Monday, September 26, 2011

Smorgasbord Monday

Happy Monday everyone! I've got so much to share with you this week. So, in that spirit, take a peek at marc johns print: 

This video has been sweeping the internet and I honestly don't remember where I saw it first. It will make you want to dance and be trendy. Yay!

Ever wanted to go to Yale in your pajamas? Yeah, me neither, but I recently discovered the awesome world of free online lectures at Open Yale Courses. Today, I watched a lecture from Professor Paul Bloom's Intro to Psychology. I feel enlightened already!

Do you like the world of cataloguing? Do you like comedy? If so, catalogliving is the site for you. This site offers a "glimpse into the exciting world of the people living in your catalogues." Meet Gary and Elaine of 1234 Fake Street, Anytown, USA. See how they live. Trust me, you will chuckle.

The caption for this shot reads: "It's still a few hours until dinner, but if you're hungry please help yourself to a pear, artichoke, or small wrapped gift."

Ready for some Halloween fun? This little lady does the best demo of how to create a sunflower look. Madison is a first-grader/future leader of America. She is charming, confident, and she even has her own catch phrase: "Chika chika wow wow!" 

Wow Wow is right.

Hope you're all going to have a sunflower-joggingsuit-catologue reading-educational kind of week. Be safe and kick it old school!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

How to be Camping Chic

In my last post, I talked about my family's yearly camping trip to Butt Lake. So, continuing the love affair with camping, let's take an in-depth look at the outdoor-vacationing lifestyle and celebrate "Joi de Camping." For my two cents, there are few pleasures in life as delightful as flannel, periodic s'more buffets and campfire hijinks. Here are some key tips to styling your next dust-bound excursion:


Walking around with a chapstick-induced mud mustache is just part of the full experience. Go with it! 

#2 WE RISE AT DAWN (or 1215)

Some of us are morning people and well, some of us are not. That's ok. When you're camping, you get to sleep or not sleep in as much as you want. Below: see Claire and see me. Guess who is the morning person?


Nothing says glamour like a chic chapeau or in my case an old hat I bought at the local hardware store five years ago. I think it might have once been worn by a dead fisherman. Lo and Natasha bought their hats at the dollar store in town. Hats add mystery and sun-protection to the camping world.


A few years back, all us campers went through a serious bandana kick and well it just keeps kicking. They are practical, colorful, and can be worn in numerous ways. Doesn't Angela look pretty in pink? 

Side Benefit of the Bandana: You can channel Rhoda Morgenstern anytime you want 

I am loving this towel that my cousin Callen turned into a cape. My (capeless) Uncle Lee looks pretty handsome too


I think this one is pretty self-explanatory, but for reference take a look at the following films: Meatballs, Friday the 13th, The Parent Trap (1961), and of course, Wet Hot American Summer.


You will go blind. That's all I've got to say about that.

Hello models!

Hayley is bringing the awesome

Stephen with his effortless cool



In the wilderness, a photoshoot, like a bear attack, can happen any time. Don't be afraid to make adequate use of props (or firearms...)and scenery

Lottery Card = Instant Mystique

 My father is a great stationary equestrian

Everyone needs a Tom Selleck commemorative plate. Everyone.

Kirsten proves that a laundromat washing machine is the perfect background.


You may remember my discovery of a new modeling pose called, "Beware the Velociraptor." You can find that post here and voila, an example:

But, there is a pose that rivals even the velociraptor and that is, wait for it: "DUST BOWL." You know those haunting images of early 1930s migrant workers staring off into the horizon with a look of quiet desperation and crippling hunger. Yeah, we turned that into a pose. We're sensitive that way. I give you the "Dust Bowl." Use it for the powers of good.

                               STEVE                   LEE
                                HAYLEY                 TONI

            ANGELA                 CLAIRE
                           ME                      LUCY

GRANDPA actually lived through the Great Depression, so his representation I feel has a particular gravitas. In his words: "Oh, no I'm an Okie. DUST!"

So, whether you want to camp with style or want some style that's camp, here's to Camping Joi De Vivre and all the fun that comes with it!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Essential "Butt" Rules of Camping

For over 50 years, my family has gone camping in Northern California for two weeks every summer. The vacations began when my mother was 5 and she went camping with her mother, father, and two brothers. Since then, the number of campers has grown. Every year, we have come together: family and also friends who have become like family. Some years, we have definitely passed the 100 camper mark. Yup, this trip has turned into a multi-generational hootenany and we wouldn't miss it for the world.

Did I mention where we camp? Well, it's this tiny little lake, a real gem. You probably haven't heard of it. Butt Lake? Not Butte. Not Buck. BUTT. It was named after a lovely man with the distinctive name of Horace Butt. For years, I tried to avoid saying the name. I think I even wrote a 3rd grade paper entitled: “Butterfly Lake.” But, now the gig is up and I kind of even love the name. Eventually, you've just got to be proud of your Butt.

So, straight from the Butt, here are some tips useful tips for camping.


  1. “Rule Number One: Don't shoot me.” 

    It sounds simple. It is simple. Don't shoot me. These are the words that my father says to anyone who goes target shooting with him, but I think it's just a good rule of thumb. Don't shoot me. 
  1. Embrace the beauty of nature. See the colors. Smell the smells. Hear the hears. Feel the feels. Rainbow connection it up.
  1. Turn off your goshdarn phone, you moose head! Here is your chance to get away from it all, so don't botch your getaway. Turn off your phone; get rid of your computer; pretend “texting” is just an old fashioned term for leaving notes in peoples lunch boxes.

    These young teens (Chelsea and Lo) were initially bored...

    But this boredom soon led to the invention of a new brand of literate fly swatter.
  1. Stock up on the necessities (donuts, marshmallows, trashy magazines).

    At the lake, we like the simple things, but we also like to experiment. The day we discovered the nutella-graham cracker was a good day. This year, we instituted “Butt Shake Hour.” Essentially this is what you do: get a cup, get a scoop of ice cream, get some milk, mix, enjoy. We just get crazy. Crazy, I tell you! Here are some of our favorite food combos:

    From Top Right Clockwise: Swedish Pancakes, Assorted Cakes, Taco Salad, Selection of Entenmann's Donuts
  1. Get your game on. This year we played a lot of Monopoly (I was winning right up to the end...blast you States Avenue) 

    Matt (left) is losing, while I am winning!

    The Venuti Family also introduced us to the wonders of “Paper Telephone.” Here are the rules of Paper Telephone (aka pictionary without the social anxiety). If you don't like reading rules, just jump down to the drawings of marshmallows.
    a. Hand every player a stack of papers (index size) equivalent in number to how many people are playing. For example, if you have 8 people playing, each player should have 8 pieces of paper.
    b. Number your papers 1-8
    c. Put your cards in orders. Start with number 1 on top and have number 8 on the bottom.
    d. On card 1, each person should write a term (catchphrase, image, song title, movie title, quotation, truism etc.). This is in writing. We are not drawing...yet.
    e. Each person then passes their pile of papers (with #1 on top) to the person to their right or left.
    f. The person to the right or left (you pick) will take that term and draw their own unique artistic representation of it.
    g. Here is the important step so listen up: Take card #1 and place it at the bottom of the pile. Card #2 (aka the picture) should be on top. This pile is then passed to the next person. They will look at the picture only and write down their title/term for what they are seeing.
    h. The game goes on. Switching between drawing and interpretation.
    i. At the end, when the piles have navigated the circle, you will all share the journey that your original term took. Believe me there will be some doozies. Marshmallow reunion forever!

 Yes, the Dragonfly is carrying a shank made from a toothbrush in a prison cell.
3 blind mice become 3 cool cats do a well choreographed dance routine
  1. Locate your floatation device. Every year, we float down the Feather River. I tell you, there is nothing like taking a group of plastic dragons and inner tubes down a river. But, you've got to be safe. Seriously. You need a lifejacket and proper shoes. Then pretend you're Meryl Streep and you're in the The River Wild. We've all got to get our kicks somehow and being Meryl Streep is a great technique for this.
 Ian and his dragon prepare to take the river
What's around the river bend?
  1. Soak in local culture. Butt Lake is located about a half hour away from the town of Chester. Someday I shall name my son or daughter Chester and he or she will be President or a really good speller or maybe even both. I really like Chester. It's a small town with a big heart and did I mention that there is a lot of great food?

    Check out this old fashioned soda fountain at Lassen Gift Co. They make the best milk shakes in the world.

Knotbumpers is the place to go for sandwiches and lumberjacks.

Who could not love the Burger Depot? Their burgers and their signs are poetry.

8. Get crafty. This was the year of the friendship bracelet and the tattooed table cloth. To make your own tattooed table cloth all you need is a sharpie, a vinyl cloth, and a sardonic wit.

S'more - 1 = S'less

9. Plan group activities. Most years, we end up caravaning to Susanville (about an hour away). We eat Jack N' the Box and go to the movies. We tend to see the least “serious” film option possible. In fact, we now call any blow-em-up-best-friend-is-a-monkey-inappropriate-comedy-complete-with-model-chipmunks-directed-by-M.-Night-Shayamalan-esque film a “Susanville” Movie, even when we don't see it in Susanville.

Max wants you to go to Jack N' the Box
 Delightful Angela from bigintheminiworld
The cutest couple ever: Matt and Claire. Claire wrote the best post about Butt Lake on her blog. Check it out!

 "Yes, sir, Captain America!"
 My cousin Callen
Aaron has his game face on!

10. Spend time together. It sounds hokey, but I feel really blessed to have this tribe of miscreants that I consider to be family. The fact that we get to spend two weeks out of every year together is just the icing on the cake. I realize now that some of the best moments of my life have been spent around campfires with these yokels. A lot of good has come from the Butt. So, I guess the lesson of this post is to grab some friends, buy some junk food, and set out for the great outdoors. 

Lovely ladies Lynn and Mom hanging out in Humbug Valley
 My awesome cousins Lo, Stephen, and Brian with the wonderful 
Grandpa Warren!

James and Callen looking chic in the back of that pick-up

Goodbye, Butt Lake. Until next year!