Monday, June 30, 2008

mosaic monday

bits of a summer weekend:

  1. really, I don't think I can pull off tangerini bikini nail polish any other time;
  2. long chats about nothing and everything under the fairy lights on a sultry night;
  3. sparklers!!!
  4. blue hydrangeas bursting out on a neighbor's 50-year old bush;
  5. I heart enzo (and reading in the sun);
  6. blackberry mojitos at 12:30pm on sunday;
  7. ice cream is good;
  8. play in the sprinkler;
  9. my bike is saying, "please ride me to the farm market and fill my basket with flowers."

here's hoping we can keep the summer love into the work week.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm curious...

if you had a magic carpet that could take you anywhere or anywhen, just for one day, where or when would you go?
who would you see?
what would you say?
would you bring back a souvenir?
an open invitation to indulge in magical thinking...

Friday, June 27, 2008


so, I was just trying to shoot a "customer appreciation" photo for my latest fling at pinksparrow's etsy shop....and I was weirdly attracted to the distortion of this image and my pissed-off expression. wearing the cheerful flower pins helped, but this photo pretty much sums up my week.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

well hello there

just this morning, you were a tight little bud. and now look at you. all fancy and bright and making me smile.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

oh to lighten up

people have used the following words to describe me: energetic, dynamic, passionate, intense. to my knowledge, I have never been called laid-back, mellow, go-with-the-flow. I'm interested in creating more balance in my life, toning it down a bit in some circumstances without trying to be a totally different person (cause I kind of like being a dynamo for the most part). this week, I'm recommitting to yoga, walking to discharge the stress that winds me up, and protecting more personal boundaries between work and life. I'm curious about what others do to lighten up a bit...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

inspired by

sunset magazine is an instant connection to my california roots delivered monthly to my virginia postbox.

this morning, I dragged my uninspired self out to sit in the morning sun for a dose of vitamin d and opened it's pages to find this incredible inspiration. three women ages 99 to 102 talking about their lives, their histories, their philosphies and the habits that have helped them live a happy and healthy century.

here's some of the things they have in common other than living in the west:
  1. walking (I'm working on it)
  2. gardening (check)
  3. free spirit (check)
  4. nourishment straight from the farm (working on it)
  5. connecting with people (in my line of work, this can be difficult, as I get a bit too much of people on a daily basis; need to make time to connect with the like-minded)
  6. living at a slower pace (probably never going to happen, but will give it a shot)

the thought that I have 50+ years to integrate and increase these things in my life is inspiring. I'm starting today.

what types of things do you do to support a long and beautiful life?

Friday, June 20, 2008

giant rubber duck

this is a photo of a giant rubber duck.

today is the summer solstice, one of my favorite days of the year. and this is all I have to offer. one. giant. rubber. duck.

someone, please inspire me...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

come back bold

this week I'm not feeling very bold, colorful or dynamic. I feel a bit puny and dull. waiting patiently for ideas to spark...

I shot this gorgeous glass mosaic wall in a cocktail lounge in richmond, va.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

my dad

I inherited my smile and my dark stare from my dad. he also gave me (a wee motormouth) permission to be quiet and full of thought. as an engineer, he is patient, logical, meticulous; attributes I'm finding more and more useful in life. he taught me how to throw a baseball (he was a professional player), the love of photography, the joy only a dog can bring to a human and the identity of every sea creature in the tide pool. he showed me what it means to keep a commitment. he was my first example of cool: the man drove a '61 corvette, played jazz saxophone and was the Twist King of California (or something like that). but never too cool or aloof to refrain from obligatory dad jobs like playing the cake walk at the castro lane school carnival or carrying a traumatized child through Scream-in-the-Dark (and proffering the subsequent apologies to the man in the gorilla costume after said child's vicious assault on the gigantic scary monkey).

thanks dad, for being an excellent father. happy fathers day.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

proud to be a quitter

I ran across the idea to make this list somewhere today and now can't locate the site to give credit. it resonated with me because I'm playing around with the idea of quitting a few things and wanted to reflect on times I have been a quitter with confidence and determination and it worked out for the better.

things I have quit:
  • bad boys (musicians, moody artists, substance abusers, etc.)
  • plastic grocery bags
  • living according to someone else's idea of who I should be
  • needing to be a size six
  • being messy and unorganized

things I will never quit:

  • coffee
  • cussing like a sailor
  • impatient driving
  • laughing inappropriately
  • shopping as my drug of choice

it seems like the key to successful quitting is having one or more alternatives in the wings that are healthier, happier choices.

Friday, June 13, 2008

it's friday!

and my life will not be complete until I get my hands on a chica barstool.

shot at el vez in philadelphia.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


so the last few weeks and months have been yet another period of self-evaluation for me. certain experiences and circumstances have led me to question more than normal (and I question a lot, just ask my poor husband and coworkers!).

here are just a few of the things I am currently pondering (and the triggering event):
  1. how do you maintain a youthful spirit and remain relevant as you age? (the r.e.m. concert on tuesday was pure bliss. the band is my age cohort and I was delighted that their energy and talent were just as fresh and edgy as 20 years ago. by the way, the crowd--also mostly my age cohort--not holding up as well.)
  2. when do we outgrow being worried about getting in trouble with our parents? (this month's self portrait challenge is "nude"--a challenge, indeed. I shot some extremely safe photos that I think are really good, but can't bring myself to post them in fear of my parents seeing them.)
  3. how do you effectively integrate freedom and responsibility? (I took a few days off last month and getting back to work was painful beyond the normal re-entry from vacation.)

I'd love to read any comments you may have. there is so much wisdom and experience out there...I'm all ears...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

let's play twister

dear michael stipe:

you are still the coolest man alive. thank you for a great show. only you could rock 100 degree weather in an impeccably-cut charcoal grey pinstripe suit.

can't wait until next time. I'm still a little high...

love, lisa

(photo courtesy of flickr)


Monday, June 9, 2008

mosaic monday

rachel over at the metaphorical magpie blogged this fun idea for a meme:

do a flickr search using the answers to these twelve questions about yourself. choose a photo from the first page of results. then make a photo mosaic via big huge labs.

here are my results (see flickr credits here):

1. What is your first name? lisa (which I apparently share with a london feline).
2. What is your favorite food? fish tacos.
3. What high school did you go to? bakersfield high school in california.
4. What is your favorite color? if I have to choose, apple green.
5. Who is your celebrity crush? james mcavoy.
6. Favorite drink? mojito.
7. Dream vacation? montmartre in paris.
8. Favorite dessert? happy face cookies from smiths in bakersfield.
9. What you want to be when you grow up? anne marie duff (beautiful, talented, wakes up to james mcavoy).
10. What do you love most in life? laughing, happy children.
11. One word to describe you. inquisitive.
12. Your flickr name. lisa sparks.

beauty + hope

my sleepy little burg has been tagged by a you-are-beautiful messenger. I am lucky to see this reminder on the walk to my car after work...perfect location.

speaking of dear friend Hope is running for a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma in honor of her mentor, who was recently diagnosed. if you would like to spread some love, beauty and hope, please visit her fundraising page and share what you can.

hope, you are beautiful. I love you.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

things I like about my job #6

so this week I returned to the office after a few glorious days of vacation. I always suffer from vacation withdrawal and the re-entry into my everyday life is often difficult for me. I struggle with the opposite aspects of my life. I relish openness, creativity, beauty and freedom but work in a field confined by strict laws and regulation, shadowed by the ugliest side of the human condition (child abuse).

I had a discussion with my boss about my yearning to work in an environment more suited to me. he was supportive and offered some really good points (like moving on should occur only to grow and expand, not to run away from something). then he offered to work with me to develop my position and unit into something more creative and expansive, that continues to meet the needs of our community, but that provides a better fit for me. how cool is that?

what color is your personality?

who loves a quiz?
I sure do. the narcissist in me never tires of answering random questions about myself and allowing some bizarre calculation define me. the color quiz at pittsburg paints asks sensory questions to determine which color groups best suit you.

my results indicate that I fall under the categories of "al fresco" and "tapestry & mosaic". this is mostly accurate and illustrates the inherent split of my sensory preferences and personality: fresh, bright and alive alternating with dark, moody and exotic.

with these results in mind, I did a little window shopping and added the following goodies to my wishlist.

for the sunny, al fresco side of me, ceramic tables from pottery barn and mojito glasses and a muddler from z gallerie.

for my darker, cozier side, two beauties from tracy porter:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

just like home

those who know me understand that I'm prone to fits of homesickness. I am, at heart, a california girl. I miss big things about the state (ideas, expansion, creativity, inclusion) and I miss little things that made my home in california...well, californian: flowers year-round, sun streaming in windows, grilling and eating outdoors every night, the hum of automatic sprinklers, the scent of night-bloomers mixed with a hint of chlorine from the pool. I often feel like a big freaky fish out of water in traditional, upright virginia.

I do my best to recreate certain california experiences to soothe my soul (risking certain social shunning when I declared that I was making tamales for christmas dinner instead of virginia ham!). I have not had the best luck in my garden. virginia climate is lovely, but california it is not. I have planted agapanthas and gardenias only to watch them die a slow, brutal death under the old virginia trees.

jasmine is the exception. several years ago, I tried it out in the yard with no luck. last year, we built an arbor over the back door and I tried the jasmine again. it sputtered and stalled through last summer, but hung on. I was certain winter snow and ice would do it in. but it didn't! this year, the beautiful vine has reached and bloomed up the posts, over the arbor and is even reaching on to the adjacent arbor over the patio, mingling with the fairy lights.

last night, after a tiring day at work, I walked out back and was enveloped by the powerful, heady scent of my darling vines. the scent of home. I turned and saw that they were making their way up the back of the house, arms outstretched, reaching to give my virginia home a big california embrace.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

oh, the lushness

a good chunk of our roadtrip to philadelphia involved spending time at terrain in concordville, pa (we stopped by on the way to the city and on the way home). I first heard about anthropologie's exploration into the garden business on oh joy's blog and am forever grateful. the shop is pure bliss for garden-color-party-design-funkiness junkies like myself. this is how good it is: it's a five hour drive from my home and I plan to return at least twice before winter sets in. see for yourself...

in true anthropologie spirit, this shopping destination is the perfect mix of beauty+function+uniqueness. there is a cafe in the greenhouse with a menu that reflects the fresh surroundings, or you can stroll through the grounds sipping mint iced tea and just taking it all in. fingers are crossed for new locations to open soon.

Monday, June 2, 2008

love city

philadelphia was a gracious host to two hyper girls who love to talk, shop, eat and people-watch. krista and I spent a few days there this weekend and had a great time. I found the city to be more user-friendly than nyc and with all the fabulous things cities offer: diversity, history, quick pace, arts, shopping (hello four floors of anthropologie!) and food. here's a snapshot of our long weekend in the city of brotherly love:

  1. reflecting pool in rittenhouse square
  2. bikes everywhere (love it!)
  3. raspberry pancakes at marathon grill on spruce
  4. spruce street market
  5. the clock @ reading terminal
  6. the LOVE sculpture
  7. beautiful avenue on a brilliant day
  8. murals everywhere you look
  9. alma de cuba, site of the best meal of my life (not kidding!)
  10. our photos taken in the photobooth at el vez
  11. more bikes
  12. metropolitan bakery (paris or phila?)
  13. el vez entrance and outdoor dining
  14. reading terminal market
  15. chess at rittenhouse square
  16. diner stools @ reading market

to see photos full size, visit my flickr site

on the b-side: open air crack smokers on my morning trot to starbucks and a (presumed) dead man in a doorway spotted from the double-decker tour bus.