Since returning to my roots in sunny Southern California, I’ve been experiencing a bit of reverse culture shock. After 8 years in Charlotte, I had become accustomed to folks wearing shoes and shirts in restaurants, to tea being sweet (not infused with pomegranate) and when someone referred to “The US Open,” they were talking golf or tennis. Well butter my buns and call me a biscuit, ’cause out here, “The US Open” means surf, sand and suntans.
Snowballs in April? Yes please... but only if they're Chinese Snowballs (don't worry, these are made right here in Charlotte ;) ). Why the current obsession with flowers? Since I grew up in Southern California, amid a landscape of cacti and palm trees, witnessing spring in the South feels like a botanical-forest-jungle-of-lushness. It took me years to understand that you don't need automatic sprinklers and a high-tech irrigation system to make grass grow in this climate.
So when I came across these huge hydrangea-like blooms, I stopped dead in my tracks. I pulled off the side of the road, got out the car and cried (not really... ok maybe a little... on the inside). Here, before me, stood a tree of flowering softballs (softballs that I wanted to sniff and pet). I found perfection on a stick. I took a bizillion photos, but these are a few of my favorites.
Out with the cold, in with the bloom. Seems almost over night that spring sprung in Charlotte. On Sunday, I went for a walk along Little Sugar Creek Greenway and used my point-and-shoot to take photos of all the blossoming flowers.
I'm pretty botanically-challenged, so I had to ask around for the names of all the pretty flowers - but, I think I figured it out: hyacinth, daffodils, cherry blossom trees , bradford pear trees, weeping willow, Japanese magnolia (soooo beautiful!) and my personal favorite, forsythia.
Home is where the ocean is.
Had a great trip back home in Oceanside, Ca last weekend. I took my cousin and good friend along for the ride. It was a SHORT trip for a cross country trek, but we definitely made the most of it.
- Landed in San Diego 11:00am
- Straight to Fashion Valley for the H&M deprived Charlotteans
- Lunched at Rubio's
- Checked into our hotel in Oceanside
- Freshened up, then off to dinner at Norte's in Carlsbad
- Up at 7am - took a long walk on the beach
- Breakfast at "The Breakfast Club Diner"
- Off to the Carlsbad Outlet Mall (for bargain Banana and Nine West)
- Lunch and browsing on Cedros (Solona Beach's Design District)
- Then to the Torrey Pines Glider Port for views of Black's Beach and the coast
- The Salk Institute (by Louis Kahn) for architecture and an impromptu photo shoot
- La Jolla Cove for sunset, sea lions and scenery
- Back to O'side for dinner at Cafe Rosarita's with the folks
- Up at 7am - long walk on the beach and Oside Pier
- Breakfast at Longboarder Cafe
- Leisurely drive through the hills to Temecula (in TWO of my dad's Miatas... don't ask)
- Lunch in Old Town Temecula at Sweet Lumpy's
- Back home for a look through old photo albums chronicling my childhood
- Cocktail hour on the back deck with the bonfire pit
- Grilled out for dinner
- Evening spent laughing and reminiscing
-Back to Charlotte
Two days ago, an amazingly talented photographer, Armando Bellmas, tweeted: "If you're anywhere near NoDa right now come to Dialect Gallery (across from Dolce Vita). Giving away all the prints from my exhibit til 9p." Fifteen minutes later I had six beautiful photographs (above) in my hands.
Last month I attended Armando's "low-fi" photography installation aptly named, "The Late 2010 Blues." I arrived at the opening reception to find a variety of photographs taped to the walls in a continuous stream of prints. As I scanned the walls, I found myself mesmerized by the patterns, urban streetscapes, faces and random food items.
You can imagine my disbelief when I saw that he was donating prints to anyone willing to make an impromptu trip to NoDa. But it was true. "Take as many as you want," he said. And so, I did.