My first published writing + photos for Taproot Magazine's latest issue FOLK. Inside is a more personal narrative where I chronicle the sweet and supportive community I found while making pies at Four & Twenty Blackbirds. My time there was so special, and the pie shop such a little oasis in a more hostile city. I'm so grateful I was able to share my story and hopefully inspire a few others to follow their inner guidance too. Here's also a recipe for their Salted Caramel Apple Pie in there too, so go pick up a copy at a stockist near you, or you can order it online here!
For those of you who know me (or follow me on Instagram) you probably know that I've made my way to the west coast. But for those who don't know anything -- I'm moving to the pacific northwest! For the summer I'll be on the San Juan Islands, underneath the Canadian border, working in a little brick oven bakery - Barn Owl Bakery. I'll be back making naturally leavened, wood-fired bread, and I couldn't be more excited. I'm hoping to use this time and space as a stepping stone to some begin some exciting projects in a special space somewhere in the northwest. Where exactly? I'm not sure yet! The upcoming months will be crucial for determining my landing zone, and I'm waiting to see where I'm led. I'll be sharing the process, my adventures, and recent work as it comes.
My last week in Brooklyn I was buzzing around packing, working on an exciting assignment for Taproot Magazine, welcoming my sweet friend Sophie of Wholehearted Eats into the city, and squeezing in as much time as I could with UK visitor and friend Izy of Top With Cinnamon! One of my favorite quiet breakfast places in Brooklyn is Rucola. The food is simple and delicious, the atmosphere is lovely, and they serve Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie to boot.
So, before I had to go to my shift at Four & Twenty blackbirds, I had a charmed morning sharing breakfast, pastries, and toast with Izy and Sophie. It's so fun to be around others who neurotically photograph everything they eat, paying attention to styling and composition and lighting. Typically I'm in the company of others who are lamenting the fact that their food is getting cold, or that they're having to wait such long time to eat -- but not with these two. We were able to laugh about our experiences photographing food, discussing techniques and cookbooks.
I also had to try my best to play it cool when Maggie Gyllenhaal and her two children came in to sit right next to us. I did my best, I think.
<3 these two.
Finding a decent apartment in Brooklyn isn't easy, which is maybe the understatement of the year. You peel and tear apart Craigslist, social media groups, any rental site you can find, scroll and click, feeling like you're looking at the same overpriced place in a terrible location over and over. The cost is overwhelming enough, and then once you've narrowed it down to a few potentially reasonable places, you're running all over the city, showing up to find that the advertised room is a really a closet with no windows, or actually just a small attic with 3 feet of headspace, your prospective roommate is frantically showing you around, screeching "I'm not looking for a friend this is purely a business relationship", then there are seven sets of stairs to climb, or you're wondering how to break it to the tenant that you really don't want to live in their hallway.
Every one here has a horror story, from the apartment search itself, to moving in and discovering there's a leak right above the bed, the heat doesn't actually work and all the housemates are spending the winter huddled around oven until the landlord finally calls back, it could go on forever.
Last year, just when I was about to give up, I found my place.
Responding to a decent ad on Craigslist, I made the trip down to Ditmas Park in the Prospect Park South region of Brooklyn, knowing I would be far from most of my friends and my job,but so defeated from searching that I would almost take anything. I met my roommate, someone who grew up in Vermont (and ended up having a mutual friend with my grandmother!), at the door and felt immediately comforted. We climbed the stairs and I was met with a beautiful white, plant-filled space. She showed me around and I was already at ease, walking on wood floors, admiring the old-features --a kitchen with a window , a charming gas oven, a sparkling bathroom, and an actually decent sized bedroom! I sat down with my roommate and it was clear we were already going to be good friends, our tastes so similar, her book collection so complementary to mine, and then it was at a reasonable price. I settled on it immediately.
And still now, after having lived here for almost a year I marvel at how lovely this space is. I have a little sanctuary in this busy city, space and quiet, and a roommate who's also my friend -- amazing. Sometimes on days off it's hard to pick myself up off the couch and get outside.
And even though I'm not quite at the cabin-in-the-woods dream yet, this is more than good for now.
Plus the space comes with two cute cats. ^_^
After being asked to assist the talented and lovely Christina Liva in the baking portion of the Sunday Suppers meals, I've begun working with them on my days away from the pie shop.
I journey up to Williamsburg and enter a beautiful, light-filled space that looks over all of Manhattan. I chat with the charming assistant, Lara, and we take a seat at the long wooden tables with coffee and bagels, catching up before beginning the day.
The work is simple, preparing items for the shop, organizing all of the lovely bowls and plates, and the most fun - a group brainstorming of recipes to photograph and share. It's nice to take a break from the routine work of pie making and see the process behind a creative's way of living, how much organization and work it all takes.
So, I've had a lot of fun making pretzels, cider cakes, cornbread, and a whole host of other delicious recipes from the Sunday Suppers cookbook, and getting to spend a bit more time with the mastermind herself.
And this is just the beginning! There will be so much more to share.
It's officially a year -- my one year anniversary of moving to Brooklyn. I remember rolling into the city at this time last year, hauling my belongings up 5 flights of stairs, staring out at the Manhattan skyline and wondering what was to come. The city felt large, foreign, glamorous, and I was intimidated, anxious for the jobs I would have, and the people I would meet.
With each month comes a new opportunity, and each opportunity coupled with a hardship -- it seems to be the way here. The beginning of a beautiful relationship photographing for Taproot magazine, working at Saveur Magazine, my lovely job making pies at Four and Twenty Blackbirds, the photographing with Vanessa Rees that started it all, have been accompanied with a forced move in the middle of winter, a few challenging relationships, the frustration that comes with sharing such a small space with so many people, and then the dynamic love/hate that is shared amongst most. Here, as you're waiting an hour for the train, wondering why on earth you live here, you arrive and share the best meal of your life, pass music in the streets, lively bars, meeting people along the way, and find yourself wondering how you could ever leave.
With each month has also come a different visitor, and friends visiting from afar has been a saving grace. The fast pace and hectic lifestyle, gets broken up, and I experience the city as a tourist, reminded to try out new places to eat, and photograph along the way. Most of these photos are of visiting friends and family. Sweet Aiesha coming from Virginia, visits from my closest friend Melissa comprising some of my favorite memories here, my brother and his lady partner staying for the holidays, sharing pie with a dear friend from Providence and then the enchanted visit from Milla -- somebody who I had not previously met in the tangible world before, but now consider to be one of my closest friends.
I've learned so much.