snaps from portland

we recently went to portland for a wedding, and though i’ve only been there once before, i still couldn’t get over how cute it was. especially in the sunshine, which was the weather that graced our visit. we stayed downtown, so on our first night, we decided to finally have some deschutes from the source. our flight was outstanding, and look at their awesome logo!

i won’t lie, i’m really jealous of a city that has highly-visible bike lanes that take up half the one-way street. one of these was right outside our hotel lobby, so we could watch all the happy people biking by. happy because it was beautiful sunshiny weather, which i know i mentioned before, but it seemed like every person we overheard was remarking on it all weekend, which made us enjoy it so much more.

pretty wedding colors in creme and just-off tiffany blue. we joined the bride for champagne mani-pedis the night before, so i got to take this color home on my toes too. super cute!

we chose the ace hotel since we’ve enjoyed the palm springs location, and selected a back room on the quiet side of the hotel. it was quiet, indeed, and quite comfy. i liked their idea of using an encyclopedia as wallpaper with these cute paintings.

recent work: skift 13 trends that will define travel in 2013

It’s been exciting to watch Rafat Ali launch his latest startup,, a news source on the business of the travel industry, reporting on everything from airline mergers to niche travel apps. For their 1-year anniversary, we created this interactive trend report for distribution at the outset of 2013, a collection of articles with full click-throughs to citations and resources. They reported very positive feedback, and I’m very happy with how it turned out. Interested in what these 13 trends might be? download a copy here.

Interactive pdfs are a great alternate tactic to direct traffic or email marketing, since you get the chance to reorganize information in a different way than you might have it online, creating new value for the reader. Also, there are those who prefer to read a 15-page report over sorting relevant items in a blog, though now with the information arranged as a trend report, these same readers are far more likely to visit your site through the relevant links provided. With InDesign, these documents offer total design flexibility and look far better than something whipped up in word, or [gasp] a presentation deck standing in for its presenter.

see more of our recent work here.

paso robles, march 2012

rolling hills outside graveyard winery
rolling hills outside graveyard winery

2 weekends ago, i took a weekend trip to paso robles, driving up with 1 girlfriend and meeting the other at our half-way point from her new digs in san francisco. we’re all wine-lovers and we take our wine tasting semi-seriously, in that we will go the extra mile to taste whatever we can, though we’ll informally chat and joke throughout the entire thing. i’d say it’s a professional attitude, though only insomuch as we’re there at opening and closing and treat it as our job to take every advantage of being in wine country. we’re committed: a comment about our dedication and sanity.

wisteria & bees at beckmen vineyards
wisteria & bees at beckmen vineyards

kari and i started out by tasting our way through santa ynez and santa maria, including our first visit to roblar winery, a repeat visit to beckmen and a spin through los olivos for lunch and an obligatory visit to global gardens, purveyors of exquisite olive and nut oils, among other condiments and preserves. we continued up foxen canyon road to try out kohler, foxen, and cambria on our way back to the 101. it’s so nice to have the freedom to continue north rather than speculate about when to turn back towards home.

goats at kenneth volk / lone madrone
goats at kenneth volk / lone madrone

the leslie-heather-kari triumvirate started their saturday on highway 46. i can’t even remember all the places we visited, but zenaida cellars, kenneth volk, lone madrone, cypher, peachy canyon were all part of the journey. how do we taste all that wine? we often split tastings so we can taste more and drink less [we are not spitters, apologies to the real professionals]. the property of kenneth volk and lone madrone had pens with animals out front, including these cute little goats, as well as some chickens and rabbits. i love visiting all the cute animals.

graveyard winery cemetery
graveyard winery cemetery

on our departing day, kari and i made the most of our tasting possiblities and decided to explore a part of paso we’ve never been to, up estrella road to the north. we found the fantastic and hidden graveyard winery, which has an actual cemetery of a few families with fascinating and endearing headstones. their wines were delicious and alive, and the owners who did the pouring and hospitality were wonderful to talk to. we found the landscape breathtaking [the top photo is right outside their tasting room], and noticed a wood pile for the fireplace, containing chopped logs and twisty dry trimmed grape vines. i decided to take a few small pieces to see how they smoke up on the barbecue.

silver horse winery
silver horse winery

we continued up to silver horse, which is host to tasting for a few wineries. the long-predicted rain for the weekend rolled in as we watched through giant picture-windows. the other patrons of this tasting room were chatty and made it a really nice end to our weekend. eventually though, we had to get back on the road and get home. timing worked it out so we could have dinner at the madonna inn, which was a fun time adorned in pink & copper.

overall i was really impressed with all the exciting white wines i tasted. i picked up some varietals and some blends, all of them really zingy and floral. i also bought more dessert wines than usual, because the late harvests have really grown on me [or maybe i was encouraged by kari, who is a big fan]. i did get 2 red wines, despite my voracious foray into loving white wine of late, an absolutely delicious syrah from beckmen, and this really bright, floral, stainless-steel-fermented zinfandel from lone madrone called zin of steel, which led to lots of devo singing.

for now, the wine is in the wine fridge. i’m afraid to dig into it, but will soon enough. so exciting!

from big sur and back to work

mcway falls
view of mcway falls from cliff trail above

last week i took a much-needed summer vacation in the bay area and big sur. though i’ve had the weekend to get back into the swing and ready to tackle the week, i’m still looking at these photos, smelling marine-layered pine needles and dreaming of a to-do list that only included preparing meals, hiking, lining up a bundle of firewood, and pairing a campfire dinner with camp-friendly wine. here’s a selection of my favorite photos from the trip, and with that, back to work!

andrew molera state park
coastal bluffs along andrew molera state park
riparian forest
riparian forest at pfeiffer beach
creamery meadow trail
creamery meadow trail in andrew molera state park
starfish and sea anemones in tidepools at partington cove
nepenthe view
view of the beach from breakfast at kivah cafe at nepenthe
seaweed and jellyfish
seaweed and jellyfish in partington cove
pfeiffer beach
late afternoon at pfeiffer beach
shelf fungus
shelf fungus on a tree stump in our camp site
partington cove
waves in partington cove

making meaning from wandering for a good cause

desktop wallpaper
desktop wallpaper for colleen wainwright's awesome 50-for-50 project!

i have been away. i’ve been more than away, i’ve been busy, and it’s taken time away from writing here. it’s been quite a summer of helping to get exciting projects wrapped and launched, and once that was all done, i went to help out with the stanford jazz camp’s music marketing panel, and finally off to big sur to decompress. funny about decompression, it sometimes helps you focus on what to do next, even when you think you’re not thinking about it.

i had one assignment, which was to get my contribution for colleen wainwright’s outstanding birthday countdown: the 50-for-50 project [raising $50k in 50 days for her 50th birthday gift donation to]. i made a desktop wallpaper illustrating a quote, one of the many fine things you can get in one of colleen’s cleverly tailored donation packages. lucky for me, i happened to be taking a lot of walks on a trip specifically designed for stopping to smell the flowers, and found this lovely scene in andrew molera state park on the creamery meadow trail. colleen is halfway to her goal and has about 30 days to go. check her list of fantastic perks, pick one and donate to a great cause!

as for me, i am ready to dig in and recommit to more writing and posting and less feeling overwhelmed or too busy. summer vacation is over and i’m refreshed and ready to tackle the daily grind with renewed energy. thanks for sticking around!

9 horizons in death valley, march 2011

rainbow canyon from father crowley point
[rainbow canyon from father crowley point]

we took a trip to death valley with some friends this past weekend. as it happens, last week, my longtime camera [an ancient nikon coolpix 4300] moved into its last gasping breaths, so i shot what i could with my iphone, in anticipation of shopping for a much-needed upgrade the following week.

mesquite dunes in death valley
[walking along the mesquite dunes]

death valley is hard to do in a day, but we managed to make it through just as night fell. we started off with an obligatory beer at the stovepipe wells saloon, then on to walk among the mesquite sand dunes.

devil's golfcourse
[devil’s golfcourse]

death valley has quite a range of vast open spaces, textures and colors. i have liked devil’s golf course since i was a child, though back then i’d imagine tiny people living in salt castles. now i just marvel at how big it is.

artist's palette
[artist’s palette]

minerals in the rocks create lots of colors in the mountain ranges. when i was little, my sister and i got souvenir mineral samples, a box with small colorful rocks glued down and labeled, which we kept for years.

panamint mountains
[the panamint mountains from artist’s drive]

artist's drive
[colorful cliffs on artist’s drive]

amargosa mountains
[amargosa mountains to the east]

badwater basin
[salt flats at badwater basin]

looking north from badwater basin
[looking north from the small accumulation of rainwater at badwater basin]

all my pictures ended up to be horizons.

down for repairs

normally up & running:

today, down for repairs:

in the meantime…

enjoy this video i shot on vacation while snow shoeing with my friend and her awesome, snow-loving dog.

snow day, lake tahoe!

snow day lake tahoe
[the overnight snowfall on aileen’s picnic table]

the epic storm was predicted, and we got to tahoe just ahead of the tell-tale winds. it was a sunny drive up and the streets were clear last night, so i was surprised to wake up to this. we’re going to marvel, and shovel, and make comfort food today.

happy holidays from parlato design studio!

happy holidays from parlato design studio, los angeles

happy holidays from los angeles!

signing off for the holiday weekend, everyone have a great time wherever you may be! next week, we rock the last week of the year, and beyond that—the future!