

Cedar Lodge

05 September 2011

Cruising in Auckland

For our first two nights in Auckland, we stayed with a cool CouchSurfing couple named Jess & Fletch. They live in an area of town called Kohimarama, yet another Maori place name that I found hard to pronounce at first. On Saturday, our third day in town, we went for a drive in their 1964 Impala "Yank Tank," as Fletch called it. I've never seen a car with pillarless windows before. We had them down for part of the drive, but had to roll them up again when it got chilly.

03 September 2011

Los Angeles stopover

We made it to Auckland!

Here we come!

Saying goodbye to Sebastian was hard, but I think he's loving his new home with my grandparents. He was pretty confused at the end, when our apartment was emptying out and he was running out of hidey holes.

Saying goodbye to Sea Bass