Tuesday, February 06, 2018

in pursuit of [hygge]

come on portland...light my fireplace....

this winter, i've been enjoying a book called "the little book of hygge- danish secrets to happy living." you may be unfamiliar with the word [hygge] but i know you've felt it.  it's that feeling of curling up in a blanket with a cup of coffee as you sit by the fire; it's that feeling you get when you enjoy the company of good friends while eating a warm dinner as the snow falls outside.  basically think sweaters, scarves, sweets, hot drinks, candles and fireplaces and you have a good start on this concept of [hygge].  my wife got me the book as a christmas present to help me get through these new england winters i now find myself in, and in a small way, it's working. whether it's getting more light from candles lit around the house, spending more quality time with friends, or drinking hot toddy's every night, this winter has been more pleasant than last year.

on my quest to achieve total [hygee-ness] this winter, i've been searching out bars in portland, maine that have this [hygee] qaulity.  one main component i've been looking for are bars with fireplaces, which was surprisingly hard to do.  however, it's not just fireplaces, it can also be candle light, comfortable seating and a general cozy atmosphere.  below i've listed all the bars i've found that have fireplaces and a few that were able to achieve [hygge] without them.

bars with fireplaces

ri ra - irish bar with several fireplaces throughout the restaurant with an overall cozy feel

boones fish house - large stone fireplace in the dining area

bull feeny's - another irish bar with several fireplaces... though i'm not sure if they actually work

liquid riot - a tad open to be cozy but it does have a working gas fireplace in the back corner

eve's at the garden - it's as comfy as a hotel bar can be, but there are a couple fireplaces to enjoy

honorable mention - no fireplaces but still cozy

bramhall pub - dark but with enough candles to make you think there is a working fireplace

flatbread - a little open but with large pizza ovens that warm the place up

the grill room - a nice pizza oven you feel the heat from if you sit at the cheifs table

the armory - no fireplace but it really does feel like it should have one.

the bearded ladys jewel box - candle light for a great atmosphere and a cozy balcony space to sit

little tap house - overall cozy feel with candle light on the tables and great poutine

maps - "down in the basement" type coziness

lfk - intimate nooks with comfortable seating and amazing hot toddy's

brian boru - there must be something about irish bars

this is not a complete list; there are probably other bars and restaurants which are perfect for a cold night.  these are merely the places i've been to and had that feeling of [hygge], hopefully i'll find more.  i hope everyone out there, no matter where you live, can find a great place to get together with friends this winter and enjoy some quality [hygge].

candle light at the bearded lady's jewell box

the nooks at lfk

fireplace at liquid riot

candles in the fireplace at bull feeny's

pizza oven at the grill room 

 fireplace at the portland harbor hotel

Sunday, January 28, 2018

year in pictures [2017]

year thirteen for the [year in pictures] post 

maybe i'm getting sentimental as i get older, but, as i follow my annual tradition of going through all the pictures i've taken the past year i couldn't help but notice more and more photos are of my friends and family, rather than landscapes and other objects.  if you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know i like to come up with a theme to go with the photos every year.  looking back at the images i picked, it would be easy to say "friends and family" but you know i would never settle for anything that simple.

there is a reason i was surrounded by so many friends and family this year; a lot of life events took place.  i started the year as a single guy and by the end of it i was married and an uncle!  there's something about those two events that will make you feel like an adult...basically i did a lot of [adulting] this year.

[adulting] can suck.  jokingly, it usually means paying bills, doing taxes or having to spend lots of money on functional items like dishwashers or tires instead of a trip to cancun.  [adulting] also means having to face tough situations and bad news in your life or in the lives of those you love.  [adulting] also means you are now tasked with taking those bad situations and making the best of them.

not gonna lie, [adulting] can be pretty shitty sometimes,

but it can also be wonderful.

because [adulting] is also caring about someone more than yourself.
[adulting] is placing the needs of your wife, husband or partner before yours.
[adulting] is providing for your children, niece or nephew.
[adulting] is caring for your family and friends.

so, with everything that went on in my life, you could say this was a year of [adulting].  thankfully though, i'm not doing it alone.  i have family and friends out there [adulting] as well, helping me through the bad times and celebrating the good times.

i hope you enjoy looking back through the [adulting] year of 2017 


my first new year in my new home of portland, maine.  i took this picture right as an incoming snowstorm was approaching.  i love how you can see the beacon through the storm.  there's a simile about [adulting] in there somewhere but it's even too cliche for me.  let's just say, it seemed like a perfect picture to represent a new year.


there is something about a fire that brings people together.  maybe it's buried deep within our dna from way back when we all lived in caves, or possibly people just enjoy the warmth.  either way, it seems impossible to be in a bad mood while standing around a fire.  this spring, i was invited to enjoy a bonfire out in the "country." not only was the night spent making new friends, but, it reminded me of kansas (which in a weird way made maine feel more like home).


a random photo taken very late during the night of my bachelor party. it was a chance to hang with some of my best friends and basically take a night off from [adulting].


the "june bucket" tradition continued another year, with a few veterans and a lot of rookies.  holding true to form, the june bucket fostered new friendships, provided several new stories and was a perfect way to start the summer season.


nothing makes you feel more like [adulting] than getting marred.  in front of family and friends, i went from being single to a married man.  i also went from caring about me to caring about her first.  they make you repeat a lot of words during your vows, but, it basically comes down to:
"will you take care of her no matter what?"

 i will.  


i met these guys in architecture school right on the cusp of adulthood.  not only did they help me get through my studio projects and assignments, but they helped make college a memorable time filled with a thousand and one stories i still tell today.  i'm who i am today because of these guys. a close knit group of friends who stick together over many years is a wonderful thing.  it's been great watching them go from classmates, to drinking buddies, to husbands, to fathers....or what you might simply say is...become [adults].


i studied the gropius house while in architecture school and had one of the more memorable critiques i've had in my life because of it.  last summer i had a chance to visit the house in person.  this building and the critique, helped me better understand architecture and it was great to pay homage to it.  it was a reflective moment in time where "college" me interacted with [adult] me.

(also, there's no way i could have done this post and not included at least one architecture photo)


if getting married didn't make me feel enough like an [adult] this year, i also became an uncle.  it was unreal. i got to hold the next generation of our family in my arms.  i was holding someone who will be here longer than i will be and will hopefully carry on a few of our crazy family traditions.  however, it wasn't just holding my niece that was so heartwarming that night; it was also watching my sister and brother-in-law as parents taking care of this wonderful new life.  


in november, my friends and i, gathered back in wichita for the wedding celebrations of one our closest friends.  between the ceremony and the reception, we were able to hang out for a couple of hours at one of our old bars. a place you could have found us at a decade ago.  now, in all different stages of [adulting] but still laughing and joking like the old times.


we had two new official members of our family in the annual christmas selfie this year, my wife and my niece.  after many years as a family of four, we're now a family of seven.  i love this picture because it shows the people i care about most in my life.  [adulting] at its finest.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

o [lounge] tree

to all my friends out there in this world, or for anyone who stops by this blog, i hope you're having a wonderful holiday season and looking forward to a wonderful new year!

previous cards:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

maine vougue

i'll be honest, sometimes maine pisses me off.  the entire state photographs well.  it's like one of those lucky people who take great photos in any situation or outfit.

keep in mind this is coming from a guy born and raised in kansas.  a beautiful state in it's own right, but a state that makes you work for a great pic of her.  kansas has the ability to take breathtaking photos, but you usually need some dramatic lighting such as one of its world famous sunsets. kansas also has to be wearing a good season, usually looking best in late summer or autumn, but also dangerously beautiful in a late spring storm attire.  kansas is minimalistic, she forces you to focus on other items such as composition, texture or contrast. in the right photographer hands, kansas can be absolutely stunning.

now take maine, strutting down the runway all confident with her rocky seaside coastline, lighthouses, endless foliage, mountain vistas, wildlife, ocean views and cobble stone streets running through quaint historic new england villages.  she looks great in all kinds of light and seasons.  maine is the type of state that can be photographed unaware by the paparazzi wearing sweatpants and bean boots, stuffing her face with a lobster roll and still look gorgeous.

what got me started on this rant was a photograph i took recently of the pemiquid point lighthouse.  i walked down the coast, pointed my camera back to the lighthouse and got a beautiful shot.  as happy as i was with the picture, i'm very aware that a drunk monkey could have captured the same thing.  maine is gorgeous, that's all there is to it.

as much as i enjoy trying to capture maine in different and unique ways, i'll admit, sometimes i miss trying to make that little sunflower leaning against the wall look beautiful.

two gorgeous states with their beauty captured in different ways.

endless [new england] summer

this year maine was blessed with an extended summer with warm temperatures continuing well past the end of september.  during one of those late september weekends our friends invited us out on their boat to soak up as much of this late season sun as we could.  having experienced a maine winter last year we jumped at the chance.

it wasn't anything more than enjoying a few hours of sunshine from a the back of a boat and doing a little island hopping but it really did feel like a gift.  i'm learning [mainers] hold their summers to be very important and it was great to be sharing this warm weather appreciation in the company of good friends.