Salt & Fog

The Art of Veronica Casson

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6 things I'm loving this month

Adventures & Parenting, Book & Record, NightstandVeronica CassonComment
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1.  The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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I am way behind everyone at being a Marie kondo convert. Mainly for the reason that I was waiting for my name to come up on the library hold list for The life-changing magic of tidying up. It came up being pretty good timing it being available right after Christmas and all.

I am about halfway through doing the recommended purge for all of the items in our home that do not “Spark Joy.”  There’s a surprising amount of them. Clothes was first and thank goodness for that. 

Here's a pic of our bedroom mid purge.

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2.  Beigey Brown Lipstick

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I always have one go to lipstick per season that I use pretty much everyday.  Last winter it was Moxie Rise up by Bare Minerals which has been almost impossible to find this year.

So, Instead I have opted for Sephora's Rogue lipstick in ingenious. It is a subtle, almost nude, color that adds just the right tint for day time. 


3.  Satchmo at the Waldorf

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Julie surprised me with tickets to this new A.C.T show. John Douglas Thompson does a remarkable job of bringing Louis Armstrong and others to life in the one man show, depicting a backstage conversation with Armstrong relating the events of his life after one of his last performances.

You'll have to be in the Bay Area to se this one but some tickets are still available from the A.C.T. site if you are.


4. Salt & Fog January Mix 

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What we are listening to this month, on our January Mix, is a mix of  some great new stuff and a few things we missed in 2015 (and a few of our favorite songs ever thrown in for good measure).

And more Hamilton because who could get enough Hamilton? Not us!


5. Down Dog App

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Like many people, I vowed to change my eating and exercising habits at the start of the new Year. I love Yoga, but finding the time, money and overcoming my shyness (I am a closet introvert) to attend a class has always been a big stumbling block.  The Down Dog App has completely upped my exercise game.

The routines are clear and easy to understand with enough variations that they don't get too repetitive. There are also very yummy yoga-ing soundtrack options to boot. And that's just the free content!

If you have been looking for a new way to Yoga check it out.

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6. Her Story

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The first season of Her Story is currently available for on the Her Story website. 

What is Her Story? It's a very well done creator made show "that looks inside the dating lives of trans & queer women as they navigate the intersections of desire & identity."

It is very clearly a work of love. Having seen and read a ton of stories dealing with transgender people I love that this one does not focus on the transition as much as transwomen living their lives and finding relationships.

Her story also get props for giving a voice to a prospective partner of a transperson. They need a voice too sometimes. 

 

 

 

Spooky Stories

NightstandVeronica CassonComment
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Can you believe Halloween is in one day? I know, it’s crazy. To get you in the mood here is a quick list of some of our most favorite spooky books.

Ghosts in the House! 

by Kazuno Kohara

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For this once I am going to start with the picture book, as this one needs a little more love. And look how cute it   is this?  

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They are all done in two color linocut illustrations. 

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To me the little witch girl and kitty are reminisncent of Kiki and Gigi. And that is always a good thing.

purchase Ghosts in the House!


Let the Right One in

by John Ajvide Lindqvist

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You have probably seen the excellent Swedish  movie (if not add it to your Halloween viewing you owe it to yourself). The book it is based on is just as excellent and different enough to keep you surprised.

Buy Let the Right One In


The Ocean at the End of the Lane

By Neil Gaiman

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This is my favorite Gaiman since the Sandman series. Ocean at the End of the Lane is a creepy twisted fairy tale that does a wonderful job of bringing to life childhood fears and anxieties personified as monsters.

Buy The Ocean at the End of the Lane

 


The Little Stranger

By SarahWater 

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Since falling hard for her first book Tipping the Velvet, I have read everything Waters has done. I will continue to do so. This, her most divisive book (possibly because of pace, possibly because a lack of a Lesbian relationship) , is a meticulously plotted haunted house story which takes a very long time to build. The atmosphere throughout is so rich I was happy to spend my time in it.

Buy The Little Stranger.


Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte

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The original Gothic Romance.

It's Jane Eyre - so, you know.

 

Buy Jane Eyre

 


Scary Stories

By Alvin Schwartz

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I have such fond memories of these. Just seeing the illustrations recalls evenings of scaring myself silly by reading these over and over again and not being able to put them down. They totally hold up as an adult too! Maybe it is nostalgia, sure but they are very solid books. If you can, find the older ones that have not been toned down.

 

Buy Scary Stories.


The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft

by Mike MignolaGary GianniTony MillionaireJill Thompso, & Scott Morse

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Dark Horse comics gathers  an impressive collection of talent for their "Book of" series (others include Book of Monsters, Book of Hauntings & Book of the Dead). They are all great. Let's say this one is my favorite - though I cannot really decide between them.

Some pages from various artists within:

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The Secret Place

By Tana French

 

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The most recent volume in Tana French's creepy and addicitve Dublin Murder Squad series. This one centers on a posh girls boarding school where a note "I know who killed him" was posted on the communal bulletin board, know as The Secret Place. 

If you have not ready any of French's book. You can start here, but why not start on the first In the Woods.

Buy The Secret Place.


The Spooky Old Tree

By Stan and Jan Berenstain  

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Arguably the best Berenstain Bear book. It;s Luke's favorite Halloween Book (and maybe Julie's too).

Do you dare go into the Spooky Old Tree? Of course you do!

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Amphigorey Also

By Edward Gorey

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You just cannot have a list of creepy books without having an Edward Gorey book. It just wouldn't be proper. 

The one on our shelf is Amphigorey Also, but go ahead and take your pick. They are all the awesomeness.

 

Buy Edward Gorey books.


Happy Halloween everyone!!! Be safe and have a blast!

 

 




10 links I am loving and a life refresh

Adventures & ParentingVeronica CassonComment
For what I am  wearing .

For what I am wearing.

It’s September! and we are doing a life refresh. It's inspired partially by it being my birthday soon (I’ve always been one of those troublesome people that thinks birthdays are a big deal) and also because we went on that crazy three week trip (that I am already building groundbreaking blog posts about) and our lives got all thrown out of order.

This refresh is to get our lives back on track. 

Things in our refresh include:

Budget

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We have failed at doing a budget so many times. This month we are going hardcore and doing that thing where you put cash in envelopes. Each one containing the max amount you should spend in different categories for the week/month. Our 'eating out' envelope will be the most challenging. So much of our money goes to restaurants.

 

Diet

We did Paleo with mixed results earlier this summer and then moved into a Clean Diet, which I really liked. I say “clean" but it was much very the Jessica Alba/Honest company inspired eating plan so I should say Honest Diet, maybe.

Basically it is eating:

  • Nothing with more than five ingredients.

  • Mostly fruit or veggies (2/3rds of your plate should be produce).

  • Proteins are mostly lean meats or fish (red meat sparingly).

  • Limited dairy.

When we were on it earlier this summer I felt so good. My tummy behaved much better than normal. We totally slipped when traveling but are going to try to do that pretty strictly this month.

Full guidelines in her book.

 

Clothes

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I plan on doing a capsule wardrobe for fall that I am slowly assembling.

However, Indian Summers are big here so I might go ahead and wait until the end of October to implement it. Either way, I know this skirt will be included in it as it is my current fave. (Protip: 40% off currently!

 

Ocean

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We live by the frackin’ ocean and we utilize it far less than we should. The ocean! I bet you live by some cool stuff you don't do as often as you should too, right?

Our morning walk always passes by the sea, but we have gotten out of the habit of spending extra time there. This month I want to be sure to spend time on the sand or in the water during playdates and and in the evening for dinner picnics as well. Who knows how long we will really get to live here so I better be taking advantage of it.

How about you all? Are there amazing things near where you live that you too often skip over? I want to know what they are! Make this month the one you utilize them and let me know.

I've already started to increase my ocean time by stopping by the beach to walk Byron after dropping Luke off in the morning the three days he has preschool. As opposed to walking Byron around the grass lot next door as I had been doing. You know who loves beaches more than people? Dogs!

Stuff I am Loving This Month:

Kayley Melissa

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This YouTube channel. I solemnly swear to curl my hair more often because it looks so much better and Kelsey will help me do it. 

 

Michael Kors nailpolish in Fantasy

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Look at this nail polish! I don’t even like blue very much and it’s one of my favorite polishes this year.  Well, month maybe– I change a lot.

Call Your Girlfriend

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Call Your Girlfriend. The podcast for long distance besties everywhere. Ammintou Sou and Ann Friedman dish about pop culture, feminism, menstruation and their lives in general. It makes me miss my long distance bestie and i cannot get enough of it.

 

Smart Planet Lunchboxes

 

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I want these little foldable bento-like lunch boxes. Part of spending less on going out to eat is making lunches at home when Luke and I have outings. How much nicer if the containers were divided and you could fold them up afterwards?

(discovered on JenLovesKev)


Vanity Fair, Special Edition: TansAmerica 

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If you told me when I was younger that Conde' Naste would put out a thick glossy magazine celebrating Transgender heroes past and present I would never have believed you.

While growing up being trans was always something to hide, both before and after transition. But look at this?  What a time to be alive.

 

Star Wars Golden Books

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These came out in August are so cute and fun to share with our little reader. Star Wars has a way of sparking the imagination. I love hearing the little stories he makes up afterwards involving the characters or ships. 
 

Summer Vacation, Whimsical Homes & Zombies

NightstandVeronica CassonComment
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Each month I pick three to four books— usually one novel, one picture book, and one non-fiction or graphic novel — and highlight some of the things I liked about them. Keeping with the theme of Salt & Fog , I will most likely not review something I did not like. 

On the nightstand this month:

The Girl with All the Gifts 

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By M.R. Carey
Science Fiction

Can I be both a sucker for anything post-apocalyptic and tired of it all? The great ones hit that perfect mark of horror, survival, human relationships and adventure.The bad ones are rehashed scary movie tropes with new characters less alive than the zombies they are running from.

 

There are so many books in the post-civilized genre these day that even the most avid fan is starting to get burn out. I am for sure. Still, a few each year cut through the crowd of mindless infected unlike the others. One example is last year’s very excellent Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Another is currently on my nightstand, The Girl with all the Gifts.

 

Almost anything I say will be a spoiler as the story starts mid-action. I hate spoilers myself so will not go down that path even when tempted. I will say that in between the terror, gore and running for their lives the characters have a huge beating tender heart and such stunning empathy. Even if the heart itself is cold and devoid of blood.

 

From the first page:

Melanie was new herself, once, but that’s hard to remember because it was a long time ago. It was before there were any words; there were just things without names, and things without names don’t stay in your mind. They fall out and then they’re gone.

This was a book club pick. Some members lamented that the second half felt too comic book or action movie. I was okay with that, but you have been warned.

Purchase The Girl With All the Gifts


This One Summer

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Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
Graphic Novel

Oh gosh, this graphic novel was so great. I found it on the recommend shelf at Folio books in Noe Valley.  After flipping through the first few pages Julie and I both had to have it. I let her read first, because I am a nice wife (and was not quite done with The Girl with all the Gifts yet).

 

This One Summer flat out captures that pre-teen summer vacation feeling perfectly. You want to be an adult, and to be taken seriously, but grown ups are messed up and can be scary as hell. So you kind of fake it and hope your old friends won’t call your bluff. Or maybe you have outgrown the summer camp friends you only see once a year and who never seem to change even when your whole world has shifted in the intervening months. Why can’t they just get with it already and stop being such babies? Or maybe it’s you who is being the jerk? Feelings are hard.

 

Some page from This One Summer:

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The time in-between milestones can be as momentous as those we photograph and hang on the walls and This one Summer gives those days their due.

Purchase This One Summer at Powell's Books.


Home

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by Carson Ellis
Illustrated Storybook

Carson Ellis is one of my favorite illustrators. She manages to capture so much in such a sparse drawing style that her watercolors seem like jewels of cut paper.

I first became aware of her work as the artist for The Mysterious Benedict Society YA series and her paintings for the album covers of her husband’s band the The Decemberists (though it took me a ridiculously long time to make that connection). 

She has rightfully won awards for illustrating Dillweed’s Revenge by Florence Parry Heide and The Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket but this is her first solo outing.


The sign of any great storybook is when the parent is as excited to read it as the kid is. This is one of those books. Take a look at some of these pages and you will get why all three of us look forward to sitting down with this:

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Now for complete fangirling; Carson and her husband Colin live on this adorable farm in Portland (as per her instagram feed), and are actively making amazing art all the time.  She and Colin are probably my favorite “celebrity” couple.

Purchase Home here.