Lemonade



Beautiful, haunting, crack-pot and creepy video for Lemonade by Cocorosie.

The first singer sounds so much like Bjork to me! Speaking of which, have you seen the house the Prime Minister of Iceland recently gifted to her? So lonesome and lovely:


Image via The Independent

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Links - May 23 to 29


May 29

May 28
May 27
May 26
May 24
May 23
Image Credit: Link by Dunechaser

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Rosanne Bar on Riot Grrrls and Feminism



Classic, funny and hell yeah!

Via Slow Motion Crawl

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Meet Wabi-Sabi


Awhile back, when we were still in London, Dan and I took a break from work and wandered around Soho. We ended up in an artist supply shop where I fought off my instinct to buy yet another blank notebook (seriously, how many do I need?) and instead picked up this little guy.

He's from the same family as the wooden hand and physique models used in drawing classes in lieu of actual naked people. We kept him at the office for awhile and I came up with the name Wabi-Sabi, likely inspired by some design book Dan was reading about Japanese design. As he didn't really mesh with the minimal office decor, Wabi-Sabi eventually made his way home to our London flat, where he lived very comfortably on a shelf in the living room.

When I was packing for this trip, I threw out, sold or gave away a lot of things I really like so I have no idea why this ridiculous wooden cat made the cut. I enjoy the idea of photographing him at all the different places we'll be visiting and I kind of like his scowly face. I miss having pets and although Wabi-Sabi is a poor substitution, I kind of like having him around our mascot.

Although when I named him I had no idea we would be doing this year of travel, his name seems appropriate - a good omen to follow us around the world. From Wikipedia:
Wabi-sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is 'imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.' It is a concept derived from the Buddhist assertion of the Three marks of existence, specifically impermanence ... Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity, simplicity, modesty, intimacy, and the suggestion of natural processes. 
Although our first lay-over in Arizona has been nothing if not comfortable, the lack of stuff and ownership over my environment is a struggle that I only imagine will become more pronounced as our surroundings become less familiar and less luxurious. My natural inclination is to try to control my environment, so this is occasionally a tricky endeavour for me. Hopefully Wabi-Sabi (the cat) will serve as a reminder for me to really look at these new places and people and appreciate their imperfect, impermanent beauty, take a deep grateful breath, and then move on.

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Despise and Forget


“Often we allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. We lose many irreplaceable hours brooding over grievances that, in a year’s time, will be forgotten by us and by everybody. No, let us devote our life to worthwhile actions and feelings, to great thoughts, real affections and enduring undertakings.” – Andre Maurois via the Exuberance Beauty blog.

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Zinnias Antiques and Retro Store in Phoenix, AZ


A few weeks ago, on a particularly sweltering day, Dan and I went antiquing. We didn't intend on buying anything, but were looking for some cool, retro shots to use on Contentini (where you can also see more shots of some of the things we saw). We hit three places - Zinnias, old town Glendale and a gigantic antique warehouse on the edge of the number 15 highway.

Of the three, Zinnias was my stand out favourite. It is located in a large warehouse space, but unlike the place off of highway 15, it wasn't overwhelmingly big. The staff were really friendly, which is notable considering we wandered around for close to a half an hour and took photos of everything. Before we left I bought two old photographs for about $1 and even then they were nice and invited us back. Dan considered buying a giant album of postcards from the 60s but thought better of it given that in a few weeks we are moving on and it would add considerable heft to his luggage. It was amazing though - dozens and dozens of strange postcards someone collected over years. And some of them were even filled out.

Antique shops in America are very different to those in the UK. Over here, the focus is on things from the last hundred years, with a particular focus on kitsch and chotchke. Vintage telephones, cameras, toys, jewelery, postcards, figurines - mostly from a period of time that still seems tangible. I may not have lived in the 40s, 50s or 60s but their influence is still so present that they feel familiar to me; more familiar than relics from the 1700s, as lovely as they may be.

If you aren't boycotting Phoenix and you're looking for a lovely way to pass some time, I highly recommend Zinnias, located at 724 W Indian School Road.

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Pretty Pictures - Doris Day with Rainbow Poodles

I spent a lot of time with my grandmother when I was little. Our summers were mostly spent out at a little beach cabin with no running water and no television. I credit the long hot months we spent there during my formative years for my love of reading, writing and my genuine comfort with spending time with myself.

We didn't have a television at the beach so there were no movies or sitcoms, but during the winter we made up for it with a very specific mix made up mostly of musicals, Westerns and Bruce Lee films. Doris Day (pictured above with rainbow coloured poodles) was one of my grandmother's favourites, in particularly her turn as Calamity Jane - the famous female Western gunslinger. Day's portrayal of Jane was quite different from how the character was represented in Deadwood; although I'm sure Deadwood is more accurate, I prefer to think of poor Calamity as the awkward, candy-coloured tom-boy of the classic musical. The girl with the heart of gold and the happy ending. Swoon!





Image via Whorange.

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Links - Week of May 15 to 22

I've fallen a little behind in my weekly link post, but here's to getting things back on track. I'm afraid these links are a bit self-involved this week as I've been posting a lot on personal projects (both new ones and old ones that are being revitalised).

May 22
May 21
May 20
May 18
May 17
May 15
Image Credit: Link by Dunechaser

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Inspiring Photographer - Olivier Valsecchi


I came across the work of photographer Olivier Valsecchi via the great blog 500 Photographers, which aims to introduce its readership to the work of some of the most exciting contemporary photographers from around the world. I've discovered a lot of great stuff through them.

I've always loved portraiture in all mediums, probably in part because the act of taking portraits of other people makes me feel awkward. I love taking photographs but generally, I stick to subject matter that is inactive and inanimate. I'm okay with taking spur of the moment photos of people at parties and on the sly while wandering around, but as soon as my subject is actively aware and participating in a formal photograph I just feel insecure and unsure about what I want to do. Something to work on I guess.

Valsecchi's Dust series (2009) is an interesting middle point because although it's technically portraiture, he's using the body almost as if it's inanimate or secondary. In his work, the body is a surface over which to bounce light and powder. The results are stunning and the physical bodies look quite abstract to me. Brilliant idea.

The above image is from Valesecchi's website and can be found under Dust.

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Introducing Contentini!



 Over the past few weeks, Dan and I have been working on a site to formalise some of the freelance work we've become involved in. We've called our venture Contentini because our focus is really on content strategy and enabling people to create really exciting, on point online content for their websites.

Our four offerings fall into the categories of: Website Content Analysis, Web Content Strategy, Copywriting and Social Media Services. We aren't taking on a lot of clients and it's lovely to be able to make a decision to work with companies that we feel passionate about. It just feels like a new day and I can't wait to see what happens over the next six months to one year.

We are currently working on creating interesting content for our own site and have begun the slow process of building up our page rank; if people can't find us when they search for our services, we're not going to be terribly successful. This morning we posted a fairly extensive blog item called An Analysis of UK Parliamentary Language: 1935-2010 and were lucky enough to get a shout-out from Boing Boing, which is always great because they send through lots of engaged visitors. We posted the item about six hours ago and we're nearing the 1,000 visitors mark. Of course, it isn't all a numbers game, but it is gratifying to see that many people clicking through to read your post - especially as this one was fairly labour intensive.

Alright chickens, I'm heading to the pool to sit out this hundred degree heat.

PS: Our blog is going to be good - you can subscribe to it here. We're also on Twitter and would love some followers :)

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Daily Affirmation



I'm not terribly into self-help mumbo-jumbo, but this little girl is onto something. If only we could all feel this excited and happy about our lives!

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Thing I Pulled From the Pool - Photography Project



Dan and I are currently in Scottsdale, Arizona (on the edge of Phoenix). It's seriously hot every single day here - I think it's currently sitting around 90 degrees Fahrenheit and it's nearly 6 pm. I recently heard that they only get 7 inches of rain here annually, which isn't much compared to London where there is often as much as 30 inches.

To keep cool, I've been spending quite a bit of time in the swimming pool (I know, it's a hard life). To try to make this lazy time useful, I've started to take pictures of some of the creatures I pull out of there. Sometimes there isn't much of interest, so I'm not planning to update this regularly - only when I find something strange or gross.

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Portraits of Tina

During my last week in London I had an afternoon long girl date with the lovely Tina Basi. I am working quite a bit on my photography and she needed some images to use for various projects. We spent time at the Victoria and Albert, Natural History Museum (probably the best location for photos ever!) and Harrods. All of these spots are within walking distance of one another and offer free entry (well, Harrods could end up costing you the shirt off your back, but only if you let it). It was a cool day, but beautiful and bright, which is pretty spectacular by London standards.

I'm in Phoenix, Arizona until June 13th. If anyone out there is from this area and you have any photo project ideas/needs, please get in touch

PS: Tina's company is called Mehfil Enterprise. She does amazing work as a social ethnographer and believes in "serendipitous discovery". I think we could all use some of that.

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Breaking News - Fringe Election Results

Thanks to those of you who responded to the all important fringe or no fringe referendum. The results showed a strong majority in favour of the no fringe option. No coalition is necessary, which is lucky because I don't know how that would work.
  • Yes, keep the fringe: 36%
  • No, fringes are soooo 2009: 60%
  • Who the eff cares? 4%
Okay, I'm off to invest in more hair grips. 

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To Fringe or Not to Fringe

Dear Internet,

I have a very important question for you: fringe or no fringe? On one hand, the fringe is kind of cute, but it is high maintenance and while traveling this next year I do not intend to blow dry it down every morning. Then again, growing out a fringe is a massive pain in the ass...

Oh, and please disregard the pissy expression in my no fringe photo! You can vote here.



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Lots of Cacti - A Digital Short Film


Lots of Cacti from Amy Thibodeau on Vimeo.

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Exuberant Motherhood


I've been working with the lovely team over at Exuberance Beauty on a special mother's day feature for their website. We've been lucky enough to have the participation of some wonderful writers who have shared their experiences and the result is a pretty inspiring group of posts - you can read them all here. (PS: for UK readers, North American Mother's Day is this Sunday)

I struggled a bit with my post, because I am not a mother and cannot claim to understand what that experience means. Initially when I sat down to write, I thought I would pull together something more political about how women and mothers in particular still struggle (I've been very inspired by J K Rowling's Single Mother's Manifesto). But instead of being clever, I kept coming back to the memory of a particularly difficult summer my mother and I had with my sister Jennifer (pictured above at her graduation), who suffers from a number of physical challenges in addition to being sensory deprived and autistic.

If you want to read the entire piece, you can do so here. Also, Exuberance is a pretty great company - they make healthy, organic, lotions and potions you can feel good about using. And, importantly, they give back to their community. If you are still struggling to find something to buy your mother for the holiday this weekend, you might want to check them out.

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The Dangers of the Desert, the Grand Canyon and Other Adventures


To see more photos from the Grand Canyon, visit my Flickr set. Sorry some of the text above is a bit fuzzy - not sure how that happened and don't have time to fix it.

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Hellloooo Phoenix!

We arrived last night after a fairly uneventful 14+ hours of travel. We're staying in an absolutely stunning house in a suburb called Scottsdale, which is right on the edge of the city - we're pretty much surrounded by desert.

Last full English breakfast in Giraffe in Heathrow Terminal 5.


Heathrow Teminal 5, waiting for our departure to LA.

From the flight between LA and Phoenix - first glimpse of the desert.



Baby owl, nesting in a cactus, Phoenix.

The only bad part so far - I am clumsy. And I tripped on a path and skinned my knee on the gravel. It looks worse than it is!

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Roam



I've scheduled this post to go live when our flight to the US is taking off from Heathrow.

Later gaters.

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