Amsterdam Favorites

I enjoyed four beautiful fall days in Amsterdam last month with my travel buddy, prop stylist Martha Bernabe. Here are some of our favorite discoveries, with captions below the images. (Definitely rent bikes--it's the fastest way to see all of the neighborhoods!)

From left to right, top to bottom: 1. Architecture along the canal, The 9 Streets // 2. Our room at The Hoxton (ps—they have the good coffee, from Lot Sixty One Roasters) // 3. Bar Bukowski (they have gluten-free beer!) // 4. Coffee at Ree7 // 5. Gluten-free date bars and other goodies at Pluk // 6. Bicycles in the 9 Streets // 7. Healthy lunch from SLA // 8. Architecture along the canal, City Center // 9. Picnic supplies from Marqt, enjoyed in Vondelpark // 10. The cozy bed at The Hoxton // 11. Croissants (not gluten-free!) from Petit Gâteau  // 12. Globes and plants in a window, City Center // 13. Pigments at Rembrandt House Museum // 14. The Rijksmuseum // 15. Dessert at Bak // 16. Tabletop goodies at Shuka // 17. Vintage clothing mixed with new stuff at The Darling // 18. Bike riding in Westerpark

Little Secrets | New Packaging + Website

I had a really fun time collaborating with Beardwood + Co. on my latest branding and packaging project. Little Secrets are candy-coated chocolates that come in really nice adult flavors like Sea Salted Peanut and Toasted Coconut. They're made with fair-trade chocolate, fruit and vegetable extracts for coloring, and don't contain corn syrup. My kind of treat! Our images showcase each flavor with fresh ingredient cues and are being used across all packaging and Little Secrets' new site.

Food styling by Cyd McDowell

Catskills Snapshots

Last week I went upstate to the Catskills to take care of my friends' animals and garden. Their place, Ravenwood, is like my dream country retreat.  My dog ran free, we ate the freshest eggs ever, raided the garden, and swam in waterfalls. Not bad. Thank you, summer (and Chris and Dana!)

Raw Cashew and Cucumber Soup

Last fall I photographed The Soup Cleanse Cookbook, written by Nicole Centeno of Splendid Spoon. It was the perfect time of year for this project, with so many fruits and vegetables beautifully in season and so many colors and textures to inspire our photographs. The book doesn’t come out until the end of August (pre-order it here!) but Nicole has been sweet enough to let me share one of our favorite chilled soup recipes. Her Raw Cashew and Cucumber Soup is a great partner for summer—refreshing and full of vegetables and herbs currently bountiful at the farmer’s market. It’s a riff on Turkish cacik, is very simple to make, and is both dairy- and gluten-free.

Food styling by Hadas Smirnoff, prop styling by Martha Bernabe

Food styling by Hadas Smirnoff, prop styling by Martha Bernabe


4 cups water, divided

1 cup quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 large clove garlic, minced

1⁄4 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained

4 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 cup loosely packed and stripped fresh dill

1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Pinch of ground black pepper

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt


1. In a small pot over high heat, bring 2 cups of the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the quinoa, and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a small pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Cook the scallions and garlic, stirring, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture is very soft and sweet.

3. In a countertop blender, combine the scallion mixture, cashews, cucumbers, dill, mint, vinegar, pepper, and salt. Puree until very smooth, slowly
adding the remaining 2 cups water as necessary to achieve a thin milkshake consistency. Cover and cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

4. Gently mound a quarter of the quinoa into the bottom of each bowl and ladle the soup on top.


Sometimes I get an assignment that feels so perfectly suited to my personal interests that I think: yes—this client really gets me! Parents Magazine gets me. Put me in a backyard in Montréal with chickens, produce spilling out of raised beds, and kids getting their hands dirty, and I’m a happy photographer (and person). Add to this a handful of gorgeous recipes by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque and it’s a pretty ideal day. Check out Aimée’s blog Simple Bites for some fun behind-the-scenes shots and a well-written peek into our experience.

Kids, children in the garden and washing seasonal produce
Kids, family in the garden, cooking, eating seasonal produce
Crunchy Vegetable and Soba Noodle Salad Recipe
Peach Slab Pie and chickens in yard

Parents | Eggs Overly Easy

It's sort of an understatement to say that I was obsessed with dying Easter eggs as a kid. I loved the bright colors and the smell of vinegar, so coloring eggs was a perfect craft in my book. In my family, we definitely did not do anything more fancy than Paas tablets and I'm okay with that because now as an adult, I get to shoot stories like this one with beautiful crafts by Sarah Cave.


Travel + Leisure | Martinique

Starting the year off with a job in the Caribbean is always nice. Discovering a new island that feels so different from others I've experienced is extra special. Martinique is French and has a distinctly European feeling in its port city, Fort-de-France. The language and architecture set the scene for Europe and yet when you look above the storefronts and homes, you realize you're nestled up against beautiful, lush, mountains that spill into a deep blue sea. It's as simple as Europe meets the Caribbean and for me, it felt disorienting in the best way possible. 


Mollie Makes | Helen Dealtry

I'm very spoiled by having so many talented studio mates at the Dobbin Mews. We collaborate on projects, we wear each others' wares, and we're constantly inspired by seeing everyone's process and creations. I've shared a space with surface designer Helen Dealtry for five years now and am always amazed at the seeming ease with which she lays down color to make her gorgeous floral designs. Helen makes beautiful patterns for brands like Loeffler Randall, Of A Kind, and Madewell. She also has her own scarf line and teaches insightful and fun painting classes. British craft magazine Mollie Makes just ran a feature profile on her and I got to take the photos. Here are some favs and a peek into our space:


Cooking Solo | Cookbook

I've spent some time now with this cookbook: up late at night in bed, lounging on the couch, and dirtying it in the kitchen. And although I'm completely biased for having worked on it, I have to say that Cooking Solo, due out on March 8th from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is such a fun and useful book! 

Author Klancy Miller is funny and smart, and her recipes are considered yet very do-able. I think that she and I share a lot of sensibilities both in the kitchen and aesthetically, and I've really valued getting to work with her on this, her first cookbook. Check out some sample images below and go pick it up to see it in person. The design is fresh and clean, and it printed beautifully! Prop styling by Martha Bernabe, and food styling by Carrie Purcell.

Parents Magazine | Smart Cookie

My work is featured in the latest issue of Parents in a story about healthy, whole grain cookies you can bake at home. Now, I realize that this is Parents and recipes are often meant for kids, but these will surely please family members of all ages. I highly recommend the gluten-free Fudgy Brownie Sandwich Cookies. They're like an adult Devil Dog and way better for you! You'll be happy you ripped that recipe page out at the doctor's office (it wasn't me who said to do it). Food styling by Liza Jernow and prop styling by Carla Gonzalez-Hart.

Guest Post | Winter Dry Skin Blues?

by Lina Watanabe

Skin can feel drab and dry in the winter due to indoor heat, reduced water intake, or lack of breathability from clothing. A great way to give your skin a tune up or just a well-deserved spa moment during these winter months is by making a homemade scrub.  The scrub will exfoliate any dead skin cells as well as moisturize your skin in a lasting, non-greasy way. The best part is, it can be made with standard kitchen ingredients and can be jazzed up with your imagination. 

Wind Down Blend

Wind Down Blend

Standard Recipe

5 parts salt or sugar
2 parts oil
1-2 part herbs/spices
2-3 drops essential oil per ½ cup of batch if desired (use sparingly!)

Measure out your base salt or sugar into a bowl. Grind any larger herbs/ingredients that need to be a finer consistency and add to bowl. Stir and add oil to desired consistency (a little goes a long way). Add any essential oils in small drop doses and mix. Put in your container and cover immediately. Scrub away and use as frequently as you like!

Hints: I like to use small wide mouth canning jars but any jar with a lid will work—use what you have! Any type of salt (even Epsom), oil, or sugar will work, except extremely fine varieties. If using coconut oil, you will have to melt it on low heat. To determine the parts, I like to start out with 1 part equaling 1 tablespoon and go up or down based on the quantity I want to make. Use herbs from your spice cabinet, or if you don’t have dried herbs on hand, simply just open up some tea bags. Things that are slightly gritty, like small seeds such as poppy or sesame, ground cocoa nibs, and even quinoa work as exfoliants. I use a coffee grinder to crush any dry herbs, seeds, oatmeal, or any larger ingredients to a finer consistency before adding them to the mix. Essential oils are extremely concentrated and should always be diluted in a carrier oil or with other ingredients in drop doses. They can be irritating to the skin, so use them sparingly for added scent, only if desired. This scrub is not advised for use on the delicate skin of your face. Take extra caution as the oils may make the shower floor slippery. 

Below are two of our favorite recipes—we love that every ingredient is medicinal in some way. Since the skin is our largest organ, all medicinal ingredients used will be absorbed, so try to use the best quality ingredients and opt for organic whenever possible. Feel free to play around with the ingredients based on what is available to you. 

Wake Up! Blend

Wake Up! Blend


Sea salt is less processed than table salt and has 82 essential minerals and trace minerals from the ocean that can be absorbed through the skin. It is also great for drawing out toxins and improving circulation. Coffee is of course stimulating due to its caffeine content and sometimes all you need to perk up is its smell. Although it has a slew of actions internally, its astringency topically on the skin helps to constrict the pores. The acidity of the coffee can also help to exfoliate the skin.  Jojoba oil is comprised of long chain fatty acids similar to our skin sebum so it is absorbed rapidly on contact. Peppermint has a stimulating smell, is antimicrobial, and soothing to the stomach.

5 parts sea salt (fine to medium coarseness)
2 parts jojoba oil
1 part spent coffee grounds
1 part dried peppermint leaves
2-3 drops organic peppermint essential oil per ½ cup of batch


Sometimes you need a wake-up boost and other times you need to recuperate from the day and relax. This recipe is perfect for winding down the mind and body. There are so many benefits to this one: sugar can help maintain a proper electrolyte balance, oatmeal is soothing, and rose petals are astringent and tighten pores, while the aromatics are very relaxing. Chamomile reduces inflammation and anxiety and sweet almond oil is emollient to the skin (please swap it out if you have tree nut allergies). Honey is a humectant, which seals in moisture to your skin creating a protective barrier to the outside world. We all know the lovely smell of lavender, but did you know it can also be sedative, and antimicrobial? Studies have shown its chemistry truly is relaxing on mind as well as the body.

5 parts sugar
1/3 part oatmeal
1/3 part dried rose petals
1/3 part dried chamomile flowers
1 part sweet almond oil
1 part honey
2-3 drops organic lavender essential oil per ½ cup of batch

Lina currently lives and works in Portland, Oregon. She is the proud owner of two small businesses: Wild Rose Healing herbal consultations & reiki on people and pets, as well as Botanica Apothecaria handmade herbal products. She is also co-owner of a bi-monthly herbal surprise box company called Florilegia. For more information or to schedule an in-person or distance session, please visit Wild Rose Healing.

Eating In | Winter Mezcal Cocktail

I've been making this cocktail a lot lately, given that winter is citrus season and given that I just really love mezcal. I thought I'd share it just in the nick of time for you to bust out the rosemary simple syrup, chill it, and mix these up for the Super Bowl tonight. They're totally going to show up your seven layer dip but trust me, you won't mind.


2 cups mezcal
1 cup freshly squeezed clementine juice (about 9 clementines)
1/2 cup lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/2 cup rosemary simple syrup (recipe below)
2 cups seltzer

Add first four ingredients to a pitcher, stir to combine. Top with seltzer and give a quick, light  stir. Pour into rocks glasses, over ice. Garnish with small rosemary sprig if you’re feeling fancy. (This recipe is in relative parts, so just change cup to jigger to decrease quantity.)


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 rosemary sprigs

In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and rosemary sprigs. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Bring heat back to medium and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Discard the rosemary and refrigerate in an airtight container, chilling thoroughly. Will keep in fridge for at least two weeks.



Winter Travels | Barbados Sneak Peek

Although I was cozied up pretty hard with Netflix and my dog this weekend, Winter Storm Jonas nonetheless inspired some warm weather envy. If you’re with me, you’ll probably agree that nothing eases the melancholy of winter grays quite like Caribbean pinks and blues (and tropical fruit). In this spirit, a gift for your eyes--a sneak peek of outtakes from a recent shoot in Barbados:


Garden & Gun Magazine | Gigi Burris

It’s finally pretty cold out today and I’m dying for a cute hat to make winter feel prettier. Gigi Burris, who I had the pleasure of photographing recently for Garden & Gun, makes gorgeous ones that I’m lusting over. My favs are below—the Fox Mohawk beanie is chic, yet practical for winter and the Nell fedora is just simply beautiful (for those days when the wind is a bit more quiet). 

Fox Mohawk beanie

Fox Mohawk beanie

Nell fedora

Nell fedora