E's Academic Records #2

I've suffered from record shopping amnesia as far back as I can remember. When I walk into a record store, I often forget what I was planning on searching for that day. On my last few trips to New Orleans, I've set aside all ideas of what music I would like to buy and let the stacks dictate what I will be leaving with. The following photos are from our trip over the holidays…


Clockwise, from left:

1. Black StarMos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, 1998

To me, the 90s were the best era for hip hop. This album is in my top five for the genre. Black Star only released one album as a duo. Their storytelling is a perfect blend of positivity, social consciousness and braggadocio. I first heard the song "Definition" while watching BET's Rap City one afternoon in 1998. It must have been out for a while, because I can remember hearing Mos Def's voice and thinking, "That's one of the dudes who raps on A Tribe Called Quest's 'Rock Rock Y'all.'" His voice is unmistakable. My favorite track is "Respiration." With Common as a guest lyricist, they paint a picture of a living, breathing cityscape. I found this at Domino Sound Record Shack in the Bywater. It's a perfect example of buying a record that I didn't expected to find. I had no idea this was even available on vinyl, so it was an extra special find for me.

2. Queens of the Stone AgeEra Vulgaris, 2007

The first Queens of the Stone Age album will always be my favorite, but this one is up there. It holds all the classic elements of a Queens record that will stand the test of time: shuffling rhythms, a Mark Lanagan song, falsetto, buzzing guitars. Josh Homme's guitar work on "Sick, Sick, Sick" sounds like coughing to me. "Turning on the Screw" has one of my favorite lyrics of all time: "You ain't a has been if you never was."

3. NirvanaIncesticide, 1992

If I was stuck on a deserted island and somehow had a working record player and could only have one Nirvana record, this would be the one. It's only fitting to have the song "Big Long Now" on it. And I would listen to "Son of a Gun" everyday before going coconut hunting. ("Up up up and down. Turn turn turnaround. Round round roundabout. And over again.") My two favorite tracks on the album are "Aero Zeppelin" and "Aneurysm." 4. BeckOne Foot in the Grave,1994

During my first semester of college, there was a dude in my art class nicknamed Dirty or Scuzzy or something like that. He loved Beck. While we worked on charcoal still lifes of plastic fruit, he and I had many "philosophical" debates as to which Beck album was better, Mellow Gold or One Foot in the Grave. I chose One Foot in the Grave over Mellow Gold because of its stripped-down folk feel and indie credibility that its release on K Records brought with it. Scuzzy swore by "Truckdrivin' Neighbors Downstairs." Turns out neither of us was right or wrong. Both albums are great for their own reasons and proved to be a precursor for Beck's genre-bending musical career.

Do you have any memories associated with these albums? What are your favorite 90s hip hop records?

Images and text by Eamon Kelly. You can view the entire photo series on Instagram.

E's Academic Records

I'm happy to share that my husband Eamon Kelly will be contributing to Crescent & Anchor with a bi-weekly music post in 2014. The idea for this new feature developed in the fall when Eamon began photographing Evangeline with our record collection. What started with just a few images of our daughter holding records has grown into an ongoing father-daughter project that we've decided to call E's Academic Records. Each post will include a grouping of four images from the series. Eamon will share his thoughts about the albums; what makes them special, the feelings and memories they evoke. When Evangeline eventually inherits the collection, these posts will be the perfect accompaniment, a  sort of music diary from her father. We hope to spur a conversation with readers, so please comment and tell us what the music means to you! Eamon: We always had records growing up. From a young age, my parents taught me how to handle them and treat them with respect. Some of my earliest memories are those where I am sitting on the dining room floor poring over the artwork while listening to the Rolling Stones, Elton John or Donovan. I still have the first record I ever asked for for a birthday present, Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hits. I love to hold the artwork and the ritual of placing the needle on the vinyl and then cranking the volume. Nothing to me, sounds better than listening to my favorite songs on vinyl. Now that I am a father, I am imparting this love of records onto my daughter, teaching her about music and it's value in everyday life.


Clockwise, from left:

1. The National – Trouble Will Find Me, 2013 This was one of my favorite records of 2013 and one of the first pics I took of E holding an album that made me realize I had something interesting going on. The National continue to make great album after great album. They make records that I want to buy again when I'm record shopping.

2. Panda Bear – Person Pitch, 2007 There was a moment a few years ago, while I was on a train barreling towards New York City, that this album opened up a spot in my brain that I haven't been able to close. It's an unbelievable creation. Beach Boys-esque harmonies, big beats, jangly guitars, and even a looped sample of the sound of a skateboard dropping in on a ramp. Probably one of the most important records made in my lifetime. As for the pic of Evangeline...

3. Pavement – Wowee Zowee, 1995 Great underrated Pavement album. The songs are all over the map, from the western soundscapes of "Pueblo" to the tinkling pianos on the Bowie-inspired "We Dance." The anticipation I was feeling before this record came out is still fresh in my mind nearly 20 years later. Evangeline really likes saying Wowee Zowee too.

4. Drive Like Jehu – self titled, 1991 "Spikes to you!" is such a great song and I like to ask E to yell it over and over again.  This record reminds me of going skateboarding in Southern California in 1996. A slightly more straight forward punk album than their follow up, "Yank Crime," there are still moments of quiet lulling feedback before full-on guitar gut punches and Rick Froberg's throaty vocals.

Do these albums stir up any memories for you?

Merry Christmas!

Big thanks to our super talented friend Kim Tyler for taking this fun family photo and to Maureen Quintin for her Photoshop expertise. I plan to share more of Kim's beautiful work with you in the new year.

Artisan Trunk Show at The Studio

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas at The Studio! Here's a little peek at some of the hand-crafted items you'll find if you join us at the Artisan Trunk Show Sunday.

Below are owner Mitsi Dupre's handmade earrings, Instagram-inspired bags and lovely felt head pieces:

In addition to the ceramic bowls and buoys she makes, Kristen Coates, co-owner of Egg + Dart, will have a selection of hand-crafted items from her store: Michel Dugree's porcelain vases cast from Ball jars and milk bottles, organic soaps from Farmaesthetics and Etta + Billie, flower bulbs beautifully packaged in metal pails, ornaments – including charming peephole boxes – made by Newport artist Chris Wyllie, and paper so gorgeous it's worthy of framing.

Melissa Bourassa's intricately crafted hair accessories:

Zoe Steele's felt crowns and charming children's aprons:

My textile-covered canvases:


This is just a taste of what we'll have. I hope to see you there!

Revisiting our summer trip to New Orleans

I've finally had the opportunity to weed through the photos from our summer trip to New Orleans. Here are some highlights:

My dad and stepmom Beth drove to New Orleans from New Iberia to spend the day with us. Our first stop was Brewstock, a neighborhood corner store that carries a full line of beer, wine, coffee, soda and cheese-making products. My dad, quite the coffee aficionado, picked up a coffee roaster. Note that the rocking chair is locked to the building so no one can steal it!

I love the bright colors of Brewstock's pressed tin ceiling and the red door outside.

Look at those bruised-up legs! Our pediatrician tried to make me feel better about it by saying it's a sign of a child who spends a lot of time playing outside.

Our next stop was the coffee shop Velvet, recommended by the guys at Brewstock, on the corner of Arabella and Magazine.  New Orleans has a great coffee culture. It's one of the things I really miss about home. The city's love affair with java runs deep. According to the food blog The Plate, New Orleans is said to have had almost 200 coffeehouses in the mid-1800′s. Velvet did not disappoint. I saw later that The Plate included it on their list of the five coolest coffeehouses in the city. Now I'm eager to check out the other four!

Look at that beautiful crema!

While we were sitting outside of Velvet, we ran into my high school friend Jonah Freedman and his daughter Sierra. Turns out he lives in the the neighborhood. It had been years since I'd seen him, so it was a pleasant surprise.

Strolling down Magazine Street on our way to lunch at Gott Gourmet. Their shrimp BLT wrap is divine.

This is what our child looks like after her grandparents spoil her with sugar. She was jumping up and down on the seat.

Sharing gelato with Pawpaw and entertaining Grannie B at Sucre, a sweet little Magazine Street cafe I always visit when I'm home. Their white chocolate lavender hot chocolate is one of my favorite drinks on the menu. It sounds sickeningly sweet, but it's not. It's really smooth and delightful. It's perfect for a crisp fall or winter day.

Pure happiness

Enjoying some downtime in Kiki and Dennis' courtyard. They've created such a beautiful little sanctuary back here. It's filled with lush greenery and something lovely to look at in every direction.

No summer trip to New Orleans is complete without a stop at Hansen's for a snowball. Hansen's Sno-Bliz was started by Ernest and Mary Hansen in 1939 and is now owned and operated by their granddaughter Ashley. Ernest invented the first ice shaving machine and Mary created her own flavored syrups. The walls look like they've stayed the same for decades.

Our trip to Lafayette Cemetery No 1 was much too quick. I was only able to take a couple of shots before the gates were about to close. I'm captivated by the beauty of this place. I love the ferns that grow through cracks in the crypts and the bricks that peek out under layers of crumbling plaster. Everything is rich with texture. It's a visual feast that never grows old.

We can't leave the city without picking up a few new records at Louisiana Music Factory.

Evangeline was excited to water the plants in Kiki and Dennis' courtyard. Here are a few shots of this very special place. I love all of the plants that grow in this humid subtropical climate. Of course, my mom is envious of the hydrangeas we can grow up here, but Eamon and I just  love the beautiful ferns that thrive in this zone.

Fern trees!

Inspired by this background of beautiful live oaks, I made Eamon pose for a portrait.

We wanted to take Evangeline to Storyland in City Park, left, but it was closed, so we headed to Danneel Playground instead.  I think we visited this playground almost every day during our trip. Evangeline loved it. Most of the equipment was age-appropriate for her, so we were able to sit back and watch her have fun.

We celebrated Kiki's 60th birthday during our visit. We started the day with brunch at Surrey's in the Lower Garden District. The shrimp and grits is my favorite dish on the menu.

I enjoy seeing my mom's look of love here as she and Evangeline share a cupcake.

This wild animal is ready for a motorcycle ride.

What's better than yellow cake with chocolate frosting?

When we returned home, she didn't waste any time before putting on her gardening gloves and heading out to her playhouse.

A piece of Haiti finds a home in my office

I recently learned about the Macy's Heart of Haiti initiative, which directly benefits Haitian artisans, when I was asked to help the cause by incorporating a piece from their new line in my home decor and share the results. The collection features more than 75  items including jewelry, vases, bowls, metalwork, and even Christmas ornaments, all of which are made almost entirely from recycled and sustainable items such as old cement bags, cardboard, oil drums and local gommier wood from Haiti. Macy’s Heart of Haiti upholds the belief that “trade not aid” is a powerful way to create sustainable work and much needed financial opportunities for Haitians. The campaign pays in excess of fair wage to the talented artisans, giving them the dignity of work and economic self-determination.

The item I received is a hand-cut, carved and finished frame made of recycled steel. The four large fronds that surround the picture opening, which is slightly smaller than 4x6, instantly reminded me of the lush greenery of home. Although the frame is meant to sit on a desktop, I thought it was perfect to fill an empty spot on the wall in my home office, which is filled with lots of black, white and chrome.  Sticking with this theme and the reminder of home, I chose to layer my blog logo with a graphic photo I took of a fern tree – Eamon and I are obsessed with ferns – in my mother's New Orleans courtyard this summer. It's kind of a non-traditional office sign, I suppose. I think it fits in perfectly with all of the beautiful yet completely impractical objects – the majority of which were gifts,  I swear! – I choose to surround myself during the many hours I spend in front of my computer each day.


So, here's a little tour of my office:


I really like the way the fern looks with the metal fronds. The metal and black and white fit in perfectly with the rest of the decor in my office.

The wooden camera tape dispenser was a birthday gift this year from my lovely friend Kate Gardiner.

The cameras were all gifts from friends. We have a few others around the house as well. The drawing is by our dear friend Logan Hill.

I adore this letterpress coaster calendar by Sugarcube Press. I bought it at Papers in Newport, which also carries some of their cards.

 I love incorporating paper into decor. I bought this paper at Michael's and used it on the back of my display cubes as well. The retro-styled phone is a big hit with Evangeline. She loves to "talk" to people while I'm working on my computer.

I made the canvas wall hanging using one of my all-time favorite Thomas Paul textiles. I had every intention of selling it until I put it on the wall and decided it looks perfect.

I took these two photos (above) during a snow storm in February. When the light is nice, I often take photos of objects I love. I bought this leather bag from the craftsman who made it in Athens, Greece.

I never tire of this wonderful photo by Newport photographer Sandy Nesbitt. It's the first thing you notice when you enter the house through the front door. The drawings were done by our talented friend Logan Hill.

 I love this Day of the Dead sculpture we bought in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. She casts beautiful shadows and is fun to photograph at different times of day. The woman in the photo is my maternal grandmother Yolande. The woman in the drawing is Logan's grandmother.

 Eamon made most of these marbles (a few were gifts from friends) and the glass container during his glassblowing days. The tiny print is a photo I took in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

 The typewriter was a gift from Eamon's parents. I think it belonged to Eamon's grandfather. Evangeline loves to tap on the keys and pretend to write. But, what surely caught your eye first is our handsome Mangeycat. Isn't he stately? It's hard for me to imagine that there's ever been a cat with a better temperament than our beloved boy. He makes life so much sweeter.

Bebe's First Bike

Shooting every day makes it difficult to keep up with all of the photos I take that aren't subject to a deadline. This is a total bummer because there are so many sweet moments I want to share, like this weekend over the summer when Evangeline got her first bike. It was a hand-me-down from a neighbor. It was purple and sparkly and said "Glimmer Shimmer Sparkle and Shine" – totally not bebe's style.  Eamon took it apart, scraped off stickers, painted it black and red and left the rims pink. We surprised her with it one day and she surprised us by going straight for stunts; balancing on the seat on two legs and then one. It was pretty awesome. We're quite proud of our little daredevil. So, I'm happy to finally be sharing these images and plan to dig into more summer photos in the coming weeks.

These two shots of bebe in action were taken by Eamon.

Beautiful Branding, Lovely Letterpress & A Blogsite is Born

I love beautiful paper. I'm just a sucker for clean design and great color combinations, typography and texture. I could spend hours in a stationery store, seeking out gems to take home and add to my paper collection. After many months of working closely with the wonderful designers at SPACECAMP CO on branding and a new website for my business and blog Crescent & Anchor, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to commission my very own letterpress business cards. They were designed by Danielle Brodersen of SPACECAMP CO and handmade, using an antique tabletop press, by Christy Schneider of Inkello. The double-sided cards were made using 220 lb. Crane paper. One side is blind embossed with my logo, which combines an anchor and a fleur-de-lis. Aqua edge-painting adds a splash of color to the simple grey and white design.


When I decided I was finally ready to dive in and get serious about creating a blogsite, I started out with this cute ProPhoto template and had every intention of tackling the project myself. I'd customize it with personalized touches and make it my own. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, after staring blankly at the page for a while and knowing that I wanted my site to be unique, polished and professional, I soon realized that I was completely in over my head. I knew how I wanted things to look. I had a vision, but I was blank when it came to execution. Sometimes you just have to hire a professional and, for me, this was one of those times. This is where SPACECAMP CO, an independent design studio made up of four friends, entered the picture and came to my rescue. Based in St. Augustine, FL – the hometown of two of my dearest pals – the talented team does design for print and web and creates beautiful interior displays. I worked closely with Danielle Brodersen throughout the creative process. Bouncing ideas back and forth and watching the designs unfold was rewarding and inspiring.

We started out by creating sister logos for both my photography business and my blog Crescent & Anchor. I wanted the branding to have a vintage feel but still look fresh and modern. (You can check out my inspiration here.) The fonts Mercury Script and Neutraface helped us achieve that balance. The individual logos needed to be similar but each stand on their own. What we came up with is a reference my two homes, Newport and New Orleans. The Crescent & Anchor logo draws inspiration from the water meter covers in the Crescent City. Anyone from New Orleans will notice the reference right away!  The branding set the tone for the rest of the site, which includes my favorite color combination, aqua blue and orangey-red. I never made an official announcement when we launched the site, so if this is your first visit, thanks for stopping by! I'd love for you to become a subscriber.  And, if you're thinking about building your own site, here's a word of advice: If you are particular about how you want things to look, forget the template and start from scratch! You'll save your designer a lot of extra work.

Here are a few of my favorite SPACECAMP CO designs. Check them out and you'll see why I was so eager to work with them!


Commissioning letterpress business cards gave me an excuse to collaborate with Christy Schneider of Inkello for a second time. She designed and printed these lovely little calling cards for me a few years ago:

I'm a big fan of Christy's charming letterpress designs. Her matchbook calendars, tiny notebooks, custom bookplates, recipe cards and seed packets are simply delightful! Here's a roundup of some of my favorites:



Big thank you to Christy at Inkello and the crew at SPACECAMP CO for letting me share their work with you!


Mad Hatter (Iced) Tea Party at Ballard Park

One of my favorite summer events for children in Newport is the Mad Hatter (Iced) Tea Party at Ballard Park. The Alice In Wonderland-themed party is beautifully styled with colorful decorations hanging from the trees, tables topped with lovely linens, and trays artfully stacked with beautiful desserts and tea sandwiches. Kids run around in the late afternoon light, play croquet and decorate their own hats in the quarry meadow. The wooded walking trails come to life during a scavenger hunt as the Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts and Alice herself dish out riddles once they are discovered. I've looked forward to the day when I'd have a child to take to this party. Although I was shooting the event for the newspaper (are you recognizing a common theme here?), Evangeline was lucky enough to enjoy the delightful tea party with her Nonna and Kiki, who was visiting from New Orleans.

All of the beautiful desserts were from The Newport Sweet Shoppe.

Here are some of my favorite photos of the party from past years:

I took this one in 2010 when I was pregnant with Evangeline:

Newport Festivals Foundation's First Family Concert

Newport Festivals Foundation had it's first Family Concert this year at Fort Adams. Held during Newport’s annual BridgeFest – which bridges the gap between Folk Festival and Jazz Festival – the free concert featured jazz vocalist Amy Cervini and The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, made up of eleven year-old banjo phenom Jonny Mizzone and his brothers Robbie, 13, on fiddle, and Tommy, 15, on guitar. While I was there shooting the concert as a feature for the newspaper, Eamon and Evangeline got to hang out and have some fun.

This was Evangeline's reaction when she spotted me from afar. Is there anything better than being loved by a small, joy-filled human?

Surprisingly, when Amy Cervini asked Evangeline to name her favorite food, she froze under the pressure of having a microphone in front of her. She just stared blankly at Amy like a deer in headlights.

Oh, my, what lovely eyes miss Aria has!