Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Blending Past and Present

Image via Dear Photograph
Have you been to the website Dear Photograph?  It's this amazingly cool, nostalgic blog (now a book as well) based on the idea of  taking an old photo and holding it up to the spot it was taken.  Sometimes the photos and captions that people submit have me in tears, other times in stitches.  It's a real gem.  Time Magazine explains it best:  
Some of the Web's best sites consist of variations on one simple idea. In the case of Dear Photograph, that idea is taking a snapshot — usually one featuring one or more people and dating from the film-photography era — and holding it up against the original setting so that past and present blend into a new work of art. The images contributed by the site's readers are wonderfully evocative. Looking at the family photos of strangers was never so transfixing.
Image via Vanity Fair
Now, enter Vanity Fair.  They took this concept and applied it to old cinematic stills in this slideshow.  Genius, and equally mesmerizing.  

Iamge via Vanity Fair
There is something about the old transfixed upon the new.  It's like that feeling you get when you go to a historic site and think of all the things that have occurred at the spot that you stand at.  I just love it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

So I've been a little lax about posting lately, but I just wanted to check in and share another great article on the Equals Record written by my sister, Hilary.  I'm so proud of her! :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Sister...Published!

I got the most fabulous email in my inbox today....from my sister with a link to her first post on the Equals Record!  You can read her post that reviews some wonderful-sounding books here.  And for more of her writing, check out her blog, What's It About?.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Justin the Artistic Horse

Image via Adonna Combs, Artistic Horses

I just read about Justin the artistic horse in The Week, and I couldn't resist sharing.  I love animals and I love artistic expression, and the two melded together are almost too much for my heart to handle! 

Words from Adonna, Justin's owner:

Paintings by Justin The Artistic Horse, began with my horse Justin’s natural ability to pick up objects and play with them. As a visual artist myself, when I saw him take my riding whip and begin drawing in the arena sand I had the concept of attaching a paint brush to it and let him paint. I began working with him the same way that I train him for riding by using natural horsemanship communication techniques, including positive reinforcement. Once he understood what I was asking he began having fun and looking forward to every painting session. To my surprise we have become an artistic team and he has become quite a painter. 

Now Justin holds art shows in his barn and sells paintings and prints!  You can watch a video of him painting and see the artwork for sale here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!


No plans for us as of yet, but Bella is enjoying a special witch kong in honor of All Hallows Eve.  I hope everyone is having a fancy, cozy holiday!

P.S. Love this.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On Finances....Budgeting

Image via

Today, I'd like to offer a little tip about budgeting that has really helped me.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Martha's Vineyard


This weekend we're in Martha's Vineyard for a family reunion.  I love being on the east coast.  Whenever I get to travel back east, I always fantasize about living here ~ the seasons, the history, the architecture, the general feeling.  There's something about it that makes our moderate climate and relatively short history seem so vanilla (this is not to say that I don't appreciate many aspects of living in California).

Looking across the harbor

Our family has a bit of history here.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Comfort in the Kitchen

Image via

Whenever I get bored around my house my mind inevitably wanders to rearranging furniture.  I don't always act on it (Dietrich would go nuts) but I love the refreshment that a new arrangement brings.  

Home and design sites (one of my favorites is Apartment Therapy) offer great inspiration and give me new ideas.  I recently stumbled across a photo of a comfortable chair in the kitchen and fell in love with this concept!  My mom has a couch and a comfortable chair in her kitchen and that's pretty much where I live when I go visit her.  How nice would it be to cook a yummy meal while I loved one curls up nearby with a cocktail or cup of tea?  
Image via

Even better yet if you're the one engulfed in a comfortable chair while a loved one cooks for you! 

What are your favorite sources for design inspiration?

Monday, October 15, 2012


I shared my morning routine a while back (it's so different these days)  and now I'd like to talk about evening routines.  Dinner, specifically.  What do you like to do for dinner, or in the evenings when you are winding down?

Dietrich and I have had changing habits over time, but lately I have been loving Real Simple recipes.  They recently published a meals for a month issue which includes shopping lists and recipes for four weeks of meals.  I love the variety, and that it takes out the hemming and hawing about what to make for dinner.  It's pretty easy on the grocery budget too!

I'd hate to admit it, but often times after dinner we usually end up watching TV, catching up on emails, work and social networking.  I would love to spend more time away from artificial screens, so we have been trying to incorporate more backgammon and yoga (for me).  That sounds totally random, but it's true!

What about you?  What's your evening routine?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Something Spooky

Image via
I really love Halloween.  I liken myself to Claire in the Halloween episode of Modern Family, except instead of actually acting on my love with elaborate costumes or decorations it's all in my imagination.  That is why I am always so enamored by the Halloween goodies and crafts that pop up this time of year online and in catalogues and magazines.

Here are some of my favorites:

"Too cute to be creepy" Salem Owls

A mini-paperclay Halloween Jack O Lantern

Bone and teeth Halloween Bottle Openers

Googly-eyed Undead Pumpkins

Dinner with the Addams tablescape

I fantasize about having a reason to indulge in these, like a big festive Halloween party or creating a spooky trick or treat experience for the kids in our neighborhood, but I can never seem to justify the expense.  However, this year we had a few gift cards left over from our wedding so I decided to indulge in this and am currently drinking my coffee in this.  

Halloween rituals start with making everything spooky!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Inspired By: Communal Living

This past weekend my mom was in town, and we had a delightful Saturday afternoon.  

I took her to Patine, where I got a deliciously scented candle, and she got a vintage tin to hold vanity goodies.  We were recommended to go to a nearby Open Studio tour, which we did. To say it was inspiring would be an understatement.  

We arrived at Charles Prentiss' home and studio after a winding drive up a one way road flanked by overgrown foliage.  When we got to the top of the hill there were panoramic views of the ocean beyond blankets of produce fields.  His art was incredible, but what was really inspiring was his way of life.  He lives on a commune (for lack of a better word) with three other families that have all lived there for 30 years. They built the structures themselves, and it is nothing like I pictured communal living.  My mom and I walked around in awe, taking in as much as we could of the scenery, the layout, the idea, the art, and the beauty of it all.  We didn't want to leave! 

I think the video explains it best.

The experience got me fantasizing about trying something like it.  Would you enjoy this style of living, or is it too close for your comfort level?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Do or Don't: Faux Leather Leggings

Image via

The other day I was shopping and spotted a pair of faux leather leggings.   There was something about them that tempted me, so I tried them on.  

I liked them.  

I thought they would be cute with a cozy white sweater and tennis shoes or ballet flats. But then I thought, when would I actually wear these?  They seemed so flashy, and surely any one who saw me wearing them would be chuckling under their breath.  With the way my current wardrobe is they would not go unnoticed among those who know me.  So I strayed away.  

But then I kept spotting them in cute outfits online, and I continued lusting after them.  So I decided to buy a pair.  I wish I could afford these (not faux) and I think these are really cute too, but I ended up going with these.  There are so many cute styles, I just decided to go with the cheapest pair since I will probably only wear them once a year.  That is, if they are still in style next year.  

They're en route to my house as we speak. 


*Update:  They arrived and I love them!  I still don't know when I will wear them, but they're worth it!

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's Been A While...

Image via

Hello there.  I'll state the obvious - it's been a while since I've posted on here.  Over two months! I have missed blogging, but at the same time I never seemed to work it into my schedule. For the last two months I decided not to stress about that and just let it be.  So here we are, without post for many moons.   

A summary of what has been going on:

I quit my old job at the CPA firm for good.

I floated down the Rogue River with my family.

I started working with two amazing companies part time:  Synergy and Patine.

Last but not least I decided to start my very own CPA practice - just me!  Hannah Brandt, CPA! So now the aura of my work is more like this.

So, if you have any tax questions, you know who to call ;) 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Inspiring Lists

I came across these lists recently and found them inspiring:

25 New Things to Do Today 

I especially like the tip, "if you can't get out of it, get into it" from the first list, and I love the idea of being a yes-woman for a day from the second list.

Do you find any of these tips or ideas especially inspiring? I would love to know!

Monday, July 23, 2012

One Year Ago Today

Photo by Christina Richards

One year ago today Dietrich and I were married.  My how time flies! To celebrate we will be glamping in a tent bungalow at Costanoa tonight.

I love you Dietrich!

P.S. A slide show of our wedding prepared by Christina, more wedding photos and our wedding album.

Friday, July 13, 2012

On Finances...Grocery Shopping

Image via

Last week I mentioned my desire to start a feature regarding all things budget related.  What better place to start than one of the largest expense categories for most: food.  This is also the area that I would say Dietrich's frugal nature has influenced me most.  I used to be capable of spending upwards of $1,000 on groceries in a month, and that was when I lived alone!  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Before and After - Our Living Room


As I looked through iPhoto looking for inspiration for a blog post I came across some older pictures of our house that we used for an ad on  Dietrich and I had been dating about 6 months when we impulsively planned a 5 week trek around Europe.  We toyed with the idea of doing a home exchange, a la one of my favorite movies, The Holiday.  While a home exchange never came to fruition for us, we now have photos of the house as it were, untouched by yours truly (this was before I moved in).  


We have slowly made changes - swapping out older furniture, rearranging, building bookcases and closets, working on the yard etc.  At times, my patience gets the best of me and I feel like we have barely made a dent in all that we hope to do.  Just maintaining our home is a challenge in itself. 

I was reminded of  how much the living room has evolved when I came across the before photo at top. I really admire both looks despite the difference. Before, it had a zen and masculine feel to it, and now it's a bit more neutral and cozy.  Looking at these two photos I'm almost wondering if we have too much furniture packed in as it is now!  Part of the challenge of decorating is finding the right balance between aesthetics and functionality.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

An Afternoon at Sea

My sister graduated from UC Santa Cruz a few weeks ago, and to celebrate we chartered an all girls afternoon sailing trip from Pacific Yachting at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor.  My sister is quite the maritime enthusiast, and sailing runs in our blood.  My grandmother was a yacht broker and avid sailor, and my mom also raced sailboats.  It was a lovely peaceful time at sea and I enjoyed the opportunity to take some photos (even though I did get a wee bit queasy - I must not have inherited the gene).  Here are some of more of my favorites from the day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The One Block Feast

Image of One Block Feast Contest winners via Sunset Magazine

We were out to dinner with a couple of friends the other night, and they told us about the DIY food kick that they have been on lately.  The list had me salivating.  They have made their own butter, nutella, and a huge bottle of pure vanilla extract.  They promised to have us over soon to sample their latest delectables (I can barely wait).  Their DIY food project reminded me of an inspiring story I read in Sunset Magazine a few months back called The One Block Feast. 

From the website:

"We’re longtime fans of the local eating movement, which champions getting food grown as close as possible to where you live. About a year ago, we took this to its logical conclusion: Instead of a 100-mile or 50-mile diet, how about a one-block diet? We’d raise everything at Sunset, in a backyard-size plot, for a late-summer feast (and a lot of cooking beyond)."

They tried to raise everything they would need for 4 seasonal menus including their cooking fat (olive oil), sweetener (honey) and beverage of choice (wine).  They wrote a book about it, and also challenged their readers to a one-block-feast contest.  A neighborhood in Morro Bay, CA won and their one-block feast was featured in an issue of Sunset Magazine.  You can read more about the project here.  I would love to try this!

Friday, July 6, 2012

On Finances

Image by Nick Cannon via A CUP OF JO

Since Dietrich and I both have backgrounds in finance we tend to be pretty geeky about our budgeting, saving and spending.  While I have always been one to track my spending, I would say that I definitely tend towards the indulgent side.  Dietrich is the opposite.  If he didn't have to eat or put a roof over his head he could go months without spending a dime. I think we have been a nice balance for each other in that regard.  He's influenced me to be a more savvy spender, and I have influenced him to splurge when it matters. 

With this in mind I am considering starting a new feature on my blog about all things related to money. Stay tuned!  (But don't hold your breath, because let's be honest - I am suddenly horrible about posting regularly and finances aren't exactly the most engaging subject.)

On that note, more soon!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Creative Cord Covers

One of the projects I tackled in my cleaning frenzy was Dietrich's desk.  We just got one of those adjustable desks that can go from a sitting configuration to a standing configuration with the touch of a button.  It's a neat, ergonomic idea, but not very pleasing to the eye - especially with the open back that shows a plethora of haphazard cords dangling akimbo. 

So I went to work with zip ties.  Now I have all the cords dangling together in one strand, but it's still not that pretty of a picture.  I'm considering sewing a neutral fabric skirt for the desk. 

Here are some other great ideas for covering up ugly electronics and cords:

A fancy zip tie.

Leaf Tie via Apartment Therapy

A wireless router disguised as a book.

Via Apartment Therapy

My sister's creative approach to cord beautification:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Spring...Summer Cleaning

When I tell people that I am taking time off work, their usual concern is "what have you been doing with all your free time?"  The answer is working on our home!  My first week off I practically went nuts cleaning every nook and cranny.  I polished, purged, reorganized and rearranged.

Bella appreciates it!

P.S. If you want to follow me on Instagram: @hannybh

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Image via

I have some fabulous news, however don't get your hopes up as it's mostly just fabulous to myself.  As you may have guessed from the title of this post I have been granted my request for a sabbatical from my day job!  I'm only three days in, but I have already breathed about 86,400 sighs of relief.  

This hiatus is much appreciated after the seemingly nonstop treadmill that I have been on for the past two years.   2011 was incredible, but after fitting in about 75% of my life accomplishments in one year I needed a break. My physical and mental health was starting to show signs of wear and tear and I felt that a leave from work was the best way to rest, reset and do some soul searching. 

My first weekend off was eye opening.  A typical weekend for me includes lamenting about all the housework I want to do (before I can completely relax of course) and then once I actually have down time the Sunday blues sets in, sometimes even on Saturday!  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this combination of mind states is not quit achieving my goal of living in the moment.

It's crazy that this past weekend was just as long or short as any other normal weekend, yet to me it felt like an eternity of greatness. I was both productive and relaxed and I kept thinking to myself, "why can't I feel this way every weekend?"  Then I realized it was because I was living moment to moment.  Hopefully there will be much more of this to come no matter how much or little I have on my plate. :)

Friday, May 25, 2012


5 Year Diary via

When I was in school (high school and college specifically) I always hated writing. Essays were the bain of my existence!  I can remember agonzing over a paper and trying to organize my thoughts into an introductory paragraph, a few supporting detail paragraphs and a conclusion. I would often be so fed up by the time that I got to the conlcusion that I would simply restate the intro paragraph with a few words shuffled around.  How clever of me. And the "grabber" was what really got to me - trying to figure out a witty way to draw the reader into my boring, but organized essay. To say they were cheesey is an understatement.  I wish I had a little collection of them in a coffee table book for good laughs.

Listography via

Despite my struggles with academic writing, I have found it to be incredibly therapeutic in my life outside of school.  I try to start and end most of my days with a bit of it, even if just a few sentences.  Writing in journals has helped me to process some of the more challenging moments of my life and always helps to organize thoughts no matter how profound or mundane (hello list-making). And while I revel in my morning ritual of stream of conciousness writing I also enjoy a good prompt, as long as it's not academic in nature!  As a lover of all of the above, I was enamored with the selection of journals at a recent trip to Bookshop Santa Cruz.  I would love to have a little collection from which I could pull out whichever one I felt like writing in.

For example:

The 5 Year Diary - where you can write a few sentences about your day and see your entries for the same day of prior years.

Gratitude A Journal - The power of gratitude is immense and this journal is chock full of prompts to recognize all that you are grateful for.

One Word a Day - For those who prefer to be breif.

Listography - Your Life in Lists - Prompts to list your favorite movies, your deepest sins, your best purchases, you previous lovers and people you lived with

The Tour Diary - for travel logging.  This is one area that I wish I could be more diligent in.

Happy writing!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Clothes Valet

Image via

I love this post on Apartment Therapy suggesting a valet stand as a useful organization tool.  They advise using it to keep clothes from sitting on a chair after they have been worn - a great idea and something that is much needed in our household.  If I had one, I would also love to use it to put together outfits for the next day.  

Growing up, I always had a hard time deciding what to wear, so I would pick out an outfit the night before to prevent tardiness.  I have since got out of the habit, but perhaps a valet stand could help me get back into it.  There's something exciting about seeing your outfit all laid out for you, accessories and all.  I think it might even make old clothes feel new and special to see them on display, awaiting you to put them on!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Watercolor Lagoon

Sunrise Fin Mermaid

When I stumbled upon this quote last week, a particular artist came to mind.  She is a dear friend I met when I was living in Capitola and she and her husband serendipitously moved in next door.  Everything she does is art.  Her mission is to stay inspired and this seeps out of so many facets of her life, including her whimsical sea watercolors.  

Humpback Whale

Giant Pacific Octopus

A quote from her etsy shop
"Sometimes I like to fathom a tiny mermaid who swims in my tea...I like to picture her swimming in the liquid brew as she imbibes the tea with added magic and I imagine her silking through the warmth, surfacing with an errant tea leaf resting on her shoulder." 

Tea Sipping Mermaid

More of Snow Seychelle's art can be found here and her inspiration can be found here and here.

Chambered Nautilus

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Image via

Sunset Magazine recently came out with their camping issue, and the way that Dietrich's been talking about our impending camping trip, it couldn't have come at a better time.  They have some lovely suggestions for venues, camping accessories, recipes and alternatives to tents that still allow for the one-with-nature experience.  I think any of these (or a combination thereof) would make for a great re-introduction to the camping way of life.  Here are a few of my favorites:

The teardrop trailer can be rented our purchased and includes the bed and all cooking gear.  Dietrich has been saying that he wants to tow something....

Image via

Glamping necessities include a stand-up tent, air bed and linens, an outdoor rug and mood lighting.  Sounds good to me!

These resorts offer the outdoor experience without having to lug and set up all of your gear.  This could be a good start for me:

Costanoa tent bungalows

Treebones Resort has yurts and campsites, a pool and hot tub and rates include breakfast.

El Capitan Canyon offers both cedar cabins and safari tents

After all of this research I am really looking forward to our (unplanned) camping adventure!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Friday Afternoon

On Friday I got to work a half-day and Dietrich and I had the most blissful Friday afternoon.  There is nothing like getting off work early on a beautiful day, knowing that you have the whole weekend ahead of you.  

We walked Bella over to our friends' house to have a play date with their dog, Tug.  It was so fun to watch them play!  Tug is about Bella's size, but full grown.  The play hard, and it tires Bella out.  We like that.

Once 5 o'clock rolled around (which seemed like forever after getting off at noon) we rode bikes to the Swift Street Courtyard for wine and dinner.  I absolutely love this little business park, and dream of having my own little shop there some day.  It seems like there are new little places popping up there all the time, and we tend to frequent the same three - Kelly's Bakery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, and New Leaf.  We decided to try a new tasting room (there are now twelve in this business park!) Vine Hill Winery.  It was lovely, and I can't wait to go back.  Great wine, reasonable prices, friendly service, and they will even deliver food from Kelly's.   

We ended the evening snuggling with Bella and watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  A pretty perfect evening if you ask me!

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Road Trip Part II

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted.  Time really flies when you have a new pup and you're recovering from vacation ;).

Our road trip continued down the Central Coast with a two-night stop in Santa Barbara. The goal was complete relaxation.  It started with a dinner at the Boathouse, right on the beach. 

We got a great deal to stay at the Bacara Resort where one of Dietrich's friends works.  He took us on a golf cart tour of the grounds and showed us wedding sites - we pretended we were a newly engaged couple.

After the tour we went on a little walk to explore and admire the scenery.  I loved all the walking paths and ocean views!

We spent the afternoon at the pool eating chips with guacamole, drinking sangria and soaking in the sun.  Unfortunately we soaked up a little too much.  Spring sun feels so good, it's hard to know when you've had enough of it!

Our second evening we got to visit with our friends Nicole and Jesse.  We had so much fun catching up that I didn't manage to get any pictures, except a quick shot of dessert - plain frozen yogurt with sprinkles and mochi from their local yogurt shop Rockin' Yogurt.

After dinner Dietrich and I went to one of my favorite markets, Lazy Acres, to get aloe and staples for the rest of our trip.  

I loved their display of terrariums!

After our two nights in Santa Barbara we were off to Pacific Palisades to visit Dietrich's parents.

We went on a beautiful hike.

We also shopped in Santa Monica, and I got a long wished-for down jacket and vest - perfect for walking Bella and riding bikes to my sister's house.

It's always lovely to stay with Dietrich's parents, and it doesn't hurt that Jim makes a mean margarita :).

All in all, the road trip was a success!