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Twenty years after touching down in Hawaii for the first time, I got to go back again last month with the same girlfriend I’d traveled with when we were teens. Unlike that time though — landing in Maui penniless, hung over and (probably still) high from the warehouse rave we’d partied at the night before (SF in the 90s!) — we had our kids in tow and somewhat of a proper agenda. Look what growing up does, guys.
This time was also Kauai, not Maui, and I’d say the Garden Island lived up to its name and winter “reputation.” Read: rain, rain, rain. It torrentially downpoured the entire day we attemped to explore Waimea Canyon, clearing for just the minute it took to snap the few pics of it you’ll see partway down this post. Our luau was also held indoors due to rain, but I’d say the bottomless mai tais made up for it.
Fortunately, the kids didn’t care and the South Shore where we stayed was the driest and sunniest part of the island overall. At the end of our trip, it lent us a number of perfect, sunny weather days that have left me with memories of blended pina coladas, pool time, shave ice, sea turtles, wispy palms, snorkel spots, rainbow-colored coral, sand that felt like powder, the lushest hiking trails and the water you’d expect. And the only foot sunburn I’ve ever had . . .
Every January I give in to this burning desire to spend as long as it takes inside my house, going drawer-to-drawer and closet-to-closet, purging half of what we own and donating it all. The way getting rid of stuff makes me feel and the outlook it lends to a new year is important, but something else. Today I want to tell you what I found this month while I was at it.
It was a stack of old, long-forgotten 8x10s hiding behind the one photo I’d opened up a frame to swap out. Talk about taking a step back in time. This group shot is the one that really struck me. I may wonder what I was thinking with that orange top, the (now) teenagers and I may have had a laugh or two looking at Will, but look at us. See that baby in my arms; she’s eight now!
I preach the importance constantly of printing your family photos, and god, to me, it’s for such good reason.
I held those prints in my hands forever, then dug up all our old shoots and ordered a bunch more. I don’t just want the frames around our home to show what we look like today; I need to see our evolution. I need an archive of memories from over the years to pass down to my children some day.
In celebration of that, something for you
If you’ve ever shot with me, you’ll find your galleries are all reopened so you can order prints like I just did. Unsure how to access yours? Click the button below and I’ll send you a direct link. There’s also a coupon code at checkout for 20 percent off your order. Offer is good through 11:59 p.m. this Sunday night, February 3rd, when the galleries will close again.
If you haven’t shot with me, I’ll urge you all the same. Print your photos. Frame them. Stick them on the fridge. Maybe it’s been years. Maybe you’ve never had a professional photo shoot. What matters most is that the memories you’ve made are tangible. Snapshots count. Keep a printed archive, hold it, look at it; it’s the easiest way I know to go back in time.
Happy New Year from my family.
I've promised myself to stay in better touch with what's going on: Family photography, brand photography, sharing stories and my own personal work. Monthly newsletters like this, and more regular blog posts. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below, ask a question, tell me what interests you. I’m building a gathering of friends and I’m glad you’re here.
After an overnight flight from NYC and additional six-hour time change (three already from our home in California to New York), Isaac, Francesca and I landed in Copenhagen to spend two weeks with my brother-in-law and his family in Denmark. Before ever visiting, my sights had been set on watching the kids jump into this canal just steps outside Jon and Signe's apartment. It's been an uncharacteristically cold and rainy summer here, but with a break in the weather and a decent sunset, we marked our first night doing just this. It set the best tone for the next 13 days > > >
July 29, 2017 || This morning we drove to Fredriksborg Slot (Fredriksborg is a town; "slot" means "castle") and got to know a bit of Copenhagen by taking the water taxi around to different stops, getting out and exploring on foot. We enjoyed a chilly, but beautiful summer sunset on the balcony over dinner, and lounged around the apartment. Francesca set up a small dollhouse that used to be Emilie's, and spent lots of time playing inside it with different characters and horses > > >
July 30, 2017 || Sunset and dusk from our apartment in Islands Brygge > > >
July 18, 2017 || Explored the Christianshavn neighborhood on foot today, stopping to eat, duck into shops, tour old churches, and take in a large part of the city. We walked seven miles today > > >
July 18, 2017 || We walked to the top of the golden ball at one of the oldest and most famous churches in Copenhagen: Vor Frelse Kirke Christianshavn. I should say, most of us made it to the top. All of them except for me. See the gold, winding railing leading up to the top, and how the steeple becomes more and more narrow the taller it gets? It was literally swaying up there, and I couldn't hang. With my legs buckling beneath me, I somehow managed to turn back after I'd made it about halfway up, and got myself onto solid ground. I heard my little one hooting with excitement the higher she climbed, and loved the spectacular views (and selfies) the rest of them captured from the top > > >
July 30, 2017 || Isaac and Emilie have made a tradition of swimming at least once per day in the freezing canals. The main and closest swimming spot to the apartment is called Islandsbrygges havnebad, and we've been spending lots of time here. Even Franny managed to get herself in, but the three of us adults opted for wine of the grass and view of the swimmers instead > > >
July 31, 2017 || It wouldn't feel like home if I didn't wake up between two other human beings and an animal > > >
July 31, 2017 || Rented a Go Boat today and cruised around with wine and cheese somewhere between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. You know, as you do > > >
August 7, 2017 || Spent two days at Signe's parents' summer cottage three hours outside Copenhagen on another Danish island called Langeland, where the kids rode horses, caught butterflies in nets and small crabs on fishing lines (then raced them down a ramp in the harbor), and ran around in the garden as music played. We played cards, made pizzas in the outdoor oven and walked through the tiny, windy village both nights, finding a playground at a closed-up boarding school the first night, and a church and cemetery dating back to 1830 the next. The whole weekend was the most charming little step back in time, and a perfect way to round out our trip > > >
August 7, 2017 || The tiny summer cottage was built in 1870. Signe's dad told me the detached guest house my kids and I slept in used to be the barn where the family pig was kept and slaughtered for Christmas Day > > >
August 5, 2017 || Went to the darkest, dingiest, most spider web-laden stable ever in the middle of nowhere and paid a smalltown Danish guy to rent two of his horses and a pony, and cruise all over Lohals, a tiny village on Langeland. > > >
August 5, 2017 || More scenes from our days on Langeland > > >
July 25, 2017 || Bagenkop harbor
August 6, 2017 || Harbor hangs in Langeland > > >
August 5, 2017 || We didn't have a GPS so I'm only guessing this is the Baltic Sea, but it's something like that. And it was freezing. But Isaac and Emilie still went for it > > >
Months ago my sister emailed me with the dare-I-say hair-brained idea to travel cross-country on the train with our kids. (Days on end, sleeping in our seats, energetic kids, enclosed metal capsule.) At first, it was so out there I only half-skimmed the email and only half-thought she was half-serious. The moment I read it was also the very same moment I forgot. Until she brought it up again, and then I knew she was for real. Fast-forward so many months of so much planning and saving and spending and coordinating. And here. we. are. On board Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner from Santa Barbara to Union Station in L.A., then transferring this evening to the Southwest Chief, which will take us on to Chicago before we transfer again for the home stretch to New York. We've made arrangements to get off for two different 24-hour periods along the way (one in New Mexico, one in Illinois) and I guess that's all I'll say at the moment besides inviting you to join us, virtually anyway. To get a bunch of laughs if nothing else. Picture me and Corey six hours from now bleary-eyed and upright with neck pillows, fleece blankets, eye masks and handfuls of sleeping pills. P.S. Isaac just mentioned there's only 95 more hours to go >>>
July 16, 2017 || Waited in 90-degree sun in downtown Los Angeles for our transfer onto the Southwest Chief. The new train is a huge improvement over the one we're so accustomed to from many trips up and down the Southern California coast. From the glass-paneled observation car with seats facing outward to the white -linened dining car with full menu and wait staff, this long haul train has seats that recline further than any other train or plane seat I've ever sat in. The conductor's just made his last announcement of the night and all the cars have gone quiet and dark. Next stop is Gallup, New Mexico 10 hours from now >>>
July 18, 2017 || We spent 24 hours marooned in Gallup (no car/town basically has zero public transportation/we walked at least three miles from our hotel into town repeatedly), which bills itself as both the Most Patriotic Small Town in America and the Indian Capital of America. The latter seems pretty accurate, with more than 35 percent of the local residents Native American (compared to 25 percent white and small percentages of others), so it was super fitting and special that we got to see an outdoor Indian dance performance last night as the sun went down. They do them every night all summer long. There was basically nothing else to do here. Twenty-four hours was about 20 too long. But such a good lesson for the kids to learn to get the most from wherever we find ourselves along this journey, and really allow that to put into perspective for them the endless number of privileges and conveniences they have back home. We're back on-board the Southwest Chief now; next stop will be Naperville, Illinois some 30 hours down the tracks >>>
July 18, 2017 || After what seemed like too many hours to be geographically possible, we're finally out of New Mexico and into Colorado. This is my first Colorado sunset... or at least the only one I can remember from the few times I've ever been in this state. Next up Kansas, Iowa and finally to Illinois >>>
July 19, 2017 || Oh Kansas... you're just as I'd imagined you to be >>>
July 20, 2017 || We got off the Southwest Chief in Naperville, one stop shy of its final destination (Chicago). We've spent the last 24 hours here with my sister-in-law and nephews on Will's side. Don't know about you, but one of my fondest memories of summer vacations as a kid was not just spending time with my cousins, but my second cousins and my cousins' cousins and every kid relative in between, where precise familial lines were soft and blurry and we were nothing but FAMILY for that time. Isaac and Fran and their cousins on each side, these six clicked in about ten seconds flat. Huge thanks to my sister-in-law Amber for having us and making this train trip across the country even more memorable. We're on-board a little commuter train now from Naperville to Chicago, where we'll have a few hours to roam the Windy City before boarding the Lakeshore Limited overnight to New York >>>
July 20, 2017 || Spent four hours in Chicago this afternoon before meeting our last overnight train of the trip. We visited the sky deck of the building that will always be Sears Tower to me, where my kids' grandfather used to work for many years. Then we walked down to Millennium Park and ran around the Bean before grabbing sandwiches for dinner and hustling back up Michigan Avenue to Union Station. It was also 80 degrees with a million percent humidity. A whirlwind for sure, but so glad we rallied and went for it >>>
July 21, 2017 || Made it to the station in Albany, New York. One of my best friends picked us up and brought us here to Silver Bay, where we're staying put til Tuesday for the annual family reunion. We woke up this morning to rain that's been looming here all week, and a bunch of us hiked up to a beautiful lookout called Inspiration Point. I was a summer employee at this magical spot on Lake George for two summers back in the 90s, and hadn't been back to the top of Inspiration since I led a bunch of kiddie day-campers up when I was about 19. So many full-circle moments at Silver Bay always >>>
July 24, 2017 || This lake. With the dock I first swam out to at about age 10. Where Fran tried for the first time yesterday and made it almost halfway before turning back and committing to try again next year. This sand. Where I sat in my red, two-piece guard suit for two summers straight, watching this water. This exact same scene. Where I grew up playing with my cousins just like my daughter and my cousin's daughters are playing right here. I wonder for how many more generations this cycle will keep going on >>>
July 25, 2017 || Throwback to our first night, and the train equivalent of jet lag. It'd be another 24 hours before Isaac would see his cousins, who he only ever sees in this special place, and who would arrive and whisk him off for much of the next three-point-five days. If the Silver Bay bug's bitten anyone in my immediate family like it bit me so many years ago, it's been Isaac, hands-down. So thankful he knows, or what I really should say is FEELS, how indescribable this place truly is. I hate to see your face long and your eyes sad upon saying goodbye, Buddy, but if there's any place that pains you in this way, I'm glad it can be this. It makes me know you'll always find your way back. Leaving Silver Bay is a bittersweet goodbye for all of us. We're off to New York City tomorrow to start the next phase of our trip >>>
July 26, 2017 || Took a commuter train from Albany down to New York City, where we ate lunch against an epic view of the Empire State Building today. Spending a bit of time in the city before hopping a plane to Copenhagen for the next leg of our journey >>>
Last month, for the third straight year, my kids, sister, nephews and I loaded up and headed out on our annual, sponsored spring break road trip. This is where we trade high res photos, HD video and social media mentions for accommodations, goods and services from adventure-minded brands who share our love for spontaneity and the freedom of an open highway. This year, we set our sights far and wide, leaving California for the first time since beginning this tradition, heading east and north to Utah. We had just six days to get from Santa Barbara to Salt Lake City and back, while seeing as much as we could along the way.
Special thanks to our three-year sponsor, ELNM Design, for our taking our vision for our logo and making it real; our two-year sponsors, Boxed Water, Freshly Picked and Kimpton Hotels, for coming back again; and our first-time sponsors, Captain Fatty's, Holbrook Candle Company, Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City, San Diego Motoring Accessories, Strght, and Sun Bum, for taking a chance on us. More images from this trip and our earlier ones are on Instagram #kellyandcoreys_springbreakroadtrip.
When I was a kid, one of these sailboats would've been ours, and we'd have sailed it all the way over from Mission Bay in San Diego here to the Avalon harbor. And we'd have lowered our rubber dinghy into the bay and rowed up to the beach still queasy from the trip, nosing around the souvenir shops all day and eating ice cream, then sleeping back out on the boat with Mom and Dave at night. This island is peppered with childhood memories and I see my thumbprint here and there all over it.
Franny's and my most recent recent trip, however, also felt new and different, staying in condos that hadn't even existed when I was a kid, and playing host to our favorite out-of-state vacation pals who've come to trust us to drag them all around California every spring break for the last three years: my girl Posy, her Fran, her dad Pop Pop and his lady Karen. This year, the six of us conquered Santa Catalina Island from our green, four-seater golf cart that may have gone half a mile an hour with the pedal floored underneath us, especially up the hills. Avalon, the island's only incorporated "city" (3,500 permanent residents; 605 students grades K - 12), has got to be the smallest, quirkiest, quaintest, most intriguing place out there, or at least in Los Angeles County. If you're asking me, anyway.
We ate in all the overpriced places in town, treated ourselves to a day at the Descanso Beach Club (where they delivered our margaritas and pina coladas to our towels sand-side) and took a five-hour private jeep tour through the back country, where we saw free-roaming bison, rehabilitating eagles, unending fields and hillsides of wildflowers, and next-to untouched beaches. They say three of anything is officially a “collection.” Guess that means we're now collecting spring breaks. First San Diego, then Santa Barbara, and now here. How will we ever top this next year?