On July 20, the irrepressible gypsy Alex and I hosted a brunch at Samovar Yerba Buena. We were thrilled that such an eclectic group of fascinating, inspiring women - all accomplished writers, artists and photographers - turned up for tea and conversation. They included Christine Mason Miller, Marianne Elliot, Liz Kalloch, Jen Leman and Odette, Kelly Rae Roberts, Jen Gray, Andrea Scher, Stefanie Renee, Tracey Clark, Julie Michelle, Susan Creamer, Mati Rose McDonough and Kate.
Alex de Souza and Christine Mason Miller, whose book Ordinary Sparkling Moments will be published this month.
Jen Gray taking a photo. For a gorgeous photo of Jen, check out Andrea's photo from the Shutter Sisters photo walk Saturday through Chinatown. And Andrea's photo of Alex "lost in wonder" is also beautiful.
Marianne Elliot (left) and Jen Leman. Marianne has just started a new job with an international human rights organisation in New Zealand. Her portraits of Afghanistan currently are on exhibit in New Zealand.
Jen Leman brought her friend Odette from Rwanda and what incredible stories they have to tell!
You can read more on Jen's blog, see her heartfelt art and photos and order Odette's book here.
Tracey Clark (left), Kelly Rae Roberts
and Marianne. Kelly Rae showed us an advance copy of her new book Taking Flight: Inspiration and Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings, due out this month.
Liz Kalloch traded art with Christine. She'd had two of Christine's paintings at home, trying to decide which to keep. I took one look at the painting she'd brought back, from Christine's Cuba series. It struck a chord about what's happening in my life right now, so I asked Christine if I could buy the painting. Luckily, she agreed! Serendipity at work!
Photo at left of Liz Kalloch and right, Stefanie Renee.
Our time together flew too fast. We were so busy chatting, didn't have time to take many photos. Alas, with some guests at the other end of the table, Alex and I didn't have the chance to say much more than hello and goodbye.
But I did get to spend more time with Alex, Susan and Julie in San Francisco and with Marianne in Rockridge.
Marianne and I spent a lovely afternoon together, discussing the Middle East, mutual friends, human rights, politics, photography, friendship and our personal lives. She sent me home with prints of several of her stunning photographs from Afghanistan.
Alex, Julie and I had dinner together at Andalu and one of Alex's beautiful photos came home with me. Julie and I had lunch together and spent one afternoon working on a joint project. Another night, we had dinner together with Jordana and attended The Pandora Experiment, Christian Cagigal's astonishing magic show currently at the Exit Theatre. Our mutual friend Anjie, aka Ms. Studio Wellspring, unexpectedly became the center of attention. Read her account of the performance here.
My last night in town, I had dinner with Julie and Anjie at Trattoria Contadina, my favourite Italian restaurant in North Beach. On the way, Anjie took us on a scary ride in her lemon yellow Mini, tearing up and down some of the steepest hills in San Francisco. My heart was in my throat!
Julie (left) and the glowing mother-to-be Anjie are pictured on a cold windy evening in San Francisco. The sign in Italian above the restaurant door loosely translates to "Leave your problems at the door. Enjoy your meal."
Susan and I had dinner together two nights and she showed me some tricks about my new camera. It was nice seeing her in San Francisco, as usually we get together in Paris.
I got to spend most of a sunny Saturday with the fantastic firecracker Amber and her charming aunt, strolling the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building and having lunch and shopping at Embarcadero. We bought scarves and a stylish pair of palazzo trousers for Amber's aunt's upcoming trip to Europe.
ALL of these women from across the globe are even more fabulous than they appear on their blogs! I've been overwhelmed and enriched by their wonderful friendship, encouragement, support and inspiration. It's difficult to imagine that without our respective blogs, we might never have met.