Phipps Conservatory

Today, being my last full day in Pittsburgh I decided to check out some local attractions. First for brunch, my brother wanted to take me to Pamelas- this famous diner chain around town.Their claim to fame is there 'hot cakes' that are whatever is between a pancake and a crepe and they fill them with all sorts of stuff and then top them with whipped cream. Our waitress looked at me like I was crazy and asked me if I was from around here when I told her I'd never had them. Apparently Obama recently visited  and liked the hot cakes so much he had the owners (Pamela and some other girl) flown to the white house to teach his cooks how to make them. I got the signature hot cake with brown sugar, strawberries, sour cream and whipped cream while my brother got banana,chocolate chips, and whipped cream. In the end I ate more of my brothers than I did mine. They were good but not exactly my cup of tea. After all this, barely able to walk I was so full, we decided to go to the Botanical Gardens in this synagogue down the street. This was closed so we drove to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Phipps is 'a steel and glass Victorian greenhouse that has been around since 1893', located in Schenley Park right next to the Carnegie Melon campus. Admission is 12 dollars to get in but they have an outside garden thats free and its pretty worth it because the place is humongous with 17 different botanical experiences. My favorites were the Japanese Gardens with all these different species of Bonsai and then the Amazon where you learn all sorts of stuff about Peruvian medicine and craft. I also noticed this fern called a sensitive plant that I saw in Shimba Hills Kenya and when you touch the leaves they close up (my safari guide in Kenya called this plant 'dont touch me'). However my favorite plant was the Sherry Baby which smells just like chocolate with these beautiful little fairy flowers. I would recommend this place to anyone who visits Pittsburgh. I am still stuffed and now have to finish packing so that I can be on my way to Los Angeles!


P.S. They also have a butterfly forest but its really
not as cool as the one in Houston. They have probably 15 different species and its not that big- but still all really beautiful! My favorite was the Buckeye Butterfly

Buckeye Butterfly

Oh and as we were driving my mother called and asked if I had felt the earthquake , but I was completely oblivious. Apparently a 5.8 earthquake in Louisa Virginia was felt across Pensylvania today.

K bye now foreals.


Enchanted Forest

Me, at the top of the dunes flashing the world (photo: Ryan Couture)
It's midnight and I'm listening to Sam Cooke and I need to start packing because I have a flight to LAX tomorrow, when I am moving into my new house in Val Verde, CA.  I'm currently in the Hamptons, where I grew up and my family still resides.  I was home for two weeks in between my time returning from Europe and going to southern California, tomorrow.  Since I am procrastinating packing, I wanted to share one of my favorite places in one of my favorite towns, Montauk, which is the most eastern tip of the south fork of Long Island.  It's this place called the Walking Dunes, but I prefer to call it the Phantom Forest.  I was first taken here when I was 16 by my boyfriend at the time and we drank beer and ran around holding hands throughout the dunes at 9am.  I've been in love with it ever since.  Yes, because of my beautiful first impression but also because it really is a magical and secrret place that not many people know about.  It is a big area of dunes on a bay beach and the dunes are so big that they cover entire forests.  At the top of them there will be a little tiny tree sticking out, but really it is 40 feet tall and most is just buried under the sand.  Also the wind is always changing the shape of the land.  One night when I was home in the past two weeks, some friends and I brought some blankets and mac and cheese and Brooklyn brewed beer and slept under the giant moon on the beach near the dunes.  I'll have some more pictures from that soon when I get the film developed.

View into the harbor from where I was standing (photo: Ryan Couture)


Crown Antiques

So I was driving a car in Pittsburgh today for the first time ever. I've only been here about a week and It's pretty easy to walk everywhere from where my parents live so It had been a while since I was in a car. As it is I'm a really terrible driver and being in a new city is even worse because I always want to look around me and lose focus of the road. Luckily, today at no one else's expense. As I was on my way to this camera store I saw an antique store and pulled over. After living in Houston and then Kenya I forgot about meters so I disregarded the one I'd parked in front of and walked a block over to the store. I find that what looks like a tiny store front is actually a five story antique store filled with collectibles and oddities of every kind. Im so enthralled when I enter that I don't even notice the owner sitting across the room but I can hear his voice. I hear him pronounce his name over the telephone and then say "yes Brachah, it means Blessing in Hebrew". I look in his direction past him, at the man sitting next to him who I'm convinced is made of wax until I see him kind of flinch. It felt like I was entering the twilight zone.

I only made it to the 3rd floor before I realized the whole meter situation and then ran out but not before the owner gave me the  1950s national geographic and quartz crystal I was holding in my hands for free (because I'd managed to find the two cheapest items in the store and that I should save my two dollars for a soda, he said). The store is called Crown Antiques and Collectibles and I highly recommend it- seriously an untapped resource of all kinds. The second floor was filled with games from every era, cameras, binoculars, telephones, posters... and so much starwars/star trek  paraphernalia. The third floor was filled with boxes of thousands of magazines and records. It was honestly kind of spooky because I was the only one in there and to get to the next floor you would go through this enclosed staircase and end up in this old mans attic. It was super cluttered and kind of felt like the never ending story but it was really awesome and I might go back tomorrow to try and sell this arrowhead collection.

Oh and turns out I didn't get a parking ticket either! Thanks pittsburgh! Things are looking up for you.


Mojave Stills

I made this video back in March and here are some stills from it.



So during my travels in Europe this summer, I spent 15 days living with a German family on their small farm in a town called Cortnitz (population of 42).  The town is located about an hour east of Dresden and is very close to both the Czech Republic and Poland boarders.  I found the family through this website called Work Away, which is an amazing website which can connect you with hosts all around the world who are looking for volunteers to come help work in exchange for experience, room, and board.  I recommend everyone to check it out.   The family was extremely welcoming and warm and it was an adventure from the start:  They had lost their keys to the car, so I got picked up on a tandem bicycle from the train station and rode about 10km in the rain to get to the farm.   They had four children (ages 9, 7, 5, and 3) and even though there was a language barrier between the kids and I, I still very much enjoyed playing and laughing with them throughout the days.  I spent most of my time there harvesting fruits and vegetables, weeding gardens, pruning hedges, helping cook, reading, listening to music, playing with the kids and animals, and going for walks through the beautiful fields and forests.  I accidentally started a fire in their house the second night I was there, which was awful but fortunately all the damage done was a broken electric tea kettle (I accidentally put it on the stove to heat it because it was super fancy and looked like a regular tea kettle) and a lot of jokes came out of it.  I didn't have enough time to learn much German, but if you ever need to know how to make applesauce in German, I'm your girl.  I got to go on some day trips with the family such as to this town on the Germany/Poland boarder called Gorlitz and we went to a Polish superstore where I bought a flannel for about $1.  Another day we went to this small old city called Bautzen and ate ice cream spaghetti.  I also went to Europe's only Gingerbread museum, man, that was weird. 


A Confederate General from Big Sur

Here's a quote that I love from the novel A Confederate General from Big Sur by Richard Brautigan.

"I've heard the population of Big Sur in those Civil War days was mostly just some Digger Indians.  I've heard that the Digger Indians down there didn't wear any clothes.  They didn't have any fire or shelter or culture.  They didn't grow anything.  They didn't hunt and they didn't fish.  They didn't bury their dead or give birth to their children.  They lived on roots and limpets and sat pleasantly out in the rain."


The Future Sucked

This movie doesn't actually look like it's going to suck but I saw a tag in New York that said that and I really liked it. 

The Future by Miranda July



My family recently moved from Houston to Pittsburgh so I'm here for a week before going back to Los Angeles for school. I've been super bored and going through my desktop soo here...


sand 250x

Yung Jake rainbow

swimming in Kelsey's pool

I love peanut butter. 


RIP Flamingo Farm


Its been almost a year since Kaya and I moved out of our house in SilverLake... Soon we will be moving into a castle in the mountains of Val Verde so many more adventures to come.

so many celebrations.
Me in our kitchen
RIP Basil

Kyle and Kaya taking Jello shots at our 4th of July Paty
Sofia and Michael at our 4th of July Party

summer of 4loko
I got this dress at Salvation Army for super cheap.  I'm not sure if it was supposed to be a little girl's princess gown or some weird lingerie.  But either way it's great for a beach cover up or just wearing for anything.


Cécile Paris

I saw this video exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris that I watched four times in a row and even cried a little.  It was this video called "Etanche" by an artist who goes by the name of Cecile Paris.  It's a super simple video of someones upper back and head while they are swimming through really sunny water and with an incredibly beautiful song playing.  It made my heart sink in a perfect way.  I cant find a direct link but you can click here and then click on the video called "Etanche" to watch it.  The video called "Black Beauty" was also in the show.  I can't get this out of italics.  


July 3rd, 2011 Park Güell

Sitting at the peak
overlooking Barcelona
and the Mediterranean Sea
thinking about how I need to shave my legs

Sitting on top of Barcelona
I don't know what to think
I listen to the Rolling Stones and
I cry so hard



I want to share this journal entry from one of my long waits in the airport coming back from Kenya:

August 12th 2011

Reading Motorcycle Diaries right now and this one line simply puts to words exactly what I've been feeling: " There we understood that our true vocation, our true vocation, was to move for eternity along the roads and seas of the world." Traveling abroad just makes you realize how much else is out there and I want to see it all, or as much as I can. I get anxious thinking about how big this world is and how little I've seen, or how much is unseen. I wonder about the unexplored untapped treasure islands that certainly exist. It makes me think of that Robinson Family Treehouse for some reason. I wish life could be like that. The people of Mkwiro Island have a similar lifestyle. They hunt the sea for fish and cook by fire. When there is no rain people struggle but they do not curse the land which lets them breathe. They're lives are so simple, yet so rich. Their steadfast devotion to the muslim faith brings meaning and reason to everyday trials. I am begining to understand that life is never good or bad but different. Im learning to understand and appreciate these differences. I dont want to sit still. I want to live like a wild animal in the endless ocean and I want to be free.


Boris Mihailov


A Ukrainian photographer I recently got into. 

Boris Mihailov


Rolling Stone

I started the summer with a road trip from Los Angeles to Houston, Texas with my friends Mary Brossman and Kelsey Reckling. and never really stopped moving. I lived out of a tiny duffel bag for the entire summer- even through Kenya which I was totally unprepared for but managed fairly well. I traveled around Texas, Louisiania, New York and then Kenya. These are some pics from my journeys but if you wanna see more you can visit my website !

A show in Houston featuring a buncha me n my girlfrenz. ( Up through October check it out!)

Off the road, somewhere in Texas

My friend Yung Jake on Peters Pond in Sag Harbor New York

The Reef Hotel, Mombassa, Kenya

The Indian Ocean

Sophie Silver after a bike accident- Houston, TX.

Rainbow after a really nice storm in Sag Harbor, NY



Learning to cook chapatis and Kai Mati from the women in Mkwiro.
I found Kenyan food is absolutely delicious (a lot of indian influence), my favorite staple being the chapati bread which is an indian flatbread, so I will leave you with a recipe if you ever decide to try it for yourself. It's very simple but patience is required!

Also, here is the recipe to kaimati which are kind of like donut holes, and super fried but really really good.



I made this mix of some songs I was listening to while I was traveling around Europe.  Here's a copy to download:


Sable Antelope in Shimba Hills Nature Reserve, Kenya (the only place they exist)
I've always wanted to go to Africa and I'd never seen the Indian ocean so I decided to go to the east coast. I finally decided on a volunteer program with GVI, which I probably would not go through again because the staff kind of sucked. We were based on a tiny island called Mkwiro right off the coast of Kenya. (seriously small, not even on the map). There were about 1,000 people on the village- majority Muslim so we the women had to be covered from head to knees (unless you were eating, then you could take your kanga (head scarf) off). And although the dress code was strict, the people were so welcoming. During my time there Ramadan started and out of respect for the villagers and just plain curiosity, I fasted for one day. Three hours into it and the words in my book were coming off the page- I have no idea how these people do it a month, especially when food is already so precious. It was so surreal to be a part of such a culture. I realized that all of my preconceptions of Africa were totally invalid. I was imagining children with cleft lip flocking to the white people begging to be adopted and brought to America. It was quite the contrary. I had no pity for the people I met because none of them wanted it. The people on the village were happy with their lives because it's all they'll ever know, the same way we couldn't imagine anything less than the lives we live. It's just different. My world before Kenya was very small and I'm happy to say it's grown a bit. After this experience all I want to do is travel, and find every untapped treasure island out there. 

The national language is kiswahilli (swahilli is apparently the white people way of saying it). It just recently became a written language and its really simple. My favorite word I learned was "lalasalama" which means "go in peace" and is equivalent to saying goodnight. 
My French friend Ed.
There was no electricity or running water so we would bathe in the sea and drink from the rain water we would accumulate in giant jerrys. 

humongous elephant penis in Shimba Hills Nature Reserve.
If you ever go to Kenya you should also be sure to have the Kenyan chai (tea in swahilli) which is equivalent to the chai tea we drink here but always served with milk. Apparently Kenya has the best coffee but they export it all so you can't find any actually in Kenya. Tusker lager is a really good local beer and apparently the brewers brother was killed in an elephant stampede so the logo is an elephant's tusks with the slogan"together forever". I don't really know if he's talking about him and his brother or the elephants and his brother...but regardless its good.